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 Why Must We Make It So Hard?

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royannahuggins
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Join date : 2013-10-13

20150226
PostWhy Must We Make It So Hard?

A few things happen to make Kid rethink his partnership with Heyes. This time it was different and Kid decided to end the partnership without Heyes' input and left.


Why Must We Make It So Hard?
By C.M. Crowther



A storm had blown in from the ocean that chilled you to the bone. No one in his right mind would be out in it and especially at such a late hour. The rainstorm had been raging for hours. They thought the pounding they heard was from the storm, so they paid no attention to it and turned in for the night. San Francisco can be a lonely and dangerous place for a person by himself, and Kid Curry was about to find this out for himself.


A month earlier

Heyes had awakened to find that Kid was already up. He smiled at the thought that a big breakfast always could get Kid up in the morning, early. No breakfast and Kid was a bear to get up.

Kid had been quiet since they had to leave the last town of Liberty, because of his fast draw. During the ride to this town, Heyes had tried to get Kid to talk but it didn't work. Instead, Kid completely shut down.

When they got into town and got a room, Heyes wanted to go to the bar, get a drink and maybe play some poker. Kid instead took his boots off and flopped on the bed.

“You coming with me for a drink and something to eat?” asked Heyes, who tried his hardest to be pleasant after that horrible ride with Kid, today.

“Does it look like I'm going?” growled Kid.

“I just thought it would do both of us good, to lighten up some, before calling it a night. There’s got to be a poker game going on in a town this size,” Heyes smiled hoping that would help some. “I know you said that you only have $ 7.50 left and I have $ 20. We could at least double that in a short time.”

Kid gave Heyes such a stormy look, that Heyes knew it was hopeless trying to break through Kid’s ill temper, and Kid snapped, “ Will you just leave me alone!? I'm tired of hearing your advice on how to live my life. Will you leave and give me some peace?”

The next morning he hoped that his partner had got up in a better frame of mind. Kid usually didn't stay moody long, especially after eating breakfast.

He hurried into the Hotel's restaurant, hoping to catch Kid still eating, but he wasn't there. He thought he must have gone to the diner, Heyes checked over there. Kid was nowhere in the diner. Heyes was about to leave when he asked, if a man of his height and blonde hair been in. He would've a large breakfast. He was told that the only man fitting that description had coffee and toast. He left knowing that man couldn't be his cousin. He searched all places he could have gotten some breakfast, and no Kid.

Heyes' gut feeling was telling him that something was very wrong. He went over to the stable and Kid's horse was eating away. “Maybe I am over reacting in not finding him. He's probably back in the room wondering where I am," Heyes was hoping.

Heyes went to the room expecting to see Kid lying on his bed and but instead it was empty. He was disappointed and he sat down on the edge of his bed. Heyes was deciding what to do next, when he saw that Kid's saddlebags were gone. He looked and his own bags were lying by the door. Heyes ran back down the stairs and over to the stables and their horses were still there.

Heyes was unsure with which direction to turn, stood in the middle of the street. The town seems quiet and most of the people were just starting to move around at the start of their day. He slowly walked by the jail and the men inside were talking and joking over their morning coffee. He could see that the jail cells were empty. He went back to the hotel and he looked in the restaurant, Kid still was not there. Heyes was about to lose it when he asked at the front desk if he had seen Mr. Jones.

"I'm sorry, but I just came on duty. Did you look in the restaurant?" asked the clerk, who was trying to be helpful.

It took all of Heyes’ remaining patience to control his stressed out emotions. A darkened shadow cast over Heyes' face, had put the clerk in an uneasy position. Trying to look busy, the man shuffled papers around and noticed a message in Mr. Smith's box. Taking it out, the clerk asked Heyes if he wanted the message now or later.

Heyes reached over the desk and grabbed the paper, turned and muttered "Thanks." Walking over to the stairs and reading the note, he came to a dead stop, gasping for air like someone had stabbed him with a knife. The desk clerk saw Heyes’ reactions and the paleness of his face. He was concerned and asked if Heyes was all right. Heyes didn't even answer the man and walked outside the hotel. "No, how in the world, can I be alright?” Heyes rushed back over to the stables and Kid's horse was still there. He couldn't understand what was going on with Kid. “How could this be true?”

The stable hand came up behind Heyes and asked, "Are you looking for a horse? I see that you been looking at this horse. I can make you a good deal!"

"What do you mean? This is my partner's horse!" Heyes was shocked.

"Oh, you must be Mr. Smith. He told me to show you the sale papers so you wouldn't tear the town apart. Plus here's a message from him," the stable hand said with disappointment in his voice on a missed sale.

The sales paper had Kid's handwriting on it. He handed it back to stable-hand and walked over to a pale of hay and sat down and opened the note he was handed.

SMITH,

I hope by now, that I'm a few hours away from this town. You need to do what you can to have the wonderful future that you deserve. It's better this way!

JONES

P.S. To save you time, I'll not be using a name you know!

Heyes put his head into his hands, with his arms resting on his knees. He looked like his whole world came crashing down on him. He took out the other note out of his coat pocket, opened it, and read it again.

SMITH,

You know I said that maybe we should go our separate ways for the amnesty. For you, the amnesty is more important. There have been times when you wanted me to have a blind eye on what is going on around me. If I see someone that needs help, I know that I'll jump in without thinking about it.

After yesterday, I know that I have to leave you. I almost got you killed. Did you think that I missed seeing that bullet grazed your shirtsleeve? I can’t have you backing me in gunfights, anymore. After I shot that man's gun out of his hand, his bullet went wild.

Hey-- You could have been killed!

My temper or fast draw will not be responsible for your death. LEAVE THIS BE, PLEASE!

JONES


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

PORTERVILLE

Sheriff Lom Trevors was sitting in front of the jail, when he saw Deputy Hanker rushing across the street. The deputy was waving a telegram out in front of him. The big man had a big goofy smile on his face when he announced, "You got a gram from your friend, Jones."

Lom took the telegram wondering where the boys were today.

“They sure can cover the ground from one telegram to the next. I never know for sure where they might end up or what trouble they got themselves into."

He looked at the paper and smiled at the length of the telegram. "Kid must have written this. Heyes sure didn't proofread this."

Lom laughed remembering times in the past, what Heyes did to Kid's notes. Kid's temper would flare up and he would storm away. Heyes always knew how to get Kid's goat.

Sheriff Lom Trevors/stop/Partnership has ended/stop/x-partner not responsible for my actions/stop/Tell Governor to take x-partner's future separately from me/stop/ Thank you for trying/stop/ Help partner see this was the right way to go/stop/TJ

Deputy Harker saw Lom's face turned to a hard expression that revealed the torment that the telegram caused. The Deputy was concerned, "Is there something wrong with the boys?"

"There sure the hell is! What did Hey....'seed' do now, to set Jones off!" stormed Lom.

"What happened?" asked the deputy.

Lom heard nothing the deputy said. He rushed over to the telegram office and stopped short of the door. It came to him that he had no idea where to send a telegram or to whom. The troubled sheriff slowly turned away from the door, and walked down the street with the feeling of complete exhaustion.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Late that night, Heyes entered the hotel lobby, tired and distraught. There was a young woman working behind the desk. Heyes did not notice of her, and was surprised when he heard, “Mr. Jones?”

Heyes looked quickly to see if Kid was there. There was no one else there besides him. Heyes saw that the woman was talking to him. “No, it’s Smith. Have you seen my partner?” Heyes repeated the same tired question, he had asked all day.

“Didn’t he check out this morning?” asked the clerk, who remembered Kid leaving because of her disappointment that the young blond haired man wasn’t staying. She went dreamy at thoughts of the pools of blue that took her breathe away when she first saw his eyes. She could have easily drowned in them.

Heyes brought the woman back to the present, “Did you see Mr. Jones this morning? Did he say anything? Did he ask you anything? I need to find him!” The clerk could see that Mr. Smith was concerned for his partner and she wanted to help him.

“I was on duty when he checked out. There was something about his eyes; I saw and felt a deep sorrow coming from him. Mr. Jones asked what time the diner opened, across the street. I told him around 5:30 a.m. He said ‘Thank-you’ and he left,” stated the lady, and then said, “I hope that helps some.”

The clerk smiled at the memory of Kid walking over to the diner and then leaning against a pole to wait. A satisfied gasp escaped her lips with a dreamy look. That man sure knew how to walk! She realized that men like these two were special and don't come to her town that often, she muttered, “Too bad!”

Heyes, who smiled, noticed her response. Kid has that reaction with most women and Kid is innocent of his effect on them. “How many times did I use that for an advantage? During train robberies, I would've Kid walk around the women and that would have a calming effect. However, it always had an opposite effect on the men. I guess they don’t watch Kid’s walk, the blue eyes and the blond curls like the women do.”

Then it dawned on Heyes, most women would remember Kid. Tomorrow Heyes would go back to the diner and asked the woman that worked there instead of the man. His mind was full of plans on what to do next.

“Mr. Smith, I hope that you are staying with us tonight. I left your saddlebags in your room, you used last night,” asked a young woman who was hoping that she did the right thing. She could have given the room away at least four times, but she saved it for Heyes.

“Oh. I’m sorry. I should have made arrangements with you earlier, but I had no idea that I was staying another night. I'm staying, and here money is for the room and the rest is for your trouble,” Heyes said with relief, “And thank-you.”

Heyes’ whole day had been spent hunting for his partner. Finding no leads on Kid made Heyes irritable. Heyes thought for sure, Kid wasn't in town anymore. He searched everywhere and even followed some of the bar girls home to see, if Kid was with them. There was no trace of him anywhere. Heyes couldn't figure out how Kid could give him, Hannibal Heyes, the slip. Heyes knew that Kid could give most posses the slip in time, but him?

Heyes went up the stairs at a slowly because of the empty room that was facing him. Heyes knew that a working plan to find Kid would come to him, if time allowed it. He pulled a territory and state map from his saddlebag, so he could figure out Kid’s means of transportation. There was no stagecoach until tomorrow morning and no trains in this town.

Heyes unfolded the state map and a note dropped out onto the floor. Heyes raised his eyebrow in wonder, at what that paper was. It was another note from Kid.

Heyes, you need to give up searching for me. I don't want or need a partner, anymore. I have to live my life on my own.

You need to have a life of your own, too. Get some sleep, eat breakfast, and start your new life.

Kid

Heyes landed on the bed with a hard thump, when his knees buckled under him. Heyes felt like Kid had just punched him in the stomach.



CHAPTER TWO – What happened in Liberty, Colorado

Curry disliked having a showdown, in the middle of Main Street; however, he couldn't let Jenkins get away with his attack on the young girl, who sings at the Golden Circle Saloon. Kid had seen there was the start of trouble earlier; by the way, Jenkins had acted around the girl. Heyes had put his hand on Kid’s shoulder to hold him back from interfering.

Heyes insensitively informed him, “This is not our problem, and you're always making more out of it then there is. Not every girl is a damsel in distress.”

Later that night, Kid was the one who found Susie in a dark alley, lying like a rag doll, two blocks from his hotel. Kid gently picked Susie up and carried the girl to the doctor’s office. Kid felt accountable for not doing something to prevent the beating. “I shouldn’t have listened to Heyes. She would have been safe, instead of...THIS!”

Kid was distressed with his lack of backbone to stand up for what he believed in. Kid had permitted Heyes to direct him in life and sometimes it had made him doubt his own instincts. “How many more people are going to be hurt or die because of my actions or lack of actions?” Kid went over his misgivings.

Doctor Myers said that Susie had a cracked rib, and her face would not scar from the beating she took. Then the doctor asked, “How did this happen? Who did this to Susie? Aren’t you new in town?”

Kid disliked the direction this conversation was taking, when he heard someone come up behind him. With his hand resting on his gun, Kid turned to check out who it was. Naturally, Kid was relieved to see Heyes behind him.

Kid answered the Doctor. “Yes, I'm just passing through your town, and I met Susie two nights ago. I don’t know who did this to her, but I'm telling the sheriff if he needs help, I’m here.”

Heyes rushed to add, “But we are only going to be here a day or two longer. We have a good job waiting for us, and we have that favor to do for Sheriff Lom Trevors over in Porterville.”

Doctor Myers added, “I know Sheriff Trevors, he's a good man. Porterville is a day and half ride from here, we cross paths, with our travels at times.”

Suddenly Susie moaned and slowly cried out, “Please stop!”

Her cry stabbed at Kid’s heart, which caused him to be enraged and ashamed of his decision not to act. With his head lowered, Kid balled up his hands into fists to keep control his emotions.

The doctor softy said, “Susie, its Doctor Myers. You are safe and you’re in my office. Please open your eyes.”

Susie opened her eye; the other eye had swollen shut. Heyes and Kid saw the pain and distress the girl was going through. Heyes knew that he was going to have his hands full restraining Kid’s need, to take care of the man who attack her. Susie shuddered with fear as she tried to speak.

Kid looked for some water, poured her a glass, and held it up to her lips. Kid had her drink slowly, and the doctor was relieved to see that. “There was no way this young man had anything to do with her beating. He has too much of a heart to do something this dreadful.”

After settling down, Susie recounted what happened, “The horrible man called Jenkins attacked me, because I wouldn’t have sex with him.”

Kid’s eyes turned to an icy blue and Heyes knew that trouble was going to follow. Heyes didn’t identify that Kid’s fury wasn’t just about the girl’s beating. Kid felt that he would've stopped Jenkins, if Heyes hadn't stopped him from interfering ‘with things that don’t concern us.’ Kid didn’t appreciate Heyes steering him away from helping someone, once more.

“You know doctor, I'm not that kind of girl, and my first time wasn’t going to be with him!” She started crying and Kid grabbed the doctor’s arm and in a low threatening tone whispered, “He didn’t rape her, did he?”

Doctor Myers led Kid into the other room,

“No. Oh no! He didn’t rape her. I don’t know what stopped him, because Susie was in no condition to stop him.”

Hearing that Kid stormed out of the office with the door slammed shut behind him, Heyes came rushing in.

“What happened? Where did Thaddeus go?”

“I don’t know. He asked about Susie and I said that he probably saved her life and he left rather abruptly,” said a shaken doctor.

Heyes went running down the street looking for Kid, desperate to stop what he feared most, Kid’s death. It was a moonless night and most of the townsfolk were already in bed. Heyes heard a dog bark, and it sounded like a couple of blocks down, toward the sheriff’s office.

When Heyes got down there, the door was standing wide open and he heard Kid shouting at an older man. “WHERE DOES JENKINS LIVE? THEN WHERE’S HE STAYING AT?”

“Now calm down boy! Or do you want to spend the night in jail?” The sheriff was unhappy about a loud- mouthed young man waking him up. Heyes put his hand on Kid’s shoulder to signal it was Heyes’ turn to talk to the sheriff. Kid backed off, which comforted Heyes. “Maybe, I still will be able to calm down Kid’s temper, before he does something we both will regret.”

“I'm sorry, sir. My friend and I are upset over the beating that Susie, the singer, took tonight. My friend, Thaddeus found Susie lying unconscious in an alley. He took her bloody body over to Doctor Myers’ office,” Heyes cut the talk short, because his partner had gotten fidgety behind him, which meant for Heyes to get on with it.

The sheriff was completely awake now and wanted more information.

“Is Susie alive? Who would do such a thing to a girl like Susie?” asked a concerned sheriff.

Kid said in a huff to the sheriff, “I asked you about Jenkins. He's the one who beat Susie. Now where is he?”

“I don’t know any Jenkins. He isn’t from around here. I’ll go check the hotel,” stated the sheriff as reached for his coat.

Kid announced, “I’m coming with you in case you need help.”

The look on Kid’s face told the sheriff, he was a man you didn’t argue with, when his mind was made up. The sheriff decided he’d rather have the man beside him, instead of running around taking the law into his own hands.

On the way over to the hotel, Kid told the sheriff that Jenkins was an older man, who had graying hair by his temples. He had seen him tonight in the saloon. Heyes was surprised that Kid knew that much about the man. “I should've known that Kid would've that much information about everyone in the saloon. That was his job, while my job was to know the players that I'm playing poker with.”

The three men searched everywhere, but that late at night left many places closed to them. Finally, they woke up the stable hand, and the sheriff asked, “Did someone named Jenkins stable his horse with you?”

“Yes, he came in here drunk and got his horse and road out,” said a very tired young boy. Before the sheriff could ask, Kid spoke up.

“Did you see which way he rode out?”

“No, I didn’t because I was happy that he left, so I could go back to bed,” said the boy sleepily, who was hoping they would let him do the same.

The sheriff explained to the young boy what had happened and to keep it to himself.

“I don’t want more trouble than we have already. Now can you think of anything else about the man?”

The boy thought long and hard, and then a slow smile came on his face.

“I do remember something. The man had been waiting for some men to arrive in town for the last three days. He comes into town around noon each day and stables his horse.”

“I'll wait until Jenkins comes back tomorrow, to arrest him. It’s too dark out tonight to find him, without the unawareness on my side. He would hear me before I could see him,” stated the sheriff as he walked out of the stables and back towards the jail. The sheriff turned back towards the boys and said, “Oh, by the way! Thank-you for your help with Susie and the search. Good night.”

Kid stood and watched the sheriff walk down the street. The sheriff stopped at the doctor’s office and went inside. Heyes stood behind Kid watching him watch the sheriff. Kid nodded his head when the sheriff entered the doctor’s office. It seems Kid was judging the actions of the sheriff. Heyes had an uneasy feeling about all that happened tonight and Kid’s reactions. He wished that he could get his cousin out of town, before his gut feeling came true.

Kid and Heyes walked slowly back to the hotel. Both men had many things on their mind. When they entered the hotel lobby, a young woman was clerking the desk. Kid went up to the desk,

“Room key for Smith and Jones.” and he gave her a beautiful smile when she handed him the key. He looked right into her eyes and said softly, “Thank-you very much, miss.”

The woman blushed at her thoughts about the cowboy, who had removed his hat, when he asked for his room key. She was not prepared to see the golden ruffled hair and those blue, blue eyes! After Kid went up the stairs, the clerk was still fantasizing about him.

After breakfast the next morning, Kid asked the sheriff, “Have you heard how Susie is doing this morning? Is there any word about Jenkins?”

“Susie will be all right. Doc moved Susie in with him and his wife to take care of her and to protect her. Susie calmed down and finally got some rest. So far there is no sign of Jenkins, but it's still pretty early,” explained the sheriff.

“I’ll be down around the hotel, if something comes up or if you need me,” Kid offered.

Heyes walked up to the two men and heard the last remark made by Kid. Heyes and Kid walked away and when Heyes thought they were out of hearing range he asked, “What are you doing? You didn’t think the sheriff had a good enough look at you, that you have to hunt him down for another look? What you did think, he didn’t have enough light to see your face last night? Or that he needed, the see the sun hit your hair to see that it is blond? Before he checks out his wanted posters? And what kind of help are you offering?”

“I'm letting the sheriff make the arrest,” offered Kid. “And what? You have a problem with my hair color?"

"I didn't say I had a problem with your hair, just you spending so much time around a sheriff. It makes me a little edgy. Who would have thought?" Heyes laughed and gave a dimpled smile.

"I guess you must have something to hide. Unlike me, who lives a quiet life," Kid said with an innocent look.

"Yeah, just you and a rocking chair," laughed Heyes.

"Hey, I happen to like rocking chairs," Kid announced.

"Then come on old man, let's go to the hotel and rock those chairs," Heyes laughed and draped his arm around Kid's shoulder.

While Heyes rocked on the porch with Kid, that forewarning alarm was sounding loud in his head. He wanted to get Kid out of that town fast.

Half hour later the stable boy came running up to Kid. “Jenkins... just beat up the sheriff... overpowered him... in the jail... I'm going for the doctor,” said the boy, breathlessly.

“Where did Jenkins go to?” asked a heated Kid.

“He is the saloon,” said the boy as he dashed off.

Heyes jumped up out of his rocker and blocked Kid’s way off the porch, “Where do you think you’re going? You’re not the law!”

Heyes knew he had to try to calm Kid down. However, there is a point that Kid reaches that; even Heyes can't get through to. Heyes saw that the talking wasn't doing any good. Heyes lost his temper because of his concern for Kid and yelled, “Kid, we can’t afford to get involved! Just let it be. Susie has people looking after her.”

Kid was staring Heyes down and he said in an angry icy voice, “You know that you can’t always turn a blind eye on everything. If you don’t like my involvement, maybe you should look the other way!”

Kid stormed off in the opposite direction to the saloon. Heyes was somewhat relieved that Kid walked the other way. He sat back down tried to read the newspaper, but his mind kept going back to his friend. He looked down the street that Kid went, watching for him to come back. Heyes wasn't concentrating on reading the paper, but one might think so, by his appearances. He didn’t want Kid to know that he had been watching for his return. There was calm, relax exterior that reflected off Heyes and underneath a ball of nervous tension. That appearance was broken when he heard the yell, and Heyes jumped out of the rocker.

“Jenkins, get your butt out here NOW!” Kid yelled in his low deadly voice.

Heyes was running down the street, thinking that Kid must have looped around the back of the buildings, to get past him. Now he was standing in the street in front of the saloon. Heyes was still too far away, when he saw Jenkins storm out of the saloon. The swinging doors were flying back and forth behind the angry man. Heyes heard the shouting the two men were doing, but he couldn't make out what they were saying. All he heard was the pounding of his heart in his ears.

Heyes saw Jenkins who didn't look drunk as much as MEAN. Jenkins was twice the size of Kid, which reminded Heyes of the first time Kid was in a gunfight. “What age was he, 14 or 15 years old? He was so small against the older man, who did not think Kid was a challenge. No one even saw the Kid draw; they were all watching the older man’s draw instead. They were expecting Kid to get shot.” Heyes noticed that Jenkins wore his gun tied down like a gunslinger, and he had that self-assured walk too. Heyes felt the same terror in the pit of his stomach; he felt that first gunfight Kid had.

Heyes saw the stance of Kid's, his shoulders squared off and his legs planted. Which meant there was no turning point with him, and Heyes knew what came next.

What Heyes didn’t hear was Kid, “You've a choice to walk over to the jail peaceably... or I’ll take you over forcefully.”

Jenkins looked at the young man and laughed, “What? A pup deputy thinks that he’s man enough to haul me off to jail!’

Jenkins laughed a dirty low laugh and stared Kid down. Kid’s own eyes had turned to a stormy steel gray color and showed no signs of wavering. Jenkins had decided that this pup needed to learn respect towards him, and he was happy to dish out the lesson.

Heyes had reached the right hand side of Kid, when Heyes saw Jenkins go for his gun. Heyes heart was pounding so hard that he felt it hitting his chest. Heyes heard the two shots. Jenkins’ gun went flying out of his hand and Heyes felt the bullet hit the inside part of his shirtsleeve. Heyes closed his eyes. He had waited for the hot poker to hit him and set his body aflame. He knew the pain from a bullet, very well. After a minute passed, Heyes let go his breath, he had held and opened his eyes.

Heyes saw Kid had a shocked, troubled look on his face. Kid glared back at Jenkins that sent a cold chill down the older gun fighter’s spine. That scared Jenkins, because he never had felt that before. He didn't understand how this young man in front of him, could provoke that kind of fear. Kid motioned for Jenkins to head over to the sheriff’s office. There was no hesitation from Jenkins.

Kid and the sheriff came back out of the jail, with the sheriff thanking him. Kid marched right past Heyes without a glance towards his partner. People had gathered around to watch and talk about the gunfight and the arrest of a man called Jenkins. Kid walked right through the crowd and they parted to let him pass. The townspeople tried to talk to Kid, but he had just stared blankly ahead as he walked straight to the hotel, without saying a word.

The town was in high spirits over Jenkins’ downfall. Everyone had a story to tell about the gunfight, and hardly any of them matched. Heyes stood in the background to listen to the stories being told. So far, Heyes hadn't heard anyone guessing who Kid really was. Heyes waited awhile before heading up to the room. Heyes wanted his emotions intact before facing his friend. In addition, Heyes wanted to be sure that he hide the bullet hole in his shirt from Kid. If he had the extra money, he would have replaced the shirt, so Kid wouldn't see the hole. When Heyes opened the door to their room, Kid was throwing things into his saddlebags.

Heyes asked, “What are you doing?”

Kid answered in an angry voice, “What does it look like I'm doing?”

“The room is already paid for tonight,” Heyes said in a weary voice.

Kid stormed out of the room and down to the front desk, “We are checking out! I do hope that you don’t think, that we should pay for today!”

The hotel manager looked into those icy blue eyes and said with a gulp, “Why, of course not. Here your money back, sir. We are sorry to see you leave.”

Heyes found Kid outside with the horse saddled and ready to go. “Here's your part of the room cost!” stormed Kid.

“I didn’t ask you to pay me for the room,” said Heyes as he fastened his saddlebags and bedroll onto his horse, but Kid had already ridden out. The money was sitting on top of Heyes' saddle.

The two of them rode in silence for half an hour, before Heyes tried to talk to his partner. Heyes saw the way his friend was riding in his saddle and knew this wasn't going to be a pleasant ride. Instead of saying anything back to Heyes, Kid nudged his horse forward to put some distance in front of Heyes.

“You know that you don’t have to be so proddy!” Heyes yelled so Kid could hear him. “You know one of these days you’re going to get us killed. On the other hand, if they figure out who we are, because of your gun. Then it’s twenty years!”

Kid made no indication that he heard him. They rode awhile longer with Kid in the front. Heyes nudged his horse to pull alongside of his angry partner, “What's eating at you, Kid? If anyone should be mad, it's me! I thought we agreed to mind our own business?”

Kid stopped and gave Heyes the look that said, “Back off!” Kid’s eyes then traveled to Heyes’ left side and then kicked his horse into a gallop. Heyes thought nothing about Kid looking at his side, because he was wearing his coat.

By the time the boys had reached the town of Collins, Colorado, they were going to spend the night; Kid had made a life changing decision. Now all he needed to do was to get rid of Heyes for tonight. He needed time to work out his plan and set it in motion. Kid knew that this was going to be the hardest thing he ever did, but it had to happen.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Kid had everything ready for his plan. He even got to the telegram office to have two telegrams sent. One sent out tonight, and another was to be sent tomorrow afternoon. Kid counted his money and tried to figure how to stretch it out until he could find a job. He did make some money on the sale of his horse. He lay down on his bed, feeling the weight of the world press down on his chest. It was almost too hard for him to breathe. He knew that he had to turn his mind off, if he was to get any sleep. Kid finally drifted off into a restless, troubled sleep.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


An hour later, he was reliving the gunfight with Jenkins, but this time Heyes was killed. Jenkins was laughing at Kid, who was holding the lifeless, bloody body of Heyes. Kid’s body was covered in a cold sweat when he jerked awake. Kid recalled his nightmare and hoped that it wasn't real. He looked around the room and saw Heyes’ clothes and his saddlebags and he slumped back down into the bed. Kid felt no relief. Instead, Kid slowly turned his head toward the wall and cried slow painful tears.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Heyes was in a good mood, when he entered the room, and he loved to share it with his cousin. Heyes would've awakened his partner any other night, but he felt that the mood Kid was in, he shouldn’t, it was better to let him sleep. He had won over $600, tonight. The cards were very good to him. Heyes thought, “Too bad Kid didn’t play tonight. If the players at the other table played as bad as mine table, we could have easily doubled our winnings. Maybe, Kid will play tomorrow night. That’s if I can get him to stay another night.”

Heyes saw Kid’s rumbled covers, half of them were lying on the floor. He smiled as he recovered Kid up. He had done this since their parents died. This made Heyes feel good by checking on him and making sure that his cousin was safe. In addition, it made Heyes feel like he wasn't alone in the world. Looking down into Kid’s troubled face made Heyes’ smile fade. He wished that he could take all of Kid’s troubles away. Heyes still felt guilty that he led Kid into the life of outlawing. That's why the amnesty was so important. Heyes wanted to get the pardon for Kid.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Before dawn, Kid was in the hallway putting on his shirt and then his boots. He had finished dressing out there so he wouldn't wake Heyes. Kid picked up his saddlebags and bedroll, and then took one last look inside the room at Heyes. He knew that would be the last time, he would see his partner. Kid closed the door on the room and their partnership. For a moment, he rested his forehead on the wall.

“Heyes, I'm tired of looking the other way and seeing people getting hurt because of it. My actions can't be the cause of your death. I am so sorry for any pain that I'll cause you over this.” Kid said to himself, “Come on, I have to get out of here!”

Kid raised his head up and looked at the closed door. Then slowly moved away from the door and went down to the lobby. Kid had written a note and left it with the desk clerk.

“To be given to Mr. Smith after he had asked about me. Please, not before that time.”

The young woman said, “That’s no problem.”

Kid went to the diner and after he sat down, he realized that he wasn't hungry. The traveling Kid had ahead of him, it was unadvisable to start out on an empty stomach. Kid settled for some toast and coffee. He thought he would be able to keep that down. His stomach felt like he had been kicked a couple times. Kid left the diner a short time later, and looked over to the hotel. He looked up to Heyes’ window; the room was still dark. A deep sadness passed over Kid’s face. He was convincing himself,

“I’m doing the right thing for Heyes.”

Kid walked into the stable, “You got that horse ready for me?”

“Yes, sir. The horse has your new saddle on him,” the blacksmith said as he led out the horse from the stall.

“Now, you got it straight about my old horse? You'll have him stabled in the second stall, so he's visible from the street, right? No one is to say anything to Mr. Smith until he asks. Then you can show the sales slip that I sold my horse. Just don’t offer any information about me getting another horse,” Kid stressed the last part and handed the man a $5 bill. “Oh. By the way, Smith has a temper. Just make sure that you show him the slip and hand him this message from me. Don’t worry, he’ll calm down, it’s just that Smith doesn’t like being in the dark about matters.”

“I understand. You’re playing a joke on your partner, right?” asked a worried blacksmith.

Kid forced a smile and said, “Yeah, you’re right it’s a joke.”

After inspecting the horse again, to see if it was the same horse that Kid had bought, he climbed up in the saddle. He looked down the street and there was no sign that Heyes was up. Kid then knew that he had out smarted Heyes. Normally that would bring a big smile onto Kid’s face and complete satisfaction on his part, but there was neither. It wasn’t often he got one up on his partner. However, this time, Kid knew that he had to put time and distances between Heyes and him, to close off that part of his life forever.



CHAPTER THREE

When Kid rode into the town, the people stopped what they were doing and stared at the lone rider. They knew who he was, and they would point at him and talk between themselves about the rider. He was sitting straight and tall in the saddle, with his right hand resting close by his 45. The way his hat was positioned, the townsfolk couldn't really see his eyes, but Kid saw everything around him, without moving his head. Kid felt and saw the fear of the town.

Kid stopped in front of the sheriff’s office, got off the horse, and tied the reins to the hitching post. Before entering the office, he took in his surroundings, so there would be no surprises.

The sheriff was sitting at his desk going over some papers, when Kid entered the office. The sheriff looked up and was startled to see who was standing there. The sheriff was trying to find his voice after recovering from the shock, “I would've never believed that I would see you again.”

“Didn’t you get my telegram?” asked Kid in a deep, firm voice.

“Yes, but a lot can happen for you to change your mind,” the sheriff guessed.

“No, I gave you my word in the telegram,” Kid said sternly. Kid’s left thumb was behind his belt and his right hand was resting close to his gun.

“You must have ridden hard,” the sheriff, observed the young man looked exhausted. He looked behind Kid and asked, “Where’s your partner?”

Kid’s eyes turned icy blue and he stated strongly, “He’s not a part of this! It’s just me!”

“Well, all right then. You might as well go in there,” the sheriff was pointing to an empty cell, “Get some rest while you can. It will be a couple of hours before the stage arrives.”

Kid walked slowly over to the cell and the sheriff said, “Oh, I need to take your gun. I’ll hang it right here.”

Kid’s hand brushed the side of his gun, as if he was saying good-bye to an old friend. He leaned down and unfastened the leg strap, and then the belt buckle. He gently rolled the belt up and handed it to the sheriff, turned around and entered the cell.

The prisoner in the next cell saw the expression on Kid’s face and decided to keep his mouth shut. The sheriff threw in a clean blanket and a pillow on the bed. Kid slowly lowered his weary body onto the bed. He rolled up the blanket and placed it on the flat pillow to give more support for his aching head. His pounding head caused his stomach to feel nauseous.

An hour and a half passed by. Kid slowly opened his drowsy eyes to get his bearings. His head was still thumping, and felt like it was splitting from the top of his head to the base of his neck. The dream he had, troubled him. His eyes adjusted to the sunlight that came from the window. Suddenly, he saw the bars of the cell; Kid’s movement was swift. He was on his feet and looking about to see where he was. The prisoner in the next cell laughed at Kid.

“It’s a shock to wake up and see those cell bars. Man, this was worth being locked up, just to see your reaction!”

The man continued to laugh, and the sheriff came in to see what was going on. Kid was standing, or really, it was swaying, in the middle of the cell. The darkness tried to engulf Kid, and he felt some arms around him that held him upright. His mind went to Heyes, “Heyes is always here when I need him.”

Kid was brought back to the present, by the sheriff’s voice, “Boy, I think you better sit back down,” the sheriff was concerned at, how pale Kid looked. “Do you think you can eat something?”

“I don’t know. This headache is doing a job on me,” Kid slumped back down and gently leaned his head back on the cool wall. It seems to help some.

The prisoner, whose hand was bandaged, whacked his cup on the cell bars.

“Does the poor boy have a headache? The headache going to be nothing, compared to what happens when that stage pulls into town!”

His banged his cup some more on the bars and laughed. Kid turned his head toward the man, without lifting it off the wall. Kid’s eyes had a hard cold glare that made the prisoner stop in his tracks. The man quickly backed up from the bars, until he walked into the wall behind him. He wanted to be as far away from Kid as possible. The prisoner believed if this man wanted to, he could come straight through those cell bars after him.

The sheriff smiled at the reaction, this young man could create from this dangerous prisoner. The sheriff decided it was time that the young man eats something and took something from the doctor, for his headache. “I’ll be back. I’ll see what I can get us to eat,” the sheriff promised.

Kid was happy the sheriff had left. All he wanted to do was close his eyes. Kid put his fingers on each side of his forehead, to try to stop the pounding. It didn't work. His mind was over working. “This isn’t a dream, it’s a nightmare. Heyes should know by now that I ended our partnership. I hope that Heyes will be all right! I have to keep him safe from me. Here I am sitting in a jail cell, and things are about to get worse, when that stagecoach comes.”

Kid heard the sheriff, as he entered with a plate of food. The sheriff seemed pleased with himself.

“Miss Lucy made her chicken and dumplings with buttermilk biscuits, they're the lightest that you'll ever taste. Plus we have lemonade to drink with apple dumpling for desert.”

The smells of the food, made Kid realize how hungry he was, and he told the sheriff.

Kid made another effort to stand. When he got to his feet, he let the room stop spinning before he took another step. The sheriff handed the prisoner, in the other cell, the plate of food, and walked over to Kid’s cell.

The man looked at his tray then called after sheriff, “Hey, this doesn’t look like chicken and dumplings to me!”

“You’re pretty smart! That’s beef stew. The sheriff turned his back to the prisoner and said to Kid, “Why don’t you come out into the main room to eat?”

Kid followed the sheriff with his hand semi-bracing himself on the wall. He still wasn’t steady on his feet. When Kid entered the room, he saw the desk covered with plates of food. He took the chair across from the sheriff. Kid could see his gun hanging on the wall. The sheriff saw the young man fondly glance at the gun. The sheriff thought, “I would bet, that young man feels naked without his gun belt.”

Kid took a spoonful of broth and tasted it slowly; he didn’t know how his stomach was going to react. After eating a few spoonfuls, he waited to see, if the broth was going to stay down. When he felt could eat, he started on the solid foods. A smile broke out on Kid’s face, “These are light dumplings, and so are the biscuits.”

“Here, you put butter on those biscuits, and tell me, how you have died and went to heaven,” smiled the sheriff. Then he thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything about dying.”

However, the Kid didn’t seem bothered by the remark, “This is the best food that I have eaten in a long, long time.”

The sheriff said, “Here's something from the doctor for your headache.”

Kid said that some medicine, doesn’t agree with him, and makes him sicker. Kid said no thanks for the pills. The men enjoyed their lunch, and when they were done the sheriff said, “I guess we should talk over the plan for when the stagecoach arrives.”

Kid straightened up in his chair and looked in the sheriff’s eyes, “I’ll be ready to meet the stage.”

“Are you losing your headache yet?” the sheriff hoped, because they had to be ready for that stage. The telegram he received this morning, had confirmed the passenger list.

“My head lost some of the pounding. I think the food has helped some, thank-you,” Kid said hopefully.

They talked over what would probably happen, when the stage stopped. The sheriff took off the sling from his arm and Kid asked, “How much can you do with that arm? Can you shoot your gun?”

“I guess we'll see if I have to fire it.” The sheriff walked over to Kid’s gun belt and took it off the peg. “Here, you're going to need this. Besides that, you look like you feel naked without it.”

“Hey, Sheriff! Deputy! My friends aren't going to be happy about me being in jail. Why don’t you save yourselves the trouble, and let me out. All will be forgotten!” yelled the prisoner, Jenkins.

“Quiet down in there, Jenkins,” stormed Kid. Jenkins shut his mouth; he didn't want to tangle with that young deputy, again.

Kid slipped on his gun and checked to see if it was loaded. The sheriff watched. The sheriff liked this young man, who was calling himself, Thaddeus Jones. Did the sheriff really believe his name was Jones, no?

The sheriff didn’t care who this man was. All he knew was whatever this young man had done; it came nowhere near Jenkins’ actions. The sheriff had seen this man’s character, the night Susie’s attack, a sensitive man.

The sheriff saw Jones, with all his anger at Jenkins, make the decision not to kill him in the gunfight. The bullet grazed the outside part of his hand, which causing Jenkins to drop his gun. The old gunslinger knew talent, when he saw it, so did the sheriff.

When Jenkins told the sheriff his friends would be riding into town to rescue him, the sheriff had asked for help. Kid was in the stables saddling their horses, when the sheriff approached him.

“I know that I don’t have the right to ask for your help, but I really don’t have anyone else, who could handle these men.”

Kid stood there for a moment, before he resumed saddling the horses. The sheriff felt that it was hopeless when Kid didn’t answer right away. He turned to leave when he heard a straightforward response.

“If I help, it’s only me! My partner will know nothing about this, do we understand?”

“I understand, but Smith is bound to hear something,” agreed the sheriff.

“No, he won’t. You said the stagecoach that the men are on, doesn’t arrive until tomorrow, late afternoon. I'm leaving here with my partner now, but I’ll come back for tomorrow, alone. No one is to know about this, but you and me! Do we have an agreement?” Kid asked firmly.

“There's no reason for anyone else to know. I’ll see you tomorrow.” With that said, the sheriff left the stables wondering, if he would ever see the young man again.

Kid walked with the sheriff down the street. People were clearing off the streets and slamming doors behind them. Some of them were searching for a safe place, to watch whatever was about to unfold. Kid could still feel the tension in the air, but the sheriff was calm. Kid was reassured that the sheriff could take care of himself.

Standing on the dusty boardwalk, the two men waited for the stage. The sun was blazing, and the heat was radiating off the ground. As the stage rolled in, the dirt flew behind it in a thick cloud. Kid had ridden enough stages, to know what condition the men traveling, would be in, hot and tired. Kid smiled to himself, knowing their discomfort was to his advantage. The telegram said four men and a man of the cloth, as Kid went over things in his mind. “I got to make sure that an innocent minister doesn’t get hurt.”

The stage made the last turn to end up on Main Street and stopped in front of Kid. He was standing in his gunfighter stance with sun behind him. A man inside the coach caught a glimpse of Kid.

“There’s only one man this side of the Mississippi I know who stands like that…Kid Curry! Oh, God no! How can Kid be here?” Then the man said to the others, “Ugh, guys…I got a problem! I know that young man standing out there and he don’t back a losing cause. Do you really know what went down here?”

“What does it matter? That’s my brother, they got in jail,” fumed Jenkins’ younger brother, who was in no mood to talk.

“Well, listening to what they have to say might be a good idea. We are kind of boxed in this coach, and they could just pick us off,” the man tried to reason with the others. But it didn’t work, and he had only a few moments to decide what to do.

Preacher exited the coach in front of his friend. Kid didn’t react to the Preacher’s presence. Meanwhile, Preacher was trying to remember not to call him, Kid, and to remember the name to call him. “Plus where was Heyes? The Kid is going to need Heyes, against these men.”

Preacher nodded his head at Kid and said, “Joshua.”

“No, it’s Thaddeus,” stated Kid in a low voice. He was surprised when Preacher stepped out of the coach and that he didn’t call him, Kid.

“I can’t keep the two of you straight. You know that Smith and Jones thing,” the Preacher said with a smile.

The Kid gave the Preacher the ‘don’t mess with me’ look. Without Kid taking his eyes off the other men, as they got off the coach, he said in a low voice to the sheriff, “I think you need to check on Jenkins. There’s a man missing, go see if he has company.”

The Preacher smiled. “There isn’t much that Kid misses.” Preacher moved away from the other men, and stood behind Kid. Preacher decided that he wouldn't interfere with the gunfight, but he was going to make sure, it stayed a fair fight.

Jenkins’ brother spoke up, “I hear that you have my brother locked up in your jail!

Kid with his hands resting on his gun belt asked, “Does the fact that your brother beat up a 16 year old girl, so he would be able to rape her, make the difference?”

“No, it doesn’t matter, I want my brother out now,” demand the younger Jenkins.

The stagecoach driver didn't like what he was hearing, and he wasn't going to be caught up in any gunfight. When the stagecoach started to move out, that was the moment, when Jenkins made his move. The other two men moved in different direction to become harder targets. The men started shooting. Kid’s first shot hit the brother in the shoulder. He winged the second man in the upper leg. Kid moved to get a clear shot for the third one, and dodged the man’s gunfire.

At the same time he was firing his gun, Kid heard Preacher yell, “Kid! Watch out!”

Before Kid could react, he heard two gunshots and felt a burning sensation in his back. Kid grabbed a hold of the hitching post and leaned heavily against it. He didn’t attempt to move, because he knew he would fall down. Preacher came running up behind him, out of breath.

Preacher was muttering, “Damn snake in the grass! He was going to shoot you in the back. After you just shooting him in the shoulder, and that’s how he shows his gratitude?”

Preacher had shot and killed Jenkins’ brother. Kid didn’t look back at Preacher, and this stopped Preacher in his tracks. Something didn't seem right with Kid. He quickly came up behind Kid and lifted up Kid’s leather vest. He saw a bloody spot spreading on Kid’s white shirt.

Kid’s head slowly turned toward Preacher, who saw the pain in the blond man’s eyes. In a hoarse voice Kid forced out, “Get me out of here…please… I’m afraid to move... tell me it’s… ok.”

Preacher looked at the wound again, and it was twice the size.

“Kid, you need a doctor.”

“No, doctor. You took… bullets out of me… before… I trust you,” Kid’s voice revealed the pain he was in.

“Can you ride?” asked a concerned Preacher. “Where's Heyes?”

“You get me on my horse, Kid moaned, “I’ll stay on... My horse… is… right down… in front of the sheriff’s office. I…can’t stay here… will find… out who… I am.”

The sheriff didn't see them ride away. He was busy with his new prisoners, locking them up. The sheriff didn't see Kid being shot. All he would recall; was Jones was there one minute and gone the next.

He said that when he had entered his office, a man was trying to release Jenkins from his cell. It was an easy arrest. Jones had it figured right, about a man missing from the stagecoach.”

After the arrest, the sheriff stepped out of the jail, in time to see the gunfight. “I have never seen that kind of shooting before, and the preacher probably saved Jones from being shot in the back. It was something! Jones did what he had promised, and then he was gone.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


About a mile out of town, Preacher grabbed Kid’s reins. By a stream, Preacher led the horses under some trees for some shade. Blood was covering Kid’s vest, Kid’s eyes were barely open, and they showed how weak he was.

Preacher was scared, “Kid, were you trying to get yourself killed? You could've faced down four men, if I wasn’t the one, with them. Heyes should've taught you four to one odds are bad in a gun fight.” Preacher got off his horse and walked over to Kid, “You’re just lucky, I would never raise my gun to you.”

Kid was still in his saddle; he turned and looked down at Preacher, and smiled innocently. The next thing Preacher saw was an unconscious Kid falling from his horse. Preacher caught Kid in his arms, before he hit the ground.

When Kid came to, Preacher was sitting beside him. He tried to sit up and Preacher gently pushed Kid back down on the blanket. He got the canteen and helped Kid to drink some water. While Kid was out, Preacher had cleaned and dressed the wound. Kid put his hand around to his back and felt, “Yes, it’s sore and feels hot.”

Kid asked, “How bad am I shot?”

Preacher saw the worry etched on Kid’s face, but not for what Preacher thought. Kid was desperate to continue with the rest of his plan.

“The bullet cut across a third of your back, but it didn’t enter. Your leather vest slowed it down and it hit you sideways, instead of straight on. You were very lucky! If the bullet had been a straight hit, we would not be talking to each other, now. I would be cussing at your dead body, and telling them in heaven, to send you to hell.”

Kid looked hurt at that last remark, “I thought we were friends, Preacher. Why would you do that?” Kid was sounding like a scolded ten year old.

Preacher felt bad, “Kid, you just scared me to death. Especially, after you fainted off your horse.”

“I don’t faint!” Kid announced.

Preacher got as much water down Kid, as he could. He knew in time, fever was likely to claim his friend. Kid knew this, and he wanted to leave before the fever hit.

“I’ve got to move away from here. I'm too close to town, and every bounty hunter that hears about the gunfight, will wonder if it’s me. If they're in a 50 mile radius, they'll be here in two days.”

“Is there someone tracking you, now?” Preacher was concerned.

“There's always someone tracking me!” Kid answered as truthfully as possible. He thought to himself, “What am I to say? Yes, it’s Heyes!”

_________________
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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Why Must We Make It So Hard? :: Comments

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Re: Why Must We Make It So Hard?
Post on Thu 26 Feb 2015, 4:05 pm by royannahuggins
CHAPTER FOUR

Preacher reluctantly helped Kid to mount his horse and tied his legs to the saddle. He cautiously led Kid’s horse, by the reins across the open plains. He knew exactly where he was taking Kid, and he prayed that the daylight would hold on for a few more hours, and so would Kid.

About an hour into the ride, Kid passed out. Preacher had slowed to a walk, so he could hold on to Kid, who was slumped over the horse’s neck. Preacher kept talking, “Kid just hold on. It’s just a little bit further, and then you can lie down and sleep. I wish Heyes was here! You know if you die, Heyes is going to kill me.”

The fever had grabbed a hold of Kid now; Preacher carefully removed Kid’s gun from its holster, so Kid wouldn't notice the gun missing. The clean shirt that Preacher had put on the blond man was soaked through with sweat and blood, and Kid’s hair was plastered to his head. Preacher would stop often, to try to get Kid to drink some water, and remoisten the bandana he had wrapped around Kid’s head to cool him down. Delirium set in after the first hour of the ride. At times, Kid thought he and Heyes were being chased by a posse, or hunted by a ruthless bounty hunter. Kid called out to Heyes and there were times he wanted to go find him. One time, Kid thought Preacher was a bounty hunter and went for his gun. Preacher was glad he’d removed it.

Riding in complete darkness, Preacher had to go on his instincts. The plains ended in a dense forest that would be dangerous to travel through at night. It was quiet all around them, and the only sound heard was Kid’s demons, and mumbling of Heyes’ name.

They reached a small clearing where an abandoned wooden building stood that looked very lonely. Nobody had been there for years, and Preacher had counted on that. He stopped the horses on the edge of the clearing, and sat with his hands resting on the saddle horn, staring at the building. Preacher’s face reflected the sadness and unforgotten memories that the place brought back.

Kid slid sideways in his saddle, away from the Preacher. He was dangling off the side of the horse headfirst with his hands almost touching the ground. The rope around his legs was the only thing keeping Kid from falling, the rest of the way. The sudden movement of his friend brought him to the present. He had to hold his injured friend and get off his horse at the same time, which was not an easy task.

Preacher said to an unconscious Kid, “You’re not going to make this any easier for me are you? Sorry Kid, I'm trying my best.”

He slowly put both legs, to the side of the saddle between the two horses, and slipped down. Preacher pulled Kid up in the saddle and took the horses up to the building, and he tied his horse to a tree. He opened the front door, and led Kid and his horse inside.

Even in the dark, Preacher knew where everything was. He found the oil lamp and a warm glow appeared to fill the room. He led the horse over to a side room, and Preacher opened the door and lit another lamp. Once the room had been cozy, it had a night table and a lamp that sat beside a bed, a big oval room rug, and built in bookshelves sitting on each side of a large fireplace in front of which stood a rocking chair.

Preacher beat and flipped a thin mattress, a couple times, to freshen up the bed. He laid Kid’s bedroll on top of the bed and placed one of Kid’s coats for a pillow. With the bed made, he pulled Kid’s horse over to side of the bed and untied Kid from the horse. While he was doing this, Kid opened his eyes.

A big smile broke out on Kid’s face, “Heyes, I knew… find me… Too smart… for posse.” With that, he closed his eyes again.

“Kid…Kid!” Preacher got no response from him.

He carefully laid Kid on his stomach, and placed his damp head on the makeshift pillow. He needed to bed down the horse for the night, and he was uncomfortable leaving Kid alone. After a couple of trips back and forth, with supplies and checking on Kid, Preacher was ready to collapse, but he couldn't rest yet.

There was the fire that needed starting, and hot water was need to clean Kid’s wound and the bandage to be changed. He hadn't eaten since breakfast, and hunger had set in. He wished Kid was able to eat, but he knew the fever had to break first. He moistened the cloth and placed it on Kid’s neck, and retied the damp bandana around the forehead.

In a short time, Preacher had the fire burning steady and his dinner warming up. He located a pot, and boiled some water to clean up Kid. Carefully he removed Kid’s boots and his remaining clothes. He washed off Kid’s body, the film of sweat from the fever, and the blood he had lost on the long ride. The cloth felt cool against Kid’s feverish skin, and at times it had made Kid tremble. Next, he had to get fresh water to clean Kid’s wound. It distressed Preacher, to see how much blood Kid had lost. He knew that Kid shouldn't have ridden today, let alone how far they traveled. He hoped Kid would realize that they were safe, and stay put for the healing to start. He changed the bandage on the Kid, and put a cover over his fatigued body.

After Preacher had the place locked down, he hid the guns from Kid, because with hallucinating it was safer. Finally, Preacher was able to drift off into a light sleep.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


It was morning, when Kid’s fever finally broke. Preacher was still sleeping. Kid partially opened his eyes, to let his dizziness pass and to get his bearings. He immediately felt for his gun and groaned when he noticed his gun belt was gone. Kid’s groan startled Preacher awake.

“Kid, are you alright?” Preacher moved over to the bed to check Kid over. Kid tried to move and Preacher put his hand gently on Kid’s shoulder, “Kid, you need to lie down, and let your back start to heal. We rode too far and long, yesterday.” He felt Kid’s head, “It feels like your fever has broken, thank God.”

Kid’s lips and throat were parched and his head still hurt. It was hard for Kid to think clearly. He tried to figure out what was real and what wasn’t. Preacher got the canteen and held his friend up a bit, so he could drink.

“Lord, Kid! Slow down. You’re going to make yourself sick.” Kid kept on drinking. “Drink it slower. You can have as much as you want, but slow down.”

Kid started coughing up the water. Preacher grabbed the canteen from him. He looked up at Preacher with deadly warning, which meant ‘you better give back the water.’ Kid very hoarse grumbled, “Are you going to give me that canteen?”

Preacher laughed off Kid’s threat by saying, “I know that you have noticed; you’re not wearing your gun. That way you can’t shoot me!”

Preacher handed back the canteen, and Kid did drink slower. After he was done, Kid thanked him. Preacher laid him back down and checked the bandage and it looked dry. He removed the bandana from Kid’s head. Then he asked if Kid could eat.

“I don’t have much food,” Kid was embarrassed.

“Oh yes, you do! Your saddlebags are full of supplies. There was note from the sheriff thanking you and a ten dollar bill.” Preacher was happy to him tell the good news.

Kid immediately erupted, “I don’t hire out my gun!”

