Monday, April 23, 2012

Now Playing: The Robin Hood of the Range
New to these parts? To start the story from the beginning, click

Episode Eighteen of The Robin Hood of the Range

Episode Seventeen concluded with:

The Robin Hood of the Range smirked and tossed the saddle bags over his shoulder. “Why, that’s right sweet of you, girl. Before I turn myself in, why don’t you give me one more kiss. Something to remember you by while I’m sittin’ in a cold cell.”
The moment they kissed, Cissy knew something was wrong. As soon as their lips parted, Ricky grabbed her by the hair as her pa had often done, held her against his chest and placed the Derringer at the side of her head.
“Ricky, please, you’re…”
“Shut up and move. We’re goin’ outside. If you try to get away, I’ll kill you.”
Ricky shouted as he paraded with Cissy toward the open barn door. “Mr. Detective, I know you’re out there. You’d better be in plain view when I reach the doorway or Miss Cissy gets a bullet in her head. You hear me?!”

Episode Eighteen

“Don’t harm the girl, Cates,” Rance’s voice sounded from outside. “You’re holding all the cards. I’ll do what you say.”
Cissy Runyan spoke in a whisper as she pleaded with her captor to release her. She fell silent as they left the barn and Ricky began talking with Rance.
“I got some orders for you, Mr. Detective. Orders you better follow if you don’t wanna see this girl’s head come apart.”
“Like I said, Ricky, you’re holdin’ the cards.”
“First thing, I need me another gun. I believe that is a Colt .45 you got strapped on. Unbuckle the gun belt and let it drop, real careful like, to the ground.”
Dehner needed to distract the killer. Tom Laughton was now advancing on Cates from behind. The sheriff had been hiding at the side of the barn.
Rance began to slowly take off his gunbelt. “How do I know you won’t use this gun to kill me? Or for that matter, to kill everyone here, like you did at the Bolgers’ ranch?”
“You just don’t know that, Mr. Detective. Killing all those folks at the Bolger place did make things right convenient. People don’t tend to cause much problems once they are dead.”
Ricky Cates gave a harsh laugh. It would be his last laugh for some time. Sheriff Laughton grabbed the Derringer from the outlaw, spun him away from Cissy and delivered a hard roundhouse to the killer’s head. Cates went down.
“Are you okay, Miss Runyan?” Tom Laughton asked as he handcuffed his prisoner, who was lying on the ground, semi-conscious.
Cissy nodded her head.
“You’re not a very good liar, Miss Runyan,” Rance spoke as he buckled his gunbelt. “Tom and I knew something was wrong when we talked with you. But this land is so flat. Took us a while to circle back without being spotted.”
“We hid our horses when we got near the ranch, and split up,” Tom spoke as he stepped away from Cates and walked over to Dencel, who he also handcuffed. “I took the house and Rance came here to the barn. Your ma is hurt, Miss Runyan, but she’s gonna be okay. When I got here, Rance had your pa on the ground out cold. We heard some of your talk with Cates. I hid by the side of the barn.”
“Thanks. Both of you. Obliged.” The young woman’s words were flat and emotionless. Cissy’s face was pale and her body limp, as if her soul had been ripped from her by force. She looked down at Ricky Cates. The killer’s face was in the dirt, his hands cuffed behind him. Ricky Cates was alive, but to Cissy he was a lost dream.
“I wanted it to be true,” Cissy spoke to everyone and no one. “Just this once, I wanted things to be good. Guess I wanted too much.”
The next thirty minutes or so were taken up with getting a buckboard ready to take the women and the two prisoners into town. The Robin Hood of the Range was the main catch, but Dehner was pleased  that Tom Laughton planned to charge Dencel Runyan with assault and anything else he could throw at him.
The two women were withdrawn, speaking only when spoken to. They had been freed from one hell and seemed to wonder if another one awaited them. Dehner noticed that Tom Laughton was very attentive to Cissy. The Sheriff had appeared smitten by the young woman when he saw her earlier in the morning. Dehner hoped more would come of that.
 As he checked on the two prisoners who were now lying on the flatbed of a dilapidated buckboard wagon, Dehner felt happy that Ricky Cates was alive. Who knows what nonsense those Eastern writers would have come up with if Cates had been shot down by a lawman? Now, those writers would be covering the trial of Ricky Cates and relishing all the details of Cates’ savagery. Ricky Cates would die at the end of a rope and the Robin Hood of the Range would already be dead.

Tomorrow: A new Rance Dehner western adventure:

Don't Miss It!