Onwards. Chapter seventeen.
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: Onwards. Chapter seventeen. Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:13 pm|| |
Kid limped into the visiting room, his left hand clutching a cane keeping his right hand available for any trouble that might come his way. This precaution was totally on instinct now since he always had to leave his holster and gun with one of the guards when coming to visit a prisoner but some habits just refused to go away. He painfully made his way over to the table and sat down, meeting Heyes’ furrowed brow and concerned look. Kid smiled sheepishly.
“I injured my feet,” he explained rather bluntly.
“Yeah, David said you went for a run around the block without any boots on,” Heyes informed his partner. “I thought he was joking, but….what were you trying to accomplish with that Kid?”
Curry sighed. He knew this was going to be awkward. Heyes could be just as bad as David when it came to pushing a point
“I know, it was stupid,” Kid admitted. “I had a bad dream is all.”
“Oh, there you go again!” Kid complained.
“Actin’ like you know more than you’re lettin’ on!” Kid snapped back feeling a little resentful. “I suppose David told you all about it!”
“No,” Heyes assured him, “he figured that if you wanted me to know what it was all about then you would tell me yourself.”
The atmosphere became leaden with an awkward expectant silence.
“Okay,” Heyes finally relented with an air of injured feelings, “if you can tell David but you can’t tell me—that’s fine.”
“No! Heyes, that’s not it!” Kid insisted. “It’s just….well…David already knew, he was just waitin’ for me to figure it out. And it’s…shameful, what I done. I even blubbered like a baby in front of Belle—jeez, that was embarrassing.”
“Yeah,” Heyes agreed, remembering back to his own breakdown in front of her. “She seems to have that affect on people. So Belle knows too?”
“Yeah,” Kid admitted. “And Jesse, and Lom! It seems that everyone but me knew what happened that night!”
“Well…I just…” Heyes shrugged defensively. “Why can’t you tell me? We’re partners aren’t we?”
“Yeah, of course.”
A heavy expectant silence…………………………....................................
……………………………………………………………………………… Heyes sighed.
“How was your Easter?” he finally asked, deciding that it was better to change the subject than waste the whole hour waiting for Kid to tell him something he didn’t want to tell him. The man could be so stubborn sometimes!
“Good!” Kid answered, relieved that they were on to something else. “Steven came up from Denver, and the Jordan’s all came into town for services on Good Friday. We all got together at David and Tricia’s place for lunch afterward, so it was quite the gathering.”
“Yeah, I bet.”
Kid smiled. “You should have seen Jay; he was just squirming all over the place—didn’t want to sit still. He’s crawling everywhere now and poor Belle is at her wits end trying to keep track of him!”…..
….Everyone was sitting around the kitchen table enjoying after lunch tea and Belle’s fresh baking. Jay would not sit still and was starting to exasperate his mother, which says a lot considering Belle’s endless depth of patience.
“Oh Momma,” Beth said, “let me take him outside for a while, I’ll play with him on the front porch.”
“Ahhh, Beth, you’re a dear,” Belle accepted the offer and Beth came around the table, and taking her little brother in her arms headed out the front door with him screaming and complaining the whole way.
Beth must have done something right because within five minutes the screaming had ceased and had been replaced by excited little boy laughter. Everyone inside the house breathed a sigh of relief.
“What a handful!” Belle exclaimed. “The girls were easy compared to this one!”
Jesse smiled. “At least we have the girls to help out with him—well Beth anyways, since Bridget is going to be leaving us soon,” then he glanced over at Steven. “How is your office coming along, will you be open for business soon?”
Steven swallowed down a mouthful of pastry. “Oh yes! Actually I’m open for business now. I even have a few clients on the books. There is already plenty for Bridget to do once she gets settled in,” and the young couple in question smiled at each other.
“Good!” said Jesse. “Would hate to have her go all the way to Denver and not have a job waiting for her.”
“Oh Papa!” Bridget sent back at him, knowing she was being teased.
Belle sat quietly, drinking her tea.
“Anymore headway with Heyes’ case?” Jed asked once there was an opening.
“Yes!” Steven responded, though he looked a little confused. “I got an anonymous tip from someone that Governor Warren is in to some dirty business dealings and that I should start doing some digging into certain companies out this way. But…” he continued, “I’m not quite sure what to make of it all. If the tip isn’t legitimate there could be accusations of slander for one thing and at the least, a big waste of my time. Still, I’ll put out some feelers and see where it goes.”
Jed had sat up a bit straighter in his chair, suddenly very interested in this information.
“Do you know where the tip came from?” he asked, though he thought he already had a good idea.
“No, not really,” Steven admitted, rather regretfully. “Certainly not from anywhere around here—maybe back east. But how would anyone back east know what the Governor of Wyoming was doing?”
“Oh, you’d be surprised,” Jed commented. “Especially if this tip is coming from who I think it’s coming from.”
“Who do you think it’s coming from?”
“Well, let’s just say it might be from a friend from way back,” Jed sort of divulged. “A very resourceful friend from way back.”……..
….. “You think it was Abi?” Heyes asked.
“That’s what I’m thinkin’ Heyes,” Curry admitted. “I take it you heard from her?”
“Yeah,” Heyes sighed. “She wrote me a letter about a month ago. She said she was going to try and help.”
“Uh huh,” Kid agreed. “She sent me a telegram around the same time sayin’ much the same thing. If she’s been able to dig up some dirt on Warren, well I don’t think she’s beyond a little bit of blackmail.”
Then he kind of cringed and sent a quick glance over to the guard by the door. Murrey was standing there so quietly that it was easy to forget the man was there. Heyes just shrugged and shook his head, suggesting that Kid shouldn’t worry too much about it. As far as Heyes was concerned, the lower end guards weren’t all that bright anyways, and that Murrey probably didn’t even know who Warren was.
“Yeah, okay,” Kid said. “Anyway, that’s all there is on that for now, so Steven is looking into it.”
Heyes nodded. “I got a letter from Clementine last week saying that Bridget got moved in right after Easter,” he smiled, “said she was a little homesick the first few nights, but settled in after that and they’re getting along just fine.”
“Yeah, Jesse took her into Denver on that Monday following Easter and helped to get her moved in,” Curry concurred with what Clem had said. “He said she was all excited to be off on this ‘new adventure’ and couldn’t wait for him to head back home again so she could get on with being an ‘independent adult’.”
“Uh huh,” Heyes smiled. “How did Belle take it?”
Kid kinda shrugged. “Well…according to Beth she put on a brave face at first but as soon as the buckboard had driven out of the yard, she started cryin’. It must be hard on a mother, I suppose; watchin’ her first born leave the nest.”
“Yeah,” Heyes agreed contemplatively. “Never really thought about that before. It’s one of those things that just…happens.”
“Yeah, I suppose,” Kid agreed. “How about you? Was there anything special here for Easter?”
“Naw,” Heyes answered with a bit of a sneer. “Just the usual service on Sunday, the only difference was the sermon was geared more towards the significance of Easter and all that. It was kinda interesting, but…” Heyes shrugged, “not really my cup of tea I guess.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Oh, but Sister Julia came by for a visit again right after that,” Heyes said, brightening up a bit. “That was nice. She brought me another book.”
“Oh, which one?”
“‘The Four Guardsmen’ by Alexandre Dumas.”
“Oh. Have you read it before?”
“Not that one, no.”
“Well, that’s good. Anyone else been comin’ to see ya?”
“Yeah, actually,” Heyes admitted, looking a little confused. “Harry came by.”
“We know a couple of Harry’s Heyes. Which one?”
……Heyes was sitting in the visitor’s room all shackled hand and foot as usual waiting with some curiosity for whoever it was coming to visit him that day. It couldn’t be Curry since he had just been there the week previous so it wasn’t likely that he would be turning around and coming right back again. Hmmm, might be Lom. That would be nice, Heyes hadn’t seen Lom since he had been sick—had a couple of quick letters from him, telling him to eat more, but that was about it. Who else could it be? Maybe David or Jesse? Hmmm.
