I do not own the Magnificent Seven nor do I make any money from this story.
All copyrights reserved.
Thanks to my beta readers.
This is the second story I wrote.
Megan Henderson had been riding for two days straight, she was tried and sore. She wanted to sleep on a bed and eat a proper meal. Four Corners was the name of this dusty little town. She knew it had seven protectors and she needed protecting.
Jake had been chasing her for two weeks and she was getting tired. It was also costing her money constantly changing her appearance; for this town she was going to be Shane Dorn. She was lucky she was not overly pretty or else she would not be able to pull off being a man. The saloon seemed like the best place to start looking for the seven.
She slowly rode through the town looking at everything, cataloging it in her mind. She hitched her horse outside the saloon and walked in, she had no idea what the seven looked like.
The first person she saw was Vin Tanner, he was sitting with three other men. She knew him from when he was a bounty hunter. He, of course, would not recognize her dressed as she was; she smiled.
Vin, Chris and Buck were all sitting at their usual table discussing the previous day's event. There had been an attempted bank robbery. The three guys were in the jail, Ezra was watching them. JD and Josiah had gone down to Eagle's Bend to help with some outlaw trouble. Chris glanced up and saw someone walking towards them, young man of about twenty-five. He had a silly smile on his face. Chris stopped talking as the stranger stepped up to the table; after a second or so he spoke,
"I'm Shane Dorn, I'm looking for the seven that guard this town."
Chris leaned back in his chair,
"That would be us. Is there a problem?"
"There are only three of you, I need to speak to you all." Her plan would not work unless all seven were in.
Chris didn't like this man, there was something odd about him. Buck spoke up before Chris did,
"Well, what would be sooo important?"
Megan dislike this one from the start, she frowned at him and leaning over the table she hissed,
"Three thousand dollars."
She had their attention now. She noticed how the others looked at the man dressed in black, their leader? As if on queue he spoke,
"Buck, get Nathan and meet us at the jail, we can talk there."
Buck finished his drink and left for the clinic. So you're Buck, thought Megan, I know Vin. Who are you man in black? Megan watched as the two men stood and made to leave.
"Hey, don't I get to know your name? I know who Vin is but not you."
Chris glared at Shane for a long time,
"How do you know me?" Vin asked.
"I met you once, long ago. I looked very different then." It was the truth.
The explanation seemed to satisfy Vin but Chris was still glaring at her. She had to be careful of this one.
"Let's go," Vin called from the door.
Ezra was silently shuffling his cards when Chris, Buck, Vin, Nathan and some man Ezra didn't know walked in. He looked at them for a moment then leaned back in his chair.
"Well, if ..."
Chris cut him short.
"I don't have the time, Ezra," he snapped.
Megan saw immediately that there was tension between the man in black and this 'Ezra'. She'd have to keep that in mind but then again she took note of everything. She would be dead if she didn't.
"I see you have prisoners in you jail, they can't hear what I have to say," said Megan.
It was only half a lie, the truth was she hated jails.
Ezra noticed the stranger discomfort and said,
"I'm sure these miscreants would behave themselves if we were to step out on to the porch."
Megan was impressed,
"Big words for a lawman, Mr ?"
"Standish, Ezra P Standish," he said flashing his gold tooth.
"Shane Dorn." Megan said holding out her hand; her first mistake.
As Ezra took his hand he realized how small they were, how soft and how long his nails were. As they walked out the jail, Ezra studied her face. There was no doubt in is mind that this Shane Dorn was in fact a woman. Her second mistake only confirmed it. As she stepped out side she touched her side, pulling her shirt tight over her chest. She kept the money wrapped around her waist. It was only for a second but Ezra had been studying her so he saw the movement. He had to admit she pulled the stunt off quite well.
"You said in the saloon, that you had a large sum of money," said Buck.
Megan nodded, she saw Ezra look up at the words 'large sum of money'. A gambler.
"And land deeds," she added.
"Why would you be carrying all that?" asked Vin.
