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 October 15 - Moonlight

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Alias Alice
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Join date : 2012-04-22
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Location : Birmingham

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PostSubject: October 15 - Moonlight   October 15 - Moonlight Icon_minitimeFri Oct 02, 2015 10:02 am

Hello one, hello all...

Everyone okay? Getting ready for the leaves to fall? Waving a lingering bye bye to summer?

Yup, the boys are fishing their mufflers out of the magic saddle bags.

Any how.

In light of - and there's a pun there - last weekends Blood Moon, your challenge for October is:

Moonlight caitsh

So, whether moonlight makes you feel romantic or like having a dang good hooooowwwwwlllll wolf get those fingers tappin'

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PostSubject: Re: October 15 - Moonlight   October 15 - Moonlight Icon_minitimeSun Oct 04, 2015 4:14 pm

As I was digging in my garden today..this came to me in a flash of inspiration and muddy wellies.

By Maz McCoy

The moon was almost full. The giant orb in the night sky reflected the Sun’s glow onto the trail as Hannibal Heyes rode towards the town of Moonlight. Shadows danced around him as a gentle breeze blew the leaves on the trees. Heyes was weary from several days on the road and looking forward to meeting up with Kid again. They had separated so each could do a job for Lom Trevors and earn enough money to see them through the next month or two, depending on how their luck and Heyes’ skill at cards ran.

“I’ll meet you in Moonlight by the fourth at the latest,” Curry had said as he rode out of Porterville. Today was the third of the month and Heyes hoped his friend was already there.

When he reached the top of a hill he pulled his horse to a halt and looked down at the town. Buildings were illuminated by the moonlight, many appearing to be in various stages of construction. Heyes kicked his horse on, his mind conjuring up the image of a hot bath filled to the brim with steaming water. He touched his vest pocket reassuring himself that his money was still there. He smiled. That bath was already feeling good.

When he reached the town, Heyes found Moonlight to be a hive of activity which, considering the late hour surprised him. As he drew nearer Heyes realised that the streets were not full of late night revellers as he suspected, but of people frantic with worry and fear. He could hear people calling to each other. Women were crying. A dog barked in a side street. A man wandered aimlessly in front of Heyes’ horse calling for someone named Peter but there was no reply. It also became clear that the buildings were not half-built but half-collapsed. On one side of the street there were shapes, which he knew could only be bodies, covered with sheets. They had been laid out in a solemn row. Heyes called to a man in the street.

“Hey there. What happened here?”

The man looked up at the stranger. “We had an earthquake,” he said. “Just a couple of hours ago.”

Before Heyes could ask any more questions the man was off at a run towards one of the fallen buildings. A feeling of dread engulfed Heyes as he considered the possibility that Kid had arrived before him. He kicked the horse towards the hotel, recognisable by the sign hanging at an angle from the broken balcony. Once there he jumped quickly from the saddle and ran up the steps into the building. He pounded on the front desk.

“Hello! Anyone there?” But there was no reply and no one came when he called. Heyes grabbed the hotel register, turned it around and scanned the names written on the pages. His friend’s name was not there. Heyes let out a heavy sigh. Kid was not in town. He was okay.

Someone burst into the hotel lobby behind him. Instinctively Heyes reached for his gun as he turned and came face-to-face with a boy of about twelve years of age.

The boy stared open-mouthed at the gun.

Heyes re-holstered it and the lad relaxed.

“We need all the help we can get Mister. Over at the saloon. The roof caved in.”

Before Heyes could reply the boy ran off and Heyes swiftly followed.

The boy had been right about the saloon. The roof had definitely collapsed. The stairway leading to the upstairs rooms stood intact in the middle of the bar area. The roof over the rooms was still up there but the part of the roof over the stairway and bar itself had caved in. Timbers hung at dangerous angles. Some swung freely while others lay across smashed tables and chairs. Even the saloon’s piano had not been spared.

When Heyes stepped towards the bat-wing doors a tall man caught hold of his arm. “Who are you?” he demanded.

Heyes was ready to complain about the tight grip on his arm when he caught sight of the badge pinned to the man’s dust covered shirt. “I just rode into town, sheriff. Heard about the earthquake. Came here to see if I could help,” Heyes explained.

“We need all we can get.” The sheriff pointed a thumb at an injured man seated against the wall. Blood ran down the man’s face and one of the saloon girls, still clad in her green frilly dress, was wrapping a bandage around his head. “The bartender says there were some men playing poker at the far table. We need to get them out.”

“They’re trapped under the roof joists,” another man informed him.

“Come on,” the sheriff said and led the way inside.

They clambered over fallen timbers, broken furniture and spilt drinks. A fine mist of sawdust hung in the air. In the far corner two men were crouched talking to someone trapped in the wreckage. One of the men was the town preacher. He leaned closer to a fallen timber so he could speak to whoever was pinned below. “What’s your name son?” he asked.

Heyes was unable to hear the reply.

“Hurry?” the clergyman said. “Don’t worry son, we will, we will.”

“No, Reverend Nash,” the other man interrupted. “I think he said his name was Curry.”

Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something or only thought we did: Edison
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October 15 - Moonlight Empty
PostSubject: Re: October 15 - Moonlight   October 15 - Moonlight Icon_minitimeTue Oct 06, 2015 10:35 am

“All right.  Is everybody clear on their jobs?” asked Kid Curry.  Nobody answered, but six pairs of eyes around the table in the hideout’s cookhouse peered at him blankly.  Hannibal Heyes stood in the corner with his arms crossed and his head bowed in exasperation.   This could take all night.  “Wheat, what are you gonna do when we get to Apple Valley tomorrow night?”

“I’m gonna take my horse to the livery and have the blacksmith fix the shoe I’m gonna loosen.”

“And what else?”

Wheat looked confused for a second, but said, “Uh, I’m gonna keep an eye on the bank ‘cross the street and signal you when it closes up for the night and the light's out.”

“How’re you gonna do that, Wheat?” asked Curry.

“I’ll light me a cigarette and you’ll be watchin’ for the spark.”

“Good.  Preacher what’s your job?”  

“I’m gonna set up a soapbox and preach to the good folks of Apple Valley while you and Heyes rob ‘em blind,” grinned the tall, thin outlaw.  “And, I’m gonna be ready to set up coverin’ fire if something goes wrong when you hightail it with the cash.”  

When Curry’s eyes turned to him, Lobo smiled wolfishly.  “I’m gonna snuff the streetlight in front of the bank and then I’ll make sure the horses are in place for the getaway.  If the safe is blown,  I’ll bring ‘em up the alley right quick.”

“Hank, do you know what to do?”

“Yessir.  I’m watchin’ the back of the bank and keepin’ out of sight unless I hear all hell break loose.  Then I’ll provide cover.”



“What’s your job, Kyle?” growled Heyes from the corner.  

“Oh.  I’m carryin’ the dynamite till we get there and helpin’ with the getaway.”

“Where are you going to be, Kyle?” questioned the Kid.

“I’m gonna be in the audience while Preacher’s talkin’.”

Heyes pushed off the back wall and strode to the center of the room.  “Everybody will wait outside of town until the sun goes down.  Then make your way into position.  Remember, Lobo, the sheriff goes home at dark for his supper so the light needs to be taken out after he’s walked past the bank.”

“But, if there’s no light, how’re you gonna see what’s in that big, beautiful safe?” protested Hank.

“Hank,” sighed the Kid, “we’ve already gone over this.  There ain’t any shades on the windows.  If the light's on, the whole world will be able to see that me and Heyes are robbin’ the bank.”

“It’ll be a full moon tonight.  There’ll be plenty of light to work by.  We won’t start on the safe until it’s up.  That gives us all about twenty minutes to get into place.”  Heyes opened the door to leave.  “Remember, no shooting unless we have to blow the safe and, if you have to shoot, be damned sure you don’t hit anyone, just throw a scare into ‘em.  Get some sleep.  We’re heading out at dawn.  C’mon, Kid.”

The two leaders walked in silence to their cabin.  Once inside, with the door closed, the Kid turned to Heyes.  “You really think this is gonna work?”

“No reason it won’t.  The boys know where they’re supposed to be and they understand the plan.  It’s simple enough a five-year old could execute it.”

