Anita Louise

Part Nine

(c) copyright 1/02

 Anita's web site

Chapter Twenty Four

Tupac was a town of about 10,000 people, give or take a few.  The main street comprised two lanes, and there was one stop light in the center of the town.  Sky was enjoying the different buildings, and the leisurely way people were out and about the area.  She had gazed toward Bobie several times and smiled.  Deputy Parker was keeping her eyes on the road, and she wondered if any of their conversation had given the woman cause to think about what was said.

"Seems to be a laid back town."  Sky offered as she turned in the seat to gaze at Bobie.

Bobie nodded.  "Most of the people here are used to tourists and take the whole thing with a grain of salt."

"`Grain of salt,'  this must mean not much fazes them."

"It just means they are used to tourists and will continue with their own lives as well as offer any assistance they can to the tourist.  It is not a big thing."

Sky stretched and asked, "May not be a big thing but from what I see, it seems they cater to the outsider a lot."

"Yes.  And there is even a casino here.  A great deal of their income is from tourists or outsiders.  Still it is a fairly quiet town and not really any crime to speak of."

"Guess that means, no outlaws or maidens in distress."

Bobie grinned and replied,  "Well, not like in the movies but I'm sure there are times when the law does step in."  She met Sky's gaze and continued,  "Are you looking for a maiden in distress Skylar Richmond?"

"Just mumbling.  I'm very happy to be with you, Bobie Parker.  And if anyone is in distress I feel you are very capable of handling the situation.  Where do we go from here?"

Bobie stopped the jeep in front of a large building.  "This is the Local Merchandise store. It is connected to Tribal Affairs, thought we might go in and see what has been going on."

"Sounds good to me.  I need to stretch my legs."

The old building was a wood frame, and looked genuine.  A Flag was flying nearby  catching the breeze as it traveled on its way.  Bobie waited for Sky to come around the jeep before walking up the dirt path to the steps and entrance.

"Is the building really old? " Sky asked as she shook her right leg, trying to wake it.

"Real.  They have done some repairs obviously but have tried to retain much of the original building.  What's wrong with your leg?"

"Went to sleep on me.  Guess I need to move around more."

"You are tall, maybe should have put the seat back."

"Did.  Besides I wasn't going to sit so far back, all I could see was the back of your head."

Clearing her throat Bobie grinned.  "And just what was it you were wanting to look at Skylar Richmond?  I am glad, would hate to feel like your chauffeur."

"Well, it certainly was not the back of your head.  Nice area, far away from the crowds, just enough people to make things interesting.  From what I have seen the area is spectacular and yet, it has a feeling of rugged reverence."

"Am I mistaken or did you take a whole new turn in the conversation?"

"Uh . . .  Hoped you wouldn't catch this."   Sky smiled.

Bobie was nearing the three steps leading to the door as she turned to gaze toward Sky.  "You are right, the area holds a lot of history, some violent.  It is beautiful, yet a person needs to be careful, heed the warnings that are posted.  Come on, let's go in.  I'll introduce you."

"Right behind you.  If you don't mind, I would just as soon, look around while you do your talking."

Opening the door, Bobie replied, "Fine by me, lots to look at.  I won't be long, just wanted to touch base.  Needed to let them know we were going to take a look at certain areas."

Sky followed the woman into the main room, as the door shut behind them, she felt she had walked into an old-time store.   Inside the main room was a rectangular iron stove, it set in the far center of the room.  The smell of pinyon burning left a nice fragrance.  Wooden chairs were setting around the area. A few people were sitting, trying to get their hands warmed by the heat.  Gazing upward, Sky  could see large counters that held shelves filled with coffee, flour, sugar, candy, blankets, tobacco, clothing materials, knives and canned goods.  Hardware, harnesses, bridles, and several saddles were also displayed.

Walking around the room, she was taking everything in.   Nearing  the door, her mind was on all the different items she was gazing at and at this time the door flew open as a woman almost her height collided with her.  Sky was knocked off balance but caught herself within a few backward steps.  Reaching out, she grasped the woman catching her before she fell.

Black hair cascaded over her left shoulder.  The gesture she made of shaking it back and the look on her face revealed she was not happy.  She wore a full pleated skirt matching a large blue shirtwaist top, both held together by a silver concho belt.   Her dark brown eyes were serious and held the enigmatic opacity of a mystic.  "You can unhand me now!"  The woman's words were harsh.

Sky released her hold on the woman and stepped back.  "Sorry, didn't want you to fall."

"It is me that is sorry  wasn't watching what I was doing.  I hope I didn't hurt you, running into you like that."

"No, I shouldn't have been so close to the door."

The woman's eyes surveyed the tall redhead, pausing to gaze around the room then back to Sky.  "You are not from around here.  I can tell you are not just another tourist.  There is something about you."

