I found them in the cemetery.
They weren’t supposed to be there, and they knew it.
The trio had cracked open one of the older crypts and made camp there. They appeared quite comfortable, sitting on their chairs and ‘round their table. I saw the map laid out on top of the horse blanket serving as a tablecloth.
None of the men were armed, which was a mistake.
The men watched me, the smells of the grave drifting out through the crypt’s entrance.
I let the silence and the tension build as I took out my pipe, packed it, and put flame to the tobacco.
There was nothing close to fear in their eyes, only shrewd calculation. I could see them consider their options, and more than once, their gaze flickered from me to the crypt. No doubt, their weapons were in the safety of the crypt. Far from where they should have been.
How such foolish men live so long is always curious.
I took a long drag on the pipe, exhaled into the cold air, and eyed the men. Two of them were in uniforms, and the third, well, I’d seen him about town the past few days.
“British soldiers,” I stated. “And a damned spy.”
The three men said nothing.
I drew one of my Colts, and the spy raised an eyebrow.
“Now, sir,” the spy began, his American English perfectly nuanced.
I shot him once, the Colt’s roar echoing off the headstones as the round tore out his throat and sending him to the patio, blood spraying out over his comrades and the map. For a moment, his heels beat a weak tattoo on the stones, and then he was still.
“He was unarmed,” one of the soldiers observed.
I nodded. “That he was. Spies die. You know it as well as I.”
The soldiers nodded.
“And what of us?” the soldier who had spoken asked.
“Why are you here?”
The second soldier spoke. “We’re here to kill you, Duncan Blood. Why else would we come creeping through the graves? Our men are too fearful. Unwilling to die.”
“You’re willing, then?” I inquired.
“We’re officers. We command.”
“Officers die, too,” I reminded them.
“Not when conversing with a gentleman.”
“Hm. More’s the pity, I suppose,” I stated.
“Why’s that?” the first soldier asked.
“I’m no gentleman,” I answered and killed them both.