Abruptly standing, toppling his chair in the process, Dobbs grabbed for his gun and yelled, "Stone, you sumbitch, I'm going to kill you."
The sudden move with no warning surprised Dobbs' new partners, but since the dance had begun, they had no choice but to join. Rising to his feet, Bill inadvertently placed himself directly between Dobbs and Stone.
Dobbs fired, but missed. Bill, standing at that exact moment, blocked his view. Stone, seeing the move in his fringe vision, reacted accordingly, getting off two shots intended for Dobbs. The rounds failed to reach their target due to the fact Bill was now in the line of fire. However, the shots weren't wasted. One slug caught Bill in the upper back. The other took off his hat. Along with his hat came a large portion of brain matter.
It was simply astonishing the havoc a .45 caliber slug could play on the human body. More so, the head. Bill toppled towards Dobbs, taking him out of the action for a fraction of a second.
In the same blur of movement, Stone saw Dobbs' other cohort firing at the sheriff. He, in turn, fired three shots at the shooter. The first shot missed entirely. The second round caught him in the chest and the third caught him in the middle of the forehead. That seemed to discourage him from taking any further participation.
Stone turned his attention back to Dobbs, who had lost his balance when Bill toppled into him. Dobbs got off a couple of shots while regaining his balance. They came close, but missed.
Pulling the trigger again, Stone was rewarded with the dreaded sound of metal striking metal as the hammer fell on an expended casing.
In pursuit of two desperate outlaws, Stone rides into the sleepy little town of Abbot. After dodging an outlaw's bullet, he captures them, but is forced to kill one after the fact. Placing the remaining prisoner in the ramshackle jail, he meets a beautiful Mexican girl. Ironically, she has a personal vendetta against the killer. The hanging she anticipates witnessing is foiled when two lowlifes facilitate a jailbreak.
As Stone prepares to track this killer once again, the Mexican girl insists on accompanying him. It is her desire, she informs him, to kill this animal herself. Stone refuses, but she is not to be denied. She will either ride alongside or follow behind. Given no choice, he relents.
As they chase this desperado along the Canadian River in northern New Mexico there will be times Stone is glad the woman is along. Other times he's not so sure.
©2016 Jeff Breland (P)2016 Jeff Breland
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