His setter found her in a cold canebrake, half buried in the loam, her mouth sealed with duct tape. Wes saw that it was her, Sara Champagne. Three fingers had been cut from her right hand, two from her left. She was naked to the waist, and a thin red tear ran from the base of her throat and then down across her belly.

Wes whistled soft for Sally. She bumped the steaming corpse with her nose, then gave a sad whine before coming to heel. The breeze died and a hawk screamed; something moved in the thicket. Through a break in the switch cane Wes saw a lank man in beaded buckskins rise and begin to move away. At fifteen yards the pale stranger turned and flashed a guilty smile. Wes fired both barrels of his twenty-gauge, then ran for the levee with Sally clipping at his heels.

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