(A/N - I want to apologize to my readers for the long delay in updating this story. I've had writer's block for a few months. But I hope to finish this up soon. Thanks for staying with the story.)
Hannibal Heyes was glad his latest escapade hadn't worked. He didn't fancy the idea of spending twenty years locked up in prison. He thought seriously about just staying in bed the rest of the day, but if he did, he'd be bored out of his mind. He raised up and sat on the edge of the bed. His head was in his hands when the Kid walked in.
"That rooster has to die."
Curry furrowed his brow. "What rooster?"
"The one that woke me up this morning," Heyes mumbled through his hands.
"Heyes,...that rooster has already died," Kid said slowly.
"Don't you think I know that?!"
"But you just said..."
"I KNOW what I just said." Heyes stood up and looked out the window. "But he'll be back and he has to die. And I have to kill him."
Curry shook his head. "You're not makin' a lick of sense."
"I tried it once and fell asleep. Well, I won't this time. How good do you think you are at tracking chickens?"
Kid sat the coffee, sandwich, and newspaper on the table. "I'm not spendin' the day trackin' a chicken. What am I sayin'? IT'S ALREADY DEAD!"
Heyes just stood there. "Tonight, I'm going to find that rooster when this day resets and shoot him." He thought for a moment. "Of course, seems to be that everytime the day resets, I wake up in bed no matter where I was the night before, so shooting the rooster may not be possible."
Curry walked over to him and felt his forehead. "You don't feel hot."
Heyes swatted the hand away. "I'm not going through that again. Now, leave me alone and go on that delivery job."
"I can't leave you alone talkin' like that. It's untellin' what you might do. I'd hate to read in the paper that Hannibal Heyes got arrested for shootin' someone's chickens." A moment passed. "How did you know about that job?"
"I just did. Now, go on."
Kid stood staring at his partner.
"Well,...go on. I got a job to do myself. Fixing a barn, I believe it was."
"How did you...?"
Heyes didn't answer. He just turned and picked the coffee up from the table.
Curry continued to stare at his back. Finally, he shook his head and rolled his eyes. "Well then, I'll see you tonight." He turned and walked to the door, casting a glance at his cousin before he went through.
When the door was shut, Heyes sunk down in one of the chairs. He had no intention on fixing a barn. Deep in thought, he ate the sandwich the Kid had brought him. Since shooting the offending rooster wasn't possible, it couldn't be the way to stop the day repeating. What the heck could it be? It was driving him crazy without a doubt. He finished his breakfast and buckled on his gun belt. Putting his hat on his head, he left the room and walked out of the hotel. He started wandering aimlessly down the street, being careful not to let old man Turner or the bounty hunter that would be stopping in at the cafe see him.
He turned down another street and found the telegraph office. He stopped as a thought struck him. Maybe he was here to find out something. He walked into the office.
"Good morning sir. Can I help you?," the telegraph operator asked.
"Yeah, I need to send a message." Heyes was handed a clipboard and he wrote down his message.
'To Lom Trevors, Porterville, Wyoming. Any news from mutual friend? Joshua Smith.'
The operator counted the words. "That'll be five cents."
Heyes paid the man. "I'll check back later for a reply." He left the office and continued down the street.
A few minutes of walking and he found himself on the edge of town. A stream trickled by. He stared at it a minute. "What the heck." He turned and walked back into town and went to the general store. He came back out a couple minutes later with a gold pan.
Heyes had been panning for gold all afternoon. He'd rode up into the hills right outside town. He knew gold had been found in the mountain range Destiny Loop was located in. How nice would it be that the thing to break the loop would be finding gold? He didn't figure he'd find anything so close to town, but at least it was a way to kill some time. Besides, it never hurt to look. But he hadn't found anything except one tiny piece. He put it in his pocket and sat down to take a break. Untying his bandana from around his neck, he dipped it into the water and wiped his face off. He sat staring into space, his arms resting on his legs. 'I still think that the solution has to do with that clarity and inner peace statement', Heyes thought. He sat staring and thinking for about fifteen minutes. Sighing, he stood up and dusted off his pants and tied his bandana back around his neck.
Getting restless, a thought struck him. He could spend the rest of the afternoon practicing his quick draw. Kid was always telling him he needed to practice at least every now and then. He went to collect some pine cones, then found a nice, almost level, log to set them up on. He then walked a good distance away and squared up to the targets. Quickly, he drew his Schofield and pulled off six shots. Four of the pine cones went flying. Maybe Kid was right, he should practice more. He sat up a new set of targets and reloaded his weapon. Once again, six shots were fired. This time, he managed to hit five out of six. He realized that he was starting to relax a little bit. He spent the rest of the afternoon setting up pine cones and shooting them down as fast as he could. Maybe he could do this every afternoon since he didn't yet see any way to break the wretched loop.
It was getting close to evening, so he retrieved his horse and rode back to town. He was physically and mentally tired, so he decided to go get some food from the cafe and just go back to the hotel room to eat. Checking his pocketwatch, he knew the bounty hunter had already stopped for his coffee and was gone.
A man was just starting to light the street lamps when he entered town. Heyes took his horse to the livery and got her settled. As he brushed her, he remembered he needed to check the telegraph office for a reply from Lom. He quickly finished up and headed for the office. The telegrapher was getting ready to close down for the night when he walked in. "Hi. Any messages for Joshua Smith?"
"Yeah, I think one came earlier. Let me get it." The telegrapher looked through a small stack of messages. "Ah, here it is." He handed it over to the ex-outlaw.
Heyes read it to himself. 'To Joshua Smith, Destiny Loop. No answer yet. Sorry. Sheriff Lom Trevors.' He wadded up the paper in his hand and dropped it in a waste basket. Apparently, getting amnesty wasn't going to happen today.
"Any reply? I'm getting ready to close down for the night," the telegrapher asked a little impatiently.
Heyes looked up. "No. No reply. Thanks." He walked out of the office and down to the cafe. After waiting for a few minutes, he received some dinner and left to return to the hotel.
Not long afterward, Kid Curry returned from his delivery job. He went into the saloon expecting to see his partner, but he wasn't there. Maybe Heyes just wasn't back yet. So he just had a beer then went to get something to eat.
An hour later, he walked into a dimly lit hotel room to find his cousin sitting, just staring out the window. "Heyes? What are you doin'?"
"You ain't still going on like you were this mornin' are you? 'Cause frankly, you was talkin' all crazy, goin' on about shootin' chickens and repeating days."
Heyes continued to stare out the window. "I'm not arguing about that anymore. You've only believed me once anyway."
"Believed you about what?"
"That this stupid, wretched, dang day is repeating," Heyes sighed aggravated.
Kid watched him closely. "So, I take that as a yes, you're still talking crazy."
"I am NOT talking crazy. What's going on around here, THAT'S what' crazy. And I can't figure it out."
"Figure WHAT out?"
"How to get out of here!"
"That's easy Heyes. We just get on our horses and ride out."
Heyes was quiet for a couple of moments. Then he stood up. "Alright then. Let's go."
"Right NOW?!" Kid couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Yes. Right now. Grab your stuff. We're leaving." Heyes stood up and started packing his saddlebags. He had tried to spend the night outside of town once, but that bounty hunter had put a stop to that. Maybe this was the answer.
Kid just watched his partner. "We just got here last night. Why in the world do you want to go sleep on the ground again when we've got nice warm beds right here?"
Heyes kept working. "I saw someone earlier who could recognize me. We need to go."
Curry narrowed his eyes with his hands on his hips. "Heyes, if that had happened, you wouldn't have been sittin' here starin' out the window."
Heyes glanced up quickly, then returned his eyes to his activity. "You hadn't come back yet and I couldn't leave without you now could I? I was watching the window to make sure that guy wasn't going in the sheriff's office or in here. But you're here now, so let's get going." Heyes finished his packing and looked at his cousin.
Kid blew out his breath, rolled his eyes, and started gathering his things. There just wasn't any understanding his partner sometimes. Within a few minutes, he was ready to go as well.
They quietly left the room and checked out. The livery doors were locked, but Heyes soon remedied that. Just as they had so many times before, they saddled up quickly and rode out as quietly as possible. Once outside the town, Heyes pushed his mare into a gallop. Kid followed close behind.
Thirty minutes of riding, and they found a nice secluded spot surrounded by trees and boulders. Heyes pulled up and dismounted. "This'll do nicely." He got busy hobbling his horse and laying out his bedroll. Kid did the same, then started to make a fire. Heyes was quiet as he worked. Kid looked at him with a hint of worry in his eyes.
"Heyes, you've just not been yourself today. Now, what's really eatin' at you?"
Heyes sat down, leaned up against his saddle next to the now lit fire. "I've already told you," he said quietly.
"You mean the repeating day business? Look, I find that really hard to believe. What would think if I got up one mornin' and started telling you that story? You'd think I was nuts."
Heyes stared into the dancing orange flames. "Well, hopefully, this'll be the last time you hear of it. I ain't going to hear any rooster crow out here."
Kid stared at his cousin. He didn't know what else to say. He just decided if Heyes was still like this in the morning, he was taking him to a doctor. Something was definitely wrong with him. "Well, I'm worn out from today. Think I'll lay down." He spread out his own bedroll and sat down on it. "Unless you want me to take first watch."
"No. I'll probably be up a while. Go to sleep."
"Well, alright." Kid lay down and got as comfortable as he could sleeping outside. It wasn't too long before his breathing evened out and a soft snore sounded from his lips.
Heyes kept staring into the crackling fire. "If this doesn't work..."
Come to the dark side...we have cookies