Brothers in Arms Ch. 05byrobertreams©
Morning found the three lovers as a sliver of sunlight pierced the shelter and fell upon them. Each smiled broadly as he awoke, each body sticky with cum and sweat and saliva and anal fluids. They laughed when they realized that none of them had kept watch during the night.
They discovered a new ease among them. The touched one another constantly, little pats on the ass or soft touches to one cheek or another, a short caress to the back of the neck or a quick peck on the lips or cheek. They knew that all such behavior must come to a stop if anyone else were around. They had been surprised by sudden appearances of danger several times and Sean insisted they keep a sharp eye out. "If we don't want our gunslinger here leaving a trail of dead bodies all the way to Kay Ro, we'd better keep a sharp eye out!"
Mandigo chimed in with his contribution. "So, what should we call our erstwhile companion? How about 'The Nancy Kid'."
Preston pretended to be offended. But Sean burst into laughter. "Hmm not bad. How about Kid Cocksucker?"
"Aw rite, aw rite 'nuff a dat. Now dat we'uns has all had our little laugh we can show a little respect to da one GUY here who is a real man."
Mandigo was about to reply with a cute quip about certain behaviors of the night before, but thought better of it and held his wit in check.
All three boys felt an increasing sense of urgency now that they had a definite goal for their journey, so they packed up camp rapidly and got on their way. It wasn't long before they began to notice a line of trees in the distnce and before long they came upon a brisk stream flowing in a basically northern direction.
"I wouldn't be surprised if this little creek emptied into the Ohio River somewhere soon," Mandigo said. "Also that means that very soon we are going to start running into people. Maybe a lot of people. I don't expect there is a lot of law and order out this way. There are probably a lot of not so nice people who would kill us for our shoes. And I met at least one Negro down south who was a free man, but was kidnapped in Cairo and sold down south. Pretty soon I will have to be leaving you two for your own and my safety. If we, if you, either or both of you, gets to Cairo, try to look for a free black named little Mike who runs a saloon there. That's where I am going. He helps, uh, men like me get to Chicago. Until then I have to stay pretty much out of sight."
"Nathan, Mandigo," Prest said. Sean and Ah wan you t have some money in case you need it so here is thirty seven dollars in ones and change. Don't be offended or too proud, 'kay. We want you to have it. We uh. . . er. . . kinda lak yah.
Well kind sirs, I could take offense, but I would be acting against my own self -interest, so I will gratefully accept. We shall call this a loan and some day I shall repay you. That way it is a promise that I will see the two of you again."
The next day, as the Ohio drew within sight and the boys began running into other people frequently, Sean and Preston turned to speak to the ex-slave and he had just disappeared. Gone as easily and quickly as he had appeared. They discovered from talking to others they happened upon, that Cairo was still quite a distance to the Southwest. Apparently the river bent far south in this area, and joined the Mississippi at the very Southern tip of Illinois. Heading south made both the boys nervous, but after a time they discovered they could pay for passage aboard a flat boat which would take them to Cairo by the end of the day after next, or they could take a ferry across the river and they would be in Indiana. All they new about Cairo was a few tidbits of hearsay from Nathan, but since they knew absolutely nothing about Indiana, they decided to take the boat and head for Cairo. The old trapper from whom they got their information was careful to warn them that someone might con them or rob them or shoot them at any moment along the way and to sleep with their hands in their pockets and one eye open. They drew a few stares at the beginning, but learned rapidly to rigidly guard against any open show of affection between them. They pitched their little tent for the night and slept fitfully.
By ten the next morning they had staked out a space on the deck of a flat boat that wended its way down river. This would be the first night since they had met that they would not be sleeping side by side and Sean was especially bereaved to not have his naked young lover's body against him in the night. At dockside this morning, the boys had a strange sensation that every person of color was looking at them with a certain unnamed expression, a sort of deference neither could explain. And now on the crowded boat, too, black faces looked knowingly at them for a fleeting second each before disappearing into anonymity.
