The Gun & The Whipbypanama trick©
Back at the ranch in the canyon, the Questor had worked one hand loose. He pulled himself up the rope a bit and slipped the other arm free. Dropping to the ground quietly he moved like a ghost towards the guard who was nodding in his chair. A quick move and the guard lay dead on the ground, his neck broken. The Questor leaned down and picked up the man's weapons and then slipped quietly into the house.
At the same time, Rog was cutting the Indian girl down, she collapsed into his arms and he laid her gently on the floor. He'd begun to develop a real disliking for McKee and he silently snuck through the door into a long hallway leading to the main room.
The Questor found himself in an alcove off the main room, looking around he noticed a room off to the right and he moved quickly to the door and let himself in. He smiled, there were his pistols and from the desk drawer in the small office he heard the keening of the Bowie. The weapon had been in his family for generations and had an attachment to the Questor who carried it that was eerie to say the least.
He moved back out into the hall, now armed with his familiar weapons, his eyes a dark disturbing blue that left no room for doubt what his mood was like. He heard voices coming from the main room, well, no time like the present.
Rog came from the other side of the room, his shotgun lowered and ready to use. The Questor saw him as soon as he entered the room and grinned an evil grin. Both of them looked at the man standing by the big chair and suddenly the Questor's hands were full of Colts and Rog was locked down on him with the shotgun.
McKee laughed, "well boys, I guess ya' got me huh?"
The Questor looked around, this sonofabitch was a little too pleased with himself, something wasn't quite right. Rog and the Questor noticed the men in the shadows at the same time. Guns lowered, jaws set, hell was about to open up for someone.
The Questor and Rog threw themselves behind a couch, looking at each other with set eyes then both nodded at the same time. Two men stood and turned, two colts and a shotgun roared. Three men died instantly. The Questor and Rog stepped backward toward the door that Rog had entered. Their guns blazed again, three more men bit the dust and McKee disappeared behind his big chair. An errant shot hit Rog in the shoulder and a splinter of wood buried itself in the Questor's leg, but they fired again and again.
They fell through the back exit from the room and turned to sprint down the hall. Crashing through a window at the end of the hall they found themselves out in back of the ranch house. Under a tree they noticed someone with two horses saddled and ready to go, as they got closer Rog recognized the Indian girl. The Questor leaped into his saddle, Rog climbed a little slower with his wounded shoulder, finally allowing the Indian girl to help him. As they were about to leave he reached down, if they left the girl here she would be dead within the hour.
She swung up behind Rog, whispering thank you Sir in his ear. Her arms wrapped around him and she rested her head on his good shoulder. The Questor and Rog broke for the opening of the cave.
Somehow they were quickly clear of the madness at the ranch and were racing across the night desert back to town. Rog felt the girl clinging to him and shaking and a small smile slipped over his face.
Back in town, three men slipped into the stage office, tied the station head up and waited for the payroll coach.
The Questor, Rog and the girl rode from the canyon toward town. It was late in the evening so they pulled up and built a fire in a small copse of trees. The ground was high enough here that they could see someone coming for miles and the moon was full that night.
The girl tended to Rog's shoulder, the bullet had gone clear through and had not damaged the bone or torn an artery. He was lucky.
While she took care of Rog, the Questor rode out a short way from the trees and found a small stream with a little pond close by. He took the horses down to water and then returned with them to the trees. They were brushed down and resaddled, it was wise to keep the horses ready for a quick escape in case McKee and his boys decided to come looking for them.
Rog shot a rabbit and the girl skinned and prepared it. The Questor spitted it and put it over the fire to roast, soon the succulent smell of meat rose to their nostrils and they all realized just how hungry they were. The rabbit was eaten quickly and as twilight set in the girl grabbed a cloth and headed for the pond to wash up.
Rog stopped her, "what's your name girl? I'm uncomfortable saying hey you or girl."
She smiled briefly, "they call me merl Sir, I'm from the Blackfeather tribe, and they can't quite pronounce my given name."
