Fanfiction to Published Novelist Finalist #2: “From Hell to Purgatory” by bootsncatz

From Hell to Purgatory by bootsncatz

Work: Wynonna Earp

Pairing: Nicole and Waverly

Friendship: Nicole and Wynonna

 

1890, Nevada

“Fuck’n…fuck.”

Wynonna ran a hand through her hair and looked down at the body in the casket.  Her sister’s lifeless eyes looked up at the sky, blood congealed around the whole framed perfectly in the center of her forehead.  She knew that this was going to happen.  It was only a matter of time.  She took the flask out of the inside pocket of her jacket and took a swig.  As the cheap liquor made its way into her stomach she made a face.

“Here’s to you, sis,” she said before taking another swig that went down considerably easier.  How long had it been?  Ten years?  More?

“So this is your sister?” the scrawny undertaker who had lifted the rough lid off the coffin asked.

“Yep,” Wynonna answered putting her flask back in her pocket, “That’s her alright.”

She never thought their reunion would be like this.  But nothing in her life had really gone the way she expected.  After her father died, Wynonna was taken away and put in a loony bin, leaving both of her sisters behind.  At one point Waverly had written her and told her Willa had taken off too.  Neither of them really knew where.  But as soon as Wynonna was of age and checked herself out of the asylum, she made it her mission to find her.  She just never realized that this was how it was going to turn out.

“Fucking Willa,” she said under her breath.

Rolling her shoulders, she leaned in closer to the casket and began to pat her sister’s pockets.  Empty…empty…money, okay she’d take that…belt and-perfect.  Wynonna took the gun out of Willa’s holster and held it reverently before her.

The Undertaker cleared his throat and her eyes landed on him.  “It’s unsavory to steal from the dead.”

Wynonna put the gun in her holster and shrugged.  “Yeah?  Well, it’s really fucking unsavory to charge people to take pictures with my sister’s dead body too. Isn’t it?”  The undertaker stuttered and Wynonna had him around the collar before he even realized it.  “I’m taking my sister with me,” she said inches from his face, “and if I ever see one of those little souvenir photos you had no problem selling, I’ll rip your balls out through your throat.  You hear me?”

The Undertaker just nodded feverishly.  “Good.  Now help me tie the coffin to the horse.”

***

“Wait, what do you want me to do?”

Wynonna knocked back her third shot and made a popping sound with her mouth. “I need you to go to Purgatory with me,” she said matter-of-factly, “And keep an eye on my sister.”

Nicole raised an eyebrow at the dark-haired woman as she nursed her beer.  “And…why do you need me to do that?”

“Classified info, Nicky,” Wynonna said gesturing to the bartender to bring her another drink. The redhead frowned and shook her head.  “Classified from…who?  It’s just you, Wynonna. You’ve made that abundantly clear.”

“It’s classified because I said so,” Wynonna said, but not before winking at the barmaid that brought her her drink.  Nicole sighed and leaned back in her chair, looking over the woman in front of her.

“And what makes you think I don’t have better things to do?”

Wynonna snickered and propped her feet up on the table between them.  “Because I know you don’t. Plus, it would be like a favor. For old time’s sake.”

“Well maybe I don’t want to remember the old times,” Nicole said draining the rest of her beer as a cloud came over her face. Wynonna looked at her for a moment. She felt bad for the…situations she had brought Nicole into before. They had met, of all places, when Wynonna was being (wrongfully) arrested by her in one of her attempts to find Willa. She had heard something about a gang robbing a bank and went to intercept. Just because she heard it was the gang Willa had been running around with and, surprise, it wasn’t. Thankfully it only took one night in jail to clear things up.  Which actually worked out in the end since she actually had a bed for the night.

Nicole was a bounty hunter, for lack of a better word. So when Wynonna convinced her to tag along on the hunt for Willa with the promise of letting her take the reward money, she gladly accepted.  She didn’t have to know that Wynonna had never planned on letting her keep any sort of reward because she was never going to let her sister go to jail. They needed her back in Purgatory.

After one…particular incident, the two parted ways. It wasn’t too long after that that rumors of Willa’s death began to circulate. Killed in a fucking bar brawl. Wynonna thought that was always how she would go out. Now she knew she was on borrowed time. They were at least three days ride from Purgatory and Wynonna didn’t know how many things were going to come looking for Earps.

“Nicole,” Wynonna said seriously, taking her boots off the table and leaning closer to the other woman, “if I could do this on my own, I would. You know me well enough to know that.” She chewed on the inside of her cheek, fingers tapping nervously on the shot in front of her. She couldn’t leave her baby sisters safety to chance. She couldn’t let her pride get in the way. This time. “I’m really asking for a favor here.  Plus, is it really that much of a favor, per say, if you’re being paid handsomely?”

Willa’s pouch of money landed on the table between them, the weight apparent in the thud.  Nicole looked at it and back up at Wynonna across from her. “For how long?”

