Jake and Joey stomped into the saloon and barked at the bartender to get them some whiskey.  "Don't get it," Joey said. "How'd the jewels git here?  We searched the stagecoach when we robbed it. They weren't there."

"Don't know but if I find out how and who helped, they're gonna pay," Jake growled. "They cost me money! I'm also gonna get even with Suarez for only payin' us the money we got up front. He still owes us the rest of the money. I don't care if the jewels made it here or not, that money is ours! If he didn't have so many guards with him today, he would've already paid." Jake slammed down his glass and barked at the bartender for another.

"Do you think his nephew had anythin' to do with it?" Joey asked.

"If I ever see ‘im, I'll ask," Jake snarled as he shot back his second whiskey banging the glass on the bar for a refill.

"Well maybe we could catch up with ‘em," Joey innocently stated.

"What?" Jake roared as grabbed Joey and whirled him around so his face was only inches away from his.

"They was out by their horses when we came in." Joey stammered, "I thought ya saw ‘em."

"No!" boomed Jake as he let go of Joey and practically ran out the saloon doors. He looked up and down the street and saw no sign of the two men. "Let's go," he yelled at Joey as he emerged from the saloon.


Jake looked at Joey and shook his head, he was his brother but he definitely wasn't the brightest person. "Do ya always have to be so dumb? We're gonna find McCreedy's nephew and his partner and git the rest of our money from them!"

"But why would Senor Suarez pay them?"

Jake just looked at Joey shook his head and hit him in the arm, "Git on your horse."




Heyes and Kid quickly rode north out of town. Kid turned and looked back, "No sign of them, maybe they didn't see us."

"Maybe it took them a little longer to put the pieces together," Heyes responded.

Kid looked at Heyes with a sour look on his face, "You're certainly pessimistic."

"A realist. Things have gone fairly smoothly until now, something's bound to go wrong."

"You're still in your mood!" Kid said in disgust. "I thought we went over that."


Heyes shrugged, twisted his face a little and turned to face ahead.


"Heyes," Kid implored, "You gotta snap out of it. You're the one who's supposed to look at the glass half full. You're the one who is always tellin’ me things are gonna be alright."

Heyes, who was now riding a few feet in front of Kid, turned around to answer his cousin, "I hate to disappoint you Kid, but it looks like we got us some company riding this way."

Blue eues gave a quick glance at the dust being kicked up by the horses coming in their direction. "Jake and Joey?"

"Don't know but don't want to find out," Heyes said as he urged his horse to ride faster. Looking ahead he said, "Let's head into the hills. We can watch with the cover of the trees and see if they follow us. If they do and it's Jake and Joey we should be able to lose them."

"That easy?"

"Big they are, smart they're not." Heyes said as he guided his horse towards the hills.




The partnersquickly headed for the cover of the trees on the hill. The rocky landscape of the hills would also help cover their tracks as they made their way. Looking back they could see the dust trail and the riders that were following them. "Well I guess its Jake and Joey or someone else who is after us. They're comin’ too fast and changed direction to match us," Kid sighed.

"Let's hope it's just Jake and Joey. I don't think either of them is smart enough to follow us over the rocks. Even if they can, it's two on two. I like our odds," Heyes responded as he scouted ahead looking for the best way to traverse the hill and rocks. "We're gonna have to take the path up higher, there is no way the horses are going to make it over those rocks and gulch in front of us," Heyes said as he pointed to the area he was talking about."


The higher they got, the more difficult it was on the horses as the terrain became very steep. Heyes jumped off his horse as the horse started to stumble when it lost its footing. "It'll be safer to walk the horses up the rest of the way. It looks like there is a clearing up ahead."

Kid got off his horse and started to lead it up the hill following Heyes' path. "Guess we're not gonna make it to town tonight," he grumbled.

"Doesn't look it," Heyes responded without looking back. As they approached the clearing, they could see the entire valley below them. "No sign of Jake and Joey, they or whoever was following us, must be below in the trees."

"Better keep movin’."

"Yep," Heyes said surveying the area. Pointing down the other side of the hill, "If we can get down the hill we can cross the river and I'm sure we can lose whoever is following us."

"That's gonna take us well out of our way and the river is movin’ prettyfast."

Heyes turned to Kid and shrugged, "We can take the long way or we can go back down the hill and hope Jake and Joey aren't looking for us and it's not the Sheriff."

"Heyes," Kid growled, "Sometimes you really get on my nerves.  I was lookin' forward to a nice bath and steak dinner tonight. Maybe even some poker. But now we're gonna be out here. Who knows where, probably wet from the water, eaten beans from a can.  If we're lucky and can lose whoever is followin’ us!" He mounted his horse and started down the hill towards the river. The hill was not as steep on the west side of the hill as on the east side so they could ride down.

Heyes mounted his horse and followed. "You don't have to go getting all proddy Kid," Heyes said in a conciliatory tone. "I would much prefer to be in a hotel with a bed then to be out here too. I just don't see any alternative."

They made it down the hill with a fair amount of ease. They followed the river to where they could cross. As they entered the water, Heyes looked up the hill to see two riders at the top.


Turning back around they began to traverse the river. The water was deep, coming up past the stirrups. They raised their feet so not to get too wet as the water rush past them. It took a lot of effort for the horses and men to trudge through the water as the current banged against the sides of the animal making it difficult for the horse to stay upright and the riders to stay on. As they finally made landfall, Heyes turned around to see Jake and Joey about one third of the way down the hill watching them. They turned and went back up the hill and out of sight. "Well, guess they decided it was too difficult to cross," Heyes said as he pulled his horse to a stop.

"I know I wouldn't have wanted to follow someone across the river if I just watched them cross," Kid responded. "I wasn't so sure we were gonna make it."

"You and me both Kid, you and me both!"

"I'm kind of beat, this is a nice flat area, the horses need to rest," Kid said, "Why don't we camp here for the night?"

"Sounds good to me," his partner replied as he got down off his horse and unloaded his gear. "I'll get some wood so we can start a fire and dry off."

Sitting by the fire, Kid pulled off his boots, "I hate wet boots!"

Heyes pulled off his boots, “ Couldn’t agree with you more.”






Heyes and Kid set up camp and stayed by the river for the night. It was fairly pleasant but neither of them slept particularly well wondering if Jake and Joey knew another way around the river. Kid rolled over to see Heyes sitting and staring at the fire, he watched him for a few minutes as he absently rubbed the heart charm attached to his watch between his thumb and fingers. "Fresh coffee?" Kid asked, having gotten used to the rock gut that his partner passed as coffee.

"New pot," he stated as he put his watch away and reached for it to pour a cup.

