Thursday 25 August 2011

Peter Darbyshire's latest short story is "The Angel Azrael Rode Into the Town of Burnt Church on a Dead Horse"

Peter Darbyshire is one of my favorite contemporary fiction writers. His novels Please and The Warhol Gang are excellent, and to give you a taste of his writing, here is a new short story, a weird western tale called "The Angel Azrael Rode Into the Town of Burnt Church on a Dead Horse."

Here's how it starts:

     The angel Azrael rode into the town of Burnt Church on a dead horse, followed by a pair of buzzards. The buzzards trailed him everywhere. They knew a good thing when they saw it. 
        The day was hotter than the time he’d ridden into Hell, which was maybe why Azrael hadn’t seen a soul since passing the sign announcing the town’s limits: Burnt Church Pop. 32. There were other numbers on the sign, but they’d been crossed out. The houses at the edge of town looked empty, their doors hanging open, but Azrael knew that didn’t mean much.
        Not all of the inhabitants were in hiding. A man in black sat on the step of a burned-out church that Azrael took to be the inspiration for the town’s name. The spire was just ash held in shape by memory. A metal cross was still at the top, though, if a little melted. Azrael noted the claw marks on it, but they didn’t mean much of anything either. Not in this land. 

Read the whole story here.

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