"It's a new idea. One person would carry the money and deeds while others carry blank documents. The idea being no one would know who had the money. It could have worked but I got a tail. He is about two days behind me. Names Jake," explained Megan.
"How do you know his name?" asked Chris. He noticed how uncomfortable Shane suddenly looked.
"He caught up with me about a week ago." Megan chuckled at the memory. "I have never had t' ride so fast. He did get a blow to the head for his trouble."
All was quiet for a moment, Chris looked at each of them.
"Well, if you like you can keep the money in the bank. We can take care of Jake when he gets here," said Chris.
Ezra couldn't control himself any more.
"Mr Dorn, exactly how much money is in your possession?" he asked.
Before Megan could say anything Chris stepped forward,
"I think it would be a good idea if you didn't know that, Ezra."
Megan was disappointed. She had hoped to carry on riding and the seven would stop Jake when he got here. Now the money was in the bank. But at lease it was safe. She sat with Buck, Vin and Nathan in the saloon. They were talking about the prisoners being picked up tomorrow morning. She was wondering where the other two lawmen were.
"Where are the others?" she asked interrupting the conversation.
"They are in Eagle's Bend." said Buck.
"Eagle's Bend? Why are they there?" she asked.
"They are just helping that side, they were a little short handed," said Nathan.
"You do that a lot? Help out other towns?" asked Megan.
"We help any one who needs it."
Megan leaned back in her chair, mostly content to spend the afternoon in the saloon.
Chris called Ezra back when the others had made their way to the saloon from the bank.
"Ezra, you're on guard duty still."
Ezra sighed and turned back to the jail, Chris walked with him. He stopped Ezra before he entered the building.
"I want to talk to you," he said.
Ezra prepared himself for a lecture on not pulling his weight around the town.
"Did you notice anything odd about Shane?" asked Chris.
Ezra was surprised that Chris noticed Shane Dorn's gender problem.
"Ah, you mean the fact that he is indeed a she?" asked Ezra.
A look of surprise crossed Chris' face,
"Oh, what were you referring to?" asked Ezra with a wince.
"Well, the way he.. she looked at the money when it was put in the bank. How do you know?" asked Chris.
"Know what, Mr Larabee?" Ezra asked innocently.
"The he she thing," Chris growled.
"You forget, Mr Larabee. I observe people for a living."
There was silence for a while.
"As for you observation at the bank, I do believe there is more to this than Mr Dorn is telling," said Ezra.
"Yeah, maybe this Jake will have the answers. For now it's between us," said Chris.
Chris made to leave.
"Just keep an eye on her," he threw over his shoulder.
It was early evening when Vin relieved Ezra at the jail. Megan was hoping to win some money, she only had ten dollars on her and she needed to get some clothes. She had 'borrowed' the clothes she was wearing but they were uncomfortable. She had spent the afternoon sitting in the saloon, listening to the conversation drifting around her.
Slipping in the odd question, she had found out what each of them did in the town. She was pleased when Vin said he was going to take over from Ezra at the jail. As she waited for Ezra to join the rest of his friends, she thought about what kind of material would be nice for her dress. She had seen a dusty red that would be good. Just then she realised that she couldn't walk into the store and buy a dress and then go and have it fitted. She was a man in this town. Damn.
At that moment Ezra walked in, he glanced at her and barely hid a knowing smile before walking to the bar and ordering a drink. Megan stared at the table for a while, how did he know? More importantly had he told anyone? Well she might not be able to buy a dress, but she was still going to win money off of him. As she suspected he was up for a game.
Ezra couldn't help but be amused at this woman, she was good. Had him fooled, if only for a minute. He had to admit she was very good at poker, she gave no sign to how her cards looked. The both of them were pretty even in their winning. But Ezra was better. She folded.
"It late, I've been riding all day," she said standing up.
Ezra looked at his watch, she was right. It was past eleven.
"Can I not interest you in a game with higher stake, Miz?"
