Alias Smith and Jones Writers
A forum devoted to writers of Alias Smith and Jones Fan Fiction
July 17 - Crossing the border
Posts : 760
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 56
Location : Birmingham
|Subject: July 17 - Crossing the border Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:24 am|| |
I know I know I'm late...
Got back from Canada yesterday and then slept for fifteen straight hours.
Your northern cousin is wonderful!!!!!
And, by the end of my fortnight I had seen sixteen - SIXTEEN - bears.
So, with due apologies to anyone who used a bear in the Canada prompt...
Nah. I was going to use 'The Bear'...
But instead, lets go with:
Crossing the Border...
Put on the boys' travelling hats and set them going.
Posts : 441
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 59
Location : London, England
|Subject: Re: July 17 - Crossing the border Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:46 pm|| |
I had an idea and time to write it!
Crossing the Border
By Maz McCoy
Kyle Murtry stood on the porch outside the leader’s cabin chewing on a wad of tobacco. He hitched up his pants with both hands before wiping his nose with the back of his hand. After a minute or two he spat a gloop of tobacco juice into the nearby bushes. A movement off to the right caught his eye and then a familiar black hat appeared between the branches of the distant trees. Turning Kyle opened the cabin door.
“He’s back!” he called alerting the cabin’s occupants.
The Devil’s Hole Gang dynamite man then waited, hands-on-hips, for the leader to ride into view.
Hannibal Heyes was smiling as he rounded the bend and pulled his horse to a halt in front of the cabin.
“Howdy, Kyle!” he called as he swung himself down from the saddle. Covered in trial dust and in need of a shave, Heyes beat his hat on his leg and brushed down his jacket. “The boys here?”
“Yep,” Murtry confirmed as Heyes settled his hat back on his head before tying the horse to the hitching post. The sweat-covered horse had been ridden hard.
“Next time Wheat can lead the posse on a wild goose chase,” Heyes suggested with a grin as he strode toward Kyle. “I swear I rode through the same valley twice. Have Harvey take care of my horse will you?”
“Kid get back from across the border?”
“Yeah, Heyes, er there’s somethin’…”
“Let me wash the dust off then we can talk,” Heyes pushed open the cabin door and Kyle could only watch as he disappeared inside.
Heyes shut the door behind him. “Kid?” he called and at the sound of footsteps Heyes turned towards his friend’s room. “You would not believe…”
But it was Preacher who stood grim-faced in the doorway holding a bowl of bloodstained water in his hands. “Heyes.”
Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something or only thought we did: Edison
Posts : 125
Join date : 2016-10-31
Location : The Sonoran Desert
|Subject: Re: July 17 - Crossing the border Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:08 pm|| |
Hannibal Heyes was annoyed.
Much stronger words to explain his current mood were circling though his head, but as they were trying to keep a low profile, he kept them to himself. Ever since they had ridden into town, things had not gone well.
The last job they had pulled, robbing the First National Bank in Sidney, Nebraska, had also not gone quite as he had planned, but it did end up being lucrative. They had given the posse the slip by dropping down across the border into Colorado, rather than returning to Devil’s Hole, as expected. They had come away with enough money that the boys were ready for some recreation. Heyes brought them back up into Nebraska to the freewheeling town of Ogallala. With the cattle drives from Texas at their peak for the year, there should have been enough rowdy cowboys in town, that a few trail worn boys, who might be a bit too handy with their guns, would blend right in with the others hurrahing the town.
As Heyes stalked past several saloons on the trail leading to the Platte River, he settled his hat lower on his head. Already Wheat had gotten into a fight in The Cowboy’s Rest, Preacher had been thrown out of Tuck’s place for passing out, twice, on the floor, and Heyes himself had almost been shot over a disagreement with the results of a poker hand in the Crystal Palace. Luckily for him, the Kid had been there, as always, to back him up, and give him time to talk his way out of the predicament.
Even though he was certain that the boys weren’t ready to leave town and head back to the Hole, Heyes was trying to figure out a plan to accomplish just that. He had enough of Nebraska, and had sent the Kid to start to round up the gang. As he was passing the front of yet another saloon, a drunk cowboy staggered out the batwing doors, and hurled the contents of his night’s celebrating into the street, just barely missing Heyes’ boots.
“Oh for the love of…” Heyes started complaining. He looked up to see Kid Curry coming down the street, accompanied by Lobo and a couple other of the boys. Maybe they’d get out of this town before there was more trouble.
“Hey, Kid. Did you find the rest of the boys?”
“Not yet, but Preacher is sleeping it off in the livery stable, so he won’t be going anywhere. But Heyes…”
“Good. Now where are Wheat and Kyle?”
“Didn’t I just say, I’ve not found them yet?”
“Yeah, Kid, but…”
“Heyes, we got more trouble.” Blue eyes met brown.
“Sheriff’s back in town.”
“Well, we’ll just avoid him and hightail it outta here…”
“Heyes. It’s Marshall. From Greeley.”
“Ah…well that just does it.” Heyes grabbed his hat off his head, ran his hand through his shaggy dark hair, and settled the hat back even lower on his head. He looked back to Curry.
