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 Train to Redemption ... 6,300 words

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Cal

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Join date : 2015-11-11

20160121
PostTrain to Redemption ... 6,300 words

---ooooooOoooooo---

TRAIN TO REDEMPTION
by Cal

---ooooooOoooooo---




Two ex-outlaws are sitting, facing each other, inside a freight train carriage.  The carriage is rocking side to side and shuddering alarmingly, unnerving the cows corralled at the rear. Kid pulls against the leather binding his hands behind his back, bracing himself against the wall by the door, with his bound feet.

Heyes looks up for the first time in ages. Curry sends a blue eyed glare of accusa-tion to his partner, grunting through the bandana tied across his mouth.  Heyes tries to convey apology, but it’s coming across as ‘Not my fault.’  Curry growls and struggles harder. The eyebrows are in acting meltdown as he asks if Heyes has got anywhere against his ties.  Heyes, fluent in eyebrows, shakes his head.

A particularly huge bump, propels a large bovine rear crashing into the rail by Kids head.

Oh...Oh...I know this one. ‘If I ever get outta here I'm gonna flatten yer.’

Heyes drops his head.

---ooooooOoooooo---


Another huge jolt wakes two exhausted prisoners and several head of beef. The cows low and stamp, they, like their hapless roomies haven't been fed or watered for some time.  Eventually the big door slides open.

"Hope we're all playing nice in here" sneered the train guard.  "Brought you ladies some fodder and water." He finally looks at his two meal tickets, trussed each side of the door.  "Thirsty? Hungry?" He spat towards Heyes. "Yeah, well, so were we when you blew up the bridge and left us stranded." He aimed a hob nail booted kick at Curry's leg and left slamming the door.  

More glaring from the fastest gun in the west.  

The genius was trying to convey ‘thinking.’

The cow, whose back end was now perilously close to Kids head, conveyed ‘This is what I do when I start filling the other end.’

Oh....Oh...I can read that one too......sheesh!

---ooooooOoooooo---

Two thirsty, dozing, near ex-partners are woken by screeching of metal on track.

Heyes eyes shout ‘What's happening?’

Curry's brows reply ‘How the Sam Hill would I know?’

Shouting and shooting from the front end of the train.

‘Hold up?’

‘Could be?’

More shots, a short lived ladies scream, strangled by another shot.

‘They’re killing women out there!’ Brows disappear under hat.

‘Seems so.’ Dark eyes scowl.

Shadows of horses galloping the length of the train. Other freight doors sliding and shutting.  

"It's all beef down this end Flint"

Cursing, "No names @#£%&!"

Another shot.

"We taking the cows?" a Mexican voice.

"Don't you think they'll be kinda easy to track, halfwit @#£%&! You ain't punching cows now amigos ...Safe's in the caboose!"

More gun shots, distressed sounds from the passengers, children crying.

More shots.

Kid is frantic, fighting at his bonds.  

Heyes' dark eyes close, he is slipping into his past...

They hear everything unable to stop their ears.

---ooooooOoooooo---

Time stretches

"Bring up the dynamite"

Both ex outlaws freeze, realisation dawning, they are very close to the caboose.  Heyes jerks his head.  Kid bumps and wriggles himself over to Heyes side of the door, away from the caboose. As the explosion hits, he flings himself towards Heyes, flattening them both against the floor.

---ooooooOoooooo---


Kid feels he's been hit in the head by a mule.  He lifts his head and shakes it free of dust, wood splinters and bits of cow.  A groan from underneath him makes him look down.  

Narrowed near black eyes say, ‘You're awake at last. Do you think you could get off me?’

"Sheesh!" Kid rolls to the side and spits out the remnants of the bandana "Thank God for that!”

As he looks at where the wall used to be, he realises the only part of the truck left, is the corner they're lying in. A few trampled dead, or near dead animals lie with them.

"How you doing Heyes?"

Struggling noises from the corner, then a gasp.

"Better than you. Got my hands free!"

They jumped down off the carriage bed. The caboose behind them was near gone, the husk of an empty safe amongst the ashes. It was a very long train; the cows in the other trucks were getting ugly, banging at the side walls.

