Heyes' eyes flew open and he sat up in bed. "I'm beginning to hate that rooster." He rubbed his eyes and got up to get dressed. He had made a decision. He was going to make his cousin believe him today. Maybe he could help solve the mystery. The Kid had always had helpful input on his robbery plans, sometimes coming up with things he hadn't thought of. As he made his way to the water basin, the door opened and Kid Curry walked in.
Heyes turned to stare at his partner as he wiped his face off. No time like the present. "Kid, sit down. We need to talk."
Curry furrowed his brow. "Talk? About what?"
Kid walked over to the chair beside the window and sat down. He put the cup of coffee, sandwich, and newspaper he held on the table beside him. "Alright, I'm sittin'. What do you want to talk about?"
Heyes sat down on the edge of the bed and faced his partner. "Kid, this is going to be REALLY hard for you to believe, but I swear to you I'm telling you the truth. Kid...this day is repeating for me."
Kid stared at his cousin. "Repeating...Heyes are you feelin' alright?"
Heyes rubbed his face with one hand. "I'm fine. I'm not drunk, sick, going crazy or anything else. I swear on a stack of Bibles this high I'm not trying to pull a joke on you. I'm dead serious. I've lived this same day at least four times now."
Kid cocked his head and glared at Heyes. "I think you need..."
"NO. I don't need to see a doctor. DANG IT. WHY DON'T YOU JUST BELIEVE ME?!"
"Calm down Heyes. If you're wantin' me to believe you ain't crazy, you're doin' a poor job of it."
Heyes shut his eyes tight. "Alright, if I'm just going insane, how would I know that you've been looking in that paper while you ate and found two jobs, one delivery and one fixing up a barn? Now explain that."
Kid glanced at the paper. How DID his partner know that? "Alright, you've got my attention. How on earth did you do that? You been spyin' on me this mornin'?"
"NO." Heyes lowered his voice. "No. I knew it because I've been through this before with you. You were also going to say you were going to do the deciding this time instead of my coin weren't you?"
Curry looked Heyes straight in the eyes. "Yeah, I was. But it's impossible Heyes. Days don't repeat. Once a day's gone, it's gone."
"No, it's not. In the last four days, I've been arrested and killed twice. But every morning, I wake up to that blasted rooster crowing like nothing's happened."
Curry couldn't quite believe what he was hearing. "No, it can't be true."
Heyes was exasperated. "Alright Kid, look out that window. In just a couple of minutes, the sheriff is about to leave his office and lock the door behind him. A lady is going to go down the boardwalk holding the hand of a little girl in a plain blue dress and ribbons in her hair and an old farmer who can identify me is going to walk towards the livery. Just watch."
Kid sighed but he looked out the window. A few minutes later, the events happened just as his cousin had said they would. He slowly turned back to face him. "How did you do that?"
"I ALREADY TOLD YOU!"
"Okay, okay. But why? And why is it only you doing it?"
"I have no idea. Yesterday, I went to talk to an old Indian. He told me I was stuck in a loop, but didn't say how I could get out of it. I have to figure it out unless I want to repeat this day until I die of old age. That's why I need you to believe me. I need some help. I'm not quite sure where to go from here."
"So you're telling me that tomorrow mornin', this day'll start over for you but I won't remember nothin' about it?"
"Yes. Unless I find the way to make it stop."
"Well, maybe we both could go talk to the Indian today. Maybe he'll tell us something more."
"Maybe, but I doubt it. Guess it couldn't hurt anything though. Let me drink that coffee and we'll go."
Cat Of A Thousand Circles watched as two men rode toward his small cabin. He knew immediately who it was when the sun caught the silver conchos on the black hat just right. He walked out onto his porch to await their arrival.
Before they reached the cabin, Heyes turned in his saddle. "Now, this fella knows who we are. Well, at least he knows me. But I think we can trust him."
Curry looked concerned. "If you say so."
As they rode near, Heyes threw his hand up in greeting. "Howdy Cat. Brought a friend with me today. Hope you don't mind."
"Of course not Hannibal."
The boys reached the hitching post and dismounted. Cat shook Kid's hand.
