The taxicab swung down Fourteenth, across the viaduct to Lake Place, and from it to Federal Boulevard.
Hull moistened his lips with his tongue and broke the silence. “Where we goin’?” he asked at last.
“Where we can talk without bein’ overheard,” Kirby answered.
The cab ran up the steep slope to Inspiration Point and stopped there. The men got out.
“Come back for us in half an hour,” the cattleman told the driver.
In front and below them lay the beautiful valley of Clear Creek. Beyond it were the foothills, and back of them the line of the Front Range stretching from Pike’s Peak at the south up to the Wyoming line. Grey’s and Long’s and Mount Evans stood out like giant sentinels in the clear sunshine.
Hull looked across the valley nervously and brought his eyes back with a jerk. “Well, what’s it all about? Whadjawant?”
“I know now why you lied at the inquest about the time you saw me on the night my uncle was killed,” Kirby told him.
“I didn’t lie. Maybe I was mistaken. Any man’s liable to make a mistake.”
“You didn’t make a mistake. You deliberately twisted your story so as to get me into my uncle’s apartment forty minutes or so earlier than I was. Your reason was a good one. If I was in his rooms at the time he was shot, that let you out completely. So you tried to lie me into the death cell at Canon City.”
Hull’s bandanna was busy. “Nothin’ like that. I wouldn’t play no such a trick on any man. No, sir.”
“You wouldn’t, but you did. Don’t stall, Hull. We’ve got you right.”
The rancher from Dry Valley broke in venomously. “You bet we have, you rotten crook. I’ll pay you back proper for that deal you an’ Cunningham slipped over on me. I’m gonna put a rope round yore neck for it. I sure am. Why, you big fat stiff, I was standin’ watchin’ you when you knocked out Cunningham with the butt of yore gun.”
From Hull’s red face the color fled. He teetered for a moment on the balls of his feet, then sank limply to the cement bench in front of him. He tried to gasp out a denial, but the words would not come. In his throat there was only a dry rattle.
He heard, as from a long distance, Lane’s voice addressing him.
“We’ve got it on you, Hull. Come through an’ come clean.”
“I—I—I swear to God I didn’t do it—didn’t kill him,” he gasped at last.
“Then who did—yore wife?” demanded Olson.
“Neither of us. I—I’ll tell you-all the whole story.”
“Do you know who did kill him?” Kirby persisted.
“I come pretty near knowing but I didn’t see it done.”
“Yore cousin—James Cunningham.”
ON THE GRILL
In spite of the fact that his mind had at times moved toward his cousin James as the murderer, Kirby experienced a shock at this accusation. He happened to glance at Olson, perhaps to see the effect of it upon him.