“You gotta plan to get us outta this?” John asked.
“Yeah,” Brady answered. “I think we ought to go under to get around them.”
John wrinkled his brow because he didn’t understand what Brady was suggesting. Brady kneeled and using his finger tips pulled a floor board up revealing the ground beneath.
Within minutes he had enough of the boards removed to allow either man to climb through. Brady disappeared into the cavernous hole only to return a minute or so later.
“We can get into the vacant building next door,” he reported.
“Then we set this place on fire and escape as they do their best to save their men. Only we’ll have them with us and when we beat feet outta here we take junior with us.”
John nodded knowing he didn’t have a plan that he could claim was any better.
After having to thump one of the men in the head with the butt of his revolver, because he continued to struggle as Brady moved him, all three were finally laying on the floor of the vacant building. Both John and Brady rummaged through what was left of the stores stock and collected what they would need and could safely carry.
Next Brady began firing across the street in rapid succession, hoping that the men would begin firing back. No sooner did he squeeze the trigger than they answered with a couple of volleys of bullets.
As Brady readied to pick a gun fight, John poured several jars of kerosene on the floor and splashed several more on the walls. As the gunfire commenced, he struck a match, lighting the building ablaze.
Then both men scrambled through the hole in the floor and quickly crawled their way to the vacant next door building. They were in position to make a break out the back door by the time the general alarm sounded and smoke and flame bellowed from the store front.
“Fire!” came several cries.
“My kid’s in there,” Frost screamed as he dashed across the street and into the collapsing building.
Knowing that there might be men waiting behind the mercantile, Brady cautiously opened the back door and peered out into the darkness. He knew where his horse was and could see it from time to time as the flames from the build licked the sky.
He also needed to find John a mount and help him load the bags of gold coin he’d taken from George Keene a few days before. Taking a deep breath he calmly walked out and across the open yard into the scrub.
Evidently, every man that’d been out back, if there were any out back all, were now engaged in fighting the fire which had begun to engulf the vacant building John and the three men were in. Brady walked around to the front of the building and across the street to the shed that acted as a livery stable.
There he found John’s two mules and a couple of extra horses, still saddled. He opened the stalls that held the remaining horses and shooed them out into the street using them as cover to cross the street again.
Once at the back of the building, Brady found John having hauled the three men outside and busy stacking the bags together in preparation to load them up. As John tied down the gold and the meager supplies they salvaged, Brady laid Billy Frost across one of the horses.
Once finished, the pair turned their horses south and rode as fast as the night and the land would allow. Both knew that they were going to be chased and they needed to put as much distance between them and the posse, if it could be call such. as possible.