Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

Buckshot Enterprises Presents a site for posting and reading Alias Smith and Jones Stories
 
HomePortalFAQSearchRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
royannahuggins
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 419
Join date : 2013-10-13

20140309
PostBattle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado




What do you get when you combine a property dispute, a few sticks of dynamite and a couple of wanted outlaws?




Starring Pete Duel and Ben Murphy


Doug McClure as Bob Nelson


Maureen O’Hara as Maggie Nelson


Michael Burns as Tim Nelson


Bo Hopkins as Jason Luckett


Mills Watson as Wade





Battle of Nelson's Creek
by Coronado



Riding through the canyon in the coolness of the early morning, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry were both nearly thrown from their saddles as a deafening roar broke the stillness and their horses bolted.

“What the hell?” the Kid asked, drawing his gun and trying to control his frightened mount.

Heyes was having the same problem, and when both of them had gotten their horses under control, they urged them up the rugged path that would lead to the top of the canyon. Once they reached level ground, they looked around.

“I don’t see…” the Kid began, and then his partner pointed.

“Look – over there. See that creek?” Heyes told him. “Now look to the left. Where the banks of the creek get real high.”

Curry squinted. “What are they doin’?” he asked, watching three men digging in the dirt of the steep bank.

“My guess is they’re setting dynamite charges,” came Heyes’ answer. “We might be better off getting off and holding the horses.”

Nodding, the Kid quickly dismounted and Heyes followed suit. A few moments later, they watched as the men suddenly scattered and then another explosion sent dirt and rocks flying. Their horses danced and snorted nervously, but the partners held tightly to the reins and tried to soothe them with their hands and voices. They watched as the men by the creek stood together talking and gesturing among themselves before they walked behind a group of huge boulders. Seconds later they were all mounted and riding off in the opposite direction of where Heyes and the Kid had been traveling.

“What do you make of that?” the Kid asked, as they mounted their horses.

Leading the way back down the ridge, Heyes shrugged. “I have no idea. Unless they’re trying to make some kind of pond.”

“Yeah, that could be it,” Curry agreed. “How far you think the next town is?”

“I don’t know, but I’ll bet we don’t make it before dark. I figure we’ll have to find a place to camp soon.”

The Kid’s answer was lost in the shrill neigh of his horse as the gelding slipped on some loose shale and lost his footing. As he stumbled, Curry tumbled out of the saddle and landed on the hard ground. Quickly, Heyes pulled up his mare and dismounted.

“You okay?” he asked, helping his partner up.

Gingerly, the Kid stretched out his arms and nodded. “Yeah, I think so.” He looked over at his gelding and added, “But he’s not. Look how he’s keepin’ his weight off his left front.”

“Here,” Heyes handed the mare’s reins to Curry and went over to the bay. “Come on, boy, let’s see how bad you’re hurt.”

The gelding willingly came when Heyes tugged on the reins, but he limped. “Guess we’re ridin’ double,” the Kid said with a sigh.

“Let’s start looking for a place to camp,” Heyes said, once they were both mounted on his chestnut and the Kid was holding the reins of his gelding. “Or, better than that, maybe we’re not too far from a ranch where we can buy a horse.”

“Let’s hope we find a ranch first,” Curry said.

The sun was beginning to dip behind the distant mountains when Heyes pulled the mare to a stop. “Look, Kid. We’re in luck.” He was pointing to a crudely lettered sign at the fork in the road. “Nelson Ranch,” he read aloud.

“Let’s hope we make it before dark,” the Kid said, and Heyes pushed the mare into a fast walk.

There was barely enough daylight to make out the corrals, but they could see a small ranch house clearly, and as they rode into the yard, a man came around the corner of a good-sized barn. “Can I help you fellas?” he asked in a friendly voice.

“We were hoping you might have a horse we could buy,” the Kid said. “Mine’s gone lame.”

Giving a slow shake of his head, the man answered, regretfully, “Sorry, but I don’t have any horses to spare. How bad’s he hurt?”

“We think just a bruised tendon,” Heyes answered. “We were riding down off the ridge back there and he slipped.”

“Well, why don’t we have a look at him?” The man smiled, “Sorry, I’m forgetting my manners. I’m Bob Nelson. I own the ranch.”

Curry slid off the mare and stepped forward to shake Nelson’s hand. “Thaddeus Jones.”

“Joshua Smith.” Heyes also dismounted, and he and Nelson shook hands.

“Let’s see what we’ve got here…” Nelson murmured, as he ran an experienced hand down the leg of the Kid’s gelding. “Feels hot,” he said as he straightened up. “I can put some cold compresses on it – take a few days to heal up.”

“How far to the nearest town?” Heyes asked after a quick look at the Kid.

“It’s about a day’s ride. You boys in a hurry to get someplace?” Nelson asked.

“No, not really….” Curry’s voice trailed off, returning a glance in Heyes’ direction and then they all turned to look at the house as the front door opened.

An attractive middle-aged woman with auburn hair called out, “Bob? Everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine, Maggie. Set two more places at the table for supper, okay?”

“Will do,” she answered and went back into the house.

“Mr. Nelson,” Heyes began, but the rancher cut him off.

“Look, you boys aren’t going anywhere tonight. Stay and have supper with us. You can bed down in the barn for the night. In the morning, you can decide what you want to do.”

The Kid shrugged and then nodded. “Makes sense, Joshua.”

Heyes also nodded and gave Bob a smile. “Guess you’re right. And thanks for the offer.”

****************

When they sat down at the table, Maggie introduced them to Tim, their son. He acknowledged Heyes and the Kid with a friendly “pleased to meet you,” and they all began to eat the delicious meal in front of them.

After everyone had been served coffee and pie, Mr. Nelson cleared his throat and began, “You know, I could use some help around here if you boys want to stick around while Thaddeus’ horse heals up.” He threw a glance at Mrs. Nelson, who gave him a slight nod.

The silent exchange between husband and wife went unnoticed by Heyes and the Kid as they were devoting their attention to their plates.