"Maybe tomorrow, we still have a day before Jake catches up with me."
She had half turned to go when she spun round,
"What did you say?"
"Let us drop all pretenses. If you want us to assist you, you must tell the truth. We can start with your name," said Ezra smoothly.
Megan glared at the gambler,
"Okay, trade information for information. How did you know?"
"Your hands. Name?"
"Henderson. What are you going to do with Jake when he gets here?"
"Arrest him. First name?"
"Why don't you just kill him?" she demanded.
"You broke your rules," he said.
She glared at Ezra for a moment before turning on her heel and stalking out the saloon.
Ezra looked over to where Chris sat, he could see Chris was thinking the same thing; there was something very wrong with this situation.
Megan was wrong about having a day before Jake made it to town. Once Jake realised she was headed to Four Corners, he rode straight through the night. He has guessed he'd reach town by tomorrow midday. Unknowingly at the same time that JD and Josiah would return home.
The prison wagon was just pulling out of town when Megan walked out of the hotel where she was staying. Buck had said that JD and Josiah were due back today which meant all seven would be here when Jake came looking for her. She smiled to herself; with Jake out the way she might tell the other the truth about herself and buy the dusty red material.
That's if Standish hadn't told them already but she doubted he had. None of their attitudes had changed. She made her way to the saloon to get some breakfast. The town's people were starting to move around the place. She liked this little town, pity she couldn't stay. She had bigger things planned. Vin, Nathan and Buck were sitting eating when she walked into the saloon, she walked over.
"Can I sit?" she asked.
Buck shrugged but Vin nodded.
"You said the others will be back today," she said as she sat.
"Yeah, 'round midday."
"That's if they don't get sidetracked with something," Buck added. He did not like Dorn.
"Something, what? This isn't Ezra we're talking about," said Nathan.
"Oh, I hope you are not suggesting I would intentionally delay my return to this fair hamlet?" drawled Ezra from behind Buck.
"Hey, Ez it's not even nine, what are you doing up?" joked Buck.
"I have business to attend, Mr Wilmington." Ezra answered vaguely. "And it's Ezra."
At that moment Chris walked in, he locked eyes with Ezra. The others, including Megan, saw something past between them. Buck spoke up,
"Now what do you two know that we don't?"
"Nothing." They both said at the same time.
Ezra sat down and ordered some coffee ignoring Nathan mumbles about eating breakfast. He had a feeling it was going to be a long morning.
It was a long morning for all of them; Megan was impatient for JD and Josiah to come back. With Jake coming the next day the seven only had the afternoon to get every thing sorted and prepared. Chris spent the morning in his corner, watching. Even Buck was quiet as he half heartedly played a game of poker with Ezra. There was no money involved, playing to pass the time.
It was around midday when Ezra had an idea; Henderson was staying in the hotel. How could she afford the hotel? Getting up, he said,
"I just remembered something, if you gentlemen will excuse me. I have matters to attend to."
He glanced at Chris as he left; Chris got up and followed him.
Once a safe distance from the saloon Ezra explained,
"Miz Henderson said she was carrying money for ...."
He paused realizing something else. Frowning he said,
"She didn't say who she was carrying that money for."
Chris didn't like where Ezra was going.
"Mr Larabee, she's a guest at the hotel. Where did she get the means for the hotel? A government courier couldn't afford a hotel. At best a room in the saloon or sleep on the road. Your observation in the bank; that moneys not hers. I'm guessing it Jake's and he wants it back," said Ezra putting it together as he spoke.
Chris shook his head,
"The money is not Jake's."
"What makes you so sure of that?" asked Ezra.
"Would you leave three thousand dollars lying around for someone to steal?"
Ezra stared at Chris,
He stopped, swallowed,
"Three thousand dollars?"
Chris could see the wheels spinning in his head, he was surprise however when Ezra said,
"Wire the towns and find out if any have had a bank robbery."
Chris nodded and headed to the telegraph office. He had a slight smile on his face, Ezra was quick when it came to conning people especially if he was the one being conned.
