Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all associated characters are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, United Paramount Network, and Fox Television. 3:10 to Yuma (short story) by Elmore Leonard, (2007 screenplay) Halsted Welles and Michael Brandt. This work is not for profit, and no ownership of aforementioned copyrighted material implied, nor any infringement intended.
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Past (31 years before the movie)
The boy sat on the bench at the train station, reading the bible. He’d started that morning, when his mother had sent him to the station early. A small knapsack rested on the bench next to him, and still held two biscuits, along with his meager collection of personal belongings. He had barely noticed that dusk had come and gone; the kerosene lanterns cast enough light under the simple roofed platform that he could still read.
The only sounds were the occasional hoot of an owl and odd bits of song from the platform’s other occupant, a woman of ill repute who hummed and nursed a large bruise on her left cheekbone. Then the shuffling of boots in the dirt announced the approach of someone else.
“Lyle, get on over here.” It was a man’s voice, coarse and commanding. The boy stopped reading and peered out into the darkness. An ornery-looking cowboy stepped into the light.
“Why, Tector? You ain’t the boss of me!” A second cowboy, even scarier and dirtier than the first, came into view.
Tector replied with a backhanded smack that would have flattened most men. “Hell’n tarnation, boy. I’m hungry, an’ I’m gonna eat!”
“Mighty slim pickins, if’n you ask me,” Lyle said as he eyeballed the boy and the woman. “An’ quit hittin’ me.”
Tector sized the two up, then he smiled at the woman. “Hey, there sugar lips, how ‘bout going out back with me?”
“No, I don’t think I will,” she spat out.
“Too bad.” The boy watched in horror as the faces of the two men changed to that of horrible monsters out of his worst nightmares.
The woman shrieked and ran off before Tector made up his mind to grab her. Lyle tried to head her off, but only succeeded in tearing the whore’s already tattered garment as she sprinted into the darkness.
“Well, young’un, you’ll just have to do me for a snack now.” Tector’s words were slurred through his distorted mouth.
The boy paled. “P-p-please, sir, no.”
Tector reached for the boy, who flailed with the book in his hands. The vampire screamed as the crucifix-embossed bible connected with the side of his face and the smell of burnt flesh filled the night.
“Lyle, that boy marked me. He marked me!”
Lanterns in a couple of houses brightened. Down the street, the woman pounded on a door, still shrieking. More houses lit up, slowly, as people work to the unexpected commotion.
“C’mon Tector, we gotta get gone from here!”
“We’ll be seein’ you boy,” Tector heckled. “Don’ worry, we’ll be seein’ you.”
A small crowd of people approached as the vampires headed off into the night. “Boy, who were those men?”
“Not men,” the boy mumbled. “Demons. The touch of the Bible burned one.”
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Present (31 minutes before the movie)
The factory grips on Ben Wade’s Colt revolver had been replaced; the brown walnut exchanged for black horn, inlaid with golden crucifixes. The Hand of God, people called it, and the outlaw smiled.
After so many years, none of his men ever thought to question the rituals. It was their own little code, an initiation into the most infamous bandit gang in the southwest. Always meet new recruits at high noon. Always swear them in on a bible. And no one was a full member until after a full moon.
The Mexican fingered his rosary and mumbled through his prayers. He was one of the few who knew why El Jefe
kept a wooden shiv in his boot.
Ben Wade’s last little idiosyncrasy was knows only by his second in command, Charlie Prince: the Hand of God was always loaded with silver bullets. And ever since Ben had put down a giant coyote, rabid and strangely deformed under light of a full moon, Charlie Prince never thought to question him. After all, there was always money and bloodshed. And the next coach was due soon.