Tuesday, August 14, 2012
New to these parts? To start the story from the beginning, click
Episode Three concluded with:
Henry Willford smiled but his face held terror. “We’re takin’ you over to my shop. I got an empty closet you can fill for a while, Deputy.”
Rip Gowdy stood overwhelmed by his predicament. He was being taken prisoner, in broad daylight, by a group of men who had never broken a law before in their lives. The Town of Hardin was close to exploding. If he started a fight and seriously hurt one of his captors, mayhem could break out and the good citizens of Hardin might kill each other before the Indians got a chance.
Rance Dehner was tired and looking forward to a few days rest in Hardin. He and Bret Carson hadn’t gone fishing together in over a year: time to do something about that.
As he neared the town, Dehner began to suspect that Marshall Carson might have other things on his mind beside dusting off his fishing pole. The Indians lining the top of a hill outside of Hardin were not there for a picnic.
As Rance rode into Hardin, he saw Rip Gowdy surrounded by four townsmen. One of them was holding a gun on the deputy. A small number of people were scattered over the town’s boardwalks, watching intently but doing nothing.
“This town has gone crazy,” Dehner whispered to himself.
The detective spurred his horse into a gallop toward the four men who were taking Rip Gowdy captive. All four townsmen looked at the intruder and froze with indecision. Dehner leapt onto the gunman. The two men hit the ground. Dehner grabbed the Colt from the tall, thin man and buoyed back onto his feet.
Rance knew nothing about the situation and handed the gun to someone who did. “Deputy, I hope I just interrupted an elaborate joke.”
“Nothing funny about this, Rance,” Gowdy’s eyes scanned his four would be captors. “Just four gents acting stupid. Very stupid.”
The four townsmen refused to look Gowdy in the eyes. The Deputy barked angrily at them. “Go home! All of ya! And stay outta saloons!”
The four men quickly dispersed. Dehner told the deputy he’d meet him at the marshall’s office after stabling his horse.
As he rode to the livery, Dehner looked around at the citizens of Hardin. Most of them were now silently gazing eastward at the strange collection of Indians standing on a hill. The detective reckoned he would not be doing much fishing on this visit.
Tomorrow: Episode Five of Ultimatum