“I’ll be getting you up at daylight,” Waldreve said as they left the
They stopped in the doorway and turned to their father where he sat
at the high oaken table with his long, craggy hands stretched out before
“Sure, Pop,” said Philip. “We figured that.”
Waldreve nodded. “Vance, I want you to shoot them all but that big
male.” He sat straighter in his chair, and it creaked beneath him. “You
leave him for me.”
Vance shook his head. “I’m leaving them all for you,” he said.
The thunder cracked again, and a thin, pizzling rain began to fall over
the house. Waldreve drew a hand across the table, his coarse skin giving
a dry hiss as it slid over the wood.
“You just aim to leave all the work to me and Philip?”
“I killed that bitch out there today,” said Vance. “That’s all I want of it.”
“You’ll lose your share of what we take off the fleeces, then.”
Vance waved at the air. “Keep the money. I don’t need it.”
Waldreve looked at Corella. She’d stopped washing the dishes and
now leaned against the counter with her back to the sink, her arms
folded beneath her breasts as the stormlight guttered and flashed in the
window behind her.
“Hear that, Corella?” Waldreve swung a knotty brown finger at Vance.
“This one says he don’t need the money. Haw!”
Corella shook her head. “Can’t you just leave it be?” she asked, her
voice faint and faraway.
“Leave it be?” Waldreve banged a hand down on the table, rattling
the salt and pepper shakers, and then his boomy laugh filled the kitchen
“You’re going to kill those coyotes,” he said, smiling at Vance.
Vance lowered his eyes for a moment before looking up at his father
again. “I won’t,” he said. “I can’t.”
Wind flared against the house, and the rain slashed the window
screens, and then there came more lightning, followed closely by a long,
throaty groan of thunder. Waldreve stood slowly from the table, push-
ing the chair back with his thighs. He came across the floor and stood
before his sons.
“You’re going to shoot those coyotes,” he said.
Vance stared at his father. “Not this time,” he said.