“Yeah?  Well, last I looked, we didn’t have a five-year old, Heyes.”


“There’s Wheat’s signal.  Bank’s closed and the light's out,” said Curry from his vantage point in the forest on the outskirts of Apple Valley.  Heyes was sitting behind him greasing the bar spreaders one last time to be sure they wouldn’t squeak.  It settled his nerves to keep his hands busy before a job.

The two outlaw leaders stealthily made their way to the bank.  The moon had not yet risen over the mountains and it was still pitch black as they eased down the back alley.  They saw Hank, with a whiskey bottle in his fist, leaning against a wall.  He nodded as they passed, but cringed slightly as Heyes stopped in front of him, sniffing for fumes.  Fierce dark eyes warned him not to make his act a reality.  

Wheat stood by the light hanging inside the livery.   The blacksmith had his horse’s hoof in his hand and was nailing a shoe in place while the big outlaw leaned against the door frame staring out into the street, bored to tears.  He could hear Preacher exhorting the pious folks and Kyle.  He had to assume Lobo had the horses under control and Hank was in place.  So far, so good, he thought.

Curry waited pensively as Heyes spread the iron bars covering the window and slipped inside the building.  Quietly, he followed Heyes through the small opening.  The moon was casting a light shadow through the front windows and he could just make out the safe behind the tellers’ cages.   Heyes nodded to him to go stand by the big plate-glass window facing the main street.  He could see that the avenue was nearly deserted; Preacher had rounded up most of the people out and about.  Wheat was clearly visible at the livery and gave the Kid a small shake of his head warning his boss he was too easily seen.  Curry drew back into the shadows.  

Heyes had his ear to the safe and was intensely focused on the tumblers.  Hopefully, he’d be done before Preacher ran out of good words.  An important part of his plan was to keep the area in front of the bank as cleared as possible.  He didn’t want to have anyone raise an alarm and trigger a shootout.  A muffled click signaled the first tumbler had fallen into position.  

Time stretched into eternity as the Kid waited for the safe to open.  He heard a soft chuckle from Heyes.  Two down, one to go.  Pulling his partner’s dented silver watch from his vest pocket; he strained his eyes to read the dial.  Sixteen minutes since they started, fourteen minutes left before they summoned Kyle to blow it open.   Tucking the instrument away, he looked out the window again and it slowly dawned on him that there seemed to be less light than there’d been the last time he’d looked at the watch.  It was too dark outside!  He tried to see Heyes at the safe and realized his partner had disappeared into the gloom.  With a muffled curse, he ran to the back door and carefully unbolted it.  As he swung it open, he saw Hank across the alley staring at him quizzically.  The Kid shook his head and gave him a thumb’s up to let him know things were going as planned even as he feared they weren’t.  Curry stepped into the alley and looked up at the stars.  Above the hills hung the full moon; only it wasn’t full, it was barely there at all.  A tiny sliver of light glowed around the edges of the blood red orb.  The muscles in his stomach seized up and he went back inside as quietly as he could.  “Heyes!” he hissed through his teeth.

“Done!” crowed Heyes.  He sat back on his heels and looked up at his best friend.  “It’s all there.  Eight thousand big ones.”  With a crazy laugh, he began stuffing the cash into a coin sack, missing the frown carved into the Kid’s face.  



“We’ve got a problem.”

“We do?  What’s going on?”  Heyes finished shoveling in the cash and tied off the sack before looking up at the Kid again.

“Oh, nothin’ much.  Just the biggest eclipsed moon I’ve ever seen,” answered Curry with dripping sarcasm.  

Heyes gaped up at him stupidly.  “Moon?”

“Yes, Heyes, it’s a damned eclipse.”

“#$%&*!”  Heyes tossed the sack to his partner and rushed to the front window.  As he watched, doors opened up and down the street and folks gathered in the thoroughfare to stare up at the unusual sight.  “There’re people everywhere!”

The Kid went to the back of the building and barely cracked open the door.  Hank was still there but he was no longer alone.  Curry could see two men wearing aprons and more people standing in the alley staring up at the unusual sight.  Murmurs of amazement drifted to his ears.  Softly, he shut the door and returned to Heyes.  “We’re trapped.  We couldn’t even shoot our way out of this if we wanted to!”

Heyes looked frantically around him.  There was no other way out except the front or back door.  He’d thoroughly cased this job.  The apartment overhead was occupied by an elderly couple who went to bed early every night.  Even if he had the tools to go through the ceiling, he couldn’t do it quietly enough not to wake them.  As their situation sunk in, his shoulders drooped.  “This is it, Kid.  We always knew sooner or later our luck would run out.”

“I guess it has.”  

Both men’s legs went shaky at the same time and they leaned back against the wall and slid down to a sitting position, shoulder to shoulder.

“I just hope those knuckleheads don’t shoot the town up trying to get us out of here,” moaned Heyes.

“So we wait?”

“It’s all we can do.  Hopefully, the boys will be just as confused as we are and we can wait here until the eclipse is over.  Maybe we can sneak out then without anyone seeing us.  If not, we’re dead meat.”  Silence fell over them like a shroud.  They could hear the babble of the crowds and vaguely make out Preacher’s voice.  It was faint but growing stronger.  Their ersatz holy man was coming nearer.  Heyes stood up and went to the window.  “Kid, come here.”

Curry peered over his partner’s shoulder out into the street.  He saw a huge crowd coming towards the bank led by the black-dressed, austere Preacher.  Kyle was alongside him.  “What the hell?  They’re bringin’ ‘em right to us!”

“No, listen!” whispered Heyes.

As the crowd neared, the two outlaw leaders began to pick up a few words here and there and the nature of the Preacher’s message became clear.   “Sinners, repent!  Judgment day is upon us!  Feel the Lord’s fury, see his might!  The faithful must gather for the rapture!”  

Shouts of ‘amen’ and ‘praise the Lord’ filled the trapped outlaws’ ears.  People flowed onto the sidewalks; many of them weeping in wonderment and pressed tightly up against the window, but all eyes were on the man calling them on.

“We must show our obedience to our heavenly Father.  To the mount!  The faithful must gather on the mount!”  More people appeared and joined the crowd.  Lanterns bobbed and floated within the human tide.  Across the street, Wheat stood opened-mouth watching the spectacle.  Kyle slipped out of the flow and joined his stunned partner as the blacksmith melted into the stream of bodies.  In a matter of minutes, the majority of the population had disappeared up the street and out of sight.  Only the glow of lights showed their progress up the mountain.

“I’ll be damned,” said Curry.

“You already are,” said Heyes as he went to the back door and eased it open.  He found Lobo and Hank waiting with their horses.  “C’mon, Lobo’s here.”  

The outlaws mounted and quietly rode out of town in the opposite direction of the procession.  A few stragglers and observers watched them ride by without interest, having already been shocked by what they were witnessing.

Wheat and Kyle joined their friends at the edge of the forest.  “What about Preacher?” asked the big, burly outlaw.

“Kid and me will wait for him,” said Heyes, handing the sack of money to Wheat.  “Take the gang back to the Hole.  Lobo, I’ll take Preacher’s horse.”


Concealed in the dark woods along the trail to the summit, Heyes and the Kid followed and listened to Preacher whipping his flock into a frenzy of emotions under the darkened moon.  He yelled and harangued and chided them for nearly two hours, leading his people further and further from town, stumbling in the dark night, towards the top of the mountain.  His voice was hoarse and his hair dripped with sweat but he never let their attention wander.  Like a pied piper of the faithful, he led them on.  As the thin man reached a clearing, a sliver of light appeared on the edge of the moon.  Women screamed and clutched their children pointing at the sky.  Men fell to their knees and sobbed.  Preacher bellowed “Hallelujah!  The good Lord has saved us.  We are saved!”  He stopped and faced his parade.  Walking back and forth in front of them and spreading his arms wide, he bellowed, “Prostrate yourselves, close your eyes, and pray for your salvation!”  Like one organism, the people of Apple Valley fell face down on the ground and prayed their hearts out, yelling out their words of worship.  Preacher smiled delightedly and, as he reached the edge of the crowd closest to the trees, dropped his arms and disappeared into the forest.

Heyes and the Kid caught up to him when he was halfway down the mountain.  He heard the horses crashing through the underbrush and waited for his leaders to appear.  The men mounted quickly and picked their way down the rest of the slope in the brightening moonlight.

