A Collection of Western short stories by Matthew Pizzolato.
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The Wanted Man is a collection of eight short stories set in the American West and touches on themes of vengeance, abuse and honor. Texas Ranger Jud Nelson appears in the title story and receives some aid from an unlikely source in chasing down a killer. Outlaw Wesley Quaid discovers that not only is the law on his trail in the form of Ranger Jud Nelson but a hired assassin has been paid to kill him. Is Texas big enough for the three of them?
A sharp gust blew a small whirlwind across the trail in front of the rider, who jerked his horse to a halt. A faint, indeterminate sound reached his ears.
After a moment, he flicked the reins and laughed. "Buck, we've been on the trail too long. Hearing things."
Pulling the cork out of his canteen, he swallowed a mouthful of water and wiped his lips with the back of his hand while his eyes surveyed the landscape.
A red-tailed hawk banked on the wind currents, and the breeze rustled in the leaves of the brush beside the trail. Nothing else reached his ears.
The evening sun hung just above the horizon and cast its dull, orange glare across the land. He removed his black, flat-brimmed Stetson and beat some trail dust out of it against his leg.
The animal pranced a few steps farther along the trail, its hooves clicking on stone until it stopped and turned its head to the side with its ears twitching.
"What is it, boy?" He pulled a Winchester '73 from the saddle scabbard.
A bone chilling, high-pitched scream echoed, causing the small hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end.
Something struck him on the head, and he collapsed from the saddle as the echoes of the gunshot reverberated across the land.