MacCallister Kingdom Come, page 1
MACCALLISTER THE EAGLES LEGACY KINGDOM COME
William W. Johnstone
with J. A. Johnstone
Kensington Publishing Corp.
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
Table of Contents
J. A. Johnstone on William W. Johnstone - “Print the Legend”
Turn the page for an exciting preview of - THE FRONTIERSMAN
Carbon County, Wyoming
Riding along, minding his own business, Duff MacCallister crested the hill and was stopped by a man holding a pistol in one hand, the reins of his horse in the other.
“That’s far enough, friend,” growled the man.
“Och, it’s friend that you call me, but you’ve a pistol in your hand. That would nae be the way to be greeting a friend now, would it?”
“It’s only for a couple minutes, till we get our business done. We don’t want anyone comin’ along to interfere with what needs to be done.”
It wasn’t until then that Duff noticed four more men down at the bottom of the hill, some one hundred yards distant. One of them had his hands behind his back. One was holding a rope.
“And what business would that be, if you don’t mind the tellin’?”
The man nodded toward the base of the hill. “As you can see, we’re about to hang someone.”
“I take it he’s nae been sentenced by a court, for I know of no court that would hang someone from a tree out in the middle of nowhere.”
“Ha! You got that right. The only court this sumbitch has been to, is us.”
“Who is us?”
“Us? That’s me ’n my three friends. That’s who us is.”
“And would ye be for tellin’ me what the lad’s crime might be?”
“What’s his crime? I’ll tell you what his crime is. He’s a Chinaman.”
Duff frowned. “Is he now? Sure, and I wasn’t aware it was against the law to be a Chinaman.”
“It ain’t only that. He’s a Chinaman that don’t know his place. He come into town drivin’ a surrey ’n sittin’ right there on the seat beside him was a white woman holdin’ a baby.”
Duff tipped his head to one side. “And was it his baby?”
“The baby didn’t look Chinese, but that don’t make no never mind. He had no business being with ’em.”
“What did the white woman have to say about the situation?”
“We didn’t give her no choice to say nothin’ about it. It’s more ’n likely that all she woulda done is just lie about it. Anyhow, she’s done got hers.” The man chuckled. “We laid the whip on her good. Now the Chinaman is about to get his.”
Duff reached down to wrap his hand around his rifle. “I don’t think so.”
“What do you mean you don—”
That was as far as he got before Duff swung the rifle around, smashing it against the side of the man’s head and sweeping him out of his saddle. He lay unconscious on the road as Duff slapped his legs against the sides of his horse, urging Sky into a gallop. As he approached the others, they looked around toward him. Not one of the men was holding a gun in his hand. Duff was holding a pistol, having slipped the rifle back into its sheath.
“Here, what is this?” one of the men asked.
“I’ll be thanking you to let the gentleman go,” Duff said, his Scottish brogue thick.
“Gentleman? What gentleman?”
“The gentleman whose hands you are about to untie.”
“Mister, maybe you don’t know, but this here Chinaman was with a white woman. We can’t just let him—”
Obscenities filled the air, coming from the man Duff had encountered moments earlier. Holding a rifle to his shoulder, he fired it, the bullet frying the air so close to Duff’s head that he could hear it pop as it passed by.
Duff returned fire with his pistol, dropping his assailant with one shot. He turned back to the others. “Would you be so kind as to cut him loose now?” he asked in a calm voice.
“Mister, you’ve got no business interfering in this.”
“Do you speak English?” Duff asked the Chinese man who, through it all, had been sitting quietly in the saddle, awaiting his fate.
“I speak English.”
“What is your name?”
“I am Wang Chow.”
“Wang, it seems like every Chinaman I’ve ever known is a good cook. Are you a good cook, Wang?”
“Here! What the hell is all this?” cried the man holding the rope. “We’re about to hang this devil, and you want to know if he is a good cook?”
“Please, don’t interrupt my interview with this man.”
“Huh? Your interview?”
Duff cocked the pistol and pointed it straight at the man’s head. “I asked you nicely not to interrupt my interview.”
The man put both hands up, palms facing out, fingers spread wide. “All right, all right, I ain’t a-stoppin’ you.”
“Mr. Wang, I am thinking about hiring a cook. Are you a good cook”
“I am very sorry, but I am not a good cook,” Wang admitted.
“I admire your courage and your honesty. All you would have had to say is that you are a good cook, and that would save you from being hung. So, let me ask you this. If I hired you as my cook, would you be willing to learn?”
Wang, finally realizing what was going on, smiled broadly. “I will learn to be a very good cook.”
