Hindsight. Chapter sixteen. Part one
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: Hindsight. Chapter sixteen. Part one Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:59 pm|| |
Heyes was feeling much better. His appetite had returned and even though, as we are all well aware, he never was one to go back for seconds, he did now tend to clean up what was given him. It cannot be said that the weight piled back onto him, but he did at least stop losing it The sallow hollowness of his features did fill out some and the colour returned to his complexion.
With the weather warming up he was able to spend more time outdoors again and the fresh air worked wonders on not only his health, but also his attitude. It didn’t hurt in helping him to sleep better too.
A new prisoner by the name of Carl Harris had arrived and Boeman had decided that it was in his best interests to leave Heyes alone for the time being and turn his focus onto this new wolf in the pack. Heyes couldn’t have been happier with that transference; with Boeman now otherwise occupied Heyes only really had Carson to worry about. So for the time being he was able to drop his vigilance to some degree and as long as he knew where Carson was, he could feel somewhat safer regarding his back.
His time over in the infirmary was also helping to make life in the prison a little more bearable. He finally had a job to do that could challenge his intellect and he found Dr. Morin to be an interesting and co-operative teacher. Whenever a prisoner or guard was brought in with some injury or another Heyes was always right there, assisting where he could and constantly asking questions; What do you do when a lung gets punctured? How do you stop excessive bleeding? What’s the best way to set a broken bone? Etc.etc.
Many of these procedures Heyes had had to perform himself when they were riding the outlaw trail, but it was always by the skin of your teeth—trial and error. Nobody really knew what they were doing, more like; well, it worked last time so let’s try it again! A lot of what Heyes learned from Morin excited him and made him want to dig deeper and learn more, but there were other times when the information he gathered depressed him and he would return to his cell in the evening sullen and moody.
He would be filled with remorse and regret during these times; thinking back to friends long buried whose lives could have been saved if only Heyes had known that simple procedure that Morin had just shown him. He felt things too deeply—Heyes did. Always being the older cousin, the outlaw leader, the one with the brains, the one everybody looked to to make things right. Take charge, be in command, always have the right answer. Then someone in his gang, someone he was responsible for would die, because he hadn’t known about that simple procedure that Morin had just shown him.
On those occasions he would regress back to old habits and just pick at his supper and then retire to his cell to lie on his cot. He would stare at a ceiling he couldn’t see until the early morning hours would finally wear him down and he would fall sleep.
On the most part though, his time in the infirmary was a positive influence in his life. Just as Kenny had hoped, Heyes recognized it as a privilege and something that he valued and cherished, therefore it was something to be protected. He stopped laying in wait for any inmate who may have ticked him off; he had decided that retaliation wasn’t worth the risk of losing that one precious day a week when he was allowed to feel human again.
Dr. Morin also found the time with Heyes to be just as stimulating and rewarding as Heyes did himself. Morin was pleased to have his impressions of Heyes be justified ten fold. The convict did indeed have a brilliant mind and was able to grasp the strange words and difficult procedures with hardly any effort at all. Indeed, there were occasions when Morin would feel a slight twinge of jealousy at the ease in which Heyes picked up techniques that Morin himself had had to struggle with before finally conquering them.
Fortunately those feelings did not linger and for the most part Dr. Morin enjoyed his student and was pleased with the man’s progress. It should also be noted, for better or for worse that Morin inadvertently ignored Kenny’s advice and did indeed forget who Heyes was and the two men gradually slid into a friendship.
One afternoon, after a particularly busy day of treating minor injuries incurred on the work floor, Morin pulled out his bottle of whiskey and invited Heyes to join him for a drink. Heyes smiled; quite tempted by the invite, but hesitant over the legitimacy of it. He was getting too used to following the rules.
“Are you sure that’s okay Doc?” he asked while watching Morin pour out two shot glasses for them.
“Hmmm. If you promise not to tell, I’ll do the same.”
Heyes’ smile deepened and he joined Morin at the table. Sitting down he lifted the glass and took a swig. It attacked his senses, burning into his throat and his nasal passage and almost setting his eyes to watering. It was far from top shelf, but it was the best thing Heyes had tasted in many a long month.
He set the empty glass down and Morin refilled it.
“There ya’ go son, one for the road,” he said.
“Thank you,” was Heyes’ heartfelt response. Then, whether it was the whiskey making him braver or just that he was becoming comfortable in the doctor’s presence, Heyes decided to ask a more personal question. “So Doc, how is it that you ended up with such a cushy job like this?”
Morin rolled his eyes. “Ohh, long story son, long story.”
Heyes smiled and the mischievous twinkle came into his eye; the perfect example of the charismatic conman.
“I don’t see any patients needing attention and it’s a least an hour until supper,” Heyes observed, his smile deepening.
“Hmmm,” Morin sent back at him while he refilled their glasses again. “well, there’s really not much to tell,” he began. “I learned doctoring growing up in the logging camps in Washington, up there by the Canadian border. Never went to school, except for the school of hard knocks and I tell ya’, there’s nothing like seeing a man chop his own foot off to teach ya’ fast how to stop a fella from bleeding to death.”
“Ahhh, yeah,” Heyes agreed. “I can see the incentive.”
“Hmmm,” the Doc agreed. “then the war broke out and a bunch of us rough necks decided to make some extra money by smuggling supplies across the border and ‘escorting’ them down south to help with the effort. That took us a few months of hard travellin’, then wouldn’t ya know we only got paid about half what we were promised!”
“Ah huh,” Heyes commented as he downed another glass. “thieves all over the place.”
“That’s for sure,” Morin agreed. “So, once we got down to where the fightin’ was happening, well we didn’t have enough money to go back so we stuck around and decided to join in.” Morin emptied his glass and poured another round. “The powers that be found out that I had some doctorin’ experience so they pressed me into service in that capacity.”
“More on the job trainin’?” Heyes asked with a slurry smirk.
“Damn right! Jesus!” the Doc exclaimed. “and they wonder why I drink!”
“I thought it was cause of the won’erful job ya’ got here.”
“Hell no!!” came the retort. “I was drinkin’ long ‘fore I ended up in this backwater cesspool! Jeez! War fin’lly over an’ I can’t f..find a job worth crap! An’ why? Cause I ain’t got no licenssssense. Nev’r wen’ ta school.” another round of drinks was poured out. “I’m better doc’or than those big eastern trained big shots an’ I en’ up here, treatin’ a bunch a’ filthy con’cts!”
“Yea!!” Heyes agreed as he downed another glass. “Lowlif’s thieves--everyone of em! Ya’ deserved better en’ that Doc!”
“Yea!!, I’ll drink ta that!”
“Hmmm, I wasss sure there wasss another bottle round here somewheres—ohh here it iss.”
“Ssso, ya’ never married Doc?” Heyes asked, followed by another drink.
“Hell no! No wife—no kids. The war kinda took care a’ that! My brother now, he done the resect..spetable thing,” Morin squinted at Heyes and waved a finger and a half empty shot glass under his nose. “He came south with me on tha’ ill fated sssup..y run, but then he gone an’ got hisself a decent job afta’ tha’ war. Up an’ got married and ssset’led down.” ‘Ats ma’ nephew there in Colorada—Yosiph. Good lad! No kids ma’self tho’. Nope—no kids.”
Heyes went quiet for a moment. He had been about to agree with Morin in saying that he didn’t have any ‘kids’ either, but it stuck in his craw and he couldn’t get it out. Then he swallowed it down with another shot of whiskey—and he changed the subject.
“How long you been here Doc?” he asked.
“Oh crap!” came the response, “since forever!” then he laughed. “An’ only an eternity left ta go!!”
“Yeah! Me too!!”
And the two men started laughing together as though it were the best joke they’d heard all day.
“Sooo…” Heyes started again, trying to get his sentence formulated. “wha’ bout the guards? Yu known ‘em a’ long time?”
“Ahh, yea!” Morin admitted with a sneer. “’At Carson! Wha’ a fxxxxn’ asxxxxe! Wha’ a pxxxk! Kenny, now ee’s a good guy. Ya’ ee’s a good ung fella.”
Heyes smiled at Morin referring to Kenny as ‘young’ since he was at least fifteen years older than Heyes himself. Still it was all relative he supposed.
“Ya?” Heyes said. “Ee married?”
“Oo ya,” Morin informed him. “Go’ hisself a nice lady an’ four young’uns.”
“Ya! Three boys an’ a girl. Cute-isss’ littl’ ing ya ever seen.”
“Awww, ‘ats nice.” Heyes mumbled. “Nothin’ like a daugh-er!”
“WHAT THE HELL! Aww Doc! You getting your trustee drunk---again!!”
“Aaaa, Kenny!!! We wa’ jus’ talkin’ bout yu!”
Heyes groaned and dropped his forehead down onto his arms that were resting on the table. Was he ever in for it now!
“Come on Heyes, on your feet,” Kenny ordered him as he grabbed one of Heyes arms and started to pull him up. “if you can that it.”
“Aww, we wa’ jus’ havin’ a frien’ly drink, Kenny,” Morin protested.
“Yeah, I know Doc,” Kenny answered as he draped Heyes’ arm over his shoulders and started to half lead and half drag him towards the exit. “You best get some coffee into ya’ before you head for home And for goodness sake don’t let the warden see ya’ or you’ll be out of a job for sure!!”