As the two dazed men walked up the length of the train, they opened doors and pens but didn't wait to see if the cows made it passed the leap from the door, just moved on up the train. They had no idea how long it had been since the holdup, but signs at the front of the train didn't look promising, and they weren't in any hurry to get up there and face it.

They found fine horses in the last freight truck. Kid whistled at the beautiful lines. He left them there in the truck though because he couldn't delay anymore seeing the carnage visited on their fellow passengers.

Every last one; man, woman and child shot.  

Heyes was rooted to the spot looking like he was staring into the gates of Hell.

---ooooooOoooooo---


"We could bury them?" mumbled Kid

"What? …Yeah ...suppose." Heyes was lost somewhere in his past... his eyes see-ing other bodies …other killing fields.

Kid put an arm round his cousin’s shoulder, he'd been younger, less...

"Come on let's find water, food..." Heyes' eyes flashed temper. “Well water at least …then we should do what we can..."

Heyes nodded, but words wouldn't come.

---ooooooOoooooo---


Sheriff Trent had had a telegram from the train, saying they had apprehended Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. He was to meet the train and arrest them. He stood on the platform, feeling a little annoyed that word had obviously got out. Apart from the usual small crowd of travellers and greeters, there were onlookers. Lots of them. He felt like a floor show!

The train was late.  He'd give it another half hour; timing on railways was flexible he knew that. He'd stood to attention under the crowd’s gaze, but now, he sat and pulled his big Stetson down over his eyes.  

The crowd grew restless.

At three hours overdue something had to be done.  There were plenty of men about.  He'd formed a posse and was following the tracks south.  Wasn't much daylight left but the townsfolk had been very insistent that he find out what had happened to their nearest and dearest.

---ooooooOoooooo---


The train was stranded in a sea of desert.  The Sheriff covered his eyes with bin-oculars.

"Damn!" he growled pushing the glasses into his deputy’s hands. “We better get down there, see if there's any survivors."

"Can't see no movement." Deputy Jonah Wild was sickened, as he passed the glasses back to Sheriff Trent.

"Looks like a massacre."

---ooooooOoooooo---


Curry had found water for him, Heyes and the horses. Heyes sat on the running board of the engine, back against the still warm tank. The railway workers hadn't fared any better than the passengers. One body in particular had got Heyes' at-tention.

"If he hadn't recognised us …got the drop on us while we were asleep. Locked us up and gagged us …we'd be dead too.  Weird I hated him for that ...now I owe him my life."

"Have a drink ...I got a couple of shovels." Curry's eyes lifted to the front of the engine, from where the drivers body still hung.  "How about we start with our saviour here then?"

"No Kid, I can't leave those children..."

They picked up the shovels, and walked back to the passenger wagons; neither bothering to think what they were doing, just taking on the first task, and closing their minds to anything else.

---ooooooOoooooo---


Kid was stripped to the waist digging his ...he'd lost count. Heyes stood for a moment, head bowed for the guard that had locked them up, having just finished filling in the grave. They'd buried the children, then the ladies, this was the first man's grave.

Kid heard the approach of the posse, the creaking saddles in the eerie silence, some low whistles.  They were coming in from the other side of the tracks not yet aware that the burial party was underway. Kids brain was screaming run, grab a horse, run, survive ...but his heart was rooting him in this grave.  

He continued to dig.

Heyes looked at his toiling younger cousin and understood completely. He grabbed the next corpse under the arms and pulled the portly gentleman to-wards his newly dug grave.

The Sheriff, flanked by two deputies, rounded the cowcatcher and pulled up short.  He watched two young men, one blond the other dark, toiling to bury the dead.  He counted the unmarked graves. Finding his voice, he hailed them in greeting but got no response.

They dismounted, and walked slowly towards the main passenger carriages. Where bodies had already been moved, the ground was red with blood. A single gunshot had despatched the others. They must have systematically shot each in the head. The Sheriff shook his head to clear the image.

"I think we should assist the burial" he stated simply.

He watched the men of the posse start to gather bodies, then turned to the two young men. They each had red welts on their wrists from recent bonds. They seemed otherwise unhurt.  They worked with blank eyes, obviously in shock.

His deputy took the shovel from the blonde’s hands. He just stood there, as though he intended to go on digging with his bare hands. He had to be lead to the shade of the engine, where his friend had already been deposited. But they didn't speak, they just sat.

