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 I Put All of My Faith in You

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royannahuggins
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Join date : 2013-10-13

20150226
PostI Put All of My Faith in You

There're dreams that people wish would come true, but Heyes doesn't want his dream. He's been having a recurring dream that has Heyes puzzled and Kid worried about his partner.



I Put All Of My Faith In You
by C.M. Crowther



In the sky, the cold harvest moon fought with the dense clouds, which threatened to smother out its light.

A lone rider, on a skittish horse, tried to persuade his mount to keep moving, while still trying to calm him down. The road snaked through the tall pine trees and the mountain range, which made it hard for one to see far ahead. The road seemed to go on forever, with the wind whipping around and stirring up debris. The horse reared and threw its rider.

The rider got up and ran after the horse, but had no possibility of catching it. He stopped the chase and looked into the vast darkness surrounding him. The man quickly turned around at the sound of a loud growl.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The screams of a young boy broke the silence of the night. A concerned father went rushing into the bedroom to see what was wrong. Curled up in a ball, the boy was buried in his covers. The father reached out and touched the ball, and the boy jerked away from his father's touch.

"Please don't hurt me!" screamed a terrified boy.

"Son, it's your pa." The father was upset that he had frightened his son more.

The crying stopped, and he watched the small body unroll. "Son, you can come out from your covers. I'm lighting your lamp."

A small head peeked out from under the covers, and his terror was reflected in his dark brown eyes. The father scooped his son into his arms, and gave him a protective hug. Tears landed on the man's shoulder, where the boy's head rested.

"Hannibal, it's only a dream," the father whispered softly.

"But...but it was so real," sobbed Hannibal. "It was so dark and scary."

"I'm here, you'll be safe." His father did his best to reassure him. However, Hannibal still felt the threat of his dream, and not the warm loving arms of his father. The young man couldn't remember his son ever being scared, because Hannibal always charged head first, no fears, with lots of confidants.

After all, Hannibal had a big responsibility. He watched out for his little cousin. Hannibal had made that promise to his Grandpa Curry. His Grandpa told him to be strong for both of them; that Jedediah was too impulsive at times, and he had an Irish temper.

After an hour, a weary father entered the kitchen and sat down heavily in the chair. His wife was up making coffee, and she turned when she heard him. A mother's worry showed on her face, and he wanted to comfort her, "He'll be all right. He's back to sleep now."

"You know, but those two boys are having a hard time, with my father's death. They idealized him, and they feel completely lost without him." A tear ran down her cheek, as she spoke of her father.

Her husband smiled and said, "Well I never saw a grandpa, who was as proud of his grandsons, as he was of Hannibal and Jedediah. I think he enjoyed them more when they were in trouble. He said that at least the boys knew how to do it big time, and not same little petty stuff that most boys get themselves into. Sometimes, I thought your father's chest was going to burst open, with all the boasting he did over for those boys. He said he never saw two boys, who were each other's half."

"Jedediah has been waking up and calling for his Grandpa, this past week. Father would be so upset about how his death, has affected the boys." The mother had tears ran down her cheeks.

The next day, Hannibal never said a word about his dream to anyone. That was his Grandpa Curry's job, to listen to the boys' dreams. While Hannibal walked over to the Curry's farm to see his cousin, his Grandpa came to mind. He could see his Grandpa telling him, "Dreams might be telling you something, so pay attention to them."


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the high mountain range, the temperature was dropping. The horse's breath could be seen, coming from his nostrils, against the blackness. The rider looked to the back of his saddle, where his rolled up coat, was tied to his bedroll. The rider wished his horse would settle down, so he could stop and get his coat. Suddenly the horse reared up, caught the rider off balance, and he was thrown hard to the ground.

For a moment, the rider was stunned, and then he lost his patience with his horse. He got up and started to run after the horse, when suddenly his ankle gave out on him. He must have twisted his ankle in the fall. He stood looking into the darkness around him, he heard a growl; he drew his gun; a mountain lion jumped the man. Beast and man rolled on the ground...


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

VALPARAISO HOME

Jed woke to the screams of his cousin Han, who was having a bad dream. He jumped down from his top buck, to calm down his cousin. If he didn't settle down, he would be in trouble, for waking up the other boys. Jed placed his small hand on Han's back to let him know, he wasn't alone.

"Han....Han, it is me, Jed. No one is going to hurt you, I'm here, I'll protect you," whispered Jed.

Han woke up terrified. Jed was leaning over, talking to Han, when someone grabbed a hold of the neck of his nightshirt. He was pulled out of the room. Before Han knew, what was going on, Jed and the man from the staff went down the hall.

Dragged into an empty room the man yelled at the small boy, "Jedediah, you know after the lights are out, you aren't allowed out of your bed. You were so loud, I heard you in the hallway. Do you have anything to say for yourself?"

"No sir." Jed wasn't going to say it was Han, yelling in his sleep.

"Plus you were trying to wake up Hannibal, which is another infraction! That makes three infractions, and another one for bothering me this late." The man was furious. He picked up a thick leather belt, and demanded Jed to turn around.

