A zombie had impaled itself on a cactus. Try as he might, the sharp needles just keot digging in to his rotten skin. Whoever he’d been in his previous life, he’d seen better days. His jaw bone was gone and he writhed there, baking in the hot sun.
Thwap. A bullet pierced his brain and put him out of his misery.
Twenty yards away, Miss Bonnie, from the passenger seat of a covered wagon, pulled her eye away from a rifle.
“Got another one,” she said.
Slade, who was doing the driving, had grown a long beard. It was caked with dust and his mouth was dry.
“You should be resting,” Slade replied.
“I’m fine,” Miss Bonnie said.
“I know,” Slade said. “Not you I’m worried about.”
Miss Bonnie rested her hands on her enormous belly. “Are you kidding? She’s ready to fight zombies on her own.”
Slade scoffed. “‘She’ huh?”
“I can tell,” Miss Bonnie insisted. “If it were a boy it’d been napping in there like a lazy slug.”
There’s a funny thing about being handy with the steel during a zombie outbreak. You sure do make a lot of friends.
A year prior, Slade and Miss Bonnie had set out from Highwater with only the supplies they could carry. Along the way, they helped out a stranger here, a drifter there. They rescued folks from zombie attacks and even brought a few degenerates who’d been exploiting the lawlessness of a zombified West to justice.
They couldn’t help it. Human suffering just wasn’t something they were willing to turn a blind eye to. And so, by the time they made it to Arizona, their pilgrimage had turned into one long wagon train with over four hundred people in total – men, women and children of all ages.
A middle-aged Swede galloped his horse up next to Slade.
“Sorry to trouble you, Marshall, but people have been asking if we can stop for a spell.”
Slade balked at that proposal. “Tell them to hang in there, Gus. Fiddler’s Gulch is just a mile or two away.”
“You got it, Marshall.” Gus turned his horse around and galloped to the back of the wagon train.
“You’ve been saying its only a mile away all day,” Miss Bonnie said.
“I don’t know,” Slade said. “Everything’s changed. There weren’t that many settlements here when I was a boy.”
“Can this many people even fit in Fiddler’s Gulch?” the redhead asked.
“Probably not,” Slade said. “There was barely a hundred people when I lived there. I reckon there will be room to spread out though.”
Slade puffed on his cigar. “And when is everyone going to stop calling me’ Marshall’?”
“When you stop acting like one,” Miss Bonnie said.