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“If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.”
-– B. Lester
Brent approached the butte at full gallop. Searching for cover, he spotted several large boulders along side the stream that would provide the cover he desparately needed.
He knew, they wouldn't be far behind him.
Brent nearly lept off his mare, grabbing his ammo, and climbed between several of the larger boulders looking for a favorable position for anyone or thing approaching.
He had supplies, water and a location that was as good as it was going to get... and now he waited.
As he looked over at the mare, he noticed she appeared to be restless, uneasy. Did she know something he didn't? .... _________________ "Artists ain't easy to love, they're hard to hold, and they'd rather give you a song then diamonds or gold."
A small plaintive cry, almost a mew. Brent allowed his eyes to shift to the source of the sound.
At first mistaking what he thought was a small bundle of bloody and dirty rags, it took longer than he would have imagined to recognize the small bundle at his feet as a little girl.
Sun baked, bruised and scraped, and very nearly past the point of no return, the small blue eyes scarcely moved as Brent moved his neckerchief, soaked with water from his canteen, over the tiny lips, disfigured and cracked with enormous sun blisters.
"Easy lil' darlin'", Brent crooned, as he let her sip a swallow of water his longer reach allowed him to gather from the spring. A faded red bow floating on the surface had testified of the waifs futile attempts to quench unbearable thirst. He scanned the horizon, picking up the dust cloud, and trying to estimate how many ponies were coming their way.
"It will be alright", Brent reassured the frail girl, as he settled her into a small tumble of rocks. Hopefully those rocks would give her shelter from the coming shower of lead, that even now was being announced with a war whoop.
There was a rumble in the distance and moments later a loud crack of thunder, as a bolt of lightening hit close by. In the eerie flash of light, Brent saw clearly the numerous figures riding hard toward them.
Moments later there was another crack, closer still, and a horse screamed. Hard rain poured down on them, and Brent moved so as to use his body to shield the child, straining to see how this might affect their situation. But the pounding rain hid everything - sight and sound...
.....untill instinct began to take over. Throwing the little girl unceromoniously over his saddle, Brent held his hand over his horses nose as he led it out of the small shelter of rocks. Carefully, first by inches, then by feet, then by yards, and finally by miles, Brent made his quiet escape.
Later over a campfire, as he watched the tiney girl nibbling at camp grub, Brent felt he was able to speak aloud again, for what seemed like weeks.
"Somebody upstairs must like you. I shall call you Providence" _________________ Jesus said, "Unless you become like little children, you cannot know the meaning of Life, for your minds must be cleared of the falsehoods of this realm if you are to be taught Eternal Truth."
She didn't say a word, didn't even make eye contact. Her little dirty face, and scrapy blonde hair just kept gnawing at the food Brent offered. He tried again "Providence, you want more grub?".
This time she responded with a grunt and a nod of her head, as Brent tore off another piece fixins' for her.
Brent thought to himself "must be days since this poor little thang last ate". The he spoke up again. "what you doin' out here all alone little one?". _________________ "Artists ain't easy to love, they're hard to hold, and they'd rather give you a song then diamonds or gold."
The child's eyes went wide momentarily, but she did not speak. Brent wondered where she came from and what he was supposed to do with her. He sure couldn't go hunting Clint and Wallace with a little bit of girl hanging onto his saddle.
He debated turning back to take the kid to Cindy, and given how this trip had started, it might not be such a bad idea. On the other hand, he'd be wasting days, Cindy might not want a kid, and he did not relish the thought of riding anywhere near the spot he'd found her in the next couple days. Best to let things settle down a bit.
So, what to do? Maybe he'd try talking to her again a little later, a full stomach might help loosen her lips. ....
Brent smiled at himself, as he eyed Providence sucking contentedly on a strip of jerky. Well, it sure wasn't going to be a problem keeping her fed. He'd seen birds that ate more than that tiny little girl did.
Brent wondered if she were old enough to talk more than a few little words. At least she seemed house broke, as he had caught her quickly rearranging her doll sized dress after she snuck off into the bushes.
That had momentarily panicked Brent. He had only known her for a few short hours, but the thought of her disappearing like that had pulled him up short, and backed him off his one man trail. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt now, that whatever might seek to do her harm would have to go through his leathery hide first.
"You know what Providence?" Brent continued talking with the waif like figure. "I have my work cut out for me."
"Help me out on this one, ok?"
The little girl nodded sagely as some jerky colored druel ran down her chin. Big blue eyes watched him intently as he ran through the list of events that led up to that moment.
"A fat sheriff in a tumble weed town loses a deputy. He and the town businessmen post a big fat reward for two bad hombres names Clint and Walace Peters. I go hightailing out a town, followed by dirty looks from the sheriff and fried chicken from the widder-woman. That coin could fall either side."
"I figure to ride on, catch up with them Peters boys. See if they want to talk or draw down. Either way I got to bring them in....only way to tell if that coin landed heads'r tails."