Jed did as he was told, because he was protecting Han. Jed had no idea what was about to happen, because he had never been struck by a belt before. Standing with his back to the man and half-asleep, he was shocked when the belt hit the back of his legs. The force of the belt made his little legs buckle and he landed face down on the wooden floor. The man stood over Jed and brought the belt down on Jed's back. The boy screamed from the pain, and the next blow knocked the air out of Jed's lungs. The fourth blow knocked him unconscious; this made the man annoyed at the little eight year old, who couldn't take the belt. With fury, he brought the belt down on Jed's bare legs, again. The man picked Jed up by the back of his nightshirt. He carried the little boy down the hall, with his legs and arms dangling in the air. He reached the closet, tossed him onto the floor, and then slammed and locked the door.

By the time Han was wide-awake, he had no idea where Jed had taken off to, because his bed was empty. He decided, since he was awake, he might as well go to the chamber-room. Han hoped to see Jed there, or in the hallway coming back to the room. There was no sign of his little cousin. Coming from the other direction was the staff member on duty.

Han said matter of fact, "Chamber pot."

"Oh it's you! Well, Jedediah won't be waking you up for a few days, that's if he can walk by then," the man said, sarcastically and laughed.

Han balled up his fists and stormed away. It took all of his willpower not to attack the man. The man saw the anger in the boy's dark eyes, and the threat that showed on his face. A cold chill ran down his back, and the man didn't like that feeling. He thought, "I better keep a close eye on that one!"

Han wondered what could've caused his cousin to be punished. Then he remembered his dream, and Jed talking to him. He realized his little cousin had taken the blame for him.

The staff ate their breakfast first, before they woke the children. Han waited for the last sound of the footsteps in the hall, before he quietly went to search for his cousin. His heart was pounding hard as he searched the rooms on that floor. Panic filled him, when he realized the only place left was the closet.

He ran to the closet, the door was closed. Han hoped he was wrong. When he reached for the doorknob, his hand shook. He'd seen boys coming out of the closet before and they had been badly beaten. He hoped for the door to be unlocked, because that meant Jed wasn't in there. He turned the knob halfway and it stop turning, it was locked.

Han's throat tightened and it was hard for him to speak. "Jed?...Kid, are you all right?...Kid...can you hear me?...Kid, please answer me!"

Han had his head against the door, trying to hear any noise from inside the closet. He heard nothing.

Han was terrified and he had to get to his cousin. "Kid, I'm going to find a way, to open the door. Don't be scared, I'm coming." Han's voice cracked with fear.

Han remembered reading about a man using a crochet hook to jimmy a lock. He knew Miss Edwards had some with her yarn. He knew where she kept it and went running down the hall for it. He grabbed three different sizes and ran back to the door. It took ten minutes, before Han heard the lock click open.

The door opened to reveal Jed lying in a heap on the floor, face down. What Han saw scared him. "No! I can't lose Jed, too." Jed was still when Han touched his shoulder, and shook him gently.

A small voice whimpered, "Please don't beat me. I'll be good."

"Kid, it's me. I'm sorry I got you in trouble. Can you move?" Han's voice trembled.

"No, it hurts me to move." Jed closed his eyes, and then he realized that his cousin was by his side. "Han, how did you get in here?"

Han told Jed all about jimmying the lock. While he was talking, he lifted the nightshirt and saw the big welts on Jed's back and legs. Han swore to himself that he would get even with that man. Jed asked about the nightmare that Han had that night. Han knew it was the least he could do for his cousin, so he told him about his dream. After he was done, Jed asked, "Did you call me, Kid?"

Han hadn't called him, Kid, since they came to the Home. "Yes, I'm sorry," Han said.

"Why? I like it when you call me, Kid." Jed tried to lift up his head to look at his cousin. Shooting pain went through his sore body and he cried out.

"Lay still Kid." Han got up and checked the closet for something to put under Kid's head, and he found a couple of old blankets. "I'm going to put one under your head. Are you cold?" Kid said yes, and Han carefully covered him.

That day, was the first for many things, for the boys. It was the start of beatings they received; Heyes' first lock he picked; Kid covering Heyes' back from the outside world; and Kid hearing about the dream. The same dream that would reoccur over the years for Heyes.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The sound of the mountain lion attacking his next meal was deafening. The man on the ground had his arm up, trying to protect his face and neck. His right arm stretched out reaching for something on the ground. His hand moved all around franticly searching. The moon broke out from behind the clouds to reveal a Colt 45. The man took his fist to the lion's head. At first, it stunned the cat, and then anger took over. The lion took its mighty paw and batted the man. The man looked like a limp rag doll flying crossed the ground.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In a Dark Hotel Room

The unexpected shouts of Heyes woke Kid, and put him in a defensive mood. With one fluent motion, Kid was standing beside the bed with his gun drawn. He was looking for the danger that Heyes had alerted him to. In the dark, Kid saw the chair still propped under the doorknob, and no one else was in the room, besides Heyes, who was asleep.

Kid lowered his gun, shook his head, and said to himself aloud, "He's going to give me a heart attack, one of these days."

