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 4.13 A Foreign Country by Kate Ashe

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royannahuggins
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Join date : 2013-10-13

20150503
Post4.13 A Foreign Country by Kate Ashe


A train carriage. A full train carriage. The west rolled past outside. Kid Curry was stretched out in his seat, his hat tipped over his eyes. Hannibal Heyes sat across the way, reading. It was relaxed.

The train shuddered suddenly to a halt.

Curry sat up and looked across at Heyes. They were not at a station. A slight frown disturbed Heyes' features. Both men knew, from their previous life, just what this unscheduled stop meant.

It wasn't long before two men entered the carriage, guns drawn, bandannas up over their faces. Angrily, they growled at the passengers to "Git off!".

Heyes and Curry sighed and followed the others.

Lined up against the side of the train, guns trained on them, most of the passengers shuffled nervously. Heyes and Curry stood quietly, their faces neutral, even when they were searched.

Eventually, all the passengers had been searched and the outlaws mounted their animals and rode off. After a few moments, the passengers climbed back onto the train which was soon on its way again.


Starring

Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes
Ben Murphy as Kid Curry


Guest Stars


Colin Farrell as Henson


Earl Holliman as Wheat Carlson


Dennis Fimple as Kyle Murtry




A Foreign Country
by Kate Ashe



A train pulled into a station. Two men got off, with a number of other passengers. The guard also jumped off and hurried up the street to the Sheriff's office. Many passengers were at the windows, anxious to report the robbery. The two men were equally anxious to avoid the Sheriff. Without waiting, they made their way to the nearby hotel.

Heyes and Curry had been sent to Langton by Lom Trevors. He had a friend, Matt Sutton, who needed a couple of fellas to assist him and Trevors had told the partners to be the ones. They were to meet him at the hotel.

They passed the Sheriff as they walked up. He was hurrying to the train station. Curry grimaced, "Sure hope the Sheriff doesn't want to talk to us about that robbery."

Heyes affirmed, "Least Lom was right, we don't know him."

At the hotel, they were disappointed to find that their employer had not yet checked in and that there were no messages for them. A room had been reserved for them.

"At least we'll get to sleep in a comfortable bed!" Curry said as they headed upstairs.

"Just as well, seeings as how we won't get to eat." Heyes responded.

Curry's face fell.

* * * * *

The following morning, Heyes and Curry were sat on the hotel porch, surveying the town. They appeared relaxed, smoking cigars, feet up. But their eyes were restless, scanning up and down the street, watching everyone's movements, especially the Sheriff's.

The town was busy. Wagons and horses moved up and down the street. People moved in and out of shops and saloons. A couple of wagons were stood outside the general store and were being loaded with supplies.

The Sheriff left his office and began to walk down the street. Though they didn't move, Heyes and Curry tensed and exchanged a glance. Their concern grew as the Sheriff angled over, straight for the hotel.

He stopped by the rail around the porch. Heyes and Curry slowly removed their feet and sat up.

"Morning, Gentlemen."

"Morning, Sheriff." Heyes responded.

"I understand that you two fellas may have been on the train that was held up yesterday?"

"Well…"

"I don't understand why you didn't come with the others to report your losses?"

"Well, they weren't much, just a few dollars. Didn't seem worth it."

"What about the robbers? Anything you can tell me about them?"

"There were a half dozen or so. All had their faces covered with their bandannas. Couldn't really say that there was anything special about them. Thaddeus?"

"Oh, absolutely, Joshua. Nothing special. Jes' ordinary looking. No names…" he trailed off when catching the look Heyes gave him.

"I see. Well, if you remember anything, you'll let me know?"

"Of course, Sheriff."

"You in town for long?"

"We're waiting for someone, expecting to get a job with him. He's paying for the hotel room."

"I see. I hope that he's not long."

"Yes."

The Sheriff strolled away.

Heyes and Curry breathed a soft sigh. Under his breath, Curry muttered, "I hope he's not long, I'm hungry."

Heyes grinned.

* * * * *

The two men settled back, replacing their feet on the rail. They surveyed the town.

The arrival of a large group of men, who approached the bank, caught their interest. Curry sat up in his seat and released the catch on his gun. Heyes raised an eyebrow at him and he shrugged.

The men entered the bank. Heyes laid a hand on Curry's arm, "It's nothing to do with us, Kid."

"Mebbe." was the response.

The sound of shots echoed from within the bank and the men ran out, shooting wildly into the street. Women screamed and everyone ran hither and thither, looking for cover. Curry watched as some of the outlaws' shots felled some of the panicked citizens. A glance between Heyes and Curry resulted in Curry drawing his gun and firing.

A few quickly fired shots brought down two men and had the others running for their horses, the wounded being left to fend for themselves.

The Sheriff ran out of his office, gun drawn. One of the outlaws turned to face him, clearly intending to shoot. Curry fired and the man jerked in his saddle and then raced out of town.

The outlaws left behind were taken into custody and the doctor summoned. The Sheriff beckoned Heyes and Curry over and led them into his office. He motioned for them to sit.

"How are they, Doctor?"

"They'll live. One's shot in the shoulder and the other in the upper leg. Should be fit for trial soon." The doctor left the office.

The Sheriff turned to the men, sitting, waiting.

"I guess I should thank you for your help. Since those fellas are gonna be okay, I won't need to be keeping you."

Heyes and Curry started to get up, to leave.

"That person you were waiting for?"

Heyes turned, keeping his voice neutral, he said, "Yes?"

"Is he here yet?"

"Not yet."

"If he doesn't arrive tomorrow, I suggest you wait no longer." The Sheriff left his office, to get his posse together.

Heyes and Curry exchanged a look and left.

* * * * *

Outside the Sheriff's office, the two men paused. Standing shoulder to shoulder, they both looked across at the saloon.

"You got any money?" Heyes asked Curry, staring straight ahead.

Curry dug through his pockets and came up with a total of 70 cents. "You?" he asked.

Heyes sighed, "40 cents."

"Drink?"

Heyes nodded.

The two men walked in step across the street.

* * * * *

Thirty minutes later; having nursed their one drink each as long as they could and being, finally, unable to watch the poker games any longer; they left the saloon and walked over to the hotel.

Heyes checked with the desk clerk, but Sutton had still not arrived and had left no word. Heyes suspected that he had pulled out of meeting them. He and Curry climbed the stairs, Heyes brooding over their situation. It was obvious that the Sheriff expected them to leave, but, without the money to buy horses and without a job to get money, they were stuck.

Curry unlocked the door to their room and entered first. His right arm was grabbed by a strong grip and he was flung around and up against the wall. His gun was pulled from its holster. He found himself pinned by an arm across his throat and a gun in his side.

Heyes had drawn his gun as soon as he'd seen Curry yanked around. A voice called softly to him, "Throw your gun into the room and come in, slowly. Unless you want Mr. Curry to stop breathing."

Heyes tossed his gun in and entered. The door was shut behind him and he was pushed down into a chair.

Curry was spun around and his hands tied behind his back. He was pushed onto the bed. A gun remained trained on him the entire time.

The same voice spoke. It came from a tall, dark haired man. He had thin lips, drawn into a sneer, and a thin mustache.

"How nice to meet the former leader of the Devil's Hole Gang at last."

Heyes stared coldly at him. "Who are you?"

"The current leader of the Devil's Hole Gang."

"I'd heard that that Gang was run by Wheat Carlson. You don't look like his description."

The man laughed. "Wheat? Wheat couldn't lead a horse to water! Name's Henson."

"You robbed the bank. Why'd you come back here? What do you want?"

Henson nodded his head, "You are a smart man, Heyes. Straight to the point. You shot one of my men and, so, I want you to help us escape the posse."

"What posse?"

"The one that the Sheriff got together."

"Didn't know he had."

"I said you was smart, Heyes, so don't start playing games now. Mr. Curry may not appreciate it." Henson nodded at one of his men, who raised his hand and delivered a sharp blow across Curry's face, which knocked Kid down and brought tears to his eyes.

Heyes started up out of his chair and found hands on his shoulders, pressing him down.

