The cowboy, the horse, and the Scorpion
by nathaniel lee
Illustrated by Martin Koza
Zombie Cowboy by Martin Koza

Vincent woke up with a scorpion on his nose. He blinked and tried to focus his eyes on the waving stinger. He moved very slowly as he reached for his hat.

"Careful," said Horse. "You've got a scorpion on your face." He whickered in amusement.

With one questing hand, Vincent found his dirty Stetson. He took a deep breath to steady himself, then, in one swift motion, scooped the arachnid away with the gently curved brim. The stinger plunged down, but caught only fabric.

Horse pawed at the ground. "Did you know they glow in the dark? Shine a black light outside some night and watch them."

Vincent rolled to a sitting position, holding his hat in both hands. The scorpion was busily extracting its stinger, presumably for another assault.

"Fat lot of help you was," Vincent said. "Don't tell me you didn't see the little creeper coming up on me in the night. I know them eyes of yours."

Horse shook his mane — pure white, like the rest of him — and snorted.

Seeing little benefit in pursuing the conversation further, Vincent set his hat carefully on the ground and set about the task of breakfast, bringing the previous night's embers back to full flame and fetching his smoke-blackened kettle and previous night's bag of coffee.

"There's a Holiday Inn two miles up the road," Horse pointed out.

"I'm tryin' to keep the spirit of the thing, you god-damned lame-brained mule," Vincent snapped. "What do you care, anyhow? You'd have to spend the night in the garage pretendin' to be a motorcycle."

"Merely cataloguing your oddities for the inevitable mental breakdown. Your psychologist will be interested."

Vincent picked up his pack and heaved it onto Horse's back. He buckled on the gun belt that held his twin pistols. He kicked dirt over the fire pit and went to pick up his hat. The scorpion still clung to the brim, waving its claws in warning.

"Tenacious critter, ain't he?" Vincent pinched the scorpion by the tail and lifted it away. "I like a fellow what ain't afraid to stake a claim." He settled his hat on his head and climbed one-handed into the saddle. "Hyup. Let's go, Horse. Lot of ground to cover before sundown."

"You're not keeping that thing, are you?" Horse started trotting across the dusty ground. It was a half-mile to the highway, where he could really open up.

"I think he's cute." Vincent dropped the scorpion onto the back of his hand. It stood a moment, stunned.

"It'll sting you."

"So? What can it do, a little thing like that? I'm immortal, ain't I?"

"It could make your gun hand swell up and hurt like hell for two weeks. Just because it won't kill you doesn't mean it can't make you miserable."

"Ow." Vincent looked down, where a red welt was already forming. "Well, let's hope I ain't allergic." He chivvied at the scorpion with his other hand. "C'mon, now, fella; I'm tryin' to be nice here."

"You can't train a scorpion, Vincent." Horse never sounded out of breath, even when he was running full-tilt. "It'll sting you every time. It's what they do."

"Mebbe no one's ever given 'em a chance to do better."

Horse could sneer with only the set of his ears. He did so now.


Horse whickered again. Vincent picked the scorpion up and put it back on top of his hat brim, where it couldn't reach his skin. He held onto the pommel as Horse picked up speed and tried to enjoy the ride.


"Here we are," said Vincent. "Rattlesnake, Nevada."

"And who was it that was doing the traveling? You don't have to tell me where we are."

Vincent tugged a glove on and tilted his head. The scorpion fell into his palm and immediately attempted to sting it. "Ride's over, little buddy," he told it. "We'll stow our gear and get to business. Gotta get the job done before all Hell breaks loose. We got till sundown, I reckon."

"I think this is my first resurrection trip. Are they usually strenuous?"

"Depends." Vincent slid off of Horse's back and retrieved the packs. He put the scorpion on a nearby rock. "Problem is, see, that the dead ain't here no more, and if they wanna get to here from there, they gotta come through a door. Thing about doors is they ain't selective."

"You're worried about hijackers?"

"Naw, but I think somethin' might push through along with old Eli."

"I'd have thought that the passage between worlds would be more of a semi-permeable membrane, something like the lining around a cell nucleus." Horse pawed the ground thoughtfully.

"Yeah, well." Vincent checked and cleaned his guns. They were very old, but they shone like new. Their names were Truth and Justice.

"You don't even know what that means, do you?"

"What I know is you are the god-damned lippiest demon I ever got saddled with."

