Excerpt for Blood Flows in the East by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Special Smashwords Edition


The Sean O’Rourke Series

Book 6


Blood Flows in the East



By



Michael E. Cook






This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.


The Sean O’Rourke Series, Book 6, Blood Flows in the East

Copyright © Michael E. Cook. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.


The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


Cover art and design by Telemachus Press, LLC with assistance from Beatrice Gallaugher


Published by Telemachus Press, LLC at Smashwords

http://www.telemachuspress.com


Contact the author at cookorourkeseries@gmail.com


ISBN: 978-1-948046-10-7 (eBook)

ISBN: 978-1-948046-11-4 (Paperback)


Version 2018.07.06





Table of Contents


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen


Preview of Book 7: Sam Waters, Marshal of Lonesome

Books by Michael E. Cook

About the Author






Blood Flows in the East





CHAPTER ONE


The first thing Sean did the next morning was send a telegram to Judge Sharpton. It went as follows.


Federal Judge Sharpton

Federal Court House

St. Louis


Kid Evans and gang dead<<stop>>Abducted woman rescued<<stop>>over $80,000 recovered<<stop>>will put money in bank minus reward money<<stop>>reward money goes to Kathleen Jameson<<stop>>$30,000 stolen from Clancy Evans<<stop>>$5000 from bank in Missouri<<stop>>$10,000 from another bank in Missouri<<stop>>unknown amount stolen from Bill Thompson<<stop>>unknown amount from cattle rustling<<stop>>will distribute recovered money when hear from you


O’Rourke


Sean had the money stashed in his room. He took the money to the bank and explained to the banker about the money. Then he went to Kathleen’s room at the hotel. Sam answered the door when Sean knocked. “Mornin’, how’s Kathleen doin’?” said Sean. “I got somethin’ for her.”

“Come on in,” said Sam. “We was just havin’ some coffee and then was gonna go have some breakfast.” Kathleen was sitting on the edge of the bed sipping her coffee. She smiled at Sean and then went over and gave him a hug.

“Hope yer feelin’ better,” said Sean. “I got some reward money for you.”

“Reward money! Why would I get that?” asked Kathleen.

“Cause you purty much caught that son of a bitch by yerself,” said Sean. “Jeb just put on the finishin’ touches. Jeb don’t need no money anyhow. It’s all yours.” Sean handed the money to Kathleen. He counted it out as he gave it to her. “There ya be, $7000.”

“Oh my, what am I going to do with all that?” said Kathleen. “Maybe I will have my own place soon.”

“Maybe Sam can help ya with that,” said Sean. “Looks like you two’r made fer each other. Well, I’ll leave you alone now. Me’n Maggie got some serious things ta talk about.” Sean gave Kathleen another hug, shook Sam’s hand, and then left.

As soon as Sean was out of the room, Kathleen wrapped her arms around Sam. “Will you help me figure out what to do with this money?” asked Kathleen. “I was figuring on having my own place someday.”

“I was hopin’ that you’d go with me back ta Texas,” said Sam. “I already got a place and I sure would like it if you were my partner. I want you for my woman Kathleen. I know we just met, but I got strong feelins’ fer you. I think you got them fer me too.”

“I do have strong feelings for you Sam,” said Kathleen. “I was hoping that we could become more than just partners.”

“You just say when and we’ll git ourselves married,” said Sam. “I understand there’s a Justice of the Peace in this town. Are you sure you wouldn’t mind bein’ married to a lawman?”

“I like the idea of being married to a lawman,” said Kathleen. “I know you’re a good man and will protect me and our children—if we have children. I’d like to get married next week. I want to be pretty for you. Maybe some of the bruising will be gone by then.”

“Kathleen, you’ll always be beautiful to me,” said Sam. “Nothin’ll change that.”

“I do love you Sam,” said Kathleen. “Now let’s get this money to the bank and then have some breakfast.”

Maggie, Sean, Betty, and Michael sat down at their regular table and sipped coffee while they waited on their breakfast. Betty was the first to speak. “Michael and I have decided that we’re going back east,” said Betty. “We love you two and all the people here, but things have gotten worse lately. We would like to own a nice neighborhood pub maybe in Boston or a big city like that. We need a more peaceful place. Abilene will only get worse before it gets better.”

“I fully understand,” said Maggie. “I don’t want our baby to be born here. I need some quiet too.”

“You’ll have that quiet,” said Sean. “How bout we stick it out till the end of this season and then sell the place. We can go back to St. Louis for a while. We can stay there till the baby is grown some and then go wherever you want.”

“What about that Federal Marshal’s badge?” asked Maggie. “Would you be willing to give that up?”

“I think I could give it up for you and the baby,” said Sean. “I’ve done my duty and then some. But you gotta remember darlin’, I’ve made a lot of enemies. Lawman’r not, there could always be some trouble.”

“I know that,” said Maggie. “But I’m willing to take those chances. So Michael, is there a place back east that’s for sale that you’ve been thinking about?”

“I haven’t been looking yet,” said Michael. “I’ll be sendin’ out some telegrams and maybe I’ll put some ads in some papers back east sayin’ I’m lookin’ for a place to buy. If we haven’t heard anything after a couple of months, then we’ll head east anyway. Maybe we’ll build a brand new place.”

“What would you call your place?” asked Sean.

“I haven’t thought about that yet,” answered Michael. “I guess I better.”


~~~~


Elizabeth Thompson decided she would sell all of her properties and then go back to Cincinnati. She would stay in Abilene till all of her places sold. Ads were placed in papers all over saying that there would be an auction. The places could be sold separately or together. Elizabeth would have the right to reject bids that she thought were too low. The auction would be held in a month. That would give any interested party plenty of time to check out the places.

When Alan Cooper’s assignment with Elizabeth was terminated, he reported to his office that his assignment was finished. He stayed with Elizabeth while he waited for his next assignment. At times he wondered if Elizabeth was just using him. Other times he was sure that she felt something for him. He knew that he was having strong feelings for her.

A week later, Alan received his next assignment. There was some politician in Chicago who wanted Alan as a bodyguard. This job would start in eight days. Alan figured it would take him three days to get to Chicago by train so he and Elizabeth made the most of those five days. On the first of those five days, they never left the hotel room except to eat. That evening as they lay holding each other, Elizabeth looked into Alan’s eyes. “I want you to be with me,” Elizabeth said. “You don’t have to marry me. Whenever you have time between assignments, I want you to be with me.”

“What if I don’t want that?” said Alan.

“What do you mean? I know you have feelings for me,” said Elizabeth.

“I do have strong feelings for you Elizabeth,” said Alan. “I just don’t want to be your man. I want to be your husband too.”

“Oh Alan, I want that too,” said Elizabeth. “I have hoped that we could be married some day. You know that you’ll be marrying a rich woman, don’t you?”

“I don’t need your money Elizabeth,” said Alan. “I just need you. Besides, I’m not a poor man myself. I inherited a lot of money and some properties in Washington D.C.”

“So why are you a Pinkerton?” asked Elizabeth. “You don’t need to work.”

“I guess it’s kind of like why Sean O’Rourke is a lawman,” said Alan. “He doesn’t need to work, but someone has to do what he does and he’s good at it. I’m good at what I do and I like it. So when can we get married?”

“Jason Hunter is the Justice of the Peace in this town,” said Elizabeth. “We can talk with him tomorrow if you’d like.”

“I’d like that,” said Alan. “I’d like that a lot. Maybe if I tell my boss I’m getting married, he’ll let me have some time off.”

“What about that Chicago politician?” asked Elizabeth.

“The Pinkerton’s have plenty of good men,” said Alan. “That politician’ll be taken care of.”

The next morning, Alan sent a telegram to his boss and asked for some time off to get married. He received a reply later that morning. The Chicago politician had changed his plans. Alan could have a month off. Instead of talking to Jason Hunter about the wedding, they stayed in their room and celebrated. The next day after breakfast, they talked with Jason about performing their wedding.

“You know what you folks might think about,” said Jason. “I’m doing another wedding next week. Sam Waters and Kathleen Jameson are getting married. They’ll be asking Sean if the wedding can be at Maggie’s Place. We could have a double wedding.”

“That would be nice,” said Elizabeth. “We’ll go over and talk with Maggie now. Thank you.”

“It’ll be my pleasure to get you two hitched,” said Jason. Kathleen and Alan thanked Jason again and headed for Maggie’s Place. When they got there, Sam and Kathleen were there talking with Maggie and Sean. They could see Maggie and Sean were happy to have Kathleen and Sam’s wedding in the saloon. Hugs and kisses and handshakes were being exchanged. Elizabeth and Alan waited for a break in the action and then joined them.

“I could tell by all the hugs and kisses that you are having Kathleen and Sam’s wedding here next week,” said Elizabeth. “Would you consider having a double wedding that day? Alan and I are getting married.”

“Of course we can do it,” said Maggie. “Everyone knew that you two would be getting married. We’ll be glad to have a double wedding here. Kathleen, you and Sam don’t mind do you?”

“Of course not,” answered Kathleen. “It’ll be a wonderful time.”

“Let’s all sit down and have a toast to your upcoming nuptials,” said Sean.

“Nuptials, I’ve never heard you say that word,” said Maggie. “It sounds strange coming from you.”

“Well sorry, let’s have a toast to their upcoming weddings,” said Sean. They all laughed a little and sat down. Tom brought over a bottle and some glasses and they had their toast.


~~~~


The next few days in Abilene were very quiet. There were plenty of drunk cowboys and cattle herds, but it had been unusually quiet. Sean and Michael were worried that something was about to happen. Sam was beginning to think the same thing. He was a lawman and knew that with that many cowboys and that much liquor, trouble always comes. Even Alan thought it was too quiet. He and Elizabeth were on their way to the general store one day when Alan noticed four riders coming into town. They had two pack horses with them and all four of them were heavily armed. Each man wore a pistol belt and had another holster and pistol tied to his saddle horn. Each man had a repeating rifle and a long gun in scabbards on their saddles. Some shotguns were tied to the packs on the pack horses. They looked like they had been in the saddle for a good while. They stopped at one of the other saloons in town. They tied their horses and went inside. “I need to tell Sean about those men,” said Alan. “They didn’t come here for a church social.”

“Why should Sean know about those men?” asked Elizabeth. “Everybody carries guns around here.”

“Most of them do, but for most men, one is enough,” said Alan. “I’ll be telling Sean.”

When they got to Maggie’s Place, Sean and Michael were standing there looking out a front window. Maggie was over by the bar so Elizabeth went over to talk with her while Alan talked to Sean.

“I came to tell you about some men I saw coming into town,” said Alan. “There was f—”

Sean interrupted him. “Michael and I saw them too,” said Sean. “They look like bounty hunters ta me. Probly come here hopin’ ta find the whereabouts a Kid and his bunch. They’re gonna be disappointed. I’ll wait a bit and then go over there.”

“You want me to go with you?” asked Alan.

“No need, but thanks fer the offer,” said Sean. “If there’d be any trouble, I can handle four of’em.” Sean and Michael went over to their regular table and drank some coffee. Alan joined them. Elizabeth was still talking with Maggie. None of the men spoke. Sean finished his cup of coffee and then checked his two pistols and made sure they were fully loaded. “I’m goin’ over there now,” said Sean. “I doubt there’ll be any shootin’, but if ya hear shootin’ and ya see them four runnin’ out the door, you kill’em. Michael, git yer Winchester and give Alan my Winchester. You two wait here just inside the door.” Michael got the rifles and Sean headed to the other saloon. Jeb went with him. When Sean got to the other saloon, he stopped and looked over the swinging doors. Jeb stayed to the side so he couldn’t be seen. The four men were at the bar drinking whiskey. There was a big mirror behind the bar. Sean was sure that the four men saw him. Sean entered the saloon and moved to the right away from the doors. Jeb came in and sat down on Sean’s right. Jeb had a very low growl going. Sean was about forty feet from the bar. He could see that the four men were watching him in the mirror.

