My teenage necromancer and zombie outlaw in a weird, somewhat dysfunctional found family in the wild west story, “A Cold Dark Line to Cross,” has found a home in this wonderful anthology! Which has released *drumroll* today!
Universal buy link: https://books2read.com/u/3JZrLA
And here’s a little taster of “A Cold Dark Line to Cross” for your reading pleasure:
Gabe scratched at his forearm and a finger-length strip of his own dry-as-jerky skin flaked free. It fluttered, landed in a puddle of moonlight that spilt in through the room’s lone window. A more considerate man might’a picked that up, but he figured this flophouse floor had far worse than bits of his decaying carcass ground down in the cracks between the floorboards.
And, all things considered, if he’d been a more considerate man, maybe he wouldn’t be dead in the first place.
Your mama—God rest her soul—raised you better’n that, Gabriel Dunn.
He bent, scraped up the scrap, and flicked it out the open window.
In the bed opposite his, Delia twitched and mumbled in her sleep. Snuggled down deeper into the flat straw mattress that she complained smelled of mould and piss. Gabe had taken her word for it. Not like he could rightly smell nothing anymore. Or taste nothing. Or feel much of nothing.
Which, depending on your point of view, could be a blessing. At this time of year, right smack in the middle of the Mojave, the days were hot as the Devil’s own breath and the nights cold as the deep heart of winter.
Delia’s magic kept him from rotting like normal, else he’d be bloated and stinking at this point. This… shedding, though, didn’t bode well. Getting worse, getting faster. Soon he’d be nothing more than a bundle of bones with his soul branded into the marrow, trapped this side of death. No moving, no screaming, no nothing.
Don’t think about that. It wouldn’t go that far. Just one more name to scratch off Delia’s list, one more man to put in the ground, and she’d set his soul free. She’d promised.
And that’s what it’d come to? Trusting some bloodthirsty fifteen-year-old girl’s promises? Hah. The Gabe Dunn of a few months ago would be calling this Gabe a damn fool. But he had nothing else. Only the ’mancer who did the working could unbind the magic wrapped around his bones. And she’d put four men’s lives as the price for that freedom.
Tonight. This ends tonight.“A Cold Dark Line to Cross” by R. J. Howell, Wicked West