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 The Long Road Back - Part Fifteen - And then there were none - 3000 words

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Cal

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Join date : 2015-11-11

20160916
PostThe Long Road Back - Part Fifteen - And then there were none - 3000 words

---oooOOOooo---

The Long Road Back
(Haff & Wong seven)
By Cal

---oooOOOooo---
Part Fifteen
And then there were none…
---oooOOOooo---


Kid looked down at the dark shape of the Bounty Hunter, prostrate on the forest floor.  He quickly grabbed up the pistol from his hip and picked up the dropped shot gun.  He searched in the dark detritus around the Bounty Hunter’s out stretched hand for the hunting knife.

Couldn’t find it.

He tried lighting a match, but it didn’t help, just ruined his night vision for a while.  He couldn’t find the knife anywhere.

‘Must have thrown it … when I hit him’ thought Kid, pursing up his lips in frustration.

He patted himself down for ties.  

Nothing.  

Then he patted down the unconscious Bounty Hunter. He found a couple of thin dry leather ties in one pocket. Nothing else.  

More frustration accompanied by a guttural moan.

He used the dry thongs to rudimentarily tie the Bounty Hunters Hands and Feet. It wouldn’t be enough to hold the man.  He was out cold for now, it would just have to be enough to hold him, till he could talk to Heyes.  He didn’t reckon on his chances of moving the Bounty Hunter on his own.

Kid tried to lift the man’s shoulders, meaning to try and pull him back to the camp, but he was too heavy and the floor of the wood was uneven and scattered with fallen branches and rocks.  

‘It’s gonna take two people to move him anywhere.’

He’d have to leave the man here and go fetch help and more ties.  He checked the neck for a pulse, and found one.  Then he checked the head for blood, but didn’t find any of that; nothing wet under the hair anyway.  

The Bounty Hunter’s round-brimmed, black hat had flown off in the darkness, and was lying quite a long way off under the trees, hidden in the shadows.

Kid could just make out the rise and fall of the chest.

‘He’ll keep.  I hit him good, he’s gonna be out a good long time, but I guess I better hurry.’  

Grabbing up all the guns, he quickly made his way back to the camp.  He considered waking Lom to help carry the unconscious Bounty Hunter.

‘Will Lom believe me this time? He said the Bounty Hunter had saved his life…’

Kid eyed the dark lumpy blanket on Lom’s bed roll, quite a long way out from the fire, next to the sleeping forms of the two teens and shook his head.  

‘I need to talk to Heyes first.’  

He growled with tired frustration and headed over towards the prisoners.

---oooOOOooo---

“I suspected as much” said Heyes quietly “When I saw Kyle blowing up half the camp down there. When Wong and Wheat didn’t protest about me ordering Kyle to blow that shelf.  I think our unconscious friend, may just have been right about Wheat and Kyle hiding a stash of money, back at the Hole.”

“One things for certain Heyes …he ain’t no one’s friend …especially not yours.  He was gonna…”

Kid drew a finger across his throat screwing up his face in disgust.

Heyes mirrored Kid’s face, clutching his throat with a gloved hand, trying to shake the unpleasant thought loose.  He decided on a change of subject.

“Kyle and Wheat? …Saving all that money?!?”  He shook his head in disbelief.  “Mr Wong’s must have put them up to it!”

Heyes looked baffled.

Kid smirked ruefully.  Saving money. That’s one plan his genius cousin had never come up with.  When they’d had money, it had slipped through their fingers like water.

“What now Heyes?” Kid asked, pulling Heyes back from wherever his thoughts had taken him. “Lom ain’t going take kindly to me tying up the Bounty Hunter …You heard him …He saved his life.  And he sure ain’t going believe me … when I tell him, he told me t’ cut his throat and leave him for the wolves… calm as you like…”  

Kid looked like he was giving his tired brain a headache.  His eyes fell on the saddlebag wedged behind Heyes.

“And what about …OUR… erm…”

Heyes put a hand on Kid’s arm, shaking his head to shut him up. Weaver was feigning sleep, but he was easily within hearing distance.

“But no one knows nothin’ about that ...Huh?”

“Hush up Kid, let me think …see if this changes anything… I reckon you’re right …why would Wong wait? None of them need to wait…”

Heyes looked real annoyed staring back at the cliff to the cave house. Throwing the saddlebag over one shoulder he stood up and started pacing.

“Go wake up Lom …tell him it’s his watch over here …and …then we’ll go bring the Bounty Hunter in …where we can keep an eye on him.  Leave Lom to me. Oh …and Kid …. get all the spare guns …and stash them out of sight.”

Kid nodded, picking up his rifle and starting back for the camp.

“I only found two ties for the Bounty Hunter… they were in his own pockets … I’d better go find more” he threw back over his shoulder.

Heyes nodded vaguely, continuing to pace.  

Kid looked back at the two prisoners, a bit worried seeing as how distracted his partner seemed.  Crease was sleeping, his head lolling to one side.  Weaver was silent, but his eyes were wide open, looking straight back at Kid.

He still looked far too happy.

---oooOOOooo---

Kid looked around their small camp collecting all the spare guns together. The Bounty Hunters bed roll was occupied, by a blanket thrown over some loose brush. He humphed, as he reached for the blanket, it would fool you if you didn’t know to take a closer look.  

He wrapped all the spare guns in the Bounty Hunter’s blanket, and took them off to a fallen log he’d seen earlier at the base of the cliff.  He dropped the guns into the lea behind it, and covered them in loose brush.  

Then he returned to the camp.

---oooOOOooo---
The Bounty Hunter woke to find himself laying on the wooded floor in the dark, his hands and feet tied.  Something was jabbing into his ribs.  He rolled away from the pain and saw the handle of his hunting knife standing proud of the leaf litter where it had embedded itself in the ground beneath him.

He pulled against the ties holding his hands behind his back.  The irony of seeing that knife, right there in front of him was not lost on the Bounty Hunter.  He swore in frustration, and to his surprise he felt the ties give just a little.

He smiled knowingly.  

Old dry ties in a convenient pocket had saved him once or twice before.  As long as you remembered never to use them yourself.  A prisoner that had turned the tables on you, and was anxious for a getaway, often used the first ties he could find.

These were dry and old …and… The leather snapped.

The knife was pulled and the leather between his feet was cut in seconds.  He rolled away into the shadows.  

‘Jones must be more ruthless than I thought …He wants the gang’s money all for himself. I better be real careful.’

There was no time to look for his hat.  He worked his way back through the trees, not in the direction of the camp at first, but off at a tangent to put himself in line with the clearing where they’d held the prisoners.

He still felt he might need an ally and Weaver was next in line.

‘Jones may have already killed the Sheriff and Heyes …gone after the money? How long was I out? I’d have heard gun shots… He said he had a stiletto…’

---oooOOOooo---

Kid fished several leather ties out of his pack.  

On the far side of the fire, at the edge of the clearing, were the three lumpy outlines of Lom and the two teens.  Kid could just make them out in the gloom.  

With a ‘Here goes nothing’ sigh, he went over to kick the sheriff awake.  

His boot met no resistance at all, as another roll of blanket-wrapped brush rolled away into the woods.  He lofted Lom’s blanket and shook it, looking at the empty bed roll as if Lom maybe there somewhere, he just couldn’t see him.  

He turned to the teens and swiped both the blankets back.  

More neatly arranged scrub.

“What in the blue blazes…!”

Kid stood in the empty camp looking about him for any signs of life, completely confounded.  

“What is going on?” he groaned.

Kid shook his head, wishing he’d managed to get just a little sleep already.  

‘One thing at a time,’ said Kid’s tired brain.  

He focussed on the leather ties in his hands.  

‘That Bounty Hunter is trouble.  I maybe can’t move him by myself …not till he’s awake again anyway. But …at least I can be sure of where he is …Be sure he don’t disappear too!’

He looked across at his pacing partner.  Lom was no danger to Heyes, but the Bounty Hunter…

‘He’s a whole other matter!’  

Quickly, he made his way back through the trees towards the clearing.  Stepped into the clearing, and then retraced his steps a little looking about in the darkness for a body.

He felt very confused again but tried to focus.  Stopped to examine the ground.  He found the place where a heavy object had flattened the detritus of the woodland floor: Broken some twigs.

But he couldn’t find the Bounty Hunter.  

He picked up a couple of mouldy looking dry leather ties, broken in several places.  

“$&1£!”

The Colt was in his hand like lightening. He straightened slowly, looking into the deep shadows between the trees.  It was darker now, the moon lower in the sky.

No hope for tracks.  

Kid circled, working out from the place he’d last seen the Bounty Hunter, still hoping to find the elusive hunting knife.

No luck.  

Over under a tree, he did find the Bounty Hunters hat.  He picked it up with a snarl, feeling something hard wedged into the crown.  He shook the hat in frustration, and ‘the something’ fell out.  

A piece of domed metal.  

“What?!”

He hefted the metal in his palm.  It was light and moulded into a skull cap.  Made from old bean cans, cut roughly with a knife and banged up around the edges to keep it from cutting the wearer.  

‘Sheesh … clever. Wouldn’t stop a bullet …but …’  

Kid pushed it under his own Brown floppy hat with a wry smile.  

‘Who keeps a metal plate in their hat?’ he thought with a shake of the curls.

“Someone …Kyle’s …already hit …real hard …on the head…” he answered himself quietly, with a sigh, lofting the eyebrows.  

‘Smart… I knew this guy was smart but... sheesh! …And keeping old leather ties in his pockets? Real devious. Devious …and smart…’

Suddenly Kid’s thoughts turned to Heyes.  

His partner was clueless that the murdering Bounty Hunter was on the loose.  

He started back for the camp as quickly as he could.

---oooOOOooo---

Heyes looked back towards the camp.  Lom hadn’t come over and he could no longer see Kid.  He groaned in frustration hands on his hips.  In the darkness he wasn’t sure but it looked like Lom was still in his blankets, and where was Kid?

He looked back at the two sleeping prisoners and with a shake of his head he grabbed up his rifle and stalked back to the camp, to give everyone a piece of his mind.

Weaver lifted his head carefully.  

His wrists were bloody, but he’d worked one of his hands nearly free of the leather tie.  With Heyes’ back to him, he could straighten up and wriggle that last centimetre free.

He jabbed Crease in the ribs throwing a bloodied hand over the outlaw’s mouth.

Quickly, he worked on freeing first his own feet, then Creases.  Then lifting Crease silently to his feet, he pulled him back into the trees.  

They were both still gagged, and Crease’s hands remained tied, but they had to get away from the clearing before Heyes turned back around.

---oooOOOooo—

The Bounty Hunter watched the two outlaws fade into the trees on the other side of the clearing.  

He hadn’t seen Heyes or the Sheriff.

‘I’m gonna need a gun’ he thought. ‘Reckon Jones thinks I’m as good as dead already…he must have hit me pretty hard …to knock me out for a second …through that can dome I made… ‘

Silently, he retraced his steps back through the trees planning to head back towards the camp to look for guns as soon as he could.

---oooOOOooo---

Heyes saw the empty blankets.  

All the empty blankets!

“What?!”

No sign of Kid either.  He spun to look back to the prisoners.  

“What?! Where’d they go?!”

He was quicker crossing the ground back to the clearing where he’d left Weaver and Crease than he’d been leaving it.  

Both gone.

‘What?! None of this makes sense.’

Heyes lofted his rifle and faded back into the trees himself.

‘And where’s Kid?!’

---oooOOOooo---
Kid slowed to a quiet, stealthy walk as he approached the clearing where he’d left Heyes, Weaver and Crease.  He’d made a bee line through the trees rather than head for the empty camp itself.

He could see the clearing was empty. He dropped his tired head into a gloved hand.

‘Of course they’re gone too!’ thought an exasperated Kid, looking around the empty clearing ‘…Why wouldn’t they be gone too? Everyone else has gone … Sheesh!’

He melted back into the shadows, cursing under his breath.  

---oooOOOooo---

The Bounty Hunter neared the camp. It was silent.  No breathing or sleeping sounds. No movement.

No guns on view.

‘Jones must already be up in the cave house killing the gang silently in their sleep.’

Over on the other side of the camp, the Bounty Hunter caught movement in the trees. Weaver was also looking for guns.

Weaver looked up, saw the Bounty Hunter and quickly faded back.

The Bounty Hunter wasted no time to take off after Weaver.

---oooOOOooo---

Kid’s night vision was in now. He remained still, watching for movement among the dark shapes of trees and rocks. He strained to listen for sounds around him.  

A twig snapped behind him, to his left.  

He was in shadow. He turned only his head, trigger finger already priming the squeeze.

Heyes grinned from behind a nearby tree, lofting the broken twig like a flag and shrugged apologetically. He waved Kid over, pointing off to the right towards the camp and putting a gloved finger to his lips.  

“Where’s Weaver and Crease?” hissed Kid, coming to Heyes’ side.

“I don’t know” answered the genius almost silently. “But I think I heard someone over there…”

“You were supposed to be watchin’ them!” hissed Kid incredulously, turning to point the Colt that way. Putting Himself between Heyes and the someone.

“Well …when Lom didn’t come to spell me …I went to fetch him …and saw HE’D disappeared… and the BOYS’D disappeared …YOU’D disappeared… …when I got back here …THEY’D disappeared…” Heyes was whispering over Kid’s shoulder. He pointed a gloved hand back into the clearing where the prisoners had been sat, his eyes were wide as saucers, looking to Kid for some kind of explanation.

Kid looked just a little uncomfortable.  He felt maybe he should have told Heyes about Lom being missing, before he disappeared himself to get the Bounty Hunter. Which reminded him of his rescue mission.

“The Bounty Hunter’s disappeared too” he said over his shoulder and rolling his eyes at Heyes’ exasperated groan.

Heyes’ eyes got wider in shock.  His lips were moving but he couldn’t form a credible question. He shook his head at the back of Kid’s hat.

“You see ANY of them?” Kid jumped in to the gap with his own question, making it sound like Heyes had misplaced something precious left in his keeping, the best defence often being a good offence in Kid’s book. “You got ANY idea where ANY OF THEM are?”

“No!” whispered Heyes, annoyed that this whole situation was seemingly being interpreted by his partner as some kind of incompetence on his part.

“Well? …What now?” asked Kid, keeping Heyes on the back foot.

Heyes looked like he had plenty to say to Kid this time. But he pushed his lips tightly shut.  He huffed, swallowing the argument they’d be having later, and contented himself with pulling a face at the back of Kid’s floppy hat.  

Oblivious, Kid scanned the trees for danger.  

Heyes settled for stroking the saddlebag full of money on his shoulder for comfort as he screwed up his face in thought.

“The Bounty Hunter must have loosed Weaver and Crease …right? … But we’ve got all the guns.  They …maybe got a knife.  Lom must’ve taken the boys somewhere ... wherever they are …it’s gotta be safer than here.  Guess that leaves us to go warn Wheat, Weaver knows about his money … That’s if they ain’t already left fer Mexico …or wherever they’re headed.”

Kid nodded, pushing back into Heyes to get him started towards the cliff keeping to the shadows in the tree line.

“Oh Wheat already knows Weaver knows about his money.  He told Crease and Crease told Weaver.  But we gotta warn Haff …they’re planning on using Flower of Morning to get them out of here” added Kid. “Wife …or guide? He truly cares about that woman.”

“Well …who’s gonna get us …and OUR money …outta here?” asked Heyes backing up, then turning to go back to back with Kid, his rifle pointed off into the trees.

---oooOOOooo---


Next part is here - http://asjbuckshot.forumotion.com/t397-the-long-road-back-part-sixteen-oh-that-money-2100-words#1016


Last edited by Cal on Fri 23 Sep 2016, 7:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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The Long Road Back - Part Fifteen - And then there were none - 3000 words :: Comments

And then there were none… aptly describes this chapter. Where'd they all go? It was like reading a game of Hide 'n Seek. waiting Waiting to hear where everyone is.
 

The Long Road Back - Part Fifteen - And then there were none - 3000 words

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