By Anita Louise

Part Eighteen

(c) copyright 1/02

Anita's web site

Chapter Thirty Seven

The dark blue pickup and its two passengers had been traversing the area for hours, stopping from time to time; two women would climb down, each carrying some sort of contraption and walk around like they had a connection to the ground.  The tall redhead was taking great care in listening and in taking samples to tuck away for some reason.

The blonde, was doing the same, except she was limping while going about this.  Red Hawk, had been scouting the area for a friend when he first spied the pickup and out of curiosity, he began to follow.  At first it was out of wonder but the two women  soon captivated his attention.

It didn't take him long to realize that this was Skylar Richmond and Deputy Sheriff Bobie Parker. The phone lines were filled with stories of the two and of the APB that was out for their arrest.  As far as Sheriff Burgess, he had little use for the man and wanted to know more as to why these two were at the top of the sheriff's list.  Bobie's father had a rich history with his people and though he did not know the woman, he knew of her.  So on this day, his other duty was left in the dirt, so to speak, as he decided to watch and see what these two had going on.

Sky was on her knees, carefully taking a soil sample.  Bobie had limped to a flat rock and sat watching the woman.  "Don't you have enough samples?  We need to get back, see what Belle has found out."

Standing, Sky stretched and replied,  "We still have time and I wanted to try to make it to the Trenton place.  Have no desire to confront them but want to see if I could get a soil specimen there too."  She walked toward Bobie and sat beside the woman.  "About this morning.  I'm sorry."

Bobie kicked the dirt before saying,  "It's my fault. I should not have kept Miles Trenton from you.  Just thought he was a nice guy and he helped me evade the sheriff.  I didn't think it was important."

Glancing toward Bobie's boots and the dirt she was kicking up, Sky counseled,  "In this time, with things the way they are, everything and anything can be important.  But I shouldn't have jumped on you like I did, for this I apologize."

"I'm the one that is sorry, and ask your forgiveness for not telling you.  It will never happen again I promise.  From now on you will know, I don't want anything to come between us and Miles Trenton is definitely not going to do this."

Reaching over to pat her right leg, Sky smiled.  "Good.  I never want anything to come between us in any way.  And my Love, I have noticed the limping though you have been doing a good job of covering.  What happened?"

"I kicked at the night stand and forgot there was nothing between my toes and it.  Thank goodness I did not kick it too hard."

"Something must have made you upset to do that.  I will take a wild guess it was me wasn't it?"

Trying not to but grinning, Bobie replied,  "Well  . . .  a little bit."

"Uh huh.  The note, you were upset I left.   Won't happen again, no matter what kind of restful smile upon your face woman, you are going with me."

Scooting closer to Sky, Bobie sighed with contentedness. "I thank you, my toes thank you too."

Sky linked an arm through Bobies.  "I feel terrible at what happened.  Should never have gotten upset, I should have handled it better."

"Sky, you are only human.  A lot has been happening to us, to people in the area, still all of this has to tax a person.  It has me and I know it has you too.  Let's put this disagreement to rest, I know I would like that.  Promise one another never to keep secrets."

"My life is an open book to you Bobie but it might surprise and perhaps dismay you too."

"Nope, nothing about you would dismay me.  Here and now, we have each other, a new start in life for me and I am looking forward to every second."

"Me too, with you.  When you feel rested, do you think you will feel up to going to the Trenton area?"

The man peeked out from behind a crop of rocks his eyes taking in every movement the two women were making.  It was obvious there was much more than friendship between the two.  They were now making their way toward the pickup, evidently going somewhere else and for some reason he was compelled to follow at a distance.

The huge sandstone formation was coming into view,  "Hole in the Rock," still held a magnificent beauty to it.  "I recall the last time we were in this area,"  Sky softly vocalized.

Bobie glanced toward the woman who was doing her best to keep from hitting the many potholes that seemed to have increased since their last trip.  "Me too.  A day that turned out wonderful because of you.  Even the rain couldn't put a damper on it."

Chuckling Sky added,  "It surely gave it a good try though."  Stopping the pickup, she glanced around the area.  "Doesn't seem to have changed too much."

"Cept the pot holes.  I don't think anyone does work on these roads.   Why did you stop?"