"Pun intended?"


"Never mind." Horse blinked slowly. "I'm not a demon, Vincent. You would know if I were."

"Might as well be, for all I know about it."

"Water does not ask why it flows to the sea."


"You made your choice when you picked up your weapons."

Vincent spun the chamber, flipped the revolver shut, and tucked it away. "You know what? I'm just gonna go talk to the scorpion some more. At least that boy makes sense."

"Shouldn't we find the grave site and begin preventative measures?"

"I know where I buried the cold-hearted bastard. I can find it again. Besides, I need some coffee."


A short while later, Vincent and Horse stood over a pristine mini-mall parking lot. The setting sun sent their shadows reaching across the asphalt, black on black.

"Sonuvabitch," said Vincent.

"Is he still under there?"

"How the hell should I know?"

"We'd better find out fast."

Vincent shaded his eyes with his hand. "Gee-up, Horse. We'll ask that lady fair over yonder."

A slender girl was leaving the Fashion Bug, waddling behind a tremendous pregnant belly that seemed to belong to someone else. She looked up as Horse slowed to a halt, his hooves clattering on the pavement. Her eyes took on the brief panic and sudden lack of focus typical of victims of Horse's camouflaging powers. Vincent was used to speaking with distracted and confused people; apparently, it took a fair amount of brainpower to edit a horse out of reality before perception hit the conscious mind.

"Howdy, ma'am," said Vincent, tipping his hat politely. The scorpion fell off again, but he caught it deftly. It stung his wrist. "Ow. Can you point me to a place where a man could do a bit of readin' on history?"

"You mean... the library?"

"That'll do, most likely."

"The regional branch is down the highway about twelve miles." She pointed, but her eyes kept wandering back to Horse and flicking away. Vincent left before she could develop a serious mental block.

"It would be better to find an assayer's office, or the clerk of courts," said Horse.

"Library'll be able to show us the way to there, if'n we need."

"With your particular skill-set, I don't foresee the research proceeding quickly enough. The sun will be fully set in approximately seventy-three minutes."

"I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that."


At the library, a bespectacled twenty-something with a goatee was obliged to resurrect the near-archaic microfiche machine so Vincent could search the newspaper archives. "Are you looking for anything in particular?" he asked. "It's just... there are a lot of newspaper records since eighteen-eighty."

"Well, mostly I'm lookin' for a grave site. Fella name of Eli Carter. A real dog's asshole of a man, not that you'd care. Used to be there was a buryin' ground down the road a few miles, but it ain't there no more. I wanted to see if it got moved afore the construction."

"Hm. Tricky. I'm game, though. Here, check through these and these," the librarian said, handing over two handfuls of canisters, "and I'll see if I can pull up anything in the online archives. We've got a lot of it digitized. You said this was a rush job?"

"'Bout as urgent as things get," Vincent confirmed. "I would not be exaggeratin' to say that the immortal souls of the entire town could hang in the balance."

"Because of an old graveyard."


"You ever see Poltergeist?"

"I ain't much for the moving pictures. Ain't got time, mostly."

"Huh. Well, I'll do my best. Microfiche is over there." The man pointed to a bulky gray unit that hummed softly to itself in the corner. Vincent turned, and the man called after him, "Woah, hey, dude, you got a monster scorpion on your hat!"

Vincent waved dismissal and reached up to his hat brim. "Don't mind him. I think he's learnin'. Ow."

Vincent set his hat on the next table and gave the scorpion sole possession for a time, which the arachnid seemed to enjoy.

The machine whirred and clicked as Vincent fed in the film and scanned the yellowed pages on the screen. He rubbed at his clean-shaven chin as he watched the years spinning past in a blur of smudged ink and moldering paper. "Long road gone," he mumbled. A housefly bumbled by, fat and lazy in the library's still air. Vincent snapped out a hand and caught the pest. He deposited the dying fly on his hat and watched the scorpion skitter over and stab joyously. "Maybe I'd be better off if I was like you," he said. "A few hard-wired behavior patterns an' gone by the winter frost." His lips twisted. "Now that I think on it, it ain't much of a stretch, other'n the difference in life-spans."

The newspapers ran out with nary a peep about moving bodies or construction on the old boneyard. It just faded out of history, as though it had never existed. Vincent sighed, gathered up his research material, and paused when he reached for his hat. The scorpion stared at him, immobile.

