Hellfire and Redemption

A Screech in the Night

A Horse With Four-Wheel Drive

White Calf pointed to the fading palm marks on each Posse member, and said, “Buffalo Spirit owes you a debt. It is possible you may call upon It in the future. I, too, owe a debt and thank you for your assistance. Your courage will not be forgotten.” Her new charges in tow, she and Little Bear turn away, headed North.

After an inconclusive and vague conversation with the night travelers whose appearance was so timely, the Posse beds down, keeping off the misting rain as best they can.

Jack is alerted by a distant crash of metal on metal and rouses the Posse. Despite Siobhan’s lighting herself like the moon on fire, they make little progress in the darkness.

At first light, and after coffee in tin mugs, Siobhan sends Fergus, quorking and squawking, out searching for the noise’s source. Fergus reports a “giant man,” far off and moving away. The posse hurries through Crowley’s Crossing in pursuit, eventually leaving the road for the squishy soil of the prairie in order to follow their quarry directly.

At the end of a hot, overcast, and humid day, which saw the Posse push or pull the wagon out of a muddy hole no less than seven times, the Posse approaches an isolated farm. In the dull light at dusk, Jack sees two mounted riders skulking behind them on the edge of the horizon. “Perhaps I’m being judgmental,” he thinks, and turns his attention to the wan woman, shotgun in hand, emerging from the warm light of the farmhouse.

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