White folks looked them over, noted the gunman's pistol tied at Preston's thigh and gave them a pass. That night, to secure their belongings, they slept atop the canvas hump that held their rolled up gear. All day they traveled in near silence, only speaking occasionally. Steamboats and side wheelers and rear wheelers and canoes and flatboats passed them in both directions in increasing numbers as the day wore on. In the late afternoon of the second day, they came within sight of the strange place that was Cairo, Illinois. The city seemed to be located in the middle of the river. The Mississippi rolled in a wide semi-circle to the east and the Ohio curled south. And right in the midst of those two circles, sat the bustling, dirty, swampwater town of Cairo. It seemed that the slightest wave would submerge the whole place. It was in the river and on the river and of the river. Once on the dock they set about trying to find lodging. After struggling through the crowded streets of the dock area for about ten minutes, they were accosted by a small young negro of about twelve years. "Sahs, sahs, please sahs I has a message for ya.
"For us," Sean asked? But no one knows us. Who could know we are here?"
"'Scuse me sahs but cud ya please slow dawn. Ise jes a little girl 'n I cain't hardly keep up."
Stopping short, since they were headed no particular place to begin with, the two boys began to speak at once. Sorting it out, Prest finally spoke.
"Lookee here gal. What you mean messin' with a coupla white folks? Now git along home for somebody grabs ya."
"But Suh, I gots a message for ya."
"Ya know me?"
"Then how dya know da message is fer me."
"Well suh, Lil Mike he say look fer two white men, one what's taller and dark headed, t'other gwan be red in the head and wearing a gun like in the dime books. Ain't that ya'll suh?"
Sean and Preston exchanged glances as if to say 'that could only be from Nathan'.
"Well, gal, don' jes stand der blubberin', tell us da message!"
"Lil Mike suh, he say tell dem two white genlmens dey is ta come to da Depot and he'd be 'bliged ta buy ya'll's supper and a drink," bowing slightly, "Thet's all suhs, thank yall."
"Woah, girl, don't be rushing off, Sean said. I'll give you a half-dollar if you will show us the way."
"A haf Dollah? Goodness suh, fer haf dollah more I'd show ya all the way ta Canada!" giggling as if that were the funniest thing.
Sean hefted the heavy parcel over his shoulder and began to follow the energetic little Negress at high speed through the crowded streets.
"Here ya'll is suhs dis here is Da Depot, Lil Mike inside der."
Prescot was feeling a bit uncomfortable and unhooked the safety loop from his pistol. "Uh Sean, you gonna jes waltz on in der?"
Sean chuckled. "Well I've got you to protect me, so I'm feeling mighty brave. Let's just go in and see what awaits us."
From the outside the place resembled nothing more than a pile of rubble, the rickety porch was askew, the windows were crooked, the river seemed to be lapping at the very entrance, in short the entire structure looked as if it might crash into the river and float away at any minute. A hand painted sign hung over the door with crooked lettering "THE DEPOT". Sounds of very loud voices and even louder music poured from the dimly lit interior and the two boys took a second to adjust their eyes to the gloom. As the boys stepped inside it became immediately obvious that they were now the only two white men in the place. The noise level dropped by several decibels and dozens of black faces, male and female turned in their direction.
"Uh," Mike stammered, a bit disconcerted by the circumstances. "We're looking for Little Mike. Or, uh, maybe I should say he's looking for us."
A dozen or more thumbs gestured toward a closed door behind the bar, but as the boys began to move in that direction, a petite light skinned mulatto woman with freckles and a beautiful figure, dashed through the door and slammed it behind her. A moment later Mike emerged.
He was the largest human being Sean had ever seen. It seemed he was at least seven foot tall and over 300 pounds. His neck was square, shoulders straight and level. His chest formed a vee down to his narrow waist. Legs, arms, head, hands, feet all seemed to be square chunks of obsidian. The formidable look of him was softened, however, by the light of a beatific smile and sparkling intelligent eyes.
"Welcome to my club, The Depot, young white men." The voice was deep and resonant but soft and mellifluously inviting, rising from a barrel chest through a thickly cabled neck and prominent Adam's apple. "Wont you please come This way." The giant of a man bent to whisper in the ear of the beautiful obviously mixed-race girl, who promptly turned and scurried away.
Sean and Preston moved cautiously past Li'l Mike and through the door. Inside, the room was decked in quiet splendor. Paneling made from exotic wood lined the entire room. Bookshelves of the same rare materials were much in evidence. A warm fire blazed in an ornate fireplace with brass andirons. And everywhere, everywhere there were books. The shelves were full, the tables overflowed, some were scattered across areas of the carpeted floor. Even some of the chairs held books. Sean had been to the New York Public Library. He judged that this room held about half as many books.