"That fly was a peace offerin'. Friends, right?" He picked up his hat by the brim and placed it on his head. His fingers remained unstung.

Vincent whistled an old song as he returned to the reference desk. "No luck here," he told the librarian. "Don't suppose you found anything yourself?"

"Nothing about moving the graveyard, but I did find a photo of the construction site. He turned his computer monitor to face Vincent, whose brow furrowed as he examined the grainy image.

"Those goddamned fat-cats," Vincent said. "They didn't even check. That's the graveyard, right enough. All the markers was wooden, where there was any at all. Must've fallen and rotted and nobody thought to check on what the ground was afore they bought it. Right there," he tapped at the screen. "They just paved it over."

"That's rough," said the librarian. "So was he a relative of yours? Are you looking into your ancestry or something?"

"Naw. I shot him dead, but the ungrateful bastard's fixing to undo my hard work." Vincent squinted out the window, where the sun was half-sunk beneath the horizon. "Speakin' of which, I'd best get a move on or he'll manage it for certain."

"Okay. Good luck with that." The librarian shook his head as Vincent tugged his duster into place and strode outside. "This is going to make a great blog entry."


Vincent threw his hands around Horse's neck as they ran down the highway. The noise of the wind made conversation impossible; according to Horse, he could outpace most conventional machines without difficulty, and only Vincent's physical frailties prevented Horse from going even faster. Vincent simply kept his head down to avoid wind resistance and struggled to maintain his grip. They arrived back at the parking lot in minutes, with only the barest rim of the sun still showing.

"I'll establish a perimeter," said Horse. "I don't have time for a serious barrier, but I can corral the energies for a time. Try to end it quickly, before anything big enough to overload the fence comes through. I don't really know what we're dealing with, and the wider the net I cast, the bigger the holes."

"Y'know, I almost understood that," said Vincent, sliding to the ground and rubbing his wind-burned face. "I've been around this sorcerous mumbo-jumbo too long."

"I've been wondering... I know I am not your first companion. How many have there been?"

"One other." Vincent didn't look up.

"What happened to him, if you don't mind my asking?" asked Horse, beginning an odd sideways canter, scraping his hooves to leave scratches on the pavement. They formed a pattern of odd signs and symbols that glowed faintly with a life of their own.

"Et by a dragon. And she was a her."

"Dragons are... rare."

"You see a lot of funny things in this job." Vincent checked his guns again; fully loaded, as ever. He settled them on his hips, Truth on his left, Justice on his right.

"In the event that a similar misfortune should befall us tonight, I'd like to wish you good luck. And to thank you. I have learned much in my time here." Horse continued to mark the ground.

"Is that the point of all this rigmarole? Learnin'?"

Horse hesitated. "We are treading near to the questions I cannot answer, Vincent."

Vincent waved him off. "All right, all right. It ain't my place to know. I just wish I knew who I worked for sometimes." He paused and squinted to the west, watching the last beams of sunlight. "You been a pretty good horse, Horse. It ain't your fault you come into the story when you did, and I ain't been as good a master as I ought to."

"You are hard on yourself," Horse noted. His hooves sparked as he completed his circuit. "Perhaps that is as it should be." His voice and form both faded as the barrier took effect, sealing the parking lot atop the ancient burial ground away from the outside world.

Vincent didn't answer. He pushed back his coat and waited, ready to draw. The sun slipped beneath the horizon, and night fell almost audibly across the landscape. The streetlamps buzzed to flickering life, surrounded by moths and the swooping forms of bats in hot pursuit. The ground radiated back the heat of the day as the air grew cold, as though the sun truly were under the ground and warming it from beneath. Vincent breathed in through his nose and out through his mouth, keeping his mind focused. On the seventy-third exhalation, his breath came out in a frosty cloud. Overhead, the stars went out one by one.

Then all Hell broke loose.

The ground shuddered and bucked, the skin of the Earth rippling like a dog ridding itself of fleas. The black asphalt tore apart, revealing a tunnel into darkness. Red and yellow light played in the depths of the hole, in time with a pulsing, high-pitched keening, but if there was a fire, it was without heat. If anything, the hole seemed to draw in all the warmth from the air around it, rendering the cool night air icy. The tunnel's sides quivered like the Earth was gagging on a piece of rotten meat, and the air filled with the smell of an open sewer. One dark hand reached up and gripped the ledge of the broken asphalt. Another followed.

