The west is no place for a werewolf, Cheney thought as he sniffed at the tracks of a stagecoach long since passed.

His ears swiveled towards the sound of riders approaching on horseback; lips peeled back over teeth glistening at the promise of flesh other than rabbit for the first time in weeks.  He crouched behind a bend in the trail, legs bunched for the fatal spring that would inevitably end in a terminal scream of horror.

There were two of them, a ten-gallon man on a pale horse and beside him an Indian astride a spotted palomino. Cheney snarled and leapt but the big man cleared leather in the span of a thought; bullets winked through the air, moonlight glinted from their silver surface an instant before they slammed home.

“The west is no place for a werewolf,” the big man said.

J.C. Towler spins tales of mystery and science fiction, and is particularly fond of scribbling a chilling horror tale. While delighted to write about other people going into scary places and being devoured; not so keen on that adventure himself. The Outer Banks of North Carolina is his home which is odd since he’s afraid of swimming in the ocean and doesn’t eat fish. He can be summoned through outerbankswriter@gmail.com.

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 average 5 stars • 1 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Paul A. Freeman

    A clever story idea, but I felt it needs to be expanded into a fully fledged story.

  • Margie

    Hi-o-silver away! ;~D

  • Oscar Windsor-Smith

    J.C. I loved this idea, and it would have been a five score from me but for two things: Ten-gallon man? I’d recognise a ten gallon hat, but that usage killed the moment for me, as did finding out it was nighttime only when moonlight glinted on the bullets. It may seem obvious that werewolves operate at night, but this is bt definition a genre-busting story and something about the setting convinced me it was daytime. Sorry to be picky, but without those trip points, for me this could have been an outstanding piece of flash fiction.


    🙂 scar

  • Loved the pace and setting; over all liked this story a lot, but I guess I did expect a bit more. Gave it a four.

  • Hi-Ho silver, indeed, John…I thought it a nice mix of western and horror though, as Paul noted, it felt like it needed to be expanded. I really liked the line “…the big man cleared leather in the span of a thought…”

  • Bob

    Well pilgrim, I liked it jus’ fine. A nice, natural blend of genres and a full treatment in such a confined space made it a great read. You brought it to an end by tying the first and last lines, giving a reader a nice sense of closure. I gave it a natural 5.

  • This one gets five silver bullets. Loved it.

  • Amy Corbin

    Fun story, John.

  • You say so much in few words. I love the sandwiching thoughts/words between the protagonist and antagonist of ‘The west is no place for a werewolf’. Glad you the mentioned silver bullets.

  • Very tight and compact. Unlike above comment – really liked ten-gallon man.

  • Great story. It’s not easy to actually tell a story in so few words, but you pulled it off. As said previously, this is definitely worth five silver bullets.

  • bc

    When I read “Ten Gallon Man” I had this instant picture of a tiny guy under a large hat (which I enjoyed). (I also followed the story, no problemo.)

    Where did that ten gallon man come from???

  • bc

    …and where did he go?

    (those darn little critters.)

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    Did you notice that without being given specific mention of time of day or of extra props, the reader always assumes it’s in the light or daytime, not dark? This could be used by writers of conundrums or mysteries. Thank Oscar Windsor-Smith for that pointer. Maybe I was of usefulness in making his observation practical.
    A lesser writer than J.C. Towler might have written “bullets whistled through the air” instead of “bullets winked” and “followed by a thud” instead of “slammed home.” Thank you for not driving the werewolf east. I like the line “cleared leather in the span of a thought” also. Glad the big man’s quick with the gun.

    “Genres” do not confine writings to their rules. “Genres” are attempts to describe kinds of writings which precede descriptions of them, so there is nothing in “genre” to bust.

  • Kim


    Fun stuff!
    I like the western flavor of this and the POV of the wolfie.


  • Jen

    Neat little peice, but it was over a bit too quickly for me. It felt like it could’ve been a longer peice.

  • KjM

    Good bracketing dialogue – “The west is no…”. The phrase “…cleared leather in the span of a thought…” is just inspired. I was caught a little when I discovered the tale was set in the moonlight. I had the lighting set to “Day” in my mind up to then.

    Love the “ten-gallon man”.

    Excellent story.

  • Jim

    Nice way to bookend the story. Hi-Ho JC away!

  • Love the story, Kemosabe.

  • Sharon

    Excellent story! I loved the brevity, the ten-gallon man, everything about it. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. 5 up from me!

  • Great genre cross-breeding here! Nice, tight writing… While I think an entire novel could be written about a werewolf wandering the wild, woolly west, this sits just fine as is. Peace…

  • jennifer walmsley

    I really enjoyed this. In my mind it was dark. Excellent.

  • Loved it, John! You show so much with very few words.

  • Uncle Bill

    Well done! Like the build up and the quirky end. Only suggestion would be …”big man in a white hat” instead of “ten-gallon hat man.” I also invisioned a little guy in a big hat.

  • Dani

    Loved the repetition of lines at beginning and end. I found the second paragraph a bit heavy on descriptives for such a short piece (fatal spring, inevitably end, terminal scream), but overall I really liked the feel of this piece. Well done!

  • Jack G.

    Great flash. I don’t know how it could be much longer once you realize the set up. The Lone Ranger meets a werewolf…how else could it end?

  • Ash

    fun john liked it a lot

  • weadus

    Nice!!I also like the alternate reality version where Lon gets the LR and Tonto becomes a shapeshifter–which is why I liked this story–kind of like a seed for my imagination… 5 stars.

  • J.C. Towler

    My appreciation to everyone who read, commented and rated with a special thanks to friends from Editor Unleashed who stopped by. Just as a bit of history, this was a story I wrote over a decade ago and it clocked in at over 10,000 words. Once a couple people had read it and pointed out to me that the outcome of a meeting between Masked Man and a werewolf was a fairly foregone conclusion, I realized it had to be shorter. So the story sprang from the seed of an idea and over the years I’ve stuffed it back down into the husk from whence it sprung.

    If any writer is looking for a good place to meet likeminded individuals, share ideas and have their stories critted, I highly recommend Editor Unleashed. In EU I brag on EDF as a great place to submit your work and get honest feedback from writers on your finished product, and I’d say EU is the place to go to get your product up to snuff before you submit it anywhere. (http://editorunleashed.com/forum/).


  • John – this was fantastic! I loved the tie-in to the Lone Ranger. He holds a place of honor among my boyhood heroes. Also, you were clever naming the WW “Cheney” – that got a smile out of me 😉

    The setting was “night” for me since that’s when the were-folk generally roam, at least down here in Texas.

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