By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 7

<< It’s really good to be with you again, Garron. >>  said Lazarus to Ox as they lay near each other in the loft.

<< I’m known as Ox here, Dad.  Good to be reunited with you. >>

<< You be careful calling me ‘dad’ around them kids, Son.  They’s gonna’ git suspicious real quick-like.  ‘Sides, I ain’t chore’ birth dad no ways.  I’m yore’ Godfather.  I found you under a pile of rubble after yore’ village was ransacked and your parents killed on your home world of Volgoron.  You couldn’t a been more’n a year old at the most.  I wouldn’t have found you, but I heard you moaning from hunger and pain.  You couldn’t move.  You must a’ laid there for two days.  You were hurt pretty bad.  Both yore’ little arms were broken, your left leg had a bone sticking out of it, and you had a major concussion.  Arlen didn’t think you’d make it, but we made a pledge to your parents, we had to try.  We got you back to the ship and let the medical droids patch you up.

As yore’ Godfathers, me and Arlen took care of you ‘til you’s old enough to be adopted and brought you here to live safely among your own kind.  We checked back on you ever’ couple of years or so.  You had a hard time adjusting at first, ‘cause we kept you clean, and you didn’t like the way they smelled.  It didn’t take you long to adjust.  After our friends Strom and his mate Pangle agreed to look after you, you done pretty damn good.  I’m as proud of you as I would be my own son, Garron. >>

<< Thanks, Lazarus.  I remember it broke my heart when you and Arlen left me here, but I slowly come to love Strom and Pangle.  They were good to me.  They treated me as their own.  Strom and I are still close.  I love Strom, but my first memories were of you and Arlen.  You know you’re the only father I’ve ever known.  By the way, did anyone say anything about Ping and Pong recognizing me? >>

<< No, I don’t think so.  Only the boys could hear your exchange, but they ain’t asked no questions I know of.  The rest of ‘em probably thought they were just curious.  Ping and Pong let go with a major lackadaisical pheromone that minimized questions.  There was one young slave who seemed unaffected by their charms.  He figured out I was a traveler. >>

<< Were you honest with him? >>

<< Sure.  Why not?  We’re gonna’ have to lay our cards on the table with several folks in this community to gain their trust.  Besides, his name is in the records as being a prime contact and helper.  By coincidence he found a book buried in a metal box and read about me and my family.  He said something about having found some papers along with the book in an odd looking, unknown language.  They may be the documents Arlen told us about.  I’m surprised they were found; however, I have a feeling his brother’s ranch, where he’s a slave, is part of the old Howard land holdings.  How did you come to be here? >> Lazarus asked Ox.

<< I came to find the boy.  We been listening to him speak to his ponies for sometime now.  You know how fast word gets around on the winds of consciousness.  Them great whales, Orcas, dolphins and porpoises can carry a conversation around the world in seconds.  They love to listen in and gossip.  Other than horses, they’s the second biggest gossips on the planet.  The winds are decreasing with everyone what’s slaughtered.  Soon there may not be anymore winds to carry our consciousness.

I came to watch over Master Waco and protect him.  I didn’t count on getting caught by slavers.  They thought I was a wild man who was a runaway slave.  When they couldn’t find any record on me the bastards enslaved me anyway.  It worked out for the best though.  A guiding hand brought him and his dad to me.  They sold me before they could find out anything about me.  Now I’m the Goodnight’s slave.  Couldn’t ask for a better job or cover. >>

<< Yeah, well,— you better stop messing with them T-birds or word is gonna’ get around.  You know Grok’s a troublemaker. >>

<< I know, but I didn’t hurt him.  I just robbed him of his meal.  He didn’t have no business mess’n ‘round here anyway.  I told him so the day before, but he didn’t listen to me.  He deserved it. >>

<< Good for you.  I never liked them damn birds.  They shit like a water buffalo. >>

<< Are we gonna’ have ta’ save ‘em bastards? >>  Ox asked in frustration.

<< Afeard so, Son.  Says so in the book, but if’n we can’t talk ‘em into going of their own accord,— they git left behind.  I ain’t git’n on my knees to beg the likes of Grok and Kragga to save their lousy hides. >>

Ox laughed.  He knew Lazarus sometimes bent the rules to suit himself, but he always covered his butt.  Ox also knew he had enough ‘seniority’ in over a hundred galaxies his judgement or any decision he made in a crisis situation would never be questioned.

<< Is it my imagination or . . .?  No, by God, your breast are bigger this evening. >> Lazarus observed.

<< Awww, come on, Lazarus, don’t! >> Ox made a groaning sound.

Lazarus was quietly laughing at his friend.

<< Happens ever’ damn time, don’t it? >>

<< You know I can’t help it.  You’s the one what took me aside when I’s going through the change,— becoming an adult,— you explained it to me.  I thought I’s some kinda freak when it started happening.  I don’t know why I didn’t put two and two together.  Strom fed me his milk for years.  Once I got past his smell, and he gimme’ a taste, I was hooked.  I didn’t wanna’ stay here, but I knew I couldn’t live without Strom’s milk.  I used to suck his tits by the hour when I’s younger.  I still do when I’m home.  How do you think I got s’damn big?  Pangle don’t like it much, but Strom don’t care.  He loves it.  We git off on our own so’s she won’t know.

Strom helped feed my kids and he’s now feeding my grand kids.  He  helped me understand.  It wasn’t ‘til he talked to me about the facts of life I put the connection together,— I was just like him.  He explained ever’ thing to me.  It’s just part of my nature.  Ever’ time I’m around young’uns for any length of time my body goes into paternal protection mode, and I start producing milk.  It’s part of the survival of the species thing.  Ain’t nothing new.  You’ve seen me do it before. >>

<< Not like this, I ain’t.  Is it because you got three now? >>

<< Four!  I don’t think you met Waco’s little brother JR.  He mentally conjoined with Waco and Travis this morning to give Waco the strength he needed to communicate with the little boy I was trying to save.  Waco even managed to control Grok for a time; long enough for me to escape his clutches with the boy.  The kid’s powerful.  He taught me a new trick.  He don’t know his own strength yet, but his little brother sort of shorted out some neural circuits.  Nothing bad, he’s jes’ got a chemical imbalance in him they don’t know about.  As a result, he had too much excitement for one day, got a migraine and his mother put him to bed.  I felt sorry for him, he was so disappointed.  You know me, I can’t stand to see a young’un hurt’n.  I wanted to go to him and make it all better, but these folks don’t know me yet.  What would his momma think if I’s to offer him some lummox teat for his headache? >>  Ox laughed.

<< Hell, you know I wouldn’t say no. >>  teased Lazarus.

<< You’ll meet him tomorrow morning at breakfast.  He’s a good kid.  He idolizes his big brother. >>

<< Is he really Waco’s brother? >>

<< Naw, Waco explained he was their cook’s, the free woman’s boy by the big slave you met, Hank Morgan.  It seems like ever’body knows but the boy.  Mr. Goodnight’s a generous man and allowed Ms. Wallace and Hank to put his name on JR’s birth certificate so’s he wouldn’t grow up to be a slave.  JR carries the Goodnight name, but he don’t have no inheritance rights. >>

<< I see,— born out of wedlock.  Humm,--- still, the stigma of being a bastard is a hell of a lot better'n grow'n up to be a slave.  The more I hear about Charlie Goodnight, the more I admire the man. >>

<< He’s been good to me.  He paid the slave trader too much for me.  Not that I ain’t worth it, you understand. >>  Ox smiled real big at Lazarus.  << He felt guilty and brought Waco the Indian boy for a slave to make up for it.  The poor kid’s been kept in a small cage for months and wasn’t fed enough.  He’s got major bone problems and he’s malnourished.  Then there’s Waco’s new colt.  He was just a mite young to be weaned from his mother.  He’s gonna’ need some a’ my milk. >>

Lazarus was laughing at the look on his big friend’s face.  He knew his buddy, Garron, or Ox, was one of the most caring and loving creatures in the universe despite his huge ferocious look.  He was also one of the most fiercely protective creatures of anyone he loved or cared about.  Lazarus and Garron fought back to back many times and Lazarus always swore the only critter he ever wanted covering his back was Garron.  Lazarus had seen the restorative and healing powers his friend’s milk could produce in animals of all species.  Lazarus credited Garron’s milk for giving him the well defined, strong body he had today.  Rejuvenation could only do so much.