Vincent watched, but he did not draw his weapon. Not yet.

Slowly, as if pulling against tremendous weight, Eli Carter heaved himself back from the dead.

"Evenin', Eli."

Eli tottered upright, his gray flesh hanging in strips from his body. "Vincent," he said. He nodded. Something white and wriggling fell from an eye socket and onto the ground.

"Cold night fer it."

"Maybe so. Don't know as I mind overmuch, considering."

"I reckon you've come to kill me?"

Eli grinned, or at least grinned more than he already was. "And what else have I had to cling to, all these years? What other reason would I have to claw my way to the surface? You put me in the ground, Vincent, but I ain't of a mind to stay there. I aim to settle my accounts before I give up this life for good."

"Don't s'pose we could settle this over cards and drinks. They got liquor places open twenty-four hours 'round here."

Eli threw back his head and laughed heartily. There was a snap as he did, and his head flopped all the way to his spine, even as gobbets of brown and soupy meat fell from the bottom of his exposed ribcage. Vincent kept his hands still and his guns holstered. Eli reached back with his bony hands and carefully brought his head upright, settling it in place with a squelching sound. "You killed me, you asshole. You went over to the lawmen and you killed me for the money on my head."

"And I regret that, Eli, I truly do. I regret a lot of things. If I had it all to do over again, there's a whole heap I'd do different. But killin' you ain't one of them."

"Traitor! Bounty-chasing scum!" Eli's rotten features contorted, and he leveled an accusatory finger at Vincent. "You ain't no better'n I am, you holier-than-thou hypocrite. You've done everything I've done and worse besides."

"She died, Eli."


"You hit her in the head to keep her quiet and she died. Violence ain't an exact science. You gave her too much."

Eli's jaw flapped for a moment until he caught it up and wedged it back in place. "Well, that's a shame, but it ain't like I set out to kill nobody—"

"And what did you think happened to folks after you cleaned out their cash and rode off with their cattle?" Vincent's jaw tightened. "What did you think happened in the winter when they had no stocks, no money to buy food, and too much pride to beg?"

"I didn't... shit, Vincent, you used to ride with me!"

Vincent closed his eyes. "Like I said, there's some stuff I'd do different."

"I don't care about your reasons," Eli snarled. "All I care about is what you did to me. We'll do this proper, huh?"

"I don't want to duel you, Eli."


"Nah. I got a job now." Vincent displayed his badge, pinned inside his jacket. The metal glowed like the moon, even in the near complete darkness. The words inscribed on it shifted and flowed, never the same from the moment to moment. "Deputized, you might say. Been doin' it a while now, and it's given me a new perspective on a lot of things. I'm here to ask you a favor."

"He kills me and wants to ask a favor!" Eli appealed to the bats and mosquitoes as though expecting an answer.

"I'm gonna ask you to go back down of yer own will. I could send you there, but I ain't got the skill to close the door behind you. Not without risk."

"The hell I will! I came back for a reason."

"There's people here, Eli," Vincent said, gesturing to the parking lot and the dark storefronts. "A whole little town of 'em. I don't know 'em from Adam and neither do you — it's a different world than we come from — but they ain't a part of our struggle. Innocent, in this at least. If you stay, they're gonna die."

"Fuck 'em. I came back for you and for me. Mostly me."

Vincent sighed. "Had to ask."

Eli drew his rusted, pitted weapon from his holster, which fell to bits as he did. "Ten paces, turn and fire, and if you burn in the Lake of Fire for eternity, it won't be half long enough."

"Reckon not."

Vincent pulled his pistol and turned to stand at Eli's back, his hat brim brushing against the lank hairs that clung to Eli's skull. Vincent started counting paces. "One... two..."

Eli grinned hideously as he calmly turned around and took aim at Vincent's steadily retreating back. He thumbed the hammer. "Goodbye, trait— Jesus Christ!" Eli staggered back as the black scorpion sank its stinger into his one good eye. "Gah!" He snatched at his face and threw the tiny arachnid to the ground. He stomped down with a mildewed boot, and there was a soft and final crunch. Eli flicked the remains into the pit, which belched sulfurous fumes in response.

Vincent had thrown himself into a sideways roll at the sound of Eli's gun clicking. He recovered now and fired a single shot that took Eli in the kneecap.