"Then I meet up with a war party. I thought maybe I might a just jumped a young'n maken a name, but that last bunch weren't out fer nothin but war; and no hide nor hair of the cavalry in days."
"Then I meet up with you. Nother half day you would have fed the buzzards...not that you'ld more then half fill one of them birds."
"You didn't walk out there by yerself, and I get the feelin that the cavalry would be turnin over every stone in these parts if your folks had made it to the fort."
"Looks like you and me are stuck together"
Brent sighed as he looked down at the little girl, snuggled up against his waist, sound asleep with the jerky still clenched in her lips. _________________ Jesus said, "Unless you become like little children, you cannot know the meaning of Life, for your minds must be cleared of the falsehoods of this realm if you are to be taught Eternal Truth."
Settling down himself, Brent realized it'd been a damn long night, and maybe not such a bad idea to lay low for the morning. Perhaps he would close his eyes for a spell, too.
He woke with a start some hours later when the child moved. Appeared they'd slept away most of the day, from the shadows. Just as well, Brent figured.
He gave a low whistle and was quickly answered by a whinney from his mare. She'd been contentedly grazing nearby. "That horse might have a head of her own," he mumbled half to himself, half to Providence, "but it's good one! Taught me right off not to tie her. And you know, the few times she's gone off, turned out to be darn lucky she did!"
Providence looked up at him with a thousand silent questions in her eyes. Brent didn't know where to begin - so he put her on the saddle in front of him and they rode out.
A full moon was keeping silent vigil over a noisy street, as a horse with no name and her two sleepy riders, one large, and one very tiny, slowly ambled up to a hitching rail, at the lone hotel of Mexicali.
Brent stiffly slid from the saddle, cradling Providence's tiny form in his left arm. The noise of drinking men, men enjoying being drinking men, caused Providence's eyes to flutter open, and she squirmed slightly in silent protest.
"You been shootin' yar big mouth off all over the praire what you aims to do with me! Now's yar chance!"
Brent turned to face a very drunk, and a very angry Wally Peters.
"I don't reckon I know what yer talkin' about", said Brent, genuinely confused.
"You just set that baby down over yonder, and I reckon I will show ya, ya liar!", stormed a purple faced Wallace Peters. _________________ Jesus said, "Unless you become like little children, you cannot know the meaning of Life, for your minds must be cleared of the falsehoods of this realm if you are to be taught Eternal Truth."
Now fully alert, Brent slowly turned and began to look for a safe place for Providence.
He spotted a sitting bench in front of the hotel and moved towards it.
Not looking back at Peters, he began to place Providence on the bench.
"Flop!", Brent nearly dropped Providence the last few inches to the bench, knelt and spun with guns drawn only to see his target already on the ground, passed out from drunkeness.
The doorway to the Saloon was instantly crowded as Brent heard someone say, "I think he knifed him". _________________ "Artists ain't easy to love, they're hard to hold, and they'd rather give you a song then diamonds or gold."
The heavy .45 twirled lightly on Brent's finger as it flew back into his holster with nearly as much speed as it had left it.
"It's him" whispered through the raw crowd, now quieting like a classroom who's schoolmarm had just rung the bell, as Brent was recognized by first one and then another face that adorned wanted posters throughout the southwest.
Brent scooped Prudence up onto his shoulder in one graceful motion, and approached the double swinging gates into the hotel/bar. Wally wasn't going anywhere, certainly not tonight, and possibly not even into tomorrow evening, and Providence was more important than proving himself to a crowd that already had an inflated view of his reputation.
The piano hammered mercilessly in the corner, and the visored piano man, forever expecting the unexpected, had never skipped a beat.
Not feeling comfortable having the child in the bar, nor leaving her alone in a room upstairs, Brent ordered food and beer and followed the barmaid to the best room the place had available.
The barmaid looked at Brent questioningly as he laid the girl-child on the bed. He looked back, defiantly, grumbling that she shouldn't get no wrong-headed ideas. He'd found the kid, abandoned, he informed her, and sure could use a little of the woman's help in taking care of her. The child's clothes were not more than rags.
The barmaid's face softened immediately, "I think I can find some things for her - poor child! I'll be back with the food soon - and my shift is almost done..." _________________ First & foremost, we must be "labeled," being sorted into various groups of "other" is the most important step in "Divide & Conquer" Labels lead to misunderstanding, mistrust, fear - making manipulation easy, we can be counted on to defeat ourselves
I got a topic reply notification for this thread, unfortunately, we must have been in the middle of copying and moving alienlove to the new server, and the post was lost. Sorry!
Blue _________________ First & foremost, we must be "labeled," being sorted into various groups of "other" is the most important step in "Divide & Conquer" Labels lead to misunderstanding, mistrust, fear - making manipulation easy, we can be counted on to defeat ourselves
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