The quarters were tight, cramped and dirty, but what else would one expect
of an underground tunnel. The saloon directly above had finally closed
for the few hours between the last drunken reveler staggering out and lunch
Two men, huddled within the tunnel, lit their lanterns and began their work,
digging under the floor of the saloon. The only thing making the small
confines of the secretive excavation bearable was the rich reward it was
"How much you think we got?" A young voice whispered within the confines
of the tunnel. The lantern light barely illuminated the figure stretched
out in front of him.
The older man turned around the best he could to look back at the young man;
he scratched at his white beard. "Hmmm... between tonight and last
night, and what we panned out of the river this morn, I'd say we have close
to $500 dollars."
The older man picked up one of the small bags strewn about him and felt its
weight. Collecting the gold dust that fell between the floorboards
from careless and drunken patrons had indeed proved profitable.
A devilish smile crept up the corners of the younger man's face. He
shifted, getting up on his knees, and causing dirt to rain down on them.
The white-haired man turned back to his work. Using a small brush,
he whisked in-between the floor planks, allowing the dust to fall into a
small pan he held up. It was tedious work, but better than breaking
your back and risking your life in some old shaky mine.
The sound of a gun hammer being pulled back caused the old man to stop his
work. He slowly turned around to face his partner, who now held a small
derringer in his hand.
"Sorry, old man, I need all the money, sorta got myself in a peck of trouble
with some unscrupulous types."
The old man licked his lips and stared sadly at the younger man. He
knew when he hooked up with the young fella that he couldn't be trusted,
but the old man had allowed his greed to over-rule his good sense.
He had had a long and exciting life and wasn't really afraid to die, but
this wasn't the sort of death he had envisioned.
The bullet entered the old man's skull ending his thoughts. He slumped
down against the side of the tunnel, his eyes staring up as if trying to
see the hole in his forehead. The young man stared sadly at his partner;
blood running down the older man's face in tiny rivulets and bleeding into
his white beard. The flickering lantern light gave him a ghoulish
appearance, and sent a shiver of dread down the younger man's spine as he
quickly collected up the bags of gold dust.
He took one last look at the old man, who had been his cohort for the past
two months. He didn't know much about him; knew he didn't have any
family, but he had talked highly of seven lawmen he knew. A twinge
of remorse scratched at the young man's heart, but the combined weight of
the pouches he held soon alleviated that. He crawled back out of the
tunnel taking the light and leaving the old man alone in his unmarked and
The seven ATF agents were enjoying the relaxing tempo of their mounts as
they made their way through the dense maze of mottled-bark aspens--holding
up umbrellas of golden sunshine. The late morning sunshine flickered
through the tree branches, casting lacy shadows on the ground.
Ezra Standish continued to flash deadly glares at the lean sharpshooter's
back, who sat slightly slumped in the saddle atop his palomino. The
undercover agent turned his head to look over his shoulder at the four men,
who followed behind in pairs up the narrow path.
Nathan Jackson and Josiah Sanchez seemed to be relishing their time in the
great outdoors. Ezra inwardly smiled and rubbed at his eyes as he cast
a glance at the tall ex-paramedic. Nathan had probably saved his
life. Ezra had been severely beaten and blinded, when he had inadvertently
walked into a hostage situation in Judge Travis' chambers. Ignoring
orders, and his own sense of self-preservation, Nathan had forced himself
upon the hostage takers and then refused to leave Ezra. Ezra still
found this hard to believe that someone would actually risk their own life
Ezra's eyes then fell on the youngest member of their team. JD Dunne
was also enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, trying to catch sight of any wildlife
that might be in the area. Buck Wilmington, who rode abreast of him,
just looked resigned to suffer through his young friend and roommate's bountiful
energy and excitement. Ezra reminded himself to talk to JD about how
he had wired up the Judge's car to electrocute Earl Barker. He would
definitely have to be careful if he ever got on the wrong side of the young
Standish looked ahead to the lone figure, who led the motley parade, dressed
in a dark jacket, riding a sorrel mare. Ezra grabbed a tree branch
and broke off a twig, sticking the end down into the cast on his arm.
Two more weeks before he would be free of the constant itching and
inconvenience. He had been placed on desk duty for the month.
He knew it wasn't all because of being injured. This was Larabee's
punishment for his and Tanner's little unauthorized excursion in the agency's
Ezra nudged his horse forward bringing himself up alongside Vin.
"Listen, Ez before you say anything I keep telling you it was an accident.
