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Hell and Back by Craig Johnson

Hell and Back by Craig Johnson

Author:Craig Johnson [Johnson, Craig]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Mystery, Thriller
ISBN: 9780593297285
Google: 47FVEAAAQBAJ
Amazon: B09NXDMC9Z
Goodreads: 59916358
Publisher: Viking
Published: 2022-09-06T05:00:00+00:00


9

“What do you mean, gone?”

Artie coughed again, a splatter of blood hitting the snow between his tactical boots. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “If one of you would be kind enough to give me a blanket or something, I might be more inclined to discuss this with you.”

Vic nudged the side of his head with the barrel of her Glock. “Why did you attack me, Artie?”

“I thought you were someone else.”

“Who did you think I was?”

“One of the ones hunting me.”

“Who?”

“Someone else.”

She nudged his head once again. “If it’ll help your memory we’ve got a boot we can stick up your ass if you don’t tell us exactly where Walt is, right now.”

Henry dropped Walt’s boot and then stood and slipped off his coat. He swirled it and allowed it to settle around the man before kneeling in front of him again. “Talk. Now.”

Clutching the leather coat a little at the collar, Small Song closed it at his neck. “Why did he follow me?”

“They found the girl, Jeanie One Moon.”

He nodded, the last nod dropping his face. “Of course, they did.”

“Did you have something to do with that?”

“No.”

“No?” Henry leaned in, his nose almost touching the crown of the man’s head. “Tell me what happened when he got here in pursuit of you.”

Artie’s words fell from his mouth. “It was not me he was after.”

“Then who?”

“He has many enemies on this side and the other.”

“For now, I am concerned with this side.”

His voice became more conversational. “You know, I have found it is always easier to be the pursued than the pursuer, to act rather than react—it is that small increment of time that is an advantage. When he arrived here, he thought he held the advantage, but it proved otherwise.”

“Yes?”

Artie smiled. “He did not die in the fight between us or in the vehicle.”

“He has not died at all.”

After a moment, the man continued to talk to the ground. “How do you know, Standing Bear?”

“Because I would feel it.”

“You’re sure?” Artie’s face rose again, smiling.

The Bear reached forward, driving a finger into the bullet hole as the wounded man jerked back only to be held in place as the Cheyenne Nation clamped the other hand on the nape of his neck, effectively holding him in place. “Answer my questions or I will pull your lung out from the inside.”

The man shuddered but remained silent as his face rose in a grimace, blood edging his teeth.

“Walt followed you here because there was something about Jeanie One Moon that did not end with her death. She called out to him. I know he is alive and near, and I will find him before he dies because I will not allow him to pass into a realm where the Wandering Without will have dominion over him.”

“Kill me and you have no say.” A stream of blood and saliva dripped from Artie’s mouth. “I am . . . its advocate.”

“Explain.”

Artie shuddered again. “To . . . to talk to it, you must talk through me.



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