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 Feb 17 - The Wall

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Calico

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PostSubject: Feb 17 - The Wall   Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:42 am

Hello hello

A day late, but - here I am.
And the poll will be up before night fall.

Your challenge this month - the word around which you may build a story... construct a tale ... render us speechless with admiration ... without dropping bricks is


The Wall...
egcat blimey


(All in all, it's just another ...)
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nm131

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PostSubject: Re: Feb 17 - The Wall   Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:42 pm

A quick little ficlet -

I saw the prompt and thought, wow, is Calico getting into US political commentary. Then I saw the quote at the bottom, Ah yes, of course, Pink Floyd – I have that on vinyl somewhere in my house.

The Walls

I’m not like you Kid, not just in looks, but in the way we’re made. It’s like that three little pigs story. See, Kid, when you was young, you were the first little pig. You had walls made of straw around your heart. Girls, now girls are the big bad wolf. Never mind huffing and puffing to blow those walls down, all the girl had to do was breathe on you and those straw walls just tumbled down. Your heart got bruised over and over until it was one too many times and you learned the hard way. Now you’re the second little pig. You build your walls with sticks. The big bad wolf of a girl has to try a little harder, huff a little, be a little needier. Kid, you’re finding out that even though sticks are stronger than straw they’re also pointier and when the walls get blown down and they pierce that heart of yours. You still get hurt and it hurts more. Me, I’m the third little pig. I’m the sensible one, the pig that looks forward, plans for all contingencies. My heart is housed in walls made of nice, solid, strong bricks. The door has a lock with a combination that I don’t give out to too many people. It’s safe and unbruised and can’t be hurt. Well, maybe only one, you, Kid, that I let through. I need to keep those walls strong, to keep my heart safe from the big bad wolves out there, female or otherwise, huffing and puffing.

In the late afternoon shadows Kid leaned with arms crossed against the railroad station walls, watching his partner watching the train fade into the horizon. He kept his distance for several long moments as the platform cleared of people and freight. The dark-haired man stood still, shoulders slumped, lost in thought. Curry waited patiently, giving his partner the space to start to come to terms with what just happened.

The shadows continued to deepen, it was time, Kid uncrossed his arms and pushed off the station wall. A gentle touch strengthened into a fleeting but firm sympathetic squeeze of a dark blue clad shoulder. Heyes shook his head slightly, straightened up and his expression hardened into a false blankness.

“She found a hole in your wall. It happens and it hurts, Heyes, just makes you human.”

“What wall? I don’t have walls. And I’m fine.” Heyes turned, stepped away from Curry’s grasp and started down the platform towards the street.

“Sure, you’re fine. You have walls, they’re made of brick and stone and they surround the real you. And the moment the mortar holding your wall together starts to crumble you add another layer. It means that when someone manages to gets through you’re caught unawares and...”

A quick turn of a dark head and sharp backwards look told the following blond that his partner did not want to discuss the situation at all, probably never would.

Too bad thought Kid.  You’re going to listen because this is an area that, unfortunately, I have experience in. “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Heyes abruptly halted his flight from the scene of the crime. A self-inflicted crime, he told himself bitterly. “Who told you that?” he asked incredulously as he turned to squarely face his best friend.

“You did. You were reading some English poet, not that Shakespeare guy, years ago, and I always remembered it.”

“It’s from Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson. And Kid, the poem was called “In Memoriam A.H.H.” It was written about his friend who died, not a woman.”

“Oh, they were that sort.”

Heyes chuckled weakly despite himself. “No, I don’t think so.”

Blond brows drew down into a v before smoothing out. “Don’t matter, I still believe in what the line from the poem says. Those words have helped me. Those times I’ve shared with women who have touched my heart made my life better, even if only for a little while. Yeah, it hurts, it still does sometimes but I have memories that mean something good. And I know that when the time comes when I can love forever that I’m capable. And if that time never comes, which is more than likely, and I die young, still runnin’, or in prison at least I know that I have loved and some woman somewhere loved me once.”

Heyes starred, he knew Kid had to have come to terms with his wounded heart and flimsy walls even if they didn’t talk much about it. Heyes always offered his steadfast support and a light-hearted comment when Curry was grieving the loss of a relationship but they shied away from deep sentimental or emotional discussions. He never guessed that Kid would remember and find solace in a line from a poem that he heard once, years ago.

Kid reached and lightly grabbed both of Heyes’ arms to keep his strong but still vulnerable cousin facing him. He took a deep breath and continued, “Doing the noble thing, putting Lydia on that train and havin’ to watch her disappear out of your life was hard, it took a strong will. You can lie to her, you can lie to yourself, but you can’t lie to me. You’re not fine. It hurts a lot. It’s gonna to take time and you’re never gonna really forget. But, Heyes, if you patch all the holes in your wall and keep adding more bricks and stones eventually your walls are going to be so thick that no one will ever be able to get through. You will no longer be capable of truly loving and you’ll have lost something that is unbelievably precious.”

A wealth of experience and heartfelt empathy passed from warm blue eyes to wounded, skeptical brown before Curry let go as he turned his partner toward the street and patted his back.

“Come on, let’s drown your sorrows in good whiskey and improve your mood by winning in poker.”

Heyes nodded without speaking as he followed Curry. Poker and whiskey sounded good, maybe, just maybe, he could stave off brooding about Lydia and his perceptive partner’s comments. Although, he doubted it… Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all…

Notes:

The Three Little Pigs is a fable/fairy tale featuring anthropomorphic pigs who build three houses of different materials. Printed versions date back to the 1840s, but the story itself is thought to be much older. The phrases used in the story, and the various morals drawn from it, have become embedded in Western culture. The Three Little Pigs was included in The Nursery Rhymes of England (London and New York, c.1886), by James Halliwell-Phillipps. The story in its arguably best-known form appeared in English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, first published in 1890 and crediting Halliwell as his source.

Disney Silly Symphony - One of the earliest filmed adaptations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt2cYpyQ7hc

Looney Toons  did a Parody Fantasia version of the Three Little Pigs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh11A41klL4

"In Memoriam A.H.H." is a poem by the British poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, completed in 1849. It is a requiem for the poet's beloved Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage in Vienna in 1833. The most frequently quoted lines in the poem are perhaps:

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.


Another much-quoted phrase from the poem is "nature, red in tooth and claw," found in Canto 56, referring to humanity:

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

Reference
Wikipedia
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WichitaRed
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PostSubject: Re: Feb 17 - The Wall   Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:29 pm

This makes six months, I have been able to keep my story going. Felt like I had backed myself up against a wall, when I read the challenge. Truth is I thought that as soon as I posted last months challenge.  But, yippee my writing fingers didn't fail me. At least, I hope they didn't for that is up for y'all to decide. So, with our further adieu. Destiny's Cycle, Part SIX: wall

Heyes held his breath, as he did each time his cousin was pushed to the crux. It was always over in a matter of seconds, but he was fully aware in those seconds his life could be altered forever. When a flat stab of flame reached for Billy, Heyes released his pent up air; cognizant all would remain as it was.

Even as Billy was bucking backwards, dirt kicking from beneath his boot heels, Heyes took a step toward his partner. But, then he became aware that his chest was stinging like a firebrand had landed on him and, also, there was something warm trickling down his skin. Looking down, he could not comprehend the redness on his shirt front. His brow furrowed, thinking to ask his partner, he looked up. But, Curry’s face was blank and unusually white in Delano’s gaudy, smoky gaslights.

It came to Heyes the stars above were spinning out of control. Then he hit the ground. All he could see were the stars. But even as they settled into place they faded before a black, confusing darkness.

‘What is happening?’, Heyes thought, feeling like he was swimming through dark, cold… no, not cold… but frigid water. ‘Where am I?’ He tried to swallow, but his throat was unbearably tight, like he was drowning. ‘I can’t be!’ He knew, this because he could smell dirt, stale sweat, and the sickish sweetness of blood.

He wanted to see, to move, to speak out. Above all else, to know what was happening, and the not knowing had started fear building in him, wrapping him tight like a heavy blanket. As it wrapped tighter, he saw a flicker of light. Struggling toward it, he coughed and heard a gurgling sound. Then suddenly as the stars had left him earlier, he was awake and out of the darkness.

His eyes felt more open than they ever had in his life and all he could see was a room he did not know. Worse he still felt like he was drowning. And, there was so much pain. ‘Never hurt like this before,’ he thought and through clenched teeth, he gritted out, “Kid?”

His cousin, Kid Curry appeared over him. But, the blue eyes that looked down on him were not the self-assured eyes, Heyes was used to seeing. They were wide, frantic, and something turned over in Heyes leaving him feeling cold and deeply afraid.

“Han… I’m here with the doctor… you hear me, Han.”

I wanted to answer him, but my chest it was really hurting now and my throat felt like the cracks of a desert floor.

Kid placed his hand on my shoulder, “your lung is deflated.”

Hearing this, I suppose set me off, I started gasping in dry, gurgling heaves, ‘what did he mean my lung was deflated?’

A gravely, old voice, from somewhere snapped, “Settle him the hell down. He has his blood pumping out of him like water spewing from a gorge in spring rain.”

“Look at me.”

I felt him grab my chin. I could feel his hand, but not myself moving. Then again, I was trying to get my own arms to listen to me. I wanted them to reach up and rub the burn from my chest, but they wouldn’t listen.

My cousin and his worried eyes, leaned in closer. But then, he turned his head away. Following his movement, I saw, he was looking to the Doctor. I could see the man, too. Well, I could see the man’s grizzled, white hair standing out at all angles in the golden, lamp light.

Then Kid was leaning closer to me, I could feel the warmth of his breath against my ear.
“Come on, Heyes, you gotta simmer down. You aren’t doing yourself no good. Think on the bank heist you been planning, just drift off, like you do.”

Through the years, he has chewed on me, time and again, about me dropping too deep into my thoughts. Usually he starts off, with going on about not knowing how I’d manage to stay alive without him, since whenever it suited me, I tended to pay no notice to the world around me. Everytime, he gets on this train, I inform him, I was the one who kept him alive and didn’t know what he was talking about. Truth was, I’d always known what he was talking about. His being there, his dependability, steadiness, alertness, allowed me to let my mind wander and that was what he wanted out of me now. But, I couldn’t the pain was keeping me here.

