“Look Jake, we don’t wont no trouble.” Adam said, his eyes wide, lips trembling and hands raised. Next to him his wife, Anna-Bell, let out a slight whimper.

“Then it’s bad luck I guess, ’cause it looks like trouble was out looking for you.” Jake replied.

“Jake. . . Jake-“

“Keep you hands where I can see ’em.” Jake pointed his six shooter at Adam as he started to lower his hands.

“OK, OK Jake. Listen, we ain’t like you. We’re farmers, we hired you to guide us through the Forgotten Forest. If your plans have changed, then I think we should part ways.”

“Nope, my plans ain’t changed and stop calling me Jake. The names Dean, Samuel Dean.”

Both Anna-Bell’s and Adam’s eyes got wide and filled with shock. No, no, Adam started to say, but  was only able to mouth the words.

“You going to kill us, aren’t ye?” Adam said as he looked over at Anna-Bell who buried her head against his chest.

“Is that what you read in the papers, huh? That I’m a killer, huh? The cold blooded type.” Angered, Samuel raised his gun again and pointed it at Adam’s forehead. “Tell the truth now, you hear. All a lie ever got anybody was a grave marker and a wooden casket.”

Adam nodded his head. “Amongst other things.”

“Other things, huh?” Samuel replied more comely and holstered his six shooter. “Well, ain’t ever killed anybody in my life – at least nobody that didn’t try and kill me first – and I don’t ever plan to, except that Whitechapel, he nailed his coffin shut when he killed my wife.” 

For the first time Samuel noticed Anna-Bell and how she still had her head buried against Adam chest and held on to his shirt with a clenched fist so tight it appeared she was trying to rip the cloth right off his back.

“Ma’am,” Samuel said, nudging her shin with his boot. “Anna-Bell! I ain’t gonna kill you, ain’t you been listen to a word I been saying?”

Adam wiggled his chest to try and get her to raise her head, being very careful not to take his hands off his knees. Slowly she raised his head and with tear filled eyes looked straight at Samuel and nodded her head that she understood.

“And if we refuse to help you kill this man, Whitechapel, what then Samuel?”  Adam said as he slowly raised a hand from off his knee and wrapped it around Anna-Bells shoulders.

Samuel hadn’t thought of that. That possibility never occurred to him. Help me or die, the decision that they had to make seemed like an easy enough one.

“Don’t know. I can’t let you go ’cause you would go straight to the sheriff, and I can’t let that happen. I won’t let nothin’ stand in the way of me getting at Whitechapel.”

“Where does that leave us then?” Anna-Bell asked as she wiped the tears from her eyes.

“I don’t know,” Samuel answered, “I don’t know.”

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