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 History Repeating Chapter Five

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Keays

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Posts : 1435
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 60
Location : Camano Island Washington

PostSubject: History Repeating Chapter Five   Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:54 am

History Repeating Unedited version is on the Adults Only link at the bottom of the page.


 The Kid opened the door to the Double J. and stepped aside to allow Abigail to enter before him.

  Heyes leaped to his feet, a smile apprehensively dimpling his face.  “You came?  Abi!  Thanks for hearing me out.”

 She turned dark eyes, swirling with a symphony of moods, in his direction.  “Mr. Heyes, I understand you wanted to talk to me?”

 Heyes gave a curt nod.  “I do, Abi… and I want to apologize.  You came here to help and I treated you real badly.”

 She gave a huge sigh.  “In fairness to you, Mr. Heyes, I think we need to postpone our conversation until I’m in a better mood.” She scowled at the Kid before smiling at Jesse.  “May I have a bath?  And I also wondered if Beth, or your wife, might have some clothes I could borrow.  I have arrived without any baggage and I stink of horses.  Even two days travelling didn’t seem to do much to fade the odour.”

 “Horses?  I thought you came by train?”  Heyes’ brow furrowed in curiosity.  “That’s what Kid’s telegram said.” 

 “We did.”  Abigail swept into the room and stared sadly at the squashed hat she deposited on the table. 
“Completely beyond repair.  I loved that hat.”

 “I’ll get you another,” the Kid muttered.

 Heyes sniffed.  “Come to mention it, you don’t smell so much like horses…  you smell more like horse shi…”

 “I’m acutely aware of what I smell of, Mr. Heyes.  That’s why I need the bath.”

 Jesse darted glances between Heyes and the Kid.  “I’ll get a vat of water boiled up for you.  Please go up to Beth’s room and see what you can find.  You’ll be welcome to anything suitable.”

 The men watched her disappear up the stairs before Heyes turned to Kid.  “What’s going on?”

 The Kid hesitated.  “Well… I kinda… sorta…” he shrugged.  “Maybe just a little bit…”

 “He kidnapped me,” Abigail yelled down the stairs.

 Heyes strode over to the staircase and looked up at her.  “I’m sorry, Abi.  I never told him to do that, honestly,” he stared at the Kid.  “How can you ‘not completely’ kidnap someone!?”

 Kid shrugged.  “Only for the first bit.  She agreed to come the rest of the way.

 “The first bit?” demanded Heyes.

 “He pinned me face down on the floor in a horse box until the train pulled out of the station.”  Abigail’s head bobbed over the stairwell again.  “That’s when I lay in the dung.”  She disappeared for a moment only to reappear.  “And on that cute little hat.”

 Kid shifted defensively.  “I had to.  She wouldn’t talk to me, and we were shut in there for five hours until we got to the next stop.”  He gave Heyes a conciliatory smile.  “I used the time.  I persuaded her, didn’t I?  Don’t I get credit for that?  She’s as stubborn as a hungry mule.”

 Abigail hung over the banister again.  “If I’d known how you were going to behave, I would never have agreed to travel with you.”

 Kid shifted his weight onto one leg.  “Abi, either come down here and say your piece, or stop bobbin’ back and forth like a teeter totter.  You’re makin’ me look bad here.”
    
 She strode down the stairs, pausing halfway.  “I’m making YOU look bad!  I sat there whilst the whole train thought I was some kind of sex maniac.”

 Kid raised his hands in appeasement.  “It was funny, Abi.”

 “For you, maybe.  Do you know how those women looked at me?”

 Heyes shook his head in confusion.  “What?”

 Abigail pointed an accusing finger at the Kid.  “When we got to the first stop, we explained that we’d been accidentally shut in the horse box.  The conductor accepted that and allowed us to pay the full ticket price.  What I didn’t know, was the reason he told him we’d been shut in the car.”

 The Kid widened his eyes angelically.  “Heyes, you know how it is when they catch folks ridin’ freight.  They’re none too sympathetic unless you can give them a really good excuse.  We could have ended up in jail.”

 Heyes folded his arms.  “So what excuse did you give them, Kid?”

 Abigail sat on a step.  “He told them we were newlyweds who couldn’t wait, and that I was out of control – except I didn’t know he’d told them that, because I was desperate, and ran to the latrines.  We’d been on that train for five hours!”  She scowled at the Kid.  “It’s alright for men – all he needed was a bit of privacy and a bottle.”

 “They bought it didn’t they?  We could have been prosecuted, Abi.  We didn’t have a ticket – I had to give a good reason for not havin’ time to buy one.”  The Kid smiled charmingly.  “It was all I could come up with for a man and woman to get locked in a freight car together.  At least I told them we were married.  It could have been worse.  I never took you as a prude.  I didn’t think you’d mind.”

 “I don’t mind when I’ve chosen to put myself in a situation, not when it’s foisted upon me.  All that time – women staring at me as though I was some kind of degenerate, and men winking at him like a hero; whilst I sat there and pulled straw from places I never knew I had.”

 Jesse swallowed down a chortle.  “When did you find out, Abi?”

 “This morning – I had put the odd looks down to the way I smelled,” she smiled weakly at Heyes and shrugged.  “Then the guard came up to us and asked if we wanted to buy some ‘privacy’ in the baggage car.  The way he leered at me!”  Abigail shuddered, casting accusing eyes at Kid.  “And then he gave a salacious wink, like the worst kind of low-class, vaudevillian comic.  What must they have thought we were doing when we went off to have that long chat last night?  You made me out to be some kind of rutting animal.”

 “In fairness,  they looked at me the same way, Abi.”

 “Yes!  And didn’t you just love it?  I saw you, swaggering about like some kind of Don Juan.”

 “Don what?” asked the Kid.

 “Juan!” barked Abigail, pronouncing it with the Spanish guttural ‘ch.’

 The Kid blinked innocently.  “Is that one of your Scottish swear words, Abi?  I just ain’t gettin’ it.  Is that a bad thing?”

 “Not for you, it’s not.”

 “Good,” the Kid nodded, smiling at Heyes.  “I was beginnin’ to think you might be angry at me.”

 Abigail gave a growl of frustration.  “Oooch!  I’m going up to find some clean clothes.”

 “You do that, Abi, and think of the bath,” the Kid put his hands on hips, pulling back his sheepskin jacket.  “All that warmth spreading over you will make you feel so much better.”

 “Not necessarily.  I had something warm spreading over me in that horsebox, remember?  It’s not always a good thing.”  She stood and climbed the stairs again, disappearing in the direction of Beth’s room.

 
   The Kid watched Abigail walk into the kitchen dressed in Beth’s dark blue skirt and white blouse; her hair still wet from the bath.  “Have you cheered up, Abi?”  Kid did his best to make his blue eyes ring with contrition, but failed miserably. 

 She gave him a moue, before breaking into a reluctant smile.  “I suppose it was a bit funny.”  She glanced around the kitchen and sat down.  “Where is everyone?”

 “Tendin’ to the animals.  Heyes is out there, if that’s who you mean?”  He nodded towards the range.  “We’ll have dinner when they get back.”

 She sniffed the air.  “Stew?”

 “Yup.  It’s about all Jesse can cook, but we don’t mind – he’s real good at it.”

 Abigail nodded.  “Shall I set the table?”

 “You don’t have to.  We generally just grab what we want.”

 Abigail raised an eyebrow and gave a lopsided smile.  “Still?  I thought you’d gone straight.”  She stood, busying herself with the cutlery.  “Move your elbows. Jed.”

 The Kid sat back to allow her to lay out the table in a more orderly fashion than they generally enjoyed in Belle’s absence.  “We’ll clear out after dinner to let you two talk.”

 Abigail gave him a hard look.  “We’ll talk when he’s ready.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t push him at the moment.  He has to come around in his own time.”

 The Kid grasped her hand.  “Thanks, Abi.”

 “For what?”

 “For comin’ back.  No matter what happens it’s one more thing he needs to work through.  You know that, as well as I do.”

 Abigail dropped her head and nodded.  “Parting as friends would be nice.  Best for Anya.”  She gave his hand a little squeeze.  “And thanks.”

 “You’re welcome, Abi.”  The Kid tilted his head, “but who says it has to be goodbye?”

 Abigail gave a sigh of resignation.  “I saw the way he looked at Randa.  I’ll be going very soon,” she patted his shoulder.  “Right after you buy me a new hat.”

 
 Heyes looked up from his plate fixing Abigail with intense dark eyes.  Jesse gave the Kid a nudge, pushing his plate away.  “Come on, Jed, we’ve got that thing to do.”

 “Oh, already?” the Kid wiped a slice of bread around his plate, reluctant to leave his half-finished meal.

 “Bring it,” muttered Jesse, rolling his eyes. 

 The Kid nodded, lifting his plate before shrugging and turning back to the pot and ladling on another portion.  “What?” he demanded, grabbing a bread roll and following Jesse from the room.  “I’m hungry!  It was a long journey.”

 Abigail and Heyes watched the door to the kitchen close gently behind them before Heyes cleared his throat.  “Abi, I want to thank you for coming back.”

 She nodded uncertainly.  “Thanks for asking me to come, or… well… making the arrangements through Jed.”

 “I wish I could say I’m sorry about the way he brought you here, but I’m not.  I need to look you in the eye and ask you how you feel about me.”

 Abigail gulped nervously.  “I love you Mr. Heyes.  I always will.”

 Heyes bit into his lip.  “But are you ‘in’ love with me?”

 She sighed.  “Does it matter?  I’ve seen the way you look at Randa, and I’ve tried to do all I can to help you move on with my best wishes.  I care deeply for you, Mr. Heyes, that’s the only reason I steered you towards her.  I wish you well, and I want you to be happy.”

 “I wish you the same, Abi,” he reached out and took her hand over the table, “but what if I’d never met Randa?”

 “I don’t do hypotheticals, Mr. Heyes.  You did.”

 Heyes nodded.  “I met you too, Abi.  She saw the same as you did.  She called things off.”

 ”So Jed told me.  How do you feel about that?”

 He dropped her hand and sat back with a heavy groan.  “I won’t lie to you, Abi.  It hurt – a lot.”

 Abigail felt her stomach turn to lead.  She felt sick, but she swallowed it down and nodded.  “Yes.  I know how that feels.  I would like us to part as friends, if that’s possible.”

 Heyes’ eyes filled with angst.  “Why?  Why do you need to go?”

 Abigail shook her head in bemusement, her voice rasping with emotion.  “Because you have just told me you love Randa.  Why would I stay?”  She strode over to the staircase and swept upstairs.  “I knew this was going to be a bad idea.  You could have told me you love another woman in a letter.  What was the point of this?”

 Heyes darted after her.  “Abi, that’s not why I wanted to see you!  I didn’t bring you here to tell you I love another woman.” 
              
 The Kid and Jesse looked up at the ceiling where the voices carried through from the upper storey.

 “But you did.  It always comes back to that.  I don’t play second fiddle.”

 “I’m sorry, but it was a shock seeing you again.  You throw up a lot of bad memories for me and it just comes out wrong.”

 “Bad memories, Mr. Heyes?  Thanks a lot.  I couldn’t avoid my pain for ten years; I face it every time I look at our daughter, but I still managed to treat you with kindness and grace.  This is something you need to face.”

 “Didn’t you think prison might have changed me?”

 “Didn’t you think motherhood might have changed me?”

 “Abi, we’ve always had that attraction.  It’s still there.  Randa saw it, even though you did your best to be casual.”

 “I was trying to help you, now do me a favor and stop bringing me here to rub my nose in it.  That’s just plain mean.”

 “Abi, I thought you never wanted to see me again – that didn’t stop me dreaming about you in prison.  Hell, it didn’t stop me dreaming about you from the moment I rode away.”

 “Then use your dreams and stop hurting me!  Let me get on with my life.”

 “You were always so adamant that you didn’t want a man!”

 “I didn’t want a criminal; that was an easy answer.

 Heyes paused.  This was the woman who had inflamed him in the past – she had squared up to the outlaw leader in the way no man had dared, let alone a woman – but then Kid Curry was never going to deal with Abigail the way he’d dealt with men who opposed him.  She excited him, and he still wanted her, but doubt flickered through his mind with raw memories of Marion still festering.  Was that why he held back from her?  “Don’t push me, Abi.”

 Her eyes narrowed, reading the reserved hunger harnessed by fear.  “Push you?  I’m not pushing you.  What’s wrong with you?”

 Heyes paused.  “Yes, what is wrong with me?”  He gave a heavy sigh.  “I love you, Abi, and we have a child together.  That should be enough for any man.”

 She turned away.  “But it’s not – so there’s no question in my mind – it’s nowhere near enough for me.”

 Heyes felt a pang of want run through him.  “I don’t want you to go, Abi.”

 “Well, that’s where you’re going wrong.  It’s not all about what you want.”

 Her words cut through him – but she was right – if he wanted either of these women he had to do something to let them know what they meant to him.  “Abi, I wanted you to come here to see if we could build a life together.”

 “We can’t.  I don’t get involved with other women’s men.”  She pulled back her shoulders.  “Not ever!  I’m better than that.”

 Heyes’ mind started to buzz, the brain fog created by years of anxiety fading just a little.   Abigail was standing firm on her pride after being brought here.  There were no games, no attempts to wheedle into his good graces or company, and no pressure – she simply stood in front of him and challenged him to either let her be, or love her.  He swallowed hard; he knew only one thing right now – he didn’t want to let her be. 

 He cleared his throat.  “I’m not another woman’s man, Abi.”

 She gave him an impassive stare.  “Are you telling me the truth, Mr. Heyes?”

 His eyes softened.  “Yes, Abi, I was seeing a lovely woman, and then you bounced back into my life.  I can’t offer you anything, other than the certainty that I don’t want to lose you like this.  I don’t know what I’ll become, if we’ll be able to make this work, or even who I am anymore; but I do know this – we’ll regret this if we don’t try.”

 She stood considering his words in silence.  “You’re right.  It may not work.”

 “And that scares the hell out of me, Abi.  That’s why I behaved so badly.”  His dark eyes glistened with the light of the oil lamp.  “What do you think?”

 She walked over to the window and stared aimlessly out at the night.  “So, we agree that if this doesn’t work, we walk away on good terms?  We behave like adults who simply weren’t right for each other; for Anya’s sake?”

 He strode over and slipped his arms around her waist, hugging her gently from behind.  The calmness of her words seemed to bring sweet reason to quell the character-robbing foreboding.  “If that’s what’s best?  No pressure, just a day at a time?”

 She turned.  “We live a long way apart.  You are on parole and I have a daughter.  It won’t be easy.”

 “Nope, but it’ll give us plenty of time to find out if it’s worth the effort.”  He pulled her into his embrace then and feeling the firmness of her body pressing against him caused him to ache.  But then the fear came rising up from behind and threatened to drown him.  He hated himself for feeling that fear, feeling like that awkward adolescent again who nervously allowed a twenty year old prostitute to show him the way.

 Was he going to have to let Abi take him by the hand and show him the way?  He sighed, feeling his heart beating hard against her.  He oh so wanted to take control here; to be the man—to be the lover that he used to be.  He took the plunge, at least on this first step and kissed her neck gently, causing her to arch her neck as the want flashed through her.  Heyes smiled in satisfaction.  The old Abi was still there; the passionate, vivacious, uncompromising woman who used to make him feel so alive. 

 His first tentative step had been successful so he carefully moved ahead and tilting her chin up, he gently kissed her.  The air left his lungs with the excitement that this intimate contact created and she felt  him tremble.

   Abigail pulled away from the kiss and arched her eyebrow.  “You always have to get the last word, don’t you, Mr. Heyes?” 

 “Words are fine at the right time, but sometimes I prefer action.”  He curled a hand behind her head and leaned in to kiss her again, more softly this time. Then he fully embraced her and sighed; he felt so good with her in his arms.  He began to feel that maybe he could do this.  “Words are getting in the way of what we really want to say to each other.”  He stroked her face, acknowledging the burn of hurt swirling in her velvety eyes; not just of the here and now, but deep seated pain scored into her soul.  “I’m sorry. Abi, it wasn’t how I wanted it to be if I saw you again.  All these feelings just welled up.  I was confused.”

 “Feelings?  Well, at least you’re not indifferent to me.”

 Heyes groaned, running his lips down her cheek, nibbling at her jaw line.  “The last thing I am is indifferent to you, Abi.  I love you.”  
          
  “It's ten o'clock, our time.”

 Heyes looked into her eyes and nodded.  Then he took her by the hand and led her over to the bed and they sat down, side by side and he raised her hand to his lips and kissed it gently.

 “Ten o'clock.”  He repeated with a nod.  “You were my life-line Abi.  Every night—well almost every night, I would think of you and hope that you were thinking of me; and it would give me hope.  Hope that you still cared about me, that maybe, maybe even you loved me.  Hope that maybe, I was still worth something.”

 “Of course you're worth something,”  she reassured him gently, placing a hand on his arm.  “You're worth a lot.  You have good solid friends surrounding you—people who worked hard to bring about  your release.  Do you really think they would have stayed the course if you didn't matter to them?”  Then she sat back with a laugh.  “My goodness!  Jed even postponed his wedding for you!  That should tell you something!”

 Heyes grinned and nodded.  “He always was more loyal than sensible!”  But then the grin dropped and he turned serious.  “But yeah,”  he confirmed.  “that does say a lot.”

 Their eyes met again and held onto each other.  People had said that he was an enigma but Abi was an enigma to him; he never knew what to expect from her.  Looking into her eyes now he felt his desire for her intensify, but then that old nagging fear came up right along with it.  His encounter with Marion was still so fresh to his ego that he was afraid of trying again—and failing again.  Especially with Abi!  Oh my God!  Marion was bad enough and she was a stranger, she was someone he never had to see again.  But Abi!?

 Doubt took hold and he was right back to that awkward adolescent again.  What if he tried and failed?  What if he disappointed her?  She had such a sharp tongue!  He couldn't take that now, he couldn't take her rejection now, her ridicule.  What if he failed, what if he couldn't stay the distance?  Fear overtook him and he looked away from  her gaze and tried to detach himself from her touch, from her scent, from her very being.

 Abi saw the wavering in his eyes, saw the loss of confidence and she reached over and caressed his face with her hand.  He looked up again and met her gaze but he was afraid, he was fearful and she saw it.  But she didn't laugh at him, she didn't ridicule him like his inner demons had whispered in his ear that she would.  Of course she didn't!  She leaned in and kissed him gently on the mouth.  Just a breath of a kiss, just a whisper.

  He didn't respond back—he looked away.  He was trying so hard to trust—to let himself go, but now that they had come this far that fear seemed to grab hold and paralyse him.  They were getting into dangerous territory now.  With just a finger on his chin she turned his face towards her and again she kissed him.

 She felt him sigh and he returned the kiss—just a little bit, tentatively, but his breathing picked up a notch and she knew she had him.  But she also knew that she had to tread carefully; passion could fuel the fear that she knew was there lurking and turn that fear into defensiveness and then defensiveness into anger.  His tongue could be so sharp sometimes; he could cut deep with just a word.  She took it slow for both their sakes.

