Thursday, May 24, 2012
Now Playing: The Songbird of the West
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Episode Five concluded with:
The singer glanced briefly at the two corpses. Her voice was a whisper. “Why? Those two men had their hands in the air. They were no threat…”
The outlaw standing beside her continued to speak in a mock friendly manner. “Well, Miss Whiting, we’re about to begin some very important business talks regarding you. It’s mighty important that the people we talk to understand we’re serious. They can’t hang a man twice. We’re already murderers. We killed a couple of ranchers, but that ain’t enough. The law has to know we’re killers and that we got us nothin’ to lose by killing you. Get on the horse, Miss Whiting. Now!”
Rance Dehner and the two lawmen from Dry River reined up beside the stagecoach. They quickly dismounted and checked the bodies that lay on the ground. Dehner began to pace about with the feeling of helplessness and anger that always plagued him when he arrived at a scene too late.
The detective took a deep breath and brought his emotions under control. He had been hired to protect Carrie Whiting. He was doing her no good by acting like a sullen school boy.
Sheriff Tal Streeter examined the ground. “Looks like there were six horses in all. They obviously took Carrie Whiting, but where? The ground here abouts is hard. Won't be easy to follow the trail. We’ll just hav'ta do the best--”
“Maybe not!” His deputy interrupted.
“What do you mean?” Dehner asked.
“Last Sunday afternoon, I was jawin’ with Hiram Jones, the owner of the General Store. He’s a talkative old codger--”
“He can’t talk more than you!” The sheriff yelled, “Get to the point!”
Deputy Curt Weldon had an oval face, brown hair and a carefully tended brown mustache. He nervously caressed that mustache before speaking again. “Hiram tole me that Bert and Patricia Kimball didn’t come into town last Saturday to pick up supplies like they usually do. The Kimballs always look forward to Saturdays and getting’ away from that ten head ranch of--”
“So!?” The sheriff continued to yell.
“I see Curt’s point,” Dehner interjected. “Do the Kimballs have hired hands?”
The deputy shook his head. “Can’t afford help. Live by themselfes on the ranch.”
Dehner’s voice gained intensity. “We’re dealing with killers.They’d think nothing of killing a poor ranch couple to use their place as a hideout. Do you know where the Kimball place is, Curt?”
“Sure. Not too far off. The sheriff and I have been there a few times.”
The detective looked at the sheriff as he spoke. “I think we should check it out.”
Tal pushed back his hat and scratched his head. “Now, hold on. Don’t you think we should try pickin’ up their trail before it gets cold?”
With Rance on his side, the deputy had gained new confidence. Still, he spoke carefully and with respect to his boss. “You’re right that the trail will be real hard to follow, boss. Let’s give my notion a chance.”
Tal shrugged his shoulders. “Okay. We’ll ride out to the Kimball place.”
As they mounted, Dehner mused that he had worked with Sheriff Tal Streeter only once before and then very briefly. Streeter was short tempered and didn’t like to admit he was wrong. But the sheriff’s temper usually cooled quickly. Rance hoped that Tal would eventually apologize to this deputy for yelling at him for no reason.
But the two men would have to work that out later. Right now, there was a life to save.
Tomorrow: Episode Seven of The Songbird of the West