"Wanted to get my bearings and try to decide on a best course of action for when we get near the Trenton place."

"Best course of action is not going.  The woman was not joking with me and soon as not would have taken my eyes out at any given moment.  We both know Jim Trenton is a spawn of the Devil so seems to me we would be asking for trouble to go there."

Turning to gaze at Bobie, Sky clucked her tongue several times before uttering,  "Now you tell me.  And I know good and well you also knew exactly what I was planning on doing.  Speaking of  spawn of the Devil, guess this includes Miles too."

"Well, he might not be.  Maybe they had different fathers or maybe . . ."

Stepping from the vehicle, Sky muttered,  "Yeah, and maybe he has one beautiful blonde that thinks he is her savior in disguise."

Quickly following the woman from the pickup, Bobie approached her.  "Sky, it's not like you to be like this."

Sky reached down to pick up several pebbles and toss them toward s lone juniper.  "Like what?"

"Good throws, you hit it every time.  You know what, jealous."

"It's not that, it's just I can't understand why you kept him from me, that's all."

Walking past the woman, Bobie called back,  "Jealous, Skylar Richmond is jealous."

"Come back here!  Bobie where are you going?"  Sky hurried after the woman.  When she finally caught up with her, she was standing near a wash, staring down.  "What's up?"  Sky asked approaching her.

Bobie pointed down replying,  "Looks like a body."

Standing beside the woman, Sky looked at what seemed to be par of a human torso.  Grasping  Bobie's hand, giving it a squeeze she uttered,  "I'm going to take a look."

"Not without me,"   Bobie replied following the woman down the sandy incline.

Once the two were at the bottom Sky quickly took a look at the surrounding area, taking a complete circle before she declared,  "No one in sight.   I would say this person was buried, rain uncovered some of the body.  I would love to do some investigating but this is a crime scene and anything we touch or do can be misconstrued.   As it is, we need to break some bush off, and brush away our tracks.  The person is not going anywhere.  Let's get back to the pickup, make our way to the Trenton area, get the samples and then get back to town and report this."

"How?  The second Meg or the sheriff gets our names, we will be in lockup."

"How else, Belle, my dear.  Come on let's get busy."

Once they were back on the road and headed toward the Trenton home, Sky looked concerned as she glanced toward Bobie.  "Are you all right?"

"Sure.  Nothing like finding a dead body.  I wonder who it is?  How this person got there and who did it?"  She felt herself tremble before adding,  "This place gives me the shivers.  And that rock,  Wolf Spider . . ."

"I know it is an awesome piece of nature's work."

"Something that leaves a bad feeling.  Look the Trenton place is not far ahead, we can't just drive up to the house."

"Don't plan on it.  Actually pulling off right here, we can hike in the rest of the way."

As the pickup came to a stop, Bobie grasped the door handle looking lost in thought for a few minutes.  Sky tapped her on the shoulder and this brought her back to the moment.  "Sorry bout that.  I was thinking about that body and it really wasn't all that far from here.  These people mean business."

"Yes I can attest to that.  What makes you think they have something to do with the body?  That's a stretch."

"It is a possibilty."

"Yes and I hate to admit it, a very good one too.  Still they they haven't got a chance, I have my very own Annie Oakley with me."

Turning to gaze at the woman, Bobie looked skeptical before saying,  "Never know if you are teasing or if you have actually hit your head and are in a daze.  This is not the old west, there are no Oakleys or Hickoks anywhere around. "

Sky winked replying,  "Nope, maybe not the `old west' but this place surely has some wild people in it.  And in so far as Oakleys or Hickoks, I'm very happy with my own woman of the west.  I hope I don't offend you when I mention this."

"I never know exactly what you are getting at."

Leaning forward Sky gently kissed Bobie, then pulled back expressing,  "I love you. I admire you, you are the woman of my heart.  And when I call you Annie Oakley I mean it in a good way."

Bobie was a little stunned at the woman's show of emotion but very happy to feel her lips again.  Kissing had always been something she thought was expected, she never had given it a great deal of thought.  And actually after several dates, and kissing, she was ready to forget the word.  "You amaze me, Skylar Richmond."

Sky was reaching for the door handle.   "Why?  Kissing you is a wondrous thing Bobie and I hope you never tire of it?"

