Jake stumbled into his room upstairs at the hotel, head spinning from cheap whiskey. That didn’t stop him from drawing his pistol at the sight of the figure in the corner.

“Taylor? No,” he said, hoping the denial could banish the figure. Jake’s chance to shoot spilled away with each passing second, but he couldn’t force his finger to pull the trigger.

Shadows shifted and moonlight fell on the week-dead corpse as it stood. “Surprise.” The voice came out a dry rasp. “Thought you could leave me for dead out there in the dust near Odessa?” Taylor advanced on Jake and he saw the six bullet holes and the dried, brown blood on Taylors dust-covered shirt. “Well, I swore I’d come back if you betrayed me. Now I’m here to settle accounts.”

“But, how?”

“Can’t explain. My times almost up. Got just enough for this.” Taylor reached out and pulled the Colt pistol from Jake’s hand. Taylor’s cold hand on Jake’s freed him from his paralysis. He spun for the door before the bullets ripped into him and he hit the floor.

Taylor bent low over him, washing Jake’s last moments in the stinking rot of flesh. “See you in hell, old buddy.”

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