'It's impossible', Heyes thought. As he came to the realization of the repeating day, Kid opened the door and walked in.
Heyes turned to stare at his partner, a wild look on his face. He ran over to him and grabbed him by the shoulders causing Kid to drop a little of the coffee he was holding on the floor.
"Kid, I know this is going to sound like the most insane thing you've ever heard, but you have to believe me."
Curry was taken back by the panic in his partner's eyes.
"Kid,...this day is repeating itself."
"Uh...what?" The gunslinger shrugged out of his cousin's grip and sat a sandwich and what was left of the coffee on the dresser.
Heyes ran his hand through his hair and tried to calm down. "This day is repeating. This is the third or fourth time we've woke up here."
Curry furrowed his brow. "Repeating days. Mhmm. Heyes, have you been drinkin'?"
"NO I HAVE NOT! We went through this yesterday morning and I ain't doing it again. I ain't drunk, sick, crazy, or anything else. And I AIN'T going to the doctor so just forget about that."
"I hadn't thought about it, but now that you mention it..."
"I was SHOT DEAD yesterday. Shot! Right through the heart. But, here I am this morning trying to convince you I ain't crazy. Now explain that."
"Heyes, if you were shot dead, I reckon I'd be buryin' you by now, not listenin' to this wild imagination of yours."
The ex-outlaw leader threw his partner a look. "I was shot in the chest yesterday. I'm fine this morning. Not a mark on me. Well, not any new ones. Anyway, what possible reason could I have to make up a story like this?"
"To get out of workin'."
Heyes started getting dressed. "Kid, listen. You are the only person who could ever tell when I was lying. Well, what does that sixth sense tell you now?"
Curry had to admit it. Heyes had him there. "I don't think YOU think you're lyin'. But days don't repeat themselves Heyes. I think something's really wrong with you. Maybe somebody drugged your beer last night at the bar or somethin'."
Heyes exhaled in aggravation as he pulled his boots on. "Alright. Don't believe me. I'm telling you I'm fine and I'm going out to try to figure out what's going on. You just make sure you go on that delivery job. DO NOT go out to fix that barn. You'll end up getting arrested."
"Where are you gonna go?"
"Somewhere to find some answers." With that, Heyes left the room letting the door slam behind him.
Kid dropped down in a chair. What in the world was wrong with his cousin? Had he lost his mind. He got up to go follow him. As he opened the door, he found Heyes about to come back in.
"And listen, don't be following me. I don't need no babysitter. We got three dollars between us so GO on that delivery job." Heyes turned and left.
"Fine," Kid said to thin air. Then it hit him. "How did he know about the job? I hadn't told him yet..."
Heyes had no idea where to start. He'd never heard of or even thought something like this could happen. He stopped in the lobby of the hotel to think a second. Maybe he could talk to some of the old timers of the town. They should know if something like this had happened before. He turned to the hotel clerk.
"Excuse me. I'm a writer and I'm trying to find out some history about this town here.Do you know of anybody that could help me?"
The clerk thought for a moment. "Well, there's that old farmer Turner. I saw him in town earlier. You might catch him before he leaves if you head to the livery."
"NO," Heyes said a little too forcefully. He remembered it was Turner that had identified him the day before yesterday...or two days ago...whenever. The clerk looked at him strangely. "I mean, I saw him the other day and he just sent me to talk to the sheriff. I'm talking about townsfolk that's been here a long while. I'm sure there's someone older than Turner I can talk to isn't there?"
Again, the clerk took a minute to think. "Well, you might go see Widow Logan. She's as old as the hills. Lives on the north side of town in the boarding house. But I warn you, her mind's not what it used to be. Sometimes she'll start a story and you'll wind up hearing the biggest tall tale in the country. Why, she once told me she fought off a whole band of Apache with nothing but a broom and a bucket of potatoes."
Heyes grinned. "Thanks. I'll give it a try." He left the hotel and stood on the boardwalk. If he remembered right, this was about the time that Turner man would be going into the livery. Thankfully, he was going in the other direction.
He had to pass by the jail and by doing so, saw the sheriff leave and lock the door to his office. Heyes inconspicuously lowered his head a little and tipped his hat to him. He kept walking and saw there were some kids playing in front of the general store a little further down and across the street with a ball. As he neared the boarding house, a lady was sweeping the porch.
"Morning Ma'am," he said as he walked up. "My name is Joshua Smith and I was looking to visit the Widow Logan. I'm a writer and wanted to talk to her about some history."
The lady stopped her sweeping to look him over. "You don't look like a writer."