Wynonna tilted her head as she thought and shrugged, “A couple of months. And that’s just an advance.  You’ll get more.”

“When?”

“Later.”

Truth be told, she didn’t know how long it would take to make sure Waverly was safe. To defeat the people who would be searching for them. But she also knew that once she got Nicole on a job, she wasn’t going to leave until it was done. She was reliable that way. Or whatever.

Nicole squinted at Wynonna for a second as if trying to figure her out, trying to see if she was telling the truth. With a resigned sigh, she reached over and slid the pouch closer to her. Wynonna smiled in triumph. “I knew I could count on you, Nicky.”

“First rule, don’t call me Nicky.”

Wynonna took her shot and slammed it down on the table as she stood up. “You got it, Nicky,” she said with a teasing wink, “And thanks for the drinks tonight. Eh?”  She stood up and began walking away.  “We leave at dawn tomorrow!”

***

Wynonna stretched out on her sleeping blanket and looked up at the stars. They would be making it into Purgatory tomorrow and part of her was itching just to finish the journey tonight. But she knew that crossing the line of the Ghost River Triangle at night was not the best idea. Plus she didn’t want to freak Waverly out by popping in unexpected.  She hadn’t seen her sister in…too long. Years. Last she saw her she was just barely going through puberty. Still running around the fields and scrapes on her knees.

“Does your sister know we’re coming?” Nicole asked from the other side of the fire.  She had made sure she was as far away from the coffin carrying Willa’s body as possible. Wynonna had been tempted to try and spook her somehow that night but figured she’d probably end up with the barrel of a gun to her head if she did. Wasn’t worth it.

The brunette propped herself up on her elbow and looked through the flames at the other woman. “Not really.”

Nicole raised an eyebrow at her. “So she doesn’t know I’m supposed to be protecting her?”

“Definitely not,” Wynonna said adjusting her bedroll, “And she’s not going to find out.”

“Why’s that?”

Wynonna sighed and threw a stray stick into the fire. Why couldn’t Waverly know? Because she didn’t know about the curse? Because she would throw a fit if she found out Wynonna had hired her a keeper?

“Because she just…can’t. Because I say so.”

“That’s not good enough, Wynonna,” Nicole said taking off her hat and setting it next to her.

“Sure it is.”

“It’s not,” Nicole said with a fire in her voice, “It hasn’t been good enough since Calico and it’s sure as hell not good enough now.”

The mention of their time in Calico made Wynonna falter and she flopped over on her back, trying to continue with her carefree attitude. The guilt gnawed at her stomach but she pushed it away.  “She can’t know because she can’t know she’s in danger. Not yet.  Not until I figure out how to…get her out of danger.”

That seemed good enough for Nicole who arranged her own bed roll and laying down on it. “You don’t even know what you’re supposed to do?”

“Are you surprised?” Wynonna said with a sigh.

“I’m constantly surprised by you,” Nicole said flatly.

Wynonna smiled teasingly across at the redhead. “Aw, Nicky. Here I thought you were still mad at me.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever not be mad at you,” she answered, only half joking. It was their dynamic, it always had been. You couldn’t start off being arrested by someone and not have a little bit of an edge to your relationship. Despite this, Wynonna was dumbly devoted to the other woman. She would never admit it, but she had been her only constant companion for the years she’d been gone and it was hard not to be devoted to the person you were pretty sure you owed your life too. Again, not that she would ever admit it.

“Hope you’re prepared for the warm welcome that’s coming my way when I walk into the old hometown,” Wynonna said as she arranged her bag under her head like a pillow.

“Oh, if it’s anything like the welcome you get in other towns, I’ll never be prepared,” Nicole said sarcastically.

***

It only took a couple of hours to reach the edge of the Ghost River Triangle the next morning. The border wasn’t specifically marked out in anyway since most of the people living in it didn’t even know it was a thing. But she knew that she had reached it when her horse stopped abruptly.  She could also feel it in her bones, something deep inside.

“Why are we stopping?” Nicole asked coming up behind her.

Wynonna adjusted the reins in her hand and kept one hand on her thigh close to the butt of her gun. “We’re crossing the border.  Weird shit always happens at the border. Especially to Earps.”

She nudged her horse forward and they crossed into the Ghost River Triangle, Nicole following. The sound of Willa’s coffin dragging behind her horse didn’t offer the kind of stealth she had hoped for. Her hair stood on edge as soon as they crossed the border. Wynonna could practically feel the questions from Nicole about to come out of her mouth but she held up a hand to shush her as they moved forwards. She needed to listen for any sort of disturbances.

She heard a snap somewhere and her horse threw her head back a little. “Whoa, Whiskey,” she said quietly. Her hand rested on the butt of Peacemaker and she heard another snap to her left, but turned too late. The wind was knocked out of her lungs.  Whiskey whinnied and reared up on her hind legs. Wynonna looked up to find whoever…whatever had knocked her off her horse and saw nothing.