Lazarus continued.

<< To say nothing of Waco’s young asthmatic slave and building the young master into a physical God. >> Lazarus laughed at  him, then added. << You done fell in love with the kid,— ain’t chu, big’un. >>

<< Awwh, Lazarus, come on now, he’s just a boy. >>

<< Boy’s have a way of grow’n into men pert-damn quick, Son.  If’n he grows up look’n anything like his daddy, I’d say he’ll be a keeper.  You know you ain’t gonna’ throw that one back. >> he chuckled at his own joke, << ‘Sides, you won’t have to watch him grow old and die like you done a couple others you fell for.  H’it damn near ripped yore’ heart out when they passed away.  We had to stand guard over you for months until we was sure you wouldn’t do some’um rash,— remember? >>

<< Yeah, and I’m grateful to you, Ping and Pong, Arlen, Strom and Pangle, and my kids.  I wouldn’t a’ made it if’n it hadn’t a’ been for you good folks, but I got me no regrets, Lazarus.  I loved Jones and Bronc with all my heart.  The only son I got is by Bronc.  Jones gimme’ two beautiful daughters.  I can’t complain, Dad.  I’m a rich beast for having shared their lives with them and honored they chose me to do so. >>

<< Yes, you’re a fortunate beast, Son, for having loved them.  You know they’ll always be a part of you.  They don’t make ‘em no better’n Jones or Bronc.  They were fine men.  You did your best for them.  You gave them   men two life times the average human male lives.  Because of yore’ milk, you managed to extend both their lives to twice what it would’ve been otherwise.  Both of ‘em were still strong, fine looking men ‘til about a hundred and seventy years.  The last ten years was a little rough on ‘em, but they were going strong up ‘til the time they died.  The went quick.  They didn’t have no prolonged illnesses.  Their big hearts jes’ give out on ‘em.

Knowing Jones and Bronc like I did, they’d want you to go on and share your love with another.  It’s what you do best, big’un.  I’m sorry they didn’t have the longevity gene perfected in time to help Jones and Bronc, but jes’ think, Garron,— what I’m talk’n about.  Waco,— once I give him the longevity genes,— he’ll live almost as long a life as you will,— maybe longer.  He jes’ may outlive you.  Hell, you ain’t no spring chicken, ya’ know.  You got a good six hunnert’ years on ‘em.  Why, you’s old enough to be his,— >>

<< That’s enough, Lazarus!  You know I ain’t got no comeback.  Okay, I’ll admit it,— I’m fond of the boy.  When I was in that awful place, he heard me, came to me when I was in distress, took one look and made up his mind to help me.  As ugly as I am, he never had the slightest fear of me.  He told me he loved me.  I believe him.  Ya’ gotta’ love a boy like that, brother,— but he’s just a kid.  He needs experience, but I think he’s gonna’ git it with his new slaves.  He’ll be a fine master for them two as well as me. >>  he smiled at his friend.  

<< So how’s young Bron? >> Lazarus asked to change the subject.

<< He’s fine.  Ma’ boy, his mate Loulook and their two kids are still with Strom and Pangle’s clan.  Strom loves Bron.  He won’t let him stray a hundred yards away from him. >>  Ox chuckled.

<< He certainly grew up to be a handsome beast.  He got the best of both his parents,— your size and Bronc’s good looks. >>

<< Yeah, I look at him sometimes and swear I can see Bronc looking back at me though his eyes. >>

<< Of course you can, Son.  Don’t never doubt it.  A big part of Bronc lives on in Bron.  His personality is almost jes’ like Bronc’s.  He’s good natured, easy going, giving, compassionate and he knows how to give and receive love from others, but then again,— so do you. >>

Ox got a little misty eyed.  To change the subject Ox continued, << It’s so good to be with Ping and Pong again. >>

<< Yeah, I told ‘em I thought you might be here.  I see they made themselves to home in the far corner.  You help ‘em stack them bails up for that condo? >> Lazarus laughed.

