BOOK DETAILS

Blood-Lines: Weird Wild West - Book I

Blood-Lines: Weird Wild West - Book I

by Bob Sellers Jr

ASIN: B01M6X2T3Z

Publisher Createspace

Published in Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Literature & Fiction/Horror, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

$3.95

Welcome to the Weird Wild West.

Here horsepower is measured in hands or hooves while the caliber of weapon on hand can make the difference between life and death upon the open frontier of the Western United States.

Streets are dusty as lead runs hot while the women are fast and any cards that you’ve played must prove even faster.

All around you there are people who are not as they appear and others who watch them.

Supernatural and mortal alike join forces to reach what peace that can be found between them as hunters can become prey and prey can become the hunter.

This is their story

Sample Chapter

Posse

Summer, 1874 / Kasher Point, Wyoming

Yellow haze from an extended drought hung like the softer fog of velvet swirl to reach out and gently caress the outer edges of town where a phantom rider on horseback suddenly appeared as if spawned from its very midst.

With what little traffic there was to tangle with easily avoided, anything that moved simply managed to disturb yet more of the dust that had already been kicked up from around them by the shuffle of boot, hoof and wagon wheel alike; which in turn stuck like a fine coating of grit to the back of most everyone's throat that may have been forced to spend as little time that they could out in the heat.

Those that happened to notice the stranger's arrival also made note of the polished badge with its eight point star clearly pinned to his vest before they quickly moved to alert others nearby that a federal lawman had arrived with whatever trouble such a visit might have otherwise brought with it.

From the relative comfort of his saddle, Marshal Augustus Poe watched as two men bathed thick with sweat carried a limp body of another out through the open doors of the Agarose, one at the shoulders of the unfortunate soul while the other carried a pant leg bent at the knee in each hand.

The two-story clapboard tavern had long been known for its rough trade in both gambling and cheap liquor alike; along with several rather tawdry and curvaceous young women who were made available and ready to tend to most any pleasures of the passing traveler and local alike; but only if they were willing to pay their price with as little quibble or complaint as possible or might otherwise have been tolerated by management.

Poe had also made note of several other dead bodies as they lay quiet in the dirt nearby while he gently guided his palomino along the main street of Kasher Point, Wyoming.

Long hair bleached white by the sun; his skin had become dark and creased from the soft caress of wind as he'd often traveled the open plains; while in a confounding turn, thicker wisps of a beard that he'd grown of late had somehow managed to show up dark and red with gray mixed in throughout as if just to annoy him.

Unfortunately, this new look had also managed to give those that he may have met in passing the idea that he was a much older man than he actually was; while one look into the dark pearl gray of his eyes showed hard experience mixed with layered depths of grit and determination.

On more than one occasion he'd considered a clean shave, but in the end had figured it best to wait and see how the beard grew in before he made any more such radical changes as he already had.

Merit from an otherwise stalwart reputation of honesty and incorruptibility as a lawman had often preceded him where he traveled; which in turn aptly cut into the amount of prospective challenges to his authority that may have been otherwise found, along with his willingness to demonstrate prowess with both pistol and long gun alike that was sure to have made it far less likely that others may have still chose to draw against him when pushed.

The farther that he went as he made his way along main street, he couldn't help but watch as the town around him desperately tried to clean itself up as best it could from under what remained of the late afternoon sun.

An unwavered stretch of heat and lack of rain would likely continue to keep the local undertaker busy until winter, as all it ever took was a spark; flared tempers with pistols drawn that more often than not led to dire circumstances for all involved one way or the other.

Dirt was dirt; it didn't really care if you were right or wrong when it covered your coffin.

From the looks of things, he figured to have missed the most recent action at the Agarose by less than a day if not two while he took note of several women mixed in with the men as they lay bloody yet peaceful in wait for their turn with the rough pine boxes that would serve as their final rest.

