Thursday, April 5, 2012

Now Playing: The Robin Hood of the Range
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Episode Six of The Robin Hood of the Range

Episode Five concluded with:

But as he rode out of the barn, Cates couldn’t resist the urge to inflict more pain. He carefully rode toward Isaiah’s body, stopping several yards away. The body of the hired hand was moving a bit. He was still alive.
“Hey Isaiah!” Ricky shouted. “I know you wanna see your friends the Bolgers. Now, bleedin’ to death can take a long time.” He drew his six shooter. “So, I’ll hurry along your journey.”
An explosion sounded from underneath Isaiah’s body. Despite his fatal wound, Isaiah had managed to pull the trigger of the old scatter gun. He had been unable to aim, but his shot didn’t completely miss its mark.
Ricky Cates yelled in pain, holstered his gun and spurred his horse. He needed to get away from the Bolger place and find help, find another farm or ranch where the fools believed in the Robin Hood of the Range.

Episode Six


“Are you listenin’ to me, girl?”
“Yes, Pa.” Cissy Runyan looked down at the food on her plate. She always looked down when her father talked to her.
“Tomorrow afternoon, Harry McGivern is gonna come by. He’s lookin’ to buy a horse for his boy. The kid’s got a birthday comin’.”
“Yes, Pa.”
“I want you to pretty up and be nice to McGivern. Show him that little buckskin we got. McGivern will say the horse looks scrawny. You tell him it will only take a week or so to get more meat on the horse’s bones.”
“Pa, if we took better care--”
Dencel Runyan grabbed his daughter’s red hair and pulled back. He moved his face in close to hers. Cissy could smell the whiskey on her father’s breath. “You don’t tell me how to run the ranch. Understand, girl?!”
“Dencel, please--” Iola Runyan reached across the table and placed a hand on her husband’s shoulder.
“You stay outta this!” The man glared at his wife, who immediately retreated, then looked back at his daughter, tightening his grip on her hair. “Don’t never talk back to me!”
“Yes, Pa.”
Dencel continued to hold on to Cissy’s hair.
“Please Pa, let go. It hurts.”
Dencel Runyan slowly relaxed his grip, then used his hand to grab a potato from a bowl on the table. As he cut open the spud he glared threateningly at his daughter.
Cissy pushed her food around on the plate for a few minutes and even managed to swallow a couple of bites before speaking to her mother. “May I please be excused, Ma?”
“Honey, try to eat a bit more. Breakfast is a long way off.”
“The food’s very good, Ma, but I just ain’t hungry.”
A look of resignation came over Iola Runyan’s face. The woman was accepting one more small defeat. All of her days were becoming a jumble of small defeats.
“I need to get to the barn and tend to the horses,” Cissy spoke in a soft but firm voice.
Iola glanced at her husband who was now shoving food into his mouth, indifferent to the two women at the table. The woman smiled weakly and nodded at her daughter. Iola and Cissy shared a secret about the barn.
Cissy rose from the table, quickly ignited a lantern, and headed outside. She was anxious to get to her escape. The last time the family had gone into town, her ma allowed her to buy a dime novel. Iola had slipped her daughter the money, which Dencel would have wanted to be used toward a jug. Cissy had bought Ricky Cates: The Robin Hood of the Range and, so far, had only read it once. The publication now lay beneath a pile of hay in the barn. She was looking forward to a second read.
As she walked past a corral in bad need of repair, the girl wondered if she would ever leave the ranch. At sixteen, Cissy had often thought of running away, but it seemed wrong to leave her ma alone with her pa, who was drinking more and becoming harder to live with by the day.
When Cissy opened the barn door she gasped in surprise and stepped back. She glanced upwards at the sky, where clouds seemed to be playing some strange game with the moon, then she slowly returned her eyes to the barn.

Tomorrow: Episode Seven of The Robin Hood of the Range