<< Yeah, they could a’ done it in nothing flat.  I jes’ wanted to give ‘em a hand.  They’re like that.  They know when someone wants to be helpful and giving.  They placated me. >>  Ox chuckled, << They’re very gracious in giving and receiving.  It came out pretty good, I think. >>  Ox smiled.

<< They asked me how long we’s gonna’ be here and I told them I didn’t know for sure, but maybe ten years or more.  They wanted to know if things was gonna’ be quiet could they start a family?  Since we won’t be in space for any length of time, and I won’t need ‘em right away, I don’t see why not.  I’ll have to git Mr. Goodnight’s approval if’n we’s to stay here.  They usually have two to four at a time.  Fortunately, they don’t develop their powers until adulthood. >>

<< How many in this area are we responsible for collecting? >>  Ox inquired.

<< Our ship?  A hundred and forty-four thousand give or take, not including livestock.  They consider their slaves as livestock so we take all livestock as well.  Of course, that’s just a rough figure.  We may pick up a few others what stray into the area.  As long as we have their bio-parameters we won’t have no problems. >>

<< When’s it all gonna’ start? >>

<< Best guesstimate is twenty thirty-five give or take.  I wanna’ be ready by twenty thirty-three at the latest and out of here by early twenty thirty-four. I don’t want a repeat of what happened on Agrippa Prime.  We got out by the skin of our teeth.  You know me,— I don’t like close calls.  I always like to bet on a sure thing.  I don’t like any loose ends.  I like ever’ thing wrapped up neat and tight.  ‘Sides, I’m jes’ too damn old to play swashbuckling space-dog anymore.  I’ll leave that shit to them younger men what are gonna’ be gather’n folks in other areas. >>

<< Good luck!  There’s always some’um comes up at the last minute that jes’ has to git done.  You always bring it right down to the wire, with the big guns a’ blazing as we head off into the blue. >>  Ox laughed.

<< I know, but this time I want it to be different.  I wanna’ head start and a safe journey for these folks. >>

<< What about animals and my folks? >>  Ox asked Lazarus with concern.

<< Well, there’s others what’ll be responsible for your family’s area; but hell, we got us damn near a decade, maybe more, to work things out.  Maybe Strom, Pangle, yore’ son and daughters could migrate down this way.  I’d shore’ feel a lot more comfortable if’n they was in our area.  If necessary, they could live in the ship for a while until we finished up details.  

Other animals we’s suppose to take with us will be those indigenous to the area and maybe some zoo critters what find their way here.  I seen it happen before.  Somehow they find out and come a’ running.  We got plenty a’ room for ‘em.  Some’um’s got me puzzled though.  They got some animals listed what don’t exist no more, or maybe they’re gonna’ exist again in the near future.  Remember the stories of them chimera critters them mad Anunnaki scientists made your people produce after they got here and enslaved everyone? >>

<< I only heard about ‘em.  They's whispered about on the winds of consciousness.  Ancient voices tell of them.  Most of ‘em was gone over five thousand years ago, but they still live on in history and legends.  I think a few lived to around three hundred B. C.  Oh, shit!  I just felt a connection to the time-line.  A shiver ran up my spine.  We got something to do with them critters,— ain’t we, Lazarus? >>

<< Maybe,— only one species is capable of doing that, Son. >>

<< I know.  Jones and Bronc couldn’t a’ had my kids if’n it weren’t for my special talents.  ‘At’s how humans was created in the first place.  They don’t know it, but we’re their parents. >>
<< This crush you got on the Goodnight boy,— does that mean you don’t love yore’ old dad no more? >> Lazarus smiled and teased his big friend.

<< Lazarus, you know that ain’t fair.  You know you’ll always come first in my life.  You and Arlen were the only dads I knew for the first five years of my life.  Then you came back for me, and we become buddies after I grow’d up.  God, how could I quit you?  You’re like a bad penny what keeps circulating in my life, but I wouldn’t trade you for nobody.  But be honest, you love others as much as me.  You got whole clans of folks out there what lay claim to you as part of their family.  You’re welcome on hundreds of worlds to drop in anytime, pull up a chair and have supper with ‘em.  Take Ping and Pong for example.  You three’s joined at the hip.  You’d never consider leaving them behind. >>

<< Yeah, you’re right, big fella.  I’s jes’ fun’n wit’cha.’  You know I love you.  Always will.  I’d like to see you have some’um with this kid, maybe a couple of little Oxs or Goodnights scamper’n around.  Now, wouldn’t that be fun? >>

<< ‘At’s a long time off, if ever. >>

<< But the thought has crossed your mind. >> Lazarus said like it was a fact.

