Authors: Rory Black
Tags: #western, #old west, #bounty hunters, #western adventure, #piccadilly publishing, #the wild west, #michael d george, #rory black
classic popular fiction from the
1970s, 80s, 90s and Beyond!
Iron Eyes was a deadly bounty
hunter who never brought his quarry back alive. Riding into a small
town, he soon gunned down
a wanted outlaw called Dan Hardy, and dragged his
body down to the sheriff’s office to collect his blood money. There
was just one problem. Only the law in El Paso was authorized to pay
Iron Eyes set out for the big city …
unaware that Hardy’s younger brothers were already dogging his
As if that wasn’t enough trouble
for a man to handle, Iron Eyes became involved with a mysterious
woman and a Mexican rancher
along the way, who had a dangerous mission in mind
Only his deadly skill with a
give him any chance of getting his money … and staying alive to
By Rory Black
First Published by
Robert Hale Limited
1999 by Rory Black
Published by Piccadilly
Publishing at Smashwords:
Names, characters and incidents in
this book are fictional, and any resemblance to actual events,
locales, organizations, or persons living or dead is purely
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image © 2012 by Westworld Designs
This is a
Dedicated to Laura and Jack
The Red Dog
Saloon had seen its fair share of trouble and bloodshed over the
years, but nothing like this. This had been a blood-bath, resulting
in total destruction.
blood was still streaming down the expensively papered walls as the
choking gunsmoke began to clear. Death lay all around this place.
Screams from the saloon’s dancing girls echoed off the wooden walls
as the gaunt, tall man slowly moved across the body-littered
He held tightly
on to his still-smoking Navy Colts as he moved forward amid the
carnage. His worn boots stuck to the fresh red liquid as he headed
for the swing doors.
The man had a
haunting face that hid beneath long, limp, black hair. He wore a
battered, weather-proof coat favoured by long riders and road
agents which almost reached his spurs. With each stride the sound
of bullets clinking together in his deep pockets filled the
This was no
normal man. This was an evil spirit who had yet to die and seek
refuge in Hell.
bodies, he studied the scene with an almost disconcerting lack of
interest. This was a man who wore no gunbelt like average folks
did. His broad pants belt doubled for holsters.
Pushing his way
through the swing doors of the Red Dog, the tall man stuffed both
his pistols into his belt and stopped to watch the crowd that was
rushing toward him. The sight of this stranger stopped every single
man, woman and child in their tracks.
Even the town
sheriff, clutching his trusty Winchester, found himself staggering
to a complete halt by the very sight of the man on the
It was dusk and
getting darker with every heartbeat as the tall, evil-looking
creature pushed a long, thin cigar between his dry cracked lips. As
he struck the match down along the wooden upright and cupped the
flame around the tip of his smoke, the true extent of this
stranger’s features became apparent to all the watching
This was a cold
face. An evil face. The face of a man who survived on rotgut
whiskey rather than solid food.
He had cold
eyes of a colour that resembled hammered gun metal in their
deadness. The eyes were how everyone knew who it was.
This was the
legendary bounty hunter known simply as ‘Iron Eyes’.
watched as the thin leg forced his boot into his stirrup, and he
eased himself off the boardwalk into his waiting saddle. Blowing
the thick ash from his cigar, he turned the dark grey horse toward
the crowd of people and rode slowly at them. As if instructed by a
silent voice, they all parted and allowed him clear passage out of
stared helplessly up at the lifeless face that returned his
deep-set pupils burned into the lawman.
As Iron Eyes
spurred his mount, the long black hair beat up and down upon his
It was like the
flapping of a bat’s wings.
bodies back in the Red Dog posed no problems for the rider as he
headed deeper and deeper into the dark prairie. Why he killed so
many innocent people was a question he failed to ask himself
made a mistake and he had been taught a lesson. As often happens in
small towns, the victim had a friend who also had to be shot.
Iron Eyes had
been drawn on and responded with his usual deadly accuracy. When he
had finished killing the fools he had only one bullet left in his
The reason why
he was in Arizona was simply business. He had plucked a wanted
poster off a wall outside a sheriff’s office back in Dodge, and
wanted the twenty thousand dollars for bringing in a certain Dan
Hardy Dead or alive suited Iron Eyes just fine.
In fact, it was
the real reason he had set out upon this long trek that had lasted
over two months. He could almost smell the money and the blood as
Iron Eyes used
every drop of the full moon to aid his ride through the cold night
as he headed toward the next town on the stage route.