 She gently caressed his cheek and then ran her hand down his neck and traced her finger along the scar that ran from ear to ear.  She felt him tense so she changed tactics and moving in, nuzzled him along his jaw line, kissing his throat.  He shivered from the ticklish sensuality of it.

 Her hands continued to caress and she slowly began to unbutton his shirt, playfully twirling her fingers through his chest hairs.  He sat quietly, allowing her access, his breathing picking up as his  arousal began to grow.  She felt him tremble again as she continued to unbutton his shirt and then slip it off of him, releasing his arms from the material.

 She picked up his hand and caressed the scars that had welted up on his wrists.  She brought his hand up to her face and kissed the palm and then moved her lips down and kissed the scars, running her tongue along them and changing them from something shameful to something wildly erotic.  Heyes opened his fingers and cupped her face in his hand.  Then he came forward and kissed her, feeling his passion, feeling his desire for her.

 They leaned in to one another and embraced, the kissing becoming more demanding, more desperate.  Abi took hold of his henley and pushed it up and over his head and then tossed it to the floor.  She held him close, ignoring the emaciation of his rib cage and slowly moving her arms around his torso   Her fingers felt their way along until they found the whip welts and then she caressed them; making love to them with her hands.  He instantly tensed again, fear taking another hold as he started to pull away from her.  He didn't want to pull away, but the defensive walls came up and he simply reacted to that fear, to the memory of pain, to the crushing degradation.

 “Shhh...”  Abi breathed in his ear. “You're alright.  You're safe with me.”

 He pulled away from her and gazed into her eyes.  She met him full on and all he saw there was love and compassion and he sighed a world full of sighs and he pulled her into him again and they kissed.  It started out gentle, questioning, exploring, but as the passion was allowed to grow unabated the kiss grew in its longing.  It became harsh and demanding and it overpowered all other emotions.

 They wouldn't remember how the rest of their clothing came off, but within moments it was all scattered over the bedroom floor and they were on the bed, embracing one another, their nakedness glued together.  Their passion was on fire, their hearts pounding inside the others chest.  Heyes was out of control!  Too many times he'd dreamed of her; holding her in his arms, only to wake up alone, making love to himself and now that he well and truly had her, he couldn't stop; all those years of fear and pain and frustrations boiled up to the surface and totally engulfed him.  He was brutal.

 And as in all other things, Abigail met him full on. She took him at his worst—at his hardest and dared him to give more.



 She smiled up at him and putting her arms around his neck she pulled him into a passionate kiss.  Then they hugged one another and relaxed and lay there together in each others arms and bathed in the after-glow of love-making.

 “I knew you were still in there Mr. Heyes,”  was a gentle breath upon his ear.


 The next morning Heyes woke up in his own bed in his own room under the stairs, the smell of freshly brewed coffee assaulting his nostrils.  He started to get up and then stopped with an agonized groan!  Oh my God!  He could barely move!  Every muscle he owned plus a whole bunch more he had forgotten about were screaming at him to just lay still and leave them alone!

 He lay back down on the bed and stared at the ceiling.  Oh my goodness!  Still, coffee and the kitten were calling to him and he knew that he would have to get up sooner or later.  So, with a resigned sigh he very carefully pushed himself into a sitting position and then gradually swung his legs over the side of the bed.  So far so good.  Slowly he reached for his socks and with some difficulty was able to pull them on, despite Mouse weaving in and out in her efforts to help him.  He reached for his trousers and had to stop short with the pain in his back from that movement.  He gritted his teeth and reached that little bit extra to grab his pants and get them organized enough that he could slowly put his feet—one at a time—into the leggings, and then pull them up, over his long-johns.

 He then slowly got to his feet and pulling his pants the rest of the way up, he buttoned up the fly and secured the belt.  He then reached for his shirt and slowly began to pull it on, one arm at a time as he carefully made his way out of his bedroom.  He came into the hallway and Mouse trotted past him and into the kitchen, looking for her own breakfast.  Heyes followed her with his eyes to see that the stove was on and there was a pot of oatmeal slowly simmering on top of it.  There was also a pot of coffee steaming away on the ring.

 Heyes smiled and moving into the kitchen, he grabbed himself a mug and poured his first cup of the morning.  He held it up to his nose and breathed in.  Ahhhh.  Coffee.  With eyes closed he took a sip and then flinched slightly as the hot liquid made contact with the teeth marks on his tongue.  He smiled coyly and accepted the pain while he relished the flavour—thank goodness he was back to drinking strong coffee again!  That was right up there with being able to eat steak!

 Mouse was being persistent so Heyes took a moment to ladle a spoonful of oatmeal into a bowl and put it down on the floor for her.  He straightened and smiled at the little cat trying to eat the oatmeal without burning her tongue.  He took another sip of coffee and sighing contentedly, made his way into the open living area of the main floor.  Jesse and Jed were already seated at the table with their own coffees, discussing the plans for that day and waiting for the oatmeal to be ready.  Heyes smiled and very slowly came over to join them.

 “What's the matter with you?”  Jesse asked him.  “You look like you've been run over by a buckboard.”

 “Oh, just a little stiff and sore,”  Heyes mumbled.  “Musta slept wrong.”

 “Oh.”

 Jed just sent him a look.

 Heyes stiffly sat down just as they heard the upstairs bedroom door open, shortly followed by Abigail, snugly wrapped up in one of Beth's housecoats, slowly making her way down the stairs.  She was holding onto the railing and taking each step one at a time and being very careful about it too.  She wasn't aware of the three pairs of male eyes upon her until she stepped onto the main floor and happened to glance over at them.

 “Is there any coffee?”  she asked quietly.

 “There's a fresh pot on the stove,”  Jesse informed her.  “Shall I pour you a cup?”

 “No, no.  That's alright,”  she said as she partially raised a hand to settle him.  “I'll get it myself.”

 “Are you alright Abi?”  Jed asked, full of concern.  “You look a little—beat up.”

 “No, I'm fine,”  she assured him as she slowly shuffled her way towards the kitchen. “I'm just a little stiff and sore this morning.  I must have slept wrong.”

 “Uh huh.”

 Abi disappeared into the kitchen.  Jesse and Jed looked at each other and then over at Heyes.  Heyes was focused on something inside his coffee cup.  Jesse and Jed looked at each other again and then both of them broke out laughing.

 Jesse shook his head and raised his hands in his own defence.  “I don't want to know!”  he said.  “I don't want to hear anything about it!”

 But later that day, when Jesse found himself in Jed's company again, his curiosity just couldn't let it lie.

 “Have they always been like that?”  he asked Jed.  “I mean, one minute they're at each other's throats and the next....”

  “Yup!”  Jed nodded emphatically.  “They've known each other—I donno, fifteen years?  Maybe more now, and it's always been the same way.  I learned that the safest place to be was 'outa range'.”  Then he laughed.  “It's kinda fun just sittin' back and watching the fireworks!  Until I'd havta step in and stop them from killin' each other!”


 The sun was shining again.  Oh it was so nice to feel the warmth of that glow beaming down on him, taking away the chill of winter and bringing ease and comfort to his often aching limbs.  He breathed deeply, taking the the scent of wild flowers and warm earth and sunshine.  He was in an open meadow, casually strolling through the grasses, listening to the birdsong and the gurgling creek and the soft breeze in the leaves.

 “You're looking awfully content with yourself Heyes.”

 Heyes opened his eyes and smiled over at his companion.  “Yeah,”  he agreed.  “Things are going pretty well right now.”

 “She is a looker.  Are you sure she's who you want though?”

 Heyes' smiled turned to a frown.  “Of course she is!”  he insisted defensively.  “What would make you think otherwise?”

 Doc shrugged.  “The other one's quite a looker too.”

 “Well, yeah.”

 “You seemed real happy with her before Abi showed up.  I just want you to be sure, that's all.”

 “Are you gonna start meddling in my love life too?!”  Heyes demanded.  “Geesh it's bad enough when Kid does it—but now you too!?  Don't either one of you trust me to be able to make up my own mind?”

 “Nope.”

 Heyes sent him a exasperated look.  Doc grinned.

 “Shit Heyes!  I'm just teasin' ya'.  C'mon, relax.  Why are you getting so defensive?”

 Heyes looked a little sheepish but he did relax, and then smiled with a bit of a shrug.

 “I donno,”  he mumbled.  “Maybe I'm not real sure.  When I'm with Abi, she's the one I want to be with.  Then I run into Miranda in town and my heart just breaks cause I can't be with her.  This just isn't fair!”

 “Hell, life ain't fair!  Haven't ya' figured that one out yet!?”

 “Yeah, I know.  Just once in my life it would be nice to have something important come easy!”

 Doc snorted.  “Good luck with that one!  Let me know when you figure out how to make it happen!”

 Heyes chuckled.  “Yeah I will.”  The two friends continued to walk in silence for a while, each off in their own thoughts.  Then Heyes brought up something that he had been feeling kind of guilty about.  “I tried to go visit you a while back,”  he admitted.  “I really felt as though I should, but....”

 “Ya' couldn't get passed the gate.”

 “Yeah.  How did you know?” Doc sent him 'the look'.  Heyes grinned and nodded.  “Alright—stupid question!”  He turned serious again.  “Still, I really wanted to go pay my respects.”

 “Don't worry about it,”  Morin assured him.  “That's just a big hole in the ground with some bones buried in it.  It's not really where I am anymore.”

 “Yeah, I know.  It's just that....”

 “Don't worry about it!”  Doc repeated.  “You're not ready to say 'goodbye' yet, that's all.  If ya' were we wouldn't still be meeting like this.  Too much unfinished business.”

 Heyes took in a deep breath of the warm spring air.  “That's for sure!”  Then he held that deep breath and suddenly became tense and was looking around him in some distress.

 “What!?”  Doc asked him, also looking around with concern although what he would have to be concerned about is anyone's guess.  “What's the matter?”

 “What's gonna happen!?”  Heyes asked, real fear showing in his eyes now.

 “What do ya' mean, 'happen'?!  What!”

 “Every time I meet ya' like this Doc, it starts out real nice and pleasant and then before I know it the whole world changes on me and the next thing I'm back in the dark cell!  Or Carson's beatin' on me or I'm hanging from that damn ceiling.....”  Heyes grabbed hold of his friend's arm, hoping that the contact would keep him safe and grounded.  “What's gonna happen this time Doc?!”

 “No, nothin'!”  Doc looked irritated.  “Fuck Heyes!  You had me really worried there for a minute!  You're passed all that crap now—you're on your way.”

 Heyes started to relax, a hopeful but tentative smile playing with his dimples.  “Ya' mean I'm not going to be having any more nightmares?”  That was almost too good to be true.

 “Well, no.  You're still gonna have nightmares.”  Heyes' smile disappeared; like he thought, too good to be true.  “But they'll be normal nightmares—not the crippling ones I had to send to ya' in order to get your attention.  OH!  While I'm thinkin' about it; thank your lady friend there for helping ya' to finally understand the message!  I was wearing out trying to get it through to ya'!  And here I thought you were smart.”

 Heyes sulked a little bit.  “You can hardly blame me,”  he groused.  “I'm not used to ghosts sending me messages.”

 “Hmm.  Well at least you're on the right track now.”  Then Doc chuckled.  “The powers that be aren't too happy with Harris right now.  He's gonna have some explaining to do when he comes our way.”

 Heyes frowned, feeling confused.  “But I thought you said there was no right and wrong—just learning and growing.”

 “Yeah that's true.”

 “Well then....”

 “Doesn't mean that deliberately causing harm to others is encouraged!”  Doc actually looked insulted.  “He'll have to explain his reasons for doing it.”

 “I don't get it,”  Heyes admitted.  “First ya' say there is no right and wrong, then ya' say he's gonna have to explain himself.  You tell me that seeking vengeance isn't what life is about then ya' drive me crazy with nightmares in order to get me to seek vengeance for ya'....this afterlife stuff is getting way too complicated for me!”

 “That's alright,”  Doc shrugged nonchalantly.  “You'll understand it better once you get here.  Enough said about that stuff anyways—you don't need to know any more.”

 Heyes' jaw tightened as a slight flash of anger invaded his thoughts.

 “Now you're talking to me like I'm a child!”  he complained.

 “You are a child.”

 “What'd ya' mean!?”  Heyes was really insulted now.  “I'm gonna be forty in.....”

 Doc snorted derisively.  “You're a child!”

 Heyes sighed in frustration and was going to continue to argue the point when Doc changed the subject.

 “I gotta get going Heyes,”  he announced.  “It's time I was moving on.”

 Heyes' petulant anger quickly changed to fear.  “Moving on?'  he asked in a childlike whisper.  “What do ya' mean?”

 Doc threw his arm out towards the vast horizon.  “Movin' on!  You know.”

 Heyes hung his head.  “Oh.”

 Doc gave him a pat on the shoulder.  “I won't go until you're ready to say 'goodbye'.”

 “I'll miss ya' Doc.”

 “Yeah well.  I've been watchin' ya'--you'll be alright.”  Heyes still looked dejected.  “Tell ya' what; when you're ready to say 'goodbye', come to the cemetery.  I'll make a point of being there so you're not just talking to a hunk of stone. And bring some whiskey with ya'!  Top shelf.  We'll share a bottle for ole' time's sake.  How's that?”

 “I suppose,”  Heyes mumbled.

 “It won't be so hard to do when you're ready,”  Doc assured him.  “In the mean time—get on with your life will ya'!?  Stop wallowing in self-pity.  Time to take the bull by the horns!  Get after those assholes!  You're on the right track now, so go get 'em!  What's stoppin' ya'!?”

 “A little thing called a 'parole' Doc,”  Heyes pointed out.  “I practically need permission just to use the privy now!”

 “Oh bullshit!”

 “I do!!”

 “You can get around that and you know it!”  Doc insisted.  “C'mon Heyes—get after it!  Time's a waistin'!”

 “I thought there was no time where you are.”

 “It's just an expression!  You know what I mean!”  Doc snarked.  “Stop being such an irritating prick!”

 Heyes grinned.  “Yeah okay Doc.  I know what you mean.”

 “GOOD!  Anyway, this conversation is wearing me out.  I'll talk to ya' again later.”

 “Yeah, okay Doc.”  Heyes smiled at his friend.  “It was good to see ya'.”


 Heyes slowly began to drift up into consciousness.  He was warm and cozy in his bed but he could tell by the air around him that it was still winter and that the morning was chilly.  Hmm, too bad.  He'd been  hoping that spring had actually arrived in Colorado.  He didn't want to get up.  He lay there with his eyes closed, pretending to still be asleep so that Mouse wouldn't get the idea that it was breakfast time.

 But then he made the mistake of stretching out and giving a yawn and the purring began.  Heyes groaned, but then he smiled and opened his eyes to slits and glanced down to the foot of the bed.  Mouse smiled back at him.  She stretched out herself and then got to her feet and walked up the length of his body, causing him to cringe when she stepped on a delicate area, but she didn't care and kept on coming.  She reached his face and started to rub her whiskers against his chin and then his nose.  He made a face at the ticklishness of it and tried to blow her away.  She purred on.

 “You're gonna insist on me getting up, aren't you?”  he asked her quietly.

 Purr purr, rub rub.  Heyes sighed.  He really didn't feel like getting up and facing the chilly morning.  Then the choice was made for him when a loud thumping on his bedroom door caused him to jump and send Mouse onto the floor.

 “C'mon Heyes!”  came Kid's voice from the other side of the door.  “Get up!  Time's a wastin'!”

 Heyes smiled as the memory of his dream came back to him.  That's exactly what Doc had said.

 “HEYES!”

 “YEAH!  Yeah, I'm comin'.”

 “Coffee's on.”

 Heyes smiled.  “Ohhh...”


 Harris paced the cell like a caged animal, staring daggers and snarling at anyone who came too close to him.  The attempts by these idiots to get any information out of him had all failed miserably.  His regard for the whole lot of them, from that snake oil Bannerman detective right down to the lowly night shift deputy was of absolute total disdain.  He'd slipped up once by admitting to having shot that Jordan girl, but never again—no sir!  They weren't going to trick him again and he'd just like to see them try!

 Out in the office of the jailhouse, those same law officials whom Harris was degrading under his breath were sitting around the desk, or pacing the room, wondering just what the next step should be.

 “Sheriff, I'm positive if you would just let me.....”

 “Mr. Brisco, you are not going back in there.”  Andrews told him for the umpteen time.  “That bastard would just as soon bite off his own ear than tell us anything, so unless someone here is willing to take a knife to him....”  He looked around at the faces surrounding him, waiting for a volunteer.  Nobody would meet his eye.  “Right then.  We're pretty sure he's the one who killed the Winters couple and he's already admitted to attempting to kill that young woman up in Colorado.  Chances are he's also the one who did that to the little Bishop girl....”  Everyone went silent then, lips firming up in angry hard lines.  “God help us if there's more than one sadistic bastard running around in these parts.”  Andrews sighed then and taking a deep breath, looked around at his companions.  “He's still got a prison term in Wyoming waiting for him.  I've had word from the warden up there that they want him back.”

 “But what about standing trial for what he done here!?”  asked young Deputy Madryga.  “Is he just gonna get away with that!?”

 “Yeah, don't Mr.  and Mrs. Winters have a right to justice!?”

 “What about the Bishop's!?  They're entitled to some closure!”

 “Yeah!  Why should Wyoming get him!?”

 Andrews held up his hand for silence, but at the same time nodded his head in understanding of the anger his people were feeling.

 “Don't worry,”  the sheriff calmed the enquiries.  “Warden Reese isn't suggesting that Harris not stand trial for these new atrocities, only that Wyoming has a prior claim and after taking some time to think about it, I for one agree with this plan of action.”

 “What!?”

 “Why!?”

 “What do you think his chances are of having a fair trial here, in this state?  That's if he even gets to trial,”  Andrews asked the group.  The grumbling he got back suggested that nobody cared if he got a fair trial or not.  “By the laws of not only this state, but by the laws of this country, that sick bastard is entitled to a fair trial!”  More grumbling but at least they had the decency to look sheepish.  “Now you've heard what folks are saying just as much as I have.  If we keep him here much longer we could very well wind up with a lynch mob outside our doors.  He has got a lot of people up in arms and personally I don't want to have to deal with that.  Lynch mob mentality is dangerous.  Are any of you prepared to get killed protecting that son-of-bitch?”

 The sheriff was met with more grumbling.  Nobody seemed too keen on that.

 “And another thing Sheriff,”  Harry spoke up.  “I was hired by the Jordan family to track down Harris and return him to that state for questioning.  You folks here aren't the only ones who want a piece of his hide.  It's up to me to make sure he gets back to Colorado—or Wyoming.  Either one will do.”

 “That's hardly my first concern,”  Andrews pointed out.  “but that prison would seem to be the safest place to put him.  It's not too likely that a lynch mob will get at him there and it'll be a lot harder for him to break out of a prison than one of these flimsy jail cells.”

 “I donno about that,”  Madryga grumbled.  “He broke outa that prison once already.”

 “Now it's suspected that he had inside help on that,”  Harry put in.  “That's another reason why I need to get him back that way.  A lot of people have a lot of questions for him.”

 “Well a lot of people right here got questions...”

