The black field slowly parted, revealing a twisted trinket dangling against the night sky. Midnight, in fact, by the toll of the bell.
"Good, you're up," spoke a voice. "You're pretty lucky I found you. You know? Most folks don't get chances like this." The man sat up, confounded by these words which drilled into his throbbing head.
"What are you talking about?" questioned the waking man, rubbing his aching skull. "What happened?"
"You were left for dead in a ditch is what happened," told the other, revealed to be an old man, who was slightly disgruntled by the looks of his haggard, long beard and tattered clothing, which he now removed. "You're a bloody mess. Take this." Normally, such a grimy rag would never be touch, but the man was chilled to the bone.
"Wh-why are you he-helping me?" he chattered, accepting the jacket with some concern for fleas.
"I wouldn't question good fortune," warned the elder. "Just be thankful I'm not one to let the wicked go unpunished." At that, the charm was relinquished into the gent's worn cloths as a pistol was taken out.
"Wh-what? What are you doing?" stuttered the now fearful man, worried to the trouble he was now mixed up in. The disrobed bum now revealed himself to be covered with strung bones, some which looked human. "What do you want with me? Who... who are you?"
"Boy," laughed the scamp, "my identity is of less value than your own." A bushy eyebrow was raised as a smile cracked through his sagging face. "Do you even know that one?" The younger at first found the question absurd until its truth was realized.
"How... how could I not know who I am?" The amnesia distracted his attention from the weapon.
"That's a matter of the past, my lad," instructed the older one. "Now is the present, and your time is short." The gun was dropped into the man's lap. "There are three bullets in there, one for each of them."
"Each? Each of who?" questioned he with the firearm, eyeing it with disgust and horror. "Why are you giving this to me?"
"Why," casually was answered, "to kill the men who murdered you." The statement was met with adament denial, a flurry of refutes and counters jumbled into an incoherent mess. Calmly, the senior only put a finger to the man's chest. In fact, it was inside his chest. "That's a bullet hole. You have three of them: one in your heart, gut, and skull. They really wanted you dead. Must have pissed them off real bad." After another irritating grin, the gray man continued, "They sank three bullets into you, so that is all you will be allowed in your vengeance. Three men, three bullets, three nights. Still want to waste time with these stupid questions?" Dumbfounded, there was nothing the corpse could think to say. He had been brought back to life to right a life he could no longer recall.
"I guess," he finally spoke, "that explains my headache." Rising to his feet, he braced the revolver tightly in his hand, its feel becoming more natural. "Three men, huh? Who are they?"
"Hell if I know," wheezed the relic as he turned to leave. "I've already helped you enough. Found you in a ditch and brought you back from beyond. That much wasn't my business, and the rest certainly isn't." As the tramp hobbled off further, he left a foreboding message. "See you on the other side, kid." The man was a bit taken by the situation, to say the least. He wasn't sure if it was all one big joke or a dream. His gift had something in its pocket, a discarded pair of busted shades that the drifter must have picked up on a scavenging. While they had lost their style, their reflection showed the hole bore into his right eye.
"Okay, this is real," he accepted as he slid the glasses on to hide the very fact. As he stuffed the pistol into his back pocket, he felt something already in it, a match book. "Madam Q's?" he read aloud, uncertain of the establishment's nature. It may not have been much, but the address it had could hold some answers. "Hell, what do I got to lose? Already dead."