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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  GENERAL TOPICS  |  Saddlebag Tales (Moderators: Marshal'ette Halloway, Lucky Irish Tom)  |  Topic: back to civilization 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Lily Lockwood
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« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2008, 02:41:30 pm »

As Lily noticed Leo quickly reaching for his pistol and checking the loads while at the same time hearing someone coming up the stairs, she felt that something was a little off.   Slowly stepping back away from the bed to check the window was the first thing that came to her mind.  Suddenly,  there was the loud abrupt sound of someone breaking the door down to her right and at the same moment she could hear Lou yelling “Lily look out!”  Instantly she dropped to the ground, all she heard was two shots being fired from right over her head and a loud thud as the man at the door fell to the ground.  It all seemed to be in slow motion.

     When she realized what was happening, Leo was jumping up from on top of her where his instincts put him as her protector, and went running for the door and down the hallway.

     She could hear more gunfire, yelling and banging sounds coming from downstairs before Leo was even out of the door.  All she knew was that something very bad was happening everywhere around her and her first thoughts were to her new love, God wouldn’t play such a cruel joke on her and take this man from her life so soon!

     
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Just a lil ol' southern gal....gone out west   Smiley

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« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2008, 06:52:13 am »

Cyrus crossed the space to the table, Lou was dead and from the looks of his wound Langley wouldn't last out the night. One of the girls was holding a cloth pressed over the wound and blood trickled from Langley's mouth as he tried to talk to her.

Cyrus had heard the two shots from upstairs and now could hear the sound of boots in the hallway.  He quickly told the bewildered men and the girls to get behind the bar for safety as he trained his pistol on the stairs, the one girl refused to leave Langley's side. Cyrus listened as the footfalls stoppped at the top of the landing as whoever was coming switched to a more cautious approach to come down the stairs.

Shouting and the sound of people running came from outside. Suddenly half a dozen armed men crowded through the batwing doors of the Saloon. Their apparent leader trained his gun on Cyrus and said, "Looks like this Tin Star has shot Lou and Langley, let's show im what we think of outside lawmen messing in our town."

Cyrus turned to face the new threat remaining calm while realizing that his days were numbered, he couldn't watch the stairs and these new threats at the same time. 
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« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2008, 04:34:58 pm »

    For Leonard everything happened quickly, as it always did just like on the battlefield.  He saw Lily jump up anxiously and go to the window.  There was a shout from the lower floor and the door crashed in.  He had fired and then rolled atop the lady while firing again.  One of the shots had hit it’s mark.
      “Why does it always have to be this way” he wondered.  He got up and proceeded to the stairs quickly.  A stitch in his hip popped as he made a long stride over the body of the intruder.  It hurt like hell, but his instincts had taken over.  The girl was safe, and he was going to insure things remained that way.
       Leonard bolted down the hallway, then got a hold of himself at the top of the stairs.
     “Time to move easy” he thought to himself.  He walked slowly down the stairs as his eyes darted  back and forth surveying the situation.  Two men obviously ready to ride the handsome, and another who looked to be on his way.  One of the dead men was the sheriff he had seen upon his entrance.  Strange thing was that the federal man who had been with him that day was surrounded by several men bearing arms. 
     All eyes went to the foyer and looked upon the man with the drawn six gun.  It was then that he remembered an old trick that came in handy when being outgunned. 
     Leonard spoke, “everybody’s gotta die some time, question is who’s it gonna be?”  He exchanged a glance with the marshal, who in one look pervayed the message that he was in a fix and had no intention of doing anything other than getting this settled.  The townsmen shuffled nervously, after all when a man thinks he may die, he reorganizes his thoughts.
     A young fellow, who looked to be all of 16, showed no fear and kept his gun fixed on the marshal.  He was looking forward to seeing his first hanging.  His eyes moved back and forth between the lawman and the stranger.
     Suddenly Leonard heard the double click of a shotgun being hammered  back behind him.  “End of the line” he thought.  “Had ta come sooner er later”.       Then he heard the voice.  This time it was commanding and direct, but the sweet accent’s undertones were unmistakable.  “Ya’all  wanna join these other poor souls this evening, I think it can be arranged”.  It was Lily, and she meant business.
     Leonard smiled and waited for the outcome.     
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
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"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
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"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2008, 05:19:19 pm »

"This here Marshal killed Lou, and that stranger from the looks of it Miss Lily!", said one of the older men.

"Yea, it looks like he got Langley and he's in pretty bad shape too, I say we hang im.", replied the young man who looked ready to shoot.

Several others in the crowd drew strength from the young man and said, " Yea, hang im."

"The man face down on the collapsed table shot Lou and Langley, I shot him to prevent him from killing the others.", said Cyrus

"A likely story.", said the anxious boy, "You're just trying to cover your butt."

Hearing familiar voices the two townies stood up from behind the bar along with one of Lou's girls, Lily noticed them first, and then saw Clara, the other girl cradling Langley.

Lily looked at Clara and the others and started to speak.
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Lily Lockwood
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« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2008, 01:30:21 am »

     "Everyone jus settle down right now so I can get hold of this and don't nobody move a muscle!  Johnny, you need to put down that gun so as no one else gets hurt."  Then Lily, still holding her shotgun steady at Cyrus and the crowd, with Leo right beside her, she looks down and to her left at the girl and Langley.   "Clara, you need to take a deep breath and quickly tell us exactly what happened.  And Joe, you run and get the doc right quick for Langly."

     Clara did take that deep breath, just as Miss Lily had instructed, and began.  "Lily it was som'in awful allright, that there dead man and his friend came to rob us. This one here," as she pointed to the man lying lifeless on the floor, "well he put his gun at us and made us go over to the table and wait while he told his friend to go get the money.  But instead the other one went up the stairs to'rds your room and thats when we herd the rucus.  When Lou yelled out for you, this man shot him and then Langley.  That's when this here marshall busted through the door and took him down.  He saved the rest of us, "looking back at he crowd she yelled, "Let him go!"
     
     "Lily where's the other one?"   Clara began to cry.  Lily put down her gun, looked at Leo who was still holding his pistol and then back to Cyrus and said, "I believe the other one yer lookin fer is in my doorway upstairs."
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« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2008, 03:34:05 pm »

     At hearing Lily’s words, the townsmen lowered their weapons and began to mill out of the Grey Goose.  The young one looked disappointed and had grudgingly followed suit.  The only guns that remained drawn were those of Leonard and the tin star.  They studied each other closely, Leonard checked for any signs of recognition in the law man’s eyes and saw none.  This relaxed him considerably.
     “I had to protect the girl” he said.  “I don’t want any more trouble”.  The pain in his hip was flaring again.  He spoke, “the barkeep seems to be having some trouble with his gut, guess that makes it self-serve” and motioned to the bar.  “Let’s put these away and have a drink.”
     The marshal regarded him and felt no immediate danger from the man with the limp.  He could tell from the gunner’s eyes there was something to hide (years of experience had made him proficient at this), but tonight was not the time to investigate.  After all, the man and the prostitute had saved his life.  “That’s an awful cold thing ta say”, Cyrus said as he holstered his pistol and looked over at Langley.
     “Mister, I seen lots of men die.  It’s always horrible an it’s always cold.  He’s gut shot, you and me both know there’s nothing ta be done fer him.  Fella upstairs got it in the head, so I’m sure his worries are over, at least in this life.  I could use a drink, and I’m sure your nerves could use a little relaxing too.”  Leonard tucked his pistol into the waist band of his long pants and walked behind the bar, grabbing a decent bottle of whiskey.  He poured two shots while the lady called Clara wailed in the background and Lily looked over Langley’s wound.  “Decent thing ta do would be ta just put him out of his misery, but I guess we’re all a little too civilized ta do it.”  Leonard handed the marshal a shot glass then held his own up and said, “what kind of idiot shoots the bartender?” 
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2008, 07:57:57 pm »

Cyrus tossed down the whiskey and spoke, "That face down idiot over there.  His name is Samuel Hopkins, his partner was Dave Hopkins.  The two brothers started out as bullies when they were younger and found that life was easier when they forced other people to submit to their will."

"They have been in and out of jail a dozen times, mostly for fighting, intimidation and strong arm schemes.  They graduated to bank robbery, horse stealing, and beating a man to death about two months ago.  I have been trailing them since that time.  They are suspects in two other robberies that occurred in towns they travelled through."

"I was looking for information on them and to see if they were hiding around here when I arrived almost a week ago.  Artie the town drunk tipped me off that they were in the area and would most likely come back here.  I promised $100 to anyone who  could provide information that would help me apprehend them."

