Jacob Enright's dead men stayed dead. But their memories did not. The nightmares persisted. They always did. Knowing it was a dream did nothing to lessen its horror. Gambling, drinking, whoring, and killing. It had become like second nature to the ex-lawman turned vigilante. Wanda Blackfoot had loved Jacob for as long as she could remember, but now Wanda didn't know who she was anymore, or more precisely, she didn't know what she was, without Jacob by her side acting as her touchstone. Six weeks, Jacob had said. Maybe less. He was on the road somewhere, looking for the man who had ruined it all, and she was stuck in a second-rate saloon turning second-rate tricks. If not for the cigarettes and dope, she thought she would be mad from boredom by now. Sampson Faith, a silver-tongued devil, a charmer, a thief of hearts. It betrayed his general appearance; his face, once uncommonly handsome for a young man who'd undergone many horrors, now appeared to have been carved out of granite. And a heart of stone as well, unknown to Wanda one fateful night four years ago, when she fell under his spell just long enough to send Jacob on a vengeful rampage that still continued to this day. He knew Jacob was coming for him, and he knew he would have to be well-rested to deal with him. He hadn't thought it was possible for him to be near death. Not this soon. He still had business to take care of. Sinners to punish. More whores to kill. And, God willing, he would be ready for Jacob when he arrived.
Set in the late 1800s desert Southwest, this tale is part rustic cowboy story, part love story, and part horror story. It had a strong start and I was caught up in the story right away. I loved the grittiness of it.
The author does reuse certain phrases throughout the story. He also would repeat certain character thoughts or motivations more than once. Since this is a short tale, I would have enjoyed it more if the wording had been concise with less repetition.
The ladies in this story are just romantic interests or punching bags. One of the characters has a pretty sadistic streak and he targets mostly women and most of those ladies don’t even have a name in this tale. So I would have liked a bit more gender balance.
The meat of the story centers around Jacob and his driving need for vengeance. He has let himself do some pretty questionable things in his quest to fulfill his rage. While I didn’t come to like any of the characters in this story (and I don’t think I was supposed to), I did find Jacob intriguing.
All together, the story held promise but needs some polishing.
Note: After listening to this and while looking for a website for the author, I found a very comprehensive account of this author’s plagiarism. You can read about that over on The Horror Zine. I don’t know if this tale or any part of it has been plagiarized.
The Narration: Rick Gregory must have been a cowboy in a past life because he did a great job with all the characters in this tale. His female voices were believable and each character was distinct. He needs a little polishing on his timing but mostly the narration flowed smoothly. There were no technical issues.