I’ll be damned.
There are a hell of a lot more of them here than I thought.
After I dragged the woman’s body behind the counter, I stood at the window and looked out at the town in front of me. All the construction was new, and from my vantage point, I watched as they hauled a church bell up and prepared to mount it in a tower.
I counted at least a score of residents, none of them armed with rifles or pistols.
Not that it meant much.
The woman had only a knife, and she’d been deadly with it.
I glanced at the door that led back to my Cross and considered how best to solve this problem.
The size of the town put to rest any thoughts of a mass execution. A dozen or so I could handle. Mayhaps even the twenty I saw.
But there were more.
The buildings told me that, as did the shop in which I stood.
No, I needed to convince them to stay away.
Stepping away from the window, I rummaged through the shop until I found what I had hoped to.
In a room, tucked into a corner, stood a well-oiled and cared-for Berdan rifle. A little more digging in a nearby chest, and I found the curious bottlenecked cartridges designed for the weapon. They were smaller than my Colts, .42 caliber if I remembered correctly, but they’d still knock a man down from 300 yards.
The church was a hell of a lot closer than that.
I packed all the ammunition I could and slipped out a back door. I kept close to the building, pausing at the corner to load and cock the rifle. The shop was raised on pillars, and in a moment, I was beneath it. From my position, I could see all those working and watching the installation of the bell.
There was an old tactic the Abenaki had used to good effect, and that was fear. The Abenaki would flush other towns out toward Cross by killing a man or a boy working in the fields and leaving his corpse to be found.
I sighted in on one of the men on the scaffolding and pulled the trigger.
The rifle was true, and my target tumbled off the scaffolding, taking one of his comrades with him.
It was a grand sight.
But the people didn’t scatter.
They came looking for me.