"You've done more than that,and both were wanted dead or alive, if you help me bring them back your share of the reward would be $500. I have the authority to temporarily deputize you to assist me in that task"

Cyrus looked the man over again, "I would be interested in knowing your name, and your story if you've a mind to share it.  It's always good to know something about a man you consider riding with. First though you might might want to have Lily take a look at your hip, it looks like you are bleeding."
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« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2008, 04:21:34 pm »

     Leonard looked down at his leg.  “It has a tendency ta do that lately” he said.  He looked over to Lily as she did her best for Langley.  It was obvious at this point that she was doing nothing more than comforting the man.  He was mumbling something to her, but it was inaudible from the bar.

     500 dollars.  That would be enough to get Lily out of here and start a new life.  After the time he had spent with her, he couldn’t bear the idea of another man putting his hands on her.  Of course he’d have to leave her to retrieve the reward, but the idea was extremely tempting.  Here he was sharing a drink with a law man who had no idea about Leonard’s past.  He had spent so much time avoiding men like him, and now he was considering riding with one.

     “I’m not much on tellin’ stories.  Ain’t much on listenen’ to ‘em either”, he said in response to the marshal’s request.  “You can call me Leo.  I been ta the war, and now I’m here.  I sure could use that money sir”

     At this point, Lily was hugging Langley tightly, but his head was lolling to and fro as she rocked him.  Leonard had seen it before.  The man was lucky, being gut shot could leave you in agony for several hours.  The town doctor came in and relieved the woman from her station by the stairs.

     Leonard thought a moment, and asked his potential new partner, “Where we gotta go?   Some places I just assume not visit.  Old ghosts an all that”.  He cracked a smile to portray the idea that his troubles had to do with nothing more than some ill planned romantic interlude with a spoken for woman.  The man he was speaking to was no dummy, but hopefully he’d buy it and let it go.
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


Lily Lockwood
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« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2008, 01:45:56 am »


     “Quickly bring me a bottle for Langley, ” Lily called out to Clara who was now standing behind the bar.  She tried to comfort her friend as he lay dying, she spoke as sweetly as possible “I’ve got you sugar an’ I aint leavin’ ya till the doc comes.  Now, don’t you worry about a thing, he’ll have ya’ fixed up in no time.”

      By the time Lily got the bottle to Langley he was glad to have a swig to wet his whistle.  “Gettin’ gutshot tends to make a mans mouth rather dry,” Langley quietly spoke with a kind of smirky laugh, “Lil you gotta listen to me” he said, “Lou’s papers are in the root cellar in a burlap sack behind the taters, you be sure an git em yerself an don’t let on to anyone else before ya got em.  Yer the boss now so be watchin’ yer back sister.”  He winced in pain as he coughed up some blood then went on to say, “It’s been my pleasure in knowin’ ya, ya take good care of our girls now” and he passed out.  That’s when the doc and his men finally showed up and carefully took Langley to his office.

     Lily rushed over to the bar to Leo and asked, “how many stitches do ya think are left?”  Leo replied with “ probably one or two if I’m lucky, I may have to aquire yer services once again if’n ya don’t mind.”  As he poured a shot for her he went on to say, “I’m guessin’ ya need this bout as much as we do” and he handed the glass to her bloody but still delicate hand.  She accepted gratefully and said, “you got that right, it’s been quite excitin’ round here today.”

     “Darlin why don’t ya let me help you back upstairs before you lose any more blood?”  Lily said with concern.  Leo replied by telling her to go ahead and get cleaned up while he spoke to the marshal for just a bit.  He assured her that he would keep an eye out on the bar until she returned.   First Lily insisted on placing a thick, clean cloth on Leo’s ripped stitches and told him to hold it tightly to stop the bleeding until she could tend to him once again.  Then she took him up on his offer to go upstairs to wash up and put on a clean dress, but not before she scooted on down to the cellar to get Lou’s papers to take up with her.

     As quickly as she could, Lily changed and took the papers out of the sack that Langley had told her about and began to look them over.  {Even though she was worried about Leos leg she knew he’d be alright for another few minutes, heck, he and Cyrus had the whole bar in front of them.}

    “These sure look legal enough” she thought to herself, “good ol’ Lou, always planning ahead  I guess it’s all up to me now, I’m finally gonna be done pleasin’ customers and start servin’ em instead!”  Lily was up for the challenge, she hated having someone always telling her what to do.  Now she was the boss, the owner.  That’s when it all hit her, “I’ve got a lot to think about, but first I’d better get back downstairs.” 

     The men were just finishing up their talk at the bar when she walked down.  Looking over at Sadie, another one of the girls that worked here, Lily asked if she would go and find the bar back Lenny to come and help clean up the blood.  Then she was instructed to come on back for a meeting of all the employees that were left still living after such a brutal day.  Lily then took up her position behind the bar, and wondered how long it would take to hire a new trustworthy bartender.   Leo and Cyrus were very impressed by Lily and how she stayed so calm throughout this ordeal and Leo told her he would stay with her downstairs until everything was settled with the employees.  He didn’t want his girl to be hassled by anyone even though he could see how tough this dainty little southern gal really was.
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« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2008, 02:56:35 pm »

Cyrus and Leo continued to talk while Lily went upstairs.  " Originally I had planned to take the two men to Fort Whipple."  Something could be seen in Leo's face, it wasn't fear it would take a lot to scare this man, it was worry.  Something about going to a Fort made Leo nervous. The rumors coming from back East seemed to indicate that the war was almost over, and Cyrus hadn't seen a wanted poster on a desserter or renegade in months. Cyrus figured he could pursue that another day. 

"Since both men are dead the command at the Fort would just as soon not deal with it.  The expense of burial and is something they would rather not deal with, and paperwork takes longer to process for reward at the Fort. The Commondant would prefer outlaws he can put on trial, and hang, looks better on his fitness reports.  It would be closer to take the bodies to Prescott, it's the Capital, they have the authority to certify that these are the wanted men, and I would be able to get your reward, in cash, right away if we arrive early enough in the day since the local bank handles the reward accounts."  Leo seemed too be much more at ease with this solution than with the previous suggestion.

"The first thing we need to do is to get you sewed back up and determine how soon you wil be ready to ride."

At this point Lily came downstairs, Cyrus heard her tell one of the girls to get everyone together for a meeting and wondered what was going to happen next.  He poured himself another shot from the bottle on the bar and sat back.
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« Reply #35 on: October 22, 2008, 04:55:00 pm »

Lily brushed up against Leonard as she took over at the bar.  She was getting direct to business, and Leonard couldn’t recall seeing the likes of anyone like her before.  Leaving her was going to be hard.  He let his mind drift briefly to picture a life wherein he stayed right here, and the two of them ran the place together.  But that wasn’t realistic.
     He nodded his head at Cyrus, and said, “Prescott sounds fine.  I have ta go upstairs now an look at somethin’.”

     “I’ll be with ya once I’m done here” Lily said.  Leonard would have loved to have stuck around to overhear the meeting, but he was starting to have trouble standing.  The whiskey had helped, but the adrenaline rush had worn off.  He felt pale and clammy.   He looked over at Lily and said, “I’m goin’ up ta the room now.  The marshal here should listen ta what ya have ta say, he might have some suggestions about how ta make things right around here again”. 
     She looked down to where he was holding the cloth.  It was white a moment ago, but now it was red.  “We’ll take any help we can get darlin’, you go on now.  I’ll be quick down here.”  Leonard surveyed the room again to be sure all assembled would be safe.  He wasn’t too concerned because the federal man was there (part of the reason he put the idea of Cyrus’ staying to the others), but it was a habit he had picked up in the Army.  A man can never be too careful. 
     He poured himself another slug, thought better of it, then just headed toward the stairs with the whole bottle in his hand.  Again he asked himself, Why does it always have to be this way.
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


Lily Lockwood
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« Reply #36 on: October 24, 2008, 02:00:03 am »

     "Sadie would you please make sure Leo gets up them stairs in one peice for me and give him a clean cloth for his leg, then you come right back down here and join us."  At this time Lily also looked over at Leo and with great affection said, "if'n you don't mind darlin' please let Miss Sadie walk up with you, I want you to be in one piece when I join you.  Oh, and I'll get all the supplies once again to fix you right up."

