The Black Riders

Honcho trotted along beneath me, the tap of his hooves echoing off the walls of the buildings on either side of me. The sound echoed, alone, in the still air of late afternoon.

I frowned, turning in my saddle to peer first left, then right. Where were all the people? Dry Creek was never going to be anything more than a small town, a stop for soldiers headed out towards the Southwest border, but it still felt alive and bustling compared to my home out on the ranch.

I thought back to the last time I’d visited, several months ago. There’d been some big fuss about a big-name bandit being caught, about to go up on the gallows. I wouldn’t have minded seeing that, but I had to get back to the farm, soon as I picked up the supplies for my da. Continue reading

Facing Death, Part III

Continued from Part II, here.

So, I’m dead. And that’s not the surprising part.

No, it’s more surprising that Death has shown up to claim my soul. Literally. I’m apparently not off to Heaven or Hell, but following him.

If I don’t seem too upset about this, well, it’s because I’m not. I had reasons for doing what I did in life, but they seem kind of flimsy, now. If I had to go up and face judgment in front of God and all his angels, I’m pretty sure I can guess the inevitable outcome.

So tailing around after a seven-foot skeleton in a black robe and carrying a scythe doesn’t seem quite as bad as facing eternal torture in the fires of Hell. Continue reading

Facing Death, Part II

Continued from Part I, here.

The tiny, single little speck of everything, everything that contrasted against the overwhelming blackness of oblivion, wavered for a moment. I waited for it to go out, or maybe just shift into the Hell where I was pretty certain that I’d end up, despite my last words.

It didn’t do so, however. I clung to it, not quite ready to disappear into nonexistence quite yet. It flickered, twitched – and then, incredibly, started to swell…

It kept on swelling, growing larger, until it challenged the sea of black nonexistence in which it floated. It grew larger until it dominated that emptiness, consumed it and occupied it with itself. I felt like I was trapped against a wall by a force, impossible to resist as it grew larger and larger, pushing me to flatness between the wall of nothing behind me and the bubble of everything in front of me… Continue reading

Facing Death, Part I

“An’ now, here’s the poor sumbitch himself, ready to face justice fer his crimes!”

I heard someone shout something, but the bag over my head muffled the words. I felt a palm impact sharply with my back, knocking me forward. My foot hit the wooden step in front of me, and I staggered, nearly pitching forward.

Thankfully, the hand behind me grabbed the back of my collar, kept me from toppling down. Good thing, too, since they’d bound my hands. No chance of escape, not this time. I was pretty much well and truly screwed. Wouldn’t be walking away from this one. Continue reading