He nodded a greeting to the man behind the counter,
"Send a wire to all surrounding town asking about a bank robbery, waiting for a reply," he said.
Chris leaned against the counter to wait.
Ezra stepped out the hotel; he looked up and down the street. Where were JD and Josiah? It turned out that Mr Dorn had paid in advance for the room for three nights.
Dead end. Ezra thought about seeing what Chris had got when he saw JD and Josiah about to enter the saloon.
"Mr Dunne," he shouted.
JD stopped and turned to see Ezra standing outside the hotel beckoning him with his hand.
"I'm gonna see what Ezra wants. I'll join ya later," said JD to Josiah.
Josiah nodded and stepped into the saloon. JD ambled across to where Ezra was standing. As he reached the steps, Ezra took his arm and led him round the side of the hotel.
"Mr Dunne, am I right in assuming that you are familiar with the faces of the criminals on the wanted posters?" he asked.
JD nodded but didn't have time to answer before Ezra continued,
"Do you know the name 'Henderson'?"
JD looked thoughtful for a moment,
"Henderson. Yeah, that rings a bell. Though I'm not sure what he did."
Ezra shook his head,
"She? Henderson?" JD shook his head, "no, there is no lady with the name Henderson."
"I doubt very much she is a lady, Mr Dunne. If you saw her would you be able to recognize her?"
"I think so," nodded JD before adding, "if she is wanted."
Ezra nodded and the two of them headed toward the saloon avoiding the main road.
Ezra and JD looked round the corner of the saloon.
"Look through the window, she's sitting with the others," said Ezra.
JD stepped on the porch in front of the saloon, Ezra close behind him, he peered through the dirty window. JD recognized the woman as Megan Stewart. He crouched down and turned to Ezra,
"Megan Stewart. Where did you get Henderson?"
"It's the name she gave me. What is she wanted for?" asked Ezra.
"Bank robbery and murder. She is dangerous," said JD.
Ezra though for a moment,
"I have an idea. Get to the jail as fast as you can, have a cell ready."
"What are you gonna do?" he asked.
Ezra smiled flashing his gold tooth,
Not long after Ezra and Chris left, Josiah walked into the saloon. He noticed Chris was not at the table and there was some other young man that he did not know at the table.
"Josiah," called Buck, "Where's JD?"
Josiah was about to say he was talking to Ezra but he stopped something was up, as soon as the stranger heard his name an odd look had crossed his face.
"He got side tracked. Casey," he said.
"Oh, right," said Buck.
They all knew that Casey was not in town. Did Josiah know what was going on between Chris and Ezra. Just then Ezra came running into the saloon, out of breath.
"Jake's coming, I just ran into JD and he said he heard of a man hiring people to help him catch another man named Dorn. They'll be here within the hour," he said.
Ezra made a great show of being out of breath, he leaned heavily on the table he blocked Megan's view of the other for a moment. In that moment he winked at the guys before pushed himself to his feet.
"I have an idea. Mr Dorn if you were to accompany me to the jail and stay there while we take care of Jake and his posse. That way there is no chance of you being involved," Ezra looked pointedly at the others.
"Yeah, that would work."
The rest nodded in agreement.
"You think I can't fight my own battles?" demanded Megan.
Ezra paused for a second.
"I am suggesting no such thing, but the chances are that he would shoot you before we can get this whole mess shorted out," reasoned Ezra.
"Yeah, he's right," said Buck playing along.
Megan thought about it for a while, if they all agreed then it must be the best course of action. She would have to play along.
"All right," she said, still unsure.
Ezra nodded once,
"If you will allow me to escort you to the jail we can get this sorted out immediately."
Megan stood and followed Ezra out of the saloon.
As Megan entered the jail she knew something was wrong; the kid behind the desk recognized her. She would have to wait for an opportunity to escape. Ezra was herding her toward the jail cell, she had to think quickly.
