Crossing the Border

Crossing the Border

By Maz McCoy

Kyle Murtry stood on the porch outside the leader’s cabin chewing on a wad of tobacco. He hitched up his pants with both hands before wiping his nose with the back of his hand. After a minute or two he spat a gloop of tobacco juice into the nearby bushes. A movement off to the right caught his eye and then a familiar black hat appeared between the branches of the distant trees. Turning Kyle opened the cabin door.

“He’s back!” he called alerting the cabin’s occupants.

The Devil’s Hole Gang dynamite man then waited, hands-on-hips, for the leader to ride into view.

Hannibal Heyes was smiling as he rounded the bend and pulled his horse to a halt in front of the cabin.

“Howdy, Kyle!” he called as he swung himself down from the saddle. Covered in trial dust and in need of a shave, Heyes beat his hat on his leg and brushed down his jacket. “The boys here?”

“Yep,” Murtry confirmed as Heyes settled his hat back on his head before tying the horse to the hitching post. The sweat-covered horse had been ridden hard.

“Next time Wheat can lead the posse on a wild goose chase,” Heyes suggested with a grin as he strode toward Kyle. “I swear I rode through the same valley twice. Have Harvey take care of my horse will you?”

“Sure, Heyes.”

“Kid get back from across the border?”

“Yeah, Heyes, er there’s somethin’…”

“Let me wash the dust off then we can talk,” Heyes pushed open the cabin door and Kyle could only watch as he disappeared inside.

Heyes shut the door behind him. “Kid?” he called and at the sound of footsteps Heyes turned towards his friend’s room. “You would not believe…”

But it was Preacher who stood grim-faced in the doorway holding a bowl of bloodstained water in his hands. “Heyes.”