Kid put his gun back in the holster that was hanging on the bedpost. He leaned over, gently put his hand on Heyes' back. He then softly called out, "Heyes...Heyes, are you all right? It's Kid, come on and wake up."

Heyes opened his exhausted eyes. "Sorry, I woke you up, Kid." Heyes pushed himself to a sitting position, thinking over his dream.

Kid watched Heyes' reaction after waking. "It was the darn dream again!" Kid was concerned and angry that the dream kept haunting his partner.

Heyes didn't answer, because he saw his partner wanted to talk about the dream.

"Heyes, you had that dream four times in the last six weeks."

Heyes answered sarcastically, "Yea Kid, I was there."

Kid was frustrated, "I don't understand why you keep on having the same dream. You know it can't hurt you, don't you?"

Heyes was serious when he said, "Do you remember what Grandpa Curry said, that dreams might be telling us something? One has to pay attention to what you dream."

Kid yawned, "Heyes...Didn't you say this dream started after Grandpa Curry passed on? Where we lived, there were no mountains. I know you never saw a mountain lion then." Kid was trying to make sense of the dream, so Heyes would dismiss the nightmare.

"I know Kid, but I feel there's more to this dream." Heyes felt uneasy. "It's like a puzzle. Where it feeds me more pieces of the dream, and I have to put it together, to see what it is."

"When the dream started, we didn't know that many people outside of our family, so it's not about anyone we know. How long ago was that, twenty years? The man in your dream, was he young or old?" Kid tried to reason it out.

"The man was around our age. I know it would make him around forty-seven to fifty years old now. I know Kid! It's a crazy dream," Heyes said a little loud.

"In your dream, did you see the man's face or his hair color?" Kid stared into Heyes' eyes.

Heyes was agitated, "No!"

"In all these years, you never saw his face? That should tell you something." Kid crossed his arms over his chest. "Are you all right, Heyes?"

"I'm fine. You're right, it's just a silly dream," Heyes lied.

"Then, it's all right to go back to sleep?" Kid looked tired.

"Yes, get some more sleep. You got that job to leave for, in a couple of hours," Heyes was concerned. After Kid lay back down, it only took a few minutes, until the sound of his breathing told Heyes he was asleep. Heyes was happy to see this, but he couldn't go back to sleep. The dream filled Heyes' thoughts, as did his concerns about Kid taking the job. His uneasiness had caused an argument with his cousin, about taking the job alone.

Kid told Heyes, "You know we can't afford to turn down the fifty dollars, for delivering the stallion to the breeder. It should only take a week."


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Heyes' job ended the day after his partner left town. The plans were for Heyes to rest up, and for him to play some poker with the miners. When Kid was done with his job, he was come back to town to meet up with Heyes.

Kid had been gone, for four days, and Heyes couldn't get his partner off his mind. There was something nagging him about his cousin, and Heyes didn't understand why. Kid had telegraphed him a day ago. He had reached the town that was close to the ranch, and everything was fine.

It didn't help Heyes' mood any that he had the dream twice, since Kid left. He was trying to play poker, but his mind kept drifting to his partner and that darn dream. He decided to call it a night. When he collected his money, he had won $150.00. Even this didn't make Heyes feel any better.

In his room, Heyes prepared for the night by wedging a chair under the doorknob. He checked the windows to make sure they were locked. He was surprised how dark it had become outside. The clouds were hanging low, and were hiding the stars and the moon.

His thoughts turned to Kid. "He should be two days out and probably already asleep, in a nice warm bed."

Heyes couldn't relax the tightness in his stomach, which he'd all day. He wished the beers he drank had relaxed him. After half an hour of pacing, Heyes tried to read, but his mind would wander to his partner. Finally, Heyes' exhaustion, from the troubled nights of sleep, won over and he drifted off to sleep. Sometime later, Heyes was submerged in his nightmare.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kid had been riding hard since he delivered the stallion in Sweetwater. He wanted to surprise Heyes by coming back early. He knew he should've made camp for the night, but the thought of a hot breakfast, cooked by someone else, was too appealing to Kid.

He was traveling in a mountain range. The road winding around the mountainside, with dense pine trees on either side. The weather had turned with a hard blowing wind, which caused the temperature to drop. Thick clouds covered the night sky, turning it pitch black. Kid knew how dangerous it was traveling in these conditions. Stopping now meant a campfire to keep the wild at bay. It was the time of night, when the wild hunted for survival, making it too dangerous to search for firewood.

The wind blew debris around Kid's tired, skittish horse. Kid wanted to stop to get his coat off the back of his saddle, but he needed to get his horse to calm down first.

"Come on boy, you've heard the wind blowing before. We have less than an hour in the mountains and another hour, till we reach town." Kid hoped that talking would soothe both of their nerves. "I sure could use my coat. How about it, boy?"

Without any warning, the horse reared up, throwing Kid to the ground. At first, he was stunned, then mad. He got up and chased his horse. He yelled for it to stop. Kid stopped after he saw it was a useless effort, and his ankle was sore. He looked around him and saw only the dark forest. He said aloud, "Yea, I'm sure going to surprise Heyes, when I'm late."