"Wait, he might recognize me in this jacket," she turned to Ezra, "give me yours. He knows I'll never wear a jacket like that."
Ezra was momentarily offended by her remark, there was nothing wrong with his emerald green jacket and he did not want to give it to her. But he could see it was the only way she would get into the cell.
"Alright," he muttered.
He started to take it off; it was the moment Megan had been waiting for. While his arms were entangled in the sleeves of his jacket, she reached forward and pulled his gun from his hip holster. Ezra froze. JD caught his breath, she was clever and fast. She smiled sweetly,
"You are very clever but I think it would be best if you were to step into this here cell."
Ezra didn't move.
"I will shoot you," she threatened.
Still Ezra didn't move. The silence was a weight in the suddenly airless room.
"Fine," she said, "I'll shoot him."
She pointed the gun at JD not taking her eyes off Ezra. JD glanced fearfully at Ezra. Ezra meet Megan's stare, she would.
"As you wish," Ezra said and walked into the cell.
Megan stepped back.
"Lock it," she said to JD, who did as he was told.
"I am totally guessing here but I reckon that you must be JD; the sheriff of this town. You are going to come with me and get my money from the bank and I am going to leave," Megan said as she made for the door. "If you try anything I will shoot you in the middle of the street. Sure your friends would kill me but you would still be dead. Do you understand?"
JD nodded, he glanced at Ezra through the bars of the cell. He had his poker face on. Megan nudged JD out the door and towards the bank.
As soon as Megan and JD had left the jail, Ezra pulled his lock picks from their secret location and began to pick the lock.
After Ezra and Megan had left, Josiah turned to the others and asked,
"What's going on?"
"You don't know!" exclaimed Buck. "What was all that with stuff about Casey bein' in town."
"Ezra called JD over to the hotel just as we arrived, he seemed tense. Then Chris was not here and that young man was at the table. I figured something was up," explained Josiah.
"Yeah, something is up. Between Chris and Ezra," said Vin.
"Chris and Ezra?"
"It all started when Dorn came into town."
"Who is Dorn?" asked Josiah.
"The young man who was sitting at the table," answered Nathan.
"Maybe it's to do with all that money he brought with him," said Vin.
"Yeah, could Ezra have got Chris to ..." Buck left the sentence unfinished.
Chris would never think of taking the money.
"I goin' to find Chris and get this sorted, saw him head for the telegraph office. If something's up I want to know about it. Ya'll stay here in case Ez and JD show," said Buck.
Buck finished his drink and left the saloon. As he walked to the telegraph office, his back was to the jail and bank. He did not see Megan and JD headed to the bank but JD saw him.
Chris leaned against the counter top of the telegraph office, why was it taking so long for answers from the other towns. He glanced out the window occasionally but had his back to the door when Buck walked in. He too missed JD and Megan.
Buck leaned on the counter next to Chris.
"What's up?" he asked.
"Nothing much," said Chris.
"Something's up between you, JD and Ezra. It's only fair that we know about it," said Buck.
"JD?" asked Chris.
"Yeah, he and Ezra were talking just now," Buck saw Chris' confused expression. "You did not know about that?"
Thing were getting out of hand and Chris did not like it.
"Where are they now?" he asked.
Chris went to the door, Buck followed. As Chris and Buck stepped off the porch they saw Ezra run from the jail to the bank. There was a brief silence then gunfire. The distinct sound of Ezra's Remington. Chris swore as he set off for the bank, Buck close behind.
Nathan had been filling in Josiah on the resent happenings of the town involving Shane Dorn. Gunfire interrupted him.
The three of them stumbled out the saloon to see Chris and Buck running toward the bank.
"Aww, hell," swore Vin as they took off after them.
As soon as Ezra had got himself free, he ran to the bank. The bank clerk looked relieved when he saw Ezra come crashing in. Ezra paid him no mind as he went through to the back room where the safe was kept.
"JD!" he called.
