I was playing Red Dead Redemption 2 Monday night and learned a lesson in the hardest of ways. In my “way too old to play video games” age, there are not that many games I truly get excited to play anymore. RD2, however, was a game that I was eagerly counting down to the release. Its predecessor will live on as one of the greatest games of all time. I was so looking forward to this follow up that not only did I pre-order the game, I pony’d a few extra dollars to get the special edition. Among the motivators for the special edition was the inclusion of a special horse. The dabbled black stallion. I named him Bucky. Bucky was my horse. We bonded. I fed him oatcakes, and brushed him. Bucky bailed me out of some very sticky situations that we would later laugh about by the campfire.
And then it went all wrong. Against my better judgment, I decided to intervene on a prisoner transfer. Two men on a wagon with a woman in a cage on the back. She was pleading for help, declaring her innocence. With haste, I acted. I trailed the wagon to ensure we were secluded. Placed my bandanna over my face as Bucky and I speed up to the wagon and I opened fire on these men. Catching them by surprise I quickly put them down. I rode to the back of the wagon and listened to the woman for just a moment before aiming, and shooting the lock clean off the door of imprisonment, setting this woman free. By this time the shots were heard drawing attention to me. Witnesses had already reported what was taking place to the authorities as if they had iphones with 4GLTE coverage… which was odd for year 1900. I waited patiently as the woman praised me and explained to me that she had no money to repay me. In place of monetary reward she began giving me information about targets that I could rob. Time kept passing as she continued to inadvertently stall my escape. I could have left but my greed got the best of me. As she finished her last words Bucky and I dashed off into the terrain. Cover was nowhere in sight. Only moments past when a group of 5 bounty hunters closed in on me immediately opening fire. It seemed to come from all directions. In a panic I tried to turn and defend myself but the ferocity in which this assault carried out I had no time as they mercilessly continued this barrage of gunfire on me and Bucky without discretion. I tried to dismount Bucky and draw their fire away. Why should Bucky have to pay for my mistakes? But in a blink of an eye… it was too late. With one final cry, Bucky reared, then dropped to the ground throwing me off in the process. I could barely get to my feet, shot after shot continued to rip through my chest and back until I finally met my end.
Swirling in the afterlife. I paid no mind to the events that just unfolded. After about thirty ticks of the clock I respawned near the same location where this brutal assault took place. Only this time was different. This time I was alone. Bucky was nowhere in sight. All that remained was that saddle that rested on his back, just lying on the ground. I looked in all directions only to find nothing. I whistled as loud as my lungs aloud with no response. I frantically checked my radar, then my map looking for Bucky’s icon that had been by my side since I set foot in the wild west. Nothing… Bucky was nowhere to be found. I sat, speechless, while I tried to comprehend if this was possible. The more I was lost in my thoughts, the more “possible” became reality. But finally an idea sparked in mind. My last hope… what if Bucky was safely back where we first met? Surely they wouldn’t be this maniacal to take Bucky from me. Far from the nearest settlement that had a stable, I had a long travel ahead of me. Like some cruel joke a pitiful excuse for a horse spawned near me. Realistically it was probably a fine animal… but it wasn’t my Bucky. I wanted no part of it. Rather than ride this horse to the stable I picked up my saddle of the ground and began my journey on foot. The weight of the saddle reduced my movement to the pace of a brisk walk. Minutes felt like hours but all I could do was move forward. For Bucky. By the time I approached my destination, I needed the moonlight to guide me as the warm day gave way to a cool night. As I reached the crest of a hill, with each breath turning into a light fog as it left my lips, I could finally see the glow of the stable in the valley that followed. It was beautiful, like a whole chicken glowing in the light of a rotisserie oven. With all of the stamina I could muster, I power walked until I reached the open, and inviting barn doors. I entered with my hopes as high as the sky, only to find a dark emptiness inside. This is when it hit me. Bucky is gone. Still holding Bucky’s saddle I walked out of the stable, impotent and defeated. Silent, with no direction… no purpose… I wondered the once beautiful terrain. It was now barren and lifeless, like myself. Then I saw it. In the distance. That stupid horse who thought it could replace Bucky. This was not my Bucky. This could never be my Bucky. My somberness quickly turned to rage. I dropped Bucky’s saddle onto the ground. I approached this cream colored and spotted horse, my blood boiling more intensely with each step that echoed in the still night. I reached this animal. This was my darkest of times. I drew my pump action shotgun. I aimed it directly at it’s stupid head from mere feet away. I paused and watched as this horse continued to tend to it’s own business. Occasionally dipping its head to the ground to pick at some brush. Making horse noises. I paused… Then I pulled the trigger.
I am not proud of my actions. Of who I have become.
As for the horse. Since this was my “assigned” horse I was unable to shoot it. Apparently there is a safety feature so you don’t shoot your own horse in the heat of battle I guess. So she is alive and safe. I even rode her into the mountains where I heard tales of a rare horse that if caught, can be tamed. To this point I have been unsuccessful in finding this rare beauty but I am going to keep trying.