“Preacher!”  Heyes couldn’t help laughing.  “You were amazing!”

“Thanks, Heyes,” croaked Preacher.

“Tell you what, I’m buying you a whole barrel of whiskey to wet your whistle,” said the Kid.  

Preacher grinned.  “I’ll be holdin’ you to that promise, Kid.”

“I thought we were done for,” Heyes shook his head ruefully.  “You really ought to go back to the church.  The way you worked that crowd, I almost wanted to join up with you.”

“I guess you ain’t the only one with a silver tongue, Heyes,” chuckled Curry.  “How the heck did you manage to sermonize those folks for almost two whole hours?  I’da run outta words in two minutes!”

“Well, you know what they say,” Preacher paused, “the Lord works in mysterious ways.”


"You can only be young once. But you can always be immature." —Dave Barry
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October 15 - Moonlight Empty
PostSubject: Re: October 15 - Moonlight   October 15 - Moonlight Icon_minitimeFri Oct 09, 2015 12:10 pm

A full October moon shone brightly, illuminating a circling of wagons, each one adorned in distinctive Gypsy fashion.  At the center of the circle a campfire had long gone cold.  All was silent, silent as a grave, save for the distant cry of a lone coyote.

A sudden gust whipped through a nearby stand of aspen scattering dry leaves and stirring the heavy black curtain at the back of one wagon.  A single figure stepped from within.  As if on cue, a shadow passed across the face of the moon, obscuring the face of the late night visitor.   The figure scurried quickly into the darkness, away from the Gypsy camp.

The coyote howled again.


Despite the late hour, a woman alone on Cheyenne’s main street hailed a taxi.  “The capitol building,” she said, breathless.

“No one’ll be there at this hour,” the driver informed her.

“Just do as I say,” the woman demanded.  “And quickly!”  She pushed the hood of her shawl from her head as she spoke.

Recognizing his passenger, the driver complied.  “Yes ma’am.”  He flicked the reins.

As the carriage bounded toward Cheyenne’s capitol building, the woman recalled her card reading session with the old Gypsy woman.  The Seven of Clubs – Success.  The Two of Clubs – Obstacles to that success.  And finally, the Ace of Spades – Misfortune, endings.  Death?  

There would be no obstacles to success, no misfortune.  Not if she had anything to say about it.


Sheriff Lom Trevors stood in the shadows of an alley with Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.  “Now you two wait here,” he said, “while I go up and make sure Governor Moonlight is ready to see you.”

Heyes smiled and playfully punched his partner in the arm.  “Didn’t I tell you this day would finally come, Kid?”

“You sure did, Heyes,” Curry answered.  “There were times I thought we were never gonna make it, but…”

A figure stepped from the darkness.  Moonlight glistened off the surface of an old Civil War era Colt Revolver.  Two shots cut the night.

“No!” Sheriff Trevors cried.  He ran to the place where his friends had been standing only seconds before.  “Wh…,” he began.   He knelt beside two bodies.  Then he looked toward the person standing, smoking gun still in her hand.  “Mrs…Mrs. Moonlight?”

Two cold-as-steel eyes glared back at Lom Trevors.  “These men are Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, Sheriff.  And they’re wanted—Dead or Alive.”

wanted  wanted

“Kid!”  Hannibal Heyes knelt next to his partner’s bed roll, shaking him by the shoulders.  “Wake up, you hear me?  You’re having a…”

With a loud shout, the Kid sat bolt upright, covered in sweat.

“You were having a nightmare,” Heyes finished, and sat back into the dirt.

Curry ran two shaky hands through matted, sweaty hair, then took a deep breath and blew it out.  He gazed up at the full October moon.  All was silent, silent as a grave, save for the distant cry of a lone coyote.

Heyes waited a few moments, then asked, “You feel like talking about it?”

The Kid shook his head.  “No, Heyes.  No I don’t.  But first thing in the mornin’ we’re headin’ to Old Mexico.”

“What are you talking about?  We’re going to Cheyenne tomorrow, remember?  Lom said the governor wants to meet with us, and this time… You just gotta have a little faith, Kid.  This time for sure…”

“No, Heyes.  This time we’re doin’ things my way.  This time, you just gotta have a little faith in me.”


Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
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Alias Alice

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October 15 - Moonlight Empty
PostSubject: Re: October 15 - Moonlight   October 15 - Moonlight Icon_minitimeThu Oct 15, 2015 1:06 pm


A full moon, liquid-brilliant, was overhead. The whole valley below, through which the boys would have to ride, was washed pale with cold silver. The moon seemed to be scudding through wide stretches of sky, but really it was the bright, silver-edged clouds that were moving. The boys had halted their horses for a moment on the hill-top to look down into the moonlit valley.

“Beautiful,” said Heyes, almost to himself, “That moonlight is beautiful.”

The Kid nodded without speaking.

He was looking at the farmhouse opposite and asking himself just what it was that made it look so inviting. The roof-tiles were thickly-laid with moonlight, but the Kid found himself looking at the front-doorway. The door stood wide open, and warm welcoming light flooded from the room within. He thought he could also just make out a fire blazing on the hearth inside. Warm lamp-light shone from several of the windows, throwing bright beams out into the darkness. The entire house seemed to be brimming with light and warmth.

The Kid suddenly shivered. He wished they were making for that warm, well-lit, welcoming house. But they had a long ride through the white moonlight before they could even start to make camp somewhere.

“I wish we weren't always outside looking in,” he thought.

“Maybe one day - ”

They began their ride downhill in the beautiful moonlight.

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ty pender

ty pender

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PostSubject: Re: October 15 - Moonlight   October 15 - Moonlight Icon_minitimeSat Oct 17, 2015 6:01 pm


October 15 - Moonlight Goat-f11

An ASJ Bedtime Story

A baby goat decided to leave his home and set out in the great world.

October 15 - Moonlight Goofy-10

He set out along the countryside. He felt excited to be out by himself.

October 15 - Moonlight Goofy-11

As he walked, the sky grew darker, and the fog grew heavier; but the moon shone through the fog.

October 15 - Moonlight Goofy-12

The baby goat saw the moonlight.  "If you keep shining for me, I know I won't get lost," he said to the Moon.

But soon the fog grew heavy and the baby goat could no longer see his friend the Moon.

October 15 - Moonlight Goofy-13

The baby goat tried to find his way, but soon he felt very alone.  He felt like a poor orphan baby goat, and flopped down on the ground.

October 15 - Moonlight Goofy-14

He was hungry, and tired.  He had lost his way.

The baby goat felt something heavy on his chin.  It was heavy and wet.  He jumped up and looked out to see what touched him.

October 15 - Moonlight Goofy-15

He looked and looked, but couldn't see anything but fog.  "Who's there?" he asked.  A voice came out of the fog.  "I'm Haze, what's your name?"

The goat was very confused by a voice coming out of fog.  He looked and looked, but still couldn't see anything. He was frightened.  

October 15 - Moonlight Goofy-16

Would you be frightened if a voice came out of the fog?  

Finally the baby goat answered. "I don't have a name, I'm just a baby goat," he stammered.  
What do you think the baby goat sounded like as he talked to the fog?

The fog spoke to the baby goat.  "Well, since you're a baby goat, I'll just call you 'Kid'; is that OK?"

The baby goat was surprised. "I don't like that!" he yelled. "When I grow up, I don't want to be called 'Kid' - I want a real name!"

The baby goat did not like his new name. He argued with Haze. What do you think the baby goat sounded like as he argued with his new friend, 'Haze'?

"Don't worry about that Kid," Haze said.  "I've got a plan to get you back home. Just look up in the sky."

The baby goat stopped yelling and carrying on, and looked up in the sky.  Now the moon shone brightly.

October 15 - Moonlight Goofy-17

"I've opened up the sky for you Kid," Haze said.  "Now, you just follow the moon and I will lead you back home."  

When the baby goat heard this he was very glad and started walking as he looked up at the moon.  He trusted his new friend Haze so much that he didn't even look at the ground.

Soon the baby goat was back home.  He could see his barn.  He settled into his pen.

October 15 - Moonlight Goffy-10

"Thank you Haze for bringing me back home," the baby goat said to the fog that surrounded him.  "I knew you could do it, I guess I can always count on you."

