Tag Archives: westerns

Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 12

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In the middle of the Mississippi River, a sandbar arose from the water. It wasn’t quite large enough to be considered an island, but it formed a long, straight line and thus had been the spot of choice for southern duelists for over a century.

Bowie stood on the bar and pulled a rowboat ashore. Dr. Maddox squinted as the sun beat down upon him. The old man poked his cane into the sand and once he was assured of steady ground, he stepped out of the boat and onto shore.

“An obvious trap,” Dr. Maddox said. “This far out of the public eye, Wright will be free to engage in all manner of chicanery and yet still proudly proclaim himself the unsullied victor.”

Wright and the Blanchard brothers, Marvin and Chester, walked over to greet the new arrivals.

“I’m surprised you showed, Mister Bowie,” Wright said.

“I was hoping you wouldn’t, Wright,” Bowie replied as he chewed on a wad of tobacco. “Shame to have another dead man on my conscience. I get so little sleep as it is.”

The Blanchards were a pair of skinny looking reprobates. Dirt beards. Missing teeth. Though they looked as though they had forgotten to bathe for years, they did remember to bring their pistols.

“What’s the deal with these two snakes?” Bowie said. “I only brought a second because I didn’t know there would be thirds.”

Wright slapped Marvin on the back. “Mister Marvin Blanchard shall be my second. He and his brother are inseparable and Chester is here merely to observe.”

“The whole point of a second is to observe,” Bowie said. “You get two men to make sure shit is fair and I only get one?”

The sheriff snickered. “I’m sure Dr. Maddox makes up for this discrepancy with the vast experience he has incurred through his advanced age.”

Maddox smiled and nodded, then put his arm around Bowie. “Yes, yes. Let us make fun of the old man. Pardon me sheriff, a moment with my colleague if you will.”

“Take your time,” Wright said. “I dare say Mister Bowie doesn’t have much of it left.”

Wright and the Blanchards laughed as Maddox prodded Bowie to step out of Wright’s earshot.

“Walk away from this,” Maddox said.

“Don’t start that bullshit again,” Bowie replied.
“Tell me, do the Blanchards strike you as proper gentlemen?” Wright asked.

Bowie looked dumbfounded, as though he’d just been told a joke but missed the punchline. “No?”

“Of course they do not,” Maddox said. “Then why are they strutting about with canes?”

“I don’t know,” Bowie said. “They’re putting on airs.”

“My boy,” Maddox said as he rested his hands on the knifeman’s shoulders. “I implore you to apologize to the sheriff, leave immediately and purge this incident from your mind as though it never happened.”

Bowie shook the old man’s hands off and marched towards Wright. “Let’s get this over with.”

Wright snapped his fingers, prompting Marvin to open up the lid of a velvet lined wooden case. Inside the box was a set of pearl handled dueling pistols.

“Heirlooms that have been in my family for quite some time,” Wright said. “Cleaned, loaded and ready for your inspection, doctor.”

Doctor Maddox took a pistol out of the box and squinted through his spectacles at it. He stretched out his arm and took aim at the water. Once satisfied, he lowered the weapon and handed it to Bowie.

“It is in proper order,” Maddox said.

“Mister Bowie,” Wright said. “I assure you that the shot I too last night was a rare fluke. I am an accomplished marskman.”

“Really?” Bowie asked. “Because I got the impression that you can’t shoot for shit.”

Wright leered at Bowie. Clearly, the titled gentleman was holding back an urge to strangle the commoner.

“Yes, well,” Wright said. “It would be unsporting of me to not offer you one last chance to rectify this matter with words instead of pistols. Will you apologize to me for your vile remarks?”

Bowie made a look as though he were deep in thought. He chewed on his tobacco, then spit an odious, disgustingly brown loogie that landed at Wright’s feet.

“Can’t say that I will.”

Doctor Maddox sighed.

“Very well,” Wright said. “Shall we say, back to back, ten paces, turn and fire?”

“If you say so,” Bowie replied.

With pistols in hand, Bowie and Wright arranged themselves back to back.

Doctor Maddox stood alone. The Blanchard brothers watched from the other side.

“Count us off,” Wright commanded.

Dutiful lackey that he was, Marvin began counting. “One…two…three…”

Each man remained straight shouldered, their chests puffed out as they stepped away from one another in time.

“…four….five…six…seven…eight…”

To Doctor Maddox’s great dismay, Wright turned before the count reached nine.

“James!” the old man cried.

Bowie turned. Wright fired.

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 11

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A shirtless Bowie sat in a rickety chair in the residence of the esteemed Dr. Thomas Maddox, a decrepit old man with a withered face, spectacles, and a lengthy white beard.

The good doctor’s hands trembled.  In an effort to calm his nerves, he took a belt of whiskey, then for good measure, dropped a splash of the good stuff on his patient’s arm wound.

“Ow.”

“Oh hush,” Dr. Maddox said as he pushed a needle into Bowie’s skin, then worked a piece of thread through the nasty cut. “I should hate to see the other fellow.”

“Depends on which fellow,” Bowie said. “The man who took the bullet meant for me is stone dead.”

“And the man who fired?” the doctor asked.

“Norris Wright.”

“Ah,” Dr. Maddox said. “You and that big mouth of yours.”

“What?”

“Word that you accosted the sheriff’s reputation had infiltrated my ears as of late,” Dr. Maddox said as he squinted at the stitches he was making. “I assumed it would only be a matter of time before he challenged you to a duel.”

“I accepted,” Bowie said.

The good doctor sighed. “Of course you did.”

“What of it?” Bowie asked.

Dr. Maddox examined his patient’s back. A healed over bullet wound. A number of slashes and scrapes.

“So many scars,” Dr. Maddox said. “I should hate to be your guardian angel.”

“Huh?”

“It may sound like poppycock,” the doctor said. “But I believe that every man has an angel looking after him.”

As soon as the wound was stitched shut, the doctor pulled on the thread tightly, then snipped off the end of the thread with a pair of scissors.

“You might consider putting your life ahead of your ego, my boy,” Dr. Maddox said. “You might live longer and your angel will thank you.”

Bowie grabbed the doctor’s bottle, took a swig, then set it down. “It’s not about ego. It’s about honor.”

“It’s about a set up,” Dr. Maddox said.

“A what?” Bowie asked.

Dr. Maddox stroked his beard. “James, you do have a knack for charging head first into a mess as though you were a rabid rhinoceros, oblivious to all consequences, concerned only in the imminent moment and not day after.

