Saturday, December 24, 2011

Honk for Peace: A Poem from South Carolina

for my dad

driving on the highway
shooting down the 208
(i was going to home depot
needed some screws
and a hammer
to hang some shelving units)
(for the wife)
when i saw some people -
not far up ahead -
holding some signs up
to the drivers
the first one that came into
so i honked
and as i honked
the second came into view
and said
and i swore at myself - SHIT! -
that my horn had sounded out
and rung for the bigots.

i got back home and told the family about it.
they didn't laugh.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stories from Nothing: Boating

catalyst: while on the ferry with L, we noticed the boat would make a beeline for other boats and then turn away at the last moment.

the tale:
Ramming speed gentlemen! Keep forward, that's it! Stay on target, stay on target! Oh, no, we're missing them! Go back, back I say! Who's navigating? Is it Jonesy? It's Jonesy isn't it. That man is the worst navigator I have ever seen. Pull him off at once. Tell him that, that, that Scotty's in charge now! He knows how to navigate!
That's it, there's our next target boys! Keep full speed ahead, they're right in our sites! The boat is made of glass, gentlemen, this should be a piece of cake and then it's back to your wives for...well, a piece of cake I suppose! Indeed!
Okay we've got them, we've got them men. Just saying, if we don't survive this, you have been the best bunch of men I have ever had the honour to serve with and I love each and every one of you.
"I love you too, sir."
Thank you Jonesy. But you're still an awful navigator.
Right, we're perfectly on target, all is smooth and well! No, wait! Go back! Is Jonesy back on navigation.
"I am, sir."
But where the bloody hell is Scotty, I thought he'd taken over?
"I'm in the bathroom, captain. Apologies."
God damnit.
Right, so we've missed them. Let's go home lads. Let's go home.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Story from Nothing: Prison Letters

The catalyst from this one is obvious.

She, we'll call her Mindy, is walking along. A uni student, she's head home after a long day. She's just gotten her first letter from her man, we'll call him Joe, in a long time. He's in prison on some trumped up charges. You know the type. This one says that he never got her last letter so that's why he hasn't written in some time. They've been moving him around a lot. Why she had to write him again after a month without reply.

Maybe she's running home and a strong wind blows. She trips on a tree root. All of her papers are scattered around the sidewalk. Her letter from Joe flies up, caught in the wind, but she doesn't see it. Too busy picking up all of her other papers. She gathers them all, except Joe's letter, the one thing she wants. Was going to write back to him when she got home. She was so excited to see his carefully crafted hand-writing. The praise. Still enamored with the fact that he uses the lower case "i" when referring to himself. She's glad things are going better with his dad now. Joe should be up for parole soon. Maybe they'll finally get to hug.

After she gets home, she searches her bag for the letter. It's not there. She tears apart her room looking for it. She realises, then, what must have happened. It must still be in the street. She runs, runs faster than she ever has before. It's dark, now. Late evening. She finds the place roundabout where she fell down and starts looking. Looking and looking but she can't find it. She's on the grass, too near to the road. A possum jumps out from the tree's branches and spooks her. She falls over and hits her head. Someone finds her an hour late and takes her to hospital. As it pulls away, the letter flutters down from the branches to the ground.

Weeks go by, Joe doesn't hear from Mindy. This is unusual for her. Very unlike her. He's in a new prison and he's scared. Doesn't know what to do. Afraid and angry that his woman has left him, he's in the yard and takes a pot shot at the wrong person. Pile up. A shanking. Joe has to be taken to hospital. He only has half of his blood left.

Mindy, it turns out, ended up in a coma. The man who found her stays by her side. He feels some kind of obligation to her. His name is Rob. He's a software engineer who just moved out of his girlfriend's house. His ex-girlfriend he supposes now.

Just down the hall, Joe has been brought into the emergency room because of his severe wounds. The prison hospital couldn't handle it and he needed to be rushed out here.

Though it seems longer, Mindy wakes up after four days. She sees Rob sitting by her bed and they strike up a conversation. The feelings are instant. She has some memory loss but her doctor says that is normal. When she's asked why she was out on the road, she says she doesn't remember. She knows she was looking for something but she can't remember what. Deep within the recesses of her mind, she's forgotten everything about Joe.

Joe stabilizes and he is sent back to prison. Months go by. Joe tries to write Mindy but his letters are returned unopened. One has a note attached saying "right name, but wrong girl". Convinced that things are over between the two of them. Joe takes one last look at his favourite picture of Mindy and hangs himself in his cell.

His ashes were scattered by a friend at Mindy's old address.

Mindy and Rob move in together. She kept getting letters from someone she didn't know in prison but when she sent one with a note saying it was the wrong person, they stopped. Mindy and Rob got married after a year and a half.

They're buried together.

Talk About Stories from Nothing!

I found this letter on the street and I thought it was too interesting not to publish in some way!

Dear [Woman's Name], 11/9

Hey beautiful, hope your [sic] feeling better. I've been moving around alot lately so I think they lost the last letter you sent because I didn't know you were sick. Unfortunately i'm [sic] not there to take care of you, so make you do what you can to get better.

I really appreciate the pictures. Every-time [sic] I look at them I feel as if God dropped an angel in my hands. It's amazing how your face radiates in the pictures. You have the perfect combination of sensual lips, spellbounding [sic] eyes & slightly puffy cheeks that enclose the most beautiful dimples. I love all the pictures, but the one that really catches my eye is the full body shot where you're wearing what looks like a purple & black flower dress type thing. I like the way the dress accentuates your petite frame & shows just enough cleavage to tease & around imagination.

On another note, how have school & work been going? My culinary class has been going well. When we cook it's fun but when we don't it gets boring. Have you gon [sic] out lately? Oh yea [sic], in the letter I sent you before the short one I asked you a few questions & i'm [sic] interested in hearing the answers. Remember I didn't get your last letter because the prison lost it when they were moving me around.

One more thing before I let you go. I got around to writing my dad & he's been writing back. It's awkward but i'll [sic] get over it. Well hope you feel better & hope to hear from you soon.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stories from Nothing 2

The catalyst: "So I got home at 3:30am, stumbled into my house and run over my cat."

The story:

I don't know why I was driving in my house. The plasterboard walls crumbled and fell around me. A long furry tail stuck out from under the front, right wheel. The chandelier swung back and forth on the ceiling. An arm stuck out from underneath the wheel, too. Which was odd, because I'd run over my cat. Turns out dad was sitting in the living room watching late night TV. I guess that's what you get. Now his favourite chair was broken, too.
Why was I home so late? Because I was out before, that's why. Stop asking so many questions.
I got to bed and fell asleep. A rock undisturbed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stories From Nothing

I've decided, since I haven't posted in a while (sorry, by the way) that I am going to set myself a deadline for posting and each week I will have to post at least one what I am deeming, a "Story from Nothing".

This is where - with my mushy, crazy writer's brain - I extrapolate a plausible (or, hell, even an unlikely) story from a seemingly minute detail or event in my or my friend's lives.

This week's is brought to you courtesy of J.J., where she "[f]inally got [her] suitcase after 2 days...only for it to be delivered at 11pm last night by a creepy looking man in a suit. A suit. What kind of courier wears a suit? [She] half expected him to look at [her] with a scary grin before devouring [her] soul. Think slenderman meets the Gentleman from Buffy."

So, I extrapolated an (incredibly unlikely story) from this tiny event:

The Courier

Maybe he was going to a dinner where he was proposing to his wife-to-be but his boss yelled at him because he wanted to take off a minute or so early to swing by the ring place and pick it up before the dinner was supposed to start but his boss didn't let him and so he had to put on his suit in the car and drive super fast to get the suitcase to you so he could get to the ring store and pick it up before his dinner with his wife-to-be was completely ruined. And what if he didn't make it, huh? What if dinner was ruined? No one thinks about poor courier man!

Then he's hit by a truck just after he delivers your suitcase.

He's whistling. He's happy. Nothing can kill his feeling. Sure, he had to make an extra delivery and now he has to rush, but hell, he's gonna marry the love of his love. Sandra, he thinks to himself, God I love you. He goes around the side of his car to open the door but drops his keys. He bends down to pick them up when he hears the loud honking. Turns his head in time to see headlights. A truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel. Wham. G'night, Johnny.

Meanwhile, Sandra sits alone in the restaurant. She cries, wonders what she's done wrong. What could she have done to drive Johnny away? No, it's not her, she realises, it's him. He's a pig! She leaves the restaurant, but not before calling and leaving the most hate-filled message on his answering machine.

Little did she know, though, that the ringing phone was in Johnny's fingers, an unsent text saying he might be a little bit late. He pulls the phone to his ear to hear her voice for the last time, and it's an angry tirade. "I hate you!" she yells, rain starting to fall on them both. The same moon beams light down on them. "You're a bastard! I fucked Roger anyway!"
A tear streaks down Johnny's face. This is the last thing he ever hears. Sandra hangs up before she can hear his last breath.

The next day she gets the phone call. Johnny's been killed. Sandra's head is in a spin. A spiral of self-hatred and resentment destroys her life and she turns to alcohol. No one will speak to her - she has driven them all away.

Decades later, in her studio apartment above an old Chinese restaurant, she quietly dies from a heart attack in her sleep. No one finds her for days. When they do, it's because the chefs downstairs are complaining of the smell and a stain on the ceiling coming from her room.

They're not even buried together.

Monday, October 17, 2011

One Buck Zombie Horde

Do you like zombie stories?
If you read this blog, or know me at all, you must!
Check them out and the new anthology One Buck Zombies from indie mag One Buck Horror and chow down on the brains of some awesome prizes and short stories!
The shambling corpses of the undead call to you, to devour you, will you answer their bloody call?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dreams of Late

Taken from my journal.

