Posts : 8715
Join date : 2013-08-24
|Subject: Revenge Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:18 am|| |
Time for a new challenge, and this one should really whet your artistic appetites. Your mission is to give us your best take on the challenge topic between 4,000 and 150 words. Your topic for October is
So time to get writing, but don't forget to comment on September's stories before starting, as comments are the only thanks our writers get.
Posts : 334
Join date : 2016-10-21
|Subject: Re: Revenge Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:18 am|| |
A Matter of Faith and Trust... continued
The Governor hadn’t moved. He sat quietly, watching the outlaw leader’s Scofield pistol as it wavered to and fro, in time with the cogs whirring inside Heyes’ head. Heyes stared back for what felt like a very long few seconds, as he tried to get the measure of the other man’s character.This Governor, Governor Valentine K. Johnson, was not an easy man to read. But there was something Heyes recognised, something in the man’s manner and bearing that brought to mind, a certain, fair minded Judge of their acquaintance. A Judge whose word could be trusted.Slowly, Heyes lifted and holstered his gun.“It’s… Heyes … just Heyes.”Kid, still stood with the door knob in his hand. He stared at Heyes as he trained his Colt on the seated Governor. He looked confused. What was this? They were leaving. It had all been a lie. A trap, to get them to the prison. No way, was he holstering his gun.“Well … just … Heyes …” said the Governor ignoring the gunman’s pistol, “You … may call me Johnson … if you wish … for now.”A small smile of satisfaction crossed his face, or was it relief, as Heyes placed a hand over Kid’s gun and lowered it to point at the floor.“HEYES … You’re not gonna listen to this snake… ARE YOU? He just admitted it’s all been a pack o’ lies! He’s just stallin’ us … till his guard comes back … COME ON HEYES … WE GOTTA GET OUTTA HERE!”Heyes’ gaze hadn’t left the seated man.“I wanna hear what he has to say Kid … You can keep him covered while we talk … if it makes you feel better… but … I don’t think we should leave without hearing what he has to say.”Kid stared at his cousin in disbelief. Saw that Heyes was in earnest, and wouldn’t be swayed. So, with a scrape of more dirt from his face to the floor and a frustrated growl of anger, Kid resumed his vigil at the door, whilst keeping his Colt trained on Johnson’s middle.Heyes sat, crossing his legs and clasping his hands in his lap, all ears. Johnson eyed Kid Curry behind the seated Heyes in question. Heyes merely smiled. He wasn’t surprised, their reputations were such, that many a man believed Kid merely did Heyes’ bidding.“He can hear you well enough from there” he assured the Governor.“Well … Gentlemen …” Johnson seemed to accept that this was the best he could expect from his august company, just at present. “I presume you would like to know why, your friend Trevors, had you turn up a day early for a meeting with the Territorial Governor?”Heyes’ eyebrows did his answering.“Yes… Governor Thomas Moonlight himself … is coming here tomorrow morning. And I presume you’d like to know why he had you come to this… “Johnson waved a hand towards the window and the parade ground beyond. It was filling up with a bedraggled bunch of half-starved looking men, whose hair looked recently shorn and who were all wearing the same striped uniform. They were overseen by more of the mammoth guards wielding rifles. Kid watched as the men were directed to move boulders, the size of small doggies, from one side of the yard to the other. He was not impressed.Heyes wasn’t distracted however, he was listening to every word Johnson was saying.“To this … facility … this great bastion … of penal reform?”‘Ah, that was it,’ thought Heyes. ‘That was the angle.’
Lom Trevors had had a long day. Governor Moonlight was not good travelling company in Lom’s book. Good travelling company eased a journey, with a little tall-tale telling now and then, a round of cards, if the train car had a table, and accompanied you in the quest for sustenance. Good travelling company didn’t near talk your ear off all the way from Cheyenne to Laramie!
He sat heavily on the bed, pulling off the tight dress boots, he wished he’d never spent good money on, and loosening the fool silk thing at his neck. One of the best reasons Lom could think of just then, for never going into politics himself, was the blame monkey-dress get up he and Moonlight had been trussed up in all day. Moonlight said it added gravitas to his Office. It added nothing but tight muscles and pinched-up feet as far as Lom was concerned.
Lom launched the expensive silk cravat, to the other side of the considerable bed chamber, with venom.
He lay back on the bed and stared up at the ornate ceiling.
This Cornel Harvest friend of Moonlight’s, must have family money, thought Lom. He didn’t build a fancy pile like this, on Army pay that’s for sure. Moonlight had been a little un-forthcoming about his time here in the Army. It was the only thing the man had been un-forthcoming about.
Moonlight was in the next room.
Unbelievably, the man was still talking to himself, strutting back and forth across the room spouting the next speech he had to make, Lom supposed, or he might just like the sound of his own voice.
The man hadn’t given up talking once. Not even when Cornel Harvest had brought out the good cigars after dinner. The whole experience had left Lom with a disturbed digestion and a sour mood.
He stood and pulled off a few more clothes. He found the warm water, left for him to freshen up. He dabbed at his neck. Shaving could wait till morning. He’d need a little time then, to bolster himself, before facing breakfast with the garrulous Governor.
Lom closed his eyes.
He’d been staring at himself in the mirror above the wash stand, but suddenly, he couldn’t meet his own gaze. He turned away from the glass and sent the towel flying across the room to join the odious cravat on the floor.
If Moonlight hadn’t been in the next room he would have liked to vent his frustration with a few, well-chosen, Anglo Saxon expletives. As it was, he banged his white-knuckled fist into the marble, making the ornate jug and basin bounce, soap-suds skitting about in all directions.
Moonlight was a menace!
The man had tied Lom up in knots. Twisting his intentions. Seeming to say one thing, then claiming to have said another. Agreeing with Lom, that the boys had done enough. Wanting to mark the occasion, he said. Suggesting they invite the press to witness the granting of the amnesty one minute, and then insisting he’d told Lom it had to be at the prison the next, so it looked like they’d been persuaded to reform. Made it out like it was all Lom’s idea and he was just agreeing to it.
The man never said anything straight. The way Lom liked it.
Somehow, he had Lom cook up that cock and bull story about collecting a prisoner. Then, just when Lom was thinking the boys may just go along with the idea, Moonlight went and shifted the date, to get the boys to the prison a day early, when he knew it was too late for Lom to call them back to Porterville. Then tried to tell Lom that was his idea too.
As if Heyes… HEYES… would ever agree to spending the night in the cells, just to make the Governor look good for the press. As if Kid… KID… would agree to shave his head and get dressed up in one of those prison uniforms. Did Moonlight really think they would just meekly sit in a prison cell overnight!
The man could talk, but he wouldn’t listen.
The whole thing was a mess!
Lom walked despondently back to the bed lost in thought.
