Archive for the Horror Category

An Ode to the Dearly Departed IX

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Western on June 25, 2012 by GuNNhead

Season slowly creeps up the darkened stairs, fireworks popping in the distance. The shuffling gets louder. She hears a groan behind a door that’s slightly open. She knows no-one’s working right now, so she slowly pushes it open, but in a flash of light she is beset upon, and taken into the darkened room with nary a sound.

Just outside the graveyard, Eric stops by the pyre for the stranger, and sees the shadowed figures mourning their lost son. The mother is kneeling down on her son’s grave, the father stands closely over her. Something is wrong however, a flash of fireworks light reveals. The grave has been dug up. The mother is holding her son in her arms, sobbing. Then, screaming. The father begins to move, but Eric notices a hand raise out of the ground, and grab the father’s ankle, sending him tumbling down. Old Gus erupts from the ground, and begins to feast. The young apprentice takes off running back to the town.

In a room in the second floor of the saloon, Season’s mouth is let go of.
“Oh god please don’t eat me.”
“Don’t worry nothin about that, sweet-heart, just tell me where your little friend got my gun?”
“Who are you? What gun? What friend?”
“Red hair, red dress, a little taller than you. Seemed to think plenty of her self.”
“Oh, that’s just Maggie, she owns this place, got it from her dad.”
“Your friend Maggie stole my gun; walked into the Sheriff’s station not long after I got locked up, and took it. Laughed and left me there to rot.”
“She ain’t too trustworthy to men, but I don’t know a thing about any guns that ain’t my own. Don’t know why she’d want anything to do with some rando’s gun either.”
“This ain’t no time for games.”
“Way I see it, according to you, this is exactly the time for games.”
“How so?”
“Well, I have my gun pointed at your knee, you seem to be missing yours, so if you wanna walk outta here, stranger, lets just relax. I didn’t steal anything from you, I can understand your anger. Tell me about yourself, maybe?”

Outside, the Gunsmith’s apprentice is unable to find the Sheriff. Panicked, he uses his key to hide inside the locked gunsmith’s store beside the Sheriff’s office. He slams the door, and runs up the stairs of the residential main floor, and into the upstairs workshop. Guns line the walls. He hides in a cupboard.

A few jiggers and a conversation in a bedroom of the saloon has brought two strangers to an auspicious understanding. The fireworks have reached their zenith during the exchange and the town is quiet again.
“Why would these things come here though?”
“No telling, still don’t know why they attacked my old town. I reckoned they were after me, but the Six-Shooters seemed surprised to see me. Otherwise, these things, they seem pretty mindless, so I’d say they’re attracted to those dang fireworks. Alls I can say is that, whoever’s raising them up, they must have a pretty big reason.”
“Then it looks like we need to get your gun back, Kurt.” With no idea of where to go to find Maggie, they head out the back way.
“C’mon, the gunsmith’s shop is just by the Sheriff’s, but you wouldn’t guess it from the ground floor.” They sneak behind the buildings, and make it to the gunsmith’s. They hear some movement inside.
“What was that?”
“Must be the apprentice pickin up some things. Gunsmith’s sister was bitten today.”
“Yeah, it’s probably what you think.”

An Ode to the Dearly Departed VIII

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Western on June 22, 2012 by GuNNhead

The door closes with a loud slam. The Sheriff walks towards the center of town a bit, when Maggie cuts him off.
“Maggie, a big thanks to you, though I find your aid a bit out of the ordinary.”
“Too many crazy things been happening today, and I saw him sneakin ’round back; wanna feel safe in my own town, y’know? Plus, I should be gettin some of that bounty. How’s Gloria?”
“Hurm, um, well, that’ll be- I’m not sure how she is. I was about to head there now, see if they need help, I think Ma Perkins brought one of her some food. You just enjoy the fireworks, tend to your bar. Season’s probably bored dealing with the George and the few drunks who don’t enjoy the spectacle and dancing.” Maggie goes into the crowd watching fireworks, but keeps an eye on where Thron goes.