I am in the army. I get a phone call - or somesuch - Lucy is dead. Unknown cause. My heart sinks, the Titanic got nothing on me. Stomach knotted. I am crying for half this dream, if not more. I go into the Sergeant's office to arrange the funeral, find the right photo to have etched on her grace but I cannot find THE RIGHT ONE.
"That one's fine," says my companion of a posed shot, black and white, of her and I like movie stars, but it looks nothing like us.
"No it's not!" I cry. "That's not what she looked like!"
She appears - an apparition, a ghost - and tells me, "It's okay, I have no hard feelings about it all." She smiled.
I am crying, angry.
"But I do! I do! It's not okay! There's so much we didn't do, I didn't say! I never got to live with you, make you my wife! I love you!"
The world shakes and I'm awake.


After being in a giant sandbox I am going down a giant escalator. I am with 2 Mexican friends. 2 Japanese guys slander them, "spicks!" I tell them to back off, "cunts!" They throw the place into lockdown - they are the sons of the owner of this place - my friends escape. I manage to pry open the glass doors and escape - Dave helps to an old warehouse. I am being pursued by FIVE murderous Tilda Swintons, one who kills and the others who laugh. I am in a workshop and I call Nick Jordan out to help - give him a mallet and I have a sledgehammer. We are backed up against the wall when the group enters and I demand to know what's going on. Nobody knows.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pierce Malloy UPDATE

Hey everybody!
Got a link so you can download PIERCE MALLOY: PARANORMAL DETECTIVE! Just click on this here link and download away!
It's a pulp piece written for a deliberately incredibly pulpy magazine! Within that folder is also the first piece I wrote for that mag THE TALL TALES OF CAPTAIN HORATIO SILVERTHORN!

NOTE: All spelling and grammar mistakes are the fault of the editor, and not yours truly, some of which were deliberate to give the mag a more pulpy air.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pierce Malloy

Sorry I haven't written in some time, friends! Just letting you all know that I got a new story published - Pierce Malloy: Paranormal Detective - in the same pulp mag as Horatio Silverthorn! Yay!
I am currently working a link allowing you to download the story from here, so stay tuned!

Zey gezunt.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rotten Streets - Poem

A most foul smell erupted
from the streets,
sifting through the cracks
and the crevices
of the city's world -
valleys of blacktop, cragged
with unfathomable holes,
the stench setting into everything,
a blanket, a warm wind,
no man nor woman
escaped that night
as the night air
with malodorous curses.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Continuing the Story of Adrienne and Edgar...

It seemed to Adrienne that, since Edgar was dead, that the world ought to stop. She was confused that the world was still going, everything normal, like nothing had ever happened at all. Nobody cared that Adrienne's world had been turned completely upside down, that she didn't know, now, what to do with herself. She no longer had to get up at quarter to seven when Edgar got up with a groan to pee; would no longer hear the laboured trickle and splash of his stream against the porcelain and the shuddering flush of the toilet, the shuffle of his feet in his slippers as he passed through the bedroom and out towards the kitchen to read the morning paper. She wouldn't have to get up, eyes still filled with sleep, and follow him into the kitchen and start cooking breakfast.
Wouldn't ask, "Did you sleep well?"
And wouldn't receive a nonchalant grunt and, "You?"
"Same as always."
"The world's gone crazy," he said every day, looking over the pages of the paper, enraged by one thing or another in the world. "What happened to people?"
And Adrienne would nod assent.
Now, she would wake up, alone, in her bed that would lack the warm spot where Edgar had lain, still primly neat beside her. She simply didn't know what she was going to do with herself.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Edgar and Adrienne Part 1

After sixty-eight years on the planet, Edgar Wolfson died of heart complications while pruning roses in his back garden. His wife found him, doubled over, disappearing into himself, and he was not breathing. She called the ambulance but, of course, it was too late. They pronounced him dead at approximately 3:42 p.m. and drove him to the local hospital to be dealt with appropriately, and then they went out for tea.
Adrienne Wolfson sat in the ambulance with her husband's body all the way to the hospital, crying. She continued to cry as a doctor and a hospital psychologist tried to console her, and then handed her a card for, "a very good mortician" that the psychologist knew, whose office was not too far away. She nodded a thank you, and left feeling cold and uncertain, empty.
Although she didn't really remember it, she must have walked to the mortician because when she came back to herself fully, she was sitting in his office, discussing what type of casket Edgar would have "liked".
"I don't know," Adrienne said. "A box?"
"Of course," the mortician, Alan Blakely, said. He seemed to tower over her even as he sat. A strong smell of formaldehyde wafted off of his clothing. Perhaps it was the light, or perhaps it was the result of so many years underground due to his craft, but Alan Blakely seemed unusually pale; a trait, for some reason or other, she found quite discomforting.
"What I meant to say," Alan went on, "is whether he had thought about a colour, a type of wood, the lining, that sort of thing."
"Oh," Adrienne said. "No, I don't believe he had."
Alan smiled, as if he had been expecting this answer. "Of course," he produced a small file from a drawer under his desk. "I'll leave you with this catalogue, then, and you can have a look through it and decide on the kind of thing that..." he paused.
"Edgar," Adrienne said.
"Yes," Alan continued, "that Edgar might have liked."
Adrienne nodded and left the darkly decorated office out into the sunlight. She realised that she had not driven to the hospital, having been riding in the back of the ambulance, and so she decided it might be best to walk home; she couldn't bare to be on the bus or the train, they just seemed like metal caskets now, all looking like the image on the cover of the brochure that Alan Blakely had given her.
The brochure's title was SENDING OFF THE DEPARTED and had an image of a mahogany casket with gold trimming on it. A placid and smiling woman was airbrushed above the casket, showing that she was content with the casket she had chosen for her father or lover or son. She questioned, with those eyes, "will you make the right choice?"
And Adrienne did not have an answer.
As she walked in the dying daylight, the sun retreating past the horizon of buildings, colouring the world orange and purple, through all the noise and hustle and bustle of the city streets, not a single person was aware that Edgar was dead. Not a single person was aware that she was grieving. And, perhaps worst of all, not a single person she stopped on the street to tell would care. Not really care.
She stopped in at her usual bakery and picked up a large loaf of white bread - Edgar's favourite.
"How's Edgar?" the baker asked, handing her the loaf of bread in a plastic bag.
"Fine," Adrienne said. "He's just fine."
And she left without answering another question, which she's sure he'd asked, but did not hear.
It did not take her long to get home, but by the time she did night had fallen and the streetlamps began to flicker on in large pools.

NOTE: Not finished. more to come later.


So, I've finally gotten out there and decided to audition for a TV show. It's a mildly complex and curious process because it's part of an open casting audition, so there's lots of new media/line use with me posting photos and a (very) rough showreel.
If any of you are at all interested in helping me out with this, please log onto the Deadside community site and find my profile and give it (and maybe even some of the pictures) a like - it'll help me get noticed!
Who knows, it could happen!

Friday, July 22, 2011


As the man rode away, his mind arace with the thoughts of a job undone, it began to rain with the fury of the end of the world. Torrents of water fell from the opened sky, muddying the sand and giving the wind a biting chill. The way ahead was blurred out from reality, woold pulled over the man's eyes as he trotted back to Galveston through the storm. A heavy thundering and a ligthing bolt struck a nearby tree, sending it up in flames. The man stopped for a moment and watched as the tree burned and slowly died, the fire consumed by the rain from the storm that bore it. From the bough of it the man could see a man hanging, blowing in the wind, his body charred now, wet and useless.
The man rode over to the tree, smoking and steaming now from the dead fire, and looked up at the hanging man. His face was bloated and strange, unearthly in the storm's haze, part burned off by the fire. It struck the man that he had not noticed this corpse before as he rode in and wondered from whence this man had come. He looked around and saw now horse meandering across the desert openness by itself, though to say so was foolishness as the man could hardly see ten feet in front of him now for the rain.
Droplets hung fast and soon fell from the brim of his hat, mingling with the water and endless sands of the desert. Looking up at the hanged man once more, the man moved forward and took out his bowie knife. Supporting himself from the trunk of the tree and hanging onto the hanged man's bough, the man set about cutting him down. It did not take long, though longer than normal for the wet rope, and the hanged man fell to the ground with a sucking, wet thud. The man climbed down from the lightning-struck tree and stood over the corpse. He got on his knees and dug feverishly in the wet sand like a mad man.
Grime stuck to his nails, coarse sand scraping at the layers of his skin. Water pooled in the hole and around him. He could feel the wind's chill in his bones and his skin was like brittle ice. For hours he dug, there, on his hands on knees until he had himself a large enough hole for a body. None too deep to be sure as a result of the poor conditions and lack of tools, but still a grave. Taking the hanged man by under his armpits, the man dragged the body into the grave and covered him over again with the muddy sand. He stood, then, and stared at the new grave, the final resting place of this hanged man without a name. Sand stuck to his hands, his kness, his clothes. His breathing was heavy and his eyes deranged. His heart beat heavily in his chest.
"We all die sometime," the man said and as he did he realized he said it not only for the hanged man but for himself and the American and the Mexicans he'd killed and the rabbi and the preacher and all the other people in this world he continued about with no semblence of meaning in their lives other than the loss of it all.
Reaching up, the man snapped off a large enough branch from the hanged man's bough and stuck it at the head of the grave. He hoped someone would come along and mayhaps see it and dig it up and bury the man in a proper place with a proper grave and stone, even without his proper name.
After standing there for some minutes in the soaking rain under the tree, the man remounted his horse and left again for the horizon and on towards Galveston.
The rain did not let up for the days, weeks, it took the man to traverse the open plains again, back the way he'd come. Going back was slower than leaving because now he was in no hurry. Time faded in and out and the man barely noticed. The world barely noticed at all. When finally he reached the city limits, or what he knew to be the city limits, there was nothing at all beyond them. Piles of wood and nails and bodies lay across the way where Galveston had been, empty and flat where one a town had thrived and stood tall. Wiped clean was the slate of this place, free to start again anew, better.
The man smiled and let out a gruff, low chuckle. He did not bother to look around for signs of his employer or anyone he knew, in his mind he knew the sea and wind had taken them all from this place and the earth was cleaner without them. So, with nothing else to do, he got back on his horse and, this time, moved north.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


"He's gone," the guard said to Bennet.
"What in the hell do you mean he's gone?" Bennet got up from his cover and peered over the top of the wall. He could only just make out a small figure becoming nothing but a shadow in the distance. "What in god's name?"
"I don't know," the guard said. "He just up and left when you told 'em you knowed his brother."
"You did know him, right?" Lester said. "That wasn't just a bunch of lies?"
"It weren't," Bennet sat down, his eyes wandered off into nothing. "I knew him. Good fella, lively."
"Jesus," Lester had a look over the top of the wall, too. He could scarcely believe it. "I thought we were in for one hell of a gun fight."
"You and me both," Bennet said. "It don't make no sense. He followed me all the way across the open desert, fired on me and missed and finally catches up with me here and then just up and heads out the first minute he hears I knew his brother. Somethin's wrong."
"I do not know, Bennet," Lester said. "Maybe you just up and got lucky."
"Nah," Bennet said. "I ain't that lucky."