And what was Moonlight’s genius suggestion, if the boys didn’t go along with it and just turned-tail and headed out for Canada?
Well that’s alright, he’ll just grant amnesty to two other high profile prisoners. Like it wasn’t important at all, which two he granted amnesty to, just as long as the press got the message, that the prison was a place of reform: Not the bumbling den of incompetence last month’s escapes made it out to be.
Lom pulled back the counterpane and climbed wearily into bed, raising his eyes to the ceiling once more, this time in silent prayerful apology, to any omniscient deity, for all of man’s folly. He felt the weight, heavy on his shoulders, tonight.
And, what were the names of those other two prisoners Moonlight had cited as worthy candidates for his amnesty? Clitterhouse, a former Sheriff, who had succumbed to greed, after a more or less blameless career, till then at least. And Chester E. Powers, a banker, who had similarly surrendered to that terrible sin, after an unblemished life, mostly spent supporting many politicians of Moonlight’s acquaintance, apparently.
Lom’s eyes suddenly widened in recognition. That was the banker that had set the boys up, to take the fall, when he robbed his own bank.
Lom’s eyes rolled, as he groaned under the extra weight of guilt. Heyes and Kid would never understand that he, Lom, had no real part in this mess.
The ends of the copious moustache were chewed.
Kid might even take exception to the fact that the Governor had reneged on Warren’s promise. He might seek revenge for all the wasted years of honesty. And, what will Heyes do, when he finds out that on the day after Lom sent them to the prison, on a fool’s errand, Clitterhouse and Power were granted amnesty in their stead.
Lom closed his eyes and fell into a fitful, disturbed sleep. In his dreams the boys, thin as whips and gaunt in their striped prison uniforms, haunted his every thought, clanking their chained wrists and taunting him at every turn.
Demanding, what he thought he was doing, sending them to the Wyoming Territorial Prison, all those long, long years ago. What was he thinking?
“What were you thinking?!” demanded Heyes in a hoarse whisper.
Groggily, Lom opened his eyes. A shuttered lamp swam in the darkness very close to his face. It lit the end of a Scofield pistol, that loomed large towards him, and behind that, Lom saw the penetrating, angry, dark-eyed glare of Hannibal Heyes.
...Ok ...left you hanging again... If its any comfort... I'm hanging too!
Posts : 151
Join date : 2016-12-10
Location : The Sonoran Desert
|Subject: McCord Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:18 pm|| |
Angus McCord was the last person Hannibal Heyes expected to see in the saloon in Centennial.
Perhaps not the very last person, but a chill went down his spine. There was no good reason for McCord to be in their new hometown.
McCord had caught Heyes’ eye, as if he had been sitting at that poker table, just waiting for Heyes or the Kid to walk into the place.
Heyes broke eye contact and casually strolled to the bar, intending to get a beer, and wait for the Kid to arrive, which was his original reason for entering the saloon. They had come to town to complete some needed errands, and had planned to have a beer or two, and maybe play a game or two of poker before they returned to the ranch.
He scrubbed his face, while he waited for Ed, the bartender, to finish with one of the other local ranchers at the far end of the bar. Heyes hazarded a glance at McCord, and was rewarded with an intense stare back, and a slowly spreading smile. This worried him even further.
“Why Mr. Heyes,” Ed smiled as he poured the beer. “How are you doing today?”
“Good, as ever, Ed,” Heyes returned the smile. “Got the best wife in the world.”
“Mr. Curry might disagree with you,” Ed laughed. “Heck, I better or Martha will tan my hide.”
Heyes smiled wider, and nodded. “Ain’t that the truth, Ed. Luckily we all have wonderful wives.”
Ed shook his head, but then nodded. He started to go back to washing his glasses, but Heyes nodded towards the poker game.
“The new guy over there, with the red hair, he been here long?”
“Came in yesterday,” Ed paused. “Was asking about you and the Kid. Seemed to know you.” Ed did not look happy.
Heyes sighed. “Can’t say as he’s a friend, but yeah, we know him.”
“Glad to know he ain’t a friend exactly,” Ed replied. “Not the type we’d want around Centennial.” He smiled again at Heyes. “We’re kind of particular.”
“So I’ve heard, Ed.” Heyes smiled back, but then looked over towards McCord. “Old Angus probably won’t cause problems, for the town, but I best go see why he’s here.” Heyes took a deep drink of his beer, and was about to walk over to the poker table, when he looked over to see who was entering the batwing doors. Old habits die hard, but this time he relaxed, just a bit.
Jedediah “Kid” Curry came strolling in with the mayor. They had been discussing plans for a new school, but again old habits die hard. Curry had done an automatic sweep of the saloon, looking for threats. He acknowledged Heyes at the bar with a nod of his head, while continuing to listen to the Mayor. He also immediately came alert, after seeing the look in Heyes’ eyes, and glanced over towards the poker table. His eyes became still when he saw McCord.
“Here Mayor, let me buy you a drink,” Curry said affably, steering the mayor towards the bar and away from the stranger at the poker table.
“Well, it’s a bit early for me,” Mayor Jefferson protested, but just as eagerly took the mug that Ed offered.
“You and Mr. Curry get the planning for the school all sorted out?” Ed asked, wiping down the bar. “My Martha is all excited. She’s hoping a new school might encourage Ed Junior to do better with his studies, so he don’t end up tending bar like his pa.”
“Now this is a fine, upstanding establishment, Ed,” Mayor Jefferson countered. As the bartender and the mayor continued in their conversation, Heyes excused himself and headed towards the poker table.
“You boys have an open spot?” Heyes asked with a smile that did not reach his eyes.
“For you, Heyes, always,” Charlie Summers drawled. He was another of the local ranchers, who played poker well enough to learn to enjoy playing with Hannibal Heyes. He had come up from the south after the war, but was now a fierce, loyal citizen of Wyoming, as most of the locals were.
“Why, if it ain’t Angus McCord?” Heyes’ smile was brittle, but he extended his hand out to McCord, who had no choice but to shake it.
“Been a long time, Heyes,” McCord answered, warily looking from him, and then over to Curry. “See you got the Kid with you.”
“As always, McCord.” Heyes’ eyes took on a hard sheen, but then he visibly relaxed, and smiled at the other players. “But enough talkin’. I’m ready to play.”
A collective breath came from the other players, and Billy, one of the hands from the livery stable, laughed briefly. “Sounds good, Heyes.” As the townsfolk had found out, it was always interesting playing poker with Hannibal Heyes, and not always in the same way.
The game proceeded quietly enough for several hands. Eventually Billy had to leave for his shift at the livery, and the Kid sat down to join them.
“Right nice to see you, too, Kid,” McCord smiled widely at Curry, who did not smile back.
“What brings you to town, McCord?” the Kid asked.
