You think I’ve just been
havin’ fun for the last couple hours?
“That’s it, my friend. Just let the night wind turn you slowly. The townsfolk have feasted their eyes upon you for long enough. Word has gotten around that you are going to be shipped out in this pine box, packed in ice, bound for a certain medic in Black Creek. There may be eyes watching from behind drawn curtains, but I do not think we will have any close watchers. Now just hold steady, my friend, while I lower you into the tray of the buckboard beside the box. Ahh, that’s right . . . now, let’s just take off the noose and coil up the rope . . . good hemp is necessary in my calling, my friend. Now I’ll cut your hands free and . . . try to . . . lift you . . . into the box. By Godfrey, you’re heavy! Are you sure you only weigh one eighty-five or six . . .? Ahh! There we are!”
“Judas Priest! It’s goddamn freezin’ in here!”
Stiles swiftly slammed the lid down on the box, gave the protruding screws a couple of quick turns, then put his face close to the pine top.
“For God’s sake stay silent! At least until I get out of the lights of Main Street and on the way to the freight depot! Don’t spoil it at this stage or they’ll hang us both!”