"My name is not important.  Had we ever met, I'm sure I would have remembered."

The woman began to hum and recite something in her native tongue.  Her eyes filled with a haunting look as they gazed upward.

Bobie saw the two collide, she had just finished talking to Mary Clarkson.  Holding several maps in hand, she started toward the two women.  "I see the two of you have met."

Both women looked to see Bobie Parker approaching.  At this time, the woman muttered something in her language, turned and left the building.  Sky shook her shoulders and asked, "Do you know the woman?  She left me with goose bumps."

"I don't know what got into her.  I have known Alice for a long time.  She looked at me like I was the devil or something."

"Alice?  Not too sure it was you."

"The Medicine Woman.  If you have an ache, illness, she is the person to see. That is if you believe in this kind of thing.  Other than that, there is always the hospital and qualified physicians on call.  What do you mean by, `not too sure it was me?'"

"Sometimes the mind can do incredible things.  The woman ran into me and I merely tried to keep her from falling.  Looked at me like she knew me, had this metaphysical look, before she began chanting and acting strange.  Have seen things like this in the jungles, practiced by different people but still the same idea."

"Don't know about other places but I have seen some of the things the people here can do.  I do wonder why  she was acting so strangely."   Bobie chewed at her lip, then shrugged and added,  "I have several maps, shall we go?"

"Ready when you are.  Quite a place here, lots of history."

"I take it you have enjoyed your tour?"

"Definitely.  Everything except running into the . . . woman."

"Thank goodness neither of you fell.  Can just see the headlines, Medicine Woman toppled by Amazonian Redhead."

"Very  funny deputy, now that you have had your laugh, let's go."

As the two women left the building they were unaware of  the eyes that were staring at them.  Nearing the jeep, Sky asked,  "What now?"

"Thought you might be hungry, we could stop at one of the cafes and get something to eat."

"Sounds like a good idea.  Never hurts to feed the bod.  As well we have time to discuss your maps, and decide on a course of action."

"You make it sound like we are going to war, Miss Richmond.  This is very laid back, I have informed them we will be doing some sightseeing.  You have observed the area, not a great deal to plan."  Bobie smiled, opened the door and stepped into the jeep.

Once Sky was in, she turned in the seat and stared at the woman.  "Did you  just call me Miss Richmond?"

Bobie nodded.  "That is your name isn't it?"

"We have been together for sometime and you rarely call me that, at least to my face.  It just surprised me."

Feeling uneasy, Bobie started the vehicle and turned it onto the road.  "Let's stop at the Java Hut, they have good food, and most is pretty quick."

"Fine.  You know the area, I am merely a passenger."

Stopping in front of a small Quonset looking building, she turned the key,  pulled it out and turned to face Skylar Richmond.  "You are my friend, Skylar Richmond and as far as I'm concerned, there is nothing merely about you.  I want to hear everything you want to do, I am but your guide.  Now, hows bout something to eat?"

The two women approached the front door of the eating establishment.  Before Bobie could open the door, she felt Sky place a hand on her left shoulder.  "Hold up there partner.  I am honored to have you as friend and from now on, I want our paths to go together.  You see, Bobie Parker, you are much more than a guide to me."

Bobie reached up, patted the woman's hand and said,  "Then come on partner, I'm hungry."

The atmosphere was low-key, there were a few tables and chairs but mostly booths adorned the area.  The waitress was pleasant and brought them coffee before taking their orders.  It didn't take long to get the food.  They thanked the woman and began to partake in the heavenly smelling meal.

When they finished their meal, Bobie placed two maps on the table and said,  "Take a look and tell me if there is anything that strikes your fancy."

Sky sit back, patted her stomach and replied,  "A good nap.  After that delicious meal, I am feeling very relaxed."

"Uh huh."  Bobie looked at the woman in amazement.   "We have come a long way, but if it is sleep you want, I can rent us a room and you can snooze while I visit."

Sky leaned forward, grasped her coffee cup took a drink and replied,  "Rather be with you.  Sleep will take me away.  So Deputy, I'm all yours.  You know the area as I have said before.  I would love to see where you roamed, where you felt most at home."

Bobie was playing with her empty cup, moving it back and forth on the table.  "I hear you, I also feel you left something out."

Sky looked away, then back toward the woman.  "Like what?"

"Like perhaps you really want to meet Don Antone, see where he lives."

Sky glanced at the ticket, picked it up and began to calculate numbers in her head.  When she was finished, she placed a tip on the table and said, "If you are ready, let's go."

"I'll pay the ticket.  Give it to me and I'll meet you at the jeep."

"Nope.  This one is on me Deputy."

