Daily Archives: February 25, 2016

Chapter 51 – How the West Was Zombed



“Aw hell,” Gunther said. “Take a walk, boys. Slade won fair and square.”

“I don’t care,” Rufus said, pointing at Jack’s corpse. “That man was my brother. And my cousin. He was my brother-cousin.”

“Who gives a shit?” Gunther asked. “Jack certainly didn’t give one about any of you. Hell, everybody knows he sold out Artie Buchanan’s whereabouts to Wyatt Earp for fifty dollars and a jug of moonshine.”

“That’s a goddamn lie!” Rufus said.

“Yeah,” Frank added. “It was two jugs of moonshine!”

“I got this,” Slade said.

“No you do not,” Gunther said. “Three against one! That’s not fair at all.”

“Get out of here,” Slade said.

Gunther didn’t budge. Doc, on the other hand, hightailed it back to Annabelle.

“What are you doing?” Annabelle asked. “Slade needs you!”

“Oh,” Doc said. “Do you think so?”

“Yes!” Annabelle said. “You taught him everything he knows!”

“Indeed I did,” Doc said. “But you heard the man, my dear. He wishes to bravely face this challenge on his own and who am I to step between a man and his destiny?”

Annabelle shoved Doc. “Get out there!”

Doc returned to the duo. “Ahem,” he said. “Yes, it seems I should very much like to back you up, Mr. Slade.”

“Atta boy Doc,” Gunther said.

“Don’t need it,” Slade said. “Don’t need either of you. Get lost.”

“Nothin’ doin’,” Gunther said. “There’s never been a day that I didn’t have a marshal’s back and I aint about to start now.”

“Yes, well,” Doc said. “I don’t recall ever being officially deputized so, good day gentlemen.”

Doc looked at Annabelle’s disappointed face and stayed put.

“Woman making you feel guilty, huh?” Gunther asked.

“Yes,” Doctor said. “She’s positively vile in the boudoir. I theorize she may be my soulmate.”

The crowd backed off to give the men room. The Buchanans fanned out in a line, each one ready to draw. Slade and his allies did the same. Doc faced Frank. Slade faced Rufus. Gunther faced Buck.

Every man drew and Doc produced his revolvers by flicking his wrists. The ancillary Buchanans weren’t half the gunslinger that Jack was. Slade and Gunther’s opponents were dead on the ground before they could even squeeze off a shot.

Doc’s shot missed its mark but pierced Frank’s hand, forcing him to drop his pistol. Frank and Doc stared each other down.

“Yield, sir,” Doc said.

With blood gushing out of his right hand, Frank eyeballed his gun as it laid on the ground. Doc fired a warning shot at Frank’s feet.

“Yield, sir!”

Frank dove for it. Doc fired and missed.

“Aw fuck this Queensbury rules bullshit,” Gunther said as he pumped a round into Frank before he could get his hands on the gun.

The crowd went wild. Cheers, applause, hoots and hollers.

Annabelle threw herself at Doc. “My hero!”

“Yes indeed,” Doc said. “Well what would this world be if men of impeccable character such of myself did nothing in the face of evil?”

“I told you I didn’t need you,” Slade said.

“I know,” Gunther said. “Maybe some of us need you. Maybe some of us might miss you if you were gone. You ever think of that?”

Slade struck a match and lit his cigar. “Thanks.”

“Holy shit,” Gunther said. “Rainer Slade thanking somebody. I might keel over from the surprise.”

The church door opened a crack. Sarah poked her head out. Relieved to see her groom alive, she rushed out to hug him. Slade removed his smoke to accept a long, passionate kiss.

It was followed by a slap across his face. “Don’t ever do that to me again!” Sarah cried.

With no woman to congratulate him, Gunther approached the bodies. Four men. Motionless. Lying there in pools of their own blood.

Slade rubbed the sore spot on his cheek.

“Are you trying to worry me to death, Rain?” Sarah asked.

“No,” Slade replied.

“You’re going to hang those guns up as soon as we get home and they’re never coming down again!  Do you hear me?”

Slade grunted.

Gunther only had the one eye, but it usually worked well. He worried maybe it was starting to fail him when he saw Jack’s foot twitch.

“No!” Sarah shouted. “No grunts! I want an answer!”

Defeated, Slade hanged his head down. “Yes ma’am.”

“Good,” Sarah said. “And put that cigar out! You know I hate those things.”

Slade sighed and threw his smoke to the ground.

“Don’t you sigh at me,” Sarah said.

“Yes ma’am,” Slade said.

Gunther saw Jack’s foot move again. He was sure of it.

“Hey Doc,” Gunther said.

Doc and Annabelle were indisposed, whispering horrible, horrible things to each other.

Jack’s foot twitched again. People in the crowd began to notice.

“Hey!” Gunther shouted. “Doc!”

“Yes?” Doc joined Gunther.

