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The Big-Town Round-Up by William MacLeod Raine

Bromfield was nowhere to be seen


Instantly

the room leaped to frenzied excitement. Men dived for the doors, bets forgotten and chips scattered over the floor. Chairs were smashed as they charged over them, tables overturned. The unwary were trodden underfoot.

Bromfield went into a panic. Why had he been fool enough to trust Durand? No doubt the fellow would ruin him as willingly as he would Lindsay. The raid was fifteen minutes ahead of schedule time. The ward politician had betrayed him. He felt sure of it. All the carefully prepared plans agreed upon he jettisoned promptly. His sole thought was to save himself, not to trap his rival.

Lindsay caught him by the arm. "Let's try the back room."

He followed Clay, Durand's gangmen at his heels.

The lights went out.

The Westerner tried the window. It was heavily barred outside. He turned to search for a door.

Brought up by the partition, Bromfield was whimpering with fear as he too groped for a way of escape. A pale moon shone through the window upon his evening clothes.

In the dim light Clay knew that tragedy impended. "Slim" Jim had his automatic out.

"I've got you good," the chauffeur snarled.

The gun cracked. Bromfield bleated in frenzied terror

as Clay dashed forward. A chair swung round in a sweeping arc. As it descended the spitting of the gun slashed through the darkness a second time.

"Slim" Jim went down, rolled over, lay like a log.

Some one dived for Lindsay and drove him against the wall, pinning him by the waist. A second figure joined the first and caught the cattleman's wrist.

Then the lights flashed on again. Clay saw that the man who had flung him against the partition was Gorilla Dave. A plain-clothes man with a star had twisted his wrist and was clinging to it. Bromfield was nowhere to be seen, but an open door to the left showed that he had found at least a temporary escape.

A policeman came forward and stooped over the figure of the prostrate man.

"Some one's croaked a guy," he said.

Gorilla Dave spoke up quickly. "This fellow did it. With a chair. I seen him."

There was a moment before Lindsay answered quietly. "He shot twice. The gun must be lying under him where he fell."

Already men had crowded forward to the scene of the tragedy, moved by the morbid curiosity a crowd has in such sights. Two policemen pushed them back and turned the still body over. No revolver was to be seen.

"Anybody know who this is?" one of the officers asked.

"Collins--'Slim' Jim," answered big Dave.


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