Kid started limping down the road and then he stopped. "Great! The darn horse has my canteen, so now I have no water!"

As Kid thought about the conditions that lay ahead he suddenly remembered, "My coat!" Suddenly, Kid felt something was wrong, and he turned around just in time to see the mountain lion. He was only able to draw his gun half way before the loin hit his chest and arm, causing his gun to fly out of his hand. The roar of the lion echoed through the mountain range.

The fierce cry of the lion was well known to the other animals on the mountainside and they knew an attack was taking place. Everything moved in slow motion for Curry, and he had never felt this helpless before. The cat's claws tore through Kid's leather vest as its teeth came in for the kill. The cat swiped at his captive's head with its large paw. It needed to get a better grip on the man's neck. This movement tore off Kid's hat. The moon came out from the shallows of the clouds.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The hat went flying off the head of the man. Heyes saw in his nightmare, golden curls and startled blue eyes, staring up. Heyes fought to wake up. This time something wouldn't allow him. He was in a cold sweat and fought with his bed covers, and he dreamed on.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kid's right hand was desperately searching for his gun, while he tried to focus on what was turning out to be the fight, of his life. The two intertwined bodies had rolled further away from the handgun. With all of his remaining strength, Kid took a swing, with his fist, at the lion's head. The cat released its hold on Kid's body, and backed off, startled. A moment later, the cat cried out and swiped at Kid with its paw, knocking him across the ground, a few feet.

Kid landed hard, almost knocking the air out of his lungs. He landed on something that dug deep into his side. His right hand went to what was sticking in his ribs. His hand touched a familiar object. In one fluid motion, his hand pulled out the gun and fired. The bullet caught the lion as it sprang on its next attack, grazing its shoulder. With an ear-splitting cry, the lion ran off into the trees.

It took a moment for Kid to come to his senses. He knew he was still in danger, because a wounded cat was now more dangerous. Kid slowly raised his head and darkness wanted to engulf him. He closed his eyes to control the sickness in his stomach. With his eyes still closed, he slowly got to his knees. The blood from the cut from his forehead ran into his eyes. He tried to wipe it away with his shirtsleeve, but what was left of his torn shirt and vest was bloody, too.

Kid knew the only chance he had, was to get as far as possible away from the scene of the fight. He knew the lion would come back for the kill. With the amount of blood Kid was losing, it was going to be easy for the lion to track him. Kid looked at his wounded chest to see what he could do to stop some of the bleeding. He stripped off his vest and shirt. His chest was bleeding the worst, so he wrapped the remains of his shirt around it. He wrapped his bandana around his forehead, but he had to leave the rest of injuries un-bandaged.

He looked around for the nearest tree, because he needed to grab hold of something to pull himself up off the ground. Kid managed to drag his body the short distance to the tree.

"All right now, just get up on your feet." Kid talked angrily to himself, "Or are you going to wait around for the lion to come back?" Kid wrapped his arms around the trunk of the tree. "Come on, pull yourself up! Do you want to be the lion's dinner, and then have your bones picked clean by vultures? Get up!"

Kid struggled to pull himself into a standing position. His left shoulder and his chest felt like he'd torn the damage skin more. He stood and hung onto the tree, while he fought to stay conscious. "Get moving! Are you going to still be hugging the tree, when that lion comes back?"

Kid turned around and leaned with his back on the tree, while he figured out which way to go. "The river has to cut through here somewhere. That's my only chance to lose the lion. Get to the river, so he can't smell the blood." Kid threw his body towards the next tree and grabbed hold, and kept doing this as he slowly moved away from the spot of the attack. At the same time, he was unwittingly marking the trees with his blood.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Heyes woke up startled, and his heart was pounding hard in his chest. He had called out to his partner, just before he woke up. Heyes knew he had no time to waste. "I have to find Kid before the lion.....No! I won't allow that to happen, not to Kid." As Heyes gathered up his gear, he tried to reason with himself. "Kid wouldn't have traveled at night, not through the mountains. It' too dangerous. We only do that, if we're being chased."

Heyes had seen the end of his dream that night, and it really shook him up. His heart was pounding so hard, it felt like it would break out of his chest. He rush out of the hotel and headed to the stable. He was lucky it was open all night, so he was able to get his horse. Heyes rode out of town towards the mountain range, with his partner the only thing on his mind.

The distance between the flats and the mountains was at least an hour's ride. Heyes rode his horse hard to cut down that time, because he knew the mountain trail would be slower going. At the foot of the mountain, Heyes stopped to water his horse. There he slipped on his coat. He saw how hard his horse was breathing and he said, "I'm sorry, boy, but Kid is in trouble. We'll be taking it slower later. Let me know if you sense Kid's horse or...." Heyes hated to say the word, "...blood. Ok, boy?"

Heyes looked towards the sky and said, "This looks just like my dreams." He prayed, "Please help me....don't let Kid die." Heyes' voice cracked, "Pleaseee."

Heyes checked his gun and rifle, and got his hunting knife out of his saddlebag. He noticed the three rolls of bandages.

