|Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction based on characters created by Ed Spielman and owned by Ogiens/Kane Productions. Neither the author nor the webmistress claim any ownership or any profit from the creation of this work. This story may not be posted elsewhere except with the express permission of the author.|
“Cody you get back here with that book or I’ll shoot ya in the back!”
“The cat jumped over the hill and sat on a ball” Cody read slowly as if every word was a struggle.
“I mean it Cody give it to me now”
Cody pretended to stutter “Th th th th the then”
“Alright Cody if you don’t give me that book back I’ll drop your jacket into this bucket of white wash”
Cody turned to him with an angry look on his face “You wouldn’t dare”
“Oh ya think so?”
Buck thought this was a very funny idea and Ike seemed to agree. They were both laughing.
Jimmy finally caught up with Cody about the time he dropped the book into the horse trough and they both fell to the ground in a big fight. Kid was trying to break it up, and all Buck and Ike could do was stand back and laugh.
Rachel came out of the house when she heard the struggle, shouting at them to get up. Lou came riding up a look of bewilderment on her face. Teaspoon who was right behind her, he didn’t look at all pleased.
“BOYS!” he shouted.
Cody and Jimmy broke apart immediately, both of them looking like a kids caught with there hands in the cookie jar. This caused everyone who was not already laughing to start and Buck and Ike could barely breathe.
“Alright now everyone shut up!” Teaspoon shouted. The laughing finally subsided to some light snickering. And Teaspoon asked, “Now can someone tell me what happened?”
Jimmy and Cody without hesitation pointed the finger at the other. “He started it!”
This caused the giggles to return to side-splitting laugher. Buck and Ike fell off the steps. Ike tried to grab Buck for balance but ended up knocking both of them down onto the board that happened to be holding the bucket of white wash. Before anyone knew what was happening the bucket was on top of Teaspoon’s head white wash dripping down over his face, and Buck and Ike were on a 3 night ride going right through an area without a town in sight.
=I don’t see why Teaspoon didn’t send Jimmy and Cody. They started the fight= Ike signed.
“It could have something to do with the fact that they didn’t knock a bucket of white wash onto his head”.
=I lost my balance=
“Ya well it don’t matter now. Lets just hope Teaspoon has calmed down by the time we get back.”
=I’ll never forget the look on Teaspoon’s face when that bucket hit him though.=
“You better, if you ever bring that up in front of him you could find yourself tied upside down in the barn. You know Teaspoon.”
=Ya, ya I know,= he had a huge grin on his face and Buck couldn’t help but smile too.
“Swift there are riders down there!”
“So what are we gonna do about it?”
“Nothin’, we ain’t gonna do nothing.”
“We are gonna share there camp though right?”
“I suppose they wont begrudge us some hospitality and a space by their fire…let me do the talking ya hear? I don’t want you to say a word.”
Buck heard them approaching long before he saw them. They certainly weren’t trying to be quiet. It was their approach more than anything else that made the two riders comfortable with allowing strangers to share the fire. One had been singing ‘Oh Susanna’ while the other played his harmonica.
Ike noticed that all though neither one of them was exactly a blabber mouth one of them hadn’t said a word since he got there. He was beginning to wonder if perhaps this man was silent too when he heard the man let loose a gut wrenching laugh. Nope, not silent.
Buck seemed a little more uncomfortable when he saw the second man. He was a half-breed, Ike figured that this would make Buck more comfortable but no Buck never took his eyes off this guy. It was like Buck sensed something was wrong about the man. The man told Buck that his name was Swift and his friend was Tyson. They were on their way to Rock Creek to visit a sick friend.
Swift asked why they were out there and Buck explained that they were express riders on there way to Green Creek. They finally bedded down for the night. Buck only pretended to sleep he kept an eye on the both of them til he was certain both men were asleep before he allowed his exhaustion to overtake him.
In the morning Buck and Ike were packing up to go when Swift handed Buck an envelope. “When you get to Green Creek could you see this gets to the marshal? It’s very important”.
Buck promised to and he and Ike left.