 “No, now Harold, calm down,”  Andrews told his deputy.  “Harris is gonna stand trial for what he done here, but he'll stand trial in Wyoming.  What kind of jury would he get here, hmm?  It would just be the same people from the lynch mob trying to hang him legal.  Now I've already thought about it and I've made my decision!  We're sending him to Wyoming—back to the prison.  He'll be secured onto a special train with just him and an armed contingent of guards.  You may also accompany him Mr. Brisco, if you so wish.”

 “Certainly!”  Harry was quick to agree.  “And I'll make sure personally that he gets there.”

 “Umm hmm.”  Andrews didn't sound too impressed.  “Fine.  I'll make arrangements in the morning.  Me and Harold will stay here for the night, the rest of ya' go home and get some sleep.”


 Heyes dragged himself out of bed when the enticing aroma of not only perking coffee made it's way into his room, but also of sizzling bacon and frying eggs.  All of a sudden he was very hungry.  He pulled on his clothes and a warm sweater and opened the door for Mouse to go running out and head for the kitchen herself; she knew where the food was kept.

 Heyes had planned on letting Mouse wait a moment for her breakfast and head out to the privy first but then he caught the sound of humming coming from the cooking area and, if he was not mistaken; it very much sounded  like it had a Scottish ring to it.  He smiled.  He was already feeling good this morning; no nightmares!  What a relief!  But hearing Abi's voice made him forget about everything else and he abruptly changed direction and headed for the kitchen.

 He quietly came up behind the familiar feminine figure and slipped his hands around her waist and then nuzzled in to the nap of her neck.  Abi tensed but then gave a soft laugh as she gave his hand a gentle patting while she continued to tend to the breakfast.

 “You better not cause me to ruin breakfast,”  she warned him.  “It's not every morning I'll be doing this for you.”

 “I don't care,”  Heyes whispered as he kissed her neck.  “Just having you here when I wake up is breakfast enough.”

 “Really Mr. Heyes?”  Abi asked him with a note of scepticism in her voice.  “That's what you say now....”

 “Now and for always, Abi.”

 “Well, I see the coffee's not the only thing perking in here,”  came Jesse's voice from the kitchen door.

 Both people jumped and instantly came apart, looking like they'd been caught with their hands in the honey jar.  Jesse smiled and raised his cup.

 “Just came for a re-fill,”  he assured them.  “And somebody better feed that cat before she gets into the frying pan herself.”

 Abi turned with a start to find the large kitten up on the counter top and making her hungry way towards the stove and the frying bacon.

 “OH!  Off with you!”  she exclaimed and quickly shooed the cat off the counter.

 Mouse jumped down with a loud thump and a louder protest.  She glared back up at this 'female' who had pushed her away, flicked her tail in annoyance and the trotted out of the kitchen to await the apology!

 Heyes laughed.  “Oh dear,”  he chuckled.  “She is her mother's daughter after all!”

 “Why doesn't she go catch her own breakfast?”  Abi asked.  “Isn't that what barn cats are for?”

 “She's not a barn cat Abi.”

 “Then what is she for?”

 “Ah, well if you two will excuse me,”  Jesse reached in by them to grab the coffee pot.  “I did come in here for a reason.”  He poured his refill, placed the pot back onto the stove and with a quick smile to Hannibal, made a hasty retreat.  Heyes could get kinda testy when it came to defending his cat.

 Indeed, Heyes had sobered a little bit though still put in the effort to make light of it.

 “She was a gift from a friend,”  he explained.  “She'll always have a special place—she's a pet.”

 “I've heard of little old ladies having a cat for a pet,”  Abigail commented, deliberately teasing him.  “But a hardened ex-convict?  People are going to think you're going soft.”

 Heyes smiled.  “Maybe I am.”  And he moved in again to continue on where they had left off.

 Abi shooed him away.  “Don't get started Mr. Heyes,”  she chided him.  “Breakfast is almost ready.  Go do your morning business and then get to the table.  It's time to eat!”

 “Yes ma'am.”


 It was Sunday—a quiet laid back kind of day and Heyes was feeling relaxed and rested.  Finally!  A night without any nightmares, not even a bad dream, just a pleasant conversation with a good friend   It was a conversation that had left him wondering even more about the validity of what he thought he used to know.  But those were just questions; uncertainties, not terrifying images that left him trembling and vulnerable to his night fears.  Life was starting to look pretty good.

 He was sitting in the living room by the wood stove, enjoying yet another cup of coffee and being thankful for small pleasures.  He was trying to read a book while Mouse was doing her best to occupy the same space as her literary rival.

 Heyes glanced down at the little furry intruder and stretched out a hand, running it gently down the cat’s back, enjoying the rich, silky, softness of the fur under his fingers. She raised her head, butting it gently into his hand and allowing it to cup over her velvet ears, demanding another stroke with a ‘gnuurr’ which sounded almost like a question.

  “Want some fuss, do you?” he murmured.

 “If you’re offering?”

 He glanced over at Abigail, a smile lightening his eyes. “I meant the cat.”

 She gave a light laugh. “I know. She’s very demanding of your time, quite possessive.”

 “Yeah, it’s my animal magnetism. Too bad it only works on animals.”

 Abigail arched an eyebrow. “Are you calling me names?”

 Heyes chuckled. “I wouldn’t dare.” He glanced around the room. “Just you and me - Kid and Jesse are at church, who’d have thought Kid Curry would be a regular churchgoer. You don’t go, Abi?”

 She shook her head. “I’ve nothing against it; it’s just not for me. I guess I’ve seen and heard too much. Some things make it hard to believe in a merciful God. I find my peace in places like forests, or high on mountains. They feel like holy places to me. Some people commune better alone.”

 Heyes nodded. “I know what you mean. I feel the same, especially when you can just be alone with your thoughts. I guess ours is more vengeful, more of an old-testament version, with a Garden of Eden.”

 Abigail sighed. “I suppose.”

 “Do you believe in ghosts, Abi?”

 Her dark eyes suddenly became intense “Why do you ask?”

 Heyes hesitated. “I had another dream. Doc Morin told me to thank you.”

 “The doctor who was murdered? What was he thanking me for?”

 “For telling me to ask him what he wanted, how did you know to do that?”

 She folded her arms. “My mother told me to speak to my sister, Becky, when I kept seeing her in dreams after she died. It worked. She’s very Hebridean, full of Celtic twilight and fokelore – ghosts are something she’s very matter of fact about.”
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Keays

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Posts : 1435
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 60
Location : Camano Island Washington

PostSubject: History Repeating   Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:13 am

“And you? I know you said you’d been haunted too. Did you mean that literally?”

 Abigail paused. “I don’t know; I really don’t. It could be the mind playing tricks, or it could really be them. I just don’t have the answer, I keep an open mind.”

 Heyes stared off into the fire. “I went somewhere at a really bad time. I thought it was heaven at the time, but I now suspect it was all in my mind. The doc was there.”

 “The mind can be kind; it can shut out reality when it’s too painful.”

 He turned back to her, fixing her with a hard stare. “Is that what you’ve found?”

 “Sometimes,” she replied, simply. “Not always.”

 He shook his head ruefully. “Yeah, not always. That doesn’t explain the doc, though. He’s adamant that one of the guards killed him.”

 “Maybe you hate the guard so much you want it to be him.”

 “Maybe.  Kenny suggested the same thing.” Heyes sat back, caressing the cat again. “I’d like it to be him. I’d also like to think a part of the doc didn’t die.”

 “A part of him never will,” Abigail smiled. “He’ll be around as long as you remember him.”

 “I get the feeling he’ll be around until justice is done.”

 “Yes, sometimes an injustice can ring loud and clear. I know how hard it can be to let these things lie.”
She stood, wandering over to the window to look aimlessly out at the snow. “I’ve been there, it was the reason I became a Pinkerton. When my father was murdered I couldn’t let it be. I never saw him in dreams though; but my sister, Becky – and our Becky - I’ve seen them and spoken to them – just like you and Doc Morin. It feels very real,” she hugged her arms around herself. “It’s a comfort. I don’t much care if it’s all in my mind; I like to think they’re there, waiting for us. Sometimes the best way to be near someone is to simply hold them in your heart.”

 Heyes stood, letting Mouse jump down from his lap. He walked over to Abigail and slipped an arm around her waist. “I dream of her too. I see her in a park on a sunny day; she’s learning to walk and stumbling towards me with her arms out for me to catch her.” His voice caught with emotion. “She’s laughing...”

 Abigail turned, her eyes glistening with tears. “We have quite a history, don’t we?”

 He pulled her to him, cradling her to his chest. “Yup, and we have the present too. Don’t forget that, Abi.”

 The rattle of a wagon made them both look out of the window. “They’re back.” Abigail pulled herself out of his arms. “I’ll put some coffee on, they must be freezing. I wonder if they have any news from Harry?” She smiled warmly. “Once this is over, you can come back to Topeka with me. You will meet Anya. I always keep my promises.”

 The next morning started out as most working day mornings start; rise and shine, coffee, coffee, a hearty breakfast, coffee and a general discussion of what chores needed to be accomplished that day, over more coffee.  On this particular Monday morning, breakfast had been finished up and everyone was indulging in a final stretch and a final nibble of bacon before cleaning up the dishes and getting on with the day's chores.  The conversation around the table had been light and comfortable and Jed especially had a subtle smile on his face as he watched his partner throughout the meal.

 Heyes was happy.  This was the happiest and most comfortable Jed had seen him since, well since coming home from the prison.  It was as though a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders and he laughed and joked and infected everyone else around the table with his high spirits.  Jed couldn't have been more pleased.  Finally, finally he was seeing his cousin as he was before their trials, seeing him with that mischievous glint in his eyes and that big dimpled grin upon his face.  His partner was finally beginning to heal.

 They heard the dogs start to bark then and knew that someone was coming.

 “That must be Sam,”  Jesse presumed.  “This is when he usually shows up.  Guess it's time to get to work fellas.”

 “Oh, yeah,”  came the unified response as everyone pushed their chairs back and stood up, preparing to get on with their day.

 Everyone grabbed their plates and cutlery and took them into the kitchen while Abi started to pump water into the tub for washing.

 “You know where everything is Abi?”  Jesse asked her, still feeling awkward about a guest doing the chores.

 “Don't worry about me!”  she assured her host.  “I can find my way around a kitchen—just as soon as you men get out of my way!”

 “Oh alright!  We're going!"

 The three men headed towards the front foyer and the coat tree when they heard booted footsteps on the outside porch and then a knock banging on the door.

 “Why would Sam be knocking on the door?”  Jesse mumbled as he reached for the handle and pulled the door open.  “Oh!  Joe.  What brings you out here on this chilly day?”  Then Jesse's face paled as a terrible thought struck him.  “Is something wrong?  Have you heard....?”

 “No, no Mr. Jordan!”  Joe instantly put him at his ease.  “No, nothing like that.”  Then he looked around Jesse and locked eyes with Hannibal Heyes.  “Sheriff Jacobs wants to see you in his office—right now.  I'm to escort ya' into town.”

 Heyes felt a debilitating chill go through him and he took an involuntary step backwards.

 “Ahh...what?  What for?”

 “He didn't tell me,”  Joe admitted.  “He just said that he needs ta' talk with ya' and that I'm to escort ya' in—now.”

 Abi stepped quietly out of the kitchen, drying her hands on a towel and listening intently to this new conversation.

 “I'm sure there's no problem Hannibal,”  Jesse tried to speak reason to the younger man.  “I'm sure it's nothing to worry about.”

  The blood had drained from Heyes' face and he looked like he'd just seen a ghost—and not one that he knew either. Or maybe it was one that he knew, but one that he never wanted to ever see again.   He felt the breath get knocked from his lungs as a real fear threatened to choke him.

 “Ah, did the sheriff say anything about me not coming in with him?”  Jed asked, instantly back to feeling very protective of his partner.

 “Nope,”  Joe admitted.  “Don't think that would be a problem.”

 “Okay,”  Jed nodded.  “Jesse, do ya' mind...?”

 “No no,”  Jesse was quick to assure.  “That's probably a good idea.  Why don't you take the buckboard in since you're going anyways and pick up that feed that's waiting for us at the mercantile.”

 “Yeah sure,”  Jed nodded.  “Good idea.  I'll go get the team hitched up.”

 “And check for telegrams too while you're at it!”  Jesse called after him as Jed grabbed his sheepskin coat and gunbelt and headed outdoors.  Jesse turned back to the parolee.  “Relax Han.  If it was something serious he would have sent more than just Joe here to get you—sorry Joe; that's not to say that you're incompetent....”

 “Oh no, that's fine Mr. Jordan,”  Joe smiled at him and then turned the smile over to Heyes, noting a little too late how much distress he had caused the man with his unexpected decree.  “And he's right Mr. Heyes.  If Sheriff Jacobs was planning anything more than just to talk to ya' he woulda' sent a whole posse out here ta' get ya'.  And he woulda been sure to say ta' just bring you—alone.”

 Heyes swallowed and ran a nervous hand through his hair.  “Yeah.  Yeah, I suppose,”  he turned and looked back towards Abi and she was looking concerned as well, but only over her lover's obvious distress.

 She smiled and gave him a haughty look.  “Off you go, Mr. Heyes.  It's time you stopped jumping at shadows every time a law officer wants to talk to you.”

 “Yeah, you're right.  Of course.”

 Heyes stepped forward and took his hat from the rack and plunked it onto his head and then he shrugged into his blue brown grey corduroy leather winter all seasonal coat.  He also took up his gunbelt, half expecting Joe to stop him but no reprimand came.  Heyes felt some relief settle onto him and he strapped his gun on as he stepped out onto the porch.  Jesse followed with his own coat and closed the door behind them.

 Abi stood where she was for a few moments, just staring at the closed door.  Then she felt something brush against her ankles and she looked down to meet the green slitted eyes of Heyes' gift.

 “What do you want you piseag bheag bòidheach?"

  Mouse purred up at her.  “Ack!”

 “Oh, I see.”  Abi confronted her.  “Now that your lord and master has left you're willing to look to me to feed you, is that it?”

 “Merrr.”  

 “Well, c'mon—let's see what we've got!”

 Abi turned and walked back into the kitchen with Mouse trotting along at her heels.  Her tail was up in anticipation of a tasty breakfast; left over bacon sounded pretty good.


 The wagon ride into town was anything but relaxing.  Heyes let Jed do the driving as he was far too distracted to be able to focus on the road.  He kept his eyes staring ahead of them, watching the rump of Joe's horse swaying back and forth with the rhythm of the steady trot they were maintaining, but he really wasn't seeing what he was looking at.

 Finally Jed was getting a headache from all the silent noise going on beside him and he decided it was about time to burst that bubble his partner was suffocating in.


 “C'mon Heyes, relax will ya'?  It's not going to be anything bad.”

 “I know.”

 “If ya' know, then how come I can hear ya' screamin'?”

 “I haven't said a word!”

 “Yeah I know!  And you're givin' me a headache—so just, calm down will ya'?”

 Heyes sighed, snuggling into his coat even more.  “If it's nothing bad then how come he sent Joe out to 'escort' me in to town?”

 “He just wants to talk to ya'.”

 “I go into town often enough.  He doesn't have to summon me like I'm his pet dog.”

 “He said he needed to talk to ya' right now,”  Kid explained again.  “It doesn't have to be something bad to be important.”

 “I donno Kid,”  Heyes sounded worried.  “What if they want to send me back?”

 “Why would they want to send ya' back?”  Kid asked patiently.  “You haven't broken any of the conditions of your parole—have ya'?”

 “NO!”

 Kid nodded, accepting that as truth.  “Well then.....?”

 “Yeah, but....what if....?”

 “Heyes, if they had decided, just outa the blue, to send ya' back don't ya' think Sheriff Jacobs would have sent more than just Joe out to get ya'?”

 “Maybe they're just trying to trick me—put me at my ease.  Make me think there's nothing going on and then as soon as I walk into the sheriff's office—Wham!  I'm back in handcuffs!”

 “But why Heyes?  Ya' haven't done nothin'.”

 “Well yeah, but....”

 “Look,”  Kid had about had it.  “if anybody tries to put ya' in handcuffs, I will personally throw away my amnesty and shoot ya' outa jail myself.  How's that?”

 “Well....”  Heyes shrugged.  “Promise?”

 Kid laughed.  “Yeah Heyes, I promise.”

 
 The trip into town hadn't taken any longer than it usually does with a buckboard, but for some reason it felt like an eternity before they finally pulled the team up outside the sheriff's office and began to unstiffen their cold legs and climb down off the box.  Joe tethered his horse at the hitching rail and then did the same for the team and the three men made their way into the office.

 “Ahh!  Mr. Heyes—and Mr. Curry, what ya' know.”  Jacobs stood up from his desk and greeted the newcomers.  “Have a seat boys.  Thanks for going to get them Joe.”

 “No problem Sheriff.”

 “Help yourself to some coffee,”  Jacobs suggested.  “Warm yourself up before you continue your rounds.  I know it's cold out there today.”

 “Yeah, thanks Sheriff,”  Joe headed over to the stove.  “I think I will.”

 “How about you fellas?”  Jacobs asked.  “Want some coffee?”

 “No thanks Sheriff,”  Jed answered him.  “We kinda loaded up on coffee before we knew we were coming in here.”

 Jacobs smiled.  “Yeah, okay.”  He sat down and looked over at Heyes, taking note of his slightly pale complexion and nervous stance.  “Nothing to worry about Mr. Heyes,”  he assured the parolee.  “I just received a correspondence from your friend Warden Reece and I felt that it was important that we have a talk about it.”  Then he nodded to Jed.  “I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you decided to accompany your friend into town.”

 “Yeah.  I hope ya' don't mind Sheriff.”

 “Nope,”  Jacobs assured him.  “I think you'll be glad of this news as well.”  He looked back to Heyes who was looking decidedly more relaxed, but still real glad that his partner was sitting there beside him.  “You already know that Mr. Harris has been recaptured, of course.”  Two heads nodded   “Well, it was decided amongst the powers that be to return Mr. Harris to the Wyoming Prison, considering that he escaped from that institution and still owes the state a number of years on his sentence.  Also, things were getting a little hot in Kansas and there really wasn't much of a doubt that Harris would not live to face trial if he were to remain there so he was shipped back home.”  Jacobs paused here and looked from one partner to the other; both were looking back at him intently.
 “It would seem that there are a number of people who have an interest in Mr. Harris,”  Jacobs continued.  “Aside from the State of Wyoming wanting him back, it seems he was busy making himself known in Nebraska and Kansas as well.  However, Wyoming had prior claim so there he is.”

 “Yeah, that's good to know Sheriff,”  Heyes acknowledged, feeling a lot more comfortable now.  “I doubt he'll be getting out of that place again any time soon.”

 “No, not likely,”  Jacobs agreed.  “Now, as to why I requested your presence here today Mr. Heyes;  Warden Reece is planning on questioning Mr. Harris on his involvement in that prison break when you and the warden were taken hostage?”

 Heyes once again paled slightly with the reminder of that incident.  “Yes.”

 “There is also some ambiguity surrounding the murder of Joe's uncle, Walter Morin who was the doctor out there at the prison.”

