“I guess we’ve had about enough of this,” he said quietly, when he returned to Stella. “No more mixed balls for mine.”
As Ted was escorting Stella to the carriage, Billy Sudden ranged up alongside of him.
“Look out for Creviss and his bunch on the way home. They’re telling around what they’re going to do with you. Want any help?”
“No, I reckon not, Billy. Our bunch can take care of them.”
“They are going to try to kill you to-night.”
Shots from the dark.
As the broncho boys swung through the streets of Soldier Butte, after leaving the ball, Ted Strong was in the lead, and Bud, Ben, Kit, and Clay were riding on either side of the carriage, while Jack Slate, with his black coat tails flapping in the breeze, brought up the rear.
They were passing an alley, at the corner of which an electric lamp shed a path of light across the street, when a revolver shot cracked out, and Ted’s hat left his head.
The ball had just grazed his scalp, and the merest fraction of an inch lower would have killed him.
Instantly every one pulled up, and Ted, wheeling suddenly, rode at full speed for the mouth of the alley.
As he did so another shot came from the alley.
Ted’s revolver was in his hand, and he fired at the spot where he had seen the flash from the muzzle of the assassin’s weapon.
He heard Mrs. Graham scream, and turned back to the side of the carriage only to find that one of the horses attached to it had been hit by the bullet, and was down, but that neither Stella nor Mrs. Graham had been injured, and he rode straight into the dark alley, followed by Bud and Kit, leaving Ben and the other boys to guard the carriage, for he did not know from what direction another attack might come.
The alley was as dark as a pocket, and as Ted rode into it he well knew that he was taking his life in his hands.
At the far end of the alley he heard the beat of feet running swiftly, and fired his revolver several times in that direction, and heard a yell of pain.
“Come on, fellows,” he called. “I think I got one of them that time.”
As he said this they saw two dark figures dart out of the alley into the street at the end opposite that at which the boys had entered, and they spurred in that direction.
But when they came to the street there was no one in sight, but splotches of blood on the sidewalk testified to the fact that a wound had been inflicted upon some one.
They rode up and down the block, but without discovering where their attackers had taken refuge.
It was a low part of the town, and there was scarcely a house on either side of the street into which a criminal would not be taken and concealed.
“We’ll have to give it up,” said Ted, at last. “We could hunt here all night without being any the wiser.”