A lanky dark-haired man, his face ravaged by pockmarks, wore a black top hat and coat as he directed the efforts of others while they worked along the street.

He carried the look of your average undertaker - tall, thin and gaunt with the perpetual frown that came with a job that no one ever seemed to enjoy when it involved tending to the dead.

Dark eyes beneath the brim of the top hat measured Poe as he passed by; not that many undertakers worth their salt ever missed a new arrival who might otherwise have found themselves in need of their business sooner than later - particularly so, if the newcomer just happened to be wearing a badge as this one clearly was.

With a reluctant sigh once the newcomer had passed, the undertaker also realized that he'd probably need a whole lot more pine by nightfall; it was just the way of the west as far as he was concerned. Especially when lawmen suddenly appeared out of the blue like this one had.

It wasn't long before Poe found yet more evidence of the recent violence.

Hot lead from whatever it was that made such tedious work for the grave diggers had vented holes haphazardly across the outer walls and tall doors of the Agarose.

It must have been one hell of a gunfight, something that he was more than happy not to have been a part of.

As he dismounted at the rail in front of the Sheriff's office, Poe watched while several flatbed wagons rolled by on their way to collect more boxes. Too much pine for one hearse to handle meant livery wagons would have to haul off the dead.

Each driver sat hunched over his reins as if they already regretted what it was that they would have to do.

Not the first time he'd seen it happen and probably not the last.

With his horse now properly tied to the rail, Poe stepped up and onto the boardwalk as he made his way toward the sheriff's open door.

"Took you long enough, just sent the god dammed telegraph a couple hours ago." The familiar deep basso voice of Franklin Tombs rumbled out to greet him from within. "Hell, Poe, you should have at least warned me that you were coming. I haven't had time to properly hide the whiskey or lock away the women folk."

"Good to see you too, Franklin." Poe replied easily with a smile as he walked into the single room office to shake the beefy hand of his old friend once again.

"Though from what I hear of the women around here, they're no better than the weak lemon water that's rumored to serve as whisky for the common traveler or I might be offended by such a crude and callous remark."

Franklin Tombs was the man responsible for having convinced Poe to join up as a Marshal, although Poe himself had often referred to it more as a hard twist of the arm rather than simple conviction that may have caused him to pick up and wear a badge as he had.

Together they'd roamed the territories for several years before Tombs suddenly up and quit to take the Sheriff's job that he now held. Once settled, he'd also married a local woman last Poe had heard and managed to produce a couple of children to chase after.

At a few notches above six-foot, Tombs thick muscled build hinted at someone who could easily have wrestled a bull to the ground bare handed; an ample bulk that also often served as simple intimidation rather than the twin six shooters that he wore - which in turn easily resolved most any problem that may have otherwise come up amongst the locals without having drawn any blood in the process.

Poe also noticed that since he'd last been out this way his friend had lost much of his dark brown hair. Thinned remnants that remained now wrapped around the bald spot atop his head and showed speckled hints of gray.

Not one to waste time with idle conversation, Tombs pulled out a half-empty bottle of whiskey and two shot glasses which, in turn, lead to several toasts to old friends and the various badges that they'd worn along the way.

Once they'd finished, Poe put his glass down and looked at his friend. "You mentioned something about the telegraph earlier. While I hate to take credit for showing up to answer it, truth be told, I just happened to have been riding through the area and wanted to stop by to give my regards only to discover a whole lot of dead folks out there in the dirt just now … care to tell me what the hell happened?"

"You remember old Henry Plummer?" Tombs asked, before he tipped his head back to drain the last of his shot.

"The Sheriff of Bannack City back in the early sixties?" Poe replied with some surprise. "Wasn't he strung up with a couple of his deputies around January of sixty-four?"

"That they were. Along with several other men, whose collective guilt is still debated to this day …" Tombs sat forward to rest his elbows on the desk, "… there was also a Mexican greaser by the name of Pizanthia who was killed three ways to Sunday by the same mob."

