Dutch settled down onto a bedroll, surrounded by only the thin walls of a crappy tent. A lantern burned stubbornly against the frosty wind, allowing Dutch to pretend to read. In truth, he couldn’t concentrate on what he was supposedly reading, and he had been staring at the same page for over an hour. His chest felt tight, and warm tears dripped onto the pages of a once prized book. Seeing Javier was a nightmare, he’d decided. Nothing more than a dream born of paranoia. All the same, he cried.
“Those tears for me, Dutch?”
Dutch looked up from his book, and was met with a gory and horrifying sight. Standing in his tent was what looked to be Bill Williamson, except he was hardly recognisable. Congealed blood covered his face and glistened in his beard. The top of his head was blown open, his skull cracked and exposing the remains of an extremely damaged brain. Nobody could sustain a wound like that and survive. Dutch could hardly move or speak, he only stared.
“Pretty, ain’t I?” Bill said gruffly, gesturing to his own head. “John came lookin’ for me. Shot me in the head. Didn’t have to bring me in alive, I guess.”
“John did this to you?” Dutch wondered why he kept dreaming these things. Why he seemed to have this idea that John was hunting them down.
“Yeah. Maybe I should’ve listened to him when he said he wanted to save me.”
“When was that?”
“While ago. I was holed up in Fort Mercer, and he came round. Said he came to save me, save all of us. Then I shot him. Didn’t leave him any choice, I guess...” Bill looked thoughtful behind the jarring layer of dried blood.
Dutch shuddered and looked away from him. “Have you come to warn me to run, Bill?”
“Nah. I tried runnin’, it didn’t get me nothin’ but misery. I came to ask... after everythin’ went to hell, after we all got away and you finally saw Micah for what he was... why’d you go back to him? I mean, I know that’s why Javier took off.”
“I wanted to kill him. For what he’d done. I had to get close.”
“Did you do it?”
“Yes. Micah’s long dead.”
Bill looked at Dutch steadily, taking in the hollow man. Somehow, even without a gruesome hole in his head, Dutch looked the most dead of the two of them.
“Everybody’ dead but you and John, huh? So what next?”
“I have a new gang now. New men I care about. I can’t let John take me, and destroy their faith in their dream. In our plan.”
Bill rolled his eyes. “Dutch Van Der Linde. The man with the plan. I’ll see you when you get to Hell with the rest of us, Dutch.”
Just as with Javier, Bill was gone, and Dutch was unsure of the manner in which he had left. Just like before, the weather got harsher once Bill left. This time, Dutch felt he had no room to call this a dream. At first, he had thought it to be one, but having been left with more questions than answers, he concluded that this was not something his brain could make up. He shook his head, trying to shut out the truly terrifying sight of Bill. If what Dutch had seen was real, it meant that Dutch could look like that soon enough. John was coming and he was not going to hold back. There’d been a price on Dutch’s head for a long time, and he’d always figured that the law didn’t have anybody good enough to track him down. He hadn’t counted on one of his own sons.