The smell was the first thing Eva's noticed. A cloying kind of rotten spoil, a decay that wouldn't seem to leave her nose. She curled her lip and tried to force it out by pulling a hankerchief around her face but the smell permeated everything. She could feel the cold tendrils of fear around her heart as she spurred her horse towards the mass of undead in front of her. She drew out her pistol and glanced over her shoulder at Moore. The damnable fop had nearly passed out when she told him what she intended, but true to his word here he was. Taking a glance back at the stage one last time, she saw sweet old Bartley holding his hat down as maneuvered his team down the switchback.the stranger, Johnson, was leveled on the roof top, holding the scatter gun at the ready, his precious saddle bags tied around his neck. That sonuvabitch rubbed her the wrong way, she could feel it deep inside. He would try something. She only hoped that it would be after they reached Desperation.
Eva turned her attention back to the matter at hand, the giant mass of walking dead that mounted in front of her. She cleared leather on her Colt and drew aim on one of the creatures. He was a huge bastard, shirtless, with mottled black and green skin. His distended jaws worked up and down over a a slaver of bile. She watched coldly as his head exploded into bloody fragments and took aim again. She continued to fire intermittently as she urged her horse off the road to town. Eva glanced over at Thomas, who was doing the same thing, though with far worse aim, on the other side. The plan involved them drawing as many of the monsters as they could off the main road, drawing them out into a large circle before looping back around and repeating the process, allowing the stage to get a relatively clear path to town. Eva cut hard out in to the surrounding farmland, not allowing herself to get to far ahead of the surge of creatures. She calmly reloaded her pistol, snapping off another shot at one of the beasts as it got to close and urged the horse around. She could see Moore in the distance race his horse back around. He hadn't taken it out far enough before looping back, even from this distance Eva knew that the monster were too close. Bartley knew it too, she could see him urge the horses to move even faster. That's when her nightmare came to light.
Moore brought his horse racing by the stage and Eva saw Johnson stand up. The scream caught in her throat as she watched in horror as Johnson bore down on him, the thunder of his gun echoing through the valley floor. Time seemed to slow down to a crawl as she watched Moore tumble from his horse, near the river of undead that seemed to flow in behind him. A scream ripped from her throat but she couldn't hear it, pure instinct driving her. She kicked her horse hard, jolting as she surged forward. Her gun snapped up as she tried to draw a bead on Johnson, but her shots went wide as she didn't have the range yet. Eva looked on again as he busted Bartley across the face and jumped from the top of the stage onto one of the horses pulling the wagon. Eva kicked at one of the creatures as she cut across the plain, feeling the beasts claws rub ineffectively across the hard leather of her boots. It sent a shiver up her spine, but she forced it down, focusing on the stage, on her father.
She reared the horse hard as she watched Johnson bullet from the horse train. He held a knife in one hand as he slapped the rump of the lead horse with the flat of the blade. His horse veered towards town, while the other three horses bolted in a panic, the severed ends of the bridal and reins flopping behind the panicked creatures. The last image she saw was his maniacal smile as he hunched over his mount, as he gave her a jaunty wave. She fired off a shot that went wide, but swung her gun around as she drew up on the slumped figure of Thomas. Two of the herd had advanced close and she fired quickly. She dropped one with her first shot, but it took two to take the second down. Eva slammed her Colt into her holster and leaned over in teh saddle. She grabbed Thomas by his coller and pulled him over. He was clutching his neck and Eva looked in horror as she watched blood spurt sporadically from the wound. His eyes were wide and he'd truned an unnatural shade of white. She didn't have to be a doctor to know that kind of wound was usually fatal. He clutched at the wound, trying to stem the flow of blood. His voice sounded like wet gravel, as he sprayed flecks of blood with each word.
Eva's eyes went wet, and she felt a lump in her throat. She never really liked or respected the damn fool, it was only now, only at the end, that she realized why her father had kept him around all these years. He really did love her. '
Thomas rolled over and pulled out his gun. The herd had drew in close, mere paces away from them now.
He fired at the mob, who had caught the smell of blood on him and surged towards him. Eva spurred her horse, looking away. She couldn't close out the sounds though, the roars and gurgles of the creatures. It wasn't until she heard the empty click of Thomas's gun that she felt the hot tears on her face.
End of Line.