by Equestrian HorseWrangler
© Equestrian HorseWrangler -- all rights reserved
South Bend, Indiana, June 30, 1934...
John Dillinger had very little time to react before he swung his body out of the spray of machine gun bullets. The police officer seemed to have come out of nowhere, and several others were showing up as well. He crouched down and backed towards the building he had just come from, still avoiding the various gunfire. There were screams as pedestrians and other bystanders on the street leap for cover from the gun fight that had just erupted.
"It's an ambush!" he screamed to his men still inside the bank, and then pumped his shotgun and stood up. The police, shocked by this display of insanity, froze momentarily. Dillinger quickly shot his gun at the nearest officer, whose chest exploded with a crimson spray as he dropped backward to the ground.
"Yeah!" Dillinger turned around to hear where the voice came from, and saw one of his gang members come running out of the bank. It was George Nelson, and his face was twisted with a gleeful smile as he let loose a long string of bullets from his Tommy Gun. "You can't kill me," he shouted on top of all the gunfire. "I'm immortal!"
Dillinger just snarled as he watched his young partner happily fire off rounds. "Damn it Nelson, Stay calm!"
"Up yours, John!" Nelson said without taking his eyes off the approaching officers. One policeman took cover behind a light '32 REO Speedwagon, popping up for a second to fire his .38 revolver at the two bank robbers. Dillinger again took defensive measures to keep himself out of harm's way, but Nelson just remained on the steps of bank, continuing to verbally assault his attackers as he shot into the street in front of him.
He paused for a moment and twisted his head around, turning to one of his fellow robbers still in the bank. "Get your ass out here, ya dumb Oakie!"
"I'm coming!" Charles Arthur Floyd said as he ran out the door, holding a bag of money in one hand and a Colt .45 automatic in the other. He ran over to a tan '34 Ford Sedan parked in front of the bank and threw the bag in, and then pulled out another .45 from inside his jacket and opened fire into a group of advancing officers. In the next car Homer Van Meter patted his hands on the steering wheel nervously, waiting for Dillinger to give him the signal to move in.
A bullet whizzed by Nelson's head. Angry that he was almost hit, he spun to face the Speedwagon the police officer was hiding behind. He blasted of a long burst of rounds that stitched along the car, making a sound like rain falling on a tin roof. One of the bullets hit the vehicle's gas tank, and the car exploded. The blast shattered the bones in the policeman's chest and flung his lifeless body back from view.
Dillinger fired of a few more rounds from his shotgun and screamed to his men, "Come on, unless you feel like staying here permanently!" With that, Van Meter, drove directly into the gunfire and stopped in front of the bank. He leaned out the driver window and shot repeatedly at the cops as he waited for the remaining bank robbers to make their way out of the bank. Three men holding money bags rushed in, leaving another man left confused and frightened on the steps next to Nelson. It was Sam Price's first robbery, and he was unsure with whom he should go.
After the men loaded into the car Dillinger slapped his hand on the hood twice.
"Get going Homer! I'll get Nelson, Floyd and Price out in the other car!"
Van Meter was shocked. "Are you sure Johnny? I don't want to leave you with that bastard Nelson!"
"I'll be fine. I'll see you tonight at the lodge. Go!"
His words were followed with the sound of bullets crashing into the side of the automobile. At the insistence of his passengers, Van Meter reluctantly slammed down on the gas and the car rocketed down the street and out of sight.
Floyd had run out of the ammo in his pistols and pulled out a 1918 BAR from the Ford. He began to lay down a suppressing fire to cover his three accomplices as they made their way to the car. Each round shot from the high powered rifle sounded like a miniature mortar shell, drowning out the rest of the noise on the street.
Dillinger, Nelson and Price quickly but surely made their way over, walking alongside the bank's wall as the few remaining police continued to shoot at them. It was at that moment that a female bystander crouched down beside a car looked up at the men walking in front of her. Her jaw dropped as she looked at the man with the Tommy Gun, and quickly covered her mouth.
"Oh my God! It's "Baby-Face" Nelson!"
