The double doors at the back of the livery were secured with a long board shoved between two handles, one on each door. A pair of werewolf claws smashed through it and the doors were swung open.
Morris and Vaughn stomped in with their pointy teeth bared. Gentry, still in human form, entered with his pistol drawn.
What he saw next astonished him.
Annabelle’s body was laid out on the floor, completely motionless. Her eyes were closed. Her face was soaked with blood and guts.
Doc was straddling her. Blood dripped from his lips as he slowly lifted his head away from Annabelle’s neck to look at Gentry.
The physician was not his usual chatty self. “Gack…ack…ack.”
“Son of a bitch!” shouted Gunther.
Gentry and his companions stepped past Doc to find Gunther on the ground, clutching his stomach with his left hand. With his right, he struggled to grab his gun. It too laid in the dirt, ever so close but just out of his reach.
“God damn you to hell, Doc!” Gunther cried. “Why did I ever trust you?”
As Doc turned his attention back to Annabelle’s body, Morris and Vaughn stood together and watched as Gentry knelt down beside Gunther and pointed his pistol at the old man.
“Where is everyone?” Gentry asked. “And don’t take me for a fool or it’ll be the last thing you do.”
“That bastard,” Gunther said. “Tricked us all into throwing down our guns. Said he’d go out and smooth talk your boss into letting us go but…”
Gunther coughed and gasped for air.
“…then the cocksucker just up and executed everybody one by one! Stuffed all the bodies in the wagon. Said he was going to bring them all out to your boss as a peace offering so he’d let him go.”
Gentry grinned. “How fiendishly clever.”
Gunther let go of his stomach to reveal the blood all over his shirt and vest. He grabbed Gentry’s arm.
“But just as he was about to leave…he…he turned into a damn zombie and ate his girlfriend!”
“Well,” Gentry said. “Now I’ve seen everything.”
Coming from behind their heads, Morris and Vaughn could hear the distinct clicking sound of two gun hammers being cocked.
Gentry was facing the old man, but his ears picked up Doc’s voice.
“I wouldn’t say that just yet, my good man.”
Two shots. Two silver bullets pierced the backs of two werewolf heads. Gentry turned just in time to see their gargantuan hairy buddies hit the ground with colossal thuds.
Very much alive, Doc and Annabelle stood there with smoking guns in their hands. Doc had used one of his spring loaded weapons while Annabelle made use of Miss Bonnie’s derringer.
Meanwhile, Gunther appeared to be feeling a whole lot better as he reached for his gun and blew a hole right through the back of Gentry’s head, which led to his carcass collapsing next to the other werewolves.
The back doors of Doc’s wagon flew open and Slade poked his head out. “Did we get ‘em?”
“Oh we got ‘em all right,” Gunther said.
The old man looked at his clothes. “Aw dang it. Rabbit blood all over the vest Mavis made for me.”
Doc took Annabelle’s hand. “Yes, and I do apologize for rubbing a bunny corpse all over your face my dear.”
Annabelle shrugged. “Eh, it’s ok. After working in Bonnie’s joint for five years, it’s actually not the most disgusting thing that’s ever been rubbed on my face.”
Doc nodded. “That’s the spirit.”
Miss Bonnie jumped out of the back of the wagon and walked over to Doc. “I stand corrected.”
“Yes,” Doc said. “’Tis quite alright, Miss Lassiter I suppose in my new life as a partial zombie I shall have to suffer all manner of aspersions on my character.”
“Just shut up and take an apology, asshole,” Miss Bonnie replied.
“So taken,” Doc said.
Miss Bonnie hugged Annabelle, doing her best to not get any blood on herself. “Take care of yourself.”
“I will,” Annabelle said.
The redhead hopped up into the driver’s seat. Slade took Sarah’s hand and helped her out of the back of the wagon.
“Rain,” the bride said. “Do you really think it wise for us to split up?”
“Things aren’t safe here,” Slade replied as he handed Miss Bonnie her shotgun.
“But you won’t be able to protect me if I leave,” Sarah said.
“Miss Bonnie’s got you covered,” Slade said.
“Oh Rain,” Sarah said as she went in for one last hug. “I know you’ll be ok, you’re so perfect and all. But should something happen to me I want you to know how much I love you.”