"No problem Kid." said the fog. "I know you're in a haze and can't see me.  But I'll be around; just yell if you need me."

The End

Perfection is achieved at the point of exhaustion.
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PostSubject: Re: October 15 - Moonlight   October 15 - Moonlight Icon_minitimeFri Oct 30, 2015 12:03 pm

First time at this so here goes ....



Heyes blinked his eyes open. He was looking straight up at the sky. It was dark but the moon was up. The moonlight showed him he was lying near the bottom of a mud-filled gully. Trees rose up on each side of him. He had no idea where he was or how he had gotten there. He moved slowly and found he hurt – all over. Like he had been beaten or violently tossed there from the top of the ridge. He couldn’t remember anything that fitted either scenario.

He struggled to sit up, his right hand sinking into the mud at the bottom of the gulley. His left flailed out and caught a bush to pull himself up. He made it, gasping with the effort. He sat for a moment to catch his breath, and then struggled round onto his knees. He groaned and clutched his ribs. They hurt like hell. He had a good feel of his chest. To his relief he didn’t think his ribs were broken. His head hurt and he felt that. His fingers came away with a dark smear, blood or just the stagnant slime he had fallen into? He must have slammed into trees and rocks on the way down because his arms and legs felt bruised and sore. However, they felt all in one piece.

Using more bushes he hauled himself to his feet and held onto a tree to steady himself as he looked around. The tops of the gully on both sides looked to be about thirty feet high, both sides quite steep. He stood breathing heavily, pondering what to do. Neither side looked easy to get up. And there was no point in going along the gulley. In any case which way? So up it was. He swallowed. Which way had he come? It was too dark to tell. And he had no idea where he was so any side was as good as the other. The right side looked marginally easier but he would have to cross the muddy gully. Heyes wrinkled his nose in disgust. Stepping into the oozing mud didn’t appeal. Okay so left then.

He looked up at the climb. The trees would help some but it was going to be tough going. The ground cover looked deep as well. That must have been what cushioned his fall so he was grateful for that. He took a deep breath and then winced. He put a hand to chest. This was going to hurt but he had no choice. He couldn’t stay here. He was grateful for the moonlight to shed some light on where he was going. Without it would be almost impossible to see. With one more glare at his destination, he started up.




The Kid idly poked the campfire with a long stick. Damm Heyes. He was right as usual but why did he have to so darn smug about it? The Kid knew he was being petulant. He knew Heyes was right but that didn’t mean he had to like it! Hell no! When Heyes came back he was gonna tell him! He would go his way and Heyes could go his. He’d had enough. HE was keeping them both alive. With his gun and accommodating nature. Yessir! HE Jedidiah Thaddeus Curry, himself!

The Kid poked the fire again and sighed. He looked over to the direction Heyes had gone. Stalked off more like, muttering to himself the way he did. Crashing through the undergrowth and soon lost from sight. Well good riddance! The man was impossible!

So how was he gonna tell him? What was he gonna say?

The Kid dropped the stick and rested his elbows on his knees. He knew exactly what he was gonna say. He was gonna tell him. Yep, there would be no arguing. Heyes could wheedle and plead as much as he liked. He would remain firm. Their partnership was at an end. Right here, right now. The Kid nodded his head. Yep he was gonna be firm. No question about it.

Far off out in the night he heard a coyote howl. He would be safe enough here by the fire. Then his eyes fell at the spot where Heyes had been sitting. Oh! The Kid pursed his lips. Heyes had taken off his gun. Why? Why would he do that? The Kid shrugged. Well it was not as though he can use it properly. Man couldn’t hit the side of a barn. Hmm. But he could use it to frighten away something out to get him!

The Kid stood up and went to stand on the edge of the campfire light in the direction Heyes had gone.


When there was no answer he started to pace. He was still mad at him so why should he go look? Man deserved all he got. The Kid sat down and picked up the stick to poke the fire again. However, now he was glancing up watching for sign that Heyes was coming back. There just wasn’t any. Perhaps he had gone to answer the call of nature. He’d be back in a moment.




(pant) (pant) (groan of effort) (pant) (sigh of relief) Heyes made it to the top of the ridge and collapsed face down on the edge. He lay there panting hard and then had to struggle to his knees as lying flat hurt his ribs. (more gasping for breath interspersed with winces of pain) He risked a look behind him. He’d made it! He reached out for the nearest tree and pulled himself to his feet. However, now he was at the top he was none the wiser. The moon was still up but there was simply no clues. Just trees and trees and trees. He was beginning to hate trees!

Still breathing heavily and shaking with exertion and pain, he stumbled forward. (Woah!) (No!) (panicked cry of pain) (groan) (grunt) (more panting) Heyes had lost his footing in the loose mulch at the top and slid down, on his front about ten feet. (groan of despair) He put his head down before he could marshal his energy again. (loud groan of effort) He started back up.




Hmm. Heyes had been a long time. Too long to just take a wiz. The Kid pursed his lips. Perhaps Heyes was deliberately staying away. Sitting out in the shadows watching him.

“Well I tell you Heyes it won’t work!” he yelled into the dark.

The absence was just giving him time to get it clear in his head. Yep he was gonna tell him. Sure would. The Kid sighed. He’d be firm. The Kid nodded determinedly.

“No more Heyes. This is it we’re through!”

He didn’t expect an answer. He sat listening to all the night sounds. Sure would be scary if you were all alone in the dark, without a gun. Although the moon was up it was still pretty dark. The Kid swallowed and licked his lips, apprehensively. He didn’t think he’d like it.

He got up suddenly and habit made him check that his gun was loaded. He knew it would be. It always was of course. No harm in checking though. Never know when you might need it. Had to be ready for use.




Heyes stumbled through the trees. Their foliage blocked the moonlight in places and he was seeing monsters in the shadows. He was hurting and exhausted and he had no idea if he was even going in the right direction. He stopped to catch his breath, leaning against one of the cursed trees.

He slumped there looking up at the sky. What had he been thinking? Storming off like that? And without his gun! He growled. Proof indeed at just how angry he had been with the Kid. And at something so stupid! Which way to go! Heyes pursed his lips. He had made a perfectly logical and reasoned argument for going to Hardy City. But no! The Kid wanted to go to Laws Town. What the hell was so attractive about Laws Town? HE was gonna go to Hardy City whether the Kid liked it or not. His mind was made up!

Was that a shout? He listened. All he could hear was night sounds. He swallowed. The shout or whatever it was had come from the left. He set off in that direction. As good a way as any he thought.



The Kid heard a noise. Something was coming out of the trees at him. The coyote from earlier howled again. This time a lot nearer. The Kid stood up, easing his gun from his holster and cocked it. His senses were on overdrive now. He swallowed as he saw the bushes shake and then it appeared.

The Kid froze.

It was … He frowned.


Something vaguely human staggered into the light and almost stumbled into the fire. It bounced off a boulder, grunted in pain and sprawled on the ground.


It might have been Heyes. It was the same height and build. However, this creature had leaves for hair and its body covered in foul smelling mud. What looked like blood was oozing from its temple and running down the side of what passed for a face. If it was wearing clothes, they were torn, bloody and mud smeared. The creature’s eyes were open and looking straight at the Kid. It was making a noisy gasping noise.

Of course, it was Heyes! The Kid holstered his gun and was by his side in an instance.

“What happened to you?” he asked, incredulously.

Heyes wiped his face with the back of one hand, smearing more mud.

He laughed almost hysterically. “After dinner walks are really overrated!” he gasped and looked at the Kid in relief.

The Kid winced in sympathy.

“Are you hurt? It’s hard to tell.”

He handed Heyes a water bottle that he took gratefully.

“Just battered and bruised I reckon,” sighed Heyes, and grunted. He took a big slug of water and leant back against the boulder he had bounced off earlier. “’Cept …” He put a hand to he cut on his temple. “Owh!”

The Kid swotted his hand away. “Don’t! Let’s get you cleaned up a bit,” he murmured and set to putting some water to warm up. “Where d’you go?”

“Oh just over yonder. Thought I’d go clear my head,” he gasped. “There’s a deep gully out there.” Heyes waved a hand vaguely in the direction he had appeared. “Didn’t see it.” He shook his head. “Lost my footing and … Think I lost consciousness for a spell. When I came round the moon was up.” He took a deep breath, then winced and felt his ribs. “Had to climb out.” He swallowed and looked at the Kid. “How was your day?” He said it seriously and when the Kid looked round, he smiled slowly.

The Kid grinned at him. “Better now you’re back. I was beginning to think something had happened to you.”

“It did!” Heyes rolled his eyes.

The next moment they were giggling like a couple of schoolgirls, Heyes wincing in pain.

“Heyes! You look awful,” the Kid laughed, shaking his head.

“Thanks appreciate that.” Heyes smirked, licking his lips and then wished he hadn’t. The mud was in his mouth too! “Well at least you’re talking to me now. Instead of yelling.” He hesitated wiping his mouth on a cloth the Kid had thrown him. “Hate it when you yell.”

The Kid looked at him. “Especially when you know you’re right, huh?” It wasn’t exactly an apology but it was the closest Heyes was going to get.

“I ain’t always Kid,” Heyes said, softly. “If you wanna go to Laws Town we’ll go.”

The Kid shook his head. “No Heyes. Just to be fair now. What about Julea?”

Heyes nodded slowly. “Yeah heard it’s real nice this time of year.”

The Kid nodded. “I’m glad you came back so we can go.”

“Kid, if the moonlight hadn’t of been so bright I might never have made it back!” Heyes looked shocked at the thought that he might have been lost out there all night, alone, hurt and without a gun. He swallowed hard.

The Kid realised it too and put a hand on Heyes’ arm reassuringly.

“I would of come looking y’know?”

“Doubt if you would of found me! You might have fallen down the gully as well. Then we would both be lying there at the bottom. In the mud! Ugh!” He shook his hand in disgust.

“Heyes, stop it! You made it back in one piece.” The Kid looked at the state Heyes had returned in and wrinkled his nose in disgust. “Well I think you have. Hard to tell. You sure do stink!” He gave the fire another poke to raise the flames. “You can take your bedroll over the other side of the fire tonight.”

Heyes scowled. “Hurry up with that water! I’m starting to dry. If I sit like this much long I’ll be rock hard in no time.”

The Kid attended to the fire again and sniggered at the thought of Heyes turning to stone.

“Glad you’re alright Heyes,” he smiled.

“Yeah so am I.” Heyes breathed. He looked up at the moon that was now edging behind a cloud. “So am I.”
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Posts : 171
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 63
Location : usa

October 15 - Moonlight Empty
PostSubject: Re: October 15 - Moonlight   October 15 - Moonlight Icon_minitimeSat Oct 31, 2015 11:13 am

This is over the limit, but since I am not polling this month, I hope you will forgive that.  This story is part of a longer story I am working on, but I hope it will stand alone.

Revelations by Moonlight

Brown eyes peered from out of the darkness.  Perched on a bench, crouching in the shadows, Hannibal Heyes watched the bat-wing doors of the Silver Slipper Saloon and Dance Hall.  Sam Ackerly had gone inside over three hours ago.  Heyes was tired of waiting.  With a heavy sigh, he pressed both hands in the small of his back and stretched.  

The outline of a man blotted out the gaslight glow escaping from the saloon doors.  The shadow paused on the boardwalk, and the flash of a struck match was followed by the flare of a puffed cigar.  The man stepped off the boardwalk, and the bobbing tip of the cigar moved into the street.   Flimsy clouds fluttered in a stray breeze, while the top sliver of a rising moon crowned the distant hills, casting a flickering path across the placid flow of the Missouri river.  The shadow in the street turned his face to the rising moon.   In the lunar light Heyes recognized Sam Ackerly.  

“Showtime,” Heyes breathed as he stood.  His throat worked in dry swallows.  Wiping both hands on his thighs left two damp smudges.  Chin held high, he stepped purposefully into the street.  

“Sam Ackerly,” he challenged in a calm voice.  

The shadow stopped and turned toward Heyes.  

“Ackerly, I'm placing you under citizen's arrest.  Drop your weapon and move along quietly with me to the sheriff's office, and we won't have any trouble.”

“Ya got the wrong man, Mister.  The name's Johnson.”  His voice was flat and sounded bored.  He puffed on his cigar again.  “I'll be headin' back to my hotel now.”  The gunslinger turned his back on the dark-haired challenger.

A small crowd gathered at the bat-wing doors.

“Your name's Ackerly, and you're wanted in Texas.  You're here to scare folks into giving up their farms and homes.  Now drop the gun, and we won't have any problems.”

Ackerly pivoted on his heel. He squared off directly across from Heyes.  His hand crept toward his thigh.  
Heyes swallowed.  His eyes slid sideways toward the river.  A smile teased at his mouth at the glint of reflected moonlight.    

“Mister, ya made a mistake,” warned the gunnie.  “You can apologize, and we can forget about this.”  His voice dropped and grew chill.  “Or we can settle it right here in the street.  But I ain't goin' to no sheriff's office with ya.”

The bystanders scurried back into the lights of the saloon.

“We're going to see the sheriff.”  Before Heyes finished his sentence, two shots cracked through the darkness.  

Heyes' Schofield barely cleared its holster.  Ackerly staggered in the street, cradling his gun hand.  Blood flowed freely between his clenched fingers and pooled in the dirt.   Heyes cocked his pistol and aimed at the gunslinger.  Another slim, dark-haired figure slipped around the corner of a building behind the injured man.  He rammed the butt of a shotgun into the gunslinger's head, connecting directly behind his ear.  Ackerly crumpled to the ground.  Heyes kicked the man's pistol toward the boardwalk.  Jake Harrison Heyes retrieved the Colt and knelt next to his brother.  Heyes was checking the injured man's breathing.  

“He's out cold,” Heyes called over his shoulder toward the river.  “But I think you broke his arm.”

Reflected moonlight glinted on a gun barrel in the darkness.  A man stepped forward, and the shadows resolved into the tall form of Kid Curry.  The blond ex-outlaw inspected the unconscious gunslinger before twirling his Colt back into its holster.  Heyes stood.  He and his brother moved closer to Curry.  Heyes kept his gun pointed at the unconscious man  

“Thanks, Kid,” he whispered.  

“No problem, Heyes.  He didn't hit ya?”

“No.  Worked just like we hoped.  Ackerly's the only one bleeding.”

“That was some fancy shooting.”  Jake shook his head.  “I guess you really earned that reputation.”

“Shhh,” cautioned the Kid.  

“Your buddy the sheriff or one of his deputies will be here soon,” explained Heyes.  

As if his words had summoned them, both Sheriff Watley and a deputy  came running around the corner, guns drawn.  Watley skidded to a stop when he saw Jones, Smith, and Harrison standing in the street around the unconscious Ackerly.  “What's goin' on?”

“I recognized the gunslinger,” announced Heyes with a grin.    “He's Sam Ackerly.  Wanted in Texas and Colorado.  So we did a citizen's arrest for you.  He wasn't too cooperative though, so you might want the doctor to come down to the jail and check him out.”

“I'll fetch Doc Finner, Sheriff,” offered Jake.  

Watley nodded.  

“I'll go with him.  Meet ya back at the hotel, Joshua?”

“Sounds good, Thaddeus.  I'll help the sheriff and then meet you in our room.”


Curry holstered his Colt as his partner and Jake slipped inside the hotel room.  Heyes stalked straight to the dresser and yanked open the top drawer.  He pulled out the whiskey bottle and three glasses.  After pouring himself a stiff drink, he offered one to each of the other men by gesturing with the bottle.  Amber liquid sloshed into glasses.  Heyes sprawled in a chair and toed off his boots.  

“Kid, I don't know how you do that.  I was scared stiff.  If you hadn't been hidden in the shadows, I'd be a dead man.”  Heyes drained his glass and poured himself another.  

“I told ya he was good.  But I wouldn't let him shoot ya.”  Curry took a sip.  “How is he?  Is the arm broke?”

Heyes grimaced.  “The doctor patched him up.  He'll live, but . . .   well,  it's a bad break, Kid.  He's not going to be fast drawing anymore.”

“Damn.  I didn't mean to hurt him that bad, but the angle was off.  I'm used to facin' a man directly.  Shootin' from the side was tricky.”

“Does it matter?”  Jake looked confused.  “Ackerly would have killed you or Han.  He's in jail now and won't be fast drawing on anyone else again.  Isn't that a good thing?”

Heyes offered his brother a dimpled grin.  “Maybe, Jake.  But after years on Ackerly's side of the law, it's hard for us to see it that way.  It could have been Kid or me lying in the dust, just as easy as it was Ackerly.”

Jake took a sip of his whiskey and studied his boots.  “Jed, do you hire out your gun?”

Kid Curry looked hurt.  “Do you think I'd do that?”

“I'm asking.”

“No.   At least not in a whole lotta years.  And when I did hire out my gun, it was never to kill.”

“Then I don't see how you and Han can be put in the same category as Sam Ackerly.”

“Thanks for seeing it that way, Jake.”  This time Heyes' smile didn't reach his eyes.  “But the law's not as discriminating as you are.”

Curry looked a question at his partner.  “Your plan worked so far, Heyes, but how do we keep Ackerly from identifying me to the Sheriff?”

Heyes sighed.  

“It's gonna look real suspicious if I stay outta the sheriff's office.”

“I know, Kid.  I know.”

“So what are we gonna do?”

“I'm working on it!  Just stay away from Ackerly and the sheriff until I figure something out.”

“Just stay away?  That's your plan!”

“It's all I got right now.”

“It ain't much of a plan.”

“I know.  Ya got a better one?”

“No.”    Curry smirked at Harrison.  “Your friend Matt Watley is one sharp and suspicious sheriff.  Not our favorite kinda lawman.”

“Matt is quick witted, and he's already suspicious of you two.  Sorry about that.”

“I've been meaning to ask you about that.  Why did you tell the sheriff I'm your brother, Jake?”

“I had planned to keep that bit of information to myself, but I was arrested in Helena two years ago.  The sheriff there thought I was you.  He was real happy and gloating about how he was going to spend that $10,000  bounty.  Matt had to come vouch for me. “

“Oh.”  Heyes studied his boots.    “Sorry about that.”

Jake shrugged.  “On the train trip back home, Matt had lots of questions.  I thought that I owed him an explanation.  That's when he learned that my real name is Heyes, and that you are my brother.”

The silence stretched long enough to become uncomfortable.  Heyes studied his drink while his brother studied Heyes.

“I need to get home.  Sarah will be worried.”  Jake drained his glass and set it on the dresser.  “Remember dinner is at 6:00 o'clock tomorrow.  You're both expected.”

“We'll be there,” promised the Kid.

“Jake.  How old are your children?”

“Jimmy is eleven.  Rachel is nine, and Zeke is six.  I'm glad you're going to meet them.”

“So am I, but it might be best if they don't know who we are.”

“I agree, Han.  And please don't be hurt, but they don't know about you.  I mean,  they've heard about Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, of course, but they don't know that Hannibal Heyes is my brother.  In fact, they don't know I have a brother at all.”

Heyes offered a crooked smile.  “I understand.  And it's best we keep things quiet until the Kid and I get our amnesty or your children are older.”

“Sarah knows, though.  And she knows who's coming to dinner.”

“Is that a good idea?”asked Curry.

“I'm not lying to my wife.  Not telling her that you're Heyes and Curry would be a big lie.  I won't do that.”

“How does she feel about us coming to her home?” Heyes asked.

Jake grimaced.  “She's worried, Han.  Her pa was a church pastor.  Her home was strict, and you two don't exactly fit her view of what's proper.  She's worried about what kind of influence you two will be on the children.”  

Blue eyes met brown under furrowed foreheads.  

“Are ya sure ya want us to come?”  

“Yes, Jed.  I'm very sure.  Just hang your guns on the rack when you come into the house.  No guns and be polite.  You both have great manners.”

“Yes, both Ma and Mrs. Curry made sure that we knew how to behave.  I guess those early lessons stick with you.”

Jake Harrison walked to the door and paused with his hand on the knob.  “See you both tomorrow.”


The Harrison home was on the second floor above their hardware store.  The entrance to the residence was on a side street and opened into a small room on the ground floor.   Jake answered the door.  After the gun belts of both ex-outlaws hung on a hook in the entryway, the men climbed the stairs to the living quarters.

Sarah Harrison was tall for a woman.  Light brown hair, highlighted with gold streaks, framed a heart shaped face with even features.  She waited for the three men in the  parlor at the top of the stairs.  Her arms crossed her chest, and her mouth formed a firm line.

“Welcome to our home, Mr. Heyes.  Mr. Curry.”

Heyes raised an eyebrow as his eyes darted about the room.  The Kid also inspected their surroundings.

“The children are in their room for the moment.  I asked Jake to let us have a few minutes to speak frankly with one another before the children join us.”  She wiped her hands on her apron and licked her lips.  “I am an honest woman, and I want you to know that I am not entirely comfortable with you two being here.”

Blue eyes met brown in a question.  Heyes shrugged, then met the eyes of his sister-in-law.  

“I understand that, and if you want us to go, we'll leave.  No questions and no offense.”

“No, Mr. Heyes.  You are my husband's brother, and he has asked you here.”  Her steely gray eyes flicked quickly to Curry and then back to her brother-in-law.  “Both of you.”  She cleared her throat.   “He trusts you and has asked me to extend the same courtesy.  I'm trying.”

“Sarah!” scolded Harrison.  “There's no danger here.  I told you, they quit stealing.  They're working for Colonel Harper.  If we avoid losing this house and the store, it will be because of them.”

Heyes smiled ruefully and looked down.  “Thanks, Jake, but your wife has reasons to worry.  We are still wanted, and friends have been arrested for helping us before.  We aren't safe to know.”

“And you've been smart to keep the fact that you and Heyes are kin quiet.  There are bounty hunters who would use you to get to Heyes and me.”  

Brown eyes squinted above a frown.  “Yeah.  Some folks will do most anything for $20,000.”

Jake chuckled.  “You would know all about that, huh Han?”

Curry snorted, but Heyes just watched Mrs. Harrison scowl.  “Yes, we've been greedy and done things we shouldn't, but we don't want to bring harm to any of you.  If you'll just give us a little forgiveness and a little trust, I would appreciate it.  It's been a whole lot of years since I've had any family.  I'd be grateful for the chance to get to know you and your children, and to spend time with Jake.”

Sarah's face softened.  “Truce, Mr. Heyes?”

“Truce, Mrs. Harrison.  But, please call me Joshua.”


“I'm going by Joshua Smith, and my friend is Thaddeus Jones.  They're the names the sheriff knows us by.”

“Matt bought that?  Doesn't seem like him,” she wondered.

“It helps that Colonel Harper called us by those names.  May I call you Sarah?”

“The children might wonder at the sudden familiarity.  Why don't we stick to Mr. Smith and Mrs. Harrison for this visit.”

“Whatever you think best.”

“I'll go put the dinner on the table and send the children out to meet you. “

“Whatever you've got cookin', ma'am, it sure smells good.” added Curry with a warm grin.

Sarah Harrison offered him a genuine smile.  “Fried chicken, Mr. Jones.  I hope you enjoy it.”

“Fried chicken is one of my favorites.”

“I'm glad.  The children will be right out.”


“Ma, may we be excused?”  asked nine-year-old Rachel.  

The dishes were mostly empty and conversation was sporadic and strained.

“You need to clear, and your brothers are to help with the dishes.”

“But Ma, Mr. Jones promised to play marbles with us,” complained the youngest Harrison, seven-year-old Zeke.

“I'll help with the dishes,” offered Heyes.  “If it's all right with you, Mrs. Harrison.  Then the children can play with Mr. Jones.”

Sarah chewed her lower lip and studied the hopeful faces of the youngsters.

“I'll be real gentle with 'em, ma'am,” added Curry.

“All right,” she relented, “but thank Mr. Smith for stepping in to help.”

A chorus of 'thank yous' faded into the other room.  

“That was kind of you, Mr. Smith.”

“I don't mind, Mrs. Harrison.  You've been gracious in opening your home to my partner and me.  I want to show my gratitude.”

“Well, you can start by clearing the table.”


