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Go West

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"Are you warm enough?" Iolanthe said, her strong British accent refusing to fade. She reached out to wrap the blood-crusted blanket Zoe had retrieved from a corpse around their shoulders, her linen dress doing nothing to ease the bite of the cold night air.

With a revolver hanging from her belt and her hat tilted back, Zoe shifted closer to Iolanthe and slid her arm around the whore. The fire's light allowed her to see the half-broken smile on Iolanthe's face, but nothing could remove the fear from her eyes. Out there was the West, unforgiving territory many men died braving. Men being the operative word. Zoe, in her britches and boots with a long coat, a bound chest, and her hair cut down to an inch long, looked more like one of the many men who were travelling west with the convoys than a woman.

The line was constantly moving, cartographers repeatedly expanding the borders of what was growing to be the United States of America, and with it came blood, and fear. Zoe had seen the battlefields, she'd seen corpses split open at the stomach, and only for a few minutes a day could she exorcise the horrors from her mind.

"Yes," Zoe said, stroking the length of Iolanthe's thigh. "You and fire are all I need to stay warm."