Meet My Imaginary Friends: Ronin Oshiro
They’d only gone fifty feet when movement caught Kit’s eye. In the midst of thick hemlocks someone was removing a blue plastic tarp that covered a parked vehicle. As the tarp was pulled aside he saw a metallic glitter of lime green. The man beside the vehicle, spotted them, and took off running.
“Shit,” Kit said, jamming on the brakes. “It’s Oshiro.”
Before the car came to a stop, Raj was out the door and running like a wolf. He leaped over a ditch and disappeared into the trees as Kit and Oliver followed. The trees opened to a snowy field and, as they ran, Raj closed the distance between himself and the big man and lunged forward, knocking Oshiro face down in the snow. Oshiro was twice his size and he bucked, knocking Raj off, then slid his hand inside his jacket, but Kit, then Oliver, were on him. Raj jumped to his feet, reached into his vest, and pulled out a Glock that he leveled at Oshiro’s head.
“Stay down,” Raj said. “See if he has a weapon.”
Oliver reached inside Oshiro’s jacket and pulled out a nine millimeter handgun.
“Check his back.” Raj gestured with his gun.
Oliver pushed up the jacket and removed a matching nine millimeter. He stood, backing away. “Look,” he said, nodding toward the side of the field closest to the Starling camps. A few men, some carrying shotguns, had started toward them, then stopped short.
Kit stood and faced them. “All we want is Oshiro,” he called. “We have no quarrel with you.”
There was some indistinct mumbling; then, apparently deciding they didn’t care about Oshiro, they turned and walked away.
“Who are you?” Oshiro rolled onto his back. “I didn’t do nothing to you.”
“All I want to know is what happened to Tex Tanaka’s horses,” Kit said.
Oshiro glared at him. “Then you’ll let me go?”
“Do you know where they are?”
Oshiro looked back and forth between Kit and Raj’s Glock. “By now they’re probably on their way to Canada.”
He hadn’t meant to do it—Kit had always been an even-tempered man—but without thinking, he hauled off and kicked Oshiro hard in the side. “Where are they?”
“I gave them to Mooch Starling in exchange for him letting me hide out here with his family. Jesus.” Oshiro clutched his side, moaning.
“What did Mooch do with them?” Kit stood, poised to kick again.
“How the hell should I know? What would anybody do with a bunch of stolen horses? Get what he can for them.”
Kit put his foot on Oshiro’s shoulder. “Where’s Mooch's kennel?”
Raj, with his gun still leveled at Oshiro, was on his cell phone.
“I don’t know.” Oshiro, realizing that he had no options, looked genuinely frightened.
“Was there a big black horse with a long mane and tail with Tex’s horses?” Kit asked, keeping his foot on Oshiro’s shoulder.
“Yeah. Beauty. I’m the one that found that horse.”