"Never.  I could feel your lips on me every second of the day and night.  Not like . . ."

"Now you have me curious.  Not like what?  Best you tell me before I go and do something you don't like."

"It's just I never knew kissing could be so wonderful."

"Glad I'm the one to show you it can be a great many wonderful things.   If you are with the right person."

"Seems every date I went on, when it came to kissing, I was ready for the quick peck but the guy was more into the tongue being thrust down my throat.  I went home many nights, gagging and gargling and feeling sick to my stomach."

Turning away for a moment Sky hid the amusement that had come over her face as she pictured Bobie doing these things after a date.  Catching herself, and shaking away any thoughts of this she soothed,   "Some people kiss this way, there is no tenderness, no sweetness, just a desire to . . ."

"Don't go there.  I am feeling sick to my stomach again.  Can we go get this thing over?  I want to go back to Belle's, shower, eat something, drink something and relax."

"It shouldn't take too long.  I have the sample bags with me.  Tell me truthfully, when our tongues meet do I make you gag?"

"Oh no!  You take me to paradise."

"Whew.   Had me worried for a moment.  About the shower, do you think there is enough room in Belle's shower for two?"

Smiling, Bobie replied as she stepped from the pickup,  "You wash my back and I'll wash yours.   Let's go do it, to it."

The two women were within eyesight of the Trenton home when Sky grabbed Bobie by the arm pulling her back.  "Sit with me for a few minutes, catch our breath and decide on the next step."

Sky had taken several samples of dirt along the way and was now making sure the bags were sealed.  "It is your choice, what do we do now?  I would like to know if Jeanne is there and just what Mary Trenton knows if anything?"

"Need a search warrant for that and an arrest warrant.  The woman is not going to tell you anything.  She will however shoot you on sight and say it was with provocation.  Trespassing and all that."

"Trenton's are a scourge on the earth.  I think it was an accident our running into Jim Trenton up on the trail.  If this had not happened, we would have no idea anything unseemly was happening out here."

"Yup.  It was a terrible way to find out though.  Never want to see you hurt again, Sky, never."

Standing, Sky reached down to help Bobie up. She then brushed sand off  her jeans and said, "Tell you what.  I'll go snoop, you stay put, if anything happens, go get help."

"Dumb plan Richmond.  Why don't we both just mosey up to the door say our pickup died about a mile back and ask if we can use the phone?  Seems you are bound and determined to get us both killed."

Sky was gazing at the climb before she turned her gaze to the woman.  "She will remember your visit.  Bobie, I adore you, I would die if anything happened to you, so please stay here.  I've done this type of thing many times and in many places, and as you can see I'm still standing."

"She means a lot to you doesn't she?"

A perplexed look came over Sky.  "She?  Where are you going with this Parker?"

"Ah Ha!  Gotcha!"  Bobie chimed.

"You sure do, have me.  But I still see a lot of green in your beautiful eyes.  Jeanne and I share a past.  I have known her for a long time.  We are not lovers, we are friends.  Can you grasp that?  If so, then understand I know you would do all you could for a friend too."

Beginning to climb up the embankment, Bobie replied, "Grasp it and got it.  Let's go see if your friend is in there and just how many people we have to take down to free her.  That is of course if she is in any danger at all."

"As soon as I take off the gun belt, and assessories.  Don't want to walk up to the house like I am looking for trouble.  Pick them up on the way back."

"See you at the top then,"  Bobie called back.

As Sky found her way up the sandy formation she soon past Bobie, who was making some headway and then sliding backwards again.  "Tough going, What's that you said about the top."  Sky's remark was more in jest than serious.

"Guess I deserved that, making remarks about the situation.  Want to come back and give me a hand?"   All she got in return was crumbling dirt falling, quickly lowering her head  she brought her arms up for protection just in time.  Once this had subsided, Bobie was on the bottom again, this time covered in sand from head to toe.  Standing she spit out dirt, leaned over shaking her head while trying to remove sand from strands of hair that did not want to release its hold.  Pacing the sandy bottom she cursed at the same time trying to dust off her clothes, it was now hard to tell where material started and sand began.

"Hey, you going to stay down there or you coming up?"  Sky's voice chided.

Glaring up at the woman, Bobie fumed,  "Think that's so funny, if I didn't know better I might think that face full of sand was done on purpose."

"Sorry about that, you know how these places are, they look firm but the ground can give at a moment notice.  Good thing I didn't go too, don't think you could take my body landing on you."

"Can take your body on me in any way Richmond.  Why don't you go ahead?  Don't want to slow you from your quest?  I'll be along in awhile. Need to catch my breath and try this again."

Sky stood, waved then turned and disappeared.  Bobie was upset more with herself for actually letting this happen and none to happy with Skylar Richmond at that moment.

Heaving a sigh of relief, Sky  smiled when she saw the cindered drive come into sight.  The grey stone house looked the same, nothing had been repaired since their last visit.  Approaching the front door, she took a deep breath and knocked.

"Go away!"  Yer not welcome here!"

Sky knew this was a woman and felt confident it was Mary Trenton.  "I need to use your phone, pickup quit a few miles back, and I would love a drink of water."

"Don't you understand the word, go away?!  Not my responsibility you up and got pickup trouble."

"This is the only house for miles.  Please, let me rest, drink some water . . ."

The door opened a crack as a pair of eyes squinted out.  "Who are you and what business you got driving on these roads without some sort of backup?"

"Someone not from around here, I wanted to take in the sights, especially Wolf Spider and some of the sights in the area.  I wasn't thinking, please will you help me?"

The door opened a bit more and this time Sky could see the outline of a large woman, and the gun she held in one hand.  "Don't get many people out this way, a person has to be careful these days.  Suppose it will be all right if you come in.  Sit, I'll get you a drink of cool water."  She stepped back from the door, allowing Sky to walk past.

"Thank you, I appreciate your hospitality.  I'm afraid I might get your lovely couch dirty if I sit on it though."

"Shucks, give it no never mind.  You sit, I'll go get the drink."

Sky walked to the couch and collapsed.  It was a long walk, she was tired and had actually been invited into the home.  Something that Bobie did not accomplish.  Her thoughts were on the beautiful blond spitfire, she hoped she was all right.  The dirt had been on purpose, she wanted to prevent Bobie from getting into harms way.  Though she knew, the woman would pay her back somehow.

When Mary Trenton returned, she held a tray in her hands.  "Hope you feel better.  Looks like the rest is helping.  Thought that some cookies along with the water might give you some energy.  Even brought in a glass of cool milk."  She set the tray on a coffee table then walked to a rocking chair and sat.  The woman's gun was now secure in the belt that adorned her waist.

"Thank you, but water is fine."

"Out here, people don't turn their noses up at offerings made.  I guess city folks ain't got manners."  Her hand was not far from the gun and Sky wasn't sure if she was going to use it.

"Sorry, I didn't mean any disrespect.  This is very nice of you.  I'm kinda queasy though, feeling a little sick to my stomach.  You are kind and I appreciate this."  Sky reached for the glass of water and took a long drink.  "Good.  This is really good.   Feel better already."

Mary Trenton was dressed in blue jeans, a faded blue flannel shirt and wore dark high-top shoes.  Her grizzled hair was  tangled and loosely pulled back secured with a piece of what looked to be rawhide.  The woman's slate grey eyes seemed to be piercing and threatening.  Slowing rocking back and forth, the woman remarked,  "See you drank all the water, hope it makes you feel better.  I have a few things to take care of, if you are still tired, lay back and rest."

"What about getting me some help, I could call someone."

"You never mind about that, I already made a call.  Just take it easy."   She stood and walked away.

Sky leaned back against the cushion, suddenly she was feeling very tired and closing her eyes was sounding better and better.  Leaning forward, she scolded herself,  "Get a grip Richmond.  You lay down and sleep in this den of vipers you may not wake up."  The room was beginning to spin and it was then, she realized Mary Trenton put something in the water.  She should have known the woman was too cooperative, too nice.  Staggering to her feet, Sky mumbled,  "Should have known better, sho . . ."

Mary Trenton walked into the room, rope  in hand as she stared at the unconscious redhead stretched out on the floor.  "Thought you could pull one on me Richmond, I know you and so does my son, he will be looking forward to my catch of the day."

Continued  in part 19

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