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 The Long Road Back - Part Twenty Two - the final chapter continues

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Cal

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Join date : 2015-11-11

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PostThe Long Road Back - Part Twenty Two - the final chapter continues

---oooOOOooo---

The Long Road Back
by Cal
FINAL CHAPTER
When the Fat Lady Sings
Continued

---oooOOOooo---



The story continues........

Later

Back on the trail North Lom was ribbing his new partner, who seemed to have found new strength since rescuing Haff, about his latest exploits.

“You just can’t help yourself can you friend…” he laughed.  “I think you should concentrate on healing up a little more yourself …before you go off again and try save the lives of the rest of the Territory, don’t you?”

“Huhrrrr” grinned the Bounty Hunter.

Kid whistled, looking ahead.

“Will you look at that” he said.  

“Ain’t that something.”

Heyes followed Kid’s gaze to a huge pine tree in the middle of a clearing.  The tree was split into two huge branches near the base.  Each branch ran parallel to the ground for twelve feet or more, before shooting skywards to dizzying heights.  It was an impressive looking tree, but then again, it was just a tree.  

He eyed his younger cousin with concern.

“We gotta get you back to civilisation Kid … and SOON!”

“It’s their sacred valley” whispered Haff, catching their conversation.  

“And that’s a very important tree … It’s a tribal marker for their meeting place… We wait there for lone Wolf … He will purify us …before we travel on through the valley …and then we will be shown the way out …out to the tribal lands North of the Hole.”

Haff continued on towards the tree.  He was riding his own paint pony now, with Flower in his lap.  His looked drawn and battered.  His leg sported a bloody bandage, but he looked serenely happy.

“We’re gonna be purified…” smiled Kid at Heyes.  

“That could take some time” he laughed.

“I’ll wager you a huge steak dinner, Kid” answered Heyes watching Haff’s back as he rode on, “…its gonna involve a whole lot of smoking, singing and very loud drumming.”

Heyes smiled into Kid’s pain filled eyes knowingly.

“Drumming!” groaned Kid, “…and …. singing ….awww … noooo….”

---oooOOOooo---

Much later, after dark

Kid and Heyes were sitting on either side of the tribe’s marker tree.  

They’d been joined, as darkness fell, by the rest of Flower’s family and several important chiefs and other braves of high standing within the tribe. As predicted there had indeed been drumming, and singing aplenty, but there had also been drinking, eating and some ministrations to the trail party’s various ills.

Shade of morning had taken a particular interest in Heyes, checking on his leg, pulling at his shoulder, smearing something cool on his burnt fingers.  

This time he had Red to translate, and managed to keep a civil tongue in his head and even offered his thanks for her efforts.

“Huzzy!” she beamed, smiling into his face and pushing a big thumb into his dimple.  

“Tint proper!”

Red scowled at Heyes.  

Heyes looked a little worried, until Red had burst out laughing and offered him another drink.

Kid had retreated to the tree to try nurse his head.  Lone Wolf had given him some bark to chew and it was definitely helping.

“You know Kid … Lom says there will be bounties to collect on Platt and Weaver… He says he can do the paperwork confirming that, as a serving law officer, he’d identified the bodies.  The Bounty Hunter has bounties coming on the two older Platt brothers … But apparently … he thinks we … could …”

Heyes didn’t want to finish the sentence. Somehow it didn’t feel right to be discussing such things here.

“I don’t know Heyes …that kinda money … it don’t sit right with me somehow …” said Kid quietly, looking back at the fire and the tribe members enjoying the food and the stories being shared by Wheat and Red. “We don’t need that kinda money … I told Lom to give it to the widders ‘n orphans fund back in Porterville…”

Heyes looked a little shocked.  He swallowed looking skywards.

“Thing is Kid … we’re flat broke … and I don’t know about you, but I could sure use a bit of healing up time before I have to go find me another honest job.”

Kid set his jaw but said nothing.  Heyes moved a little further up the branch towards his partner, then jumped of and began pacing.

“Just give that a bit of thought Kid … You know you took a hell of a blow to the head … I think you’re not seeing all the possibilities here … That’s honest money …even if we did come by it ..via the bounty on a man’s head…. Which is distasteful…”

Heyes came to a stop in front of Kid and fixed him with dark-eyed sincerity.

“Just hear me out…” he said.

“Do I get a choice” quipped Kid.

“Well what do you think of this … What if …we drop by Porterville and kinda borrow the money from Lom… just for a little while …We take it for a little holiday with us Back East… to that big city we found Haff and Wong … We heal up … with soft beds and indoor plumbing, hot baths and warm willin’ women…  then after I invest our little nest egg … so to speak … and doubled it a few times in them swanky casinos… We go back to visit with our good ol’ friend Lom….and maybe make a sizable donation to the widders an’ orphans fund in Porterville. It’d be like we never accepted that tainted money ….Now …How does that sound? Huh?”

“Sounds like a Hannibal Heyes plan …is what it sounds like” said Kid with resignation.

He knew there was no point arguing.

“There …that’s settled then” smiled Heyes, patting Kid on the knee.  “And we should get one of them City doctors … to take a look at your eyes.”

Kid shot Heyes a look.

---oooOOOooo---

The following morning, Red and his father joined the white men at the fire where they are sat sipping coffee.  Lone wolf lifted Kid’s chin, staring into his eyes.  He moved the gunslingers head from side to side.  Kids eyes darkened and fixed on the older man’s face, he bristled chagrin at this unexpected man handling.  Lone Wolf reached up and felt the plates of Kid’s skull under his hat.  

Heyes watched in delight, mentally counting down Kid’s fuse.  His cousin was doing well, holding on to his temper.  Just as Heyes thought he should step in, Lone Wolf turned his attention to Heyes.  

Heyes scowled, as first his leg, then his shoulder and finally his burnt fingers were inspected by the shamans probing fingers.  

Kid’s turn to smile.

Lone Wolf kept up a near constant cometary to Red.  He smiled at Lom, but passed over him to examine Wheats arm that had been re-splinted and bound in clean cloth.  Finally, Lone Wolf crouched in front of the Bounty Hunter.  Much animated conversation ensued between father and son as the Bounty Hunters chin was lifted and the swollen scars inspected.

“Huhrrrrr” said the Bounty Hunter, holding the older man’s wrist and looking to Red for explanation.

“My father foresaw your coming here” said Red.  “He watched three men walk these lands, and he knew only one would leave.  That one, would leave here to make a new journey.  That one would be marked thus.”

The Bounty hunter looked up, eyes narrowing.  He held up three fingers, shrugging a question.

“Three killers.  You, Weaver and Platt” answered Red. “The sacred land is a proving path.  The fact that they are dead, and you are alive, shows that you have been chosen to walk a new path.  A better path.  My father will purify you of the bad deeds of your former life, and you will leave here a new man.  Your voice will remain here, you no longer need it.”

The words seemed to be having quite an impact on the Bounty Hunter.

“Kinda like being granted an amnesty” whispered Heyes to Kid.

“Don’t like the sound of being purified” sniggered Kid.  “And it ain’t like he can complain about it.”

Lom dug them in the ribs to shut them up.

“What’s he mean, three walked the sacred land … What about us?” grumped Heyes quietly, as Lone Wolf lit some sage brush, blew it out again and shook the resulting smoke towards the Bounty Hunter and began to chant.

Red turned to Heyes.

“This man has a name?” he asked.

“Errrm….” Heyes raised his eyebrows to Kid in question.  Kid turned to Lom. Lom turned to Wheat.

“What?” asked Wheat.

“You said you knew who he was… What’s his name?” Asked Lom.

Wheat looked deep in thought, screwing up his face in effort.  Red followed this pantomime in incredulity, informing his father that the white men didn’t know the man’s name.

“I just know him by reputation” whined Wheat a little embarrassed.  “As a killer …a cold-blooded killer … I heard him being called ‘Dollar’ once … ‘cause he’d kill anyone, on a wanted dodger, for a dollar … but I don’t recall hearing an actual  name…”

The Man with No Name was smiling at this conversation.  Lone Wolf finished the purifying ceremony and issued a proclamation.

“My father says it is fitting that this man should leave here with no name … He will find his name on his new path” translated red.

The boys looked slightly awkward.  Kid clapped his hands a few times and Heyes sort of lamely cheered.  

“That’s a very good idea” contributed Lom, wondering how he’d ridden in the man’s company for weeks without ever asking his name.
Lone Wolf was chanting again and waving the smoking sage brush towards Lom, Heyes and Curry.  This time the chanting stopped very quickly and the proclamation was addressed to Lom and Kid together.  

Heyes felt a bit left out.

“My father says, your battle is over… trust grows …where doubt once rooted.”

Kid and Lom exchanged a confused look but Lone Wolf had moved on to Heyes.

He stared into Heyes dark eyes and looked very stern.  Heyes swallowed, remembering the flight from the Indian camp in the middle of the night after this man had spent days helping him recover from that snake bite.  

“Errrm … Sir …” began Heyes apologetically but the Shaman began his proclamation, stopping Heyes in his tracks.

“My father thanks you for destroying the sky bridge South to the white man’s camp” translated Red.  “He says you walk a difficult path … and that you are troubled by doubt… He says …take courage…. when the road is long… and don’t forget…that you’re never alone.”

Those words echoed in Heyes’ head and deep down he found them a great comfort.  The smart words that had sprung to his lips unbidden, died, and he dropped his head to gather himself for just a second.  When he looked up again, his eyes glistened.

“Thank you” he smiled.

“Now you are purified.  You can cross the sacred valley and leave this place” pronounced Red.  “My father says Haff, Wheat and this man with no name, should remain here to rest and heal but that I should guide you out.  My mother will sing you a leaving song.”

Shade of Morning began a loud, guttural song that included a sweeping motion with her hands towards Lom, Kid and Heyes.  They took the hint and started gathering their things together to carry to their horses.

Lom told the Bounty Hunter to come to Porterville as soon as he could, that he’d be working on getting him the bounties for the two older Platt brothers, and that he had hopes of persuading the man to become a deputy sheriff.  

The Bounty Hunter looked a little uncomfortable at talk of the bounties, I’m not sure how that sat with his new path, but he shook all their hands and smiled at the prospect of a new job.

Haff was nowhere to be seen.  No one had seen either him or Flower since they’d arrived at the marker tree.  Anyone would think they were newlyweds.

Wheat was gratified to hear from Lom, that Marshal Warwick Johnson had proclaimed both him and Kyle to be murdered by Weaver in his takeover of the Devils Hole Gang.  

“Guess you can retire quietly now Wheat …and keep a low profile … you shouldn’t need to worry about an amnesty like these two… posses don’t chase dead men” reassured Lom.

Kid threw Heyes an exasperated look of incredulity, he hadn’t thought of that.  Heyes shrugged.

“It’s all been part of a Wheat Carlson master plan, Lom” boasted Wheat, feeling he might as well take credit for his astonishingly good luck.  “Kyle ‘n’ me … we’re gonna be fronting a new enterprise … which you’ll be hearing about in due course …can’t say too much now of course… but it’s going to be really something … I can promise you that” he smiled.  “I’ll hang on a day or to here … rest up some … then I’ll be heading back East … start my new life as a business Emperor… sario.”

“Think you may mean impresario there, Wheat” smirked Heyes shaking the big man’s hand.

“Sounds real impressive Wheat … I hope it all works out for you ‘n’ Kyle” said Kid, side-stepping Shade of Morning to also shake Wheat’s hand.

Shade was still singing and wafting the boys towards their horses but she’d taken a particular interest in moving Kid along.

“It’s the blue eyes” explained Red.  “They’re unsettling.  She was the same with Kyle…”

“So long Wheat” called Heyes from the saddle.  “And thanks for coming back to try ‘n save us!”

“Anything for you brother…” called Wheat into their dust.

---oooOOOooo---

Several hours later

“Heyes … I see the valley ending … but I don’t see any way through that wall of rock … do you?”

“Me neither” confirmed Lom.

Kid had been scanning the seemingly impenetrable cliff on the far side of the Indian’s sacred valley for the last hour.  There didn’t even seem to be goat paths to climb it, let alone a trail.  

Red smiled enigmatically enjoying their confusion.

“You just got to have a little faith Kid” smiled Heyes, obviously in on something.

They passed another huge marker tree, this time a single limb pointed their way towards the junction of the cliff wall with a high spit of land to their right.  

Red lead them closer and closer to the wall without a word.  Eventually, he dismounted and wrapped the blanket he’d been sitting on, around his pony’s ears.  It looked very comical and Kid and Lom, pulling up behind him, shook their heads and smiled at each other. Kid couldn’t help himself.

“You frightened he may hear the secret words that get the door to open?”

“My money’s on … Open Sesame” laughed Lom.

Heyes drew up last and jumped down and quickly wrapped a spare shirt around Sally’s ears.  

She just looked ridiculous!

“What is this?” laughed Kid. “Some sort of ritual? Should I put a hat on Dingaling?”

“Can’t you hear it Kid?” asked Heyes, straight-faced.  “Hats no good …You gotta cover his ears …or he’s gonna spook.”

Kid concentrated. Lom too.  

He heard a faint rumble.  He looked to Lom for confirmation he wasn’t imagining it.  It must have been there for some time because it had sneaked up on him.  Wasn’t till he stopped to listen he picked it up.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Wait and see” said Heyes enigmatically.  “I guess we’re on foot for a while …Huh Red?”

“Yep” answered the Indian leading his pony behind a huge boulder.  

The cave entrance wasn’t very big, and entirely hidden by the boulder. Almost immediately the cave mouth turned to the right and the path seemed to follow the directing of the cliff wall towards the large spit of land that made up the valley’s right hand border.  The cave wasn’t that dark.  Gaps in the sides and the ceiling let in daylight.  Soon the gaps were more on their left-hand side, too high up the wall to look out of, then there was no ceiling at all, just a thin strip of ragged blue sky.

All the time, the rumbling was getting louder and louder.  The footing and the walls were getting wetter and wetter and the animals had to be coaxed to go further.

The thundering water of the waterfall fell to their left, but the animals took all their attention.  Kid and Lom had improvised hoods for their horses and were gently pulling them along in Heyes and Red’s wake.  

The wet slippery path angled out from under the fall to a steep track suitable to ride down, so they all mounted again, but it was impossible to talk till they reached the bottom on the other side of more large boulders.  Looking back there was hardly a trace of the path they’d come.

“Imagine Heyes… if the Law had known there was a back door into Devils Hole…” shouted Kid in wonder.

“I know!” shouted back Heyes.  “If the Law ever discovered that Hole in the Wall…”

“I’m right here!” shouted Lom, incredulously.

---oooOOOooo---

Several days later, around a small cook fire lit on the outskirts of a small Wyoming Town

“Lom’s sure been a long time” complained Heyes.

He was anxious for news, and fresh coffee, and something to eat other than trail rations.

Kid’s hand went to the Colt, it was pointing out into the dark in seconds.

“Who’s there?” he asked, pulse racing.

The last they knew they were top billing for any lynching parties to be held in this neck of the woods.  Heyes stood, pistol drawn facing in the other direction.

“Its OK boys … it’s just me” stated Lom riding into the camp.  “And you can relax. I got some good news … Remember that Marshal at the train … Johnson … Well he’s been in Porterville looking for me … and he wants to see you two again…”

The partners look at each other in panic.  In who’s book is this supposed to be good news?!?

“That’s terrible Lom,” said a whiny sounding Heyes.  “I think he knows who we are!”

“He wants us to ride into Porterville to meet him?!” Kid joined in, sounding equally whiny.

“I KNOW he knows who you are” said Lom, confused by their panicked faces.  “Don’t you see.  Warwick Johnson has the ear of the Governor… Don’t you see … this could be it … this could be really good news… about the amnesty!”

The partners exchanged a look of worry and confusion, I think they’re going to take a lot more convincing than that.

---oooOOOooo---

A dingy Hotel Room in Trappers Rest

“This is over …right?” asked Kid from his vigil, staring out of the Hotel window. “Weaver’s dead, and the Governor’s gotta know, it wasn’t us doing the killing.”

“That’s right Kid” said Heyes, pacing the floor.  “You know what they say …It ain’t over till the fat lady sings … well you heard Shade of morning singing …same as me … It’s over.  We’re back in Trappers rest and the Governor’s sure to let it be known that it wasn’t us did all them killings…”

Heyes’ mind was racing with possibilities.  Why did the Marshall want to meet with them again? To give them the amnesty? He doubted that.  To arrest them?  Hang them?  Make the Governor look good?  He slapped a hand through his hair and kept pacing.  Why had they agreed to this?  Why had he let Lom talk him into agreeing to meet the Marshall?

“Yeah that’s right” said Kid without taking his eyes off the street below.

“Huh?” questioned Heyes.

“We’re back where we started from.  Flat broke in Trappers Rest.”

Kid gave a hollow laugh.

“Wheat and Kyle get to retire and start some sort of business with Wong back East.  Haff gets married and joins a tribe.  Even that Bounty Hunter gets a chance at a new way of life.  Come to think on it … Them boys … Sam and Zeb …they gotta new chance with Wong … whatever he’s up to, it’s gotta be better for them than hanging around with the Weaver Gang… They all get a chance to start over… and what do we get Heyes? What do we ever get?  Do y’ever think we weren’t supposed to be happy… maybe we should just give ourselves up to the Marshal … and get it done with…”

Heyes had come to a standstill staring at the back of Kid’s hunched shoulders.  He hadn’t realised Kid had been feeling it too.  The feeling that no matter what they tried they couldn’t move on with their lives. He desperately sought for something uplifting to say.

“Lom was right there with us this time Kid… He didn’t come out of this no different neither … He’s still just Sheriff of Porterville.”

A polite knock on the door made them both jump.

Kid moved to stand behind the door, pistol drawn and Heyes opened it just a crack.

“Oh …” he said “Come in Lom.  That’s quite a Hogs head of a badge you’re sporting there…”

Lom strutted into the room proudly wearing a gleaming new badge of the Marshall’s office on his chest.  

Kid rolled his eyes at Heyes.

“I see congratulations are in order …Lom…” he smiled tightly, coming to a shaky stop, as Lom was followed into the room by a second Marshall, Marshall Warwick Johnson.

The boys backed up against the furniture and lamely greeted the new visitor.

“Gentlemen … I’m glad to see you both made it out of Devils Hole alive.  Sheriff … oh …I suppose that should be Marshall ….Trevors here …has filled me in with the way you chased Weaver back to his hole and routed the rest of his gang … very commendable … gentlemen … very commendable indeed.”

He came up close to them and repeated his earlier uncomfortable inspection of these two curiosities.  Then he took something out of his pocket and threw it onto the nearest bed.

“And in the light of that…” he said, pointing at what the boys recognised to be a Dime Novel.  “In the light of that…. I don’t think you’ll be waiting much longer for that which you seek… the time may soon be upon us for a popular political gesture … one that half the territory will be crying out for.”

“What is it?” ventured Heyes, thinking he was sure it was just another dumb Dime novel.  He wasn’t about to circumvent the Marshall to go pick it up.

“This?” asked the Marshall theatrically, picking up the thin volume and waving it at him.  “This my dear boy is your salvation.”

He cleared his throat and began to read from the cover.

“Imagine a train robbery, thwarted by two famous, reformed outlaws.  Two outlaws that hadn’t held with killing.  Read how they saved, not only a shipment full of gold, but also a train full of passengers from certain death.  And all because the Governor had promised them an amnesty…. in return for their help in ridding the Territory of the scurrilous, cold-blooded killers that had replaced them.”

“Let me see that” said Kid taking the thin novel and flicking through it’s pages.

“With some dramatic license, I shouldn’t think anyone that was on the Columbine Train that day, could fail to notice the similarities in the story to actual events that day” opined the Marshall.  “This is going to get talked about.  Talked about a lot.  All you have to do gentlemen, is give it time …to build up a good head of steam in the mind of the populous.  Then the Governor can step in …and do something really popular for a change.”

“That’s …amazing…” said Heyes stunned.

Lom came over to shake his hand and slap him on the back.

“Hey …they got my ‘three in the air at the same time’ in here” said Kid happily engrossed in the novel.

The others laughed.

“Of course … you’re gonna have to lay low for a little while yet” reminded Lom.

“Sure …sure…” smiled Heyes, taking both the Marshalls back to the door and ushering them through it.

“I’ll let you know as soon as the money’s through Heyes, and you can come by Porterville and pick it up.  You and the Kid could may be …head South for a few months … but you be sure to let me know where you are”  said Lom quietly turning in the doorway.

“Sure …sure …Lom” said Heyes shutting the door and standing with his back to it till his heart rate returned to normal.

“Kid?” he asked.  “Just who wrote that there story.

Kid turned to the front cover and read.

“Millic… cent Prend..er..ghast .. Hey …isn’t she the fat lady from the train?”

“Yes… she sure is … dear old Ms Millicent herself … is a writer of Dime Novels…  I guess the fat lady really has sung now Kid.. and I like this ending better, don’t you? … Maybe that was a bit disingenuous of you Kid… to call our saviour fat.”

“Well … you didn’t have to lift her off the train…”

Kid went back to his reading.

“Hey … look at this … Millicent has dedicated the novel to her good friends Professor Tung and Miss Gabrielle Stannesforth… without whose wise council ….this account could never have been written.”

“Who is Gabrielle Stannesforth?” asked Heyes, narrowing his eyes at his smiling cousin.

“Oh …a blue-eyed blond, with a dangerous line in accessories” smirked Kid enigmatically. “I sure hope I get the chance to thank her for the loan of her derringer one day.”

Heyes laughed, nodding.  Another little bit of the puzzle falling into place.  He let out a long sigh.

“I for one Kid, am glad that’s all over…we may not be rich …yet… but we’re the nearest we’ve ever been to that amnesty….”

Kid looked up from the book to smile at his partner.

“Like they say Heyes …..it’s over when the fat lady sings…. AND THANK YOU… Millicent Prendergast… I think I may be just a little bit in love with you… “

Kid kissed the book and waved it at his giggling cousin.

“…you sure sang us a beautiful future!”

---oooOOOooo---

Epilogue



“And we’re just borrowing the money?”

“Yes Kid … how many more times … as soon as I’ve doubled …or trebled it … we’ll go back to Porterville and give a sizable chunk back to Lom… fer the widders ‘n’ orphans, OK?”

“Well … I ain’t ever going to get used to seeing Deputy Sheriff Dollar’s name up on that door instead of Lom’s….” mumbled Kid, brushing crumbs from dinner off the arms of his blue suit.

“Hush up… this has got to be it!”

Heyes spread his arms wide, beaming at the gaudy edifice across the street.  

They were stood in front of a gaudy, yes, but never the less an impressive building, on the same street as the Rapid City First National Bank.  It stood roughly where a Tea Shoppe had once stood.  It was now an emporium of entertainment, a music hall in the very latest style, called the Golden Palace.

A large banner was slung across the front, proclaiming wonders to behold… Live every night… brought to you by Messrs. D Smith and M Jones of Smith and Jones enterprises. OPENING NIGHT TONIGHT!

“I see your brother’s in town” smirked Kid.

“Yours too” retorted Heyes.  “Shall we?”

He swept an arm in an after you gesture, and the two handsome ex-outlaws crossed the street to join the happy throng gathering at the front of the building.

---oooOOOooo---

“I wasn’t expecting a box.  I wonder who the other chairs are for?” asked Kid quietly, looking over the gilded balcony, to the packed full house below.

“I think Wheat’s afraid we might frighten his crowd off if we mingled” laughed Heyes as the door behind him swung open.  “Marshall Trevors … and Miss Porter … How lovely to see you again.”

Both boys stood.

Lom smiled tightly and held out a chair for Miss Porter.

“Mr Smith, Mr Jones” he greeted.

“Oh … Are you related to the owners …Mr Smith and Mr jones?” asked Miss Porter gauchely.

“Distantly…”  said Kid holding his new blue Derby to his chest.

“Ohh … only very … very distantly….” babbled Heyes.

A small angelic face with an enormous cheeky grin, topped by a red pill box hat,  peeked in at the door.  

“Curtain up in five minutes.” Shouted the lad. “Can I get you anything …else?”

“No thank you Sam …Here!”

Kid flipped the youngster a whole dollar.

“Share that with your brother … you hear! And don’t be giving Mr Wong any more of your cheek!” he called as the giggling youngster ran off.

“Yes Sir!”

The lights in the house dimmed and the orchestra started some tuning noises.  The audience quieted to a low mummer and a lot of coughing.  The door at the back of the box opened again.  Wheat and Kyle came in looking very scrubbed and presentable.  They wore top quality, loud suits.  Wheats moustache was waxed to a fine curl and Kyle face looked like someone may have polished it.

“Hey…” began Kyle.

“Hey! You made it …little brother!” greeted Wheat seeing Miss Porter sat in the box.

He grabbed Heyes by the shoulders and muzzed up his hair a little, making Heyes’ long floppy fringe hide the shocked ex-gang leader’s eyes.

“We weren’t sure you’d be able to make it.  Sure is fitting for us to have our law-abiding little brothers, come and help us celebrate our big first night now isn’t it Matthias?” Wheat said pointedly to Kyle, tucking Heyes under one arm.  “Wouldn’t have wanted them to miss it … seeing as it was them helped us find the money … to invest … in such a proper …and honest… sort of business…”

Wheat’s eyes had fixed on Lom’s shiny new Marshall’s badge.  Kyle followed the look. His eyes widened, and he instinctively grabbed Kid round the waist, smiling up into the gunslinger’s perplexed face.

“Sure is …Wh …errr… Daniel.  Wouldn’t have wanted my law-abiding little brother to miss this…” Kyle held on to Kid but couldn’t hold his gaze, he meekly stared over to Miss Porter.  “Howdy Ma’am…”

“Thaddeus ….you’ve been teasing me…” said Miss Porter, standing up to greet the new comers.  “I was just thinking that I must have met these gentlemen before … they looked so familiar … but I see it now …the family resemblance is uncanny!”

She stared pointedly from Heyes to Wheat, then Kid down to Kyle.

“Really quite remarkable.”

The four ex-outlaws extracted themselves from each other’s grasps, straightening collars and pushing fingers through hair, looking like they knew they’d been called on their play acting.

Lom stepped up to formally introduce his companion and they settled down to enjoy the show.

There were dance acts and singing acts and a small Chinese man called MIZMO entertained by reading the mind of a tall red headed man from the audience, that looked very familiar to Heyes and Curry.  He then hypnotised a drunk, into a Preacher, spouting whole passages from the bible, and back to a drunk.

The audience went wild and Heyes and Curry laughed heartily at Preachers antics.

There were variety acts of all sorts, including some authentic looking ‘savages’ that nearly caused a large proportioned lady in the front row to faint.  Her equally well-proportioned companion called out dramatically for smelling salts.

“Isn’t that…?” whispered Kid.

“Sure is!” smiled Heyes.

Kid immediately began to scan the audience for Gabrielle and Charlotte.  His search ended at an eye-rolling beauty, who looked like she had a pain in the neck from craning her head up to the box above to catch someone’s attention.  She waved and smiled demurely, pointing him out to her sister and then didn’t look that way again for the rest of the show.

Kid smiled broadly and Heyes rolled his eyes.

As the show came to a climax, Kyle leaned further over the rail, his eyes glued to the stage.

“This is the best bit” he said dreamily.

“She ain’t ever going to agree to be your girl Ky … Matt” whispered Wheat, as the curtain swung open again and the orchestra began a very rousing introduction. “Brunilda is a sophisticated lady…”

“Well that’s where you’re wrong Wh… Dan.  She’s asked me to join her …in her dressing room …after the show …”

Kyle looked like he was almost afraid to take up the invitation.  The others laughed.  On the stage a stately soprano, bedecked in an awful lot of glistening gold cloth and shining jewellery, opened her luxuriant red lips and blew the audience away with the power of her lungs.  

Lom and Heyes looked like they were in pain. Kid’s eyes widened in shock, then turned to Kyle with incredulity.  The little ex-outlaw wasn’t looking his way though, he was leaning over the balcony, hanging on every note.

Miss Porter turned to smile at Kid.  He leaned in close to her ear.

“I think she’s the last act …” he opined.  “Normally … the fat lady sings at the end.”

THE END


Last edited by Cal on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 7:42 pm; edited 5 times in total
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The Long Road Back - Part Twenty Two - the final chapter continues :: Comments

clap  Wonderful way to end The Long Road Back!  Really got a kick out of the good, bad and ugly!  giggle
clap Good story, I enjoyed following along.
I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed the 'mountain of things from the saddle bags. Very creative. lol2
avatar
I really enjoyed this story! So did they get their names cleared of murder? I would think so. Great job!
Thank you for the feedback ....much appreciated as always... sunny

Yes Hanna....I reckon the ladies got their heads together with Mr Wong, don't you.....probably over vast quantities of tea...and wrote a really good dime novel ...setting the story straight and making Heyes and The Kid latter-day Robin Hoods again ...

Then there was the Marshall ... he would have been all over the newspapers telling how he'd captured the Weaver gang, and how a brave sheriff and his 'Deputies' had routed the rest of the gang from Devils Hole itself.....You know any red blooded politician is going to hitch his wagon to a good news story like that....so the Governor would be taking the credit.

All in all, I'd say the boys had made it back .....to the beginning .... set up for their next adventure .... just how we like them!
cowboy?
BTW....a friend suggested I add some pictures.....Clint Eastwood as the Bounty Hunter.cigar ...Johnny Depp as Haff ..... etc.  There's sooo many fab pictures of the boys.....Wichita has a vault full of them.   If any one could help or give me a clue how to do that I'd definitely be OK with that....sounds fun x lol2
 

The Long Road Back - Part Twenty Two - the final chapter continues

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