"WHO THE HECK ARE YOU?! WHO IS THIS HEYES?!" Kid Curry forgot to use his partner's alias in the ensuing confusion. It didn't matter though. Judy already knew who they were. Kid had fallen to the floor with Judy and was now in a wrestling match to gain control of his head.
"You're just as adorable as he is," Judy purred, holding Kid's head to kiss him.
"Kid, meet Judy." Heyes smiled watching his cousin struggle with the big woman as he had done hours before. It had never crossed his mind that she would actually follow him. He found himself wanting the day to reset this time. Judy was harder to get away from than any posse. He reached over to the chair and grabbed his jacket. Then he carefully stepped around and over the two in the floor. "Think I'll go over to the saloon for a night cap. See you later, and Kid,...have fun." He winked as the gunslinger stared a hole through him.
"HEYES! YOU GET BACK HERE! DO SOMETHING ABOUT,...THIS!" Curry tried to rise up to a sitting position only to get jerked back by the collar of his jacket.
"Don't worry. I'll be here with you my love." Judy said trying her best to kiss his lips.
"I know! THAT'S what I'm afraid of!" Kid tried to pry off her arms that now surrounded his neck. Heyes opened the door to leave. "I MEAN IT HEYES! GET BACK HERE AND GET YOUR FRIEND!"
Heyes paused at the open door. He smiled once again. "She's all YOUR friend now."
Kid finally managed to make it to a sitting position, but Judy was hanging on his back kissing his neck. He was tempted to shoot both the crazy woman and his cousin. "WELL GO GET THE SHERIFF!" he desperately shouted as Heyes shut the door laughing. "Will you LET GO OF ME?!"
"Don't fight it Kid. This was meant to be. I've ALWAYS wanted a bad boy outlaw to love and now I have two!" Judy had managed to squirm around and was now laying in his lap, still holding onto his neck.
"Oh no you don't." Kid tried to push her off his lap so he could get up. She didn't move. "Woman, you HAVE GOT TO GET OFF ME!" He put his arms between hers and finally succeeded in prying her off his neck. Quickly, Curry tried to get on his feet before Judy could right herself. But as soon as he was upright, a hand grabbed the bottom of his sheepskin jacket and jerked him down. She yanked so hard, his hat fell off and got scooted across the room. As soon as his butt hit the floor, she grabbed his Colt out of the holster. "Alright now! That's enough! Give the gun back to me!"
"Come and get it you bad boy you,..." Judy cooed, hugging the revolver to her chest.
"On second thought, keep it." Kid jumped to his feet and as fast as could, ran to the door and opened it. Once out in the hallway, he yanked the door shut just as Judy came running after him. He still had hold of the doorknob and could feel her pulling on the other side. It took a couple of minutes, and a lot of strength, but he managed to get the key out of his pocket and lock the door. Once it was locked, he turned around and leaned against it. "I never thought I'd be runnin' from a woman..."
"Oh Kiiid...I'm waaaiting," Judy said from the other side of the door.
"Well, you just keep on waitin'," Kid called back. There was no way he was going back in that room. Heyes could take care of it. Then he remembered. 'Heyes! He just left me in there with that crazy woman!' He pushed off the door and headed over to the saloon. It was time to flatten his cousin.
Heyes had already slowly enjoyed half a glass of beer at the far end of the bar when his cousin slammed through the doors like a mad bull. The ex-outlaw leader smiled as his partner came in. But as Curry got closer and he could see the look on his face clearly, the smile quickly disappeared. He held up his hands and started backing up. "Now Kid. No need to be so angry."
"NO NEED?!" He backed Heyes up until his back was against the wall. Heyes could now see his partner's face very well. Curry's hair was tousled, lipstick on his face, red marks around his neck, and his eyes shone with blue rage. "No need?! You ran into that,...
that,... woman earlier today didn't you? You KNEW how she was. And you LEFT ME STUCK IN THE ROOM WITH HER!"
Heyes tried to diffuse the situation while the rest of the saloon's occupants watched with amused interest. "Well, she was a little too forward for my taste, but I thought you might enjoy her."