Heyes flashed her a dazzling smile. "Well, I like to try to blend in where ever I go. I don't like to be noticed."
The lady raised an eyebrow at him. "Well, you sure are a slick one," she said.
"Not so much slick as charming I assure you."
The lady finally smiled at that remark. "C'mon in. I think Widow Logan is sitting in the second floor parlor." She turned and led the way inside.
Kid Curry was worried about his cousin. Heyes had always been a little weird at times, but this was a whole new level of weirdness. He decided that if Heyes was still talking about repeating days when he got back from delivering these papers, he'd make him see a doctor one way or another.
Kid was so preoccupied, he missed the sun glint slightly off something metal in the trees. As he neared the place in the woods that the hidden bandit was in, he had the sensation of being watched. Quickly, he drew his Colt and called out, "I know you're there. You might as well come out with your hands up."
A man emerged from the trees. His hand was raised, but not in the way that Curry had meant. "Alright mister. You better just throw that gun down before I shoot you. This here's a robbery and I don't care to do it."
Curry glared at the man. He could see in his eyes that he was nervous. Must be new to the business. A nervous man with a gun was never a good thing. In an instant, he made a decision and shot the gun out of the bandit's hand.
The man's eyes grew wide as saucers and he nearly peed himself. He wheeled around and ran back into the trees.
"Hey, get back out here," Kid called.
The scared man did indeed come back out, but he was on his horse and he hightailed out of Curry's way.
Kid reholstered his pistol as the man rode around the bend and out of sight. "Well, at least maybe I made him rethink his career," he mused.
"...And then a few more injuns come out of nowheres so's I grabbed some 'taters..."
Heyes concealed a smile as Widow Logan finished up her daring tale of bravery against a whole tribe of Apache attacking her small spread. She was almost as good at spinning a story as he was himself. Except, she believed it to be true. Maybe it was, he didn't know. "That's quite a tale Mrs. Logan."
"Ah shoot sonny. Call me Delores."
"Alright then, Delores. Say, can I ask you a question?"
"Listen sonny, I ain't interested in gittin' remarried. One man was enough."
Heyes chuckled silently. "Well, that's my loss then." Mrs. Logan giggled. "I wanted to ask you about the history of Destiny Loop."
"Well, you've come to the right place. I've lived here near all my life adult life."
"Has anything really...strange...ever happen around here?"
Delores sat deep in thought for a couple of moments. "I can't really recall anything out of the ordinary. Course, this wasn't always a civilized town. Used to be occupied by injuns, and lots of 'em. That was until after the war. Then some Calvary men came here and told them they had to move. Well, they didn't take too kindly to that at all. They spent three days I think it was fightin' afore them injuns started running out of arrows to shoot."
Heyes was intrigued. "What happened next?"
"Listen sonny. I can't hardly recall what I ate fer breakfast. You're lucky I 'member that much. Now, it's time fer my midday nap so's I'll just be gittin' back to my room. Good talkin' to you sonny." Delores grabbed her cane and was slowly rising out of her chair. Heyes stood to help her when he heard a commotion coming from out side. He and Delores both looked out the window to see a runaway wagon going down the street. At the same time, one of the smaller children that had been playing with the ball lost hold of it and ran after it. They watched in horror as the child ran directly into the side of the speeding buckboard and was thrown backward landing near the boardwalk.
It wasn't a second later that the town doctor ran over to her as some others mounted up to help chase down the wagon. Doctor Bowman bent down and listened to the child's chest as a woman, supposedly her mother, ran out of the general store hysterical. Bowman gently picked the child up and hurried to his office.
Both Heyes and Delores were relieved to see that the child hadn't been killed. Heyes took out his pocketwatch and noticed the time.
As Heyes left the boarding house, he stopped to say goodbye to the lady that had let him in. Then a thought occurred to him. "Is there a library in this town?"
"No. Nothing like that here. We barely have enough books for the schoolhouse."
"Alright. Well, thanks ma'am." Heyes tipped his hat to her and left the house. He slowly walked along the boardwalk trying to decide where he could find out some more information. He had to be careful. At least one man in the area knew who he was. He decided he needed a drink.
He walked into an almost empty saloon. The evening had barely started so many of the establishment's patrons hadn't made it in yet. He walked up and leaned on the bar with a distant look in his eye. The bartender walked up.
"What'll you have?"
Heyes brought his mind back to where he was. "A beer."
The barkeep studied Heyes as he poured his beverage. "You look like you're a thousand miles away. What's on your mind?"
Heyes looked up. "Huh? Oh, ah, nothing." He took a drink of amber liquid.
