Chapter Eight

This entry is part 8 of 36 in the series Bend

Chapter Eight

Al rose up in his hammock; something had awakened him. The moon had been high overhead when he had finally fallen asleep. Now it was about to disappear behind the mountain. He glanced down at the table. Everything seemed to be in order; the two rifles were lying there. He glanced at Pio’s hammock; it was empty. He felt the urge to get up himself, but they had consumed quite a bit of beer before going to bed. Pio had probably taken a short walk and would be back in a few minutes. Everything was quiet inside the hotel. It had been a noisy crowd in there last night.

Al slid off the hammock and stood up. Sleeping in a hammock left a lot to be desired. He struck a match and looked at his watch; it was four o’clock, almost morning. He wondered what was keeping Pio. It shouldn’t take this long to get rid of some excess beer. He sat there listening; there wasn’t a sound. Then from around the corner of the hotel came a faint noise from where the Jeep was parked. Was someone bothering it? They had taken all their belongings out. Maybe someone was trying to steal the battery, or the Jeep itself. If they were, they were in for a surprise.

He picked up one of the rifles and laid it on his hammock, he would leave it there. He picked up the other one and headed for the Jeep. As he rounded the corner he could see it plainly. For a moment he stood there his thumb on the safety lock, his finger on the trigger. Just back of the Jeep the moon was casting a shadow, one that did not belong there.

Al voices was low, “Pio, is that you?”

The shadow moved and Pio stepped out from behind the Jeep.

“What the hell are you doing, Pio, trying to get yourself shot? What are you doing out here?”

“I heard a noise, it sounded like someone closing the hood of the Jeep. I thought someone was trying to steal it.”

“Did you see anyone?”

“When I came around the corner of the hotel no one was here. I heard a noise down that way.” He pointed toward the back of the hotel. “I saw someone disappear around the corner. I waited here thinking he might come back.” He patted the pistol strapped to his waist. “If he had come back, I would have captured him for sure!”

“You say he went around the back of the hotel?”

He pointed his thumb, “Yes sir, around that way.”

“Well let’s go take a look.” Al started walking in that direction. Pio was at his side. When they came to the corner they bent over and carefully took a peek; no one was in sight. “Lets go around the back of the hotel before the moon goes down.” Al whispered, “Pretty soon it will be real dark.” They stooped over and moved slowly along the stone wall. Al was in front. Suddenly he remembered the man that was tied up in the little room. It should be closed. He rose up and took a quick look. There it was, just a few feet in front of him. Yes, it was there, but the bars were gone, and very likely, so was the prisoner.

A quick glance down gave him the answer. The bars were lying there on the ground where someone had pried them off. He took a fast look through the window. It was dark inside. He could see nothing. He turned to Pio. “It must have been him that you saw. Very likely he was trying to get away with your Jeep!” A cold sweat broke out on Al’s forehead. “We had better get the hell out of here and back to our hammocks.”

They took off on a run, made it around the corner of the building then came to a sudden stop. Standing there with a huge rifle in his hands was one of the guards. The big gun was pointed straight at them. There was another man holding a pistol, it was the Judge. It was he who spoke; “Lay down your guns, you are under arrest!”

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