Hannibal Heyes Plans
On nights when he couldn’t sleep, which happened far more than he liked, Hannibal Heyes dug out the Book—the latest volume of a continuing meandering saga of thoughts and plans titled Hannibal Heyes Plans.
He kept it well-hidden so he could be as truthful as he liked. Many of his entries would’ve incriminated him in a court of law, but, as most of his crimes were already known, he didn’t let it worry him.
No, what did worry him was one of the gang finding it and making mockery of the other entries—less ‘plans’ and more thoughts and ponderings—the things he couldn’t really say to anyone but needed to get off his chest.
In consequence, he hid his Book well.
But not well enough.
Kid’s mouth turned up at the edges. He hadn’t had such good reading in—well—forever.
It wasn’t his fault he’d been stuck at Devil’s Hole with a bad cold when the rest of the gang was out robbing. And it wasn’t his fault Heyes hadn’t hid the book good enough.
The book distracted him from his cold. It distracted him from being left behind and worrying about how they were managing without him. Some parts of it left him with a smile, a grin from ear to ear.
Other parts wiped that smile clean from his face with Heyes’ eloquence, loneliness, worries and anxieties. The dark things that went through his mind and he couldn’t tell anyone. Apparently, not even Kid.
Heyes was worried about this life, and how it would all end for them. And he was worried about Kid, and what it was doing to him.
The volumes kept Kid distracted—and occupied—till they were back. He slammed the last volume shut guiltily when he heard hoof beats, his heart pounding, guilt slamming into his chest, along with a returned awareness of his headache, sore throat, and the drippy nose he’d been blowing on a handkerchief off and on all day.
He shoved the books away, careful to put them in their hiding place in the same order he’d found them. He hadn’t got to read the last few pages, Heyes’ latest entries, plans, and thoughts.
Kid, who was only wearing his long underwear, shoved his feet into his boots, threw a coat on, and went out to greet them. It was colder than he expected. He stayed in the doorway, arms crossed, waiting for Heyes. The cold air made him cough harder. He crossed his arms to keep his chest warm.
Heyes was all smiles and grins, obviously elated from the fact that his latest plan had gone well. He stopped when he saw Kid’s face, though. His expression grew uncertain, off-balance.
“Hey Kid. You feeling any better?” he asked.
“Yeah,” said Kid, looking Heyes straight in the eyes. He’d put the books back right, but any thought of hiding what he’d read had fled at the first moment he’d seen Heyes again. There were some things they needed to talk about. A lot of things.
“Found some good reading, Heyes,” said Kid.
“Oh?” Heyes’ eyelids fluttered once, twice. His only tell.
Kid nodded. “Yeah, Heyes. Very educational. Thought we might talk about it later?” It was a question, a hope for things to change.
In Heyes’ face, he saw a mixture of feeling confounded, embarrassed, and relieved.
“Guess so,” Heyes replied, and gave Kid a rueful smile. As he brushed past Kid, he dug an elbow into his side. “Mr. Nosy.”
Kid grinned, accepted the elbow, and realized Heyes was already on the way to forgiving him.