Friday, December 13, 2013
RANCHO REYES Chapter 3 HEADING FOR HOME
The boys couldn’t keep it a secret any longer and had to tell Senior what had happened in the canyon.
After they had explained to Senior what they had done and how they had recovered the cattle, Senior called Juan over and told him he wasn’t pleased about how he had exposed his boys to danger.
Juan said he was sorry and should have taken care of it himself or just let the rustlers alone. He said someone should track them to make sure they don’t head for the Hacienda for all the cowboys were scouring the ranch for cattle.
Juan said, “Since I have seen them and would recognize them if I saw them again I will go if you want.”
Senor said, “I don’t think they would dare to go there but if you want to track them, you have my permission, to go ahead.”
Juan saddled a fresh mount because his horse was tired out from the days riding.
When he was an hour away from the camp he heard two riders coming fast after him. Taking to the bushes along the trail he waited. When they were close to him he recognized them to be the boys of Senior. He stopped them and asked what they thought they were doing. They said they were just going with him.
Juan was disturbed at their adventurous spirit and he said, “Your father is going to blame me for this. He is already angry with me and I don’t know how he will take this.”
They said, “Dad wasn’t mad but only felt he should say something. Actually he was pleased that you involved us in the plan to get our cattle back and that you had sense enough to put us in a safe position.”
Juan said, “You would never know that from the way he was talking to me.
I have picked up the rustlers tracks and they are heading toward where you said the Hacienda was but they aren’t running their horses so we can travel at a slow lope. It will be best to slow down and walk your horses and let them catch their breath for a while.”
It was about three hours later when they heard gunshots. They sped up until they got within sight of the ranch complex then they left their horses out of sight and crept along the wall to an opening.
Their first sight was of the peons whom the poachers had rounded up and made to sit in the large courtyard. A couple of them had some women that they were pawing and one of the women was bandaging the foot of the thief who had been shot.
Through the open door of the house they could see a couple more of the men who had the Wife of Senior Reyes, his daughters, and their maids; and had forced them to strip down and stand in a circle.
Juan had to restrain the sons from rushing in and start shooting. Juan told them nothing is going to happen in the next couple of minutes except maybe a little embarrassment so listen to how we are going to handle this.
He sent the boys to cover the courtyard one on each side. Then he stepped into the house and in quick succession shot dead the men holding the women.
As soon as Juan had shot the thieves who were in the manor the frightened ladies ran to their rooms and quickly dressed.
Then he went and covered the men in the courtyard who were being shot at by the boys. They missed two who tried to give up but Juan shot them and it was over as quick as that.
Juan told the peons to get the wagon, load the bodies up and take them out and bury them away from the house. He went on to say they could strip them down and keep whatever treasure they had except for their guns and horses.
One of the young peons asked if he could have a rifle for shooting rabbits and Juan said he would need to ask Pablo - - who agreed that the boy could have it, and whatever ammo they found on the dead persons.
Everything had been cleaned up and it was as if nothing had ever happened, except the memory of one certain girl who had been made to strip down remained in Juan’s mind.
While he oversaw the cleaning of the courtyard the boys settled the household down and started the clean up inside the house.
Pablo said to Juan, “You know we could have captured some of them alive if we wanted to.”
Juan said, “Remember at the canyon, I gave them a chance to live, but they made this ghastly decision and it has cost them.”
Two days later the cattle from the south arrived with Senior in the lead.
Juan had instructed Luis and Pablo not to start blurting out what happened here, but just to allow the news out a little at a time.
He said it would be better for your Madre to tell your Padre.
Juan knew it would be difficult for the boys to restrain themselves but felt it would be best for the mother to tell her husband the story.
The next day Juan stayed away from the house and the women for he felt it would cause some unnecessary embarrassment for no reason.
Later that day some more of Senior’s ranch hands showed up with a large herd they had rounded up; and the day following day the two other sons of Senior came from the east with their herd. At dusk the last herd from the north made it in and the roundup was finished.
Juan was getting ready to leave when Senior told him he should stay.
He said, “My boys Luis and Pablo both insist on you staying and helping with all the branding and castrating the bull calves. - -
You are welcome to stay if you want to.”
To be Continued