Sarah and Heyes joined the others in the parlor carrying a tray of coffee, cups, cream, and sugar.   Thaddeus Jones sat cross-legged on the floor playing marbles with Zeke and Rachel.  Heyes watched his partner, and felt a twinge of envy.  Hannibal Heyes had not been around children since he had been one himself.   Curry enjoyed an easy, casual rapport with them, but Heyes didn't know what to say.  

Jimmy, Jake's eldest,was peering out the window at the night sky.  Without a word he slipped through the french doors to a porch built over the boardwalk.  Heyes set his coffee on the table and followed the boy outside.

Jimmy leaned his forearms on the porch rail and gazed across the Missouri River into the night sky.  The moon was still hidden behind the hills, allowing the stars to shine brightly in the black velvet of the night.   Heyes crossed the porch and leaned his hip against the rail,  watching the boy.  

Jimmy pointed at the sky.  “The Big Dipper is right there, Mr. Smith.  Do you see it?”

“I sure do.  Do you know how to find the Little Dipper and the North Star?”

“Of course.  Those two stars form a line.  They point right to the North Star.  It's at the end of the Dipper's handle.  See?”

“Uh-huh.  What about Cassiopeia?”  

“Sure.  That one's easy.  Right there.  The big 'W' in the sky.”  He traced the celestial 'W' with a pointed finger.  

Heyes nodded.  “I like that one.”

The boy's brown eyes slid sideways and his mouth turned up in a familiar sly smile.  “Can you find Cetus, Mr. Smith?”

“That one's a bit harder,” Heyes replied, studying the sky.  He grinned.  “There!”  He pointed out a set of stars near the horizon.

“That's real good, sir.  Do you like lookin' at the stars?”  

“My pa taught me when I was a boy.  We spent time watching the sky together.”

“Just like my pa taught me,” beamed the boy.  “His pa taught him too.  Before he died. I'm named after my pa's father."

Heyes coughed to cover his reaction. "I know," he choked out gruffly.

The boy's brown eyes snapped wide in surprise. "How'd you know that?"

Heyes smiled smoothly to cover his error before he lied. "Your pa told me."

They studied the stars in companionable silence.  

“Where's your pa, Mr. Smith?”

“He died too, Jimmy.”

“I'm sorry.”

“It's all right.  It was a long time ago.”

“What happened?”

“War.  People going crazy.  It was a bad time.”

“My pa's father died in a raid in Kansas.  It was during the war too.  I never got to meet him.”

“I'm sorry about that, Jimmy.”  

The boy looked at the stars.

“Moon's coming,” announced Heyes.  “See that glow on the top of the hills? It'll rise over them real soon.”

“The moon will make the stars disappear.”

“They don't really disappear, ya know.  The light of the moon just makes it harder to see the dimmer stars.  The same thing happens in big cities.  You can't see nearly as many stars in San Francisco because of all the gas lights.”

“You've been to San Francisco?”

“Yep.  It's a pretty city.”

“But with less stars?”

“You see less of them, but they're still up there.”

The moon crested the distant hills in a large, orange crescent.  The dark-haired man and the dark-haired boy watched as it clawed its way over the hills and marched slowly into the night sky.

“It sure looks big tonight.”

“It does.”  

“Pa says that you and Mr. Jones are helping the sheriff. He says that you had a real smart plan to get rid of that gunslinger that came to town.  Wish I was old enough to help.  Pa's taught me how to hunt with a rifle, but he doesn't want me involved in the troubles in town.”  Jimmy turned shining brown eyes to the man he knew as Mr. Smith and tried a charming smile.    “Do you think I'm old enough to help?  I could learn to use a six-gun.”

An owl hooted in the distance.  

“How old are you, Jimmy?'

“Almost twelve, sir.”

“When's your birthday?”

“Next month.”

“Born in November, huh?”


“You've got good parents and a nice family, Jimmy.  Be grateful for them.   Me and Mr. Jones, we learned some things too early.  Like how to use a six-shooter.  Good things don't come that way.”

“But you're doing good work.  Pa says so.”

“That real nice of him, but it took us a while to learn how to do things right.  Do you understand?”

“Not really, sir.”

Heyes chuckled and tousled the boy's straight brown hair.  “You will someday.  'Til then, trust your ma and pa.  They're doing things right for you.”

Heyes turned toward the house and saw Sarah Harrison leaning against the door frame listening to their conversation.  She wore a relaxed smile.  

“I've got some apple pie if you two are interested.”

“Apple pie!” shouted the boy running into the house.

“Sounds wonderful, ma'am,” agreed Heyes.

“Thank you, Mr. Smith.”

“For what?”

“For being the man my husband hoped you were.”

“My past hasn't changed, Sarah.”

“I know.  But I think there might be hope for your future.”

Heyes laughed.  “Time will tell.  Now how about that pie.”
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Join date : 2013-10-27
Age : 46

October 15 - Moonlight Empty
PostSubject: Re: October 15 - Moonlight   October 15 - Moonlight Icon_minitimeSat Oct 31, 2015 11:38 pm

Hunter’s Moon

“Time to head south!” Hannibal Heyes shouted as he pulled his jacket collar tight around his neck. “It’s just gonna get colder!”

“That’s the best plan you’ve had in a month of Sundays!” Kid Curry yelled back.

Trying to be heard above a stiff wind whistling through the canyon was bad enough. Add to it the rushes of crisp leaves crescendoing overhead and crackling underfoot and the groan of branches trying to hang on, they beheld a symphonious cacophony of autumnal vexation.

The partners closed ranks but still had to talk well above comfort level.

“Hear that?!” Heyes asked.

“Yeah! Gotta be stoppin’ soon, but we’ll never get any sleep with this racket!” Curry yawned. He observed his surroundings. “Really pretty, though!”

“Yeah! You won’t find anything this colorful in the desert! But, it’ll be warmer, and that’s all I care about right now!” Heyes tightened the stampede strings on his hat as a particularly strong gust ripped through.

“Have to get out of this wind!” Kid noted. “Hope there’s a cave or somethin’ the other side of this canyon!”

Heyes nodded. “Gotta be somewhere sheltered!”

Keeping their heads low against the gusts, the partners kept moving, their mounts stepping carefully over past rock slides and other debris of a canyon floor. Coming upon a rushing stream, Heyes pointed at it. Curry tracked his cousin’s hand as it gestured for them to follow it and nodded his understanding: They would trail the creek hoping to find a suitable place to camp.


The afternoon passed. They followed the stream to its source, a spring fed by underground aquifers a little higher in the hills. Adjacent to it the partners found a site ready-made for camping: a clearing in a large wood sheltered on three sides by boulders, large enough for two men, horses, and gear to spread out just enough; best to keep the wind at bay.

“So here we are with a good place to bed down, and the wind’s died down a bit. Grandma Curry would say Providence has provided well,” Heyes smiled.

“Amen, partner.” Kid grinned.

The dark-haired cousin dismounted. “Enough with the sermons. Let’s set up camp.”

With several hours of daylight left, the pair set about their well-practiced routine: unsaddling horses, unpacking gear, gathering wood and kindling, starting a fire, tending to the animals.

Heyes dipped a cupped hand into the spring and drank. “Ah, nice and cold.” He smiled approval, then shivered. “Just right for coffee.”

“Even your coffee’d taste good right now. Warm us up, at least!” Kid smirked. His stomach growled. “What’s for dinner?”

“Same as last night – beans, biscuits, and whatever you find. You expected something different?” Heyes put the coffee pot on the fire.

“Nah, just checkin’.” Kid Curry unholstered his Colt, checking the chamber. “Maybe there’s somethin’ else around here. Gettin’ tired of rabbit.”

“Just don’t be gone too long. Something else would be good, but rabbit’s fine. I’ll buy ya a nice steak dinner when we get to Carsontown.”

“You’re on.” Kid winked, starting downstream.


As the horses had earlier, Kid Curry stepped carefully, lest a wayward tread alert and scare away game. Detritus of rock slides of recent or more ancient derivation covered the canyon floor, even damming a sliver of the stream on one side for a hundred yards or so. Daylight hurried on, but a full moon would cast enough illumination to almost check the need for a fire – for light anyway – especially with an overcast sky reflecting even more of the moonlight back. Hunter’s Moon, his Pa had called it, the first full moon after the Harvest. And though the earlier gusts had calmed some, the Indians were right: It was indeed the big wind moon.

