"What the..." Heyes jerked up in bed and grabbed his gun. After seeing nobody in the room with him, he got up and looked out the window. In the street below, the sheriff or deputy was pushing a staggering drunk who had apparently just shot a rooster toward the jail. Heyes grabbed the windowsill with both hands and shook his head as he stared out. "I was in jail," he said in a whisper, eyes widened. He was still standing there when the Kid unlocked the door and walked in.
Heyes turned to stare at his partner, a wild look on his face. "I was in jail. I was supposed to wake up in jail. We both were."
Curry stopped where he was, then smiled. "Yeah, that's what all the lawmen think. We should be in jail."
Heyes shook his head and walked back to the bed to return his revolver to his holster. "No Kid. I mean last night. We were in jail last night. I got arrested then you got pulled into the sheriff's office for being in the alley behind the jail. They put you in a cell too."
The Kid stared hard at his cousin. "Heyes, yesterday mornin' we was pickin' ourselves up off a cold, damp ground gettin' ready to drink that sludge you call coffee."
Heyes clapped both hands over his face and sighed, aggravated. "You're telling me you don't remember being locked up last night?"
"No Heyes. We just got here yesterday." Kid started to worry about his partner. Had he caught a fever or something?
"NO WE WEREN'T." Heyes was starting to look slightly insane as he grew more animated. "This is the third day we've been here. The first day I worked on a barn. Yesterday, we both ended up behind bars. This morning started just like the other two mornings with me getting woke up by somebody shooting a rooster. Something extremely strange and wrong is going on around here."
Kid didn't know what to say. He set the coffee and food on the table and sat down, all the time watching his frantic cousin.
"Don't look at me like I'm crazy Kid. I know what I've, we've, been doing the last three days."
Curry wasn't sure about the crazy part. "Have you been up drinking this morning while I was eatin' breakfast?"
"NO. I told you the shot woke me up." Heyes stood with both hands on his hips. "I can't believe you don't remember any of this." Now, he started to pace aggitatedly.
Kid just kept staring. "Maybe we ought to get you down to the doc's office. You must've fell out of bed and hit your head. Or all those past head injuries have finally caught up with you."
Heyes flopped down on the bed and looked his partner in the eyes. "I'm not crazy Kid," he said quietly. "I'm not drunk, I'm not sick. I'm fine. It's the rest of the world that's screwed up and my own cousin don't believe me."
Kid was starting to get frustrated by that point. "Heyes, I can't pretend to believe something I know for a FACT hasn't happened."
Heyes jumped back up. "Why not?! We pretend to be something we're not everyday!"
"Last night, we had just GOT HERE! NOBODY WAS IN JAIL!"
"I THINK I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING BEHIND BARS AND BEING IN A HOTEL!"
Kid closed his eyes to try to calm his rising anger. He reminded himself that something had to be seriously wrong with his partner. He brought his voice back down to a normal level. "I don't know Heyes. I don't know what's wrong with you and..."
"NOTHING IS WRONG WITH ME!"
That was it. "ALRIGHT THEN, FINE." Kid rubbed his hand over his face then stood up menacingly. "We'll just see about that. You're goin' to visit the doc and we'll see what he says."
"I am NOT going to see a doctor."
"Oh yes you are. One way or another you are. Now get dressed."
"I said I'm NOT SEEING A DOCTOR!"
Curry sighed then walked over to Heyes and crossed his arms. "Yes...you are."
"What? You're gonna flatten me if I don't go?"
"Like I said Heyes, one way or another, you'll be seeing the doc this morning. Now you can walk to his office or I'll drag you there unconscious."
Heyes balled up his fists and stared icily at Kid. A tense moment passed, then Heyes sighed. "Fine. I'll go. But when the doc says I'm perfectly fine, I'll be taking the delivery job. You can go work on the barn this time." He turned to get ready.
Kid stared after him, a strange look now in place on his face. 'How did he know about that...?"