“Wher’ we goin’?” Heyes asked, suddenly worried that he was headed for the dark cell and doing his best to put on the brakes. He wasn’t having much luck.
“Don’t worry about it Heyes,” Kenny assured him. “I’m just taking you back to your cell.”
“And keep your mouth shut will ya?” Kenny instructed him. “You’re damn lucky Carson’s gone home for the evening or this would be the last time you’d be helping Morin out in the infirmary.”
“Ahh, no. It’s ok.”
“No, it’s not okay,” Kenny contradicted him. “I catch you drunk again….” Kenny left it at that and just shook his head with an exasperated sigh.
Morin was an alright guy and a pretty decent doctor, at least compared to what prisons usually end up with so Kenny tired to cut him some slack, but this was pushing it. If he wanted to get drunk on his own time, well that was his business. But when he decides to include his trustee in on the imbibing that could get everybody into trouble!
Fortunately for everyone involved most of the guards and other inmates were in the cafeteria sitting down to supper, so the trip to Heyes’ cell went pretty much unhindered. Those few who did notice them took no notice and just assumed that Kenny knew what he was about. Maybe Heyes had gotten sick again. In any case, Kenny got Heyes settled down onto his cot and prepared to head for home himself, after one final errand.
“I’ll bring you up some coffee Heyes,” Kenny told him. “You hungry at all? I’ll bring you dinner too if you want it.”
“No, not hungry,” Heyes mumbled.
“What a surprise,” Kenny commented dryly. “I’ll get you your coffee. And then you stay put Heyes, you hear me? You don’t step out of this cell until morning, you get that?”
A which point Kenny turned on his heels and stomped out of the cell muttering obscenities to himself as he went.
Heyes didn’t know how he got through that night, and when the morning buzzer sounded he thought his head was going to explode! He groaned as he rolled over onto his side and swung his legs off the cot and down to the floor. It took him a few more seconds to convince his torso to follow suite and come up into a sitting position. He moaned and held his head. He couldn’t believe the headache he had, but at least it was laundry day and he could keep to himself.
He managed to convince his legs to take him down to the cafeteria and over a bowl of lumpy oatmeal and warm coffee he sorta, kinda got himself back to the land of the living. That was the last time he was going to join Dr. Morin for a simple drink! Holy Cow! Whatever that stuff was made of it sure packed one hell of a whollop!
After picking his way through breakfast, he joined the herd heading back out to the work area and then branched off and headed back up the stairs to the third floor to begin his shift in the laundry room. He got half way down the corridor when suddenly he noticed a pair of feet standing on the floor in front of him, blocking his way. He slowly pulled his aching eyes up the legs of a guard’s uniform, passed the belt buckle, could even kinda count the buttons on the shirt, noticed a half smile playing about the lips and then was looking into the light gray eyes of Kenny Reece.
“Convict,” Reece said. “follow me.” and he turned and walked in the opposite direction of the laundry room.
Heyes groaned. Oh no. He really was in for it now, but seeing no way out of the situation; he turned and followed the guard to wherever it was that Kenny had decided to take him.
Half an hour later, standing outside in a downpour of cold rain, Kenny had obtained a hat, a coat and a rifle. Heyes had obtained a shovel a hammer and a bag of nails. Later, upon reflection Heyes would insist that that day proved to be the longest most miserable day he had ever put in working at the prison. Every piddly little job that Reece could find for the convict to do outside in the yard was handed over to him.
The steps needed clearing, the drains needed unclogging, and the wooden railings needed repairing. Lunch? What lunch? And the rain did not let up. Within 30 minutes Heyes was soaked to the skin. Before the morning was half over, despite the physical work he was shivering and his hands were numb with the cold and his head would not stop pounding. More than once, despite the ever ready rifle in Kenny’s hands, Heyes had made a run for a corner and heaved up whatever he had left in his stomach. He was in absolute misery and his only consolation was that Kenny had to be out there with him.
Finally the invisible sun was nearing the end of its decline and the light out in the yard was fading. Kenny stood up from the bench under the awning where he had been positioned to watch Heyes shoveling mud off the walkways and motioned to the convict to call it a day.
“Alright Heyes,” he said, not using the usual ‘convict’. “that’s enough, head back in.”
Heyes released a huge relieved sigh and leaned against the shovel for a moment. He was doing his best to gather up what was left of his consciousness to convince his legs to move towards the door and get him up the stairs and into the prison proper.
“C'mon Convict,” Kenny repeated, reverting to the norm. “pick up your tools, let’s go.”
Back up in his cell, Heyes stood just inside his door, dripping pools of water onto the floor. He didn’t want to sit down on his cot since he was soaked through and through and didn’t want to get the blanket wet. He was already cold enough, why add to his misery for later?
Vaguely Heyes became aware of one of the other inmates approaching Kenny and handing him a clean set of prison garb and long johns. Heyes assumed that this was the inmate who had taken over his laundry duties for the day and the ex-outlaw leader snarled at him. The man wisely avoided eye contact and quickly moved away. Kenny plunked the fresh clothing down on Heyes’ cot then turned back to him and stood there with his arms crossed and gazed at the exhausted convict.
“Get yourself changed into some dry cloths and then head down for supper,” Kenny instructed him.
“And if I ever catch you drunk again, you’ll be spending three days in the dark cell and all your privileges will be revoked. Do you understand me?”
It is fair to say that Heyes slept like the dead that night and breakfast actually tasted pretty good. It was Saturday, but not surprisingly he opted out of his time in the yard and chose instead to spend the morning nursing some coffee and reading ‘Les Miserables’. He was still tired in body and mind, but on the most part was feeling much better and promised himself that he was NEVER going to do that again!
An hour after lunch Heyes found himself in the visitor’s room, pleased as punch to be yet again in the Kid’s company.
“Sure is good to see ya again Kid,” Heyes said for the umpteenth time with the smile refusing to leave his face. “with all the rain we’ve had lately I wasn’t sure if you were going to make it.”
“Aww, rain isn’t going to stop me from coming Heyes,” Curry assured him. “A blizzard, yeah—but not rain. You look a lot better than the last time I saw ya. You back to eating again?”
“Yeah, on the most part,” Heyes admitted. “so you can tell Lom to stop acting like an old mother hen okay? Please!”
Curry smiled. “Yeah I’ll tell him,” he said. Then he turned serious again. “You sure you’re doing okay Heyes? Ya look a little—I donno, sorta low key.”
Heyes looked down at the table, a little embarrassed.
“Yeah,” he answered. “Me and the Doc got a little drunk the other day and then Kenny worked me into the ground out in the pouring rain—while I still had a hangover—just to let me know I had broken another rule.”
“Jeez,” the Kid sympathized. “I thought you said that Kenny was one of the good guards.”
“No! If it had been Carson you’d be taking me home in a pine box instead of sitting here chatting with me.”
“Awww Heyes,” Kid looked ashamed of himself. Heyes furrowed his brow, wondering where that was coming from. “this isn’t right; I’m the one who should be in here, not you.”
Heyes sat back in his chair with a sigh. He looked around the room trying to collect his thoughts.
“I suppose, by rights both of us should be in here,” he finally pointed out. “but I’m glad you’re not. I need you out there to get me out of here!”
“That’s just it Heyes!” Curry tersely responded. “You’re the one with the brains! You’d know how to deal with those politicians! I’m totally lost.”
Heyes sat quietly for a moment and studied his friend.
“You’re not stupid Kid,” Heyes commented, echoing David’s sentiment from earlier on. “You’re just used to letting me do all the thinking.” Then he smiled mischievously. “Now it’s your time to shine!”
Kid rolled his eyes and hardly looked convinced.
“That’s what everybody keeps saying!” Curry declared, feeling a little frustrated. “David says that I’m ‘intuitive’! Like that’s gonna help! If I was so intuitive I would have known about that ambush and we wouldn’t have walked right into it!”
“Oh are we onto that again!?” Heyes snapped back. “I thought we settled that! Jeez Kid! That was almost a year ago—let it go!” The he sighed and again sat for a moment studying his cousin. “How’s your shoulder doing? Has David helped you to get it back again?”
“Yeah,” Curry answered. “We’re back to doing those stretches and stuff to get it working again. It aches a lot, especially when it’s wet and cold like this, and it’s actually been kinda sore these last couple of days, so I’ll probably have David take a look at it when I get home. But other than that it is doing better.”
“Good,” Heyes nodded. “You back out at the Jordan’s place now? You and Jesse still getting on okay?”
“Oh, yeah Jesse and I are getting along fine,” Kid admitted. “I often go out to help at the ranch during the daytime, but both Jesse and David insist that I stay at David’s at night. And David won’t let me go out on my own after supper.”
Heyes furrowed his brow again. “What do you mean ‘David won’t let you’?”
“The only time he lets me have my gun and boots and coat is when I’m heading out to the Jordan’s or coming to see you!” Kid explained irritably. “The rest of the time he keeps them hidden so that I can’t go out on my own!”
“What!?” Heyes was incredulous. “Why?!”
“I donno,” Curry mumbled, breaking eye contact. “He keeps saying that I’m not ‘alright’ yet—whatever that means. If I’m not back at his place by a certain time, he practically sends a posse out looking for me! Thinks I’m going to sneak off at night and do something stupid.”
“Why would he think that?”
“I donno,” Curry mumbled again, shrugging his shoulders. “He seems to think it’s alright for me to come and see you all on my lonesome, but not spend the evening in Brookswood having a few drinks. I tell ya Heyes, it’s downright embarrassing.”
“Why do ya put up with it then?” Heyes asked. “Why don’t you just leave? It’s not like you have to go back to Brookswood now, why don’t you go stay with Lom for awhile?”
Kid sat quiet for a moment. “Well…it’s just that…well….”
Heyes sighed. “What, Kid?”
“Well…I kinda agreed to it Heyes.”
Heyes furrowed his brow again. “Why?”
“Well, you know,” Kid said, feeling awkward. “I wasn’t behaving normal, I know that but I just couldn’t stop myself. Then Jesse threw me out and Clem started laying into me and I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.”
Jed took a deep breath here and almost got angry with himself. “and I knew that if I was ever going to get you outta here, well, I had to get better—so I asked David to help me. He told me I had to agree to this and accept whatever restrictions he put on me or it was no go. And Lom and Jesse both know about it, so….” Jed shrugged. “Still, I am doing better. It’s like he just doesn’t trust me. It’s frustrating.”
“There must be more to it than that Kid,” Heyes insisted. “Have you talked to him?”
“Well sure I’ve talked to him!” Kid shot back, then; “I donno.” He looked down at the table again, struggling with what was on his mind.
Heyes sat back and waited, knowing more was coming and also knowing that Kid probably had a good idea as to why he wasn’t allowed out at night, he just didn’t want to admit it.
“I was talking to Jesse about it the other day while we were out riding the north pasture,” Kid finally continued. “I was complaining about what a pest David was being and that he just wouldn’t leave me be. Jesse commented that it was because David still felt responsible for what happened the last night in Cheyenne.”
“Oh,” said Heyes. “What happened?”
“I donno!” Kid insisted. “That’s what I asked Jesse and he just looked at me kinda funny and then asked me what I did remember.”
“Well, what do you remember?”
Curry sighed and his expression became reflective.
“Well, that last night in town Big Mac hosted a real nice dinner party for all of us,” Kid reminisced, and didn’t notice Heyes looking disappointed. “Everything was really good and the girls were funny, getting their first taste of champagne and all, they got real giggly.” He smiled at the memory, and then he turned serious again. “Everybody was being real supportive and everything, but I just couldn’t enjoy myself very much knowing that you were stuck in here and everything—it just didn’t feel right.”
Heyes smiled. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Curry reiterated. “I just couldn’t have a good time. In fact I was pretty angry about the way the whole thing worked out. It wasn’t fair.”
“Hmmm,” was Heyes’ only comment. Medical knowledge wasn’t the only thing he was picking up from Dr. Morin.
“And I remember David being a real pest—again! He just wouldn’t leave me alone,” Kid started getting angry just thinking about it. “Finally I yelled at him, told him to back off of me—ya know? He just wouldn’t leave me alone!”
“Hmmm,” Heyes commented again. “And did he then? Leave you alone?”
“Yeah, finally!” Kid answered. “Good thing too, I was getting really angry. I felt like I was going to strangle him if he didn’t back off!”
“Yeah, that can be irritating,” Heyes agreed, though his expression showed doubt and he wondered if David had had good reason for hovering. “What happened next?”
“Shortly after midnight the party started to wind down and I headed back to my hotel room,” Curry continued, and then he laughed. “Man, I must have been really drunk! That champagne must really have a kick to it, ya know? Cause I don’t even remember going to bed and I sure don’t remember getting on the train the next morning. But I must have done, cause that’s where I was when I woke up—on the train.”
“Hmmm,” Heyes said again. “and that’s all you remember?”
“Yeah. Well, except….” Curry hesitated, looking confused.
“On the train. I was having a real bad nightmare,” Curry explained. “David woke me up, but I glanced over at Jesse and he had this really strange look on his face. Like he was mad at me or something…I donno. And after that everybody sorta started treating me different. Like I was going to explode on them or something. It was really weird and it just made me so mad.”
“Oh yeah?” Heyes asked. “So is that when you had the fight with Jesse and then disappeared for a month?”
“Well, that was kinda the beginning of it,” Curry admitted, looking ashamed of himself again. “I guess I was drinking too much during that time.”
“Hmmm,” said Heyes again.
“Will you stop that!?” Curry growled at him. “It makes it sound like you know something I don’t!”
“Know something I don’t!?”
“No, no!” Heyes assured him. “At least not on this topic.”
Curry looked at his partner suspiciously not sure if there was an insult in there or not.
“So…” Heyes continued, shifting position in his chair and straightening up. “you don’t remember anything else about that last night in Cheyenne?”
“What else is there to remember?” Curry demanded. “I went to sleep!”
“Drunk on champagne.”
“Well…” Heyes started to become a little defensive. “I’m just trying to work things out!”
“There’s nothing to work out Heyes! I’m fine!”
“Alright, alright,” Heyes relented. “So you’re staying at David’s place for now?”
“Have you been able to talk to him about stuff?” Heyes asked, a little tentatively. “You know, about…the things that happened…in Kansas?”
“Yeah,” Curry admitted, hesitantly. “a bit.” He shifted uncomfortably. “It’s not easy—talking about that stuff. But he’s so relentless; he just keeps pushing and pushing. Geez Heyes! I’ve told him stuff you and I never even talked about. That don’t seem right somehow!”
“Well, that’s alright,” Heyes assured his younger cousin. “He is a doctor, after all. And a friend too, right?”
“Yeah, I suppose,” Curry agreed. “So…you’re alright with that?”
“Yeah, if it helps.”
Curry shrugged his shoulders. “I guess,” he mumbled.
Then a flash of pain crossed through Heyes eyes and he cleared his throat, trying to find a way to put his disappointment into words without sounding preachy.
“I wish you had told me about that other stuff though,” he finally commented.
“What other stuff Heyes?” Curry asked, concerned that he had missed something.
Hesitation…silence. It was Heyes’ turn to shift uncomfortably. Then resolve—just spit it out!
“Well…what happened when you…when we split up.”
“Oh…yeah,” then Curry looked hurt too. He knew he had disappointed his older cousin. “I’m sorry Heyes. I just…I didn’t want to lay that onto you. And I was so sickened by it myself; I guess I just hoped it would go away if I didn’t talk about it. And I knew how you felt about….killing ‘an all. So….”
“They’d done just as bad to my family as they did to yours Kid,” Heyes pointed out. “and if I hadn’t blocked out the worst of what they did, I just might have joined you on that venture.”
Hurting blue eyes rose up to meet hurting brown.
“I wish I could have blocked it out,” Curry finally stated.
“No ya don’t Kid,” Heyes assured him. “that was one of the worst moments of my life, suddenly remembering it all in that way. You don’t want to go through that.”
“Yeah, that’s what David said,” Curry admitted. “Still, it’s weird. How could you have forgotten that?” Instantly Kid realized that he had cut Heyes to the core with that comment and began to back step. “OH, no Heyes! I didn’t mean that as a judgment on you—just, in general; how can it be that our minds can block out something like that just as though it had never happened. That’s weird!”
Heyes nodded, accepting the apology. “I donno Kid,” he admitted and then smiled. “But Jenny is really making up for lost time here, I’ll tell ya! I’ve had some really strange dreams about her,” he turned reflective again. “I kinda envy you having David to talk to; there’s nobody here who gives a damn.”
“You could always write to him Heyes,” Curry suggested. “tell him about your dreams in a letter. Might help.”
“Yeah,” Heyes considered that. “Certainly wouldn’t hurt.” Then he smiled. “Enough of this doom and gloom. How are the girls?”
Curry smiled too, and brightened up. “Bridget is so excited about moving to Denver,” he said. “It’s still a month away and she’s already packing! And now there’s fighting over who is going to get her room—Beth or Jay! It’s turning into quite a circus.”
Heyes laughed. “I bet! Yeah, the girls are growing up,” then Heyes lost his smile and turned reflective again.
“Aww Heyes,” Kid responded. “I know I was sounding doubtful before, but we are going to get you out of here. It just might take some time.”
“I know Kid,” then he sighed and changed the subject back again. “How’s Belle doing? I hear from the girls regularly, but just quick notes from Belle at Christmas and then for my birthday.”
“She fine Heyes, she’s just busy with Jay and now with Bridget getting ready to move out on her own—sort of,” Kid assured him. “You are on her mind, a lot. She’s always asking after you; wants to know everything we talk about after my visits here.”
Heyes smiled. “Everything?”
“Well, I edit it some.”
“That’s good! Send her my love, will ya?”
“Yeah, of course Heyes.”
Then Heyes smiled, a twinkle coming into his eye. Kid knew something was coming.
“So how are things going with Beth?” he asked.
“Aww Heyes!” Kid shrugged. “we’re friends you know that. I’ve always liked Beth, but…that’s it.”
“She’s been riding out with me sometimes when I go check on the stock, just to give Karma-Lou some exercise you understand.”
“She sure is an excellent horsewoman,” Kid continued and then smiled reflectively. “And she sure does look fetching in that riding habit.”