“Stop speaking gibberish old man.”

The doctor snipped the end off of a cigar, held it over a lit candle, then puffed on it. He inhaled, exhaled, coughed, then spoke again.

“Dueling is a gentleman’s sport,” Dr. Maddox said. “And you, lad, are no gentleman.”

Bowie scoffed. “What’s that got to do with a hill of beans, old man? I’m just as good as those fancy fucks. I’ve wheeled and dealed my way into more money than they’ve got, that’s for damn sure.”

“You have,” Dr. Maddox said. “But I resubmit the fact that you are no gentleman.”

The patient put on his shirt and buttoned it up.

“You see,” Dr. Maddox said. “When our forefathers took up arms against the British and drove their cursed hides from this land, it was assumed that the concept of royalty exited this country with them.”

“Didn’t it?” Bowie asked.

The doctor winked his left eye. “An aristocracy remains. To be certain, there are no lords, dukes, or princes here but…there are Governors. Senators. Wright, he was once Major Wright and is now Sheriff Wright, though he is free to use both titles interchangeably. And I, of course, have never been one for battlefield combat so I studied until I earned the right to be called ‘Doctor.’”

“What are you getting at?” Bowie asked.

“The titles changed but the titles remain, just the same,” Dr. Maddox said. “Whether you are in Jolly Old England or in the United States of America, if you have a title then you are a gentleman and there are rules for gentlemen.”

Dr. Maddox puffed on his cigar.

“Titled gentlemen obtain and maintain their power through the favors they perform for and receive from other titled gentlemen,” Dr. Maddox explained.
“I could buy and sell the lot of them,” Bowie said.

“No doubt,” Dr. Maddox said. “But you have no title and thus no position, the power of which could be bartered for assistance from other titled men. Thus, you are no gentleman.”

“We’ve established that,” Bowie said.

“Dueling,” Dr. Maddox said. “Is the means by which titled gentlemen regain their good name when it is besmirched by another titled gentleman. As such, gentlemen must follow the rules when squaring off with other gentlemen. But with a commoner such as yourself, Sheriff Wright will be able to violate the sanctity of the duel in any way he pleases and as long as you die, no gentlemen will think ill of him.”

“Sure they would,” Bowie said. “He’d be branded a cheater.”

Dr. Maddox laughed. “Oh my boy,” Dr. Maddox said. “That’s what titled gentlemen do. They sit around in parlors and smoke cigars and imbibe alcohol and plot out their intentions to cheat lowly commoners such as yourself.”

The good doctor noticed the smoke in his hand and the booze on his table, then cleared his throat.

“Naturally, I would never use my title to harm another,” Dr. Maddox said. “But Sheriff Wright would and will and as you hold no title, his fellow gentlemen will heap praise upon him for snuffing out the commoner who dared to speak up against him, rules be damned.”

Bowie’s lungs expelled a sigh of deep, forlorn exasperation. “Fuck.”

“Indeed,” Dr. Maddox said.

“Well,” Bowie said. “There’s nothing I can do about it now.”

“Preposterous,” Dr. Maddox replied. “Of course there is. Do not show up at the duel.”

“Then I’d be yellow,” Bowie said.

“My boy,” Dr. Maddox said. “I have spent eighty some odd years avoiding one fight after another and I assure you, being ‘yellow’ has allowed me to live a long, healthy life.”

Bowie looked around the doctor’s empty house. “What have you got to show for it?”

Now the doctor looked around his sparse home. “Touche.”

Dr. Maddox waved his hand through the air. “I have given you my counsel. Do with it what you will.”

Bowie put on his coat. “Be my second?”

The doctor choked on his smoke. “Don’t be absurd!”

“Every duelist needs a second,” Bowie said.

“And what good would I be to you as a second if you will not heed my advice?” Dr. Maddox asked.

“I don’t know,” Bowie replied. “You could patch me up like you always do?”

Dr. Maddox rubbed his aching cranium. “Oh fine. As we speak I can feel the eyes of your father, who had a head as hot as yours, burning a hole into my soul with his livid eyes, demanding that I assist you. I shall be your second.”

“Much obliged,” Bowie said.

“If only hot headedness could skip a generation,” Dr. Maddox said.

Bowie grinned. “Now where would the fun be in that?”

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 9

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1827 – Louisiana

The knife was, like its owner, one of a kind.

The blade was nine and a half inches long, thick and heavy yet sharp enough to split a cat’s whisker. The metal came to a point, then curved for a spell before it ran down to the handle.

The handle was polished oakwood and that curve at the end had been used to hook onto many a man’s gut as if it were a fish.

It wasn’t so much of a knife as it was a mini-machete.

On one evening in particular, Jim Bowie (rhymes with Louie), the knife’s illustrious inventor, sat at a bar inside a dimly lit tavern and peeled an apple with his infamous sticker. He might as well have been juggling gold nuggets with the way the barfly sitting next to him carried on.

Norman Tavish tossed back a brew and brought his stein down on the bar with a good, hard bang.

“Goddamn it, Jim,” the ugly mush mouthed drunk said. “That blade is a thing of beauty.”

Bowie had a lush lion’s mane of brown hair that came down the sides of his face in the form of two mutton chop side burns. Ever prideful, the perpetually angry looking Bowie didn’t find Tavish to be the type of man that was worth much of his time.

“Uh huh,” Bowie replied.

Tavish belched and scratched himself in assorted areas. “How much you want for it?”

Bowie rolled his knife around and around that apple until the peel was gone. “She’s not for sale.”

“Aw come on,” Flint said. “Everything’s got a price.”

Bowie tossed the naked apple up into the air as if it were a ball, then caught it in his hand. “Not everything.”

“I’ll give you anything you want,” Tavish said. “Shit, I’ll let you poke my sister.”

Every drunk in the joint laughed. Caleb Brent, the old bald barkeep, polished a glass and snickered.

“Fuck, Tavish. I’ve seen alligators more appetizing than your sister. You’ll have to do better than that.”

Tavish opened up his coat and tapped his finger on the side of a flint lock pistol hanging from his belt.

“I’ll trade you for it. Fair and square, like.”

Bowie snickered. “A pistol is a woman’s weapon. I rue the day they were ever invented.”

Tavish drank some courage. “Do my ears deceive me or did you just call me a woman?”

“I didn’t call you a woman,” Bowie replied. “I said you’ve got a woman’s weapon. Draw whatever inference you like.”

