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 4.8 Did You See What I Saw? by Sally Wheaton

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Join date : 2013-10-13

20150530
Post4.8 Did You See What I Saw? by Sally Wheaton



Curry threw his saddlebags down on the bed in frustration.

"Look on the bright side Kid," smiled Heyes "we have a free hotel room and free breakfast and dinner every day - that ought to cheer you up."

Curry glared at him. "Sure, and in return all we have to do is go to court and swear our names are Thaddeus Jones and Joshua Smith."

"You know we can't do that Kid."

"So what are you saying? We swear our names are Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry? They'd be sure to believe everything we said after that."



Starring

Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes
Ben Murphy as Kid Curry

Guest Stars


Ralph Waite as Sheriff Bloomfield

Uma Thurman as Mary Cornford

Jonathan Frakes as Hal Cornford

Christopher Lloyd as Ralph Newton



4.8 Did You See What I Saw?
by Sally Wheaton


.
Kid Curry glanced briefly at his partner Hannibal Heyes as the items piled up on the storekeeper's counter, and pulled a face. They'd only spent a few days in this town, but it had been a comfortable few days and Curry had become used to a few home comforts - steak for dinner and bacon for breakfast being two of the most important ones. Now he watched as they stocked up with beef jerky and cans of beans, in preparation for leaving town. Curry didn't disagree that it was time to move on. Meredith was a nice town with a sheriff who didn't know them and not a soul who was suspicious of them. In fact, the town seemed to have become quite fond of them whilst they'd been working out at the Fraser Ranch. However, they didn't usually like to stay too long in any one town and with the job at the ranch finished, it was time to leave. Still, he would miss the steak. He shook his head slightly and then grinned, resigned to his fate.

"Did you fellas check over at the saloon?" asked the storekeeper. Heyes and Curry looked up at him, confused.

"About a job, I mean. Surely this town must have something to offer a coupla nice fellas like you."

"Ah thank you Joe" smiled Heyes. "But it's time we moved on."

"We have a rancher friend down south who has a job lined up for us." added Curry.

Joe nodded. "Well, right shame that is."

Just then the door opened and a rather flustered telegraph operator burst in, sweaty and out of breath.

"Walter? There a problem?" asked Joe, worried.

Walter shook his head, but was still unable to speak. He leaned back against the door trying to catch his breath.

Finally, he spoke. "No, no problem Joe. I was just hoping to catch Joshua and Thaddeus here before they left."

Curry frowned slightly at Heyes, not sure if he should be worried or not.

"You have a telegram for us?" asked Heyes smoothly.

"No, actually, it's not for you. I heard you might be riding on out past the Fraser Ranch today?"

Heyes nodded. "That's right. We're leaving town today but we have to call into the ranch to collect our pay."

Walter nodded, pleased. "I have a telegraph for Dan Fraser and I was thinking you could save me a whole hour's ride out there if you could deliver it for me?"

Heyes and Curry relaxed. "Sure, Walter, we'd be glad to." agreed Curry and took the envelope from the telegrapher.

"Now you boys be careful with that and be sure not to forget to deliver it. It could be important."

"Sure thing Walter, we won't forget" Curry reassured him, with a smile.

"I wouldn't trust telegrams with just anyone you know, but I trust you boys."

Heyes answered this time. "We know that Walter. And don't you worry, we'll make sure the telegram is delivered."

"I know you will" he smiled back "And thanks."

Heyes tipped his hat and turned to help Curry carry the supplies outside. The other two men watched them leave.

"Right nice coupla fellas" sighed Joe. "Shame they're leaving."

"That may not be what they'll be saying over at the saloon" laughed Walter and at Joe's raised eyebrow he added "I heard that Joshua was too good at poker for their liking". Both men laughed heartily.

* * * * *

Shielding his eyes against the glare of the sun, Curry searched the open land for any sign of Dan Fraser, the rancher they'd been working for these past few days.

"Can't see him anywhere" he observed.

"Probably over at the north rim" replied Heyes dismounting and leading his horse to the water trough.

Curry pulled a face. "Hope not. That's another half day's ride."

Heyes grinned at him. "Yes, but a half day's ride that'll put money in our pockets."

Curry grinned back and dismounting, conceded "You've got a point there Heyes."

"Come on Kid, let's go see if he's in the barn first."

As they approached the barn, Curry stopped, putting his hand on Heyes' arm to force him to stop, and listened hard. Recognising the sound of two men shouting coming from inside the barn, Curry shook his head.

"Sounds like old Dan has lost his temper again."

Heyes grinned. During their time working at the Fraser Ranch, they'd experienced Dan Fraser's temper on more than one occasion. The other ranch hands didn't have a lot of respect for him, most stayed only because they needed the money and Fraser paid well after all. He had to, he didn't invite much in the way of natural loyalty.

Drawing closer to the barn, they could now hear the words from inside.

"I know what you were up to!" snarled Fraser

"You were drunk, you don't know what you saw." yelled the voice of Jack Hanson, the senior ranch hand and a man Heyes and Curry had come to respect and like.

"I'm not a fool. So don't be making your excuses."

"Dan you're mistaken. It wasn't what you thought." Hanson's voice was calmer this time.

The sounds of a scuffle followed and Heyes and Curry looked at each other. Why was it never easy when it came to collecting their money? Just how many times had they completed a job but not managed to collect their pay?

"Sounds like a real convenient time to talk to him." deadpanned Heyes.

"Yep. Sounds like he's in a plum amiable mood alright." replied Curry as the two of them started off down the side of the barn towards the doors at the front.

They were almost at the corner of the barn when the doors burst open and Jack Hanson rushed out, running up the slope towards the house at full speed. Heyes and Curry hurried forward and seconds later, reached the corner of the barn. At that moment, Fraser rushed out of the barn, stopped still and yelled "Hanson" at the top of his voice.

As Heyes and Curry turned to look towards him, they saw him reach for his gun.

"No, Dan!" called Curry, realising what the man was about to do.

But it was too late. Fraser pointed his gun towards his senior ranch hand, still running up the slope, and fired three times, each time hitting Jack Hanson in the back. Hanson fell to the ground in an instant.

