The Long Walk Home: A STRANGE AND ULTIMATE ROMANCE
(There are times, when the horrible of life suddenly and unexpectedly turns into what is wonderful. It's strange when such a thing happens. This is that kind of story, this metamorphosis of the horrible into the wonderful. This is the story of an 'ultimate' romance.)
Place: The western Nebraska frontier in 1868
Sarah Wills was making bread that morning, while Jim was away on a trip to purchase some stock for their little Nebraska holding. The sun was warm and a breeze was blowing off of the prairie.
She heard the commotion of someone coming a bit before the four riders actually showed up and stopped in front of her place. There were two white men, with beards, a Mexican, and a black man.
Sarah went to the doorway to wait for them to approach.
They greeted her very politely. It was one of the white men who spoke up for the group:
"Good day to you, ma'am, we was wondering if it's at all possible for us to water our horses before we travel on."
"Sure can," Sarah said brightly, "Well's along side the house. While you're doing that, if you'd like I've got some fresh bread here and can give you a bite to eat."
"Why that'd be just wonderful, ma'am," the other white man said, and the Mexican led the horses around the side to water them, as the others, brushed off the dust and dirt of travel and entered the house.
"Nice place you have here," the white man said.
"Thank you," Sarah replied pleasantly.
"Your man around?" was the next question.
"No, he's off buying some stock," was her answer, as she busied herself cutting bread and putting out some butter to go with it. She also had some coffee that she set out for the riders. They sat to the food and were grateful for what she was providing for them.
Sarah and Jim Wills were fairly newly married. Living out here on the frontier in their own place was a dream come true for both of them. They were self-sufficient people.
She was dressed that day in a gingham dress with a simple apron over it. Sarah, at 26 years of age, was a lovely woman. She weighed about 133 pounds, which looked really good on her 5'8" frame. She was sturdy across the hips and in the butt and fairly large across the breast. She had a pile of auburn hair that she had clasped about her head in a kind of bun.
She served the men until they had had enough to eat, and busied herself replenishing their coffee. They were extremely grateful for the way that she'd taken care of them.
"This is very neighborly of you, ma'am," one white man, who introduced himself as Curly, said.
The other white man, whose name was Earl, asked her name.
"It's Sarah," she said to him.
"Well, we're pleased to meet you, Sarah," Earl said. "But we'd best get goin' on. We thank you again for your kindness here."
They got up and, taking their hats, went out to fetch their horses.
They walked the horses around to the front of the house from where they'd been tied up by the well at the side and mounted.
Sarah stood in front of her door, advancing just a little to bid them farewell.
It was the Mexican who did it. He was on the far side of the white men, Earl and Curly. He took a lariat from his saddle and with a deft movement tossed it until he'd put it around Sarah's hands.
"Got her!" Earl said, "Good throw, Juan!"
The three of them were gleeful.
Sarah was too startled at first to do anything, and lost her opportunity, as the four riders turned the heads of their horses and began to ride slowly away.
They'd already been aware of the fact that Jim Wills was away and had decided to pay his wife Sarah this visit.
They rode slowly, going on their way, with the Mexican, Juan, pulling Sarah, who was compelled to walk behind them, along with them.
"Stop this!" she shouted at them, and they laughed.
"Please!" she shouted next and got a curt answer from Curly: "Quiet woman and just do as your told, so that you don't come to any harm."
When Sarah called out to them, as she did periodically, Juan would urge his horse on a bit and make Sarah trot for just a little bit of time. This had the effect of rendering her quiet each time that it happened.
They went on in this fashion out into the prairie for about a mile, when they stopped.
They all got down with the black man, whose name seemed to be Poke, holding the horses.
Sarah found herself surrounded by them. Her face was a mask of mostly fear, with a tinge of anger. The anger surged, as soon as they stood around her.
"You stop this foolishness right now!" she said. "I treated you in a neighborly fashion, and you go and do this."
Earl slapped Sarah's face. She was quiet right away.
"Well, missy," he said, "We know how to treat a woman and we'll show you that soon enough. But we've had enough of your lip so let me just do this."
