Partners Chpater fifteen
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: Partners Chpater fifteen Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:52 pm|| |
The un-edited version of 'Partners' can be read in the 'Adults only' link at the bottom of this site page.
Chapter 15 Partners Part one
Morning came early and cold once again. Heyes had been sound asleep when the bully club banged into the grating of his cell.
"HEYES!" came Carson abrasive intrusion. "WAKE UP! What do ya' think? You're a man of leisure now? Just because it's Sunday, doesn't mean you can sleep the day away!" WHAM! "Get up!"
Heyes groaned and pulled himself out of bed. This was misery. Why couldn't they just leave him alone?
"HEYES! If you're not front and center when I come by again, you'll lose your book privileges for a month!"
Heyes let loose a resigned sigh. Nothing for it now. He wrapped his Christmas blanket around his shoulders and standing up, he shuffled over to his cell door. Why did it have to be so damned cold?
Breakfast didn’t help him to feel any better about life in general. Lumpy oatmeal and weak coffee—everyone pestering him to eat more, the least they could do was offer him something that was edible! Oh well, he wasn’t really hungry anyways.
The only good thing about the day is that it was his turn in the laundry room but then that didn’t turn out to be a fun time either. It was late morning and he was just beginning to think that maybe he could stomach some lunch when two of the younger guards sauntered into the room, their bully clubs in obvious attendance. Heyes looked up, tensing. He didn’t like this, not one little bit.
Here he was again, caught between the rules. If he dared to ask what was going on he would be punished for speaking out of turn. But the way those guards maneuvered themselves into position, one on either side of him, he had a feeling that he was in for a beating anyways. He swallowed nervously as he tried to back away from in between them, but all he succeeded in doing was backing himself into the wall.
Instantly, and in unison the two guards pounced on him, each grabbing an arm. At this point Heyes figured that he had nothing to loose and started to fight back, yelling his anger at them. But even just one of these young bucks would have had little trouble holding Heyes down, so two of them were just having fun, pulling his arms back and holding him snug.
Then Carson walked into the room, holding his bully club in the right hand and tapping the end of it against the palm of his left. He had a smug smile on his face. Heyes began to fight harder but the guards held him tight and pulled him upright to face their boss. Heyes began to yell in the hopes that someone would hear him, but then the bully club hit him full force in the gut and his yell was cut short as he doubled over in pain.
The two guards holding him pulled him back up again and then Carson was in his face. He grabbed Heyes by his shirt front and came in close, sneering at him.
“I’ve seen the way you’ve been lookin’ at me Convict,” he hissed. “You think I don’t know what you done to Kelly and Kristiansen and then Boeman too?” Then he brought the bully club up and pushed it across Heyes’ throat and applied pressure. Heyes fought to breathe. “You think you’re gonna get back at me the way you did them? Well think again. If I even get a prickling on the back of my neck that you’re comin’ after me, I’ll cripple ya'. You hear me? I’ve done it before and I don’t mind doin’ it again! You hear me Convict?”
“Yea…” Heyes gasped out.
The bully club was removed from across his throat, but before he could take a breath the business end of it came plowing into his gut, not once but twice, fast—in succession—Bam bam! Oh God! Heyes thought he was going to die the pain was so bad. The two guards released him and amongst déjà vu images of Morrison beating him in the jail cell, he sank to the floor and knees drawn up and arms clutching his torso, he passed out.
A short time later Kenny was making his usual morning rounds and he stepped in to the laundry room to make sure that Heyes was where he was supposed to be. The first thing he noticed was; no Heyes. The next thing he noticed was a pair of legs wearing stripes sticking out from behind the laundry table. Kenny was instantly on alert, his bully club up and ready for anything. He backed out of the room, went to the railing and did a quick scan of the work floor down below until he spotted one of the guards.
Murrey glanced up, searching for the source of the call. Then he spotted Reece.
“Get up here!” Kenny ordered. “Now!”
Murrey headed up at a run and was at the laundry room door in less than a minute.
“Yeah, what’s up?” Murrey asked, then…”Oh! Well isn’t that interesting.”
Reece had moved the table out of the way, but the convict was lying on his side, with his back to the guards so they couldn’t see his face, or his hands.
“Watch my back,” Kenny said. “and be careful. Remember what happened to Hicks.”
“Yeah,” Murrey answered with a nervous swallow.
Hicks had been a young guard who had knelt down beside what he thought was an unconscious inmate only to have the convict suddenly swing round on him and plunge a pencil into his jugular. By the time help arrived Hicks had already bled to death.
Murrey had his bully club ready and came round to stand by the convict’s feet. Reece cautiously approached the prone man and gave his shoulder a nudge with the club.
“Heyes, is that you?” he asked. “Can you hear me?”
A barely audible response. “Yeah…”
“Roll over onto your back,” Kenny ordered him. “slowly. Let me see your hands.”
Heyes tried to comply. He gradually straightened out his legs and then slowly pushed himself over onto his back. He had his hands out so that Kenny could see them, but the movement caused so much pain that his knees came up again and his arms hugged his torso. Fortunately Kenny had gotten a good enough look to know that Heyes wasn’t holding anything that could become a weapon. He lowered his bully club and moved in close. Murrey was right behind him.
“It’s alright Heyes,” Kenny assured him. “What happened?”
“Uh huh. Murrey, go get the Doc.”
“You sure you’re alright with him alone?”
“Yeah. He’s not gonna do anything,” Reece assured the young guard. “just go get Morin.”
“Okay,” Murrey answered, and trotted off to run his errand.
“Alright Heyes, let me see,” Kenny said as he moved Heyes’ hands away from his torso and lifted up the shirt. He sucked his teeth when he saw the bruising already starting to blossom. “Ouch. Nothin’ happened huh?” Kenny sighed, and sitting down on the floor he put a hand on Heyes’ shoulder and they waited for Morin to get there.
“Hmmm,” was Morin’s only comment as he did a quick exam of the bruised area.
Heyes tried to lay still, his eyes closed in an effort to absorb the pain. He’d already had to go through this once before, why were the fates putting him through it again?
“This rib has been injured before, hasn’t it?” Morin asked him.
“How long ago?”
“Ummm,” Heyes had to think about it. “nine, ten months ago. When I was first arrested, in Brookswood.”
“Brookswood?” Morin asked, surprised. “Brookswood, Colorado?”
“Yeah,” Heyes confirmed. “A lawman there kicked me in the ribs.”
“Not the deputy I hope.”
“Yeah, Joe Morin,” the doc explained. “He’s my nephew and I sure wouldn’t want to hear that he’s treating prisoners like that.”
“Oh,” Heyes responded. He thought back to that time and did recall a young deputy being there, but he couldn’t for the life of him remember the kid’s name. “No, it wasn’t the local law; it was the sheriff who had arrested me.”
“Hmmmm,” Morin commented. “well that’s a relief. Still, that’s no way for a sheriff to treat a prisoner in his custody.”
Heyes made no comment, but couldn’t help but think that it was no way for a guard to treat an inmate either.
“Well, it’s not broken this time,” Morin announced. “but obviously you’ve got some pretty bad bruising here. You’ll have to take it easy for the next couple of days. Kenny, help me get him to his feet and back to his cell.”
“Yeah, okay Doc.”
Once Heyes had been settled onto his cot for the rest of the day, Kenny escorted Morin out of the cell block while they discussed the incident.
“What does he say happened?” Morin asked.
“He won’t say,” Kenny answered. “You know how they get.”
“Yeah, but it doesn’t take a genius to guess.”
“We can’t know that for sure.”
“C’mon Kenny,” Morin continued. “I’ve seen enough bruising made by damned bully clubs to know it when I’m looking at it again.”
Kenny sighed. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right.”
“Are you going to do anything about it?”
“There’s not much I can do Doc,” Kenny admitted. “Carson’s my superior. I’ve complained to the warden before about his abusiveness and I get shut down. The best I can do is just keep an eye on things.”
“Hmmmm,” came back the usual comment. “It would help if we could keep an eye on Heyes over at the infirmary.”
Kenny smiled. “Yeah, alright Doc,” he relented. “I’ll speak to the warden about Heyes coming over to help you there. After this, maybe he’ll be willing to behave himself.”
Early evening, and David and Tricia had settled down in the living room over a relaxing cup of tea. Tricia was busy writing a letter to her cousin over in Idaho and David was reading a letter that had arrived that day from his colleague back east;
‘David! Old man!
How grand to hear from you! We were beginning to think that the Wild West had swallowed you up. Heard you took a wife, probably the prettiest girl in town too, knowing you. Any little ones yet? Better get going on that you know, time’s a wasting!
