rode on a for a few more hours keeping a look out for game, but didn't spot
anything. That night he made camp on a mesa. As he sat near his fire, finishing
off the rabbit from that morning, he heard a pack of coyotes howling in the
distance. Then two shots rang out and there was silence. He knew who fired those
Red knew it was the same two men who had
been looking for him back in San Antonio. He had put some time between him and
them by turning north and following the Pecos River to Albuquerque instead of
continuing west to El Paso. They were closing in on him just as he was closing
in on California. He wasn't sure why they were after him, but he wasn't going
to wait around for them so he could ask them. He was troubled as he bedded down
for the night until the twinkling stars grabbed his attention.
Tonight, though, Red saw what the stars
were trying to show him. The stars twinkled and this time he saw Elisa's face.
His sweet Elisa. He had first met her three years ago, while he was still working
around the docks. He was now working in the warehouses, making deliveries around
St. Louis. He would make deliveries downtown nearly every day where he had noticed
Elisa in one of the offices. After seeing her for weeks, he had finally gotten
the nerve up one day and had stopped to introduce himself.
Red had asked around and soon discovered
that her father was one of the most important merchants in St. Louis. He still
had decided to pursue her, so he made a point to greet her every time he saw
her and made small talk. He always had behaved like a gentleman. She at first
merely had tolerated him, but soon she seemed to enjoy his attention. He had
asked if he could escort her to the opera one night and at first she had declined,
but over the days, he continued to ask until she agreed.
It had taken four months for that to happen,
but to Red it had only seemed like days. He had been saving up for when she
said yes and he went out and bought a new suit and got a haircut. When he went
to pick her up for the opera that Saturday night, he had looked like a gentleman
and he could tell that she had been surprised. He had treated her to dinner
at one of the social clubs and they had a wonderful evening. She had consented
to continuing to see him on one condition. She wanted to know his given name,
because didn't Red as a nickname. After some coaxing, he had finally told her
his given name of Thomas.