Jim Danby took a final glance at his watch then stowed it inside his vest. He ran the back of his hand against the three days’ growth of stubble on his cheek and stretched himself in the saddle. He was a lean, rangy man of about thirty with a ready, toothy smile and cruel eyes. A product of the War, he and his men had ridden with Quantrill and reveled in the Lawrence Raid. Since then, under his leadership, the Danby gang had become one of the most successful and feared gangs in the West. They had parlayed their wartime skills into bank-robbing. And in Danby’s eyes, they were the best, because he was the best. Planning and ruthless execution were his tenets.
“Any moment now,” he said to Wes Hammond, his lieutenant and comrade of almost ten years.
Wes Hammond nodded dispassionately. Unlike Danby, he was not given to smiling, unless he was doing what he was best at—hurting people. He was about the same age and build as his boss, although with his longer hair, petulant lips and clean-shaven face he looked somewhat younger. He nodded and pulled his hat firmly down on his head.
Danby put a hand on the pommel of his saddle and turned round to face the twenty mounted men. They had gathered out of sight of the town in the trees that fringed the boulders on the other side of Wolf Creek. “Okay boys, we go in as planned, as soon as we hear the first two shots. We cross the ford and hit the town. I’ll take the first column down the main street. Wes will lead the other down the first left, then along Lincoln Street. You all know the layout.”
Wes turned in his saddle. He drew out his beloved .42 Le Mat cap and ball black powder revolver. Not made for fast drawing, it was virtually a one-man artillery piece. With nine shots in its cylinder for shooting from the regular barrel, it also had an 18-gauge shotgun barrel beneath for its tenth shot. He hefted it in his hand and raised it. It had been a popular piece among various elements of the Confederacy. It took time to load—but as a killing piece, he was proud of it. And on a raid such as this, once he had discharged every round, he had his Navy Colts to fall back on.
“We are all armed to the teeth. This will go as smooth as silk. We’re going to divide up into threes and fours. Each group will take one of the sections of the two main streets. Bates and Milton will already have cut the town in two and contained the law, so one man from each group will cover all the alleys and side streets in his section. If anyone so much as pops their head into an alley, discourage them. If they won’t stay discouraged—kill them.”
Danby grinned. Although Wes had needed to be shown who was the master in their early days, he liked to think that he had inculcated and refined a streak of ruthlessness in him. “Ketch and Jackson, you two know what you have to do?”
A stocky young rider at the back grinned. “Sure we know, boss. We shoot every damned horse we see.”
To read more of this entertaining western, you will have to buy the book and now is the time because Wolf Creek Book 2: Kiowa Vengeance is coming soon.