((Below is the first page for a short story, that may become part of a larger series of short stories if I get into it. Enjoy!!))
The horses slowed as we neared the top of the hill. When we reached the peak a few minutes later, I could see our mark – a two-story, nondescript house at the bottom of the valley. A few days back, a large amount of howling, shrieking and gunfire had been heard late in the evening. A pair of deputies had gone to investigate, but never returned. We were called in the very next morning.
When we attempted to head down the ridge, the horses began to buck and whinny. We dismounted, and I inhaled deeply. Although faint, I was able to pick up a hint of rust and charcoal in the air. A discarded smithy? Unlikely, as the chimney was a single, narrow pipe. In either case, I’d have to go in on foot. I looked over at my partner, who was loading rounds into a holder on a rifle’s stock. That done, she slung the rifle over her shoulder and said, “Ready when you are.”
“For what?” I removed my duster, and slung it over the saddle. As I was pulling my ammo vest from a saddlebag, I heard her reply, “To help you, of course. Two floors will take a while to go through, you could use another gun in there.”
“How you gonna aim that longarm in there?” I put on the vest, checking that each bandoleer was full. That done, I turned back to her. “I’d prefer you outside, in case something makes a break for it. Don’t know who or what is inside, or how many.”
“Yeah, yeah…”She smirked. “You just want another notch on your belt, Mr. Five Half-men and Two Demons.”
“You don’t want to go there.” I snapped. “You wanna risk your life, do it when you’re done with training.”
“I’m kidding, don’t worry.” She grabbed a blanket off of her horse, and began looking from the crest to the house. Satisfied, she laid the blanket down and turned back to me as I was starting down the hill. “What should I load?”
I glanced back for a second. “Your call. Probably lead or silver, don’t think cold will work well at this range.” Nodding, she laid down on the blanket, and pulled out a small notepad and pencil. I left her to it, and started down the hill. As I got closer to the house, I pulled out one of my guns (loaded with lead) and took another whiff of the air. As was expected, the smell of rust was a bit stronger, but I could also smell some char and rotten egg. Neither of those were comforting. I put away the first gun and took out the second. This one had a mix of silver and cold rounds, to be ready for anything. Taking one last breath of the air outside, I stepped through the broken doorframe and into the house.