Vin and Earl sat in the back of the half empty saloon. Vin poured himself a second shot, while Earl finished a beer. Neither man was aware of the stranger who took a visible interest in the battered ex-buffalo hunter. He elbowed the disgruntled man next to him and pointed.
"Hey Deke," Pete Hunter grinned, "Look what just dropped in our lap."
"I'll be damned," Deke Carson's grin was a mile wide, "What the hell is Vin Tanner doing here?"
"You keep your face hidden," Pete advised, "He'll recognize you. I'll slip up behind them and see if I can hear anything."
Deke watched Pete slip into the small table behind Tanner. Tanner nodded while the other man spoke. He saw Pete grin and nod his head at him, holding up and 'okay' sign. After several minutes, Vin got up and went to the bar. Pete slipped away, rejoining his buddy.
"Well?" Deke demanded, "What's that grin for?"
"Lady Luck is smiling on us today," Pete laughed, "The old guy's calling Tanner, 'Chris'. Turns out he has amnesia, can't remember a thing. We can pop him outright, he won't even know what hit him."
"Chris?" Deke's eye glinted, recalling his former cellmate Snake McCalls lust for revenge against gunslinger Chris Larabee. "What did Snake tell you about that town Larabee's living in?"
"He's hold up with six other fellas, keeping peace in the area. Folks been callin' them the Magnificent Seven." Hunter sneered, "Guess they ain't so magnificent anymore. Not with Larabee dead. Hey wait a minute..."
"That's right!" Deke answered the knowledge dawning on Pete; "Tanner was Larabee's right hand man." He suddenly broke into evil grin, "I got an idea..."
Before he could spill his evil plans, gunshots rang out from across the street. Vin flew from the bar, and pulled his gun. Shouts from the street drew the customers outside the bar as well.
"Damn it," Deke swore, "I told Curly that new kid was gun happy." He pulled Pete's arm back, "Let him go, it's too late now..." He warned of the departing half of their foursome.
"They robbed the bank and killed the teller," A woman screamed, pointing to the fleeing felons.
Vin holstered his gun and pulled the rifle from the hands of a man in the street. Running up the middle of the causeway, he paused and laid his cheek to the wood.
"Shoot! What the hell are you waiting for?" A voice cried.
"They're getting away. Shoot! Shoot!" Another chorused.
"Forget it, they're too far away," another voice shouted in disgust.
Vin felt the beads of sweat trickling down his face. He got the man in his sights and calmly pulled the trigger. The gunman jumped from the saddle and fell into the dust. Vin dispelled the empty cartridge and took aim again. Gently squeezing the trigger, the gathered masses watched in amazement as the second rider was propelled off his horse. After a few seconds of stunned silence, the crowd burst into applause.
"Looks like your instincts were correct," The sheriff's voice was full of concern as he addressed Doctor Adams, "I've been in this business a long time, only one kind can shoot with that precision. I'm gonna have a talk with him."
"You think he's some kind of assassin?" The Doctor's voice raised a pitch in disbelief, "I don't think so, Ben. He's doesn't seem the type."
"What type shoots like that?" Ben Calder answered sternly, "A farmer? A banker?"
"A lawman?" the doctor retorted, defending the boy.
"Dressed like that? With a sawed-off Winchester?" He noted of the gun on the young man's hip, "I don't think so."
While Sheriff Ben Calder approached the stranger-turned-hero, Pete and Deke huddled in an alley off the main street.
"What do we do now?" Pete asked, "We lost two good men, Cutter and Snake ain't gonna be happy."
"Two trigger happy fools," Deke countered, "I heard Tanner could shoot, but I didn't realize how good he was. We can use him. There's a whole lot of banks between here and Tascosa."
Pete didn't share his friend's glee. He had too many questions. When Deke and Snake had become cellmates in prison, they shared a passion for revenge. Deke for Vin Tanner and Snake for Chris Larabee. Six weeks ago, they busted out and shortly thereafter learned about Tanner and Larabee in Four Corners. They met up with Cutter, who was to lure the seven out of town into an ambush. But ended up losing four men. Snake and five of the gang went to join Cutter, after he wired them. Pete and Deke were dispatched to get new recruits.
"What makes you so sure he'll ride with us? What if he gets his memory back?"
