Some men get a taste for killing.
Major Roberts Mahone was possibly the finest sharpshooter I had ever had the pleasure of working alongside during the War of the Rebellion. He had a steady hand, and his men always fought well. I suspect that had he not been wounded near the end of the war, he would have continued on into the Territories and fought there as well.
As it was, the Major was wounded.
I almost didn’t recognize the man when he stepped out of the Cross Train Station, a long bag in hand and his cane in the other. He walked as though he had a purpose, but I could not recall the Major ever having mentioned relatives in town.
Curious, I followed him as he made his way along Main Street, pausing every so often to take out a small piece of paper from his pocket and consult it. I soon gathered that he was headed toward Hollis Road, one of the higher points of land in town.
A cold understanding crept over me, and I took a shorter route to the Hollis Road, and Hollis Hill.
I reached it only a few minutes before the Major did, and I stood off behind an elm as he squatted down and opened his long bag. From it, he removed a Sharpe’s rifle, whistling as he inspected his weapon. He next withdrew a blanket, which he rolled out before laying down upon it and sighting down the barrel. With a nod of satisfaction, he reached into his bag and took out a single round.
It was then that I stepped forward and put the barrel of my Colt against the base of his skull.
The Major became perfectly still, one hand on his weapon and the other holding the round.
“You seem to have the better of me, sir,” he said without attempting to move. “I assure you, this is not what it seems to be.”
“I know what this is, and it is exactly what it seems to be,” I replied.
His shoulders twitched, and his tone was remarkably composed.
“Duncan Blood,” he stated.
“Do I have time to pray?”
My Colt answered for me.
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