Book is back from the Editor.

I’ve got to go over the changes made and see what I accept or don’t.

So far, I’ve only found one that I don’t accept. And that’s in reference to the phrase, “I felt like I’d been shot at, missed, shit at, and hit all over.” Everything else appears to make the book tighter and better.

But it’s pretty cool to see what a professional editor thinks of my writing. It’s like, BAM! Run on sentence. BOOM! Apostrophe here. Ka-POW! Make this not suck. Yippee Kay Yay! Semi-colon.

We’re getting closer and closer to publication! Yeeehaw.

Book #3 is coming along nicely.

The first book took me two years to write, the second took me a year, and I’m hoping to pound out the third in six months.

That means I’ve got to really get on the ball. I think I can do it. And a book in six months is pretty professional. Heck, it’s probably way better than professional. But I’ve got to put out QUALITY writing. I don’t want to be a Nora Roberts equivalent who spits out a romance novel every three months. (Not that I plan on writing romance, unless the market REALLY takes a turn for the worse and I get desperate!)

All this means is that the first book really needs to sell well so Severed Press will demand an immediate sequel that is already written. Or else my stories will end with a quick and premature death. And I’ve a LOT more to write about in this world I’ve created.

So if I’ve sent you the first manuscript, and you liked it, buy a copy when it comes out. Then buy several more for your friends and family. Drive up the sales. Make it look popular. Heck, MAKE it popular!

But it’s been great to go back to the ‘early days’ of writing a book. Where the pages are blank and I’m just beating that keyboard like it owes me money. It’s the editing process that is SO tedious and time consuming… the rough drafting process is what I really love.

Because writing is problem solving. You’ve a million little issues that have to mesh together, not just the over arching story line and plot – which certainly has to go together, but figuring out each individual character’s subplot as well. (Because they all have a purpose, a reason for being and doing what they do, and that has to be explored and expounded upon.) It’s like a giant 2,000,000 piece puzzle that you get to cut the pieces to size and put them together how you see fit.

It’s just fun. Most of the time.

Also I just wrote an awesome intro scene that really drives home who my main character is and the lengths he is willing to go to do what he feels is right regardless of what the law says. And that’s Jedidiah Huckleberry Smith in a nutshell – Dark, quirky humor, with a morally ambiguous code of ethics, and the willingness to resort to gun play at  moment’s notice.


As for an update on when West of Prehistoric will come out – I don’t know anything yet. But the contract has been signed and I’m eager to start the publishing process.

As for a personal update.

I’m a Jeep guy, I’ve a built 2001 Jeep Wrangler that I’ve had since 2005 and will continue to have until the day my kids inherit it. I also bought another 2001 Cherokee XJ recently for a daily driver. (Sure, I could have something nicer like a Jeep Gladiator Truck… But debt is stupid.)

And because I can’t help but tinker sometimes, I removed the fender flares, cut the fender wells larger, and installed some armor on the back end to protect the tail lights. Sure, it’s just a daily driver, but it was built by a guy from forum with upgraded suspension, axle shafts, lockers, etc and it’d be a shame to not take the kiddos out in something more comfortable than my TOY Wrangler.

Here’s the after/before pictures.


Turned out pretty well. I’ve still got a few rivnuts to fix on the body armor. (Rivnuts are the suckith.) And I managed to only cut myself once working the angle grinder when I cut the wheel wells open. 🙂 Now the wife says I need some rocker guard armor on it, and I agree. So that’s in the future.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how a daily driver gradually turns into an offroading toy!

A rough draft preview of East of Prehistoric. (The sequel to future best selling West of Prehistoric.)

I wanted to give a glimpse of what I’ve been working on. But I REDACTED a few parts of it to keep from giving away the ending of WoP for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. You’re not missing much, just the summarized portion of the narrative.

Anyways. Here’s the opening two chapters with an update on general things at the end.


August 1885

Four miles north of Granite Falls, Wyoming.


The hot summer sun beat down on me as I watched the massive dinosaur feasting on the rancher’s corpse.

Hunched over on all four legs, the top of the dinosaur’s back was eight feet high and from blood covered snout to the tip of tail was easily sixteen feet in length. A scarlet fin rose between its eyes, increasing in height over a sloping skull before running down the neck and fading away between the beast’s shoulder blades. The rest of its body, corded with thick muscle and sinew, was a light green, with smudges of brown for added camouflage.