He would have to talk to them but there was no hurry.

They weren't going anywhere.

---ooooooOoooooo---


"Sheriff, we're just about through here. There's a body up by the caboose that must be one of the gang do you want him buried or do we take him with us?"

"We'll take him back, and we'll need those fancy horses for them two."

He nodded to the two ex-outlaws, they hadn't moved.

"Any of you men that's able should go round up them beeves.  Someone will be missing them, but I don't want the townsfolk thinking we rescued beef and bur-ied their kin ...don't bring them into town, take them out to Hank at the BarT."

He approached Heyes and Curry for the first time.  

"Gentlemen, do you mind explaining to me how all these folks are dead and you two seem very much alive."

Heyes looked at Kid.

Kid shrugged.

"Did you get a telegram Sheriff?" asked Heyes "From the train?"

"I did"

"Then it won't surprise you none that we weren't with the passengers. We were with the beef back there, last car before the dynamite. They had us bound and gagged. We heard it.  We didn't see it ...till after."

Sheriff Sam Trent looked at Heyes then Curry, studying their faces in wonder.  Could these two really be Heyes and Curry. He’d recently studied their wanted poster descriptions in readiness for the public arrest he'd been planning.  They fitted those descriptions, but they didn't look like a criminal mastermind and a gunslinger.

"I'm going to have to arrest you boys, and in the light of this ...well can't say how you're going to get treated ...You got any idea who might have done this?"

Kid spoke for the first time.

"There was a name ...Flint ...and I heard some Mexican sounding voices ...and they used rifles."

"They weren't any outfit we know" added Heyes. "But we been out of the game for years, could be someone new ...they were real green with the dynamite."

"Yeah I heard you two had gone quiet, my money was on Mexico ...We got a dead one ...will you take a look?"

The boys pulled themselves up, Curry putting his shirt and vest back on as they followed Trent to the body slung over a horse.  

"That his horse?" asked Curry.

"Think so, it wasn't far from the body" opined deputy Wild, who'd joined them.

Curry looked over the horse, Heyes the body.

"It's a good horse, shod light, there's a correction on the off hind, would have been easy to track.  Might be others in the group shod the same way.  We had our own boys work the horses up at the Hole.  Often see ‘ways horse is corrected with shoes in the tracks, and same man does the shoddin, sometimes that shows too.  Horses brand looks Mexican to me.  He might be a one off, but chances are they got others same brand. "

Curry smoothed the horses neck.

“The horse was loyal coz it’s been well cared for and fed regular.  They may not of thought much of human life, but they sure cared for their animals.  That's a puz-zle for yer."

Curry dropped his head.

“If I wasn't, …well ...me ...I'd sure of liked help you track down..."

He let the rest go, shaking his head, looking at his feet.

Heyes felt Kids discomfort, he lifted the head of the dead banditto

"Executed; the same way as the passengers.  My guess, this is the poor sod that used the name Flint ...lesson the other men won't forget, next time."

"Next time!" Hissed the deputy.

"Yes ...they'll be a next time. Like I said, I think this is a new outfit.  Our friend here is carrying a few pounds.  When did you ever see a fat outlaw?  Believe me, nothing like living life on the dodge to keep you thin.  Like his horse, this one’s had the good life.”

Heyes let the head drop.

“And they've killed.  They'll be hung if they're caught.  They'll go on till they find that rope, no way back for them.  Not like my partner and me.  We ain't killers.  We can go straight.  Once a gang goes down the killing path, it won't stop with the passengers, they'll kill each other too ...You need to look for more bodies ...you can only hang a man once ...and they know that."

It was getting dark.

“Don’t think you'll find the trail in this light, but first light, when the shadows are longest, you should put your best trackers out on the perimeter beyond the cows see which way they're headed ...My guess would be South"

Heyes gazed off South to the mountains.  He would risk going now if he was lead-ing, look for their camp fires.

---ooooooOoooooo---


Sheriff Trent had a decision to make and he stared long and hard into the camp fire. He'd already decided to send some of the men back with the cattle at first light, his younger deputy would take the body back to town with the news and his report for the Marshal. That left deputy Wild, Burt Caster, Lorn Blagett, Wade Sawyer and himself to track the outlaws.  Question was what was he going to do with Heyes and Curry.

