A single gunshot, then the horse the cowboy was on lunged forward. The shot had cleanly cut that rope and the cowboy’s horse lunged towards the man. At least 20 other horses with riders came out of NO WHERE and surged through the square allowing the first cowboy to cut the rope binding the man’s hands and swing him up behind. They were off in a flash. Gun shots sounded back to Coon and she watched amazed at the actions playing out before her. And then it was over. Only a few moments had passed. She noticed five men were down in the square but all the horse riders had fled the town and were headed west…towards her.
It was about five minutes before the town sent anyone out to try to follow the riders but they were on foot and Coon didn’t think they would be able to catch anyone….unless it was her, so she hightailed it out of there.
The riders had been headed straight for the place where she was watching everything but veered south through the woods about half way to her. She wasn’t too concerned about running into them since she was on foot but she also didn’t want those men from town to come up behind her so she struck off in a southwesterly direction, hoping that neither party would go directly that way. She wasn’t quite half way home when she thought about stopping for the night. It had been dark for close to three hours and she had wanted to get as much distance between her and the town as possible. She hadn’t seen anyone on her back trail and since that is where most of her attention had been focused, she was taken by surprise when she literally ran right into the riders camp. “CRAP”! She thought as she tried to keep running right on through. But she was caught by a big man who simply plucked her right up!
A fast knee to the crotch and then a hearty whack with her bow had her free almost as fast as she was caught. She whirled away and around with her Grandfathers knife now in her right hand.
A commanding voice was heard “Ok, let’s all just calm down. We won’t hurt you girl, so you can relax.” This allowed Coon to locate who was speaking and again she was amazed once again that it was a woman who had spoken. Everyone had come to their feet but no one was approaching Coon except the lady who spoke. When she got about five feet from Coon, she stopped and looked down at her.
Coon thought that lady had to be six feet tall as she tipped her head up to look into her eyes as she spoke.
“Well, aren’t you just as quick as a cheetah? We didn’t even know anyone was around until you were half way through our camp. Where did you come from?”
Coon just stared at her, as she took in the details of the tall lady dressed….like a cowboy. It just dawned on Coon that THIS was the cowboy! She had long black hair that was braided and hanging across her shoulder. She had brilliant blue eyes that had deep intelligence shining back and since she stood directly in front of her with her hands on her hips and the duster pulled back, Coon could see a whip clipped at her side along with a pair of guns….she really looked like a real cowboy.
“Ok, let me introduce myself and these no good loafers around us. I’m called Lady Lizzie and these here are mostly my brothers but also a few of their friends. And that lazy bum over by the fire is my best friend and husband, Logan. The lady pointed over at the man that was now better dressed and laying by the fire. Coon could see that he had been badly beaten because one of his eyes were swollen almost shut. “We had to get his sorry butt out of a bit of a jam today.”
“Now I can promise you that we won’t harm you. Right fellas?” she shot over her shoulder as she glared at the guys. A few comments about not being able to harm a fly and how they were gentlemen had Coon scoff a bit. That had Lady Lizzie’s attention back on her real quick!
“What? You don’t believe us?”
Coon just kept her mouth shut. The lady’s eyes narrowed a bit as she stared hard at Coon. “Did you see us rescue my husband today?” Coon just nodded her head once.
“Well, you sure did cover some distance on foot. Is there anyone following you?” Coon shook her head.
“She must be mute.” Croaked the man who had suffered her knee in his groin as he was getting onto his feet, barely; he didn’t know which hurt worse: his head or groin. Coon just kept a close watch on everyone she could and her knife out.
Lady Lizzie watched Coon watch everyone and then said “You can go or you can stay and get to know us better. You’d be under my protection and no one will hurt you. I’d like to talk with you, if you’re willing and see if we could exchange information about the goings on in the world. Plus, I’m hungry and the smell of that stew over there is about to drive me crazy. So will you eat a meal with us and give us a chance to prove we are the good guys?”
Coon wanted to bolt so badly, but the lady seemed sincere and she had seen the group kill at least five of the town’s people who she knew to be bad. And that stew did smell wonderful and she was hungry. She also figured that if they were going to kill her, they would have already done so since they all had guns; even the man, Logan, by the fire.
Coon nodded her head once.
“Will you never just shut up?” I yelled at my little brother. He was simply driving me crazy! “Poppy says that silence can be golden, why don’t you listen to him and BE QUIET!!!”
It was hopeless and I decided to just go outside and going walking in the woods. That brat had been bugging me since breakfast to play some stupid video game with him and he knows I hate those things. GEEZE! He just kept on saying how he designed this game and it would help learn tracking better and blah blah blah blah blah!
I couldn’t get it through his head that I didn’t want to play no stupid game.
I was only about fifty feet into the woods when Poppy met up with me. We walked along for about ten minutes together before he spoke up.
“Don’t you think you were a bit harsh with your brother?” he asked.
Crap I thought….now I’m in for it. I decided that as usual, the blunt honest approach would be best for me “Poppy, I just don’t like video games and he is always pestering me to play this one or that one.”
Poppy nodded his head in understanding but his next words made me feel so guilty that I almost began to cry. “Real love is when someone asks you to do something you don’t really want to do and you do it anyways.”
I stopped walking and looked at Poppy with hurt in my eyes. But he was firm and said “If you think those words hurt you, how do you think YOUR words hurt your brother?”
I could tell he wasn’t done talking yet so I just stayed still and listened.
“Coon, sometimes there are times when you should speak and sometimes there are times when you shouldn’t speak. Let your actions show you to be honorable.” And then he slipped away into the woods and I turned back towards home to go make peace with my little brother and see what his new game was all about.