The officers hadn’t done them any favors.
I’d spent a good portion of the previous evening going through the papers and maps the officers had been in possession of. From what I gathered, there was only one group of soldiers left.
The men were placed along a small branch of North Road which dipped into the Hollow. They were laid in ambush, and I suspect I killed the officers before they could finalize any plans on how they were to draw me out.
I worked my way around to the front of the ambush and discovered the men had taken some initiative. They’d built a barricade from which to fire from.
I scouted out the position, moving from the snow of Cross into the summer of the Hollow and back again. The men wore American uniforms of a type I was unfamiliar with.
Satisfied that I knew the whereabouts of all concerned, I found a safe spot on the Cross side and called out to the soldiers manning the barricade.
Their initial response was to send a volley my way, and I was pleased that I’d chosen a thick tree to take cover behind.
“You about done?’ I asked.
I heard rounds being chambered and rolled my eyes, but instead of another volley, a man called out.
“Don’t know about being done,” the man stated. “If’n you’re Duncan Blood, we’ve orders to put you down.”
I drew my Colts, checked the loads and called back, “You get those from the British officers or that damned spy?”
There was silence for a moment before the man responded, “The spy.”
“Huh. Well, I don’t know if this’ll change your mind at all, but the spy and the two officers are dead.”
Murmurs of discontent and concern reached my ears, but the man silenced them.
“What do you think that means for us?” the man asked.
“I think it means you have a choice,” I answered. “You can either slip back through the Hollow to your homes, or you can stand your ground.”
“What are you offering with those choices?”
“Life or death,” I told him. “You stand your ground, and I’ll kill every last one of you.”
A long pause followed. Finally, the man asked, “You won’t hunt us down?”
A rustling filled the silence, and soon the men were gone to their homes.
It was time for me to follow suit.