Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

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

Reply to topic
Share | 
 

 3.18 Alias Hannibal Heyes by Joann Baker

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

Posts : 419
Join date : 2013-10-13

20150321
Post3.18 Alias Hannibal Heyes by Joann Baker

Alias Hannibal Heyes
by Joann Baker



Kid Curry sat with his feet propped up on the chair strategically placed for optimum comfort in front of him, a cigar in his mouth thoroughly enjoying the sights and sounds of the bustling saloon. He'd finally managed to hold on to a few dollars and was having a little fun for a change. He smiled appreciatively at the pretty brunette who had just handed him another mug of beer, then glanced around the room. He assured himself that no one was paying any special attention to him and that there weren't any signs of danger. Curry was feeling more and more relaxed, the beer was helping too.

A twinge of guilt skittered across Kid's mind.  He wondered briefly if he should have left Heyes behind in the last saloon.  But as quickly as the thought came to him, it was banished.  Heyes had been deeply entrenched in some serious poker and, sensing Kid's restlessness, had insisted Curry go have a little fun. It hadn't taken much encouragement from Heyes.  Kid had had a pretty good notion that there were lots of things to do in town that didn't involve cards. He had to admit that he hadn't regretted his decision for a second, 'Sometimes Heyes just doesn't know what he's missing,' Curry mused, allowing his eyes to roam freely up and down the slender form of a pretty saloon girl who had just brushed by his table, leaving the heady scent her perfume in her wake as she passed.

The piano music nearly drowned out the sound of the train whistle, announcing the arrival of the last train of the night. ‘That might bring in a few more patrons,’ he thought casually, noting that the room was already packed with men standing shoulder to shoulder, jostling for the choice positions at the bar.

They'd been in town for a few days and Curry was enjoying the crowds. He could relax in a crowd and not feel like everyone in the room turned to look when he walked in. The passengers from the train were beginning to straggle in and he thought he'd better order another beer before the newcomers got ahead of him.  He had only started to rise when the words that would ruin his comfortable evening reached his ears.  

"They got Hannibal Heyes!"

More shouts and hoots followed. "…Arrested… Heyes himself…" Curry's body went rigid at the first sound of his partner's name, and the lighthearted enjoyment he had been experiencing dissolved into panic. ‘Heyes, what happened?  Why did we let our guard down?’ He looked guardedly around the room, trying to locate the men who had begun the uproar. One man in a gray suit clutching a well-worn newspaper seemed to be the center of the crowd. Only then did he realize that the new arrivals from the train were all waving newspapers. Curry closed his eyes for a moment, some of his panic dissipating, leaving confusion in its place.  He had been with Heyes here in town just an hour before, these men had just stepped off a train and were bringing news of Heyes' arrest. It’s a newspaper story, Heyes was fine. …he hoped.

Pushing through the crowd, Curry managed to look over one man's shoulder and see that the front-page headline did indeed announce Heyes' capture. Once out on the street, he glanced nervously around, looking for any sign of Heyes or the local sheriff. Reaching the poker parlor where he had left Heyes, he rushed inside. After a quick scan of the room, he felt the knot in his stomache begin to tighten. Heyes wasn't there. Still telling himself that there was nothing to worry about, he stepped back out on the street and headed for the sheriff's office. As he rounded a dark corner, Curry sensed someone following him and stepped back into the shadows. As the figure approached Curry drew his gun and jumped in front of the man, with his gun pointed directly at the man's head.

"Would you put that away?" Hannibal Heyes hissed, calmly reaching out and slowly turning Curry’s gun away from his face.

"Heyes! What are you doing sneaking up on me? I mighta shot you!" Kid holstered his gun with a grunt to cover his sigh of relief.  

"Well why would you do that?" Heyes whispered. "And keep your voice down will ya? I was trying to be inconspicuous."

"In con what?" Curry looked at his partner with a look of exasperation.

"Heyes, did you hear what those guys are saying?" Curry pointed back toward the saloon where the crowd was still gathered.

"Worse, I read it," Heyes replied wryly, and pulled a rolled newspaper from his coat pocket.

"Heyes, is this good or bad?" Curry asked slowly, studying his partner's face.

"It's bad, Kid. Come on, let's go back to the room. You won't believe what they've got printed in this paper."



00000



Once inside their hotel room, Heyes flung the paper onto the bed and began pacing. Curry watched him curiously. Whatever was in that paper, it looked like he was going to have to read it himself. He tentatively picked up the paper and looked at the headline. It was the same paper he had seen in the saloon. The first line of the article took him by surprise. It announced that upon his capture, Hannibal Heyes' true identity had been revealed. The infamous outlaw was, in fact, Alex Harrington, son of a wealthy railroad baron.

It went on to say that the young Harrington had been the black sheep of his family and left home at nineteen. It was believed that the ensuing string of train robberies and later bank robberies, were committed by Harrington in order to strike out against his powerful family. Very little had been heard from Alex Harrington during that time except for a few letters to his sister. Then, as mysteriously as Hannibal Heyes had appeared on the scene, he dropped out of sight. Except for a few unconfirmed sightings, no actual robberies have been attributed to him in approximately two years. It has been suspected that Harrington became aware of his father's failing health and began planning his return in order to inherit his father's estate and business interests.

Curry looked up and caught his partner's eye. "This is crazy! They can't be serious!”  His voice became quieter and he added, “Can they?"

"Did you get to the part about you yet?" Heyes asked wryly.

"No…" Curry looked back at the paper and continued reading.