It was the biggest dinosaur we’d found yet on this side of the tunnel. So, of course it had to be a predator.

The beast raised the mangled remains of the man with both front claws and crunched the man’s skull between blood stained teeth. Even from this distance, the sound was sickening. The dinosaur shook the corpse and a severed arm fell. The torn limb landed amongst scattered remains of the man’s ill-fated herd of sheep that he’d apparently died trying to protect.

Carbine stomped his hooves impatiently. He was anxious to be away, but I knew the soldiers needed more time to prepare, so I watched and waited as it ate the rancher.

Wrapping my fingers on the black Allosaurus claw that dangled from its leather cord around my neck, I leaned forward on the saddle pommel and thought about the events of the past couple months.

Battle of the Apes.

That’s what newspapers across America called it.

At the time, we just called it survival. And the only reason I was there at all was because I was hiding from my vengeful outlaw past. I was just trying to make a fresh start. Then an Allosaurus killed one of my horses and tried to kill me. I barely survived by filling it full of lead and finishing it off with a crate of dynamite. Then I ate it, and now I wear its claw as a memento of the occasion.

After that some prehistoric, triceratops riding, giant apes visited my ranch and tried to kill me. I back tracked them to their home and saw their leader ritualistically rip a man’s heart out of his chest. That ticked me off, so I killed a bunch of them in return, possibly sparking a war in the process. But the apes didn’t seem fans of peaceful coexistence anyways.


Sighing, I arched my back to work out a kink.

I must have moved too quickly, because the finned beast whipped its fearsome head in our direction and snorted loudly as it tried to get my scent.

Carbine tensed beneath me, and I took a sharp breath, realizing my mistake.

Apparently still hungry, the dinosaur growled and charged. Dropping onto all fours, the clawed feet sent tuffs of prairie grass into the air as it raced towards us. It moved faster than I’d have thought possible for an animal of its size.

Whipping Carbine around, I kicked my heels to his flanks and he surged forward into a dead sprint towards where we’d left the soldiers.

My name is Jedidiah Huckleberry Smith.

This is my story.


My mustang stretched his legs out, black mane and tail waving in the wind as we raced across the rolling plains.

“Good boy,” I told him fondly while resting a hand on the grip of one of my twin Colt Peacemakers. Twisting about in the saddle, I considered trying to put a.45 caliber slug into the dinosaur chasing us. At this distance, the chance of hitting was slim, but just running and not shooting seemed foreign to me and I’d have felt better if I could wound it a little.

Because it was gaining on us.

The large reptilian head opened its mouth wide, exposing jagged teeth and let loose an ear-piercing roar as it closed the distance between us.

Carbine responded by stretching his neck out and giving his all as he charged up a grassy hill towards a waiting pair of Gatling guns on the crest. Groups of soldiers stood by the weapons under the watchful eye of Lieutenant Carson. The young officer stood between them, sword raised, waiting to give the order for the multi-barreled guns to open fire once I was clear.

The dinosaur was dangerous enough, but worrying about a man getting fearful of the charging beast and firing before I reached safety certainly didn’t help the situation any. I crouched lower over Carbine’s and urged him on with a rebel yell.

With less than a hundred yards left between us and the angry dinosaur, I raced between the Gatling’s. It was close. Too close.

Sunlight glinted off the Lieutenant’s blade as he swept it down and screamed, “FIRE!”

Before the blade dropped past the man’s waist, the gun on the left began firing.

A steady pop-pop-pop-pop erupted from the bottom rotating barrel as the gunner cranked the handle, sending bullet after bullet towards the red crested beast.

Bullets hit the dinosaur, causing it to stumble to the side and the other rounds to miss. Swearing, the soldier fought the traversing mechanism to line the gun up on the rapidly approaching predator as the rest of his team dumped more cartridges into the gun’s hopper to keep it firing.

The monster roared in pain and anger, circling away from the loud contraption. The gunner twisted the weapon after the dinosaur, struggling to catch up to the moving beast.

The other Gatling remained silent. A soldier jerked the handle back and forth, but it was jammed and not rotating the firing mechanisms.

Without that weapon, we were in for a world of hurt.

I pulled my Eighty-Six from the scabbard. Racking the lever, I sent a large .45-70 cartridge into the chamber of the custom 1886 Winchester rifle.

Dinosaurs never go down easy. Ever.

