Ghost Killer, Day 3 Of Jesse James, Robert Ford, Soapy Smith and Creede, Colorado
Zach stretched out on the double bed and stacked his hands behind his head. It was Wednesday. They needed to keep moving on this case, and fast, wrap it up Saturday morning at the latest before a lot of tourists came to the town and got hurt. Though from the fliers he'd seen, the first event of Cruisin' the Canyon took place Friday afternoon. Having it done by Friday would be better.
And he didn't have enough real facts to know that they could do that. They had the knife, the bloody, bloodthirsty knife. The weapon was ready. The person holding that weapon, Clare, might or might not be. But Clare was determined.
The piece of the puzzle that would be the difficult one was finding the dead sucker's name . . . Zach grunted. Sucker might be a word to keep in mind. Soapy Smith had been a con man, and Robert Ford had run a gang, too. They'd clashed, and later Ford had died. Plenty of leeway for betrayal in those circumstances.
Clare came back in and Zach took the other robe. "String of betrayals," he said, without thinking about it. He could talk to her about cases, bounce ideas off her. A woman he had sex with . . . cared for . . . unique in his relationship history.
Nodding, Clare said, "Robert Ford betrayed Jesse James and killed him. The Ford brothers themselves were betrayed in that they didn't get the bounty amount for killing James that was promised. Later, Ford probably felt betrayed when his older brother committed suicide. Most people think that Soapy Smith set Ford up to be killed."
"I'd considered that. I need to get up to speed on the legends."
Clare glanced out the window. "It looks like another mixed weather day." She gave him an unshadowed smile. "Always easier for me to read and do research on cloudy days. We have a meeting with one of the volunteers of the historical society at the archives this afternoon."
Once more when he returned, he found Clare dressed and sitting on the bed, her great-aunt Sandra's journal open. He wished Clare would listen to her gut more.
"Reading the story of how your Great-Aunt Sandra defeated her evil ghost again?"
Her mouth set stubbornly. "Sometimes you see new things."
"I don't figure one page can reveal new insights."
"You're being difficult."
"Maybe." He took off the robe, wanted to throw it on the floor, or the bed, but hung it on the stand instead. "I don't want you comparing yourself to your great-Aunt Sandra and finding yourself lacking."
He grunted and began dressing.
"And you're not regretting avoiding her, and not learning from her."
"Really?" His sarcasm was heavy.
"Not. Much. I'm trying to ingrain the information into my head so all the concepts feel familiar when I think of them, not something I will doubt in the heat of the moment."
Clare closed the book and tapped it with her forefinger. "Great-Aunt Sandra's ghost had consumed two others."
Keeping his voice soft, Zach slid into the next question. "You know more about the monster ghost every time you check on it, don't you? You must have gotten an idea of how many ghosts it's taken over. Think, Clare, how many?"
A line twisted between her brows. She tilted her head as if listening. Her lips moved as if counting. "Twenty."
Zach snapped his mouth shut so he couldn't shout the word, sucked in a breath and said, "Twenty."
YES, THOSE WHO KNOW THE BOOK, I TOOK SOME SPOILER INFO OUT IN THIS EXCERPT. ;)
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