 “Yes. That's right,”  Heyes again confirmed.

 “Well, Mr. Reece has requested your presence out at the prison since you were a witness to both of those incidents and that your inside knowledge of Mr. Harris might help to 'persuade' him to remember certain facts that up to this point seem to be eluding him.”

 “Oh.”  Heyes brightened up considerably.  “Kenny wants me to be involved with the questioning?”

 “Well....not officially...but just there to compare notes and make sure that Harris is being truthful with the answers he gives.  And to substantiate what Warden Reece himself has to say about those episodes.”

 Heyes grinned, a slight hint of his old larceny glinting in his dark eyes.  Jacobs picked up on that right away and wondered if this was such a good idea.  Jed just sat back and watched this exchange with growing interest.

 “I will also be joining you Mr. Heyes,”  Jacobs informed him.  “For one thing, the attacks on Miss Jordan happened in my jurisdiction and there are some question I myself would like to put to Mr. Harris.  Also, I feel that it is important that I accompany you on this trip Mr. Heyes.  I realize that you and Mr. Reece are friends and that he is well aware of your situation, but I feel a certain responsibility for you and I would hate to see you get sidetracked because of all this.”

 “Oh, well thank you Sheriff,”  Heyes smiled sweetly at him.  Kid snorted, but kept it to himself.  “I really don't think that would be necessary....”

 “But I do,”  Jacobs cut in.  “And so does Sheriff Trevors.”

 Heyes' smile dropped.  “Oh.”

 “Also, the Jordan family lawyer, Mr. Granger whom we are all quite familiar with...”  Heyes and Kid nodded.  “...will also be in attendance so make sure that everything stays legal and above board.  Don't want to have any accusations of misconduct during the questioning—do we?”

 Heyes grinned again but then quickly covered it up with a cough and a hand to his mouth.  “Oh no, no of course not.”

 “Uh huh,”  Jacobs sounded sceptical.  “Well, as you know the train to Wyoming doesn't leave until later this evening so you can carry on with your day, but be back here tonight, ready to go.  Alright?”

 “Yessir Sheriff,”  Heyes agreed.  “I'll look forward to it.”

 “Fine,”  Jacobs stood up followed by the other two and they all shook hands.  “Good day gentlemen.  Stay outa trouble.”

 “Yessir Sheriff,”  Jed agreed.

 “Sheriff, I'll see you tonight.”


 “See Heyes,”  said Jed as he clapped his partner on the back.  “all that worryin' for nothin'.  We just might get our little mystery solved here pretty soon.”

 “Yeah, I guess you were right Kid,” Heyes agreed as they climbed back up onto the buckboard in preparation of heading over to the mercantile.  “I guess it's time I stopped expecting the worst all the time.  Especially with Sheriff Jacobs; he does seem to be an up right kinda fella.”

 “Yeah,”  Kid picked up the lines and clucked to the team.  “I sure hope we get all this worked out soon.  I'm kinda missing my girl, ya' know?”

 Heyes smiled.  “Yeah, I know Kid.  We'll get her home to ya' soon.”  Then he sighed deeply.  “I miss Belle,”  he admitted.  “Yeah, it'll be nice to have the family all home again.  That ranch house just doesn't seem the same with most of the joy elsewhere.”

 The partners were quiet then for a while aside from Jed clucking to the team occasionally to keep them moving towards the industrial end of town.  Soon they were at the big bay doors in back of the mercantile and were warming themselves up by throwing sacks of feed into the wagon bed.

 “Do you need me to come with ya' tonight Heyes?”  Jed finally asked between heaves.  “I mean, for moral support and all that.  I know going back to that prison probably won't be easy on ya'.”

 “Yeah, I know.  I was thinking about that,”  Heyes admitted.  “But I suppose you don't really need to come Kid, if you don't want to.  I don't think Kenny would try to pull anything on me.  And if Steven's going to be there....”

 “That's kinda what I was thinking,”  Jed agreed and then sighed with a self-conscious grin.  “I guess I'm not as young as I used to be; all that train travellin' back and forth has plumb wore me out.  I really wouldn't mind staying home, ya' know?  Besides, something might come up—you might need someone here to handle things.”

 Heyes grinned.  “Uh huh.  That's fine Kid.  I'm sure you've made that trip so many times you could do it in your sleep.”

 “You're right about that Heyes.  You're right about that!”


 Later that afternoon Jed drove Heyes into town again so that he wouldn't have to cover the expense of boarding Karma at the livery stable for the duration of his absence.  He didn't really know how long he was going to be away for, so it didn't make any sense for him to ride in on horseback.

  They came into town a little early as Heyes had an appointment with David and Jed didn't mind the second trip in as it gave him a chance to stop over at the saloon for a beer or two before he had to get back while there was still light enough to drive by.  If Heyes had time after his visit with David, he just might meet up with the Kid for a beer, before occupying himself in other ways until it was time to catch the train.

 Kid pulled up at the door to David's house and Heyes grabbed his satchel and stepped down out of the surrey.  

 “Okay Kid, thanks,”  he said.  “Hopefully I'll see you later, but either way I'll send you a telegram when I'm heading home again.  Hopefully this won't take too long.”

 “Yeah, that's fine Heyes,”  Kid nodded.  “Give that bastard hell will ya'?  I don't take kindly to him upsetting my marriage plans.”

 Heyes snorted.  “Yeah, I'm sure that's first on the agenda.”

 “Well yeah!  It is to me!”  Then he grinned at his partner.  “No, seriously Heyes, I hope ya' get the answers you're lookin' for.”

 “Yeah, me too.”

 Heyes knocked on the door to the Gibson residence and was surprised to see young Nathan presenting himself and greeting him with great enthusiasm.

 “Hi Unca' Han!”  came the enthusiastic greeting.

 “Hello!”  Heyes returned the greeting.  “I'm here to see your papa.”

 Nathan grinned and opened the door wider for Heyes to step inside.  Then he galloped full speed down the hallway to David's office door, leaving Heyes to close the front door himself.

 “Papa!  Unca Han's here!”  Little hands pounded on the door.  “PAPA!”

 “Yes!  I heard you!”  came the muffled response.  “Show him in will you?”

 “Yes Papa!”  Galloping feet thudded their way back into the kitchen where Heyes was removing his coat, hat and gunbelt, making sure he placed the latter up out of reach of little boy hands.  “Papa says to show you in.”

 Heyes smiled.  “Lead the way.”

 “Hello Hannibal,”  David greeted his friend as he came into the office.  “Have a seat.”

 “Can I stay Papa?”

 “No, you cannot.”

 “Awwww!”

 “You know you can't stay in here when I'm with a patient.”

 “But is Unca Han!”  Nathan protested.  “He's not a patient!”

 “When Uncle Hannibal is in this room, then he is a patient,”  David explained this fine line yet again to his son.  “If he has time later then he can sit in the kitchen with you for a visit, alright?”

 Disappointed eyes were enhanced by a pout.  “Awight.”

 “You go play in your room for now,”  David told him.  “Momma will be home soon.”

 Nathan eyes lit up then and he grinned in anticipation.  “Yeah!  Momma and Aunt Randa'--dinner!”

 “Yes,”  David grinned.  “Aunt Miranda is coming for dinner.  Off you go.”

 Nathan closed the office door behind him and he could be heard galloping further down the hallway and into his bedroom.  It seemed that boy didn't go anywhere at a walk—everything was full speed ahead.  
 
 David smiled at Hannibal but then frowned at his friends slightly worried expression. “What's wrong?”

 At the sound of Miranda's name Heyes had instantly felt a knot in his gut and a slight shiver went through him.  “Miranda is going to be  here?”

 “Yes, but later,” David assured him.  “I expect you'll be gone before they get home.”

 “Oh.”

 Then David frowned even more as he noted Heyes' expression change from worried to disappointed.
“Unless you want to see her,”  he commented cautiously.

 Brown eyes met brown.  Heyes hesitated.

 “Do you want to see her?”  David asked him and was met with more silence.  “Hannibal...?”

 “No, but I guess I owe her that, huh?” Heyes mumbled. “At the very least.”  

 “I agree,”  David concurred as he sat down opposite his friend.  “She covers it well, but I know she's disappointed.”

 “Yes, I never wanted to hurt her,”  Heyes mumbled.  “It’s complicated. I love Abigail and we have a child together. I can’t just walk away from that without trying to make a go of it. I guess there’s just too much history.”

 David nodded and commented. “We all assumed you were back with Abigail. We heard she’d returned to the ranch.”

 “Oh! Yes.” Heyes brightened up and smiled. “She's back and we are giving things another chance.” Then his smiled turned into a grin. “She has promised me that when all this other stuff is settled that she will arrange for me to meet my daughter.”

 “Good!” David smiled. “And of course, if you two do decide to stay together then it only stands to reason that you would meet your daughter, and come to know her as such.”

 “Yes! A chance to be a real family.” Heyes grinned some more but there was still a hint of something else in his eyes.

 David scrutinized him for a moment. “Hannibal?”

 “Hmm?”

 “Are you disappointed?”

 Heyes' eyes took on a faraway look.  “I donno,”  he said quietly.  “I'm kinda surprised at that, I mean, I'm really happy that Abi and we are trying to work things out.  I love her—very much.”

 “But.....”

 Heyes felt a bit irritated that David was pushing, but curious as well as to why his feelings were so contradictory right now.

 “But....”  Heyes repeated, hoping the words would just come to him.  Nothing came forth.

 David sighed.  “Hannibal, I know you know what you're thinking.  I'm not here to judge you.  What are you feeling?”

 Heyes sat quietly for a moment, his face a picture of concentration—and frustration.

 Heyes' eyes took on a faraway look. “I wish sometimes that there was two of me.”

 “Two of you?”  David sounded a little confused.

 “Yeah. I'm kinda surprised that I met someone like Randa, at all. I mean, I'm really happy that Abi and I are trying to work things out. I love her—very much but if Abi hadn’t showed up, who knows where it would have headed with Randa?”

 “I think we can all guess,” David murmured.

 “I wasn’t playing games with her, David. I wouldn’t do that. I never thought I’d see Abi again, I just have to work things out with her. I’m sorry to lose Randa, and I’m even sorrier for hurting her, but I have to do this.”
 The two men sat quietly for a moment and then Heyes' eyes lost their distant look and he focused back onto David again. “When I'm with Abi, she brings back all the good times we had. I love her so much and I'm so looking forward to the three of us being a real family. It's what I want, but then whenever I run into Miranda it's like a knife goes through my heart. I see the pain that I've caused her, and I just want to take her into my arms and make it better.”
 Heyes sighed and David waited. “If there were two of me, then I wouldn't have to choose. I wouldn't have to hurt one in order to be with the other. I wouldn't have to forfeit either possible future; I could love them both.”

 David smiled.  “Wouldn't that solve a lot of problems,”  he conjectured.  “Why chose one path when you can take both?”

 “Yeah.”

 “Unfortunately in matters of the heart the only honourable thing to do is chose.”

 Heyes slumped.  “I know!”  The he brightened and smiled, his eyes shining.  “And I've chosen Abi!  I know she's the one I want to be with.  But then I see Miranda and she's hurting...I do care about her David.  I'm so sorry.”

 “Oh affairs of the heart!”  David announced rather dramatically.  “Not always easy.”  He turned serious again and decided to bring forth a supposition, knowing that he might get snarked at, but wanting to present it as a thought anyways. “What if you and Abi did not have a child?”  he asked gently.  “What if there wasn't that one truth binding you together?”

  Heyes smiled.  “Abi says she doesn't deal with hypotheticals.  We do have a child, so why even consider the alternative?”

  “Because considering the alternative might help you to understand your motivations here,”  David explained.  “I realize you can't deny the facts, but simply consider; is it Abi you're in love with or the fact that she is the mother of your child and you want to be part of a real family?”

 Heyes sat silently.  He wasn't sure if he should be angry at that suggestion or simply amused.  Then he felt afraid to the point where he didn't even want to look too closely at that possibility.  He loved Abi; he knew he did! He cleared his throat.  “I dreamed of Abi every night in prison, it's not just about our daughter.  I hate what's happened here.  I met a wonderful woman, and I hurt her.”  He shook his head.  “The most stupid thing is both of them could be real friends.  They're both strong, and clever, and loyal—and they both did whatever they could to make room for the other.  I don't want Randa to hate me; she's too special for that.”

 “She is, very special.”  They sat quietly for a moment, both in their own thoughts.  “Well!”  David slapped his thighs and stood up.  “Let's get on with your exam, shall we?”

 Heyes came up out of his stupor.  “Oh, yeah.”  And he absently began to pull off his sweater, shirt and henley all in one.

  David came around behind him and instantly began probing his shoulders.  Heyes tightened and flinched a little bit.

  “Just relax, and breathe.”

  “Yeah yeah.”

 David smiled.  “How long has it been since this injury?”

  “That's easy,”  Heyes answered.  “It was around Christmas time, so two years.”

  “Hmm.”  David continued to apply pressure to certain points on Heyes' back and shoulders.  Then he came around in front and sat down facing his patient.  He picked up Heyes' right hand and pulled the arm towards him and applied pressure all up and down the inside of the arm and into the shoulder joint.  Then he repeated this exam with the other arm.  Heyes tightened a little bit throughout, but not excessively.  Finally David finished and sitting back, he smiled.  “That's really feeling good Hannibal,”  he said.  “You've kept up the stretching and I take it that you're not having any problems with mobility?”

  “No,”  Heyes agreed.  “It feels fine actually.  Occasionally I'll get a twinge, but for the most part it's as if nothing had ever happened.”

  “Good!  You're still too skinny though.”

  Heyes slumped and groaned.  “Are you never going to be satisfied?”

  “Nope,”  David grinned.  “I'm always going to find something to pester you about—it'll keep you honest!”

 “You're as bad as the Kid!  You're both a pair of mother hens!”

  “Good!  I'm glad he keeps after you.  Nice to know I taught him something!  Now, how are those nightmares doing?”

 Heyes brightened up and grinned.  “I think we're beating them David!  I haven't had a really bad one for almost a week now.”

 “Good!”  David was genuinely pleased.  “Anything specific that you can attribute that to?”

  “Yeah, Abi telling me to ask the Doc during the nightmare to show me what he wanted me to see,”  Heyes explained.  “That was the beginning of it.  And then....”

 “What?”

 “Then....Doc came to me in another dream and said that I was on the right track now so he wouldn't be haunting me so much anymore.”  Heyes sat quietly, contemplating his friend.  “Do you believe in ghosts, David?”

  “Eww,”  David hadn't expected that question.  “I don't think so.  I think this is just the way your mind has been dealing with all these things.  You were close to Dr. Morin and the details of his murder have been laying heavily on you.  Now that you're apparently getting closer to finding out what is going on with that, your mind is beginning to settle again, so the nightmares are easing off.”

 Heavy sigh.  “They just seem so real,”  Heyes insisted.  “Like I'm really there and talking with him.”

  “The mind is very powerful,”  David explained.  “We really don't have any idea of its full potential.  It can convince us to believe anything we want to believe.  Still, if you believe that the ghost of your friend is coming to you and you're having conversations with him, who am I to say you're wrong?”

  Heyes grinned again.  “You sit on the fence like a real master.”

 “All it takes is a lot of practice.”  David turned to his desk then and jotted down a few points on Heyes' chart.  “So—your nightmares are easing off, your collar bone has healed nicely and your shoulders are also coming along very well.  We've discussed your friend the ghost and your love life—ahh, hmmm....”  David hesitated.  “Perhaps I shouldn't ask....”

 “What?”  Heyes was incredulous.  “You not ask a personal question David?”

  “Yes, well...just keep in mind that it's purely for medical reasons.  I wouldn't dream of prying....”

  “No, of course you wouldn't!”  Heyes teased him.  “You don't need to dream about it—you just do it!”

  “Yes, well...” David repeated.   “It's just about your 'other' problem.  You and Abi are apparently together again.  Have you tried...?”

  Heyes beamed.  “Yes, we did.”

  David nodded.  “I take it from your response that everything went well?”

  “Yes!  It was great!  She's great.  She just seemed to know how to help me through it.”

  “As I told you before,”  David reminded him.  “you just needed to be with someone you know and are comfortable with.  Not feeling defensive, or needing to protect yourself.  Speaking of protection...is she using anything?”

  Heyes' brow creased in confusion.  “Using anything?  What do you mean?”

  “Protection,”  David repeated.  “from pregnancy.”

  “Oh.  I donno,”  Heyes shrugged, looking a little self-conscious.  “I always leave that up to the woman to take care of.  I guess I never even really thought....”

 “After two illegitimate children Hannibal?”  David pointed out.  “If you're going to indulge in pre-marital sex, don't you think you should think about it?”

  Heyes shifted uncomfortably.  David always did find a way to push him into new depths. “I could talk to Abi about that, I suppose.  See if she knows of anything.”   Heyes still didn't feel too comfortable with this topic.  These were women's issues after all, couldn't they just be left with the women?

 David nodded.  “Good idea.  And from what I know of Mrs. Stewart, I expect she is well aware of her options.  I just think that you should be aware of them too.  Ah, but don't tell anyone else that I mentioned that to you.”

  “Not that I would; it is rather personal,”  Heyes commented dryly.  “But why not?”

  “It's illegal,”  David admitted.  “If the wrong people found out that I was giving advice on contraception I could lose my license and possibly even spend six months in prison.”

  Heyes' jaw dropped, then he grinned; a mischievous glint coming into his eye.  David groaned, knowing he had walked right into that one.

  “I knew I could make an outlaw outa you Doc; all it took was the right motivation!”  Heyes grinned even more.  “We could start up a new gang.  You could be our doctor—it'd be kinda handy having a doctor in the gang.  Trish could help out in the kitchen.  Beth could be our bookkeeper!  Maybe we would actually save some of the money we steal this time.  Yeah; this could work.”

 David sat patiently, listening to this recital with a rather scrupulous expression on his face.  Finally Heyes wound it down and shook his head.  “No?”

 “No.”

 “Hmm, I suppose the timings not quite right.”

 “Yeah,”  David mumbled, then took control again.  “Is there anything else we need to discuss?”

 “No, I don't think so,”  Heyes really didn't want to discuss anything else.  “I'm going out of town for a few days.  Going to see Kenny.  The man we think assaulted Beth—among other things has been re-captured and returned to the prison.  Kenny wants me there to help with questioning him.”

 “Yes, I'd heard that,”  David admitted.  “Take it easy out there Hannibal.  Going back to the prison so soon after your release may start things up again.”

 “You mean like the nightmares?”

  “Yes.”

  “I was kinda hoping the opposite might happen,”  Heyes admitted.  “That going back to the prison and getting to the bottom of this little mystery would help to put the nightmares to rest—once and for all!”

 “I'm sure that eventually it will,”  David agreed.  “Just at first, you may find your emotions getting stirred up again.  Take things easy, is all I'm saying.  And don't be too concerned if your nightmares come back for a bit.  It'll be temporary.  Things are moving ahead quite nicely.”

  “Good!”  Heyes was happy with that diagnosis and stood up in preparation of leaving.

 Then they heard the front door opening and the sound of women's voices drifted back to them.  They heard the bedroom door open and little feet galloping down the hallway, past the office door.