While the two were arguing over the ticket, they were unaware of the many highschool students as well as adults that had gathered at the window and front door of the building.

Both women stepped up to the cashier, and as Sky went to pay, Bobie muttered, "Think you're smart.  You know I will not start a big thing in front of everyone.  Next time I pay.  Thank you."

"You are most welcome, hope one day to be able to do more than just buy a meal for you Bobie Parker.  By the way, your friend Don Antone, has me very curious.  But he is not the reason I wanted to come here, be with you, see this great country through your eyes."

"I apologize for the remark, it was insensitive of me.  I think we should start in the old ways of the people here."

"You mean Diablo Rio?"


The woman smiled, thanking them for stopping by.  Before they walked away, she asked, "I have been biting my tongue since you two stepped in here and just cannot control myself any longer.  Are you who I think you are?"

They turned and looked back.  Both women held questioning looks as Sky gently poked Bobie in the side.  Bobie raised an eyebrow and asked, "`Are you who I think you are', is an open-ended question.  We are tourists."

She looked at one then the other woman before she replied,  "I see many tourists in here, neither of you fit the bill."  Walking around the counter she approached Sky.  "Are you the world famous Skylar Richmond?  The woman that does so many amazing things?  Travels the world looking for adventure?  The list goes on and on."

Sky was taken aback by the woman's outpouring.  "Perhaps you have been reading too many newspapers.  Watching too much televison.  Like my friend said, `we are tourists.'"

The waitress pointed toward the window and replied, "Seems I am not the only one that thinks you are a celebrity."

Both women turned to gaze toward the window.  Amazement crossed their faces as they gazed at the huge crowd that had gathered outside. "Bobie raised both eyebrows and said, "Seems your public awaits you."

Sky gave her a look, and replied, "Perhaps they have heard the famous Bobie Parker is here and want to meet and greet you."

Bobie laughed, "In your dreams.  You stay here, talk to the . . ."

"Name is Mel.  I was right, you are who I thought you were," the waitress gushed.

"Mel.  Stay and talk to Mel, I will go out and see if I can appease the crowd."

Sky grinned.  "Thanks, but I wouldn't leave you to a group  like that.  I will be out as soon as I visit with Mel."  She winked at Bobie as the woman braced herself and headed for the door.

Bobie glanced toward Sky and smiled.  The woman was leaning back in the seat, sleeping.  It was a long trip.  The two spent over an hour with the people gathered outside the café.  Sky had been so gracious.  Signing autographs, shaking hands, posing for pictures.  She had even been talked into performing several stunts.   Though they were easy ones, the woman was magnificent.  Finding herself smiling as she visioned Sky and herself in a one on one combat mode.  All in all the people were happy and by the time they had finished a much larger crowd had formed.

Bobie was able to get Sky to the jeep and thank the people for their patience adding they had an appointment.  The group was happy to have met the woman and though they did not want to see her go, they did stand back and wish them a good trip.

Sky opened her eyes to gaze up into the blue-green eyes that were staring down at her.
"Been gazing at me long?"  She went to move and groaned.

"Nope.  We have been in Diablo for a little while.  I parked and was deciding whether to wake you or not.  You were sleeping so beautifully."

Sitting up, Sky blinked several times replying, "Bet I looked terrible.  A person cannot control the way the sleep.  More than likely my mouth was open and I was drooling."

Giggling, Bobie replied, "Nope.  You were sleeping soundly.  I should have done something to stop that back there."


"Cause you are not feeling the best and that was a lot to put on your already tired body."

"Deputy, I enjoyed it.  By the way, thanks for letting me toss you."

Bobie's eyes sparkled.   "Well if  I`m going to be tossed, it might as well be by  you.  It was nice of you to do all that."

"I love my job, I enjoy people.  It was my pleasure.  Now you have a fragment of what it is like to know someone that is . . ."


"No, in the news."

"You may not want to admit it Richmond but you are famous and for some reason you are at the moment, with me.  I still find it unreal at times."

"The reason I came out here has changed.  Don't get me wrong, we will solve the murders, I have some pretty good ideas and so do you.  As well I need to check with my friend at the FBI and see if she has come up with anything.  I came to help in a murder at a dig and have found in you a very good friend.  The country is diverse, gives me reason to want to stay awhile, explore, see what I can find, explore."

"You just used the word, explore twice."

"I know.  There are many things to explore."

Bobie shook her head in confusion and said,  "If you are awake, want to tell me where you would like to go here?"

Sky gazed around the area.  "Good thing I am sitting in a jeep, looks like we have gone back in time."

"They tend to hang unto the old here.  Still some of the new will creep in now and then.  I will drive, you look.  As we come to and pass certain areas, I will give you brief information.  After we are down the road, you decide where it is you want to go."

