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 The Hearing Chapter twenty-eight

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Keays

Keays

Posts : 1447
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 62
Location : Camano Island Washington

The Hearing  Chapter twenty-eight Empty
PostSubject: The Hearing Chapter twenty-eight   The Hearing  Chapter twenty-eight EmptySat Nov 02, 2013 10:01 pm

It was January, 1888. Heyes was in his cell, sitting on his cot playing solitaire, eating cookies and drinking coffee. It was evening. The weather had finally cleared off enough that life had become mobile again and most of the inmates and guards were in better spirits now that the Christmas festivities had finally taken place and everyone had received timely gifts.

Note it was said that most of the inmates were in better spirits; Heyes was not. He was hurting inside and out—again. He was in constant pain, his chest and shoulders aching and complaining with the slightest of movements. Even reaching for his coffee cup or flipping over a card might cause him to suck his teeth and silently curse his situation. He was even finding it hard to breathe.

Doc Morin had given him some salve to rub into his muscles at night so at least he was able to get some sleep but he would still wake up throughout the night feeling as though he were suffocating. Were his muscles ever going to recover from that ordeal? Morin said yes, given time. Everything seemed to take time!

Movement by his cell door caught his eye and he glanced over to see that old black and white tom cat staring at him. Heyes returned the stare. The feline flattened its ears and hissed. Heyes symbolically flattened his ears and hissed back. Startled, the cat jumped and then took off down the corridor to tend to other matters. Heyes had made a habit of closing his cell door whenever he wasn't in it for fear of returning to find cat urine on his blankets. Yeah; one more enemy to add to his list.

Ten minutes later more movement caught his eye and he glanced up to meet Boeman's icy stare being directed at him. This time Heyes' hackles really rose and the two inmates glared at each other for what seemed an eternity. Then Boeman's lip curled in what apparently was supposed to be a smile and he turned and walked off down the aisle towards his own cell.

Heyes was left sitting on his cot sending a stream of silent curses after the man. There was a reckoning coming with that one but Heyes was in no condition for a retaliatory attack yet and he knew it. It was going to have to wait. Half an hour after that Heyes noticed movement again and he sighed with irritation. Couldn't these people just leave him alone? He looked up, sending daggers to the intruder and then instantly regretted his mood and softened the points.

Kyle stood in the doorway holding two cups of hot coffee and wearing a hopeful smile. Heyes smiled back and nodded. Kyle grinned and came into the cell and sitting down on the cot he offered Heyes one of the cups. Heyes slowly lifted his hand to accept it and his whole countenance tightened with the pain that the movement caused. Kyle's smile dropped and he looked concerned but Heyes tried to make light of it and he accepted the cup. Then he picked up the tin of cookies that Belle had sent him and offered them to his friend. Kyle's face lit up like a child given a puppy and he helped himself to a couple of them to have with his own coffee.

Heyes placed the tin back onto the cot between both of them, indicating that Kyle could help himself whenever he wanted and then they settled in to playing double solitaire. The two friends spent the rest of the evening in this pastime and were quite content to do so. Twenty minutes before evening lock down Murray came by the cell and let it be known that it was time to break it up.

Kyle grabbed one more cookie, sent Heyes a cheeky grin and then headed out the door and down the aisle towards his own cell. Heyes carried on with his solitary game until the buzzer sounded for all the inmates to show themselves at the door of their cells for the night time roll call.

Oh damn, Carson was there, systematically working his way down the row of cells, checking off names as he went. Heyes tried very hard to disappear into thin air, but he knew he wasn't having much luck. As a second option he just made sure he kept his eyes lowered and did nothing to antagonize the guard. He hated to admit that he felt fear towards this man, there weren't too many men whom Hannibal Heyes was afraid of, but Carson had certainly become one of them.

"How ya' feeling tonight Heyes?" Carson just had to ask.

"Fine sir," came the quiet response.

"Uh huh," Carson just smiled, ticked Heyes' name off the list and carried on down the aisle.

Heyes sighed with relief and stepped back into his cell. Ten minutes later the buzzer sounded again, the cell doors all clanged shut and the locks clunked into place. Heyes lay on his cot, staring up into space and feeling very down in the dumps indeed. He started to raise his right arm to place under his head but then quickly thought better of it as the pain shot through his chest and he had to fight to get in a breath of air.

When was this hell he was living in going to be over? 'Never' was the answer that came back to him. Dammit! Even when he tried to do the right thing it ended up being the wrong thing. Maybe he should just give up trying altogether; maybe then these people would just leave him alone.

Maybe Lobo had the right idea. Oh, but Heyes wasn't ready to go there yet—not yet. There was still the hearing to get through and who knows, maybe something good will come from that. Yeah, maybe, who knows? 'Don't give up Hannibal,' he found himself saying. 'Don't give up-not yet.'


When Jed had first received Kenny's telegram, he'd been pleased that the guard had changed his mind about coming forward in person to the hearing. Then after considering it for a few moments, he began to wonder what had happened to bring about the change of heart. Once that thought had occurred to him it just wouldn't let him go and the first chance he got he was back in town, sending a telegram.

'What happened?'

And the simple response;

'He's fine. Discuss later. Lobinskie's dead. Sorry. Knife fight.'

Now that got him really nervous. Oh no! What happened? Lobo probably got himself into a fight and knowing Heyes he got himself into trouble trying to help. Jed really was beginning to hate winters because the snow and cold temperatures kept him isolated from his cousin. Then all it would take was a telegram like this one to get him all antsy and frustrated at this forced inactivity.

Geez it was cold! Jed rubbed his hands together as he made his way over to where his gelding was tired up and waiting for him. He'd decided to call him 'Gov.' Short for governor, of course, thinking that maybe giving the young horse that name might actually bring them some luck. Who knows?

Jed looked up just in time to see Isabelle heading his way, but as soon as she saw him her nose went up in the air and she instantly turned on her heels and headed off in the opposite direction. Jed smiled to himself. Oh well, you can't please everyone. Word had gotten around quite quickly that Jed and Beth were now courting and on the most part the news had been greeted with playful teasing. The majority of the comments having to do with how long it had taken Jed to actually get around to making it official.

Jed just shrugged his shoulders at Isabelle's ignoble attitude and mounting his horse, he headed back out to the Double J to help Sam with the evening chores. Then after supper he was going to retire to his room and sit down to write a letter to his cousin and find out from him just what it was he thought he was playing at!

Heyes;

What the hell are you playing at!? You know who has had a change of heart about you know what and now Kenny says that Lobo got killed in a knife fight! Why is it that I find it hard to believe that you were not involved in all this in some way? What happened? And are you alright?


Jed

Heyes was sitting on his cot that Saturday evening and gave a snort of amusement upon reading the letter from his cousin. Heyes actually had a number of letters scattered about his cot from a number of different people, some wishing him a belated Merry Christmas and others just keeping in touch. There were even some from the orphans that were full of kind words and humorous stories about their Christmas celebration.

They were also quite adamant that Mr. Heyes come to visit again as soon as the weather permits and by all means bring Mr. Curry along too!!! Heyes had to admit that hearing from those youngsters did tend to lift his spirits to some degree, but on the most part his mood was melancholy and had been since the ordeal with Lobo. He just couldn't seem to shake it this time, that feeling of hopelessness. That feeling that nothing was going to improve, nothing was going to change. That he was never going to get out of here!

Still, as mentioned before; Curry's letter, so abrupt and to the point could not help but bring a smile to his face and he settled in right then and there to respond to it. He did not however plan on going into any great detail, especially regarding the punishment as he knew that would only serve to frustrate and worry his cousin even more. So he kept things ambiguous and hoped that it would suffice until spring.

Jed;

I am sorry to say that we did lose Lobo here around Christmas time. He got in to a fight with one of the other inmates and he got stabbed with one of the work knives. I tried to help him, but Lobo being true to form would not let me and he chose to die instead. I still can't decide if that was an act of great bravery or great cowardice. I suppose all I can say is that right from the start he made it clear that he'd rather be dead than be in here and when the opportunity presented itself, he simply took it. So maybe it wasn't brave or cowardly, it just was.
Kyle got himself into an altercation as well on that same day and both the Doc and Kenny are of the opinion that it was a set up to get me into trouble, it being of general knowledge that I had taken both Lobo and Kyle under my protection. And of course, it worked because I did go to assist Kyle and ended up getting into trouble.
All us inmates who were involved with the fight were sent for the usual punishments but all is fine now. I'm okay and so is Kyle so there really isn't anything for you to worry about, 'cause let's face it you've got enough to worry about with that hearing coming up so go give 'em hell, okay!
Looking forward to seeing you in the spring and hopefully there will be some good news. Have you named that damn horse of yours yet?

H. Heyes

Heyes sat back then and re-read the letter and was satisfied that it would do. Just enough of what was normal chaos around this place so as not to set off any alarm bells but still letting him know that some things had indeed happened.

He set that letter aside and picked up another one that was awaiting his attention and saw that it was from Belle. He smiled. If anyone could lift his spirits it was her and since he knew how busy she was at home, any letters from her were all that much more appreciated.

Dear Joshua;

I think we all got hit pretty hard with that winter storm that came through just in time for Christmas. I hope the bad weather did not totally ruin what small enjoyments you get from that season as I'm sure that you all look forward to them a great deal.
The holidays here were of course affected by the storm and Christmas Day was very quiet. No one was going anywhere so of course we did not see Steven and Bridget nor even David and Tricia as everyone was just dug in and waited it out.
We did make the best of it though and dinner was pleasant enough with just the five of us here. Jay is getting so big! He's running everywhere now and talking a blue streak and he is just so fond of Thaddeus. They have plans this spring to go for a ride up to the north range to look at the calves and new foals. Of course Jay is determined that he is going to ride Buck all by himself and be a cowboy just like all the other hired hands!
We did have one sad event take place here near the beginning of this month. Our old hound dog, Rufus died. Of course it wasn't a shock to anyone as he has been slowing down quite a bit over the past year or so and I suppose the winter was just too much for him. I don't believe he suffered really. Thaddeus found him curled up in a nice cozy nest of hay out in the barn with the two little dogs staying by him until we came out to find him.
Of course Beth was quite upset as she is so fond of all the dogs and it took some time for a smile to come back to her face again. Pebbles and Peanut did a lot to try and lift her spirits and whenever she was outside they would be hovering around her and jumping into her lap whenever the opportunity would present itself. It so amazes me still, how animals seem to know when someone they care about is distressed, but of course they were both upset over losing their buddy as well, so I suppose it was a mutual mourning ritual.
I'm sure we will have no trouble finding ourselves another good dog come spring. There are usually one or two neighbours who are quite happy to find homes for new puppies that whelped out during the winter so we will probably have our pick!
Also Sam and Maribelle are expecting again! Sam is of course quite thrilled and everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that everything will go well this time. Thank goodness that Sam's mother is living with them as she has been no end of support for the young couple and is insisting that Maribelle stay off her feet and take it easy, especially through the winter months. David is keeping a close eye on the mother-to-be and is also encouraging her to stay quiet.
Little Daisy is doing well, and actually she's not so little anymore! She's almost caught up to her mother in height and only needs time to lose her gangly legs and baby build before she's going to be quite the looker! She and Beth have a marvellous relationship and indeed it's very humorous to see Beth out in the field with both Daisy and Karma following her around like a pair of large dogs wanting attention! I think that once Daisy is broke out, she and Beth are going to make a real pair!
I believe that is all for now Joshua. I hope you are staying warm and continue to eat enough and that you are staying out of trouble. The hearing is set for the middle of March and everyone is hopeful of a positive outcome, so be patient and have faith.

With much love, Belle

Yeah, be patient and have faith. That's what everyone kept saying, but nobody was saying 'faith in what'. Faith in the system? Yeah, that's a joke. Faith in God? Was there such a thing? Many of the people whom he cared about and respected seemed to think so, but.....Then he supposed that it was faith in his friends that he had to hold on to-at least that was tangible, that was something he could see and hold and know was real. So, yeah. Faith in his friends. Yeah.

The first week of February found Heyes starting to feel better and getting back into his regular routine. He was putting in his usual day over in the infirmary and there were indeed a few patients taking up bed space and keeping the doctor and his assistant relatively busy. Sister Julia was in attendance as well, along with a legitimate novice this time who truly was considering a life in the service of the church and was getting her first taste of tending to the ill and injured at the prison.

Two of the patients who were in the ward at that time were there due to pneumonia and the Sister and the novice were keeping busy tending to their needs. It was of course generally hoped that the two young men would recover fully from their illnesses and be back to their regular duties before the month was out. It had been a bad winter for pneumonia but so far no one had died from it and the medical staff was hoping to keep it that way.

