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 Some Departures Chapter twenty-six

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Keays

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Posts : 1433
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 60
Location : Camano Island Washington

PostSubject: Some Departures Chapter twenty-six   Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:53 pm

Departures


“What are your concerns?”

“I’m not really sure,” Heyes admitted feeling a little ashamed of himself now, having dragged his friend and his lawyer back here on nothing more than just a ‘feeling’. “it’s been a couple of weeks and nothing has happened so, maybe I was just over-reacting.”

“A couple of weeks since what?” Steven asked.

Heyes’ face tightened up as he tried to assemble his thoughts and explain the dark forebodings that had taken hold of him.

“Warden Mitchell has been backing off of me all through this past winter mainly because of the pressure he was receiving from my lawyer,” he acknowledged Steven. “and my friends, letting him know that he was being ‘watched’. Thanks to you people, this winter has been a lot easier for me without the antagonism from the warden and the senior guard—a lot easier!
“Then you went to see Governor Moonlight to push the matter even further and try to get me pardoned. Well, we all know how that turned out!” The other two gentlemen nodded agreement. “But what you probably don’t know,” Heyes continued. “is that the governor then sent a letter to our wonderful warden informing him of the meeting that you had with him and that he basically threw you out of his office.
“Then he further emphasized that not only had he refused to grant me a pardon but that he was supportive of Warden Mitchell’s policies of prison management and basically gave Mr. Mitchell the go ahead to conduct matters here in any way that he deemed according.”

This piece of information was met with silence. Heyes’ anxiety was obvious though he was trying to cover it up. He really had nothing to go on here, except a gut feeling—but he had learned to trust his gut feelings.

“So,” Heyes continued. “Mitchell basically told me that he’s no longer going to be concerned about outside pressures; that if the governor of the territory is not going to give in to the ‘rants and raves’ of my supporters, then why should he?”

This statement was met with groans from the other two men in the room and Heyes nodded, feeling a little more confident now that his concerns were being validated.

“I have to admit that I’m a little bit worried that Warden Mitchell will find a way to exact some kind of revenge upon me for the inconveniences that we have placed upon him this past year. Goodness knows what he’ll do if you take this case to a hearing.”

“Are you saying that you don’t wish for us to take this to a formal hearing?” Steven asked him.

Heyes sat back with a sigh. He looked at his cousin and Jed returned his gaze, sending Heyes silent support for whichever course he wanted his friends to take.

“I don’t know,” Heyes finally admitted. “We already knew that if we put pressure on the powers that be, that it could have serious repercussions for me, being at their mercy as I am—so to speak. On the other hand, if you back off and don’t push then I’ll be in here for the rest of my life.”

“Yes Mr. Heyes,” Steven agreed. “unfortunately you are the one taking the biggest risk here. As you say; if Governor Moonlight has given Warden Mitchell free rein in his policies for running the prison, then us continuing to push to a formal hearing could result in a difficult time for you. Once the hearing is concluded and if we are successful in forcing this issue then it would definitely be to your benefit but in the meantime, Warden Mitchell could do with you as he pleases and we would have no recourse available to us to stop him.”

Heyes nodded quietly. “That’s pretty much what Warden Mitchell took a great deal of pleasure to inform me of.”

“Awwww Jeez!” Kid sat back, running a hand through his curls; it felt as though they were all right back at the beginning again. That all their work and efforts had been for naught.

“What would you like us to do, Mr. Heyes?” Steven asked.

Again Heyes sat back and thought about it. If his own hands had been free to run across his scalp he would have done so. He sighed heavily.

“I really don’t want to get hurt anymore,” he admitted. “On the other hand, I sure don’t want to spend the rest of my life in here either.”

Again silence settled over the room like a thick blanket. The lawyer and the friend sat and waited for the convict to decide what risks he was willing to take, and what life he was willing to accept.

Heyes sighed again. “Well, the sensible thing to do would be to back off.” Heyes was thinking out loud. “Lay low until a new governor came into office and then try again.”

Then Heyes smiled. He looked over at his partner with a mischievous glint to his eye.

“On the other hand, in the words of my overly protective partner—‘nobody has ever accused us of being too sensible now have they?’”

Kid smiled and nodded. It didn’t surprise him; Heyes never was one to just sit back and wait.

“All or nothing, gentlemen!” Heyes announced. “Consequences be damned! I have no intentions of spending the rest of my life in this hell hole!”


The train right back into Colorado was spent mostly in silence, the two men each lost in their own thoughts.
Jed, of course was thinking about his partner’s situation and all round safety being trapped as he was and under the control of people who did not have his best interests at heart. Jed always hated the ride back home after his visits with Heyes because he would end up feeling impotent; that he wasn’t doing enough, that he wasn’t saying enough, and he wasn’t getting things happening fast enough. And there was always that little twinge of doubt as to whether or not he would be seeing his partner again. Heyes’ situation was so unpredictable that even with Kenny there to watch out for him, well, things could still happen.

Steven had a number of things on his mind. One, of course was the situation with his client. Now that they had re-affirmed the go-ahead for the hearing, he would need to get onto it even more than he had been. Even at that, just as with all things political, it was going to take time to arrange the meeting; setting up the date was just the first hurdle. After that he had to arrange for evidence to be presented to him so that he could go through it all and decide what was worth bringing forth and in what order and what would just be set aside as redundant or irrelevant. Then he had to organize those people who were willing to come forward to deliver their own personal testimonies and to make sure that what they had to say was going to help their case and not hurt it. All of this would take time and energy and focus.

Then, he had his upcoming wedding to deal with! As is so often the case Bridget was the one doing most of the organizing for that—and she had plenty of help too. Her mother, her sister and Clementine were all pitching in to make sure the big day came together as it should.

Steven smiled at all the commotion going on with the four ladies. Despite both Clem and Beth insisting that the wedding was a nuisance, and how happy they’ll both be once the day was over and done with, they had ended up jumping in with both feet and doing everything they could to assist in the organizing of the big day.
So much so that poor Bridget was betwixt and between as to whom she should ask to be her Maid of Honour. Normally it’s a sister or a best friend, but since both those people were doing so much to help out, it left Bridget with a difficult decision.

Fortunately Clem seemed to know that this was a dilemma for the young Bride-To-Be and stepped up to put her at her ease. She let it be known through idle chatting that she had been Maid-of-Honour at too many weddings and was so relieved that Bridget had a sister who would be fitting the bill this time. That way Clem could just sit back and enjoy the festivities, thank you very much!

In this manner, of course, Clem had simply been letting her friend know that Clementine would not be upset at being passed over for the role and that indeed; it should rightfully fall to Beth to have the honour. So, once that was settled everything just started to fall into place and everyone was looking forward to the big day. Even Steven—when he actually took the time to think about it!


Kid disembarked the train at Brookswood and started to make his way over to the livery to pick up Buck and complete the last stage of his journey home. He had done this so many times over the last year and a half that he no longer even thought about where he was going—his body was on cruise control and his brain was everywhere but where it should have been.

All of a sudden he was brought up short when he walked right into another body.


“Oh! Miss Isabelle!” Jed acknowledged her. “I do apologize.”

“That’s quite alright Jed,” Isabelle assured him with a sweet smile. “It’s very nice to be bumped into by you—again.”

“Ahhh, yes ma’am,” Jed responded with a slightly embarrassed smile. “Still, it was rude and I do apologize. I should be watching where I’m going.”

Isabelle slipped her arm through his and began to walk along with him.

“Your mind on other things today?” She asked him.

“Well yeah,” he admitted. “as a matter of fact it is.”

“Anything you would like to talk about?” she asked, all concerned. “I might be able to help.”

“I don’t really see how you could Isabelle, but thank you for offering,” Jed answered her.

“How do you know?” she persisted. “Sometimes just talking about something can make it easier to deal with.”

“Yes ma’am that’s true,” Kid agreed. “but I’m worried about my partner is all and I don’t really see how you can help with that.”

“Oh, HIM again?!” Isabelle pouted. “Don’t you think it’s time you let that go and got on with your life?”

Kid felt the hairs on the back of his neck bristle, but he told himself to stay calm and to be polite. Isabelle wasn’t the kind of person who could understand commitment—unless it was to her.

“No Isabelle, it isn’t,” Jed told her. “And I don’t intend to let it go until we have him out of that place and back home where he belongs.”

Isabelle stopped walking and stepping in front of Jed she placed her hand on his chest and looked up into his blue eyes.

“Jed, I’m sorry,” she told him. “but you need to get on with your life. It’s been over a year and nothing has come of all your efforts. You need to take advantage of what’s being offered to you—get married and have a family of your own. I mean, let’s face it the Jordan’s aren’t your real family; they’re just a stop gap. You need to find a woman who’s mature and ready to settle down to a real life.” She sighed then and gave him a sad look. “Dear Beth is so sweet, but pathetic really; a young girl like her trying so hard to act like a woman, but it’s so obvious that she just doesn’t have a clue how to treat a man.”

Here Jed really bristled. His jaw clenched, but again he reminded himself not to lose his temper. But he did take hold of Isabelle’s hand that was on his chest and pushed it away from him, perhaps clasping it a little bit tighter than what was comfortable for her.

“Let me tell you something Isabelle, just so’s we’re clear,” Jed insisted. “Beth is not a little girl; she is a young woman in her own right. She cares about me and she cares about Hannibal and she’s in this for the long haul. The Jordan’s are the closest thing I’ve had to family for years and they are not just a stop gap! I am not giving up on Heyes and any woman who claims to care about me but isn’t willing to support me in that, isn’t worth my time!”

Isabelle stood up to her full height and angrily snatched her hand away from Jed’s grasp.

“Fine!” she snapped at him, feeling insulted. “Just you wait and see! No woman worth her salt is going to hang around and wait for you while you chase after a pipe dream! Your partner is never going to get out of prison but by the time you realize that any woman who might have wanted you will have given up and moved on to someone more worthy! You either grab hold of the opportunities while you can or you’re going to end up a sad and lonely old man!”

“I guess that’s just the chance I’m gonna havta’ take!” Jed answered, quiet but determined. “’Cause I’m not giving up on my partner. Good day, Miss Isabelle.”

Jed politely tipped his hat and then deftly stepped around the infuriated woman and continued on his way to the livery stable. Isabelle did not follow him.


