About Showdown at Crossings by M. K. Theodoratus
Slight of stature and lacking magic, old Ebe must destroy the demons who killed a long-time friend and mentor to regain his self-respect.
Once Crossings was a tranquil town nestled in the foothills of the Sierras—a place Ebe Brown thought was a paradise. His peaceful life is shattered when strangers appear to raise guard dogs.
A group of dog farmers led by a brawny trainer, Rabler, takes up residence and establishes a questionable business raising guard dogs. Sinister events begin to occur almost immediately after their arrival. Ebe Brown, a lifelong resident, suspects Rabler and his henchmen are not what they seem to be on the surface. When Ebe’s dog disappears, he confronts the outsiders and his suspicions deepen, but local law enforcement turns a blind eye on the dog-farmers’ menacing behavior and their disturbing presence. The townsfolk are alone in their fight.
Ebe reaches out to the old leader of the magic working hill folk for help. Nance, a tough as nails herb woman, is determined to set things right again, one way or another. Unfortunately, Rabler and his crew have other plans. Their threats fail when Nance refuses to back down, and all hell breaks loose. When Nance is killed, Ebe is filled with remorse for failing to save her.
This suspense-filled novelette reaches a cataclysmic end when Ebe fights to save his self-respect and the people of Crossings.