The Athiest by Isaac Kirkman

“…for the Fall of Charleston is the fall of Satan’s Kingdom.”– Asst. Navy Secretary Gustavus Fox to Admiral Samuel F. DuPont, June 3, 1862 SOLITARY UNIVERSE I:THE SUI GENERIS July 5th, 1876   Arizona Territory Old age has made me idle. I’d much rather spend my twilight reading and painting. Books by Dickens. Marx. Voltaire. Painting […]

The Last Shot by Ron Earl Phillips

“Marshal? Do you think I’ll hang?” Hank Markum said nothing at first, taking a sip from his coffee before considering the grave question of his prisoner. He looked across the fire, the flickering light played against the boy’s youthful appearance making him seem younger than his nineteen years. The tremble in Caleb Monroe’s voice only […]

The Last Shot by Ron Earl Phillips

“Marshal? Do you think I’ll hang?” Hank Markum said nothing at first, taking a sip from his coffee before considering the grave question of his prisoner. He looked across the fire, the flickering light played against the boy’s youthful appearance making him seem younger than his nineteen years. The tremble in Caleb Monroe’s voice only […]

Bury Me Deep by Richard Thomas

The stranger rode into town on a horse that was nothing more than dried skin stretched taut over creaking bones, one eye glancing back over his shoulder watching the devil that he knew, the other wandering forward to spy the one that he didn’t. He slid off the horse, a layer of dust and grime […]

Grave Frontier by Dusty Wallace

I ride south, morning sun to my left, head tilted so my stetson keeps away blindness. A weeping willow stands along the dusty path, its shadows reaching toward me like skeletons in silhouette. A rabbit clears the road and hides in a briar patch. The six-shooter on my hip feels heavier than normal. Old Sally […]

The Kid at the Crossing by Frank Sonderborg

Trench was stacking stones from a cleared field. Bone breaking but honest. His older sister Abby, stood in the sun and did what sisters do well. Cried a bit, then stopped, then cried some more. “Their young, impetus and they had you as an Uncle.” “Look Sis I told you and the boys, them days […]

Oh, Brother! by Bruce Harris

Dan Byrne received the news during a poker game at The Round-Up. He turned his upper body around, empty beer mug raised in his right about to scream across the noisy saloon for a refill when he noticed Sheriff Beckley bearing down on him. The lawman’s look said trouble. “See you a minute, Dan?” his […]

Sunset at Devil’s Gulch by Peter N. Dudar

Dayton could hear the coyotes circling; growling and yipping under the setting sun.  They must have caught his scent just after Maggie died.  The horse thieves had opened fire on him and his mare when he came upon their den on the western edge of the prairie.  Maggie had taken the lion’s share of the […]

Hangman in the Wind by Warren Moore

Graham flipped up his collar and adjusted his hat as the wind blew through the last straggling trees before the timberline. It was October, and winter could come hard and fast in the high country. Did the wind smell like snow? Maybe the chestnut gelding knew, but he wasn’t telling Graham. Graham had taken the […]

Soldier’s Heart by William S. Hubbartt

“Cap’n,…Cap’n,… where‘d they go?” “Shut up, an keep watchin,” barked Captain Titus Barnes as he crouched behind a dead horse, looking around nervously over the grassy plain below.  “They’re out there, in the grass, waiting, watching.” “Don’t see ‘em,” said 19 year old recruit, Private Archer as he rose to a stranding position to look […]

Alacran y El Pistolero by Hector Acosta

The sun had become the old man’s worst enemy. It beat against him without any remorse, lashes of heat hitting his back and sending painful jolts up his shoulders. Reaching into his coat pocket he took out a handkerchief and wiped it across his forehead. The barren plains of the desert hadn’t changed much ever […]

A Merry Christmas in Hell by Benedict J. Jones

We rode back to the site of the Harrison massacre and I picked up the trail that led into the thick woods. It was easy to follow and whoever it was we were following had made no move to cover their tracks. In places the snow was almost touching the belly of my pony as […]