“Come to visit with you two.” Angus McCord’s eyes danced. “Got some business to discuss.”
Ears pricked up around the table, as everyone was wondering exactly how Angus McCord knew Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. A few drifters came through town occasionally, asking for the former leaders of the Devil’s Hole gang. Most were harmless, like the pair that usually looked a bit worse for the wear, a tall, stocky man with a mustache who was always accompanied by a shorter, slighter dishwater blonde, who enjoyed his chew a bit too much.
Some of these individuals wandered back out of town after a glimpse of the sheriff. Some left after a word from Heyes or the Kid. Some were simply men who had wanted to meet the famous former outlaws.
It was usually those who had a rough look and wore tied down guns that worried the townsfolk, but not always. Wheat and Kyle, as many had learned were the names of the duo who had visited more than once, seemed harmless enough, even with their six guns always visible. Angus McCord did not wear his gun tied low, but stuffed in his jacket pocket. It had been visible a few times as he shifted during the poker game, but it did not seem to occur to him that it might bother some of the other players.
At the table, it was only Heyes and Curry who wore their guns tied down. Some old habits die hard. The townsfolk had chosen to ignore this habit of the boys, figuring they might still need those guns, depending on who exactly did come through town.
Eventually, the rest of the players had drifted away to other pursuits, after no interesting conversation had occurred between the boys and this new stranger in town. When it was just Heyes, Curry, and McCord at the table, Heyes signaled Ed to bring out a bottle and three glasses. After an initial shot, Heyes set down his glass and looked at McCord.
“So, why are you here?” Heyes’ eyes were hard.
“No, it’s great to see you? Come on out to the house?” McCord laughed softly. Then his gaze turned towards Curry. “What about you, Kid? Not even a hello?”
“I thought we told you years ago that it would be best if we never saw you again.” The Kid’s eyes were glacial.
McCord’s laugh was louder this time, attracting some attention from Ed, who looked over briefly, until he met the Kid’s gaze. Then he became very busy cleaning glasses.
“But that was back when we were all at the Hole still.” McCord’s eyes became as still as the Kid’s. “Before you two kicked me out.”
“When you blew that safe at Gillette,” Heyes paused, controlling himself.
“And injured Hank and Lobo,” the Kid continued.
“Not to mention the townsfolk, that little girl and her mother.” Heyes eyes glittered. “What choice did we have?”
McCord simply continued to smile. “Never knew how you two held onto control at Devil’s Hole, as squeamish as you were about hurting folks.” He looked from one to the other. “Never believed the rumors about you two either. Yet here you are, together, even after getting married.”
Instinctually the Kid’s right arm started to move until Heyes grabbed it.
“That’s all past history.” Heyes’ voice was low and harsh. “Tell me why you are here now.”
“Why to meet your nice families. You don’t seem very inclined to introduce me,” McCord’s eyes glittered. “But I’ve seen them around town already.”
Heyes took his hand away from the Kid, who settled into an all too familiar stance.
“Is that why you’ve come here then?” Heyes laugh was dry, and scary. “To threaten us?”
“You know, that was my first thought,” McCord was not fazed by the dark looks from either of the former outlaws. “But I came up with a better idea.”
“What?” Heyes’ voice sharpened further.
“I want you to teach me to open a Pierce and Hamilton 1878.” McCord’s smile became a bit sharp itself.
“Can’t do it,” Heyes shook his head. “It would jeopardize our amnesty.”
“No, Heyes, I don’t want you to come with me,” McCord shook his head. “I just want you to tell me how.”
Heyes was silent for a moment.
“You do know how dangerous it is,” Curry interjected. “It’s one of the reasons we left the business. I figured eventually Heyes would blow us both up.”
McCord shook his head. “Obviously not, since you did it more than once.”
“Not by choice,” Heyes replied.
“Not by either of our choices,” the Kid reiterated.
“But you still did.” McCord insisted. “Knowing you, Heyes, you had to have it figured out perfectly.”
Heyes paused again, but then nodded. “Yes, had to, or we would have indeed blown up.” He smiled briefly at the Kid, but then focused back on McCord. “You just want a supply list?”
“And detailed instructions.” McCord’s face was covered by a gleaming smile.
“If I give you what you want, what guarantee do I have that you won’t be back here again?” Heyes asked.
“You don’t,” McCord said shortly. “But at least I’ll leave for now.”
Heyes was again still. Then he nodded.
“Heyes, you sure about this?” The Kid looked towards Heyes.
“Don’t appear to have much of a choice, do I?” A brief smile crossed his face, but his eyes were hard.
“No, you don’t,” McCord laughed dryly.
“I have one condition.” Heyes captured McCord’s gaze.
“You aren’t in much of a position to bargain, Heyes.” McCord’s voice hardened.
“It’s the only way I’ll do this,” Heyes stated.
“Well, what is it?” McCord sounded impatient.
“I’ll dictate the steps, but you have to write them down.”
“I don’t want any evidence that I gave you this information.”
“Heyes, I always heard you were a cautious SOB,” McCord shook his head. “Sure, you tell me, and
I’ll write it down.” He pulled out a notebook and pencil. “Ready?”
Heyes scrubbed his face and sighed.
“Here, let me double-check what you wrote down,” Heyes reached for the notebook, but McCord hesitated. “Don’t want to you blow yourself up,” he said harshly. “Be bad for my reputation.” His hand was still out. Eventually McCord handed over the book.
“Uh huh, uh huh,” Heyes read down the list. “Oh, see here,” he pointed to the amount of nitro needed. “You wrote down too much.” Heyes smiled at McCord, but there was something in his eyes that seemed to bother the other man. “Hand me your pencil and I’ll fix it.” Again, Heyes held out his hand. He crossed out and corrected the figure, and then snapped the book shut, giving it back to McCord. There was a brilliantly sharp smile on Heyes’ face.
McCord opened the notebook to the instructions. “No, I’m certain I wrote down exactly what you told me.” He looked up at Heyes. “You trying to change something so this doesn’t work?”
“Wouldn’t I have increased the amount if I wanted to give you wrong information?” Heyes said blandly.
McCord looked down now, uncertainty on his face.
“I told you, McCord, this scheme of Heyes’ always made me worry.” The Kid shook his head. “I know he’s smart but there’s always a first time.”
McCord glared at the partners. “If this doesn’t blow the safe, I’ll be back.” He smiled harshly. “With friends.”
“It’ll work,” Heyes assured him. “Just follow what I corrected.”
McCord put away the book. “I certainly will, Heyes.”
Curry and Heyes were on their way back to the ranch, after seeing McCord off on the four o’clock train. It had been a quiet ride.
“The amount you told him at first was wrong,” the Kid said, looking over at the person he trusted the most in the world.
“No, Kid,” Heyes paused, and then looked Curry in the eye. “He wrote it down wrong.”
