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Authors: Rory Black

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Iron Eyes Must Die

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Bounty hunter Iron Eyes had tracked down his
prey to an hotel at Rio Concho. He quickly dispatches them and,
with the hotel ablaze, drags the bodies outside. But waiting for
him is Sheriff Brook Payne and his deputies with rifles trained on
him. Iron Eyes is charged with murder and thrown in jail to be
tried as soon as Judge Franklin Travis, better known as the Hanging
Judge, arrives in town. Can Iron Eyes escape the noose?

IRON EYES MUST
DIE

IRON EYES 9

By Rory
Black

First published
by Robert Hale Limited in 2005

Copyright
©
2005, 2015 by Rory Black

First
Smashwords Edition: September 2015

Names,
characters and incidents in this book are fictional, and any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons
living or dead is purely coincidental.

All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in
any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording or by any information or storage and
retrieval system, without the written permission of the author,
except where permitted by law.

Cover image ©
2015 by Carl Yonder

This is a
Piccadilly Publishing Book

Series Editor:
Ben Bridges

Text © Piccadilly Publishing

Published by
Arrangement with the Author.

 

 

 

Dedicated to the memory
of my grandparents,
Margaret and Jack George

Prologue

The three terrified riders
turned and fired as their lathered-up mounts thundered into the
border town of Rio Concho. It was as if the Devil himself was on
their trail. In the minds of the Jardine brothers, that was closer
to the truth than any of them dared admit. Clem, Jed and Saul
Jardine had seen the ghostly image of the deadly hunter only a few
hours earlier back on the sun-baked prairie. They had seen the
ferocity of the man
’s guns as he had cut down two of their gang.

It had been like fighting a ghost. None of
their bullets had come close to stopping their relentless foe. Only
a sudden sandstorm had saved their lives and allowed them to flee
from his merciless accuracy.

But the hunter of men had not
been satisfied with the two hapless outlaws
he had managed to cut down.
They were worth less than a hundred dollars between
them.

Iron Eyes had his sights set on a far bigger
prize. For the Jardine brothers were collectively worth more than
$5,000 dead or alive.

As the Jardines drove their mounts through
the streets of Rio Concho, Iron Eyes whipped his Indian pony
feverishly until he too had entered the boundaries of the remote
border town. Even with the two outlaw horses in tow, Iron Eyes knew
he was gaining on the Jardine boys. The bodies of his earlier
victims were tied across their saddles as the bounty hunter drove
his sharp spurs into the flesh of his Indian pony again and
again.

Now he was so close, the dust
off the hoofs of the outlaws
’ mounts was still hanging in the air as Iron Eyes
rode through it with one of his Navy .36 guns blasting.

The hunter had trailed his
chosen prey for hours and now he knew they
had run out of steam. Now they were
stopping to stand and fight.

It would be their last mistake.

His honed vision saw them leap
from their saddles a hundred yards ahead of him and race into a
dark side street. Iron Eyes dragged his reins up to his chest. The
pony beneath him almost fell into the soft, dusty ground as the
tall man dismounted in one swift, well
practiced movement. He looped his
reins around a hitching rail and checked that the two outlaw mounts
were still secured to his saddle cantle.

A group of startled people
huddled in a store doorway. They watched the heavily scarred man
with long, matted hair standing below them. He looked up at them.
Death was etched into his mutilated face, on to skin which appeared
to have been melted. Only his eyes seemed alive as they burned
like
branding irons in their direction.

Iron Eyes reached down into the
deep pockets of his weathered trail coat and pulled out a handful
of bullets. The
bounty hunter dragged both his Navy Colts from his belt,
opened their chambers and pulled out all the spent
shells.

He then quickly reloaded them and cocked
their hammers.

The entire operation took less than a minute
to execute.


Guard
my dead ’uns!’ Iron Eyes ordered the stunned people before he moved
around the tail of the exhausted mount. He raced across the busy
street and up on to the boardwalk opposite. Like a wild animal, he
seemed to be capable of trailing his prey by following their
scent.

It was as if fear had its own smell.

He knew it well.

People gasped in horror at the
hideous sight of the long-legged man
’s face as he ran after his prey. They
could not believe their eyes when they saw the scarred features
bathed in a mixture of moon-and lantern-light. His long black mane
of hair moved up and down on his shoulders. It was like the wings
of a massive bat.

The moon was big and large above the mixture
of whitewashed adobes and wooden structures which made up the
border town. It cast down an eerie blue light.

Just as Iron Eyes reached the
corner, a half-dozen shots rang out from the dark side street. The
wooden upright next to him was hit by the
Jardines

bullets. Sawdust showered over the bounty hunter. He paused as even
more shots came out of the blackness, seeking his lean
frame.

Iron Eyes blasted back with both his
guns.

Then he heard the sound of the
three outlaws
’ spurs. They were running again.

The bounty hunter continued after them.