The third patient was Boeman, and he was not sick; he was battered and broken. A mild concussion, a broken arm and two broken ribs to be precise. Nobody knows for sure what happened; he claims he slipped on the icy steps outside—again. Since nobody witnessed it, there was no one to say otherwise. It should be noted though that every time Heyes walked past the bed where that sleeping patient lay, a small self-satisfied smile would twitch at the corner of his mouth and the pecking order had been re-established once again

The novice, Marilyn by name was taking to the tasks at hand like a natural and Sister Julia had high hopes for her. The gruffness of some of the inmates didn't seem to deter her and her gentle care of those who were sick did wonders for the patients' state of mind. Heyes would smile at her whenever they were in close proximity of one another, and even though she had no problem looking the other inmates in the eye, with him she tended to be shy and would always look away. The first opportunity Heyes had to speak to the Sister in private, he asked her why this would be, since the young woman didn't seem to be shy around anyone else. Sister Julia just smiled and placed a reassuring hand on his arm.

"You intimidate her," the Sister informed him gently.

"What?!" Heyes was incredulous. "What did I do?"

"No Joshua," she assured him with a smile. "You didn't 'do' anything. She grew up with her brothers all reading about Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry and the Devil's Hole Gang so she is well aware of who you are."

"Oh," Heyes looked a little embarrassed.

"You must be used to that by now," the Sister stated. "You must know that amongst the younger people you are quite the celebrity."

Heyes nodded. "Yes Sister, I suppose I do," he conceded. "I guess it's just that I don't feel the part. It's understandable with the orphans; they're looking for a role model and I can see how the lives we led could appear to be exciting. But Marilyn is a young woman and should know better."

Sister Julia smiled. "Maybe, maybe not," she surmised most unhelpfully. "Just give her some time to get to know you and she'll get over it."

"Hmm, yeah," Heyes mumbled. "Give her time to see that there's nothing about me that's worth admiring."

"Now that's not what I meant and you know it!" Sister Julia gave him a stern look. "My, but you're down on yourself these days. What's the matter?"

Heyes shrugged and looked down. "I donno."

"You're still missing your friend, aren't you?" she observed. "You've lost so many friends these past few years. It's easy for us to forget about that in our day to day routines and you don't say anything, you just keep it all bottled up inside. No wonder you're feeling down."

Heyes smiled. "Now who am I gonna talk to in here about stuff like that?"

"Oh come on now Joshua really!" Sister Julia was incensed. "You can always talk to me for one, then there's Dr. Slosson. And I know you write home often enough and have people there you can talk to." Then she sighed and looked at him even deeper. "But you know that don't you. What is it Joshua? What is it that you don't want to talk about?"

"It's just...I feel like...." then his mouth hardened into a tight line and he didn't want to say anything more. She would only tell him he was being foolish anyways.

"What Joshua? Please tell me. I won't hold judgement on you."

Heyes looked up at her. There she was, doing it again! That 'woman' thing of reading a man's mind.

Heyes sighed and then took a deep breath. "Just sometimes, not all the time mind you, but sometimes I think that maybe Lobo had the right idea that's all."

"That's all!?" Sister Julia responded with raised eyebrows. "Joshua please tell me you're not seriously contemplating that."

Heyes smiled at her. "No Sister, I'm not. Like I said, sometimes I wonder, that's all."

She smiled and patted his arm. "Alright," she accepted that. "But promise me that you'll come talk to one of us if you ever start to feel seriously about doing something like that. Okay?"

Heyes flashed his dimples and nodded. "Yes Sister, I promise."

"Good."

"HEYES!"

Kenny Reece had been off for a few days in exchange for the enforced overtime that he'd had to put in over Christmas. He had returned to work feeling rested and optimistic, until he found out that Boeman was back in the infirmary all broken up. Slipped on the stairs?--again! Wasn't that interesting?!

Heyes jerked his head around at the angry beckoning. Then when he saw that guard coming at him with his bully club out, and intentions of use written all over it, he panicked! He felt the Sister grab hold of his shirt sleeve, but he pulled away from her and spinning he tried to make a run for it. But of course, there was nowhere to run to!

Kenny was on him in an instant and giving him a push, he shoved the inmate into the nearest wall then spun him around and had that bully club length ways across his throat!

"What the hell are you playing at Heyes?!"

"What?" Heyes croaked, he had to struggle a little bit to get the words out, but angry as Kenny was he still only used enough pressure to hold Heyes against the wall and not to choke him. "What'd I do?"

"What did you do!?" Kenny repeated and he pulled Heyes away from the wall and used the bully club to point over to the unconscious Boeman. "You retaliated didn't ya' Heyes'! You just had to get back at him for Lobinskie, didn't ya'!"

"But it was Harris who did...."

Kenny pushed him back into the wall again and leaned into him, staring him in the eye. Heyes dropped his gaze. He knew better than to fight against a guard—even Kenny, or maybe especially Kenny.

"Don't play me for a fool!" Kenny yelled at him. "Harris is Boeman's puppet! You know that just as sure as I do! You went after him didn't ya'! You waited until you had him alone and then you hit him, didn't ya'! And don't you even think about lying to me Heyes! You did it, didn't ya'!"

"ALRIGHT!" Heyes was getting mad now. "Alright! I did it!"

"Oh Joshua...." Heyes tried to ignore the disappointment in the Sister's tone.

"I thought you were smarter than this Heyes!" Kenny was still seething. "We are this close to a hearing and you pull stuff like this!? How do you expect us to get any kind of justice at all if you keep insisting on dealing out your own brand of revenge!?"

"JUSTICE!?" The anger and resentment that Heyes hadn't even realized he was repressing flared out. "WHAT JUSTICE?! Boeman, Harris and Mackenzie conspired to gang up on my men! THEY KILLED LOBO! And all they got was a slap on the wrist and a stint in the dark cell! I accidentally strike a guard and I got hung from the ceiling like a slab of meat! HOW'S THAT JUSTICE!?"

"It wasn't," Kenny admitted. "It wasn't justice. That's what this hearing is all about isn't it? I thought you understood that. You keep on telling Jed that he has to start doing things the legal way now. That he can't go back to doing things the way you did when you were outlaws. But then you turn around and do exactly that yourself! Is Carson right Heyes? Is the only way to get you to see reason is to break you? Do you want me to join forces with Carson to crush you into the ground?"

"No." Real fear whispered in his tone. "God no."

"Then you are going to have to start thinking!" Kenny told him. "You are going to have to stop this bullxxxx! Because right now Heyes, you are still acting like the outlaw that you were, which makes me think that maybe you still are that outlaw. That you are never going to change! That you are never going to be safe to release back into society! That you are always going to be dangerous and unpredictable!"

Kenny was startled out of his anger by Heyes' reaction to those words. The inmate flinched as though he'd been struck and the blood drained from his face.

"That's what the judge said."

"What?"

"The judge at my trial," Heyes breathed. "just before he sentenced me to life in this hell hole he said that I was a dangerous man with no real intentions of reformation."

Silence weighed heavy in the infirmary. "Well, you're doing a good job of proving him right," Kenny commented quietly

"I'm never going to get outa here," Heyes mumbled miserably.

Kenny released a heavy sighed. He ran a hand through his short hair and turned around to suddenly be brought up short by the numerous pairs of eyes that had been focused on the argument.

"Oh crap," he mumbled. Then; "Sister, I apologize. I didn't realize you had your novice with you today. I'm sorry miss. I don't usually lose my temper like that."

Marilyn smiled at him accepting his apology, but still hovered close to Sister Julia all the same. Kenny sighed again and then glanced back at the inmate.

"Carry on with you duties Heyes," he said. "We'll talk later, when I'm not quite so pissed off with you."

Heyes nodded, looking dejected. Kenny walked on towards the far exit and sent Morin an acknowledgement as he went.

"Doc. See ya' later."

"Kenny."

Then the whole room breathed a collective sigh of relief and Morin smiled over at his assistant.

"Well Heyes," he said. "I bet you're wishing I still had that bottle of whiskey around here somewhere, ain't ya'?

By the time Heyes' next shift in the laundry room came by Kenny had still not made a point of coming around to talk with him. In fact, it seemed to the inmate that the guard was doing everything he could to avoid speaking to him. Heyes was getting anxious about the whole situation. He'd been walking around with a guilty knot in his gut ever since Kenny had come to visit him in the infirmary and it was just getting worse as time went on.

Finally Heyes decided that it was time to clear the air and get things settled. Sometime around mid-morning Kenny strode into the laundry room casually tossing a balled up pair of socks into the air and catching them—then repeating. Heyes glanced up from folding dish towels and Kenny stopped tossing the socks and sent a speculative look over to the inmate.

“Funny thing,” Kenny commented. “but there's something about a pair of socks falling from above and hitting me on the top of the head that makes me think that someone in the laundry room wants to have a word.”

Heyes looked sheepish. “Yessir Mr. Reece,” he admitted, then shrugged his shoulders. “Sorry.”

“Well at least it was socks and not the iron.”

Heyes twitched a smile. “Yessir.”

“What's on your mind Heyes?”

Heyes looked uncomfortable; he wasn't used to having to backtrack on his choices. He was still too used to being the boss, and being the boss meant that you were always right—even when you were wrong.

“Ahhumm,” was the feeble beginning. “I just wanted to apologize.”

“Oh yes? For what?” Kenny was not going to make this easy on him.

Heyes slumped in defeat, rolling his eyes. “For....going after Boeman.”

Silence. Obviously Kenny was waiting for something more.

“I just...Ahhumm.” This was proving to be harder than he thought. Then he took a deep breath and decided to go for broke. “It's always been that way for me. Ever since my folks died, I was the one in charge, I was the one responsible for looking out after others. At first it was just Kid but then it became more than just him. Even in the Plummer gang, it was me who was responsible for opening the safe, for providing the 'payday'. Everyone was counting on me, you see? If I failed then the whole gang went hungry.
“Then we were at Devil's Hole and it was the same situation again. Big Jim counted on me to get the safe open, quickly and safely. It was all on me. The better I got at what I did then the more Big Jim and the gang counted on me to do the job right. So, when Jim and a couple of the other fellas got arrested and sent to prison, it just came as the natural next step for me to take over and continue to run things. Only now I was responsible for not only seeing the plan through, but for coming up with the plans in the first place.
"I had to—don't ya' see? I had to be on top of everything and everybody. Our very survival depended upon it. And then on top of that, there's always somebody who wants to take over so I had to be tough I couldn't let any of them think that they could contradict me or defy my orders so if any of them tried it I had to retaliate instantly. It was just...that's the way it was.
“You saw what Lobo was like and he wasn't really an exception. Most of the men I had to control were hard and some were downright mean and wouldn't hesitate to slit my throat if they thought they could get away with it. You have to be brutal sometimes and you have to be ruthless just to keep them in line.
"I don't think I could have done it without the Kid backing me up. But that's the way it was, the way it's always been. Kid and I, we looked after each other, but I was still the leader, I was still responsible. Whether it was just for the Kid or for the whole gang, it has always fallen to me to be responsible and to make sure everybody got enough to eat. And to try and make sure nobody got killed.
“When you've been doing something a certain way all your life, it's kinda hard to stop. Somebody goes against me or mine, it's just second nature now to set it straight.”

Kenny nodded as he took all this in.

“Yeah,” he finally acknowledged this testimonial. “You've had a hard life Heyes, I know that. Nobody's denying it. You had to be tough to survive, I know. I see it all the time in here, with the people who come and go from this place. But you have a couple of things going for you that those others didn't have and I suppose because of that, I expect more from you.”

Heyes smirked a little bit. “What have I got?” he asked sardonically. “What's makes me so special?”

“Jeez Heyes. Don't you know?”

Heyes shrugged and shook his head.

“Well, for one thing you've got friends,” Kenny pointed out. “Friends who are staying true to the cause and who are willing to do whatever it takes to help you. That in itself should be enough to make you realize that this isn't just all about you. You have an obligation to hold up your end in this and to not do stupid things that are only going to create more problems and make your friends' jobs all that much more difficult.”

Heyes stood silently, staring off into the middle distance, or at least as far as he could inside the laundry room. Hadn't Abi said something similar to that in her last letter to him? Basically telling him not to be so bloody selfish; that he had friends who were worried about him and he had some responsibility towards them to keep himself safe, etc. etc. Now here was Kenny reprimanding him for the same self-serving behaviour. Heavy sigh. Everybody kept telling him the same thing over and over again and it just didn't seem to be sinking in.

“Then, for another thing.....Heyes?” Kenny got the inmate's attention focused back onto him. “You're smart. You've got to be the smartest man I've ever known. Too smart for your own good it seems sometimes. So smart that you end up doing stupid things because you think you're still in control. You think you're still running the show.”

Heyes snorted. “How could I be running the show from in here?”

“Exactly,” Kenny agreed. “But you're so used to being in charge that you still insist on acting as though you still are—even though, as you say; how could you be from in here? And yet you're constantly thinking, you're constantly trying to get your own way. You know what the rules are and you're always trying to find a way around them and not get caught.”

Heyes subconsciously wiped the palms of his hands against his trousers. Suddenly they were feeling sweaty.

“Yeah, I suppose,” he conceded. “Everybody keeps telling me to let go—to take a subordinate role in these events and I keep on agreeing to do that, but I'm beginning to think that I don't know how. I'm trying to. I mean it when I agree to it—but then I just carry on doing what I always do. I don't know how not to." He sighed dejectedly and again hesitated while he thought about how much of himself he should reveal and then shrugging his shoulders, he continued. "I can never get my mind to shut down."

