Thursday, October 24, 2013

Shadows of the Moon by Matthew Pizzolato @mattpizzolato @KMNbooks @WestFictioneers #flashfictionbash

The Contest has ended and the winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card is Katrina Gillian! Congrats!

KAREN: Matthew Pizzolato grew up reading Louis L'Amour, Max Brand and Zane Gray. It's no wonder he pens western tales for The Western Online Press and Western Fictioneers! Matthew's FLASH FICTION tale, Shadows of the Moon, will transport you to the old west for some ghostly fun!

****Giveaway: Matthew is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to on lucky trick or treater. Read on and find out how you can add this prize to your goody bag!

Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter. You can enter each day for additional chances to win!

Shadows of the Moon by Matthew Pizzolato

The full moon cast an orange glow over the darkened landscape.  I tried to swallow, but my dry mouth kept me from completing the action.  Pressing a handkerchief against the bullet burn on my left shoulder, I grimaced in pain. Something stirred in the night and my horse's ears perked. 
"What is it, girl?"
Cinnamon snorted and continued picking her way forward.  Where we were going, I had no idea. My canteen was empty and if we didn't find water soon, neither of us would make it much longer.  Best to keep traveling in the coolness of the night. 
A rush of wings passed overhead and an owl hooted, causing me to shiver and sending a chill up my spine.  After several long moments of plodding onward, my head drooped forward and I woke with a start. 
A light glimmered up ahead and I pulled the red roan to a halt.  "Who's there?"
The seconds stretched but no answer came.  Then the light flickered and went out.  What the hell? Had I been seeing things?  I flipped the reins and we started forward.  Maybe singing would help keep me awake. 
"The Camptown ladies sing this song, doo-da, doo-da.  The Camptown track is five miles long," I said and paused to take a breath.
"Doo-da. Doo-da," said a strange voice.
I hauled hard on the reins. "Who's there?" Glancing around in the night yielded nothing.  Goose bumps raised my flesh, and I rested my hand on the butt of my ivory handled, nickel plated Colt Peacemaker.  Turning the animal in the direction the sound seemed to emanate from, I sang the next verse.  "Going to run all night, going to run all day." 
Several long seconds of silence passed, and then the answer came. "I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag."
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.  Chills raced up and down my spine.  The voice had been that of a woman and it had sounded… angelic in a way. 
"Somebody bet on the gray." When I finished the verse, the light appeared directly in front of me, but this time, I could see who was holding it.  At least, I thought I could. 
A woman clad in flowing white robes with long blond hair that trailed in the sudden gust of wind.  "This way, Wesley Quaid," she said, and then vanished as the light went out.
Swallowing hard, I pinched my face.  Had I died somewhere along the trail? Was this Purgatory? I could feel the sensation in my face and the pain in my shoulder. Yet what in the hell was a woman doing in the middle of nowhere? And where had she gone?
Then away in the darkness came the heavenly voice.  "Oh, the long-tailed filly and the big black horse."
Naturally, I answered.  "Doo-da. Doo-da."  The light returned and I started toward it.  When I flicked the reins, Cinnamon stumbled and went to her knees, throwing me from the saddle. 
I landed with a thud and groaned.  Lightning bolts of pain stabbed the bullet wound in my shoulder.  Feeling consciousness start to ebb, I focused on the glimmering light and rolled over.  Cinnamon stepped up next to me and using the stirrup, I hauled myself to my feet and fumbled for the reins. 
Deciding to lead the animal instead of forcing her to bear my weight, I pulled the reins over her head and started toward the light.  I stumbled and nearly fell.  When I looked up again, the light was gone.
All of a sudden, I realized the normal night sounds were quiet. No crickets chirped and no hunting calls of any of the night creatures sounded.  Everything was absolute silence except for the noise I made.  Where was I?  What was happening to me?
I took another step forward and heard the voice again.
"Come to a mud hole and they all cut across."
Feeling like a fool, I sang.  "Oh, de doo-da day."  My ankle turned on a stone and I pitched forward to the ground. 
A cold, wet horse nostril brushed my face, jarring me awake.  "What is it, girl?"
Cinnamon whinnied and nudged my face again.  Then she galloped away into the night and I cursed my luck. 
I managed to get to my knees and started crawling.  The light appeared again.  Putting my head down, I crept along as fast as I could.  When I glanced up, the light was still there. 
A cloud moved in front the face of the moon. Utter darkness enveloped the land and my entire existence narrowed to that flickering light ahead of me.  I imagined I could see the fair-skinned arm of the angelic figure holding out the lantern.  Focusing on the light, I crawled forward with no other thought than to reach it.
Then I placed my hand down, and it struck something damp. I reached further and a splash sounded.  "Thank, God."
Fumbling in my vest pocket, I found a match and flared it to life.  A small pool spread before me.  I dunked my head and drank deeply, feeling the life-giving waters flood my parched tissues. 
Blinding light washed over me and then vanished.  I raised my head, water dripping from my face.  I heard the soft whispers of a woman's voice, but I couldn't quite make out the words.  "Who are you?" I asked.
The light of the moon returned casting shadows from the branches of a dead alder tree. Crickets began chirping.  I took a deep breath and smiled, but no answer came.