Riding back out to the Double J, Jed was still grinding his teeth and muttering obscenities concerning the audacity of some of the local feminine inhabitants of Brookswood. The only good thing about the whole encounter is that now, hopefully Isabelle had gotten the message loud and clear that Jed was not interested in her. Imagine saying that about Beth! Just who did she think she was insulting Beth that way? ‘Silly little girl—pathetic trying to pretend to be a woman!’ How dare she say things like that!?

There was no pretending about it—Beth was a woman! She was a beautiful woman who deeply cared about him and Heyes and who had given her support and loyalty unconditionally. You don’t find a woman like that very often; one who was willing to put her own ambitions and desires on the back burner in order to stand up for a cause and stick to it. Jed smiled to himself then as he thought about how determined Beth was to get to the bottom of things here. It might not have been the smartest thing to do, but her convincing Sister Julia to get her in to the prison masquerading as a novice really was a courageous thing to do. Maybe not smart, but certainly courageous!

Jed continued to smile to himself and his mood softened as he thought about his young friend and how much she’d grown in the last two years. She really wasn’t a little girl anymore.

Then Jed suddenly came back to reality when Buck stumbled, but picked himself up and then stalwartly carried on. It was then that Curry realized that the old gelding had been trying to tell him something for the past mile or so, but Kid had been so deep into his own thoughts that he hadn’t heard him. Buck was limping; it hadn’t been bad at first which is probably why Jed hadn’t picked up on it through his own musings, but now the limp was quite pronounced.

Jed pulled the horse to a stop and dismounted. He leaned down and grabbed hold of the gelding’s off foreleg, down by the fetlock and lifted the foot. All looked good in there—no stones pressed into the frog or sticks rammed under the shoe. He put the foot down and ran his hands along the lower leg and then groaned. Sure enough there was heat and swelling in the tendon—again! Dammit!

Jed stood up with a sigh and gave Buck a pat and then a rubbing on the neck.

“Yeah, that’s alright old fella,” he soothed the gelding. “C'mon, let’s get you home.”

Jed started to slowly walk on, leading the limping horse along behind him until they finally were heading down the lane towards the barn yard. Karma spotted her friend coming and raising her head she sent out a welcoming whinny. Buck lifted his head and pricked his ears and sent back a little nicker of his own, but then dropped his head again and continued to limp after his human.

Jed got him in to the first barn, and taking off his bridle first, he then slipped a halter over his ears and tied him to a ring in the post. Then he proceeded to strip the saddle off him and give him a good rub down all the while wondering just how bad that tendon was and why was it not healing up right. He was so deep in thought and worry that he didn’t hear Jesse come into the barn until the man was almost up to him. Buck hadn’t even responded to his presence.

“I see he’s limping again,” Jesse commented.

Jed jumped and felt the instant reflex to go for his gun, but he stopped himself before the muscles could respond and just straightened up with a slightly embarrassed smile. Jesse smiled back, knowing he had startled the younger man and recognized the fact that he hadn’t over-reacted. The old ways and habits were slowly starting to fade away.

“Sorry,” Jesse apologized. “I noticed you coming into the yard. How is he?”

Jed sighed, shaking his head. “I donno Jesse. I just don’t understand why it’s not healing.”

“Hmm,” Jesse commented. “Well, bring him outside. Let’s take a look at him.”

The two men and the horse went back outside and Jed walked the horse up and down a few times while Jesse watched the gait and the way the horse was favouring the leg.

“Okay Jed, hold him there a minute,” Then Jesse came and ran his hands down the tender foreleg, gently applying pressure in certain spots and watching for the horse’s reaction. He finally stood up with a sigh and gave the gelding a pat on the neck

“I don’t know Jed; it really doesn’t look good at this point.”

“Yeah,” Jed agreed. “It’s that same leg too. I don’t know what’s goin’ on with him.”

“How old is he?” Jesse asked. “Do you have any idea?”

“Nothing definite,” Jed admitted. “He wasn’t a youngster when I first bought him that’s for sure.”

“How long ago was that?”

“Oh well,” Jed rubbed his chin, thinking back to that day. “Gee, must be at least ten years now.”

“And he wasn’t young then?”

“Oh no. At least ten.”

“So,” Jesse reflected. “into his twenties probably. And a lot of rough riding and missed meals in there too, no doubt. Not to mention cold nights out in the open.”

“Well yeah,” Jed admitted. “He’s been a good solid horse though. I always tried to look after him.”

“I don’t doubt that,” Jesse appeased his friend. “But still, that kind of life sort of catches up with a fellow after a while.”

“Yeah, tell me about it.”

Jesse gave the big seal brown gelding an affectionate pat on the neck.

“I don’t know Jed,” he ventured. “I think it’s time you thought about retiring him.”

Jed’s face fell. He just couldn’t imagine riding any other horse but ole’ Buck. They had been together for so long. Buck was an old friend whom Jed had come to rely on and that solid gelding had got him out of more than one tight spot that was for sure. He just couldn’t count on any other horse to get him out of trouble when he really needed it—not the way Buck could.

“I’d give him a good home,” Jesse assured his friend. “I could really use a wise old gelding like him.”

“Yeah, but—I need a riding horse Jesse,” Jed insisted, not willing to relinquish his buddy that quickly. “I can’t really afford to buy another horse, especially one of Buck’s qualities.”

“Tell you what,” Jesse ventured. “I have about twelve long two year olds that Sam will be breaking out this summer. Why don’t you take a ride up to the north pasture and have a look at them. You pick out any one you want. Sam can break him out for you and we’ll make it an even trade.”

“That don’t seem too fair to me Jesse,” Jed felt obligated to point out. “You givin’ me a young broke three year old in exchange for a worn out old gelding. You got some real fine horses up there, it just wouldn’t seem right.”

“You’re right,” Jesse agreed. “I’d be coming out ahead on the deal, that’s for sure.”

Jed looked confused. “What do you mean; ahead?” he asked. “You just said it was time to retire him. How does that put you ahead?”

“Well, I’ve been watching him out in the field there with Karma’s new filly.” Jesse explained. “He’s really good with her and little Daisy just takes to him like he was made of molasses. Having a wise old gelding like that, who has the patience to be with the babies, well that’s invaluable to me.”

“It is?”

“Sure,” Jesse explained. “There’s only so much these babies can learn from their mothers’, but if you can put an old gelding in with the mix, and he likes the youngsters, well—he can teach them a whole lot more about horse etiquette than any wrangler I’ve ever met.”

“And you think Buck would be good for that?”

“Oh! For sure!” Jesse emphasized and then he smiled. “Good ole’ Uncle Buck. He’s got the wisdom and the patience to be able to teach those colts everything they need to know to be good horses. Especially when it comes to weaning time! Those babies take it pretty hard when mom’s not around anymore, but if they know Uncle Buck, and he’s still with them—well, things aren’t so bad after all. Like I said Jed; a wise old gelding like him would be invaluable to me.”

Jed gave his old horse a rubbing on the neck, still hesitant to give him up that easily.
“It’s not like you would be saying 'goodbye' to him,” Jesse pressed his case. “He’ll be here for the rest of his days and he’ll be well looked after. You can see him anytime you like.”

“Yeah,” Jed mumbled. “but ridin’ another horse? Just don’t seem right.”

“I know,” Jesse emphasized. “But I bet once you pick out a youngster that you like, you’ll see the wisdom of it. Buck just isn’t up to being a riding horse anymore. Let him retire, and take life easy from now on. He’s put in his years.”

“Yeah, I suppose you’re right Jesse,” Kid had to admit. “And he does keep coming up lame on that leg, so….”

“Right,” Jesse agreed. “Let me put him back out in the field with Karma and little Daisy. He’s as happy as a clam out there with them, you’ll see. It’s the right thing to do.”

“Yeah,” Jed agreed, still a little reluctant.

Jesse took Buck’s lead shank and led the limping gelding over to the pasture gate. Instantly his head came up and his ears perked and he nickered out to his friends in the field.
Karma raised her head from grazing and whinnied back at him again. Then, sweet little Daisy perked up her fine head and sent forth her own high pitched baby whinny and with tail flapping came running over to greet her favorite Uncle Buck.

Jesse removed the halter and Buck limped out to meet Daisy half way and then dropped his head down to graze. Karma slowly meandered over to join up with her friend and before long, Spade and his mother made their way over as well. All were content then and in good company and with tails swishing lazily in the late afternoon sun they carried on grazing until it was time to come in for supper.

Jed stood at the fence for awhile and watched them peacefully grazing together and though he knew it was the right thing to do for his horse he still felt a definite heart ache. Everything in his life seemed to be changing on him; old friends being taken away while new friends came along to help ease the loneliness of their passing. But still it was hard.

First Heyes was taken from him, then Hank, then Charlie and Preacher were gone. Devil’s Hole was burned to the ground and Lobo and Kyle in prison along with Heyes. And then there was Wheat, alone and on the run and who knew what his fate was going to be.

Kid sighed and rested his chin on his forearms that were laid along the fence. Now old Buck was moving on too. Jesse gave his friend a pat on the shoulder.

“Come on Jed,” he said. “let’s get ready for supper. Real nice beef steaks tonight.”

“Yeah, okay.”

Heyes was down on the work floor keeping an eye on his two ‘men’, keeping an eye on Boeman and Harris, keeping an eye on Carson and Thompson and trying to do his work without messing things up and causing undue attention to himself. Life really was getting complicated.

Boeman and Harris were respecting Heyes’ position so far—Boeman still had trouble swallowing but the ex-outlaw leader knew darn well that they were just waiting for an opportunity to reestablish the pecking order. But they had learned their lesson and had no intentions of coming at Heyes straight on, they were both willing to wait until they could get him alone and gang up on him. Heyes was being very careful not to give them that opportunity.

Carson and Thompson were just waiting for Heyes to slip up on the rules so they would have a reason to make up for lost time through the winter. The warden telling them to back off that particular inmate for a while had stuck in their craw. They could see that Heyes was very protective of the two new inmates, especially the smaller one, so maybe all they had to do was wait for an opportunity to use that protectiveness to their advantage. Heyes was being very careful not to give it to them.

Lobo knew Heyes was watching out for him, could feel his ex-boss’s eyes upon him even from a distance—and he resented it. Did Heyes think that because he’d gotten injured that he was weak? That he couldn’t take care of himself in here? He’d already had a couple of the other inmates try to knock him down a peg or two and had ended up getting knocked down themselves. Even if Lobo had ended up being punished by the guards for fighting and had spent an hour doubled over and gasping for air because of his injured lung—well that didn’t mean that he was weak and needed looking after! Heyes was just insulting him and Lobo grew even more angry and bitter than he had been as a free man.

