The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 17

of Abigail
Prim's boudoir.

The commotion of the attack and escape brought the other sleepers to
heavy-eyed wakefulness. They saw Dopey Charlie advancing upon the Kid,
a knife in his hand. Behind him slunk The General, urging the other on.
The youth was backing toward the doorway. The tableau persisted but for
an instant. Then the would-be murderer rushed madly upon his victim, the
latter's hand leaped from beneath the breast of his torn coat--there was
a flash of flame, a staccato report and Dopey Charlie crumpled to the
ground, screaming. In the same instant The Oskaloosa Kid wheeled and
vanished into the night.

It had all happened so quickly that the other members of the gang,
awakened from deep slumber, had only time to stumble to their feet
before it was over. The Sky Pilot, ignoring the screaming Charlie,
thought only of the loot which had vanished with the Oskaloosa Kid.

"Come on! We gotta get him," he cried, as he ran from the barn after
the fugitive. The others, all but Dopey Charlie, followed in the wake of
their leader. The wounded man, his audience departed, ceased screaming
and, sitting up, fell to examining himself. To his surprise he
discovered that he was not dead. A further and more minute examination
disclosed the additional fact that he was not even badly wounded. The
bullet of The Kid had merely creased the flesh over the ribs beneath his
right arm. With a grunt that might have been either disgust or relief he
stumbled to his feet and joined in the pursuit.

Down the road toward the south ran The Oskaloosa Kid with all the
fleetness of youth spurred on by terror. In five minutes he had so far
outdistanced his pursuers that The Sky Pilot leaped to the conclusion
that the quarry had left the road to hide in an adjoining field. The
resultant halt and search upon either side of the road delayed the chase
to a sufficient extent to award the fugitive a mile lead by the time the
band resumed the hunt along the main highway. The men were determined
to overhaul the youth not alone because of the loot upon his person but
through an abiding suspicion that he might indeed be what some of them
feared he was--an amateur detective--and there were at least two among
them who had reason to be especially fearful of any sort of detective
from Oakdale.

They no longer ran; but puffed arduously along the smooth road,
searching with troubled and angry eyes to right and left and ahead of
them as they went.

The Oskaloosa Kid puffed,

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