Ace Lone Wolf rides again!

Drum roll please…

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present a sneak peek at the next installment of the Lone Wolf Howls series. It begins, predictably enough, with Ace getting himself into trouble yet again. (Trouble does seem to follow him, doesn’t it?)

The story picks up a few days after The Black Pearl Treasure leaves off. I’m revising the tale now and it should be out in January…

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As Coyote and I ride down the street, I’m thinking that San Diego doesn’t look like such a bad town. I’ve only passed one saloon so far and I didn’t hear any gunshots coming from it at all. They even have a brick building, a hotel, and it’s two stories tall. The people I pass don’t reach for their guns—shoot, some of them aren’t even carrying guns—and one lady stepping out of a carriage nods when I tip my hat to her.

Unfortunately, that nod turns into a look of fear when my long black hair, which I’d tucked up under my hat before entering town—I don’t look so Apache that way—falls out. But she doesn’t scream or anything so it all works out okay.

All in all, I have a good feeling about San Diego. Once I find someone to buy these black pearls Beckwourth gave me, I’ll have money again. Maybe I’ll stick around for a few days, sleep in a bed and eat someone else’s cooking. Buy some new duds. Mine are looking a little tattered after all I’ve been through lately. Continue reading “Ace Lone Wolf rides again!”

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This is the way the world ends…

“The is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but with a…” – TS Eliot

It was a Tuesday morning when the first brimstone fell. Crashing onto vehicles, and landing on the streets, it made traffic quite a hassle. Many drivers simply crashed headfirst into the cataclysmic debris or confusedly stopped and honked for minutes on end. Despite all the honking, the brimstone didn’t move, and it didn’t stop. And neither did the apocalypse.

Of course it made the news when the horses began to eat each other. And the blood rain obviously made the weather report. Everybody knew about it, but it seemed that most people simply did not care. Religious groups panicked, and many of the feeble-minded snapped, but they were in the minority. People had jobs to go to, and families to feed. It wasn’t the first time horrible events were broadcast on the news.

Sure it was bad when the first plague began. And when it swept the world, killing millions, there was a charity concert to help raise money for a cure. Some people donated, but most chose not to. The United States managed to avoid the worst of the plague’s casualties, but its citizens still felt bad about it. Thoughts and prayers were sent, Facebook profile pictures were changed, but hardly anyone lost sleep over it.

It was far from ideal when the swarms of locusts arrived. Food was scarce for a while, but eventually pesticides were developed to deal with the problem. The fruits and vegetables grew once more, you just had to wash them first. The dead locusts made excellent fertilizer when they were processed and ground down.

A child was born on July 6th, at 6:00 PM with goat horns and a birthmark the shape of an upside down cross. In just a few days he grew into an adult, and became a sensation on American Idol for his appearance and angelic voice. One night he gave a famous speech in which he promised to lead America through the apocalypse and announced his candidacy for president. Some people voted for him, but most didn’t.

When the four horsemen arrived, they all got interviews on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. They spread messages of humanity’s guilt and inevitable punishment. These were broadcast in diners, bars, restaurants, and businesses across the country. People watched, just as they watched all the rest of the news, but little changed.

People still worked 40 hour work weeks, went to school, bought groceries, and continued their lives. It got a little bit harder when the portals to hell split open and hot magma leaked through cracks in the Earth. Nevertheless, people had their own personal dramas to deal with and were largely unfazed.

It was a Tuesday morning when the world ended. There was no defining moment of realization or mass panic. No overreaction or upheaval. There were no widespread riots, and few even quit their jobs.

Rather, when the deafening fires of the apocalypse spread throughout the world it was found that the way the world ended was not with a bang, but with an indifferent sigh.

(This story was recently written by my sixteen-year-old son, Daniel, for his creative writing class. I’ll tell you this, I sure couldn’t write that well at his age!)

 

Ace Lone Wolf and the One-Eyed Mule Skinner – chapter 10

 

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An early semi, the 20-mule team wagon!

Doc waves goodbye as the wagon pulls out of town, Lou driving, me on the seat next to him—uh, her. That’s an idea that’s going to take some getting used to. I take a sideways peek at Lou, trying to see what Doc sees.

I don’t know. Maybe Doc is wrong on this one. Lou looks like a regular man to me.

“You done staring at me yet?” Lou growls.

“I wasn’t staring.”

“The hell you weren’t. You looking for something in particular, or you just the starin’ type?” Continue reading “Ace Lone Wolf and the One-Eyed Mule Skinner – chapter 10”

Ace Lone Wolf and the One-Eyed Mule Skinner – chapter 9

hollidayandbowler“Is this the feller you were talking about? He don’t look like much to me.”

“He’s looked better, I allow.”

The words come from far away and through a haze of pain. My head feels like a team of men have been at work inside it with pickaxes. I try to swallow, but my tongue is bigger than my mouth and it feels like my cheeks are full of sawdust.

“Come on, Ace. Get up. I got you a job.” It’s Doc. Continue reading “Ace Lone Wolf and the One-Eyed Mule Skinner – chapter 9”

Ace Lone Wolf and the One-Eyed Mule Skinner – chapter 8

1897_saloon_blackhawkDoc comes out with my glass and chair. He sets them down and pumps my hand. “Ace Lone Wolf, as I live and breathe.” He starts coughing and has to bring out his hanky. His coughing fit over, he looks at the blood on the cloth before putting it away. “Well, as I live anyway.”

We sit down. “You look good, Doc. All healed up from that gut wound.” That’s not entirely true. Doc looks a bit pale and his clothes are loose on him.

He waves it off and pours me some whiskey. “I told you it was nothing but a scratch. No way a skunk like Ike Clanton is killing me. If a man’s going to shoot me down, it’s going to be a man of quality.” Continue reading “Ace Lone Wolf and the One-Eyed Mule Skinner – chapter 8”

Ace Lone Wolf and the One-Eyed Mule Skinner – chapter 7

ed_schieffelin_in_tombstone_year_1880It’s afternoon when I ride into Tombstone. It feels like a lifetime has gone by since I was last here, but the town looks the same. Dust, sagging, unpainted buildings, signs creaking in the wind.

Maybe it was a lifetime. A lot happened after we left here. Getting chased by the Scalphunters, captured by Kosterlitzky, blowing up the General’s hacienda. And let’s not forget Totec’s temple. Was that thing really a god? I hope I never find out. Continue reading “Ace Lone Wolf and the One-Eyed Mule Skinner – chapter 7”

Ace Lone Wolf and the One-Eyed Mule Skinner – chapter 6

24246509770_2dd9d9606d_bI never do see any sign of pursuit from either the Yaquis or Ike and his idiot partner. Maybe they all bled to death from throwing knives at each other.

Coyote and I head north for the border. I’m still broke but I have my pistols and my hat back. That’s what counts. Luke was right about one thing. The hat does smell. But I reckon that’s from being on his ugly head. I’ll dunk it in a river if I ever see one with water in it.

It’s about the middle of the afternoon and I’m coming up on about where the border should be—no one really knows where, exactly, it is, not even the two governments involved—when I see someone familiar in the distance. Continue reading “Ace Lone Wolf and the One-Eyed Mule Skinner – chapter 6”