|A Couple of the Escaped Inmates|
If It’s Not A Farm, What Is It?
Kettie swung her gaze from Cornelius to Ragtail. “Oh, you saw our pumpkin patch, did you?”
“No, I didn’t.” Ragtail tightened his mouth. This female woman was a pain worse than a cactus sticker. “I was too busy walking in front of that there shotgun.”
“You didn’t see it because we ain’t got one, idjit. Does this look like a right prosperous farm?”
Ragtail headed for the door. She could shoot or let him go. He didn’t care.
Cecilia put her hand on his arm, not griping, just touching. “Please, mister. You’re the first sign of help Cornelius has had. Don’t go. Please?”
He stopped and looked her over. Thin and careworn, she showed a sense of dignity in herself and concern for Cornelius.
Did he deserve to be waylaid like this? No. He should be with Damn Donkey prospecting for El Dorado.
It was Lark’s fault. Ever since connecting with the screeching prospector Ragtail’s whole world was different.
Cecilia licked her lips. “We don’t have pumpkins, but there’s a bunch of buffalo gourds growing wild down in the wet—what we call the bottomland. The ground is dampish, tall grass grows, I bet your burro would love it. … I’m sorry, I’m rambling. Would the gourds work? They’re mostly hollow. Will you help? Please?”
The Magic Word
He would regret it, he knew he would because he already did. But still. …. He glared at Kettie. “You should learn the word ‘please’ and use it like your sister here.”
Cecilia’s plea seemed to affect Kettie. She wiped a hand across her face. “We ain’t sisters but we’re as close as, so I’d take it kindly if you’d do what you can.”
“Well,” Ragtail said, “I don’t know about them gourds, but if that’s all you got we’ll try ‘em.”
Kettie nodded at Ragtail and Cecilia. “Go get ‘em.”
Ragtail didn’t budge.
“Please?” Kettie added.
Outside The Cabin
She followed Ragtail and Cecilia into the yard. “What happened here?”
Ragtail saw his packs in the dirt and hollered until he saw Damn Donkey grazing on acorns.
“Crazy Anna was going to use the burro to plow up a garden,” Rose said.
Kettie stamped her foot. “I told you not to call her that.”
“What else would you call someone that was shipped off for living with goats and talking strange in Spanish?”
“What’s wrong with raising goats?” Lark asked Rose.
“She wasn’t raising them. She was living among them. She got declared crazy. It wasn’t me what said it first.”
“It don’t matter,” Kettie said. “Go get the gourds for Cornelius.”
“You go,” Ragtail said, pointing at Lark. “You let her do this when I trusted you to watch my stuff. Now I have to put it back in order.”
It wasn’t exactly true. Ragtail never entrusted anyone with his gear, but he was tired of being told what to do. He was by golly overdue to give someone else orders.
“And if you find some real fine mud, no gravel in it, bring back a handful,” he told Cecilia.
Ragtail picked up his packs and placed them on the porch boards, giving Rose sidelong glances as she, in turn, watched Lark and Cecilia heading across the pasture.
Lark was swinging a sack as he gestured to accent his story. Or, he may have been singing already.
Ragtail cleared his throat. “What was it you said about the crazy one being sent away?”
“Oh,” Rose gave him a wide grin, “we were all sent away.”
“Yep. All five of us were prisoners on the way to the territorial prison. This place suited us better.”
What will happen to Ragtail and Lark among five women escapees? Leave a comment and check a box below.
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