"Boys!" came a voice from behind Heyes and Curry. Turning together, they saw the sheriff just a few yards behind them, running towards them, down the side of the barn, gun in hand. Catching up with them, he stopped briefly, surveying the scene, and then shook his head.

"Drop the gun, Dan" he called towards Fraser, his own gun directed at him. Fraser didn't even try to resist, seemingly stunned by the events of the past few moments. Silently, he threw his gun to the ground and allowed the sheriff to tie his wrists.

As Fraser's gun hit the ground, Heyes and Curry had hurried towards Hanson, but it was of no use. He was already dead. Heyes stood up from his crouched position by the body and shook his head at Curry, just as the sheriff came to stand beside them.

Curry sighed and looked at Sheriff Bloomfield. "Dead" he said simply.

The sheriff nodded. "I know you boys haven't been in town too long, but it doesn't come as a big surprise to me."

Heyes looked up at the sheriff and raised his eyebrows.

"Jack Hanson came to me yesterday to report another argument between him and Dan."

"Another argument?" asked Curry.

"There have been..." the sheriff paused, clearly uncomfortable."…various …rumours"

Curry nodded.

"The pair had had several arguments over the last few weeks and Dan had threatened Jack on several occasions. Jack was worried and asked me to ride out this morning and talk to Dan. I didn't take any of it too seriously. Dan has a serious temper but I never saw him as a killer." He paused, then added "Looks like I was wrong."

"At least you saw exactly what happened." remarked Curry.

Sheriff Bloomfield pursed his lips and shook his head, looking directly at Curry.

"No I didn't."

Curry looked puzzled.

"Oh I know what happened alright, but I didn't see it. That's why I need you two."

Heyes glanced at Curry quickly.

"You two actually saw Dan shoot Jack. That makes you valuable witnesses in court."

"You didn't see it?" asked Curry incredulously. "You were only a few yards behind us when it happened. How could you not see it?"

"From where I was, I saw Jack run up towards the house, I saw the bullets hit him. A few seconds later I rounded the corner of the barn and saw Dan standing there with the gun in his hand. I didn't actually see him fire it. You boys on the other hand, actually saw him fire the gun. That will make a big difference at the court hearing. We're going to need you."

Heyes and Curry nodded uncomfortably.

"And, er, when exactly will this court hearing be?" asked Curry doubtfully.

"Oh shouldn't be more than a week or so, two or three at the most."

"Sheriff, ordinarily we'd be happy to stay and give evidence at the court hearing," Heyes smiled at him. "But like we already told you, we have a rancher friend down south who is expecting us and has an important job for us to do. I doubt he'll be very understanding about us being delayed over a court hearing. This could be a real problem."

The sheriff nodded, pondering for a moment. "I tell you what Mr Smith, you let me know how to contact your rancher friend and I'll be happy to send him a telegram explaining the circumstances. I'm sure he'll understand."

Heyes reluctantly nodded in agreement and gave the sheriff a half smile, which faded immediately the sheriff turned away from him and started back towards his horse.

"Come on boys, let's get back to town, we have work to do." He called back to them.

Heyes sighed and shrugged at Curry and, recognising that they really had no other choice, they slowly made their way after the sheriff.

* * * * *

Curry threw his saddlebags down on the bed in frustration.

"Look on the bright side Kid," smiled Heyes "we have a free hotel room and free breakfast and dinner every day - that ought to cheer you up."

Curry glared at him. "Sure, and in return all we have to do is go to court and swear our names are Thaddeus Jones and Joshua Smith."

"You know we can't do that Kid."

"So what are you saying? We swear our names are Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry? They'd be sure to believe everything we said after that."

"No, we can't do that either."

"So we leave town?"

"We can't do that either. If we leave town now, that sheriff is going to get mighty suspicious. He'd soon figure out why we left and start going through Wanted posters. You want to tangle with Sheriff Bloomfield?"

Curry shook his head and slumped down onto the bed dejectedly. "You think he has any idea who we are?"

"No, I don't think he does."

"Hmm." Curry paused, deep in thought for a few moments. "You think he thinks we had anything to do with that shooting?"

"No I don't think we're under any suspicion. He could see enough to know that neither of us had a gun drawn. Like he said, he knows what happened, he even knows why it happened. He just didn't actually see it is all."

"So what are we going to do Heyes?"

"I don't rightly know Kid"

Curry looked up towards Heyes and watched him turn to the window and look off down the street.

Curry smiled. "Yet." he stated confidently.

Heyes turned towards Curry and smiled back, nodding. "Yet." he agreed.

* * * * *

"Further back Heyes" instructed Curry.

Heyes complied and stepped a couple of paces backwards.

"About there." Curry nodded at him. "He was almost level with that boulder when he called to us."

"Hmm." muttered Heyes, screwing up his nose "Come and look Kid".

They'd ridden back out to the Fraser Ranch early the next morning to take a look around. They were now standing where Sheriff Bloomfield had stood the previous day and, looking out past the edge of the barn, they realised that the sheriff would not have been able to see Dan Foster fire the gun. What he'd told them was true. He could see the victim, but that was all.

They moved out to the front of the barn next, to where Dan Foster had stood as he fired the gun. Curry stared up the slope towards the house, feeling a slight unease. He was a gunman himself, it was true, but he had never held with killing and had always done his best to avoid it.

Cautiously, with his gun drawn, Heyes peered inside the barn. After checking that there was no-one inside, he entered and looked around. A search revealed nothing helpful and he stood just inside the barn door, staring out into the sunlight. He ran his hand through his hair and sighed. They had to come up with something, and quickly, or they really would be facing standing up in court and swearing their names were Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones. He kicked at the ground in frustration, and as he did, his eye caught something glinting in the sun. Bending to pick it up, he realised it was a blue button.

"What is it Heyes?" asked Curry as he walked over.

"Just a button" Heyes replied, holding it out for Curry to see. When Curry shrugged his disinterest, Heyes popped the button in his pocket.

With nothing much more to be done out at the ranch, they made their way back to their horses and a few minutes later were riding back down the road towards town.

A half hour later they reached the slowest part of the trail. It narrowed and wound steadily uphill, flanked at times by enormous rocky overhangs in between brush covered inclines. They rode now in single file although the trail was well used and sturdy.

