Psst. Hey, come here a second. Yeah, of course you know me, I’m T. Walker. I wrote a novel called A Fate of Fire awhile back. No? Well you should check that out later.

So now you know me. Sort of. I just wanna tell you a story real quick that’s all-you read the synopsis. Of course it’s gonna have sex (hence the title) between two consenting ladies,  and later on some madness.

Now come along, mijita, don’t be so shy, we’re just gonna go back in time a little bit to 1976, to this county called Fort Bend and these two towns called Juliff and Arcola.

You can trust me. I’ve been told I’m quite a story teller. My sisters even forced me to get this Bard tattoo on my right arm. For reals. Follow me then. By the way. Nice rack.

 Dying Woman’s Lust

T. Walker

July 1976

For twelve seconds the world rocked and reeled under the fading sky, dusk where the magic world between day and night glittered with one bright star.

She existed there for twelve second between sky and earth on a white bronco, with a gray mane. She was aware of nothing but hooves thudding two-then-two, and every particle of dust in the dirt that was summoned up. All at once she could see that lone star in the sky, and each strand of silver mane parted by the wind.

Then she met with the trembling ground, every cell of her was jarred into silence. The world faded back to her, the cheering of men, the blare of music, dust choking her lungs. She rolled under the fence where she was helped to her feet by the drunken old men who waited just to do that very task.

They clapped her on her back as her uncle belted her time over the ratty amp before the band began to play again.

“Twelve seconds,” the old men cheered.

The younger cowboys stood back being cool about the whole thing. They knew that she or them would ever see someone on a crazed bronco for twelve seconds ever again.

“Beat that hombres,” she managed.

Selena came with water for her. “Breathe,” she reminded her.

Vero had to laugh it was the same reminder she had to give Selena sometimes when they were naked in the back of her Tio Fred’s pick-up.

She cleared the dust from her lungs. “Tengo hambre,” she told her lover, and they went off to the little chuck wagon for something to eat.

They sat under the dancing tent where another band played and ate frijoles a la charra with pieces of fajita inside, with hot tortillas to roll and dip, and ice cold beer.

Vero watched the men and women dance, she had a fantasy where she and Selena would dance together and everyone at the rodeo would be ok with it. When she was finished eating she watched Selena watching the dancers. She was older. Twenty-one. Copper skinned, with blue-black hair down her back.

“Bella,” Vero whispered at her.

“Stop it,” Selena grinned. She wore that white halter Vero liked so much, her flat belly and shapely shoulders revealed.

“Let’s go walk for a minute,” Vero told her.

“Clean yourself up first, I’ll meet you,” Selena said, “We have to talk.”

“Yeah talk,” Vero winked and went around to find a spigot behind the stables where she quickly wiped the grime from her face. She was nineteen, tall and languid-more so than any man could, it was the strength of a woman manifested, not hidden behind flowers, behind closed doors.

She unknotted her thick, curly hair as she walked across the grounds of her uncle’s  hacienda/ rodeo; Caballo Verde. Hombres came from all over the county to compete, gamble, drink and fight. Even at night the event ring was lit up like a carnavale and the riding and roping went on long into the night.

Vero found Selena waiting by her tio Fred’s new gray Silverado in the parking lot.

She grabbed the smaller woman in her arms and kissed her. Selena pushed away.

“Someone will see,” she said.

“Everyone’s too drunk to care,” Vero purred, “Let’s get out of here.”

“Wait,” Selena grabbed the shoulder of her shirt and kissed her, longer and more passionately than she ever had in public.

“That’s what I’m talking about,” Vero leaned in but was stopped again.

“My mother has called me back to Mexico,” Selena said.

“Mexico?” Vero asked, “You’ve only been here a year now.”

“I know,” Selena said, “You think I want to go back?”

“You don’t have to,” Vero told her, “You’re old enough to make your own decisions.”

Selena shook her head. “And be cut off from my family?”

“They’ll get over it,” Vero took her arm by the wrist, “Don’t leave me Selena, mi amante.”

“Don’t,” Selena said in tears suddenly, “Don’t make me choose. I’ll get back to you somehow.”

“I don’t believe that,” Vero let go, “You’ll marry some damned pancho and forget all about me.”

