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 Way I heard it... (2,300 words) Early Gang Leader time frame

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Cal

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Join date : 2016-10-21

PostSubject: Way I heard it... (2,300 words) Early Gang Leader time frame   Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:00 am

---oooOOOooo---

Way I heard it …

By Cal

---oooOOOooo---

Leaders Cabin

“We normally pipe a new job together.  Why ain’t we both going this time Heyes?  If only one of us is going I’m surprised, you don’t keep something like that for yourself.” 

Kid was never the less putting on his coat and gloves and readying himself for the long trek to Red Fort.

“Like I said Kid, I want the gang to see I trust your judgement. You’re our security expert now, not just my fast gun, lieutenant.“ 

Heyes smacked the back of the sheepskin coat heavily, raising dust.

“I don’t know.  I still think we should go together…” 

Kid stuffed extra ammunition into his saddlebags. 

“Or at least, I should stay for a bit, till you straighten the guys out on some discipline problems.  They was getting’ real gun happy on that last job …and Wheat needs takin’ down a peg or two, questioning your decisions like that.  I should be here in case you need back up… Then we can both go pipe the Red Fort bank together.”

Heyes’ hands dropped to his hips.

“You don’t think I can handle the men without you Kid? You got to have a little more faith in me…” 

Heyes smiled at his younger cousin, seeing the keenness to have a few days in town …and a bit of feminine company …whilst he argued not to go.  

“Anyway, I think I was through there when I rode with Plumbers Gang.  I could easily be recognised.  Safer if just you go.”

“Well if you’re sure Heyes …” 

Kid was setting his hat on his head, picking up his shotgun.

“Yes… Now go,” Heyes was practically pushing him out through the door.  

“And tell Preacher I need to see him…”  

Heyes stood on the porch watching Kid cross to the corral where his horse stood patiently.  

“And remember to bring me back a bottle of the good stuff …Oh and Kid …”

Kid now aboard, brought the horse to a stop in front of the leader’s cabin.

“What now Heyes? …Second thoughts?  You want to come?”

“No, it’s not that.  If anyone starts getting nosey …remember you’re just there waiting on a letter… It’ll be addressed to Horace Hogslaughter…. “

“Horace Hogslaughter! Why did you saddle me with a moniker like that!?!” 

“What did you think I’d use …Smith? …or Jones maybe? …No! No one would think you’d make up a name like Horace Hogslaughter …it’ll keep you safe Kid you’ll see!” laughed Heyes.

Kid pursed his lips, eying his older cousin shrewdly.  Trust Heyes to come up with a way to put a crimp in his chances with the ladies.  He turned his horse to the trail without another word.

Heyes watched Kids departure, smirking then turned to the bunkhouse with a scowl.

“Preacher!” he barked.

Back in the cabin, he lifted his pen and scrawled Horace Hogslaughter on the outside of the letter on the table as Preacher came in.

“I need you to go put this letter in the post down in Harris town, and when you get back, I got another job for you…”

---oooOOOooo---

Bunk House a week later

“Kids sure been gone a long time,” Lobo sighed as he strode to the table at the centre of the bunk house.

“Heyes sent him to pipe a job over at Red Fort.” Wheat didn’t look up from his cards.  He selected two and passed them to the dealer.

“Might surprised …Heyes would let the Kid …go on his own like that...” Said Preacher absentmindedly, dealing Wheat two new cards. “…He’s got to be real worried…”

The others looked at Preacher, each wondering if he knew more than they did. Preacher had spent more time with Heyes, since The Kid had been away, than any of them had.

Preacher saw the looks.  “Oh …I didn’t mean nothing by it…” he covered looking a bit embarrassed to have made a slip.

“I sure hope the Kid hasn’t gotten hisself into a gunfight…” started Kyle, but stopped to …spit.

“Ain’t no one faster than The Kid, Kyle. You know that…” came Hank’s reassuring voice from over by the bunks. 

“Way I heard it…” said Lobo conspiratorially. “Why this one time, Kid was in a saloon, and this hollering from the street called him out. When he got out there …there was two of ‘em.  One on each side.  Kid had to fast draw …and turn real quick …to get ‘em both …‘fore one of ‘em got him …in the back.” 

Lobo helpfully mimed all the action.