Heyes was annoyed with himself that he hadn't checked before now. "I forgot about the ointment, it's in Kid's saddlebags, and I'll need more bandages."

Heyes was upset that he had nothing else to make bandages out of, and Kid's clothes were on his missing horse, if his dream was correct. "I'll worry about that later; first I have to find him."

Half an hour into the mountain range, Heyes saw something moving up ahead. His horse lifted his head and whinnied. Heyes got down, pulled out a lantern from his saddlebag, and lit it. Heyes had taken the lantern from the stable, just before he rode out. He walked towards the spot where he had seen something move. Something came towards him. Heyes shone the light over towards it and drew his gun. Seeing the animal approach, Heyes called out, "Easy boy."

The horse came up to Heyes and he grabbed the reins, and led it over to his mount. He checked the horse over and found what he already knew would be there, Kid's gear, and his coat. From here on end, he would walk and lead the horses. He hoped they would smell the blood, so he could pick up Kid's trail.

Heyes worried that Kid would suffer from exposure at this high an altitude. He had no coat and he knew he was injured. He fought back the temptation to call to his cousin; not wanting to attract the mountain lion, his dream told him was out there.

He was walking into the wind and the horses were calm. This had Heyes concerned; because he felt that, they should've smelled Kid's blood by now. Heyes started to search frantically for any sign of his cousin. The thought of their Grandpa Curry came to Heyes. Looking towards the sky, Heyes called out, "Grandpa, I need to find Jed, but it's so dark!"

He walked further down the road, moving the lantern from side to side. Heyes thought, "Nothing!" His grandfather kept coming to mind, and what he said, "Pay attention to your dreams. They just might be telling you something."

"All right, Grandpa. I'll use the dream," He said, as he looked skywards. He closed his eyes and retraced the dream from the beginning. "The man was thrown from his horse, and the moon was to his left. The horse ran south of him." Heyes looked around. "That's what happened to Kid and his horse ran south. All right, then the mountain lion came leaping from behind him, and knocked him down. They rolled around in a clearing. Well, I haven't seen any clearing." He closed his eyes tight, to bring the dream to mind.

"Wait! There was a dead, fallen tree on that side of the road. So, if I can find a dead tree, will I find the place Kid was attack?"

Heyes walked awhile, until he saw something in the distance. He pulled on the horses to quicken their pace, and half way there, the mounts pulled back and cried out in alarm. Heyes moved them back down the road, and they settled down. He knew if the mountain lion had riled up the horses, they would still be upset. He securely tied them to a tree, and walked down the road to check it out. His gun drawn, he held the lantern high to light as wide an area as possible. "Is that the dead tree?"

When Heyes got closer, he saw the dead tree and he ran towards it. He saw there was a clearing on the other side of the tree. He looked for any sign that Kid had been there. It didn't take long, for the light to reveal Kid's blood on the ground.

Heyes' heart was pounding hard. "There's more blood here, than in my dreams. There's the blood trail of the lion. Now where's Kid's trail? There should be a tree; he used to pull himself up."

Heyes found where Kid dragged his body over to a tree. He saw something lying on the ground near the tree. He put the lantern down and picked up what was left of Kid's vest. Heyes' heart sank. The reality of it all came flooding at him and he realized he still might lose his best friend. He knew time wasn't on his side, and he had to find a way to cut down his search time.

He went back to the horses, and took the supplies he thought he could carry, that wouldn't slow him down; including the bandages, he would need for Kid. He knew walking with the horses would hinder the search, so he left them behind. Heyes set out following the blood markings on the trees, until to his frustration he lost them. And then he found the bloody paw prints of the lion.

"Oh my god, it's tracking him!” Heyes was afraid the end of his nightmare would come true. He checked his rifle again to be sure it was loaded and carried it, ready to fire.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kid's mind and body were fighting each other, as he tried to make his way to the river. He used the trees as support to keep himself upright and moving. Unfortunately, this led him on an indirect path to the river, sometimes he got turned around, and he had to back track. His survival instincts told him that the lion was closing in on him, and he had to get to the river.

In Kid's mind, he repeated the words, "Just find the river. Find the river. Keep thinking....keep your mind working...can't pass out....forget ankle.....chest ...hurts." Kid had a hard time hearing the surrounding noises for the sound of his heartbeat. His injuries were draining his strength and his ability to think clearly. All he wanted was to close his eyes. Leaning on a tree trunk with his face resting on it, he closed his eyes. "Just for a few minutes...."

When Kid's body relaxed, he slipped down the tree, and it jarred him awake. The rough bark dug into his skin and ripped off the makeshift bandage around his chest. Reality came rushing back to him, and he thought there was a real possibility he was going to die. "The lion is going to maul me to death, or rip open my throat."

He pulled himself back up the trunk. His body was in a great deal of pain. Kid looked down at himself and said, flippantly, "I could always bleed to death, or die from exposure before the lion finds me. I could only hope."

Kid leaped to the next tree, which changed his direction again. He was exhausted, breathing hard, and losing hope. Curry thought about how worried his cousin was going to be. "Heyes will never know what happened to me. I need to get to the river. I should've heard the moving water by now." Kid's spirit was failing and he cried out, "I was so STUPID, traveling through here at night."

