Read Deadman's Crossing Online

Authors: Joe R. Lansdale

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Fantasy, #Paranormal, #Horror

Deadman's Crossing

PRAISE FOR JOE R. LANSDALE

“A folklorist’s eye for telling detail and a front-porch raconteur’s sense of pace.”


New York Times Book Review

“A terrifically gifted storyteller.”


Washington Post Book Review

“A zest for storytelling and a gimlet eye for detail.”


Entertainment Weekly

“Lansdale is a storyteller in the Texas tradition of outrageousness...but amped up to about 100,000 watts.”


Houston Chronicle

“A cult figure.”


People

“Outrageously funny.”


Los Angeles Times

“Lansdale’s been hailed, at varying points in his career, as the new Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner-gone-madder, and the last
surviving splatterpunk...sanctified in the blood of the walking
Western dead and righteously readable.”


Austin Chronicle

“Black humor and bad taste abound in Lansdale’s Edgar-winning
body of work…”


Details

“Laugh-out-loud funny, acquainted with the night and often
acutely profound.”


Dallas News

“Definitely not for the fainthearted or the easily offended.”


Bookgasm

“I’m laughing so hard that I’m near busting a gut. [Lansdale’s] just
that funny, that rednecked, and that insanely offensive in everything he puts on the page.”

 


Bookhound

Praise for
The Best of Joe R. Lansdale

“Always entertaining, champion storyteller Lansdale shares his
best weird yarns in this terrific collection.... This is a great
introduction to the raunchy, cheerfully unclassifiable East Texan
bon vivant.”


Publishers Weekly

“I’m convinced—absolutely convinced—that if Joe R. Lansdale
didn’t write in the realm of horror, America would be tripping over
itself to praise him and hang literary medals around his neck.”


Bookgasm

 

“Let this volume introduce you to his uncensored, unfiltered world.
He is a writer deserving of a wide and appreciative audience.”


UK Guardian

Deadman's Crossing

JOE R. LANSDALE

Deadman’s Crossing

Copyright © 2010 by Joe R. Lansdale

This is a work of fiction. All events portrayed in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form without the express permission of the editors and the publisher.

Cover art “The Quick and the Undead” © 2012 by Travis J. Elston

Cover and interior design by Elizabeth Story

Fonts: Zombified by Chad Savage; Dead Secretary by Andrew Hart; Playbill by Stephenson Blake; Aldine 721 by Frank Hinman Pierpont; Nymphette by Lauren Thompson; Rosewood by Adobe.

Tachyon Publications

1459 18
th
Street #139

San Francisco, CA 94107

(415) 285-5615

www.tachyonpublications.com

[email protected]

Series Editor: Jacob Weisman

Project Editor: Jill Roberts

ISBN 13: 978-1-61696-150-3

Book printed in the United States of America by Worzalla

First Tachyon
Edition: 2013

“Deadman’s Road” copyright © 2007 by Joe R. Lansdale. Originally appeared in
Weird Tales
, February/March 2007. |
“The Gentleman’s Hotel” copyright © 2007 by Joe R. Lansdale. Originally appeared in
The Shadows, Kith and Kin
(Subterranean Press: Burton, Michigan). | “The Crawling Sky” copyright © 2009 by Joe R. Lansdale. Originally appeared in
Son of Retro Pulp Tales
, edited by Joe R. Lansdale and Keith Lansdale (Subterranean Press: Burton, Michigan). | “The Dark Down There” copyright © 2010 by Joe R. Lansdale. Originally appeared in
Deadman’s Road
(Subterranean Press: Burton, Michigan).

 
DEDICATION
 

For John Lansdale, who made many suggestions I followed, and some, if he’ll forgive me, I did not.

So, this is your book, John. I hope you like it.

 

 

 

 
CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

Deadman’s Road

 

The Gentleman's Hotel

 

The Crawling Sky

 

The Dark Down There

The hour hath come to part with this body

composed of flesh and blood;

May I know the body to be impermanent and illusory.


Tibetan Book of the Dead

 

And we were not able to detain Lazarus, but he gave himself a shake,

and with all the signs of malice, he immediately went away from us;

and the very earth, in which the dead body of Lazarus was lodged,

presently turn him out alive.

—Nicodemus 15:18 (
A Lost Book of the Bible
)

 

From ghoulies and ghosties

And long-legged beasties

And things that go bump in the night,

Good Lord, deliver us.


Old Scottish Invocation

 

 

 

The evening sun
had rolled down and blown out in a bloody
wad, and the white, full moon had rolled up like an enormous
ball of tightly wrapped twine. As he rode, the Reverend Jebidiah
Mercer watched it glow above the tall pines. All about it stars were
sprinkled white-hot in the dead-black heavens.

The trail he rode on was a thin one, and the trees on either side
of it crept toward the path as if they might block the way, and close
up behind him. The weary horse on which he was riding moved
forward with its head down, and Jebidiah, too weak to fight it, let
his mount droop and take its lead. Jebidiah was too tired to know
much at that moment, but he knew one thing. He was a man of the
Lord and he hated God, hated the sonofabitch with all his heart.

And he knew God knew and didn’t care, because he knew
Jebidiah was his messenger. Not one of the New Testament, but
one of the Old Testament, harsh and mean and certain, vengeful
and without compromise; a man who would have shot a leg out
from under Moses and spat in the face of the Holy Ghost and
scalped him, tossing his celestial hair to the wild four winds.

It was not a legacy Jebidiah would have preferred, being the
bad-man messenger of God, but it was his, and he had earned it
through sin, and no matter how hard he tried to lay it down and
leave it be, he could not. He knew that to give in and abandon his
God-given curse was to burn in hell forever, and to continue was
to do as the Lord prescribed, no matter what his feelings toward
his mean master might be. His Lord was not a forgiving Lord, nor
was he one who cared for your love. All he cared for was obedience,
servitude and humiliation. It was why God had invented the
human race. Amusement.

As he thought on these matters, the trail turned and widened,
and off to one side, amongst tree stumps, was a fairly large clearing,
and in its center was a small log house, and out to the side a
somewhat larger log barn. In the curtained window of the cabin
was a light that burned orange behind the flour-sack curtains.
Jebidiah, feeling tired and hungry and thirsty and weary of soul,
made for it.

Stopping a short distance from the cabin, Jebidiah leaned
forward on his horse and called out, “Hello, the cabin.”

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