The man turned around and stared at the city behind him. He considered the fact that he was returning to his employer with the job half done. Weighing his rifle in his hands, he figured he'd let fate handle it.
"Fate led you and my brother together," the man said, hoisting his rifle up to his chin. "Then fate will make sure you don't die with this bullet."
Looking down the barrel of the gun, he knew he'd be lucky if he hit anything at all. The wind was heavy from the east so he adjusted himself and aimed for the small parapet. For all he knew, he was speaking to the American. Breathing slowly and evenly, he counted to three and fired, the crack of the shot echoing into nothing.

The guard's head exploded in a red mist before they heard the shot.
"Jesus Christ!" Bennet yelled. "Get the hell down!"
The guard's dead body slumped over and fell to the dirt road below, blood staining the cream-coloured sand. Bennet leaned over the top with Lester and fired off a few rounds into the ether and hid again.
After a moment Bennet picked himself up and peered over the top to see the man approaching slowly on his horse. Bennet took aim with his rifle and was about to fire when he heard the man speak.
"Did I kill ye?" the man said. "The forger?"
"Ye did not," Bennet said. "You killed the guard. The man you spoke with before."
"I see," the man paused for what seemed some time. "Well, fate has led it for me not to kill you."
"It has?"
"Indeed. If it wanted you dead, I'd have killed you just now and you wouldn't have known my brother."
"I could kill you right now," Bennet said. His teeth were clenched tight and his jaw hurt. "I got you right in my sights and you know I'm a pretty crack shot."
"I don't doubt it," the man said. "And if it were to be so you would have done it already without listening to my damn voice."
Bennet said nothing.
"I'll take your silence as agreement and I'll be on my way."
"Aye," Bennet said. "And stay gone this time, for if ye come back I might not hesitate to take that shot."
"I don't doubt it."
And then the man was gone, again, riding off towards the horizon. Bennet let out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding and slumped over against the wall, some of the guards blood dripping down the opposite wall in a river pattern, stretching across the world like spindly fingers.
Bennet did not speak for the rest of that day and instead went with Lester and Kuruk to the tavern and drank and ate his fill before going straight to bed after the other decided that whores were on their menu. His dreams were black and empty, plagued with thoughts of where he should go now that he was not being chased, and what he should do now that he was free.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Nothing moved in that eternal silence of the moment. No birds cawed, coyotes didn't cry, the wind had stopped blowing for what seemed longer than possible. The sand was still for the first time in days. The man weighed his options against his opponents, to which he was severely out-gunned. He had two pistols, a Winchester repeater and the old Civil War pistol he'd taken from the Mexican, which was probably no good.
"How many of you are there?" he shouted.
"More'n you," came the guard's voice. "And definitely more guns."
He considered, for a moment, why he was even doing this. Surely, he had been paid, that much was true. Or was to be paid once the job was done, but surely he could return to his employer with news of the American's death, along with the in-actuality dead Mexicans, and he would be paid. His employer would be none the wiser, right? Why should he risk his skin on a man he could pretend was dead and would likely not commit forgery again?
He reached over from his cover and fired once at the compound. A barrage of bullets whizzed past, thudding into the rock and peppering the sand. Surely, he would run out of bullets before them and would never make it in a siege of any kind. Truly, his options were poor.
"Is there anything I can give you," the man said. "That will let me take the American and leave with my life?"
A pause. Well, at least they were considering it.
"Most likely not," the guard called back. "He's explained hisself and I'm satisfied with it."
"I have gold," the man shouted. "And other valuables."
"No gold in the world would make me give up this man."
"Why do you protect him so?" the man asked. "Is he a brother of yours?"
"Other than bein' a white American, we ain't brothers," the guard said. "But he has explained his post to me and the reason you pursue him so is firvolous and bastardly."
"Is it?"
"It is."
"Care," the man said, shifting his position slightly, "to explain that to me."
"You want this man on a charge a forgin' American monnies, correct?"
"Did you consider," the guard said, never taking his eyes from out of his rifle-sights, "the reasons for his doing so?"
The man had to admit that he had not and he said as much.
"Aren't you some kinda law?" the guard asked.
"In a way, of a sorts," the man said. "I have been paid to kill this man. I generally ask no questions."
"Well, it may benefit you to do so," the guard said. "For this man was forgin' monnies under duress, as payment to Mexican gangs for not bein' killed. Though he did run into these gangs desertin' the USS Maine, there is still some to be considered in all this."
The man, for a time, did not speak. He weighed this; the man he pursued so diligently had made falsified funds to be spend in American towns, that much was true. He had deserted the USS Maine.
"He would not have fallen into the forgin' trade," the man said. "Without first deserting the army."
"I suppose," the guard shifted. His legs grew tired. "But men have done worse when scared."
The man said nothing.
"You there still?" The guard asked.
"I lost a brother on that boat," the man said. "Younger. Died in the explosion."
Back behind the walls, the guard turned to Bennet and they exchanged a troubled glance. Bennet spoke up first.
"What was his name?" he said. "I mighta known him."
"Jacob," the man said from behind his rock. "Jacob Digby Noonan."
"Aye," Bennet said. "I knew him. Kinda shortish, quick sense a humour."
"That's him."
"He was in front a me in line just before I lost my guts."
The man was silent.
"I offered him to come, but he said he felt like serving in this mission was his destiny," Bennet paused, sighed. "Said that it was something he was meant to do."
"Sounds like him."
And without a word, the man got back on his horse and road back the way he'd come.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


After sleep left them with dust in their eyes and a hunger for the leftover coyote meat, the three men set off for the last leg of the trip up and over the rocky hills and to the town beyond. Bennet had had enough of horses and dust and sleeping under the stars, he missed a mattress and a roof and a fire without the wind to his back. He wanted back inside, at the very least, an adobe house.
In no time at all they reached the base of the rocky hills.
"It ain't gonna be easy gettin' them horses over the hills," Bennet said, looking back at the horses they'd taken from the dead Sioux. "Them bastards look a sight stubbourn if'n you ask me."
"I find it hard to argue with that," Lester tugged on the horses' reins. "As they are already deciding they don't want to traverse this particular path."
"We'll make them," Bennet said. "Whether they like it or not."
"It is best," Kuruk said, "with stubbourn horses to treat them with kindness. Then they will do what you wish. Otherwise, they will be nothing but a hindrance."
"Kindess?" Bennet turned to the Apache. "How?"
Kuruk leaned over and took the reins from Lester and tugged on them lightly, shaking them front side to side. He began whispering to them and then clicked with his tongue, pulling out an apple from his saddlebag.
"He had apples all this time?" Bennet asked.
"Must have been saving them for the horses, knowin' we'd have some trouble." Lester said.
"I'd have killed a man for a goddamn apple I was so hungry."
"It's best you didn't, though, it would appear."
Slowly and with hesitation the horses began to follow them riders up the steep and rocky slopes and over the hills. Small sections of rock broke off beneath them and hit the ground, but they continued on at a good pace. Bennet looked behind him to check on the horses and his eyes strayed to the horizon. Just there, barely able to be made out, was a figure, a small black rider heading forward in the heat-wave haze.
"Seems someone's comin' up," Bennet said. "Best we get off these hills soon as possible."
"Can you make them out?" Lester said.
"No, not at this distance," Bennet pushed his horse forward. "But I would not hesitate to say that it would be my pursuer finally caught up with me."
"Well, shit."
They pushed the horses hard over the hills, their shoes cracking and snapping on the hard rocks, one horse throwing a shoe and blood trailed after it for its poor, soft foot. It whinnied and cried and pulled back on the reins but Kuruk coaxed it down over the rocks and finally onto the soft sand, though hot, was better than the rocks.
"Now, I think we should run," Lester said. "Because, from what you tell me, I don't want to meet this pursuer of yours."
Bennet nodded and they kicked the horses as fast as they would go, speeding towards the horizon and town and safety.

Behind them, the man made and ascended the rocky hills, bearing down on them like a bullet. He had been riding all night and his horse was slowing, but he kept kicking it to go faster.
"Tick tock," he said aloud. "Tick tock."

Finally, the three riders made it to the town and after quick words exchanged with the gate men, they were let inside and the gates closed.
"Round up your guns!" Lester cried. "A man comes here with blackness and murder in his heart!"
"And a mighty good ability to kill folks." Bennet said.
The guards, solemn, nodded and headed for their weapons and manned the small walls that surrounded the town. Some men, too, came with their weapons while others hid in their homes with the women and children.
"There," Bennet said, pointing not too far off. "Here he comes."
The man came up to the town and slowed and stopped when he saw its gates closed.
"I would like to enter," he said, his words withering in the silent air, nothing to echo from. "Open your gates."
"I'm afraid that ain't likely to happen," a guard said. "For it seems that you got killin' in mind."
"I do," the mn said. "But only for one man. An American. Travelling with two others I think."
The guard looked from Bennet to the man.
"I reckon he might be here," the guard said. "What you be wantin' him for."
"Crimes against these here United States."
"Crimes?" the guard asked. "What crimes?"
"Money forgery and conspiring with anti-state Mexican gangs."
Bennet cringed. The man was good. He knew everything.
"Well," the guard said. "Even if that be true, this man is still entitled to a fair trial, ain't he?"
"My employer don't see it that way."
The guard wiped his nose on his sleeves and then the sweat from his brow. "Then you'll have to come and get him."
"And that I will."
The sun was high and hot and the world stood still. No one moved.