He took a dirty bandana out of his pocket and tied it around Sarah's head, gagging her mouth with it. Her eyes were now big with fear.
"No, Sarah," he said, "We're not going to hurt you, unless we have to.We just want to have some fun and then you can go home. So, if you cooperate, you'll be fine. If you don't, it could be a pretty long, painful morning for you. Understand?"
She shook her head 'yes' immediately and made inarticulate noises against the gag, and Curly said:
"Speak up, woman, we can't understand you!"
They all laughed at his witticism. While they were laughing, Poke fooled with Sarah's hair and pulled it out of her braided bun, freeing it to hang down.The hair was rich and went almost down to her waist.
"Better!" Curly said.
"Lovely," was Earl's comment.
Juan just grinned and Poke took the opportunity to stroke Sarah's face with his hand. She shuddered, and they all laughed.
They mounted up then and rode on with Sarah plodding along behind them, her hair sensually whipping in the prairie breeze.
They took turns riding slowly so that they could, at times, ride around her and behind her to watch her struggle on and on.
"Hey, Juan," Curly called, at one point, "Take that damn apron off of her; can't tell nothing about her figure with that apron on her."
They stopped the process for a few minutes and Juan, getting down from his horse, took the apron from Sarah, and folded it, putting it behind his saddle. He then turned to the wary woman, released her gag and leaned in for a kiss. She averted her head and said an involuntary 'no'.
Curly acted immediately. He released the bonds on Sarah's hands and then he grabbed Sarah and pushed her to her knees. He looked around and picked up a largish flat rock and put her hand down on it. Then he took out a huge knife and set it down against her little finger. Sarah's eyes were wide with fear.
"Missy," Curly said in a nasty voice, "You weren't very friendly to my friend Juan, who only wanted a little kiss. Remember that I told you before that we weren't going to hurt you unless we had to?"
Sarah shook her head, 'yes'.
Curly slapped her face, knocking her sideways. "You speak to me, woman, when I'm talking to you! Or you'll regret it."
"Yes, I remember," she said softly.
"So, here's the way it is," he continued, "Every time that you don't cooperate, I'm going to cut off a finger. When I'm done with both of your hands, I'll go to your feet and cut off toes. In the end, you won't have fingers or toes but you will do what we want. Do you savvy, Missy?"
"Yes, I understand," she said, her compliance now total fear and a clear understanding of what she would have to do, how she would need to cooperate.
"So, you just go and apologize to our friend Juan who only wanted a friendly kiss," he said next.
"Juan," Sarah said quickly, "I'm sorry for reacting that way; there was no cause for it."
"Better," Curly said, "Now ask him nicely for a kiss, and remember your little finger depends on this kiss!"
"Juan, I acted badly," she said softly to the smiling Mexican "Would you please kiss me again? I'd like that."
"Of course!" Juan said eagerly, and went to her putting his arms around her.
Sarah was serious about the kiss. She slipped her arms around his neck to kiss him. She was, in fact, a very passionate woman, and in this instance, prompted by her fear and the situation, she kissed Juan with all the passion that she could muster, accepting his tongue into her mouth in the process.
"Wow!" Earl said, "That's a kiss!"
When the kiss was broken off, Juan said: "You kiss very well, pretty lady."
"Thank you," Sarah said.
"Me next," Curly said and claimed his own version of the kiss with Sarah fully participating.
Then Earl stepped forward to claim the next kiss and finally Poke got to kiss her last.
Sarah, to her own amazement, found that Juan and Poke were the best kissers in the group.
"Let's keep going," Curly said, "We want to put some distance behind us. Now you just keep your mouth closed, little lady, savvy?"
"Yes," Sarah said, as they rode out again and Juan continued to pull her along.
They went along at a slow pace, stopping about every half mile or so to all get another kiss from Sarah, who was becoming really flushed from all the attention.
After a while, Curly called to Juan:
"Hey, compadre, can't we do better with this woman to make her look prettier?"
"Of course we can," Juan said, and stopped to get down from his horse.
He approached Sarah, who as usual was wary of what was going to happen. Curly reminded her:
"Remember what I said, Missy!"
.... There is more of this story ...