“Get on outta here, you mangy mutt.” Harley Woods crouched in the darkness, staring into Clement’s deep brown eyes.
The dog stood in the doorway between the front room and the sleeping quarters Harley had shared with his brother until Hank double-crossed him. Harley had forgotten all about the varmint, and now that mistake might blow his cover.
And his chance at revenge.
“Get!” Harley flicked his hands toward Clement. “Stop looking at me!”
The dog wagged his tail and trotted toward Harley. Great, now they were friends.
When he was just three feet away, though, Clement stopped and sat on the hard floor. He cried. Growled. Barked.
“Shut up, you filthy mongrel!” Harley backed toward the front door, ready to make his escape if the dog charged — or if Hank woke up.
On cue, Hank called out from his quarters. “What are you doing, Clement? Quiet down!”
The dog looked behind him and barked again. Hank cursed the dog as he plopped out of bed and shuffled across the floor.
Harley reached for the door latch but couldn’t make it work. Hank’s bare feet slapped across the hardwood, and then he appeared next to the dog, face aglow in lantern light.
The two brothers stood face-to-face, and Harley braced for confrontation. Hank just stared into the dark, then patted Clement on the head.
“What’s got you all spooked, boy? You get a bad piece of bison meat for supper?” Hank chuckled and headed back to bed. “C’mon, now.”
Clement shot one last dagger toward Harley, woofed into the air, and trotted after his master.
“Well, I’ll be a …,” Harley spoke to the empty room and lifted a ghastly white hand to scratch his forehead in wonder.
It was only then he felt the bullet hole, and began to remember.