"You thought I'd enjoy her?!" Kid stared icily at his cousin. Before Heyes could react, Curry drew back and punched him in the side of his face. The dark-haired man fell to his knees holding his cheek. "Well, I thought YOU might enjoy THAT."
Two ex-outlaws stood in the street, one rubbing his cheek, staring at the window to their room,...in the hotel that had no more rooms available.
"How are you gonna get her outta there, Heyes?"
"ME?! It's your gun she's got. You go run her off. Besides, I have a headache."
"You deserved that and you know it!"
Brown eyes slid sideways to glance at his partner. Okay, so THAT one, if he were honest, he MIGHT have deserved. After a minute, Heyes unholstered his revolver and tried to hand it to Kid. "Here,... go shoot her in the leg. Then the town doctor can come get her."
Curry glared at him. "I ain't gonna shoot her, no matter how much I might want to."
Heyes reholstered his gun. "Well, how about getting the sheriff on her, tell him she's crazy and broke into our room."
"She knows who we are! We can't do that!"
Hmm...Judy or jail...? The jail was sounding pretty good. Then Heyes had a thought. "So what? Come 7 a.m., she'll be gone anyway. Let's just go turn ourselves in so we'll at least have something to sleep on until morning."
Curry turned and stared wide-eyed at his cousin. "Have you lost your mind?! I ain't gonna go sleep on a cot in a jail cell when we've paid for a soft bed in a hotel. Not to mention the fact that we'd be IN JAIL. You wanna go sleep in a cell for twenty years, go on. I AIN'T doin' it. Besides that, what makes you think she'll be gone by mornin'? She'd probably have one of us married to her by mornin'."
"I just know she'll be gone, believe me."
Kid's wide-eyed stare turned into a look that really wondered if his cousin was crazy. They could discuss Heyes' sanity later. Right now, there was an actual insane woman to worry about. "Well, even if she IS gone by mornin', that don't help us none now."
"I told you we could turn..."
Heyes shrugged his shoulders. No use trying to explain the repeating day business this late. He looked at the hotel and thought a minute. There was a balcony running all the way around the top floor of the hotel that went directly underneath their room. So there should be some stairs leading up to it from the street somewhere. "Hey, look. We could get on that balcony and sneak a peek in our room, see what she's doing. Maybe she's already gone and we're worried over nothing."
"Alright. You finally said something that makes sense. Let's go."
Ducking into the alley beside the hotel, they found the stairs leading up to the balcony. They climbed them and walked around the balcony as quietly as they could until they were right beside their room's window.
Heyes looked back at Curry and whispered, "This reminds me of that night we first went to Lom about the amnesty, having to sneak around to the window and look in."
"Shut up, Heyes, before she hears you."
Heyes rolled his eyes as Kid kneeled down in front of him and they both slowly put their heads around just enough in front of the window to see in. What they saw stunned them both.
Judy had apparently went digging around in their saddlebags. She had one of Heyes' shirts draped over her shoulders, Kid's hat was on her head, and she was laying on her stomach on the bed, the gun still up to her chest as she patted it and reading one of Heyes' books.
Heyes raised up and turned to leave. "Forget that. I'm not fooling with that craziness no more. I'll go sleep in the jail first."
Kid jumped up and grabbed him by the collar. He whispered vehemently. "I SAID NO JAIL. Now get back here."
"What do you expect me to do?!"
"Think of somethin' genius!"
Heyes put his hands on his hips and glared at his partner. "Well, one of us can go back in there with her to keep her distracted, and the other can go convince the sheriff she's crazy and violent and broke in on us because she thinks we're outlaws. When he comes and sees her trying to hold one of us on the floor, he'd probably believe us."
Curry narrowed his eyes at him. "ONE of us can CONVINCE the sheriff...? You're meanin' YOU'LL go convince the sheriff while I have to go fight to keep from being kissed to death. Nuh uh, Heyes." His finger pounded Heyes in the chest. "YOU'RE the reason she's here in the first place. YOU can go wrangle her to the ground."
Heyes smiled slyly. "Now think, Kid. Which of us has the silver tongue?"
