What Do We Do Now?
Esther May hadn’t thought about what she would do next. Her driving force had been to find the men that killed her daddy and make them pay. She’d done that. Now what?
First of all, take advantage of the opportunity in front of her. “Before we hitch up, how about another biscuit and slop of beans?” She downed a slug of coffee before rising to refill her plate. A second helping would give her time to figure out why Easterly was acting skittish.
Was he bashful about how to divide the spoils left to them?
Easterly jumped to his feet. “I’ll get it for you. Just rest a minute. You’re several meals behind.”
She sat down and her hand sought out Hund. The dog was almost always at her side.
“Look at that. You wouldn’t know this dog recently lost a leg. He’s getting around like he never had one in the first place.”
“Yeah. You did a real job fixing him up.” Easterly approached her with a loaded plate of beans and pointed at Hund. “Him licking you like that is saying his gratefuls.”
“Well, he’s gonna have to wait for more belly-rubbing because I’m grateful for the food.”
She went for the second helping with as much appetite as the first until it was almost gone. She set the leavings in front of Hund who ate the rest and licked the plate. Esther May rubbed her fingers along the dog’s back until he finished.
Easterly cleared his throat. “Finding any ticks?”
“What’s going on, Easterly? What do you want to say?”
“What? No—well, I—it’s only—”
She set a hard jaw. “Look. Your friend said I get the wagon of the men that killed daddy.” “It’s only right you get the other one. Is that what’s bothering you?”
Easterly combed an eyebrow with his fingernails. “This ain’t coming out like it ought. What I meant was, we gotta move on because of what the medicine man said.”
“I know, and I’m ready. As soon as I can load up.”
He squirmed, picked up a small rock and threw it. “I was going with Arthur to the Apache country he wanted to visit. I don’t see any reasons to go there now,” he snorted a half-laugh, “and one to miss it.”
He gave her a lop-sided grin. “To stay alive.”
He swelled in a deep breath and tossed another rock. “I’d almost forgot that I started out to become a cowboy. Work on a ranch in the west. I reckon I need to think about that now.”
Esther May chewed her top lip. She hadn’t known this boy-turned-man long at all, but he had stuck by her. “You know, if you didn’t move very far while I was out, there’s a river crossing several miles south. From there, we could head west into Arizona Territory. My daddy said there’s good ranch land there.”
Easterly looked at her like her head was split open, but she’d already roped the idea.
“Daddy and I wanted our own ranch, and you want to work one.” She swept an arm around the area. “Seems to me that we’ve got all we need to make a start.”
Easterly didn’t respond. She figured his silence meant “no.” He was probably right. “A foolish idea I reckon. It’d be dangerous.”
He puckered his lips and pointed a thumb over his shoulder. “I found a yellow boy in one of the wagons.”
Are the young’uns making a mistake? Leave a comment.
To read the series, click on September 2017, in the Archive list and start with Tales Old Roy Told.
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