Rick had been following the tracks for hours, now there were 4
sets of tracks branching off in 2 different directions. Being not
much of a tracker, Rick decided to follow the ones leading to the expected
=We should be getting to Green Creek around noon tomorrow= Ike signed.
“Ya if you don’t sleep in again,” Buck smiled, he nearly always rose before Ike did. It wasn’t that Ike slept in, Buck just loved to watch the sun rise.
Ike stuck his tongue out at Buck and threw some food at him. Buck
ducked and pretended to be mad but soon they were both laughing.
They decided to go ahead and sleep early since they had lost some sleep
watching the two men the night before. Before they knew it they were
both sleeping soundly. They never even heard Rick approaching the
camp until they heard the gun cock.
Neither one of them had the time to grab for any weapons, they had not expected trouble, are they were certainly not ready for it.
“All right get up slowly with your hands way above your head.”
They did as they were told getting up as slowly as possible all traces of sleep gone as they stared down the barrel of a gun. The first thing they noticed upon closer examination was that their gunman had a lot in common with a certain friend of theirs.
She pulled a pair of cuffs out of her saddle bag and tossed them to Buck. “Put those on.” He gave her a hard look judging his chances at grabbing his knife from his boot, she noticed his look about the time he noticed a deputy badge pinned to her shirt. “Hold it!” she yelled as he started to move. She saw the knife hear his boot and motioned to Ike “Pick up his knife really carefully,”
Ike looked at Buck and bent over to do so. Buck tried to interrupt “We are not…”
“Quiet! I don’t want to hear a word from either one of you or I’ll shoot, now toss that knife over by my feet nice and easy now.”
Ike did as he was told.
“I’m Deputy Rick Carson, and your both under arrest for murder. Cuff that Indian’s hands behind his back.” Ike gave Buck an I’m sorry look then cuffed his hands behind his back. When Buck was secured she tossed a second pair of cuffs to Ike, “Now cuff your own, in front is fine. Both of you over by that tree.” The walked over to it, she tossed a length of rope to Ike and said “Tie him to that tree.”
Ike rolled his eyes, how much trouble was Buck gonna be with his hands cuffed behind him like that, but rather then get one or both of them shot he did as he was told. Then he turned back to the ‘deputy’.
“Sit!” was all she said. Once he had sat down she walked toward him and checked that his cuffs were locked tight, then she walked over to Buck and checked his cuffs and ropes, satisfied she picked up Bucks knife and the two gun belts and stowed them on the back of her horse. She turned back to face Ike “What are you names?”
Buck started to tell her but she cut him off with “I didn’t ask you, I asked him”
“He don’t talk” Buck snapped back, he was mad now not only was this person wrong about who she was after she obviously had some chip on her shoulder about Indians.
“How does he communicate then?”
=Indian sign language= Ike replied sick of being talked about like he wasn’t there. The signs were harder to understand since he could barely bring his hands apart from each other.
“That’s good cuz I know Indian sign language, and I guess this means you are not deaf”.
=No not deaf just silent, and if you want to talk to me maybe you should take these off first.= Ike didn’t look as angry as Buck but he was very annoyed.
“My name is Buck cross and this is Ike McSwain and we are not the people you are looking for.”
“Didn’t I just tell you to shut up, I don’t talk to Indians. How’s this, you talk when I don’t tell you to and I shoot your friend Ike here, he makes one wrong move and I shoot you, sound fair?” Neither one of them answered but Ike rolled his eyes. “Now are you or are you not heading to Green Creek?” Buck opened his mouth to answer remembered and put his head back against the tree.
=Yes we are, we are pony express riders=
“Ya right if you are then where are your messages” Ike motioned toward his horse. She got up slowly and walked over to his horse keeping an eye on both of the riders. She pulled the mochilla from the horse and looked inside. She smiled “Just as I thought it is empty”
=It can’t be= Ike signed, he moved to get up but she pointed her gun back at him and he reseated himself. =It was full when we left Sweetwater=
“Ya that I believe, you probably stole it off some poor dead rider.
What’s this?” she said she pulled the letter that Buck had been given out
of the outside pocket of the bag. She opened the envelope and read
the letter, she also pulled out its most interesting contents, a map.