Rio Drago was
where Iron Eyes hoped his quest would end. He knew that soon he
would be running out of places to go. The tall, arid mountains
seemed almost blue as he rode through the silent valley.
faster he forced his horse to race. He did not like this part of
the world and would not risk camping out unless he could not avoid
This was the
land of the whip scorpion and diamond-back rattlers. Iron Eyes
spurred his horse on. He would not stop until he had reached the
distant township of Rio Drago. There he would rest and wait for his
As the sun rose
and spread its light across the desert that surrounded him, Iron
Eyes could see the white-washed sod structures catching the morning
The dark grey
mount was lathered up and steaming with exhaustion as the gaunt man
galloped into the town. He pulled up outside the crude livery and
dismounted. Taking his long rifle out of its leather sheath and
untying his saddle bags he banged his fist on the large door until
a small Mexican answered. Thrusting a few coins into the man’s hand
he left the horse in his care.
As he strode
along the dusty streets, he watched the sleeping town around him.
It was not so much a town as a gathering of white houses. As he
headed toward the only word in English he could see he wondered if
this was where he would get his man.
‘HOTEL’ was painted upon the tall, white-washed face of the
building. It had almost disappeared after years of bleaching by the
cool of the building he stopped and paused for a few seconds to
allow his eyes to adjust.
Then he saw the
small, dark-tanned man with the long moustache hanging from his
face. The greased hair had a shine about it that was very strange
to Iron Eyes' way of thinking.
Room,’ Iron Eyes said in a tone that was almost
The small man
nodded and handed over a key. There was no way that this man was
about to raise any objections to this evil-looking stranger.
stare had conveyed its message effectively
words were spoken as the bounty-hunter marched up the stairs.
The small man
rushed from the building as if he had to tell someone some very
It was well
after eleven that same morning when the knock upon Iron Eyes' hotel
door echoed around the sparse room.
Come in,’ came the growling snarl.
turned cautiously, and the middle-aged man stepped into the bright
He was a law
officer of sorts, by the tin star upon his vest. His white sombrero
perched upon the crown of his head denoted a man who had seldom
been required to take any action.
Iron Eyes sat
upon the top of the bed, still fully dressed and looking like a
scarecrow from hell.
Even in Rio
Drago they had heard of the man.
You want something?’ Iron Eyes questioned.
The smaller man
hesitated near the frame of the doorway as if he wished a quick
escape route out of this room. His dark eyes hidden under the
greying brows studied Iron Eyes who was propped against three
pillows. At either side of him, only inches away from his fingers,
the Navy Colts waited.
cleared his throat and forced the words out of his dry mouth. They
were not his words; they were the words of concerned citizens.
Are you Iron Eyes?’
If you are, it would please the town elders if you could get
your business done very quickly and ... ’ there was a long pause
before the man finished his sentence. ‘ ... leave.’
Iron Eyes was
motionless as he rested his chin on his chest and watched the man
through his black eyebrows.
You seen a critter named Dan Hardy?’
Eh, yes,’ the man stammered.
watched the man as sweat began to stream from the brim of his
sombrero, down over his dark face.
He still around?’
I can’t say.’
As fast as
anything the lawman had ever seen, the thin hands had grabbed up
the two Navy Colts and brought them both up at arm’s length.
The grey pupils
focused down the barrels at their target. The small man felt his
knees shake at the suddenness of the action and the realization of
what might follow.
Try’ Iron Eyes snarled.
He is in the cantina, sir,’ the man blurted.
As quickly as
he had drawn the two weapons, Iron Eyes replaced them beside him
upon the quilted bed cover.
The lawman was
about to turn to leave when the stranger’s voice tore through
Where you going?’
I was — ’
We ain’t finished our confab.’ Iron Eyes slithered down the
bed and rose above the man’s shoulder. ‘We gotta continue our
The smaller man
slowly faced his aggressive companion and forced himself to stare
up into the dead eyes that burned down at him.
What else we gotta discuss, sir?’
We gotta talk about Hardy.’ Iron Eyes stretched out his thin
arm and pushed the door shut. As it clicked tightly the lawman felt
a cold shiver run along his spine.
Explain.’ The smaller man found himself unable to maintain eye
contact with the tall, gaunt figure.
Iron Eyes paced
around the man, and the smell of the trail lingered in his wake. It
was the aroma of death.
If you were to leave now, you might high-tail it over to the
cantina and warn Hardy.’
I guess he already knows of your presence in Rio Drago.’ The
man nervously coughed out his words. ‘Everyone knows you are in
expression changed. It looked like a man who was about to explode
in fury as he paced across to his pistols and rammed them into his
pants. Then he moved to the chair, plucked up his long dusty coat
and pulled it on. The rattling bullets within the pockets sounded
like distant spurs.
Outta my way,’ Iron Eyes roared as he strode at the door.
Flinging it open he continued down the hall.
small man with the tin star pinned to his vest edged his way out on
to the landing and stared down at the charging figure of Iron Eyes
as he marched out of the hotel.