“Hello?” Sheriff Thron bellows into the Pastor’s house. Food all over the floor, but no-one’s in. He walks next door to the chapel, inside, there’s the gunsmith’s apprentice sitting in the pews.
“Eric, how are ya boy?”
“Oh, hey, Sheriff Hal, I’m alright, though I reckon I should be a bit more disturbed. Mrs. Astaire, I’ve never seen anyone like that. She nearly ate everything in the house before Mr. Astaire got back. Ravenous, a frightening crazy in her eyes, but don’t tell Mr. Astaire or Mr. Broming I said that.”
“Sure thing, kid, they in the back?”
“Yup, can I go now?”
“Yeah, go on and enjoy yourself.” He runs out the door. Thron heads to the back. The two men are sitting on either side of a bed in a small back room of the church.
“Howdy, fellers. I see she finally fell asleep?”
“Yup, musta needed a whole mess of food to help fight the infection.”
“The good lord will get us through this.”
“And Ma Perkins?”
“Brought some stew for her, nice and hearty. Took care of her for a bit, but Gloria wasn’t acting herself, Ma just had to go. Asked her to close up the shop instead to help me and the boy out.”
“Merle, ya mind if I grab you away for a sec? Somethin I gotta talk to you about, about the shop.”
“Couldn’t you have asked the boy?”
“‘Fraid it was a little big of a decision for him, but it’ll only be a moment.”
“I’m stayin right by my sister till she’s well. Darn peeved I wasn’t told until I went looking for my apprentice. If you gotta say somethin, say it here or go, the preacher’s about to do an exorcism.”
“Ah, nevermind it then, I’d reckon it can wait. Good luck.” The Sheriff leaves the two desperate men to allow them to try all they want. Life and death aren’t meant to be interfered with.

Outside, he stops on the front steps of the church, and sits with Eric, the gunsmith’s apprentice. They watch the fireworks for a bit and contemplate the day’s events.
“I’m gonna need a big favor of you Eric, but I also want you to check up on the Pipers first, bring em in to town. I think they’re still in the graveyard, mourning the loss of their boy.”
“Yeah, they are, I knew him; death is a weird thing, Mr. Thron. What’s this big favor?”
“I’m still mullin it over, run off now.”

Inside the saloon, Season stops tending the bar, hearing an odd shuffling noise upstairs between the explosions in the sky. She pours herself a shot of whiskey quickly for courage, and begins to go upstairs to inspect it.

An Ode to the Dearly Departed VII

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Western on June 18, 2012 by GuNNhead

He looks through the windows from the back alleys. From the first floor they’re all too dark, just appear to be houses, but he comes upon one house, and on the opposite wall, there is a large ammo supply shelf. Locked, but well labeled. He opens the window, and as he’s lowering himself in, a smell hits him; distracted, he slips on the wet floor. Water, nothing more. He gets up, and cracks open the doors to the ammo cabinet with the but of his gun. He refills his ammo, and starts back out the window.

“Don’t move… Alright, now remove that pistol you got there, and put your hands up. Turn around.” Responding to the voice’s commands with the cocking of a gun backing them up, he does so. With more light flooding in from the outside, he realizes that this isn’t the gunsmith’s, but the jail, and he’s facing the sheriff square in the eyes.
“It’s not what you think, somethin I can’t explain is goin on.”
“That’s too bad, because you really needed to be doin some explainin right now.” Sheriff Thron motions to the cell with his pistol. The stranger starts getting in the cell, knowing he’s beat.
“Hah, who knew it’d be this easy to make so much money, wanted men just linin up inside my jail.” He sifts through wanted posters. “There we go, ‘Red’ Reed Thomson, you’re quite the murderer.”
“That may look like me, but it ain’t me, I’m no murderer, in another life I used to be known as Kurtis Kelvin”
“Kurtis Kelvin, the famous lawdog? So, even though you’re a dead ringer for this here killer, comin to town after some psycho cannibal, you’re the youngest lawman there was, and damn near tamed the west before you were 20, before I was even born, before you were killed? You can understand your story don’t exactly match up to the facts.”
“Yeah, the lawman died, had to. Sometimes it’s all too much for one man.”
“What happened?”
“Settled far out, down in some nowhere town south of the border. I changed my name, and they stopped lookin, or so I thought. Guess they had more than one contingency, putting posters up in case I ever came back. Guess no place is far enough to escape the evil of man…”
“So what brings you here? Evil?”
“These damn dead, rose up outta the ground, outta the horizon, killed mosta everyone in the town while I’d gone for supplies. Someone knew I was there, had to. The buried came back, but not as they were. No, these things were decomposing, shambling wrecks. Even the ones those things ate up, or just the bit. The folks in my town ate each other, sheriff, all dead, mindless. Except for six of em. The Six Shooters, men I’d killed, all back again, a gang of outlaws. Now, unless dead men can bring themselves back to life, there’s no telling who’s in charge, commanding them, but they have the power to bring back the dead. No way the real Six Shooters would have just tossed me in a ravine, they’da shot me dead.”
“Well that’s just the loveliest story, what with knowing the laws, I hope you understand while I keep you locked up in here till we can get some facts sorted out.”