Selena laughed a little. “If I left you it would be for a pancha, you know that. Veronica. You know you don’t have to compete with men for my heart. I’m not some stupid horse or a silver belt buckle.”

Vero growled. “I hate this you know.”

“I know,” Selena stepped close and lay her head on her shoulder, “Me and my brother leave on Monday.”

“Monday?” she stepped away, “And you wait until now to tell me on Saturday?”

“You can be a baby about it or you can enjoy the time we have together,” Selena said sternly, “Don’t make this harder than it already is.”

“Do whatever,” Vero stalked away, back towards the rodeo, “I’ll see you when you come back. If you come back at all.”

Selena called after her but gave up when Vero got to close to the ears of any one else.

If she loved me…” Vero thought, “Hell, if I loved her, I would go up to her brother and spit in his eyes, and tell him he wasn’t taking my girl no wheres…

                She usually left the heavy drinking to the men, but Saturday night, and Sunday night she drank with the most professional drinkers. The ones who got into heated arguments and passed out after throwing a few weak blows. The ones who talked up women then came as soon as they were inside them.

Sunday night she went to go find Selena to tell her what a stinking whore she was. Vero had heard from Chuy Valdez how she slept around, how Selena had fucked this guy over in Arcola named Joe.

She didn’t get far come the Green Horse Rodeo.

She was driving so fast, and the night was so dark. She lost control of Tio Fred’s new Silverado and side swiped a telephone pole.

The stars swirled over her head as she staggered out of the cab and fell into the grass buzzing with summer insects.



She was going to get the truck fixed, and then she was going to go to Mexico. That was her plan. First of all her Tio Fred and his wife Ofelia had been kind to take her from just outside of Mexico city when she was only six, where she lived with five other siblings in a shanty town hell. They were childless and came to Mexico just to take one of Fred’s drunken brother’s children.

Fred had come for a son but Vero was the strongest of the children, so he took her instead, brought her to Texas and taught her all about horses.

No. She did not want to dishonor him in any way, or cause him any trouble.

“Do not worry,” he insisted, “I will pay for the truck, you are a good enough daughter.”

He did not want her to go back to Mexico.

“There is nothing there for a girl with your gifts,” he explained every morning when Vero went hunting for work, something she could do on the weekdays to combine with the money she won at the rodeo.

“But Selena is there,” Ofelia explained and handed her a piece of paper over the breakfast table.

“Some crazy gringa in Arcola is looking for someone to care for her stables,” she said, “There are a few horses. Blanca works for her.”

“Gracias Tia,” Vero said, the old woman always seemed to understand her. She almost hated to leave them.

She saddled up Gitana her black, and cream spotted mare, a show horse that got her lots of praise inside and outside the event ring. If seeing her Gypsy did not convince the crazy gringa that Vero was competent with horses she was crazier than Blanca said.

They rode through Arcola to Sienna road as the paper instructed, more of a long drive that ended in a huge, rambling, white house.

Vero whistled. “Maybe I should have driven,” she said to Gitana, and regretted she had worn only jeans, an old baseball jersey with blue sleeves, and her brown Stetson.

She rode to the house. A short, round woman, Vero knew as Blanca came out on to the porch.

“You must be Ofelia’s girl,” she said gruffly, “The vaquera every one talks about.”

“Yeah,” Vero said as she dismounted.

“A bunch of drunks at the Green Horse,” Blanca said not impressed, “Drunks, and gamblers.”

Vero lowered her head a little.

“Pretty horse though,” Blanca said, “You have the job, Veronica, the stable needs fixing, the horses need care and feeding.”

Vero looked up at the old woman. “Just like that? Doesn’t La Señora want to meet me?”

“She don’t care,” Blanca said, “She dying. Some kind of cancer.”

“Oh,” Vero said peering at the house.

“Horses that way,” Blanca pointed at a flat building off in the distance.

“Ok,” Vero mounted Gitana and galloped to the stables.

She had never worked for anyone she had not first met and been questioned by extensively.

“A gringa with no questions,” Vero looked at the paper her Tia had given her, the name on the very bottom was Mariah Lacroix.

The stables were falling apart. The main door was off the hinge and a family of cats lounged in the main corridor.

“Probably crawling with fleas,” Vero muttered to herself.

