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 What's That Noise?

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What's That Noise? Empty
PostSubject: What's That Noise?   What's That Noise? EmptyTue Oct 01, 2019 4:05 am

Time for a prompt for October, and suitable for those who love Halloween as well as those who hate it, your story prompt is;
Dance


What's that noise?
affraid
Feel free to take the prompt in any direction you want - romantic, scary, thrilling, angsty, mysterious, or just downright weird.


Please remember to comment on last month's stories before moving on to October, as comments are the only thanks our writers get.      
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WichitaRed

WichitaRed

Posts : 170
Join date : 2014-01-02

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PostSubject: Re: What's That Noise?   What's That Noise? EmptyYesterday at 3:58 pm

October challenge: What's That Noise


                                 
 
The breeze blowing along the trail carried a touch of coolness, a hint that summer was fading to autumn.
 
Except the day was perfect.
 
The sun shone down clear and bright, through row after row of white streaming clouds, and as Heyes and Curry rode by a seeding sunflower, a meadowlark landed, trilling its high-pitched warbling song, and Heyes smiled ear to ear bobbing along comfortably in his saddle.
 
“Considerin’ we slept on hard ground and woke covered in hoarfrost,” Curry shook his head, “can’t imagine what has you feeling so good?”
 
Making a soft chirking sound, Heyes shrugged, “just feels like a good day to be alive.”
 
Curry cocked one eye at his pal, “I for one, ain’t thinking that until we are safe and sound back at the Hole.”
 
A chuckle burbled up from Heyes, “telling you, Kid, we lost that posse.”
 
“Hope your right.”
 
“Been more than a day,” Heyes replied, purposely playing out the crooked grin, he knew rubbed against his pal’s spine, finishing up with, “I know I am.”
 
Urging his big bay into a long-legged lope, Curry snorted, “heard that before.”
 
They flowed down the grassy trail that wove through a valley with the wind flipping their coattails, until Curry reined in, “something up ahead.”
 
Heyes sharply asked, “what?”
 
“Not sure, but it is alive.” Curry threw a look to his partner, “might be an elk or whitetail.” Still, a frown darkened his face, and Heyes’ smile was no longer in sight.
 
When they arrived to the spot in the trail, Curry sat back, “whoa boy,” and stepped down, his gloved hand bending the grass, “tracks here.”
 
Leaning forward, Heyes too peered at the ground, “what kind?”
 
Curry looked up, his hat shadowing any emotions, he might be showing, “four-sets, all shod.”
 
Standing in his stirrups, Heyes scanned the sheer cut cliffs along with the scrub brush that dotted the valley like overgrown, rag-tag mushrooms. “Don’t see no one.”
 
Catching his toe in the stirrup, Curry swung a leg across his horse’s rump. “Me neither.”
 
Twisting one way and then another, Heyes searched again, his brow bunching like sundried leather.
 
“Worried about the posse.”
 
“Just plain worried.”
 
Riding on at a dogtrot, they suspiciously eyed each grouping of tumbled rocks where the bushes sprouted; and feeling their rider’s edginess, their wide-chested geldings flicked their ears, their long tails twitching sharply like a horsefly was harassing them.
 
At a grouping large enough to throw shadows across the trail, Curry’s head snapped to the left, “what’s that noise?”
 
Before the sound of his question faded, a man wearing a brown hat with the brim flipped back stepped a flashy, high-headed paint horse across the trail, and calmly as saying pass the salt, said, “don’t move an inch.” In his hands, lay a large bore, double-barrel shotgun. “I’ve rammed Ol’ Peg’s barrels with revolver balls along with 60-grains of shot, and I’d be proud to show y’all what that much lead can do to both man and horse.”
 
Heyes and Curry scowled at the double-barrel scattergun leveled on them, even as three men wearing homespun shirts, in sharp contrast to their pricy leather fringed chaps rode out, with another pair strangling behind on foot.
 
The pair circled about Heyes and Curry, and watching them Heyes thought, ‘they all look like Texas cowboys, what are they doing so far north?’ Even as he considered this, he took note of the men’s tied-down six-guns, and the carbines in their hands.
 
