The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 145

had leaped from the moving
train dragging his guard after him.



CHAPTER II. THE ESCAPE

BYRNE had no time to pick any particular spot to jump for. When he did
jump he might have been directly over a picket fence, or a bottomless
pit--he did not know. Nor did he care.

As it happened he was over neither. The platform chanced to be passing
across a culvert at the instant. Beneath the culvert was a slimy pool.
Into this the two men plunged, alighting unharmed.

Byrne was the first to regain his feet. He dragged the deputy sheriff to
his knees, and before that frightened and astonished officer of the law
could gather his wits together he had been relieved of his revolver and
found himself looking into its cold and business-like muzzle.

Then Billy Byrne waded ashore, prodding the deputy sheriff in the ribs
with cold steel, and warning him to silence. Above the pool stood a
little wood, thick with tangled wildwood. Into this Byrne forced his
prisoner.

When they had come deep enough into the concealment of the foliage to
make discovery from the outside improbable Byrne halted.

"Now say yer prayers," he commanded. "I'm a-going to croak yeh."

The deputy sheriff looked up at him in wild-eyed terror.

"My God!" he cried. "I ain't done nothin' to you, Byrne. Haven't I
always been your friend? What've I ever done to you? For God's sake
Byrne you ain't goin' to murder me, are you? They'll get you, sure."

Billy Byrne let a rather unpleasant smile curl his lips.

"No," he said, "youse ain't done nothin' to me; but you stand for the
law, damn it, and I'm going to croak everything I meet that stands for
the law. They wanted to send me up for life--me, an innocent man. Your
kind done it--the cops. You ain't no cop; but you're just as rotten. Now
say yer prayers."

He leveled the revolver at his victim's head. The deputy sheriff slumped
to his knees and tried to embrace Billy Byrne's legs as he pleaded for
his life.

"Cut it out, you poor boob," admonished Billy. "You've gotta die and if
you was half a man you'd wanna die like one."

The deputy sheriff slipped to the ground. His terror had overcome him,
leaving him in happy unconsciousness. Byrne stood looking down upon the
man for a moment. His wrist was chained to that of the other, and the
pull of the deputy's body was irritating.

Byrne stooped and placed the muzzle of the revolver back of the man's
ear. "Justice!" he muttered, scornfully, and his finger tightened upon
the trigger.

Then,

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