The Kid looked away, but shook his head. “No, I remember what you told him.” He caught Heyes’ eyes again. “I do listen to you, you know.”
Heyes just kept his gaze for a moment and then looked off into the hills approaching their home. “Well, he has it right now.”
“And that amount is the only thing written in your hand.” The Kid continued to look at his cousin, but then looked down the road when he did not receive a return glance.
“When did you ever get so smart, Kid?” Heyes laughed dryly.
“Always been this smart, Heyes. Couldn’t have kept up with you otherwise.”
Heyes just nodded.
They rode quietly for a while longer.
“You thought that was necessary?” the Kid finally asked.
“Yes.” It was quiet for a few minutes, but Heyes finally had to respond. “He’d just be back, Kid. One way or another, he’d come back.”
“We ever gonna be able to live a normal life?” the Kid asked shaking his head.
Heyes looked off into the setting sun. “I seriously doubt it, Kid, but I’m trying my best to keep us all safe.”
They paused at the rise before the valley leading into the ranch, relishing all the activity they could see below.
“Me too, Heyes.”
It was almost two months later, when Heyes read the article in the Cheyenne newspaper. It was the first known catastrophic failure of a Pierce and Hamilton 1878. There were theories that either the safecracker had used an excessive amount of nitroglycerin or the seals on the safe had failed. The ‘78s were getting older, so even with the sealing putty the safecracker had used, remnants of which were found in the rubble, excess nitro may have leaked out.
Of the actual safecracker, there were also a few remnants. An engraved watch had been flung out of the window at the time of the blast, or his identity might never had been determined. Angus McCord was known to quite a few lawmen across the West, many who were surprised that he had attempted a P&H ’78, even as long as they had been in use.
The identification of the attempted thief did silence those that had insisted it had to be one of the remaining members of the Devil’s Hole gang, if not Hannibal Heyes himself coming out of retirement. Others had scoffed at this, saying if it were Heyes, he would not have blown himself up, as McCord had.
After Heyes had finished reading the article twice, he folded the newspaper and slipped it under a stack of books in their library. The Kid had read it before he had given it to Heyes. He had given Heyes a stoic look as he handed him the paper. So many words had silently passed between them in that instant.
Heyes had wandered out onto the back porch of their home, looking over the peaceful hills. It was there that his wife had found him. Their son, Little Jed, had gone down for a nap, so she came to see how her other boy was doing. She came to his side, and put her arm around his waist. He started, as if just realizing she was there. It was not a reaction she had ever seen from him before. He was usually hypersensitive to his surroundings.
“It wasn’t your fault.” She stared out at the darkening hills.
Heyes turned to look at her.
“Jedediah’s wife told me that McCord had been in town but had left after a talk with you two.”
He turned to embrace her, gathering her into his arms. “Are you so certain?”
“Did you give him the correct instructions?”
“Yes, but,” he started.
She shook her head, placing her hand on his cheek.
“I played with his mind.”
She laughed harshly. “Hannibal Heyes, if you are going to blame yourself for every idiot who you could out think...”
“No,” Heyes resolutely shook his head. “I purposely played with the amount of nitroglycerin I told him. And I didn’t mention that the seals might be drying out by now.”
“Did he ask?”
“He wouldn’t know to ask.” Heyes tried to pull away from her arms, but she wouldn’t let him. “I purposely did not tell him.” He looked out into the hills. “I wanted him gone, away from you, and our little Jedediah, and the Kid and his family.”
She folded herself into his arms, and Heyes did finally relax, but only a bit.
Posts : 538
Join date : 2013-08-25
Age : 64
Location : Colorado
|Subject: Re: Revenge Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:13 am|| |
JThis is a continuation of last month's tale. There's more to come, but please don't worry--I'll never leave a story unfinished. I'm hoping to keep this one going for a few more prompts as an incentive to get back into regular writing. Thanks for your patience!
Struggling to stay centered in the saddle, Heyes ignored the pain that shot through his shoulder and his dangling, wounded foot every time he careened against the sheer cliff wall to his right. To his left was a steep slope of several hundred feet falling away from the rocky, precarious trail his horse was madly racing across, the lead rope whipping between all four legs. So far the animal had managed to remain upright but one wrong step, or a shift in weight, could send both horse and rider to their deaths.
Heyes could see the widening of the trail as it cleared the cliff and snaked along a forested slope, but he wasn’t sure they’d make it. Sheer will kept him mounted as the bay made one more crazed leap before landing on softer soil. They plunged into the trees and the horse galloped, unaided, until it began to slow. First to a jog then a breathless walk before stepping on its lead rope and stopping altogether, dropping its head to anxiously tear the sparse, tall grasses on the forest floor. Heyes panted along with the bay, both of their hearts racing from exertion and adrenaline. He attempted to guide his horse using his legs and body, but the gelding was still too shaken to respond. Together, they wandered off the trail and into the trees. As Heyes’ heart rate slowed, fatigue and fever overcame him and he tumbled to the ground rolling over onto his back and staring up at the sky, inert. His eyelids closed. The horse continued nibbling, drifting further and further away, contented to be relieved of him.
A hollow grumble issued from the Kid’s stomach, closely followed by a thunderous belch from his mouth. His horse’s ears swiveled towards him noting the sounds as it jogged along the trail.
“Um, sorry, guess I should’ve had more breakfast before we started out.” The thought of food brought an instant wave of nausea. “Or maybe not.” He hadn’t eaten much since the night before last and had yet to recover his appetite. He’d managed to down a small piece of dry biscuit early this morning but, rather than curbing the hunger pangs, it had set his gut to roiling. At least, the food had stayed where it was supposed to, but he was feeling light-headed and weak. They’d had a few hours rest in the early hours of the morning, but he’d spent half of it tossing and turning, worrying about his partner and letting his fear and anger build. He hoped whoever had Heyes wasn’t in any hurry to get to where he was going, because the Kid was planning on sending him straight to Hell. With a click of his tongue, he sent his sorrel into a lope.
A weak groan roused Mac from his stupor. A shifting, heavy weight across his legs chased away the last vestiges of unconsciousness. Pain radiated through him before he bolted upright only to find he was pinned in place by his injured horse.
“Dickie! Aw, %$#@*, Dickie!!” The horse’s leg was clearly broken and it was groaning with pain, too far gone with shock to thrash. Without wasting a moment, Mac slid his Colt from its holster and leaned towards the prone head. Gently positioning the barrel of his gun where it would swiftly put the animal out of its misery, he pulled the trigger. A small jerk and the big brown eyes glazed over.
