To read this story or to participate in this writing event, you only need a free account.
You can Login with Facebook or create regular account
To find out what this event is about click here

.'s picture

The Land of Horses and Bourbon

By . in Scare Us

How It Rates

Voting for this event has ended
Once you have read this story, please make sure you rate it by clicking the thumbs above. Then take a few minutes to give the author a helpful critique! We're all here for fun but let's try to help each other too.


A contract killer is sent on his most dangerous mission to date. 

*Edits made


OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz July 3, 2012 - 5:57am

Fun story and I like the final scene. I also like being in the contract killer's head, he's kind of a bit of a hack (not sure if you intended this) but he seems to lose his cool, almost vomits, shoots a dude a party where there'd be a lot of witnesses and then falls asleep in the limo when his main objective was to get Andrea out of the city. It makes it kind of funny and a little more realistic in that it's not the cliche stoned face tough guy. 

One criticism is I'd like a little more info on the creature of the hit. Maybe do this through just a few more details on the stolen police report. 

Thanks for sharing.

Chris Johnson's picture
Chris Johnson from Burlington NC is reading The Proud Highway July 3, 2012 - 4:54pm

Great story. I have nothing to say about the story itself, because I love the idea of showing spoors of the beast and not throwing it right into someone's lap. It takes a great amount of patience to play it subtle that way. I love it.

My only criticism is your use of punctuation other than periods and commas ("The legs and arms: ghosts of their former selves." - where's the verb in this sentence?) and your use of adverbs. "Hastily, I shove the gun into my waist band" is a little redundant. You don't need that adverb. You're better than that.

Also, at some point, I think you used the word "site" where you clearly meant "sight".

Well done.

EdVaughn's picture
EdVaughn from Louisville, Ky is reading a whole bunch of different stuff July 5, 2012 - 6:28pm

Nice story Dakota. I haven't got to read a story from you yet so i read this as soon as I saw it. I like the monster and I like the use of The Galt House. Good one. If I had any critizism it's that you start a few sentences the same way that are back to back. Like My blah blah did this or He blah blah did that. Know what I mean? I think that's where the bury the I thing comes in. But otherwise I dug it. Thumbs up.

Flaminia Ferina's picture
Flaminia Ferina from Umbria is reading stuff July 6, 2012 - 4:00am

Nice story Dakota, your voice is always a good read.


I always enjoy a hitman story, and this time is a hitman horror, so double win!

I love the way you end the story, with the sexy type being the monster, it seems. Isn't it? It's also cool, cause I've been wondering who the woman was all the time, and the fact she's the monster resolves al the interrogatives spawned, like: is she really the target's wife? Why does she flirt with the protag? Where the fuck does she come from?

At the end you don't need those questions anymore.

You surely can work more on the voice, some short sentences with no subject can be fun, but I always fell like there's something missing and the author could have worked them better.

Few comments in my LBL.

Good job.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks July 7, 2012 - 12:19am

It's a relentless hard-boiled noirish voice, all right. I think it probably does this a bit too much, but I did enjoy the story. I was a bit confused at the end about all the things a few others have brought up.

Lisa Milton's picture
Lisa Milton from Eugene, Oregon is reading The Dreamers July 9, 2012 - 11:03pm

Hey, Dakota.

I was glad to see your entry tonight. There are a few areas to check on - things mentioned earlier in the comments above - but that aside, I really enjoyed the pace of your story. Your voice comes through.

I loved the ending but I wasn't sure if I caught your intentions the first time. I've been wracking my befuddled brain with a suggestion, some way to keep the twist a surprise, but clearer. I'll think on it and re- read it tomorrow. Nicely done.

Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers July 12, 2012 - 8:21pm


I would be doing a terrible disservice if I said I liked your story. You can write, that's obvious, and your voice shines through on this tale. The POV is proper, the tense moves the story along, the idea actually works for the story. Everything is great except for the fact that you don't show me the monster. Being a Horror writer/reader/fan, etc., I've got to see the beast. Save it for the end, but show me the thing, and brownie points if you can show me the beast in action. I so wanted to see this creature unhinge it's jaws and eat, acid spit and all. You don't have to give me a shopping list of details, just a glimpse of the beast, a taste. 

I know you don't write Horror. You tend to stick with Noir, and the Noir in this story rocks. You could easily strip the horror element from this story and just make Andrea fucking nuts, have her kill the driver and everyone at the gas station with her bare hands. But if you could show her as the monster, that would make this a Horror story. 

Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading Black Spire by Delilah Dawson July 18, 2012 - 9:59pm

Very Noir, and just as I was getting antsy and going "come on, show me the horror", you show me...a torso. Nicely done. 

I was a bit confused by some of the things mentioned by others above, and found that I had to go back and re-read it once I'd finished, because I felt I'd missed something. After the re-read I still do, but I don't know what it is. 

edsikov's picture
edsikov from New York by way of Natrona Hts PA is reading absolutely nothing September 4, 2012 - 11:24am

“The Land of Horses and Bourbon,” by Dakota Taylor
Review by Ed Sikov

Dakota Taylor’s “The Land of Horses and Bourbon” is the kind of story that so far exceeds the sum of its parts that to explain what makes it disturbing is more than this reviewer can achieve. The story’s language is hard and lean, like a good boiled-down noir, but its narrator is nervous and skittish, as someone who survives what this narrator ends up surviving would assumedly be. Taylor also has a knack for taking what would otherwise be a stock set of props – dismembered torso, whacked off leg, a head and only a head – and making them seem both “seen it all before, ma’am” and “Oh sweet Jesus.” My favorite description – the chocolate syrup at the end – is both appalling and amusing. A fine story, although it’s not so much scary as unnerving.

.'s picture
. September 4, 2012 - 3:49pm

Ed, thanks for the kind words and very cool review!

Thanks to everyone who reviewed my piece and letting everyone read and review your own pieces! 

Can't wait to see you guys at the next one!