"What?" This odd confession took Kenny by surprise. "What do you mean?"

"This brilliant mind that everyone keeps saying is so wonderful," Heyes explained. "It won't turn off. Oh, I've learned certain techniques to quiet it down at night so that usually I find a way to get to sleep." He smiled reflectively. "Dr. Slosson has helped me out with that quite a bit. But still, some nights I don't get to sleep at all. You all comment on how hard I am to handle when I have nothing to do, but I don't mean to be—my mind just won't settle and sometimes it just about drives me crazy."

Kenny looked perplexed; this was a new one on him. "Have you spoken to Dr. Morin about this?"

"Yeah, a bit," Heyes admitted a little self-consciously. "He'll give me a low dose sleeping draft for when it's really bad, but he says the more I use that the less effective it will be so it's better if I can find another way. But, the point is that I'm always thinking about solving puzzles because I have no choice. My mind just won't shut down." Then Heyes became reflective again. "I suppose that's where my problems lie; it's become second nature to me now to just start scheming. I guess, maybe what I need to do is change the direction my mind wants to go in."

“See? I told ya' you were smart,” Kenny pointed out with a smile. “Now that you've thought about it you've been able to see for yourself where your problems lie. Now maybe you can start doing something about them.”

“Yeah? How?”

“Turn the other cheek,” Kenny suggested lightly. “If Boeman or Harris antagonize you, let them. Like you said; force your mind off into another direction. Instead of thinking about how to get back at someone, think about clever ways to avoid them. There's more at stake here now than just your pride Heyes. A lot more at stake.”

“Yeah.”

“I've noticed that you don't feel the need to go after Carson and yet he has done you more damage than anybody,” Kenny observed. “Why is that Heyes? Is it just because he's a guard or do you accept him as the boss and you don't want to go against him—or is it something else?”

“Ahhh, well....” Heyes thought about that for a moment. “You remember that day you found me laid out in here all bruised up with a cracked rib?”

“Yup,” Kenny nodded. “I've often wondered what that was all about.”

“Yeah, well...that was Carson letting me know what would happen if I even thought about going after him,” Heyes explained. “And I for one, believed him.”

“Ah!” Kenny nodded again in understanding. “Hold that thought Heyes. And maybe try and extend it to Boeman and Harris.”

Heyes snorted.

“Yeah, I know,” Kenny continued. “But if you convince yourself that retaliating against those two would bring about the same repercussions as going after Mr. Carson then maybe you can convince yourself to leave them alone.”

“Yeah,” Heyes sounded sceptical.

“It might surprise you to know that Murtry is actually doing alright on his own,” Kenny informed him. “He's made friends in here and even those who are not his friends, recognize him as a 'non-combatant' and are willing to leave him in peace.” Then Kenny became reflective. “Did it ever occur to you that it was you making sure that everyone knew that Murtry and Lobinskie were under your protection that caused them to be singled out that day?”

“You saying that it's my fault that Lobo was killed?”

“No,” Kenny assured him quietly. “Lobinskie did that to himself. He made it clear right from the start what his intentions were and unfortunately once an inmate decides that he'd rather be dead than in here there's not much we can do to prevent him from suiciding. Even if we tie him to his cot and lock him in his cell, sooner or later he'll find a way.
“ The point I'm trying to make Heyes is that if you had left it alone, well they would have had to go through the usual initiation, you know, but after that well, Murtry at least would probably have been alright. It's only because Boeman knew that he could get to you through Murtry that he was singled out. And you just played right into it. You're smart enough to know better Heyes, but you walked right into the trap anyways.”

Heyes became a little bit defensive here. “I couldn't just stand by and let Kyle get beat up! Especially after what had just happened to Lobo!”

“But he wouldn't have been getting beat up if you hadn't taken on the role as his protector!” Kenny was getting frustrated. He knew that Heyes was trying to wrap his mind around this concept, but it was so foreign to his usual mind set that he was having a hard time with it. “If you had just let things be, allowed Murtry to find his footing in here on his own then Boeman wouldn't have had a weapon to use against you. Do you understand what I'm saying here?”

Heyes was standing with creased brow and looking perplexed. He was taking in Kenny's words and being as quick as he was on the intellectual level, it didn't take long for the epiphany to hit him right between the eyes. Then he groaned with the realization of what a fool he had been.

“I just keep falling back onto my old habits, don't I?” he mumbled. “I don't even realize I'm doing it but I just keep making the same mistakes over and over again.”

“Yeah,” Kenny smiled. “but I'm told that the first step in correcting bad habits is to realize what they are in the first place. You just have to try and let go of this need in you to be in control. I know it's hard—it's not what you're used to, but you really do need to step back. And to be quite honest, I think that Mr. Murtry is quite capable of getting through his sentence on his own. You're right in that he is not that bright—but he is likeable. He is a most unusual outlaw.”

Heyes laughed out loud. “He is that!”

“So you see, you don't need to be in control of everything,” Kenny continued. “You can relax.” Then he smiled. “For your first lesson in humility maybe you should try making friends with that old tom cat.”

Heyes' smile dropped. He didn't like the sound of that at all.

Kenny continued to grin as he tossed the pair of socks over to the inmate and then turned to go.

“Carry on, Mr. Heyes. You're doing a fine job here.”

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Keays

Keays

Posts : 1447
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 62
Location : Camano Island Washington

The Hearing  Chapter twenty-eight Empty
PostSubject: The Hearing   The Hearing  Chapter twenty-eight EmptySat Nov 02, 2013 10:05 pm

It could not have been a chillier more damp day than if they'd actually put in a request for such. At least it wasn't snowing! Jed, Lom, Beth and Clementine were sitting in the foyer of the Cheyenne courthouse, trying to warm up and waiting for the council room to become available. Steven and Bridget were already there—somewhere; Steven probably getting some last minute things arranged for the hearing that was scheduled to start in about half an hour. Jed was nervous which is not surprising, considering how much was riding on what was being presented on this day and what the outcome could mean for one inmate in particular and the whole Auburn Prison System in general.

They knew that Mac hadn't been able to attend, which hadn't been much of a surprise what with the foul weather and all, and he really didn't have much more to offer than what he had already stated at Jed's trial two years ago. Jed hoped it was going to be enough. Beth was concerned that she wasn't going to come across as plausible and was repeatedly going over and over her own testimony in her mind just to make sure she wasn't going to forget anything. Kenny was around somewhere and had the reports from Dr. Morin and from Sister Julia to back up much of what others were going to be stating first hand. But that was about all they had and everyone was concerned that it might not be enough. Then Jed turned to look down the hall way when a familiar but totally unexpected voice called out to him.

“Kid! Hey Kid! It's good to see ya'!”

“Harry?!” Jed was incredulous. “What are you doin' here?”

“Well that lawyer—ah, Mr. Granger—now he finally got hold of me and asked if I was still interested in giving my testimonial about you two. How could I say 'no'?! What I have to say could make all the difference here, ya' know!”

“Ah, yeah, I know,” Jed commented dryly. Then he looked over to Beth as she stood up to greet the newcomer. “Ah, Beth, darlin' this is Harry Briscoe, he's a detective with the Bannerman Detective Agency. Ah, Harry, this is Beth Jordan. She's a friend. ”

“Why, hello Mr. Briscoe,” Beth greeted him with a smile and an outreached hand for shaking. “I must admit that I am quite familiar with your name. It's a pleasure to meet you.”

“Why, yes ma'am, ” Harry shook her hand and tipped his hat. “I'm sure it must be quite a thrill to meet a real life detective.”

“Yes,” Beth repeated with a smile. “I have certainly heard a lot about you.”

“And this is Miss Clementine Hale,” Jed continued with the introductions. “Another long time friend.”

“How do you do Miss Hale,” Harry took her hand and gave if a soft kiss and then smiled appreciatively at her.

Clem being Clem flirted back at him and gave him her most charming smile
.
“Why, hello Mr. Brisco. How very nice to meet you,” she stated. “Are you here to help our friend as well?”

“Why, yes ma'am,” Harry agreed still smiling at the pretty woman. “Stand by your friends is what I always say! Yessir! Friends are what matter—so you gotta stand by 'em! Yes ma'am.”

Clementine smiled sweetly but then discreetly removed her hand from Harry's embrace and returned to her seat on the bench to continue with their wait. She liked men, but one has to draw the line somewhere!

Jed was just introducing Lom to the new arrival when Steven and Bridget showed up and announced that the chamber that was reserved for their particular hearing was ready to receive them now. Everybody took deep breaths and nervously started to straighten hair and smooth out imagined wrinkles from their fine clothing. Beth brushed Jed's shoulders and straightened his tie. He have her a bit of a nervous smile.

“Wish me luck darlin',” he mumbled to her.

She smiled. “Luck darlin'”

His smile broadened and he gave her a hug. “Back at ya'.”

The group started to head down the hallway following Steven since he seemed to be the only one who had any idea as to how things worked here. Everybody felt out of place, not just Jed, although Harry as usual was trying to put on a big show of being in charge. Nobody was listening to him. Finally Steven turned to a large set of double wooden doors which he opened inwards and then ushered everybody through.

None of the officials were present yet so the group had a chance to get settled in chairs lined up at a long table that had been set up for their use. There was a second table much the same as the first with it's own set of chairs, facing the first table so that the officials, once they arrived and got settled would be facing the presenters. Everybody quietly took their seats and got settled while some of them who had brought notes with them now opened up their satchels and started to get the paperwork organized.

It was definitely a subdued group as the atmosphere in the room was one of not only nervousness over the importance of their mission, but as in most government proceedings, the air of wealth and power—and intimidation lingered over everyone.

Beth smiled as she noticed Kenny Reece bringing up the rear of the group as they all headed in and got settled. She still appreciated what a fine looking 'older' man he was and now especially when he was wearing a suit instead of his guard's uniform, she thought that he looked especially handsome. Jed smiled at seeing him just for the fact that he had actually shown up and as Kenny came over to sit beside Jed, he shook the guard's hand in relief
.
“Kenny, thank goodness,” Jed exclaimed quietly, the room itself encouraging soft tones. “I was afraid you'd gotten lost or decided not to come after all—or something!”

“No no,” Kenny assured him as he sat down. “I was just getting the other testimonials over to the board members so that they would have a chance to look over those statements before we got under way here.”

“Ah,” Jed nodded. “Do you think we have enough?”

“I sure hope so,” Kenny said with a sigh and then started to get his own notes ready. “I'd hate to think that I've put so much on the line just to have it amount to nothing but trouble.”

“Yeah.”

Just then the far door behind the second long table opened up and six very official looking gentlemen made their way into the chamber and got themselves settled at their table. There was some subtle coughing and rustling of papers and then it appeared that the assembly was ready to proceed. The rather large man with the rather large white whiskers who had taken the seat in the middle of the table now called the meeting to order and the hearing got underway.

“Mr. Granger,” the whiskers said. “is everyone here who wishes to be a part of this hearing?”

Steven stood up. “Yes sir Mr. Ludlow. Everyone is present.”

“Fine,” Mr. Ludlow rumbled. “I will introduce the other members of the board and then we shall proceed. On my far right is Mr. Simons, then Mr. Douglas, Mr. Wilton. On my left is seated Mr. Brewster and next to him is Mr. Dalton. Now, if each speaker here would identify themselves at the time they present their statements that would be fine. So, Mr. Granger if you would please state the reason for this hearing.”

“Yes sir, Mr. Ludlow,” Steven responded. “We are here to present an argument concerning the justifications of the Auburn Prison System and to question it's legitimacy and effectiveness in the treatment and long term affects on persons incarcerated in the Wyoming Territorial Prison.
“ We also wish to challenge the ruling handed down in the specific case of Hannibal Heyes concerning the length of his sentence along with the ineligibility of parole that came with it. We feel that the sentence handed down to him was extreme to say the least and should be reconsidered.”

“Fine Mr. Granger,” Ludlow acknowledged the statement. “We will begin with the overall concerns about the prison system itself if you will. Carry on.”

“Yes sir,” Steven agreed. “We would like to present for consideration to the board the suggestion that the Auburn System of dealing with inmates is archaic, and also the way the system is set up not only allows for, but encourages abuses both physical and psychological to be inflicted upon the inmates in the guise of 'punishment'. I am also presenting to the board the suggestion that the wardens in charge of the prisons are allowed too much freedom in how they interpret the guidelines that have been laid down in the management of those prisons. Stricter overviews of how these institutions are being run need to be put in place.
“We have come here today prepared to present eyewitness accounts of unwarranted punishments being inflicted upon inmates by the guards. We intend to argue that many of these punishments could be more accurately described as torture inflicted out of a personal vendetta rather than any legitimate desire to discourage certain behaviour or to insure the safety of prison personnel.
“So, with this end in mind I would like to call upon Miss Beth Jordan to give her eyewitness account of an unwarranted assault inflicted upon one of the inmates.”

Then Steven nodded over to Beth and sat down, leaving the floor open for her. Beth swallowed nervously, but Jed gave her hand an encouraging squeeze and she stood up to present her accounting.

“Good afternoon,” she began quietly. “Ahhumm, my name is Beth Jordan and....”