"Sounds like a plan.  When you said, old ways, I never realized they even live in . . ."

"Tepees, hogans, and wickiups.  Yup, difference is that some still have a few modern conveniences."

"If this includes running water, as well as bathroom fixtures that are more than me having to run outdoors, then I will be happy."

Bobie laughed.  "A few.  Don't tell me the great Skylar Richmond has never roughed it before."

"I have.  I can rough it as much as you can Deputy Parker."

Bobie slowed the vehicle as they  approached a sign with the words, Savage Falls.

Sky was leaning forward in the seat as she stared at the beauty of the area.  "Why the name, Savage Falls?"

"Myths.  Legends have it a colossal battle happened there."

"Sounds interesting,"  Sky replied, feeling herself shiver.

"It is a beautiful, yet rugged area.  The falls are magnificent though.  Not a place someone in your condition should be traveling."

"Have you ever been there?"

"Long time ago, when I had little sense."

"There probably is not a place on this land you have not walked at sometime Bobie Parker."

"There is.  I have not been back here for a long time."

"No reason?"

"Just didn't."

"Let's park here, and walk up."

"I am thinking of a place you may like and it is not at the falls.  Bobie pointed to a dirt road leading toward the high mesas.  Perhaps when you are feeling better.  We can go to the falls, just don't want you using too much of your energy.  This way we will drive a lot of the way and take a short walk, there."

 "What is there?"

"Well at one time a place where weary travelers could rest and decide on their next path.  I need to call in and if I remember correctly, we can rent a couple of horses."

"Horses?"  Sky tipped her head as she stared at the woman.  "You have stirred my curiosity, tell me where do we ride?"

"A village that sets between heaven and earth."

Chapter Twenty Five

The place Bobie was talking about was indeed not far up the path.  While she and the wrangler went to pick out two horses, Bobie stayed behind to call the Sheriff's office and report in.  She was just getting ready to hang up the phone when Meg answered.

"Meg, this is Bobie Parker."

"Bobie, where in the world have you been?  The sheriff has been looking for you high and low.  Are you back in town?"

"No.  What do you mean the Sheriff has been looking for me?"

"Something has come up regarding Skylar Richmond and Bengal Corporation.  Shouldn't tell you this but there is an APB out for you too."

"What!  Why?  Have you all gone insane?  I am not a threat to anyone.  You know me Meg.  Where is the Sheriff  now?"

"He has gone to Shae Canyon."

Bobie was pacing the floor, and thankful the phone cord was a long one.  Meg's news infuriated her.  Too many things were happening. APB?  Why would Sheriff Burgess do this?  Her mind was filled with many unsettling thoughts.

"Where are you?"  Meg's voice cut through Bobie's musing.

"It is not important.  I just wanted to check in.  Glad I did.  Has the sheriff checked for prints on the gun I left there?   Has Trenton been apprehended yet?  Why does the sheriff have an APB out on me?"

"You know I can't give out information over the phone.  I can tell you that Trenton is still on the loose.  About the APB, if I were you, I would come in and talk to the sheriff."

"You're not me.  Can't do that now.  Tell Sheriff Burgess I will be back"


"When he sees me."  With those words, Bobie hung the phone up and prayed they did not have time to trace the call.  Turning she walked outside to see what horses Sky had picked for their ride up the mountain.

Redfeather looked up when the woman approached.  He smiled and said, "She takes to the horse like born on it.  Did you get your call in?"

Bobie smiled and gazed toward the corral where Sky was sitting a beautiful palomino mare. The two were galloping around the arena.  Sky was definitely putting the horse through many different patterns.  Rider and horse worked wonderfully together.  "She and the horse are one.  Doesn't surprise me, I have seen her ride and the woman is good."

The two leaned up against the log corral.  Redfeather's dark eyes met Bobie's as he said, "Been a long time since you have given us your presence.  You have been missed."

"Thank you.  I have missed this too.  It was a way of life for me at one time."

"How are you?"

Bobie placed her right foot on a log, glanced toward Skylar then back to Redfeather.  The man was leaner than she remembered, yet he was muscular.  His long lean, sable hair had a touch of grey here and there, high cheek bones and black eyes-for a native larger than most.  His eyes held a questioning look as they took the woman into them.  Bobie asked,  "I need to ask a favor?"

"What?   I will do whatever I can."

"After my friend and I leave here, if anyone comes looking for us, law, business, friend, anyone.  Promise me you will tell them you haven't seen us."

He nodded.  "Are the two of you in some kind of trouble?  If so, let me help."

"You will help by just saying you have not seen us.  It is a long story, too long to get into. I promise, neither of us has done any wrong."

"How long do you plan on staying in the area?"


"Just wondered if you stopped by the Antone place?"