“This sides clean, put your hand on this,” the Doctor commanded.

Then, I felt fingertips about the edges of a thick, bandage. I knew Kid was not trying to hurt me, but the pressure was agony.

“Let’s get him on his side.”

When they finished, I was nose to nose with Kid. There were lines grooved in his face that seemed to match the way I felt. I was in bad shape, no one needed to tell me.

From behind me, I heard the Doctor, grunt, “slug went through, he’s a lucky man.”

The thing was, there were frothy bubbles in my mouth and the taste of blood on my tongue, I wasn’t feeling so lucky and the room was darkening. Yet, I knew it wasn’t the room, it was my vision.

In my ear, I heard, “Heyes, don’t give up on me. Don’t you do it!”

I tried to say, “I’m not.” But, instead of words, it was that gurgling sound and I was coughing again. Each cough allowed the pain to tear at me, burning me from the inside out. I tried to focus on Kid, but he was fading from me.  

“Han!”

“Let ‘em be. He passing out is for the best. Ain’t much that hurts more than a deflated lung.” The doctor stated, while digging at my back. Last, I heard was him muttering, “so, I been told.”

Next I woke, the room was bathed in the gentle, gray light of dawn. I could breathe, not large breaths, but, I didn’t feel like I was drowning. Turning my head, I found Kid standing at the window. His shoulders were slumped and it came to me, he was leaning his forehead against the glass. “Hey.”

He spun at my voice, “Heyes.” His smile was a thing to behold, like a child at Christmas, no like a man who’s seen a beautiful woman---

“You made it!!”

No, I knew then what that smile was. It was the smile of seeing a person you love survive. I returned the largest one I could muster, “I step in front of a stampede, I was unaware of?”

“You go on and joke, I’ve been praying all night.”

“You… praying?”

His lips pulled tight. I could see, I had hit a nerve and considering his lack of sleep, and how I would feel if he was lying here, I knew, I should let up. Quirking him another grin, I said, “got shot, didn’t I.”

“That boy pulled the trigger as he went down. Here, I didn’t want to kill ‘em and he nearly did you in.”

“What’s the Doc say?”

“If you made it through the night, and infection don’t get you, then you’ll be ready to get out of that bed in eight weeks or so.”

“Eight weeks…?!”

“Afraid so.”

I knew, I should be feeling lucky, even gracious, but eight weeks. I sighed, “suppose, I could write my memoirs.”

Pulling a ladderback chair closer to me, Kid tilted his head, “your what? Nevermind, we got bigger problems.”

“Bigger than me shot through the lung?”

“Yeah.” He nodded, swinging straddle onto the chair. “Used up about all our money for this room and paying the Doctor.” He dropped his chin on the chair’s back, looking sheepishly over at me. “I even had to sell your pistol to have enough.”

A lot of thoughts came to mind on the subject of him selling my pistol, but I chose to keep them inside. Because, I knew everyone of them would start an argument.

------ASJ-----

“So, you get the job?”

“I went to the address you found in the paper.”

“And?”

“That blame fool is hiring men to build a brick wall, all the way, around his land.”

“Why does it sound like you didn’t take the job?”

“Cause, you know I didn’t. Building a brick wall would be awfully hard on a man’s back. I’ll find something on my own tomorrow.”

As the days drug by, Kid would return each night with my dinner, a Wichita Eagle newspaper, and tales of what he had done for work or, anything else while out. But, when he arrived this night, he came dragging in like he had been on a ten mile forced march. Setting my book down, I grinned at him, “Good seeing you not covered in paint.”

Kid grinned back, “yeah, never would of took that job, if I had known, how many walls Mrs. Murdock was going to have me do. Swear, my shoulder is never going to be the same.”

“So, what you do today.” I asked, taking my dinner plate and seeing he had swung by the Chinese district, just for me, I smiled larger.

“Heard tell, Mr. Jabara was hiring men to stock his mercantile. It’s in a big, new building  on the other side of the river.” He answered, tossing himself on his bed with a groan. “Spent better part of the day, climbing up and down a ladder, stocking every shelf along the east wall.”

“You finish up?”

“No.” Curry growled, rolling on his side with a frown for me. “I still have the west wall tomorrow, then I will have to find another job.”

Seemed to me, Kid was having a terrible time finding a job that agreed with him. Before he left each morning, he’d repeat how ready he was to return to Wyoming and the easy pickings there. But, at least, he wasn’t having to stay flat on his back. Truth was his trials sounded wonderful compared to spending another day staring at these four walls. So, each evening, when the sun had the shadows growing long, I found myself eagerly awaiting his arrival and having him to talk with. Only so much, a man can discuss with his self. It got to the point, the sound of his key hitting the lock, perked me right up wheather I was asleep or not.

At the sound of the key, I was ready for him, soon as he opened the door, “sure is good to see you. Tell me everything you seen.”

“Don’t start in on me, Heyes. I been talked at all I need.”

“What?”

“I took a job with Mr. O’Lawery.” He stated dryly, setting my dinner plate down beside me. “He’s building a house. We framed walls today and, Heyes, I don’t think he ever stopped running on. Not once.”

“You going to stick with this one?”

“Not sure.” I watched him toe his boots off.

“Hmm?”

Next, his clothes started hitting the floor, “I mean, he’s paying good. Just don’t know if I will make it through all his jabbering.”

“Oh!” I picked up my fork, moving the corn around on my plate. “You think you're going come back, wanting silence every night?”

My cousin rubbed a hand across his face, “might.”

“Well, Kid, way I see it, I’m not sure building a house, suits you.”

Dropping his hand enough to peer at me, he shook his head, then plopped onto his bed. “You sure it’s cause it don’t suit me or, ‘cause I’ve heard enough talking already with Mr. O’Lawrey?”

What could I say, he knows me.

“You look like a cat licking cream, stop smilin’ at me that way.”

“You going to find a different job?”

“Ain’t decided, eat your dinner, and let me be.“

I looked at my plate and back at him. He was tucking his arm up under his head, which meant he was ready for sleep. I sighed, thinking, ‘great, only three more weeks.’






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Cal

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PostSubject: The Wall   Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:58 am

Couldn't resist posting this little 'Wall' snippet from a longer story.  You don't really need to know much about what's going on, to get it.  Heyes, Kid and Lom are being guided out of the Devils Hole mountains by a local tribesman. The usual routes aren't available to them.  This is during the 'quest for amnesty' years. Oh and Sally is a grey mare that Heyes has purloined ...long story ... Calx


The Wall... adapted from When the Fat Lady Sings.


The journey since first light had mainly passed in silence, each rider reflecting on the words of the old shaman.  It was Kid Curry that broke the spell.

“Heyes … I see the valley ending … but I don’t see any way through that wall of rock … Do you?”

“Me neither” confirmed Lom.

Kid had been scanning the seemingly impenetrable cliff, on the far side of the Indian’s sacred valley, for the last hour.  There didn’t even seem to be a goat path to climb it, let alone a trail.  

Red smiled enigmatically, enjoying their confusion.

“You just got to have a little faith Kid” smiled Heyes, obviously in on something.

They passed another huge marker tree. This time, a single limb pointed their way towards the junction of the cliff wall with a high spit of land to their right.  

Red lead them closer and closer to the wall, without a word.  Eventually, he dismounted and wrapped the blanket he’d been sitting on, around his pony’s ears.  It looked very comical, and Kid and Lom, pulling up behind him, shook their heads and smiled at each other.

Kid couldn’t help himself.

“You frightened he may hear the secret words that get the door to open?” he smirked.

“My money’s on … OPEN SESAME!” laughed Lom.

Heyes drew up last, and jumped down, quickly wrapping a spare shirt around Sally’s ears.  

She just looked ridiculous!

“What is this?” laughed Kid. “Is this another ritual? Should I put a hat on Dingaling?”

“Can’t you hear it Kid?” asked Heyes, straight-faced.  “Hats no good …You gotta cover his ears …or he’s gonna spook.”

Kid concentrated. Lom too.  He heard a faint rumble.  He looked to Lom, for confirmation he wasn’t imagining it. It must have been there for some time because it had sneaked up on him.  Wasn’t till he stopped to listen he picked it up.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Wait and see” said Heyes enigmatically.  “I guess we’re on foot for a while …Huh Red?”

“Yep” answered the Indian, leading his pony behind a huge boulder.  

The cave entrance wasn’t very big, and entirely hidden by the boulder. Almost immediately, the cave mouth turned to the right and the path seemed to follow the direction of the cliff wall towards the large spit of land that made up the valley’s right hand border.  The cave wasn’t that dark.  Gaps in the sides, and the ceiling, let in daylight.  Soon, the gaps were more frequent to their left-hand side, too high up the wall to look out of. Then there was no ceiling at all, just a thin strip of ragged blue sky.

All the time, the rumbling was getting louder and louder.  The footing and the walls were getting wetter and wetter, and the animals had to be coaxed to go further.

The thundering water of the waterfall fell to their left, but the animals took all their attention.  Kid and Lom had improvised hoods for their horses and were gently pulling them along in Heyes and Red’s wake.  

The wet slippery path angled out from under the fall to a steep track suitable to ride down. They all mounted again, but it was impossible to talk to each other until they reached the bottom of the track and were on the other side of more large boulders.  Looking back the way they'd come, there was hardly a trace of the path they’d used from the falls.

They sat their horses, staring back in wonder for several minutes.

You'd never guess the trail through the wall of rock was there unless you'd walked it.

“Imagine Heyes… if the Law had known there was a ... BACK DOOR INTO DEVILS HOLE…” shouted Kid in wonder, his eyes glued to the mighty torrent of water and what was hidden from view beneath it.

“I KNOW!” shouted back Heyes, his eyes, wide in wonder, equally glued to the gushing water.  “Imagine ... If the Law ever discovered that ... HOLE IN THE WALL!”