“Speak up please miss,” Mr. Ludlow requested. “We can't hear you.”

“Oh! Sorry,” Beth blushed and Jed gave her hand another squeeze under the table. “My name is Beth Jordan,” she repeated with a little bit more volume. “and I've been a friend of Joshua's for a number of years now.....”

“Excuse me,” Mr. Ludlow interrupted her again. “Who is 'Joshua” and how does he relate to this case?”

“Oh! No I mean, Mr. Heyes—Hannibal Heyes,” Beth stammered. “I'm sorry, I'm accustomed to calling him by his alias. I mean, that's the name I have known him by for a long time now.”

“Yes miss,” Ludlow acknowledged that. “But for the benefit of those of us present who are only familiar with Mr. Heyes' legal name I suggest that you stick to that for the duration of this hearing. However you wish to refer to Mr. Heyes on your own time is of course your business.”

“Yes of course,” Beth agreed. “I'll try to remember. Anyway...I was in the prison infirmary and saw....”

“Excuse me,” Ludlow interrupted her again. “You were in the prison infirmary? How is it that a young lady such as yourself was inside the prison infirmary?”

“I was there assisting Sister Julia with the care of some of the inmates,” Beth explained. “I was considering taking on a life of service to the church and Sister Julia was kind enough to allow me to help her in her duties so that I could get some experience and see if it was the life I truly wanted.”

“And was it?” Ludlow asked her.

Beth dropped her gaze for a moment. “No, I don't think so.”

“Alright Miss Jordan, carry on,” Ludlow instructed her. “What did you see in the prison infirmary?”

“Well they beat him for no reason!”

Ludlow sighed. “You'll have to be more precise than that miss. Who beat who?”

“Oh, yes of course,” Beth mumbled. “I do seem to be making a mess of this.”

“That's alright Miss Jordan,” Ludlow encouraged her. “Just relax and take your time. And please try to be precise as to who did what.”

“Yes, I will,” Beth promised and she glanced down at Jed sitting beside her. He smiled up at her and continued to hold her hand. She took a deep breath. “I saw the senior guard, Mr. Carson beat up on Mr. Heyes for no reason. Mr. Heyes had only been doing his job as the doctor's assistant and the guard was accusing him of breaking a number of rules and therefore deserved to be punished. But the punishment was brutal and undeserved and seemed to be more of a personal vendetta to me rather than a....”

“Just state the facts as you saw them Miss Jordan,” Ludlow reminded her. “Your personal feelings in the matter are not relevant at this point. How do you know that the punishment was undeserved? If the guard stated that Mr. Heyes had broken certain rules then it seems to me that the guard was within his rights to delve out punishment.”

Beth took another deep breath and told herself to get a grip. She had to start making sense here or none of what she had to say would be of any use.

“I was with Sister Julia in the infirmary helping with some of the duties there when one of the guards came in to say that the doctor was needed on the work floor. Apparently there had been a fight amongst the inmates and one of the men had been stabbed. Dr. Morin grabbed some essentials and we all went to the work floor to tend to the emergency. When we got there, there was a man on the floor with one of the work knives in his side. Mr. Heyes was kneeling beside him, putting pressure on the wound to try and stop the bleeding. The atmosphere was very stressful, apparently one of the other guards had tried to pull the knife out and Mr. Heyes had stopped him from doing so....”

Again Mr. Ludlow stopped her. “Did you actually see this Miss Jordan? You have just stated that when you arrived in the work area, Mr. Heyes was beside the injured man and tending to him. Now you say that he had to stop another guard from pulling out the knife. Did you actually see the guard do this?”

“Oh no,” Beth admitted. “That had happened before we arrived there. All I saw was Josh....Hannibal trying to tend to the injured man. And Mr. Reece was there and supporting what Hannibal was doing. Then of course, Dr. Morin and Sister Julia moved in and took over and we carried the injured man back to the infirmary.”

“Fine Miss Jordan,” Ludlow encouraged her. “Carry on. But please, try to stick with what you personally witnessed—not what you think happened, but what you know for yourself, did happened.”

“Yes sir,” Beth agreed. “We got the injured man into the infirmary and then Dr. Morin, Sister Julia and Hannibal went about treating him. When he was finally resting quietly, Hannibal went to sit over by the counter and Dr. Morin went to speak with him—I don't know what they were saying but it seemed friendly enough. I saw Josh...I mean Hannibal smile.”
And here Beth smiled herself at the memory of seeing her friend looking pleased. “Then Dr. Morin left to do paper work or something, and Mr. Reece had also left the infirmary to go back to his duties. It was at this time that Mr. Carson and one of the other guards entered the infirmary and approached Hannibal. Everybody became quite nervous, you could just feel it in the air that something bad was going to happen.
“ The two guards sort of trapped Hannibal between them so that he couldn't get away and then they started to talk to him. But it wasn't friendly—it was very threatening. They accused him of breaking rules out on the work floor and the fact that he was doing his duty as the medical assistant didn't seem to matter to them; they were determined to find fault with his behaviour.
“Sister Julia tried to talk reason with them but they shut her out. Dr. Morin returned and tried to stop the harassment as well, but Mr. Carson just pushed him down. And then they started to....”
Beth stopped talking for a moment, sudden emotion at the recollection of the beating catching her in the throat and threatening to strangle off her words. She squeezed Jed's hand even tighter and then swallowing down the knot, she continued.
“They beat him! He had done nothing—he had been totally submissive to them and they beat him with those awful clubs! Even after he went down and had rolled in a ball trying to protect himself they carried on kicking him!”

Beth's other hand went to her mouth as she fought to hold back the sob that threatened to burst forth. She so hated that about herself—this tendency to start crying when things got difficult or upsetting. She had to gain more self control! She fought against the emotions and finally took a deep breath and looked over to Mr. Ludlow.

“I had to stop them,” she stated matter-of-factually. “I couldn't just stand there and watch that beating go on!”

“You had to stop them Miss Jordan?” Ludlow asked her. “What do you mean?”

“I got in between them,” she again stated bluntly. “I told them to stop hurting him!”

There were some smiles passed amongst the board members as they tried to picture this slip of a young woman standing up to two prison guards in order to protect her friend.

“And did they stop?” Ludlow asked.

“Yes, they did,” Beth admitted. “Then Dr. Morin was back on his feet and he told them to get out! That they had overstepped their authority and that the warden was going to hear about it. Mr. Carson said something else to Hannibal at that time, but I don't know what it was. Then they left.”

“Alright Miss Jordan, thank you,” Mr. Ludlow said. “You may sit down. Now, I have Dr. Morin's statement here that pretty much supports what Miss Jordan has said, but he was not on the floor himself at the time of the apparent assault upon the guard—a Mr. Thompson, I believe. Mr. Granger, do you have an eyewitness to that assault?”

“Yes sir, I do.” Steven announced and nodded to Kenny.

Kenny stood up then and introduced himself.

“Good afternoon gentlemen,” he greeted the board. “My name is Ken Reece and I've been a guard at the Wyoming Territorial Prison for close to twenty years now. I've seen a lot of things go on there that I feel at this point should not be allowed to continue. But, I will focus on this incident in particular for now as it does demonstrate the typical attitude of some of the guards towards the inmates.
“I was on the floor that day when Mr. Ames was stabbed in a fight between himself and another undisclosed inmate. The knife had entered Mr .Ames here.” and Kenny indicated on his own ribcage where the knife wound had been.
“Mr. Ames was lying on the floor obviously in a great deal of pain and Mr. Thompson, one of the junior guards approached the inmate and had grabbed hold of the knife handle with the apparent intentions of pulling the weapon out. Mr. Heyes, who is the medical assistant for Dr. Morin recognized this act as being detrimental to the welfare of the injured man and came forward to stop the action.
“He told the guard first to not pull the knife out, but when Mr. Thompson ignored him, Mr. Heyes physically pushed him away and then stepped in to apply pressure to the wound until Dr. Morin and the Sister arrived to take over. Mr. Thompson took exception to this treatment from an inmate and began to beat Mr. Heyes across the shoulders with his club at which point I stepped in to stop this assault.
“As the official medical assistant Mr. Heyes was well within his rights to do whatever was necessary to insure the proper treatment of an injured man. It is generally accepted that the usual rules for an inmate's conduct are suspended when an injured man's life is a stake and that was indeed the case here. Dr. Morin later commented that Mr. Heyes' actions out on the work floor saved the injured man's life.
“It is also generally accepted that when the medical assistant is in the infirmary tending to his duties there that he is not subject to the rules that he would be when out on the work floor tending to his regular duties. Mr. Carson was not within his rights to accuse the inmate of breaking any rules and was certainly not within his rights to delve out punishment in that manner.
“If there had been some dispute over the legitimacy of Mr. Heyes' actions that day then Mr. Carson should have taken them up with Warden Mitchell. Which at that point if it had been deemed appropriate proper punishment would have been ordered and it would have been executed in a controlled fashion. Done as it was, it can only be called an act of unprovoked abuse against a man who was only doing his duty.
“Since that incident, I'm sorry to say, there has been another event take place that became the deciding factor for me to attend this hearing. There was a fight involving a number of the inmates, including Mr. Heyes with one death resulting from this fight. The death was not caused by Mr. Heyes, again he tried to do what he could to save the man, but he was unable to. Mr. Heyes' other actions in this particular incident did warrant some form of punishment but not to the extent that it was ultimately given. “Indeed it is my opinion that what Mr. Carson inflicted upon Mr. Heyes that day could only be called 'torture' and went far beyond what would have been considered appropriate punishment for the misdeeds perpetrated.”

At this point in Kenny's testimony Jed was suddenly sitting up with interest. Heyes had said nothing about torture in his last letter. Indeed, it had just been a casual mention of 'the usual punishment' for fighting. What had happened that Heyes felt he could not tell his best friend and partner about it?

“That is a rather dangerous accusation to make Mr. Reece,” Mr. Ludlow cautioned him. “Are you sure you wish to continue with this line?”

“Yes sir, Mr. Ludlow,” Kenny was adamant. “I believe that it is important for this incident to be brought to light so that the members of this board will have a clear understanding of what is happening in our prisons.”

“Alright Mr. Reece,” Ludlow agreed. “You still hold the floor.”

Kenny nodded and then stood quietly for a moment to collect his thoughts. Then he took a deep breath and began his narrative.

“You need to understand that in a prison society there is a certain pecking order amongst the inmates,” Kenny explained. “This pecking order is usually established through body language and intimidation and rarely escalates into actual physical fighting. Unfortunately in the case of Hannibal Heyes and another inmate, Frank Boeman this contest of wills often did end up in a physical conflict.
“Usually the aggressor was Boeman and usually it was Boeman who lost these battles and ended up having to accept the submissive role at least where Heyes was concerned. Unfortunately Mr. Boeman was not content to let things lay and he partnered up with another inmate, Carl Harris and together they waited for an appropriate moment and then ambushed Mr. Heyes with what can only be called 'murderous' intent.
“The resulting fight in that instance was brutal and far reaching. It not only caused serious injury to the three main antagonists, but it also created a riot situation which needed a very aggressive assault from the contingent of guards on duty at the time in order to quell it.
“I bring this situation to the board members' attention simply to demonstrate the ongoing antagonism that underlies the relationships between those three inmates. Heyes was the established alpha whether he wanted the position or not. Boeman realized that he was no match for Heyes in a 'fair' fight and using Harris to try and blindside him hadn't worked either. On top of that, their efforts to get Heyes alone and gang up on him also weren't working. Heyes was just too smart for that and could generally see an ambush coming long before the trap could be sprung and he simply avoided them.
“Then, two new inmates arrived at the prison. Mr. Lobinskie and Mr. Murtry were members of the Devil's Hole Gang. As you gentlemen of the board are aware, I'm sure; Hannibal Heyes had been the leader of that gang for a number of years. So, of course he not only knew Lobinskie and Murtry but also felt some responsibility for them once they had been incarcerated into the prison. Indeed Heyes let it be known that the two new inmates were under his protection and anyone messing with them would ultimately be messing with him.
“Everything stayed reasonably quiet through the fall and into winter but Boeman was waiting for an opportunity to retaliate against Heyes and when that opportunity presented itself, Mr. Boeman was quick to send in his lackeys to draw Mr. Heyes into an altercation. Unfortunately, it worked.
“Mr. Boeman wisely stayed out of it, sending in Mr. Harris and another inmate, Mr. MacKenzie to do the dirty work. They attacked Mr. Lobinskie first in order to get Heyes' attention and to draw him out and force him into a response. In that initial confrontation, Mr. Lobinskie received a fatal wound and despite Heyes' efforts to save his life, he died right there on the work floor.
“Then the second stage of the campaign was set in motion with Harris and MacKenzie ganging up on Mr. Murtry. As you can imagine, Heyes' emotions were running high by now and even though he was aware that it was a set-up, he none the less went to the defence of his other friend. The four way battle that ensued was fierce to say the least. Heyes' blood was up and he was fighting for his life and for the life of his friend.
“Now, Mr. Thompson who, as I mentioned earlier is a junior guard and not very experienced, but likes to think that he is decided that he was going to simply step in and break up the fight. Mr. Thompson, without identifying himself first as a guard put a hand on Heyes' back and that inmate, still in a fight lust, swung on the guard and struck him on the top of the shoulder, breaking his collar bone.”