They sat tied back to back, opposite him, Wild's gun loosely pointed in their direc-tion.

Everyone knew who they were now, but their names didn't sit right with their ac-tions, burying people decent and all. No one seemed to be saying much.  They'd moved away from the graves and the train, preferring to sleep out under the stars, preferring not to disturb the dead.

Could he trust them?  

He'd heard rumours about an amnesty deal with the governor of Wyoming.  They'd told him about a Sheriff Trevors in Porterville that would vouch for them.  He'd heard of Lom too; good man.  If he let the young deputy take the notorious train robbers back to town, where people had just lost their kin in a train robbery, there'd be a lynching ...and these two weren't killers.  

"Did you mean it?"

He looked Curry straight in the eyes.

"You'd go after them if you weren't ...Kid Curry?"

"Yep."

The blue eyes never wavered.

"Kid n me have seen a lot a killing Sheriff, starting with our own folks.  We don't hold with slaughtering innocents.  We were outlaws, but we know right from wrong."

Heyes set his jaw, eyes deep in thought.

"We had to listen to that..." he pushed his chin towards the train. "Brought back a lot of hurt."

The Sheriff stood up, took his knife and cut their bonds.  

"Get some sleep boys, first light, I need my two best trackers out."

---ooooooOoooooo---


Sheriff Trent was roused by Curry's boot.

"Roust em out sheriff, we got the trail."

Curry stood.

"Meeting my partner, South."

He moved on towards the train.

Trent sat up looking after the gunslinger, complete with Colt.  ‘Hope I made the right decision’ he thought.  "Come on people, everybody up!" he shouted.

By the time Trent had given his orders Curry was back.  The others eyed him wari-ly.  He no longer looked like the lost youth they'd found here yesterday; this was a man on a mission.

"Got as much provisions as I think we can carry.  Here, split this between your packs, fill your canteens, we don't know where the next water is.  Saddle up we're losing daylight."

He pulled the rein of the dancing though -bred stallion, and had to hop a few times to catch the mount.  As he eased himself into the saddle, he added "And get as much ammo as you can scrape together ...South." he reminded Trent and left.

"Are you sure about this?" asked the older Wild nodding towards Curry's back.

"As I can be Joe"

Trent stared too.

"Come on move out!"

---ooooooOoooooo---


"How many?" Kid, called seeing Heyes studying the ground.

"They were quite spread out.... There’s four riding tight through here ...two more faster over there ...catching up.... main bunch, six or seven, are spread out fol-lowing these four.  Four up front are heavy.... I’d guess bullion. Gold or silver.  Come and look at this."

Curry ground tied the stallion. His partner was pointing to a print from the lead group.

"It’s like the other one, but it’s a full bar."

Kids eyes lit. "Even you could track that Heyes!"

"Company," shushed Heyes.  "We playing this straight Kid?"

Kid looked back to the approaching law. "Yep, think we should."

Brown eyes met Blue.

Decided.

---ooooooOoooooo---


Kid headed up the pursuit scanning ahead.    Trent and Wild followed, then Cast-er, Blagett and Sawyer fanned out across the trail.  Heyes brought up the rear, watchful for backtracking and ambush.

After several hours Kid signalled a stop, then disappeared on up the trail. Heyes came forward to explain Kid had found cause to suspect ambush, and had gone ahead to clear passage. They let the horses blow a little.  Kid came into view and signalled all clear. They travelled a little faster and as evening fell Kid reported they were gaining. They made a short stop, lit a fire and brewed coffee.

Kid and Heyes took knives to some pines and fashioned torches.

"We're going on?" questioned Wild.

"Yeah, they been sending one man back every couple of hours ...They might al-ready know they're being followed. But torches will really put them in no doubt."

"We want them to know where we are?" Sheriff Trent sounded doubtful.

"Well we just want to put a scare in them is all.  We need to carry two of these each, wide apart without scaring your horse."

Heyes grinned at his partner, the stallion was already a handful.

"Just long enough for them to go back and tell the leaders we didn't stop.  Then we stop."

Heyes started lighting the torches and handing them up to men as they mounted. As predicted, the stallion took every bit of Kids skills to control. Heyes put two torches up high in a rock cleft, and cooed at his own highly strung mount, until he could get close enough to pick them up from the saddle.

From a distance a scout should count twelve pursuers coming on through the night.  They'd kick their poor animals on, and well fed or not, they'd be in poor shape by morning. Heyes called a halt after two hours. Just as food was ready, Kid came back into camp.

"They get bullion out of that safe Sheriff?" asked Heyes.

The Sheriff eyed the ex-outlaw suspiciously.

"If its bullion they can't split it on the trail" explained Heyes. “They’ll have to stick together till they can cash it in."

"Gold bars" supplied Trent, nervous when he saw the glint that suddenly sprang in the dark eyes.

"Good. That's what we were hoping" Heyes smiled.

Trent looked a little alarmed.

"The weight; it'll slow them down, especially on tired horses" reassured the dim-pled one. "And it makes everyone really nervous."

"They may try bury it" added Kid. "But if they don't trust each other, they'll have to keep it with them, and they'll have to stick together.  If it’s an organised gang they may be headed for a hideout, but if they're ramshackle ...they'll probably sacrifice a few along the way."

"Sacrifice?"

Wild's eyes were wide.

"Yeah …leave them up in the rocks to pick us off …we shoot them …slows us up.  They get a bigger share."

Kid took another bite and chewed.

"They'd do that to their own?"

Blagett was dumbfounded.

"Well …we never did, …wouldn't" assured Heyes.

"Yeah, well …we were outlaws sure, but…" opined Curry, "…these are scum!"

---ooooooOoooooo---


Next day their prediction was proved true.  Kid had signalled a stop and ridden out of site. Heyes scanned the rocks ahead, caught a glint, high up and knew that they were not yet in range of the sniper.   He made a show of getting off his horse to study the ground, though it was too rocky here, to show much.

"Sniper." He informed the Sheriff just as two shots were heard in quick succes-sion.

"Both Kids" reassured Heyes, noting the worried look on Sawyer’s face.

"Should we help?" asked Trent.

"Not till Kid..."

A trilling bird call.

"…Ah! …All clear.  Come on, we got a prisoner to question."

---ooooooOoooooo---


The Mexican looked as though he could be a brother to the dead banditto back at the train.  He was shot in the chest. His breathing was rapid. Trent was question-ing him about the robbery.  

Heyes looked a rebuke at his partner. ‘Your temper get the better of you?’  

This man was dead, he just hadn't died yet.

Curry looked belligerent. ‘I fired a warning,’ his look seemed to plead. ‘He turned a rifle on me.’

Heyes judged the situation; this man’s last breath was coming quick. He pushed Trent aside, took a hunk of shirt front and stared the man in the eye.

"You want a decent burial amigo? Or do you want us to leave you out, for the coyotes? How about you tell us whose responsible for that killing back at the train, you shoot those children?"

A shake, a sneer.

The Mexican shook his head, eyes wide in fright.  He babbled in Spanish.

"He says he didn't kill anyone" said Caster.

The quiet man had hardly said a word since the train, but it seemed he knew some Spanish.

"He didn't know they were going to do that."

"Well why don't you tell us who the murdering, @#£%&!, scum are, so we can stop them doing it again."  Heyes is still manhandling the dying man.

More wide eyed babbling, interspersed with prayers.

"He says Michael Flint."

Blank looks all round.

"And I think he's saying Sierra Kid ...something like that .... it’s mostly prayers now."

The eyes glazed, the body sagged.

Heyes threw down the body, looking disgustedly to Kid.  "You couldn't just have winged him?"

Kid was looking thoughtful, but he'd heard what Heyes said and came forward.  

"I met a murdering @#£%&, who was trying to get himself called the Sierra Kid once. He found out who I was, called me out.  You know the type Heyes, dead behind the eyes. I winged him.  Guess he healed up, and massacred a train full of children and women ...Perhaps I should have just killed him then?"

Kid got up in Heyes' face and they stood toe to toe for just a minute.

The other men looked on, fascinated.

Kid broke away.  

"I killed him, I'll bury him."

Kid walked away.

"Leave him" Heyes told Blagett. The man was going to go after Kid.

"Whatever you've heard, Kid don't relish killing.  He'll be over it by time the holes dug.  If you want to help, make a cross."

"Did he have a name?" Blagett asked.