Roller Derby: Pulp Friction

On Saturday July 9th I witnessed an event more awesome than I thought it could be. A sport, funnily enough. I finally understand why people get excited about sport. What I am talking about, of course, is roller derby. Currently, the majority of the leagues are women only, with men taking part as referees or commentators. There are male leagues, but not that many.
The whole thing took place in Homebush at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, and I was surprised at the size of the crowd. I hadn't expected something, that was more or less still an underground event, to have such a turn out.
Rockabilly bands bracketed each bout, starting us off and playing during the breaks. It definitely set the mood for a jumping, jiving time. Clearly, costumes are a huge part of this whole even - and so is a strange, choreographed dancing introductory sequence. Each player has an amusing-come-badass nickname, some of my favourites being Haterade, Feral Streep, Tail-her Swift and Womb Raider.
The first mini bout was the Western Sydney Boutlaws versus the Beauty School Knockouts. From this first game, I could see that the game could be brutal. Elbows shoved into guts, knockdowns, fast roller-skating and everything short of punching and kicking took place on the track. And this bout was slower than a normal bout. This was the Boutlaws' first big bout and the Knockouts were a seasoned team. I didn't know this and backed the Boutlaws because they had the prettiest girls - this was my first roller derby after all, how was I to know?
I should've gone with my instinct during the player show-off period when I saw the Knockouts had far better skaters, but I didn't and the Boutlaws lost 28 to 60-something.
The way I chose sides in the second, main bout - The D'viants versus the Unicorns - wasn't much better - basing it on the quality of the team photograph, the names of the players and the general vibe of the team. The Unicorns were undefeated, the commentators proclaiming so regularly, so naturlly I chose the D'viants. They had the Whip It, underdog kind of feel about the, with a more blaring energy and a less stupid theme. Even though the D'viants lost 128-132, I am so glad I picked that team to back. They played a roaring game with real passion and heart. They totally deserved to win and could have, if the Unicorns hadn't scored a 29 point jam just near the end, causing them to soar forward and win.
I don't care, the D'viants rock and I'll be going back on August 6 to show them my support when they go against the Boutlaws in the mini bout.
If you wanna check out the rules to derby, have a look on Facebook for the Sydney Roller Derby League or Roller Derby Rule of the Day - they have all the information you need!
This is Smack Kerouac - or possibly Hunter S. Tommy-gun - signing off.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

I'll just come right out and say it - I loved the Harry Potter books. Straight up. No denying. Loved them. I'd even go so far as to say that, without them, I wouldn't be nearly as avid a reader as I am now. I read the first one when I was ten in fifth grade and kept going from there. I was not always impressed by the films, most notably The Prisoner of Azkaban, but still, this franchise has been a part of my life for thirteen years. So, to say that watching the final film - the eighth all up - was an emotional experience would be something of an understatement.

The film opens with a montage-esque sequence of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) finding Dumbledore's (Michael Gambon) wand from his grave, which is a scene from the end of Deathly Hallows Part One. It continues on showing Snape (Alan Rickman) presiding over a very depressing-looking Hogwarts and basically the misery in the aftermath of the last two films. If you thought, like me, that Part One was a little slow, given that it was mostly aimless searching with a sense of absolute bleakness, then Part Two makes up for that with an enormity of action - given that it is mostly based on the part of the book entitled "The Battle for Hogwarts". So, yeah, lots of wizards fighting.

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) face their greatest battle yet with Harry even admitting at one point, "When did any of our plans actually work?" going on to say that they just "show up" and then everything goes wrong.
Despite being priorly impressed with these three as actors/friends in the previous films, I have to say that this film was their best performance yet, all of them portraying emotions that dug deep and made you feel them - tears, anger, love and all the rest.

Fiennes was just as creepy as ever as Voldemort, going for broke in all his cackling glory, owning the screen whenever he was there. A special mention, though, should go to Matthew Lewis, who played the bumbling boy-turned-man Neville Longbottom, who really brought it to this movie comedically and dramatically. Some would even go so far as to say he's the real hero of the franchise and, more especially, this film - but no judgments here.

All in all a fantastic time was had watching the final installment of a franchise that has affected so many, and I'm not afraid to say I even got teary a couple of times during the action. A great film and a fantastic final chapter. Be ye fairly warned, though, many beloved characters meet their deaths in this film. Ye have been warned. 8.5/10

Monday, July 11, 2011


The smell reached him long before he saw the bodies. A familiar smell, sickly sweet and awful, like bad eggs and old meat. He rounded the rocks and saw the creeks and stretches of blood spreading out from the butchered bodies of the dead Apaches. The man jumped down from his horse and checked the bodies. Scalped.
"Who scalps the scalpers?" the man said, scratching his growing beard.
He leaned down close to the ones behind the rocks, saw their blood-licked axes and clubs and the pummeled look of their faces.
"Good fight."
Getting up, he turned his attention to the north-east, back where the hoof-prints came from. He walked his horse up that way and saw the body of the dead Apache, shot and trampled, lying there in the sand, eyeless from vultures. A dark red bullet hole stared up at the man from the Apache's neck nape. He looked from the body to the rocks and back again.
"Good shot."
This one had not been scalped, just left alone. The man leaned in near him and checked his pockets. A couple of coins and a necklace of ears, a small bag of shot and bullets. Looking around some, the man saw the pistol over a ways.
"Must've been the only lucky sonofabitch with a pistol," he said, picking it up. "Coz none a your countrymen shot any bullets at them there rocks."
The dead Apache didn't say anything. The man leaned down again to the body and took out his knife, ran it deep along the hairline and ripped back the scalp.
"Waste not, want not," the man pocketed the scalp. "You'll fetch maybe a dollar, I reckon."
He looked up at the sun, halfway across its daily journey from day to night. It blared down, hot and unforgiving. The man licked his chapped lips, climbed on his horse and road out. Looking from the tracks leading north east to the rocky hills, he pondered on which way the American went. He sat there for some time, considering, and then headed towards the hills. It wasn't likely he had changed course now, where had he to go but straight?
It was not far until a town, just over the hills and then some, and then he'd kill the American and he could go home.

Bennet was hungry. They had eaten their last food that night and now they had nothing, and it was still some time before the next town.
"Jesus," Lester said to no one in particular. "I wish we had some a that corn bread left."
"Yeah," Bennet replied. "But we don't."
"We could hunt something?"
"Hunt what?"
"Anything!" Lester waved his arms in the air, desperation on his face. "Hell, I'd eat a coyote if I could catch one here and now."
Bennet chuckled. He turned to Kuruk, "You up for some huntin'?"
Kuruk nodded. "I'm hungry."
The three men dismounted and tied their horses to a nearby shrub. Bennet took his rifle and the other two men took their guns.
"Alright, shoot what you see, but only things with enough meat to make somethin' worthwhile," Bennet loaded his rifle. "And preferably somethin' all three of us can eat."
The two others nodded and they set about finding some rocks to hide behind. And then they waited. They waited until the sun had past the summit of the sky and the wind began to cool and shadows stretched out from odd things and leer out into the world. Coyotes began to call and the vultures circles grew sparser as they flew off to roost.
"Ah, fuck it," Bennet drew his rifle up high and cracked off an echoing shot into the sky. A large black mass fell from the sky to the earth and thudded up a great cloud of sand.
"Did you just kill a vulture?" Lester asked, looking away from his gun.
"I'm fuckin' hungry and I ain't seein' anythin' else!"
Bennet did not move.
"Well?" Lester said. "Ain't you gonna go and get it?"
"Just wait."
The rest of the vultures had flown off and away and the coyotes were silent for some time. Finally, one came out from its hiding place in the ether of the desert and sniffed around the dead vulture. Bennet eased the sights over it and fired again, the cloud of smoke climbing high into the deepening blue of the night sky. He got up from his spot behind the rocks and sauntered to where the coyote died. It was still twitching, for the shot had not killed it.
Bennet sighed, took out his knife, and slit the thing's throat. He then picked it up and took it over to a fire that Lester and Kuruk had built and began to skin and clean it.
Soon they were full with meat and ready for a long night's sleep.
"Good hunting, Bennet," Lester said, pulling his hat down over his face. "There's hope for you yet."
"Haw, haw, haw, you sonofabitch," Bennet kicked Lester lightly in the leg and he chuckled. "When we get to town I might sell you instead of them horses."
"He won't sell," Kuruk said. "Too skinny."
And the men laughed until sleep took them from it all.

