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is an historical story.
The sky was heavy as dawn came upon their camp in the morning. Sultry even before the sun peered over the horizon. The clouds portended a storm, but they couldn't take a chance and stay where they were, not with the Indians roaming through the area. They had to move on, as much as they would have liked to have stayed in the shelter of the trees along the river. To have followed the river would have made the chance of running into the Indians even greater, for they surely would hold up along its banks to the West.
Pouring water on their breakfast fire and kicking dirt into the ashes, they tightened the cinches on their saddles and mounted up. They rode slowly into the stifling grayness, northward across the dusty plains. They still worried about leaving a cloud as they traveled, and so rode slowly, kicking up only a little as they went.
The day wore on lazily, their clothes sticking to their bodies from the heat and humidity.
"I almost wish it'd rain and get it over with," Rusty complained.
"I think we're about to get our wishes," Jim said pointing to the West. A dark gray haze settled on the horizon, almost black where it touched the earth. Flashes of lightning zigzagged across the sky before touching the ground. Rumbling of the echoing thunder reached their ears half a minute later.
"I guess you're right," Rusty said. He looked about for shelter, but there was none, but pointed in the distance anyway, "Let's make for that gulch over there."
They spurred their horses on to a gallop. Even the animals sensed that it would be better to hurry a little now, for they could smell the rain in the air, long before their riders could. When they reached the hill they slowed and rode carefully down the slope of the steep side down into the gully and halfway up the other side. They were lucky that the slight depression ran North-South at the point they crossed it. When they reached nearly the top of the West side of the slope they halted, and got down from their mounts.
They could no longer see the impending rain as it swirled across the dry and dusty plains. But they could feel it, and hear the echoing thunder as it rumbled nearer toward them.
"We better get out those ponchos and hunker down," Rusty said.
They pulled out the rough pieces of canvas with a hole cut in the center. They undid their bedrolls from their saddles and pulled them up under their ponchos. Tucking the fronts of the canvas under their knees, they knelt on the ground facing upward on the slope. They held the reins of their horses with one hand and tugged their hats tighter onto their heads.
With suddenness the air was filled with dust, and then a moment later with rain. Immediately there were surrounded with lightning and thunder. The horses jostled about nearly tipping them over. Darkness fell as the rain pelted down upon them.
For over an hour the rain fell in torrents creating rushing streams down toward them from above splashing against the canvas in front of them and rushing around them and on down the slope to the gully below. Then as quickly as it had begun, it was over. The sun blossomed behind the tumbling clouds and burst upon the land, and it was hot once again.
Although the ground had been thoroughly saturated by the rain, it quickly dried, and by day's end was as dusty as it had been before the rain. Their ponchos tied loosely upon the top of their saddle packs behind them, the three men sought relief from the heat late in the day within the grove of trees growing sparsely beside a small stream which barely contained any water a couple of hours ago, now tumbled crazily through gully which it had created over time.
There they made camp for the night, and washed in the stream by scooping up water in a skillet and pouring it over each other to get off the grime of the days ride. The water though cloudy from all the rain, still washed the bulk of the dirt off from their tired bodies. The activity turned quickly into a game, and soon they were sprawled on a blanket engaged in passionate sex, after which they washed again and ate their evening meal. Exhausted from the sex, and the day's ride, they soon were asleep amidst their blankets.
Day followed day of seemingly endless brush and dry grasses as they wended their way north and west toward the Missouri River that they would follow to their destination in Montana.
One day they crossed the trail of a wagon train bound for Oregon. It broke the monotony and gave them a chance to catch up on news from St. Louis, even though it was almost a month old.
The captain of the train, one Jeffrey McCloud, a former Cavalry Captain, was a jovial sort, and gave glowing accounts of Oregon and the territory in the West. Had it not been for the prospect of a job in Montana, they would likely have joined up with the train.
The captain's second in command, a former Union soldier, and farmer from Ohio, and his wife invited them to stay for dinner, and they gladly accepted. An evening meal and congenial conversation about the campfire, made their day complete. It was a delightful respite from the never-ending ride that it seemed they were doomed to make.
