Another One

By Sky

Chapter One

Copyright 1998

The fiery red ball that was the sun sank down low in the horizon, causing the tree on the hill to cast a shadow across the young couple in the middle of an embrace.

“I’ve never been so happy in my life,” Jimmy said, looking at the beautiful face of his girl.

“Oh, Jimmy. I wish this day would never end,” She replied, wrapping her arms around his neck.

“Me- neith- er,” Jimmy gasped. Her arms were getting awfully tight.

“I- can’t breathe. You’re- killing- me.” The girl threw back her head and uttered an evil laugh as Jimmy Hickock returned to reality to find Cody standing over him. “Jeez, Cody! Why’d you have to go and ruin a good dream like that?” Jimmy angrily swatted Cody’s hand off of his nose. After wiping the sleep out of his eyes, the pony express rider stumbled out of his bunk and playfully kicked his friend, who was rolling around on the floor laughing uncontrollably.

“You should have seen your face!” Cody gasped, puckering up his lips. “Oh, Jimmy. I’ve never been so happy in my entire life!” Cody mocked in a high-pitched voice.

Jimmy lunged at him and missed. “Aw, shut up, Cody!” He tried again, tripped, and fell on his tormentor. They promptly started wrestling, bumping into the table and causing a pitcher to fall to the floor.

Rachael suddenly burst into the bunkhouse and surveyed the scene before her. Two of her express riders were squabbling on the floor in their underwear, entangled in each other and someone’s bedspread. The dark-haired one was shouting death threats, and the blonde haired one was saying how he never wanted it to end. A bench was up turned and the remains of a water pitcher lay scattered on the floor. She pushed her long, curly red hair out of her face and sighed. It was going to be a long day.

“Cody! Jimmy!” Rachael hollered, rushing up to them. She tried to separate them. “Now you boys stop that right now.” They picked themselves up off the floor.

“What has gotten into you?” Rachael stood back and put her hands on her hips.

“Aw, Rachael,” Jimmy whined, “Cody was just bothering me.”

In reply, Cody batted his eyes at his friend. Pointing at him, Jimmy told Rachael, “See what I mean?”

“Oh, Jimmy-” Cody started as Jimmy lunged for him.

“I don’t make fun of what comes out of YOUR mouth at night!” He said.

“Alright, that’s enough!” Rachael tried desperately to keep from laughing. “Get dressed and clean up this mess. And don’t let me catch you bickering again.” At least not until tomorrow morning, she thought.

As their housekeeper turned away, Jimmy gave Cody one last kick in the pants for good measure.


Buck nudged his speeding horse forward, glancing back at his pursuer, who fired another shot at him. He winced as the bullet whizzed past his ear. That was too close. Buck thought. Sweat poured down his mount's neck and back. Another mile or two and it would surely collapse. The Express Rider turned to return fire, and found his gun was empty. Now he was in big trouble.

As if no more could go wrong, Buck took a wrong turn and came to a dead end. Sliding off his horse, he ran for cover behind a rock as his pursuer approached.

“Come out of there and keep your hands where I can see them, boy.” The man said. Buck had no choice but to comply.

“All I have is mail, mister,” Buck held up the pouch.

“Exactly what I want.” The man, who hadn’t shaven in days, and obviously wasn’t well aquatinted with a bar of soap, cracked a rotten-toothed smile. He had greasy hair that could be blond, and it hung in strings across his face and down his neck. An unbuttoned shirt collar revealed a neck tattooed with a long snake wrapped around a knife. The shirt that hung limply over his emaciated frame was dirtier than his hair and so full of holes it was a wonder why it didn’t fall apart. His brown pants- well, nevermind.

“Hand over that pouch, and don’t do nothin’ funny. I never trust an injun.” The disgusting man held out a hand with only one finger still fully intact.

Scowling, Buck threw it at him, all the while trying to stay up wind of the man. Throwing to the ground several letters, the robber found the envelope he was looking for.

“Ah, here it is!” He smiled at the rider, who winced. “Boy, I want to thank you. Now that I know where an’ when the next gold shipment will be, I won’t need you no more.” He laughed as he pointed his gun at Buck with his other hand that was only missing one finger.

Desperately looking for a way out, Buck was surprised to hear the call of a hawk. His revolting new “friend” made the mistake of turning around.

BANG! He gave a grunt and fell to the ground. Buck looked up to find a young man dressed in a long black coat and black hat holding a smoking gun.

“Gotcha, Pete.” He said quietly. Noticing Buck looking at him, the man smiled with half of his mouth and simply explained, “Didn’ wanna shoot him in the back.”

He holstered his gun and pried the envelope out of the dead man’s hand. “I guess this belongs to you.”

“Uh, yeah. Thanks.” Buck stammered, taking it from him. The man in the black coat stood over Pete and looked him over as Buck picked up the rest of his mail.

“I don’t know if it’s worth it,” he said, shaking his head.

“What?” Asked Buck.

He pointed at the body and explained, “He’s got a bounty on him, and I don’t know if it’s worth hauling him into town.” He wrinkled his nose in disgust.

Buck nodded. “I wouldn’t touch him with a twenty foot pole.” He hesitated before inquiring, “How much?”

“Two Hundred- Hey, I’ll split it with you if you help me.”

“All right.”

“Okay, you get his feet and I’ll get his hands.” He looked sadly at his gloves. “I’ll have to burn these, and I just bought ‘em.”

They threw Pete’s body over his bedraggled saddle and led his tired old horse into Black Creek. Buck waited outside the Sheriff’s office while his companion collected the bounty.

“Here ya go.” He said, emerging from the building and handing Buck his cut of the bounty. “Whatcha going to do with it?”

“I don’t quite know.” Buck pondered the question.

“Well, why don’t I buy you a drink to help you figure it out? I don’t have to-” He spotted another man across the street beckoning to him. “Uh, I gotta go. See ya around.” Hurriedly, he mounted his horse and rode away.

“Wait!” Buck called after him. “I didn’t even get your name!” But he was already gone.

On toChapter Two!

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