Cheyenne nickered a warning as footsteps crunched on the gritty path outside the entrance to the cave, jerking Quinn back to the present.
A light--what did they call that stick with some kind of lamp at one end?--lit up the darkness of the cavern.
He refused to fade out. This was his place, the one place where he could at least feel alive, where he could touch, remember what it was to be real. He wasn't about to hide.
"Hello?" A woman's voice echoed from the mouth of the tunnel.
What kind of silly female would be out this time of night? One who would be easy to scare. He chuckled. That would get her ass back where it belonged.
"Go away...." He whispered. "Go-o-o-o a-way-y-y."
The stick light grew brighter.
He frowned. This one wouldn't take the hint. Well, he had stronger stuff than hints.
She entered his tomb, followed by a huge dog covered in wiry, brindled fur.
"Hello?" She flashed her light around the chamber. It came to rest on him.
Quinn stood his ground, arms crossed over his chest. Cheyenne stood quietly at his side.
She was close enough for him to see her brown eyes widen.
"Who are you?" It was almost a whisper.
"Name's Quinn Farrell. Get out."
"Quinn Farrell." She laughed and shook her head. "That's impossible. He died over one hundred years ago."
"That's right. Now why don't you run on outta here, screaming like any smart gal would?"
"Why should I?"
Quinn stared. "I'm a ghost, little lady." He cocked a look at her. "Ain't you scared?"
"No. I don't believe in ghosts," she replied, as though it made all the sense in the world.
He noticed her hand reaching behind her.
"What do you have back there?"
She pulled out a gun. It wasn't like any he'd ever seen.
"Just my little ole Beretta, cowboy. Now you answer one for me. Who the fudge are you and what are you doing on my property?"
"This is my property."
"Don't think so. I've got a deed."
"Don't matter to me what you've got. This is my ranch. It's been Farrell property since my grandpappy came to Texas in 1838."
"Really, now, who are you? Are you working for Ricardo Vega?"
"Don't know the name. Who is he?"
"The guy who's been trying to get me to sell. You can tell him to just forget it. I'm here to stay." She held the gun on him. "Take your horse and get out of here."
A wave of anger crashed over him. "You want me out? You'll have to get yourself a priest, gal. I ain't goin' anywhere."
She leveled the gun at his chest. "Don't make me shoot."
He laughed out loud. "You can't kill a dead man, girl. Go ahead. Shoot." He uncrossed his arms and offered his chest. A word he'd never heard a woman utter escaped her lips as she lowered the gun.
"Just get out of here and tell whoever you're working for that your little show didn't work."
He had one trick left. She'd be in her noisy horseless wagon and on her way to town before he could say boo. He stepped closer, closer, until he was only inches away, towering over her.
"You want me to leave?" he sneered.
He stepped through her.