Dark Owl     Publishing

Click here to edit subtitle

Something Wicked This Way Rides

An anthology of weird westerns and genre fiction in the Wild West



Also on Kindle Unlimited!

This book is appropriate for teenagers.

Double, double toil and trouble...

Shakespeare began the tense apprehension with his melodic yet warning phrase.

Ray Bradbury continued the dark and ominous foreboding that oozes between the words.

Now, it has come to the North American Old West, a world with its severe terrain and hardened residents. The rules were harsher out here, the ethics and morals changed, the fight for life and liberty quite different than anything these pioneers, these outlaws, these six-shooters and rebel rousers, these unquestionably brave men and women had bargained for.

For them, something wicked certainly rode.

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble...

In this anthology, we explore the Old West with a skewed view, showcasing the weird western genre through stories that explore the peculiar and fantastic, the wicked that was and could have been. You'll experience spiritual nightmares, mythical monsters, cosmic outlaws, discerning gods, and science run amok. Even the North Pole Security Division isn't immune to the supernatural strangeness that stalks the late 1800s. In the tradition of pulp and western stories of a bygone era, these are thirty tales to intrigue, amaze, and perhaps downright spook you out of your boots.

So brew up some coffee, head out to the rocking chair on the porch, and tilt your hat to shade your eyes so you can read real close. Just be sure to keep one eye on the horizon, and one hand near your holster. For...

With dark intentions and creatures astride,

Something wicked this way rides.


"Not Quite a Deer" by Jonathon Mast

is available on YouTube from Redwood Reads!

"A Drink With the Devil" by Jonathon Mast

is available to listen to from The Night Terrors Podcast!

The Author Corral

These authors have graced us with unusual tales that we are proud and honored to share with you.

We recommend taking a gander at their other works as well.

Q Parker

Peter Prellwitz

John B. Rosenman

Alistair Rey

Darrell Schweitzer

Bradley H. Sinor

Matias Travieso-Diaz

Charles Wilkinson

Martin Zeigler

Within these pages...

Here are some of the subjects and events the authors have used to flesh out their stories,

along with some explanation of what weird westerns actually are.

We hope you'll sit a spell and learn a thing or two.

Weird West on Wikipedia

Weird West: A Creative Combination of Genres [2 parts] from

J.W. Collins, Western Author

Six-Guns and Strange Shooters: A Weird West Primer from

The Weird Wild West: 10 Great Horror Westerns [films] from

Favorite Western Pulps from Rough Edges by James Reasoner

Where to Begin with the Weird West [films] from the British Film Institute

Weird West Fantasy from

All About Billy the Kid and Other Famous Criminals of

the Wild West from The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall

Courtesy of Corrine C., Student of the Wild West

Old West Legends - Adventures in the American West

from Legends of America

Buffalo Soldiers from

Buffalo Soldier Museum official website

Coahuila y Tejas from Wikipedia

Pony Express from Encyclopedia Britannia

History of Arizona Gold Mining from Western Mining History

California Gold Rush from

Painted Ladies of the Old West from Legends of America

Wild West shows from Wikipedia

Gambling in the Old West from Legends of America

Frontier Dentistry from True West Magazine

Native American Mythology & Legends from Legends of America

Native Indian Legends and Folklore from

Native Languages of the Americas

Civil War Ghosts official website

Loa from Wikipedia

Gaea from

Giant Beaver from the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre

Roanoke Colony from Wikipedia


Table of Contents

Wanna know what you're in for? Here's the table of contents.

Story 1

"Tears of Winter" by Jason J. McCuiston

A small command of Buffalo Soldiers finds the fort they're posted to completely empty, with one naked, dead body left behind. The men must find out what happened... but a strange spirit woman is following them

and haunting their progress.

Story 2

"Ghost" by Bradley H. Sinor

A secret service officer in the Confederacy is assigned to guard a European diplomat. The diplomat is ultimately murdered, and the young captain must solve the mystery, aside from the ghost that keeps appearing wherever he is.


Story 3

"Borrowed Gods" by Gustavo Bondoni

Train tracks suddenly appear in a small town, baffling its citizens. But a train is coming with mysterious passengers

to discuss the townspeople's sins.

Story 4

"Inner Skin" by Kevin M. Folliard

An unidentified creature has been killing people in Devil's Spring. The barkeep has contacted his one-time lover who is a monster hunter for his help, and a card game among outlaws is about to experience a big change.


Story 5

"The Tears of Scorpions" by John B. Rosenman

A distressed young girl rides into Dulton, New Mexico, clearly hurt and scared. After her arrival, the townspeople start to change, and the doctor suspects something far worse than her experience is happening in this town.

Story 6

"Bad Day at Prospect Ridge" by Stuart Croskell

A former Army Sergeant Major and his half-Native girlfriend are confronted by a known outlaw who found his men with their heads severed. They find they need to work together to stop whatever has committed this massacre.


Story 7

"Showdown in the Panhandle" by Matias Travieso-Diaz

A man with the ability to sense emotions is a card sharp in Texas. He comes up on a situation that might just expose

who - or what - he really is.

Story 8

"Store of Value" by Charles Wilkinson

A taste of new weird in a weird western:

Two brothers are following each other between

Wales and Old West Wyoming, while a dentist

is using her gold mine to replace teeth.


Story 9

"A Drink With the Devil" by Jonathon Mast

A man returns home to discover his town is gone, taken by the Devil, and he must win a contest to get it back.

Story 10

"What Hath God Wrought?" by Alistair Rey

A journalist from Boston visits a town in the Mexican Territory.

He discovers something strange is happening at the old mission, and he wants to learn more.