Gunfire was his only answer. Ezra dived for cover behind the bank manager's desk. He was being shot at with his own gun. That was not right. Time for a new tactic.
"Miss Henderson?" called Ezra.
"Miss Henderson?" he called again.
"What?" came the short reply.
"May I inquire about the health of Mr Dunne?" asked Ezra.
"He's fine," she snapped.
"Could he say something?" asked Ezra.
If JD did not answer Ezra was going in. The silence seemed to drag, then finally.
"I'm okay, Ezra," came JD's voice.
He sounded anything but okay. The only other gun he had was his derringer. His options were limited but that made the choice easier.
Chris ran ahead of the others, none of them saw the lone stranger riding fast into the town. Jake had heard the shoots as he entered the outskirts of the small town. Megan was his first and only thought. He watched as two men ran from the one side of town to the other, they were joined half way by three others. Jake figured they were headed for the bank, he was right. If that was where they were headed then that was were Megan was and that was where he would be.
Ezra looked round the side of the desk and through the doorway of the small office. He couldn't see Megan or JD, only the bank manager taking money out of the safe and putting it in some sort of bag. Ezra needed to know where Megan was. He come round from behind the desk and moved quietly towards the doorway. Ezra half way across the floor when Chris came through the front, followed shortly by the others. With all the commotion, Megan stuck Ezra's gun round the corner of the door and fired wildly, sending the men diving for cover. The hollow clicks of Ezra's now empty gun rung loudly through out the small room. With a curse the gun was thrown to the floor. It was shortly replaced by one of JD's colts.
Chris grinned, this was goin' to be easy. All they had to do was to keep her shooting, when she ran out of bullets they would go in and get her. He saw the others had realized that too. You need more than one person to rob a bank.
As Chris expected, Megan ran out of bullets. A heavy silence filled the room. There was shuffling in the next room and JD led Megan out, hands cuffed behind her back. JD had a gun in his hands. JD had secured it to the underside of his desk in the jail. He had slipped it into the back of his pants, when Ezra had refused to enter the jail. He had been waiting for when Ezra turned up before he made his move. He never doubted that one of the seven would come to his aid.
Chris frown slightly at the gun in JD's hand, the kid had mentioned something about hiding a gun in the jail. Chris made a mental note to pay more attention to what JD said. The seven had come out of their hiding places. Nathan went to see is the bank manager was alright and help him put the money back into the safe.
"Megan Henderson. Or is it Stewart?" asked Ezra as he bend to pick up his and JD's discarded guns.
"Henderson," said a new voice.
All turned to see a tall, thin man with wild black hair standing in the doorway. His hand rested easily on the gun at his hip. He glanced at the seven, his eyes rested on Megan. He nodded once,
She glared at him, then gave him a stiff smile,
"Megan Henderson," said Vin. "The bank robber?"
JD nodded, he reached up and took off Megan's hat. Long light brown unraveled and fell across her shoulders. Her whole face changed, becoming softer.
"You're a woman!" exclaimed Buck, he looked between Ezra and Chris. "You two knew about this," he accused.
"I looked for you for a while before I gave up bounty huntin'," said Vin.
"I was surprised to find you in this town," she said.
"Well, she's my bounty now," snapped Jake.
Chris stepped forward.
"She'll be put in jail until the Judge comes and sorts this out." Chris waited a second for an argument from Jake, none came. "JD, Buck take Henderson to the jail. Josiah wire the Judge. Ezra, I want to talk to you. Now."
Chris and Ezra stood while the rest left the bank, Nathan took the manager to his clinic for some calming tea. As soon as the room was empty Chris turned to Ezra.
"How'd she get you gun?" he demanded.
Ezra looked calmly at Chris.
"Well, while I was momentarily distracted in my efforts to place her in jail. She took the opportunity to relieve me of my gun," he said.
Chris glared at Ezra, the guy could not give a straight answer. Chris turned and walked out the bank, Ezra followed a second later.
Chris, Vin and Jake sat at one of the tables in the saloon. Jake was telling his side of the story.