     After she watched the two head up to her room she leaned over to Cyrus and said, "before e'eryone gets here I want very much for you to take a look at these papers.  You are the only lawman around here now so before theres any trouble about this place I would like Lou's wishes to be known."  Lily poured Cyrus one more shot as he looked over the will, and as he handed them back to her he told her "these all seem to be legal enough, congratulations Miss Lily you've got yerself one heck of a mess with this place."  Lily looked him dead in the eye with all the confidence in the world and said "mister, you have no idea what I am capable of.  You just sit back and watch."

     She pointed down the street to the sodhouse in the hillside and told the lawman that he could put the two deceased men into the icehouse until Leo was ready to travel in a day or two.  Then she rushed to gather the supplies needed to begin stitching Leo's leg once again and waited for the water to heat on the stove. 

     When all of the girls and Lenny had come back as Lily requested she wasted no time to begin the meeting. 

     drawing in a deep breath Lily asked everyone to have a seat as she began.  "Ya all know what's happened here today and that we have lost Lou.  It looks like Langley is sure to follow and thats a pity cause he was 'bout the best bartender and friend we had round here.  Now, before anyone else should try and cause any trouble I need ya' all to know that Lou left the place to me."  She took another deep breath and continued.  "This here Marshal has already read the will and agreed.  So with that out of the way I need to ask ya'll if you'll be so enclined as to stay on here workin' fer me, I'll give ya'll a dollar raise.  I want you to know I intend on keepin the same rules as Lou about our customers.  How they are treated as well as their discretions are all respected just like before."  At this time, Lily looked very hard at each of her employees one at a time and nodded in a way as they knew what she meant without speakig the words outloud in front of the lawman.  Cyrus noticed but did't say anything, he knew this was a brothel and that they had their own ways of doing business.  If he could try and trust Miss Lily maybe he would have a new connection in these parts.  Maybe he could also earn her trust providing he refrain from asking any questions. 

     Everyone knew that she was no pushover and that Lily was smart, fair and would do right by them so they did whatever she told them to do with all the respect in the world.  She instructed everyone to put out the word that they needed to hire a new bartender and that she was going to be very careful in her selection.  Then she looked a Cyrus and reminded him that Lou was also the sherrif and that she was in no rush to find just anyone to fill the position.   "We need to know who were gettin' and all agree on the candidate.  So don't you come back with someone from Prescott, we'll do our own decidin' If you please, and thank ya kindly."  After instructing each person to go back to work, she asked Lenny if he could tend the bar and he agreed.  As she tipped her head to the marshal Lily gracefully excused herself. 

          Now that the business was being looked after properly, she could put all of her attentions on making sure that her new love was alright and not bleeding to death in her bed.  Luckily, Leo was waiting patietly for her, with a new cloth on his leg he had slowed down most of the bleeding and had been laying there just resting and keeping still.   Lily didn't want to show it but she was exhausted and as soon as she made her way up to her room she joined him on the bed.  He wanted to help relax her.  He was proud and wanted to take care of her for a change. 
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« Reply #37 on: November 01, 2008, 08:09:00 am »

Cyrus was able to get a couple of townsfolk to help him move the bodies of the two men to the location Lily had indicated.  After that he sought out Artie.

"Since you helped me bring these two to justice you deserve the reward I promised for anyone aiding me in apprehending them, so I have a paper good for one hundred dollars."

Artie's eyes got real big at the mention of such a large sum. "What do I need to do to get it Marshal?"

"You need to go to Prescott, or have someone you trust go to Prescott to claim the money.  I have signed it, and it is a bearer paper so they will pay whoever presents it at the bank in Prescott. Don't go waving it around or bragging about it either Artie, men in these parts have been killed for much smaller amounts."

"I don't really like big towns Marshal, but I don't know who I can trust."

"Well the fellow, named Leo, helped me out of a tight spot when we had to kill the Hopkins brothers, and when the town was ready to string me up for it because they thought I had killed Lou in during the fight, he's helping me take the bodies back to Prescott. I am pretty sure he will come back here afterwards, he seems to be taken with Lily. Lily seems to think very highly of him and I know everyone in town respects her opinion, so I think you should ask her if you can trust him to bring you the reward."

"I guess I will talk to her Marshal, when do you leave?"

"Just as soon as Leo can ride, probably in a couple of days. Now if you'll excuse me I need to get back to the bar to attend a meeting that Miss Lily has called." 

"Oh, Artie, thanks for not tipping off the Hopkins brothers that I was looking for them."

Cyrus headed back to the Saloon to see what Lily was going to do, and to find out how his temporary partner was faring.
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« Reply #38 on: November 02, 2008, 12:20:13 am »

     “How’d it go down there?” Leonard asked Lily once she had set down on the bed.
     “Not bad.  Everyone seems ta have there heads on straight” was her reply.

      The woman looked worn down and the man with the freshly opened wound felt a pang in his heart and forgot his pain.  He wanted nothing more than to make her feel better.  Not just now, but forever.  And he would be leaving.  Dragging two carcasses up to the capitol for the money it would take to make sure she could leave this life.   
     “Well you take it easy now”, he said.  “I been months on end like this, and a good night of rest fer you ain’t gonna kill me.  Let me get ya a drink an’ a cold damp towel.”                       
     Her first instinct was to object, but one look in the man’s eyes told her that would be useless.  What a pair they made.  Both hard as nails and set in their ways.  Now they were here with no other desire than to help one another.

     Lily accepted the drink from the bottle Leonard had brought upstairs and the towel he had dipped in the bowl by the vanity.  She thanked him and said, “We gonna have ta fix that up”
     “ Soon enough, I don’t need shaky hands workin’ on me.”  He smiled as he said this and the woman looked down to see that her hands were indeed trembling.  Her nerves were half past shot and this was the first time she had allowed it to show.  “I hate to say it Lil, but when I’m a little better, I have ta go up ta Prescott with that lawman.  I promise you I’m comin’ back, and was kind a hopin’ you’d wait fer me, if ya know what I mean.”  As he said this he shuffled around and had put his eyes down.  He looked at that moment like an eleven year old boy attempting to ask a girl if he could walk her home for the first time.
     “I’ll do ma best an try, Sugar.  I’m gonna be plenty busy around here.  Will that do ya well enough?”  Leonard wasn’t quite sure what to make of this response, but when she motioned for him to come closer, he let it out of his mind.   
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
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« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2008, 12:21:51 am »

     After Lily and Leo relaxed long enough for the tension to be released from the early portion of the day she told him that she needed to go and check on things downstairs.  His leg had stopped bleeding for now and he was doing well for the time being.  So Lil quietly excused herself and said she would be back after a while to sew him up again.

     Walking down the stairs slowly, the new proprietor scanned the room with an eagle eye to get a hold on exactly where her people were, as well as, what exactly the customers were up to.  This was how she needed to be from now on, she thought to herself,  so as no one could get anything over on her.  She knew she had to be on her toes now as there would be plenty of times to come where she would have to prove herself and her abilities to any challenger that might think that she was not up to the task of running a so-called “gentlemen’s business”.   

     After saying hello to the patrons and making sure the bar was well stocked and the money was coming in Lily gave a trusting subtle glance to the girls.  She walked up to Clara who had always been the most loyal employee she knew and asked her if she would keep an eye on the place at times that she herself could not be present, at least until other arrangements could be made.  Clara happily agreed knowing that Lily was going to be in need of a new manager, if not for the bar then perhaps over the girls.  Little did she know, the new boss would not trust anyone but herself to be in that position at this particular time.  Lily was very fair minded and she knew exactly what changes needed to be made with the way companionship was dealt with around here.  As well as she knew that the wolves were to begin circling for any weakness she may show so she has to be very careful now.

     At this time Artie walked up to her and asked, “Miss Lily, that there new marshal tol me to be askin’ you ‘bout the stranger”.  Lily pulled him aside and said “Sugar, from now on I hope ya don’ mind but I would generally  like to discuss business ‘n private”  she leaned in a little closer to speak more quietly now, “anytime we speak of a stranger from now on I would indeed appreciate a bit of discretion if’n ya know what I mean” and she gave him a smile and a wink.  Artie, who had a slight crush on Miss Lily shyly smiled back with a half drunken semi-toothless grin and said, “of course Miss Lily anything you say.  But do you suppose I could trust the stranger to collect my reward money when he goes to Prescott?  Cause, I just can’t be makin’ a trip like that and I ain’ got no horse anyhow.”  Lily nodded as she said she would ask Leo for him and told Artie to come back first thing in the morning for the answer and told the bartender to give him a drink on the house..

