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 Long Road back - Part Five - Heyes 1500 words

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Cal

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Join date : 2016-10-21

PostSubject: Long Road back - Part Five - Heyes 1500 words   Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:17 am

---oooOOOooo---

The Long Road Back
(Haff & Wong seven)
By Cal

---oooOOOooo---
Part five
---oooOOOooo---

Heyes was floating above his chestnut mare’s head.  It was dark and he was unaware of time passing. The ears of the horse fascinated him and prevented him from floating off; kept him with the horse.  A soft voice spoke occasionally, but it was too distant and didn’t seem to need to make itself understood.  Whatever he’d been drinking, it was definitely his new favourite beverage.  

‘Wow this was like flying.’

The dream didn’t last nearly as long as he hoped it would.  The beautiful, sensitive ears disappeared and fire, chestnut coloured fire, took its place.  Fascinating ears of flame danced to entertain him.  

“Drink” he said, but it didn’t sound like him saying it.  

‘What he wouldn’t give for a good cigar…’

Smoke filled his lungs and a rhythmic pounding started in his ears.  Pounding, but soft pounding, 

‘Could be my own heart’ he supposed. ‘Were angels singing?’

‘Maybe I’m in love’ he thought.  Beautiful dark eyes smiled at him.  ‘Seductive eyes, and yes, she’s taking my clothes off!’ 

He giggled, but it sounded more like gurgling.  Cool water seeped into his mouth and tasted like ambrosia.

“I love you” he tried, but now his mouth wasn’t his anymore, the lips not his to command.  

‘Where am I?’

---oooOOOooo---

Heyes fell backwards, his stomach lurching with the fall. The landing was soft and uneventful.  Annoyed he stood up brushing himself down.  

‘Must have been thrown’ he thought ‘Foolish! Hope no one saw me.’

He took a look around. 

‘A Kansan farm.  Wheat? Near ripe. It’ll need cutting. ‘

Familiar prickles on the back of his neck made him turn slowly to glance behind.  Not too far away Alex Heyes stood with his arms slung over the long scythe, smiling back at Heyes.

“Hey …Hannibal, have you come to give your Pa a hand?”

Heyes waved and smiled back. 

“Not sure why I’m here to tell the truth.  Think my horse threw me…”

“Well roll up your sleeves and take that fancy piece off your hip.  You won’t get much done carrying that around.”

Heyes helped Alex by gathering the cut Wheat into bundles and stacking it.  The warm sunshine eased his back.  Didn’t seem too hard, in fact it was very pleasant, helping his Pa with the harvest.  They worked on quietly, with a warm smile for each other every now and then.

Alex looked at the sun and sighed.  

“You know Hannibal; you’ve been a great help but you can’t stay.”

“I can’t? …You’ve only cleared half this field.  I could come back tomorrow; we could build a stack.”

“Son…”

“Yeah?”

“You know it’s not your time.  You can’t leave your name…our name…branded a murderer…”

“I know”

“And Jed’s too… Don’t seem right for such as he …to face that alone now does it?”

“No..” said Heyes quietly.

“Won’t be easy …getting back.”

“I’m used to having to fight for what I want Pa”

“Yes…you’ve had to do a little too much of that Son…Well this will be a fight alright …but this time you won’t be on your own…”

The field was filling with chatter.  Picnic baskets were being sorted. Blankets spread.  Heyes’ half-brothers smiled and waved.  His step mother brought him lemonade, and he was thankful that this time he remembered his manners.  Eventually he lay down on a warm blanket to watch the falling sun, his head resting in his mother’s lap.

“You’re not alone Hannibal… never alone” she assured him.

---oooOOOooo---

He woke and pushed up the brim of his hat.  He pulled at the white cuffs of his shirt, adjusting the cuff links.  Gold shamrocks.  His lucky cufflinks.  The suit was fresh and pressed.  The barber shave still left his face tingling.  He was ready.

The casino was alive with the sounds of gambling. Wurring and calling and snapping of cards and of course the chink of the gold coin.  Heyes beamed.  He was at home here.  There were no games he couldn’t master. No elements he couldn’t calculate. No risks he couldn’t work out the odds for.  This was a place where he felt in control. 