“What do you think? Would you be interested?”

“I think this is about the best apple pie I’ve ever had, ma’am,” the Kid said. “Sorry, what did you say, Mr. Nelson?”

“I asked if you’d be interested in staying here and helping me out with some chores while your horse heals up.”

Heyes took a drink of his coffee and looked pointedly at Nelson. “What do you think Thaddeus and I can do to help you?”

“Look, I’ve noticed how you wear your gun …”

“We don’t hire out,” the Kid said brusquely, before Nelson could finish.

“Okay, but you look like you could handle yourselves if things got a little, well, rough.” He paused and then after receiving a nod from his wife, continued, “We’ve had some trouble with the fences,” he admitted.

Brown eyes met blue, and only Heyes could read the doubt and suspicion in the Kid’s expression. Pulling his chair a little closer, Heyes rested his forearms on the table and said quietly, “Fence trouble usually means a range war. Is that what we’re talking about here?”

“Not exactly,” Nelson hedged.

Another look shared between the partners. Then the Kid spoke up, his words spoken in a patient tone. “Then why don’t you tell us exactly what we’re talkin’ about.”

“Go on, Bob, tell them,” Mrs. Nelson urged, as she took away their plates and brought the coffee pot back to the table to refill their cups.

After a moment's hesitation, Nelson began, quietly, "Two years ago, there was a severe drought in this area. A lot of the local ranchers were selling off small parcels of their land to make ends meet. That's how I came to buy this plot, fair and square, from Matthew Luckett. But then, Matthew died, leaving the Double L ranch to his son, Jason. And with the rains we got last spring, the range is a lot greener now, and Jason wants this piece of land back. He's been dynamiting, trying to re-direct the creek that feeds my land and part of his. He figures if he can cut off my water supply, he can buy me out cheap.”

“Isn’t that illegal?” Heyes asked.

“No, because technically the creek is on his land. Ethically it’s not right, but there’s no law on the books that says he can’t do it.”

“There should be!” Mrs. Nelson said, emphatically, as she set down her coffee cup on the table with a thump.

“There isn’t, and believe me, we went to the circuit judge about it. He agreed that what Jason’s doing is morally wrong, but the law is on his side.”

“And what do you think our being here is going to do?” Heyes wanted to know.

“Maybe if he sees you two, he’ll think I’ve hired somebody to protect my land and my family.”

“Has he tried to hurt you in any way?” This came from Curry.

“No, but it’s only a matter of time before he does.” Nelson glanced over at Tim, who had been silent during their discussion. “I’m afraid to let Tim do any of the repair work by himself because I’m afraid Jason might try something.”

Heyes finished his pie and, after glancing at the Kid, drained his coffee cup and stood up. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m afraid we can’t help you. Might be best if I left for town tomorrow and tried to get another horse for my partner and then we leave. Coming?” he asked Curry, who nodded.

“Thanks for the meal, Mrs. Nelson. And,” he added with a touch of regret, “I’m sorry we can’t help you.”

“Can’t?” Mrs. Nelson asked, angrily. “Or won’t?”

Heyes gave her a tight smile. “Good night, ma’am. And thank you for a wonderful supper.”

The partners nodded to Bob and Tim, and walked out the front door.

As they headed toward the barn to settle in for the night, Heyes glanced at his partner. The Kid had his head down, but Heyes could see the thoughtful expression on his face. "No, forget about it."

"Forget about what?” Curry asked in bewilderment. "I didn’t say anything."

"But I know that look."

"What look?"

"The look you get when somebody tells us about their problem and you think we need to help them fix it." Heyes stopped his partner with a hand on his arm. "Range wars can get nasty – you know that. We need to stay out of it."

"They're nice people, Heyes. Somebody could get hurt."

"Yeah, you're right. And that somebody could be either one of us."

Continuing on toward the barn, the Kid kicked at the ground in frustration. "It's not fair," he stated, bitterly.

"No, it's not. But we've seen it happen before. We don't need to call attention to ourselves by getting in the middle of it."

“Yeah, okay,” Curry conceded. “I guess you’re right,” he added, unhappily.

****************

The early morning sun filtered through a few cracks in the barn wall, and it woke up Curry. He looked over to see Heyes rubbing a hand over his face. “Mornin’,” the Kid yawned.

“Morning,” Heyes returned.

“Heyes, I’ve been thinkin’...”

“I was afraid of that,” Heyes replied, dryly.

Sitting up, the Kid faced his partner. “Just listen for a minute, okay?”

“I’m listening.”

“It shouldn’t take my horse more than a couple of days to heal up, right?”

“Could be more like three or four,” Heyes said.

“I think we oughta take Nelson up on his offer to help out…” he held up his hand when it looked as if Heyes was going to say something before he finished. “Not that kind of help. Just workin’ around the ranch. At least he won’t have to worry about his son being out there alone.”

Grudgingly, Heyes nodded. “I don’t see any other way, either. Town’s too far away and I don’t think we want to try buying a horse from Jason Luckett.”

“Exactly my point. After all,” the Kid said as he stood up, “how much could go wrong in two or three days?”

“A lot,” Heyes muttered, darkly.

They brushed off their clothes, raked the hay out of their hair with their fingers, and made themselves as presentable as possible given their sleeping accommodations. As they walked up to the house, Tim came out and said, “I’ll show you where you can wash up – Ma’s got breakfast on the table.”

Once they were seated at the table with steaming plates of food that Maggie had brought out, Heyes looked at Nelson.

“Thaddeus and I were talking it over and we still don’t want to get involved in whatever you have going on as far as Jason Luckett is concerned, but we’re willing to stay on until his horse heals up. We can give you whatever help you need on the ranch in exchange for our keep.”

Maggie gave him a smile before she turned to her husband. “Bob? We sure could use the help.”

“We sure could, Joshua. And I understand you not wanting to get involved with our problems. But I’ll gladly take you up on your offer.”

After breakfast, they went out to the barn, and Heyes began to saddle his horse.

