Tyler's Law: The Deputies Book 2

Deputy Bowie Tyler doesn't look the part, but he'll finish the job, even if it means interpreting the law his own way.

To the west of the clearing a twig snapped, then clothing rustled on smooth white bark as whoever was out there brushed against an aspen trunk. The magpie jumped into the air with a squawk and Bowie quietly drew the Starr and held it pointed in the opposite direction from where the sound had come. He was laying behind a newly-downed aspen trunk and he had burrowed under those few branches that still held some leaves. He strained to hear the telltale sound of movement through the trees and brush behind the clearing; the tiniest scrape of boot leather on stone told him where the second man was.

Bowie shifted the Starr to his left hand and wiped his right hand on his sleeve. The movement jarred a branch on the downed tree and dried leaves rattled. There was the blast of a shot and a bullet threw a spattering of bark in his face then whined out over the mountain slope. Bowie fired twice in the direction of the shot then rolled to his left. He dropped down into a shallow depression under the tree trunk and lay still.

The magpie was long gone, and the clearing was still except for the anxious stamping of the black as he milled around his picket rope. Bowie lay listening in the hollow under the tree. Quietly he slipped the empty shells out of the Starr and reloaded. He heard a moan and a scraping sound then silence. With no warning at all a boot crushed the dead leaves six inches from his hand and a voice said in a harsh whisper, “Sam! You alright? Sam?”

A stout branch lay under Bowie’s hand. He carefully laid the Starr down on a clump of grass and took a tight hold on the branch with both hands. He rolled up onto his left side and slammed the branch into Charlie York’s shins. York came crashing down with a yell, dropping his pistol when he hit the ground. He thudded down on his face and Bowie clubbed him unconscious. Bowie picked up his own pistol and rolled to his feet with the gun pointed in the direction of the moan he’d heard.

Just beyond Bowie’s saddle Sam Shaw, the man who had been with York at the trading post, lay on his side with his knees drawn up and his hands clasped to his belly. His pistol lay out of reach behind his head. A dark stain on his shirt continued down into a crimson pool on the ground beneath him. As Bowie watched, Shaw drew a last shuddering breath and went still. Strangely, he seemed to shrink in on himself as he died.

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