The next day they bade farewell to their hosts and headed once again toward the river that they were told was just a day's ride beyond. McCloud was right, and the next evening they were camped beside the rushing waters of the Missouri which then was still a fairly wide expanse of water, with only small groves of the common Elder trees strewn along its banks.
They searched up and down to find a place to cross, but found nowhere they could do so easily. They followed the Southern bank for several days before they came across a wider but shallower area in which to cross. While it might take longer to reach their goal, after crossing they decided to follow its course where went generally the same direction they were going. Where they saw its course would take them out of the way. In those instances, they struck out Northwest that often would save them several days. Though it seemed they were making little progress, after a week they were well into the Montana Territory, though they were unaware of it.
It was late in August when they encountered a settlement called Helena where the capitol of territory was located. It was a picturesque western town with wooden sidewalks along the storefronts and saloons, of which there were almost as many as stores. They took a room at one of the cheap hotels. The hotel owner was reluctant to give them a room because of Jed, but after a short quiet and private conversation with Rusty, they finally agreed. In addition to the room, they rented the bathroom for two hours, which was an extra dollar.
After carrying their things to the room they'd been given, they went down to the bathroom where they found a boy about fifteen filling the round wooden tub with hot water. Large rough towels had been placed on pegs on the wall. After his third trip in with two wooden pails filled with steaming water the youth stood as though waiting for something to happen.
His tousled blonde hair was long and roughly cut giving him a roguish look. His pants were held in place with makeshift suspenders. A course woven shirt of brown linen had several buttons missing.
"I'm to show you how the cold water works," he said finally looking from one to the other of them. The three dusty riders had removed their outer clothing and were standing in stocking feet and drawers.
"Also," he paused looking shyly at Jed, "I'm to ask if you'll be needing me to help with your baths." Jed smiled, "What sort of help would that be?"
"Whatever you'd be needing," the boy blushed, "I scrub backs and feet, help dry, give rubdowns with oil after," he paused again, "I even give a pretty good shave."
"And what does all this pampering cost us?" Rusty asked smiling.
"Oh," he said quickly, "Whatever you care to give. Mister Farrell doesn't let me charge, since he pays me to clean up afterwards. He gives me ten cents for that."
"Well then," said Jim, "Let's get on with getting the water the right temperature, I'm dying to get in. You see, I won the coin toss to see goes first."
"What's yur name, lad?" Rusty asked.
"I'm Melvin Rutherford, but everyone calls me Mel," he answered.
"Well, I'm Rusty," Rusty said extending his hand, "And this here's Jim, and that's Jed."
They all shock his hand. He smiled and shook hands warmly with each of them. Then he hurriedly began letting water run into the tub from a crude outlet on the wall. A covered tank outside the room was the source of the water.
"Not too cold," Jim caused, "I like it hot." He leaned over and put his hand gingerly into the water, "It's just about right now." Mel turned off the tap and waited while Jim slipped out of his drawers tossing them in the corner on the floor. His white body with the outlines of the shirt on his neck and arms gleamed in the half-light from the curtained window. He slipped into the tub and seated himself on the bottom.
"Ahhh," he sighed, "It's gorgeous. Throw me some soap, Mel, and let's get on with this back scrubbing."
Mel slipped out of his shirt and pants, hanging them on a peg next to the door. He wore short loosely fitting drawers of what at one time had been white course cloth, but now was yellowed with age. There was no opening in back, and only a slit in front that gaped as he moved about revealing a burgeoning slender sex, around which wisps of blonde hair were beginning to grow.
Rusty and Jed took seats against the wall on the floor and watched as Mel began ministering to Jim, ostensibly oblivious to their presence. They could see, however, that Mel was intensely aware of Jim's body and of what his hands were going to it. Mel's sex was becoming rigid with desire as his hands roamed across Jim's body and brushed against Jim's already hard cock as he soaped the muscular white body before him.
