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Shade Flint

A vulture circled high over the parched desert, and taking in all there was to see, the picturesque canyons and plateaus along the South and West, and the flat, empty, forsaken spaces that seemed to stretch on forever to the North and East, and of course the food below him. The food, was a man on a lithe, black Arabian horse. The vulture could see the man was wounded and nearly unconscious, because man blood that smelled oddly of phosphorus dripped from the right side of the man’s throat and had been doing so for long time. The vulture could see also that the horse was bewildered, wandering around and changing direction sharply, she estimated that she would be able to make a meal of the man within a few hours and that the horse would probably meander around riderless, not knowing what to do until it died of thirst. They usually did. The man, was an imposing man, or he would have been, had he not been slumped over the neck of his horse, bleeding from a blackened wound on the side of his neck. He wore a faded black duster which swirled behind him, two bandoliers crossed over his black satin vest, at his hips were two shining black, engraved revolvers, on his head he wore a wide brimmed black hat from which flowed his straight gray hair that tumble down over his shoulders to his back, so closely matching his well-kept mustaches that hung down a hairsbreadth above his chin. From a cursory look, the man did not seem out of the ordinary, he appeared to be a gunslinger of some sort, dangerous, frightening, but not particularly unusual, definitely not impressive to a bird. His hat, with its wide flat brim, was placed in such a position as to shade his eyes from the ruddy sun that was sinking over the horizon, however as the buzzard peered at this bleeding man’s eyes, she noticed that they appeared to be composed of brushed steel. As the sable horse stamped on through the empty desert, she noticed that on the barren dry sand of the desert floor the horse’s hooves made no sound nor made imprint in the desiccated soil, but as she observed the points where the horse had occasionally trodden upon a fallen blade of grass or twig, she observed that the grass had , without a sound, burnt to a crisp as if consumed by a flame. Her keen eyes darted to the finely engraved revolvers resting on each of the man’s hips but now, on closer inspection, were issuing forth a dull, barely perceptible, orange glow, as though the metal lining the barrel of each weapon had been heated by some infernal fire. Indeed, the same appeared true with the horse itself, for watching this strange man and his shadowy mount closer still, the vulture perceived small wisps of bright red flame emanating from the flared nostrils and open panting mouth of the Arabian. Suddenly the man succumbed to his festering wound and, swaying a moment, fell from his horse and tumbled on the ground. A warm fuzzy feeling shot through the buzzard?s body a she swooped down to claim her prize. The last thing the buzzard ever saw was a beautiful, glowing, orange, crescent, as the red hot iron horse shoe crushed, and seared the buzzard’s face.

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