Chapter Thirty-Four

This entry is part 34 of 36 in the series Bend

Chapter Thirty-Four

The two men found themselves a rock to sit on that was somewhat shaded by the big boulder.

No longer were they enemies. They had shaken hands. They had embraced. They were blood cousins. Right or wrong, they would stick together.

Kirkland had admitted that he had killed three men. But he had also said killing was too good for them. Al had believed him. He would find out the particulars later.

A strange feeling had come over Al. Today, he had gone in search of this man either to kill or capture him; and take him back to Quilali.

Less than an hour ago, he had the rifle trained on the man’s head, and couldn’t pull the trigger. When he was crossing the river, he had slipped, and fallen, breaking the gun; making it worthless.

Adilia had said, “I will pray for you.” ‘She must have been praying mighty hard,’ Al thought. Her prayers had certainly been answered.

The big question now was: Where do we go from here?

Al broke the silence. “John, we’ve got problems. You are a wanted man, and I will be an outlaw when the judge finds out we have joined forces. That rascal has my passport and my traveler checks. We must find some way out of here.”

Kirkland took off the big white had and wiped his forehead.

Al stared in disbelief. The man’s forehead was as smooth as his own! There was no scar. He must have the wrong man!

“Do you have a twin brother?” Al’s voice was hoarse. “You are not the man I have been looking for. The guy I am supposed to bring back to Quilali had a big scar on his forehead.”

“You are probably referring to my brother. He had a big scar right here.” Kirkland traced his fore finger across his brow. “He is the black sheep of the family.’

“Where is he now?’

“Dead,” said Kirkland. “He was here just before you came. I tried to get him to give himself up to the law. He laughed at me. He dove into the water and tried to swim the river. He didn’t make it, he went over the falls.”

Al had a feeling that John Kirkland was pulling his leg. All this didn’t quite add up. Just a moment ago, this man had admitted to killing three men.

“Would you mind repeating that?” A faint smile came to Al’s face. “And this time, no B.S.”

Kirkland grinned. “I think I had you fooled for a minute. All right, how does this sound? I am the guy with the scar, but today, I am not wearing it. Does that make more sense?”

“No, but go on with your story.”

“It’s and old trick I learned from the Indians. They paint scars on their body to make it appear that they have been in many battles. I painted this one on me, just before I went after those three rats.”

“But why, John, why?”

“The answer is very simple. It was sort of a disguise. In case anyone got a good look at me, they would remember the scar. You were looking for a big man with long black hair and a scar on his face, weren’t you?”

“I sure as hell was.”

“Now, all I need is to get my hair cut short, and no one will ever take me for the scar-faced killer.”

Al nodded. “Right you are. It looks like you have a perfect alibi, cousin John. Adilia has a pair of scissors; I can cut your hair…but what about me? How the devil am I going to square myself with that cock-eyed Judge?”

John Kirkland smiled. “You have a witness that saw him go over the falls. No one could survive the crash of landing in those boulders below. By now, the body is probably well on it’s way to the sea.”

“Cousin John, you are a genius. If we could get the judge to swallow that story, we would both be home free.”

“It’s worth a try, he can’t disprove it.”

Al laughed. “Let’s get going, we’ll try out the yarn on my crew. If it works, we’ll head for the judge.”

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