<< Don’t, Lazarus!  You know I won’t lie to you. >>  Ox smiled at him.

<< Speaking of yore’ teats, son, you think you could share some of yore’ fine milk with yore’ needy dad.  It’s been a while and this old bod is start’n to sag in places.  I need it firmed up a bit.  I got me a feel’n I’m gonna’ be need’n to look ma’ best.  I may have to bed me a few folks in this community to gain their trust and acceptance.  Besides, you know what it does to me. >>

<< Yeah, it puts you out like a light, and for weeks afterward, it makes you randy as a billy goat what pissed his beard.  Sure, you know I’d never say no to my old man.  You can have all you want.  In a couple of days I’m gonna’ have to git me a breast pump or have one a’ them boys suck it out of me. >>

<< Bet chu’ wouldn’t mind that too much. >> Lazarus chuckled. << Lemme’ guess which one,— >>  Lazarus roared with laughter.

<< You want some tit or not? >>  Ox asked perturbed, grinning at him.

<< I’d love some, Son. >>

Ox took Lazarus into his huge arms and pulled him to him.  Lazarus didn’t have to move away much fur.  The handlers at the auction house did their jobs pretty well and managed to denude Ox’s huge pectoral muscles.  Lazarus went for his right teat.  He gently placed his mouth to it and slowly began to suck.  When he tasted the first few squirts of lummox milk he groaned in ecstacy.  He forgot just how wonderful his giant friend’s milk tasted.  It was mild but thick and sweet almost like sweetened evaporated milk or melted vanilla ice cream.  

Lazarus also got roaring hard.  He always slept commando style, so his considerable boner was poking Ox in his belly.  Lazarus was too busy sucking and drinking his treat at his buddy’s huge chest to pay much attention.  Ox reached down with his big paw and gently brought Lazarus’ dick to the vertical between them.  Feeding anyone from his breast was always sexually exciting for Ox and he laughed.  He gently place his hand on Lazarus’ butt and pulled him closer to his big body.  He mischievously began to play with Lazarus’ hole.  He brought his huge paw to his mouth, slathered up his finger with his saliva, returned to Lazarus’ hole and gently began to insert his big index finger.  Ox’s index finger was larger than many men’s penis.  He felt Lazarus push back to receive more.  Ox chuckled to himself.

<< Of course you know what my milk’s gonna’ cost you,— don’t chu’? >>

<< ‘At’s fine.  Won’t be the first time I’ve ridden my boy’s big cayuse; however, by the time I finish helping you out here, I won’t feel a thing. >>

<< Yeah, you sleep right though it.  You’re worse than a drunken husband. >>  Ox laughed at him.   

<< Admit it, chu’ ain’t never had yore’self no sweeter piece of ass than yore’ daddy’s. >>

<< Oh, yes, I have!  I ain’t denying yours is damn good, but Jones and Bronc were special.  There was just some’um about ‘em that made me feel at home when I’s inside ‘em.  Ain’t got me no hole to call ma’ home no more, Dad.”  Ox said sadly.

<< Mmmm,— I hope it works out for you and the Goodnight boy, Son, if’n he’s what you want. >> Lazarus allowed.

<< I’m work’n on it. >>  Ox smiled, rubbed Lazarus’ back and held him closer.  He started his deep rumbling song, singing to his dad.  It was a song that could calm and touch a human’s soul.  It was a healing song that bound up the raveled sleeves of care, but most of all it was hypnotically relaxing.

Lazarus sucked on Ox’s teats for an hour or more and was wasted by the time he pulled off.  He was so limp he could barely roll over before he was fast asleep.  Ox took a look at the perfectly formed body of his surrogate dad and wish he’d noticed something sooner.  Lazarus had some enhancement done to his penis.  Ox could swear it was a couple of inches longer and much bigger in circumference.  He reached over and picked it up and let it drop.  Indeed, it was considerably weightier.  Lazarus was so out of it he didn’t notice anything.  It was heavier than Ox remembered and the foreskin barely allowed the head of his penis and piss slit to show.  It was very handsome.  Whoever did the work was an expert.  Ox always admired Lazarus’ tackle, but now it was breathtaking.