I thought Travis had found out about the SUV we...ah borrowed, and I wasn't
going to let you take all the blame so I told Chris," Vin blurted out.
He couldn't stand the silent treatment he'd been getting from the southerner
since he had returned to work. Vin had hoped getting everyone to take
a vacation doing what Ezra enjoyed would somehow placate the peeved agent.
Ezra leaned forward flopping his uninjured arm atop the saddle horn.
He stared impassively at the contrite sharpshooter. "Sir, next time
you feel the need to share in my culpability," Ezra began.
Vin's eyes arched. "Yeah," he prompted.
Ezra allowed his horse to drop behind Vin's. He smiled at the
sharpshooter's exasperated exhale. He wasn't as mad at Tanner as he
made out. His fellow lawmen now knew his secret passion of exploring
Ghost Towns, and for some unexplained reason they had decided it would be
a good idea to all go and explore one together. Ezra never had anyone
take an interest in what he did, not even his mother. Maude believed
outside interests detracted from what was really important in life, making
money and stepping on the little people as you rose up the societal ladder.
Larabee peered over his shoulder at his men. He had been slightly stunned
by Vin's request that they accompany Standish on one of his Ghost Town
tours. Chris then thought it would be a good way for him and the others
to get a peek at what lay beneath Ezra's cool exterior and attitude.
Maybe discover the real man underneath all those Armani suits and silk
shirts. They had once dragged the private southerner on one of their
fishing trips, and although Chris believed that Ezra did enjoy their company,
fishing was not really his forte. Chris felt this was probably only
fair that they do something that Standish enjoyed.
"Hey, Buck, this is going to be so cool!" JD exclaimed, causing his horse
to prance slightly under his rider's excitement.
"Sure, kid, lots of fun. Only right now I could be having lunch with
one beautiful senorita if I wasn't traipsing around in the woods looking
for an old town," Buck replied a slight edge to his tone.
"Buck, Inez turned you down, remember," JD reminded
"Yeah, but I'm wearing her down, and I shouldn't let up," Buck explained.
JD shook his head at his exasperating and enamored friend. He didn't
think Buck had a chance with Inez, but one didn't tell Buck Wilmington
this. Dunne's thoughts moved to Casey, wishing she could of come with
them. The two of them could have found a nice quiet spot...JD shook
his head, now Buck had him doing it.
Vin brought his horse up alongside Chris's mount, who chomped unconcerned
on a small patch of grass at the top of the rise. Chris had removed
his jacket and a bare arm rested on the pommel as he held the reins loosely
in his hand. His blue-eye gaze was locked on the sight below him.
Vin's own mouth dropped open as he followed Chris's gaze down the slope.
As the others pulled up alongside their faces mimicked the expressions on
Vin and Chris's visages.
All seven of the agents felt a strange sense of déjà vu as
they stared at the town, which was in fairly good shape, considering it was
well over a hundred years old. At least most of the buildings appeared
to be standing. The town was barely the length of a football field,
with clapboard buildings on either side of a wide dirt street. Vin
guffawed slightly, expecting any minute to see Jesse James or Wyatt Earp
appear. Buck smiled at JD's wide-eyed expression and had to admit he
was glad he came.
Chris glanced over to his right seeing a strange mix of amazement and
bewilderment in Ezra's face. Chris had never explored a Ghost Town
and didn't know what to expect.
"Not what you expected?" Chris asked.
Ezra shook his head and stood up in his stirrups for a moment then sat back
down. A pleasant smile etched on his clean-shaven face. Like
so many other ghost towns from Colorado's past, there should be hardly anything
left. Decades of long winters with heavy snows should have weathered
these more-than-century-old buildings into the ground. Rusty nails,
maybe a few bricks from a foundation or the wooden planks of a sagging wall
might have survived. But here many of the buildings still stood, preserved
for a glimpse of a fleeting, yet intense moment in Colorado History.
"No, Mr. Larabee, of all the towns I've explored this one has to be in one
of the best conditions. This is truly a fine." Ezra could make
out several buildings that he thought to be the livery and hotel. This
town still held some semblance to its wild-frontier days. From this
distance it was like looking at a piece of history that had been pulled out
of the past and laid out at their feet.
Most of the towns Ezra had visited had been nothing more than weathered
skeletons, etching the outline of a town. Usually One had to have a
very vivid imagination to even begin to see what had once stood.
"Lord, Ez, this is really something," Buck voiced.