Bobie turned and walked away then stopped.  Her hands in the back pocket of her blue jeans.  "I have no reason to stop there.  Why would you even ask?"

"Don Antone's father was killed yesterday."

She felt a chill come over her and felt the man's words as if someone had landed a solid blow to her midriff.  Turning she gazed at the man and asked, "Killed?  What happened?"

He looked  away for a second then answered,  "No one is quite sure how it happened but he was returning from Springfield and lost control of his pickup.  Went off the road and into the ravine.  When someone spotted the wreck, the man was dead.  Someone needs to do something about that curve, it has taken too many lives."  He wished he could've bitten his tongue when he saw the remorse traveling the woman's face.  "I'm sorry Bobie, don't mean to bring up something so . . ."

"It's all right.  I need to talk to Don, to the Police and get more information."

He raised his eyebrows and cautioned, "Thought the police were looking for you."

"Right.  I should call Don but it can wait. I'm sure he has many visitors now.  Not a good time to make an appearance.  Sides his wife does not like me."

"Left. Woman has taken the two children and gone to visit family over seas.  The black gelding is the horse your friend picked for you, want to give Midnight a turn round the corral?"

Shaking her head, she replied, "No. Thanks.  I'm sure he is a good horse, we need to get going if we are going to make it to the top by tonight.  I appreciate all you are doing."

He walked up to her, held out his right hand and shook hers.  "Your father was a legend himself in these parts.  You coming here is all I need.  Stop inside before you leave, I have some fried bread, jerky and fresh water to take with you."

She nodded then walked to the corral and waved to Sky.  Within moments the woman was reining her horse in and trotting up to the woman.  "Ready?  What do you think of the horses?"

"Nice.  You pick steeds well.  Before we leave, Redfeather has some grub for us to take with us.  And I need for you to climb down."

Reaching up to toss the flowing hair from her shoulder, Sky replied, "Good idea, I need to make a few stops.  Mr. Redfeather seems like a nice man."

"He is and so are all of the people here."

Sky landed on both feet as she somersaulted from the saddle.  Unfortunately she was not expecting Bobie Parker to see the pain that flashed across her face.  "Turned an ankle, that's all."

Bobie reached out and grasped the woman's right hand.  "Come sit with me."  She was pointing to a wooden bench setting near the barn.

After the two were seated, Bobie leaned back and said,  "We both know you are getting worse.  Why don't you just let me call an ambulance, get you to a hospital and airevac out of here to a place where they can take care of you.  I know you have been taking pain pills."

"Not a good actress I guess.  Been giving it a good try.  I want you to think of me as a woman that can walk beside you, take on whatever and come out on top with you.  In so far as an ambulance, no.  I have come this far and I want to go up.  Feel the earth, see the clouds so low they caress the land.  Give me this, I want to walk with you in paradise."

Feeling her throat ache, Bobie felt tears forming as she said, "To this day I am in awe of you Skylar Richmond.  I thank God I have been able to know  you.  At least let me see to your wounds."

Sky stood and walked away then stopped.  "They are fine.  I'm tired of being sick. Tired of not being back on top.  I'm fighting this thing that has grasped me in its vise and I need you to be strong."  She turned to gaze down at Bobie's worried face.  "You are my strength Bobie Parker.  I love this country.  Its beauty, its ruggedness. The people I have met.  I can see how you spent so much of your younger life here.  It gives me happiness to be here with you."

Bobie stood and walked up to the woman.  "When will you stop being so bullheaded and let someone do for you?"

"Perhaps when you stop being so bullheaded as well Parker.  I'm going to go in and make a few stops, get ready for the ride up.  How long will it take us?"

Bobie gazed up then answered, "The rest of the day probably.  It is a steep trail and we have to be careful.  When we are ready to go, I'll take the lead and you follow.  If you get tired, let me know and we can stop.  While you are in there, I will go check out the horse you picked for me."

Sky smiled.  "I think the two of you will get along famously.  See you in a few."

The two women were mounting up, saddlebags brimming with Redfeather's grub and fresh water in their canteens.  After saying their goodbys to the man they headed up the trail.   The man's last words were to have a nice time and not to worry he wouldn't tell anyone he had seen them.

It didn't take long to leave his place behind and they soon found themselves in the quiet of the hills.  An occasional bird, a chipmunk or squirrel crossing the trail but no other signs of life.  Sky had taken several pain pills and was doing her best to keep up with the woman who was making good time ahead of her.  She was happy after rounding a bend in the trail to see Bobie waiting.

"I was wondering what happened to you."  Bobie smiled and waved as the woman approached.

"Sightseeing.  You and Midnight there are a bit too fast."