Every few strides, a shot came at him out of
the black shadows, yet he did not slow his pace. He just kept on
running after them.

They were his!

He could smell their terror!

It was a temptation he could not resist!

He reached the end of the dark street and saw
the heels of the Jardine boys as they entered the elegant hotel
lobby, bathed in lantern- and candle-light opposite. Iron Eyes ran
across the wide main street towards the hotel.

No nightmare could have chilled the blood and
souls quite as much as did the sight which greeted the people
within the high-priced Avalon Hotel as a wall clock chimed
midnight.

Before the clock had finished
chiming, gunfire had filled the hotel lobby. The emaciated bounty
hunter had raced into the hotel a few seconds after the three
surviving members of the Jardine gang with both guns blazing.
Respectable hotel patrons were suddenly in the middle of a bloody
war. Men and women were hit as outlaw bullets crisscrossed the
large, well-furnished area. Yet it was the Jardine brothers who
were shooting wildly. Iron
Eyes never hit anyone accidentally.

He never wasted bullets on people who did not
have a bounty on their heads. There was no profit in killing honest
folks.

People scrambled desperately for the
wide-open doorway as the notorious outlaws took to three different
corners of the hotel lobby to make their stand against the man who
had hounded their trail for weeks.

There was only one way of stopping a man like
Iron Eyes from claiming the bounty he craved. They had to kill him.
There was no second way.

The town of Rio Concho lay close to the
border in the New Mexican territory. It had sheltered many a wanted
man in its time from the law.

But Iron Eyes was not the law.

He did what few lawmen had the stomach to do.
He trailed and killed those who were wanted dead or alive. Iron
Eyes would not be denied by the rules which governed men with stars
pinned to their shirts or vests.

Few escaped the wrath of Iron Eyes.

Fearful men and screaming women were still
fleeing in all directions as they saw the fearsome figure of Iron
Eyes standing in the middle of the large room trying to sense where
the three men had gone.

Then shots rang out again.

A trail of blood followed the men and women
out into the night air.

Bullets tore into the tails of the long
trail-coat of the bounty hunter as he turned. A man was kneeling
behind a long three-seater couch. It was Saul Jardine.

Iron Eyes could feel the heat of the bullets
as they came close to his flesh. He squeezed the triggers of both
his guns and watched as stuffing exploded from the seat of the
couch.

Saul rose into the air with blood covering
his face. He had shown Iron Eyes too much target. The lethal bounty
hunter never missed anything that he could see.

The bounty hunter fired once
more
with
his left gun. The outlaw twisted and crashed into the carpeted
floor. Blood was everywhere.

Iron Eyes held the smoking Navy
Colts in his skeletal hands and moved close to the
bloodstained wall
beyond the body. His bullet-colored eyes darted around the large
hotel lobby.

He knew that Clem and Jed were still in the
hotel somewhere.

But where?

He studied the hotel lobby carefully. A wide
staircase led to a balcony. Behind the desk, there was a white door
with the word PRIVATE painted on it. The lobby was filled with lots
of well-padded chairs of various sizes. There were at least three
other doors that he could see.

The Jardines were hiding somewhere!

Somewhere close!

He could smell their fear even
through the acrid aroma of the choking
gun smoke.


You
might as well give up!’ Iron Eyes shouted as his eyes continued to
dart around the room looking for even a hint of movement. ‘I’ll
kill you vermin just like I killed your brother.’

The room remained silent.

Gun smoke
hung about four feet above the
expensive bloodstained carpet.

Then he heard it.

The sound of a spur up on the balcony drew
his attention. Iron Eyes moved along the wall with both his cocked
guns in his hands until he had a better view.

He stared up to the landing. There was a huge
green plant in a highly decorated pot. He narrowed his eyes. The
long, green, pointed leaves of the plant were moving. Someone had
brushed by them a minute or so earlier, he told himself.

He continued to aim his
bullet-
colored eyes upwards with the intensity of an eagle seeking
out its prey. All he required was the sight of an inch of an
outlaw’s body to come into view, and he would fire.

A mere inch!

Then Iron Eyes saw a shadow
moving across the wall beyond the potted plant. He gritted
his
razor-sharp teeth and raised both his weapons.

Iron Eyes blasted both guns twice in rapid
succession. The shots cut through the air as they sought their
target. The china plant-pot shattered into a million pieces and
Clem Jardine jumped up from behind it with blood pouring from his
shoulder. With his guns still in his hands, the outlaw went to
return fire when his left boot caught the edge of the carpet. Iron
Eyes fired again and sent two bullets into the chest of the eldest
of the Jardine brothers. Clem buckled and crashed down the twenty
steps like a tree being felled. His guns blasted into the air as he
landed heavily on the floor of the lobby.

The sound of the
outlaw
’s
neck snapping filled the room.


Only
one of you left!’ Iron Eyes taunted as he reloaded
swiftly.

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