Kid sat up and took the cup, "Did ya figure out how much longer it's gonna to take to get back to Small Falls?"

"No. We'll have to see if we can find a spot to cross back over. The river looks like it gets deeper and is still traveling fast. Don't want to risk crossing again like yesterday."

"Maybe there's a bridge up ahead or the river slows down."

"Maybe, but then again maybe not. By the look of the sky, it looks like we're in for some rain, so we better find some shelter or town."

"A town would be nice," Kid said enthusiastically.

"Yeah, but I'm not holding out hope for that, let's eat breakfast and get moving. Doesn't look like there's any shelter as far as the eye can see around here."

They ate breakfast then packed up their gear to head out. Following the river, they looked for a place where the water wasn't rushing by and was shallow enough for crossing. They found nothing and continued west following the river until they set up camp another night.

"Heyes," Kid grumbled, "I thought when we went for our amnesty we wouldn't be givin’ up the finer things in life, like a bed to sleep in, a roof over our heads, and good hot food, not beans from a can."

His partner shook his head, "Kid this had nothing to do with the amnesty. We aren't running from a sheriff. We're running from Jake and Joey and right now I think they're a lot worse than a sheriff. Once we can safely cross the river again, we'll be on our way to those warm beds and meals."

The blond man smiled, Heyes was coming out of his funk. He was once again being the more optimistic one. It was the way it was supposed to be. "Heyes."

"Yeah, Kid."

"How far out of our way do you think we've gone?"

"Probably two days maybe three. The river is taking us too far west to go through the pass so we're going to have to double back once we cross."

"Laurie's gonna be mad at me."


Confusion spread across his face as he looked at his partner.


"I promised her, twice, that I would have you back on the twenty-second. There is no way I'll be able to keep the promise."

Heyes laughed, the big tough outlaw Kid Curry is afraid of breaking a promise. "Don't worry, we'll send a telegram when we get to the next town and let her know we're a few days behind schedule.  She’ll forgive you."

"I hope so," he said not sound so sure, "She promised to make me her special blueberry muffins and pie when we got back."

Brown eyes twinkled as he laughed harder, "It's always about food isn't it. Not about Laurie's feelings just about food!" He shook his head and continued to laugh.

Kid shrugged his shoulders, "So what's for dinner?"


Heyes howled.


Kid looked at Heyes and the smile on his face got bigger, maybe it was a good thing to be out here after all.




Midday on the nineteenth, they finally found a spot to cross the river; the water wasn't too deep and the current wasn't moving as fast. About half way across Kid asked Heyes, "Do you think Jake and Joey gave up or do you think they knew this is where we would cross?"

"Don't know but we better be ready just in case."

They arrived on the other side of the river and found they were alone. They started to double back down the side of the river when the road forked. Sign pointing straight read ‘Dry Gulch 18' the one pointing north read ‘Summit 10'. "Which way?" Kid asked.

Heyes looked at Kid's pleading face. "Dry Gulch," Heyes deadpanned.


The blond’s shoulders slumped.


Brown eyes lit up as he chuckled lightly, "If you wanted to go to Summit why didn't you just say so?" Kid opened his mouth to say something when Heyes added, "I changed my mind, let's go to Summit."

"Sometimes you really get on my nerves," Kid growled as he guided his horse towards the north road.


Heyes followed chuckling quietly.




Entering the town of Summit, they went directly to the telegraph office to send word to Laurie they were behind schedule.


“Weather's been cloudy. Staying the night in Summit. Will be couple days late. JHHS”.

They headed to the hotel, hot baths, hot meals and a nice bed to sleep in. In the morning they ate breakfast and headed out of town.


First couple of days out from Summit went smoothly, the threat of rain hung in the air but that's all it was, a threat. Morning of the twenty-second they woke to cooler temperatures and dark clouds on the horizon. "Better get moving and find some shelter unless we want to be soaked," Heyes said to Kid as he motioned to the clouds.

"I hate being wet," Kid moaned and got up to get his gear together. "How close is the next town?"

"Think Silver Springs is still at least couple days ride from here," Heyes said, "Don't think there is anything closer unless we go backwards."

"Don't you want to get Small Falls?"

"Yes, I want to get to Small Falls," Heyes said indignantly. "I just don't like the look of those clouds, the terrain up ahead is tough and we should be able to reach Dry Gulch quicker or find some shelter in the trees on the side of the hills going towards Dry Gulch." Heyes looked at Kid as he packed his gear on his horse, "Your call."

Looking at the sky and the fast approach of the black clouds Kid thought a moment, "Dry Gulch is closer, I vote for that."

"We can ride the storm out there. I'll send another telegram to Laurie when we get there."

The two mounted their horses and headed southeast towards Dry Gulch, stopping long enough to water their horses and have a quick lunch. Mounting their horses after a short rest they looked towards the sky, the clouds were coming fast. Heyes and Kid rode with a little more urgency but by mid afternoon, the wind began to pick up and lightning was the only thing lighting up the dark sky.


Shortly after, the rain started to come down in sheets. The thunder was deafening with lightning flashing everywhere. "We better look for cover," Heyes yelled over the crashing thunder. Heading for the trees at the base of the hill, the partners were getting slammed in the face by the driving rain. It was hard to see in front of them and they knew they needed to find some kind of shelter quick. Going deeper into the trees as the thunder boomed and lightning stuck a tree not too far from them.

"Heyes," Kid yelled, "We're gonna get killed out here if we don't find shelter. We're either gonna get hit by lightnin’ or break our necks when we fall off the horses cause they're really spooked."

"Yeah, I know," Heyes said pulling his hat low in hope it would help him see in front of him. Taking a second look he pointed to the left, "I think there's an over hang or cave over there." They steered the horses in the general direction. The animals were not being very cooperative as the rain pelted them and the ground was becoming extremely difficult to maintain footing. Finally, getting to the cave or a long deep over hang, they got off their horses at the same time another lightning strike hit a tree near them. The horses reared knocking Kid to the ground and bolted. Bending over to help his partner up Heyes yelled, "We'll get them when the storm is over. They won’t go far, just some place safer." The two turn to walk down a narrow passage between some rocks, "At least it's not raining as hard in here," Heyes said as he led the way. "Maybe there’s more coverage up a head."

"Yeah, hopefully we can get find a dry spot," Kid said from behind.


The passage got a little bit wider and was now covered on top. They continued to walk around a bend and into an open area. Stepping into the area, they saw a fire built in the middle. Reaching for their guns and turning to look around they heard it, the click of several guns being cocked.

"Hands up!" someone shouted. "Turn around."

The partners slowly put their hands in the air and even slower turned around to see who was holding a gun on them.

"Well looky what the cat dragged in?"

