Saturday, August 29, 2015

Been a long summer...

Here's something I just finished up. Hope you enjoy. More shorts are bound to come, some sooner, others later. Novels still in progress.

Welcome to Barrow

The only thing left of him was desert sand and perpetual motion. One foot in front of the next, he stalked in the wake of the afternoon sun as it fell towards the horizon. The hard clay underfoot reflected the heat back up at him, but the brim of his hat provided his eye a measure of shade and the desperate hope that the next time he tilted his head back, it would reveal the edge of town.

The shadow of a bird slid across the ground, crossing his path. His head leveled and he saw the heat shimmering off of the desert floor, blurring a dozen squat shapes in the distance. Had he the moisture left in his mouth, he might have used it to slide a low whistle off his lips.

Before he could confirm they were buildings, he heard the report of gunfire. He couldn't tell how many shots, not that he would have trusted himself at this distance, but it was a volley, specifically rifles if he had to lay money on it. His hands had drifted to the handles of his handguns, but he wouldn't have had the strength or speed to use them. A dry rattle from his throat imitated a chuckle as he realized that even half dead his reflexes were still working properly.

Just as he was able to make out the town properly, the shadow of the bird slid back across the ground, wings rustling as it came to light on a sign driven into the cracked dirt.

Welcome to Barrow, proclaimed the cracked and peeling painted white letters. The crow attached to the shadow squawked loudly, then shifted slightly from side to side before flying off once again. His feet carried him past the sign, just as they had across the torturous miles of the journey since his horse had died.