Mochila (Pony express adventure) part 1
The pony express
The Pony Express rider dug his heels into his horse’s sides, urging the horse to a greater speed. He looked back and was surprised to see that the five riders were still right on his tail. But he wasn’t worried, for he planned on losing his pursuers on Buffalo Flats. Glancing back he was pleased to see that the five men were losing ground, and he was pulling away. He smiled quietly to himself, then realizing again the importance of his ride, he dug his heels harder into the horse’s ribs. The mail pouch was a constant reminder that he had to deliver the letter before it was too late. Glancing back once more at the five men pursuing him, he was pleased to see that they were growing smaller and smaller. He had no doubt now that these men were after the letter that he carried. Looking straight ahead again, he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning, he realized too late what the movement was.
The Sheriff opened the jail door to get the man he was supposed to hang. The man met the Sheriff’s gaze without fear, this unnerved the Sheriff. Avoiding the man’s gaze he unchained the man from the wall as quickly as possible. The sooner this was over with, the better. Once the man was outside, a little girl ran up to him and gave him a hug
“Pa Pa!” she cried, “You can’t leave me!”
The man looked down into his daughter’s tear-filled eyes. “Baby, listen to me now.” The man said, “you have to be strong for me baby. You have to be strong! Do you understand?”
Nodding her head, the girl whispered “Yes Pa Pa.”
“That’s enough!” the Sheriff yelled, then shoved the little girl out of the way. Maybe a little too harshly for the fragile crying girl.
Crack! Half a second latter the rider felt a searing pain in his right side, as he fell from his horse. His first thought was of the letter, but before long things started to go fuzzy and black spots danced in his vision. The pain in his side was almost unbearable. Gingerly he touched the spot and was instantly met with the hot gush of blood. That’s when it dawned on him, he’d been shot, or grazed by the bullet. Dazed, he lifted his head from the ground, to see the five dark figures on the horizon, still too small to discern horse from rider though. Turning his head ever so slowly, he saw the shape of a rider coming from his left. It had to be the man who had shot him. He heard a rustling a few meters behind him, and whipped around to find the source of the noise. Instantly he regretted moving so quickly, when he was assailed with new pain from the bullet wound. Gasping, he doubled over in pain. When the pain subsided to a constant throb, he glanced up to view the horse that he had been riding with the mail pouch still attached to the saddle horn. Fearfully his eyes darted over his shoulder to see the five riders growing closer by the minuet. He needed to hide the letter and fast. Clutching his side, he began to stand. The pain was instantly there again. Gritting his teeth, he limped painfully over to the horse.
“Would you like me to pray for your soul?” the preacher asked the man.
“And what’s that gonna cost me?!” the man replied sharply.
Calmly the preacher replied, “Salvation is free to all men who believe.”
“Well, if ya don’t mind I can pray for myself.” The man closed his eyes and lifted his head toward the sky, “Father, forgive my sins, even if I know not what wrong I have done to deserve this fate.” He looked over at his little girl. “And Father, watch out for my little girl, for when I’m gone, she will have no one else to turn too.”
This has gone on long enough, the sheriff thought. Quickly and roughly he pulled a black hood over the man’s head, and gestured for the preacher to continue his services. He heard a whimpering noise and looked in the direction of the girl. The instant he laid his eyes on her tear- streaked face, he felt pity for her. He was about to hang her father, after all. No! he thought, it has to be done. Looking once more at the girl and her tear-filled eyes, he noticed that her lips were moving in a silent prayer.
The five men dismounted, one of them walking up to the rider’s horse looking for the mail pouch. When he didn’t find it, he called back to his boss, “It ain’t here boss.”
The leader of the five turned in disappointment. “Well, it can’t be too far from the horse.” He pointed at one of his men, “You, yeah you. Go and search over there by them trees.”
“Aye boss. I’ll be right on it.”
As the man ran off to search for the mail pouch, the boss heard the click of a pistol being cocked behind him. Slowly he turned around, to come face to face with the rider’s 22cal.(caliber) pistol. His men instantly drew their guns.
“Are you the one who shot me?” the rider asked the boss.
One man with a rifle stepped forward, “Naw, that’d be me, r…” before he had even finished his sentence, the rider turned his gun toward the man, and fired. The man cried out in pain as the bullet hit him in the knee.
The rider turned his pistol back to the boss, as the man screamed “I’ll make you bleed red for this rider.”
Looking at the rider’s pistol fearfully the boss said, “Our fight isn’t with you rider. All we want is the Letter.”
“My job…(gasp)…as a rider…(gasp)…is…to get the mail through. No…matter…what.” The rider said, as he sank to his knees, gasping in pain.
The Boss looked at the rider’s wound with grim satisfaction, so it was second nature for him to pretend to care about the rider’s health. But in truth, he couldn’t care less. “I’d get that looked at before you bleed out. Now where’s my letter?” When the rider didn’t answer, he lowered his voice to little more than a growl. “If you know what’s good for you boy, you had better t…”
In mid-sentence, one of his men yelled out cheerfully “Found it!”
The boss saw a flicker of disappointment in the rider’s eyes, but then it was gone. Turning toward the man he yelled “Bring it here!” This was unnecessary, because this was exactly what the man planned to do. The man was already running, but the boss yelling at him to bring it, urged him to a greater speed.
When the man got to the boss, he handed the mail pouch over to him. The boss took the pouch from the man greedily. He started turning it over with a puzzled expression on his face, “where…is…the key?” he turned a withering glare to the rider. “Where is the key?” he repeated. When the rider didn’t answer, he shoved the weakened rider over with the heel of his boot. As the rider fell, his hat fell off to expose long blond hair. The boss turned to his men with a cruel smile on his face, “A girl.”
The man that the rider had shot cried out,” A GIRL!!! I got shot by a girl!” The rest of the men snickered at this.
The boss turned his attention back to the rider, as she clutched her bloody side. He had a moment of pity for the girl, and felt something like respect for her. Quickly he pushed the thought to the back of his mind. Walking up to the rider, he kicked her gun away from her grasping hands, then crouched down so he could look straight into her eyes, “Where’s the key?”
Meeting the boss’s gaze without fear, the rider replied with venom in her voice, “I don’t have it.”
Annoyed, the boss turned his eyes toward the horizon. A couple seconds had passed, when suddenly his hand darted forward at the unsuspecting rider like a striking snake. He grabbed the rider’s bloody side in the spot that he knew would cause her the most pain. The rider cried out in agony. Keeping his hand on the rider’s wound, the boss moved so that his mouth was only a few centimeters from her face. “Tell me where the key is, or your ride ends right here, right now.”
Glaring at the boss, the rider said, “Check your holster.”
Understanding dawned on the boss’s face half a second too late.