The horses seemed to be happy they had stopped and it was at this time Sky said, "Sorry to hear about Don Antone's father.  Are you sure you want to go on?"

Bobie was shocked, her face showed every facet of this as she asked, "How?  How did you know?"

"Mr. Redfeather."

"Forgot to ask him not to mention this to you."

"It is no secret.  I know about Don Antone and you as well as your father and his father, the family connection.  If you would rather go back, I will understand.  Perhaps Don Antone could use your understanding now."

"I am sure Don Antone has many around him now.  This is not a good time.  I forgot to mention the Sheriff not only has an APB out on you, according to Meg Bartlett, he also has one on me.  So neither one of us needs to be around a lot of people at this moment. Even if I could, the only place I want to be at this moment in time is with you Skylar Richmond.  Now, shall we continue are you up for this?"

"Lead on milady,"  Sky replied.

The trip to the top took a little longer than Bobie thought but they did make it before darkness settled on the area.  Wishing  she had a camera to capture the look on Sky's face when she gazed at the pueblo.

Sky stood in the stirrups and gazed at the beautiful area.  The city  set on a rock mesa top, 400 feet above the surrounding valley floor.  The way they got there was the only way to reach this celestial area.   She was overcome with emotion as she gushed,  "It is beautiful.  How long has this been here?  Will they care that we are here?"

Bobie reined her horse up along Sky and said,  "Many believe it was first formed around 1100 AD, it is possibly the oldest populated settlement in the Country.  I don't think they will mind.  We are not here to cause trouble.  Come on, need to get the horses settled in, find a place to bed for the night."

Sky stretched then wished she had not as she grimaced.  "Good idea, horses settled, the two of us and bed."

Bobie winked at the woman as she urged Midnight forward.  "Careful, one might think all you have in mind is to get the two of us in one bed Skylar Richmond."

Sky called after her, "Sleep.  Deputy, bed, rest."   She urged her horse forward trying to catch up to Bobie Parker and her spirited mount.

Both women walked up the narrow street each carrying a saddlebag over one shoulder as many people stopped what they were doing to gaze at them.  Some peeking out of windows others from roof tops and some standing near the front doors of the adobe houses.  They were quite the sight walking side by side, one tall with flowing red hair and the other, not quite as tall but with blond hair bouncing upon her shoulders.  Neither woman looked as if she belonged in this village.

Sky glanced at Bobie and said, "Must not get many tourists up here."

"Nope.  It is a far climb and out of the way for most. Besides the people here like to keep to themselves, have little use for strangers."

"Thanks, now you tell me this."

Bobie stopped and gazed around the area.  "Redfeather said there was a path that takes off to the right, near the center.  Not too far on this we should come to a lone adobe chamber.  This is where we will spend the night."

"From the looks we have been getting, I sure hope no one decides to take action first before they speak."

Seeing the path, Bobie smiled.  "Well we do look out of place.  Ah, there it is, we will soon be settled in."

Sky looked at several women standing near an open door and asked Bobie, "Would there be a hot bath there by any chance?"

"Nope.  Probably a pallet on the floor if we are lucky."

"Fine by me.  I think the minute I lay on it I will be out."

Bobie stopped and was pointing to the lone building.  "There.  Maybe you will let me check your wound before . . ."

Sky hurried past saying,  "Hurry up deputy.  About the wound, it is fine.  I think I have mentioned something about not wanting to be a bother on this trip."

As the two neared the building both saw the shadow of someone hurrying away.   It was Sky that yelled,  "Hey!  Stop!  Why do you keep running away from me!?"

Bobie was surprised to see Sky dash off after the woman.  For someone so tired, she seemed to have a lot of energy.  Dropping her saddle bag near the one Sky had tossed, she ran to catch up to the woman.  When she finally caught up to the two, Sky was standing in front of The Tribal Medicine Woman.

Alice was standing near a precipice.  In the palm of her hands she held tightly to a small leather pouch, holding it outward as if to ward off Sky.   The woman was chanting, her eyes filled with fear.  Bobie approached Sky and reached out placing a hand on the woman's shoulder.  "Sky, what in the world are you doing?"

Sky glanced back, then turned her attention to Alice once more.  "This is the second time today this woman has ran from me chanting something.  I want to know what is going on."

Walking past her friend, Bobie took several steps toward the woman.  "Alice, it's Bobie Parker, I'm a friend. There is nothing to be frightened of.  Tell me what has you so upset?  My friend, Skylar Richmond is a good person.  I brought her here to see the beauty of . . ."

The woman's eyes met, Bobie's blue greens, seeming to lock with them before she uttered, "You bring death to the mesa.   You and your friend must go, leave now!"

Sky gazed toward the heavens before she shrugged, stood tall and said, "I've had about enough of this cloak and dagger stuff for one day." With those words, she stepped forward, grasped the woman, tossing her over a shoulder.  "Going to stand there all night Parker, come on let's go take a look at our lodging.  And close your mouth, some flying insect might think it is home."

Bobie was standing, her mouth wide open, a shocked look on her face as she watched Skylar Richmond walk toward their hogan, carrying the Medicine Woman screeching words  in a language she was not familiar with.  Hearing Sky's words, she snapped to and started after the two women.  Very thankful they were a way from the main pueblo.  The last thing they needed was a village of irate people coming after them because of what Skylar was now doing to their Medicine Woman.

Chapter Twenty Six

Sky was standing, arms folded across her chest, Bobie beside her as the woman gave each one the evil eye.  Both women were watching Alice closely, for each time she made an attempt to get to the open doorway, one would stand in front.

"Tell me why you have been running from me?"  Sky asked.

"It is all right Alice.  Neither one of us wants to harm you.  Just answer a few questions."

The woman huffed and strode around the small room, she reminded the two of a bird that was frightened.  Its feathers puffed out as if to make it look threatening.  Sky reached out and closed the wooden door.  And Bobie walked to a small table and pulled out a wooden chair. She motioned for Alice.  "Come sit.  I promise once you talk to us, you can leave."

Alice eyed Sky then walked toward Bobie and the offered chair.  "I will sit.  Say what it is you feel you need and then I will leave you."

Bobie pulled out a chair and sit, then gave Sky a look and offered, "Come sit, join us.  Let's all relax and start again."

Begrudging every  step, Sky walked toward them and sat.  "All right.  I don't want any trouble, just a few answers.  Like why this woman feels we will bring death to the mesa and must leave now, in the dark of night."  She raised an eyebrow and concentrated on Alice.

The woman squirmed in the chair, her eyes sending sparks, her hands still clutching the leather pouch.  "Why are you here?"

Bobie reached out and grasped Sky's right hand, patting it as she replied, "I wanted to show my friend, this marvelous place.  Took sometime off to do a little sightseeing.  Now how about you, why do you run from us?"

The woman was wearing leather pants, a leather top, and wore moccasins on her feet. Her hair was pulled back into a long braid held together by an intricate weaving of leather.  She leaned forward, staring into Bobie's eyes. "I know the signs of death, the sign of evil and this place is not for you."

Sky was on her feet, the veins in her temples pulsating as she reached for the woman, missing as Alice dodged her grasp only to be met by Bobbie's hand pulling her away.  The two glared at one another for an instant before Sky growled,  "Your idea is not working.  I don't take kindly to anyone spouting all that death talk.  This may scare some but not me."

"Sky, calm down.  It has been a long day, you are not feeling well.  Everything is all right."

Sky grumbled something and walked away from the table toward the door.  Turning she eyed the two at the table and said, "I'm going to go out, get a breath of fresh air. You two talk."

"Sky-" Bobie's words were left hanging, for the woman had left the building.  She sat, and gazed toward Alice.  "It is all right.  My friend has been through a lot, she is not well and we have been on a long trip.  Nerves get ragged sometimes.  You remember me, Alice, don't you?  Sheriff Bob Parker's daughter?"

The woman's eyes changed, there was almost a softness to them as she gazed at Bobie.  "Yes, I recall Sheriff Parker well.  He was a good friend to my people.  I can't believe the young girl has grown into such a beautiful woman."

Heaving a sigh of relief, Bobie smiled and said,  "It is kind of you to say Alice, but I am just Bobie Parker.  Please tell me what has you so upset?  My friend is a good person, she would not do any harm.  I wanted her to see the country, people I spent so much time with, in my youth."

She released the leather pouch that hung from a leather necklace around her neck.  "I felt it when I first ran . . . met her a chilling of my bones.  She is beautiful like you but she carries an evil."

"No!"  Bobie stood, her blue-green eyes melting with the woman's eyes.  "She is good.  Tell me more about this feeling?"

"I meet someone, I sense the goodness and the evil in them.   This woman carries the sign of lamia"

It was Bobie's turn to stand and walk toward the door.   "Lamia?  I guarantee you she is all woman and there is no lamia."  Turning, hands on her hips she continued, "Why do you say this?  Sky  is the nicest, the most caring, loving person I know."

Alice stood and walked toward her.  "Maybe I'm wrong, but you tell me why my bones chill?  Why I sense death?"

"You are near me, do you feel this now?"

Alice approached Bobie, reaching out, she touched the woman then replied, "No.  I feel warmth."

"Come sit back down, let me tell you what has been happening."

"You will let me leave?"

Nodding, she walked toward the table.  "Yes.  Just please hear me out."