Kid groaned at this point, shaking his head. So much for Heyes staying out of trouble.

“As soon as Heyes had realized what he had done, he became passive and backed off the guard,” Kenny continued, ignoring Jed's grumble. “Unfortunately the other guards in attendance did not back off and they beat Heyes into the floor and ultimately had to be ordered off of him by the senior guard, Mr. Carson.
“At this point, I was becoming very concerned for the safety of Mr. Heyes. As already exhibited to the members of the board by Miss Jordan, Mr. Carson can be overly aggressive when dealing with Mr. Heyes. Heyes is a very intelligent and charismatic individual and unfortunately Mr. Carson tends to resent those qualities in an inmate and will do everything he can to squash them, to break them as it were. All under the guise of legitimate punishment.
“In this instance, I'm sorry to say, Mr. Carson went too far. I am agreeable to the argument that Mr. Heyes was deserving of some form of punishment for fighting and for striking a guard, albeit accidentally. But Mr. Carson overstepped his authority in this case and, as mentioned before, it is what transpired next that convinced me to step forward and bring to light some the abuses that have been taking place at the prison.”

Kenny hesitated once again and glanced regretfully over to Jed and Miss Jordan. He had surmised by Jed's lack of concern over his partners' welfare that Heyes had not told him of this incident—at least not in detail. None of Heyes' friends who were present here would know anything about this event and Kenny knew that it was going to be hard for them to hear about it now.

He took another deep breath and continued on. “What happened to Mr. Heyes at the hands of Mr. Carson at this point can not be described as anything other than torture. I'm sure you gentlemen are aware of what it means to subject an individual to 'strappado'?”

The men on the committee all paled and looked uncomfortable. Mr. Ludlow nodded. Steven groaned, Lom's expression darkened while the other presenters glanced around a each other, looking confused, but also worried by the responses from the other people in the room.

“Heyes was forced to endure four hours of it,” Kenny informed them. “Fortunately he was never dropped any distance which would surely have dislocated his shoulders but he was left to hang, in agony for four hours. Indeed, Mr. Carson had ordered it to last for five hours, but I was able to take over and bring him down after four.”

“He survived four hours of strappado?” Mr. Wilton asked, speaking out of line in his consternation. “I didn't realize that form of punishment was still permitted in our prisons.”

“Apparently our prison is still set up for it Mr. Wilton,” Kenny observed dryly. “Even if it is not generally put to use, the option is there if the senior guard or the warden wish to utilize it.”

This statement was met with some incredulous body language from the members of the board and everyone shifted uncomfortably. Jed felt a knot of dread hit his stomach and stay there. He didn't know what 'strappado' was, but by the context of the conversation he already knew he didn't like it.

“Now, this incident with Mr. Heyes, though extreme in itself is simply an example of many such abuses that have been allowed to continue at the prison,” Kenny carried on once everyone had settled again. “The Auburn System was put in place with all the best of intentions I'm sure but even with the open ended guidelines on punishments put aside, the psychological benefits that were initially intended by the system's structure have proven to be unsubstantiated.
“In the twenty years that I have worked within the structure of the Auburn System, I have seen the mental stability of long term inmates deteriorate rather than improve with the enforced social segregation. Aggression and frustration build up over time and result in tensions between the inmates and resentments towards the guards. On the other side of the same coin, depression often takes hold of certain individuals and suicides are not uncommon within our walls. Indeed, there have even been instances of former inmates who have served their time and been released, only to find that they can no longer function within our society and end up taking their own lives even after the fact.
“It is my opinion, based on my years of experience at the prison that changes are definitely called for. That there needs to be stricter guide lines put in place when it comes to administering punishments and that these guidelines be enforced not only by the warden, but by a committee such as this to insure its integrity. The ruling that prisoners are not allowed to talk to one another, though sound in its original concept, the reality of it and it's consequences needs to be examined more closely. Personally, again based on my experience I have found the effects of this ruling to be detrimental to a person's sanity rather than helpful to them in gaining insights into their previous criminal behaviour.
“I highly recommend to the board members that a group of officials be sent to the Wyoming Territorial Prison in order to carry out an inspection of the institution and of the people who are in charge of its operation. I also recommend that the current system of running the prison needs to be re-examined and re-structured in order to lift it out of the archaic bog that it is currently wallowing in. The fact that most of our inmates are released back into society in a worse state of mind than they were in when they entered the institution is a loud and clear warning bell that the current system of running the prisons is not working.
“On that recommendation I now conclude my testimonial and I thank you, gentlemen, for your time.”

Kenny sat back down and the room was blanketed in a heavy silence for what seemed an eternity. Finally Mr. Ludlow roused himself from his trance and took control of the meeting again.

“Ahhh, yes! Thank you Mr. Reece,” he nodded to the guard. “Your comments were very enlightening to say the least. I suggest we take a half hour break to re-group and refresh ourselves. Please return here by 3:00 pm, thank you.”

Ten minutes later found our group of protagonists sitting around a large table in the visitor's lounge trying to enjoy some coffee. Unfortunately the mood was strained to say the least. Everyone had been aware that Kenny's testimony was going to have some disturbing content, that's why he was there after all, but no one had realized how disturbing.

For those in the group who had already known what 'strappado' referred to the information that that form of 'punishment' had been inflicted upon their friend was enough to sicken them right from the moment of hearing about it.

Lom had instantly gone back in time to that day in the infirmary when Heyes, so painfully thin and weakened by his battle with pneumonia had placed a trembling hand upon his friend's knee and begged him not to leave him there. Lom inwardly groaned and shook his head with guilt and remorse over a situation that he'd had absolutely no control over. He'd never felt so helpless in his life.

Once the group had settled in the lounge, Steven had taken the time to describe that particular form of 'punishment' to those present who were not aware of its meaning. For once in his life, Harry Briscoe, Bannerman Detective was speechless and reflective.

Beth was sullen. She sat staring into space and holding onto Jed's hand with both of hers, allowing her coffee to sit untouched and cooling while one part of her tried to imagine such a thing and another part of her only wanted to block it out.

Clem also had become very quiet with that revelation. She considered herself to be a sophisticated woman who could no longer be shocked by too much of anything anymore. But this had been something outside the realm of her experience. She loved Heyes dearly, and to think of him being treated in such a manner made her want to stand up and stamp her feet in frustration. Having something like that happen to him would have done damage—not only physically but psychologically as well. How permanent that damaged would be, only time would tell.

Jed was angry. Not just at that one revelation but at oh so many different things. He was angry at Governor Moonlight for shutting them out and for thinking that the men who were incarcerated within his prison system were just so far beneath his notice that these abuses were allowed to go on. He was angry at Warden Mitchell for not only allowing that type of treatment in his prison, but apparently even encouraging it as a means to control and manipulate. He was angry at Officer Carson for the obvious reasons—the man was a bully who would stop at nothing to exact revenge upon any inmate whom he felt was not showing him the proper respect. He was angry at himself for his inability to get his partner outa there! And he was angry at Heyes! Why had his partner not told him about this? Why had he kept it hidden? 'The usual punishment for fighting'! What the hell was that all about!?

“Try not to be too angry with him Jed,” Kenny's voice broke through his silent raging. “I'm sure Heyes didn't tell you because he knew that it would upset you and that there was nothing you could have done about it anyways.”

Jed was startled and he shot a glance over to Kenny. Jeez, had his thoughts been that easy to read? He must really be starting to lose the edge.

“I suppose,” he mumbled and took a drink of cold coffee though the hard line to his jaw did not relax.

“That was disturbing,” Steven agreed. “but also very effective. Thanks to the testimonials from both of you along with Dr. Morin's medical reports and Sister Julia's reports backing them up I believe we've been quite successful in getting their attention.”

Kid snorted, his optimism at a low ebb.

“I know Jed,” Steven commiserated. “I know it sounds callus and I certainly don't mean it in that sense, but that incident may have just given us the ammunition we needed to get some action happening here.”

Jed sat back and rolled his eyes derisively—he was in no mood to be placated. Beth continued to hold his hand, trying to be supportive. She looked over at her sister but neither of them seemed much in the mood for chatting. Steven tried to get everybody engaging again. This group would have to be a lot more upbeat than this once they returned to the hearing. There was still a long ways to go.

“Once we get back in there, I expect we will move on to the next concern in this hearing,” the lawyer projected. “That of course being the unfairness of Mr. Heyes' sentence. Jed, if you would speak first and just give a general description of what you and Mr. Heyes had been promised and then just follow your notes after that. I think that your insights into your partners personality will be very helpful.”

Jed nodded. “Yeah, okay.”

“Then Miss Hale if you would go next,” Steven continued. “Now's your chance to set the record straight without fear of prosecution. This is a hearing remember, not a trial. You can speak freely.”

“Yes, of course. Finally!” Clementine exclaimed. “If I wasn't permitted to help Heyes at his trial hopefully I can make a difference now!”

“I hope so,” Steven agreed. “Then Mr. Briscoe, if you would follow Miss Hale. I feel that what you have to say here could make quite the difference and I thank you for being willing to come forward.”

“Anything to help out,” Harry blustered. “Why I can't count how many times these boys have helped me out of a jam—this is the least I can do!”

Then he sent a curt nod over to Curry. Jed smiled and nodded back. Harry could be a real pain sometimes, but right now, they needed all the help they could get. He just hoped that the Bannerman man wasn't going to find a way to mess things up even worse than they already were!

“Fine,” Steven continued. “Then Sheriff if you would go after that. Just reiterate what the amnesty deal had been all about and how the Governor's office has obviously reneged on it.”

Lom just nodded.

Steven took a deep breath. The motivation level in this group was dipping down into nil. “As difficult as it is, I ask you all now to try to put your emotions to the side during your testimonials. Becoming angry or accusatory at this point will not help us. Mr. Reece did an excellent job of stating the facts of a very disturbing incident and thereby made a strong impression on the board members. I hold that up as an example of how the rest of you should proceed.” Everybody nodded agreement. “Good. I'll wrap things up with a closing summary and then gentlemen—and ladies, it'll be up to the board. Are we ready?”

“Yes.”

“I suppose.”

“Let's get to it.”

At 3:00 pm everyone was back in their respective positions and the second part of the hearing came to order.

“Alright, ladies and gentlemen,” Mr. Ludlow began. “we are now onto the other matter at hand. I believe you will be presenting a case as to the legitimacy of the sentencing of Hannibal Heyes. Mr. Granger, you may commence with your arguments.”

Steven stood up. “Thank you Mr. Ludlow,” then he turned to Jed and gave him a nod.

Curry took a deep breath and stood up. Beth gave him an encouraging smile and even under these circumstances could not help but think how impressive he looked in his fine suit. But then she forced her mind back to the matter at hand and brought her eyes forward.

“Good afternoon gentlemen,” Curry began, reminding himself of what Steven said about staying professional and not letting emotions come into play. “My name is Jedidiah Curry. I have known Hannibal Heyes all of my life. He is my cousin and my best friend so I feel that I am the best person here to try and explain to you his personality and motivations.
“I know that you have all read over the transcripts from our trials so you are already aware of how it was that we ended up as outlaws and of our efforts to try and straighten out our lives and become law-abiding citizens. For me, obviously it has worked out fine, but at a very heavy cost.”

Here Jed hesitated a moment to collect his thoughts. He'd had all of this sorted out and had even made notes on what to say and when to say it, but now that he was here and facing these people, his mind seemed to had turned to mush and was fighting against him. He struggled to get himself focused and thinking clearly again.

“Heyes is a proud man, and I suppose like most of us to some degree and he can be very stubborn when he feels that he is in the right.” Kenny smiled at this. “He is also very intelligent. Some might even say, himself included that he is a genius. Unfortunately that same intellect can get him into trouble because he gets bored easily and then he gets to thinking up ways to keep himself busy.
“It was my idea—the amnesty. Well, maybe that's not entirely true. A lady who was on a train that we were holding up gave me a flier about amnesty and I didn't even know what it meant. I asked Heyes about it the first chance I got and he explained it to me. We both kinda decided that we wouldn't have a chance at it and tried to forget about it.
“But it was just one of those things, ya' know? Once the idea takes hold it just doesn't let go. Then me and Heyes ended up having a couple of close calls and well...we just started talkin' about it again. Next thing ya' know we went down to Porterville and we got talkin' to our friend Lom about askin' the governor about us being able to get it.
“To make a long story short, and as I'm sure you're all aware of, Governor Hoyt said that if we stayed outa trouble for a year then he would grant us the amnesty. Both of us. I didn't think I could do it but Heyes, he talked me into it—to at least give it a try and well, Heyes he can be real masterful sometimes when he decides.”

Another smile from Kenny.

“I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that the amnesty deal was offered to both of us, not one sacrificing so the other could get it. That wasn't right. Besides that Heyes is the one who kept me goin' for it. I would never have made it through, especially for five years without him egging me on so if only one of us was to get it, it should have been him.
“Now there were two reason why Judge Parsons felt that Heyes deserved to go to prison. One was that he was involved in a confidence game during the five years that we claimed to be going straight. Well, that's true, he was. But so was I. We were both in that together and we had reasons for doing it, reasons that Heyes could not go into during his trial because it would have meant implicating other people—people who were our friends, and Heyes won't do that.
“Again, you need to have an understanding of who Hannibal Heyes is in order to understand his reasons for allowing himself to be held in contempt of court. Heyes is cynical. I guess our childhoods made him that way—I donno. He had to grow up and be protector and provider real early on and he took that responsibility very seriously.
“He learned not to trust people. I suppose two young teenagers trying to make their way on their own presented pretty easy marks for people out to make a buck and every time we got burned, well that was just one more reason not to trust the next fella we come across. So trust, friendship, loyalty, well Heyes just don't hand those things out very easily. But when he did, he meant it. Yessir, if you ever earned Heyes' respect he would stand by you to the bitter end.”

At this point in Jed's narrative Kenny became a little reflective. Not only did Jed's reasoning for Heyes' behaviour reflect what Heyes himself had confided, but the significance of that confidence was not lost on the guard. For some reason Heyes trusted him and now realizing what a rarity that was, Kenny was even more determined to see that changes were made and new guide lines put into place.

“That's why he appeared to be in contempt during his trial,” Jed was continuing. “I tried to explain that to Governor Moonlight, but he just refused to see it. Heyes wasn't showing contempt to the court, but to an old acquaintance, Charles Morgan who had agreed to turn on his friends in exchange for leniency in his own upcoming trial. That was something that Heyes just could not abide and then proved it by the fact that he later refused to do that very same thing in order to save himself and then ended up paying a heavy price for his loyalty.
“So, I suppose we're here today to show you that he is paying too heavy a price for it. That he was not deserving of the sentence that Judge Parsons hit him with and that it needs to be reconsidered. Heyes isn't perfect—hell, neither am I! But he deserves the chance to make something of himself and sentencing him to twenty years to life seemed more like a need for revenge than an act of justice and it just wasn't right is all—just wasn't right!”

Jed released a deep sigh here and glanced down at his notes, hoping that he had got everything out that he'd wanted to. Then he looked up to the board members again and gave a little nod.

“I suppose that's all I have to say about that,” he concluded. “Thank you for your attention and I hope I have been able to get ya' to see things a little differently.”

Jed then sat down and they all waited while the board members finished up jotting down notes and making quiet comments between themselves.

“Thank you Mr. Curry,” Ludlow finally acknowledged. “We will certainly take your comments into consideration. Alright Mr. Granger, your next speaker may commence.”

Steven nodded down to Clementine and she quickly stood up amongst a rustling of skirts and loose papers. Poor Clem always seemed to be flustered and disorganized but then all of a sudden her chaos would become poetry and she could win the hearts of everyone in the room. She looked up to the board members and beamed a smile that could melt the heart of the governor himself. Every man on the board locked eyes with her and every single one of them was convinced that she was looking directly at him and no one else.

“Gentlemen,” she greeted them sweetly and both Beth and Bridget rolled their eyes, but then settled in to watch a 'master' put flirting to good use. “my name is Clementine Hale.”

“Good afternoon, Miss Hale.”

“Good day, ma'am.”

“How do you do, Miss Hale.”

“Well, I'm doing fine. Thank you,” Clem responded with a sparkle to her brown eyes.

Jed smiled silently to himself. Was that a slight southern drawl he was picking up in her tone? Kenny certainly thought that it was.

“I'm here to finally put the record straight and to let you fine gentlemen know what really happened and why it was that Heyes and Kid pulled that confidence game that resulted in Heyes going to prison,” Clem began. “You see, I have known Heyes and Kid for many years—we practically grew up together so when my father was framed in an insurance scam well, right away I knew that Heyes would be the only one who could help him!” She hesitated here and smiled in fond remembrance of her friend's profound abilities. “He's such a charmer! He just has that natural talent to set up a mark and then follow it through....Oh! No, never mind.” She smiled at the board again and they all smiled back. “I mean to say that I just knew that he could help me. I didn't realize that they were going for an amnesty, it was a secret, you know! So I didn't think that what I needed them to do would be putting them at any risk—no more so than any other jobs they had pulled.
“But I also knew that Heyes can be stubborn sometimes and probably wouldn't be willing to help if there wasn't some kind of gain for them, so to insure that he agreed to help me I brought along a little bit of incentive. When Heyes actually did refuse to help me I used that bit of incentive to well—blackmail him into it.”

Mr. Ludlow's thoughts returned to the matter at hand when he caught the word 'blackmail'!

“You blackmailed him into committing a crime, Miss Hale?” he asked for conformation, somewhat incredulously.

“To my ever lasting shame,” Clem admitted with lowered heard. “Yes I did.”

Jed hid his smile. Another con artist at work. He could hear Harry at the other end of their table 'humphing' in disgust. Yeah, he was a fine one to pass judgement on someone else!

“And what was it you used to blackmail him with, Miss Hale?” Ludlow asked her.

Clementine flashed a quick look to Steven from under her lashes and the lawyer nodded back confirmation. Clem took a deep breath.

“I had what was at the time the only pictures in existence of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry,” she admitted. “and I threatened to hand those pictures over to the authorities if they didn't help me.”

Silence reigned. Beth and Bridget exchanged shocked glances. They had never heard anything about this incident before and they weren't too sure how they felt about it. Their 'friend' had threatened Joshua and Thaddeus in that manner, and the fellas were still willing to talk to her?

Mr. Ludlow leaned forward, looking at Clementine with disappointment in his eyes.

“So you were willing to turn your friends in to the law, knowing that they both had twenty year sentences hanging over them, in order to force them into helping your father?”

“Well yes!” Clementine admitted again. “But as I said; I'm very much ashamed of that now. I didn't realize they were going for an amnesty! I didn't realize how much I was asking them to risk.”

“Why did you not come forward at their trials with this information?” Ludlow demanded, his enticement with this young woman suddenly non-existent.

“They wouldn't let me!” Clem's attempts at flirting had dropped and she was close to stamping her foot in frustration. Then she took a deep breath to calm herself down and collect her thoughts. “They had always told me that if they ever got arrested and actually made it to trial, that I was to stay away. That my friendship with them might bring trouble down on to me as well. Both of them were very adamant about this. So that's what I did—I stayed away.
“But it never occurred to me that they would use that particular incident to hang Heyes out to dry! Nobody saw that coming! If we had, I would have been there for Heyes, no matter what!” she sent daggers over to Jed. “When I found out what had happened to Heyes, I was sick! Because I knew that it was my fault because I was the person he was protecting—I was the reason he was found in contempt of court!”

Clem stopped again in her narrative and worked to get her anger and frustration under control. Everyone waited patiently for her to continue, the two other ladies in the room now feeling somewhat simpatico towards their friend in her obvious distress.

“I tried to come forward after that, to speak at Kid's trial,” Clem told them. “but they wouldn't let me take the stand.”

“Who wouldn't let you?” Mr. Ludlow asked her.

“Kid and Mr. Granger,” she answered. “They said that it was too late to help Heyes and that it probably wouldn't matter in Kid's trial. Mr. Granger seemed to doubt that the prosecution would be using that same case against the Kid, and I guess he was proved right. They also felt that I would only be putting myself in danger of prosecution for aiding and abiding and for withholding evidence so they just wouldn't let me take the stand.”

“Yes, well. They were probably right about that,” Mr. Ludlow commented dryly. “Is there anything more you wish to add to your testimonial Miss Hale?”

“Yes there is!” she stated as adamantly as she could while fighting back tears. “It's just not right, what they did to Heyes! He was serious about going straight, about turning his life around and making amends! It was important to him! The only reason he strayed from that goal was because I forced him to and now he's in that awful prison being beaten and tortured, and—and if he dies in there I just don't know what I'd do! He doesn't deserve this! He deserves a chance!”

Then Clementine folded her arms and sat down in a huff! So much for being professional and not letting emotions cloud the issue. And yet, Steven surmised that perhaps a touch of honest emotions at this point might help to convey how serious everyone felt about this situation.

Bridget leaned over and put an arm around Clementine's shoulders. The young Mrs. Granger's emotions had run the gauntlet from surprise, through anger and now to sympathy towards her friend, whom she could see was genuinely upset.

Both Beth and Bridget were feeling a little off balance with all this new information coming at them. In their youth and naivety they assumed that they knew Clementine and certainly Joshua and Thaddeus quite well. But now they were just beginning to realize the intensity of those three relationships and how little they had actually really known about their friends. Beth in particular was beginning to feel a little vulnerable.

“Yes alright Miss Hale,” Ludlow commented. “Thank you for your testimonial and we will certainly be taking it into consideration. Mr. Granger, let us continue.”

“Of course, Mr. Ludlow,” Steven agreed. “Mr. Briscoe, if you would.”

Harry stood up with his usual air of importance and cleared his throat in preparation.

“Gentlemen, good afternoon,” he greeted the board. “My name is Harry Briscoe. I'm a detective of long standing with the Bannerman Detective Agency. I'm a Bannerman man!”

This announcement was met with raised eyebrows from everyone who'd had no previous experience with Mr. Briscoe.

“Yes, quite right Mr. Briscoe,” Ludlow acknowledged him a little skeptically. “Carry on.”

“Yes sir!” Harry carried on. “I've known Heyes and Curry for over seven years now and I'm here to tell you that they have helped me out several times during those years to solve many crimes!”

“Really Mr. Briscoe,” Ludlow responded, not convinced yet that this man was to be taken seriously.

“Oh yes,” Harry reiterated. “Oh when I first met those boys they tried to hide their identities from me, but an experienced lawman develops an instinct about these things and it didn't take me long to get them to confess to their true identities. They knew when they were beat. Yessir!
“But I didn't turn them in—oh no! A good lawman knows how to take advantage of information like that and besides, I knew they were trying to go straight so I made them an offer. I wouldn't turn them in if they agreed to help me out on certain cases where their particular knowledge and abilities might come in handy.
“And I helped them out of a few scrapes too, so it was kind of a mutual thing. Yessir, Heyes and Curry had a great deal to do with the recovery of thousands of dollars worth of currency and gold and even in the apprehension of some murdering bank thieves as well!”

“That's very interesting Mr. Briscoe,” Mr. Ludlow stated. “Are you able to produce written acknowledgement from the Bannerman agency as to the legitimacy of their assistance?”

“Well, ah no,” Harry admitted hesitantly, but then quickly found his stride again. “You see that kind of information needs to be kept secret. If word had gotten out that Heyes and Curry were actually helping the Bannerman agency, well their lives wouldn't have been worth a plugged nickle. No no, that has to be kept confidential, even from the people who run the agency! That's standard procedure, gentlemen! When an agent out in the field uses informants, their identities are always kept confidential. Why, we'd never get anyone coming forward with information if we didn't guarantee that!”

“Yes, of course,” Ludlow conceded. “That does make sense.”

Both Jed and Steven were very impressed with how quickly Harry seemed to be able to land on his feet. It was a trait that had served him well over the years.

“Then I must put this same question to you Mr. Briscoe,” Ludlow continued. “If Heyes and Curry have been so helpful to you over the years, and you felt a certain camaraderie with them why did you not come forward to testify at their trials?”

“Unfortunately I was out of the country at the time of their arrest and of Heyes' trial,” Harry admitted regretfully. “Otherwise I would have been right there for him! By the time I received word of their situation Heyes was already in prison and Curry was getting ready to go to trial. I got in touch with Mr. Granger, offering to testify at Curry's trial, but he didn't seem to think it would be necessary. And as it turns out, I suppose he was right.”
He stopped and sadly shook his head. “But I wish I could have been there for Heyes! He's a fine young man. And I can personally attest to the fact that they were trying to turn their lives around and that they did indeed have an agreement with the governor's office to receive an amnesty if they could stay out of trouble. And they did!--stay outa trouble I mean.
“No sir, Hannibal Heyes did not deserve the treatment he received from the Wyoming courts. Why he was one of the best undercover agents I've ever had the privilege to work with. He should be out here and putting his undeniable skills to work for the benefit of the law abiding citizens of this territory not wasting away in some damn prison cell, like he was a common ignorant criminal!”

“Hmm, yes Mr. Briscoe. That's very interesting,” Ludlow commented while his associates were quickly scribbling down notes. “Do you have anything more to add to your statement?”

“No sir,” Harry conceded. “That's everything I've got to say. I just hope that it will help my friend Hannibal Heyes to finally get the respect that he deserves.”

“Thank you Mr. Briscoe.”

Bridget was reflective upon hearing this testimonial. Joshua had worked as an undercover agent? One side of her felt admiration for her friend, but another part of her felt just slightly betrayed. He had been so adamant that day when she was walking with him back at the ranch and they had been discussing her desire to work for law enforcement and perhaps even, go undercover. Joshua had tried to talk her out of it and his opinion of people who could do a job like that seemed to be very low at best.

Then later, his unforgiving stance against Sam for having played that undercover role so successfully had yet to be reconciled and perhaps never would be. Could Joshua be such a hypocrite that he himself was apparently a master of deception and yet on the other hand hold such a powerful grudge against someone else, simply because the deception was against him?

Then Bridget recalled with a groan the fact that she was in much the same contradictory mind set as her friend. Because though she had come to forgive Sam for his transgressions she had still felt very angry and betrayed by his actions at the beginning, even though she had hitherto admired a person who would take on such a undertaking.

She gave a quiet reflective sigh. More and more she was becoming to realize that Clementine was right; Hannibal Heyes was not Joshua Smith, and Bridget was having to get to know her friend all over again. Not that this was a bad thing, she already knew the basics of who Hannibal Heyes was only now she was becoming to realize just how deep that pond could go.

She had to admit to feeling a tingling of excitement—the voyage of discovery—and the more complex and contradictory that voyage became, the more she was enticed into making it. She made a promise to herself then, that the next time she and Steven went for a visit she would try to spend less time talking about herself, and more time listening to Joshua. Perhaps it was time to start calling him 'Hannibal' now, after all that was his name and it was time to start getting to know him.

Hopefully it wasn't too late; to finally realize what a complex and exciting personality she had at her fingertips, only to have it snatched away from her grasp by forces beyond her control. They had to get him out of that place, they just had to—before he was lost to them forever!
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Keays

Keays

Posts : 1447
Join date : 2013-08-24
Age : 62
Location : Camano Island Washington

The Hearing  Chapter twenty-eight Empty
PostSubject: The Hearing   The Hearing  Chapter twenty-eight EmptySat Nov 02, 2013 10:09 pm

Bridget was brought back to reality by the scraping of Lom's chair as he stood up to begin his narrative.

“Good afternoon gentlemen of the board. I'm Lom Trevors, sheriff over at Porterville.”

“Good afternoon Sheriff,” Ludlow returned the greeting. “My, but Mr. Heyes certainly has an interesting array of acquaintances.”

“Yes, well Mr. Heyes is a very diverse personality,” Lom informed them dryly.

“Indeed. Carry on Sheriff.”

“Thank you,” Lom nodded. “Since I'm sure you gentlemen have already read through the transcripts from Heyes' trial I don't believe there is any need for me to go into how I came to be friends with Heyes and Curry.”
This statement was met with a number of agreeing nods from the board, so Lom continued. “My grievance at this point is the manner in which the governor's office reneged on the agreement for amnesty that was made between Governor Hoyt and Heyes and Curry. Even though there was nothing in writing, I know that an agreement was in place because I brokered it.
"The fact that a number of governors have come and gone since that brokerage is irrelevant because I approached each new governor with the details of the arrangement and each one was agreeable to accepting the terms. However there was always one unfortunate condition to each new governor and that was; that Heyes and Curry had to prove all over again that they could stay out of trouble. So, with each new governor there was more time added on to their 'trial run' and the actual amnesty seemed to become more and more unattainable.
“Then when the inevitable actually did happen and Heyes and Curry were finally arrested and brought to trial Governor Warren chose to ignore the deal all together. It was only through public pressure and Mr. Warren's desire to appease everyone who would be voting in the next election that he relented at all and conceded to present Mr. Curry with the amnesty.
“But the arrangement, gentlemen, was for both Heyes and Curry to receive amnesty, not just Jed Curry alone. Now Heyes and Curry held up their end of the agreement even though the original terms were only for one year and that one year stretched out into five. They stayed true to their goal, even to the point of assisting the governor's office with various errands and undercover operations in order to further prove their seriousness and determination to turn their lives around.
“Now Mr Briscoe here has given his statements as to how Heyes and Curry have helped him out on a number of occasions, working undercover to help retrieve stolen funds and even to bring a murderer to justice. In the one instance where they were involved in an illegal act, Miss Hale has given a full and to my mind, a totally acceptable reason for that transgression. The governor's deal was a secret, they were still wanted by the law and if they had been arrested they risked loosing everything.
“They did what they had to do to stay out of jail and other than that one incident, they stayed true to the terms of the agreement and are both deserving of the amnesty that had been promised. It was the governor's office that reneged, not Mr. Heyes and it is past time for that misdeed to be put to rights. “That concludes my statement, gentlemen and I thank you for your time.”

Lom sat down again and the gentlemen of the board continued on for a few moments with their note writing and exchanging of quiet comments. Then Mr. Ludlow acknowledged that final testimonial.

“Thank you Sheriff Trevors,” he said. “You bring up some interesting points. It is unfortunate that the amnesty agreement had never been put to paper since now there is nothing really to substantiate it. I realize of course that we have your word on it, and the word of a lawman of your reputation is certainly worth something and will be taken into consideration.
“Mr. Granger are there anymore testimonies to be heard here or do you now wish to present your closing statements?”

Steven stood up. “No Mr. Ludlow, the board has heard everyone's testimonies and I am now ready to close. In the case of Hannibal Heyes, he has now served two and half years of a sentence that we feel he should never have been given in the first place. He agreed to the terms of the amnesty deal with Governor Hoyt and aside from the one transgression that has been addressed here, he stayed true to those terms and is deserving of the amnesty that had been agreed upon.
“I was his defence attorney throughout his trial and was surprised to find him to be a very intelligent and honourable man. Far from being the sociopath that Mr. DeFord, the prosecuting attorney attempted to make him out to be, I found Mr. Heyes to actually be a very compassionate individual who cared deeply about how his actions had affected others and was genuine in his efforts to atone for. He was also extremely loyal to his friends which was a trait that he displayed quite clearly when he chose to accept a prison sentence rather than betray a confidence.
“As Mr. Briscoe very adeptly put it; Mr. Heyes should be out here, putting his undeniable talents to use for the good of law abiding citizens of this territory and not wasting away in some prison cell like a common ignorant criminal. Hannibal Heyes is anything but common or ignorant and he has already done everything he could do to atone for his previous criminal behaviour. I cannot think of anyone who could be more repentant of his past other than Mr. Curry himself.
“What happened to Mr. Heyes in the process of his trial can only be referred to as a parody of justice and needs to be rectified immediately. Two and a half years served of an undeserving sentence is far too long and I put to the gentlemen of this board that you consider issuing Mr. Heyes a full pardon and immediate release from that institution.
“In the case of the Auburn Prison System itself, I can only reiterate what Mr. Reece has already petitioned; that people of some authority need to re-examine how the Wyoming Territorial Prison is being managed and to instigate stricter adherence to the guidelines controlling the manner of punishments used, and the level of severity allowed not only by law, but by decency.
“We also put to the board that the Auburn Prison System needs to be re-examined as well. That the dictate of total silence amongst the prisoners has a severe detrimental rather than beneficial effect on long term inmates and should be abolished. Also, we put to the board that under controlled conditions, physical contact should be allowed between inmates and their friends and family. We are social creatures, gentlemen! Being deprived of those very basic needs cannot help but create emotional and psychological issues to those individuals subject to the current system.
“As I'm sure we are all aware, Wyoming is quickly moving towards the possibility of Statehood. Governor Moonlight has shown his commitment to bringing our Territory up to the challenge of attaining that goal by hiring Marshal Morrison to clean up the outlaw bands that still tend to create havoc amongst the citizenry. The governor has also done a lot to update many longstanding but now archaic rulings and laws and to also assist companies and small business to grow and develop thereby strengthening our territory's financial base.
“But I believe it is also equally as important how we treat our less fortunate citizens—the elderly, the ill, the poverty stricken and our prisoners. What a feather in the cap of Wyoming as a new State to be able to show by example how to be compassionate and how to encourage the population to prosper and grow. And to be able to show a long list of released inmates of our prison system returning to 'civilian' life as completely reformed and socially adjusted citizens rather than suicidal misfits who are no longer capable of settling in and contributing to society.
“With that, I conclude my closing statement gentlemen, and we all here thank you for your time and your attention. I can only hope that we have been successful in stating our case with eloquence and conviction. And to enlighten you to the issues plaguing the Wyoming Territorial Prison in general and of the miscarriage of justice in the case of Hannibal Heyes in particular. Thank you.”

At this point, Steven sat down again and the room awaited the next step. The gentlemen of the board conversed quietly between themselves for a few moments and then again, Mr. Ludlow turned to address the group before him.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he began. “this has indeed been a most enlightening afternoon. This hearing will now be adjourned for the day as it is getting late. Tomorrow morning I shall present the testimonials of this hearing to Governor Moonlight along with the other statements from Dr. Morin, Sister Julia and Mr. Brubaker. We will also give Governor Moonlight our recommendations at that time so that he will have all the information that we do and can then make an informed decision. This hearing will re-commence at 1:00 tomorrow afternoon at which time I will inform you of this boards decisions concerning these two matters. This hearing is now adjourned.”


“What do ya' mean he's a marshal now?!” Kid was incensed. “When did that happen!?”

“About a month ago,” Steven admitted. “I'm sorry, I guess I never even thought to mention it.”

The group was sitting around a large table at one of the many restaurants in town, trying to relax and unwind from the stresses of that day. The sudden announcement that Morrison had been promoted to marshal however, was not helping the Kid's digestion. He turned an accusatory glare over to his friend the sheriff.

“Did you know about this Lom?” he demanded.

Lom sighed, knowing that he was in for another argument with the overly taxed ex-outlaw.

“Yeah Kid, I did know about it,” Lom admitted. “and no, I didn't tell ya'. And before ya' start yellin' at me and demanding 'why', it was for the very same reasons I didn't tell ya' about the raid on Devil's Hole! It only would have made ya' mad at a time when we needed ya' to be focused and there's nothin' you could do about it anyways. And besides that, Morrison being promoted to marshal doesn't have any effect on our endeavours now. I wouldn't be surprised if he's busy getting after the rest of the Wyoming gangs. It is spring time and that does seem to be his favourite time to go hunting.”

“Well what about Wheat?” Kid asked. “Morrison was determined to track him down, but I haven't heard anything.” Then Kid sent Lom a suspicious glare. “Or is that one more thing that you decided not to mention?”

“No Kid,” Lom assured his friend. “I'd a' told ya' if Morrison had found Carlson. The last I heard about Wheat Carlson is that he's holed up with the Cripple Creek boys, at least for the winter.”

Kid groaned and Beth rolled her eyes. “I told that idiot to stay away from the other bands! That Morrison was gonna be after them and him and that he should head north or south, anywhere but here!”

“What do you mean 'you told him'?” Lom asked suspiciously. “When did you talk to Wheat Carlson?”

“Oh! Well...ahhuummm,” Jed and Beth exchanged slightly guilty looks. “Wheat came up to the ranch shortly after Kyle and Lobo were incarcerated. He thought that I'd had something to do with setting up that ambush and he wanted to talk about it.”

A derisive snort came from Clementine's position. "He holds your girlfriend hostage and pulls a gun on you and you say 'all he wanted to do was talk'!"

"He did WHAT?" was Lom's next response.

Kid sent Clem a look that would have peeled the skin off of Carson. But then returned his attention back to Lom in order to defend himself.

"He was just scared Lom," Kid insisted. "I had it under control, nobody was gonna get hurt. Wheat backed off fast enough and we were able to talk it out."

“Uh huh,” was Lom's sceptical response. “And you just let him walk out? At the very least you should have let Sheriff Jacobs know that he was in the area. Like I said before; you gotta decide which side of the fence you're on Kid.”

Kid looked a little sheepish, but stuck to his guns all the same. “He's still a friend Lom. I'm not gonna turn on a friend. I tried to convince him to turn himself over to Jacobs and then I could send you a telegram to come get him, thereby keeping Morrison out of it altogether. But he wasn't having any of it.
“So then I told him his best bet was to get out of the country altogether, that if he stayed in this area then Morrison would track him down sooner or later and probably kill him. I hoped that was what he had done.” Kid sighed with disappointment. “If he's up with the Cripple Creek boys, he doesn't stand a chance. Morrison is gonna track him down and then kill 'em for sure.”

Again silence followed this prognosis and nobody quite knew where to look.

“You can't know that for sure Kid,” Lom finally responded. “Maybe Carlson's already left those boys and is taking your advice. Maybe he's already out of the country.”

“I doubt it,” Kid responded. “He said he wanted to wait for Kyle and I'm willing to bet that's exactly what he's doing. That bastard, Morrison is gonna get 'em and it just irks me that he should benefit from the things that he's done. Next thing ya' know he's gonna be mayor and then—oh no!” Kid cringed as this next thought struck home. “What if he becomes governor!? Ah jeez! We gotta get Heyes outa there before that happens or he's never going to see the light of day again!”

This premonition was met by some sceptical smiles around the table.

“I highly doubt that would happen Jed,” Steven assured him. “Marshal Morrison certainly has aspirations but even if the governorship was one of them it would take him years to reach that level.”

“All he needs is twenty,” Jed mumbled sardonically.

“Well, let's not yell until we're hit,” Lom suggested. “I for one think that we have a pretty strong case here—we oughta get some good results coming out of it.”

“I agree,” Steven put in. “If this doesn't get some action then nothing will.”

