Wrangling Them Vampire Cows | Fiction

Hurts and comforts on the (other-world) range.

Them wandering calves are the worst.

On the rocky terrain past Gilard, the calves eager to hunt for themselves slip away from the herd during a cattle drive and set the old cows screaming. Riding ponies into hills don’t just risks falls; it gives a calf a chance to jump us. Turn wrong, the wrong time, a calf will sink baby fangs between armor.

This is what happened to Dill. He climbed his pony up a hill between boulders. I couldn’t see the attack from where I flanked. By the time I reached him, he was holding his bloody shoulder and shooting the wayward calf dead. Less profit. But we don’t worry about profit once we know one of the young ones have a taste for blood.

I certainly won’t shed a tear for a critter that attacked Dill. A part of me wants to start shooting dead all the calves that try to pull away for high ground.

We’re settling in for the night beside the campfire. Dill is wrapped up at the shoulder, propped up between my legs. He’s rubbing the bulge of his bicep.

“Hurts there, too?” I ask him.

He stops, relaxes so his head pushes against my scruffy cheek. I turn and kiss his slick brown hair, more a brick color in the firelight.

“Don’t you worry none, Bo. I’m tougher than a walking cactus.”

“The calf coulda sucked you dry like you was a walking cactus.” Vampire cows could waste their favorite food faster than a flash flood could knock out a man in a ravine, but they struggled to latch between our tanned hide armor. I know I’m fussing.

Can’t help feeling that we got lucky.

I hushed my voice so as the rest of the crew wouldn’t hear. “Scared me.”

“Told you not to worry.” His voice deepened, suggestive. Gentle laughter threaded in his words made them rich as a sapphire mine.

I cupped one of his firm pecs and squeezed. “Fine then. Won’t.”

“Bo, I could use a distraction.”

“Not on the drive.”

A bull screamed a large-chested challenge from up in the high hills. We were in for a rough night.