June 2011



Feel free to follow the latest Far West developments:

To Save My Ass

By T.S. Luikart

The shot took Dekvar off his burro from several hundred paces off at least. Any closer and he would’ve known about it in advance enough to do something, of that he was certain. He was already in the dust when he heard the crack. A master shot, truly. If he hadn’t been on the receiving end, he would’ve complemented the shooter.

He lay on the ground and waited for them to come.

They knew enough about him to not get close; he wondered how much else they knew.

Footfalls and mutterings in the distance, till at last.

“You kill ‘im?”

“Nah. He’s alive. Bet he’s listening, too, ain’t cha? Mister, I got a real Inyobres aimed right at your head, you so much as twitch without my say so, I’ll split ya fer the buzzards. Now, push your hands out to yer sides, so we’s can see them.”

Dekvar shifted and slowly pushed his hands out. Brilliant golds, purples, and blues flared along his hands as he splayed them in the dust.

“Holy shit!”

“He’s a damn Wandering Star, Len.”

“Be quiet! I know. Okay, Mister, that’s good. Where’s your message satchel, eh? On the donkey?”

He nodded slowly.

“Alright. So this is how this is gonna be: you stay right put and we’ll collect what we’ve come for, then we’ll leave ya be. Lots of folks take this trail, someone we’ll be by to see to yer soon.”

Footsteps in the distance, Lurtenwia braying in alarm, curses and finally, silence along with the wind.

Dekvar pulled out a bottle when they had gone and took a long pull at it, as he lay on the ground and willed his wound to shut. Turning the matter over in his mind, he decided to only kill the lot of them if they hurt Lurtenwia; otherwise he reckoned broken limbs would settle them up nicely.

* * *

Several years before, Dekvar had moseyed into one of the Southern Cities (he couldn’t remember which one on account of being drunk most of the time in those days… not that much had changed) in need of a horse. Horseflesh has always been held dear in the West and Dekvar wasn’t one for riches even in times of good fortune, but it was unacceptable to be too late in his line of work.

He had rambled into and out of a variety of stables without much success, till the noises of what sounded like some sort of fight had drawn his attention. Dekvar discovered a very large man loudly berating and occasionally striking a heavily laden and very small burro who resolutely refused to move.

“You stupid ass!” A meaty fist landed on the beast’s snout, causing her to stagger slightly.

The little donkey eyed her attacker sullenly.

“When I say move, you move!”

The large man’s boot kicked the air out of her and she collapsed to the dirt, the heavy packs pushing her down. The passing crowd ignored the burro’s plight. In truth, Dekvar might have as well, for cruelty was nothing new in the west. The donkey slowly rose to her feet and took a half step forward. Dekvar started to turn away, as did the large man with a smirk indicating he believed he had won the test of wills…

And then Lurtenwia had bit him.

Dekvar had bought her before her previous owner could thrash her to death. Dekvar was a man who valued character above all else, even in a burro.

* * *

It was just past twilight when Dekvar finally rose from the ground, there had been no passers by, but then he knew that had been a lie. He was pleasantly drunk, but still managed to catch the rifle bullet as his flesh spat it out. Dekvar looked down at the butterfly wings tattooed over the backs of his hands and thought about what they had cost him, before slowly turning a palm up to consider the chunk of bloody lead held within it. Finally, he secreted it away and then cast about for his quarry’s trail. It wasn’t that hard for him to find.

Dekvar began singing an old song to the moon as he ran after his burro and his satchel.

One Comment

  1. Alex says:

    Third paragraph

    “[…] knew enough about him to not get close […]”

    I think “[…] knew enough about him not to get close […]” sounds more natural. May be mistaken though.

    A funny fiction this time. It’s interesting how Dekvar isn’t really all that worried about getting shot. Some powers of the Wandering Stars?

Leave a Reply