"Eli, you stupid shit," Vincent said as Eli tumbled to the side.

"God-damned scorpion. The hell did that come from?"

Vincent shook his head. "Just when we were getting somewhere. Poor little fella." He rounded on Eli. "And you, you idiot. Now you gone and done a betrayal and a sacrifice in the presence of an open doorway to who-knows-where? Did your brains rot out of your head with everything else?"

"What are you babbling about?" Eli said, dragging himself away from Vincent's wrath.

The ground shivered, and the light from the hole turned a sickly green-white. Vincent drew his other pistol and dropped to a ready crouch, moving between Eli and the pit.

The ground around the hole flexed. Nearby streetlights sparked and went out, then tilted to the side with groans and creaks. One struck a car with a terrible crash of glass and metal. Another vehicle, caught on a rising hill, rolled over and smashed atop a third. The black asphalt seemed to melt, then harden into a shiny black carapace. One enormous claw ripped free, then another. Six more legs followed in close succession. At the far end of the parking lot, a streetlamp tore out of the ground, flowing into the rising asphalt until it became a wickedly curved stinger with glowing yellow poison dripping in sizzling globs from its tip. The complex mouth-parts churned several feet above Vincent's head.

"Sonuvabitch," Vincent muttered.

The massive, jet-black scorpion, its hide gleaming in the unhealthy glow from the pit, lunged with deceptive speed, pincer snapping towards Eli's skeletal form.

"No!" cried Eli. He fired his ragged gun, the bullets ricocheting from the scorpion's chitin with gray puffs of grave-dust. The claw was undeterred.

Vincent closed his eyes briefly, lifting his weapons to his lips. His mouth moved as if intoning a prayer. His eyes snapped open, and he leveled his guns and fired in a single, smooth motion. This time, rather than the simple bullet that had taken Eli in the leg, Truth and Justice spat pellets of shining blue light that impacted with concussive force, energy arcing out from the holes. Vincent fired four shots, two from each gun, and every shot sent the claw a little further off course, until it buried itself in the ground several feet from Eli. The surface of the claw was riddled with fractures, and the lower pincer snapped off as it struck, leaking pale fluid. Eli shrieked when it splashed on him and seared away at his arm and torso.

The scorpion shrilled in rage or pain and turned on Vincent. The hovering tail snapped forward, faster than the eye could follow. As before, Vincent was already leaping to the side, but even an immortal's foresight couldn't give his human reflexes enough of an edge. The stinger pierced Vincent's coat at the left shoulder and sent him rocketing backwards until he slammed into Horse's protective barrier. The field flashed brightly on a wavelength no human eye could see, its meager power overwhelmed by the arachnoid presence it struggled to contain. As it faded, Horse came back into view, a pallid ghost against the night.

"You didn't do it fast enough," Horse said. His voice was faint and tinny, as if it came from a vast distance. "The barrier won't take another hit like that."


"Shall I try for a banishment?"

Before Vincent could answer, the scorpion's remaining pincer swept forward and scooped him up. His guns fell from hands suddenly limp and unresponsive. Horse cocked his head as Vincent flew away.

"I'll take that as a yes. I want to note that I'm not at all confident in my chances of success. I'm a theoretician, not an engineer."

Vincent felt the burning pain in his shoulder fade to numbness, and he knew enough to be frightened by that. He struggled to move his hands, to pry at the vise-grip that held him, but only his right responded, and that weakly. His fingers tingled as his metabolism struggled to nullify the venom inside him, but he knew it would be too slow. He saw the delicate chelicerae of the scorpion's mouth draw nearer and nearer, and he felt the yawning despair of his situation.

He was immortal, after all. It couldn't kill him.

But maybe there were some things it wasn't worth living through.

There was a crack of gunfire, and the scorpion's mouth briefly disappeared in a gray ash-cloud. The pincer hesitated as the scorpion scuttled sideways to cast one of its eyes at the source of the interference. Its feet crumpled a car beneath it.

Eli was up on his bad elbow, leveling his gun right-handed at the scorpion's vulnerable eyes and mouth.

"Eli!" Vincent cried.

"Don't get me wrong," Eli rasped, firing off another shot. "I just want to kill you myself."

The scorpion rumbled and surged forward. It raised its mangled claw up high, preparatory to smashing the undead bandit where he lay. Eli's right leg was shattered and his left arm half-melted; he was in no position to escape.