Tim led out a roan gelding and said to the Kid, “This is Rowdy – you can use him while you’re here.” The Kid nodded and Tim brought out a lanky chestnut. “This is my horse. Pa got him for me right after we bought this place.”
Bob came out of the house and said to Heyes, “Joshua, why don’t you come with me up to the north pasture and we’ll work on the fence line. Tim can take Thaddeus with him to where the creek needs to be cleared out.”

Before they mounted, Heyes came over to the Kid. “Be careful out there,” he said, quietly.

“You too. Watch your back.”

Tim led the way out of the yard with Curry following.

****************

An hour later, Tim indicated the creek they could just make out in the distance. “That’s where we’re gonna be workin’. We had a lot of rain a few weeks ago and some brush and small trees got washed down and they’ve dammed up the water so it’s only a trickle.”

The Kid nodded and asked, “Your pa didn’t want you comin’ out here alone, did he?”

“No, he didn’t. But the fences in the north pasture needed fixin', too.” He flashed a smile, “I’m real glad you and your friend stuck around.”

“Well,” Curry grinned, “Your ma’s one fine cook.”

Tim laughed, and it wasn’t long before they were both sweaty and covered with mud from the creek as they pulled out branches and other debris. Taking a break, they sat on the bank and took long drinks from their canteens.

Looking around, Tim said abruptly, “I wish pa’d let Mr. Luckett have the ranch.”

“You don’t like ranchin’?” the Kid asked in surprise. “I thought you liked it here.”

Shrugging, Tim tossed a piece of long grass into the water and watched as it lay on the surface, swirling gently as it moved downstream. “It’s okay, but I’d rather be closer to town so I could go to school. I had to leave when we moved here.”

Curry didn’t reply right away. Then he said, “Yeah, my partner really likes to read – he was always happier in school than me.”

“You’ve known him that long?”

“We grew up next to each other. Been ridin’ together ever since.”

“Yeah? That’s a long time.” Tim stood up and nodded toward the creek. “Guess we better get back to work.”

****************

A few minutes later, Tim was on the bank taking the branches Curry handed him. “Thaddeus, you can…” He cocked his head and asked, “Do you hear that? Ever heard a snake sound like that?”

The Kid dropped the branch he’d just pulled out of the water and listened intently. The sound he heard caused him to jump back on the bank as he yelled, “That’s not a snake – get down!”

Slow to react, Tim stared at him in bewilderment, and Curry launched himself at the youngster, knocking him to the ground just as an explosion showered them with rocks and dirt. Moments later, the Kid cautiously picked up his head and looked around. It was completely silent now, just the murmur of the water as it played over the rocks.

“Tim?” The Kid got up and shook Tim’s shoulder, but didn’t get a response.

The horses had bolted at the sound of the explosion, but they were both slowly making their way back to the Kid and Tim. “Easy, boys,” Curry said, soothingly, “Easy, now. I’m gonna need your help to get Tim back to the house.”

Tim’s chestnut came over and nuzzled the young man’s hair and looked at the Kid with a curious expression. “Yeah, I know, but he’ll be okay.” Turning to the roan, he carefully tied the reins around the saddle and then Curry lifted Tim up into the saddle and climbed on behind him. Pushing the chestnut into a walk, he made a clucking sound with his teeth and the roan began to follow them. “That’s it, come on,” the Kid urged him. “I’ve got my hands full here so you’re on your own.”

****************

“I guess Jason’s at it again,” Bob said to Heyes when they heard the dynamite go off. But Heyes narrowed his eyes as he looked in the direction of the blast.

“No, I don’t think so,” he answered, slowly. “That came from where you sent Tim and Thaddeus.”

Immediately alarmed, Bob went over to his horse and quickly mounted. “Let’s go!”

As they crossed the meadow, they could see two horses with one of them carrying two people. They quickly closed the distance, and when they were closer, Bob could see the Kid supporting Tim in the saddle.

“What happened?” Nelson asked, anxiously, as soon as they were within speaking distance. “Is he…?” the sentence trailed off as the fear in Nelson’s eyes conveyed that he was imaging the worst. He kept pace with the Kid as they continued toward the house.

“He’s just knocked out,” Curry assured him. “Somebody set off some dynamite behind a bunch of rocks…”

“What about you?” Heyes asked, grimly.

There were cuts on his partner’s face and his hands, but the Kid gave him a lopsided grin. “I’m okay.” He looked at Bob and said, apologetically, “I’m probably the reason Tim’s unconscious. I had to act fast to get him out of the way. Havin’ me comin’ down on top of him…”

“Probably saved his life,” Bob said gratefully. “I don’t know how I can thank you, Thaddeus.”

“Did you see anybody before it happened?” Heyes asked.

Curry shook his head. “No. Nobody was around when we got there. But there’s a lot of brush where somebody could have been hidin’. Our backs were to those rocks most of the mornin’.” He paused and added, thoughtfully, “Must have been a pretty long fuse.”

“Why do you say that?” Bob asked.

The Kid glanced at Heyes who answered, “Me and Thaddeus have worked a lot of jobs over the years and mining was one of them. We’re both pretty good with dynamite, and we know about timing and how long a fuse needs to be in order for somebody to get away before it blows.”

Nelson nodded, satisfied with Joshua's reasoning.

Tim finally began to stir as they reached the yard, and Maggie who had been hanging clothes, came running to meet them.

“Oh, Tim, what happened?” she asked, as he slowly opened his eyes.

“Ma?” he said in confusion, before they slid shut again.

Bob quickly dismounted and carefully lifted him down. “He’s going to be fine, Maggie,” he assured her. “Thank goodness Thaddeus got him out of the way in time.”

“What are you talking about?” she asked in a bewildered voice, as she followed her husband into the house. “Take him into our room,” she instructed, as she quickly began filling a basin with water from the pump in the kitchen sink.

Heyes and the Kid had also come into the house, and as soon as Bob had laid Tim on their bed, he came back out. “Honey, let me take that in for you. Why don’t you show Joshua where we keep the rags and salve so he can tend to his friend.”

A few minutes later, the Nelsons were in their bedroom, and Heyes had the Kid sit at the kitchen table while he cleaned the cuts on his face. “Oww!” Curry drew back sharply.

“Sit still,” Heyes admonished him. “I’m almost done.”

When he had applied the salve to the cuts, he turned his attention to Curry’s hands. “I can do those myself,” his partner said.

“Just let me do it, okay?” Heyes replied. “I can do a better job.” As he carefully cleaned out the dirt in the scratches, he asked, softly, “You think Jason did it on purpose?”

“I dunno, but he seemed pretty serious, if that’s what you mean.” He gave his partner a faint grin. “Used at least two sticks, but we might wanna keep that to ourselves.”

“Maybe just to scare them?”

The Kid shrugged. “I guess it depends on how bad he wants this land.”

“Yeah, I don’t want the Nelsons getting too curious about how we know so much about dynamite,” Heyes agreed. He finished with the wet cloth and then applied the salve.

“Feels a lot better. Thanks.”

Heyes looked at him, critically, and asked, “How’s your head?”

“It’s achin’ a little,” Curry admitted.

They both looked up as the Nelsons came out of the bedroom, closing the door behind them.

"I think he's going to be fine," she said, and Mr. Nelson closed his eyes in thanks. "He'll need rest, of course." She looked over at the Kid. "Thank you for looking out for him."

"I sure wish it hadn't happened," Curry assured her. He looked over at Heyes, who had been staring at the fire, but was now looking at Mr. Nelson.

"Do you have any paper?" he asked, abruptly.

"Paper? What kind of paper?" the man asked.

Almost at the same time, Mrs. Nelson asked in bewilderment, "What in the world do you want paper for?"

A knowing look passed between the partners, and the Kid gave Heyes a small smile. "You've got a plan?" As Heyes nodded, Curry snorted. "What happened to stayin’ out of it?"

Heyes looked away for a moment and then turned to them, his mouth set in a grim line. "They changed the rules,” he said, coldly. "They made it personal."

Bob exchanged a look with his wife and then asked, “What are you going to do?”

Looking at his partner, Heyes said, “Thaddeus needs to get some rest. I need you to find me some paper and then make some tea.”

The Kid started to protest, “I’m okay, Joshua…”

Mrs. Nelson spoke up, “He’s right. You really should try to sleep for awhile. Come, you can use Tim’s room since he’s in ours.” Curry didn’t move, and she placed her hand under his arm and gently tugged. “You won’t be much good to your friend if you don’t get some rest.”

With an air of defeat, the Kid allowed her to steer him into their son’s room, and he obediently lay down on the bed while Maggie covered him with a quilt. “Thank you, ma’am,” he managed to say, and then closed his eyes.

Going back out to the kitchen, she filled the teakettle with water and said to her husband, “Remember that box we packed my few pieces of china in?” He nodded and she continued, “I’m pretty sure we wrapped some of them in paper and it should still be in the box.”

Nelson nodded and went into the small storage room off the kitchen.

Heyes sat silently, but Maggie watched as he slowly clenched and unclenched his hands which were lying on the table. “Your friend will be fine,” she said, unnecessarily, and he looked at her sharply.

“Yes, I know,” he replied, evenly. “But nobody hurts my partner and gets away with it.” He looked up as Bob came back into the room with two very wrinkled pieces of white paper. Reaching for them, Heyes gave an approving smile. “Perfect. When that water is hot enough, I need you to make the tea in something that I can put the paper in. Like a skillet.”

“I thought you wanted to drink it,” she said, in a puzzled voice.

“No, it’s for something else. I’ll explain when I’m done.” Turning to Nelson, he asked, “Can you draw me a map on one of the papers?”

Sitting down at the table, Bob asked, “What kind of map?”

“Oh, just put down your ranch, where Luckett’s spread is, the creek, some of the ridge line, just enough so somebody would recognize it.”

“Okay,” Nelson replied, slowly. “Then what?”

“When the other paper’s ready I’ll just copy it. I don’t want to take a chance on ruining the other piece.”

Maggie rummaged around until she found a pencil and handed it to her husband. The teakettle began to whistle and she found a skillet to pour the water in. Then she sprinkled some tea leaves into the water. Heyes got up and watched as the water began to turn brown. When he thought it was dark enough, he slid in the paper and waited a few moments as the Nelsons looked on. Then, he pulled it out and held it, dripping, above the skillet.

“We need to hang it up so that it’ll dry,” he told her.

She frowned for a moment and then her expression brightened. “I think I know what will work.” She went into her bedroom and came back with her sewing box. She threaded a needle and drew it through a corner of the paper, tying the end with a knot. Then she did the same thing with the other corner, leaving a loop. After tying off the other end, she was able to dangle the paper by the loop, and she hung it on a nail by the fireplace.

“There!” she said in a pleased voice. “That should work.”

Heyes gave her a tired smile. “It’ll work fine,” he assured her. He turned to Nelson, who was working on drawing the map Heyes had requested. “Looks pretty good,” he complimented, and Bob grinned.

“Never thought I’d be doing something like this. Are you going to tell us how this plan of yours is going to work?”

Heyes yawned and shook his head. “Not tonight. Think I’ll go and sleep on the floor in Tim’s room. I want to be there in case Thaddeus needs something.”

“I’ll get you some extra blankets,” Maggie said, quickly. She went into her bedroom and came out with several blankets and a pillow. “Are you sure you’ll be comfortable?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Heyes told her, sincerely. “Anything beats sleeping outside. Good night.”

When he got into Tim’s room, he could see that the Kid was asleep, and Heyes pulled the door shut behind him. He removed his boots, but left the rest of his clothes on. Settling himself on the floor, it wasn’t long before he was sound asleep, too.

****************

Waking up several hours later, it took the Kid a few seconds to remember where he was. The moon was full, and he could clearly see the objects in the room – including his partner on the floor next to the bed.

“Heyes,” he whispered. “You awake?”

“I am now,” came the groggy answer. “You okay?”

“Yeah, my head hardly hurts at all. But those cuts on my hands are really sore.” A moment of silence passed and then the Kid asked, “You figure out what your plan is?”

“Yup.”

“You gonna tell me about it?”

He grinned. “I think you’re going to like it. This is what I'm thinking, Kid...."

****************

Waking up the next morning, Heyes saw that Curry was already sitting up and rubbing his eyes.

“Mornin',” the Kid greeted him.

“Morning,” Heyes replied. “Maggie must be up already; I smell bacon.”

Sniffing appreciatively, the Kid nodded. “Me too. And maybe biscuits.”

When they walked out of the bedroom, they noticed that the door to the Nelsons' room was open and Tim was awake, propped up on several pillows. He gave them a wave and Maggie looked up from tending the stove.

“I’ve got some hot water here and a basin, boys. Thought maybe you’d like to wash up before breakfast.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” the Kid nodded, and Heyes went over to pour the water into the basin and then took it into the bedroom.

Bob came in and handed them several towels. “Here you go. And here are your saddlebags – need anything else?”

“No, thanks,” Heyes told him. “How’s Tim?”

“Says he’s fine,” Nelson smiled, “But we’re keeping him in bed for today.”

They quickly washed, shaved, and changed into clean shirts. They joined Bob at the table where Maggie set heaping plates of food in front of them. “I’m going to take Tim a plate and eat with him,” she said before going into the bedroom.

The men at the table were quiet as they gave their attention to the excellent breakfast and when they were having a second cup of coffee, Maggie joined them. “I don’t have any words to thank you, Thaddeus,” she said, as she put her hand over his on the table. “If you hadn’t been there for Tim…” her voice trailed off as the Kid gave her a smile.

“I’m glad he’s going to be okay, Miz Nelson. I guess we were both just lucky.”

“So,” Bob began, “Are you ready to tell us about this plan of yours?”

Heyes finished his coffee and pushed the cup away. “I’ll need the map you drew last night and the other paper. Oh, and pen and ink if you have them.”

Maggie got up to get him the items he asked for, and he nodded approvingly as she handed him an inkwell and pen. “Anything else?” she asked.

“A suit,” Curry said, looking at Heyes.

Maggie and Bob exchanged puzzled glances and Heyes nodded. “Bob and I are about the same size. I need to look more like a gentlemen and wearing a suit would help.”

“Of course you may borrow it,” Bob said. “I’ve hardly worn it, so it looks almost new.”

Heyes carefully dipped his pen into the inkwell and began copying the map that Bob had made the night before onto the tea-stained, parchment looking paper. As he drew, he carefully smudged some of the ink in places, and while he worked, the Kid began speaking.

“Joshua is goin’ to be Winford Fletcher, and I’m goin’ to be his assistant,” he explained to Bob and Maggie. “We’ll take that map he’s drawin' and ride out to where your property line meets up with Luckett’s. Sooner or later, one of his men is gonna wanna know what we’re doin’ out there and will ride back to get his boss.”

“And what are you going to be doing?” Bob asked in bewilderment.

“Nothing,” Heyes grinned, as he looked up from his drawing. “But we want them to think we’re checking out your land for possible purchase.”

“How’s that going to help us?” Maggie asked in confusion.

“We hope that Luckett will come out to talk to us,” Curry explained. “We’re not gonna tell him anything, but he’s gonna be real curious. Tonight, we’ll ride into town, and Joshua will go to the hotel for dinner. I’ll go to the saloon and have a few drinks. Shouldn’t take too long, and then Luckett’s men are gonna try and find out what we were doin’. Then, Joshua will come in and drag me out of there, tellin’ me that I shouldn’t be talkin’ to people ‘cause nobody’s supposed to know about the telegraph line.”

“What telegraph line?” Bob asked.

Finished with his map, Heyes shook his head. “There isn’t one. But we want Luckett to think there is, and that you’re about to become a rich man when the owners of the telegraph line offer to buy your land at a decent price, of course.”

Looks of comprehension were exchanged between the Nelsons, and Maggie said, slowly, “You think Jason Luckett will ride over here and offer us money for our land after he hears that you want it for a telegraph line?”

The Kid and Heyes both nodded. “He’s a greedy man,” Heyes said. “And not a very patient one. You’re not giving in to him as he tries to divert your water supply, and who knows what he’ll come up with next. He could put alkali in your well, he could poison your cattle…and no way to prove he did it.”

Bob looked at the two men and drew in a deep breath. “How’d you two think up something like this? Have you done it before? To help somebody else?”

“Not exactly,” the Kid hedged.

“Some good friends of ours were taken in by someone who made them think the railroad was coming through their land,” Heyes quickly improvised. “But the railroad is too far away from here to be practical. A telegraph line can be put up pretty much anywhere.”

With a glance at their bedroom, Maggie took her husband’s arm. “Bob, I think we should let them try. They’re right about Luckett – he won’t be satisfied until he has this ranch.”

As Heyes carefully folded his “map,” he looked at the Nelsons with a somber expression. “There’s just one thing,” he began, slowly. “The whole idea behind this plan is to make Luckett offer you a good price for the land. If he does, are you willing to take it and leave?” They didn’t answer right away, and Heyes went on, “Because if you’re not, then there’s no point in going through with this.”

Nelson looked out the window for a moment and then returned his attention to Heyes and the Kid. “I like this place and I like the fact that I’ve been able to build something out here. But it’s not worth the lives of my wife and son. I know Tim misses going to school and he’d be happier in town.” He reached out and pulled Maggie to him. “Last time I was in town, I heard that old Mr. Grimes was thinking of retiring.” Glancing at Heyes and the Kid, he explained, “He owns the livery stable. With the money Luckett gives us, we could probably buy him out.”

Maggie nodded. “I love it out here, too. But if we have another dry spell, or a really bad winter, we might lose everything.”

“Okay, then,” Heyes told them. “If you’ll get that suit, I’ll get ready and we’ll ride out.”

****************

Luckett and Wade, his foreman, observed the two men riding up to the creek, and Wade spit out a wad of tobacco before saying, “What in tarnation do you think they’re up to?”

“I don’t know, but I aim to find out,” was Jason’s response, as he kneed his horse into a gallop.

Heyes and the Kid had been discreetly watching as they spotted the other two men and they gave each other a grin when they saw the riders approaching. When Luckett and his foreman got closer, they heard the man in the city slicker suit saying, “Are you sure?”

“Yessir, Mr. Fletcher. Absolutely.”

Pulling his horse to a walk, Luckett approached the riders and called out, “Good morning!”

Pretending to be startled, Heyes quickly folded the “map” he had been consulting and turned to the newcomers. “Excuse me,” he said, quickly, “This is a private meeting.”

Nonplussed, Luckett forged on. “I’m Jason Luckett…”

He got no further as Heyes interrupted, “How nice for you.” He turned back to the Kid, who was having a hard time keeping a straight face. “Now, as I was saying….”

His face turning slightly red, Jason said through gritted teeth, “Do you know who I am?”

Giving a snort of exasperation, Heyes turned to the rancher and said clearly, “No, nor do I wish to.”

“Dammit!” Luckett said, angrily, “I own most of this land! My spread’s the biggest around these parts…”

“Mr. Luckett, is it?” Heyes didn’t wait for a response before he went on, “My business isn’t with you. It’s with the owners of the land I’m presently standing on. Now, I must ask you again to leave my associate and myself alone to conduct our business.”

Luckett lowered his voice and moved his horse closer. “What kind of business? Something I should know about? Since my land’s just on the other side of the creek here.”

Speaking in a voice which showed he was holding on to his temper by the merest of threads, Heyes answered, “No, sir. It has nothing to do with you. Now, if you’ll excuse us…”

Waving his arm, Heyes indicated that his companion should follow him as he urged his horse away from Luckett and his foreman.

“Think he’s gonna follow us?” the Kid asked in a low voice.

“No, not now. But I’ll bet he’s mighty curious.”

****************

When they arrived in town, the Kid asked, “How about a visit to the bathhouse?”

“Yeah, I was thinking the same thing,” Heyes agreed.

As they soaked in the copper tubs, Curry said, “I was thinkin’ about an early dinner so I’ll go to the café for supper. Maybe you should go to the hotel.”

“Good idea. We don’t want Luckett’s men to get the idea that we’re friends. You’re just Mr. Fletcher’s assistant.”

****************

After dinner at the hotel, Heyes sat down in one of the chairs on the porch and lit up a cigar. He watched as the Kid entered the saloon and muttered to himself, “Let’s hope this works.”

Taking a table by the window, Curry sipped at his beer and later, when the Double L hands came riding in, Wade spotted the Kid as soon as he entered the saloon.

Murmuring to his companions, Dave and John, he said, “That’s the fella that was with the city slicker me an’ Mr. Luckett saw today.”

“Well, let’s buy him a drink,” Dave suggested. “Maybe he can tell us what they were up to.”

Walking up to the table where Curry sat, John gave him a friendly smile. “Hey, can we buy you a drink?”

The Kid looked at him, a puzzled expression on his face. “Do I know you?” he asked.

“No, but that doesn’t mean I can’t buy you a drink, does it?” Wade asked, cheerfully.

Trying to adopt just the right air of doubt and confusion, Curry gave a reluctant nod. “I guess it’ll be all right.”

When they were all seated with their drinks, Wade leaned forward and said in a low voice, “I saw you earlier today, didn’t I?”

Hesitating, the Kid nodded. “I was workin’ with Mr. Fletcher.”

“Yeah?” Dave asked, “Who’s Mr. Fletcher?”

“The fella that hired me to ride out with him and show him some land.”

“How come?” Wade asked, trying to sound nonchalant.

Curry shrugged. “I don’t know. I just met him a few days ago. He got off the train in Copperville and asked if anybody would be willin’ to ride out here with him.” Nervously, Curry looked around and whispered, “He don’t like me to talk to strangers.”

“He must have told you something about the land you were looking at,” Wade insisted.

“Noooo, not really. Just that the owner was going to be very rich, and very soon.” Suddenly, the Kid's eyes grew wide with panic and he added, “I’m not supposed to say anything to anybody…I better…”

Before he could finish, Heyes came into the saloon, an angry look on his face. “Mr. Jones! What are you doing in here?” Walking over, he stood next to the table and looked coldly at the Kid. “I certainly hope you haven’t been telling these men any of our private business!”

“No, sir, Mr. Fletcher, no sir,” Curry stuttered. “You told me…”

Hooking his hand under the Kid’s arm, Heyes said, brusquely, “Never mind. Come on, it’s time to go.”

Letting his “employer” pull him up and out of the chair, the Kid discreetly dropped a tattered, bedraggled slip of paper that had the words, Western Telegraph Line –Winford Fletcher, Agent, neatly written at the bottom with a signature.

****************

When they got back to the ranch and walked inside, the Nelsons were seated at the table and they were just finishing supper.

“How’d it go?” Bob asked, eagerly.

Grinning, Heyes took off his hat and hung it on the peg by the door. “I think it went real well, don’t you?” he asked the Kid.

“Yup, and right about now, those boys are hightailin’ it back to the Double L to tell their boss that the owner of this land is goin’ to be very rich.”

“And, they’re going to show him a piece of paper that has my signature as Winford Fletcher on it,” Heyes continued. “And I’m an agent for Western Telegraph Line.”

Maggie gave them a broad smile and came over to give them both a hug. “You two sure thought of everything!”

“Well, let’s hope so,” Heyes cautioned her. “Anytime you try and con somebody, there’s always a chance that something could go wrong.”

“How long you think it’ll be before Jason rides over here?” Bob asked.

“Could be later tonight.” The Kid took off his jacket. He looked over at the table and asked hopefully, “Got any more pie left?”

****************

After Heyes and the Kid finished pie and coffee, Bob glanced out the window at the night sky and said in a disappointed voice, “I guess he’s not coming tonight.”

“His men have to ride back to the ranch and tell him,” Heyes said, encouragingly. “By the time they explain what they found out and show him the paper, he’ll figure it’s too late to come out here.”

The Kid nodded and stood up. “I think Joshua’s probably right. Why don’t you all turn in for the night and we’ll go out to the barn.”

“That sounds like a good idea,” Maggie told them. “I’m sure he’s just waiting until morning. Good night, boys.”

****************

Making themselves comfortable in the hay, Heyes pulled up his blanket and asked, “What do you think?”

“I think he’ll show tomorrow,” the Kid answered, confidently, and then yawned. “'Night, Heyes.”

“See you in the morning,” Heyes answered.

****************

The next morning, they were awakened by the sound of the barn door opening and Bob called out, “Morning, fellas!”

“Morning, Bob,” Heyes responded, sleepily, and then turned to the Kid who hadn’t stirred. “Thaddeus, get up. Thaddeus!” He nudged the blond with his foot, and Curry opened his eyes reluctantly.

“I’m awake, I’m awake.” He sat up and blinked sleepily at Nelson, who laughed.

“Sure doesn’t look like it. Come on and get washed up. Maggie’s got breakfast ready.”

****************

They had just finished eating when they heard the sound of hoof beats in the yard, and Bob quickly went to the window. “It’s Jason and another man.”

Maggie and Tim hastily began clearing the table while Heyes and the Kid went into Tim’s room, pulling the door almost closed. When all the evidence of the meal had been whisked away, Maggie nodded to Bob, and he opened the front door.

“Jason!” he called as the other rancher dismounted. “What brings you out here?”

Luckett smiled widely as he came up the steps with his hand outstretched. “Morning, Bob.” Nelson shook hands and gestured him inside. “Much obliged,” Jason replied, as he and Wade stood in the main room. “Morning, Mrs. Nelson,” he said to Maggie, who was washing the breakfast dishes. “You both know Wade, right?” he gestured toward his foreman.

“Pleased to meet you,” she answered.

“Well, I won’t beat around the bush, Bob. I’m here to talk business.”

Nelson was facing the bedroom where the Kid and Heyes were hiding, and he could see the door was open slightly. “What kind of business? Seems to me you’ve been letting your dynamite do the talking these last few days.” His tone was cordial, but with a slight edge of anger in it.

“I’m real sorry about that,” Luckett said, as sincerely as he could. “Truly sorry. And I’ve come to make amends.”

“How?” Maggie asked, bluntly, as she dried her hands and joined the men.

“I’m here to make you an offer.”

“I’m listening,” Bob said after he and Maggie exchanged wary glances.

Jason went on, “I know there’s some folks that don’t believe in such things, but my daddy came to me last night in a dream and he had a clear message for me.”

Heyes gave a snort of amusement, and the Kid clamped a hand over his partner’s mouth. “Shhhh, he’ll hear you.”

Pulling Curry’s hand away, Heyes whispered, “I gotta admire the guy, Kid. That’s a pretty good story.”

They turned their attention back to the conversation between Bob and Jason, as Nelson asked, “He did, huh? And what was it?”

“He told me that what I’ve been doing is wrong. Trying to get the land back the way I’ve been doing. He told me that if I want this land so bad, then I need to offer you a fair price for it. And I’ve come to do just that.”

“What makes you think I want to sell?” Bob asked.

Jason fidgeted slightly, and Wade quickly broke in, “I heard in the saloon last night that there was some city slicker out this way lookin’ at your land.”

“Really?” Bob feigned confusion. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Jason pressed on, smoothly, “Doesn’t matter, Bob. I’m here to offer you twice what you paid my daddy for the land.”

“Why are you being so generous, Mr. Luckett?” Maggie asked, suspiciously.

“Because it’s the fair and right thing to do,” Jason told her with a smile. “And it’s what my daddy would have wanted.”

“I don’t know, Jason,” Nelson hedged. “Why don’t you let me think it over for a day?”

Heyes and the Kid looked at each other with identical expressions of admiration. “Bet he plays a mean game of poker,” the Kid whispered, and Heyes nodded.

“You drive a hard bargain, Bob,” Jason said, his affable behavior starting to wane. “But, I just know that my daddy would say…I’ll offer you three times what you paid.”

Maggie exchanged a look with her husband and gave him slight nod. “I think we should take it, Bob. After all, we both know that Tim would rather move back to town and go to school.”

Pretending to think for a few moments, Bob extended his hand. “You’ve got a deal, Jason.”

Relief washed over Luckett as he reached out and enthusiastically shook hands. “You won’t regret this, Bob, I know you won’t. I’ll be over later today with the papers and your money.” He and Wade began walking to the door, and Bob followed them outside and down the steps. “Just make sure you don’t change your mind,” Luckett said over his shoulder before they mounted their horses.”

“No,” Bob shook his head. “I won’t change my mind. I know my son wouldn’t want me to hold onto this land for him when he’s older; he never really took to ranching.”

“See you later today,” Jason called as they pushed their horses into a gallop.

The minute he stepped back into the house, Heyes and the Kid came out of the bedroom. Maggie was wiping away a few tears with her apron, and Bob was shaking his head in amazement. “Well, you boys sure pulled it off,” Nelson said.

“And you had us a little worried,” Heyes admitted, with a grin. “But I figured you were just stringing him along.”

“A little worried?” Maggie laughed through her tears. “I was afraid he was going to back out of the deal, and then he offered us even more!”

“I don’t know how to thank you,” Bob said. “I really don’t. There just isn’t anything I can say that would show you how grateful we are.”

“We’re glad it ended the way it did,” the Kid told him. “And if my horse is ready to travel, we should be on our way.”

“So soon?” Maggie protested. “You could stay another few days, couldn’t you?”

“Sure could use some help getting things ready to move,” Bob added.

Heyes shook his head. “Not a good idea for us to be around when Jason comes back. I sure wouldn’t want anything to go wrong before you sign over the land to him. If somebody recognizes us as Fletcher and his assistant, the whole deal would fall through.”

“I see your point,” Bob agreed, reluctantly. “But, once we have Jason’s money, we’d like to give you boys something for helping us out.”