     She spent a while longer in the bar associating with patrons and personnel attempting to put her authority in line at the same time as reminding everyone why they all loved her as a polite lady who gets along with everyone.  She knew that she needed to keep the faith of the townspeople on her side to keep the transition smooth here at the Grey Goose after such a full and tragic day.  Later, after she was completely confident with her progress she made a graceful exit and went back upstairs to her room.

      Although he did get some much needed rest, Leo was very glad to see her.  She got right to business fixing him up one more time so that when she was done they could relax together the rest of the night.  He looked at her adoringly and she knew she was falling in love with him.  She could hardly contain herself and even though he had made it very clear that he wanted her to himself, she tried very hard not to seem to eager.  She could remember her mother telling her that all good things are worth waiting for and that a lady always keeps the man guessing until she is sure he is truly the one she was destined for.  She felt she was sure, but didn’t want to let on quite yet.  After dressing Leo’s wound once again they stayed awake for hours talking and laughing until they fell asleep in each others arms.
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« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2008, 01:14:32 am »

Leonard and the girl had exchanged stories well into the night, most of them humorous, but rekindled old memories none the less.  When he was nodding off he thought he would have a good nights rest with her here lying next to him.  But the dreams came just the same.
     
     Not the war this time.  Tonight he dreamt about the Mexicans.

     He had been riding for a long time and had entered the hardpan of the desert.  It was a trail on which one could see everything for miles.  This gave him great comfort, especially after his encounter with the amateur bounty hunter.  The idiot would pick up drifters he had no poster on and try his luck at seeing if he had caught anyone worth money when he got to the next town.  His luck had ended with Leonard.  The man had ended up insane and wandering for the rest of his days.

     Now in this place he felt he was alone and secure.  But suddenly they were there.  Five of them, all carrying hardware.  He must have let his mind drift a bit too far to have  missed them.  He had heard the words “bandito” and “highwaymen” but until this point had never concerned himself with them as a real obstacle.  He was focused on going to where his friends had told him he could get well.
     He looked over the men who were now facing him, it was if they had sprung from the ground.  The apparent leader of this band had spoken then.  “Jour horse, he look tired.  Maybe we can take care of him for jou.”  The greasy man had spat and continued with, ”An’ those things you carry, certainly they will be to heavy for jou without the horse.  We take care of them for jou too”.

     So there he had been, out gunned and grossly over numbered.  He had begun to reach for his service pistol with his right hand with his left hand on the reigns trying to figure out how he would grab the second gun if it were necessary.  But he saw it was no use.  He knew immediately that these were not reasonable men.  He put his hands in air in a sign of surrender and glared at all of them.
     His eyes passed over one of the bunch, a chubby man who looked distinctly out of place with the rest.  The fat man’s eyes widened and he whispered,
“Es El Muerte”.  The leader looked over at him and said, “Shut up you fool, this is just another worthless gringo lost in our desert.  And jou”, he said to Leonard, “ I don’t like the way jou looked at me.  I think we teach jou some manners now”.

     They had tied his hands behind his back and his feet to a length of rope that was attached to the saddle horn of the horse that Leonard had only ever referred to as “Boy”.  The horse was whipped in the hindquarters and began to run.  The ex-soldier did his best to keep his left hip from contacting the swiftly moving ground but after awhile he had lost conciseness.  He hated losing time, but this time when he came to, he had no idea where he was or how he had gotten there.
     He was indoors and his hands were still tied.  He was now shirtless.  If the one he had been wearing was ripped off during the dragging or removed by one of the men, he did not know.  Leonard was still trying to get his bearings when the first lash came.  That had been a pain that was almost as bad, if not equal to, the feeling of the bullet entering his hip on the battlefield.  His captors were laughing.  This is when he had spoke his first words since encountering the group.  “Yer all gonna die.  I promise you that.”  Another bite from the whip came.  It didn’t seem to sting as bad as the first.  It was either the joys of becoming numb or just blind hate and fury.  The leader spoke again.
     “My name is Hector Morales and nobody says these things to me or my brothers.”  The leather tore into Leonard’s back once again.  “Hey”, Hector continued, “jou see my new pistolas?”   Leonard saw that his gun belts were now being worn by the man who was speaking.  “Maybe jou like to see my silver coins?”  Now Hector was holding out the leather purse that the soldier had carried with him since leaving for the war.  “I’d show jou my new horse but he is being watered and having the hay.  I take much better care of him then his old owner.”  Leo kept his gaze on the revolvers the man was now wearing.  Mostly the steel one, the one that was his since the beginning.  Morales saw this and said, “Jou like shooting these things, don’t you?  Bet you are good at it too.  What if you could never shoot one again?”  The Mexican had laughed at this and motioned to two of the others.  Those members of the gang lifted Leonard up and walked him to the fireplace and turned him so his back was to the hearth.  “Do it!” was the next command given.
     He had felt one of the banitos grabbing his right hand which was still firmly tied and  prying his index finger straight.  The other pushed back on him until he could feel the fire licking at his hand.  And then his finger had been pressed onto the cast iron pot and held there until the smell of his burning flesh became too much for the others to bear.  He now had a useless trigger finger.  For the time being that was.

     He lay on the floor of that old place for what must have been days wondering why they hadn’t just killed him.  He figured Hector was using him to assert his role as the lead man of the group.  He would come in every day and kick Leonard, then spit in his face.  The truth was that each night as Hector Morales lay down to sleep, his fat brother’s words came back to him as well as the look in the gringo’s eyes and the way he had sounded when he had said they were all to die.
  “Es El Muerte” Pablo had whispered that first day.
     What Morales didn’t know was that when he had ordered Leonard’s finger burned, the rope that tied his wrists had been compromised by the flame.  Relentless work with overgrown finger nails for hours on end (all but the right index finger) wore the hemp down eventually.  When it finally gave way, there was nothing to listen to but five snoring banditos.  Leonard hated the sound of snoring.

     Actually one of the men had not been  snoring.  Of course it was Hector.  He was muttering, but defiantly out.  Too risky to approach him though.  Leonard crawled quietly towards one of the men who had left his rig within his arms reach and was able to procure the gun without making a sound.  He desperately wanted to check the chambers, but did not dare make any noise.  He had to take a chance.
     He took a deep breath and pulled the hammer back.  Highwaymen do not become highwaymen without learning certain reflexes, and Leo had expected this.  The clicking of the old Colt being cocked brought all of them to life.  Then the room lit up with gunfire.

     This part of the dream (memory, that’s the right word) jolted Leonard out of his sleep.  He was here with Lily lying next to him.  He heard her soft breathing, but did not know that she had remained awake and had listened closely while he talked in his sleep.

 
         
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #41 on: November 19, 2008, 06:46:41 pm »

Cyrus came back into the Saloon and took a seat at one of the tables.  When the girl came over he asked for a whiskey and if they had anything to eat. The girl returned a few minutes later with his whiskey and a bowl of stew with some bread on the side.  Cyrus tried it and found it to be quite good, at least the food was improving under the Saloon's new ownership.

Cyrus took his time enjoying the meal, and as he was finishing Sadie came from behind the bar and approached him. "Miss Lily said to tell you that Room # 4 is yours for the evening if you want it."

Cyrus thought that it would be nice to sleep in a bed for a change, he had been on the trail for quite a while now.

Cyrus handed Sadie a Double Eagle and she said she would be right back with his change.

Sadie brought back the change and a key for Cyrus' room.  He slowly climbed the stairs and and found the door with the number 4 on it and let himself in, locking the door behind himself.  He setlled in quickly and placed his pistol within easy reach out of habit.

HIs eyes slowly closed and he drifted off.  The images came to him, as they always did.  Visions of the victims of senseless crimes, some horribly brutilized.  Most of them ended with with a scene of a man, or woman being hanged for their crimes.  In some cases his mind would replay a gun battle that spelled the end for another criminal.  Then the dream, the memory that always haunted him came,

   It had been a warm summer, and a hint of Fall was finally in the air. There was no hint of gray in Cyrus' hair and he had a much more youth ful step.  He was simply a Deputy then, and Prescott was just another mining town.  He and the Sheriff had finished arresting the last of a band of outlaws that had been preying on the local miners, or so they thought.  Two had been killed in a gun battle, three were in jail, and one was over at Doc Taylor's under guard.  That was when little Timmy Nesbitt had come running up.  Panting he gasped out, "Deputy they sent me to find you, there's smoke coming from your house." 