"Now, now. Curry's not hurt, permanently, yet. Are you, Curry?"

Curry was pulled back into a sitting position. His blue eyes shot daggers at Henson. There was a red mark across his cheek, but he was otherwise unharmed.

"So, now that you have the point. You will go over to the stable and collect your horses, Curry will stay here and then we'll join my injured men and you'll get us all back to Devil's Hole. Shouldn't be difficult for the famous Hannibal Heyes."

"There is one problem." Heyes said.

Henson nodded at the man stood in front of Curry again, who raised his fist.

"Wait!" Heyes called. "I can help you, but there is a problem."

"What?"

"We don't have any horses at the stable. We came in on the train. It was robbed, along with everything we have."

Henson stared at Heyes for a long moment, trying to decide if he was lying.

"Search them."

Heyes and Curry were patted down and their pockets rifled.

His men looked at Henson. "Nothing."

Henson began to smile, which became a chuckle and then he was roaring with laughter. His men smiled and laughed with him. Heyes and Curry sat, their faces impassive, their eyes blazing with anger.

Henson coughed and spluttered. "The great Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry? Robbed? Broke?" He roared with laughter again.

Through gritted teeth, Heyes muttered, "It's not that funny."

Henson suddenly sobered. "Maybe you've lost your touch? Maybe you can't guide us?"

Heyes shook his head. If Henson thought that he might kill both of them here and now. With sincerity, he said, "We're not in jail, are we? We can still keep ahead of the law, even if we can't avoid getting robbed."

Henson nodded. "Just as well I've still got the bank's money then, isn't it?" He went over to some saddle bags and pulled out some money.

"Here, take this and go get some horses."

Henson opened the door and Heyes was pushed out.

* * * * *

Leaving Curry at the hotel, tied up and with several guns trained on him, Heyes walked to the stables, his face set. He negotiated with the owner for two horses and gear and proceeded to saddle them, angry over their kidnapping. There was, however, little he could presently do. They would simply have to await their opportunity.

He led the horses round to the rear of the hotel. A man was waiting there. When he spotted Heyes approaching, he disappeared inside. A few minutes later, Curry appeared, with Henson and his men. Heyes noted with surprise that Henson had thought to bring their possessions with him. Curry's hands were still tied behind him, his jaw was clenched and anger flashed in his eyes. He exchanged a brief look with Heyes and then allowed himself to be boosted into his saddle. Heyes' hands were tied also and the group left the town.

A couple of miles out of town, they met up with the rest of the gang. They had somehow acquired a wagon. Heyes and Curry were ordered into it, where they saw a man lying down, covered with a blanket and with his eyes closed.

Henson pointed at the man, "You did that Curry." He snarled. "You shot him, nearly killed him!"

Curry looked round at the man, he had been shooting at the gang, it was possible that he'd hit the man, though it had never been his intention to do serious harm or to kill.

Heyes saw the stricken look in Curry's eyes. He faced Henson. "I don't believe you. The Kid never misses like that!"

"Well, I didn't see anybody else shoot at us, did you?"

Heyes had to concede that and he avoided looking at Curry.

"So, 'cos of you, we're gonna havta move real slow. You're gonna help."

"And if we don't?"

Henson raised his gun, pulled back the hammer and pointed it at the Kid, "I'll kill both of you, Curry first - slow." He said, viciously.

"You can't hide the tracks of a wagon!" Heyes protested.

"You can't expect Hank to ride."

Heyes sighed, glanced at Curry and said, "You need to know where the posse is. Post outriders - one scouting ahead and one to each side. Leave one man here to watch our backs. He can follow in a few hours and stay that far behind, unless he sees the posse. For now, we'll travel south along this road."

Henson issued orders and men dispersed as Heyes had suggested. The rest set off. Henson trailed the wagon, his gun held in his hand. Curry and Heyes settled back, against the side of the wagon, Curry staring unhappily at his feet.

* * * * *

They travelled in silence for several hours, Heyes occasionally making suggestions on how to confuse the posse. At the bank of a broad river, he insisted that they cross, leaving tracks at their entry. At the other side, he stopped them a short distance from the river's edge, had them carefully back up the wagon and horses and then allow the wagon to float downstream - the horses walking in the water. At the point where they left the river, Heyes supervised the sweeping away of their tracks. He did keep the men at that task for somewhat longer than was truly necessary, managing to drag a small smile out of Curry. Finally, it grew too dark to continue to travel and so the group pulled up.

One of the men began to build a fire. Heyes watched for a moment and then said, "You want to draw the posse?"

The man looked up, "Me?"

"Yeah, you. You stupid or something?"

The man shot up and started angrily toward Heyes. Henson stopped him by an arm across his chest. Henson looked at Heyes, "What are you getting at?"

Heyes sighed heavily, "A fire can be seen for miles around! You might as well give up. Till you know they're gone, you run a cold camp. And two men on watch, changing every two hours. If one of them falls asleep," he paused for a moment and added, "shoot 'em."

Curry's eyes flicked up to stare for a moment at Heyes when he heard this, but Henson nodded with appreciation and issued the appropriate orders. He also ordered ropes to be tied around Heyes and Curry's feet and fastened round the wagon. Henson smiled coldly at the pair, "Wouldn't want to 'lose' you during the night."

* * * * *

Heyes and Curry spent an uncomfortable and sleepless night, not helped by their ever growing thirst and hunger.

* * * * *

At daybreak, Henson woke and checked over their bonds.

"Henson, you think we can have something to drink, something to eat? It won't help me help you if I can't talk!" Heyes asked.

Henson had to agree, "But one at a time and I'll have guns on you throughout!"

* * * * *

After eating, they set off again. Once more, throughout the day, Heyes gave directions on avoiding the posse, which still remained unseen. Heyes and Curry continued to share the wagon with the injured outlaw, Hank. He had made little improvement but had not worsened, to Curry's evident relief.

Curry was frustrated that he could do nothing except bounce around in the back of the wagon. His arms ached from the pressure of being tied behind him most of the time. He was also hungry. And, most of all, he was frustrated that Heyes continued to help the gang elude the posse.

The scouts had been changed at regular intervals, a man being sent out to find and direct back each one. The posse was sighted occasionally; Heyes' tricks were making them travel slowly, looking for signs and constantly back tracking. But it was still following, after all, the law knew where Devil's Hole was and where the gang were headed. They could easily be about to walk into an ambush.

Kid sighed to himself. Heyes had usually simply pushed as hard as possible to reach the safety of Devil's Hole before any posse. Curry didn't understand why he was using so many tricks and delaying them, while not allowing the posse to catch up. And, he was completely unable to ask.

That evening, when he was released to eat, Curry checked on Hank's condition. He changed the cloths covering his wounds and gave him water, settling Hank back onto the blankets. He glared at Heyes and Henson.

"Bouncing around in here isn't doing Hank any good! Why aren't we…" he was stopped when Heyes kicked his shins, hard.

Heyes smiled tightly. "Oops, sorry. Just trying to stretch my legs." He stared into Curry's eyes, telling him to be quiet.

Curry shrugged. "Still, guess it's none of my affair." He bent over his plate and ate in silence.

* * * * *

The camp had quietened, settled for the night. Curry waited until the only sounds were of sleep and then he kicked Heyes' leg.

Heyes grunted, "I'm not asleep."

"Heyes, you are figuring on getting us out of this? You're not enjoying this by any chance?"

"Kid!" Heyes was affronted. "Why would I enjoy helping someone who threatened to kill us?"

"For the challenge." Curry retorted.

"Well, it IS a challenge of course." Heyes agreed, earning himself another kick.

"Hey! Cut that out!"

"Keep your mind on the real problem, Heyes. You know that by now, everyone is likely thinking that we did come out of retirement."

"Not likely, we won't be connected to the robbery that way. And the Sheriff will be pleased we left."

"And if he finds out we paid for horses? With what money?"

"Hmm." Heyes' brow furrowed. "We need to get out of here and return the money."

Patiently Curry said, "You're right, Heyes. That's what we need to do."

* * * * *

The next day began much as the other two had. Mid afternoon, the latest back rider arrived. He spoke to Henson, who approached the wagon.

"Well, Heyes, seems the posse are backing off! Several of 'em have left, going home, I guess."

"Then you can let us go."

"No way. You may still be useful!"

"You can't keep us prisoners forever!"

"Won't need to. Once you've helped us pull our next job, you'll be chased so hard by the law, you'll be back in business!"

Heyes stared at him, furious. He shook his head violently. "Help you? Never gonna happen." he said, firmly.

Henson grinned, "We'll see." He rode away and the group headed directly for Devil's Hole.

* * * * *

It was only a few hours on a straight run to the Hole. Heyes appeared to be relaxed, sitting back against the wagon's side, but Curry noticed that he was distinctly edgy. As they began to enter the area of the hideout, he appeared to be disappointed. His shoulders slumped ever so slightly, only distinguishable by his partner.

The gang were let through and soon were pulling up in front of the buildings. Some of Henson's men lifted Hank out of the wagon and carried him into a nearby building. Wheat and Kyle came out, with a couple of others.

"Hi Wheat, Kyle." Curry called, pleasantly.

Kyle grinned broadly at him. "Hiya there, Kid. Watcha doin' here?"

"You gonna get out?" Wheat asked.

"Could be difficult for us, Wheat." Heyes said drily.

Henson pushed the two men away, both Kyle and Wheat glared ineffectually at him. They then watched, in amazement, as Heyes and Curry, guns trained on them, were dragged out of the wagon.

They were pushed toward an outbuilding, forced to jump along as their feet were still bound.

Wheat and Kyle looked on in confusion. "Er, Henson, why you got Heyes and Kid tied up?"

"Why don't you help put the horses away and stop asking questions?" Henson replied.

Once through the door, Heyes and Curry were left alone, to listen to the door being locked behind them. They hopped over to a wall and lowered themselves to the floor. They then shifted to rest back to back.

"Who's turn is it?" Heyes asked.

"If you have to ask, it's yours." Curry responded.

It grew dark as the ropes refused to budge. Heyes succeeded in loosening them a little, which Curry appreciated, he'd begun to lose the feeling in his fingers, but Heyes was unable to undo them completely. In frustration, he pulled away and slumped down.

* * * * *

It had been dark for some time when they heard the door open, followed by Wheat's voice, "Never thought to see this. What happened, Heyes?"

"Does it matter?" Heyes said, despondently.

Distracting Wheat from Heyes' low humour, Curry asked, "When did Henson arrive here, Wheat?"

"'Bout six months ago. Something like. Turned up alone, seemed okay so let him stay. More and more arrived and he took over. Most of the men here are 'is." Wheat's voice was bitter.

The three men were silent for a while.

"Wheat," Heyes broke the silence. "You see any lawmen around here lately?"

Wheat grinned, the smirk carrying in his voice, "Sure! Were some this morning. Kyle and me were coming back and spotted 'em, setting up an ambush. We cleared 'em off!" he finished, proudly.

Heyes sighed. "Wheat, sometimes, you are just too good!"

Wheat grinned, "Thanks, Heyes!"

Kid Curry rolled his eyes, realising that Heyes had been hoping Henson would be ambushed. "You got a Plan B, Heyes?" he asked.

"Plan B?" Wheat queried, "What happened to Plan A?"

"Went up in gunfire, Wheat."

"Huh?"

"Never mind." Heyes muttered.

"Wheat," Kid asked, "You plan on doing anything 'cept talk?"

"Henson's got guards outside, made me promise not to untie you or nothing, else I weren't to be let in."

"Wheat," Heyes spoke up sharply, "You think you can do anything outside of here to help?"

"Sure, Heyes. You know me 'n Kyle's always ready to help."

"Henson got another job in mind, do ya know?"

"Dunno, Heyes."

"Find out for me, Wheat."

"Sure, Heyes. Er, Heyes?"

"Yes?"

"Why?" Wheat asked, puzzled.

Heyes ignored the question. Instead he asked, "Think you could slip away from the Hole unnoticed?"

"'Course."

"Okay. Bring us breakfast in the morning and I'll let you know what I want you and Kyle to do."

"Okay, Heyes. That it?"

"Yeah. Better get going, Kid and me need to get our rest."

Wheat left and the door was locked behind him.

"Heyes," Curry said, "You got a Plan B!"

"I sure hope so, Kid, I sure hope so. Now, if you don't mind, I need to think."

"Night, Heyes." Curry lay down, closed his eyes and dropped off, leaving Heyes musing in the dark.

* * * * *

It was Kyle who brought breakfast in the morning, explaining that, as Wheat had spoken to them the previous night, Henson hadn't trusted him to see them again! Heyes was amazed at how paranoid and how stupid the man was.

Heyes explained to Kyle, very patiently, just what Wheat and he were required to do. After 30 minutes, there was a loud knocking on the door and a voice yelled, "Hey, Kyle, you gonna be in there all day? Henson sez you're to git out now!"

Kyle looked at Heyes.

"It's okay, Kyle. You can go. Now, you're quite certain you know what to do?"

"Sure, Heyes. Got it straight. Me 'n Wheat won't let ya down!"

"I know you won't, Kyle." Heyes answered.

Kyle left and the door was locked. Curry looked across at his partner.

"Does this plan depend on Wheat and Kyle?"

Heyes nodded unhappily.

Curry groaned.

* * * * *

Quiet had fallen on the small settlement. The outlaws were all tucked up, most of them in their bunks. Two dark shadows slipped through the night, moving toward the stable. Two horses waited patiently, heads down, saddled and bridled. They were led out, along the path that led to the outside world. The only sounds were muffled creaks of leather.

The two figures and horses paused. One of the figures slipped away and came up behind the guard, waiting at the pass. He was soundly asleep, having drunk a pot full of coffee that had contained, unknown to him, a mickey finn or two. The figure returned to his waiting partner. Both men mounted and rode rapidly out of Devil's Hole.

* * * * *

In the morning, Henson woke with a headache. He staggered outside and then roared with anger when he noticed the two guards at the shack were asleep. He raced to the door, struggled to unlock it and then hauled it open.

Heyes and Curry struggled to sit up, blinking in the sudden shaft of light. Henson stared at them and then slammed the door shut. Heyes and Curry looked at each other, shrugged and tried to go back to sleep.

* * * * *

Sometime later the door was opened again, a little less hurriedly. Once more, Henson was stood in the doorway. Behind him were two men, guns drawn. A third walked over to Heyes, untied his feet and hauled him up.

Henson spoke, "Heyes, you're comin' with us. You did such a great job, I can use your help again."

Heyes face was set, "No." was all he said, but he meant it.

Henson grinned evilly at him, "Heyes, do you really want that much to see the Kid here hurt? I'm happy to oblige, not sure your partner would agree."

The third man turned his attention to Kid, drawing his gun and placing it against the Kid's leg.

With his teeth clenched, Heyes walked out of the door.

Henson beckoned to the third man, who walked out as well. Henson then turned to face Kid, "Looks like Heyes is using his head. But, if we're not back by the expected time, Mason," he indicated the third man, now stood by the door, "will come back in and this time, he will shoot." With that, Henson turned and walked out, leaving Kid alone in the shack.

* * * * *

Wheat and Kyle watched the outlaw gang, with Heyes, pass along the trail. They then headed back up.

* * * * *

Henson was pleased. He had a well trained gang, a good plan and Hannibal Heyes. There would be no problems.

* * * * *

Wheat and Kyle had avoided the guard on the trail, sneaking into Devil's Hole through a back way that very few knew about, but had served Heyes and Curry well when they'd been living there.

Kyle approached the buildings and greeted the two men sat guarding the shack containing Kid Curry. They rose and drew their guns. One of them said, somewhat sheepishly, "Kyle, Henson said that if you were to come back, we were to hold ya. Hope you won't make a fuss 'bout it."

Kyle shook his head. "I won't, but he might."

The other man laughed shortly. "C'mon Kyle, you don't expect us to fall for that trick do ya?"

Kyle shook his head again.

Exchanging a puzzled look, the two men started toward Kyle. The soft, metallic click of a hammer stopped them.

Their blood chilled when they heard a soft voice behind them say, "I wouldn't, if I were you."

They turned slowly and stared into the cold and rather menacing eyes of Kid Curry.

Kid Curry smiled coldly at them but directed his next command at Wheat and Kyle.

"Wheat, tie 'em up. Kyle, get a wagon and hitch up the horses to it. And hurry!"

The two men hurried to comply.

The two guards were loaded into the wagon, along with Hank, who was considerably better.

Kyle and Wheat headed out of the Hole on the wagon. Curry followed on a horse.

At the guard post, Wilson appeared. "Wheat! Where'd you come from?"

Wheat shrugged.

"What ya doin' with them?"

Curry appeared. "Taking them back. You with Henson?" The question was backed up by his right hand resting by his holster.

Wilson shook his head violently. "Wheat'll tell ya! I was here before Henson. I could care less what you do with 'em!"

Curry looked at Wheat, who nodded.

Curry looked back at Wilson. "Okay, well then, take care of the Hole, till Wheat and Kyle return."

"Sure thing, Kid!"

At the end of the route out, Curry, Wheat and Kyle separated.

* * * * *

Henson and his group arrived at the outskirts of Louisville. Henson paused for a while to survey the town. It was a quiet time of day, the streets almost empty due to the heat of the afternoon. Henson, Heyes and the gang rode brazenly in.

They pulled up next to the bank and most of them dismounted, two of them remaining to hold the reins of the others' animals. Heyes also swung his leg over his saddle and slipped gracefully to the ground, well, as gracefully as possible, considering his wrists were still bound behind him. No one stopped him, something he had thought might happen. Grateful for being unnoticed, he quietly followed the others into the bank.

Heyes slid along the bank's wall, a shadowy figure reached out, cut the leather thong holding Heyes' hands together and slipped a gun into Heyes' right hand.

Henson approached the cashier, thrust his gun through the grill and snarled, "Hand over the money."

The cashier stared at the gun. However, he responded with a firm, "No."

Henson was thrown off balance. "What do you mean, no? I've got a gun and I'll use it. Now, hand over the money."

"No."

"Fine." Henson drew back the hammer of his gun. In the same moment, another weapon was jabbed into his side and a soft voice, heavy with threat, said, "He said no. Put the gun down."

There was a click from behind and a calm voice said, "You heard him. Put your guns down."

Henson's men exchanged a look. They slowly put their guns down on the counter in front of them and raised their hands.

Henson hesitated, so Heyes reached over and put his hand on the gun, tugging it free from Henson's grip. The man behind the counter moved out and around. As he did so, he removed the coat he was wearing, revealing a silver star.

The Sheriff smiled at Heyes, "You must be Joshua Smith. Mr. Jones said you'd be here."

Heyes nodded. "There's a couple still outside, Sheriff. You mind holding on here, while Thaddeus - Mr. Jones - and I take them?"

The Sheriff nodded, "We'll just tie things up here."

Heyes and Curry left through the back door. They moved around the side of the building and peered around the corner.

The two men left to hold the horses were still there, watching the front door, their backs to the corner where Heyes and Curry were.

Curry caught Heyes' eye and raised an eyebrow. A brief, silent conversation took place and Heyes then disappeared. Curry remained crouched at the corner, peering out, his gun drawn.

A few moments later, Heyes reappeared at the other side of the bank. He approached the two men, smiling, though his eyes were cold.

"Wha! What are YOU doing there? How'd you get free?" One of the men exclaimed.

Heyes continued to smile, "A guardian angel gave me a hand."

"What?" The men were puzzled.

"A guardian angel." Heyes nodded at something behind the men.

The two men twisted in their saddle to see what a guardian angel looked like and found themselves staring into a pistol held by a far from angelic looking Kid Curry. They raised their hands. Kid motioned with his gun and they dismounted. Heyes removed their guns and then opened the bank's doors.

"Sheriff!" he called out.

The Sheriff came out, followed by the rest of the gang and Henson, who were trailed by several deputies with drawn guns. The whole party walked over to the cells in the Sheriff's office.

* * * * *

Heyes and Curry shook hands with the Sheriff.

“Would you reckon it? Trying to pin something like that on you!” The Sheriff was smiling.

Heyes gave a tight smile in return. “Yeah!” he said shortly, “We kept telling them they were mistaken, but the guy insisted he knew us. Like Hannibal Heyes and the other fella would help a Sheriff stop a bank robbery!”

“Yes, indeed!” The Sheriff laughed. “Now, you’re sure we can’t give you any of the reward monies?”

“Absolutely sure, we’ll just take a couple of horses and gear.” Heyes said. “You’ll see that Henson is delivered to Langton?” he added.

The Sheriff nodded. “I’ll contact the Sheriff there.”

Heyes held out his hand, “Well, thank you, Sheriff.” They shook hands.

Curry followed suit.

“Thank you Mr. Smith. Mr. Jones.” the Sheriff responded, as the two men hurried away.

* * * * *

Wheat and Kyle were sat on the ground by a campfire, eating. Behind them, two men quietly approached. The first they knew of them was the quiet sound of a pistol being cocked. Both men froze. It was followed by a soft laugh.

"Really, Wheat. You should do better 'n' that. Letting yourself git caught like that!"

Wheat glared angrily, while Kyle grinned.

"Hey Kid!" Kyle called, "You made it!"

Kid Curry came around in front of the pair and sat down by the fire. "Sure did, Kyle. Anything left to eat?"

Heyes laughed, "Kid, you ever think of anything but your stomach?""

Curry threw him a disgusted look as he piled some of the stew onto a plate.

Heyes turned to their friends, "Wheat, Kyle, glad you made it okay. You return all the money?"

Wheat looked wounded, "Of course we did, Heyes. Did exactly what you asked."

"After we thought 'bout it." Kyle added, helpfully and ducking the fist Wheat threw at him.

Heyes nodded solemnly. "Getting the reward helped, huh?"

"Well…" Wheat was a little cautious.

Heyes smiled, "S'okay, Wheat, you can keep all of it, we're just grateful for your help."

Heyes poured himself a cup of coffee.

"You comin' back to Devil's Hole, Heyes?" Kyle asked.

Curry and Heyes looked at each other, then Curry looked away and concentrated on eating while Heyes paused a moment and then smiled, patiently, at Kyle.

"No, Kyle. I don't think so, temptation would be too much."

Wheat gave a short laugh, "You still tryin' for that amnesty, Heyes? It'll never happen."

"Mebbe, Wheat, but we're not ready to give up yet, eh Kid?" Heyes asked.

His partner shook his head.

"Whatcha gonna do if'n you do git it?" Kyle asked.

Heyes frowned, "Not sure, not really given it much thought."

"We could manage a saloon," Kid offered, "or find missing wives, or be a bodyguard, or deliver stuff, or collect statues, or hunt big cats, or play poker, or be deputies, or run a stage line, or go gold mining, or hunt payrolls or…"

Heyes held up his hand, "or do something we've not done yet. Thanks, Kid, we don't need a litany of all the jobs we've ever undertaken."

"A what?"

"A litany - a list." Heyes said patiently, adding, "Don't worry 'bout us, Kyle, we'll find something to do. I presume that you and Wheat will head back?"

"Yep. Wheat's got some i'dees, ain't ya, Wheat?"

Wheat nodded.

"Well, best of luck to you." Heyes raised his cup to Wheat and Kyle.

"You too, Heyes." Wheat responded.

"Thanks," Curry smiled.

"Yeah," Heyes added, "All we gotta do is stay out of trouble, just like we have so far…Not too hard."

Curry glanced over at Heyes, a strange expression on his face, then he smiled and said, "In the meantime, we'll still be wanted. It'll be our secret!"

Wheat and Kyle shook their heads in bewilderment as Heyes' and Curry's laughter rang out through the night.



_________________
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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