Lone Wolf Series
A Few Honest Lies
Thanks to Mitzi for her beta skills!
Vin Tanner skipped a flat stone
idly across the surface of the sparkling pool of water. His eyes
followed the pattern it created and brought a contented smile to his
face. When the stone finally dropped below the surface, Vin
resumed his search on the banks for another likely candidate. Out
in the centre of the pool, rings circled outwards toward the bank, the
lines becoming less distinct, until only a mere ripple disturbed the
The former bounty hunter crouched
to the ground and selected another smooth stone. This one
was slightly larger than the first, but its edges where more finely
curved. He drew back his arm and hurled the second stone across
the stream. One. Two. Three. Four and five times
it hit and bounced before following the path of its predecessor -
towards the bottom.
Peso happily feasted on the long
clusters of grass, wandering about and stretching the length of his
reins to the limit. He drifted to the edge of the stream and bowed
his head to drink from the crisp mountain run off. Both geldings,
Black and Bay, stayed close together.
Vin whipped his head around as a
twig snapped behind him and his hand went automatically to his mare’s
leg strapped to his thigh.
“Don’t even think about it
Vin glanced at the man who spoke,
and berated himself as he felt the presence of another man flanking him
on the right. He winced when he heard the distinct chick as they cocked
their weapons. Both men carried weapons and they were trained
solely on him. Tanner stepped back a pace, his heel sinking in the
soft sand. He held his hands away from his body not wanting to
cause either man to have an excuse to tighten their trigger finger.
Damn! He’d gotten lax. Letting two greenhorns practically
sneak up on him, that was only asking to be shot. “Don’t want
“Reckon you do as yer told, then
there won’t be any trouble.”
“Told you it was him,” Trent
excitably told his partner. “You are Vin Tanner, ain’t ya
mister?” He’d seen the poster in the last town they’d gone
through, but only glanced at it, not really taking in the details.
They hadn’t anticipated coming up on the murderer.
Vin shot an eyebrow upwards.
Did he really expect an answer to that? He didn’t want to hurt
either men, but if his life were at risk, then he’d do whatever was
“Good afternoon, gentlemen!”
Josiah’s deep roar made both bounty hunters jump simultaneously.
The preacher emerged through the thicket, coming up from down the
stream, appearing to not take any notice of the predicament his fellow
lawman was in. He strolled casually between the group and over to
where his bay was tethered. “Certainly is a hot day…wouldn’t
you agree?” he asked amicably.
Trent glanced at his partner in
confusion, and back at the grey-headed man. “Walter and
me…we’re ummm…bounty hunters…and this here man has five hundred
dollars on his head.” What he and his brother could do with such
an investment. He’d drifted from one town to the next for the
past ten years, never settling or feeling the urge to remain in one
place for any length of time, but recently he was beginning to sense he
was missing something, and hadn’t yet determined what that might be.
Might be time to find a wife, maybe start a family, but for that he
needed ready cash, and when he spotted Vin by the stream, he remembered
the wanted poster and how much the killer was worth. He figured it
was easy money to bring in the wanted felon.
Josiah stopped what he was doing
and looked up at the Trent and Walter. He didn’t spare Tanner a
glance, but kept his gaze pinned on the two. He rubbed his chin
thoughtfully and frowned after contemplating their intentions.
Sanchez chuckled, wiping under his nose with the back of his hand,
unable to stifle the belly laugh that erupted.
Walter and Trent shared a wary
look, their guns wavering slightly. Is he for real? Their
confused glances seemed to spell out this question. “Hey, we got
no beef with you…”
Tanner remained motionless.
God he hoped Sanchez knew what he was doing.
“What’s the name of the man yer
after? Maybe I’ve heard of him.”
“Tanner…Vin Tanner,” Walter
Josiah dropped his mount’s reins
and circled back to the group. “Vin Tanner? Hmmmm,” he
seemed to be considering this information and turned to face Tanner to
study him. “You boys got a poster for this felon yer after?”