Preacher was astonished by Kid’s reaction, and he cautiously responded, “Kid, I don’t think the sheriff is that kind of man, to hire a gun. Plus the going rate would be more than $10 and some supplies even for, Kid Curry. Through, I did hear that you're slowing down.”

Preacher saw that he had riled Kid. He smiled, because Heyes told him that with his partner, the best medicine for Kid was anger. Heyes would laugh, “It gets Kid’s blood boiling and no germs can survive that hot ‘Irish temper.’

“Who said that? Wheat?” stormed Kid. “If he was mouthing off and needs reminding, I’ll be more than happy to show him again. This time, I’ll shoot his holster off his gun belt, so he can feel the speed of the bullet. Then Wheat can tell me, how much slower I am!” Kid’s eyes were darkening and he tried to rise up.

Preacher could not let Wheat take the blame. “After all, Wheat sometimes doesn’t know, when to keep his mouth shut, and Wheat would be stupid enough to get himself shot.”

Preacher smiled and said, “No, I'm pretty sure it wasn’t Wheat. He’s scared of your gun. No, I heard it from a man, who laughed about the stories about your fast draw. He said that he knew that Kid Curry has slowed down.

He paused long enough to see how mad Kid was and then he said, “The man said there was no doubt that he could even out draw you.”

Kid was steamed, “I know it wasn’t Kyle. It was Lobo! I’m right; I know how cocky he can get after a few beers. If he needs showing, I’ll be happy to show him, too.”

Preacher smiled like a cat that swallowed a canary, so he dragged out his answer. “Well… let me think... Oh! I can almost see the man talking about you and laughing. He is a young man about your age.” Preacher rubs his chin, “No, he's a couple years older.”

Kid interrupted, “Do you know his name or not?”

“It's on the tip of my tongue. Oh that’s right, he said he thought your eye sight had weakened, and you need glasses, and you couldn't hit a side of the barn in the dark.”

Kid exploded, “I've perfect eye sight, and I don’t need glasses! I want the name now!”

Preacher knew he had gone far enough with the tease. “His name sounds like hay, the right it Heyes, Hannibal Heyes.”

Preacher saw Kid’s anger leave as quickly as it came. Kid smiled and quickly changed the subject away from Heyes.

“What's there to eat? I sure hope something besides beans.”

“How about some smoked ham, potatoes and some soft bread?” Preacher smiled.

“Are you kidding me? That sounds great! But don’t you cook me a lot, I'm just a little bit hungry," Kid sounded tired. By the time Preacher went out the bedroom door, Kid was asleep.

Preacher woke Kid back up; he had the food on a table, which he had brought into the room. Preacher asked, “Do you feel like sitting in a chair?”

“I think I can do that,” Kid tried to get up, and Preacher stopped him.

“Do you want to start bleeding again? Put your arms around my neck and I’ll support your back and slowly lift you up. Now remember nice and slow!” Preacher said with concern.

Preacher got Kid settled with little trouble, but he could see Kid was breathing hard. Preacher poured some water and handed it to his friend.

“You need to drink a lot of water; your fever took a lot out of you. You have to take easy for a few days, no long rides.” Preacher knew that he had to convince Kid of this.

Kid ate very small bites of his food, and was going over in his head, how to revise his plan. First, he had to find out where he was, and where the nearest railroad station is. Kid figured he’d rest up today and leave in the morning.

Knowing Kid, as well as Preacher did, he realized there was more going on than he would tell him. He watched as Kid pushed his food around on his plate. Before Preacher could say anything, Kid looked up at him and started asking questions.

“Where exactly are we? Is it safe for you to be here with me?” Kid was looking straight into Preacher’s eyes.

“We're deep in a forest about 25 miles north from Liberty, Colorado. No one has been here for years and we’re both safe. I doubt, if there is anyone around that knows about this place,” Preacher said sadly.

“How far is it to a train station, and does it run regular?” Kid was making plans.

“It’s about 5 miles to the east of us,” Preacher asked. “Why are you planning to catch a train?”

“Yes, I thought the train might be better for me now, instead of riding,” Kid said, trying to stay as vague as possible.

He couldn’t stand it any longer, so he came right out, and asked. “Alright, tell me what's going on, and where's Heyes? You two are always together, or meeting up with each other.”

Kid lowered his head and rubbing his forehead with his hand. Kid had hoped to avoid these questions with Preacher. He didn’t know how he was going to handle this. Kid’s mind went blank. He wanted to come up with something besides the truth, but he knew that he couldn't, outright lie to Preacher. Kid was never good at this; Heyes was the one that handled things like this. “Like the time with the Sister; Heyes said he was surprised that I didn’t tell her that we had $10,000 rewards on our heads!” Kid was remembered. Kid knew he couldn't lie to Preacher.

Preacher sat and waited for a reply. He knew it was best not to push the boy, and he figured that if Kid needs to think it over, something must have been troubling him. Kid raised his head and looked into Preacher’s eyes first, before he spoke. Preacher saw the pain and uncertainties in Kid’s dull eyes. It was hard for Kid to form the words, so he said them slowly, “Heyes and I are no longer partners and we went our separate ways.”

Preacher’s jaw felt like it had just hit the floor. “Oh, my Lord! Are you boys crazy? I've never seen a partnership as complete as you and Heyes. Don’t you want to save that?”

All the Kid said was, “No! And let's drop it.”

Then Kid tried to get up from the chair, he felt dizzy and the room began to spin. Kid sat back down, hard in the chair, and put his elbows on the table. He held his thumping head and he closed his eyes. Preacher saw the blood drain from Kid’s face and he looked very pale.

Preacher knew he better get Kid back to bed, before he passed out. “Here let me help you get back to bed. You look like you're ready for some sleep,” Preacher said tactfully.

For the next hour, Preacher watched as Kid slept fitfully. Preacher decided that he would drop the discussion about Heyes.



CHAPTER FIVE

It had been a day, since Kid had left Collins, Colorado. Heyes was staying in the same hotel room he had shared with Kid. Heyes had searched the town, with a fine toothcomb, and still had no information about Kid. Heyes thought if he tried to fool his cousin into thinking, he had left town, he might see him get on the stagecoach. But, there was no sign of Kid. He watched passengers embark and followed the stage at a safe distance. He thought Kid might board the stagecoach, on the outside of town.

Heyes soon ran out of places to search, and he took his horse to the stables for the night. While brushing his horse down, Heyes expressed his desperation to his horse.

The blacksmith overheard him say, “I don’t understand how he could disappear like this. No one knows anything!”

The blacksmith came up behind Heyes and asked, “How often does Jones play these jokes on you?” The man didn’t realize Smith’s desperation to find Mr. Jones. “What do you have a wager on this?”

“What do you mean a joke?” Heyes’ voice was strained but he put on a bogus smile. Heyes knew if he didn't control his temper, might not get any information from the man.

“I asked Jones, if he was playing a joke on you, and he said yes,” stated the smith.

“How was it, you saw right through Jones, about the joke? Jones is usually trickier, than that. Man, you are good! People sure can’t pull the wool, over your eyes!” Heyes was laying it on thick, with a wide smile, and shaking his head in fake amazement.

“Welllllll, I guess I am!” laughed the blacksmith and turned his head to spit out some of his chew. “But really, the boy wasn’t too smart!”

It took all of Heyes’ will, not to flatten the man for that remark about his partner. Heyes just played along, and with a tight throat asked, “How was it that, Jones wasn’t too smart?”

“Welllll you see, Jones sold me his horse, and then turns around and brought another horse and saddle. Then he wanted this horse to be seen by you, and after you found out about his trick, to show his receipt of the sale to you. He even slipped me $5.”

Heyes felt like grabbing the man and jacking him up against the wall, instead he asked with a stressed voice, “Do you mean Jones brought another horse and saddle?”

“Yes; Jones even came out $10 ahead. The horse he brought didn't have the same stamina as the one he sold. I tried to tell him that, but he said he won’t have the horse that long.”

“When did Jones leave?” Heyes asked.

“Jones wanted the horse ready for him to leave at 6:00 a.m., yesterday. He was here shortly after that and he rode out.”

“Thanks.” Heyes was in a defeated mood. “If I would've known yesterday, I would've a better chance of picking up his tracks, but now? Kid, you’re a stubborn idiot. Don’t you know it been you that's kept me alive?”

Heyes went straight to the telegraph office. For once, his luck was on his side, the office was still open. The only way, he had to cover more ground, was to send out telegrams to his friends. Heyes made out telegrams to Lom, Soapy, Georgette, Big Mac and Clementine. He asked if anyone had heard from Kid, to telegraph him before 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, any later, send replies to Sheriff Trevors.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

PORTERVILLE

Deputy Harker was unhappy. He was given another telegram for Sheriff Trevors. This one was from Joshua Smith. The sheriff had been in a foul mood, since he received the other telegram from Jones.

Harker mumbled to himself, “Just great, another telegram from those boys. Sometimes, this job isn’t worth all the trouble.”

Lom was still in his office, doing overdue paperwork, so he could stay away from the townsfolk. Since he read Jones’ message, his temper was at boiling point, and it wouldn’t take much to release his anger.

Harker slipped in and placed the telegram on the edge of the desk, and quickly hurried out. Normally, he would wait to see if Lom wanted to reply to the message, but not today. The deputy wanted it to be as if he was never there.

Lom didn't even raise his head, just moved his eyes to stare at the paper placed on his desk. Lom knew that the telegram had to be from one of the boys, Harker’s reaction told him that. Lom threw the papers in his hand, down on the desk. He reached over and snatched up the telegram.

Sheriff Trevors knew by glancing at it, who it was from. “No one can write shorter telegrams than Heyes.”

Lom/stop/Jones? /stop/Smith

The office door flew open and Lom stomped down the boardwalk toward the telegraph office. The telegrapher was locking up for the night, when he heard Lom’s approach. The man had a long, hard day and no matter what, he was closed. He had his speech all ready to tell the person, “Sorry, come back tomorrow. I’m closed!’ The man turned with his mouth ready to speak when he saw the sheriff’s face, and the way Lom was carrying himself. There was a dark cloud around Lom, and it sent a chill down the telegrapher’s spine. The man realized that he didn’t have the nerve to say he was closed. Instead, he was able to muster up, “Good evening, Sheriff.”

Lom nodded his head and waited for the nervous man to find the key hole with his key. When the door finally opened, Lom handed him the message he wanted sent.

Smith/Get here NOW! /stop/ No buts/stop/Lom

After the message was sent off, Lom turned and walked out the door saying, “Thanks.” He headed straight to his office with the thought that, “Heyes better not take his time and Heyes better have answers!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


TEXAS

A ranch hand rode fast into the yard, and stopped in front of McCreedy’s porch. Big Mac came out to see what the ruckus was about. The cowboy yelled, “Telegram!”

“Well, quit all your yelling and hand me the fool telegram,” McCreedy demanded. He opened the message and frowned. McCreedy yelled at the cowboy, “You stay put! I’m sending a reply, and you’re going back into town. I want it sent NOW! If the telegraph office is closed, you have him reopen. Do you understand? Or do I have to send someone else?”

“No sir, Mr. McCreedy! I can get the job done,” answered the cowboy, who desperately wanted to impress his boss. McCreedy went into his house to write his reply to:

McCreedy/stop/Heard from nephew? /stop/Need find/stop/10/Lom/Smith

McCreedy was disturbed by Heyes’ message. He would never admit to himself or anyone else, how much, he cared for those boys. Sometimes, Heyes and Curry seemed, they were a part of his family, especially Kid, him being Irish. Mac was proud of the way Kid carried himself and how he could terrify a man with a glare. Of course, he didn't like the times; Kid used that glare on him.

With Heyes, McCreedy actually enjoyed matching wits against him. There were very few men, who would dare take an opposite stand against Big Mac, and come out ahead. Both of the boys had done things for him, out of friendship, and McCreedy wanted to help them now, in any way he could. The telegram he sent back:

You better find my nephew/stop/will look down here/stop/ Keep me informed/stop/ Uncle Mac


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

San Francisco:

Soapy Saunders had finished a late dinner, when someone knocked on his door. The butler opened the door and Soapy heard the mention of a telegram. He tried to guess who it could be from. A maid brought the message to him.

Soapy/Lost Blonde dog/stop/Need find/stop/10/Lom/stop/Smith

The telegram troubled Soapy. He had met the boys when they were very young pups. Both were skinny and trying to make their way in the big world. Kid was sickly and Heyes was over protective of him. “How could Heyes, now lose Kid? Did a bounty hunter catch Kid or worse? How could they not be together? Something had to have gone terribly wrong for those two.” Soapy had a telegram sent back stating that:

Smith/stop/Seen no blonde dog/stop/Will look for/stop/ Notify when found/stop/Soap


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Somewhere outside of Denver:

Clementine/stop/Lost blonde dog/stop/ need find/stop/10/Lom/stop/Smith

Clementine was so worried sick about her close friends that she broke down and cried. She had hoped, over the years that nothing bad would happen to the boys. Clementine loved them both, and could see a future with either one of them, if she could only chose between them. Of course, nothing could come about, until after the amnesty came through. She had told the boys, that she should go and talk to [or tell] the Governor to give them their amnesty. However, for some reason, that Clementine did not understand, both boys thought that was a bad idea. She just hoped that Sheriff Lom Trevors knew what he was doing.

When Clementine got the telegram and saw her name spelled out, she knew it was from Heyes. Kid always called her Clem, even though she didn’t care for the name. One time, she asked Kid, why he kept calling her Clem. Kid looked at her with those puppy dog, blue eyes and sounding hurt said, “But Clem, Heyes and I have nicknames we call each other, and I thought you should have one, too. That shows that I care about you. Do you understand? If you want, I’ll stop calling you, Clem. But in my heart, you will always be Clem to me.”

Then Kid put his head down and looked at his boots. Clem stood there for a minute, and then she jumped on Kid, hugged, and kissed him, until he started laughing and swung her around. Clem sighed at the memory of Kid’s smile and his dancing blue eyes. Now she loves hearing Kid calling her Clem.

Clementine sent:

Smith/stop/Did someone steal puppy/stop/ worried/stop/Clem


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Early in the morning, Heyes received replies to all his telegrams, except the one he sent to Georgette. Heyes hated the idea of sending the telegrams in the first place. He didn't want to worry his friends. But he was upset now, to learn that no one had any information on Kid.

Porterville was his next move. That wasn’t hard to figure out, since Lom had ordered him there. Heyes could tell by Lom’s reply that the sheriff was upset. The trip turned into a long, painful, and lonely ride. Heyes checked out all of the places, they had stopped before. Heyes traveled to campsites they stayed at, watering holes, small town bars and Kid’s favorite diners, where the waitresses knew Mr. Jones. There were no signs that Kid had been at any of them.

It was dark, when Heyes got to the outskirts of Porterville. It took him almost two days of riding, and searching for Kid, along the way. At one point in the trip, that day, Heyes was only 4 miles from Kid, as he lay in Preacher’s cabin. Kid had called out for Heyes, when he was delirious. Somehow, Heyes had felt the Kid’s presence close by and the urgent need to find his cousin. If it was possible, Heyes knew that Kid needed him desperately. The weight of his fears drained Hannibal Heyes.

Lom had gone over and over in his head, what he was going to say to Heyes, when he arrived. As the two days past, the planned talk heated up more, as Lom grew impatient. He had witnessed over the years, Heyes’ baiting Kid into arguments between themselves, and then he snickered at the results.

There was times at the Hole, Kid would lose temper, jump on his horse and be gone for hours. Heyes would feel awful that he had gone too far with his goading of his cousin. Just about the time, Heyes got nervous about Kid not being back, he would return, and act like nothing was wrong. Heyes would be in the cabin waiting for his partner, so he could apologize to him. Kid would laugh and joke with Heyes, and tried take the need for Heyes to apologize away. Lom knew that one of these times; Kid might not cool down.

From the telegrams the boys had sent him, Lom knew the responsibility for Kid’s leaving was Heyes’ fault.

Working with them to obtain their amnesty, he felt he’d grown closer to them. At times, he thought of them as good friends. It was times like this, made him feel like an older brother, who had to do the scolding for their mishaps.

Heyes was relieved, when he saw the light shining from Lom’s cabin, it felt like a haven. He rode slouched in his saddle. His horse was exhausted. He pulled his horse to a halt in front of a fuming sheriff. Lom stepped off the porch and was ready to light into Heyes for taking so long to get there, and the problems with Kid. Lom was barely keeping his temper in check, until Heyes raised his head. What Lom saw, made him swear under his breath.

Heyes’ eyes had a haunted sunken look about them. As he slid off his horse, he staggered and almost fell. Lom rushed over and grabbed a hold of his friend. Lom saw complete exhaustion in his friend’s eyes.

“Lom, I can’t find Kid,” Heyes’ voice reflected his defeat.



CHAPTER SIX

Lom was at a loss for words, over the condition Heyes was in. The words, “I can’t find Kid” were echoing in his head. The sheriff had forgotten about the anger that had been building inside for days. He steered Heyes over to a porch rocker. Heyes sat down, as his legs gave out under him.

Lom ducked into the cabin and came back out with a cup of coffee for Heyes. While Heyes sat sipping on the warm drink, Lom bedded down Heyes’ exhausted horse. Lom carried Heyes’ rifle with his saddlebags draped over his shoulder. When he reached the porch, he asked, “I got a real tender roast that I cooked earlier today. How about having a sandwich?”

Heyes didn’t feel like eating, but he knew Lom would be overly concerned if he didn’t. Heyes was too worn- out to argue with his friend over food. “I reckon I could manage half of a sandwich.”

Lom carried the saddlebags into the extra room, and lit the lamp and put an extra blanket on the bottom of the bed. In the main room, he pulled two overstuffed chairs towards the fireplace. Lom placed the sandwich and coffee pot in a nearby table.

He called for Heyes to come into the cabin. Lom stood by the door in case Heyes needed help. Heyes got up slowly and came inside the cabin.

The sheriff wanted Heyes to eat before he started questioning him about his missing partner. After Heyes was done, Lom refilled the coffees and laced them with whiskey. Heyes took a couple of sips, while he stared into the fire’s flames. Lom didn’t know how ask about what was going on between the two. Lom was deep in thought when he heard a voice filled with despair, “Lom, I can’t find him. Have you heard from Kid?”

“What happened?”

Heyes explained what happened in Liberty, Co. and about the beating of Susie; and how Kid had gone up against the attacker, Jerkins, and how Kid acted after the gunfight and the trip to Collins.

“The next morning, Kid was gone. I have searched for four days for him and nothing.”

“Kid didn’t say anything before he left? No arguments?” Lom asked.

Heyes swap round inside his coat pocket, and pulled out the messages he’d received. Lom had felt worse after reading them. He had a knot in his stomach and a feeling Kid, probably wouldn't be found. Kid always knew how to cover his tracks and the gang came to appreciate his skill. Kid having surveyed the surrounding terrain, Kid always knew which way to head. Heyes saw a stony expression appear on Lom’s face.

“What?” Heyes asked.

Lom shook his head. “No.”

With anxiety in his voice, Heyes said, “Lom, if there's anything, I need to know, please. For days, I had only myself, to figure out where he went. I’m asking for your help.”

Lom looked at Heyes, as he asked for his help, and then cast his eyes to the floor. The last thing, he wanted to do was to hurt Heyes more, but he needed the truth.

“I got a telegram from Kid, the day he left you. Putting all the messages together, it doesn’t look promising. Kid said his actions, in the gunfight, caused you to have a narrow escape with a wild bullet. Now he wants to make sure that it will never happen again. That's why; I believe he'll make sure that you never find him.”

Lom handed Kid telegram to Heyes. In the telegram, Kid said that the partnership was finished and his actions were his own.

“What actions was Kid talking about? No way, would he go back to outlawing! You know, he asked first about the amnesty,” Heyes was mad and his voice was cracking.

Lom said, “I don’t know what actions, he meant. Kid felt that by leaving he’d protect you from any fallout. People look at him as a gunslinger, which attracts trouble. Then there's his temper...”

“What are you saying? You know him better than that. Kid is no gunslinger!” Heyes yelled, losing his temper as he tried to protect his partner.

Lom firmly stated, “Now wait a minute, Heyes. I didn’t say that I believe that.”

Lom’s jaw was set firm. Heyes’ eyes turned to cold, dark pits that rattled Lom. The two of them sat in silence for a long time, with Heyes deep in thought. Lom saw the worry etched on Heyes' face.

Finally, Lom said, “Heyes, I'll do anything that I can to help you find him. But you know that it’s his choice, what Kid does. Do you still want the amnesty?”

“Yes, we still want the amnesty. Does the Governor need to know about this?” Heyes was worried about the Governor’s reaction to the news.

“Right now, the Governor doesn’t need to know. You two have separated before for different jobs. Kid probably will be working for a living, right? Therefore, what the Governor doesn't know hopefully won’t come back and bite us! If Kid gets into trouble, no one will be able to help him this time. I do have the telegram that states Kid’s break-up of the partnership, so that will clear you of any his wrong doings,” Lom stated.

“Lom, to me the partnership will always be intact, so if Kid doesn’t have a chance for the amnesty, than neither do I! We do understand each other, right?” his voice threatening as his eyes turned black.

Lom didn’t answer. He was thinking to himself, “I’m an idiot, for talking that way about Kid.”

One thing, Lom should have remembered was, you don’t come between Heyes and Curry. “Heyes and I are both worried about Kid and he still is missing,” Lom was thinking. "Those two would stand up for each other no matter what." Lom got up and went outside to let things cool down between them. “This confrontation isn’t helping anything.”

Inside the cabin, Heyes was also feeling bad about the way he’d jumped at Lom.

“I had no right, to treat Lom that way. How am I going to find Kid when I can't handle this? I’ve got to get my mind clear.”

Heyes spoke up right away when Lom entered the cabin, “Lom, I'm sorry, that I let my temper get the best of me.”

“Heyes, I'll do what I can, to help search for him. I know that we’re both worried about him.” Lom was relieved that Heyes was no longer upset with him.

“You get the news from different territories, and if anything sounds like Kid let me know,” stated Heyes.

“I will Heyes, but you need to take care of yourself, or you won’t be able to search for him. You look like you were dragged in by your horse,” Lom was worried. Heyes looked ready to drop.

“It’s been hard to get any sleep. I had too much to think about, trying to figure out the right way to find Kid. Plus out on the trail, there’s no one to watch my back, when I sleep,” Heyes said wearily.

“I have the room ready for you, now go get some sleep. In the morning, I’ll check out things in town. The stage brings in some newspapers from different towns and some from out of the territory. We can have a late breakfast or lunch and go over them, together. I don’t want you out of bed until I come home, do you understand?” Lom said firmly said.

Heyes smirked, “Lom, there might be a problem with that.”

Lom was confused and asked, “What’s the problem?”

Heyes innocently said, “I might need to use your outhouse first thing in the morning and if I’m not allowed to get out of bed, well, there might be an accident,” Heyes said innocently. Lom laughed. “I really don’t know if I’m can sleep.”

Lom poured some whiskey into Heyes’ cup.

“Now drink up and get to bed.” Lom laughed, “I’m not undressing you and putting you to bed!”

Heyes smiled and finished his whiskey; it was easy to see he was mulling something over. Just before entering his room, Heyes turned and devilishly asked, “Lom, when was the last time you undressed someone?”

“My luck, it was probably one of you boys!” Lom said pitifully.



CHAPTER SEVEN

Two men rode side by side into Boulder, Colorado, heading towards to the livery stable.

"Now remember to call me, Thaddeus Jones, not Kid! Do you think you can do that?"

It never failed that Kid's old gang members always forgot and called him and Heyes by their real names in public.

Preacher smiled and said, "Sure Thaddeus... Thaddeus Jones. I have no problem with that, Kid."

"No Thaddeus," Kid stated.

"No Thaddeus?" Preacher removed his hat and scratched his head. "I thought you didn't want to be called Kid, Kid!" Preacher was pulling Kid's leg.

"What?.. No Kid, it's Thaddeus!" Kid was irritated.

"So now you're telling me that, you want to be called Thaddeus?" laughed Preacher.

"How about I just shoot you, and you won't be able to call me anything?" Kid was faking his anger now, and the two men exchanged smile.

They rode into the stable and the blacksmith came over to them. The man asked, "Can I help you, men?"

Kid dismounted and put his hand out to shake the man's hand, and said, "Hello, my name is Thaddeus Jones, and I was hoping to sell my horse and gear. I'm catching the train, today."

"Well, let's see what you got." The smith was looking over the horse and then said, "I'll give you $35 for the lot."

"That would be fine. Can we do the sale, as soon as possible?" Kid asked hopefully.

"Yes, as soon as you sign the bill of sales, I'll give you the money," the smith said. "Is there anything you need preacher?"

"I'm just traveling with my friend, Joshua here," smiled Preacher, "Until he gets on the train."

"IT'S THADDEUS!" stormed Kid.

"Oh, I'm sorry, it's that Smith and Jones thing," Preacher said matter of fact. He looked at the smith and said that sometimes he calls Thaddeus, by his cousin's name.

"Oh, do they look alike?" asked the smith.

"Oh, no! They look like night and day from each other." Preacher knew he was pushing Kid and he was enjoying it.

Meanwhile Kid's eyes went icy. It just made Preacher laugh.

After the sale of Kid's horse, Curry stormed down the middle of the street towards the train station. Preacher rode his horse a safe distance from his friend. By the time Kid reached the station, he was breathing hard and his skin was clammy. He went inside and sat down to catch his breath. Preacher sat down beside Kid and was concerned about his friend traveling, so soon.

Kid saw an older, well-dressed lady having trouble with her luggage. The carriage driver would not take her luggage into the station, "Lady, that not my job to carry your luggage all over town.'

"You haven't carried the luggage at all. The bell man at the hotel loaded the luggage onto the carriage, and now I need them in the station." The woman's anger made her voice crack.

Kid closed his eyes for a moment, thinking about how much his back was hurting, and how he couldn't ignore a lady in need. Kid eased himself up and walked slowly towards them. He smiled and tipped his hat to the blonde haired lady, and turning to the carriage driver, gave him an icy glare.

"I know that you'll be happy to help me with her luggage, right?" Kid said in a deep warning voice to the man. He had his hands resting on his gun belt. The man found out that carrying the luggage wasn't a problem for him, after all. Kid turned to the lady and asked, "Do you know where you need these taken?"

"Yes, I'm taking the San Francisco express." The lady was relieved to see the young man wanted to help her. When Kid picked up a suitcase in each hand, he bit the inside of his mouth to stop himself from crying out in pain. He left the large streamer trunk for the driver. When they had the luggage checked in, the man waited for a tip.

Kid turned, looked at the man and said, "Don't you even think, that you're getting any more money, off this pretty lady!"

The man quietly walked away, and the lady was grateful that he did so. Kid smiled and wished the lady a safe trip. Kid sat down and his breathing a little labored. "That felt good, not having Joshua telling me not to interfere," Kid mumbled.

Preacher heard the remark, but didn't say a word. Kid told Preacher that it was all right for him to leave. "I'm going to get my ticket in a few minutes. I want to thank-you again, and I owe you big time, Preacher. You're a good friend!"

"Thaddeus are you sure; you're going to be all right? I think it too soon for you to be traveling," Preacher was hoping his wounded friend would change his plans. "If you got a room for a couple days, you could start to heal and get your strength back"

"I'll be fine, once I get on the train, and get some sleep. I'm just tired, that's all," Kid tried to reassure him.

"Do you want me to check you're back one last time? Make sure it ain't bleeding?" Preacher was half-pleading.

"Alright let's go. Then you leave, OK?"

Kid got up and walked over to the men's room, with Preacher following him. He watched how Kid was favoring his back and side. His face reflected the pain he was having. Once inside the room, Preacher helped him remove his coat, then he examined the wound.

Preacher shook his head, "Blood has almost soaked through to the outer layer of binding. I have to change it. You have done too much this morning. How about staying, just one night, in the hotel?"

"No, I have to move on. I would be a sitting duck here," Kid explained.

"How are you going to change your bandage and keep the wound clean, on the train?"

"Don't worry, I'll find a way. Now go, so I can get on the train."

When they walked back into the station, Kid nudged Preacher in his arm. Preacher looked over at Kid; he smiled and said, "See you, later." They went their separate ways. Preacher shook his head in disbelief, as he looked skywards for guidance.

"Lord, did you have to give that boy so much stubbornness? Please, keep an eye on Kid. I hope I'm doing the right thing."

The lady observed her young rescuer, while she waited for her train. She was sitting a couple of benches behind him, and saw the concern of the preacher's. What she had witness, made her worry that, he wasn’t in good health. He looked so pale, short of breath and seems to be favoring his back.

Preacher had walked past her, while he was praying. She had overhead the whole pray. She watched as the younger man went to buy his ticket. The room was spinning as Kid approached the ticket window; he grabbed a hold of the frame to the ticket office window. The lady rushed up behind him and put her arm around Kid's shoulder to support him. Being lightheaded, Kid barely felt the arm around him, which he thought it belonged to Preacher. .

The stationmaster said, "Sir, are you alright

He laid his money down, "I need a first class ticket for the San Francisco Express, and I need a compartment."

Christina smiled when he asked for a first class ticket to San Francisco on the express. She was worried that the young man wasn't going to be able to stand much longer, because she felt his weight more against her arm.

"Well sir, that is $26.50, but there are no compartments left."

"Thaddeus, what are you doing?" Kid was startled to hear a woman's voice beside him. She tightened her hold on him.

"I've already got our compartment. I'm sorry sir, this is my mixed up grandson, Thaddeus. Here's his money, for his share of the compartment," said the lady.

Kid looked at her, confusion written on his face. She turned toward Kid, her back to the ticket office, and put her finger up to her lips, to silence him. She took a hold of Kid's arm and led him over to a bench, "I'll be right back. Stay put! You look like you're ready to faint."

"Ma'am, but I don't faint!" Kid announced.

The lady turned her back to the young man and walked away with a smile that was threatening to become laughter.

The lady went back to the stationmaster and said, "My grandson..." she pointed to the Kid..."had an accident with his back. He's in a lot of pain, so we will be staying in our compartment most of the trip. You saw that he isn't steady on his feet." The lady looked at Kid and shook her head with the loving concern of a grandmother. "I've told him many of times to be careful, but boys will be boys!"

The stationmaster said to wait a minute, and came back with a man, who clearly didn't like being bothered. "This is your porter," the stationmaster explained.

She gave the porter a sweet smile and said, "I hope that Thaddeus and I have an enjoyable trip to San Francisco. Hopefully, we'll get well acquainted with you by then."

The older man turned to the porter, and said that the lady and her grandson were traveling in compartment six. The porter was thinking ‘so what!' until he looked at his clipboard and his eyes widened.

"Mrs. Crawford, please just let me know what you'll need or want. I'll be happy to do anything I can to help make your trip pleasurable."

Mrs. Crawford looked bashful and asked in a soft and sweet voice, "When you're not busy, if you could bring us some of those wonderful little sandwiches you have, and something cool to drink. I would really appreciate it."

The porter was falling over himself, to be of service to Mrs. Crawford, of Nob Hill, San Francisco. All the time, Kid sat watching her work the porter and he was impressed, by the way, she charmed him.

She came and stood in front of him, "I'm sorry. I should have asked you about sharing the compartment. I saw you were trying to get one; there are none available, I thought we could travel together. I saw there's something wrong with your back and you need to lie down. You don't need all the noise and jarring sitting in those passenger cars."

"As long as, I'm not any bother for you."

Kid was wondering why the lady would put herself out. He had Heyes' warning voice sounding in his head and it wasn't helping his headache none. Kid rubbed the back of his neck to relieve the tightness he felt there.

"How could having my handsome grandson traveling with me be any trouble? The lady smiled and blushed. She quickly turned toward the train, because she felt the warmth on her cheeks. "I think that they're letting people on the train now. Our car is straight ahead."

Kid stood and put his saddlebags over his left shoulder, with his right hand and took a hold of her left elbow. They walked over to the train and he supported her arm, while she climbed the steps up into the car. Kid lifted his leg up to the first step. It felt like his skin ripped apart on his back and he let out a gasp. He turned ashen. She reached down and grabbed the front of his coat to balance him.

"Thaddeus are you alright?"

Brought back in focus, he held his breath and pulled himself up the steps. The porter was waiting by their compartment when they arrived. "Mrs. Crawford, I hope everything is satisfactory for you and your grandson."

She looked inside the compartment and said, "Thank-you the place looks lovely."

One of the beds was made up with extra pillows and a hot water bottle was lying to the side. On a small table, there was a pitcher with cold lemonade and a tray with little sandwiches with chucks of cheese and grapes. There was a beautiful arrangement of wild flowers on the table.

"Thaddeus, you go ahead in the compartment and get yourself settled." She turned to the porter and said, "I really don't want to call you porter the whole trip. Can I call you by your given name?"

"Mrs. Crawford, you can call me William," said the porter.

Mrs. Crawford smiled, "William, thank-you for making us feel welcome and starting our trip off so pleasantly." She shook his hand and slipped him $10, and said quietly, "What is left is for your kindness."

Kid didn't notice her paying for the food. He was in so much pain; he had over done things this morning. Riding the horse for over 5 miles, carrying the luggage and all the walking had exhausted him. He had a hard time taking his coat off. He held his breath and tried to ignore the pain that shot up his back. Kid finally let go a gasp and shut his eyes to stop the tears from falling, from the shearing pain. Kid slowly lowered himself down on the bed, with his arms behind him stuck in his coat sleeves. He still had his eyes closed with some tears on his cheeks.

Seeing the young man's distress, tore at Mrs. Crawford's heart. She reached down, and slowly pulled off one coat sleeve at a time. She hung up Kid's coat and did a few other things, with her back to Kid. She thought he could use a moment to get control of himself, without her watching. When she turned around Kid was sitting on the edge of the bed like a ten- year-old, waiting for instructions, on what to do next.

There was a pitcher with cold water and she poured Kid a glass. She tried to act, as if she didn't notice the pain that showed on Kid’s face. He reached for the glass, he twitched, and this time, Mrs. Crawford couldn't keep her mouth shut. "Do you have any medication to take?"

"No, Ma'am. Sometimes, I have bad reactions from the medications. I thought since I'm traveling that, I shouldn't take anything," Kid explained.

"But honey, you're in severe pain! There has to be something that you can take," Mrs. Crawford was thinking, while she fixed Kid a plate of food.

"I'm hoping that some sleep will help relieve the pressure from my back and my head," Kid said, wishing this were true.

"Have you ever tried ginger water?" Mrs. Crawford wondered if that would help the young man.

"No. I haven't. I only drink regular water, you know like well water and from streams or rivers. I tasted ocean water once and I didn't like the salt," Kid informed her.

She thought, "This young man is naive about some things and yet there is another side to this man." She looked in one of her luggage cases and pulled out a small bottle.

"This bottle has powder ginger. It's a spice for cooking, but mix it with regular water, and it helps with headaches. When I travel, I always take some ginger along for headaches. I’ll mix some up. You should start feeling better, by the time you’re done eating."

Kid thought it over and decided it should be all right? Heyes always told him to never to take anything like that, because it might be dangerous for him. Kid thought, "But Heyes isn't here, so I can do what I want and not what Heyes wants." Kid looked at the lady and said, "Thank-you ma'am. I'll try some. I've had the headache for four days."

She gave him the glass. When Kid drank the ginger water, he wrinkled up his nose from the bitter taste. Mrs. Crawford laughed, "It doesn't taste that good, but it works most times."

After Kid took a bite of his sandwich and asked, "What kind of fish is this? And do you eat it cold?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. If you don't like it, there's chicken, beef and ham sandwiches here on the plate. It's tuna fish and it's made into a salad, and you do eat it cold," Christina was upset that she might have gotten something Thaddeus wouldn't like to eat.

"No, I like it. I just like to know the name of what I'm eating." Kid smiled. "My partner said, that I'll eat anything that doesn't eat me first." Kid stopped as a sad shadow appeared on his face. Christina didn't know what to say.

Kid took a couple of moments before he started to eat again. He ate a few of the sandwiches with the lemonade. "Thank- you ma'am, I do feel like my headache has lessened," Kid told her.

"There's only one thing, you need to do for me. Please call me, Christina. I would be more comfortable if you did. Maybe Grandma Christy, when we are around people." She hoped that she didn't make him feel uncomfortable with saying that.

After she cleaned up their plates, she could see how tired her traveling companion was. "I think this is a good time for you to get some rest. I'll help you with your boots and your shirt. Then I'll go for walk, so you can get settled," Christina said.

"That's alright, I can get my boots off," Kid reassured her. Kid proceeded to show her how capable he was. He used one booted foot to pry off the other boot. He looked at her and smiled like a little boy. She couldn't wait to see how Thaddeus was going to get the other boot off. Kid tried to use his foot to pry the boot off. He tried again and knew that he couldn't reach down and remove it. He looked around the room, and there was nothing to use to help. Christina tried to look away, so she wouldn't laugh. It didn't work; she broke down giggling and turned red.

Kid laughed and grabbed his right side, "Ok, I guess I do need a little help. But just a little bit," Kid said with a sparkle in his eyes.

Christina got up, grabbed a hold of each side of the boot, and pulled. The boot didn't budge an inch. Christina tried again; she and the boot went flying across the room into the cushion seat. Kid laughed and it hurt, but it felt good to be able to laugh.

Christina was still laughing, when she asked, "Well, are you going to let me take off your shirt, or am I going to sit here and watch you struggle?"

Kid blushed a deep red. Christina was astonished with Kid's reaction. She raised her eyebrows and announced, "Boy, you have nothing to be ashamed of."

If it was possible, Kid turned a deeper red. Christina laughed and said, "I mean you have a union top on."

"I guess I could use some help, since I did such a good job, taking off my coat and boots." He slowly unbuttoned his shirt, and she slipped it off and folded it up.

"Well, I guess I'll go for that walk and see what's going on in the rest of the train. Now get some rest and I'll see you later." Outside the door, she placed a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the handle.

Kid didn't believe the luck he was having on this trip. He liked and trusted Christina Crawford. Kid could see Heyes with a disapproving scowl on his face. Kid rubbed his forehead to erase the vision from his mind. Kid had started to feel some relief from his headache and didn't want to trigger another onslaught.

"I'm going have to remember ginger water. I know something that Heyes don't know," Kid said it, with a satisfied smile. The smile faded when Kid felt a sudden loneliness, from missing Heyes.

Kid untied the leg strap to his gun belt, and unbuckled it. After he removed it from his waist, Kid laid the belt between the wall and the top of his pillow. He slowly laid his weary body down on the bed and stretched his legs out. The thought of checking his bandage crossed his mind, but that meant he had to get back up. Kid reasoned with himself, "I'll check my back in a little bit. I'll rest for a few minutes and then I'll check."

Kid closed his heavy eyelids and it felt so good. That was his last thought before sleep claimed him.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A half an hour later, Christina entered the quiet compartment. She saw the young man was asleep, and he didn't hear her come back into the room. She decided to read a book to pass the time, until dinner. Christina had doubted whether the young man would be awake for dinner. She had seen the dark circles under his eyes, had grown darker, since she met him at the station. She wished she knew what she could do to help the young man.

Sitting opposite the young man, she opened her book and then cast a glance towards him. A giggle escaped her, and she put her hand up to her mouth to stop any more. Kid had moved enough to lose half of his blanket and she saw that he was wearing his jeans to bed. She got up, pulled the cover back over Kid, and put a pillow behind his back for support. She looked down at the youthful face and remembered a boy with curly blond hair and the deepest blue eyes. There have been times, through the past years, that she thought of that young boy.


avatar
Re: Why Must We Make It So Hard?
Post on Thu 26 Feb 2015, 4:07 pm by royannahuggins
CHAPTER EIGHT

It was late morning, when Kid woke to the smell of food. Christina was pouring herself some coffee, when she saw Kid's eyes slowly opening.

"Well, good morning! How is your headache?"

Kid closed his eyes, to block the sunlight. It felt good to be free of the pain. The movement of the carriage reminded Kid, that he was on a train heading to California. The thought of Heyes came to mind, and he hoped he was all right. He turned his head toward Christina and smiled, "Morning."

"I hope you feel like eating breakfast. I took the liberty of ordering you some. It was either now or wait till 4:00 for an early dinner," stated Christina.

"What time is it?" wondered Kid.

"It is 11:30. It was last call for breakfast."

Kid rose up from the bed carefully, and was relieved that his head wasn't spinning. "My head does feel better. The room has stopped spinning," Kid said, the relieve showing on his face.

Kid ran his fingers through his hair and looked for some water. He walked over to the pitcher and poured some onto the bowl. Kid splashed water into his face and washed his hands. He picked up a towel, and dried his face and then went over to the table and sat down, "Everything looks good. Now that I'm up, I'm starved!"

There were blueberry pancakes, bacon, sausages, eggs, fresh fruit, and some pastries. Kid enjoyed the breakfast and Christina's company. After breakfast, Christina went for another walk, so Kid could clean up.

He decided that it was time to check that bandage, after he shaved. He got out his clean clothes and some bandages from his saddlebags. He had just taken off the bandage, when Christina tapped on the door and entered. Christina's mouth dropped open in shock. Kid's back was facing her, and she saw the dried blood and the discoloration on his skin.

With the noise from the train, Kid had not heard her tapping on the door. Kid was alarmed when he heard a gasp behind him. He turned toward the sound and there was Christina. Kid grabbed for his union top.

"What are you doing? That needs to be cleaned and medicine put on it! You can't do that by yourself. You shouldn't be so bashful," Christina was upset.

Kid didn't say anything. He was busy thinking, how he was going to talk his way out of this? He didn't like the idea of leaving the train, there was no way he could jump off the train.

"Thaddeus, you can't leave a cut like that unattended. Lay down on your stomach and I'll take care of that. Do you have anything to put on it?" Christina asked.

"All I have is this salve." Kid handed it to her.

"Honey, this is used after you have a scab. You still have an open wound. I might have some iodine; it's antiseptic."

Christina smiled and held up a small bottle of reddish liquid. Kid's eyes widened and worry crossed his face. In a voice that sounded shaken Kid asked, "That isn't the stuff that burns, is it?"

"What?" Christina thought she heard wrong.

"Christina, that doesn't burn? Kid was remembering a red liquid that was used on him, at the Valparaiso School for Waywards. They would hold him down and poured it on him, while the little eight year old, would fight to escape the burning. They would laugh and pour more on him. Heyes would hear the screams coming from his cousin, and he would pound on the locked door, to get in. "Heyes would be so upset afterwards, and then take it out on himself. He would say that he was a bad partner, because he failed to protect me."

She saw the fear on Kid's face. "It won't burn you, Thaddeus. It might sting a little bit, but I'll do it a little at a time. I'll wave some cool air on your back and it will relieve the stinging. I promise!" She tried to reassure him, "You need the iodine, so you don't get an infection. I would never do anything, to hurt you."

Kid slowly lay down and turned his face towards the wall. Christina noticed that Thaddeus had grabbed the underneath of the pillow and had a tight grip on. He moved so she couldn't see his hand, but already had. She knew to go slow and gentle.

After she had washed his lower back, she used cotton balls to put the iodine on him. He had his back tensed up for the application, and flinched when the iodine touched his skin. She felt sorry for him. She talked about what she had seen on her walks as she applied the iodine and waved air across the back, hoping to take his mind off the pain.

When Christina was done she said, "You need to get some air on it for a while, later I'll wrap it up. Just lay there, if you want I can read to you."

"That sounds good," Kid said, glad it was over.

He remembered the smell of the iodine, and look of triumph on the director of the school. That laughing, smirking face has haunted Kid's sleep. Many nights, Heyes stayed with Kid to chase anyway the nightmares, at the Home.

Christina had been reading for about 15 minutes, when she heard Kid's soft, even breathing. She got up, leaned over, and saw the peaceful expression on his face. Christina thought to herself, "I know it has to be him. A few right placed questions and answers, I'll know for sure!"

While Kid slept, Christina went over in her head what questions to ask and how to ask them.

"Plus, I need to find out what happened to his partner."



CHAPTER NINE

Heyes had been away from Porterville almost a week, and it had been a week and a half, since he last saw Kid. Heyes trudged slowly into sheriff’s office; Lom and his deputy were going over some papers. Hearing the door open, both men looked up. Lom didn’t look any better than Heyes; the sheriff was worried about the boys. Especially after, he heard about the gunfight in Liberty.

Heyes had been out searching for Kid or news of him. So Heyes didn't hear about the fight until Deputy Harker asked, “Your friend Jones, how good is he with a gun?”

Lom gave the deputy a glare ‘to shut up’ but that went right over his head. Heyes was shocked and wondered how that topic came up. Heyes answered, “Sometimes Jones is lucky, he doesn’t shoot his foot off.”

Lom hide his face behind with a paper, so his smile wouldn’t show. The deputy wasn’t done talking, which made the sheriff uncomfortable. “Down in Liberty, they're still talking about Jones,” the deputy proudly stated.

Lom saw the puzzle look on Heyes’ face and tried to get his deputy to leave the office. Heyes said,
“I’m surprised that you heard about that?”

“Well, it’s not every day, you see someone go up against...” Lom standing behind Heyes motioned for Harker to go. “Oh, I forgot that Miss Porter wanted me at the bank now. Sorry, I have to leave.” He rushed out the door, and slammed his shoulder into doorframe, on the way out.

Heyes turned around and looked to Lom for answers. The sheriff acted engrossed in some papers he was holding. Heyes demanded, “Alright Lom, what the hell is going on?”

“Heyes, before you get furious with me, listen first. I don’t know where he is, only where he was, the day after he left you.”

"When were you going to tell me?” Heyes felt Lom was holding back from him about his partner.

Lom saw the direction Heyes was taking this and he yelled, “Now wait a minute Heyes! Did I miss something? Didn’t you just arrive back in town? Now sit down!”

Lom stopped to get his voice under control, before he said anything else. Heyes saw his friend’s anger, so he removed his black hat, and decided he should do as Lom demanded. He looked behind him for a chair and pulled it closer the desk. Heyes heard Lom clear his throat, as he sat down and looked up into Lom’s warning glare.

Lom’s tone was stern but concerned, “You know that I would do anything for you, boys. When I heard stories about Liberty floating around, and it sounded like Kid Curry, I made inquiries.”

“He went back to Liberty? That doesn’t make sense; Kid couldn’t leave there fast enough!” Heyes felt stupid, that he never thought to look there for his partner.

“Shortly after you left last week, I heard about Liberty and Thaddeus Jones. I went down there to get the facts right,” Lom paused to get the wording right, so Heyes didn’t go crazy on him.

Heyes was impatient, “Well Lom, what did you find out?” Heyes had stood up, put his hands on Lom’s desk, and leaned forward.

“It was him, in Liberty. He had a gunfight with three men, and one was killed,” Lom stopped when he saw Heyes’ reaction.

Heyes’ chest tightened, it became was hard for him to breathe. Shaken, he sat back, landing on the edge of the chair and had to grab the arms to stop himself ending up on the floor. He was able to get out, “Kid? Is he all right?”

“Heyes, they say that he rode out of town,” reassured Lom.

“Why, would he get into a gunfight? Did they attack him? Bounty hunters?” Heyes wanted to make sense of this news, didn’t want it to be Kid’s fault.

“The sheriff said; he had made arrangements with Thaddeus, to help him with forthcoming trouble, with Jenkins’ brother and his gang. They were scheduled to come the next day, on the stagecoach and they wanted Jenkins release.”

“When did the sheriff have the time to ask? I was with them in the sheriff’s office and nothing was said. We left a short time after Jenkins’ arrest. “

“The sheriff cornered him in the stables, when Kid was saddling the horse to leave. The sheriff told him about the trouble, the town was getting, and he needed help. Kid made it clear if he did help, you were to be left out of it. Kid stressed that point about you. That explains the telegram, Kid sent me, about any of his future actions being his own.”

"Kid knew that he was leaving me in Collins, before we even left Liberty,” realizing this hurt Heyes. “Kid was temperamental after the gunfight, and the ride to Collins was unbearable. I hoped or I thought his bad mood would past, and everything would be fine in the morning, like before. Lom, I was taking the easy way out with Kid, and he needed me.”

Heyes got up and started to pace. Lom told him everything he found out in Liberty, except the end of the gunfight. Heyes was angry and his fury showed in his eyes.

“Kid had sent the sheriff to the jail, to look for the fourth man, and that meant he had no back up. He went against three men at once! Why would he do that? Kid isn’t that reckless, what changed that? He’s going to get himself killed. Then he kills one of them, if the sheriff wasn’t there…” stormed Heyes.

From the tone of his voice and the fear in his eyes, Lom could see Heyes was near breaking point.

“Heyes, you need to calm down. I told you that Kid rode out of town. There aren’t any new warrants on Kid or Thaddeus Jones.”

“Lom, what are you leaving out? I want to know. Now!” demanded Heyes. Most men knew to back down when Hannibal Heyes, the man who had led the Devil’s Hole Gang, got this mad. Lom wasn’t one of those men.

“All right, but don’t kill the messenger. During the fight, the stagecoach blocked Kid’s view of the men. Kid had shot Jenkins’ brother first, then Kid was after the third one, Jenkins recovered his gun. There was a preacher from the stage, who yelled at Kid to watch out. The preacher fired and killed the third man. The sheriff said there was no doubt; a preacher saved Thaddeus’s life. Apparently, the preacher knew Thaddeus too. Seems he greeted him when he got off the stage. The preacher tried to talk the men out of going up against Jones.”

“You and I both know who that was. It was Preacher! That means Kid would have gone up against four men at once, if the fourth one wasn’t Preacher. Kid would've been killed, if it wasn’t for Preacher!”

Heyes went over to the window and stared out at nothing in particular. Lom sat down and watched Heyes, not moving or talking for a long time. Lom was worried and didn’t know what to do. Kid was always the one who reached his friend when he was in this mood.

All of sudden Heyes turned towards Lom and said, “I’m going to the Devil's Hole and see if Preacher is there.”

Lom nodded his head. Heyes eyes were lifeless and his jaw was taut. Heyes headed toward the door. Lom asked, “You’re not leaving now are you? It’s going to be dark in a few hours.”

“The sooner I leave, the sooner I’ll get answers. If Preacher was that close to the Hole, he’ll stop for a while. I don’t want to miss Preacher,” stated Heyes.

“Are you going to let me know afterwards, what you find out about him? Is it possible that Kid at the Hole?” Lom wondered.

“One way or another, I’ll let you know. No, I know that he isn’t there, because Kid wouldn’t be that careless. It would be too easy for me to find him there,” with that Heyes left.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Heyes rode hard, with mental pictures of the gunfight playing out in his head. Each vision had been different, most ending with Kid dead. Heyes couldn’t get one particular image out of his head. Kid was lying alone in the street, the wind blowing the dirt around his lifeless body. Heyes had imagined all four men had fired at once at his partner, the bullets hitting and entering Kid’s body.

Heyes stopped his horse to get a drink at a stream, Kid called the half waypoint to the Hole. Heyes splashed water on his face. He looked up and saw the spot, where Kid would have laid down under a tree with his hat over his eyes. Heyes wished he was lying there now.

The land turned to barren plains before the mountain range that leads to the Hole. Most people would make camp for the night, but that’s for ones that sleep. Heyes rarely got a full night’s sleep and he had had almost none since Kid had left. He didn’t stop that night either Heyes’ nightmares had grown worse with Kid in danger or dead.

It had been a while since he has made this trip; still Heyes probably could travel this in his sleep. It was the next evening, when Heyes reached the Hole’s first watch post. Heyes fired three shots into the air and waited for the men to arrive. A few minutes later, two riders approached with their guns drawn. Heyes didn’t know the men. “Great, just what I need, greenhorns,” Heyes thought.

Heyes raised his hands over his head. Heyes smiled at the approaching men and said, “My name is Hannibal Heyes, and I’m here to see Wheat and Kyle.”

They disarmed Heyes, and he was led into the compound blindfolded, this is a rule of Heyes,’ no strangers were to be shown the way, into the Hole. When they stop in front of the leader’s cabin, a man took the bandanna off. Heyes smiled at them and said, “The circling at the Devil’s curl was smart, but if you double back at Hell’s valley, it's confusing for most new comers.”

The men surrounded him, and there were five or six men that didn't know Heyes. Wheat and Kyle came out of the cabin to see what was going on and saw Heyes with three guns pointed at him. Heyes pushed his hat back on his head and looked up at the porch. He smiled and greeted, “Hello Wheat… Kyle.”

Wheat gave his men a mean look, “Put your guns away and give back Heyes’ gun!”