Lom looked from one to the other, shaking his head with a lift of his shoulders in disbelief.

“I'M RIGHT HERE!” he shouted.
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PostSubject: Re: Feb 17 - The Wall   Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:18 am

The Wall

I found this month's challenge quite a struggle, and I think it probably shows!  But this is what I finally came up with.  We seem to have got away from the two tough cowboys, and we meet Kid first, about ten years after the amnesty has been granted.



“ - Dad – dad – dad - ”  the small blonde girl tugged at her father's hand.  He had been gazing abstractedly at the sea, but now he gazed down at his daughter.

“What is it?”

“Can I?”

“Can you what?”

“Daddy, haven't you been listening?  Can I go and play with that boy who's building a sandcastle?”

She pointed to a small, dark, furious-looking little boy who was doing a series of running repairs to a sandcastle, one side of which had collapsed.

“Hadn't you better ask him?  And maybe his mom?”

A young woman was sitting on a rug near to the sandcastle and the boy.  She was obviously the boy's mother.  She wore a blue-spotted muslin dress, and her dark hair was pinned up under a large shady hat.  

Releasing her father's hand, the little girl ran to the castle and knelt in the sand.  She began scraping at the sand, and using it to shore up the side of the castle as she spoke.

“PleaseCanIPlay,” she gabbled at the boy in one breath, not looking at him.  

The boy looked at her, undecided as to whether he wanted an unknown girl pushing into his game.  He must have eventually decided that she could be quite useful in re-building the fortress, because he said:

“Make sure you smooth the walls when you've got them to stay up.”

Kid looked at the young woman.  “I hope you don't mind,” he said to her.

She smiled.  “I don't mind at all.  I'm glad Max has got someone to play with.”

They watched the children for a little while, as the castle began to take shape again.  Eventually Max came over to his mother.

“Can we have that other spade?” he asked.  “Me and her are going to dig a moat.”

“ 'She and I', ” said his mother automatically.  “And why don't you ask her name?”  She felt in the large canvas-bag beside the rug, and eventually pulled out a small wooden spade which she handed to Max.  He gave it to the girl, and the pair of them began to dig energetically for a while.  Then Max, red-faced, pushed his hair back from his forehead with a sandy hand.

“Mom!” he shouted.  “I'm so hot.  Can I have some of that lemonade?”

“Yes, of course,” said his mother.  “Would the little girl like some too?”

Shyly, Kid's daughter nodded.  The woman rummaged again in her bag and drew out a large jar of home-made lemonade and two unmatching mugs.  She poured out the cool drink and passed it to the children and then looked at Kid.

“Would you like some?”

“Oh, no, thanks,” said Kid.  “I don't want to put you to any trouble.”

“It's no trouble,” said the woman.  “ I'm sure I've got another couple of mugs in this bag somewhere.”  She hunted around in the bag that seemed to contain everything, and eventually had poured out some lemonade for herself and some for Kid.  Her large hazel eyes gazed at him as she held out a cup.

“Is it all right with you if I sit here?” said Kid, taking the drink and indicating a rock beside the rug. When the woman smilingly nodded, he sat down, and sipped at the lemonade.  He and Max's mother watched  the children in companiable silence for a while, and then, as the children continued to play, they found themselves slipping easily into a conversation.  They had soon learned that their situations were very similar.  Each of them was bringing up a child alone, and each of them lived locally.

“Though I do have my cousin and his family living nearby, so I'm not totally on my own,” said  Kid.

“Dad,” called his daughter, Marianne, “Come and help.   This bit won't stay up again.”

“That's because that sand you're using there is too dry to hold together,” said Kid.  “Dig down a bit and you'll find that the sand is a bit wetter.  That's the sand you need.”

The children began to delve deeper into the sand and Kid went over to help them and to press the damp sand into shape.  The new part held up without difficulty, and Kid strengthened it with stones.  He began to build a wall around the castle. The children hunted around for shells to make windows with.  Max's mother watched Kid helping them.

“He's very nice,” she thought to herself.  “Nice to talk to.  He's shown a lot of patience playing with the children like that.  And he's amazingly good-looking!”

Suddenly she thought how alone she had felt for a long time, how exposed to everything that life might throw at her.  When Max's father had been there, she realised, she had felt as though she and Max were surrounded by a protecting wall, invisible, but invincible.  

“That looks great!” said Kid, looking at the sandcastle.  “But it needs a flag.  I know -   ”

He picked up a stick, and took a scrap of paper from his pocket to make a flag, which he passed to Max to  push into the topmost tower.

“Perfect!”

“We'll come back tomorrow,” said Max to Marianne, “and make it bigger.”

“It can be Camelot!" said Marianne.

“What's Camelot?” asked Max.

“It's the name of King Arthur's castle,” said Marianne.  “My Uncle Hannibal tells me stories about King Arthur!”

“Hannibal!  That's a funny name,” said Max.

“Max!  Don't be so rude!” said his Mother.

“Well, so it is a funny name,” said Max.  “but I like it.  I know who the real Hannibal was.  He took some elephants over the Alps.  He was a Roman.”

“No, he wasn't,” said Marianne, at once.  “He fought with the Romans.  My Uncle Hannibal told me”.  

“Who won?”  asked Max.

“The Romans,” said Marianne.  But the Hannibal in the story nearly beat them.”

“Was that when someone said where are the walls of Rome, and the general said that the army was the wall around Rome?  And that every man was a brick?” asked Max's mother.

“No, that was the Spartans!” said Marianne immediately.  “My Uncle Hannibal - ”

“ - told you.”   Max finished off what she was going to say.  “Does he know everything?”

“Probably,” said Kid.  He looked at Max's mother in her blue-spotted dress and wide-brimmed hat.  “Would you like to meet him?  We're going to his place tomorrow.  Won't you and Max come too?  I'd love you to come.”

His blue eyes met her hazel ones.

“Yes, please,” she replied.  “We'd love to come!”

For some reason, she found herself continuing to picture a wall.
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cac



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PostSubject: Re: Feb 17 - The Wall   Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:17 pm

I didn’t follow fanon although I did canon.

“Nuts!”

Jed looked down at the miserable, brown-haired new kid curled up on his side on the ground. “What were you thinking trying to fight Walter? He don’t care what you’ve got in your bag; he just knows he wants it. We call him “Wayward Walter,” after the home’s name, you know.” He paused, waited for the teenager to say something, then said, “Well, I’m Thaddeus and I’ve been here a few weeks now. It stinks.” He waited some more, and the new boy’s breathing stopped sounding so shaky. “You got a name?”

The boy wheezed out, “Joshua. I’m gonna kill him.”

