Marie and the girls spent a sleepless night watching the men carouse. Sometime after they arrived one of the men produced a bottle. The more the bottle was passed, the rowdier the men got. More than once Marie had to step between one of the men and girls.
Lorie was no help. The girl had more body than she did brains. Several times Marie had seen her give one of the men, "the come on."
Another bottle was brought out. The man that carried it crossed to the young girl. He braced his weight against the mine’s wall by stretching out his arm close to the girl’s head. His foul breath washed over her as he leaned forward, "Ain’t you Tom Sunday’s girl? Yeah, you’re Lorie, ain’t you."
"Well, I work for the Son of a bitch. Bastard won’t pay a man what he’s worth, but I can see why now. Bet you’re a high maintenance little bitch, ain’t you?"
Marie moved toward the two as the man ran his free hand through the girl’s cleavage. "Tell me little girl, you ever "put out" for daddy? Lord knows he’s paying for it."
Marie slipped between the two. She hoped she could control the situation. It had gone too far. She could see the lust fill the man’s eyes. The best she could hope for was to pull the man off the girl and then she guessed she’d pray for a miracle.
She placed her arm against his chest. "Hold up big one, what do you want with a little girl when, if you play your cards right, you can have a real woman."
Instinctively, the man backed up a step. Marie’s skin crawled as she felt the man rake his eyes over her body. He reached forward, sliding his hand in the vee of her business blouse. She could feel his fingers massage her breast through the sheer bra she wore.
He stepped forward, the hand reaching for the vee of her blouse. He yanked the hand down, ripping the garment from her breast. Pulling her to him, his eyes swept over his handiwork. "You ain’t too bad yourself. Let’s compare."
The man’s arm reached behind Marie. His hand went to Lorie’s blouse. The fingers clenched.
Marie’s knee shot up between his slightly parted legs. The man was lucky, Baggy pants took part of the impact but not all. He felt as if his testicles were going to be pushed through his throat on contact. Automatically his body leaned over in pain and protection.
"Bitch!" he snarled. Reaching for a six inch blade at his waist. He straightened a mite. "I can see what you look like on the outside. Let’s take a peek in."
"Bob!" "Sarge" yelled in a voice of authority. The man stayed his actions as the other crossed to him. He helped him rise to a standing position. His voice grew softer, "Not now man, we may need these girls. Let’s wait until after this is all over."
The other backed down, "Alright Sarge, but I want you to know, that bitch is mine!" Looking to Marie, he grabbed his sore scrotom, "I’m packing nine inches in here and I’m forcing all nine down your throat bitch."
The "Sarge" looked her way. He could see her bra did little to hide the chilled effect the mine air had on her nipples. He also knew what those erect nipples would do to these men with another bottle in their guts.
Even he could feel an erection coming on as he looked at the quarter sized aeroles through the sheer lace. He sneered, "cover up, I can’t have my men fighting between themselves right now."
He turned back to the fire, "If another one of you sons of bitches touch these women before I say you can, I’ll shoot you where you stand."
Jesse Walls stood. The young man had more than his share of the bottles. Weaving to keep his balance, he stuttered, "I don’t think that’s fair." He pointed toward Maggie, " I figured on that one keeping me warm tonight."
The .9mm made a resounding slap echoing off the wall of the cave. Though Sarge wanted to just make a point by shooting past the boy’s ear the weave of the lad brought his head in the way as the bullet found home. A look of shock crossed his face as the close range missile forced him against the far wall of the mine. The girl’s screamed, Marie fought back sickness, and Jude Walls rushed to his feet to meet the same fate his brother had.
Lowering the weapon at waist height, Sarge’s voice became a snarl. "Do I now have your attention?" The other nine men in the cave fell silent. "You two," Sarge pointed, "Get these bodies out of here. Toss them down that shaft back there so they won’t stink the place up." Abruptly, he turned to the entrance and left.
He cursed himself once darkness overcame him. He wasn’t mad at himself over the killings, just over the timing. He had already counted the two out of his planning and knew killing them would be the only way, but the way this thing was going, he was going to need every man he had. He had even hoped the two convicts would hang around after the robbery.
He knew they wasn’t going to get away with this fiasco when he planned it, but he figured he could. The Militia was a diversion for him. He knew a gun battle would ensue once they were found. He hoped it would. He would escape under the cover of fire with the money. If he was lucky all the militia men would be killed. Not finding any trace of him, the law would pat themselves on the back, thinking they had at least gotten the robbers.
A hundred grand would take a lot of time spending down in Mexico.
Personally, he could care less what happened to the women. In fact the next night he was planning on opening the bottles he had previously hidden in the mine and turn the guys loose on the women. It would distract them even farther. The girls wouldn’t survive this bunch, he thought, remembering the whore Jesse had brought to the camp that time. It was just all in the timing.
Crossing to the guard, he asked if everything was alright. "Fine", Joe answered, "what happened in the mine?"
"The Wall brothers got into a fight." he lied. "It became deadly."
"Knew it was going to happen someday," the guard commented, "those two were all the time threatening each other."
"I tried to stop it. In fact I was the one who shot them. Jesse came at me. When I put him down, Jude went mad."
The guard looked at him. "You’re one tough s.o.b. aren’t you?"
" Don’t want to be Joe, but sometimes...." Leaving the statement unfinished, Sarge turned back to the cave. "Wake Bob up around mid-night, let him take watch over.’
He frowned at the conversation. If the two men had known, they could have both touched him. A restless night had prompted him to find who had taken the girls. Now he would have to come up with a plan of rescue. Ever so slowly, he backed away from the guard. A twig snapped under his weight. For the fifteenth time that night Joe sang out, "Halt, who goes there?"
Morning dawned over the mine. Cleared away as it was , the sun struck it’s warmth over the site hours before it reached the inner working of the mountains.
Marie stepped to the door of the mine. She looked up at the guard posted in the entrance and told him she had to seek a bush. For the umpteenth time that night her skin again crawled as his eyes swept her body. "Need any help, missy?"
He, then pointed to a grove of saplings just beyond the mine’s entrance. "There," he commanded, "Don’t try to run, I’ll be watching."
Marie did as he said. Hoping she was out of sight, she lowered the dress pants she wore and crouched. When finished , she took a handful of pine needles and wiped the excess urine from her. Rising she bent over for the pant waist. Returning to a stand, she fought the clasp in place. Her head was bowed as she watched her fingers in motion.
Silently, a hand reached forward and clasped around her mouth. Strong arms clung to her as she fought for freedom. "I won’t hurt you," A strange voice whispered in her ear. "I’m not one of them."
Realizing her fight for freedom was useless, the woman relaxed. "I’m turning you loose now. Please don’t scream." The arm relaxed it’s hold on her body, the hand fell from her mouth. Marie turned to see what she would have called a mountain man standing before her.
Thick brownish-grey hair fell from a receding forehead. Though clean shaven, she could see the battle scars of a hunting knife on the man’s face and neck. The face held a resemblance to someone she had seen in the past.
The height, the build, though several pounds lighter than the old description fit the man. This was the man she had written her last report on. This man had disappeared off the face of the earth five years in the past.
"We don’t have much time," he was saying. "I need to know their strength and their weapon count."
Marie had always prided herself in her observation abilities. Promptly, she called the man count. She then told him, she saw no "new" weapons, just mostly deer rifles of one sort or the other. "Sarge does carry one of those rifles with a banana clip on it. At least I think that’s what they’re called."
The man nodded at the information. This "Sarge"? Is he the leader?"
It was her turn to nod, "Yes, I think so. At least everyone listens to him."
She lowered her head to straighten the remnants of her blouse as he told her he would be back that night, could she meet him back here around seven?
Again, she nodded as she raised her eyes. He was gone! It was as if he’d never been there. Only the calming effect the man had placed in her body was the only proof he’d existed.
"What’s going on in there? Who are you talking to?"
Making sure her clothing was straightened as it could be, she stepped into the sunlight, "Can’t a person have a little privacy?" she retorted, making the guard turn red faced.
Not believing herself, Marie returned to the mine. Being a fan of western authors, such as Louis L’mour or William Johnstone, she could believe the man had just stepped from the book, "Jubal Sackett" or one of Johnstone’s "Mountain Man" series. The tall, broad chested frame, slipping down to muscular hips. From his tanned deer leggings to the wolf skin vest, the man had these private heroes of hers written all over him. Her nostrels could even still smell the aroma of old fires and animal grease from the closeness of the man.
The woman carried no ideals of the male counterpart. She knew if not discovered today, they would be at the Militia’s wants that night. If bottles were brought out again, she didn’t think even Sarge would be able to control them. In fact he may be the first on the list. She also knew "Sarge" had secret motives. The girls would be part of his planning. All she could do is fight them off to her best ability and she knew her best was a far cry away from survival.
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