  “Momma!  Aunt Randa!  What you get me!?”

  Heyes was instantly alarmed and the two men locked eyes.

  “Go out the back way,”  David suggested.

 “No,”  Heyes shook his head.  “She deserves better than that.  I really should speak with her.”

 David nodded and then both men left the office and made their way into the kitchen.  Miranda looked up and met Heyes' eyes, but then she instantly looked away, the blood draining from her face.  And Heyes felt it again; that knife through his heart.  She was such a fine woman and it hurt him that he'd hurt her.

 Tricia smiled, trying to ease the tension that was so obvious to everyone, even Nathan had stopped nattering on about what was for dinner.

 “Hannibal!  How nice to see you,”  Trich greeted him.  “Are you staying?”

 Heyes glanced over at Miranda for an instant.  “No, I planned on meeting up with the Kid for a drink before he headed back home,”  Heyes admitted.  “Although...”  and here he looked directly at Randa.  “...I was hoping to have a few words with you before I left.  I'll be catching the evening train to Wyoming and I just thought....”

  “Oh,”  Miranda seemed hesitant, feeling the need to bide for time.  “I have a few things that need doing..”

  “Why don't you go meet up with Jed and then come back here for supper?”  Trich offered.  “You're welcome to stay here until your train leaves.  Goodness knows Jed did often enough!”

 Heyes smiled.  “Alright,”  he agreed.  Then he looked over to Miranda again.  “If that's alright with you.”

 Miranda smiled, regaining her composure after seeing him so unexpectedly.  “Yes,”  she assured him with a smile.  “That would be fine.”

  “Good,”  Heyes smiled, relieved that she agreed to see him.  “I'll try to be back here around  5:00.”

  “That would be perfect,”  Tricia agreed.  “Say 'hello' to Jed.”

  “I will.  Ladies—David.”  Heyes said his goodbyes and left.

  Silence settled over the kitchen for a moment.  Then everyone gave a big sigh of relief.

  “Did you talk him into that David?”  Tricia asked her meddling husband.

  “NO!”  David was almost insulted, except that he knew there was usually some truth to that statement.  “This was all Hannibal's idea.”  Then he looked to his cousin.  “He really does want to talk with you Miranda.”

 Miranda smiled and nodded.  “That's fine.  I think it would be good to clear the air a little bit.”


 Heyes trotted through the snow over towards the saloon and entered into that establishment with mixed feelings of relief and anxiety.  Hopefully a beer with his friend would help to clarify things and calm him down a little bit.  He stopped upon entering the saloon and took a quick look around.  As expected, Jed was over by the bar already getting started on his share of the hops.

 Heyes grinned and headed over.  “Hey Partner!”  He greeted his cousin and gave him a jovial slap on the back.

 Kid looked at him suspiciously.  “Okay Heyes, what's goin' on?”

 “Why does something have to be going on?”

 “It's only been a little over an hour since I last saw ya'.  What's with the huge greeting?”

  “I'm just glad to see ya'.  What's wrong with that?”  

 Bill approached him then, an eyebrow asking the question.  Heyes nodded at him, holding up one finger.  Bill disappeared to get him his beer.

  “With you?  Everything,”  Kid answered his question.  “What's up.”

 Bill plunked the beer down in front of Heyes and he took a big time consuming gulp.  Kid waited patiently.  Heyes replenished himself and then set the beer down with a rather contemplative look on his face.

  “I saw Randa over at David's place.”

  “Oh,”  Kid commented quietly.  “How did that go?”

  Heyes nodded.  “Okay,”  he said.  “I told her I wanted to talk with her about all this stuff.”

 “Yeah?  Does she want to talk with you?”

  Heyes took another gulp of beer and then nodded.  “Yeah, she's seems agreeable to that.”

  “What are you going to tell her?”

 “Everything.”

 “Everything?”

  Heyes nodded.  “I think she has the right to know.”

  “Yeah, well.  I suppose,”  Kid sounded a little sceptical.  “You gonna see her before ya' leave town?”

  “Yeah,”  Heyes informed him.  “I'm going over there for dinner since I have to wait for the train anyways.  Then Miranda and I can talk before I leave.”

 Jed took a deep breath and then let it out slowly.  “Okay Heyes,”  he supported his cousin.  “This seems to be your time for tying up loose ends.  I hope it goes well.”

 “Yeah,”  Heyes agreed reflectively.  “Me too.”

  Dinner over at the Gibson's was slightly strained but still pleasant enough.  Heyes spent much of the time playing with Nathan and then carrying on the conversation with him throughout the meal.  When talk did move on to more adult subjects, Heyes discussed what was happening at the prison and his hopes for achieving some clarity now on these odd strings of events that seemed to be somehow connected.

 “So you really think Harris is behind all of what has been going on?”  Tricia asked incredulously.  “Your friend's murder, the assaults on you and that guard during the prison break and the assaults on Beth?”

  “Hmm no,”  Heyes mumbled as he swallowed a mouthful.  “He's a brutal man, but he's not smart enough to be behind those things.  I just believe that he is connected to them—someone else is pulling the strings.  I'm hoping that through questioning him we will be able to find out who and more importantly; why.”

  “Yes,”  Tricia agreed.  “I mean, what possible connection could Beth have to those other things that happened?  It doesn't make sense.”

 “No it doesn't,”  Heyes agreed.  “But the more you dig, the more you find out.  And nobody's better at digging than Abi.”  Then he sent a quick glance over to Miranda, instantly regretting mentioning her name.  “Sorry,”  he said to her.

  Miranda smiled and gave a small shake of her head.  “That's alright.  I realize that Abi is a part of this investigation.   If she can help to solve it then all the better that she's involved.  I think we'd all like to see Beth come home again.”  Then she smiled, mischievously.  “There's a wedding in the works, can't keep putting that off forever!”

  Everyone laughed at that, Miranda's comment lightening the mood.

 “Poor Jed,”  Tricia commented.  “He has been so patient.”

 Dinner finally started to wind down and everyone helped to clear away the dishes.  Tricia put coffee on and then once everyone was settled with a cup, David took Nathan down to his room to read him a bedtime story and Tricia announced that she had a letter to write that evening and disappeared into the sitting room.  Heyes and Miranda found themselves sitting alone at the kitchen table, nursing their coffees, neither of them not quite sure where to begin.

 “Randa...” Heyes began.

 “I heard.” Randa kept her head high, but there was real fragility in her tone. “Mrs. Stewart is back.”

 “Yes, she is. I want to explain. I never meant to hurt you. As you know I’m leaving town for a few days, so I really wanted to speak with you before I do.”

 Randa nodded. “Yes, I was afraid this would happen.” She sighed heavily and sat at the table, rolling her handkerchief through her fingers. “You chose her. I suppose it’s logical if you have history.”

 He shifted his chair a little closer to the table, reaching out a hand to take hers, “Randa, I do love you, you know.”

 She let out a strangled cry, muffling it down with her handkerchief before composing herself. “Oh, yes?”

 “Yes, Randa. I really do.” Heyes leaned forward fixing her with emotional dark eyes. “I expected nothing when I came here, and I met a wonderful, kind, beautiful woman. She reached out to me in compassion, asking for nothing in return – and I hurt her. I’ll never be sorrier for anything as long as I live.”

 She withdrew her hand from his and tugged at the lace of her handkerchief.   Heyes sighed deeply; this was not going to be easy.

 “I have something else to tell you that I feel you have the right to know,”  he began quietly.  “ Oh dear!  Abi doesn't want the whole town to know, but it seems to be growing into the worst kept secret since the governor offered us amnesty.”

 Miranda sent him a questioning look.  Heyes hesitated.  “What is it?”  she asked him.

 “I'm almost scared to tell you,”  he admitted with a self-deprecating smile.  “I'm afraid you'll think me an even worse cad than you do already.  That you'll push me away as a shameful lout and not even want to know me on any level.”

 Miranda smiled, almost teasing him.  “You mean you've done worse than rob banks and crack safes and con people into giving you their money?”

 Heyes groaned.  “Well, when you put it like that....”  He smiled but then took her hand again and his expression sobered.  “As you know, Abi and I have a lot of history.  We also have a child together.”

 Randa gave a gasp and he felt the emotional shock go through her. “A child!?  You mean you and Abigail are married!?”

 Heyes dropped his eyes and shook his head.  “No.  We never married.”

 Silence settled over the table as Miranda tried to take all of this in.

“I was going to tell you, but it never seemed to be the right time,”  Heyes continued softly.  “We have a daughter, she’s ten now.”

 Randa’s blue eyes widened. “So when she talked about her husband who died – she was talking about you?”

 He shook his head. “No, she was a widow when I met her.  But using her married name, and telling people that our daughter is actually his, saves Anya from being seen as illegitimate. You know what that can do to a child.”

 Randa nodded. “Anya? What a lovely name.”

 “It was my mother’s name. We didn’t part because we were wrong for one another, Randa, we parted because our eldest daughter was murdered. Anya was our second child.” His voice rasped with emotion. “He was aiming for me, Randa, and he hit Becky. That’s why Abi wouldn’t let me near her, or Anya, not because we were wrong together. She was protecting our daughter.”

 “Oh!” Randa stood and wandered aimlessly over to the range. She poured herself another cup of coffee absentmindedly. “I don’t know what to say. ‘I’m sorry’ just doesn’t seem strong enough. That’s terrible! Abigail clearly never stopped loving you.”
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Keays

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Posts : 1435
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 60
Location : Camano Island Washington

PostSubject: History Repeating   Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:30 am

“You have nothing to be sorry for,” Heyes stood and walked over to her. “It’s timing. I have a lot of unfinished business with Abi,” he stretched out an arm and gently turned her towards him. “You and I just never had the time to build that together.” He looked deeply into her eyes and smiled. “There was so much promise there... so much to hope for. You have no idea the difference that made to me. For so long all I had in my life was time, and that was running out fast. Hope was an impossible dream in there.”

“But it can’t compete with history and a family,” she murmured.

“It wasn’t a competition,” he gently stroked her face. “There’s nobody to hold a candle to you. I have a very hard time letting people love me. I’m damaged and messed-up, Randa. There are still things I have to work through. I thought I’d forgotten her... but I guess I forgot to.”

She dropped her head. “Do you remember when I told you about how much I loved my late husband?”

“Yes.”

“Your old love has come back. I know what I’d do if William walked through that door,” she turned compassionate eyes up to him and smiled. “You’ve behaved honourably, Hannibal. Some men would lead women on. You’ve been honest, at a time when you’ve been under a lot of strain. I truly respect you for that, and I wish you nothing but the best.”

Heyes gave a groan. “See? There you go again. Do you know how hard it is to walk away from a woman like you?”

“Torture, I hope?” Randa desperately hoped that her forced chuckle covered the sound of her soul shattering on the floorboards around her like shards of glass. “And I hope that Abi will feel that I will welcome her as a friend. She has also done nothing she should be ashamed of. It’s bad timing, as you say. Maybe in another life, huh?”

Heyes tucked a tendril of hair behind her ear. “Another life? It’s a date.” He turned away from her, shaking his head ruefully. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I would never have started anything if I’d thought for a moment there’d be anything with Abi, or any other woman for that matter.”

“That I certainly do believe.” She patted his arm and smiled at him. “I hope this doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. I am very fond of you, and we see the Jordans all the time.”

“That’s what I hoped too,” Heyes watched as she took a sip from her coffee cup. “It’ll be hard, but... it’s something,” he shrugged, hopelessly. “I don’t want to lose you.”

“Me neither. I’m glad we’ve sorted this out.” She went back to the table to sit down again. “I truly do care for you Hannibal and I wish you all the best. Can you stay a little longer?”

Heyes shook his head. “I have to get on, the train will be leaving soon.” He followed her out into the hallway and donned his gun belt and coat before he put his hand on the front door knob, his heart breaking at the veiled pain in her eyes. “Oh, God, I’m so sorry, Randa.” He reached out and pulled her to him in a deep, wistful kiss.

She pulled back, smiling into his eyes. “I know you are. We both are, but it is, what it is.” She gently pushed him away with a soft hand on each shoulder. “In another life, Hannibal.”

“Yes, another life,” he gave a heavy sigh and walked out into the street.

She watched him go before she closed the door and leaned on it with her back against it, tears streaming down her face.

“Oh, my poor darling!” Tricia bustled down the hallway to her cousin. “It’s true? Abi’s come back?”

“They have a child, Tricia,” Randa sobbed, “her daughter is his.”

“No!” Tricia cast accusing eyes at her husband. “Did you know about this?”

David gave a silent shrug, neither confirming or denying, and walked back into his office. Some things were simply not worth arguing about.

Tricia wrapped a comforting arm around her cousin. “Come with me. You’re staying here tonight, and I won’t hear a word against that. You need family right now.”


Late that evening, Heyes and Jacobs settled into their seats on the north bound train and prepared for a long night of travel. Right from the start Heyes felt uneasy; he had known even before David had pointed it out that this trip was going to be difficult. The last time he had been on this train had been to also go visit with Kenny, but this was an entirely different situation; this time he was actually going all the way back to the prison.

Most of the other passenger were sleeping, or at least trying to sleep as the sheriff and his charge sat and waited for the train to get under way. Heyes had the window seat and again sat looking at his reflection in the glass and feeling that odd shiver of deja vu washing over him. Sitting in the window seat with a lawman sitting beside him, looking into his own dark eyes staring back at him.

He saw the same man there as he had five years ago; the same man, but again different somehow. Not really much older—no, that wasn't it. Wiser? Perhaps. Calmer—definitely. A little nervous and uneasy, yes but not the fear that had squeezed at his throat. And not that weariness he had felt; that bone deep, all encompassing exhaustion that had pulled him away from the inquisitive gaze of a playful boy and sent him into a disparaging, spiralling self-examination.

They heard the train's whistle sound off in the night and then the car jolted into motion as they began to pull out of the depot. Heyes sighed and turned away from the window then; there was nothing to see out there, just cold and snow and he'd seen enough of that.

“I'm going to try and get some sleep,” Jacobs announced. “I might suggest that you do the same if we're going to be of any use tomorrow.”

“Yeah I will,” Heyes agreed. “I think I'm going to read for awhile though, if the lamp light won't bother you.”

“No that's fine. Go ahead,” Jacobs assured him as he crossed his arms and settled deeper into the seat. “Fell asleep enough times over at the jailhouse with the lights burning.”

Heyes smiled over at him and then reached into his satchel and pulled out a book of short stories that he had been reading on and off whenever he had the time. Just as in the prison, he found reading to be a good way to relax his mind and help him to fall asleep and tonight he figured he would need some help in that endeavour.

He opened up the book where he had previously left off and disappeared into the story. Five hours later he woke up to near darkness. Someone had come by and turned down the lamp and settled a blanket over him while he'd slept. Again, he thought fleetingly that his instincts must be slipping if he had allowed that to happen and not be awakened by it.

The train was still chugging its way towards Laramie and though the snow outside was throwing up a hint of reflected light, the dawn had not yet put in an appearance. Heyes glanced over at his companion to find him still asleep and he sighed with frustrated boredom. He considered going back to the book that was still splayed open upon his lap but decided not to as he was still half asleep and wasn't much in the mood for reading. He looked out the window again and then his eyes closed and the light of dawn awoke him an hour later.

The few other passengers in the car were also beginning to stir and Heyes yawned and stretched as best he could in the cramped quarters. The seat beside him was empty and he wondered briefly where Jacobs had gotten to, but then when his own morning necessity started making demands, he no longer wondered. Sure enough, within a couple of minutes Jacobs returned and greeted him.

“'Mornin' Heyes,” he mumbled with a stifled yawn. “The privy's clear right now if you want to pop in there.”

“Yup, think I will,” Heyes agreed and standing up he slipped past the sheriff and headed to the private room at the rear of the car.

When he got back to the seats, Jacobs had procured two cups of coffee and handed one over to him as soon as he got settled back into his seat.

“Should be in Laramie soon,” Jacobs announced. “I figure we can get breakfast there, then get a couple of rooms at the hotel and get cleaned up before we head to the prison. The warden is expecting us later this morning, so we have some time.”

“Hmm,” Heyes nodded as he took an appreciative sip of coffee. “When will Steven be there?”

“Wouldn't be surprised if he's there already,” Jacobs informed him. “He's just as eager to get to the bottom of this as we are.”

“I find that hard to believe,” Heyes countered. “He's not the one getting nightmares.”

“We all have our motivations,” Jacobs pointed out. “So long as we're all on the same page, I suppose that's all that matters.”

Heyes nodded and went back to staring out the window; the landscape was beginning to look very familiar again. The old haunts were still out there with so much of Wyoming looking like any other part of the state until you really got to know it. The landscape just blended from one grove of scrub brush to another until all landmarks looked the same. But Heyes could tell the difference; he always seemed to know exactly where he was in this state. It was home to him, more than Kansas had ever been home and for now, more than Colorado was home.

But it was a haunted landscape now and he wondered if he would ever be able to come here and feel comfortable again. It was still home, but it was a broken home; full of pain and fear and loneliness and he couldn't look upon the familiar terrain without a trace of sadness and loss.

The train pulled into the station at Laramie and some of the passengers, including Heyes and Jacobs disembarked and made their way over to the hotel. There was a bit of a line up to get rooms booked, with everyone arriving at the same time but still the clerk was accustomed to the hustle and bustle that train arrival often caused and he got through the throng quite quickly.

“Ah, Mr. Jacobs,” the clerk smiled up at the lawman. “Yes, we got your reservations. Two rooms beside one another, a single bed in each.”

“That's right,” Jacobs confirmed. “We're going to go get some breakfast so if you could have someone take our bags up to our rooms that would be appreciated.”

“Certainly sir,” the clerk nodded as Jacobs signed the register and then slid it over to Heyes to sign.

“Mr. Jacobs, you will be in room 310, and Mr....” the clerk swivelled the register around to read Heyes' name. “....Oh! Mr. Heyes, of course. Sorry, I didn't recognize you with hair.” Then he smiled a little apolitically, realizing that he had probably made a mistake in etiquette. “Sorry. Ah, you'll be in room 312, alright.”

“Ah, no!” Heyes stated quite blatantly. “No, that's not alright.”

Both the sheriff and the clerk frowned and sent the third man a questioning look. Heyes swallowed, looking a little uncomfortable and then smiled an apology himself.

“Ah, 312 was my cell number,” he explained to the sheriff. “I know it's silly, but I'd rather not....”

“Oh! No no,” Jacobs assured him. “No I can understand you not wanting that room. We can switch. You take 310 and I'll take 312—how's that?”

Heyes smiled with relief. “Yeah, that'd be fine.”

Jacobs nodded over to the clerk who quickly switched the room numbers around on the register and then smiled back at the two gentlemen.

“There we go, all taken care of,” the clerk assured him. “I'll make sure your bags are put in the appropriate rooms. There's a very nice cafe just across the street—they serve a fine breakfast.”

“Thank you,” Jacobs told him and they turned and headed back outside.

Heyes was about to step off the boardwalk and head over to the familiar cafe when Jacobs grabbed him by the arm and swung him back around to stay on their side of the street. Then he started off at a walk, bringing Heyes along with him.

