Written for fun. Excuse the mistakes. They are all mine and you can't have them, just read them. Hope you enjoy.
They were suppose to be on their way home, suppose to be, but a slight deviation they thought was for a good purpose got them deep in horse manure, way deep.
It was hard to see, let alone breathe. The wind was blowing hard raising so much debris it was deafening and suffocating. The bandanas could only do so much.
'This cannot be happening. Haven't we had our share of trouble? Need to get to protection fast. Need to get us to a safe area.'
It was getting harder to see at any distance. At least the brothers were still next to each other. They rode side-by-side, one keeping a close eye on the other.
'There, rocks need to get to those rocks.' Guiding his horse over, he strained to see if he was right. 'Good, we should be able to get some kind of cover.'
He signaled his brother over to the edge of two huge rocks. Barely able to make out the area, he carefully dismounted and groaned from the pain on his side but he did not release the reins of his horse. Yelling at the top of his lungs, "Come on brother, let get some cover!"
Making his way to his brother's side, he patted Scott's leg indicating him to dismount.
They held on to each other and shuffled their way to a crevasse that seemed large enough to squeeze into. Scott hesitated at first, but was shoved towards the opening. Once scrunched down, they huddled tight seeking as much protection as possible. The wind blew and spewed dirt all around around them. They both shivered as they heard the winds cry, which sounded like an angry banshee wanting revenge. Johnny knew too well that these sand storms could be unmerciful with its victims, so he held on to his brother for dear life.
Waiting impatiently for the storm to subside, Johnny reflected on the one storm that took the life of an old acquaintance as it unleashed a turbulent, suffocating cloud of particulates and reduced visibility to almost nothing in a matter of seconds. He did not want the same outcome for either of them. These storms were rare, but just as dangerous.
After what seemed to be several hours, the wind died out as fast as it had started. Scott managed to stretch his arm out, but his immediate concern was to check on his little brother who had not moved since crawling into their temporary cover. He reached out to lift Johnny's chin and that's when he noticed that his brother had dirty-dry blood on the side of his face. 'Where else is he injured?' He wiggled out to where he could stand and maneuvered over his brother's body. Once on the other side, he lifted him out and carried him over to the side of the rock.
Scanning the area he noticed that the horses were gone. Grateful that his brother had managed to get the canteens, he opened one and pours some water onto the bandana. he soothed the moist bandana on his brother face. "Come on brother. Wake up. Come on the worst is over." He kept the cleansing his face.
Finally he heard him moan. "Good come on." He was now holding his chin. "There, you can do it."
At last, his eyes opened and blinked several times in an attempt to clear out the grit he felt in them. Looking up, he offered a small grin. "You're a sight." He said all groggy. He moved his head and then stopped with the sudden pain. closing his eyes, he leaned back on the rock. "Give me a minute."
He just kept blinking his eyes, so his brother poured some water over them. "Thanks, but don't waste it. I'll be alright."
He finally took in a deep breath. "Horses?"
"Their gone." Scott took a drink and offered the canteen to Johnny.
"I should'a tighten their reins to my hand." He huffed and scuffed at the taste of sand in his mouth, then drank.
Scanning his brother for any signs of further injuries. "They would have dragged you with them. It was better this way."
Wobbling up to stand, Johnny figured they might as well get going. "Guess we better start moving. Don't want to get stuck out here at night."
Helping Johnny up, Scott expressed his concern. "Can you make it?"
"Just as much as you can." He held on to the side of the rock.
"Well, Johnny, which way?"
Straightening up, Johnny held his hand up, stuck one finger in his mouth to wet it, pulled it out and held it up to the wind then pointed towards a direction. "That way to where the wind blows." He chuckled.
Scott was very much appreciative of his little brothers sense of humor, especially during these trying times. "I'm right behind you, brother."
They both started walking like a pair of old men without their canes, slow and painfully. After a while, Scott was offering his support, but they kept walking. Eventually, you couldn't tell which brother was helping which. Both were injured and exhausted. They willed themselves to keep going until they were out of a possible retaliation from their potential threat. They did not have to walk too far before coming to a running creek which fed into a large swim hole that was filled with what they needed, clean refreshing water. It was also set with a large tree for shade.
Sitting down, they relaxed , and each moaned in unison then they laughed at each other.
"Another fine mess we've gotten ourselves into brother."
"Yup, how we manage is beyond me." Still neither moved.
"Ok, what's the damage? Let me have a look at you." Johnny started to stand, but fell back down. "In a minute...maybe."
After a while, the sun was going down and Johnny moaned and touched his head. "Damn my head hurts, Boston?"
"Really? It just might be that brawl and, oh yes, the shooting." Scott struggled to stand up and stretch out the kinks from his sore body. "don't think a bullet missed you."
"Well, brother, I couldn't let you be the only one with having all the fun, now could I?" Johnny held his head with both hands. "Seriously, how bad Scott, you I mean?"
"Not as bad as you from what I can tell. I just received some scraps, body bruises I can connect to form a map of California and I am sore, but nothing too serious."
He walked over to where Johnny was sitting. "You on the other hand had one bullet graze your skull. Then there are those bruises you have around your rib cage. Plus, a black eye that seems to be causing your right eye to shut. Ah, I mustn't forget the cut on your upper lip that is swelling up a bit causing you to talk a bit funny. Yes sir, I guess that about does it." He scratched his chin and thought a bit. "Oh, yeah, on the plus side you are no longer bleeding."
"Is that all? Damn I got off lucky, huh? I'm proud of you in the way you manage to keep yourself all prettied up after a fight." He suddenly felt himself losing consciousness and fought it. "We're going to have to camp here Scott."
Scott went up to his brother. "Here Johnny drink some water."
"Thanks dear." He smiled and gladly accepted his brother's help.
"John, we don't have anything to protect us from the cold night, so we need to sleep closer to the fire and take turns keeping it going." Scott kept looking over to monitor his brother's conscious state. "Johnny, I'll need to clean the wound on your head."
"Scott, how about you?" Johnny waited and closed his eyes grateful that he had his brother with him.
"I, little brother, am just sore. Just need to rest a bit. I'll be fine."
Johnny was feeling better after drinking water and resting, but he wasn't sleepy. Scott was now feeling the days wear and yawned.
"Brother I think it's time for us to go nighty-night." Scott stretched out next to his borther.
"You get some sleep Scott. I'll take the first watch then I'll wake you." He stood carefully to walk over to the tree."
"Johnny you need to stay warm. You can't sit by the tree."
"And I can't sit by the fire in the middle of the camp. I'll be fine. Go to sleep."
Scott was too tired to argue and he closed his eyes.
Johnny was feeling better and he figured the coolness under the tree might help some.
The night went by without a hitch. Both got their well-deserved rest. They were ready to move out again. Filling the canteens, they started out. Johnny felt well enough to walk without help, but knew that might not last.
Scott kept a small distance between him and his brother, letting Johnny lead the way. After a few hours of walking and a few breaks, they reached a wooded area. That was a clear indication that they were getting closer to home.
Johnny was feeling the stress of the walk, but did not let on. He was determined to make it on his own, especially after noticing that Scott had lied about his condition. He managed to see his brother clutching his side on occasion. He could see that his injuries were starting to bother him. "We make a likely pair, Murdoch would be proud."
They stopped once more to rest when they heard noises coming from behind deeply wooded area. Moving quietly, they found cover. Johnny signaled his brother to stay and wait. While not giving Scott a chance to argue, Johnny disappeared.
After a short while, Scott heard some rustling sounds. He carefully peeked over the bushes and spotted his brother walking towards him with their horses in tow.
He wanted to dance a jig, but settled for a laugh instead. Standing up straight with his hands on his waist, he was overjoyed that they did not have to walk anymore. "Seems our luck is changing brother. Thank you lady luck! Now let's go home."
Now Boston, you know Lady Luck had nothing to do with this. Barranca just knows better than to run off too far. He was just taking a break that's all."
"Well, little brother, I'd start training him to takes those breaks a lot closer to us next time."
Both mounted their steeds, slowly, painfully, and with much delight. It was a beautiful day cool and the heat of the sun offered them the warmth they needed to ride along as comfortable as possible. Still they were sore, hungry and anxious to get home.
Johnny kept nodding off and on and Scott kept trying to keep him upright. After a few hours and much contemplation, Johnny offered a suggestion. "Boston, next time I suggest we escort some little ladies to their destination, shoot me!"
Scott had spent much of his time at Lancer with his brother to know that there might just be a next time and offered his suggestion in response. "Next time brother, I believe we need to first inquire about their marital status before going out of our way to escort any young ladies anywhere! But rest assure little brother, should there be a next time and I agree with you, I'll shoot us both."
Mumbling a few thoughts to himself, Scott finally had to ask. "How do we explain our appearance to our father?" Scott bemused while scratching his head.
"H-m-m-m-m, well, we could blame that whirlwind of the sand storm." Johnny's lips twitched in pain.
"True, but for the most part, sand storms don't carry guns, shot bullets, and give black eyes, cut...." Johnny glared at Scott, who was grinning and peeking at him through the hat that shaded his face.
"You have a good point, brother." Leaning his arm on the saddle horn, he slanted to his side and looked at his brother. "Well then, I suggest we should just sneak in and pray real hard for a miracle that we heal overnight."
The End, Until they get home and face Murdoch!