Senora travels the wastelands of Texicana capturing criminals for cash on a years’ long quest for revenge against the deadly, mysterious masked leader of the Blood Valley cartel, a man known only as Diablo. When a red-eyed stranger intervenes in a hunt gone awry, she inadvertently binds herself to him—and to his inhuman craving. His monstrous nature may just prove useful on her journey, however, especially as she surrenders to a bloodlust of her own.
- Age: 24
- Date of Birth: 06/03/2083
- Height: 5’7″
- Occupation: Bounty Hunter
“Are you trying to weird me out? I could have a meltdown, but it won’t change the fact that I have a bounty to collect and two bodies to dump.”
“I’m on the bottom of the food chain suddenly. I was not prepared for this kind of existential crisis, you know.”
“If you’re a monster, then maybe I’m one too.”
“There is no home anymore. But we can make a new one. A better one.”
“Shut up. This is as sentimental as I’m going to get, so don’t ruin it.”
When We Meet Her
She was dead, she knew it before she turned around. She heard the door open behind her and turned to the gleam of a gun barrel aimed straight at her face. She’d seen him go down in the yard, her own two bullets plugged in his torso, but she hadn’t had time to check, just as she didn’t have time now to fully regret the mistake.
Her eyes crashed shut, and her body tensed. One, two, three shots. She waited. Waited. Realized the open air had turned close around her and opened her eyes to find a shadow towering over her. A man where no man should logically have been.
When We Leave Her (Expand for Spoilers)
Senora West drove through the desert for days. She passed through the silent nothing land, let it fall away into her rear-view mirror, farther and farther on toward the blood and oil smell of the cities. She kept her foot on the gas, hands tight on the wheel, alone with the whip of the wind tugging at her hair.
“You can come back,” she’d told him before he was gone, “when you’re ready.”
When she arrived east, the city shimmered golden-red with new morning sun, a beacon on the horizon ahead of her. Behind her, the westlands were still swallowed in night.
“Remember. No matter what. You can always come back.”
When We See Her Again (Expand for Spoilers)
Still, he tried to claw his way forward, fingers scraping at the pavement, his mangled leg dragging behind him with a wet streak that sparkled in the sunlight. He stopped, however, as her long shadow slanted across him, shrouding him in darkness. She had her rifle leveled between his eyes when he rolled to face her.
“You know what they call me?”
His throat bobbed with a deep gulp and he croaked, “Th-the Devil Slayer.”
He wakes after centuries of imprisonment with no memory of himself or his past. Plagued by hallucinations and incapable of quenching the blood-thirst that keeps him alive, he escapes to the desert to wander to his death, only to find himself bound to Senora West by a life debt. With no purpose and no choice but to follow, he aids Senora in her quest for vengeance while unraveling the truth of his past and struggling to find his place between the monster he is and the man he wants to be.
- Age: ~600
- Date of Birth: 1500s?
- Height: 6’3″
- Occupation: None
“We have been known by humans before when we were not careful. They called us demons or witches to make us something they could understand. Before humans invented those things, I am told we were simply called Others.”
“You can control me… I have known what my fate could be in your hands since I realized my debt.”
“Whatever I was then, I am a monster now.”
“I suppose you cannot appreciate the awkwardness of un-impaling oneself until you have done it.”
“As Senora said last night. Your spine ripped out. From your ass, as she put it.”
When We Meet Him
He’d been wandering the desert for days. He couldn’t remember how he’d gotten there, only remembered that he’d needed silence. Remembered the swell of green land sliding away beneath him, electric light always hazing the horizon. He’d flown farther and farther until he could no longer hear the voices, could no longer smell the blood and oil smell of human cities. In this silent nothing land, he’d come crashing to his feet, suddenly whole, suddenly aching flesh and empty gut.
His mind swirled and stilled in cycles, black spots floating in his vision when the sun stood high and burning, color bursting in his peripheral when the shadow of night came cold across the sands. All the while, he walked. He saw flames in the sunrise swallowing the sky, black smoke haunting in his nostrils. When sunset fell, he dreamed with his eyes open, with his feet marching, dreamed of blood on his tongue, copper taste thick with terror. When the midnight creatures howled, it shrilled into the cries of women.
When We Leave Him (Expand for Spoilers)
“You have to forgive yourself. You have to believe you can come back from it.” She glared up at him, her mismatched eyes both gleaming wet. “You really want to show your love, then stay alive. Get your shit together. I’ll try to get mine together too. Then maybe…”
“Maybe?” he prodded.
Her cheeks flushed. “There’ll be space for you. Standing invitation.”
She tugged him back down to her. He stayed. Just a little longer. Until night fell again and she whispered the words that broke the bond, letting him melt away into the darkness from which he’d come not so long ago.
When We See Him Again (Expand for Spoilers)
Every heartbeat within earshot seemed to vanish ahead of the dying sunlight, as if every person in this ramshackle settlement could sense their coming. He could sense it too, but not with the needling pricks across his skin or the jolt in the back of his brain with which he usually sensed Another. No, they were far too clever for that, far too practiced. Rather, he felt their coming in the low lurking dread in his belly, not a certainty, but a prophecy. He fought the urge to vanish himself, to blur out into the falling night, even to quicken his stride down the tilting runnel of dirt that served here for a street, and instead kept forward at an even clip toward the tunnel that would lead him underground.