This is a warning!! This story is not for everyone! It deals with near death experience. Please be aware that some of you will not like it, some of you will be quite upset by it. Read it if you choose, but you are warned. It is PG or maybe even G rated.
I would like feedback, and want to know how to make this story better.
So Much Better Than THE LIE
It started out innocently enough, to protect his cousin and best friend. "No, Jed, it happened so quick they never even knew."
He often wished it was the truth. He also wished the raid had never happened. But some wishes never come true.
"Don't worry, they won't split us up." More words that he desperately wished would come true.
Through the dark nights; the dire threats of separation; the longer, harder years after Valparaiso; only one promise had been steadfast, "We're partners, Kid, and partners always stick together.
Now, he realized those words could be one of the most painful lies he ever spoke. Kid Curry was still his partner, always, ALWAYS, would be. But sometimes partners have to split up just to survive.
Except this time he wasn't sure if either of them would survive.
He had found Kid after four days, four very long days of searching. Kid had somehow miraculously survived the shooting and bushwhacking, but with no care and no shelter, Kid was in bad shape.
Infection and fever had set in and decided to drain away any sign of life. Hannibal Heyes, however, had other ideas. "Kid, you need to get better, I can't make it alone."
Long hours filled with worry, frustration and fear followed as Heyes looked after his partner. "Kid, we promised we would die together, I' not ready yet," he whispered the words to his best friend, unsure if Kid would ever see another sun rise, or even be alive at first light.
Somehow, Kid knew. Heyes was with him, watching over him, trying to help. That knowledge helped. That knowledge gave Kid an inner strength that he had not thought of for years.
Heyes always protected him. Even before the raid, but especially after it. He learned that the small lies Heyes told were simply to try and shelter him from the ugliness. He learned that lesson several years later, after saying those same words to a few young children who were orphaned after a mining accident, "No, I'm sure your Pa never felt anything."
Kid learned that people who were put in charge of other lives rarely cared about anything but power and money. Fewer children to care for meant more money. Fewer children, achieved by any means often meant splitting up families. Friendships were all but meaningless to those people.
Somehow, Heyes had kept his word. Even though it was attempted several times, they were never separated.
Again his mind spun, and this time he grasped a more recent memory. They had been in a dingy, bleak hotel room, trying to think of their next jobs, "We shouldn't split up.Nothing good ever comes of it when we do."
"I know, Kid. This job is for Governor Warren's friend. It should help us." Heyes looked at Kid and tried to smile, "It's only for a week. We should be able to survive a week apart."
"A week isn't the problem, and you know it, Heyes. The problem is that we could both be walking into a trap without anyone to watch our backs."
"Kid, come on. Yes, the governor has let us down before; yes, he has lied to us before, but we have to do this. We need to prove we are better at what we do."
Kid sighed, "Okay, Heyes. One week. Then we go to Red Rock."
Kid stirred in his sleep His fever was high and he was starting to shake Panic gripped Hannibal Heyes as he realized this could be the end. He put another blanket on Kid and added more wood to the fire.
And then he did something he hadn't done for a very long time, he prayed. Heyes wasn't sure if he believed in God anymore, but he kew he couldn't survive long without his partner.
"Jed, remember, we promised each other that we would die together. Seems to me that you're trying your level best to break that promise," his voice cracked with emotion as he admitted his worst fear.
Heyes hung his head as a tear escaped. It was out of his hands. He had done everything he could, it was up to Kid now.
Dawn broke and held a promise of a brand new beginning. Heyes opened his eyes and took a deep breath before he dared to look at Kid, unsure of what he would find, positive he couldn't handle the possible blunt reality of death.
He looked at Kid and slowly realized that Kid looked peaceful and resting. He reached out his hand and dared to touch his partner's forehead. It was cool. The fever had broken.
He didn't believe it. He couldn't believe that Kid had somehow found a way to survive. It seemed to be too fantastic, too much to hope for.
Heyes made a fresh pot of coffee and decided to wait. If Kid really was alive he would complain about the coffee. Otherwise, well, he could learn to survive with a lie that he would force himself to believe.
The lie that Kid would be waiting somewhere up ahead of him, just a little further down the trail. He had just missed Kid by a few days in whatever town it happened to be... Heyes let his mind wander as he closed his eyes. The lie would be so much easier to live with, survive with.
Kid Curry opened his eyes. He ached all over and was thirsty.Even Heyes' coffee smelled good. He slowly turned and looked at this partner, "Heyes, I need a drink." The words came out as a hoarse whisper.
Hannibal Heyes' head snapped up at his name. His smile was bigger than it had been for a very long time. "Sure, Kid." He reached for a canteen and went to help his partner.
Reality was wonderful,even though Kid wasn't completely out of the woods yet. This was so much better than the lie he had begun to spin for his heart and soul. So much better than the lie.