“If we’re ever back this way, we’ll stop in town to visit,” Heyes promised.

“Let me pack some food for you,” Maggie told them. “It’s the least I can do.”

“We’d sure appreciate that,” the Kid told her with a grin.

Bob and Tim accompanied them to the stable where the Kid led out his chestnut, and Bob checked the injured leg. “He’s walking sound, and I don’t feel any heat. I think he’ll be fine.” He turned to his son, “Why don’t you saddle them up while I talk to Joshua and Thaddeus.” Tim nodded, and the men walked away a few paces.

Maggie came out and handed Heyes a burlap bag. “I still don’t know how we can ever thank you,” she said, and then gave each of them a quick kiss on the cheek. “Make sure you stop in if you’re out this way again.” They smiled and nodded, and she began wiping her eyes again. “I better get back inside before I really start crying!”

She hurried away, and Bob turned to them. “Look, boys, I’m coming into a lot of money later today, and I want you to have this.” He held out two twenty-dollar gold pieces, and as Heyes started to protest, Bob went on, “I’ve held on to these for an emergency, and I think this qualifies. If you two hadn’t come riding into our lives, I don’t know what we would have done. Thaddeus saved Tim’s life, and that’s sure worth a helluva lot more than forty dollars.”

The Kid looked at Heyes for a moment and gave a nod. “We sure thank you, Bob. And I can’t deny that sometimes jobs are pretty far apart for me and Thaddeus. We’re much obliged.”

Tim came over with their horses, and they mounted. “Enjoy school,” the Kid told Tim, and then they both nodded to Bob. “Good luck with the livery stable,” he added, and they walked their horses out of the yard.

****************

A few miles later, the Kid turned to his partner. “See Heyes? Sometimes doin’ somethin’ good for somebody turns out just fine.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Heyes said, grudgingly. “I just don’t think we should make a habit of it.”

“You worry too much.”

Heyes turned to him and grinned. “Me worrying keeps you out of trouble, Kid.”

“Yeah? Well, where were you when we got suckered into helpin’ Janet and Lorraine and Harry got a hold of us?”

“If I remember correctly, it was you that was so all fired ready to jump in and defend a lady,” Heyes retorted.

“You coulda stopped me!” the Kid told him, in an aggrieved voice.

“Me? Whatever happened to staying out of things?”

“Just because it was my idea and not yours...”

Their good-natured arguing continued as their horses flicked their ears back as if to say, “We sure have heard this before,” as they walked along the road that would take them to the next town.




(Writers love feedback! You can tell Coronado how you enjoyed the story with a quick comment. Just click Post Reply for the Comments for Battle of Nelson's Creek thread below the story.)

_________________
Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, the two most successful outlaws in the history of the west. And in all the trains and banks they robbed, they never shot anyone.
Back to top Go down

 Similar topics

-
» Helmuth's Strongholds Battle for Arnhem ruined house 2
» 2 Mordheim battle reports
» Wi-Fi battle anyone?
» Does anyone want a pokemon wifi battle?
» Want to battle? HG/SS
Share this post on: Excite BookmarksDiggRedditDel.icio.usGoogleLiveSlashdotNetscapeTechnoratiStumbleUponNewsvineFurlYahooSmarking

Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado :: Comments

avatar
Re: Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado
Post on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 1:46 am by royannahuggins
PENSKI - Wonderful episode, Coronado! I LOVE Heyes' line about them making it personal. Good casting, too. Could really see this as an episode - Heyes reluctant to help but everything turning out all right.
avatar
Re: Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado
Post on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 1:46 am by royannahuggins
GHISLAINE EMRYS - Great casting with Doug McClure as the good guy and Mills Watson as the bad guy! Lots of good banter between Heyes and Curry here, along with an excellent Hannibal Heyes plan. A very well-written story, thanks!
avatar
Re: Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado
Post on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 1:47 am by royannahuggins
SILVERKELPIE - Clever casting helps you to 'see' the episode unfolding and this was really in keeping with the series and a typical 'HH plan.' Really well done and very cleverly written.
avatar
Re: Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado
Post on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 1:47 am by royannahuggins
NM131 - Great VS story, very much like a series episode!. It was clever how you turned HH's reluctance to help into a bona fide Hannibal Heyes plan with the "it's personal" line. I also liked how you inserted flashes of humor, especially with HH's appreciation of JL's story of his dream. Well done.
avatar
Re: Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado
Post on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 1:47 am by royannahuggins
FRISCOGIRL - What a clever HH plan! I especially liked how you wove the thread of the dynamite throughout...from the first moment the boys' horses were spooked...down to where it "became personal." I could really visualize this as an episode. Bravo
avatar
Re: Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado
Post on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 1:48 am by royannahuggins
LANA COOMBE - Another excellent episode. Well thought out and not over written. Good guest stars, some great lines - liked the 'it's personal' one too - and good visuals. Shame we can't make them into scripts and make real episodes! Sigh!
avatar
Re: Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado
Post on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 1:48 am by royannahuggins
[Max here]
Oooh – redirecting the water supply. Settles back for a classic western plot kick off... Oh, Kid, you know the rules; you never ask ‘What could go wrong?’. Liking the boys dynamite knowledge coming in useful. He’s going to make an old (aka tea-stained) map. Am I right? I smell a con... Yes! Hurrah! Oh, well played boys, tease ‘em, draw ‘em in! Happy ending and – gosh, they even got paid. They NEVER get paid! Clapping hard here.
avatar
Re: Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado
Post on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 1:48 am by royannahuggins
Another wonderful episode, Coronado. Nice HH plan. Thought it was very funny the way Heyes said he was 'afraid of that' when the Kid said he'd been thinking. I also liked the way it got personal when Kid was hurt. And they really won as in got paid as well. What a turn up for the books! Well done to you. Clapping.
 

Battle of Nelson's Creek by Coronado

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 

Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Stories: Alias Smith and Jones  :: Virtual Season :: Virtual Season 2010/2011-
Jump to: