That's right Western Wednesday Readers,
You get double today! Since I'm celebrating the completion of writing the manuscript for Meleah's Western, you get two parts. Now I have to edit it all (or the rest of it since I have started) and then send it to my proofer, layout designer and finally the publisher. Of course I have to wait until the cover picture gets done, but there are things to do while I wait.
Speaking of things to do while I wait, choosing a title is top on the list. Today until 6:00 you may enter more title suggestions. After 6:00, any new suggestions will not be added to the list. I have quite a few and I think it's going to be difficult to choose.
There is one other thing you can do. If you have been reading this Western and would like to write something short about what you think of it that could go on the back of the book, either leave a comment with your sentence or two review or e-mail it to me. I'd love to have your thoughts on the story. (I know, you haven't read it all yet, but don't let that stop you.)
After dismounting and taking their horses to the stables, Carson and Ty unsaddled and brushed their mounts and then removed the loads the other horses were carrying and took care of them. After feeding the animals, the two men made their way into the house where Sally was waiting for them.
“Ty!” she exclaimed the moment her brother was fairly inside. “Look! A pump in the kitchen. Have you ever seen anything like it? And see how the table looks! And so many windows! Why you can see in every direction if you go in the different rooms. There are five rooms in this house, Ty, five! Three downstairs and two more upstairs. You should go see them.”
Ty chuckled. “If’n ya ain’t goin’ ta feed us any dinner till we take a look see, I reckon we ought ta move mighty quick ‘cause I’m hungry.”
Back at the saloon, the group of men waited in silence until their companion came back inside.
“Well, was it Elliot? An’ who were with ‘im? Where’d they go?” This was demanded by the roughest looking of the men, one who was evidently their unspoken leader.
Nodding his head, the young man who had just returned, sat down and reached for a glass of liquor on the table. “Yep, that were Elliot an’ the old man ‘pears ta be the one who took ‘im away.”
“That was nearly three years ago. An’ ta think we’d find him here,” chuckled Shorty.
The fourth man leaned across the table towards the youngest one and half snarled, “Ya never told us where they went, Duffer.”
Duffer looked indignant. “I can’t tell everything at once, Poker. Don’t worry, they ain’t gettin’ away. They stopped at that new house at the edge a town.”
“Anyone else there, Duff?”
“Naw, it’s an empty house, an’ it were jest the two a them.”
Poker and Mason, the leader, looked at each other and then began conversing in low tones. If it was just those two, it shouldn’t be too hard to put an end to that meddlesome Ty Elliot once and for all, and they might as well get rid of the old man at the same time for who knows what he might know. Should they get more guns? Poker didn’t think so, not after all his bragging about being the fastest draw west of the Mississippi. What most people didn’t know was that his fast draws were at the game table not with his gun. Mason sat thinking for several minutes before agreeing that they needn’t call for more guns.
“What about Bartram?” asked Shorty referring to their leader.
“He’s way off in Californy an’ if’n we let Elliot go now, there’s no tellin’ where he’ll show up an’ what he might do. No, I think it’s best ta jest take ‘im now.”
“Right now,” gulped Duffer setting his mug down with a thud. “While it’s still light?”
“Why not? Scared?” Poker taunted.
“I jest don’t like that sheriff.”
Shorty nodded his head in agreement.
“Well, Mason, what do we do?”
“Shut up a minute an’ lemme think.” Mason poured himself another glass and drained it before replying. “I reckon we’d best jest get ‘im ‘fore any others join ‘um. They ain’t suspectin’ us so we’ve got the upper hand. We’ll jest walk in an’ take ‘em.”
“What’ll we do after we get ‘em?” Shorty wanted to know.
“Take ‘em out a town, string ‘em up an’ then come get us another drink.”
“Yeah!” This met the approval of everyone, and Mason, Poker, Shorty and Duffer raised their glasses for one last drink before rising and striding out of the saloon.
“We should each go a different way to the house then no one’ll suspect us,” Mason ordered in low tones. “Meet behind the stables.”
The late summer day was quickly drawing to a close. The sun was nearly hidden behind the mountains and the sky was purple with cherry pink clouds which were swiftly turning grey in the fading light. Already the moon was to be seen and the first brave star poked her face out to look about. In the town honest folks were inside eating their suppers and preparing for rest. But out in the streets the saloons were just getting ready for their night of drinking, gambling and carousing. Sheriff Owen sighed to himself as he sat down in his office in front of the jail. “I need a deputy. If those strangers are staying, I think the younger man would make a good one. As it is . . .” He left his sentence unfinished as he dozed off.
At the house, Ty and Carson, having inspected the upstairs to Sally’s satisfaction, descended the stairs and moved to the front room. “Well, I hope Sally hurries up with that supper,” Ty remarked. “I’m getting mighty hungry!”
Neither of them, usually so quick to hear signs of danger, heard the stealthy footsteps approaching the house nor did they hear the whispered words.
“Shorty, ya go watch the front door. We don’t want ‘em gettin’ out that way. An’ Duffer, ya stand guard at this door. We’ll call ya if’n we need ya, but I reckon Poker an’ I can handle ‘em.”
Low murmurs of assent followed these orders and then, with guns drawn, Mason and Poker softly opened the door.
No one was in the dark room, but a light shone from the room beyond. Creeping softly to the door, Mason cautiously peered out. There, near the window stood the man he and the others had been so anxious to shoot or hang: Ty Elliot. Beside him stood that old man.