Mac’s eyes welled up and tears spilled, coursing down his cheeks. He sobbed like a baby, gulping and sniffing, for several minutes before pulling himself together. “Heyes is gonna pay for killin’ you, Dickie boy. You was the bestest pony that ever was.” His rough hand lovingly stroked the glossy, soft neck as the skin cooled. “I swear to you, he’ll pay.” His pledge made, Mac began using his bare hands to dig out his immobilized legs. His nails broke and his fingers bled, but his furious grief fueled his determination.
The faint echo of a gunshot reverberated across the peaks. Curry pulled up his horse and sat for a moment but he couldn’t be sure where it came from. He waited pensively hoping for a second shot to help him locate the source, but none came. His nerves tightened. The best he could do was to hurry along the trail he was on and hope that Heyes was still alive. Both he and his mount were worn out but his fear drove them on.
Dark eyes snapped open to the bark of a gun. Heyes’ mind tried to catch up to his instinctual reaction as his bruised and battered body sat up. He moaned. His aching muscles screamed in protest while the throbbing in his foot penetrated his foggy brain. Twisting his arms, he tested the cuffs. The chain binding them together was too short to allow much give. He’d have to try to pick them. He wasn’t worried, he’d done it blindfolded often enough, but how to get his lockpick from the sleeve inside his hat band; the hat band that was on the hat dangling from his neck?
Swinging his upper body, Heyes worked the hat around so it was hanging against his chest and caught it between his knees. He dropped his head and, after several failed attempts, his teeth trapped the small knot of leather securing the band to the crown. Yanking and pulling and ultimately chewing, he worked the lacing loose and the band slipped to the ground. Again using his teeth, he picked it and a considerable amount of soil up before looking around for something to lay the strap on so he could work on it without eating another pound of dirt. A nearby downed pine tree was perfect. He shuffled along on his knees until he reached it. Tipping his head, he managed to lay it down inside up, the lockpick visible and resting securely in its pocket.
Heyes spit as much of the remaining grit from his mouth as he could. Using his open mouth to keep the band pinned, he fished at the lockpick with his tongue. Finally, he levered it up, closed his teeth on one end, and shaking his head like a crazed dog, the pick slipped free from the band. Heyes gave a stifled howl of pleasure as sweat dripped from his chin. Gingerly placing the pick on the tree trunk, he turned around and leaned back until his numbed fingers felt the tiny metal instrument. In seconds, his hands were free. As his arms swung to his side, he nearly fainted with pain. The nerves in the confined extremities shrieked with the shock of movement and he fell forward onto the tree trunk, panting as the blood flowed back in his arms and hands. At last, when he could feel the texture of the coarse bark and flex his fingers, he sat up and turned his attention to his real wounds.
Heyes pulled off his crusty sock and examined his foot. Luckily, the bullet had gone straight through leaving a large exit wound in its wake, but what sort of foul debris had it left behind? Poking both putrefying holes gently, ignoring the pain, he forced pus from them until blood freely flowed. Better the wounds healed from the inside out. His pants leg was stretched tight around his swollen calf and his attempts to roll it up failed. Using his lockpick as a dull knife, he slipped the tip through the material and tore at it until the fabric fell open. Fascinated, he traced the ugly, engorged veins from his ankle to his knee. He could see them pulsating with infection. If it continued unchecked, he would die.
Mac slid his legs out from under Dickie’s carcass. They were sore and numb but as far as he could tell he was a very fortunate man. He reached across the corpse and tugged his Spencer from its scabbard. Opening the breech, he checked the load and set the weapon aside. Turning back to his saddle bags, he removed his small store of beans and coffee and tied each bag to his belt. Matches went in a shirt pocket and his good hunting knife was slipped into his gun belt. He un-cinched the saddle and slid the wool blanket from under it, draping it around his neck. Examining his saddle, he found the tree had broken in the fall. Another thing Heyes was gonna pay for. It had taken him years to break that saddle in so he could sit it comfortably for days but Mac had to admit he didn’t need to be lugging forty pounds of leather while chasing down that no-good outlaw trash. His canteen of drinking water and the one he’d confiscated from Heyes had also been crushed by the weight of his dying horse. He’d have to make do.
Mac looked up the slope to the visible cut along the cliff face. It had to be a couple of hundred feet above him. He’d work his way back to the trail on an angle. It would cost him some time but the slope was too steep to scale and he was too sore. Besides, he was pretty sure Heyes wasn’t going to get too far with a wounded foot and his hands tied behind his back even if he was still mounted. He gave Dickie one last regretful pat then picked up the rifle, grabbed his hat from where it had fallen, and walked away.
“Come back here, you worthless nag!” growled Heyes, heavily leaning on a forked, snapped-off tree branch as a makeshift crutch. His bay danced just out of his reach each time he neared, preferring to be free to graze at its leisure. Both reins had long since snapped off the bridle, but the obstinate beast still trailed the braided lead rope. It had taken almost all of Heyes’ remaining strength to track the animal to the grassy meadow, but he’d had no choice. If he was going to survive, he needed his horse. Frustration was making the ex-outlaw angry and his face had purpled with exertion. Horses sensed these things so he forced himself to calm down and think about how to get the beast to come to him. That’s when he remembered the peppermint candy in his shirt pocket. The waitress at the café had given it to him along with the check at breakfast. He pulled out the small candy and un-wrapped it. Placing it in the center of his palm, he held out his hand and whistled. The sound lifted the horse’s head and it turned towards him. Seeing the offered hand, the bay remembered other tasty treats. His ears pricked up and he cautiously stepped towards his rider with his neck stretched out. His nose wiggled in anticipation until his lips close around the sweet. Happily, he crunched the sugary snack placidly while Heyes quietly reached out and gripped the lead rope. “Aha, gotcha!”
Clutching the rope and stumping along on the crutch, he led the bay to the closest tree and tied it securely. Balancing against the animal’s side, he opened a saddlebag, and withdrew a spare rein. Lacing the proper end to one side of the bit, he knotted the split end to the other side fashioning a short, looped rein. He worked his way around the bay’s hind end to the other saddle bag, pulling out some muslin bandaging, a bindle of powdered white willow bark, and a bottle of whiskey. His hands full, he dropped the crutch and hopped to another tree, putting his back against it and carefully sliding down it to a sitting position. He uncorked the bottle, taking a long draw from it then tore open a corner of the packet, shook a third of the contents into his mouth, and grimaced at the bitter taste before washing it down with a lot more drink as he considered what to do next. The willow bark should keep the fever down and ease some of the pain so he could clean the wound with the booze but it wouldn’t take care of the infection working its way through his body.
There was some dried out skunk cabbage around a dried up waterhole in the middle of the meadow. He knew it, too, could relieve pain. Struggling to his feet, he slipped the branch under his arm and limped out into the patch of dying plants harvesting as many leaves as he could stuff in his pockets. Turning away from the waterhole, he scanned the forest undergrowth; he had to find chokecherry. It was plentiful around these parts and he remembered an old mountain man telling him the Indians used it on gangrene. His foot wasn’t there yet, but it would be soon if he didn’t do something now.