When Kid finally found his way to the river, he faced another problem, how to get into the water. He looked down the slope leading to the river and started laughing. He said aloud, "Well, it looks like I have a good chance in breaking my neck. See, I don't have to worry about the lion then."

He sat down hard on the ground and pushed himself toward to the top of the slope. He slid part way down until the ground gave away, and he tumbled the rest of the way down. He landed hard on the riverbank, hitting his head.

Ten minutes later, he opened his weary eyes. Curry tried to rise up and there was a sudden shooting pain through his body. His breathing was labored as he said, "I guess that's telling me, I'm still alive."

He took a big breath and moved again. "Oh my god....that hurts. I'm alive, but I don't see me making it through the night. Heyes, I'm sorry."

Kid's hand went to his holster and was relieved his gun was still there. He slowly crawled to the water's edge and spotted a large limb in the water. Kid thought, "If I can get that limb floating, with me on it, just maybe, I can float down stream and lose the lion."

Curry worked his way over to the limb; he knew the risk he was taking. Between his injuries and the icy water, he was likely to lose consciousness, if he didn't make the jump he was planning. He had to be sure to land on the branch, because he wouldn't have a second chance. He entered the water, and threw his body towards the limb. The force of Kid's body hitting the limb started it moving down the river. Kid never knew he made it; he was already unconscious.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sheer terror was threatening to overpower Heyes. The end of his nightmare was constantly in his thoughts, and he was trembling. He didn't know if the trembles were from the mountain air or from his own fears, for his partner.

From the point of the attack, Heyes had search for an hour for his wounded partner. He knew Kid would have a survival plan in place to defend himself. Heyes worried about the path he had followed. It didn't make sense. His partner had changed directions too many times. He knew from his dream that Kid ends up at the river.

In his gut, Heyes felt that he should quit following the blood trails, and head for the river. He noticed how deadly quite the area had become, as he tried to listen for the river. Heyes knew when a predator was on the prowl, the other animals fell silent.

Heyes noticed he'd been holding his own breath, too. He exhaled, and started breathing again. He heard the river, and it was close by.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kid was floating in the current, until the limb got hung-up on a beaver dam. Curry was still unconscious showing no sign of coming around. The cold had slowed down his heart and breathing. The mountain lion had followed Kid's scent down to the river, and then he followed the river in hope, of finding its prey.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

While Heyes searched for the river, the end of his nightmare came back to him.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A trapper rides into a town with a body tied a cross a horse's back. Blond curls of the dead man blown in the wind, and a blanket covered his body. The man in buckskins cut the ropes that held the body on the horse. When he lift the body off, the blanket falls away, and one could see the dead man had his throat torn out, and he was mauled. He had a violent death. Then Heyes saw the man's face and it's Kid's. The trapper said he found him in the mountains by the river.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Heyes found the river. He had shone the light around, to find an easier way down to the water's edge. He climbed down and headed in the direction the water was flowing. Five minutes down the riverbank, Heyes saw where Kid had come down.

"Oh Kid, you never can do things the easy way," Heyes said t affectionately scolding his partner. The light showed that the ground had given away under Kid's body, and he had lost more blood.

Heyes heard the cry of a mountain lion claiming his prey. He cried out, "Kid!" He took off running, stumbling along the way. He hoped that he wasn't too late to help his cousin.

Heyes first saw the lion standing on top of a beaver dam. The cat was reaching down for something. When he got closer, he saw Kid's bare back lying across a tree limb. The lion had its mouth opened ready to clamp down on Kid's head, to pull him up. Heyes' reflexes took over, and he heard his rifle fire. He saw the lion fall into the river, landing beside Kid's legs.

Heyes was relieved to see the lion floating in the water, until he noticed Kid hadn’t moved. Heyes frantically cried out, "Kid!....Kid!" He looked for any response. His voice cracked, "No! I can't be too late. Kid!"

Heyes rushed over to the dam, to see how he was going to get his cousin to shore. He knew if he went into the cold water, there was a chance of shock to his system. He would be no use to anyone then, and he could drown. If he climbed onto the dam, and it broke loose, he would lose his friend downstream.

Heyes stood at the water's edge, and stared at the bodies of lion and his cousin. The clouds had thinned out, and the moon shone through, casting its light on the lifeless bodies. He would have to bring in the lion first, to be able to reach his partner. Heyes uncoiled his rope and made a lasso, and it took a couple throws to get the loop around the cat. Its body bumped Kid's once, and Heyes' stomach knotted up. Kid slipped down a little more into the water, but no further. After the cat was on shore, Heyes knew he didn't have the time, to mess around trying to lasso Kid. He knew if he didn't do this right, he could lose his partner in the current.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He swung the rope and the lasso caught the branch in the middle of the limb, and slowly pulled it towards him bring Kid closer. Heyes was relieved when he wrapped his arms around Kid's chest, and dragged his limp body to shore. He laid him down, and carefully turned him over onto his back.