Friday, July 8, 2011


As the moon rose high over them, blacking out the mountains on the horizon and splattering the sky with stars that lit the sand, Bennet and his companions set up camp. They did not speak much, only heating up their food and then going to sleep. It seemed like forever ago to Bennet since he had had a good meal at a table, a roof over his head, reading a book by the firelight. He hadn't really read a book in the year since Vera died, although now he wished he had. He had taken more to drinking after work and his poker games and falling asleep, only going out from his room to check on the money-press before passing out into the next day. All was strange to him, now, being out in the open desert with a wanderer and an Apache for company. If Vera could see him now.
And then, he slept.
His sleep was mostly dreamless. The one dream he remembered was walking home from the bar and sitting in front of the fire, reading a book, and this made him smile an unseen grin in his sleep. Somewhere in the night, a coyote found a small animal and tore it to pieces on the plain, leaving nothing of it more than a red stain and some fur.
In the morning, the three rose and packed their things, saddled their horses and rode on.
"Did you sleep alright?" Lester asked.
"Fine as ever," Bennet spat on the ground. "And yerself?"
"Fine. Kuruk?"
The Apache nodded solemnly.
Lester leaned in close to Bennet, "He ain't much of a morning person."
"That makes two of us."
Lester leaned back and laughed and Bennet stared out towards the purple-orange of the rising sun, a faint smile on his lips for a reason he couldn't recall.
It didn't take long for the fine sand to start being cratered with rocks and spiked shrubs. A thundering could be heard not too far off. Kuruk raised his hand sharply and they stayed their horses, silent. The Apache searched the horizon and saw, not too far to the north-east, a group of riders kicking up dust and heading for them.
"What is it?" Lester asked.
"Riders," Kuruk said. "Indians."
"What kind?"
"I do not know."
"We'd best hide us somewheres," Bennet said. "Because I don't intend to find out what kind a injuns they are by just standin' here like a target."
"I can not disagree with you."
They turned their horses away from the riders and kicked them at speed, heading for the big rock. Not too far off was a large boulder atop a tower of rocks which would do for cover and anyhow it was the only place around to hide, the rocky hills still being some miles off. When they reached the rocks they lashed their horses to it and steadied them, taking out and prepping their rifles and pistols, hiding the niches of the stony structure.
And then they waited, the only sound echoing from anywhere was the thunder of the riders on their horses. It wasn't too long before they heard the war cries, too. Savage wails into the sky.
"Sioux," Kuruk said. "I think. Killers."
Lester hammered back both of his pistols, let out a small curse and said a quiet prayer. Bennet leaned over into a small gap in the rock and poked through his rifle barrel. He could see them clearly, now. There were maybe a dozen of them, riding hard, painted faces and bodies, blood dried to their hands and mouth and horses. Scalps bounced at their hips, hanging from buffalo-tail belts. Most were shirtless but some had on scraps that were once the fine linens of rich men or the dusted vests of workers. Necklaces of teeth and ears hung around their necks. Though he couldn't see their eyes, he knew there would be fire in them. He stared down the sight for some time until he had his breathing right and he fired off a shot, the crack echoing into the desert nothingness. For a moment, he thought he'd missed, but then the lead Sioux's shoulder lurched back and he fell from his horse, trampled under the hooves of the many at his back. One of the riders turned back and headed away from the battle as fast as he could.
"You get one?" Lester asked.
"I did," Bennet began reloading. "But there's more. One's headin' back, likely for more."
"How far is that?"
Bennet figured for a moment.
"About three hundred yards," he said finally. "Give or take."
"Jesus. Hell of a shot."
"Yes I am."
Bennet lined up the sights again and fired off into the crowd. Another's head snapped back sickeningly and flung him from his horse, red mist lingering for a moment before disappearing. But the riders were much closer, now - within one hundred yards.
"Best you start shootin'," Bennet said. "Lest they come upon us only two down."
Lester turned around the edge of the rocks and fired off all twelve of his chambers. He hit six men, some twice and them falling over, but others riding despite their injuries, their fiery eyes clearly visible now in the full day's light.
Kuruk leaned over the rocks and took aim slowly, more carefully like Bennet, but the Sioux were only fifty yards away and he had to let the shot off sooner, striking a horse in the eye and taking it down. It fell atop its rider and slowed some others, but they were still six in number when they finally came around the rocks and swung viciously with axes and clubs at the three huddled men. Shooting close range with a rifle was useless, Bennet knew, so he took out his six-shooter and fired wildly at the men in front of him, blood raining on him from some unseen dying thing nearby him. The remaining injuns lept down from their horses and ran at the men, swinging at them and the men had to return blows. It was only five versus three now and Kuruk was handling two men easily, knocking back and dodging blows. Two more landed at Bennet who dispatched one with a shot to the gut and took to the other with his fists.
The Sioux swung wildly with his axe, slamming it, thudding, into the sand and rocks. Soon he had Bennet pinned and was smashing at his face with the butt of the axe, catching Bennet's nose and unleashing a torrent of blood over them both. Bennet's right hand struggled outward, looking for something to use as a weapon, while his left kept the warrior at bay, fending off attacks. His hand found a rock and he brough it up, swinging in a wide arc, catching the injun in the temple and spraying his blood on the rocks. The body slumped to the ground and Bennet pulled away from him. He saw that the injun wasn't dead but only stunned, his eyed blank and rolling about his head, jerking about with failed movements. Bennet brough the rock down again and the man was still.
A struggle for a fallen pistol led Lester to shoot the man atop him in the shoulder and chest, having taken a severe beating around his face and large cuts on his chest. Kuruk had also been cut on the chest and back, but had killed his two attackers with a violent fury and went about scalping them.
"What are you going to do with those?" Bennet asked, spitting blood onto the rocks and wiping some from his nose onto his sleeve.
"Sell them," Kuruk said. "Fifty cents per scalp."
"People pay top dollar for injun scalps," Lester sat up against the rocks. "Mostly so's they know that the roaming bands is at least part dead."
Bennet nodded as he took this on and they all searched the bodies for valuables.
"Come on," Bennet said after a time. "Let's get out of here."
"We should lash the horses we can round up," Lester said. "They'd sell too at market where we're going."
Bennet agreed and they set about chasing down and roping the horses into a chain. Once they had, they moved off again towards the town over the rocky hills.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