She smiled “Now I have all the proof I need.” She walked over to Ike he
glared at her and moved to get up. She hit him over the head with
the butt of her pistol. Before he blacked out he could hear Buck
struggling to get loose, Ike wanted to reassure him, but he couldn’t seem
to keep his head up……
The next morning Ike awoke to find that the girl had also tied him to
a tree, she was busy packing up Ike and Buck’s belongings in her wagon
and tying horses to the back. He turned to look at Buck to find that
he was already awake watching the girl with anger in his eyes. Ike’s
vision was a little cloudy but he remembered what happened last night and
sighed. He thought more about the wagon, he hadn’t seen it last night,
she must have had it hidden somewhere when she came into camp.
The girl finally noticed that Ike was awake and walked over to him. “I guess I hit you a little too hard last night….how’s the head?” He couldn’t answer even if he wanted to he looked up at her strangely. She said “oh” blushed a bit and walked behind the tree to untie him.
=It’s fine= he reply stiffly as he got up off the ground. He moved toward Buck to untie him as well.
“Don’t you dare!” she said as she stepped in front of him. “Here,” she picked up a nearby plate of food. “Eat some of this then feed some to him. I’ll untie him when I am ready. We’ll be leaving soon.”
Ike shrugged and sat down near Buck. He fed him some of the food, but Buck wouldn’t eat much so Ike ended up finishing most of it. She finally had Ike untie Buck and told him to get in the back of the wagon. Ike had to help him in since his hands were still cuffed behind him, then she took out a pair of leg irons and put them on Buck. Ike was told to get in the front of the wagon with her so she could keep an eye on him.
Buck couldn’t keep his mouth shut he was outraged. “Why am I more dangerous than him? What do you think I am going to do, scalp you with my hands behind my back? Why are you chaining my feet am I going to run away in the middle of nowhere with no horse and my hands cuffed? Besides you’ve got the wrong guys!” by this time he was shouting, Ike had rarely seen him quite so mad.
The girl ‘Rick’ didn’t seem the least bit worried about his anger. “Let me describe to you the men I am after and see if you guys think you fit” she paused glaring at them. “Two men came into town, a half breed and his silent partner they killed the marshal so that they could steal a map describing the path of a certain gold shipment. Now I find you two out here, a half-breed and his silent partner, you are carrying the stolen map plus a letter to the crooked marshal of Green Creek. Express riders, I don’t think so, I have met express riders they are honorable men you two are slime.” She turned to Buck practically in his face now. “Why do I hate you in particular? The half-breed killed my father, the marshal, slit his throat. Probably with this knife” she was holding the knife she had taken from him the night before. She held it to his throat “I should do the same to you.”
Ike moved to try to stop her, but she pulled the knife away. “But I wont, I want to see you swing!”. She grabbed Ike arm and practically threw him onto the front of the wagon she followed him up grabbed the reins and they rode away.
“Well look at that, I guess we have nothing to worry about after all, she must think they did it!”
“That’s good and bad, they have the letter and the map and we need those or none of this matters at all.”
“Then we got to get it back.”
“Well get it, don’t worry, she’ll be so busy with those two she will never expect anyone else would try to jump her.”
“Your right Swift, how’d you get to be so smart?”
“By keeping my mouth shut! Now why don’t you do the same?”
They rode along in silence for a long time, Ike could sense that the girl was upset she had tears in her eyes but she refused to release them in front of her father’s killers. Ike tried to come up with something to say to her, he wanted to comfort her, he didn’t know why. She had been cruel to his best friend Buck, but that was because she was mistaken about who he was. What do you say to comfort a girl who thinks you killed her father? He decided to start off as simple as possible. =Where are we going?=. She didn’t answer right away, she was trying to decide if he should know or not. =Green Creek?=
“Ya right,” she snorted. “You would like that wouldn’t you, that crooked marshal would certainly take my word over his employees, he probably sent you there to begin with.” She looked at him waiting for him to deny it, she was surprised when he simply asked.