“NO! I mean…she’s really growing up! It’s just; she’s not a little girl anymore,” then Kid became defensive. “She’s always been pretty, you know that…she’s just nice to talk to….WE’RE JUST FRIENDS HEYES!”
“Fine,” Heyes answered innocently. “what are you getting so defensive about?”
“Nothin’,” Kid mumbled. “It’s just…you’re insinuatin’.”
Heyes smiled, his dimples coming through playfully.
“That’s alright Kid,” he said. “there’s nothing wrong with you and Beth just being friends.”
“Give her my love.”
“I will Heyes. They all miss you and with everything else going on, they’re still working on the governor.”
Heyes smiled. They were going to win out yet!
Then there came a discreet cough from Pearson who had been standing quite unobtrusively behind them. Both ex-outlaws groaned together.
“Jeez Heyes, I feel like we were just getting started.”
“Yeah, I know,” Heyes agreed. “It was good to see ya again though Kid. I guess you better go. Say ‘hi’ to everyone for me and try not to get too frustrated with David, he is just trying to help.”
“Yeah, I know Heyes. I just wish I knew where he was going with it, that’s all.”
“Time will tell.”
“Right,” Kid stood up. “Take care of yourself partner. Try not to get into anymore trouble, alright? I’ll see ya next month.”
Heyes smiled. “Yeah, alright Kid. Next month.”
Last edited by Keays on Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: Hindsight- part two Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:00 pm|| |
While Pearson escorted Heyes back to his cell, the inmate was reflecting back on the conversation with his cousin. He was definitely going to be writing David a letter, and certainly not just about the dreams he’d been having of late. There was something missing in Jed’s narrative concerning that last night in Cheyenne. He just couldn’t have gotten that drunk by drinking champagne at a dinner party! Something else happened that Curry just wasn’t admitting to, or—and Heyes knew that this was quite possible—had blocked out of his conscious memory.
David knew that there was more to come; that’s why he was keeping Kid on such a short leash. It wasn’t over yet and Heyes felt for his cousin, knowing what he was going to be going through once he remembered whatever it was he didn’t want to remember.
Once back to his cell and left alone again, it was Heyes’ intention to start the letter to David right away, but then he noticed that he had a letter waiting for him, sitting on the pillow on his cot. He sat down leaning against the wall and drawing his knees up, he then took the letter to see who it was from. All it had as a return address was two words; Topika, Kansas. Heyes' brow furrowed. Who would be writing to him from Kansas?
Suddenly felt his blood turn cold and his heart was in his throat. The writing—he recognized the writing. It had been so long, but he was sure of it. His extremities went numb and with his fingers shaking he could barely tear open the letter that he couldn’t believe he was holding;
I know that it has been a long time since you heard from me and I desperately hope that this letter is not an unwelcome intrusion into your life. It truly is not my intention to add to your pain. I have watched the news of your arrest and imprisonment with growing horror and simply felt that I had to contact you to offer you some support and comfort during these dark times.
You do have friends out there who care deeply about you, and they are working hard to get your sentence overturned. I feel you should know that every legal avenue is being explored to get you out and there are a great many people who will not rest until you are with them again. I will add my name to theirs and I intend to offer to do anything I can to get you released. We must get you out. This is not justice, it is vile revenge.
I often think of our moments together, but they now come with a pang of regret at how much time we wasted and how we squandered the precious gift we had. How many times have I sat in a room full of people; talking, laughing and celebrating, but feeling bereft and alone because you are not there? I then wonder if you feel the same. Perhaps, at times, it is better to feel nothing at all, but at least we have our memories.
Try to hold our precious spells in your mind’s eye and know that I clutch desperately at those self-same straws. Perhaps, someday, our fingers can touch again and I can look into your eyes. I often think of the delicious devilment dancing in those shadows. That light will be in my eyes each night at ten o’clock. Think of me and know that I will hold you in my heart at that time. It is something we can share.
I know that the heart is tired, but we will do everything we can to catch you during this fall and keep you safe from harm. The future is a better place, and you know that I will do all that I can to keep your part in that safe from any harm. This is not the end of Hannibal Heyes; it is simply the end of Joshua Smith. When you get out, you can finally be the man you want to be, indeed the man you should have been. Try to think of this as a diversion on your journey, however appalling, and know that your friends will assist you towards a better destination.
Stay brave and try not to lose hope. There will be a future where you will be able to walk in the sunshine and feel the warmth of a soft hand slipped into yours. I promise you that the small joys will be yours again.
With all my love,
Heyes sat and stared at the letter for a long time, and then read it again and again. He couldn’t believe it. A part of him had been disappointed that he hadn’t heard from her, but then the logical part would comment; well, why would she contact him? What they had been was over wasn’t it? Still, what she had written strongly suggested that maybe it wasn’t over, maybe, if he could just get out of here…maybe.
He crushed the sheets of paper up against his face and breathed deeply, hoping to maybe catch a hint of her scent. Could he? Just barely. Was she there? Or was it just his memory of her and wanting it so badly? He sighed deeply and put the letter down to his lap level in order to read it again—to cherish every word of it. He wanted to write her back, but he wasn’t sure that she wanted to hear from him.
Maybe, in his letter to David he could get a message to Kid, to contact her. But maybe she didn’t want to hear from either one of them. But she says that she would add her name to the list of those helping—did that mean that she was going to get in contact with the Kid anyways? Had she already? But if she had, why had Kid not mentioned it? Maybe he thought Heyes didn’t want to hear from Abi—too much hurt there, maybe.
Maybe he should just respect the situation and leave it up to her to decide. They had agreed after all; he couldn’t be a part of their lives, the way things were. And at the time he thought that it was probably for the best—being tied down, that just wasn’t for him. Was it? Or was he just convincing himself of that to make accepting her decree easier? But things were different now, things were changing. She says so in her letter, doesn’t she? She still loves him, doesn’t she? Once he’s a free man, no longer a wanted outlaw then maybe…they could all be together. Maybe.
When Curry stepped off the train in Brookswood it was actually a nice spring day; the sun was shining and though not exactly warm, it was pleasant and was giving a gentle promise of things to come. More out of habit than actually expecting anything, Jed headed over to the telegraph office, dodging around the numerous puddles and rain ruts left over from the previous days’ downpour. He had to smile as he went, seeing some of the local boys playing and jumping in the water, sending splashes shooting into the air, the youngsters screaming with laughter whenever one of them got a dousing in the face.
He trotted up the steps to the door of the office, his thoughts gently touching on his own childhood memories of playing in those self same rain puddles and coming home soaking wet. Then suddenly he was brought back to the present and back stepped and then tipped his hat to a young woman coming out of the door that he had just been about to enter.
“Mr. Curry,” the young lady acknowledged him with a smile.
Most of the local people accepted him now as one of their own, at least for the time being. He had shown himself to be mild mannered and very polite after the initial episodes of drunkenness and disorderly behaviour so that now, most of them, including Sheriff Jacobs were willing to cut him some slack.
Even young Deputy Joe Morin was getting over his awkwardness in the presence of the ex-outlaw and started to think of him as just another regular fella. It helped to some degree to be receiving comments from his uncle who was the doctor at the Wyoming Territorial Prison, discussing his new trustee; Hannibal Heyes. His uncle certainly seemed to think that Heyes was an alright kind of guy even for a convict, so his partner was therefore probably okay too.
Jed smiled and allowed the lady to pass and then stepped into the office himself.
“Afternoon Clayt,” Curry greeted the operator. “anything for anybody today?”
“Oh, Mr. Curry. Yes,” Clayt answered as he turned to snatch up a small envelope and hand it over to him. “a telegram here for yourself actually.”
“Oh, for me?” Jed was surprised as he took the envelope. “From Sheriff Trevors or Mr. McCreedy?”
“Nope, someone new.”
“Hmmm. Okay thanks. Anything else?”
Jed nodded his thanks and then left the office and started walking towards David’s place. He ripped open the envelope and started to read the message as he carried on down the boardwalk. Then his gait slowed and ultimately came to a halt as his mouth fell open in surprise and he had to read the words again, just to be sure.
Jed; Have been in touch with HH (stop) Assuring my assistance (stop) Get in touch if needs be (stop) Abi (stop) Topika, Kansas (stop).
Curry must have read over the short note at least ten times before he remembered to close his mouth. Then he folded up the piece of paper and put it in his pocket and made the conscious effort to start walking again. He still couldn’t quite believe it; Abi getting in touch? He wondered what Heyes had thought about that! Why hadn’t Heyes mentioned it? But then Curry reasoned; a letter coming all the way from Kansas in the winter time, more than likely it was delayed en route. Heyes may not have received it yet. It may have gotten lost, that certainly wasn’t unheard of.
Jed sighed and thought about it for a bit. Well, if Heyes didn’t mention it next time Curry went to visit him, then Curry would take the chance of upsetting his partner and ask him about it. This was important after all, and worth the risk.
He walked into the house, his mind still miles away and absently removed his coat and gun belt and hung them off a chair in the kitchen where David would see them and then sat down and started to pull off his boots. Tricia came out of the living room and smiled at him.
“Jed,” she greeted him. “Good timing, supper will be ready in about an hour.”
Jed smiled back but didn’t say too much.