"I've been chasing Megan for almost four months, while I was chasing her she robbed a stage and as luck would have it, a government official was on it, with a lot of money and land deeds. Three thousand dollars. It's a lot of money and she did not want to share it. So she shot her 'partners' and set off with the money. She didn't kill any one on the stage. Almost had her once. She's in your jail now, I want her and the money and I'll be out of your town," finished Jake.
Chris was silent for while.
"The Judge is coming tomorrow. You'll have to wait," he said.
The afternoon passed by slowly. JD was guarding the jail with Buck while Ezra played poker in the saloon. Chris sat out side the saloon watching the town. That evening Nathan took JD some food, Buck had made is way over to the saloon a little earlier in the evening.
"All quite?" Nathan asked as JD tucked into the food. JD nodded.
"Don't I get any food?" asked Megan.
JD and Nathan looked at each other, usually they would say no but she was a woman.
"I'll be back now," said Nathan as he left the jail.
Nathan had just left when Jake came in, he nodded a greeting to JD.
"Can I talk to her?" Jake asked.
"In private?" asked Jake.
"I'm sorry, no," said JD. "If anything happens I have to be here."
Jake looked from JD to Megan and back suddenly he drew his gun. Aiming at JD, he said,
"I need to speak to her. Open the gate."
JD slowly rose from his seat, took the keys from the drawer and made his way over to the cell. It was the second time in one day that a gun had been aimed at him.
"So you've come to break me out, Jake?" asked Megan scornfully.
"I could leave you here," returned Jake. "But you own me a lot of money and you are going to help me get it back."
Megan stepped out the jail,
"If I refuse?"
"I will shoot you now."
Megan was silent for a while then she smiled,
Jake turned to JD, he stepped forward and took the keys from him,
"You, in the cell and move it."
JD did as he was told; Jake locked the door and turned to leave. At that moment Nathan walked in with Megan's food. Nathan went for his gun but Jake already had his gun out.
"No, no. Put the gun on the table. Nice and slow," he said.
Nathan walked over and put his gun on the table. Jake opened the other cell and indicated with his head that Nathan should enter. While Jake locked Nathan into the cell, Megan quietly made her way over to the table; she took Nathan's gun and tucked it into the back of her pants.
"We must go before any others come," she said.
"Sleep tight fellas."
He backed out the door, keeping watch on them both long as possible.
There was silence for a few minutes after Megan and Jake had left.
"I must get Ezra to show me how to pick a lock."
It was early morning when Vin came in to relieve JD, only to find JD and Nathan in the cells. Vin discovered Jake had taken the keys with him so he ran to the saloon and got Ezra out of bed to open the cell doors. By now all the seven were at the jail and had heard JD and Nathan's story.
"They have a twelve hour lead on us," said Chris.
"Yeah, but we've had worse," said Vin.
The seven had been riding for five hours following Vin's lead when they spotted one of the horses Jake and Megan had stolen. It made no move to run or come to them as they got closer they saw why. There was a body lying next to it, its foot still in the stirrup. It was Jake. Nathan got down to check the body.
"He's been dead a long time," he said straightening up.
"So now she's traveling alone, moving faster," said Buck.
"I'll track her faster if I go alone," said Vin.
Chris gazed at the horizon, he nodded.
"Yeah, you carry on. We'll head on back to town," he said.
The others gave Vin their food and water supplies then they went of in their different directions.
Vin was gone for three days, he came back early on the fourth morning. All were gathered in the saloon to hear what he had to say.
"I followed her trail for two days, it met up wagon tracks 'bout eight wagons. I followed it but they split within the hour. Couldn't see either group so I made my way back. She's good," said Vin. "What did the Judge say?"
"Nothing much, he was mad though. But nothing could be done about he said. Stayed the day then left," said Chris.
"I still can't believe she had me fooled into thinking she was a man," said Buck.
"Yeah, she had us all fooled," said Vin.
Ezra and Chris said nothing.
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