He fell silent and doubled over as someone punched him in the stomach, then toppled completely as someone else shoved him. And then, suddenly, there was a cry—a cry that sounded as though it had come from Ank and yet utterly different from any Williams had ever heard. A warbling, frightened, pitiful cry—the kind an animal might make if it were sinking into tar while surrounded by predators. “Marshal?” said someone. “That came from the Lonestar Corral.” “Then that means we’ve got ‘im cornered,” said Rimshaw, and shouted, “Johnson! Let ‘em into the armory! Let ‘em all in!” And to everyone else he said: “Get your weapons and meet me at the corral. And someone fetch Creebald and Teller. I don’t care how sick they are. I want them by my side.” “But, Marshal, I just came from there,” said Johnson, pausing. “And they’re plumb gone.” “What do mean, gone?” snapped Rimshaw. “I mean they ain’t there. They’re not at the Rio Grande. No one’s at the Rio Grande.” Williams craned his neck on the ground to observe Rimshaw’s reaction, and what he saw sent a chill up his spine, for it all but confirmed what he’d begun to suspect. For as Rimshaw stared at the man coldly, his eyes black as coals and his face pale as the dead, his tongue slipped between his lips like a snake’s and was just as quickly sucked back in.
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THE QUICK AND THE
Wayne Kyle Spitzer
A Short Story
The Quick and the (Jurassic) Undead
Copyright © 2018 Wayne Kyle Spitzer. All Rights Reserved. Published by Hobb’s End Books, a division of ACME Sprockets & Visions. Cover design Copyright © 2018 Wayne Kyle Spitzer. Please direct all inquiries to: HobbsEndBooks@yahoo.com
Based upon “Flashback,” first published by Books in Motion/Classic Ventures, 1993. Reprinted by Hobb’s End Books, 2017.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this book is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
After the time-storm ...
After the dinosaur apocalypse ...
They were in bad shape, and Williams knew it. The quill raptors had struck just when they were most vulnerable—when they were still waking up—and while they were able to fend them off (Ank did most the fending, because Williams had taken a quill early in the attack), the melee had left them cut up and exhausted. Worse, it had left Williams delirious—no matter that he’d managed to pull out the quill before it could deliver much of its poison. Enough remained that walking was difficult even on the smooth, level highway, plus he’d begun to see things—like the huge, Googie-style sign which read: WELCOME TO DEVIL’S GORGE: LIKE THE OLD WEST, ONLY BETTER.
To say its oversized gunslinger and buxom saloon girl statues were incongruous with the bleak, rain-drenched landscape would have been an understatement, but there they were, bidding them welcome to a town “forgotten by time, alone against its hills, where adventure and thrills await!”
“You seeing what I’m seeing, Ank?”
The big ankylosaur didn’t respond, not so much as a mew. His gait, however, had slowed—enough to convince Williams that the sign was real and he was seeing it too. Sure enough, after they had taken the indicated exit, a town appeared—a town straight out of Gunsmoke, only this one was surrounded by a tall cyclone fence, its upper edge crudely festooned with concertina wire and its base reinforced with sandbags. Moreover, it was inhabited, for Williams could clearly see people rushing to greet them—or so he thought until two of the men took hold of the gates beneath the head arch and swung them shut. After that, all that was left to do was to approach the fence with hat in hand so to speak and inquire if perhaps there were a doctor.
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