These two tales by Heath Lowrance introduces us to Hawthorne, a mysterious gunfighter/bounty hunter of sorts, and fit into that cross genre called weird western. Hawthorne has a cross shaped scar in his forehead and seems dogged in his pursuit of whoever at the time. Here are brief synopses of the first two tales.
Hawthorne already knew it was a strange town when he rode into it. He’d seen a very large coyote, big as a wolf, that reared up on two legs before loping off. It didn’t matter. The men he’d been pursuing were here.
He accepted the challenge to fight the big bruiser and finished it before they realized who it was. The other two took a young girl prisoner, threatening to blow her brains out if he didn’t back off. He did for the moment.
An old Indian off to the side warned him to leave it alone. The girl would be returned safely and he could get killed if he got in the way.
It didn’t dissuade Hawthorne.
So the ending of this weird western didn’t bother him that much. As long as they didn’t bother him. The three “coyotes” seemed to obey the young girl, even as she mentioned that cross-shaped scar on his forehead.
When he returned her to the town, weird got even odder.
Hawthorne was trailing a man who’d murdered his sister-in-law and dragged his wife off when he came upon a scene out of Hell. Lying by the train tracks was a body with three legs and four arms. The extras had been attached with thread, And the horrible thing was that it seemed alive, begging him for help.
As he followed the tracks, more parts were there: a foot, an arm, a hand, a head. And lots of blood of course.
Finally catching up to the train, he boards a charnel house with bodies and blood everywhere. It was near the front that he caught up with the monster responsible. A fat man in the process of sawing a woman’s head off.
The battle was a tough one.