Harsh sunlight begat harsher winds and the heat carried across the desert sands was almost as brutal as the ruined wagon train that lay before the three marshals from Ascension. Buzzards had gnawed away at the more tender flesh, leaving bones to poke through the broken remains of the wagons. Wendel Kane, man of the mountains, wordlessly began to look for tracks. Hans Octavius Wilhem turned his scholar’s eye to the carnage itself. Jack Lightning, gunslinger of world repute, wsa the only one who voiced the question: what do the sysmbols mean?
Surrounding the wreckage was a circle, furrowed out into the sand. Around the circle was a collection of strange symbols, also scarred into the earth. The display was caked with blood, but for what purpose, Wilhem could only guess.
“They appear to be some sort of arcane design, but for what purpose?”
“Do we know what caused them?” Jack asked as her hands flew back forth to the butt of her lightning coil guns. A habit only the most astute would see and would ascribe to anything betraying nerves.
“Injuns.” said Kane with finality.
Wilhem continued investigating the wagon ruins. The bodies and symbols had been left behind but the horses and the wagon’s cargo – iron ore fro a mine a day and a half’s ride – were gone. Hauling such cargo needed the wagons. How Indians could have done it bordered the impossible. Then, with a conclusion chilling enough to steal the desert heat away, Wilhem noticed the leather harness.
“This was torn apart.” he said. “A harness designed for horses to pull iron ore, a wagon and it’s people and it hasn’t been cut.”
Jack, still unflappable, took it in stride. “We sure it was Injuns that did this? Mighta been an inside job,” referring to the other collection of bodies dispatched from the Ithaca Gun Company to investigate what had happened to the iron needed for their Space Gun project.
Kane spoke up. “It was definitely Injuns.” The lack of a discernable trail was evidence enough of this.
Wendel Kane had undertaken a lot of different jobs before he put on a badge, one of them being hunting the Redskin savages for scalp bounty. A trail left by a flying sparrow was something he could track over miles. The trail left here, almost as ephemeral, was something he could follow as well.
Mounting up, the three lawmen, led by Kane, set out to administer justice.
TO BE CONTINUED