    Cyrus quickly mounted his horse, which had been tied outside the jail, and brought him to a gallop.  His house lay just outside of town, and in the couple of minutes it had taken him to reach it flames could be seen through one of the windows.  Some townsfolk were already there and were setting up a bucket brigade.  As Cyrus dismounted he hollered to Horace Atkins, owner of the General Store, "Have you seen Magaret and Jacob?"  Horace shook his head no, Cyrus looked around and raced toward the house.  He kicked open the front door and tried to find his wife and son in the rolling smoke.  The fire had been started in the kitchen and was spreading quickly, he could smell lantern oil and knew the fire and its quick development was no accident.  He called for his wife and son coughing out their names while choking on the smoke.  He was met by silence.  He found the door to the bedroom and pulled it open, the cross ventillation of air fueled the fire.  He couldn't believe what he was seeing.  His wife was tied to the bed and his son was tied to a chair next to.  It was apparent that she had been raped and the boy had been forced to watch, both had been shot in the head.  At this point Sheriff Hobson and another of the Deputies stepped in behind him, they had to drag him from the house before the fire claimed him as a victim.


The fire spread quickly and the bucket brigade fought a losing battle. A few days later the remains of his family were buried.  Only one thing was on Cyrus' mind then "Vengance."  The morning following the funeral he left his badge on the Sheriff's desk and set out to find those that had taken his family from him. It was 18 months before he was seen in Prescott again, he never talked about what had transpired during the time he had been gone.  He was hired back as a Deputy, and later when Prescott became the the Capital the Government asked him to become a Marshal.

When he came out of the dream it was daylight. He got up, washed his face, pulled out his kit and got his razor.  He scraped away the stubble that had grown on his chin and trimmed his moustache. Next he put on fresh clothes and went downstairs to see if he could scare up some breakfast.  The demons that had haunted his sleep were pushed deep again.

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« Reply #42 on: December 02, 2008, 01:32:35 am »

     Greeting the new day usually meant waking to a somewhat lonely feeling but today was much different.  Lily looked beside her and saw Leo sleeping peacefully, finally, he had had a rough night of bad dreams that caught her attention.  It's hard to believe that a man could have lived through the terrors and triumphs that he had been through and still be as kind, handsome and compassionate as he obviously was she thought to herself.  She didn't have the heart to wake him so she quietly slid out of bed, dressed and quietly went downstairs.

     "The coffee smells mighty strong today, thank goodness an good mornin' to ya George, ya sure missed all the excitement yesterday.  I spose you know whats been going on don't ya? Lily said in a happy voice.  "Ya, Miss Sadie filled me in, would ya like a cup?"  He held up a mug and smiled at Lily.  "If'n it's alright with you I just assume keep on here Miss Lily.  The folks put up with my cookin an it keeps me away from the ol gal at home if ya know what I mean!"  Old George snickered and looked over at her and awaited the answer.  "I'd love a cup, and how about you fixin' up a nice hearty breakfast for our two newest guests and an egg and toast for me.  Could you please inform me when It's ready, I'll have mine with the gentleman in my room and I'd like to take it up myself if ya don't mind servin the marshall.  Then, you can keep yer job.  Oh, and thank you."  Lily looked at George with respect and admiration.  And with a sigh of reiief the cook poured the coffee and went back to the kitchen. 

     "Well Good Mornin to ya miss"  Cyrus said coming downstairs as he saw Lily turn his way.  "Good Morning to you as well Mr. Cyrus.  I sure hope your accomodations suited your needs."  Lily pointed to a table and chair, "Ya sit right on down, the cook should be bringing out your breakfast soon, how about some coffee fer now?  Cyrus nodded and sat downand asked, "how's his leg look this morning?"  and Lily replied, " I didn't have the heart to wake him yet, I got it stitched back up again but it needs a little time to take to the stiches this time.  I spect he'd be ready to ride soon, we'll know more later today."

    "Here ya are Miss Lily", George said as he handed the breakfast tray over to her.  She thanked him and excused herself and carefully walked the nourishment upstairs to her room.  As she entered, she noticed that Leo was just lying back looking her way with a smile on his face.  He couldn't remember ever enjoying breakfast in bed before, this was especially welcome because it was brought in by such a kind and thoughtful lady.  He thought to himself, this is finally going to be a better day.

     Later that morning, while the two were still up in the room, Lily asked Leo about the trip to Prescott.  She wanted him to know that when and if he decided to go, he wouldn't have to worry about her, she informed him that she was no longer a lady for hire and that she did care for him enough to let him know that she thought he was worth waiting for.  This made Leo feel happier than he could ever remember.  He was worried in fact, no matter what he couldn't help it, he would have to leave her alone for a short time in a place that had no lawman and hardly anyone to fend for her in case of retalliation for the killings of yesterday.  He had to make sure she was safe before he felt comfortable going.  But, at the same time, all he wanted to do was stay in this room like it was the only place left on earth with his angel.  He assured her that he would always love and protect her.     
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« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2008, 10:37:55 pm »

Leonard said, “Let’s just lay in a bit taday, so long as things are covered downstairs.  Got some things I want ta show ya.  Then maybe when the Marshal comes fer his evein’ meal you could show him up here so’s we can talk a bit before our little trip”.  He was finishing up his breakfast and had taken on a serious tone after indulging himself in the meal.
     “Why Leonard James, I thought ya were only speakin’ with me these days”, Lily said with an exaggerated drawl.
     “For the most part ma dear lady, but I been thinkin’ an I really need ta speak with him fer his own good.  I guess ya could say it’s been buggin’ me.”
     “Oh, that reminds me”, Lily said as if she had forgotten something important.  “He has a question for you too.  Wanted me ta ask ya this mornin’”.
     Leo looked at her and said, “Well since I need ta talk ta him, we might as well let him ask it himself”.  Lily looked a bit put off by this, but she didn’t understand that questions asked by a law man could easily be lost in translation.  The way the words were spoke, the expression on their faces and every “hmm” and “I see” could mean something.  He had no idea what the Marshal was wanting, but he just assumed to find out from the horses mouth.  “It’s nothing against you darling’,” he said.  “Just figured you an’ I had better ways ta spend our time, an’ like I said, I’ll be getting ta know him a bit better later”.
     Lily looked at him with a crafty smile and replied, “I’m sure ya got things figured just right Sugar.  So what was it ya’ll wanted ta show me?”
     “Well, as ya know” Leonard spoke, “Yer gonna be here holdin’ yer own fer a spell.  I wanna make sure yer prepared as best as can be.  Bring over that side ba side an let’s see how ya load it.”  This isn’t what Lily had expected, but did as he asked.  She picked up the old shotgun and held it straight out then broke the barrels toward the floor over her wrist.  “That’ll do ya fine fer shootin crows, but not when yer in trouble,” he said.  “And there ain’t many crows around here.”  He then showed her a quicker method of clearing the barrels and reloading.  “Practice that when ya get bored,” he smiled and handed it back. 
     “Now ta another thing,” he went on, “I would have had another pistol ta give ya, but I gave it ta another man just outside this town.  At the old busted up livery back aways”.                 
      Lily listened close now and asked, “Who, why?”.
     “When we met I was in a bad way.  He had every chance ta rob me, kill me er turn me in.  He didn’t do any of that.  He looked desperate himself an just watched over me through the night, all I’d done fer him was give him a smoke.  I have no idea where he was headed but he knows my name.”  Lily looked at him, not sure of where Leonard was headed with this.  “What’s important is that you keep an eye out fer a man carrying a brass Confederate issue pistol.  He looks like…”  Then Leonard recounted what he remembered he saw the night in the old stable outside of town.  “Now don’t go dropping ma name ta every new stranger that comes ta town, fer God sake please, but if ya see a man who fits the description, tell him you’re waitin’ on me and tell him I haven’t fergot the promise I made him swear when I gave him that gun.”
     Lily nodded.  Again she asked, “Why?”
     “Cause if it turns out I’m a bad judge of character, those words should keep ya safe until I get back.”  Then he smiled at her and added, “He’s lookin’ fer a horse”. 
     Lily smiled back and said, “But he’s got no money”.  This was not a question.  She was sharp.

     The rest of the day floated by in that dreamy way some days do.  Leonard forgot about his impending meeting with Cyrus for the time being and Lily Lockwood forgot about her new responsibilities.  She knew just how to handle the wounded man while making him feel like a whole man none the less.  Nobody bothered them.  At last they watched evening fall over the desert sky out the double hung sash that was positioned next to the bed.
     “ I imagine your new  friend will be about soon looking for his supper,” Lily finally said.
     “Yes, I s’pose he will,” Leo responded, “Better prepare ta greet him”.
     Lily raised herself from the down mattress and said quietly, “Thank you Leonard James”.
      He was already thinking about just what to tell the Marshall.

