The Ghost by Max Brand

The Ghost

byMax Brand

Kobo ebook | June 21, 2013

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The gold strike which led the fortune-hunters to Murrayville brought with them the usual proportion of bad men and outlaws. Three months after the rush started a bandit appeared so consummate in skill and so cool in daring that all other offenders against the law disappeared in the shade of his reputation. He was a public dread. His comings were unannounced; his goings left no track. Men lowered their voices when they spoke of him. His knowledge of affairs in the town was so uncanny that people called him the "Ghost."
The stages which bore gold to the railroad one hundred and thirty miles to the south left at the most secret hours of the night, but the Ghost knew. Once he "stuck up" the stage not a mile from town while the guards were still occupied with their flasks of snakebite. Again, when the stage rolled on at midday, eighty miles south of Murrayville, and the guards nodded in the white- hot sun, the Ghost rose from behind a bush, shot the near-leader, and had the cargo at his mercy in thirty seconds.
He performed these feats with admirable finesse. Not a single death lay charged to his account, for he depended upon surprise rather than slaughter. Yet so heavy was the toll he exacted that the miners passed from fury to desperation.
They organized a vigilance committee. They put a price on his head. Posses scoured the region of his hiding-place, Hunter's Cañon, into which he disappeared when hard pressed, and left no more trace than the morning mist which the sun disperses. A hundred men combed the myriad recesses of the cañon in vain. Their efforts merely stimulated the bandit.
While twoscore men rode almost within calling distance, the Ghost appeared in the moonlight before Pat McDonald and Peters and robbed them of eighteen pounds of gold-dust which they carried in their belts. When the vigilance committee got word of this insolent outrage they called a mass- meeting so large that even drunken Geraldine was enrolled.
Never in the history of Murrayville had there been so grave and dry- throated an affair. William Collins, the head of the vigilantes, addressed the assembly. He rehearsed the list of the Ghost's outrages, pointed out that what the community needed was an experienced man-hunter to direct their efforts, and ended by asking Silver Pete to stand up before them. After some urging Pete rose and stood beside Collins, with his hat pushed back from his gray and tousled forelock and both hands tugging at his cartridge-belt.
"Men," went on Collins, placing one hand on the shoulder of the man- killer, "we need a leader who is a born and trained fighter, a man who will attack the Ghost with system and never stop after he takes up the trail. And I say the man we need is Silver Pete!"

Title:The GhostFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:June 21, 2013Publisher:WDS PublishingLanguage:English

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