The Story With No Name continues.
Parts 1-10 can be found at The Culbin Trail (http://ijparnham.blogspot.com)
Part 11 can be found on Open Range (http://jacksopenrange.blogspot.com)
Part 12 is at http://tokyowest.typepad.com/charlies_blog
The continuation of the story is open to anyone who wants to join in. Just leave a comment to claim your spot.
And so Jack Giles returns with Part 13
THE STORY WITH NO NAME - Part 13
“Whoa, there,” Zack Roden frowned. “Who made you boss of this outfit?”
“Why don’t you just do as you’ve been asked?” Lola intervened, moving so that she placed her body between Roden and Walt. “Just take a look at them. Neither Walt nor Silas are in a fit state to run away.”
Roden nodded: “Then I’ll take a little insurance. Just hand over the map Walter and I’ll be on my way.”
Walt shook his head: “What happened to trust, Zack?”
“That was then,” Zack admitted, unable to make eye contact with his old friend. “Time changes things – now I don’t trust anyone.” He lifted his head to look directly at Walt. “This time – I will.” He paused, dramatically. “For old times and the fact that you won’t be going anywhere for a while. But, be warned, you betray my trust – I will hunt you down and kill you.”
The days passed into weeks as Walt Arnside healed wounds old and new. When he had become fit enough both he and Lola had sat outside talking over old times to the point that he believed that they had a future together. The more they talked so Walt became convinced that the supposed treasure meant nothing to Lola.
There were times when he could envisage a future where he settled on this tract of land and raised his own herd of cattle. Yet, he knew, that to realise that dream it would take hard cash and that was something that he did not have.
He knew that the answer lay in a share of that gold. All he had to do was convince Lola of his necessity in continuing with the venture.
The only doubt in his mind was Silas who had recovered from his wound. But it had left him aged and ashen skinned. He spent all day sitting by the open grate with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. It was as though the fight had gone out of him.
“Damn hell, how’d I get caught up in all this?” he demanded of the bucket that he was taking towards the pump.
A distant cough had him dropping the bucket as he spun around; his hand reaching for the butt of his pistol. Only to stop and grin at the sight that met his eyes.
Long legged and ungainly the camels looked but it was a sight to behold. It had been many years since he had laid eyes on the beasts and back a few years to the time that he had joined the US Camel Corps. It was a pity that the troop had been disbanded for he had a great love for the gentle creatures. Sure they had a bad side for they spat or bit out at those who did not treat them decently.
The lead camel knelt down close by the corral and Roden looked as though he was about to fall over the long neck. His body tilted at an angle of 45 degrees but the hook of his leg and hold on the saddle pommel kept his balance. With practised ease he dismounted and ambled towards Walt.
“Absolutely marvellous,” Roden grinned by way of greeting. “An experience to savour,"
“You brought company,” Walt observed as he spotted a turbaned head behind one of the camels.
“Oh, Hassan,” Roden replied. “Well, someone has to teach us how to handle those beasts.
Besides he comes strongly recommended by Hi Jolly.”
“What?” Walt gasped, recalling the troop’s lead camel driver, Hadji Ali.
“Didn’t go to Las Vegas, old chap,” Roden said, seriously. “I heard that old Hi Jolly was over in Tucson and I thought it might be better to hear things from the camel’s mouth – as it were. Which was just as well as it turns out. We have a problem – a big problem. There’s a chap called Vic Sawtell hunting camels.”
“Sawtell?” Walt queried. “You sure? The man’s a killer.”
“Exactly,” Roden agreed. “Seems he was waiting for someone in Bannon.”
“Silas,” Walt deduced.