He took a cut crystal glass from a passing tray and sipped the excellent vintage with satisfaction.

A double door opened and invited him in.  The green baize table was already full except for the chair in front of him.  How fortunate.  The piles of money in front of the other players was very pleasing also.  He reached inside his jacket and smiled as his hand fell on a fat bill fold.  

“Gentlemen” he greeted his fellow players.

---oooOOOooo---

How long had he been playing?  His jacket was off.  The cigar was half burned down the pile of money in front of him had grown very pleasingly.  His attention was fully on the cards.  He hadn’t looked at his opponents much.  

How strange.  

To his right was a sheriff sporting a big tin star.  Heyes’ heart leapt.  How had he not noticed that? To his left was a smiling cowboy, that looked familiar but he couldn’t bring a name to mind.  Again Heyes felt unease.  The other players were hidden.  The lamp over the table making it hard for him to see any more than their hands.  Heyes felt a lump rising in his throat.  He looked down at his cards again.  

“Just think about the cards.”  

Hands, small hands, rested on his shoulders.  They radiated a warmth.  The warmth of a setting sun in a Wheat field in Kansas. Heyes could smell the freshly cut crop.  He reached up to cover one of the hands with his own.

“You’re not alone Hannibal… never alone” she assured him.  

He smiled across the table to the dark cloaked dealer. “I’ll take two” he stated feeling much more confident. He’d had hands worse than this before and still cleared the board.  

“You are indeed an accomplished player” said a voice that sounded to Heyes as if it was in his own head.  He smiled across the table again and thanked the dealer for the compliment.  When he looked back to his cards, his hand had changed.  The queens were gone.  Panic rose in Heyes throat.  He swallowed. 

Confused.  

Was the next move his?

He searched for the next move. Judgement and balance. Where should he place the stones? 

‘These are cards’ he thought. ‘It’s poker.’  

“Now Smith here knows just when to fold and when to draw” said old Seth. An old gnarled hand patted Heyes on the shoulder. Again Heyes found himself relaxing and the panic was quelled. 

“Too rich for me this time” he said throwing in the bad hand.

---oooOOOooo---

His eyes were burning.  Just how long had he been playing.  He’d got the measure of the other players now.  Their faces were in the light.  Their tells were apparent.  These men he could master.
The dealer was another matter.  Many times it had come down to just him and the dealer.  It was getting to the point that one could break the other before this match was over.  They were evenly matched.

Heyes inhaled deeply.  The Wheat field was behind him now.  His family watched from their blankets and picnic baskets.  If he were only to glimpse over his shoulder, he’d see his mother’s glowing smile.  So proud of her Hannibal.  He was so clever and so brave.

This was it.  

He was sure the cards would fall for him.  

He was so tired he didn’t think he had another hand in him.  He picked up a huge stack of coins and upped the anti considerably.  Predictably all but one player threw in.

Heyes schooled his poker face.  

Slowed his breathing.  

Took his heart rate down so low the soft pounding nearly stopped altogether.  

The players that were no longer part of this crucial deal faded back into the dark room.  The cards in Heyes hands were good, but not the best.  His game was a bluff of sorts.  He stared across at his obscured opponent with absolute confidence.  

His family held their collective breath.  

Seth chuckled as the final opponent threw in and Heyes swept all towards him.  

The breathing Heyes could hear and feel sounded like a summer breeze across a Wheat field in Kansas.  The soft pounding resumed in his head and gained momentum. 

He soaked up the love and congratulations of all, but he was so tired.  

He needed to sleep.

“Tomorrow” he said. “Tomorrow …right now I need rest…”

---oooOOOooo---

Heyes woke to pounding in his ears and soft voices all around him.  He found his eyes were crusted shut and he had to pull against his own lashes to open them.  He was wearing a blanket of…

‘What was that?’ 

He struggled to describe what it was he felt he was wearing.  

“Pain… “he gasped.

“He’s back!” shouted Haff.  “He’s back!”

---oooOOOooo---
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