Jim was intent on enjoying the touch of the young man's hands, and sensation of the hot water against his body. When at last he could stand it no longer, he stood up and presented his hard cock to Mel. Mel scooped up a double handful of water and rinsed off the bobbing pinkish shaft before him, and then without hesitating for a moment, began sucking on it.
Rusty and Jed were almost shocked at the sight of this delightful young man giving Jim this intimate pleasure in their presence without apparent thought about what they might think. Rusty looked at the door next to where he was sitting, and reached up and slid the heavy metal bolt, locking the door from the inside.
With a solitary motion both Rusty and Jed stood up and slipped out of their drawers, and moved to where Mel stood. With a quick easy motion, Rusty slipped his hands inside Mel's drawers and slid the garment down to the floor. The firm white butt was immediately attacked by Jed's tongue while Rusty sat on the floor in front of him and began sucking the slender, rigid cock which arched upward at the first touch, and relaxed momentarily as Rusty's tongue began to play about its hard pinkish head.
In a second Rusty's mouth was filled with the sticky white cum which burst forth from Mel's pulsing cock. Mel never stopped his adoration of Jim's firm cock. He moaned deep in his throat as he felt the first touch of Jed's gigantic cock against his tight opening. Gently Jed leaned against the slender body and held him tight with his large dark hands. Mel's body relaxed and the lengthy black shaft began to disappear inside the firm white butt. Jed bent down and licked at the soft skin at the base of Mel's neck. Rusty felt Mel's cock harden again as Jed began to move slowly in and out of the well-lubricated opening. Jim could scarcely believe his eyes as he watched. Finally he could control himself no longer and exploded in an ecstatic thrust into Mel's throat, sending a flood of his manly fluids deep into the young man's throat, as he clasp his hands behind Mel's head to hold him gently in place.
Mel moaned again and shot his second load in Rusty's eager mouth and throat. The erotic clenching on Jed's cock lifted him to the brink of ecstasy and he too climaxed nearly lifting Mel from the floor as he gasped and pulled the boy's body tightly against him. Mel's slender body surrendered itself to Jed's massive tool, and he collapsed into Jed's arms.
An hour later the three men emerged from the bathing room, wrapped in heavy grayish towels and climbed the stairs to their room. Mel watched them disappear at the top and then went back into the room to empty and clean the tub for the next customer. When he finished, he mopped the floor and hung fresh towels in their usual place. He redressed and reported to the owner that the room was ready.
When asked if they tipped him, he replied, "Oh, I'd nearly forgotten, I've got to go up to their room later and collect it. They're resting now, so I'll have to go up when I get finished here for the night."
"Good," the owner grunted, "Don't forget, I get half."
"No, Sir, I won't," Mel said. He lowered his eyes, and went back to his task of getting ready for the supper meal that was about to begin. He smiled to himself, and thought, You'll wish you'd get half of what I got!
The supper time was nearly over when the three visitors emerged from their room and strode down to the dining room. Mel, who worked as a bus boy, setting and clearing the tables, was polite but business-like when he greeted them.
"We'll see you later?" Rusty asked softly.
"Oh, yes," he smiled, and hurried off to the kitchen.
The three friends ate their dinners with relish reminiscing about their adventures so far, and those to come. Occasionally someone would mention Mel, and their laughter could be heard throughout the dining room, and they quickly brought themselves under control.
They paid the waitress, a comely woman, probably the wife of the owner, they assumed, at the very least a mistress, if he had no wife. Neither wore wedding rings, which meant nothing in this frontier country, as few had money enough for such luxuries, unless they inherited them from their parents.
It was comfortable in their room, and they left the window open to catch and evening breeze. With the lamp turned down until it barely flickered the room was filled with a soft warm glow. With the meal beginning to drain the blood from their heads, they began to feel sleepy. They soon stripped their clothes off and lay upon the bed dozing.
There was suddenly a soft tapping at the door. Jed pulled on his pants while the other two pulled up the sheet to cover themselves. He went to the door and opened it enough to see who was there. The knock had scarcely been heard in their room, and there was little chance that it was heard in any of the others.
Jed opened it further to let Mel come in, and then quickly closed it against any prying eyes.