"Funny thing about a man with no memory. Just plain dying inside. We're gonna cook us up a nice little story. But first, we're gonna wire Snake in Blossom. He should be there by noon or so. We'll see what he thinks."
"Chris? Where'd you learn to shoot like that" The doctor wormed his way through the group congratulating the young man.
"Dunno..." Vin shrugged, handing the rifle back to the owner.
"Son, I'm Sheriff Ben Calder. I like to have a word with you."
"Okay be me," Vin shrugged, following the lawman into his office.
"I'll get Kate and the wagon and pick you up, Chris," Earl said, patting his back.
Vin answered the sheriff's questions as best he could. He realized as soon as he sat down, that the sheriff was suspicious of him. He got a bad feeling and began to guard his responses. He saw the wagon pull up and stood up.
"Y'all know where I'll be," He said curtly, "I'll be leavin' now."
"I don't like the tone of your voice," The lawman replied, giving Vin a dark look.
"Well I guess that makes us even," Vin turned at the door, staring the marshal down, "Cause I don't like y'all too much neither. Fine way ya got of saying thanks." Vin sneered, as he left.
The sheriff didn't reply, but still held onto his gut instinct. He saw the boy bristle at his questions regarding his accurate shooting ability, clothing and the gun. He had two dead gunmen to take care of, but the stranger's turn would come. He eyed the faces of the dead men, recognizing one from a wanted poster.
"Curly Seever," he said to his deputy, who was searching the bodies, "I think he used to ride with Snake McCall and his bunch."
"He's in prison, right?" The young deputy asked.
"McCall? Yeah, he's a lifer," the sheriff replied, "Hell, that other one ain't barely old enough to shave. Too young and eager...damn shame." He eyed the dead boy.
Kate placed the pie on the widow to cool. Wiping her hands on the apron she wore, she smiled at Vin hunched over the slate. His determination was admirable. For the last four days, he'd spent the early morning hours as her apt pupil. Then after lunch, he'd work with Earl around the farm. For several hours after supper, he'd read the picture cards and books over and over. The first morning was awful. He was impatient and expecting too much, too fast. She didn't mince her words at his outbursts of temper. But then that night, by the light of a candle at the kitchen table, it happened. He looked up at her with a face every mother loves. That first instant when the foreign lettering disappears and reforms into word. Something tangible, recognizable and real.
She'd taught him the letters of the alphabet, how they sounded and combined. Small phrases, he could use, such as: I was...I am...I did...I need... The reading came harder, he struggled and the book flew across the room several times. She gave up and went to bed. But then she heard his frantic call, that first night. Stumbling out of bed, the face that greeted her wore the wide-eyed amazement of a child. He thrust the slate in her hand. She saw the crude lettering "Cris".
"Chris,' he said, "That's me...I ain't an X no more..."
"That's great, Son," She beamed, "You done good. I'm real proud. It's C-H-R-I-S, she corrected, spotting him wrinkle his nose, "The H is silent."
"What the hell's it doin' in there, then?" Vin scowled, "That don't make any sense..."
"I don't make the rules, Chris, I just follow them." She smiled, clapping his back, "Enough for one night, go to bed!"
Now on the eve of the fourth night, he had progressed at a rapid rate. He was a quick study and she'd taught him his numbers and some simple math. She walked around the room and pointed to objects, making him spell them. She asked him to write simple notes. She left the pie and returned to the table. He hadn't remembered any more. She heard the nightmares, always ending with a terrifying scream. But he had no idea of the dream.
Vin looked up from the slate and saw the riders approaching. He thrust the board behind him and strapped on the gunbelt. He was in the yard, hand on the unstrapped gun, when they rode in. The younger of the two, a sandy-haired man with large blue eyes and a baby face, nearly fell off his horse shouting.
"That's far enough," Vin warned, drawing the gun, "What's yer business?"
"Chris? Don't you recognize me? It's Deke," The blues eyes pleaded, "We've been riding for nearly a week looking for you."
Kate closed the over door, after checking on the chicken pie and heard the horses. By the time she got to the porch, the strangers were already off their horses.
"Who are you?" She eyed them cautiously, getting a bad feeling.
"Ma'am," the younger one said, tipping his hat, "I'm Deke Carson, this here's Pete Hunter." Turning back to Vin, his voice got harsh, "What the hell's wrong with you? You disappeared after the fire. We've been looking for you for almost a week."
