50e9c45046e650e1454109262d22abec by Les Weil

50e9c45046e650e1454109262d22abec by Les Weil

Author:Les Weil
Format: epub

"Where?" he asked.

"In the shoulder, I think; in the left shoulder." It seemed important to me that he knew it was the left shoulder.

"Lemme see," he said.

"Hell," he said after a moment, "can't tell a thing here. How do you feel?"

"All right."

"Can you make it down to the coach? We can see something there."

When we started down he steadied me in the saddle, but I was already a lot clearer. The shoulder was beginning to hurt, so the dizziness was gone and I didn't feel so much like throwing up. I told him I could make it.

There was a lot of talk around the coach. The driver, who was white, and still trembling in the knees from his close call and standing on the brakes, was hanging onto the edge of the seat and repeating, "I thought it was a stickup. God, there was a lot of you. I thought it was a stickup." He was Alec Small, a little, thin, blond man with a droopy mustache, a nice fellow, but not tough, and not the driver Winder was. Winder was bawling him out and telling him he was lucky by turns, and looking at the horses' ankles between curses. The horses were trembling and restless; they kept turning their heads toward the drop-off and wanting to sidle into the cliff. Gabe was getting down to quiet them. Small didn't seem to hear Winder. He was drunk, and the mob dazed him.

I knew the guard too, Jimmy Carnes, a big, black­bearded man with a slouch hat and a leather coat. He'd been a government hunter for the army and then for the railroad while it was building. It had been a good thing for Winder, if not for me, that it was dark and the coach rocking.

Carnes was saying, "I hope I didn't get him too bad."

"Get who?" Ma asked him.

"I got somebody," he said. "I heard him yell. You know," he went on, "you hadn't ought to have come barging out like that, in the dark especially. It's only lucky if I haven't killed somebody. You hadn't ought to have come barging out like that." He shook his head heavily. He'd been drinking too, and was thick, and his face was worried. "I was pretty near asleep when Alec yelled at me," he said. "I couldn't see who you was, and everybody yelling.

"I didn't kill anybody, did I?" he asked.

Now Winder was wanting to know what the hell the stage was doing on the pass at night anyway. For a minute Gil and I couldn't get through the press; I didn't care if we got through; I felt far away, like watching a picture. Gil was getting angry though, and trying to be heard and to push a way to the light.

The passengers were getting out while everybody watched them. They were two women and a man, and they'd been thrown around, by their looks. Their stylish clothes were askew, and the ladies, after they got down shakily, were trying to straighten themselves without being too obvious about it.


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