Maria Faust and her Zombie
companion, Mr. Tall, encounter big trouble
under the big sky in

Murder's Accomplice

A 4-Episode Weird Western!

by Stanley "Buck" Weiss
About the author


Episode 2:
Introducing Mr. Tall

*         *         *
IT TOOK A SECOND FOR HIS WORDS to register with the men on both sides of him.  In that time Maria tapped once more within the impression her finger had made on the card table.  With a whisper and the movement, the lanterns in the room extinguished, plunging them all into darkness.

Shotgun’s Colt went off, lighting the room and leaving a hole in the wall where Maria had been just before.  In her kneeling position Maria slid her hands over her eyes and said a small incantation.  As the words left her mouth, the room brightened and she could see the confused men moving about in the dark.  Multiple shots were fired in the same direction Shotgun had fired moments before.

Maria could see that the men were spread out.  She quickly pulled a knife from her garter belt and threw it at the man farthest away.  It caught him in the throat and with a gurgled thump he hit the ground.  He had taken his liberties with the poor schoolteacher; Maria could still see it fresh in the top layer of his mind.  He deserved to be sent flailing into the abyss.

The firing renewed at the spot where he lay motionless.

Maria noticed one of the men had his back against the outer wall of the building pointing his gun at whatever sound he heard in the darkness.  Maria signaled with her mind and two large black arms burst through the wall on each side of the terrified man.  He dropped his gun as two huge hands bear hugged around him and the large arms pulled him back through the wall.

The arms belonged to Mr. Tall.  Mr. Tall was her backup; a seven foot black man who Maria had known as long as she remembered life.  Mr. Tall was also a zombi, brought back to life by Mamma Magdalena to act as her apprentice’s protector while in the west.  She probably hadn’t needed to bring him into the fray, but she knew from past experience that if Mr. Tall was idle for too long during a fight anyone that came too close to him could be considered an enemy or perhaps a snack.

Maria pulled out her ivory handled colt 45’s.  She needed to end this quickly.  Pretty soon the saloon owner would bring the sheriff and she really didn’t need to be asked too many questions.  Besides, Shotgun and his boys were throwing a lot of money around this one horse town and she was only racking up bodies for the mortician and causing property damage.

The guns felt perfect in her hands.  Magic came easy for her, but she loved the feel of the guns.  It had taken her years of target practice and near death fights to master them.  Now, she was fast and deadly.

She pulled both triggers, catching the last of Shotgun’s henchmen in the knees and sending him to the ground.  She needed a few alive for the questioning.

Shotgun saw the flash of her shots and pulled his pistols toward her, but she was already gone.  She rolled sideways, under the table and caught Shotgun’s legs with her own, sending the man thrashing to the ground and making him drop his pistols.

Maria stuck one of her ivory handled colts under his chin and the other into his groin.

“Now, Andrew,” she spit through her gritted teeth.  “Are we going to talk business or are you going to lose this shotgun of yours?”

* *         *         * * *  *

By the time the sheriff arrived, Maria had all the information she needed from Shotgun Ron.  He lay there tied in a corner as she helped the woman up from the cellar and bandaged the knees of the one henchman that lived.  She had mentally commanded Mr. Tall to meet her with the horses on the edge of town.  A woman taking on four men in a bar looked bad enough without a dead black man in a three-piece suit standing around.

“Sheriff, what do you know of Hezekiah Gant?”  Maria had been asked down to the station.  She showed her paperwork, jumped through the big man’s hoops and found that he wasn’t that bad of a guy.

“Gant showed up here a couple months back, claimed he was passing through.”  The Sheriff leaned back in his chair and sat his coffee cup down on his belly.   Maria noticed a few brown stained rings on the old shirt.  It must have been something that the man did often.  “We lost our old mortician a few weeks later to some flu or something.  Gant stepped in and took his place.”  The man took a long drag from his cup.  “Seemed like a nice enough guy.  Kept to himself, always dressed well, and knew the trade.  No one could complain.”

“Well, I think I am prepared to lodge a very large one,” Maria replied, as she pulled each Colt from its holster and replaced the rounds she had fired earlier.  “Where does Mr. Gant reside?”

*         *         *

On to Episode 3 : "Where is the Cemetery?"
Back to Episode 1 : "Get Her, Boys!"

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The Cold Rock Gamble is copyright by Stanley "Buck" Weiss. It may not be copied without permission of the author except for purposes of reviews. (Though you can print it out to read it, natch.)