Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

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 Horse - with thanks to Shakespeare

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Lana Coombe


Posts : 33
Join date : 2013-09-27
Location : UK

PostHorse - with thanks to Shakespeare


A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!

Withdraw, my lord; I'll help you to a horse.

*** *** ***

“Will you just leave it,” Kid Curry growled at his stubborn partner.

“But I’m so close, Kid. If I can just …”

“Yeah, and the posse is gettin’ pretty close too. Face it, Heyes, you’re just gonna have to let this one go.”

Heyes stretched his arm downwards, wriggling his long slender fingers tantalisingly close to the sack, which lay on the ledge, a little way down the steep rock face.

“Just … a … little … bit … more…,” he groaned, extending his arm a fraction further. “Hold onto my feet,” he commanded his partner.

“Heyes, leave it,” Curry snapped back, flicking a look over his shoulder at the encroaching dust cloud in the valley below.

Heyes made another attempt to reach the sack of money and began to slip forward. It was only the lightening fast reactions of his friend that prevented him from falling head first down the side of the canyon.
“Have you lost your mind? Heyes, we’ve gotta get out of here – NOW!” barked the Kid, dragging Heyes to his feet. “It ain’t worth it.”

“$5,000 ain’t worth it?” Heyes responded incredulously.

“No, it ain’t!” The Kid tugged on his partner’s coat sleeve and began to pull him in the direction of their tethered horses. Heyes took a fretful look back over the ledge at the sack of money, precariously perched so temptingly close.

“But Kid….” Heyes started, the emotional turmoil at leaving such a prize behind, all too evident in his voice, “It’s $5,000. Think what we could do with it?”

“Not a lot iffen we’re dead,” Curry replied caustically.

“If I could just find a branch or something to reach it with … It wouldn’t take long and …”

“I’m leavin’ Heyes and I suggest you do too, afore that posse gets here.” Curry stomped purposefully off, down the trail.

Heyes let out a resigned sigh and reluctantly followed.

Just as they reached the horses the unmistakeable crack of a gunshot echoed about them. The horses, startled by the sudden sound, jerked backwards on their tethered reins, tossing their heads about. The loosely wrapped leather slipped from about the scrub and the animals suddenly found themselves lose. Another volley of gunfire startled them further and before Heyes or Curry could do anything to prevent it, the horses made a speedy bid for freedom. The partners could do little more than watch them leave.
Heyes stared with disbelief at their misfortune and let out a stream of cuss words. The Kid instantly drew his gun and spun around, looking for the best course of evasive action.

“Think we might be able to make it up over those rocks. The posse’ll have a hard time followin’ us up there,” he commented pensively.  Another close shot caused Heyes to duck and spurred Curry’s decision.

Making his way up into the rocks, he glanced over his shoulder to see his partner crouched behind a rock, looking slightly stunned.

“Will you come on,” Curry hissed, jolting Heyes out of his shocked state. Pushing his hat firmly on his head, Heyes began to scramble his way towards the rock and they began to make their ascent.

They climbed for about ten minutes, as the posse let fly with the occasional shot from below, narrowly missing them several times. As they paused to catch their breath behind an outcrop of rock, Curry, having checked to make sure his gun was fully loaded, looked down the trail to ascertain the posse’s progress. He could see they’d split into two groups. Six men were following them on foot, while the other five had headed off on their horses, probably to circle round to the other side of the canyon.
“Whad’ya reckon?” he asked his partner.

“I reckon they ain’t gonna give up too easily.”

“Whadda we do?”

There was no immediate response.

“Heyes?” Curry prompted.

“I dunno,” came the dejected reply. “I’m sorry, Kid. Iffen I hadn’t been so pig-headed we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

“Look, it weren’t your fault the horse slipped and you dropped the money. You gotta forget about it and think of a way to get us outta here.”