“How is your friend doing?” she asked him.
“Better,” Curry answered. “He’s still having trouble adjusting but at least he’s eating again and he’s helping out in the infirmary so that’s giving him something a little more challenging to do.”
“Good. Helpfully he’ll settle soon. Would you like some coffee?”
“No thanks. Is David home?”
“Yes,” Tricia answered. “he’s just finished with his last patient of the day and is in his office.”
“Oh,” Jed hesitated. “maybe I shouldn’t bother him then.”
“No, it’s alright Jed,” she assured him. “go ahead.”
Tricia smiled again as she watched Jed pad his way in his stocking feet down the hall to the door of David’s back office. When he wasn’t drunk or recovering from one of his numerous nightmares, Jed Curry was actually a very polite and unassuming man. Just as with Belle before her, Tricia was finding it difficult to find the balance between Jed Curry the man and Kid Curry the infamous gunslinger. He was a hard one to figure out, but her husband considered him a friend, so Tricia was willing to hold judgment until their guest had found his footing and his true personality had a chance to shine through.
Jed knocked quietly on the door and then responded to the returned; ‘Come in’ that was definitely David’s voice.
“Oh, hi Jed,” was the doctor’s response as he looked up from the paperwork on his desk. “how is Hannibal doing?”
“Well that’s good to hear. Is he eating?”
“Yeah.” Jed answered. “But he still could stand to put on a few pounds.” Then he smiled. “But then he always was kinda scrawny, so…”
“I noticed.” David admitted, the pot calling the kettle black. “As long as he’s stopped losing. We can’t have him getting sick every winter; this one time was bad enough.”
“Naw, he’s doing better David,” Jed assured him. “He did mention having bad dreams though, so I suggested he write to you about them. I don’t know what you can suggest in a letter, but….”
“That’s a good idea,” David agreed. “Just the act of writing them out will help him to cope with them better. Did he say what they were usually about?”
“Yeah, his baby sister.”
“Oh. Well yes, that’s not surprising,” David commented. “He probably still feels a certain amount of guilt over that. Not just that he left her behind, but that he then blocked it from his memory. That will take him some time to get over.”
“I still think that’s weird,” Jed said. “That a person’s mind can just block out a memory like that.”
David sat back in his chair and scrutinized his friend.
“Yes,” he agreed. “And the person doesn’t even realize that they’re doing it.”
“Yeah. Like I said; weird,” Jed sighed. “Anyway, my shoulder’s been real sore for the last couple of days, I was just wondering if you could take a look at it.”
“Oh! Yes, of course,” David said as he stood up and gestured for Jed to sit down by the examination table. “Take off your shirts and we’ll have a look. Is it a deep pain, from inside?”
“No,” Jed answered as he began to pull off his shirt and henley. “It’s just under the surface, and its burning. It feels like there’s a boil or something there on my shoulder blade. I donno, maybe it has nothing to do with the injury. Maybe it’s something new.”
David stepped around behind Jed and took a look.
“Oh yes!” he said. “It’s an abscess. This is actually good.”
“It’s good?” Jed repeated, not sounding too convinced of that.
“Yes,” David reiterated as he quickly started gathering together some supplies. “Remember I told you that you had bone chips floating around in there, and if we were lucky they would simply work their way out on their own? Otherwise we might have to go in and dig them out.”
“Oh yeah,” Jed agreed. “I had forgotten about that, but now that you mention it…”
“Well this is what’s happening,” David explained as he dabbed some disinfectant on the red swollen area. “They’re starting to work their way out. Now this might hurt a little bit.”
Suddenly Jed leapt to his feet with a yelp and spun around to send an accusing glare back to his doctor.
“YOU CUT ME!”
David just stood there looking very innocent, but the small scalpel he was holding up in his right hand supported Jed’s accusation.
“Yes,” David admitted.
“JEEZ DAVID! YOU’RE ALWAYS HURTING ME! That’s the last time I come to you for help! Dammit! Why do I trust you? I swear that’s the last time David!”
“No it’s not.”
“Just you wait,” Jed promised. “you’ll see! Why would you think I’d keep coming back when you always hurt me!?”
“Because if you’d just calm down and stop blustering you’d realize that your shoulder doesn’t hurt so much any more.”
Jed’s countenance softened and his focus turned inwards.
“Oh, yeah,” he muttered. “You’re right; it doesn’t hurt nearly as much.”
“Yes. That’s because the pain was being caused by pressure building up under the skin. I just opened up the abscess so it could drain and release the pressure. The bone chips will come out with the fluids.”
“Oh,” said Jed. “Oh, alright.”
“Now, sit back down here so I can clean it up and put some gauze over it. It’ll be a little tender for a while, but it’ll heal up alright.”
“Oh, okay,” Jed agreed as he sat back down and let David continue on with his treatment. “A little warning next time would be nice.”
“I did warn you—a little.”
“Ha, yeah,” was Jed’s only reply, then…”Is that it? Are the bone chips all out?”
“Oh no. It’s not that easy,” David informed him. “This will probably happen once or twice a year for the next few years, but gradually they should all work their way out and it’ll stop. Meantime, you know what it is now, so the next time an abscess develops you’ll be right in here to let me take care of it—right?”
Jed sighed resignedly. “Yeah, okay,” he agreed. “How come you’re always right David?”
David laughed. “You haven’t spoken to Trish lately have you?”
Jed was dreaming. It started out a really nice dream; such a relief from all those nightmares he’d been having. This was pleasant. He and Beth were out riding the north pasture looking at all the new foals. It was a warm, beautiful summer’s day and the grass was long and green and swaying in the gentle breeze. There were flies buzzing around them and the young foals were running and playing together. They bucked and flapped their tails and flinging their heads about, squealed with the enjoyment of the bright day.
Jed and Beth stopped their horses under a wide spread tree down by the creek, and dismounting they took out their lunches from the saddles bags. Beth spread a blanket out over the soft grass while Jed unsaddled the two horses and allowed them to roam loose so they could graze. When he returned to the blanket Beth had laid out sandwiches and fruit and they settled in to their respite, talking and laughing over the antics of the playful foals and enjoying one another’s company.
Jed couldn’t take his eyes off of her; she was so beautiful—and young and lively and sparkling with feminine sexuality. He wanted her—he could no longer deny it, she was all he ever thought of, all he ever dreamt of, her figure filling out the skirt of her riding habit in a way that set his heart to thumping.
She looked at him with a mischievous sparkle in her warm brown eyes and her tongue slid out and licked her lips teasingly. Jed groaned and leaning in he kissed her gently on the mouth. Her arms went around his neck, returning the kiss and then pulling him in, letting him know she was hungry for more.
He laid her back on the blanket and showing some measure of self-restrain he took her gently, softly, not wanting to hurt her in a way that might frighten her off. She responded willingly and far from being frightened, she responded as a woman would—a woman who knew the way, a woman who knew what she wanted.
Jed felt a shiver go through him; this was no maiden! She’d had a man before—many men before by the way she came after him. She was experienced, she was aggressive! Jed felt anger rise up in him. She had tricked him! She had lied to him, pretending to be virtuous! She was nothing more than a wonton saloon girl!
He pulled away from her and suddenly it wasn’t Beth anymore—she could almost be Beth, with the long blonde hair and the smoking brown eyes! But this woman was older and her eyes and face were painted and her lips were red with colour. The fetching riding habit had turned into a tight corset and black stockings! She smelled of cheap perfume.
Jed became enraged! He’d been played for a fool and he wasn’t going to put up with that—no woman was going to get away with tricking a man that way! He was still lying on top of her, holding her down and his left hand grasped her throat while his right turned into a fist and he began to hit her—over and over and over again! Her nose broke and started to bleed and her lip was splitting and then suddenly it was Beth again and her innocent brown eyes were filled with terror and confusion and they were pleading with him to stop!
But he couldn’t stop and he kept beating her and he started yelling at the top of his lungs, roaring out his rage and his frustration and then suddenly he was scrambling, pushing himself up and gasping for air. He was surrounded by darkness and he was cold, but he was sweating and every fiber of him was shaking in terror and he continued to yell and grabbing the blanket around him, suddenly he was sitting up in his bed and pushing himself into the corner of the wall.
He could see a light approaching, just a sliver at first and then his bedroom door opened and the light shone brightly in, hurting his eyes, blinding him. But someone was there, some dark menacing shadow lurked in the doorway, towering over him. He pulled the blanket around him even tighter, he was still shaking and gasping for air—he was terrified!
“Jed! Jed! You’re alright!”
Jed tried to squint through the blinding light, tried to get some definition of that cloaked and threatening figure hovering over him.
“Jed, it’s me, David! It’s alright, calm down. You were having another nightmare!”
He felt a hand touch him on the shoulder and he shrank away from it, still gasping to breathe, his teeth chattering, his mind and body refusing to let go of the night fears and settle into reality.
Two hands were holding onto him then, grasping his shoulders and shaking him gently into the present.
“Jed, wake up. Come on!”
Gradually Jed started to calm down. His eyes were adjusting to the light from the lamp and he could make out David now, standing over him with his own blanket draped over his shoulders to keep out the early morning chill. His breathing and heart rate started to come down, but he was still shaking. He was freezing cold and his teeth wouldn’t stop chattering.