"Well, Mr. Smith, you're as healthy as a horse far as I can tell." Doc Bowman put his stethoscope on the table as Heyes finished buttoning up his shirt.
"But Doc, something can't be right with him. He swears up and down we've been here three days," Kid said standing in the doorway.
"You heard him Thaddeus. He says I'm fine. Now will you shut up?"
"Mr. Jones, I honestly can't find anything wrong with him. There's no signs of any kind that he's had a head injury, he isn't drunk. I have to admit though, I, myself, saw you boys ride into town yesterday afternoon." The doc glanced at Heyes to see his reaction.
Heyes just rolled his eyes and jumped off the exam table. "Doc, thank you. Thaddeus, pay the man. I got a delivery job I got to get to." With that, Heyes stomped out the doctor's office leaving the two men staring after him.
"Sorry Doc. He gets a little proddy sometimes."
"Don't worry about it Mr. Jones. But listen, now that he's gone. If he's still keeping that business up about three days tomorrow, bring him back to see me. I'm going to telegraph a friend of mine back east. He's been studying brain related matters. We'll try to figure out what in the world could be causing him to lose track of time like that."
"Thanks Doctor Bowman," Kid said as he paid him. "I have to admit I'm worried about him." They shook hands and Curry left to go fix a barn's roof.
Heyes knew to go to the bank to pick up the papers to be delivered. Kid had told him all about it night before last. He went to get his horse, being careful to stay out of sight of a certain old farmer. He saw the old man going into the livery so he changed direction and went to the bank first. This time, he noticed that the stable man had been watching him.
Kid Curry pulled his black gelding up in front of the farmhouse. From this distance, the barn's roof didn't look all that bad. He walked up on the porch and knocked on the door. Momentarily, a middle-aged woman appeared at the door.
"Howdy ma'am. My name's Thaddeus Jones. I've come about the ad you had in the paper about fixin' your barn's roof."
"Oh yes. It's not a very big job, just finishing up patching the hole in the barn's roof. Shouldn't take no more than a day or two. My husband..." She stopped. She had been looking hard at Kid throughout her explanantion. "Uh, I'm sorry. My husband won't be able to help you. He's hitching up the wagon around the back of the house. We're...supposed to go pick something up in town. All the tools are in the barn if you want to get started. We'll be back soon."
Any other time, Kid would've found that conversation awkward. But after dealing with Heyes all morning, nothing seemed strange. "Yes ma'am," was all he said as he tipped his hat to her and lead his horse out to the barn.
Heyes was deep in thought as he rode to the mines. He was actually starting to worry about himself. What if something was wrong with him? What if he had finally thought too much and was losing his mind? Would he end up locked away in an asylum instead of prison? He had to make himself stop that train of thought. There was nothing at all wrong with him. He decided to wait until the morning. If it started out the same way tomorrow, he'd know for a fact the day was consistantly repeating. Then he would have to somehow find out what was happening and figure out how to stop it. And figure out how to make Kid believe him instead of thinking he was going insane.
He was so deep in thought about it, he completely forgot the story Kid had told him about being robbed on the way to the mine. He also didn't notice the glint of sunlight on metal up ahead of him.
Momentarily, a voice called out from the treeline. "Just hold it right there mister."
Heyes closed his eyes and sighed. Now, he remembered what Kid had told him about the man beside the road. He pulled on the reins to stop and raised his hands. "Hey now. What's this all about?"
The bandit stepped out into the road holding his gun steady on Heyes. "Well, this is about me gittin' some money. Now, git down off'n that horse and don't try nothin'. I ain't one bit scared to put a hole in you."
Heyes slowly dismounted, a little unsettled at the nervousness in the robber's voice. Apparently, he hadn't been making his living long doing this sort of work. "Mister, I'm sure we could come to some kind of agreement if we just talk rational for a bit."
"Ain't got no time fer talkin'." The man dug in his jacket and produced a pair of handcuffs. "Walk over to that tree."