“Wy!” she heard Nicole shout.

Peacemaker was laying a few feet away from her and she reached for it.

“What the fuck was that?” Nicole asked as Wynonna took her foot out of the stirrup.

“Fuck if I-“

She was hit again from the side just as she stood up. She turned and punched blindly at whatever was on top of her, connecting with what felt like a human face. At least there was that.

With an oof, the other person rolled off of Wynonna and she rolled on top of them, pinning them down between her thighs. Her fist connected with their face again and Wynonna grabbed them by the collar. The man below her was practically snarling up at her as if he was rabid. Nicole was by her side in an instant, the barrel of her gun pressed against his temple.

“What do you want?” Wynonna asked him through her teeth.

The man laughed maniacally and took another swing at the brunette, knocking her off of him. Nicole kicked him in the ribs, putting her boot on his chest to keep him down with her gun still trained on his forehead.

“You better answer her question,” Nicole said lowly.

Wynonna jumped to her feet as soon as she rolled away and ignore the pain in her knee as she searched for Peacemaker. She saw it lying a little further away and rushed (limped) over to it.
“I’m here for the heir,” the man said, tongue darting out between his teeth.

“The heir?” Nicole asked lowly.  He struggled to get up but Nicole dug her boot more into his chest. “You even try to get up and this bullet will be right between your eyes.

“Like that could hurt me, little girl,” he said before grabbing for it. Nicole shot and got him right between the eyes and he fell lifeless. Nicole waited a beat before taking her boot off of him and looking over for Wynonna.

“What’s this talk of the heir-“

The man jumped to his feet just as Wynonna grabbed Peacemaker and held it towards him.

“Don’t you dare take a step towards her,” she said cocking the hammer back. The man held his hands up in surrender and snarled at her. Nicole slowly backed up until she was standing next to Wynonna. “The heir is dead.”

His eyes turned black, strangely shaped scars lighting up on his forehead and neck as he stared down Wynonna. Peacemaker’s barrel began to glow and Wynonna tried not to look shocked by this turn of events. The handle felt warm in her hand, almost as if it was vibrating.

“Revenant,” Wynonna said under her breath.

“One Earp down, two to go,” he said.

Wynonna stomped closer to him and pressed Peacemaker directly to his forehead. The flesh crackled and popped as if it was being burned. The revenant screamed in pain and Wynonna growled out. “Who killed my sister?”

“It wasn’t only revenants that wanted her dead, sweetheart,” he gritted out in pain.

Wynonna pulled the trigger, jumping back as a large hole opened up on the ground. The blood curdling scream of the revenant got louder as he sunk down as if he was going directly into the pits of hell.  It was silent again for a moment as the two digested what had just happened.

“What. The hell.  Was that?” Nicole asked, eyes wide, “What was he talking about? The heir? And what was happening with that glowy gun thing?!”

“That,” Wynonna said putting her gun back in the holster, “was what you’re protecting my baby sister from.”

“A demon from hell?!”

“Basically,” Wynonna said with a shrug. She walked over to Whiskey and swung herself back onto her back. She could ignore the pain in her knee for now. At least until they got into town. Nicole got back on her own horse, looking shell-shocked as they began to ride again. It only took about five minutes before she piped up again.

“So back to this heir thing,” she said cautiously.

Wynonna sighed and tried to think of the briefest way she could tell her the extensive Earp history. She never spoke of it, anyone hardly did. Her Daddy had pounded it into Willa’s head and her own that the eldest would be the one to take up Peacemaker and put the Revenants back into the ground. A task that, clearly, Willa was not too keen on taking up.

“Ever since Wyatt Earp, each generation has an Earp heir who’s supposed to fight the outlaws he killed with Peacemaker. My Daddy, Wyatt’s son, was the first one. Willa was supposed to be the next but after my Daddy died she said ‘fuck that’ and took off to use her powers for bad instead. Now that she’s dead I guess I’m…kinda the heir. Or whatever.”

Nicole frowned at Wynonna. “The outlaws-…but they’re dead?”

“Yes.”

“And they…come back to life?”

“Yep. Whenever the heir dies, all the Revenants come back with the sole purpose of defeating the current heir. Real fun stuff,” she finished sarcastically.

“So you’re saying you have a bunch of ghost demons running around and trying to kill you?” Nicole asked flatly.

“What can I say? People can’t stay away from me,” Wynonna said with a grin. Nicole rolled her eyes and looked ahead where the buildings of Purgatory had just begun to appear over the horizon. “So this whole demon element doesn’t freak you out too much? You’re still down for the job?”

“I made a promise,” Nicole said simply, “Plus, I hung around you long enough that I’ve faced worse. I was honestly more surprised when you had the gall to come back into town and find me after two years.”

Wynonna shrugged, “I needed someone I could trust. At least…as much as I can trust someone. Mostly I just know I could kick your ass if I had to.”

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