Heyes gave Curry an appreciative smile and nod of affirmation. “As I see it there are two options. We could sit here and try and shoot it out. Two against five ain’t the worst odds we’ve faced. But it would mean we run the risk of actually shootin’ someone and shootin’ a deputy would sure add to the rewards bein’ offered.”

“What’s the other option?” Curry queried, obviously not taken with the first.

“We could try and find a way across the canyon, avoiding the other half of the posse,” came Heyes’ reply, with more than a little doubt in his voice.

“Oh, that sounds real easy!” Curry replied sarcastically.

Their eyes met and, coming to an unspoken agreement, both began to make their way further up the trail towards to edge of the canyon. When they neared the top, the Kid stopped. “Which way?”

Both glanced first to the left and then the right. “Looks like there may be a way down along thata ways,” said Heyes, pointing to the right. Curry began to move in the allotted direction.

“There again, looks like there’s more cover thata ways,” Heyes commented, looking to his left.

Curry put his hands on his hips, let his head hang down and took a deep breath. “D’you want a flip a coin or somethin’? ‘Cos iffen you do, could you get on with it ‘cos the posse is real keen to catch up with us and I’d rather not be standin’ around when they do!”

“Okay, no need to get proddy. Think we should go this away,” he said with feigned confidence, heading to the left, with Curry close on his heels.

They dodged their way between rocks and bushes, with the posse taking periodical shots. They had just left the cover of a large group of boulders when Heyes let out a cry. Curry turned to see his partner wincing in pain, clasping his left shoulder.

“Heyes!” Curry was soon at his side, helping him to the next nearest cover. “How bad is it?” he asked, his concern evident in his eyes and furrowed brow.

“I’ll live,” Heyes grimaced, stretching his neck around to try and see the injury.

“Hold still, will ya?”  Curry instructed, trying to ascertain the extent of the injury. Heyes let out a gasp as his partner’s fingers probed inside his shirt.

“Bullet’s still in there,” Curry mumbled flatly, in an attempt to hide his apprehension at the situation.

“It’ll have to stay there for now,” Heyes grimaced, gritting his teeth against the throbbing pain.

Another shot reminded them of the close proximity of the posse.

“Let’s get moving,” Heyes said, straightening up.

“Gotta stop it bleedin’.”

“Ain’t got time.”

Curry took another worried glance down the trail, knowing Heyes was right. “We’d better get goin’,” he said, taking his partner by the good arm, who wordlessly relented, allowing himself to be helped.
Their pace was hampered somewhat now and gunfire came more frequently from their pursuers. Heyes was steadily losing blood and growing weaker by the minute. Curry was getting desperate. Should they surrender in the hope of getting Heyes the help he needed or should they forge on, in the hope of some kind of miracle?

As Curry was contemplating the dilemma, Heyes suddenly stumbled and sank to his knees. A fine sheen of perspiration glistened on his forehead and his cheeks burned red. Curry wrapped his arm around his waist and began to lift him up once more.

“Leave me, Kid,” Heyes moaned.

Curry clenched his jaw and ignored him with a grim determination.

“You’ve got a chance on your own,” Heyes continued weakly.

“I ain’t leavin’ you, Heyes,” a resolute Curry interjected.

“Got to ….” As the words left his mouth, Heyes’ head began to loll and his knees began to buckle, as unconsciousness threatened to claim him. Curry found himself simultaneously cursing and praying.
It was then that he saw it. An answer to his prayers. The miracle he’d hoped for. A horse, his horse, standing peacefully grazing a little way ahead.

Curry trembled in gratitude and with a defiant surge of energy, half carried, half dragged his partner towards the animal. Rousing Heyes into a fitful state of consciousness, he managed to manhandle him up onto the saddle. Slipping his own foot in the stirrup, he swung up behind him and spurred the horse forward.

All they had to do was avoid the other half of the posse and get Heyes some help before it was too late. But there was a chance - now they had a horse.

'If I hadn't seen such riches I could live with being poor.'
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