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Holloween 2008

Holloween 2008

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Published by beejay
A story challenge. The writers each wrote their own Halloween story for Alias Smith and Jones.
A story challenge. The writers each wrote their own Halloween story for Alias Smith and Jones.

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Published by: beejay on Jun 19, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/26/2012

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Halloween 2008
By Calico
Strangeness on a Train
A sudden flash of lightening illuminated two figures on the isolated station platform; brims pulled down, collars turned up against the lashing rain.“If it wasn’t…” A crash of thunder drown out the words of the slimmer man. He tried again. “If itwasn’t such a cliché on Halloween, Kid – I’d be tempted to say ‘It’s a dark’n’stormy night’.” Asecond flash displayed a would-be-cheerful dimpled smile, under a dripping, silver trimmed black hat.The figure in the soaking wet sheepskin coat had been exuding waves of silent disgruntlement.His companion’s smile irritated him into adding words to complete the effect. “I don’t mindclichés Heyes,” he growled. “‘I told you so’ is a cliché and I’m plannin’ on using that one a fewmore times before the night’s out. I told you so Heyes! I told you that plan’d never work. NEVER! I TOLD you so.”“Could’ve been worse, Kid.”“How the Sam Hill could it’ve been worse? We’re penniless, not a horse between us, soaked tothe skin and freezin’ our butts off in the middle of nowhere!”“We could’ve been stranded somewhere the trains don’t run.”Kid stared morosely into the ink black of the night. “We musta stood here for hours. I’m beginnin’ to think we ARE stranded somewhere the train don’t run.”“You gotta have faith, Kid.”Heyes too stared along the dark track. Unseen by his partner, a pair of tapered fingers crossed.His other hand fished beneath his coat and drew out a pocket watch. At another handy lighteningflash, he remarked, “Close on midnight.”Then, his brown eyes narrowed. A tiny speck of light was nosing through the night. Curving andcornering with the contours of the land, but definitely closer every moment.“There you see!” Heyes tried not to make it a sigh of relief. “The train’s coming.”Together they watched the approaching light. The storm was beginning to ease. The sound of therain subsided. The night became almost calm. Almost silent. Still the light drew nearer.Something seemed – eerie. What?1
 
“Heyes?” said Kid, tentatively. “Is it me, or is that train kinda – quiet?”A pause. Heyes summoned up another cheerful smile. “The wind must be blowing the enginesound away from us, Kid,” he suggested, with more confidence than he felt.Still watching. A final flash silhouetted the now close train against the bleak horizon.“Heyes? Is it me – or is that the blackest train you ever saw?”“Trick of the light, Kid,” said his partner firmly. He continued to stare, his smile becoming ashade fixed, then he shuddered.“You cold?” enquired Kid.“Nah, just someone walking over my grave.”As his words lingered in the chill air, the ex-outlaws exchanged a glance.Both were considering whether they had any reason NOT to board that train which the other would not scoff at.---oooOOOooo---“Oh you poor boys!”“Come on in – don’t worry about crowding us! We’ll squeeze up and make room!”“We don’t mind being crowded, do we ladies?”“No! We’ll happily squeeze up against… I mean squeeze up FOR these young men!”“Put your hats up on the rack to dry. Just push our boxes along!”“Take those wet clothes… I mean coats off, right now!”“Would you like something hot and steamy?”“She means coffee. We have hot coffee.”“Sweet buns…”“They have – haven’t they?”“No I mean, we’ve some buns left. They must be hungry.”“You sit here, young man – plenty of room! Oooh – is that a gun on your leg or are you…?”“Shush! Of course it’s a gun on his leg.”“YOU – you must come sit next to me…”“Oh look! He’s shy! That’s so cute!”The ex-outlaws exchanged a glance. Once the train halted, they had stepped into the nearestcarriage. Seeing it seemingly full, they had begun to make civil noises about not wanting todisturb the ladies, not wanting to drip rain all over them…But, even Heyes’ silver tongue fellsilent before the vociferous welcome and feminine fussing. Since the train had pulled awayalmost immediately, the partners were fixed in this carriage for the duration.2
 
When the initial flurry died down, Heyes and Curry saw that what had initially seemed to beclose on a dozen women of what is politely termed ‘a certain age’, or even more politely termed‘in their prime’ were, in fact, only four. Both partners were now firmly wedged between twoladies. A handy folding tea-table had been set between them and both were being pressed to wrapthemselves around sandwiches – “I’m sure you’d love a roll, Mister Jones.” – and cake – “Pleasetake my cherry, Mister Jones.” – and hot coffee from a new-fangled thermos flask – “Moresugar? Or are you,” coy giggle, “…Sweet enough, Mister Jones?”The ex-outlaws exchanged another glance. There was nothing sinister here after all! Except… Nah, nothing. Why shouldn’t four ladies be taking a trip – at midnight – across the West? If theywere sitting a shade close, hey! It was a small carriage. As for Kid’s feeling that three sets of eyes were fixed on his every move – hungry, gloating, watching, waiting – Nah! Motherly. That’sall the expressions were – motherly.“Where are you ladies headed?” he asked, civilly.“Oh! We’re here to collect…” began Blue Ribbons. A guilty hand clapped across her mouth.“We’re going to a handicrafts convention,” declared Flowered-Bonnet, firmly.“What kind of handicrafts, ma’am?” enquired Heyes, turning on a touch of dimpled charm. Tohis chagrin, it had no effect. Kid remained the centre of attention.“Mainly weaving,” said Lace-Trim-Blouse, smiling brightly at Kid. “Weaving the thread…”“Weaving, sure,” interrupted Flowered Bonnet, with another reproving frown. “But, all kinds of craft. Spinning, sewing…”Blue Ribbons held up a silk filled needle and pair of glinting scissors and also beamed at Kid.“We’re all REAL good with our hands, Mister Jones,” she chirped.A giggle from Lace-Trim-Blouse. “I reckon when the convention see what we’ve brought, we’ll be the guests of honour!”A delighted trill of feminine laughter from Blue Ribbons.“She means shawls,” put in Flowered-Bonnet with a slight shake of the head at her friends.“We’re taking shawls we made.”Affirmative nods all round.“Uh huh?” said Kid, torn between enjoyment and embarrassment at having two comely matrons pressing in on either side. Sheesh. Any closer and they’d be on his lap.“Can I tempt you again with my plums, Mister Jones?” cooed Flowered-Bonnet, leaningforward.3

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