Kyle was almost oblivious to the role that Heyes was playing in keeping him safe. He was aware of some of the inmates sending him dark glances, but when nothing ever came of them he stopped being concerned about it. He went about his day to day duties with about as much a care-free demeanor as an inmate at a territorial prison could possibly have.

Where as Heyes tried to respect Lobo’s personal space, he stayed close to Kyle, sitting with him at meal times and always trying to get a work station next to his down on the floor. On the days when Heyes was away, either in the laundry room or the infirmary he just hoped that the message was clear enough to leave Kyle alone that his presence in itself wasn’t always going to be required. So far so good.

Spring lazily drifted into summer and everybody was settling in to their routines. The Kid came for his regular visits and was as good as his word in taking time to visit with his other two friends as soon as their curfew was up. But where Kyle appreciated the visits and the chance to actually talk to someone he knew, Lobo soon made it clear that he wasn’t interested in company even going so far as to decline the invitation. So Kid stopped asking after him and Heyes kept an even closer eye on him in the hopes of preventing him from sinking into a depression.

Beth and Clem came for more visits as well and Beth was always full of news about Daisy and of course, the up coming wedding. During those visit Jed and Hannibal usually did not get many words in edgewise and would just sit back and send the occasional smile to one another. Just watching Beth in her animated conversation was enough to lift Heyes’ spirits and help him to forget about his problems for at least the hour that she was there anyways. Clem was Clem so these visits were usually full of bantering and high spirited fun between the ladies, and even the guard could not help but let the occasional chuckle escape at some of the verbal antics they got up to.

Work gangs were being assembled for doing work outside the prison walls and Heyes wasn’t the only one looking forward to a chance to get out amongst real human beings again. Aside from the usual broken fences and new barn roofs, it was apparently time to do repairs at the convent and repaint the orphanage so Heyes got to return to that residence even though it wasn’t for as enjoyable an occasion as the previous.

Still, he lucked out in that he and a couple of the other trustees got to paint the interior of the orphanage, so they did not have to work outside in the hot summer day. The inmates still had to wear shackles on their wrists and ankles, but they were not cinched up tight with that damn belt, so they had freedom in order to do their jobs. Just don’t try running anywhere!

The children had been told to stay away from the convicts, but yeah—good luck with that! Especially when they recognized their friend Hannibal Heyes and were just as comfortable in his presence as they were with the Sisters. Some of the older boys even picked up paint brushes and felt it was an honour to be able to assist their favorite outlaw in the painting of their walls. Pearson and Davis were guarding the inside inmates and though they were a little concerned at first with the children mingling with the convicts everybody ended up working well together. They even seemed to be having a good time as well, so…..

Lunch break found the various inmates outside on the porch, either sitting on the steps, or dangling their legs off the veranda and enjoying sandwiches and lemonade and all the water they could want. Not surprisingly Heyes found himself surrounded by various children of all ages wanting to share their lunch break with him. Pearson stood close by, not interfering but most definitely keeping an eye on things.

Little Sally, the girl who had run up and hugged Heyes during his classroom visit now felt that she was privileged and moved in close to sit beside the inmate. She smiled up at him and gave him one of her cookies.

“Thank you Sally,” he commented, smiling down at her.

She beamed with pleasure that he remembered her name.

“Are you going to come back to visit us again?” she asked, sweetly.

“I’m certainly going to try to,” he assured her. “We’ll have to see what the Sisters say about that.”

“I’m sure it will be fine with them,” Sally was quite adamant.

Heyes smiled at her confidence. “We’ll see.”

“Is Kid Curry going to come with you?” asked young Todd, his sister Carol sitting on the step below him smiled up hopefully.

“I don’t know,” Heyes admitted. “Some other things came up and I forgot to ask him. But I will.”

This was met by smiles all around, but then Heyes’ attention was drawn away from his group of admirers to watch an exchange going on between Sister Julia and Kenny. They were speaking seriously about something and Heyes had the feeling that it was about him. Then sure enough both those people stopped talking and looked over in his direction. Heyes frowned and sat there, looking at them looking at him. Hmmmm.

Then the Sister smiled a farewell to the guard and made her way over to the group sitting on the porch steps.

“Hello Joshua.”

“Sister.”

“Officer Reece and I were just discussing the possibility of you coming for another ‘social’ visit again once the repairs are completed on the convent.”

“Oh,” Heyes smiled with relief. “Yes ma’am. I’m willing if the warden agrees.”

“Good!” Sister Julia answered. “From what Officer Reece says, I don’t think that will be a problem.” Then she smiled at the group gathering and they all knew what was coming. “Now children, let these men alone, they have work to do.”

This proclamation was met with moans and groans of disappointment, but the youngsters all got to their feet and headed off to tend to their own chores. The other inmates sitting around on the porch also moved off to return to their work. Heyes was about to join them when Sister Julia came forward and sat down on the steps beside him. She placed her hand on one of his and gave it a gentle squeeze.

“I haven’t seen you for a while Joshua,” she commented. “How are you?”

“I’m fine Sister.”

“I know you’ve had to deal with some sad news lately along with everything else,” she admitted to him. “Are you getting through that alright?”

Heyes smiled. “Yes,” he assured her, and moved his other hand over to place on top of hers. “It was hard to hear about at first. That was our home; the people there were our family. It was hard. Harder for the Kid though—he had to witness it.”

“Yes,” Sister Julia commiserated. “What must make it even more difficult is that the rest of the territory is rejoicing over an event that can only bring you pain. That can be a very lonely place to be.”

Heyes smiled over at her again. Then it was his turn to lift her hand up and give it a gentle kiss.

“Thank you,” he said to her surprised expression. “Thank you for understanding something that most do not.”

She nodded. “Mr. Reece tells me that two of the men from your old gang are now at the prison. Are they settling in alright?”

“One is. The other….” Heyes shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“It’s a long time till Christmas,” she pointed out. “Is there anything either of them need right now?”

Heyes laughed. “I think Kyle would kill for some chewing tobacco—he has a terrible habit there. I’m not sure if it’s allowed, but….”

“I’ll find out,” the Sister assured him. “If it is, I will be sure to get some to him.”

“Thank you,” then Heyes thought about it some more. “Ahh, it does start to get chilly here by mid September and Lobo is kinda sickly, so anything to keep him warm. Sweaters, socks, definitely a toque, a blanket. Actually both of them could use those things before the cold weather sets in. If it’s too much I can divvy up some of my winter things and pass them on. I can make do until Christmas.”

“That’s very generous of you Joshua,” the sister complimented him, giving his hand another squeeze. “but we don’t want you getting sick again either. I’ll see what we can do—I’m sure we’ll find something for them.”

Heyes nodded. “Thank you,” he said again. Then he grinned. “Some more cookies would be nice.”

Heyes' eyes took on a mischievous twinkle and the Sister laughed out loud.

“I’ll see what I can arrange.”

“Yeah! Good.”

Then Pearson approached them and the two people on the steps glanced up at him.

“C'mon Heyes,” he said a little regretfully. “break has been over for half an hour. Time you got back to work.”

“Oh. Yeah.”

Heyes stood up, and then he assisted the Sister to her feet and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek as farewell.

“Goodbye for now Joshua,” she said. “I’ll see you when you come for your visit.”

“Goodbye Sister,” he said and then gathering up the various lengths of chain attached to his extremities, he went back up the steps to carry on with his painting duties.

It took three weeks to finish up the jobs over at the convent and in that time Heyes was still trying to keep an eye on his two ‘men’. Being new to the prison they had not been allowed to be part of the work gang but had stayed behind to carry on with regular duties. Still, they had managed to get outdoors in the yard whenever possible and were managing to stay out of trouble even with Heyes away most days.

Kyle was a happy man when he returned to his cell one evening to find a packet of chewing tobacco sitting on his pillow, along with some warm clothing for the upcoming winter months. He was beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about; as far as he was concerned prison weren’t too bad of a place after all.

Lobo on the other hand was not fitting in quite as easily as Kyle was doing. He had a tan, but underneath it you could tell that his complexion was still sallow and unhealthy. He was dropping weight and his cough was getting worse even though they were into the warmest time of the year. His attitude was sour and mean and he wasn’t eating.

One evening after working out at the convent all day, Heyes entered the mess hall and instantly began surveying the tables looking for Lobo. He finally spotted him sitting off by himself and snarling at anybody who even thought about sitting down close to him. His plate of food sat in front of him on the table, untouched.

Heyes felt irritation start to rise up in him. He made his way over to where Lobo sat, and coming up behind him suddenly gave him a hard cuff across the back of his head. Like the wolf for which he was nicknamed, Lobo was on his feet in an instant and turning with a snarl was ready to attack his attacker. However, as soon as he saw that it was Heyes, he stood down just a fraction and did not come at him. But the snarl did not leave his face and the two men locked eyes and the silent battle of wills was on.

The other inmates seated around the room were watching this confrontation with serious intent. Though none of them had what it took to challenge Heyes outright, sitting back and watching someone else attempt it could make for an entertaining dinner and a show.

Lobo’s whole stance was menacing; he eyes were hard, his body tense and fists clenched. Every fiber of him wanted to get his hands around Heyes’ throat and choke the arrogant life out of him, and yet he hesitated. Even without the Kid there to back him up, Lobo knew that Heyes was a force to be reckoned with. He’d seen with his own eyes the leader of the Devil’s Hole Gang, light weight that he was; beat a man to within an inch of his life for daring to challenge his dictate.

Yes, Lobo hesitated. In just the course of a few seconds Lobo had weighed his options and looked at the odds. He was not yet recovered from his injuries and as much as he hated to admit it, he knew that his strength was far from where it should be. He also knew that Heyes had been doing physical work outdoors for the past three weeks and even through his summer tunic, Lobo could tell that Heyes was fit and toned and in a much better position to win a fight than Lobo himself was.

All of this Lobo took in and processed in the space of those few seconds when the two adversaries challenged one another. Then Lobo backed down, though not gracefully. He was still tense and sending off aggressive waves, but he dropped eye contact and sat back down at the table. The atmosphere in the mess hall relaxed but it was with disappointment and not relief when the guards and inmates alike had to accept that there would be no fight tonight. Geesh—what was this place coming to; there hadn’t been a good fight since young Aims had gotten himself stabbed.

