The Knuckle Gun, Part 3

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December 3, 2012 by Steampunkish Graphic Novels

“Get me the gun!” Graves shouted, slammed the door open to the gunsmith shop.   Stephen stopped organizing boxes as the man pushed past him and into one of the long shelved hallways behind the counter.

“Sir,” Stephen stammered, “Customers are not ordinarily supposed to be back here.”

Stephen tried to draw his attention after pulling the weapon from its box and placing it on the counter.

“Your property is up here, sir.”

Graves ignored him, continuing to move through the shelves, evidently looking for something specific. Moments later, he yanked a leather satchel from the shelf, bringing a mess of other items down with it. He made no attempt to pick them up.

“Bring it.” Graves said, pointing at the gun as he walked past Stephen. He continued to the door and motioned for Stephen to follow.

A crowd of men had gathered in the telegraph office. The telegraph operator was lying on the floor, his shirt and chest covered in blood.

“What’s your name, sir?” Graves kneeled down, opening the leather satchel.

“Timothy.” he said, shivering uncontrolably.

The young man looked scared. Graves pulled off his coat to help keep Timothy warm. Stephen watched as Graves unfolded the satchel into a variety of odd forceps and other strange instruments, knowing immediately what it was.

A medical extraction kit for bullets.

Timothy winced in pain as Graves used his fingers to stretch the skin around the wound, trying to see further inside.

“I’m going to need that one, there.” he said, pointing quickly at the shiny set of instruments in the unfolded bag. Stephen pulled out one of them and handed it to Graves.

“Wrong one. That one’s for bone, screws into bullets when they’re stuck. Get the long thin one.”

Graves used the forceps to search inside of wound until he heard the familiar sound of metal on metal. He then asked for another pair, ones that had large scalloped paddles.

“Stephen, it’s time you held him down.” After Stephen arranged himself above Timothy’s shoulders and pinned him to the floor, Graves inserted the forceps inside the wound itself.  Without warning, Graves shoved the instrument over an inch deep into the man’s chest.

Timothy screamed.

The bullet was not cooperating, and it was another 30 seconds before the slippery bullet appeared.

“Apply pressure,” said Graves, and inspected the bullet to make sure that it was whole, no fragments left behind. It was hard to tell until he wiped it off. It wasn’t very large.

“Thank you,” said Timothy, weakly.

“You’re welcome, Timothy. Sorry I couldn’t do a better job but it’s been awhile. I need you to ask you something important.”

The brass knuckle gun was unfolded before him into its pistol position.

“The gun – did it look like this?”

The young man stared at the gun for a moment, then nodded. Graves pointed Stephen out of the telegraph office, telling the men left behind to keep pressure on his wound until the doctor arrived.

“Put this back,” said Graves, handing Stephen the now bloody instrument bag, “and go lock up. We’re heading downtown.”

“Sir, if I might ask, what are we going to do there?”

“We’re going hunting.” Graves replied.

[ Next Post: The Knuckle Gun, Part 4 ]

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