Stargazer

As the pickup truck approached, Walters raised his free hand and motioned for the vehicle to stop. In his other hand he clutched the stock of a lever-action Winchester, the gun barrel angled over his shoulder. Behind him stood two sawhorses, one in each lane of the highway.

Mike had known Walters for thirty years, so he was both surprised, and not, by the roadblock.

“There’s a toll now,” Walters said.

“Toll?” Mike asked. “Just move them sawhorses.”

“It’s a quarter per person,” Walters said. “Or animal,” he added, noting Copper, Mike’s dog.

Mike pointed to the edge of the road. “There’s enough space I can just drive around.”

Walters shrugged. “Maybe.”

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