We set up camp by the creek. As I was stoking a fire, the sheriff told us the name. “Not sure why it’s called that,” he said. “The name just stuck once, the way they do sometimes.”
There were five of us, an uncomfortably large number. Normally it was just Wilcox and myself, which could be uncomfortable all its own, depending on his mood. He normally kept to himself, hidden behind his beard and grizzly frame, a hulking man who kept his Winchester carbine closer than most mothers did their children. The others in our party were Sheriff John Walken, a man of indeterminate age but whose way of carrying himself suggested he’d seen plenty of action, perhaps on both sides of the law; Nadine Effins, a thin waif of a young woman whom Wilcox and I had been hired by the sheriff to rescue; and Miles Myerscough, the man who’d kidnapped her. That Myerscough still breathed surprised me; Wilcox had a tendency to kill men like that without hesitation, either through some flawed moral principle or, just as likely, enjoyment.