~ westward strange ~

13 Nov

The West has never been so Wild! Saddle up and hit the trail with these offbeat fables of things that go bump in the night among the tumbleweeds. A collection of eleven original western stories of mystery, suspense, and speculation that blend the history of the Old West with the classic traditions of pulp fiction.

westward strangeEdited by R.D. Williamson, Westward Strange features stories by R.D. Williamson, Ezekial Marsh, Matthew Hernando, J.Edward Fitzgerald, Kenneth Johnson, Herbert Hamilton, Jan Campbell and Washita Red. Each saga is handsomely illustrated with line drawings and icons by Trudy Williamson.

Here is a sample from one of my offerings:

And God Made Cain

The desolate plain below lay vast, shimmering and inscrutable. Wispy copper-colored clouds gauzed the past-noon sun. Duquesne slid the long glass from the fringed buckskin scabbard, extended the cylinder to full length and scanned the panorama.

“Station’s part way burned. Still smoking. Roof’s half gone. Nothing moving inside or out. Man face down about a hundred yards off to the South. Can’t tell if he’s live or dead.”

Duquesne collapsed and sheathed the glass. He grasped the saddle pommel with both hands, and gazed out like a bird of prey from under his wide-brimmed hat.

“We go down, no?” Esteban asked.

Duquesne replied without breaking his gaze. “Can we get there before dark?”

“I will find the way.”

Esteban wheeled his horse. Duquesne fell in behind.

They rode north along the promontory, on a path that wound through a maze of glacial boulders flanked by a towering rock wall that rose parallel to the ridge. After some time, Esteban stopped at a crevasse open to the sky and not much wider than a horse. Duquesne leaned off his saddle and peered into the cavity. From his vantage, it gave up no secrets.

Esteban glanced back at Duquesne, turned his horse and entered. Duquesne raised no questions or objections; he simply guided his big gelding into the narrow opening and followed Esteban.

After 15 tedious minutes of cajoling their mounts through the claustrophobic passageway, the scout’s instincts were once again proofed. They emerged onto a wider path floored with sand and began a descent. The walls finally fell away, and shortly thereafter, the two riders reached the plain.

Crossing the parched ground took longer than Duquesne had anticipated. The sun dropped several degrees before they reached the body. They sat their horses and studied the prostrated figure for a few moments. Duquesne eased the Spencer rifle from the leather saddle case. His voice rose to a pitch just above the insistent arid breeze.

“Douse him.”

Esteban moved his horse closer to the body. Duquesne cocked the rifle. Laid his finger next to the trigger. Esteban opened the waterskin and poured onto the man’s head.

The man let out a gasp. Opened his eyes. Slowly came up onto his hands and knees. Head hanging, taking in gulps of air. He gazed the direction of the ruined way station and puzzlement came over his face. Then he looked up into the Spencer rifle leveled at his head.

“Don’t kill me. Please.”

Duquesne and Esteban shared a look.

“I had nothing to do with it. Look…you gotta believe me.”

“Tell us about it,” Duquesne said.

©2014JEFitzgerald

Get your tack&gear at Telephone Records And Books.

Into the Wild, Buckaroo!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: