Knuckle Ridge, Chapter 8

  • Posted on November 4, 2020 at 2:58 pm

by Purple Les

Sitting at his desk almost a week later, Sheriff Gus Masters was lost in thought as he refilled his pipe. The Tequila Kid hadn’t been by in several days. She’s holdin’ something out on me, he told himself. Be damned if I know what, though. 

With the arrest of Jessie Sinclair, Masters had his killer, but there were still unanswered questions that nagged at him. First, there was the matter of Count Cousiourac. Since Lady Jane Wyeth-Boton had elected to stay on at the Ridge Hotel with that servant girl, Gus had the opportunity to find out what needed to be done with the Count’s body. She only smiled sweetly and said, “Why it was the Count’s desire to be buried in your wonderful country, should anything happen to him.”

Gus lit his pipe, still brooding. She sure didn’t offer to pay for his funeral, though. In the end, Mrs Ruggles had covered the mortuary fee, then paid for a plot and a modest headstone.

Sheriff Masters had kept in touch with Josh at the telegraph office, ever since Lady Jane told him that she planned to wire for funds, and to send cables informing the Count’s family and associates of his death. He’d just paid a visit to Josh, who told him, “She never set foot in here, Gus.” Just in case, he dropped by the post office, and got a similar answer from Edna May.

Acting on instinct, Gus had sent a wire to the French Consulate in Washington, D.C. to inform them of the Count’s demise, asking for instructions as to what should be done with the body.

Gus had just received the reply. It tersely informed him that Count Cousiourac had died seven years ago at age ninety-two, and was buried in the family plot in Marseilles.

Gnawing absently at the stem of his pipe, Gus pondered the situation. Mrs Ruggles vouched for Lady Jane and the Count, so she mustn’t know them to be impostors. I figure ‘em to be bunco artists, too. But if so, what was their game — gettin’ money from Mrs Ruggles to call up her dead husband? If they were after those diamonds… well, that was a waste of time, there never were any. He sighed. Sometimes I wish I could dig Maurice Ruggles up and kick his ass, just for all the trouble he stirred up with that goddamn diamond story of his.

Taking the last draw of his tobacco, Gus tapped the bowl smartly on the heel of his boot, then set the pipe to one side. His fingers drummed an erratic rhythm on the blotter. Once more, he wondered: What’s The Kid know… and why’s she keepin’ it from me? Don’t like doin’ it, but I reckon I gotta pay her a house call.

His other main concern was the female prisoner locked in his cell. Since the incident the first night she was there, Jessie Sinclair’s behavior had been flawless. It made him suspicious. Then again, maybe she’s just plumb crazy. Whichever she is, I can’t say I like havin’ a woman locked up in my jail. Don’t seem natural, even if she is a cold blooded murderer, and mean as a trod-upon rattler. Least she won’t do no more killin’, not in my town.

Thankfully, Gus didn’t have to give Jessie assistance with any female issues. The very thought made his cheeks go all hot. He’d managed to enlist a couple of the town women to lend a hand with that kind of thing — Doc Johnson’s wife Alice, for one.

There was a second telegram on the sheriff’s desk. Picking it up, Gus read the text for the third time, then got up and went out back to the cells.

Jessie Sinclair sat on her cot, reading a Bible. She looked up as Gus Masters entered.

“I just wanted to tell you, Miss Sinclair, that you’ll be transferred by train to Austin for your trial. A marshal, his deputy, and a prison matron will escort you.”

Jessie nodded. “I thank you for keeping me informed, Sheriff Masters,” she said quietly, then returned to her Bible. Gus studied the woman for a few seconds, then turned to leave.

Glancing up at the departing sheriff, Jessie allowed herself a brief smile. All she had to do was bide her time. She’d kept careful observations as to when she was fed, who brought which meals, who was in and out of the office and when they were there.

After the first night, her plates, cups and utensils had been kept track of, so she’d done well to get hold of the one spoon, now sharpened to a keen edge. The improvised weapon still lay beneath her pallet, awaiting its purpose.

Just before Gus made his exit, Jessie spoke. “Sheriff Masters? There is one thing I’m still curious about. If you’d give me a truthful answer, I would be obliged to you.”

Gus turned back to face the prisoner. “What is it, Miss Sinclair?”

“Those diamonds that people say Mrs Ruggles husband had… do they really exist?”

“No, Miss Sinclair, there are no diamonds.” Gus paused a moment as Jessie’s eyes narrowed slightly, then he added, “Mr Ruggles started that rumor years ago, for reasons known only to himself. He told me that much. It’s just something folks round here whisper to each other, but there’s not a word of truth to it.”

“Mrs Ruggles didn’t seem so sure,” Jessie said.

Gus looked away, slowly shaking his head. “Mrs Ruggles may have wealth and position, but I can’t say as it makes her happy. She lost both children, then her husband. I doubt she’s of soundest mind, and maybe she don’t always have both feet on the ground.

“She’s a fine woman, just the same. Why, I reckon there ain’t one person in Knuckle Ridge she’s not helped at one time or another, in some way.”

Gus stood straight and looked Jessie in the eye, a hard edge to his voice. “You made a big mistake listenin’ to old men and women at a boarding house who aren’t even sure if they had breakfast or not, passin’ on idle gossip to anyone fool enough to listen.”

With that, the sheriff turned and walked away, closing the heavy wooden door behind him as he left the cells. As Gus emerged into the office, Jigs sauntered in through the front door. His cheeks were slightly flushed, which meant he’d probably stopped off for a drink along the way.

“How ‘bout a game of checkers, Gus?” Jigs asked.

“Not now, Jigs,” Gus said, fastening his gun belt, then reaching for his hat. “There’s a few things I need to try and find out.” He patted his deputy’s shoulder as he made his exit, “If I get back soon, we’ll have us a game, all right?”

“Sounds good,” Jigs answered, but Gus was already gone.

***

The Tequila Kid had taken Button out for a ride. Giving the horse her own lead, they ended at the foot of a small hill. A creek was running nearby, and The Kid brought the horse to a standstill next to it. She dismounted, and they both drank from the cold, clear water. The Kid tethered the reins to a fallen sapling, loosening the bit and the cinch on the saddle. Button munched contentedly at the sweet grass while The Kid sat back against a tree. She took out her makings and began to roll a cigarette, thinking about the events of the last few days.

She’d awakened early on the Saturday after Jessie Sinclair’s capture. Quickly getting into the previous day’s clothes and strapping on her gun belt, The Kid hastened into town to see if Lady Jane intended to take the train that day, or if she chose to follow Doc Johnson’s advice and let little Gracie have her rest.

Relieved to see that they hadn’t left, The Kid went back to Ann’s, where she made coffee, then stripped down and bathed herself in the wooden tub. After drying off and fixing a light breakfast for herself, she slipped into her yellow dress. After checking on Ann, who was still dozing peacefully, The Kid quietly left for the Ridge hotel.

She found Lady Jane in the lobby, reading the newspaper. Lady Jane looked up, a hesitant smile on her lips as she saw The Kid approach.

“Good morning, Kid,” Lady Jane greeted the young woman, clearly taken aback by The Kid’s appearance. Besides wearing the pretty yellow dress, The Kid had her hair down and parted in the middle, covering the scar on the side of her head.

“Mornin’, Lady Jane,” The Kid replied. “How’s Gracie?”

“Still asleep,” Lady Jane answered. “How is Miss Purdy?”

“’Cept for a swolled-up jaw and them scratches on her face, she’ll be fine in a few days. She was still sleepin’ when I left her,” The Kid answered.

“I’m glad to hear that,” Lady Jane murmured.

There was an awkward moment of silence, then The Kid spoke. “I reckon we got off on the wrong foot, you and me,” she said. “Think maybe we could… start over?”

The blonde woman with the bright green eyes smiled at that. “Yes, I think we should.” She hesitated, then added, “Perhaps if it’s not too early, we could have a drink.”

“I reckon it’s after noon somewheres on earth,” The Kid replied, offering her arm. Lady Jane rose to accept it, and they walked together into the elegant hotel bar that connected to the dining room.

The bar was empty. They took a table in the corner, and Miguel, the young Mexican bartender, came over. Like all the hotel staff, he was dressed in a crisp white shirt, a necktie, black pants and vest. He had jet-black hair and was clean shaven but for a thin mustache.

Miguel gave a polite bow. “Good morning, Lady Wyeth-Boton, Senorita Kid. How may I serve you?”

“A large brandy for me, please,” Lady Jane said.

The Kid said, “Tequila por favor, Miguel.”

Bowing once more, Miguel took a couple steps backward, then turned and walked behind the bar, busying himself with bottles and glasses.

“Well, let’s us start over, then,” The Kid said, “Howdy, I’m the Tequila Kid. All my friends call me Kid.” She wondered if Lady Jane intended to give her real name this time.

Lady Jane extended her hand, saying, “Pleased to meet you…” She paused a moment. “…Kid.” Then with a smile, added, “I’m the Queen of England.”

That made The Kid smile. Lady Jane liked that smile, too. It made dimples in the young woman’s cheeks.

“Well, I’m right charmed, your Majesty,” The Kid said, taking the soft fingers of Lady Jane into her hand for a moment.

Just then, Miguel arrived with a tray. Whisking out a snow-white napkin, he put a large brandy snifter down in front of Lady Jane, a quarter full of Napoleon brandy. In front of The Kid, he set down a caballito with 100% agave añejo tequila.

“Will that be all?” Miguel asked.

“Yes, thank you,” Lady Jane said. Silently as a cat, Miguel slipped back behind the bar and began to polish glasses.

Lady Jane swirled the liquor around in the bulbous glass, savoring the aroma. The Kid picked up her glass, they clinked them together and Lady Jane said, “Cheers.”

“Same to you,” The Kid replied.

They each took a sip of their drinks, then sat back, smiling awkwardly at one another. Neither said much. When their glasses were empty, Lady Jane signaled for Miguel to bring another round. Soon appearing with fresh drinks on his tray, he took the empty glasses and vanished again.

This time The Kid made the toast. “To new friends and old.” They touched their glasses together once again.

After they sipped some more, The Kid suddenly said, “Well, I’ll be,” gazing in awe at Lady Jane.

“Why, what is it?” asked Lady Jane, taken aback.

“You’d think me foolish if I said,” The Kid replied.

Her curiosity now piqued, Lady Jane said, “Please tell me.”

“Well,” The Kid said, after another sip of her tequila, “You see, this one time I was trackin’ a fella for the Rangers.”

Lady Jane took another warm swallow of brandy, feeling very relaxed. She thought about how attractive The Kid was, despite the stitch in her nose and the tattoos on her chin. Actually, she was beginning to like the tattoos, too.

“I tracked him way up north, right up into Canada,” The Kid continued, a hint of pinkness appearing in her cheeks. “Well, one night up there, I was curled up in my bedroll, when I woke up and saw these… these sheets of color, all over the sky.” The Kid took another sip of her drink, then continued. “A few days later, I met a French trapper; he told me that’s what they call the Northern Lights.”

Enthralled by The Kid’s story, Lady Jane listened intently.

“I’d never seen nothin’ like it before,” The Kid said softly. “Shimmerin’ waves of light, just a-floatin’ in the sky. There was red and blue and violet, and the most beautiful shade of green I ever did see.”

She slowly nodded, caught up in the memory of it. “That green color stayed in my mind. I knew I’d never see a sparklin’ shade of green like that ever again.” The Kid moved her glass about in a little circle on the table, looking down at it.

Then she looked up at Lady Jane. “And then I saw your eyes a moment ago… and there it was, that green again.” Turning away, The Kid drained her glass in a gulp, then shrugged. “I told you it was foolish.” Her cheeks were flushed now.

Lady Jane pressed a hand to her chest. “I… I think that beneath that rough exterior, you are something of a poet, Kid. No one has ever said anything so beautiful to me.”

The Kid gave an awkward chuckle. “Aw, shucks.” She gestured down at her yellow dress. “At least I don’t look so rough today, now do I?”

“Indeed not,” Lady Jane replied, her eyes sparkling. “In fact, you are quite lovely. Did you… wear that dress for me?” The Kid nodded. “I consider that a compliment. Thank you, Kid.”

The Kid smiled. “Y’know, there’s somethin’ else you put me in mind of… it’s a poem I learned a few years back. Would it be too forward of me if I was to say it right now?”

“I can think of nothing I’d enjoy more. Please, let me hear it.”

Draining the last of the tequila, The Kid set her glass down. “See, I worked for a medicine show for a spell, where I did trick shootin’ to draw a crowd. Then this father and his daughter went into their act, sellin’ their medicine. They had a fiddler, a clog dancer, and a man who did conjurin’ tricks. Then the father would end the show doin’ a poem by this fella, name of Shakespeare. He’s from England, so I reckon you’ve heard of him.”

“Oh, I have,” said Lady Jane, chuckling. “He is one of our… better known writers.”

“Let’s see if I can recall it now.” The Kid looked thoughtful for a moment as she rubbed her tattooed chin. Finally, she shrugged. “I can’t bring but a line or two to mind, but I would like to say ‘em to you.”

Reaching out to touch the young woman’s hand, Lady Jane said, “Please do, Kid.”

The Kid took a deep breath, then began to speak. “’Shall I compare thee to a summer day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate’.”

Lady Jane stared at The Kid, enchanted by her words.

“The next part, I can’t remember so well,” The Kid confessed. “It was about the summer and how it goes away… but his sweetheart’s beauty, it’ll always be there.” The Kid said. “Then it ends like this.” She gazed deep into those lovely green eyes. “‘So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see. So long lives this, and this gives life to thee’.”

A sob broke from Lady Jane’s lips, and she began to cry. Tears ran down her cheeks, darkened by the mascara she wore. The Kid remained silent, waiting for the woman to speak.

Finally regaining a semblance of control, Lady Jane reached into her bag, fumbling for a handkerchief. She wiped her face, looked around to make sure no one else was within earshot, then softly said, “I have been dishonest with you.” She waited for a response but, getting none, spoke on. “When I told you that I’d never killed anyone before… that was a lie. I did kill a man.”

The Kid still didn’t speak, but gave Lady Jane a nod that encouraged the woman to continue.

“I married when I was nineteen. Kenneth and I were happy, at first. He had a respectable job with a group of barristers. We lived modestly, but didn’t mind. We were in love, you see. If you’ve ever felt that way for someone, you’ll know that it’s more precious than material things.

“He was fired from his position when he discovered that a partner at the firm was embezzling. His mistake, you see, was to confront the man first. The partner stalled my husband for long enough to cover his tracks, to make it seem as if Kenneth was lying. Not only did the firm refuse to believe him, he was dismissed… and that wretched partner spread malicious gossip about Kenneth, enough to keep him from finding a job elsewhere.”

With a deep sigh, Lady Jane soldiered on. “After that, Kenneth was never the same. We had to move to a slum, where we lived in the most squalid conditions. He took to drink and gambling. He began to beat me. Once, he… he brought a man home, who paid him two quid t-to have his way with me.” She was on the verge of crying again, but angrily choked it back.

“One night… Kenneth got the horrors. He’d run out of gin, you see, and had no money to buy more. He was like a mad animal, raging and tearing at his hair. Then he ordered me to come with him, down to the street, where he would sell my body to whoever would pay for it. I… I refused, then he became more violent than ever. He came at me with a knife. We struggled and — and I struck out at him with the teakettle. He fell, and landed upon the blade.” She hung her head, unable to meet The Kid’s eyes. “When I turned Kenneth over, I saw that he was dead.”

The Kid reached over and took Lady Jane’s hand.

“Fool that I was, I went to the police to tell them what had happened,” Lady Jane said, pausing to take a swallow of brandy from her glass. “They arrested me on the spot, wouldn’t listen when I told them it was an accident. Once they examined the body and saw the mark that the kettle had left on his head, I was charged with murder. One of the constables called me a — a cheap whore, and that he hoped to see me hang.” She paused, fingering the rim of the snifter with her free hand, then resumed her story.

“On the way to court one day, I escaped. The man who escorted me was drunk, and fell asleep in the wagon. I took the key from him and freed myself, then slipped away before I was missed. I made my way to Liverpool, where I picked a man’s pocket. I was lucky — it was enough money to buy passage to America.”

“Where did you pick up the child?” The Kid asked.

A fresh tear ran down Lady Jane’s cheek. Draining her glass, she then said, “I… I can’t talk about her, not just yet. Another time, perhaps.”

“What about that Count fella?” The Kid asked. “How’d he come into it?”

“He was no more royalty than I am,” said Lady Jane, pursing her lips. “His name is Yves DeBries, and he comes from Quebec. Gracie and I were doing our spiritualist act, trying to raise the money to make our way to Australia. I have a sister there, you see.

“Yves saw one of our seances and latched onto us. Somehow he laid hands on a British newspaper, one printed soon after I made my escape, and discovered that I was a fugitive, wanted for murder. He threatened to expose me if I didn’t do as he said. I had no choice but to give in. So Yves assumed the name Count Cousiourac, and became part of our act.”

The Kid frowned. “He ever try to, um, take advantage of you?”

“Once, after he’d been drinking, and I rebuffed him in no uncertain terms. The next day, when he’d sobered up, he seemed to realize that our relationship was best kept professional. You see, Yves was useful to us, as he was more experienced than I at making contacts among rich people, the ones who would seek out the services we offered. He was also very good at wooing rich widows…” Lady Jane gave The Kid a knowing glance, “…or sometimes widowers or other men, if it served our purpose.

“He had the upper hand, but also knew that he needed us to succeed at this game, so we managed to reach an… arrangement of sorts. Yves got the bigger share of the money, though he did give me a decent enough amount, and did not attempt to have his way with me again. We weren’t friends, but I will say that he conducted himself like a gentleman, and was never cruel to Gracie.”

“How much did Mrs Ruggles pay you?” The Kid asked.

“Two thousand dollars. Yves hadn’t paid my share yet, so I suppose that horrid woman took it all when she killed him. We’d only asked for five hundred, but Mrs Ruggles was so pleased with the results that she gave us much more. I owe that to you, I know that now.” She gave The Kid a sad smile. “I got the truth out of Gracie, about your… taking over the seance. At the time, I was upset, but you were very good at it.” A sigh. “Pity I couldn’t have had you as a partner, instead of the Count.”

The Kid ignored that last remark. “Well, from what you told me, I’d say what you done over there in England was just pure self-defense. Or like the law calls it, death by misadventure.” She gave a comforting smile to Lady Jane. “What you just told me is our secret. Tell you this much, though — there ain’t a court in America that would convict you for the death of your husband.”

“The British court would,” Lady Jane muttered, her expression gloomy again. “They’re still searching for me, too. I may well be on the run for the rest of my life.”

“You best try to fix your face up a little,” The Kid suggested.

Taking a compact out of her purse, Lady Jane gave a shaky laugh when she saw herself in the small mirror. “Oh, my… I look like a rabid raccoon.”

She did what she could to repair the damage, then said, “Might we continue this discussion in our room? I really ought to check on Gracie… and I’m sure she would be delighted to see you again.”

“I’d purely love to see her myself.” Rising from her seat, The Kid reached out. “Shall we?” Lady Jane took, blushing a bit as she took the young woman’s hand.

The Kid glanced over his shoulder at the barman, who was flicking at the liquor bottles with a feather duster. “Put them drinks on my slate, Miguel.” Lady Jane began to protest, but The Kid shushed her. “No, no — I’d take it as a unkindness if you didn’t allow me to do the buyin’ here.”

Hand in hand, they climbed the stairs in a mellow silence.

Upon entering the room, Gracie was just beginning to wake, and had to be kept from leaping out of bed in her excitement to see The Kid.

“Thank you for coming by,” the child cooed, her eyes shining with delight. “What a pretty dress you have!”

“Aw, thanks,” The Kid replied. “Are you hungry?”

Gracie stopped to think. “I’m famished!” she replied.

“Tell you what — I’ll head on downstairs and rustle you up some grub.” She turned to Lady Jane. “Anything for you?”

“No, thank you — I already dined.”

“Be right back then.” With a wink, The Kid took her leave. A few minutes later, she returned with a tray.

Gracie sat at a small table and devoured the meal. Lady Jane had washed her face but had not yet applied any makeup.

The Kid decided she liked her better without all the war paint, but chose not to say so. Instead, she nodded in Gracie’s direction. “That girl sure has a fierce appetite. Gotta say, though… you’re mighty lucky to have her.”

“She is an ideal companion,” Lady Jane replied with a mysterious smile. “I believe you know yourself just how… special Gracie can be.”

The Kid suddenly looked uneasy. “Um… I ain’t exactly sure what you’re gettin’ at.”

Laying her fork to one side, Gracie said, “It’s all right, Miss Kid. I’ve already told my lady about our trysts.”

The Kid looked at Gracie. “Trysts?” she said, puzzled.

The girl’s long dark hair hung over her white nightshirt. Her bare ankles and feet were visible. The garment was slightly open at the top, exposing Gracie’s long neck and one pale shoulder. The Kid longed to caress her there, to slip a hand into the plain cotton nightgown and tease the child’s nipples.

Lady Jane smiled. “Yes, trysts. It usually refers to a planned meeting between lovers… but yours sounded quite spontaneous, from what Gracie told me.”

Unable to keep herself from blushing, The Tequila Kid muttered, “So you know about that little bit of sparkin’ we done, do you?”

“Yes,” Lady Jane answered. She was idly trailing a finger up and down between her breasts. “I must say it made me rather aroused, hearing about the things you did with her.”

“I thought that just maybe, Gracie might of learned how to kiss like that from you.”

“In a way, we learned from one another,” Lady Jane looked lovingly at Gracie, then continued. “She and I became… especially close on the voyage at sea. All we had was each other, and it seemed right, somehow, for us to share love together.”

Moving over to where the girl sat, Lady Jane stood behind her, reaching out to stroke Gracie’s face. “She was a most eager student in the art of giving pleasure. As you’ve found out for yourself, Kid.”

“Y’know, I just had me a feelin’ about that,” The Kid said.

They fell silent, the two women and the little girl exchanging knowing looks. The Kid could feel the sexual tension charging the air of the room.

“Tell me, do you get yourself naked at all them seances?” The Kid asked.

“Yes, I do. Distracting everyone with my nudity helps me to keep control of things,” Lady Jane answered.

Gracie smiled. The Kid hadn’t ever seen her give an honest pretty-child smile before. She liked it, and felt a strong urge to kiss the girl.

“And if truth be told,” Lady Jane added, “I find it very arousing to let others see me in the altogether.” She slipped a hand inside Gracie’s nightgown, stroking the child’s chest beneath the soft material. “Especially beautiful women… and girls.”

The Kid smiled and said, “Yes, indeed. I saw how it really gets your honey flowin’. Only that ain’t what you call it, I remember.”

That made Gracie giggle. She was dreamy-eyed and smiling, enjoying Lady Jane’s caresses.

“Ectoplasm,” Lady Jane said. “I did notice that you and Miss Purdy knew what it really was.”

“Got any of that ectoplasm flowin’ now, you reckon?”

Jane’s cheeks were slightly flushed as she said, “Perhaps I do.” Glancing down at the girl, she said, “Dear Gracie… help me disrobe, so we can see if the spirits are upon me.”

The Kid was spellbound as she watched the eleven-year-old girl begin to undress her mistress. First Gracie removed Lady Jane’s shoes, then the dress, stockings, and corset and the rest of the underclothes.

Now nude, Jane stood with arms spread, displaying herself. The Kid’s heart was throbbing, and she ached to touch the woman, but chose instead to let things play out.

“Gracie,” Lady Jane said, “Please examine me to see if the spirits have begun to manifest themselves.”

The Kid watched appreciatively as Gracie reached out to touch Jane’s vulva, then began to fondle it. The girl smiled as the labia of her mistress began to swell.

Moments later, Gracie displayed her glistening fingers. “Yes, my lady… the spirits are here, most certainly.”

The Kid moistened her lips as Jane sat down on a chair, legs spread apart, and pulled Gracie close. “Dear child,” she whispered, then kissed the girl. Gracie began to respond, and their kiss grew increasingly heated. As her tongue flickered in and out of the young girl’s mouth, Jane cupped Gracie’s firm bottom with one hand, then both.

While she watched the two lovers, The Kid stepped out of her moccasins, then removed the dress. She had nothing on under it, except the gold ring on its chain around her neck. When Gracie and Jane finally broke their kiss, they were both pleasantly surprised to see The Kid standing before them in the nude.

“Oh, Kid,” Gracie breathed, “I’ve longed to see you in your natural splendor. You are even more beautiful than I imagined.”

“Thank you, Gracie.” The Kid said. “I just wanted to check somethin’, that’s why I got undressed.” She reached down to rub her pussy for a moment, then inserted a finger into her vagina. Withdrawing it, she studied the glistening digit. When she pulled her finger back out it was coated with her love honey.

Holding the finger up for the others to see, The Kid said, “Yep, just like I thought, I got them spirits in me, too.” Putting the wet finger in her mouth, she sucked it clean.

Lady Jane rose, drifted over to where The Kid stood, then turned back to face the girl.

“My dear Gracie,” she said. “Do you think The Kid is more beautiful than your mistress?” She posed, putting her bare body on display.

Gracie was wide-eyed, staring at the two nude women side by side. The Kid was tall with the lithe body of a woman barely out of her teens. Lady Jane was shorter than The Kid, her body full and mature with soft curves and generous breasts.

“Please, my lady,” Gracie sighed, her face aglow. “You ask me to compare a sunrise to a sunset. Both so lovely, yet so very different.”

“Now, now, your Majesty,” The Kid said, placing both hands on Jane’s shoulders and turning the woman until  they faced each other. “Don’t make things hard for the girl. I reckon she wants us both.”

Blushing slightly, Jane reached out to give The Kid’s hand a squeeze. “You’re right. I’m being foolish.”

The two women slowly drew nearer, lips briefly touching as they came together in an embrace. They drifted apart, each studying the other’s nudity, then their mouths met once more in a kiss that soon grew deep and lustful. Gracie watched, her eyes dancing excitedly as Lady Jane and The Kid began to grind their bare bodies together.

The Kid allowed her hands to glide down the supple back of her new lover, steadily moving lower until she was clutching Lady Jane’s ass. She fondled the shapely globes, causing Jane to moan into their kiss. This encouraged The Kid to run a finger between the hot globes of flesh, lingering over the older woman’s anus.

This gentle pressure on her most private spot made Jane break the kiss, Dipping down, she placed her mouth over one of The Kid’s small breasts, taking the hard nipple between her lips, teasing the tip with quick flicks of the tongue.

Glancing over at Gracie, The Kid saw that the child was still seated, her face flushed and breathing heavily as she watched the two women make love.

After pleasuring The Kid’s other nipple, Jane looked up at The Kid, then followed the young woman’s gaze over to where Gracie sat. She smiled, then spoke.

“Ever since Gracie described what the two of you did together, I longed to witness it for myself… and now, I can,” Jane said. “Go to Gracie, let me see you kiss her.”

Lady Jane began to toy with her sex, studying The Kid’s bare bum as the young woman made her way over to where Gracie sat, pausing to stand before the girl. Gracie licked her lips as she stared at The Kid’s cunt,  now so close that she could smell it.

Placing both hands on the armrests of the chair, The Kid bent down, slowly drawing closer to Gracie’s upturned face. As their lips met Gracie reached up to touch The Kid’s bare tits, still wet from Jane’s mouth.

The child’s lips parted, and The Kid’s tongue emerged to slip between them. They shared a lover’s kiss, Gracie sucking on the warm, wet tongue as it mingled with hers. The Kid felt a hot trickle of pussy nectar run down her inner thigh.

Suddenly The Kid stood up straight, breaking their kiss. Gracie pouted for an instant, but it vanished as The Kid posed with both legs parted, holding her pussy open with two fingers. “Look at me, girl,” The Kid softly said. “Like what you see? Was it worth waitin’ for?”

Gracie gaped at the slick wet vagina in front of her, then gazed up at The Kid, her eyes shining. “Oh, Miss Kid. There is nothing I want more at this moment than to lick you. Please say I can!”

Lady Jane appeared at The Kid’s side, casually fingering her own wet pussy. Gracie’s face practically glowed as her hungry blue eyes moved from one nude woman to the other, then back again.

“Manners, my child.” Jane said. “It’s only fair that The Kid should gaze upon your fair charms before you get to sample hers.” She turned to The Kid. “You would like to see Gracie naked… wouldn’t you, Kid?”

“I sure would,” The Kid managed to say.

Lady Jane took control of the two mesmerized youngsters — first pulling Gracie into a standing position, then guiding The Kid into the chair. Then taking a small step back, she smiled at Gracie and whispered, “Show yourself to us, sweet child.”

Spreading her legs, The Kid began to masturbate as Gracie undid the remaining buttons on her nightshirt. With a shy smile, the little girl pushed the garment off her shoulders and let it fall to the floor, where it ringed her ankles.

The Kid studied the girl, wanting to take in every lovely inch of her. First she stared at the thick, dark hair and those deep blue eyes, framed by long eyelashes. Her gaze shifted to Gracie’s freckled, upturned nose and the full red lips below. Then she took in the girl’s long neck and narrow shoulders.

Her eyes lingered for a long while on the child’s barely budding breasts, and the ripe cherry nipples that adorned them. The Kid ached to take one into her mouth right then, but forced herself to wait, to take a good long look at the rest of her first.

She drank in the vision of Gracie’s narrow hips, the soft belly, the adorable cleft of her navel. The Kid swallowed, then licked her lips as she looked at the child’s slit, nestled so beautifully between the plump lips of her vulva. There was already a hint of moisture there. The Kid hummed blissfully as she scanned the girl’s long coltish legs up and down, seeing the knees tremble slightly. Again, her eyes were drawn to the cleft of Gracie’s vagina, wondering how it would taste.

Lady Jane’s voice broke into The Kid’s reverie. “I think,” she said, “that we should all move to the bed.”

The three lovers took the few steps together, little Gracie framed by the two women. At the foot of the bed, they paused to exchange heated kisses, hands exploring bare skin. Now recovered from her bashfulness, Gracie eagerly fondled The Kid and Lady Jane in turn — one lean and taut, the other soft and rounded.

As Gracie clambered onto the bed, The Kid firmly grasped the little girl’s firm buttocks, giving them an appreciative squeeze. The child cooed with delight. Jane and The Kid joined Gracie, where they knelt in a tight circle and shared a few more delicious kisses.

Somehow, they seemed to drift naturally into a rough circle. Gracie applied her lips and tongue to The Kid’s clit and pussy. Lady Jane suckled Gracie’s smooth slit, and The Kid applied her considerable oral skills to Jane’s cunt.

The trio of lovers soon began to near the precipice, the pleasure slowly but steadily building between them. Peering down, The Kid took a look at Gracie, the child’s mouth busy between The Kid’s legs, then raised her head for a glimpse of Jane as she licked lustily at Gracie.

“Hold on there now, you two.” The Kid said. “Before we spend, let’s switch around, lick each other that way.”

“Yes, I want to taste my lady’s fanny, too,” Gracie cooed. “And I’d love to feel your mouth on me, Kid!”

Reversing their positions, the lovers resumed their love play. The Kid paused just long enough to watch little Gracie feast on Lady Jane’s wet pussy, then glanced down at Jane, thrilled to see the older woman’s head between her own legs.

The Kid pressed a warm kiss into Gracie’s sweet slit, then gently applied her tongue to it. Soon the three lovers were licking one another with an urgency that promised utter bliss for them all. Placing a trembling hand on Jane’s head to urge her on, The Kid felt a fire growing in her loins, on the verge of raging out of control.

Don’t you finish yet! she admonished herself. Wait for the others.

Gracie could be heard moaning into Lady Jane’s cunt. She’s pretty close to spending too, The Kid realized, flicking the little girl’s tiny clit with her darting tongue as she eased a finger into Gracie’s hot, tight tunnel. The child moaned appreciatively as that finger slowly moved in and out of what Gracie had called her ‘fanny’. That’s a funny word, The Kid mused. Guess it’s what them English folks say.

Her thoughts suddenly scattered when she felt Lady Jane insert a slick finger into her butthole and work it back and forth, her mouth busy nursing The Kid’s clit. Shit, I can’t hold back no more…! Blindly finding little Gracie’s clitoris with her fingers, The Kid gave the small swollen organ a gentle tweak.

That turned the trick. Gracie’s whimper quickly rose into a choked cry, and The Kid came an instant later. A moment after that, Lady Jane’s body began to jerk, her sounds of pleasure muffled by The Kid’s juicy flesh.

Finally they lay exhausted and spent, breathing deeply, their nude bodies glazed with sweat. The Kid’s face was resting on Gracie’s tender thigh. Jane was the first to pull herself in line with the bed, twisting around to lie on her back, head propped on a pillow. The Kid followed suit, bringing Gracie along so that she was nestling between the women.

Jane and The Kid kissed, their hands mingling as they both fondled the child’s beautiful bottom. Gracie joined in their kiss, and the three lovers enjoyed the mingled taste of pussy that coated their mouths, lips, chins and tongues. They lingered together for a half hour or thereabouts.

Once The Kid had gathered her strength, she reluctantly rose, then went over to freshen up at the wash basin, applying the cool water under her arms and between her legs. She slipped back into her dress, then stepped into her moccasins. Frowning at her reflection in the mirror, she straightened her hair until it looked slightly less unruly.

Turning back to the bed, The Kid said, “Reckon I’d better go.”

Opening one eye, Gracie sighed. “Must you go, Miss Kid?”

“Fraid so, sweetie. I’ve got to go check on Ann. She’s still feelin’ kinda beat up.”

“Why did you come here today, Kid?” Jane asked. “You never did say.”

Grinning, The Kid replied, “Y’know, I ain’t exactly sure what my business here was. But I’ll say this — I sure did get somethin’ I wanted.” She bent to swap kisses with Gracie, then Jane, and made her exit, pausing on the way out to take a last look at the naked woman and child, still curled up together on the bed.

Whistling tunelessly, The Kid made her way down the hotel stairs, eager to get home and back into her everyday clothes.

***

When The Kid got back to Ann’s, her lover was still dozing on the sofa. She went upstairs to take off her dress and put it away, then slipped into a fresh pair of blue jeans and a clean shirt. Coming back down, she found Ann beginning to stir.

Bending to kiss her forehead, The Kid softly said, “How you feelin’ there, Andromeda?”

Ann replied with a yawn, then pouted. “I hurt… so I need you to be extra sweet to me today.”

“Feel hungry?” The Kid asked, stroking Ann’s forehead.

“Mmm, that feels lovely. And yes, since you ask, I am very hungry.”

“How ‘bout I rustle up some coffee? Then I’ll fix some mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs while you get some more rest?”

Ann rolled her eyes heavenward. “You are a godsend, Kid.”

“Comin’ right up.” With one last kiss on the cheek, The Kid left for the kitchen.

While Ann waited, she stretched, then carefully worked her sore jaw around a bit. It still ached, but not as badly as the day before. With a sigh, she laid back, placing both hands in her lap, then felt something in her pocket. Curious, she reached inside, emerging with the telegram she’d picked up for The Kid on the previous afternoon.

“Oh, dear,” she mumbled. In all the hullabaloo, she’d completely forgotten about it. “Kid?” she called out.

Just then, her lover returned, bearing a steaming mug. “Here’s your coffee. What’s that you got there?”

“Oh, Kid,” Ann said, “When I got to town yesterday, I picked up a telegram for you, one that Josh said you’d been waiting for. I forgot all about it till just now. I’m so sorry.”

“From Mort Farnum?” The Kid asked. Ann nodded. “Can you read it to me?”

When Ann finished, she looked up at The Kid. “What are you going to do now?” Ann was puzzled by the pink cheeks and odd expression of surprise on The Kid’s face.

“Nothin’ just yet,” The Kid replied, gently taking the telegram from Ann, folding the piece of paper twice, then slipping it into the left hand pocket of her vest. “Well, actually, I’m gonna check on them potatoes. Reckon they’re just ‘bout done.”

Turning away, she went back to the kitchen. Ann thoughtfully rubbed her sore jaw as she watched The Kid go.

***

Five days had passed since then. Now, still leaning against the tree, The Kid watched her horse crop the sweet grass. Studying the tree’s shadow, she judged it to be nearly two o’clock. Slowly rising to her feet, she strode over to where Button stood.

She’d tightened the cinch on her saddle and was fixing the bit on the bridle when she saw the buckskin horse with black stockings approach, carrying Sheriff Masters.

The Kid waved her hat and called out, “Over here, Gus.”

Gus rode up and silently dismounted by the creek, letting his horse drink. Then he turned to The Kid and folded his arms, studying her for a moment before he finally spoke. “You’ve been avoidin’ me all this week, Kid. I’ve not seen hair nor hide of you. Care to tell me why?”

“Sorry, Gus.” She fumbled around in her vest pocket and pulled out an envelope, handing it to the sheriff. “I reckon the rest of what you want to know is in here.”

Gus looked at the envelope, then read aloud, “To Tequila Kid, Knuckle Ridge, Texas, from Mort Farnum Pinkerton Detectives, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.” The Kid nodded, hooking her thumbs in her belt as Gus opened it up and silently perused the contents.

COUNT COUSIOURAC IS THE ALIAS OF YVES DE BRIES STOP WANTED FOR MURDER AND ROBBERY IN QUEBEC TWO THOUSAND DOLLAR REWARD STOP LADY JANE WYETH-BOTON IS ALIAS OF MAGGIE MCGILL HOPKINS STOP WANTED FOR MURDER OF HUSBAND KENNETH IN ENGLAND STOP NO WARRANTS FOUND FOR HER IN U.S. STOP HAS BEEN RUNNING BOGUS SPIRITUALIST ACT WITH DAUGHTER GRACIE STOP APPREHEND AND HOLD ALL THREE IF POSSIBLE STOP WILL ARRIVE ON 10TH TO TAKE CUSTODY STOP

Gus frowned at the telegram a long time before looking up at The Kid. “The tenth… shit, that’s tomorrow, when this Pinkerton man gets here. I’ll be busy transferrin’ that Sinclair woman. Are you gonna deal with this Farnum fella, then? You plannin’ to arrest Lady Jane…” He stole a quick glance at the telegram. “Maggie McGill, I mean?”

“No,” The Kid said. “Y’see, I just wanted to find out who they all were. Didn’t mean for Mort to come out here and cart ‘em away.” She shook her head. “Damn it all, I should’ve knowed he’d do that. When Mort gets his teeth set in somethin’, he’s like a bulldog. Won’t turn it loose.” She patted the sheriff on the back. “Let’s get back into town, Gus. I’ll tell you what I know on the way.”

As they rode side by side, The Kid shared Maggie’s story with Gus, leaving out the things she’d done with the woman and her daughter on Saturday.

Knuckle Ridge came into sight as The Kid was saying, “So y’see, Gus, all she’s guilty of is bein’ a woman. Sure, she ran a con game, but she ain’t wanted here for that. Hell, it ain’t like she’s stealin’ from them folks anyhow — they get what they paid for.”

Gus was toying with his ear. “So what in tarnation are you plannin’ to do with her?”

“Leave it to me. Come early Saturday, I’ll have Maggie and her little girl on their way to Australia. They got family down there.”

“Huh. Gotta say, I’m surprised to find out that servant girl was really the McGill woman’s daughter. Never would’ve guessed that myself; how ‘bout you?”

The Kid felt her cheeks grow warm, but kept her voice neutral. “No… I never figured that.”

Gus sighed heavily. “All right, Kid. I reckon this Farnum fella will come to me first. I’ll let him know where the Count is buried. He asks about the McGill woman, I’ll tell him he needs to see you, and that’ll be as much as I know about the matter. Handle this however you want from there, just leave me out of it. Especially if you plan on bendin’ the law to your own ends.”

The Kid smiled and said, “Much obliged, Gus.” They were approaching the turnoff to Ann’s place. “Well, I’ve gotta go. Don’t you worry none.” Touching the brim of her hat, she rode off in a different direction.

Watching her ride away, Gus shook his head. God damn it. When she says that, why does it make me worry more than ever?

On to Chapter Nine!

 

12 Comments on Knuckle Ridge, Chapter 8

  1. sue says:

    A very beguiling chapter. Have to say at this point that each chapter of this story was not what I expected, but have loved every moment of it.

    I forget who made that guess about Lady Jane and Gracie a couple chapters ago but give them a cigar. The slow build up to the sex was so wonderful.

    We love the total mix of story and sex, each working off the other. We give up on how this all will turn out. Looking forward to and also dreading the climax.

    Kim & Sue

    • Euphrosyne, Thalia & Agalaia says:

      Hey,Sue!

      Yes, very good point, the ending may be something we all have misgivings about, will it be the last we see and hear of The Kid?! or a cliff hanger to be continued at some distant future…yikes!
      Good to read you and Kim commenting in depth again…

      E,T&A

  2. Euphrosyne, Thalia & Aglaia says:

    By jingo!, that was good! Loved the opening scene with Gus at the jailhouse and that sly Jessie, just biding her sweet time, one could almost hear the wheels turning in her head as she schemed!
    And then later on, as the Kid got all gussied up and went to fish out something on Lady Jane,aka Maggie McGill,( “she called herself Lill, but everyone knew as Nancy” apologies to the Beatles ) using her beguiling manners, that every Texas Ranger should have. and man alive!, did she ever find out something. As I read the ensuing, steamy, delicious lust filled escapades The Kid and Lady Jane and ultimately sweet young Gracie,shared with each other, “the Spirits manifested themselves” in me greatly! 🙂

    Another great chapter, Purple Les!, so much to digest, so many awesome situations and intricate clues to marinate over in all us reader’s minds that seven to ten days just doesn’t seem like enough..or way too many, to bide our time till the final showdown…

    Favorite passage from this chapter:

    …Gracie was wide eyed, staring at the two nude women side by side. The Kid was tall, with the lithe body of a woman barely out of her teens. Lady Jane was shorter than the Kid, her body full and mature with soft curves and generous breasts.

    “Please my Lady,” Gracie sighed, her face aglow. “You ask me to compare a sunrise to a sunset. Both so lovely, yet so different.”

    Wow! poor Gracie, tough spot for a sweet young girl to be in!. but she manages to make both of them appreciate her all the same!

    simply amazing…

    E,T&A

  3. Captain Midnight says:

    I’m counting on you, Purple Les. You have never let me down.

    I guess Jessie won’t hang; she will go down fighting. That is fairly common in Westerns anyway. If I am right, Kid will put her down. You NEVER have a man kill a woman, even in a fair fight, in Western or even modern crime dramas.

    I was startled that “Lady Jane” and Gracie were mother and daughter (and girlfriends). I wonder if Gracie could clear her mom on the murder charge?

    You take care, Les. I get the feeling you must be a great person in order to come up with such vivid characters who (mostly) make us care for them.

  4. Purple Les says:

    Thank you all so much. It really means so much to me and JetBoy to get such terrific comments.

    Erocritique, wins the cigar for his comment in chap 6 wondering if Lady Jane and Gracie could be mother and daughter.

    I promise the last chapter will not be a cliffhanger, but not giving anything else away. Peace love and hugs. Thanks again.

  5. David says:

    Another great chapter Purple Les. I love the story line and the mixture of mystery and sex. The scene in Lady Jane’s and Gracie’s room was so erotic. Not sure what is going to happen to Jesse but like Captain Midnight said I don’t think she will hang either, but hope that the Kid ends her life like she should have in Mrs Ruggles’ home. Looking forward to the next chapter

  6. Erocritique says:

    And a bit more of the picture is revealed……. I thought when that evil Jessie Sinclair had all the ladies at her mercy, Lady Jane(or Maggie as we now know her to be) showed more than just a lovers affection for sweet little Gracie, and it turns out I was right. *pats self on back*. That little twist led to the kid getting to enjoy a little mommy/daughter action. Lucky girl! However, I do feel that Ann is being left out of the group play, and I know it’s her fantasy to experience some young luvin’. I do hope that her wish can somehow be fulfilled in the final chapter. It should be interesting to see how this story wraps up, with Jessie and the sharpened spoon still in play. I’m getting a bad feeling that there’s going to be a bit of a bittersweet ending, but maybe that’s just my overly suspicious mind at work. I’m still guessing right to the end , and I’m still ready to be surprised. I can hardly wait.

  7. JetBoy says:

    It’s great to see such thoughtful, detailed and very appreciative comments for this story. Heartfelt thanks to you all, and to those who left ratings.

    (By the way, it looks like the troglodyte who kept leaving “Awful” ratings for every new post of ours has well and truly fucked off, to which I reply: Godspeed.)

  8. obsessive imaginings says:

    Hmmm The three way between Maggie, the Kid and Gracie was nice. I wonder if the news of Gracie being Maggies daughter was real or cover. Or does it matter? I wonder if it wouldn’t be a surprise ending worthy of the story if the Kid ran away with Maggie and Gracie. Prolly never happen but I can dream.

  9. No One says:

    Interesting chapter, and very hot sex scene. I wonder if The Kid still intended to get some information out of Jane with that seduction… or if she just wanted to get in bed. 😉 As Erocritique said, it’s unfortunate that Ann didn’t get in on it to fulfill her fantasy, though… Maybe in the last chapter.

    And there’s still Jessie’s nefarious plans to deal with. We’ll see how that goes, but I predict that it won’t end well for her.

    I’m not sure why Jane/Maggie is hiding that Gracie is apparently her daughter, though. Surely she keeps the full extent of their relationship private either way, so why pretend that Gracie is just a servant?

  10. Purple Les says:

    Thanks again to the ones I’d missed, David,Erocritique,obsessive imaginings, No One. And thanks again to the others.

    I thank all of you who followed the story, and hope the last chapter doesn’t disappoint. Also, No One, I’m loving Ice and Fire, just like everyone else is.

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