“Sweetwater, my father knew the marshal there, besides he runs the pony express office so he would probably be interested in who attacked one of his riders to steal that mochilla and those horses you’ve got.” He almost smiled at this response but quickly decided it would probably be better to let her take them there. Teaspoon would straighten it out later. As long as Buck didn’t rip the girl to shreds before they got there. He should have been mad too he supposed, after all she had nearly cracked his skull open with the pistol of hers. All he could think of though was that if he was in her place he probably would be doing exactly the same things. How was he going to get that across to Buck though?
He tried again to begin a conversation, hoping that maybe he could improve conditions for himself and Buck. =How’d you get to be a deputy?=
“You mean being a girl and all?” she asked.
Ike looked down at his hands, he supposed that was what he meant, if she hadn’t been a girl he certainly wouldn’t have asked. Knowing Lou, he shouldn’t have needed to ask that question, he didn’t know what else to say so he just nodded.
“My father deputized me, he had me carrying a message to a nearby town and thought that being a deputy might make me better protected. That’s why I wasn’t there to help him. He always felt that his badge was a shield of sorts.” Her voice deepened. “Apparently your friend back there doesn’t agree.”
Ike didn’t know what to say to that except, =I am sorry for your loss.=
She looked hard into his eyes and replied, “I don’t know why, but I believe that.” She smiled, “I guess you have an honest face.”
The rest of the day was spent in silence, the girl was confused, she could see where the Indian would be capable of murder, but she just couldn’t imagine Ike doing such a thing. She also couldn’t see him defending one who had. How did she know this though, she had barely even spoken to him. She didn’t know what to do, here she had her father’s killers, and she desperately wanted to let one of them go. She must have been exhausted because despite her troubling thoughts she fell into a deep sleep that night. She never even woke up when someone came up behind her and hit her on the back of the head.
Ike awoke to a strange sound, he couldn’t figure out what it was. It wasn’t Buck, he was still laying near the fire where the girl had dumped him. That was of course when she finally let him out of the wagon. He turned to the girl, but could not warn her as he saw a man come up behind her and hit her with a gun. He reached down to try to untie his ankles, finally he got them loose, the two men in the camp were not paying much attention to Ike. They were busy searching for something in the wagon. He reached down and grabbed the girls gun which they had stupidly left behind. He pointed it up in the air and fired. The two startled men turned towards the sound. Ike immediately recognized them as the two men from the fire. Seeing him, they ducked behind the wagon and pulled their guns as well, they fired several shots before turning around and running for their horses. Ike couldn’t follow them, Buck was still there and the girl was probably hurt so he let them go. He checked on Buck first.
“I’m fine,” he snapped, “check on her, see if she’s alive.”
Obviously she was alive, because when he set his gun down to check on
her she awoke, kicked him in the stomach and grabbed the gun. “Freeze!”
“I guess I was wrong about you, you are dangerous,” she said. He started to deny it, but she cut him off. “You come up on me in the middle of the night, hit me and grab my gun. I catch you in the act of searching for your map, and you still expect me to believe you are not guilty. You must think I am pretty dumb.” He didn’t know what to say, she was right there was absolutely no reason for her to believe them, except that they were telling the truth. This had been a terrible week. “Over by the wagon now.” She took out the keys and unlocked one of his cuffs, she looped the cuffs around the spokes of the wheel. She then stumbled over to the river to wash the blood off the cut on her forehead. Buck could see that it was already turning purplish.
When she was done she went back over to her bedroll to lie down. He didn’t know why he was telling her this but, “You really shouldn’t go to sleep.”
“Oh, and why might that be ‘Buck’” she said his name with as much disdain as was possible, but at least she wasn’t calling him half-breed anymore. “Are you two planning something else tonight that I should know about?”
“No, because you could have a concussion.”
“Wouldn’t that please you?”
“In other circumstances maybe, but since me and Ike seemed to be a little tied up at the moment, I think it would better for us if you didn’t fall into a coma, seeing as you have the only key and the guns. I don’t really want to be still chained here when those outlaws come back.”
She glared at him, “I’ll be fine! Now shut up so I can sleep!” She rolled over and went back to sleep. Buck decided he should stay awake so he could warn her in case the two men came back. Ike turned to Buck, he was wondering at exactly what point Buck had woken up, could he have warned the girl? If so did he decide not to? He tried to sign to Buck, but between the darkness and his limited mobility Buck couldn’t understand what he was saying. He finally got frustrated and leaned back again the wheel to try to sleep.
