blood moon rising

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Westerns  |  House: Booksie Classic

a scummy bounty hunter gets more than he bargained for on a mission in the 1880s




Rex wished he hadn’t taken the job. He needed opium and tobacco but was it worth it to go to this bleak part of the desert? No it wasn’t. His horse had died from dehydration three days ago and now he was on his own. Frank “Beggar” Antilles, that was the piece of shit who had a bounty on his head. He had robbed 2 banks already and shot up a saloon just for fun. The Union wanted him dead or alive for $4000 and Rex needed the gig. But this desert was the last place he wanted to be in. He had heard rumors and knew, somewhere “they” were out there. Bleak heat during the day, and freezing cold at night Sidewinder’s Paradise was the end of the road. This is where the creeps ended up. A lot of bad people had done a lot of bad things out here and even an outlaw like Rex got freighted by the vibe the desert gave off. It was like death was hiding in a corner spying you. He had on his person a six shooter, his lucky rifle, a sack full of dried fruit and jerky, a ten inch long bowie knife and a map and compass. That was all of his earthly possessions and that was all he needed to stay alive.

Rex Durango had been a bounty hunter for 13 years. He had been in the army hunting Sioux before he went cold and was skilled at hand to hand combat. He got discharged for starting too many fistfights but he didn’t care he didn’t like fight indigenous people anyways. Manifest destiny? How are you going to discover a landmass that already had people on it of thousands of years? He was smarter than his superiors and they knew it too. He wasn’t meant to be part of a team anyways. He thrived at being solo. He had a scar across his face from his unpleasant encounter with a cougar and was a little bit underweight. He looked up at the stars. He hoped “they” hadn’t traced him.

The next morning wasn’t as bad as he thought it was going to be. He munched on the armadillo he a had caught and wiped the sweat off his forehead with his bandana. He pulled out his compass and spread his map in the sand. It was going to take two days to reach civilization if he took the main road but if he crossed through Sidewinder’s Paradise it would only take one. “They” were out there though…. He stood up he, he was going to risk it.

The sun beat down like a punch to the face, he could feel the heat weighing him down. He ruminated on how he took up this adventure in the first place. He had been in a bar in the town of Hope’s Rock when he saw the wanted poster on the wall. $4000 would be enough to survive on for the rest of the year. “Yea that surly bastard has to be put down” the bartender had told him. Rex knew Flint McKinney was on the trail, and Papa O’Shea was probably involved somehow but then were hacks and Rex was sure he’d get to Beggar first. It was late afternoon so he still had some time to find someplace where to hide out in over. He squinted ahead, over in the distance there was large rock formant with a small cave inside. That would be next on his course.

The rattlesnake hissed sharply in the fading sunlight. He gripped his hunting knife in his left hand like it was an extension of his body. He hated snake meat but this would hold him over so he wouldn’t run out of fruit and jerky. It snapped at his right boot and slashed the blade gleaming in the sun through its back. It twitched and rolled around as it bled out in the orange sand. Dinner was served.

About two hours later it was dark, the night sky bursting with stars. He was pretty good at reading the constellations and used them to find out what direction he would take next. Tonight though he was going to call it a day early. “They” were probably out on the hunt and he didn’t have any silver bullets, so just hanging around was the best course of action. He lay down under the rock and dreamed about the ocean

“Fill him up jocko!” a voice cut into his dreams. He bolted up knife in hand and saw that “they” had made a special guest appearance. There were three of them. The one in front was bald with sharp pointed ears and an expensive looking duster. His buddy on the left wore a button down work suit and a bowler derby. The one on the right wore a snake skin suit and a ten-gallon hat. They all had fangs. “Hello traveler” hissed the leader “Do you like to play games?” Rex had faced down Sioux assassins, grizzly bears, and a psycho trapper named Blood Courage but he was never scared of anything more than these three ghastly abominations. Rex stood tall. “I don’t want any trouble freaks, I’m a trained warrior, and you come at me you’re going to get what you payed for”. The leader swung his head and cackled in the starlight, it was like hearing the devil take a joke. “Sad mortal, doesn’t want to play…..oh boo hoo fellas, looks like we ran across one unhappy camper.” All three of them stared laughing, it sent chills down Rex’s spine they sounded like feral coyotes. Rex stepped backwards and said nothing, these things were unkillable as the legends told but if he could stall them to sunrise he might get out alive. Rex spit into the sand “Fuck you ghouls, I’ll play your game, tell me the rules” The leader stuck out his hand “Hester Virani, glad to make your acquaintance with me on the right is Fargo Bleacher and to my left Sue Honey. Don’t let the name fool you Sue could brush his teeth with your blood and come back for seconds.” Sue smiled glaring all of his fangs, the freak loved the anticipation. “Now are you sure you want to play with us? The outcome could get very nasty very quickly.” “Let’s rock and roll you undead scum suckers” Rex spit again. “OK chaps’’ purred Hester “Here are the rules. I roll the dice you call it lower than what comes up  we take a step back, if you call out a number and I roll higher we take a step forward for your uncanny doom, you paying attention sweetheart?” “Yea I got it” mumbled Rex. “Excellent” beamed Hester “Let’s see what fate has in store for you”. Rex barked at the monstrosities. “I call ten!” Hester threw the dice into the sand one landed on three the other on five. “Well well well” steamed Hester looks like lady luck has found a suitor” The three freaks stepped back after Hester picked the dice out of the sand. “Go again brave heart?” Rex frowned “sure, I call six” Hester tossed the dice one landed on five the other on four. “Well lookie lookie, who’s got a cookie” snarled Hester the three freaks stepped forward. Rex clenched his fists “roll again you disgusting twerp, I call seven”. The die were cast both landed on four. The freaks stepped ever closer. “Who’s invited to the party Rexy-poo?” Hester was ecstatic “Five” barked Rex the die fell in to the sand, snake eyes. The freaks growled and stepped back. Rex wasn’t fooling around “I call seven you goons” The die came up five and six. The freaks marched forwards. “Again!” Rex yelled “I call six” the die fell about one red four, the other five. The freaks lurked ever closer. “Roll again you dammed fools” Rex piped up. “I call eight” The dice told no lies and rolled up five and six. The freaks were almost there. “Again!” roared Rex “I call nine!” The dice were set five and five. The freaks were almost upon him. He screamed one more time. “SIX GODDAMN IT” the dice rolled back three and two. The freaks stepped back and were horrified to see the sun coming up. “NOOOOOO” wailed Hester. “IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SO EASY!!!!!!!’’ as the sunlight peaked the threes freaks boiled up in smoke then burst into flames. Rex laughed at their skeletons crumbled into the sand. “Greedy vampires, playing children’s games.” He ran away from the mess, catching Beggar was going to be a piece of cake.

Submitted: July 04, 2022

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