Heyes and Kid glanced at each other and sighed. Putting on his best disarming smile, "My partner and I were just trying to get some shelter. Our horses got spooked and took off. We'll be happy to go back down the passage and hang out at the end until the storm passes. We didn't mean to bother you."

"Oh, you're not botherin' us," the giant man said, "They're not botherin' us now are they Joey?"

"No, Jake they ain't botherin' us at all," his brother replied with a wide grin showing less then a full set of teeth.

"Johnson," Jake instructed still pointing his gun at the ex-outlaws, "Go git their guns." Pointing to the man with arms and legs like tree trunks Jake said, "Ox, tie ‘em up."

"Tie us up; we just wanted to get out of the rain. We really don't want to bother you fellows," Heyes said smiling as he began to lower his hands.

"Keep the hands up," Jake bellowed, "You two already bothered us by gettin' the jewels to Suarez."

"Sir," he said in his most sincere voice, "I really don't know what you're talking about. We have been checking..."

"SHUT UP!" the big man roared. "Somehow McCreedy got the Jewels from Clayton to Red Rock to give to Suarez. Then Joey sees you two in Red Rock. We come lookin' for ya and ya take off. So I think you had somethin' to do with the jewels and we're gonna git the rest of our money out of ya if we have to beat it out of ya!"

"Whoa, Jake, that's what he called you right. We had no idea it was you after us when we left town. All we saw were two horses riding real fast in our direction. When we changed direction, so did who ever was following us," Heyes calmly explained. "We thought maybe they were gonna rob us or hurt us, we had no idea it was you."


Kid nodded in agreement.


"We were in Red Rock because Thaddeus' uncle lives there and wanted us to check out his horses. That's all. Right now we're on our way home, back to my wife and family. We really don't know anything about the jewels. We saw them in the bank but that was it. Mac must have gotten them after we left town."

"SHUT UP!" Jake once again bellowed at Heyes as he walked over and gave him a backhand across the face. The force of the blow sent him into Kid and they both tumbled to the ground. The men standing around looked on and laughed. "Ox, tie ‘em up NOW! Make sure they're good ‘n tight. Joey, see if they got any money."


Joey walked over and started to pat down Kid, pulled a ten out of his pocket with a smile. On Heyes he found twenty-four dollars. The partners were thankful they had enough foresight to send the money ahead to Laurie. They also knew they each had a hundred dollars in their boots but didn't think Jake and Joey would think of looking there.

Jake paced staring at the two men now tied up and sitting on the ground. "Where's the rest of the money?" he demanded as he waved his gun around.

Not wanting to get hit again but feeling it would be worse if he didn't answer Heyes closed his eyes and quietly stated, "There isn't any. We were just checking out one of Uncle Mac's horses. For free, cause he's a relative that's all."

Jake walked over and backhanded Heyes again sending him to his side on the hard ground.


"He's telling the truth," Kid jumped in before Jake had a chance to kick Heyes. "We ran into my Uncle in Clayton. He asked us to come check out one of his horses. The other horse we were lookin' at fell through so we had time to ride down to his ranch. He wasn't even there when we got there. We only stayed one nightand left. I don't know anythin’ about the jewels and where they are."

Jake pointed his finger at him, "I think your lyin' and I'm gonna make you pay."

"What cha gonna do Jake?" Joey asked.

"I have to think ‘bout it. But I'll come up with sometin'."


Heyes finally righted himself as the two sat tied off to the side. The group of nine men sat around the fire. "Heyes," Kid whispered, "You noticed there are only nine now."


"Where do you think the other one is?" Kid whispered back.

"Don't know."

Kid twisted his head around to see his partner’s face, "You're real talkative."

"Don't feel like getting hit again," Heyes angrily whispered then added, "Trying to figure out how to get us out of here with no horses without being killed."

"That it?"


"Thought maybe you were thinkin' about Laurie. If things worked out right we would be in Small Falls right now."

Heyes gave Kid a look and turned his head away. He had been trying not to think of Laurie and the fact that today was the twenty-second and they should be in Small Falls having great food, being with Laurie, holding her, touching her. But, no! Every time they took a job from Big Mac something went wrong. It always went wrong! Why they kept taking jobs from him, he had no idea.  Heyes was so deep in thought that he didn't here Joey come over to bother them.

"Hey you, you ignorin’ me?" Joey yelled at Heyes as he nudged him not so lightly with his foot.

The shooting pain through his kidney brought Heyes back to reality, "What, I'm sorry did you say something?"

"Yeah, I said sometin'," Joey baited Heyes. "I said what happened to your pretty wife."

Heyes' eyes went black and his lips became thin and tense, "I'm not married."

"We saw you with your wife in Clayton, pretty thing she was. I'd like to git me some of that," Joey laughed as the rest of the ganged whooped it up.

Kid could feel him become tense. In a very tight voice and with authority Heyes repeated, "I'm not married. The lady you saw me with was paid to hire. That's all."

Jake walked over to them "When you got here you said you were just tryin' to get home to your wife. Now you say you don't have a wife. Which is it?"

"Look," Kid jumped in feeling the rage build in his partner, "My friend is married but what do you want him to say. You've hit him twice, kicked him and we're both tied up. If you were him, would you answer questions about your wife?"

Jake looked at Kid then at Heyes and nodded, "Guess you're right. I wouldn't tell where my wife is neither." Grabbing Joey by the arm, "Leave ‘em alone, it's not the wife I want, it's the uncle and we know where he is."


"I heard Kid," Heyes whispered.

"Well what are we gonna do?"

"We're sitting here tied up, no guns, no horses, what can we do?" he responded quietly. "Besides, maybe it's time for Mac to get beat up and not us."

"You don't mean that."

"You feel my jaw and tell me I don't mean it."

"I forgot, how ya doin’?"

"Oh much better now, my jaw barely hurts, in comparison to the way my kidney feels!" Heyes scowled.

"Hey," one of the men yelled in their direction, "Quiet over there."

"Sorry," Kid said, "Didn't know we couldn't talk. We're all tied up, wet, cold and hungry. Just tryin’ to keep our minds off of things."

"By making a plan to escape," the man yelled back.

"Well," Heyes hesitated, "it’s kind of hard to do that. First we would have to get untied and Jake let me tell you Ox did a great job. Then the two of us would have to take on the nine of you. That's the easy part considering you all have guns and we don't. Once we knock you all out and take your guns, we have to go out into the raging storm. The one that got us into trouble in the first place, the one we came in here to get out of. Oh then we realize we have no horses. They ran away because of the storm." he paused for a second figuring he was going to pay for being so sarcastic then added, "Yeah, that's what we were doing planning our escape. Not trying to figure out how to sit more comfortably or get warmer."

