Young Outlaws (Almost)

“Ward, you an’ Emma keep that wagon rolling. Me an’ Otis is gonna ride down yonder to the river and fill all the canteens. We’ll catch up after a bit. Y’all come upon anybody, keep that kid’s mouth shut.”

Gentry and Otis Layton were brothers with a cousin named Ward, who is as worthless as they are. Wards wife was just a scared woman, knowing she would be beaten again if she so much as opened her mouth. They, along with Emma’s help kidnap small children then sell them to anyone needing cheap labor. The small Spanish boy in the back of the wagon, Francisco Morales, had just been grabbed back in Mora. He is only ten years old, but had put up what Gentry thought was a darn good fight. Otis’s left hand was still bleeding quite a bit from deep teeth gashes where meat was torn and had to be bandaged.

Zack Wood, Harrison and Marshall Pascoe were cousins and got into all kinds of trouble. All of it wasn’t their fault, but enough was. May 23rd, 1889, being a late spring day and very hot, they sneaked off and went down to the river to go swimming. They had been told dozens of times not to go off anywhere without telling a grownup first.

Marshall was the oldest being twelve, Harrison and Zack were nine and wouldn’t you know Harrison had a little six year old sister, Katherine Rose. She was tiny and dad gum sure cute, as well as being spoilt rotten. When she could, she stayed pretty close to her brother. Looking at Harrison, Marshall nodded his head toward Kate.

“Oh yeah Kate, don’t you tell nobody we went off somewhere.”

“I’m gonna! Yer not supposed to go nowhere without telling Mama first, and you well know it.”

“You tell an’ I won’t play with you no more.”

“Uh huh, you will too just as soon’s Marshall and Zack go back home, Mama will make you.”

He knew that was true. “Okay here’s what I’ll do, next time we go to the store and Mama buys us candy. I’ll give you mine.”

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

“Okay then I won’t tell. Where ya going?”

“Swimming.”

“You’d better not! You’ll get into all kinds of trouble again. Ma’ma’ll tan yore hide! I’ll get to see you cry.”

“Uh huh, won’t either.” The boys headed for the Mora River in a run.