Nelson froze in his tracks and spun to face the lady, his teeth gritted and his cheeks flaring with rage. "DON"T CALL ME THAT!" he screamed on top of his lungs as he opened fire on her. She didn't even have time to scream before the machine gun's ammo shredded her upper chest. Price froze against the wall in shock while Nelson continued on, still fuming at what she had just called him.
Dillinger got behind the steering wheel and Nelson jumped in the back seat. Floyd switched his rifle to fully automatic and emptied the rest of his clip in one last burst before jumping into car's front passenger seat. Dillinger drove forward a few feet and stopped in front of Price. He was exhaling nervously at all the chaos going around him, and was starting to bend in a fetal position. "Coming or staying?" was all Dillinger asked as he looked at his terrified accomplice.
A bullet hit the wall behind Price's head and he instinctively jumped forward. "I sure as hell don't want to be here anymore!" he spit out at he jumped on the sedan's passenger side running board, grabbing onto the edge of Floyd's window. The Ford lurched forward and then began to move, twisting around the dead bodies lining the road. Floyd slid another 20 round magazine into the BAR as the car navigated through the sea of corpses.
One police man with a shotgun quickly took advantage of the car's inability to take right off, and ran in front of it, stopping on the other side. Price's eyes widened as the cop pumped the gun and took aim. The gun let out a deafening blast and Price screamed out as the force of the pellets blew him off the side of the car, his blood and guts splattering on the passenger door as his body fell dead to the ground.
Floyd shoved the barrel of his rifle out the window and shot off a long burst at the police man. He watched the cop grab his stomach in pain and drop to his knees before falling face down on the ground. A last few bullets hit the side of the Ford as it turned the corner and made its way out of town, leaving behind the massacre in front of the Merchant's National Bank. Dillinger turned his head and gave Floyd a quick nod, while Nelson just snickered from the backseat.
They were a good 10 miles down the road when Dillinger began to shake his head. He had been squeezing the steering wheel ever since they left South Bend, and now he was getting anxious.
"A damn ambush, I can't believe it. The cops were just waiting for us!"
Floyd let out a short exhale. "What I can't believe is the fact that they didn't warn anyone. All the people in the street were just left in the crossfire. I don't like killing civilians."
"Me neither," said Dillinger. "No honor in it. We sure got lucky today, that's for sure. How much do you figure we scored?"
Floyd shifted in his seat. "I reckon around $30,000 total. Maybe less."
"Damn!" Dillinger said aloud as he took one hand off the wheel. "Not as much as we got in Mason City. And definitely not worth all the trouble we went through."
"I don't know," Nelson said from the backseat. "Gave me the opportunity to put a few more notches on my gun."
Dillinger spun his head around. "What the hell is your problem, Nelson?"
Nelson just smiled. "Just want you know that you got someone gunning for your spot on the FBI Most Wanted List, Mr. Public Enemy Number One."
Floyd let out a moan in frustration. "You're a psychopath, you know that Baby Face?"
Nelson clenched his hands into fists. "Damn you, don't call me that name! I've killed for less then that!"
"I know," Floyd said without even looking back. "I saw that woman you shot in town."
"Yeah, well I taught that bitch a lesson, didn't I Pretty Boy?"
Floyd reached into his jacket for one of his .45's. "You little bastard! I told you I hate that name!"
Dillinger slammed on the car's brakes. His two passengers were jostled by the sudden stop, and he turned to face them. "All right, you both hate the names the press gave you. That's no reason for you to kill each other."
Floyd let out a long exhale, and then turned to face Nelson. "Sorry George. I should have known better. It's just that ever since Bonnie and Clyde got shot last month, I've been on edge."
He waited for a few seconds to get an apology in return, but was only greeted by a smile of impertinence. Floyd slowly turned back around and slumped in his seat as Dillinger stepped on the gas.
Dillinger really hated Nelson, but he had made a promise to honor Nelson's partnership, and Dillinger never went back on his word.
He turned to Floyd. "We've all been jumpy, Charles. I keep waiting for Melvin Purvis to jump out and arrest me. Or maybe even gun me down like the Texas Ranger did to Bonnie and Clyde. They were too inexperienced punks, but still, it hit us all hard when they got whacked."
Floyd shrugged. "Too bad we never got a chance to meet them. Might have been interesting."
"The hell with that!" Nelson said from the backseat. "I don't work with dames!"