It started as a low rumble, almost unnoticeable at first. Curry looked up at the rocky overhang not far above them and as a few loose stones began to roll down the steep hillside beside the road, he realised what was about to happen.

"Rockslide!" he shouted to Heyes, who was a few feet in front of him.

They kicked their horses into a gallop in an effort to move beyond the danger zone before the slide began in earnest. It soon became clear that they weren't going to make it as the low rumble turned into a thundering roar as more and more stones and rocks began to crash down around them. The dust made it almost impossible to see anything or to avoid the larger rocks.

A boulder fell just behind Curry and instinctively he put his arm up to protect his head. At the same time his horse reared, spooked by a shower of stones falling just in front of them. Curry was upended onto the ground, landing heavily with a thud.

"Kid!" yelled Heyes. He pulled his horse around, back towards Curry. Looking upwards he saw a number of loose rocks and knew it would only be moments before they came crashing down.

"Kid!" he called again, diving off his horse and towards his friend.

"I'm OK" Curry coughed and spluttered with the dust and was somewhat surprised when Heyes grabbed him none too gently under the arms and hauled him roughly to the side of the road.

"What the..." began Curry, choking once more and trying to push Heyes away as he tried to catch his breath. Pulling him almost to his feet, Heyes shoved him to the ground under the shelter of a large rock which was clearly firmly embedded in the ground and was going nowhere, and then dived on top of him.

"Heyes! What do you think…" Curry started, but his protests were drowned out by the roaring sound of a large boulder crashing to the ground and landing in the exact spot where only seconds before he'd been lying.

Stones and rocks poured down from above them for a few moments and then slowly, everything returned to normal. As the dust settled, the quiet was almost eerie after the thundering noise of the rockslide.

Pushing himself up into a sitting position, Heyes dusted down his shirt and looked at Curry, relieved to see that he seemed to have come through his ordeal with nothing more than cuts and bruises.

"What?" he asked.

Curry looked at him blankly. "What what?"

"You were saying something? Before the rock fell?"

"Oh yeah." Curry stared towards the boulder on the road for a moment and then looked back at Heyes, his expression serious. "Thank you."

Heyes just grinned at him. "Wait here, I'll fetch the horses." he added.

When he returned a few moments later, Curry was standing looking upwards. "You hear anything about this being a danger area for rockslides Heyes?" he asked.

"No. But that doesn't mean it's not."

Heyes turned back towards the horses, but when Curry didn't follow him, he hesitated. "What is it Kid?"

"I'm not sure Heyes." He shook his head. "It just doesn't look like a natural rockslide area to me. It just doesn't feel right."

Heyes glanced upwards. Curry did generally have good instincts about such things.

"What are you saying Kid? You think someone started that slide?"

"I don't know." He hesitated again. "But I'd like to take a look up there?"

It took them over an hour to wind back through the hills until they eventually came out at the top of the rockface.

Curry stared down at the road and then jumped down from his horse. There were a large number of loose stones and rocks up here, some of them of a decent size. It wouldn't be difficult to start a slide he figured.

He wandered away from the edge and looked around. Here the terrain was not as green as below and there were large expanses of open rock. Amongst the rocks though, there was a fair amount of brush and he pushed his way through, keeping his eyes on the ground. Beyond, it opened up into a small trail and as Curry looked down he saw the faint signs of tracks in the ground. Kneeling down next to the tracks, he signalled to Heyes to join him.

"Fresh tracks?"

"I'd say so." nodded Curry.

Heyes knelt beside him. "Kid, these tracks could be days old."

"They're fresh." stated Curry confidently.

Heyes stood up and pushed his hat back on his head. "Kid, if you're saying you think someone started that rock slide deliberately and you're saying these are fresh tracks, then…" his voice trailed off as he stared into the distance.

"That's exactly what I'm saying Heyes. Someone wants us dead."

Heyes frowned as his eyes focussed on the small dust cloud disappearing over the ridge almost on the horizon.

* * * * *

They rode in silence for a long while, each man lost in his own thoughts. Finally, it was Curry who broke the silence. "Heyes, why would someone want us dead?"

"I'm not sure there is anyone who wants us dead Kid."

"But if there was, who would it be?"

"Kid, think about it. That's the main reason why I don't think there is anyone who wants us dead."

Curry was quiet for a few minutes.

"Heyes, who could it be?"

Heyes glanced up at him. He clearly wasn't about to let the subject drop.

"Well, it could be a bounty hunter on our trail."

"I don't know too many bounty hunters who would kill a man by starting a rockslide."

"Good point. Let's discount the bounty hunter."

Curry nodded and looked at Heyes expectantly.

"Well," Heyes began reluctantly, not much liking his next theory himself. "We were witnesses to a murder. It's possible someone wants to prevent us from giving evidence."

"That's what I was afraid you'd say Heyes."

Heyes sighed. He would really rather have let the subject drop. Despite his own logic on the matter, it gave him an uneasy feeling.

"But who would that someone be Kid?"

"Dan Fraser?"

"Who, I might remind you, is right now in a jail cell."

Curry was quiet again for a moment.

"You're right Heyes."

"See? No-one is trying to kill us Kid. It just doesn't make any sense."

Curry nodded his agreement and they rode in companionable silence for a few minutes. As the road narrowed, Curry lead the way, with Heyes slightly behind him.

"Course," began Curry without looking back "It could be someone working for Dan Fraser."

Heyes closed his eyes. That was exactly the thought he had been trying to avoid. "Kid" his voice was harsher than he intended. "No-one is trying to kill us."

The sound of a gunshot pierced the air. The bullet flew past Heyes' shoulder, missing by just inches.

They flew off their horses and took what cover they could behind a small rock at the side of the road. Three more shots rang out. Staying as far behind the rock as they could, they fired back. Another shot followed and again, they fired back.

"Just one?" asked Heyes.

Curry nodded.

When no more shots followed, Curry poked his head warily around the rock. Still no shots. He looked up towards where the shots had come from but could see no movement. Aiming high into the air, he fired once more. High above them and mostly hidden by the trees, they made out the shape of a man standing up and running. Seconds later they heard the sounds of a horse's hooves.

Standing up straight, Heyes dusted himself down and started back towards his horse. "Like I was saying Kid, no-one is trying to kill us."