Ezra reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small pamphlet.
He looked at the picture on the front then back at the town. The
picture was of the same Ghost Town. He had not taken the picture
at face value, most only showed what the town might of looked like in its
prime. And most people were disappointed when they actually came and
visited the towns themselves. This was not the case here. Ezra
then caught the small print underneath the image. 'lovingly preserved by
the Hearst Foundation.'
Ezra looked back down at the mountain hamlet again. "Obviously, someone has
put a lot of work into trying to restore this town." His brow furrowed,
most old towns were being allowed to just disintegrate, melt back into the
past, very few were being preserved. Worse, some were just being paved
over for upscale developments their history lost forever under concrete and
golf courses. For all his sophistication and city-bred upbringing,
Ezra at times longed for the simplicity of life that was wrapped within the
harsh reality of the bygone western era.
"Maybe some wealthy entrepreneur needed a hobby?" Buck assumed.
Chris nudged his horse down the path toward the town, the others
automatically following. A wildflower-speckled meadow, in stark contrast
to the bare rock surrounding it, carpeted the entranceway to the historic
The seven riders pulled up their horses at the railing that stretched across
the wide avenue just before the first building. A weathered signpost
read, 'Please hitch your horses here. No motorized vehicles beyond
The seven agents loosened cinches and tied up their horses. JD's brown
eyes kept darting back and forth, trying to take in every detail of the archaic
Ezra also looked intently at the settlement, but not with the excitement
that JD was showing, more like apprehension. He always got a child-like
exhilaration when he entered a Ghost Town. A chance to touch the past,
but this was something different, more like the past was reaching out to
touch him. Ezra shook away the feeling, attributing it to his recent
altercation with the Barker clan.
JD took the lead, swinging over the railing as the others followed.
They all started walking down the wide dirt street. The first building
on their right, was a mail/telegraph office, and even went so far as
to have a wire coming off the side, to a lone post a few feet away.
From a distance the town had looked remarkably well kept, but as they came
closer they could see some of the ruin that time and weather had instilled
on the buildings.
Most of the buildings were missing windows and some were even lacking
doors. Only small portions of the boardwalk existed and weeds were
trying to make even them non-existent.
Vin was the first to see the spry old man striding toward them. He
nudged Chris and shifted his eyes. They all then noticed the old man
coming down the street, a wide toothy grin on his wrinkled visage.
"Howdy, folks," the old man called out in a gravelly, but firm voice, raising
his hand in greeting.
"Lord, he sure takes this western stuff serious," Buck confided to JD, who
stood next to him.
"He's probably like those people who do Civil War reenactments," JD explained.
As the old man neared, the agents could hear the soft jangle of his spurs.
He was old, how old was anyone's guess. A long white beard hung down
to his chest and white hair peeked out from under a beaten slouch hat that
shadowed his weathered face. He wore brown tweed pants and a beige
linen shirt that was sheer enough to reveal his tan sagging chest.
The old man stopped a few feet from them, spitting out a wad of tobacco.
"Welcome, to the only fully restored Ghost Town in the state," he cackled;
his grin grew wide and brought a sparkle to his blue eyes. "You all
can call me Jasper. I'm sorta the caretaker here 'bout."
Chris stepped forward. "I'm Chris Larabee, and these are my friends,
Ezra, Buck, JD, Josiah, Nathan and Vin."
The old man eyed the strange mix of men, and Ezra wasn't sure but a
sadness of recognition seemed to flicker in the old man's eyes, but quickly
vanished under a friendly smile.
"Where you all hail from?"
"Four Corners," Vin answered. He stared at the old man, there was something
about him that felt familiar somehow. He knew he had never met the
man before. He shook the feeling away.
"Ah, I use to work there a long time ago." Jasper's words seem to drift
along with his eyes for a moment. "Well, let's get to it, thar's lots to
see," Jasper suddenly said and turned around.
Chris and Vin shrugged and started to follow the old coot down the street.
JD picked up his pace and came up alongside Jasper. He turned his head
to look at the kindly old man. "Hey, Jasper, that's a real nice watch,"
JD remarked, noticing the gold watch hanging from Jasper's belt loop.
Jasper removed the antique watch and opened it, revealing a picture of an
elegant woman dressed in old west period clothing. "Yeah, my ma, Jasmine
Hearst gave it to me right before she died. Even had it engraved."
Jasper rubbed a callous thumb over the letters of his name etched into the
back of the watch. He snapped the watched closed and looked over his
shoulder at the others.
