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 Jan 16 - Storm Clouds

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Calico

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PostSubject: Jan 16 - Storm Clouds   Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:50 am

hapny hapny hapny hapny

Once again a happy new year to one and all.

The Bandanny Challenge is now entering it's ninth year.

Which is great in one way - but, sheesh, where did those eight years go??? And me still not a day older (cough, innocent eyes) than when I wrote my very first fanfic.


For your very first challenge of 2016 - once you have had a nice bacon butty to soak up any over indulgence of New Year's Eve, plenty of brown sauce on mine please - let your thoughts dwell on...

... and I think this is relevant for both sides of the Atlantic, unfortunately...


Storm Clouds

morerain windy windy morerain

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PostSubject: Re: Jan 16 - Storm Clouds   Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:29 pm


Story Ideas:

"funnel clouds do everything they can to keep you from seeing their dangly bits..."

https://youtu.be/6JbU0dIq70E

"now we ask your divine blessing on this couple..."

https://youtu.be/IbW-l7GwpdY

cowboy sayings about weather...

https://youtu.be/n61uLSa1CUk

"it's a whoppa"

https://youtu.be/C1PfVVFq97I

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WichitaRed
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PostSubject: Jan.2016...Storm Clouds Challenge   Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:27 am

Smoke & Water, Part One
by Wichita Red


All morning the storm had clashed overhead, booming which such ferocity that the world below shook. The rain coming down in thick sheets, drenching the pair of men who had dared brave the storm; until even their boots sloshed with water.

"Tell me again, why we're doing this?" Kid Curry asked.

Not bothering to look back, as he had finally gotten his hat adjusted so the rain, was at least, no longer pouring into his jacket collar, Heyes growled, "you should know."

"Between the rain, my empty stomach, and that damn posse that's been on our tail for these past three days; I've plain forgotten why we're doing this."

Heyes ignored him, his red-rimmed eyes scanning the empty meadow they needed to cross, in order to reach the next line of trees.

Kid Curry studied his silent partner for a time, before stating, "you look like hell...you gonna answer me?"

Heyes snorted, his mouth pulling tight.

"Well?"
Another snort and a mocking grin appeared, "this..." Heyes motioned expansively with one gloved hand, "...all this was your idea. Wasn't I, the one who said; amnesty was for chicken thieves, land grabbers, and rag-picking, penny stealers. And, weren't you, the one who kept after me, kept after me 'till I agreed. So now, here we are years beyond the alleged deadline and still wanted. And, to seal the deal, we aren't just wanted for our own indiscretions, but also for any crime which seems to equal our names!"

Curry stood in his stirrups, his face remaining impassive as he scanned their back trail. "How long you been holdin' that in?"

Sucking in his lower lip, Heyes' eyes narrowed and slanted toward Kid.

Settling back in his seat, Kid met the glare head on, "you think we lost'em?"

"How should I know!?" Heyes snapped. "I've tried every trick, I know. And, they've still stuck to us like pissed off hornets." He glared at the wet world around them, grumbling, "They just gotta have an Apache with 'em."

Kid's whisker stubble made a rasping sound as he scratched at his jaw, "don't be startin' that again."

In a voice an octave or two higher than his normal, Heyes screeched, "I tell you they hav--"

"Keep your voice down." Kid stated and bowing his head, he took a calming breath. When he looked up, his boyish grin was back in place, "sides it ain't my fault you're feeling so proddy."

Heyes' eyes shot wide, "Proddy?"

"Yeah, proddy." Kid chuckled, nudging his gelding forward, "and, it also ain't all my fault we're in this fix."

Heyes stretched, pushing back against the cantle of his saddle seat while straightening out his long legs in the stirrups.

Eyeing him, Kid shook his head and moved his horse out into the drizzling rain to cross the meadow. The tall grass bent, twisting away from the animal, flattening beneath its steel shod hooves.

Snorting and scrubbing at the back of his neck, Heyes thought, 'perfect, now we're going to lay down a trail a schoolboy could follow.' Chirking to his sorrel mare; he moved out after his partner, muttering, "suppose it ain't, really, all Kid's fault."

Riding along in silence, they pushed on; each meadow crossing only bringing them to another grove of trees which were too small to assist in hiding their trail. Still, they were climbing ever closer to the distant, humped-backed, mountains they figured to disappear in. Their horses easy, flowing gait caused the tall grass to sway about their legs; the soft swishing sound becoming louder as the patter of rain faded and the sun came out.

Looking back over his shoulder, probably for the fiftieth time in an hour, Heyes still saw no hint of the posse. Feeling he had outwitted them, a large smile appeared, and removing his hat, he studied its battered shape in contrast to its shiny, silver-studded band. He had purchased both back when money had flowed through his fingers as fast as he could steal it. Heaving out a sigh, that barely covered how trail worn and tired he felt; he looped the hat's stampede string several times around his saddle horn, leaving the old hat to hang there, tapping softly against his knee. Looking back again, he rubbed a hand up his forehead, pushing a line of sweat into his already wet hair. 'A shave, bath, and bed sure would feel all-mighty good,' he thought, dallying his reins about the saddle horn. Unbuttoning his shirt, he pulled it free from his beltline hoping some of him might dry out in the meager, too humid, breeze.

Seeing his partner relaxing, one side of Curry's mouth quirked up in a lopsided grin, "Don't be getting to comfortable, Heyes, I ain't so sure we're in the clear."

Raising an eyebrow, Heyes' dimples snapped into place, "I sure like it when you worry then I don't have too."

Kid Curry's smile vanished as his brow bunched tightly, "You know, when you talk like that, I ain't sure if I should say thank you or screw you."

A barking laugh exploded from Hannibal Heyes.

Giving up his attempt at anger, Kid fell to laughing also. When the crack of a pistol made them both jump and throwing wide-eyed looks at each other, the ex-outlaws slammed their heels into their mounts. Their horses taking off in a lunge, their hooves slipping on the greasy grass, but once they found their footing they became low, moving streaks.

Heyes' chest tightened for not only was the posse back, but they were gaining on them. 'Damn it, appears they found fresh mounts," he thought, flicking his long, split-reins from one side of his mare's rump to the other as bullets buzzed by, far too close for his own personal comfort.

Spinning his horse, Kid released a barrage of lead, that pegged saddles and sent hats flying, all in an attempt to discourage the posse's fast pace.

The huffing breaths of Kid's big gelding let Heyes know his partner was back alongside him and bending lower across the shoulder's of his own saddle; he expected to feel the excruciating burn of a bullet burrowing into him, at any moment. When their mad flight brought them to race along a raised ridge, shooting glance after glance at the brown, white-capped river below, Heyes thought, 'if we could reach the water, it would sweep us right out of here.' Aiming his mare down the steep slope. 'Surly, they won't be foolish enough to follow us.'

Partway down the muddy, rocky, grade his mare balked; throwing her head up, she protested with a snorting squeal.

"Sorry girl, I know this is crazy, but its all we got left." Heyes stated, laying into her once more with the tail-end of his reins.

She danced in spot, slipped, then began moving, the mud rolling and bunching beneath her hooves. Feeling her sliding, fighting for her footing, Heyes cursed himself for what a damn bad idea this was. When a high-pierced scream rang out. His head snapped around in time to see a mist of blood spray from Kid's gelding, as the horse was being shot a second time. Heyes' mouth fell open and before he could formulate a thought; the gelding staggered sideways, crumbling.

In a bold move, Kid launched himself from the dying animal, just as it tumbled over the slope's edge.  

Whipping his mare furiously, Heyes forced her out of the path of the deadly carcass barreling toward them. As he did so, he spied a silver glint, somehow he knew it was Curry's Colt,  skidding downhill in the mud and hollered, "Kid!"

Rising to his feet, Kid's muscled frame silhouetted darkly against the sky. He turned, looking to Heyes, and then back over his shoulder. He could see there was no escape...for him, and shouted, "get the hell outta here!" Snatching, his hat from the ground, he waved it toward his partner, "Go on! Get!!" Then turned his back on him with his hands raised over his head.

The excited voices of the posse floated down to Heyes but disturbingly, so did the continued cracks of their pistols firing. Muttering a curse and pulling his Schofield, Heyes kicked his mare, sending her back up the slope. Although, he could hit what he aimed at just like the Kid, he was not being as particular as his partner in choosing targets, only snapping off shots at any man who came into view.

When a choked grunt filled the air, Heyes felt the blood pour from his face as he watched his best friend topple over the edge, the same as his dead horse had done moments before.
Kid Curry's limp body, flopped on down the embankment like wind pushed debris until it plunged into the swollen river. His red plainsman shirt standing out like blood as the water swirled him round and round, the rolling current finally dragging him under.  

From somewhere, Heyes could hear a ragged, aching howl, never once, realizing the sound was rising from himself as he jerked his horse back toward the river.

Jerked the exhausted animal too hard. Too fast. The mare stumbled. Her legs becoming entangled. In a heartbeat, she was down. Thrashing, struggling against the mud, and in the chaos of it all; Heyes believed his leg was going to be ripped clean off at the knee. Just as the pain filled him, blocking all other thoughts from his mind, he was thrown free. Lying there, face down in the mud, gasping for air, his first thought was, 'I have to save Kid.' Inhaling, he pushed off the ground and rolled over to the gaping, mouths of three pistols and a double-barrel shotgun.

"If'n I was you, I wouldn't move nary an inch," drawled the man holding the shotgun. "Lessen you wanna be as dead as your partner."

Heyes' dark eyes riveted on the silver star, big as a hog's head, the shotgun holder was wearing.

The Sheriff stared right back, barking, "Val, Charlie, Micah follow the river and fetch 'em up; even dead he's worth $10,000."

"Will do," came a quick response and Heyes heard horses moving off.

"Now you," the Sheriff jammed Heyes with the shotgun, "go on now and show us how smart you are...by standin' up real slow."

Heyes' gaze drifted to the river, his expressive eyes becoming flat and lifeless.

The Sheriff jabbed him, again. "Come on, move."

Forcing down a hard swallow, Heyes climbed to his feet, but even as he did, his right leg buckled, tearing from him a ragged gasp as he staggered; just catching his balance.

"Hellfire, you gonna be able to get back up on your horse? Or, we gonna have to throw you up there?"

The left corner of Heyes' mouth rose, a deep dimple appearing, "depends if you plan on tying my hands."

"Why, hell yes, I plan on trussing' you up. Suppose though, I could hold off 'till you're on board." The Sheriff replied, his wide smile revealing a missing incisor. "Course, you should know, I plan on stayin' close enough, if'n you make just one wrong move...well, this here scatter gun ain't gonna miss an inch of you."

Heyes nodded and looking around, saw his mare a short distance off. She was standing solidly on all four feet, a rush of relief ran through him that his rashness had not lamed her. She was smaller than mounts he normally chose but she had proved plenty game and more than a little loyal. Taking a breath, he set to gingerly hobbling in her direction.

She turned her head, whickering.

"Come here, babe."

She shook her head with a snort, her eyes showing too much white.

Moving slowly, he whistled low, cooing, "come on, baby."

Little by little he made his way to her, until he was able to wrap a caressing hand about her muzzle. Moving closer, he tugged gently at her mane to further calm her. "I'm sorry, girl, you knew better from the get go, didn't you."

She lowered her head, leaning into him, offering her trust once more.

Scratching her ear and straightening her headstall, Heyes whispered, "Well, come on, we gotta go find, Kid." Latching hold of her neck, he stepped back on his left leg, launching himself from the ground. By passing the stirrup all together to sling himself into the saddle. A hot, searing pain shot through his right leg and through gritted teeth he inhaled loudly, sucking hard at the insides of his cheeks. After he felt he had pushed the pain back where it belonged, he bent forward using his hand to shove his boot in the stirrup.

"Nicely done." The Sheriff said, motioning to a posse member with a twitch of his head. "But, it sure does appear you've done and gimped yourself up pretty, damn good."

As this new man moved in close, Heyes considered whether the Sheriff would truly chance firing, with his posse member so close and all. But, that was when he noticed, a third man had latched hold of his mare's headstall. Then his hands were being tied to the saddle horn, his mind was racing in loping circle, 'I need a plan...I need to find, Kid....I need a plan...I need to find, Kid....' Letting his lashes droop over his eyes, he chewed hard at the inside of his lip, trying to center his thoughts. But, all he could see was Kid being shot and the river sucking him down.




You can find the rest of this story on Fanfiction.net or Archive of our own. Calico's simple challenge of "Storm Clouds" actually carried me through a six chapter story and broke my almost year hiatus from writing. Thanks Calico.

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Last edited by WichitaRed on Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Jan 16 - Storm Clouds   Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:06 am

This post has been moved. Originally posted by Cal:

Storm Clouds
by Cal


They'd ordered ham and eggs, biscuits and gravy...coffee...and pie...well they were celebrating.

ooooooooooooooooo

Before leaving the last town, early as it happened, Heyes having been rather too fortunate at the poker tables the night before, Kid had decided to let Lom know they were moving on. He'd sent a brief telegram,

be in Torrents Gap in one week . Smith and Jones,

and was surprised to receive a reply,

Judge Handley recommended you for reward . two hundred . will wire to TG soonest . Lom.

Well well miricles, paid for once, that was a new experience. Kid had taken time to stock up on supplies for the trail.  The horses had made good time to this thriving little mining town, the third such town they'd visited since leaving the stage at Clarksville and heading north.  

They'd secured their favourite type of hotel room, front with a view down the main street.  They'd had baths and barber shaves, slept in soft beds, one each.  They'd decided to give their finest threads an airing this morning as they would have to visit the bank, even their white shirts had been laundered and ironed for them overnight.

Kid thought all he needed now was a big breakfast and he may just begin to believe their luck was set fair.  Two gingham clad lovelies had vied with each other to be the one to take the order from two of the handsomest visitors their town had seen in a very long time. Kids face had broke into a hundred watt smile, blue eyes twinkling as the winner approached.  Heyes shook his head ruefully as the inevitable flirting ensued.

ooooooooooooooooo

Kid was now giving his full attention to his breakfast.  Heyes who'd picked at his, pushed it aside. He was holding a thin journal the banner of which declared...

Torrent Tribune..if its happening you'll read about it here!

Heyes looked really bored, seemed nothing was happening in Torrents Gap.  His coffee was refreshed, the waitress lingering over their service.

"Thankyou " he dimpled eliciting a warm giggle "I think Mr Jones will be ready for that pie shortly"

He watched the retreating rear appreciatively.

"What you thinking about Heyes?" smirked Curry.

Heyes faced Kid and set his features in their most innocent arrangement.

"I was thinking about Clem...."

"Sure you were."

"I was thinking about the goofy look on your face when she introduced us to those two marshals".  Curry visibly shuddered "Don't remind me think I aged ten years!"

Annoyed that Heyes had tried to put a dampner on his good mood, Kid smiled broadly at his cousin,  

"Don't think I was as shocked as you....when we saw those two guys....all I could think was we really should've stayed in the closet!"

Heyes' keen eyes caught the disappointment writ large on the face of the approaching waitress. She plonked pie in front of each handsome face with a small shake of her head and an exhaled sigh. She returned to her friend with a resigned lift of her shoulders and a whistful look back to the two handsome strangers for what might have been.

Heyes was horrified...Curry oblivious.  

Knowing he had to quickly set things right, Heyes shook his head at his exasperating partner and summoning his deepest, ex outlaw leaders voice he called for the check. When it came, he slapped Kid a little too hard on the arm and pronounced to the World,

"Better not eat too much of that pie Thaddeus, we got to get you fitted for your wedding suit. Can't have my wife saying I let you marry the mayor's daughter in that tired old blue thing."

Curry was baffled, in short order he was bundled out onto the boardwalk before he'd had a chance to find out if either of the young ladies would like his company later that day.

"What did you say that fer? We might have to wait round here till next week for that money to arrive, I think they kinda liked us."

Heyes wasn't about to explain what he'd read in that waitress' face to the  Kid.  He pulled at his collar as though suddenly it had become too tight, shaking his head in wonderment at the innocence of the fastest gun in the west .  Gathering his thoughts quickly, the silver tongued one enlightened his partner,

"See Kid its a plan.....a Hannibal Heyes plan.....them waitresses sure to be gossips....soon everyone in Torrents Gap will know we're here as a last hurrah fore your nuptials.....we can sleep late...go drinking and gambling....no one will think anything of it.....and no one will call us transients....we'll have us a fine time."

"Well yeah...but..."

Curry looked confused, he'd been having a fine time, but he didn't like the idea of anyone calling them transients again.  His hand fell to the butt of his trusted gun.  Last time he'd been called a transient the law made home walk round nekkid!

"I guess Heyes" he smiled, nodding.

nooooooooo

As it turned out Heyes had been right.  Why that very afternoon sheriff Helmut Hauser had shook Kids hand and wished him luck in his coming wedding with a knowing wink. People were disposed to buy him drinks and the local fallen doves saw the handsome blonds proximity to wedded bliss as a challenge. Heyes got so into his role that he'd invented a convoluted back story for the romance, so much so that Kid was getting confused.

"So my fiancé is your brothers cousin...right?"

It was very late Saturday night and they'd had a lot to drink and were just swaying their way past the bank on route to the hotel.

"What does it matter Kid...they won't remember either...anyways...our money'll be in the bank Monday and we'll light out.  Don't want to outstay our welcome do we.  Hey?"

"What?"

"Nothing...couldn't a been...thought I saw Pre...na." and with that the partners decided to entertain the generous folks of Torrents Gap with a little singing...fade out...fade out!

ooooooooooo

They didn't attend church the next morning.  Curry managed breakfast...just before the hotel dining room closed.  Heyes spent the day with his hangover.  As the afternoon came on so did the storm clouds, dark and loaded with rain. Kid hadn't given much thought to the towns name, but looking out of their hotel room later that night he whistled,

"Sheesh...Torrents in Torrents ...what a night...even dogs shouldn't be out in this."

"Fine night for ducks and outlaws" laughed Heyes, still nursing his head but feeling a lot better. " We used to tell the boys it was good for them coz there wouldn't be no tracks for a posse...remember?"

"Yeah...well I sure am glad we gave all that up.  Don't mind sitting here looking out at it...wouldn't want to be out in it...that's for sure."

oooooooooo

It was three in the morning when the explosion woke the town. Like all the other residents of the hotel, in hastily pulled on pants, boots and guns, Heyes and Curry tumbled out onto the porch to see the front of the bank in flames, its door flat on the boardwalk.
The partners looked incredulous at each other, then alarm spread on their faces as they heard the big sheriff calling out for heroes to make up a posse.

Back in their room, accompanied by the pounding hooves of the posses departure in the street below,  Kid is maniacally packing their things.

"Wait a minute Kid...this has nothing to do with us...we don't need to go...in fact how would that look?"

"But Lom...and the judge...they know we're here...and..."

"Yeah...and I think they'd back us up.  Sure one time Lom would'a come here gunnin for us...but..."

"What? Back us up that your brothers cousin's sister's marrying...sheesh...I can't even back us up!"

"No...no...kid ...we're in the clear...you'll see...no ones looking at us for this...we're strangers so they won't think we should've joined that posse.  Our money's not even in the bank yet. We're OK, this has nothing to do with us...we'll just send a telegram to Lom in the morning ...explaining."

noooooooooo

Kid looked uncomfortable, it was a new experience to be in a town after a bank robbery.  He'd overheard the lovely waitresses saying "Devils Hole gang" at breakfast but there was no mention of him or whats his name.  Surely this was way off their patch?  but he guessed things had changed since their day.

Heyes had started acting weird, smiling too much, talking too loud.  When they got back to their room he swore loudly that their money better @#£%! well be there tomorrow!

The storm really hit.  Curry looked out at the relentless rain, the mud churned up by wagons in the main Street.  Two workmen were rehanging the banks door, struggling under the weight, he sighed and shook his head.  He should be known their luck couldn't hold,

"Think I've had enough of Torrents Gap...when there's a Gap in the Torrents think we should be moving on anyway.  Did you get a reply from Lom yet?"

"Not yet Kid...we'll just sit tight is all."  

Heyes opened a book, so Kid took gun oil, a cloth and his Colt to the seat by the window and kept a close eye on the street below.

ooooooooooooooooo

Later that night

A commotion below got a light sleeping Curry to his feet.  He grabbed the Colt from the bedpost, stood behind the window frame and twitched the curtain aside.  The heroes were returning, tired but elated.  A few whoops were heard.  Someone shouted a questioning greeting from the saloons batwing door.

"We Bagged us an outlaw!"

Kid looked for a body slung over a horse. Saw none.  Confused he studied the riders straggling up the muddy street, trail worn and wet.  Even under their rain slickers he could see none of the riders were tied up.  He looked back at the big sheriff at the head of the column pulling his huge sorrel to a halt in front of the jail.  As he dismounted Kid got a clear view of the diminutive prisoner tied into the saddle of a small mare on his far side, his eyes went wide in recognition.

"Oh no" said Heyes, now at Kids shoulder

"Kyle!"

ooooooooooooooooo

Heyes had seen it. That look Kid gets when he throws sense out the window and goes in to save the day, all guns blazing.  He didn't miss his partners sudden interest in the jail and how many deputies were on duty and when. They hadn't discussed it over breakfast, or as they walked to the telegraph office to collect Loms reply, but he could feel it coming........the real storm.

ooooooooooooooooo

"But its Kyle...not just anyone...Kyle...that's all there is to discuss.  Of course we're going to break him out!"

Curry was mean, loud and dangerous, his face inches from Heyes'.  They'd been going at it since they'd got back to the room. Heyes had reasoned every which way and was feeling exhausted.

"Kid...Lom says if we have anything...Anything... to do with that robbery that's it...no second chances...all that effort wasted.  We break Kyle out...that's having something to do with the robbery! Lom will come arrest us himself...that what you want?  Get arrested...no amnesty...twenty years in jail!"

"But its Kyle..." and so it continued.

ooooooooooooooooo

There was a knock on the door, a polite cough

"Laundry" called an oriental voice.

The partners realised their voices had been rising, Heyes walked to the door but didn't open it until Kid stood with his gun drawn just out of view.

"Oh our shirts...thankyou...put them right on the bed there"

The diminutive Chinese man entered the room, turned and smiled up at Heyes

"Hello again Mr Heyes, Mr Curry perhaps you should close the door, and it might be prudent to lower your voices too."

Heyes looked at the little man confused for a second, then at his partner. Kid came to stare down at the unexpected visitor, still holding the gun, fuming. The man's poker face was impressive in the presence of a riled up Kid Curry.  He didn't flinch.

Kids face broke into a wide smile

"Wong...that you?  Didn't know you there for a minute without the beard and moustaches.  You here to get Kyle out?   Is Haff with you?"

Wongs eyes slid to the window,

"Look"

Down below a small figure in old robes and a cooli hat was sweeping the boardwalk in front of the jail. As if feeling their gaze,  Haff briefly glanced up.

"How did you know we were here?" asked Heyes, not at all pleased to see the two newest members of the Devils Hole gang now lead by Kyle Mertry's partner, Wheat Carlson.
He owed Wong a debt for saving Kids arm, maybe even his life, after the Kid had taken a bullet in a posse chase from hell right back to the Devils own country, but he didn't think now was a good time for Wong to collect.

"I've been in town for weeks, you'd be amazed how people talk when they bathe or sit in a barbers chair. Imagine my delight when I heard the bank manager worrying his safe would not be strong enough for the mines payroll when it rested at his bank overnight before going up to the mine on Monday.  Or my delight in seeing my good friends Mr Heyes and Mr Curry."

"What! We had baths!  You shaved...@#£%&!  That's amazing...why didn't you say something?"

Kids voice was getting loud again, as he looked at the little man incredulously, the smile growing wider.

"Why would I Mr Curry?  Weren't you just telling me what I already know?  It was very comforting. You see Haff and me, we are invisible in your west.  They have made wanted posters for us now you know.  I have seen them...The Chinaman, wanted dead or alive, reward two thousand dollar.  The picture is drawn from a dime novel villain.  My own mother would not know me.  Haff's is worse.  The Devils Apache, picture looks like Sitting Bull!"

Kid laughed heartily.

Heyes watched and worried.

ooooooooooo

Kid needed air, he'd leave the two geniuses to argue. There was a break between downpours which gave the air a scrubbed quality, good and fresh.  He took a cigar out of his pocket settled himself into a chair on the hotel porch, and pushed back onto two legs. Hat pulled low, he watched the jail and the bank, thinking.  

A small figure headed down the street toward the livery corals that spread out at the rear of the street, almost to the bank itself.  Almost to the bank...

"Ah," sighed Kid "That's how they did it."

He stood, and quielty strolled over to the bank, then cutting down one of the side alleys, made his way slowly to the farthest coral which held a pair of familiar mules and a beautiful paint mare mountain pony.  Next to the coral stood a ramshackle mule wagon.  There were a few sacks scattered on the flat bed but Kids keen eyes soon noted the very sturdy solid construction of the wagons seat.

He leaned on the rail, pulling mud off his boots on the bottom one. He caught as slight movement over by the back of the wagon.

"That payroll box never left Torrents Gap did it Haff?  But how did Kyle get taken?"

The little Indian made a show of giving apples to the mules.  The pony ran up and tried kicking her rivals for Haffs attention away in a spirited show of dominance.

"Feisty mare." appreciated Curry.  Haff lowered his voice

"Wheat and Kyle went in, Lobo had the horses out back, Preacher n me lookouts both sides. Kyle blew the safe. Wheat grabbed the box, took it straight to Wong, who'd got the wagon real close. The boys took off, all different directions, course it was raining so wouldn't have mattered but that was the plan.  

Wheat was gonna send a telegram a week or so later, Wongs brother ill or something. Wong pays a labourer, me, to load his barber chair on the wagon, easy gettaway, blow box later.

But...

Kyle hadn't come out, his horse was still there, I thought he'd blowed hisself up.  Wong said I should trail the posse. They took off, rode a few miles in the rain, holed up in a barn for hours just sending a couple of men out now and then to scout for tracks."

Haff shook his head at the futility of this.

"They must of had enough. I seen they was heading back fer town, so I took off cross country to beat them back"

Haff face twisted in disgust.

"I should a stuck to them.  Kyle must a come to, found his horse and let her drift him out of town, but he was in a bad way, some burnt and deafend most like, if I'd seen him first..."

"Don't worry we'll get him out" comforted the gunslinger. Haff looked up for the first time.

" You gonna help?" he smiled.

" Oh yes, one thing Heyes n me do better than robbing trains n banks is jailbreaks.  Let me tell you bout this one time I had to give myself up to free a good friend of ours called Belle Jordan..."

noooooooooo

Heyes' silver tongue was in overdrive, he had to get the cunning Little oriental to see this from their perspective.

"Kid n me need that amnesty Wong...we're not invisible...and its twenty thousand dead or alive...how do you think Kid got in that state last time...maybe we won't get lucky next time...and its twenty years they want!  We like Kyle but..."

"Mr Heyes, Kyle is not needing another explosion right now.  When Wheat comes back, and he will, he'll bring Dynamite. You could open the locks without Dynamite. We would see Kyle away, no one would know you were involved."

"Lom would...and there's this judge..."

This argument had been raging sometime, when shouting from the street below pulled them both to the window.

"Seems your partner and mine have decided without us Mr Heyes, men of action it seems, however foolish."

Heyes watched, unable to take his eyes off what was surely gonna be a disaster below.

ooooooooooooooooo

Haff, now in an Indian blanket and large black hat staggered his way loudly along the boardwalk directly into the path of deputy Hauser, the arrogant young nephew to Sheriff Hauser. The young would be Wyat Erp backhanded the pint sized drunken indian.

"Get outta my way halfbreed!"

Haff, anticipating the blow, threw himself over the rail and landed dramatically, mud splattering in every direction at the feet of Kid Curry.  The Kid, sounding not to sober himself pulled Haff to his feet.

"No one talks to my drinking buddy like that.  Don't think I like your attitude...HIC!"

Then a man mountain, the family resemblance to the sheriff obvious, came to stand next to the deputy eying the drunks.

"Don't you take that from them son, you're a town deputy now".

"That's right...you shouldn't be talking that way to me!"

The young punk squared up to Kid, hands on his gun belt.

Why don't he just arrest us? thought Kid.  He hadn't really reckoned on a gun fight, and now there were two of them. He watched, trying to keep up the drunk act, saw the movement and...Bang!  Bang!...two holsters hit dirt.

Haff had managed to cover Kids shooting hand from the jail side with his blanket so the sheriff running to them hadn't seen the draw.  Now he leapt at Kid knocking him off his feet and into the welcoming mud in mock congratulations for the fine shooting. Kid played along allowing his Colt to fly from his hand to the feet of the stunned deputy.  

"What's going on here Mason?  Is that Jones?" The sheriff eyed the mud wrestlers. "He been drinking this early?  Who's firing off bullets in my town!"

The deputy, Mason , was coming to his senses. Kid and Haff horsed around some more to give him time to pick up Kids gun, wave it at them and demand they walk to the jail.

"Not sure I want them in the jail... like that...and I don't want a drunk Indian in my jail any longer than I have to.  You make sure you throw them out soon as they sober up...I'll have to go look for Jones partner...I thought this here was the sensible one!" And with that the sheriff stalked off.

Kid was put in the cell adjacent to a sleeping Kyle. If they'd known Kyle was resting they wouldn't have put quite so much mud on their faces.  They'd half expected to be greeted " Well howdy Kid, Haff!"   He took a little pleasure in riling the young deputy again about needing to practice his fast draw, just enough so Mason, eyes blazing, threw the near unconscious Haff into Kids lap with only a cursory pat down for weapons, shouting

"Here you like Indians so much see how you like sleeping with one in the same cage!"

ooooooooooo

that night

Mason had drawn night duty and was nodding in the chair over by the sheriffs desk.  Kid had filled a grateful Kyle in on the plan.  Haff was grinning, adding feathers to his headband and ferocious war paint to his already mud coloured face. When they were ready, Kyle held the gun they'd smuggled in, Haff stood on the cot behind Kid, took a handful of blond curls and brandished a wicked looking blade to the happless Jones' neck.  Kid tried and failed to look terrified.

"Come on you two, quit horsing around.  We gotta make this look good" whispered a very tired sounding Kyle. They all took a deep breath.

Curry screamed, Haff let out a terrifying war cry.  Masons eyes flew open.

"Deputy you better get back here with that key real quick...not sure how long I can keep the Apache from scalping that drunk " drawled Kyle showing the muzzle of the gun through the bars.

When they'd got the wide eyed deputy tied up and gagged on one of the cell cots, Kyle turned from Haff, who was pushing a still terrified hostage at knife point to the back door, to add

"and iffn your thinking o coming after us...I just might let him have that scalp...you understand?"

Kid smiled when the back door opened under his hand and he saw Kyles little mare, the black gelding and the paint pony tied, all fully loaded with their gear, at the rear of the jail. Thank you partner he grinned though he new Heyes would be long gone.

oooooooooo

Heyes and Wong had ghosted down the back stairs of the hotel almost as soon as they'd seen the jail door shut behind their partners and the happless Mason.  Heyes'd heard enough to know he'd have to get the Sheriff running all round town looking for Smith to ensure only the young deputy, who didn't seem too bright was there to lock up the drunks.

Wong was shaving a customer when Heyes passed the shop later in his game of cat and mouse.

"You want shave sir?  Good hot towels". Heyes smiled and shook his head, Wong was right...invisible.

After dark, he waited for Kid to make a move.  He heard his partners dramatic scream followed by a blood curdling war cry. Laughing, he quickly had the rear door to the jail open in time to hear Kyle's threat to let The Devils Apache scalp poor Jones.  He watched as all three passed him on their way to freedom.

ooooooooooo

Next morning, as the sun was just putting in its first appearance in days, Heyes, looking rather dechevilled and hung over wobbled up to meet the sheriff as he approached the jail house.

"Sheriff!". He hollered, then faked pain in his head ."Hear you got my drinking buddy..I mean partner...in a cell.  There was no need..."

"Yes there was!  There was gun play in the main Street...and he was drinking with an indian. We don't hold with buying Indians liquor in these parts".

"That sneaky Indian drank us under the table...they left me in a ditch...back there...says they were gonna find themselves couple a..."

Smith, under the disapproving glare of Sheriff Hauser had the sense to stop talking.  He smiled up at the Sheriff,

"Well I sure hope Thaddeus has seen the error of his ways, and I'd like a word with that Indian, I think I was robbed!"

ooooooooooooooooo

Heyes' is playing the distraught friend of the abducted Jones to the fullest.

"Scalped!  What will my wife say?...and the mayor!"

Oh he's enjoying himself far too much.

ooooooooooooooooo

A couple of miles out of town, the three desperadoes pull up behind some rocks just off the trail. Haff is returning to town to watch his partners back till the telegram from Wheat arrives.  The rain has stopped but he's already wet enough to start wiping off the war paint.

"Bye Haff, stay safe and keep Wong safe." Kid offered a handshake.  Haff beamed

"My friend Kid Curry would make good indian!" he laughed at Kids muddy face.  "See you back at the Hole Kyle" and with that he was gone.

"You gonna be alright Kyle?" Kid looked at Kyle's tattered clothes and smoke blackened face.

"Oh sure Kid...Wongs been showing us how to be invisible...he says we don't need to hightail it hell for leather after a job...we just melt into the night..." Kyles eyes became wide, his voice dropping to a conspiratorial whisper.

"Good" nodded Kid bemused, wiping his face with a bandaner and water from his canteen.   "Well you stay safe you hear."

Kyle looked up into the handsome, smiling face of his statuesque companion, noting the boyish clear skin, the disctive blue eyes, the straight white teeth and let out a heartfelt sigh for Kids misfortune.

"See Kid, you and Heyes...you just stands out too much in a crowd... that's probably why you have so much attention from the ladies."

Kyle shook his head with quiet understanding of Kids shortcomings .

" Don't suppose you could ever melt like me an Wheat. Troubles always gonna be able to find you Kid!"

Curry watched as Kyle walked his little mare away.

"Lot of truth in there."

ooooooooooooooooo

sun down

Kid wasn't going to be sleeping on the ground, not an inch of which was dry, though the  storm had passed. He reached into his saddle bag, sure that his partner wouldn't have forgotten to pack food, and found a note.

K, you hot head, well done. Head North. I'll collect money and tie up loose ends here.  Meet up in two days. H.
ps. money in bedroll
pps. you need a bath
ppps. be very careful who shaves you!
pppps. stay outta trouble!

"Guess you were a long time waiting in that alley Heyes" said Curry ruefully, shaking his head.

the end sm sorrykitty

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PostSubject: Re: Jan 16 - Storm Clouds   Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:41 pm

Storm Clouds

A faint breeze rustled across a field of standing dry corn.  Row after row of dead stalks swayed gently, their crisp leaves crackling.  A choir of grasshoppers chirped their never-ending song, filling the Kansas countryside with a static buzz.
 
The sun, which had long since passed its pinnacle, cast long shadows behind two weary travelers whose feet plodded, step after flagging step, on a seemingly endless journey along a stretch of the Kansas Pacific.

“Wait a minute.”  A dark-haired youth stopped to sit on a rail, unlacing and removing his left boot.  “Picked up a pebble,” he explained, shaking no small amount of gravel from the boot before placing his foot back inside.
 
His sullen partner joined him on the rail and sighed in exasperation.
 
“You got something to say, you might as well come out and say it.”  The boy finished tying his boot and waited.

’We’ll be back before mornin’,’ you said.  ‘No one’ll even miss us,’ you said.  ‘Have a little faith,’ you said.  I should’ve known better than to go along with you and your stupid plan.”

The boy sniffed and bit his lip at the rebuke from his best friend.  “It was a good plan, Jed,” he defended.
 
“Exactly which part of your plan was the good part, Heyes?  The gettin’ in a fight part, or the gettin’ arrested and thrown in jail part?”

There was a long pause.  “The part about making a killing at the poker tables worked pretty well, didn’t it?”  Heyes beamed and waited.

“You sure were winnin’ alright,” Jed agreed, “right up to the point that fella with the beady eyes hustled you out of everything you had and then some.”

“He cheated.”

“So you told him.”  Jed rubbed at his swollen jaw.  “In case you forgot, that’s when the fight started.”

Heyes caught his partner’s gaze and gave him a penitent grin.  “You got a pretty good shiner forming.”  He took off his bandanna, and reached toward Jed’s face.

Jed flinched and pushed his partner’s hand away.  “Don’t.”

“No need to get proddy; I’m just trying to help.”

“A little spit ‘n’ polish ain’t gonna fix things this time!”

Startled grasshoppers ceased their chirping.  As if foreshadowing the altering course of two human lives, a dark cloud overtook the sun, and the wind shifted.

Heyes shivered and pulled his jacket more closely around his shoulders.
 
“We’re in trouble, Heyes.  Big trouble.”  Jed Curry’s voice sounded small against the vast openness of Kansas.  “We can’t go back to the Home now, and I for dang sure wouldn’t want to.  You know the beatin’ that’d be waitin’ for us.  We’re runaways, least to the headmaster’s way of thinkin’.  We been in trouble with the law.  He might even make us join the Cavalry or somethin’.”

“So what do you want to do?”

A train’s whistle blew and in the distance, thunder rumbled.
 
“You don’t suppose that train is going our way, do you, Jed?”

“No matter which way it’s goin’, I’m pretty sure it’s goin’ our way.”

And so, into the West they headed.  Right into the storm.

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PostSubject: Storm   Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:09 am

I hope that the real storm clouds currently battering North Eastern US states soon cease.
Meanwhile, stay safe and warm, US friends.

(Not sure how to post this message elsewhere on the website. Seemed appropriate under the 'Storm Clouds' heading).


Last edited by Alias Alice on Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Storm Clouds   Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:34 am

This is the start of a longer story (not written yet). Storm Clouds may not just be the horse Heyes talks about but the gi







Storm Clouds





The Kid slapped Heyes’ arm to jolt him awake.



“Ready, Heyes?”



Heyes looked round and repositioned his hat. He saw the train coming. It wasn’t going at top speed but it sure looked like it was.



“Yep.” He took a deep breath, puffing out his cheeks. “It’s coming real fast, Kid,” he muttered.



Jumping a train was always dangerous. They had to stay hidden until the engine had passed. If the driver saw them, their free ride would be at an end before it had even started. The brakes would slam on hard and they would have to scurry to hide again with no guarantee that they could. Once the train had come to a stop, the crew would make a thorough search of all the carriages and boxcars just in case. When the train set off again the crew would be on alert. They had one chance to get on. Just the one chance. However, it came with risks. Risk of injury. Risk of death. These were real possibilities. They had seen accidents happen and those images stayed in the mind. Jumping a train was not something to undertake lightly.



As the engine passed, Heyes and the Kid started to rise from their hiding spot with a certain amount of apprehension. With luck, a door of one of the boxcars might be open. Today the luck of reformed outlaws was holding; one was. They glanced at each other and started to run. Even running alongside a steaming train had its dangers. Often banked up to the tracks, the ground could slope and be uneven with loose chippings. Easy to lose ones footing and fall.



The trick was to pick your spot, noting the handholds and then just run to keep up with it. And stay away from the wheels!



Today the Kid went first, swinging up and forcing the door open wider with his feet as he swung from a grab handle. He threw in his saddlebags. Heyes saw, nodded and threw in his. Normally he was the one who was fleet of foot but today he lumbered. He swallowed hard. He had to keep going. He simply had to get on this train. The Kid reached his hand down as low as he dared, yelling at Heyes as the train picked up speed.



Heyes knew he was tiring. The cold he had the week before was making its presence felt again. He was running out of puff, legs and luck. With a final grit of teeth, his hand connected with the Kid’s, the other slapped onto the floor of the boxcar. With the Kid levering him, he swung upwards. But he wasn’t there yet. His feet pedalled in mid-air. Sheer determination and the velocity of the train provided just enough momentum to slam him onto the floor of the boxcar.



Heyes quickly wriggled further into the boxcar and collapsed face down with a loud groan. Behind him, the Kid swung in and slid the door shut. He crumpled against the door and sat there for a moment before crawling over to Heyes. He patted him on the shoulder.



“Kid, I’m getting too old for this!” Heyes gasped. With another loud groan, he rolled onto his back, where he lay taking large gulps of air. “I very nearly didn’t make that.” His arm covered his eyes.



The Kid patted his shoulder again, reassuringly. He squirmed up into a sitting position, leaning against a wooden crate. He still had breath to get back as well, although not nearly so much as Heyes. He looked at his spent partner. Right now Heyes was feeling every one of his thirty-one years. The Kid sat with one leg bent up, propping his elbow on his knee, rubbing his eyes. Taking his hat off, he gave his hair a stir.



The only sound for several minutes, above the noise of the train, was heavy breathing. Then with a loud groan, Heyes struggled onto his hands and knees. He remained there for a moment before shuffling round to sit against the crate beside the Kid. He took his hat off, slapping it into his lap.



“Kid. I never wanna do that again. Promise me we’ll never do that again!” He was still gasping for breath and he turned his head to look at the Kid.



The Kid looked back and nodded.



“Think you’re right Heyes.”



“I know I’m right.” Heyes rolled his eyes, wiping his face with his bandana.



The Kid grinned. “I remember the days when you used to beat me in a foot race.”



Heyes false smiled at him.



“Weren’t that long ago neither,” the Kid went on. He was thinking of the time a few months ago when they had raced to stop Blackjack Jenny from going into the bank at Touchstone, New Mexico. Heyes had beaten him then, although not in time to stop her shooting the assistant manager.



“When you’re as old as I am …” Heyes started, then shook his head. What was the point?



They sat lost in their own thoughts. They both knew it had been close. Far too close for comfort. The Kid wondered what would he would have done if Heyes hadn’t made it? Jump off himself? Getting off a moving train was almost as dangerous as getting on one. Risk injury? To find Heyes dead? Or badly injured? The Kid shook his head and gave his hair another stir. No Heyes was right. They weren’t gonna do this again.



The train settled into its full speed now, eating up the miles away from their last adventure.



“What time does this train get into Hardy City?” Heyes asked, finally. His breathing returned to normal at last.



“Dunno,” the Kid, sighed, looking round. He had been dozing, lulled away by the rocking of the train.



“I thought you read the timetable?” Heyes was indignant.



“Heyes, you know I don’t understand those things!” the Kid protested. “Too many blasted asterisks!”



Heyes grunted.



“Well I reckon it’ll be dark in about an hour. The train won’t stop again, ‘till we get there. So …” He patted a flour sack into a more comfortable position and stretched out flat with his head on it. “I reckon we can get a few hours’ sleep ‘afore we have to jump off.” He positioned his hat over his eyes. “Get some sleep Kid. We have plenty of time.”



The exertion had made the pair more tired than they realised and both were soon sound asleep.




 




 



The train slowed as it climbed the incline. However, it wasn’t just the incline that was making it slow. Cattle were milling around by the side and over the line. Ranch hands were desperately trying to drive the cows away before there was a serious accident. Not easy in the dark, even with a full moon like tonight or with cattle who had been spooked.



Waiting in the bushes by the side of the line was another prospective unauthorised passenger. In fact, responsibility for stampeding the herd close to the line was theirs, providing the perfect cover under which to steal aboard the train. Today however, the train was shorter than usual. A fact not considered by the prospective passenger and this limited the possibility of a successful stowaway.



Inside the makeshift dormitory car, the Kid heard the door slide open. The gentle rocking of the train kept him in the in-between world between sleep and wakefulness. Heyes meanwhile was oblivious to any external stimulus. The Kid smacked his lips before settling once more.



Then a louder sound startled him awake. He automatically went for his gun, nudging Heyes with his foot. He started awake.



“We’re getting company,” the Kid hissed.



The noise of the cattle was receding now and they heard the door shut with a bang. Then came a much gentler sigh of relief. The Kid cocked his gun.



“Is someone there?” a voice asked. A young female voice.



The two ex-outlaws didn’t move but the third occupant did, scrambling to her feet.



“Come on out! Show yourself!” she demanded.



Although they could barely see each other, Heyes and the Kid grinned at each other. They could tell this train was about to accelerate rapidly.



“Er ma’am if I were you …,” the Kid started.



There was a cry of surprise and a thud. The train gathered pace again. Inside the boxcar, there was groans of pain, considerable unladylike swearing, and some ungentlemanly sniggering.



“Are you alright, ma’am?” the Kid asked in concern, the first to sober.



“Where are you? What are you doing in my boxcar?” came the angry reply.



Your boxcar?” Heyes and the Kid chorused.



“Excuse me ma’am but I believe we were here first,” Heyes said.



“Oh so there’s two of you is there? Great!” the voice said, followed by more muttering neither of them caught. “Just my luck I have to pick the most populated … Come on show yourselves! Ain’t you got a match or summat?”



“Er ma’am awful lot of things in here that don’t take too kindly to matches if you see what I mean,” the Kid explained.



“How can I see what you mean if there’s no light!”



“I reckon we’re going fast enough Thaddeus. A little light wouldn’t hurt if we’re careful.”



The Kid holstered his gun and struck a match. The resultant light revealed a young, slim woman sitting on her hip. She wore a divided black riding skirt, black boots, a tweed hacking jacket and a lilac blouse frilled at the neck and cuffs. She had light brown hair, piled up on top of her head in a large bun. Or at least that had been the intention. Several long clumps had escaped the confines of the bun.



“Howdy, ma’am,” the Kid grinned.



“Harrumph,” she sniffed, casting critical eyes over her two fellow passengers. “Could have been worse I suppose.”



Heyes was still leaning back on his elbows. He looked up at the Kid. He hadn’t like the way she had looked at them.



“Did she just …?”



“Yep. Joshua. I think she just did.”



“What are we gonna do about it? Heyes asked the Kid.



“I’m warning you! I know martial arts!” She raised her hands in front of her ready to defend or to attack.



“Marshall Arts? He ain’t the law in Hardy City is he?” the Kid frowned.



Heyes rolled his eyes. “I apologise for my friend here ma’am,” Heyes smiled pleasantly and then turned to the Kid. “Thaddeus she means eastern fighting.”



“How’s that different from western fightin’? When I went to Philadelphia that one time, they fought same as we do here. Still hurt.”



“No. Further east than that.” Heyes frowned in irritation.



“New York?”



“No! The Far East. China.”



“If you two are quite finished with the geography lesson … You haven’t answered my question. What are you doing in my car?”



The Kid lit another match from the embers of the first.



“Same as you I reckon ma’am,” he said. “Just hitching a ride.”



“You’re going to Hardy City?” she asked.



“No ma’am. Just outside,” Heyes explained. “We plan to take our leave of the train a mile or so before. The track bends quite sharply there and the train has to slow down to negotiate round.”



She sniffed. “Hardy City is two hours away. How’d I know I’m gonna be safe in your company ‘till then?” she demanded, thrusting out her chin challengingly.



Heyes and the Kid swopped glances.



“How’d we know we’ll be safe with you ma’am?” Heyes queried with a frown.



The Kid dropped the match. “Owh!” It had burnt right down and onto his fingers. He had to stamp on it quickly before the straw on the floor caught alight.



“There’s a lantern hanging on the hook over by the door. I saw it before you got clumsy.”



When the Kid struck another match, he was looking at Heyes hard. Heyes just looked back innocently.



Sighing the Kid got up and went for the lantern. The woman drew back as he passed her, hands at the ready.



“You haven’t answered my question,” she said, eyeing the Kid warily.



“You haven’t answered mine,” Heyes shot back.



She tutted and shook her head in disbelief at his audacity.



The Kid returned and set the lantern on top of the crate behind Heyes.



“Now ain’t that better. Now we can all see each other not answering questions,” he grinned, lighting the lantern.



Heyes smiled up at him. She was not so amused.



“Just don’t try anything,” she warned. “My hands are lethal weapons.”



Heyes smacked his lips in amusement.



“If it makes you feel any better ma’am, neither my partner nor me are that desperate for female company right now,” he said, trying to reassure her.



She looked doubtful and sniffed. “Well don’t say I didn’t warn you ‘cos I have”



“We’re well and truly warned ma’am,” the Kid nodded. Taking the lantern, he sat back down besides Heyes.



She settled back against the door, still regarding them warily.



Heyes and the Kid swopped glances and something passed between them.



“We’ve gotta long way to go. Why don’t we get better acquainted?” Heyes smiled. “I’m Joshua Smith. This here’s my partner, Thaddeus Jones.”



“Kat,” she mumbled. “Kat Mallory.”



“So er what brings a lady like yourself to go jumpin’ onto a movin’ train? In the middle of the night an’ all?” the Kid asked.



Kat thrust out her chin. “That’s my business,” she said, haughtily.



Heyes and the Kid looked at each other. Okay they got it. She didn’t want to talk. Heyes lay down again and put his hat over his eyes. The Kid took out his gun and inspected it. He would like to clean it but his saddlebags with his cleaning equipment in were over by her. Somehow, he didn’t think she’d take too kindly if he moved. Kat busied herself tidying her hair.



“Why are you going … nearly … to Hardy City?” she asked a while later when she had finished.



“See a man about a job,” the Kid murmured.



“What sorta job?”



Heyes had picked his hat of his face now and was looking at the Kid, silently warning him not to say too much.



“Delivering job.”



“Delivering what?”



Heyes had dropped his hat to his chest now and held his head on one side as he continued to look at the Kid.



“A horse.”



Heyes closed his eyes and shook his head. It was supposed to be a secret. He therefore didn’t see that Kat suddenly looked interested.



The Kid had noticed and he smiled. “Well now ma’am that’s a more friendly looking face. See I knew we’d get along once we’d broke the ice.”



Heyes put a hand behind his head and rolled his eyes. The Kid and ladies!



“Tell me more about this horse,” Kat asked. She seemed eager to talk now and crept a little closer.



“Well there’s this friend of ours has this here horse breeding ranch. He takes them in from clients, introduces the mare to the sire or t’other way round until they er … get to know each other real good and …”



“I get the picture, Mr Jones,” she assured him.



“Well when the result … is old enough it goes back to the client. Depending on the pedigree of the parents, they can pay a lot of money for this service. That’s what we’re gonna do. Take a horse to our friend’s client for him.”



“So this horse could be worth a lot of money? If its parents are summat special?”



“Oh yes ma’am.”



“So … this horse must be worth an AWFUL lot of money. If it takes two of you. And … two of you … who look … like … you know how to use those guns you’re wearing.” She looked from one to the other.



“Er ma’am …” Heyes sat up now and swivelled into a sitting position. He crossed his legs and leaned forward. “You see its like this. Now we don’t know how valuable these horses are …”



“So your friend doesn’t trust you?” Kat cut him off.



“No ma’am its not that.” Heyes grinned his dimpled grin. “Its safer for us if we don’t know. Why the last time we did this for him …” He laughed and glanced at the Kid. “We had to deliver a bunch of ole horses to the slaughter house! Those horses weren’t worth diddly squat ma’am.” Heyes laughed again. “Remember ole Storm Clouds, Thad?” Heyes shook his head apparently at an amusing memory. “Sure was a fancy name for such a beat up ole horse.”



“Sure I remember ole Storm Clouds. Kept running off. We jus’ kept roundin’ him back up,” the Kid grinned, falling into the story. “Real shame we had to hand him over. I’d gotten to like the ole boy.”



Heyes flashed him a glance that said don’t gild the lily.



“So this horse you’re delivering this time where are you taking it?”



“Well we don’t know that yet, ma’am,” Heyes smiled.



“Yeah we’ll get told when we get to the ranch,” the Kid added.



She nodded in acceptance but she looked thoughtful. “So you two know a thing or two about horses?”



Heyes exchanged a glance with the Kid. “We reckon. Why ma’am?”



She hesitated. “You might be able to help me out.”



Heyes and Curry looked at each other. Where had they heard THAT phrase before?
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PostSubject: Re: Jan 16 - Storm Clouds   Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:33 pm

January 2016 – Storm Clouds

“There they go, Sheriff!  That’s Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry!”  The man pointed to the men mounting their horses by the saloon.

“Now Joe, what makes you think they are Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry?” Sheriff Marshall asked.

“Because I got a real good look at that in the saloon and about a year ago during a train robbery.  They announced themselves, they did.  'This here’s Hannibal Heyes.  And he’s Kid Curry'.”

“Heyes and Curry... are you sure?”

“I’ll swear on my dear mother’s,” he crossed himself, “may she rest in peace, grave!”

“Hey you two!” the sheriff shouted to the men riding by with their hats down low over their eyes.  “Hey, stop!”

The two men nodded at each other and spurred their horses quickly into a gallop out of town.

“Well, I’ll be!  Joe, saddle my horse while I round up a posse!”  The sheriff ran towards the middle of town and began ringing a bell.

“Sure thing, Sheriff!”  Joe rushed to the livery.  “Mac, get the sheriff’s horse  saddled!”

At the pealing of the bell, men rushed out of businesses and saloons towards the town center.

“What’s the emergency?”

“Is there a fire somewhere?”

“What’s going on?”

The sheriff jumped up on a bench.  “We need a posse!  Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry just hurried outta town.  They’re worth $10,000 each – that’s $20,000 to split between anyone who joins the posse!  We’re leaving in five minutes so get your stuff and saddle up!”

Men shouted with excitement and hurried towards their businesses, homes, and livery to get ready for the chase.

Sheriff Marshall went to his office and grabbed packed saddlebags from the corner, filled with provisions for a posse.  As he checked his gun and rifle, he noted the lone prisoner in the jail – an older Navaho he arrested for being drunk.

“You track?”

The Indian shrugged.

“If you join the posse and track down these outlaws, I’ll let you free with no fine.  Are you in?”

“Don’t have a horse.”

“Heck, I’ll throw in a horse IF you lead us to them.  Think you can do it?”

“I can do it unless Haashchʼéé Oołtʼohí, god of the hunt, decides otherwise.”

Five minutes later, a dozen men with additional horses were galloping out of town, hot in the pursuit of two outlaws, wanted dead or alive.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“They went this way.”  The Navaho, crouched down by rocks, pointed toward a field of stones.

“How do you know?  There’s no tracks.”

“Can tell with the up-turned rocks.  And there…” he pointed a hundred feet ahead, “is a crushed plant.”

“This way, men!”  Sheriff Marshall led the posse.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Did you see a fire?” the sheriff asked the Indian as he returned from scouting in the darkness.

“No fire.  These outlaws are very smart.”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Heyes?”

“They found where we got out of the creek.”  Heyes sighed as he put the binoculars away in his saddlebags.

“Let’s go!”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A few days later, the Indian inspected a trail.  “They back tracked again.”

“Again?”

“Very clever!”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Here is where they entered the water.  They are getting tired.  Their horses are tired, too.”

“Heck, we all are tired,” the sheriff said exasperated.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“See them?” Heyes asked as he wiped the sweat from his face with his sleeve.

“Yep.”

“Damn!  They have to have an Apache!”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Broken twig.  They went this way.”

The posse of six followed their Navaho tracker.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~


“Kid, do you see what I see?”

Curry gazed towards the west and the corners of his mouth raised.  “Storm’s comin’!”

“Let’s head towards it.”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Sheriff Marshall, Haashchʼéé Oołtʼohí not looking down favorable toward our hunt.”

“Who?”

“Navaho god of the hunt.”

“Why do you say that?”  The sheriff stretched while in the saddle.

The Navaho pointed toward the storm clouds rolling in from the west.  “Won’t be able to track.  Outlaws smart.  They will ride into the storm.  Heavy rains will wash all trails and signs.”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Lightning flashed around them and the thunder echoed through the mountains.  The weary outlaws had close reins on their skittish horses.

“Heyes…” the Kid shouted above the storm.

“Yeah, we have to find shelter and soon!”  Heyes’ animal danced around.

Curry looked behind at their trail, disappearing in the heavy rain, and smiled.

_________________
h
"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry


Last edited by Penski on Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Jan 16 - Storm Clouds   Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:32 pm

Respite

He strutted into the saloon like he owned the place.  The creak of swinging doors and that certain something called presence caught the crowd’s attention.  The assemblage parted like the Red Sea, but no Moses he.  Focused on the bar ahead, his stride sure and true, an eye glance to one side caught only one face of the assembly but a moment.  He winked, smiled.  She heeded the silent summons, arriving by his side as the sea of humanity parted once again.  He did not flinch at being the center of attention; indeed, his swagger courted it.  One boot heel on the rail and he had a whiskey in front of him without uttering a sound.

The tied-down sidearm commanded respect.  The gaudy rig worn low on one hip smacked of cockiness.  But, truth be told, he had yet to meet someone faster than himself, although a recent acquaintance might fill the bill if not for the unlikely proposition that gent were still alive.  His recent good fortune a secret only to himself, he had arrived in town but a month before, buying this showplace of a saloon and gambling hall with but a flash of gold dust and smiling demand of the owner to name his selling price.  After all, his charisma immediately had him on a first-name basis with the president of the bank:  Gold spoke volumes.

Proverbial storm clouds could not dampen his sunny outlook.  Indeed, a sinister side hidden beneath the outward charm had taken care of any challenge.  That last alcohol-fueled celebration caught his partners unaware, and he wished he might have been a fly on the wall the next morning as they emerged from their drunken stupors.  But, no worries there; he had executed well.  Once again, he laughed out loud at the recollection of stealing away in the parched desert night with all provisions and four-legged beasts, his plan having come to full, unsuspected fruition.  Why share a good thing?  Their collective efforts not forgotten, though, he would toast their memories.

So, here he was.  Clinking his glass with hers, he threw back his drink in one smooth motion.  A second one appeared.  He grabbed it, motioned with his head to the back of the room, and steered the young woman through another parting of the crowd to a table in the rear.  Seated, he nursed the whiskey and pulled the barmaid close, the observant eyes and ever present smile overseeing the beginnings of the empire he envisioned – no one ever the wiser.

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