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The men left the train in Hartford. Corrigan knew the Sheriff would expect them to return and he did not want to let anyone down. Yet he did not want to show his hand too soon. His time would come. He was smart enough to know that their accents would give them away so he hired a young man from the train station in Hartford who was looking for work He hired the kid to talk to the bitch. For that the kid would earn one hundred dollars and be sent on his way. He bought the kid an old horse and saddle before they headed North. They avoided the towns and took a much longer route . A journey that should have only taken a few days was stretched out into more than a week. They had a plan. One that would work only if they stay hidden.
The men camped out in the forest for three days as they waited for the opportunity to put their plan into action. A man kept watch and let them know if anyone headed their way. Each morning they saddled their horses and waited. If anyone headed in their direction, they changed locations. A location away from the lake, yet offered them a view of the surrounding area. The forest top was only accessible by horse on one side. It had a clearing that would be perfect for their needs.
Each morning they watched the ranch hands leave the ranch o their way to work the stock. They watched the same hands return at the end of their work day. Then watched the hands leave again for a night on the town. He knew there would only be a few hands left at the house.
The morning was quiet until the sounds of the mustangs woke the men. They watched the herd at the water. Away from the rest of the men, two talked softly.
" How much longer..." Montgomery started to ask.
Corrigan interrupted. "It will take as long as it takes. I did not come this far to be careless now."
"I want my daughter back."
"You will have her. One way or another we will get her back. Then I will have my bride."
"You meant what you said about not killing anyone."
"No one will be killed. But know this Montgomery, I will do what ever it takes to get my bride back and teach that bitch a lesson in the process. No one threatens me. Especially not a woman." He stated and rubbed his jaw where she had hit him. "Now why don't you go make sure everyone is ready to go in case we had to leave. We already had one close call this morning and do not need another. I did not expect that ranch hand to be out snooping around."
The older man walked away. Corrigan stood alone until he was joined by one of his men.
"That is some nice looking horse flesh." He stated. "Look at that stallion."
"I did not come here to look at horses."
"I know boss, but there is no harm in looking." He scanned the area. "Looks like riders." He said.
"Just coming down the hill." He pointed to the riders. "Two of them."
They moved into the trees, so that they would not be seen. Yet were able to watch the lake and riders. They watched as the pair slowly walked towards the herd. He smiled when they came closer. He again touched the spot on his face where she hit him and remember the sound of her gun as it was cocked in his face.
"Looks like you wait is over boss."
"It certainly does. Such a nice surprise and it is not even my birthday." Corrigan smiled.
"What is your plan?"
"Plan? The same as it has always been. I will have my bride and put that bitch in her place. Just remember the girl is mine. No one is to touch her. You men can do whatever you want with the bitch. Just don't kill her.
"Do what you want, but make sure no one is killed. Understand?"
"Sure Boss. I will tell the others. What about Montgomery?"
"It is for the best that he does not know what is planned. Make sure he stays here, out of the way. Send that kid over here."
"Montgomery is not going to like that."
"That is too bad. He has no choice. I can not have him getting cold feet when he finds out what is in store for those two bitches. I don't want him sending out any warnings."
"Will do, Boss." He walked away. As he neared Montgomery, he pulled his gun. "Hey kid, the Boss wants to see you." He called out. The boy nodded and walked to where Corrigan stood. Montgomery packed up his gear and has his back to the group, when the ranch hand walked up behind him. He was caught by surprise when the gun barrel poked him in the back. He felt for his gun, as it was taken from him. "Mr. Montgomery, there has been a change in the plans."
Montgomery turned and stared at the gun pointed at him. "What the Hell?"
"Mr. Corrigan's orders. He feels you would be better off if you remained behind, and not know what is about to happen. Tie him up." He ordered. "Better gag him also so he can't give out any warnings."
The kid stood at Corrigan's side. His brown eyes wide as he watched the men tie up the older man. The kid had a lanky look of someone who had grown several inches in a short time. He was young with just the shadow of a beard starting on his baby face.
"What is going on?" He asked.
"That does not concern you. The only thing you have to worry about is getting those two women to that stand of trees on the next hill." He pointed to the area.
"Do you remember what you are to say to them?"
"Yes sir, I am to tell..."
"No need to tell me. Just make sure you get them there. We are going to head over. Once we are in position, I will signal you. Then you go down and bring them to us. After that you disappear. You got that?"
"Yes sir. Uh what about my money?"
Corrigan withdrew his wallet and took out several bills that he handed to the boy. "Just remember, if you betray me in any way, I will hunt you down and make sure you do not live long enough to spend any of that money."
"Yes sir." He replied again.
"Mount up and be ready."
To be continued...
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