Wednesday, August 29, 2012
New to these parts? To start the story from the beginning, click
Episode Fourteen concluded with:
“That makes sense,” Carson said, and then fell silent for a few moments. When he spoke again, he changed the subject. “Tully will never tell us where he hid that money.”
“No, but he can still help us.”
“What do you mean, Rance?” The marshall asked.
“I have a plan, but it is dangerous.”
Marshall Bret Carson walked to the front door of his office and opened it. Sunshine hit his entire body and streamed into the room. “There are eleven of them left. In less than four hours they will attack this town and try to burn it down. They will kill everyone they can. I’m ready to try something dangerous.”
Rance Dehner and Reverend Nate rode fresh horses from the livery to the Marshall’s office. They were also leading three horses. The marshall and his deputy would both need a fresh horse, as would Tully Jones.
The hostler at the livery had immediately pointed out the barfly’s horse and saddle. “Old Tully’s saddle is easy to find, it being the only one with a jug tied to it.”
Reverend Nate was a bit surprised by Tully’s buckskin. “A fine animal. I would have thought Tully Jones would be riding crow bait. Maybe he’s already spent some of the money he stole from Akando. I know he’s already bought some fancy clothes.”
“We can take it up with him later,” Dehner replied. “Today, he’ll be needing a good horse.”
When the detective and pastor arrived at the Marshall’s office, they tied the horses to the hitch rail and briskly walked inside. Bret Carson had finished readying two Winchesters.
“Did you get the men you needed, Bret?” Dehner asked.
“Yup. Gowdy rounded up all six of them. Good shots who have helped me in the past. But they stopped here before riding out to the Macklins’ place. They wanted to make sure Deputy Gowdy gave them the right instructions.”
The three men were chortling over that when Rip Gowdy entered the office. “I got everything took care of--”
“I know, Rip,” Carson sounded a bit embarrassed. He handed his deputy a set of keys. “You get to bring in the star of the show.”
When Rip reappeared with Tully Jones, the barfly’s eyes looked desperate. He was a man who had spent much of his life as a small time crook and occasional beggar. He viewed everyone as a potential mark. But jail and separation from the one thing he loved had drained him of what little cleverness he had left.
“Marshall, I gotta have a drink, please--”
“How many times have I told you, Tully—no!”
“Please, you must keep a bottle in your desk drawer.”
Carson pointed a finger at the barfly. “Tully, for once you’re going to do something decent with your life.”
Doing something decent didn’t seem all that attractive to Tully. His eyes went from desperation to fear. “Whaddya mean?”
“You are riding out with me, my deputy, Reverend Nate and Mr. Dehner to the Macklin place.”
Tully’s body began to shake. “Why?”
“Because Akando and his band of thugs will think you have agreed to tell us where the money you stole from Akando is hidden. They will follow us. When they realize we are heading for the Macklin place they will be totally convinced. It makes sense that you would bury the loot somewhere in an area you know so well.”
Tully Jones’ voice was a high squeak. “When they find out different they’ll kill us.”
Tomorrow: Episode Sixteen of Ultimatum