Monday, August 20, 2012

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Episode Eight of Ultimatum

Episode Seven concluded with:

            Angie Brighton stood up at the piano whose keys she had just pounded. She shot an intimidating look at the woman with the shrill voice, who immediately sat down. Angie then glared at the rest of the congregation. “It’s bad enough you are all behaving like despicable cowards! But you expect our pastor to crawl like a worm too. Reverend Nate owes us nothing but to proclaim the truth. And he just did tell you the truth as he spoke the truth to Akando this morning. It is the truth that will set us free, not a lot of sniveling nonsense.” 
            A quiet fell over the church. Reverend Nate looked at the pianist. His smile was one of gratitude.
            He turned back to the congregation. “I think we’re ready to pray now.”

Episode Eight

            After the service was over, people remained at the church, clustering together in groups. Many went outside to gaze upward at the Indians who made a terrifying silhouette against a moonlit night.
            Rance Dehner and Bret Carson remained inside where they huddled in a corner with Reverend Nate. “I’m glad you’re here, Rance,” the pastor said. “The Lord has brought you to our town to help in this moment of crisis.”
            “If that’s true, you may not be very happy with the Lord,” Dehner replied. “I need your help tonight.”
            The pastor didn’t hesitate. “What can I do?”
            “I need to spy on some Indians. Meet me in about an hour at the marshall’s office.”
            Nate’s face turned grim but he nodded his head. As Dehner began to leave the church along with Bret Carson, he noticed that the grim expression soon vanished from Reverend Nate’s countenance. The pastor was approached by Angie Brighton.
            “Reverend Nate, I apologize for my outburst. I’m afraid I lost my temper.”
            “No apology is necessary, Miss Brighton, you…”
            As he stepped outside the church, Dehner could no longer hear the conversation. He smiled inwardly and reckoned it was none of his business anyway.

             Marshall Bret Carson put his hand down after swearing in two part time deputies. His face reflected worry. “This is a dangerous plan, and your notion may be wrong, Rance. Maybe I should ride along.”
            Dehner shook his head. “Hardin is a town on edge. You can’t leave the place to Rip Gowdy. You’ve said yourself that he often falls down on the job.”
            Dehner was right, but the marshall hated to admit it. After a few moments of silence, Carson shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “Be careful. Especially you, Rance. You haven’t had much experience dealing with Indians.”
            “Not so, Marshall. I once spied on a band of Apaches who were planning to attack a Cavalry regiment.” Dehner gave the Marshall a two finger salute as he and Reverend Nate left the office.
            Outside, the detective and the preacher began to untie their horses from the hitch rail. “I didn’t know you outsmarted a band of Apaches, Rance.”
            “Didn’t say I outsmarted them,” Rance spoke in a low, conspiratorial voice.  “They caught me. Good thing the Cavalry regiment was near by.”

 Tomorrow: Episode Nine of Ultimatum