Jake let out a howl, "Shut up Johnson!" Jake laughed, "He's right - what's your name?"

"Smith, my partner is Jones."

"Right, Smith," Jake continued to laugh, "So how far with the plan ‘ave ya gotten?"

"All the way up to the storm and the horses" he played along. "Can't control the storm and we'll have to hope the horses aren't too far away."

"Horses aren't far," Jake stated. "There's some natural shelter at the other exit of the cave. It's sort of covered, that's where our horses went and Ox's pretty sure he saw your horses goin' there too. That's how we knew you was comin'. Didn't you wonder how we were all standin' back away from the fire when ya first came down the passage?"


Heyes and Kid gave each other an acknowledging look. At least they weren't stupid and missed the signs that someone was in the cave. There were no signs where they entered.


"Ox was checkin' our horses when he saw yours." Pausing Jake turned to Ox, "Where's their gear?"

"Still on the horses," Ox replied.

"Go get it

"Now, the storm is..."

"NOW!" Jake bellowed.

"Jake," Heyes stated, "It's just our gear, no money, really. We weren't lying about that. We only had the money you," he paused as he was going to say took but realized that might be a bad choice of words. "You have from us. The weather's real bad out there; Ox could get killed. There were two lightning strikes real close to us. The horses will be there after the storm. If they feel safe enough now, they're not going to venture out."

"Jake he's right," Joey said.

Jake turned and glared at his brother, "Yeah but maybe he doesn't want us to get the gear. Maybe they're hiding the money, maybe somethin’ else. Joey, you go with Ox and get the gear," Jake paused for a second, "NOW!"

Ox and Joey went out to the horses and a few minutes later came back drenched with the soaking wet saddlebags and bedrolls. Dumping them on the floor of the cave, Jake went through them and found nothing. Jake looked in the direction of the partners. Heyes shrugged his shoulders with an ‘I told you so' look on his face. Jake picked up a saddlebag and threw it across the cave slamming it into the wall.





The storm raged on all evening and into the night. The howling wind was enough to make it difficult to sleep, being tied up the way they were made it impossible. By morning, they were stiff, sore, cold, tired and hungry. The storm was still raging outside the cave. The smell of the coffee began to make Kid's stomach growl and Heyes' mouth water. He still had the taste of blood in his mouth from being hit yesterday and would do just about anything to get a cup of coffee, good or bad.

"Excuse me," Heyes said as he tried to wiggle to get some of the kinks out of his body. "Is there any chance we could get cups of coffee and maybe a little bit of breakfast. Any food would do. We haven't had anything to eat since yesterday morning and I'm real tired of listening to my partners stomach growl over here."

"Why should we give ya anythin'?" Joey asked.

"Well except for accidentally stumbling into your cave for shelter, we haven't done anything," he said in as pleasant voice as he could, considering his mouth was as dry as the desert.


Joey turned around and continued in his preparations for breakfast.

"Heyes," Kid whispered, "I think I'm going to die of starvation. I was hungry before but with the cookin' I'm down right famished!"

"Famished?" Heyes chuckled quietly.

"That's what Doris always tells me if I'm late for a meal. She'll say Thaddeus you must be famished. Well Heyes right now I am, so you better start thinkin’ how to get us out of here and get us food!"

"Excuse me," Heyes said clearing his throat. "If you're going to try to get money from Thaddeus' uncle you should probably try to treat us a little better. He's not going to give you anything if he thinks we haven't been treated right or," Heyes paused and swallowed hard, "dead."

"Will you be quiet, you're gettin’ on my nerves!" Joey exclaimed.

"Joey, Mr. Smith has a good point. McCreedy ain't gonna give us money if he thinks his nephew's been mistreated. On the other hand, I don't know how he feels ‘bout Mr. Smith. So untie Mr. Jones' hands and bring ‘im over by the fire. We'll git ‘im some food, but leave Smith over by himself." Jake stated trying to stare down Heyes.


Brown eyes glared back at the man and didn't give in.

"Jake," Joey said, "Jones might try to escape.

"Leave his feet tied," he said sounding annoyed. "And where's he gonna go? Smith's still tied up, do ya think Jones can take on the nine of us and live, let alone escape?" Jake looked at Joey as he could see his younger brother trying to figure out the answer to his question. "Just move Jones over here," he said shaking his head.


Joey went over to move Kid towards the fire. As he bent down to pull Kid up hegave Heyes a swift kick in the ribs and laughed.


"Hey!" Kid yelled, "My Uncle thinks of Joshua the same as me. We're family. If you hurt him, he's not gonna give you any money."

"Then I guess you'll both be dead and then we'll kill your Uncle," Joey laughed callously.

"Then you won't be getting any money," Heyes moaned. "There will be a big price on your head but that won't really matter because Mac has a lot of loyal friends and they'll hunt you down torture you. Then kill you before you get back to a sheriff."

Jake looked at Heyes, he was sure this man was trouble. He was too calm and not afraid of them. Something was different he just couldn't figure out what. He motioned to Ox to get him and move him next to his partner, who was sitting next to the fire having his hands untied by Joey. "One move I don't like and I don't care about the money," Jake said staring at Heyes. "First I'll kill Jones, so you can watch then you," Jake growled.


Heyes didn't make a sound; he just stared back as Ox pulled him up to his feet and dragged him towards the fire. Plopped down next to Kid, Heyes looked at Jake, "Thank you."

"We'll untie your hands so you can eat, then you can go do your business after. Take off your boots and hand them over," Jake instructed.

"Is it possible to just give you one boot Jake?" Heyes asked with a pitied look on his face. "My boots are the only things that are keeping my feet a little warm. We wouldn't try to run away with only one boot. Not in this weather. Not that we would try to get away anyway since there are nine of you with guns."

Jake barked, "Why do I care if you're cold?"

"Because you want money from my Uncle," Kid responded.

"Fine," he grumbled flipping his hand to figuratively dismiss them, "One boot! But one move and you get a bullet in the head!"


Heyes and Kid took off one boot each making sure to keep the one with the hundred dollars in it on. Kid smiled to himself, Heyes doesn't always work fast, but he never stops working. That silver tongue of his might have saved them from a beating or worse if Jake found the money in their boots. He knew Heyes was biding his time, their time waiting for the storm to pass. He had complete confidence that he would come up with something, he always did.




The storm continued day and night for the next two days, only letting up for short periods of time. Heyes and Kid sat in the same place they were by the fire. Their hands were untied only long enough to eat and they were allowed to relieve themselves outside the cave but only when absolutely necessary and with guns pointing at them. Finally on the fourth day, they woke up to quiet and dry skies. Jake sent Joey and Ox out to check the area. They came back and reported everything in the area was a mess, lots of flooding. Path into Dry Gulch was under water and the river was about twice the size.