“Get that gun operational!” Carson shouted as he rushed over to the crew served weapon. Soldiers manning the gun worked feverishly to fix it. The officer shoved a man aside and slid underneath the wheeled carriage, jamming his hands inside the gun from below. His young face contorted as he worked to free the gun.

The beast slowed, hesitating, and a jagged row of bullets stitched into the beast’s chest and hind quarters. It roared fearsomely and rushed further to our right side, circling around our position to flank us.

Tucking the polished wood stock into my shoulder, I fired into the creature’s chest at twenty yards away. The bullet hit, sending a splash of blood across the green pebbled hide. The finned dinosaur didn’t seem to notice and charged directly towards us.

“Oh hell,” I muttered as I slammed the action open and close, sending an empty brass shell spinning to the ground.

Soldiers working on the malfunctioning gun grabbed stacked rifles and began to open fire with their small arms. Frantic at the distance remaining, most of their bullets missed the dinosaur.

Several large strides later, the monster was upon us.

With a swing of its red finned head, the working Gatling was knocked aside and the soldier operating the weapon snatched up in its teeth. With a savage twist of its sloping head, the shrieking man was bitten in half. His legs fell beside another soldier who scrambled away and ran for the picketed horses fifty yards behind us.

Another followed, throwing down his weapon to flee the monster amongst us. The rest, braver, and perhaps more foolish, stood their ground and fought. They circled around the beast, firing rifles upwards into its large body as it twisted and thrashed, ripping men apart with tooth and claw.

The young Lieutenant crawled out from under the malfunctioning gun and was immediately flung a dozen feet into the tall grass with a slap of the dinosaur’s tail as it twisted about on the small crest.

Claws swiped across the front of another soldier to my right. Blood sprayed in an arc and splattered Carbine. My horse jerked his head, and fought the bit to get away as I hammered the beast with large rounds from my rifle. Bullets cracked past me as soldiers missed from the other side of the dinosaur. I swore and ducked involuntarily before firing again.

Behind us, two fleeing soldiers leapt onto horses, whipping them frantically with reins as they rode away.

Kicking my heels against Carbine, I put him into a trot, moving in a circle to maintain distance away from the beast as I concentrated on putting as many bullets from my expensive rifle into the dinosaurs finned head as possible. It was difficult with the thrashing, roaring, biting dinosaur raging among the few remaining soldiers. Only a couple shots connected, and while the beast seemed to be weakening and slowing, it still contained enough life in it to kill us all.

The dinosaurs tail smashed into the other Gatling, sending it tumbling over a pair of disfigured corpses. It rolled, crushing mutilated bodies under the wheels before bumping down the hill and toppling over.

Rifle empty, I thrust it into the tooled scabbard and drew my matching Colt Peacemakers. Not the stoutest of fire power against such a large beast but they were faster than a reload and this dinosaur needed to go down fast.

Carson burst from the tall grass armed with only his sword. Bleeding and limping, the young Lieutenant raced towards the beast, slashing and hacking at its back legs and tail. The blade did minimal damage, but the temporary distraction did allow the two remaining soldiers time to flee to the horses and mount.

“Run dammit!” I yelled at the officer and kicked Carbine’s flanks, sending him rushing towards the dinosaur and wounded Lieutenant. Firing both pistols, I screamed at the beast to distract it from the officer standing before it with bloodied sword raised.

Ignoring me, the dinosaur raised a clawed foot and stomped down. Thick talons sliced through the Carson’s face, chest, and stomach. Loops of intestines fell as the officer grabbed at his mortally wounded body and collapsed.

The beast viciously bit the officers face and savaged his body with front claws.

Screaming in rage, I let Carbine race us away from the gruesome scene.

The dinosaur didn’t seem interested in pursuing us, and we stopped on the next ridge by the remaining staged horses of the dead soldiers.

From where we’d set our ambush, there was nothing but broken Gatling guns and mangled corpses. Dismounting, I kicked a rock and swore. All those men, dead, because one of our two guns malfunctioned. Lieutenant Carson had been a good man as well. Smart, funny, filled with the youthful enthusiasm that I barely remembered having… also dead.

Raising its blood covered face towards the sky, the wounded beast roared its dominance over mankind, then took two steps, and fell. It struggled to rise, pulling legs beneath the large body, but only managing to raise its head off the ground.

I looked after the other soldiers who’d escaped, trails of dust showed they were riding towards town with no intent to come back. Cowardly, but I couldn’t blame them. Only four of them survived and their commanding officer was dead.

The remaining horses were uneasy. They could smell the scent of blood and death in the air. We’d picketed them away from the shooting, but their masters were all dead now. I pulled up their stakes and gave them a gentle slap on the rump to send them on their way. They’d wander back to town in a day or two. Unless something ate them, or they were caught by the Indians. After the battle, the local Shaynee tribe had so much U.S. Government marked equipment that another half dozen horses wouldn’t be noticed. They got away with a lot now, because REDACTED. Also, they were no longer our main concern. Apes and dinosaurs were. For the moment, we were at peace with the Indians.

Picking a spot that looked relatively comfortable, I crawled into the prone position with the Eighty-Six. Laying on my belly and cradling the gun in my hands, I flipped the peep sight upright and squinted at the bladed front sight. The working Gatling and soldier’s bullets had done their job, the beast was dying. But until it stopped breathing, it was dangerous.

I waited for a clean shot. The Lieutenant and his men were going to be avenged by my bullet. REDACTED wouldn’t like it, she’d want the head as unmutilated as possible. But we’d already shot the creature to rags and it still didn’t quit.

The dinosaur struggled again, thrashing its tail against the ground. This time it managed to stand. Blood oozed from puckered wounds along its chest and side. It took one careful step and halted, swaying slightly. The finned head swung towards me and glared.

I squeezed the trigger, letting the break of the hammer be a surprise and sending the large 200 grain 45-70 bullet into the dinosaur’s skull. It staggered to the side, the large toothed head dipping as the creature wobbled side to side. It clawed a front leg at its face, then toppled over. The beast spasmed, legs and claws tearing up chunks of prairie dirt in death throes.

Racking the lever, I waited, much longer than was probably necessary, to make sure the beast was dead. The skull was thick, probably a half inch of more, and I wanted to make sure I punctured it instead of just knocking the dinosaur out. The risk of being eaten wasn’t worth the time saved by impatience.

After fifteen minutes passed, I put another bullet into the dinosaurs head. This time it didn’t so much as twitch. Ejecting the shell casing, I stood and rested the heavy rifle over a shoulder.

All manner of dinosaurs had made it through the tunnel before the fort was built. Most of them were relatively harmless. But some, like this strange red finned predator, were menaces that needed to be put down.

And put them down we did.



So. Hows the writing going?

Not at all. I’m burnt out. I’m taking a break, I haven’t written anything but blog posts for the past two weeks. I’m struggling with chronic fatigue/breathing issues, for reasons we haven’t figured out, and it makes me exhausted by 8:30 pm. Which means I have the awake hours of a toddler now. Except without the opportunity to nap.

Also we are buying a mansion.

Well, I call it a mansion because it’s 2x the size of the house we are living in now. But Google tells me that a mansion is 5,000 sq feet or bigger, and ours ain’t that. So I guess we are just buying a nice, big house. With lots of bathrooms. I don’t know why we need 3.5 bathrooms, but the house came with them.

I think one of them should be turned into an armory with a vault door. -sigh- Speaking of which, I need a bigger gun safe. I can’t fit everything in mine. Add that to the list of new furniture the new house will require.

Anyways, that’s been a huge time suck. But, historically speaking, I tend to write very little during Nov/December and jump back into full swing in Jan. That’s how the past two years of writing have been and it appears this year will be no different.

And we will have to sell our house AFTER we buy this house, so that will be a huge time suck also once we close on the mansion. I’m exhausted just thinking about everything we have to do for the rest of the year.

What else.

Oh yes, I’m doing another Spartan Race this weekend.

But no worries, I’m just in the absolute worst shape of my life, plus dealing with the fatigue and breathing issue that are making everything difficult. And of course, we are doing a Beast, which is a 13-15 mile obstacle course. Yay.  Generally speaking, we have been doing the Trifecta (All 3 Spartan Races) every year for the past three years. But this year I had a lot of health issues and we put it off until pretty much the final race of the season… and it’s supposed to be around 45 degrees. So… awesome. Just… awesome. That means the water obstacles will be barely above freezing.

I’m cold and tired and hungry just thinking about it.

But hey, if I survive I get a free beer at the end!


This is where I ask for your help.

If you’ve enjoyed reading the first five excerpts, and would like to be contacted when West of Prehistoric becomes published, please use the Contact Me page(click here) and send me your name and email to be added to my email list.

Here’s why – The goal of publishers is to sell books and they are leery of first time authors because we don’t have a reader base yet. It’s a financial risk.  But, when I can brag about having x,xxx number of people on an email list, who can be contacted once the book is published – it helps ease their fears that taking me on will be a losing proposition. Because I’m bringing more than a manuscript to the table, I’m bringing readers.

And readers equal dollars.

Now – I do promise to only contact you in regards to this book or follow up books. I won’t sell or give your email to anyone, because that’s a dick move and I hate spammers with a passion. (There’s a special place reserved in hell for them and people who talk on cell phones in movie theaters.)

So if you liked what I’ve written, want to read the rest, and want to support me as a first time author – get on my email list. 🙂

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Part FIVE!


The previous story portions:

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Pew!

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Pew-Part Tew!

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Pew-Part Three!

RAWR! Pew! Pew! Pew-Part FOUR!

The saga of blazing guns, ferocious dinosaurs, and hairy barbaric savagery continues with Part FIVE.

(Honestly, at this rate, I’m going to post the entire book online before I get published. But that’s what happens when you write something, you want to share it.)

Here. We. Go.


A pair of apes on trikes caught the corner of my eye as they splashed through the river into the canyon.

I turned the telescope on them. Large birds, identical to the ones chased earlier by the big-headed dinosaur, were draped across the backs of the mounts. Brown feathered bodies bounced with the heavy steps of the trike until they stopped before the caves. Leaping down, apes untied the birds and effortlessly hoisted them across their shoulders. Carrying the corpses, they moved along the base of the cliff towards a small stand of trees.

A distant chirping drifted to me, intensifying as the apes entered the trees with their load. Peering through the gaps of leaves and branches, I could make out an outcropping of rock jutting from the canyon wall, creating a natural overhang. Beneath it was a large cage woven from thick branches that reached from the ground to the bottom of the bulge, with a gate near the center. Small black claws reached through the woven gaps, grabbing and shaking the cage as the things inside tried to get out.

One of the apes leaned a makeshift ladder against the fence and climbed to the top of the overhang, carefully avoiding the grasping claws. He opened a portion of the fence as the other passed the dead birds up. The chirps hit a feverish pitch as the bird’s bodies were shoved through.

Apparently, trikes weren’t the only tamed creatures in the canyon.

I watched the apes feeding the unknown animals for a few moments longer before deciding I’d seen enough. I needed to get back to town and let the Sheriff know, and figure out just what in the hell we were going to do about the tunnel.

I began to push back away from the edge, then stopped as an odd thumping noise reached my ears. Unnoticed, a pair of apes had moved beside the large slab of obsidian rock and were beating their chests with a fist. Others noticed and stood, copying the motion while facing the rock formation, adding to the dull thudding. Within moments the entire canyon was reverberating with the rhythmic pounding as it spread through all the apes.

The two that started the beating, stopped abruptly followed by the rest.

All the apes began moving to the strange rock formation. The ones wrestling threw tanned skins over their nakedness, while others stacked spears and lay down bows, and the apes cooking pulled meat away from the fire.

More of the apes poured from the caves in a steady stream. There was well over two hundred of them now standing around the circle of stone. But none of them stood inside the towering slabs of granite, leaving the area around the raised rock platform clear. I watched them through the telescope, in awe at the sheer number of them. Far more than I would have expected, and more were coming from the cave still.

A giant black-haired ape stepped from one of the cave entrances. Sensing something different about this one, I turned my glass on him.

He stood a head taller than the scattering of apes that hurried around him. The right side of his face was hideously scarred. The wound ran from chin to temple and twisted the side of his face into a grimace that exposed a large canine in a half snarl. He wore a simple waist belt and loincloth with a black handled knife tucked into a sheath. As he stepped forward, apes quickly parted before him.

Reaching the stone platform below the altar, he motioned towards the caves.

I swore viciously as a pair of apes stepped out with an Indian held tightly between them. The apes began hooting and calling in deep, rough voices. No doubt calling out insults to the captive.

The man’s chest was bloodied. His long black hair stringy and hanging over his face. He was naked, but he still had fight in him. Kicking and struggling he tried to pull away, and one of his guards slugged him in the stomach with a large fist. He convulsed and legs pulled up as he tried to double over against their grips. Vomit dribbled from his mouth. The apes dragged him through the crowd. Surrounding apes slapped and punched him about the head and body as he passed by.