All the stalls were shitty, the horses were fenced in a pasture, stretched out beneath a clump of oak trees.

She went out to meet them. There were four. Two old white geldings, males with splitting hooves and cataracts. A red mare strolled right up to her. Vero admired her coloring,  the mare was a sandy, golden red, and though the coat was dull with dirt she saw the lustrous potential. The last was a mare, a deep brown with a black mane, small boned, a Tenesee Walker, a breed the trotted a fancy walk.

Vero fell in love at first sight, she usual disliked small horses, preferring Quarter horses, but the Walker was dark and had an air of pride.

They all followed her back to the stables. She found a barrel of oats and some holey feed bags, which she repaired with electrical tape and strapped on the red and after much coaxing, the Walker.

The old ones snorted through troughs, they could not be bothered with.

Vero moved her hands along the other two as they ate. Just as her tio taught her, down the neck to the withers, down the spine to the rear, down the left side, and up the right. She cheeked their legs and hooves.

Vero took her time with the Walker.

She concluded that their hooves needed serious treatment, they had sore shins on the count of neglect.

“A rich, gringa should not keep her horses in such a condition,” Vero told the red.

She hosed them down, and brushed them.

The two horses trotted around as if it were Christmas.

The two whites came over to stare. Vero offered them the hose and they accepted the shower but would not let her brush them.

She inspected the stables some more but decided she would not bother. She saddled up the Walker, mounted, and sent the horse into a fast trot up the field. Vero tried to turn the horse, but she only whinnied and kept ahead.

She tried to turn the horse again but the Walker tossed her head and turned a full circle.

“Ay, cavrona,” Vero grunted struggling with the reins.

The horse galloped a circle half rearing then skipping on all fours, tossing her head. The land and sky whirled, pieces of blue alternating with pieces of green, and bits of brown and yellow sun. A small red head appeared, a large straw hat in her hand.

“You need the whip for Lady MacBeth,” she called.

Vero startled, she jerked the reins, the Walker stopped and snorted.    

She quickly climbed off. “Señora,” out of breath, she greeted the woman.

“She hasn’t been ridden in a long time,” the red head said, “And I always use the whip when I do.”

 Vero found her English tongue, guessing that the woman was her employer.

“I don’t believe in beating animals so they’ll do what I want. Ms. Lacroix.”

“And you’re the rodeo star?” she asked.

“Such a fine horse should not be beaten,” Vero said leading the horse back to the stable. She was embarrassed at not being able to control the horse, and appalled at the way she was speaking to the woman who had given her a job.

Outside of the stable fence a gray Lincoln sat purring. It was an older model but impressive.

Vero removed the saddle, she wondered why the gringa has gone silent. She peered at her over the horse’s back, she was not so old, Vero noticed, but her hair, that lay on her shoulders was thinning just on top. Blanca’s words sank into her head. The gringa was dying.

Ms. Lacroix was paler than most gringas she had met, she had heard her tia say that the red headed ones were always really white.

“They need shoes,” Vero ventured, “Their hooves are shot. And they haven’t been eating properly, and those old ones out there they should have been shot long ago.”

The gringa only stood there, one side her mouth kind of curled into a fraction of a smile.  

“Fine,” she said, “Do your job and they should be very comfortable from here on out.”

Vero nodded. “Her name is Gitana. Gypsy.”

The red head turned away placing the big hat on her head. She began to walk towards the Lincoln “Lovely horse you have there.  Whatever you two do, I bet it’s magic.


What Vero and Gitana did was magic. In the cortada they separated the most stubborn calves from tiny ring-herds. They could run the barrels. They could show. They could rope.

She spent Sunday at the rodeo, sure she should not return to Mariah Lacroix’s stables. Vero had never been confronted with death before. She thought of Mexico when she thought of death, she knew so little of the two.

She decided on Monday to go to the white woman’s stables. She took her tio’s dented truck, a horse trailer on the back. It was early morning.

The old, white, horses of course would not go. The red one went in just fine and the Walker behind her.

“They used to hang horse thieves you know.”

Vero startled at her voice, the gringa had sneaked up on her again.

“I’m going to shoe them,” she said.