     Not long after, he couldn’t be sure how long, Lily peeped into the door and said, “Leo you have a visitor”.  Leonard motioned with his hand and Lily opened the door wide and let Cyrus in.  “Have ta check on things downstairs”, she said.  “You two have a nice talk”.  And then she was gone leaving the men alone.
      Leonard had gone over his speech in his head several times.  He even had considered placing his pistol under the sheets, but he knew the tin star was sharp enough to notice the empty rig on the night stand.  He also knew that this town was behind the new owner of the Grey Goose, and anyone who did anything that hurt her in any way would never make it out alive.  Leonard hated being so cynical but it was second nature by now.  “Evenin’ Marshal” he said.
     “How ya feelin’?” Cyrus asked. 
     “Fit as a fiddle, I got the strings ta prove it.”  Leonard gently patted his left hip, “but we need ta talk before we go off on any grand adventure”
     Cyrus said, “That’s what the lady was sayin’.  Said it sounded like you were worried about me”.  The old lawman smirked when he said this.
     Leonard came back at him with, “It just seems fair fer me ta give ya some details that might make a difference out there”.
     “I thought you didn’t like to tell stories, son.” 
     “Some who want me will have no problem with you at all, so we don’t need ta talk about them.  Some, on the other hand, won’t care who you are if we should cross paths.  Before I start, I’d like ta know what it is that you wanted ta ask me”.
    “Oh,” Cyrus said, “she didn’t already tell you?  I thought maybe she would have mentioned it”.
     “She was going ta, but I figured since we had other matters, I’d hear it from you.  She’s got enough on her mind right now.”
     “Well it’s fairly simple,” the Marshal said.  “ A man here in town tipped me off that the men we shot were coming back here.  I offered him a reward if it was true.  It was.  I would have left if it hadn’t been for him.  He is due one hundred dollars for steering me right.  I don’t have any reason for coming back here, and thought you might and was wondering…”.
     “You was wonderin’ if I’d bring this man his money”.
     “Well yes, that’s the long and short of it”, Cyrus replied.  “He’s an end of the line drunk and not fit for travel.  If Lily trusts you, he’ll trust you.  His name is Arthur Trent, I’ll introduce you before we leave, he’s not hard to find”.
     “OK,” Leonard said.  “Guess it’s perty clear I have every intention a comin’ back here.  I’ll do it so long as you take what I have ta tell ya about me an don’t ask about anything else.  Also, if need be, ya use that badge a yers ta keep me outta trouble”.
     “So you are wanted?” Cyrus asked.  “I haven’t seen any posters with your face on them.”
     “Not so far as I know, but that’s the part I’m gonna leave out, ‘cause like I said, it won’t cause you any trouble other than having ta collect the whole reward yerself.  The reason I wanted ta talk ta ya has ta do with other folks I may have gotten a little riled along my trip out west.  I’m not talkin’ about lawmen with posters, I’m talkin’ about some very bad men.”
     The Marshall was now showing genuine interest.  “Go ahead Leo.  It seems you have my well being at heart.”

     Leonard started, “Ya ever hear of kid called Max Ryemoor from back in the plains?  Featured himself a bounty hunter?”
     Cyrus thought and said, “I heard a story once, thought it was a joke.  The kid was an amature and caused enough trouble that a group of professionals got together to put a price on him to get him out of the way.  Trouble was no one thought he was worth more than two dollars,” the Marshall laughed at this.  “Last I heard, something happened to him and he went off his rocker.  I guess he hasn’t been much trouble since.”
     “I happened ta him” Leonard said.  “And if he ever gets his mind right again, I’ll be the first person he goes after,” Leonard held up his left hand palm out and touched his thumb to his middle finger about half way down.  “Ya ever see a scar like this?”.  He then used his right hand to point out another scar two thirds the way up his palm, “Or this?”  Leonard then closed his left fist and Cyrus could see that the two marks would be perfectly lined up in this position.
     “It looks like you grabbed a hold of something very hot, but it also looks like there was some other damage as well.  What is it?”
     “Marshall, it’s a reminder of the luckiest day of ma life.  One of them things that never should have happened.  A story usually not worth tellin’ cause nobody but little kids would believe it.  Max was the only witness an’ it turned him inta a raving loon.  I figgued that when he ran off the first thing he’d do was get religion.  I certainly was tempted to.”
     “Go on,” Cyrus said.
     “Well we run inta each other somewhere before the desert.  I was havin’ a rest an’ I saw him ride up.  Thought maybe I was on his land.  Trails out there aren’t marked very well.  I didn’t want ta get him excited so I stood up ta greet him.  He had a rifle and it was already pointed at me.  He stopped about ten yards away an I put ma hands up an tried ta smile.  He didn’t.  He said he had an idea of who I was an that he was gonna take me in ta find out fer sure.  I told him he was makin’ a mistake an he said that I was the one makin’ the mistake.  Said I should be worth just as much dead as alive.  Said the town he was takin’ me to wouldn’t fuss none if he had the wrong man so long as he didn’t expect them ta deal with me.  He woulda kept my things an dumped me out in the prairie fer whatever critters were hungry.”  Leonard paused a moment and studied the scars on his hand.
     “That’s when it happened.  I had no choices.  Max had me point blank an his finger on the trigger.  All I had was the idea that if he missed I could gun him down before he could reload.  That er a misfire, but there was nothing else ta hope for.”  He looked at Marshall now instead of his hand.  “So I reached.  He fired the rifle instantly.  Without even knowin’ it I did this,” and Leonard made a side sweeping motion with his left hand as if he were swatting a fly.  “Instead of ma chest caving in, ma arm was yanked back and took the rest of me with it.  I went ass over tea kettle an ended up laid down on ma face.  Ma hand hurt so bad, I almost wished I was dead.  He came over and rolled me with his boot.  I looked at him an he seemed confused.  He was expectin’ a hole that weren’t there.  That’s when I forced the fingers of this hand open.  We both saw it at the same time.  I caught it.”  Cyrus raised an eyebrow.
     Leonard allowed, “I figure it was one part weak charge an 10 parts er more of blind luck.  I just looked at it an started laughin’ the way ya do when there’s nothin’ else ta do.  The kid just said, ‘No no no,’ I reached fer ma gun again an he had no time ta reload.  Even if he’d been carryin’ a pistol he’d a been dead.  He turned an ran fer his horse, tripped in a chuck hole an went down.  His rifle flew outta his hand.  He tried ta get up an one of his boots got stuck in the mud.  He yanked his foot out without it an managed his way to the nag he was ridin.  Meanwhiles, I’m laughin’ even harder between watchin him ride off half barefoot an lookin’ at ma hand.  He started yellin’ an hollerin’ that, ‘No no no!’ an then, ‘It ain’t right!’.  I let him go an took his rifle.  I traded it some time later fer supplies.  I imagine if Max can put one straight thought tagether after that, it’ll be ta come get even.  I’m sure it’s nothin’ ta worry about but ya never know.”
     The Marshall said, “That’s quite a story son”. 
      “I reckon it is.  That’s the first time I ever told it out loud.  There may be some others ta worry about too.”  Lenard then told Cyrus the account of the Mexican bandits.  Hearing this story made him wince several times.  It was terrible.
     “Well Leonard concluded, I don’t know what the final score was on that one.  Some of them may very well still be alive.  I only had one bullet each and it was dark.  I know the leader is dead cause I drug him out of there and took him with me until I could stop and get ma things off him.  Wouldn’t be surprised if some of the others weren’t hit by their own men tryin’ fer me.  But then again, ya never know, it happened fast.”

     Leonard quit talking then and just looked at the Marshall.  When Cyrus was sure that was the end for now, he said, “I think we’ll be OK, you’ll just have to be twice as careful coming back alone”. 
     The ex-soldier nodded and said, “It’ll be worth it”. 
Logged

"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #44 on: December 11, 2008, 05:36:10 am »

Cyrus went downstairs to have his evening meal.  As he ate he mulled over the converation with Leo.  He had learned a good deal about the man during that short period of time, as much from what Leo didn't say as in what he did.

