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.

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