**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


A Ghost Of The Sierras
by [?]

“We ate our supper, and then sat, patiently and expectant, around the fire. An hour slipped away, but no disturbance; another hour passed as monotonously. Our host read his book; only the dash of hail against the roof broke the silence. But–“

The Doctor stopped. Since the last interruption, I noticed he had changed the easy slangy style of his story to a more perfect, artistic, and even studied manner. He dropped now suddenly into his old colloquial speech, and quietly said: “If you don’t quit stumbling over those riatas, Juan, I’ll hobble YOU. Come here, there; lie down, will you?”

We all turned fiercely on the cause of this second dangerous interruption, but a sight of the poor fellow’s pale and frightened face withheld our vindictive tongues. And the Doctor, happily, of his own accord, went on:–

“But I had forgotten that it was no easy matter to keep these high-spirited boys, bent on a row, in decent subjection; and after the third hour passed without a supernatural exhibition, I observed, from certain winks and whispers, that they were determined to get up indications of their own. In a few moments violent rappings were heard from all parts of the cabin; large stones (adroitly thrown up the chimney) fell with a heavy thud on the roof. Strange groans and ominous yells seemed to come from the outside (where the interstices between the logs were wide enough). Yet, through all this uproar, our host sat still and patient, with no sign of indignation or reproach upon his good-humored but haggard features. Before long it became evident that this exhibition was exclusively for HIS benefit. Under the thin disguise of asking him to assist them in discovering the disturbers OUTSIDE the cabin, those inside took advantage of his absence to turn the cabin topsy-turvy.

“‘You see what the spirits have done, old man,’ said the arch leader of this mischief. ‘They’ve upset that there flour barrel while we wasn’t looking, and then kicked over the water jug and spilled all the water!’

“The patient man lifted his head and looked at the flour-strewn walls. Then he glanced down at the floor, but drew back with a slight tremor.

“‘It ain’t water!’ he said, quietly.

“‘What is it, then?’

“‘It’s BLOOD! Look!’

“The nearest man gave a sudden start and sank back white as a sheet.

“For there, gentlemen, on the floor, just before the door, where the old man had seen the dog hesitate and lift his feet, there! there!–gentlemen–upon my honor, slowly widened and broadened a dark red pool of human blood! Stop him! Quick! Stop him, I say!”

There was a blinding flash that lit up the dark woods, and a sharp report! When we reached the Doctor’s side he was holding the smoking pistol, just discharged, in one hand, while with the other he was pointing to the rapidly disappearing figure of Juan, our Mexican vaquero!

“Missed him! by G-d!” said the Doctor. “But did you hear him? Did you see his livid face as he rose up at the name of blood? Did you see his guilty conscience in his face. Eh? Why don’t you speak? What are you staring at?”

“Was it the murdered man’s ghost, Doctor?” we all panted in one quick breath.

“Ghost be d–d! No! But in that Mexican vaquero–that cursed Juan Ramirez!–I saw and shot at his murderer!”