"Hearst?" Ezra noted. "As in Hearst Foundation?"
Jasper removed his hat and scratched at his head. "Yeah, I guess you'd
say they're relatives of mine. They help in stoppin' those dang developers
from gettin' their hands on this town." Jasper tugged his hat back
on his head. "It's like all they want to do is pave over every speck
of green earth. Lord, what I wouldn't give to see a building torn down
for a tree," Jasper ranted. He stopped and blushed slightly under
the curious gazes of the seven agents. "Sorry, fellas, guess I got
carried away there."
Vin smiled and nodded his head. "Know exactly what you mean, sir."
Vin cringed every time he passed an open space that suddenly sprouted a 'for
sale' sign; the kiss of death. He had often considered moving up north
to get away from the sprawl that was creeping all over Colorado.
"No problem, brother," Josiah said. "I guess we all pretty much feel
the same way."
"Well, you fellas came at a good time," Jasper continued, changing the subject.
"We don't get many visitors this late in the season. All afraid of
gettin' trapped up here in a blizzard," Jasper cackled. "Me, I love
the solitude." Jasper looked up at the sun. "Well, c'mon on,
times a wastin'."
The seven ATF agents followed Jasper down the street. Vin had to smile
at the old man, who even walked like the only thing he rode was a horse.
The agents' eyes all darted back and forth taking in the smallest detail
as they listened to Jasper explain some of the history.
"In 1859 John Gregory made a rich strike at Clear Creek. Mining camps
developed at Fairplay, Georgetown, Gold Hill and Breckenridge. By 1861
it was all over...this town was the last hold out at the end of the gold
rush. People here were still digging and panning a fair amount of gold,"
Ezra's brow arched at this little tidbit, not that he was interested in staking
a claim, but the thought of finding gold did raise a slight fever in him.
The others seemed less interested in the history and more fascinated with
some of the buildings, many showing the signs of the brutal Colorado
weather. Much to Ezra's amusement and pleasure, his compatriots seemed
genuinely enthralled and interested.
"What's the name of this town?" Buck asked.
Jasper tugged at his beard. "Don't have no name."
"What? A town with no name," Josiah broke in.
"Guess'n the town folks just never got 'round to namin' it," Jasper explained.
Ezra looked over his shoulder grateful to see the others wandering off on
their own curiosity trails. Josiah and Nathan stayed with Jasper as
he continued to walk up the street reciting the history of each building
Standish had only one destination in mind -- the saloon, and it wasn't hard
to find, being one of the biggest buildings in the whole town. Ezra
stepped up onto the partial boardwalk, which creaked under his weight, in
front of the saloon. The glass in the front window had long ago been
removed, or maybe shot out.
Ezra entered the saloon through its single bat-wing door that squeaked as
it flapped shut. He drew in a deep breath, smelling the old wood and
a hint of stale liquor. Ezra couldn't explain the sensation that swept
over him, sort of a cold tingle that traveled up his spine, but whenever
he entered an old western saloon he felt it. It was like coming home,
not that he knew what that was really like, but déjà vu was
strong in this one.
Ezra walked around the half dozen tables, most looked to be recent
additions. One ancient chair sat off against the wall, having only
three legs and one arm. He listened to the sound of his boots on the
rough-hewed floor boards. He glanced at the wide staircase that led
to an upper balcony, the steps themselves bowed and warped with age.
He could see floor tacks that still held remnants of the brown carpeting
that had covered the stairs. A long bar, that might have been very
impressive in its day, dominated the whole room. One shelf had survived
behind the bar, and a small piece of mirror remained attached to the wall.
Ezra stepped around behind the bar. "Well, well, apparently
Mr. Jasper indulges in the saloon's accoutrements from time to time," Ezra
muttered to himself as he reached underneath the bar and pulled out an unlabeled
bottle containing a dark unknown liquid.
Ezra moved out from behind the bar, still holding the whiskey bottle in his
hand. He stopped at a table that sat in the center of the room, as
if demanding to be the center of attention. His brow furrowed as he
circled the table, looking down at the ace of spades that sat in the center
of the table. He was sure it wasn't there when he entered, he suddenly
got the feeling that he was not alone.
Eight men, dressed in jeans and various T-shirts, ranging from polo to tee,
trudged up the mountainside, having had to abandon their all-terrain
vehicles--due to the terrain.