Cyrus had stayed alive by reading men and discerning their intent.  He was certain there was a great deal of Leo's story that had gone unsaid, but every man had the demons he preferred to keep hidden, Lord knew he had his own.  His instincts told him that Leo was basically a good man who followed a set of standards, violate those standards or cross him and he could be deadly.  In time he might gain more of the man's trust and learn greater detail about his past.  For now he knew enough to trust Leo as a partner on the trail back to Prescott.  The trip should be uneventful, but Cyrus had papers on several other men who were known to be in this area.  Those men would have gone to ground after the shootout in the Saloon.  None of them should have been riding with the two that were killed and even if they had it was doubtful they would be looking to settle any scores, still it would be comforting to have another person backing him on the trip back.

Cyrus enjoyed the rest of his meal, and George brought him a healthy slice of apple pie to go with his second cup of coffee.  He finished it off and left enough to cover his meal plus a bit extra for the staff.  Pushing slowly away from the table he went over to the bar to have a glass of whiskey before he settled in for the night, he knew he would be up early making preperations for the trip to Prescott.
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« Reply #45 on: December 15, 2008, 01:23:24 am »

As the morning sun began to rise and the aroma of coffee was all around the townspeople began to scurry about preparing for another day.  Monday always seemed to be a day to begin life over again even though there wasn't a church nearby or a day off for most in these parts.  The miners and hunters and of course people just passin through were all about to be on the go.  So George showed up to work a bit early this morning.  Good thing too because Leonard wanted to do something nice for his new gal before she awoke.

He quietly pulled his boots up after carefully getting dressed and hurried downstairs to the kitchen before Lily opened her pretty green eyes.  He hurried back to the room as fast as he could and opened the door very carefully not to wake her.  As he pushed the door open with his boot he made it all the way to the table before he noticed Lily lying in bed looking over at him with the biggest smile her face had ever known.  She said, "and what do ya think yer doin' out of bed?"  and Leo replied "just testin' this leg out.  I figure if these stitches hold well enough today I'll be heading out tonight or first thing in the morning depending on what the Marshal says.  But for now, I reconed you might have an appitite and you sure needed a bit of pampering after the last couple of days, don't ya think?"

"I never had a man be so kind to me since I made it out west, thank you kindly.  Leo, you are about the best man a girl could ever ask for."  Lily was amazed at this man, she didn't really know if he was for real until this moment.  After all in her line of work lots of men say things they don't really mean, but now she knew for sure he was the one.  Lily was completely smitten.  The next thing she needed to speak with him about was her concerns about protection while he was gone, especially since the sherrif was dead and he and the marshal were both leaving for Prescott soon.  But first she wanted to enjoy this lovely breakfast with her man in peace.
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« Reply #46 on: December 16, 2008, 11:22:24 pm »

     Leonard looked up at the ceiling and asked, “Lily, them men who come ta hang the Marshall the other night…”
     “Oh, they ain’t bad men, things just looked a certain way,” she jumped in, “at the time.  You haven’t a worry about them Dear.”
     Leonard laughed, “ I know that.  If I was concerned they wouldn’t be here anymore”.  She waited for him to go on realizing that despite the chuckle he wasn’t joking.  “Do ya think any of em have the wherewithal ta act as sheriff?  Without the hot headed posse?  How well do ya know each one a them?”
     “Well, she said with her head down, “some better than others”.
     Leonard realized what was going through her head.  He was being too calculating again instead of broaching the topic with compassion.  “Don’t worry about yer past business,” he said, “I need ta know if any of them are fit ta keep peace around here fer a short while.  I can cover their salary when I get back so long as know I’m leaving you in hands I can trust.  I think the federal man cares too.  I got a fair ta middlin’ read on him last night an I think he’s more than just a bounty hunter with a badge.  It’s all in the eyes Lil, remember that.  Whatever a man has ta show ya, pay most attention ta his eyes…”
     Lily looked up at him startled and said, “Someone else said those very words to me once.  A complete stranger at that.  You may not have cared for him much, he was a Confederate officer, but I can tell you he was a good man, an older gentleman who took me for a cause one afternoon as I was making my way out to this grand frontier,” she rolled her eyes and spread out her arms as she said this.  They hadn’t schooled the sarcasm out of this southern belle.  “ He approached me after I had stepped off the train in a Tennessee jerk water and invited me to lunch with him.  We ate, spoke of Georgia, and he said he had met my mother.  He gave me money to continue my travels in a manner he said was fit for me.  Then he said what you just did, about looking at the eyes.  I tried it right there an then with him and saw exactly what he was talking about.  That gentleman had no other desire in his heart than to help me.  Me of all people,”  Lily looked off to the side and seemed to be still trying to understand.  “I still wonder what compelled him to do so.  Maybe he thought he was fit to die soon and I reminded him of someone he once knew…I imagine I’m just trying to say that I know what you mean.”
     She seemed to reflect for a few moments and then went on.  “I’ve looked at all the eyes ever since.  Came ta see that they weren’t just good or bad, but much of in between.  I’ve never seen the likes of that lieutenant’s again until…well very recently.”  She looked at Leonard and said, “I do go on.  What I’m getting’ to is that Johnny’s father, Bill, seems to have a fair mind about him.”
     Leonard interrupted, “Johnny bein’ the excitable kid.”
    “Yes, I saw Bill’s eyes close when he asked me a favor for his son.”  Lily looked down again.  “Bill would do fine so long as he keeps his boy back at home and conducts keeping the law the same way he does his shop.”
     Leonard considered this for a bit.  “If you think he’s right fer it, I’ll take yer word.  I want this settled before I leave.  I want to meet him, an I want the Marshall ta be there too.  I want his boy’s gun to be given ta you fer now.  I don’t want these people ta fear me, but I need them ta damn well respect me while I’m gone as well as lettin’ this Bill do his job.  If I come back and this place is a mess, well, try not ta look at my eyes too close then.  Ya may not like ‘em.”
     They sat there in silence for a while letting the prospects of the near future sink in.  Leonard broke the quiet when he looked at her an simply said, “I love you.”
     Lily looked in his eyes and saw it was true.
Logged

"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #47 on: December 30, 2008, 03:02:28 am »

    The rest of the morning went smoothly, the two took their time to dress and get ready for the rest of what promised to be a busy day.  A day filled with preparations for Leo and Cyrus's journey and the Grey Goose's independance.  So Lily told Leonard she had to do some business and she would meet up with him in a short while back at the bar.  Leonard also wanted to take advantage of his time to scope the town now that his leg was fit for taking a walk.   As they walked downstairs togeather, Lily holding onto Leonards arm, they kindly looked at each other fondly and went their separate ways.  Leonard headed for the bar to have a drink as he watched Lily walk delicately out the front door.

     "Goodmorning" Lily smiled to a passerby as soon as she stepped foot outside.  "this surely is a beautiful day, isn't it?"  She quietly asked the person.  "Why I guess it is Miss Lily!"  the man stated on his way passing by.  She could make anyone have a good day being as contageously happy as she was.  Soon she made her way over to the mercantile.  She explained to the shops owner Bill that her new partner (carefully not mentioning Leonards name) and the marshall would need a few supplies for their trip and then asked to give the credit to them and that the bar would be covering the bill if there were any problems.  She also mentioned that one of them would be by and wanted to speak to him sometime today about something very important that he was needed for.   He had no problem with this in fact it made Bill feel rather good that she had recommened him to the stranger.

     Sipping slowely on his drink, Leonard watched the people in and around the bar.  He took it all in.  Who seemed to be the regulars as well as who were the loud and/or quiet ones.  After his glass was empty he sauntered out the front door to explore the street.  He noticed that Lily was just leaving the store and headed down to the end of the street.  She didn't look his way so she had no idea he might have known what she was up to.  He had other arrangements to make so he went on his way as well.

     Lily took her time in the stable.  being with horses always made her feel good.  She looked carefully at every horse in the barn, and even though they all were fine she didn't see just what she was looking for.  The stableboy asked her if she needed any help and she asked if these were all of the horses that were available.  He told her about two new horses that were out back in the field but he didn't know anything about them yet.  So she thanked him and decided to ckeck them out anyway.  As she walked down the small hillside to the fence she saw an older Roan with a few spots on his backside which looked like an old trailhorse.   Just then she saw him, in all of the years on her fathers horse ranch she never had seen anything like him.  The large, tall, pale horse with the neck the size of a tree trunk looking right at her.  He had huge black intense eyes.  All she could think of was the pictures she had seen as a child in school of a roman chariot horse or statue.  He walked right up to her at the fence and put his forhead down onto hers and Lily gave a slight push.  Well, he then pushed back against her gently as well.  Then he stood up  and they looked at each other as she gave him a gentle brush of her hand on his nose.  This was the perfect horse he was strong as an ox and smart as a whip!  Lily knew what to do.

