Posts Tagged ‘weird western’

Pseudopod 476: ARTEMIS RISING Women In Horror Showcase: Black Hearts


Black Hearts

by Shannon Peavey


Alma carried the worm-fork and Lewis carried the knife. They didn’t speak and had not spoken since the morning, fifteen miles back through dry grass and bare dirt and the click-chatter of insects. Dust rose around their ankles and the sun beat hot on the napes of their necks.

When they dropped over a rise and hit bottom, Lewis stopped and nodded and Alma took the worm-fork in both hands. It was a heavy thing, its grip worn smooth by her palm. She raised it shoulder-high, breathed once, and slammed it down into the ground.

She didn’t know how Lewis decided on a place — what made that stretch of plain any better than the miles they had passed before it. Long miles, leading a horse too laden with jars and bags to ride. They were somewhere south of Nampa, days out of Boise, and she’d been gone from her home for more than a year. The land was different, here. The ground packed so hard she had to lean all her weight on the worm-fork to get it to stick.

They’d been only children at the start of Lewis’s great journey, but no one would call them such anymore.

Pseudopod 449: How To Remember


How To Remember

by Sylvia Anna Hivén.

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“The painted woman shimmered bronze-red against the desert. I didn’t know if I’d ever catch up with her, but still I whipped my ragged horse on, doing everything in my might to not let that little speck of a savage vanish over the horizon.

My throat itched with hot dust, which bothered me, and my horse’s hooves bled, and that was no good neither—the fanged mustangs would smell it, and the black-hounds, too. But I followed that painted woman like the devil chasing a damned soul, because that woman had stolen Ellie.

_You get my daughter back, Jeremiah. You get her back, or this ain’t your homestead anymore._

I couldn’t remember Clementine’s face much, in the feverish desert and with the sun so unwilling to set—so unwilling to do anything but bake, and char, and burn, and make a man miserable. But my wife’s words burned more than the sun, and even if I didn’t remember quite how she looked when I’d left, I could pretty much imagine her. My mind conjured up images of her tear-dusty face and the way she’d writhe her hands—not despairingly, but like a warning what all would happen if I failed. That was Clementine: pretty and frail on the outside, a wispy ghost of a girl in her thin cotton dress, but when she wanted to she could be something else—something nearly as wicked as the desert and the vile creatures crawling in its cracks. And she wanted Ellie back. So I had ridden out.

I was still riding, ignoring the flicker of scarlet the horse left on our trail, not caring how damn parched I was and how I had no idea when I’d refill my water skin. And I ignored how the life I was desperate to put back together, in my icy-cold fever, I barely remembered anymore.”

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