“Mr. Wang, my name is MacCallister. Duff MacCallister. You’re hired.” He turned to the man who had been the spokesman for the group. “As you can see, sir, I do have a vested interest in the fate of this gentleman, as he is now one of my employees. I would be very disturbed if someone tried do something such as . . . well, let’s just say, hang one of my employees. Now untie his hands.”
“The hell we will!” shouted the third man. Jerking his gun from his holster, he snapped a shot toward Duff and missed.
Duff returned fire, and didn’t miss. “So far this little encounter has cost you half your number,” he said to the remaining two gunmen. “You can either untie Mr. Wang, now, or I will kill both of you and untie him myself.”
“Untie him, Floyd, untie him!”
“That will not be necessary,” Wang said, bringing both hands around front to show that they weren’t tied.
“What the hell? How did you do that? It’s impossible for you to get your hands free. I
“Mr. Wang, if you would, sir, please collect their guns, including the guns from the man who is on the ground.”
“Wait a minute. I ain’t about to give my guns to no Chinaman!” Floyd said.
“Oh, I think you will. You will either give them to him willingly, or I will arrange for him to take them from you just like he will be collecting them from your dead friend.”
“Do it, Floyd, do it!” insisted his partner, his voice still animated by fear.
“This ain’t right!” Floyd objected. “There ain’t nothin’ right about this!”
“Their rifles as well, Wang.”
Grumbling, the men gave up their rifles.
“That horse you were sitting on. Is it yours?” Duff asked Wang.
“Hell no, that ain’t his horse. It’s mine,” Floyd said. “We just brung it here for the hangin’.”
“Can you read and write, Floyd?” Duff asked.
“Can I read and write? Hell yes, I can read ’n write.”
“How much did you pay for that horse?”
“Mister, what the hell difference does it make to you how much I paid for that horse?”
“I plan to buy this horse from you, Floyd. I can’t have Mr. Wang walking now, can I?”
“Buy it? You mean, with cash money?”
“Yes, of course I mean with cash money. It just so happens that I am returning from a trip where I sold some stock.” Reaching into his saddlebag, Duff pulled out a piece of paper. “And by a fortuitous set of events, I also have a printed bill of sale here that is blank, left over from my business transactions. I’m going to give you one hundred dollars for the horse, and the saddle. And you are going to sign this bill of sale over to me.”
“What the hell? The saddle alone is worth a hunnert dollars,” Floyd complained.
“You really aren’t in a position to bargain right now,” Duff pointed out as he began to fill in the blanks of the bill of sale. He turned to Floyd’s partner. “You. What’s your name?”
“What do you need my name for?”
“You’re going to sign as a witness.”
“It’s Durant. John Durant.”
“And his name? Beside Floyd, I mean.”
“It’s Russell. Floyd Russell,” Durant said.
At the same time Durant said Russell, Russell said, “Smith.” Realizing that Durant had spoken, he added, “Damn you, Durant, what for did you give him my real name?”
Duff secured the signatures of both men, then, putting the bill of sale in his pocket, he gave Russell five twenty-dollar bills. After that, he made the men dismount.
“What the hell? You only paid for one horse. You plannin’ on takin’ all of them?” Russell asked.
“Just to keep you two men alive,” Duff said.
“How is leavin’ us stranded goin’ to keep us alive?” Durant asked.
“Because if I left the horses with you, no doubt, you would try to come after us. And if you did that, I would have to kill you.”
“You’re a funny man, mister. You buy one horse, ’n you steal three,” Russell said.
“I’m nae stealing the horses. About ten miles ahead, you’ll come to the town of Le Bonte. I’ll be leavin’ the horses with the local constabulary, in your name. All you have to do is call for them and pay their keep.”
“Le Bonte? That’s where we come from. You show up in Le Bonte with that Chinaman on a stole horse, what do you think is goin’ to happen to you?”
“Och, but the horse isn’t stolen now, is it? Sure ’n I have a bill of sale confirming that I bought the horse from you.”
Russell frowned. “You don’t expect us to walk ten miles, do you?”
“Aye, you’ll have to now, won’t you? For ’tis a sure and certain thing that Le Bonte won’t be coming to you.”
“What about our guns?” Durant asked.
“They’ll be with your horses. Mr. Wang, since you’re having to keep up with the guns, I’ll take charge of the three horses. Shall we go?”
“We go,” Wang said.
Suddenly and unexpectedly, but in a coordinated move that the two men must have planned, Durant and Russell lunged toward Wang Chow in an attempt to recover their guns.
Wang dropped the guns and pivoted on his left foot while driving his right foot into first Russell’s, then Durant’s face. Both men went down.
“Well now, that is a neat trick,” Duff said. “It makes me wonder how they were able to capture you in the first place.”