Tombs paused to pour another shot before he sucked it down as well. Given the nature of the work going on in the street of his town, Poe couldn't blame the man for having found comfort from a bottle.

He'd probably known most of the people who'd died.

"Trapped the son of a bitch in his cabin only to use a god dammed howitzer on him when he refused to come out and surrender all peaceful like. Damn fools went even further and emptied their guns into him before they strung him up half-dead.”

Tombs shook his head at the thought.

"Morons then shot him full of yet more lead once his feet left the ground simply because he was stubborn enough not to have been dead in the first place, now ain't that something to consider as charitable on their part."

He paused as he sat at back in his chair which released a loud creak of protest as it shifted beneath his bulk.

"Burned him up and what was left of his place after that …the damn cowards. The day that I shoot a man that I had just strung up with a hundred rounds or more of lead ..."

The big man angrily downed another shot before he pushed the empty glass away with clear disgust.

"I take it that greaser had something to do with your problem today?” Poe suggested with a smile, while his old friend frowned at him. “Kind of hard to do when you're dead and all like that, isn't it?"

Tombs simply cleared his throat as he gently shook his head.

"A man in town who once worked out that way …” the nature of his smile as he spoke unsettled Poe just a bit as he listened, “… and knew of Pizanthia and the whore that he once kept: white woman about twenty-five to thirty, long auburn red hair and skin that bordered upon pale to anyone that saw her, who also went by the name Medusa. Damn greaser whored her out when he could and apparently made plenty of good money doing it. Perhaps too good, given the company that she kept … if you know what I mean."

Poe patiently waited for him to continue, having politely refused another shot when it was offered before his friend simply capped the bottle and pushed it aside.

"Now it would appear that this whore was always around the greaser's cabin working her business, day and night …” He paused for a brief moment as he recalled the events, “… so just before the mob that finally came for him arrived, someone who'd kept a watchful eye on the greaser saw her go into the cabin with him all cozy like while neither hide nor hair of her was found once they'd dragged him out of the place kicking and screaming, or even after they'd burned it right down to the ground."

"I'm guessing from what you've just told me that you've run across Pizanthia's whore recently?"

Tombs nodded as he glanced out the window at the failing light. "Night before last, Graven pulled in with a new stable full and set them right to work. One of them was a white woman who had long auburn red hair and skin that bordered upon pale even for this neck of the woods; called herself Medusa as well, when asked."

The big man paused a moment as he thought things through before he continued.

"To fully understand just how strange this is going to sound, you'll have to listen with an open mind for a bit."

"Sure." Poe readily agreed, having clearly sensed the seriousness of his friend's mood as somehow the strangeness of his story appeared to have made even him uneasy as he'd told it; something that Poe had never witnessed in his friend before now - clear traces of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Even while during the darkest days of their previous adventures together, the big man had more often than not shown himself as someone who couldn't be easily intimidated.

Apparently, that is, until now.

"Two slick looking, middle-aged gambler types with wire rimmed spectacles came in on yesterday's stage." Tombs continued with solemn contempt.

"Pin striped suits, fancy vests, waxed mustaches and bowlers like those you see in the big cities. They set about trying to sliver off a few shares of the locals pocket change with a few card tricks. All was going well until they got called on it and a fight broke out."

Tombs rose to his feet and began to move back and forth behind his desk as he spoke; which reminded Poe of when the big man had paced by the campfire while talking strategy when they'd been on the trail of a felon.

"Now, even though they usually don't allow weapons when gambling, that hasn't seemed to stop anyone from carrying one. Hayden Cork and Miller Thompson both pulled their guns, as did each of the gamblers with shots exchanged all around. Dorsey Levin managed to duck down and watched as one gambler took bullets from both men. Apparently he then returned the favor by killing Thompson outright and wounding Cork without having slown down one bit."

Tombs stood behind his chair with both hands on the back.

"All hell broke loose after that and it became a free for all. Everyone who had a gun pulled it out and started blasting. Those that survived recalled both gamblers having been hit more than once and never having flinched because of it. Most, if not all, of them also claimed that their eyes began to glow dark red or some other godforsaken color once they'd been hit."

The sound of horses as they strained to pull a heavy wagon echoed in through the doorway while they passed the office just outside.

It was a bit unsettling to know what it was that the wagon might have carried to make such weight.

"Medusa …" Tombs continued somberly, "… who was upstairs with a client, apparently came out when the fireworks started; wearing a flowing red dress and open bodice with a shawl. She must have startled someone by her sudden appearance at the rail as they shot her square in the chest. Damn whore then managed to fall over that rail only to collapse an otherwise perfectly good card table flat down to the ground when she landed on it; spilling chips, cards and liquor over everything."

Poe waited out his friend's pause as he pictured the scene.

"Funny thing is that apparently she didn't stay down long before she got up and started slashing people with a straight razor. Craziest thing that I've heard as of yet was when Wild Bill Davenport managed to get a straight bead on her with his pistol. She just walked up to him and batted his gun away to one side before she slit his throat without Wild Bill having made much of an effort to stop her. He just stood there and let her do it. She finished him with one swipe. Ear to ear, caused quite the gusher."

Poe almost pointed out that it wasn't all that uncommon for whores to carry razors in case of trouble - they were easy to hide and quick to use - but he also realized his friend would have known that just as he did.

"Bout that time, both gamblers and the whore Medusa must have decided to skedaddle their way out and grabbed a couple more whores for insurance. Saddled up and were on their way out by the time I showed up with my carbine."

Tombs smiled and looked strangely amused.

"Managed to get a shot off at the last of them but seems I missed and hit the whore that was sitting in front of the gambler who'd held her tight. Not long after, he left her to lie stone dead in the road once she'd fallen from the horse. It would seem that I haven't lost my touch with long guns any."

Poe didn't even try to hide his confusion. "You got her but missed him?"

"Somehow I managed to get a bullet to go around him and through her, back to front while he held her tight against him."

"That's not possible and you know it Franklin."

Tombs pointed an index finger at Poe. "Iknewyou'd say that. So, I did a little checking around her clothing and body. Found blood on the back of the dress near her wound that hadn't soaked through from the inside to get to where it was."

"Meaning the rider was hit as well."

"Yep, never flinched or slowed down one bit. Just let her fall to the ground as he rode off and didn't miss a beat. A whore's a whore, butg'ddamnif they're still not women folk underneath."

"Alright, what else is there that I should know about?" Poe asked reluctantly.

"Afraid I'm gonna have to show you the rest. Let's take a walk … shall we?"

There were fewer bodies laid out on the street and several boxes that patiently waited for pickup when they passed through the doors of the Agarose.

Tables and chairs lay overturned and broken, spread haphazardly around the room, while broken glass crunched beneath their feet as they walked through the mess.

Poe stopped at one particular table that lay completely flat; covered as it was with poker chips and coins splattered with blood.

From the rest of the mess around him, he turned to look up at the rail on the second floor balcony as he considered the woman who'd fallen from it.

"She got up after a bullet nailed her square and fell from way up there?" he asked with some surprise. "You're absolutely sure that she was hit before she fell?"

Tombs nodded as he too considered the balcony rail.

"According to those who witnessed it, the shot put her back hard against the wall where she stumbled forward and just up and fell over the rail, not unlike a sack of potatoes as one of the witnesses put it rather bluntly, I might add."

With his hands rested upon his gun belt, Poe slowly turned to take in more of the damage around them.

He found blood splattered and mixed to pool with dirt and other debris along several walls along with one particular area of the floor that was several shades darker than the wood around it.

Unfortunately familiar with the result of someone having bled out from a slit throat, combined with the oval shape of the darkened wood, he knew it could only have come from one source.

"I take it that's where she pulled her razor?"

Tombs nodded, as he moved to stand just outside the darkened area. "Slit his throat, held his head to one side by the hair and kissed him on the neck as his blood gushed out against her, or so I've been told."

"You've got … to be joking." Poe offered incredulously.

"Nope, and that's not all of it; saved the best part for last." The big man replied as he moved to take the side stair up to the second floor without further explanation.

Once Poe managed to catch up, he realized what his friend had meant.

The body of a dead man lay face up and naked on the bed in front of them, brown eyes open and blank; from what could seen at first blush, the dark tan of his muscled body offered some evidence that he must have worked long hours under the sun.

Little or no facial hair or stubble of beard growth suggested a recent shave, while long tangled brown hair flowed over the pillow around his head.

Several articles of clothing, a pair of boots and a gun belt lay piled haphazardly over a nearby chair.

Tombs moved to one side and gestured for Poe to take a closer look while he watched and waited.

For his cursory exam, without having touched the body Poe looked for wounds in the usual places as he worked his way up from below the dead man's waist, across his lower abdomen, over his chest and up to his throat.

From what he'd seen or otherwise heard of in passing about situations not entirely unlike this one, more often than not when a whore chose to kill or otherwise maim her client for one reason or another, she'd usually done so once her victim had been properly distracted through unfettered access to softer far more vulnerable areas of his anatomy that they'd exposed for far different reasons than what she'd done with them.

A quick flick or two of the razor would normally have been enough to incapacitate most any man who might have otherwise tried to chase them down afterward.

However, other than several assorted scars from long healed wounds, not a mark on the otherwise healthy looking body seemed unusual until he got to the neck area.

Poe leaned in to get a closer look at wounds of some sort along the right side of the man's throat where small rivulets of blood had trailed down to the pillow beneath his head.

Ever so gently, he reached out to turn the dead man's head to the side so that he could get a closer look at his wounds. From initial observation, he was startled to realize that from what he could see of them, they clearly looked to be some sort of bite mark; with distinct pairings of puncture wounds top and bottom not unlike that of a snake bite.

From the loose feel of the dead man's head as Poe gently turned it back and forth several times, his neck appeared to have somehow been broken as well.

"Franklin, as funny as this may have been on your part to set up, you and I both know that vampires simply do not exist. Care to explain what the hell really happened here before this prank gets out of hand?"

His smile died on his lips when he found that his friend had remained solemn and was not smiling back.

Tombs simply reached to pull the toothpick that he'd been chewing on and tossed it out the door.

"Had no idea that you'd be showing up like you did today Poe. Found him like this not long after the fight. As best we can figure, Medusa tried to dismount when she heard the first few shots and when the dead man objected ... voila; snap, crackle and pop."

Poe seriously began to consider the same far-fetched conclusion that his friend had, given the evidence that he'd found in front of them.

A vampire had done this.

He'd heard and seen many strange things in his day, but nothing that had ever looked clearly as strange as what he was looking at now.

"Okay …” Poe began with a long sigh, “… for the sake of argument; if this whore and her friends were reallyvampires, and I'm not about to say that quite yet, what exactly do we do about it now, given that they're probably long gone by now?"

Poe patiently waited for his friend to admit that this had all been some kind of sick practical joke.

From the big man's lack of reaction, such an admission was as unlikely to be forthcoming as he may have otherwise hoped or wished for.

Continues...

Excerpted from "Blood-Lines: Weird Wild West - Book I" by Bob Sellers Jr. Copyright © 2016 by Bob Sellers Jr. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Bob Sellers Jr

Bob Sellers Jr

Bob Sellers and his family live in Southern Minnesota (USA) where he is employed as a Senior Programmer Analyst who enjoys bleeding purple and gold while cheering for his Minnesota Vikings of the NFL.

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