Brent laughed. Soon, everyone else in the bar was laughing.

Tavish looked around the bar. “Oh, you all think that’s funny, huh?”

The drunk drew his pistol and cocked the hammer. “You think I’m funny, Bowie?”

The calm and cool knifeman carefully calibrated his response. “You are whatever you think you are, friend.”

Tavish pointed his pistol at Bowie. “Well I think I’m the man that’s going to blow your damn head off, friend.”

Bowie set his apple down on the bar and stared deeply, intently into Tavish’s eyes.

Clang! The knifeman’s blade bashed Tavish’s pistol to the right, towards the collection of liquor bottles behind the bar. Reflexively, the drunk pulled the trigger and a nice big bottle of bourbon exploded, sending shards of glass and drops of brown liquid everywhere.

Bowie grabbed Tavish by the scalp and bashed the drunk’s’ face into the bar. When Tavish was allowed to lift his head up, he found himself staring at the point of Bowie’s knife, which was being held less than a quarter of an inch away from his eyeball.

“A pistol is a woman’s weapon because it isn’t that difficult for a drunken fool to take a shot at one of his betters,” Bowie explained. “Many a man has fired a pistol in a fit of rage only to live to regret pulling the trigger at a later date. Pistols make killing far too easy but a knife? I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t care how hot the fire in a man’s belly burns. I don’t care how many times he claims after the fact that he lost his mind in the heat of the moment. To kill a man with a knife, you have to use every muscle you have. You have to break through bone and sinew and dig through guts. Sometimes you’ve got to rip that knife out and stab him again and again, three, four, five times. You got to look that man right in the eye and not give a fuck that you are extinguishing all his hopes and dreams as you plunge that knife right into his still beating heart. Make no mistake about it. If a man dies at the edge of a blade it is because the man holding the knife wanted that death to happen.”

Bowie pulled his knife back. Tavish sat up.

“And so my point was, before you so rudely interrupted me, is that women use pistols. Men use knives.”

Brent, who had hunkered down behind the bar, rose to his feet and breathed a sigh of relief upon realizing the coast was clear.

“I’m sorry, Jim,” Tavish said. “It was just the drink talking. I didn’t mean to insult your knife.”

“I know you didn’t.”

Bowie tossed his apple three feet above the bar, then stood up, and threw his knife toward the fruit.

The knife struck right into the center of the apple and blade and fruit become one until they struck the wall. Two perfectly cut slices fell to the bar.

After walking to the end of the bar and pulling his knife out of the wall, Bowie returned, handed Tavish a slice, and took a bite out of the other piece.

“Just remember,” Bowie said as he slapped Tavish on the back. “It’s not for sale.”

Tavish nodded.

“And if I find out you didn’t reimburse Caleb for his bourbon…”

The drunk threw up his hands. “I will.”

“I know you will,” Bowie said.

With the spectacle over, all patrons in the bar returned to their usual doings. Brent went to work on cleanup. Tavish persisted in drowning his sorrows.

All was quiet until the double doors at the front of the bar swung open.

In stepped Sheriff Norris Wright, a former army major turned sheriff. He had a thick, bushy mustache and slicked back hair.

“Bowie!”

The knifeman craned his neck just enough to acknowledge the lawman.

“You have offended my honor, sir, and I demand satisfaction!”

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I’m Zombifying the Alamo

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Happy November, 3.5 Readers.

Halloween is over but my latest attempt at a novel has just begun.

I’m zombifying the Alamo, people. How you are all not excited about this I don’t know.

I wrote the first draft of How the West Was Zombed this year.

And then I let it sit for awhile as I considered how to turn the story of several cowboys into a Zombie Western series.

So Zombed became the second novel as I got myself partway through writing Undead Man’s Hand.

And then Zombed is becoming the third and Undead the second as Remember the Zombamo will be first.

The hook I finally thought of – as I read about the history of the Battle of the Alamo, I realized that the main heroes – William Travis, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston all headed to Texas because they screwed the pooch on something and were looking for a second chance.

I’ve said this before but my novels always end up being about losers in search for redemption.  Probably because I am one.

So these men, based on circumstances that happen to them, end up in Texas taking on Santa Anna.

Its a tale of bravery because the Alamo defenders knew ahead of time they were vastly, ridiculously outnumbered but they stayed to fight rather than run.

But in my zombified version, these heroes come together to stop a great evil.

And then the series will progress…a new cowboy will be introduced in each subsequent book and by the end, five will come together through life circumstances to take on evil and then close out the series….and by then I can only assume this will all have made me awesomely rich.

Not because I will sell so many copies but because I will charge my readers a million dollars a piece so 3.5 sales = 3.5 million dollars.

I know it will be hard, 3.5 readers, but take out some usurious loans and procure the services of multiple loan sharks if you have to.

My attorney tells me to mention I am only kidding. Don’t do any of that.

Come along for the ride, 3.5 readers! I’m zombifying the Alamo!

So far, Santa Anna has been turned into a vampire and William Travis’ delusions of grandeur and epic debt have him headed to Texas in a hurry.

Next up – Jim Bowie and his Arkansas toothpick.

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Remember the Zombamo – Part 2 – William Travis

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William Travis is a man who believes in himself…perhaps a little too much.

Suffering from delusions of grandeur, Travis borrows big bucks to fund his law and newspaper offices.  (He likes to keep his business affairs separate.)

Unable to pay his enormous debt back, he becomes a pariah in his hometown and is to be arrested and sent to debtor’s prison.

But even when his wife and everyone else tells him to stop believing, Travis keeps believing.  So convinced is he that he is destined for greatness that he hightails it to Texas, where an officer’s commission awaits him.

Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7          Chapter 8

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 8

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Travis rode all night and all morning. By afternoon, he was thirsty, hungry, and exhausted.

None of that mattered to him. All he wanted to do was to put as much distance between himself and Claremont as possible.

Whack! Travis slapped his horse’s backside with a riding crop.

“I’m sorry, old friend,” Travis said. “But desperate times and so forth.”

Whack! Travis’ horse whinnied.

A third whack. After this one, the horse reared, kicked his front legs up into the air and bucked his rider off of his back and onto the ground.

“Damn it, Montague!” Travis cried as he dusted himself off. “What’s gotten into you?”

Montague was a beige horse with a black mane. As Travis continued to shout various unpleasantries, the beast reared up a second time and persisted in kicking his two front legs into the air.

