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Chapter 32

We ran the horses at a full gallop for several more miles, before we slowed them down to a walk. “I’m sorry Bill.” she said softly. “I’m almost sixteen, and I’ve never really been on a date, the Socials don’t really count. I don’t even know many boys. . . I like you. You’re like the heroes I read about in my books.”

I smiled to myself at that, I never thought about me being any hero. I was just doing what needed done. Pa would never even think twice about doing these things, so why should I.

All my life, I’d heard the hush talk of the Macalister family. Talk that was never spoken in our home, our name was well known and very respected. That’s all I ever wanted: To have respect by my own makin’ not by entitlement of someone else’s past deeds.

“Okay.” I said softly as I honestly tried to understand her reasoning, and I think even to a degree I did. “Hope you like our first date.” I said with a smile.

I saw her smile slightly, and then nothing more was said.

Now if my older brother were here, none of this would have happened. Darrell was in the Marines, and he was as tough as nails, and he was a no nonsense type man.

He was forever telling me: not to be so wild and ornery. He’d told me once that there was some actions, that were just totally unacceptable in our society today. I just wonder, exactly how he would be handling this situation.

Sure as heck...wouldn’t be no candy-ass operation.

The special military helicopter, had just landed at the Thomas Jefferson airport. The large well-built officer was surrounded by the reporters. To tell you the truth any other time he would have eaten up the media, and spat them out. (Darrell Macalister hated the press.) They wanted a new top Macalister story.

“Captain Macalister, are you going to go after your brother, and help bring the fugitives to justice?” a little mouse-face reporter asked as he shoved his way through.

“Captain Macalister, do you think it’s right for your brother to make himself judge, jury, and executioner?”

Darrell turned to face the reporters, “I’m only going to answer the first two questions, then I want you people to get the hell away from me.” He thought about his younger brother for a moment then he smiled. “To answer both questions. Yes, on both accounts.” Darrell, forced his way through the net of pushy mouthy totally annoying press, and made his way to the waiting car.

Lady Lane firmly stood her ground, in her hands was Dobs Macalister’s old double barreled shotgun, the pup by her side snarling. “You people have no business here! The land is clearly posted: NO TRESPASSING. I take it since you are reporters, you can read and understand English. But for the sake of argument, maybe you can read this.” She replied as she fired a shot over the heads of the reporters.

She smiled then softly chuckled as she watched the reporters scatter, and run for their vans. I have to admit it: My family is quite ornery when pushed by morons and complete idiots.

Edith Macalister sat at her husband’s bedside holding his hand, her eyes moist from the tears she had cried. The strain over the past few days had been almost too much for her to stand.

First her husband’s surgery, then her babies being taken away, the only glimmer of hope that she held onto was her son Bill. She realized he was only fifteen, but he had the determination of a bulldog. Her heart ached when she’d heard his last words, “I failed to protect my family, I gotta be the one to set things right.”

Rob Macalister slowly opened his eyes, and looked into the face of his wife. “Edith.” He said softly, as he gave her hand a light squeeze. Edith smiled as she leaned, over to give her husband a hug.

“They been found yet?” he asked softly.

Edith slowly shook her head, “Still no word, Bill is still out there.”

“Good boy. . . you know he’s gonna kill them. He is his father’s son, even in prison. . . Borga has a good reach, our boy is probably gonna need a good lawyer.”

“You think it’s him too.” Edith asked softly.

Rob and Edith heard the commotion outside the door, then the sound of a fist striking flesh. Seconds later, the door was opened. “I got but one question, anyone up to a helicopter ride, back to the place?” Darrell asked with a grin.

Joanna and me had pushed the horses at leg breaking speeds, to get to the canyon before dark. The mama dog, finally caught up with us, when she made it into our camp, she gave us very dirty looks. “Won’t be long now.” I said with a grin. “Ole Mama dog, here will pick up the scent, and then we’ll take em.”

“Is that her name? Mama dog.” Joanna asked.

“No...she don’t really have a name yet.” I said, suddenly realizing the dog needed a name. I studied for a moment, “I think she looks like a Sherry. Yeah! Ole Sherry Berry.” I said with a laugh.

Joanna shook her head, and muttered something intangible, but then she too but then she too had to laugh. It finally occurred to me that I had not, looked in the saddle bags, that Joanna’s father had given me I then took a looksee, there was some leather tongs, a burlap sack. I smiled as I picked up the spyglass, it was very old, and in mint condition.

I imagined myself being able to look through it, and actually see the children back at home. But unfortunately this was reality not some fantasy.

I scanned the trail ahead and saw nothing to indicate, the children were even close by. Then I checked our back trail, and saw no sign, that we were being followed. For the moment we were fairly safe.

We made our camp and settled in for the night, Joanna, wanted to talk while we ate our meal, I really couldn’t blame her that canyon was weird. The old timers claim that the dead, walked it at night. That even during the spring and summer, the nights would get freezing cold.

We were both exhausted from the hard day’s ride so after we ate we pulled out our bedding. It was Joanna’s idea to share the blankets and use each other’s body heat to stay warm.

I really didn’t see anything wrong with this. For the years to come pa, would tease me about this, saying I took advantage of the situation. We slept throughout the night, in each other’s arms, and awoke to a freezing wind. Legend had it, this meant the spirits were angry, my first thought was, we messed up by sleeping together.

But soon the wind died down, and the sun was beginning to rise over the horizon. Neither of us ever spoke of the incident, we were not ashamed it was just too damn spooky.

We quickly got our gear back on our horses, I knelt down and patted Sherry’s head, “Okay girl, find the kids.” I said softly. She barked excitedly, and took off at a dead run.