“Yeah, I suppose,” Jed agreed, then he perked up a little and addressed the group. “In any case I want to thank all of you for coming forward like this and trying to help out. Especially you Kenny; you've got more on the line here than any of us.”

“I couldn't sit back and watch those abuses any longer,” Kenny answered. “I just hope it makes a difference. Changes can sometimes be slow to happen, but we have to start somewhere.”

Jed nodded acknowledgement. “And Harry!” he said. “I have to admit Harry, you surprised me. I didn't know what you had to say that might help but you sure came up with a good case!”

“Of course!” the Bannerman man responded. “I owe you boys a lot—no doubt about it. Glad I could help.”

“You're not gonna get into any trouble with your boss over this are ya'?”

“No no!” Harry was adamant. “I didn't tell any lies! Many field agents use informants and we do keep the identity of those informants confidential. And since word of that agreement you had with the governor came out at your trials, well it just made what I did all that more legitimate. Don't worry about it Kid! Everything's fine!”

Jed smiled and nodded. “Yeah okay Harry. Thanks.”

“Well I certainly hope that something positive comes from all this!” Clementine piped up from across the table. “I'm ashamed enough about what I did without having to stand up and admit to it in front of a bunch of official looking men with white whiskers!”

“Yes!” Beth and Bridget both rounded on their friend.

“How could you have done that?” Bridget demanded.

“I thought you were their friend!” Beth added with an accusing tone.

Clementine rolled her eyes with a dejected sigh. She was never going to live that incident down. But then Jed came to her rescue.

“Ladies, ladies don't be so hard on her,” he reprimanded them. “Clem's sorry for it and has done everything she could to make it up. We did tell her to stay away if we ever went to trial, and we did prevent her from testifying when she did show up, so—cut her some slack, okay?”

The two sisters looked repentant.

“Alright.”

“Sorry Clementine.”

By 8:00 the supper had finally started to wind down and everybody went their somewhat separate ways. It was still a wet and chilly night so no one felt like spending time out on the town and besides, they were all pretty tired after their stressful day. Hotel rooms all around seemed to be next on the agenda for the ladies and though the men headed over to the saloon for a relaxing beer, they were not too far behind in calling it a night.

The next morning dawned chilly and gray again, but at least it had stopped raining—for now. Everyone met up for breakfast and though the coffee tasted real good, appetites were at a low ebb.

“How are your youngsters doing Kenny?” Jed asked, just to make conversation.

Kenny smiled. “They're fine,” he answered. “The boys still want you to come by and show them your fast draw and Eve already has the wedding plans finalized.”

Everybody glanced over at that comment and Beth's eyebrows went up. “Who's Eve and what wedding plans?”

Jed smiled and gave Beth a kiss on her hand. “Evelyn is Kenny's youngest who thinks that she's in love with me and has apparently decided that I'm going to marry her.”

“Really?” was Beth's response.

Kenny nodded. “She's quite adamant.”

“Well, I'm afraid she's going to have to get in line,” Beth commented. “This man is already taken.”

“Oh, I donno Beth,” Jed speculated. “Just 'cause we're courtin', well that don't mean a man can't still be checking out his other options. Evelyn's a real pretty little.....”

“Don't you dare!” Beth teased him with a punch to his arm. “Besides I'm sure she's much too young for you!”

“Ho ho! There's the pot calling the kettle black!” Jed accused her with a laugh. “I seem to recall you having a lot of arguments supporting May-December matches.”

“That's different!”

“I'll say!” Kenny interjected with a laugh. “You have nothing to worry about Miss Jordan, my Evelyn is not even ten years old yet. Still, if she had another six years on her you might have been in for some competition there.”

Beth smiled. “I'm sure she's a real sweetheart. I'd love to meet her sometime.”

Kenny nodded. “We'll see what we can arrange,” he offered. “She might be a little jealous of you though so watch out!”

“Nothing like being surrounded by admirers to make a man feel special,” Jed observed with a grin.

“Oh please!” came the sardonic comment from Clem. “I swear! You men and your egos!”

“Ho ho!” Jed laughed again as his eyebrows shot up. “Listen to you! If you don't have at least three fellas following you around you think you're having an off day!”

“Well what's wrong with that?” Clem demanded with a pout. “A lady's got to have some pleasures in life. Mine just happen to be men!”

“Uh huh.”

And so the bantering carried on for most of that morning, everyone taking it all in stride and knowing that it was just a way to ease the tension and settle the nerves. Still, it seemed to take forever for 1:00 to finally roll around and by 12:30 everyone's nerves were on edge again.

Having to take the time to get dressed once again into their business suits did help to make the last hour to go by faster and by the time everyone got organized and were waiting in the hallway for the hearing to re-commence it seemed that they had actually been rushed to get there on time.

At 12:55 the doors to their chamber room were opened and the group made their way inside and everyone all sat down at the same places they had been in the day before. They waited nervously for the board members to arrive and get settled themselves and then amongst subtle coughing and needless paper shuffling, the meeting got underway.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Mr. Ludlow acknowledged them all. “Glad to see that you could all make it back. Let's get started shall we?
“In the matter of the Auburn Prison System and the effectiveness of its ability to rehabilitate the criminal element we would have to question the very reasons for incarceration in the first place. Do we send our criminals to prison to be rehabilitated or to be punished? I'm afraid that is a question that has been debated endlessly by far more informed individuals than those of us gathered here today.
“As it stands now the Auburn system has been very effective in controlling the criminal element and we see no reason to make changes to that system on the whole.
“However, in the more specific case of the Wyoming Territorial Prison there would appear to be evidence of some misuse of power by those in authority. The best system in the world cannot be expected to work successfully if the people within it do not adhere to the guidelines laid down by it. Therefore it has been agreed that an inspection of the prison and its contingent of employees, including the warden will be undertaken and that any misuse of authority will be rectified.
“ As for the specific case of Hannibal Heyes, it was very difficult for the members of this board to come to any conclusive decisions either way. There is no doubt that Mr. Heyes is guilty of his crimes. Even though the numerous testimonies given here would support the claim that there was a provisional amnesty offered to Mr. Heyes, there is no actual proof that this was the case.
“Now it has been suggested that since Mr. Curry did received an amnesty that this should support the legitimacy of the claim that both were offered it and therefore both should receive it. However, the members of this board tend to view this supposition from the other side. That the crimes committed by Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry were deserving of prison time and that far from crying 'foul play', Mr. Curry should be thanking his lucky stars that he escaped the fate that befell his partner.
“Now having said that, this board is in agreement that the sentence handed down to Mr. Heyes does seem to be a bit extreme. Twenty years to life on a non-murder charge is unsubstantiated and will be rectified. It is in agreement between Governor Moonlight and the members of this board that Mr. Heyes will not be granted a pardon since there is no doubt as to his guilt. He will therefore continue to serve out his adjusted sentence of ten to twenty years. At the end of ten years, including time served Mr. Heyes will then be eligible for a conditional parole with the conditions of that parole to be laid down at the time of his release.
“This is not a guarantee that Mr. Heyes will receive a parole at the end of ten years, only that he will be taken into consideration for one. His success or failure in attaining it will depend on his behaviour while incarcerated and on the opinions of the prison officials as to the chances of his success of re-entering society as a free man.
“This concludes our hearing ladies and gentlemen and I want to thank you for your patience and your obvious commitment to these issues. Good day.”

The members of the board did not waste any time gathering up their pointless paperwork and making a hasty retreat out the back door. The members of the panel sat in shocked silence, nobody moving while the reality of the words gradually soaked in. Eventually big sighs could be heard and people began to shift in their chairs and make eye contact with one another. Disappointed head shaking seemed to be the most prominent activity for the moment.

“Well, that could have gone better,” Steven finally understated.

“At least we got something out of it!” stated Harry, trying to be the optimist. “They're going to send in some people to check up on how things are being run. That should make a difference, shouldn't it?”

“Yeah, for a while,” Jed mumbled. “But they won't be at the prison forever and once they're gone, Mitchell will just go right back to how he was doing things in the first place.”

“We may have just made Heyes' life worse not better,” Clem commented sadly. “Is he even going to be able to survive another seven years in there?”

Silence. Nobody even wanted to answer that one. Jed and Kenny exchanged disappointed looks.

“Do you want to tell him, or shall I?” Kenny asked.

“No, I'll tell him,” Jed said. “I'm his partner.”

“But I'm his lawyer,” Steven pointed out. “It falls to me to give him the bad news. You can come with me if you want to Jed.”

Jed nodded and silently mouthed the word; 'yeah'.


Heyes lay on his back on his cot looking up at a ceiling that was closing in on top of him. He felt crushed, as though he were suffocating even though he continued to draw oxygen into his lungs. That hearing was his last chance, his last hope. What now? What next?

Oh Steven had tried to be optimistic; 'Moonlight couldn't stay in office forever after all. There was a presidential election coming up—a new president could mean a new governor, perhaps one who was more sympathetic to their plight. Just hang in there, we're not giving up!'

Throughout that whole meeting with Mr. Granger, Hannibal and Jed had locked eyes and did not let go. It seemed to be all that held them together, that invisible but tangible bridge of blue into brown. Steven's words didn't even exist in their private world—only the cousins existed. The cousins and their combined aura of disappointment.

Jed had found it very difficult to leave after that meeting as he was filled with a dreading premonition that his cousin might try to do something stupid. He had asked for assurance that Heyes was not contemplating anything along those lines and had received it, but Heyes had answered as though in a daze and Jed didn't really believe him. Still, there was nothing he could do except to try and trust his partner—and maybe one other thing.

When Steven and Jed returned to Laramie they ended up carrying on through and rode out to the convent to have a word with Sister Julia.

“Sister Julia!” Jed flagged the Sister down as they entered the main foyer to the orphanage.

“Oh, Thaddeus!” she greeted him. “What a pleasant surprise.”

“Sister, this is Steven Granger,” Jed introduced him. “He's Beth's brother-in-law and also Heyes' lawyer. Steven, this is Sister Julia.”

“Good afternoon Sister,” Steven greeted her. “I have certainly heard a lot about you ma'am.”

“All good I hope,” the Sister hinted with a smile.

“Of course.”

“So, what can I do for you Thaddeus,” Sister Julia asked him. “How did the hearing go?”

“Not as well as we'd hoped Sister,” Jed admitted. “That's kinda what I wanted to talk to ya' about.”

“Oh dear,” she empathized. “Come, there's a sofa in the front room, let's go sit.”

The three of them made their way into the front room and settled down to talk for a few moments.

“What happened?” she asked.

“Well, the board agreed to look into the accusations of abuse, but did not agree to an investigation into the prison system itself,” Steven explained. “And though they were willing to make some changes to Mr. Heyes' sentence it wasn't what we were hoping for.”

“That's for sure,” Jed grumbled.

The Sister smiled and put a consoling hand on Jed's arm.

“Is it that bad?” she asked.

“The board and the governor would not grant him an all out pardon,” Steven continued. “They did shorten his sentence to twenty years with eligibility for parole after ten, including time already served.”

“Well that's better than life, isn't it Thaddeus?” the Sister was trying to be optimistic.

“Yeah, I suppose,” Jed reluctantly agreed. “It's just that Heyes was really disappointed. I'm afraid of what he might do.”

The Sister nodded her understanding. “Yes, I see,” she said. “You want me to keep an extra close eye on him over the next little while, is that it?”

“If you don't mind Sister,” Jed told her. “I know Kenny will be watching him, and Dr, Slosson will be doing everything that she can to keep him motivated. But if I knew that you were keeping an eye on him as well then maybe I'll actually be able to sleep at night.”

“Of course Thaddeus,” she assured him. “You know that I will.”

"Thank you."

Back at the prison, Heyes had continued to lay on his cot, looking up into his own mind's eye. He really didn't know what he was going to do now. Even though he hadn't expected a miracle the reality of what had come back to him was enough to send him into a spiral—even if it was just a temporary one. He'd give himself time to get over the disappointment and then reconsider his options. He had seven years after all, no need to be hasty in his decisions.

Then he heard a soft discreet cough coming from the door to his cell. He glanced up to see Kyle standing there, once again presenting two cups of coffee and an expectant smile. Heyes grinned back and motioned him in. Sitting up he grabbed the tin of cookies from under his table and pulled out his handy deck of cards. Kyle sat down on the cot and the two friends spent the rest of the afternoon quietly socializing over coffee, cookies and cards.

To Be Continued.
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Gringa

Gringa

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Join date : 2013-08-31
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The Hearing  Chapter twenty-eight Empty
PostSubject: Re: The Hearing Chapter twenty-eight   The Hearing  Chapter twenty-eight EmptySun Mar 23, 2014 8:34 am

I love the way the relationship is developing with Kenny and the hearing was very interesting.  I did dare to hope that this would be a good outcome for Heyes but I did find the outcome to be very believable.  Where does he go from here?  How does he continue?  How are the prison authorities going to respond to all the violence coming out?  Oh, such foreboding!
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The Hearing  Chapter twenty-eight Empty
PostSubject: Re: The Hearing Chapter twenty-eight   The Hearing  Chapter twenty-eight Empty

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The Hearing Chapter twenty-eight
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