His eyes widened when he reached the section Heyes was referring to and he read it aloud.  "It is believed that Harrington met Kid Curry, a known outlaw and gunfighter somewhere in Wyoming. The two invented the scheme to rob trains based on Harrington's ability to obtain inside information from the railroads. It is also believed Curry suggested that Harrington use the alias of Hannibal Heyes, a boy Curry had known in the orphanage where he grew up. Curry knew that the man had no living family and the ages and descriptions were approximately the same. It is suspected that Curry killed Heyes himself, either to insure the identity for Harrington, or over some disagreement the two might have had." Kid's eyes were wide with shock and disbelief when he finally looked up at Heyes. "How can they say this?"

"I know, Kid.  All those perfect plans, and they're saying I only pulled it off because I had inside information," Heyes muttered miserably, shaking his head.

"Heyes!" Curry shouted, stepping in front of the other man and looking him square in the face. "They think I killed you."

"Oh, no they can't prove that." Heyes shook his head dismissively and continued to pace back and forth. "It's not just the amnesty.  It's our five thousand dollars too."

"Huh?" Curry's eyes narrowed as he watched his partner.

"Well, we told Lucy to keep the money for us and invest it in railroad stock. It seemed like such a good thing to do at the time. That way we'd have our stake when the amnesty came through." He shrugged, "I mean we couldn't exactly open a bank account and deposit it, and we couldn't just carry it around in our saddle bags."

"Yeah but why's it gone?" Curry asked cautiously.

"Well finish the article. The last bit there says that Midwest Railroad is suing the Southern Pacific, and if they convict Harrington of all the robbing we did, they'll take the whole railroad and the Harrington fortune."

"You mean Midwest Railroad will take our money?" Curry asked incredulously.

"Yeah," Heyes smiled for the first time.  “It's almost poetic justice.  I mean, after all we took from them."

"Heyes, this isn't funny," Curry snapped. "How are we going to prove he's not you, I mean you're not him, that you're you?" Curry gave up in complete exasperation.

The smile on Heyes' face only broadened. "Kid, I worry about you sometimes," he chided.

Curry gave him a glare reserved for staring down his opponents in a gunfight and the smile faded.

"This whole thing smells like a set-up. Or a trap." Heyes walked to the window and looked down into the street where a few townspeople were still whooping and hollering about the capture of the infamous outlaw.  A slow smile spread across his face thinking of the irony of his situation as he watched the celebration going on below him.  

"So what do we do?" Curry asked again, this time more urgently.

"We find a way to talk to Lucy Harrington and find out who wants Alex out of the way – again," he added looking back out the window.



00000



The Harrington ranch looked silent and lonely in the half moonlight as the two riders made their stealth approach.

"Heyes, do you think she's even here?" Curry whispered to his partner.

"Let's hope so, Kid, and let's hope she doesn't have any company." The two quietly opened a side window and slipped through her bedroom window.

Lucy Harrington gave a slight gasp of surprise before Heyes' hand gently closed over her mouth.  "Ssh, it's Joshua and Thaddeus," he whispered, giving her a moment to wake up and focus on who was standing in front of her. When her eyes widened in recognition, he slowly removed his hand.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, confused.

"We're here to talk about what's happened to Alex," Heyes said quietly.

"What if someone finds you here?" She asked more urgently.

"They won't," Curry assured her. He was standing by the window, watching both the conversation in the room and the road toward the house.

"You'll be safe for a while, I'm alone here tonight." She paused for a moment as she looked at the two armed men standing in her bedroom. "Can you wait for me in the library while I get dressed?"

The former outlaws exchanged a brief glance and then nodded.

A short while later she was seated in the library next to Kid Curry, while Hannibal Heyes stood in the center of the room deep in thought. "How come you didn't just tell them you'd seen Heyes and Alex together, so you know they can't be the same person?" Curry asked Lucy.

She sighed and looked over at Heyes, who had begun to pace back and forth.

"Lucy can't tell the whole story about me being in town without admitting that she hired Hannibal Heyes to blackmail her business partner and then helped him escape. She and Alex would both go to prison." Heyes answered the question for her.

"What about Lom Trevors?" Curry pressed. "He's the one that cleared Alex those other times when he got locked up for Heyes."

Heyes stopped pacing and looked at Lucy.  He'd been wondering about that himself.

She shook her head and said with a frown, "I thought of him. I sent a telegram to Porterville, but his deputy said that he's out of the country.  Canada, I think. He can't be reached right now."

Heyes let out a discouraged breath and placed his hands on his hips.

"Isn't there someone else who knows you well, Joshua?" She asked hopefully.

"Well, I've been thinking about that. Anyone who knows me well enough to tell the difference can't usually afford to admit it. That article mentions several sheriffs and marshals that claim to know me and have already identified Alex." Heyes took up his pacing again.

"What does Alex have to say about all this?" Curry's voice had a slightly accusing tone.

"Well, of course he is very upset. He doesn't want to go to prison, not for twenty years." She looked beseechingly at Heyes again.

"That makes two of us," he muttered.

"How is your relationship with Midwest Railroad?" Heyes asked, pondering a thought.

"Well, it was fine until this thing with Alex…" She paused. "They seemed to be happy with the arrangement we had.  Healthy competition is good for everyone.  But then they started talking about gaining more control in the southwest, and now they want to take everything."

"How did this start? I mean, who recognized Alex and had him arrested?" Heyes asked.

"A marshal came out to the ranch one day with several deputies, and asked him to go into town with them. He agreed, and when they got there they put him in jail," Lucy answered simply.

"Who's claiming the ten thousand dollar reward?" Heyes was looking curiously at her now.

"I … I don't know." It wasn't in the papers and no one has said anything to me about it.

"You'd think that'd be big news." Heyes turned toward his partner and raised his eyebrows.

"What?" Curry looked back.

"Well, doesn't that seem strange, nobody wanting to brag about being the one who finally brought down the most successful outlaw in the history of the west?" He smiled slightly as he asked the question.

"Heyes…" Curry gave him a long suffering look. "Just come out with it."

"Well, it's just that Midwest Railroad has an awful lot to gain here. But why now? What happened to make them think that Alex was me? And why do they want the Southern Pacific?" Heyes was becoming more and more animated as he went on.

Curry only glared at him. "Yeah, Heyes, those are the questions. What about the answers?"

"Well don't you see? Midwest Railroad has to be behind this. They've found a way to redeem their reputation, get rid of Hannibal Heyes and get the Southern Pacific Railroad in the deal. If you want to find out who's behind something, it's usually the person with the most to gain."

"OK, but if you're right, what do we do about it?" Curry asked skeptically.

"First of all, prove to Midwest Railroad that they don't have Hannibal Heyes," he said, smiling smugly.

Curry gave an exasperated sigh. "That's what we've been trying to figure out. How do we do that?"

"Why, rob one of their trains, of course." He grinned broadly.

Curry just stared at him in disbelief. "Heyes, what about the amnesty?"

"Well, right now mine's gone, and so's your’s I might add, since the Governor will assume we were both in on this. The way I figure it, we've got nothing to lose and everything to gain." He flashed a bright smile.

"If we pull it off," Curry cautioned.

"Kid, when are you going to start having a little faith in me?" he asked, trying to sound offended, but Curry could see the familiar sparkle in his eyes.

"Why don't you both get some rest tonight, you look exhausted," Lucy suggested. "You certainly can't go into town and there's no need to sleep outside. I have plenty of room here."

As she got up, Heyes noticed that she too looked tired. The events of the last week were taking a toll on her as well.

"Lucy," Heyes began, going to her and putting his hand on her shoulder. "We're going to get this cleared up. Alex won't go to prison, not because of me."

"Thank you." She smiled gratefully and leaned her head against his chest. Before he knew it he had wrapped his arms around her shoulders and was holding her gently in an embrace.

Curry looked on with mild amusement. ‘Heyes, you're always telling me I'm the one who's a sucker for a lady in trouble.’ He shook his head. His partner sure seemed to have a soft spot for this particular female... and that brother of hers. Alex may have come through for them in the end last time, but he hadn't forgotten it was Alex who had notified the marshal in the first place. ‘Heyes, I hope this plan of yours doesn't get us in more trouble than we're already in.’

The two men crawled gratefully into the offered beds as soon as they had taken care of their horses. Sleep came quickly and soundly.



00000



Curry, whose room was nearest the front of the house, awoke with a start as he heard riders approaching. He grabbed his gun from the belt which he had slung over the bedpost and stood with his back against the side of the window. Silently cursing himself for not insisting that they take turns watching throughout the night, he watched as four men rode up to the house and dismounted. With dread, he realized that at least two of them were wearing big tin stars. He heard someone walking to the door, Lucy he presumed. He heard the front door open and saw the men disappear inside. He softly walked across the bedroom and pressed his ear to the closed door. He didn't dare open it or make a sound. The men were speaking loudly enough for him to hear.

"Good morning Miss Harrington, I'm sorry to intrude so early."

"Good morning sheriff, is something wrong?" Lucy asked in a surprised tone.

"Well, no ma'am, not wrong exactly. It's just that, well these two men here are from Wyoming. I just thought you should know. They've arrived to take Mr. Harrington back to Cheyenne with them to stand trial."

"Oh," Lucy seemed stunned. "I was hoping to find a way of proving what a mistake this is before...” she paused, thinking.  “When are you taking him?"

"In a couple of days ma'am," one of the other men answered. "As soon as the Executives from Midwest Railroad arrive, then we'll all go to Cheyenne for the trial."

"Will you be taking the train then?" She asked coolly.

"Uh, yes ma'am, it's the fastest and safest way." The Marshal replied somewhat awkwardly.

"Thank you for letting me know," Lucy said in an even colder voice. "Now if you don't mind, I have things to do."

"Of course ma'am, we'll be heading on back to town now." The four men walked to their horses and set off toward town.

Curry let out the breath that he had been holding and quickly pulled his pants and boots on. He opened his door at exactly the same time as Heyes did across the hall and they both rushed to where Lucy still stood inside the front door. She was shaking slightly and there were tears in her eyes. "Did you hear?" she asked in a frightened voice.

Heyes and Curry shared a brief glance before both turning their gaze back to Lucy and nodding.

"Well? What are we going to do?" she asked, looking from one to the other.

"You aren't going to do anything, Heyes corrected her firmly. "Thaddeus and I are going to take care of this." Curry gave his partner an annoyed look, but remained silent. Deliberately avoiding Kid’s glare, Heyes continued confidently, “We may have to change our original plans a little and move a little quicker than I first thought."

"Change how?" Lucy asked.

"We may have to take Alex with us." he answered with a grim smile.

Kid's patience had finally run out. "Uh, Joshua, can I speak to you privately for a minute?"

The two men stepped around the corner and Curry immediately started speaking in a hushed tone. "Heyes, are you crazy? Break Harrington out of jail, rob a train and convince Midwest Railroad to just forget the whole thing? If the amnesty's gone, then it's gone.  Let's just get ourselves down to Mexico and find some nice place to –"

"Kid," Heyes interrupted. "We've been over this before. We’re going to get back on the Governor's list for amnesty and we're going to get our five thousand dollars back. Trust me."

Curry sighed.  “I hate it when you say that, Heyes.  I really do.”  But Curry knew by the look on his friend's face that he'd made up his mind. He could also tell that Heyes was working on a plan. "Okay, Heyes, we'll play it your way." He knew better than to argue with his partner once he had his mind set.