Late in the day, Ox yelled into the cave that Kelly had finally gotten there. Walking into the cave Jake asked, "Where ya been?"

"Everythin' was flooded, took cover in an old shack. Had to ride way out of the way to git here." Looking at the backs of Heyes and Kid he asked, "Who's that?"

"Smith and Jones," Jake responded, "McCreedy's nephew and partner. We're gonna git some money for their release," Jake stated and laughed a very evil laugh!

Kelly walked over to see the front of the two men sitting tied up by the fire. Heyes had dipped his head as soon as he heard the voice, a gesture that wasn't lost on Kid. "Good, I'm out of money and," Kelly stopped mid sentence as he had now come around from behind and was looking at the two men. The blonde one sat staring straight ahead but the dark haired one held his head low. Seeing the hat, that hat. No one else he knew had that hat; it was his signature and always wondered why it wasn't put on the wanted poster. "Hey you," Kelly said with force directed at Heyes, "You with the brown hair, look at me."

"What's goin’ on?" Jake asked angrily as he walked over next to Kelly.

"You with the brown hair, look at me!" Kelly demand.


 Putting on his best poker face, Heyes slowly looked up.


"Well, well," Kelly chuckled, "Look who we got here."

"Who?" Jake demanded with a totally confused look on his face.

"You don't got Smith and Jones," Kelly began. "And we don't need McCreedy's money, we got our own jackpot right here!"

"You ain't makin’ no sense Kelly! Maybe you got water on your brain," Jake said getting angry.

"No, no water on the brain. Dollar signs on the brain," Kelly said with a big smile. "Smith here,ain't Smith. He's the one and only Hannibal Heyes so I'm guessin' his partner here's Kid Curry. No wonder the jewels got out of Clayton without no one noticin'!"

"Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry!" Jake exclaimed. "Are you sure?"

"Positive," Kelly snarled. "Heyes got me kicked out of Devil's Hole and arrested. I'll never forget that face."

"Well," Jake said turning to Heyes and Kid, "What do ya have to say?"

"I'm real sorry Jake," Heyes said in the most disarming voice he could muster. "I'm Joshua Smith. My partner is Thaddeus Jones. I don't know why this man would call us Hannibal Heyes or Kid Curry. Do we really look like two of the most successful outlaws? Would we have just walked into this cave without any back up if we were Heyes and Curry? Wouldn't we have told you who we were? Wouldn't we have stolen the jewels in Clayton if we were Heyes and Curry? How do you explain that? Heyes and Curry giving up a million dollars in jewels sitting in a bank. We touched the jewels! Would Mac McCreedy allow Heyes and Curry to touch the jewels?"

Jake looked at Kelly, "Well?"

"I can't explain why he let them touch the jewels but I'm tellin' you that's Hannibal Heyes!" Kelly insisted.

Looking at Jake with his big blue eyes looking as innocent as possible Kid jumped in, "Jake, really McCreedy is my uncle. I have never seen this man before and neither has my partner. I know we have a vague resemblance to Heyes and Curry but my partner was right, if we were them, wouldn't we have told you and would we have left the jewels in the bank. Come on, no one would think Heyes and Curry would do that. What proof does he have? When was the last time he saw them?"

That was it. Kid went too far and said something he shouldn't have.


Heyes sighed ever so lightly, briefly closed his eyes and waited for Kelly's remark.


"Well," Jake asked looking at Kelly.

"I know its Heyes.  Yeah it's been a long time but," Kelly stopped and started to smile.


That's when Heyes knew he was done and he better start coming up with a new plan and quick.


"Heyes has a scar on his left calf where he was hit gettin' away from a posse. The bullet grazed his leg makin' it look like someone cut ‘im with a knife. He complained because he bled so much it ruined a new pair of pants."

"He has a scar on his left calf?" Jake asked.

"Yep," Kelly said.

"Go ahead, check there's no scar," Heyes said very calmly.


Kelly leaned over and started to pull up the left pant leg. No scar.


Heyes looked at Jake and shrugged.

"Okay Kelly, enough," Jake bellowed.

"Wait," the man said putting his hand up.  "The right leg, it's the right leg. They hit ‘im when he was gettin' on his horse, it's the right leg!" Kelly exclaimed. Kelly grabbed at the right boot and pulled it off. Along with the boot came the hundred-dollar bill.


Heyes looked at Jake and gave his best ‘kid getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar look’ he had while wanting to smack Kelly across the face. Pulling up his pant leg, Kelly exclaimed, "There it is!"

Heyes looked Kelly in his eyes. His eyes grew dark, his lips thinned, "Hi, Sean. Long time."

"Don't call me Sean!" Kelly yelled angrily as he hit Heyes across the mouth.


Heyes went with the punch knowing it was coming because Kelly hated the name Sean. Moving with the punch, there was little impact and he smiled at Kelly, it was worth it to make him boil.

Jake yelled to stop and Joey and Ox jumped in to pull Kelly off Heyes. "So you're the infamous Hannibal Heyes." Turning to Kid, "Kid Curry I presume."


Kid nodded.


"So tell me, whydidn't you tell me who you are?"

"Didn't think you would listen. I mean Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry walking into a cave with nine men pointing guns at them. Not exactly good for the reputation," Heyes said.

"Untie them," Jake instructed.

"Honor among thieves?" Heyes smiled graciously.


Jake nodded.

"No," Kelly yelled. "The money!"

Starting to get really annoyed with Kelly, Jake stated, "McCreedy ain't gonna give us money for Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry."

"Not that money, the reward money. They ‘ave ten thousand dollars each on their heads; that's twenty thousand dollars!" Kelly raised his gun and pointed it Heyes' head, "and it's payable Dead or Alive!"

"Not anymore!" Heyes yelled quickly as Jake knocked Kelly's gun into the air.


Jake looked at Heyes for more.


"Posters been changed, only payable if we're alive. Seems some power guy wants to see if we still have his money. We don't but we're not going to tell him that now are we!" Heyes said in jovial voice with a smile that lit up the cave.

"No it hasn't!" Kelly yelled.

"Do you want to take that chance?" Heyes said coldly to Kelly, staring him down. With his lips paper-thin and his eyes black, Heyes said in his leader voice, "Do you want to take that chance? Kill Kid and me and get no reward. So, no money from Suarez, no reward from McCreedy and no money for turning us in.  Is that how you want to play it Sean? Are you desperate or just stupid? Did you explain to Jake it was your fault I was shot?  It was your fault Big Jim Santana was arrested and sent to jail and now it will be YOUR fault if you kill us and they get nothing? Is that really how you want to work it…Sean? Jake and Joey will tear you limb from limb to collect the debt. Now that's something I would love to see."