“Oh God! David?” he was barely able to get the words out.
“Yeah, it’s me,” the relief in David’s voice was evident. “You’re alright. It was just another nightmare.”
“Oh my God! Oh Jeez! Where the hell did that come from?”
“Oh Jeez! It was awful! That was the worst one yet!”
“You want to talk about it?”
“Okay. Let me light the stove and put some coffee on. You want some coffee?”
David reached for the lamp to go out to the kitchen, but Jed grabbed his hand, stopping him before he could leave.
“Don’t take the light! Don’t leave me in the dark.”
“Okay,” David assured him, and he left the lamp on the side table. “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back.”
Jed nodded “Yeah.”
David disappeared into the darkness and Jed could hear him feeling his way around in the kitchen, and then another light flared up and spread out, chasing away the shadows and the night fears. Jed remained hunched up on his bed, leaning against the wall with his blanket tugged snugly around him while he tried to warm up and calm down.
It didn’t take long for David to get the stove lit as he had gotten into the habit of having it all ready to go before heading off to bed each night for just such an occasion as this. Once that was done, and the coffee set to go he returned to the bedroom bringing with him a cup which he handed to Jed.
“Here, drink this. It’ll help.”
“What is it?”
“A couple of shots of brandy,” David told him as he pulled up a chair and sat down. “Believe me you’ll feel better for it.”
“I thought you didn’t want me drinkin’.”
David smiled. “Well this is medicinal, so it’s alright.”
“Ohh,” echoed out from the cup as Jed held it up to his mouth and downed it in one go.
“Feeling a little better now?”
“Yeah. You’re right, it’s helping.”
“Good,” David stretched out his long legs and yawned. Then he smiled sheepishly at the look that Jed gave him. “Sorry.”
“Don’t let me keep you up, David.”
David ran his hands through his tussled hair and scratched his scalp and then yawned again before he could stop himself. “No, it’s alright. I don’t mind.”
“Ya’ sure?” Jed asked, feeling a little testy. “I wouldn’t want to impose.”
“Jed, its fine,” David insisted. “I’m still just waking up that’s all.”
“Well, okay. As long as you’re sure.”
“Hmmm. You feel up to talking about it now?”
David smiled. “Yeah, okay. I’ll stop pushing. Did you get in to see Sheriff Trevors on your way to the prison?”
“Yeah,” Curry answered, more relaxed now that David wasn’t going to keep pushing him about the nightmare. “There’s not too much happening there right now. He’s tried to get in to see Governor Warren but he just keeps getting blocked out now, so he’s going to leave it alone for a while.” Curry sighed, running his hands through his curls and rubbing his eyes. Then it was his turn to yawn. “I got a telegram today from an old friend of ours. I was surprised to hear from her actually, cause she and Heyes were…well…close, and well…it’s complicated.”
“Yup,” David commented. “It always is.”
“Yeah,” Curry agreed. “Anyway, she’s quite a resourceful lady and she’s offered to help anyway she can.” Kid sighed. “Maybe come at it from a different direction might get some results. Like you said; a straight line rather than running circles.”
“It’s worth a try,” David responded again, just trying to encourage Jed to keep talking.
”Beth has been busy making up fliers to send around to places they didn’t get to the first time and then once Bridget gets settled in Denver, apparently she and Steven have some plans as well.”
“That sounds promising.”
“I’ll have to get in touch with Steven soon and find out what he has in mind,” Jed commented. “Here I’ve been assuring Heyes that we’re going to get him out of there and I’ve hardly done anything to that end.”
“You’ve had a lot on your plate lately Jed,” David reminded him. “Get yourself better first and then you can go full force into this campaign along with your friends.”
“I am better,” Jed commented, almost in a huff.
“Then why are you still having nightmares?” David pointed out.
Jed rubbed his eyes again and groaned. “Ohh, I don’t know. I just wish they’d stop. I don’t know where this last one came from—it was brutal.”
“New one was it?” David asked. “Never had it before?”
“No, never,” Jed sighed. “And I never want it again.”
“Hmmm. Coffee’s ready,” David stood up. “I’ll bring it in here; you just stay there and keep warm.”
David went out to the kitchen and poured the two cups of coffee and then headed straight back into the bedroom to find his friend staring off into space, his expression taut and anxious. The Doctor sat down and scrutinized the man sitting across from him.
“Jed?” he said quietly. Jed jumped and was instantly back in the present. “Here’s your coffee.”
“Ah, thanks,” he took it and instantly downed half the cup in one gulp.
David cringed a bit, knowing that it must have burned, but Jed appeared to have not noticed.
“You alright?” David asked.
“What were you thinking about just then?”
Jed turned sad eyes towards him, a worried, almost frightened expression floating across his features.
“It’s just…that dream,” he answered quietly, almost in a whisper. “I don’t understand where it came from. It was….it was so…brutal.”
“Was it about Hannibal again?”
“No, no. Those ones are bad too, but at least I understand where they’re coming from. But this one…” Jed shook his head, again running his hands through his hair. “this one came out of nowhere. Beth was in it—at first,” he admitted. He creased his forehead, confused. “Then it wasn’t Beth—then it was again.”
“Hmmm,” David took a sip of coffee. “When it wasn’t Beth, who was it?”
“I don’t know,” Jed breathed. He was feeling fear rising up in him again and he couldn’t understand why. “It was a saloon girl. She looked like Beth, but it wasn’t her.”
David felt a shiver go through him. He took another sip of coffee to try and calm his own nerves. He knew he had to tread carefully here, gently; this was dangerous ground.
“What was she doing?”
This question got met with silence. Jed broke eye contact and just stared off into space again. He locked up. David back stepped.
“When the dream started, you were with Beth?”
“Was it pleasant?”
Jed took another sip of coffee then looked at David again and nodded.
“Yeah, it was nice,” he murmured. “We went riding together, like we often do—you know.” David nodded. “I was thinking how nice it was to be having a good dream rather than those awful nightmares. I was actually thinking that while dreaming—isn’t that weird?”
Jed sighed. “We stopped under a tree to have a lunch and it was sunny and warm, a real nice day. I felt good. Beth was…beautiful.”
“Beth is beautiful,” David agreed. “She was happy? You were having a good time?”
“Yeah,” Jed whispered. “Then we…ah, we started to make love.” He looked a little embarrassed here, but then his expression changed to one of anxiety and confusion. “That’s when she changed—she wasn’t Beth anymore.”
“She became the saloon girl?”
“Yeah,” Jed answered. “I felt betrayed. I got angry—really angry.”
Silence again and Jed was looking back into his dream, his eyes darting back and forth as he watched the events unfold in his mind’s eye. Then suddenly he was shaking and had broken out into another cold sweat. David was watching him intently and then he saw it; the light in Jed’s eyes changing and suddenly they were filled with terror—and revulsion and David knew that what Jed was recalling was no longer the dream, but the reality of that last night in Cheyenne.
Jed’s coffee cup clattered to the floor, splattering its contents in every direction and he was instantly pushing himself back, deeper and deeper into the corner of the wall.
“No!” he gasped. “No, no, no. NO! What is that?! I COULDN’T HAVE DONE THAT! NO! Please! David tell me I didn’t do that!!” He was gasping for air, grabbing at the blanket. Then he was crying, sobbing wildly, desperately begging for absolution. “Please tell me David! TELL ME I DIDN’T DO THAT!”
David had gotten to his feet in an instant, his own coffee cup lying forgotten on the floor. He was reaching out for his friend, trying to calm him down, trying to bring him back to reason.
“Jed, it’s alright!” David was almost pleading with him, “Settle down, it’s alright!”
Suddenly Jed lunged forward, a crazed gleam in his eye. He shoved David hard, pushing his friend away from him. David went back, falling over his own chair and landing with a crash and clatter into the floor and cracking his head against the far wall. Jed was on his feet and running! He didn’t knew where he was going or why—he just knew he had to run, run , run away from that despicable reality that was himself.
Last edited by Keays on Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: Hindsight- part three Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:01 pm|| |
“DAVID! DAVID! WAKE UP!”
Trish calling his name was the first thing the good doctor was aware of; the second thing was the throbbing pain radiating from the back of his head. He groaned and started to sit up, rubbing the lump that was developing where he had whacked himself against the wall. Tricia had him by the arm, trying to help him. Worry in her eyes, but overwhelming relief in her voice.
“David! Oh thank goodness!” she exclaimed, “What happened?”
David groaned again, rubbing his neck and then taking a look around. Everything was in a shambles but fortunately the lamp hadn’t been knocked over; that at least was one good thing.
“Jed remembered that night, that’s what happened,” David mumbled.
“Oh dear,” Tricia commented as she helped her husband to stand up and then got him sitting down again on the edge of the bed. “It doesn’t appear to have gone well.”
David gave a slight laugh and then groaned again. “Where is he?”
“I don’t know,” Trish admitted. “I heard all this crashing and yelling and came out to see if you were alright and found the front door wide open. And then I found you lying on the floor in here.”
She was sitting on the bed beside David, still holding onto his arm and rubbing his back, reassuring herself that he was going to be okay. For a woman who could handle just about any crisis when it came to her husband’s patients, when it came to her own husband she was just as worried and protective of him as any newlywed would be.