An Ode to the Dearly Departed VI

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Western on June 15, 2012 by GuNNhead

That evening, not many people are inside the bar yet. Maggie steps outside just as the sun is about to set, and lights a cigarette. Season handles the current customers drink orders as the only girl at the saloon to not service the other requests of the patrons. Outside, Maggie is the first to see another stranger is on the horizon from the gates to the city. Thinking about the Preacher’s personal lecture from today on ‘what she’s supposed to do’ she runs up to the stranger. Something about him catches her eye, she looks around to notice no others have spotted him. She secretively takes him in through the back door of the bar. She brings him some water and food. He drinks and eats a little, then passes out from exhaustion. After an hour or so has gone by, the sun has well set, and most people have drunk enough to head out into the center of town for the festivities, she walks into the backroom. Seeing him still asleep, she removes his gun, and admires the hilt. A loud explosion startles her and wakes him up, he quickly grabs his gun from her hand, spinning and holstering it.

“Who are you, what was that, and don’t touch my gun. These are not questions.” She casually backs away and rolls her eyes, as if exasperated and insulted by his in-hospitality towards her attempt at stealing his gun.
“Oh, please, it was just the fireworks, town started the second night of its anniversary celebrations early. I was just coming back here to check on you, you dropped passed out in front of my bar.”
“Your bar? What town is this?”
“That’s a nice gun you have, mind if I ask where you got it?”
“Yes, I mind.” He gets up to leave.
“The town’s called Harked Node.” The stranger turns around.
“That it?”
“Well, you can’t go out, I was the only one to see you, but this town ain’t in much favor of strangers today. One came in what was crazy and-”
“Look, I don’t rightly reckon that I care, I need to talk to someone who can help me.”
“Help you do what?”
“Where’s the gunsmith?”
“Few buildings down, but he’s not in, he’s tending to his sister with the Preacher. His apprentice is probably watching the fireworks.”
“Any place with ammo or a horse, maybe a map?”
“It’s all closed, I suggest you stay here with me tonight, in the morning things can be sorted easier, without all the commotion and excitement.”
“You got ammo here?”
“Hmm, then it seems that you’re all worthless to me. Thanks for the food and water, but I have vengeance to tend to.” He walks out of the back door, leaving her standing there. As long as he’s still in town, she doesn’t much care anymore.

An Ode to the Dearly Departed V

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Western on June 13, 2012 by GuNNhead

They stare at the eviscerated remains of Old Gus next to the headless corpse. The Sheriff holsters his gun.
“See, told ya. Lets just go grab two coffins.” They walk outside to a small group of townsfolk gathered to see what the commotion was. The Sheriff removes his hat, holds it over his heart, and addresses the crowd.
“That stranger what come here was a loon, a cannibal. He faked dead, and got old Gus. I took care of it. I suggest you all disperse unless you’ve a strong stomach and are willing to help.” The Doc simply motions for the gunsmith’s apprentice to run and get the Preacher. As he runs off to the church, two local men step up to help with the coffins and the dead. Soon the two bodies are in coffins just outside the sheriff’s office, but the preacher still has not arrived. Another crowd has gathered and dispersed at the sight and smell.

Inside the Preacher’s house, he is tending to his wife. Water with a facecloth for the fever. He prays for her. She’s boiling hot. The errand boy tentatively watches over them from the doorway. The priest knows he must attend to his duties outside. The Lord’s work. Before long, his poor wife falls asleep, and he leaves the trustworthy townsboy to look after her while he leaves to attend to the decisions of the dead.