“We didn’t discuss this Saturday or even yesterday,” Ms. Lacroix said, “I suppose you don’t toil on the Sabbath.”

“I was at the rodeo,” Vero said rechecking the trailer’s door latch sure she should say more.

“Should I just call you Solario or cowgirl or what?” she asked stepping closer.

“Vero,” she said gruffly.

“Well you should call me something, not just talk at me,” she said, “I’m Mariah.”

“Ok.” Vero said.

 Mariah turned and began to walk away. “I do hope you’ll get to mucking those stalls today.”

“I will,” Vero frowned at her back.

That afternoon as she cleaned out the stalls she was wary of  another appearance, but was able to work in peace. Vero cleaned up then took a trip back to the rodeo for a truckload of hay. She returned, filled the stalls, then saddled up the red horse.

She had earned some play.

The mare galloped like a big, red, dog. A good horse trusted its rider and went smoothly at any command, and paid attention. The red was a little slow with commands, but she trusted Vero.

The world turned into a blur around them, and all Vero could feel were the reins in her hand. She let out a whoop, and whoaed the horse to a stop.

She dismounted numbly patting the mare’s neck as the speed-high wore off.

“I’m impressed,” Mariah Lacroix said.

Vero was not startled. She only grinned.

“Would you like to ride?” she asked, “I mean…” she stammered, “Are you well enough.”

“For a little trot,” Mariah answered.

Vero helped her into the saddle and watched her run a couple of circles. The woman looked smaller on the stout horse, their red manes seemed to run  together.

She stopped before Vero out of breath.

“Lovely,” she said, and suddenly leaned over in the saddle.

Vero caught her and through the terror that singed her brain she smelled the scent of Dove soap agitated by sweat, the sweet dusky smell of roses in her hair.

“I’m fine. I’m fine,” she murmured as Vero put her in the Lincoln and drove to the house.

“Just leave me,” she said as Vero carried her up the porch steps, as she leaned on her when she set her down for a second to open the door.

“Are you ok?” Vero asked after laying her on a sofa in a parlor adjacent the foyer.

“Of course not,” Mariah answered, “I’ll be dead by the end of the week.”

Vero was not sure how to reply. “You should not say that.”

“I should,” Mariah said, “I fucking very well shall.”

“I’m sorry,” Vero said.

“The young are always sorry,” Mariah said, “How old are you?”

“Nineteen,” Vero told her.

“I’m forty,” Mariah said and gave a breathless chuckle, “Double your age.”

They sat in silence.

“Should I get you some water?” Vero asked.

Mariah laughed. “Knock yourself out.”

Vero wandered away in the direction she figured the kitchen was in. The house had a heavy air. The furniture was old and massive, all deep red-violet, deep colored woods, looming shelves, brass accents, and flowing drapes.

She did not find a kitchen, but a small guest bath with a plastic cup. Vero filled it from the faucet and took it back to Mariah.

“Aren’t you handy?” she said weakly, then drank the water Vero tentatively held out to her and fell asleep.

Vero kept an eye on her, the rise and fall of her chest, not sure if she should leave or not.

Long after dark the woman opened her eyes and stretched like a cat. She smiled when she saw Vero.

“You didn’t have to,” she said.

Vero shrugged in reply.

“I hope you don’t take another sabbatical tomorrow,” Mariah said, “I want to take a long ride. No faints. I promise.”



She scrounged the rodeo grounds for decent planks of wood, then loaded them into the Silverado. Vero took them to the white woman’s stables and spent all afternoon patching the place.

She saw the Lincoln drive up this time. Mariah got out of the driver’s side in her floppy hat, a sleeveless white blouse, baggy brown pants, and high riding-boots.

“This place looks brand new,” she said giving a fraction of a smile.

“Needs a coat of paint,” Vero said.

“Later,” Mariah said, “Now we ride. Where’s my Lady?”

Vero had brushed down both horses for the occasion. They waited patiently, saddled and bridled, their lower legs wrapped.

“Are you sure you want the Walker?” she asked.

“I’m sure,” Mariah grinned fully, she produced a looped crop.

Vero brought the Walker around sure the mare would kill the little woman.

Mariah mounted, took a deep breath, one arm straight down her side, the other lightly held the reins. With the whip she tapped the top of the Walker’s right leg, and off they cantered.

