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Friday Morning: Just after Midnight
Elliott stepped back into the shadows as a carriage rumbled by, steam snorting from its horses’ mouths as they breathed the cold night air. The street was still now, no one out and about in this residential part of town. He found that he had a perfect view of the mansion across the street from where he stood so he stayed in the shadows.
The stonework mansion of Judge McAllister was really, in Elliott’s opinion, an extremely large house. Not a real mansion like DanBois Park. Its front door was set back only forty feet from the street curb with a tiny spit of lawn and shrubbery between the front door and the public sidewalk. Encircled by an imposing, highly worked wrought iron fence complete with spikes on top the building looked formidable enough to most people. Inwardly Elliott scoffed at it. One small charge could render the fence useless. His hand closed around the small metal ball with the little release button nestled in his pocket; and then let it go. Not tonight, and not by his hand.
He peered up at every window, willing himself to remember each room behind each pane.
”Friend of the family?” Figbee asked.
Elliott had felt him come up behind him a good fifteen minutes before. “Very funny,” he replied.
”You’re not going to do anything stupid, are you?”
Elliott stepped from the shadows and turned left. Figbee followed close behind. “I stopped doing stupid things.” He glanced at the house, “I’ll get my chance.”
They walked in silence for a distance.
”I thought you went to the tavern?” Elliott asked.
”I thought you wanted to read and go to bed,” Figbee answered.
”I got bored.”
Ahead of them a woman and a man walked down the street. Elliiott recognized the woman’s laugh: Mrs. Danforth. Three days ago he’d spent a delightful evening in the woman’s company, and later in her arms. He thought about the diamond cuff links she’d given him and wondered if the man she was with, her husband, would ever see that bill from the jewelers.
As they walked past the couple Elliott politely tipped his hat to them as did Mr. Danforth to him; although it was very evident he did it grudgingly. Every husband in the city new Elliott and what he looked like, and what he did. Mrs. Danforth nodded a greeting in such a way that said, “my husband has accepted your greeting and therefore so do I, whoever you are.” There was, of course, an extra twinkle in her winked eye.
”Someone you know?” Figbee asked dryly.
Before he could answer the rumble of a carriage coming up fast behind them made them step away from the edge of the curb.
”Denny boy, it’s trouble.” Figbee’s warning was too late.
The carriage, part horse drawn, part motorized slammed to a halt, the horses jumped the curb behind the men. They moved close together, leaving enough room for Elliott to snap his baby revolver out if he needed to and Figbee to reach his knife. But the men rushing from the carriage weren’t after them. Mrs. Danforth screamed behind them and Mr. Danforth yelled in agony.
Elliott turned and rushed back, Figbee on his heels. He grabbled the traces on one horse, hauled himself up to leap from it to the next horse and down to land beside the Danforths. Figbee had followed him but on his way across the flanks of the horses he took out the carriage driver who was now unconscious hanging out of his seat.
Mr. Danworth fought two men, flailing at them with his cane. Figbee went straight for that fight. Elliott rushed the man attacking Mrs. Danworth. He pulled him off her. The man whirled on him leveling a glancing blow with a cudgel to the side of his head. He staggered under the hit. The man was as tall as he, but had fifty pounds on him. He shook the blow off as the man went for the woman again.
A snap and lift of his arm and the baby revolver was in his hand. He dared not try and get off a shot as the man and Mrs. Danforth struggled for fear of hitting her. Instead he weighed into them swinging the gun with all his force on the back of the man’s head. This time the man staggered. Elliott hit him again, and again. Finally the man crumbled and fell pushing Mrs. Danforth over and landing on her.
A glance behind him showed him that Mr. Danforth and Figbee had disabled one man and were close to dispatching the second. Movement from the corner of his eye alerted him to the driver. The man had recovered somewhat from Figbee’s initial hit and was groggily trying to level a revolver at Figbee and Danforth. Without a thought Elliott’s arm snapped up He took aim and shot.
The driver dropped his gun and turned to look at Elliott. A slow smiled crossed his face. “Bless you, sir. Thank you.” He toppled from his perch landing in a lifeless heap at the back hooves of the horses.
The commotion had alerted the household of Judge McAllister. Lights glowed on in every window as servants ran out shouting that the police had been called. A soft voice behind him whispered “E, help me.” He turned to see Mrs. Danforth struggling to get out from under her inert attacker. He rolled the man to the side and carefully lifted her. Before he could say anything her husband rushed to her side.
It was at that moment that Mr. Danforth realized who his savior was. “DanBois!”
Elliott started to bow but the earlier blow to his temple and the rush of adrenaline caused the sidewalk to come up much to fast. He felt Figbee and Danforth grab him and slowly lower him to the ground.