The Adventures of Maite and Kepa: Part 69

The Adventures of Maite and Kepa is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!

Donny dismounted from his horse and walked forward until his face was illuminated by the last remaining flames of the fire. Santi had his gun at hand the whole time, not directly pointing it at the cowboy, but aiming it in his general direction. Donny seemed not to notice. The other two remained on their horses, but Kepa noticed how their hands stayed at their hips.

“My boys and I,” said Donny as he grabbed a few logs and threw them on the fire, “have been riding all day and could sure use a rest.” He looked up as he sat down next to the fire, the dancing light of the flames giving his face a menacing look. “Besides, this is our land.”

Santi shook his head. “Ez. No. We are sure not to cross in your land.”

Donny shrugged. “I’m not sure what to tell you, then. But, really, all of this land is ours, no matter what the government says.”

“That is not fair!” exclaimed Santi. “We need to live too.”

“You should have stayed in your own country, then” said Donny as he spat in the fire. “This is our country and we make the rules.”

“We don’t want any trouble,” said Kepa. “We will leave first thing in the morning.”

Santi gave him a disgusted glance but then nodded. “Yes, we will leave.”

“In the morning?” laughed Donny. “I’m sorry, but I can’t wait that long. I don’t want to spend the night here making sure you leave. I think you should leave now.”

“But, we can’t guide our horses and the wagon at night,” replied Santi. “And we have to collect the sheep.”

“Oh, are the sheep a problem?” said Donny with a wicked smile. “My boys can help with that.” He raised a hand. The other two men, who were still on their horses, dashed off toward the band of sheep that was huddled nearby, pulling their guns as they went. Soon, the night air was filled with the sounds of gunfire and the bleating of sheep. 

“No!” exclaimed Santi as he started to move toward the band. 

“Sit,” said Donny calmly, his own revolver pointing at the sheepherder. “Don’t make me ask again.”

Santi, pain in his face, reluctantly sat down. 

“You too,” said Donny as he waved his gun at Kepa. “And don’t think I don’t remember you, boy. We have our own score to settle.”

“What did you do?” hissed Santi as Kepa sat next to him at the fire. All Kepa could do was shake his head, his hands clenched in fists to prevent them from shaking as well.

The gun shots continued as Donny stood up and walked over to the coffee pot. He grabbed a cup and poured himself the last of the bitter coffee. Taking a sip, he walked back over to his chair. “Not the worst I’ve tried,” he said as he sat. 

Kepa and Santi simply glared at him, wincing each time they heard another gunshot. Soon, after more shots than Kepa could count, the shooting stopped and the other two cowboys rode back to the camp. As they dismounted and stood behind Donny, all they could hear was the dying cries of more than a few of the sheep.

“The ones we didn’t shoot ran off,” said the cowboy to Donny’s left. 

Donny nodded. “Good enough.” He turned his attention back to Santi and Kepa. “And now, what about you two, eh?”

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