Showdown With Fear

Showdown With Fear by Stephen Wade Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Showdown With Fear by Stephen Wade Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephen Wade
mind. What sort of a man is he, your pa?’
    ‘A fine man. Quiet, decent. He works hard.’
    ‘Why, now, I think I caught ya in a untruth. Us Texas fellers, we kin smell a untruth from a mile, right, Sammy?’
    ‘Whatever you say, big brother.’
    ‘Now... I heard that your pa was out of a job. Somethin’ about lettin’ the peace-lovin’ folk of Red Ridge down in the shit.’
    ‘You heard wrong,’ Pete was working hard to control himself. His hands were free now. So were Sara’s, as there was nowhere to run to.
    ‘Well now, you said he works hard.’
    ‘He does... works at getting back the star. Or some respect at least. I think he’s earned it. Folk say he’s a coward but...’ Pete realised that he had said too much.
    McVie sat up and chuckled with delight. ‘Hey, hear that boys? Old Daniel there... he’s real bad spoken of... yeah! Seems folk question his courage! Disgustin’ rumours.’
    They all laughed, except Barero. He spat in the dust and then looked to the horizon again. He was yearning for some action, anything to get him out of that little space.
    ‘Well, my father’s worth ten of you, McVie!’ Pete said, his temper rising.
    ‘Son, let me educate you. Grip... get us some of that repulsive snake-juice you call coffee... give the kids some.’
    Sara spat out her first words of the day. ‘We are NOT kids!’
    ‘Ooooh, touchy. Real touchy. Filippo Barero loves ladies with an edge on ‘em, right?’
    Barero was miles away and didn’t hear.
    Pete urged Sara to take some coffee. She hadn’t eaten the porridge at breakfast. He was worried about her. His hugs and soft words were fine, but she had to eat, and she was still grieving intensely. ‘Drink... take it easy.’ Pete whispered.
    ‘So, this is cosy. Coffee and talk. Now, about your pa, the good sheriff. Was, that is. Now, this Dan Mullen, before you was nothing more than three feet high, used to drive for Fargo. He was pretty good at that line of work, to tell true. But he wouldn’t co-operate in my ... my business , so we fell out.’
    Pete almost spilled his hot coffee. ‘You mean he was your friend ?
    ‘Nope... never a friend, a business partner. Could have been, anyways. But he turned the offer down. All we asked for was some looking-the-other way when we collected a few items. He wouldn’t turn the other way. We had to arrange for him to leave his occupation... hey Sam?’
    They laughed and made remarks about Dan’s driving and stage work. But then John’s face turned sour. ‘Yet, you see... he turned lawman. Took the star to support your good self and that perdy wife o’ his.... what was her name now, I can’t recall?’
    ‘Mary. Her name was Mary.’
    Sara squeezed Pete’s arm. She knew he had a letter written by his mother in his pocket, and a necklace of hers which he always had with him.
    Sam McVie joined in now. ‘Ha... yeah... poor bitch got took by the fever. Unlucky feller, that Dan Mullen. Maybe he’ll git a change o’ luck real soon.’ His mouth narrowed as he squeezed out a sound like a sigh, pretending, teasing like a school bully. His long blonde hair flopped over his face as he leant and glowered at Sara.
    Pete was just on the point of throwing the hot coffee at Sam McVie when Barero called out, ‘Hey... riders... dozens of them... the posse?’
    They all scrambled for the cave-mouth and looked at the dust. McVie grabbed some field-glasses. ‘No... it’s Stobart. Must have thirty riders with him. At last! ‘
    ‘Shouldn’t he have more, Johnny?’ Sam asked.
    ‘Well... he had more last time. I think there’s only pack-mules... no heavy stuff. means he’s after some of our ex-army treats! Money... boys... big bucks!’
    McVie ordered Grip to tie up Pete and Sara again, and then they were put in the back hole, in the dark again. Pete heard them arrange to go down to meet Stobart. It was clear that he didn’t know where the McVie’s cave was, among the honeycomb of dark circles he could see from a

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