Jed scoffed. “No, you’re not. Gettin’ kicked there is the least he’ll do if you try to fight him again just to get your bag back. Naw, let it go. He’ll trash whatever ain’t food, so you can get your stuff later.”

~~~~~~~~~~
Jim Stokley looked amazed. “That’s how you two met? At an orphan’s home?”

Kid smirked. “Yep! Joshua was down and out right then, but it didn’t take long for me to find out that Walter didn’t stand a chance.” He grinned at Heyes riding silently next to him. “What was it, two days before you convinced him that all those books he’d trashed had the best ideas? We snuck out one night during a thunderstorm, and Joshua, he told him that we were going to harness lightening and set the Home on fire. It sounded exciting to me. He told Walter to tightly hold a key which was tied to a kite while he tied a kite’s string to the chimney on top of the Home. Then Boom! There was this huge flash across the field, and Walter screamed. Turned out that the lightening never hit anywhere near us, but it freaked Walter out so much he fell off the roof and broke his leg! We didn’t want to face the beating we’d get once he told on us, so we took off, right in the middle of the storm. It was pitch black, raining like crazy, and we probably wouldn’t have made it very far except for the train tracks just about a mile away from the Home. We were so wet and cold that when a train slowed at the hard curve, we climbed on just to get dry. We were practically in Colorado by the time we woke up starving the next day.”

Jim shook his head. “Good grief! And then what?”

Kid hesitated. “Then what?”

Jim motioned broadly with his hands. “Yeah, then what? What did you do next? You know, get food, place to stay…then what?”

Kid glanced at Heyes. “Weeeel, Jim, we slept in barns, in fields, worked for some farm families and eventually some ranchers. That sort of thing.”

Heyes broke in smoothly. “Jim, you said back in town that you’d gotten into a bit of trouble when you were young. It seems like you and your sister Sarah were from a good family. What happened, if you don’t mind telling? Santa Fe’s a while yet, and it’s your turn for a story.”

Jim guffawed, “Aw, Joshua, you know what an eighteen year old is like. Especially one who’s pretty good with a gun like I was, although nothing like Thaddeus here. I practiced out behind our house a lot, I liked showing off to my friends, and it impressed the ladies. I got cocky, and I didn’t like it when my dad tried to get me to tone it down and keep focused on our family, on school and chores. I met a fellow in town one night after I’d sneaked out, and he offered me $100 to play a trick on a “friend.” Of course, the trick turned out to be a hold-up a few towns over, but we got caught, and I was found guilty. I didn’t have to serve much time, but it was enough for me to straighten up and start living a new life once I got out. I never went back to my old name, though, since Sarah had gotten married to that rich guy Henderson, and he hated me for having been in trouble with the law. So…I was more than happy to help Sarah get away when I found out he’d been hitting her.”

Heyes grunted. “Yeah…I would’ve felt the same way too.” He was quiet for a minute, and then he added, “It almost makes me feel bad how I talked her into going back to him. She asked if I thought a man could change. I said yes, because I know men can change if they want to badly enough like you did I guess, but that doesn’t mean that Henderson was really changed. I sure hope so, though.”

Kid asked, “Did she say anything to you about it, Jim?”

He shook his head. “No, and I don’t think she would have if he hadn’t. She knew I hated him and hated her going back to him…. My sweet, gentle sister.  Well, she’s OK now. Besides me, she’s got some good friends in that town, the same ones who helped her contact me and sneak away.”

That night after supper, Jim turned to Kid. “Thaddeus, I really do fancy myself a good shot. But you were incredible! Would you show me some tips?”

Heyes turned to Kid with a warning look, but Kid missed it responding to Jim. “Sure! We can set up some pinecones on that log over there….” His voice chattered away discussing balance and stance as they gathered a large pile. Heyes cleaned his gun, watching Jim.

The three men rode into Santa Fe two days later. They checked in at the hotel and stopped at the telegraph office so “Joshua” could check in with Lom. Jim had a telegraph from Sarah which he read, and he then sighed. He drew his gun on the Kid who had his back turned, reading the wanted posters on the far wall, but Heyes shot Jim’s arm. Stokley dropped the gun and fell to the floor in agony. Kid spun, gun in hand, in shock. The telegraph operator crawled under his desk. “What the hell?” Kid shouted, quickly snatching the gun next to Jim’s bloody hand on the floor.

Jim groaned. Heyes picked up the fallen telegram and read quickly to Kid, “To Jim Stokley. Lawyer stole all savings and all mortgage payments for last 2 years. Need $15,000 to keep ranch. Please help any way you can. Sarah.”

Heyes and Kid looked at each other, looked at Jim, looked out the window, and walked calmly out the door toward their horses. Their casual, innocent saunter turned into a flat-out run around the corner as the sheriff and a deputy came running, guns drawn.

There wasn’t much to Santa Fe in those days, but there was a beautiful church, conveniently just around that corner from the telegraph office. Kid and Heyes quickly dropped back to their casual saunter as they entered. Seeing no one, they hurried up the stairs to the choir loft, searching for an escape but finding none. They slid under pews as they heard the doors open.

Footsteps, then a click as a hammer was cocked on a gun. Kid tensed, not wanting a shoot-out in a church. Heyes grimaced. Then, new footsteps below, lighter and quicker. A female voice demanded, “Sheriff! What are you doing, in the Lord’s house, with your gun drawn!”

He replied, “Sorry, Sister, but I’m searching for two men who may have shot a man in the telegraph office.  My deputy is questioning the man now, and I thought they might have run in here. I need to search the building.”

Kid reluctantly eased his gun out of the holster. They heard the doors open again.

“Sheriff? Oh, there you are. Well, the man is going to be OK, the shot missed anything major. He admits that he drew first, just as Sam saw from over by the telegraph, but he wouldn’t say why except that he didn’t want to press charges before he passed out. Sam says one telegraph was to a Jim Stokley and that the other men sent their telegraph signed “Smith and Jones” to a sheriff up in Wyoming.”

The sheriff sighed. “Well, I sure don’t want a shoot out in the Loretto Chapel. Wouldn’t want to damage the miraculous staircase.”  His hand gently touched the beautiful carvings. “I guess there’s no harm done except to the man who started it all.” His voice increased in volume. “I’m going to have my deputy release those two horses outside of town. As long as I don’t see those animals or their owners again, I’m finished with this matter.” He thanked the nun and left with his deputy.

The nun stood for a minute, looking up at the choir loft. Then she too announced in a rather loud voice that she was going to collect more potatoes from the garden and would not be back in the sanctuary for a while. The door closed gently behind her.

Kid looked at Heyes. “What just happened?”

Heyes grinned. “You know, Kid, I read about this chapel in the newspaper a few years ago. The builder died, and they realized that there was no way to get to the choir loft except with a ladder. The good Sisters didn’t want to climb a ladder in their skirts, so they prayed about it. And one day a carpenter showed up and built this staircase, in total privacy, in three months, using only some simple tools. They think St. Joseph himself built it! The whole town sort of views it as a miracle.”

Kid snorted. “I think the miracle is if we’re just going to stroll out of here without that sheriff waiting around the corner. I don’t believe that deputy’s story for a second.”

Heyes considered and then replied, “You know, Kid, I do. I think Jim has known all along who we were, but I don’t think he had any intention to turn us in until he got that telegram from Sarah. He’s an honorable man, and we saved his life. But if there’s one other thing he holds to now, it’s that family is first, and we’re worth that $15,000 that she needs. If the sheriff captures us, Jim won’t get that money. So he didn’t tell the sheriff who we are. I don’t think we want to stroll out of here like a pair of Texas Rangers, but I think we should give that deputy about twenty minutes to release our horses and then get out of town, just like the sheriff said, at least before Jim wakes up.”

Kid stretched a little more comfortably under the pew. “Heyes, how did you know he knew who we were? I feel like there was a wall in front of me, I so completely trusted Jim! I just didn’t see it! I even had my back on him in the telegraph office, but you were ready! How did you know?”

Heyes grinned. “’Beware of meat twice boil'd, and an old foe reconcil'd.’ Ben Franklin said that in my book that Wayward Walter had trashed. There was just something about him that I didn’t trust all the way.”

And so our boys, still broke, walked out of town and rode into the western sunset.

**The Loretto Chapel and the staircase is real. It’s about the only thing I remember from a family vacation to Santa Fe!
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HannaHeyes

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PostSubject: Re: Feb 17 - The Wall   Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:14 pm

The dark Montana hotel room was bathed in an eerie green and blue glow. Light shadows danced around the room as the glow surrounded objects in its path. Kid Curry awoke to silence and a feeling of something strange. He lay and watched, almost hypnotized, by the turquoise shadows waving across the room's door and walls like moonlight on water. Realization then set in that there were no lamps lit, and even if there had of been, they wouldn't be glowing green. He quietly raised up on his elbows and looked over at the bed his cousin was supposed to be occupying. It was empty, but Heyes had been in bed at some point because the quilt and sheet were thrown back diagonally. He glanced quickly around the room looking for his partner. After a couple of seconds, he located him. "What are you doing, Heyes?" he asked sleepily.

Hannibal Heyes stood still at the window, holding back one side of the curtains, gazing out into the night. Softly, he spoke, with a small hint of sadness in his voice. "C'mere, Kid. Look at this."

Curry got out of bed, rubbing down some unruly curls, as he made his way to the window. "What is it?"

"Look," Heyes whispered as he pointed outside toward the sky.

Kid peeled back the other side of the curtain from the window and was instantly awed at what he saw. The sky above the dark little town was filled with what seemed like fluttering walls of delicate, shimmering, green and blue lights. Ever so often, a wisp of orange or red would glide through the lights and then transform into hues of yellow or purple as they seemed to reach all the way up into the Heavens. Curry was silent as he watched the cosmic show glow in varying degrees of brightness.

"Remember the last time we saw something like this?" Heyes asked quietly.

"Yeah, a little. The memory is a little fuzzy though," came the soft reply.

Heyes could feel water wanting to fill his brown eyes as he whispered, barely audible, "I remember..."

oooooasjooooo

September 2, 1859
1:30 am

"Han,...Hannibal, wake up and come down here," Michael Heyes called up to his son.

An eight-year-old dark head looked out of the dark loft. "I'm telling you, Pa, I don't know what happened to the last of the cookies," a mouth being wiped free of crumbs said.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm sure you don't," Michael murmured, then louder, "Just get dressed and come down here."