“Well lookey here boys,” said one of the men. “We got us the famous sharpshooter and lawman a watchin’ us. He must figure we’re bad men. What do ya want O’Rourke? And that’s bout the ugliest dog I ever did see.”

“I wanna know what you boys’r doin’ here and don’t insult my dog. He don’t take insults too good.” said Sean. “You got names?”

“Name’s none a yer,” said the man who was doing the talking.

“None a yer what?” asked Sean.

“None a yer damn business,” said the man.

“Oh that’s funny,” said Sean. “That’s so funny I might laugh so hard that I’ll shit myself. Don’t you think that’s funny Jeb?” Jeb increased his growl a bit. “I figure you boys’r bounty hunters and yer here hopin’ ta find out somethin’ bout Kid Evans and his gang. Well boys, yer too late. Kid and his bunch’r in hell where they belong.”

“Did you kill’em?” asked the man.

“I had some help,” answered Sean.

“What about all that money they stole? Was any of it recovered?” asked the man.

“That’s none a yer,” said Sean. “None a yer damn business.”

“Haw haw haw,” said the man. “You know O’Rourke, these boys’n me fought fer the stars and bars. We was all sharpshooters. We never wasted no time like you shootin’ Corporals and Sergeants. We went after big game. I’d a got ole Grant one time, but some stupid Lieutenant got in the way after I squeezed the trigger. I got me several Colonels and a lotta Captains. Ronnie down here on the left almost got Sherman onest. We all got us a passel a officers. We was after that bounty they had on you too. No one saw you after Atlanta. We figured you was hidin’.”

“Look, I don’t give a shit how many men you killed durin’ the war,” started Sean. “The war’s over and while yer in this town, it better stay over. You look at me the wrong way or even make me think yer goin’ fer iron, I’ll shoot you dead. I’ll kill you so fast you won’t know yer dead till you don’t wake up the next mornin’.”

“Don’t go gettin’ so all high toney,” said the man. “We all know how fast you are. You probly could kill us if we tried to pull on ya. We never come here ta git shot by you. We come here hopin’ ta hear somethin’ bout Kid Evans. I reckon we’re too late. Ya got any new posters on anyone?”

“Nothin’ that’d be worth yer time,” said Sean. “Nobody’s worth more than $50 right at the moment.”

“Well I reckon we’ll have us some more drinks and some food and then we’ll move on,” said the man. “Don’t you worry O’Rourke, we’re not gonna bushwack ya.”

“Does yer momma know what you grew up ta be?” asked Sean.

“Does yers?” asked Ronnie.

“Nope, she doesn’t,” answered Sean. “My Ma and Pa was murdered by some white scum. I helped kill them scum. Now you boys make sure you stay away from me.” Sean turned and left. He watched in the mirror in case one of the men would try and back shoot him. Jeb watched the four men until Sean cleared the door and then he followed him. As soon as Jeb cleared the door, the four men turned and continued their drinking.

“They was bounty hunters,” said Sean as he entered Maggie’s Place. “Just like I figured. They was after Kid Evans. They said they’d be movin’ on after eatin’ and gettin’ some drinks. I don’t trust’em. I figure they’ll go after the bank. Looks like they put in a lotta time chasin’ Kid and they don’t wanna leave empty handed. I’ll be keepin’ an eye on’em.”

“I’m here if you need me Sean,” said Alan.

“Thanks, I might need me another good man,” said Sean. “With me and Michael and you, we oughta be able ta handle things. Think I’ll talk ta Sam too.” The three men sat down at the regular table and had some drinks. Maggie and Elizabeth joined them. It wasn’t long until Sam and Kathleen joined them. It wasn’t another fifteen minutes and the four bounty hunters rode out of town heading west. Sean didn’t want to upset the women but he figured they had a right to know what he thought could happen. He got right to the point. “Ladies, there was some bounty hunters in town a little while ago,” started Sean. “They was after Kid Evans and his bunch. Now that they know Kid and his bunch is dead, I figure they’ll be after the bank. Them boys was all sharpshooters for the south durin’ the war. That means they’re good shots and they’d like ta see me dead too. I’m gonna wait a bit and then go track’em. I figure they’ll set up camp a few hours from town. Hard ta tell when they’ll come if they’re comin’. Could be tonight or in a few days.”

“I’ll give a hand,” said Sam.

“Why do you think those men would want to rob the bank?” asked Elizabeth.

“Cause they put in a lotta time chasin’ after Kid,” answered Sean. “That was a big reward fer him. Them fellas don’t wanna come up empty handed. They know there’s plenty a money in that bank.”

“I know that,” said Elizabeth. “I have a bunch in there.”

“We all do darlin’,” said Michael. “Sean and us’ll make sure it stays there.”

“I’m gonna get somethin’ ta eat and then I’ll be trackin’ them fellas,” said Sean. “I’ll get back soon as I can.”


~~~~


The four bounty hunters rode for about three hours and set up camp. The land was mostly all open plain with a few rolling hills. When they had their campfire going, the smoke could be seen from more than a mile away. The four men’s names were Ronnie, Amos, Tully, and Saltie. Saltie thought he was the leader of the group. He was the one who had done most of the talking with O’Rourke. They had a bottle with them and they passed it around as they sat by the fire. “We’re taking that bank in Abilene,” said Saltie. “O’Rourke or no O’Rourke, we’re takin’ that bank. We come too far to come up empty handed. I bet that money that Kid and his boys took is in that bank. Plus Abilene’s a cow town now. Gotta be lotsa money in that bank.”

“So you think we can take O’Rourke?” asked Tully.

“We better if’n we want that money,” said Saltie.

Sean started tracking the bounty hunters right after he had eaten. He took Jeb with him. It was almost dark when he spotted smoke coming from a campfire. He waited till dark and headed toward to campfire. There was a half moon so Sean could see fairly well. When he got within a quarter mile of the campfire, he dismounted and tied his horse to a small tree. Sean knew that with the half moon, he could be seen also, so he took his time and eased closer and closer to the campsite. When he got within a hundred yards, he got down and slowly crawled closer. He and Jeb stopped when they were fifty yards from the campfire. They laid down behind some small bushes and waited. Sean could see the four bounty hunters sitting around the fire. They were passing a bottle around. The bottle was passed one more time and then Saltie took the bottle and put it in some saddle bags. “That’s enough whiskey fer now boys,” said Saltie. “I got me a plan fer tamarra. When I git done tellin’ ya, speak up ifn’ ya think ya got a better idea.”

“So we’re really gonna take that bank?” said Amos.

“Yep, and we’ll git O’Rourke too,” said Saltie. “Now listen up. We’ll git up at first light and head back ta town. Ronnie, you pick a good spot bout a half mile from town and wait. Me’n Tully’n Amos’ll ride inta town. Tully here’ll git hisself on a roof where he can see all a downtown, especially the bank. Me’n Amos’ll take the bank. Tully should git a good shot at O’Rourke ifn’ he heads out inta the street after us as we’re gittin’ away. Ifn’ he don’t git a good shot, then Ronnie’ll git one when he comes a ridin’ after us. Now Tully, don’t take no shot lessn’ ya git a good one. Ole Ronnie’ll git’m if you don’t git a good shot. We can all meet up right here. How’s that sound boys?”

“It sounds all right ta me, but I hear O’Rourke’s a smart man,” said Amos. “I just bet he figures we’re up ta somethin’. I bet he figures we’re all mad cause we didn’t git that reward money fer Kid. He could be awaitin’ fer us.”

“You worry too much ya dern fool,” said Saltie. “So what if O’Rourke’d be waitin’ fer us. We lived through the war didn’t we.? We oughta be able ta shoot our way outta that town if’n we had to.”

“I spose,” said Amos. “I reckon we’ll find out.”

Sean heard all that he needed. He and Jeb slowly eased their way back to Sean’s horse. When he got back to town, everyone was as Maggie’s Place waiting for him. Sean tied Billy out front and went inside. “Well, what are they up to?” asked Michael as Sean entered.

“They think they’re takin’ the bank first thing in the mornin’,” said Sean. “I thought up a plan as I was ridin’ back ta town. First I’ll tell ya what they’re plannin’ ta do. One of’em’s gonna wait bout a half mile outta town. The other three’ll ride in. One of’ems gonna git on a roof and cover the street hopin’ ta git a shot at me if I come out into the street after’em. The other two’ll take the bank. If the one on the roof don’t git a shot at me, then the one outta town will when I chase after’em.”

“So what’s your plan?” asked Sam.

“Well, I’m the only one them boys seen,” started Sean. “They don’t know the rest of ya. I’m gonna go have a talk with that banker.”

“He’ll be asleep,” said Maggie.

“He’ll wake up fer this,” said Sean. “Now Alan, you said you’d lend a hand. I could sure use you.”

“You can count on me,” said Alan. “Just tell me what you want.”

“Well here’s what we’ll do,” Sean began. “Alan, yer gonna pretend ta be the bank teller in the mornin’. Michael, you’ll be settin’ in the office pretendin’ ta be the bank President. Sam’n me’ll be somewhere on the edge a town so we’ll see’em when they come ridin’ in. We’ll watch the one that breaks off and goes lookin’ fer a good roof ta git on. We’ll let’m git up there and git nice’n cozy. Alan, when them two come inta the bank, you’n Michael be ready. Don’t hesitate. Soon as you see’em startin’ fer iron, you kill’em. Don’t be wastin’ time tellin’em to stop’r anything like that. Them boys is killers’r they wouldn’t be bounty hunters. Are you all right with this Alan?”

“I am,” answered Alan. “If they’re reaching for a pistol, then they probably will use it. I won’t let them get the chance. I wouldn’t want to widow Elizabeth again even though we’re not married yet.”

“What about the man outside of town?” asked Michael.

“We’ll git him after we git the three in town,” said Sean. “Me’n Jeb’ll git’m. Now I’ll go wake up that banker and tell’m what we’re doin’ in the mornin’. You all git some rest. We can meet back here for an early breakfast.”

Sean woke up the banker and told him what would happen in the morning. The banker wanted to help, but Sean assured him that he wasn’t needed. The banker gave Sean the key to the front door of the bank so Michael and Alan could unlock the door at eight o’clock when the bank would normally open.

Sean could tell that Maggie was a little upset by what was going to happen. “It’ll never end will it?” said Maggie. “There’ll be more dead men in the street tomorrow.”

“We didn’t invite them,” said Sean. “We didn’t ask them to come here and rob the bank. Please don’t worry. It’ll be over quick.”

“I know,” said Maggie. “But I’ll still worry about you and Michael and the others.”

“That’s because you love us and we love you darlin’,” said Sean. “Now try and git some sleep. Just let me hold you.” Maggie cried for a few minutes and then was fast asleep. Sean fell asleep shortly after Maggie did. The next thing Sean knew, Jeb was pawing him and waking him. “Thanks boy. I reckon it’s time ta git up,” said Sean. Maggie raised up in bed to see what was happening. “You go on back ta sleep darlin’. Me’n the boys’ll git some breakfast and then go ta work.” It was pretty early and Cookie or Barbara weren’t in the kitchen yet, so Sean got started on coffee and breakfast. The coffee was just about done when the other men started arriving. Sean got all of them a cup and then started on the food. He made them some ham and eggs and taters. As the men ate, they went over the plan again. They all knew what to do. About an hour before daylight, Sean and Sam went to the edge of town where they could see the bounty hunters coming in, but couldn’t be spotted by them. Michael and Alan would wait till eight o’clock and then go into the bank and act like they were getting ready fo the day’s business.

At a little before eight o’clock, the three bounty hunters came riding into town. One of them broke off from the other two. As soon as the two riders were past them, Sean and Sam followed the rider to see where he would go. The rider stopped behind the hotel where Bill Thompson had been killed. He tied his horse to a post and looked around for a way to get on the roof. It wasn’t long until he was on the roof. It was the highest roof in town. “I’ll work my way back over towards the bank and try not ta git myself spotted,” said Sean. “You stay right here and stay low. Don’t let’m spot ya. When them other two go inta the bank, there’ll be some shootin’. When that shootin’ starts, that one on the roof’ll raise up enough where one a us can git a good shot at’m. Now don’t do no shootin’ till ya hear shootin’ at the bank. And don’t wait on me. If ya git a shot, take it.” Sam nodded his head yes.

Sean was near the center of town hiding next to one of the other saloons. Michael and Alan had just unlocked the bank and gone inside. The two bounty hunters were riding slowly down the street toward the bank. They stopped in front of the bank and threw their horse’s reins over a hitching post as they dismounted. One of them looked inside the bank and then stepped back. Alan was at his teller’s window acting like he was doing some paperwork. Michael was in the office but could be plainly seen by anyone who entered the bank. Alan was acting like he was writing with his left hand, but he had a pistol in his right hand which was down to his side where it couldn’t be seen. Michael had his pistol in his right hand on the desk. There was a pile of books on the desk so the pistol couldn’t be seen. The two bounty hunters waited a moment outside and then entered the bank. Saltie entered first. Amos was right behind him. Saltie started towards the teller’s window. Amos started towards the office. Both of them were drawing their pistols as they moved. Before the men had their pistols halfway out, two shots were fired. They were fired so closely together, they almost sounded like one. Saltie was thrown backwards and hit the floor dead. There was blood all over his chest. Amos was thrown backwards so hard that it knocked him back through the door where he fell dead on the sidewalk. Michael had put a bullet in his forehead.

When Sean heard the shots in the bank, he watched for the other man on the roof to raise up and take a look. Sean had the man in his sights and was about to squeeze the trigger on his Winchester when he heard Sam’s Henry fire. The man came tumbling down off the roof and landed about ten feet in front of the hotel. Elizabeth had been in her room at the hotel and was staying out of sight. When she heard the third shot, she just happened to be looking out one of her windows. She saw the body of the dead man come flying down and land in the street. She knew Alan had told her to stay put, but she had to see if any harm had come to him. She left her room and took off running toward the bank. Alan, Sam, Sean, and Michael were out in the street now talking. Elizabeth saw Alan in the street and knew that he was all right. She went to him and hugged him hard.

“Well, looks like the undertaker’ll make a little money today,” said Sean. “I’m gonna git me some coffee and then I’ll be after that last man.”

“Maybe he heard the shootin’ and took off,” said Sam.

“That’s possible,” said Sean. “But I don’t think he’d take off unless he knew what just happened and he’s got no way a knowin’ that yet. He’ll be out there waitin’. I know that country. Me’n Jeb’ll git’m.” They all went to Maggie’s Place and had some coffee. Maggie joined them. Sean could tell that she was having trouble holding tears back. There wasn’t much talking. Sean finished his coffee and then he and Jeb headed to the livery.

“I’ll be comin’ with ya,” said Sam. “If that man was a sharpshooter, it wouldn’t hurt ta have two of us. Besides, he’s never seen me. He’ll just figure I’m some lone cowboy ridin’ along. Maybe I’ll spot’m. He’ll be lookin’ fer you, not me.”

“That makes sense,” said Sean. “Make sure that badge a yers stays outta sight.”

“It’ll be in a pocket,” said Sam. “Now let’s get it done. I kinda like that horse a Michael’s anyway. He needs rode more.” The two men saddled up and headed west out of town. Sam headed straight down the trail and Sean swung way out to the left of the trail. Jeb went his own way. He knew what they were doing. The two of them would meet up behind a small rise that was about a mile from town. Sam was about a quarter of a mile from town when he thought he heard a horse whinny in the distance. He stopped and listened, but he didn’t hear it again. He rode on. Another quarter of a mile down the trail, he saw some movement to his right. He kept riding but watched for the movement. It was Jeb. Jeb stopped and laid down. He would look at Sam and then look away like he was looking at something. He did this several times. “Ole Jeb’s got’m spotted,” Sam said to himself. “I’ll go meet Sean and let’m know.”

The two men met behind the small rise as planned. “Jeb’s got’m spotted,” said Sam. “He’s back there just a little ways on this side of the trail.” Sam pointed. “There’s not much cover. He must just be in the high grass.”

“Well take me ta where Jeb is,” said Sean. “Then we’ll see if we can spot his horse. If we spot his horse, I’ll have you work your way around so you’ll be behind his horse. I’ll find him and start shootin’. He might git up and run fer his horse. When he does, take care of’m.”

“You sure you’ll find’m?” asked Sam.

“I might not see’m right off, but I’ll put some lead in places where I’d be If I was him,” said Sean. He’ll either fire back and give his postion away or he’ll run.”

“What if he don’t run’r shoot?” asked Sam.

“Then he’s one brave son of a bitch,” said Sean. “I got a lotta bullets fer this Winchester and I’m not afraid ta waste any. He’ll shoot’r run.”

They headed to where Sam had spotted Jeb. Jeb was still there. Sean got out his spyglass and looked around. He spotted the man’s horse. It was tied to a small tree. There was some brush around the tree and the horse couldn’t be seen very well. “You work your way over on the other side a that horse,” said Sean. “I think I know where that fella is. You ride a ways and then git off yer horse. Walk on the horse’s left side so he’s between you and that fella. That way if he sees you, he won’t have a good shot. I’ll wait a bit and let ya git over there. Git as close to that horse as ya can. When ya hear shootin’, be ready.”

Sean waited for a while and then rode closer to where he thought the man was hiding. Jeb stayed right where Sam had first spotted him. Sean had a feeling now that he was being targeted. He kicked Billy in the slats and took off and slid down out of the saddle and hung on Billy’s right side. Sean heard the bullet whiz by as he slid down. Sean peered over Billy’s neck. He spotted the smoke from the man’s rifle. Now Sean knew exactly where the man was. There was a rock that stuck up about three feet and was right beside the trail. Sean passed it just as the man had fired. Sean turned Billy around and headed for the rock. He got back up into the saddle and then slid to left side of the horse. When he neared the rock, he slowed Billy some and then dropped off at the rock. He pulled his Winchester from the scabbard as he dropped off the horse. Just as he got behind the rock, another bullet whizzed by. It clipped the top of the rock. Sean laid flat behind the rock and took as good a shooting position as he could. As soon as another shot was fired at him, Sean fired off ten shots from the right side of the rock. He worked the lever as fast as he could. He waited a few seconds and then emptied the Winchester. He got back behind the rock and began reloading. When he was about to crank off some more shots, he heard Sam’s Henry fire. Then it was quiet. Sean waited and listened. “Got’m,” shouted Sam. Sean got up and walked toward where the man had been. There was some blood on the ground. It wasn’t a lot, but Sean had hit the man. Sam had let the man get up on his horse before he shot him. Sean knew this when he saw all the blood on the horse and saddle. “Are we gonna bury this fella?” asked Sam.

“I feel generous today,” said Sean. “We’ll put’m on his horse and take’m ta town. That way he can be buried with his friends.”







CHAPTER TWO


It was fairly quiet in town for the next several days. Michael and Betty had gotten a telegram about a pub that was for sale in South Boston. The price seemed reasonable and they were heading east right after the double wedding. Maggie seemed to be upset but she cheered up some the day of the weddings. Sean had always heard that pregnant women were sometimes easily upset so he figured that a lot of Maggie’s problems were because of her condition. Of course he knew that in the short time that he had been a Federal Marshal, a lot of blood had been spilled and it didn’t look like things would change.

Everyone had a wonderful time at the wedding. The wedding ceremony was at 1pm and the drinking and dancing went on till well after midnight. The saloon was closed to the public for the party and some cowboys got a little upset, but there were no serious problems.

Betty and Michael’s train was leaving at 2pm. Maggie, Sean, Betty, and Michael had a big lunch together that day. Maggie made an announcement as they were eating. “I have decided that I do not want to sell Maggie’s Place,” started Maggie. “I want to keep it. I have so many memories here. Some are bad, but most of them are good. I still do not want our baby to be born here. I think we should ask Tom if he would run the place for us.”

“That’s fine by me,” said Sean.

“I think Tom’d do a good job,” said Michael. “He’s been with you since the beginning.”

“I’ll have a talk with Tom later today then,” said Maggie. “Now you two don’t forget to send us a telegram when you get to Boston. We want to know everything about your new place.”

“So when will you and Sean be going to St. Louis?” asked Betty.

“I would say in maybe a month,” answered Maggie. “The cattle drives should be slowing down some by then. Sara and Doug should be able to go back to St. Louis then too. Simon is healing fast and he’ll be a big help to Tom. I just thought of something. I know we can send a telegram to Jug and Lolita about our move, but how can we let Jesse Strong know?”

“I doubt we can get ahold of Jesse unless we would actually ride down there,” said Sean. “If we sent a letter to the man that’s in charge of the reservation, there’s no guarantee it’d get delivered. Jesse and all of’em down there know that if they ever need me, they can send a telegram to the Judge. There’s a telegraph in a little town just north a their territory.”

“So when will you talk to the Judge about your job?” asked Maggie.

“When we’re ready to go ta St. Louis, I’ll let the Judge know we’re comin’ and I’ll talk to’m face ta face,” said Sean.

A lot of tears were shed when Betty and Michael’s train pulled out of town. “I’ll sure miss them two,” Sean said to Maggie. “Couldn’t ask for a better friend than Michael. Same fer Betty. I sure hope things work out fer them. Boston is a real big city. More folks there than I wanna see.”

“I know what you mean,” said Maggie. “St. Louis isn’t near as big as Boston, but it’s too big for us. After the baby grows some, we can figure out where we want to go. Maybe things will quiet down in Abilene. Maybe we’ll come back here. We have all the time in the world.”

“We’ll have each other and the baby,” said Sean. “That’s all we’ll need. How you feelin’ darlin’? If yer up to it, I feel a little frisky.” Maggie didn’t say a word. She just smiled at Sean and led him back to their room.

Sam and Kathleen left for Texas a week after Betty and Michael left. Sam had sent a telegram to his deputy in Lonesome and told him he would be headed that way. His deputy told him to please hurry back. He had enough of being a law man and wanted to get started on his law practice.


~~~~


Alan and Sean became very good friends during the short time he and Elizabeth were in Abilene. Maggie and Elizabeth became close too. When Elizabeth and Alan left Abilene after the auctions, a lot of tears were shed again. Alan assured Sean that if his help was ever needed, he would be there. Sean said the same thing.

Maggie and Sean went to St. Louis about two weeks after Elizabeth and Alan had left. They stayed in a room at “The Palace” until they found a nice house to rent. After they moved into the house, they sent a telegram to Tom in Abilene and had him get their bathtub shipped to them. They were able to have it shipped by train so the tub was at their house a week after they moved in. The very day the tub arrived, they spent most of an afternoon soaking in it.

Maggie was really enjoying how quiet it was in St. Louis. After a couple of weeks, she began to worry that Sean wasn’t happy. She encouraged him to spend all the time he needed at “The Palace.”

Sean had talked to Judge Sharpton when they first got to St. Louis. He told the Judge that he was considering giving up his badge. The Judge told him to take a month off and think it over. “You are the best damn Marshal that any Judge could ever have,” said the Judge. “No one can do what you do. If you decide to quit, there will be no hard feelings. I understand about family and the dangers that go with the job. You have been wounded so many times already. Take your time my friend and think it over. I’m sure Maggie has had enough of the killing and blood, but I’m sure she knows that it takes a good man to stand up against the outlawry that is choking our country. She knows you have been that man. She will stand by you whatever decision you make.”

Maggie and Sean were sitting out on their front porch having coffee one morning when a letter came from Michael and Betty. They had gotten a telegram from them when they first got to Boston. It just gave them their new address and said that things were looking good so far. Maggie and Sean were eager to read this letter. It went as follows.


Dear Maggie and Sean,


Things went very well when we first got here and got the place going. We named the place “Betty and Michael’s Pub.” We live upstairs above the pub. We are finding out now that this whole city is full of corruption. They have a regular police force in this city. Every policeman who walks this beat thinks we should give them free drinks. They say if we don’t, they’ll start rousting our customers. Four days ago, two men came in here and told us we needed to buy some protection. We asked them “protection from what.” They said “fires and such.” I asked them who their boss was. They said they were their own bosses. I kindly asked them to get the hell out of the place. When they refused, I beat the hell out of them and threw them out. The next day, the police started rousting some of our customers. A day later, they told me the cost of my liquor license was going up and my shipment of whiskey was stolen. Then a day later, some fella came in here and said that if I gave his organization thirty percent of my profits, my troubles would go away. I also asked him who his boss was. He wouldn’t give me his name. He just said he was a high official in the city. I told him to tell his boss to talk to me in person so I could break his face. Betty doesn’t know I wrote this letter. I know she is afraid. I have talked with other people in town about the corruption and how to get rid of it. Most people are afraid to do anything about it. They say it’s been that way here as long as they can remember and they just accept it. I cannot accept it and I intend to do something about it. Wish me luck.


Michael


“I’m afraid for them Sean,” said Maggie after they read the letter. “I think something bad will happen. Maybe you could ask Judge Sharpton if he knows what Michael should do. Maybe he knows a Judge or some people in Boston.”

“I’ll go talk to the Judge right after breakfast,” said Sean. “I’m worried about them too. I know Michael can handle himself, but things are different in a big city like that. He’s just way outnumbered. You know if things get out of hand I’ll be going to help him.”

“I know that Sean,” said Maggie. “You’re a good man and they are our friends. I know you’ll do whatever is necessary.”

After Sean had his breakfast, he went to see the Judge. The Judge was in court and Sean had to wait a while. Sean let himself into the Judge’s chambers and waited. The Judge didn’t seem surprised when he saw Sean waiting for him. “Have your reached a decision?” asked Judge Sharpton.

“I won’t be givin’ up this badge just yet Judge,” said Sean. “My friend and former deputy Michael is in trouble.”

“Tell me about it,” said the Judge.

“Well Michael and his wife Betty moved to Boston to get away from all the blood and violence,” started Sean. “They bought a pub in south Boston. Things started out well, but now they are finding out that there is a lot of corruption in that city. The local police are giving him a hard time and demanding free drinks. Men are trying to get Michael to buy protection. They raised the price of his liquor license. Some organization tells him that if he gives them thirty percent of the profits, his troubles will go away. The leader of this organization is some high city official. Michael is trying to get things organized and get rid of the corruption. He said that most people accept it because it’s been there for years. I’m worried about this. Michael could get himself hurt or killed.”

“I’ve heard that there is plenty of corruption in that city,” said the Judge. “It’s that way in a lot of big cities. Political machines run things. I know a Judge in Boston. I’ll see what he knows about the corruption and who he thinks the head man might be. Let’s just hope he’s not involved too. I’ll send him a telegram today and I’ll get with you when I get a response.”

“I appreciate that Judge,” said Sean. “Now I’ll get out of yer way.” They shook hands and Sean left. Judge Sharpton sent the following telegram to a Judge in Boston.


Federal Judge Ralph Compton

Federal Court House

Boston


Ralph<<stop>>can you tell me about corruption in your city<<stop>>former deputy of mine now a pub owner having trouble with local police<<stop>>organization trying to extort money from him<<stop>>protection rackets<<stop>>


Federal Judge Robert Sharpton

Federal Court House

St. Louis


Robert received a reply two hours later. It went as follows.


Federal Judge Robert Sharpton

Federal Court House

St. Louis


Robert<<stop>>corruption rampant in Boston<<stop>>organizations have very good lawyers and have not been able to get convictions<<stop>>councilman in south Boston is one leader we have not been able to convict<<stop>>suspected of arson extortion and murder<<stop>>name is Tom Flannery<<stop>>have heard that Chief of Police is corrupt but no proof<<stop>>hope changes happen next election


Ralph Compton


As soon as Robert read the telegram, he headed to “The Palace.” He figured Sean would be there. Sean was there and he went to the Judge when he saw him entering the place.

“I’ve heard back from a colleague of mine,” said Robert. “I’m afraid for Michael too.” Sean took the telegram and read it.”

“I’ll be goin’ ta Boston if somethin’ happens,” said Sean.

“You’re a Federal Marshal Sean,” said Robert. “You can go anywhere in these United States or the territories. I wouldn’t let anyone know I was coming if I were you. I wouldn’t even tell Michael. If you sent a telegram, it might get read before it got to him.”

