Coyote Trail

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Chapter 20: Ellie Makes a Break for It

The Spencers had kept on moving throughout the night. The next day, they stopped only occasionally to rest their horses. On the second night, saddle sore and spent, they stopped to cold camp and rest. The next day, they crossed the San Juan River just to the southeast of Durango.

They followed it east until they came upon an old, deserted cabin that sat overgrown and deteriorating among the trees lining the river. The place was familiar to them, they’d held up there before. In fact, it was where they and the Coyotes had earlier laid their plans to hit the stage.

“Well boys, we’re right back where we started from.” Daniel grumbled as he swung down from his horse.

“Well at least we didn’t come back empty handed!” Luke said as he eyed Ellie Masters with wicked intent. The kid dismounted, stepped over beside Ellie’s horse and stood looking up at her with a smile.

She turned her face from him in disgust.

The kid’s smile turned to a frown.

“Now that’s not at all nice.” he said. She grimaced with pain as he untied her wrists from the saddle horn.

They had been rubbed raw.

“Now you come on down from there!” he ordered as he grabbed her arm and yanked her from the saddle.

She fell hard on the ground with a thud!

The kid thought that was real funny. He stood there laughing away at her misery until Daniel stepped up behind him and grabbed him hard by his long hair.

“If you’re lookin’ to rile me boy, you’re just about there!” he warned. “I suggest you tend to the horses and leave the woman alone!”

Daniel turned loose of Luke’s hair and a boot in the butt sent the kid stumbling on his way! Then, grabbing Ellie by the arm, he led her towards the cabin.

Joseph, who had sat quietly observing the goings on, shook his head, dismounted and handed the reigns to Luke.

“If I were you, I’d leave her alone.” he said. “For now.”

He turned and followed after Daniel.

The interior of the cabin was dark, dank and dusty. In the middle of the room was an uneven plank-board table and an old oil lamp. There were only two chairs, the backrests having at one time been removed and used for firewood.

Joseph sat himself down on one and turned to his older brother.

“I hope you ain’t plannin’ on holdin’ up here for too long.” he said, “It’s too damn risky!”

“I know that.” Daniel replied. “We’re just gonna rest up for a short spell and then we’ll move on.”

He was tired of riding, tired of bein’ pursued, tired of the whole damn way of living! He stood looking out of a broken window at the cool, inviting water of the San Juan.

“I could use a bath.” He said. “I can’t hardly stand my own stink!”

Joseph stood lookin’ at his brother. He’s getting’ too old for this, startin’ to crack under the strain, he thought.

“Well don’t get lost out there.” he replied.

“You just keep an eye on the woman till I get back!” said Daniel.

He started out the back door but then stopped abruptly.

“You better keep yer other eye on Luke.”

With Joe’s acknowledgement, Daniel started down to the river. Joe glanced over at Ellie, sitting crouched in a corner of the room, her back against the wall, the gag still in her mouth.

Her eyes met his with a look of contempt.

He turned and glanced out the window at his brother who was stripping off his shirt down at the river’s edge. The outlaw stared again at the helpless woman and his base desire got the better of him. Now was as good a time as any to get to know her a little better, he figured.

“What a pretty little thing you are!” he said as he stood over her. “We ought to get to know each other better, don’t ya think?”

Reaching down, he grabbed her by a wrist and pulled her to her feet, causing her to wince with pain. He caught her in his arms, pulled her to him and began removing the gag from her mouth.

“If you cry out, I’ll have to shut you up.” he warned. “But if you be nice to me, I’ll see to it that you come out’a this whole thing alive!”

He pressed her body against his, savoring the feel of her. Grabbing her by the hair, he pulled her head back and forcefully kissed her dry lips. She tried to pry herself away from him but his hold tightened.

He forced her backwards over the table and pressed himself against her, forcing her legs apart and she felt his weight upon her as he bent her back upon the table. Her feet came off the floor as he forced another kiss on her. He began to lick and bite her neck and his hand went between her legs!

Her eyes glimpsed the oil lamp only inches from her head. With her free hand, she reached for it, grasped it and with all her strength, smashed it down over the outlaw’s head!

Bits of broken glass and oil flew everywhere and Joe slumped over, falling unconscious to the floor! Ellie got to her feet, wiping oil and tiny bits of glass from her face and bosom. Stepping over, she reached down and pulled the outlaw’s Colt from its holster.

She turned and fled out the front door . . . right into the arms of Luke Spencer!

“Where d’you think you’re goin’ missy?” he asked with a sinister smile. “I ain’t had my fun with you yet!”

In an instant, she brought her knee up into his groin! Luke’s eyes bulged, he bent over and groaned and Ellie swiftly brought the butt of the Colt down on his head! He collapsed face down on the ground and didn’t move.

Ellie Masters was free!

She glanced around but didn’t see the horses, so she turned and ran, full knowing that she was running for her life!

She ran like she had never run before! The only thing she could think about was Joseph Spencer’s fowl breath and Luke’s insane cruelty. She plunged through the trees and growth along the river until she reached a shallow bend and then she plunged her way across to the south bank!

She kept on running, following the river to the southwest, back the way they had come. She continued on until her legs ached and her stomach hurt and then she ran some more!

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