Brown hat, kneed his horse closer, playing out a bully’s grin, “All right, boys, drop them irons in the dirt.”
 
Heyes and Curry's eyes met, each reading in the others, ‘tight spot, any ideas?’
 
With the briefest of nods, Heyes rolled out a greasy showman smile, which did not come close to reaching his eyes, to the man bossing them about, “What seems to be the problem?”
 
Brown hat chuckled, bobbing the scattergun at Heyes, “You.... you’re the problem. I said, drop them irons in the dirt. If’n you don’t comply  than y’all be the ones hitting the dirt.”
 
The other outlaws edged out of range of the scattergun’s spray, seeing them do so gave Heyes a cold spot in his gut. Without moving, his eyes flicked from brown hat to the men, knowing Curry was doing the same and felt positive his pal was also deducing the same. Which was none of these men were ill at ease with the situation, they had all killed before, many times before, and no weight sat on their shoulders regarding doing it again.
 
“This is the last time I’m asking,” brown hat barked, his finger slipping through the shotgun’s guard ring to rest on the double triggers.
 
Slowly, Heyes lifted his Schofield, letting it drop, and at the sound of Curry’s Colt doing the same, a cold chill drifted over him that had nothing to do with the cool morning wind.
 
A short, stout built man walked up to Heyes, jabbing his leg with a rifle barrel. “Get down.”
 
Swinging to the ground, Heyes stared down into the man’s eyes like he could see clear through to his soul, “you any idea who we are?”
 
“Nope, and don’t really care neither,” the short man replied, snagging Heyes by the shoulder, propelling him away from his horse.
 
Another cowboy in a faded red shirt, pointed his carbine at Curry, “you too, on the ground.”
 
Curry’s face bunched, his eyes disappearing to his anger.
 
“I don’t mind shooting you off,” red shirt said sarcastically, “only, it most times spooks the hoss. So, get down!”
 
Hopping to the ground, Curry walked up alongside Heyes, before anyone could shove him into place.
 
“Appears y’all know your horseflesh.” Brown hat said, relaxing back in the seat of his saddle. “But, even if they was dinks, we would still be taking them.” He looked back down the same trail, Heyes and Curry had come up, “pair of ours done played out.”
 
Curry’s brows rose, and he shot a look to Heyes, who took a breath saying,
“you would do yourself fair to reconsider his bay. . .” he tipped his head toward Curry’s horse, “. . . beast only seems to care for him and is meaner than a rattler stepped on twice with everyone else. Ride out double on mine…” he eased out a dimpled smile, “and, we’ll do the same with his.”
 
“Well, now don’t that sound sweet.” Brown hat coo’ed, “almost like you care for our well-being and all. Bud grab the horses, Mike, their irons.”
 
“Mister, can’t we work out some sort of arrangement,” Heyes said with a smooth burr, working to hold on to his smile. “Leaving a person out here afoot, without weapons, is a sure-fire way to kill someone.”
 
A laugh, to be envied by any stage villain, erupted from brown hat, “y’all don’t need to be frettin’ none ‘bout anything out here killin’ you.”
 
His men chuckled darkly.
 
“We all will be puttin’ you down before we ride out.”
 
Heyes left eyebrow rose, his face hardening to granite.
 
“Find no witnesses allows me to sleep better at night.”
 
While brown hat was saying this, Bud led their horses away, and Mike scooped up the pistols, grinning into Curry’s face, “mighty fine balance.” He twirled the Colt, sliding it in his waistband alongside Heyes’ Schofield. Then spying the corner of a bill peeking from Curry’s vest pocket, he said, “come to think of it, hand over, what you got in your pockets.”
 
Releasing a disgruntled cough, Curry dipped his hand in his vest pocket. However, instead of grabbing the bills, he cocked the little derringer stored there that he had recently won in a poker game.
 
Knowing what was about to bust loose, Heyes looked straight up into brown hat’s leathered face, “killing folks tends to add dead or alive to a wanted poster, makes free-living harder to enjoy.”
 