"Jeez," Joey said in awe, "You really are Hannibal Heyes aren't you?"

"Yes, Joey. I'm Hannibal Heyes," he said with pride and confidence.

"How we gonna turn ‘em in without turnin' ourselves in?" Ox asked.

"Personally, I don't think you should turn us in," Heyes said smugly.

"Course you don't," Ox replied.

"Well, even I know the difference between twenty thousand dollars and a million dollars," Heyes said with a smile as he drew out the words to emphasize them.

"What?" Jake asked, "Twenty thousand and a million. You have the jewels?"

"No, but we know where they are and how to get them. That's why we were coming back this way," Heyes explained. "You untie us, work with us and we can split it even."

"He's lyin’!" Kelly yelled with so much rage you could almost see steam coming from his head. "He's just tryin’ to get out of here!!"

"Of course I am," Heyes said mocking Kelly. "But I am doing it in good faith. I'm willing to share a million dollars in jewels. I know where they are and how to get them; it's up to you. I'm sure I can bargain or bribe whomever you turn us into. Then once again you'll be out your money because you don't get paid until we're in the Wyoming penitentiary. With a million dollars in jewels, we're not going to the penitentiary."

"Unite him, leave Curry tied for now," Jake told Joey. Glaring at Kelly, "I'm the leader; we'll do it my way. If you don't like it, leave!"

Joey untied Heyes.


"Thank you," Heyes said to Joey then turning to Jake.”  Untie Kid or the deal is off.  It's both of us or nothing.  I'm done being nice and I'm done doing it your way. Untie Kid now and I'll fill you in on our plan."


Jake nodded at Joey to untie Kid.


Heyes stood up rubbed his wrists and stretched a little. "How ‘bout a shot of whiskey to loosen me up."


Kid stood up and stretched just as Heyes had done. He wasn't sure what Heyes was up to but knew his partner's brain was working and working quickly. He almost felt sorry for Jake and Joey. After the initial beating Heyes took, they actually had been quite civil to them the past few days. He could see by the look in his face that Heyes didn't like Kelly one little bit and he would be the one to pay. Kid almost hoped Jake and Joey wouldn't have to pay as well.

Jake gave Heyes and Kid a shot of whiskey and poured one for himself, "To new partners," he said.

"To new partners," they said as they downed the glass of whiskey.

"Okay, first of all, keep him away from me!" Brown eyes glared at Kelly. "If you want the money, he stays away from me. I'll deal with you and Joey and anybody else except that scum or the deal is off."


Jake nodded.


"Okay, Kid and I are here, oh before I continue, we need our guns back."

"Not so quick," Jake said. "I need to trust you."

"And I need to trust you," Heyes said. "There are ten of you and two of us. Your odds are much better than ours and I don't really feel like dying right now."


Jake looked at Heyes.


"Look you want to turn us in fine, let's go. Otherwise, give us our guns so that we can work on getting rich!"


Kid smiled inwardly, the Hannibal Heyes charm.  Actually it was Hannibal Heyes the leader coming to the front.  Kid loved to watch Heyes work and take over the room.  Guys tried to keep up, smart men, but they were no match for Heyes when he was on his game, and right now, Kid could see he was just starting to hit his stride.


Jake sighed and wondered if he was just about to make the biggest mistake of his life, he turned to Joey and motioned to him to get their guns. "First, where are the jewels?"

"I can give you that much," Heyes stated. "They're in the bank in Dry Gulch."

"Give them the guns," Jake said motioning to Joey and then to Heyes and Kid to sit down.

"If it's all the same to you Jake," the ex-outlaw leader stated.  "Been sitting a lot lately, would like to stand. And, I do my best thinking pacing."

"That he does," Kid said with a smile.






The twenty-second came and went and since Laurie had received the telegram from Heyes she knew they would be a few days late. The telegram came from Summit so she added three days on to the trip expecting them home on the twenty-fifth or the twenty-sixth. She woke up on the twenty-fifth and made the special blueberry muffins and pie she had promised Kid and waited. She did the same on the twenty-sixth and waited. By the end of the twenty-sixth, Laurie began to worry.


Heyes told her the weather had been cloudy, could things have been worse and he didn't want to worry her? Did something happen to them after they sent the telegram. Each day Laurie got up and spent most of the day on the porch with Sam watching, waiting and hoping. Doris, Walter and most of the town tried to comfort her. Some telling her that they had heard there had been terrible rains that knocked down the telegraph wires, so maybe they tried to get in touch with her but were unable. Laurie would force a smile and try to pretend to be comforted by their words but it was no use. She knew something more was going on. She just didn't know what.



Mr. Quimby received the telegram and as he was writing it down was trying to figure out who he should show it to first. It was addressed to the Sheriff, well to all Sheriff's in the area, but he knew Laurie would want to know about it too. As for Laurie, should he go directly to her or see Walter and Doris so they could tell her. He opened the telegraph office door and took a step outside; he re-read the telegram, "Looking for anyone who can positively identify Hannibal Heyes. A person involved in a bank robbery fitting description has been shot. He is unconscious and in grave condition. Please contact immediately. Sheriff Jacob Slatery." Mr. Quimby hesitated then headed to the Sheriff's office. He knew who the men in town claiming to be Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones were, but he really wasn't sure if anyone else in town knew. He had made some vague remarks about them to Walter and Doris but never got a real answer from them although he was pretty sure they knew. As for the Sheriff, well he never made any indication that he knew, and since he hadn't arrested them, Mr. Quimby assumed he didn't know. As for himself, he was on a train they robbed a few years back. It took him a while to remember where he had seen them when they originally came to town. By the time he did, Joshua had married Laurie and they were so nice to the rest of the town that he thought he would keep it to himself. Since he has known them, they have been nothing but up standing citizens and hoped that this person who was shot was not Joshua.

Mr. Quimby entered the Sheriff's office, "Tom," he said as he held the telegram out.  "Urgent to all Sheriff's in the area."

Sheriff Hardy took the telegram from Mr. Quimby, "Thanks," he said as he read the message he stood up. Picking up his hat he turned to the Deputy, "Have some business to attend to, I'll be back." Placing the hat on his head with the telegram still in his hand, he walked quickly towards the door.

As Hardy read the telegram he knew right away he had to talk to Laurie. It would be better coming from him then reading it in the paper in a few weeks. By then, it might be too late in fact it might be too late now. It was a three days ride to the town of Dry Gulch and the stage took four. Tom also realized that he would have to reveal the fact that he knew Joshua and Thaddeus were really Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. Something he didn't want to do, but under the circumstance, didn't feel he had any other choice. He decided a long time ago when he figured out who they were, that he would only deal with the ramifications when he had too.


