Heller with a Gun: A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Tom Healy was in trouble. His theatrical troupe needed to get to Alder Gulch, Montana, and the weather was turning. Andy Barker promised Tom he could get them there safely, but Tom was reluctant to trust him: he had the lives of three actresses to consider, and his personal feelings for Janice further heightened his concern. Then King Mabry showed up. Although Tom didn’t like the way he looked at Janice, he could see that Mabry made Barker uneasy. So Tom invited Mabry to join them. Tom was right to be worried, because Barker had a plan. He knew that the wagons carried something more than actors and scenery. He and his men were going to steal it any way they could. And that included murder.
us, kid. We’ll say nothing about this.” Then one night when drinking, Forrest bragged. He knew what a reputation as a gun fighter could do to a man, but he was drinking and he bragged. A tough puncher from down on the Pecos started hunting the kid to prove Forrest wrong. They buried the tough puncher on a windy hilltop near old Tascosa, where he could lie beside Frank Valley and the boys who died in the Big Fight. And King Mabry drifted. Fort Stockton, Lampasas, Mobeetie, Uvalde. The Big Bend,
of coffee, and Mabry picked up a cup and joined him. The cook brought in their breakfast and Williams handed the coffeepot to Mabry. “You got to watch that Benton,” Williams volunteered. “Griffin, too. They won’t forget.” “Neither will I.” Janice came into the room suddenly, glancing at the two men. She sat down a little to one side, accepting her breakfast from the cook. “You’re leaving?” At her question, Mabry nodded. Deliberately he tried to avoid conversation, but Janice persisted. “You
had been in use not many weeks before. In various cans there were dried beans, rice, salt, flour, and coffee. Shrugging into his coat, he led the patient black horse to the barn. The building was snug and tight, half underground. In a bin he found some ears of corn, and he put them in the feedbox. He wiped the snow from the horse with his hands, then with an old bit of sacking. A couple of moth-eaten blankets hung on nails, and he put them over the horse, forked some hay into the manger, and
“Custom,” Mabry said. “Any man who leaves a cabin leaves materials for a fire. Custom in cold country.” At noon Healy found a woodpile in a shed behind the house and brought in several armloads of wood. “What’ll we do?” he asked suddenly. “Do the girls have a gun?” “Yes. I didn’t know it, but they had one.” Mabry considered that. As long as their food and fuel held out, and if they did not waste ammunition, they could hold Barker off. It was unlikely they had more than one pistol load.
of long experience, he could see what would happen. Within thirty minutes or less Griffin’s friends would know he had come in and under what circumstances. What happened then would depend on how far they would go for a friend. Not far…unless it would serve their own ends, or one of them was building a reputation. Or unless the man with the narrow face was one of them. That one had a devil riding him. He would kill. If the weather broke by daybreak he would push on. He took the gun from his