Curry nodded, just managing to maintain his serious expression. "Like you were saying Heyes."

* * * * *

Curry shifted uncomfortably. He was cold, he was tired and he was hungry. It didn't make for a good combination. He was huddled in a small, dark alley from where he had a good view of the sheriff's office - and the jail.

"It makes sense Kid. If someone is trying to kill us, then they'll need to tell Dan Fraser that their attempts haven't been successful. And we need to know who that someone is." And so they were taking it in turns to keep watch through the night. Their horses were inside the livery, saddled ready. Heyes was also inside the livery, asleep in the warm hay whilst Curry was on watch.

Heyes' words rang around inside Curry's head. He knew Heyes was right, it did make sense. He just hated being cold, tired and hungry. And so far, no-one had come or gone from the jail at all. Maybe they wouldn't until the morning? Still, he sighed, another hour or so and he would be the one asleep in the warm hay whilst Heyes took watch. He pulled his sheepskin coat closer around him and leaned back once more against the cold, stone wall.

Some minutes later, he detected a slight movement in the shadows across the street. There wasn't much moonlight and he squinted, trying to make out the detail. Everything was still for a few moments, but just as he was deciding that he'd been mistaken, he clearly saw someone moving across the street towards the jail. Standing now, right on the edge of the alley and being careful not to be seen himself, he watched as a man made his way cautiously to the window of the jail cell. He stood by the barred window, clearly speaking to someone inside. Curry strained to see more but it was too dark for him to recognise the man. After a few minutes, he could see the man outside nodding and then he slipped away as silently as he had arrived. Keeping to the shadows, Curry followed him down the street until he saw the man mount a horse and ride out of town to the north. Turning, Curry darted back to the livery.

"Heyes! Wake up!" he called, kicking his partner's foot.

Heyes was immediately alert and as Curry explained what he'd seen, they quickly prepared to leave and only moments later were riding out of town to the north, following the stranger.

* * * * *

They tracked the man for about three miles out of town to a small farm. They were still some distance from the house but could see it clearly.

"There!" Curry pointed as he saw the stranger walk around from the back of the house.

They dismounted and crept into the trees so as to remain hidden from him. They watched as twice he walked all the way around the house, each time re-appearing a few moments later, on the opposite side to where he'd disappeared.

"What's he doing?" whispered Curry

Heyes shrugged. "It's too dark to see properly."

Curry pointed to a clump of trees closer to the house. Heyes nodded and as the man disappeared behind the house yet again, they darted across to the trees to get a closer look.

They watched as he sidled up to the door of the house and pushed it open gently. Standing to the side to remain unseen, he paused and then he drew his gun and pushed the door open further. Everything was quiet inside the house as the man made his way cautiously inside.

They lost sight of him then in the darkness, and when he didn't immediately re-appear, they crept right up to the house, taking care not to make any noise or be seen. They crouched on the porch next to a window and then stretched up just enough to be able to peer inside.

They could make out the shadowy form of the man inside and as they watched, he struck a match and lit a lamp. Heyes and Curry immediately ducked back down out of sight. Straining to listen, they could just make out the soft footsteps inside.

Drawing his gun, Curry warily stood up and then signalled to Heyes to do the same.

The man picked up the oil lamp and then walked across the room to a window at the back of the house. He held it underneath the curtains for a few moments.

"What's he doing?" whispered Curry.

Heyes frowned as it began to dawn on him, but there was nothing they could do to prevent it.

In a sudden flash, the curtains burst into flames. The man then carefully lay the oil lamp down on its side, on the floor below the curtains. The oil started to run out onto the floor and the man tilted the lamp towards it. In a second, the oil was alight and the flames flickered into life, quickly becoming brighter and higher until they were licking the table and then even the wall of the house and it became apparent that they would soon engulf the whole house.

The man stood back from the fire and then suddenly turned and ran out of the door. Heyes and Curry pressed themselves back against the wall in an effort to remain unseen. The man, however, was intent on nothing other than getting away and he didn't even notice them as he ran off the porch and across the yard to where he'd left his horse. Mounting up, he disappeared around the back of the house once again and Heyes nudged Curry as he spotted a horse and rider disappearing up the track behind the house.

Curry started to move towards the door of the house, but Heyes pulled him back. "No Kid! We can't."

"Heyes?" Curry snarled at him in surprise. He knew they didn't want to give away their presence, but they could hardly leave a house to burn down with people inside.

Heyes shook his head and pointed towards the barn. Suddenly understanding, Curry nodded back and they raced towards the barn, lifting the heavy wooden plank off the door and yanking it open. There were three horses inside and they ushered them quickly out into the yard where the already nervous animals caused quite a commotion as they ran around the open space. At the same Heyes and Curry made a dash for the cover of the trees.

It worked as they'd hoped it would, the noise waking the household and two figures quickly appeared in the doorway with buckets to collect water from the well. It took them only a few minutes to get the flames under control and before long the fire was completely out.

* * * * *

"So Heyes, you come up with any reasons why he might want to set the house on fire yet?"

Heyes had seemed somewhat distracted as they rode back to town and Curry's question roused him out of his thoughts. "It may not be related to the murder Kid" Heyes kept his eyes straight ahead and his voice detached.

"Maybe not." agreed Curry, not sounding convinced. He knew what Heyes was thinking - he just wasn't sure what to make of it yet.

Heyes looked across at him. "But if it is related …" he paused "… it could mean there's another witness."

Curry nodded. "And he did speak to Dan Fraser in the jail."

Heyes returned his gaze to the road ahead, still seeming somewhat distracted.

"Heyes," ventured Curry "is this a good thing or a bad thing? For us I mean?"

Heyes looked across at him once more. "I don't know Kid. I haven't figured that out yet."

"Do we go to the sheriff?"

"And tell him what exactly?

Curry didn't reply.

"Kid, what can we tell him? That we think someone started a rockslide to try to kill us? We don't know that for certain. It could have been anyone shooting at us - it could have been someone who recognised us and not anything to do with the murder at all. We saw someone start the fire tonight, but we don't know who."

Still Curry didn't reply and Heyes returned to his thoughts. After a long pause, he tried again.

"Kid, if we go to the sheriff now, what is he going to think? That we're making this up maybe? To make it look like there's another witness so that we can leave town? Not to mention that he'll wonder why we were snooping around in the middle of the night."