Vero quickly mounted the red horse and followed.

“I’ve never seen a horse like this,” she called, “The coloring.”

“She’s from Kentucky,” Mariah said not turning, “The best horses come from Kentucky.”

Vero snorted. “The best horses come from Mexico.”

“Hmm,” Mariah called, she snapped the horse’s rear and the canter quickened.

Vero startled as if she had been whipped, she stopped the red as Mariah trotted a pretty circle around her.

Vero could not help but grin. Impressed.

“What’s her name?” she asked of the red horse.

“Applestar,” Mariah answered, “After the little dots on apples.”

They crossed the pasture and passed through a clump of trees.

“So tell me,” Mariah rode next to her, “Are you always so brutally honest with all the girls are only the dying ones?”

“I don’t know,” Vero shrugged, “I have not had much experience with girls.”

“Of course,” Mariah said, “You’ve been deep inside the world of men.”

“I suppose,” Vero said as they cleared the trees, she looked up at the sky and saw rain clouds. She stopped Applestar

“Don’t worry about that,” Mariah said, she leaned forwards catching Vero’s eyes.

“What experience do you have with girls.”

The gringa was prying. Vero had an idea of what kind of information she wanted, but was not sure if she wanted to share it.

“Selena,” she said only.

“Some variation of a moon goddess?” Mariah asked.

Vero shrugged.

“You’re only straightforward about horses,” Mariah concluded, she tapped the horse’s leg and continued on.

Vero followed her. They were silent as they neared a thick patch of woods that stretched clear through the middle of Arcola.

Mariah dismounted. “I haven’t been through here in ages.”

Vero watched her pass through several trees, she dismounted herself holding Applestar’s reins, admiring the tiny clumps of spots of color on the gringa’s shoulders.

“Is your moon goddess beautiful?” Mariah asked.

“She is,” Vero said.

“More beautiful than I am,” she said, she watched Vero’s reaction and chuckled, “You opened your mouth just then,” she said, “You were going to speak but decided not to. What were you going to say?”

“Nothing,” Vero said, she sighed.

“You were going to say I am as beautiful,” she said, “Then you decided not to lie to me. You’re so fucking honest you can’t even humor a woman.”

Vero shook her head. “I was going to say your beauty is different than anything I’ve seen. Selena is pretty yes, but a pretty on magazines, and televisions. I cannot describe you. I don’t have the words.”

Mariah laughed and a sudden drizzle began to fall. The sun shone on the light rain, it looked like liquid gold.

They galloped back, past the stables to the house. Mariah shouted a promise of a late lunch and Vero complied. They hitched the horses to the porch railings. Vero waited to follow her into the house but Mariah stood there as the rain began to fall heavy.

She began to unbutton her blouse right there in front of her, she raised her hands as if to embrace the rain. Mariah dropped her blouse to the ground and stood in her bra, welcoming the shower.

Vero stood behind her. Caught hold of her shoulder, bent and kissed her the place where her neck and shoulder met. Mariah stopped her bathing and brought one hand to the side of Vero’s face.

She kissed her again, a little higher. Then again just below her ear. Vero’s hand’s explored the woman as if trying to seek out her hurts, pushing the water away, washing her clammy, skin, white, skin in the rain.

Vero’s cupped Mariah’s breasts, her thumbs slipped under the material of the bra, her fingers separated the clasps. She marveled at how they fit perfectly into her calloused hands, Serena’s flesh had always overflowed her fingers.

Mariah sank into her, caressing Vero’s jaw, her other hand slipped to the waistband of brown cotton pants, and unbuttoned them. Vero’s joined her, the, warm, rain ran through their fingers and soaked Mariah’s underwear, slicked the thatch of hair underneath.

She turned and wrapped her arms around Vero’s neck, half climbing the taller woman; after her lips.

Vero stooped and their mouths met, their tongues sailed into an embrace. She  straightened, lifted Mariah, her legs locking around her waist as they kissed in the driving rain.

“Inside.” Mariah insisted, she leaned into Vero’s neck, “You won’t stop will you?”

“No,” Vero told her, “I always finish what I start.”

She set Mariah on her feet and was led up the porch steps into the house.