“Oh no,” David moaned. “I’ve got to find him.”
“No David! Wait!” Trish implored him, tugging him back down when he attempted to stand up. “You were unconscious! Just wait a bit. It’s still dark outside anyway, just wait until it gets light. Please.”
David sat for a moment, feeling his head pounding. He knew he should rest, but….
“I’m alright Tricia,” he assured his wife. “Just a headache. I’ll take some laudanum, just enough to take the edge off. I’ll be alright.”
Then he got to his feet and walked slowly down to his office to do just that while Trish sighed resignedly and began to clean up the guest room just to have something to do. By the time David had gotten himself dressed, Trish was in the kitchen hugging her own cup of coffee and looking decidedly distressed.
He smiled at her, some of the colour having returned to his face and then he gave her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“I won’t go far,” he assured her. “If he stayed in town he’ll be easy to find since all he’s wearing are his long johns and a henley. I’ll let the Sheriff’s office know he’s run off again and if he’s not in town, well, as soon as it gets light hopefully we can track him down. He can’t go far without his boots.”
“Yes, alright,” Tricia relented. “But if you start feeling dizzy you get back here!”
He smiled and gave his wife another kiss and then left the house, bundling his coat around him even snugger against the early morning chill. One good thing is that dawn was not far off and once it got light everything would be a lot easier to handle.
The town was quiet as David walked along the boardwalk towards the saloon and then the Sheriff’s office. The late nighters had all gone home to sleep if off and the rise and shiners weren’t quite ready to rise and shine yet.
Not a soul could be seen and not a dog was barking. That was disappointing. Oh well.
David knocked on the door of the Sheriff’s office and then walked in; waking up the night deputy where he sat perched on a chair with his legs up on the desk.
“OH! Doc! Jeez, ah…I’m sorry,” the deputy looked a little frazzled; getting caught sleeping on duty probably wasn’t a good thing.
David smiled. “Don’t worry about Robbie,” he assured the young man. “When does Sheriff Jacobs usually get in?”
“Oh, gee ahhh,” the young man rubbed his eyes and took out his pocket watch, “not for another hour or so. Can I help ya’ Doc?”
“I just wanted to let him know that Curry’s run off again.”
“Oh,” came the worried response. “Does he have his gun with him?”
“OH good!” came the relieved response. “Don’t want to have to go through that again.”
“He doesn’t have too much else with him either,” David elaborated, “including his boots and a coat. I’m hoping he won’t be hard to find.”
“Oh yeah,” said Robbie. “Well, I could go get the Sheriff if you want but if Curry’s not in town it’ll be kinda hard to track him down before it gets light.”
“Yes I know,” David assured him. “Just let Jacobs know what’s happened when he gets in. I’ll take a walk around town and see if I can find him. If I can’t I’ll come back when it’s light out and we’ll take it from there.”
“Yeah, okay Doc.”
An hour and a half later, David had had no luck finding his wayward patient. Finally he decided to go home and get some breakfast and to assure his wife that he was not only still coherent but actually feeling alright. Some more coffee and something to eat completed his recovery and he was eager to get back to the Sheriff’s office and get something happening.
Approaching the office, David smiled to see three horses, his own little chestnut, Rudy, included, all tacked up and standing in wait for the little posse to get organized. David was just mounting the steps when Jacobs and Joe Morin came out and greeted him.
“Hey there Doc,” said Jacobs, “you’re just in time. Figured you’d want to come along.”
“Yes, definitely,” David agreed.
“Okay, let’s mount up. Joe here is a pretty good tracker and the ground is still quite damp from the rain we’ve had. I don’t think he’s going to be too hard to find.”
The three men got on board and turned their horses towards David’s house. The fact that Curry hadn’t been found in town would strongly suggest that he had headed out the other way, towards the back country so that seemed like the best place to start.
“You sayin’ he’s not wearin’ any boots?” Jacobs asked the Doctor.
“That’s right,” David agreed. “No boots, no coat, no hat. Just his long johns and henley.’
“Well, he’s gonna be dang cold when we find him. Good thing we got some blankets with us. Don’t worry Doc; he won’t have gone far without boots.”
Not too far past David’s house they sure enough spotted man size foot prints in the soft dirt along the side of the road. It looked like he was running and heading towards open country, in the general direction of the Jordan’s place. It was highly doubtful a man could get that far on foot even with boots on and even though they were all well aware of Curry’s past and experience, they were still hopeful of finding him quickly.
About three miles out of town Joe pulled up and dismounted. He squatted down to take a closer look at the foot print that was there and then straightened up and looked at the Doc.
“There’s blood here,” he said. “Lots of rocks along this trail, he’s probably cut up his feet pretty good.”
“Boy, oh boy,” Jacobs shook his head. “He was doin’ real well there too Doc. What in the world set him off this time?”
“Oh well, he’d had a bad night,” David explained. “Bad dreams, you know. He just got upset. He probably regrets it now. I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to meet him coming back into town.”
“That would certainly make things easier, wouldn’t it?” said Jacobs with a laugh.
Turns out David was close to being right. A couple of more miles down the road and the small posse spotted the fugitive sitting on a rock, hugging his knees and shivering. As they rode closer Jed looked up and sent them a rather embarrassed smile.
“About time you fellas showed up,” he said, “I’m freezing.”
David smiled, and dismounting he untied the blanket from behind his saddle and approached his friend.
“Morning Jed,” he greeted him. “How are you?”
“Like I said; I’m freezing,” Jed repeated, looking a little downtrodden. “and I can’t walk—I’ve cut up my feet.”
“Yes, I know,” David told him as he draped the blanket across his shoulders. “If we help you do you think you can get up on my horse?”
Jed sent a rather despondent look over to the animal.
“I donno David. I’ll try.”
Joe had dismounted himself and led the doctor’s horse over closer to them and then both men grabbed an arm and helped the injured man to his painful feet. Jed tried to take a step and almost went down, sucking his teeth with the pain. But Joe and David held him up and basically carried him over to the horse where Jed grabbed hold of the saddle horn and they heaved him up and into the saddle. David mounted up behind him, made sure Jed was snuggled into the blanket and then they turned back towards town.
“Oh Sheriff,” David began, “do you think Joe here could ride out to the Jordan’s to let them know what’s happened? I don’t think Jed is going to be up to working out there for a while.”
“Sure,” Jacobs agreed. “Joe…off ya go.”
“Yeah Sheriff,” Joe answered. “I’ll see ya back in town in a couple of hours.’ and he turned his horse again and headed off at a gallop towards the Double J.
An hour later Jacobs and David had Jed settled back onto his bed and Tricia was hovering around trying to be helpful.
“Would you like some coffee Jed?”
“Do you want anything to eat?”
“How about you Sheriff? Would you like some coffee?”
“No thank you Mrs. Gibson,” he answered her, “I best be getting’ back to the office for now.” Then he sent a quick look over to Jed. “So young fella, think you’re gonna stay put for a while now?”
“Yeah Sheriff, I’m not goin’ anywhere,” then added in a mumble, “even if I could.” Then he brightened up and looked Jacobs in the eye, “I’m sorry for the trouble I cause ya’ Sheriff. It won’t happen again.”
“Glad to hear it,” Jacobs commented, a little dryly. Then he tipped his hat to Tricia. “Ma’am. I best be goin’ now. You and your husband have a nice day.”
“Thank you Sheriff,” Trish smiled back at him, “and thank you for your assistance.”
The sheriff then took his leave, and taking David’s horse with him headed towards the livery stable and then back to his office to settle in with his own cup of coffee—one that he could drink in some semblance of peace and quiet. He hoped.
Shortly after the sheriff left David showed up, back in Jed’s room with a wash basin filled with warm medicated water.
“Here Jed,” he said, setting it down on the floor, “soak your feet in this for a while then I’ll take a look at them and see what kind of damage you’ve done.”
“Yes, I know. Just ease them in gradually. It is going to hurt at first, but you can’t blame me for that—this time it was all your own doing.”
“Yeah, I know,” Curry mumbled. “I’m sorry. I seem to recall pushing you. Did I hurt you?”
David was about to shrug it off when Tricia’s voice came in from the kitchen.
“You knocked him out,” she informed him.
“Aww, jeez. I’m sorry,” Jed apologized, looking ashamed of himself. “This just seems to be getting worse and worse. As soon as I think I’m doing better something else comes out of the blue to knock me flat. How many more revelations am I going to have before I’m done with this?”
“Naw, I think you’ve run the circuit now,” David assured him as he sat down on the chair again. “This is the one I was waiting for in any case.”
Jed looked over at him, feeling slightly defensive, “You knew this was gonna happen?!”
“Well—yeah,” David admitted. “Jesse and I knew what had happened in Cheyenne and I knew you would remember it eventually although I didn’t foresee you knocking me out and dashing down the street with no clothes on!”
Curry groaned again. “Oh, no wonder Jesse was so…” he sighed, his shoulders slumping. “I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t trust me. I thought maybe it was because of what came out at the trial, but he seemed alright at the dinner party—but that look he gave me when we were on the train, heading back here…” Jed hung his head. “I guess I don’t blame him now.”
“Jesse doesn’t hold that against you any more Jed,” David assured him. “It was hard on him at first, but he’s come to realize that there were a lot of other factors at play there and that incident was very much out of character for you.”