Kyle’s eyes went wide as saucers.

“Way I heard it…” came Hank’s voice from over by the bunks, not wanting to be out done. “This one time, Kid was jus’ riding into a town. Not looking for no trouble …but a deputy recognised him and hollered over to the sheriff.  Kid leapt off his horse and holed up behind a stone water trough.  He had to hold off both law, and some other punks trying to sneak up behind him.  Way I heard it …when he left that town …there was six on the ground bleeding …He’d got one …with …every …bullet!” 

Kyle swallowed, instead of spitting this time.

“Well, way I heard it, this one time …Kid was bushwhacked, and he done killed…” Came another voice from over by the stove.

“Now boys,” interrupted Preacher. “You know Heyes don’t hold with no killing. He don’t let ‘The Kid’ do that …no more.  Why …only the other night, he was telling me….” 

Preacher stopped himself, frowning at his glass, as though he could see his loose tongue flapping around in there.  He pressed his lips firmly together into a flat line.

“Well …it don’t matter much what he was tellin’ me … ‘cause we’re here to play us some poker…” 

He dealt more cards.

The boys had leaned in, anxious to hear what Heyes had been saying, and were a little put out that Preacher had stopped himself.  Wheat picked up the bottle and poured Preacher a very generous measure, hoping to re-animate his loose tongue. The others, seeing the play, picked up their glasses in a conspiratorial toast and quickly drained them.

---oooOOOooo---

“Well I don’t like …to break a confidence…” Lisps a more than slightly inebriated sounding Preacher. “But …Way I heard it was…” 

“Yeah…“ The whole gang were gathered round the table now, sensing that Preacher was well-soused enough to forgo discretion.

“Well Heyes …he done told me …that …way back when they was young’uns …He and ‘The Kid’ lived on neighbouring farms ... ‘The Kid’ …well he had six older brothers …villains all …and his daddy was a real tyrant …bad vicious temper …an’ real handy with a gun …jus’ like ‘The Kid’ hisself…”

You could have heard a pin drop.

“Well Heyes …now he didn’t like to go over to the Curry place …on account of all the drinkin’ …profanities …and the violence …Heyes’ kin being educated folks …But Kid …he sure liked the Heyes’ …cause …he didn’t git whupped there …. nor shot at …nor worse, him bein’ the youngest …o’ all the brothers …see…” 

Preacher’s eyelids were heavy and he looked like he might fall asleep.  Lobo propped him back up on one elbow, and tapped his glass on the table. 

“So what happened?” 

He was gonna pour Preacher another drink, but the others shook their heads and waited. They knew Preacher wouldn’t be able to resist a ‘congregation’.

“Well …’The Kid’ …he got hisself a gun ….and he got hisself real good with it…”

Nodding all round from the crowd.  This was something they’d all witnessed, first hand.

“Then this one-time …mus’ o’ been …when they was near full grown …’The Kid’ …he didn’t show up at the Heyes’ farm …’nd Heyes …he got to worryin’ … maybe The Kid hadn’t dodged the bullets …this time…” 

Preacher looked funereal, shaking his head. 

“Terrible thing …” 

Preacher’s head hit the table.  He seemed to be sleeping again.  Lobo gave him a small shake. Preachers eyes shot open and he continued in his best ‘Hellfire and Brimstone’ preaching voice.

“In the bible …Joseph …now he was loved by his daddy…. But his brothers didn’t take to him much of course…”

“What happened to the Kid?” squealed Kyle, fearing Preacher would veer off into a bible story.  

Preacher looked confused for just a second, then seemed to recall his original train of thought.

“Well …Heyes went to look for ‘The Kid’ …he was intendin’ to stand up against Kid’s kin … all by hisself …all them brothers …and the old monster hisself  …’Cause he knew …he was all ‘The Kid’ had.”

“They’s always been that way.  They’s the same now … always watchin’ each other’s back.” agreed Kyle.

Sage nods all round.

“Heyes went up against seven guns?” questioned Wheat with a sneer to show he wasn’t buying that.

Preacher got a faraway look in his eyes like he was seeing terrible things up in the rafters.  The gang’s eyes followed.

“Well …when Heyes got to the Curry farm …what he saw there froze the blood in his veins …Told me the sight would haunt him …to his dying day …”

Preacher fixed each one with a wide eyed stare.