Trent glanced at Walter, who in
turn shrugged his shoulders. They’d seen it, but didn’t think
to bring it with them. Who would have thought they’d be the ones
to capture Tanner?
Sanchez saw the small denial and
sighed a note of thanks to the man upstairs. “So what did this
fella do? This…Vin Tanner, did you call him?”
“He’s wanted for murder, in
“You ever been to Tuscosa,
son?” Sanchez queried Vin.
“Reckon I’d remember if I
did,” Vin answered.
Sanchez nodded. “So what
exactly does this Tanner look like?”
Trent pointed at the Texan.
Sanchez sighed, turning again on
the Texan and wagged a finger accusingly at him as though he were a
belligerent child. “I told you!” he shouted, completely
ignoring the strange looks that passed between the bounty hunters.
“You grow yer hair and don’t shave for days… just so you’ll look
older. Well I tell you what, David,” Sanchez winked at Tanner,
grateful that he was standing between Vin and the hunters and they were
unable to see his expressions. “It just goes to prove what I
said; that you’d be mistaken for a criminal and that’s exactly
Josiah turned his back on Tanner
and was relieved to see the bounty hunters were showing some degree of
uncertainty; there guns were almost pointing at the ground.
“Kids, they want to grow up so fast…what can you do?” he confided.
“His mother, she wants him to go study medicine, but he just wants to
take over the ranch. Ain’t many prospects for young ranch hands
around these parts. The young girls; they are only interested in men
with money, and that ain’t likely to happen for my boy, not unless we
strike it rich digging for gold or the likes.”
Sanchez continued to ramble, seeing
the bounty hunters relax their grips on the guns and drop them to their
sides. “You gents on your way someplace?”
“Ah, no…Just passing
through,” Walter answered.
Sanchez glanced up at the mutinous
sun. He decided to push the point. “Guess this Tanner is kinda
older than my David here,” Sanchez waved in Vin’s direction, “got
some scars…maybe got that real mean look in his eyes? Reckon
he’s half crazed and must be a pretty dangerous type, if he’s wanted
Trent and Walter shared another
nervous look and guiltily dropped their weapons further. They had
genuinely thought that they had the right man. Bounty hunting was
obviously harder than either man had anticipated. And they
didn’t plan on getting killed doing it.
“I’ll bet, if he’s wanted
man, then Tanner’d be watching his back real close, probably
wouldn’t hesitate to kill again, if he’s already done it before.
I’d want to be real careful chasing down a man like him. Must be
a deadly shot too,” Sanchez considered. “Probably have a bead
on you before you could even see him.”
Trent swallowed nervously.
“You reckon he’d know we were looking for him?” The bounty
hunter looked cautiously over his shoulder, expecting at any moment to
have a bullet rip through his back.
“I wouldn’t put it passed
him…after all, Tanner is a killer,” Sanchez warned.
Walter trembled. “Reckon we
didn’t mean no harm,” he hurriedly apologised to Vin, as he backed
up through the growth to find his mount. “Come on, Trent,” he
called softly, anxious to be on the road again.
“You won’t mention to anyone
that we were looking for Tanner will ya?”
“That will be our little
secret,” Josiah smiled conspiritually. “Figure we don’t want
Tanner after us neither,” he circled his arm around Vin’s shoulders
and drew the tracker along side him.
“Thanks…and if there’s
anything we can ever do for you...” Trent left the sentence open.
“Not necessary. But
thanks…we’ll remember.” Sanchez left his arm draped over
Vin’s shoulder for a full minute after the bounty hunters had left the
area. “Well, David, reckon it’s time to return home…the
others will be wondering what’s kept us.”
Vin grinned up at the older man.
“You’re welcome, Vin. And
I don’t for one moment believe you’d be capable of doing any of
Tanner grinned; he knew what Josiah had been up to. “Reckon Ezra couldn’t have done better,” he complimented the preacher on the con.
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