Before the gunman approached, Hank turned to walk back up the incline as though to lead the hostage taker to his partner. Again, he passed Stone without missing a step. This not only led the varmint onward, but placed Hank out of the crossfire.
As things went, there wasn't a crossfire. Stone waited until the man was within about 30 feet. Drawing a bead between his eyes, he blew out the back of his head, leaving him with no further inclination to proceed. Before the outlaw could fall to lie where he was shot, the women screamed and Hank dove for cover.
For all practical purposes it was over. But Stone wasn't one to risk his life on a postulation. Standing in a crouching position, he took several shells from his pocket and replaced his spent ammunition.
A chill went up his spine as he realized he had just fired the last round in the magazine.
Stone and his fellow deputies now have five prisoners, including a woman. These outlaws, along with the three he was forced to kill a few days before and another four the lawmen killed this morning, should wrap up this thing. All they have to do now is escort the prisoners to the nearest jail, however far that may be. But something about the best laid plans of men and mice soon comes into play. No sooner have they reached the nearest telegraph office and informed the stage owner his troubles have been resolved, when things take a nasty turn. In his reply, the owner tells Stone another stage has been robbed and another is missing. Stone will have to leave the prisoners with the other deputies and turn back. This time, he does not intend to take any prisoners.
©2010 Jeff Breland (P)2016 Jeff Breland