"Y'all know me?" Vin kept the gun drawn, but his arm trembled a bit, "From where? What fire?"
"We was in Twin Forks, tracking a bounty. We nearly caught him, too. We spotted him in the saloon having supper. There was a shootout and a lantern set the place on fire," He paused, dropping his eyes, placing a hand on Vin's shoulder, "It wasn't your fault, Chris. The Kid was anxious to please you. He run through the fire...looking for Tanner and got caught. He's gone, Chris, we buried him in Twin Forks."
"Tanner?" Vin winced, holstering the waving gun and rubbing his head, "What kid?"
"J.D.," Deke teased, watching the color drain from Vin's face.
At the mention of the initials, am image seared into Vin's brain. A dark-haired boy, with hazel eyes and a winning grin. "No...Oh God...He's dead?" Vin stumbled to the porch and sat down on the step.
"You remember J.D., don't you, Chris?" Pete added, spotting the flash of recognition.
"He's only a kid," Vin whispered, "Dark hair, big eyes...never listens to a damn thing I tell him..."
"I know how you must feel, Chris," Deke feigned compassion, "You raising him from the time he was little. He was like a brother. You still want Vin Tanner don't you?"
"Vin Tanner?" Vin asked, "He was the bounty?"
"Hell, yeah, worth $500 in Texas. Wanted for murder. We nearly had him, until the fire...He shot out that lamp, knowing the kid couldn't get out."
Vin kept seeing the young face, dark hair in the boy's eyes. A fishing trip...riding together...playing cards. How could J.D. be dead?
"Why was he ridin' with us?" Vin asked, "He shouldn't been trackin' no killer."
"You know the kid don't listen to anyone. He followed us. You damn near chewed his ear off, right before it happened. You were gonna make him go back to the hotel, but decided to let him come to the saloon with us."
Kate was numb. She sat down and stared at Chris's face. He definitely knew J.D.; there was no lying in those blue eyes. He felt real pain and she was sure J.D. was real to him. These men seemed to know him, yet...something still felt wrong to her.
"So where's this Tanner now?" Vin asked, staring at the horizon.
"Not sure...but we got a lead," Deke replied, "You never answered my question. What are you doing here? Where have you been?"
"I...they...Kate and Earl," He nodded to the couple behind him, "found about six days ago, a little ways over, near the creek bed. I couldn't remember who I was or nuthin'."
"Amnesia," Pete laughed, until Deke shot an angry glare at him.
"That ain't funny Pete," He turned back to Vin, "You okay now, Chris?"
"I remember J.D.," He swallowed the lump in his throat, "I can't believe he's dead..."
"That sure would be traumatic..." Earl offered, "Guess that's what the Doc meant."
"But I don't remember anything else..." Vin said.
"You will, Chris," Deke patted his shoulder, "Come on Larabee, we got a long ride ahead of us."
"I told you high-tailed it outta town after Tanner. Bet he jumped you, somehow..." Pete offered.
"Maybe..." Vin shook his head, "It don't matter none. I'm gonna find this Tanner and take care of him, fer J.D."
Kate didn't like the steely blue of the eyes, the hard voice or the cold face. The boy she'd known for five days was gone. Fear crept inside her, maybe the sheriff and doctor were right. She remembered how easily he'd taken down the two bank robbers. Bounty hunters were no better than killers. She took a deep breath and opened the door.
"Best get your things," She said flatly.
Vin felt a pain in his chest, seeing the disappointment in her eyes. He paused in the doorway, reaching a hand out. She drew back and shook her head. He nodded and entered, without any discussion. Five minutes later, he exited.
"I want to thank ya for all ya done," He shifted uncomfortably, "I'm sorry, Kate. We both knew this might happen."
"Goodbye Chris," She said tonelessly and closed the door, shutting him out.
It was dark and Ezra was too tired to push on to another town. He slid off Deuce and make a campfire. He heated his last tin of beans and took out his flask. Every day this infernal trip was extended, Vin Tanner's tab at Inez's went up another dollar. By Ezra's calculations, the tracker would be buying him rounds for months. Four towns, endless trails, riverbeds and blisters, Ezra winced, rubbing his backside, and no sign of Vin. He decided to wire from the next town and see how Josiah wanted to proceed. The ex-preacher had advised Ezra to turn back yesterday. At the thunder of hooves, his head shot up and his derringer slid out.
"Hello in the camp," A voice called out.
"Proceed with caution," Ezra warned as the two riders approached.
"No need for a gun, Mister," The younger of the two, a baby-faced blond suggested, sliding from his horse.
"My Mother taught me to be careful of strangers," Ezra's hand flicked back and forth, "Drop your weapons, Gentlemen, I'd hate to disappoint Mother."
"Give her my best," Pete waved, "Nighty-night..."
"What..." Ezra's question was cut off by a gun slamming into his head.
"Nice work, Chris," Deke saluted as Vin rolled the stranger over, "See if he's got any money."
"Why would a fancy feller like this be out here?" Vin asked, checking the bleeding man's pockets.
"Who the hell cares," Pete replied, "You gettin' a conscience all of a sudden?"
"Fifty-two dollars," Deke said, "Not a bad minute's work. Get the watch, it's gold. Tie him up and let's get moving. We can make the hideout by midnight."
"Hideout?" Vin asked, tying the unconscious man's hands loosely, "What hideout?" He paused, wiping the blood from the strangers' face.
"What are you doing?" Pete asked, watching him check the wound.
"We can't leave him here like this," Vin said, "He's hurt."
"So?" Deke said, "That amnesia turned you soft, Larabee?"
"Shut up," Vin snarled, easing the man into a more comfortable position, "Ya didn't answer me...what hideout?"
"The Snake Pit," Deke answered, "Come on, we're losing time."
They had a set routine. Nathan would stay with Chris overnight and into the morning hours. Mary and Josiah would stay during the day, with Buck and J.D. coming in the late afternoon through dark. By the second day, his breathing had improved and his color was better. If one of them held him upright and commanded, he'd drink. They were able to coax broth, milk and water into him. Buck eyed his oldest friend, wondering if this twilight state wasn't worse than Chris being dead. Nathan warned them that Chris might never awaken.
He left the bedroom and went to the kitchen, checking on the chicken Mary left in the stove. It smelled great and was nearly done. Buck stirred the browned potatoes and carrots around, his stomach growling. His dark head turned at the slam of the door.
"Hey Kid," Buck nodded, "Why the long face?"
"Ezra didn't check in," J.D. said, "Josiah's worried."
"He's probably stuck in some hot card game and lost track of the time," He offered, trying to dispel the boy's fears.
"Maybe," J.D. slumped at the table, "But what if that gang caught up to him and he's hurt or worse. What happened Buck?"
"What do you mean?" Buck said, slicing the roasted chicken.
"Look at us...Chris is, well he might never wake up. Vin missing, maybe dead. Now Ezra's missing."
"Look J.D., we don't Vin's dead, and Ezra's only a day overdue. Could be his horse went lame or any number of things. We know where he was headed. Josiah and me will go after him." He set the plate down and began eating, as Nate entered.
"You okay, J.D.?" He asked, spotting the normally ravenous boy, toying with his food.
"Kid's worried about Ezra," Buck nodded, "Fix yourself a plate Nate, Mary outdid herself."
Nate checked on Chris, and returned to the table. The three ate in silence. Nate read a new medical journal the Judge sent him. J.D. and Buck played some cards, before dozing off in front of the fireplace. Nate was dozing as well, when something woke him up. Sitting up in the chair, he placed the book on the table and stood. Then he heard it again, a distinct moan.
Chris blinked, rapidly, squinting into the inky blackness. What happened? There were no voices. Did he slip back into the void? No...not now, he had to find Vin. He tried to call out, but his dry throat croaked painfully. He tried to sit up, but was as weak as a kitten. Frustrated, he lifted a fist and weakly struck out.
That was real. A voice...Nate? He croaked again, flailing his arm in the dark. A hand gripped his wrist.
"Chris? Can you hear me?" Nate asked, fumbling with the lamp, "Praise God..." He smiled, as the injured man turned and blinked at the harshness of the dim light.
"Hurts..." Chris croaked, "...away..."
"Hold on," Nate said, moving the lamp over a few feet, "Better?"
Chris kept his face to the wall and slowly opened his eyes. The roughshod, wooden walls never looked so beautiful. He slowly turned his head and saw Nathan's emotional stare, what a beautiful sight. He was alive again!
"High time you woke up," Nate grinned, easing Chris upright and giving him a drink, "Slow and easy."