The two women talked for what seemed like hours.  Bobie filled Alice in on what had been happening.  When she finished the two stared at each other several minutes before, Alice stood and began to pace the room.   Bobie watched the woman and was getting dizzy when she finally asked, "What is wrong?  Don't you believe me?"

Alice approached the table, leaned down, placing both hands on the table.  "Your friend has been touched by evil. An evil that will eat away at her flesh, before it finally takes her away from this world."

The woman's words stunned her, as she uttered, "This cannot happen.  We live in a society where things like this do not take place.  The man that did this to her was human.  I have been to his home, met his mother.  He is evil, I'll give you that but he is not a vampire."

Alice stood, reached out and caressed Bobie's face with her left hand.  "Child, you are in love with this woman."

Her words were shocking, revealing to an extent and Bobie stood.  "Thank you for listening to me, for your words of wisdom. Tell me what can we do?  What can I do?"

She tipped her head to the side and replied, "You have not accepted the inevitable.  And you have yet to make peace with the turmoil that is raging inside."

Shaking her head, Bobie asked, "Nothing is inevitable as long as a person has a breath of life and I will not let this thing take Sky away, not without putting up a good fight."

"And will you tell this woman about your feelings for her?"

Redness had crept up her face and she turned to look away.  "I care about her, she is a good friend.  The best one I have had ever.  But feelings of love?  I love her like a sister, like a good friend."

"When she enters the room, smiles at you, speaks to you, laughs with you, walks with you, whatever you two do, is the feeling only of family or friend?"

Gazing toward the dirt floor, Bobie muttered, "If you are tying to get me to say something that is not there, I will not.  Just know I care deeply for this woman and will not let anything happen to her without a fight.  If I have to go and face off with the Gods I will."

Alice reached up and removed the leather pouch she had been so attentive to.  "I want you to give this to your friend, it is a medicine bag, it contains many things.  This is a very precious possession and possesses powers for protection and healing."

Bobie held this in the palm of  her hand.  "Thank you but will this get her well?"

"Only  time will tell this.  If your friend is as bad as you say, this may not even help.  But it is a start.  Where do you think she went?"

"Probably for a walk, cool off.  She will return."

Alice thought for a second then said, "Do you think you can get your friend to let me look at this bite, the wounds on her back?"

Shrugging, Bobie replied, "I will ask.  Why?"

"Because it will give me a better feeling of what is happening. I may be able to think of something."

"I will get her to oblige, even if I have to hogtie her to do this." Bobie spoke and headed for the doorway.  "Going to go find her, the sooner you look the sooner we can get started on a cure."

"I will do the best I can, but the power sets within your friend as well.  I will wait here for your return."

Sky was sitting gazing at the distant lights of Diablo Rio and Tupac.  She seemed to be in deep thought as Bobie approached.  "Sky.  I am worried about you out here this late.  Come back. Alice and I have had a good talk and . . ."

Sky turned to gaze up at the woman.  "And?   I detect a hesitancy there deputy.  I'm glad the two of you have made peace.  But the woman spooks me and I'd soon stay out here till she leaves."

Sitting beside Sky, Bobie took a deep breath and said, "She is not leaving.  Now before you go off half-cocked, listen to me."

Sky nodded replying, "This had better be good."

She listened to Bobie explain what had been happening and when the woman finished, Sky gazed at her and shook her head.  "Don't think for a moment I am going to let some woman I don't know touch me."

"Sky, if you will not do it for yourself, do it for me, please."

"You are serious about this aren't you?"

Bobie nodded.  "Very.  I will not let you go without a fight."

Sky stood, reached down to grasp Bobie's left hand and pulled her to her feet.  "Not going anywhere darlin, you will have to tar and feather me before I even think about it and then it would only be a thought."

"You like it here that much?  Forget the tar and feather, we have more important things to discuss.  I care about you, it is my fault you are in this position. So, please, at least let Alice take a look. It won't do any harm and it may help."

"All right, let's go.  I want to get this over with. Little tired and I was hoping to get you all to myself at least for one night."

The Medicine Woman's words flashed before her.  When she enters the room, smiles at you, speaks to you, laughs with you, walks with you, whatever you two do, is the feeling only of family or friend?  It was Sky's touch on her left shoulder that brought her back to the moment.

"Well, are we going back or not?"

"Sorry, lost myself for a moment in thought.  Let's go.  Alice is waiting.

"You don't believe all that mumbo jumbo about medicine bags and healing do you deputy?

She gazed toward Sky and answered, "At this moment I am willing to try  bout anything to get you well.  If what this woman says, your time here is limited."

Sky made a hummmming sound then said, "You'll not get rid of me that easy Parker." With those words the woman was out of sight.

Continued in Chapter Twenty Seven

original fiction index | xena homepage | what's new |