The Night Is Watching Page 53


They did their performances for a week.


Meanwhile, Sloan had placed Chet in charge of the sheriff\s office, and he and Lamont were interviewing for a new deputy.


Sloan wanted Chet to get in a lot of experience, because Logan had broached Sloan with a job offer.


He and the higher-ups at the Krewe center men named Adam Harrison and Jackson Crow had decided to create a third Krewe. Logan wanted him in on it.


It was a big decision.


On the day they finished the show, he went out to his house alone. Out back, he stroked Kanga and Roo and talked to them. He told Johnny Bearclaw about the offer, and Johnny assured him that he\d stay at the Arizona ranch and care for it, no matter where Sloan might be.


In the end he sat in his living room with Cougar on his lap. When he looked at the chair by the fire, he saw that his ancestor, Longman, was sitting with him.


’’What should I do, Longman?’’ he asked.


’’Make your own decision,’’ Longman said. ’’You came here when you needed to come here. You can\ go back, but you can go forward. Maybe you came back for many reasons. But it\s time to bury the past, all of the past. And then, as men must, go where your heart leads you.’’


He smiled and leaned back. He still wasn\ convinced Longman was real. Longman had said what Sloan felt in his own mind.


In the next few days, Jane finished the reconstructions of Sage\s skull and she did a quick job with Red Marston\s.


He wanted a quiet service for the two of them, but the whole town showed up at the chapel by the cemetery.


The dead were put to rest.


He lingered when the others left the graveyard;Jane stayed with him. She\d never once tried to influence him to accept Logan\s offer, but they were together every night as if they\d always be together.


She squeezed his hand suddenly. ’’Sloan. There they are.’’


He looked up. The day was dying;red streaked a darkening sky. But he could make out three forms and they slowly became clearer.


Red Marston, Trey Hardy and Sage McCormick. He stood and Jane rose with him.


One figure broke away. It was Sage. She moved among the wooden crosses and the occasional stone marker to reach them. She set a hand on his face. He felt it, like the caress of a soft and gentle fog.


Then she turned away and rejoined the others. They started walking into the darkness as the sun fell lower and lower.


Someone else was walking toward the three friends, someone who seemed to shimmer with light.


’’Your great-great grandfather?’’ Jane whispered.


’’Maybe,’’ he said.


Then they were all gone. Neither he nor Jane spoke as they left the cemetery.


’’There\s beautiful land in Virginia,’’ she told him. ’’Not far from Arlington. Beautiful horse ranches, too.’’


’’Virginia. There\s a lot of horse country there.’’


’’Yes, there is. And cats are happy just about anywhere.’’


’’Yeah?’’


She smiled. ’’Home is where the heart is, you know.’’


He whirled her around and kissed her as the red drained from the sky and soft shadows surrounded them.


He smiled, because she looked at him a little anxiously when they separated.


’’So I\m going to be a fed,’’ he mused.


’’They\ll make you go through the academy,’’ she warned.


’’Well, they taught you to shoot!’’ he said.


’’They did.’’


He kissed her again.


’’When do we leave?’’ he asked.


And with those words, she threw her arms around him.



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