Mason nudged Poker and suddenly they both sprang into the room while Mason ordered, “Put up yer hands both a you! Don’t even think a reaching fer yer gun, Ty Elliot. I ain’t the only one here.”
“That’s right, Elliot. An’ don’t forget I’m the fastest draw this side the Mississippi,” Poker added with a growl.
Taken wholly by surprise, Ty and Carson had no choice but to raise their hands before their captors. Slowly Mason and Poker, keeping their prisoners covered by their guns, moved into the middle of the room.
“Ya thought you could hide from us, didn’t ya?” Mason taunted, leering at Ty.
Ty forced back the urge to take a swing at Mason though his hand above his head clenched.
“Yeah,” Poker put in, “he thought he had gotten away. No one gets away from us for ever.”
“Won’t Bartram be pleased when he hears what we caught,” Mason asked his companion adding to Ty, “An’ don’t think a tryin’ ta get away, the others are jest waitin’ for ya.”
“You’ll swing yet, Mason,” Ty declared between clenched teeth.
Sally had heard strange voices and, moving to the door of the kitchen, beheld the sight that had been her worst nightmare. Ty and Carson were standing with their hands raised while “they” stood with drawn guns before them! For a moment she stood frozen with horror. Where had they come from? How had they gotten in without anyone knowing it? Could she go for help? All these thoughts flashed through her mind in less time than it takes to write it. Neither Ty nor Carson had seen her for both were watching for the slightest relaxing of the guns pointed at them.
Mason laughed. “It’ll be you that’s doin’ the swingin’. You an’ yer friend there. Too bad ya won’t be here ta--” He got no farther.
“Drop your guns and reach for the ceiling!” The crisp order startled the two men. “I’m a dead shot if you care to find out. Drop them I say!”
Poker, so astonished and even somewhat frightened by this totally unexpected turn of events, dropped his gun. Mason half turned to see the speaker, letting his gun move away from Ty. That was all Ty needed, for his clenched fist connected with Mason’s jaw while his other hand grasped the gun and with a mighty twist, wrenched it from his grasp.
Meanwhile Carson hadn’t been idle. When Poker dropped his gun, Carson sprang forward like a panther and the next minute, Poker lay on the floor senseless.
It was all over in a matter of seconds and both the would be killers were disarmed and unconscious on the floor at their feet.
“That’s jest two a them,” Ty muttered, swiftly binding Mason’s hands behind him. “From the way they talked, I reckon Bartram ain’t here, but that still leaves two others at least. I wonder where they are?”
“At the doors?” Carson guessed.
“Why’t they come in at the noise?”
Carson shrugged. “Orders, maybe.”
“Let’s find out,” answered Ty, grimly drawing his gun and softly moving to the door. “Put out the light, Carson. Sally, shut the door an’ stay in the kitchen.”
“But--” Sally began tremulously.
“In the kitchen. An’ stay there ‘less I call ya.” Ty’s voice was more stern than he meant it to be and Sally obeyed, shaking and still clenching her father’s six-shooter.
With the kitchen door shut and the light put out, the room was left in semi darkness while outside, things still had a late evening glow about them. Pulling open the door with one quick motion, Ty discovered Shorty standing before him. A look of complete bewilderment swept over his face as he stared at Ty. He had expected to find Mason or Poker, but instead here was the very man they had set out to hang! When Ty ordered him to unbuckle and drop his gun, Shorty just stood there stupefied.
“I said, drop yer gun, Shorty!” Ty barked.
With shaking hands, Shorty finally managed to do as he was told. Ordering him inside, Ty kept him covered while Carson tied his hands and retrieved his gun from the doorway.
“Who else is with ya?” Ty snapped the order out so suddenly that Shorty jumped as though he had been shot.
“D-- Duffer,” he gasped.
“Where is he?”
“B--by the b--back door.”
“Is he armed?”
Shorty could only nod. This turn of events had completely unnerved him and now he sat shaking like a leaf.
Leaving Carson to stand guard over the prisoners, Ty slipped out of the front door and made his way around the house where he found Duffer pressing his ear against the door with his back to him.
“Unbuckle yer holster an’ drop it on the ground.”
Slowly Duffer stood up and half turned around.
“Drop it now or I will shoot!”
This order was no joke Duffer realized. Perhaps it was the sheriff thinkin’ he was up to no good. If it was, he was sure he could talk his way out of it. Without turning, he said, “Sheriff, I weren’t doin’ no harm. I thought I heard a fight in there an’ jest wanted ta make sure it weren’t bad, ya know--”
Ty broke in, “I ain’t the sheriff, Duffer, I’m Ty Elliot. Now drop yer gun!”
Evidently Duffer didn’t believe him, for instead of unbuckling and dropping his gun, he suddenly whirled around and tried to draw. Instantly Ty fired and Duffer staggered back moaning and grabbing his right wrist.
Ty, keeping his own gun ever ready, strode over and jerked the young man’s gun out of its holster and opening the door ordered him inside. Prodding him with his pistol, Ty followed him inside and into the room where the three other prisoners were.
Mason and Poker were returning to consciousness and now glared wrathfully at their captors.
“Elliot,” Mason growled, “You’ll pay fer this. We ain’t done with ya yet.”
“Maybe ya ain’t, but I’m ‘bout done with the lot a you. Here, Carson,” Ty said, “Bind up Duffer’s wrist an’ then tie his hands behind him, will ya? I’ll keep ‘em all covered while ya do.”
After doing as he was asked, Carson, with a pistol in each hand, stood watching the four disgruntled and wrathful men while Ty went into the kitchen.
I hope you have comments since I gave you double today.:)