"I hope," Mel said, "That I didn't wake you."
"Of course not," Jed said, "We'd almost thought you'd forgotten."
There was an awkward silence until Jed remembered that Rusty had put several coins on the table on which sat the lamp and he hurried to gather them up and give them to Mel.
"Thank you," Mel smiled, "I wouldn't even take them, except Mister Johnson, the owner, gets half of what I get."
"That doesn't seem fair," Jed frowned, "Here give me back those coins." Dutifully Mel handed back the coins. Jed sorted through them, making certain that there was exactly a dollar in change.
"Here," he said handing the dollar in change to Mel, "This is your tip, which you'll split with Mister Johnson. The rest you'll find on the floor beside the door when you leave." Jed went to the door, and put the remaining coins beside the door on the floor. "He can't expect to share your good fortune in finding money lying on the floor. A dollar is enough of a tip for washing ones feet, isn't it?"
"Oh, yes," Mel said, "It's nearly twice what I normally get." Just the sight of him began to excite the three men.
"You've no family to wonder where you are at this hour?" Rusty asked.
"No," Mel lowered his eyes as he explained how they'd been killed on the trek from St. Louis five years ago.
"Where do you sleep then?" Jim asked.
"Oh," Mel looked up, "Mister Johnson allows me to sleep in the stable behind the hotel, in the loft. It's quite nice, except in the winter when there are a no animals to warm it. Often, then, I creep into the hotel after he's gone to bed and sleep in the kitchen near the stove."
"You ever ride a horse and tend cattle?" Rusty asked.
"Yes, Sir," Mel smiled, "I've got my own horse, and I used to herd our cows on it back in Missouri."
"Well, then," Rusty asked, "How would you like to go with us? We're heading up north to a rancher I know who likely to give us all jobs."
"You mean I really could?" Mel's eyes brightened and his smiled was a wide as his face.
"Sure," Jim said, "I don't see why not? If he's got one job, his got a couple extra, the way I see it."
"Yes," Mel smiled, "I surely would like to go along."
Suddenly his eyes darkened, "But what about Mister Johnson? I owe him a lot for watching after me since my folks were lost."
"You owe him any money?" Rusty asked.
"No, Sir," Mel looked at him, "In fact, he owes me two months pay now."
"Then I don't see any reason you can't go," Rusty smiled. "We're leaving in the morning, so you'd better get your things together. I'll speak to Mister Johnson before we leave, so he knows that you didn't just run off; and I'll make sure you get your money too."
Mel was so excited that he ran to the bed and put his arms around Rusty's neck and hugged him. His eyes were filled with tears of joy.
"I've never been so happy," he whispered, "It's just like having a family again, only we're just brothers."
He looked over a Jim who was smiling too, "You too, Mister Jim." He let go of Rusty and climbed over and hugged Jim. And then remembering Jed, he climbed off from the bed and ran into Jed's arms and hugged him too.
"Especially you, Mister Jed," he whispered so no one else could hear, "Especially you."
Jed's eyes clouded, and hugged Mel so tightly that it was a wonder that Mel didn't cry out in pain. If he felt any, he didn't let on, and just kept on hugging the muscular Black man.
"Come," Jed said, "I'll go with and help you with your things."
"No need to," Mel said, "I'm already packed. My things are in the stable where your horses are. You see," he almost laughed, "I was going to follow you, even if you hadn't asked. I figured you had someplace you were going, and I didn't care where it was. I was going to go there too."
The three men laughed at the resourcefulness of their young Brother.
Jed undressed and climbed into bed with Jim and Rusty.
"Well," Jed said, "Come on in, there's room for one more, especially a young'un like you."
Mel laughed and slipped off his clothes and climbed in next to Jed. Rusty reached over and turned down the lamp again. This time it flickered and went out. Only the light from the moon cast shadows on the walls of the room. And even though the closeness of their body's engendered feelings of arousal, no one acted upon them, save Mel, he just reached over and put his hand across Jed's rigid cock.
"I just love to touch you," he whispered, and he too closed his eyes and fell fast asleep.