He walked with a purpose, down the street to the hotel.  The Sheriff walked up the stairs to and straight to Walter who was at the front desk, "Need to talk in private."

"Sounds serious?"

"It is," Tom replied with a grim look on his face.


Walter motioned to his office and both men walked inside. As he was closing the door Doris appeared.


"Might as well come in Doris. This concerns you too."


She entered the office and Walter closed the door. Tom handed the telegram to him. As Walter read it, the Sheriff said "I think it might be a good idea if you both are here when I tell Laurie."


Doris immediately got a concerned look on her face as she placed her hand on her husband’s arm.

Walter looked at his wife, "Joshua may have been shot. They are looking for someone to identify him."

"Shot," Doris exclaimed! "I don't understand, how?"

"During a bank robbery," Tom replied.

Doris looked horrified at Walter, "He doesn't do that any more. It can't be him."

Walter placed his hand on Doris', "I know dear, but he isn't here and he's late returning. Someone fitting the description of Hannibal Heyes has been shot and is grave condition. I don't think it is Joshua but we have to tell Laurie. You should  go get her."


Doris nodded and left the room to find her.

As she left, Walter turned to Tom, "How did ya know?"

"Well I knew something was up with the two of them. Especially leaving when they didn't know if Laurie was going to make it. Then watching them when Mrs. Carlson pulled the gun on her, I walked into the office and it just clicked. Why it took so long I don't know but I knew right then. Either one of them could have killed her but they didn't. They weren't afraid for Laurie either. They knew they had the situation under control. I kind of let them know that night, took down their posters but never came out and told them."

"Now what?" Walter inquired.

"You mean now that you know and Laurie will know, I know. I don't know. I'll decide that after we find out if it was Joshua that was shot." The two got quiet as they heard footsteps approach the door.


Doris opened the door and walked in. Laurie started to follow and then saw the Sheriff and hesitated, then continued. Walter closed the door behind them.

"What's the matter?" Laurie looked at the three faces with pained expressions looking at her. She took a deep breath and gasped, "Oh, God its Joshua isn't it?" She began to breathe heavy and sway.


Doris put her arms around Laurie.


"What's happened, is he okay? What about Thaddeus?" Laurie asked as her chest was heaving as she tried to catch her breath as the room began to spin.

"We aren't certain dear," Walter replied as he too tried to steady her.

"There was a telegram sent to all Sheriff's in the territory asking for anyone who could identify Hannibal Heyes. A man fitting his description was shot in Dry Gulch while robbing a bank. The rest of the gang got away," Tom explained.

Laurie took one last deep breath and closed her eyes for a minute. As she opened them she stated, "I have to go," and she began to pull away from Doris and Walter.

"I'll go with you," Walter started.

"No, you are needed here. They only need one person and that will be me. You can not get involved in this," Laurie stated adamantly.

"I'll go with you," the Sheriff replied.


Laurie turned and looked at him trying to figure out his motivation.


"I can go with you and protect you. I can tell them you were on a train
that was robbed by them and you got a good look." Placing his hand on Laurie's shoulder he continued, "You shouldn't have to go through this alone. Since the telegram came to me, I'm the logical one to go with you."

Laurie looked the Sheriff in his eyes, "If it is Joshua are you planning on arresting him?"

"No," he replied.

"Okay, you can come. But only so Doris and Walter don't worry about me. Understand?" Laurie said defiantly.

"I understand," he responded, "I'll send word we will catch the morning stage and will be there in four days."

"I'm not waiting for the stage," she firmly stated. "Walter can you saddle my horse, I will be packed and ready to go in fifteen minutes if you would like to join me Sheriff."

Looking at the determination in her face Tom replied, "Make it twenty. I have to send a telegram, tell my Deputy I'll be out of town for about a week, and pack. It will take me a little longer than you."

"Fine - but then I leave," Laurie stoically stated and abruptly turned and left the office.




She went to her and Heyes' room to pack. She walked in the room and closed the door behind her, then leanedher back against the door. Taking a deep breath, she started to tremble. What if it was Heyes who was shot? What if he was robbing a bank and where was Kid? Tears started to stream down her face as her whole world started to crash in on her. She leaned paralyzed against the door until she heard foot steps in the hall. She shook her head and dried her face as she quickly started packing determined not break down again as she changed into pants for the journey.

There was a quiet knock on the door as Doris slowly opened the door, "Are you alright dear, do you need any help?"

Laurie turned towards her friend, "I'm fine Doris, thank you for asking." Picking up her saddlebag she headed for the door.

Laurie and Doris reached the front porch of the hotel just as Sheriff Hardy arrived. Walter had saddled her horse and was packing food Doris had made for them. "There's enough food for a couple of days in the bag," he said.


Laurie reached over and gave Walter and Doris hugs then mounted her horse, "Thank you. We'll send a telegram when we get to Dry Gulch." She turned to the Sheriff, "Ready?"


He nodded.





Laurie kept the pace as quick as possible slowing down only long enough for the horses to recover before speeding up again. She rode in silence mostly, lost in her thoughts and determination to get to Heyes, well hopefully not him, but to find out as soon as she possibly could. As night started to set, the Sheriff stated, "I think we should find a place to camp."


Laurie continued to ride, not answering.


"Laurie," the Sheriff said louder, "It's going to do Joshua no good if you get hurt or killed because you can't see where you're riding. I think it's time to stop for the night."

Laurie looked surprised and then it slowly registered what the he said, "I'm sorry. I was lost in thought. I just want to get there as soon as possible Sheriff. You are right though, we should make camp."

As they stopped and started setting up for the night he looked at Laurie, "Just one more thing, we're going to be traveling for three days together, maybe you should start calling me Tom."

She nodded as she opened the bag Doris had packed for them and laughed. "Sure hope you're hungry Tom," she paused as she said it having it sound strange to her. "I think Doris packed enough food for a week, not a couple of days!"

Laurie didn't sleep much that night. She sat and stared at the fire most of the night. Remembering all she could about Heyes and Kid. She was remembering every telegram they had sent her since they left. Everything was great at least that's what they said until two weeks ago. She got the telegram that said the weather was cloudy. She didn't panic when she got it but knew it meant there was possible trouble. There was no indication what the problem was, there never was. Heyes always kept the telegrams as short as possible, counting the words and in code.


