Flash Fiction: The Untold Legend of Skull Ridge

cowboy western horse rancher In a similar vein to last weeks Flash Fiction hosted at Terribleminds.com, we have a whole new set of lists to generate our Flash fiction details from. With a deft flick of the wrist, I rolled my D10’s and generated the following items.

  • Sub-Genre: Weird West
  • Conflict: Someone’s been poisoned
  • Must feature: A mysterious stranger

Oh, and when I say I rolled a D10, I didn’t. That was a bit of creative license on my part, I used an online number generator but I thought the dice version was punchier.

Anyway, please let me know what you think in the comments bit. What did you like? What didn’t you like? How would you change it? etc. It’s all very helpful to me.

So here it is…

Flash Fiction: The Untold Legend of Skull Ridge

Deputy Sheriff Dan had been away from Skull Ridge for weeks. He’d been sent to Grey Crag to help apprehend some bandit’s that had been causin’ them all sorts of trouble. Dan loved his job but he couldn’t wait to be back. Skull Ridge was a simple one-horse town, but the people were friendly and apart from the odd cattle rustling and disappearance it was a quiet town.

Dan rode through the large wooden gates, and took a deep breath as if the town air would feel different.

“Morning Sam” Dan called out to the owner of the General Store, who carried on unloading his cart. “Sam?” he repeated, but he still didn’t respond.

Dan climbed off his horse and placed a hand on Sam’s shoulder, maybe he hadn’t heard him. Sam spun round and stared at Dan. His eyes were large and hollow without a spark of recognition for the Deputy.

“Sorry friend, I was just unloading the cart.” He said finally in a monotonous tone.

“Sam? It’s me, Dan.”

“Sorry friend, I was just unloading the cart.” The store-owner repeated in the same voice.

The hairs on Dan’s neck started to prickle, something was very wrong here. He looked around the village, at the rest of the town.

“Where’s the Sheriff?”

“Sorry friend, I was just….”

“Forget it!” Dan drew his Smith and Western and walked over to the Sherriff’s office. The other people milling about the town paid no attention to him, they carried on with the daily lives without talking or reacting.

The Sherriff’s office was quiet. Usually the alcohol-fuelled songs of the local drunks could be heard, but today the office was silent except for the sound of Dan’s boots on the wooden floorboards.

“Morning Deputy, glad you made it back ok. How was Grey Crag?” The sheriff was sitting with his feet resting upon the desk, sipping from a bottle of brandy.

‘Sheriff?” asked Dan suspiciously.

“Deputy?” the Sheriff responded. “What the hell’s wrong with you? You’re lookin’ awful spooked.”

“What’s going on, sheriff? What the hell is wrong with the people here?”

“Wrong with em? There ain’t nothing wrong with them. Probably best you put it from your mind, in fact I think Grey Crag wants you to go back there as soon as possible”

There was slight panicky tone to the Sherriff’s voice, but if he was nervous his voice didn’t give anything away. The same friendly half-drunk smile grinned at him from behind the desk.

“What? Why?”

“Oh, some sort of bandit attack. They didn’t give any details but you have to go, now.”

It was then that something caught his attention: a smell, a gentle floral aroma that certainly did not fit in amongst the dust, and dirt of the Sheriffs Office.

“Who else is here?” Dan lifted his revolver and pointed it at the head of the sheriff. “Come out and I wont shoot him?”

“Whoa, whatcha doing Deputy? Lower that thing.” said the sheriff his face still unnervingly calm and placid.

‘Who are you?”

“You’ll never kill him, it’s a bluff I’m going to call.” The words from the Sherriff’s mouth now clearly not his own. “So much so, that I am going to come out, but know that killing me will destroy your friend here.”

From behind the sheriff, walked a dark-haired woman. Her features finer than any woman he had ever seen; her seductive figure wrapped in a long black velvet dress that hugged her body, and pushed out her ample cleavage. Not even the large ruby pendant around her neck, the stone resting on her breasts could district his attention away from her magnificence.

“Ooooh you’re cute, I think I may have to trade him in. The sheriff was fun, but I definitely want a younger model” she purred.

Dan switched targets, he’d never pointed a gun at a lady before but he knew that she wasn’t an ordinary lady. She clearly had power that stretched far beyond normal feminine wiles.

The velvet lady smiled seductively, as the sheriff stood up and raised his revolver, pointing it directly at Dan.

“Oooh, now we’re in a pickle. Shoot me and the sheriff’s mind dies with me not to mention leaving the entire town as helpless puppets, you could shoot the Sheriff and hope I can’t take over your mind as easily as his, or just do nothing, walk away, leave Skull Ridge and I won’t have to make him shoot you. What are you going to do? Tick tock tick tock.”

“It’s a puzzler Ma’am, but I know what I have to do.” Dan lowered his revolver and looked down to the ground.

“Good choice, Darling. Now walk away. Ain’t no shame in losing to me.” She blew him a kiss.

“Guess I’ll never know.” Dan lifted his head his eyes starting to blaze with a brilliant light that filled the room, his mouth moving quickly and silently in chant.

“What is this? Who are you?” cried the lady, holding her head, as a trickle of black blood ran down from the corner of her mouth.

“You ain’t the first magic-user I’ve defeated, lady, but you are the prettiest.”

The light grew more intense. With one final scream of agony, the velvet lady fell to the ground her eyes little more than blackened caverns, burnt out by the cleansing magic.

Dan’s eyes dimmed until the glow had gone entirely, he holstered his revolver and ran over to the sheriff. “Sheriff, you back with us?”

“Back with you? What the hell you talking ‘bout, kid?”

“We had a little trouble here.”

“Ah crap, what the hell was it this time? Bandits? Cattle Rustlers?

“A rogue magic-user enslaved the entire town, turned you into her puppet and she almost made you shoot me.”

The sheriff looked round and saw the hollow-eyed corpse of the velvet lady. “Oh, sorry about that.”

Dan smiled back at the Sheriff “S’ok, but what are we gonna tell the town this time?”

*****

If you want to read last weeks flash fiction, and why the hell wouldn’t you want to, then click here for the story of the Cat & Mouse Murders.

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2 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: The Untold Legend of Skull Ridge”

  1. Pingback: Triple-X Western Vol.17, No. 103 (1936) | The Great Pulp Magazine Index

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