When the animal did so, Travis caught a glimpse of something shiny sticking in Montague’s horseshoe.

“You’ve stepped in something, boy,” Travis said as stepped over to the horse.

Montague reared up and kicked his front legs up a third time. Whatever was stuck in Montague’s shoe, it was bright and sparkly because it caught Travis’ eye a second time.

“Will you stand still?” Travis asked. “You’re being ridiculous.”

The horse whinnied. One could only assume it was horse talk for a suggestion that Travis perform an unsavory act upon himself.

Travis took out a pocket knife and unfolded it. The horse reared up again when he heard the blade snap into position.

“Oh stop it,” Travis said. “You know full well I’m not going to hurt you, you big baby.”

A different set of hooves clip clopped down the dusty trial. Travis turned his head to see a stone faced lawman with a U.S. Marshall’s star pinned to his shirt riding atop a dark colored steed.

Travis stepped towards Montague only for the horse to kick his legs up into the air again.

“Oh Lord,” Travis said as he closed his eyes and dropped to his knees. “The people of my hometown don’t believe in me. My one and only law client didn’t believe in me. My newspaper readers didn’t believe in me. In fact, between you and I, Lord, I’m not sure I ever had more than three or four readers if that.”

The marshall drew closer.

“My wife doesn’t believe in me,” Travis said. “If my children were of age I have no doubt they would not believe in me but please Lord, is it too much to ask that my horse believe in me?”

Montague whinnied.

“I guess it is,” Travis said.

Or was it? Immediately, it dawned on Travis that he’d been kneeling on the ground next to Montague for several seconds and had not taken a hoof to the face.

Slowly, Travis lifted the horse’s hoof up. Montague complied and bent his leg at the knee at an angle that allowed his owner to see what was the matter.

There it was. The shiny piece of metal jammed into Montague’s shoe. Ever so carefully, Travis dug the piece out with his knife. Once it was removed, he gently returned Montague’s foot to the ground.

“Howdy pardnah,” the Marshall said.

Travis stood up and turned around to find the lawman trotting his own horse over.

“Howdy,” Travis replied.

Travis and the marshall looked each other over for a spell, each man sizing the other up.

“Horse giving you trouble?” the marshall asked as he brought his steed to a stop.

“Eh,” Travis said. “Horses and women. Always complaining about something.”

“Ha,” the marshall said. “You’re alright.”

The lawman kicked his horse with his spurs and galloped away. “Take ‘er easy, pardnah.”

“I will,” Travis said.

Travis opened up his hand and examined the piece of metal. It was, in fact, a scuffed up silver ring with an “I” etched into it.

“Huh,” Travis said as he slid the ring onto his finger. “Perhaps my luck has changed for the better.”

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 7

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Rosanna sat on the hardwood floor, weeping and wailing as she snuggled with her babes. Three year old Charlie slept on the floor with his head resting on his mother’s lap. Susan, a tiny infant, was bundled up in her mothers arms. Both children slept soundly.

The door creaked as Travis entered the room. He sat on the floor opposite his wife. A flickering candle stuck in a holder sat on the floor between them.

Travis waited for the crying to subside.

“Father was right,” Rosanna said. “I’ve married a charlatan.”

“Darling, please,” Travis replied.

“A fraudulent reprobate,” Rosanna said.

“Rosanna…”

“A lowlife debtor!”

“Sweetheart, please,” Travis said. “As a well-read man I assure you that you mean none of these statements and they are just the product of your weak feminine mind.”

The tears stopped. Rosanna’s blue eyes lit up. “My weak feminine mind?”

“The female brain is not as advanced as the male brain, my dear,” Travis said. “All the scientific treatises I have read say so. You can’t argue with science.”

“So, what?” Rosanna said. “Our home isn’t getting foreclosed on? All these people who have been ransacking our house all day and buying everything we own…I just imagined all of this?”

“No,” Travis said. “But there’s no reason to be emotional.”

“Emotional?” Rosanna said. “We don’t have a pot to piss in!”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Travis said. “I’m sure they left us a pot to piss in.”

On cue, two voices traveled into the room from the other side of the house.

“Thanks for selling this pot to piss in, sheriff,” a random man said. “Sure can’t wait to piss in it.”

“No problem,” the sheriff replied. “Piss in that pot in good health.”

Rosanna shot her husband an angry look, as if to communicate, “See?”

“There will be other pots,” Travis said.

Rosanna frowned. “Now the children and I have to move back in with father. He despised you so vigorously.”

“I know,” Travis said. “I recall the toast he gave at our wedding in which he wished for my death. It was charming in an odd way.”

“Father will tell me that he told me so about you all day long,” Rosanna said. “He will be positively insufferable.”

Travis scooched closer to his wife and stroked his son’s hair.

“I still love you though, William,” Rosanna said. “I shall pray for you every day as you rot to death in debtor’s prison.”

“Darling,” Travis said. “That’s what I have come to talk to you about. You will not have to live with your terrible father forever…and I will not spend a day in prison.”

“I don’t like the sound of this,” Rosanna said. “Whenever you get one of your bright ideas it inevitably makes things worse.”

Travis wrapped his arm around his wife. “I haven’t much time so please listen. Now, I realized about a year ago that my financial woes would inevitably get the best of me.”

“Yet you continued to print your foolish paper,” Rosanna lamented. “Absolutely no one read it, you know.”

“So I’ve heard,” Travis said. “Moving on, a year ago I struck up a correspondence with Sam Houston.”

“The drunken adulterer?” Rosanna asked.

“What?” Travis asked. “No, the former governor of Tennessee and current General of the Texan Army.”

“I’ve heard he is a drunken adulterer,” Rosanna said.

“All politicians are drunken adulterers, darling,” Travis said. “Do try to keep up.”

“Sorry,” Rosanna said.

“General Houston has commissioned me as an officer in his Army,” Travis said.

Rosanna giggled. “You’ve never fought a day in your life. What are you, a corporal?”

“A colonel,” Travis said.

“Jesus H. Christ,” Rosanna said. “They must be really hard up.”

“Pardon?” Travis asked.

“That’s really nice,” Rosanna said. “Best of luck.”

“Thank you,” Travis said.

“When do we leave?” Rosanna asked.

Travis looked down at the floor.

“William?” Rosanna asked.