“You ever see something like that?” Gunther asked.

Doc watched as Jack’s foot shook all over.

“It’s not uncommon,” Doc said. “Before rigor mortis sets in, the muscles have been known to move in a reflexive manner.”

An eerie groan came out of Jack. “Ungghhhhh…”

“That however,” Doc said, “Is most unusual.”

Slade ducked out of his lecture to see what the fuss was all about.

Sarah followed. “Don’t you walk away from me, Rain! I’m not going to be a widow twice in my life! I am not!”

Jack’s entire arm raised up into the air. Then the other one. All the yahoos who had been checking out Jack’s body backed off in terror.

Slade pulled his pistols. “What the…


Jack sat up. His eyes had gone blank. He growled and snarled. His jaw chomped up and down.

Rufus moved. Then Buck. Then Frank.

Slade finished his thought. “…fuck.”

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Chapter 50 – How the West Was Zombed

“Gentlemen, place your bets!”

Over a hundred people came out to watch Slade square off against Smelly Jack. They lined up along both sides of the street, looking for a good spot to watch the fight. Blake saw an opportunity to make some dough. He waved a stack of bills in the air.

“What’s the action?” Townsend asked.

“Jack’s a shoo-in,” Blake said. “But the odds of Slade living through this are a thousand to one!”

Townsend forked over a ten spot. “Put it on Jack.”

“You got it,” Blake said. “Place your bets! Place your bets!”

Blake worked his way through the crowd, accepting money from all the would be gamblers. Slade’s action didn’t get many takers, but there were a few who believed in him enough to stake their money on him.

The impromptu bookie found himself next to Gunther, who stood outside the church next to Doc and Annabelle.

“Place your bets?” Blake asked.

“You best get to steppin’ before I whup your ass,” Gunther said.

“Yes,” Doc said. “Quite right! Have you no decency, sir? Lives are at stake! Shoo! Shoo! Away with you lest I box your ears!”

Blake walked on. Doc followed him until he was out of Gunther’s earshot. The self-described genius tucked a hundred dollars into Blake’s hand.

“All of it on Mr. Buchanan,” Doc said.

“You got it,” Blake said.

“And this never happened, sir.”

Doc turned around to find a displeased Annabelle had followed him.

“I thought you and Slade were friends,” Annabelle said.

“We most assuredly are, my dear,” Doc said. “Thick as thieves you might say. But business is business and if I’m able to turn a profit that would certainly cushion the blow of losing my dear, dear friend.”

“You don’t think Slade will win?” Annabelle asked.

“Oh no,” Doc said. “Not at all. You see, basic principles of mathematics suggest the best course of action is to go with the odds and well, when it comes down to it, Mr. Buchanan has sent more people to their graves than Slade.”

“You have got to be the smartest man alive,” Annabelle said.

“Oh I don’t know about that, my dear,” Doc said. “I’m in the top five, certainly. Right next to Edison, who I consider one of my few intellectual peers.”

Smelly Jack and Slade took their positions, roughly fifty paces from one another. Both men hovered their hands over their hardware.

“ANY LAST WORDS SLADE?” Jack shouted.

“Yup,” Slade said.

Jack and his boys laughed. “Yeah?” Jack said. “What is it?”

Slade pulled the cigar out of his mouth, doused it out with his thumb then tucked it into his pocket to save for later.

“Your mother must be the only woman who ever popped thirty assholes out of her pussy.”

The crowd erupted in a collective gasp, but Jack held it together. He squinted his eyes at Slade. Slade squinted back. Beads of sweat dripped off of Jack’s forehead. Slade’s remained dry.

And then it all happened within seconds. Each man drew at the exact same time. Who shot first? No one may never know. Slade felt the wake of Jack’s bullet as it sailed just inches past his head. Jack, on the other hand, really felt Slade’s bullet as it exploded his chest. Blood spewed from the gaping wound.

The outlaw’s lifeless body hit the ground. The crowd went into an uproar. No one could believe it. Smelly Jack Buchanan, one of the worst criminals in the west, was dead.

Gunther beamed a grin typically reserved for the face of a proud father. He ran out, grabbed Slade’s hand and raised it high in the air. Even Slade flashed a rare smile.

The crowd cheered. A pissed off Blake unleashed a torrent of obscenity over all the money he’d have to pay out to the handful of people who had bet on Slade.

“Are you sore you lost your scratch?” Annabelle said.

“Oh no,” Doc said. “It’s only money, my dear. Easy come, easy go.”

The good doctor joined the duo and shook Slade’s hand. “Bravo, sir! Bravo! I believed in you whole heartedly!”

Frank and Buck Buchanan stood over their leader’s body. Rufus ran his hand over Jack’s face, closing the eyes. The trio stepped forward. A hush silence fell over the crowd.

“This isn’t over, Slade,” Rufus said.

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