Of course we’ve all been following the trials of Curry and Heyes! Even back here we’ve heard about those two bandits. It never even occurred to us that you would be right in the thick of it seeing as how you’re in Colorado and they were on trial in Wyoming. I guess one territory is just like another huh?
You should have heard all the chatter going on here about those trials, and then when the pictures of those outlaws got circulated, WELL! You wouldn’t believe the giggling and swooning that was going on and not just with the young flighty maidens either! It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what those old ladies were talking about during their Saturday socials! Don’t be surprised if you start getting letters from some female acquaintances, wanting to know what they’re REALLY like!!! A shame about that young fella going to prison though.
Anyway, down to the serious stuff now. As to your question regarding Mr. Curry and his unusual behavior; there really isn’t much information available on that subject. I have heard of a few cases of soldiers coming back from the war displaying similar bouts of depression and temper outbursts. Often these were people who had lost friends in battle, were perhaps the only one to survive out of their group and would return home with overwhelming feelings of guilt for having survived when no one else did. It’s almost as though they think that they themselves didn’t deserve to live when so many others died and they begin to exhibit anti-social behavior to the point of sabotaging their own happiness. Unfortunately if they cannot find their way out of this line of thinking, often they end up not only destroying their own lives, but the lives of those closest to them as well.
The only thing I can suggest to try and help your patient is to get him to talk about what he feels and why. Not an easy thing, I know and considering his own personal background I would expect that he’s very guarded about what he says at the best of times. But, I should tell you that often these cases have ended with the subjects taking their own lives. Those few that do get through it have only done so because they’ve had support from friends and family, and they were willing to talk about it.
I know you already keep thorough records of your patients David, but might I suggest that you write down everything you can about this one. As I said, there is very little information available about this type of depression and you might consider publishing a paper on it once your treatment is concluded, one way or another. I would also appreciate you keeping me informed as to your progress. It would be a shame indeed if this young man, after having earned his pardon ends up throwing it all away.
Friends for always, David. Keep in touch!!
David sat back in his chair with a sigh. He wasn’t sure if this letter helped him or not. He had received a short note from Hannibal a couple of days ago and that one did offer some insight into Jed’s behavior. The ongoing theme here did seem to be feelings of anger and guilt. And the best way to deal with it all was to get Jed to open up and talk about it. David snorted. At which point Tricia looked up from her writing with a questioning arch to her eyebrows.
“Oh, it’s just what Mike had to say about Jed Curry,” David explained. “Even if I knew where Jed was, this isn’t going to be an easy fix.”
“Does he give any suggestions at all?” Tricia asked.
“Yes,” David answered, feeling frustrated. “Get him to talk! But whenever I’ve tried to Jed just pushes me away.”
David sat quietly, looking at the letter in his hands, his thoughts miles away. Tricia got up and poured herself and her husband some more tea. Then, sitting down again she put her own letter writing aside for the time being and waited quietly for him to open up the discussion. Finally David sighed and then shrugged his shoulders, looking very dejected.
“I just don’t know what to do,” he admitted. “I can usually find the answers with a patient who’s ill or injured, but with this I don’t even know where to start.”
“Well, where do you usually start when a patient comes to you with a new problem?”
“I suppose, I keep it simple,” he reflected. “ask them where it hurts.”
“And what if they’re unconscious and can’t answer you?”
“Then I do an exam,” David carried on. “I feel my way along, very gently at first until I know what I’m dealing with and then go deeper so that I can get an idea of the extent of the injury.”
“Hmm,” Tricia nodded, and smiled. “Sounds like a good place to start to me.”
David looked up, meeting her eyes and smiled back at her. “You’re wonderful, you know that?” he said.
“Yes, I know,” she answered, teasingly. “Now, I better get back to this letter to Miranda before we lose the candle light altogether.”
David sat back to drink his tea and reflect on his next course of action when there came a knocking on their front door. David groaned.
“Oh no,” he complained. “I hope Mrs. Thornton hasn’t gone into early labour. That’s all I need tonight is a new mother-to-be in a panic—not to mention the father. No, no I’ll get it.” David told his wife to stay seated while he got to his feet and went to answer the door.
“Oh! Sheriff Jacobs,” David greeted him. “What can I do for you this evening?”
“Yeah, howdy there Doc,” Jacobs answered him, looking a little contrite. “Listen, that Curry fella is over at the saloon right now tryin’ to stir up trouble. He’s drunk and pushin’ for a fight and well, me and my deputies could take him out, but we’d be riskin’ a gun fight and I’d really rather not do that if we can help it. You asked me to let you know if he came around so, I’m lettin’ ya know. Seein’ as how you’re a friend a’ his an’ all, well maybe you can talk em’ down.”
David just stood at the doorway with his mouth hanging open, not quite believing the coincidence of this situation.
“Oh!—yes Sheriff, sorry,” David collected himself. “Of course. Let me just get my coat and I’ll be right with you.”
He turned to go get his coat and scarf and found himself looking into Tricia’s worried eyes.
“David? Are you sure?” she asked, obviously concerned—and rightly so.
He went to her and put a hand on her arm.
“It’s alright,” he assured her. “don’t worry. I’ll be careful. Ummm, maybe you could see that the guest room is ready, we may be having company tonight.”
Walking with the Sheriff towards the saloon, David wished he had thought to grab his hat as well, since it had started snowing again. He briefly wondered where Jed had come from since this was hardly traveling weather but pushed that from his mind as being a rather moot point anyways. He focused his mind on the problem at hand.
Walking in to the bright lights and warmth of the saloon, it didn’t take any time at all to appreciate the situation. There was Jed alright, standing at the bar with an empty bottle of whiskey in his hand.
He was busy shouting at Bill, the barkeeper, “Who the hell are you to tell me I’ve had enough to drink?! If I want to buy another bottle then I’ll buy another bottle!”
There was a wide circle of empty space around the Kid, everybody in the saloon doing their best to be focusing on something else at that time and nobody wanting to get into a scuffle with the drunken gunman. Two of Jacobs’ deputies were on either side of the Kid, staying out of his reach, but still trying to keep some semblance of control over the situation.
As soon as the two men entered the saloon, Jacobs moved quietly into position behind the Kid so that he could take the man down if needs be, but he still wanted to give Gibson his chance to end the episode peaceably.
David took a deep breath and walked towards his friend.
“Jed,” David called to him, but Curry was too busy yelling at Bill to hear him. “JED!”
Still no response. So David reached out and touched Curry on his shoulder.
The reaction was instantaneous. Before David could even blink Jed had spun round and had that six-shooter in his hand and aimed at David before the empty whiskey bottle had even made it half way to the floor. If the atmosphere in the saloon had been awkward and heavy before, now it was like a lead boat sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
Even with everything David had heard at the trial, he still couldn’t believe the speed of the man and that was him drunk and with a stiff shoulder. David’s hands were up instantly, but to give the doc credit, he didn’t back down, and with his heart pounding in his ears, he stared directly into those blue eyes—like death turned to ice, and he saw it and he shivered. A voice, unbidden came to him…’if there ever comes a time when you get in between Kid Curry and something he wants….’ But he still held his ground, and the fear he felt never made it to his voice.
“What are you going to do Jed?” he asked quietly. “Are you going to shoot me?”
Then something that had probably never happened to Jed Curry before, once he had drawn his gun; he hesitated. Suddenly he was unsure.
Out of the corner of his eye David saw Jacobs slowly start to close in on the Kid, but David stopped him with just a flicker and a very subtle shake of his head. David stood still as a rock, his hands raised, locking Jed down with his eyes.
“Are you going to shoot me Jed?” he asked again.
“No. I….” then the ice from the blue was gone, replaced by just a hint of indecision. Curry looked at the gun in his hand and it started to waver and then slowly, the muzzle began to drop down. Jed looked up to his friend again with eyes that were now clouded with pain and fear. “David,” he whispered. “help me.”
David moved in quickly and with one hand on his friends’ left arm, he reached down with his other hand and took the gun out of the Kid’s grasp, then handed it over to Jacobs.
“It’s alright Jed,” David assured him, both hands holding onto him now.
“What’s the matter with me David?” Jed asked him, fear in his voice. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know, Jed,” David admitted. “but you coming to me and asking for help is a great big huge first step towards us finding out.”
There was one big collective sigh of relief as David led Jed out of the saloon. The three lawmen followed behind until they got outside onto the boardwalk.
“Do you want me to take him from here Doc?” Jacobs asked. “He can sleep it off in a cell for the night.”
“No, that’s alright Sheriff,” David answered. “I’ll take him home. I think he’ll be alright now.”