“Darling,” Travis said. “This is a very precarious situation. Tomorrow morning I’ll be considered a fugitive from justice in America. I’ll have to ride like the wind to keep the law from catching up with me. Plus, Texas is in a very precarious position right now. President Santa Anna has proven to be quite the dictator and there’s talk of rebellion. I can’t risk bringing you and the children with me now.”

Rosanna sighed. “Why couldn’t you have been a simple farmer?”

Travis returned his wife’s sigh with one of his own. “Because life is absurdly short, dearest. A man who does not spend every day striving for greatness has wasted his life.”

“The children and I are a waste?” Rosanna asked.

Travis squeezed his wife closer. “That’s your weak female mind talking again.”

Rosanna shook her head.

“Judge Harlow was harsh when he reprimanded me,” Travis said. “But I have realized he is right. I will never again take a short cut to greatness. I will earn it every step of the way as an Army man, through the sweat of my brow and the fruit of my labor and…”

“You’re going to die,” Rosanna said.

“Pardon?” Travis asked.

“You’re not cut out to be in any kind of army,” Rosanna said. “That life will kill you, one way or the other.”

Travis scoffed. “You fail to see what a great opportunity this is. How many people get the chance to take part in building a new country? Why, one day, years from now, you’ll…”

“…be looking down on your grave,” Rosanna said.

“I was going to say that you’ll be the wife of a great Texan statesman and you’ll look back on this time and laugh,” Travis said. “Why does no one believe in me?”

Rosanna kissed her husband on the lips. “Its not that we don’t believe in you. Its that you want too much and we don’t believe the world can provide it.”

Travis returned his wife’s kiss, then kissed his two sleeping children.

“This will all pass,” Travis said. “We will all be together again, but tonight I will take my leave. Rosanna, what I’m about to say is very important.”

Rosanna listened intently.

“When the sheriff comes looking for me tomorrow,” Travis said. “You must not let on that you know that I ran. All that you need tell him is that I was here when you went to sleep and when you woke up, I was gone. Understood?”

“Understood,” Rosanna said.

The door creaked as the sheriff stepped into the room. “Alright Travis, you deadbeat sack of shit, let’s go.”

“What?” Travis asked.

“I’ve sold all your shit and you’re still broke so it’s off to the hoosegow you go,” the sherrif said.

“Sir,” Travis replied. “Few are lucky enough to posses a legal mind as well versed as mine so I won’t think less of you for your ignorance, but you are incorrect. Judge Harlow said my time would not be up until tomorrow.”

“Its an hour till midnight,” the sheriff said. “Close enough. Move your ass.”

“Sir,” Travis said. “I will further point out that the judge said I will be arrested tomorrow when he has issued a warrant.”

“He will,” the sheriff said. “Don’t you worry about that.”

“Yes, but,” Travis said. “Until he actually issues the arrest warrant, I’m a free man.”

“Travis,” the sheriff said. “I am in no mood for your fancy mumbo jumbo.”

“And I’m in no mood to have my rights violated, sir,” Travis said. “Should you arrest me without a proper warrant then you will leave me with no choice but to file an extensive lawsuit demanding satisfaction from you in the form of financial payment.”

“Huh?” the sheriff said as he scratched his head.

“I’ll take all your money,” Travis said.

The sheriff rested his hand on the butt of the gun holstered on his hip, then grumbled.

“Fuck it,” the sheriff said as he took his hand off his gun. “Enjoy your last night as a free man, peckerwood. Hug your kids. Pork your woman. I’ll be back bright and early tomorrow morning with the judge’s warrant in hand.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Travis said.

The sheriff stepped out into the hallway, then poked his head back into the room one last time.

“And Travis?”

“Yes?”

“You make me chase you and you’re a dead man.”

Travis nodded. The chubby sherrif waddled out of the house and slammed the front door behind him.

“OK,” Rosanna said. “I’ll give it to you. That was impressive. You finally impressed me with your fancy book learning.”

Travis smiled. “Now imagine how many people I could impress if they’d just start believing in me for a change.”

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 5

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1831 – Alabama

William Baret “Buck” Travis was a tall, skinny string bean of a man. By the age of twenty-two, he’d worked as a teacher, a lawyer, and a newspaperman. Although these were noble professions, the young man had accumulated so much debt in pursuing these trades that he had been called into court and forced to endure the disapproving glare of the Right Honorable Judge Eugene T. Harlow.

“Goddamn it boy,” the judge said from the bench as he looked down at Travis. “You are one special kind of fuck up.”

Travis’ hair was a long, shaggy mop. His suit was a hand me down from his father and was two sizes too large, so he practically swam in it as it hanged off him.

Harlow put on his spectacles and examined a pile of paperwork. “Rent for law office space in arrears. Rent for newspaper office space in arrears.”

The judge looked at Travis. “It never occurred to you that you could be a lawyer and a newsman in the same office?”

Travis cleared his throat. He trembled as he nervously replied, “I prefer to keep my business affairs separate.”

“You took out a line of credit to start your law office,” Harlow said as he reviewed a bill. “How many clients do you have presently?”

The young man cleared his throat again. “None, sir.”

“What?” the judge asked. “Did you say ‘none’ or ‘one?’”

“I had one client,” Travis said. “He left. Now I have no clients.”

“Do I dare even inquire?” the judge asked.

“There was a difference of opinion, sir,” Travis said.

“You fucked up your client’s affairs?” the judge asked.

“More or less,” Travis replied.

“Sounds like more,” the judge said as he picked up another bill. “You took out a second line of credit to start the Claremont Beacon. I see here bills for a printing press, ink barrels, and the services of a professional typesetter.”

“It was a worthwhile endeavor, your honor,” Travis said. “The public must be informed.”

“Boy,” the judge said. “I picked up a copy of your useless rag the other day. It was one page long and didn’t inform me of a Goddamn thing I didn’t already know. You lost a ridiculous sum at that enterprise.”

“They say you have to spend money to make money,” Travis said.

“Well shit,” the judge said. “Let me know if you ever make a dime and I’ll skip to my lou.”

The courtroom was filled with lawyers, citizens, and other onlookers. They all laughed at the judge’s remark.

“You purchased slaves?” the judge asked

“Yes,” Travis replied.

“Why in God’s name would you do that, jackass?”

“Why, sir?” Travis asked.

“Boy, did I stutter?” the Judge asked. “You got a law office and a newspaper office. You don’t got any bales of cotton to pick or beans to plant and the last time I checked there aren’t any niggers who got the brains necessary to write a writ of mandamus or to pen an eloquent editorial on the political issues of the day so why would you spend money to acquire, board, and feed three slaves?”

