Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

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 January 2010

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Penski

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20170105
PostJanuary 2010

Temptation

A bit from a longer story I'm writing called The Storm. Monthly Challenge Stories - ASJ Fan Fiction
A deputy recognizes Heyes & Kid, tempting the farmer to turn them in. But an injured Heyes wrestles with his own thoughts.



The Storm - Temptation

“Floyd, we got company.” Kid Curry pulled out his gun as he watched the approaching stranger riding towards the homestead through the broken window.

Floyd pulled himself into a sitting position on the bed, holding his chest with his left arm to support his cracked ribs. Heyes, Floyd’s reluctant bed partner, glanced at the Kid with alarm.

“Dark hair, beard, riding a palomino; know him?” The Kid kept his gun out ready in case of trouble and looked around the yard for the children.

Six-year old Levi ran out of the barn and yelled, “Deputy Mason!”

Curry rested his head of the window frame and holstered his gun with a sigh. “Deputy…just our luck,” he muttered. A despondent Heyes turned his face to the wall.

The older children, Samuel and Hannah, followed Levi out of the barn. “Howdy, Deputy Mason. Whatcha doin’ here? Don’t usually come a visitin’,” Samuel asked as he hobbled because of a sprained ankle to the deputy’s horse.

“Come to check on folks in the area after that storm. From the looks of it, you got hit pretty hard, Samuel.”

Samuel nodded as he glanced down and took the reigns from the deputy when he dismounted. “I’ll get him some water to drink. Pa’s in the house.”

Deputy Mason stepped up on the porch and opened the door. “Floyd?” He stopped as he walked into the one-room cabin and glanced around. Surprised, he saw a blond man with a tied-down gun near the fireplace and a bed where a dark-haired man and Floyd laid. “Floyd, what’s goin’ on here? Who are these…” The deputy paused and carefully looked at the two strangers in the room. A second later his gun was in his hand. “You…” He pointed to Curry. “Take your gun out of the holster…careful now…and place it on the table.” The Kid obliged and put his Colt .45 on the table. “Now…over there by your partner.” Curry walked over to the bed on his partner’s side, taking note that Heyes was barely paying attention to what was going on. “Floyd, do you know who these two men are? What’s goin’ on? Where’s Rose?”

“Hannah and Levi, go do your chores, ya hear? You stay in the barn with Samuel until I tell you. Go on.” Floyd paused as his children slowly turned around and walked back to the barn. “Rose is dead and Mary, too,” Floyd sighed. “These men came after the storm—this one’s hurt and the other one’s been helpin’ with the kids.”

“Gosh, I’m sorry to hear about Rose and Mary, Floyd, but do you know who these two are? That’s Hannibal Heyes lying next to you and Kid Curry standing there. They’re wanted for robbin’ banks and the railroad. There’s a twenty thousand dollar reward for those two.” Silence fell over the room as Floyd took in what Mason had just said. Twenty thousand dollars was an awful lot of temptation for a man who had just gone through what he and the kids had experienced.

The Kid looked at Floyd, wondering what he would do. Heyes had his eyes closed, seemingly indifferent to their conversation.

“You hurt bad?” the deputy asked the injured homesteader.

“Barn beam fell, but I was lucky. Broke my leg, cracked a few ribs and got a good bump on the head, but I’m alive.” Floyd continued at a whisper, “unlike my Rose and Mary.”

Mason sighed. “Real shame about Rose and the baby, Floyd. But with that reward money you and the other kids can leave all this behind and start a new like somewhere else. Kids could even go to school.” He paused. “What’s wrong with him? How come he aint’ talking?” The deputy pointed his gun towards Heyes.

“Debris hit him hard in the back and head. He can’t walk,” the Kid informed the lawman.

Deputy Mason shrugged. “No matter…you two are wanted dead or alive.”

Floyd paused for a moment and took a deep breath. “Deputy, you’re mistaken. They aren’t Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.”

”What? Floyd, what’re you saying?”

“I’m sayin’ that this here is Rose’s kin, Thaddeus Jones. Just happened to be in the area when the storm hit. He came right away. Buried my Rose and Mary. He’s been helping with the children and settin’ the house back in order.”

At the mention of Rose and Mary, the Kid thought back to the moment when he placed Mary in Rose’s arms before covering them with dirt. He quickly brushed a stray tear away when the deputy looked over at him. Mason did see a resemblance between this man and Rose. Both had blonde wavy hair and deep blue eyes.

“And this is his friend, Joshua Smith,” Floyd continued with the introductions.

“Didn’t know Rose had kin this way?” The deputy still questioned the change of identification of the two strangers.

The Kid spoke up, “Heard a Mr. McCreedy from Red Rock was hirin’ so we were on our way there when the storm hit and my partner got hurt. Thought Rose could help him. Instead, I bandaged up her family and buried my kin.” Floyd and the Kid made brief eye contact and sighed.

"You sure about this Floyd?" the deputy questioned once more.

"Yep - I'd know my Rose's kin."

“Well, if you say this ain’t Kid Curry, Floyd, I guess I’m gonna hafta believe you.” The deputy holstered his gun and held out his hand to Curry. “I apologize. You two sure look like Heyes and Curry. I was part of a posse and got a good look at them.”

The Kid smiled as he shook the deputy’s hand. “You’re not the first to say we look like those two notorious outlaws.”

Deputy Mason began walking to the door as he said, “Well, I’ve gotta get to the other homesteads in the area an’ see how they made out. Biggest dang storm I’ve ever seen in these parts. Buried quite a few of your neighbors, Floyd. Doc Becker is over at the Pierce’s place. I’ll tell him to come over here next to check on you and Mr. Smith.”

“We appreciate that, Deputy Mason. Thanks for comin’ by to check on us.” Floyd held out his hand and shook the lawman’s hand.

The Kid walked the deputy to the door.

“Sorry about drawin’ my gun and accusing you,” Deputy Mason apologized again.

“No harm done—just doin’ your job. You need any food or water ‘fore you go?”

“No; I’ll fill my canteen from the well and got jerky in my saddle bags. Need to keep movin’ to the next place. Hope your friend will be okay.”

“Me too, deputy, me too,” the Kid muttered, wonderin’ what was goin’ on with Heyes. He heard his friend sigh. For Heyes not to say a word during the deputy’s visit was not like his partner at all.

* * * *

Heyes barely noted the arrival of the deputy into the cabin. He was deep in thought about his predicament. The storm’s debris hit him hard on the back and head. He still suffered from headaches, but the worse was not being able to feel his legs. Well, if he was honest with himself, he could feel them…but there was a constant numbing feeling and an occasional sensation of needle pricks. He could barely move them and couldn’t walk. What use was he if he couldn’t walk? He was a burden to his partner, that’s what he was. He wouldn’t be able to hold down a job and earn money. He couldn’t ride a horse. What if a posse came? He and the Kid were sitting ducks and this deputy proved it.

Heyes had been thinking about turning himself in so as not to be a burden to the Kid. Here was his opportunity—and it was a temping one. The Kid couldn’t talk him out of it because it would be a done deal. But, he couldn’t do that to his partner and best friend. Turning himself in to this deputy would certainly be giving away the Kid’s real identity, too. No…now was not the time, no matter how tempting it was to want this to be over. Later he could contact Lom and turn himself in. Maybe Thaddeus Jones or this Walker family could collect the $10,000 reward.

Heyes sighed. Life certainly hadn’t dealt him a very good hand this time. The question he needed answered was how to play the cards he held without endangering his partner.
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