Showdown With Fear

Showdown With Fear by Stephen Wade Read Free Book Online

Book: Showdown With Fear by Stephen Wade Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephen Wade
wake him up, it’s your funeral.’
    It went quiet again, and Pete’s mind was working overtime, working on any scheme that would get Sara and him out of the hole and into the huge cave. One thing was for sure, the McVies had no plans to let them out and give them back to Dan Mullen, no way.
    *
    Pearce and Dan had been steadily tracking the outlaws’ horses towards the hills. It was late afternoon and they had not had a break for some time.
    ‘Reckon they killed everyone, Dan?’
    ‘Can’t say. Why take any prisoners? It’s not the way, not for renegades, which they are.’
    ‘How far are they ahead?’
    ‘I’d say we’re three hours behind... ‘course, they know we’re here.’
    Ned Pearce was reminded by that little statement, with its sense of being right, that he was just a store-keeper. Business, not fighting, was his game. But he would never let Mullen know that.
    ‘Mullen, you know I took you for a coward, but I see you different now... the way you fought....’
    ‘Pearce, you don’t get to be a lawman in New Mexico, on the edge of anything you might call wilderness, by being an expert on fine pants and perfume.’
    ‘Okay. But I mean, well....oh for Christ’s sake.... there must have been twelve good men cut down there! My friends... sons of my business associates... you know, nuthin’ will ever be the same again for me now.’
    Dan believed him. He had never thought that he would hear Ned Pearce speak honestly, coming clean about his feelings like that. Dan put it down to the sun.
    ‘Pearce... we rest here, then when it’s dark, we go easy and slow to the rocks there, and we find a dark spot. They’ll be expecting us, so we wheel round to the other side... maybe another five miles, but it gives us a chance of staying alive.’
    Pearce didn’t argue. He tethered his horse in the trees near the shady spot they found, and then lay out, lighting up a cheroot.
    Dan sat on a log and started thinking. He knew for sure that the McVies had the kids, and that it was near certain that John and Sam were gun-trading again. That meant renegades and whatever mad plans they were hatching again. He thought about John McVie, thought about the man’s strange and derailed way of seeing things. There was always some grand plan in his head, never just a normal robbery. He pondered all the factors in the scene. There were renegades who didn’t like the idea of
    working for a living. There was a vendetta with a lawman, and there was some scheme to do with getting very rich and skipping out of New Mexico to a clean start.
    The facts about John McVie were not easy to ascertain. He was chewing this over, when Pearce cut in. ‘What you thinkin’ on Mullen? You were miles away.’
    ‘Truth is I was listing things about this John McVie, the leader of this mob.’
    ‘What’s on the list?’
    ‘Born in Texas, life of crime, joined the cavalry for a spell... liked killing Sioux. Ran away, found some pals, robbed and killed to have a good time. Eventually met me, and I sort of became, let’s say, significant in his miserable life...’
    ‘Significant?’
    Dan rubbed his unshaven chin, begged a cheroot and after a long drag, said, ‘I hate these things... haven’t smoked one in years, but I need one now, friend. See, I plugged his little brother with my peacemaker here.’
    ‘How come?’
    ‘They were drunk, and this Jim McVie, regular scum he was, was cornering a girl... in the broad daylight can you believe... in a street. The beast was wanting to get her into an alley. He was told to reach and leave the girl. Instead, he drew on me.’
    ‘I see.’
    ‘I hit him in the throat. The girl had the sense to dive for the ground before anybody pulled a trigger. I wouldn’t mind but the gun I had was a bad make... one of these army Colts, worked loose when you fired, loose screw you see. This here is a beauty. But anyway, John’s little brother, he was buried in some unholy backyard o’ town.’
    ‘And John McVie

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