“Where are we going?” Heyes asked him, suddenly feeling a little anxious; he still had a hard time handling the unexpected—especially where a lawman was concerned.

“Just gotta let Sheriff McPherson know we're in town.”

“But why?” asked Heyes, hoping to avoid that particular gentleman. “I'm with you!”

“Doesn't matter,” Jacobs informed him. “You still need to sign in with the local law. C'mon, it won't take but a minute.”

Heyes groaned but meekly followed along in the sheriff's wake. When he thought about it, he supposed it made sense; this wasn't Jacobs' town after all. They carried on down the street for a block, turned the corner towards the familiar part of the town square and then entered into the sheriff's office. McPherson was sitting behind his desk as usual and glanced up from his paperwork and morning coffee as the two men entered his domain.

“Ahh,” he commented. “back again, are ya'?” Then he opened the drawer of his desk and pulled out the ledger and flipped it open.

“Howdy Sheriff!” Heyes greeted him with a big smile. “How are you this morning?”

“Hmm,” McPherson wasn't impressed. “Sheriff Jacobs?”

“That's right,” Jacobs extended his hand and the two law officers shook. “I assume you know why we're in town?”

“Oh yeah,” McPherson informed him. “It's about all anybody can talk about these days. Doc Morin was a popular man. If that bastard, Harris can shed some light on what really happened that day, all the better.” Then he sent a scrutinizing look over to Heyes. “But what the hell do they need you here for is what I don't understand.”

Heyes opened his mouth to answer but Sheriff Jacobs beat him to it.

“Mr. Heyes was a witness to a number of the events that Mr. Harris is going to be questioned about,” the visiting sheriff informed the local one. “He is here to help collaborate what Mr. Harris offers and perhaps to, shall we say; encourage him to remember certain details which may slip the inmate's mind.”

“Uh huh,” was McPherson's sceptical response. “Well, far be it from me....just sign in Mr. Heyes.”

Heyes smiled and taking the offered pen, dipped it in the ink well and bent to sign the ledger. He had to flip over one more page to find an empty place; apparently there had been a few inmates signing out of this place of late. Heyes did a quick scan of some of the names to see if there were any that he recognized and a couple did jump out at him. Johnston had been released about a week ago, oh! And Ames! Hmm, hopefully he wasn't going to track down his old prison buddy, Kyle and start trouble. That was something Kyle did not need.

Oh well. Heyes signed his name with the date and straightened up to smile back at the sheriff again.

“Fine,” said McPherson. “How long to you expect to be in town?”

“Oh, no more than a couple of days, I hope,” Heyes answered him.

“Uh huh. Well, just make sure ya' sign out before ya' leave.”

“Yessir Sheriff,” Heyes grinned even more.

McPherson sighed. Hannibal Heyes was known for his cockiness, obviously prison hadn't changed him that much.
The two sheriff's said their good-byes and then Heyes and Jacobs made their way back out to the street and over towards the cafe for a much anticipated breakfast.

“Hannibal!!” came the enthusiastic greeting from the waitress. “My goodness son! How're ya' doin'!?”

Heyes grinned and actually stood up to give the waitress a kiss on the cheek. “Hello Lisa, good to see you again.”

“Oh my! You little flirt!” she teased him, but ginning with pleasure anyways. “You sure are lookin' fine! Still a little on the skinny side, but you're gettin' there!” Then she leaned in and added in a conspiratorial whisper... “Ya' know the man sittin' across from ya' here is wearin' a tin badge on his vest. Ya' know that don't ya'?”

Heyes chuckled and then tried hard not to laugh out loud at Jacobs' rather disconcerting look that had settled onto his face.

“Yeah, I know Lisa,” he assured her. “Sheriff Jacobs, this is Lisa. She's a friend.”

Jacobs stood up and tipped his hat to her. “Ma'am.”

Lisa smiled and gave him a pat on the arm. “Howdy Sheriff,” she greeted him. “Don't you mind me none, I'm just teasin'! You can ask Hannibal here, he'll tell ya'; I'm always just teasin'.”

Jacobs sat back down again with a look across the table to Heyes, but Heyes just smiled.

“You fellas want coffee?” Lisa asked needlessly.

“Oh yes!”

“Fine. You know what ya' want to eat?”

“Steak and eggs,” Heyes announced without missing a beat. “Medium and sunny side up.”

Lisa grinned. “I had a feelin' you'd be orderin' that! How about you handsome?”

“Sounds good to me,” Jacobs agreed. “I'll have the same.”

“Mighty fine! I'll be right back with your coffee's.”

And off she went to place their order. Jacobs chuckled and shook his head.

“She's a real kick in the ass, ain't she,” he commented.

Heyes grinned. “Yup. She's the main reason Jed and I come back to this cafe whenever we're in town. She's just so entertaining. The food's pretty good too.”

Lisa showed up then with a tray full of coffee cups and utensils.

“Here ya' go fellas—good strong coffee.” She smiled and have Heyes a pat on the shoulder. “So where's that gorgeous blue eyed partner of yours?” she asked him. “I ain't seen Jed in ages! He not come with ya' this trip?”

“No, not this time,” Heyes informed her. “He's kinda busy back home.”

“Oh, that's a shame. You say 'hello' to him for me, okay?”

“Sure Lisa.”

“Say; wasn't he gettin' married this past summer?”

“Ah, yeah but something came up and they had to postpone it.”

“Oh, that's a shame,” Lisa repeated, but this time with a bit more feeling. “Nothin' too serious I hope.”

“No no,” Heyes assured her. “Just postponed, not cancelled or anything. It's gonna happen.”

“Well I certainly hope so,” Lisa stated. “Jed'll make a fine catch of a husband.”

Heyes smiled again as Lisa took herself off to tend to her other customers. Ten minutes later, steaks and more coffee showed up at the table and both men settled into a fine breakfast. All was good in the world.


Forty-five minutes later the two men returned to their respective hotel rooms in order to tidy up before heading to the prison. Heyes had a hard time deciding just what exactly he was feeling. He stood in front of the mirror with his shirt off and shaving cream covering the lower half of his face. He carefully began to shave his stubble with the straight edge, scraping away the remnants of a night on the train and an awkward sleep.

He finished shaving most of his face and dipped the blade into the basin of water to clean it off. Then he brought the utensil up again to scrape away the cream and hair from his throat and a light of remembrance came into his dark eyes; a light of sadness. So many memories came flooding back, so much hurt. He paused and stood there for a moment, the straight edge held in limbo between past and present and his left hand moved over to his throat, tracing along the thin line that ran from ear to ear. It was so subtle, barely noticeable; the slightly raised welt could easily have been mistaken for a simple fold in the skin. But he knew better.

His thoughts went back again, to that terrible day when he had lost one of the best friends he'd ever had; a friendship forged all that stronger because of the furnace in which it was made. Made and then broken. Heyes' jaw clenched involuntarily, his lips tightening over his teeth in anger. Now they'd come to it. They had Harris in their clenches and Heyes could see him in his mind's eye, holding the Doc in his grasp, leaving him open for the assault and Heyes' heart rate picked up and his breathing became short and shallow as his anger increased.

Heyes dipped his blade into the bowl of water again and finished shaving. His emotions were no longer ambiguous. He would find it hard returning to the prison; he knew that. But that hardness had grown into determination; determination to see this through and to make sure that Harris paid for what he'd done. Paid for what he'd help to take away from Heyes. Paid for what he'd tried to take away from Jed and for what he had taken away from so many others.

He wiped the remaining cream from his face and gave himself a close scrutiny in the mirror to make sure that none of those pesky little hairs remained and then he sighed and nodded to himself. He was looking better these days, even he could see it and he didn't care if David was going to continue pestering him to eat more. David had to pester his friends about something or he'd think that he wasn't doing his job; it's just the way that man was put together. Heyes could accept that, even admire it but he wasn't going to let it get to him.

He turned to his bed and started to get dressed. Not into the same clothes that he'd been wearing and slept through the night in, but a clean set. Freshly washed and pressed before going into the satchel and now taken out and given a sharp snap to hopefully remove any wrinkles that had thought to settle in. He wasn't going to be wearing a suit—for one thing, he didn't have a decent suit yet; that would be a special purchase for Jed's wedding. Besides, he didn't think a suit would really be appropriate for a job like this—he might get blood on it.

No; he thought it would be fitting to wear the same clothing he'd worn that distant day when he had left the prison a free man. They even fit him better now. Proof in the pudding that, despite David's cajoling, Heyes was indeed gaining weight. Or, well...maybe because of it. He donned himself in these items and then stood before the mirror one more time and nodded. Yes; he was ready.

Then a knock to his door and Jacobs' voice beckoning him let him know that it was time that they departed.


Jacobs rented the surrey and drove them both up to the prison, occasionally sending a speculative glance over to his charge. Despite Heyes' earlier resolve to stay in control, the sight of that imposing structure slowly getting closer and closer caused anxiety to chip away at his hard outer shell and slowly seep into his soft flesh and burn at his gut. In this bleak, flat and cold landscape the prison loomed up out of the distance and simply became more and more threatening as they drove closer to it.

“You alright Heyes?” Jacobs asked him, not only seeing, but feeling the subtle current of fear taking hold of his companion.

“What...?” Heyes nearly choked on it. He swallowed. “Yeah. I thought I'd prepared myself for this, but....”

“If you don't want to carry on....”

“No,” Heyes swallowed again. “I have to see this through. Too much depends on it.”

Jacobs nodded and gave the horse a slap with the lines to encourage it to move out a bit faster. Perhaps the sooner they got inside the building the less intimidating it would be.

Ten minutes later they pulled up at the front entrance way, not needing to go through the main gates this time as they were official guests of the institution, not an arriving or departing inmate. Heyes felt awkward coming this way, he had only entered and exited through the main yard but this time it was different and he'd better get used to it. He took a deep breath as they disembarked and one of the lower end guards led the horse and surrey away to the employee's private stable. Heyes stood for a moment, looking up at this hated structure, at this center piece of all his nightmares and he decided then and there that he wasn't going to let it win.

His resolve strengthened and he donned his armour of self-confidence, his facade of cockiness and he glanced over at the sheriff to find that man watching him. Heyes sent him a haughty grin and strode through the front door of the Wyoming Territorial Prison as though he owned the place. Jacobs snorted and shook his head; he knew it was all an act, but he had to admire the spunk!

Heyes led the way down the hall towards the offices, not bothering to wait for an escort, since he already knew the way. They approached the reception desk and Heyes' forced smile spread into a genuine one.

“Good morning Mr. Thompson,” he greeted the guard. “Taken over the position of secretary I see.” Thompson glared up at him. Heyes grinned even more. “Mr. Heyes and Sheriff Jacobs to see Warden Reece. I do believe he is expecting us.”

Both men could see Thompson's neck muscles tense. “Just a moment. I'll see if he is ready to receive you...” Then his gaze shifted to Jacobs, not being able to honour Heyes with the formal; “...Sir.”

“Thank you,” Heyes responded quite pleasantly.

Thompson sent a withering look his way but then rose to his feet and knocked on the office door. Heyes heard the familiar voice responding from inside.

“Your 11:00 appointment is here, Sir.” You could just tell that this whole episode was sticking in Thompson's craw.

“Good! Please show them in.”

Thompson turned back to the visitors. “This way,” he grumbled.

Heyes smiled at him, nodded an acknowledgement and walked into the office. Jacobs followed with a subtle smile on his face.

Heyes' smile warmed as Kenny stood up to greet them. The warden extended his hand and Heyes grasped it with a friendly shake.

“Heyes! Good to see you. How are you holding up? You a little nervous?”

“No, no!” Heyes insisted boldly. “I'm fine.”

Kenny smiled. “Then how come your palms are sweaty?”

Heyes' facade cracked. “Alright fine!” he admitted, feeling disappointed but not surprised that he hadn't been able to pull one over on the ex-guard. “I'm scared to death, but I'm not about to let Harris know that!”

“Good.”

“Ah, Kenny, this is Carl Jacobs. He's the sheriff over in Brookswood,” Heyes introduced them. “Sheriff Jacobs, Warden Kenny Reece.”

The two men shook hands and Kenny motioned them into the waiting chairs. “Would you like anything to drink?” he asked them. “I know it's cold out, perhaps some coffee?”

“No thanks Kenny,” Heyes said. “I think I've already drank a whole pot before heading out here. That might have been a mistake.”

Kenny grinned at him. “You know where the facilities are.”

“Uh huh.”

“I'm fine as well Warden,” Jacobs answered him. “But thank you anyways.”

“Alright. Lets get down to business then, shall we?” Kenny started things in motion. “Mr. Granger is already here; he's down in the lounge getting his notes in order. Mr. Briscoe is also here.”

“Harry's here?” Heyes asked a little incredulously. “I thought he went back to Denver.”

“No,” Kenny informed him. “He was part of the escort that brought Harris back here and he wanted to stay on for the questioning. He may actually be of some use since he did witness Harris admitting to the assault upon Beth Jordan.”

“Oh. Yes,” Heyes mumbled. “All we have to do is find out why.”

“Hmm,” Kenny nodded. “I don't want you getting too actively involved with the questioning Heyes, at least not right away. You can be in the room so that Harris can see you and that just might be enough to throw him off balance. But I want Mr. Granger to do most of the questioning; the rest of us are mainly there to collaborate what Harris says. Alright?”

Heyes looked disappointed. “Oh.”

“Let's just see how it goes, alright?” Kenny tried to soften the blow. “You're not an officer of the court Heyes. You were a witness to much of what went on, just as I was so let's just see how cooperative Mr. Harris intends to be.”

Heyes nodded, seeing the wisdom in that. “Yeah, alright.”

The three men approached the lounge area to find Steven and Harry in deep conversation. Apparently Steven had requested that Harry take notes during the upcoming interrogation as it would require a quick and nimble mind to keep up with the questions and answers and Steven could not think of a better person to do that than Harry Briscoe. Harry was quite happy to accept the honoured position and was quite full of himself by the time the rest of the party showed up.

“Steven! How are you?” Heyes greeted his lawyer, quickly becoming a friend. “How's Bridget and Rosie?”

Steven smiled and shook Heyes' hand. “We're all fine, Heyes. Though Bridget is getting a little home sick and missing everyone. She and Clem say 'hello'.”

“Same back,” Heyes responded. “I miss her too. And I even miss Clem a little bit. It'll be nice to see them again.” Then Heyes offered his hand to the Bannerman man. “Hi'ya Harry. I thought you said you would have Abi back by lunch time!”

“Oh now, Heyes! You can't blame me for that!” Harry was instantly on the defensive. “You didn't tell me she was so head strong—and mean too.”

“I'd 'a thought you already had that figured out!”

“Well...yeah...” Harry was grasping at straws. “And we did track Harris down and take him into custody—we did that for ya' Heyes!”

“With a little help from some friends of mine,” Heyes reminded him.

“Well...yeah...” was repeated, but then he puffed himself up again. “But a good detective knows when to accept help from outside sources. They're not gonna forget that it was a Bannerman man who brought Harris back to face justice!”

Heyes grinned, his teasing over with. “Yeah Harry. It's good to see ya'.”

“You too Heyes. You too.”

“Sheriff Jacobs,” Kenny interrupted. “I'm sorry, but if you and Heyes could please leave your firearms over at the counter there, that would be appreciated. You can pick them up again on your way out.”

“Oh, of course warden,” Jacobs readily agreed. This precaution made perfect sense to him.

“Oh yeah,” Heyes went along with it as well and the two men unbuckled their gun belts and handed them over to the attendant.

“Gentlemen,” Steven announced. “shall we proceed?”

Heyes instantly felt the fist take hold of his stomach again but he hid it well and with a smile and a nod, they all made their way over to the door that Murrey was standing guard at. Heyes acknowledged him, feeling as though he were walking in a dream; this was so strange and then Murrey opened the door to allow them all to enter and Heyes got hit again with a deja vu moment.

Suddenly he found himself back inside the visitor's room—the very same one where he had been brought so many times, shackled hand and foot, to receive his company. He hadn't recognized it coming at it from the opposite door and then, there he was standing on the other side of that table, looking over at another clean shaven prisoner, wearing stripes and shackles and snarling in defiance of his jailers.

Heyes and Harris locked eyes for the first time since that horrid day and Heyes forgot all about being nervous. He could feel the anger and the hatred rising up in him and the desire to reach across the table and beat the living daylights out of that man was almost too much for him to resist. Harris' expression at first was shock at seeing his old nemeses but then his eyes hardened and he dared the ex-convict to do what his body language was so clearly conveying.

Jacobs touched Heyes' arm, breaking the lock-on and instantly easing the tension in the room. Steven glanced over at his friend, hoping that bringing him into this hadn't been a bad idea. Kenny on the other hand felt that they were off to a good start. Harris was already on edge and an edgy man made mistakes.

Everyone took their seats, facing the prisoner and it was only then, as Murrey moved around to stand behind the convict that Heyes noticed that Pearson was also in attendance. Nobody was taking any chances with Harris, but what Heyes didn't realize was that they weren't taking any chances with Heyes either. Everyone knew there was bad blood between these two and things were very likely to get heated.

“Mr. Harris,” Kenny acknowledged the inmate. “I believe you already know Mr. Briscoe and Mr. Heyes.” Harris sat sullenly, sending glares over to the two individuals whom he had good reason to dislike. “This is Sheriff Jacobs from Brookswood; I believe he has some questions for you concerning a Miss Beth Jordan. And this is Mr. Granger, a lawyer from Denver. You do have the right to refuse to answer question from Mr. Granger since he has not been officially assigned to you as your council, but since we will not be discussing any crimes for which you have not already accepted responsibility for I strongly suggest you co-operate.”

Harris snarled even more; like a wild animal trapped in a corner. “Why should I answer any questions from any of you? Maybe I'll just wait until I can get my own lawyer.”

“Yes you could,” Kenny agreed. “but as the warden of this institution I have the right to ask you any questions I deem necessary and I also have at my disposal certain methods to encourage you to answer.”

“We could always hang him from his heels from the third level walkway,” Heyes suggested. “Or suspend him from the ceiling by his wrists. I'm positive he'd be will to answer some question after a few hours of that.”

“Heyes.” Kenny smiled inwardly, but sent him a subtle warning anyways.

“What?” Heyes shrugged his shoulders innocently. “I'm just sayin'....”

Much to Kenny's amusement, Heyes' little threat did wonders to change Harris' attitude. He looked even more sullen and resentful, but he shifted uncomfortably against his shackles and swallowed nervously. He didn't know how much clout Heyes might have in this group and he also knew that the ex-convict would have no problems with carrying out his threats.

Heyes smiled at him.

“Fine!” Harris submitted with a snarl. “Ask your damn questions. I'll decide if I want to answer them or not as we go.”

“Thank you for your co-operation, Mr. Harris,” Kenny responded, then nodded to Steven. “Mr. Granger, you may begin.”

“Alright,” Steven began, and gave a little cough which seemed to be becoming a habit with him before starting a new litigation. “I believe we all know why we're here. Mr. Harris, you stand accused of committing a number of crimes not only here at the prison but also later while you were in the state of Colorado.” Harris' response was a simple snarl. “It is these crimes that we will be discussing with you here today. The other incidences in Nebraska and Kansas for which you stand accused will be taken up by officials from those states. Do you understand?”

