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|Introduction: A bounty hunter chases an old nemesis|
A Dirty Western 5 – The Stud at Culver’s Canyon
Taggert and Lomasi rode steadily throughout the day toward Culver’s Canyon. Even with the mules slowing them down, they were less than a half days ride from their destination as the sun began to set.
Lomasi had finished her deer skin pants the day before and they clung to her like a second skin. Taggert was actually glad she had them, since there were several cuts and scrapes on her legs from the last few days. Despite her complaints, he had insisted she use a saddle rather than ride bareback as she was accustomed. The saddle would give them a place to tie more supplies and it would be easier to lead the mules if she could dally the lead rope around the horn.
Like everything else, Lomasi caught on quickly and the saddle was no longer an issue after a few hours. She was also the first to notice several thin dark lines wafting straight up into the windless evening sky.
“Comanche camp,” she said. She rode ahead to see if they would need to avoid the camp, since they would lose time by doing so. Thirty minutes later, Lomasi returned excited about the Indians she had seen.
It was indeed a Comanche camp, but it was different than any she had been in before. This group was only women, children, and old men that looked like they had been there for some time. She seemed intrigued by the idea and, since the camp was directly in their path, suggested they spend the night there.
Taggert had spent some time with Comanche as well, but he was still wary of Indians he didn’t know. He reluctantly agreed to her suggestion, only because she was with him and felt they would consider her one of their own. The headed for the camp and before long, a row of teepees came into view with a haphazard set of campfires dotting the center of the makeshift village.
As they rode into the camp Taggert had to resist the urge to draw his pistol. He kept his hands on the reins and followed Lomasi as she guided her horse toward a large teepee at the end of the camp. Their arrival prompted the residents to come out of their homes and gawk at them as they made their way toward, what Taggert assumed, would be a meeting with the Chief.
By the time they reached the last teepee, a crowd had gathered around them and the entire little village seemed to be on hand when the Chief swung the buffalo hide door out of the way, and stepped outside.
The leader of the tribe was an old man with a wrinkled face and a long smoking pipe clamped firmly between his teeth. He moved away from the teepee slowly and made a long sweeping arc with his arm, as if trying to be dramatic, before speaking to them.
“Welcome warriors,” he said, “we have been waiting for you.” Taggert blinked in surprise at the statement but said nothing.
“Thank you,” Lomasi said, “we would like to stay for the night.”
“Your place has been prepared,” the old man replied, “and you are welcome to stay as long as you need before the battle.” Lomasi didn’t seem fazed by the strange greeting but Taggert felt the hair on the back of his neck rise.
The two dismounted and the tribe descended upon them. Several women took the horses and mules while the Chief motioned for them to come inside his teepee. A small fire was burning in the center of the shelter, and the old man beckoned them to sit down. He began speaking so rapidly in Comanche that Taggert could only pick up a few words. He didn’t like what he heard.
“The legend of the two warriors is finally coming to pass,” the old man stated. “We have been here for many days in preparation for your arrival.” Lomasi nodded and glanced over at Taggert. The confusion on his face was obvious, even to the Chief.
“He does not know of the legend?” the small man asked. Lomasi shook her head and their host smiled as if he had been given a gift. “Good, I will tell him the story.”
“A warrior with a mule and a warrior woman, meet by chance and decide to travel together. They have many adventures and enjoy their time together, but a battle awaits them. The pair come to a healing tribe to prepare for an upcoming battle and bring gifts to the people,” the Chief raised an eyebrow at this statement before continuing.
“A great battle is fought and one of the warriors is wounded. The two return to the healing tribe for help, but only one spirit leaves.” He looked from Lomasi to Taggert and then continued. “Two warriors enter, only one spirit leaves,” he said as dramatically as he could.
Taggert held his comments and let Lomasi talk to the Chief. He didn’t believe in the vague legends that the Indians liked to tell, but he did see an opportunity. This tribe had obviously lost its men to war parties and they were short on food and supplies. Leaving the mules with them would solve one of his problems and they would have an ally in this group. It would be a good thing to have a tribe of Comanche as your friend, even a tribe of only women, children, and old men.
