"Wha' the hell's wrong wit 'er?" Voices of deep gravel and grit spoke, though Gail could barely hear them, much less understand them.
"Ah ****!" Another one spit. "Git 'er up on the table now!"
Callused hands gripped her and lifted her easily onto the table as if she had been but a child. The men around her were blurred visages barely recognizable as people. She tried to speak but was shaking so hard she couldn't stand it, and the hissing noise was only getting louder, drowning out the voices.
"What is it Callahan? She havin' a stroke or sumthin?"
"Shut up and grab her hands and legs. It ain't no stroke, ain't no natural thing a'tall. Hell in a handbasket how the hell did they find her so quickly?"
"This was supposed to be a safe place, He said it was."
"Well I guess even those goddamn **** things make mistakes liken us godfersaken humans than, don't they? I said hold her down! She gonna jump like a bronco and ya better believe it!"
The voices, the words, the hissing all mixed together into a mess of noise. Gail felt her wrists grabbed and stretched to the corners of the table, and the same thing done to her feet, despite her body's involuntary convulsions.
The room was gone, replaced by a bloody redness that filled her vision. She turned and looked and saw red and turned and looked and still red and turned and looked and only redness remained. The men gone, the room gone, memories gone but that hissing increased in intensity, increased so much it hurt her ears and then there was something in the redness, a dark thing coming on, coming fast, coming to get her. A dark thing that hissed and had wings and came on larger and hissing so loud she was sure to go insane.
"YA BOYS GET READY WHEN THIS THING COMES! ITS COMIN' FASTER THAN A BAT OUTTA HELL, YA HEAR ME?" A voice bellowed breaking through the hissing. There was a loud excited whoop. "COME ON YOU SONOFABITCH! COME AND TRY ME!"
She turned and tried to run from the black thing in the redness but it came on, she looked over her shoulder and there it was, a creature of darkness with wings and fangs and eyes of white and shrieking and then it consumed her.
She opened her eyes to the room and shrieked like no human could. Standing on the table over her, cowboy boot on either side, was one of the cowboys. A grim-faced man with fire in his eyes, wearing cow-hide and a worn cowboy hat, and he was saying, no yelling "COME ON YA GREAT SONOFACOWSHIT COME ON!" and the black thing rose out of her body and came at him.
He pulled his old sandalwood-gripped revolver out of his holster, hand moving as a blur and fired. The noise echoed and rebounded about the room, and Gail cried out as a ringing in her ears suddenly replaced the hissing. The black thing vanished in a puff of gunsmoke.
Gail looked through teary eyes at the man of the past above her. The hissing was gone, the redness cleared, and she looked around in confused wonder at the men around her, looking more like they belonged in a Clint Eastwood flick than in real life. Was this even real life, even? She forced out a chuckle that was more of a choked sobbing than anything else.
The man above her crouched and jumped to the ground, staggering into the wall. He looked tired, worn out and his companions helped him into one of the chairs.
"Goddamn razor wraiths..." One of the cowpokes muttered.
The elder one, the one who had stood on the table, gave him a look that silenced him. He pulled his chair near the head of the table and motioned for the others to release her. She pulled herself into a ball, but couldn't look away from this man's eyes, harder than diamonds and filled with wisdom far beyond what any man could know. This man was old, older than old. She didn't know how she knew but she did.
"Are you alright?" He asked, in a deep gravel pit of a voice.
This time she really did laugh.