Cotter waited five-minutes before progressing further. The cook was outside washing the kitchen dishes from both the bunkhouse and the main house. He moved silently through the house following the scent of a fresh cigar. Directly off a fireplace living room he could see the smoke rising from Vlack. The man was at a large desk with a ledger of some sort capturing his attention. Cotter had his bandana pulled up and moved to within five-feet of the seated Vlack. Still the man continued to puff on his cigar and write in the ledger. When he was right behind Vlack he resumed his normal breathing which became audible.
Vlack stopped writing. He was about to turn around when the nickeled Colt quickly went from its holster to Vlack’s head.
“Don’t move Vlack.”
“Who are you? What do you want?” The bass voice was raspy.
Vlack moved his right hand slowly toward a recessed pigeon hole in the desk.
“I said don’t move.” Cotter cocked the Colt’s hammer. The “click” of the ratchet mechanism filled the room.
“Do you want money? I can get it for you but it’s not at this desk.” Vlack’s upper lip began to perspire.
“Your boys interfered with me yesterday. Two of them are dead. This is a warning. If you or any of your men cause any Endura citizen harm they will answer to me. Put your hands solidly on your desk and don’t move or one of my bullets will pierce your body.”
Cotter moved back and drew the other Colt. He rapidly fired three shots from each gun to either side of Vlack’s frozen position. Splinters and smoke surrounded the now shaking Vlack. Cotter knew Vlack’s hearing would be impaired from the shots. He withdrew from the living room and went rapidly out the kitchen door.
Outside he whistled for his palomino and saw the cook walking to the house. He fired two shots from the left hand Colt directly in front of the man. “Lay on the ground until I leave.”
The man hit the ground and looked up at the bandana-masked buckskin figure.
“Head down.” Cotter mounted his horse and rode into the woods. When he felt safe he took the cotton from his ears and let the palomino move at a slow pace while he pocketed the warm spent cartridges and reloaded his Colts.
“So much for introductions.” Cotter spoke to the humid air. He headed back for the thicket to change his clothes and went back to the Garrisons.
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