"Okay merl, well I'm going to go down there with you. Its dark, and there are coyotes and more dangerous critters wandering around the plains here at night. You get your bath and I'll keep an eye out!"
The Questor chuckled under his breath. It was obvious that Rog was interested in the girl who was actually quite pretty except for the brand on the side of her face. She had the Indian features and the long flowing hair past her shoulders. He watched as the two of them headed for the creek and then put out his bedroll and laid by the fire.
Rog escorted the girl to the pond and took up a guard position from behind a tree where he couldn't really see the girl, but he could hear her. The way things were arranged here the only way into the pond would be past him.
The girl stripped and waded into the cool water, goose bumps rose on her arms and her nipples tightened as her breasts entered the water to float naturally on the surface. The whip marks on her back were soothed by the cool water and gradually the tension started to leave her body. As she floated peacefully and her eyes started to relax a bat flew out of nowhere and skimmed the surface of the water next to her in pursuit of an insect. She screamed and splashed around which of course caught Rog's attention.
Racing from the water she ran right past Rog who caught a glimpse of her in the moonlight. His heart stopped, her body was beautiful, her long hair running down her back, the cloth wrapped around her hips, a frightened look in her doe eyes. He approached her from behind, making enough noise that she would know it was him. "Merl, its okay, there's nothing here that can hurt you," he said as he reached out and touched her shoulder.
She melted back into his arms, her body warm and tense as he wrapped them around her. A pretty sigh escaped her lips as her head rested on his shoulder bringing a wince from him, but not a sound. He held her for a moment, relishing the feel of her against him and then realizing that he was being a bit forward released her and stepped back.
She turned and looked at him with a quizzical look. She was used to being taken by men when they had hunger. She had been a slave to McKee, a toy for his amusement and expected harsh treatment from men. She had in fact developed an appetite for the pain, it made her nerves alive, and it served to remind her of her place. This man had saved her from a terrible beating and yet he was treating her like a princess in her eyes.
His eyes roamed her body, "god she was beautiful!" He reacted as any normal man would, his eyes filling with her, his breath coming short, his cock hardening in his pants, all easily seen by her.
A smile on her lips she moved to him, her face turned up as she pressed her breasts into his chest and she kissed his chin.
With a growl Rog threw all caution to the winds, he crushed her against his chest, his lips met hers and in just a moment they were entwined on the soft grass surrounding the pond. She bit his shoulder above the wound, causing him to cry out and then grab her hair. He yanked her head back and sank his own teeth savagely into her neck while his hands tore the cloth away from her body and he insinuated himself between her legs. She arched to him as she felt his manhood press against her cunny, her hands moving quickly to undo his belt and then with her strong legs and feet peeled the pants down his legs as she ground against him. It would be hard to tell whose hunger was greater as he sank into her heat and she moaned out in her native language. A coyote came down out of the hills to drink at the pond, but stopped by the trees surrounding the pond. The noises and the smells from the two filled the air and kept the beast from the water. Back at the campsite the Questor heard the girl cry out and Rog roar as they completed their union and smiled. He rolled over and dropped off to sleep.
Back in town the men who had tied up the station master played poker and drank whisky. The stage would be here in the morning and the plan was to meet it on the outskirts of town, take the payroll for the train workers and head out to the hidden ranch. These were men who had no qualms and killing the station master and the coach men was part of the process. The older gunslinger that had crossed paths with the Questor previously secretly hoped he'd have an opportunity to avenge his nephew, but if it wasn't this time it would happen soon. As night fell over the town and the streets became quiet with the exception of the saloon at the end of the street, Valerie walked to the coach station. She had a package she wanted to send to the private detective in San Francisco who was finding out information about the Questor and it would go out on the coach in the morning. Rog and merl walked back to the campsite together, their eyes never leaving each other. As Rog slid his arm around her he brushed against the fresh weals from the whip and she whimpered in pain. He swore to himself that he would exact revenge for her. They returned to the campsite and merl stretched out on a blanket looking up at Rog. He smiled and picked up his rifle, set his back against a tree and took the first watch.
