Monday, December 28, 2015

House of the Healer (Pistols and Pyramids, Book 3) by Jim Johnson

Release date: December 25, 2015
Subgenre: Weird western

About House of the Healer


The Scales Are Out of Balance

After surviving a brutal cultist attack on her village, Ruia led the other survivors to the safety of Fort Sekhmet with the help of Tjety, a Ranger of Mayat. With Tjety's life now hanging in the balance, can Ruia gather enough help and learn to use her newfound hekau magic to heal Tjety before the forces of darkness close in and snuff out all hope?

House of the Healer is the third episode in PISTOLS AND PYRAMIDS, a monthly series best described as an ancient Egyptian-themed weird western with magic. And mummies. Lots of mummies.



Tjety cracked open his eyes, heavy with fatigue and pain, and squinted at parched earth and sun-blasted dunes that glimmered in the haze. A bleak smudge of clouds gathered on the horizon and crept toward him. His entire body was on fire, radiating more heat than even the glowing orb of the sun god, Re, beating down on him from on high.
He shivered in spite of the heat, blinked, and then found himself standing several feet away from his own body, which was sprawled out naked in the sparkling sand. His body was covered in cuts and scrapes and his right arm hung awkwardly, splintered by a cruel gunshot wound. A thin ribbon of silver connected his ba—his spirit—to his body.
He glanced down. He was in his ba-bird form—a hawk's body with his head rather than that of a hawk. His right wing was shattered, hanging limp against his body. Many of his feathers were damaged or missing, and he had numerous other small wounds, echoing the damage evident on his human form.
Tjety tried to flap his broken appendage, but all that did was shove a spear of pain into his mind that trailed down the gossamer-like strand of silver and crashed into his mortal body.
He stared at the drab wasteland all around him as cruel realization struck home. "Is this it? Have I fuckin' died and fallen in to the Duat?"
He frowned and focused on the silver thread connecting his ba-form to his body. If he had died, that thing should have been severed.
He puzzled it over, but a series of inhuman growls from somewhere deep in the wasteland around him broke his ragged concentration. He staggered around in his broken bird form, his shattered wing flapping helplessly. Horrifying shapes pulled from his bird form, his shattered wing flapping helplessly. Horrifying shapes pulled from his darkest nightmares—jackal-like creatures and massive undulating snakes—formed in the distance, uttered unearthly sounds, and started moving toward him.
Out of reflex and long practice, he went for his pistol, but his broken wing crashed against his body. He cried out in pain.
He made to draw his khopesh, but of course he wore nothing in this form. He then tried to gather strength from his hekau, to prepare a defensive spell, but the image of a dried-out watering hole flashed in his mind. He had nothing left—his wellspring of arcane energies was drained.
He backed away from the encroaching shapes, feeling his silver thread spool out, keeping his ba connected to his fragile mortal shell. The shadowy forms started to pick up speed, as if they smelled his blood and fear. He turned and ran as fast as his little bird legs could propel him, trying desperately to achieve some speed but fearing that he would be too slow, far too slow.



About Jim Johnson:

 Jim Johnson is the author of the Pistols and Pyramids series as well as other prose fiction series currently under development. He has written sundry other pieces of fiction, including several stories published in the Star Trek universe, and has freelanced for pen and paper roleplaying game companies, including Decipher and White Wolf. Please visit for more information on Jim and his interests and writing.

Jim lives in historic Alexandria, VA with his wife, newborn son, and several crazy cats.

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