“They pointed guns at the woman,” Wang said as he retrieved the weapons.
“They threatened to shoot a woman? What an unpleasant lot I stumbled into today.”
“As you are now my employer, I ask your permission to check upon the woman.”
“Of course we will. Is she your woman?”
“No,” Wang said without further explanation.
“You’ve got too many guns to keep up with very easily. I’ll take half of them. And, seeing as you aren’t armed, perhaps you should strap on one of the holsters.”
Wang shook his head. “I have no need for guns.”
Duff chuckled. “After seeing you in action back there, I can almost believe you.”
La Bonte, Wyoming
As Duff and Wang rode into town leading riderless horses, people on the street and board sidewalks stopped to stare.
“Ain’t that the Chinaman Russell ’n the others had with them this mornin’?” a man asked his neighbor.
“Hey, mister. Who are you?” someone else shouted at Duff. “What are you doin’ with that Chinaman? Where at is Russell, McGill, Alberson, and Durant?”
Neither MacCallister nor Wang answered the shouted question. They rode directly to the town marshal’s office, tied off the horses, and went inside. Two badge-wearing men were drinking coffee and engaged in an animated conversation. They looked up, the expression on their faces showing their surprise at seeing the Chinaman.
“Which of you is the marshal?” Duff asked.
“We ain’t neither one the marshal,” said one. “We’re deputies. The marshal has gone to Cheyenne to report on a lynchin’. Only this here Chinaman is the one we thought was lynched.”
“You made no effort to stop it?”
“Hell, mister, half the town was in on it. They was only three of us. What was we s’posed to do?”
“Where are the woman and baby?” Wang asked.
“If I was you, Chinaman, I’d stay away from that woman, seein’ as that’s what got you into trouble in the first place,” the short deputy said.
“Where are the woman and the child?” Duff asked.
“Well sir, after she got whupped, she got took down to Doctor Dunaway’s office. More ’n likely that’s where you’ll find her now.”
“Thank you. Oh, you will find four horses tied up out front. Eventually two men will call for them.”
“Two men? What about the other two?”
“They are dead.”
Duff and Wang found the woman in the doctor’s office.
Her eyes opened wide and the expression on her face was one of relief and joy when she saw Wang. “Oh! You are alive! Thank God, you are alive!”
Dr. Dunaway was just as surprised to see Wang. “What happened? I was told that the men who took you planned to hang you.”
Wang nodded. “That was their plan, but this man stopped them.”
“Oh, bless you,” the woman said. “I have been feeling so bad about all this, knowing that it was my fault. How innocent we were. No one would listen, and this man’s good deed was nearly repaid by him being murdered. Oh, Mister—” She stopped. “I never even learned your name.”
“I am Wang Chow.”
“Mr. Wang, you were nearly killed for your good deed. I can’t thank you enough for what you did for my baby and me.”
“How is the baby?” Wang asked the doctor.
“Has Mr. Wang told you what happened? I mean, how it was that we wound up together?” Mrs. Harrison asked Duff.
“I have not pried.”
“He saved my life, that’s what happened. He saved my life and the life of my baby. My husband, Lieutenant Harrison, was killed two weeks ago in a tragic accident at Fort Fetterman. I was on the way with my baby to Cheyenne to catch the train to go back home to Ohio. On the way here, the horse pulling the surrey stepped into a prairie dog hole and broke his leg. He suffered for a long time. I had not brought a gun with me so I had no way of putting the poor creature out of his misery.
“I kept hoping someone would come along who could help. I didn’t think I could walk all the way to the next town, carrying a baby. By the end of the second day water and food were gone, and I knew we were going to have to try. By then, mercifully, the horse had died.
“On the morning of the third day, just as we were about to leave, this gentleman came along.” She pointed to Wang. “He had water and food, which he shared, and he disconnected the surrey from poor Harry, connected his own horse to it, and drove us into town.”
Dr. Dunaway took up the story. “Some of our seamier citizens took over then. They became incensed at seeing a white woman with a Chinaman. They pulled her down from the surrey and threatened to kill her if Mr. Wang didn’t go with them. When Mrs. Harrison tried to protest, they took a bullwhip to her.”
“Why didn’t someone in the town try to intercede?” Duff questioned.
“Most were too frightened to do anything and some, I am sorry to say, agreed with what was happening.”
“How long before Mrs. Harrison and the child will be able to travel?”
“Oh, they can travel now,” Dr. Dunaway said. “I have put a lotion and bandages on her back to keep down the infection. And, as I said, the baby is strong as a horse.”
Duff smiled at Mrs. Harrison. “Then I suggest we go down to the stagecoach depot and put you on the next coach to Cheyenne.”
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