In the morning, the girl was even more annoying than she had been before.
She never said a word to either of them. She gave Ike both of their
breakfasts and finally released him from the wheel. Buck complained
that his arms were sore from them being behind him so long, he had been
forced to sleep on one or the other arms on both nights. She ignored
him and also ignored Ike who also trying to get her attention. She
repacked the wagon and soon she was ready to depart again. She went
to refill the canteens in the stream again and stepped over a rock to reach
the water, suddenly she heard a distinctive rattle and a sharp pain in
her ankle, she looked down and saw a huge rattler trying to get away.
Ike heard her scream and came running she was panicking. He could tell that, but what had happened? He asked her but she just gave him a terrified look.
She bent down and grasped her ankle. “A rattler, it bit me.”
Oh great what else can happen, he thought. He tried to calm her down, but her heart was racing. =You have to calm down= he signed, =at this rate the poison will pump into your heart and you will die= she looked into his eyes, recognition finally showing. =Take some deep breaths, try to calm down=.
She nodded and sat down to try to calm down.
=Where are the keys?=
“What you want to escape now?”
=I have to carry you back to the wagon and I can’t exactly do that with my hands chained,= he seemed a little annoyed.
“No way! Next thing I suppose you will want my gun!”
=You will die if I don’t get you some help=
She thought about it for a moment. “If I unchain you do you promise you wont escape?” He considered this and nodded, he intended to take her to Sweetwater anyway so it didn’t really matter. “You must also promise not to unchain Buck!”
This he could not promise. =Why?= he signed. =He is no threat to you, besides he knows a lot more medicine than I do, he could probably help you.=
“I don’t want him anywhere near me, and I would rather die from snakebite than be scalped by some savage!”
He didn’t know what to do, he couldn’t leave her to die, but he couldn’t bring himself to betray Buck either. He finally decided that Buck would just have to live with the treatment a bit longer. He wasn’t really in danger. They were going to Sweetwater, and Teaspoon would straighten everything out. Even if Buck hated him he had to risk that rather than risk Rick’s life. =I promise= he signed solemnly.
“Alright, give me your hands.” She pulled out the key and unlocked his cuffs. He quickly lifted her and carried her over to the wagon.
“What’s going on Ike” Buck called from the ground nearby. Ike removed her boot and rolled her pants leg up higher. He could see the rattler’s mark but really had no idea what to do about it. He bent down to where Buck was propped against the wheel. =She’s been bit by a rattler, what do I do?=
“Unlock these”, he motioned toward his cuffs. “I’ll need a clean knife and something to tie around her leg”. Ike hadn’t moved. “What are you waiting for?”
Ike got to his feet and grabbed a spare bandanna out of his pocket he tied it as tightly as he could just below her knee. Then he grabbed Bucks knife out of her belt, he cleaned it off as best he could in the stream.
“Ike unchain me!” Buck shouted, “you have no idea what to do.”
Ike bent down to sign to him again, =I can’t I promised her I would not release you.=
“You promised….” He couldn’t believe it, “You! My best friend agreed to leave me handcuffed in exchange for what? The keys to your own cuffs?”
Ike looked pale =there isn’t time for this now, please tell me what to do!= He was pleading and his hands were shaking.
“Alright,” Buck’s voice was very cool but full of anger, “Cut away some of the skin around the bite.” Now try to squeeze out some of the blood on that area. Try to suck out as much of the poison as possible but don’t swallow it. You will to go get some herbs…..”
= Wait, I can’t leave you two here alone.=
“Why not, she is unconscious she wont even know you are gone?”
=What if those guys come back?=
“In that case you have two choices, 1 you unlock me and I go after the herbs, 2 you give me a gun and prop me up better next to this wagon, that way at least I can defend us….”
Ike didn’t know what to do, he couldn’t go back on his word, but he couldn’t leave Buck defenseless either. He finally retrieved the keys and unchained Bucks arms from behind him, then he locked one of the cuffs to the wheel as his had been the night before. He took out one of the guns, and looked into Bucks eyes. =Now you must promise me something= he signed. =You must promise not to shoot yourself loose unless you or Rick are in danger.=
Buck rolled his eyes.
