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Slocum and Lady Death by Jake Logan

Slocum and Lady Death by Jake Logan

Author:Jake Logan
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group


11

Slocum was torn between hunting for the deadly sniper and going to Wyman to see if there was anything on the man’s corpse that might tell him more of what he wanted to know. Deciding that Wyman wasn’t going anywhere, Slocum slipped away into the dark, going away from where he thought the sniper had hidden, then made a wide circle. By the time he reached the area best suited for making the killing shot, Slocum realized he was all alone in the night.

After more than ten minutes scouring the area, he saw the glint of moonlight off spent brass. He picked up the shell and looked at it. If he had found anything worth mentioning, he couldn’t tell what it was. The .45 shell fit about every rifle, and a whale of a lot of six-shooters resting on men’s hips, in these parts. Slocum was certain the report had been that of a rifle. With the same precision that had stolen away Lily’s vitality, the killer had robbed Wyman of his life, too.

“One shot, one kill,” Slocum said, appreciating the expertise although he knew eventually that he would have to bring the shooter to bloody justice. He wondered if the sniper and the mysterious Lady Death that Boots Wyman had spoken of were one and the same. More than once Slocum had come across a woman with a remarkable facility for marksmanship, but they had been in sideshows and made their living potshotting clay pipes and small glass targets filled with feathers. It took a special coldness in the heart to sight in on another human being and then pull the trigger.

Lady Death.

If Wyman hadn’t been lying, Slocum was up against a deadly foe.

He circled the area hunting for tracks, but found none. A half hour later, he found where the killer’s horse had been tethered to a mesquite tree. The horse had nibbled away some of the mesquite bean pods while waiting, keeping it quiet. But the identity of the rider who had mounted and trotted off toward Bisbee remained a mystery. The few footprints in the sand were indistinct, but lent some credence to the killer being a woman. The tracks were half the size of the amorphous imprints Slocum left when he walked on the sandy arroyo bottom, and not as deep. But this was pure speculation, and his interpretation might have been influenced unduly by Boots Wyman’s frightened confession.

Turning back to the campsite, Slocum followed the stench of burning flesh and knew he might have taken a few minutes to put out Wyman’s blazing clothes. He pulled his own bandanna up to cover his nose to rob the stench of some of its gut-turning power, then went to the outlaw. Slocum knelt and rolled the man’s charred body out of the fire pit.

Wyman’s body had snuffed out the fire, and his clothing had burned for only a couple minutes. Using the muzzle of his six-gun, Slocum poked through the remains of the man’s pockets. A small chunk of cardboard fell to the ground.



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