"Good..." Chris croaked, feeling giddy and dizzy, "Dizzy...." he blinked, shaking his head.
"Four days without food will do that...You up for some broth?"
Chris nodded and watched the healer leave. Four days...How could it have been that long? Was Vin still alive? Nathan returned with a bowl of broth. He sat on the bed and saw the apprehension.
"Vin?" Chris's green eyes begged an answer.
"After you eat," The healer ordered, dipping a spoon in the bowl.
"Now..." Chris protested weakly, swaying.
"Y'all is as stubborn as..." Nate shook his head, "Nothing yet, Ezra's out looking."
"Ez not back yet?" Chris coughed, causing Nate to frown.
"We've been sitting you up and turning you, hoping to prevent that," Nate grabbed his stethoscope, listening to the protesting man's chest, "There's some congestion in there, but considering everything, it's a miracle you ain't worse off."
"I...find...Vin," Chris gasped, trying to push off Nate's hand.
"You can't even find your arm," Nate scoffed, "You ain't leaving this bed, until I say so." He grabbed both shoulders and stared hard, "You listen to me Chris Larabee. You damned near died, and I don't intend to lose you again. So you're gonna eat, rest and build yourself up. The sooner you get stronger, the sooner you can leave. Don't make me use a rope!"
"Bossy...no good..." Chris gasped, scowling as he accepted the spoon.
Chris ate greedily, the first taste awakening a monster. Nathan was pleased and returned with more, adding some small pieces of bread. Finally, Chris lay back, sated and drowsy.
"Get some sleep, Chris," Nate advised, spotting the eyes fighting to stay awake.
"No..." Chris argued, and Nate saw the flicker of fear.
"You afraid if you go to sleep, you won't wake up again?" It was a slight nod, but Nate saw it, "You done beat the devil, Chris. Go on and get some sleep."
"No...he needs me...he's lost..." Chris's eyes dropped and Nate waited a few minutes and shook him, "What?" Chris growled, "Make up your damn mind." He blinked then saw the grin, "Sneak...too much Ezra..." Chris noted of the healer's trick to ease his mind.
Nathan left the healing patient and returned to his book. He couldn't wait to see Buck, J.D. Mary and Josiah's face in the morning when he surprised them. He studied the anatomy pictures and sipped his coffee.
Dawn broke and Buck sat up and stretched. He spotted Nathan sleeping on the cot in Chris's room and J.D. sound asleep on the floor. He padded outside and answered the call of nature. Entering the cabin, he put coffee on and rummaged around for some biscuits. While the coffee brewed, he stood in the doorway as Josiah and Mary rode up. He waved and approached Chris' room and his heart nearly stopped.
Chris woke up and took a deep breath. He felt reborn, as if a second chance had been given to him. He was frustrated as his weakness, but knew Nathan was right. He had to build himself up in a hurry. He saw the full glass of water Nate left and drank it. Hitching himself up a little, he studied the room. His eyes caught the back door, and his heart sank, remembering Vin's painful footfall out that door.
"Chris?" Buck stammered, grabbing the startled patient, "Jesus, you're alive! You damn near scared me to death. J.D! Nate! Chris is awake!"
Buck's call brought both men into the room. J.D. nearly dropped over, shaking his head and hugging his arms around his chest. Mary and Josiah heard him hollering and burst into the room.
It came slow, deliberate, low and lethal. The quiet of the room was ripped apart by the chilling delivery. There was no mistake in the stone face or icy stare.
"Get your hands off of me you son-of-a-bitch," Chris growled, startling Buck into stunned silence. All the color drained from the mustached-man's face as Chris's green eyes burned a hole through him, "Get out..." Chris seethed, throwing a weak fist at Buck's face, "You're damn lucky I'm not armed." Chris's brief burst left him breathless.
"Take it easy, Brother," Josiah approached Chris, only to be rebuffed.
"Stay out of it, all of you," He threatened.
Buck stood on shaky legs and felt a cold fear creep inside. He'd known the gunslinger for over a dozen years and there was no mistaking the intent in the eyes. He truly wants to kill me, Buck realized in shock.
"Chris?" Buck stammered, "What's wrong?"
"You got the balls to ask that," Chris snarled, "After what you did. I swear to God, Buck, I'll tear you apart. How could you?" He paused, taking a breath and a mouthful of cold broth.