Dillinger just shook his head. He saw his turn up ahead, a country back road that lead back to the Little Bohemia Lodge, where the rest of his gang was holed up. The Ford pulled off the main road, taking the more scenic farm route. Dillinger smiled as he thought about giving his nemesis the slip. "That'll keep Purvis off my back for a while," he thought to himself.
Mel Purvis was the Federal Agent assigned by J. Edgar Hoover to bring in the gangsters responsible for the Kansas City Massacre last year that left five federal agents dead in the street along with a criminal they were transporting. Word through the grapevine was that it was a mob hit, but Hoover instead blamed the deaths of the agents on Dillinger, Floyd, Nelson, "Handsome" Jack Klutas, Wilbur "Tri-State Terror" Underhill and George "Machine-Gun" Kelly. Klutas and Underhill were now dead, and Kelly was rotting away in Ft. Leavenworth.
Dillinger hated Hoover and his underhanded ways, and despised having to live his life on the run. Sure, it was part of the whole outlaw motif, but still, Dillinger hated always having to look over his shoulder.
Dillinger's train of thought was interrupted as he heard the car begin to sputter. He glanced down at the car's fuel gauge, and to his astonishment, he saw that it was on empty.
He pushed the gas down all the way, and spun around to face Nelson. "Damn it George, I told you to fill up the tank this morning!"
Nelson snarled back at him. "What the hell are you talking about? I stopped at a Texaco and filled it 'til it topped off!"
"Well we're running on fumes! We'll never make it to the lodge."
"Don't you blame me for that! I did what you told me to!"
"Listen to me you little punk...,"
"Wait a minute!" Floyd jumped in, trying to keep things calm. "I went with Nelson, remember? We must have got hit in the fuel line when we were leaving town."
"Ah, shit," Dillinger said as he spun back around to face the road. "We're not going to make it more than a mile."
Nelson just sighed in the back and Dillinger fumed, but Floyd's eyes suddenly perked up as he saw a house up the road.
"Look, there's a farm up ahead. Maybe the farmer will have a car we can "borrow"."
Nelson suddenly leaned forward with a smile. "Or keep, if you let me have my way."
Floyd turned around with a sneer. "You little bastard, both John and I come from farming families. I sure as hell aren't going to let you gun one down!"
"Stop calling me little!" Nelson snapped back. "I may be short, but I make up for that in guts. Something you don't seem to have much of these days, Pretty Boy!"
Dillinger pulled off the road and turned unto the farm's driveway, twisting his head back to face the Chicago bred killer behind him. "Just how many dead bodies are going to be enough for you Nelson?"
Nelson leaned back and rested his Tommy Gun in his lap, a smirk adorning his face. "I figure I'll slow my killings down once I get the top space on the Most Wanted List, where my name rightfully belongs."
Dillinger brought the car to a halt and turned off the engine. "You're name will be at the top of the obituary list if you don't calm down and act civil. Now get out and keep your eyes on the road!"
Nelson grumbled to himself as he stepped out of the car, still gripping his gun in his hands as he made his way back down the driveway. He only put up with Dillinger's mouth because he was the brains behind the capers. Nelson despised the fact that he was just considered a second rate punk in the newspapers, not worthy of headlines like Dillinger and Floyd were. Not for much longer, he told himself though. Once he killed a few more people, the papers were bound to pay more attention to him.
Floyd and Dillinger stepped out of the car and made their way up to the house. Floyd glanced to the right and saw a large wooden paddock, obviously for letting horses run around to exercise and play. It was empty, but behind it was a stable that must be housing the animals at the moment.
It reminded him of his father's farm back home in Oklahoma. Floyd missed the days as a young boy when he would watch his father's horses run through the fields. It was the power the animals expressed as they galloped that he enjoyed most. It seemed to make them free. That's what he wanted most in life.
That and making his family happy. Almost all of his share from the robberies went toward his family and other poor folks in his area. The damn banks took their money away from them with mortgages and foreclosures, forgetting about the travails of the Depression and just concerning themselves with their own greed. Floyd's father even had to sell off all of his horses to make ends meet. Well, if the financial institutions were going to take poor people's money, than "Pretty Boy" Floyd was just going to take it back.