After resupplying in a nearby town, Bennet and his two companions moved out again into the desert, setting their sites on a grouping of rocky hills not further than a two days' ride. It had occured to Bennet that he did not know where he was going, but was merely going for the sake of travelling away, it seemed, from everything to his back. The man who had waylaid him had, for certain, been the catalyst that had driven him on this journey out into the desert and all the nothing that lay within it, but Bennet felt that this journey had been coming for sometime, since there was little that was tying him down to the small town he'd left with Jake all those days ago. He had his shop, to be sure, and some friendly acquaintances, but the shop could be taken over by another and he could always meet more people. Since Vera and his daughter's death, he supposed, the open road and stretching himself as far and wide as he could had always been what called to his soul.
"Where you headed, anyhow?" Lester asked. Bennet shook from his reverie and turned to the tall, thin man.
"Nowheres in particular," Bennet said. "Somewhere else."
Lester nodded for a time and then spoke. "Why's that?"
"Sometimes a man's just gotta move away from where he's at," he paused a moment. "When there ain't nothin' holdin' him there anymore."
"I s'pose I can see the truth in that, though it would also behoove a man to try and build something back up from whence he comes."
"Where I'm comin' from ain't where I come from."
Lester turned to examine this man to whom he'd become atttached; medium height, solidly built and with piercing eyes that rarely shook from the horizon.
"Where is it, then, that you come from?" Lester said.
"Oh, now, ain't that a question," Bennet spat into the sand. "I met my wife, god rest her, in Blackwater, up someways north, and moved to Galston not six months or so later. We eloped, see."
Lester nodded.
"But I come to Blackwater from my daddy's farm which was some ways West, that is to say, a small town in the middle a nowhere with fewer prospects than what I found myself in."
"It don't seem," Lester ventured, "like your prospects is much increased."
Bennet turned from the horizon and studied Lester closely.
"No," he said finally. "As of late, they do not."
"And this man," Lester pushed on, "who is pursuing you with the most murderous of intentions - you do not know him nor know what he wants?"
"I do not."
"That all seems mighty peculiar to me."
During all this, Kuruk the Apache said nothing, merely riding in silence towards the rocks on the horizon as the two white men spoke of things past.
"It is peculiar to me, also," Bennet said. "It is also peculiar that you are askin' so many questions."
"It is his way," Kuruk's voice was like a roar in the night, unexpected and powerful. "He asks questions and he talks."
At this, Lester let out a bellowing laugh. "The man speaks the truth! I do, indeed, speak much and ask many questions! Pardon me if it has offended you, but I am merely trying to get to know a man who has brought upon our company the possibility of a deadly pursuer."
"You ride with that possibility every day, riding with an Apache as you do," Bennet nodded at Kuruk. "There are those who take not as kindly to them as we do."
Kuruk grunted.
"Double the reason why," Lester continued, "that I wish to establish why we should bring more risk upon us."
Bennet sighed and, after a moment, spoke. "You know that I am a deserter of the USS Maine."
"I do."
"On my way home I encountered a gang of Mexicans who would not let me pass, saying they would kill me and some how fetch a good price for my hide and possessions."
Lester said nothing.
"So, I made a deal for my life. I said that I was a blacksmith and that I could make them fake money. I could press coins and hammer out moulds for printing bills, too. And this I did for some time until I decided I had paid my debt to them for letting me live."
"This did not end well?" Night had begun to fall and a wind kicked up sand around them. A coyote cried.
"It did not. They killed my wife and daughter in front of me, violating my young daughter until she died for her injuries. I continued to provide them with fake money because I had nothing left to lose. So, this man pursuing me, is likely doing so because of that."
Lester sat silently on his horse for many moments. Kuruk turned and looked Bennet up and down, his eyes pitying the man, nothing needing to be said.
"Well, then," Lester said. "The road calls to you."
"It does."
And then men rode off silently into the night, coyotes crying after them.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Though he was happy simply to have a horse, the man could not say that he liked this horse. It was stubborn and untrained, nothing like his old horse. He missed his old horse. He had never - not once - fantacized about shooting his old horse. This horse refused to go at the quick speeds of the old horse, sticking mostly to a slow run when it could muster itself.
"At this rate," the man said to himself, "I'll never catch up."
He pulled out his Bowie knife and stuck it in the horse's flank while yelling at it to speed up. It merely whinnied and bucked, kicking the man to the sand and roiling in its agony.
"Stupid sonofabitch!" the man yelled at the horse and pulled out his pistol and shot it in the head. A burst of red and it fell to the sand, still as a log. For a while, the man just stood there and stared at the beast. He looked around him and saw nothing.
"Well," he put his pistol away. "Shit."
He took up the important pieces from his saddle bags - his money and food and water - and started walking east. Someone would be along sooner or later, he figured, and would be kind and stupid enough to offer him help. Looking up at the sky, he revelled in the fact that it seemed to boundless and large. Everything seemed to him boundless and large on this Earth. When you stared up at the sky by day it was blue as far as forever, and by night it was black as pitch with more stars than grains of sand on the Earth. The desert itself, too, was boundless with more grains of sand than could be counted, doubling the immensity of the night by proxy. Sand that seemed to dig around into your very blood if you stayed out here long enough like the man had. Bright, lazy sand that stretched out and over the world, across the horizon and off the edge of the world and then kept going some more. He smiled at the soft, wheezing sound his feet made as they plodded along in the sand, the warmth of it all causing him to sweat.
The oceans, too, were boundless - vast and crushing. He had once been on a ship, bound for distant shores with adventure in mind, but it was not to be and they had been waylaid and he had had to kill his way out, stealing a life boat with the blood of many men sloshing around in the bottom. When on the sea it appeared, like the desert, to spill over the edge of the world and crush everything below it with its might.
Back on land, the mountains and the plains all were part of the endless vastness of everything. Each area seeming in turn to be endless while in them but small and conquerable from afar.
A soft clopping from behind him drew his mind away from thoughts off the world and a man approached him atop a horse.
"Lo there," the traveller yelled. "You lost?"
"Not so much lost," the man said, "as horseless."
"Was that yours I saw back a ways, dead in the sand?"
"It was. Died on me of exhaustion and stupidity."
"Looked to me like it'd been shot in the forehead," the traveller stared down, putting his hand on his horse's neck. "You shoot your horse?"
The man eyed the traveller, judging him. "If'n I did, what business would it be a yours?"
"Well," the traveller said, "I reckon that it would be it was your own fault your horseless and I might leave you to your plight here in the open sands."
"Would you now?"
"I reckon I would."
The man inched his hand towards his holster but the traveller had his piece already out by his thigh.
"I don't reckon that's too bright a plan, boy," the traveller said. "And for it I'll take your money."
"My money?" the man shifted his weight onto his left foot.
"Yes sir," the traveller raised his pistol, cocking it. "Or you shall surely die by my bullet."
"Well," the man bent his knee. "It doesn't look like I have a choice, do I?"
"You do not."
No one ever expects for a man to jump left instead of right. It helped that the traveller had his gun low behind the horse's head and had to raise it to try and aim at the man. By that time, though, it was over. The man had out his pistol and had levelled with the traveller's body and fired. A whump and a grunt and the traveller fell from his horse. The man walked forward but the traveller let off a cracking shot that almost hit the man in the toes and he jumped backwards, firing again at the felled man, hitting him in the arm.
"Jesus lord above!" the traveller cried, cluthing his injured arm.
The man walked forward and stood over the traveller. "This is how it was meant to be. There was never an escape for you."
"Fuck you, mister," the traveller yelled. "I hope this desert eats you alive!"
"It already has." And the man shot the traveller in the face.
While the blood seeped into the sand and the world, the man took the traveller's possessions as his own and climbed upon the horse, riding after the American.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Bennet approached the fire with a trepidatious caution. He could see two men sitting by the fire, eating or talking, giving him mostly no notice. The night was cold and he wanted to be near the warmth.
"That's far enough," a voice carried over from the fire. "Talk before I shoot ye dead and leave ye to the buzzards."
"I am cold and alone," Bennet stopped moving and stood there hugging himself. "My horse died on me and I am being pursued by a man with a powerful need to shoot me for which I cannot account."
Silence floated over them for some time. Desert wind blew sand into Bennet's boots and he shivered.
"Well come on by the fire then," the voice said. "No sense in ye freezing thirty feet out from warmth when it sounds like you got a story to tell."
Bennet surged forward and braced himself by the fire, warming his cold extremities.
"Thank ye," he said. "It was gettin' harder to walk."
"Desert nights will do that to ye."
The man who had spoken with Bennet was a tall, slim man with a lanky beard and a pock-marked face. He wore a worn hat low over his eyes, his hands working over a piece of wood with a knife, whittling some small figure or another. On the other side of the fire sat what looked to Bennet to be an Apache, but he admitted to himself that he could not rightly tell all injunes from each other. For all he knew, the man could have been a Mohawk or a Sioux. He wore his hair long and tied at the back with a strip of buffalo leather, his head bent low eating from a small bowl of beans and meat. A rich man's waistcoat bound his chest, a fob-chain linking the two sides together and he had on buffalo leather chaps over faded green trousers, store-bought at one time or another. A sheath on either hip held large Bowie knives and two gun-holsters sat behind them.
"Your injun a quick-draw?" Bennet asked.
"He ain't my injun," the man said. "He's my friend. Calls himself Kuruk."
"It means Bear," Kuruk did not look up from his meal. "My father was Bodaway. Firemaker."
"Right. And I'm Lester Simms," Lester eased his hat up from over his eyes. "Now, how's about you tell us that story about why you're so alone and running?"
"I suppose you got the right to ask."
Lester nodded. Bennet sighed and began his story, telling the two men about the USS Maine, about the Mexicans, about the counterfeit money, the death of his family and finally about the man with the gun. When his tale was done, he sat in silence as the men absorbed the tale. Kuruk had stopped eating, eyes focused on this new man with strange tales of death. The fire danced orange across their faces and the sand, sending sparks like stars up to meet their brothers and sisters in the sky. Finally, Lester spoke.
"You was gonna be stationed on the USS Maine?"
"I was."
"And you deserted?"
"I did."
Lester considered this a moment. "Not too brave."
"It was smart."
Lester laughed. "That it was. Better to be a coward for a day and continue living than a hero for the same day and die."
"Some might consider it better to be a hero forever than a coward til you die," Bennet said. He shifted, cooler sand moving up as the warm sand blew away. "But I figure I like your position better."
"Figured you might."
Lester paused a moment.
"And this man," he asked. "With the gun. You don't know who he is?"
"No, sir."
"No thoughts on who he might be?"
"Well," Bennet considered this a moment. "At first, I thought he might be some kind of lawman, but in general lawmen don't open fire on ye without tellin' ye first that they's there. Some kind of honour in the way they do things."
Lester nodded.
"But this man," Bennet continued, "baited a trap with the bodies of dead men and opened fire on us unsuspectin'. Could be Pinkertons if it ain't the Marshalls, but I ain't sure. Could be a mercenary a some kind, though I could not figure who would have hired him and why for to come after me."
"Perhaps a man not too keen on your money business?" Lester offered.
"Or a man wanting to take it over," Kuruk offered from his place further from the fire.
"Thems is all options worth thinkin' over," Bennet said. "But until I find out, they's only unfounded figurins."
"You should face him," the Apache said. "Like a man."
Bennet turned and looked at the brooding native. "How could I face down a man I could not see?"
"Now you are ahead of him," Kuruk said. "You can wait. Face him down when he comes this way."
"This man is a better shot than I am. He will see me from many miles off and take me down before I have a chance to sight my weapon."
Kuruk grunted, annoyed. "You are just a coward."
"We just got done establishing he is," Lester laughed. "Now come on, let's get some sleep and hope this man don't happen upon us in the night."

