When A Mind Wanders
C.J. gave in to his dark thoughts.
Where was Esther May? What was taking her so long? Maybe she decided to go with the riders she saw on the road. They’d protect her better than a wounded man could.
He shifted his back against the tree trunk. The sun was moving in his direction and if he didn’t move soon he’d be scorched. C.J. held his side, shifted to his knees, stood and found a more desirable spot to continue his musings.
Doggone Esther May. She knew he needed help getting around. She saw the arrow in his side and the blood he lost when she pulled it out. Then she goes off with strangers when it suits her, just for her own benefit. She should be tending to his needs first.
He should never have told her that he loved her. She tricked him into feeling that way so he’d take care of her. Now that she’d got a better deal, poor, old, honest C.J. was shuffled back to the bottom of the deck.
Eyes Are Opened
Patting on his shoulder awakened him.
“C.J., wake up.”
He opened his eyes and became aware: Esther May was in front of him, the shadows were longer, and he had drool on his chin. He quickly dragged a sleeve across his face hoping that Esther May would turn her face or at least pretend that she didn’t see him sleeping open-mouthed.
No, she couldn’t even give him that courtesy as she stared straight on at him. “You came back, huh? Did you bring the men to help me?”
“No. I don’t think they’re trustworthy. We can follow them and fire shots to get their attention if we want help.”
C.J. grabbed his side. “I need help to move.”
“You’ve moved from where I left you.”
“Why is your pistol over by that other tree? The one you were under before.”
C..J. scanned the area. This was more of Esther May’s trickery. She wanted everything for herself. He finally saw her for what she was. “You moved my gun.”
“No. You moved.”
There was no sense arguing with her. He would keep his own counsel. To do otherwise would give her more information to use against him. C.J. nodded to himself, decision made. “Let’s get going.”
“C.J., there’re people on that road we may not want to meet. Why don’t we stay in the trees and travel alongside until we have to get on it?”
There it was. Esther May revealed her plan. Keep him out of sight until he died unnoticed. He’d play along to keep her from suspecting that he was wise to her. “Okay. Sounds good.”
Turning the Tables
As they came in sight of the road, C.J. worked at the knots on his saddle ring, untied the halter reins of Clyde’s gelding and dropped them.
He spurred Skewy and hit the worn dirt route at a full gallop. He’d catch those men and join them. Then Esther May would come back apologetic for sure.
Is the road salvation or ruination? Leave a comment. What would you do?
C.J. probably doesn’t have the chronic disorder, but here is an interesting article about delusions.
To read the series click on the down arrow in the Archive list, start with Tales Old Roy Told and work up.
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