Jed didn’t respond. He was feeling pretty low and he was wondering how he was going to be able to face his friends again, knowing what they knew about him now. David put a consolatory hand on his shoulder.
“Give it time Jed. It’ll be alright,” he said. “Here, let me change the water, it’s getting rather bloody.”
A few days later, it was a beautiful warm spring morning and Jed had hobbled his way outside to sit on the front porch and watch the world go by. He just couldn’t seem to lift himself out of this slump he was in. This bout of depression wasn’t as acute as the first one had been, but it still lingered and he began to wonder if he was ever going to be truly happy ever again.
He was sitting back nursing a cup of coffee with his bandaged feet resting on a pillow on a stool, and feeling downright sorry for himself when he noticed a familiar team of horses coming towards him. As the buckboard came closer he soon recognized Sam at the lines and then Belle sitting on the bench beside him.
Curry groaned inwardly, feeling a tingle of dread going through him. He didn’t feel like he was ready to face any of his friends right now. David constantly assured him that he didn’t have anything to worry about in that quarter, but Jed himself felt so ashamed of his actions of that night that he just couldn’t imagine anyone else feeling anything different.
How could he face Belle now? He knew there was no point in trying to pretend that all was well, she could see right through any kind of a ruse he might try to put forth. Indeed, Belle could see right into his heart and soul and now, knowing what truly lurked there, how could she still have any affection for him?
She must be coming in to tell him to his face to stay away from her daughter! That must be it! That’s what any wise woman would do; protect her children from the monster who had been pretending all this time to be a decent man. How could she even consider him now as being a part of her family, as being a husband to Beth? That was over!
He thought he would have been relieved with that door being slammed in his face; this way it wouldn’t have to be Jed breaking Beth’s heart, her own parents were going to end it all for him. He could just ride away and not be bothered with it anymore. But he didn’t feel relieved about that at all—he felt hurt and disappointed. He would miss Beth; indeed he would miss the whole family. Little Jay was growing so fast—Jed had been looking forward to seeing him take his first steps, hearing him speak his first words. He sighed with regret. That was gone from him now; that much he was sure of.
The buckboard stopped right in front of David’s house and Sam stepped down to help Belle disembark from the vehicle.
“Morning Mr. Curry,” Sam greeted him.
Jed nodded his reply as he felt his throat tighten with shame and the anticipation of the unveiled disapproval from this woman whom he had come to love and respect as he would have his own mother. Belle smiled at him as she climbed the steps onto the porch and Jed shifted uncomfortably in his chair. What was that all about? Was she just trying to soften the blow? Why bother? Make the cut quick and clean—get it over with.
“Good morning Thaddeus,” she greeted him, with a gentle smile. “How are you feeling today?”
Jed didn’t answer her. He felt so ashamed and the knot in his gut tightened along with the knot in his throat. He was vaguely aware of Sam returning to the buckboard and driving away. Why didn’t he just wait for Belle to say her piece and then let her leave? Why force her to stay and prolong the agony?
Belle sighed when Jed looked away from her. She was carrying a basket filled with fresh baking; he could smell it and it took him back. Back to that day almost a year ago when he and Heyes had come for a visit and had enjoyed Belle’s wonderful meals and fresh baked goods. She was deliberately torturing him!
“I’ll just take these in to Tricia,” Belle told him. “Perhaps she’ll put on some tea for us while we visit. How does that sound?”
‘Like a set-up’ was Jed’s first thought but again he didn’t say anything and Belle just carried on into the house to greet her hostess and present her with the baking. Though he couldn’t make out what they were saying, he could hear the two women talking and laughing together. What—were they laughing at him? Did they think this was funny? He hadn’t thought Belle was that cruel! Well, just goes to show ya’!
After a few minutes of the two ladies visiting, Belle came back out onto the porch and pulling up one of the other chairs she sat down beside her friend and gave him a gentle touch on his hand. He felt like he wanted to pull it away from her, but he didn’t. He didn’t look at her either.
“Tricia’s going to put some tea on for us,” Belle confirmed. “She says that you haven’t had any breakfast yet so she’ll bring out some of the scones I brought, with some preserves. Does that sound good?”
No response. Why is she torturing him like this? Why does she persist in pretending that this is a friendly social call? Why can’t she just say her piece and leave?
“Thaddeus? Won’t you look at me?” she asked him, sadness in her voice. “Won’t you wish me a good morning?”
Jed felt his throat and eyes start to burn and he turned even further away from her. Oh no! He wasn’t going to start crying again was he? He hadn’t cried this much since he was eight years old! And what good would it do anyways—what was the point!? Ah no! He felt the sobs threatening again, a tear spilled out and rolled down his cheek. No, not again! He couldn’t believe how weak he was—what a baby! First in front of David, now in front of Belle! This was just getting ridiculous!
“Thaddeus. It’s alright,” Belle whispered to him. “My dear, sweet Thaddeus. It’s alright.”
And then Belle was crying too and Jed couldn’t believe it! Why would she be crying for him? He turned to her then and tried to wipe away her tears; it hurt him that he was hurting her and he wanted to take her pain away.
She shouldn’t be crying for him—he wasn't worth it! But she was crying and he felt her tears become his. Their eyes met for an instant but then he dropped his gaze as his anguish overtook him. She touched his face, then pulled him into her heart and rocked him like a child while his sobs came forth again, ran their course and then finally quieted.
Trish had come out with a tray full of tea and scones, but she quickly did an about face and left the two friends alone for a little while longer. She could keep the lunch warm on the stove for a time yet and give Jed time to compose himself. She smiled; David had been right again in suggesting that Belle come by to speak to their patient. Her husband had known that Belle had a very special relationship with the two ex-outlaws. Jed had totally shut down and retreated within himself, refusing to speak to anyone about anything. But the doctor remembered that Hannibal had bared his soul to Belle on the day of his arrest and David had hoped that maybe Jed would now do the same. It looked as though the strategy just might be paying off.
After a time Jed pulled away from Belle, and sitting back in his chair he took a deep breath and rubbing his eyes, swallowed down the last dregs of his emotions. Belle smiled.
“Feeling better now?” she asked him.
“How about some tea?”
She patted his hand and then rose up and disappeared into the house only to return a few minutes later laden with the tray and goodies. Trish followed closely behind bringing in some preserves and utensils, and then she did another about face and left them alone once more. Belle sat down and poured out the tea and then settled back into her chair again while they both enjoyed the first few sips in silence.
“I thought you hated me,” Jed finally admitted. “I thought you were coming to tell me to leave and never come back.”
“No Thaddeus,” she assured him, “I don’t hate you. Not at all.”
“I did a terrible thing,” he confessed.
“Yes you did,” she agreed, and her words cut him to the quick. “But you’re sorry for it and that’s what matters now.”
Jed nodded and took another sip of tea.
“How can you forgive me?” he asked her.
Belle sighed and thought about that for a moment.
“If you showed no remorse over it then I would have realized that I had been wrong about you and I would have sent you away,” she explained. “But the very fact that you are suffering so from the guilt of it only serves to support my opinion of what kind of man you are.” Here she leaned towards him and put a hand on his arm. “You are a good man Thaddeus; please don’t lose sight of that.”
“I donno Belle,” he said, shaking his head. “The things I’ve done—not just that night in Cheyenne, but before—before I was even twenty years old I’d done some terrible things.”
“You’ve gone through a lot in your life,” Belle commiserated. “More than anyone should have to. And the worst of it was before you were even old enough to understand what was going on around you. Those events couldn’t help but cause damage. I agree; you have done some terrible things, things that would have destroyed a less courageous heart. Things that could have turned you into just as cruel and vicious a man as the men who attacked your farm. But it didn’t. Instead you learned compassion and you felt remorse. The fates have given you a second chance Thaddeus—don’t throw it away.”
“I don’t know how Belle,” Jed admitted. “I’m trying. I want to help Heyes, but I can’t do that when I’m like this. But I don’t know how to change it.”
“This has been an incredibly traumatic year—for all of us!” Belle understated with a bit of a laugh. “You’ve been through a lot of changes and a lot of growth.” Jed snorted at that. “No, you’ll see,” Belle insisted. “Right now you’re still suffering the growing pains but you’re going to come out of all this a better and stronger man. I have no doubt of that.
“You have been forced to look back on your life and face up to the things that you have done and you have been battered down by it all. That would be hard on anyone. But it’s time to stop looking backwards now Thaddeus. Time to put away regrets and wishing that things could be changed, because they can’t be. All you can do is take away with you the lessons you’ve learned and move onwards.”
Then she shook his arm until he turned and looked into her eyes. “It’s time to move foreword now. It’s time to become the man you were meant to be, the man your mother knew you would be. The man she saw in you when she looked into her little boy’s eyes.”
To Be Continued.
Posts : 483
Join date : 2013-08-31
Location : Madrid
|Subject: Re: Hindsight. Chapter sixteen. Part one Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:10 am|| |
Oh, Abi contacted him at last! I knew she was the love of his life. So good to see Heyes settling into life in the infirmary. I must read another!
|Subject: Re: Hindsight. Chapter sixteen. Part one || |
Hindsight. Chapter sixteen. Part one