Valerie walked into the stagecoach office; two sets of guns pointed at her and directed her to a seat in the corner. The older man slipped a cloth in her mouth and tied it there with a bandana then tied her hands behind her to the chair.
The Questor dreamt of raven black hair and dancing eyes.
The sun rose and the Questor was already up. He'd switched places with Rog in the early morning hours and let the two sleep while he fixed some coffee and watered the horses. He tied Rog's horse to the tree and mounted his stallion, then rode off to town while they slept. He had a feeling that it was time for him to ride on out and he needed to settle his bill and get the rest of his belongings.
As he rode he thought of the girl, she was becoming an obsession and he didn't need the distraction. He was a solitary man, he was often afoul of the law and he needed to be able to move quickly. A girl like that would slow him down if he let her.
He noticed a dust cloud coming from the east and rode across the plains toward it. About five miles out of town he ran across a stagecoach racing along the trail. As he rode up to it the guard in the seat looked down at him and cocked his rifle. "What can I do for ya' Mister?" he said.
"Well to tell you the truth, I'm heading into town myself. You mind if I tag along?" The guard looked him over, he looked like a dangerous man but he'd done nothing to arouse suspicion. "Sure ya' can Mister, you just make sure you ride out front where I kin keep an eye on ya', okay?"
The Questor chuckled, "fair enough." He pulled alongside the horses to the coach and rode quietly beside them.
As they rounded a bend in the trail, two men came out of the rocks pistols blazing. The driver of the stagecoach was hit immediately and fell off the seat while the guard tried to level down the rifle on one of the men. As the driver fell, the horses felt the reins drop. The noise of shooting spooked them and the stage was suddenly jerked to one side causing it to tip over.
The guard somehow managed to land on his feet and hunkered down behind the coach. The Questor was out there all by himself, but the two waylaying the coach had not planned on him. His colts appeared magically in his hands, bullets spewing out of the barrels one after the other. The first man was hit four times in rapid succession. Two of the shots took out an eye and blew the back of his head off; the other two were in the heart. The second man was a little luckier, or a little less lucky depending on how you saw it. A shot caught him right in the gut and threw him off the horse he was riding to land in the dust next to the coach.
The Questor was off his horse in a flash. He knelt down beside the second man, the Bowie in his hand and glared into his eyes. "Alright you bastard, who do you ride with? Are there any more of you? Come on spit it out or I'll cut that damn bullet out of you right here in the dirt."
The man groaned, some blood mixed with spittle running out of his mouth.
The Questor cursed, the gunman wasn't going to last long and he wanted to find out who had sent him and what the plan was before he died. He grabbed the man's hair and drew the blade across his scalp. Blood poured down his forehead and into his eyes and the man cried out as her realized that the Questor meant to scalp him. "It was McKee, McKee sent us! We were supposed to hijack the coach and take it back to the ranch."
The Questor cut a little deeper, "are there any more of you out here?"
"One other, but he's already headed back to the ranch, he kidnapped the mayor's daughter and he's taking her to McKee." The man coughed, a lot of blood pouring from his mouth and a foul smell rose from him.
The Questor cut his throat. There wasn't much worse than dying for a gut shot, so he was doing him a favor. The truth of the matter though was he wanted to hurt someone bad. The girl was in the hands of that sonofabitch McKee. That crazy motherfucker would hurt her and use her for things that she'd never dreamt were possible. He was going to have to go back to the ranch.
He checked on the driver, he was going to live but he was pretty torn up. He had a bullet in him, a couple of broken ribs and he wasn't going to be walking on his leg anytime soon. The guard was okay, a little shaken up, but nothing a bottle of whisky and a willing whore wouldn't take care of.
The Questor told him that he would send help from town. He was going to have to go back to his room and get some things he'd left there. A train pulled into the station back in Dark River Landing. Three men got off. One was a private detective, the other two were scary looking men who walked like they had spent their whole lives at sea. The taller one was going gray, but he had eyes that were a disturbing blue. The other moved like a bird in flight, his hair was a golden red and his eyes were a gold hue that seemed to see forever.
The three men walked to the saloon as the Questor rode into town.
