“Nelson, listen! Do you remember going out to the Junction with Annette Fenton?”
“That’s nobody’s business but mine. I’ll shoot the—”
“Do you remember coming home on the train?”
Carter’s stupid, heavy eyes were on Sandy now, and he was evidently trying to understand what he was saying. “Home on the train? Yes; I came home on train.”
“And afterward?” demanded Sandy, kneeling before him and looking intently in his eyes.
“Gus Heyser’s saloon, and then—”
“And then?” repeated Sandy.
Carter shook his head and looked about him bewildered.
“Where am I now I What did you bring me here for?”
“Look me straight, Nelson,” said Sandy. “Don’t you move your eyes. You left Gus Heyser’s and came out the pike to the Hollis farm, didn’t you?”
“Hollis farm?” Carter repeated vaguely. “No; I didn’t go there.”
“You went up to the window and waited. Don’t you remember the snow on the ground and the light inside the window?”
Carter seemed struggling to remember, but his usually sensitive face was vacant and perplexed.
Sandy moved nearer. “You waited there by the window,” he went on with subdued excitement, for the hope was high in his heart that Carter was innocent. “You waited ever so long, until a pistol was fired—”
“Yes,” broke in Carter, his lips apart; “a pistol-shot close to my head! It woke me up. I ran before they could shoot me again. Where was it—Gus Heyser’s? What am I doing here?”
For answer Sandy pulled Carter’s revolver from his pocket. “Did you have that this afternoon?”
“Yes,” said Carter, a troubled look coming into his eyes. “Where did you get it, Kilday?”
“It was found outside Judge Hollis’s window after he had been shot.”
“Judge Hollis shot! Who did it?”
Sandy again looked at the pistol.
“My God, man!” cried Carter; “you don’t mean that I—” He cowered back against the tree and shook from head to foot. “Kilday!” he cried presently, seizing Sandy by the wrist with his long, delicate hands, “does any one else know?”
Sandy shook his head.
“Then I must get away; you must help me. I didn’t know what I was doing. I don’t know now what I have done. Is he—”
“He’s not dead yet.”
Carter struggled to his feet, but a terrible attack of coughing seized him, and he sank back exhausted. The handkerchief which he held to his mouth was red with blood.
Sandy stretched him out on the snow, where he lay for a while with closed eyes. He was very white, and his lips twitched convulsively.
A vehicle passed out the road, and Sandy started up. He must take some decisive step at once. The men were probably waiting in the square for him now. He must stop them at any cost.
Carter opened his eyes, and the terror returned to them.