"Expendable" supplied Heyes.

---ooooooOoooooo---


They pushed on with torches again that night, just for a couple of hours.  They weren't worrying too much about tracking. They were on the right track.  Deep prints, with the tell-tale bar, were found at the last water and the passes south were getting fewer.  Curry called the halt, and he and Heyes went on a little fur-ther as the others set up camp.

"What you thinking Heyes?"

"Well we know he doesn't value his men's lives …and he's got more men than gold bars.  I think he'll send some back here, to ambush the camp."

"Yep me to."

"Kid?"

"Leave it Heyes. They'll be plenty more killing fore this is over, let's just hope we're on the right end of the gun."

---ooooooOoooooo---

Later that night

Ten sleeping forms circle a campfire, two are on lookout. Some of the torches are still alight. The fire is well stoked.  

Two gun shots ring out, bright flashes issuing from muzzles.  

More firing, and death cries in the darkness.

The posse, really sleeping in the darkness behind the lookouts, wake up to grab guns.

"Relax" says a laconic Curry. "Just two more expendables."

Heyes holstered his gun.  "Guess I'm on burial duty in the morning." His face was grim.

---ooooooOoooooo---


The following morning at daybreak Heyes and Curry woke to two new graves. Caster and Blagett had taken a turn.

Kid pushed them on hard.  He came back to report that there was another body up ahead.  Mexican, shot in the head with a single bullet.  

When they picked up the trail again the horse with the bar wasn't quite so heavy.

"Spread the load" stated Heyes.

---ooooooOoooooo---

later

Heyes found a pair of tracks leading away from a makeshift camp.

"Looks like two lit out that way …probably been sent back to bushwhack us, but got smart and ran off."

"Not that smart," pointed out Curry.  "Nothing but dry that way."  He shook his head and blew out his cheeks. "Way I reckon it, smart thing would be for them to split the haul now, light out in different directions."

"…mmm." Heyes looked out towards the desert.  "They ain't done anything smart up to now."

"Might be time to send the boy scouts home?" Curry's eyebrow pointed back to-wards the posse.

"Mmmm, …yeah I been thinking about that too.  They didn't sign up for this."  

Heyes looked troubled.

"Come on, that Sheriff ain't going to like this."

---ooooooOoooooo---


"Sheriff," Heyes stretched the silver tongue. "We need to send another message to our murdering friends up ahead."  

The townsfolk leaned in; the outlaws hadn't steered them wrong yet.

"We want them to think you've taken losses in the bushwhacks, and are heading into Yuma for reinforcements, maybe even a militia."

There was undisguised relief on the faces of Caster, Blagett and Sawyer.  

"Surely that's a good plan anyway.  They can't go much further on dead animals, carrying all that weight?" Wild was reluctant to have anyone argue with a retreat from proven killers.

"What do you mean, you want them to think that's what we're doing?" Asked the Sheriff, eyes steady on these outlaws he'd chosen to trust.

"Just that." Curry's voice was low and matter of fact. "They see you, torches an’ all, parading down to Yuma tonight …they’re gonna lay up somewhere, let their horses heal up.  Somewhere up in those hills.  Best guess; they’ve got a hideout in mind.  Heyes ‘n’ me can get real close..."

"You think I'm going to let you ‘n’ Heyes outta my sight?" Shouted the Sheriff.

"Yes I do." It was Heyes' low rasp. " We need you to bring up the reinforcements, or were you expecting these cattle hands to do it...no offence …to do that for you?"

There were mumbled, grateful, ‘None takens’ from the crowd.

Curry nodded.

"How do I know Curry ‘n’ you won't just hightail it..."

Again, Heyes got in close, fixing Trent in his dark stare.

"You don't! Just like you didn't every night since the train."

Curry nodded.  "We'll be leaving a trail a boy scout could follow. You just get back here to finish the job, in case Heyes n me are the next to sport a bullet hole be-tween the eyes."

There was a bit of uncomfortable shifting as each man made his peace with his course of action. A lot of ‘Takes one to know one,’ and ‘Set a thief to catch a thief,’ was being used as justification in their heads.  But as they took their leave of the two notorious outlaws, there was true respect in those handshakes too.

---ooooooOoooooo---


"Well there they go."

