When they reached the slide, he studied it tensely, trying to decide if there'd been more rock fall since they'd come across two days earlier. From all he could remember, there was no good way around this point. If it was a big storm coming, the situation wouldn't get better.
"Look at the loose rock," he said, pointing out the bad spots. "When we go across, take it easy on your horse. In fact..." He dismounted. "You ride Joe across."
"I trust him more than your mare."
"Quit butting me, Martha," he snapped, reaching up and lifting her from her mare. "Trust me."
She shook her head angrily. "I don't have much choice."
"You're right about that." He helped her up into Joe's saddle. "Let Joe pick the footing."
"Aren't you going to lead?"
He shook his head, not wanting to explain that the first animal across would be safest. If more rock was going to be dislodged by their passage, he didn't want her behind him.
Mounted on Martha's mare, he was glad he'd made the change, as the horse seemed determined to trip her way across the rock. They were two-thirds of the way across when he saw the mountain start to move above him.
"Ride," he yelled at Martha, slapping Joe on the rump. There was no point in taking their time now. The faster they got across the better. Joe moved with all the agility for which Adam had purchased him, carrying her onto solid ground.
When the ground slid out from under his own horse, Adam jumped, trying to free the horse and himself to make it to the safety. Hitting hard, he felt something give painfully in his left shoulder as he began sliding with the rock, tumbling down the hill. Somewhere in the distance, he heard Martha scream, but he could do nothing except reach out, trying to grab onto something solid, something that would stop his downward momentum. Rock, moving faster than he was, bounced off him painfully; until one struck him in the head. A savage jolt of pain was the last he knew.