I don’t know why I had such an ominous feeling about the riders. They had already turned the corner and were on Shenandoah Street, headed for the hotel.
When I finally reached the corner, I could see them tying up their horses at the rail in front of the hotel. I was about 150 yards from them and running like a scared jackrabbit toward them, but their focus was on the hotel. They ascended the steps, and I could see them pull their pistols as they went in.
I was breathing like I had just run a marathon when I got to the hotel steps. I bounded up the steps, pulling my pistols, as I entered the foyer of the building. No one was in the lobby.
I peeked in the dining room, but no one was there either. Approaching the sign-in desk, I saw the clerk lying behind it on the floor with a bloody gash across his forehead. I reasoned that the intruders had gotten our room number from the desk clerk and were stalking Caleb and Mrs. Throckmorton.
I laid my pistols on the desk and quickly removed my boots. Then I picked up my pistols and tried to control my breathing. I cocked my pistols, and stealthily, I began to climb the stairs to the second floor where our room was located. The stairs were old and creaked a few times during my climb. For some reason I almost crawled up the stairs instead of standing straight up as climbed.
I almost simultaneously pulled the triggers on my pistols. The figure screamed and was lifted off his feet and thrown backwards. He dropped his pistols and grabbed for his legs. I could see blood spouting from between his fingers as he pressed down on wounds on both his upper thighs. He began to shriek and yell for help at the top of his lungs.
I kicked his pistols down the stairs and said, “Where’s your partner.”
Before he could answer a man said, “Here I am.”
I turned to look down the hall toward our room and saw Mrs. Throckmorton and Caleb facing me and in front of a dark complexioned man.
It appeared he had a pistol pointed at each of his hostages’ backs.