Kyle stepped forward, while hiking up his pants, “You idiots, don’t you know who Hannibal Heyes is?”

“That’s alright Kyle. No harm done, they’re just doing their job,” Heyes reassured the men and thanked them, for the return of his gun and rifle. The men were muttering about meeting the famous Hannibal Heyes.

“What are you doing here, Heyes? And is Kid?” Wheat was looking around for Kid. “Kid isn’t with you? I know that these pups would never have disarmed Kid,” Wheat almost said that proudly.

“I came to talk to you and Kyle, and I was hoping Preacher was here,” Heyes told them.

“Well you’re in luck, Preacher rode in last week. I’ll send for him. Let’s go in the cabin,” Wheat informed Heyes.

Wheat called Lobo to go get Preacher for them. They entered the cabin and Heyes started pacing around the main room. He was relieved Preacher was there, but he didn’t know what he was going to say. The pacing was a familiar sight, for the other two men to watch. The two outlaws had questions for their ex-leader, but they knew from experience it was better to wait, until Heyes was ready to talk.

When Lobo told Preacher that Heyes was there and wanted to talk to him, Preacher wasn’t surprised. Since Preacher had left Kid at the railroad station, he knew this day was coming. That was one reason; Preacher went to the Hole, to wait for Heyes. He figured it would be easier for Heyes to find him there.

Preacher had been distressed over everything that happened with Kid. Preacher went over what Kid had said in his fevered state and it was unsettling. Preacher knew that Kid was troubled and hurting emotionally, and he needed Heyes’ friendship to help him out.

At the sound of the door opening, Heyes turned quickly around. Each man had gone over the questions; they wanted to ask about Kid. Preacher was the first to speak.

“Heyes, what the hell is going on with you and Kid?”

“Then I was right, it was you with Kid in Liberty. I heard about the gunfight from Lom. I thought it had to be you,” Heyes was relieved.

Kyle butted in, “Preacher, you didn’t tell me that you saw Kid. And a gunfight!”

“Yes, I was in Liberty. The same time Kid had his gunfight. Heyes where were you? Kid needed you. He went up against three men; I was to be the fourth. In the end, Kid could have faced six men. Even Kid Curry can’t beat those odds!” stormed Preacher.

Heyes felt like his legs could no longer hold him up, so he sat down. Heyes looked ashamed of his lack of support for his partner.

“Kid had left me in Collins. I had no idea about this until the other day. Preacher, I can never be able to repay you for saving Kid’s life. I heard that Jenkins’ brother wanted to shoot Kid in the back, but you stopped him.”

Heyes spotted a flash of distress cross Preacher’s face. Preacher was wishing to sidetrack Heyes, and hoped he didn’t notice there was something else, he should know. “Wheat, I’m surprised at you! How often have you seen Heyes without coffee, when there was some made? I’ll pour us some. How about, since we all are here...” realization hit him, what he had said, “A… poker game?”

An uncomfortable silence hit the room. After a few moments, Wheat motioned Kyle to step outside with him. Kyle acted like a five year old being punished. Kyle had a sour expression on his face and shuffled his feet as he moved towards the door. Wheat opened the door and shoved Kyle outside.

“What you doing, Wheat? I wanted to visit with Heyes,” said a hurtful Kyle. “And where's Kid?”

"I don’t know any more than you do,” Wheat answered, “But I figured that Heyes needed to talk to Preacher alone.”

“But Wheat, if we stays we'll hear what they says,” Kyle was hoping that they could go back inside.

Wheat hit Kyle in the back of his head, “You really want to be in there when Heyes loses his temper? Have you forgotten Heyes’ temper? Besides, this is about Kid.”

Wheat put his hand on Kyle’s shoulder and said, “Well then, let’s get lost for a while, so they can talk.” Wheat said to the newer men, “I do believe you men can find things to do, besides standing in front of my cabin.”

When the door shut Heyes turned to face Preacher. “Ok, what is it that I don’t know? What happened that day?” Heyes stood in front of Preacher, staring him in the eyes, with his arms folded across his chest.

“When the shooting was over Kid was leaning on the hitching rail. I didn’t realize at first that he’d been hit.”

Heyes’ stomach knotted up and he asked, “Kid was shot?”

Preacher had known that this question would have to be answered sometime, and he decided to be honest about it. “Yes, in the lower back. The bullet hit his side and traveled across his back to his spine. Kid moved enough for the bullet to travel on past him, instead of lodging in his spine. No one saw the blood, because of his leather vest and I believe the vest slowed down the bullet. When I came up to him and saw the pain on his face. Kid asked me, to get him out of town.”

Heyes was alarmed, “Kid didn’t see the doctor? He had met Doctor Myers and liked him. I don’t understand why you didn’t take him to the doctor. What about the bullet?”

“Kid wanted out of that town fast before anyone had the idea, that he was Kid Curry. I got myself a horse and we rode out of Liberty together. When we were out about five miles, I stopped and treated Kid’s back. He had bled a lot.”

“Where did Kid go from there? Wasn’t he pretty weak?” asked Heyes.

“We both knew the fever was coming and we moved out right away. I tied Kid to his horse and we travel twenty- five miles north of Liberty. There is an abandoned church in a forest which is five miles west of Boulder.”

“I rode through that area, about four to five miles west of you. Kid had to be in bad shape to travel that far. How long did you two stay there?” Heyes asked.

“Kid had a fever and lost more blood. That was the only place; I felt we would be safe. I was able to keep him there for two days, before Kid said he needed to move on. He said that he had someone tracking him and he couldn’t stay put long. I tried to get Kid to rest up more, because he was so weak from the fever, and the blood he’d lost. I even tried to get him to come to the Hole to rest up. Kid said, no. He said, he couldn’t ride that far.”

“Do you know where Kid is or where he was heading?” Heyes was hoping that Preacher knew the answers.

“No. Kid boarded a train in Boulder. I have no idea, where he went from there. Kid made me feel like it was none of my business. He probably figured that we would run into each other and talk,” Preacher reasoned.

“I can’t believe it, I was that close to him,” Heyes stated. Heyes recalled riding through that area and the feeling that Kid needed him.

“Do you think Kid was in shape to travel? Kid didn’t have that much money on him. I reckon he only has around $12 on him,” Heyes was worried.

“The sheriff in Liberty, slipped Kid $10 and some supplies into Kid’s saddlebags,” Preacher was hoping to ease Heyes’ worry. “Oh, Kid got $35 for his horse and gear, so that’s around $52 he has now.”

They talked a little while longer, and Preacher said that Cook should have dinner ready. So they walked over to the bunkhouse together. Heyes met the new men. Later in the cabin, they played poker for a few hours, and had some whiskey. Heyes’ mind and heart were not in the game. Still he won ten dollars from the men, and Wheat invited Heyes to stay in Kid’s old room. Heyes turned in for the night, and let the whiskey do it job.

Heyes last thought before sleep over took him was “This shouldn’t be happening Kid. You should've stayed.”



CHAPTER TEN

The train trip to San Francisco took four and a half days, and in that time, Christina subtly questioned Kid Curry. They talked about many topics and played a lot blackjack.

Christina suggested playing cards. Kid didn't really want to play. The thought of taking this lady's money, wasn't appealing to him and he told her so, "Christina, I'm more than an average card player, and I don't want to take your money."

"You are? That's great, it's hard to find a good card player, and less of a player makes it a boring game."

Kid played carefully at first, so he didn't win all the hands. Then Kid saw that Christina could hold her own against him, which made it a more enjoyable game.

One afternoon, as they played, Christina asked, "Thaddeus, are you visiting family in San Francisco?"

Christina saw Kid's expression change to sorrow. He put his head down and stared at his cards. Kid didn't answer for a while.

Christina thought, "You idiot! He's probably estranged from his family." She was thinking fast, to make the situation less uncomfortable between them.

Then she heard a soft low voice, "My family is dead..." Kid looked out the window..."in the Lawrence, Kansas raids." Kid was still staring out the window.

Christina was shocked, "But you had to be awful young, when that took place!"

"I was eight year old and my partner was ten years old," Kid stated.

"Partner?" Christina wrinkled up her forehead.

"He's my cousin," Kid said flatly.

"Where is your cousin?" Christina wondered.

"I don't know where he is. We went our separate ways," Kid sounded heartbroken.

"That's a shame, nothing can take the place of family," Christina said sadly. "I lost my husband about fifteen years ago. David was ten years my senior, and was well on his way to making his fortune in shipping. He was aboard one of his ships, when it was lost in a storm, off the coast of the Catalina Islands."

"My daughter lives now in Boston. I'm coming back from a visit. I guess I was relieved, that I was able to get you to travel the last leg of the trip, with me. This is usually the worst part of the trip, and I start feeling sorry for myself. I do miss my daughter, but she has her own family and I'm happy for her. You have made the trip enjoyable. Thank-you, Thaddeus," Christina smiled.

"You have grandchildren?" Kid thought of her, too young for grandchildren. He was surprised people had accepted her as his grandmother.

"Oh, yes! A six and four year olds, a boy and a girl," stated a proud grandmother.

"That must be nice," Kid wondered if his dream of a family would ever be realized. He reached over for his boots and felt the tight skin, pull by his wound. He slowly slipped the boots on, and then he pushed himself up right. He put on his shirt; and was buttoning it, when he said, "I think, I'll go stretch my legs."

"Let me check your back first. I'll put a fresh bandage on it," Christina said, concerned about him. Kid let her tend to his wound. "It's looking really good. There is a scab on it, and the redness was greatly reduced. But do you think it's wise, for you to go walking?" Christina was also worried that someone else might recognize him as, Kid Curry.

"Maybe not this way," Kid smiled and reached over towards his gun belt.

Christina thought, "That proves who he is! Kid Curry would never go out there without his gun."

Kid reached into a bag beside his pillow and pulled out his comb. Kid went over to the mirror and tried to tame down his curly hair. Giving up, Kid wet down his hair and combed it smooth. He looked completely different with his hair smoothed down. After looking his hair over, Kid left the compartment. Christina was surprised that he left without his gun. "I can't be wrong about this! I need to find out, why he is going to San Francisco."

Kid went outside to stand on the platform between the cars, to get some fresh air and to think. He was going over his past wondering what the future held, now that Heyes would no longer be a part of it. Kid was hoping that Heyes would just accept his decision, and build a new life a new life of his own, after he got his amnesty. He hoped Lom would help Heyes see this was the best thing for them both.

He was missing Heyes. It felt like half of him was misplaced. Kid wanted to telegram Lom, to find out if Heyes had been in contact with him, and make sure Heyes was all right. He knew that he couldn't do that, because that give away his location, this left the possibility that he would never know what happened to his partner

As Kid went for his walk, Christina was thinking of the past.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Devil's Hole Gang had stopped a train that was going to California, about nine years ago. She was surprised to see young boys riding with the gang. While most of the gang were opening the safe, one outlaw came back to rob the passengers, taking her necklace first. It was a gold chain that held her husband's wedding band. The younger boy rode over to see what was going on, and despite his age his voice had a threaten tone to it.

"Jim, what do you think you're doing? Give me that necklace! You know the rule; the passengers are to be left alone!" there was an icy glare in the boy's eyes.

The man hesitated, and the young boy jumped down from his horse and walked up to the man. The young man put his hand out and said, "Now!"

The other men in the gang backed away from the two. Christina was about to say something, she didn't want the young boy to be killed, because of her. Jim reached down and handed the necklace to the boy.

Jim said, "One of these days, you two won't be in charge."

A dark haired boy walked up behind the younger boy and said, "Kid, is there a problem here? Jim, I sure hope it doesn't involve you, because you had your warning!"

"Heyes, the problem has been taken care of," Kid assured the leader.

Kid had the necklace and went over to Christina. He took off his hat, and Christina was shock how young he was. He had soft curly golden hair with deep blue eyes, and he smiled at her just before he spoke. "I'm so sorry that this man stole your necklace. I hope that he didn't hurt you?"

"No, he didn't hurt me. Thank-you for returning my necklace. It has a special meaning to me. It has my late husband's wedding band on it," said a grateful Christina.

"I'm so sorry," Kid, said it quietly. "I hope that the rest of your train ride is more pleasant for you." Kid looked one last time in her eyes, and she saw that he meant every word he said. He slowly turned away and motioned for Jim to move on.

The dark haired boy followed close behind Kid.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Christina was brought back to the present, with the sound of a knock on the door, and a voice saying, "It's me, Thaddeus."

After Kid came into the room, they planned their dinner from the menu. They played cards and talked about what Kid was going to do in San Francisco.

"I'm planning on a job down on the docks, if I can get one. I love the ocean and I want to be close to it," Kid smiled thinking about the ocean waves.

"Thaddeus that can be dangerous! They shanghai men down there to fill out crews on the ships. You can be gone for months, if you make it back at all! I don't want you to get shanghaied." Christina was clearly upset.

"I'll be careful, and this is something I always wanted to do," Kid tried to reassure her.

"Well, I don't want to lose track of you. Can we see each other in San Francisco? Maybe you can come for dinner," Christina hoped.

"I don't know for sure. I'll have to see what my new job will allow, for time off," Kid was hesitant.

"Thaddeus, there's something I have to tell you. We are going to be in San Francisco in the morning, and there are things, I need to say to you. First, I wanted you get to know me, before I had this talk with you. I hope that you know that you can trust me, and my word is good. I know that you are very nice young man, and I know who you really are... Kid Curry. I was on a train that you robbed years ago," stated Christina.

Kid looked down, he was angry with himself for letting his guard down; he could hear Heyes' warning and see his disapproving glare. He didn't understand how he could be so wrong about Christina; he thought she liked him. Then Kid reasoned Christina had done nothing wrong. His past was causing the problem, like always. Christina saw the hurt in Kid's eyes, and thought that she should have waited, until the end of the trip to tell him. She didn't want him jumping off the train.

Kid couldn't bring himself to lie to Christina, and tell her that she was wrong. Finally, Kid spoke, "I'm sorry, if I caused you any distress now, or in the past. I'm grateful for all your help. When we arrive in San Francesco, I'll give you no trouble, which is the least I can do. The jail is two blocks over from the station. Here's my gun."

Christina was anguished and furious with herself for hurting him. "I'm not turning you in! That thought had never entered my mind. You were kind to me and I always wanted to find a way to repay your kindness." Christina had a tear running down her cheek.

She pulled out from under her collar, a gold necklace with a ring on it. "Do you remember this?" Christina was hoping that he did .Kid studied it and a memory came back to him.

Kid was shocked, "You're that lady?" Christina nodded her head yes. "I'm so sorry, what Jim did to you. We never robbed passengers. Heyes and the gang kicked him out of the Hole after that train robbery."

"Well, I'm glad it did happen. That day, I met a very kind and handsome boy that grew into, this wonderful man in front of me. Over the years, I kept track of you and prayed for your safety. Then the last year and a half, I had a hard a time finding information about you. I was afraid something had happened to you. I was shocked to see you at Boulder Station; at least I thought it was you. You're all grown up, from the skinny young boy I met that day. I hope that you realize, I cherish the new friendship, we've developed these last few days." Christina was hoping that Kid believed her

"Well, my partner and I've been trying to turn our lives around. Not many people are supposed to know this, but I think I owe you the truth. The Governor of Wyoming might give us amnesty if we can stay out of trouble," remarked Kid.

"That's wonderful news. How are you to do that? Are you still wanted?" Christina asked.

"A friend of mine, Sheriff Lom Trevors is the go between for us and the Governor. Lom is a true friend and has done a lot for us. Yes, we are still wanted. Staying out of trouble is hard. It seems to find us," Kid said.

"What happened between you and your cousin? What I have read, the two of you were inseparable. Oh my God! He isn't dead, is he? I mean with your bullet wound, did something happen to Heyes?" It went quiet in the compartment as Kid thought of what to say to Christina.

After some time had passed, Kid began to speak about Heyes. "Heyes was the best partner a man could have. He's still alive. I had decided we need to go our separate ways, if we're to get the amnesty."

"Heyes didn't try to stop you from leaving? I mean you two have been together most of your lives," Christina was trying to understand how Heyes would let Kid just leave.

"Whenever I felt this way before, Heyes always found a way to make me stay. I wrote Heyes a note, stating that our partnership was over," Kid got up and left the compartment. He went out on the platform to clear his head. His mind full of thoughts of Heyes and all he had lost.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Their last meal would be breakfast in the morning, and Christina wanted it to be special for Kid. She didn't know what kind of life he would have in San Francisco. The town had dangerous parts and she talked this over with him. She asked Kid, if he would stay with her, until he was on his feet with a job and a place to live. He told her that he wouldn't put her in that kind of danger with him.

After talking and playing cards past midnight, Christina called it a night, so Kid could get some much need sleep, for tomorrow. That night, Christina tossed and turned, after she knew Kid was asleep. She was distress over what the future held for him. She knew that Kid was a grown man, but she felt that he need protected against the danger in the world. She wondered about his partner, "Was Heyes protective of his cousin, or did he use him for his gun?"

After a while, she gave up on sleep and watched Kid sleep instead. She was thinking how he had changed since Boulder Station. Kid had gotten most of his strength back, and his skin had a healthier coloring. Kid didn't seem to be in pain, and his back was almost healed. She wondered, "How he was shot, and by whom. Was Heyes involved or the cause of him being shot? I have a feeling he is running away from Heyes." Before morning, she fell asleep, reading a book. Kid saw her when he woke and placed a cover over her.

Kid quietly washed up and shaved, before breakfast was brought to their compartment. William said to Kid, "Mr. Thaddeus, you sure look healthier after this trip. I hope that your back is feeling better."

"Thank-you, William! I do feel better. With all the care you and Grandma Christy gave me, there was no way that I couldn't get better."

Christina woke when she heard Kid talking to William. She asked Kid, "Why didn't you wake me up?"

"I thought you could use the sleep, since you were up half the night," remarked Kid.

"How do you know that?" Christina was confused.

"I woke up a few times and saw that you were awake. I have learned from Heyes that one doesn't ask why he isn't sleeping, so I didn't disturb you," smiled Kid.

"I didn't see you awake," Christina announced.

"I'm pretty good at playing possum. I learned how in the Home, or they would beat you for being awake. There were times, Heyes would go on and on about something, and I would play possum. Heyes would leave thinking that I was asleep. I did it to you, so I could figure out what was bothering you. I don't want you to feel guilty about not turning me in to the law. If that's what is bothering you, we can go to the jail when we stop in San Francisco," Kid said it fast so he wouldn't chicken out.

"No, I don't want you to go to jail! I'm worried about you working down at the docks," Christina confessed. "There are some gangs that run different parts of the town."

"Christina, I'll be alright. You have to remember, I have taken care of myself with some notorious outlaws before," Kid said hoping to relieve her fears.

"But what about your back? How did you get shot?" Christina was surprised it came out of her mouth.

"I was helping a sheriff in Liberty, Colorado to keep a man in jail. His gang came to break him out of jail and I got shot," Kid stated.



CHAPTER ELEVEN

Around ten o’clock, the train pulled into a crowded, noisy San Francisco Station. People were rushing to greet arriving friends and relatives, and there were well-wishers saying goodbye to those who were leaving. Kid watched people coming and going. It felt odd not having Heyes beside him.

After Kid had paid Christina his share of the compartment fee and for the food, he only had ten dollars left. Christina would've been alarmed to learn that. Kid knew he had to be very careful in his spending, until he was paid. That meant a room was the first thing to find, and then a job.

Kid helped Christina load her luggage onto her carriage. Once again, she offered to let him stay with her until he was settled. Kid said that would be too easy for him to accept her invitation, but he had do this on his own. He had to learn to depend on just himself, to be able to get on with his life. She made Kid promise that he would come to her, if he needed help and she gave him her address.

Kid was already beginning to feel a sense of loneliness but he knew he must face things on his own. Christina saw the uncertainness in Kid's eyes, and all she wanted to do was protect him, against the harshness of the city.

"Can I give you a ride down to the dock area? That way I can show you around the city," Christina asked hoping that Kid would agree. She didn't want their time together to end.

"Are you sure? I don't want to put you out of your way." Kid didn't want Christina to feel obligated to help him.

"It will make me rest better knowing that I showed you around," Christina reassured Kid.

Kid agreed to the carriage ride. He wasn't looking forward to the long walk through town. He was feeling out of place and his back exposed. All the times, Kid had been to San Francisco with Heyes; he had a feeling of the city closing in on him, with too many people to watch, be wary of. He was always on alert, always tense but seeing Heyes' excited face would calm him down.

Kid loaded his saddlebags and then entered the carriage. Christina was excited that she would be able to show off her hometown to her friend.

They rode slowly down streets and Christina pointed out different buildings and areas for Kid to get to know. She singled out saloons that were known for shanghaiing and warned him to stay away from them. They happened to be the same Heyes always made sure that they stayed away from. "Those gambling houses over there are safe to play cards in. The way you play, you should do quite well."

Christina showed him a general store that carried everything you can think of and had fare prices. She talked about the small restaurants; they rode past and the people that ran them. Christina said that one had great seafood and the prices were surprisingly cheap.

Christina said, "If you get time off from your job, I would love to meet you here for dinner."

Kid looked it over and the place felt good to him. It had white curtains up at the window and lovely outdoor seating. Kid smiled and said, "That sounds like a plan to me. Soon as I have some extra money, I'll send you a note for dinner."

Christina directed him to some boarding houses close to the docks and the iron works. He was told the area was called Irish Hill. Christina said, "There are some rough gangs that run around the bay. Please be extra careful. Promise me, if things get rough, in anyway, you'll let me help you. I believe people need to look after each other, and helping you would make me happy."

"I'll keep in contact with you, I promise," Kid said softy, and then he leaned over and kissed her cheek. Kid picked up his saddlebags and jumped down from the carriage. "Thank-you again Christina, I'm glad we had the chance to meet again."

As the carriage drove off, Kid felt like the last of any security he had just disappeared. Kid thought, "Now I am completely by myself. It has been a long time since I have been on my own. This sure feels strange!"

Kid slowly walked around Irish Hill looking for a boarding house, with a room available. Most of the houses had signs that said ‘full' and a couple were too noisy. Kid saw a house with a white picket fence, a nice big porch with rocking chairs and a clean, quiet appearance. The sign said, O'Brian's Boarding House, Room for Rent. As Kid walked up the lane to the porch, he felt, this was where he would like to stay.

A lady was sitting in the side yard, in the shade. She had strawberry blonde hair, which was pulled up on top of her head. She watched as Kid walk up to the door and read the sign posted beside it.

It read; "We, who lives here are particular on who rents our rooms. There's one person per room; no drunkenness; must be clean by appearance and by talk."

Kid reread the sign and still did not understand what kind of people was ‘particular,' he just hoped that they were nice. Kid looked over his clothes, and saw the bottom of his pants had dirt from the streets on them. He backed down the steps and knocked the dirt off his pants with his hands. He pulled a cloth from his coat pocket and wiped off his boots. The lady smiled at the man's actions. He made sure his shirt was tucked into his pants. The last thing he did was recount his money, before going back to the porch.

Kid was knocking on the door, when Katie O'Brian walked up behind him. She looked him over and she liked what she saw. He had a strong, straight back, and his walk had a proud and confident stride.

Kid turned to face a lady, who was a couple years older than he was. A cluster of ringlets framed her face, to showing off her green eyes. Katie smiled and said, "Hello, may I help you?

"Yes, ma'am, I was hoping that I could rent a room. There's just one of me and I do try to be clean with my talk and myself. I was taught it was rude to be foul mouthed around ladies and children. When I do drink, I don't overly indulge. I don't like to lose control." Kid sounded honest, and he hoped it helped that he had removed his hat.

Katie got lost in those blue eyes of Kid's. Her mind raced, as she tried to organize her thoughts and remember what questions she should ask him.

Kid saw the frown that appeared on Katie's face. Kid misunderstood Katie’s expression and was disappointed. He said, "Thank-you," and started to walk off the porch.

Katie was startled; the young man was walking away. "Sir, I do have a room to rent. I need to ask some questions first, before deciding to rent to you."

Kid thought, "Maybe I still have a chance on the room." He turned back, took his hat off again, and smiled. Kid asked, "What would you like to know?"

"Do you know how long you would be staying? Do you have a job?" Katie thought, "Those are two good questions and I wish he would put his hat back on, so I can think clearly."

"I hope to be staying for a few months, and I'm looking for a job. I just got off the train." Kid was hoping that not having a job would not prevent him from getting the room.

"What type of job are you looking for?" Katie thought. "What if the job was one that I will disapprove of?" She had turned away others who were going to work for someone shady or the saloons. Katie hoped she would not have a reason, not rent to him.

"I was hoping to get a job down on the docks. I want to be close to the ocean. I have always loved the ocean. Plus I have been on a couple of dusty, dry cattle drives recently, and I want as far away from that as possible," remarked Kid.

"You never worked the docks?" Katie didn't know how to break it to the man that it wasn't that easy to get a job. That most men got their jobs, by a co-worker's introduction, and it helped to be Irish down at the wharf.

"No ma'am, but I'm a hard worker and I learn fast," he told her, determined to make this work.

"You need to know it's hard to get a job on the docks. The men working there depend on each other, and they don't take to outsiders easily. In certain areas, it helps to be Irish," stated Katie.

"All I'm asking for is a chance. I'll take the job that no one else wants, to start out, and maybe in time, I can get them to trust me," Kid announced. "Oh, and I'm Irish.

"You're Irish?" Katie was partly surprised but reasoned, "He does have blond curly hair and those blue eyes. Ask him what his name is." The sound of Kid's voice brought her back to the task.

"Yes, my grandparents were from the motherland. Their name was O'Leary. My name is Thaddeus O'Leary," Kid said with some misgivings. He wished that he could have said Curry, but O'Leary was the only name he could think of. "After all, the names both ended with ‘ry,'" Kid reasoned. "Heyes always said that there was no doubt that I was Irish because of my Irish temper and stubbornness."

"I'll show you the room," Katie replied.

"First, I need to know the cost of the room," Kid said, hating to asked her. To him it sounded like he couldn't afford the room, which might be true.

"The room rate is a dollar a day,"

Kid thought, "I was right, I can't afford the room."

"And five dollars a week,"

"Maybe I can swing it."

"A week's rent includes baths, your clothes cleaned; room cleaned twice a week. There's one meal on Sunday, if I'm told ahead of time, that you want to eat a Sunday dinner. The week's rent is in advance. Do you want to see the room first?" Katie was hoping that she didn't scare him off.

Katie had the door open for him. As Kid entered she said, "By the way, my name is Katie O'Brian."

Kid nodded his head at her and smiled, "Nice to meet you, Katie O'Brian."

Then he laid his saddlebags on the floor inside the door, with his hat sitting on top of them. He followed her up the steps to the second floor. She took him to front corner bedroom, which was closest to the stairs. Katie opened the door to a spotless room. She crossed over and opened up the windows; a nice cool breeze blew the drapes away from the windows.

The room was decorated tastefully with crisped white sheets, a big room rug, an overstuffed chair by the one window, and a bench chest with a pillow on top, by the other window. There was a round table between the windows. It had a tablecloth on it and a lamp with a brass matchbox sitting next to it. Right of the bed was a bed table with a lamp on it and an alarm clock.

It's been a long time since Kid had been in such a nice room. He was standing in the doorway taking in the room. When Katie turned to say something, she noticed, the young man had not entered the room. She thought that he disapproved of the room and thought he didn't want it.

"Is there something wrong with the room?" Katie was confused.

"No, the room is really nice. I didn't want to make you uncomfortable with me coming in the room with you alone. I didn't want you to think of me as forward," Kid said this as he blushed.

Katie was pleased to see O'Leary took consideration of her feelings. She thought it was charming that he had blushed. She knew from that moment, she wanted him to stay at her boarding house, and that Thaddeus was a gentleman.

Both parties decided that Thaddeus O'Leary would be renting the room and Kid gave her the five dollars for the first week. Once Kid was settled in his room, he decided to check out the docks. Katie had told him that some odd jobs were posted, on a bulletin board.

Kid walked down into a busy dock area, he felt out of place. He saw people from different nationalities, talking in different languages. There was the smell of fish and salt water in the air. Kid didn't know what he had expected, but it wasn't this. He was worried that he wouldn't fit in enough to get a job. He really missed having a Hannibal Heyes' plan. Kid never had that feeling of awkwardness, when Heyes was by his side. He always felt that the other people had to fit in with Heyes and him.

Kid searched the area in front of him, when he saw a sign posted in large, bold letters- Irish. He headed over to the sign and below it had the bulletin board with the listening for jobs. An older man had just posted a job, when he noticed Kid reading the board.

"Do you need a job?" asked the fisherman, whose face showed the affects from being on the open sea.

"Yes sir," Kid answered hopefully.

"I have a pier that needs to be swept and wash down. It needs to be done now and the pay is seventy five cents," the man watched Kid's face for a reaction.

"How about you show me what the job is, before I decide. I have learned to check out a job, before I agree to do it. If it's a fair job, I'll do it," Kid remarked.

"That sounds reasonable, boy. Follow me to pier 58 and I'll show you what needs done," the man said hopefully. The man had to find someone to do the task, at least for today. The pier had to be washed down each day after the fishing boats were unloaded. If it wasn't done, it meant a hefty fine was imposed.

Kid was shown the task ahead, and decided that seventy-five cents, would buy him dinner. It took over two hours to get the pier cleaned the way that satisfied him. He had swept, dumped the trash barrels, wiped off the benches and washed off the boardwalks. The old man watched him for the last half hour, and was very pleased with Kid's work. When Kid walked up to the old fisherman, his pant legs were wet and his boots soaked. Kid had taken off his coat to keep it clean, and now was carrying it away from his dirty clothes.

The old man laughed at the sight of the young man. Kid was cold from the breeze off the ocean and wished that he had another coat that wasn't leather. The man was smiling at the Kid and said, "You did a great job! You cleaned places on the pier that haven't been clean for years. If you want the job, it's yours! If you can clean like this every day, I'll pay you a dollar. But you need to get proper clothing or you'll be sick in two days."

"Thank-you, I'll take the job, sir. I'll get some different boots like yours," Kid said hoping that he could afford them.

"You go down to Donavan's General Store and tell him that I, Timothy O'Toole sent you. Tell him that you want the $3.00 boots like mine. Here is your dollar, and be off with you. Be here around 10:00 a.m. after the fish have been unloaded," said Timothy.

Kid hurried off in the direction, O'Toole had pointed for the general store. He was still on the boardwalk when he slipped, because of his boots, on the wet boards. The old man yelled, "You better get those boots before you break your neck with those cowboy boots." Kid was embarrassed.

Kid had went to the general store and they were happy to sell him boots like O'Toole's. Kid decided, he needed heavy socks to go with them and got three pairs. He spent $3.30, so that had left him with $2.70. He didn't know what to do about eating.

He decided to wash up before he did anything else, so he went to the boarding house. When Kid got there, he felt that he was too dirty to go into the house, and he didn't know where to bathe.

Katie was walking up the road and she saw Thaddeus standing out in the yard. He was looking confused. Katie said, "Hello Thaddeus. Do you need something?"

"Yes ma'am. I'm filthy and fishy smelling. I don't want to dirty the house.

"Oh, I'm sorry! I meant to show you the bathhouse in the back. Come I'll show you," Katie explained. There was a stove to warm up the water, soap, towels and robes to wear afterwards. Right inside the back door was stairs leading up to the bedrooms. "Is there anything else you are going to need for your bath?" Katie asked.

"No, it looks like you have thought of everything. Thank-you, I'm going to take that bath now," Kid stated.

Kid really enjoyed the bath, it felt good on his back where he had been shot, and it warmed him up. He was colder than he had realized. The scab was tight and itchy and it softened with the hot water. Kid put on his blue shirt and clean pants. He ran his comb through his hair and checked on the condition of his gun. He knew that the salt water in the air wasn't going to be good on the gun. He took his gun apart; he cleaned and oiled it and he thought of Heyes because he had given Kid that gun for his birthday.

"Thaddeus, I got your dirty clothes and I'll wash them up tomorrow. Here's your room key and the key to the back door. After nine the front door gets locked most nights, so you'll have to use the back door to get in."

"Thank-you. I found a part time job on the pier. It's cleaning the pier after the boats are in. It's a start!" Kid was proud that he had found work. "Is there somewhere that I can store my work boots, so I don't take them inside the house?"

"This little room off from the kitchen is called a mud room. I think that this would be a good place," Katie reflected.

"I have to wear my new boots, because my other boots are wet. I'll have to wait for them to dry, so I can use leather cleaner on them. I'm going to put the boots in the mud room," Kid felt like he should inform her on his actions. "I won't be out that late, just going to look around before it gets dark."

Kid went towards the wharf and found a little place selling fish and chips for thirty-five cents. It didn't fill him, but it was better than nothing. He knew he couldn't spend too much money. He didn't have Heyes, to play poker and double their money anymore. From experience, Kid realized when he pressed too hard in poker; he would play hands he would normally fold on. Kid knew he would have to stay away from the tables.

Kid went back to the boarding house, after a few hours. He got his boots, sat on the porch, and cleaned them. Katie was surprised to see him back early. She was drawn to him, and felt they could easily become friends, but she had to treat him like any other boarder. She went to the back of the house, so she could keep her distance.

Kid was thinking over the next day; should he eat something before work? What if something happens and the job isn't there for him. It would mean no money. He got his clothes ready for the next day, and hoped these would be warmer. That wind whipped right through his clothes the previous day. If the job works out, he wanted the heavy sweater worn by some of the men. He decided to wear two union suits, hoping to be warmer. He decided he would see how hungry he was in the morning.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next day, Kid worked at the pier and bought his sweater. That was the way his life became, there was work, buy some of the clothing he needed, and maybe he ate. Sunday, Kid ate dinner with Katie, which was a feast, to what he had eaten all week. Kid was upset that he didn't get to see Christina, so he sent a note to her. He told Christina how his job was going, and the boarding house, he was staying in. He asked if next Monday at six would be good for her, for dinner at the restaurant.

Kid was still looking for ways to earn more money. One day, he went by Gately's Hotel and saw men fighting in a hay rope ring outside the hotel. Kid debated about trying his luck in the ring. He really would like to have some money to have dinner with Christina, and enough, so he could pay for both meals. He stood for a while and watched. The man in the ring had easily beaten the three men that challenged him. They got a dollar for going into the ring. Kid asked someone what the rules were for the fight. There was a ten count and everything goes.

The man was at least fifty pounds heavier than Kid was. Curry thought that was an advantage for him, because he was faster on his feet. When Kid signed up to fight, he asked what the winner got. The man, who signed him up, thought that was amusing.

The man thought, "This young skinny man is going to be lucky to be alive after the fight." He looked at Kid's sign-up sheet and said, "Thaddeus, if somehow you win, you get ten dollars."

avatar
Re: Why Must We Make It So Hard?
Post on Thu 26 Feb 2015, 4:08 pm by royannahuggins
CHAPTER TWELVE

Kid continued to hay rope fight at Gately's Hotel. In the ring, most of the fighters were thirty to forty pounds heavier than Kid. His reflexes were extraordinarily, which made it hard for the other fighter to hit him.

Kid's fighting ability brought on the attention of Patrick Mulligan, who controlled most of the good fighters. Kid was on his way to work, when he was stopped at the entrance of Pier 58. Mulligan approached Kid about fighting for him. Mulligan said that he could get Kid bigger purses and 10% of the winnings from the bets he had placed on him.

"I really don't want to be a fighter. I'm doing this for extra money. I only want to fight a few a weeks and that's all," Kid told Mr. Mulligan.

"Boy, that would be fine. If you're fighting for me, I can set it up for two fights a week, which would make you more money. Plus I would watch your back for sore losers. If you're fair to me, I'll be fair to you," Mulligan said convincing.

"I would be able to walk away, anytime I want to. I get paid after each fight, and I can say yes, or no to any fight. No one owns me, right?" Kid looked at Mulligan with a stern glare.

Mulligan hesitated when he saw that glare of Kid's. He was thinking, "Maybe this one isn't as stupid as my other fighters, and he just might be dangerous. However, I could make some good money on him. He doesn't look like a fighter, but he knows how to survive. That's something rare, you can't teach that."

Mulligan said, "First you can call me, Patrick. If you fight for me, you're your own man. Walk away from fighting, up to an hour before a fight. You'll be paid after each fight, with your 10% from my winnings. And, that's right; you have to agree to a fight."

Kid said, "Alright I'll give it a try. No fighting on Sunday afternoons, I have plans for dinner. I want to be notified a few days ahead, so no surprise fights. If that's alright, I'll call you Patrick."

That sounds fair, and what do you want to be called in the ring?" asked Patrick.

"I guess O'Leary would be alright." Kid guessed his new alias would do. He didn't want another, because it would get hard to keep them all straight.

"Where would I send word to you about a fight?" Patrick asked.

"I'm staying at the O'Brian's Boarding House," Kid stated.

After his talk with Patrick, he entered the pier. Timothy O'Toole asked, "What did Mulligan want with you?"

"I might do some fighting, and he wants to back me," Kid said with a grin.

O'Toole was worried and he remarked, "Thaddeus, you need to be careful with that one. People get hurt around him. If you need money, I can lend you some!"

"Don't need money; I just need to make more money. Does that make sense? Mulligan had agreed that I could walk away from fighting, when I want to. I'm not owned by him," Kid tried reassured O'Toole.

"Just make sure there's no misunderstanding, between the two of you. He's been known to lose track of people, if you know what I mean. I don't trust the man. Be careful and if ever you think that you need help, let me know. Thaddeus, you're one of us down here at the pier, and we take care of our own. Mulligan doesn't want to mess with us fishermen," O'Toole said that with fire in his voice.

Kid's mind mulled over O'Toole's warning as he cleaned the pier. He didn't know what to think about, O'Toole's comments about Mulligan. He knew that a person's reputation wasn't always accurate. Some people believed him to be a hired gun and he would never do that. Kid was thinking maybe that the same could be true for Mulligan.

Kid could imagine Heyes' turning his disapproving look on him. Kid didn't want Heyes' warning. How often had Heyes' opinion stop him, from doing something that he believed in? Kid decided stubbornly that he could take care of himself. After all, he was Kid Curry, who had faced down many men and has taken care of both of them over the years. Kid thought, "That settles that, I'm fighting!"

Partly he wanted to prove to himself that he could do this. If Heyes knew what Kid was up to, he would flatten his cousin. Heyes was never into fights, and he rarely bet on one. Heyes said the odds were not consistent. It was too easy for a fix to be made.

Kid won four fights in a row. He was lucky that he wasn't hit often. He was losing weight because of the meals that he had missed before he started fighting. Between his job and fighting, he didn't seem to put any weight back on. Kid even had to make an extra hole in his belt, so it buckles up smaller. So far, he hadn't been hurt bad enough to stop him from working, but he was sore. At times, his face showed the results of the fights with cut and bruises, which bothered both Katie and Christina.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One evening, when Kid was having dinner with Christina, he had a good bruise on his cheek. Christina startled by the bruise, asked, "What happened to you? Were you attacked?"

Kid laughed, because he knew, he wouldn't get away without her asking, about his bruises. He almost cancelled the dinner, so he wouldn't upset Christina, but he wanted to see her. "I have been hay rope fighting and the guy slipped in a good punch on me. But I won the fight."

"Why are you rope fighting? You could get hurt bad, and what are you doing to your hands?" Christina voice revealed how worried she was for him.

"I'm not going to get hurt in the ring. Please don't worry about me. I've taken care of me and my partner for years."

The evening ended with Christina infuriated with Kid, but they still made plans for next week's dinner. Christina got into her carriage, picked up a package, and handed it to him. She told the coachman that she was ready. She left without saying good-bye to Kid.

Kid was stunned by her reaction and surprised by the package. He debated about opening it. Finally, his curiosity got the best of him and he whipped it open. There was a note on top of a pair of work gloves that said, "These are to protect your special hands!"

Both of them were disturbed by the way they had parted that night. Christina felt childish, not saying good-bye to her friend. Kid cherished her friendship and he knew he had hurt her feelings.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next morning before work, he stopped where they were selling flowers. He asked the lady, "Do you have anyone, who deliveries flowers in town?"

The lady asked where and Kid pulled out a card from his pants pocket and showed it to her, Nob Hill. "Yes, I do. It depends on how much you want to spend."

Kid said, "Well, let us see what flowers I want first. Then you let me know how much they cost and we'll go from there."

Kid was picking out the flowers, when lady's husband walked up behind her. She asked her husband, how much he wanted to take some flowers to Nob Hill for this man. The man looked over Kid, saw the bruise on his face, and asked, "O'Leary?"

Kid looked up, stunned at the man, because he still wasn't use to the name. The man smiled and said, "I'll deliver the flowers for free."

The man looked at his astounded wife, who stood with her mouth hanging open. She knew her husband never did anything free. He decided to explain, "This is the fighter that I won ten dollars on."

She turned and smiled at Kid and said, "Mr. O'Leary, these flowers over here are fresher and they will keep longer."

Kid said, "Thank-you both for your kindness. Do you have something that I can write a note on?"

Kid's note said, I hope to see you next week. Sorry for my rudeness. I value your friendship, and thank-you for accepting me, for who I am. Love, Thaddeus

Christina was taken aback by the delivery of the flowers; it had been a long time, since she had received flowers from anyone. She had been afraid that Kid was upset with her, and that she would lose contact with him. .


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

By Friday evening, Kid had enough money to pay for the next week's rent. He went to Katie and gave her the money. "Here's the rent for next week. I was wondering if I paid extra, if you would cook me breakfast in the mornings. I'll understand if you don't want to be bothered with cooking breakfast for any of the renters."

"It's no problem. I think you could do with putting on a bit more weight. You have lost some pounds, since your arrival. What time would you like breakfast?"

"Would 8:00 or 8:30 be all right? I want to be fair to you about the money, is $4.00 enough?" asked Kid.

"That sounds fair to me. Thaddeus, you do know that the rent isn't due until Sunday, don't you?" Katie asked because she never had anyone pay in advance. She was lucky if they had the rent at all.

"I know, but I want to be sure that you get your money first," Kid smiled, because he was proud that he was able to come up with the money each week.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saturday evening, Kid had another fight. About 10 minutes into the fight, things started to go wrong for him. After the minute break for the fighters, things were different. His vision became blurry, he was losing his footing and his arms felt too heavy to lift. The other fighter took advantage of Kid's condition and had open punching range on him. The bell rang for another break, and Kid drank as much water as he could. He was trying to get his focus back on the fight, but his mind was drifting. Mulligan was yelling at Kid, that he had better not throw the fight! All he heard was a loud buzzing sound and it was difficult to single out voices.

The bell rang and the pounding continued; Kid had blood running from his mouth and above his right eye. He went down a couple times to his knees but struggled back up. In his daze state, the fighter turned into Heyes. Complete confusion had overcome him and he quit fighting back. He staggered with each blow he took, and the last blows to his ribs brought on the blackness, which finally swallowed him.

Kid was dragged away from Gately's Hotel, Mulligan's men watched for him to come around. They were told to inform Mulligan when O'Leary was awake. When Kid regained consciousness, he wasn't making any sense. He was talking to people that were not there and seeing things too. Mulligan was so angry about the fight; he believed that O'Leary had deliberately thrown it. He had the men hold O'Leary up between them while Mulligan pounded on him. The only thing that kept him upright was the two men. Mulligan hit him with an upper cut, Kid flew back out of the men grasps, and his head slammed against a brick wall. Kid slid down the wall scraping his arms and back on the bricks. He lay on the ground like a beaten rag doll. His body was lying in an unnatural position with blood on his face and now from the back of his head, arms and back.

Mulligan's men looked at the bloody body lying in the dirt and said, "Boss, I think you went too far, again! He looks dead!"

"Well then, O'Leary won't be throwing any more fights will he? Get rid of the body, and don't throw him in the bay. He will just wash back up on shore and I'll be blamed. Put him over at the shanghai district; let them be blamed for his death. The police will think it's a shanghai that went wrong," Mulligan reasoned.

The men got a horse and wagon, and put the wrapped up, bloody body of O'Leary in the back. The men found a dark alley in the Barbary Coast area. They drove to the end of the alley and uncoiled the body from the covering, and rolled it off the wagon. There were some wooden boxes and pieces of wood on the ground. They threw some of the wooden boxes over the body, so it would be a few days, before anybody would find him.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Heyes woke with a jolt; he was surprised that he had fallen asleep. What had awakened him was hearing his own voice yelling, "No Kid!"

Heyes was in a cold sweat and was trembling over the nightmare he had. His chest felt weighed down. He was gasping for air and his throat; it felt like it was on fire.

Over the years, Heyes had worried about his cousin, but this time it was different experience. Heyes felt a helplessness that he wasn't going to be able to stop, what was about to unfold.

One of Heyes' nightmares was; he was running toward his partner, and the distance between them never got smaller. He yelled at Kid, and he turned towards Heyes and there was no face, it was blank. Kid stood there, with blood was streaming down the body. Kid called out Heyes' name, and fell into heap on the ground. Suddenly Heyes was standing over him and he bent down beside him. Kid was dead.

Heyes never had the feeling of doom about Kid. Even the two years, Kid went on his own, Heyes had ‘hope'. Heyes always prided himself on his ability to keep a cool, clear head; this rare occasion had him frantic.

After leaving the Devil's Hole, he stopped at Porterville to talk to Lom, telling him that Preacher had taken Kid to the Boulder Station. Lom had no new information about Kid. However, Lom was able to find out for Heyes, what trains ran out of Boulder that morning. The only train was the San Francisco Express. The next departure was two hours later and heading east.

Heyes got on the first train that would hook up with the S. F. Express. Heyes was on the rail for a few days, in his own compartment. He only went out a few times for something to drink and a few bites of food, he really wasn't hungry. Occasionally, he got sick after the food hit his stomach, making it cramp up.

Heyes needed to find his partner in San Francisco. This search was taking a toll on Heyes, his health and mind couldn't take much more. He debated about telegraphing Soapy about his arrival and the possibility that Kid might be there in the city. He decided not to notify Soapy, there was no way to explain everything in a telegram. What could he tell Soapy?

Heyes got his breathing under control. He was sitting on edge of his bed, when he heard Kid, calling his name. All of a sudden, Heyes got a chill that ran down his spine. Heyes felt a vast emptiness in the pit of his stomach, and somehow he knew Kid was dying. Heyes' mind went blank.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In San Francisco, a dreadful storm was advancing on the city from the ocean. Sailors, who had docked at San Francisco harbor that evening, had reported that the bay area was in the direct line of the storm. They said the ocean had been difficult going, because of the high winds and the waves. The people and the city were lying in wait, for the storm to strike the bay.

In the distance, one could see the dark sky as it moved, with rolling clouds and a curtain of rain coming down. The lightning ripped the black sky apart with lightning rods, which danced across the top of the waves. Katie was standing on her porch, watching the storm unfold in front of her. The lightning was getting closer, and she knew that Thaddeus had not returned from the fight. She didn't want him caught in the storm. She was worried that he was inexperienced with the dangerous San Francisco's storms. Katie went into the house just before the storm hit. She left the doors unlocked until 11:00 p.m. then she locked up and put towels by the back door, so he could dry off. She went asleep around midnight with the lightning illuminating the dark rooms in the house.

Kid's gun belt was draped over the bedpost, and the flashes of light were illuminating his 45. The rumbling of the thunder rattled around, in the Kid's barren room, with the feeling of bleakness.

The storm was living up to the sailors' predications, plus more. The rain was bouncing back off the ground from the sheer force of the rainfall. The roads had the loose dirt puffing up into little brown clouds from the big raindrops. Quickly that loose dirt turned into muddy roads with water running down them. There was the danger of flash flooding in the low areas. Most people were battened down for the night.

In the dark alley where Kid's body had been dumped, the water was collecting. The alley ended in the back of a factory, where Kid lay under a pile of wood. It had been a few hours, since he had been dumped there. A wagon pulled into the alley and stopped. An old man and a young boy jumped down from the wagon.

"See I told that there was wood here," the older man said with self-pride.

"But Grandpa, the storm is getting worse, and I'm soaked and I'm cold," whined the scared boy.

"If we wait until after the storm, the wood will be gone. The houses on Nob Hill pay a good price for wood, and we had that order for Silky to fill. He doesn't like to be put off; we have to fulfill our end of a deal. He's one person I don't want to cross," explained the Grandpa.

The boy decided it would do no good to disagree with the old man. "The sooner the wood is gathered and delivered, we can get out of this storm," the boy reasoned, so he moved further into the alley. He saw that there was a pile of wood by the back of a factory, so he started picking up pieces. He went back to the wagon and then back to the pile, the woodpile shifted, and the boy thought he heard a moan. He held his breath to see if he heard the noise again, but all he heard was the thunder and the pounding of his heart. He was leaning over to pick up some wood as lighting flashed; there was something there, the boy jumped back and screamed. He ran back to the wagon.

The Grandpa was alarmed by the outburst, and was annoyed at himself for putting his ten year old grandson, through this ordeal. He went over to the boy to make sure that he was all right, and to tell him that they would be leaving, in a few minutes. If they didn't need the money, he wouldn't be out in this storm. The boy, and the horse were frighten and jumpy. The night had everyone unnerved, and it wasn't only the storm. There was something else in the air a thickness or heaviness?

"Son, are you alright? Did you get hurt?" asked the Grandpa, as he pulled the boy close to him and looked him over.

"Grand....pa...there...there's.... a... a... a dead body back there," cried the boy.

"I'll go check it out, while you stand beside the horse, not in front of him. Talk to him and pet his neck. That will calm him down," Grandpa said hoping to calm the boy down, too.

When Grandpa went to where the boy pointed, he slowly moved the wood around. He saw no body, but with a flash of light, he saw a pool of blood. As it was exposed to the rain, the blood was washed away. He didn't know what to think, but he knew that a couple more armfuls of wood, and they would be out of there.

When he came back from the factory with the wood, he told his grandson, "I'm going to search down there again and get another armful of wood. Then we head for Nob Hill and Silky's house. That man is expecting this wood tonight, and I don't want to lose him as a customer."

About all he could do, was to feel around and wait for quick flashes of lightning, so he could see. "Whatever had lost that blood could not have gone far. Maybe it was an animal that was dragged off." He found nothing and told his grandson that it was a dead dog, so the boy could rest easier. The Grandson was still stunned at what he thought he had seen.

The scream that the boy released when he saw Kid's body was blood curling. Some would say that the scream could have awakened the dead, and in a way, that was exactly what had happened in that dark alley. Kid's body was lying in water, which was collecting and was getting deeper, as time went on. Kid had been fighting with himself to open up his eyes but they were too heavy. He tried to move but something was holding him down. He couldn't understand why he was laying in water. "Did I get caught in a flash flood? Where is Heyes?" He tried to yell out for Heyes but the words wouldn't form. All he could do was moan.

The boy did see Kid's bloody body after lifting the wood off him. Kid moaned again and then he heard the scream. His hand went straight for his gun, but all he hit was the side of his bare pant leg. He was able to open up his left eye. Kid's mind was racing with questions; "Where is my gun belt? Where is Heyes, is he hurt, too? Why can't I talk? Where am I? Are those buildings?" His mind was muddled. His survival instincts were working overtime, they told him to move and take cover.

Kid had dragged his battered body away from the woodpile. He was in horrendous pain he fought to keep conscious. He kept in the dark shadows; every couple of minutes he dragged his body further up the alley. Kid added to the damage to his body; cutting his legs, hands and chest on the broken glass, wood and stones that he dragged himself across. The alley was muddy, Kid slipped and fell down into the mud, water splashed on his face. He bit down on his lip, so he wouldn't yell out from the pain.

He got close to the wagon and heard the two people talking about going to Nob Hill and he heard them say, Silky. "Heyes and I are in San Francisco. Did Heyes get into trouble with his gambling and I let him down? I have to find Heyes. Silky will help me find Heyes."

Kid used the last of his strength, to pull himself to a standing position. He knew that he had to distract them, so he could get in the back of the wagon. He found a stick and threw it at the horse, the diversion worked. The boy was watching his Grandpa gain control of the horse, as Kid fell into the back of the wagon.