“I ain't done nothin' in Nebraska and Kansas,” Harris growled. “and I was brought back here under false pretences.”

The other gentlemen in the room sat in shocked silence for a moment before Steven stepped up once again.

“The assault upon Dr. Morin and the attempted murder of Beth Jordan not withstanding, you were still a fugitive from this institution,” Steven pointed out. “That in itself warranted your return here.”

Harris snorted. “You'd 'a never 'a caught me if I hadn't been tricked!”

It was Heyes' turn to snort but Steven put a hand on his arm to silence him.

“In what way were you tricked Mr. Harris?” the lawyer asked him. “Men were hired to track you down and return you to this prison. It is as simple as that.”

“You weren't supposed to use friends a' mine to do it!” Harris complained. “How's a fella supposed to stand a chance if he can't even trust his friends!?”

Steven had to fight hard not to laugh at the absurdity of that accusation. Heyes, on the other hand took instant insult.

“Since when did you consider Murtry your friend!?” Heyes demanded. “You killed Lobo and then you and Mac did your damnedest to do the same to Kyle...!”

“Yeah, Murtry and Carlson!” Harris practically spit while mentioning their names. “Damn traitors! Both of 'em!”

“What are you talkin' about?” Heyes shot back at him. “Wheat Carlson's dead!”

“Like hell he is!” Harris shouted back. “Hell, I spent all last winter with both him and Murtry up in Montana! You think I don't know what Carlson looks like!? He's alive and kickin' and YOU BLODDY WELL KNOW IT!”

“YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT....”

“Heyes settle,” was all Steven had to said to him.

Heyes stopped in mid accusation, realizing that the argument was just going to go in circles and that he was, after all arguing the losing end. He grumbled but sat back in his chair again. Kenny didn't allow his expression to change but he was pleased to see Heyes getting under Harris' skin. As long as Heyes could keep his dislike of this man from controlling him, this ploy could work out well for them.

“You broke legal custody and committed a number of new crimes in the process,” Steven reminded the convict. “That in itself would justify whatever means we felt necessary to apprehend you and return you to this institution.”

“And who ever heard of a woman being part of a posse!?'' Harris just didn't seem to know when to leave things alone. “Do you have any idea how degrading it is to have a WOMAN actin' like she's the boss of ya'!?”

“Sounds kinda fitting to me,” Heyes put in. “considering the way you treat women.”

Harris snarled at Heyes again. “What the hell you doin' here anyways, Heyes? You ain't no law official!”

“Mr. Heyes is here by my request,” the warden informed the convict. “As I'm sure you recall, he and I were both witnesses to certain incidences in which you were involved. This way we can both collaborate in judging the truth of your statements. Even if one of us is unsure of the events, with both of us here we will be able to tell if you have chosen to prevaricate.”

Harris looked confused and then annoyed at being confused. “WHAT!?”

“Lie, Mr. Harris,” Steven informed him.

Harris was not pleased; he felt like he was being ganged up on here—and he was right.

“Now,” Steven began again. “June 14th and 15th of 1888. Do you recall what happened on those two days, Mr. Harris?”

Harris shrugged and then sneered at the lawyer. “Those dates don't mean nothin'.”

Heyes felt resentful anger rising up again but he kept it in check; this idiot probably couldn't even read a calendar let alone remember the dates.

“June 14th,” Steven reiterated. “The day of your escape from this institution. The day of Dr. Morin's death. June 15th; the day of your assault with intent to kill upon Mr. Heyes and Mr. Reece and also the day of the deaths of Mr. Boeman, Mr. Warren and Mr. MacKenzie. Do those dates mean something to you now, Mr. Harris?”

Harris shifted uncomfortably. “Yeah, yeah okay. What about 'em?”

“There is some...confusion, let's say—of who exactly organized that escape,” Steven informed him. “We were hoping you could shed some light on that.”

“What do ya' mean; who organized it?” Harris retorted. “Boeman was in charge—and a fine mess he made of it too.”

“Mr. Boeman?” Steven repeated.

“Yeah.”

“Another inmate.”

“Yeah!”

“An inmate organized a team of horses and a wagon full of food and a change of clothes to be waiting for you outside the prison gates?”

Again, Harris appeared uncomfortable.

“An inmate made sure there were no guards in the watchtowers and that the front gate was mysteriously left un-locked that afternoon,” Steven continued. Harris didn't respond but sat sullenly looking down at the table. Steven sighed dramatically, then continued. “Mr. Heyes also reports overhearing Mr. MacKenzie complaining to Mr. Boeman about taking Heyes and Mr. Reece with you as hostages. He apparently wasn't too comfortable with that scenario. Mr. Heyes also states that Mr. Boeman responded that 'that was part of the plan'. What plan was that, Mr. Harris?”

“Well...hostages—to use in the escape.”

“You had Mr. Heyes as a hostage, you also could have had Dr. Morin as a hostage,” Steven pointed out. “But instead, Mr. Boeman went out of his way to attack Dr. Morin thereby eliminating him as a hostage and putting you all into a dangerous situation by having to wait for a guard to show up. Why would he do that?”

“Morin didn't have keys to the outer doors!” Harris explained, showing his contempt for these imbeciles. “Only the guards have those keys!”

“But you had Mr. Heyes with you,” Steven again pointed out the obvious. “Indeed, Mr. Boeman stated that Mr. Heyes was coming along with you as a hostage because of his ability to open locked doors without a key. So why would Mr. Boeman eliminate Dr. Morin as a possible hostage and take the risk of waiting for an armed guard to show up when you already had an expert locksmith...” a gesture over to Heyes at this comment. “...with you?”

Harris was really getting agitated now, shuffling about nervously and inadvertently rattling his manacles. “How should I know?” he finally snarled. “Boeman didn't tell me everything they had planned.”

“They?” Steven asked. “Who else had planned this?”

Harris' lips pulled back from his teeth in a snarl as he realized his slip up. “No one else!” he insisted. “Boeman planned it himself!”

“Really?” Steven sounded sceptical. “No inside help?”

“No.”

“Hmm, interesting,” Steven mumbled. Then he nodded at the convict and carried on with his questions. “Both Mr. Heyes and Mr. Reece recall another incident during this amazingly planned out escape attempt. Both hostages had apparently attempted to get away from their captors and this pushed Mr. Boeman into making a decision. He stated that he had 'hoped to wait until you were all further away from the prison before doing this.....' and then threatened to kill Mr. Reece—he was actually very adamant about it and it was only Mr. Heyes' intervention that prevented it from happening.
“Now this suggests to me that it was Mr. Boeman's plan all along to murder Mr. Reece and by all accounts, Mr. Heyes as well. That this was the reason that Mr. Heyes and Mr. Reece were brought along on this little escapade in the first place. Why would that be? Why would Mr. Boeman be so intent upon murdering a senior guard and a fellow inmate?”

“How should I know?” Harris mumbled. “Boeman and Heyes always had bad blood between 'em—maybe Boeman just wanted get back at him.”

“Possibly,” Steven acknowledged that. “Or, could it possibly be that Boeman was following instructions from another source?”

“NO!” Harris was getting fed up with this. “Like I told ya'....'there was nobody else in on it! It was all Boeman's idea!”

Steven nodded, apparently ready to accept that. “So, it was all Boeman. Nobody else was 'pulling the strings'.”

“That's right.”

Steven smiled. “Let's go back to Dr. Morin's murder, shall we?”

Heyes shifted himself then and felt his own lip twitch in resentful anger. It was hard, listening to the events of that terrible day being dragged back up again, but he sat quietly and he waited.

“What about it?” Harris asked in a sulk.

“There is some doubt lingering as to who actually murdered Dr. Morin,” Steven informed the convict. “Indeed, Mr. Heyes stood accused of the crime and was severely punished for it.”

“Really?” Harris sneered over at the parolee. “Well ain't that a shame.”

Heyes just about came out of his chair and probably would have made a lunge for the inmate's throat if Jacobs hadn't put a hand on his arm right at the appropriate moment. Heyes sat back again but still glared at the inmate with his desire to cause bodily harm quite apparent.

“You were there Mr. Harris,” Steven pointed out needlessly. “In your opinion, did Mr. Heyes attack Dr. Morin?”

Heavy silence settled down over the interrogation room. Harris stared at Heyes with hatred in his eyes and a menacing smile on his lips. Heyes stared back, every inch of him letting Harris know what would happen to him if he dared to lie about that. Harris considered it, then broke contact with Heyes and glanced around at all the other officials who were sending him pretty much the same message. Finally Harris sighed.

“Naw, Heyes didn't do it,” Harris admitted. “Much as I'd love to say that he did. Boeman killed the Doc.”

“How do you know that?” Steven asked him.

“Cause like you just said; I was right there!” Harris again couldn't believe the stupidity of these men. And they say lawyers are supposed to be smart. “I had a hold 'a Doc myself when Boeman knifed him! That was the plan all along!”

“Yes, I think we can all agree that Mr. Boeman knifed Dr. Morin,” Steven reiterated. “but are you sure that it was that assault that killed him?”

“What do ya' mean?”

“Well, according to Mr. Reece and Mr. Heyes, Dr. Morin was still alive when you left the infirmary,” Steven explained. “Not only still alive, but not really seriously enough injured to die from the wound he received. Indeed, the doctor himself had insisted that he would be fine until help got to him.”

“Yeah okay,” Harris was getting suspicious, not really sure where this was going.

“And yet,” Steven continued. “upon returning to the prison the next day, Mr. Heyes and Mr. Reece were informed by Warden Mitchell that the doctor had indeed died—that he had actually bled to death in the infirmary. From a wound that the doctor himself had insisted was not that serious.”

“Yeah, well—I guess he was wrong, wasn't he?”

“Unless it was someone else,” Steven suggested. “Someone else who had a stake in this prison break, someone else who wanted Dr. Morin dead.”

“Like I told ya'!” Harris insisted. “There was no one else! It was all Boeman's plan!”

“There was no one else involved,” Steven repeated. “That's very admirable of you.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Well, from eye witness accounts; you were the one who held Dr. Morin down so that Mr. Boeman could inflict the 'fatal' wound,” Steven explained. “Now, if that had not been the fatal wound, and Dr. Morin had actually been murdered by someone else who entered the infirmary after you had all left, well then that would absolve you from murder. But since you insist that there was no one else involved and that you held Dr. Morin so that Mr. Boeman could inflict what was indeed the fatal wound—well, that makes you just as guilty of his murder as Mr. Boeman.”
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Keays

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Posts : 1435
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 60
Location : Camano Island Washington

PostSubject: History Repeating   Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:44 am

Harris went white as a ghost. He sat silently, his jaw working but no words coming out to his rescue.

“Are you sure you want to stick to your claim that Mr. Boeman did not have inside help?”

Harris continued to sit silently, refusing to answer one way or the other, but his tough guy facade was cracking and all of a sudden he was scared. He tried very hard to cover it up, but he shifted in his chair and broke eye contact with the lawyer and everyone else in the room for that matter. Beads of sweat began to appear on his upper lip and the lower one was getting a bit of a chewing.

But still he sat stubbornly quiet; no longer willing to open his mouth just in case he said the wrong thing—again. Steven knew he had to push the stalemate.

“We know from Mr. Reece and Mr. Heyes' accounting's of the escape attempt that when the posse caught up with you, no warning was given,” Steven pointed out. “The posse began to shoot with the clear intention of killing all of you—which they came very close to accomplishing. Now, obviously if there was someone working on the inside to help organize the escape—for whatever reason—it would appear that they had no intentions of allowing you to actually escape. Sounds like a double cross to me.”

Harris' lips tightened in anger, indicating that the probability of a double cross had not been lost on him either.

“Why should he be allowed to get away with murder and dump the whole mess onto your lap?”

Harris was on the edge. His brain, what there was of it, was working overtime to decide which way to go here.

“If I turn on him, he'll kill me,” Harris finally blurted out.

Although the other people in the room tried to hide their relief at this confirmation of something they had all suspected but couldn't prove, none of them had much luck doing it. A collective sigh went around the group along with a few subtle smiles. Harris looked around at the faces surrounding him and snarled; he was like a trapped animal now, with no way out that offered salvation.

“You'll be the one to hang for Dr. Morin's murder if you don't turn him in,” Steven pointed out.

“Yeah! And if I do and he gets sent back here as an inmate!?' Harris was almost laughing at the absurdity of it. “I'm dead! He'll kill me the first chance he gets!”

“If it's who I think it is,” Heyes finally added a comment. “and he gets sent back here as an inmate? He's the one who's gonna havta be worrying about how long he has to live.”

Silence again. Harris was so close to breaking; all he needed was just a little bit more subtle pressure and he was going to give it up.

“Is it who I think it is, Harris?” Heyes added that pressure.

Harris' lower lip took another chewing. “If I tell ya' do you guarantee you”ll keep him away from me?”

Steven sent a question glance over to Kenny.

Kenny nodded. “You give us the information, not only will you be cleared of Dr. Morin's murder but I also guarantee that you will not have to worry about retaliation on his part.”

“Alright!” Harris cracked. “Alright. Boeman and Carson cooked this whole thing up.”

“That bastard,” Kenny couldn't help the curse while Murrey and Pearson standing in the back mumbled inaudibles under their breathes and exchanged meaningful glances. “Now I wish I hadn't transferred him out of here. I'd like nothing better than to bring him forth to answer to this.” He looked over to Harris again. “Why did Carson set this up. What did he have to gain?”

Harris shrugged and looked uncomfortable again. “I donno...something about that hearing. You know that one that Heyes' friends set up to try and get him paroled. Apparently Carson took it real personal, especially when you,” and he looked to Kenny. “went in there with all this evidence of abuses and stuff, and Doc too and then that Jordan bitch...”

Heyes was out of his seat in a flash and was launching himself across the table towards Harris' throat before anyone else could react.

“YOU SADISTIC BASTARD!” Heyes yelled at him. “You watch your mouth...!”

Fortunately the officers in the room reacted on training and though caught off guard by Heyes' sudden outburst they were in there doing their jobs before Heyes was able to reach his goal. Murrey and Pearson both rushed forward and grabbing the back of Harris' chair, yanked him back and out of Heyes' reach while Kenny and Jacobs were both instantly on their feet and grabbing at anything on Heyes' person that would stop his attack. Steven did his best to get out of the way!

“Heyes!” Kenny yelled at him. “C'mon! Sit down!”

Jacobs didn't say a word, but he had his charge by the belt and and scruff of his collar and was hauling him back across the table. Kenny had him by his arm and as soon as he could, he got in front of Heyes and pushed him back against the far wall.

“SETTLE DOWN!” Kenny was in his face.

“SEE! THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT!” Harris yelled. “You can't even protect me from that no good traitor! How are ya' gonna protect me from Carson!?”

“Serves ya' right if Carson slits your throat!!” Heyes yelled back at him. “You bloody bastard! You went after Beth! And for what!? She was trying to make things better in here for all of us!!”

“Carson was payin' me good money to kill her!” Harris thought he was defending himself. “Why should I care what his reasons were!?”

“YOU BASTARD!” Heyes yelled and again tried to make a lounge for him, but Jacobs and Kenny still had a hold and they weren't letting him go.

“HEYES! STOP IT!” Kenny slammed him into the wall again and shook him. “Calm down or you'll be spending the rest of this session out in the foyer! You hear me!?”

Heyes' dark eyes were on fire, but Kenny locked into them and even now, the years of conditioning to back down from the guards, especially this one, came into play. He met Kenny's gaze and then slowly reason began to settle into those dark eyes and he became very much aware of his situation. Both Kenny and Jacobs still had hold of him and were pinning him against the wall so that he couldn't move. He looked away from the warden and glanced across the room to the two guards and though they weren't actually aiming their rifles at him, he knew he'd be in trouble if he pushed it.

He dropped his gaze and actually looked a little embarrassed. Then he nodded, both to Kenny and then to Jacobs. “Yeah,” he relented. “Yeah, I'm sorry. I'm alright now. It's just...Beth...”

“Yes I know.” Kenny eased off of him and gave him a pat on the shoulder. “But another outburst like that Heyes and you will be out of the room.”

“Yeah, I'll be fine. Sorry.”

Jacobs eased off of him then too and the three men sat down again. Steven, who had been holding his breath throughout this whole altercation suddenly realized that he'd better breathe again or he was going to pass out. Everyone took a deep breath and relaxed.

Everyone but Harris. He was still snarling mad and glared at Heyes while Pearson and Murrey shuffled his chair back into place. Harry had kept totally out of the mix and had been poised and ready for a quick escape out the exit if things had gotten too out of hand. But now he too relaxed and settled back into his chair to continue taking notes. The only thing was, he wasn't sure if he should include those last bits of obscenity—but then he shrugged to himself; why not?

Steven sent a glance over to Kenny and the warden nodded at him to continue.

“Alright,” Steven found his place in his notes again. “So Mr. Carson arranged the prison escape in order to—what? What agreement did he have with Mr. Boeman?”

Harris was still glaring at Heyes but he finally let it go and turned his attention back to Steven. “From what I gathered, Carson set up the break out and clear passage for Boeman and the rest of us and all we had to do to earn it was kill Morin, Heyes and Reece. Carson would supply us with everything we needed to make a clean get away and he'd also delay the posse from coming after us. The deaths of the doctor, another inmate and a guard would just look like random killings cause they got in the way and there'd be nothin' to lead anybody back to Carson.”

A chilling silence settled over the room as the enormity of this statement sunk in. Heyes and Kenny exchanged looks and Heyes felt his throat go dry.

“Then obviously that bastard double crossed us!” Harris practically spit. “Made sure the wagon had a faulty wheel that'd break easy and then came after us full force! That bastard! He never intended to let us go! It was all a set up!”

“But why did he not wait?” Steven asked quietly, almost to himself. “Even if he had you all surrounded, why did he not wait until Boeman had finished the job?”

“How should I know!?” Harris snarked. “Maybe Carson had second thoughts, or maybe somebody was on to him. Maybe one of the other guards had an itchy trigger finger! HOW SHOULD I KNOW? All I know is that he killed everyone of us—I only got away by the skin of my teeth! That fucking bastard! Maybe if he does get sent back here, I'll be the one who kills him! Why wait for him to make the first move, huh?! I'll make him sorry for double-crossing us!”

“Yes. Well, all that aside,” Steven brought this foaming outburst to a halt. “Obviously his attempt to eliminate his three antagonists had failed, so why then go after Beth Jordan?”

“Cause she was part of that hearing too,” Harris stated as though it should be obvious.

“But then why not go after Mr. Briscoe here? Or Sheriff Trevors?” Steven pointed out. “They were also part of that hearing.”

“HOW SHOULD I KNOW?” Harris was getting frustrated. “You expect me to know everything that went on in that lunatics head!?”

Steven smiled as though trying to placate an unreasonable child. “No, no of course not,” he assured the inmate. “Just thinking out loud.”

Harris sat back in frustration; he was looking like he was about done in.