“All our posters already say that, and we ain’t found it makes life any harder.” Brown hat leaned forward, resting the shotgun barrel across his saddle horn. “But, what does, is leaving folks to identify and track us.” He smiled huge as a man served a good meal, “now those are two points I find make free-living much harder to enjoy.”
 
Scrunching his nose, with his eyes following suit, Heyes’ voice dropped to a low growl, “you really plan on outright murdering us.”
 
Brown hat laughed heartily, “Hey, boys, this one’s a bit slow on the uptake, probably best we are puttin’ em down.”
 
The other five outlaws brayed like mules, and during their enjoyment, Curry withdrew the derringer.
 
Blood spurted from Mike’s neck, his eyes widening to the size of plates at the abrupt pain, and Curry leapt in retrieving his and Heyes’ pistols. As the man began to crumple, Curry fired double-handed at the bushwhacking outlaws.
 
By the time they thought to fire back, Curry had dropped, rolling away, even as their bullets thunked in the dirt where he had been standing.
 
From every which way, firearms were barking, and in the commotion, Heyes’ sorrel reared, tearing the reins from Bud’s hand.
 
Rising to his feet, Curry thumbed the pistol’s hammers faster than a turning mill house wheel, efficiently knocking three outlaws from their saddles.
 
In all the commotion, Heyes managed to pull Curry’s carbine from its saddle scabbard.
 
A lean, slack-jawed youth wearing long-fringed chaps came running, his Colt flinging bullets so close to Heyes they sang by like hornets.
 
Jacking a round into the rifle, Heyes fired rapidly, his bullet striking the man just below the knee; and fringed chaps, plowed into the ground.
 
Heyes stumbled, spinning about feeling like a scorching branding iron was being driven into the upper part of his right arm, and just as he got his feet under him, a second bullet burrowed in, not more than an inch from the first.
 
A screaming roar tore from Heyes and racking in one round after another, he fired wildly at the cutthroat gang’s leader. A bullet caught the paint horse in the head, and the animal flopped over with a shriek, pinning brown hat beneath him.
 
Racing over, Heyes stomped on brown hat’s pistol, even as he kicked the scattergun away, the man was reaching for.
 
Smoke swirled thick as November fog, with the sounds of battle echoing off the rock walls, and Curry shouted, “drop your guns, and scoot your backsides against those rocks, and do it now.”
 
Heyes noticed how the blood running down his arm made brown hat’s pistol feel slick in his hand when he picked it up. Without giving it more thought, he used the pistol to cover the men following Curry’s orders.
 
Pausing, Curry ejected his spent cartridges, reloading his Colt before gathering the outlaw’s weapons.
 
Each longarm, he flung off toward the rock walls, but the pistols he kept hold of, and when done, he tucked them in his saddlebag.
 
His cold anger filled eyes crawled over the outlaws. The amount of blood pooling on Mike’s shirt front from his neck wound, caused him to walk up to a shoulder shot man. Kicking him in the boot, Curry growled, “put some pressure on his wound,” motioning to Mike.
 
The coldness left his eyes as he joined Heyes, shoving his Schofield back in its holster, and looking up at his pal, softly asked, “You all right?”
 
“Been better.”
 
“Damnation!” Brown hat squalled, “y’all have to get this horse off me, think my leg is broke.”
 
Curry asked, “What should we do?”
 
Exhaling heavily, Heyes shook his head, even as brown hat called, “did you hear me?!  Get this damn dead horse off me.”
 
Heyes’ spun on his boot heels, his eyes glittering dark stones as he unveiled a smile, one reserved for those who opened the darkness he kept constrained under lock and key. “Shut the hell up, I feel as much sympathy for you as you felt for us.”
 
With a gulp, the man looked down and away.
 
“Hey…” Curry grunted, removing his bandana, “let’s tie that up, stop you from bleeding all over the place.”
 
With a nod, Heyes switched the sticky pistol to his left hand, keeping the others covered as Curry secured the cloth about the bleeding wound. Through gritted teeth, Heyes got out, “use mine, too, and make it tighter.”
 
“Bullets still in there.”
 
“You don’t have to tell me.”
 
Curry gave the cloth a sound tug, tightening it, and a mournful groan escaped Heyes, but with a sharp inhale he nodded he was fine.
 
“Ain’t never seen shooting like that,” said an outlaw gripping his thigh where blood seeped through his pants to well up about his fingers. His pale eyes searched over Curry, “who are you?”
 
As Curry opened his mouth, Heyes bumped him with the barrel of the pistol he was holding, “no reason to tell them.”
 
“Suppose you’re right.”
 
Heyes nodded toward brown hat, “no reason to give them a name to track.”
 
The outlaw leader’s brow furrowed, “why would we do that?”
 
With a quick glance to his arm that was paining him something terrible, Heyes responded, “I am a betting man, and I figure the odds are high you would come looking for revenge.”
 
Taking his rifle from Heyes, Curry reloaded it, returning it to the saddle boot, and while he was doing this, one of the outlaws asked, “you ain’t really gonna leave us like this?”
 
Turning around, Curry hooked his thumbs in his holster belt, his face betraying none of the boyish charm that had earned him his sobriquet, “better than how you planned on leaving us.”
 
Gathering up the outlaw’s horses, Curry paused next to Heyes, “need help.”
 
Heyes shook his head.
 
With a nod, Curry stepped into his saddle, half hitching the reins about his horn, he drew his pistol, and again nodded at Heyes.
 
Shoving the bloody pistol in the back of his waistband, Heyes stepped up to his horse, and with one step backward, he tucked his wounded arm tight to his ribs, launching himself into the saddle.  
 
Bud whined, “you can’t take our horses?”
 
Bitter laughter wrapped about Heyes’ words as he answered, “Isn’t that what you all planned for us?”
 
Bud’s eyes narrowed, trying to better make out Heyes and Curry “earlier… why’d you ask if’n I knew who you were?”
 
The flat closed-lipped I am tired of dealing with you smile of Heyes’ appeared, “no reason that I feel like passing on to you.”
 
“You wanted?”
 
Beneath Curry’s low pulled hat, his eyes slanted to his partner, watching him as he shifted, cradling his wounded arm more snugly across his belly.
 
Steering his horse, to circle well out of brown hat’s reach, Heyes chuckled down at the men, and before riding on said, “outlaw life is hard, isn’t it?”
 
Before Curry’s horse had taken more than a few steps to follow, the outlaw Heyes’ had shot below the knee, yelped, “leave me a hoss, shot like this I can’t go fetchin’ one.”
 
Reining in, Curry wryly said, “if you are riding with pals who will look after you, then you haven’t got a worry in the world.”
 
The man’s mouth fell open, and Curry took out after Heyes’ dragging the three horses with him.
 
Once they had some distance behind them, Curry released a snort, “Really, Heyes? Outlaw life is hard.”
 
“It is…” Heyes grinned over, pain sharpening the hard contours of his face.  “especially when you are riding with a leader so dumb, he couldn’t understand he was playing against his betters.”
 
“Betters?” Kid snorted, releasing the horses. “I sure didn’t hear you talking our way out of that mess.”
 
“Wasn’t worried.” Heyes looked back down the trail, “I heard what you told that man, about knowing who he rode with. Well, I know who I ride with.” He smiled at Curry, “and I knew you wouldn’t allow either of us to wind up dead.”
 
“Glad you had such faith,” Curry nodded toward Heyes’ bloody arm, “considering you’re the one sporting a few extra holes.”
 
“Like I said, outlaw life is hard.”
 
They fell quiet, rustling grass, the creak of leather, and the solid clopping of their horse's hooves keeping the silence at bay, until about a mile down the trail, they passed through some trees where there was a chorus of owls hooting, and Heyes cleared his throat, “you sorry we’re outlaws.”
 
“Not when I have a pal such as you to ride the owlhoot trail with.”
 
Heyes grinned over, and Curry returned it in kind.
 
The End

_________________
Wichita Red..."I'm not really a rebel, but I take chances. I have a good time and I live life the way I want to live it."
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