When the horse was calm enough for them to ride off; the Grandpa got into the wagon and started the horse down the alley. The road to Nob Hill was a rough one and the horse and wagon lost traction going up and down the hills. Kid was lying down and was gripping the side of the wagon to hold on. His body rocked back and forth and slammed into the woodpile. Kid was losing consciousness. The wagon hit a rut in the road and Kid's hand lost the grip he had. Kid rolled out of the wagon and hit the ground. He caught his breath and rolled his body under a big bush, by the road. Kid surrendered to the blackness that wanted to engulf him.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Around eleven, the rain had turned cold. The shock of the rain's temperature woke Kid, but it didn't clear his mind. He was hallucinating, hearing Heyes calling him and at times, he saw Heyes. His mind was going back and forth in time and place. He heard Heyes telling him that he had to get to Silky's place.

Kid felt helpless and unsure what to do. He felt like he was drowning in pain. Kid's mind was yelling, "Where is Heyes? He would know what to do."

Kid dragged himself to the wrought iron and he pulled him self-up. He fell against the top of the fence striking his chest, knocking the air out of his lungs. Kid cried out in pain. He knew that he had to be close to Silky's, and when he got his bearings, he realized he was in front of Silky’s. He couldn't see much as his eye was swollen shut, so he used the fence for a guide and support.

Kid's stubbornness got him to the side of the house. He pulled himself along the wall of the house, towards the door. There were lights on in the main rooms of the house and Kid had hope for the first time that tonight. He was soaked to the bone, his hair plastered to his head. He prayed Silky was at home and the door would open


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

At times, the wind and the thunder were deafening. San Francisco was taking a beating and there was no sign of it letting up. Silky and his manservant, Lionel had stayed up, because of the unsettling feeling they had all night long. Somehow, this storm was different from other storms they had experienced, and they didn't understand why.

Kid could barely keep his body upright against the door. As his arm rose to knock, he slid to the ground. He was slumped against the door with his back resting on the frame. With one leg beneath him, the other laying straight out from his side, he was a twisted mess.

Kid banged his fist against the door and that sent shock waves through his body. He laid his head back against the door, he felt sick to his stomach from the pain that washed over him. Kid's eye reopened and he pounded again. The speakeasy window opened in the door for a minute and closed again. Kid tried to yell out, all he got out was a moan.

Lionel didn't see anyone so he chalked it up to the storm. Silky said, "Let's call it a night, and I'll get the lights in the sitting room."

With that said, the house went dark and Kid slipped into unconsciousness, welcoming it.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Heyes woke, still a little confused he called for Kid. He looked around to find out where he was, and it all came flooding back to him. He was on a train heading towards San Francisco, and he was searching for his partner. Heyes held his head and slowly shook it. He had to fight the despair that he felt.

There was a knock on the door; it was the porter announcing that he had a telegram for him. Heyes opened the door, hoping for good news about Kid. It was from Lom, telling him once again, to let him know what he finds out about Thaddeus in San Francisco. A thought entered his mind and he wished that people could call Thaddeus, Jed, instead of his alias.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The O'Sullivan residence was having a late start. It was around eight in the morning and no one had slept peacefully, with the storm battering the house all night. Lionel finally got Silky settled in the dining room, so he could serve breakfast to Silky. Then Lionel went ahead with his list of jobs that need to be done after a storm.

Lionel went to check the front of the house first and then the yard. He knew that gardener had a big job, cleaning up after those high winds. He opened the front door and it flew back into his legs. He felt something fall against his feet. Lionel rarely lost his composure but seeing a man lay on the ground, he began to call for Silky.

Silky was disturbed by Lionel's outburst. He muttered loudly, having been dragged from his breakfast. In addition, he was annoyed that Lionel had called him Silky instead of Mr. O'Sullivan. "I have never heard him call me Silky. Over thirty years of him working for me, he never had called me, Silky! I must be getting too soft!"

When he reached the foyer, Lionel stuttered out, "Sir....there is....." he didn't know what to call it, a body or an injured man?

Silky was flabbergasted at the scene in front of him, "Who.........What?" There was trouble on his doorstep. He was staring down at the body, hoping that it really wasn't there. Finally, Silky was able to ask, "Who is it? Do we know who he is?"

Leaning over the body, Lionel said, "He's wearing those boots men wear down on the wharf. He doesn't look familiar to me, but it's hard to tell, there so many bruises, blood and mud. There is so much blood....blood all over...on the door....the steps....blood."

Silky heard the distress in Lionel's voice and the color drained from his face. Silky grabbed the man's arm and had him sit down, before he passed out. Then Silky went to check to see if the man was alive. His breathing was shallow, but he was alive!

Silky raised his head and bellowed, "Patrick, go get Doctor Daniels. Tell him that I need him now, it's an emergency!"

Silky tried to talk to Lionel, about what they needed to do, before the doctor arrived, but he was still traumatized over the bloody body. Lionel figured that the man was going to die. Silky told the manservant; they need to move the man inside, but where? The servant thoughts went to his spotless house that he is in charge of and the condition this man was in.

"Lionel, do you hear me? Are you alright?" Silky was concerned.

Silky called for two other men to carry the man into the house and into the garden room. The room was close to the kitchen. They had cleaned the table and placed over the floor drain, and laid the man on it

Silky was overwhelmed by the task in hand. Where to start the clean up? He had the remains of the man's clothes removed.

Sally, the Irish cook, came in to see what the commotion was in the house. She was offended that these men had disrupted her kitchen, and her pots. They were spilling water all over the place, and they took over her stove.

"Mr. O'Sullivan, what are these men doing in MY KITCHEN?" Sally demanded to know as she entered the room. Everyone was focused on something in the middle of the room. Sally pushed her way in front of the men and saw the battered body lying on a table. Sally was speechless.

Silky went over the events that had unfolded that morning, "We are going to wash this man so the doctor can treat him."

Sally snapped out of her shock with the mention of the men washing this poor man. Sally announced, "I'm taking over here," and turned to the men and said, "You two follow me and I'll show you what to do."

Sally came back in carrying some of the supplies she needed. Sally told Lionel, "Go get some clean sheets, pillows, and some of those soft, thin blankets." Lionel was happy to leave the room.

Silky handed her the washcloth that he was going to use. Sally was alarmed. "That would be too harsh on his fragile skin; the cloth would cause more damage. It's a good thing that I'm here!"

She picked up a sponge from a bucket of warm water and slowly squeezed the water over the body to make it wet. Sally had one man fetch another bucket with soapy water in it with another soft sponge in it. When she washed the man's skin, the sponge barely touched him. Even though the man lay unconscious, he reacted to the slightest touch.

It tore at Sally's heart. She had never seen a body so beaten up and she fought to keep her emotions under control.

The men helped Sally move the man's body, so she could clean it up for the doctor. She had the men hold his upper body off the table while another held his head back and she washed the head, hair and neck. She saw the injuries as she worked to the back of the head, neck and shoulders. The blood and mud ran off the man's body that after a couple of rinses, it was clean.

Kid could feel someone taking care of him. He was moaning and finally was able to form, "Hey..es...ss." and moaned some more and whispered, "Heyes." His voice revealed the pain he was in and his fragile state. Kid felt that he just fallen into a bottomless pit.

Silky was turned away from the body when he heard the voice. He whipped around, almost losing his balance. He went over to the body and stared down at the man.

"What...What did he say?" demand Silky. The men looked at Silky with blank looks on their faces. In Silky's high pinched voice, he shouted, "I asked you, what was it that he said?"

One of the men said, "It sounded like the man said Hay,.... didn't it, Joe?"

Sally was leaning over the man and trying to make out the facial features past the injuries. Then she noticed his hair was drying lighter and was curling up around his face. Realization hit Sally and Silky hard. Sally put her hands up to her mouth to hold in her cry. It didn't work and the words slipped out, "Oh, my God! The poor boy! Who would do this to Jed Curry?"

"This can't be Kid!"

Silky was in denial. "It couldn't be Kid?" He reasoned with himself aloud, "I would know if the boys were in town. No way, would Kid be without his gun. This can't be Kid."

His train of thought was broken when he heard Sally asked him, "Where is Heyes? Is he hurt, too? Kid has always protected Heyes. Where is Heyes?"

Silky's heart shattered when he heard Sally's words and she began to cry. "Where's that doctor!" Silky bellowed the emotions he felt clear in his voice. "He should be here by now!" He looked right at a man and demanded, "You! You go and get Soapy over here, now! Tell him now!"

Silky started to pace back and forth, while he watched over the body of his young friend. Sally sat next to Kid and held his arm, where it wasn't bruised or cut. She prayed for God to help Jed and to find Heyes.

A short time later, the front door slammed open, Soapy was ready for a fight with Silky. Soapy yelled, "Where are you, you old goat? Who do you think you are to summon me! And for you to say that I had no choice, about coming here."

He left the door wide open and headed into the dining room, as Lionel rushed in out of breath. All the years that Soapy had known Lionel, he had never seen him in such a state and this concerned Soapy. "Is there something wrong with Silky?"

Lionel led Soapy into the dining room and pointed to the garden room. Lionel just couldn't bring himself to go back in that room, and words failing him, he managed just to point.

Soapy entered the room and saw the doctor leaning over someone and Sally crying. Before Soapy knew it he was saying, "Oh, my God, no! Silky isn't dead, is he?"

Silky entered the room carrying a glass of water for Sally. Silky announced, "No, the &’old goat' isn't dead."

Soapy's first reaction was relief, but he wasn't about to show it. He covered his relief with anger, "What is with you, demanding that I come over here?"

Silky asked right off, "Are the boys in town?"

Soapy was taken aback by the question. He looked to see who else was in the room. There was the doctor, who was one of them. The others were all trusted people that he had known for years. "Do you mean Heyes and Curry?"

Silky was losing his temper and he snapped, "Yes!"

"As far as I know, no!" Soapy didn't understand why Silky was acting so stressed and strange. "Who's the doctor working on?" Soapy wondered.

Soapy moved closer to see whom the doctor was bandaging. He looked up to the head and saw the golden curly hair. His heart started thumbing hard against his chest. Soapy half whispered, "Is it Kid?" afraid to asked aloud.

"That's the reason, I called you over here. I need your help to decide if he is Kid," explained Silky. He told Soapy about the morning's events. "I swear that Sally and I heard him called out, Heyes' name. You can see that Sally believes he's Kid."

The doctor approached the men and said, "He's in bad shape. It will be a miracle if he makes it until morning. He has a severe head injury with a lot swelling. I don't think he has the physical strength to pull through. I have given him laudanum to help with the pain. His heartbeat is slowing down and his breathing is labored. I talked with Sally and she knows what to do. She is to start with cold water bottles on his head and neck; to help try to reduce the swelling." The doctor looked away from the men because he hated giving bad news.

Silky looked at Soapy and asked, "Where is Heyes?"

"I need to send a telegram right away to Sheriff Lom Trevors. He will know where Heyes is." Soapy was in a panic.

Soapy wrote the telegram and told the man taking it that it had to be sent now, and to wait for an answer.

Lom/stop/Tell friend found blond pup/stop/hurt bad/stop/ come fast/ stop/Soapy



CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Back from checking on Miss Porter and the bank, Lom was stepping onto the boardwalk, when he heard someone yelling for him. The telegrapher was running towards the sheriff with a telegram in his hand. He had started yelling at the sheriff, two blocks away, "Sheriff, I got a telegram and they're asking for a reply right away."

Lom read the telegram and frowned at the news that Kid was seriously hurt. The first thing he did was to telegraph Heyes and hope that the train had not reached Sacramento, California, yet.

Smith/stop/Soapy has blond pup/stop/ hurt bad/stop/I'm coming/stop/ Lom

He sent Soapy:

Soapy/stop/Shipped brown pup/stop/today on SF Express/stop/I'm coming/Lom

Lom got everything organized for his departure to San Francisco. He took the train to hook up with the express. He had a feeling that his friend was going to need him. Heyes never could handle Kid being hurt. If he dies, heaven help the person that caused it. He needs to be there to protect Heyes, from himself.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The train pulled into Sacramento Station and the porter knocked on Heyes' door. "Mr. Smith, you have another telegram. If you need to reply, I'm happy to send it for you."

Heyes was not happy to get another telegram. Over the last weeks, every time he built up his hopes on receiving news about his partner, there has been none. At first glance, he saw Lom's name and thought that it was another notice to keep the sheriff informed. He read that Kid been found and was hurt. Heyes immediately thought that Kid been shot. Then the thought came to his mind, "If Lom is coming, Kid has to be real bad. Kid, please hold on. I'll be there in a few hours."

Heyes didn't send any telegrams; he didn't have anything to say. Heyes didn't have a peaceful ride to San Francisco. He wanted the train to go faster, and he felt like a caged animal pacing in his cage. The minutes dragged. He could easily destroy the compartment, he was staying in, he needed to release his pinned up emotions. Kid was always good at defusing Heyes, and sometimes he relied on that.

The train reached San Francisco station with Heyes standing by the steps ready to jump off as soon as it stopped. Soapy and his carriage driver were on the train platform waiting for the express to arrive. Soapy had paid three young boys to walk up and down the platform calling out, "Joshua Smith...Mr. Joshua Smith!"

The cars were slowing to a stop, when Heyes jumped down. He was too impatient to wait for a full stop. He was ready to take off running, when he heard his name called out. He rushed up to a boy, and said urgently, "I'm Smith!"

"You're to go over to ticket office C," the boy announced.

"For what? I'm in a hurry, and I don't have the time to waste," Heyes voice had a high-pitched to it.

"I was told to tell you, not to be so stubborn and argumentative, because Soapy said so," the boy said with a squeaky voice.

Heyes rushed over to the ticket office C and saw Soapy scanning the crowd of people. Heyes was startled by the disheveled appearance of Soapy. When their eyes connected, there wasn't the usual smile and twinkle in Soapy's eyes. Instead, there was stress showing on Soapy’s.

In a frail voice, Heyes spoke, "Kid?" Heyes' eyes pleaded for some good news about Kid.

"We are here to take you to him," Soapy was trying cut to short the conversation. He didn't have reassuring words for Heyes that everything was going to be all right with Kid. He knew Heyes wanted to hear good news from him. He didn't want to be the one, to tell Heyes what the doctor said, Kid was dying.

Heyes felt Soapy's uneasiness. He walked in silence to the carriage, which felt uncomfortable. He knew Kid's condition had to be critical, for his friend to be so cautious with him. He waited until they were in the carriage, and then he turned toward Soapy and asked, "Is Kid in the hospital under Thaddeus Jones? How's he doing?"

Soapy took a deep breath and said, "No, he isn't in a hospital. He's at Silky's place. Heyes, Kid is in bad shape."

Heyes' voice was piercing and livid, "Why wasn't Kid take to the hospital? If you were afraid, you'll be implicated in Kid's trouble. If so, you could have dumped him in front of the building. Someone would've found him!"

Soapy hated their handling of Heyes over the years, when his emotions were in charge. He knew nothing came between Heyes' and his need to protect Kid.

"Now, you wait a darn minute! When he was found on Silk's doorstep, Kid was in bad shape. It was too big a risk taking him to the hospital. He called a doctor into treat him, and the doctor agreed that Kid was too critical for the trip to the hospital. Heyes, you have to calm down before we get to Silky's," Soapy voice was stern.

Heyes sounded like a scared little boy, "Kid is that bad? Is he hurting a lot? Where was he shot?"

"Yes, he's really bad. He was beaten almost to death. We still don't know how he was able to reach Silky's house. He had to overcome the pain he was in, and with the storm we had last night." Soapy was shaking his head in disbelief over the events.

"This happened last night?" Soapy nodded his head, yes. "I heard Kid's voice calling for me, last night. If only I got to San Francisco a few days earlier, I could have prevented this. I was not there for him; I am supposed to protect." Heyes hung his head.

Soapy wanted to argue with Heyes about his so-called responsibilities for his cousin. In addition, Soapy knew this was not the time or the place for this worn out topic. Instead, he said, "Heyes, we'll help Kid through this."

Heyes look outside the carriage and propped his head on his fist. He appeared to be watching the scenery they were passing, but Soapy saw the fear in Heyes' eyes and the tears. To escape his terror, he journeyed to that blank quiet place in his mind. The carriage stopped in front of Silky's door, and Heyes didn't notice. Soapy sat there for a few minutes and watched Heyes with concern. He gently put his hand on Heyes' arm to get his attention. Heyes flinched from the touch.

Soapy lean over and softly said, "Heyes, we are at Silky's house."

Heyes looked over at the door, and he hesitated before getting out of the carriage. It wasn't the fact that he did not want to see Kid. He was terrified that Kid might be dead. Heyes wanted more time, thinking of his best friend alive, he didn't think he was ready to face bad news.

Soapy and the driver walked away from the carriage to give Heyes, the time he need. Soapy went in the house so he could check on Kid. When he entered the dining room, Silky looked past him, to see Heyes. He frowned and asked, "I thought you going to get Heyes at the station. Did you miss him?"

"Heyes is in the carriage. I think the seriousness of Kid's injuries has hit him. He has been hunting for Kid, for a month. I think Kid had left Heyes, I don't know why. Heyes isn't in good shape himself, and now this isn't going to help."

Silky shook his head in dismay and wondered, "Soapy, what are we going to do with these boys?"

From the doorway a voice said, "How often have I heard one of you ask that exact question, over the years? The first time, Kid was twelve and I was fourteen. "Heyes gave them a forced smile.

"Where is he?" Heyes asked them.

Silky motioned for Heyes to follow him, "He's in the garden room."

"What? You don't have him in a bedroom?" Heyes sounded hurt.

"Heyes, we didn't want to take him up those stairs. I was afraid that Kid would get hurt worse by carrying him. In addition, Sally did not want him far from the kitchen. She has been taking care of Kid. Sally got him cleaned up before the doctor got here, and has been doing what the doctor wanted done for additional care," Silky talked softly to calm Heyes down.

"I am so sorry, Silky. I need to keep my big mouth shut. Kid always says that my &’silver tongue' gets us into more trouble, than out of it. I want to thank-you for your helping him." Heyes was ashamed of his outburst.

Silky left Heyes and rejoined Soapy in the den. In the garden room, Heyes saw a big bed set up and sun light was shining into the room. There were a lot potted flowers. French doors opened outside to the gardens. Heyes knew his partner would prefer this to a hospital room.

He saw Kid in the bed with a sheet over his body, which was support up, so it didn't touch his skin. Heyes was about ten feet away from the bed when he saw Kid's face. The contrast between Kid's skin and the white sheet was startling. A big gasp escaped from Heyes, he was not prepared for Kid's appearance. He moved up closer, his breath caught in his throat, and it burned his throat and nose. He put his hand over his mouth to control his alarm. In his mind a voice was screaming, "Oh...my...God!"

Heyes could not stop the tears flowing down his face, as he rushed out the French doors. He bent over, holding his chest with one hand, the other supporting him against the house. He was gasping for air and the color drained from his face. Heyes had his eyes closed and still could see the vision of Kid. For about fifteen minutes, he could not move his feet forward, to go back into the house.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thaddeus O'Leary was setting off alarms down in Irish Hill. Katie O'Brian went down to the wharf to see if Thaddeus had shown up for work. That way, she could stop worrying about him not coming back to the boarding house, last night. Katie felt foolish for checking on Thaddeus; after all, he was just another boarder. She was trying to look nonchalant sitting on the bench to people watch.

O'Toole came rushing past her and went up to some men that worked on the pier. The men talked and showed some anger. O'Toole walked back on the boardwalk, shaking his head with worry. A few feet away from Katie, he noticed her sitting on the bench; he slowly walked up to her, and removed his cap.

O'Toole was frowning; his forehead creased with deep worry lines as he spoke, "Hello Katie. I was wondering if you have seen Thaddeus this morning."

Katie looked up at O'Toole, to judge what to tell him. She didn't want to overstep her boundary with Thaddeus, and get into his business. She didn't see anger on O'Toole's face, but she saw the worry. She spoke carefully not to say the wrong thing to Thaddeus' boss, "I didn't see him this morning."

"This morning, you were to cook him breakfast, right? Thaddeus bragged about you willing to cook for him in the morning. He said how much he was going to enjoy the breakfast. It's hard to believe that he would miss it." He watched Katie for a reaction.

"I was hoping that he got stranded somewhere during the storm. I thought I would see him down here working," she was trying not to sound foolish.

Neither one wanted to bring up the hay rope fighting. They were both quiet with an uncomfortable air between them. Finally, O'Toole said, "I'm pretty sure that Thaddeus won't be showing up for work. The men I talked to, saw Thaddeus' fight, yesterday. He lost the fight and O'Mulligan was not thrilled with the results. They stated that Thaddeus was stumbling off balance in the fight, before the hard punches connected with him. The other fighter punched him hard and Thaddeus kept getting up. They said, he could not walk by himself and two men dragged him away. No one has seen Thaddeus since. O'Mulligan is a dangerous man, especially when he loses money. Talk has it; he had a lot of money on Thaddeus."

Katie asked, "Then you feel, something has happened to Thaddeus, right?"

"I hope that I am wrong. However, I'm not the only one that feels this way. Most of the men are going to search for him, after the catch has been taken care of today," O'Toole said.

"I'm going to check around the house, and please keep me informed, if he shows up or if you hear anything," Katie said clearly worried. She got up from the bench and said goodbye. The two of them said a silent prayer, for Thaddeus O'Leary, who had touched both of their lives.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Heyes came through the French doors and slowly worked his way to Kid's bedside. He studied Kid's face noticing the discoloring and the swelling. Heyes felt gently the bones in Kid's face for breakage.

Sally had come back to check on Kid and to see Heyes. She saw Heyes was checking for broken bones. She noticed how gentle his touch was. He was so involved that Sally approached unnoticed, until she laid her hand on Heyes' arm.

"Dr. Daniels said Jed doesn't have any broken bones; they're extremely bruised. He has been here twice today, and he will be back around dinner." Sally spoke softly to Heyes. She looked into his eyes and what she saw broke her heart. She knew first hand, how Heyes could mask his feelings, and this was really hitting him hard.

Heyes was almost afraid to ask this question. "Has the Kid been awake anytime?"

"No, Jed been unconscious since he was found this morning," Sally informed him.

Sally saw how worn out Heyes was and in her Irish brogue said to him, "Heyes, you are not going to fight me on this, I'm fixing you a bath. Lionel has fixed your room and your bags are there. I'll take your dirty clothes to wash. Oh, that's right!"

She went over to the corner of the room and picked up Kid's trousers. They were torn with blood and mud caked on. Heyes' eyes followed Sally and he saw Kid's belt buckle.

Heyes acted possessive, "Those are Kid's!"

"Yes, I know, but the trousers and shirt are ruined." She removed the belt and handed it to Heyes. "I got some saddle soap if you want to work on the belt, afterwards."

She went through the pockets and handed everything she found to Heyes. The items were damp. There were four-dollar bills folded in half and in the middle was Christina Crawford's card. Heyes noticed the address was close by, and on the back were dates and times in Kid's handwriting.

"Sally, do you know a Christina Crawford?" he asked showing her the card.

"Well, that sure is surprising! She lives next door and is a wonderful woman. I would think that Kid is too young for her taste," Sally was flabbergasted.

Sally watched Heyes do some deep thinking about Christina and he repeated, "Next door?"

"Heyes, you're not thinking that Christina Crawford had anything to do with Jed getting beaten up, are you? I swear to you, there is no way she's involved with this." Sally was concerned about Heyes future actions.

"Well, I still would like to meet her," Heyes stated. "Can you see if Silky would invite Christina Crawford over, after I get cleaned up?"

"Heyes, I'm warning you. You better be nice to Mrs. Crawford, or you answer to me!" Sally was standing with her hands on her hips with a severe glare on Heyes.

"You said Mrs.? Maybe her husband did not like the attention Kid got from his wife. Then he had him taken care of with a beating and Kid managed to get to Silky's from next door." Heyes was convincing himself that this sounded reasonable. However, he knew Kid would never get involved with a married woman, unless she was in trouble.

Sally interrupted Heyes' thinking with, "Her husband has been dead for years and her daughter lives in Boston. She hasn't been interested in suitors, since her husband died."

"Sally, I'll be good. I promise." Heyes looked all hurt at the idea that she didn't trust him, went all puppy- eyed at her, and said, "I need to talk with anyone Kid was involved with since his stay in San Francisco. I might be able to piece together what happened and who did this to him."

"Heyes, don't you look at me that way! It will do you no good. Now you go take that bath, and I'll think about having Silky inviting her for dinner." Sally said, in a demanding tone.

"First I want to see the rest of Kid's injuries. Then I need someone to stay with Jed, I don't want him alone," Heyes answered.

"Jed won't be alone. Silky and Soapy have been waiting to get back in here. They need to help, so they can stop with worrying about Jed."

Heyes was not surprised about those two con artists' actions towards his partner. He knew over the years, the men covered up their true feelings for Kid. They had been extra harsh with Kid about his gun and temper. They always felt that either one would get both them killed.

Sally helped Heyes with the sheet, so he could see the rest of the damage. Kid's skin had cuts and scrapes from him falling and dragging his body across the ground. He saw the hand print bruises on Kid's arms where he was held during the beating.

"Those bruises on Kid's arms tell me, there were at least three men involved in the beating," Heyes commented. He lifted the water bottle off Kid's head and neck and saw the swelling and the discoloring.

Sally said, "The doctor said Jed must have fallen back against a brick wall, probably during the beating. He said it looked like there was force behind the fall."

Heyes was furious over Kid's injuries. He had never seen a beating like this. "The men who performed this act are a very sick and dangerous people that probably believed they have killed him. This means he's in grave danger, if they find out, he's alive."

Heyes announced to Sally, "All the people that know that Jed is alive must be very careful. Only people that need to know will know and that all."

Sally and Heyes recovered him. Heyes realized that his anger needed to be pushed to the background for now so he could help Kid to recover. He needed his wits about him to protect his partner. He decided he would take that bath so he could plan what to do with Christina Crawford.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After Heyes bathed and shaved, he dressed in his dark blue shirt and decided to dress the rest of the way dark. He wanted an imposing appearance for his visitor. He came back into the garden room to find his friends keeping a watchful eye on Kid. They were arguing over how much fresh air should be allowed into the room. Heyes was able to chase them out, so they could prepare for dinner and their guest.

Heyes pulled a chair beside Kid, so he could lean in closer... "Hey, Kid. I'm here. So you just relax now, and get your rest. I got your back covered, and no one is going to hurt you...." He almost said ‘again', but he didn't want to promise anything he couldn't do. "Kid, you sure know how to scare me. So enough is enough, all right. I miss you and I need you.... I miss your talking... alright, I mean, I miss talking to you."

Heyes was still talking when the doctor arrived, two hours later. Doctor went over to Kid and started checking him over. Heyes was still by Kid's side and he looked at the doctor and said, "It's been a long time, Tommy. I heard that you became a doctor. Can you help Jed?"

"To be honest Heyes, I don't know. He was beaten to an inch of his life, plus he has severe head and neck injuries and swelling," Dr. Daniels informed Heyes. He checked Kid's breathing and heart beat; he was not pleased at what he heard.

"Kid has been restless for the last hour and half. Do you think he's waking up?" Heyes was hopeful.

"By his heart beat, I would say, no. It's probably reaction to the pain he is in." Dr. Daniels reached into his medical bag, and he pulled out a small bottle and put it up to Kid's lips. "All I can do right now, is to kill the pain he is in."

Heyes grabbed the doctor's arm and demanded, "Wait! What are you giving to Kid?"

The doctor was disturbed by Heyes' questioning him, "I told you that Jed is in pain. I've been giving him laudanum. It has helped him get though the pain."

"No, you can't give him that stuff! It's poison to Kid." Heyes was frantic, "How much have you given to him?"

"I'm sorry Heyes. I didn't know Jed couldn't have laudanum. What happened to Jed, when he had it before?" the doctor asked as he put the cap on the bottle.

"He had violent nightmares, which brought up bad memories and made Kid relive them. He didn't recognize anyone, not even me, and he became violent. He had hallucinations that caused him to be up on top of the cabin's roof and one other time, he went up to a wild stallion and almost got killed."

"Heyes, we can watch Jed for hallucinations. We need to do something for the amount of pain, Jed is in."

"It also slows down his breathing and heart. One time, Kid stopped breathing and I was lucky to bring him around." Heyes was terrified. "I keep all pain medicine away from Kid. In addition, he made me promise, never to give him laudanum, again. Kid said, ‘He'd rather feel pain, than nothing at all!' I promised him!"

The doctor shook his head and announced, "Jed must be highly susceptible to opium."

Heyes was distressed, "OPIUM! Are you crazy? Kid doesn't mess with that stuff!"

"No, laudanum has diluted opium in it, and a lot of medicine has opium in its makeup," Daniels explained to Heyes. "We'll have to keep a closer watch on Jed. That would explain some of Jed's trouble with breathing and his erratic heart beat."

"How much did you give him? And you better answer me this time!" Heyes clearly worried.

"I'm sorry Heyes, I didn't know. I gave it to him twice." Daniels was upset that he put Jed in more at risk.

"What can I do about helping Jed, through the laudanum, and these injuries?" Heyes hoping for answers.

"What I remember about you two is that you're always there for each other. Jed has been waiting for you to show up. Let him know you are here. Then you pray for some additional help. I'll do everything I can to help him recover from this." Daniels had always been envious about the friendship of these two.

Sally called to Heyes that dinner was ready and Mrs. Crawford had arrived. Heyes felt he shouldn't leave Kid and said so. Dr. Daniels said, "I'll stay with Jed, I can keep a watch on his vitals and if there's a change, I'll come and get you."

Heyes was torn between staying with Kid and gathering information that might keep him safe. Everyone was in the dining room when Heyes entered. Soapy smiled at Heyes, like a proud father. Soapy was happy to be helping Heyes, with this dinner, "There you are Joshua! Good, I'm starving and I know that Sally has out done herself with dinner."

Silky announced, "Sally always does when Joshua and...come to town." Silky was upset with the slip, he almost said Thaddeus. "It was hard to talk about one without the other," Silky was reasoning with himself.

Heyes and Christina were seated across from each other. Silky started the conversation with Christina, "It's good to have you back home from Boston. It feels strange when you're not next door."

"Silky, you'll never change! Are you trying to sweet-talk me or are you slinging bullshit tonight? I wasn't told to wear my boots!" Christina was giggling softy.

Heyes was surprised how beautiful the woman was. He knew that he had to keep his guard up, to find out what he needed to know to keep Kid alive. Heyes watched Christina all though dinner and he saw sadness and worry in her eyes.

Christina was forcing herself to have an enjoyable evening. Her mind was on Thaddeus. He had not shown up for their lunch date, which disappointed her. She had an awful feeling that something had happened to him. Christina remembered that she had been displeased with his hay rope fighting and there had been tension between them when they had separated the previous evening. However, the next day, Christina received some beautiful flowers with a nice note, from Thaddeus telling her that he was looking forward to lunch with her. She had a feeling that something was wrong with him. If she did not hear from Thaddeus, tomorrow, she was going to the boarding house to check on him.

Heyes didn't talk much instead, he studied Christina. There was something about Heyes, which bothered her; it was a forewarning she felt. At one point, Heyes and Christina looked into each other's eyes at the same time. What Christina saw was determination in those dark brown eyes, which startled her. She had seen that before. Her mind was screaming, "That's Hannibal Heyes!"

A small gasp escaped from Christina. Heyes saw the color drain from her face and anger appeared in her eyes. Heyes thought, "She knows who I am, how?"

"Kid must know that Heyes is in town and he's staying out of sight or Kid has left town," and with that thought she gave Heyes an angry glare.

Heyes gave her a dimpled smile and asked, "When did you get back from Boston?"

Christina said piercingly, "A month, ago!"

Heyes smiled at her comeback and very sociable said, "I just got here this morning on the San Francisco Express. I really enjoyed the ride and the comfort."

"The express is wonderful without all those stops," remarked Christina.

An awkward silence developed in the room. Heyes was tired of beating around the bush and he bellowed out, "I know that you have met Thaddeus."

Christina didn't say a word; all she did was stare back at Heyes. She got her backbone up and if she had to; she would fight, the infamous Hannibal Heyes, to keep him away from Thaddeus.

Suddenly Heyes got up from the table and walked over to the door. He was talking to Dr. Daniels, and then he rushed out the door. Christina didn't miss the exchange. "Doctor Daniels? What would the doctor want with Heyes? They're heading to the kitchen. I must find out what's going on, so I can help Thaddeus with Heyes."

"Silky, please pardon me. I must see Sally, about the wonderful dinner she cooked," Christina said, scheming to follow Heyes. She casually got up and left the room, then rushed towards the direction, she saw them go. She peeked in the garden room and was stunned to see a bed set up in there. The two men were tying someone down in the bed. She knew that something strange was going on in that room.

The doctor moved to the other side of the bed, and that's when Christina saw the curly golden hair. All she knew was she needed to find out what was going on. She was beside the bed before either man knew she was there. At first, she was in shock at the sight in front of her. "This man was almost beaten to death."

Christina had never seen anything like this before. She wanted to look away, but for some reason, she couldn't. Then her eyes went to the blond hair, and how it curled around the face.

She let go a scream and then she was hitting Heyes in the chest. "How could you do this to Thaddeus?" Christina screamed.

avatar
Re: Why Must We Make It So Hard?
Post on Thu 26 Feb 2015, 4:09 pm by royannahuggins
CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Silky rushed into the garden room to see Christina hitting Heyes' chest with her fists. The doctor was standing with his mouth open in shock. Christina was throwing accusations at Heyes, about Thaddeus.

She was screaming, "Why couldn't you leave him alone? He was starting a new life for himself, away from you and outlawing. What happened, you couldn't convince him to hook up with you again, so you beat him?"

Heyes didn't attempt to defend himself from her blows. Her words cut into him and he felt that he deserved the punishment, and his eyes were glazed.

Silky grabbed Christina's fists, before she could hit Heyes again. Silky was angry and puzzled at Christina, "What's wrong with you?" he asked.

"Why are you covering up for this outlaw? How could you, Silky?" Christina had tears running down her cheeks. She pointed at her injured friend and asked, "Are you going let this go on, or are you going to help Thaddeus?"

"What do you think is going on here?" Silky wanted an explanation.

"I can see what's going on here. Thaddeus has been beaten, almost to death." She gave Heyes a death look. "Why would he do this to him?" Christina looked over at the doctor. "Doctor Daniels, is he going to make it? Does he need to be in a hospital?"

Silky was alarmed at the accusations Christina had thrown out at them. "Now you listen here! First thing, Joshua would give his own life for Thaddeus. They're family, and most important to them; they're partners! Second, Joshua doesn't have that evil in him to do this to anyone, especially to his cousin. Third, he has been hunting for him for over a month. You see that from the look of him, it's taken a toll on him. He hasn't slept or eaten right, since Thaddeus left. Last, Thaddeus can’t be moved, he would die before reaching the hospital. That's why the doctor is here."

Christina stood back and watched Heyes looking down at his partner. He had his hand on the bed and Kid started to get reckless. Heyes leaned over him and said softy, "I got your back." He put his hand gently on Kid's arm. Christina saw the calmness come over Kid. In that moment she saw the love, hope, worry and the sorrow that Heyes had for his cousin.

Christina said, "I don't understand, then why did Thaddeus feel like he had to get away from you?"

Heyes sadly said, "Kid and I have been working for an amnesty, from the Governor of Wyoming. Kid feels that he's holding up my amnesty, and at times, putting it at risk. I never felt that way, and I have talked him out of that idea before. This time, it was different for him. He left me without saying a word. The amnesty would mean nothing to me, without my partner at my side."

"I'm sorry; I jumped to the wrong conclusion about what had happened between you two. Do you know how this happened to him and who did this? Why would anyone do this to Thaddeus?" Christina said apologetic.

Silky jumped in and relayed the events leading up to the dinner. He pulled a chair over to bed, and had Heyes sit down. Silky could see the exhaustion that was about to overtake Heyes, and Silky knew he wasn't about to give into it. Heyes needed answers and Silky hoped that Christina had some for him.

"The reason, I had Silky invite you over here was, I found your card in Kid's pocket. I was hoping that you could fill me in, on his stay here. I'm sorry, if I went about this all wrong. I feel that his life is still in danger and I'm trying to be cautious," Heyes explained.

Christina pulled up a chair, and proceeded to explain how they had met in Boulder and their friendship. "Thaddeus has been living in Irish Hill, at the O'Brian's Boarding House. I know he had a job on the wharf, and he liked it. He loves being so close to the ocean. We have met for dinner a few times. We were to meet this afternoon, and of course, he didn't make it.

"Thank-you, that might help me find out what happened to him. I can see that you care for Thaddeus. Please be careful that no one finds out about him. The men that did this would stop at nothing to finish the job." Heyes was pleased, she had information on Kid’s stay.

"Do you know how Thaddeus got shot? I was afraid he got shot during a robbery, but now I know, I was wrong," Christina asked.

Heyes went over the events leading up to the two gunfights and meeting Preacher.

Christina said, "I saw a preacher with Thaddeus at the train station. I felt that I could take at chance with Kid Curry, because of the preacher. He was recovering his strength on the train, for two days, he was usually asleep. By the time, we got to San Francisco; Thaddeus had recovered. I could see there something troubling him, and I was worried about him. I was glad that he had kept in touch with me."

Christina motioned for Silky to follow her. They went into the den. "Silky, please tell me what happened after they lost their families. Thaddeus told me Heyes is all he has left."

Silky told her about the Raid, the aftermath, and the Home. Kid was about eight and Heyes was ten. Heyes become an adult that day, and tried his best to keep Kid's childhood, intact. Of course, that was impossible. Heyes made himself responsible for Kid’s welfare.

"Heyes started to steal to save Kid's life. There was no choice, but to run away from the Home, or Kid would've died there. Kid was a sickly underweight boy, who became worse each time he came down sick. They would put him into a dark room by himself, and Heyes would sneak in to take care of his cousin. Also, there were the beatings and they were locked in dark closets. After a few years, Heyes had them run away. It took a couple of years, for Kid to catch up with his normal weight and height."

They had been talking about an hour, when Doctor Daniels entered the room. They both looked at him for answers. Daniels saw their anxiety.

"Kid's heart is beating a little stronger and his breathing is less labored. Kid seems to know that Heyes is by his side, it's amazing. Heyes won't be leaving that room anytime soon, so if there's a more comfortable chair for him, he needs it."

Christina said, "Daniels, you seem to know the boys."

"Yes, I met them when we were all kids. I know Kid by his given name, and I call him Jed. I understand that you know him by Thaddeus. They came in and out of our ‘con-artist' lives over the years. Silky and Soapy consider them friends, and sometimes closer than that." Daniels was remembering his times with the boys, and the trouble the three of them would get into. It didn't matter that, Daniels was four years older; Heyes was the leader.

"Is Thaddeus going to overcome these injuries?" Christina hated asking.

"If Jed lives through this, it'll because of Heyes," Daniels said honestly. "Silky, if you don't mind, I would like to spend the night, in case they need me."

"Of course, you can. Lionel will make up your old room." Silky was happy that Daniels wanted to stay and the three boys were still friends.

They called it an evening, Christina decided to check on Thaddeus one last time, before she walked home through the gardens. Heyes was in an overstuffed chair beside the bed. His hand was resting on Kid's chest, so he could feel Kid's breathing. Sleep had finally won over Heyes' willpower. Even in sleep, Heyes was facing Kid to keep watch.

Christina picked up a blanket, and placed it over Heyes. She then lean over and kissed Kid's forehead, and said a silent prayer. She whispered to him, "Thaddeus, I'll be back in the morning. I'm leaving you in safe hands. Heyes said, he has your back and I believe him. I can see that Heyes loves you, Kid."

With that said, she went out the French doors. On the way home, she was surprised at her recent reactions toward Heyes. She said to herself, "I would've never thought, I would cover Heyes up with a blanket. Let alone have a civil conversation with him for hours, and feel comfortable about it."


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The sound of gasping and labored breathing woke Heyes. Panic tightened up his chest, as he jumped up out the chair, ran to the back stairs, and called for Daniels. He didn't wait for an answer; he needed to get back to Kid. Heyes started wiping him with a cool damp cloth and replaced ones the on his head.

The doctor entered the room, he saw Heyes was talking calmly to the unconscious Kid, and trying to make him comfortable. Daniels checked Kid's vital signs, with Heyes at his elbow. After he listened to Kid's heart, he turned to Heyes and sorrowfully said, "Heyes...." Heyes braced himself. "I don't think Jed can last very much longer." Daniels felt like he had let everyone down. "I don't know how much longer, Kid's heart can take the punishment. I'm so sorry Heyes; there’s nothing more I can do for him."

Heyes felt like a hot poker stabbed him in the chest. He was sitting and staring at Kid's chest moving up and down and listening to Kid's struggle to breathe. Finally, Heyes was able to break away from staring. "Thank you, Tommy. We won't need you any longer," he said in a flat lifeless voice.

The doctor knew he was dismissed, and he left with a heavy heart. As he was leaving, he heard Heyes go back to talking to his friend and wiping his forehead. Daniels figured the next time he would see Jed; he would be dead.

Heyes got some water and proceeded to gently wash Kid down and change the bandages. All the time, Heyes was talking to him about anything that came to mind. Heyes didn't want anything left unsaid, with his partner.

Christina had awakened with the thought of Thaddeus, and there was something wrong with him. Her bedroom window looked across to the garden room. She was startled, when she saw all lights were on in the room. She had left only a small light on beside the bed, when she left. She dressed in a hurry, and rushed over; she stopped outside the French doors, when she heard Heyes tortured voice. She saw Heyes was caring for his cousin. She decided not to interrupt Heyes, but she stayed outside the door and listened.

What she heard made her realize that these boys were each other's half. She sat there silently cried for them. She didn't see how Heyes was going to last long, if Kid died. Kid was Heyes' heart, which made him real and not the hard man he could be at times.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

By the time Silky and Soapy got up that morning, the household knew that Kid didn't have much longer to live. It was as if, time was on hold, waiting for the pasting of Kid and the air was stifling. Sally was the only one that went into the garden room, and she took care of both boys. Sally helped Heyes get Kid propped up, so he could breathe easier.

After a few hours, Heyes had convinced himself that Kid was improving. By evening, he knew Kid was going to pull through. Sally felt that Heyes was in denial over Kid's condition.

"Heyes, dinner is ready. If you're going to keep this up, you must eat," Sally stated.

Heyes wasn't in the mood or had the strength to fight Sally, "I'll eat some, but I'm not leaving him."

Heyes was eating some chicken, sitting in a chair beside Kid when he heard a faint voice, "Heyes....Heyes."

Heyes jumped up, and dropped his plate off his lap; he leaned over his partner. Heyes said in shaken voice, "I know that I heard your voice." He paused for a response, there was nothing? "Come on Kid! Don't you make me think, I'm going crazy!"

Nothing happened for the next few hours, except Sally helped Heyes clean up his dinner off the floor. Heyes had convinced himself, he was hearing things. However, he kept a watch on Kid.

That evening Christina came in to visit the boys. She smiled at Heyes; to cover her alarm over Heyes exhausted appearance. She wanted to cheer Heyes up and was glad to be able to say, "Kid looks better, what do you think?" She was watching Heyes' expression. "I mean, there's some coloring to his skin. I don't mean the coloring from the bruising and mean he doesn't look so pale."

Christina stayed with Heyes for a few hours and they talked about Kid, his friends, Lom, and books they have read. She was able to get Heyes to take a nap, while she watched Kid. Impressed by Heyes' devotion to his cousin, she had a new found understanding for Heyes, and felt that they could be friends.

Before Christina left Kid mumbled, "Heyes.....Where...." Kid was moving his head back and forth. "Heyes."

Heyes sat there as if, he never heard anything. Christina watched Heyes as he sat there expressionless. Christina was stunned and asked, "Are you going to answer Thaddeus? Answer him!"

Heyes looked confused and he whispered to her, "You heard that?"

Christina wrinkled up her forehead and her eyes, "Of course I heard him."

Heyes jumped up, hugged her, and excitedly said, "I was terrified that I was losing my mind. Throughout this evening, I heard Kid's voice. When I checked him for a response, there was none. I thought I was hearing things, but you heard him, right?"

"Honey, yes I heard Thaddeus say you name. Oh, I'm sorry. I'm use to calling him Thaddeus," explained Christina.

"I know it can be confusing on what name to use, Jed, Kid, or Thaddeus. Even for me, I didn't know what name Kid was using here. The note he left me said that he was changing his name," Heyes said remembering the hurt he felt the day Kid had left.

"I know he used the name Thaddeus...Thaddeus O'Leary," informed Christina.

"O'Leary?" Heyes was stunned. "How did Kid pick O'Leary?"

Christina laughed at the memory of Thaddeus telling her why. She was laughing when she said, "He said he needed to be Irish, on the wharf."

"What? Kid is Irish! I am half Irish," said a confused Heyes.

"But he said he needed an Irish name. He said he wished he could have used Curry, for his grandpa. He picked O'Leary because of the r and y at the end of the names," Christina recalled.

"Kid can always amaze me." Heyes had a smile that showed in his eyes.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hours after Christina left, Silky sneaked back, to check on the boys. In the overstuffed chair, Heyes was asleep with his head propped up on his hand. Heyes felt that someone had entered the room. He had opened his eyes a slit to watch what was going on, unnoticed.

Silky went over to Kid and felt his forehead. He picked up the cloth off Kid's head and put it the bowl of water. He gently touched the wound on the backside of his head. He wrung out the water and replaced the cloth. He rearranged the pillows around him for support and comfort. He leaned over Kid and softly said, "Kid, no I mean Jed, you're doing good. You're putting up a good fight and I know that you're going to win this. You're safe here. You got Heyes watching out for you, and you know how he can get. He can get worse than a mother hen can. Soapy and I are going to do everything we can, to help you boys. Jed, I love...ugh...care for you, boy."

Silky turned his face away and wiped some tears from his face, with the back of his hand. He cleared his throat and faintly mumbled, "You sleep peaceful, and God will take care of you. Jed, you are a good boy. You just have too much of Irish stubbornness at times, that all." He softly walked toward the door and stood still saying, "Good boy," on the way out the door.

Heyes had a big lump in his throat. He thought to himself, "Well that proves Silky is a big softy." Heyes felt good knowing that Silky believed that Kid could come through this. He figured on keeping Silky's feelings about Kid a secret, for Silky. Nevertheless, Heyes sat there with a big grin on his face, as he leaned forward Heyes whispered, "Kid, I sure hope that you heard what Silky said. For a repeat, you would've to be on your death bed again."

Heyes looked at Kid in that big bed as he tried to stretch out his legs. He moved around in his chair that has become hard as a rock for his sore tried body. He looked at Kid to see how he was doing and Heyes asked wearily, "Hey, Kid, how about sharing some of that bed with me?"

Heyes removed everything but his union suit and then crawled into the bed. Heyes' head hit the pillow, and he was asleep. For some reason, Heyes felt he could now, get that much-needed sleep. Heyes knew that Kid would be all right, while he slept.

After Heyes fell asleep, a calmness and safe feeling came over Kid. His breathing became easier and his heart wasn't beating as hard, and was getting a much-needed rest.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A few hours later, Sally came in with a breakfast tray. She was thrilled to see Heyes was sleeping peacefully, and she didn't know how to describe, how Jed looked. Some of the facial swelling had gone down and the ugly redness had turned to bruising. He was beginning to look like Jed Curry.

She entered the dining room with the tray, and asked if anyone wanted more bacon or eggs and toast. Soapy slammed down his fork and asked harshly, "Heyes not eating breakfast? That boy needs a stern talking to. Does he think not eating is helping Kid?"

Silky shook his head at Soapy's rants, he thought, "That man sure can rant, once he gets started." Before Silky could try to reason with Soapy about Heyes, Sally with a raised voice said, "Now you just sit back down! The poor boy is finally getting some sleep."

Soapy sat back down and then got right back up, "Then who is caring for Kid?"

"Jed seems to be better this morning, and that's all due to Heyes' care. His presence in the room is all the medicine Jed needs. Heyes is the only reliable constant in Jed's life," Sally informed them.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was closing on noon when Heyes was awoken by a grumpy weak voice, Heyes....hogging....bed."

"All right Kid, I'll move over," said a drowsy Heyes as he moved away from him. He plumped up his pillow and ploughed his head into it. He was thinking, "Why's it always me hogging the bed and not Kid!"

Heyes eyes flew open with that thought, and he pushed himself up, and looked over at his cousin. Heyes said softy, "Kid, you're the one hogging the bed." Kid didn't respond to Heyes. This frustrated Heyes, as he hit his pillow with his fist, "Heyes, you're going to drive yourself crazy."

Kid with his eyes closed said with a hoarse voice, "It's about....time you...realize you're crazy." Kid tried to clear his throat and then said, "You always...hog ...the bed."

Heyes started laughing with tears streaming down his face. He wanted to grab Kid and hug him, but he knew Kid couldn't stand the squeezing. He fought the desire to yell out in celebration but there were Kid's head injuries to consider. Heyes was smiling so hard that his face was actually hurting and he asked, "Kid? Are you going to open your eyes?"

"The sunlight makes my head feel like it is splitting in two. Heyes...why is my head hurting?" The Kid started coughing and he grabbed his head.

Heyes got Kid some water and helped him with the glass. Heyes put the glass down and asked, "Is that better?"

"Heyes, why are my hands bandaged up? Are you hurt?" asked a confused Kid.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Heyes was hesitating about the questions Kid asked. He thought it was excessively too soon, to be talking about the beating Kid received. Heyes thoughts were screaming at him, "Kid just woke up. He has severe head injuries and he almost died. Kid's still not out of danger, physically or from the men that beat him to death. He doesn't need the stress, he has to recover first."

Kid saw Heyes' unwillingness to talk about what had happened. His mind was searching for answers. He was having a hard time hearing Heyes; there was a thumping in his right ear.

Kid was worried. "Heyes, are you hurt? Where are we?"

Heyes was watching Kid's breathing and it had become labored again. Kid's eyes reflected his confusion. Heyes tried to reassure him, "I'm not hurt, and we are at Silky's."

Kid tried hard to remember what had happened. Kid shaded his eyes with his bandaged hand and looked around. Heyes saw Kid's efforts to clear his head, and Heyes placed his hand on Kid's shoulder to reassure him.

Heyes tried to comfort his friend, "Kid, don't try to rush things. You have just woke up and things are going to be muddled up for awhile. There's plenty of time to figure out what happened. First thing is for you to recover and get your strength back. I'll be here, watching your back."

"I know you got my back, Heyes." Kid tried to say this with a smile, but it did not work. His head had severe pain shooting through it and his eyes were tearing from the pain. Kid looked at Heyes and asked with a young Jed's voice, "Heyes, what happened to me? I hurt....so bad."

Then Kid grabbed his head with both hands to hold it together, it felt like an axe just split the back of his head open. He let out a sorrowful moan and his eyes were turning upward. His thoughts were spinning and then unconsciousness engulfed him.

"Kid! Kid?" Heyes lean over to see if he was still breathing. There was tightness in his throat and chest from the fear. Heyes took in a deep breath, when he saw that Kid had passed out and he was still breathing. He was ecstatic about Kid coming to, but to see and hear the pain his cousin was in, tore at his heart. Heyes needed to find a way to ease the pain Kid was in.

After Kid's breathing returned to normal, Heyes stepped into the kitchen. Sally was arranging the food she had purchased from the market place. Sally was surprised to see Heyes there and asked, "Can I fix you something to eat?"

"Sally, Jed came to for a short time," Heyes was smiling. For a while, Heyes didn't know if he would see his partner's eyes open again. Although his right eye was severely blood shot from the injury around the eye.

"Oh, my God! Bless that boy!" Sally's thick Irish accent came forth and she was crying, "I have never cried like this before that boy better hurry up and get better." Heyes was laughing at Sally's joy.

"The sunlight was hurting Jed's eyes and his head. Is there another room we can put him in?" Heyes wondered how they could make the move easy, so he didn't cause Kid more pain.

"Lionel and I will come up with a place for you two. I want Jed to be kept on the first floor, so I can keep an eye on him. I'll get back to you shortly." She was already planning what needed to be done and going over the safest way, for Jed.

Before Heyes left, he asked her to tell Silky what was going on. Heyes said he would send for Silky next time, Jed was awake.

She said, "Silky would like that, even if he complains about it, to cover up his feelings about Jed. You know Silky got himself half-sick with worry about him. This morning, he called him, Jed."

Heyes was sitting beside his partner, when he heard the French doors opening and in stepped Christina. She was carrying some fresh cut flowers from her garden for Kid and a book from her library for Heyes. Heyes was delighted to see Christina; she was charming company.