"I take it this is your partner Hannibal. Welcome Mr. Curry. May I call you Jedediah?"
"Uh,...Jed will be fine." Curry found it unnerving being in the presence of a stranger who knew who he truly was. Cat picked up on his uneasiness.
"Do not worry Jed. As I told Hannibal yesterday, I have no desire or need to turn either of you in. Now, shall we go in?" Cat stepped back and allowed the two ex-outlaws to enter his cabin. "Please sit down. May I offer you something to drink?"
"No thanks Cat," Heyes said. He decided to get straight to the point. "I finally got my partner here to believe me. Are you sure there's nothing else you can tell us to help me figure out this problem?"
"I told you all I could yesterday. I have nothing new."
"Well, if you can't help him figure out an answer, is there any way that I could remember this in the mornin' so I could help him? If he has to spend every mornin' tryin' to explain what's happenin' to him, it'll drive us both nuts."
"I am truly sorry Jed. There is no way I know of. Everything resets every morning for Hannibal, except his memory."
"Well how come you ain't affected by the...whatever it is...resettin'?"
"My people are exempt from the...curse, if you want to call it that."
The disappointment was evident on both boys' faces. "Thanks anyway, Cat. We'll get going. Don't want to waste your time." Heyes stood to leave. Curry followed him out the door.
Cat stood in the doorway as the two mounted up. "Hannibal, I can tell you this one thing. Clarity is the path to inner peace."
Heyes was confused, but nodded at the old Indian. "See you around Cat." With that, they set off toward town.
"I'm at a loss Kid," Heyes said as they neared town. "What's that supposed to mean, clarity is the path to inner peace? Reckon he's saying I need inner peace before this will stop?"
"I don't know, but if it is, you're up the creek."
"Gee thanks." Heyes stopped talking to think, but only for a second. "What do I need inner peace for? How does anybody have that? How on earth would you get it?"
"Why are you fixated on that? That might NOT be the answer. You said he said he didn't know the answer to tell you."
"Well, maybe he's telling me something that might help."
"I don't know Heyes. This is the weirdest thing I've ever heard of. The solution is probably just as strange."
"You could be right. Let's get a drink."
They dropped their horses off at the stable and made their way into an almost empty saloon. They got a couple of beers and a table in the back corner. Heyes sipped his, deep in thought.
"Heyes, maybe you're thinkin' too hard on this. This is somethin' that don't make sense. Maybe tryin' to think logically about it ain't gonna work this time." Kid drained a third of his glass in one gulp.
"You know, usually you're telling me to get my head OUT of the clouds."
"I'm serious. You might have to get a little creative to solve this. You've certainly done it before. Ain't always worked, but you done it."
Heyes took a good long drink of amber liquid. "My plans have always worked...in some form..."
Kid smirked at the comment. No use arguing that point. It never led to anything good.
"But you're right Kid. And I just thought of the first creative thing I'm going to try. I'm going to beat that drunk to shooting that rooster in the morning. Maybe that stupid bird is the key." Heyes finished his beer and stood to leave.
Kid almost choked on his.
Two ex-outlaws crept through the shadows at 5 a.m. behind the town's buildings.
"Heyes, this is crazy. I was talkin' about thinkin' creatively, not insanely. You don't even need me here. I don't think the rooster will be armed. Even you can get the drop on him."
"SHH. You might scare the rooster off. He must be around here somewhere." Heyes stealthily moved through the dark. "Alright, judging from the direction the sheriff pulls that drunk from every morning, that rooster must come through here. All we have to do is sit and wait for it."
"No. All YOU have to do is sit and wait for it. I'm too tired to be involved in bird murder. You've lost your mind. I'm goin back to the hotel room and lay down. Have fun." Curry turned to leave.
"Well go quietly," Heyes hissed. As his partner left, Heyes pulled out his revolver, sat back against the back of a building, and got comfortable to wait for the arrival of the foul bird.
Thirty minutes later, his head dropped to his chest as he lost the battle to stay awake.
Heyes' eyes flew open and he sat up in bed. "CRAP! I fell asleep."
Come to the dark side...we have cookies