The Legend

Willoughby Hills is the godforsaken place everyone fears, loathes, or wishes they never knew about its existence. And still, some has the "privilege" to call it home, since there is no chance they would ever get out of the scuzz of the city.

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1. Willoughby Hills

            The time is 3 in the morning, the most harmless part of the day. At least in Willoughby Hills, that is. Most of the men are knocked out by the amount of burning spirit they have drunk, lying around in various places unconsciously, not giving a rat's ass about the world. At least in The One-armed Thief, the most popular inn as far as citizens of Willoughby Hills are concerned, that is. 

             Corrin H. Manning wakes with a halt. No one knows what the H. stands for, it can be hero or half-assed just as well, not that anyone cares. The only name they know the man by is "The Legend". This sounds like something enthralling, a name that you have to earn, a name to look up to. Well, not if people spat it at you with such ridicule and contempt what you can only hear in The Thief.

             If they call you The Legend in The Thief, that's bearable. You stab them, or beat them up, and everything is fine, you are even. If they dare to call you The Legend on the streets as well, that definitely proves something. You can't go around stabbing and beating women and children up on the streets, not even with a mysterious H. as a middle name. Well, not if you have some manner. Most people don't. At least not in Willhoughby Hills, that is. 

             Corrin H. Manning sits up on the dirty floor that has the unique mixture of dust, gooey alcohol and blood all over it. He feels as though his head is being trampled on by a herd of wild horses, which is, in fact, quite a familiar feeling. He makes an attempt to stand up, looking around himself as he does. Men snoring in their dreamless sleeps, the irritating sound of flies buzzing around the place, the smell of cheap alcohol. All good, just the usual. Corrin H. Manning checks upon his belongings - his revolver, the "Peacemaker"; $60 in cash; his hard leather hat; that is all he has - before moving towards the swing door. 

              Even though dawn is still hours away, you can already see the grey of the morning. Corrin H. Manning coughs as the wind blows a good amount of dust from the rammed-clay streets in his direction. There is no sign of any kind of life and the wooden houses are creaking loudly as the early-morning wind finds its way through the main street. Despite the breeze, Corrin H. Manning is sweating mindlessly. No matter which part of the year it is, the weather is almost always unbearable in Willoughby Hills. It's one of the reasons why no one likes the settlement. That, and the fact that within five minutes of your arrival to the three-streeted town you will most likely get robbed, stabbed, clothes-less and in particular cases even dead, if you are not lucky enough. 

              Corrin H. Manning shakes his head in disgust as he thinks about the town, his town. There is nothing he doesn't loathe about the place. The people, the everyday presence of itching sweat, the heat coming from the desert, the grime that covers every part of Willoughby Hills, starting from its houses to its citizens. Corrin H. Manning walks over to the trough, his spur clicking with every step he takes. He fills his hands with the lukewarm water, thinking about how much he hates the fact that there is hardly ever any cold water, and just as he washes his face, a gritty voice speeks. 

             "Well well, Manning... Still here in this hell of a place?" 

              Corrin H. Manning stops in middle air, his hands covering his face. Taking his time, he slowly finishes the procedure before standing straight up and looking into the face of the other. The man is leaning against the wooden fence, his hat casting a shadow over his eyes. Corrin H. Manning dries his face using the dirty cuff of his centuries-old shirt before stepping to the other side of the fence, next to his trustworthy mustang horse. Smoothing the soft, hazel brown hair of the animal, he doesn't even bother to look at the other. 

             "What do you want, Brantley? You got what I owed you years ago, what would bring you here, to the middle of nothing?" 

          "At least you know exactly what this place is. Nothing, just as you are," the man spits at Corrin H. Manning's feet. "Do they still call you 'The Legend'?" his voice is dripping with irony. "You don't even deserve that name; after all it was me, who saved this godforsaken place years ago by accident, and not you, as everyone thinks."

          Corrin H. Manning places his right hand on his hip in a way that allows the other to see what's under the leather vest: the Peacemaker, with its dangerous .45 caliber. One shot and you are done. 

          "I will ask you one more time, Brantley: what the hell do you want?" 

          The other man takes notice of the gun with merely a frown on his face before tossing a scrappy-looking cigarette between his cracked lips and leaning towards Corrin H. Manning. 

          "You can call me anything you want, but you will always remember my real name," a galvanic grin takes over his face. "Right, brother?"

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