There is something about making love to a dying woman. She bites for blood, she screams out at the top of her lungs, she thrashes her body and throws her limbs, she clings to her lover as if to life itself.

Mariah insisted on being astride Vero, she pumped her hips until she was out of breath, groaning in frustration, digging her nails into her lover when her pleasure refused to peak.

“What do you want?” Vero teased after Mariah collapsed on top of her shivering with angry sobs.

“I want to live again,” she gasped and raised her head from Vero’s breasts.

Vero flipped and them as Mariah sobbed she kissed her lips, throat, breasts, belly, thighs and clit.

A dying woman’s lust takes work to quench. She must be restrained and made love to slowly, then roughly. She must be broken by pleasure and then remade again. She must be prepared to face eternity.


As Vero rode Gitana into to Arcola, she was sure she had made love to the gringa, the white woman named Mariah Lacroix. She wore her marks, the patches of terra cotta skin at her throat, on her breasts. The sweet bruises, old and new.

She had spent most of the week there. Her tio and tia did not know what to make of the situation, they tried to question Blanca but she had been let go.

Vero recalled that Mariah liked to stand near trains as they passed. In her mind she saw her in a short sun dress blowing as a long line of freight roared through town. How her eyes burned into Vero’s and how nothing would do but for them to make love right there in the grass, their hair loose, whipping around their heads, red and black.

“You’re very courageous to be lovers with a dying woman,” she whispered one night after catching her breath.

“I’m not so brave,” Vero said, terrified of when the time came when they would have to part.

“I’m scared too,” Mariah had said biting her just at the collar bone, then licking at the blood that rose just beneath Vero’s skin.

Vero rode Gitana right up to the house and opened the door. She climbed the stairs to the bed room where Mariah had said she would stay until her return.

Vero did not find her there.

She called for her and followed a murmur, her heart quickening as she went.

Mariah was in a large room, darkened by heavy green draped. There was a table with rotting fruit; peaches and plums, moldy with their sick-sweet scents. There were withering flowers too, petal crinkled in on themselves. Colorless.

Vero nearly reared like a startled horse at the decay but say Mariah on a small armless couch.

“Are you ok?” she asked.

“No,” she answered, “Come sit with me.”

Vero sat at her feet, tried to get a good look at her but could not.

“I’m sorry,” she sniffed.

“Don’t be,” Mariah sighed, “I still have some time yet.”

They sat in silence.

“My family has lived in this town for a long time,” Mariah said, “We always end up lone, dying, maids. A lot of women have died in this room.”

Vero shivered.

“My great Aunt Elizabeth roamed the woods with a cult of wine drinking women,” she said, “She was a whore who came here to be saved. They were going to baptize her in her long dried up pond. When the reverend dipped her she took in a mouthful of water in order to get real full of the Holy Spirit. She said the water tasted like wine and spat it up as the Reverend lifter her. And you know they say it came out of her mouth red-wine. The whole pond turned red after that for an entire day,” she took a long breath, “No one was baptized there again.”

“That’s really true?” Vero asked.

“Yes it is,” Mariah said touching her hair, “My life has not been so eventful. You’ve made me feel more passion than I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve been foolish enough to let men love me.”

Vero made a face.

“I want you to go on to your rodeo tonight,” she said,  “I’ll be here when you get back.”

“I won’t leave you,” Vero said.

“Then take me,” Mariah touched her face with a cool hand, “I would like to see you doing your magic.”

She dressed her and they rode together on Gitana’s back. Vero sat her in the stands, no one seemed to noticed the sickly gringa.

For twelve seconds the world rocked and reeled beneath the fading sky. One star winked on like some point of light from the thin clouds.

Vero existed for that very short time in the place between day, and night. The magic of dusk.

She heard nothing but her own heart matched by the two then two thud of the bronco’s hooves. She could see nothing but the mane and the clouds and the star. She fell to the dust, then scrambled under the fence. Vero wanted to cry, she kind of knotted into a ball, and shivered.

“Mi amante,” someone whispered touching her back gently.

She looked up to see Selena and did cry.

“You came back,” she said trembling, and realized she’d spoken in English.

“I did,” Selena responded in Spanish, she gave a puzzled frown.

Vero hugged her.

“I love you,” Selena told her, “I can’t stay away from you.”