As Dillinger and Floyd approached the front porch, both men suddenly froze dead in their tracks. They turned to one another in unison, both sensing each other's fear.
Floyd swallowed hard. "John, did you just feel..."
"...something strange," Dillinger cut in, nodding as he looked at his partner. "I don't know what it was. What do you think?"
"Well, it's gone now," Floyd said earnestly, rocking his head up and down for a second. "We might as well keep going."
Dillinger agreed, and took a step forward, but paused once again when he heard the sound of the door knob twisting.
Dillinger's mouth dropped slightly as he watched the man step out from behind the door. He did not look like any farmer Dillinger had ever seen; he had a long white beard that extended down to his abdomen, and wore a flowing grey robe that covered most of his body, with only his hands and feet poking out their respective holes.
"Yes, may I help you?" the man asked.
Dillinger snapped into action. "Yes sir. Our car ran out of gas, and we were wondering if we could borrow yours to go get some more."
The man looked over at the Ford, and then scratched his chin. "It's a nice car, I'll say that. They didn't have anything like that when I was a boy."
Floyd smiled at that comment, figuring that was obvious by how old the man looked. "You see sir, we're on a hunting trip, and we need to meet up with a couple friends some ways down the road. We need to be to their house by three."
The man looked at the two men standing before him. They both were wearing identical tan two piece suits and sporting straw skimmers on their heads, hardly appropriate hunting attire.
"Well you see, gentlemen, I don't have a car. I have no need for one."
Dillinger was taken aback by the comment. "In this day in age? Surely you need one to get around."
The old man smiled. "Oh no, son. Believe me; I have other ways of transporting myself around."
Dillinger bit his lip is desperation. "Well, do you have a phone we can use?"
The man shook his head. "No need for one of those either."
Floyd was shocked. "You don't have any means of reaching anyone?"
The old man smiled. "I like my privacy." He then became very serious. "Your those men that robbed the bank this morning, aren't you?"
Floyd and Dillinger were stunned. That was not what they expected to hear. Dillinger instinctively began to reach for his gun, but Floyd stopped him.
"Yes sir, we are," Floyd said solemnly. "He's..."
"John Dillinger," the man jumped in. "And you must be Pretty Boy..."
"Charles Arthur Floyd," Floyd said quickly, taking back control of the conversation. "You must recognize our pictures from the papers."
The man shook his head again. "Don't get any of those, either. Don't need them."
Now Floyd was really confused. "Well, how do you know who we are?"
The man smiled. "Wizards have a way of finding those sort of things out. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Cerius, and I practice magic. I felt your presence when you were walking up to my door, and I know all about you."
'This old man's crazy,' thought Dillinger. "Look, mister, you don't seem to be all here..."
Cerius seemed insulted by that remark. "So you desire proof, mortal? Very well, pull out your weapon."
Dillinger complied, only to find that he was holding a toy gun instead. It looked exactly like the one he had used to break out of Crown Point earlier that year.
"How..., how did y-you do that?" Dillinger stammered.
"It is but child's play for a wizard. Thanks to the spell I worked on you and your friends before stepping out, I now know all about you Mr. Dillinger."
Suddenly, the sound of approaching footsteps drew all three men's attention. "Well, it will be the last thing you ever know, old timer!" Nelson spat as he kept his gun trained on Cerius."
Dillinger fumed at the young gunman. "Nelson, I told you to keep watch down at the road."
"You two are taking too damn long," Nelson spat. "Besides, I got a funny feeling a few seconds ago; it made me nervous."
Cerius looked the young man over, and then said, "You must be "Baby Face" Nelson."
"What?!" Nelson shrieked. "How dare you! I'll teach you to call me that name!"
Nelson tried to pull the trigger on his gun, but it wouldn't work. He looked up at Cerius, who seemed to be staring directly at the weapon. The gun got very hot in Nelson's hands, and he quickly dropped it as it turned beat red. The gun burst into flames, and Nelson stepped back in shock. Dillinger and Floyd also reacted in surprise, turning to see the large smile on Cerius's face. They couldn't help but laugh internally at what had just occurred.
Nelson on the other hand was steaming. He reached into his jacket and pulled out his pistol, pointing it at the man. "I don't care how you did that, but you're going to die now!"