Still Curry remained quiet. Heyes sighed. The Kid was being stubborn. "Kid, we can't afford to make him suspicious or start asking why someone may be shooting at us or why we may want to leave and who we might be. It's just too risky."

Still nothing.

"Whoever that was back there, he made it look like an accident. There's nothing there that will make the sheriff think that fire was started deliberately. It might make our story look a mite suspicious don't you think?"

Still silence from Curry.

"The sheriff just might get around to thinking that we had something to do with it ourselves."

Finally Curry spoke. "The sheriff doesn't have any reason to connect us to it though does he? He knows we didn't kill Dan Fraser. He has no reason to suspect us?"

It was Heyes' turn to remain silent.

Curry considered it for a while and then looked up earnestly at his partner. "Heyes, I think we should go to the sheriff."

Still looking straight at him, Heyes raised his eyebrows at him.

"If it turns out that someone is trying to kill us and maybe someone else," explained Curry quietly, "and we didn't go to the sheriff, we might end up in a lot of trouble."

Heyes turned away from him and let out a heavy sigh. It was too risky to go the sheriff. Darn his partner, darn him, he cursed to himself, shaking his head. He closed his eyes and pushed his hat back on his head.

The trouble was, he knew the Kid was right.

* * * * *

The sheriff banged loudly at the door of the farmhouse. The farm belonged, he had explained to Heyes and Curry on the ride out the next morning, to a young couple by the name of Hal and Mary Cornford. They weren't well known in the town, tending to keep themselves to themselves.

Hal Cornford opened the door and invited them in. Sheriff Bloomfield introduced his two companions and they exchanged pleasantries. Hal's wife, Mary, kept herself busy with her chores and didn't join them.

"I hear you had a problem last night?" began the sheriff. "A fire?" he added at Hal's questioning look.

"Oh yes. That." Hal replied, waving his hand dismissively, without offering any details.

"It cause much damage?"

"Oh no, nothing much at all."

"You were lucky. Did it wake you?"

Hal frowned. "One of the horses got loose from the barn, the fire spooked it a bit and the noise woke us up. I put out the fire in a few seconds. No harm done."

"Do you know what started it?"

"I got careless I'm afraid sheriff, I didn't turn the lamp out properly and then I must have knocked it over without even noticing."

Standing up, he continued, as if to imply that the conversation was finished. "In any case sheriff, I'm a busy man, is there anything else I can do for you?"

"Well yes actually Hal, there is" the sheriff replied.

"And what would that be?"

Heyes sat watching the man carefully. His manner seemed a little guarded he decided.

"You've heard about the murder of Jack Hanson, up at the Fraser Ranch?"

"I sure have sheriff, the town is talking about nothing else. Dan Fraser is already in custody I understand?"

"That's right" nodded the sheriff. "Joshua and Thaddeus here were witnesses to it and we're asking around town if anyone else saw what happened or had been at the Fraser Ranch that day?"

Hal nodded. "Makes sense I suppose. As you probably know Sheriff, I was away visiting my sister in Denver for a few days. She's been very sick you know."

"Yes I heard that. I was sorry to hear she was sick. I hope she's feeling better?"

"Hm." muttered Hal, clearly not about to elaborate. "I only got home late last night so you see sheriff, we clearly saw nothing of any use as we weren't even in town at the time."

"I see." Sheriff Bloomfield spoke slowly, looking across the room towards Mary. "And what about your wife Hal, has Mary seen anything which might be of use?"

"Mary has seen nothing. She's never even been to the Fraser Ranch." Hal replied quickly and curtly. There was a loud crash from the direction of the kitchen as Mary dropped the pie dish she had been holding.

"Oh no" she said softly, almost to herself, and then turned towards them, looking at her husband. Hal rushed over to her, putting his arm around her shoulders as she began to sob.

Heyes glanced at Curry, who was looking somewhat puzzled.

Hal turned to face them as the three men stood. "You've upset Mary now" he accused, clearly annoyed.

"I'm sorry" replied the sheriff gently. "I sure didn't mean to upset you Mary. I think it's probably best if we take our leave now."

Hal nodded.

The three stood to leave and tipped their hats towards the couple.

"Thank you for your hospitality." smiled the sheriff.

Mary pulled slightly away from Hal. She smoothed down her apron and the front of her dress and smiled at them slightly.

"Thank you for coming Sheriff" she muttered. "See you again soon."

As the sheriff and Curry walked out of the door, Heyes remained riveted to the spot for a few seconds, his attention taken by the front of Mary's blue dress. Finally, he nodded to them, turned and followed the other two out of the door.

"Well," began the sheriff as the three made their way towards their horses. "I think that takes care of that. I've known Hal a long time boys, and if he says there's no problem then I believe him. I know you two are losing the chance at earning a tidy sum working for your rancher friend, but I don't see any reason to think there was anyone else there that day. I'm afraid you are just going to have to stay in town until the trial boys."

* * * * *

"He was lying Kid." stated Heyes the moment they entered their hotel room.

"Who?" asked Curry, unable for a second to follow Heyes' train of thought.

"Hal Cornford."

"Obviously." Curry was confused that Heyes would state something so obvious. "We saw how the lamp ended up on the floor."

"More than that though. He said that Mary had never even been to the Fraser Ranch. But she was wearing a blue dress, with buttons exactly the same colour as this one." He fished into his pocket and brought out the button he'd picked up in the barn at the Fraser Ranch, holding it out for Curry to see. "And" he continued, his eyes sparkling at his discovery "her dress had one button missing."

Curry's head snapped up.

"Which means that she has been at the Ranch." concluded Heyes.

"You're right Heyes." smiled Curry. "So, she was at the ranch. Someone tried to start a fire at the house last night and now they're saying she's never been there. You think she knows something?"

"Could be."

"If she was there at the time and saw the murder, then she could go to court and testify instead of us."

"Whoa! Hold on Kid! That's a lot of ifs and we don't know if any of them are true yet."

"Hm." Curry paused, then looked up at Heyes, smiling. "But we're gonna find out right?"