He thought about sucking him off for old time’s sake.  It had been a long time and Ox enjoyed his buddy’s spunk, but what would be the point if Lazarus wasn’t aware to enjoy his climax.  Half the fun of sex was pleasing the other person, and Lazarus was one man whose approval he always wanted.  Pleasuring Lazarus was only a small part of his need for the man.  Ox lived his life like he knew what Lazarus would expect of him to make him proud.  Ox looked at him and ran his huge paw over Lazarus’ well muscled ass, gently fingered his hole again and sighed deeply.  As much as he wanted it, he couldn’t do it; however, he reminded himself it wouldn’t be the first time he took his dear old dad while knocked out on his milk.  He pulled Lazarus’ sleeping bag up and covered him, rolled over and went to sleep.  His tits did feel a lot lighter.  It was a good feeling to be freshly milked.

* * * * * * *

The next morning Lazarus was up at the crack of dawn, bright eyed and bushy tailed.  That was another one of the many perks of lummox milk.  You sleep so soundly, you wake up totally refreshed the next morning.  Lazarus saw one big eye from his buddy open, and he smiled at him.

“Thanks for the treat last night, Son.” Lazarus spoke aloud, “I feel like a new man this morning.”  He reached behind him like he was feeling his butt.  “I ain’t tender back there, so I guess you didn’t tear yore’self off a piece last night.”

<< No, you weren’t clean and you was the one what taught me to be  considerate. >>

“Indeed, I did.  Glad to see you listen to yore’ old man.  I’ve decided I like the name ‘Ox’ for you.  It fits.  I’m gonna’ tell Ping and Pong to start calling you that.  The more we blend in the less questions we’re gonna’ have to answer.  I gotta’ get cleaned up and up to the front house for chow.  Mr. Goodnight invited me to have breakfast with him and the boys.”

<< You didn’t say an anything about having your tackle worked on, Dad.>>

“You noticed.  Like it?”

<< What’s not to like? >> Ox smiled. << I’d like me a big taste of it one a’ these nights. >>

<< It’s yours when you want it, Son.  Yeah, remember them nasty robot creatures that were out to wipe out all intelligent carbon based life forms for a while? >>

<< Yeah, the Daleks,--- I remember them.  I never liked 'em.  They didn’t get too far.  Weren’t they all destroyed? >>

<< Everyone thought so, but it was discovered a few escaped to another dimension and time and started rebuilding with a new philosophy defeated critters all over the galaxy finally come to understand.  If’n you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  They saw and understood their vulnerability, and decided to clean up their act.  They started learning about the medicine and healing arts of most of the carbon based life forms and started opening hospitals on a couple of their worlds.  They had a difficult time getting accepted, but with endorsements from some high ranking members of other worlds, word got around they were miracle workers.  They became so profitable they expanded and are making a lot of money.  Their reproduction and expansion is carefully controlled.  If’n they wanna’ continue to exist they play by the same rules ever’body else does.

I went to their main enhancement clinic, and they did the work from computer graphics Arlen created for me.  It’s Arlen’s design.  It’s what he wanted for me, for him to love and me love him,— with. >>  Lazarus mused for a moment, << I think I said that right.  After all, he’s the one what’s taking care of it.  He’s my main man.  I wanna’ keep him happy.  He tells me he’s very pleased with the results.  I told him I was gonna’ send him to them bots to have them wipe that stupid grin off’n his face. >>

<< Good for my other dad!  He always did have better taste than you.  Obviously, he must like the taste of it, too. >> Ox laughed.

<< He does go on about it a bit. >>  Lazarus winked and laughed.

<< When’s he gonna’ join us? >> Ox asked.