“I think that's enough for today,” Kenny suggested and nodded towards the two guards. “You can escort Mr. Harris back to his cell now.”

“Yessir Warden,” Pearson responded. “C'mon Harris, on your feet.”

“Yeah, about time too,” Harris grumbled as he was hauled up from the chair and shuffled out through the door and back into the prison proper.

Everyone else sat back and released a simultaneous sigh of relief. Heyes startled everyone by roughly pushing back his chair and getting to his feet. He instantly began an agitated pacing of the room and Kenny sent him a quick look before he was distracted by the forthcoming comments.

“Well that was certainly an interesting session,” Steven stated and everyone nodded in agreement. “Now all we have to do is find Carson.”

“I can get a hold of the authorities in Arizona,” Kenny offered. “They might have some idea.”

“I told ya' didn't I! I told ya' it was Carson!” Heyes sniped while he continued to pace. “But did either of you believe me!? NO! Oh, you were just imagining it Heyes! You were delirious! You just wanted it to be Carson because you hate him so much!” Snort! “Now he's gone to ground! Who knows if we'll ever be able to find him! Geesh!!”

Steven looked a bit contrite, but Kenny just looked irritated.

“We still can't know for sure that Carson killed the Doc,” he pointed out. “He still could have bled to death from the knife wound Heyes, you know that. All Harris did was clear you of any suspicion, there is nothing at all to prove that Carson did it.”

“OH RIGHT!” Heyes was getting more agitated. “How come you're protecting that bastard Kenny!? Just can't accept the fact that a fellow guard would do....”

“ENOUGH!” That's about what Kenny had had too; enough. “Heyes, come with me; we need to talk.”

“Oh right!” Heyes snarked back. “What? You think I'm still under your thumb here? All you have to do is rattle my chains and I'll do...!”

“CONVICT! FOLLOW ME!” Then Kenny brushed past Heyes and disappeared out into the foyer.

Heyes stopped dead in his pacing and just stood there apparently in shock; that old conditioned command sending shivers down his spine, his anger suddenly defused. But still he stood, his emotions in turmoil while his mind fought to control his body from obeying that overpowering dictate.

“I strongly suggest you do as the warden says Heyes,” Jacobs advised the parolee. “You're riding a fine edge right now.”

Heyes looked down at the sheriff, his mouth moving slightly in anticipation of response, but nothing was coming. He glanced around at the rest of the group to find every set of eyes on him. He sighed, and then his mouth tightened with resentment but then he gave in to the pressure and followed Kenny out of the room, slamming the door behind him. Once again, a sigh of relief made it's way around the table.


Kenny was waiting for Heyes over in the alcove and gave no indication of any doubt or relief as the ex-con approached him. Heyes still felt resentful at being beckoned in that manner and he snarked and growled and paced but still complied.

“Perhaps it wasn't a good idea to bring you here after all,” Kenny surmised. “You don't seem to be handling this very well.”

“I'm handling it fine!” Heyes snarked back and continued to pace within the vicinity of the warden.

“Heyes, will you stop pacing?” Kenny asked with a sigh. “Settle down.”

Heyes ran a hand through his hair, his expression angry and he continued to pace.

“STOP!”

Heyes was brought up short by the command and then stood with hands on hips, looking away from Kenny.

“What's got you so agitated?” Kenny finally asked him. “The session went better than I had hoped although some of what Harris had to say was rather disturbing. Nothing like finding out that we were deliberately set up to be murdered.” No comment. Kenny sighed and watched him for a moment. “C'mon Heyes, calm down. Take a couple of deep breaths and calm down.” No response from the parolee, just tight resentment. “Heyes!”

“Yeah!”

“C'mon,” Kenny repeated though quieter this time. “A couple of deep breaths. C'mon.”

Heyes finally complied and then as if by magic his stance softened and the tightness left his features. He ran his hands through his hair again only this time it was followed by another deep sigh and the younger man finally began to relax.

“That's better,” Kenny encouraged him. “Now, what was that all about in there? I can understand you being angry but to lose control like that....”

“I know,” Heyes admitted. “I don't know what got into me....” Another deep sigh. “I think I'm more angry at myself now then at Harris.” He looked at Kenny with sad eyes. “I used to be so good at this. I never let a mark get the better of me, no matter how despicable a person he was I was always able to stay in character! I mean; Kid was the one who would end up losing his temper! That's why Soapy didn't use him in the bigger cons, cause he would end up getting mad. But not me! I could stay with the con and carry it through to the end! I don't know Kenny; I don't know what's wrong with me. Now it's the Kid who's more in control and I'm the one who can't hold his tempter in check.”

“Having you in there today was a real asset—I'm sure of it. Harris started losing his edge as soon as he saw you there,” Kenny stated. “But again, for your own sake, perhaps it was too soon to bring you back here. Perhaps you just weren't ready.”

“No, that's not it,” Heyes announced, a sudden realization dawning across his face. “No. I know what I did wrong.”

“What?”

“Oh, how could I have forgotten that?”

Kenny snorted and then smiled. “You've been out of practice for a few years you know. It's hardly surprising that you'd be a bit rusty.”

“No, I no. But still...” Heyes brightened up, his previous anger and resentment totally forgotten about. “Before I'd go on a con I would always take time to prepare. You know; emotionally, mentally, get into character. And I'd stay in character no matter what—I never let emotions get in the way of the ultimate goal.”

“Well, this wasn't really a con.” Kenny took exception to the term. “This was an interrogation.”

Heyes snorted a tad bit derisively. “Same thing! We all had a role to play in there, and the con we were playing was to get Harris to think it was in his best interest to tell us the truth. And he did. It's still not going to help him though, is it?”

“No,” Kenny admitted. “Giving up Carson will save him from the murder charge here, but what he did to that little girl is going to put a noose around his neck for sure.”

“Yeah,” Heyes nodded. “So we conned him.”

Kenny smiled and shrugged. “Yeah, okay,” he conceded the point. “So, what should you have done differently? You said you always prepared yourself for the role you were going to take on. What should you have done differently before coming here to pull this 'con'?”

Heyes thought about it for a moment and then nodded reflectively. “I already knew I was going to be angry,” he admitted. “I had already set myself up to beat the living daylights outa him and I came here prepared to do just that.” He smiled and then met Kenny's gaze. “I wanted my hands around his throat more than I wanted the truth, and that was my mistake.”

“Well at least you got that figured out,” Kenny observed dryly. “Fortunately you didn't end up killing him before he could tell us what we needed to know and we did end up getting at least some truth out of him.”

Heyes grinned. “Yeah. And like you said; now all we have to do is find Carson!”


The next day there was a slightly larger party of travellers heading back in to Colorado than what had been heading to Wyoming. Sheriff Jacobs, Hannibal Heyes, Harry Brisco and Steven Granger had all piled onto the train together and were heading towards their respective hometowns. Steven in particular was anxious to get home to his wife and daughter, not liking to spend much time away from his young family. Harry was antsy to get back to the Bannerman agency and write his report on how he brought Carl Harris back in to justice and Heyes, of course was missing Abigail. Sheriff Jacobs was simply looking forward to getting home. He did however have one little point of interest nagging at him.

“What was that Harris was saying about Wheat Carlson still being alive?” he asked everyone in general but Heyes in particular.

“I think he was just confused,” Heyes answered off the cuff.

“I don't think so Heyes,” Harry corrected him. “I know I heard Abigail refer to one of those men as Mr. Carlson.....Ouch! What did you kick me for!?”


Jacobs sent Heyes an accusatory look. “Is Wheat Carlson still alive, Heyes?”

“Sheriff, I can honestly say that I have not had any contact what so ever with Wheat Carlson, and as far as.....”

“Heyes...” Steven interrupted him. “at this point, considering what you have at stake here, as your lawyer I strongly recommend that you tell the law officer the truth.”

Heyes slumped. “I am telling the truth,” he mumbled, sending Steven a lightly vindictive look.

“A very stretched version of it,” Steven pointed out.

Heyes sighed and turned to look out the window, remaining stubbornly silent.

Steven sent Heyes a reprimanding look and then turned to the waiting lawman. “Yes, Sheriff; Wheat Carlson is still alive. We weren't sure ourselves, but when Kyle Murtry was released, Jed Curry and I approached him and convinced him to admit to that. We then offered to pay both of them a decent salary if they would track down Carl Harris for us. We figured that, being outlaws—and ex-outlaws, that they would have a better chance of locating him than the law would.” Then he smiled. “And we were right, they did.”

“Uh huh,” Jacobs still sounded sceptical and he continued to watch Heyes, who was refusing to meet his eye. “You know it's in complete violation of your parole for you to be in contact with known outlaws.”

Heyes nodded. “Yup.” Then he did look Jacobs directly in the eye. “But I was being honest Sheriff, I have not been in contact with Wheat Carlson.”

“He is telling you the truth Sheriff,” Steven supported what Heyes was saying. “It was myself and Jed Curry who have been in contact with Mr. Carlson. And then, of course, Mr. Briscoe and Abigail Stewert also had some dealings with him, but Heyes has stayed completely out of it.”

“Hmm,” the sheriff nodded. “It is a very fine line you're walking Heyes. Just how long did you people expect to keep his continued existence a secret?”

Heyes shrugged. “I donno,” he admitted. “But if the law knew he was still alive, they'd be after him with a vengeance now considering what happened to Marshal Morrison. We just thought if we could keep him dead at least for a little while, give him and Kyle a chance to get out of this part of the country—nobody needed to be the wiser.”

“Free to carry on thieving, you mean,” Jacobs pointed out. “Mr. Murtry has paid his debt to Wyoming and now you're telling me that he's joined up with his old partner again and is probably right back doing what they've always done.”

“I don't think so Sheriff,” Steven countered that statement. “The main stipulation of them working for us was that they were not to fall back onto thieving to make ends meet. If they needed money all they had to do was wire me and I would send them some. Not to mention we paid them a tidy bonus for not only tracking Harris down, but for taking him into custody as well. They won't be needing money again for a while.”

“That's fine for right now,” Jacobs argued. “But what about six months from now? You can't tell me they won't just slid right back into their old lives again.”

Heyes and Steven exchanged glances, neither one of them wanting to divulge anything that was still just speculation, but at the same time not seeing any way out of it.

“Kenny once suggested that I might make a good detective myself,” Heyes explained somewhat reluctantly. “Me and Jed and Steven have kinda been talking about it and we're thinking that once all this stuff is over and done with that maybe that's something that me and Jed can do.”

Harry snorted. “What!? You two!?” he asked sceptically. “You two work for Bannerman's!?”

“Well, no. Not Bannerman's,” Heyes admitted.

“You think Pinkerton's would take you on?” Harry sounded even more incredulous with that idea. “Two ex-outlaws!?”

Heyes smiled. “No Harry,” he repeated. “If Jed and I were going to do it, we'd be free-lance. We'd set up our own office. Steven could be our consulting lawyer and...we were thinking...Wheat and Kyle could kinda work for us—under the table, so to speak.” He smiled, a little shyly, knowing full well that Sheriff Jacobs was sending him a rather incredulous look. “They did do an excellent job of tracking down Harris.”

“And just how do you intend to do that without having contact with him?” Jacobs asked. “Even if your lawyer and your partner covered that end of things, I donno Heyes—I think you're pushing the envelop on this one. Wheat Carlson is still a wanted man.”

“Yeah, I know, I know,” Heyes nodded. “But we were thinking that maybe...after how helpful Wheat has been with this situation that perhaps....Steven could convince Governor Warren to grant Wheat Carlson an amnesty.” Then he brightened up and carried on with more enthusiasm before Jacobs could veto that idea. “But nobody needs to know about it, see? That way Wheat could still have access to some of the seedier places that a lawman couldn't get into. He could be like; working under cover. And Kyle could help him. I...I think it's a good idea.”

The clackety clack of the train wheels could be heard clearly through the silence that followed this declaration. Jacobs wasn't quite sure what to make of this grand plan and he just sat and stared at Heyes while be tried to digest this information. Heyes smiled at him and then took to looking out the window again.

“That's a real hair-brained idea,” Jacobs finally declared, and Heyes' heart sank. “But crazy enough that it just might work.”

Heyes sighed with relief and grinned. Harry snorted again.

“There would be a lot of details to work out though,” Jacobs reminded his charge. “The conditions of your parole cannot be ignored.”

“I know,” Heyes conceded. “But Kenny has said that he would support us in this, and Steven too. Now if you would back us up and....Harry?”

“I don't know about that Heyes,” Harry tried to look serious. “I have my reputation to think about. What would Mr. Bannerman think about me helping out two ex-outlaws in their own private detective agency? Kinda supporting the competition, don't ya' think?”

It was Heyes' turn to snort. “C'mon Harry! We'd be small potatoes next to Bannerman's and besides you wouldn't have a reputation to worry about if it wasn't for me and the Kid.”

“Yeah, yeah. I suppose you're right about that,” Harry conceded. “I suppose I could help ya' out on occasion—so long as it didn't interfere with my real job!”

“Oh no! Of course not Harry,” Heyes assured him and then sent a grin over to Steven.

“I suppose we can look into this a bit further once we track down this Carson fella,” Jacobs agreed to that much, and then he sighed and shook his head. “What the hell am I getting myself into here!?”


“Abi, They’re back!”

She rushed over to the door at the sound of Jesse’s cry, smiling with relief at the happy smile on Heyes’ face. It had gone well, and Lord, he badly needed a boost. She stepped out onto the porch, before jumping down and darting over to the wagon. Heyes turned glowing eyes on her.

“Abi!” He jumped down catching her up in an enveloping hug, nuzzling into her neck. “I love the welcome home, but it’s freezing. Get back in, and I’ll be there in a minute.”

She captured his mouth in a kiss of welcome, and pulled back holding his face in both hands. “I was so worried.”

“Worried?” Heyes queried. “But you told me to go.”

“Only that it might not give you what you needed to hear,” she embraced him again. “I knew you would find some moments difficult. An uncertain resolution might have brought you more nightmares.”

His dimples pitted his thin face, but his eyes danced. “It went real well, Abi,” he pushed her towards the house and gave her a playful pat on the backside. “Now, get inside and make some coffee. I’ll tell you all about it in a minute.”

Heyes kicked the snow from boots and smiled at the scene of domesticity in the kitchen. It was good to be back at the Double J., and life was finally settling down. Now that it was clear who was behind the escape and the doc’s death, he had a chance at getting some of the parole restrictions lifted.

Abigail was preparing the evening meal, and the Kid, ever pleased to assist, was sticking around to make sure he could taste-test anything. The bottomless pot of stew had long been consigned to the pig fodder, a huge pot of chicken broth followed by a baked ham, and mashed potatoes was promised. The desert was some kind of Scottish confection, the name of which none of them could even hear as anything other than rolling ‘rs’ and throat clearing. But their fears had been allayed by the presentation of a delicious dish made with cream and preserved raspberries, topped with toasted oats, honey, and some of Jesse’s whiskey. It was good to have a woman around again.

“Well, let’s have it?” asked the Kid. “You wanted Abi to be here before you told me. How did it go?”

“Great,” Heyes took the cup of coffee offered by Abigail. “That little worm didn’t want to admit to anything, but they had him backed into a corner by the questions.”

“So, they know you had nothin’ to do with the doc’s death and that you were just a hostage in the breakout?” the Kid pushed.

“They sure do, and Steven’s taking that to the governor’s office to see if they can get the parole lifted.”

The Kid’s eyes glowed with happiness. “That’d be great, Heyes. Just don’t get your hopes built up, though. You’re here, anything else is a bonus.”

“That’s not all,” Heyes scanned the room to observe the reactions to his news. “Harris admitted that Carson was behind all of this; the breakout, the attack on Beth, everything. We can’t be certain, but we think it was revenge for giving evidence at the hearing.”

Kid processed the news. “So they’ve arrested Carson?”

Abigail frowned. “Harris was paid to hurt Beth? Why?” she fixed Heyes with a searching look. “Who’s Carson? Do you know him?”

Heyes nodded. “The Doc’s been telling me that Carson killed him for months.”

“You had a dream about that?” the Kid demanded.

“Many times,” Heyes frowned, staring off into the distance. “Everybody kept telling me it couldn’t be real.”

Abigail shook Heyes’ arm. “Who’s Carson?” she persisted.

“One of the guards,” Heyes muttered, pensively. “He had it in for me the moment he laid eyes on me.”

“Have they arrested Carson?” the Kid pressed.

“Carson?” Abigail reiterated. “A guard? Is he the one who tortured you?”

Heyes breathed heavily. “Yup. He was sacked for beating a prisoner to death. They can’t prove anything, and now he’s disappeared.” Heyes rubbed his temples distractedly. “The doc’s been telling me his name in those dreams. He named Carson as his killer.”

“He’s a guard!?” Abigail gave a cry and dropped to her knees. Tears started to stream down her face. "Topeka! They're all in Topeka."

"Yeah," replied the Kid. "I took them there."

"Don't you see? I wrote to the prison. They'll have that address, and now Carson's on the run..." She raised hopeless, glittering eyes. “They’re all there, and Carson will have the address!”


To Be Continued.


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Stepha3nie

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PostSubject: Re: History Repeating Chapter Five   Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:18 pm

I really enjoyed this chapter. Finally Heyes and Abi start acting like adults (and I don't mean the PG rating) and Heyes takes an important step by deciding himself that he needs to talk with Randa (without having been forced by one of his friends).

I love the way you use the dreams of Doc to help Heyes along on his recovery. In this chapter were a few sentences that touched a nerve with me:

"...Just once in my life it would be nice to have something important come easy!”..."Good luck with that one!  Let me know when you figure out how to make it happen!”

It is so true, we usually have to wait/work/fight for the important things. But maybe that is exactly what makes them important.

Ghosts, spirits, energies, vivid memories - whatever you want to call them - can haunt you, but they can also become friends and bring you solace. I hope so much that Heyes is now truly past the haunting.

The visit to the prison was another very intense and great scene. I felt right along with Heyes, well maybe not quite as strongly. Loved your description of his growing anxiety: "caused anxiety to chip away at his hard outer shell and slowly seep into his soft flesh and burn at his gut". And it looks like Heyes is slowly getting past the prison conditioning. It must have been so difficult not to fall in step immediately. This visit will definitely help him grow and reinvent himself.

The interrogation went much better than I expected. I was sure Harris would try to implicate Heyes. So now "all" they need to do is find Carson, discover that he acted on behalf of the old warden and have both of them sent to prison (and give all guards  there half a day off...ok, maybe I am getting a little bloodthirsty again).

Something I think I have not mentioned previously struck me again while reading this chapter: when I am feeling very strongly/emotional about something in this or the past series, my initial reaction is very often later echoed by Heyes. Feeling rather smug now, to be thinking like my hero (well, I know it is you who write him, but leave me my illusion). Thank you! And of course I also realise that he is the main character we are supposed to identify with, but still. You definitely did a good job here.

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"I can resist everything - except temptation"  Oscar Wilde
For me temptation is Hannibal Heyes, especially in chaps!
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Keays

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PostSubject: Re: History Repeating Chapter Five   Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:59 pm

Thanks again Steph! Are you on facebook? I've been busy posting some riding video. I thought you might be interested since your avatar is a horse.
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