“So…Wheat and Kyle?” He looked around at the other gang members. “Where'd anyone see them last?”
“There’s a caravan of gypsy wagons on the edge of town,” Lobo said. “Kyle was all anxious to get his fortune tole, after he was almost blowed up there in Sidney.” He glanced at Heyes, who sighed and resisted taking his hat off yet again.
“Yes, I know we had the wrong information about the safe in the First National. They were supposed to have that new model, which is why I told Kyle we needed that much dynamite. How was I to know that the train track had washed out and they hadn’t been able to deliver it yet?”
Kid noticed a tall man with a shiny tin star coming down the street. “Heyes…”
Hannibal Heyes glanced the same way, and started to edge the boys towards an alley. “Lobo, take the boys and see who else you can round up, and then head to the livery.” With another casual look toward the street, he hurried them towards the back of the buildings. “Kid and I will see if we can find Wheat and Kyle.”
As Lobo had said, when Heyes and Curry had made their way to the edge of the town, they saw several of the brightly painted wagons circled there. A tent was set up, advertising everything from games of chance to dancing girls. There was quite a crowd milling around, interested in something besides the normal beer and poker the saloons were offering.
Off to one side was a purple and orange wagon, with a sign that said “Fortunes told, Future revealed.” Wheat was leaning up against the side of the caravan, looking bored, but then a bit embarrassed when he spotted Heyes and the Kid coming towards him.
“Howdy boys. I was just awaitin’ on Kyle. He got this darn fool notion in his head that he needed to have his fortune tole.” Wheat glanced at Heyes. “On account of that problem with the dynamite over in Sidney.”
This time Heyes did take off his hat and run his fingers through his hair. “Yeah, yeah, I know, Wheat.” He looked towards the wagon. “You figure he’s about done? We gotta get outta here, and right quick. Sheriff Marshall from Greeley is here.”
Wheat looked concerned and glanced back at the wagon. “Sheesh, Heyes. This just ain’t our week. I’ll go see if I can hurry him up. She didn’t take this long with me.”
The Kid smiled at Wheat. “You had your fortune told too?”
Wheat looked uncomfortable. “Well, yeah, Kyle really wanted to do this, but then when we got here he wasn’t sure. I just went ahead sos he’d get comfortable, and we could get back to the saloon.” He hitched up his gun belt. “Fool woman told me I’d be rich someday. Couldn’t even tell I was rich already from the haul from Sidney.” He headed toward the caravan, but just then Kyle came out looking a bit dazed.
“Howdy, Heyes, Kid.” Kyle had a small but pleased smile on his face.
“So what’d she tell you?” Wheat asked Kyle, and sniggered. “That you’d be rich, like me?”
“Nah, Wheat.” Kyle smiled. “She told me to be more carful around the dynamite, but that I’d get me a girl soon!”
Wheat snorted. “Shoot Kyle, I could’a told you that, once we got back to the saloon.”
“Nah, Wheat, she wasn’t talking about that…” Kyle started to explain.
All of a sudden Heyes looked concerned. “Kyle, what did you tell her about the dynamite? You didn’t tell her we robbed the First National over to Sidney, did you?”
“Nah, Heyes.” Kyle reassured his gang leader. “I woudna do such a thing.” He paused, and looked thoughtful. “She knew all about the dynamite, even afore I told her.”
“Oh, great.” Heyes slapped his hat back on his head and looked over at Curry. “Not only do we have a suspicious sheriff, but no, even the gypsies must know who we are.”
Kid Curry put a hand on his cousin’s shoulder. “Heyes. Look at Kyle. He’s not taken a bath since afore Sidney. He sort of reeks of blast powder.” He shrugged and smiled. “Maybe she thought he was a miner.”
Heyes refused to be placated. “Kid, we’re at least a couple hundred miles from any working mines.”
“Railroad?” Wheat chimed in.
Heyes turned and rounded on Wheat, ready to give his opinion on what he thought of that idea, when the door to the purple and orange caravan opened. A dark haired woman, neither young or old, swathed in skirts, scarves, and beads, came out to stand on the stoop.
“Do I have another customer, or two?” She looked at Curry and Heyes.
The Kid smiled at her, tipped his hat, and said, “No, ma’am. We need to be on our way.” He turned to Wheat and Kyle. “Why don’t you boys head on over to the livery and get the horses ready, while we see who else needs rounded up?”
Wheat glanced at the woman, ready to be away from the caravans. “Sure, boys. See you soon.” He turned to head off.
Kyle turned back to the woman, and smiled. “Thank you kindly, Madam Velma. I right enjoyed myself.” He followed off after Wheat, heading back to the saloon row.
The Kid touched his hat again, and he and Heyes started off in the direction of the town.
“Please wait!” Madam Velma called out. The Kid turned around and Heyes paused, looking slightly annoyed.
“The spirits tell me there is a future you need to know.”
“We thank you kindly ma’am, but we really need to be heading out,” Kid Curry replied. He turned again and started off with Heyes at his side.
“It is vital that you know this,” Velma started off the caravan, and snagged Heyes’ shirt.