Kid and Heyes had bellied up a rock ridge and were looking down to the plain.

"Yep let's hope they see it too." Heyes' eyes lifted to the hills.  

"You know we could light outta here?" Drawled Curry, doubtfully.

"Yeah, but we ain't gonna, are we."

Wasn't a question.

Curry’s eyebrows agreed.

The boys shared a look, both saw a need in their partner to put this right. Help lay a few ghosts from their past.  Put something on account, that they knew was right.

They climbed into their saddles and headed up into the hills.

---ooooooOoooooo---


When Sheriff Trent and the posse entered Yuma, they found that news of the train massacre had spread. A Marshall waited for them with a militia, hungry for news. Last they'd heard a local sheriff, and a few brave men, had put out South after the gang.  There was also another Sheriff in town after news of Heyes and Curry, Sheriff Lom Trevors.

The tired heroes filled them in with Heyes and Curry's theories, and the plan to head up into the hills, with reinforcements.  Lom could see why the boys had sent these tired citizens in, but marvelled at Heyes' ability to persuade the Sheriff to leave them up there.  Knowing how the boys operate, he guessed they just could-n't babysit and go up against vicious killers.

"How can we be sure Heyes and Curry won't throw in with them, for a share of the gold, and lead us into an ambush?" blustered the Marshal.  

Lom was about to defend his friends but was beaten to it.  Trent, Wild, Caster, Sawyer and Blagett were all shouting at once, with a fervour. Lom shook his head, they'd done it again, got people on their side, fighting their corner, after spending only a few days in their company.  

‘Perhaps they should go into politics after the amnesty.’  He shook his head, then a faraway look came into his eyes, ‘Don't take too many chances boys’ he thought. ‘Wait for the militia.’

---ooooooOoooooo---

days later

The boys were on foot, signalling to each other to circle.  They'd located the hideout; a few ramshackle buildings in a natural basin, high up in the hills.  They sat and watched for a bit, then quietly sank back to their horses.

"Well?" asked Kid.

"They're rank amateurs!" Heyes sounded annoyed.  "We were wrong about them spreading the load must just have rotated the horses"

Kid pursed his lips.

"Don't think they can have any more dynamite or they'd have blown that strong box open by now."

"They're idiots, murdering @#£%&/! idiots.” Heyes shook his head. “The way I see it; they’re going to run for the border.  These are paid mercenaries. Those dead guys were from a rich ranching outfit, like Armanderas' place.  They proba-bly set up the robbery.  Looks like a double cross; they're not going back to any ranchero."

" Think they'll go for more dynamite?" Kid looked towards Yuma.

"On what Kid?   There weren't any spare horses.  The ones they got down there look as dead as the ones we passed getting up here.  Only thing they can do, is bury the box and run, as soon as the horses can carry them again."

"Stupid place to hole up.  A circle of militia up on the ridge could shoot them like fish in a barrel." Kid thought about this. "You know we could hold them down there, if they showed signs of moving again.  Two rifles could do that."

"Mmmmm” Heyes was thoughtful.

---ooooooOoooooo---

later

They're watching again; four scruffy Mexican men are trying to haul the strong box to the smallest building. They're failing. Two of the weary horses are em-ployed to help. The building is the centre of industry. The same scruffy quartet are put to work digging out the floor of the building. The labours are overseen by gun wielding Americans.

"Soon as they bury that box, those Mexicans are dead" whispered Curry. "And I don't think they did the killing at the train."

"We don't know that" scowled Heyes. "And we ain't risking our necks for them!"

Kid nodded agreement, he didn't have to like it, it made sense.  "How long they going to wait till they light out for the border?" He checked his gun and rifle.

"Not long.  They'll take all the horses and switch around.  That way they can keep going. How long do you think it'll be till Trent gets up here with reinforcements?"  

It was Heyes turn to look back towards Yuma.

Kid chewed his lip.

"Half -day ride in.  Day to gather …two …maybe three days ride up here.  They can't miss that trail we left.  Should be here sometime tomorrow ...but they'll have scouts out ahead."

"That's what I figured.  We'll watch some more …keep them barrelled in if they show signs of moving.  Look for company from first light."

"How would you have done it Heyes?" Kid smirked at his partner.

