Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

By Maz McCoy

The young blond boy looked at the plate of food in front of him and his stomach rumbled in anticipation. The turkey was still steaming and he watched his father carve more slices for his brothers and sisters. When everyone had a plate before them grace was said. The children were then asked, in turn, to say something they were thankful for on this Thanksgiving. Jed watched and listened as his oldest brother began…

Kid looked into his cup of coffee, swirling the contents around thoughtfully. Sometimes he couldn’t remember their faces. It had been so long ago and he had nothing to remember them by. But there were times in his dreams when they all came back to him, as if it was yesterday, and he would wake expecting to find himself in his old bed, in the room he shared all those years ago.

Another Thanksgiving had come around and he was glad in some ways that his folks were not alive to see him. He knew they would not have approved of the life he had chosen, although he suspected things would have turned out a lot different, if the raiders hadn’t turned up that day. He didn’t have a lot to be thankful for, for many years after that.

And what about now? They were still on the run, the amnesty no nearer and… a cough pulled him from his reverie. Kid looked at the figure hidden beneath a blanket on the other side of the fire. The coughing started again. Getting to his feet, Kid made his way to his partner’s side.

“Heyes?”

A dark sweat covered forehead appeared from under the blanket. Heyes shivered. He was about to say something when his body was wracked by another bout of coughing. Kid reached out a hand and placed it on Heyes’ forehead. He was burning up. Kid picked up a cup beside his friend.

“Here, have some water.” Kid supported Heyes, as he took several small sips.

“What time is it?” Heyes asked, turning red rimmed eyes on his friend.

“After midnight.”

“Why you still up?”

“Oh, keeping an eye on you and thinking.”

“I thought we had an agree…” Heyes’ words were cut off by more coughing. He took time to catch his breath. He had been like this for two days now and the cough was getting worse.

“Try and get some sleep,” Kid advised. “Maybe tomorrow you’ll be well enough to ride and we can get to that doctor in Kinder Lake.”

Heyes’ reply was a shiver. He pulled the blanket closer and closed his eyes. Kid went back to the fire and added more wood. As he picked up the coffee pot, he glanced over his shoulder at his friend. Thanksgiving. Right now he’d be grateful if Heyes made it through the night.

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