"Right." grinned 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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4.8 Did You See What I Saw? by Sally Wheaton :: Comments

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Re: 4.8 Did You See What I Saw? by Sally Wheaton
Post on Sat 30 May 2015, 3:30 pm by royannahuggins


The sun was still rising in the sky the next morning as Heyes and Curry stood once more in the clump of trees outside the Cornford Farm, watching. After a short while they saw Hal Cornford come out of the house, kiss his wife on the doorstep and then mount his horse. They watched as he headed up the trail behind the house, ready for a day's work on the farm.

They made their way closer to the house and crouched behind the side of the small barn. They didn't have to wait long before Mary Cornford appeared on the front porch. She was humming lightly to herself as she walked across to the well, filled a jug with water and headed back towards the house.

Behind her, the figure of a man slipped silently out of sight at the side of the house.

As Mary walked through the door, she heard a small sound to her right and, realising that there was someone there, she sucked in a breath and froze.

Slowly, nervously, she looked towards the intruder. He was leaning casually against the wall, gun in hand, though he wasn't actually pointing it at her.

"Don't be afraid, we're not going to hurt you" he told her.

"We just want to talk to you." came another voice from the other side of the door. She knew who it would be before she turned her head to look.

"Mr Smith" she nodded at him. "Mr Jones. If you wanted to talk to me, you didn't need to break into my house and hold me at gunpoint."

"Well you see, we wanted the truth this time" Heyes smiled at her.

"And we thought this might convince you of that." added Curry, waving the gun around slightly.

"Sit down." Heyes pointed her towards the kitchen table.

"What do you want?" she pleaded.

"Like we said, we just want to talk to you." Heyes gave her one of his most reassuring smiles. "It's OK Mary, really it is. Sit down." he added more gently. When she hesitated, he motioned towards Curry and added "He's not going to hurt you."

Curry wandered over to the table and holstered the gun. "Sit down Mary, we really do only want to talk to you."

"It's important." Heyes assured her as he sat down next to her.

She looked from one to the other of them warily.

"Your husband lied to the sheriff Mary, you have been out at the Fraser Ranch." began Heyes.

She jumped slightly at his words, but held her own. "Why do you say that Mr Smith?"

Heyes reached into the pocket of his brown cordoroy jacket and pulled out the button. "I believe this is yours?" He held it out towards her. "We found it at the ranch."

"Inside the barn." added Curry.

"Oh!" she exclaimed.

"Does your husband know you were there?" asked Curry

She nodded. "Yes he does," she said hesitantly.

"Why were you there?" asked Heyes.

She stared back at him defiantly, not uttering a word.

"Oh" said Heyes, his lips curling almost reluctantly into a very faint smile. "I see."

"It's not how you think it is." She blurted out suddenly.

"Then how is it?" he asked gently.

She lowered her head, trying to hide her face. "The man was a bully."

"Somehow that doesn't surprise me."

"He… he… " she stammered and then stopped completely.

"It's OK Mary" Curry reached out and placed his hand on top of hers. "You can tell us. We only want to help you, but we can't do that unless we know the truth."

She looked up at him, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. She was a strong and determined woman thought Curry.

"He threatened me." She spoke firmly and decisively but didn't volunteer any more.

"Mary, did you see the murder?" asked Curry gently.

She lifted her head and looked directly at each of them in turn. "Why are you here?" she asked. "I mean, you said you wanted to talk to me, but why? Are you working for the sheriff?"

"Nooo" Heyes told her with a smile. "We're not working for the sheriff."

He looked over her head at Curry, a whole conversation passing between them in a few seconds, and with Curry's agreement, he began the explanation. "We have a problem Mary and you might be the only person who can help us." He paused and she continued to look at him. "We witnessed the murder - and the sheriff knows we did. He wants us to go to court and give evidence against Dan Fraser."

"But we can't do that Mary" added Curry.

"Why not?" she asked.

"We just can't Mary, you're just going to have to trust us on that." answered Heyes.

"Why should I trust you?" she asked defiantly.

A gentle smile crossed Curry's face and he indicated towards his holster. "That's why the gun Mary, we thought it might, er, convince you?"

"Are you wanted men?"

"That's not important Mary." Heyes took up the conversation. "All you really need to know is that we can't testify at the trial. But we did witness the murder and we know that Dan Fraser killed Jack Hanson."

"Shot him in the back." Curry added. "Three times."

She didn't react to that, just looked down at her hands clasped tightly together on the table. "I know." she whispered.

Curry looked at Heyes.

"You saw it." Heyes stated rather than asked. "But you can't stand up in court and say that either, can you Mary?"

"He'd kill me."

"Who? Hal?" asked Curry.

She shook her head. "No, no. Not Hal. Ralph. Ralph Newton." Her voice was trembling now.

Curry's eyes darted up to look at Heyes. Ralph Newton was the other Ranch Foreman at the Fraser Ranch, a man neither Heyes nor Curry had liked much when they worked there. The other ranch-hands didn't trust Ralph Newton. He was Dan Fraser's right hand man. "Ralph Newton has threatened to kill you? If you tell about the murder?"

She sniffled once more and put her face in her hands. It was as if her resolve and determination crumbled at the words. She didn't like things the way they were, with Ralph threatening her, always living in fear. Last night had given her a fright and she was certain he meant what he said. She looked at the two men sitting at the table with her. Maybe they were outlaws. She couldn't think of any other reason why they wouldn't be able to give evidence in court. But, she admitted, they hadn't harmed her - so far. They'd said they wanted to talk and that was all they had done - so far. And they said they wanted to help her and they looked capable. If they really were outlaws, maybe they really would be able to help her, maybe they really would be able to deal with Ralph Newton. She decided she really didn't have much to lose. She looked into their eyes, one pair the brightest blue and the other pair an expressive deep brown. What she recognised in both of them was a trust, an honesty she hadn't seen anywhere in a long time, together with a confidence she wasn't sure she'd ever seen. She made up her mind.

"I was there the day that Dan killed Jack Hanson. I was in the barn - I guess I needn't go into the details." She smiled shyly and then continued. "I saw you there with the sheriff. After you took Dan away, Ralph Newton came to me and threatened that if I said anything about what I'd seen, he'd kill me and if I made any fuss, he'd tell my husband I was there - and why.

"You have to understand that Dan Fraser was a bully, a hateful man who used others for whatever he could gain."