Travis cleared his throat yet again. “A man of my high social standing should own slaves. Its customary.”

The onlookers erupted in teary eyed laughter.

“Your…” The judge paused to reflect then started again. “Your high social standing? Son, you look like you barely have hair on your pecker.”

More laughter in the courtroom.

Judge Harlow shuffled the papers, then arranged them into a neat stack. “You have incurred an outrageous amount of debt, young man. A sum so astronomical I dread to even say it out loud.”

Travis gulped.

“Eight hundred…”

The onlookers gasped.

“…and thirty four dollars.”

The onlookers gasped louder. One of them feinted.

“In all my years on the bench I have never seen someone so young bury themselves under a mountain of bills so high,” the judge said. “What disturbs me the most is at no time did you exercise a modicum of common sense and take any kind of action to reduce your expenses. You just kept borrowing and borrowing.”

Travis stood there quietly, accepting the verbal abuse.

“What do you have to say for yourself, you ignoramus?” the judge asked.

“In my defense,” Travis said. “Does it say much for the character of men who would loan an alleged ignoramus so much money?”

Laughter. Even the judge was tickled.

“I suppose not,” the judge said with a grin. “But at the end of the day, you’re the one holding the bag, boy.”

Boy.” That word stuck in Travis’ mind. “Your honor.”

“Yes?”

“I move that all of this debt be set aside based upon an argument of infancy,” Travis said.

The judge’s face turned red. “You what?”

“Infancy, sir,” Travis said. “I was so young when I incurred all this debt that I had no idea what I was doing. I…I…”

Travis looked around the room. So many eyes were staring at him. “I make the utmost proofest of this infant!”

Judge Harlow stared at Travis with a stern gaze, then laughed. Once again, the rest of the court’s inhabitants joined in.

“Oh shit,” the Judge said. “Did you just say, ‘proofest’? That isn’t even a word.”

“It is!” Travis said.

“It is not,” the Judge said.

“It most certainly is,” Travis said. “There’s an entire chapter on ‘proofest’ or the art of exhibiting proof of a claim in the eighteenth volume of Lord Barnaby Fitzwater’s Treatise on the State of Colonial Law which, as we all know, fully applies to the common law of today and I can assure you that at the time when I entered into these contracts, I was much too young to understand the severity of the consequences I was agreeing to and therefore…”

Bang. Bang. Bang. The judge slammed his gavel down until Travis shut up.

“Let me stop you right there, son,” the judge said. “Look, I understand what you were up to. Hell, there’s even a part of me that even admires your spunk. You’re a social climber and you obviously want to live some kind of well-to-do, high falutin’ high society life. Only problem is, boy, that a life like that isn’t handed to you overnight. You got to work for it. Struggle for it. Take small steps every day that eventually get you up that hill.”

Travis hanged his head low.

“You thought that by borrowing a shit ton of cash up front you’d be able to buy the respect of a forty year old man who has toiled and suffered for years while you were still in your early twenties,” the judge said.

Travis remained silent.

“I sympathize, son,” the judge said. “I damn near reckon there isn’t a man in this courtroom who didn’t bite off more than he could chew when he was young. You just bit off more than most.”

Travis cleared his throat. “Your honor, if I could make one more argument…”

The judge banged his gavel. “You may not. And that’s your problem, Travis. You’ve spent so much time with your nose in a book, learning all kinds of fancy words and ideas that you never gained any kind of experience to back up your snooty disposition. In short, you’re all hat and no saddle.”

Laughter.

Travis adjusted his collar. “I throw myself at the mercy of the court.”

The judge nodded. “And the court does have mercy. I will give you three months to collaborate with your creditors. If, by then, you have not satisfied your debts, a warrant shall be issued for your arrest.”

All the hope emptied out of Travis’ eyes as the judge banged his gavel. “Court is adjourned.”

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 4

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December 1829

The Palacio Nacional was an astounding piece of architecture. Though by the 1800s it featured balconies, columns, porticos and other European style features, there were parts of the structure that dated back to the Aztec King Montezuma II.

But at this particular moment of history, there was no time to appreciate a fine building. Rival factions had gathered outside and violence was underway.

“Guerrero is the rightful ruler of Mexico!” cried one of the president’s supporters. “Down with the traitors!”

“Fool!” shouted a supporter of the vice-president. “Bustamante will lead us into prosperity!”

Torches were brandished. Rocks and bricks were thrown. Heads were busted. Fists flew.

A shot was fired.

“Insolent rabble!” shouted Colonel Arroyo as he stepped down from his horse. “Cease this disruption of the peace and make way for the general so that he may sort out this matter at once!”

The opposing sides were ready to tear each others’ throats out over their disagreements, but they were united in their respect for Santa Anna. As the general marched up the steps in his dress uniform, the crowd gazed upon him in sheer reverence.

The general, the colonel, and Isadora entered the palace in lockstep with a dozen soldiers trailing behind them.

“General,” the Colonel said. “These past few months in your service have certainly been an adjustment. Your foray into the, well, for lack of a better word, ‘the occult,’ has certainly taught me many dark secrets about our world.”

“Your loyalty has always been your greatest virtue, Colonel,” Santa Anna replied.

“Yes,” the Colonel said. “And I must admit, it has taken me some time to get used to your new ‘advisor.’”

“Isadora’s advice has proven invaluable,” Santa Anna said.

“Right,” Colonel Urrea said. “But general, you are about to walk down a path from which you will never be able to come back from.”

The general placed his hand on a doorknob. “My dear friend, why would I ever want to come back from this?”

Santa Anna opened the door and entered the presidential library, a large room with walls lined with bookshelves that held ancient volumes and dusty old tomes.

On one side of an old oak conference table sat Vincente Guerrero, the tall, dark, brooding president. Two guards stood to his left. Two more stood to his right. All four men were loyal to the smug, smarmy looking vice-president Anastasio Bustamante, who was sitting across the table.

“You have signed your own death warrant, Bustamante,” Guerrero said. “I will enjoy seeing you swing from the end of a rope.”

“Oh come now, Vincente,” Bustamante said. “You’re in no position to make threats.”

Santa Anna’s troops spread out throughout the room.

“What is the meaning of this?” the general asked.

“Ahh,” Guerrero said with a grin. “Thank God! Santa Anna, this vile dog has dared to betray the will of the people.”

“Such drama,” Bustamante said.

“I won the election,” Guerrero said as he thumped his chest with his fist. “I chose you as Vice-President to make peace with your supporters and you reward me with a treacherous coup.”

“OK,” Bustamante said. “Yes, I’ll admit you make a good case that this isn’t very democratic but sometimes in a democracy the people must be prodded in the right direction and if they’re incapable of realizing that you’re little more than a common street charlatan…”

“Enough!” Santa Anna shouted.

The general looked to the guards. “You men. You are soldiers of the Mexican Army. I gave no order for an insurrection.”

The soldiers stayed quiet. Bustamante answered for them.

“Obviously I didn’t tell you that I was planning to overthrow this gorilla stuffed in a suit…

Upon hearing that remark, Guerrero attempted to stand up but was immediately shoved back down back by Bustamante’s guards.

“…because you might have warned him.  But now that the deed is done, Antonio, you’ll have to make a choice. Him or me.”

“Yes, mi amor,” Isadora said. “Who will it be?”

Santa Anna withdrew his pistol and aimed it at Guerrero. After a few seconds of hesitation, the general moved his weapon and pointed it at Bustamante.

“Oh, fuck it,” Santa Anna said as he held out his free hand. “Colonel, your sidearm.”

Arroyo was perplexed but good solider that he was, he followed orders and placed his pistol in the general’s hand.

“Stop toying with us!” Guerrero hollered.

“Yes,” Bustamante said as he pounded his fist on the table. “Who will you side with?”

Santa Anna pulled both triggers. Holes opened in the heads of both men. Their bodies slumped forward in spent heaps.

“Neither of you,” Santa Anna said as he handed the pistol he borrowed back to the colonel.

The guards who had been loyal to Bustamante drew their swords. Santa Anna looked to his troops.

“Dispatch them.”

To the great horror of Bustamante’s men, the twelve soldiers that Santa Anna had brought with him flexed their muscles and burst out of their clothing. Fur sprang out of their bodies as they grew to well over seven feet tall. Snouts, long, sharp teeth, black noses, jagged claws.

The vice-president’s men were instantly ripped to shreds. One of the werewolves looked to Santa Anna.

“Search the palace,” Santa Anna said. “Round up all who sided with the vice-president. Those unwilling to pledge their allegiance to me shall be executed.”

The werewolf nodded and he and his furry brethren were off.

“I must say, Isadora,” Santa Anna said. “Had your new lycan recruits been in my service years ago, so many battles could have been won handily low these many years.”

“Yes,” Isadora said. “But do not forget they are only as loyal as your pockets are deep so never neglect to pay them and you’ll find they’re worth their weight in gold.”

The she-vamp caressed the cheek of a very frightened looking Colonel Arroyo. “It’s the loyalty of this one that I worry about.”

“Is she right?” Santa Anna asked Arroyo.  “Does she have cause for concern?”

“No,” the Colonel said. “I serve Mexico and whoever happens to be in charge of it at the moment, in good times and in bad.”

Arroyo looked around the room and grimaced at the multitude of dead bodies. “I just wish there was more good.”

Santa Anna rested his hand on the Colonel’s shoulder. “That’s good enough for me, General.”

“I’ve been promoted?” Arroyo asked.

“We both have,” Santa Anna said.

The trio of Santa Anna, Isadora, and Arroyo left the library and exited the palace. Outside, the rabble was just as rambunctious as ever, but they quieted down for Santa Anna.

“Good people of Mexico,” Santa Anna said. “After a thorough investigation, I determined that the president and the vice-president were a duo of filthy corrupt criminals whose misdeeds are far too voluminous too mention at this time. Therefore, I was left with no choice but to pass summary judgement and execute them both on the spot so that they may never trespass against this great nation ever again.”

Hushed whispers could be heard throughout the crowd.

“As Mexico’s chief military officer, I must, though it brings me no joy and is a terrible burden upon me, assume the position of president,” Santa Anna said. “Further, in order to bring about order in the wake of this chaotic ordeal, I am left with no choice but to dissolve the Constitution of 1824 as well as all rights and privileges listed therein until such time as I determine that order has been restored.”

Arroyo leaned into Isadora’s ear and whispered. “They’ll never go for it.”

“Oh ye of little faith,” Isadora whispered back.

“I realize this will result in a great deal of power being concentrated into the hands of one man alone,” Santa Anna said. “But do not fear, my friends, for I have always served with honesty and dignity and will do so as your new president. From hereon, Santa Anna is Mexico and Mexico is Santa Anna!”

The rabble was silent and then…they cheered. Claps. Hoots. Hollers. Cheers. Chants of, “Santa Anna! Santa Anna! Santa Anna!”

“Dios mio,” Arroyo said.

“Tell a confused mass that you’ll solve all their problems and punish the idiots who caused them and they’ll applaud you all day,” Isadora replied.  “This is a truth I have observed for ages.”

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 3

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One month later, Santa Anna strolled with Isadora across his luxurious, sweeping hacienda in Veracruz.

Correction: Isadora strolled. Santa Anna clunked.

“Mierda,” the general said. “What good is eternal life without a leg?”

The lady vampire scoffed. “Off the top of my head, I can think of a thousand dead men who would gladly trade a leg to be in your position.”

Santa Anna hobbled his way to a flower garden, where he sat down on a bench and adjusted the straps on his wooden prosthetic leg.

“Crafted by imbeciles!” the general shouted.

Isadora found a spot on the bench and sat quietly as her protege raged.

“How many times have I saved this country from ruin?!” the general barked. “And all I ask for is a fake leg that fits me properly!”

Santa Anna looked out at the green field that sprawled ahead of him, stretching all the way to the horizon. Peasant workers in rags toiled away under the hot sun, picking ripe vegetables and placing them into burlap sacks.

The general pulled out his pistol, closed his left eye and took aim at a random worker who happened to be standing roughly eighty yards away. The trigger was pulled, the shot fired. The worker fell. His body disappeared into the greenery.

The remaining workers in the dead man’s vicinity stopped momentarily. They looked around and then upon realizing who had fired, went immediately back to work, praying that their brief pause had gone unnoticed.

“Why did I do that?” Santa Anna asked as he blew the smoke off the barrel of his gun.

“Because you wanted to,” Isadora replied.

“All my life, I have wanted to do many things,” Santa Anna said. “Terrible things.”

Isadora plucked a red rose from a nearby bush and admired it.

“Such as?”