Cerius suddenly became angry. He pointed at Nelson, who suddenly dropped his gun and began to spasm.
"You're a stubborn man, Nelson," Cerius said. "Stubborn like an ass!" And no sooner had he said that, that Nelson's face began to expand into a muzzle and his body contorted. His two partners were shocked as they watched fur sprout out all over Nelson's body, and he expanded in all directions, growing longer ears and a tail out the back. It only took a few seconds, but the human that had been standing in front of Cerius was now a donkey.
"You son a bitch!" Nelson shouted. "What did you do to me?"
"Gave you what you deserved," Cerius said justly. He snapped his fingers, and Nelson disappeared briefly, reappearing inside the horse paddock. Cerius then turned to the two other men. "You two men are also murderers. I should turn you into donkeys as well, and make you work my fields."
Dillinger and Floyd just looked at each other, not able to come up with any words to describe how they felt.
Cerius just sighed. "I can't let you leave now; I wouldn't feel right about it. You'll have to stay, and not in your current forms."
Before either man could say anything to protest, Cerius raised hands towards them. Both men felt their bodies swell and twist about, gaining mass reforming. They too sprouted fur, muzzles and tails, but they grew larger then Nelson had. When the changing stopped, both men looked at each other, fearful and curious at the same time.
They were now both horses, Dillinger a jet black Mustang and Floyd a light gold Palomino.
"Oh my God!" said Floyd as he fell back on his rear. "I'm a horse!" He hung his head down and whimpered as Dillinger took a clumsy step towards Cerius.
"Okay, you had your fun, now change us back!"
Cerius crossed his arms. "No, Mr. Dillinger, I think I'll keep you like that. I have need for some horses on my farm; I enjoy the ruse of being an animal dealer to keep people from becoming suspicious about me."
"What!" Floyd cried. "You can't do that to us!"
Dillinger stamped his hoof down. "We're human beings, not animals!"
Cerius just chuckled. "I don't think you'd be able to convince anyone of that anymore." And with a quick motion of his hand, he teleported Dillinger and Floyd over to the paddock. Cerius walked over to the enclosure, placing his hands on the top plank. "Don't worry gentlemen, I take good care of animals, and make sure they get sold to good people as well. I'm a licensed horse dealer, after all."
Nelson ran up to the fence, kicking his front legs out at the wizard. "Turn me back, or I'll kill you!"
Cerius just smiled as leaned back to avoid the attack. "You are feisty, Mr. Nelson. I'll have to give you to someone who will break you in properly. I think..."
His words were cutoff when he suddenly heard the sound of car engines. He turned around and saw several cars coming down the road. The vehicles slowed down and turned up the driveway. Cerius walked over to greet the drivers.
Dillinger, Nelson and Floyd were all shocked to see who stepped out. They looked back and forth at one another, unsure whether they should be afraid or relieved.
Melvin Purvis, accompanied by an envoy of FBI agents, looked over the gang's automobile. Purvis, seeing Cerius, made his way up to address the home owner. He was noticeably confused by Cerius' appearance, but still forced a smile on his face as he held his a hand out.
"Good afternoon, Mr..." Purvis began.
"Carlyle," Cerius said. "Vincent Carlyle. This is my farm."
Purvis nodded. "We're looking for some dangerous criminals. They just shot their way out of a bank. That car over there is almost certainly theirs."
Cerius shook his head. "Yes, they stopped here. But they ran away when they saw me. I guess my appearance must have frightened them."
Purvis nodded again, and said, "We'll have to look around your farm to make sure they're gone."
Dillinger weighed his options, and then reared his front legs up on the fence. "Purvis!" he screamed out. "It's me! Dillinger!" He sure didn't want to go with Purvis, but it beat staying here. Besides, he could always escape later.
Floyd and Nelson joined in, screaming out with their leader. "Purvis, help us! He changed us into animals!"
Purvis looked over at the paddock, wondering from where all the noise was coming. The man seemed to own two horses and a donkey, which were all whinnying and bleating like mad.
The FBI agent turned to Cerius. "Why are your animals freaking out like that?"