Curry stopped. Listening, he turned his head. Birds of a feather flocked together and flew away in tandem before he could aim. Anyway, they were tired, and plucking feathers was too much work.

Kid trod on. The murmur of the stream echoed off canyon walls, yet his ears tuned to finer sounds. He stopped again, looking down. Fish! A nice change, but too small. Scaling the numbers needed to satisfy a pair of healthy male appetites would take too long, and they both craved shut-eye.

Ambling around a bend, Kid heard a chirp. His eyes wandered up a tree. There, a grey bushy tail swayed. He smiled. They both liked squirrel stew.


Heyes steadied the grate over the fire before dumping a handful of beans into a pot of boiling water. Then, grabbing a pan, he measured just enough flour and water, stirred, and set it on the grate.

He sat back on his heels in satisfaction. While no slouch, he conceded he was not the hunter his partner was, and even if he suffered slings and arrows for his coffee, his beans and biscuits stood second to none. Curry could whip up a meal in a pinch – indeed, that skill was needed on the trail – but Heyes had taken his turn at bunkhouse cook back at Devil’s Hole more than once.

Reverie overtook him. Maybe he could open an eating establishment after amnesty, but not just any two-bit café in the almost nameless towns through which they passed. No, a fancy restaurant like the ones Soapy frequented in San Francisco. Now, there was good eatin’s, as Kid would say. Heyes liked the finer things in life and felt comfortable amongst that class of people. He could get accustomed to that lifestyle, catering to the moneyed set, but he really knew nothing about being a restauranteur. Perhaps he should stick to being a customer. Then, he could move on if he wanted. The peripatetic life was the one he knew and felt comfortable in. It would take a while to get used to being in one place too long. And it could get too hot in the kitchen, in more ways than one. Maybe something more outdoors, where the cramped-in closeness of always being inside would not hem him in. But, a nice gambling hall somewhere perhaps; someplace classy. After all, a good poker game always beckoned him …


Heyes looked in the direction of the shot. Daydreaming would wait. Back in the present, he smiled and spoke out loud. “No time wasted. We’ll eat early and get a good sleep tonight.” He grabbed his saddle bag. “Time to get that spit ready.”


The dark-haired partner smirked. “No need to be greedy, Kid.”


Heyes selected several small but sturdy branches and soaked them well, fashioning a spit to fit over the fire. With the last he whittled points at either end with his knife, settling it on the spit to let wood smoke season it before meat was added. Task done, he stirred the beans and removed the pan with biscuits from the grate, setting them aside to cool.

Standing, he surveyed the direction Curry had gone – west, into a spectacular sunset. Heyes gazed as the last rays filtered pink and purple on the cloud-filled horizon. The moon had just risen, Nature swapping daylight for moon glow. Perhaps Curry watched as well. It was a gorgeous sight and might explain his delay in returning now so long after the last shot.

“I think he’s over here!”

“No, I heard rocks falling over there!”

Heyes looked around. The voices were faint but loud enough to make out what they were saying, or shouting. They were hard to pinpoint, reverberating off canyon walls like so many beats of a drum – first in front, then to the rear; each more faint than the first. A posse? Nothing had raised an alarm they were being followed.

Lest he command the attention of whoever was out there, he dared not call to his partner. But, if he heard them, surely Kid had, as well.

Heyes calmly wiped the knife on a rag and replaced it in his boot. Removing his sidearm, he checked the chamber and re-holstered it.

“No, over here!”

“Meet me the other side of the camel boulder!”

The calls lessened, dying away now.

Grabbing a canteen, Heyes extinguished the fire. The sudden lack of warmth gave way to a chill. He shivered. Whether from the cold air or jitters, he knew not. He wrapped his jacket more tightly around him.

Heyes closed his eyes, stood stock-still, listening. The calling had ceased. Forcing the sounds of nature out of his mind, he concentrated. What was that? Breathing? Kid?

He opened his eyes – nothing in sight. But, there was that breathing again. Where was it coming from?

Wait. It was his. Damn!

Heyes removed the Schofield from his gun belt. Holding it at the ready, he moved in a crouch, starting down the path his partner had gone almost an hour before.

He moved amongst the trees alongside the stream, keeping as well out of sight as possible. Night’s usual opacity would not offer its cover this evening: Moonlight bathed the few open areas in radiance, luminescence sparkling off flows like so many jewels, but also casting shadows of an eternal gloaming. Looking up, he saw but few stars, dulled against a twilight sky.

The stream widened rapidly. By now a good ten feet across, driftwood trapped behind river rocks snagged branches, damming up one side. Bats swooped; Heyes swatted them away. Their occasional chitter added another layer to the echoes of the canyon. He closed his eyes and listened, trying to distinguish the finer sounds from the wider racket. A crack! Kid? He turned. No; only a stick he crunched underfoot. He stilled himself. The shouting from the men might have ceased, but it was impossible to know where they were. He dared not step out from the shadows, nor summon Kid.

A sudden burst of light from a shooting star flared above tree-line, radiating daylight ground-ward. Ahead, Heyes beheld something not fitted to the scene – something in the water, close to shore. Another pulsing burst illuminated further. He squinted. Posse or whomever they were be damned, he splashed into the stream, impossibly staying upright even as his boots slipped and slid. He reached his partner.


Heyes kneeled beside the downed Curry, rolling him from his side onto his back. Another streak of light revealed a bloody crease on one temple. “Damn,” Heyes murmured under his breath. Dipping his hand into the water, he carefully washed the wound.

Yet one more shooting star showed Kid’s eyes twitch, then open. The blond man moaned. “Hey-Hey-Heyes?” His voice shivered with the cold.

“I’m here, Kid.”

“Where …?”

Heyes breathed through his mouth. “Never mind. Let’s get you outta here.” He looked around. A series of shooting stars pulsed above the timber. He murmured half out loud, “Not sure where these shooting stars came from or why they’re so low, but they’re a blessing and a curse all in one right now.”

“Huh …?” A groggy Curry slurred, “Wha, what happened?”

“Shhh,” Heyes soothed. Surveying the scene once more, he leaned in closer to his partner. “Kid, ya gotta be still. Can ya do that?”


“You gotta be still.” In the flashing light, he gave his cousin the once over. “Looks like you’re in one piece otherwise. Can you stand?”

“I … I don’t know.”

“We gotta get outta here. Let’s try.” Rising, Heyes attempted to pull Curry up with him.


Heyes lowered Kid. “Let’s at least get you out of this water.” Positioning himself at his cousin’s head, he grabbed Kid under the shoulders, dragging him onto the bank. Pausing, he hefted the blond man into the safety of the first row of foliage.

The bursts of illumination continued inside tree-line, Heyes’ heart beating to the flashes. The exertion took its toll for a minute. Calmer, he examined the wound again. Thankful it was not as deep as he had first believed, Heyes nodded in relief. Calmer now, he shivered. The night air was cold, and they were both soaked.

“Hey, did you hear that?!” The voice echoed in the canyon, faint but distinct.

Heyes’ breath rapid, he snapped around.

“Huh? What?” The injured man reacted.

“Shhh.” Heyes placed his hand over Kid’s mouth. “Shhh.” Curry struggled. In a low voice, the elder cousin spoke. “Kid, ya gotta be still.”

Another voice echoed a little louder. “It came from over there! In the trees!”

Heyes locked eyes with the shivering, panicked, wounded Curry. He willed his own famous patience to speak silently through them, brown to blue. Without blinking, he moved his hands to the blond man’s shoulder and upper arm, rubbing lightly with his thumbs. They stayed thus for a long minute, until Kid gulped. Nodding understanding, his breathing more regular, Curry reached up to grab Heyes’ shoulder, squeezing it.

Heyes squeezed back, nodding toward the campsite. His brow furrowed in question.

Kid replied with an imperceptible nod.

Heyes gestured helping Curry to walk.

The blond man sat up slowly. The motion caused him to pull his knees to his chest, resting his forehead on kneecaps and hands. He shivered uncontrollably. Heyes’ hand on his shoulder gradually stilled him, though the dark-haired man fought against his own chill. With help, Curry rose to his feet, allowing Heyes to take most of his weight. They staggered one step, crunching a branch underfoot.

“There! It was over there!”

Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
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October 15 - Moonlight Empty
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