Heyes went and got his own plateful of supper and then returned and sat down beside his friend and began to eat. He didn’t look at Lobo, didn’t send him any sign language or whispered orders; he just sat quietly and ate his supper. Lobo got the message. He picked up his spoon, and though still tight-lipped with resentment he began to eat and Heyes didn’t leave his side until the new inmate had cleaned his plate.

Once the meal was finished, Heyes got up, returned his plate to the kitchen, got his cup of evening coffee and returned to his cell. Lobo sat and seethed and everyone else avoided eye contact with him for fear of becoming the scapegoat. Lobo wasn’t ready for things to be settled between him and Heyes yet—but after that, he always ate his supper.

One day the following week, Lobo was down on the work floor doing the usual when Pearson approached him. Lobo glanced up and then, having learned some lessons the hard way, quickly dropped his gaze again.

“Convict,” Pearson said to him. “follow me.”

Though the order itself was always comprised of the same words, it wasn’t always spoken in the literal sense, depending on who the inmate was. Pearson had been warned never to turn his back on this particular inmate, so even though the order had been ‘follow me’, Pearson had stepped to the side as Lobo had come up to him, and then taking the convict by the arm had proceeded to direct him in that manner to where they were going.
Where they were going was the infirmary. Lobo walked into the ward looking very suspicious—or perhaps just more suspicious than usual, and then he saw Heyes and suspicion turned to resentment.
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Keays

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Posts : 1433
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 60
Location : Camano Island Washington

PostSubject: Some Departures   Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:56 pm

“Ah, here you are young man,” Morin acknowledged him. It seemed that everyone was a ‘young man’ to the doctor. “Have a seat over here, I want to examine you.”

Lobo looked as though he was going to rebel when Pearson gave him a slight shove in the direction that Morin had indicated. Heyes walked over to stand by the doctor.

“C'mon Lobo,” he said. “Just do it, will ya’?”

Lobo sneered, but took notice that Heyes had just spoken and not been whacked for it, so he thought he would take the chance and see what happened.

“What are you doin’ Heyes?” he growled over at him. “You ain’t my boss anymore, why don’t you just leave me alone?”

Heyes smiled dangerously. Pearson and Morin kept out of the way, giving Heyes the chance to exert control over his underling—so long as it didn’t get out of hand.

“That’s where you’re wrong Lobo,” Heyes informed him. “I may not have been running Devil’s Hole anymore, but I am your boss in here and you’ll do what I tell ya’.” Then he allowed a quizzical expression to cross his face. “But I thought we already had that worked out.”

Lobo snorted, but wisely decided to change the subject.

“Well what’s this all about then?” he asked, looking around the infirmary. “I don’t need no exam.”

“Your cough is getting worse Lobo,” Heyes pointed out. “I just asked Doc Morin here to have a listen and maybe he can give ya’ something for it.”

“I don’t need nothin’!” Lobo insisted and made a move back towards the exit.

Pearson was suddenly right in his face, blocking his way, bully club at the ready. Lobo was fuming by now and he sent a glare back towards Heyes.

“Just accept it will ya’ Lobo?” Heyes insisted, starting to get somewhat irritated at this man’s stubbornness. “You’re gonna need all the help you can get to survive this coming winter. Believe me I know.”

“And what makes you think I want to survive it?” Lobo asked quietly, but with an edge to it. “I shoulda died right out there with Charlie and Preacher, but instead I’m stuck in this cesspool with you and Kyle! Any man who would accept this over an honourable death ain’t worth the bounty money posted on ‘em!”

Heyes’ jaw tightened at the insult and he made a move towards the other man, but Pearson stopped him.

“Heyes! Back off!”

The fire went out of Heyes’ eyes and he stood down though his anger was still apparent. Lobo’s lip curled in a smile. Apparently Heyes wasn’t boss over everybody.

“Just do it Lobo!” Heyes ordered him and then added, in a menacing tone; “The guards ain’t around all the time.”

The smile left Lobo’s face and the two inmates were again locked in an optical struggle for dominance, and again it was Lobo who backed off. He snorted derisively as though to say that it was no big deal and then went over to the exam table and sat up on it.

“It’s about time,” Morin mumbled. “It’s not like I have all day to wait for little boys to stop playing games. Take your tunic off.”

“What?” Lobo growled at him.

“Your tunic,” Morin repeated. “take it off. I need to listen to your chest.”

Lobo sighed and then pulled his tunic off over his head. Heyes tried not to react to the signs of trauma to his right side. It was obvious that there had been extensive damage done when that horse’s hoof had landed on him, causing crushing internal injuries.

Morin didn’t react at all to the scarring. Either he was really good at covering up what he thought, or compared to the injuries he’d had to deal with during the war, this was nothing spectacular. He put the ear pieces of his stethoscope into his ears and placed the business end of it on Lobo’s chest. He listened for about five seconds, then took one ear piece out and looked up at the inmate.

“It would help me to hear what’s going on in there if you’d breathe.”

“Oh,” Lobo almost looked embarrassed and then took in a deep breath. He instantly started coughing.

Morin backed off until the spasm quieted. “Just breathe normally,” he instructed. “There’s nothing to worry about, just relax.”

“I ain’t worried! And I am relaxed!”

“Hmmm.”

Morin started to listen again, moving the instrument around to various places on Lobo’s chest and occasionally taking two fingers and tapping around the lung area, and listening some more.

“Hmmm. Okay, take a breath and hold it.”

Tap tap tap. “Hmmm. Okay, release. Alright, shift around here so that I can listen to your back.” Tap tap tap. “Take a breath, hold it.” Tap tap tap. “Uh huh. Release. Hmmm.”

Lobo looked over at Heyes and rolled his eyes. Heyes smiled.

“Okay,” Morin said, straightening back up and pursing his lips. “You can put your tunic back on.” Then he looked over at Heyes. “Yeah, you were right Heyes. There is certainly fluid in that lung.” He looked back to his patient. “When you cough, do you ever bring up any phlegm or is it always that dry cough?”

“Naw, it’s dry,” Lobo informed him.

Morin nodded. “Yeah. That fluid’s not going anywhere. That lung is definitely damaged and probably isn’t going to get much better than it is now. We’ll have to really keep an eye on things once the colder weather sets in—it would be very dangerous for you to get pneumonia with it like that.” Morin looked over to Pearson. “Can we get him some warm clothing Mr. Pearson? Sweaters and a scarf for sure to keep his chest and neck warm.”

Pearson shrugged. “I suppose.”

“I already spoke to Sister Julia about that,” Heyes piped in. “She has assured me that the convent will supply both Lobo and Kyle with warm clothing for the winter.”

Lobo looked surprised at that; why would anybody bother about him? Morin just nodded as though he had expected as much.

“Good,” he said and then started over towards his medicine cabinet. “I can give you something here to help ease that cough, make ya’ a little more comfortable anyways.” He came back to the patient and handed him a bottle of fluid. “It’ll make you sleepy so take a swallow at night. Let Heyes know when you’re running out and I’ll get more to you. Okay?”

“Yeah, sure Doc,” Lobo mumbled. “whatever.”

Then without even a glance at Heyes, he got down off the table and Pearson escorted him back to the work floor. Heyes and Morin exchanged looks.

“He was one of your men?” Morin asked.

“Yeah.”

“Has he always been that cantankerous?”

“Yeah.”

“Fxxk!”

“Yeah.”


A few days after the visit with Dr. Morin, Heyes found himself being escorted once again over to the orphanage. It was pretty much the same routine as the first trip had been, with two main differences. One was that Heyes was actually looking forward to his time with the children this time and the other was that he was being transported in the open buckboard rather than the closed in oven of a prison coach. Thank goodness for small blessings.

Of course, by this time he had traveled back and forth between the prison and the convent so many times with the work gang that the trip through town no longer held much interest to him. It was nice to occasionally spot a pretty girl or a fine horse, but other than that it was just one more thing that he could no longer partake of, so why even bother looking.

Again, as with the previous visit, Kenny removed Heyes’ shackles once they were inside the building and then accompanied him into the class room, leaving Pearson out in the hallway to guard the door. Both men greeted the Sisters and then Heyes turned to face his audience.

“Good morning,” he said, grinning his grin.

He was hit with a cascade of youthful voices.

“Good morning Mr. Heyes!!”

“Wow!” Heyes responded. “You’d think I hadn’t been here for months. I saw every one of you while I was here painting the building.”

“Yeah, but you were working then,” William spoke up. “The Sisters and the guards wouldn’t hardly let us talk to you!”

“I suppose that’s a good point,” Heyes conceded. “We did have a job to do. Do you like what we did?”

“Yes Mr. Heyes!”

Heyes grinned again and then settled back against the front desk. Sister Cornelia made sure to keep the yard stick away from him.

“What shall we talk about today?” he asked the group.

“How come you had to wear those chains when you were here to work?” asked Todd. “Didn’t that make it hard to move around?”

“Yeah, it does,” Heyes admitted. “But, with a bunch of us here, the guards have to be sure that we’re not all going to decide to up and leave all at once. It’s just a precaution is all. It does make it hard for us to move around while we’re working, but it also makes it hard for us to run away.”

“You could run away now!” Melanie observed.

“We could help you,” piped up Sally.

“Yeah!!”

“We could help!”

“Ahh…” Heyes didn’t even bother to glance around at Kenny; he could already picture the look on that guards face. “That’s not a good idea.”

“Why not?”

“Don’t you want to go?”

Heyes smiled. “It’s not that I don’t want to,” he explained. “but I’d have no where to go to. The main reason Kid and I stayed free for so long is that the law didn’t have any photographs of us, so not many people knew what we looked like. Now, there are a lot of pictures of me out there and if I made a run for it, it wouldn’t be long before every sheriff’s office within a hundred miles would have a copy of my photo along with permission to shoot on sight. Besides that, I don’t have any money. I don’t have a horse or food or a change of clothes. I think I kinda stand out in these stripes, don’t you?”

This was met with some embarrassed giggling and more verbal affirmations.

“Yeah, I guess you do—kinda.”

Heyes nodded. “Then, on top of all that,” he continued. “you see the rifle that friendly Officer Reece is carrying and has actually lifted up to be in a more useful position at this point?” All the children glanced over at Kenny with some of the younger girls actually looking a little scared. “Well, I happen to have it on good authority that Officer Reece is an excellent shot so I don’t think I would get very far anyways.” Now the classroom was silent. “And, besides that,” Heyes added. “I gave my word. I promised Officer Reece that if I was permitted to come here and talk with you lot that I would not try to escape.”

Again, this last comment was met with mixed reviews. The younger children nodded acceptance of that statement, but a couple of the older, more skeptical boys questioned the logic of it.