=I gave her my word, please promise.=
“Alright, alright I promise, now here is what you need to find…”
With the help of Buck’s herbs, Rick was soon feeling much better. Ike tried to explain that Buck was responsible for her safety, but she refused to say anything about that. Buck gave the gun back to Ike when he returned, he had kept his word but refused to speak to Ike.
Ike decided it was better to leave Buck alone for a while to calm down. He climbed into the wagon and sat down next to the girl. =How are you feeling?=
“Better I guess, thanks to you.” Ike smiled sadly. “Why did you help me? You could have waited for me to die and you would still have gotten the keys.”
=I couldn’t let anyone die like that.=
She seemed satisfied with that answer but really she had hoped for something more, even she was not sure just what that would have be, but something. They talked for awhile about anything and nothing at all, she found herself laughing at his jokes, she loved the way he smiled when he ‘talked’. His whole face seemed to light up with that smile. She knew she could base her whole lifes happiness on that one face and her trust would never be betrayed.
=What’s your real name.=
“What ‘Rick’ isn’t real enough for you?” Ike didn’t answer that so she went on. “Actually Rick was the name my father made up for me. My real name is Marie. ‘Rick’ just makes things easier, I have no idea how anyone mistakes me for a boy anymore, from far away maybe, but I haven’t tried to hide in awhile. I’ll bet you two spotted me right away.” Ike nodded. “How did you get mixed up with a man like ‘Buck.’”
Ike tried to ignore the disdain in her voice when she said his name. Now was not the time to bring this up, she was beginning to trust him and if he was going to get them all back to Sweetwater safe and sound they were going to need to trust each other. =We grew up together, we were in the same orphanage, we were both misfits, but I helped him and he helped me, we didn’t need anyone else. You wouldn’t understand.=
“How can you trust him though, I mean….” He cut her off.
=I guess I don’t see what everyone else sees. I see a friend who would help me even if it hurt him. He has always tried to protect me. I would trust him with my life. I have never understood people who could make decisions about him before they even met him.= He helped you, he thought, even though you hate him.
“Your right,” she replied, “I don’t understand.” She turned her back to him and shut her eyes.
“So, you two are getting pretty close huh?”
Ike was rather startled, he had been trying to talk to Buck for hours but he had yet to acknowledge him. He decided anything was better than the silent treatment. =What do you mean?=
“You two, alone in that wagon you were in there for over two hours. What did you talk about?”
=She told me about her name, her father.= Ike left it at that. He didn’t really want to tell Buck that the conversation had also involved him.
“Hmmm so what is the respectable amount of time to leave your best friend chained to a wheel.”
It wasn’t really a question, Ike could tell that. =I already explained to you I gave her my word.=
“That’s not good enough Ike, I’ve been nice to her, I helped her when she was hurt, I haven’t touched her once. She has me tried and convicted and would sooner see me hanging from the nearest tree than look at me.”
Ike didn’t know what to say =You don’t understand, she’s scared.=
“SHE’s scared, she’s got a pair of guns and my knife and I have nothing but a seemingly useless friend kissing up to my jailer. No your right I don’t understand”
Ike tried to sign something to Buck but he refused to look at him. He came closer so that he was almost in Bucks face, without hesitation Buck used his free hand to punch Ike right across the jaw. Ike fell back against the ground. “Just stay the hell away from me!” Buck yelled.
=If that’s the way you want it fine,= Ike turned and stalked off to be by himself for awhile.
The girl came out of the wagon just in time to see Buck punch Ike in the face, when Ike walked away the girl came over with a gun and told Buck, “If you ever touch him again I don’t care if you’re his friend or not, I’ll stop you.” She recuffed his other hand to the wheel and went to follow Ike.
Buck didn’t even care anymore, he felt betrayal in the worst possible
way. Ike, his very best friend was willing to give him up for the
first pretty face that came along.