Heyes looked down at her. “Ma’am. We really don’t have time.” He turned yet again, until she continued.
“I have a message from your parents.”
Heyes stilled. He turned and looked at the woman with the full force of his intense personality.
“Ma’am. Our parents are dead.”
“I know.” She returned his look, seeming to peer into his soul. “They say you need help.”
His silver tongue stilled, Heyes turned to look at his cousin.
“Ma’am,” Curry began. “We probably are beyond help.”
She shook her head. “They say you can still be redeemed.”
Heyes turned back to Madam Velma. His eyes didn’t sparkle, but he half grinned that self-deprecating smile. “Ma’am, if you only knew.” He looked shrewdly at her, wondering what she had heard about them. “I doubt very much if our parents would talk to us, after all we’ve done.”
She returned his crooked smile, and said, “They say they love you still, as they always have.”
Again she rendered Heyes speechless. She turned towards the Kid, and saw the hurt in his eyes.
“Ma’am, I don’t know what kind of game you’re playin’, but this isn’t kind.”
She approached both of the boys. Kid Curry backed off a bit, but Heyes was still, staring at her. She reached out for their hands, and brought them together. She graced them with a loving smile that lit up her eyes as well.
“Your parents tell me that you will have an opportunity soon to change your lives. They say you must take it. It will be your last chance.” She looked intently first at Heyes, and then at Curry. “Will you do this for them?”
Heyes fumbled for a reply. “Ma’am…”
She grasped their shoulders and asked again. “Will you promise that you will do this for them?”
The Kid looked at Heyes. Heyes smiled at the woman, his eyes looking inward, remembering.
“Ma’am. If our parents can figure out a way to help us still, we’ll do whatever they ask.”
The Kid looked at her, really looked at her, and met her gaze. “How will we know what they ask?”
She smiled and said, “You will know, when it comes.”
She hugged the boys and then released them. “Now go. It is not yet time, so you need to leave town before the sheriff finds you.” She turned and climbed the stairs of her caravan, stopping to look back at them one last time.
“May you find peace, Han and Jed.” She entered her caravan and closed the door behind her.
The cousins shared a look, a deep sigh, and a scrub of the face.
Suddenly they heard a commotion from the main street that sounded suspiciously like a posse gathering. After another shared look, they hightailed it for the livery.
Several days later, they were on the high plains of Wyoming, in route to Devil’s Hole. They had finally slowed down, after leaving the posse far behind. There hadn’t been much talking along the way, other than directives from Heyes and Curry, to keep the boys moving and safe.
Heyes had been leading the group, but now he gave over to Lobo and the Preacher, and dropped back to ride with his cousin. For a mile or so, they rode in silence. The Kid had a thoughtful look on his face. He and Heyes slowed down and a gap formed between them and the rest of the gang.
“What do you think she meant?”
“But she knew who we were, Heyes.”
“She probably found that out from the town folk.”
“But Heyes. No one has called us Han and Jed, since…”
“Yeah, I know, Kid.”
They were silent for a while.
“Do you think we’ll know?”
Hannibal Heyes glanced sideways at his cousin, and gave him that brilliant half smirk of a smile. “Kid, if they figure out a way to help us, I promise you, we’ll figure out a way to do it.”
Kid Curry looked thoughtful. He took a deep breath, looked back at his cousin, the only family he knew who was still watching over him. “Okay Heyes. Together?”
“Together, Kid. As always.”
They rode into the west and the setting sun.
Posts : 522
Join date : 2012-12-07
Location : Wichita
|Subject: Re: July 17 - Crossing the border Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:03 pm|| |
Been crazy busy here in Kansas...took no time to write, editing was a whole 'nother story. But, finally Destiny's Cycle #11
Their horses bellies were stretched along the bent grass; running full out into wind filled with so much rain, it felt like they were battling a spring, swollen river. Then the hail started, at first it was like grit being blown up from a Tombstone street, but steadily, it increased until marble size rocks were bruising them. Despite this, each of them felt like cheering. For they knew, they had not only escaped Harold’s plans, but the twister, too; as every child of the plains knows, a twister sucks all the wind to it as it races across the prairie.
With the battering deluge moving on, the sun appeared shining bright on the glistening, wet land and the pair of them shifted their weight backwards, speaking soothingly to their horses. In less time than either of them thought it would take, the animals fell from their pounding run to a gallop to a jarring trot until they were walking. Even as this was happening, Curry was working on the wet ties binding his hands. With a surge of brute force he burst the ties apart, so suddenly, he about fell off when his arms flew apart; righting himself, he leaned down, taking hold of the bay’s dragging rein, “easy boy, whoa.”
Reaching over, Curry snagged the headstall of Heyes’ horse, bringing the animal to a halt. Stepping down, he flipped the sorrels reins criss-cross over its neck. Patting the gelding, he looked up at his partner, his eyes bright with excitement, making them an even more brilliant blue against his golden sun baked skin. “Did we just really outrun a twister?”
“We did. But, it will sound like a hell of a whopper when we retell it.” Heyes replied, shifting his shoulders, raising and lowering his tied hands. “If ‘n you don’t mind.”