The Questor stopped by the stagecoach office. He found the manager tied to the chair and gagged. He released the man and asked what had happened to the girl Valerie. Listening carefully to the man's story he gave him some water and asked specific questions about the events that had transpired here. He was relieved to hear that the girl had been okay but frightened when she left with the older man. When the manager finished his tale he headed down the street to the hotel.
At the hotel he quickly dashed in and went to his room. He dug in his belongings and pulled out an extra Colt and a buffalo rifle. He also pulled five sticks of dynamite out and wrapped them carefully in oilcloth.
Out of the hotel and down the street to the saloon he went. Inside he leaned over the bar and talked with the bartender for a second. He told him to tell Rog when he got to town that he was going back out to the ranch. He didn't notice that the girl Alice was listening carefully or that she snuck out when she heard what his plan was.
As he started walking toward the door to leave he felt eyes on him. He spun around, his hand sliding naturally to his Colt. In the corner under the stairs was a table where three men were sitting. Something about them peaked his interest and he walked toward the shadows.
As he came up close one of them rose, his face still shadowed but his carriage very familiar. The light suddenly caught his face, and the Questor choked back a reaction. "Well hello son," the man said. "It's been quite a while." The Questor was stunned. What was his father doing here? How had he found him? He hadn't seen or heard from the man in over 10 years and here in a small town in New Mexico he suddenly appears?
He replied, "Well yes Captain, it has been a long time. How's mother?"
Captain Questor smiled, "She's good son, happy to hear you're alive. Do you remember my first mate Raj?"
The Questor looked over at the redheaded man sitting at the table. Here was the man who Rog reminded him of. They had the same look about them, reddish blonde hair, golden eyes and a calm, yet deadly air about them. He vaguely remembered the man from when he was a child, for some reason he never seemed to age.
"What are you doing here, Captain?" The Questor watched the man carefully. He'd left home under less than ideal conditions and his father wasn't known for his generosity or good nature.
"Well son, this private detective was nosing around down on the docks in San Francisco looking for information about you. It came to my attention and I convinced him to bring us here." The Captain smiled fiercely, his eyes that same blue as his son's. "I've been looking for you for quite awhile you know."
"And now that you've found me?" the Questor said testily.
"That's up to you son, I've found you and I can tell your mother you're alright. Of course I'm sure she'd rather hear it from you, but you have to make that decision. I understand that you've been getting yourself into a bit of trouble here, anything we can do to help?"
The Questor sighed, he could use some help. There were probably thirty men at the ranch. He sat down and told his father everything that had transpired since he came to town. By the end of the conversation the Captain had a faraway look in his eyes and Raj was leaning in to catch every detail. It was decided that the Captain and Raj would join the Questor in getting the girl out safely.
As the conversation lingered and plans were made, the girl Alice rode as fast as she could to the ranch. She'd seen the Questor with the girl Valerie and was jealous of the attention he paid her.
Finally the three rode out, the Questor armed with his Colts, the rifle and the Bowie. His father eyed the Bowie, it had gone missing the same time as his son and was a treasured heirloom of the family. He mounted his horse, also wearing Colts, and a sword that matched the Bowie. Raj wore cross belts of ammo in the Mexican style, a single colt and a strange glove made of silver. He carried a bow and arrow of a strange design, built for mountain hunting and extremely powerful.
As they left town they ran into Rog and merl. A quick discussion led to Rog heading back into town to put together a posse. The girl stopped them before they could continue and told them that trying to access the ranch through the regular entrance would only get them killed. The Questor asked her if she had a better plan and she replied that there was a tunnel that came through the mountains and opened out behind the ranch house. She'd heard it was an old Indian path that led to a strange altar somewhere in the canyons.
The Questor grinned an evil grin. He knew where it came out, he'd seen the tunnel in the cave with the altar behind the waterfall. The three men and the girl rode out to the Dale.
Back at the ranch, McKee was delighted. Just like the other men around town he had looked at the girl Valerie and wanted her for his own. His plans for her were not honorable however. There wouldn't be much left for her father to ransom if he had anything to say about it.