“I love you,” Vero said, she stood suddenly and ran into the stands to the place where she had left Mariah.

She was gone.

Vero ran the grounds. Then to the field of parked trucks where she found her stumbling among the drunken men.

She called to her and Mariah turned.

“No,” she said as Vero ran to her, “You just go back to her.”

“I’m sorry,” she said grabbing her arm.

“Fuck you,” Mariah spat, wrenching free, “If you’re sorry you’ll come with me and stay.”

“And Selena?” Vero asked.

“She’ll have you the rest of her life,” Mariah answered.

“Telling her about you will break her heart,” Vero said, “How could she understand me leaving with you?”

“She’ll get over it,” Mariah said.

“And if she doesn’t?” Vero asked taking her elbow and guiding her to her uncle’s truck.

Mariah leaned into her, softly as if to kiss her, but her teeth met the skin at Vero’s neck, not her lips.

Vero groaned, pushed her away and pinched at her collar, feeling the blood run.

Mariah fell against the truck, then sank to the ground, sobbing.

“Vero,” Selena called, “What’s going on?”

“My friend is sick,” she said, “I’m taking her home.”

“She seems more than a friend,” Selena said.

Vero looked at the dying woman, then back at her young lover.

“I didn’t mean for it to happen,” she said, “She’s dying. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Selena took a moment. “You should not leave her then.”

“I love you,” Vero said.

“Yes, but that woman needs you now,” Selena said, “I can forgive you, it will take me awhile to forget though.”

“No,” Vero insisted, “I can’t do that to you again.”

“Go with her,” Selena said, “Care for her, then return to me.”

Vero went to Mariah slowly, then helped her into the truck.



January 1977

Mariah glided above her. Still alive. She paused and stilled her hips, coming into Vero’s mouth. She rode out the pleasure then lay next to her.

“Aren’t you ever going to get tired of waiting for me to die?” she chided.

Vero did not answer.

“You were with her today,” Mariah pouted, “Don’t think I don’t know that you meet up with your little moon goddess.”

Vero sighed but gave no other reply, she only lay there, the smell of the dying gringa burning her nostrils.

“Be that way,” Mariah climbed out of bed.

Vero dozed. She had lost touch with everything she loved for the white woman. She only stayed there in that house, she could ride the Walker now, she used the whip.

A gun shot startled her awake. She jumped out of bed and ran out on to the porch, pulling on a pair of jeans as she went.

She ran across the yard to the stables.

“Mariah?” she called through the silent chill, the thin tank top she wore did nothing to ward off the cold.

“In here,” her lover called.

She was in one of the stalls, where the old white horses were kept, one screamed from the grief of the other laying dead in a spreading pool of blood.

“What are you doing?” Vero asked.

“The Egyptians took their belongings with them when they died,” Mariah answered giving that fraction of a smile, “They killed their pets, and servants.”

“Don’t be crazy,” Vero said.

Mariah pointed her gun at the other white horse and pulled the trigger. The gelding fell to the ground with a sickening thud, twitching.

“Just stop,” Vero’s eyes flicked to the other two horses, Lady McBeth and Applestar.

“I’m not some sick mare for you to nurse” Mariah asked pointing the gun at the Walker.

“Don’t,” Vero cried, “I’m not going to leave you.”

“You should,” Mariah said softly, “It’s the pleasure you give me that keeps me alive. My time has been up for months.”

“I made a promise,” Vero said.

“I’m not some sick mare for you to nurse,” Mariah winced and pulled the trigger, killing the Walker.

“Fuck,” Vero whimpered, “Fuck, fuck.”

“Neither of us will have peace until I am dead,” Mariah whispered, “So go now.”

“No,” Vero said, “It doesn’t have to be like this.”

Mariah unlatched the stall door where Applestar pawed the floor nervously, she trotted forward and the dying woman smacked her rump.

“Go, just get out of here,” Mariah screamed, she pointed the gun at Vero, “Don’t tempt me to take you with me because I’ve thought of it.”

Vero paced, not sure what to do, then ran after the horse into the cold night. She ran until she heard a gun shot. She stopped and turned back to the stables.

The red horse shuddered and grunted somewhere in the dark.

Vero turned and kept running.


The End


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