“Yep. That’s a dead alien.”

Clem kicked its tentacled, grayish bulk. “It’s a Martian, Jeff!”

The sheriff nodded. “You sure gave him both barrels, Maybell.”

She lifted her shotgun. “He shouldn’t have been sneaking in my cabbage patch while I’m in the outhouse!”


“I’d heard a cylinder came down in Aurora.”

“But they’re an English problem,” Clem said. “What’re Martians doin’ in Texas?”

Sheriff Wayne shrugged. “You tell me, partner.”

Horatio shouted behind Maybell’s homestead. “There’s a baby fighting-machine back here!”


They leveled guns at the metallic spider parked behind the farmhouse.

“Don’t shoot!” Horatio grinned, manning its Gatling-sized weapon on a swivel mount. “It’s empty!”

Then Horatio’s eyes became terrified, and a three-legged shadow fell across the farm.


Horatio turned to flame, and the metal spider exploded from the beam cast by its towering brother. Amid shotgun blasts and bullets, the tripod raked an invisible heat-ray towards the others.

Clem yelled as Sheriff Wayne vanished behind a swath of blazing fire.

Dodging the beam’s lash, Maybell and Clem were stopped by the tripod’s foot.

Staring up at their doom, they saw the machine’s cowl explode before it could fire.

It collapsed as Wayne stepped from the smoke, Gatling-sized heat-ray in hand.

“Needed a bigger gun!”


Copyright © 2019 by Jason H. Abbott, All Rights Reserved.

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