“About Paladins | A Post-apocalyptic Western: A novel about a gunslinger, his telepathic dinosaur, undead were-raptors, and the second end of the world:
Williams misted up as he thought of the saloon girl who had shown him such affection. “I won’t shoot them, then.”
(Now listen, Will. Don’t let your personal feelings—)
“I said I won’t shoot them,” he snapped, and turned toward Luna, who was cowering at the top of the stairs. “We’ll have to find another way.” To Luna he said: “It’s all right, sweetie. Everything’s going to be all right.”
(Dammit, Will, I can’t handle an entire pack on my own, and you know it. Now are we serious about making it to Tanelorn, or at least Barley’s, or not? Or have all our plans changed because a saloon girl threw a leg up on you in a town we will never see again?)
“Meh,” Williams sighed angrily and moved toward the building’s front windows, which Ank had blocked with pinball machines and video games, with only partial success.
(Don’t walk away from me when I’m talking to you, dammit!) Ank lumbered after him, the tiled floor cracking beneath his elephantine feet. (We made a pact. And what about the girl? Would you see her torn to pieces by those things while you simply watched?)
“Go away!” Williams hissed. He peeked around one of the machines and saw the raptors lined up in the gathering dark, waiting to make their move, waiting to rush the snack bar and overwhelm them, waiting to kill them or, worse, to turn them into creatures like themselves.
“Are you talking to me?” whined the girl, her voice seeming to bleed as if cut by invisible knives. “Why would you want me to go away all of a sudden?”
“No—that’s not what I meant—I …”
(I can’t do it, Will. They’ll swarm in beneath my armor and … they’ll tear me to pieces.)
Williams held up his rifle—pressed his forehead against it.
(We need your magic with that gun, Will. I need it. And if you don’t step up I’m going to have to … and, I won’t make it. Not this time.)
“Come out, Williams!”
“Yes, my love, come out!” A new voice. Her voice. Katrina.
Williams squeezed his eyes shut.
Targeted Age Group: teenagers, adults
Written by: Wayne Kyle Spitzer
Illustrated by: Wayne Kyle Spitzer
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Wayne Kyle Spitzer (born July 15, 1966) is an American author and low-budget horror filmmaker from Spokane, Washington. He is the writer/director of the short horror film, Shadows in the Garden, as well as the author of Flashback, an SF/horror novel published in 1993. Spitzer’s non-genre writing has appeared in subTerrain Magazine: Strong Words for a Polite Nation and Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History. His recent fiction includes The Ferryman Pentalogy, consisting of Comes a Ferryman, The Tempter and the Taker, The Pierced Veil, Black Hole, White Fountain, and To the End of Ursathrax, as well as The X-Ray Rider Trilogy and a screen adaptation of Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows.
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