Western-Fantasy Vignette #1

The beast craned its serpentine neck, the yellow-marble eyes slit with a horizontal line glowered, foam-covered fangs bared.  The dense reek of the wyrm smothered him.  He felt the talons clench on him and another scream ripped its way free of his mouth.  He almost blacked out under the waves of agony as they swarmed him under in a tide.

Its head struck, maw gaping.

He knew it wouldn’t use the precious platinum unless it had to, but he could still be devoured or torn to shreds with the spear-claws and sword-fangs.

In a blurred motion too fast for human eyes he drew the heavy brutes from their holster.  He fired one into the face as it shot forward, and the massive half-inch bullet tore through the cheek and left a gaping hole in the mouth, scales flying and spinning into the gloom.

It screamed in anguished pain and dipped, dropping before the wings beat furious against the air and carried them higher, deeper into the cloud.  He lost sight of the monster’s face, and felt the grip slacken.  He put the muzzle of the guns against the thin armor of the reptilian underside and fired, right gun, left gun, right again, left again.

Thick ichor splashed against his face, ran in gushes down the plates on the chest and dropped in streaks into the cloud.  A roar and a flash, the sulfuric stench of the platinum catalyzing, and the talons twitched tighter on him.  He shrieked, almost blacked out, bit his lip and held onto the precious revolvers, the polished silvery surfaces stained with the blowback of thick swampy green blood.

The head spun toward him as they began to spiral downward.  He pointed the revolver closest to the snout and fired.  The mighty projectile plowed into the face just below the left eye, sailed through the thin flesh and thick bone, and exploded out in bone shards and blood spray at the back of the head behind the monster’s ear.

The wings beat once more, the head launched back in a death throe, and the great, spined back arched.  The body pitched, rolled and plummeted into the gray ocean, through the dense cloud.  He slammed the huge revolvers back into the belts and raced to snap the straps closed over them in desperate haste.  He can’t lose the guns.  Can’t.

He pulled at the talons, weak and battered, straining with the effort.  They wouldn’t budge, locked in their death clutch.

A jolt shot through the claw still buried in his ribs.  It shocked him to the core, jarred his heart, rattled his teeth.  For a moment he thought he’d broken in half and his vision blurred to a red slurry.  The massive torso tumbled and bounced over a flat mesa top, but he popped free of the talon.  He rolled across weeds and bushes, twigs and branches stabbed him, and he put his arms over his face to cover it.

The beast skidded ahead of him, a darker mass in the gray cloud, before it disappeared from sight.

The edge of the mesa.  The carcass fell off the tableau.

He hurtled at a furious speed, rocks and pebbles ripping and slicing flesh as he skidded toward the plateau edge.  He spread his arms and legs to stop the roll but cartwheeled like a tumbleweed.  He tucked into a ball and a final blow smashed against his back.  He heard a sickening crack and felt a fresh spike of white-hot pain sear his back, shoulder, arm.

He panted, gasped for breath.  He might be drowning in his own blood, inside.  He fell onto his side and more agony raged through him.  The twisted tree that stopped his flight imprinted his flesh with its bark.  He’d have a nasty welt over his back in a long slash.

If he lived.

Blackness overtook him.

All original content © 2009 J. Dane Tyler
ALL rights reserved.

7 thoughts on “Western-Fantasy Vignette #1

  1. freshet – hey I learned a new word today.

    If I had dreams like that, I don’t think I’d ever sleep.

    Oh, I’ve had far worse. This was pretty mild; it was like watching a movie, as many of my dreams are. You could’ve easily handle it, being a zombie wrangler and all. Thanks for the time to read and comment, Bryce!

  2. Cool, man. You put me right in the dream. This vignette is actually a story, though, as far as I can see. Maybe if you tweaked the last few sentences to be more definitive.

    That’s interesting, Sher; I didn’t see a beginning really, just an en medias res thing. And the middle’s the bulk, but there’s not really an end (I see what you mean by making it more definitive). A unique perspective.

    I’m sure Fal gave you her ideas on the symbolism of the dream: the fog obscuring many paths, the sense of danger you can’t see coming, etc.