There Sarah stood, with her big eyes staring up at Slade, waiting for the customary reply a woman typically expects when she tells her man that she loves him.
“God damn it,” Slade said.
Miss Bonnie slapped her forehead upon hearing that response.
“What?” Sarah asked, her face giving off the expression of a wounded doe.
“Uh,” Slade said. “God damn it that we have to part ways is all…but…”
The stoic looked up at Miss Bonnie. Exasperated, she nodded her head up and down.
“I love you too,” Slade said. “And don’t worry. Everything’s going to be ok. I don’t want to hear any more talk about something bad happening to you.”
Slade helped Sarah up into the passenger’s seat next to Miss Bonnie.
“This isn’t goodbye, Rain,” Sarah said. “It’s just, ‘see you later.’
“Right,” Slade replied. “See you later.”
“Later,” Sarah said. “When all is well and we can have another wedding…bigger and better than ever.”
The groom paused. “Right.”
Slade walked around to the back of the wagon where Miles was sitting. It was a delivery wagon so there weren’t any seats in the back, but the boy made do on the floor.
Miles passed Slade the ammo bag and the two Winchesters. Slade took one then handed the other back to the kid.
“You know how to shoot?” Slade asked.
“Pa taught me,” Miles replied.
“It’s yours,” Slade said. “Every cowboy needs a Winchester.”
“Wow,” Miles said. “Thanks.”
Gunther walked over to say his goodbyes. “You’re the toughest kid I’ve ever seen, Miles.”
“I am?” Miles asked.
“Well, I don’t know any other dog monster kids so…”
Miles started to correct the old man. “Were…ah, you know what? Screw it.”
“Protect the womenfolk,” Slade said.
“You got it,” Miles said.
Slade closed the back doors and slapped the back of the wagon.
The driver turned and looked at Slade. They both caught each others’ eyes and there was no need to say anything. They knew how they felt about each other. Miss Bonnie cleared her throat. “Mr. Slade?”
Miss Bonnie snapped the reigns and Chance trotted away, pulling the wagon behind him.
A commotion broke out outside. Snarling werewolves. Growling zombies. War whups and battle cries.
Gunther and Slade rushed to the window just in time to see Blythe fall down with an arrow stuck in his chest.
“Holy shit,” the old timer said.
“He came,” Slade added.
Most improperly, Annabelle wiped the bunny blood off her face and onto her dress, then took Doc’s hand as he helped her up onto the back of a black horse.
“Meet Hercules, my dear,” Doc said as he climbed up into the saddle. “He’s been with me for quite some time, a very reliable beast.”
Annabelle patted her hand across Hercule’s coat. “Nice horsey.”
“Gentlemen,” Doc said, grabbing just enough of Slade and Gunther’s attention to get them to look away from the window. “It’s been a pleasure.”
Slade grunted, recalling in his mind a time his mother had told him the old line about how if a man can’t think of something nice to say then he shouldn’t say anything at all.
“Yeah ok then,” Gunther said. “Thanks for stopping by and starting a zombie apocalypse ya’ horse’s ass.”
Annabelle wrapped her arms around Doc’s waist.
“Hold on my dear,” Doc said. “And we shall be addressing the Queen of England on the curative properties of cocaine before you know it.”
“Oh gosh, the Queen?” Annabelle asked. “I don’t even have a dress fancy enough for that meeting.”
“You will my dear,” Doc said. “As many as you wish.”
The physician snapped the reigns on Hercules and away they went out the back of the livery.
Slade and Gunther looked out the window again just in time to see Blythe stand up.
“Shit,” Gunther said.
Slade handed Gunther the Winchester. “You’re better with it than I am.”
Gunther racked up a bullet and took one side of the front door. Slade withdrew his twin pistols and took the other.
“On three then?” the old man asked.
Slade nodded. Gunther started counting. “One..two…”
Slade interrupted the count. “In case I don’t get to say it later, its been nice knowing you, Deputy.”
The old man nodded. “Well holy shit. A compliment from Rainier Slade.”
“Don’t ruin it,” Slade replied.
“Right,” Gunther said. “And likewise, Marshal.”
The two men took a deep breath and then Gunther shouted, “Three!”