“Do you think the telegrams sent back and forth by you and that Judge in Boston could have been read by other people?” asked Sean.

“They could have,” answered Robert.Two judges talking back and forth about corruption is nothing new. Getting proof would be something new. Sending a new person to investigate would be something new. Organizations like this are very confident in their ability to keep operating. They exist by intimidation, fear, murder, and whatever it takes. There are never any witnesses to their crimes, at least any who would testify.”

“Well you know that if somethin’ happens to Michael and I go to Boston, some people are gonna die,” said Sean.

“I know you will do whatever is necessary for justice to be done,” said Robert. “When you are surrounded by corruption, sometimes extreme measures are needed. Let’s hope things will be all right for Michael.”

Sean thanked Robert and went home to tell Maggie about his talk with the Judge. She was sitting out back with Jeb. Sean gave her a kiss and sat down beside her. He gave Jeb a good pet. “Well darlin’, Robert says that Boston is full of corruption,” started Sean. “He sent a telegram to another Judge that he knows. That Judge told him that the corruption was very organized and they have not been able to convict any of them. One of their councilmen is suspected of arson, extortion, and murder, but they have not been able to convict him. There is never anyone who can or will testify.”

“Well darlin’, if you end up going to Boston, it’s sounds to me like you better get things cleaned up,” said Maggie.

“I will darlin’,” said Sean. “If anything happens to Michael, some people are gonna bleed.”

“What did the Judge say about you going to Boston?” asked Maggie.

“He said he knew that I would do whatever is necessary so justice is done,” said Sean.

“Maybe if you do go to Boston, you could get Alan to help you,” said Maggie. “He might be familiar with Boston. I know he’s been all over the country.”

“I’m sure he would be a big help,” said Sean.


~~~~


Alan Cooper had been on assignment in Boston. His assignment was over now and he was looking forward to going home to Elizabeth. Alan went back to his hotel. He would spend the night and then catch a train back home in the morning. He had just finished his dinner at the hotel and was reading a newspaper when something on the second page caught his eye. There had been a fire on the south side. Three buildings had burned. One of them was a pub. The name of the pub was “Betty and Michael’s Pub.” There were two deaths caused by the fire. The remains of Betty and Michael O’Connor were found in the ashes of the pub. The cause of the fire is unknown. The remains were taken to the morgue.

Alan almost cried after he read the paper. He hadn’t known Michael all that long, but he considered him a good friend. More importantly, Michael was Sean’s best friend and he knew that Sean would want things taken care of. The next day, instead of leaving, Alan went to the morgue to take care of things. He also wanted to make sure that the remains were of Betty and Michael. When Alan arrived at the morgue, he told the attendant he was the victim’s brother and wanted to spend some time alone with him. The attendant left Alan alone.

Alan had been an investigator for a long time and he knew what to look for at a crime scene. The first thing he did was make sure it was Michael’s remains. The left leg was missing just below the knee and the body frame was big. This was Michael. Alan examined the skeleton as best he could. Some bones were missing or badly damaged, but the skulls of Michael and Betty were still intact. Alan examined the front of Michael’s skull and found no evidence of anything except being burned. Then he turned the skull to one side. When he turned the skull it disconnected from the spinal column. Alan examined the back of the skull. There was a small hole at the base of the skull. Then Alan examined Betty’s skull. There was a small hole at the base of her skull too. Michael and Betty had been executed. A small caliber gun was used. They were shot and then someone started the fire.

Nothing had been mentioned in the paper about foul play. The bodies were probably not examined. It was just assumed that they were lost in the fire. Alan said nothing about his discovery to the attendant. He told him that arrangements would be made and the remains would be picked up later that day. Alan would also have Betty and Michael buried and headstones would be placed.

Alan had all of this arranged and then went to a telegraph office. He knew Sean would want to know as soon as possible. He sent the following telegram.


Sean O’Rourke

The Palace

St. Louis


Sean<<stop>>Have been on assignment in Boston<<stop>>Betty and Michael dead<<stop>>fire<<stop>>Have made arrangements<<stop>>take Maggie and meet me in Cincinnati<<stop>>will explain


Alan


Alan also sent another telegram to Elizabeth telling her that he would be headed home and that Maggie and Sean would be visiting. He didn’t explain anything in the telegram.

Sean was at the saloon when the telegram arrived. He sat down and cried for a good while. Susie saw him and went over to see what was happening. “Betty and Michael are dead,” cried Sean. “There was a fire. Maggie’n me’ll be headed east.” Sean was still sobbing as he headed home. Susie started crying too.

Maggie started crying uncontrollably when Sean gave her the news. They both cried together for a good while. Maggie finally spoke. “Why would Alan want us to meet him in Cincinnati?” asked Maggie. “I don’t understand.”

“I’m guessing he knows somethin’ and he couldn’t put it in the telegram,” said Sean. “We figured Michael would have some trouble but we never figured they’d end up dead. Get some things rounded up. We’ll be going to Cincinnati. Then I’ll be going to Boston. If Betty and Michael was murdered, they’ll be some people dyin’. Take plenty of money and clothes. We might be gone a while.”

Sean got started packing. He would take two pistols with him. He would be wearing his shoulder holster. Sean kept the bowie knife that the undertaker had cut out of an outlaw’s skull. It was the one that Bo Billings carried and Jesse Strong had shoved it into Bo’s skull. Jon always kept it razor sharp and it was still that way. Sean made some straps so he could wear it under his jacket without being seen. He also packed his Winchester and a sawed off double barreled ten gauge. Plenty of ammunition was packed.

There was a train headed east the next day at ten o’clock. Dan Taylor came over with a carriage and took them and all their luggage to the train station. On the way there, Sean stopped at the Federal Court House and let the Judge know where he was going. The Judge was in court so Sean left a note with the Clerk.


Continue reading this ebook at Smashwords.
Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-30 show above.)