Curry smiled at her, nodding in agreement. "We worked for him."

"Well then you know something of what he's like I'm sure." she continued. "Oh I didn't realise that at the beginning of course - I was just a young, naïve girl and he was a wealthy man and powerful. I guess I'm not the first woman to fall for that?" she signed and Curry gave her a reassuring nod.

"It was a mistake I admit, but I would never have continued with it but for his threats and his bullying. Right now he buys up everything we produce here that we don't use ourselves - I don't know how we'd make a living if he didn't."

Curry nodded again, understanding her dilemma.

"Dan believed I was carrying on with Jack Hanson as well. Jack had been in the barn when I arrived to meet Dan. That's what they were arguing about that day."

"That's why he killed him?" asked Curry and she nodded.

"Of course I wasn't. Jack was a nice man. He knew what was happening. He told me that Hal would find someone else to sell to. But I had been frightened of Dan Fraser for too long. I couldn't face up to him.

"And when Ralph Newton threatened me if I told what I'd seen, I was frightened of him too. I was afraid that, even if I said nothing, he would come and tell Hal about me and Dan, so I decided to tell Hal I was there at the ranch that day anyway."

"He knows the whole story?" Heyes asked.

"He knows enough of the story."

Heyes nodded, not wanting to intrude on a part of the story which really didn't concern him.

"Hal said that if the sheriff came asking, I should say that I had never been to the ranch. So you see, although I'd like to help you, I really can't testify in court."

"Because you're afraid?" asked Curry.

"Of course."

"If you didn't need to be afraid of Ralph Newton, would you testify then?"

She frowned slightly, unsure of where this was leading. "I don't know. Maybe. Why are you asking me that?"

"Because we need to solve our problem" explained Heyes. "And maybe to do that, we have to solve your problem?"

She bit her lip as she considered. She'd never given much thought to it before, not having to be afraid of Ralph Newton had never seemed likely, even possible, before. She was still doubtful.

"How could you possibly make it so that I didn't need to be afraid of Ralph Newton?"

"Mary," smiled Curry broadly. "You've got to have a little faith."

Heyes looked at him and smiled.

"In what?" she asked uncertainly.

"In my friend here." explained Curry, putting his arm across Heyes' back. "He's a very resourceful man and he has a lot of imagination. He usually comes up with something."

Heyes' smile turned into a broad grin and then a slight laugh as Curry looked back at him and laughed too.

"I don't hold with killing" she said suddenly.

"Oh now Mary, neither do we." Curry assured her.

"What do you say? Will you give us a chance?" asked Heyes.

She looked at them dubiously.

"If we can make sure that you don't need to be afraid of Ralph Newton, will you testify in court?"

They were both looking at her with such sincerity, such pleading almost, how could she say no? And in any case, she asked herself, if Ralph Newton were out of the picture, what reason would she have for not testifying? Hal knew she was there after all.

She smiled back at them. "Yes, I will."

"Mary, that means a lot to us." Curry looked at Mary and then at Heyes, a big smile on his face.

Heyes looked back at him, the doubt etched on his face readable only to Curry.

"We still have to figure out a few details." He said out loud, rather pointedly.

"Joshua," Curry looked at him in mock seriousness "You gotta have a little more faith."

* * * * *

Outside a shadowy figure stepped from around the side of the house and up onto the porch, keeping close to the wall so as not to be seen.

No need to be afraid of Ralph Newton he smirked to himself. He'd show them. All of them. Once and for all.

* * * * *

Inside, Heyes and Curry were preparing to leave, saying their goodbyes to Mary. Curry shook her hand and placed his hat on his head as he stepped through the doorway.

A slight movement to his left caught his attention. Like I said Heyes, you gotta have a little more faith.

In one movement he swivelled around sideways, drew and locked his eyes on the man now in front of him. Curry saw that the man's hand had reached his holster and he was just about to draw the weapon. Curry extended his arm, cleared his mind of everything but the aim, and fired. The man's gun flew out of his hand and scattered along the ground. Curry kept his eyes on the man he now assumed to be Ralph Newton but was aware also, without looking, of Heyes' presence beside him.

In a sudden rush of movement from his left, Mary came hurtling out of the door, screaming "No!" and coming to a stop right in front of them. Heyes reacted instantly, pushing her back forcefully towards the door but it was all the chance that Newton needed. He scrambled backwards, making a grab for his gun. Ignoring the pain in his hand, he lifted it and fired, almost aimlessly, in Mary's general direction.

As Heyes pushed Mary aside, the bullet barely missed her, but travelling beyond her, it caught Curry's right arm, knocking him off balance.

"You, Jones!" yelled Newton. "I want you dead."

Once more he raised his gun and this time took careful aim, right at the centre of Curry's chest.

Newton heard the sound of the shot, but then reeled in shock as a bullet hit him in the arm and he realised it wasn't the sound of his own shot he had heard. He stumbled to his left, almost falling.

"Drop it" came Heyes' voice as he stood gun in hand, still aiming at Newton.

At the sound of his voice, Newton felt the anger welling up inside him. He wanted these men dead. With supreme effort he raised his arm once more and even as he started to fall forward, he fired.

The bullet skimmed Heyes' leg and he toppled forward in shock, landing flat on the ground.

"Put it down, Now!" came the sheriff's voice as he made his way onto the porch, gun drawn on Newton.

But Newton was beyond hearing, beyond understanding. All he knew was that he wanted these men dead. He fumbled with his boot and then pushed himself up onto his knees and then slowly to his feet. Ignoring the sheriff, he raised his right arm and with a howl he hurled himself towards where Heyes lay on the ground.

As Sheriff Bloomfield watched him, his eyes caught a flash of sunlight as it glinted off something in Newton's hand. Looking again, he realised the man was holding a knife and was obviously intent on killing.

The sheriff fired.

Then to be certain, he fired again. Both bullets hit Newton and he fell to the ground and lay there, unmoving.

Cautiously, the sheriff approached him and keeping his gun drawn, knelt down next to him. "Sure am sorry it had to happen that way." He muttered before standing, turning his back on the man and walking back across the porch.

Heyes and Curry had both now pulled themselves up into sitting positions and he checked briefly on them, before approaching Mary who was now huddled in the doorway.