Heyes met her half way and ushered out side. Christina looked past him to Thaddeus lying on the bed. Heyes saw sadness and fear showing on Christina's face. Heyes said, "I'm sorry!" Christina was thinking Heyes was going to say the worse. "I didn't mean to scare you. Thaddeus was awake for a short time. I wanted to talk to you, away from him."

Christina grabbed and hugged Heyes, which surprised him. He put his arms around her and patted her back for comfort. With a voice that cracked, Christina whispered, "I thought Thaddeus died, and you brought me out here to tell me."

Heyes was ashamed at how he handled this, "I'm so sorry! I want to tell you, Thaddeus doesn't remember what happened to him, and he doesn't recall where he is."

"Oh?" Christina was undecided what to do next, "Should I leave?"

"No, I didn't mean that. If Kid doesn't remember right now, who you are, I'll introduce as a friend of mine. I don't want to put too much on him at once. I hope that don't offend you, because I do think of you as a friend," Heyes said.

Christina cheerfully said, "Heyes, I would be proud to call you my friend. I feel comfortable around you, and I enjoy our talks."

"Thaddeus' head was hurting. He said it felt it was splitting open. Dr. Daniels said, Kid is allergic to the opium, which is in many medicines, so that means no laudanum," Heyes recalled.

"On the train, Thaddeus did tell me, you didn't allow him take most medication. He had a splitting headache then, he told me he had it for a few days. I talked him into trying ginger water. Do you know what that is?" Christina wondered.

"Ginger water? No, I don't think so," Heyes was somewhat surprised; Kid would take the risk of taking something strange. Heyes thought, "Kid must have trusted her."

"I mixed ground ginger with water and it helped relieve his pain. If you want to try it, when he wakes up, I would be happy to mix some up," Christina suggested.

"He had no side effects from the ginger water?" Heyes was concerned.

"No, I didn't see anything. Thaddeus said he felt better, after a day." Christina remembered and laughed, "When I asked him about ginger water, do you know what he said?"

Heyes couldn't guess, what would be so funny, "No, I don't."

"Thaddeus said he only drinks regular water from wells, rivers and streams. Said he tasted ocean water, and he didn't like the salt," she was laughing.

From the doorway came laughter. Silky said, "Well you know where Kid gets most of his learning from, don't you?" Christina shook her head no. Silky pointed to Heyes. "Right there!"

Silky was still laughing and Heyes thought it had run its course. Silky saw Heyes' warning look and he backed off the subject. "Christina, I hope you will join us for a late dinner. First, we have some moving to do here."

Silky went over to the side of the bed and looked down at Kid. He turned towards them and asked, "Don't he seem more restful?" They agreed with him. He saw the change in Kid's breathing. He leaned and whispered, "Jed, you'll be up in no time."

Silky asked if the den would be all right for Jed. "It's a darker room and if it needs to be, a more secure room. Heyes, I hope you don't mind, but I asked Doctor Tommy for a folding stretcher, to carry Jed into the other room. He asked to check Jed over, if it's alright with you."

"Kid will need doctoring. Christina and I want to give Kid some ginger water for his headache. I want to be sure it's all right, because of his head injuries."

"I'll be back when Tommy, I mean Dr. Tommy, comes over with the stretcher. You will be here for dinner, Christina?" Silky hoped, so Heyes would eat.

"I would be happy to come back for dinner, is it casual?" Christina asked.

"With moving Jed into the den, I would say, yes," Silky remarked.

After Silky left, Christina handed Heyes the book, she brought with her. "After I got home, I thought you would enjoy this book."

Heyes was touched by her thoughtfulness, "Thank-you so much!" as he rubbed his hand across the leather cover.

"I will leave now, so you can move Thaddeus. See you at dinner." Christina left.

An hour later, Sally came and said that Daniels had arrived. Heyes wanted to wake Kid up, to explain about the move. He gently put his hand on Kid's arm and softly said, "Kid, please wake up." It took a couple minutes to get through to Kid. Finally, he saw some movement from Kid and Heyes reminded him, "Remember the sun light. We are going to put you in Silky's den."

Kid whispered something that Heyes could not hear. Heyes leaned in closer and said, "Kid, did you say something?"

"Heyes..." Kid tried to shake his head, no. "Heyes..."

Heyes was concerned, because Kid sounded like a frightened ‘little Jed.'

"Kid, what's wrong?" Heyes was anxious.

"Heyes, no." Kid was upset and speaking louder. "Silky said for me to stay out of his den. He said I would mess up his books." Kid's breathing labored "Silky don't want me in there. He will be mad when he sees me in there... I can stay here, please... Heyes," Kid said in a fretful voice.

Silky had come up behind Heyes and heard what Kid had said. Silky was upset that something he had said to Kid years ago, had come back to haunt him. Emotions that Silky was feeling, he didn't want shown, so instead he acted insulted. "Now see here, boys. I 'm the one that decided the den. Are you two going to question my decision?"

Heyes stood there with a grin on his face and listened to the high pitches of Silky's voice. Silky turned to leave and over his shoulder he said, "And Heyes, you can get that smirk off your face, too."

In record time, six men tore down and set up the bed, in the den. Kid laid on the sofa with Heyes by his side.

Within the hour, they had Kid moved and settled. Daniels checked over Kid with Heyes right at the doctor's elbow. Daniels started with the legs and worked his way up. He had Kid move his legs and checked for feeling in his legs and back. He checked Kid's ribs and kidneys and said, "Severely bruised. The cut were healing with no inflammation because of Sally's care."

Kid's hands were stiff and still swollen, this concerned Heyes. Daniels said, "The skin layers are bruised from abuse like a fighter has. It will take a while for normal flexibility to return."

Daniels checked the eyes and the skin around them, "Kid, can you see this?" He moved his hand around and Kid said yes. He brought Heyes past the headboard and whispered, "Kid is lucky. If that beating had gone on longer, he could be blind."

The doctor's examination of Kid's head was not good. The swelling went from the eye to the back of his head and down the side of his neck. Daniels asked some questions of Kid to see if there was any brain damage. Kid was slow in answering most questions. He had a hard time concentrating on what was asked. Kid slurred his words and seemed groggy. Heyes was frustrated and protective of his younger cousin, and he answered some of the questions for him. The doctor gave Heyes a look for him to be quiet. Heyes said, "I think, that's enough! The examination is over!"

Daniels started to say something and he saw the dark dangerous look on Heyes' face that sent a chill down his back. He knew right then to back off. He thought of his boyhood friend, "The stories I heard about Heyes must be true. I can see how he led a gang of outlaws."

Kid was relieved that Heyes ended the examination. Heyes saw the strain on Kid's face and the exhaustion shown by his body. Kid was worried about his hearing, "I'm deaf in my right ear! How am I going to fool Heyes about my hearing?" He didn't want to upset Heyes any more than he had already.

Soapy came into the room, and said that a telegram had arrived from Lom Trevors and he would be here tomorrow. Soapy said, "You boys got a good friend, with Sheriff Trevors."

"Yes, he's a good man. He has stuck his neck out for Kid and me, repeatedly, with the different governors. Like the friends, who have helped us since we were kids, Soapy and you are part of Kid's and my family. I can never repay you for the care you have given to Kid," Heyes stated.

"What this about repaying? If we are family, as you said, then there's nothing due," Silky acted offended. He looked over at a sleeping Kid. "Jed is worn out. He will probably sleep through until morning. I'll see you for dinner, so you had better clean up. You got thirty minutes, before we sit for the first course."


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After Heyes went to dinner, Lionel fell asleep by the fireplace while on watch. Kid opened his eyes and saw Heyes wasn’t there. He tried to listen to the household noises with just his right ear. All he heard was his heartbeat in his head. Kid was in a panic, "I'm deaf! How can I protect Heyes? I can't even do my share for the partnership. I'll be useless to Heyes; I'll be a burden."

Heyes was always amazed how Kid could hear things in the air that didn't seem to belong. In the pitch darkness, Kid was at his ultimate with his natural abilities. Most men were at a lost in those conditions. In a gunfight, Kid used the tone of a man's voice to decide on how to handle him. The belief that he would be useless rolled around in his head. Kid brooded over how, he was going to fool Heyes about his hearing, without putting him in danger. Kid knew that Heyes put his guard down around him.

Unconsciousness reclaimed Kid and he welcomed the darkness.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After dinner, Christina and Heyes came into the den and had a pleasant conversation. Heyes checked on Kid before he walked Christina home for the night, while Silky watched Kid. They came to a bench, and Heyes asked if she would sit for a few minutes with him.

"I need to ask you a few questions about Kid's stay here. I want to go to the boarding house tomorrow, to see what I can find out. Do you have any suggestions on how I should approach the people at the house? You said that he had a job on the wharf, do you know where?" Heyes was trying to think of everything he needed to know for tomorrow.

Christina thought over what Heyes had asked and suggested, "Heyes, how about we both go to the boarding house. That way, to the outside world, it looks like we are visiting some one that lives there, instead hunting for information. Kid mentioned there was a woman called Katie who owns the boarding house. I don't know where on the wharf that Kid worked, and then there's the hay rope fighting, he did."

"Hay rope fighting! Kid was fighting?" Heyes didn't know what else to say. He was furious at Kid. "How could he put his life in danger like this?" He wanted to yell his lungs out, and Christina saw the change in Heyes' face and his body stiffened.

"Heyes, I got mad that Thaddeus would put himself in danger. He assured me that he was faster and most fighters didn't put a glove on him. He said, the fight was over with a put down, and a count of ten," Christina was trying to calm Heyes down.

"I know how Kid fights. He's too stubborn to stay down; he keeps getting up to fight. He doesn't know where to call it quits. Where do they have these fights?" Heyes was worked up more.

"I don't know, but Katie O'Brian should know, since it goes on in Irish Hill. Heyes, I don't think men would stand around and watch such a beating, do you? In addition, you saw they held the Kid's arms. The way I understand it, Thaddeus said it was one on one fights," Christina was upset herself now.

Heyes didn't want to take his anger out on Christina. He decided to call it a night. He had started back to the house when he heard Silky's frantic voice, "Heyes, Kid needs you!"

Heyes ran the rest of the way. "What's wrong?" Heyes asked as he passed him to enter the house.

"I don't know if he's having nightmares, or what? He started calling out your name; Kid thinks you're in danger. He doesn't seem to hear me, Heyes, he doesn't seem right. I'm afraid that he going to hurt himself, with all his tossing around." Silky was beside himself.

Heyes went to the left side of the bed, leaned down, and talked to his troubled partner. Finally, a shaken Kid woke from his nightmares that had seemed so real. Especially the one, where Heyes was shot in his side, because of Kid shooting the gun out of someone's hand. Heyes hoped Kid's nightmares weren't the side effects from the laudanum.

The nightmares were actually a combination of memories and Kid's fear of being deaf. Kid told Heyes, he didn't remember the dreams. Heyes knew that Kid had lied. The lie bothered him more than the dreams, "Kid doesn't lie to me! What would make him lie?"

Kid saw the hurt in Heyes' eyes and he shut his own eyes, so he couldn't see what he had caused. Sally came into the room with a bowl of chicken broth. She went to the side of the bed and placed a towel on Kid's chest. Kid raised his eyebrow in confusion. Sally said in her Irish brogue, "Jedediah Curry, it's time you get some food into you; open up your mouth."

Kid started to say that he could feed himself, but he found the spoon in his mouth. While Sally was feeding him, she told him, "It's a blessing from God to see those Irish blues of yours looking back at me."

When she saw that Kid could not take another spoonful, she wiped his mouth, chin, and kissed Kid's forehead. "The fairies will look after you the rest of the night, so there will be no more nightmares," Sally promised. Kid remembered Sally saying that, when he was a boy and it was as comforting back then and as it was now.

"Kid, I made this up for you to drink for your headache, and not laudanum, it's ginger water," Heyes told him and put the glass up to Kid's mouth. Kid drank the glass of ginger water, and said, "I think I had some of this before. I don't remember when." This bothered him, because he felt there was something he had to know, and it was important to him.

In a short time, Kid drifted off to sleep. It was a peaceful sleep and Heyes slept beside him.



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

The next morning, Heyes waited until Kid had his breakfast and had fallen back to sleep before he left. He joined Christina, in her carriage, to go to Irish Hill. Heyes had a forbidding appearance about him, as he said a crisp hello to Christina, and no more,

Christina had learned from last night's talk, not to try to interfere with Heyes' disposition, and the concern he had about Kid. Heyes needed to find out everything about Kid's time here, for himself, and the questions he knew Kid would soon ask.

While they rode through the wharf and Irish Hill, Heyes was trying to imagine Kid living and working here. Images of Kid, making a life outside of the partnership didn't form easily for Heyes.

The carriage stopped in front of the O'Brian Boarding House. Heyes helped Christina from the carriage. Christina saw Heyes change from the man who rode in the carriage with her, to a relaxed, friendly figure, who walked up the path beside her. Christina was impressed with the transformation. Christina was amused, "Oh boy, Heyes is a master of his emotions."

Heyes gently knocked on the front door; a door that Heyes wanted to knock down. In that house, held the answers Heyes needed to help and protect his partner.

Katie opened the door to a dark, handsome man and a beautiful woman wearing a soft summer dress, who was carrying a bouquet of flowers. "Hello, can I help you?" Katie was puzzled by the pair, because her sign said ‘no rooms open' and ladies like her, stay in the finer hotels, in the city.

Hat in hand, Heyes smiled when he asked, "Can we have a few minutes of your time? If we may, can we come inside, so we don't draw attention to our arrival?"

Christina felt Katie's uneasiness and she wanted to reassure her. She said softly, "It's important that we talk to you about Thaddeus. My name is Christina Crawford; I'm a friend of Thaddeus."

Katie suddenly grabbed and hugged Christina, like a long lost friend. In a loud excited voice, Katie said, "What are we doing standing out here? Come on in, and visit for a while. Oh Christina, it's so good to see you! It has been such a long time."

Christina said, "It’s great to see you, Katie. And these flowers are for you."

After they entered the house, Heyes glanced around when he asked, "Is it safe to talk? I mean is there anyone else here?"

"There 's no one else here, at the moment. What's this about? You said Thaddeus, what about him?" Katie tried to hide her fear.

Heyes wanted answers, "Thaddeus was staying here, right?"

Christina saw Katie's uncertainty and spoke up and said, "I'm a friend of Thaddeus and Joshua is his cousin. We are trying to find out what happened to him."

Some tears ran down Katie’s cheek as she spoke. "Thaddeus has been missing since the storm on Sunday. Thaddeus' boss and most of fishermen have hunted for him and found nothing."

Christina eyes pleaded with Heyes and he agreed, "Katie...we have...Thaddeus. I hope that we can trust you?"

"YES! Oh, yes! You can trust me. Thaddeus told me about meeting Christina for dinner and he cherished your friendship. Is Thaddeus all right? I don't understand what's going on. He paid for this week's board, and I was to cook breakfast for him. His belongings are still is his room." Katie wanted answers that would be different, from what she feared.

"How long did he hay rope fight?" Heyes asked.

"He had been fighting, about three weeks. Mr. O'Toole tried to talk Thaddeus out of fighting, because he felt it was dangerous. Thaddeus said, he could walk away from the fights, any time he wanted, and he wasn't owned by anyone." Katie tried to explain what she heard from O'Toole.

"Who's Mr. O'Toole? What did Thaddeus mean that no one owned him?" Heyes was furious...then the thoughts, "Was someone trying to own Kid or control him?" Both thoughts troubled Heyes.

"Mr. O'Toole was Thaddeus boss. There's a Patrick Mulligan, who arranged the fights for Thaddeus. I think you need to talk to O'Toole about the fights." Katie was concerned.

Heyes decided she could be trusted. "Sunday night, Thaddeus was beaten almost to death. He somehow ended up on a friend's door. He's now fighting for his life, and I mean to keep him safe. Don't tell anyone about Thaddeus, because whoever did this to him, will want to finish the job."

"I won't talk to anyone, but you need to talk to O'Toole. He knows more about this. He has been quietly searching for Thaddeus, and he's able to listen to the talk in Irish Hill and the wharf," remarked Katie.

The three talked for a half hour and Katie took Heyes up to Thaddeus' room. The first thing Heyes saw was Kid's gun belt hanging on the bedpost. Kid's gun looked like it was waiting for his return, and the routine nightly care Kid gave the gun. Heyes picked the gun belt up protectively and draped it over his shoulder. Kid's hat was lying in a chair the sun light was engulfing it. Heyes felt a rush of loneliness; he'd it for the past month. They gathered Kid's saddlebags, clothes, hat, and his leather coat, and wrapped it up in small packages. That way if anyone saw them, it would appear like they were carrying out packages, instead of Thaddeus possessions.

Heyes felt there were certain items that were a part of Kid, and he was relieved to get his possessions back. The carriage ride to the railroad station was different from the one to Irish Hill. Heyes was at ease, and talked over the information with Christina and got her thoughts. They both liked and trusted Katie, and felt that she liked having Thaddeus for a boarder.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lom Trevors hoped his friend was still alive, when the train pulled into the station. He had not slept well, since he got the news about Kid. He worried about both boys. Lom figured Silky would meet him at the station, because Heyes would be at Kid's side. It has been three and half days since he caught the train and there were times when he thought, the train would never get to San Francisco.

He was muttering to himself, "Why do those boys, always get in trouble far away from Porterville? Then it takes days for me to reach them. I wish that amnesty would come through, so they can settle down." Lom was shaking his head at himself. "Whom am I fooling, Heyes and Curry settling down that will be the day!"

Lom stepped down from the train and a moment later, Heyes was by his side. "Hey...what you doing here? Is Thaddeus...?"

"Lom, he's doing a little better. I'm glad you're here," Heyes said as he patted Lom's back. "Let's get to the carriage, and we can talk on the way to Silky's. There's a lady at the carriage and she's a friend of Kid's, and now mine. She knows who we are, I'll let her tell you the story about her and Kid."

Christina was watching for Heyes' return, when she saw a tall dark haired man with a moustache, and broad shoulders, who stood out from the crowd. He had a confidant stride causing the people in front of him to step aside. His hat shaded part of his eyes, but what one could see let you know, this was a man you don’t mess with. Christina could not take her eyes off him. Christina was stunned with her reaction towards this stranger. She had only felt this way once before, and that was with her husband. Christina hadn't noticed Heyes' return. What brought her back to reality was Heyes' voice, "Christina, I would like you to met Sheriff Lom Trevors."

When she turned her head to look at Heyes, the man was standing with him. She gasped, and Heyes thought that they had startled her; instead, Lom had taken her breath away. "Lom, the lady we have just startled, is Christina Crawford." Heyes had a big smile on his face.

Lom removed his hat and said, "I'm glad to meet you. I heard that you been unlucky and met up with these boys," Then he smiled at her, as he got into the carriage and sat across from her.

Heyes filled in Lom about Kid's condition. Then Heyes went over the information he got from Katie. Lom asked, "Heyes, if Patrick Mulligan, is the one who did the beating, what are you planning to do about him?"

"The first, Kid needs to recover, before I do anything. I've now got a name, let us find out about this Patrick Mulligan. If he's the one that almost killed Jed, then heaven help him. Because I'M GOING TO DESTROY HIM!" Heyes' voice and face turned deadly.

Lom was worried that Heyes would lose control and react before thinking of the consequences. That was one reason Lom was there. He had obtained from the governor a leave of absence. The governor figured he owed the boys that much, for all the favors they have done for him. Besides, the governor didn't want to unleash the fury of Hannibal Heyes, because recapping his fury might be impossible.

When they pulled up to Silky's, the door flew open, and Lionel was there to greet them. Lom saw worry flicker in Heyes' eyes, as he rushed out of the carriage. Over his shoulder, Heyes called out, "Lom, I'll check on Kid and come get you."

Lom turned to Christina, tipped his hat, and said, "It was a pleasure meeting you. I hope I will be able to see you again, during my stay."

Christina blushed and said, "It is quite possible we shall see each other again. I live next door. Good-bye for now." The carriage pulled away from the house.

Shown to the parlor, Lom thought of the beautiful lady, he had just met, and hoped that they would see each other again. Soapy came into the room and greeted Lom. "I'm glad you came to help the boys. If Heyes lose Jed....I don't know what will happen. Thank-you for coming." Soapy shook Lom's hand and said, "Kid is in bad shape."

When Heyes had entered the den, Silky was beside Kid, and Sally was on the other side, with a cool sponge, wiping him down. Kid was unconscious, clammy and muttering words that were hard to make out. Heyes waited until Silky left to ask Sally, "What happened? Kid having nightmares, again? I thought by now, the opium would be out of his body."

"Heyes, I think it's something else, causing the bad dreams. Maybe it's the head injuries causing the trouble, because there's still a lot swelling. You need Jed to know that you're back." Sally was relieved to see Heyes.

Heyes gently touched Kid's shoulder, leaned down, and softly said his name. Heyes had to repeat it a few times, before Kid recognized Heyes' voice and opened his weary eyes. Heyes edged on Kid to open up his eyes more and to drink some water. Kid was unresponsive and closed his eyes again. In a few minutes, Kid was unconscious. Heyes turned to Sally and asked, "How long has he been like this?"

Sally hated telling Heyes, "Jed woke up about a half hour after you left. He sounded scared and Silky tried to convince him that you would be back shortly. Heyes, Jed looked like a frightened boy. It broke my heart. I'm sorry Heyes; we tried to be here for him."

Heyes sat by the bed and talked to his cousin, and reassured him that he was there for him. Heyes asked, if Sally would show Lom the way to the den. After Sally left the room, Heyes leaned over to Kid and said in a broken voice, "Kid, I'm sorry that I let you down. I’ll be here the next time you need me, I swear! You know I would never leave you, without someone I trust, to watch over you. Don't you?"

Lom heard the last part of Heyes' conversation and the tone of Heyes' voice. He didn't want to walk in on Heyes, talking to Kid. Lom redid his approach to the room, but a noisy one this time. He didn't fool Heyes one bit. Heyes turned and chuckled, "Lom, have you caught any outlaws lately? Since when, have you stumbled over your own feet? I mean besides the times you're around a beautiful woman?"

Lom smiled and said, "Was I, that obvious?"

Heyes nodded his head yes, with a big smile. Lom walked over to the bed, Heyes kept a close eye on Lom's reactions to Kid's injuries. Lom's face hardened and he balled his hands into fists that were by his side. Heyes thought, "I know he came to keep me under control, but who’s going to keep him?"

In his line of work and his outlaw days, Lom had never seen a man worked over, the way Kid was. Lom's blood boiled and he wanted the men responsible for Kid's beating. Lom eyes were scanning over Kid's face and he raised the sheet to see the rest.

Heyes tried to lighten up the situation for Lom, by saying, "Kid said he's not happy, about being naked with women around."

Lom forced a smile, "That has to be a first, Kid Curry in bed naked, and uncomfortable, because there are women around."

That brought a laugh from Heyes, and it felt good to him.

Lom didn't laugh; he had other things on his mind. Kid’s battered body was hard for him to look at with the cuts and the discolorations. "Heyes, what are we going to do about this? There's no way; we're going to let them get away with Kid's beating!"

Heyes stated firmly, "Believe me, they're going to pay, big time! However, right now, Kid needs me more. We will collect information and plan, and when Kid is out of danger, we will attack."

Their voices had gotten louder and Kid could feel the tension around him. He fought to bring himself back from the blackness, and the nightmares. He recognized Heyes' stressful voice and that Heyes needed him. Kid was moving to get his gun, before he had his eyes open. Shooting pain went through his body, which surprised Kid, and a groan escaped from his lips.

A shocked Lom call out, "Heyes, Kid's falling out of bed! He's going head first."

Heyes was able to get a hold of his partner and stop his fall. "Heyes....are you alright?..." Kid cried out, "Oooh... my head...it's exploding! Heyes, it hurts!"

They laid Kid back in the bed. Kid had his eyes closed, with pain etched across his face. Kid put his hand up to his head and held it. The right side of his nose started to bleed. Heyes wanted to panic, but couldn't. He didn't want to alarm his cousin. Heyes tried to put on his poker face for him, but Kid saw the fear in Heyes' eyes. Heyes sent Lom to get some cold water and towels.

Kid looked into Heyes' eyes and said. "Heyes, it's just a nose bleed. I'll be alright."

Kid's eyes started uncontrollable watering and he had a hard time focusing. Lom came back in with the water and cloths, and put a cold one on the bridge of Kid's nose and the back of his head. Heyes told them that he was going to have someone go for Dr. Daniels.

Kid waited a minute then asked, "Is Heyes gone?"

Lom said, "Yes, if you need I'll call him back."

"No don't. Lom, I'm not sure what happened to me. However, since you're here, I must be bad off. If I don't make it... Lom, promise me, you'll look out for Heyes; he can get himself into trouble, easily. Make sure he gets that amnesty," Kid was pleading and gasping for air.

"Kid, you're going to be alright!" Lom said this while he was holding a towel under Kid's nose and it was turning red.

"Lom promise me!" Kid's head was pounding and he had to close his eyes. The blood was flowing more and the tears, and Lom wanted Kid to calm down.

"Of course, I promise! Now please, try to relax," Low was agitated. Kid tried to relax until he looked at Lom panicked face. He was laying there wondering, if he'd ever saw Lom panic. The answer was, no. Lom wrung out the towels and replaced them. He needed another towel for the nose. He turned to get another towel and when he turned back, he saw how pale Kid was. He was alarmed and wished Heyes would get back in there with them.

Out in the hallway, Heyes had heard Kid's pleads, and they hit him right in the gut. He was leaning against the wall for support, when Silky came up beside him. "Heyes, what wrong? Are you alright?" Silky was worried; by the way, Heyes looked. All of Heyes' strength was spent and he was ready to collapse. Silky grabbed around Heyes' waist to support him.

"Boy, you can't take anymore of this stress. You need to get proper rest and food. We can't have Kid worrying about you, he needs his strength to overcome the pain, he's in," Silky scolding in his high tone voice.

Heyes was still traumatized over Kid's pleads to Lom. Heyes said to Silky, "Kid is planning his death. He had Lom promised to watch my back, and see to it that I get the amnesty from the governor."

"I heard that some people could feel when they were dying. Does Kid feel like he's dying? Silky, Kid said it felt like his head blew-up and then his nose started bleeding. Could his head injuries cause more damage, with the swelling?" Heyes' voice got louder with each question.

All Silky got out was, "I don't know, but I do know that Kid is not a quitter, so don't you dare, give up on him!"

Right after Silky said that, they heard a distressed Kid called out. Lom told Kid to lay still. When Heyes entered the room, he heard Kid say, "Something is wrong with Heyes, I heard his voice. There something wrong!" Kid was trying to get up and Lom had his arm across Kid's chest holding Kid down. "Lom let me up! Heyes needs me..." In his Jed's voice, he cried out, "Please, Lom."

"Hey Kid, what's wrong? I'm right here," Heyes said trying to sound composed, but him rushing in and his appearance didn't come across as being calm.

Kid looked scared, and was looking Heyes over to see what was going on. Kid's nose bleeding had slowed down, but he looked pale and exhausted.

"Kid, how about some water?" Lom helped Heyes give him some water. They gently propped Kid into, a sitting position, and gave him more water. "Do you think in a little bit, you could eat something?"

Kid's eyes were getting heavy and he said, "I'm too tired to eat. Can I go to sleep?"

Heyes was encouraging Kid to eat, "Sally has made you her famous chicken rice soup, and you don't want to disappoint her. How about a cup of soup?" Kid didn't want to disappoint Heyes, but all he wanted to do was sleep. Inside his head, it felt like a big wave was moving around and wanting to swallow him.

Before Kid could answer, Dr. Daniels came into the room. They were surprised to see him so soon. Daniels explained, "I was a few blocks away, and was coming here after the house call I made. Lionel saw my carriage and caught me coming out of the house, and he told me I'm needed here."

"Now Jed, I heard your head hurts and you had a nosebleed. Let me check your eyes and ears." Daniels saw Kid's reaction in his eyes. "Let us clear the room to have a more relaxed atmosphere for the examination. It'll only take a short time, and you guys can come back in then."

Heyes said, "Alright, whatever you think." Lom, Silky, and Lionel left the room and Heyes said, "There you go, this is better."

Heyes smiled and waited for Daniels to start the examination. Daniels was facing Kid, and he rolled his eyes. He turned around, looked at Heyes, and said, "Heyes, I meant only me and Jed in here, for the examination."

Heyes raised his voice, "Jed is my family and partner. I'm staying put!"

Daniels took Heyes by the arm and led him to the door. Heyes yanked his arm free and stared Daniels down. Daniels stepped back expecting Heyes to pull his gun on him. He had a cold chill run down his back, and knew it was fear that he had never felt before. He talked softly to Heyes, "I thought if it was just me and Jed, he'd be more likely to tell me how he's really feeling. He's worried about you and doesn't want to upset you, any more than necessary. Do you understand? I am only trying to help Jed pull through the concussion."

Heyes whispered, "I'll leave, but I don't like this! You had better not try that brain damage test again! You better not upset Jed! Do WE understand each other?" Heyes had a stern look, with his eyebrows raised when he was saying that.

The doctor was standing between him and Kid. Heyes took his hand and moved him out of his way. Heyes walked back to Kid and smiled, "I'll be back in a few minutes, if you're all right with Daniels?"

Heyes didn't fool his partner; he saw the hurt and concern in Heyes' eyes. Kids never liked hurting Heyes, but if he learned the truth, it would be harder on him than this. He said, "Heyes, I'll be fine. While Tommy's doing the examination, how about getting a cup of that soup?"

Heyes left unconvinced that he was doing the right thing leaving his partner alone with Daniels. He headed for the kitchen, and decided that it was going to be a short trip, to get that soup.

Daniels waited a few moments, and then walked over to Kid. He said, "We probably only have maybe ten minutes at the most, so what is it, you don't want Heyes to know?"

Kid only heard part of what Daniels said. Then Daniels said, "Alright, I'll start the examination." He checked Kid's eyes and they were still sensitive to the light and not focusing well. He believed there was less of the swelling around Kid's cheekbones. He told Kid, "I believe that the nose bleed was a way your body was releasing some of the pressure in your head. The nosebleed turned into a good thing. Do you feel less pressure under and around your eye?"

Kid had heard him, because Daniels was leaning over when he talked to him. "I do feel less pressure there; maybe, I need some more nose bleeds. I still have the pounding in the back of my head."

"I believe that the back of your head hit a brick wall. That would make it the impact area, and it'll be the last to heal." Daniels was checking the responses in Kid's lower legs, when he asked, "Are your legs hurting a lot?"

He waited for minute for a response and there was none. He talked to Kid from different positions around the bed and the room. When Daniels was satisfied he said, "I know what you don't want Heyes to know."

Daniels paused, went over and checked the hallway, to make sure Heyes wasn't nearby. Kid was unnerved by Daniels' declaration to him. He waited to see what Daniels actually knew. Daniels leaned down and asked, "How long have you been deaf in your right ear? Since you woke up, or recently?"

avatar
Re: Why Must We Make It So Hard?
Post on Thu 26 Feb 2015, 4:10 pm by royannahuggins
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Kid realized that it would be a waste of time, and effort to deny that he was deaf. He was disappointed that Daniels found out so easily. He didn't know if the doctor would keep his deafness from Heyes.

"Tommy, please don't tell Heyes," Kid was wounded that Daniels found out.

"I realized that something was bothering you, and you didn't want Heyes to discover it. That's why I got him out of the room. I'll keep your secret, as long as it doesn't put you in danger. But Heyes always senses, when there's something wrong with you, and he will catch on," Daniels warned.

"I need time to deal with this on my own, before having to deal with Heyes. I don't want to put Heyes through another crisis." Kid was determined.

"Jed, don't jump to conclusions about your deafness. It may not be a permanent condition." Daniels tried to reassure Kid.

"What do you mean? Is there something you can do to restore my hearing?" Kid hoped Daniels would say yes.

"No, there's nothing I can do for your hearing. After the swelling is down, and if there's no damage to the ear drum; your hearing should return." Daniels was trying to be hopeful.

"Heyes plays the odds. So Doc, what are my odds for hearing again?" Kid needed to know the chance of him hearing again in that ear.

Daniels was put on the spot, and he felt uncomfortable about it. He was acquainted with Kid's stubbornness, and understood he wanted an answer now. Daniels realized the need to end this conversation, before Heyes returned. "All right, this is just a guess. I would say 75% chance, you have for full hearing. Now let me look at your hands."

Kid put his hands out and Daniels took the bandages off. Kid didn't pay attention, he was thinking about what was said about his hearing. Heyes came back in with the soup and sat it down on the table. He moved in closer to the bed to watch as Daniels examined Kid's hands. He noticed that Kid wasn't watching, which surprised Heyes. Daniels was checking for swelling, infection and nerve or muscle damage.

Heyes was anxious about Kid's hands and he was just lying there and not watching. Heyes bit his tongue to show that he could watch, without interrupting the examination. Daniels finally finished the hands, moved to the arms, and removed the bandages. Heyes started to pace back and forth, and it drawn Kid's attention.

"Heyes, you're making me nervous! Why don't you come and sit down beside me?"

Heyes strode over and asked, "Kid, are you all right? Do you need some water; I got a glass right here?"

"Heyes relax. Tommy will be done here soon. He told me that some of the swelling is gone from my face. That the nose bleed was actually good, because the bleeding released some of the pressure in my head."

Daniels said to the both of them, "Your hands are healing, and I don't see any infection anywhere. The nerves and muscle seem to be intact, but you need to get flexibility back in your hands. You can do that by squeezing a sponge back and forth."

Heyes was relieved to hear that, because Kid would be a sitting duck for every gunslinger, who wanted to make a name for himself. Heyes was aware of Kid's self-made obligation, to protect him no matter what, because Kid couldn't take the loss of another family member. Kid needed his connection to a better time in his life, or he would lose himself to the violence.

"Jed, if you get some food into you, today. Tomorrow, you can get out of that bed and into a chair, for short periods. I don't want you walking, do we understand each other?" Daniels had finished the examination.

Heyes jumped in with a cheerful voice, "Yes, we understand, No walking!" He smiled at both men and he asked or tried to state, "This means Kid's getting better, right?"

"Yes, but you two don't rush anything here. Remember Kid, you have lost a lot of blood, plus you're now about 15 to 20 pounds underweight," Daniels put out the warning. "Heyes, if Jed over does, it can be very dangerous for him, do we understand?" Both boys nodded their heads together, while looking at Daniels. "I'll see you two, tomorrow afternoon."

Heyes wanted to talk to Daniels alone, so he quickly swiped the doctor's stethoscope. Heyes waited a few minutes, picked up the instrument and announced, "Tommy left this. I had better try to catch him, before he leaves. I'll be back in a few minutes."

Kid was relieved he could finally close his heavy eyes. That was all it took for Kid to drift off asleep. His mind felt the liberation of nothingness. Heyes rushed down the hallway to the parlor and caught Daniels. "I found your stethoscope."

Daniel frowned and opened up his medical bag. He saw it wasn't in the bag and he looked back at his friend. Heyes with his dimpled smile, he had the stethoscope in his out-stretched hand.

"How were you able to get that? I know that I put it in my bag, and it was beside me all the time!" Daniels was stunned. Heyes gave Daniels his confused, innocent appearance.

Daniels laughed, "I forgot how sneaky you can be. The two of you were the best, of the younger ones. I guess I better keep up my guard around you two."

Heyes turned serious, "Catch me up on the real condition of Kid. Is he getting better?"

"A severe concussion has a dramatic effect to the brain and the body. There's no way I can medically fix Jed. I am still amazed that he lived past that first day. This still could kill him, especially if he doesn't get his strength back. The weakened state he's in, pneumonia could settle in his chest, from his bruised lungs and kidneys. If that happens, Jed probably wouldn't make it a day; he would go into a deteriorated status. There's no turning around from that."

Heyes' voice showed the ordeal he felt. "How can I help him? Tommy, I can't lose Jed; he's my only family left."

Daniels felt distressed about the news he had for Heyes. He carefully said, "Heyes, you can't do anything to make Jed well. Jed's body has to do the work. You can't rush the healing, it's only been four days since the beating. What you can do is make sure Jed gets rest, food, plenty of water to flush out his kidneys. See to it that he sits in a chair for short periods, during the day. He needs to be kept calm, no conflicts. Another thing, Jed's mind is in a fog, you need to lift the mist. Jed's mind is needed to help his body to heal. Heyes, I'm not promising you anything."

A downhearted Heyes said, "Thank-you, Tommy. I'll see you tomorrow." He walked away with his shoulders slumped and his head down. He was doing some soul searching, "How can I go in there like nothing is wrong? All I want to do is to protect Kid, and get him healthy. I can still lose Kid; he can still die! I'm going to kill the people, who were involved in the beating. Oh, dear God! Please help Jed, please." Heyes held his face and cried. He was on the other side of the den's door with his back leaning on the wall, and he slid down the wall. He was in a pile on the floor with his emotion unleashed.

A little later, Heyes raised his head and wiped the tears off his face, He took in a deep breath and blew the air out though his mouth. He put his back against the wall and raised himself off the floor. He moved in slow motion. It was hard for him to turn the doorknob. He knew once he was inside, he had to face his partner. The door opened with the view of the bed being the focal point. Heyes walked to the bottom of the bed and gazed at a sleeping Kid. He was relieved that he didn't have to face Kid right now.

Heyes reassured himself, "I have time before Kid will be awake. I'll be better shape, when he wakes up. I have to be. Kid will get better I know he will. I've is got to get my mind working on a plan to get this Mulligan, he's not going to get away with this!"



CHAPTER NINETEEN

Heyes walked by the table, the cup of untouched chicken rice soup was there. He felt the cup, and it was barely warm. "Great, just great! I forgot about the soup and Kid is asleep. How am I going to help him, if I can't get a cup of soup into him? I have to do a better job. There're no second chances according to Tommy."

Heyes turned towards the door, he heard someone outside the door, and his hand went automatically to his gun. Lom stood outside the doorway and said, "Heyes, it's just me. I came to find out what the doctor told you."

Heyes didn't know what to say to Lom. Repeating the words would make them more real to Heyes. Then he would've to believe that the odds for Kid were only 40% in his favor. He motioned for Lom to stay in the hallway, so Kid couldn't over hear what he was about to say. Lom hoped they were in the hallway because Heyes didn't want to wake up Kid, and not because of bad news.

"Kid is slightly improved, but the doctor said he could still die," Heyes' voice cracked. He slowly went over everything the doctor told him. They talked and kept looking in the room at Kid to make sure he was all right. "Lom, if this Mulligan was responsible for Kid, I'm going to kill him!"

Lom had no comment for Heyes on his declarations, because Lom had no idea if he would stop Heyes from killing this man. Instead, Lom suggested that he go and find Kid's boss on the wharf, and find out what kind of man he is.

"How are you going to go about that? As Lom Trevors or Sheriff Lom Trevors?" Heyes speculated.

"At first, I'll be just watching the man...maybe do a little fishing off the pier. Do you think Katie O'Brian would be any help?" Lom told showed Heyes that Lom had been thinking about how to handle the man, to get more information.

"Yes, Katie could be some help introducing you to O'Toole. Christina would be happy to go with you to the boarding house. The lady is somewhat on guard down there, but she has met Christina. Katie trusts her, to talk about Thaddeus O'Leary," He waited for a reaction from Lom.

It didn't take long, "O'Leary? Where did he get that name? And what was wrong with Jones?" Lom frowned.

Heyes did a dimpled smile, "Well, my cousin wanted to be Irish!"

Lom gave him one of his looks ‘are you boys crazy?' Lom raised his voice, "Kid is Irish! Doesn't he know that?"

Heyes laughed, "No, he thinks he's a Kansan." Now both men laughed, because they had both had heard Kid say that, with the most sincere voice. Kid's innocence still amazed both men, and they smiled at each other. A silent agreement passed between them. No matter what, both would protect this man-child, Kid Curry, with their lives.

Heyes suggested Lom go next door, and make plans with Christina about Irish Hill. Lom smiled, as he thought of that beautiful lady. Since the boys didn't need Lom, he would go see Christina.

After Lom left, Heyes settled in for the evening, with the book that Christina had given him. After an hour, Kid woke up and Heyes didn't notice because of the book. Kid watched for a while and finally he asked, "Are you going to read that book all night?"

Heyes smiled and put the book down, "I can always, read it to you."

"I'm a little bit hungry. Is there any of that soup left?" Kid looked and sounded so young; it brought back memories for Heyes.

"Sally made a big pot of chicken rice soup for you. I'll have someone get us some. Then I'll get you propped up, so you can eat," Heyes was happy when Kid woke up hungry. In addition, he wanted Kid's company for awhile; he has missed that connection between them. Kid had always made Heyes feel more sure of himself, and he needed that right now.

A short time later, Sally came rushing in with a cup and bowl of soup, with some fresh baked bread and butter. There was a pitcher of lemonade that Kid unusually drank by the pitcher. She proceeded to ready things, for Heyes and Jed. "Now Heyes, you sit right here and start eating." After she told Heyes to sit, she draped a towel across Kid's chest.

Heyes informed Sally, "I was going to feed Jed first."

"You sit and eat your soup, while it's hot. I have fed both of you boys over the years, when you been sick. This time it's not any different," Sally said.

Heyes looked at her hurt; he wanted to feed Kid. Sally said, "You know my rule, ‘Those that fight with the cook; cooks their next meal!' Do you two remember?"

Kid and Heyes said in unison, "Yes ma'am, we remember." Sally remembered back to the first time they'd said that. They were both skinny, dirty faced young boys, who had not eaten a home cooked meal in months. Sally had always had a soft spot for these boys, especially Jed. She didn't understand why, may be it was those deep blue eyes, his soft golden curls, or his baby face.

Sally got most of the cup of soup, and half a slice of bread down him. Heyes ate most of his soup and Sally noticed, "Is there something wrong with the soup or are you feeling poorly?"

Heyes knew better than to say anything, so he finished his soup. Sally wiped Kid's mouth gently and his chin, she didn't want to cause any more pain. Kid saw her eyes watered up and she turned her back to him. "If either one of you want more soup later, let someone know. I'll be by the kitchen, or my room."

After she had left Kid asked, "Heyes can you get me a mirror? I need to see what got everyone upset. Sally almost started to cry, when she was wiping my face. I can't feel my face with my hands because of the bandage."

Heyes didn't expect him to ask for a mirror. He had to do some quick thinking; he didn't want to upset Kid. Heyes looked around the room and said, "There's no mirror in here. I'll have someone bring one to us. I can tell you that you still have the same ugly mug that you always had."

Heyes was trying to make light of the situation and then change the subject. Kid said, "Heyes, I need to know what happened to me. Why don't I remember? Do I have brain damage? Is that why you didn't want Daniels to examine me alone?"

"Whoa there Kid! I can only answer one question at a time." Heyes still was avoiding the problem conversation with Kid.

Kid was feeling hurt and anguished. "Heyes, please! Am I brain damaged?" Kid's nose started bleeding again, he held his head, and tears streamed down his face.

"I'm sorry Kid. Please calm down. You have no brain damage that Daniels can find. He said for you not to get riled up, and here you're riled up, because of me." Heyes was frantic. He made wet towels and placed them on Kid's nose, and the back of his head.

It was a while before the bleeding stopped. Kid look so frail and washed out, Heyes was talking softy, "Kid, I honestly don't know how you got beaten up. We were separated at the time, and you working down at the wharf. I came into town the day after you were beaten. Lom and I are checking into this."

Kid kept opening and closing his eyes while he tried to listen to Heyes. Heyes touched Kid's head, his hair was sweaty, and it started to stick to the side of his face. Heyes was scared, and he didn't know what to do. Kid finally lost the battle and he closed his eyes. Heyes felt lost and alone.

"Please Kid, you can't leave me. All we have been through, for the amnesty, would be for nothing. I see us settling down, and you having a family of your own." Heyes was pleading for Kid to hold on and fight.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It had been two days since Kid had his nosebleed and he had been unconscious. Heyes felt guilty about sidestepping Kid's questions. Daniels said they had to wait to see if he would come out of the coma.

Everyone tried to convince Heyes that he wasn't the cause of the coma. There was no reasoning with Heyes.

"After all, who knows Kid better than me? Kid needed the truth. I'm the one that he relied on to give him the truth. I'm his partner and I let him down. I know this has hurt him deeply that I failed him." These were some of Heyes' thoughts as he sat beside his partner.

Kid was the one that shielded Heyes, from his deep emotions and guilt. They were eating at him now. In the coma, Kid was playing out the reasons why he left the partnership, and the loneness he felt afterwards. Kid was exhausted and wanted to go deeper into the coma, but a voice kept telling Kid that he was needed. Kid tried to listen to the voice, "Who is calling me? Why is this person crying? Am I dead? Who is that?....Heyes...Is that..."

Kid said aloud, "Heyes.....Heyes don't cry...."

Kid opened his eyes. Heyes was sitting next to Kid holding his hand. Heyes had his eyes closed and Kid saw the dark circles and the tears on Heyes' face. Kid noticed how worn out and troubled Heyes looked. Kid moved his hand and said, "Heyes, can I have some water?"

The room had been so quiet until Kid spoke, this startled Heyes, and he jerked up out of the chair. First, he looked around to see if someone had entered the room. He listened to pick out the sound he thought he had heard, again. Kid had his eyes partially opened and he was watching Heyes. Finally, Kid jokily asked, "Did you find what you're looking for?"

Heyes was astonished that Kid had awoken and was talking to him. A while ago, he listened to Kid's nightmares and it had been torture for Heyes. Now he was awake. Heyes said louder than he intended, "Kid, you're awake! Do you need anything? Here let me fix your pillows," Heyes went on and on about things he could do for his partner.

Finally, Kid was able to get in a few words, "Heyes, all I want is some water."

"Well, all you had to do was ask, Kid. I'll get you some." Heyes gladly poured the water into a glass and held it up to Kid's mouth. The water felt smooth going down his parched throat. Kid put his hand on the bottom of the glass and tipped more for the water to flow faster. Heyes was trying to break the hold, "Kid, you need to drink slower."

Kid started choking on the water and it alarmed Heyes. Kid saw this and was shocked because Heyes was good at masking his emotions. Kid realized his trauma has taken a toll on Heyes. Kid asked, "What time is it?"

"What do you mean? What time is it! Why would you want to know what time is it? Are you going somewhere? You should be asking what day it is!" Heyes voice cracked.

Kid did a mischievous smile, "I don't know, Heyes! Why do you always ask me, about the time when you come to? I often wondered why the time was so important to you that you ask me every time! So, I thought I would try it, and see if knowing the time makes a difference. So what time is it?"

Heyes looked at his pocket watch and said it was 6:15 p.m. and he snapped it closed. Kid sat there with a strange look on his face and said nothing. Heyes asked, "What? What's wrong?"

"I don't know Heyes.....Oh yea, now I see the difference." He paused and shook his head. "No, it makes no difference." Kid laid there smiling up at Heyes; even though he wished that, he didn't shake his head.

At first, Heyes fudged his irritation towards Kid's remarks and put on a stern façade. Kid just lay there knowing that the game was on. Heyes couldn't hold the laughter in any longer, both gave in.

"You slept for two days and that's all you could come up with? What time is it?" Heyes said through his laughter.

"I was a sleep for two days?" Kid was puzzled.

"Yea, I figured after you asked for a mirror, you decided to get some beauty sleep before looking." Heyes was all primed and ready when he held the mirror up for Kid. Most of the bruising was fading and the swelling had gone from Kid's face. "As you can see, it didn't work. You still have your ugly mug! I guess you'll still get the attention from women, who feel sorry for you." Heyes did a sorrowful headshake and had look of pity in his eyes for Kid.

This bickering went on, until Lom came into the room to see if Heyes had lost his mind, talking to a comatose Kid. Lom stood at the side of the bed stunned that Kid was awake and bickering with Heyes. When Kid saw Lom, he drew Lom into the disagreement. "Lom, tell Heyes that women like me and not pity me!"

"Kid, those women only want to mother you, like a puppy," Heyes teased.

"Are you calling me a dog?" Kid was acting mad.

"No, I didn't call you a dog. I said a puppy." Heyes was laughing.

Lom jumped in, "How long has Kid been awake?"

Heyes pulled out his pocket watch and said, "Well, let's see!" Heyes opened the latch. "It's 6:50 p.m. so how long, has it been Kid?"

Kid hated when Heyes put him on the spot. Kid was muttering in his head, "Heyes knows I don't like figuring. I wish Heyes didn't do this in front of Lom. I guess, I better start the figuring, let me see, 50 take away 15 is 5 and 4 take away 1 is 3." Kid gave a pleaded look at Heyes, he didn't want to give the wrong answer, he softly said, "That would be 3 and 5; I mean it was 35 minutes ago." Heyes smiled proudly and nodded his head at Kid, who answered right, which meant his mind was clearing.

"Lom, will you help me with Kid? I want to put him into the chair, for awhile." Heyes wanted to be careful when moving Kid. Lom put a blanket down on the chair, and got in position to pick him up.

"Whoa, there! I need some clothes, I'm naked," Kid panicked. He pulled the sheet up to his chin. "Heyes, I need some clothes."

"Don't worry Kid; I'll fix you up with the sheet. No, clothes until the doctor says so," Heyes informed him.

They set him in the overstuffed chair, with his feet up on a footstool. After Kid was sitting, Heyes wrapped a sheet around him. "See Kid, no one will know that you're NAKED under the sheet," Heyes smiled his impish grin. Kid knew he was in trouble now with that grin of Heyes. "Of course, until I tell everyone you're naked." Heyes laughed and Kid turned beet red.

Lom shook his head in disbelief, how those two could rile each other so easily. He had seen these two bicker and tease each other, many times over the years. It still amazed him, because no one else would dare to act that way, with either one of them. Lom could tease these two, but he knew his limits.

"Lom, if you're going to visit with him. I'll go and sneak some food for us," Heyes proudly announced.

"Heyes, I don't think Sally would mind getting us food," said an assured Lom.

"What fun would that be? Besides Kid likes sneaked food better," Heyes reasoned.



CHAPTER TWENTY

After Heyes left, Lom said, "That's the happiest I’ve seen him, since I got here." Lom thought about how light Kid felt, when he picked him up. Lom felt Kid's bones through the sheet and this had him alarmed.

"I see that Heyes hasn't been sleeping. I'll have to see that Heyes starts taking better care of himself. It looks like Heyes has lost some weight, too. Has Heyes been driving everyone nuts? I see his pacing hasn't worn out the carpet."

"Heyes has been quiet. You know how he gets."

Kid asked, "Lom, do you know why I'm here?"

Lom could honestly say, "No, I don't know why you’re in San Francisco."

"Heyes said that I was working on the wharf. That's strange, because Heyes insisted that I stay away from there. He said there was too many shanghais going on there. I have always wanted a job by the ocean. To smell the wind off the ocean and to watch the waves is very special to me. Lom, do you know why I was working there?" Kid tried again to get the answers to his questions that kept swirling in his head.

"Maybe you were helping someone out with the job," Lom was wondering what was taking Heyes so long, to come back with the food. Lom knew Heyes wanted to be honest with Kid instead of over protecting him. Because of his protection, Heyes felt he had caused more harm to his partner. "Kid needs to trust Heyes, as he always did," Lom thought. "Heyes needs to be the one to talk over the beating with Kid, not me!"

"Lom, do you think the beating was from a failed shanghai?" Kid was trying to figure out what had happened. Kid shook his head, "It's so milky, my mind, I can't remember. What if I'm putting Heyes in danger and you could be walking into who knows what."

From down the hallway Heyes yelled at Lom, "Hey, I need some help here!" Lom went to help and was glad to leave the questions behind him. He came back with both arms full of food and said," Heyes is making coffee."

Just then, they heard some loud yelling. They heard Heyes running towards them and the noise was getting closer. Someone was coming behind Heyes. Lom reached for his gun and had it pointed at the doorway. Kid felt useless, and he wanted a gun. Heyes ran behind the door and signaled for them to be quiet.

Then they heard, "Hannibal Heyes! Wait till I get my hands on you!" Sally rushed into the room, all flushed and had a rolling pin in one hand and was tapping her other hand with it. Kid erupted into laughter and drew Sally attention over to him. "Oh, darling, you're awake! Why didn't your thieving partner tell me?"

She marched over and gently felt Kid's forehead, "How do you feel? You're way too skinny and almost white as a sheet. Where's Heyes?"

Kid was laughing, "What did Heyes do, to get you so upset?"