The chokecherry was easy enough to find but tearing the bark off took the use of his lockpick and a lot of effort. Winded and feverish, Heyes returned to his horse and sat down against the same tree. He picked up the whiskey bottle and drank some more. When he began to feel suitably fuzzy, he poured the some of the alcohol into the open wounds swearing huskily as the fluid burn into the raw flesh. Tearing the chokecherry bark into tiny shreds, he packed it into his wounds, gritting his teeth against the pain. He sprinkled the skunk cabbage on top, soaked it with some more whiskey, and wrapped the muslin around everything to hold it in place. It was the best he could do. One more swig and he was ready to try mounting.
Getting to his foot with difficulty, Heyes stowed away the remaining herbs and bandaging in his saddlebag. He retrieved his hat and the band, using a piece of latigo to tie the band back on before slipping the stampede strings over his head. He untied the gelding. He had one chance to vault into the saddle without doing any more harm to himself. Grabbing the mane, he tucked his forearm into the horse’s shoulder blade, took a deep breath, and swung into the saddle, his sore foot clearing the cantle easily. Relieved, he took a moment to catch his breath before urging the horse on.
The Kid’s sorrel plodded along at an exhausted walk. His rider’s head pitched forward and his eyes strained to read the rocky ground. Game trails crisscrossed this section of trail making it difficult to discern tracks but telltale drops of spilled blood were still visible in the weakening afternoon light. Curry prayed the blood wasn’t his partner’s. Every few steps, the horse stopped and refused to move on. Finally, both horse and rider could go no further. The Kid dismounted, stiffly leading the sorrel to the lowest branch of an old blue spruce. He pulled the saddle from the weary creature, dropping it on the ground, and spreading out the saddle pad to dry. Giving the animal the last of their water, he stretched out on his bedroll.
Immediately, the Kid drifted into a fitful sleep, his dreams filled with his worst nightmare.
Author’s note: what is commonly called Skunk Cabbage in Colorado is also called Corn Lily. It is not the same plant as Eastern Skunk Cabbage and has different medicinal uses.
“The purpose of life isn’t to arrive at death in perfect condition but to slide into it sideways with your hair mussed, your clothes disheveled, a martini in one hand and chocolate in the other, shouting ‘Whooeee, what a ride!’”--Hunter S. Thompson
Last edited by InsideOutlaw on Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:59 am; edited 2 times in total
Posts : 64
Join date : 2018-09-14
|Subject: Re: Revenge Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:24 pm|| |
A short excerpt from “Heyes's Legacy”. I adjusted it a little bit and avoid the mentioning of Heyes’s fate.
Kid Curry lay awake. Strange things had happened lately. It had never occurred to him that Danny Bilson could have been married. Even less he had thought, he’d ever meet his wife.
Now the Kid lay awake and pondered about his new relationship with Mrs. Bilson, the woman he had widowed.
He liked her. He really liked her.
It wasn’t comparable with the feelings other women in his life had awoken in him. There was nothing like attraction or desire, she was more like ... some kind of friend to him. An unusual relationship in this combination: a gunman and a lady.
Heyes once had joked “never turn a lady into a good friend”, but that was the best way to describe what he felt. He enjoyed her company and she made him think about things in a different way.
During their outlaw days he and Heyes always tried to steal only from really wealthy people but had they always succeeded? Was there any reason to assume, they’d carried the loss alone? Wasn't it more likely that they would have offset their own losses? How many others had been affected indirectly by their reckless way of life?
Kid Curry had never really thought about something like ‘guilt’ before.
Well, not before that one particular occasion.
How had Heyes known so damn well what it would do to him, when he would take revenge? He had tried desperately to avoid the confrontation between his friend and Danny Bilson.
Why? Because he had no faith in his abilities?
Or because he knew?
The Kid had never asked him.
The shootout with Danny had been the first and last time in his life, that he had killed someone intentionally and in cold blood. And something inside him had died on that street together with the smiling gambler.
Killing Danny had been like ... like killing himself.
In an odd way he and Danny had been alike, like the man he could have been if things had gone slightly different for him. If he had killed before. If he had been able to find the marauders, who had slaughtered his family. If he would have been alone on the trail.
Danny Bilson had been like a shaded reflection of himself, one foot inside the darkness, unaware of everyone. His dark twin. It needed only one step to make them the same.
Would Heyes agree with that thought?
No, certainly not! He had always a much higher opinion of Jed’s morality than himself and he seemed to see something in him he couldn’t notice himself, some kind of ... innocence.
But the Kid hadn’t been innocent since the day their families had died. Heyes knew nothing about his thoughts and the doubts in his mind. They never talked about it. But then, maybe he did - better than anyone else ever would.
Whatever he did, his thoughts seemed to circle around his friend all the time; the one who knew him, the one who understood.
Kid Curry sighed and rubbed his hands over his face.
The irony of life occurred to him. There he was: with the widow of his victim.
He didn’t feel guilty for killing Danny Bilson, it was something that was fated. He sure was sorry for his wife, but ... would it have changed anything if he had known about one Maggie Bilson at that time?
There were questions he’d better not dare to ask, but revenge truly was a two-edged sword...
Posts : 70
Join date : 2018-07-09
|Subject: Re: Revenge Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:04 pm|| |
Hannibal Heyes had a large bruise on his jaw, his hands were tied behind his back, and he was mounted on a short tempered mule. Dustin Kaden, the largest bounty hunter in the group, was riding alongside him, just close enough that Heyes couldn’t finish getting out of his bonds.
He was close, so close. One more twist and he’d be free. Problem was that there was a bounty hunter behind him, one beside him, and only water on the other side. Kid was in a similar situation ahead. The string of riders was moving as quickly as possible and Heyes stared blindly at an old abandoned beaver dam near the opposite bank as they passed.
They weren’t too far from the hills that held the old trapper’s shack Heyes and Curry had used in the past as a hideout. They’d been headed there to give Heyes’ lame horse a few day’s rest after a trail guiding job. Unfortunately, on their way there, they’d ridden right into the Kaden family of bounty hunters and of course one of them knew them. What were the odds? Two reformed outlaw cousins running into five bounty hunter brothers?
Heyes started to open his mouth, but remembered the last warning he’d received from the man to his left; the bruise along his jaw.
“That’s right, Heyes, keep your mouth shut unless you want me to hit you again,” Dustin said.
“Takes a real brave man to strike someone who’s tied up and unarmed,” Kid Curry called from ahead of them.Shut up, Kid
, Heyes thought.
“Keep talkin’ Curry an’ you’ll end up getting’ your share of beatin’ when we stop for the night,” the burly man replied.Don’t reply
, Heyes thought at his partner.
