Talon & Chantry 07 - North To The Rails (v5.0)

Talon & Chantry 07 - North To The Rails (v5.0) by Louis L’Amour

Book: Talon & Chantry 07 - North To The Rails (v5.0) by Louis L’Amour Read Free Book Online
Authors: Louis L’Amour
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named Mobile and another man, somewhat older, stood there.
    “Come in,” Sparrow said. “Baker, this young man is a friend of mine. He’s going to need an outfit, from the skin out, and he’ll need it tonight. He’ll also need a pistol and a Winchester. Can you open up and get them for him?”
    “For you? You’re damned right.” Baker turned away. Then he glanced over his shoulder. “From the look of him, what he needs is some hot soup…a lot of it.”
    “I’ll get it,” Mobile said. “It’ll have some rain water in it by the time I get back, but it’ll be soup and it’ll be hot.”
    Chantry pulled a blanket around him. The liquor and the warmth of the room were taking effect, but he was feeling very tired.
    “Sparrow, why are you doing this for me?” he asked. “I thought you had no use for me.”
    Sparrow smiled, and took a cigar from his pocket. “I didn’t,” he said, “but you’ve been moving and you’ve been making friends. I ran into Koch down in Las Vegas. He hates your guts, but he carries the marks to show why. That was part of it, and then everybody is talking about your deal with French.”
    “You know about that?”
    “Everybody does. That’s why I knew you’d need an outfit. I’ll have a horse for you, too, the best one I can find.”
    “Do you think French had me shot?”
    “No, that doesn’t sound like him. He’d have it done right out in the open where anybody could see it. He’s got his own sense of honor about things. He’ll steal everything you own, and he’ll get you killed in a gun fight if he can, or by a bad horse or a steer, but I doubt he’d ever have a man dry-gulched. Of course, that’s just one man’s opinion.”
    Mobile came in with the soup, and he stayed behind after Sparrow left. “You get some sleep,” he advised. “I’ll kind of set around and keep an eye on things.”
    “You don’t even know me.”
    Mobile shrugged. “I don’t have to. I used to punch cows for Sparrow. I came up the trail with him from Texas, decided that was too rugged a life for a man, and settled down here to deal cards. Contrary to what you might figure, I don’t make much more than I would punchin’ cows, but I sleep in a bed at night and I don’t have to ride drag.”
    Slowly, carefully, Tom Chantry stretched out on the bed and drew the covers over him. His muscles, stiffened by cold and weariness, slowly relaxed.
    “Mobile?” His eyes opened. “Do you know a couple of people named Sarah and Paul?” He went on to describe them, and added, “They’ll be hunting that horse, but I’ve got an idea that horse came from town here, sold to them or rented. He sure wanted to come this way. He was a big bay, about sixteen hands, with three white stockings. It looked like a Pitchfork brand…I caught a glimpse as he ran off.”
    “That’s Henry Hazelton’s. He’s got a ranch outside of town—deals in horses and mules. I’ve used that horse myself.” He took a step toward the door. “Now you get some sleep. I’ll ask around.”
    The door closed, and there was silence in the room. For several minutes Chantry lay quiet, then he got out of bed and limped across the room and propped the chair under the knob. It was an inside room with no window. He closed his eyes. Nothing had ever felt so good as this bed, nothing ever would.
    He slept…and outside, rain fell upon the town—a rain that drowned the sound of a horse’s hoofs splashing through the mud. It smothered the sound of footsteps of a man walking along the alley and trying the back door of the hotel, then entering.
    It did not wipe out entirely the sight of a young woman walking across the street and mounting the outside steps of the building across the way.
    Mobile, shuffling cards at his table, saw the girl dimly through the rain, saw her put a key in the lock and enter the door. Mobile Callahan trusted neither people nor the appearances of things. Of Tom Chantry he knew nothing beyond the fact that he was

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