“Take what I want,” Santa Anna said. “Torture whoever mocks me. Murder whoever stands in my way. Fuck…”

Santa Anna looked at his companion and calmed down as he realized she was hanging on his every word.

“You stopped at the best part,” Isadora said as she pulled a petal off the rose.

The general finished his sentence. “…whoever I want.”

“What has been holding you back?” Isadora asked.

“I don’t know,” Santa Anna said. “Morality. Decency. Religion. Right and wrong.”

“All good guesses,” Isadora said as she rubbed the petal between her thumb and forefinger. “But all wrong.”

“You look at me as a cat does a mouse, woman,” Santa Anna said. “Tell me already.”

“It was your soul,” Santa Anna said.

The general holstered his weapon then leaned back. He looked up at the sky and attempted to lose himself while staring at all the fluffy white clouds.

“The greatest drawback of life, mi amor, is a soul,” Isadora explained. “A priest will tell you that it is the very essence of your being but if we’re being honest, it is little more than a nagging pest, a pathetic little worm that holds you back…”

Isadora leaned in close and nibbled on Santa Anna’s earlobe. “…it whispers in your ear, ordering you to be good when you know deep down that being bad is much more fun.”

The lady flicked the petal into the air. It danced about in the wind for a moment before it fell to the ground.

“But now your soul is gone,” Isadora said. “You no longer have to worry about it standing between you and what you desire ever again, morality be damned.”

“I do not understand how I can still be here without my soul,” Santa Anna said.

“It may not seem like it but trust me,” Isadora said as she brushed her cold hand up against Santa Anna’s colder cheek. “You are most certainly dead and upon death, the soul and the body separate. Your soul travels to heaven or hell, depending on whether you were a good boy or a bad boy. Where do you think it went?”

“I’d rather not think about it,” Santa Anna replied.

Isadora laughed. “Perhaps that is best.”

“I’m dead,” Santa Anna said. “Yet here I am.”

“Your body carries on,” Isadora said. “Your mind continues to function. But when I drained you of blood, I killed you. When you fed on my blood, you were reanimated. A body drained off blood that is offered blood cannot resist and even death cannot prevent it from feeding.”

Santa Anna sat up and looked around the field.

“You will need to feed forever to remain as you are,” Isadora said.

“Speaking of,” Santa Anna said. “I’m feeling peckish.”

The general stood up and limped into the field. Isadora followed.

“Who will you choose?” the lady vampire asked.

The general stopped and stared at a gray haired old man who was digging in the earth with a shovel. “Too old.”

“Not necessarily a problem,” Isadora said as she followed her love. “Like wine, blood ages well.”

“Yes,” Santa Anna said. “But he’s lived about as much life as he can and wouldn’t fear death, would he?”

“You are a natural when it comes to being a vampire, novio,” Isadora said.

The general stopped in front of a hideous man with a hunchback and a goiter on his noise.

“Ugh,” Santa Anna said as he walked away. “Wretched.”

“The package doesn’t always match the taste,” Isadora said.

“Yes,” Santa Anna said. “But I’d have to look at him while I’m eating…hello.”

A buxom senorita took a break from picking corn to dab her sweaty brow with a handkerchief. Her hair was dark and pulled back from her face with a red ribbon.

The general’s fangs popped out.

“Practice what I showed you,” Isadora said.

“But it would be so much better if she screams,” Santa Anna replied.

“You must learn how to glamour,” Isadora said.

“Oh, alright,” Santa Anna said as he if were a naughty school boy caving in to his scolding mother’s command. “Senorita.”

“Si?” the señorita replied as she turned around. As soon as she noticed the general’s fangs she shrieked. “Un monstruo!”

“Shh,” Santa Anna said as his eyes turned red. “There is nothing to fear.”

“No hay nada que temer,” the señorita replied.

“You want to come to me,” Santa Anna said.

“Quiero ir a ustedes,” the senorita replied.

She did and as soon as she was close, Santa Anna dove his fangs into her neck and sucked. The señorita was quiet, peaceful. Her eyes closed and as she was drained she slowly, peacefully went to asleep until her body went limp in the general’s arms.

Santa Anna lifted his blood soaked mouth up from his meal and tossed the senorita’s carcass to the ground as if it were a pile of trash.

“I am invincible,” Santa Anna said.

“Close,” Isadora said. “But not quite. You’ll want to stay away from silver and guard your heart at all costs. A silver bullet or a wooden stake driven through your heart will be the end of you.”

The she-vamp reached her delicate fingers into Santa Anna’s shirt and pulled out a shiny golden medallion that was hanging from his neck by a chain.

“Above all else,” Isadora said. “Do not lose this and do not ever go outside in the daylight without this on.”

Santa Anna looked down at the golden circle. The design was simple, a mere pentagram. In the center, there was the face of a fearsome looking ram with long, pointy horns.

“A cheap bauble,” Santa Anna said.

Isadora slapped her man across the face, then pointed her finger at him. “You have no idea how difficult it was to talk father into giving this to you. Most vampires must slave away in his service for centuries before gaining his trust.”

Santa Anna reached out and ran his fingers over a similar medallion that hanged from Isadora’s neck.

“Would it be wrong to assume that this ‘father’ you speak of is actually the dev…”

Another slap. A finger pointed at Santa Anna’s face again.

“Do not ever use father’s real name,” Isadora said.

“Why?” Santa Anna asked.

“Because the greatest trick that father ever played is to convince mankind that he does not exist,” Isadora answered. “Throw his name around often enough and incompetent humans might start to wise up.”

“Incompetent?” Santa Anna asked.

“Humans are fools,” Isadora said. “They live short lives and barely have enough time to learn a thing. Alas, you haven’t lived long either mi amor but follow my counsel and you will rule Mexico.”

Isadora took Santa Anna’s arm and the vampires walked together toward an enormous, pristine white mansion.

“The people already call you the Napoleon of the West,” Isadora said.

“I’m not sure that is a compliment,” Santa Anna said.

“It is,” Isadora said. “He was a masterful warrior and between you and I…he was one of us.”

Santa Anna’s eyes widened. “But he had his waterloo.”

“Obey me and you never will,” Isadora said.

“There is a cost you’ve yet to mention, no doubt,” Santa Anna said.

“Of course,” Isadora said. “You’ll need to wake up father.”

“Wake him?” Santa Anna asked.

“Naturally,” Isadora said. “Mexico will be yours, Antonio, but the world will be father’s.”

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