Shadow eased his new Henry rifle up over the old moss covered log. He licked his callused thumb and moistened the gun's front sight. Someone had been on his back trail for three days and Shadow was damn sure about to find out who it was. Shadow had never actually seen his pursuer. He had been feeling an ache in his stomach—it was the same ache he got right before the last time he had been shot. Shadow intended to make sure the last time stayed the last time.

What he couldn't figure was the question, "Why?" There were no warrants or posters out on him, what could it be? It wasn't Indians; they would have killed him already. Shadow knew one thing: in the high mountains of Colorado friends were in short supply.

Endless seconds stretched into minutes and minutes into hours. Whoever was trailing him was a cautious sum'bitch. More time passed and a thought creped like death over a graveyard into Shadow's mind, "Wat if I'm da one gettin' bushwacked?"

Just as he was about to raise himself from behind the log a thunder clap rocked his ear drums. Splinters showered Shadow. He rolled and caught his first glimpse of his foe. About sixty yards away a man was standing halfway behind a tree, a smoking pistol in his hand. Shadow, on instinct alone, fired from the hip. The shot went low, grazing the gunman's leg. The gunman's leg crumpled under him, sending him toppling forward.

By the time Shadow was on his feet and he had jacked another round into the chamber. The would be assassin looked up from where he lay, only to see that Shadow had disappeared. He slowly rose up off the ground. When he had made it to a half crouch he heard a metallic click behind him. The gunman spun around as quick as he could just in time to catch a .44 slug to the heart.

Shadow never could bring himself to backshoot a man. Even if that man was a backshootin' piece of trash himself.