     She eventually made her way down to the bar to meet up with Leo and couldn't wait to tell him about a surprise she had in store for him. 

     

     
     
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Just a lil ol' southern gal....gone out west   Smiley

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« Reply #48 on: December 30, 2008, 04:32:09 pm »

Cyrus made his rounds of the small town as he had every day since the gunfight.  He noticed Lily walk into the mercantile, and he later noticed her head down to the stable. He had checked the cold house and the bodies had survived reasonably well.  He was concerned about what would happen while he and Leo were gone, he still wasn't certain if Lily could trust the townsfolk.  This place had been a haven for lawless men for too many years and if some of them appeared seeking refuge they might become hostile finding things had changed now that Lou was gone.

Cyrus thought about the trip, they would leave in the morning and with luck would reach Prescott by midday.  If luck was with them Leo could head back the next morning meaning he would only be gone about a day and a half. Bad weather, slower travel, or trouble on the trail could lengthen that to as much as 3 to 4 days. Cyrus was looking forward to talking more with Leo on the trail, he had a good read on this man and knew there was good in his heart.  It was Cyrus' intent to check when he got to Prescott to see if there were any papers with descriptions matching Leo, he didn't expect any.  Providing that was the outcome he was going to suggest that Leo take the Sheriff's job vacated by Lou's death. 

If Leo agreed and Lily and the town were acceptable of the idea, and there was little reason why they wouldn't be since no one in town was much of a gun hand, he intended to get the judge in Prescott to give him the power to travel back with Leo and swear him in.  If everything came together Cyrus would gain a reliable ally in cleaning up the area around Prescott and would eliminate another hiding place for the lawless men that preyed on the weak.

Having completed a circuit of the town Cyrus set about checking his tack and cleaning and oiling his guns in preperation for tomorrow's journey.
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« Reply #49 on: January 10, 2009, 02:11:25 am »

     Leonard’s main concern was to get things settled in town as soon as possible.  He knew Lily had already paid a visit to the mercantile, so his arrival there should come as no surprise to the owner.  Even if it weren’t a surprise, the shop keeper couldn’t hide his apprehension when the bell hanging from the door jingled.
     “You Bill?”  Leonard asked in a direct tone.
     “Yes, you Miss Lily’s new partner?”  There was a slight stammer in the reply.
     “I guess ya could say that.  She’s the reason I’m here.  Someone needs ta watch over the town, but most important, someone needs ta watch over her and her place.  Thought mebbe you were the man fer the job.  She seems ta think so.” 
     Bill was stunned by this proposal.  “Me?” he asked.
     “Yeah you.  Her only concern was that you keep that boy a yer’s in line and busy at home.”  Bill’s eyes widened and Leonard knew why.  “It has nothing to do with her previous business with you or yer kid.  He just struck me as a problem.  Anybody who stands in front and center of a lynch mob strikes me as a problem.  Give him a job ta do at home, build a chicken coop er an outhouse er whatever, just keep him busy.”  Leo looked at the shopkeeper gravely, “And disarm him.  He’s a loose cannon if I ever saw one.  Leave that gun with Lily an she’ll take good care of it while I’m gone.”  Another pause, then, “do we have an arrangement?”
     Bill stood there and nodded.  Leonard waited for him to ask what was in it for him.  The man didn’t.  “OK then” Leo went on, “I’ll ask the Marshall to appoint ya temporary sheriff before we leave.  Personally I don’t know if I would have chosen ya, but the girl knows best around here.”  There was that calculating stare again, “I’ll be back, just don’t let anything happen ta her in meantime.”  With that, Leonard began shopping the rows of shelves for things he knew he would need on the trail.

    Leonard walked back out onto the street and the little bell jingled again as he did so.  His intention was to find Cyrus and seal this matter.  He wasn’t sure about the shop owner, but if Lily said he was the best for the job then so be it.  He was surprised when he looked up the street and saw his new love walking toward him.  Not surprised to see her out and about, surprised because she was leading the most magnificent horse he had ever seen.  It was eighteen hands easy and it was no wonder the lady was on foot rather than riding it, there was no way she could have mounted it herself.  Then she saw him and hailed him.
     “Leeeee-o, I got sumpthin for ya.”  Her southern drawl was as sweet as honey.  He didn’t want to make any assumptions about the horse but stood there stunned just the same.  He couldn’t see anything else other than the beautiful woman and that majestic pale stud making their way toward him.  He looked skyward and wondered how any god could bestow these gifts upon him.

     When the distance was finally closed she said, “name him, he hasn’t one sugar.”
     “Name who?” Leonard asked.
     “The horse you ninny,” Lily teased as she laughed.
     “What business do I have namin’ this horse?” Leonard asked in his own teasing manor.  Inside he was bursting.  He was allowing himself to believe it, that this fine animal was for him.
     She answered quick, “Cause it’s yours.  Just promise you’ll take care of him.  Isn’t he a wonder?”
     “Yes he is”, Leonard could not suppress a huge grin.  “Hey boy” he said to the animal and scruffed  him on the nose.  The horse threw it’s head up and whinnied.  “Well there’s no way I can thank you for this Miss Lily”, was all the man could say. 
     Lily looked at him and asked, “Boy?  Is that the best you can come up with?  Don’t ya think he deserves better?”
     “Found a great roan once, always called it Boy.  Changed it ta Lucky an he died a few days later.  I’ll stick with Boy.  It’s just one of those things.”  Lily seemed to understand this and handed the reigns to Leonard.  She knew it was a good match, this man and this horse.
     “Well let’s get a look at him,” Leonard said.  “Good posture, good temper, strong.”  He examined Boy closer, lifting each hoof and checking.  “Gotta loose shoe here,” he said.  “I’ll make sure it’s right before I leave.”  Lily just looked at him and he realized he was being too analytic again.  He caught himself and said, “Thank you Lily.  He’s perfect.  Hell, the shoe ain’t his fault, and we’ll make sure he’s ready.  This is the best horse I have ever laid hands on and the nicest thing anyone’s done fer me”
     “It’s my pleasure darling,” she said.  “I know you’ll do right by him.”  She watched him mount Boy bareback and ride toward the stable.  Again, he turned and told her he loved her.

     

     As the ex-soldier approached the livery he was stricken by one of those feelings.  The bad ones that had kept him alive for so long.  The doors were shut, he could see this clearly.  He pulled on Boy’s bit and dismounted.  On approaching the stable he could hear sounds coming from within.  There was definitely someone in there.  Horses didn’t whimper and horses didn’t make shushing sounds either.  There were two in there, that was now certain.  Here in broad daylight someone was trying to pull a job.
     Leonard went around to the back and made his way to the single-wide back door.  He stood there for a moment and thought once again, “why does it always have to be this way.”  He heard a stern but tired voice say, “stay here, I’m taking it.  Keep staying right here ‘til it starts ta get dark, or I can kill you now and still get out of this worthless town.”  As ominous as that voice may had seemed to the person on the receiving end, Leonard could hear the unmistakable tone of fear in it as well.
     “Horse thief’, he thought.  “knows how slow this town is an is gonna risk his neck ta get a pony now of all times.”  Leonard drew the old Colt Navy and faced the door.  His right foot came up and kicked it in.  Then there was nothing but shock.
     Of course it shouldn’t have been.  He had mentioned this scenario to Lily the night before.  There pointed at him was a Confederate issue pistol.  The one he had taken from a Lieutenant he had shot on the last battlefield.  The man holding it was the one he had rolled a smoke for in that other, abandoned livery.  The two men faced each other and the stable boy could only wet his pants.
     “Tolt ya if ya used that the wrong way I’d take it back.  Did ya ferget me givin’ ya my full Christian name an swearin to it?”
     “I need a horse!” the other said. 
     “Then earn one” was Leonard’s answer. “Or die.  This boy owes me a fixed shoe and I ain’t about ta see you get in the way of ma business.”  The kid on the floor just moaned something about his mother.  Leonard’s old bunkmate from the night of the storm stood fast but his hand was shaking.
     Then it happened. The same as always.  The lead ball whizzed past Leonard’s ear as he was launching his own.  In half a heart beat, the man who had shared rugged quarters with him not three nights ago now lay dead on the straw covered floor.  Leonard looked at the boy who had soiled himself and stared at him for a moment.  Then the words came easy, “Can ya fix the loose shoe on the pony ya sold ta Miss Lily this morning.  I’d be much obliged if ya could.”
   

       
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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