The End

About the Book TWO OF A KIND:

A smooth-talking outlaw versus a relentless Ranger. Wesley Quaid returns to Texas with the assassin, Sabrina, riding at his side. Will the deadly pair embark on a new outlawwill Ranger Jud Nelson catch up with them?

Purchase a copy of Two of a Kind at Amazon 

****Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card to on lucky trick or treater. All you have to do is answer this question and leave an email so Matthew can contact you if you should win. Question: What's your favorite card game?  Contest ends on Oct. 26th.

About the Author: 

Matthew Pizzolato is a member of Western Fictioneers. His short stories have been published in online and print The Wanted Man, as well as the novella, Outlaw.
magazines. He is the Editor-in-Chief of The Western Online and the author of the Western short story collection.

He can be contacted on Twitter @mattpizzolato or via his website.


Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


Thanks so much for sharing your flash fiction with us!

My favorite card game when I was young was Speed.

Michael Hancock said... Best Blogger Tips

Matthew, Thank you for sharing this wonderful read with us!My favorite card game is Spades

Shannon R said... Best Blogger Tips

My favorite card game is Eurche

fencingromein at hotmail dot com

Jean MP said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the great story.
My favorite game is gin rummy.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

Gerald Costlow said... Best Blogger Tips

Now that's spooky!

And my favorite card game has always been draw poker.

joye said... Best Blogger Tips

My favorite card game is canasta.

J Bur said... Best Blogger Tips

Double (or Triple, etc) Solitaire. Thanks for the giveaway!

Rosemary Gemmell said... Best Blogger Tips

Love that story and the way it was written! I don't know many card games but we used to play gin rummy on family nights in, though not for money!

Celtic Chick said... Best Blogger Tips

I love the eerie setting you created.

Does video poker count? lol I remember playing Old Maid as a kid or Go Fish.


bn100 said... Best Blogger Tips

Interesting story

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Katrina Gillian said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Matthew,

Enjoyed your story! Your books sounds good, too.

What is my favorite card game? I really like Uno. We play it at the holidays after all dishes are washed and before we have our yummy desserts. :)
katrinagillian (at) yahoo (dot) com

Thanks for a chance to win! :)

Rebecca Gillan said... Best Blogger Tips

Holy, cows! I love a good spooky story like that!

My favorite card game is one my family plays when we all get to gether called Nasty Neighbors. It's kind of like Pinochle but nastier and a lot of fun if everyone at the table has a good sense of humor.

RebeccaLGillan at Yahoo dot com

Matthew Pizzolato said... Best Blogger Tips

Many thanks to each and every one of you for the kind words about the story. I'm thrilled that you all have enjoyed it. Also, thanks to Karen for inviting me to participate.

Cathy said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Matt,

Great spooky story. Love westerns, too.

My favorite card game is Go Fish. Just brings back fun memories. :)

cnickol @ verizon . net (no spaces)

Emily said... Best Blogger Tips

I love May I? I love playing with my family, we get rather competitive :)


Matthew Pizzolato said... Best Blogger Tips

The winner of the drawing for the $10 Amazon gift card is Katrina Gillian. Congrats! Your prize will be sent shortly.

Thanks to everyone who entered and for all of the kind words about my story. I appreciate it.