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Release date: August 26, 2023
Original publication: United States: The Ridgway Company, 1923
Credits: Roger Frank and Sue Clark
Joe Teagler's dream of years was realized. He had struck pay dirt in his claim high on the scarred side of Old Tiptop. A rich vein of gold quartz had been uncovered, shouldering far back into the mountain, how far could only be guessed.
Another man would have been in ecstasy in contemplation of the fortune to be his. Teagler felt merely serene. He cast a glance over his shack of rough boards and logs, erected on the mountain side, to be handy to his claim.
"I'm goin' to miss that old shanty," he ruminated. "That bit of porch there is gettin' mighty rickety, I see. Right after lunch I've got to fix that middle prop. If I don't that company feller is likely to take a spill down the mountain. Scarcely seems a proper way to close a deal, even if he does try to 'gyp' me."
Teagler chuckled softly as he started into the shack to prepare lunch. But before he reached the door, he came to a sudden stop.
The words were low, but something in the voice penetrated Teagler's consciousness like an electric shock. He had heard no sound of any man or thing approaching. Yet the voice came from just back of his left shoulder.
"Well?" he abruptly inquired.
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