“If it’ll make you feel better,” Kid said in that unconcerned tone that never failed in provoking.
Heyes sighed and wondered what it was about being captured by a family of bounty hunters had made his partner suddenly so chatty. Okay, so Kid was actually trying to redirect Dustin’s considerable dislike for Heyes to himself, but that didn’t mean he had to like it. They’d both refused Dustin entry to the Devil’s Hole gang when he’d try to be the rebel of the Kaden family, but Heyes had beaten him at cards.
“I don’t like the look you got on your face, Heyes. Makes me think about when you cheated me in poker,” Dustin said, trying to provoke him.
“Oh give it a rest, Dusty,” Clyde, the oldest brother and the leader of the band, said. “You’re just pissed he figured you weren’t no good at outlawin’ before you. It’s a good thing or else I’d have turned you in.”
Heyes was focused on Dustin and whether he would hit him or not so he was slightly surprised when his mule startled. Hannibal fought to control the animal with only his legs.
“Easy, easy,” Heyes said to the mule. Unfortunately, his horse had been shot by Clyde because he’d slow down the pace so Hannibal Heyes was riding on their unfamiliar pack mule.
Kid looked back at him awkwardly since his own hands were tied behind him. “You okay?”
“Yeah. Mule’s just jumpy.” The animal started to dance sideways and struck Dustin’s horse.
“Watch it!” the burly man next to Heyes yelled.
“Sorry,” Heyes muttered, still fighting the mule. Unfortunately the animal danced sideways and bumped into the large horse a second time before Heyes regained control.
He was feeling triumphant at mastering the animal so he was surprised when the butt of his rifle struck the side of his head.
Dustin must have hit harder than intended because Heyes fell off of the mule and directly into the water. Right before he hit, he heard his partner scream, “Heyes!”
The large splash sounded through the twilight.
“Heyes!” Kid leapt off his horse. The fact his hands were tied behind him made him clumsy and he fell heavily. He shoved himself upright in haste and stood up as he yelled. “Help him!”
The five men still on horseback were still staring, dumb struck, at the now rider-less mule that danced in alarm next to the water. The mule his partner had just been on.
“Help him and cut me loose!” Kid insisted as he staggered forward.
“I’ve got a rope, I’ll help! Do you see him?” Ross, the youngest of the Kadens called. He jumped off his horse and headed for the water but was cut off by Clyde who rode his horse over to block his way.
“We don’t take orders from them,” Clyde said.
“Help me, damn you! He’ll drown!” Kid hurried around the horses. Once in the water he could hopefully curl in a ball, maneuver his hands around the back of his legs, and then get his hands in front of him. They’d still be tied, but he could pull Heyes up that way. Was his partner unconscious? Was it a ploy? Curry couldn’t risk it.
“Stop!” Clyde yelled, but Kid Curry kept going, running to the place where Heyes had fallen in. He was going to get his partner or die trying.
Clyde aimed his gun and fired…
And it was Kid’s turn to fall.
“Mr. Curry?” Ross Kaden’s voice was in his ear. “Mr. Curry? You awake?”
Kid let out a groan and his lashes fluttered. He couldn’t take in a full breath; he was on his stomach and there was a sharp and heavy pain in his back. “Heyes?” he gasped.
The blonde tried to sit himself up but failed and gritted his teeth against the pain. Ross held him down.
“Stay still,” Ross continued. “You’ve been shot and it bled a heck of a lot. You need to stay still. Besides, everyone’s trigger happy just now.”
“Heyes,” Kid said once again, trying to turn onto his side so he could look around. He gritted his teeth at the difficulty of movement.
Ross helped him roll over, ignoring the condescending looks most of his brothers were sending his direction. “I’m sorry, Mr. Curry. I’m afraid he’s gone.”
Kid lay there in a considerable pool of his own blood, but it wasn’t the blood loss or the night air that made him shudder. He dimly heard himself ask, “Escaped?”
“Don’t think so,” Ross said. “Didn’t see him or hear anything break the surface of the water nearby. You find him, Patty?”
“Nah,” said Patrick Kaden. “You, Mort?”
Curry swallowed. He was in shock. Numb. Literally and figuratively. Heyes couldn’t be dead. It had to be a ploy. Kid thought about it and he would know
if Heyes was dead, he was sure of it. Almost. “I have to find him.”
He tried to sit up but Ross held him down. “Mr. Curry, the rest of my family thinks we should just let you die and they will
shoot you if you get up. Besides, it’s too dark to find him. I tried.” He raised his voice. “I happen to think we owe the men we turn in decent treatment!”
“Cry, baby brother, cry,” one of the others said in the kind of tone that told you it wasn’t the first time.
Kid ignored him. “It’s freezin’, he could be hurt and he’s wet, he’ll be sufferin’ from the cold. I’ve gotta find him. Keep me tied, I don’t care!”
look and all I found was his hat floating in the water. Tied it to your saddlebags,” Ross said sympathetically. “Mort and Patrick looked, too. We didn’t find him.”
“If you move, gunslinger, I’ll finish what I started,” Clyde said, his voice right on top of them, and then tremendous pain burned through Kid’s back and the world went gray.
“Get off him, Clyde!” Ross shoved his brother’s foot away from the injured man’s back.
Kid remained conscious, barely, staring through the dark toward the water. Heyes was
fine wasn’t he? Or had he failed his partner? Let Heyes drown? Kid couldn’t stop the small groan that escaped and he blinked a few times before he clenched his jaw and his face went cold and hard.
If Heyes was gone, Kid would kill the men responsible. He focused on that. Thinking about revenge meant he didn’t need to think about anything else. Heyes…
“Mr. Curry?” Ross asked as he checked the injured man’s wound.
“Heyes,” he murmured.
Kid Curry had already bled a lot and a little more blood was on the bandage. Ross wasn’t sure the gunslinger would survive the night, but the man himself was only worried about his partner. The bounty hunter sighed. He had too much sympathy to be in the family business; his brothers were right.
“Here, take a drink of water.”
Kid didn’t want it, not if Heyes was hurt and freezing in the dark, or worse, but he took some because he needed every ounce of strength in his body. He wouldn’t die until he found his partner, one way or another, and then he’d get some justice for him.
He managed several drinks and then the dark took over.
The blow made Heyes’ head spin but the cold water was bracing and he remained conscious, getting out of his bonds the rest of the way as soon as he was underwater. Hannibal Heyes thought about surfacing, but then realized this could be the chance they’d been waiting for…
He thought about the old beaver dam they’d passed and he swam for it, finding the entrance and just barely being able to surface under part of the structure. He breathed in a gulp of air and listened. It was dark and cramped inside and he could hear yelling through some of the holes in the structure. It was Kid—Kid and someone else.