The large man knelt down and checked the slight impression, in the earth. It had not taken him long, to pick up the trail of his daughter and the boy. He smiled softly, as he mounted his horse, he knew he could trust the Macalister boy.

He’d talked to the boy’s mother, and she’d assured him that Bill was a good boy and that he’d protect his daughter. He rode hard and fast toward Echo Canyon.

He knew that the kids were at-least, a good day’s ride ahead of him, but something told him he was going to be needed. He began to push his horse, he also knew that all this was due to the war Texas had fought against Borga not so long ago.

Borga was one sick bastard to go after children, Bill Macalister wasn’t the real target, as far as Borga knew the boy was dead. The surrounding towns had gone mute over certain facts from those days.

Many of the heroes from back then were either dead or useless drunks, maybe one or two had actually moved on. Moved away was more like it.

“The problem with Echo Canyon Captain, is it is over fifty miles long, and thirty miles wide. The over growth of trees, won’t be of any help. . . the chances of you finding them are something like a million to one.” the pilot said grimly.

“You just fly this damn thing, and keep you opinions to yourself!” Darrell said angrily. Hold on kids. . . hold on Billy-Boy. He thought silently.

Sherry Berry had changed her course several times in the past hour. Just when I was about to call to her, I smelled the smoke. I put my hand up to silence Joanna from speaking out. I patted my leg to call Sherry Berry.

I dismounted and motioned to Joanna to stay put, and to keep the animals quiet. I silently worked my way through the underbrush, and stared into the clearing. I saw at least five men in the camp.

I felt my heart leap into my throat, when I saw the kids. They were tied up, and were placed next to a large boulder, and on either side of them was a thick set of trees.

Sneaking into the camp now, would have been suicide, I knew I was going to have to wait. Then it would be up to either God, or fate who lives or who dies.

I silently went back to where I’d left Joanna and Sherry Berry waiting. I mounted Ricky and motioned for them to follow me. We rode for a couple of miles, before I spoke, “They’re in that camp, now we play the waiting game.” I said in low voice. “Tonight we take em.”

Joanna seemed to know to keep her distance from me, I guess, she knew I was psyching myself up, for what I was going to do. I have to tell you, I didn’t really know just how, I was going to be able to take them bastards out.

I’ve been hunting many times. I knew how to make a good kill, for I always took home my share of fresh meat. To this day I don’t know everything I did that night.

“I’m telling you. . . I got a bad feeling about this night.” the outlaw told his friends. “I think we should move on. . . we don’t have to do them kids, we could leave them here, someone will be along, and take them home. Fuck Borga!”

“What’s the matter you afraid of the boogeyman?” a large outlaw asked with a laugh.

“You’re a fuckin’ idiot, I can feel it in the pit of my stomach, if we stay here tonight we’re all going to die.”

The other outlaws found this to be very funny, and began to razz the outlaw as they passed the bottle.

One outlaw smiled exposing black stumps of rotting teeth, as he staggered over to the children “Tonight my little chickie.” He said as he pointed to Lizzie.

“What’s the story?” the large outlaw asked as he nodded his head toward the outlaw.

One outlaw giggled as he took the bottle, “Let’s just say this Banger loves children. I never knew him to hold off so long.”

The large outlaw shook his head in disgust, He was the type of prisoner, that would gladly kill the person that would harm a child. If Banger did try anything with the girl he’d kill him. He had children of his own, and several nieces and nephews that he truly loved. He’d never dream of harming a child. He was just too damn lazy to get a real job. Hitting small stores and gas stations was so much easier.

Then this deal with Borga came up, sounded like a good way to escape and get enough money to get really far gone. But it had turned into such a major cluster fuck.

Joanna and I sat and munched on biscuits and drank from the canteen, it seemed like we waited forever for night to come. We forced ourselves to wait another hour past dark, before we made our move. The plan was plain and simple: Joanna was to wait until she heard my signal, then she was to come into the camp, and get the kids out. I was to be the only one to do any killing.

We left the horses picketed, and walked in on foot. It was a stroke of luck that Sherry found the rattler. Joanna called softly to her while I got a long stick and caught the snake. I quickly put it in the burlap sack and used one of the leather tongs to tie the sack closed.

Mom would seriously rethink: He’s such a good boy thoughts if she knew what I had done.

“What are you going to do with that?” Joanna asked softly.

I grinned and I could only guess that she got the message, cause she shuddered and stared at me strangely.

I paused for a moment, and picked up a couple of sticks about three inches long. I pulled one of the thongs from my belt, and tied one end to the middle of one of the sticks. After making certain it was secure, I repeated the procedure with the remaining stick.

I wrapped my weapon around the handle of my Bowie knife, and picked up the sack, and slapped it against a boulder. Joanna was looking at me as if I’d lost my mind but she remained silent.

We silently made it to the outer edge of the camp, and we listened to the sounds from the camp. I waited for my eyes to adjust to the dim light of their campfire. Then I went in.

I quickly opened the sack and rushed past, the first sleeping man. I dumped the rattler onto the man’s chest, the snake slithered across his face, and sunk it’s fangs deep into his neck.

The man had awoken and began thrashing about, screaming as the camp quickly came to life. The poison doing the work for me, the man fell silent as death took him.

During the confusion I rushed up behind another man and I quickly pulled my choker, and wrapped it around his throat. I gave it a few quick twists forcing him to his knees. I quickly pulled my Bowie knife and shoved it deeply into his back, and gave it a twist. I let the man fall to the ground, and pulled my knife free.

God how my hands shook, but there was no turning back now. I was pissed off and I was in kill mode, and those fuckers were gonna pay.

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