“Okay, if you’re sure,” Jacobs said. “Thanks for comin’ over. I sure didn’t much want to get into a showdown with him. But, I think I’ll just hang onto his gun until he’s sober. He can come collect it tomorrow, or better yet, the day after.”
“Probably a good idea Sheriff,” David agreed. “Goodnight, and thanks for coming to get me.”
“Uh huh. You have a goodnight too there Doc.”
And the group parted company. Walking down the quiet street towards David’s house, the snow was still falling and the air was cold and crisp. Now that the crisis was over, Jed was mumbling the way only a man with too much to drink can mumble.
“Ever’body’ss ma’ a’ me,” he was slurring. “Why eve’ bod’ s ma’ a’ me?”
“I think everyone has a right to be mad at you Jed,” David answered. “You’ve been behaving pretty selfishly lately.”
Back at the house, Tricia met them at the door, not wanting to go to bed until she knew her husband was going to get home safely.
“Oh David,” she commented, concerned. “is he going to be alright?”
“Yeah, I think so,” David assured her. “I’ll get him settled. You go on to bed and I’ll join you in a while.”
“Alright. There’s still some hot water on the stove if you want to make tea.”
David nodded his thanks. “Good night.”
In the spare bedroom, David got Jed’s coat off and then sat him down on the bed to take his boots off and Jed started mumbling again.
“Jess ‘ates me.”
“Jesse doesn’t hate you.”
“Ee sad…doon ike me.”
“He doesn’t like the way you’ve been behaving,” David clarified. “It’s not that he doesn’t like you.”
“Ummm. Eve’ Clem ma’ a’ me. She icked me out.”
“Miss Hale?” David asked. “She kicked you out? Is that where you’ve been Jed?”
“Where have you been getting the money for all this?”
David furrowed his brow. “Mr. McCreedy?”
“Well, I doubt that he meant for it to be used in this manner.”
“Okay,” David said once he had Jed striped down to his long johns. “you get some sleep. We’ll talk more about this in the morning.”
Then David swung Jed’s legs up onto the bed and got him lying down then pulled the blankets over him and basically tucked him in.
“Okay Jed. Good night. Get some sleep.”
The soft snore that came up from the pillow suggested that Curry was already taking the good doctor’s advice. David let go a huge sigh, then picking up Jed’s coat, empty holster and his boots, he took the lamp and left the room.
He quietly made his way into his own bedroom, and putting the lamp down on the nightstand he quickly stuffed Jed’s belongings under the bed. Then turning out the lamp he got undressed and, shivering in the night time chill, slid into bed, under the covers and snuggled in behind his wife. Tricia suddenly stiffened.
“DAVID! You’re freezing!”
“You’re not,” he observed. “you’re nice and warm.”
Silence….then a suspicious; “David, what are you doing?”
GASP!!....”Arrgg! Your feet are like ice blocks!”
“They’re warming up fast,” and he began to kiss her on the back of her neck.
“Where’s your hand going?”
“Nowhere.” (Between kisses).
Another gasp! “You’re fingers are so cold!”
“Hmmm, but where they are is so nice and warm.”
Tricia giggled. “You pest!” she accused him as she rolled over to face him. “You always could get whatever you wanted.”
He smiled, and returning his fingers to their cozy nest he pulled his wife into a long passionate kiss, and warmed up considerably inside her embrace.
The next morning the Gibson’s were up early as David had his rounds to do. The stove was lit and coffee and oatmeal put on to perk while David got his satchel ready to go.
“I should be back by lunch,” he assured his wife while they sat over a quick meal. “Jed will probably sleep for a while yet, but if he wakes up before I get home, I don’t think he’ll be any trouble. In the mean time I’ll send a message out to the Jordan’s’ to let them know the wayward son is home again.”
“I’m sure they’ll be relieved to know. I also expect he’ll have such a hangover when he does wake up that he probably won’t want to move anyways,” Tricia commented with a smile. “I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
A few hours later Tricia was sitting at the kitchen table, continuing with her letter writing when she heard a door slowly creak open. She looked up to see a rather disheveled head peaking out from inside the spare bedroom.
“Good morning,” she said.
“Mmm. Morning,” came the self-conscious reply. “David around?”
“He’s just gone on his rounds,” Tricia answered him. “He’ll be back soon.”
“Oh. Do you know where my boots are?”
“Your boots?” she asked.
She smiled at his discomfort. “Come out,” she suggested. “Come sit and have some coffee.”
“Yes. It’s right here and ready. Come have a cup.”
“Coffee. Yeah, good idea.”
“Good,” Tricia said, smiling again. She got up and poured him a cup. He came out into the room, fully dressed (except for his boots) and sat down at the table. “Would you like some oatmeal as well?”
“Ohhh, not yet,” he said as he hugged his cup. He really did look a mess. Tricia poured herself another one and then stood leaning against the counter, watching him as he took a sip of coffee and just sat there with his eyes closed, savoring it for a moment. He took another sip, then opened his eyes and blinked at her. “You’re Tricia,” he ventured.
“Yes,” she confirmed and took a drink from her own cup.
“You’ve seen me naked.”
Tricia spluttered and choked on her coffee. Jed started to panic.
“OH! Jeez! I’m sorry! Did I say that out loud?!”
He got up from the table and looked like he was going to bolt back to his room, but Tricia held up a hand while she got her breath back.
“No, no! Mr. Curry, that’s quite alright,” then she laughed at the absurdity of it. “That was a necessity of your convalescence. I’m quite used to helping David’s patients with their care.” then she smiled at him. “Please, sit down again. Don’t worry about it. Enjoy your coffee.”
Jed relaxed, though he still felt a little embarrassed. “Yeah, okay. It’s alright?”
“Yes,” Tricia assured him. “Please. Sit.”
“Here, let me give you a top up on your coffee,” she offered, and did just that. Then she spooned out some oatmeal into a bowl and put it on the table in front of him. “Try and eat a little bit if you can,” she encouraged him.
When David got home an hour or so later, it was to find his wife and his patient sitting at the kitchen table and having quite a good laugh over something.
“Oh David!” Tricia greeted her husband as he came in. “Were your ears burning?”
David looked at them suspiciously.
After lunch, Tricia discretely went next door to have a visit with her friend Millie in order to leave the two men alone to talk. David poured coffee for them both and then sat down at the table across from Jed, and silence ensued.
“Do you want to talk Jed?” David finally asked him.
Curry looked over at him and then looked down at his coffee cup.
“Yeah and no,” he finally answered.
“Why yeah?” David asked.
Jed shuffled a little in his seat, like a misbehaving school boy. He was very uncomfortable with this. Men just didn’t talk about this stuff. Even he and Heyes would respect each others privacy and not push. But now David was pushing.
“Cause I want to find out what’s wrong with me,” Jed finally mumbled.
“Okay. So why no?”
“Cause…” silence. Long silence. Then finally; “Cause I’m afraid to find out what’s wrong with me?” he said it as a question, because he wasn’t sure that it made sense. Was it okay to feel that way?
“Okay,” David repeated. “that’s understandable.” Jed visibly relaxed. “I want you to say whatever it is you’re feeling,” David explained. “even if you don’t understand why you feel that way or if you think it’s contradictory. Doesn’t matter; just say it. I’m not just your doctor Jed, I’m your friend as well and I want to help you get to the bottom of this.”
Jed nodded. “Jesse hates me,” he said, obviously upset by this assumption since it was the second time he had commented on it.
“As I assured you last night, he doesn’t hate you,” David reiterated. “We’re all your friends and we all want to help you, but you’ve been making it very difficult lately. Jesse feels bad about what happened last month. He’s been worried about you. We all have been.”
“Jesse has the right to be mad at me,” Jed admitted. “I know I disappointed them at Christmas.”
“Yeah,” David agreed. “Why did you do that?”
Jed shook his head. “I really had a good time out there at Thanksgiving.”
“Well, that’s good,” said David.
“NO IT WASN’T!” Jed exploded, slamming the palm of his hand onto the table. “I had no right; having a good time with the family like that—no right at all!”
“Why are you angry Jed?”
“Cause Heyes should have been there!” Jed insisted. “One of the last conversations we had together, I was talking about how good it would be to spend the holidays with a family again. And then there I was doin’ it! I had meant for both of us—not just me! But Heyes got thrown to the wolves so that I could go free! So that I could have a life again—have a family again! And that’s not the way it was supposed to be! It was supposed to be both of us or neither of us—not one for the other! We’re partners! Both of us or neither of us!”
“So you feel that the governor betrayed you.”
“Damn right he betrayed us!” Jed expostulated. “And if it was just going to be one of us going to prison, it should have been me!”