“Yeah, but you could break your word,” Michael stated matter-of-factly. “If the opportunity arose, wouldn’t you go for it?”

“No,” Heyes stated blatantly.

“Why not?”

“Yeah, if ya’ had the chance.”

“Yeah! What if Kid Curry came and broke ya’ out? Wouldn’t you go then?”

“No,” Heyes repeated.

Now all the children were confused.

“But why not?” asked Melanie.

Heyes sighed and folded his arms. He knew the answer, but how to explain it in a way that even the young ones would understand. He constantly marveled at the ability of children to always come up with the difficult questions.

“Well, for one thing,” he began. “I gave my word. A person’s word means a lot. If you give your word and then break it, well, what else can you offer then that’s of any value?”

Heyes stopped talking almost in mid-thought as the real meaning of what he had just spoken out loud hit home with his own circumstance. How close had he come that night, oh so long ago in the Cheyenne jailhouse, to breaking his word? And how many nights had he since spent, staring up at a ceiling he couldn’t see, berating himself for the fact that he hadn’t done it?

“Heyes?” Kenny’s voice cut through the inmates silent musings.

“What? Oh!” Heyes woke up and looked out upon a room full of opened mouths and concerned expressions. “Sorry,” he said with a new smile. “I was just reminded of something. Ahh, where was I? Oh yes! Why I wouldn’t break out. Well, I gave my word, and a person’s word is important. Also, if Kid Curry showed up to try and break me out I wouldn’t let him. There are repercussions to everything we do.”

“What’s that mean?” Sally asked.

“Oh sorry,” Heyes smiled. “That means there’s a price to pay for the choices we make. I believe we talked about that the last time I was here. Kid Curry received his amnesty. If he came here to break me out of prison, then he would be breaking the law and he’d be right back where we started. He’s a free man now—he’s no longer wanted by the law. I would not be happy with him at all if he threw that away.”

Then a knock came to the classroom door, and Kenny opened it a creak to see what was up. Heyes glanced over just as Kenny stepped back to allow someone else to enter and then the inmates face lit up with childish delight and he was on his feet in an instant.

“Ha ha! Kid!”

“Hey Heyes,” Kid smiled at him as the whole classroom took a collective gasp. “Oh, Sister Julia, hello.”

“Hello Thaddeus, good of you to come,” she greeted him. “Sister Cornelia, I’d like you to meet Jed Curry.”

“Sister,” Jed greeted her.

“Oh, hello Mr. Curry,” Sister Cornelia greeted him. “My but we are getting quite the celebrities here today.”

“Kid! What are you doing here?” Heyes asked him. “I never got around to asking you about this.”

“Yeah, I know Heyes. Kenny kinda took the initiative,” At which point the two friends shook hands and then simultaneously each put their left hands on a respective shoulder and then Heyes pulled his cousin into a brief ‘man hug’ followed by a couple of slaps on the backs. “Besides,” Jed added once they parted. “I was getting tired of you having all the fun.”

“Ha ha! You….” Heyes gave him another pat on the back and then turned to their audience. “Everyone, my partner; Jed Curry.”

Again, a room full of open mouths and wide eyes met this announcement. Then all hell broke loose.

“Kid Curry!”

“Wow! Can we see your fast draw?!”

“We got to meet both of you!”

“Are you going to break Mr. Heyes out of prison?”

“Where’s your gun?”

“Why aren’t you wearing your gun?”

“We want to see your fast draw!”

“Whoa!! Hang on!” Jed responded, holding up his hands. “Geesh Heyes, what have you been feeding these kids?”

Heyes just smiled and shrugged. He still wasn’t over being happy to see his partner.

“Why aren’t you wearing your gun?” Todd asked again.

“Well, ahhh, the guards thought it would be a good idea if I left that out in the hallway for now.”

A collective; “Awwww!”

“Can’t we see your fast draw?”

“We’ll see,” Kid said. “Maybe later.”

“Are you here to rescue Mr. Heyes?”

“Yeah! Are you going to break him out?”

“Ah, no,” Kid admitted and sent Heyes a quizzical look. “That wasn’t the plan.”

“Why not?”

“I thought we just went over all that,” Heyes pointed out.

“But we want to hear it from him.”

“Yeah. We want to hear if he agrees with what you said.”

“Oh,” Heyes smiled at his partner and with a hand gesture, offered him the floor.

Curry sent him a subtle version of ‘the look’ and then accepted the inevitable.

“Ah, well for one thing, there’s two officers here with loaded rifles and I get the feeling they know how to use them,” Curry explained. “But even at that, even if I had come here with a plan all organized to break Heyes out, well; I don’t think we would get very far. The law didn’t used to have pictures of us so it was easy to hide in plain sight, so to speak, but now every law man from here to the borders would know what we look like and they’d all be quite happy to get us in their sights if they could. We just wouldn’t stand a chance, and we’d probably get killed trying.”

Curry looked like he was finished at this point, giving the reasons that he felt were relevant, but Heyes nudged him for more.

“What about that other reason Kid?” Heyes asked him.

Curry looked at him innocently. “What reason is that Heyes?”

“You know what reason,” Heyes insisted. “It’s probably the most important reason of all, the one you and I have discussed on a number of occasions. The one where I’d shoot you myself if you even thought about throwing it all away.”

“Ohhh! You mean the one about the amnesty,” Kid teased him.

“Yeah!!” Heyes nodded emphatically and then rolled his eyes at the assembly. He was a real showman when he wanted to be and the children giggled appreciatively.

“Well, yeah. There is that,” Curry agreed. Then he turned back to the group with the manner of a child being told to repeat his lessons out loud so that he wouldn’t forget them. “I was given the amnesty, something that Heyes and I worked really hard for, for a long time, and I was finally granted it.” Here Jed dropped the play acting and became serious. “If I were to break Heyes out of prison, or even just try to, I would be breaking the law and so I would be throwing away something that is very important and then, what would all of our efforts have been for? It’d be worth nothing.”

“So you can’t do anything?” Gillian asked.

“Oh no,” Kid denied that. “No. We’re doing everything we can that’s legal. We’ve got people on our side out there. We have a good lawyer and friends who have money who are willing to support our cause.” Then he stopped and met his friend’s eyes. “We’re doing everything we can Heyes, it’s just going to take some time to get everything set up. Again.”

“Yeah, Kid. I know.”

There was a beat of silence as the classroom watched a little bit of silent communication pass between the two friends, and then one of the older boys, William spoke up.

“Mr. Curry, sir?”

“Yes….?”

“That’s William,” Heyes informed him.

“Yes, William.”

“We heard about what happened to the Devil’s Hole Gang,” he stated a little hesitantly. “Someone said that you were there, sir. That you saw what happened.”

The demeanor's of both Heyes and Curry sank into sadness and instantly William felt contrite.

“Oh. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked that.”

“No, that’s alright,” Curry assured him. “Actually Kenny…ah, Officer Reece wanted me to talk to you about that—especially you older boys who might be thinking that running off to join an outlaw gang might be fun.”

William and Michael exchanged glances while the rest of the group waited in strained anticipation.

“I didn’t actually see what happened,” Curry explained. “but I sure enough heard it. To be perfectly honest, I was hiding under a seat in the passenger car scared to death that I was going to get killed by a stray bullet or a shard of glass or a splinter of wood, or something else equally as humiliating. But the noise was deafening. Rifles firing, men yelling, some screaming. And the horses! Nothing chills you to the bone more than a horse screaming in terror or in agony simply because it had the bad luck of being caught out in the middle of it all. A lot of people and a lot of horses died that day. Because I just happened to be on that train, I had to go out and identify the bodies of men whom I have known for years. Men who were my friends. It was one of the worse days of my life and I will never forget it.”

Kid hesitated a moment here and looked over at Heyes who was looking at the floor. The room was silent. Kid took a deep breath and looked back at his enthralled audience.

“But as bad as that was, there was one thing that was worse. And that was looking down at the dead body of someone I didn’t even know.”

Even Heyes looked up at that, his brow creased.

“It was the body of a fifteen year old boy.”

Heyes groaned. He knew that sat heavy with the Kid.

“He and his young friend had thought it would be a great adventure to run away from home and join up with a real, authentic outlaw band. They’d never done anything illegal in their lives, they both came from good families and had no reason to run off—other than that they thought it would be fun. I’m never gonna forget the look on his friend’s face when I had to tell him that his best childhood buddy had been killed, all because they thought it would be fun.”

The room was silent. William and Michael exchanged glances again and then looked away. That didn’t sound like fun.

“Aww Kid,” Heyes mumbled.

“So,” Curry continued. “you don’t want to be running off and doing stupid things like that. It’s not worth it. You’re getting a real good start on things here, a good life ahead of ya’. Don’t mess it up.”

Sister Julia stepped forward then feeling that the children might have had enough reality for now.

“Perhaps it’s time we called it day,” she said.

“Aww no!”

“Not yet!”

“We haven’t seen his fast draw!”

“Yeah, he said we could see his fast draw!”

Sister Julia sighed; children could be so resilient, jumping from one extreme to the other at the snap of the fingers. She sent a questioning look over to Thaddeus. He smiled and then looked back at Kenny.

“What do you think?” he asked the guard. “Can I show them the fast draw?”

Kenny was already one step ahead of him and with a smile, he held up Kid’s belt with the six shooter neatly tucked away in its holster.

“Ha!” Kid laughed. “Okay.”

This affirmation was met with a loud chorus of excited exclamations as Jed stepped forward to retrieve his gun from the guard.

“It’s been unloaded,” Kenny informed him.

“Ah yeah,” Jed nodded. “Probably a good idea.”

Kid returned to stand in front of the desk again while strapping his holster into place.

“Stand up Heyes,” he said. “I’m gonna shoot ya’.”

“Ho ho!” Heyes laughed amongst the giggles from the class. “Hardly fair—I don’t even have a gun!” Then he sent a mischievous grin over to their audience. “What do you think? Should I ask Officer Reece if I could borrow his sidearm?”

Everybody sent expectant smiles over towards the guard. The look that Kenny sent back to the inmate did not need words to translate.

“Ah, no,” Heyes turned back to the children. “I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

“It doesn’t matter Heyes, you don’t need a gun,” Kid told him. “Just stand here and face me and now hold your hands out in front of ya’, spread them apart, palms facing each other like you’re gonna clap your hands. Then when we’re ready to, you try and clap your hands before I get the barrel of my gun between them.”