"Mary? Are you hurt?" he asked kindly.

"No, I'm not hurt, sheriff. Just a little shocked is all."

"I'm not surprised. Two shootings at the farm in one day is more than enough."

"Two shootings?" she asked, surprised.

Heyes looked at Curry. Curry looked right back at him, with just the tiniest hint of a smile.

"I received a note about an hour ago to come out here urgently to investigate the shooting." The sheriff explained, a little puzzled now.

Curry looked expectantly at Heyes, still struggling to hold back the smile. Now's the time to live up to your silver-tongue reputation Heyes

"Well and here you are Sheriff. What a good job you came so quickly." answered Heyes, quickly adding "Mary? Could you take a look at my leg please?" He touched it gingerly. "Sure does hurt."

He looked up with a pained expression and Mary and the sheriff came quickly to his side, all thoughts of the supposed second shooting and the strange note forgotten.

Curry looked on, finally letting out a wide smile.

* * * * *

After a thorough examination, the town's doctor had proclaimed that neither Heyes nor Curry had suffered a serious gunshot wound and both had, in fact, only suffered grazes. He'd prescribed a day's rest for both and they were now sitting together on the front porch of the hotel, watching the town go by.

"Heyes" Curry nudged Heyes with his good arm and pointed down the street as he spotted a smiling Mary Cornford coming towards them.

"Good evening Mr Jones, Mr Smith."

"Good evening Mary" smiled Curry. "What brings you into town?"

"Oh I came in to see the sheriff." She smiled. "I think you'll be pleased to hear."

"We will?" asked Heyes.

She nodded, but then her smile faded. "How are you both? I was worried."

"Ah nothing but grazes. The doc says we'll be strong and healthy again in a couple of days." replied Curry.

"It was quite some shooting" she said, looking at Curry.

"Lucky shot" replied Heyes nonchalantly.

She smiled. "That's not what the town is saying."

"I see." Heyes looked at her more seriously. "And what is the town saying?"

"Oh there's been a lot of talk, a lot of speculation. They're saying they've never heard anything like it."

"Hm" Heyes glanced at Curry.

"They keep mentioning the name..." she paused. "…Kid Curry."

Heyes laughed out loud. "Kid Curry? The Kid Curry?"

She nodded.

"Did you hear that Thaddeus? They're likening you to the great Kid Curry."

Curry glared briefly at Heyes, who continued to chuckle and shake his head.

"That's a good one, Thaddeus." grinned Heyes. "Kid Curry indeed!" He paused to laugh out loud again before adding "Like I said though, it was just a lucky shot. He couldn't do it again."

Curry glared at him again, but then joined in the laughter as Mary looked at him.

"Yes, well." She said doubtfully. "If you say so Mr Smith. As I was saying though, I think you'll be pleased to hear that I've just been to see the sheriff and I've agreed to stand as a witness at Dan Fraser's trial."

Heyes stopped laughing and looked at her more seriously.

"I thought that might please you Mr Smith". She looked towards Curry, who also instantly sobered. "And Mr Jones."

"Thank you Mary." Heyes said, his tone genuine. "That means a lot to us."

She smiled at them. "I really should be the one thanking you."

"It was nothing." Curry told her gently.

"Maybe not. I'm glad the luck was with you though, or it could have turned out very differently."

He smiled back at her and they stood up as she made to leave.

"Mr Smith, Mr Jones, I am honoured to meet your acquaintance." They tipped their hats at her as she started across the street.

"So," began Heyes, still watching her, "all we have to do now is explain to the sheriff that we can't stay and be witnesses after all."

Curry nodded. "Without making him suspicious enough to follow us when we leave."

"Good evening boys" came the sheriff's voice from behind them. "How are you both? The arm and the leg healing I hope?"

Turning in unison, they both smiled and nodded at him.

"Sure thing."

"Certainly is sheriff" they chorused.

"I'm glad to hear it." he smiled back. "I got a message for you two this afternoon, but I hope you boys will forgive me. Unfortunately I seem to have mislaid it. Can't find it anywhere." He shook his head. "But, I do remember what it said."

Heyes and Curry looked at him expectantly, more than a little worried.

"It was from your rancher friend down south - you remember the one you had me wire to say you would be held up because of the trial? Big Pat McCreedy."

Heyes nodded. "We were expecting a reply from him."

The sheriff looked at him a little quizzically. "You were?"

Heyes nodded and stole a quick glance at Curry.

"What did he say sheriff?" asked Heyes.

"Well, he said that the job he has for you just won't wait. He needs you there in three days or there'll be a serious problem. Said it was urgent as you knew and he signed it Big Pat McCreedy."

"Big Pat McCreedy?" repeated Curry.

"Yes, that's right. Good job I have a good memory isn't it boys?" he laughed. "Walter brought it over from the telegraph office this afternoon and I said I'd deliver it to you, but like I said, I just seem to have mislaid it. Unfortunately."

"That's no problem sheriff." smiled Heyes.

He turned to Curry. "It sounds like that job is important though Thaddeus. I'm not sure what we can do, what with the trial coming up and everything."

"Oh by the way" interrupted the sheriff. "I forgot to tell you, Mary Cornford is going to stand as a witness at the trial. If this job for Big Pat McCreedy is that important, then I'm sure that Mary's testimony alone will be sufficient. It looks like we don't need you two boys any more."

"Oh well, in that case sheriff, it does sound like Big Pat needs us urgently and we don't like to let our friends down."

The sheriff nodded. "You'll be leaving first thing in the morning then I take it?"

They nodded in unison.

"Good. I think that would be best." He started to walk away but then turned back towards them.

"Oh and boys, on behalf of the town, thank you for what you've done here. It's meant a lot to a lot of people to have those two out of the way. The town wants you to know that they do appreciate that and will be happy to have you back here again..." he paused. "At some time in the future maybe?" he said slowly and deliberately, emphasising the "some time."

They tipped their hats to him then as he turned and walked away across the street.

"Big Pat McCreedy?" asked Curry as he watched him go.

Heyes grinned. "I think he wants us out of town Kid."

"Well I for one, am happy to oblige him." smiled Curry.
 

4.8 Did You See What I Saw? by Sally Wheaton

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