"Uh huh. I been bartendin' a looong time. I know that look. Is it a woman?"
Deciding the bartender was going to be persistant, he answered, "No, not a woman." He took another drink. "So, you been around here awhile have you?"
"Almost ten years."
"Has anything...strange, or weird...ever happen around here?"
"We've had some strange characters come through here from time to time, but not nothin' much out of the ordinary I don't guess."
Heyes just grunted in reply. Another drink. "Know anything about the indians that used to live in these parts?"
"Indians? No, not much. Just know they got run off their land here a while back right before the town was formed."
Heyes just nodded in reply. He looked at his watch as some people began to file into the saloon. The Kid should be back in a couple of hours. Maybe he could wait around for a poker game to start.
"Call," Heyes said as he spread out his full house on the table. He had started with two dollars and now had twenty laying in front of him.
"Dang it!" the last man holding cards yelled as he threw his hand down in disgust. "I don't know how, but you must be cheatin'."
"I assure you I'm not cheating," Heyes smiled as he raked in yet another pot.
"Well, I say ya are," the man growled.
"And I say you shouldn't be so expressive when you get a bad hand," Heyes countered. This brought a few laughs around the table. The man glared at Heyes and looked as if he were going to stand up to challenge the master poker player when his buddy next to him slapped him on the back.
"Now Charley, he's got you there!"
"Nobody can read me at cards," Charley insisted.
His friend laughed. "EVERYBODY can read you like a book. That's why you rarely get out of here with your shirt on."
Heyes's laugh joined in with the others. "Told you Charley. Why don't you take your last two bits and go get a drink."
Charley sneered as he grabbed his last few coins and left the saloon, knocking his chair over in the process.
"Some fellas just don't know how to lose," Heyes said as he started to shuffle the cards.
"Yeah, and Charley sure is one of 'em. I'd stay clear of him the rest of the night. He's pretty unpredictable when he's loaded and lost money."
The game continued for another thirty minutes before Heyes got up to leave. Kid was due to show up any minute so he decided to just meet him outside to go get something to eat. He stepped outside on the boardwalk and looked toward the end of town. 'Right on time,' he thought as he saw his partner leaving the livery stable.
"Hey Thaddeus," Heyes called to get his attention. He started walking towards him. He had to pass an alley and as he did, a man came out and walked up behind him. Kid saw the movement in the shadows.
"HEY...JOSHUA! BEHIND YOU!" he yelled and drew his gun but the man was directly behind Heyes.
Heyes started to turn, but as he did, the man known as Charley stabbed a hunting knife into his back. Heyes collapsed to his knees. At the same time, Kid's surprise turned to fury and he emptied his gun into the man. Charley fell on his back bleeding, dead before he hit the ground.
Curry ran to his partner who was now laying on his stomach. He rolled him onto his side. "Heyes!"
By this time, the gunshots had brought out the saloon crowd and the sheriff. "What's going on over here?" Sheriff Murray yelled as he ran over. When he saw what had happened, he called out, "Somebody go get the doc now!"
Kid was still trying to get Heyes to answer him. "Hey...Joshua. Joshua, you hear me?" Panic was evident in his voice.
Heyes tried to speak but it came out as a whisper. "Kid?"
"Yeah, Joshua. It's 'Thaddeus'. You're gonna be fine." He wished he could be as confident as he made his voice sound.
"What happened?" Sheriff Murray asked as he knelt down.
"My partner here was coming to meet me at the livery when this idiot came out of that alley and stabbed him in his back." Kid was furious and scared. He could hardly keep his voice from quivering.
Murray looked back at the man. "Looks like ole' Charley must've lost bad at poker again. I warned him he'd go to far one of these days. I take it you were the one that shot him?"
Curry looked at the sheriff. "Yeah, it was me," he said flatly. He looked back at Heyes as he started to cough. "Joshua? Joshua?!"
Doctor Bowman then showed up. His voiced was hurried. "C'mon. Help me get him to my office." Between Kid, Murray, and the doc, they got Heyes carried to the office in no time. They laid him face down on the table. "It's going to be tricky taking this knife out."
"Just do it Doc and hurry!" Kid felt like he was going to pass out any moment. He bent over and looked at Heyes. He was deathly pale. "Don't you leave me Joshua."
To Heyes, Kid sounded like he was on the other side of a train tunnel. All he heard was 'Joshua' as he slipped into darkness.
"What the..." Heyes eyes flew open and he sat up in bed. After a second, he fell back onto his pillow as he exhaled loudly. "Thank God."
Come to the dark side...we have cookies