The dark giant shook hands with Prest first, then Sean. Though their relatively small hands disappeared in his, his touch was firm, but gentle, almost soothing. "I have taken the liberty of ordering you both a bowl of stew and some bread and butter. Will that be sufficient do you think?"
Sean and Prest looked stupidly back and forth at one another and mumbled.
Mike chuckled softly. "Have a seat, gentlemen, would either of you like some brandy. I have a very special bottle of Napoleon that I have had stashed away."
The boys had not yet found their words, could only nod.
Mike poured them all a splash of cognac and settled behind a vast desk of very dark wood Sean surmised might be ebony and put his feet up. "I suppose you wonder why I asked you here," the gentle giant queried.
Both boys started to speak, stammered a bit, sorted it out and finally Sean Spoke. "Well, we assumed it has something to do with Mandigo."
"In a sense, yes. He is eternally grateful for your help and he assured me that he trusted both of you with his life. I had a feeling there was a little more to it than that, but did not press. Have either of you ever heard of the underground railroad?"
"Yup, its an evil conspiracy to steal slaves from their rightful masters," Prest opined without thinking.
"Huh," Sean asked?
'Lil Mike laughed aloud. "Now I am not so sure I should say what is on my mind. The underground railway is a series of stops along the way where escaped slaves can make their way north, sometimes as far north as Canada, and find freedom."
"Is that where Mandigo is, Canada," Sean asked?
"If he is lucky, Mandigo is in Chicago or will be in a few days," Li'l mike answered. "If he were going to Canada, that could take as long as a month more. But he said he wanted to stay in the United States, to build a place for his people in the future. He also mentioned that he wished to stay in the states in the hope that he might see the two of you again. I must say that he was mightily impressed by the two of you. Enamored you might say. Anyway, and you are sworn to secrecy, this is a stop on the underground railroad. It's why I called it the Depot. As I said, I have a proposition for the two of you."
"We're listening," the two boys replied in unison, a synchronicity that was happening more and more frequently as they grew to know each other better and better.
"I want to hire you, especially you, Prest. Things are becoming more and more violent around here as more and more blacks move this way. Many people say that our president will free the slaves any day now. With copperheads and others around, and others from Kansas and Missouri right across the river. I am a man of peace and nor well versed in protecting myself. Not only that, but if I were to defend myself against a white man, I would be they would lynched within the hour. So I want to Hire you, Preston, to be a sort of bodyguard, to fight my battles for me. I have heard that you are very very quick with a gun."
"And me, what would I do," Sean asked?
"Well, you would be sort of my white eyes and ears, my white voice. You would be a kind of go between when I need to deal with white men. With lawyers and banks and land offices and tax people and agreements and disputes and the like."
"I don't know if I want my life to be about shooting and killing," Preston said.
The pay is ten dollars a day, seven days a week. That's about three times the average pay around here, but I also have another thing that I can offer you that you might find hard to find around here, a place for you to live together without anyone bothering you. If you get my meaning. And at no cost. Plus you could get your meals here at the club for free if you don't mind being seen eating with Negros."
Again, both boys started to talk at once. Mike held up a hand to silence them. "Take time to think it over. I'll give you 'til morning. In the meantime I have a room prepared for you. I will have one of my people prepare a bath for you and I can send up a bottle if you like. No charge for anything. Spend the night, enjoy, bathe, sleep, drink, eat. I will send someone up for you around ten in the morning and you can give me your decision then, okay?"
"I want to ask you one thing, first," Sean said. "Why are you doing this for us? What's the catch?"
"Believe me, if you decide to work for me, it will be a very hard thing. We will have to be very careful or every white man and woman in town will be against you There is a lynching fever in this town, and tensions between North and South, and between the races are high. I also expect that our president will soon make a decision that will anger many. I ask for your help because I was assured by a runaway slave that you can be trusted. I can trust no one else who is white. And I need white people for the reasons I have already stated."
Sean looked at Preston.
Preston looked at Sean.