Rick found Ike perched on a rock not far away. He didn’t notice her approach, he seemed far away, lost in his own thoughts. She put her arm around his shoulder but he still didn’t appear to realize she was there. “Ike.” He still didn’t answer. “It’s beautiful isn’t it.”
=I’ve always loved watching the sun set, it doesn’t even look real sometimes.=
“I know what you mean, I always used to sit out at night staring until
the sun just disappeared. My father always had to come get me or
I’d have stayed out there all night….” She turned to find that Ike was
no longer watching the sun, he was staring right into her eyes, he pulled
her close and kissed her deeply. They kissed so long she was running
out of air, but she didn’t care, she never wanted that kiss to end.
When they finally pulled away they just leaned again the rock, their arms
around each other watching the sun until it disappeared behind the hills.
“How are we going to get the map now, she got herself a protector?”
“I think they are going to be a little distracted for awhile don’t you? I saw her hide that map in the wagon before she left. We can go in there right now and grab it”
“What about the half breed?”
“What about him, he’s chained up, besides he’s not on their side anymore didn’t you here?”
“We could even take him with us! He’d probably be grateful us rescuing him and all.”
“Your right, they couldn’t follow us if we had someone to cover our tracks, I’ll bet he’s real good at that. That’s a good idea, your first one I’ll bet.”
“Yep.” He stated proudly, but then he got a confused look on his face. “How’d you know?”
“Oh shut up will ya!”
He could hear them approaching in the bushes. Two of them, probably the same ones from the other night. One ran up to him and put his hand over Buck’s mouth. “Were going to get the map and get out of here, do you want to come with us or don’t ya.” Thoughts quickly spun through Buck’s head before he finally nodded. The man grabbed the keys from the wagon and unlocked the cuffs attaching his left hand to the wheel, he was reaching for the ones attaching his right hand when Buck grabbed the man’s hand gun from its holster. The man backed up when he heard the gun cock. “Hold it!” The second man made a move for his gun and Buck fired a shot, grazing his thigh. The first man took this opportunity to make a run for his horse. Buck fired a couple of shots after them, but both managed to get safely to their horses. Upon hearing the first shot Rick and Ike were on there feet running for the clearing. They got to the wagon about the time the two horses and their riders, one a half blood, disappeared into the trees.
The girl moved towards Buck, he pointed his gun in the air in surrender and held the gun, butt first towards her. She did not take it though. She shook her head, “keep it.” She kneeled down next to Buck on the ground. “I don’t understand, why didn’t you leave with them, he could have gotten away, you probably would have gotten some of the gold.”
Buck smiled, “Now what would I do with gold?”
The girl didn’t know how to answer that, she stood up and walked over to get the keys from where the bandits had dropped them, “Here Ike, do what’s right.”
Ike smiled then quickly came over to help Buck, his left hand had been released but his right was still chained to the wheel and so were his ankles.
He reached for the right cuff, but Buck caught his hand. “Ike,” he started.
Ike cut him off a very serious expression on his usually gentle face. =Wait Buck, I know you don’t want to see me any more, just let me get the girl back to Sweetwater safe and sound and then I’m gone ok?= “
“Ike that’s not what I was going to say, I was going to say I am sorry about what I said before, it took me awhile but I see why you did what you did. I can’t say that I would have done any differently in your place. I’m sorry I didn’t trust you.”
Ike smiled, =I’m sorry too, I wish you hadn’t had to go through all this, and I shouldn’t have left you alone here when I knew there were bandits around.=
In an overly exaggerated high pitched voice Buck quoted Lou in saying “I can take care of myself Ike.” Ike chuckled. He reached out again and released Buck’s right hand and the chain around his ankles.
Buck smiled rubbing his wrists. He stood unassisted for the first time in days. “Ahh freedom at least.”
The girl turned away, she was embarrassed at what she had done to the
both of them. Now she was certain that she had been wrong.
Yet they were still helping her. She loved Ike yet she had hurt him
and his best friend, and she was still lying to them.
Buck saw the discomfort in her face as she turned away. He walked up to her and put a hand on her shoulder. “You did what you thought was right. Even if it did turn out you had the wrong guys, you had plenty of evidence against us. Besides, we need to go get them stupid bandits, and were going to need your help.”
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