Then the door opened and Heyes’ jaw dropped. The small weaselly looking man in the black suit and hat stepped into the room all puffed up as though he owned the place. Then with his first look at his old ‘friend’ sitting there at the table, he stopped in his tracks and stared.
Heyes sighed with frustration. There it was again; that look of shock and pity that seemed to flash across everyone’s face the first time they saw him as a convict. Did he really look that different? It had been bad enough getting it from the Kid and from Lom, but Harry Briscoe? Having that man feeling sorry for him was about as degrading as anything Heyes had had to deal with since landing in this backwater hellhole of an institution.
To make things worse, Harry was just no good at covering up what he was thinking. At least his other visitors had quickly hidden their shock away and then come forward to greet their friend in as normal a manner as possible, given the circumstances. But Harry just stood and gawped until Heyes finally smiled at him and broke him out of his trance.
“Hi ya’ Harry,” Heyes said. “What brings you callin’?”
Harry jumped and then quickly puffed himself up again and plastered a fake smile on his face.
“Oh yeah! Heyes!” he greeted the convict. “It’s really good to see ya’ Heyes!” And he came forward and around the table, his hand out and all prepared to give him a shake on it.
The first thing Harry saw was the fact that Heyes was shackled, and it shocked him again. He knew the lot of a convict; he had seen it before, but he had never prepared himself to see Heyes in that situation. Like so many people before him, Harry was somewhat intimidated by the outlaw, though he’d always put on a blustering act to try and cover it up. After all he was a Bannerman man!
But then there was the other side of the coin. Oddly enough at the same time as feeling intimidated he was also drawn by the man’s natural charisma, like a fly drawn to fire. The outlaw was simply an undeniable force of nature.
Now, seeing Heyes like this, wearing prison garb, shaved head and shackled hand and foot, it just didn’t seem right. For some reason, if he had even thought of it at all, Harry had assumed that Heyes’ natural command over any given situation would have allowed him to avoid being controlled in this manner. Harry had totally expected to see Heyes as he’d always been; cocky, almost to the point of arrogance and very much in charge. It would seem that Hannibal Heyes had finally met his match in the Wyoming Territorial Prison system.
Then before Harry could process all this new information, the guard (it was Pearson this time) was in between the two men, his rifle up and blocking the Bannerman man from getting any closer to the prisoner. Apparently the fact that Harry was a law officer of sorts held very little credence with the officials at this particular institution.
“No physical contact with the prisoner!” Pearson reminded him. “Please be seated on the other side of the table and remain there.”
“Oh! Oh of course,” Harry blustered and he came around to sit down opposite Heyes. “A little touchy aren’t they?” he whispered to the inmate.
Pearson went back to his position by the door, but he sent a bit of a scowl over towards the visitor and kept a very weary eye on him.
“Don’t worry about it Harry,” Heyes commented. “They’re always like that. I guess they’re afraid you’re gonna slip me a lock pick or something. Imagine; someone actually wanting to break out of this place!”
“Oh. Oh yeah,” Harry answered, looking very serious. “I never thought of that.”
“Hmmm. So…what brings ya’ here Harry?”
“Oh! Well I was just delivering some very important documents to our office in Cheyenne and thought ‘Well! Why don’t I drop in on my old friend Hannibal Heyes while I’m in the area?’ So here I am.”
“Oh,” Heyes nodded. “Still with Bannerman’s are ya’?”
“Well sure!” Harry expostulated. “They know a good agent when they see one! Yes sir! They keep me very busy.”
“Uh huh. Like delivering documents.”
“Right,” Heyes smiled, “important documents.”
“That’s why I couldn’t get to your trial Heyes,” Harry explained. “I didn’t even get that telegram you sent me until after it was all over with. Otherwise I would have been right there! Yes sir! Why, nobody was more shocked than me when I found out what they done to you!” and here Harry sadly shook his head. “If only I could have been there.”
“And done what Harry?” Heyes asked him. “Tell the court that you had been friends with Hannibal Heyes for five years and didn’t turn him in? That we’ve helped you out with cases? That you’ve done us favours? What could you have told them Harry?”
“Well…I donno,” Harry mumbled. “There must be something a Bannerman man could have said to help you out! I would have offered for the Kid too ya know! I would have been there for him if I’d known about it, that’s for sure! And for you too Heyes, I would have been!”
“Yeah, I know Harry,” Heyes conceded, acknowledging the fact that, bumbling fool that he was, Harry was being sincere in his offers of help. “There’s nothing you could have said at my trial that would have helped me and you would only have gotten yourself into trouble, so…don’t worry about it.”
“Oh, well okay,” Harry mumbled. Then he brightened a bit. “How’s the Kid?”
“He’s good Harry,” Heyes informed him. “He’s staying with friends in Colorado and they are all working at getting that pardon for me. Sooo…who knows, maybe I’ll be outa here before next Christmas.”
“Good Heyes! That’s good,” Harry responded. “Kid’s in Colorado you say?”
“Yeah. Town called Brookswood,” Heyes confirmed. “If you want to get in touch with him, that’s the place.”
“Yeah, yeah sure,” Harry agreed. “I already sent a telegram to that lawyer fella, but never heard back from him, I guess he just doesn’t realize how valuable I could be! So I’ll send the Kid a telegram right away! Let him know to get in touch with me if there’s anything I can do! Yes sir! It pays to have a Bannerman man on your side! We’ll get ya’ outa here Heyes! Just you hang in there—we’ll get ya’ out. And eat something will ya’ Heyes? You’re looking a little peaked.”
Heyes rolled his eyes, “Yeah Harry.”
“Good! You look after yourself Heyes, we’re gonna get you outa here.”
“Right! Good! Well, I better be on my way Heyes—long ways to go before the sun sets ya know!” Harry announced as he got to his feet. “A Bannerman man is always on the move! I’ll be seeing ya’ Heyes. You take care of yourself. And you be careful in here—a prison can be a very dangerous place, lots of dangerous people in here.”
“Yeah Harry, I know.”
“Right! Ahhh, I’ll be seeing ya’ Heyes.”
“Yeah Harry. Thanks for coming by.”
And then he was gone. Heyes heard Pearson snort behind him and he sighed.
……”That was weird,” the Kid stated.
“Yeah,” Heyes agreed. “Did you ever hear from him?”
“Steven did mention hearing from him a while back,” Kid admitted. “I guess we never did followed through on it though. Didn’t really see the point.”
“Hmmm,” Heyes nodded. “I can understand that. Still, as much as I hate to admit it he has helped us out in the past. You might consider getting a hold of him. Wouldn’t be a problem for ya’ now, since you’re not wanted anymore.”
“Yeah, I know Heyes,” Kid agreed. “I just don’t know what he could do, but yeah, I’ll think about it.”
“Okay,” then Heyes smiled. “How’s Beth?”
Much to Heyes’ surprise Kid forgot to get defensive and he brightened up and smiled back at his cousin.
“She’s good Heyes,” he admitted. “She showed up at David’s place a little while after Easter all eager to go for a ride…….
……. “Jed, you’ve got company!” Tricia called to him from the kitchen.
Jed hobbled his way out from his bedroom and at a gesture from Trish carried on through to the front door. Stepping out on the front porch he was met by a very pretty picture. Beth, with her long blonde hair done up in a nice neat bun in the nap of her neck, was wearing that very fetching riding habit and sitting aboard a bright eyed and energetic Karma-Lou.
Beth smiled broadly as her friend came outside.
“C'mon Thaddeus!” she invited him. “It’s a beautiful day for a ride! Let’s go shake off the cobwebs!”
Jed grinned. “You rode all the way in to town just to invite me out for a ride?”
“Yeah, of course!” she stated as though that should be obvious. “Go get ready! I’ll ride down to the livery and get Buck saddled up for you!”
“Well alright!” Jed agreed, still grinning. “Let’s do it!”
Twenty minutes later Beth returned leading both horses and stood waiting outside the Gibson residence for Thaddeus to put in an appearance.
Jed was busy pulling on a few more layers of socks over his still bandaged feet and then very, very carefully sliding them into a larger pair of David’s lace up boots hoping that that would be enough to protect the injuries from any more abuse. If he didn’t get off his horse to walk around then he ought to be alright, he reasoned.
While he was busy getting together his coat and holster and hat, Tricia stepped outside and came down the steps to greet their visitor.
“Good morning Beth! How is your mother?”
“She’s fine Mrs. Gibson. Still kind of missing Bridget,” she added with a roll of the eyes, “but other than that she’s doing alright. Is Dr. Gibson at home?”
“No, he’s out doing his rounds,” Trish answered then went over and gave the dark chestnut mare a pat on the face. “So this is Karma-Lou is it? This is the first time I’ve seen her up close, but I sure have heard quite a few tales about her.”
“Oh yes! Isn’t she beautiful!?” Beth exclaimed, beaming with pleasure. “Papa has found the perfect stallion to breed her to and we’re all so excited about it!”
“Really?” Tricia asked, surprised. “You’re not going to breed her to JohnnyBoy? I would have thought that having your own stallion would save having to pay a fee to someone else.”
“Normally that’s true,” Beth admitted, “but Papa wants to bring a whole new blood line into our breeding program so that means having to find two horses who are not already a part of it. And since Karma is such a nice mare, Papa is hoping that with the right stallion we’ll get a really fine colt to be our new foundation sire. Oh hi Thaddeus! Are you ready to go?”
Tricia turned to see Jed gingerly making his way across the porch and down the steps, using the hand railing for support. His pain was evident.
“Jed, you just wait there and I’ll bring Buck over to you,” Tricia offered.
“Yeah, good idea,” Jed mumbled though he felt silly having two women assisting him to mount up on his own horse.
Still, it did make all the difference when Tricia brought Buck alongside the steps and Jed was able to simply grab the saddle horn, step into the stirrup and swing aboard. It still hurt, but nothing like having to haul himself up from ground level.
Beth turned back to the mare, and despite the fact that Karma was quite a tall horse for such a little lady, Beth had no trouble at all getting her foot in the stirrup and swinging up into the saddle. Then with a wave to Tricia they turned the horses to the street and headed out of town at a gentle trot.
Once they got out of town and more into open countryside they let the horses have their heads and soon the two four legged friends were racing each other across the landscape. Jed discovered very quickly that having his feet in the stirrups was not a good idea so soon slid out of them and galloped on, enjoying the view ahead of him. The view ahead of him being the backside of Beth sitting comfortably in the saddle, her hips moving in rhythm with Karma’s stride and being no end of a distraction for the man riding along behind her.
Five miles later the horses began to slow down on their own accord and soon they had settled into a comfortable jog trot and Jed drew Buck up alongside Karma so he and his companion could talk together. Beth was still thrilled from the gallop, her cheeks flushed and her eyes bright and smiling. A few strands of her hair had come loose from the bun and floated around her face in a rather enticing manner.
Jed smiled at her but tried to keep his natural response to her femininity under control. He knew from past experience that becoming aroused while riding a horse was not only very uncomfortable, but had the potential for outright embarrassment. He took his hat off, ran his hand through his curls and then plunked the hat down onto his lap and made sure it stayed there, just in case. Beth was oblivious.
“That was fun!” she exclaimed as Jed came up beside her. “Now that the weather is more accommodating we’ll have to get out for rides like this more often!”
“Yeah, uh huh.”
“Do you know when you’re going to be moving back out to our ranch?” Beth asked with hope in her eyes.
“No, not really,” Jed admitted. “Once my feet heal up I may head over to Porterville to do some work for my friend, Sheriff Trevors.”
“Oh,” came the disappointed response.
“And I think Big Mac has some jobs for me to do as well.”
“Oh that Mr. McCreedy!” Beth laughed, “he was such a funny old bear!”
“Yeah,” Jed commented skeptically. “That’s Uncle Mac alright; a funny old bear.” Until he started to growl, then maybe not so much.
“Still, you know Papa has work for you at the ranch,” she gently pushed.
“Yeah, I know Beth,” Jed responded, “but I gotta find a way to make a living now, stand on my own two feet. I don’t want to be relying on the charity of others—that’s not right.”
“It’s not charity!” Beth was quick to point out. “Papa needs help, especially through the summer. Sam can’t do it all! Besides…” she mumbled, almost under her breath, “I think Sam is planning on getting married later in the summer, so he may not be around much after that.”
“He still needs to have a job, especially if he gets married,” Jed pointed out. “I know he wants to buy that little house that the Randolph’s have for sale and that’s still close enough for him to continue on at your place. Besides that, Sam isn’t your father’s only employee. He has a number of men working up at the line cabin, so he’s not short of help.”
Jed smiled. Obviously Beth had hoped that Jed wouldn’t think of that part of it and that she would be able to convince him that with Sam possibly leaving Jed HAD to come back out to the Double J in order to take over. That strategy got shot down pretty quickly.
“Well, let’s just wait and see what happens,” Jed suggested. “David thinks it’s going to be awhile before I can get back to any physical work anyways. So, we’ll see.”
Beth brightened up instantly. “Okay!” she agreed with a smile.
Jed chuckled softly. “Besides!” he added, “we’ve still got to get Joshua out of prison! How are you coming with those fliers?”
“Great!” Beth announced. “Bridget took a whole bunch of them with her when she went to Denver and is going to be handing some out there again. Plus Steven is going to send more out into the other territories. Wyoming, of course and Montana too I think.”
“Good,” Jed stated with a nod. “In the meanwhile, Lom is still pestering the governor and Steven, I think is doing some digging where that gentleman is concerned as well. So….onwards!”
“How is Joshua?” Beth asked, concern taking over her features. “I miss him so much. I want to go visit him, but Papa won’t let me.”
“No, he’s right Beth,” Jed confirmed Jesse’s decree. “Not only is that prison no place for a young lady, but I don’t think Joshua would want you to see him like that.”
“But I wouldn’t mind. It wouldn’t bother me,” she insisted with a bit of a pout. “He must be so lonely and maybe I could help him to feel better and know that we all still care about him.”
“He knows, Beth,” Jed assured her. “Your letters mean a lot to him. You keep on writing those and you’ll be helping him in more ways than you can imagine.”
“Yes, I suppose,” Beth conceded, but she still didn’t look too happy with it.
“Tell you what,” Jed offered, “next time I see him, I’ll ask if he’s okay with you coming for a visit. If he says its okay, then maybe we can convince your father to let you go.”
Beth perked up and smiled brightly. “Alright!”……….
……….”Don’t you dare!” Heyes ordered his cousin. “The last thing I need is for either one of those girls to see me here like this!”
“I know Heyes!” Kid assured him. “Why do you think I made the offer? I knew it wouldn’t wash, but it made Beth feel better that I would at least ask you.”
“Oh. Okay,” Heyes mumbled, calming down a bit. “Just—don’t you ever bring them here. As much as I would like to see them, Jesse’s right; this is no place for a young lady.”………
……… “Oh look!” Beth exclaimed. “Look! There’s the perfect place for us to have a little picnic! There’s a nice big tree that we can sit under, and the creek is right there. I brought us lunch you know.”
“Did you,” Jed commented, feeling like he’d been set up. “I donno Beth, once I get off of Buck, I may not be able to get back on again.”
“Of course you’ll be able to,” she countered him. “I’ll just lead him into the creek and you can use the bank to mount up—just like you did with the Gibson’s porch steps!”
Jed was not comfortable with this situation at all—it was too much like his dream and he did not need to be reminded of that! Still, he could see no reasonable way out of it and before he knew it they were up to the tree and Beth was already dismounting. Jed gave a resigned sigh and then very slowly bringing his right leg over the cantle of the saddle, he used the pommel to hold on to while he carefully lowered himself down to the ground. He gingerly put weight onto his feet and then hobbled over to the tree and sat down with a ‘humph’.
Beth pulled the lunches out of her saddlebags, and then taking a couple of long lines she had tied to the back of her saddle, she tethered the two horses and turned them out to graze. She then returned to the tree and settled in beside her friend and laid out the sandwiches and some of her mother’s ever present pastries.
Jed sat back against the tree truck and closed his eyes for a moment. It was a very pleasant afternoon, the sun was shining with just a subtle spring breeze rustling through the grasses and leaves over head. He listened quietly to the water in the creek, to the birds in the tree above them and to the occasional contented snort from the horses. For the first time in a long time he actually felt relaxed.
Yeah, life was pretty good right now. There was still a lot that needed to be done; indeed they were just getting started. But Jed knew he was on the mend. He’d been through hell and high water, physically and emotionally but he was seeing his way through it now, he was ready to start forging ahead.
He opened his eyes to see Beth watching him, a calm and gentle expression on her face. She smiled. He felt an almost overpowering desire to take her in his arms and kiss her—almost. He knew that he couldn’t do that, it was too soon after all the turmoil they’d been through, and with all that was still yet to be done—he just couldn’t go down that road yet. If ever.
He didn’t know if what he was feeling for Beth now was real, or simply a response to the knowledge that she wanted him. There was something very enticing and erotic knowing that a young and beautiful woman wanted you and only you but that response was lust, not love. And Jed didn’t know which emotion he was feeling and until he did know he would have to keep his desire in check.
He smiled back at her and settled into eating lunch. Beth sighed in disappointment…….
……. “And then what happened?”
“Nothin’” said Kid. “We ate our lunch, got back on the horses and returned to town.”
“Well that was anti-climatic,” Heyes complained.
“Yeah! In more ways than one Heyes! And that’s the way it’s going to stay—at least for now,” Kid insisted. “There’s just too much going on with everything else for me to know what’s right in that area. So, for now we’ll just leave it be.”
“Yeah,” Heyes commented reflectively, “if Beth let’s you.”
“I’m just going to have to be strong.”
Kid sent his partner ‘the look’ then decided it was time to change the subject.
“So, have you been behaving yourself?” Kid asked him. “You been stayin’ out of trouble?”
“I don’t know,” Heyes answered creasing his brow and looking reflective.
“What do ya’ mean; you don’t know?” Kid questioned. “How could you not know?”
“I don’t know,” Heyes repeated. “Kind of a strange thing happened earlier this week.”…….
…….. “Convict! Follow me.”
Heyes looked up from the stack of cigars he had been packaging in a box and then brushing some excess tobacco off his hands he quickly caught up with and followed Murrey out of the working area.
Much to Heyes’ surprise and confusion he was led into the small room outside the visitor’s area and yet again pushed up against the wall, frisked and then shackled hand and foot. This was unusual since it was a week day and there were no visitors allowed in the prison during the week. Then it became even more of a dilemma when Murrey turned Heyes about and shuffled him back out the door they had just come in—so obviously not going to see a visitor.
But where were they going?
Murrey unlocked and opened a heavy door and then motioned Heyes through it and into the corridor beyond. Heyes shuffled through and then waited placidly while Murrey closed and relocked the door and then they carried on down the corridor, turned a corner and continued on down another corridor. Murrey stopped him again at the next locked door, opened it and motioned him through once more.
This time it was like stepping into another world. Suddenly there were hardwood floors and even carpeting and paintings on the walls! Heyes almost felt like he was in shock; it had been so long since he had seen anything but the cold and dreary innards of the prison proper that the moderate furnishings of the area he was now in seemed opulent in comparison.
Murrey took hold of Heyes’ arm at this point and ‘escorted’ him down the hallway and through another door that wasn’t locked and then into an open reception area that seemed even more luxurious than the hallway had been. A few other people passed them, going about their daily business and some sending little furtive glances over at the prisoner before carrying on with their own agenda.
Murrey led Heyes over to a smaller reception area, and up to an official looking man sitting at a desk, engrossed in paperwork. The gentleman glanced up as Murrey and Heyes approached him and then, without a word he got to his feet and went over to and knocked on a large dark stained wooden door with the placard ‘WARDEN MITCHELL’ attached to it.
Heyes’ heart did a triple somersault. What was this? He was being taken in to see the warden? This could be a good thing or this could be a bad thing and Heyes wasn’t going to allow himself to think anything until he had a better idea of what was going on.
“Yes, what is it?” came the response to the knock.
The secretary opened the door and mumbled some words to his boss and then turned and indicated to the two men to enter the office.
Murrey ushered the prisoner through the door and into the spacious room. Sure enough, Warden Mitchell was sitting at his large oak desk going over some papers, but as soon as the prisoner was presented to him, he sat back in his chair and scrutinized the man standing before him.
“Thank you Guard,” he said, “you may wait outside. Please close the door behind you.”
Posts : 1467
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 63
Location : Camano Island Washington
|Subject: Onwards-Chapter seventeen, part two Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:17 pm|| |
And Murrey left, leaving Heyes standing alone in the center of the office floor. His heart had sunk a little bit as soon as he entered the room and saw that Lom wasn’t there. If this had been about his amnesty then Lom would have been there, and if not Lom, then surely Steven. But it was just Heyes and the warden. And the warden continued to scrutinize him.
Heyes remembered the lessons from his first day at the prison. He didn’t move from where he had been put. He kept his eyes down, didn’t shift position and certainly didn’t sigh with boredom. He stood still—quiet—waiting.
Finally Mitchell smiled. “Well it’s good to see that you have learned the rules,” he commented. “But I hear you’re an intelligent man so I had no doubt that you would.”
Heyes discerned that there was no direct question in amongst that statement so he did not respond, nor did he look up. He continued to wait.
“I understand that you have been working in the laundry room and the infirmary these past few months,” Mitchell finally commented. “It is unusual for a convict who has only been here for less than a year to be trusted with those duties. I hope you appreciate the privilege.”
“Do you appreciate the privilege Convict?”
“Yes sir Warden.”
“Good,” Mitchell continued. “I’m also sure you appreciate the fact that privileges once given can also be taken away.”
Oh, here it comes, Heyes thought to himself. There was never something for nothing, there was going to be a price to pay. Heyes waited for the ax to fall.
“As I’ve already noted, you are a very intelligent man, Mr. Heyes,” the Warden carried on. “You’re also a very cautious one. You pay attention to what is going on around you—keep tabs on what everyone is doing, guards and other inmates alike.”
Heyes continued to stand quietly. He really did not like the way this audience was going.
“All I ask is that you continue to do what you have already been doing,” Mitchell clarified. “The only difference is; that from now on you will be doing it for me.”
Heyes remained standing quietly, his eyes down but his mind was spinning. The full reality of what Warden Mitchell was asking was not lost on him and if he agreed to it, it would be a very dangerous game.
“You may speak freely,” the warden informed the inmate.
The change in Heyes’ demeanor was instantaneous. The quiet submissive convict was immediately replaced by the charismatic but totally cynical outlaw. His lip pulled up in a subtle sneer and he locked Mitchell down in a dark accusing stare. The warden had to remind himself not to squirm and then he felt angry that a lowly convict could have that affect on him. He was the one in control here after all.
“In other words you want me to be a spy within a pack of wolves,” Heyes stated bluntly.
“Oh, ‘spy’ is such an insidious term,” Mitchell commented, having regained his composure and returning the convicts stare with its own level of intimidation. “Perhaps you should think of it as simply ‘gathering information’. It’s not like I’m asking you to sneak into their cells and rummage through their belongings.”
At which point Mitchell sent Heyes a cold smile which held a double edged sword. Heyes mimicked the expression and threw it right back at him.
“And if I refuse, I’ll loose my privileges,” Heyes stated.
“Let’s just say that I could make your stay with us very uncomfortable.”
“Oh, I know,” the warden continued, “it’s already uncomfortable as far as you’re concerned. But believe me; what you have now will seem like a night at the Brown Palace when compared to what I can put you through.”
Heyes sighed and weighed his options.
“So if I do agree to help you out then I can expect to maintain my privileges,” Heyes stated. “Is that the arrangement we’re talking about here?”
“Oh, I can do more than that Mr. Heyes,” Mitchell assured him smoothly. “If I’m satisfied with the job you do, in a year or two I just might be willing to consider that pardon your friends are so adamant you deserve.”
Heyes felt his anger rising but he clamped his jaws down tight on the scornful laughter that fought to burst forth from his lungs. The offer was absurd! Did Mitchell think he was a fool? It was just another false promise—like all the other false promises. Just another carrot dangling under his nose to lead him down the garden path. If Heyes did a good job as an informant why would Mitchell be willing to set him free and lose that valuable contact?
Mitchell sat back in his chair and folded his arms. The cynicism in the man standing before him was so heavy it dripped and the hard brown eyes boring into the official spoke volumes more that any words could have done.
“Well,” Mitchell conceded, “any way you choose to look at this Mr. Heyes, you would be wise to consider the offer. I have you under my thumb for the next twenty—no excuse me, for the next nineteen and a half years. All I need to do is add a little pressure and I can crush you like a beetle under my shoe,” the warden smiled coldly. “I’ll let you think on that for a while—how’s that? Guard!”
Heyes dropped his eyes and became the subservient convict again just as Murrey came back into the office and approached the desk.
“You may escort Mr. Heyes back to the work floor so that he may carry on with his duties.”
“Yes sir Warden.”
And Murrey took hold of Heyes’ arm again and shuffled him out of the office and back to the prison proper. Heyes never would have thought it possible for the sound of those heavy doors clanging shut and locking behind him would ever bring with them a sense of relief. Even if it was short lived.
That night Heyes lay on his cot staring up at a ceiling he couldn’t see and tried to think himself out of the corner he had been backed into. Life was hard at the prison, but even at that Heyes knew he had it better than most of the inmates here. Heyes had people—friends and family on the outside who were supporting him. He had visitors almost every weekend and letters enough to fill in the gaps between books and medical journals. The quick glances of resentment from the other inmates were not lost on him and the fact that he had been given privileges that most of them could never hope to attain did not help in his popularity.
Being popular in here was never important to him, indeed he did everything he could to discourage any kind of presumption of camaraderie, but to turn informant—well, that was just asking to get his throat cut. But if he didn’t then he would loose those privileges that were so invaluable to him and then some. The warden’s not so veiled threat was not lost on Hannibal Heyes.
Heyes knew exactly what would happen to him if he lost his days in the laundry room and even more so, the infirmary. If he lost his reading privileges, maybe even lost his visitor rights; he would go mad, that’s what would happen! He had seen other inmates go that way; even in the short time Heyes had been there he had seen others lose their grasp on reason.
It was always the ones who had no one to turn to. No one coming to visit, no one writing letters, no one to talk to. Even though the incident involving Hicks had happened before Heyes had been incarcerated, he’d learned through the silent grape vine what had happened, and he knew why. That convict who had turned on the guard and plunged the pencil into his throat hadn’t done it out of any personal vendetta; there had been no malicious intent, no rhyme or reason. The inmate’s mind had simply snapped and insanity had run amok.
Heyes felt a shiver go through him. The contacts he had with the outside world, and that one day a week with Dr. Morin, being able to speak with him one on one, like a human being. Those were the things that were holding Heyes together and now they were being threatened. What was he to do? How could he walk that fine line and keep himself both safe and sane?
He sighed, and rolling over onto his side he hugged his knees and stared into the abyss. What was he to do?.....
……. “I donno Heyes, that sounds like trouble to me,” Kid commented.
“Yeah,” Heyes agreed. “I still don’t know what I’m going to do,” here he sent a quick glance back towards the guard and lowered his voice. “Just try and play both sides of the fence for now I suppose.”
“Maybe I could tell Lom about this—or Steven,” Kid suggested. “Steven’s a lawyer; maybe he could block the warden from doing this, or something.”
“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea Kid,” Heyes disagreed. “Mitchell’s the one in control here. If anybody from outside tried to put pressure on him, he’d just back off until they were gone and then crucify me.”
“Yeah, I suppose,” Kid mumbled.
“Aww, don’t worry about it Kid,” Heyes assured his friend. “I’ll think of somethin’. I always do, you know that.”
“I know Heyes,” Kid responded. “But this sounds like it could get dangerous. Jeez, we thought living on the run was bad but this is insane!”
“Yeah,” Heyes agreed with that statement. “Don’t worry; I’ll watch my back.”
The two men sat in silence for a few moments, each lost in their own thoughts. For the first time since he’d started coming to visit his friend, Curry felt real fear for his partner’s safety. Just as Heyes had felt frustrated at not being there for his friend during his life and death struggles, Kid felt the impotency of not being there to watch Heyes’ back. It was what he was used to doing, that was one of his roles in their partnership, but now he was being prevented from performing that role just at a time when Heyes needed his protection the most.
As for Heyes, seeing the fear and frustration in the Kid’s continence made him regret telling his cousin about the situation in the first place; it was just going to cause him to worry and fret over something that he couldn’t do anything about anyways. Heyes would figure it out; he had every confidence in himself that he would. He had to. It was just going to take some thinking and some pacing, but he would figure it out.
“I beat up a saloon girl,” Curry stated, out of the blue.
“What?” Heyes was startled out of his reverie. Had he heard that right?
Their eyes locked for a moment and then Kid looked away.
“That last night in Cheyenne,” he affirmed. “I went over to the saloon after everyone else had gone to bed, I hired a girl for the night and I….abused her.”
“Oh,” Heyes couldn’t think of anything else to say.
Curry sat silently, staring at his hands that were resting on the table in front of him. He couldn’t bring himself to look into his cousin’s eyes again.
“I…uummm....” Kid coughed, trying to clear his throat. Deep sigh. “It was everything we have always despised…always looked down on and….I….I hurt her real bad Heyes!”
“Why?” he asked gently, quietly. He could see the anguish in his cousin’s eyes; he could hear it in his voice. This was no longer a joke or a tease; this was painful.
Kid shrugged silently, still not able to look up. “David said it was because I had been on that morphine for too long,” Kid quietly explained. “That I had become….ahhh…dependent on it. Then, between what had happened to you and then me coming off that drug….well…it made me crazy,” Kid slumped and looked defeated. “I donno….David explains it better….maybe you should just ask him.”
“Yeah. Yeah I could,” Heyes agreed, “but I’m still glad you told me.”
Curry gave a mild snort, but still wouldn’t look up; in fact he was doing everything he could to avoid meeting his cousin’s eyes.
“Is she alright?” Heyes finally asked.
“I suppose,” Came the weak response. “The Madam didn’t lay charges in any case, so long as I didn’t go back to that saloon again. I was just….I was passed out….I don’t remember anything after that. Apparently David and Jesse made sure I was on the train the next morning and that’s where I woke up.”
“Hmmmm,” Heyes nodded quietly. “So when you ran out of David’s house with no boots on, that was….what?”
“That was when I remembered….what I had done,” Kid explained. “I’d had a bad dream…and when I was describing it to David that was when I remembered.” Kid stopped and ran a hand over his eyes and then he sighed and his jaw tightened over the pain he was feeling. “Oh God….Heyes!.....It was awful…..I just….I know I hurt her bad. I broke her nose and split her lips. I left her black and blue. I know….I know I made her bleed. Oh God….”
Heyes leaned forward, trying to raise his hands, trying to bring some comfort to his friend, but he was shackled and he couldn’t do it and he resented it more at that moment than he had at any other. To be denied the ability to offer the most basic of physical contacts at a time when it was so direly needed was one of the cruelest injustices of Heyes’ predicament. All he could do was offer Kid his company and his support and hope that that was enough.
The two friends sat in companionable silence until Curry was able to bring himself under control again. He gave another deep sigh and then finally raised his eyes to meet his cousin’s gaze. The pain Heyes saw in his friend’s eyes was enough to break his heart.
“Have you been able to talk to David about it?” Heyes gently asked him.
“No, not like this,” Curry admitted. “And like I said, all I did with Belle was blubber like a baby.”
“Well I’m glad you saved that part for her,” Heyes commented. “I don’t think I could have handled it.”
Kid laughed a little. “Yeah, women like that kinda stuff.”
“Hmmm,” Heyes nodded. Then silence prevailed again while Heyes watched his friend still struggling with his inner demons. “You’re still my partner, ya’ know. This doesn’t change anything.”
Kid smiled and nodded acceptance, obviously relieved.
“Yeah, thanks Heyes,” then taking another deep breath, Kid straightened up and again sent his partner a weak smile.
Heyes smiled back.
“You alright now?”
“Yeah, I think so,” Kid nodded.
“Good!” Heyes responded, “'cause I still need you to get me outta here!”
Kid smiled back, brighter this time. “Yeah!”
Then Murrey, who was still standing by the door behind Heyes, gave a quiet cough.
“Ahhh, you fellas have had an hour and a half now, so….”
“Oh,” Heyes responded and sent the Kid a slightly sheepish smile. “I guess we’ve kinda gone over time here.”
“Yeah,” Kid agreed, and standing up he sent a quick glance over to the guard, almost on the edge of thanking him for the extra time, but not sure if that was acceptable etiquette. “I guess I better go.”
“Okay Kid. You sure you’re okay now?”
“Yeah Heyes, I’m fine. You?”
“Yeah. Don’t worry; I’ll figure something out.”
“Okay. Take care of yourself Heyes. I’ll see ya’ next month.”
Kid left the visitor’s room and as usual found himself in the reception area, where visitors waited until their particular inmate was ready to receive them. He approached the counter at the far end and took back his coat, his hat and his holster. He smiled slightly as a thank you to the man who handed them back to him and then turned in preparation of leaving the prison.
Not surprisingly, his mind was on the conversation he’d just had with his cousin. He had been anxious about telling Heyes the details of his shameful behaviour, afraid that after all the other things that his partner had recently discovered about him that this episode would just be the final straw.
Now, of course after actually having told Heyes about it, a huge weight had been taken off his shoulders. That had been the last thing; the last thing that needed to be divulged, admitted to, owned up to, faced and accepted. Now it was done and Heyes knew the worst He had not turned away in revulsion and anger but had come forward with compassion and support and far from breaking their partnership he had re-affirmed it.
Kid felt a mixture of emotions as he headed down the foyer towards the lobby and ultimately the front door. Relief over his own confession was now marred with worry over Heyes’ new predicament. Who would have thought that being inside a prison could be so dangerous? Surviving inside really was a complex game of strategy and covertness. Kid could only hope that Heyes’ natural intelligence and deviousness would enable him to not only survive it, but come out on top.
Kid was in the middle of these silent musings when suddenly he found his progress blocked by a guard whom Curry had not met before. The Kid stopped dead in his tracks and looked up into a pair of intelligent gray eyes and he knew instinctively who this man was even before he introduced himself.
“Mr. Curry? My name is Ken Reece,” the guard informed him and offered his hand.
“Oh, yeah. Mr. Reece,” Curry acknowledged him and accepted the hand shake. “Heyes has mentioned you,” he smiled slightly. “He told me that you’re one of the good guards.”
“Really?” Kenny responded, a little surprised. “That’s good to know. I’ve had to be a bit tough with him sometimes,” he smiled then himself, “your friend can be very difficult to handle.”
Curry snorted. “Good to know that prison hasn’t changed him.”
Kenny nodded but made no comment about that.
“Warden Mitchell has requested that you join him in his office,” Kenny informed him. “He asked me to escort you there the next time you came for a visit.” He glanced down at the cane Curry was holding, “Are you alright to walk there?”
“I think I can manage Mr. Reece,” Curry assured him, “just don’t walk too fast.”
Reece nodded and set off at a sedate pace towards the warden’s office.
“Any idea what this is about?” Curry asked him, though after his conversation with Heyes, he had a sinking feeling that he already knew.
“No, not really,” Kenny admitted. “Perhaps it is just to introduce himself. You are here at the prison quite regularly after all.”
“Yeah,” came the skeptical reply.
“In fact I was hoping to get the opportunity to do just that myself,” Kenny stated. “Of course I am aware of your shared history with Mr. Heyes; that you are not only partners and friends, but also family. I was hoping I could get your contact information from you, someplace where I can get in touch with you if the need were to arise.”
“I suppose,” Curry agreed, though he was a bit confused. “I would have thought that information would already be on file here. The warden certainly knows how to get in touch with Lom Trevors and Lom and Governor Warren both know where I am.”
“Yes, well…” Kenny was a bit hesitant, “there may come a time when I might need to get hold of you quickly but at the same time avoid official avenues—if you understand my meaning.”
Curry was beginning to. He stopped and sent a quizzical look over to the guard.
“Yeah, uh huh,” he commented. “I’ll make sure you get it. Will I be seeing you again before I leave here today?”
“I’ll wait for you and escort back to the front lobby when you’re done.”
Curry smiled. “Good.”
Within a few minutes Curry found himself in the business section of the prison and just like Heyes before him, was amazed by the differences in the décor and atmosphere. It could have been just any other high class office building in downtown Cheyenne—or Denver.
Kenny approached the secretary outside of the warden’s office and informed him of the arrival of Mr. Curry. At this point, said official stood up and going over to the large stained wooden door, knocked and then poked his head inside.
“Mr. Curry is here sir.”
“Oh, good,” came the reply from within, “send him in.”
The official stepped back and motioned the Kid to enter the office which, after a quick glance at Kenny, he did. The room he found himself in was not quite as opulent as the governor’s office, but it still conveyed authority and a position of power and was all designed with the purpose of intimidating the uninitiated. Fortunately the more times Curry found himself in offices such as these, the less intimidated he was by them, and by the type of men who tended to occupy them.
As soon as the office door was closed Warden Mitchell came forward with a quick smile and an outstretched hand.
“Mr. Curry! How good to finally meet you,” came the official greeting. “Please, have a seat.”
“Thank you,” the Kid answered as he shook hands with this new reptile and then sank into the plush leather covered arm chair that had been made available to him.
The official door keeper re-entered the office at this point, carrying with him the inevitable tray laden with two glasses of some dark amber liquid. He placed one on the side table by the Kid’s chair and the other on the desk in front of the warden. Then he discreetly left.
“Please Mr. Curry, try the sherry,” Warden Mitchell suggested. “It is most definitely top shelf and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.”
“Thank you, Mr. Mitchell,” Curry mumbled skeptically. He would have preferred a beer if truth be known. Still, he took the glass and tried it, playing the game until he got a gist of where this was all going. He had to admit, it was different, but not bad.
“Well!” Mitchell began after taking a sip himself, “I have to admit I always expected to eventually meet you Mr. Curry. It’s a pleasure to have it happen under such different circumstances from what I had imagined.”
“Uh huh, likewise,” Kid agreed.
Mitchell smiled. “Yes.”
There was a moment of silence while Warden Mitchell accessed the man sitting across from him and Curry patiently waited, knowing he was being accessed. Curry himself felt no need to do any accessing—he already had a good idea of what he was dealing with here.
“I requested a meeting with you here today simply to introduce myself. Also to let you know that if you have any concerns at all about your friend’s situation you may feel free to bring them to my attention at any time.”
“Oh yeah?” Curry responded. “That’s very good of you Warden. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.”
“I know that you come to visit Mr. Heyes on a very regular basis,” Mitchell admitted, “and that you speak together on a variety of topics. Considering that you were partners and that…”
“Ahh, are partners,” Curry corrected him.
“Yes! Of course. Are partners—and that your opinion obviously matters a great deal to him.”
“Yeah,” Curry agreed a little suspiciously. He was getting a pretty good feel for where this was going.
“Of course he has told you of our little arrangement to assist me in keeping our prison running smoothly.”
Curry was hardly surprised that the warden was aware of the conversation between himself and Heyes, since there always was a guard present during their meetings, but he was surprised at how quickly the information had reached the top. He was also a little resentful of Mitchell’s assumption that Heyes was going to agree to their ‘little arrangement’.
“He mentioned it,” Curry admitted somewhat dryly. “Didn’t say he was going to do it though.”
“Yes, I’m aware of that,” Mitchell informed him. “There’s not too much that goes on in this prison that I’m not aware of Mr. Curry. But still, having someone right in the midst of the action so to speak would be invaluable to me. And Mr. Heyes is the perfect candidate.”
“Why?” Mitchell repeated.
“Yes, Warden. Why?”
“I would have thought that to you—his partner—it would be blatantly obvious.”
Unbeknownst to himself, Curry had indeed grown over the last six months. Instead of feeling insecure and intimidated by Mitchell’s attempt at condescension he recognized it immediately as a ploy to manipulate and smiled inwardly at how ridiculous it all was.
“Is that a fact?” Curry asked innocently. “Well, since it’s not blatantly obvious, perhaps you should just explain it to me—just to be sure we’re both on the same page, ya’ understand.”
“Ahh, of course. Well,” Mitchell collected his thoughts, “I have noticed that Mr. Heyes does not play into the political games of the other prisoners—or of the guards for that matter. He tends to keep himself apart, and other than his rather unlikely friendship with the prison doctor he has formed no alliances with anyone here.”
Again, Curry smiled inwardly and noted to himself that obviously Mitchell was totally unaware of Heyes’ regard for Kenny. It was also apparent that the guard himself had been very careful to not show any signs of favouritism.
“Mr. Heyes is quick witted and constantly aware of what’s going on around him,” Mitchell continued, oblivious to Curry’s observation, “all of which tend to make him a perfect candidate for what I need to help me stay informed as to the atmosphere inside the prison proper.”
Curry nodded thoughtfully; for all intents and purposes he appeared to be considering the warden’s offer.
“And if Heyes agrees to help you out with this?”
“I’m well aware of your endeavors to arrange a pardon for your friend,” Mitchell commented with a touch of grease. “I hold the power to grant that pardon in the tip of my feathered quill. As I have already told Mr. Heyes, if he agrees, well after a couple of years I just might see fit to consider that.”
“Why?” asked the Kid.
Mitchell sighed. “Again with the ‘why?’ Mr. Curry? Why is my offer so difficult for you to understand?”
“Because it don’t make no sense!” Curry shot back at him. “You finally get yourself a reliable informant and then you’re going to turn him loose? I find it kinda’ hard to put much faith in that Mr. Mitchell!”
“You doubt my word Mr. Curry?!” Mitchell asked with some indignity.
“I have lost count as to how many government officials and upstanding business men have given us their word only to turn their backs and walk away when it came time to pay up!” Curry snarled. “Considering the odds, I think I have every right to doubt your word! And I think it’s safe to say that Heyes isn’t putting too much credence in it either!”
“I strongly suggest that you endeavor to change his mind!” Mitchell shot back, his hackles rising. “I assure you Mr. Curry; it would be in your partner’s best interests if you co-operate with me in convincing him to accept the offer.”
Curry sat back in the chair and forced himself to come down off his anger. He was tempted to challenge the warden on this, but realized that doing so would be pointless. Heyes was right about one thing; Mitchell was in charge here and he could make Heyes’ life a misery if he chose to do so.
“What if I try and he refuses?” Curry asked quietly, now that his temper was under control again.
“I think you already know the answer to that Mr. Curry, or you wouldn’t be relenting so easily here,” Mitchell observed. “Might I suggest that you put this to him in such a way that he does not refuse.”
The two men sat and stared at one another for a moment, neither one willing to relax their stance.
“You both have until your next visit Mr. Curry,” Mitchell granted, “then I’ll expect an answer.”
“Right,” Curry pushed himself to his feet, knowing that the discussion had come to an end. “Good day Mr. Mitchell.”
“Mr. Curry,” the warden did not stand to see his guest out.
Hobbling back down towards the lobby with Kenny Reece leading the way, Curry was deep in thought. This was going to take some handling, but again he didn’t have a clue as to how to do it. Despite his hurting feet and Heyes’ protest, he decided that it was time to extent his journey a little bit and head over to Porterville for a face to face discussion with his friend. Lom might not be able to get Heyes out of here, but he might have some suggestions as to how to best deal with this situation. Why did life have to get so complicated?
Then, to add to his worry, Kid couldn’t quite decide if Kenny really was a friend here or if he was just playing the game in order to gain their trust. Still, Heyes had recommended him as a contact and Heyes usually could read people pretty well. Kid sighed and hummed and hawed over the pros and cons until they got outside to his waiting, rented horse and surrey and set about exchanging contact information.
That done, Curry made up his mind quickly at that point, and then shaking his hand in farewell, met the guard’s eye before letting go.
“Watch his back for me will ya’?” Curry asked him bluntly.
“Already am, Mr. Curry,” Reece assured him with a smile, “already am.”
“What the hell happened to you!?”
“Aww Lom! Nothin’!” Kid grumbled in exasperation. “I’m surprised David didn’t write ya’ a ten page letter tellin’ ya’ all about it!”
“No, he didn’t,” Lom assured this friend. “He did send a short note to let me know that you had a breakthrough and should be on the mend now. Didn’t say anythin’ about ya getting’ hurt.”
“More like a breakdown,” Kid mumbled.
“Nothin’,” Kid sighed and then smiled at the Sheriff. “It’s okay Lom; I just kinda overreacted to remembering some of that stuff is all. I cut up my feet some. They’re healin’ up—another couple of weeks and I’ll be ready to dance on the 4th of July.”
“Uh huh. Well, sit down Kid. Do ya want a whiskey?”
Lom poured them a couple of shot glasses and sat back down at his desk as well.
“So what brings ya’ here?” he asked. “Have you seen Heyes?”
“Yeah Lom,” Kid answered. “That’s kinda what brings me here.”
“Is that hardhead starvin’ himself again?!”
“No no! He’s fine!” Kid assured him. “It’s somethin’ else.”
Lom sent him a quizzical look. Curry sighed, trying to think how best to describe the situation.
“It seems the warden out there wants Heyes to kinda become an informant for him,” Curry explained, “and he’s made it real clear what’ll happen if Heyes refuses.”
“Oh brother,” Lom mumbled. “That’s not good. What does Heyes say?”
Curry shrugged. “Try and play both sides of the fence and watch his back. I donno Lom, I’m just lettin’ ya’ know in case you have any ideas.”
Lom downed his whiskey and then sat and thought about it for a few moments.
“No, there’s not really too much we can do,” Lom speculated. “Unfortunately in a prison the warden runs the show. How he deals with discipline is pretty much up to him so long as he doesn’t stray too far away from what the federal prison system dictates. Using prisoners to spy on other prisoners is not a new ploy, nor is it considered unethical. If something were to happen to the informant, well that’s the chance ya’ take. It’s just a convict after all.”
“Geesh,” Kid commented. “We were safer up in Devil’s Hole!”
“Hmmm,” then Lom sent the Kid a suspicious look. “You don’t mean nothin’ by that do ya’? Like in; headin’ back up there?”
“OH, no,” Curry assured him, “no, I’m not……”
“Good,” Lom expostulated. “Don’t want to have ta’ shoot ya’!”
Another few moments of silence, then….
“Anything new with the Governor?” Kid asked.
“No,” Lom answered with a frustrated sigh. “It’s like he’s gone to ground. He’s not taking any appointments right now and certainly not from me.”
“Ya mean he’s gone into hiding?”
“Yeah, that’s how it seems.”
“Why would he be doin’ that?”
“Well, those rumours of dirty business dealings have sorta become more than just rumours,” Lom explained. “Apparently President Cleveland isn’t too happy about what’s goin’ on and there may be some sparks flyin’.”
“Oh,” Curry’s shoulders slumped in disappointment.
“What?” Lom asked, confused. “That could be in our favour. If Governor Warren gets booted out of office, maybe the next governor will be more accommodating.”
“Yeah, it’s just that we already had wind of something along those lines and some friends were doing some digging in hopes that we could find something to….ah….” Kid suddenly stopped, remembering who it was he was talking to.
“I hope you weren’t about to say ‘blackmail’,” Lom growled at him, “cause last I heard blackmailing a government official is against the law and if that’s what you had a mind of doin’….”
“Oh no, Lom,” Kid quickly back stepped. “Persuade…that’s all I was meanin’.”
“Uh huh,” Kid was lying and Lom knew Kid was lying and Kid knew Lom knew he was lying. “Well, it’s a moot point anyways,” Lom continued, “cause it just might be getting’ ready to blow up in his face officially so there may not be anything left to ‘persuade’ him with.”
Curry finished his whiskey and then folding his arms he sat back with a sigh.
“We gotta get him outa there Lom,” he commented quietly. “He’s doin’ okay now, but….”
“I know Kid,” Lom sympathized, remembering Heyes’ quiet plea when Lom had gone to see him at the prison infirmary. “We’re all tryin’. Heyes is just going to have to play it close, watch his back….and stay outa trouble!”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Yeah, gettin’ there.”
“Well, c'mon. Let’s get some supper over at the café and then you can stay the night up at my place. Head back to Colorado on the morning train.”
“Yeah, okay. Thanks Lom.”
Murrey got Pearson to escort Heyes back to his cell and then disappeared to tend to his own agenda. Heyes didn’t think anything of it; often the guards switched off on their duties and besides that, Heyes had his mind on other things. So much so, that when Heyes was finally left to finish up the afternoon on his own, he headed out of doors, out to the yard so he could think, and pace and think some more.
Kid really had been going through a hard time, just like Lom had said and Heyes had sneered at it. What hard times could the Kid possibly be going through that would even come close to what Heyes himself was experiencing being initiated into the prison? Well, now he knew and now he also agreed; Kid had been going through a hard time.
Heyes just couldn’t imagine how his friend had kept all that bottled up and out of sight. Three killings in his youth and now having to acknowledge committing an act that could not honestly be called anything other than rape.
At least the killings were something that Heyes could understand as much as he despised the meaningless taking of life. But those ones weren’t meaningless. It might not have been right; what the Kid had done, but it sure was understandable. And as he had told the Kid, if Heyes hadn’t blocked out the worst of what those men had done he might very well have helped Curry on that vendetta.
Of course the Kid felt guilty about them and greatly regretted allowing his anger and need for vengeance to take control of his reason in that manner. But the more Heyes had thought about it, the more he realized that it was those regrets that made Jed Curry the person that he was; the person who he wanted to be.
Then Cheyenne happened. What had transpired that night had been a shock for Heyes; he would never have thought it possible for Kid to behave in that manner. That just wasn’t in the Kid’s nature to behave like that—at least Heyes never would have thought so! Curry was usually so protective of women that this just didn’t make sense. He could only imagine how devastating it must have been for Curry to come face to face with that memory. He had taken off at a run out the door without any boots on and had kept on running until he had cut his feet up so badly he was forced to finally stop. And Kid shrugged it off as ‘just over reacting a little.’ Heyes snorted.
Heyes had read something about drug dependency and addiction in the journals that Morin had loaned him but he’d just never realized how powerful an effect it could have on a person’s character until now. Until his closest friend had admitted to committing a horrendous act mostly due to his dependency on a drug that had been initially administered to him to help. How quickly a friend could become an enemy without you even knowing it!
Heyes sighed with his inner musings. So typical of himself, he figured all he really had to do was read the books, learn some of the hands on techniques from Dr. Morin and he’d be ready to open up his own practice—if he wanted to. Now he was beginning to realize that there was a lot more to being a doctor than just the book learning and a little bit of practical usage. There was so much more to the human condition than just that. What his cousin was going through and having to deal with was making that very clear.
Heyes had no doubt that Kid would come through this alright; it was just going to take some time. But he was already dealing with it and moving ahead and on top of that, he had help. The same friends who were trying to help Heyes were out there already helping Curry, and Heyes wondered how they would ever be able to repay the support group that had gathered around both of them.
He would write to David and ask him more about this addiction stuff. He would ask Morin about it too the next time he was assisting him but as much as Heyes liked the prison doctor, even he could see the difference between a ‘sawbones’ and an ‘artist’. Yes, he would definitely be writing David a letter. The more Heyes knew about what Curry was going through, and why, the better a partner Heyes could be to him and that was more important than anything else right now.
Then Heyes’ thoughts went over to his own current problem. Ohh, what to do about that? Even with keeping his eyes open, keeping track of what was going on around him and watching his back, he’d never really got wind of anything covert going on. Indeed, all those little power plays swirling around the prison were anything but covert; they were blatantly obvious for anyone who cared to pay attention. Now the warden wanted him to come up with information? About what? And if word got out that he had been singled out like that his life would have no more worth than a rabbit in a lion’s den.
He couldn’t do it. Suddenly it just came to him; he couldn’t be a snitch. Isn’t that the main reason he was here in prison in the first place? Because he couldn’t betray a confidence, couldn’t turn others in just to save his own skin? What the warden was asking him to do was just another example of betraying his fellows just to protect his own situation. None of the other prisoners were his friends, none of them really mattered to him, but his own value structure was again being put to the test and now that he realized what was happening, what it was really all about, he knew the path he was going to take. Hopefully, he thought, he would be able to deal with the consequences.
The sun was going down; it would be supper time soon. Once his conundrum had been quieted Heyes started to feel that the ever present Wyoming wind was developing a chill, despite the energized walking he had been doing around and around and around the yard. It was time to head indoors.
He sighed deeply, releasing the stress that had been building up with this new dilemma, but now that he had come to his decision he felt the weight of it leave his shoulders. He smiled to himself and looked up from his inner musings to take one last survey of the yard around him. Then he felt a chill go through him and he froze.
Anger rose up inside of him, anger at himself for being so stupid! All that talk about him being so observant and aware of his surroundings and yet he had allowed himself to be distracted. Stupid! He knew he had a lot of thinking to do and it was habit for him to get up and walk in order to help him think, but in hindsight, he realized he should have just returned to his cell this time.
He should have lay down on his cot and stared at the ceiling and done his thinking that way—that would have worked just as well. Why did he have to come outside, where he would be vulnerable where he knew damn well that he couldn’t think and watch his back at the same time? Stupid!!
Over by the far wall was Hank Boeman and standing beside him, as though in some sort of silent conference with one another was the new inmate Carl Harris. Heyes had been relieved when the new alpha had arrived and had smiled smugly to himself, watching the two of them circling each other like two stallions, each trying to get in the first kick. But now it would appear that instead of being kept busy challenging one another for the top wolf position they had somehow come to the agreement to join forces. At least temporarily, at least until their main adversary had been taken care of.
Heyes had looked up to find both of them staring directly at him.
TO BE CONTINUED
Posts : 483
Join date : 2013-08-31
Location : Madrid
|Subject: Re: Onwards. Chapter seventeen. Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:24 am|| |
Yes, I do think Abi would use her skills to look after Heyes. I think she did have a hand in the exposing of the Governor. What a difficult situation Heyes is in. There's no way he's going to become a prison snitch!
|Subject: Re: Onwards. Chapter seventeen. || |
Onwards. Chapter seventeen.