“Sounds easy enough,” Heyes agreed. He raised his hands the way Kid had instructed and held his palms about six inches apart. Then he smiled cheekily at the class and moved his hands together until they were only an inch apart.

Kid gave him ‘the look’ and Heyes smiled again at their audience. Then he jumped, startled to suddenly feel the barrel of Kid’s gun nestled in between his two hands. The room was filled with gasps of surprise.

“Holly cow! That was so fast!”

“Did you see that?!”

“NO! I didn’t see it!”

“Do it again! I didn’t see it either!”

“Do it again!”

Heyes looked a little put out. “Well that was hardly fair Kid!” he complained. “I wasn’t ready!”

“Heyes, where does it say that in a gunfight I have to wait until the other fella’s ready?”

“Well….”

“Do it again!”

“Do it again!”

“Yeah Kid,” Heyes agreed. “Do it again.”

In the meantime, Kenny had opened the classroom door and beckoned to the other guard.

“Hey Pearson,” he called him. “get in here, you gotta see this.”

Officer Pearson came in and everyone waited to see the show again.

“Alright Heyes,” Kid nodded. “we can do it again. Just, ah put your hands out again.”

Heyes raised his hands, and with another cheeky smile, he brought his palms together until again, there was only an inch between them. Kid sighed and shook his head. Fine, if Heyes was going to be a brat about it, so be it.

“Sister Julia,” Kid asked. “could you say ‘one two three go’?”

“Certainly Thaddeus. ‘Once two three go’!”

“….Oh my!” Sister Cornelia allowed the comment to escape her amongst gasps and ‘Woo’s and aww’s’ from the children.

Even Sister Julia was impressed although something told her she really shouldn’t be impressed by anything to do with guns and violence. Still, she couldn’t help smiling.

Heyes looked down at his hands to yet again feel the hard cold metal of the gun barrel settled between his palms.
Pearson whistled and then he and Kenny exchanged glances. Kenny shook his head.

Heyes looked into his partner’s laughing eyes.

“Aww, you ain’t that fast!” Heyes teased him. “There’s gotta be a trick to that!”

“Yeah, right Heyes,” the Kid gave his gun a couple of quick spins and then dropping it into his holster he folded his arms and turned to face the sea of gaping mouths laid out before him.

“Wow!”

“I still don’t think I saw it!”

“Nobody can be that fast!”

Heyes leaned back against the desk, smiling broadly. It was easy, pretending to be put out, but truth be known, Heyes couldn’t have been more pleased. He knew Kid had been working hard these past two years to get his shooting arm back again and now Heyes could see that he had done it. Although he knew that his partner was such a perfectionist in that area that he would probably insist that it still wasn’t quite right. There’s just no pleasing some people.


Very shortly after that the visitors bid farewell to the children amongst promises to return again and were standing in the hallway, getting Heyes prepared for the trip back to the prison. Pearson was busy cinching the belt back around the inmate’s waist and snapping his wrists into the cuffs, when he noticed Curry doing something that made him very uneasy.

Kenny tensed as Curry nonchalantly cracked open his six shooter and began loading it with cartridges from his belt. Kenny pointed over at Kid’s gun, shaking his head.

“Jed, don’t do that here,” he ordered. “After we’ve parted company and you’re on your way then you can do whatever you want. But don’t load your gun here.”

Curry glanced up and the look in Kenny’s eye was not one of friendly advise, but of a guard who was responsible for the security of a prisoner; a guard who was in control and meant business. Kid then glanced over at Pearson and noticed that he also was tense and had repositioned his rifle to be ready just in case. Heyes was giving his partner a quiet whimsical smile.

“Oh, yeah,” Curry mumbled, a little self-consciously as he quickly tipped the cartridges into the palm of his hand and then slipped them into his pocket. “Sorry. Wasn’t thinking.” He dropped the gun into its holster and he and Heyes exchanged a look.

Just then Sister Julia stepped out of the classroom and closing the door behind her she smiled over at the group of gentlemen.

“Thank you again for coming,” she said. “That was quite an impressive show Thaddeus. The children are going to be talking about that for some time to come.”

“Thank you Sister,” Jed answered her. “I’m not as fast I as used to be, but it’s getting better.”

Heyes snorted. “Oh, sorry,” he apologized as everybody looked at him. “Yeah, he’s just as slow as molasses—never could aim straight either. I have no idea how he got dubbed ‘fastest gun in the west.’ Why, I bet that Sister Cornelia could outdraw him now, he’s gotten so….”

“Heyes!”

Heyes smiled over at the Kid, but he did shut up.

“Joshua, thank you for coming again as well,” Sister Julia continued, placing a hand on his arm. “I expect to be making a trip to the prison next week, so perhaps I will see you there.”

“Yes ma’am,” Heyes answered her. “I hope so.”

“Gentlemen, good day.”

The group then headed back outside. The prison buckboard and Jed’s rented horse were all there waiting patiently for them so Kid turned to say ‘goodbye’ to his cousin. This was suddenly and unexpectedly awkward. Kid hadn’t thought about that; how it would feel to mount up on his horse and simply ride away, leaving his friend behind and in the custody of the guards. He found himself hesitant to leave.

“Heyes…” The two men locked eyes and Jed put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. Heyes felt a little self-conscious and looked down at his shackled hands. “This just don’t feel right,” Curry continued. “Leaving ya’ here like this.”

Heyes just nodded and mouthed the word ‘ya’. Kid glanced over at the two guards who were standing a little ways off, but still keeping a close watch on the pair.

“Jeez Heyes,” Curry continued quietly. “I gotta admit, despite all our high-faluten’ talk to those youngsters, I feel like I just wanna slip ya’ a lock pick and then make a run for it right here and now.”

“Yeah, I know Kid,” Heyes agreed, just as quietly. “Despite all our high-faluten’ talk to those youngsters, I wish you could slip me a lock pick so’s we could make a run for it.” He smiled sadly. “But ya’ know; I’m not under any illusions about our chances. Kenny’s a good guy and all, but he wouldn’t hesitate to shoot me in the back if I tried anything like that. Oh, he’d feel bad about it afterwards but I’d still be dead. And then you would be in here for aiding in an attempted escape.” Then his smile turned into a bit of an ironic grin. “Besides; I gave my word!”

“I know Heyes,” Kid said. “I wasn’t serious about doing it—just saying that I’d like to.”

Heyes nodded. “I’m glad you came Kid. That was fun.”

“Yeah.”

“We’ll have to do it again sometime.”

Kid smiled. “Yeah. Well, I best be going Heyes. I’ll see ya’ in a few weeks. Don’t think Beth will be with me for that visit since we’re gonna be real close to the wedding by then and I expect she’ll be busy.”

“Yeah that’s right!” Heyes brightened up. “I expect to be hearing all about that.”

“Oh, I expect you will be too!” Kid agreed with a laugh. “Jesse’s even getting me a new suit for the occasion—tailored made and all!”

“I can understand that.” Heyes commented. “Doesn’t want ya’ embarrassing the family by showing up to a wedding in your trail duds.”

“I got decent clothes Heyes!” Kid protested. “Just, Jesse figures I’m gonna need something more than just decent for the hearing, so take care of both at the same time I guess.”

“Yeah, well that’s good of him.”

“It’s too good Heyes,” Kid insisted, feeling a little inadequate. “I have no idea how I’m gonna pay him back for everything he’s doing. He says its him paying us back but…it just don’t seem right somehow.”

“Well,” said Heyes thoughtfully. “you could always marry his other daughter.”

“Heyes!”

Heyes gave a shackled shrug in his own defense. “Well, I’m just sayin’….”

“Yeah, I know what you were just sayin’,” Curry snarked back at him. “Why don’t you just let me decide what I want to do about that, okay?”

“Fine,” Heyes mumbled. “No need to get all riled up.”

“Uh huh.”

“Just looking out for ya’ Kid.”

“Uh huh.”

Then Heyes sent him his impish smile accompanied by a mischievous glint and Curry couldn’t help but laugh out loud and then he put his hand on his cousin’s shoulder again and gave it a bit of a squeeze.

“I best be going Heyes,” he said regretfully. “You watch out for yourself okay? You’ve been doing real good lately so don’t go getting yourself into trouble by watching out for Kyle and Lobo. They can look after themselves.”

Heyes turned serious as well. “Yeah, I suppose,” he acquiescent. “Lobo has certainly made it clear he doesn’t want any help anyways.”

“There ya’ go,” Kid pointed out. “I know you’ll be keeping an eye on them anyways, but just don’t forget to watch your own back.”

“No, I won’t Kid.”

There was silence between them for a moment then Heyes smiled and nodded.

“Anyway, I’ll be seeing ya’ Heyes.”

“Yeah.”

Kid gave his cousin another friendly pat on the shoulder and then turned and mounted his horse. He gave a quick nod over to the guards, another look to his cousin and then swung his horse around and loped away.
Heyes stood still, watching him go and thinking again about how strange this was; that Kid could come and go freely without hindrance while he himself was shackled and contained and could not follow. All because of circumstance, all because someone in authority had decided that that would be the way of it. The Kid could mount his horse and ride away, and Heyes could not follow.

Kenny approached the inmate. “Heyes…”

“Yeah,” Heyes responded absently while he continued to stare after his disappearing cousin.

“Come on Heyes,” Kenny took hold of his arm. “Let’s go.”

Heyes gave a regretful sigh, looked down at the ground for an instant and then up to meet Kenny’s gaze. He sent one more look after his departed friend and then allowed himself to be led back to the waiting buckboard.
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Keays

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Posts : 1433
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 60
Location : Camano Island Washington

PostSubject: Some Departures   Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:59 pm

Later that week, Jed and Beth saddled up Spike and the little pacer Monty and packing themselves a picnic lunch headed up to the north pasture to go scrutinize some horses. Jed still felt uncomfortable about this whole arrangement but Jesse refused to take ‘no’ for an answer and since Jed knew that he would need a riding horse he finally relented.

Beth was finding the whole excursion exciting and opportune. Exciting because she got to go on a day ride with her friend and help him pick out his new mount which was an auspicious occasion indeed. And opportune because it gave her an excuse to get away from the hustle and bustle of wedding preparations! The wedding date was still a little ways off, but Belle wanted everything to be perfect so therefore everyone was feeling the strain.

“What do you think?” Beth asked as they ate sandwiches while they rode. “Do you know what type of horse you want?”