Cerius smiled. "Oh, it's almost feeding time. I'm afraid I spoiled them too much, they go crazy whenever I'm even a minute late with their food."
Dillinger's eyes widen with shock as Purvis nodded his head and began to walk away. "Damn you Purvis! Don't you hear us? It's me, John Dillinger! The man you've been looking for!"
Purvis just glanced back at the equines one last time, seeing them slowly quiet down once he got further away. His men all reconvened by the cars, all of them shaking their heads.
One man stepped forward. "Just two more horses in the stable, that's it. No other sign of them."
Purvis nodded. "We'll have to keep looking. They must still be in the area somewhere." He turned to Cerius and gave him a quick wave. "Thank you for your time, sir."
Cerius stepped forward. "You don't think they'd come back, do you? For their car, I mean."
Purvis smiled. "No, knowing this bunch they'll just steal another one. I'll send a tow truck to pick the car up later. If you don't mind it staying here until then, that is."
"No, no problem," Cerius said. "Just glad that you won't have to come back."
Purvis nodded, and joined his men in their cars. Dillinger, Floyd and Nelson just watched helplessly as their one chance to escape drove away. Cerius, walking back to the paddock, gleamed with triumph.
"Why couldn't he hear us?" Dillinger inquired angrily.
"Only I can listen to your voices, to anyone else you'll sound like animals."
The three gangsters just snorted madly. Cerius walked around the paddock and headed to the stable, opening the door and walking inside. A few moments later, he came back out leading two horses with him. One was a stallion that looked like a Lippizanner; the other was an Arabian mare. The stallion had a crumpled white fedora on his head; the mare was sporting a black beret.
Dillinger's jaw was left agape as he saw their hats; even as horses he recognized them. "Bonnie Parker? Clyde Barrow?"
The stallion nodded. "That's us."
Cerius smiled as he patted Bonnie on the nose. "I own a couple farms across the country. Including one down in Louisiana. I caught these two trying to steal some things from my barn."
Dillinger was still shaken. "But, they're dead."
Cerius shook his head. "I changed them before Hamer and the Texas Rangers caught up to them. I created some doubles for them, to finish out their lives.
Speaking of which..."
He moved his hand, and suddenly three men resembling Dillinger, Floyd, and Nelson appeared next to him. He nodded to them, and they all disappeared, reappearing in a new car.
Cerius grinned. "I think your friends are waiting for you back at the lodge." With that, the men started the car and drove away, leaving the real Dillinger, Floyd and Nelson stunned.
Dillinger was furious. "You can't take our lives away like this!"
Cerius' smile evaporated. "Oh no, Mr. Dillinger? How about all the people all of you have killed over the years? Weren't their lives ripped from them as well?"
Dillinger just hung his head in shame. Cerius let out a sigh, and placed his hands on his sides.
"Would it help if I told you that weren't going to live another month?"
Dillinger was shocked. "What do you mean?"
"On the 22nd of next month, you were going to be gunned down outside a movie theater in Chicago." Cerius then turned to Floyd and Nelson. "You two wouldn't live much longer, either. Floyd was going to be shot on an Ohio farm in October, and Nelson would have gotten his in Illinois the month after that."
Nelson spat. "That's a load of shit."
Cerius smiled. "Oh, you would have been proud of yourself, Mr. Nelson. You would have gone down shooting, taking two federal agents with you. Don't worry, though, your doubles will take your places for all the events ahead. I really wish I wasn't letting them onto this world to create these final acts of evil in your names, but I don't wish to rewrite history, it's not my place."
Dillinger just grimaced. "Well, you got your way. What are you going to do with us?"
At that remark Cerius cocked his head. "I told you Mr. Dillinger, I'm an animal seller. I'll make sure you all get good homes."
It wasn't long before Cerius had a buyer interested in Clyde. He was looking for a good show horse and seemed to like the Lipizanner's build. However, Cerius insisted that the man take the Arabian mare as well, since they were mates. The man considered the offer, and finally agreed, figuring that she could win a few competitions as well. Anything to make sure they were still happy.
The time came for him to pick the horses up, and when they were loaded into the trailer, Bonnie stuck her head out and smiled at Cerius.
"Thank you for making him take us both," she said. Clyde just nodded his head in agreement.
