Coming Next Week!
SAVIDGE KEPT HIS EYES on Louisa, who stopped beside Prophet. She was thumbing fresh cartridges through her Winchester’s loading gate. She didn’t say anything as she regarded the killer coldly.
“Why, that’s nothin’ but a girl who...came in there...done all that....”
Savidge was deeply confounded.
“Nothin’ but a girl,” Prophet said.
“Nothin’ but,” Louisa said, pumping a round into her Winchester’s breech and taking one step toward Savidge.
“Louisa, take it easy,” Prophet said.
“I’m gonna kill him,” Louisa said coolly, staring at Savidge.
“Hey, now, wait a minute!” Savidge said, backing away, holding his hands up higher. “I done tossed my guns down. That was the deal!”
“What about the folks in the barn?” Louisa asked him.
Savidge stared at her, his little, too-close-together eyes darting around in their sockets like frightened mice scurrying around in a hole.
“Louisa, settle down,” Prophet said. “We’re taking him in alive.”
“Why should he get to live?” Louisa said. “The folks in the barn didn’t get to live.”
“There’s a two thousand dollar bounty on his head,” Prophet told her. “Seems Uncle Sam wants this bastard alive so they can play cat’s cradle with his head their ownselves. Don’t know why Sam should get all the fun, but that’s the way it is. They won’t pay if he’s dead. I’ve dealt with Sam before.”
Louisa just stared solemnly up at Chaz Savidge. Her blond hair blew around her shoulders in the wind. She had her Winchester aimed at Savidge from her right hip. “I don’t care about the money.”
“Maybe you don’t, but I do. I for one have about three dollars and some jingle in my pockets, and my stomach’s been growlin’ for nigh on three weeks. Stand down, Louisa!”
“I’ll buy you a meal in the next town, Lou,” Louisa said in her dull, even voice that she kept so low that Prophet could just barely hear her above the breeze scratching around in the barren branches behind him. “I’ll buy you some whiskey and even a whore. I know that’s all you’re worried about. Whiskey and whores and having enough money to gamble away. So I’ll even slip you a few extra dollars to buy into a stud game. How would that be?”
Her voice was fairly dripping with sarcasm.
Rage was beginning to boil inside of Prophet. “Louisa, you got little more jingle than I do. We do this for a living, not the religion of it. Now, stand down, partner!”
“I do it for the religion of it, Lou.”
Prophet stomped up beside her. “Stand down!”
Chaz Savidge was flushed and flustered. He kept his hands up even with his head, palms out. He was breathing hard.
“What is she—loco? She can’t just out an’ out kill me. It ain’t right. Especially a girl doin’ it. That ain’t right!”
“What’s not right is you killing innocent folks. Raping innocent girls.”
“I had nothin’ to do with that! That was the others.”
Louisa smiled grimly.
“It’s true. I had none of that. That...that’s just not how I am. I don’t operate that way.”
“Oh, I think you do.”
Prophet reached over and jerked the rifle out of Louisa’s hands. Inadvertently, she tripped the trigger. The bullet sailed off behind Savidge but not before drawing a red line across the outlaw’s bulging left temple.
“Hey!” the outlaw screamed, brushing his hand across his forehead and looking at the blood on his fingers. “She’s goddamn crazy!”
Prophet tossed her rifle away.
Louisa glared up at him for a full thirty seconds. Her jaws were so hard they made her cheeks dimple. “I got two more,” she said, lifting the bottom of her poncho above the pearl handles of her pretty matched Colts.
Prophet leveled his Winchester at her belly. “If you use ‘em on him, I’ll shoot you.”
She stared up at him, her right eyelid dropping slightly down over that eye. “You wouldn’t. What’s more, you couldn’t.”
“On principal,” Prophet said, “I would. And I could. I don’t do that. I don’t kill in cold blood. And I’m not gonna let you do it, either.”
“Mighty high principal for a man who has so few.”
“I got that one.”
“What about whiskey and whores?”
“Those I don’t got.”
“Those I don’t got.”