Ezra sighed in relief as he thought back to the events of the day. He wasn’t certain if he was happy or sad that his aunt and uncle slithered out of town while the peacekeepers were busy being filled in on the events and then stopped by Judge Travis. Ezra was surprised by he judge’s behavior, he never thought that a judge would join in with the others behavior. So he was in a quandary about their escape. In one way he was happy, but that was only because he didn’t want to see his brother or their friends in trouble for disposing of the vial couple. He was also angry and a bit frightened because he knew that wouldn’t be the last he ever saw of his southern family. On a positive note Judge Travis quickly granted Chris custody of him and Ezra was unable to remove the smile from his face. He would be joining Chris and the others later for a celebratory dinner.
Vin and Josiah were still out trying to track his aunt and uncle, they left shortly after it was discovered the couple were not found within the town. Nathan had taken him back to his clinic to finish checking him over and later told Chris that he would be fine, just a tad sore for the next few days. He was then released from Nathan’s clutches and sent to spend time with JD in the sheriff’s office while Chris and Buck searched the town for a clue on the couple’s location.
“Give me two Ezra” JD tossed the cards down on the table and groaned when the new cards were revealed.
Ezra laughed inwardly, JD was a horrible poker player, it was too bad Chris forbid him from playing for money, he did however have a nice pile of candy courtesy of the young peacekeeper.
Vin and Josiah rode back into town just before dusk and quickly met up with the others at the jail.
“Where’s Ezra?” questioned Josiah when he noticed the boy’s absence.
“Back in our room getting ready for dinner” he answered Josiah and then turned towards their tracker, “any sign of those two out there?”
“Followed a trail heading towards Eagle Bend, but it disappeared not to far from town” Vin said in pure self-disgust. He was angry with himself that he had lost their trail. He thought that they would be easy to trail considering their lack of knowledge on the area and their seemingly more citified lifestyle. They just didn’t seem like the type of people that would be accustomed to hiding their trail so easily.
“Damn” Buck cursed as he slapped his hat against his leg in frustration.
“I know Buck, don’t think any of us would have ever considered what those two were capable of” Chris soothed. “We need to keep a close eye out incase they decide to come back into the area. Somehow I don’t think this is the last we see of them.”
The others nodded in agreement before breaking up and going in different directions before they met up for the celebration meal.
With the disappearance of Matthew and Olivia Standish nearly a week ago and the lack of any sightings the town of Four Corners seemed to finally release the tight knot of anxiety that had permeated it. It was in part to the relaxation of the six men that protected the town and the rest from the citizens coming to terms with the misjudgment they had made in regards to the couple. Some were entirely ignorant of the reason why the couple had seemed to be run out of the town, but many could not be kept in the dark from witnessing the behavior of the men and the bruises that had covered the child’s back.
Business had been booming in the town with an influx of visitors to the town from a nearby camp of cowboys traveling a herd of cattle by their town. The strained atmosphere around the town’s protectors kept any of the cowboys that were even considering mischief to be on their best behavior. Unfortunately for Ezra that also meant he was unable to ply his trade on the strangers and increase his sad monetary state. He may have inherited a fortune from his mother, but it would be weeks before he and Chris saw any of it. Chris believed he should keep the money in trust for Ezra until he was at an age to manage his money responsibly. Ezra however believed he should have access to the funds immediately and be housed in a location with all the amenities of comfort. Ezra was like a dog with a bone and would not give up his plans for the money easily. Leaving Chris getting short tempered with the constant scheming of his little brother.
It was after one of those irascible arguments that Ezra found himself muttering his woes to his favorite horse. That of course was another thing that they had argued over. Ezra wanted to purchase the fine animal and Chris was baulking at the thought of buying the cantankerous horse. He felt Ezra should have a more reliable horse, but Ezra knew what he wanted and some how he would convince his brother why this horse had to be the one.
Ezra didn’t pay much attention to the cowboys that were constantly coming in and out of the livery, but his ears perked up when he overheard a conversation between two men and plans for a poker game outside of town. Ezra grinned to himself and quickly prepared the horse to follow the men when they headed out of town.
He followed the men for about twenty minutes before he lost sight of them. He looked around for the trail but couldn’t seem to make out any tracks. Sighing at the thought of the funds he could have won from the evening’s game he turned his horse back towards town. He hadn’t gone far before his horse’s path was blocked in both directions. He felt like a boulder had settled deep in his gut he should have seen something like this coming and like the simple minded lemming he followed with no thought of the consequences.