“Sorry I’m late, Sheriff, that bite must have given my sweet Gloria such a fright, her nerves are shot. She was practically in hysterics.”
“Well, we all know how fragile lady folk can be. You left the boy to watch over her?”
“Yup, the boy and the good Lord. Now, what’s the problem here, that stranger die?”
“More than that, he killed Gus.”
“Ah, god dammit. I’ve been telling you Sheriff, we need more defences against strangers. Only need the righteous and the virtuous, that’s how a town prospers. It’s these godless heathens ruining the expansion of the west.”
“I don’t need more of this bullshit, Preacher, you know most everyone here believes in their own thoughts. It’s actions, not beliefs that shape the west. Most of the men I’ve killed for this town have come claiming religiosity or some sort of inspired divinity. Shoulda been lockin em up for insanity spoutin that nonsense, but the blood on their hands and the cruelty in their hearts show through their words eventually. Good men don’t need a higher power. It’s these people who look to you, not me.”
“Well, then let’s just calm some people and offer what reassurances I can. It’s already been quite a day.”
“The people are at least askin you do some sort of blessin on the stranger before we seal em both up.”
“I say we burn the sick bastard, no way he’s gettin buried in this town.”
“After I see what he did to my wife, I can’t rightly nor righteously recommend any alternative. Gus’ll get a good, honest Gozerian burial, as was his wishes, but no man harms my wife.” The Preacher stays with the men as they bring the coffins to the cemetery.

They start the fire right away, just on the outside of the graveyard. A few men work quickly and soon old Gus’ grave is dug a few feet deep. He had made his own coffin already. The preacher performs the ritual for Gus, and he is buried. But there was another recent death with a funeral planned for today, a young child. This one’s parents stand and cry, they cannot believe that their only child has died. It’s a sad day for the town that just turned a year old.

Once the bodies are fully buried, and they are patting down the dirt upon them, the preacher turns his attention to the last coffin outside the gates.
“It’s time to cast this heathen cannibal into the fires beyond this world. I told you, Sheriff, outsiders are dangerous, we’ve only been here a year.”
“Preacher, I know it’s best to stay apprehensive, there’s a lot of folks out there, but if a town is to grow, it needs citizens. In the end that’s the Mayor’s call, setting up blockades and turning away folks is the prime way to make this into an outlaw town.”
“Sheriff’s right, preacher, everyone’s a stranger till they’re your neighbor. Still, after the events of today, I think it’d be best as to have some way of keeping our people safe for the festivities tonight. Not lettin anyone in isn’t a welcome way to celebrate, but to keep an eye out and keep us safe is required. Sheriff, I’ll be lookin to you to take care of this. We don’t want a repeat of this morning.”
“I’ll go around now tellin people to make sure to have the Sheriff be the first to talk to strangers. By divine right, they’ll listen to me. Anything to keep people safe from another attack like my Gloria”
“That’s a good idea Preacher, I’ll help with that while the Sheriff prepares, so you can get back to your wife faster.”
“Well, I ain’t got much to prepare in mind, so I’ll try to think up some things, clear my schedule for the evening so I can get a solid open patrol going around the town.”

An Ode to the Dearly Departed IV

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Western on June 6, 2012 by GuNNhead

[3 Days Earlier]

Seven men stand on a tall ridge. One of them doesn’t belong. His legs are just about finished being tied together. He can hear the rushing rapids a great distance below him.

“You stupid fucking pieces of shit. Don’t you see that you’re already dead? In the west, a man’s only good as his word, his word’s only as good as his gun; I’m the best, good will prevail.”
“You damn fool, in the west, ain’t nobody good.” They secure the burlap sac over the man’s head, and kick him off the cliff edge into the ravine.

His body thrashes around in the rapids, shocked by the cold after being marched through the desert tied to a horse. Taken downstream, he hits a few rocks, but manages to stay above the water. With his hands and legs tied together, his exhausted energy doesn’t last long with his gear weighing him down. The rope trailing behind his legs gets caught on some branches under the water, and stops his flow further down river. He manages to get his hands towards his boots, and uses his spurs to cut the rope. He is almost through when the branch snaps, and the current overpowers him, sending him head-first into a rock.

He awakes some time later with a facefull of thorns and coughing up water, but he’s still breathing. The ropes on his hands have become free from the cutting. He removes the burlap bag over his face that saved his skin from the sun while laying on the small shore. As he removes it, the barbs come with it. He makes his way out of the mud and onto some sand, untying his feet. He hops down to the mud again, and picks up his other boot, pouring water out of his. Back on the sand, he puts it on and takes further inventory. Holsters, guns, and ammo belt, all empty, but all still there. He stands up, and keeps following the river, it is much calmer now.

