Thursday, September 6, 2012

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Episode Twenty-One of Ultimatum

Episode Twenty concluded with:

            The clergyman remained silent until the Indians had gone. By that time, Carson had handcuffed Rip Gowdy and Tully Jones was on his feet. “There are only nine of them now,” Nate said. “And we have two of their rifles. They have become a pretty sad bunch.”
            “What do you think they’ll do next?” Dehner asked.
            “Many will try to return to their tribes,” Nate replied. “For most of them, that will work out all right. Others will become outlaws. You’ll probably meet up with them again, Rance.”

Episode Twenty-One

Marshal Bret Carson surveyed the gruesome landscape. He had a deputy who had turned out to be a crook and a killer. Rip Gowdy was now sitting on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. Tully Jones was standing around, seemingly staring at something inside his mind. There were two bodies to bury and another six to take into town, where the marshal would have to inform their families that they had died while serving as his volunteer deputies. He hadn’t looked inside the cabin yet.
            Still, Carson’s lawman instincts remained strong. There were questions he had to ask. “Rance, how did you figure Tully had hid the money in his jug?”
            Dehner gave his friend a crooked smile. “Tully was begging for a drink back at the office before he left. But he never even uncorked the jug. Those facts came to me when I saw the panicked expression on Tully’s face, when he thought his horse had galloped off with the jug.”
            Carson nodded his head then looked with scorn at the man sitting on the ground. “How did you figure out Gowdy was such a snake?”
            “The six men had experience as volunteer deputies. They would be on their guard with the Indians and the moonshiners, but wouldn’t think anything of turning their backs on a deputy. And Edwards’ wounds were from a six gun, not rifles.”
            The marshal nodded his head solemnly. “I guess Tully had the deputy in a trap. Gowdy couldn’t demand that he tell him where the money was hid. Tully could spill the beans, but good.”
            The three men were quiet for a moment. There was a lot of unpleasant work ahead for them and they needed a pause before they began.
            “Oh, by the way, Rance, there is something I forgot to mention,” Carson sounded embarrassed.
            “Before you got to the office this afternoon, Stu Parks stopped by. He runs the telegraph office.”
            “I’m afraid there’s a message for you. Looks like your vacation is over.”
            “Some vacation!” Reverend Nate said.
            Marshal Bret Carson took off his hat and wiped his forehead. "Yeah. But I gotta admit, I’m mighty glad Rance Dehner came to town to do some fishing.”

Tomorrow: A new Rance Dehner western adventure, Save the Girl!
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