Both boys shrugged in unison. Sean looked at Li'l Mike, held out his hand. "It's a deal. We will talk it over tonight and give you our answer in the morning. In the meantime, I sure, could use a bath, and a bottle of whiskey." Sean rose and leaned to shake Mike's hand. Even Preston hesitated only slightly before shaking the huge black hand.
Mike raised his voice, deep and booming, "Cassandra, would you come here please?"
The beautiful mixed-race girl entered almost immediately. "Cassandra would you please show these two gentlemen to the little house on fourth street. Stay there with them and get them anything they need. I know they want a bath. And get them a bottle from Ned and anything else they need. And bring them back here at ten in the morning. And, Cassie, You have nothing to fear from these gentlemen, even if they are white men. Do you have any questions?"
"No suh, Mr. Mike." The girl stood back a few paces and waited patiently.
"Okay, until ten tomorrow then."
The young girl handed over the bottle of whiskey.
The boys' lodgings turned out to be cozy, if not elaborate. A kitchen and sitting room and a bedroom. Though there was no plumbing, there was a small separate room that held a giant copper bath tub. The floor had a drain in it so that used bath water could be merely spilled to start over.
It took nearly an hour to carry and heat enough water for a bath. The boys finally convinced the young mulatto girl that they had no further use for her services. At last they were alone. They stood in the small room, steam rising wetly from the tub and looked lovingly at one another. Prest stepped closer. "You first, he said and began to unlace Sean's muslin shirt. "I think we must be the luckiest guys alive," Prest said, running both his palms over the broad expanse of Sean's chest. The hair there was dark and curled, but very sparse, like a shadow around both hard brown nipples. Prest had recently become aware that Sean's nipples were extremely sensitive to manipulation and began to roll each hard wrinkled nipple between a thumb and forefinger. Sean moaned softly. Preston continued stroking one palm across Sean's chest and nipples, with the other he reached down, checking Sean's reaction to his caresses. As he suspected, that enormous organ that he had grown to love so much, stirred and pulsed under his hand. Deftly, he removed the remainder of Sean's clothing and led him by the hand into the tub.
Cassandra had left them a bar of soap scented with lavender and the soothing scent filled the room as Prest began to tenderly wash Sean's hair. Prest paused for a moment to doff his own clothes, then returned to the tub. Cassandra had left several buckets of warm water and Prest now used a part of one of them to rinse Sean's hair before continuing his ablutions. Softly, tenderly his fingers washed Sean's face, his eyelids, his ears. As his fingers scrubbed at the rough shadow of Sean's beard, he conjured up an image of that scruffiness scratching across the back of his neck and shoulders when Sean filled him from behind. His thoughts caused an immediate erection in his own long thin penis, its pink head peeking from beneath its retracting foreskin.
Sean reached with one hand, hot from the steaming water and stroked Prest's cock once, sliding the foreskin up and back. A crystal clear drop appeared on the tip, glistening in the lamplight. Sean leaned, placed one hand on each of Prest's hips, and licked carefully as if capturing a rare gem with his tongue. The young rebel barely overcame an immense urge to thrust his aching cock deep into Sean's throat. "Not now," he panted, "not yet. Let me do this." he moved to the end of the tub and began to wash Sean's feet. Sensuously he rubbed and bathed each toe separately, caressed Sean's aching feet as only a lover can do, pressing deeply enough to cause some pain, massaging away deep tension. Sean sighed deeply and sunk another inch or two in the soothing water, as Prest's loving hands moved up his calves, caressed his inner thighs, teased and tickled the backs of his knees. Avoiding Sean's bulging hugeness and large wrinkled balls for the time being, Preston returned to the head of the tub and leaned Sean forward. His hands moved more roughly as they worked on Sean's neck and shoulders. He could feel the tension draining from Sean's body as he worked. And as he worked on Sean's body, his cock was everywhere, trailing across a thigh, a toe, a hip, lolling against Sean's lower back as he worked his shoulders, brushing a cheek; leaving a trail of fire-like sensations in its wake.
Sean had never been so intensely provoked, so on edge.
"Stand up," Preston urged and began to wash Sean's back, scrubbing with his nails, just enough to excite the skin. As he scrubbed Sean's back, his cock rested and swayed and pulsed against Sean's lower back and bobbed in and out of Sean's shapely ass crack.