"He was in My kitchen! He made a mess all over the place. He was cooking heaven knows what, and he made that mud coffee of his, in my coffee pot! No one touches My pots and pans!' Sally's Irish temper was in full bloom.

"Did his coffee eat a hole through your coffee pot?" laughed Kid.

"It will take some elbow grease to get it cleaned up, and that boy is going to do the scrubbing!" Sally was tapping the rolling pin in her hand. Kid loved that Heyes was in hot water with Sally. He knew from the past, Sally could dish it out.

Kid used a thick Irish brogue, "Sally, my darling, what are your plans with that rolling pin?" Kid was watching Heyes out of the corner of his eyes.

Sally said snidely, "Oh, I don't know, probably nothing, since Heyes is such a good boy!" She slowly backed up and then turned suddenly to come face to face with startled big, dark eyes. Heyes gave her a weak smile.

"Boy, what were you thinking? Making that mud coffee in MY coffee pot!" Sally was clearly demanding an answer.

Heyes tried to use his ‘silver tongue' on Sally, "I was so excited about ‘little Jed' waking up. I wanted to make my cousin some coffee and food. You know Tommy wants Kid to eat, so he can build up his strength and put some weight back on." Heyes thought he needed add on the finishing touch. "Sally, you work so hard, I didn't want to disturb your rest time." Heyes gave her his famous dimpled smile.

Sally was almost lost for words. What was happening? She didn't know where to start the scolding at, with Heyes. Sally knew Heyes' ‘silver tongue' and had fallen victim to Heyes' charms before. She had prepared herself for his onslaught. Heyes relaxed, misreading her hesitation.

"Hannibal Heyes!" Heyes jumped backwards. "What are you trying to do to the poor boy? Jed's a defenseless boy against your coffee, which could kill a cockroach in its tracks. Plus you don't give someone coffee right after they come to. What did you fix Jed to eat?" Heyes showed her a plate with sandwiches. "Jed's stomach can't handle that heavy food; his stomach would cramp up. And another thing, what's the rule about my kitchen?"

Heyes knew what rule Sally was talking about, instead he said the other rule, "Those who fights with the cook; cooks their next meal." Kid didn't believe what Heyes had said and burst out laughing, which prodded Heyes to dart a warning glare at him. Kid was laughing and doing the finger signal for ‘shame, shame on you'.

"Hannibal Heyes! How much trouble do you want to be in?" Sally was faking her Irish temper.

"No one cooks in Sally's kitchen without her permission or help. The kitchen is Sally's," Heyes recited.

Kid lost control of his laughing and the tears streamed down his face. Finally, he couldn't take it any longer, because his sides were hurting. "Oh Sally, please just hit Heyes with the rolling pin, I can't take it anymore of this. My sides are going to rip open from laughing!"

With Sally still tapping the rolling pin in her hand, she ordered Heyes to follow her. Sally marched out into the hallway, Heyes started toward the doorway, and then he stopped and shrugged his shoulders at Kid. The closer Heyes got to the doorway, the more the little boy inside him appeared; that knew he was in trouble with a grown up.

After Heyes left, the room got quiet and Lom heard how his friend was breathing. "Kid, how about I put you back into bed?" Lom was concerned.

Kid pulled up his body in the chair and opened up his eyes wider. "No Lom, I'm fine. I don't want to lie down right now. It feels good to be out of that bed. I would like to eat sitting up."

"Then you relax and take a short nap. I'll wake you up, when your food is ready," Lom suggested.

Kid nodded his head then closed his eyes. In a short time, Lom could tell that Kid was asleep. Lom met Heyes in the hallway and suggested that they set up the food before waking him up.

"Is he alright?" Heyes was worried.

"He's exhausted and he's taking a nap until the food is ready," Lom told him.

"I talked Sally into having dinner with us. She can get Kid to eat without a fuss, because he don't like to disappoint her by not eating. She gave me this tablecloth to cover up Silky's desk, so we don't get anything on it." Heyes looked into the room and saw Kid was resting peacefully. "He does look tired, it'll be another 20 minutes, before everything is ready," Heyes said

"Are you still in trouble with Sally?"

Heyes smiled, "We came to agreement; I don't make coffee in her kitchen."

"I can see that Sally really cares for you two," remarked Lom.

"Sally is pretty special to the both of us. After we ran away from the Home, we met up with Soapy. When he came back to San Francisco for the winter, he brought us with him. Some of Soapy's friends didn't take kindly to Kid. They called him a gunslinger at the age of twelve. At that time, Kid had never shot anyone, but no one gave him a chance."

"I didn't know Kid was only eating the times he was around me. He didn't want to be an added burden to them. He was doing all the chores he could do in a day, and was collapsing at night. One day, outside Sally's kitchen, Kid collapsed. Sally was at the window and saw Kid hit the ground. She screamed and ran out into the yard. When we went to see what was wrong, Sally was cradling him in her lap. She was crying and she let loose her Irish temper at us. She warned everyone, they had better treat Jed better, or she would walk away from Silky's for good!"

"Kid was running a high fever and was weak from not eating. Sally took charge of getting Jed well. Sally became very protective of Kid, and I even had a hard time getting past her to see him. An unbreakable bond formed, between them. She has never openly judged Kid's life style, has always accepted him for who he is, but she will only call him, Jed. He has always adored Sally and knows he has an ally here," Heyes said recounting their past.

"Heyes are you going to finish helping, or do you want the rolling pin?" Sally called after him.

Heyes smiled and rushed toward the kitchen. After they had everything set up, Heyes gently woke up Kid. Sally had warmed up some vegetable soup, which she had canned and also sliced up a chicken breast. She had made lemonade and coffee for everyone.

Heyes enjoyed the time with everyone and actually ate a meal. Kid was contented to see Heyes relaxed and enjoying his meal. Heyes caught Kid looking him over, and Heyes finally said, "What are you doing?"

"Well I was trying to find where, Sally got you with the rolling pin," laughed Kid.

Heyes looked over at Sally, and he raised his eyebrows at her.

"Alright, he bartered his way out of trouble. He's going to help clean up the kitchen, and he helped me fix this meal," Sally told him.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

During the evening, Lom noticed Heyes actually looked rested and some coloring come back to his face. Kid being conscious and bickering with him was clearly the medicine Heyes needed.

They sat, talked, and joked with each other for a while. Sally changed the bed with fresh linen and the men helped clean up after dinner. Heyes noticed Kid had fallen asleep in the chair, and had his head slumped back. Heyes motioned to Lom to help him carry Kid to bed. Sally left the room, to give Jed some privacy. Kid would be upset with them, if Sally saw him naked. Heyes figured the longer it took Kid to figure out, who had bathed him when he was unconscious, the better.

Heyes put Kid on the left side of the bed, "I think I could get a good night sleep tonight, if I sleep in the bed."

Heyes placed a couple of pillows down the middle of the bed. He didn't want to bump Kid, in his sleep, because of his bruised ribs. Lom found some more pillows, so Heyes had some for his head. Lom said he would see him tomorrow after he was back from the wharfs.

Heyes was actually looking forward to sleep as he got him ready for bed. After he turned down the lamp, Heyes crawled in bed carefully, and was asleep in a few minutes.

Sally checked on the boys before turning in for the night. She smiled at the sight of the boys sleeping peacefully. It brought back memories of their visits when they were younger. Silky had insisted separate rooms for the boys. They would sneak into each other's room and Sally would find them asleep in the same bed. She would place a plate of cookies on the nightstand, because she knew Kid would wake up hungry.

As Sally looked down at them, she covered them with a soft blanket, on top of their sheet. She placed another blanket over the bedpost. Sally picked up a plate of buttermilk cookies from the desk, and put it on the nightstand, and whispered, "Good night, my boys." She closed the door behind her, as her footsteps echoed down the hall, a voice whispered, "Good night, Sally." Heyes smiled and closed his eyes, with the thought, "Kid will be happy to see the cookies in the morning."



CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

In the morning, Heyes woke up refreshed and tranquil for the first time in a long time. He got out of bed and stretched his arms above his head, and then bent down and touched his toes. He had a smile on his face, when he looked over at his partner. Early that morning, Heyes had woken up and checked on Kid, and he had to recover him with blankets. Since then, Kid had kicked his covers off again, and he was cold. Heyes pulled the covers and placed them over his sleeping partner. Heyes shook his head, with a grin, "Kid would freeze without me. You would think he would wake up and cover himself up once, instead of shivering."

Silky poked his head in the room to see if Heyes was up. Heyes went over to the door, "Good morning, Silky!"

"I came to see Jed. I heard you had a dinner party in here, last night without me. Sally was humming in the kitchen and planning Jed's breakfast." Silky acted disappointed that he missed last night.

"I broke one of Sally's rules by making coffee. Plus she didn't like the food I fixed for Kid. To get on her good graces again, I invited her to eat with us," Heyes tried to explain.

Silky started laughing and said, "Heyes, I'm just happy that Jed woke up. Now give me some time with him! I'll watch after him, while you get ready for the day."

Heyes was delighted Silky wanted to be around Kid. Hopefully, Silky would show his true feelings to Kid, and the tension would lessen between them.

After Heyes shaved and washed up, he went into the kitchen. Sally poured Heyes a cup of coffee, "How does Jed seem this morning? Will he be eating breakfast?"

Heyes saw the hope in her eyes, "Sally, Jed slept peacefully, except he kicked his covers off again and was shivering."

"Is that one of the reasons why, when you two were younger that you insisted on sharing a room?"

Heyes was stunned that she understood that about him. "Jed was sickly at the Home and he almost died a couple of times there. When I started to take better care of Jed, and kept him covered at night, he wasn't as sickly." Heyes' face clouded over as he remembered how close he came to losing Kid back then.

Sally wished she didn't say anything, when she saw the sadness that appeared over Heyes. She was thinking quickly to find a way to brighten Heyes back up. "I'm making Jed some French toast out of cinnamon raisin bread. Do you think Jed will like some?"

Heyes took a sip of his coffee, "Jed would love some, he always brags about your French toast, everywhere we go. Kid has upset many cooks, because he describes your toast to them."

"If the cooks are women, I can't see them staying mad at him long after he flashes those blue eyes of his. Is Jed as naïve as he appears about his affect on women?" Sally asked.

Heyes laughed deeply, "Yes, most of the time, Jed is naïve. During a train robbery, I would have the Kid walk around the women, so their attraction to him would calm them down. He has no idea that was the reason I had him do that."

Sally shook her head in disbelief over the boys. She went about getting things ready to cook breakfast, and Heyes took his coffee outside. There was a cloudless, deep blue sky and a gentle breeze was blowing. Heyes walked around in the garden enjoying the colors and fragrance of the flowers. He wished that Kid was out there to enjoy the day, but to carry him out and back, was hard for everyone. That thought took the pleasure out of his surroundings for Heyes, so he went back into the house.

Sally turned around and held something in front of her. "By the way, here's a night shirt for Jed; he will feel more comfortable with it on. You two boys are the most bashful boys I have ever seen," Sally laughed.

"Jed was afraid that you would know, he was naked under the sheet last night," Heyes laughed.

"Heyes, doesn't Jed know that I was the one who bathed him, and kept his cuts cleaned and bandaged?" Sally was stunned.

"I figure that is a piece of information that Jed would rather not know. However, I might need this information in the future, when he gets all high and mighty!" Heyes laughed.

"Hannibal Heyes, you wouldn't do that to Jed?" Sally was displeased.

Heyes left the room laughing and Sally yelled after him, "Heyes, I can still use that rolling pin on you!"

Heyes went into the den. Silky was beside the bed watching Kid. Silky got up and grumbling whispered, "Jed never woke up once while I was here. Are you sure he's alright?"

"Jed needs a lot of sleep to get his strength back, and to heal his inside bruises," Heyes explained. "I'm going to wake him up here and help him get cleaned up for the day. How about you come back during breakfast or after?"

Silky smiled, "I'll be back for breakfast. I'll go tell Sally, how about an hour?"

"That should be fine. Silky, do you think I should have Tommy take a look at Jed, again?"

"I think everyone needs to be reassured about Jed's progress, and find out, what we need to do, to help with the recovery. I can send someone with a request for Tommy to come," Silky was glad that Heyes asked his opinion. It made him feel, he was able to help with Jed's recovery.

After Silky left, Heyes went over to Kid, and lay his hand on Kid's arm, "Hey, sleepy head are you ready to wake up?"

Kid moaned and rubbed his eyes. Kid was annoyed, as he raised his hands up and looked at the bandages. "Heyes, when am I going to get these bandages off my hands? And what time is it?"

"Doc said not until most of your scabs are off. It's around nine and don't you start about the time, again!" Heyes smiled, "After all, you don't want to get me nervous with a straight razor in my hand." He held the razor up in his hand, and acted like he had the shakes. Heyes grabbed it with the other hand to steady it, "I should be alright. Now I need to get you ready for your shave."

Kid had thrown the covers over his head and said, "I don't need a shave, I'm fine the way I am."

Heyes laughed and pulled down the sheet and Kid was tried to cover up again. "How about a night shirt, if you get shaved? If not, everyone is going to know that you're naked under the covers."

"And how are they going to know that I'm naked?" Kid's voice was threatening and his eyes had turned icy. Heyes laughed and grabbed a pillow and hit his friend with it. Kid said in a faked hurt voice, "Heyes, you would hit me, while I'm on my back?"

The Kid looked past Heyes to the nightstand and his eyes got wider. Kid got a big grin. "Are those Sally's buttermilk cookies?"

Heyes followed Kid's glance and said, "You get cookies after I shave you; no shave, no cookies!" Heyes knew he had his cousin over a barrel.

"Pleassssee Heyes! Just one before you shave me. Sally always remembers to leave us cookies." Kid used a soft voice with the little boy's pleading look.

Heyes laughed and took the plate over and said, "Don't get any crumbs in the bed!"

Heyes was extra careful not add pressure to the bruises and swelling, as he shaved him. To Kid's relief the shaving went smoothly and Heyes sponge washed him gently. Kid was happy to have a nightshirt on. Heyes asked, "Are you sure want to wear the nightshirt?"

"Heyes, you're asking for it," Kid held up his bandaged fist.

Heyes got some help to move Kid to the chair and he felt how weak he was. Sally made Kid blissfully content with French toast, with powdered sugar on top. Sally said no syrup, because it would be too heavy on Jed's stomach. Heyes and Silky had eggs, bacon, hash browns, French toast and coffee. She had made orange juice, too.

Sally let Kid try to feed himself, but the bandages made it awkward and he couldn't cut the toast. Kid got frustrated; Silky reached over, cut up the toast, and handed back his fork. He had to stab the toast with his fork. Sally left the boys to themselves and Heyes and Silky tried not to watch Kid, try to eat. Heyes saw Kid's temper rise and he hid his smile from his partner. "Heyes, go get a knife or scissors. I'm getting these bandages off now!" Kid had it with being helpless.

"You promise me, to keep those bandages on until Daniels takes them off, I'll give you two pieces of bacon to go with your French toast. Is that a deal?" Heyes picked up two pieces of bacon and waved them in front of Kid.

Kid had an innocent look and whispered, "What about Sally? She will get mad if I have bacon."

Silky got up, looked down the hallway, and said, "Sally is nowhere in sight. I'll keep watch for you boys."

"Hand over that bacon." Kid had a big smile on his face.

Afterwards, Silky shook his head in disbelief. Heyes asked what was wrong. Silky said in his high-pitched voice, "I can't believe that you boys pulled me in to one of you capers. And in my own house!"

They both laughed at Silky, and they had an enjoyable morning. After Silky left, Heyes tried to work out a way; he could take Kid outside to feel the sun on his skin. He knew there was no way he could accomplish that on his own. Heyes knew that Kid didn't have the strength to help by leaning on him to walk; his knees would surely buckle under him.

Doctor Daniels arrived and asked, if they were ready for the examination. Kid said, "Yes, come on in. Tommy, do I have brain damage? I don't remember coming to San Francisco."

Heyes didn't like the question and had a hard time keeping his mouth shut. Daniels walked over to the chair and sat across from Kid to look him in the eyes. Daniels picked his words carefully, "Jed, memory loss can happen during a concussion. The loss is usually a couple months the most, is yours longer?"

"I don't seem to be having...trouble with longer time periods. Sometimes my mind.... doesn't work fast enough, for me to talk...I have to fight the mix up...slow in response," Kid was showing his worry.

"Jed, part of your brain is still swollen and waking up. The brain will take its time. Let us see how the rest of your body is healing." Daniels turn towards Heyes and said, "Heyes, there is something in the kitchen that I left. Will you go and bring it in here?"

Heyes hesitated. He wanted to be there to hear what Daniels had to say to Kid about his progress. Daniels was doing only a minor exam while Heyes was there. As soon Heyes left, Daniels went to Kid's right side and said something softly. A hurt expression came over on Kid's face, "I don't hear you."

Daniels examined the area around the ear. "I can feel right here and there, still some swelling. I don't want you to worry until all the swelling is gone."

They heard an excited Heyes coming down the hallway. Heyes popped his head in and said, "Tommy got you a surprise. Are you two ready for it?"

Kid had a smile on his face and shook his head yes. Daniels looked at Kid, "This is to help you only!"

Heyes wheeled in a wheelchair and Kid was shocked to see it. Heyes saw Kid's hurt expression and his eyes teared up. "Kid, you're only going to use this until your strength is back."

Kid stared at the wheelchair and didn't pay any attention to them. Daniels tried, "Jed, you can't afford a fall right now. A fall could set you back weeks in your recovery. You need to spend time out of that bed, so your inner body can heal."

All Kid did was stare at the wheelchair. Heyes motioned for Daniels to follow him into the hallway. Heyes asked straight out, "What else could be wrong with Kid's memory. I need to know the truth!"

"The brain is very complex, if the mind figures it needs to protect itself, it'll block the memories. A terrifying experience will trigger a protection mode or completely shut down," Daniels explained.

Heyes turned pale. Daniels asked, "Heyes, I need to know what's wrong, why are you upset?"

Heyes hated the time he had to remember. But Daniels needed to understand what went on with Jed and him, after their families were killed. Heyes had a haunted look and slowly recounted the past, "It started after we lost our families, and Jed shut down completely. I was afraid that I'd lost him, too. Jed was so young and small for his age. I'm afraid that Jed saw things the day of the raid that no one should ever see. I tried to protect him from it, but I wasn't able. Days went by without Jed talking, moving, or sleeping. After Kid snapped out of the shut down, we didn't talk about the raid, because of the pain and I was afraid Jed would shut down permanently. Kid had awful nightmares that he couldn't remember when he woke up."

"Over the years, Kid had asked about the raids and our families. I told him that it was too hard for me to talk about, which was true. I couldn't endure Kid shutting down or going through that sorrow of that day, again. Now this! Kid wants to know what happened to him, what if this incident triggers a complete shut down? Is Jed half way there with the memory loss?"

"The way I feel, if the mind is protecting itself, you do not mess with the protection. I'll tell him that the memories will come back in time." Daniels was trying to convince himself and Heyes that Kid would accept that answer with no problems. Daniels knew him too well, to believe that it would be that easy.

Daniels looked into the room and shook his head. "Heyes, Jed's emotions and thinking are all muddled. He will react to things differently than he normally does, so be careful around him. You send for me if Jed needs me, and use that wheelchair with him."

Kid was still staring at the wheelchair when Heyes came in. Kid saw Heyes and quickly wiped his arm across his face and turned his head away from Heyes. Heyes felt the anguish Kid was going through and it tore at Heyes' heart. Heyes knew it was past the point of talking, because the talk would do no good. Heyes wheeled the chair closer to him, and then he leaned down and put the brakes on. In a stern voice Heyes, "Put your arm around my neck and help lift."

Heyes gently placed him into the chair and Kid's head slumped forward with his chin on his chest. Heyes covered up Kid's legs with a sheet. Kid kept his head slumped down as Heyes wheeled him out of the den. Kid's mind was swirling in confusion over Tommy and Heyes' actions with the wheelchair. "Why is Heyes doing this to me? I can move my legs, so I should be able to walk, unless there is something wrong with my back. There is pain in my back. Tommy said that I wasn't crippled. I don't understand!"

A couple of tears escaped and hit the white sheet. Sally was on the other side of the kitchen when they came through. What she saw distressed her and she thought, "Jed is disheartened by Heyes' actions with the wheelchair. I knew Jed wouldn't take to the chair. Why is he forcing Jed to use the chair?"

Sally opened her mouth to protest to Heyes, and he looked at her and shook his head no. His eyes had a dark cast to them. She saw the pain on both boys and she wished things would be better for them.

Heyes wheeled Kid into the garden and stopped a few feet outside the door. Heyes took in a deep breath and let it back out. Kid still had his head slumped down. Heyes looked down at the back of Kid's head, "That Irish stubbornness! I will just wait him out. I want Kid to enjoy the gardens and so help me, Kid will enjoy the gardens."

Heyes pushed Kid further into the garden and past a garden bench. Heyes sat down and look intently at the back of Kid's head, "I swear the Kid gets more stubborn each passing day!" After Heyes thought that, he felt terrible and heartless, "How can I be impatient with Kid? I'm lucky that he was found and he's alive."

Kid had turned his head slightly and Heyes was out of his view. Kid knew he had made Heyes mad and he had the notion that Heyes left him alone. Kid didn't hear anything to detect that Heyes was there. Kid called out weakly, "Heyes?"

"I'm right here," Heyes said with little effort. Heyes was looking in the opposite direction from Kid, to get a hold his of emotions. Heyes was on the right side, and Kid didn't hear him.

He heard a panicky Kid call out, "Heyes....Heyes, where are you?" Kid was moving around in the chair, trying to get up.

Heyes' reaction was to yell, "Kid sit down! What are you doing?" Heyes rushed up to Kid's left side, "I asked you, what you're doing? You heard the doctor. He said that a fall would set you back weeks. Is that what you want?"

Kid raised his head, turned and looks up at Heyes. The appearance of Kid alarmed Heyes that was how his younger cousin looked the day of the raids. The eyes were big, round with a painful haunting appearance that Heyes gasped. Kid rasping whispered, "I'm sorry Heyes. Please don't be mad at me. I thought you left me...sorry."

Heyes moved the chair over to the bench. He sat down, put his hand on Kid's arm, and leaned forward. "Kid, I am sorry for yelling at you. I am just scared for you. You were so close to death's door, Kid. I don't want to lose you, please be careful. I'm over reacting about everything and probably a little over protective. I am the one that's sorry, Kid." Heyes held onto Kid's arm so tight, when he finished talking, Kid was in pain, but he did not let on.

"Heyes, I need to know, am I going to be crippled?" Kid was afraid of the response Heyes was going to give.

"Kid, I swear on our partnership, No! You know that I would never lie to you about something this important, don't you?" Heyes wondered if Kid believed him. Kid said nothing. "It kills me seeing you lying in that bed. Kid, you know I would never intentionally hurt you. I would do everything in my power, to help and protect you. That's why I was so happy about the wheelchair." Heyes paused hoping for a response, "I was outside here earlier and saw what a beautiful day it was. The flowers were in full bloom and the fragrance was so sweet, I wanted to share this with you. I was disappointed that I couldn't come up with a way for that to happen." Still no reaction from Kid. "Please Kid, don't be mad at me!"

Kid jerked his head up and looked Heyes in the eyes, "Heyes, I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at myself. How did I let this happen, to me?"

"I don't know how you got beaten up, but for one thing I do know is, you didn't cause the beating to happen."

Right on time, Sally called from the gazebo, "You boys, how about some lemonade and some warm peanut butter cookies?"

Kid tried to sound cheerful, and Heyes knew how much of an effort it took for Kid. "Peanut butter cookies, how can we refuse? We will be right there."

They heard Silky yell out, "You two better bring your money, and I got the cards!"

Heyes said to give them a moment, so he could get some money. Kid said, "I don't know if I have any money."

Heyes wheeled Kid into the kitchen and Heyes got a face cloth and wet it down. He wiped his face off, rinsed it out, and placed it on the table next to Kid. He left to get some money. After Heyes left, Kid wiped his tear streaked face off. Around the corner, Heyes smiled that his plan worked. He did not want Kid embarrassed by anyone to see him that way.

Heyes waited a minute and came back in saying, "I got yours and my money. Kid, you have twenty dollars. If later you need more, I got an extra ten."

The four played cards, until Lom came back from the docks. He joined in, without saying anything about his day. They switched from blackjack to poker for an hour. When they saw Kid barely holding up his cards, Heyes announced, "Kid I think you need some rest now."

Heyes smiled and wheeled Kid away. Heyes pointed at Silky and waved him to come with them. They put an exhausted Kid to bed, and Heyes used a cool sponge to get the sweat off Kid's body, and then cool him down from being outside. Kid was asleep as soon as Heyes put a cool fresh sheet over him. Heyes went out into the hall and asked Silky to keep an eye on Kid, while he talked to Lom.


avatar
Re: Why Must We Make It So Hard?
Post on Thu 26 Feb 2015, 4:13 pm by royannahuggins
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

In the late afternoon, Lom had returned from the wharf. Katie had introduced O'Toole to Lom at her place over lunch, so they could talk in private. Both wanted to know about Thaddeus and Lom told them, it has been slow going with the recovering.

O'Toole said he would tell what he'd found out, without naming who said what:

"Thaddeus had been fighting under Mulligan's ‘guidance.' Everyone made money off Thaddeus' fights; he was something in that ring. His movement was fast, which made it hard for the other fighter to hit him. One of Mulligan's rivals set up Thaddeus for a fall and made sure that Mulligan lost his temper."

"They had someone in the crowd to slip some opium into Thaddeus' drinking water during the fight. Every time, Thaddeus drank some water, he fought worse. He stumbled over his own feet, sometimes falling without a punch being made. The men, who were watching the fight thought, Thaddeus had got stunned during an earlier round, or that he was drunk. They said he was not guarding himself with his hands. It was like he was having a hard time keeping his fists up and was swinging wildly."

"Mulligan yelled from outside the ring, that O'Leary was throwing the fight, because he must be on the fix. Thaddeus went to the side of the ring and denied any wrongdoing on his part. The other fighter with the free range; beat Thaddeus until he dropped; then Thaddeus would get back up."

"Thaddeus was a bloody mess and people yelled for the fight to be stopped. Mulligan yelled that if anyone stopped the fight, they would have to answer to him. Plus if the fight stopped before the conclusion, there would be no pay offs, because his fighter was still getting up on his feet, to fight."

"The men told me, after two more rounds, the crowd got real nasty and told Mulligan to stop the fight. Mulligan ignored the crowd and laughed that ‘at least he was getting his money's worth'. They said what finally stopped the fight was Thaddeus collapsed, but they said he was knocked unconscious. He was a sorry sight with blood on the front of his shirt and on his sleeves, where he wiped his face off to see, during the fight."

"Before the fishermen could get a hold of Thaddeus, Mulligan had loaded him into the back of a wagon and drove off. Mulligan had his right hand man and another man with Thaddeus in the back of the wagon. That was the last any of them saw Thaddeus."

During the time, Lom recounted what O'Toole had told him, Heyes sat steadfast in the chair. With Heyes' unemotionally listening, Lom didn't know what to make of it. On his way back to Silky's, Lom had imagined Heyes' reaction to the information; this wasn't how he expected Heyes to behave. At that point, Lom wondered if Heyes had even listened to what he had said.

Heyes had a faraway look in his eyes, which relived Kid's hay rope fight. He saw Kid's confusion, after drinking the opium water, and the trouble with his coordination and thinking. Heyes could see what Lom was telling him in full detail and even the expression on Kid's face.

When Lom finished, Heyes sat motionless. The silence that was deafening to Lom. In Heyes' mind, he went over every detail that Lom had said, fearing the results the opium could have triggered.

Heyes tried to think of something to say to Lom, but the image of the Kid-getting beaten-up in the ring was overwhelming. Heyes saw the effects of laudanum. It had almost killed Kid. Heyes thought, "Opium with water has to be stronger than the laudanum and with him fighting, it's surprising that Kid didn't drop dead in the ring."

Heyes finally looked straight into Lom's eyes. Heyes, eyes were filled with smoldering fury that Lom had never experienced before. When Heyes spoke it was is a low threatening voice, "I want the names of the men involved with drugging o Kid with opium!"

Heyes didn't wait for a response from Lom; he just walked out of the room. Lom was shaken from what had transpired. Lom had seen Heyes' other side, the leader of the Devil's Hole Gang, but never directed at him that way. Now he understood why the gang was more frightened of Heyes than Kid Curry. Preacher told him that Heyes was dangerous, because life had turned Heyes harder than his cousin.

Most of the men knew not to question Heyes after he had given an order, but at times, Wheat just had to question, for his manhood sake. There would be a dispute between them, and Wheat would always walk away, meek and mild afterwards. Lom now knew the intimidation that Wheat had felt.

Heyes stormed out into the gardens, he knew that he couldn't be near Kid. He needed to find a way to get clear of the rage he felt. He thought, "Once I have those men, then I can release my anger on them, and then so help them!"

Lom debated following Heyes out into the gardens. A half an hour past, and Lom reasoned, "When Heyes had these dark moods, it was Kid who calmed him down. How am I going to do what Kid does so easily? I remember he gave Heyes time to be alone, before he went to where ever Heyes took off to. How much time did Kid give him? I know that Heyes always told me that Kid was a great listener, and had more common sense, than anyone Heyes had ever met."

More time had passed, before Lom ventured out into the gardens with two glasses of whiskey, in hand. In the distance, Lom saw Heyes sitting in the gazebo. Heyes was leaning forward, had his elbows propped on his knees with his hands holding his head. Lom could see that Heyes was absorbed in the darkness that surrounded him.

Lost in thought, Heyes' anger was still festering. He wanted to go back in and check on his partner, but Curry always recognized Heyes temper. There was no way of covering it up from him. "Facing Kid right now, would bring up too many questions."

Heyes heard the glass placed on the table next to him. He sat back in his chair; he was expecting to see Sally with some lemonade. He thought, "I’m really not in the mood for Sally or lemonade." Across from him sat Lom with a glass of whiskey. Lom nodded his head at Heyes and took a sip from his glass. Lom made no effort to talk; he was there to listen if Heyes wanted to.

Lom wanted to be a sounding board like Kid. Lom never realized how important Kid was to Heyes, until now. Kid kept Heyes' sanity under control, without making it seem like an effort. Lom now appreciated, the work Kid put into the partnership.

In his mind, Lom was comparing them, "Heyes is like a volcano waiting to erupt, with hot flowing lava that destroys everything in his path. Kid has an Irish temper that usually strikes like a lightning bolt, and then the sun comes out after the storm, but heaven help the person if it's a full blown thunderstorm."

He noticed Heyes took a sip of whiskey. Lom looked over at Heyes; he was staring back at him. Heyes knew he needed Kid right now, more than any other time in their lives. After the raids, he had Jed, who needed him. Heyes was too young to go after the men that killed their families. He had always regretted that he wasn't capable of getting his revenge on those men. This time, when they hurt his family, Kid, he was quite capable of delivering the ultimate revenge. In Heyes' mind, there was nothing to stop him, because Kid would not be there.

Heyes had things he needed to say out in the open, if he didn't these thoughts would fester. There was no way Heyes could say what he needed to say, to his injured partner. Lom noticed Heyes was staring at him and figuring out if he could bring himself to talk to Lom.

"Lom...I don't know...what to do with what you told me." Heyes felt uncomfortable. "Kid... could have died...the opium...damage Kid's brain...stop breathing...he was helpless...no one covering his back...I could've lost him."

Lom debated if this was the point, he was to say something, or nod his head.

"Lom, I made a promise to Kid that I would find out for him, what had happened to him. Plus that I would watch his back. How can I tell him the details of the fight, the opium, and we know of another beating after the fight. Daniels said not to mess with his memory loss, or with anything that might have caused it." Heyes had raised his voice and it was cracking with emotion.

"Heyes, we don't have all the information about that night, yet. You want to get the facts right before saying anything to Kid. By then, he could have his memories back on his own," Lom said, talking fast.

"Lom, I have to be careful...I can't lie to him. If I lose Kid's trust, then I have lost him for sure. If this fight hadn't happened, I probably would have never found him. I can't have him running from me again." Heyes was showing the stress he was under.

"If those men...were here...I would kill them!" Heyes announced.

Lom was alarmed at what Heyes had said, but not surprised. His mind was swirling with warnings, thoughts and panic. "Heyes, if you kill those men, you both will be wanted for murder. Is that how you are to help him?"

"What does Kid have to do with me getting my revenge on those men? You know he is not capable of even getting out of bed, on his own, so how could he kill anyone?" Heyes' anger erupted.

Lom knew that he had to get through to Heyes. If Heyes was not concerned for his own future, then Lom had to turn the threat onto Kid. "The law and the Governor knows Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry as one, because of your partnership and your history together."

It looked like maybe Lom had got through to Heyes; he was pacing back and forth. Heyes stopped and turned towards Lom and asked, "Lom, do you still have Kid's telegram where he ended our partnership?" Lom nodded his head yes, but he didn't like where this was going. "Great! Then you have the proof that our partnership ended, and what I do will not affect Kid. He's still going for the amnesty."

Lom was concerned, "We will figure out the right way to do this, together, I swear Heyes. You can get you revenge in another way, besides killing them. How do you think Kid would feel about you being wanted for murder, because of him? What do you think would happen to Kid if he thought you were killed because of him? You might as well go in there, and kill him now, because he would be dead inside."

"All right! I'll try it your way first. Nevertheless, those men will pay for what they did to him. I want all of them to pay, most of all, Mulligan. I want to take everything away from him and leave him with nothing. I want to destroy him. I want to make sure that Kid is unreachable to them because they will try to kill him."

"If they come after Kid, they will have to come through me, first. We will work this out and when we need it, we will have the help. I got telegrams from most of your friends wanting to help in any way they could, even Big Mac."

"Lom, right now, I'm afraid with the return of his memory, the reason why he ended our partnership will come back to him. I don't know for sure, if he wouldn't do the same thing over again." Heyes was worried. "Will Kid be upset with me for not telling him about the partnership?"

"Heyes, I don't know what will happen, but you'll have the time to talk things over with him. What were you going to do, if you found him before?" Lom felt a little more comfortable talking with Heyes.

"If I found him before the beating, I probably would have flattened him. While he was laying there, I could talk some sense into him," Heyes had a small smile on his face. Lom and he talked for a while, and Heyes had calmed down.

"Does your ‘silver tongue' ever work on Kid?" Lom asked what he always wondered.

"If my ‘silver tongue' doesn't work on Kid, there's always the coin toss," Heyes had a wide grin.



CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

Silky was seated at his desk reading, when he heard Kid mumbling in his sleep, again. He glanced over at Kid to make sure everything was all right. Silky took his responsibility for Kid's welfare seriously. The trust from Heyes; Silky took to heart, because he knew that Heyes wouldn't trust just anyone, with his injured cousin.

Silky could see that Kid's peaceful sleep had turned into a disturbed slumber, so Silky moved to the chair beside the bed. Silky remembered how Kid looked on his doorstep a bloody, muddy mess. Silky never saw anyone beaten so that one would be unrecognizable as Kid. As the days past, Kid's face was healing and he looked closer to normal but still with some discoloration to his face. While he watched Kid, he thought Jed still looked a lot younger than he was. "I wonder how much younger Jed would have looked, if he had a happy childhood or a normal one. I know that Heyes did more than his best to protect his cousin, but they did turn to outlawing. Maybe if I and the others had accepted Jed as a young boy, instead of a gunslinger, I wonder if it would have changed anything."

Before Silky could come up with an answer, he heard, "Heyes!" Kid's eyes shot open with an anxious expression.

With a hoarse voice Kid choked out, "Heyes....where's Heyes? Is his hurt? Heyes!" Kid tried to push himself up off the bed.

"Now Jed, just relax now!" Silky put his hands on Kid's shoulder to calm him down. "Heyes is just fine. He is out in the garden with Lom Trevors."

Kid asked again in a scared little boy's voice, "Are you sure Heyes is all right? I feel like something is wrong with Heyes."

"Do you want me to get Heyes for you?" Silky wanted to calm him down. He didn't wait for an answer, he bellowed from the doorway, his instructions. “Tell Heyes, he is needed in the den."

Silky turned back to the bed and Kid watched him more relaxed this time. Silky felt uneasy with Kid watching him. He wondered, "What am I to do now?"

Kid weakly asked, "Can I have some water?"

Silky was relieved to be able to do something for Jed, "Of course, you can have water!" Silky was grinning, "Here let me get you propped up."

Lionel entered the room alarmed by the big production Silky was going through getting Kid propped up. Silky held Kid, so he was leaning forward, while he reached for pillows to put behind him. This got uncomfortable for Kid, and he was not quite sure if Silky knew what he was doing.

"Ugh...Silky....ugh...that's all right," Kid said trying to stop Silky.

"Just a minute, I almost have the pillow. I need a couple more inches and I'll have the pillow." Silky was stretching in the opposite direction. "I'm going to hold you from the back of your nightshirt, and then I'll be able to get the last pillow." Silky moved his arm around, grabbed the shirt, and then stretched out his other arm.

"Ugh...Silky? I don't think we need the other pillow," Kid had started to giggle. Kid had a feeling this project of Silky's wasn't going well. Kid felt like he was going head first into the other half of the bed, and he was in pain from being folded, almost in half.

At this point Lionel panicked and screamed, "Mr. O'Sullivan, what are you doing to that poor boy?" Lionel shocked Silky, who then lost his grip on Kid, he went head first into the bed and Kid let go a yelp.

Heyes and Lom were coming from the garden, when they head the screeching. Both of them took off running toward the den. They heard the loud voices of Silky and Lionel; Heyes knew something was wrong. Heyes felt that his feet were moving in slow motion, but he was running faster than Lom. Heyes heard Silky's voice hitting an all time high, "What you doing sneaking around scaring the life out of people?" Heyes and Lom had their guns drawn as they got near the door.

"What are you doing? Are you trying to kill the boy?" Lionel yelled. Heyes' heart was beating fast. Lionel was still screeching, when Heyes entered the room. Heyes saw Kid laying almost folded in half, face down with the two men arguing besides the bed. Both men holstered their guns and Heyes shook his head in disbelief. Heyes rushed over to the bed and the closer he got, he heard giggling.

Heyes asked in a loud confused voice, "What's going on here? And why in the world is Kid laying like that?"

Both men turned to look at Kid, Silky said, "I almost had Jed propped up, when Lionel came in yelling at me. He startled me and I must have dropped Kid, I mean Jed."

"You were doing it all wrong," Lionel announced. Kid was still uncomfortable and giggling. He started to try to push up off his face, when he felt someone lifting him and placed him gently back on the pillows. Kid looked into Heyes dark brown eyes and Heyes mouthed, "Are you all right?" Kid nodded yes.

"Is there anything else I can do for you, if I'm not interrupted while I'm doing it?" Silky shot Lionel a dirty look.

Lionel left the room muttering, "You old goat!"

After catching his breath, Kid asked, "Could I have some water?"

Silky sounded hurt, "Of course, you can have some water. All you had to do was ask, boy!"

While Silky poured the water, Kid raised his brow to Heyes and he gave a big grin back to Kid. Heyes said to Silky, "Here, I'll help Kid with the water. Do you know when Sally was planning dinner?"

"Oh, that's right; I'm supposed to tell her when Jed woke up. She has some juice made up for Jed; she said he needs more liquids in him. I better go tell her, or she'll get madder than a dog." He headed for the door. "That's one woman, you don't want to make mad."

Kid waited a minute and whispered, "I didn't know Silky was afraid of Sally. After all these years, Silky still thinks he's her boss?" Kid was laughing and Heyes joined in. Heyes overjoyed to see the mischievous Kid back. They talked softly about the pillow propping. He laughed about Kid landing on his face, while Silky and Lionel argued about the proper way to take care of him.

"Here I thought, Silky could help you with a bath tomorrow, but he might drown you reaching for the soap," Heyes laughed.

Kid got serious, "Am I going to take a bath tomorrow?" Kid's voice got soft and high pitched, "Am I, Heyes?"

Heyes was just kidding around about the bath, but here was Kid with anticipation written on his face. Heyes could not bring himself to disappoint him. "If you're up to a bath, I'll arrange everything, yes."

A big smile lit up Kid's face and his blue eyes danced with excitement. "Heyes, I'll be fine in the morning. It will feel so good. Heyes, how are you going to get me in the tub?" Kid had a worried expression and was afraid that Heyes would change his mind about the bath.

That question swirled in Heyes' mind, "How?" Looking at those hopeful blue eyes, Heyes knew that he could not disappoint his partner. Heyes smiled, "Don't I always come up with a plan?"

Kid nodded his head in agreement, and thought about how good the warm water would feel on his sore body. He knew if Heyes said he would come up with a plan, he would.

Sally came in and asked, "Jed, I think it's time you start eating more solid food. How does a roasted chicken, mashed potato, and green beans, sounds to you?"

Kid still didn't have an appetite, but he didn't want to disappoint Sally. He forced a smile, "Sally that's great." Heyes noticed the difference in Kid's response; it was lack luster for his cousin, when he talked about food.

After Sally left, Heyes asked, "Alright Kid, what's wrong? Are you feeling bad?"

Kid hesitated, "I'm not hungry. I'm still a little sore inside.... I don’t seem to have my taste for food back." Kid looked down at the sheet that was covering him, ashamed that he made Heyes worry anymore.

Heyes was alarmed, but there was no way he could show it. He knew that his cousin would worry more about his reaction. "That's quite normal for your injuries to still be sore. You need to eat small amounts of food, maybe more often, before eating big meals. Don't worry Kid; your appetite will go back to being abnormal."

Kid laid in bed thinking, "Great! Another word to find out about abnorm...ab...abnor..... Oh, heck with it! Why can't Heyes talk regular talk like me?"

"Kid, do you feel like eating in the dining room with everyone else?"

Kid said yes. Heyes had Lom help get Kid in the wheel chair and cover him. Heyes wheeled the chair into the kitchen and announced to Sally that Jed would be eating in the dining room. Everyone was surprised to see Kid at the dining table. Doctor Daniels had returned, to check on how he had adapted to the wheelchair.

Silky was proud of Kid. "This look likes a turning point for Kid." Silky thought for the first time, since Kid was found, that he had chance to recover.

Heyes took care of Kid's plate and put small portions of mashed potatoes and green beans on it with a few slices of chicken. It was still hard for Kid to use the fork and spoon, and again Heyes saw the frustration building in him. When Kid tried to pick up his glass of water, he couldn't close his hand around the glass. Heyes could see the embarrassed hurt in Kid's eyes and the helplessness he felt, which he had not seen since Kid was small. All of sudden Kid said in a forceful voice, "Tommy, I want these bandages off my hands. I can't do anything with them on."

"I'll check to be sure that the bandages can come off or smaller ones be used instead of the wrap. Kid, it will probably take awhile for you to get full use of your hands," Daniels said.

Heyes pushed back his chair and stood up, "What's wrong with Kid's hands? Why haven't you told us there was damage to his hands?"

"Heyes, as far as I know there is no permanent damage to Jed's hands. Right now, they are still healing from the cuts so they are stiff. Jed using them will help them to be more flexible," Daniels tried to reassure Heyes.

Heyes sat down and tried to make light of his outburst, but Kid could see the toll, all this was having on Heyes. Kid thought there has to be away for him to speed up his recovery, "Maybe, if I was walking. Heyes would see that I am going to be all right. I need to be walking by next week this time."

After dinner, Daniels looked at Kid's hands with Heyes anxiously watching the process. The doctor cut off the bandages and checked for any open wounds, he didn't see any. There were some scabs left on the deeper cuts. The doctor put Kid's hands in a basin of warm water to clean and soak them. Daniels looked at Heyes, "The hands are healing. But they need to be soaked three or four times a day to help with the stiffness. I want Jed to soak, squeeze a sponge, and soak again."

"I'll take care of Kid and his hands. What about the cuts on his chest and the rest of his body?" asked a concerned older cousin.

The doctor took off the nightshirt and Kid looked at the open door, "Heyes, the door is open!"

Heyes turned his head and looked at the door then back to Kid. Heyes knew what Kid wanted, but he played dumb with a straight face. "Oh yeah, the door's open."

Kid's eyes went serious, and nodded his head toward the door. Heyes looked at him and frowned, "What, Kid?"

Kid's voice grew stern, "Close the door, I'm naked!"

Heyes faked a hurt voice, "Gee, Kid! All you had to do was ask!"

Heyes got up to close the door and Kid grabbed an extra pillow, threw it, and hit Heyes in the back of his head. When Heyes turned, Kid had a smug look on his face and he nodded his head in satisfaction.

Daniels laughed, "At least your aim is right on target and you have some strength in your arm. Now let's see about the rest of you."

During the examination of Kid's chest, Daniels made sure that Heyes was on the left side of Curry, so he could hear Heyes. The doctor was beginning to worry about Kid's hearing. "Kid is not ready for any negative responses. It could be a harmful set back in Kid's recovery." Daniels was relieved at what he saw. "Jed's chest is healing, but the deeper cuts will be sore for awhile, and they'll take longer to heal, but there's still no infection, which is amazing. Sally said he was covered with mud."

"All right you two, I am awake here! Now the most important questions; Heyes is going to ask you about me bathing, probably out in the hallway. I need to know about my own body for some reason. Second question for me, when will I'd be able to start walking around?"

Daniels had a concerned expression on his face and looked from one to the other. "If you can get him in and out of the tub, without him falling, yes. For both questions, Jed you cannot afford to fall. Your internal organs are severely bruised. A fall could cause a split in the lining of an organ. Before you to try to walk, I like to see some weight put back on you first."

After bandaging a couple of deeper wounds, he said, "I'll leave the bandages off your hands, but I don't want Jed using his hands to wheel the chair. That action could affect the rest of the healing process."

Heyes smiled, "Thanks Tommy! We'll do everything you told us." Heyes wanted to change the subject because he saw Kid getting pouty about being talked about. "If I can get Kid to put his nightshirt back on, I'll take him out in the garden for some night air. But you know how Kid likes going around naked!" Heyes teased.

Kid eyes turned icy blue, "Give me that nightshirt! One of these days, Heyes, I'm just gonna to flatten you!"

Out in the garden, the two of them sat quietly, enjoying the peaceful surroundings. Heyes heard someone approaching from the other end of the garden. His hand went for his gun and it relaxed when he heard, "Joshua, it's Christina."

Heyes didn't know what to do about Kid and Christina meeting. "How am I going to handle this?" Heyes worried. He turned to Kid and asked, "It seems like we are getting company, are you up for this?"

"I'm fine, but am I covered up?" Kid was pulling on the sheet to cover more of himself.

"You're just fine." Heyes looked up as Christina turned the corner of the hedge to face Heyes.

Christina was surprised and thrilled to see Thaddeus. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know Joshua, that you had company. I can come back another time to visit."

Heyes spoke up, "Christina, I want you to meet my partner, Thaddeus Jones." Heyes paused and then said, "Thaddeus, this is Christina Crawford, she lives next door to Silky."

Kid tipped his head at Christina and smiled, "Hello, it's nice to meet you."

Heyes was relieved that she didn't trigger Kid's memory, but Christina was disappointed. She enjoyed Thaddeus' friendship, even if, the rest of the world knew him as Kid Curry. She tried to look over Kid's injuries without being so obvious and was surprised to see him sitting in a wheelchair. "Did something happen that he can't walk?"

Heyes tried to make the situation comfortable for Christina. He knew that she wanted to find out more about Kid's recovery. "My partner fell off his horse and rolled down a cliff. As you can see, Thaddeus was banged up. He has everyone worried about him, but he's recovering and Doctor Daniels is keeping a close eye on Thaddeus." Heyes smiled cocky at his partner. Kid was wondering as he darted Heyes the look, "Why does Heyes have me always falling off my horse, it's Heyes that can't stay on his horse!"

Christina played along, "Did your horse get spooked?"

Heyes loved this, "No, Thaddeus was asleep on his horse and fell off."

Christina acted shocked, "Oh!" She looked at Kid with a sorrowful expression, "Do you have trouble with the drink? Oh, I'm so embarrassed, by my forward question! Please forget that I asked that."

Kid was so embarrassed that his cheeks were hot from the redness. He looked at Heyes for some assistance in setting the story straight, but Heyes was shaking his head with pity. Kid's response was, "No I wasn't drunk! I usually watch my drink."

Both Christina and Heyes laughed together. "Thaddeus, she was just teasing you. Christina is helping Lom to find out what had happened to you. She takes Lom around the different districts in the city and introduces Lom to people for him to talk to."

Kid turned serious and asked, "Have you two found out what happened that night?"

"I usually leave Lom alone with the people that he talks with. I figured everyone would feel more comfortable talking one on one. I know he found out where you were staying and working during that time," Christina tried to act ignorant of the information she did know.

Heyes changed the subject and talked about their friend Lom Trevors to Christina, and was hoping to distract Kid away from questions he might ask. Heyes told her how long they knew Lom and a couple funny stories about their friendship, but leaving out their outlawing days.

Heyes noticed that his partner seem to be unfocused on their conversation, and once in awhile Kid rubbed his right temple and squinted his eyes.

Without thinking Christina asked, "Thaddeus, do you have another headache? Do you need some ginger water?"

Kid jerked his head up; his sorrowful blue eyes looked at Christina and asked, "Have we met before? You remind me of someone, but I can't figure out who or where. I've been trying to remember, but all I'm getting is this headache."

Heyes and Christina looked at each other and wondered how to handle these questions and still protect him.



CHAPTER-TWENTY-FOUR

The question, "Have we met before?" was still ringing in Christina's and Heyes' ears. Kid searched Heyes' face, and saw that he was keeping something from him. Kid tried not to show the pain the headache was causing him. The more he tried to figure out what was going on with those two, the more his headache got worse.

"Kid, I'm going to get you some ginger water. I'll be right back!" Heyes was alarmed and confused, when he went running into the house.

Kid was surprised he was outside with Christina. Kid stated, "My partner must trust you to leave me in this wheelchair here alone with you. Now tell me who are you and how do you know me?"

It crushed Christina to hear the harsh tone, Kid used to talk to her. Finally, Christina looked into Kid's eyes, and saw the hurt and the distrust in them. Christina softly spoke, "Thaddeus, the doctor wants you to get your memory back on your own. I gave my word not to provoke any memories. I was told that your mind is protecting you, and no one should disrupt that. Please let this rest for now. Joshua is doing everything he can to help you through your injuries. I do know how close you were to death's door, and it almost destroyed Joshua; he still has his fears."

Kid said in a painful voice, "Who are you?"

"I live in the house, on the other side of Silky's gardens. I've been living there for fifteen years, and have known Silky for almost that long. I met Joshua a little over a week ago, here at Silky's home."

Heyes heard part of the conversation. He was disturbed that Christina told Kid about what Daniels said. "Why did she do that? I thought she understood. Why did she tell Kid that he had almost died?"

Heyes went out in the garden in his protective mode for his cousin. There was no one that can get through to Heyes when he was that way. Heyes said in uncompromising tone, "Here's your ginger water." Heyes helped hold the glass for Kid while he drank it. "Now, Thaddeus needs to get to bed, to rest with this headache; he's had a long day. Good night, Christina!"

Heyes got behind the wheelchair and turned it towards the house, Kid called back to her, "Good night. Will I see you tomorrow?"

Heyes turned towards Christina and mouthed, ‘No.'

"I don't know for sure. I have some appointments tomorrow, and they could take forever. I'll try to see you soon and I hope you'll be feeling better." Christina mouthed to Heyes, ‘Why?'

Heyes wheeled Kid into the kitchen. Sally was waiting for the boys with juice and cookies. Sally was pleased to see Kid, but he looked so pale, "Jed, I have some sugar cookies, and some orange juice for you boys. Tommy told me about how good your hands are healing. Can I see them?" Kid held them up for Sally and turned them slowly for her. "Praise the Lord! They look good and no big scars. Jed, you are blessed!"

Kid smiled but it did not reach his tired eyes. Kid was exhausted with the headache, and had a hard time keeping his eyes open while he tried to eat his cookie. Heyes and Sally sat at the table talking, and Heyes kept glancing at Kid at his side. Heyes heard the cookie hit the floor; Kid was asleep. Heyes smiled, "I better get Jed to bed."

Sally got Lom to help Heyes put Kid into the bed. Kid barely opened his eyes to see that it was Heyes and Lom picking him up. He mumbled, "Heyes." His eyes were closed before his body touched the bed. Heyes arranged the pillows for his partner and Lom pulled up the covers.