Curry blew out an exasperated breath. He couldn't argue with that. But he COULD argue with the idea. "You can't come up with something better than that? I could be..."
"WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING UP THERE THIS TIME OF NIGHT?"
The two cousins looked at each other, then over the railing at the sheriff and his deputy watching them from the street.
Kid's eyes slid over to his partner. "Well, Joshua, answer the man."
Heyes put his hands on the railing and smiled at the lawmen below him, even though they probably couldn't see it. He didn't want to speak too loud. "Now this isn't what it looks like, Sheriff. We were just..."
"THROW YOUR GUNS DOWN, THEN STAY RIGHT THERE. I'M COMING UP." Sheriff Murray looked at his deputy. "Keep 'em covered while I get up there." He looked back up. "GUNS, GENTLEMEN. NOW."
Heyes rolled his eyes, pulled out his revolver and tossed it down.
"YOU TOO, SON."
"I DON'T HAVE ONE," Kid yelled back aggravated.
Inside the hotel room, Judy had heard the yelling outside and went to the window to see what was going on. She opened the window to get a better look at the street and leaned out. That's when she saw them. "Oh boy! My outlaws have come back to me!"
The two on the balcony turned in unison and saw their living nightmare climbing out the window. "YOU STAY THERE, SHERIFF! WE SURRENDER! WE'LL COME DOWN!" Heyes yelled as Curry turned and ran for the stairs. The ex-outlaw leader wasn't as lucky. Just as he turned to run, Judy lunged forward and caught him by his right leg. Heyes fell hard on the balcony floor and Judy scrambled over top of him.
"Hello, Hannibal! Welcome back! I've been waiting!" Judy jerked Heyes over on his back as he tried to get back up.
Heyes grabbed her arms as they tried to surround his neck. "Now look lady, we're NOT going through this again!"
Judy then changed tactics. She settled for grabbing the lapels of his jacket.
It was all Heyes could do to hold her at bay. She was trying hard to get close enough to kiss his face. "Oh dear, Hannibal. You have a bruise on your face. Let me kiss it and make it better."
"That's okay. I'd rather just let it hurt..."
By that time, Curry had reached the street. He looked up at his poor cousin. 'Serves him right for leavin' me earlier...'
"SHERIFF! I GIVE UP! I'M HANNIBAL HEYES AND I'M TURNING MYSELF IN TO YOU SO YOU CAN HAVE THE REWARD IF YOU'LL JUST COME GET THIS CRAZY WOMAN OFF ME!"
Sheriff Murray's eyes grew wide at the proclamation. His gaze then turned toward Kid.
Curry wasn't looking at him though. He was still looking up at his partner, shocked by what he had just heard. He didn't turn away until the deputy came up and grabbed his arm, making sure his holster was empty.
"Then you must be Curry," the sheriff said as the deputy pulled the ex-outlaw over. "Go ahead and take him to the jail. I'll go see what's happening up there to Heyes."
"I can't believe he just said that...," Kid was still in disbelief as he was led down the street to the jail. It all had happened so fast, he was almost speechless.
Up on the balcony, the tug-of-war happening with Heyes' jacket lapels was still going on. Judy's shoulders were the only place Heyes could hold her back with. Well, the only place if he wanted to remain a gentleman. But his arms were getting tired holding up the lunatic's weight. Slowly, Judy was lowering closer and closer to him. Heyes used all the strength he had left and rolled them both over onto their sides. Judy still had a death grip on his jacket though, and was about to give him the kiss of his life when they both heard a stern voice.
"Alright, that's enough you two," Sheriff Murray said, pointing his pistol at them.
"THAT'S WHAT I KEEP TRYING TO TELL HER!" Heyes was still getting pulled forward toward Judy's lips as he fought uselessly to get up.
"MA'AM! You need to let him go, NOW." Murray reached down and grabbed one of her wrists. Only then, did she look up and actually seem to notice the gun pointing at them.
"Hello, Sheriff," Judy smiled. "This is one of my boyfriends, Hannibal."
"Ma'am, I ain't telling you again. Let 'Hannibal' go."
