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Blizzard's Charge








From: Kid Wolf Of Texas

Kid Wolf was so dazed for a time that he but dimly realized what was
happening to him. Half stunned, he was carried, along with Dave
Robbins, out of the arroyo. He was light-headed from the blows he had
received.

That torture was in store for them, he well knew. He heard Gil
Garvey's voice calling for Yellow Skull. Red faces, smeared with war
paint, glared at him. He was being taken on a pony's back through a
thicket of brush.

They were up on the mesa again, for he felt the sun burn out and a hot
wind sweep the desert. What were they waiting for?

Yellow Skull! Kid Wolf had heard of that terrible, insane Apache
chief. He could expect about as much mercy from him as he could from
Garvey.

Some one was shaking his shoulder. It was the Lost Springs bandit
leader.

Kid Wolf looked about him. A score or more of warriors, naked save for
breechcloths, stood around in a hostile circle. Garvey was chuckling
and in high good humor. With him was Shank, sneering and cold-eyed.

"We want to know where that money is!" Garvey shouted.

Kid Wolf's brain was clearing. On the ground, a few feet away, lay
Dave Robbins, still stunned.

"I'm not sayin'," the Texan returned calmly.

Garvey's blotched face was convulsed with rage.

"Yuh'll wish yuh had, blast yuh!" he snarled. "I'm turnin' yuh both
over to Yellow Skull! He's got somethin' in store for yuh that'll make
yuh wish yuh'd never been born! Yo're west o' the Pecos now, Mr.
Wolf--and there's no law here but me!"

The Kid eyed him steadily. "Theah's no law," he said, "but justice.
And some of these times, sah, yo' will meet up with it!"

"I suppose yuh think yuh can hand it to me yoreself," leered the bandit
leader.

"I may," said Kid Wolf quietly.

Garvey laughed loudly and contemptuously.

"Yellow Skull!" he called. "Come here!"

The man who strode forward with snakelike, noiseless steps was
horrible, if ever a man was horrible. He was the chief of the renegade
Apache band, and as insane as a horse that has eaten of the loco weed.
Sixty years or more in age, his face was wrinkled in yellow folds over
his gaunt visage. Above his beaked nose, his beady black eyes
glittered wickedly, and his jagged fangs protruded through his animal
lips. He wore a breechcloth of dirty white, and his chest was naked,
save for two objects--objects terrible enough to send a thrill of
horror through the beholder. Suspended on a long cord around his neck
were two shriveled human hands. Above this was a necklace made of
dried human fingers.

"Yellow Skull," said Garvey, pointing to Kid Wolf, "meet the man who
slew yore son, Bear Claw!"

The expression of the chief's face became ghastly. His eyes widened
until they showed rings of white; his nostrils expanded. With a fierce
yell, he thumped his scrawny chest until it boomed like an Indian drum.
Then he gave a series of guttural orders to his followers.

Kid Wolf, who knew the Apache tongue, listened and understood. His
sunburned face paled a bit, but his eyes remained steady. He turned
his head to look at Robbins, who was recovering consciousness.

"Keep up yo' nerve, son," he comforted. "I'm afraid this is goin' to
be pretty terrible."

The bonds of the two white men were loosened, and they were pulled to
their feet and made to walk for some distance. Garvey and Shank,
grinning evilly, accompanied them.

Kid Wolf felt the comforting weight of his hidden knife at the back of
his neck. It would do him little good, however, to draw it, for he was
hemmed in by the Apaches. He might get two or three, but in the end he
would be beaten down. He was determined, at any rate, to go out
fighting. If he could only bring justice to Garvey before he died, he
would be content. Tensely he waited for the opportune time.

One of the redskins carried a comb of honey. The Texan knew what that
meant. The most horrible torture that could have been devised by men
awaited them.

The torture party paused in a clear space in the middle of a high
thicket of mesquite. Here in the sun-baked, packed sand were two ant
hills.

Kid Wolf had heard of the method before. What Yellow Skull intended to
do was this: The two prisoners would be staked and tied so tightly
over the ant hills that neither could move a muscle. Then their mouths
would be propped open and honey smeared inside. The swarming colonies
of red ants would do the rest.

For the first time, Dave Robbins seemed to realize what was in store
for them. He turned his face to the Texan's, his eyes piteous.

"Kid!" he gasped, horrified.

"Steady, son," said Kid Wolf. "Steady!"

Quick hope had suddenly begun to beat in his breast. Deep within the
mesquite thicket, he had caught sight of something white and moving.
It was his horse! Blizzard had followed his master, and stood ready to
do his bidding.

Already the grinning Apaches were coming forward with the stakes and
ropes. Not a second was to be lost. It was a forlorn hope, but Kid
Wolf knew that he could depend on Blizzard to do his best. Sharp and
clear, the Texan gave the coyote yell!"

"Yip-yip-ee!"

What happened took place so suddenly that the Apaches never realized
what it all was! Crash! Like a white, avenging ghost horse, the
superb Texas charger leaped out of the mesquite, muscles bunched. It
made the distance to its master's side in two flashing leaps, bowling
over a half dozen Indians as it did so! The Apaches fell back,
overcome with astonishment.

With a quick movement, Kid Wolf drew his knife, pulling it from his
neck sheath like lightning. With it he felled the nearest warrior.
Another step brought him to Blizzard's side.

Garvey and Shank, acting quicker than their red allies, drew their
revolvers.

"Get him! Shoot 'em down!" they yelled.

But Kid Wolf had seized the gun he had placed in Blizzard's stirrup.
He dropped to his knees to the sand, just as lead hummed over his head.

Dave Robbins had struck one of the amazed Apaches and had jerked his
rifle away from him. Clubbing it, he smashed two others as fast as
they dived in.

Shank rushed, his gun winking spurts of fire.

Kid Wolf could not spare his enemies now. His own life depended on his
flashing Colt. He lined the tip of his front sight and thumbed the
hammer.

Thr-r-r-rup! Shank gasped, as lead tore through him. He dropped
headfirst, arms outstretched.

"Get on the hoss!" The Kid yelled at Robbins. Then he turned his gun
on Garvey.

In his rage, the Lost Springs desperado fired too quickly. His aim was
bad, and the slug sang over the Texan's head.

"Reckon yo' are about to get the law that's west of the Pecos now,
Garvey--justice!"

With his words, The Kid threw down on Garvey and suddenly snapped the
hammer. The bullet found its mark. If Garvey had no heart, Kid Wolf's
bullet found the spot where it ought to be. With his glazing eyes, Gil
Garvey--wholesale murderer--saw justice at last. Dropping his gun, he
swayed for a moment on his feet, then fell heavily.

"Look out, Kid!" Robbins yelled.

The Texan whirled just in time. A pace behind him was Yellow Skull,
his hideous face distorted with mad fury. In his thin hand was a long
leather thong, to which was attached a round stone. A second more, and
Kid Wolf's skull would have been smashed!

A burst of flame stopped him. The chief sagged, dropped. The Kid had
fired just as the stone was whirled aloft. The Indians, now that their
chief and white allies had fallen, retreated. The almost miraculous
appearance of the horse had dismayed them and filled them with
superstitious fear. A few more shots served to scatter them and send
them flying for cover. Kid Wolf vaulted into the saddle. Robbins was
already on Blizzard's back.

"Heads low!" sang out the Texan.

He headed the horse for the mesquites. Crashing through them, they
found themselves on the mesa plain once more. Kid Wolf urged Blizzard
to greater speed. Bullets buzzed around them, but it was evident that
the Apaches had lost heart. Blizzard pounded on, and the cries behind
soon grew fainter and fainter. Kid Wolf relaxed a little and grinned.

"That's what I'd call a narrow squeak," he chuckled. "How far to
Mexican Tanks?"

"On over the mesa," panted Robbins, "five or six miles."

"Then we'll make it," decided The Kid.

A quarter of an hour later, they drew rein and looked behind. Whether
the Indians feared to approach any nearer to the government post, or
whether they had given up through superstitious fear, would have been
hard to tell. At any rate, there was nothing to be seen of them.

Two miles below the two men could see the little post known as Mexican
Tanks, scattered out in a fertile, cottonwood-grown valley. With one
accord, they shook hands.

"Now will yo' believe me," asked the Texan, "when I tell yo' that
Blizzahd's a smaht hoss?"

Dave Robbins grinned. "So's his master," he chuckled. "And speakin'
o' Blizzard again, I guess we owe him some water and a peck of oats.
Reckon we'll find it down there." His face sobered. "It won't do me
any good, Kid, to thank yuh."

"Don't try," drawled The Kid. "I'm a soldier of misfohtune, and
excitement's mah business. I'll leave yo' down heah, son. Go to yo'
claim on the San Simon and make good--fo' yo' fathah's sake. And good
luck!"

"Yuh won't come along?"

Kid Wolf shook his head and smiled.

"I'm just a rollin' stone," he confessed, "and I just naturally roll
toward trouble. If yo' evah need me again, yo'll find me where the
lead flies thickest. As soon as I turn this express money ovah to the
authorities, I'll be on my way again. Maybe it'll be the Rio Grande,
perhaps the Chisholm Trail, and maybe--well, maybe I'll stay west of
the Pecos and see what I can see. Quien sabe?"

Blizzard cocked his ears and turned his head to look his master in the
eye. Blizzard savvied. He was "in the know."





Next: A Crossed Trail

Previous: Pursuit



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