Cerius smiled back. "No problem. You two have fun." And he watched as the Texas Duo were driven away to parts unknown.
Not too long after that, a man who owned a farm that specialized in breeding race horses took a look at Dillinger. After watching him run, the man knew that he had to have the horse. Dillinger, who still felt a little sad about his condition, was somewhat relieved that he was going with what seemed to be a nice man.
The day the man came to pick him up, he heard a report on the radio saying that John Dillinger was shot and killed by FBI agents outside the Biograph Theatre in Chicago after watching a Clark Gable film. The head agent was Melvin Purvis, who delighted in knowing that Dillinger's reign was brought to an end. Dillinger spat when he heard the last remark, now glad that he had not gone with Purvis when the agent had come to the farm.
He boldly walked up the ramp to the horse trailer, and turned and gave Cerius a goodbye nod. Cerius walked up to the gate and whispered, "Much better then dying, isn't it?"
Dillinger just smiled, and got comfortable as his new owner latched up the gate on the trailer.
The man turned to Cerius and asked, "Got any suggestions for a name?"
Cerius just laughed and said, "How about 'Public Enemy'?"
The man laughed as well. "Nice ring to it."
Cerius waved as the man drove away, taking the FBI's now "deceased" most wanted man with him.
Nelson, as expected, was defiant to the end when a farmer came to claim him. He kicked and snorted, snapping at the air as he stomped around furiously.
Cerius just moaned. "Sure you'll be able to handle him?"
She just smiled. "I've had worse. He'll learn his place, soon enough."
Nelson jerked his head back as he was dragged to the trailer, turning to face the old wizard as he passed. "You son of bitch! I'll get you yet."
Cerius just smiled and waved goodbye to him. Nelson continued struggling even after he was locked in his trailer. "A dame!" he screamed. "I can't believe I'll be working for a dame!"
A few weeks passed and no one came for Floyd, who seemed to be the saddest of all the animals Cerius had owned.
"What's the matter?" Cerius asked him, patting the Palomino on the nose.
"I miss my folks." Floyd said. "I miss seeing my dad and helping out around the farm."
Cerius just smiled. "You're father doesn't have horses anymore, right?"
Floyd nodded. "Had to sell 'em all at auction to pay for his mortgage. Why?"
Cerius snapped his fingers and a phone appeared in his hands. He dialed a number, and waited for the other line to ring.
"Hello?" asked the voice on the other line.
"Yes, is this a Mr. Floyd?" Cerius asked.
"Well, I'm an animal dealer and an anonymous person has purchased a horse from me, and wishes me to have it sent to you?"
"What?" blurted out the voice on the other line.
Cerius pauses for a moment. "The man refused to give his name, but he told me to tell you that a "pretty boy" was interested in helping you out."
The man on the other line was still shocked. "I own a farm just twenty miles from yours. I'll be willing to keep the horse there until you come and get him."
And with that, Cerius snapped his fingers and he and Floyd were transported to his farm in Oklahoma.
"I'll call you back later, with instructions on how to pick him up."
He hung up, and then turned to Floyd. "How's that?"
Floyd was flabbergasted. "You did that for me?"
Cerius grinned. "Sure. Your father seemed like a nice man, and he could probably use a beast of burden around the farm."
Floyd just smiled back, and then reared up with happiness as he took off along the open field. He sprinted with joy at the thought of going back to live with his family, even if they wouldn't know who he was.
Cerius crossed his arms and watched the horse close the distance of the field with ease. He turned around and headed toward the front of his house, stopping when he looked at the road to see the naked entrance to his farm.
He sighed. "Perhaps I should get with the times and advertise. He snapped his fingers and a sign appeared of the end of the driveway. It read:
"VINCENT CARLYLE'S PRIZE ANIMALS FOR SALE. HORSES AND DONKEYS AND OTHER FARM ANIMALS, ALWAYS THE MOST WANTED"
He just nodded as he admired his work, and then went inside for a nice spot of tea. After a few seconds his other hand began to feel naked, and he sighed. 'Why not?' he thought as he snapped his fingers and a newspaper appeared in his hand. Taking a sip of his tea, he smiled when he read that Ma Barker and her gang were believed to be in the vicinity.
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