Judy looked crestfallen as she turned loose of the corduroy jacket. Heyes scrambled to his feet and stood still while the sheriff helped Judy stand up.
"But he's going to take me to Devil's Hole to live," she whined.
Murray rolled his eyes. "We'll discuss that later. Right now, let's head to my office."
Heyes started walking to descend the stairs as Murray gave Judy a little nudge to get her going in front of him. They all made it down to the street without any problems, then Judy had a thought. "I just want one more kiss for tonight." She started to catch up to Heyes.
Heyes heard what she said and had taken off running before she finished her sentence. Judy was close on his heels.
"BOTH OF YOU, STOP!" Murray yelled. He shot in the air to try to stop the two where they were, but it had no effect. Once Judy got something in her mind, there was no changing it and if she didn't stop, Heyes wasn't stopping. Murray didn't want to have to shoot anyone, but that WAS Hannibal Heyes running in front, although he couldn't blame him for running. He'd decided to try to shoot the ground directly in front of Heyes to stop him. The worse that would happen would be shooting Heyes in the leg. Then he noticed where the ex-outlaw leader was headed.
The deputy had just locked the cell and was going to the sheriff's desk to put away Curry's gun belt when the door flew open and Hannibal Heyes ran in. The deputy and Kid stared as Heyes ran straight into an empty cell and slammed the door behind him."HURRY, LOCK THE CELL DOOR!" Heyes demanded as he went as far back in the cell as he could get. The deputy hurried down to him and locked it.
Kid was certain his cousin had finally lost his crazy mind as Judy ran in and back to the cells. It was then that Kid himself jumped back as far as he could get from the cell door. Judy stood between the two cells holding the ex-outlaws and blew them kisses as she tried to coax them to come closer to the bars.
Finally, Sheriff Murray ran in and stopped, surprised at what he saw. The two most notorious, most wanted outlaws in the west seemed scared of a woman. Granted, she was a VERY BIG and VERY CRAZY woman, but still, he thought it amusing that both of the criminals were as far back away from the cell doors as possible. He hid a smile and went up to Judy. He gently grabbed her by the arm and led her back to his desk. "Ma'am, where are you from?"
"Leather Junction," she said as she still stared starry-eyed at Heyes and Curry.
"Well, my deputy here is going to escort you back to your hotel room,..."
"Uh, Sheriff. That was OUR room she was in," Heyes called up front.
"Yeah, I was the one that locked her in there to get away from her," Kid added grumpily.
Sheriff Murray turned to hide a smile and stifle a laugh. When he had himself composed, he turned once again to Judy. "Well then, you can sleep here tonight in the front cell and tomorrow morning, my deputy will escort you back to Leather Junction."
"Yeah, and then WE'LL be escorted to Laramie," Kid said semi-softly as he glared at Heyes, still not believing what he had done.
Heyes gave his cousin his most convincing, sincere smile. "I promise you Kid, everything WILL be fine in the morning."
Heyes raised up in the bed and looked around the room. Just as he suspected, there was no sign that Judy the crazy floozy had ever been there. He had an evil thought run through his mind that maybe he'd somehow persuade Kid that he needed to go to the Leather Junction library, but remembering what a headache he had had the previous night after his cousin slugged him, dismissed the idea. He had to laugh though, thinking back to the look on Kid's face when he was jumped by Judy. What he wouldn't give to have a picture of it.
The door opened and Kid walked in. "Mornin' Heyes. What are you smiling at this early?"
Heyes was so deep in the memory that the question caught him off guard. "Uh,...nothing exactly. Just a... dream I had."
"It must've been a pretty good one."
Heyes did his best to hold in a laugh as he answered. "Oh, it was a good one alright. There was this giant crazy woman over six feet tall and you..."
"STOP. Stop right there. That don't sound like somethin' I want to hear about."
"Ah,...c'mon Kid. Let me tell you. She knocked on the door and..."
"One more word about it Heyes and you're gonna find yourself with coffee all over your face."
Heyes snickered as he stood up and stretched.
Curry rolled his eyes and ignored the half suppressed laugh. "Went out to get some breakfast and a paper. Didn't want to wake ya, so I just brought you something back."
"Apparently it includes coffee since you just threatened me with it."
"You're such a genius, Heyes," Kid said sarcastically.
Heyes stopped and thought briefly about sending his cousin to the library once more. Shaking his head, he started getting dressed.
Kid sat the breakfast items on the table by the window. "Since we're runnin' low on money, I was glancin' at this paper while I ate and saw a couple ads for jobs. One's out at a small ranch patchin' up a barn. The other's deliverin' some documents out to a mine."
Heyes remembered what he'd said on the first day Kid had told him about the jobs, however long ago that was. "Let me guess. You chose the delivery job."
Kid shot Heyes his most charming, innocent smile. "Well, I figured this time, I'd do the decidin' instead of that coin of yours."
Having gotten Kid to leave, Heyes rummaged through the room until he finally found a small pencil in his saddlebag. He grabbed the newspaper Kid had left, then sat down at the table to eat and try to think some things through. Taking a bite of the sandwich, he looked through the paper until he found a small clear spot he could write on. "Now, what did that dictionary say clarity was?" He thought for a moment then wrote, 'Clearness or lucidity as to...perception or understanding; freedom from...indistinctness or am-big-uity'. "I think that's what the definition was exactly."
He drank some coffee while he tapped the pencil on the table. "Clearness as to perception or understanding... freedom..." Another drink of coffee. "Well, it's definitely not freedom from being wanted. We managed to actually get amnesty one of those days. So...freedom from something else maybe?" More of the sandwich disappeared. He wrote down what Cat had said to him. "Clarity is the path to inner peace."
Heyes dropped the pencil and took a long drink of coffee. After the cup was set down, a hand ran through the dark hair as he looked out the window. He watched the town going about it's usual business. Then he noticed something he hadn't paid any attention to before. A woman walked out of the mercantile packing a plant she had just purchased. All thoughts on clarity were forgotten as an idea struck him. The old indian, Cat of A Thousand Circles, had a garden. Why would he plant one if it would never grow? Cat said the so-called curse didn't affect him or his people. Could anything that stayed on Cat's land not be affected like the garden?
Cat was lounging in a rocking chair on his front porch when he saw a rider headed his way. He smiled, stood up, and waved when he could make out who it was. "Welcome back, Hannibal. I had a feeling I would be seeing you again."
Heyes looked tired as he rode up to the porch. "Howdy, Cat." As he dismounted, he glanced at Cat's garden. It was barely noticeable, but the plants looked as if they had in fact grown some.
"Come, sit with me here on the porch. You look as if you have something on your mind," Cat said motioning to the other chair beside him.
"Thanks." Heyes sat down and pushed back his hat. "Cat, I do indeed have something on my mind,... you." He looked over at the older man.
"Yeah, you. You told me, however many days ago it was, that you didn't know the answer that would make the loop stop."
"That is correct. The solution has been different for each person."
"You also said that the loop doesn't affect your people."
"That is also correct."
"I started thinking about your garden out there. I don't think you would take the time to fool with planting it if it would never grow. So, the curse must also not affect the land that you own."
Cat looked impressed with the dark-haired ex-outlaw sitting opposite him. "I had never really given it any thought, but you are correct. The land and things my people own are not affected. Our gardens and livestock have normal lives whether someone is stuck in the loop or not."
Heyes had a smile playing across his lips. "Well then, going along that line of reasoning, what if someone were to spend the night in your house, or on your property?"
Cat was quiet as he contemplated Heyes' theory. "Your train of thought appears sound, Hannibal. I have never had anyone ask me that question. I cannot tell you what would happen, as I do not know."
Heyes cleared his throat in anticipation. "Then I have to ask,... would you mind entertaining an ex-outlaw guest for a night? You don't have to let me in the house. I don't mind sleeping outside at all, as long as I'm still on your land."
Cat studied Heyes. The young man had tenacity, he had to give him that. He smiled at him. "Hannibal, I would not mind it at all. And you do not have to sleep outside. You are welcomed to use the guest room. I trust you not to take anything. Although I must warn you, I do not think this will work. As you know, I do not have the answer, but previous solutions have seemed to be...personal...in nature some way. But you are welcome to try staying here. Will Jed be joining you?"
"No. It'll be easier to get him to believe I took an overnight job than it would be to explain why we need to spend the night with you."
"I suspect you will leave now and return in the evening?"
"That's right. I have to wait for Kid to get back from his job so I can tell him I'll be gone. Don't want him worrying all night." Heyes rose from the chair and offered his hand to Cat. "I sure do thank you. Wished I could repay your kindness in some way."
Cat took Heyes' hand and shook it. "You need not worry about repayment, Hannibal. It is my pleasure to help you out. And besides, you have been giving me a lot of entertainment. I have heard all the tales of the things you have done and the people you have met."
Heyes gave a sideways grin. "Let me guess,... from the stable man."
Cat chuckled. "Yes. He has been observing all that goes on in town, then tells me the stories when he passes by in the evenings on his way home. You have managed to make him question your sanity a couple of times."
"That sounds like something Kid would say."
Cat was smiling large. "I think one of my favorite days was when you just gave up and decided to spend half the day in the saloon getting drunk. I was told your cousin had quite the time handling you that night. And then there was Judy..."
"Leeet's not talk about Judy. One day dealing with her will last me a lifetime. I ain't NEVER met a woman like that before." Heyes stepped down off the porch. "I'll be back late this evening." He started to mount his horse, but then stopped and looked back to Cat with a smile. "Do you like to play cards?"
"I enjoy some games. But I will not be gambling with you. I have heard how good you are at poker. I will save some dinner for you. Safe travels, Hannibal."
"Thanks, Cat." Heyes swung himself up in his saddle and rode back to town.
When Heyes entered Destiny Loop, he went straight to the telegraph office.
"Can I help you?" the telegrapher asked looking up from writing something.
Heyes walked over to the counter. "I was wondering if you could write a message for me."
"Why? Can't you write?"
Heyes tried not to look offended. "Yes, I can write perfectly fine. But I need this message written by you as if I had received an actual telegraph."
The telegrapher looked a little confused. "Huh?"
"I need YOU to write down the message I'm going to tell you. I want it in YOUR handwriting so it'll look like it came as a telegraph. I'm trying to pull a trick on my partner and he'll immediately recognize my writing. I'll pay you of course."
The telegrapher scratched his head. "So you're willing to pay me just to write something down on paper for you?"
Heyes smiled. "Yes. How does,... a dollar sound?"
"You're gonna give me a dollar just to write a message for you?" The telegrapher could hardly believe it. But, if this man was willing to pay him, who was he to argue? He picked up his clipboard. "Okay then. I'm ready.
"To Joshua Smith, Destiny Loop. From Sheriff Lom Trevors, Porterville. Need you to come to Porterville for important job specifically for you. Will take about a day. Need you here by 8 am tomorrow," Heyes dictated.
The telegrapher finished writing. Heyes reached for the paper. "Uh,...you said you'd pay a dollar...?" The telegrapher held the message just out of Heyes' reach.
"Of course." Heyes forced a smile as he dug into his inside jacket pocket and got out the money. "Here you are."
"Thanks," the telegrapher said, switching the paper for the money.
"No, thank YOU," Heyes replied, folding the message and putting it in his jacket pocket he had retrieved the money from. He left the telegraph office and returned his horse to the livery stable.
"Hello Mr. Heyes," the stable man looked up from brushing a particularly impatient pony.
"Hi." Heyes took his mare to the stall she was occupying while in town. "Heard you've been getting some pretty good laughs on my account over the last...however many...days." He took her bridle off and started removing the saddle.
The stable man blushed ever so slightly. "Yes, Mr. Heyes. I am sorry to admit I have. You do seem to keep it lively around here. If you can ever break the loop and leave, I will surely miss your...activities."
"Tell me, do you always watch when somebody gets stuck in this stupid loop?"
"To be perfectly honest, I do watch for a few days. I am always intrigued by how people react to unusual situations. After the few days, I usually quit keeping an eye on them all the time. I just check around in the mornings to see if they are still reliving their day. You, on the other hand, are not just an ordinary citizen that tries and tests small, law-abiding plans to break the loop. Your ideas to find the answer have been quite...different, and enjoyable to watch. I suppose that is due to who you are."
"I'm glad somebody's been having fun around here." Heyes started brushing down his mare.
"Just let me say, that if you ever do manage to break the loop, I hope you and your partner get your amnesty. It would be tragic to have you both turned into prisoners for twenty years."
"Thanks," Heyes said sincerely.
"Here, let me finish that for you." The stable man walked over and took the brush from Heyes.
"Thanks again. Guess I'll be seeing you later." Heyes walked out of the livery.
"Goodbye Mr. Heyes."
Heyes had his saddlebags packed and ready to go when Kid walked into their hotel room late that evening.
"Are we going somewhere?" Curry asked looking at the leather bags on the bed.
"WE aren't going anywhere. I am." Heyes pulled out the false telegraph he'd had the telegrapher write up. "Got this from Lom when I got back from working on that roof."
Kid took the piece of paper and quickly read it. "He wants you there by 8 in the mornin'? You'll have to ride all night." He went to the dresser and started pulling out clothing.
"What are you doing?" Heyes asked.
"I'm goin' with you."
"No, you're not. Lom said this job was for me."
Curry stopped and looked at his partner. "You seem to find trouble when you're by yourself in the daylight. God knows what trouble you'll land in ridin' overnight alone."
Heyes rolled his eyes. "I'll be fine. I'll send you a message in the morning so you'll know I got there. Besides, I didn't finish the job on the barn roof and told the lady you'd be by tomorrow to finish it."
Kid stared at his cousin as he thought it over. It WOULD be more money for them and at the present time, they needed it. Finally, he put his clothes back in the drawer. "Alright. But you BE SURE and send a telegraph in the mornin'."
"I will, promise." Heyes picked up his things and left.
"Cat, that was delicious." Heyes had finished eating and was cleaning up his dishes.
"Thank you, Hannibal. Although, you do not have to clean the dishes." Cat sat at the kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee.
"It's the least I can do. You're letting a,...well,...maybe not a COMPLETE stranger stay in your house since you seem to know all about me, which is a little unnerving I might add. But, you letting me stay with you, knowing who I am and what I used to do, is exceptionally nice. Most people wouldn't do it."
Cat took a sip of coffee and smiled at him. "You may have used to steal, but deep down, I can tell you are a good person and would not hurt me intentionally. You just,...took a wrong turn on the path of your life. But that is in the past. You are now trying to rectify that mistake by going straight and trying for amnesty. I do hope that you and your cousin receive it."
Heyes stared straight at the sink while Cat spoke. The old indian was touching on a topic that he didn't care to talk about. Time to change the subject. "Thanks. So, you said earlier that you didn't think me staying with you would break the loop. Why's that?"
"Because, as I have said, the curse does not affect my people or the land and things we own. I do not own you, therefore, I think you will wake up in the hotel once again in the morning."
Heyes dried his hands and sat back down at the table. "Okay, I can see that." He thought for a moment. "Well, what about if I was your prisoner? Technically, you wouldn't outright own me, but, I would be yours to keep until I escaped or got turned in."
"You want me to keep you tied up all night?"
"No, not at all, nothing like that. Just actually say something like, 'Heyes, you're now my prisoner', and try to mean it, then lock the bedroom door on me."
Cat looked at Heyes and could see the hope in his eyes. "Alright, we will try it. It certainly could not hurt anything."
Heyes smiled. "Good. I was getting ready to turn in anyway. It's getting to be kind of late and I don't want to keep you up all night."
Cat and Heyes both stood up and walked to the guest bedroom. Heyes stopped just inside the open door.
Cat took that as his cue to speak. He tried to sound as sincere as possible. "Hannibal Heyes, you are now my prisoner. You are now under my control."
Heyes smiled. "Thanks, Cat. I never thought I'd be happy to be called a prisoner. Hopefully, I'll see you in the morning." He moved out of the door's way.
"Goodnight, Hannibal." Cat closed the bedroom door and locked it.
Come to the dark side...we have cookies