Framed Greeting Cards

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datatime: 2022-09-29 02:39:20 Author:jvqaQMFP

THE NEXT MORNING, AFTER A BREAKFAST ONLY a little less miraculous than its predecessor, Nora assembled the group beside the packed horses.

A mile and a half, maybe.

Can I have a different pack horse? Smithback asked, leaning against a rock.

Nora watched the cook slip gingerly into his tent and snug down the zipper. Then she turned back to Sloane. "So tell me about your recon. How is it upcanyon?"

Likes the taste of ham, I guess, said Swire.

A mile and a half, maybe.

Swire ejected a stream of tobacco juice. "Got a problem?"

Yeah. A horse-sized problem. Beetlebum over there keeps trying to bite me.

Sloane snapped off the light and refolded the map. "What makes you think our horses can make it?"

And we're here. Sloane moved the penlight. "Look what's between us and Quivira."

She moved the penlight to a spot on the map where the elevation lines came together in an angry black mass: a ridge, high, difficult, and dangerous.

Likes the taste of ham, I guess, said Swire.

Swire ejected a stream of tobacco juice. "Got a problem?"

Swire ejected a stream of tobacco juice. "Got a problem?"

I know all about that ridge, Nora said, aware of how defensive she must sound. "My father called it the Devil's Backbone. But I don't see any reason to get everyone worried prematurely."

And we're here. Sloane moved the penlight. "Look what's between us and Quivira."

Odd son of a bitch, Swire repeated.

Nora watched the cook slip gingerly into his tent and snug down the zipper. Then she turned back to Sloane. "So tell me about your recon. How is it upcanyon?"

How much water?

Yes. But we're going to need brush hooks and axes. And there isn't much water. Sloane glanced down at the remnants of the group, lounging around the fire drinking coffee. "Some of them are going to be unpleasantly surprised."

My father found a way to get his horses over that ridge. If he could do it, we can.

The horse tossed its head in a mighty nod, then nickered evilly.

Maybe, Sloane said, turning toward the wrangler and eyeing him up and down, one eyebrow raised. "But he's no wimp. I've seen him on Denali in a blizzard with the temperature at sixty below. Nothing fazes him. It's as if he has no feelings at all."

Sloane looked back at her in the starlight; a long, penetrating look, the amused expression never leaving her face. Then she simply nodded.

Sloane looked back at her in the starlight; a long, penetrating look, the amused expression never leaving her face. Then she simply nodded.

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