Heyes frowned; he hadn’t had a chance to warn Kid who no doubt was worried he was drowning. He’d just decided maybe he should swim back and keep the partners together when he heard the gunshot. His face drained of color.
Heedless of the men, Heyes took a gulp of air and dove back under, surfacing next to the dam, straining his eyes to see the other bank. It was dark enough he couldn’t see the bounty hunters, but more importantly he couldn’t see or hear the Kid anymore. He tried to swallow but there was a lump in his throat and he shivered not just from the water.
“What in the hell
did you do that for???” Ross, the most decent among them, was yelling.
“We just lost 10 thousand in the water, didn’t want to make it 20!” Clyde yelled back.
“You killed him! He was just trying to help his friend and you killed him! He was TIED for Christ sakes!”
Heyes was frozen in horror, holding the logs automatically. No. No
“He ain’t dead,” one of the other men said and Heyes clung to the words as much as the dam.
“Let me see,” Ross said.
There was silence a long moment while Heyes concentrated on not being sick. Kid was shot trying to get to him. It was his trick. His fault
. Heyes did something he rarely did; he prayed.
“You’re right,” Ross said, relieved. “He’s still alive. But he needs a doctor.”
“Let me be clear. He’s wanted dead or alive and I don’t care which he ends up. We’re campin’ here for the night and we’ll look for Heyes’ body in the mornin’,” Clyde said.
“Fine, but I’m treatin’ him.”
“Suit yourself, little brother.” Clyde said. “Just keep him tied.”
“He’s unconscious. I need to—“
“Keep. Him. Tied. He’s dangerous
. ‘Specially since Heyes is dead.”
“That’s your and Dustin’s fault!” Ross said, anger making his voice louder. “I was gonna help Curry get Heyes and you stopped me! And Dustin, why’d you hit Heyes in the first place? You good as killed him.”
“You’re such a soft heart,” Dustin said. “Maybe you should stay home with Ma and tie on an apron.”
The other brothers laughed but Clyde spoke up. “Actually, Dusty, you done cost us 10 thousand. You better hope we find his body or you ain’t gonna be laughin’ tomorrow.”
The laughter stopped.
“And Ross, don’t use all our medicine on Curry. He’s a gunslinger and ain’t worth it. Who cares if he’s dead or alive? We get paid both ways an’ he’s more dangerous breathin’. Dusty, you’re on guard duty. You deserve it.”
Heyes gritted his teeth. They shot Kid. They shot him in the back when he was unarmed and tied up and trying to get to his partner. Heyes swam quietly for the opposite shore while they were making a lot of noise preparing to camp.
They thought Hannibal Heyes was dead and most of them were getting ready to bed down for the night. They had no idea what was coming.
Yeah, Kid Curry could be dangerous. But a worried Hannibal Heyes out to rescue his injured partner and get revenge? Well, he could be downright deadly.
Posts : 70
Join date : 2018-07-09
|Subject: Re: Revenge Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:08 pm|| |
Well shoot. I was a bit late so it's okay if I'm not counted. I just started this story and it fit Revenge too well so I had to add to it.
PS) This is not a continuation of last time.
Last edited by elleree on Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posts : 834
Join date : 2013-08-25
Age : 45
|Subject: Re: Revenge Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:43 pm|| |
Another Day, Another Time
Jed “Kid” Curry shielded his eyes from a too bright sun. The expanse of stover stretched as far as the eye could see, seemingly acres and acres of nothing but browning corn stalks. Their yield harvested, they would next serve as forage for the farmer’s stock before being plowed under in the spring.
Here, though, the unseasonably warm fall day had both Curry and Heyes shucking their shirts. Sweat was good for the soul, so their fathers had told them, and hard work would see them through anything. Kid smirked. Hard work was one thing, though, and hard on the back another entirely. This job had turned out to be more rigorous than they had expected, but beggars could not be choosers, especially in hard times. Heyes’ plan had gone awry this time, for sure, even if he did not want to admit it. “Sure, Kid, we’ll pick a few ears of corn and be on our merry way.” Yeah, right! Curry would do his own thinking on how to exact a little comeuppance on his partner for this, but in the meantime, at least the job was done.
Leaning on a rake, he grabbed a bandana from his pocket and wiped his brow. Yep, the job was done. They would get paid and be on their way, presumably south for the winter. He hated the cold – they both did – and although field hand pay was low, it would be enough at least for supplies for the trail and a stake for Heyes to work his magic at the poker tables.
After a good dinner tonight and a hearty breakfast tomorrow, they would take their leave. He had to admit they had eaten well these last two weeks. The lady of the house was a fine cook and kept the two temporary hands’ bellies full. Curry smiled at the thought. He would miss that aspect of the job.
His partner came into view, interrupting the blond man’s reverie. Wielding his own bandana, Heyes started pulling on his henley. Squinting, he also took note of the expanse stretching to the horizon. He remarked, “Sun’ll be down in another hour. Best we get to washing and packing up. The trail will feel good after all this.”
Kid pulled his own henley out of his waistband. “It might after the work, but your cookin’s got nothin’ on Mrs. Owen’s.”
“I’ll give ya that, Kid.” Dimples flashed. “Maybe she’ll pack us a few goodies for the trail.”
“That’d be nice.”
“Yep. We’ll ride for a couple days and find a nice, quiet town where I can relieve some of the locals of their hard-earned wages.” Heyes’ brown eyes glinted. “All legal, of course.”
“And maybe we’ll look up your good Uncle Mac and see if he’s in a welcoming mood for his saddle tramp nephew and his partner.”
Now Heyes did not expect Curry to talk a blue streak, but he did take notice of the monosyllabic responses. “So you’ll miss her cooking. But if we don’t get started, we’re liable to run into snow.”
“What’s up, Kid?”
“You look deep in thought. That can’t be good. I do the thinking for both of us, remember?”
Heyes noted his partner’s pensive expression. “Then what?”
Curry waved a hand in front of them. “This.”
Heyes’ brow furrowed. “What’s ‘this’?”
“This,” Curry said with finality. His eyes met Heyes’ and his countenance softened. “It reminds me of when we were kids, back on our own farms – the hard work but we slept good, the good cookin’ that kept us goin’ – it’s sort of like here.” He shrugged. “Just brought it back, I guess, in a good way. I’ll be kinda sad to leave it.”
Heyes absorbed all his partner had said. “Yeah.” He sighed. “But we have to get going.”
The pensive tone had Heyes capping his partner’s shoulder. “All the more reason to visit Uncle Mac. He’s family.”
Kid smiled. “Yeah, right. Not quite the same, though.”
Heyes winked. “As good as it gets these days.”
Curry thought a moment. His merriment now got the better of him. “Okay, Uncle Mac’s it is. But you can get the bust yourself this time. I don’t plan to have my siesta interrupted.”
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
|Subject: Re: Revenge || |