Lost in his own thoughts, he was startled when Lomasi nudged him. She and the Chief were both looking at him expectantly. “Do we have gifts for his people?” Lomasi asked.
Taggert nodded, “We would like to give you the two mules and the supplies they carry.” The Chief beamed at this and puffed his pipe rapidly. He practically sprang to his feet and headed for the door which opened to an even larger group of people than when they had come inside.
“We have gifts!” he proclaimed loudly to the gathering. A cheer went up from the group and Taggert felt even more uncomfortable than before. Lomasi touched his arm and leaned up were she could whisper to him in English.
“Don’t worry,” she said, “they are good people.” The apprehension didn’t go away.
They were led to a small teepee in the middle of the camp and the door was pulled open for them. Lomasi took the lead and stepped inside followed by Taggert. The Chief nodded to them and the buffalo hide door was dropped into place, leaving them alone in their sleeping quarters. There were buffalo and deer hides scattered about and a small circle of stones for a fire. Both their saddles and all their gear were inside and Lomasi set about arranging the area, while Taggert started the fire. They had just settled down when a woman brought them food.
Taggert was not used to being treated this way and was uncomfortable with the circumstances. Still, the roasted rabbit was good, and he felt no one would bother them while they were in the camp.
“What was the chief talking about?” Taggert quizzed. Lomasi smiled and chuckled at his question.
“When I was very little I was sold to a Comanche tribe in the south. The children were very mean to me and the chief came up with a plan to protect me. He told everyone that he had a vision that one day I would be a great warrior, and that I should be treated special. I was raised by the best warrior in the village and never did any of the things with the other girls.” She paused as if waiting for a reaction. He simply nodded and she continued.
“I spent my days learning how to ride and hunt while the other girls learned to take care of the men,” she smiled again. “The chief made up the story to keep the tribe from beating me, but it was told so many times that other tribes learned of it.”
“But why does he think I am part of the story?” Taggert asked. “It was very strange when he said there was a battle coming and the mules…” he let the statement trail off because he realized how silly it sounded.
“The old chief doesn’t have the story exactly correct,” she said, amused with the way Taggert was acting. “The Flower Warrior meets a white warrior with a mule and goes away with him. He is a big man that speaks Comanche fluently,” she paused and raised an eyebrow, “and he can make it thunder.”
“He’s a rain maker?”
“No,” Lomasi giggled, “he can make it thunder. BOOOOM!” She moved her arms up in an exaggerated motion as if she were animating the story for a child.
“Oh,” Taggert grunted, “I was just asking.” Lomasi laughed at him again, obviously enjoying his discomfort.
“When Joe came to our tribe with a mule, the people thought he was the Thunder Warrior and believed it was the beginning of the legend. Joe heard the story and pretended that he was this person, so I was practically forced to leave the tribe. The chief called me into his teepee and told me that this was not the man, but I should go with him. He knew I no longer fit in the tribe and it was my chance to go and find my own way.” She paused again as if reliving that moment.
“Then I left with Joe and stayed with him because I had no other place to go,” she gave him a warm look, “until you showed up.”
Taggert sat quietly for a while, thinking about the story. He had seen Indian predictions come true on occasion, but they were usually very vague and could be interpreted a number of ways. “How does the story end?” he asked.
“During the battle one of the warriors is injured and a healing tribe tries to save him.”
“Does he live?”
“Two warriors enter the tribe but only one spirit leaves,” she replied dryly.
“Figures,” Taggert grimaced. It was a typical Indian legend with no rhyme or reason and the outcome was left up to fate.
“I wouldn’t worry,” Lomasi said, “you can not be the Thunder Warrior. In the story he speaks fluent Comanche, has a mule when the Flower Warrior meets him, and rides a black stallion with no heirs.”
The typical impossible Indian legend Taggert thought. What bothered him is that the entire tribe believed he and Lomasi were the ones in the story. They believed so much that they had been waiting for them for months, and now that the two of them had wandered into their camp, the Indians would wait for them to come back.
“You need to tell them we are not part of this story.” Taggert said, “We may never come back this way again, and I don’t want them getting hurt if Davis finds out we gave them his supplies.”
Lomasi shrugged, “It will not matter what I tell them. They believe the story and even though we are not the warriors, they will not leave. We should come back later and figure out a way to make them believe the story has come to pass.”
Taggert nodded and lay back on his bedroll. He had somehow become responsible for a tribe of Comanche he didn’t know. His life was becoming much too complicated.
Breakfast was waiting for them the next morning when they got up, and by the time daylight was peaking over the horizon, they had said their goodbyes and were on their way. Behind them, the construction of a large healing teepee had begun in preparation for their return. Taggert shook his head, but Lomasi just giggled at the tribe’s commitment to the story her chief had made up.
Now that the mules were no longer slowing them down, they made good time and within a few hours they were approaching their destination. Taggert suddenly noticed a large cloud of dust that seemed to appear out of nowhere from just over the horizon. It grew larger as it headed their way and suddenly veered to the Northwest.
“Horses,” Taggert growled. He kicked his mare in the ribs and suddenly they were running to cut them off. If they could get in front of them, Taggert and Lomasi could surprise Davis’ men and scatter the herd.
As they topped a small hill, Taggert pulled up and stopped. There were horses running across the valley in front of them, but only one man was giving chase. Taggert realized the horses were wild mustangs and the man must be Garcia.
The mustangs ran in a tight group with the big grey horse that Garcia was riding right behind them. He guided the big gelding up to the rear of the herd with a rope held loosely in his right hand and urged his mount to move faster. With a burst of speed, the horse lunged into the pack and up to a dun mare.
With a practiced ease Garcia swung the loop a few times and then it sailed over the dun’s head and settled around her neck. He pulled up on his mount and as they slowed the rope tightened and the captured mare had to slow down with them or be strangled. The rest of the horses thundered past them as Garcia reached behind his saddle and grabbed something.
From this distance Taggert couldn’t make it out clearly, but it resembled a porcupine curled up in a ball. Made of sharpened wooden stakes, the ball was attached to the end of the rope that Garcia had used to catch the mare. He continued to keep pace with the dun until they came to a mesquite tree and then he suddenly veered to the left.
The horseman threw the wooden ball at the ground and it bounced wildly before the rope hit the base of the tree and the ball wrapped around it. The rope around the mare’s neck tightened and the small tree bent to the mustang’s weight as she came to a stop, unable to free herself.
Garcia was already coaxing the gelding back toward the herd and was shaking out another loop. His mount charged forward at an amazing speed, making the herd look as if it were moving at an easy trot as he closed the distance. They entire group disappeared as the mustang herd rounded a corner and out of Taggert’s view.
“He has a good horse,” Lomasi commented. Taggert nodded in agreement. The gelding was even faster than the dun he had lost recently in the gunfight with Davis. Garcia was obviously a good judge of horses and Taggert hoped he would have an opportunity to get a similar one to replace his current mount.
They moved down to where the captured mustang was fighting the mesquite tree and waited for Garcia to return for his prize. Taggert could see no reason to hide from Garcia, as he had no issue with the man, and now he was interested in doing business with him. They waited for almost an hour before two horses came into view with Garcia in the lead and another mustang dragging behind and fighting the rope every few hundred feet. He slowed when he saw Taggert and Lomasi but continued coming toward them.
As he came nearer, Taggert realized the horseman was smaller than he had first thought. Garcia was wearing a cowboy hat and long sleeve shirt to protect him from the sun and as he grew closer Taggert suddenly realized the clothing didn’t fit exactly right. As Garcia moved within fifty yards it became obvious that he was not a man at all, rather, a very curvy young woman!
“Buenos Dias,” she called warily as she approached.
“Names Taggert,” he replied bluntly, “I understand you have some good horses to sell.” Garcia relaxed noticeably and pulled up a few feet from him.
“I have a few,” she said. Garcia nodded towards the mare that had given up fighting the tree. “Why don’t you grab that one and I’ll show you what I have.” Taggert stepped down and untangled the wooden ball from the base of the tree and then remounted. The mustang, feeling the rope slacken, began to fight again. This was not Taggert’s first time to deal with unruly horses and he easily handled the mare and together they all rode deeper into Culver’s Canyon.
“How did you hear about me?” Garcia asked as the rode.
“Friend of mine told me about you,” Taggert said vaguely, “I lost my big gelding a few months back and I need to get another one.” He gestured at the horse Garcia was riding. “Something like that,” he said.
Garcia smiled and ran her hand along the grey’s neck. “He’s not for sale,” she replied, petting the horse fondly, “I raised him from a colt and I’ve only seen one horse faster.”
“He is fast,” Taggert agreed. They continued for a few miles and the rocks began to get bigger. Turning past a large out cropping, Garcia led them through a pass and into a small valley. There were hills all around and a small cabin set at the base of one of the steeper inclines. Several corrals dotted the area close to a creek that meandered along the length of the valley and Taggert could see that some of the steeper walls were used as fencing to keep in the horses.
“You built all this by yourself,” Taggert asked, obviously impressed.
“No,” she said, “my father built most of it. He died a few years ago and I decided to stay.”
They put the horses in one of the small corrals near the cabin and Garcia invited them inside. She offered them water and tortillas, which they accepted, and they talked as they sat at a small table and ate.
Her first name was Patricia and she was one of three children that had grown up at the cabin. Her father was an expert horseman and she seemed very proud of the fact that she was able to carry on his work. When her father died, the other two siblings had moved away, leaving her to take care of the horse business by herself.
Taggert guessed her age as mid twenties, and as she moved gracefully around the room, he noticed that she was well put together. Lomasi saw the look in his eyes and her face flushed in jealousy of the attention the young woman was getting from him.
“Would you like to see what I have,” Patricia asked. Taggert was caught off guard by the question considering what he had just been thinking about. “The horses,” she said, “would you like to see what I have?”
“Of course,” Taggert replied as he and Lomasi followed her out the door. They looked at several horses near the cabin but nothing that Taggert thought was better than the little mustang he already had.
Patricia seemed to appreciate that Taggert knew horses so well. She absentmindedly flirted with him as they continued to look, and Lomasi fumed as she tagged along. It was almost dark when Patricia invited them to stay.
“It’s not much,” she said, “but you are welcome to stay the night. I’m sure you know that riding at night is a good way to break a horse’s leg.” Taggert knew she was right. Even riding slowly at night was dangerous, since it was impossible to see any holes or rocks that could create a hazard. That didn’t even take into account the snakes and other creatures that came out at night.
They settled around the table in the cabin and Patricia set about cooking dinner for them. She and Taggert traded stories about horses while Lomasi sat quietly in an obvious jealous stew. She stayed that way throughout the meal, and even afterwards, as she quietly watched Patricia flirt with Taggert right in front of her.
It was getting late when Patricia got up to go in the other room to get spare blankets for her guests. Taggert knew Lomasi was upset, but he wasn’t too worried about it. She would be fine once they were back on the trail tomorrow.
He was thinking of a way to politely ask Patricia about Tom Davis, when the door to the other room opened and she stepped into view, completely naked. Her large breasts swayed as she moved toward the table and her thin waist exaggerated the width of her hips. She was beautiful and curvy, a fact not lost on Taggert as his cock instantly swelled.
Lomasi blushed and looked down as Patricia approached Taggert at the table. She was about to get up and walk outside when the naked woman strode past him and sat on Lomasi’s lap facing her. The shocked Indian looked up and Patricia kissed her softly on the lips.
Lomasi was wide eyed and glanced over to Taggert, who simply smiled and shrugged. Her gaze moved back to Patricia and she seemed to make a decision. Lomasi reached up and took the Mexican woman’s face in her hands before pulling her closer and giving her a long, slow passionate kiss.
What followed was a night of debauchery like Taggert had never seen before. The small bed in the cabin seemed overflowing with female flesh and he took full advantage at every turn. The two women devoured each other in a multitude of positions, licking and kissing every part of each others body. Taggert would simply find a pussy or mouth that was currently unoccupied and pound away until the women decided to find a new way to pleasure each other.
They ended up with Lomasi on her back and Patricia straddling her. Both were excitedly trying to coax another orgasm by using their tongues on the pussy presented in front of them. Patricia was moaning loudly as Lomasi flicked at her clit with her tongue and Taggert saw his chance to push her over the edge. He stood next to the bed, with a leg on either side of Lomasi’s head, and pushed his cock slowly into Patricia’s wet pussy.
His balls lightly touched Lomasi’s forehead as he moved forward and she momentarily refocused her attentions on them. She lapped at the large orbs enthusiastically as he began to pump his hard shaft in and out of Patricia. Before long, all three were moaning noisily and the tempo began to increase.
Patricia was the first to come and she did so with a loud, piercing wail that caused a chain reaction. Taggert and Lomasi began to cum at the same time, with the Indian woman shuddering beneath her new friend, and Taggert straining to get every inch of cock into the pussy before him. He pushed forward and began dumping copious amounts of semen into the kneeling woman as her pussy clenched around his shaft.
Patricia was filled to overflowing, and as she squirmed in pleasure, some of Taggert’s cum dripped out of her and onto Lomasi’s face. She simply lifted her mouth to the bottom of Taggert’s cock and began licking the juices from his shaft, occasionally moving down to catch Patricia’s clit, which elicited a soft mewing sound.
It was well past daylight before everyone was up and dressed the next morning. The three of them had gone out to the creek at first light and washed away the night before. The women had helped bath each other, giggling like school girls as Taggert watched them. They were both beautiful, but in the morning light there was a glow about the two that turned him on to no end. He felt he could stay here for a while and be very content, except for the fact that Tom Davis was still out there.
They were again sitting at the small table when Patricia broached the subject everyone was thinking of. “Do you really have to go?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Taggert slowly, “the man that shot me is still out there and I have to find him. Tom Davis needs to pay for what he did to me.” Patricia flinched at the mention of the name.
“Tom Davis?” she repeated. “He is the man that shot you?”
“Yes,” Taggert replied, “do you know him?”
“He is supposed to send several men to pick up horses tomorrow,” she squirmed in her seat and pondered the situation. The amount of money she was going to be paid by Davis was enough to keep her going for the rest of the year. She was finally going to have enough to make repairs and even a few improvements.
“I won’t sell the horses to him,” she said finally. Taggert appreciated the gesture, but he had a better idea.
“I need you to sell the horses to him,” Taggert said, “then we can follow them back to his hiding place.” Patricia let out a sigh of relief.
“But he will have a lot of men there,” she said as worry crept into her voice, “they won’t just let you walk in and take Davis.”
“No,” Taggert smiled, “I reckon I will have to be some kind of Thunder Warrior to get out of this one.” Lomasi laughed at his joke and Patricia looked confused. They filled her in on the Comanche legend and she smiled and giggled until they told her about the black stallion with no heirs. Her face went white and she sat back in her chair as if she had seen a ghost.
“What’s wrong,” Taggert asked. She said nothing but got up and walked toward the door, beckoning them to follow. Once outside, she let out a shrill whistle that echoed down the canyon. A few minutes later the thunder of hoofs could be heard and then a horse rounded the corner and came into view.
Taggert and Lomasi stood frozen as the horse charged forward, quickly closing the gap and stopping just short of Patricia. In front of them, standing well over sixteen hands tall and pawing nervously at the ground, was a large black stallion.
The horse was coal black without a hint of any other color on its shiny coat. He flared his nostrils and snorted at the strangers warily, but did not back away. Patricia moved up to him and began rubbing his neck, which seemed to calm the stud somewhat.
“He was so wild when he was little that we had to geld him,” Patricia said, “but it didn’t seem to calm him down much. We saw him mounting the mares, but he never produced any colts.”
“He’s not a stallion?” Taggert seemed surprised. He had never seen a gelding mount other mares or behave the way this one did. He appraised the black horse and was impressed with his powerful chest and flank. He was bigger than Taggert’s last gelding, and that wasn’t something to take lightly, as the dun had been bigger than most.
“I sold him twice,” Patricia continued, “but he came back both times on his own. I never saw the men I sold him to again and I don’t know if they just gave up on him and let him go, or if something happened to them. I have been keeping him with my mares strictly as protection and he keeps the herd safe. I just have to put him in the pen when I want to breed the mares or he will kill the other stud horses.”
Taggert moved up to the animal and it snorted as he approached but held his ground. The big man reached out and stroked the horse’s neck. He allowed Taggert to stand next to him without complaint and both the women could see the bounty hunter was impressed.
“How much?” he asked.
“I want you to have him,” Patricia said, “I don’t think anyone else could handle him.” Taggert nodded at the comment. This horse was definitely a handful and getting his respect wouldn’t be easy, but the gelding would carry Taggert’s bulk easily and probably be faster than most other horses.
“Is he as fast as your grey?” Taggert asked, thinking back to how her horse had easily overtaken the mustangs.
Patricia beamed at the question, “He’s faster.” Now Taggert was really impressed. They haltered the horse and led him to the pen so he wouldn’t be able to get away in case saddling him proved difficult. Everyone was surprised when he stood quietly and waited patiently as Taggert tightened the girt and flank. It wasn’t until Taggert stepped into the stirrup that the real excitement started.
The horse bolted as the big man’s butt hit the saddle and Taggert just managed to get hold of the saddle horn in time. The gelding was a blur as he charged the fence full speed, and with little effort, cleared it without slowing down. Taggert calmly let the big horse have its head and simply rode out the initial burst, thinking it would tire quickly at this speed.
It was almost twenty minutes before he could tell the difference in the black horses pace, and only then did Taggert try to rein him in. The gelding slowed from a run down to a trot, heaving heavily at his recent exertions, but not ready to give in. The horse spun quickly to the left, almost throwing his rider and then began to buck in high, arcing jumps that alternately had Taggert looking up at the sky and then directly at the ground.
It wasn’t his first time on a bucking horse, but this was the first time he felt like he was on a Pegasus. The horses muscular flank propelled them both high into the air and then gravity pulled them back to earth in a series of catlike jumps that was actually starting to disorient Taggert. He pulled hard right on the reins and the gelding had no choice but to turn. As he readied to jump again, Taggert sank his heels into the horse’s side and they took off at breakneck speed through the canyons.
Every time the gelding tried to slow, Taggert would kick him in the ribs again or pop him on the flank with the end of the reins. When it became apparent the horse was tiring, the big man pulled into a lope and a few minutes later, let him walk. His mount was sweating profusely and they were almost back to the cabin before his breathing had returned to normal.
“That took a while,” Patricia said as they approached the cabin, “I was about to come looking for you.”
“He’s fast,” Taggert said, “and he can jump!”
Patricia laughed at this. “Lomasi went to scout the area. She didn’t want us to be caught off guard if Davis’ men were a day early.” Taggert dismounted and patted the horse on the shoulder.
“I think we will be moving on,” he said reluctantly, “I don’t want to be here when they come to pick up the stock, and I want to make sure you get paid.” Patricia’s face showed her disappointment but she nodded in understanding.
“You know where I am,” she smiled, “and you two are always welcome.” Taggert’s attention was pulled toward the end of the canyon as a young woman came riding into view. He had to look twice to make sure it was Lomasi, as she was riding a different horse and wearing one of Patricia’s shirts.
“She looks better without the bones and feathers,” Patricia commented as Lomasi stepped down from the horse. She moved to stand next to Patricia and waited for his appraisal of her new outfit.
“I like your shirt,” he smiled. Lomasi beamed at the compliment and turned to hug Patricia before climbing back onto her new mount. Taggert waited as the horse woman came to him, and he leaned down to accept her long, passionate kiss.
“Be careful,” she said as Taggert mounted his gelding, “I will be here if you need me.” She stood solemnly, watching them as they rode toward the end of the canyon. Suddenly, it hit her that she was lonely, and her two friends would be sorely missed. She finally turned away as they rounded the corner out of sight.
Taggert stood up and stretched again. It had been a day since he and Lomasi had split up and taken vantage points in different areas atop ridges overlooking the valley. He knew there were only two directions that Davis could come from to get the horses and he was hoping they could spot the group coming in and get an idea of what direction they would be heading.
Lomasi had suggested they use signal fires to let the other know when they spotted their prey. Taggert had no idea how to do this so she had given him a brief explanation on how to control the smoke. He sat back down in front of his small unlit fire and let his thoughts drift back to the Indians that were waiting for them based on the legend.
He felt responsible for them still being there and, once he had Tom Davis, he would go back and convince them the story had come to pass. He knew they were low on food because Lomasi had mentioned that there was only one brave over the age of eighteen that hunted for them, and the younger boys had to go further and further to find rabbits. The stream nearby the camp had fish, but they really needed a few horses and rifles to feed that many people.
Taggert’s idle time was interrupted as he glanced over in the direction of Lomasi. It was too far to see her, but there was a definite wisp of smoke wafting into the sky. He could see the breaks in the thin column and knew it was time to go. The big black horse was ready to move, as he was as impatient as his rider. They headed down the ridge and across the valley away from Davis’ men. It took less than an hour to cover the distance to their rendezvous point.
Lomasi smiled brightly as he approached her and he was just as happy to see her again. It had been an interesting few days but it felt good to be back together, just the two of them.
“They came from there,” Lomasi said pointing northeast. Taggert nodded and he now had an idea of where Tom Davis was hiding. All they had to do was wait until the men came back with the horses and follow them to their target. They rode in the general direction Lomasi had pointed and began looking for a good location to wait for the outlaws return.
“He needs a name,” Lomasi said indicating the black horse. He shrugged at the idea. Taggert had never given his mounts names before, but he didn’t really care. Lomasi enjoyed coming up with ideas and she peppered him with names as they rode. He didn’t really know what to call the horse and nothing Lomasi came up with seemed to fit.
They had been playing the name game for a few miles when Taggert spotted a likely place to hide and wait for the men. It was the tallest ridge around and it should give them a good vantage of the area, as well as cover to hide the horses. It wasn’t until they were headed up the steep slope that could really appreciate their new mounts.
Neither horse struggled as they ascended the rocky terrain, picking their way as sure footed as mountain goats, and it didn’t take long to reach the summit just above the tree line. Tying the horses, Taggert and Lomasi moved farther up the ridge and the entire valley came into view. They could make out the area that Patricia had her cabin, but the bluffs surrounding it protected it from sight. From this vantage point, they would be able to see the horses coming from the moment they left Culver’s Canyon and headed toward them. Satisfied with their position, they settled down to wait, resting against a large boulder.
Lomasi passed the time by coming up with more names for Taggert’s horse. She threw out several in different languages and he laughed at many of them. Black buffalo, roaming grass, fire spirit, and demon steel were a few. He knew Indians liked to give names with meanings but nothing seemed to fit.
“Wait,” said Taggert, stopping her as she rattled of several names at once, “say that again.”
“Tama?” she quizzed.
“Yes,” he said. It was an interesting idea to name his horse Tama. He had been trying to think of a way to convince the Comanche tribe that the legend had come to pass so they could move on, and now this might be a way to make it happen. He explained his idea to Lomasi and she smiled broadly at the suggestion.
“We need to use the English word though,” he said, “that will sound more exotic to them and maybe make it easier to convince them they can leave.”
Lomasi nodded in agreement. “Thunder,” she said, “I like it. Now you really are the Thunder Warrior.”
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