As it happened, the man did not find them that night. They awoke to a new day, the sun beating down as uncovered and unholy hot as ever, sitting shining and powerful in the endless blue that stretched over the desert and to the end of the earth. Vultures circled on the horizon back the way Bennet had come. They had found the Mexicans and would eat well for days. It was then that Bennet thought of Jake, who was also likely having his eyes plucked and flesh picked by carrion birds of all colours and sizes, leaving him to be more dust on the endless mesa.
"Come on," Lester said. "You can ride double with Kuruk until we find some traders or a town and get ye a new horse."
Kuruk nodded at Bennet and patted the edge of saddle behind him, helping Bennet up.
"Hold on tight," Kuruk said. "We ride fast."
Bennet wrapped his arms around the musuclar Apache, his skin smooth and sun-worn. The Apache let out a whistle and the horses were off, bounding through the sand, racing time itself. But behind them, coming up closer, creeping like death, was the man with the gun.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Under searing sun and over sandy dunes, Bennet rode his horse like a man edging to eternity and off the edge of the world, and finally, with it's lungs burned and collapsed from blood and sand and air, it died, toppling over, flinging Bennet and dying with a hideous croak. It panted and wheezed, blood oozing from its nostrils and over its tongue, which hung loosely from its mouth, its dark eyes glaring up at the demon sun in a silent curse.
"God damnit," Bennet said, rubbing his back and standing. He moved over and patted the horse and its heavy ribs, admiring the poor, exhausted beast. "You done good."
He looked behind him and to the sides, examining each horizon to make sure he was alone. Pale and endless desert stretched out and away from him, pock-marked with desert shrubs and cacti, polished white animal skulls glowing in the dusk light. Night was coming soon and it would be cold. From his reckoning, Bennet was still many miles out from any civilized town and he knew roaming bands of injuns and white men were scattered about this place, pillaging for gold or women or scalps.
Not having anything else to do, Bennet walked. He walked the way he was going when his horse had died. He did not, though he had thought of doing so, carve some flesh from the dead beast to make sure he had food. It did not feel right. The jerky and left-over tortillas in his rucksack would have to do, and he still had a full canteen of water and a quart of whiskey. As far as things went, it could be worse. He thought about the scores and unimaginable numbers of other men, of whatever creeds and colours, who had travelled this place by foot or on horse whose names had been lost to history and the world and its people. Lost not because they did not matter, or were of no consequence, but because that is the way of things - you are born and exist, you make a way in this world - everychanging and volatile - and then you are taken from it, if you are lucky it is sudden and quick, with a bullet or during sleep, or if fate is crueler, which she usually is, you are taken in pain and crying in the night for a mother or lover long gone.
It was in this moment that Bennet though on his own family since past. Vera had been one of the most beautiful ladies in Blackwater, where they had both grown up, and was often being called on by one gentlemen or another, of all ages, since she was twelve. Her mother did nothing to discourage it because a marriage to a good man was mostly all a lady in those parts at that time could hope for and no one did much to alter that fate. Odd exceptions cropped up, it is certain, "But that is for other people's children," Vera's mother had said, "not for my kin."
Of course, Vera did not want to marry Walter Stark, a growing oil baron whose wealth increased with his girth, growing also in senility, proposing to Vera at the age of fifty-nine when she was merely fourteen. Nor did she accept the proposal from Alastair MacReady who ran a troupe of actors all over the souther states and was also a wealthy man with lofty ambitions for the newly introduced "moving pictures" when she was sixteen.
"You wait and see," he said to her one day over iced tea, "Muybridge fellow was on to something! And I hear Edison is perfecting an American version - a better version! - called the Kinetoscope - you just wait, missy!"
No, Vera wanted a man who was much like her, quiet and enjoyed reading and did not feel bound totally by the world as it was. That was when Bennet sauntered into her sheltered life. He was a boy looking for work on a farm from the other side of the state and Vera's parents gave him a job as a stable hand. Bennet was twenty-four and has ridden across the state on a horse that was older than he was. To Vera, he seemed like something out of an old wives' tale and within a few months, they were married secretly and to avoid her parents' wrath, they fled the town to settle in Galston, Bennet taking up the business of blacksmithing and Vera giving birth to their daughter, Mina.
With humour, Vera noted the success of MacReady's prediction on motion pictures some years later, but at also having backed the wrong man. A Frenchman had invented and patented something called the cinematographe that was much more popular and regarded than Edison's kinetoscope. Soon enough, though, it seemed that America was going to war with the Cubans and the Spanish and Bennet took it upon himeself to serve his country.
"Don't go, Bennet," Vera said. "Stay. We need you here."
"I have to go," he said, putting his boots on. "Business ain't too good and they're payin' somethin' good to get on a boat in a uniform and look menacin' at Cubans."
He smiled and kissed her forehead. "I'll be back 'fore you know it."
"You better, mister man," she said and kissed him. "I ain't gonna wait forever - I'm still a pretty lady!"
"Prettiest in town."
"Shush you! Go on, git. I expect some letters from my brave soldier man!"
"I'll write," Bennet walked out the front door. "You better write back."
Vera only smiled and waved her own little wave and Bennet marched off to return a coward nigh half a year later. When he fell in with Sanguar in his gang of thugs, Bennet held his promise and made them as much dinero as they wanted, more, but after a year he grew weary of the trips out into the desert and demanded he be set free from his obligations.
"It don't bring me in nothin'," he said. "And these trips is killin' my business and ruinin' my family. I'm tired a comin' out here and givin' you money I ain't allowed to spend!"
"Careful, cabron," Sanguar said. "We let you live. That is an expensive thing, si?"
"I need to be free, so I can be with my wife, my child!"
"Muchos problemas, eh hermano?" Sanguar laughed, a gruff sound like a train crashing. "La familia también caro."
Sanguar laughed again and turned on his horse and left. Bennet did not return to the Mexicans for the next payment and when he returned from work the next day, he found Sanguar in his home, knives to the throats of his wife and child.
"Vera!" Bennet charged forward and stopped. "Sanguar, what do you want?"
"My money," he said. "As promised."
"Bennet..." Vera could hardly speak for the fear.
"Let them go," Bennet said, though his voice betrayed his own apprehensions. "Or I swear to god above I will kill you."
Sanguar smiled his black smile, rotten teeth glaring in the setting sun. The knife moved too quickly for Bennet to even see it and Vera clutched at her throat, blood exploding out in fountains and covering Bennet's face and front in red. Though he wanted to speak, for words to express his agony, his throat would not let him and he could only emit a cracked cry. His eyes glistened with tears and he dropped to his knees. A broken man. Two of Sanguar's men, among them Xavo, came and grabbed Bennet by the arms.
"And now," Sanguar said, "you find out the price of family and disloyalty."
Though you could not tell you how long he was held there in actuality, it felt like centuries, like men were born and crumbled to dust before Sanguar left his home. He sat there, bound and impotent and furious, as Sanguar violated his only daughter, tender and young, as she screamed for her father and mother, tears streaming down her angelic face. Bennet slumped over in a coma of emptiness and loss after Sanguar finally killed the poor girl.
"Nex time," Sanguar said as he left, wiping the blade he had used for the killings on Bennet's jacket, " I want double money."
Bennet said nothing. He lay there for hours after they had left, staring into the greying eyes of his wife and child, too young for death and too kind and innocent for a death like this.
All this and more Bennet pondered as he walked the desert alone, in the cold as night darkened the world. Ahead of him he saw and fire and hoped he was walking towards kinder men.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Apocalypse List

I was thinking about this last night when I couldn't sleep. Say it's the apocalypse, or some other kind of earth-shattering event, and you have the chance to get on one of the people-arks and get saved with a small percentage of humanity. What would you save? Think about it - you can only bring so much luggage, so let's say you can take 10 books, 10 movies/TV shows, 10 CDs and 5 other personal items along with clothes.
What would you bring?
NOTE: Films that are trilogies count as only one because they come in the same pack. Book series only count as one if they CURRENTLY come in a one book option. These items must come from YOUR SHELF AS IT IS NOW. These are in no particular order.

1. On the Road - Jack Kerouac
2. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
3. Howl and Other Poems - Allen Ginsberg
4. World War Z - Max Brooks
5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
6. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
7. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
8. Night, Dawn and Day - Elie Wiesel
9. American Psycho - Brett Easton Ellis
10. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

1. Gross Point Blank
2. Apocalypse Now
3. Buried
4. Snatch
5. True Grit (Coen Bros version)
6. Indiana Jones Trilogy
7. Star Wars Original Trilogy
8. Back to the Future Trilogy
9. Firefly
10. Reservoir Dogs

1. The Shape of Punk to Come - The Refused
2. International Superhits - Green Day
3. The Empire Strikes First - Bad Religion
4. Billy Talent - Billy Talent
5. Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
6. The Living End - The Living End
7. Zoot Suit Riot - The Cherry Poppin' Daddies
8. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
9. Everything Goes Numb - Streetlight Manifesto
10. Decomposer - The Matches

Personal Items:
1. Camera and charger
2. Laptop and charger
3. Photo albums
4. A large notebook and a pen
5. A trypic of paintings done by Sam Henning hanging on my wall.

What would you save?

P.S. : These items may change as my collection grows or my tastes change.

Traildust PART TEN

Though he had gotten quite a head-start on him, the man was not worried about the American who had escaped after the gunfight. His escape had been amusing and impressive, something the man could rarely say about anyway on the wrong end of his pistols. The town he'd come from had fired at him but relented when the man had killed two of the guards. When he came into town the mayor addressed him with fear and anger.
"What do you want, you godless sonofabitch?" he shook a pistol at the man.
"A horse," the man said. "I got my saddle here but I need a new horse. Mine got shot."
"What makes you think we'd sell you a horse?" the mayor cocked the hammer on his pistol. "What makes you think I won't just shoot you down right now for what you done to my daughter?"
"Because you'da done it already," the man took his coin bag from his pocket. "And my coin is still good here. 'Sides, you don't know who's man I am."
The man smiled and it was so unnerving that the mayor holstered his piece and yelled for a horse to be brought to the man, for which the man parted with more gold than he preferred but he knew better than to argue under the circtumstances.
He had moved on now to another town within a day's ride. Before leaving the old town, though, he'd stuck around to watch the buzzards fly in and start picking apart the bodies of the dead men that lay strewn in the desert sand. The sun had already started to make them stink. Their eyes were grey and lifeless, arms stretched out towards weapons they could never reach.
The man pondered for a moment on where the soul might go after death, and if the final breath of a man was the soul escaping. He chuckled at this, musing on how many last breaths had gone unheard. A man was to be judged by the quality and character of his final words. That was what his father had always taught him and, if that were true, then many men he'd killed were of no consequence in the universe at all. Most spouted the same unoriginal blatherings of frightened dying men, cursing the man or his family or his soul. There were but a few that stuck to mind.
A man in a bar who had looked at him in a manor not to his liking had whispered in his ear before passing, "Shame I should die under this roof, surrounded by stinking, drunk men and not under the stars with my wife".
The man had liked that very much. Most injuns he'd killed had uttered something in their native, foreign tongue and most blacks merely prayed to the mercy of god. But, again, there had been exceptions. From what he could tell, white men and Mexicans cursed their killer's soul, black men prayed to god above for mercy and pity and injuns spoke in their unknowable tongue, probably speaking words to mother earth and the spirits and the animals. He hadn't yet killed a Chinaman, but looked forward to it.
Buzzards and creatures of carrion eat the eyes of the dead first, for they are soft and easy to get at. The dead men lay with eyes like black holes, bleeding, staring with no sight into the burning sun and sand while huge birds clawed at their chest and thrust their pointed beaks into their flesh. The man liked watching buzzards eat. It all seemed so natural to him.
It didn't take long to reach another town. One had popped up just under a day's ride away, as the sun lay high in the cloudless blue, and he had stopped in for some rest and food. He did not feel like drink or whores, he needed his mind clear for tracking the American. To clear his mind and think about where he would go, if he were a frightened man with a gunman on his tail, he took a walk around the small town on its dusty clay roads. Not long into his stroll he came upon a Jew wearing the typical long coat and hat of men of that religion. Two men were next to him, walking, and he heard one of the men say the word rabbi which he knew was the Jewish priest.
"You," the man said, "Jew."
The three men stopped and looked at him. Fear was already in their eyes.
"What do you do?"
"Me?" the man in the centre, with the coat and hat, gestured to himself. The man nodded. "I am a rabbi to these men and other Jews in the town, and to some people in towns around the area."
"That's like a priest, ain't it?"
The rabbi nodded. "It is, but for people of the Jewish faith."
"The Jewish faith."
The rabbi nodded again. The two men flanking him eyed each other, not knowing what to do.
"Correct me if my figuring is wrong, rabbi," the man approached the three Jews. They stood their ground. "But the Jews are not believers in Christ, are they?"
"No," the rabbi said, "we are not. We believe, for certain, that he was likely a real man, flesh and blood like the rest of us, but was not the moshiach, the messiah."
"How can you believe that?"
The rabbi shrugged. "It is in our faith, much like Christ is the foundation of yours. There were tennants for the moshiach to match, and Jesus did not match them."
"He did not live up to your Jewish expectations of the messiah?" The man placed his hand on his pistol.
"That is a matter for the Jews of the day," the rabbi eyed the pistol. "But no, he is not a messiah to us. We wait for ours, still, to come."
The man conisdered this a moment. "You are still expecting a messiah to come for you?"
The rabbi nodded. "That, too, is a tennant of our faith."
"Well hallelujah, for I have come."
The man drew his pistol and fired at the three Jews, striking each three of them in the heart. The two men flanking the rabbi fell down dead, but the rabbi still lived, clutching his breat. Many scared bystanders stood silently and watched. The rabbi's lips were moving and the man leaned down to listen to him speak.
"Your last words?" the man said.
"It is of no consequence that you kill me, for you only harm yourself. I am a man of god like any of your priests, and he shall look after me. You have felled to faithful men with me, and for this you will be punished."
"I've heard all this before, rabbi," the man put the gun to the rabbi's chin. "Anything else?"
"Though a bullet has felled me, the sun is still beautiful and the world is still here. I am nothing more than someone who existed and lived on a planet not entirely our own. You, too, are of no consequence at all."
And then, the rabbi died. The man stayed there for a moment, leaning over the still-warm body, and pondered the words. Before standing he whispered, "I've never killed a Jew before. Thank you, rabbi."
He stood, then, and walked away to his cabin where no one bothered him until he road out the next morning, in search of the American who had run away.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Traildust PART NINE