"'Kay, Pa."

"What's going on? Why are you calling for Hannibal? Where's that strange light coming from?" Keara Heyes walked out of their bedroom tightening her robe. "Why are you dressed?"

"Go put your overcoat on, honey. I want to show you and Hannibal something special."

Keara turned and went to retrieve her coat at the same time Hannibal came practically sliding down the ladder that reached to the loft. Something outside the window immediately caught his attention. "What's that green glow out there, Pa?"

"That's what I want to show you as soon as your mother puts on her overcoat so she'll look decent outside."

Keara returned from the bedroom, her overcoat pulled around her and buttoned. "Michael, why are you even up at this time of night?"

"I was sitting at the table thinking and trying to plan out the harvest this year. Then, that green glow caught my attention. C'mon outside."

Michael opened the front door and Hannibal ran out first. As soon as he jumped off the porch, he stopped dead in his tracks. The night sky was alive with vertical waving walls of glowing greens and blues, purples and yellows. Hannibal was truly amazed. "Wooow," he whispered quietly, his brown eyes wide in wonder.

He was joined a few seconds later by his mother. She too, was staring up, silent, in awe of the celestial beauty. Her hand went down to rest on Hannibal's shoulder. "Oh my, how beautiful!"

"What's causing that, Pa?"

Michael walked down the steps and stood on the other side of Hannibal, his arm hugged around both his son and his wife. "Those, son, are what are known as the aurora borealis, the northern lights. They're usually just seen way up north near the earth's north pole. You rarely ever see them this far south."

"So what makes 'em?" Hannibal asked, his curious brown eyes still watching the skies.

"Well, some scientists think they're caused by electricity high up in the clouds. I have an old magazine from 1837 saved somewhere that has an article about them if you want to read it."

"Can we get it tonight?"

"Let's save that search for tomorrow, okay?"

"How come we can see 'em here in Kansas tonight?"

"I'm not sure, son. Maybe the paper will have something written about them tomorrow morning."

"Will we ever see them here again?"

"I don't know, Han. Why don't you just enjoy them now and we'll take care of the questions tomorrow."

After a few quiet minutes of watching the atmospheric lights dance across the sky, Hannibal came to a conclusion. "We need to show Jed this!"

Michael smiled. "I thought you might say that, so I've already hitched Maggie up to the wagon."

"Well, let's go before they go away!" Hannibal turned and ran toward the wagon waiting near the house.

"Oh Michael, this is truly wonderful! Thank you for getting us up to see it." Keara hugged her beloved husband. "Every now and then, it's a good thing you don't sleep well." She kissed him on the cheek.

"Well, I DO do my best thinking at night."

"C'mon! Let's go show Jed the lights before they go out! You two can do that nasty kissing later." Hannibal was already seated in the wagon.

"We're coming, son." Michael turned his wife and they walked toward the wagon.

oooooasjooooo

The wagon pulled up in front of the Curry farmhouse just as someone emerged from the door holding a rifle. The Curry dog was barking repeatedly beside one of the wagon wheels, his tail wagging profusely. "Nevermind the dog, I'd be more afraid of the owner if I was you," the voice holding the rifle called out, ignoring the strange glow of the night for the moment.

"It's just us, Sean, don't shoot." Michael held up the small lantern to his face.

Hannibal quickly jumped down, petted the overexcited dog, and pointed up. "Look at the lights, Uncle Sean!"

Sean Curry stepped off his porch. "Ah, is that the northern lights? Pa's told me stories about him seeing them every so often while he was still in Ireland. Never thought I'd get to look at them here."

"Jed needs to see 'em. Can I go wake him up?" Han asked hopefully.

Sean smiled at his anxious nephew. "Why not? And I'll go get the girls up."

Han laughed, ran inside and up the stairs. He burst into Jed's room, waking everyone in there. Jed's hand reached for his slingshot hanging on his bedpost. "Jed, get up!" Jedediah's two brothers kind of groaned when they saw who it was in the dim glow of light.

"Shoulda known it was you. Who else would come into somebody's bedroom in the middle of the night without bein' asked or even knockin'?" the eldest Curry boy said. "You're goin' to be in jail for breakin' and enterin' by the time you're twelve."

Han smiled at him smugly. "They'd have to catch me first. It ain't breaking the law until you get caught. Besides, Uncle Sean let me in." He turned to his younger cousin as Jed laughed. "Never mind that though. Get dressed and come outside! Hurry!" Han exited the room the same way he had entered. Jed jumped out of bed and started pulling his clothes on. His brothers followed suit, although at a slower pace while talking.

"We really need to get Pa to put us a lock on the door."

"Wouldn't matter none. Han would probably learn how to pick it open."

oooooasjooooo

Within a few minutes, the whole Curry family was standing in their yard with the Heyes', watching, fascinated by the ethereal glow of the northern lights. Hannibal was busy pointing out the different colors to Jed as they came and went.

Jed's sister held tightly to her dad's leg, a little scared. "What's it mean, Pa?"

"Nothing baby. God's just puttin' on a light show for us."

She gradually let her hold go until she was standing on her own. "Pa, you think Grandma Curry is watchin' the lights from the other side in Heaven?"

Sean picked her up, hugged her, and held her in his arms. "I'm sure she is sweetie."

She waved at the illuminated night sky before she called out, "Hi, Grandma!" Her Grandpa Curry, standing behind everyone, felt his eyes water as he too, waved, in silence.

Emma Curry decided that they should all just have a picnic of past midnight snacks as they looked on. She went inside, got some quilts, some lemonade, and the cookie jar, then brought them outside. Everyone was mesmerized by the light show until the wee hours of the morning. Han and Jed sat happily side-by-side, between both sets of parents, entranced by the aurora borealis.

oooooasjooooo

Both partners were quiet for a moment. "I didn't remember all of that," Kid finally said softly.

"Well, you were only six." Heyes was silent for another minute, lost in the lights and the glow of memories. "That was a special night. I'll never forget it."

It was a few seconds before Kid spoke once again. "So, do you think it's true?"

"Is what true?"

"What my sister asked that night. You think they're all up there watchin' on the other side of the lights?"

Heyes hesitated before he answered. "I'd like to think so."

The northern lights were starting to fade in intensity and sleepiness was taking hold of Kid. "Me too." He lightly patted his cousin's shoulder before returning to bed.

Heyes watched as Kid lay down with his back to him. His attention then turned back to gaze out the window. With a tear in his eye, he waved up at the embellished atmosphere as he softly whispered, "I miss you."

oooooooooooooooo

A/N - The aurora borealis, or northern lights are created when solar wind from the Sun interacts with the Earth's magnetosphere. They are predominantly seen in the latitudes near the Earth's north and south poles. A geomagnetic storm, caused by a coronal mass ejection from the Sun hitting earth, can cause the auroras to appear in lower latitudes. The intensity of the storm determines how far near the equator the lights can be observed.

In 1859, an extremely strong geomagnetic storm known as the 'Carrington Event', collided with Earth's atmosphere. To date, it's known as one of the strongest geomagnetic storms to hit the planet. The northern lights were seen as far south as the Caribbean. They were so bright, miners out west got out of bed to start breakfast because they thought the Sun was rising. In the northeastern United States, it was bright enough to read by without any lamps or candles. Telegraph systems around the world failed as the lines sparked and in some cases, caught fire as the high amount of electricity coursed through them. Some telegraph operators actually received electrcial shocks from their equipment and some could still send messages even though their batteries were disconnected.

If a storm of that magnitude hit the Earth today without warning, all of our telecommunication and power grids would fail, probably taking months, even years to get back online.

The magazine article Michael Heyes referenced was “The Aurora Borealis,” by “Francis” (from Youth’s Magazine, April 14, 1837; pp. 43-45)

Sorry for the long explanation. As you can probably tell, I'm a science freak.




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MoulinP

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PostSubject: Re: Feb 17 - The Wall   Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:31 pm

You could say this is a follow on from last month's challenge. I've changed the time line a little because I needed Susan to be a bit older. I'm hoping next month's challenge prompt will allow me to resolve this little epic I seem to be writting.


The Wall

 

It was his hearing, which came back first. Awareness of voices, two women talking. So low, he couldn’t make out what they were saying. They were echoing and fuzzy, like he, or they, were underwater.

Then he blinked his eyes open. Shapes and colours blurred around him. A blinding light off to his left made him close his eyes tightly and turn his head away. His head pounded, a vague all-encompassing throb, where exactly it centred was hard to distinguish. As he became aware, the pain intensified. The brief glimpse had revealed a room he didn’t know. He opened his eyes again, curiosity getting the better of him.

This time he squinted a little and things gradually began to coalesce into recognisable shapes. He could make out items of furniture. What he didn’t know was where this room was. Slowly he raised his hand and rubbed his eyes. His movements was slow and shaky. Looking at his hand, it was as he was seeing it for the first time. He turned it over in the air, inspecting. Yes, it was his hand. He knew it was his hand. Yet it didn’t feel like his hand.

His mouth was dry. He needed a drink. Slowly turning his head was an effort and hurt. On the nightstand was a flask and a glass. He tried to push himself up. Tried to get nearer to that precious liquid. He couldn’t. Too weak. He fell back with a groan. Staring at the ceiling, he panted. Where was he? The room looked vaguely familiar but he didn’t know why. Another groan. Louder this time. Perhaps one of the voices outside would come.

He became more aware of the rest of him. There was something tight around his head. His hand … yes definitely HIS hand … felt a bandage there. Tentatively his fingers explored its extent. He gasped as he prodded a particularly sensitive spot. Stay away from there, he thought, until you know more. He raised the other hand and examined it. Apart from being shaky and weak, his hands and arms didn’t appear to be injured. He looked further down and saw underwear. His underwear. He recognised the loose thread hanging from one of the buttons of his Henley. He smiled and pulled at it, fondly.

Wherever this place was, he might have to leave in a hurry. Where were his clothes? He couldn’t see them. He looked around frantically but that made him dizzy. He fell back against the pillow and waited for the whirling to stop. He turned away from the sun shining through the gap in the curtains. It was a moment before he could push back the covers and reveal his legs. Clad in long johns they looked and felt okay. He shuffled to the side of the bed, intending to throw his legs to the floor.

The door opened and he stopped. A young woman came in. She looked familiar. Yet he couldn’t place her. He went cold. Perhaps she had been on a train or in a bank. Perhaps she recognised him!

When she saw him awake, she smiled broadly.  

“Oh, Josh you’re awake!”

He licked his lips. Josh? He really needed a drink. “Ma’am?” he croaked.

She came over quickly, poured him a drink and handed it to him. He took it gratefully and drank it greedily.

She laughed gently. “Here. Slowly now.” She took the glass from him and set it aside. He wanted more and he reached for it. “No. You can have a little more in a moment.”

She smiled, gently pushing his hand away. “You’ve been unconscious for three days. Do you remember what happened?”

He blinked a no.

“You were in the store. You went to get something off a high shelf and the racking gave way. Pulled everything down on top of you.” She straightened the bed covers over him, pushing him flat.

Heyes blinked, at her familiarity. What she had told him didn’t mean anything. He shook his head slightly and then winced. “Ma’am I don’t ….” He studied her. He felt he should know her. Then he swallowed and looked round the room. “Where am I?”

“At home in bed course,” she smiled.

“No this isn’t home.” He looked serious. He was confused. Was this home? It looked familiar but he didn’t have a home. Well not a proper one. Not unless you called the leader’s cabin at Devil’s Hole, home. “Who are you ma’am?”

“Mary.” She straightened the bed covers again. “Your wife. In case you’ve forgotten,” she laughed.

He looked at her wide-eyed again and then smiled. “Oh no ma’am,” he laughed, gently but politely. “I don’t have a wife. I think I’d remember if I did.” He was smiling the full double dimple at her.

Mary looked at him sharply and perched on the edge of the bed.

“Josh, that’s not funny.” She looked hurt.

He could smell her perfume. He knew it. He just didn’t know her. Yet she seemed to know him but why was she calling him Josh? Josh who? His name was …. Oh! Mmmm, yes ….

“No Ma’am,” he said quietly. He hesitated. “Where’s … ?” He looked at her. “My friend?”

Mary looked confused. “Your friend? I don’t … .” She frowned. “Do you mean … Thaddeus?”

Heyes frowned. “I don’t know a Thaddeus,” he said, slowly.

“Yes you do Josh,” she said, firmly. Her face had fallen from the delight of seeing him awake to one of suspicion. “He’s your cousin.”

“My cousin?” Heyes managed to think quickly. “Oh yes … .” He smiled as he rubbed his temple. “I sometimes call him … Thad.” He looked at her hoping she had bought it.

“You also call him Jed or the Kid … .” she stated firmly. He looked at her in alarm “And he’s in Boston. As you well know.”

“No. No! Something’s not right here,” he cried. He started to sit up but he was so weak he quickly gave up the struggle and fell back. Putting a hand to his head and closing his eyes, he waited for the wave of dizziness to pass. He didn’t understand any of this. She knew Jed was the Kid? The Kid was in Boston!

“Jed has been in Boston since we were married,” Mary said, as if reading his thoughts. “You went to see him last year.”

Heyes groaned. “I don’t …. know.” He tailed off and he looked at her sadly. “I don’t know …. who you are,” he forced out.

May stiffened. “Do you know who you are?”

“Yes ma’am. I’m….” He licked his lips. There was no discernible reason why he should trust her; he just did. “I’m Hannibal Heyes, ma’am.” He swallowed hard.

Mary took a deep breath and got up. “I think Doctor Albright better look at you.” She started for the door. Looking back and saw his look of alarm. “It’ll be alright, Josh. Just don’t mention who you are and everything will be fine.”

She left him feeling even more confused. He flopped back, too weak to do anything else.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Outside Janet Trevors was minding Susan.

“Mary! You look as though you’ve just seen a ghost!” Janet said, putting an arm round Mary’s shoulders, in concern.

“No. Not a ghost.” She shook her head. “Joshua’s awake but he … doesn’t know who I am. He says he doesn’t have a wife.” She looked at Janet as if she would know the answers. “He asked for the Kid and he says his name is Hannibal Heyes.”

“Well …,” Janet began. “It is.”

“I know but … Janet, can Lom walk yet?”

Janet looked doubtful. “He can hobble about on crutches in the house. I doubt if he’s up to going outside yet.”

“Janet, please … ask him to come. There’s no one else. Josh doesn’t remember being Josh. If he remembers being Hannibal Heyes, he might remember Lom.”

Janet nodded, patting Mary’s hand. “I’ll ask him. It’s not far. He should be able to manage if he takes it slowly.”

“Thank you.” Mary sank onto the sofa next to small daughter. “Oh if you see Ben …”

Janet smiled. “I’ll being him too.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Sometime later, Lom crutched his way into the bedroom and found Heyes struggling, with more success, to sit up.

“Lom?” Heyes queried, with a deep frown. “Lom Trevors?”

“Ye-ah,” Lom sighed as he sank into a chair by the bed and rested his crutches to one side. “So. You remember me?”

“Yeah, You left to ….” The silver star on Lom’s waistcoat didn’t escape his notice. “Go straight.” Heyes widened his eyes. “And I see you have.”

“Been sheriff here in Porterville these past eight years.”

“What happened to you?” Heyes was looking at him suspiciously, his lips tight.

“Oh, fell off the porch roof fixing it.” Lom chuckled gently. “It ain’t all plain sailing being law abiding y’know. As you’re beginning to find out.”

Heyes licked his lips “Am I under arrest?” he asked, nervously.

“Nope.” Lom smiled. “What’s the last thing you remember, Heyes?”

Heyes considered. “Robbing the Cattleman’s Bank in Fort Worth. The Kid got stuck in the bars trying to get out.” He couldn’t resist grinning mischievously at the memory.

Lom took a deep breath. “Heyes. That was six years ago.”

Heyes lost his grin. “No. That was….” He frowned. Nothing after that was coming to mind.

“Six?” he gasped. “Six years ago?”

“Yeah. Getting on for seven now I’d say,” Lom said, pleasantly.

Lom!” Heyes looked wide-eyed. “What’s going on? I don’t understand. Who was that woman? She said… she was my wife!” He swallowed hard. “Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous?” He tried unsuccessfully to smile.

Lom pursed his lips. “When you were Hannibal Heyes that would have been ridiculous.” He chuckled. “But you ain’t Hannibal Heyes. At least not anymore.”

Heyes just stared at him.

Lom leaned forward. “You and the Kid came to me a few years back. Wanted me to talk to the Governor for you about an amnesty.”

“For us? The Kid and me? No way.” Heyes laughed.

“Well the Governor agreed. Oh, you didn’t get it straight away. Had to prove you deserved it. Took you awhile but you’ve been a free man these last three years.”

Heyes stared at him in disbelief. Finally he laughed. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “Why would we do that? We was good at our job! Why would we give all that up?”

Lom smiled. “Because people like me were getting better at our jobs. It was only a matter of time Heyes and you knew it.”

Heyes swallowed nervously. “So er…” He cleared his throat and Lom reached to hand him a glass of water. He drank thirstily. “So what do I do? Now I don’t rob banks and trains anymore?”

“You live here in Porterville as Joshua Smith, where you own and run the hardware store. Mary is your wife and you have a little daughter, Susan.”

Heyes blanched. “No,” he said, again, shaking his head. “I can’t have.” He rubbed his forehead. He was starting to look green.

Lom grinned ruefully. “You have a good marriage, Heyes. A real love match.”

Heyes smacked his lips and looked at the ceiling when he felt his eyes watering. It sounded idyllic but it had hit a sore spot. It was a desire that he kept firmly and deeply buried. That life just wasn’t possible, being who he was. It could never happen. Now he was finding out it had happened but he didn’t remember.

He sniffed deeply. “Does … she … Mary know who …?”

“Yeah, Heyes she knows. Your silver tongue had to work overtime to convince her that you were reformed but ya did. You’re an honest man Heyes.” Lom smiled fondly. “You haven’t proved her wrong ‘bout trusting you yet.”

Heyes looked stricken and rubbed his temple. “I don’t remember,” he breathed.

“You don’t remember Mary at all?”

“No,” Heyes wailed. He covered his face with his hands. “Lom, I don’t remember! I don’t remember any of it. It’s like a … a wall in front of me. I know there’s something behind it but I can’t get through it.” He removed his hands, looking at Lom in anguish.

“Sounds like the Doc has come to look at ya,” Lom said, hearing a male voice outside the room. “Heads can be funny. I reckon he’ll sort ya out if I let him get in here.” Lom collected his crutches, struggled up and started to the door.

“Say Lom, where’s the Kid? That… Mary said he was in Boston. What’s … he doing there?”

Lom smiled. “The Kid married the railroad heiress, Caroline Fairfield. They live in Boston. Now that is a story and a half!  They have an unconventional marriage but he’s doing alright. Started a family too. You and Mary plan to go for Christmas.”

Heyes swallowed and blinked. He put his head in his hands and groaned. He knew none of this. It was a nightmare and his best friend wasn’t even here to get him through it. Lom shook his shoulder reassuringly.

“It’ll be alright Heyes. It’ll just take some time.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Early the next morning, Heyes explored the house. In the main room was an alcove, complete with a large desk. On it was a typewriter. He had never seen one in a domestic setting and he was fascinated by how it worked, idly pressing random keys. To his left, he recognized his own handwriting on a pile of papers. Absently he sat down to read.

He frowned, not understanding what he was reading. It seemed to be a story about two men managing a saloon. Things seemed to be going well. Then suddenly they were dismissed, without explanation. He was as confused as they were. The story had drawn him in and he continued to read. At the back of his mind, it felt familiar. He read on, hoping for answers.

“Jim Plumber!”

Wide-eyed he read about Jim Plumber being Stone, a man who owned most of the town of Whittleburg.

“That’s not right,” he frowned. The events were familiar. Yet something was wrong. The names perhaps? As he puzzled, he felt something brush his leg.

Looking down, he saw a small girl, in her nightgown, clutching a doll. This must be … Susan, his daughter. She had dark blond hair, ruffled by sleep and grey eyes. The same colouring as Mary.

“Pappy!” she grinned, holding her doll aloft.

Heyes smiled. If he had any doubts that she was his daughter, the two dimples either side of her mouth cleared that up. Taking the doll, he looked at it critically.

“Mmmm.” Obviously much loved. He set it on the desk and looked at Susan, who was now grasping his thigh and giggling.

“Up, Pappy. Up!” she demanded.

Heyes hesitated. He had no experience of small children. How did you …? Instinct told him how to pick Susan up. Settling on his lap, she grabbed her doll and held it protectively. He laughed.

“I see Susan found you,” said Mary.

Heyes looked up. Mary hadn’t bothered with a robe. While her nightgown wasn’t exactly transparent, it showed enough to make him swallow. He was all too aware that he was just in his underwear.

“Yes,” he breathed. “What am I doing here?” His thumb rifled the stack of hand written sheets.

Mary smiled. “Oh, you’re writing your second book!” She went to the bookshelf by the kitchen door, searched for a moment and then held out a book to him. He hesitated and then took it from her with both hands, like a precious, fragile object. The gold lettering on the front said, “Tales of an Outlaw, by Hannibal Heyes”. He looked at it in disbelief and then up at her.

“I think you are going to call the new one, Hard to go Straight,” Mary said, indication the manuscript. “It’s the adventures you had before the amnesty came through.” She was standing close to him. He could smell her perfume. “This is your typewriter. Don’t ask me how it works. You only got it a few days before … your accident. You’re still learning how to use it.” Leaning over the desk accentuated her figure even more. He was staring at her middle. She stopped. “What’s the matter? Have you remembered something?”

His eyes rose slowly to her face, quizzically. “Are you …?” he began. “expecting?”

She smiled and put her hands to her stomach. “Yes. You were sitting here, trying to work out how the typewriter worked when I told you.” She laughed. “I don’t know whether you were annoyed I distracted you or delighted that we are going to have another baby.”

“I remember,” he breathed.

“You do?” she looked hopeful.

“No … not exactly. I remember the … feeling.” He smiled weakly. “I think … being delighted won out,” he said, softly.

She smiled, blushing slightly. “Yes it did. We put Susan to bed early that night.”

Heyes looked up at Mary and shyly took her hand. His thumb ran over the ring on her third finger. “I’m sorry I don’t remember you. Or Susan.” He shook his head, slowly. “I don’t know how I could forgot you. I’m so sorry,” he said, sadly.

She touched his cheek, fondly. “It’s not your fault. I’m sure your memory will come back. Perhaps reading your book will help. Later if you’re feeling up to it we can walk round the town. There’s no rush.” She kissed his mouth softly.

There it was. An almost overwhelming desire to take her in his arms. It told him he cared for her and their child. Smiling down at Susan, he knew the wall that separated him from them was beginning to loosen. He hoped spending time with them and reading his books might help him break through completely. Only time would tell.
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Maz

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PostSubject: Re: Feb 17 - The Wall   Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:55 pm

Another one? So soon? What the heck has gotten into me? Must be the cats!

It's another brief one but I'm playing again. :)



The Wall
By Maz McCoy

“Okay, Kid, up you go,” Heyes said as he crouched, knees bent, and made a stirrup out of his hands.
Kid Curry didn’t move. Instead he stood, hands on hips, and looked down at his friend. “What?”
Heyes looked up. “Up you go.” To reiterate his point he held out his stirruped hands.
“Why me?” Kid jerked a thumb at the large wall beside them.
“You’re taller.” Heyes readied himself for the placing of his friend’s boot.
“By what? An inch?”
“Still taller.”
“You’re lighter. I should help you up there.” To prove his point Kid bent down and mirroring Heyes, made a stirrup out of his hands.
Brown eyes now level with blue ones stared back. “We don’t know what’s on the other side.”
“No, we don’t,” his blond friend agreed.
“You’re faster. With a gun.”
“I know.”
“The man who goes over the wall might need that skill.”
“Or he might not.” The friends crouched facing each other, stirruped hands level. “He might need to talk his way out of something. Know anyone who can do that?”
Heyes’ eyes narrowed. “You gonna go first?”
“Nope.”
“You’d really send me up there. With my back?”
“What about your back?”
“You know I hurt it.”
“You fell off a chair two days ago. I ain’t seen you favorin’ it.”
“That’s because I suffer in silence.”
“Huh!”
“The fact you didn’t know about it proves it.”
“Strange you only mentioned it when I suggested you go over the wall first.”
Heyes straightened up. “You saying I’m lying?”
Kid straightened too. “I’m sayin’ I don’t think you have a bad back but you sure might have…” a gunfighter’s finger poked Heyes in the chest and a thumb jerked skywards, “…if you don’t go up there first.”
“That hurts me, Kid,” Heyes stated, a wounded look on his face. “After all these years you don’t believe me when I tell you I’m suffering.”
Kid Curry was not impressed. “After all these years I know when you’re hurtin’ and believe me, you ain’t.”
Brown eyes met blue ones. Blue ones dared Hannibal Heyes to contract him.
Heyes gave a resigned sigh. Kid bent down and made a stirrup with his hands. Heyes raised a boot and placed it into the ‘stirrup’.
“I can’t believe you’d make me go up there first,” Heyes muttered.
“I’ll be right behind you,” Kid assured him. “After all you’re the one always telling me you like it when I watch your back.”
Heyes shot Kid a look right before the blond man hoisted his friend skywards.

_________________
Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something or only thought we did: Edison
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Cornelia May

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PostSubject: Re: Feb 17 - The Wall   Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:23 pm

This a continuation of my challenge last month taking place a few weeks after that fateful night.

~<>~<>~<>~<>~

Heyes stood at plot at the back of the church yard. He sighed looking at both graves, noting one stone looked a little more weathered than than the one just to the right of it.

The stone on the left bore the name of his first wife, Lydia, and the name of his son by her, Johnathan. He had married her a year before the amnesty came through. She had died in childbirth and the child died a few hours later. Even when he met and shortly after married Lily he was still mourning their loss.

He then looked at the stone on the right.

Lilian Charlotte Montgomery-Heyes
Born: June 15, 1856
Died: April 25, 1912
Aged: 56 years, 10 months

Tears clouded his vision. She had been his light in his dark hours, the mother of his children, and the second great love of his life.

He felt as if he were backed into the corner of two walls. He was pulled from those thoughts by a gentle hand on his shoulder.

"Mama wouldn't want you to mourn her, only to remember her in fondness."

"I'm against a wall, Cornelia. I've been widowed twice now.... Don't marry off too quickly."

"What do you mean, Daddy? And you know I'm not going to marry any time soon."

"I...your mother came into my life when I lost my first wife and our child.... You look so like your mother, sweetheart."

"And about you being against a wall?"

"I'm sixty years old and will likely be joining your mother soon. I don't know if I can live without her. I guess you can say I'm not sure how to deal with this for a second time..."

"We'll get through this together. You, me, Joshua, and Uncle Jed. Mama would want us to help you through this and to have a long life."

Heyes finally nodded. At least his daughter had inherited his silver tongue. He felt like he had been able to take a small step away from the wall he was backed against. "Let's get back home."

They walked out of the cemetery, noticing the stone wall around the church yard seemed shorter than it had while standing at the graves. A tiny bit of healing had taken place for both of them.

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"The only thing in life you have to earn is love, everything else you can steal." ~Hannibal Heyes
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Penski
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PostSubject: Re: Feb 17 - The Wall   Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:52 pm

Surrounded by Walls


CLICK.

“Put the cards down and your hands flat on the table.”

Heyes felt cold metal on his neck.

“Now!”  The gun barrel pushed harder into the base of his head.

Heyes complied by putting the deck of cards he was about to shuffle down and spread his fingers down on the table.  “May I ask what this is all about?”

The other men at the poker table looked surprised at their sheriff and deputy holding guns behind the genial drifter.

“Hannibal Heyes, you’re under arrest!” the sheriff declared.

The saloon was abuzz at the declaration.

“Hannibal Heyes?  You must be mistaken.  I’m Joshua Smith…”  Heyes tried to turn his head to make eye contact with the sheriff.

The deputy, holding a gun, put his free hand on the shoulder of the new prisoner limiting his movement while the sheriff removed Heyes’ Schofield from its holster.

“You’ve been positively identified as Hannibal Heyes.  Lean forward.”

The deputy helped by pushing forward.

“Deputy, cuff him from behind.”

Willis Taylor quickly holstered his gun and took the handcuffs from his belt.  He grabbed Heyes’ hand closest to him, cuffed it and forced the arm back.  He reached around and grabbed the second arm, bringing it back and cuffing.

“You’re making a mistake, Sheriff.  I’m not that outlaw.”

“Save it for the judge, Heyes.”  The sheriff and deputy flanked the prisoner and took him out of the saloon.



~ * ~ * ~ * ~


One of the reasons Hannibal Heyes had chosen the town of St. Elmo because it was a new boom town with no jail that he saw as he rode in.  The perfect place to wait for the Kid, returning from a delivery job.  Now as the sheriff steered him around a corner, he saw that a jail was being built off of the main street.  Men were hammering the framework and two walls were already up.

“Good thing I borrowed this cell,” the sheriff stated as he walked to the back of the construction and pulled out a ring of keys.  He opened a door and pushed his prisoner inside.  “Just try getting outta this, Heyes.”

“My name is Joshua Smith, Sheriff… I don’t know your name.”

“Sheriff Fife and this is Deputy Taylor.”  Fife walked around the six-foot-wide by five-foot-deep by seven-foot tall metal cell with solid iron walls on three sides, the top and the bottom.  One side had a checker grids.  

Deputy, get one of those new uniforms and a blanket.  Oh, and a bucket.”

The deputy hurried back with the requested items.

“Sit on the floor with your legs crossed, Heyes,” the sheriff ordered.

Heyes sat down and the deputy opened the door, placing the uniform and bucket on the floor.

“Just to be certain you won’t escape, take off your boots and all your clothes.”

“What?!  Outside where anyone can walk by?  Why?” Heyes’ voice raised.

“Because I said so and to check you for any lock picks you might have hiding.  We’ll watch for any females that may wander by.  As for being modest when changing in front of others, you better get used to it.”

“I can’t do much with these still on.”  Heyes turned and waved his cuffed hands.

“Of course, you can’t.”  The sheriff pulled out his gun again.  “Deputy Taylor, open the door and unlock the handcuffs.  Heyes, I have my gun aimed at you so don’t do anything stupid.”

“It’s Smith.  Joshua Smith.”  Heyes faced the back of his prison so the deputy could easily uncuff him.  “Who identified me as that notorious outlaw?”

“Someone who was on a train you robbed.  You really shouldn’t have been so brazen to introduce yourself and not wear a bandana to hide your face,” the sheriff commented.  “Now strip.”

Heyes sighed and slowly did as he was told.  He removed his boots, socks, empty gun belt, and pants.

“Long johns, too.”

Heyes picked up the uniform.  “Black and white stripes?”

“Yep, so you’ll stick out if you happen to escape.”

Heyes modestly turned as he removed his long johns and quickly put on the striped pants.  Next came his shirt and Henley before putting on the striped shirt.

“Put your clothes by the door, including the hat and boots.  Your uniform came with a hat so put it on.”

Heyes grumbled as he put the new hat on and his belongings by the door.  “What about shoes and socks?”

“You can stay barefoot in there,” informed the sheriff.  “Taylor, get his things out of the cell while I hold the gun on him again.”

“Sure thing, Sheriff Fife.”  The deputy cautiously opened the cell and removed hat, boots, and clothes.  “He won’t be needin’ these things, will he?”

“Why?” Fife asked.

“I’m about his size.  Can I keep ‘em?”

“Sure.  I don’t see why not.  He won’t need them where he’s going for the next twenty years.”

“Hey, don’t I get a trial?  He can’t just have my things without my being convicted.”  Heyes put his hands on the jail grid.  He could barely get his arms out of a cell.

“Oh, you’ll get a trial all right.”  The sheriff chuckled.  “The witness who identified you just happens to be the circuit judge visiting town.  He’s rounding up a jury now.”

“The judge?  Can he be the judge and witness?”

“Not sure, but he’s gonna be both.”

“Don’t I get a lawyer?” Heyes asked.

“Can you afford one?” the sheriff questioned, his brow raising.  “It’ll be a quick trial here in front of the cell.  Judge Jackson has to be in Tin Cup the day after tomorrow.  Taylor, gather some men to stand watch.  Curry and the rest of the Devil’s Hole Gang may try to break Heyes out.”  The sheriff and deputy started walking away.  “Position them on top of the mercantile and saloon, next to the livery, and over by the barber.  Then get a chair and come back to guard him.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’ll keep watch until you get back and then I have to get ready for the trial.”



~ * ~ * ~ * ~


“Hannibal Heyes, I sentence you to twenty years in the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary.”  The gavel came down.  “Court is dismissed!”



~ * ~ * ~ * ~


A dusty drifter rode into town just after sunset.  He appeared to be looking straight ahead, yet he took in all that was around him.  As he neared the livery, he saw a man standing to the side with a rifle watching a cell a short distance away.  Another man was sitting near the cell.

He dismounted and led his horse into the livery.  “Howdy.  Got room for my gelding?”

An older gentleman walked up.  “Sure do.  It’s fifty cents a night, but includes a rub down and oats, along with hay.”

Kid Curry pulled out a few coins and handed it to the man.  “Thanks.  He’s had a long ride and deserves some pamperin’.”

Curry glanced towards the cell.

“You missed all the excitement and trial,” the livery man volunteered.  “Yesterday the sheriff arrested Hannibal Heyes and the judge held court right there in front of the cell!”  Sheriff says he’s stayin’ in that cell even when they transport him back to Wyoming so he can’t escape.”

The Kid’s heart sank.  “You don’t say.  Hannibal Heyes.”

“Yep, captured right here in St Elmo!”

“That’s somethin’!”  The Kid untied his bedroll and saddlebags.  “Right now, all I’m interested in is a bed, a bath, and a meal.  Can you steer me where to go?”

“Sure thing.  Go right past the cell and jail that’s bein’ built and turn right onto Main Street.  You’ll find the Silver Dollar saloon and St Elmo Hotel.  Beside the hotel is the barber and bath house.”

“Thanks, appreciate it.”

“Any time.”

Kid Curry walked slowly by the cell and shifted his bedroll and bags while glancing at the cell.  Heyes slowly stood up and stretched when he saw his partner.  Curry’s eyes went from the deputy to the man near the livery.  Heyes’ eyes took in the men on the roofs and he imperceptibly shook his head.  The Kid shifted the weight again and nodded that he understood and saw the guards Heyes pointed out to him.  There would be no way to help his partner escape while in town.



~ * ~ * ~ * ~


Kid Curry rang the bell at the hotel desk.

A clerk came out from a back room wiping his mouth with a napkin.  “Yes, sir, will you be wanting a room?”  

“I sure do.  Any facing the street by chance?”

A teenage girl came down the stairs.  “It’s done, pa.  I packed all his stuff in his saddle bags.  What do you want me to do with them?”

“You’re in luck.  We’ve just finished cleaning one out.”  The man faced his daughter.  “I’ll just put those bags under the desk and we’ll give them to the sheriff tomorrow.”  He turned back tohis new customer as he pushed the registry and pen towards him. “Imagine that… we had Hannibal Heyes staying in this hotel!”

“The Hannibal Heyes?  The famous outlaw?”

“The one and only!”

“And I’ll be stayin’ in the room he just vacated?” Curry asked as he signed the book.  “I don’t see his name in here.”

“He registered as J. Smith.”  The clerk pointed out a familiar signature.  “See?  Right there.”

“Well I’ll be.  And where is he now?”

“In a cell, over by the new jail St Elmo’s building.  But don’t you worry none because he’s being guarded around the clock.”  The clerk leaned forward and said quietly, “Just in case Kid Curry and the rest of the Devil’s Hole Gang comes to rescue him.  Don’t need the missus or children to hear of that possibility and worry.”

“Do you think there’s that possibility?” the Kid asked as he held out his hand for the key.

“Can’t be too careful.  Sheriff has men with rifles by the livery and barber shop and on the roofs of the store and saloon.  And there’s always someone right there by the cell.”

“So, what’s gonna happen to him?  Did he get a trial?” the Kid milked the clerk for more information.

“The judge was the witness.  Identified Heyes because he was on a train they robbed.  Don’t that beat all?”  The clerk chuckled.  “The trial was held by the cell and over in no time flat.  Sheriff Fife is gonna put that portable cell on a wagon and take Heyes to Laramie.  That’s where the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary is located.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“The Sheriff is planning to move him out soon.  Why, I wouldn’t be surprised if they left at sun-up tomorrow.”  The clerk sighed.  “Then this town can relax some, if you know what I mean.”

“Yeah, I do.”  The Kid gathered his belongings.

“How long are you planning to stay with us?” the clerk asked.

“I have to be back on the trail again tomorrow.  Just needed a soft bed, a bath and some supplies.”

“Well, you better hurry if you want a bath.  The barber closes the bath house in about an hour.”

Curry walked towards the stairs.  “Well then I better hurry up.”



~ * ~ * ~ * ~


Kid Curry quietly opened the door to his room carrying Heyes’ saddlebags he had taken from behind the counter.  He looked at his watch.  “A few hours of sleep before the sun comes up.”



~ * ~ * ~ * ~


“Wake up, Heyes.  The wagon is comin’ for you.”  The deputy clanked his empty coffee tin cup on the bar door.  “Sure will be nice to have you gone so I can sleep at home again.”

“I’m awake.  This metal seat isn’t the most comfort bed.”  Heyes sat up and yawned.  “I sure could use some coffee, if you have any more.  It’s cold with just this blanket.”

“Don’t see why not.”  Taylor filled his cup with the rest of the coffee from the pot on the fire and passed it through one of the squares.

Heyes took a sip.  “So do I get to get outta this cell?”

“Nope.  You’re staying in it.  We’re putting it on the wagon and tying it down.”

“How are you going to do that?” Heyes asked.

“Behind you is a A-frame and pulley the men worked on yesterday.  We just have to raise it, connect the cell to the pulley system and lift it high enough for the wagon.  The men are coming now.”

Sheriff Fife and the four men guarding around the town walked towards the cell just behind the wagon.  

“Ready for a ride, Heyes?” the sheriff asked.

“It’s Smith and do I have a choice?”

The sheriff chuckled.  “Still denying you’re Heyes.  All right, men, hoist up the A-frame and let’s get this cell on the wagon.  The sooner you do, we can be on our way.”  

The six men lifted up the frame and connected the cell to a large pulley.  A man driving the wagon stood by the horses, ready to have them walk back so the wagon would go under the cell.

“Heave!”

Heyes quickly sat down on the floor and hung on to the bars and seat as the cell began to sway and tip.  “I can get out and it’ll be lighter for you guys,” he volunteered.

“No need.  A few more feet, men.  Pull!” the sheriff encouraged.

The cell raised another foot.

“Pull!”

The cell raised just enough to let the wagon slide under it.  With a thud, the men let go and the cell rested on the back of the wagon.

“Oomph!” came a sound from inside the cell.

“Go get your belongings and horses.  You’ll be leaving in fifteen minutes,” the sheriff instructed.

“Aren’t you coming with us, Sheriff Fife?” Heyes asked as he got up off the floor and stood.

“No, someone has to keep order in town.  Deputy Taylor and three men will get you to the railroad where you’ll be met by a marshal.  I think your gang has deserted you, Heyes.  It don’t appear they’re coming to break you out.”

“I don’t have a gang to break me out.  I’m just a drifter going from place to place looking for a job.”

Soon the deputy and men returned, ready for the journey.”

“Hey, those are my clothes!” Heyes said to the deputy.

“Were your clothes.  You don’t need them anymore.”  The deputy put on the black hat.  “I like how they fit me.”



~ * ~ * ~ * ~


Kid Curry sat on a hilltop watching the camp below.  In the middle sat a wagon with a cell on it.  Two men were sleeping and two were guarding his partner.  “Should be about time to change the guard.  Time to make my move.”

Curry stealthily made his way towards the camp with a pocket of leather ties and his gun drawn.  The guards were yawning when they noticed they had company.  Kid Curry looked dangerous with his glacial blue eyes and gun.  

He threw down the ties.  In a low voice he order, “Tie up your sleepin’ partners before they realize what’s happenin’.”

Without hesitating, the men began tying up the men, who were slowly waking up.  

“What the…”
“What are you doin’?”

“Heyes, you okay?” Curry asked as he supervised.

“Yeah, I figured you’d come down when the first shift was getting tired and about to wake up the next shift.”

“Who has the key?”

“The sheriff.”

“The sheriff… in town?”

“Yep, he’s meeting the train at another stop and giving the key to the marshal.”

“Okay, now tie him up,” Curry told the deputy.  Without taking his eyes off the men, he jumped into the wagon.  “Good thing I got these out of your bags.”  He pulled out a set of lock picks and handed them to Heyes.

Kid Curry jumped down.  “I learned this from a bounty hunter.  Hug your partner.”

“Hug him?”

“Yep.”

The deputy hugged the man he just tied up.  The Kid holstered his gun and tied up the deputy’s hands.  “Now dip down… There you go.  Both of you sit down with the others.”

“Got that opened, Heyes?”

“No.  I can’t quite reach.  You’re gonna have to open it.”

Kid jumped up into the wagon again and gave Heyes a gun.  “Keep an eye on them.”  He took the lock picks and began to work on the lock.

Ten minutes later, Heyes sighed.  “It’s not that complicated of a lock, Kid.  You should’ve had it opened already.”

Kid Curry glared at his partner.  “I usually leave this job to you.  I think I’ve just about got… click… it.”  He smiled and opened the cell door.  “Like your new clothes, Heyes.”

“I want my old clothes back.  Kid, take the gun while we change clothes.”

Curry took the gun and untied the deputy.  “You heard him.  Switch clothes.”

A few minutes later, Heyes finished stomping on his boot and put his hat back on while the Kid tied the deputy back up.  

“You about ready to go, Heyes?”

“Sure am.”

“Our horses are waitin’ just up the hill.”  Curry stopped, scrutinizing his partner from head to toe.

“Something wrong?” Heyes asked, checking to be sure that all his buttons were secure.

The Kid shrugged.  “Just thinkin’.  Ya know, you looked pretty good in stripes.”



This story was inspired by a transport cell I saw at the Cripple Creek Outlaws & Law Men Jail Museum.  I wanted to use the town of Cripple Creek for my story, but the timing was off too much.  The jail at Cripple Creek did have the striped uniforms and I couldn't resist putting them on Heyes.



 
(According to someone at the museum, the cell is approximately 5ft by 6ft and 7ft tall. It doesn't look that big in the picture.)


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