“Because I…” and here Jed choked on his words and he had to stop and take some deep breaths before continuing. “Because I committed murder. I’ve killed and Heyes would never have done that, he’d have found another way. It’s just not in him to kill. Even those men who attacked our farms, I don’t think Heyes would have done what I did—well he didn’t did he? I’m the one who had to go after them, track them down, murder them in front of their—children!”
Here Jed stopped talking and sat staring into space, clutching his coffee cup. David thought he was going to start crying, which wouldn’t have been a bad thing really He didn’t, he fought back the tears, but his pain was apparent. Finally he had control again and taking a deep breath, he continued.
“I shouldn’t have got off scott free,” he insisted. “I haven’t earned the right to be happy.”
There was silence between them again for a moment. David thought back to the letter his friend had sent him describing the symptoms of others experiencing this type of depression. How the war veterans would experience feelings of overwhelming guilt and remorse and therefore sabotage their own happiness. They truly believed that they didn’t deserve to have a good life when so many people they knew had paid the ultimate price. David sighed; it all fit. Jed had been hit hard and he was floundering—he needed to get his self-confidence back, his self-respect back before he would be able to do anything to help Hannibal.
“Besides that, Heyes is smarter than I am,” Jed continued. “He’d have a much better chance of getting me out of prison than I do of getting him out!”
“Why would you think that?” asked David surprised that Jed would feel that way.
“Cause these politicians talk circles around me!” Jed explained, as though it should be obvious. “Three hours later is when I think of what I should have said and by then it’s too late. But Heyes! He can talk circles around their circles! He’d a’ had me out of there ages ago! But me? Deal with those educated men? I don’t even understand half the words they use so why even bother trying?”
“So you went out and got drunk instead,” David commented. Jed just hung his head and did not respond. David sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “You’re not stupid Jed, far from it,” David continued. “Granted, Hannibal has an edge.”
“ON ALL OF US! And not to the extent that you think,” David was quick to emphasize. “Hannibal is analytical and needs to think everything through. You’re more intuitive, you go on your gut instinct.”
Jed smirked and rolled his eyes.
“No,” David continued. “I’m willing to bet that there have been plenty of times when you and Hannibal have butted heads because he was being logical and you just felt that something was wrong. And I’m also willing to bet that more often than not, you ended up being right.”
“Yeah,” David again emphasized. “You’re not stupid Jed. You just have to find another way to solve the problem. If the fast talking politicians run circles around you, then you come at them in a straight line.”
“I don’t know how,” Jed admitted with a frustrated sigh.
“I have every confidence that you’ll figure it out,” David assured him. “You have a lot of people here who are willing to help you too. Don’t sell them short. Look what Beth and Bridget did to get you pardoned. They got that campaign going pretty much on their own. They did not let self-doubt get in the way; they knew what their goal was and they aimed straight at it. With those two ladies on your side you can move mountains.”
Jed smiled. “Yeah, that was pretty amazing wasn’t it?”
“Sure was,” David agreed. “And with Mr. McCreedy willing to help and Miss Hale…did she really kick you out?”
Jed looked a little sheepish. “No, not really,” he admitted. “She just told me to smarten up and get by butt in gear. That Heyes couldn’t just sit around in prison for ever and that I better start getting around to whatever it was I was going to do to get him out,” Jed sighed. “So, between her nagging at me, and Jesse giving me what for—well, it finally sunk home that I better figure out what was wrong with me and do something about it. You’re the only one I could think of who was willing to leave that door open, so—here I am. Even at that I couldn’t just come and ask for your help, I had to go get drunk first.”
“Well,” David smiled. “it doesn’t matter how you got here, I’m just glad you did. It would have been nice if Miss Hale had let us know that you were with her though. We were all very worried.”
“Don’t blame her, Doc,” Jed said. “I told her you were all mad at me and didn’t want to hear from me anyways. She was just going along with what I told her.”
“Well, I suppose,” David had to accept that, though it still bugged him a bit.
“Where are my boots?”
David smiled again. “I hid them.”
“Can I have them back?”
“Because, even though you sound pretty positive right now, come tonight when everything is quiet and you start mulling stuff over in your mind, you just might decide to take a walk. And I don’t want you doing that. Not by yourself—not yet.”
“Just relax Jed,” David advised him. “We’ll see.”
Just then the front door opened and Tricia came home. It was getting on to supper time.
2:15 a.m. David jerked awake from a sound sleep. He lay quiet for a few moments, his wife laying beside him, snoring softly. He got out of bed and quickly started to get dressed, for warmth just as much as for modesty. Tricia stirred and briefly woke up. She couldn’t see her husband, but she knew he was there, standing by the bed.
“What’s the matter?” she asked him sleepily. “Why are you up?”
“Jed’s awake,” he answered bluntly.
Tricia stopped breathing and lay there listening for a few seconds.
“I don’t hear anything,” she said. “How do you know?”
She could feel him shrug his shoulders in the darkness.
“I donno,” he admitted. “Go back to sleep Babe, I won’t be long,” then added under his breath; “I hope.”
As soon as David stepped out of his bedroom, he could see the low light coming from the kitchen and made his way down the hallway and into that room. Jed was up and fully dressed, pacing around in his stocking feet. He was agitated, his lips moving in a silent argument with himself and it was hard to tell who was winning.
Curry spun round in a flash, his right hand dropping to the gun that wasn’t there. Then he saw David and relaxed.
“Jeez David,” he breathed. “don’t sneak up on me like that.”
“How you doing?” David asked him, ignoring the warning. “Do you want to talk?”
“No,” Jed answered flatly. “What I want is out. Let me out!”
Curry suddenly came at him, his body hostile. David fought the urge to step back and he held his ground and held his eye. Jed stopped just short of grabbing David’s shirt front and becoming violent.
“You’ve got no right to keep me here!” Jed insisted, his voice getting louder and angrier.
David silently sent a plea to Tricia that she stay in the bedroom. He didn’t want her becoming involved in this.
“I have every right,” David contradicted him. “It was either here or the jailhouse again, and I think you’ve seen enough of the inside of that place.”
Jed glared at him, but then backed off and started to pace the kitchen again. He was running his hands through his hair, looking like he was going to explode. David came further into the kitchen and set about lighting the stove. Time for some coffee.
“What are you feeling Jed?”
“How do you feel? Tell me.”
“Yes you do,” David insisted. “Think about it and then tell me.”
“Arrggg!” Jed couldn’t have sounded more frustrated. “Restless!” he finally stated. “Mad! I’m angry!”
“Angry at what?”
“YOU! For not letting me out!”
“No, that’s not it,” David insisted. “You woke up feeling angry. Why?”
Jed stopped pacing and leaned against the far wall, his back to the doctor, looking totally dejected. David continued to make coffee.
“I donno,” Jed finally mumbled.
“Not good enough,” David answered. “Why are you so angry Jed?”
Then Jed turned away from the wall and quickly sat down at the table before he fell down. His body had just turned to jelly and suddenly he was sobbing, but he was fighting it, choking it back.
“No, Jed,” David assured him. “it’s alright. Let it out.”
“NO!” Jed continued to fight it, but the sobs attacked him and with one final, gasping; “No!” he succumbed and his misery took him over.
David quickly sat down beside him, putting an arm across his shoulders and rubbing his back.
“It’s alright Jed. It’s alright.”
David caught movement in the corner of his eye and looked up to see Tricia standing in the hallway. He smiled quietly at her, assuring her that all was well and she nodded and turned back to the bedroom.
Last edited by Keays on Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: Re: Partners Chpater fifteen Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:54 pm|| |
Partners. Part two.
It took a good fifteen to twenty minutes before the sobs started to ease off. By that time the coffee was ready and David got up and poured them both a cup, then returning to the table he gave one to Jed.
“Here,” he offered. “have some coffee. I made it extra strong.”
“Yeah, thanks,” came the strained response. He was still struggling.
David began rubbing his back again, hoping to sooth him, to relax him.
“My ma,” Jed began, still fighting emotion. “ahhh David, she was so beautiful and so kind. She was my best friend—I loved her so much. And those men, they just came and they….they just raped her, over and over and over again. And I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t protect her.”
“I know,” David consoled him, feeling like he might start crying himself. “That was a terrible thing for you to witness. No child should have to see that.”
Jed nodded. He sniffed and wiped his eyes and then took a good swallow of coffee. It was hot and he could feel it burning his throat, but it felt good and it helped to calm him down a little bit more.
“Now Heyes,” Jed continued. “it was my job to watch his back. I always told him, I would always be there to watch his back,” he stopped and wiped his eyes again. The sobs had eased off but the tears still fell freely. “I didn’t watch his back. He’s my partner and I didn’t watch his back! I just—we walked right into that ambush. I should have been paying more attention, but I let my guard down and….and now, he’s stuck in that prison and…and I don’t know…if I’m going to be able to get him out.”
“You can’t be on alert all the time Jed,” David told him. “Hannibal doesn’t blame you. He’s worried about you.”
Jed tried to laugh through his tears. “He’s the one in prison and he’s worried about me?”
“Yes,” David confirmed. “He misses you and wants to see you.”
Jed took a deep breath and sighed. “I just couldn’t face him,” he admitted. “I was sure he would know that I’d let him down—that he wouldn’t want to see me.”
“No, you couldn’t have been more wrong,” David assured him. “The letter he sent me was filled with concern. He very much wants to see you.”
Jed nodded and took another gulp of coffee.
“You okay now?” David asked him. “Think you can get some more sleep?”
Jed gave a huge cleansing sigh and then nodded again. “Yeah.”
“Good,” David agreed. “Tomorrow is…no I should say, today is Saturday and the Jordan’s have invited us out to lunch, weather permitting. So we can all sleep in a little bit and have an easy day. Sound good?”
David slipped into the warm bed and nestled into his wife. She shifted position and got comfortable with his arms around her.
“A lot more to him than just what the dime novels say,” Tricia commented.
“Umm hmmm,” came the muffled reply.
Tricia smiled and gave her husband a gentle caress on his arm.
“You’re a good man, David.”
Later that morning, when Jed came out to the kitchen for coffee he spied his coat and boots waiting for him.
“Oh, good,” he commented. “And my gun?”
“That’s still over at the Sheriff’s office,” David informed him.
“Oh. And my hat?”
“Probably with your gun.”
“Oh,” a moments’ silence while Jed sipped his coffee. Then; “Can I get them back?”
“But I feel naked going outside without my gun!”
Then suddenly he looked a little embarrassed and sent Tricia a furtive glance. Tricia smiled and went back to focusing on breakfast. David furrowed his brow wondering what that was all about.
“I don’t want you having a gun just yet,” David carried on. “I don’t think it’s safe. I want to be sure that you’re in control again.”
Jed sighed. David could be such a mother sometimes.
“I’ll need a hat.”
“You can borrow one of mine.”
Jed sighed again. Tricia placed a pile of flapjacks on the table and started to dish out the bacon.
“Come on boys, stop your arguing,” she told them. “Sit down and eat breakfast.”
David grabbed the coffee pot and took it over to the table to pour out three cups and then returned it to the stove, giving his wife a little peck on the cheek as he did so. Jed sat down at the table, sulking.
Still, by the time he’d had his second coffee and his first decent meal in days, Jed had resolved himself to the situation and was actually in a good mood. He was feeling a little nervous about going out to see the Jordan’s that afternoon, not really sure what Jesse’s reaction was going to be but he also wanted to go see them and apologize. Hopefully he hadn’t burned his bridges there.
Later in the morning Jed and David walked over to the livery stable to get the horses ready for the trip out to the Double J ranch. Eric, the livery owner, saw them coming and brought David’s little chestnut gelding out of his stall and began to get him harnessed up for the surrey ride while Jed carried on past them down to where Buck was stalled.
“Hey Buck, old man. How ya doin’ this morning?” Jed asked him as he gave his horse a rub on the neck.
Buck had been pretty done in after their ride over from Denver but fortunately Jed had had enough sense and regard for his horse to make sure that he at least was stabled and bedded down before he went over to the saloon to have a drink—or two. Jed was relieved to see that this morning his horse was looking bright eyed and eager for some exercise.
Jed grabbed his tack from the saddle racks and proceeded to get his gelding geared up and ready to go. Twenty minutes later they were in front of the Gibson’s house and Tricia came out to join her husband in the surrey and with Jed riding Buck along beside them, they all headed out of town.
It had turned out to be a cloudy day, but it didn’t feel like it was going to snow again so nobody anticipated any trouble getting to and from the ranch that day. Even the roads were in pretty good shape since there was enough traffic to and fro to keep them well packed down. All in all it was not a bad day and everyone was enjoying the opportunity to get out for some fresh air, and of course a visit with friends.
Trotting down the lane leading to the ranch house, Jed spotted Karma out in the field. She had a couple of the other riding horses out there with her, but as soon as she spied her old friend coming she whinnied to him and came trotting over to the fence line. Buck greeted her, but knowing that he was under saddle and expected to do his human’s bidding he didn’t stop or try to pull off the road. There would be time for a re-union soon.
They continued on into the yard to the chorus of barking dogs and Sam came out of the barn to greet them and grab hold of the chestnut’s bridle.
“Howdy Doc, Mrs. Gibson,” Sam answered. “How’s the road?”
“Good,” said David. “No problems at all.”
Sam smiled. “That’s good to hear. Once I get your horses settled with some lunch I’ll be heading in to see Maribelle. Sure didn’t want to have to deal with bad roads.”
“You and Miss Riley seem to be getting quite serious Sam,” Tricia commented, with a smile. “Is there going to be a wedding this summer?”
Sam blushed. “I donno,” he mumbled shrugging his shoulders. “maybe.”
David rolled his eyes at his wife’s teasing. Meanwhile Jed had dismounted and seeing that Sam had his hands full with the harness horse, he lead Buck into the barn and settled him into his usual stall. He grabbed some hay from the feed room and threw it into the stall and then headed back outside, passing Sam who was just bringing the other gelding in for some lunch himself.
As soon as Jed had exited the barn he got hit with a tingling of fear and guilt as he saw Jesse standing there talking to the Gibson’s. Then the older man turned and met Jed’s eye and Curry dropped his gaze, suddenly feeling very much ashamed of himself. Jesse smiled and extended his hand.
“C'mon Jed,” he said. “welcome home.”
Jed felt a wash of relief and the two men shook hands.
“Thanks Jesse,” he answered, with an awkward smile. “I’m real sorry about…well…”
“Yeah, I know. Me too.”
Then much to Jed’s surprise and a mixture of embarrassment and pleasure, Jesse pulled him into a quick hug and a slap on the back.
“C'mon up to the house,” Jesse invited them. “The ladies are all looking forward to seeing you.”
The greeting Jed got inside the house couldn’t have been any more welcoming. The hug that Belle gave him was the warmest he’d had in ages and the girls each grabbed one of his hands in theirs and refused to relinquish their holds until lunch was served.
The atmosphere around the table very quickly became relaxed and comfortable and the conversation flowed easily just as it should between good friends getting together. They talked about everything from the price of beef and the crop of foals and calves expected that coming spring. Then all the way to Mrs. Thornton’s expectant arrival and the possibility of Sam and Maribelle becoming wed come summer time. This last topic being met by a snort of derision from Bridget and then a quick reprimanding look from her mother.
Throughout most of this conversation Jed stayed relatively quiet. He knew he felt better after having bared his soul to David, but at the same time also felt embarrassed for blubbering like a baby in front of him. Here he was supposed to be this intimidating gunfighter who could squash men down into the floorboards with his icy stare and David hadn’t even back down. Far from being intimidated the good doctor had taken the ex-outlaw by the hand and then quietly but firmly brought him emotionally to his knees.
Even Heyes had never done that—course, Heyes had never tried. But then again, Heyes was just as damaged as Curry was; it would have been like the blind leading the blind.
Jed sat there watching his friend across the table talking and laughing with the family, relaxed and animated with the conversation and he felt a slight twinge of resentment. It should be Heyes sitting there with them. It should be Heyes helping Kid get through this difficult time—but then if it was Heyes sitting there then Jed wouldn’t be having a difficult time! But still, it didn’t seem right that this man whom Jed had only known for about ten months had reached that level of trust that Jed had allowed himself to show his vulnerability. Geesh, Kid had been, well—a kid!—the last time he had cried in front of Heyes! It almost felt like a betrayal to his partner.
Then Jed inwardly shook his head and admonished himself for thinking such nonsense! A person was allowed to have two close friends in their lives—for goodness sakes! His friendship with David didn’t detract from his friendship with Heyes and besides that, David was a doctor. He knew how to get under somebody’s skin and pull out their innermost secrets. Hmmm, that man really needed to be watched. OHH Dammit!! There he went again, getting all guarded and defensive!
Why couldn’t he just accept the fact that David was his friend? He had assured David of that very thing himself in Cheyenne after Morrison had tried to undermine their relationship. According to Belle even Heyes had a high regard for the good doctor—respecting him and admiring him for his intelligence and abilities displayed when he saved Curry’s life. Indeed, Heyes felt an undying debt of gratitude towards David for that very thing. It’s highly doubtful that Heyes would feel any resentment towards Curry’s friendship with him.
Still, Curry felt guilty. Come to think of it, guilt seemed to be all that Curry could feel these days—what was that all about? Guilt about not being able to protect his mother. Guilt about shooting down that raider right in front of his young daughter. Guilt about blindly walking himself and Heyes into that ambush. Guilt about yelling at Jesse. Guilt now about not sending Heyes a letter all through the winter—not even at Christmas.
And oh! Christmas! Something else to feel guilty about. What he had put this family through after everything they had done for him and for Heyes! And that look that Jesse had sent him, that day on the train coming back from Cheyenne. It had almost been one of disgust and anger—what was that all about? Was there something else Jed was supposed to be feeling guilty about? Ohhh brother.
Then, over afternoon coffee the discussion just seemed, by natural selection to settle onto Joshua and Jed was pulled away from his disturbing inner musings and began to listen with interest.
“So how is he doing, Doc?” Jesse asked. “Have you heard anything?”
“Yes!” David admitted after a bit of pastry. “Sheriff Trevors sent me a quick note to assure me that he was feeling much better. The worst is apparently over.”
“That’s certainly good to hear,” Belle spoke for them all.
“Yes, it was getting quite worrisome,” David agreed. “Apparently Hannibal hasn’t been eating and that contributed to his illness being as bad as it was. He’s lost a lot of weight, but he is being encouraged to eat, so….”
Throughout this intercourse Jed sat silently at the table with mouth open and a slightly incredulous look on his face.
“What are you saying?” he finally asked. “Heyes has been ill?”
“Yes, pneumonia,” David told him. “It was quite bad for a while and we were all very worried. You friend Sheriff Trevors braved the bad weather and made the trip to the prison to make sure he was being looked after properly.”
“Why didn’t anybody tell me?!” Jed demanded somewhat indignantly.
“Well for one thing nobody knew where you were!” Jesse threw back at him
Jed’s expression fell and he suddenly looked very contrite. “Oh, yeah,” he mumbled. “But he’s doing okay now, right?”
“Yes,” David assured him. “apparently there is a convent close by and the Sisters will often come and help care for the inmates if they become quite ill. So with that in mind I would think that Hannibal had the best care he could have gotten anywhere.”
“Oh, good,” Jed breathed a sigh of relief. “Jeez, what if he’d…..” he couldn’t quite finish that sentence.
“Then you would have had one more thing to feel guilty about,” David answered bluntly and Jed wondered if David could actually read minds as well. “Fortunately it didn’t come to that.”
Jed didn’t answer. More and more he was beginning to see what a fool he had been and the damage that had been done and could have been done because of it. He felt a hand on his arm and looked over into Beth’s brown eyes and quiet smile and couldn’t help but smile back at her. She really was very pretty.
“So Thaddeus,” Belle began gently. “do you think you might feel like writing Joshua a letter now?”
Jed looked over at her and shook his head. “No,” he answered her, and a heavy silence surrounded the table. “I think it’s time I went to see him.”
Jed took the train into Wyoming, the weather still being too cold and unpredictable to ride horseback, or attempt the stage. He felt a certain amount of trepidation taking that means of transportation considering what his last train ride heading in this direction had been like. Of course it brought back thoughts of Hank and Morrison and all the stuff that had happened during those months of incarceration.
He thought guiltily of Wheat Carlson, knowing that he never had inquired as to how that outlaw was doing. He tried to console himself by the assurance that if Wheat had succumbed to that bullet wound Jed would have heard about it, one way or another.
He wondered fleetingly if him getting in touch with members of his old gang would be in violation of his pardon and simply stir up more trouble than it was worth. He quickly vetoed the idea; there was no need to dig up the past. Lom would know what was going on with the gang and would pass on any information that he thought would be relevant so best just to leave it at that. Still, there were a lot of reminders of his old life on this train ride.
The Devil’s Hole Gang was still active in the area and everyone traveling by train or coach was very much aware of it. All the women were trying to keep their children within sight and all the men wore sidearms and many carried rifles as well. Kid was kind of glad that they weren’t stopping trains anymore; sooner or later the next train robbery could have been their last. Some of the glances that were sent his way reminded him that his identity was probably known by the other passengers, and even though nobody was making a point of it, it did kind of make him nervous.
Then he just about hit the roof and his right hand did what it always does when he’s startled, all because some overactive youngster let loose the yell; “KID CURRY!” in the isle right behind the Kid’s seat. Then the boy went running past holding up a toy gun, and repeated: “I’M KID CURRY!! Bang! Bang!” Kids are always expressive when it comes to their own sound effects. Then another would-be train robber came running down the isle;
“Well, I’m Hannibal Heyes and I’m the best bank robber there ever was!!”
“No you’re not!” came the response from the first boy. “Hannibal Heyes is in prison, so how could you be the best?! Kid Curry is the best!!”
And then they were gone, off into the next car being chased by an imaginary posse. Kid Curry relaxed back into his seat again and breathed a sigh of…something. He wasn’t really sure how he felt right about then. A certain amount of relief that he himself would hopefully never be chased by a posse again, and a little bit of pride that he was being thought of as ‘the best’. But he also felt a bit hurt that Heyes was already being considered a ‘has-been’. That wasn’t right.
Hannibal Heyes was the best outlaw that had ever been, or ever would be as far as Kid was concerned. He felt like standing up and shouting it to the whole train that they couldn’t just write him off like that. He was a legend! He was a genius—even if Heyes did say so himself! Kid wanted to grab those boys by the scruff of their necks and shake some respect into them. But all he did was sigh and look out the window at the partially snow covered landscape going by.
Spring was coming—it was just around the corner. It was almost a year ago that Heyes and Kid had run into Jesse in that town of the forgotten name and he had talked the boys into coming to visit. It seemed like just yesterday and an eternity ago. Almost a year since he had last seen his cousin, not counting that very brief glimpse in Cheyenne, that didn’t really count. Kid sat back and rubbed his right shoulder; it was aching. He and David were going to have to get back after that when he returned to Brookswood.
Almost a year. Kid found himself still feeling that little bit of trepidation at the thought of seeing his cousin again under these circumstances. Kid was scared to see his partner caged up and in chains like some wild animal and he wasn’t sure how he was going to handle that. How would Heyes look? Would he look like a convict now? Or would it be the same old Heyes sitting there, the sheer force of his personality still shining through? Curry didn’t think he could handle it if Heyes were a broken man. And Kid would see it right away, even if Heyes tried to hide it, Kid would see it. And then Curry would be a broken man too.
Jed sighed and tried to relax; this train ride was taking longer than he wanted it to.
Saturday! Finally! The weather was starting to warm up just a tad, but enough so that those who wished to spend some time outside could do so and Heyes definitely wanted to. Finally, some fresh air and not so cold as to freeze your lungs. He spent about half an hour outside in the yard, walking briskly around the perimeter to try and get his blood pumping a bit; to feel like a human being again. Unfortunately the air was still too cold for his recuperating lungs and a sore ribcage. It wasn’t long before he started coughing and had to head back indoors. Still that short time outside did a lot to brighten his spirits and he actually ate more than half his lunch this time around.
Then, as was his usual routine on Saturdays, he took himself a cup of coffee and headed back to his cell with the intentions of reading the afternoon away. The temperatures had noticeably warmed up inside the prison and his cell had actually become quite a comfortable haven instead of the claustrophobic shoebox he had first described it as. Therefore it was with a certain amount of irritation that only an hour after sitting on his cot and settling in to read his book, Pearson showed up at his door with the inevitable command;
“Convict! Follow me!”
Heyes groaned inwardly but closed his book and allowed the guard to escort him to wherever he had to go. His irritation started to diminish to some degree as he recognized the route through the hallway leading him towards the visitors’ room. Murrey met them in the anti-chamber again and Heyes allowed himself to be pushed up against the wall, searched and then shackled once more. Not that he actually had any choice in the matter, he thought sardonically. But of course this time he didn’t feel the same anxiety he had felt when he was first brought here to see Sister Julia. The only question in his mind now was; who was coming to visit him?
Pearson shuffled him into the next room and got him seated down at the table before turning and going to carry on with his duties. Just like before Murrey stayed to stand guard, rifle at the ready just in case anybody got too riled up. Heyes glanced back at him then sighed and turned to face forward and await whoever it was that was coming to visit him.
When the door opened and his visitor stepped self-consciously into the room, Heyes totally forgot about protocol and was halfway to his feet before Murrey had a chance to step forward and grabbing him by the belt, haul him back into the chair again.
“What do ya' think you’re doin’ Heyes!” Murrey demanded. “Sit down and stay there or this visit’s over—now!”
Kid instantly felt anger and resentment rush over him at that lackey actually treating Hannibal Heyes in such a demeaning manner. Murrey saw the ice daggers headed his way and instantly brought the rifle up into a ready position. Was he actually going to have trouble with the visitor now?
“No, Kid relax,” Heyes told him, his smile so deep the dimples took over his whole face. “sit down. Oh God, it’s so good to see ya’! C'mon Kid, sit down.”
“Heyes,” Curry greeted his cousin, while sending a nasty glare over to the guard, but then he brought his gaze back to the inmate and really looked at Heyes for the first time in ten months.
He couldn’t hide the shock in his expression! Was that really his cousin sitting there? He knew it was, the voice was his and there was no disguising those dimples. But the shaved head, the pale complexion and the weight loss did so much to otherwise change the appearance of his friend that Kid found it hard to believe it was really him.
Heyes’ smile softened and he looked a little sad at the shock and the pity he saw—just for an instant—in the Kid’s eyes. Then it was gone and Curry smiled back at him and sat down at the table, opposite him.
“Do I really look that different Kid?” Heyes asked with a little trepidation.
“I donno Heyes,” Jed was suddenly feeling awkward. “I guess, I just…jeez, they shaved off all your hair!”
“Yeah,” Heyes shrugged. “Maybe next winter Bridget can knit me a hat. I really feel the cold now.”
“Well it might help if ya ate somethin’ Heyes,” Curry reprimanded him. Any anxiety he had been feeling about seeing his cousin again had disappeared and he had naturally fallen into the same old rhythm of their relationship. “Lom said you weren’t eating and that you’ve been real sick too and by the look of ya I’d say he’s right.”
Heyes scowled a little bit. “Lom talks too much,” he said. “I’m fine.”
“Ya don’t look fine Heyes!” Curry retorted. “Ya look a mess!”
“You’re a fine one to talk!” Heyes threw back at him. “Lom says you been drinkin’—a lot! And hanging out at the brothel every night! What the hell was that all about?!”
“Nothin’,” Curry mumbled looking a little shame-faced. “Lom talks too much.”
Heyes settled back in his chair, giving his cousin a discerning look. “Yeah, well. You doin’ better now?”
Heyes shrugged. “I guess. We just don’t do so good when we’re apart, do we.”
“No, I don’t suppose so.”
Then Heyes smiled. “Sure is good to see ya, Kid.”
Curry smiled back, relief very evident in his eyes. “Yeah. It’s good to see you too Heyes. I’m sorry it took so long for me to….well…get in touch. I just….”
“I know Kid,” Heyes assured him. “David kept me up on what was goin’ on with ya'.”
“Oh,” Jed looked a little embarrassed but he supposed he shouldn’t be surprised since David had mentioned that he and Heyes had been in touch. “I’m sorry Heyes.”
“I let my guard down,” Curry insisted. “Being with the Jordan’s like that, I just let myself relax too much. I lead us right into that ambush. This is all my fault.”
“Awww Kid, I told ya before this weren’t your doing,” Heyes reminded him. “I don’t blame you for this—never did.”
“Yeah…well,” Curry mumbled. “We’re doin’ everything we can to get you outta here, ya' know. You’d be amazed at what Beth and Bridget have accomplished and Clem too. And of course, Lom. Oh and Big Mac! You should have seen him at the trial Heyes! He had everyone running for cover!” Curry actually laughed at the memory of it.
“Yeah,” Heyes smiled. “I can just imagine. Good ole’ Uncle Mac.”
Then Curry went serious again. “We’ll get ya out Heyes. Just hang in there.”
“Yeah, I know,” Heyes answered, though he didn’t sound too optimistic.
Then Curry lowered his voice, suddenly aware again of Murrey standing over by the door.
“What’s it like Heyes?” he asked. “Is it as bad as we thought it would be?”
Heyes swallowed and his pale complexion paled even more.
“It’s worse,” he admitted.
“Worse?!” Kid repeated incredulously. “How could it be worse?”
“I donno,” Heyes shrugged. “Maybe it’s just cause it’s real now. It’s always cold, and the food is terrible—so you’d have a real hard time in here. I’m always having to watch my back cause there’s always somebody wanting to challenge me or teach me a new ‘rule’. You know they don’t even tell you the rules when you first get here; they just leave ya' to find out on your own. Ya' don’t learn the rules until you break what is apparently a rule and then they whacked ya with these damn bully clubs all the guards carry. So that’s how you learn what a rule is, cause you get hit for breakin’ it!
“Then some of the guards try to set you up so that you inadvertently break a rule just so they can punish you! I swear some of em’ just like to hurt ya’! One, unfortunately he’s also the senior guard, well he’s worse than Morrison!”
“Yeah! Jeez, I’m still carrying some bruises from him—and I hadn’t even done anything! He just suspected that I was thinkin’ about doing something!”
“And were you?”
“Yeah, but that’s beside the point! But then there’s this other guard, Kenny Reece, he’s an okay guy so if you ever need to talk to one of the guards, he’s the one to see. Though he’s still given me a few bruises too, for fightin’ or for mouthin’ off about something.”
“Really? Can’t imagine.”
“Yeah! And then they have this place called ‘the dark cell’! Oh, you don’t want to end up in there Kid. It’s terrible! Its pitch black in there, like no sound or light can get into it and they’ll lock ya' in there for days at a time and it just about drives you mad. I’m sure there are spiders in there and goodness knows what else! No, you definitely don’t want to end up in there Kid—gives me the shivers just thinkin’ about it.
“I guess it’s not all bad though. There’s a library here as such, though it didn’t take me long to read most of the books that are here. So then I asked the doc for some medical journals cause after seeing what David did to save your life, well that kind of got me interested in that stuff, so I’ve been reading a lot of those. Now I get to go over to the infirmary one day a week to help out over there. Mostly just cleanin’ stuff and maybe helping the doc with stitching up a cut or something, but it’s still a break from the work floor. And Doc Morin, he’s a pretty good guy, considering what he’d got to put up with. He drinks a bit, but you can hardly blame him for that, coming to work every day in this place.
“Oh and then Sister Julia came by to see me!”
“Sister Julia? Really?”
“Yeah! It’s was really sweet of her. Apparently she moved to the convent here in town and the Sisters all help out here when they’re needed. She really did a lot when I got sick there. I don’t know what happened to Molly, come to think of it, I never asked about that—maybe I should.
“Then there’s chapel every Sunday for those who want to attend and that’s kind of a nice break, you know, kind of makes ya' feel a bit better even if it’s just for a little while.”
“I never saw you as a church goin’ man Heyes.”
“No, no I’m not generally, but the minister who usually comes to give the sermon is a woman, so that kind of makes it worth while to go and listen to her preach. It’s kind of nice hearing a woman’s voice in this God forsaken place once in a while.”
“Really? A woman?”
“Is she pretty?”
“Kid! I’m ashamed of you! Thinkin’ stuff like that about a preacher woman!”
“She truly cares about the people here and puts a lot of effort into her sermons. She really does make a difference here on Sunday mornings! Such a nice voice too, and she really can throw it so even if you’re sittin’ way back behind everybody else, you can still hear what she’s sayin’. And it’s none of that hellfire and brimstone stuff we used to get at Valparaiso either. Its real kind stuff—almost makes you want to believe it’s true.”
“Oh….so… is she pretty?”
“Well…yes, actually she is. But that doesn’t matter. She’s still a preacher isn’t she? At least it’s a little bit of a diversion from this hell hole! And a man can fantasize can’t he? At least that’s one thing they can’t take away from us in here. Jeez, I’ve been havin’ strange dreams lately.”
“Yeah, tell me about it.”
“I don’t know where they’re coming from; I never used to have dreams like that! And they really seem real, ya know? They’ve gotten me into trouble a few times, wakin’ up and thinkin’ it’s all real. Then ya' get someone like Carson who just loves to get ya' at a disadvantage.”
“The head guard. C'mon Kid, keep up.”
“Yeah, Carson has got me good a few times because of dreams that I think are real and its bad enough trying to deal with things that are real without having to deal with things that aren’t real and you just think they are. It gets real confusing sometimes.
“Oh! I forgot to mention—the really big rule, I’ve gotten whacked quite a few times for breakin' this one, mainly cause it just don’t make any sense. Ya’ know they don’t allow ya’ to talk in here? Not at all! Not unless a guard asks you a direct question and then you can only answer like in one word ‘yes’ or ‘no’, that kind of thing! Can you imagine, not being able to talk at all?!”
“Oh. Well, that explains it.”
“Hmmm. Oh, and now that winter is finally starting to fade away we actually get some time outside on the weekends. I was out in the yard this morning for a little while and it sure felt good to get some fresh air again. It was still a little too cold for me though, considering I’m still kinda getting’ my strength back from being ill. But it still was nice to get outside for a while.
“And then on the weekends, like now when we’re not in service, or got visitors I can just go and read in my cell and relax for a while. That’s kind of nice; don’t have to watch my back so much in there. One of the other prisoners thinks he’s the big rooster here—like that actually amounts to anything! And he keeps thinkin’ I want to take over so he’s always laying in wait for me, trying to get me into a fight—but I got him good awhile back!” he smiled with the memory. “So hopefully he got the hint to leave me alone. Still, I think there’s going to be trouble with him yet—I can just feel it in my bones, ya’ know?” big sigh. “So, you’re being awfully quiet Kid. What’s goin’ on at home?”
“Oh! Ahhh let me think,” Kid was taken off guard. “Oh, Jesse wanted me to ask you if it’d be alright for him to breed Karma this spring. He said he’d like to get some new blood into his breeding program and he thinks he could get a real nice stud colt if he could breed her to the right stallion.”
“I gave Karma to him,” Heyes answered. “It’s up to him what he does with her. Though I would appreciate it if he doesn’t sell her.”
“He’s not gonna sell her Heyes. Besides, he never took you serious about you givin’ her to him,” Kid explained. “He knew you said that just because you were desperate to keep her safe. As far as Jesse is concerned he has Karma on loan and she’s yours just as soon as we can get you outta here.”
“Hmmm,” was Heyes’ noncommittal response. “How is she doin’?”
“Good. Fat and shaggy!” Curry informed him with a smile. “Beth has really taken to her and rides her whenever weather permits. So she’s doin’ good. Still,” he added reflectively. “I see her sometimes gazing off to the horizon and I know she’s lookin’ for you. But she likes Beth too, so she’s alright Heyes.”
“Yeah, that’s good,” Heyes looked a little sad, missing his mare and the wild gallops they used to share and enjoy so much. Oh well.
“You haven’t answered my question Heyes.”
“Hmmm? What was that?”
“Is it alright with you if Jesse breeds her this spring?”
“Oh, sure!” Heyes agreed, and then he smiled, becoming reflective himself. “Might do her some good. Maybe being a mother will help her to develop some common sense.”
“Yeah, well just remember you said that Heyes—not me!”
Heyes nodded. “So how are the girls doing?”
“Fine,” Curry answered, and then brightened. “OH! Bridget and Sam are courting!”
“WHAT!?” suddenly Heyes was half out of his chair again. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN BRIDGET AND SAM ARE COURTING!?”
“Settle down Heyes!” came Murrey’s warning from behind him. “Sit down!!”
Heyes sent a furtive but resentful glance back at the guard, but did as he was told. Then he lowered his voice to a quiet, but angry whisper.
“What do you mean they’re courting?” he asked again through tight lips.
“Well, what?” asked the Kid, confused. “What….? OH! No! Not each other!!”
Heyes sat back in his chair, his whole body relaxing in a relieved sigh.
“Oh, thank goodness,” he stated. “For a minute there I thought I was going to have to break out of here and go shake some sense into that girl.”
This statement was met by an incredulous snorkel from the guard.
“Fat chance of that,” Kid commented. “Her courting Sam, that is. She never did let him forget his part in all this.”
“That’s my girl.”
“Jeez Heyes! You and Bridget; two peas in a pod,” Kid complained. “Neither one of ya is big on forgiveness are ya? Sam’s not a bad kid, he just made a mistake. He’s sorry for it now.”
“Yeah, well. When you’re goin’ down for the third time it’s kinda hard to forgive the person who threw ya’ off the boat in the first place.”
Kid thought that was an odd analogy for Heyes to be using.
“You readin’ ‘Moby Dick’ again?”
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
“Well, I’ve just noticed in the past that often the book you happen to be readin’ at the time influences the way you say things.”
“Well, are ya’?”
“Well…yeah,” Heyes admitted, a little self-consciously. “Don’t see that it matters.” then he brightened up and went back to the original topic. “So, Bridget’s courting somebody?”
“Oh, yeah!” Kid came back to that. “Steven Granger.”
“Yeah. Steven’s getting ready to move his practice to Denver and then Bridget is going to go and work for him as his assistant and live with Clem until other arrangements can be made.”
“Oh!” Heyes remarked. “Yeah, Clem mentioned something about that. So that’s what was behind Granger coming out to the ranch for Thanksgiving—to get this sort of organized.”
Heyes nodded. “Yeah, that’s good,” he commented. “I think they’ll be good together. Get Bridget away from that idea of ‘law enforcement’!” then he smiled and gave Kid a slightly wicked look. “Clem also mentioned that Beth is kinda sweet on you. Course, I knew that before, but it’s kind of nice to have it confirmed.”
Kid suddenly looked embarrassed again. “Jeez! Clem talks too much.”
“It’s about time you settled down and took yourself a wife,” Heyes teased him. “You’re kinda running outta options ya know.”
“She’s so young Heyes!”
“Well, I suppose the longer you wait, the older she gets,” Heyes pointed out. “But still, a lot of men take wives who are a lot younger than they are. Especially when they get started late, like us. C'mon Kid, you’ve always wanted a family—now’s your chance. What are ya waitin’ for?”
“I’m just not ready,” Kid mumbled. “Not yet.”
Then the two friends locked eyes for a moment, understanding passing between them.
“Hmmm,” Heyes commented. “Well, don’t hang on too long Kid. Don’t let life pass you by.”
“You’re not gonna be the one payin’ for my happiness Heyes,” Curry insisted. “You have the right to a good life too. You’ve earned it. I’m gonna get you outta here, cause for one thing—well, like you said; we just don’t do well when we’re apart.”
“Yeah, I know,” Heyes agreed.
“Not only did I mess up Christmas for everyone, but I missed your birthday as well,” Curry admonished himself. “I didn’t even bring ya’ a present.”
“Yeah, ya’ did Kid,” Heyes assured him with a smile. “You brought me the best birthday present I’ve ever had.”
They both locked eyes again and smiled.
“Yeah, okay,” Curry agreed. “Likewise, I guess. Happy Birthday Heyes.”
“Happy Birthday Kid.”
“It’s going to be Jay’s first birthday here in a couple of weeks,” Curry mentioned. “That little fella is growin’ like a weed. You should see him Heyes. He’s going to be a real scraper.”
“I suppose,” Heyes mumbled, feeling like he was losing out on all the fun stuff.”
“We’ll get you out Heyes,” Kid reiterated again. “You’ll see him soon. Just hang in there.”
Heyes brightened up, more for Curry’s sake rather than his own optimism.
“I know Kid,” he assured his cousin. “I’ll hang in. Not much choice, really.”
Then Murrey pushed himself off the wall and came towards them.
“Okay, your hours up,” he announced. “wrap it up.”
“Oh,” Heyes sounded disappointed. “already?”
“Oh,” Kid repeated. Now that he had actually got himself here, he didn’t want to leave. He was finding it very hard to say ‘goodbye’ to his cousin and then turn around and walk away.
The two men looked at each other, neither one wanting to break contact.
“C'mon, break it up!” Murrey ordered. “Let’s go!”
“Yeah. I guess you better go Kid,” said Heyes, who was more accustomed to following the guards orders than Curry was.
Curry nodded sadly. “Okay,” he agreed and got to his feet, preparing to leave. “I’ll try to get here every month Heyes. Gee, an hour a month. That’s not very much is it?”
“It’s better than nothing,” Heyes pointed out. “Thanks for coming Kid. And if you can get out here once a month that would be great. I’ll look forward to seeing ya’. Say ‘hello’ to everybody back home for me will ya’?”
“Yeah, I will Heyes,” Curry assured him. Then he just stood there for a moment, looking down at his friend. He had thought that coming here was going to be hard, but leaving was proving to be much harder. Finally he forced himself to break away. “I’ll see ya’ later Heyes,” and he walked over to the door and opened it, preparing to leave.
“Kid?” Heyes called after him.
Curry stopped and looked back. “Yeah?”
Curry smiled. “Yeah Heyes. Partners.”
To Be Continued.
Author's note; The character, Abigail Stewert was developed by Sarah Whyment. I am
using Abi in my stories with the knowledge, and permission of Sarah.
If you would like to read up on the history of Heyes and Abi you can find Sarah's stories
Posts : 483
Join date : 2013-08-31
Location : Madrid
|Subject: Re: Partners Chpater fifteen Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:00 am|| |
A chink of light at last and it was good to see them meet. That must have been so very difficult for both of them, but the realities of their new situation are starting to sink in.
|Subject: Re: Partners Chpater fifteen || |
Partners Chpater fifteen