Jed considered the question, and then shrugged his shoulders. “I donno,” he admitted. “I guess I’ve been so worried about a young horse not knowing how to get me out of scrapes that it didn’t occur to me until recently that I probably won’t be getting into those types of scrapes anymore, so it doesn’t really matter. So, other than that I don’t really know what I want.”

“There’s probably going to be some nice fillies in the group too,” Beth commented. “Papa doesn’t keep them all as brood mares. Maybe you should try….”

“NO!” Beth looked over at him, startled. Jed smiled to ease the sharpness of his retort. “Sorry,” he said. “It’s just; one diva in a partnership is enough. I’ll be quite happy with another gelding.”

Beth smiled. “Yes, okay. I know what you mean. Karma is a very fine horse and she suites Joshua very well. But she does have ‘personality’.”

“That’s for sure,” Jed mumbled. “When I go for a ride I want to feel confident that I’m gonna reach my destination—not get bucked off into a ditch somewhere because my mare came into season and decided to become a little ‘testy’!”

Beth laughed. “Yes, okay,” she said again. “We won’t look at the fillies.” Then she dropped her smile and became reflective. “Although, I sure am fond of Daisy. She sure did wiggle her way into my heart.”

Jed snorted. “Yeah, like she really had to squirm hard to manage that!” Beth smiled a little self-consciously. “That filly had you wrapped around her little hoof the instant she landed in the straw!”

“You’re right!” Beth agreed with another laugh. “It was so exciting watching her come into the world; I just knew she was going to be my horse. I’m glad she came out a filly—for purely selfish reasons of course! If Papa had gotten his colt well…I wouldn’t have gotten my future riding horse!”

This time it was Jed’s turn to laugh. “That kind of makes me wonder if you didn’t have something to do with deciding the gender of that foal before it even hit the ground!”

“Thaddeus! Don’t be silly—you know that’s impossible!”

“I donno Beth,” Jed teased her. “You can be pretty head-strong when it comes to getting what you want.”

“Well, I don’t know about ‘head-strong’!” Beth contradicted with a smile. “Determined, yes. Patient, yes. But head-strong?”

“Yes,” Jed smiled over at her and Beth sent him a mischievous smile back. “Ho ho! Beth darlin’! You’re flirting with me!”

“Yes.”

Their gazes locked for a moment, their expressions fluttering somewhere between serious and teasing. Then Jed looked away and pushed Spike onwards and down the slope towards the line cabin and horse corrals. Beth followed along behind, a subtle but pleased smile still lingering on her lips.

Riding into the cleared yard of the cabin, Jed couldn’t help but run a scrutinizing eye over the ten or so young horses milling around in the corral. At first glance, all of them seemed like fine animals and Jed wondered if he was going to be able to pick one out of the group. Maybe he could just close his eyes and throw a lasso, taking whichever horse the loop fell over. That could work.

As the two people pulled up at the hitching rail and dismounted, Sam and Deke came up from the other side of the corral to greet them. Deke was an old hand at wrangling horses and had actually been working this particular spread for a lot of years. When the previous owners had up and sold the ranch, Deke had ended up staying on and continuing to work for the new owners and that had worked out just fine for everyone concerned. He and Sam got on well enough and the old hand didn’t mind at all teaching the ‘youngster’ everything he knew about wranglin’ horses and Sam was learning a lot!

“Howdy folks,” Deke smiled his greeting, showing off a mouthful of missing teeth. “Hear tell, you’re up here ta’ pick out a young horse fer yerself.”

“Ah, yup. That’s the plan,” Jed admitted and shook hands with the old horseman. “Jed Curry.”

“Yup. I know. Good ta meet ya’ young fella,” he tipped his head to Beth. “How do Miss Jordan.”

“Hello Deke,” Beth smiled at him, and then glanced over to Sam. “Hello Sam, how is Maribelle doing?”

“She’s doing alright considering, Miss Beth,” Sam answered her. “Thank you for asking.”

“Well, c'mon let’s get this show on the road,” Deke suddenly announced. “How about you folks go stand over by the empty corral there and Sam and I will send them horses over to ya’ one at time. That way ya’ can take a look at ‘em and see what ya’ think.”

“Sounds fine,” Jed agreed. He offered his arm to Beth and they walked over to the second corral and waited for the show to begin.

Didn’t take long before Sam and Deke had grabbed their lariats and squeezed through the fence of the first corral. Then Sam went to the adjoining gate and opened it for Deke to single out one of the colts and send it running through the opening and into the second corral. They’d give each horse about ten minutes to run around, showing off its gaits before sending in the next horse until all ten found themselves running around the second corral wondering what in the world all the fuss was about.

At first Jed didn’t think he was going to be able to narrow down the possibilities all that easily. It was like letting a child loose in a candy store—so many fine choices it was hard to make a decision. The first few who had come trotting into the corral were fine looking animals indeed, but nothing stood out to make any of them more desirable than the others. Then the forth youngster came galloping in and Jed perked up and took notice.

This colt was a nice bright chestnut with a star on his forehead, but no stockings. The first thing Jed noticed about him was his nice easy, swinging gait, and making his transitions between the gaits; walk to trot, trot to gallop and then back down to walk again were smooth and effortless. The colt had natural balance and could change his leads fluidly and without hesitation. Jed did like the look of him.

Then a few more were sent through and nothing else there caught his eye the way the chestnut had—that is until horse number eight charged through the gate and started to show off his own attributes. This fellow was a dark mahogany bay with a thin white blaze running down his face and four white stockings. He had everything in his gaits that the chestnut did but with a little bit of flash thrown in and Jed took to him right away.

Still, he wanted to be sure. He and Heyes had always tried to stay away from horses that had a lot of white on them as they tended to stand out in the crowd and be noticed. A horse that was more non-descript, like the chestnut was a wiser choice for an outlaw. But Jed had to keep on reminding himself that he wasn’t an outlaw anymore and maybe it was time for something with a little bit more sparkle to it.


He watched the horses milling around together for a while, taking note of their temperaments and their pecking order. The chestnut was proving to be fairly dominant in his bearing and was laying his ears back and going after any of the other colts who got too close to him. The others were quick to get out of his way, having felt the sting of his teeth and the pounding of a well placed hoof on past occasions.

The bay was up there in the pecking order, but not right at the top. He was self-assured but not aggressive and only backed off from the chestnut and one other colt that hadn’t interested Jed at all. Hmm, this was proving to be a difficult choice to make. Still, a horse that was too aggressive could be more trouble than it’s worth, but did he really want one that was going to stand out in the crowd. Hmmm.

“Any one catch your eye?” Beth asked him.

“Yeah, now that you ask,” Jed told her and he pointed them out. “That chestnut over there and the dark bay with the white legs.”

Beth nodded. “Yes, I agree. Those were the two that caught my eye as well. I also like that little roan there but I think he’s a little too little for you.”

“Yeah,” Jed agreed with a smile. “I kinda like a horse to have a bit more height than that one. Course, they’re not full grown yet, he could catch up.”

Beth shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not. If there are others you like, why take the chance?”

“Good point,” Jed agreed. “Well, let’s see what Sam and Deke have to say. They’ve been working with these horses, so I suppose they’ll know ‘em pretty good.”

Beth nodded agreement and Jed waved the two wranglers over for a conference.

“Anything ya’ like?” Deke asked.

“Yeah,” Jed said, and pointed out the two that had caught his eye.

Deke nodded approvingly. “Well, you know your horseflesh alright. They both got good solid builds and strong legs. Nice comfortable gaits.”

“Yeah, but you know their temperaments,” Jed pointed out. “Which one do you think would make the best riding horse?”

“Depends on what ya’ want,” Deke commented evasively. “Some people like a bit of fire in their horses, others just want a good steady mount. What are you lookin’ fer?”

“Just a good solid mount,” Jed admitted. “I don’t need fire.”

Deke smiled and nodded. “I’d say the bay then,” he suggested. “They both got brains, but where as the bay wants to learn new things, the chestnut tends to use his brain ta’ try an’ figure out how ta’ avoid learnin’ new things. We’ll break ‘em out right and he’ll make a fine ridin’ horse, but he’ll always have a bit of a stubborn streak to ‘em. That bay will make ya’ a good willin’ horse. And we’ll break ‘em out right for ya’ no need to worry ‘bout that.”

“Well now that’s just fine,” Jed agreed with a smile. “The bay it is.

“Good,” Deke commented. “Give us a month ta’ get ‘em broke out an’ then I suppose Sam can bring ‘em down to the ranch house fer ya’. How does that sound?”

“That’s just fine,” Jed said. “Bridget’s wedding will be done and out of the way by then so it’ll give him a chance to get used to things without all the hubbub of a social gathering to confuse the issue.”

“Now that that’s settled, you folks like some coffee before ya’ head back?” Deke asked. “It’s a bit of a ride, might as well take a break while ya’ can get it.”

Both Jed and Beth smiled at the offer.

“That’d be mighty fine.”

“Thank you.”


Dear Joshua;

As promised I am going to give you as detailed an account of our wedding day as is possible in the time allowed. Steven and I are going to be heading out soon for our honeymoon which is going to be two weeks in San Francisco. Well, not all the two weeks will be spent there, some of the time will be spent getting there in the first place and then coming back again.

Thaddeus commented that you both know some people in that city and even gave us the address of one; Silky O’Sullivan and told us to be sure to drop by and introduce ourselves. Thaddeus seemed to think that there was a joke in there somewhere as he couldn’t stop laughing, which I thought to be rather odd. He did however assure us that he would send Mr. O’Sullivan a telegram to inform him of our coming and to be sure to show us the sights!

Oh dear! I’ve jumped ahead of things here haven’t I? Clem and I spent the day before the wedding out at the ranch, while Steven stayed in town because we all know that it is bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding! I believe David Gibson and Thaddeus did a lot to keep Steven occupied throughout the evening and indeed even seemed to manage to get themselves into some trouble of sorts over at the local saloon. Not quite sure what that was all about—nobody’s saying.

Still we ladies had quite the time together here at home getting all the last minute things ready for the big day. Of course we had the ceremony out at the ranch and pretty much the whole town was invited. (Don’t be mad Joshua, but I even invited Sam and Maribelle. I still haven’t quite forgiven him his transgressions, but after what they went through Momma felt that it would be a good gesture.). Anyway—yes we all had such good fun that evening with telling stories and finishing up the baking for the next day. It must have been well on to midnight before we blew out the lamps and headed for bed.