Suddenly, the green-glowing pit flared blue, with hints of orange at its base. "There," said Horse from outside the dwindling barrier, "that ought to do it."

The scorpion's damaged claw was wrenched backwards as though caught in a powerful wind. White liquid and yellow-green sparks poured from it and were sucked into the hole, but the scorpion dug its remaining limbs into the ground and held firm. It launched its stinger at Eli, who was rolling desperately out of the way. The metaphysical drag threw its aim off and it struck nothing but dirt and shards of asphalt. Angered, the scorpion pressed with its other pincer and shook Vincent like an aspergillum. Vincent felt the sharp ridges begin to penetrate his flesh.

"I can't get a lock on it while it's embodied," Horse called. "You need to disrupt its composite structure so the inhabiting entity can be extracted."

"Ungh?" Vincent scrabbled with his right hand, as weak as damp tissue.

"Shoot it more."


Vincent looked down, blinking through the purple spots that flashed across his vision. Eli had hauled himself to the barrier and plucked up one of Vincent's guns.

"Catch!" Eli hurled the revolver like a discus.

Half-paralyzed and rapidly suffocating, Vincent put everything he had into a back-wrenching lunge. The hilt of the weapon landed in his right palm, sliding into place with preternatural precision. The touch was familiar, like a lover's, and Vincent was conscious that he had missed the guns even in the short moments they were gone. He suppressed a small shudder and attempted to focus. He pointed and fired, not caring where he hit, his consciousness fading. The gun cracked, a plain bullet that struck the joint of the arm holding him. The pincer relaxed slightly, and Vincent gasped for breath. He lifted the gun a second time and took careful aim, muttering the words that called it to power. Vincent saw that it was Truth he held.

"Sorry about this," he told the scorpion. "We've all got things we ain't got a choice about."

He fired, and the crackling blue energy smashed through one of the big central eyes. For a moment, the creature's armored thorax seemed lit from within, glowing cerulean from every overlapped crack and crevice. The scorpion went rigid, all its legs flying out, then curling tightly against its belly. Vincent went flying again, passing through the last shreds of the barrier spell to land with a teeth-rattling thump on the unblemished pavement outside.

The shattering of the scorpion's corporeal form left the monstrous arthropod vulnerable to the clutching suction of the pit. Flailing and thrashing with its one good pincer, it clawed uselessly at the ground as the hole opened wide to receive it. The tail shot out once, twice, trying to sting anything, or everything. The scorpion caught at a streetlamp and held with grim determination, even as the metal bowed and the concrete plug tore from the ground. Vincent caught the scorpion's gaze from one of its myriad eyes. He took off his hat and held it against his chest.

The metal gave way. Soundlessly, the scorpion fell, and the ground swallowed it up. Vincent closed his eyes.

There was a soft click beside his ear, and he felt a rusty gun barrel against his temple. "Eli," he said, without opening his eyes.


"Just wanted to say thanks for the help. You probably saved a lot of lives tonight."

"That it?"

"Still a cold night out."

Abruptly, Eli pulled the gun away and released the hammer with his thumb. "I'm probably out of bullets now anyway."

"You counted?"

"Nah." Eli worked himself to a sitting position. "Liquor and cards, you said?"

"And dancing girls, too."

Eli glanced down. "Don't know as but I might cause a scene out there."

"Horse can probably fix that. He's good at them glammery things." Vincent managed to get to all fours and had to stop. "Horse?"

"Yes, Vincent?"

"How's the hole?"

"You'll survive. I have reminded you of your undying state previously."

"I mean in the ground." Vincent rubbed at his temples.

"Ah. It's still there, but sealed, albeit temporarily. I would call it 'scabbed.'"

"Long enough for drinks and a show?"

Horse snorted with the effort of cogitation. "I would estimate that the leaking energies will become dangerous to passers-by in approximately eighty-six hours. Less if the source of the transdimensional irritation remains in the vicinity."


"That's you, Eli."


"You don't belong up here anymore. But how's a three-day vacation sound?"

Eli grinned until his jaw fell off. Vincent picked it up and handed it back.

"Deputized, huh?"

"Long story."

They rode off towards the distant lights, and the wind kept conversation to a minimum. Which was probably for the best.


The Cowboy, the Horse, and the Scorpion © 2011 Nathaniel Lee
Zombie Cowboy © Martin Koza