Brett and his partner looked fearfully at the six men that surrounded them on the trial from Four Corners. They had figured with the evening hours that no one would be out tracking the child until morning giving them plenty of time for an escape. What they had failed to comprehend was the experience and determination of the men that protected the town.
They watched in concern as the savage-looking man dismounted and checked the hooves of their horses before giving a swift nod to the demon in black that was still seated on his horse. It was eerie to watch the silent communication of the group and Brett couldn’t help visualizing them as a pack of wolves ready to attack. He gave a nervous glance to his partner when the remaining five slid out of their saddles.
So far there had been no words spoken between the two groups but that was soon altered when the man in black narrowed his eyes at two men. “Where is he?”
Brett looked quickly at Eddie’s nervous features and cringed at what his friend did next. His eyes widened in alarm as Eddie reached for his gun and just as quickly grasped his bloody hand. Brett had heard the gunslinger in Four Corners was fast, but he didn’t believe the stories he had heard before now.
“You shot me; damn I can’t believe he shot me!” Eddie whined as he held onto his throbbing hand.
“What do you expect when you reach for a gun? Flowers?” Buck added sarcastically as he collected the man’s gun and kept watch over him as Nathan saw to his injury.
Brett didn’t think twice as the focus of the remaining men turned to him and quickly related the information the men sought.
“Bastard” Chris cursed as he laid the man out with a blow to his chin. He grasped the man by his shirt front and snarled into his face, “You’re going to take me to my brother now.”
Brett fearfully nodded to the intense man and breathed a sigh of relief when he was released. He rubbed his sore jaw as he made his way towards his horse and prayed Eddie wouldn’t try anything stupid that would get them both killed.
Olivia hummed to herself as she prepared the evening meal for herself and Matthew. They had talked for sometime about what they would do with the child and finally came to a decision to perpetuate his death and then sell him into slave labor. She smiled as she thought of the double funds the child would bring, first the money from his mother’s will would be diverted to them when his death was discovered and then they would receive an equally substantial payment for the child himself.
She wrinkled her nose in distaste of the place he would be sold to, how Matthew even knew of such places had surprised her. Strangely she felt a small bit of sorrow for the child and wondered if perhaps she could sway her husband into selling him to someone else.
Olivia shivered and brought her thoughts back to more pleasant dreams, like the latest in shoe fashion back east. She hummed to herself and left the stew to simmer before finding a book to curl up to while dinner finished cooking.
He didn’t know how long he was asleep but he awoke cold and in pain. It didn’t take long for the fog to lift from his mind and he cursed himself again for his lack of astuteness. He tried to curl into himself to keep warm, but the movement brought intense pain and he settled for the limited movement he had managed. Thankfully his mind was as sharp as ever and he wondered how he was going to get out of this predicament.
He knew for certain that his brother would be searching for him by now, but he was worried that he wouldn’t be found before his Uncle made good on his promise to sell him off into slave labor. Ezra shivered in revulsion as he remembered his Uncle’s vile threats about what his work would entail. If anyone other than his Uncle had made those threats he would have sworn they were bluffing, there was just no way a place like that could exist. However, he was certain his Uncle wouldn’t create such a fabrication to him about something so disturbing, especially knowing that he would have the images conjured up in his mind until nightmares became reality.
Ezra took a moment to look around the damp and dreary room. There were no windows or even a ladder to reach the cellar door to assist him in escaping. He closed his eyes in disappointment and decided to rest a bit more before thinking of a means for escape. He coughed and shivered as demented images took over his consciousness.
“How much farther?” Chris grumbled to the cowboy leading him to his brother.
“Not much farther, the turn off should be right around here. It’s pretty hard to see in the daylight, it’s near impossible to see in the dark.”
“For your sake, you better not miss it” Chris growled before smirking at the man’s obvious fear of him.
“Hold up a minute” Vin stopped the others before they could go any farther. “Do ya’ll smell smoke?”
“Yeah, I smell it too Vin” JD added.
Buck looked at his old friend whose jaw was clenched tightly.
“Where the hell is that shack and if you want to live to see another sunrise, you best find it NOW!” Chris just knew that smoke had something to do with his brother. He wouldn’t make it if something like this happened to Ezra too.
Brett quickly located the turn off, “it’s straight down this trail.” He had barely spoken before the other men were quickly off towards the faint red glow in the distance. He looked at his friend whom was also quickly forgotten in the peacekeepers departure and wondered if they should follow or take off for safety as far away from these men as possible.