It was to protect Laurie as much as them. That was the last she had heard from them. They were a week late returning and she had been getting increasingly worried. Then came the telegram to all the Sheriffs asking for help to identify Hannibal Heyes. Could it really be him? Why would he be robbing a bank? Things were good in Small Falls, maybe too good she thought. She knew he was getting antsy before he left, maybe he wanted to go back to his old life. He said that life was over and done with but Laurie didn't know what to think. She also remembered that he had been forced to rob a bank before or Kid would be killed. Could that have happened again? Everything was swirling around in her head. She finally closed her eyes and fell asleep with only a few hours until sunrise.

As soon as the sun was up, Laurie was awake and they were on their way. She was determined to get to Dry Gulch as quickly as possible. As long as they didn't push the horses too hard and they weren't taking risks, Tom was willing to let Laurie lead the way. He knew this must be extremely difficult for her even though she didn't show it.




Two and a half days after they left Small Falls, Tom and Laurie rode into Dry Gulch. He was going to suggest going to check into the hotel and getting cleaned up before seeing the Sheriff, but taking one look at her determined face as she steered her horse in the direction of the Sheriff's office he decided she wouldn't go for it. As they rode down the street Tom reached out and placed his hand on her arm, "Laurie, when we get inside let me do the talking, okay?"

Laurie turned tohim, "I'll be fine."

"I have no doubt, but I can protect you. I have been going through what we should tell Sheriff Slatery and decided we can't tell them you saw them on a train. If it is Joshua," pausing as he saw the anguish on Laurie's face. "I'm not saying it is, but if it is, how do we explain that you're not going to leave his side."


Laurie nodded an acknowledgement, if it was Heyes, nothing would get her away from his side.


"I think I'll say that your husband has been confused with Hannibal Heyes before and is over due, we just had to check it out. This way if it is Joshua, you can stay with him. If it's not, no one will know your relationship, okay."

Laurie nodded in agreement, then quietly said, "Tom, they haven't done any of this for over a year."

"I know," he said trying to sootheher.

"If it is him, there has to be a reason and where is Kid. If it was Heyes, then Kid would be here, I know he would unless he couldn't." Laurie stopped herself and took a deep breath. They were almost at the Sheriff's office and she had to get her emotions under control.

They stopped in front of the office and dismounted. Laurie had the urge to run into the office but felt herself paralyzed. After rushing to get here, to find out, she no longer had the ability to move.  Tom walked over to her and put his arm around her.  "It's okay, I'm here; I'll be next to you every step of the way." Tom gently guided Laurie into the office. "Sheriff Slatery," he said presenting his hand to shake. "I'm Sheriff Tom Hardy from Small Falls. I sent a telegram about possibly being able to identify Hannibal Heyes."

"Sheriff Hardy, nice to meet you," Slatery said as he stood up from his desk and shook Tom's hand then looked at Laurie.

"Sheriff Slatery," Tom continued, "This is Mrs. Laurie Smith. Her husband is over due in Small Falls by almost two weeks now. He has been mistaken before for Hannibal Heyes. When I got the telegram we figured we should come and see if it was Joshua. Can we see the prisoner?"

"Mistaken for Hannibal Heyes?" Sheriff Slatery repeated looking suspiciously at Laurie.

"Just once, by a bounty hunter," she said meekly. "Joshua has brown hair and brown eyes and I guess by the description probably about the same height. It was all straightened out though. He was supposed to be home on the twenty-second and I haven't heard from him so I had to check, just to make sure. He's a good husband and doesn't rob banks.  We've ridden for almost three days, can I please see the injured man. I need to know."

"I'm sorry ma'am," Slatery said, "Heyes died overnight."

Laurie gasped and her knees got weak, if it wasn't for Tom's arm around her, she would have fallen to the floor. "Sheriff, can I see the body? I'll know if it's Joshua or not," Hardy asked.

"Sure, he was moved to the undertakers, it's just down the street. Ma'am you can stay here if you like."

"No, I'm going. I have to see with my own eyes." She looked at Tom, "I need to see him."

"Okay, all three of us will go," hesaid.

The three walked down the street to the undertakers. Tom was supporting Laurie as she had lost all feeling in her body. She kept replaying in her mind what the Sheriff had said. He said Heyes was dead. He didn't know it was Heyes. She was there to identify him. It couldn't be Heyes and if it was, where was Kid. Laurie's head was spinning and by the time they reached the undertakers she could barely stand on her own.

The undertaker took them over to the body that was covered by a sheet. Tom led Laurie to a chair at the side of the cot. "You really don't have to do this," he said to her.

Laurie shook her head as tears filled her eyes, "I have to do this. I have to see with my own eyes." She looked at the undertaker and nodded, he lifted the sheet. Laurie gasped and put her face in her hands as she began to sob.

Tom looked at the man on the cot. He heard Laurie gasp and placed his hand on her shoulders. "It's not him," he said and the undertaker covered the man's face.

Relief raced through Laurie's body. It's not Heyes, so now where is he and Kid. Why did they think this man was Heyes? Laurie tried to compose herself and looked at Sheriff Slatery, "It's not my husband. I'm sorry I can't tell you if it's Hannibal Heyes or not.  A Sheriff from Porterville came and cleared my husband. Sheriff," Laurie paused for a second as though she was trying to remember the name, "Sheriff Trevors of Porterville. He knows what they look like, maybe you could contact him." Laurie stood up with Tom's help, her knees still being weak.

"I'm glad he isn't your husband ma'am" Sheriff Slatery said. "As for Sheriff Trevors, I got a telegram yesterday from his deputy, he's on his way. Maybe then we'll know for sure."

Laurie sighed in relief this time because Lom was on the way. Maybe he knew where Heyes and Kid were.


As they left the undertakers, Tom tipped his hat at Slatery and thanked him for his time. Hardy and Laurie went to the hotel to check in then went to the telegraph office to send Walter and Doris word that it wasn't Joshua and they would let them know when they would be leaving to return to Small Falls. Then they returned to the hotel.

"I'll be right across the hall if you need me," he said to her as they went to their rooms.

"Thank you Tom," Laurie solemnly said. "I think I'll take a bath then maybe try to rest a little. Then I'll figure out what to do next." She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, she didn't want it to be Heyes but at least she would know what happened to him. No word and he was two weeks over due, with no news, Laurie was beginning to wonder if he decided not to come home. He was acting very antsy before he left and then he looked so sad looking out the window in Clayton.

"You haven't eaten much in the past few days, how ‘bout after you rest, I'll take you to dinner." Tom kindly said then when it looked like Laurie was going to decline he added, "I won't take no for an answer. If Doris or Walter find out you haven't eaten, it will be my head. Besides you have to keep up your strength to find Joshua."


Laurie smiled sadly and nodded, then turned to her room.