Clay’s eyes were on the gutter above while he jerked his way down a foot at a time. A face and part of a body swung out into sight.
“We’ve got yuh. Come back or I’ll shoot,” a voice called down.
A revolver showed against the black sky.
The man from Arizona did not answer and did not stop. He knew that shooting from above is an art that few men have acquired.
A bullet sang past his ear just as he swung in and crouched on the window-sill. Another one hit the bricks close to his head.
The firing stopped. A pair of uniformed legs appeared dangling from the eaves. A body and a head followed these. They began to descend jerkily.
Clay took a turn at the gun-play. He fired his revolver into the air. The spasmodic jerking of the blue legs abruptly ceased.
“He’s got a gun!” the man in the air called up to those above.
The fact was obvious. It could not be denied.
“Yuh’d better give up quietly. We’re bound to get yuh,” an officer shouted from the roof by way of parley.
The cattleman did not answer except by the smashing of glass. He had forced his way into two houses within the past hour. He was now busy breaking into a third. The window had not yielded to pressure. Therefore he was knocking out the glass with the butt of his revolver.
He crawled through the opening just as some one sat up in bed with a frightened exclamation.
“Who—is—s—s—s it?” a masculine voice asked, teeth chattering.
Clay had no time to gratify idle curiosity. He ran through the room, reached the head of the stairs, and went down on the banister to the first floor. He fled back to the rear of the house and stole out by the kitchen door.
The darkness of the alley swallowed him, but he could still hear the shouts of the men on thereof and answering ones from new arrivals below.
Five minutes later he was on board a street car. He was not at all particular as to its destination. He wanted to be anywhere but here. This neighborhood was getting entirely too active for him.
THE GANGMAN SEES RED
Exactly thirty minutes after Clay had left him to break into the house, Johnnie lifted his voice in a loud wail for the police. He had read somewhere that one can never find an officer when he is wanted, but the Bull-of-Bashan roar of the cowpuncher brought them running from all directions.
Out of the confused explanations of the range-rider the first policeman to reach him got two lucid statements.
“They’re white-slavin’ a straight girl. This busher says his pal went in to rescue her half an hour ago and hasn’t showed up since,” he told his mates.
With Johnnie bringing up the rear they made a noisy attack on the front door of Number 121. Almost immediately it was opened from the inside. Four men had come down the stairs in a headlong rush to cut off the escape of one who had outwitted and taunted them.