So a friend of mine challenged me to start doing a short story a week. Here's last week's! I may make this a regular feature if you like it. So, without further ado, here is Eyes in the Night!
Eyes in the Night
I rub the glass as best as I can. Ol' Petey eyes me with his one good peeper down at the end of the bar. The other one's glazed over with a cataract.
My job ain't easy, but it is what it is. I lick my teeth, avoiding the hurt one on the lower left, and go back for some stale water. Minnie's keepin' it pumped, but it ain't flowin' easy. Not everyone can afford the fixin's of the Grand Hotel a few cities away.
Still as a graveyard tonight. We been raided again. Damn fools comin' into town, thinking they'll just rob us folk and then go shoot some injuns and bag a reward. I'm half Hopi myself, though we're all the same colour of dust 'round these parts. But that half that ain't Hopi is smart enough to know you don't tamper with them people. There's things in the desert, things with gleamin' eyes and long teeth. Them things is older than any damn fool white man's camp and older than the Hopi. It don't take no half-breed fool like me to know you don't mess with the things in the shadows of the desert.
Heard 'em howlin' again last night. Men crowded into the bar. I kept a hand on the gun tucked into my lacies and waited for the usual. Always happens, at least once a month--some fool tourist or prospector or traveller will stagger in through them doors, unaware that he's been saved by the iron over the threshold, and say we oughta do somethin' about them things. They listen to the yowls and yips and one will say somethin' about coyotes. Ain't no damn coyote never sang like that, nor no wolf neither. The voices of despair, a deepness that comes from a place beyond the stars.
"Ain't nobody going after them things," I say, striding out from behind the bar. "Not tonight and not never. You don't like 'em, you should leave. But otherwise, you leave them iron charms around the doors and you ain't got nothing to worry about. We don't bother 'em and they don't bother us."
But people can't leave well enough alone. "It ain't nat'ral," the Damn Fool will say.
"Listen to the Belle," Ol' Petey will mumble. "I saw one 'a them things once. How you think I done lost this eye?"
"Ain't nothin' but age," the Damn Fool or his friend will say. My girls wash things or pour drinks or keep dealin' cards quietly. They know. They don't have to speak up to make sure I get heard.
The town doctor will say somethin', and so will the preacher--if he ain't been run out yet; we can't keep preachers 'round here. And the debate will go on, the Sherriff rollin' his eyes at me. We know. And when he comes to warm my bed at night later, we'll both grumble about another damn fool gettin' lost.
So that's my side 'a the story. You can take it or leave it. Or you can look at the pile 'a white, polished bones licked clean just outside 'a the Hopi camps. I guarantee you, it ain't because my people been eatin' white folk. It's them things. But if you wanna go raidin' or killin' Injuns for a lark, you're welcome to it. But don't come cryin' ta me when yer staggerin' back through them doors, eyes wild, yer tongue ripped outta yer mouth from the screams. You leave them things well enough alone, and the eyes in the night won't bother you none.