Setting about releasing his pal, Curry saw not one trace of blood or redness anywhere about his wrists, he growled, “You didn’t even try to free yourself.”
“Saw you were doing a fine job on your own.”
Throwing the ties in the grass, Kid grumped, “there are days, Heyes, there are days.”
With a robust laugh, Heyes stretched his arms over his head and picking up his reins, said, “let’s get moving.”
Curry swung aboard and instead of following Heyes, stated “wrong way?”
Heyes looked about and pointing northwest, replied, “Wyoming is that way.”
“But, we’re going back.”
“Can’t leave ‘em lying out there, possibly wounded.” Kid responded, turning his horse down their back trail.
Heyes eyes narrowed, he looked to the northwest and back to his cousin, “I can.”
Curry shifted in his saddle, laying a long appraising look on his partner.
“Fine, but you can lead the way, and don’t forget we’re not armed.”
After about ten minutes of walking, they topped a rise to find three horses grouped tight, each dropping their head to take quick, rushed bites of grass.
“So where are the other two?” Kid asked, his eyes scanning the prairie, “and their riders.”
“About now, good old Harold MacKeefe is explaining his wayward, backstabbing ways to St. Peter.”
Not bothering to halt his search of the emptiness surrounding them, Curry grunted, “What?”
“That bolt that set everything in motion, landed square on Harold.”
At this Curry did look over, “I’ve heard tell of it happening, but…” he shook his head, a grin appearing, “Wouldn’t that be what Grandpa used to call just desserts.”
A chuckle rolled from Heyes, and keeping on the high side of caution, they meandered in amongst the other three.
Sliding down Curry collected the reins and passing by the gray, not wanting the shotgun it carried, he pulled a rifle from the next horse’s rigging; passing it up to his partner, he then seized one for himself off the last horse.
Pointing to the speckled mare, Heyes said, “Your rigs in Walter’s saddle bag.”
“That’s why I like travelling with you.”
Corner of Heyes’ mouth quirked, his dimple creasing deeply.
“Cause there isn’t much you ever miss.” Curry replied, digging his holster from the bag and buckling it on, he pulled the Colt checking its loads. Dropping it back in the skid, he looked up, his face shining with the truth of his happiness, “So, where’s yours?”
“Harold said he fancied my choice on the Scholfield.”
One dark brow cocked up sharply.
“Don’t think you’ll be getting that back.”
The smile twisted, “Heyes, that pistol isn’t worth worrying about.”
“I think it is.”
Leaping onto his bay, Kid grumbled, “I swear you’re plain out determined, to carry a sidearm I frowned on.” And, laying the rifle across his thighs, he took out after Heyes and the pony train he was leading away. “That’s it, isn’t it?”
His partner gave no indication he had heard him, but Curry knew he had and barked, “Why can’t you concede, I know better here, you hard-headed mule?”
Grinning into his bandana, Heyes gigged the horses into a trot, keeping them moving, even as they paced alongside a straight line of ground, rutted like a train had run off its tracks.
“Looks like it did a touch and jump,” Curry commented, studying the thirty some rods of ripped, twisted land, littered with small limbs and pieces of lumber. When he turned his gaze back to the grass waving and bobbing before them,
Curry snapped the rifle to his shoulder. “Boys, I see you and a pistol, isn’t the only weapon I’m accurate with. Stand up!”
Heyes squinted at the tall, dripping grass and after a breath or two, whispered, “you really see ‘em?”
Curry’s finger squeezed and the bullet brought forth a startled yelp. “Unless you’re wanting further examples of my accuracy… drop ‘em, stand with your hands up.”
Three men rose from the grass, the one gripping his shoulder, shouted, “Damn it, Kid, you shot me.”
“Only winged you, if I had shot you…” a crooked grin appeared, “you would be crossing over to catch up with Harold.”
“Well, I can’t raise my arm.”
“You’ll raise it, Walter, or I’ll drop you where you stand and you won’t need to worry on it no more.”
A wide, pointed grin slid across Heyes’ face, enjoying the game, mostly because, he knew his cousin was not the violent sort, he was pretending.
Urging their horses within an easier target distance, Curry pulled up, stating strong and clear, “where’s Anthony?”
“Anthony stuck to his horse, when it turned into hell in a hand basket back there, then that dog rode off leavin’ us a foot,” said Barton.
Curry nodded, “Heyes, tie ‘em up.”
Hopping down, Heyes worked his way down the line and when he snagged hold of Walter’s hands, the man whined, “Damn it, that hurts.”
“Sure it does.”
“Well, show some mercy.”
“Like you did,” Heyes responded, recalling how tight Walter had bound his own hands and made sure to repay the favor; then jerking the man’s bandana over his head, he placed it against the wound and using the rest of the rawhide, secured it in place.
“I’m gonna bleed out from such lousy bandaging.”
“Hush up,” Heyes replied, revealing a cougar sharp smile, “You’re a long ways from dying.”
Retrieving the pistols, he shoved them in his saddle bag before turning to eye the lump a ways off, “That Harold out there?”
Barton nodded, looking truly sad.
“How bad is it?”
James snorted, took a step forward, “ain’t a spark left in ‘em.”
“That isn’t funny,” Barton snapped.
“But, true.” James replied, “will say it ripped his horse up something terrible.” He sighed, “had to shoot that poor animal, it was wobbling around with his head nearly on the ground.”
Barton looked off away from the others, and if his hands were free, he most likely would have rubbed at his glistening lashes, “Harold were a good friend to me.”
Getting the trio on horseback was a chore, one which Heyes did alone as Curry remained mounted, rifle hanging easy in his grip. But, once accomplished, he set out for Harold.
“Heyes, damnation, just use one of the three pistols in your saddlebags.”
When he reached Harold, Heyes could see his Schofield as sticking out of the man’s waistband. Hopping from his horse, Heyes considered Harold and thought, ‘he don’t look so much dead as asleep, well, minus his damn snoring.’
With a frown, Heyes stepped forward, his brows furrowed and then he kicked Harold’s boot. The foot flopped stiffly. Moving up, he stepped on an out flung hand, adding weight until he felt certain Harold was too dead to feel anything or, more importantly to be playing possum. Swiping up the Schofield, he used its barrel to open Harold’s vest and with cat’s paws lifted out the wallet sitting there.
On returning, James eye went to the wallet, “Never thought you’d be one to steal from the dead.”
“You are correct in your assumption.”
James’ head tilted to the side, his eyes narrowing.
“I’m retrieving my property.” Heyes stated, opening the wallet and making a show of counting out four-hundred and thirty-two dollars before he let the wallet fall from his hands.
Curry’s mouth opened to speak, but he snapped it shut, watching the wind ruffle and lift the bills splaying from the wallet. His jaw shifted and he opened his mouth to speak again, this time Barton interrupted him, “What you fixin’ to do with us?”
In a bright honey filled voice, Heyes replied, “You’ll find out soon enough.” Although the look he played across the men was far from warm and sweet.
As the collection of them rode northwest across the prairie, Heyes pulled out his journal book and from time to time would write a note on a page, often accompanied by a wry smile or even a chuckle, which would earn him a quizzical glance from his own partner.
At one point Curry even asked, “What are you up to?”
“You’ll see,” was all the answer he got.
When their shadows wavered long and black across the grass before them, Curry said, “we ought to find a spot to camp.”
Heyes shook his head.
“Not in the mood.”
Curry did not utter another word, but a tight sternness took over his face and he dropped back to ride behind their three captives.
The sun set and night settled over the land, the sliver thumbnail moon making the darkness feel unending. At length, they rode into the town of Wano, so late it was long since tucked in for the night, and at the first large tree, Heyes stopped. “Get down.”
Walter whined, “with our hands tied.”
“You expected the same from us; fact is, my ribs still ache from hitting the ground two nights ago,” Heyes replied, pulling the long knife, he had taken from James’ boot earlier, “Get down before I prod you off.”
The three men did as told with Walter hitting the ground with a shriek.
“You sound like a stomped on cat.” Heyes teased, pulling the man to his feet. “All of you take a seat with your backs to the tree.”
A smile, the same one which always had everyone believing him so young, appeared on Curry’s face and snagging a lariat from Barton’s saddle, he roped the men to the tree, with the same gentleness he had been forced to endure.
Heyes swiped a spot smooth on the road and carved ‘WANTED’ then flipping the blade, he stabbed the three torn pages of his journal to the dirt.
“What’s that?” James asked, motioning toward the papers.
“Your names, known crimes, and the states looking for each of you. Whoever finds you will be able to crow on about spending your rewards, just as you have done about ours.”
A laugh burbled up out of Curry.
“Now, Heyes, you’re known to be a fair man.” Barton said, he swung his face toward Curry, “You too, Kid.”
“That we are,” Heyes replied, “outlaw who will turn on another, deserves what becomes of him and if you’re sitting in a jail cell, I know you won’t be nipping at our heels again.”
“You leave us like this…” Walter looked from Heyes squatted before him to Curry standing with his arms folded across his chest, “… we’ll send ‘em after you.”
“Go right ahead.” Heyes replied, standing and snugging his gloves tighter, “once we hit the Arikee Breaks, we’ll be hard to follow.”
“Sides, we got five horses to switch through.” Curry put in, tugging his hat down snug. “Makes me feel real confident about us crossing the Wyoming border and making it safe back to the Hole, well before any posse you might convince to follow us.” Then, with a large smile, Curry touched a finger to his hat brim and swung into his saddle, but before following his partner who was already trotting off, with the line of ponies. He circled by the men, “it is too bad Harold never explained to y’all, how blood money is bad luck from the moment you start dealing in it.” And, with his large, boyish smile, he kicked his horse disappearing into the black night after his partner.
Wichita Red, "I'm not really a rebel, but I take chances. I have a good time, and I live life the way I want to live it."
Posts : 252
Join date : 2016-01-06
Age : 62
Location : Wales UK
|Subject: Crossing the Border Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:43 am|| |
This isn't worth polling as most of it is a rip off from a great poet.... Just couldn't get past this when I saw the prompt so had to go with it....
With apologies to W H Auden
This is the night mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the gold and the Governor’s order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The Big Spread owner, the girl next door.
Pulling up the slope, a steady climb:
The gradient's against her, but she's on time.
Past cotton-grass and Indian boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily as she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.
Outlaws turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from hilltops at her blank-faced coaches.
Knowing they cannot turn her course;
They’ve charged the bridge she must cross.
In the homestead she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes.
Dawn freshens. Her climb is done.
Down towards the river she descends,
Towards the bridge set dark against white tossed waters.
Towards the apparatus, set to make the bridge a furnace.
Set in the dark plain like a gigantic snare.
All the outlaws wait for her:
In dark shadows, beside pale-green pines
Men long for news.
Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers' declarations,
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday photographs in,
Letters with ‘sorrys’ scrawled on the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to the Wild West from the civilised World,
Letters of condolence to the plains and the mountains
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring,
The cold and official and the heart's outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The copperplate and printed and the spelt all wrong.
They are all still asleep,
Dreaming of terrifying occurrences
But none could foretell of the shriek and the squeal, of her breaks and her frozen wheels:
Asleep in town and unaware, asleep a Sheriff without a care,
As deft fingers slip around a dial, and Gold starts South, mile after mile.
They all continue in their dreams,
But shall wake soon and hope for letters,
And none will hear the postman's knock
For the night mail will not cross the river
And all that Gold is gone forever…..
Posts : 78
Join date : 2013-01-10
Age : 25
Location : Gettysburg, PA
|Subject: Re: July 17 - Crossing the border Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:31 pm|| |
The Kid returned several minutes later with a tray laden with a coffee pot,a couple of mugs, a plate of sandwiches, and a bowl of thin soup for the girl. He saw his cousin's questioning look. "The lady in the dinning room said she would thrown in the soup since I got the coffee and sandwiches," he said, answering the silent question. Looking at the girl,he could see her face was no longer flushed by fever. "Fever finally break?”
"For now," Heyes replied with a sigh, "and I don't want to wake her just yet, poor little thing needs rest."
Kid nodded as he poured a cup of coffee for his cousin. "Drink this, then take your own advice. I'll sit with her while you rest up. Last thing we need is you also taking sick."
Heyes took the coffee and got up, going and sitting on the edge of the empty bed. He didn't want to admit to being tired. He was the one that could go a week on less than four hours of sleep. But now he was tired, not physically, mentally tired. He quickly drained his mug and shoved his boots off. He stood and removed his gunbelt, then hung it on the right bed post along with his battered black hat.
A few days later Knight returned, looking road weary as he came into the room. He saw the girl was sitting up in bed while Heyes read to her. He cleared his throat and all eyes fell on him. "I see our young one has crossed the boarder back into the realm of the living."
Heyes nodded. "You find her family?"
Knight shook his head."No, but a cousin of hers is willing to take her in until all children are required to go to the school back east. Has the doctor been back to check on her, or said if she's fit for travel?”
"No, he hasn't. She came out of it well, maybe give it a day or two more."
The Kid gave a chuckle. "Joshua's become attached; he lost his wife and little girl a few years back."
Knight nodded. "I told the cousin it would be a few days before I'd be back with her. Smith, I think it best if you came with me."
"She has gotten pretty attached to Joshua over the last few days," the Kid said with a light chuckle.
"We'll leave the day after tomorrow then. Is that alright with you, Smith?"
"Fine with me, Mister Knight," Heyes answered just a little too soon.
To be continued...
"The only thing in life you have to earn is love, everything else you can steal." ~Hannibal Heyes
Posts : 106
Join date : 2016-03-16
|Subject: Re: July 17 - Crossing the border Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:51 pm|| |
Kid sighed, and he looked at Heyes. “You don’t need to come.”
Heyes snorted. “Of course I do. I practically raised him right along with you. Besides, Kid, what am I going to do without the two of you at the ranch? I can’t run it by myself. Nah, we’ll have Lom sell it for us and send the money so we can use it as a stake.”
Kid tipped his chair back, ran his hand through his graying beard. They sat for a few minutes in silence, drinking, looking out over the ranch they’d built up over the last fifteen years or so. The Kid had married his woman Canada after she found that she was pregnant, and her remote small ranch provided the perfect seclusion needed for the two outlaws. It had been a good marriage, passionate, yet short-lived as she died of the flu when the boy Jed was only a few years old. Heyes lived in a small cabin built on the edge of the mountain not far from the main cabin, and they’d decided to stay on since the ranch was just far enough away from a sleepy small town where they could do business yet keep their distance.
Trouble was, Jed was now sixteen, and he’d killed the man who’d flirted hard with his girl at the fair that day, a man who wore a deputy badge from two towns over but had forgotten it and his manners the deeper he got into his drink. So that was that. Their own town sheriff had already been out to the Jones ranch looking for him, but he was reluctant to look too hard when he was told that they had no idea where Jed was. Smith and Jones had never given him any trouble, and he’d heard from eyewitnesses how the deputy had ignored Jed and the girl when they told him to stop, but killing was killing, and the sheriff had to follow it up.
“Kid, we’ll pack up tonight, ride out at dawn toward town, then cut away to the meeting spot at the cave. Surely Jed is there. I’ve heard they need men in that newish little town over the border in Canada, Moose Jaw was it? We can hop the train that will take us right there.”
Kid took another long pull at his beer. Then, “Funny, Heyes, how we never really decided to leave the country when it was just us, no matter how much we had to run from the law. But for my boy…God, Heyes. He killed a man, a drunk man who could barely find his holster. I want to kill him myself, even if the man started it. But I won’t see my son in prison, not for this. And what is he feeling right now, in the cave, alone? Ahhhh, well.”
Heyes looked at his old friend, who had killed men, who had raised a good but all-too-human son, and stood up. “Let’s go.”
Posts : 1619
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 60
Location : Northern California
|Subject: Re: July 17 - Crossing the border Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:11 pm|| |
A wagon rolled along the dusty trail as quickly as the mules could pull it. It rounded the bend when it came across a large branch in the road up ahead.
“Put your hands up!”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Two trail dusty former outlaws meandered down the trail letting their horses set the pace in the afternoon heat.
“It sure is hot!” Kid Curry removed his hat and wiped the sweat with his arm.
“Usually is this time of year in Mexico,” Heyes commented as he opened his canteen. He took a swallow and handed it over to his partner. “To bad the alcalde in Santa Marta knows us and we can’t go back there. It’d be cooler with the ocean breeze.”
The Kid handed back the canteen. “May I remind you it was your idea to take Clem down there.”
“Well, how was I to know you couldn’t control your wife.” Heyes chuckled.
“My wife! Of all the hair-brained ideas…” Curry paused. “Do you hear that?” He quickly removed the safety and drew his gun.
“Shhh…” The Kid checked his gun. “You better check yours, too. Sounds like trouble around the bend.”
Heyes pulled his gun and added the sixth bullet. “And trouble is just what we’re supposed to avoid.”
Curry stopped alongside the trail and dismounted with Heyes following suit. They led their horses to shade and tied them to a bush.
“Over here!” The Kid led the way up to a rock cropping to get a view of what was going on around the bend.
“Looks like five banditos are holding up that American in the wagon,” commented Heyes.
“Yep, two for you and three for me. You take the two in the back and I’ll take the three near the front. Are you ready?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
Shots rang out and the banditos scattered. They ran to their horses and hurried down the trail from the direction the wagon had come.
An old gnarled American grabbed his rifle and glanced around, looking for where the gunfire came from.
“Hello!” Heyes shouted out. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. You Americans?” the man asked.
“Sure are. Looked like you needed some assistance.” Curry slowly walked around the cropping. “Can we come down?”
Heyes and the Kid walked down to the wagon, keeping their guns out.
“Were the banditos after your supplies?” The Kid reloaded his gun and kept an eye out down the trail.
“What else would they be wantin’? Speakin’ of them, I better skedaddle down the road before they come back. The border has to only be about ten miles.” The man holstered his rifle. “You’re mighty handy with those guns. I’d make it worth your while to see me across the border.”
Heyes and Curry made eye contact.
“We were heading that way ourselves, Mr…” Heyes squinted in the sun as he smiled up at the man.
“Sievert. Otto Sievert.”
“I’m Joshua Smith.” Heyes walked up to the wagon and shook hands.
“Thaddeus Jones.” Curry also shook hands while staying alert.
“You got horses or did you walk?”
“Our horses are around the bend. Left them there when we thought we heard trouble.”
“Well, go get ‘em so we can be on our way. You can catch up with me. Now git!” Sievert slapped the reins and the mules hurried.
“I guessing he was a soldier from the war.”
“Bet he has a story. So, are we gonna follow him?”
“Sure. I’d hate to think of him getting bushwhacked again by those outlaws.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
A few miles down the road Smith and Jones caught up to the wagon traveling at a fast pace.
Heyes rode up to the buckboard. “We back tracked a few miles and didn’t see those banditos.”
Otto chuckled. “You two really must’ve scared them off and that’s not easy to do. They’re madder than bees that I took back what they stole.”
“And what would that be?”
“US Army repeat rifles.”
“Well, yeah, rifles are guns.”
“They stole a wagonload of guns from the army and you got them back?”
“Yep! Figured I didn’t have much to lose and could get a reward if I survived.”
Heyes shook his head in unbelief. “You could’ve gotten yourself killed!”
“Yeah, I guess so. But when you’re my age, it just means it’ll happen sooner than later. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
“Joshua, I’m gonna hang back and make sure they’re not followin’ us.”
“And what if they are?”
“I won’t do anything stupid, if that’s what you’re thinkin’. Keep up this pace as long as the mules will hold out, Mr. Sievert.”
“Will do! Yah!” he encouraged the mules to keep going.
Curry slowed down and turned to go back. He found an animal trail to the side and followed it out of sight.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Heyes kept one eye on the road ahead and one eye on the road behind him as he rode alongside the wagon that had slowed down. His gun, though holstered, was ready to fire at a moment’s notice.
“You worried about him?” Sievert asked.
The old man chuckled. “I once had a partner. Wagner was a good man. How long have you been partners?”
“Near all our life, I reckon.”
“So, childhood friends, huh? Me and Wagner were, too. Grew up in Germany and crossed the Atlantic when we were teens. Made our way to Wisconsin. And then the war broke out.”
Heyes nodded and looked behind.
“He seems pretty handy with that gun. Both of you do. If I can steal a wagon from them, he can get the upper hand against them, if need be.”
“How far do you reckon we have until we reach the border?” Heyes asked. “It’d be nice to get there before nightfall.”
“We’re about there. Not the easiest to realize where exactly it is when you’re out this far from civilization, but I’ll know it when I see it.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
A few hours later, Sievert pulled up on the reins. “We’ve crossed. It smells like the good ol’ US of A. This place should make a good camp.”
Heyes smiled and dismounted. “Sounds like there’s a creek nearby, too.”
“Yep, on the other side of those trees.” Otto hopped down a series of steps to the ground and grabbed a crutch. He grinned a near toothless smile at Heyes’ look. “What? You never seen a one-legged man before?”
“I have, but not one who’d go down to Mexico to get a wagon of guns from outlaws on his own. You either brave or reckless.”
Otto laughed. “I’ve been told that a few times! I like to think I’m a little of both.”
“And you can manage this team by yourself?”
“Yep. Have been driving wagon around since the war.”
Heyes turned quickly and drew his gun. “We have visitors.”
A lone rider in a sheepskin coat loped down the trail, making Heyes smile.
“Is that Jones?”
“It sure is.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Later that evening, the three men sat around a fire eating with the horses and mules picketed nearby.
“I’m bettin’ there’s a story behind you gettin’ the guns back, Otto.” The Kid leaned back against his saddle and sipped coffee.
Sievert smiled. “Folks don’t take a one-legged man serious. Don’t realize how quick we can be, if needed, nor how wily I am. The army pretty much wrote off the guns when they tracked them to the border. The sergeant was madder than git out at losin’ them. I’m retired from the army, but still work with them. I took an old wagon in with a long in the tooth mare and followed in. When I caught up with them, they were drunk celebratin’ their good fortune. I knew the wagon and the mules – they’re mine – so I made short work of gettin’ outta there while they were passed out.”
“Where are you taking the rifles?”
“To Fort Huachuca, about fifteen miles from here.” Otto held out his cup when Heyes offered him more coffee. “It’s a long fifteen miles through Apache country.” He took a sip. “Say, you won’t want to escort me the rest of the way, would you?”
“Well, we do need to get to Tombstone as soon as possible.” Heyes looked over at the Kid. “I suppose we could ride within a few miles when we know you’re safe before heading further northeast.”
“I’d appreciate it. There’s a $500 reward for this wagon. I’ll give you boys half of it.”
“Well, you weren’t there when I stole the wagon, were you?”
“Do you have $250 on you, Otto, or would we have to wait for you to get the reward?”
“Don’t you worry none about your part of the reward.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Early the next morning, the wagon and two horses were making their way down the trail.
“Ahh… Love travelin’ in the early mornin’ before it gets too hot.”
“A little too early,” grumbled the Kid.
“What was that?” Sievert asked.
“Don’t mind him. Thaddeus’ not the best before breakfast.”
“I got some jerky and hardtack you can gnaw on.”
“Thanks but I’ll wait a while longer. Besides, I have a bad feelin’ we’re bein’ watched.”
“Oh, I’m sure of it. The braves have scouts on those hills over there.” Otto pointed to the west.
“Think they be a problem?” Heyes asked.
“They don’t know what cargo we have or else I know we would. Usually a wagon of guns has more soldiers around it.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Midday the wagon stopped by a watering hole so the animals could drink.
“Have a few more miles.”
“Well, the Indians don’t seem all that interested in you so maybe we should take our leave and get going. We have a man to meet about a job up there.”
“Yeah, if we rode harder, we should make it about nightfall,” Curry agreed.
“So I can’t convince you to go all the way and spend the night?”
“No, sorry Otto.”
“Well, okay.” The old man reached under his wagon and a door popped open.
“A secret compartment?” Heyes raised a brow.
Sievert smiled at him. “Told you it’s my wagon and set up for me.” He pulled out a wad of bills and peeled for several large ones. “Here’s $250, like we agreed.”
Heyes took the proffered money and pocketed it. “It’s been nice doing business with you, Otto.”
“Been nice havin’ company and someone to watch my back again.” Otto jumped up a series of step until he was on top of the wagon and sat in the seat. “You two watch out for each other, you hear?”
“That’s what we do best,” said the Kid. He shook Sievert’s hand. “You take care of yourself and don’t go takin’ on banditos by yourself again. You were lucky this time.”
“Yeah, I’m probably gettin’ too old for this stuff. Don’t help not havin’ Wagner beside me.”
“Take care.” Heyes shook his hand.
“You, too. Good luck stayin’ ahead of the law while you wait.” Otto clucked to his team and snapped the reins. “Bye.”
“I don’t know, Kid. I don’t know how he would know.”
"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
|Subject: Re: July 17 - Crossing the border || |
July 17 - Crossing the border