"Chris, I don't..." Buck puzzled, but the fear intensified. He knows...My God, he knows... Buck eyes darted around the room. The blank faces were starting to color with reality.
"It wasn't bad enough you nearly beat him to death and choked him," Chris seethed painfully, gripping twin fists of rage, "No, you had to suck the life out of him too."
"Vin?" Buck squeaked, "You don't understand, Chris. You don't know what he did..." He recovered, his anger rising. It hurt inside; that someone he considered his oldest friend on this planet would stab him in the back. How could he defend Vin? He was really blind when it came to the Texan.
"I understand better than you think, you bastard," Chris spat, eyes blazing, "I saw his face, Buck; he was in agony. You did that to him. I was trapped in this damn coma, and felt his tears on my hand, when his heart broke into a million pieces all over the floor. Then his soul shattered...WHY! WHY! Why did you tell him it was his fault? Dammit, answer me!"
"Alright, Chris, You want an answer?" Buck spat, "I'll give you one. You ain't gonna like it. Sir Galahad's armor just got ripped wide open," Buck threw the wire on Chris's lap, "He got that hours before Snake McCall shot you. He sat on it in town. He could have saved you, but he chose not to. Some best friend. You sure know how to pick 'im"
"Don't go there, Buck," Chris warned in a deadly voice, "You couldn't begin to understand him. He's a better friend than I deserve." Chris scanned the wire, without expression, "He's on his way to Tascosa."
"But they'll hang him," J.D. blurted, "Vin wouldn't give up like that."
"Vin died the minute HE," Chris's smolder noted of Buck, "opened his trashy mouth. He's thinks I'm dead and it's his fault," Chris choked, remembering the anguished trackers voice, "Hell, it may be to late. Thank God Ezra didn't buy your story."
"How did you know about Ezra?" J.D. asked.
"You heard everything?" Mary finally found her voice and moved to sit by Chris, who nodded, too overcome to speak.
"I'm sorry, Chris, it was my fault, I told them you were dead," J.D.'s voice caught, "I couldn't find a pulse..."
"It ain't your fault, Kid," Chris spoke in quiet sincerity, "I think I was dead. Lost in a cold, black void." He shuddered
"But how? I mean, you came back?" J.D. puzzled, "If you were dead, then how...."
"Vin." He stated, eyeing the window and the blue sky.
J.D. was about to push further, when Josiah's large hand clamped on his shoulder. Chris's face revealed that all the information they would get. Whatever miracle transpired between the two men, would remain their secret.
"So that's it?" Buck boomed, breaking the moment, "How can you forgive him? It was his fault...he was guilty. I told him so and I won't take it back"
"Goddammit Buck," Chris seethed, fighting weakly against Mary's arms, "Shut the hell up!"
"I won't shut up, not about this," Buck fought back, "He knew they were coming...and he left you to die."
"He didn't know," Chris drilled Buck's eyes.
"How could he not know," Buck exasperated, "How can you defend him? He knew what the wire said!" Buck screamed.
"He can't read, Buck!" Chris burst forth, then cursed, realizing he betrayed Vin's painful secret "Shit..." He sank back onto the pillow, overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation.
"Aw, hell," Buck choked, running a hand through his hair, "I didn't know Chris. How could I? Andy said he saw Vin read it, and Vin..."
"I told you, Buck," J.D. screamed, launching himself at the taller man, "You didn't give him a chance to explain. You were too busy beatin' him to a pulp."
"Enough!" Nathan roared, "Mary, you and Josiah get some breakfast started. I got a patient that needs some food. Small meals until his stomach adjusts, several times a day."
"Wait a minute," Chris pleaded, "We gotta go over this. Snake McCall had some help. Cutter Carson was with him."
Buck whistled, "Damn, that ain't good..."
"No thanks to you," Chris tossed to Buck, "After they shot me, they were heading after Vin. Where's Ezra?"
"Been riding south for the last four days, so far, he's come up empty. He was due to check in last night, but we haven't heard. I'll give him until noon and then head south, following his trail." Josiah stated.
"You're going too," Chris menaced, his black-icy stare burned Buck's pale face, "and you better pray that you find him, Buck...."
Chris didn't finish the thought, but his lethal eyes said 'or don't come back' very clearly. Buck left the room, numbed to the bone. What the hell had he done? Jesus, no wonder Vin looked so stunned in the alley. What if he was already dead?
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