"Tell me again, Hank, why we just couldn't take Larabee out in town?"
a tall, lanky man grumbled out from the middle of the line.
"Because, he's too much on guard, as are his men. Out here they won't
be expecting anything," Hank Gruber panted, stepping over a fallen tree.
He looked over his shoulder at the seven harden men following him up the
trail. The two younger men directly behind him were his brothers, Kenneth
and Neal. The others were men, who asked no questions and did as they
were told, having been handsomely paid.
The Gruber's were a notorious drug family, but their empire came to
an end when Larabee, and his agents got involved. Hank Gruber's father,
Lars, was swapping drugs for guns eight months ago when the place was
raided. Hank managed to escape during the melee, but not before seeing
his father gunned down by Chris Larabee. For eight months Hank and
his brothers had planned the demise of the Magnificent 7. He finally
got his opportunity when the newly hired secretary at the ATF office was
easily tricked out of the information that Larabee, and his men were going
on a little outing. Hank Gruber couldn't have wished for anything better
than an out of the way place with no one around to help.
Buck and JD approached a two-story building that sat taller and wider than
any of its adjoining neighbors, Tattered red velvet curtains graced
the front paneless windows. The door stood ajar, inviting. The two
lawmen stepped into a spacious lobby that was made even more airy by its
lack of a roof. Two rickety benches sat on either side of a narrow
staircase that cut the room in two. Their boots kicked up the dust,
which glittered and danced in the sunlight that streamed down from the hole
"Was this a hotel or something?" JD asked, looking at a faded, gold-framed,
painting of a very voluptuous woman in a low-cut, dark-red velvet dress,
hanging on the far wall. JD stared at the picture and wondered if
it was alarmed or something; although, why anyone would want to steal it
was beyond him. He figured that Jasper must of put it here to give
the room a little atmosphere.
"Yeah, a hotel you pay for by the hour," Buck sarcastically replied as he
stepped up to the well-worn red-carpeted staircase. This was one aspect
of the old west that Buck wished had never disappeared. He always
considered himself a ladies man and would have loved the idea of traveling
from place to place to be met by the less reputable females of the town.
Buck wiped his mouth as he tried to picture what the hotel might have been
like in its day. Women wearing trusses, hanging out the windows, luring
all manner of men inside.
JD looked at him with an inquiring smirk, knowing he was missing something.
"A bordello," Buck explained, rolling his eyes.
A wide grin appeared on JD's boyish face, and he started looking at the building
in a whole new light.
Wilmington looked up to the top of the stairs where he could make out several
doors on either side of the narrow hallway. A very feminine giggle
caused him to spin around suddenly. "What was that?" His gazed
darted around the small lobby then traveled back up the stairs.
JD had returned his attention to the painting. "What was what?"
"I thought I...forget it," Buck said as he realized that JD wasn't paying
any attention to him. "Boy, you're going to go blind if you keep staring
at that picture."
JD flustered and turned around. "Hey, I'm going to go over to the jail
house want to come?"
"Nah, I think I'll have a look around. This place sort of interests
me," Buck replied. JD walked out the door as Buck slowly started up
Vin strolled down the main street, peering into several buildings that lined
the street. Most he couldn't discern what they had been used for.
He was able to make out what appeared to be some type of store. There
had been several shelves and what looked like food stuff sitting on them.
He also noticed an old cashier box sitting on the counter.
Vin frowned as he neared the livery the fresh smell of hay causing his nose
to itch. He peered into the old stable to see hay strewed over the
hard wood floor. Like most of the buildings the stable had no roof
to speak of and most of the stalls were missing slats and doors. Vin
stepped away from the stable and wondered why fresh hay had been strewed
over an obviously unusable stable floor. Out of the corner of his eye
Vin caught sight of an old Conestoga wagon sitting alongside the building.
There was only a small amount of material still attached to the frame and
that was endanger of disintegrating soon. Without even a thought he
headed over to it. Vin peeked into the back, seeing what looked like
bedding and foodstuff. He figured Jasper must of put the stuff there
to make it look authentic, or maybe the old man slept here. It looked
like someone lived in it. Vin grabbed the side of the wagon and pulled
himself up into the back of the buckboard style wagon.
Tanner pulled back the coverlet on the makeshift bed that sat in the back
and stared down at a perfectly preserved sawed-off Winchester. He looked
over his shoulder, and then tentatively reached down and picked up the
weapon. It felt good in his hands, and his fingers caressed the metal
barrel and short stock. Holding the gun he felt he could shoot anything
and not miss.