    Actually, no, this is the first I’ve heard of it! Ha! Never thought of the symbols at all. Hopefully, this isn’t an ominous sign of things to come. 😀

    1. It’s a dream and dreams don’t end, they just stop when you wake. Dreaming is like being on a treadmill. Always know when the reading is really good, have to have the dictionary close by. Had this picture of you as a 5 yr old boy with yellow sticky notes all over you with ‘special’ words on each note, rolling down a grass knoll trying to read each note while tumbling and laughing. At the bottom of knoll is a very big Webster’s. I’ll just have to quit posting so much and start reading more. Terrific! You do the same thing as I do with the poetry. When given the choice you opt for the ‘special’ word. Like the whip cream on top.

      Thank you, Sara! I’m glad you took the time. I hope I didn’t put you off with TOO many special words, but I appreciate the time you took to come by and read my work. 🙂

  3. I don’t know how you do it, but you’re fan-freaking-tastic at embellishing the mental image that I have in my head of the scenery, character, and action. Through your words I’m able to see roughly the scene as it went through your head.

    I don’t know how YOU do it, but YOU are fan-freakin’-tastic at making ME feel like an honest-to-goodness, no-joke, bona fide WRITER. 🙂 This is the challenge ALL writers face; can you communicate with the reader over time and distance with your mental telepathy? You made my day with this bit, love. Thanks.

    I’m still uncertain what the platinum was about but I’m sure that’s more on me as the reader than you as the writer.

    I didn’t go into it; if I don’t go forward any more with this, I’ll sharpen it up. Basically, platinum is the catalytic element so the wyrm can … ready? Breathe fire.

    Nice use of the term ‘lazy’ to describe the stream. That sentence would have sucked ass without it and been much weaker had you used something lame like, “meandered.”

    Well, thanks! 🙂 I tried to convey a cowboy-ish western feel without being TOO cliched.

    Good work – glad to see you stepping outside your comfort zone 🙂

    🙂 Couldn’t do it without the encouragement of all of you, starting with my loving wife and working outward to my good and trusted friends. 🙂

  4. Nice story! Very original. You have a great way with words, but I wonder if you pay attention to how you brandish them at times…I received a bit of advice in my writing a while back that I would be humbled to give you if you would hear it: Be sure to keep your adjectives to a minimum when strung together so closely (like when you were describing the terrain: the grainy, sandy gravel…sandy and grainy are almost one and the same thing)…I was told to eliminate one adjective and to keep the one with the most emphasis on what my picture portrays. 🙂

    Sage advice, Taylor! Thank you! I appreciate the feedback and the kind words. I do go over the top with description sometimes. I’ve heard it before, and I have to learn to tone it down. This gentle reminder will help. Thank you again!

    You have a fine style. Please keep writing! 🙂

    I appreciate that! I’ll try! 🙂

    God bless,
    Taylor J. Beisler


  5. Once again I envy your ability at descriptions, very evocative stuff. If I wrote a scene like that it would have been to darn short. You do good work. Keep at it.

    Thanks, Al. I appreciate the kind words. I’ll do my best to keep at it. I’ve been writing a LOOOOOOOONNNNG time; don’t see it changing any time soon. 🙂

  6. Awesome! I have to make you a victim in a story and rid the world of your existence due to the envy I have. From one guy trying to write horror to another guy actually writing horror, I hate you. THIS IS GOOD STUFF! I’m a big fan of westerns and always have said western horror stories are missing from the world. I’ll be watching you. I’ll check the rest of your work. Do you mind if I post your site on my blogroll? I agree with Taylor in adj. use. I know it because I do it so often. Your stuff needs to be read and spread. Encore! Encore!

    Thanks, horrorible! I’m flattered; I’ve never gotten a death threat for being talented before! It makes me all warm and gooey inside, like a pus-filled zit. I’m going to check out your work soon. Thank you so much for your kind words of support, and for spending some of your valuable time with me. I’m very grateful and look forward to being on your blog roll and adding you to mine! Thank you!

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