Momma even took me aside at one point during the evening to tell me a little bit more about what to expect on my wedding night. At first I thought that this was rather silly of her—as if I didn’t know! But then I came to realize that ‘no!’ I didn’t know! At first I felt a little scared and skeptical. Steven has always been so kind and gentle with me that of course he wouldn’t do ‘THAT’! That’s disgusting! At which point Momma just laughed and assured me that I probably wouldn’t find it disgusting once we got down to it!

Now of course, that we’ve had our wedding night, I must say….OH! No I don’t think I should say! I believe I have already said more than what is proper for a young woman to say to a man who is not her husband! But I must say that I never would have thought…oh! Never mind. You being a man of course you know all about this stuff and indeed, you must be laughing at my naivety!

Oh, but I’ve gotten ahead of myself again! It’s just that I’m so happy! ‘Bridget Granger’, ‘Mrs. Steven Granger’—either way, it does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I can’t believe that I am actually a married woman now! I thought that I would feel different; that being married would somehow make me older or wiser or just different. But other than being incredibly happy I’m still the same old me.

It was just such a lovely day. The weather could not have been nicer—oh thank goodness it didn’t rain! We had far too many guests to fit everyone into the house and everything was all laid out already for an outdoor gathering, so we were fortunate there. The flowers and decorations that Clem and Beth had gathered and placed around at the tables were very appropriate and gave the air a wonderful scent of summertime freshness.

Momma gave me her wedding dress to wear and it was so beautiful! It was made from a really lovely cream coloured material that was so soft and silky to the touch, and embroidered with ribbons and lace with yellow flower designs running through it all. The veil I wore was also that lovely lace with the floral design. It was so pretty and I was so excited when Momma pulled it out of her oak chest and presented to me to wear on my day. I think Beth was jealous!

Of course Papa gave me away and he looked so different, but quite handsome in his suit. He was so pleased that I was happy, but he looked a little sad too on occasion when he didn’t think I was looking at him. But still, on the most part I think he was happy and I know he likes Steven very much. OH! And Steven! Well, I always knew he was a handsome man of course, but he looked absolutely gorgeous in his wedding attire! I must say that there’s just something about getting a man all spiffyed up and into a suit that just gets my heart a pitter pattering!

And Thaddeus—oh my! I remember seeing him in a suit way back when Momma was on trial, and thought then how handsome he was, but that was nothing compared to how he was looking on my day! As I said; I knew he was handsome—well of course, that’s obvious! But seeing him dressed to the nines in that fine charcoal gray suit just took my breath away, if I can say that about a man who was not my husband-to-be while at my wedding! Still, he and Beth spent most of the day in each other’s company when she wasn’t performing her Maid-of-Honour duties and I must say that they made a very lovely couple! Maybe we’ll get something going there yet!

Then seeing Thaddeus all dressed up and looking so fine, made me think about what you would look like in a nice suit! Hmmm. You would have been turning some heads as well, I’m sure. But then of course, thinking along those lines, it made me a little sad that you could not be here to enjoy this day with us. I had so hoped that all this nonsense would have been cleared away and part of the past by now. I missed your presence here very much and I know that Thaddeus did too.

Don’t get me wrong, Thaddeus had a good time and he and David seemed to be able to find something funny in just about everything that went on. Really, they were like a pair of little boys continually laughing at some inside joke! But just occasionally when there would be a lull in their merriment Thaddeus would take on a more melancholy expression and I knew that he was thinking of you.

We all missed having you there Joshua, and I know that Steven and I are taking time away for our honeymoon, but as soon as we get back we will be hard at it again. Steven has just about all the testimonies gathered up now and the main thing left to do is to get a date set up. Of course the officials at the other end don’t seem to be in any hurry to do this so it’s taking a lot of pushing and persistence to get them to sit up and take notice. Why does everything have to take so long!!

Anyway—sorry; I don’t want to make you sad. This is supposed to be a happy letter, telling you all about our happy day! And it was a glorious day! Momma did so much to make everything come together and though she had help from most of the ladies here, she was still the one who organized it all and I will be forever thankful to her for that.

Momma actually did very well throughout the whole day and I know she had a good time too, but the next morning, when Steven and I were leaving for our honeymoon, she had a hard time holding it together. I never really thought about how this was for her, watching me, a married woman now, leaving with my new husband to begin a new life. Once I realized it, I felt bad about leaving, almost like I was abandoning her! But then, being Momma she saw my distress and quickly hugged me and let me know that all was well and that she was very happy for me.

She must know that I love her dearly and that she will never be far from my thoughts. Denver is not that far off so of course we will be coming out for holidays and visits throughout the year—it’s not like she’s never going to see me again! Still, I suppose watching your children depart the family home must be difficult. But she still has Beth and little Jay to keep her busy so I’m sure she’ll be fine.

Anyway, back to the wedding day—again! Clementine is also quite the gal to have at a party! She was so full of high spirits the whole day that it would have been impossible for anyone not to be affected by it. Of course some of the ladies weren’t quite sure how to take her as she insisted on flirting shamelessly with all the men present, whether they be married or not! She even flirted with Steven! Can you imagine? But I’ve known her long enough now to know that she means nothing by it and that it’s just her way!

The only thing that would have made the day more perfect of course would have been your presence. But I did as you suggested and I held you in my thoughts and in my heart throughout the day and so in a way, yes—you were here with me. I hope that you thought to do the same at your end and that you were able to feel some happiness and joy for me on my wedding day.

Oh and my ring!! Goodness gracious—how could I have forgotten about that!? It’s so beautiful. Of course it wasn’t until after the ceremony that I actually took the time to look at it, and then it just took my breath away! It’s a gold band (of course) but more than just that! Steven had had it made especially for me, adorning the band with a lovely diamond and then including my birth stone—one on either side of the diamond! And then some very delicate floral engravings set right into the gold, curling around and accentuating the stones. It’s so lovely; I can’t wait to show it to you!

I love you so much Joshua and aside from Steven, you are my dearest friend. Please stay safe and well and I will come out for a visit again as soon as I am able.

With much love and warm wishes

Bridget (Granger!!!!)


Heyes sat back on his cot and sighed. He took a sip of coffee and a nibble of cookie and despite his efforts to feel differently, couldn’t help but let a whiff of sadness wash over him. He had remembered to keep Bridget in his thoughts on the day of her wedding, but even though her doing so had helped her to feel his presence there, it hadn’t helped him to feel the same way.

It had only made him melancholy and reminded him that yet again, he was missing out on all the fun things in life. Still, he had sent her good wishes in his mind and tried to picture her all dolled up and looking every bit the blushing bride. He hoped that a photographer had been present to take pictures, even though Bridget hadn’t mentioned one. It would be nice to at least see some images from the day. No harm in asking.

Well, the oldest bird has certainly left the nest now. No turning back. Clementine and Beth had gone on and on and on about the nice little house that Steven had bought in Denver and how Bridget had gone on and on and on about getting it furnished and ready for the newlyweds to come home to. Heyes couldn’t help but give a little laugh about how much that must have cost the young lawyer. Still, Heyes assumed the man could afford it—goodness knows Jesse is paying him well enough and that this case certainly wasn’t the only one Steven had on his books.

Funny, Heyes mused to himself; how some people just seem to fall into money where others have to scramble and scrape their whole lives long just to make ends meet. Heyes and the Kid, well they’d kind of had it both ways in their thirty odd years of living. Of course they had been somewhat poor farmers when their families were homesteading on the Kansas/Missouri border, but they had just been kids and hadn’t known any different. They had a bed to sleep in, enough to eat (usually) and parents who loved them so they hadn’t felt in want of anything.

Then being at Valparaiso had really given them something to compare their farm life to and they considered that what they’d had and lost was riches beyond compare. Life after the orphanage hadn’t been any treat either. Talk about being dirt poor then—hell, they didn’t even own the dirt! Having money just didn’t seem to be something they’d ever know about.

Then life had changed! Fifteen years of living the good life! So much money they’d had to become inventive to figure out ways of spending it all! Yeah, they were set alright. Next job they’d pull, that’s the one when they’d start saving some of it, start putting some away for a nest egg and then they’d never have to worry about being poor again!

Funny how that ‘next job’ never came though—how the money always just slipped through their fingers and disappeared. Then they’d gone for the amnesty and there they were right back to being dirt poor again—Geesh, come around full circle it seemed. Oh, money came their way sometimes but it never seemed to stay for long and they’d end up living hand to mouth. Other people seemed to be able to make money off of them, but funny how none of it had a tendency to end up in their pockets.

Now—well, what could one say about now? A person couldn’t be any poorer than being in prison. Then Heyes started mumbling to himself and shaking his head at the way his life had turned out, and the Kid’s. Heyes was trapped; there wasn’t much he could do about his circumstances. But Kid? How much longer was he going to wait? If he wanted to reap any benefit from this life at all he’d better be getting on with it!

There was no reason why Kid couldn’t get married and still carry on the good fight to get Heyes pardoned. Especially if he chose to marry Beth because goodness knows she isn’t about to give it up! Maybe seeing Steven and Bridget make this important step in their lives would help Kid to see that he didn’t have to sacrifice one for the other, he could have both.

Heyes sighed again. Took another sip of coffee and another nibble of cookie. Sigh. Nothing like a wedding to make one reflective of their own lives, and the lives of their friends. Well, he thought to himself; he’d keep hanging on as best he could for a while longer. At least until after the hearing just to see where that got them, if anywhere. Besides he had a purpose in life for now, and that was to make sure that Kyle made it through his sentence without getting beat up or knifed. It was only two years, less than that, more likely and then he’d be outa here, and a free man.

Lobo was another matter. Not only did that particular inmate not want Heyes’ help, Heyes hoped he’d be outa here himself by the time Lobo’s sentence was completed. Jeez, I hope so, Heyes thought. I don’t think I could last another eight years in here! He didn’t think Kid could last another eight years of Heyes being in here either! Sigh. Yeah, Kid had to get on with his life sooner rather than later.

Heyes nodded to himself. He decided right then and there; he’d hang on until Kyle got his release, or until the hearing brought about some positive results. After that, if he was still stuck in here then he would do whatever he had to do to insure that Jed Curry moved on with his life and started building something for himself before it was too late.


To Be Continued


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Gringa

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PostSubject: Re: Some Departures Chapter twenty-six   Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:21 pm

Oh, the pain for Heyes as he remained in chains while his partner rides off.  Too poignant.  This one really tells me how Heyes is changing to survive ion prison.  Lot's going on which is all about people moving on with their lives in so many ways.
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Some Departures Chapter twenty-six
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