Buck walked up the wide staircase; his eyes never leaving the door at the
top, just off to the right. He stopped at the top and cocked an ear.
He could just barely hear the soft moans of pleasure coming from the nearby
room; sounds that were starting to arouse him. Buck's mouth suddenly
went dry, and he took a couple tentative steps toward the door.
It was a definite feminine voice on the other side of the door that caused
Buck's heart to race with a mixture of fear and excitement. He couldn't
understand why he was approaching the room instead of racing out of that
place as fast as he could. At first he tried to rationalize,
thinking a couple kids had snuck in and were getting their kicks, but he
knew this wasn't true.
Wilmington placed his hand on the doorknob and a cold chill raced through
his body, causing him to inhale sharply. He closed his eyes and counted
to three. On three Buck threw open the door. He released the
breath he had been holding and looked at the huge bed that sat in the center
of the room, entirely empty. A gentle breeze blew the tattered white
curtains inside. Buck let his gaze sweep over the small room.
The bed was nothing more that a couple of stained mattresses setting on a
very tarnished brass frame. A small wooden nightstand and dresser completed
the room. Buck drew up to the closet door and opened it--nothing.
He stiffened as he felt a whisper-light touch on his face then a slow smile
came to his face. He slowly closed the door and made his way down the
stairs. When he reached the middle of the staircase he again heard
the titillating giggle, but this time he only smiled.
JD entered the jailhouse, which sat nestled between two larger buildings.
He was slightly surprised to see Chris sitting on the edge of the desk going
through what looked like old wanted posters.
Chris glanced up at the young agent and smiled. "Where's Buck?"
"Ah, he's checking out the building on the edge of town," JD replied.
JD's brown eyes took in the small two-cell jail. "Now this is what
it was all about," he commented as he came around the large wood desk and
Chris cocked his head and looked at the young agent with a bemused smile
on his serious face. "What is what all about?"
JD threw his feet up on the desk and leaned back in the aged chair.
"Getting the bad guys and just throwing them in jail. No multitude
of lawyers advocating criminal's rights and getting them released before
you even sat down to write the report. The law was so simple back then,"
JD dreamily replied.
"Yeah, I suppose." Chris chuckled and returned to the wanted posters, rubbing
the aged paper thoughtfully.
"I would'a been a good sheriff," JD proudly remarked, an eastern twang
punctuating his words.
JD dropped his feet to the floor and pulled at one of the drawers of the
desk, finding it open. He looked inside, and his eyes widen as his
mouth dropped opened. He reached in and pulled out a shiny Silver Star,
the word, 'Sheriff' clearly embossed on its silver finish.
The awe in JD's voice got Larabee's attention, and he looked over to see
him holding the shiny star in his hand. Chris watched as JD polished
the symbol of law on his shirt then pinned it over his left shirt pocket.
"Don't you find all this a little strange?" JD suddenly asked.
"Well, isn't a ghost town sort of like a museum?"
Chris pressed his lips together and thought a second. "Yeah, I
suppose." He was feeling a little strange himself. He had been
enjoying himself earlier, but now a dark mood seemed to be clouding his thoughts.
"Why is all this stuff not locked up, or at least put under glass?"
JD wondered out loud. "I mean some of this stuff looks like it was
used just yesterday."
Chris hadn't thought about it, but now everything did seem a little odd.
He looked down at the ten wanted posters he had found tacked to the wall.
They looked new, yet the paper felt old. Chris at first thought that
Jasper just had them made to make things feel more authentic, now he wasn't
Vin suddenly stepped into the jail house.
"You are not going to believe what I found," Vin exclaimed, holding up the
"Wow!" JD jumped up from his desk to come around and have a look at the rifle
that Vin held.
'What the hell is going on here?' Chris thought to himself.
"So, Jasper, how long you been here?" Nathan asked as the three men walked
up the street. A slight breeze stirred up several dust devils that
licked at their heels.
"Oh, I've been taking care of this place a long time," Jasper distractedly
replied then without pause added, "Mr. Sanchez, you might find the old church
fascinating." He pointed off down the street where a dilapidated building
with a steepled roof stood. "And Mr. Jackson, you might find the old
clinic of interest." Jasper pointed off in the opposite direction.
Both men stopped in their tracks as Jasper abruptly turned down an
alleyway. The two lawmen regarded each other with stunned expressions,
not missing the fact that this complete stranger seemed to know a little
bit about them.