Following the flow of water over the next nights it eventually calms even more, turning into a stream. He sees a bridge that crosses the gap between the raised land carved by water of years gone by. Under the bridge he sees a figure in its shade. He approaches cautiously, trying to make out what it is, but cannot quite make it out. Apprehensive and out of bullets, he still removes his pistol. The sun shines off his empty gun. As he gets closer, he finds that it’s a fallen horse. He slowly approaches it, and taps it with his boot to see whether it’s is alive or not. Moving its head with his gun reveals only decay, partially eaten by mudcrabs, must have been here a day or so. He opens the saddlebag, and begins searching for ammo, food, anything. Nothing. With a sigh of disappointment, he heads up a small path and onto the bridge.

He sees smoke rising off in the distance. The sun doesn’t look too bad. Whatever that fire is, lost and tired, he knows it’s his only hope of a chance. He unties the wet burlap sack from his holster, protects himself from the sun, and starts walking out into desert on the new, barely visible path.

An Ode to the Dearly Departed II

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Western on June 1, 2012 by GuNNhead

On the quick walk down main street, Doc is stopped outside Bar Romero by the local saloon girl.
“Doc, hey Doc!”
“Oh, Maggie! How’s everyone’s favorite saloon gal?”
“I’m doin just fine, word has it there’s a stranger what came into town just now.”
“Yup, headin to the Sheriff’s office to fix him up, he wasn’t on horseback, so he’s probably in pretty rough shape.”
“Mind if I tag along?”
“I don’t think he’s your type a man, Mag, he bit Gloria somethin fierce.”
“He sounds like exactly my kinda man.”
“Now, Maggie, differences aside, you just mind the saloon till we know more about him, alright?”
“Yeah, okay Doc.”
“I’ll stop by later, no need to worry your pretty head, I’ll patch this guy up as good as new.”
“Thanks, I’ll see you later, and have somethin’ cool and perspirin’ ready for ya”
“You’re a doll, Mag.”

Outside the Sheriff’s Office, Mr. Rumpert sits impatiently beside the open door.
“George, what’re you doin’ outside the Sheriff’s office, ain’t ya supposed ta be gettin a haircut?”
“Oh yeah, well, I helped bring in the stranger, just warnted ta see what was up, I gots a weird feelin’ ‘bout this, Doc.”
“I guess I meant doin sittin outside.”
“Oh, well that new feller stinks somethin fierce, ne’er smelt somethin’ so bad in all my days.”
“Where’s the Sheriff?”
“He just went to Miss Vicky’s to git some o’ that there pot-porry, persn’ly, I think he’s takin a shinin’ to her. Might be a while.”
“Well, with the Sheriff, I have little doubt many women’ve taken a shinin’ to him as well. I guess I better take a look at this guy anyhoo.”
“Sure, go on in, he’s locked up tighter than the barmaid.”
“Yeah, thanks, George, you better go get that hair cut, you’ll find out soon enough how he’s doin, way word travels around here.”
“Yeah, I reckon you’re right.”

The Doctor walks inside, and immediately holds his monogrammed handkerchief up to his face, covering his nose. He sees the man in the cell, propped up against the wall and the bars. His face is leathery, and he appears to be unconscious. The Doc puts down his bag of tools and tinctures and slowly approaches him, bending down. Taking a knee, he carefully reaches in between the bars, to check for a pulse on his neck. He pulls back, holding back a gag from the smell, before repositioning himself in case he actually vomits, so he won’t vomit on himself or the man; though, he thinks, that might actually make him smell better. His hand goes back in between the bars; a bead of sweat drips down his forehead, and between his glasses, down his face. His index finger touches the sunburnt skin on the neck of the man.

“What?” The Doc, startled, pulls his hand back. “Oh, it’s just you, Sheriff.”
“Well who’d ya think it’d be, the boogerman? I just went to get some smellsgood next door, it’s worse than death in here.”
“You’re tellin’ me.”
“So what’s the verdict?”
“I was just gettin around to checkin his pulse, he don’t seem to be breathin.” The Doctor turns away from the Sheriff, and reaches his hand back in towards the man, and places it upon his neck.
“Hmm,” he looks away, down towards his watch, and counts…

“Well, that’s fifteen seconds. I’m sorry, Sheriff, this man’s dead.”
“Musta been the dehydration, or sun.”
“Probably, I’ll check for wounds after once we’re outside, let’s go down to old Gus, get a coffin for this poor fella, nothin’ I can do for him.”