“The Kid …was all covered in his kin’s blood …had madness in his eyes … he was keening like a coyote …Heyes was sore afraid …thought The Kid might try tear him apart too …but …you know he’s got that silver tongue o’ his … and he’s always been the only one …could ever talk ’The Kid’ ‘round … keep him from…” 

A distant coyote howled mournfully. 

More than one of the outlaws jumped. Kyle screamed, quickly covering his mouth and looking shamefaced.  

Preacher covered his mouth, looking terrified, eyeballing all the other outlaws.

“I swore to Heyes …I’d never tell another living soul … He begged me… said if anyone ever knew …if they told what ‘The Kid’ had done that day…”

“We won’t…”

“We wouldn’t…”

“Never…”

“Ner ..err…”

Kyle had gone white.  

Preacher looked around the bunk house like he was looking for the devil himself, staring into all the dark shadows.

“It took Heyes a powerful long time to make ‘The Kid’ see …that there might be another way.  That he didn’t always need to t’ kill … But they knew they’d be damned! 
  …cast out! 
     …outlawed!”

Preacher looks to the ceiling again and every eye follows, though many don’t know what he’s looking for up there.

“Heyes watches him …keeps him close …where he can  …talk to him” Preacher shouts suddenly angry, as if looking for justification for breaking his word to Heyes.  “ ’Cause sometimes …Kid still gets that look in his eyes …. “

Preacher’s eyes are wild and far away again.  

“Heyes …he don’t ever sleep right …He’s always awake …pacing …worrying …if ever ‘The Kid’s’ killing blood were to get all riled up again …” 

Preacher looked at the bunk house door, like he was expecting to see a blood crazed Curry come rushing through it at any moment to tear them all apart with his bare hands.  

“That’s why Heyes …He don’t hold with no killing on the rob …he can’t risk ‘The Kid’ getting too riled….”

There was a jangle of harness outside in the yard.

“It’s ‘The Kid!’” squealed Kyle.

---oooOOOooo---

Leaders cabin

“Everything go as planned?” asks Heyes.

“Yeah…” Kid fished in his pocket. “Here’s that letter you had me waiting on.  I sure hope that’s gonna be worth it, ‘cause I didn’t like the way that deputy in Red Fort was starting to look at me. Oh, and here’s your whiskey.”

Heyes perused the label appreciatively.  “Oh …it’ll be worth it Kid.” He smiled, pocketing the letter. 

Kid went to the bit of glass they used for shaving and stroked his chin, looking confused.

“What?” asked Heyes.

“When I came in just now, the boys were all looking at me funny.  Thought I might ‘ve wiped lipsti… er …dirt across my face or somethin’…”

“Aw …They was probably just wondering about the next job …I didn’t tell them you’d be waiting on my letter.”  Heyes smiled.  He strolled to the cabin door. “Think I’ll just go stretch my legs …have a smoke while I read.” He patted the letter in his pocket.

Heyes walked off around the Leaders hut to his favourite smoking rock, down beside the canyon wall, up behind the bunkhouse.  After several minutes he was joined by an almost sober sounding Preacher.

“Well?” asked Heyes, setting fire to the letter and using it to re-light his cigar.

“Worked like a dream …Said it just like you told me.  You won’t be having any more discipline problems, Heyes.” Preacher grinned ruefully. “If ‘The Kid’ tells them to jump off a cliff, into a river of stampeding buffalo, on the next job …You just watch ‘em fly!” 

Heyes beamed, puffing on the cigar. “And the guns?” 

“They won’t be firing their guns, round any of the passengers, no more neither.  They wouldn’t dare risk rilin’ up Kids …. killing blood! …Hehehehe… Heyes, when you howled like a coyote …Kyle’s face…”

Heyes made a small bowing motion with his cigar, dark eyes twinkling with mirth. He handed over the bottle.

Preacher saluted Heyes with his bottle of the good stuff.  He straightened his hat but didn’t manage to much improve his appearance of drunken dishevelment. 

“Now …if you’ll excuse me Heyes …purely for the sake of authenticity of course … I fear I must continue my apparent drunkenness …in yonder ditch…”

---oooOOOooo---
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Way I heard it... (2,300 words) Early Gang Leader time frame
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