Lom remarked, "Kid is really worn out. I see his hands are not bandaged, how are they?"

"The doctor said they're going to be stiff for awhile, but there's no permanent damage to them. Sally said, Kid was blessed," said a relived Heyes.

Lom motioned Heyes over to the other side of the room. He wanted to talk to Heyes, without disturbing Kid's sleep. "I'm use to see Kid so energetic and agile; it's hard for me to see him, as weak as he is now. Heyes, all this has taken a toll on you, too. Before you got here, you were in bad shape. Now all this, you have to get yourself together before you collapse. Please, let me help you two more."

"Lom, you gathering information for me has been a big help. I'm getting some rest, since Kid has woken. He does seem to be getting better, but he said that he doesn't have any appetite. Kid can't afford to lose any more weight, he's so weak now," Heyes said in a worried voice.

"Heyes, there you're worrying again! Don't you know he can read you like a book, even when others can't? Now, what are we going to do to relax you and Kid?" Lom sat there and stared at Heyes for an answer.

Heyes thought for a minute, then he smiled, "I've promised Kid a hot bath tomorrow. Kid loves his baths, but I suppose a cigar is out of the question. I thought to do it in the afternoon, could you be around to help?"

"Yes, I'll be around. Christina and I are going only to one place, in the morning, and then I'll be back." Lom saw a dark shadow cross over Heyes' eyes. "What's wrong, with what I just said?"

Heyes told Lom what he had overheard Christina say to Kid, in the garden earlier. Heyes said in defensive voice, "What did Christina think she was doing? She told Kid thing, that he should not hear now. If she causes Kid to shut down, I will never forgive her!"

Lom wanted to defend Christina, but he needed to hear her side of the story first. "Heyes, you need to calm down. I'll find out from her what's going on. You don't think that Christina would purposely try to hurt Kid?"

"Lom, I almost lost Kid in the last six weeks, at least four times. I have the right to be over protective towards my partner. I am not going to allow anyone to hurt him." Heyes was explaining loudly.

"Please don't jump to any conclusions about Christina; she really cares for him. If she wanted to hurt Kid, turning him into the law would have done it, right?" Lom said in a softer voice than Heyes.

"If she's trying to hurt him, she will have to come through me first!" Heyes' voice was loud and his eyes looked like storm clouds.

Kid woke up with a start and reached for his gun that was not hanging on the bedpost. Heyes was standing near the bed, but with his back was turned toward Lom. Heyes saw Lom's eyes get big with a startled look to them, and Lom opened his mouth and pointed to the bed, "Heyes!"

Kid's hand was pressed against the bedpost to keep him from falling head first out of the bed. The strain on Kid's arm made it shake, and it looked like he was about to lose the battle and go headfirst. Heyes was beside the bed in a flash helping him back into the bed. In a loud, frightened voice Heyes asked, "What are you doing, Kid? You were falling out of bed!" Heyes' heart was pounding hard on his chest.

"Heyes...." Kid's breathing was heavy. "I heard you yelling, I thought something was wrong. Maybe, I was dreaming, I've been some weird dreams lately." Kid looked drowsy and confused.

Heyes reassured him that everything was fine, and Lom was there with them. Kid lifted his head and scanned the room, until his eyes fell upon Lom, a weak smile appeared on Kid’s face. He lowered his head and said in a sleepy voice, "All right." Kid slipped his head back on the pillow with his eyes already closed, and was soon asleep.

Heyes walked over to Lom and whispered, "All right, I see what you mean about Kid being jumpy and needing a calmer atmosphere. I'll do better around him and I'll listen to Christina's explanation. How is that?"

"That's a start, but we need to come up with ways to help Kid to get well. First thing, are you going to keep sleeping in here with him?"

Heyes stared at Lom and was quickly on the defensive. "I was planning to, why? Is something wrong with that? Because I am not leaving the Kid; he's not in any shape to be left alone!" Heyes' voice was strained.

Lom was focused on his thinking, until he heard Heyes' defensive remarks. He looked at Heyes and said, "No, I think it's good for both of you to be able to get a good night's sleep. With each checking on the other, it ends that worry for you two. Speaking of sleep, it is getting late, so I will see you two tomorrow afternoon."

Heyes was thinking of things, he could do to relax both of them. He was pacing when he stopped to look at the books on the shelf behind Silky's desk. The first book Heyes took off the shelf was, "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll; he flipped through and scanned a few pages. Heyes did a quick read of the first few pages, and then he closed the book and smiled. Heyes could picture himself reading this while Kid was the soaking in the tub.

Heyes finally went to bed. If he had looked, after crawling in the bed, he would have seen Kid's body relax and the boyish appearance come on Kid's face. Before Heyes closed his eyes, he checked to be sure that Kid was covered, something he would do three or four times during the night.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the morning, Heyes woke first. Kid needed his legs covered up again and Heyes did it before he left to clean up for the day. Silky came in to watch Kid, who slept through until Heyes woke him an hour later. Happy that Kid had a peaceful sleep; Heyes was excited about the day ahead with his cousin. This reminded Heyes about their childhood. , the times, they would rush through their chores so they could have an adventurous day, together. That's how Heyes felt that morning.

In a happy tone, Heyes gently woke Kid, "Hey, sleepy head! Are you going to sleep the day away?" Kid groaned. "I guess I'll tell them we won't need that bathtub for this afternoon since you want to sleep."

In a sleepy little boy's voice, Kid pleaded, "Please Heyes, I'll get up. I want that bath."

"All right, but first you have to eat some breakfast. How about some fruit in milk and some almond cookies, do you think you could eat some?" Heyes knew that blackberries were Kid's favorites and could not wait to see his face light up.

"That will be fine, but when will I get the bath?" Kid was trying to get into a sitting position as Heyes came over next to Kid.

"If you need help, I can get Silky to help you get propped up with the pillows?" Heyes had a smirk and started towards the door.

"Heyeeeesss! Get back here and help me!" Kid was fully awake then.

"Hannibal Heyes! Are you already picking on that poor boy this morning?" Sally entered with a tray with breakfast on it. She had a beautiful smile on her face as she sat the food on the desk. "How are we going to do breakfast, in bed or at the desk?"

"The way you spoil this ‘poor boy,' I need to keep him grounded, or he might think he is special or something. I only pick on Kid for his own good." Heyes said the last part with his head hung low, with a hurt voice.

Kid just sat back and watched Heyes try to pull his magic on Sally. While Heyes had his head hung down, Sally moved over to him, put her arms around Heyes' shoulder and hugged him. Heyes brought up his head slowly, so at first Kid only saw Heyes' eyes. Kid knew that look of triumph on Heyes’ face. Sally still holding Heyes said, "Boy, you must have more than half Irish in you, because you sure can spread blarney."

Kid and Sally erupted in laughter. Then Sally said she would help Heyes put Jed in his chair for breakfast. "You're not doing it, I'm here to help. I'm having breakfast with the boys." Silky announced from the doorway.

Sally said in her Irish brogue, "Well, it sure would be nice if you told someone about your plans for breakfast." Sally started toward to kitchen.

Silky said, "I just told you my plans for breakfast. Besides, you have enough food here for five people. Where are you going? You're eating with us."

The four of them had an enjoyable breakfast. Kid was able to use the spoon easier than he did the fork. Kid ate a bowl full of blackberries and milk, and he felt full afterwards. Heyes told of their plans for Kid's bath in the garden room. Silky said he would like to play poker later before dinner. They said it sounded like a plan. Heyes had Kid rest, until Lom was back to help with the bath.

A few hours had past, Kid was still sleeping. Heyes was sitting by his partner when Lom came in. Over by the desk, Lom explained Christina's side of what went on between her and Kid. Christina said that she tried to convince Kid that he needed to let his memories come back naturally. Heyes said he still was still going to be careful around her with the Kid.

Lom smiled and handed the packages to Heyes that he asked Lom to buy for him in town. Heyes asked if he had given him enough money. Lom was proud of his buying skills. "Yes, Christina took me to a store that had fair pricing. There was enough money for cigars for you and licorice for Kid."

"Thanks Lom, Kid will be surprised. I better get things ready for his bath." Heyes was excited about his plans. He went about the house involuntary humming with a smile on his face. Lom was pleased to see Heyes acting this way; it had been a long time since he had and, of course, this had to do with Kid.

When they woke up Kid, the bath was ready with extra buckets of hot water on the side. Lom and Heyes easily got Kid in the chair and Heyes started to wheel him out towards the garden room. "Heyes, am I really going to have a bath?"

Heyes faked a hurt response. "You doubted that I would come up with a plan? I'll have you know that this is a Hannibal Heyes' Plan!"

Kid rolled his eyes for Lom's benefit and sarcastically asked, "This plan will work?"

"When has a plan of mine not worked?" Heyes was playing along with Kid.

"Oh, from the top of my head, our last train robbery. What were you thinking; dragging a safe, throwing it over a cliff, and still not getting the money," laughed Kid.

"Well, I could always drop you on your head and see if anything would drop out. I probably would come away empty handed again!" Heyes had a smirk.

Before they could go any further on this topic, Lom interfered, "Ok, you two, we are here."

They wheeled the chair to the end of the tub. Heyes helped Kid to remove his nightshirt. They had Kid's arms around their necks while both of them held a leg. Then one of their arms supported his chest and, the other one's arm on his back. They held Kid over the tub, and on opposite sides, they worked their way up to the top of the tub. They slowly lowered him into the warm water. Kid let out gasp when the water touched his skin.

Heyes almost jerked him back out of the water, because he saw Kid was in pain. Heyes was terrified, and it showed in his eyes. Kid wanted to reassure Heyes, "Heyes, I am fine. It was just the shock of the water touching my skin. Now relax!"

Lom made sure that the two did not need him before he left the room. Kid looked around, "Heyes, I am naked here."

"You usually do take a bath without your clothes on. Were you planning on bathing with your nightshirt on? You should have told me, Kid."

Kid looked at Heyes as if he had lost his mind. Kid had his forehead crinkled up. He whispered, "Heyes, there are women around here. They could walk in here, while I'm naked. Remember Sally?"

Heyes smiled thinking, "If Kid only knew." But he said aloud, "Sally is making sure that no women come out here while you're bathing. Now relax, while you're bathing I have a book to read to you. It's "Alice in Wonderland" and if you are good, there are pictures."

After Heyes had read a page and a half, Kid said, "Heyes, now wait a minute, you said the rabbit had a pocket watch?" Kid was slowly washing his arms and thinking about the story.

Heyes put the book down and frowned, "For the third time, yes. The rabbit had a pocket watch! Are you going to let me finish this page?"

Heyes could see Kid was deep in thought, his head lying on the back of the tub. He had a faraway look. Heyes was enjoying reading the book with his cousin. He knew this story would grab Kid's attention, but all the questions!

"Now Heyes, how do you suppose that rabbit learned to tell time? Is it the same time as ours, or is it rabbit time?"

"What?" Heyes' voice hitting the cracking high point. "You wonder how a rabbit had a pocket watch and was telling time, but nothing about the rabbit talking or it had clothes on?"

Kid looked at Heyes with puppy dog eyes. "Heyes, you don't need to get proddy."

Heyes smiled, shook his head, and then looked to find his place, on the page he was reading.

"Heyes?"

Heyes did not raise his head just his eyes. Kid waited for a response, Heyes let out a deep breath, "What?"

"Now that you brought it up; how does that rabbit talk English? I mean instead of rabbit talk, Spanish or even French?" Heyes was dumbfounded "Oh, and about that pocket watch, do you think that rabbit had stolen that watch?' Kid paused for an answer, and then he thought that maybe he should explain more. "I mean, a rabbit goes to the general store and buys a watch and a jacket?"

"Enough of the story for now, it's time to wash your hair." Heyes picked up the bucket of warm water and poured it over Kid's head. Kid shot the water out of his mouth and wiped his eye.

"Heyes...you are proddy!" Kid put both his hands into the tub and splashed Heyes with the water. Heyes was soaked and ready for battle. Both men were in full battle form, soon throwing water over each other and laughing their heads off.

Lom came in to see what the rumpus was about and to help Kid out of the tub. Lom saw what was going on and in his deep authoritarian voice cried, "Heyes! Curry! You boys settled down now!"

Heyes gave Kid the look, and Kid could not help but giggled. They both said at the same time, "All right, Lommm!"

Lom started a warning, "You boys better not be..." Heyes poured a bucket of water down Lom's back. Lom ran with a bucket to the water pump in the corner, and filled it with cold water. He threw the water on Heyes, which meant war! Water went flying and both men were quickly soaked. Heyes ended up using Kid as a shield. In between them was a laughing Kid with tears running down his cheeks.

"What are you boys doing? Trashing my house!" Silky yelled from the doorway.

Lom and Heyes said, "No sir!" Kid looked like a little boy scolded and tried to hide in the tub behind Lom. Silky acted mad, but was having a hard time holding in the laughter. Delighted in the horseplay Silky saw, he knew this was releasing some of the pent up tension.

Silky did not want to lose control, so in a rough voice he said, "You two better get Jed out of that tub, before he turns into a prune."

Silky turned and stomped his way out of the room. What they did not see was Silky's big smile.

avatar
Re: Why Must We Make It So Hard?
Post on Thu 26 Feb 2015, 4:14 pm by royannahuggins
CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

When they entered the den, Curry was surprised by the packages stacked on his bed. He looked at Heyes for answers. Heyes raised his eyebrows, "I don't know Kid, maybe you should open them."

"Where did they come from?" Kid was completely confused. Heyes wheeled the chair closer to the bed. The name Jed was written on them. Heyes wore a big smile, and was impatient waiting for Kid to dig in, and open the packages.

Kid said, "They're for me?" Heyes nodded his head. "Heyes, I don't understand. It isn't my birthday, why?"

Heyes was ready to tear into them, himself, if his cousin didn't start opening the packages soon. "Since when do I need excuses, to buy my partner something?"

Kid was shocked that the packages were for him. Most of them were from Heyes, but Silky and Lom had slipped some of their own in. Kid finally relieved Heyes' torment by opening them. They held a new nightshirt, two shirts, and pair of trousers, union suit, socks and licorice. Silky got both boys moccasins to wear around the house, instead of their boots, a couple of deck of cards, and the novel "Journey To The Center of The Earth" by Jules Verne for Heyes, and a Dime Novel titled, "Heyes, Curry and the Indian Princess" for Kid. Lom got Kid a new straight razor and a couple cans of peaches.

After Kid looked over everything and thanked Heyes, he asked, "Heyes, have we ever been with an Indian Princess?"

"Not that I remember, unless you have been holding out on me, Kid," smiled Heyes. Meanwhile Heyes was flipping through his new book, and then he put it down, so he could pay attention to Kid.

"Heyes...?" Heyes looked at him. "Why would people make up stories about us? Then people actually read them?" Kid shook his head in disbelief. "I guess I'll have to read it, to see what kind of trouble you got us into, again."

Heyes raised his voice, "If this book is true to life, it will be you rescuing the Princess from some sort of danger, and that's why we'll get into trouble." Heyes was laughing, "Let me know, if it was my turn to get the girl, alright?"

Heyes changed out of his wet clothes, and helped Kid get into his new nightshirt. He suggested they should rest before playing cards with Silky. Heyes got no argument, because Kid thought Heyes looked tired. After he got Kid settled in the bed, he took the wet clothes to the laundry. Kid waited until Heyes lay down before closing his eyes. It didn't take long for both boys to be asleep.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A while later, Lom came into the den. He found a book to read and sat at the desk facing the boys. About half hour later, Sally came to see if they were hungry. She went over to Lom and asked. He suggested food; they could eat while playing cards.

"You have a visitor out in the garden, Mrs. Crawford." Sally was happy to see a smile form on Lom’s face.

Lom said, "I guess, I'll go see what she wants." Lom tried to act nonchalant about Christina being there, but he didn't fool Sally. Christina was with Silky, talking, when Lom entered the garden. Christina looked up at Lom and smiled, "Hello! I thought I should check with you about Heyes. Is he still upset with me?"

Lom scratched his head thoughtfully, before he said anything, "When it comes to protecting Kid, Heyes would to anything to ensure his safety. Right now, Heyes is overprotective, but probably, I'm the same way about those boys, too." Lom picked his words very carefully. "All this started with Kid protecting Heyes. He felt that Heyes was too easy a target, being by his side. So he ended the partnership and rode away."

"What you're saying is, Heyes still feels that I'm a threat to Thaddeus. Is there anything I can say to reassure Heyes, that I care and worry about Thaddeus, too?" Christina hoped that Heyes had softened towards her, but now she could see it wasn't going to be that easy.

Heyes woke up, and he went to check the weather, because he thought they could play cards outside. He heard talking on the other side of hedge and he stopped to listen.

"I can't speak for Heyes. All I can do is ask him to talk to you, but tomorrow, not today. It's been a good day for both boys; I don't what to mess with it. Thaddeus hasn't been eating enough since the beating. The doctor said, he needs to be calmer for the injuries to heal." Lom was trying to be reasonable with Christina, while not offending Heyes.

Christina was disappointed. "Oh no, let's wait. I don't want to do anything to upset either one of them. I know Thaddeus needs to eat better. He can't afford to lose any more weight. When I saw Thaddeus yesterday, I was shocked at the amount of weight he had lost. Do you know Thaddeus had lost weight before the beating, too?"

"Was the weight lost from the shooting? I heard Thaddeus had it pretty rough for a few days," Lom asked.

"He was in pretty bad shape, when we got on the train. The porter helped me with Thaddeus during the trip. I thanked God I was there, to help him."

"I know for sure that he had lost weight here. I think that's why he started with the hay rope fighting, to make more money. I know besides the rent, he had to buy work clothes, he was so proud of his work boots. He told me he had to get them, because the wharf was slippery in his cowboy boots. I tried to talk him into letting me help him, but Thaddeus wouldn't change his mind. We had an argument the last time we met for dinner. I asked how he got the bruise on his face. I was afraid, and I expressed my concerns. We left with it strained between us. The next day, he sent me flowers with a card saying he was looking forward to our next dinner together. That's the main reason I was disappointed that he missed our dinner date, I wanted to save our friendship."

"Since Kid sent you the flowers, he must have wanted your friendship, too. One thing about Kid, he normally does not stay mad for long after he thinks it over. Most people don't realize that Kid has a big heart, and a forgiving one," Lom explained.

Heyes went back into the den and sat staring at his partner. Heyes thought over what Christina had said about Thaddeus' stubbornness, about him being on his own. "He would rather not eat than to accept help from Christina. Kid has lost at least twenty-five pounds since he left Colorado."

Heyes let his memory wander first to today's bath, and then to his undernourished younger cousin, of years ago. Heyes had sworn after the Home that Kid would never have his ribs showing, again, but they were now. "Those clothes, I bought him, are way too big!"

Lionel came into the den to check on the boys, thinking that no one would notice him. Heyes startled Lionel when he moved to see who was coming into the room. "Oh, Mr. Heyes! I came to see if either one of you needed anything." Lionel tried to cover his real motive.

Heyes felt like pacing with all the thoughts running through his head. But he knew if he had paced, he would wake-up Kid, and he needed the rest.

"Lionel, could you see if you've got some leather soap? I want to clean Kid's belt. I need some rags, too. Do you have any silver cleaner for the buckle?" Heyes picked up the belt. He was hoping that he could get the belt back in shape for Kid. Lionel was able to find what Heyes needed for the belt and brought them to Heyes. He didn't stay, because he saw Heyes wasn't in the mood for company. During the cleaning, Heyes had noticed a new hole made in the belt, over an inch from the previous last hole.

Heyes had mixed emotions running through him. He knew that he had to keep them under rap, so he took his anger out on the belt, with the hard rubbing of the leather with the rag. "The Kid had known about his weight, since he had to make a new hole."

After Heyes finished taking his aggravation out on the belt, he went to the hallway to see if anyone was around. There was a servant walking down the hall. Heyes asked her to give Lom a message he wrote. Heyes asked, "Please see if you can give it to him in private."

In the garden, the girl call out, "Mr. Lom, I have a message for you." She waved him over to her. "Mr. Smith wants you to read this in private."

For the poker game, if you want to invite Christina to play with us, ask her. Tell Christina to be sure to bring her money, for me to win off her.
JS

Lom read the note and thanked the girl. When he turned to walk back over to Silky and Christina, he had a big smile on his face, and was shaking his head in disbelief. Lom was amazed that Heyes always seemed to know what was going on around him.

Lom sat down, and he leaned towards to Christina, "What are you doing this evening?" he asked.

Christina look confused, "Nothing, why?"

"Heyes said to invite you to the poker game, if you bring your money for him to win!"

"What?" laughed Christina, "I don't understand? Is Thaddeus going to be playing?'

"This is Heyes' way of letting you back into Thaddeus' life. Just remember that Heyes is still very protective of him. Another thing, if he wants to talk to you about the tension that occurred between the two of you, he'll bring the subject up." Lom hoped she understood.

"All right, but I hope Heyes doesn't think I'm going to let him win," Christina declared.

Silky and Lom both roared with uncontrollable laughter at her statement. Silky proudly said, "Christina, my dear, Heyes is one of the best poker players I have ever seen in my life. Heyes went against Doc Holiday and came out the winner; he's that good!"

"Thaddeus told me a story about a poker game that involved Doc Holiday; the man he talked about winning was Heyes?" Both men nodded their head. "I thought Thaddeus made up an interesting story to pass the time on the train," Christina was flabbergasted.

Lom laughed and looked heavenly, "If only those boys had to make up stories about their escapades, I could sleep a lot easier."


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the den, Kid had woken up and Heyes helped him get ready for the card game. Sally had found a bathrobe that would fit him, and he had the moccasins on his feet. Heyes ran a comb through Kid's hair and patted down some unruly curls, before wheeling Kid into the garden.

They had the gazebo set up for the game with the cards and money on the table. A table on the side was setup with the food and drink. Everyone acted like they had just entered a poker tournament. Their excitement was building, while they waited for Kid and Heyes to arrive. Kid could tell that his cousin was itching for a good game. He knew this was a sure way to relax Heyes.

The group had played for a half hour when Kid noticed Heyes was playing Christina soft. Without a thought about what he was about to say, Kid blurted out, "Joshua, you don't need to play Christina soft, she can usually hold her own."

Everyone turned and stared at him in shock. He sounded so sure of the statement that it really rattled Heyes. Kid felt embarrassed about his outburst, and he had surprised himself. "I mean Christina looks like she can handle the cards," Kid said weakly.

Kid tried to figure out why he would say such thing. He had a confused red face. Christina tried to relieve the tension and Kid's embarrassment, "Why thank-you, Thaddeus. That's a wonderful compliment to pay me."

Kid turned and gave a ‘see I didn't mess up' grin to a disturbed Heyes, who was afraid that Kid's memory was coming back. Heyes would be happy if that part of Kid's memory and the subject of their partnership ending, too, would stay lost. Heyes was on pins and needles the rest of the night, waiting for the other boot to drop. Kid felt Heyes' uneasiness, and saw through Heyes' smiles and laughter during the game. Kid acted as if he was fooled by Heyes' performance until later in the den.

"All right, Heyes what's wrong?" Kid was looking directly into Heyes' eyes and he saw the flicker he was looking for. No one had ever seen that flicker, but Kid and Grandpa Curry. It told Kid that Heyes was hiding something from him.

Heyes tried to convince himself that he could fool his cousin, with his ‘silver tongue,' this time, if he was quick enough. Heyes put on an innocent confused face. "What do you mean? I'm twenty-five dollars ahead. I think that's pretty good for a low stake game and aren't you up ten?" Heyes smiled at Kid.

Kid debated if he should challenge Heyes now, so he thought it over. Heyes recognized Kid's lack of response, and knew he was in trouble with him. Heyes wondered, "I don't understand how he knows every time when I'm hiding something from him."

"Heyes, you know that we have to talk about what's bothering you and what you're hiding from me. The way I see it, now's better than later!" Kid folded his arms across his chest.

Heyes rolled his eyes and scolded himself, "Great! Just great! Kid's going to be stubborn about this. How am I going to handle this?"

"Heyes? Are you going to answer me or roll your eyes, again?" Heyes heard Kid's Irish temper coming to the surface. Heyes knew that he had to stop Kid from getting upset.

"All right, Kid! Calm yourself down, or I'm leaving the room until you do," Heyes demand.

"What! You're threatening me? Well you don't need to leave the room, I am!" Kid yelled. Then he proceeded to try to wheel himself out of the room. He was really pushing down hard on the wheels. Heyes ran over to him and grabbed Kid's hands off the wheels.

"Kid, please! You're going to hurt yourself, look what you done! You tore off some of the scabs, and they're bleeding," Heyes was shocked. Heyes rushed and poured some water into a basin, and came back over to Kid's side. Heyes sat the basin on the table and pulled a chair over to Kid and sat down facing him. Heyes gently put Kid's hands into the water to rinse them off. They were still bleeding from the sore tissue on the palms of his hands.

"I’m sitting the basin on your lap, so leave your hands in the water. I've got the ointment and bandages for your hands. Please Kid, don't fight me on this." Heyes was upset with himself and had tears in his eyes that he hid from Kid. Heyes went to the other side to the room to gather up the items he needed.

Kid was staring at his hands and watched the water turn to a pinkish color and gradually a darker red. Kid couldn't understand why he got so upset with Heyes; it wasn't any different from any other time Heyes tried to keep something from him. He felt there had to be some hidden reason.

Heyes got his emotions together so that he could face his partner, and to take care of his hands. When Heyes turned around, he saw Kid sitting there watching his hands bleed out into the water. He was thrown for a curve. He didn't know if his cousin was in shock or something worse. Heyes had come up on the right side and said Kid's name softly. There was no response from him, so Heyes repeated Kid's name again and no response. Heyes placed his hand on Kid's shoulder and he was startled at Heyes being there.

Heyes didn't know what to make of Kid's reactions. He sat down and took one hand out of the water, and Kid seem transfixed on watching the bloody water run off his hand. Heyes was disturbed by everything that had transpired. He cleaned up Kid's hand, put on the ointment and then wrapped the hand, before repeating the process for the other hand. Heyes wiped the blood off the wheels of the chair and then left the room with the bloody water and cloths he had used.

Heyes felt uneasy about leaving Kid by himself, but he didn't want the bloody water to end up on the carpet. When he entered the kitchen, Lom and Christina were helping Sally with the dishes from the card game. He asked Sally where to pour his dirty water and she said in the sink in a few minutes. Heyes hesitated and then said, "It's pretty dirty. I don't think you want it in your sink."

Sally came over and said, "Here I'll take care..." Sally went pale and Lom came over to see what was wrong. Lom saw bloody water and the rags that had some blood still on them.

"Heyes? What's that from?" Lom was dumbfounded.

"Kid had an accident, but I took care of it. I need to get back to him." Heyes was acting very vague about Kid.

After Heyes left the kitchen, the three looked at each other for answers. Lom was concerned, went to the hallway, stood outside of the den, and listened to his friends. Heyes was talking to Kid and he wasn't answering back. Lom moved in closer to look through the crack, between the door and the frame. Lom felt guilty spying on them. Lom reasoned to himself that he needed to know what was going on so he could help his friends.

Heyes sat down in front of Kid, who was still staring at his hands. Heyes had to stop himself from grabbing Kid and shaking him back to reality. Heyes was screaming in his mind, "What if I can't reach Jed and he has closed down permanently, this time?"

Heyes shook Kids' arm and softly said, "Jed, I need you with me."

Kid looked at Heyes and with tears in his eyes said, "Heyes, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to start my hands bleeding. Are you mad at me?" Heyes had some tears on his cheeks. Kid was upset, "I’m sorry, Han. Please, don't cry because of me." This was alarming Heyes, and Lom. "I’m sorry, but you're keeping things from me, Heyes... I need to know, my head hurts so badly and I need the answers, Heyes... Please Heyes!"

Heyes put the palm of his hand across part of his face to cover the tears. He turned his head and looked down at the floor; he didn't see the defeated slump of Kid's head. When Heyes looked up to talk to him, he was heartbroken to see the dejected appearance of Kid.

Heyes was agitated at himself, "I've hurt him more by trying to protect him. My fears of his memory returning are hurting him, too. Who am I protecting? Kid or more myself?" Heyes made the decision that might change both of their lives.

"Kid, I'm not mad at you. I'm sorry if I made you feel that I was. I agree with you, I need to talk to you." Heyes paused when Kid looked up at him. "First, before I say too much, I need to tell you the most important part of my life is our partnership and friendship. I never want to lose it or you."

"I really hate talking about what had happened without your input or your views. I hope after you get your full memory back that you'll give us that chance to talk over everything."

Kid was baffled by Heyes' hesitation to start the conversation. "Something is making Heyes worry about my reactions. What could have happened to cause this?"

"I can't say for sure...but...you ended our partnership, over a month before I came to San Francisco."

Kid said in an alarmed voice, "What?"

Heyes quickly added before he lost his nerve, "You got up one morning in Collins, Colorado; wrote me a note saying that our partnership was done and you didn't need me and you rode away. You told me not to waste my time searching for you, because you didn't want to be found."

Kid had his arm propped up, with his hand rubbing his temple. Kid had hoped to ease the thumping pain in his head.

Heyes told Kid what he knew about Liberty, Colorado and the Preacher. He told up to him getting on the train routed for San Francisco. Kid put his hand to his back and felt the area where the bullet had traveled across. Kid's mind was swirling around so fast that he didn't dare say anything to Heyes. Then he saw Heyes get up from his chair and head for the door, "Heyes?"

Heyes didn't want to talk anymore about what he told Kid, so when he got by the door, he said, "Lom, would you stay with him?"

Heyes needed to clear his head, and get back in control of himself, so that meant leaving Kid for now.

Lom was embarrassed that Heyes knew that he had eavesdropped on his conversation with Kid. Lom said, "Heyes, let me explain to you."

"Lom, I understand that you were concerned about Kid, after you saw the blood. You’re just being a good friend." Lom saw the hurt in Heyes' eyes, which shook him. When Heyes got by Lom, he said, "Please watch him and be there for him.



CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

When Lom entered the room, Kid had his head down and Lom felt uncomfortable intruding on him. He quietly walked over to the desk and sat behind it. He was using the desk as a wall between them to give Kid his space. Lom was careful not to glance at his friend, so he picked up the book he had been reading earlier. He had struggled through one page when Kid's voice cut through the tension that was suffocating Lom.

"Lom?" Lom hoped he had imagined that Kid had called out his name, so he tried to keep on reading.

"Did you know about the partnership ending?" Kid asked. Lom looked up and saw that Kid looked exhausted and scared at the information he had learned about earlier.

Lom decided that he had to be straight with him since Heyes had already told him about the partnership, "Yes, you'd telegraphed me about you ending the partnership. You wanted me to inform the Governor about it."

At that point, Kid was holding his head. The pounding wasn't just in his head, but also in his chest. It was getting harder for him to breathe; Lom didn't notice Kid's difficulty being on the other side of the room. Kid asked, short of breath, "The Governor knows about this?"

"The Governor knows enough. When I said that I needed to be here with you two, he said to go," Lom remarked.

Lom saw Kid's distress over what he had heard; it alarmed Lom that he rushed to Kid's side. Lom had done some fast thinking on what had transpired between them. "Kid, the Governor knows nothing about the break-up. He knows that you got seriously injured, that's all!" Lom waited for Kid to respond; nothing. "Do you understand, what I said?"

Kid nodded his head, which was a big mistake. He said very quick, "I'm getting sick!"

Lom rushed and got the wastebasket just in time. Kid lost the little bit of food he had in his stomach. Lom made a damp cloth for Kid to wipe his face, and a couple for the front and back of his head. The room was spinning, and Kid felt sick again. He managed nothing but dry heaves. After Kid settled down, Lom put a spent Kid to bed. It wasn't long before Kids' eyes closed. Lom was relieved to see his friend finally resting.

While that went on in the den, Heyes was on his fourth or fifth lap around the garden. Finally, a voice interrupted Heyes' frustration walk, "Are you planning to make the garden's walkways deeper? If you need someone to talk to, the last time I looked, I do have two ears!" Silky had been sitting in the gazebo watching Heyes marching around and around.

"How long have you been sitting there?" asked a shocked Heyes.

"For some time. I came out to watch the stars. I hope this town never gets too big that you can't see them," Silky said sadly.

"How can a city get too big for the stars?" Heyes wondered aloud.

"If there's a way, you know progress will destroy that," Silky mumbled.

Heyes nodded his head, "It'd sure ruin it for us, with the outlawing." Silky soon had Heyes talking and thinking nothing in particular, instead of Kid and their partnership. Of course, after a few glasses of Silky's whiskey, Heyes was soon relaxed.

By the time, Heyes made it back to the den; he was walking a little cautiously, after stumbling into the table in the kitchen. He appreciated the time Lom had given him away from his cousin. It was reassuring to see Lom sitting beside the bed while Kid slept. Heyes smiled at Lom and asked, "How's Kid?"

Lom had thought over what he was going to say to Heyes when he returned. Lom decided that keeping what went on from Heyes wasn't going to do anyone any good. Lom whispered, "Kid had a real bad spell, while you were gone."

Before Lom could say anything else, Heyes went quickly over to the bed and saw how pale Kid looked. "What happened?"

Lom suggested, "Let's go over to the desk to talk so he can sleep."

Both men went to the other side of the room, and Heyes had sobered up after looking at Kid's pale complexion. Heyes looked intently at his friend waiting for him to continue. Lom didn't know quite what to say, what had gone on with Kid.

Lom picked his words carefully, "Kid asked if I knew he had ended your partnership. I said yes, that he had sent me a telegram. He asked about the Governor, and I said that he didn't know about it, but knew that he was seriously injured. He told me that his head was pounding and that he felt nauseous, and then he vomited. Afterwards, he had the dry heaves, which lasted awhile. I put him in bed and he fell asleep shortly afterwards. He was so weak."

"Sometimes I wonder if he'll pull through this. Those headaches seem to be getting worse and it's draining Kid's all of his strength. The ginger water only relieves some of the pain. Daniels is looking for medicine that doesn't have opium in it. Plus he has no interest in eating and he keeps losing weight." Heyes was showing the stress he was under. He said very softly "Lom, I don't want to lose Kid."

Heyes went over to the bed and felt Kid's forehead and he frowned. "Kid feels clammy. Do you think orange juice would help him?"

"Do you want me to ask Sally if it would be alright?" Lom looked at his watch, he frowned, "Heyes, it's one in the morning, we should let her sleep. I can get a small glass of juice, and we can see if he’ll drink some."

Lom lit the lamp on the kitchen table and went over to the icebox to get the juice. While he was pouring, Sally entered the kitchen. Lom explained what was going on with Kid. Sally said she would take the juice in and he should go to bed.

Sally entered the room, carrying the juice, "I heard Jed got sick." She leaned over Kid and gently put her hand on his forehead, "He's clammy."

A faint voice said, "It might be clammy because everyone keeps putting their hands on my forehead."

Kid had his eyes closed. Sally softly asked, "Darling, I've some orange juice, can you try to take a sip for me?"

"I don't want to get sick, again," whispered Kid. Sally cupped her hand on Kid's chin, "Darling, this will help soothe your stomach."

Heyes had turned up the light some, and Sally was taken aback at Kid's complexion; it was so ashen. They saw Kid's labored breathing, too. When she looked up, she saw the uneasiness in Heyes' eyes.

Kid took a gasp, "I’ll try a sip."

Heyes helped hold Kid up, while Sally handled the glass. Kid took a couple of sips, and then he was back asleep, before Heyes could lay him back down. Sally stood by Kid's side, dressed in her bathroom, slippers, and watched Jed sleep. She reached out and caressed his face. "Heyes, I think we should send for Tommy. Jed has me scared, he looks frightful," Sally said, her tears ready to flow.

Heyes guided Sally to the chair for her to sit down, and he pulled out his pocket watch. "Sally, it's going on 1:30 a.m."

"I don't care what time it is, there's something terribly wrong with Jed. I know you can feel that Jed in danger, too." With that said Sally went charging out the door, to rouse someone to get Daniels.

Heyes sat beside the bed and kept a close watch on his friend. Kid's dreams were troubling him, and he heard Kid call out for him. He tried to comfort Kid, but his partner heard nothing Heyes said. Sally came back in the room and Heyes was on the bed talking to an unconscious Kid, trying to reassure him that he had his back. Sally sat in the chair and watched the boys, and occasionally a tear would run down her cheek.

It was 3:00 a.m., when Doctor Daniels entered the room. Sally was asleep. Daniels thought Heyes was asleep until he saw Heyes nod his head at him.

Heyes got out of the bed and went over to Daniels, "I'm sorry that we disturbed you at this time in the morning. Sally and I are worried about how Kid is breathing and him being so clammy."

"That's all right, Heyes. Now, should we wake her or move the chair, so I can do the examination?" asked Daniels. They decided to pick up the chair and move it, because Sally looked exhausted.

First thing, he asked, "What happened to Jed's hands?" Heyes told him everything that happened, last night. Heyes said, "This is all my fault. I should've listened to you about his memory. Kid said his head was hurting, and he vomited. Kid was in so much distress, about the things I was keeping from him, so I gave in." Heyes hung his head in shame. "Kid's been having nightmares and I can't get through to him.'

"You said Jed hasn't fallen, right?" With the examination, Daniels was thinking out loud, "Heartbeat slowed...drowsy...upset stomach....clammy...not eating...he's worse than before, when he took the laudanum....opium....just ginger water."

Daniels stepped back into the table beside the bed. A blue jar fell on the floor. Daniels picked it up and looked at the label, and he opened it up and smelled it. He shook his head and asked, "Who's been using this?"

Heyes said lightly, "Oh, that stuff. Kid hurt his back when he was breaking a stallion on a ranch in Colorado. He bought that cream from a ‘snake charmer' who swore that Kid would feel no pain in an hour. He would get snappy with me when I asked if it was working. Kid kept spreading that stuff on his back."

"Has Jed used it lately?" Daniels was still checking the cream out.

"He insisted that he needed it about two days ago. It was after he sat in the chair for a few hours. Why? It's just some kind of skin cream, isn't?"

"No, this stuff has opium in it!"

Heyes stood there dumbfounded. His mind was swirling, remembering their time in Colorado. "But he used in Colorado and he didn't get sick like this."

"The reaction would be different because Kid is recovering from the beating and he's in a weakened state. How long did he use it, before he left you?" Daniels explained.

"He probably used for five to six days." Heyes was trying to figure out where these questions were going.

"Did Jed become short tempered and start not sleeping good?" Daniels knew the answers before Heyes said yes. While he sponged off Kid’s body, Daniels wanted to hear about how their partnership ended.

"Our partnership didn't end; I wouldn't allow it!" demanded Heyes.

"I understand, but I need to know what went on, everything," Daniels looked Heyes straight into his eyes.

Heyes told him everything he could remember. After he was done, Daniels thought over everything again. Heyes was waiting for Daniels to say something, and he was getting frustrated with the doctor.

A slow smile appeared on the doctor’s face. "Heyes, I'm pretty sure the opium affected Jed in Colorado. It might be the main reason he left you. The opium would make a little problem so big, that it was hard for Jed to handle. The gunfight that ended with your shirt having a bullet hole could've caused real nightmares for Jed. The opium brought out his hidden fears for you. The reasoning part of his brain was affected, but some of those feelings he had, could be real."

"You're telling me, that jar of cream led to all of this trouble? Kid almost lost his life, because of this cream!" Heyes' voice raised with each statement.

Heyes grabbed the jar and stomped towards the door. Sally woke to Heyes' angry voice and saw the mood he was in as he left the room. He entered the kitchen and grabbed a box out of the storage room and stomped outside.

Once outside, he put the box on the ground, and threw the jar inside. The blue jar hit the bottom of the box hard and cracked in half, showing the cream inside. The sight of the cream just enraged Heyes more. He looked around until he found a large rock, then with all his rage; he slammed the rock into the jar over and over again, until the blue glass speckled the white cream. That done, Heyes collapsed on the bench staring at the cream, which he hated with every inch of his being.

Heyes remembered the day Kid bought that accursed jar, and how he laughed at his cousin for wasting his money on it. Heyes thought, "As stubborn Kid is, he probably over used the cream just to prove me wrong. I remember the hurt look on his face when I laughed about the cream."

Daniels went out to check on Heyes. Startled to see the doctor outside, Heyes started to rush to Kid’s side. He thought Kid had passed on. His heart was pounding and his mind was focused on his guilt as his eyes blurred with tears.

Daniels saw Heyes' reaction and placed his hand on Heyes' shoulder to stop him from getting up. Daniels stood behind Heyes so he wouldn't realize that Daniels had seen his tears.

"Sally is awake and watching over Jed. Heyes, you're not at fault! These ‘snake charmers' are out for quick cash. They'll put anything in these jars and call it the miracle medicine. Some of that junk has killed people; it's not worth the risk." Daniels was trying to lift the burden off Heyes' shoulders.

Heyes said in a defeated voice, "I thought that cream was harmless skin cream." Heyes hung his head. "Partners are supposed to look after each other. I let Kid down."

"For one thing, Jed is a grown man who makes his own decisions and mistakes. Another thing, I don't know any man who would search over a month, and four states, for a man who had ended their partnership." Daniels was trying his best to stop Heyes blaming himself.

"Kid is my partner and family. I can't lose him," Heyes said in a heavy voice. Both men sat and watched the sunrise, and said nothing. Both were lost in their own thoughts and prayers. Looking at the beauty of the sky, Heyes prayed that his partner would share another sunrise with him. While Daniels prayed that Heyes would adjust, if Jed died.

Daniels had stayed to keep a close eye on Kid, who was still unconscious and mumbling occasionally. Kid's heartbeat was very slow, and that worried the doctor. He didn't know if Kid had the strength left to pull through this time. “This morning is the eighth day, since the beating, and I didn’t think he would make it through the first night. Just maybe Jed can pull through this set back.”


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the late morning, Lom received a message from O'Toole, asking to meet him around noon. Lom was eager to hear if O'Toole had found out anything else. Heyes had finally fallen asleep, so Lom told Silky what was going on with O'Toole.

Lom arrived at the O'Bryan's boarding house an hour early. That way Lom and O'Toole didn't arrive at the same time, bringing unwanted attention to their meeting. Lom realized that Kid had found two good friends in Katie and O'Toole. He thought it was too bad that Kid had hooked up with Mulligan.

Katie had many stories to tell Lom about the short time she had known Thaddeus. The two of them laughed and praised Thaddeus. Katie said, "I've never met a more polite and kind man in my life. Yet, Thaddeus has innocence about him, and a trusting quality, too."

Lom sat with visions of Kid facing down a gunman, and feeling the cold chill of Kid's stare. He saw the draw of Kid's gun, and the shooting off a man's holster before the man's hand reached his gun. "Kid is called the fastest gun in the West."

"...know he's a kid."

Lom came back from his memories, hearing the word ‘Kid’. Lom stumbled out, "What?"

"I said that Thaddeus is a big kid," laughed Katie. "What did you think I said?"

"Oh. I wasn't quite sure what you said. I guess you could say that about Thaddeus being a kid."

O'Toole saved Lom by knocking on the door. Sally answered the door; the man brought a fish for them. O'Toole nodded his head at Lom, "Glad you were able to come. I've got some information that's quite interesting."

"Well sit down, and have some lemonade before you start talking," Katie offered.

O'Toole took a sip and said, "There's been a lot of activity with Mulligan and his hired thugs. It seems they are frantically searching for something they've lost. First, they searched around the factory district and around the Barbary Coast, and they asked some peculiar questions. First, did anyone get hurt during the storm? Second, has there been any trouble lately with shanghais?"

"Down at the wharf, they asked some of the fishers if Thaddeus was back from his trip. They said that Mulligan wasn't mad at him any longer, and they were required to find out if he wanted to fight again. They checked the morgue, searching for a relative, who's been missing since the storm. Next they checked out area doctors for people they could help that got injured during the storm."

"O'Toole, you be very careful! Your contacts know how important it is to be discreet about this information. I don't what anyone to get killed because Mulligan's thugs sound like they're desperate, which makes them dangerous," Lom warned.

"Yes, we Irish know how to protect, one of our own. The people here at Irish Hill have come to care for Thaddeus."

Sally interrupted, "You would never guess how many neighbors asked about Thaddeus. The stories I've heard about Thaddeus helping complete strangers, with no thought about how tired he was. He bought candy for the children in the neighborhood."

O'Toole interrupted, "Thaddeus came early everyday to the docks, to help with the incoming catch and with the nets. He said he did it so the docks would stay cleaner, less work for him. But the men knew better. They loved to talk and poke fun at the cowboy working the docks. I was shocked to see the men pick up their trash, if they dropped anything. Some forced Thaddeus to take a tip of money from them. If he refused, they said that Thaddeus would be forbidden to work on the wharf. It wouldn't be much, but they wanted to show their respects towards him. They would go and watch Thaddeus hay rope fight. They said Thaddeus was the best they'd ever seen. They were the ones that tried to stop the fight, and to get him afterwards, to help him home."

"So you can see Lom, Thaddeus was brought into our families and is thought of as one of us, here in Irish Hill. In turn, they would do anything to help Thaddeus. If the men knew that Thaddeus was beaten almost to death, they would kill Mulligan."



CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

2:00 P.M. - Lom returned to Silky's and was told that Heyes was up. He poked his head into the den and Heyes waved him in.

Lom told Heyes what he had found out from O'Toole about Mulligan. Heyes was in a dark mood over Kid's senseless relapse; this information put Heyes in to a rage.

"Mulligan knows that Kid is alive. He's going to be very dangerous. Does O'Toole realize this?"

"Yes, O'Toole knows. Plus, he heard things about Mulligan before Kid became involved in the fighting." Lom looked over to the bed. "How's he doing today? Has he been awake any?"

"I don't know, Lom. He has no color to his skin and is still clammy. There are times he has such violent chills that I've to hold him, to try to warm him up. Each time I can feel him getting weaker, if that's possible. He's been unconscious since last night. I don't know if Kid can recognize my voice, so he would know that I'm here." Heyes needed Lom to reassure him about his partner.

"If anything Heyes, Kid knows that you're here. You two have that connection when words aren't needed. He knows. Another thing Heyes, you know he's been in tough spots before. Kid is a survivor. I've never seen a man who was born with the survival instincts he has. How many times did he save the lives of the Devil Holes Gang? I know he saved my life more times than I want to count. Then there are the burning buildings that he rushes into; there was that cave in; thrown from horses, rock slides, just to name a few of the times. I would put my money on Kid," Lom said proudly.

"Why don't we sit beside him, and talk over some of those times. I think it would do him good to hear our voices, and maybe he'll wake up to correct us on how it really went," Heyes smiled a weak smile.

They talked, ate dinner and played blackjack. It felt good to Heyes talking to someone that knew the real Kid. Sometimes, Heyes could actually forget that Lom was a sheriff, and think of him only as the friend he had rode with.

Two hours later, Daniels came into the room to check on Jed. After completing the examination, he stated that Kid's heart rate was the same as when he left. He was hopeful that it might be a turning point.

"Do you two want some fresh money to play with?" Daniels asked eager to play cards with Heyes. He still sought to be one of the boys after all these years.

"Do you still remember how to play cards? I mean with good card players," teased Heyes. "I hope you got your money on you, because Lom is a good player, too."

After they played a few hands, Silky stormed into the room. "What are you boys doing playing cards without me?" he asked. "You better deal me in the next hand."

With a smirk on his face, Heyes said swaggering, "I for one will be happy to deal you in. You brought your money, right? No IOU's at this table."

"What table? This is my desk! And who told you that you could move it over by the bed?" Silky tried to sound angry towards them. Instead, the three men laughed at Silky's remarks. "Another thing, I want no smoking in here!"

They looked at each other shrugged their shoulders, because no one was smoking, or thought about it, with Kid being so sick. Heyes knew this was Silky's way of taking care of Kid. While Silky waited for the cards to be dealt, he asked, "No change?" as he looked over at their sick friend. Heyes saw the tired, worried look on Silky’s face.

Daniels spoke up, "Jed's heartbeat is stable, so now we wait. I'm staying the night." He studied his cards. He knew what the odds were in poker, and that Heyes couldn't win every hand. He was going to be ready. Meanwhile, Heyes was reading the doctor like a book and smiled to himself.

Around seven, the game broke up with Daniels wondering how Heyes could win like that. Daniels went to his room, which Lionel had made up for him, planning his game strategy for next time. As the night wore on, Heyes couldn't sleep, and this was the time of the night, he felt the loneliest. He missed the Kid's nightly routine of checking the area, cleaning his gun and Heyes’… if he could get a hold of it, and hanging his holster on the bedpost. Heyes picked up the book that Silky had bought Kid, "Hannibal Heyes/Kid Curry and the Indian Princess" and started reading to his cousin.

Heyes would read so much and then make comments on what he had read. "Now get this, they have you, out-shooting seven gunmen with only one six shooter. It still amazes me, what you're supposed to be able to do. We both know that you've been slowing down and now I probably can out draw you."

Heyes read another chapter and boasted, "I like this writer, and he got me pegged right on target. You heard what he wrote about the saloon girl and me! She fell in love with my charm and intelligence." Heyes was boasting more, "I bet that I get the Indian Princess!" Heyes was searching for his place on the page he was reading, when....

A soft weak voice said, "I'll take that bet."

"Kid?" Heyes dropped the book out of his hand and leaned over Kid. Heyes couldn't help himself that he was smiling so wide that his face hurt. "Kid, you know that I always get the girl."

"Only....the ones that felt sorry for you," Kid spoke slowly. He had his eyes half opened and he was still very pale.

"What about Mary in Red Rock?" Heyes bragged.

"She paid attention to you, as a favor for me," Kid teased.

"All right, Jeannie in Creek Bend?" Heyes had some fond memories of her.

"That one cost me five dollars for her to say hello to you," grinned Kid.

Heyes laughed and said, "It's great to have you awake."

Kid frowned, "How long have I been asleep?"

"You missed a day," Heyes informed him.

Feeling sleepy with his eyes closing Kid asked, "Then why do I feel so tired?"

"Kid, you go ahead and get some sleep. I'll be right here if you need anything." Heyes remembered that his partner should drink some water, "Ah, Kid? Can you drink some water first before you go back to sleep?"

"Heyes, I knew that was too easy! You never let me just go to sleep," Kid tried to smile.

Kid drank a half of glass of water with Heyes' help. Then Heyes decided to straighten up the bed. Heyes arranged the pillows, lifting Kid's upper body, to put support for his back and raise his head up some.

A sleepy voice said, "Heyes, wait to read the rest. I want to be awake when I get the Princess."

"I'll wait for you, partner," Heyes smiled.

Heyes moved to the bottom of the bed to straighten the covers, and worked his way up the bed. Kid opened his eyes slightly, every time Heyes moved somewhere else. By the time Heyes reached to do the pillows again, Kid was asleep.

For a moment, Heyes wore a happy relaxed smile, until Kid went back to sleep. Then the worry overtook him. He sat beside the bed for a few hours, to make sure Kid didn't have any more nightmares. An hour or so after midnight, Kid did get the chills, and Heyes climbed in bed and held Kid in his lap. After the chills had past, Heyes crawled down into the bed and put his back to the Kid's to keep him warm.

The next morning, Daniels was able to check on Kid without waking Heyes. He was thrilled to find Kid's heartbeat stronger than the day before, but he still didn't like Kid's skin coloring. He left a message for Heyes that if he needed him, Lionel knew how to reach him. He would be back around noon to check on Jed.

It was around ten, when Heyes woke up with a start. He tried to figure out if he had dreamt that Kid had woken for a short time last night. He got up and went to the other side of the bed and picked up the book he had been reading.

"Heyes, you not going to cheat and look ahead in the book, are you?" Kid had woken up when he felt Heyes lift off the bed.

"Kid, you are awake! I don't need to look ahead, I know that I'll get the Princess," Heyes teased.

"If it makes you feel better, maybe you shouldn't read the rest," Kid was trying to raise himself up. Heyes was there in a dash and helped. Heyes poured a glass of water and helped Kid to drink.

Sally found out that Kid was awake and she brought some juice for them. Sally talked him into trying warm cereal and some strawberries. Heyes was happy to see Kid eat half of his breakfast, even if he still needed help. Heyes sponged off Kid and talked him into a shave. After changing the bed, Heyes asked if he wanted to go in his chair outside and Kid said no.

"I'm too tired. All I want to do is go back to sleep for now. Maybe this afternoon I won't be so tired," Kid said, and then he saw the disappointment on his cousin's face. Kid settled in the bed and was back to sleep in a few minutes. Heyes paced around the den for an hour until he felt tired and he lay down for a nap.

It was after twelve, when Sally softly said Heyes' name. He slowly woke up and was surprised that he had slept so long. He ran his fingers through his hair to pushing it back from his face. Sally smiled.

Over the years, she learned that Heyes did the pushing back of his hair when he was embarrass, frustrated, or excited. This reminded her of the young boys Silky brought home with him, years ago. A warm smile came to her face; Heyes has added tenderness to Silky that most people never saw. She was thankful that Heyes had done that for Silky. It just dawned on Sally that Heyes adds the tenderness for Kid and visa versa.

"I came to see what you two want to do about lunch. Doctor Daniels is going to be coming soon to check on Jed and afterwards, I'm serving him lunch." Sally lowered her voice to almost a whisper, "How is Jed doing? He looks so pale and tired."

Heyes moved closer to Sally and said, "This morning, Jed had an attack of the chills, afterwards he was drained. Thank goodness, he was asleep, because it's hard enough to watch without seeing the pain in his eyes. Off and on Jed had some nightmares that shook him real good. Usually I can put my hand on his shoulder and it calms him down, knowing that I'm there, but I was no help."

Sally knew how distressed that made Heyes and she put her hand on his arm and said, "Jed will get better, Heyes."

"Yea, but how many scars will he have?" Heyes wondered aloud. Sally patted Heyes on his back to comfort him, that's all she could think to do. Heyes went to Kid's side and leaned down, "Kid, it's almost noon. It's time to wake up. Sally is here, and she wants to fix lunch for us."

Kid grumbled, "Heyes...I'm up!" Kid's eyes were still closed. A moment later, his breathing sounded like he had fallen back to sleep.

Heyes gently squeezed Kid's shoulder, "Kid, it's time to wake up."

With his eyes closed, Kid tried to convince Heyes that he was getting up. Heyes whispered to Sally, "See what I've to put up with!"

Smiling at his partner, Heyes was happy at any response he got from him. Heyes thought, "Now if I can get Kid to open his eyes, so I can see those blues."

Kid was in a strange mood when he finally woke up. Heyes couldn't put a finger on the feelings he got from Kid's mood. It was as if an alarm went off that something had changed with his cousin.

Later, Daniels came in to examine Kid. Heyes was right there watching and asking questions. Kid couldn't take it any longer and asked in a chilled voice, "Heyes, why don't you back off? I need time alone with the doctor. You'll leave, right?"

Heyes was hurt and shocked, when he left the room. Kid had seen the hurt in Heyes' eyes and for some strange reason it made him feel good. Daniels felt like he was in the middle of something that he didn't understand. "Jed, is there something wrong besides the obvious? I mean what was that all about?"

Kid hung his head and said, "I don't know, but at the time it felt good. Now I feel awful about what I said to Heyes. I can see Heyes has worn himself out taking care of me. But I've feelings that want to explode inside of me. If I could I would hit something!"

Daniels could see both the scared little Jed and the hot-tempered Kid Curry lying in the bed. He knew that he needed to handle Jed very carefully for everyone's sake. He needed to find what had triggered this dark mood of Jed’s. Daniels thought it over, while he listened to Kid's heart.

Heyes was pacing the hallway between the den and the kitchen. He had just turned his back towards the kitchen when a hand reached out and pulled him inside the kitchen door. "Darling, what are you doing? You're driving me crazy, with all of your pacing."

"Kid kicked me out of the den." Heyes was worried. "Something is wrong, but I can't figure it out." Heyes tried to start pacing, but Sally had him help her fix lunch. She got him to tell her about Jed's mood.

"You've to remember, as confused as you are, Jed is probably double that. Jed was recovering well and the next thing he knows it's a day later and he feels like crap," Sally said serenely. "Heyes, please be easy on yourself and Jed. Don't take everything to heart, right now. I know that Jed loves you very deeply and you love him. Isn't that all that matters?"

Heyes hugged and kissed Sally on the cheek. "I thank God, that Kid found his way to Silky's and to you, Sally."

"Now you quit that, you silly boy. Now look what you done," Sally said, wiping tears off her cheeks. "Take that tray into the den, and then come back for more."

After a couple of trips from the kitchen, they had a pleasant lunch without any surprises from Kid. Heyes could still see the coldness in Kid's eyes, but he talked friendly enough, but Heyes saw through it.

Heyes decided that he would help Sally in the kitchen to give Daniels time with his partner. Daniels had it all thought out during lunch on what approach to use on Jed.

When Daniels pulled his chair closer to the bed, Kid knew he was up to something. Kid tried to close his eyes to fake going back to sleep. Daniels leaned over and said softy, "That's not going to work. We need to talk about why you had a relapse, the nightmares you're having, your memory, and your hearing. Do you understand? If not I can always get Heyes."

"Are you trying to threaten me with Heyes?" Kid stormed.

"If that's what it takes to get through to you, yes!" Daniels paused for a reaction and he got the icy glare. "First, your relapse was caused by that cream you were using on your bac;, it had opium in it. You were close to death's door because that. Next, the opium can cause the nightmares or affect the memories you have. Whatever you have dreamt could be a frightening mix of reality and your dreams. If you want, we can go over any of them and try to figure them out.

Last your health; your heartbeat is still slower than normal. That will improve with a lot of rest and you'll need to eat. You didn't eat enough for a baby at lunch and that has to improve. Your head injury; there's still swelling around your right ear. Can you hear anything with that ear?"

Kid was startled, "You're telling me that cream has opium in it?" Daniels nodded, yes. "How can they sell that stuff to people, and not tell them there's a danger in using it? About me eating, it still hurts to have food in my stomach. I'll try to eat more."

"The opium and your stomach being empty have made it sore. Your body is screaming for food, for the healing to continue. That can cause some of your headaches, besides the injuries and your mind trying to protect you from your memories. Basically, you have to start eating more! Tell me about your hearing."

"If I hear anything out of that ear, it's a buzzing noise or sounds like the ocean, you know water moving in a mass. At times it feels hot around the ear and I feel pressure that causes a headache," Kid said, his eyes half shut.

"Are you getting a headache?" Daniels saw the discomfort appear on Kid's face.

"Yes, it feels like my head is getting ready to split open." Kid had opened his eyes wider and Daniels saw the pain there.

"I'm going to mix up some of that ginger water for you," Daniels said and rushed from the room. He went straight over to cabinet with the glasses and picked one up. Heyes and Sally were alarmed by Daniels' actions as he tried to mix up the ginger water quickly.

Heyes asked, "Is there something wrong with Kid?" Daniels was rushing back out the door. Heyes yelled, "What is wrong?"

"He is getting a bad headache," Daniels saw Heyes moving towards him and put up his hand to stop him. "Heyes, I think it would be better if you stay out of there for now."

Daniels didn't wait to see Heyes' reaction or hear a hurtful, "What?"

Kid heard Daniels rushing back, and he wiped the tears off his face and then held his head ‘together.' Daniels said softly, "Here's the ginger water, let me help you."

Daniels had to take Kid's hand off the glass, so he could pull the glass back as Kid coughed. Daniels got Kid settled back down as tears streamed down his cheeks and his throat burned as his head pounded.

"Now slower this time." Kid drank the rest of the water and Daniels settled Kid back down on the pillows. "You close your eyes and try to sleep."

Half an hour later, Heyes was determined to find out what was going on with Kid and no one was going to stop him. Not Daniels or Kid! He came in unwavering in his commitment for his partner. Daniels was surprised that Heyes had waited that long to appear at the den's door.

Daniels waved Heyes over at the desk where he was sitting with the light down low. He whispered to Heyes, "Kid has been asleep for twenty minutes now. If you don't mind, I'm washed out. I would like to get some sleep. I'll be staying overnight again. I'll see you at dinner."

Heyes was confused and angry, being left in the dark about his partner. Heyes softened when he saw the pain etched on Kid's face. He sat in the overstuffed chair and watched Kid sleep and the pain slowly left his partner’s face. The relaxation took hold of Heyes once he saw his friend sleeping pain free, he slumped down in the chair and fell asleep.


avatar
Re: Why Must We Make It So Hard?
Post on Thu 26 Feb 2015, 4:15 pm by royannahuggins
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

The girl's body was covered in blood. "Kid, why did you let them do this?" she cried. Kid mumbled "no" and was tossing his head back and forth. Then he dreamt that Heyes grabbed a hold of him and he had to watch the girl be beaten. Then Heyes smiled and said, "See that's how you stay out of trouble!"

Heyes woke and put his hand on Kid's shoulder to calm him down. Instead, Kid got more agitated. Heyes was surprised by that reaction and pulled his hand back and Kid calmed down.

Some of Kid's dreams were about the time he spent in Liberty. How close he came to having a wild bullet, from Jenkins' gun kill Heyes and the shootout with the men who came to break Jenkins out of jail. Kid felt the bullet hit him again in the back. He felt again the burning pain from the bullet and he cried out. Kid relived his fear for Heyes' life, and the danger he put his friend in every time he was involved in a gunfight. He felt the anger over the control Heyes always wanted to have over him. Heyes noticed Kid was having difficulty breathing and the cold sweats.

Heyes tried to wake Kid up, but he got no response. Kid's good ear was buried in the pillow so he could not hear Heyes, just a buzzing sound brought on by the pressure in his ear. The lack of response from Kid had panicked Heyes into calling for Daniels. Heyes met the doctor in the hallway.

Heyes nervousness showed in his voice, "Jed is having nightmares and cold sweats. I don't know what to do! I can't get through to him."

From the door, Daniels could see the distress Jed was in and decided he could find out more, without Heyes being by his elbow. "Heyes, we need to warm up Jed. Would you have Sally make some coffee? Then bring some back for Jed."

After Heyes rushed towards the kitchen, Daniels checked Kid's heartbeat; it was racing. He wasn't happy with that because he knew it was tiring the heart. He knew he had to calm him down, which meant waking Kid up. First, he tried talking by Kid's right ear, but got no response. The doctor turned Kid's head, so his left ear was exposed. With the movement of his head, Kid groaned. Daniels spoke softy, "Jed come on. You need to wake-up."

Daniels embraced Kid's shoulder and suddenly Kid took a swing at the doctor. Lucky for Daniels, Kid didn't have the strength to finish the swing. Daniels jumped back in surprised.

"Jed, it's me, Daniels."

Kid slowly opened his weary eyes. The dark circles under them made him look paler, if possible. He was shivering, "I...I'm....soo...coold!"

Daniels grabbed the extra blankets and laid them over Kid. Daniels wanted Kid to realize what was happening to him, "Jed, you’re having nightmares and cold sweats brought on by the opium. Do you understand what I said?" Kid shook his head. Daniels asked, "Are you feeling any warmth from the blankets?"

"Li..little," Kid shivered.

"I'm going to sponge off the sweat on your body, and hopefully it will help warm you up." Daniels started with Kid's legs, and he was surprised at the punishment Kid's body still showed.

Heyes came back in with a pot of coffee, and three cups. He poured a cup for Kid and handed the cup to Daniels. Heyes didn't say a word and kept his eyes from looking at Kid's face. He poured himself a cup and placed the third cup and coffee pot on the table beside the bed. Taking his coffee, he went to other side of the room to keep his distance from his cousin.

Heyes talked to Daniels like Kid wasn't in the room, "Sally is fixing some chicken rice soup for Kid."

Heyes sat down at the desk to be out of the way. This was a strange feeling for Heyes. He never remembered feeling ‘in the way' with his partner before. If anything, he had always felt more comfortable having Kid by his side. Heyes sat there mulling over Kid's recent response to him. Kid was closing him out and he didn't know why. Heyes felt his nerves knotting up and he got up, excused himself, and went out to the garden to pace.

When Kid knew that Heyes had left, he asked to see Lom. Daniels sent for the sheriff, who arrived a short time later. Kid was propped up in bed as soon as Lom entered, Kid started to asked questions. "Lom, I need to go over a few things, to find out which of my nightmares are dream and which are old memories."

Lom was stunned and didn't know how to handle Kid's remark, "What? Why don't you ask Heyes? He probably knows what you want to know better than I do."

"Because I need the truth, not his protection," Kid said wearily. "Maybe then these headaches will go away."

Lom looked over at Daniels for some guidance. The doctor nodded his head approvingly. Lom looked down at the empty chair to get his mind clear before answering the questions. He pulled the chair next to the bed, and sat down where he could look straight into Kid's face. He took a big breath and said, "Alright, but I don't know everything, you probably want to know."

"Thank-you, Lom." Kid paused. He had so many questions. Kid was trying to get his thoughts organized. "I keep on getting this vision of a saloon girl, bloody, and laying in the street. Someone is asking me questions about the girl and I look down...I have...blood on my hands. Lom, did I shoot her?"

"Oh my god, no! You didn't shoot her! A man tried to rape her, and he beat her." Kid had everything mixed up and Lom couldn't let him worry or blame himself for things that had never happened.

Kid rubbed his head, trying to clear the pain so he could think clearer. His eyes were squeezed shut as he asked, "Her name was Susie? And his Jenkins?"

"Yes."

Kid was breathing unevenly. "Did I end up in a gunfight with this man, and Heyes got shot? Because of me!" Kid's breathing was heavy, "I....I killed this Jenkins."

"Kid, you need to calm down! Yes, you tried to arrest the man, after he had worked over the sheriff. He refused, which led to the gunfight. A wild bullet hit Heyes' shirts shelve, that's all. As far as I know, Jenkins is still alive and in jail."

Kid couldn't believe what he was hearing. "He's still alive?"

"Yes!"

"But I saw Jenkins dead in the street. He shot me in the back. I know that's true because I can feel where it's still healing; the skin is still raised some." Kid raised his nightshirt and showed Lom the spot that he was feeling.

"Jenkins' brother tried to break him out of jail," Lom explained everything he knew about that day.

Heyes was coming back to the den, when he heard their conversation. He stopped outside the doorway. Heyes decided this was the only way to find out about Kid he needed to hear what was going on.

"Lom, I'm remembering the feelings I had, leading up to me ending my partnership with Heyes." Kid voice sounded sad and tired. Heyes leaned against the wall behind him, to brace himself against what he felt his partner was about to say.

"I don't always think about what I'm getting myself into Lom. If someone's in danger, I act first and think about the consequences afterwards. Heyes tells me I should walk away, but I can't always do that. Sometimes that puts him in danger too."

Lom knew he needed to find the right words to talk Kid out of his decision, but all he came up was, "Kid, you two can work this out."

Kid said quickly, "I don't think so!"

Daniels suggested that he didn't make any rash decisions. "You're still recovering from affects of the opium plus your head injury. Your thinking is muddled. You don't need to make any decisions now."

Heyes seized the doorframe, to stop himself from rushing into the den and grabbing his partner in order to shake some sense into him. As Heyes considered what to do, he heard Kid talking again.

"I'm always afraid Heyes will be killed backing me up. That day with Jenkins was too close. A couple inches to the right and he would be dead!" Kid was scared that he'd put his partner's life in danger that day.

Heyes couldn't stand to hear Kid say another word. Heyes marched in, stood at the bottom of the bed, and stared at Kid. Everyone could see how angry Heyes was as his eyes fixed on his partner, and the silent words going between the partners.

Finally, Heyes said in sarcastic voice, "A couple inches to the left, and the bullet would've missed me completely. If there's anyone to blame it's me for picking the wrong spot to stand."

All of a sudden, Heyes noticed how tired Kid was. Heyes anger left, he was ashamed about his outburst, and the hurt he saw on Kid's face.

Heyes softly said, "Kid, right now let's worry about you getting on your feet, before you talk about walking away from our partnership. When you've recovered, then you can tell me what you need to say and I'll listen. Just talk to me, please no more notes." Heyes' voice cracked, as he gave into the pain that hit his heart, "I'll listen and not say a word, if that's what you want."

Heyes turned and walked out the door and there was complete silence in the den. Out in the hallway, Heyes was at a lost for what to do next, so he just started to walk.

Lom said, "You can't leave Heyes like you did last time. It would destroy him. He searched for a month and four states for you. You need to take a better look at Heyes and see what it has cost him. Kid you didn't kill anyone. Don't hurt your partner either."

Kid's headache was pounding and all he wanted to do was close his eyes. He still felt cold, but the cold sweats had stopped. Lom excused himself from the room to go after Heyes to talk to him. When he got to the hallway, Heyes was nowhere in sight. He checked the kitchen and the gardens, and started towards the stairs when he saw Lionel. "Have you seen Heyes?"

"Yes sir, Mr. Heyes asked to borrow a horse for the night," replied Lionel.

"Do you have any idea where he might go?" Lom hoped.

"No sir, and Mr. O'Sullivan had went out earlier this evening," Lionel answered.

Lom had no idea where Heyes went and he was worried. He knew Heyes well enough to know that trouble usually followed him. Lom didn't know the San Francisco area well enough to go and search for Heyes. He was at a loss to know what to do next.

"Sir, Mr. Heyes did change his clothes to a suit," Lionel added, hoping that helped the sheriff. The worried look on Lom's face had Lionel concerned, "Is there something wrong with Mr. Curry?"

"No, that's not the reason why I want to find Heyes. Thank-you Lionel." Lom turned and went back to the den.

Kid knew Lom's worried look well enough to pick it up as soon as he entered the room. Lom tried to sit by the desk, so Kid wouldn't notice his uneasiness. Then Lom heard Kid asked, "Lom, what's wrong?"

Lom tried to sound offhand casual, "Oh nothing really. I felt like playing some cards with Heyes, but he went out for the evening."

Kid's temper flared, "He knows not to go out there by himself! Every time we're in this town, we have the same fight!"

Lom asked surprised, "You know where he went?"

"Yes, The Gold Dust Gambling House! I told him over and over again there are too many dark areas around that place. A person could lay in wait, and you could be attacked too easily," Kid stormed. Then he tried to slide his body over to the side of the bed.

"What are you doing?" Lom asked, but he was afraid he already knew.

"I'm going to watch that fool's back! He's going to get himself killed one of these days, because he won't listen to me!" Kid was still pushing his body to react to his commands, but it failed to obey.

Lom saw Kid's frustration, and he went to stop his stubborn friend struggling to get out of bed. He just didn't see how Kid thought he could go anywhere, let alone be able to walk. Lom knew he had to come up with another answer. "You tell me the directions to this Gold Dust place and I'll cover Heyes' back."

Instead of answering Lom, Kid used all his remaining strength to yell out for Lionel, a couple times.

"Kid, what......?" Lom didn't get to finish, because Lionel came rushing into the room.

Breathing hard, Lionel asked, "You bellowed, sir?"

Daniels saw the distress Kid was in and said, "Wait a minute." He put a glass of water up to Kid and said, "Drink!" He took a few sips. "Now calm down or I'll chase everyone out of here, do you understand, Jed?"

Kid nodded his head and took another sip of water. "I'm sorry Lionel, but Heyes has gone to the Gold Dust Gambling House, by himself again." Lionel had heard their fight about the place many times before. "Lom needs a driver and a carriage to take him to the Gold Dust for the night."

"Yes sir, there'll be one waiting for him when he's ready to leave. If I can make a suggestion, Mr. O'Sullivan has extra suits in the second bedroom at the top of the stairs in different sizes and styles."

"Thank-you Lionel, I think I'll go and look over these suits. I know I would feel better in one, if that place is fancy," Lom smiled and left the room.

Kid was smiling at Lionel and said, "Thank-you for helping Lom. Do you think he'd be surprised to know, those suits were used to pull some of the greatest cons Silky and Soapy ever pulled?"

The three men in the den smiled and Lionel said, "I didn't think that the good sheriff needed to know that, sir." All three of them laughed. "Before I leave, is there anything else you're going to need?" Lionel asked.

"If you would have someone, let me know when Heyes and Lom come back, I'd appreciate that," Kid said.



CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

After everything settled down, Daniels knew Kid was still anxious about his partner.

Daniels tried to find something to help Kid relax. "Jed, if you want to talk about what Lom told you about your dreams, I'm here for you."

Kid had been fighting the sleep that wanted to claim him and he wearily said, "I don't know."

Daniels sat there feeling uncomfortable in the silence. Kid had his eyes closed and the doctor thought after awhile that Kid had fallen asleep. He had just relaxed back in the chair when a voice asked, "What time is it?"

Daniels jumped at the sound of Kid's voice and tried to cover his startled reaction by looking at his watch, "Six thirty."

"Lom should be on his way by now," Kid was talking aloud to reassure himself.

Daniels thought Kid was talking to him, "I would think, Lom should be almost there."

Kid came out of his thoughts of Lom and Heyes, "Did you say something?"

Daniels realized that he wasn't talking to him. "No, nothing," Daniels said. He had a good idea what Kid was thinking about.


EARLIER, HEYES IS IN THE HALLWAY

Heyes' temper was ready to explode. "Kid is ending our partnership again! Maybe I should let him go his own way."

Heyes decided he couldn't stand around and watch Kid withdraw further from him. He needed an outlet for his frustrations; the gambling house came to mind. Heyes rushed to the stairs to change his clothes when he spotted Lionel and asked about a horse.

As Heyes changed his clothes, he thought about what Kid had said about going on his own, to play poker in San Francisco. Heyes reasoned with himself, "Well it's different this time, because he's laid up, and Kid doesn't care."

Later, when Heyes entered the Gold Dust Casino, he went straight to the bar to order a whiskey. "It feels strange not ordering a drink for Kid, and him not standing by my side," Heyes' thoughts put him into a fouler mood. He gulped his drink and tapped his glass on the bar for a refill. After he got his drink, Heyes decided to check out the place for trouble. He knew he was being sloppy and should have been more cautious, but at that moment he didn't care. Out of habit, his eyes scanned the room, and no one seemed familiar or had taken an interest in him. Still his mind was on Kid.

He moved down the bar to get a better view of the poker tables and the players. He sipped his second glass of whiskey and decided for the rest of the night he'd be wiser to drink beer. He'd had nothing to eat since breakfast and didn't want the alcohol to affect him too hard. He was planning on playing cards, and he had always said, "A drunk should never play cards."

"If I remember right they serve the best steak ...damn it..." Heyes hung his head. "Kid ever had."

Heyes' demeanor gave off a signal to others that said, ‘don't mess with me.' No one stood close to him, as he tapped his glass and ordered a beer. Heyes watched two tables to see how the games were being played and if they were clean. When a chair opened up he went over, "Do you mind if I join you, gentlemen?" he asked.

The men nodded their heads in acceptance, and the man next to the empty chair pulled it out for Heyes. The game went smooth, out of ten hands Heyes won four. Heyes reassured himself, "See I'm enjoying myself and relaxing, and not thinking of Kid, at all. I can gamble without him being here to back me up. Things are fine without Kid and I don't have to think of him twice."

Another player dropped out, and that's when the game changed, with the arrival of a new player. Heyes sensed that the man was trouble, as soon as he sat down. The man didn't even ask the other players if it was all right for him to join the game. He acted like he had the right to sit there, and Heyes noticed the other players weren't happy to see this man at their table. However, no one said anything to the new player. Heyes knew he should've collected his money and left, but there was not another table open.

Lom had been at the bar long enough, to see the situation at Heyes' table changed for the worse. Lom could feel the tension in the air when the new player sat down. He had a feeling that trouble was on its way. Lom wasn't thrilled that Heyes kept on playing. He knew Heyes wasn't in the right state of mind to avoid trouble and he might be even looking for some. Lom had been there when Heyes was in a fighting mood, and he sure didn't want to see that unfold.

While Heyes played, he heard Kid's angry voiced shouting at him in his head, "Why are you still playing? You've doubled your money. How much money do you need to take from these men, before one of them will want to shoot you? Get up and walk away now! You’re hooked on the danger you put yourself in. Leave the game now!"

Lom sized up the new man and saw that he wore his gun tied down and looked like he knew how to use it. The sheriff overheard talk at the bar that the older man's name was Johnson and he fancied himself as the best gambler in San Francisco. Johnson had a reputation that he won most hands he played and when he didn't win, he would accused the other player of cheating. Then he settled the argument with his gun.

Heyes was so busy trying not to think about Kid that he had little time to concentrate on the cards and yet he still won half of his hands. Lom saw that Johnson was irritated and ready to accuse Heyes of cheating. Lom rushed up to the table and said to Heyes real loud, "Your cousin took a turn for the worse, and your family wants you home. What a time for you to be out gambling the family's money away!"

Everyone at the table was dumbfounded by Lom's outburst. A worried look appeared on Heyes' face. He gathered up his money in a hurry and asked, "How bad is Thaddeus?"

"I wouldn't be here if your family hadn't said it was serious. Are you ready to leave?" Lom asked sternly.

Johnson said, "You're not planning on leaving here with my money, are you?"

Before Johnson could say anything else, Lom, who was standing behind him, put his hand on the man's shoulder and with a tight grip he squeezed and asked, "You don't want him to stay with a sick cousin on his death bed, do you?" Johnson shook his head no, as he gritted his teeth from the pain. "I didn't think so!"

Heyes was walking fast beside Lom when he asked, "How did you know where I was? I didn't tell anyone where I was going."

Lom didn't answer Heyes, because he didn't want to let out his anger on his friend. When they stepped outside, Heyes saw the horse he had borrowed tied to the back of a carriage that was moving towards them. When the carriage stopped Lom got in, Heyes started to move towards the horse, and Lom said in a stern voice, "Get in!"

Heyes stopped in his tracks, looked at Lom, and saw the anger on Lom's face. Heyes slowly got into the carriage and Lom told the driver to take them back to Mr. O'Sullivan's house.

Then he turned towards Heyes and stormed, "What were you doing in there? Getting yourself killed! You weren't paying attention to Johnson; he was ready to call you a cheat, and call you out." Lom was looking at the area, the carriage rode through. "Kid was right about how dangerous the streets are here. They're way too many dark areas for someone to lie in wait for a big winner. You should have been more careful Heyes"

Heyes hated asking, because he feared one of these times, he'd be told that Kid had died. "Kid, how bad?"

"Kid will be better, once he knows you're safe and back at Silky's. I had to hold him down so he couldn't come after you. Kid said that you were in danger going to the Gold Dust alone. He was trying to get up, to come and get you, and it took a lot out of him. The only way to calm him down was to say that I would come here and cover your back. Heyes, he was angry that you were this foolish to come here!" Lom explained how drained Kid was when he left.

"I probably wasn't thinking too clearly, after hearing Kid say that the partnership was over. Lom, I don't have the strength to fight him over this anymore. But I can't stand around and watch him withdraw from me further." Heyes turned his head to look out of the carriage, so he could hide his pain.

"Heyes, how much of our conversation did you hear?" Lom waited for an answer, as Heyes stared out the carriage. Heyes told him about five minutes.

"Well, there was a lot more before that. Kid's been having dreams and some of his memories got mixed up with the nightmares. He told me about them to help sort out what was real and what wasn't. I asked why me instead of you, and he said that you would try to protect him from the truth. Kid said he needed the truth, because his head felt like it was ready to bust open. I couldn't turn him down."

"Kid thought he'd shot a girl, because he remembered her blood all over him. He said you were shot because of him. Other times, he sees you lying in the street dead. He saw you laughing at him for trying to help people. Then you held him back while he had to stand and watch a girl get beaten. He thought he'd killed Jenkins, and he was wanted for murder. I had a hard job convincing Kid on what had really happened, because he knows he was shot in his back. Kid's mind is all muddled and his emotions are all over the place. Daniels said the opium will have an effect on Kid's thinking for a few more days."

The rest of the ride, they talk calmly about Kid. After they stopped in front of Silky's, Lom asked, "How much did you win to get Johnson so riled up?"

"I really don't know," Heyes said lightly. He pulled the money out of his pocket and counted. "I'm up $578.00. I didn't think I won that much money."

"I saw you didn't have your mind on the game or Johnson. Heyes, the man has a reputation of handling his losses with a challenge to the winner, and that he doesn't lose at." Lom wanted to shake-up Heyes.

"Lom, by the way, thank-you for covering my back." Heyes did a weak smile. The two got out the carriage and headed for the door.

Meanwhile Kid was told that Heyes and Lom had just pulled up in front of the house. The fight that took place between Kid and exhaustion ended, and Kid's heavy eyelids closed. When he entered the house, Heyes went straight to the den, he saw that his cousin was asleep and the dark circles under his eyes had deepened. Daniels was relieved to see Heyes and hoped now Jed would get some much-needed sleep.

Daniels got up from the chair, and he was exhausted. "I'll be upstairs if you need me later. If Jed wakes up, get some water into him and no talking. You both need your sleep."

Having removed his gun and placed it under the bed, Heyes sat down in a chair. He had his arm propped up on the armrest, holding his head. Heyes went over what he'd heard Kid had said, and what Lom had told him. Lom had suggested Heyes' treat Kid normally. That Heyes needed to trust his instincts with Kid, instead of tiptoeing around him. Heyes knew that he had to rely on their trust and friendship to get through to his partner.

Heyes sat in the chair for hours listening to Kid's shallow breathing. His mind was working overtime, and he knew sleep wasn't in the cards for him. Sally came in to do her routine bed check of the boys, and handed Heyes a glass of juice. "Heyes, I hope you get some sleep tonight. Kid looks so tired. Is he over the cold sweats?"

"He has been sleeping without the sweats, but his skin is still cold. I'm hoping the opium gets out of his body soon so he can heal," Heyes said.

"Heyes, you sitting here worrying about Jed isn't helping you or Jed. I want you to drink your juice and get to bed. Now drink up!" Sally motioned her hand up for Heyes to lift the glass and drink.

Heyes took a sip of orange juice and he smiled, "Oh, good old Irish whiskey. Thank-you, Sally."

Sally leaned down and kissed the top of his head, "I prayed to the angels to look after you, boys. Therefore, you have nothing to worry about. Now, you talk to Jed with your heart, and he'll stay with you." With that said, she leaned down, pushed the curls off Kid's forehead, and kissed it gently. "Good night."

Heyes slowly drank his spiked juice and decided to take Sally's advice and talk to Kid when the time was right. "Tomorrow, I'll act like nothing is bothering me. Kid's thinking will be still be muddled and he needs to get some rest." Slowly Heyes fell asleep thinking about his cousin.

A few hours later, Heyes woke to check on Kid and to maybe to replace the blanket over him. Kid was clearly in distress and in the middle of another nightmare. Heyes put his hand on the Kid's back; he felt Kid's muscles relax. This pleased Heyes and he thought, "He didn't pull away when I touched him, like yesterday."

Heyes gently placed his hand on Kid's back, and left it there waiting for any movement and Kid just lay still. When Heyes was satisfied, he took back his hand, and a warm smile appeared on his tired face. He drifted off to sleep.

Kid felt Heyes' hand the second time, and thought Heyes was checking on him to see if he was still breathing. Kid didn't like to worry Heyes, but he felt somewhat relieved that Heyes still cared. However, there were still were things that bothered Kid as he slipped into a troubled sleep. He kept on dreaming about losing his family and the loss he felt afterwards. Kid recalled all the times Heyes was there for him.

When Kid woke in the morning Heyes had left, Lom was there instead. Kid tried to lift himself, to see if Heyes was over at the desk. Lom helped by propping him up with the pillows. The sheriff caught Kid's eyes scanning the room for Heyes, and saw the disappointment in them when they didn't see his friend.

"He went to get cleaned up," Lom said wanting to reassure him.

"What? Oh, are you taking about Heyes?" Kid tried to act nonchalant. Lom smiled, because he knew an act, when he saw one.

"By the way, how did last night go? Was there any trouble?" Kid looked Lom in the eye for an answer. Lom felt very uncomfortable about the questions. The sheriff opened his mouth to say something, and he didn't know for sure what was about to come out.

A voice came from the doorway, "Good Kid, you are awake! Sally and I've been fixing breakfast. Fresh orange juice, strawberries and cream with something called crepes, but they look like real thin pancakes to me. Lom, would you help Sally bring in the rest of the food?" While Heyes put breakfast on the desk, he turned and grinned at his friend.

"I brought some warm water in, if you want to wash your face and hands." Heyes got Kid into his chair and pushed him over to the bowl with the water and soap. Kid found out he couldn't wring out the washcloth. His hands wouldn't close tight, and Heyes saw the pain Kid was in. "Here I'll do that, and later we'll start that treatment on your hands. They're stiff from the healing, Daniels said that would happen."

Kid nodded his head and wiped his face with the rag. Sally and Lom came in with the breakfast. Sally was relieved to see Kid sitting up, after the rough night he had. The day went quietly, and Kid did his treatment on his hands twice. What Kid did mostly was sleep. Heyes noticed Kid at times not focusing on the conversation around him. This was a concern for Heyes and he thought, "Has the opium done some brain damage? I pray that Kid is worn out, and that's all."

That night, Lom came in to check on the boys. "How is he?"

"He's been sleeping most of the day, and he still has the dark circles under his eyes, and if possible, he looks paler. Sometimes, I wonder if he's ever going to get his strength back." It was quiet for a few minutes, and then Heyes added, "While Kid was missing, I thought that I would never miss anyone that much again. Right now, I miss him more than before. I mean Kid is here, but my partner isn't."

"That's the talk you need to have with him. When are you going to have it?" Lom was trying to help Heyes. He knew no matter what, he wasn't going to watch this partnership end. He wanted to be sure that Heyes don't give up on Kid.

"He's in no shape to get into any discussions. Lom, have you noticed him not alert? I don't mean because he's tired, but at times, he doesn't seem to understand. There had been times, he has answered wrong." Heyes was searching for answers.

Lom didn't want to say, what he felt needed to be said to Heyes. He decided he would talk over what been nagging at him in his sleep. Lom asked Heyes to sit over by the desk with him. "Heyes, if you have anything you need to say to Kid, I feel you need to say it to him. Heaven forbid, if Kid dies before you can talk things over with him, you'd always regret it."

Heyes was shocked. "You think Kid is dying?"



CHAPTER THIRTY

Before Lom had a chance to answer, Heyes was questioning him again. "Are you saying Kid is dying? What has Daniels told you?" Those words burned in Heyes' throat and it felt like a rock had lodged itself inside his windpipe.

"Heyes, what I meant, is you need to talk to him now! I don't know if Kid is dying, but you and he need to clear the air." Lom started to pace while he talked. "The best medicine for both of you is your friendship. It makes you both stronger. Kid needs things straightened out for his own wellbeing and he needs to trust you."

He stopped for a moment to see Heyes reaction. Heyes just sat there and listened. "Heyes, you need to clear things between you and Kid, for your own peace of mind. I know you've things that you need to say to him, and if you don't say them, and he dies, the unspoken words will haunt you forever."

Heyes got up and walked out of the room. Lom felt that he had made things worse for everyone. Heyes couldn't stay in the room at that moment. His chest felt weighed down and he couldn't breathe. To hear Lom say that Kid might die, had brought everything to a head for Heyes. He had been ignoring the possibility of going on without his friend. Heyes didn't know where to start with Kid. "I'm supposed to be the one with a silver tongue! My tongue feels more clumsy and useless, than ‘silver' and I can't form a word."

Heyes knew that Lom was right; he needed to talk to Kid. As he slowly walked into the den, Lom saw the inner-turmoil Heyes was going through. "Thanks for setting me straight, Lom. I'll need time with him, alone."

Lom left the room without saying a word. He figured he had said enough. Heyes pulled the chair close to the bed. Heyes sat for a while, watching Kid sleep, and thought over their life together. All Heyes' memories had Kid at his side and the friendship they shared. His mind flashed back to the present time and Heyes knew he wasn't going to do a farewell talk with Kid. No way, was he going to give up on his partner's recovery.

Sally came in, and checked if Heyes needed any help with Jed. "The last time Jed ate, it was half of cup of rice pudding. He usually ate two bowls-full and then scraped the pot clean. I remember him wanting to help out in the kitchen when you boys would visit."

Heyes laughed, "Yea, it's amazing. Jed wanting to be close to the food. Where there's food, Jed will be close by." Heyes had a smile on his face that quickly faded with the thought of not seeing Kid enjoying himself watching Sally cook.

"I brought you a plate of fruit. When Jed wakes up, I'll fix you two, something to eat," Sally smiled and tried to act as if Jed wasn't as bad as he looked. Around Heyes, she acted like Jed only needed his rest, and he would be all right. Outside the den, Sally rushed to her room to be alone. She needed time to compose herself. She knew if he died, she would have to be strong for the others.

Heyes picked at his fruit and drank his coffee. He got up to pour another cup when he heard Kid weakly say, "You're going to eat more than that?"

"Hey, sleepy head, it's good to see you awake. Do you feel any warmer? Your arms feel warmer than before," Heyes sounded concerned.

"Somewhat," Kid said, although his breathing was still labored. Heyes watched Kid's eyes close again, and he thought Kid had gone to sleep. Heyes felt so alone.

"Heyes, are you all right?" Kid sounded worried.

Heyes was stunned, but he tried not to show his feelings. "I'm just a little tired that's all," Heyes lied. He looked away from Kid's staring eyes and said, "Sally was hoping to fix you something to eat."

Kid noticed the lie. Heyes kept moving around to avoid Kid's glare. He informed Sally that they would eat some dinner and got Kid propped up in bed. Kid ate some soup and Heyes picked at his food. Afterwards, he went about the room picking up things for the night.

There was no doubt in Kid's mind that Heyes was up to something. Kid knew Heyes would reveal what was going on, in time. Kid's thoughts turned to, "Heyes better not be hee-hawing around to tell me that he's going out to play poker. If he does, I'd like to flatten him."

Kid's disturbing thoughts were interrupted by Heyes' unsteady voice, "Kid...I uh...need to talk with you. Are you up to talking?"

Still exhausted from the cold trembles, Kid really didn't feel up to talking. But he wanted to know what was going on so he fought to stay awake.

"I'm fine Heyes. Tell me, what's on your mind," Kid said, while his eyes were fighting to stay partially open.

Heyes knew Kid wasn't fine, but he smiled at Kid's efforts. "Good." Heyes sat down in the chair he pulled over. Heyes collected his thoughts before he said anything. Fidgeting in the chair, Heyes tried to get into a comfortable position and he looked up at Kid, who was staring at him.

"Kid, uh...I...want..." Heyes stopped, looked at his hands for help. When he looked back up at his friend, Heyes' face showed the aguish he felt at not finding the right words to say.

Finally, Kid asked, "Heyes, is there something wrong?"

"Kid, I don't know how to start. I don't want to mess up by saying the wrong thing, this is too important." Heyes talked with his heart instead of his head. "I want to let you know how important our partnership is to me, but to put it into words escapes me. You've always been my sounding board, and the one who keeps me grounded."

Heyes got up and paced the length of the bed. Kid's eyes were heavy. Kid knew he needed to stay awake for Heyes, so he asked, "Heyes, can I have some water?"

"Of course, here let me help you." Heyes held the glass for him and looked away. He had a hard time looking into the searching eyes of Kid's. While Kid was drinking, Heyes started talking again.

"It's always been that no one could get the better of us, when we're together. When I made a plan, you’d always come up with an idea or see a hole in what I'd suggested. You never were afraid to tell me when I was wrong. You see, I remember the two times I was wrong."

Kid's eyes opened up wide, "Heyes your memory is spotty."

Heyes relaxed and sat down. "No Kid, I'm sure. I know you probably don't remember, but I've made a mistake at least once, but probably twice."

Kid had to stop himself laughing, because he knew it would hurt his head. With his eyes half-closed Kid said, "I must be brain damaged, because I know a lot of times you've been wrong, Heyes."

There was no way Heyes would even joke about Kid's injuries. Instead, Heyes said with a concerned voice, "Kid, you have to get better. I need my partner back. This nonsense about putting me in danger well it isn't any more than what I'd do for you."

Heyes looked for somewhat of a reaction from Kid, but the blond man was looking at and fingering his blanket. Kid looked serious as he thought over what Heyes had just said.

"Kid, I don't know anyone, who has a partnership like ours. I'm proud that we are partners, and the way we look out for each other. We've both seen partners betray each other. I've never had to worry about that between us."

"Kid, I could never trust anyone like I trust you. We grew up together, we've been through so much, too much, which makes us stronger together. I never have to wonder if you'll back me in any situation, because you were always by my side. When I back you in a gunfight, it's the most natural thing for me to do. If I stood back and didn't cover your back, it would feel like a betrayal."

Heyes' throat tightened, and his voice got heavy, "Kid, why must we make our partnership so hard? Kid there's so more to keep us together, than to tear us apart."

Having said all he'd been dying to say, Heyes got up and let the den. Kid was left alone. Heyes was ashamed that he had lost control of his emotions and he didn't know for sure what he had said. Before facing Kid again, Heyes wanted to clear his mind.

Having thought about all his partner had said Kid was desperate to talk to Heyes. He was also concerned for his friend.

Lom saw Heyes head towards the gardens and decided to check on Kid. Entering the room, Lom was startled at what he saw. Kid was pulling his body up with the use of the headboard and was trying to stand. Not wanting to startle Kid, Lom stayed quiet, secretly hoping his friend would be able to walk. Lom quietly moved in closer by the time Kid was standing.

Kid was leaning against the bedpost and thought, "It's only around four feet to the wheelchair, maybe about five or six steps, and I can do this."

That's when Kid's legs buckled out from under him. Everything was moving in slow motion. A grey mass moved in front of him and he was losing focus. Kid felt someone grab a hold of him from behind. "Heyes," Kid said, taking it for granted that it would be his friend.

In the darkness, Kid heard a frantic voice. "What's going on, here?" Heyes yelled as he rushed to help. Lom was holding the Kid's limp body about halfway off the floor. Not having a good hold on Kid, Lom was afraid of hurting him, and was relieved to see Heyes had pushed over a chair. They were able to get Kid into the chair, without putting too much stress on his body. Heyes proceeded to put Kid's legs up on the footstool and propped pillows around Kid's body to help keep him in an upright position. Then he placed a cover over Kid and tucked it around him. When Heyes was done, he looked up at the sheriff.

Lom started explaining, "Kid was heading for the wheelchair when I came into the room. Kid was standing on his own for a minute."

Heyes leaned over him and placed his hand on Kid's shoulder, "Hey Kid, what were you doing?"

Kid was semi-conscious and heard voices around him. He knew he had to fight his way back. He needed to talk to Heyes.

Kid felt someone patting his face to bring him around. Heyes was standing on Kid's right side and urging him to open his eyes. Heyes saw some movement; slowly Kid raised his eyelids. Heyes saw the confusion in those haunted blue eyes. When Kid's head cleared some, he saw only Lom, because Heyes had moved behind the chair to reach for another pillow.

"Heyes....." Kid called out for Heyes, and Heyes said Kid's name. "Where is Heyes?" Heyes motioned for Lom not to say anything. Lom was confused.

"Heyes!" Kid tried to yell, but it wasn't loud. Kid's breathing was labored.

Heyes said, "I'm right here, Kid." Heyes waited for his reaction.

Kid looked pleading at Lom, "What happen to Heyes? Where is he?"

Lom gave Heyes an angry glare. Heyes put his finger in front of his lips and signaled for Lom to be quiet. Heyes softy said Kid's name, moved in closer, and said it again, nothing. Heyes got in front of him and said his name and Kid asked Heyes, "Where were you?"

"I'm right here Kid." Heyes sat on the bed and hoped he was wrong, about what he thought he had found out, about his partner. "Lom, help me get him back in bed."

"No, Heyes. I’d feel better sitting up for a while. My body's sore from laying so much. Please, Heyes." Kid wiped his forehead with his hand. Kid knew his hands were bleeding again. He'd felt the stickiness under the bandages and he saw a spot of blood on his palm. He folded his arms across his stomach, so Heyes couldn't see.

Lom left the room knowing Heyes was up to something, because he saw that Heyes was up to something. He didn't know if he wanted to be in there when they settled their unfinished business.

Sitting in front of Kid, Heyes asked, "Why did you take the chance of falling?"

Kid had his head down and he said softly, "I needed to find you."

"Kid, I was just in here. Don't you remember?" Heyes was confused.

"Yes, I remember!" Kid's eyes went icy. "What do you think, I'm brain damaged?"

"Kid, don't get proddy!" Heyes said sternly. "Let me get you back to bed."

"Heyes, I told you that I don't want to go back to bed! You only listen to me half the time, Heyes." Kid's Irish temper was flaring. "You trusted me more when we were outlawing than you do now."

"It isn't that I don't trust you, Kid. It's just that in the Hole, I never realized how many gunslingers were after "KID CURRY" to make a reputation for their selves. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed trying to protect you from the dangers we face."

Unconsciously, Kid started poking Heyes' leg to punctuate the words he was saying. Heyes was watching the poking. "Heyes, I was the one that picked up the Colt. I was the one who practiced, and became the so-called ‘fastest gun’. I was one who made a promise to myself that no one would ever do to us, what they done to our family."

Heyes saw the blood on the bandage and demanded, "Let me see your hands! What happened to them? I see blood."

"No! Not until I had my say!" Kid hollered. His breathing was coming in short gasps now, and he still tried to talk. "We need to get...things settled. I know...we have a good partnership."

"Let me get you some water, you relax, and take a couple deep breathes. I'm not going anywhere, so you take your time." Heyes really didn't like the way Kid looked and he wanted this over with, so Kid could get some rest. And then it dawned on Heyes what Kid had said.

"Did you say that we have a good partnership?" Heyes smiled.

"You need to trust my judgment over helping people, Heyes. I can't sit back and watch people get hurt, because someone might figure out who I am. I can think for myself, Heyes."

"Listen Kid! Sometimes, I wish you would just talk to m, before you go running off to save the world. That's all I want, just talk it over with me. Did you say we have a good partnership?"

"There are times when we don't have time for us to’ talk'!" Kid stated.

"I realize that Kid." Heyes smiled because he now had hope about the partnership.

"I understand that the opium caused some of my doubts and the trouble with our partnership. I'm sorry that I bought that cream in the first place. My memory’s still muddled."

"So Kid are we still partners, or what?" Heyes watched Kid's face for an answer.

It took a couple minutes for Kid to answer. "I'd like for us to still be partners, but I don't know if we can."

Heyes stormed, "And why not? What do I..."

Kid interrupted Heyes. "Heyes, first we have to see how I heal. I might not be able to be the kind of partner you need or want anymore. We have to face the facts."

Heyes was offended that Kid would think that way. "You're going to tell me if something happened to me, you'd leave me? I know you wouldn’t, so why do you believe I would?"

Kid looked down and picked at the bandage on his hand. Heyes went out of the room, then popped his head back in and said loudly, "You stay put! If you're on the floor when I get back, you can sleep on the floor. Do you understand me?"

"Heyes, you don't have to get proddy with me," Kid said cried. He was exhausted. After Heyes left, Kid was pleased to finally be able to close his eyes. Heyes came back in with a basin of warm water ready to clean up Kid's hands. Heyes pick up one of Kid's hands to cut the bandage off and Kid opened his eyes.

"That's all right Kid, go ahead and sleep. I'm cleaning your hands up." Kid nodded his head and his eyes closed. When both his hands were soaking, Heyes heard Kid's breathing change. Kid was asleep and Heyes smiled. As he cleaned his partner's hands, he thought of all Kid went through the night he was beaten. An image of Kid's battered body came into his mind, and Heyes look at the existing injuries that were visible. The anger that Heyes had buried was threatening to erupt once more.

Lom came in with another basin of warm water. "Sally told me you needed this." He saw Kid's hands in the pinkish water. "Did he do that to his hands when his pulled himself out of the bed?"

Heyes talked softy. "We need to talk after I'm done. If Sally isn't busy, can you see if she can watch Kid for a short time, so we can talk?"

"I'll go and ask." Lom saw the disturbed mood Heyes was getting himself into and he didn't understand the reason for it. Things had to be better between the two of them, because Kid seemed to be resting peacefully.

"Take this basin of dirty water with you when you come back please help me get him into bed. He's completely exhausted."

After Lom left the room, and while he had Kid's hands soaking in the clean water, Heyes went about changing the bedding. By the time Lom was back, Heyes had the bed ready for Kid and his hands were dried off.

"I thought I would leave his bandages off, so his hands can get some air." When they moved Kid, he moaned in pain. Kid's weary eyes opened briefly, he yawned and seeing Heyes, closed them again. Heyes stood and watched him for a while; he wanted to make sure Kid was all right after the move.

Sally came up beside Heyes and looked down at Kid. She said to Heyes, "Jed looks exhausted and so frail. You boys have to get more sleep."

"Kid will be getting more rest now; we have come to some sort of an agreement. I won't be gone long, but if you or Kid needs me, I'll be in the kitchen talking to Lom."

Walking toward the kitchen Heyes came face to face with Doctor Daniels. Heyes' temper erupted, "You in the kitchen now!"

They entered the kitchen; Lom was waiting at the table. Heyes slammed the door and turned toward Daniels with a stormy look on his face. Heyes let his temper lose, "What else are you keeping from me about Kid? I want to know, NOW!"

Lom jumped up from his chair and went over to them. "The way Heyes is acting, if he starts throwing punches, Daniels won't stand a chance."

"Heyes, what's wrong? Why are you mad at the doc?" Lom was completely confused.

Heyes gave a deadly cold glare. "Kid is deaf in his right ear!"

"What are you talking about?" Lom was upset. "I was talking to him earlier and he heard me!"

"What Daniels, you have nothing to say? NOT THAT I AM CRAZY, THAT KID CAN HEAR? ARE YOU GOING TO EXPLAIN TO LOM, ABOUT KID HEARING HIM, ONLY FROM THE LEFT EAR?" Heyes was shouting.

Silky came rushing into the kitchen. "What’s going on?"

Heyes yelled at Daniels, "WHY DON'T YOU TELL ALL OF US ABOUT WHY YOU DECIDED NOT TO TELL ME THAT KID IS DEAF?" Silky was stunned and looked over at Daniels.

The Doctor felt very uneasy with everyone staring at him. He knew he had to start talking fast or Heyes would do heavens knows what. "When I found out about Jed's hearing, he made me promise to keep it from you. He didn't want you to worry about another thing."

"Daniels, you asked me to trust you. I took you for your word and you were lying to my face?" Heyes stormed.

"Kid pleaded with me not to tell you. I knew that Jed's trust in me was more important at the time than my promise to you. Kid was, and still is, fighting for his life. He doesn't need the added stress worrying about his hearing and you, Heyes. I told him, maybe after the swelling is gone around his ear, there is a possibility his hearing could come back. He said that you would want to know the odds on that happening, I said about 75% for hearing."

Heyes asked, "Did you tell Kid the truth?"

Daniels was mad about the question. "YES, I told him the truth! Was I supposed to pick my promise to you, over helping Jed get better?"

Heyes just stood looking at Daniels.

"If you don't mind, I would like to check on Jed, before I turn in for the night!" Daniels was mad and not waiting on an answer, he left the kitchen.

Heyes stormed around the table and he started to pace fast in front of Lom and Silky. Heyes had so much anger in him and he needed to release it on someone. "These men, who did this to Kid are going to pay dearly for what they've done! I will ruin them! I will get my revenge!"

"Heyes, take an easy! What happened today to start all of this?" Lom knew he could not talk Heyes out of getting revenge, but he needed to try.

"How can I sit back and watch Kid fight most days to stay alive, without thinking about the ones who did this to him? Knowing they've gone on with their lives like they didn't try to kill him. When our families got killed, I wasn't able to get revenge, by God; I will get revenge for what they did to Kid!"

Heyes walked towards the kitchen door and with his back turned away from Lom said, "Send for the boys!"
regarding this story
Post on Mon 18 May 2015, 9:22 pm by Laura
I keep hoping that this story will be finished, I first read it probably around 2 years ago. Do I have hope?? Great story, It rings true. I feel that I can see and hear the story as it goes along.
Re: Why Must We Make It So Hard?
Post on Sun 29 May 2016, 10:45 pm by Laura
I posted a comment May 18th of last year. I do not know if you read it or not, I am trying again. It is a great story, I would love to see how it ends? I am certain that there are more people out there that feel the same. Is there any hope?
Re: Why Must We Make It So Hard?
Post on Tue 30 May 2017, 4:58 pm by Laura
My 3rd annual attempt. I hope that you are still with us and are well. I keep hoping that this will be finished. I would think that you have at least finished it for yourself, maybe only in your head, but maybe someday you will check this site and finish it for those us who enjoyed the story. Take care
 

Why Must We Make It So Hard?

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