The sound of their jeering joy and laughter at the man’s torment drifted to me. His feet dragged as he was hauled limply up the stone platform. I felt my face flush hot in anger.

Then I watched, horrified, as the guards dumped him on top of the obsidian slab. The crowd’s hooting grew louder as he thrashed weakly against the two stronger apes. With an almost dispassionate interest, they stretched his arms apart and lashed him down horizontally to the rock with leather cords. Their task finished, the guards stepped off the stone platform and disappeared into the crowd.

The black scarred ape stepped before the Indian captive.

A guttural chant began, followed by single clenched fists once again beating in unison. I felt it within my chest, as my heart seemed to pound in rhythm.

Sweat dripped from my brow, and the glass fogged. Quickly, I wiped the eye piece clear and looked back through the telescope.

Someone in the teeming mass of hairy apes was passing up a misshapen bowl. Green smoke wafted from whatever crazy stuff burned inside. The black ape accepted the bowl and laid it carefully beside the squirming man on the slab.

The scar-faced ape drew the blade from the sheath at his waist. It was obsidian, with a dark handle. The Indian hocked a wad of spit at him in defiance. In return, the ape casually palmed the man’s face and slammed his head backward against the stone. His body went limp.

My jaw clenched, and I ground my teeth so hard I thought they might crack.

I didn’t know what to do.

I didn’t know what I could do.


Laying the knife gently on the black altar, the scarred ape cupped his hands around the smoldering bowl and raised it into the air as the chanting and pounding ceased.

The canyon was eerily quiet as he lowered the bowl and breathed in the green smoke.

For a long moment, nothing happened.

Then the bowl dropped from the ape’s hands, shattering on rock. The black ape shuddered and braced himself against the altar. He twitched, violently, jerking his head from side to side. Knees bent and wobbled, threatening to collapse underneath him.

Whatever was in that bowl wasn’t your ordinary peyote.

Suddenly the giant ape threw himself upright, thrusting out his chest and raising clenched fists at the sky. He roared, an ugly, harsh, inhuman sound as the other apes joined in. The thumping noise of hammering fists against chests began again with a fevered violence. The pounding was louder and harsher this time. There was no rhythm. Just a mass of noise that echoed and assaulted my senses.

The Indian awoke. Bewildered and groggy, he twisted and turned on the black rock.

The scar faced ape scooped up the knife and plunged it into the man’s belly.

I wasn’t prepared for the sudden violence and almost dropped the telescope as a high-pitched scream of agony pierced the air. The chipped obsidian knife slid upwards easily and stopped once it reached his rib cage. The man kept screaming in horror, staring wide eyed at his gaping wound along his stomach. The savage ape set the knife down and reached into the cut, amongst the vitals, and under the rib cage. The shrieking ended with a twist and rip, as the ape pulled out the man’s heart.

Raising the organ in his fist for all the apes to see, blood ran down the ape’s black fur arm and splattered onto the altar.

Hundreds of throats roared in satisfaction.

The scarred black ape savagely took a bite out of the heart. Blood oozed from his mouth. Swallowing, he hurled the remains into the crowd.

Apes pushed and shoved each other for it. One hairy monkey began pummeling another to the ground with both fists as others kicked and fought to get the chunk of human flesh.

A hand suddenly held it aloft victoriously above the thrashing apes, a bloody chunk of raw meat coated with dirt. Roaring, he bit off a chunk and hurled it across the crowd where the scene was repeated, again and again, until there was nothing left but apes fighting each other around the circle of stones while the scarred ape leader watched on in satisfaction.

Saying I was in shock was an understatement. Horrified was more like it. But furious…. absolutely.

Slamming the telescope shut, I slid my rifle before me and braced it into my shoulder. I found the black scarred ape at the altar and guessed the distance.

Common sense told me that my position would be given away once I fired, but I didn’t care. Every single one of these hairy men-monkeys needed to die. But I’d satisfy myself with just taking their leader’s life.

Carbine stamped softly from the tree line, but I tuned him out and slowed my breathing. Concentrating on the gentle rise and fall of the sights, I began taking up the slack in the trigger.

I was about to smite a giant, evil monkey with 350 grains of cast lead and vengeance.

Hell yeah.

Carbine snorted loudly, interrupting my concentration.

Annoyed, I rolled to the side to see what he was upset about.

A spear point shattered on the sweat soaked rock where I’d lain a moment before.

The ape stood towering over me. His large brow furrowed in frustration at his missed stab. Another monkey grabbed Carbine’s reins and was rewarded a vicious bite to his shoulder by my horse. He screamed, and Carbine twisted, kicking the ape in the chest and sending him sprawling.

I bet that hurt, but not as much as this.

With my freehand, I drew the Colt and shot the ape standing over me. He didn’t give in to the wound as the bullet punched through his belly, instead jerking the spear back and preparing to thrust with its shattered tip.

This time, I shot him through the center of the chest where his heart should have been, and he collapsed in a twitching heap.

As the other ape painfully crawled onto all fours, I carefully put a bullet through his skull and dropped him.

So much for the element of surprise.

Flipping back over, I realized the canyon had gone quiet. The multitude of apes had stopped beating their chests, and were staring at my position. I felt hundreds of eyes upon me.

Surprise monkeys, I have weapons of fire, thunder and lead. Fear me.

Scar-face pointed a thick, blood coated finger in my direction and bellowed a command.

The crowd went wild as apes began pushing, shoving, and running in different directions. Some ran back into the caves, others towards stacks of weapons, and most rushed towards the cliff below me.

Swearing, I yanked the rifle up and quickly shot at the ape leader as he turned away. The bullet missed and hit the Indian’s corpse instead. The evil black ape disappeared among the frantic swarming mass of his followers.

There went my chance at killing their leader. But at least the Indian was already dead. He probably would have forgiven me anyways, all things considered.

If there was any doubt as to where my position was before, the gun powder smoke from the Sharps that drifted over the canyon made it abundantly clear. But I figured I could slay a few more of them before I needed to get out of dodge.

Working the action on the rifle, I randomly selected an ape splashing through the stream in my direction and pulled the trigger. The rifle boomed again satisfyingly, and the ape pitched forward and thrashed in the water as another puff of gun smoke blew out to join the other.

I grinned evilly.

This was like shooting monkeys in a barrel.

Rising to a knee for a better field of fire, I fired into a small band of apes headed for the trikes. Another boom, and this time an ape dropped while the one beside it screamed and fell, clutching her side.

One bullet, two wounds. My sort of math.

The herd of trikes, stirred up by the gunfire and excitement, were proving hard for the apes to throw harnesses and saddles on. Dust stirred as the dinosaurs shuffled in confusion, making it harder for me to pick out targets. But the two trikes that rode in earlier were still harnessed and ready to go. As an ape tried mounting one of them, I fired. The shot was low, and hit the trike. It bellowed in pain and side stepped, shaking its horns and knocking the would-be rider off.

Apes were running for the canyon entrance now, trying to circle around and catch me from the rear. I ignored them. I’d be long gone by the time they reached my location.

An arrow zipped by, fired from an ape standing in the stream, and landing somewhere in the forest behind me. My aim was off, and I put a bullet through his leg as a large, hairy hand slapped the top of the edge.

Shocked that one of the apes reached me so quickly, I frantically worked the outdated reloading mechanism of the Sharps.

The big female monkey pulled herself over the edge. I cocked the hammer back and fired from the hip, the muzzle mere inches away from her face. Unsupported, the recoil of the rifle almost knocked it out of my hands. I managed to hang on to the gun as the bullet punched through the ape’s throat with a spray of blood.

At such a short distance, her flat face was filled with sparks of burning powder. Blinded and wounded, the ape clawed at her face and throat before toppling backwards and falling, yellowed canines bared in a silent scream.

Peeking over the edge, I saw her body twisted and broken amongst the rocks and a multitude of others clinging to the rocks below. Some stopped and stared at the corpse, others climbed faster. None of them looked happy.

From the canyon floor, more apes picked up bows and arrows whistled by me, thudding into the trees and ground nearby. One hit beside me, shattering the shaft on the rock and pelting me with splinters. It was time to go.

I ducked and scrambled away from the cliff edge. Reaching Carbine, I slammed the telescope shut and into the saddle bags before leaping into the saddle. From behind came grunts and hoots as apes began reaching the top of the cliff. Smacking his flanks with the barrel of my rifle, I let him lead as I twisted in the saddle and fired at the apes behind me. I managed to make one duck before losing sight of them as Carbine charged amongst the thick trees.

Within seconds, we were lost in the forest.


To be continued…


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