"I'd have opened that darn box and split the load and the gang at the train, and I wouldn't have had to kill no one to do it!"

Heyes was glad to get that out, stupidity ate at him.

---ooooooOoooooo---


The box was under the small building, now the condemned were busy filling in the hole.

A tall, skinny, youthful -looking man was taking pot shots at their feet, if they showed signs of slacking. Kid was getting uncomfortable just watching, his fingers flexed on the rifle.
 
Heyes was on the other side of the rim.  

Kid noticed an older -looking guy start to ready the tired horses. A third man, was filling canteens as high up in the stream as he could reach.  Finally, the last Amer-ican left the cabin they'd been sleeping in.  Everything about him, told Curry this was Michael Flint.

Flint was shouting at the skinny youth to hurry things along. In response, the youth put his gun to the head of the nearest Mexican and pulled the trigger.

Kid could sit it out no longer.  

He killed the youth with his first round, sending the rest running for cover. He had to duck, as he attracted return fire. The one over by the stream fell to Heyes gun. But that sent a hail of bullets his way. Kid broke cover again, and was shocked to see the three remaining Mexicans had found guns, and were returning fire.  

Sheesh!  Why had he tried to help them!

He made two good shots towards the corralled horses; thought he might of winged the man there, but had to duck before he could locate Flint.  Heyes was up and firing, one of the Mexicans hit dirt.  Kid took a breath and broke cover again scanning for Flint.  Nowhere.   He sent more rounds towards the corral.

A shout from Heyes, in a lull in the firing, and a spurt of stone from the rock in front of him, told Kid Flint was climbing towards him. He moved to his right, Heyes covered sending a bullet storm below.

Kid un-holstered his Colt.

Heyes was down in cover again.  

A third gun sent the survivors below looking for deeper cover.  

A fourth gun.  

‘The scouts’ thought Curry impressed. ‘They made good time.’

He moved up and to his left, watching. The gunfight continued below but he pushed it to the back of his mind concentrating on Flint, somewhere up here in the rocks with him. Another close call, the bullet puffing mud from the ledge just above his head. Kid broke to the right; the Colt was aimed and shot, mid-air, and Flint fell from the rock to the basin below.  Kid continued the roll and found cover.

More guns above.  

A shout from below, hands are raised and waved.

A loud commanding voice hollered the cease fire.  

---ooooooOoooooo---


Lom is at Kids side.

"Where's Heyes?"

"Here, Lom." Heyes keeps low.  "Soon as I knew your boys had it covered, I came to see if Kid needed any help with Flint."

"You got your horses close?"

The boys eyed Lom suspiciously.

"We got horses, they ain't ours though.” Kid pointed off down the slope.  “A pair of breeding thoroughbreds, worth a small fortune. We ain't horse thieves Lom, someone’s missing them real bad."

“We can show you where they've buried the haul" added Heyes, smiling larce-nously.

"Come on! I'll get you good horses. You gotta get out of here, they know who you are, and that you're up here!" Lom pulled them further up to the rim trying to watch every direction at once. "And you're going nowhere near that gold Heyes, we can see where they were burying it."

Heyes looks affronted.  

Kid annoyed. "That's it! Get out of here!"

"Sorry Kid, it’s that or come back to Yuma with the Marshal, tied to your horse." Lom did sound apologetic about it.  "I'll be letting the governor know what you did here but..."

---ooooooOoooooo---

much later

"Can you believe that?" Curry is still griping.  

They're backtracking North, but using the back trails that will keep them out of the way of the returning militia.

"Let it go Kid.  What did you expect …a medal?  We didn't do that for thanks …or 'cause anyone told us we had to …or so the governor would think we deserved amnesty.  We did that for us.  We needed to do it."

Kid let up moaning and was silent for some time.  

"You know, I kinda feel lighter, like I lifted something off my shoulders."

He looked sheepishly over to his partner to see if Heyes thought he'd said some-thing stupid.  

Heyes wasn't mocking.

"Yeah, me too Kid."

The End


Last edited by Cal on Sat 21 May 2016, 12:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Train to Redemption ... 6,300 words :: Comments

Re: Train to Redemption ... 6,300 words
Post on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 9:58 pm by Guests
Enjoyed the fast pace and action
 

Train to Redemption ... 6,300 words

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