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 3:
"Where is the Cemetery?"

*         *         *
THE MORTICIAN'S OFFICE WAS ACROSS the small town from the sheriff’s, but it still took only a few minutes of quick walking to get there.  It was getting late, around 11:30, and the lights were off in most of the establishments and homes they passed.  The sheriff knocked a few times before Maria could convince him to kick in the door.

The place reeked of formaldehyde and death.  Maria reconnoitered the rooms, quickly finding what she was looking for behind the back wall of the place.  A secret room filled with horrors.  The Sheriff quickly excused himself as he gasped for air and tried to keep his dinner down. 

The room was filled with human body parts and pieces, hung from various hooks or stored in various jars.  In the center of the room was a ward that Maria recognized.  It was a place to communicate with the nether realm.  The man had been conversing with demons two houses down from the Sunday school and across the street from the general store.  On a table she found Gant’s plans for the Indian children laid out in blood.

She rushed from the house screaming orders at the sheriff as she bolted toward the edge of town where Mr. Tall waited with the horses.

“Where is the cemetery?”

They didn’t have much time.

According to the sheriff, Collins Cemetery had been there before they built the town itself.  The caretaker, Old man Collins, the last of his line, had died ten years ago and since then townspeople continued to be buried there even though it was a full two miles from the town itself.

*         *         *

The sheriff insisted on accompanying Maria, but one look at Mr. Tall had made the man regret his manly statements.  The huge black man sat atop a midnight colored Clydesdale, the only horse that could even hope to carry him.  The sheriff tried to make conversation, but the black man just nodded his head.  Maria told him that Mr. Tall was a mute and the sheriff asked no more questions.  Even in the darkness the man could see the shocking white of Mr. Tall’s pupil-less eyes and the caked darkness on his chin and suit that looked suspiciously like blood.

Maria stopped her horse on a hill overlooking the small cemetery that bore the name Collins.  She did not even need to craft her night vision; the graveyard could be seen easily in the moonlight.  She could see people moving among the graves.  She cast her mind out and found nothing.

“Those men moving among the stones, they’re lurkers.”

“Lurkers?” The sheriff had come up beside her and was fixing a load of chewing tobacco between his teeth.

“Gant must have animated some corpses to keep his little party private.”

“You expecting me to believe that those men down there are dead?”

“Look at the way they move, sheriff.” Maria said pointing toward one of the staggering forms below.

“Looks like they got a drunk on to me.”

“I assure you that those things are not drunk.  They have little mind but hunger and they can be as quick as a cat no matter what they look like.”

Maria pulled her pistols and led the sheriff down the hill and around to the other side of the little graveyard.

“That crypt in the middle,” she whispered as they crept along the edge of the fence.  “That is where he has the children.”

“Well,” the sheriff started to move faster.  “What are we waiting for a written invite?”

At that moment a low roar came from the ranks of lurkers shambling around the headstones.

“That,” Maria led the way through the broken fence and toward the crypt.

“Miss Faust,” the sheriff shuddered behind her.  “We must help your man.  He won’t be able to take all those men on empty handed even if they are…” he hesitated choosing his words carefully “…at a disadvantage.”

The sound of ripping flesh and breaking bones floated on the night breeze across the graveyard.  Maria caught a glimpse of Mr. Tall picking a Lurker up over his head and swatting two others away with the body.

“He’ll be fine.  I would be more worried about…”

It sprang like a panther out of the dark shadows of the gravestones.  The skeletal creature caught the sheriff across the shoulders and the two rolled across the ground together.  They stopped suddenly, the lurker on top, the sheriff on his back.  The creature raised its boney hands to poke and claw at the man’s fleshy face.  The sheriff pumped three rounds into the things chest blowing dust and filth out the back of it, but the thing kept clawing.

A shot rang out and the creature became dead weight on the sheriff’s chest.

“The head.”  Maria kicked the lifeless corpse off the man and helped him to his feet.  “You have to aim for the head.”


“”Yep,” Maria said smiling.  “Ain’t like no drunk you ever tangled with.”

“Thank God!” The sheriff dusted himself off as they quickly ran to the door of the crypt.

Lurkers were gathering in around them as they pushed the door in and stepped through.

Maria sent one message to Mr. Tall, “send them all back to the grave,” and then the door closed behind them.

*         *         *

On to Episode 4 : Underground Showdown
Back to Episode 2 : Introducing Mr. Tall

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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.)