Sweat poured into Bennet's eyes as the sun burned down over them. Rifle cracks echoed over the landscape, small tufts of sand exploding upwards with each missed bullet, each avoided death. On the other side of the dead fire was Xavo, swearing loudly to himself and to the sky in his native tongue, reloading shot after shot. Most of his bullets went wide or high, but Bennet didn't judge. His shots weren't hitting home either. A seething buzz past his ear and was gone - a shot meant for the head.
"Holy Mary, mother of god," Bennet said to himself. "I ain't never asked for nothin' afore, but if you will let me survive this here gunfight, I'll try and be a better Catholic," a sandy explosion by his other ear, "ah, to hell with it."
He reached over the top of the sandbank and fired all six shots from his six-shooter. Then, silence. No shots, nothing. A voice came sailing to them on the wind.
"How about we put down our guns?" it said. "I done waylaid your friends, sure, but I'm sure we can come to some kind of arrangement."
Xavo and Bennet exchanged a glance.
"I'm thinkin', friend," Bennet said, "that you have us figured for fools."
"Not at all, but for smart men who want to live."
"That we do. I'd like to continue living for many years ahead, if it is possible and within the realm of things likely."
A pause. "It can be arranged for you to live."
"Basta!" Xavo said and jumped up from his hiding spot. "Morirás por su fechorías a mis amigos!"
He fired his two loaded pistols at the voice, loud cracks bursting the air around them like glass. When he was done, clouds of smoke hung low over the open desert, clinging to everything like cotton. The wind cleared it amidst a stunned silence and when it did a final crack sounded and Xavo dropped to the sand, a red hole in his forehead.
"Jesus Christ!" Bennet dug himself deeper into his sandy dugout.
"Your friend has broken our accord," the voice carried on. "And now you must die."
"He didn't speak for the both of us!" Bennet yelled back. His heart thudded against his ribs, a beast trying to escape his bonds.
"I'm afraid he did."
Rifle cracks. Thuds and sany eruptions. Bennet looked around for a way to flee. His horse was not five paces away. He knew he could make it to the horse, and figured if he rode by cluthing to the side of the horse, using it as a shield, that he ought to be able to escape. He crawled through the sand on his belly like a snake, bullets whizzing overhead, until he reached his and Xavo's horses. But before jumping up and out, he thought for a moment. He turned, digging himself into the sand, and took aim with his rifle and checked the magazine. Two shots left.
"Better make 'em count," he said aloud to himself and stared down the site.
He could see his enemy's horse, standing by the way where the shots were coming from, digging its hooves idly into the sand. Looking down the barrel of the gun, Bennet remembered the shooting advice he'd first gotten from his father.
"Breathe in," he's said, "and squeeze the trigger back tight halfway through your breath out."
Bennet breathed in slowly and fired as he breathed out. The shot went far wide and went off into the distance, probably to land in some cactus or rock.
"Come on, damnit," he said to himself. "Shoot that damn horse or yer a dead man!"
He breathed in slowly and as he breathed out - crack! In the distance, the horse went down, its limbs flailing around until it crashed to the sand in a cloud.
Now was his chance.
Out loud, he counted to three before jumping up and thrusting forward. He landed in between his and Xavo's horse and climbed up against the side of his own horse. Grabbing the reigns of Xavo's horse, he smacked the horses into motion and they whinnied and sped off into the desert. A rifle crack felled Xavo's horse. The horse fell in an explosion of sand and blood. By the time the man realised that Bennet was on the other horse, he was too far out of range. A Winchester repeater can only shoot so far, and five hundred feet is out of that distance. Not to mention while moving.
Bennet urged the horse on, looking over his shoulder for a bullet that would turn his life to darkness.

The man crept from his dugout and went over to the camp where he'd lain his trap. There was a new body now, the man he'd just shot. He looked in the distance at the dust trail of the escaping man but did not care. Bending low, he examined the dead Mexican's face.
"You must be Xavo," the man said and spat on Xavo's face. "No mas, no mas."
By Xavo's hands, the man saw that he had two pistols with blade attachements to the barrel. He took these up and smiled.
"Well, I'll be," he said and pocketed them both. Collecting the money and gold teeth from the dead around him, he turend around and took his saddle and bags from his dead horse. He made for the town from which he'd come. Whether they liked it or not, they were selling him a new horse and by morning he would be riding after the American who'd escaped. Soon, the vultures would come and the only evidence of the fight would be bones, blood and stories.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Traildust PART EIGHT

Though the sandstorm had faded away into the night, the man remained in the town. He was close enough to his destination that he could afford some moments to himself and he had not seen the riders he was looking for enter the area yet. He had paid a man to tell him once the Mexicans had showed up. For now, he remained in the town. He had arrived last night, during the storm, flashing his gold and pistols. Food and beer and whiskey had been brought to him a plenty by whores of his choosing, lined up by the mayor of the town.
"Pretty, ain't she?" he said, gesturing to a short, buxome woman with dark hair and frightened eyes.
The man grunted. "Who is she?"
"My daughter."
"I'll take her," the man pulled the girl close to him. She squealed, afraid. "And them ones, too."
He pointed to two women who could easily have been twins, no older than the sixteen of the mayor's daughter.
"Of course, sir," the man ushered the two women into a storage room. They re-emerged with food and wine and were escorted to the man's house. The man stood in the middle of the town square and pushed his lips onto those of the small daughter of the mayor. She tried to resist but his arms were strong, his hands wandering over her thighs and buttocks. People in the square looked away, left. The man smirks and dragged the girl with him to the house with the other women. Her screams echoed out into the world, uncaring, as he violated her over and over again.
In the morning, he pulled on his britches and stepped out into the glaring sunlight of the day. The storm had passed, leaving everything covered in a thick layer of sand. A messenger came to him.
"Sir," he said, panting out of breath, "sir, the men you was lookin' for, I think they just come in from the south!"
"You sure?" the man pulled on his duster and hat.
"Well, I reckon it. Three Mexicans, one with a red bandana around his hat."
The man flipped the messenger a coin. "Buy yourself a whore."
Tipping his hat, the boy left. The man saddled his horse and packed up his belongings and rode swiftly from the town, ignoring the smiling mayor spitting pleasantries, smirking. It was not until the man was out of sight, hidden from his prey, that the mayor would find his daughter. Blood covered the walls and floor. Her once pretty face was cut from the skull and stuck to the wall in a macabre grimace, the eyes staring out at a world they no longer knew. In blood, on the walls, was written "thanks be to the lord". The girl's gut had been cut open, the sheets soaked with thick redness. The other two whores were found bound and gagged in the closet, nary a cut on them. It is said that the mayor's wife's cries could be heard for miles and days, cracking the air like lightning. But the man who killed her daughter heard nothing of it.

Bennet and Xavo were riding side by side when Xavo finally spoke, the first words since they'd left town.
"There, up ahead," he said. He leant over and rubbed his leg. "I can see Sanguar's hat."
Bennet, too, could see the unmistakeable red bandana wrapped around an old brown hat, sitting on the Mexican's head, while he sat in the sand contemplating gold and murder.
"Finally," Bennet said. "It was damn far out this time."
Xavo nodded. It was only when they were within a stone's throw that they saw the blood. Like a map of veins spread across the sand, it had sunk in dark and thick. The Mexicans sat in upright positions against saddlesm. Their horses were gutted, sitting around them, strips of meat removed.
The two riders steadied their horses, who whined at the sight of the dead animals. Bennet shushed and petted his, cooing it to being still. Once it was, he climbed down and explorded the site.
"Madre des dios," Xavo had climbed from his horse, too, and walked beside Bennet. "What has happened?"
"Can't rightly say," Bennt leaned down to look at Sanguar's face. A knife stuck out, a note pinned against his forehead. Bennet took the note off and read it. "But it appears that someone is not so keen on our fake money business."
Bennet passed Xavo the note, who read it, mumbling each word aloud in the manner of men reading their second language.
"Puta madre," he said, throwing the note down. "Who is this who tries to stop us?"
Bennet got up, looked around. "Don't know, doesn't say."
Beyond the town nearby a ways and some shrubbery over the lip of a small valley, there was nowhere for an ambusher to hide.
"But it seems to me like we should leave."
Bennet had barely spoken the words when small explosions in the sand caught his eyes.
Thuk, thuk, thuk.
The rifle cracks came to his ears a split second later and he dropped to the ground.
"Too late," he said to himself. "Looks like we have to shoot our way out."
Xavo cocked his two pistols, raised them close to his chest. "Si, and maybe only one of us will leave."
"Or neither of us."
And the two men returned fire in the direction of the gun-cracks, hoping to hit anything.