In BURNT on February 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm


Candace grips Josey’s hand tight as they run.  She can see the beam of Lucas’ flashlight behind them.  He’s moving at the slow, steady rate of a man confident in his abilities in the woods.   His prey is a middle-aged city-dweller and a young girl.  Having flushed them from their hiding place, he knows it won’t be long until he catches them.  Candace knows this as well.

A sliver of moonlight gives her a wink through the thick trees.  It renews her hope and she pushes Josey on.

They enter the clearing and she searches the darkness at their feet, a prayer repeating and drumming in her ears.  “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…”  There it is!  She is swallowed by the earth, pulling Josey with her.

They huddle close in the darkness of the tunnel, pressing their bodies to the damp earth.  Above them, they can hear Lucas searching.

Josey’s breathing is sharp and jagged.  “Finish the story.  Please.”

Candace whispers.  “After Sunday left the Yanina woman, she pointed her horse North.  She started riding and she didn’t quit.  She rode for days and weeks and months.  Somewhere on the trail she met up with the preacher called David.  He had never stopped looking for her.  He showed her a wanted poster of her father.  After that, they rode together.  They holed up in an abandoned Pony Express post near Berthoud Falls for a long time.  They’d ride in one direction and then return.  The next day, they’d pick another direction.  Each time they rode longer and further.  Finally, Sunday found Arango.  At his hide-out.  Right here in Caballo Blanco.”

Candace hears the thud of Lucas’ boots above them.  He’s close.  Josey is shaking.  Candace pulls her closer, whispering into her ear.

“When Arango saw her, everything changed.  She had forgiven him, you see.  Arango quit outlawing and returned to Los Rios where he spent the rest of his life working to restore the hacienda to its former glory.  Each day, he would rise at dawn and work until dark.   He only took three days off before he died, and those were on the days that his grandchildren were born.  Three girls.”

They hear a bellow and some crashing as Lucas charges back into the woods.

Josey begins to cry.  “A happy ending…”

The Story So Far

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