Story 11

"The Hexman Who Came for Dinner" by Gregg Chamberlain

A strange man buys a spot on a stagecoach,

and he's determined to get the lunch he's paid for.

Story 12

"Ghost Shirt" by Dwain Campbell

A Canadian Mountie is assigned to stop an Indian magi from starting a war on the British Empire with the help of an old earl and some ancient magic.


Story 13

"Pony Express" by Vonnie Winslow Crist

A young girl disguised as a boy rides the night leg of

the Pony Express. She is followed by a god-like spirit,

and she finds her assigned ponies - and her wits - must be sharp to outrun it.

Story 14

"The Ballad of Billie Lee" by Steve Gladwin

A newspaper journalist is writing the story of Black Sam, a marshal, and Billie Lee, a saloon girl who has experienced a terrible crime. But something isn't quite right, and this story needs to be changed.


Story 15

"State of the Art" by John B. Rosenman

Decades into the future, shows are programmed through computer technology and artificial intelligence. But this not-so-traditional western is starting to change, and it's not necessarily for the good.

Story 16

"Sunset Cowboy" by John A. Frochio

A stranger riding a quite peculiar horse comes to the Brewster Ranch to claim Jessica Brewster. The sheriff, who fancies the young lady, makes out for the ranch to learn what's going on, and is met with a supernatural strangeness he may have wanted to leave alone.


Story 17

"The Show Must Go On" by Lawrence Dagstine

A man describes his life with his wife as trick gunslingers performing with traveling old west shows. Their experiences are followed by a man who shows a lot of interest in the woman, and her husband is determined to protect her.

Story 18

"All the Stars in South R'yleh" by Q Parker

A supernatural couple check into a hotel in South R'yleh, a town that probably shouldn't exist since it's never a good idea to summon the Old Ones. The ladies end up helping find the murderer of a woman who was killed a few nights before.


Story 19

"Partners" by Peter Prellwitz

A young man agrees to help an old man mine for gold, staying in an abandoned cabin deep in the woods. But the winter is dark and cold, and plans change as their search for gold becomes more desperate.

Story 20

"The Tombstone Affair: A North Pole Security Historical Tale"

by J.B. Dane

Fritz Claus is enjoying being a marshal in New Mexico when he is called back to become the next Santa Claus. But he has to help a woman find her missing brother first.


Story 21

"Unpublished Commentary on my Earlier Western Travels"

by Stefan Markos

An artist is commissioned by an entrepreneur to paint a large and unusual painting of Western animals. On his travels, the artist meets an equally unusual someone who is also studying animals.

Story 22

"Canyon City Chuckle" by L.L. Hill

A brother, sister, and their automaton must hurry to create a ballooning ship in order to escape giant beavers and evil outlaws in their attempt to get out of Canyon City and into Klondike in the Yukon Territory.


Story 23

"Not Quite a Deer" by Jonathon Mast

Something is stalking a cattle drive.

Something that is... well...

Not quite a deer.

Story 24

"Claude" by Kenneth Bykerk

The Kroeger brothers have found their own gold mine, and are quite successful in their unwavering efforts to extract the gold. But that winter, they are snowed in by a blizzard, so Hans goes out alone to get supplies from the general store.


Story 25

"Nightshade Ladies" by Marilyn "Mattie" Brahen

A man and a boy who have killed a prospector for his gold end up at the Nightshade House to hide and rest overnight. But the resident ladies of the night have other ideas.

Story 26

"And Hell Followed With Him" by Jason J. McCuiston

A giant demon has taken up residence in a mine in Purgatory, Nevada. Gideon Cain, an otherworldly creature cursed over eight centuries, can stop it... at a price.


Story 27

"The Rider of the Dark" by Darrell Schweitzer

In his youth, Robert Blake interviews an old man

who experienced a horrifying nightmare

during a cattle drive.

Story 28

"Blind Faith" by Adrian Ludens

A family with unusual disabilities is visited by a man who claims to be a traveling doctor. But his dark actions spur the family to make otherworldly changes.


Story 29

"Bonnie Lee and the Boneyard Boys" by Martin Zeigler

A young woman's family has died, along with their hired hands, in a devastating fire. But those hands come back to help her in an abrupt and unexpected way.

Story 30

"Deadfall" by Gregory L. Norris

Two families following the Oregon Trail become lost.

They find themselves in an abandoned town called Deadfall,

but their salvation turns on them.

Images from top to bottom:

Book cover image by InvisibleNature; book cover design by Dark Owl Publishing, LLC

Skeletal cowboy image by Vlad Min from Pixabay

Weird West by Tarmo Juhola

The Snake Eater by Jake Clark

New Lands by Weston T. Jones

Table of Contents images:

Buffalo soldiers image from Getty Images

Virginia Confederacy Capitol from History Replays Today

Old West Railroad by Pamela Romjue

Montana Hotel Saloon in Anaconda, Montana

Girl image from

Pipe image from

Card game image from

Image of Dr. Rankin in 1909 with one of her patients from NYC Vintage Images

Cactus image from

Mission image from

Stagecoach image is of a commercial stagecoach from A Little Reality blog

Image of North-West Mounted Police, Officers of B Division, Yukon Territory from the Canadian Encyclopedia

Pony Express image from

Saloon girl is of unknown origin. If you know, please contact us!

Desert image is Cowboy TV by Frank Schott

Horse image is from

Woman shootist image from the National Cowboy Museum

Hotel sign image from

Cabin in the snow image from

New Mexico image from

Bison image from

Beaver image by Matt Chiff

Deer image from

Snowstorm image from the Strange State blog

Lady of the night image from

Mining building image from

Cattle drive image from

Traveling medicine show image from

Skeleton cowboy from shutterstock

Oregon Trail image from