Heyes was surprised to see the extra hardware the man had pulled out of his pocket. The thought of a bounty hunter quickly went through his head. "Now just what is a man like you doing packing around handcuffs?"
"Let's just say I borrowed them when I left another town's jail in a hurry. Now MOVE."
Heyes reluctantly walked over to the tree pointed out to him. He was handed the cuffs.
"Now you just hug that tree there and put those handcuffs on."
Heyes rolled his eyes and shook his head as he put his arms around the medium sized tree and attached the silver bracelets to his wrists. "I can't believe this," he mumbled.
"What's that?" the highwayman asked harshly.
"Nothing. Just get on with it," Heyes replied just as harshly. His nerves were shattered by now.
The man chuckled and started digging in Heyes' pockets. He found two dollars in his jacket. "This all you got?"
"Yes, it is."
The disgruntled bandit grunted in aggravation and turned to search Heyes' saddlebags. Not finding anything he deemed worthy of stealing there, he walked into the trees and mounted his horse. "Well, you just ain't worth nothin'." Heyes hid his face and had to grin at the irony of that statement. The man spurred his horse and took off at a full gallop.
Luckily for Heyes, the inexperienced robber hadn't taken his gun or his horse. He was quite uncomfortable hugging that tree and manuevered down to the ground to a sitting position until he could dig in his boot. It wasn't easy, but he was finally rewarded with the lockpick he had hid there. A few minutes later and he was free. The frustration that had been building quickly over the last three days almost made him angry enough to go after the man and teach him a lesson. But two dollars wasn't worth it right at the moment. Besides, he had some documents to deliver. He checked his saddlebags to make sure they were still there, then mounted up and continued his trip to the mine.
Kid Curry had gathered together what he needed and was on the roof of the barn starting on his second row of shingles when he heard the sound of approaching horses. Must be the lady of the house and her husband back from town. He descended the ladder to meet them when they arrived. Surely the lady wouldn't mind him asking for a little lunch. He had worked all morning after all.
He had just rounded the corner of the barn when the horses came into clear view. There were more coming back than had left. He thought briefly about getting his gelding and riding away, but by the time he could get him out of the barn and saddled, the riders would be there. He just sat down on a bale of hay and waited. Maybe he was worried over nothing.
A minute or so later, his fear was confirmed. Two of the riders wore tin stars on their vests. He stood and thought about what he was going to say. He found himself wishing for his partner's silver tongue.
The sheriff and his posse skidded to a stop with their guns drawn. The farm lady was just now coming into view, alone in her wagon. Sheriff Murray jumped down from his saddle in one smooth motion.
"Kid Curry, I'm placing you under arrest."
"I think you got the wrong man Sheriff. My name is Jones." Kid did his best imitation of something he'd heard Heyes say before.
"No sir Mr. Curry. Mrs. Baker was quite adament about having Kid Curry out working on her barn. Seems her husband was in a bank that was hit by the Devil's Hole Gang once and got a real good luck at one of the men holding the bank patrons at gunpoint while his partner was back at the vault. He described the gunman real good to her. Now, with your left hand, give over the hardware nice and slow.
Kid did what he could to hide the disappointing smirk on his face. He sighed as he handed over his Colt.
"Tie him up Palmer."
The deputy dismounted and tied Curry's hands behind him as another posses member went in the barn to get his horse. By the time they had the gelding saddled and the Kid in the saddle, Mrs. Baker pulled up in her wagon. Kid tried not to look at her, but that didn't stop her from staring at him.
"I'm sorry Mr. Curry, but my husband and I could really use that reward money right about now." She actually looked kind of sorry, but not enough to reverse her accusation. Kid said nothing as he looked straight ahead.
"Thank you Mrs. Baker. You can come into town tomorrow and we'll talk about that reward. Of course you'll understand we'll have to have Curry's identity confirmed first." Sheriff Murray climbed aboard his horse and motioned for Deputy Palmer to take Curry's reins in his hand to lead him back to town. Kid dropped and slightly shook his head as they started the ride.
After being robbed and handcuffed to a tree, Heyes was even more deep in thought. How could he let that happen to himself? His brow was furrowed as he rode up to the mine. As he approached, one of the men, who was apparently the mine foreman, came walking up to meet him. He didn't look happy at all.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" he demanded.
Heyes forced a smile onto his face."My name is Joshua Smith. I was hired to bring these documents up here," Heyes explained.
"I told that banker not to be sending anymore men up here to try to serve me that nonsense. Now, you just turn that horse back around and go tell Reynolds my brother owns this land fair and square and he ain't got no legal reason to foreclose on it."
Heyes kept his friendly smile directed at the irate man. "Well now, I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about. I was just told to deliver this envelope for fifty dollars. But I'd be glad to take a message back to this man Reynolds if you like." Heyes was trying his best to charm this man into a friendlier mood, but unfortunately, it didn't seem to be working.
The man's companion stepped forward to put in his two cents. "Looks like old Reynolds went and hired himself a gunslinger to do his dirty work. A man don't wear his gun like that less'n he means to use it."
Heyes turned his gaze on the minion. "Sir, I assure you, I'm not a gunslinger. Why, I hardly ever pick this thing up out of the holster."
The two men weren't buying it. "Is that so? You just happened to have it tied down like that for no reason? I don't think so. Now, git off that horse." The man backed up as he spoke and squared up to Heyes.
Heyes sighed inwardly. This was supposed to have been the easy job. "Really, can't we just talk this over? Look, just take the envelope. I don't care what you do once you have it. Tear it up if you want. Say you lost it or it got destroyed before you got a chance to read it. All I want is to be able to tell that banker I delivered this and get paid."
The foreman had heard enough. He pulled his revolver and leveled it at Heyes. "The man said to get off your horse."
Heyes stared a hole through the men as he dismounted. "I'm telling you, I'm NOT a gunfighter."
"We'll see about that." His opponent sneered at him. Heyes wasn't slow, but he found himself wishing he had his partner's speed. A tense few seconds passed and the man went for his gun. Heyes quickly jerked his pistol out of the holster to aim at the man's shoulder, but before he could fire, the foreman saw that his minion was going to be beat. He fired his gun which he already had aimed at Heyes and hit the ex-outlaw square in the chest.
Heyes felt like his heart had exploded as he hit the ground. The last thing he heard was the man asking his friend why had he interfered. Then blackness overtook him.
Kid Curry had been sitting in the jail cell for about two hours wondering where his cousin was. That question was answered when Deputy Palmer burst into the sheriff's office.
"Sheriff, we need to get up to the mine. One of their security guards just took a dead man on horseback up in front of the bank door. He hollered and told Reynolds not to be sending anymore men with those fake papers up to the mine and then rode off."
Kid's breath caught in his throat. It couldn't be...
"Who was the poor man?" Sheriff Murray asked as he rose and grabbed his hat.
"Reynolds told me his name was Joshua Smith."
"You stay here and guard the prisoner. I'll go take care of this." Murray hurried out the office door.
Kid felt like he was going to pass out right there on the bunk. Heyes couldn't be dead. He just couldn't. He cursed himself for letting Heyes go up there. He had decided that morning over breakfast that he was taking that job. His head fell into his hands as he fought back the tears forming in his eyes. He was in shock, completely heartbroken ...and alone.
"What the..." Heyes eyes flew open and he immediately grabbed his chest. There was no blood nor any sign or symptom that he had ever been shot through the heart. He sat up, looked himself over, then quickly got up and looked out the window. Just as before, in the street below, the sheriff or deputy was pushing a staggering drunk who had apparently just shot a rooster toward the jail. Heyes grabbed the windowsill with both hands. "I got shot yesterday," he whispered to himself. "I was shot dead." His eyes wide, he looked down and checked himself thoroughly once more. He was perfectly fine. He looked up. "This day IS repeating..."
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