A Merry Christmas in Hell by Benedict J. Jones

Christmas time always sets me to thinking about Boston and the house I had grew up in. I stood in the doorway of my cabin and looked out at the snow that had already lain on the mountain. It reflected the sun and made for a bright morning. The pine trees made me think of […]

Bone Creek by Gareth Spark

There ain’t no sun today; hell, there ain’t ever much of a sun, not the way my eyes have rotted out their sockets. I sit my bones out on the porch most days, stare into the cold Colorado wind, and wait on the Lord as I have been forty something years. Some days I head […]

Justice by B. R. Stateham

Denver. A bustling, wild, but dangerously exciting town setting on the eastern slopes of the Rockies where the prairie met the mountains.  A town filled with a lawless raw energy. A rapidly growing western town filled with miners moving on through the Rockies in search for the next gold mining camp.  Or with cattle barons […]

Justice by B. R. Stateham

He swung out of the saddle of his big Appaloosa with a smooth, cat-like ripple in muscle and sinews, reaching for the long barreled Sharps 44-40 caliber rifle at the same time.  In the dry dust of the open prairie heavy Spanish spurs jingled as he gripped the rifle in one hand and used the […]

The Water Basket by Jack Getze

“Today’s Salton Sea was formed in 1905-07 when the Colorado River broke through irrigation floodgates near Yuma. Since then, Hoover Dam and other dams have supposedly tamed the rampages of the Southwest’s mightiest river. However, the ghosts of Lake Cahuilla and its ancestors born of the river still brood over the valley.” —Lowell and Diana […]

Sky Burial by Bracken MacLeod

Earle watched the blood in the water drift away like a line of campfire smoke spread thin by the night wind. The crimson ribbon washed down the creek, twisting around the stones as though it had a purpose and couldn’t be delayed. There was Hell to pay and blood settles its debts in fast time. […]

Prayer by Todd Morr

“The usual?” The reverend made his habitual over the shoulder peek before handing over the flask and a handful of bills.  He overpaid for his tin of whiskey to ensure discretion.  Judging by the looks he had been getting, he was not getting what his money’s worth. It was still better to stay off the […]

Spring Planting by Bill Baber

Early in that summer of 1905 we came west on a train, Ma, Pa, my sister Pearl and me. Pa worked as a clerk at my grandpa’s store in Ohio. He said he wasn’t ever going to get anywhere being a store keeper. Ma said he was just restless by nature. That he was a […]

The Rustle of Bed Sheets and One Lost Cow by John Weagly

Sidney Pitt never expected to be gunned down in a whorehouse, but it looked like that was how he was going to meet his demise. “It’s just a cow!” Sidney called down from the second floor window of the Eternal Rest Bordello, his muscles tying themselves into knots.  His dusty, discarded pants and gun-belt were […]

Killing Animals by Rob Pierce

These were the roofs Joseph climbed as a child. From these same rooftop perches he’d heard laughter and known it was at him and his father. His father had tried to stay here, had told him, at nights in their home on the edge of the woods, how he would show them that he and […]

Killing Animals by Rob Pierce

All that covered Joseph was the bearskin that hung loose to his knees, that and the thick brown hair on his head and calves. On his back was the rifle of a hunter who’d mistaken him for game. He moved slowly among the townspeople under awnings that shadowed the planked sidewalks. Hollow footsteps fell on […]

Headhunter by Chuck Regan

My horse ain’t at all well. His chest started clunking yesterday—he’s drying out. De-hy-dration. I pinched his neck, and the skin stayed raised up too long. That’s a sure sign. Worse today. I need to find water. Still have a long way to go to get out of this desert. My tongue is sticking to […]