"Good.  Now, Lucy," Heyes called as they returned, "we might need some outside help. Do you know anyone that you can trust completely, who's not afraid to take a few risks?"

She thought for a moment. "Jim Parker would help me, and Jake too. I trust them completely."

"Yeah, but can we trust them? Not to turn us in, I mean?" Kid looked less than convinced. But Heyes and Lucy were already heading out the front door. Shaking his head, he followed them out to the horses for the short ride to the Parker's place.

When they arrived at the house, Lucy insisted on going in alone first to give the men a brief explanation. A few minutes later, Jim and Jake Parker burst out of the front door with shocked looks on their faces.

"You mean he is really – you mean they are – then he is –"Jake stammered looking from one to the other. Both former outlaws gave the men shy smiles as they nodded.

"I knew you were trouble the minute I laid eyes on you!" Jim Parker roared, looking directly at Heyes.

Heyes stiffened slightly and looked back at Parker, suddenly wondering if he had made a miscalculation.

Parker held his scowl for a minute before breaking into a broad grin. "But I sure did start to like you after I got to know you!" He clapped Heyes on the back and broke into a hearty laugh. Heyes and Kid laughed along with him, though theirs was more of a nervous laugh.

Plans were made, details worked out. The Parkers would provide them with the layout of the jailhouse and the number of guards assigned to watching Alex.  They would also create a diversion during the actual jailbreak. Timing was important and this would be their best opportunity to free Alex. Once the sheriff took him from the jail for the trip to Wyoming, the detail accompanying him would be heavily armed and ready for trouble.



00000



Darkness descended over the town of Santa Clara and the men began their preparations. Heyes rigged a series of explosions beginning in front of the local bank and continuing in a circular route around the outskirts of town. Each one would simulate a burst of gunfire and timers would give Jim and Jake time to be far enough away to avoid any suspicion. Curry saddled three horses and tied them in the alley behind the jail.

Heyes checked his watch and then motioned for Curry to get ready. The gunfire began just after midnight. The two deputies who had been left on guard outside the jail looked at each other in surprise and confusion. The deputy in charge, who had been in the jail, rushed out of the door. "Anderson, Fielding, you come with me. I'm leaving Barton inside with Heyes." The three deputies raced down the street toward the sound of the blasts.

Two figures emerged from the shadows and made their way to the front of the building. "Barton!" Heyes called in his 'lawman's' voice. "Anderson's hit.  Open the door."

The door opened and Barton found the barrel of Kid Curry's gun pressed against his temple.  Realizing his mistake, Barton swallowed hard and found his voice, which had moved up an octave and was nearly unrecognizable, even to his own ears.  "Won't do you no good to kill me. Sheriff Carter has the keys to the cell and he won't be back 'till morning," Barton said shakily. Curry merely smirked impatiently as he relieved the man of his gun. Scanning the room, he saw a ring of keys on the sheriff's desk.

"Open it." Curry demanded, thrusting the keys into the deputy's hand.

Alex Harrington sat in the cell with one wrist cuffed to the bars. He looked up in surprise at the arrival of the armed and dangerous looking man. Curry gave him a quick look to warn him to be silent, and then looked toward the front door and nodded to his partner. With no words needed between them, Heyes took his position behind the deputy, ready to use his skills on the locks while Curry went to stand guard by the door.

"I told you he took the keys to this cell with him," Barton said nervously as he tried some of the keys. He looked back and gasped when he saw Heyes standing with a gun on him. "Why you look just like …"

"Right.  Only I'm the real Hannibal Heyes," the outlaw leader said in a tone that sent a shiver down the man's back.  Then he nodded toward a chair, indicating his wish that Barton sit.  The deputy wasted no time in complying. Heyes tied him quickly and secured a bandana around his mouth, then pulled out his lock pick and set to work opening the cell door. The door had two locks, but both were open in short order and Heyes entered the cell to free Alex from the hand cuffs. Alex gave Heyes a worried look, but seemed to be relieved some after Heyes whispered something in his ear. The trio slipped out of the jail and on to the three waiting horses only minutes after the initial explosions began.

"They shouldn't come back here and find Alex gone for at least another ten or fifteen minutes," Heyes calculated as they made a hasty exit from the town.

"They may have a little trouble finding horses and saddles too," Curry added with a smug smile.



00000



Riding side by side in the pre-dawn hours, Heyes and Alex discussed the events of the last few days.  "I still don't understand why you're taking this risk to help me. I even thought you might see this as an opportunity to slip away and live in peace knowing that the lawmen and bounty hunters wouldn't be out looking for you anymore." Alex looked inquiringly at Heyes.

"We'd have been taken off the governor's list for amnesty and I'd have eventually been recognized somewhere. The governor might have even thought I was behind your going to prison in my place and then we'd have never gotten the amnesty." Heyes shrugged and tried to sound as if it was purely logical.  They rode on, discussing plans to prove that Alex Harrington was not now and had never been Hannibal Heyes.

Curry followed behind and tried to hide their tracks as best he could while keeping an eye out for approaching riders.

When Heyes decided that they had put enough miles between themselves and Santa Clara, they stopped to make camp and get a little rest. "Take care of the horses, will ya?" Heyes said, barely glancing over his shoulder in Curry’s general vicinity as he swung his arm over Alex's shoulder and led him toward the clearing where they would make camp. "Now, here's what I want you to tell the Midwest men when we get them alone…" his voice trailed off as they walked away.

Left alone to tend to three horses, Curry glared angrily after them. Alex’s presence, in itself, was enough to set his teeth on edge, but it was Heyes’s friendliness toward the man that really bothered him. He had never really trusted Harrington, and he wasn't convinced that their amnesty really depended on clearing his name. They could just get a message to Lom after he returned, couldn't they? Then things would return to normal. Watching them sitting and talking together, so alike in their looks and their mannerisms, Kid felt almost like he was watching two brothers. He began feeling more and more like the odd man out.

Out of earshot of Kid Curry, Heyes explained his plan to board the train carrying the Midwest executives and hold a private meeting.  



00000



The ride to the town of Truckee where the train would stop to take on supplies took several hours and gave them time to refine their plans. Kid would ride ahead and board the train, relieving one of the porters of his uniform so he could walk around the train without drawing suspicion to himself. Thus disguised, it would be easy for him to find out which car the railroad executives were traveling in and any other information that they needed. Heyes and Alex would meet up with the train later that night and jump on when it slowed going up the steep grade headed into the Sierra Nevada's. The area they chose was isolated and there were no towns nearby. They would have a chance to spend some time on the train and if they weren't discovered, get off again and slip away into the mountains.

The three riders stopped at the fork Kid would take into town. "Alright, if everything is set, slip away and signal to us where we should board the train. We’ll try for that spot just past the creek where we robbed the line that time in the spring of ..."

"Heyes, I know where we robbed the train. Lobo's horse fell and broke its leg after that passenger started shooting at us with the gun he had hidden. I remember." Kid gave him a frustrated look.

"Okay, well it's all settled then," Heyes said dismissively and turned to Alex. "The Kid will ride your horse into town and board him at the livery. You can come back or send for him later, if everything goes as planned." Alex switched horses with Curry and marveled at Heyes' attention to detail. The man certainly was thorough.

Heyes and Alex headed up the steep trail that would lead them to the location where they would intercept the train later that night. "What if he can't pull it off?" Alex asked after they'd ridden for about an hour. He looked cautiously at Heyes who seemed to be deep in thought.

"Hm? Who?" He looked over at Alex with a blank look on his face.

"Kid Curry. What if he can't sneak onto the train and find the information you need?"

"He'll do it," Heyes replied confidently.

"But if he doesn't?" Alex pressed.

"He’ll do it.” Heyes repeated.  Then, deadpan, he added, “And if he doesn’t, I suppose you'll have to pick out an alias to live under. Smith and Jones are already taken though."

Alex managed to curb his urge to ask any more questions as they approached the meeting spot Heyes was looking for. Darkness had settled in and Alex was becoming concerned that they were not going to be able to make their rendezvous. Finally, just when he thought they'd never find it, Heyes leaned forward in his saddle and pointed.

"There," Heyes said.  Alex could barely make out the glow from a campfire a few hundred feet away.  As they approached the campsite a man rose to greet them.

"Hi Alex.  Mr. Heyes.  Boy, I sure am glad you found me. I was starting to think I'd have to eat this whole pot of stew by myself."

"Hi Jake," Alex said, climbing off of his horse and greeting him with a warm handshake. "I'm sorry you had to get dragged into this. I can't believe your father agreed."

"Well, Mr. Heyes pointed out that I was a grown man now and could make my own decisions.  He also told him that men need to stand by their friends, so here I am."

"Thanks Jake," Alex said, feeling just a bit overwhelmed.

"Besides, this is the most exciting thing I've ever done!" The younger man said eagerly.

"Well, I hope we don't make this a habit," Alex said smiling.

"How are things back in Santa Clara?" Heyes asked as he sat down by the campfire.

"Oh, they think the whole Devils Hole Gang was in town," Jake said proudly.

"What did Deputy Barton say?" Heyes asked, furrowing his brow.

"Well he said the real Hannibal Heyes broke Alex out of jail, but nobody believed him. They thought he was crazy or seeing things or something."

Heyes looked down, disappointed. "Hm, well then we have no choice but to continue with our plan." He looked over at Alex, who nodded with a resigned look on his face.

The three men ate a quick dinner before heading out to meet the train.



00000



Heyes, Alex, and Jake rode to the agreed-upon point on the route where they would board the train. Heyes and Alex dismounted and walked out toward the tracks. After wishing them luck, Jake said goodbye and set off back into the mountains, leading their two horses behind his own.

Heyes gave Alex a serious look. "You said you've done this before, right?"

"Well, sure when I was a kid we used to jump trains for fun," he replied uneasily.

"When's the last time you jumped on a moving train?"

"I don't know, I was maybe ... sixteen?"

Heyes rolled his eyes. "This one should be moving pretty slow through here, but we still only get one chance. When I say go, you go okay? I'll wait until I'm sure you're on. Without you there with me none of this works." Alex nodded solemnly and hoped Heyes didn't realize how nervous he was.

They didn't have long to wait until they heard the puffing and chugging of the steam engine.  Heyes was relieved to see that the train was indeed moving quite slowly. He looked down the line of cars and his face brightened when he saw a flashing lantern. As the train began to pass in front of them Heyes motioned to Alex and the two men began running alongside the train. Heyes saw Kid leaning against the railing of the second to last car.

"Okay…Go!" Heyes shouted as the car approached.

Alex reached out and grabbed for the rail on the end of the car. He caught it but it almost immediately began to slip through his fingers. Panic threatened to seize him as he realized he wasn’t going to be able to hold on.  Just before his fingers lost their tenuous hold on the railing, he felt a strong arm reach out and grab his wrist.  Quick as lightning, Kid Curry hauled Alex onto the train. Just as Alex landed on the platform the train gave a slight lurch and the two men tumbled back onto the floor. Both men grabbed onto the railing to avoid falling off and took a moment to steady themselves. After taking a moment to catch his breath, Kid realized that Heyes wasn't aboard yet. Shoving Alex behind him Kid leaned out over the rail. His heart skipped a beat when he didn't see Heyes running beside the train, but then looking to the side he saw him hanging onto the ladder that went up the side of the boxcar.

"Heyes, there's no way to get along the side, you'll have to go up," Curry called as loudly as he dared.

"I know that," Heyes answered with frustration showing in his voice.

After taking a deep breath he began to climb to the top of the car. Once he reached the top, he carefully climbed onto its roof. Then, taking care not to slip on the moving surface, he began to walk toward the end of the car. Curry couldn't see him now so he merely glared accusingly at Alex, who stared back wide-eyed. Kid let out the breath he'd been holding when Heyes' head appeared over the top. He leaned over and smoothly swung himself down onto the platform where the other two were standing.

"That was quite an entrance.  You always hop trains that way?" Kid asked, with a slight grin.

"Not when I can avoid it," he responded with a weary smile.

Kid opened the door to the car and the three stepped inside.  "This is just a freight car so we're fine here," Kid said as they entered.

"What are you wearing?" Heyes asked, noticing for the first time that Kid had on black pants and a white jacket.

"I'm a waiter," he replied innocently. "They have their own private staff.  Unfortunately one of the waiters got a severe headache and had to be replaced,” he said, with mock sorrow.

"Really?" Heyes said laughing. "Okay, what did you find out?”

"The President of the railroad is on board, just like we thought he would be.  His name is John Stanley. He's in the private executive car with one of the Vice Presidents and two assistants. They're eating like kings! They had prime rib for dinner that was –"

"Kid," Heyes interrupted, "the private safe, their documents and papers, where are they?"

"Oh, well I was getting to that," Kid said indignantly. "They have a special safe in one of the baggage cars. That one you just climbed over, Heyes." Kid opened the door to the car and led the way to the safe. When Kid held his lantern in front of the safe, a broad grin spread across Heyes' face.

"A simple combination safe. What were they thinking?" He shook his head.

"Their car is the one just behind this one." Kid nodded toward the end of the car. "They have a big poker game planned for tonight with a few other men from the train so they should be up late. They'll probably be a noisy bunch too, so you should be able to get into the safe without being heard."

"Guards?" Heyes asked, his face serious again.

Kid nodded. "The guard walks the length of the train and then back. Takes him about thirty minutes. But he doesn't go into the private car. They have their own security inside. The train guard just finished his back here so you have about twenty minutes." Kid paused to look at Heyes, who nodded. "Okay, I'll be right outside the door." He motioned for Alex to follow him and they left Heyes alone with the safe.



00000



Kid Curry stood quietly outside the door to the private car, watching and listening.

"He's amazing isn't he?" Alex said, breaking the silence.

"If you mean opening safes and locks and stuff, yeah I guess he is."

"Not just that. I mean he never accepts defeat, does he? He always finds a way to succeed no matter how steep the odds are."

"Yeah, that's Heyes alright."

Kid gave Alex a contemptuous look and then turned his back to the man.

Alex let out a small sigh and looked out at the landscape passing by. No matter what he did, he couldn't seem to catch a break with Curry. He couldn't figure out why the Kid disliked him so much. Things had begun to change for him since he had first met these two outlaws. Even Jim Parker seemed to be gaining respect for him, but Curry seemed to only tolerate him to please Heyes.

"I envy you," Alex said.

"Me?" Curry asked turning around. "Heyes is the one who always gets what he wants."

"Yes, but what he wants is to protect his friends, and you're his best friend. You are the reason he's doing all of this."

Curry only stared at Alex, not sure what he was trying to say, but sure that he couldn't be right. "What do you mean? You're the one he broke out of jail. You're the one whose name he's trying to clear."

Alex looked at him with amused surprise.  "Yeah, I know. I couldn't figure that out at first either. I didn't buy his story about not being free once I was in prison. He could have gone anywhere he wanted. If he ran into someone who thought they recognized him, all he would have had to do was point out that Hannibal Heyes was in prison. Technically, he wouldn't have been wanted at all, so it would have been almost as good as the amnesty. He's risking that chance with what he's doing here tonight. Because if this doesn't work ..."

Curry had been nodding in agreement while Alex was talking. "That's what I thought too."

"But you ... " Alex looked straight at Kid.  "You would have still been wanted and probably even charged with murder. They really do think you killed the real Hannibal Heyes so I could use his identity."

Kid was silent for a minute as what Alex had just said sunk in. He had let Heyes convince him that he was doing this for Alex and their five thousand dollars.  He felt a twinge of guilt for the anger and resentment that he'd been feeling. Although neither of them liked to talk about their feelings or how much the partnership meant to them, their loyalty to each other had always been understood. It was an unspoken agreement that he simply took for granted sometimes. He nodded slowly. "I 'spose maybe you're right, " he said quietly.

At that moment Heyes emerged from the private car with a Cheshire cat grin on his face.

"Find anything?" Kid asked, knowing the answer as soon as he saw his partner's face.

"Found plenty. You'll never guess who is collecting the reward on Hannibal Heyes."

Curry and Alex both looked back with blank expressions on their faces.  "Now, you gonna tell us or do you want us to guess?" Kid teased, knowing how his partner liked to prolong his clever deductions.

"Who would like to get his hands on the Southern Pacific Railroad and has reason to want to get back at Alex here?" He asked with eyebrows raised. "And…might have reason to believe he knows how to crack a safe…" He added a bit sheepishly.

Alex took in a surprised breath and Kid merely rolled his eyes. "Heyes, you don't mean...?"

"I'm afraid so. William Landry."

"Heyes I told you we shouldn't have let him go."

"I know, Kid, I know." Heyes said grimacing.

Suddenly Kid's head snapped back toward the car in front of them. "Heyes, the guard's coming. We gotta finish talking about this later," he whispered urgently.

"This way." He led the way back into the car Heyes had just come out of. "I hid behind those barrels during one of his rounds.  He never looked around, just strolled down to the end of the car and then back."

Alex followed and crouched behind the barrels that Kid had indicated and tried to be as still as possible. He heard the door to the car open and then the heavy footsteps of the guard as he walked slowly through the car. Alex realized that Kid had his gun out and was crouched in a position that looked somewhat like a snake coiled and ready to strike. He had no doubt that if the guard spotted them, Curry would see to it that he didn't report his find. His eyes went from Curry over to Heyes, who looked surprisingly calm given their present circumstance. After what seemed like an eternity, but was in reality only a few minutes, the guard left the baggage car and returned toward the front of the train. Alex carefully let out the breath that he had been holding. Heyes lit the lamp that they had used earlier and walked around the barrels to sit on a crate on the other side.

"Okay, here's what you'll have to tell them," he began, looking directly at Alex. "First of all, you can't seem too friendly with us. We don't want them to know we've met before or that you're in on this plan with us, got it?"

Alex nodded, and then his eyes narrowed as he looked up at Heyes. "What do I tell them about Landry?"

Heyes smiled. "Here's what you tell 'em." He began to go over the story as Kid walked back toward the car door and peered out, his natural instinct telling him to be wary.

"Heyes." Curry said finally, "That guard will be back here any minute.  If we're going to go into that car we gotta go now or we'll have to hide again."

"Okay, let's go see the gentlemen from Midwest," Heyes said with slight irritation, and it was then that he realized how much he had been dreading this moment. These were the men who had put out a ten thousand dollar reward on him, dead or alive, who motivated the bounty hunters who pursued him and tried to kill him. He knew he would have to keep his emotions in check, or he could ruin everything.

Kid picked up a white towel and laid it over the gun that he had in his hand.  With his other fist, he rapped quickly on the door. "I've come for the dishes.  The men in the kitchen want to go to sleep," he said blandly to the guard who opened the door. The man nodded and Curry entered.

A quick look around revealed one more armed man standing against the side of the car, and six men sitting around a poker table. He stepped through the door, leaving it open, knowing Heyes was waiting for him to make the first move. Letting his instincts guide him, he waited until he felt the moment was right and then revealed his gun, cocked it and pointed it directly at the second armed man.  "Hands in the air," he commanded.

A moment later Heyes had come through the door and held his gun on the first man near the doorway.  "Okay, everybody just stay right where you are," Heyes directed.

"You two," he addressed the guards. "Take out your guns and slide 'em over here, carefully." The two men complied. While Heyes covered the others, Kid tied up the guards and then went to check the men at the table for weapons. Two of the men were carrying guns, which Kid relieved them of.

"What is the meaning of this?" one of the men at the table began to ask.

"I'll do the talking, for now." Heyes cut him off and then nodded toward the door which remained open. Alex walked in and closed the door behind him.

"First, I think some introductions are in order. You recognize Alex Harrington, of course," Heyes said nodding toward Alex. "And I'm Hannibal Heyes," he said smiling broadly. "As you can plainly see – we're not the same man."

"Oh, and that's Kid Curry. So don't try anything foolish, 'cause he doesn't want to have to shoot anybody." Kid smiled and raised the barrel of his gun slightly in acknowledgement.

At that, one of the men sitting at the table slowly stood up. "I'm John Stanley, President of Midwest Railroad," he said slowly and coldly. "What do you men want?"

Heyes smiled pleasantly.  Well, we just wanted to set the record straight, Mr. Stanley. You were about to send an innocent man to prison, and re-write the story of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. We don't like to have stories made up about us that aren't true, especially when they involve murder. In case you haven't noticed, we haven't robbed any of your trains for quite some time. You see, whether you believe it now or not, we've gone straight. We don't rob trains and banks anymore. And Alex Harrington there never had anything at all to do with the Devils Hole Gang or any train robbery."

"I don't see how this proves anything," one of the men said dismissively.

"It proves there is another man that looks enough like Alex Harrington to be confused with him," Curry said indignantly. "It proves he's not Hannibal Heyes."

"We didn't see any other way to convince you, so we collected Alex and brought him to you so you could see us together."

"But, our source was so convincing…" another one of the men protested.

"William Landry?" Heyes paused and was rewarded with their reactions. "I found his name showing up quite often in the documents in the safe, including a check from Midwest Railroad made out in the sum of ten thousand dollars." Heyes reached into his pocket and pulled out the check.

"How on earth did you get that?" Stanley looked genuinely surprised.

"From your safe.  The one in the baggage car. I opened it. But don't worry, we didn't take any of the money.  You can check it after we leave."

"Hannibal Heyes, open a safe and not take the money?" Stanley scoffed.

"Why would Landry make up a story like this?" the man who sat next to Stanley asked.

"I think I can shed some light on that," Alex interrupted, and then looked to Heyes for permission.

"Be my guest," Heyes shrugged. They had discussed the problem of explaining Landry's motive without revealing the fact that Heyes had been involved in the dealings last fall. It had been decided that Alex would be the one to tell the story.

Alex explained how he and Lucy had discovered that Landry had been embezzling money from the company for years, increasing dramatically after their father's illness. He detailed some of the illegal activities that Landry had been involved in, including extortion and the attempted murder of Alex and Lucy.

When the Midwest executives heard that Landry had tried to harm Alex and Lucy, they appeared genuinely outraged. Using such tactics on poor farmers and Chinese laborers they would have overlooked, but harming one of their own, well, that was unthinkable.

Alex could barely hide his anger at their hypocrisy. These were exactly the sort of men he'd tried to avoid for most of his life. But in order for their plan to work, he had to stay on their good side.

One of the other men at the table spoke up. "You know, Mr. Stanley, young Mr. Harrington here may have just saved you a lot more than the $10,000 bounty payment. If Landry's the thief and liar that he appears to be, he'd have started stealing from you too."

Alex gave Stanley a friendly smile. "I have documents in a safe in Santa Clara that can prove what I'm telling you. When we get there I'll show them to you."

Stanley's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "If you can prove what Landry was doing, why didn't you have him arrested when your father died?"

"Well, Mr. Stanley, you see, the railroad wasn't doing very well at the time, and my father had just died. Lucy and I weren't sure that the company could survive a scandal like that, so we gave Mr. Landry the choice of going to the sheriff, or signing over his shares of the railroad and leaving town. The railroad is doing much better now and we believe we'll be turning a profit by the end of the year. Our stockholders are pleased and so are our customers."

Stanley began to laugh. "You know Harrington, I may have underestimated you. Alright, we'll go back to Santa Clara and see those papers. If what you say is true, I won't pursue any further action against you or your railroad. It's clear you are not the outlaw that Landry claims."

Heyes and Curry exchanged a brief glance. This was their cue to leave.

"Gentlemen, if you'll excuse us, we'll be going now. I'm sorry but we'll have to tie all of you up so we can get away." Heyes said lightly and with a smile.

"You two! This isn't over between us. I'll still see you both rot in prison for all the trouble you've caused me over the years. And all the money you stole from me!" Stanley gave them both murderous looks as Heyes quickly and efficiently tied each man, including Alex, to a chair.

When the task was complete, the two former outlaws left the car as quickly as they could and made their way to the outside rail. The train was traveling over a steep ridge and they knew they couldn't safely jump until the landscape leveled out.

"Come on, come on," Heyes said nervously.

"After we get around that bend, it should be safe to jump," Curry said hopefully.

The train was moving much faster than Heyes would have liked, but they hadn't been able to time their exact exit and they didn't want to wait around until the men, especially the guards, had a chance to free themselves.

"Now!" Heyes saw their opportunity and took it. He pushed off from the train to make sure he cleared the tracks and landed with a roll to break his fall. Quickly recovering, he sat up and looked to see how his partner had landed.

To his horror and dismay, he saw only the train speeding away.

"Kid? Kid what happened!" He shouted after the train.

The next two or three minutes felt like an eternity to Heyes as he ran after the train and watched it get further and further away. A gunshot stopped him in his tracks and he felt a wave of panic hit him as he saw a body fly off the train and land on the ground and roll over a few times.

Heyes was too far away to tell exactly what had happened, but he knew it was his partner who had fallen or jumped from the train. A new shot of adrenaline gave him the energy to sprint ahead. He fell on the ground next to where Kid lay face down. Still out of breath and panting, he hesitantly reached over to roll his fallen friend onto his back. As his face appeared, Kid groaned and stared up at him.

"Aw Heyes, I'm getting' too old to jump off trains. You gotta come up with a better plan next time."

Heyes' face broke into a relieved smile. "What happened Kid?" He asked, still out of breath.

"One of those guards got untied a whole lot faster than we thought he would. He came bustin' outta that door with a gun on me. We struggled for it and it went off.  Then I jumped."

"Did – did you shoot him?" Heyes asked in a worried voice.

"No, the gun just went off in the air, but I got it away from him and used it to knock him out before I jumped."

They both lay on the ground for a minute trying to catch their breath.

When he finally sat up, Kid looked over and asked, "Heyes? How'd you know Alex could pull that off?"

"Well Kid, I didn't at first, but I spent a lot of time talking with him on the way here. By the time we got here, I knew he was going to be able to do it. I knew that he'd feel like he had to do it for us even if he didn't want to do it for himself."

They both stood up and dusted themselves off.

Heyes just smiled and shook his head and started doing what he did best, he started talking. "Kid did you see the look on Stanley's face when I pulled out that check? And what about their reaction to what Alex told them about Landry? Boy I wouldn't want to be in his shoes tomorrow. Did you see the way that guard was looking at you after he found out you were Kid Curry?"

"Heyes!" Curry blurted out.

"What, Kid?"

He wanted to tell Heyes thank you for staying with him when he could have taken off on his own, free from bounty hunters. He wanted to tell Heyes he was honored that someone like that wanted him for a friend. He wanted to tell Heyes he was sorry he'd been so moody lately.

"Heyes, quit talkin' and git walkin'." He said instead, with a sly grin.

"Well okay Kid, if that's how you feel." Both men started making their way up the hill to the logging road where Jake Parker would meet them with their horses.

"Heyes, did you see Stanley's face when you told him you'd opened his safe, right under his nose?" Kid asked, his face breaking into a broad smile.

"Yeah, it was priceless." Both men started chuckling as they walked along the old logging road together.

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

 Similar topics

-
» May 17 - Hannibal Heyes' Hat
» The Hannibal Heyes of Cats
» Hannibal Heyes' Silver Ring
» Hannibal Heyes Goes to New York - Revised Chapter 16
» Alias Smith and Jones Alphabet
Share this post on: Excite BookmarksDiggRedditDel.icio.usGoogleLiveSlashdotNetscapeTechnoratiStumbleUponNewsvineFurlYahooSmarking

3.18 Alias Hannibal Heyes by Joann Baker :: Comments

No Comment.
 

3.18 Alias Hannibal Heyes by Joann Baker

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 

Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You can reply to topics in this forum
Stories: Alias Smith and Jones  :: Virtual Season :: Virtual Season Stories prior to 2008-
Reply to topicJump to: