Heyes and Curry had run for way to long, trying to evade the Posse so hot on their tail. They had run for miles over the open ground, turning and weaving in and out of the small dips in the ground, but the Posse refused to be shaken. They tried all of the usual tricks, back tracking, running up steam and reversing out on both banks before riding back up stream, and still they would not be shaken. They had no idea who these men were, but they were good, very good.
Spotting a hollow, Heyes pointed and turned his horse racing toward it. Leaping off he threw his rein to Curry, who grabbed it, the horse wasn’t going anywhere, as it heaved and drew in as much air as it could. Heyes grabbed a branch and deftly cleared the tracks from the road they had been on. This was his last idea to escape. This was it, he had nothing else, looking up at Curry, he jerked his head.
The Kid dismounted, handing Heyes rein back to him as he tapped his horse’s leg, who bowed and was pulled over to lay in the hollow, next to Heyes horse.
With a blow out of air, the two men looked at each other as they lay on their horses’ sweaty necks. They heard the slow stead hoof beats getting closer.
Kid took out his colt and rolled over the chamber, ready to fire if he had to. He wouldn’t go down without a fight. He would die in a fight rather than be taken to Prison, or worse.
The slow stead canter closed in on them, getting louder.
Heyes was sure they would hear his heart racing, as they got closer. He saw his friend take out his colt and considered what he would do if this didn’t work. Kid couldn’t cope with Prison, he didn’t do well in small places, starvation rations, hard work and brutal treatment. Curry would rather die than have that. Heyes closed his eyes and held his breath, slowly stroking his horse to keep it calm.
The cantering slowed, down to a trot, then a steady walk, then a stop. Crickets, the odd bird chirp and a slight breeze in the trees.
Neither man wanted to breath in case it was heard.
It seemed hours as the silence continued. Then a walk, a trot and a steady canter that headed off along the road, getting fainter as they rode away.
Heyes let out a breath he had been holding and looked over to his friend laying on his horse’s neck, colt ready and cocked. That was close, Curry made his gun safe and holstered it, as Heyes whispered “They might circle back.”
A sharp nod was his reply, as Kid bobbed up a little to look around.
“Best wait a little, rest these animals.”
Another sharp nod as Curry lay back on his horse’s neck. Thankful.
They waited in the silence that was nature around them, for what seemed like an eternity. No hooves, no horses snorting, nothing.
Heyes slowly stood, allowing his horse to stand and shake, his sweat dried and his breathing steady. Kid did the same, leaning over, hands on his knees he let out a groan. “Thought they had us there, who are those guys?” He waved an arm toward the direction the Posse had gone, as he stood upright. “Rocks, streams …. Nothing stopped em. …” Heyes checked his cinch , as he slowly shook his head and mounted his horse. “I got no idea, but their very good. I don’t really know where we are, do you?”
“Monroe is over that a way a piece.” Kid said as he pointed back the way they had come. “We could hold up there in Sam’s saloon. He’s gonna convince anyone we’ve been there for a week.” Mounting his horse they set off at a steady walk keeping off the road, going through a scrubby landscape toward the town.
As they slowly rode to the livery, and put up their horses in silence, everyone in town was scrutinized for strangers or bounty hunters. Walking into the saloon and up to the bar, two beers were placed ready for them. A nod to Sam in thanks, they downed them in one.
“Thought you two might be in.” Sam spoke in hushed tones, mindfully of people listening. “Big crew out lookin’ for you, got some Indian tracker, supposed to be the best. ”
Waving for more beer Heyes nodded as he sipped and let out a sigh.
“Room upstairs is ready. I'll get some food sent up, an’ yea, you’ve been here about a week.”
Curry gave a sharp nod as the two men took their beers and ambled up the stair to the room at the front, overlooking the street.
Heyes pulled back the curtain and looked out, seeing nothing out of place, he let the curtain fall back. The room was adequate, two beds a small table, washstand and bowl, large rug on the floor, and the balcony, easy for them to escape, should they need it. “That was close Kid. … Thought they had us then.”
Kid raised his eyebrows, placed his beer on the table and flopped on the bed with a groan. “I was out of ideas …. Now what?” Kid shrugged. “Guess we stay here for a day or so and move on. If we go now ….” Heyes nodded agreement and settled on the other bed.
“Were you gonna try and fight your way out, cuz there must have been six or so … Bet they're all good shots too.” Kid let out a sigh. “I ain’t goin’ to Prison Heyes, don’t do well in Prison.”
“Bit extreme there, Kid.”
“What you gonna talk our way out of that one? They know who they’re chasing friend,”
Heyes shuffled in the bed and pushed the pillow under his head, pulling his hat down over his eyes, trying not to look as concerned as he was. “Yea well, they didn’t get us and were safe here …. For a while …. Then we … Hmm, I’m not sure where we go next. But not where those guys are, that’s for sure.”
Kid sat up and pulled his boots off, laying back with a groan, as there was a light tap in the door, and a soft female voice called their food had arrived. Beaming a smile, Kid rubbed his hands together and grinned. He would feel better after he had eaten.
Heyes rolled his eyes, he would think of something, he always did. Kid Curry was the fighter, he was the planner and between them they made a good team. They would be safe, for a day or so, Sam would see to that. Their horses would be well cared for and could rest, then they could go … Where could they go? If this crew was as good as Sam said, they would be back. They were hunted, yes they had been hunted before, many times. But not like this, not with this kind of determination. They had crossed many counties, trying to shake them, and still they came. These were some very focused men indeed.
The two men ate, they talked, the conversation was light and humorous, breaking the tension. Kid didn’t ask where they would go, or what the plan was. Heyes needed time and sleep. He would come up with something, he always did, that was what he was good at, and he trusted his friend to think of something. All he had to do was keep Heyes relaxed and light, get him some sleep, and maybe some female companionship. Yes that would take his friends mind off the problem. Once his mind was distracted, a plan would creep in and take root. Or at least he hoped it would.