He searched for signs of life. He looked at his friend's injuries, noting how much blood Kid had lost. Kid's breathing was shallow. He took his and Kid's bandanas and made them wet in the river. He made many trips to the river, so he could clean up Kid's wounds, put ointment on them and then bandaged them. As time wore on, Heyes became concerned about how cold Kid was.

Heyes decided he set up camp, so he could care for Kid better, He went ahead started a campfire. After he had everything laid out that he needed, he dressed Kid in some dry clothes. As he wrapped him, up in blankets. He knew he had to raise Kid's body temperature, so he took the rocks from the fire ring and buried them under some dirt. They were hot from the fire and they made the ground warm, when Heyes covered them. He placed Kid onto the warm earth and made sure he was covered. He rebuilt the fire ring and placed extra rocks around it, so they would get hot, too.

He felt again for a heartbeat, and he realized Kid's temperature had risen. Heyes leaned down and in a soft voice said, "Kid, I found you. You're safe. I killed the lion, he can't hurt you anymore."

He put the wood he had gathered, along the riverbank, onto the fire. He watched his cousin, while he thought over what to do when dawn came. He had to find shelter for Kid and treat his wounds better. That meant he had to go and get the horses, and that meant leaving his wounded partner alone. He wasn't sure he could do that.

"I'll wait until dawn. I can travel faster and ride back." He looked at the moon and saw it was already low in the sky. "I've two hours until sun rise; maybe Kid will be awake by then."

For the rest of the night, Heyes would warm up more ground and then move Kid on top of it. For a period of time, Kid started trembling. A few hours later, Kid seemed to warm up and his body relaxed.

At dawn, Heyes rubbed his tired eyes, stood up, and stretched his weary body. He knelt down beside his partner. Kid was still unconscious, and Heyes decided not to try to wake him up. That way, he could leave right away and hopefully before Kid awoke. He knew time could make the difference for his cousin's survival.

He checked the area to be sure it was secure and put more wood on the fire. He made sure Kid was covered, one more time before leaving. He knelt beside him and said, "Kid, it's Heyes. I have to leave to get our horses. Kid, can you hear me? Kid?" He took his hat off and placed it on top of Kid's chest, so he would see it when he woke-up. "You're not alone, Jed."

Heyes turned and ran down the riverbank out of sight.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Half an hour later, Heyes came riding back, with Kid's horse in tow. He had found Kid's hat, and he had it hanging from his saddle horn. He jumped down and rushed over to his friend. Kid's eyes were still closed and his breathing was unchanged. Heyes didn't know what he really expected to see, but he was still disappointed. He got up to secure the horses. He had walked a few feet when something dawned on him. He quickly went back to his cousin and looked down at him. He saw Curry's hand had a hold of the brim of his hat.

Tears sprung to his eyes, and then Heyes heard, "Hannibal, I had put all of my faith in you. Jedediah is safe because of you. You listened to your dreams."

"Grandpa?" Heyes asked his voice sounding like that of a scared child.

He stood listening for Grandpa, but there was nothing. Heyes felt suddenly peaceful and it had been a long time, since he'd felt that way. Then he heard Kid call out, "Grandpa, I want to come with you!"

"Kid, you're staying here with me," Heyes stated. His cousin was mumbling and in distress. Heyes knelt down beside him and touched his arm, to calm him down. Kid reacted defensively, as if being attacked once more by the mountain lion.

"Jed, it's Heyes. I'm here, nothing can get to you," his partner told him. He tried to calm him down so his movement didn't start the bleeding again. He began to tell Kid his plans even though he didn't think his partner could hear him. "I need to get you to town, and have you checked over by the doctor."

Heyes was looking towards the river, when Kid came to. He listened, hearing the pain in his partner's voice. Kid was and wasn't surprise to see Heyes there with him. He could see how tired his cousin was; saw his partner before that mask went back on.

Kid heard Heyes say, "I knew there something was wrong about you taking this job. This is my fault! I should've listened to my gut feelings."

Kid couldn't take anymore of Heyes beating himself up. He started to say something, but all that came out was a hoarse moan. Heyes looked down at his partner in time to see him open his eyes again and say, "Heyes."

Heyes smiled with relief to see his partner's eyes open. "Take an easy." Heyes leaned over his partner, so he could see him better. "Do you want some water?" Heyes asked. Kid nodded his head, yes.

Heyes held the canteen up to Kid's mouth, and after a few sips, Kid tried to talk again. His breathing was labored and talking slowly. "This was my fault, not yours." He tried to lift himself up off the ground to talk to Heyes, face to face.

Heyes wanted him to stay put, but he saw the look of determination on Kid's face and decided to help him sit up. "All right, but you let me do the lifting, ok?" he said.

After Heyes got his cousin propped up, he held the canteen for him to drink. Kid was obviously in pain and his face was pale. "Kid, are you all right? Do you need to lie back down?" Heyes asked clearly worried.

"I'll be fine. This isn't your fault it's mine. I was stupid to be traveling through here at night. I was looking forward, getting back in town, so I could have a decent breakfast," he said.

Heyes laughed and said, "Kid, I don't think either one of us could've stopped this from happening. This was in the cards for us, since we were little."

Kid's eyes were getting heavy and he was fighting to keep them open. He managed to say, "I don't understand."

"The dream I kept having, you remember it, don't you?" Heyes asked.

"How can I forget your nightmare!" Kid asked.

Heyes put his hand on Kid and said, "It turns out it was a warning about last night. It was a way for me to find you. I had that dream a few times, while you were gone. Last night, I had it again. I saw it to the end, and I saw your face."

Kid didn't say anything at first. Heyes watched as his partner's forehead wrinkled as he thought. Kid looked up into Heyes' eyes and said, "I was supposed to die, wasn't I?"

Alarmed by the question, Heyes lied, "No! I was to find you!" There was no way he would tell his cousin the end of his dream.

"Does that mean no more dream, right?" Kid hoped.

Heyes smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. "I would believe so," Heyes reasoned.

Kid started to rise up, and Heyes asked, "What do you think you're doing?"

"I didn't go through all this to not get breakfast," Kid said it with a stubborn look on his face.

Heyes still had his hand on Kid's uninjured shoulder, when he asked, "Are you sure you can ride?" He was watching his partner closely to see how much pain he was in.

"You help me into the saddle and I'll be able to ride." Kid was determined.

"All right, but you let me to do the work," Heyes stated. Don't put any weight on your ankle."

"What?' Kid asked with confusion.

"Your ankle is still swollen. I had to take your boots off, to get your wet clothes off. You don't have any boots on," Heyes said.

Kid wiggled his toes and pain shot from his ankle. He tried to mask his pain, by the squinting his eyes closed, and biting the inside of his lip. This didn't go, unnoticed by Heyes, who asked, "Are you sure you're ready to ride? We don't need to be in a hurry, there's no one chasing us."

Kid said, "I'm fine. I was just wondering if my feet won't get cold, with just my socks on?"

"No, your little toes should stay toasty. You got two pairs on," Heyes said, grinning. He knew his cousin was covering his pain. Besides, he really didn't want Kid to spend another night outside, with his injuries

"Heyes, how did you know about my ankle?" Kid wondered.

Heyes only said, "The dream."

Kid nodded his head in acknowledgement. They both silently agreed that was enough about the dream, for now. Heyes doubted that was the last time, he would hear about the dream from his partner. As he prepared for their departure, he thought, "I better be careful about telling Kid about my dreams, for a while. I might make him jumpy!" Heyes involuntary smiled and thought, "It's good to have Kid back!"

He slowly lifted his cousin up and leaned him against his horse. A few minutes later, Kid was sitting in his saddle.

Kid looked down and saw Heyes' uncertainness. "I'm fine, Heyes," he assured his friend.

Kid was having a hard time holding himself in the saddle. It took all of his remaining strength to get on the horse. Heyes knew there was no way Kid could ride by himself. Heyes pulled himself onto the horse behind him.

Kid muttered, "I can ride by myself, I'm fine."

Heyes saying, "Well it sure don't look like it."

Heyes rode out with his horse in tow, with the mountain lion tied on the back. As they rode, he could feel Kid's body go limp and he leaned forward. It was slow going, and Heyes felt his cousin twitch in pain. He was relieved when they came to the stream, so they could stop from awhile.

Heyes helped Kid down from the horse. He spread out a bedroll and helped his cousin to lie down. Kid fell asleep as soon as he was covered up. Heyes made a fire and in a short time, he was drinking some coffee.

Kid woke about an hour later, ready to start ridding again. Heyes had no complaints from his partner about stopping, so the remainder of the trip, whenever he felt Kid needed to rest, he stopped. This had Heyes worried, because this wasn't normal for his partner. Heyes knew Kid had to be in great pain, and he was doing his best not to worry his partner.

The last leg of the trip, Kid announced, "I can ride on my own."

Heyes wanted to say, "Are you sure? If you fall off your horse, you'll tear open your cuts." Instead, he said, "Sure Kid, whatever you want."

He helped Kid up on his horse, and they started towards town. Heyes just rambled on about anything he could think of, to keep his partner awake. Every time he saw his partner slump in his saddle, he asked Kid a question.

"Where do you think we should go after you heal up Kid?" Heyes asked.

"Anywhere there aren't mountain lions, will be fine for me." Kid's breathing was labored. All of the sudden Kid stopped his horse, and he looked at the horizon. He could barely make out the silhouette of the town. He called out, "Heyes?"

"Is something wrong?" Heyes asked, sounding worried, as he rode up beside Kid's horse. Kid looked drained. "Do you want to stop for a while?"

"No, we're almost there. Just that, it's probably too late for breakfast," Kid sounded disappointed.

Heyes smile widened. "If you want breakfast, I'll get you breakfast!" Heyes held in his laughter.

"Thanks Heyes!" Then Kid nudged his horse forward. Heyes could see the way Kid was riding; it was taking all his strength just to stay in his saddle.

When Kid got down the road a piece, Heyes looked skywards and said, "Thank-you Grandpa. Oh by the way, you have one stubborn grandson!"

Heyes caught up with Kid and he asked, "Now Kid, what do you want for breakfast?"

_________________
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.
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