Morning broke bright and clear, and when the three men woke they found that Mel was gone. It was clear to them, that he was a responsible young man, and he was probably working in the kitchen below, helping get ready for the breakfast meal.
They pulled on their clothes and slipped down the back stairs to use the outside toilet, before returning to finishing dressing for the day's ride.
They gathered up their things and tied them securely within their bed rolls, and went down to the dining room to eat a hearty breakfast before resuming their trek.
Mister Johnson greeted them as they entered; he'd just finished eating himself.
"Melvin tells me you're taking him with you," Johnson frowned, "I don't know as I agree that it's a good idea, but then he's the one got to live with it, not me. I'll need you to sign a paper so as someone, sometime doesn't get the idea, I did away with him."
He produced a roughly scribbled note, which Rusty went through carefully.
"Look's okay to me," Rusty said and took the pencil and signed his full name at the bottom, and put today's date after it.
"Now it's official," Johnson said, "Oh, yes, here's his money, I told him I'd give it to you, in case there was any question of expenses while you're traveling."
Rusty took the coins and counted them, and looked up at Johnson, "Don't seem to me that this is two month's wages here."
"Ohhh, that's right, it was two months, wasn't it?" He reached into his pocket and pulled out several more coins, "One looses track of time, don't they? Here's a little extra, he works hard." Another dollar was added to the pile.
"Some surely do," Rusty smiled, "Some do."
The three of them sat down and ate their breakfast. When they were about to leave, Mel appeared at the doorway, a broad smile on his face. The serving woman stood behind him her hand on his shoulder.
"You be a good boy," she said softly, and then looked over at the three strangers, "Mind you, you take good care of Melvin, here, he's a hard worker. And see to it, that those loose women up north don't get at him none."
"You can count on that, Ma'am," Rusty said, "We won't let them touch a hair." The three men smiled and tipped their hats to the apron-clad woman. Mel crossed the room and joined them, looking back he smiled.
"I'll write ya sometime," he said.
"You do that, young'un, you do that." She brushed a tear from her eye with the apron hem, and hurried back into the kitchen. Out in the stable, Mel gathered up his bedroll and a satchel only half full of his few belonging.
"I had more at one time," he smiled, "But them clothes I out growed long ago."
They saddled their horses, tied on their bedrolls and bags of clothes, and led the horses out of the shelter of the stable into the blazing sun. Flies buzzed in the pile of fresh horse manure that Mel had piled up early in the morning nearby. They mounted up and slowly made their way down the main street of the bustling cow town, which was already the capital of the territory. Several wagons were rumbling down the street toward the general store. The four horsemen separated and rode single file to allow wagons to pass.
Mel waved at the driver who waved back, not really knowing why he should wave at this youngster whom he saw nearly every day. He was unaware that he would never see him again.
All that day they followed the course of the Missouri that wound its way through the rolling hills. That night they camped on its bank in a small grove of elder and pine that had long ago sprung up near its life giving waters.
Rusty studied the wrinkled paper that he drew from his saddlebag after they had eaten. It had seemed so simple months ago when he'd been given the map. But now in the vastness of this countryside looking for a small square of land somewhere near this river was like looking for a special grain of sand on a beach. He began to wonder if he'd be able to find it when they came near it.
Carefully he refolded the map and leaned back against the tree where he was seated and starred into the fire. Jim who'd noticed his pensive mood sat down beside him.
"We'll find it," he said putting his arm across his shoulder, "Don't worry, my love, we'll find it." Rusty looked at him and smiled weakly.
"I hope so," he whispered.
"There are four of us to look for it now," Jim laughed, "How could we not find it?"
Rusty recognized the logic of what Jim said, but still, he was responsible for seeing to it that they did find the ranch, and it still bothered him that the territory seemed boundless, and a ranch so small a part of it.
Rusty slept fitfully, waking often to lie starring at the starry sky, seemingly alone in the blackness of the night. At last just as the thin pink line appeared on the horizon he slept, gathering all the strength there was to be had from the short time that remained of the night.
To be continuedIf you have any comments or suggestions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org