Tripwire by Brian Garfield

By Brian Garfield

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The fat woman said, "He has the fever," as if in apology. " "When the chills start you should cover him up. " Her eyes beseeched. " "What do you want me to do? " "He'll be better or hell be dead," He turned. " Boag sank down in the patch of shade beside the old man. " The iron rim of the wheel was hot against his back. "Two Mojaves came here the night before last night," the woman said. " "No mules," Boag said weakly. " But it was in English, this last, and they only gave him puzzled looks, the woman and the girl; the old man's eyelids had sagged and he wasn't listening.

Of course they hadn't planned to cut Boag and Wilstach and the other new hands in at all. They'd just wanted strong backs to move the gold for them while they used their rifles and shotguns to keep the town of Hardyville at bay. Boag and Wilstach and Frailey and those two Yumas and the rest of them had been pack animals to Mr. Pickett, nothing more than pack animals. When you were done using a pack animal you turned him in or turned him out. Mr. Pickett had left half his pack animals in Hardyville for the citizens to play with and he'd thrown the other half overboard after shooting the two Yuma Indians to death and trying to kill Boag and succeeding in killing John B.

X He had come far enough to risk a fire; he built one Indianstyle and rubbed willow sticks over arrowweed tinder to start it going. He disliked fish anyway but raw fish was too much to contemplate; he cooked them in their skins and cut them open afterward and ate them from the inside out, spitting out the bones, hungry enough not to mind the taste. The leg was mending all right. He still hadn't put his weight on it and he didn't intend to until he had to. Things were coming along, he thought. He'd need a gun and a horse but he still had the two gold eagles in his boots and that was enough to buy a gun and some cartridges, and with that he could commandeer the rest.

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