The following is an excerpt from my newly-released novelette “Showdown”. Graeme has just seen a person killed for the first time:
Before he knew he was going to speak, he heard himself say, “I reckon that’s far enough.”
Some small part of him wondered at how calm and flat his own voice sounded in his ears. His hunting rifle was leveled and braced against his shoulder. The ozone hum and crackling blue light of the magazine indicated it was charged and ready. No Gunslinger’s weapon, this. It was a newfangled voltaic rifle, powered by technomancy. An inferior weapon to the holy guns of the Slingers maybe, but then, Graeme was not a Gunslinger; not yet.
Beside him, astride her graceful mare Piper had her own rifle leveled at the Desperado. Their horses moved not at all, though no hand lay on the reins. Gunslinger steeds, these, born and bred to serve the Order and trained by their own father’s hand. The Desperado turned in the deserted dusty street to regard them with a jaundiced eye. He gave them both a long, considering, dead-eyed gaze. Graeme glared back. A shutter still swung loose in the wind, creaking, creaking.
The Desperado spat. “You ain’t goin’ to start something you can’t finish, are you, boy?” he sneered in a cold rasping baritone. His eyes were darker than coal-black. No apprentice then; this man had sold his soul to Hell and leased it back at compound interest. “You’re so wet behind the ears I don’t reckon you can sprout a beard yet.”
Graeme turned his head just slightly so that the Desperado could get a glimpse of the pointed ear sticking out of his hair under his hat brim.
The Desperado’s eyes narrowed. “Fuckin’ faeries,” he growled, almost under his breath. “Well, guess I got no real idea how old you are. But you smell like children to me. Why don’t you go back to your farm and leave the grown-ups to do their business?”
Graeme thought about the Gunslinger this man had cut down. He could still hear the gurgle and wheeze of her struggle to breathe. He could smell the iron of her blood seeping into the dust.
“I don’t think so.”
Copyright 2017© by Diane Morrison
Showdown is available now exclusively for Kindle! Only 99 cents! It will be released on all other e-platforms on June 20 (Summer Solstice).