<< Not for a while.  I need some time to get established here and that may mean being intimate with some folks.  We thought it might be best if we see each other separately for a while.  So, I’ll go back to the ship when I can get away and beam him in for a night or two.  You know I can’t go too long without my buddy; however, any time we’re apart for a while it only seems to make us more aware of how much we care for one another.  He’s currently with another ship in the Amazon collecting species and plants to save.  I told him after this job we’re done!  We’re retiring!  This is it!  No more!  We’re gonna’ come back here and settle down with these good folks and raise us some kids.  Arlen wanted me to talk with you.  With yore’ help, he wants to have a couple of sons for me.  A man needs roots.  Hell, if’n my relatives won’t let me die, I’m gonna’ plant ma’ ass in one place and become a damn tree.  I ain’t never gonna’ leave! >> Lazarus projected with some frustration.

Lazarus got up and started putting on his clothes.  He saw Ping and Pong beginning to stir from their condo.  About that time the boys walked into the barn to start their morning chores of feeding the livestock.

“You boys start awful early, Son.”  Lazarus spoke to Waco and his posse.

“Actually, we’s a bit late this morning, Mr. Long.  Good morning, my handsome Ox.”  Waco said aloud and hugged his big lummox.  “Good morning Ping and Pong.”  Waco greeted the beautiful creatures.

<< Good morning, young master.  Good morning, Rabbit. >> projected Ox.

Everyone exchanged greetings and the boys started in to feed.  They fed Ox, Ping and Pong first and then the livestock.  Ping and Pong thanked him graciously.

“Dad said to tell you, you can use the downstairs bathroom off the service porch if you like, Mr. Long.  Just go in the back door on the screen porch and turn left.  It’s the first door on the right.  I left a couple of clean towels and warsh cloth out for you.”

“Thank you, young man.  I appreciate it.  I’ll see you gentlemen at breakfast.”  Lazarus left to head to the house.

* * * * * * * *

When Waco got up he went to wake his dad and Rabbit.  He was surprised to find them in his bed together.  He didn’t say anything.  He knew without a doubt nothing went on between them.  He knew his dad too well.  While it was Charlie’s right to have taken Rabbit, Waco knew he wouldn’t take a slave so young.  He figured correctly Rabbit was afraid or uncomfortable being by himself.  He knew Charlie was a thoughtful man.  He was proud of his dad.

When Charlie got up he winked at Waco and went off to his bathroom.  He didn’t try to hide himself.  He and Waco got over being shy around each other many years ago.  Waco followed him and stood at the door as his dad got rid of his morning erection.

“Dad, what am I gonna’ do about feed’n my slaves?  Should I just feed ‘em slave chow and biscuits like all the other slaves?  Or do I invite them to our table?  What should I do?”

“Well, I’m gonna’ leave it up to you, Son.  That’s why I got chu’ a slave.  We jes’ didn’t figure on two more.”  Charlie looked over his shoulder and smiled at his son.  “I want this to be a learning experience for you, and I want you to make your own decisions about your slaves.  Don’t worry, I realize you may make a few bad judgements, but when things don’t go the way you planned we can talk about it.  That’s the way you learn to be a good master and slave owner is by making your own mistakes.  Lord knows I done made my fair share.

I have a feeling you’ll do the right thing.  Just remember, we have Hank sit at our table more times than not, but we don’t have none of the other slaves sit with us.  Sometimes Hank eats slave chow and biscuits like the other slaves and sometimes he shares our table.  What I’m try’n to say is, you’re the Master with yore’ slaves and whatever decision you make either way, I’ll go along with.  The only time I’d step in is if’n I think you’re abusing one of yore’ slaves or being too tough on him; however, I don’t think I have ta’ worry.  I know you’ll be good to your slaves.”

“Thanks, Dad,— know’n you, I had a feel’n you were gonna’ say some’um like ‘at.  I’ll do me some think’n on it.”  Waco said, turned and walked away.

Waco went back and woke Rabbit.  He got Rabbit a clean change of clothes and told him they’d go though his stuff later to make room for him on a shelf in one of the closets to keep his clothes.  Rabbit was thrilled he was going to have his own clothes.  He didn’t care they were Waco’s hand-me-downs.  They were good, comfortable clothes.  Waco left Rabbit with instructions to meet him and Travis on the back porch.  Travis was dressed by the time Waco came back to the big bedroom.  He took Travis in his arms and gently kissed him.

“Good morning, my beautiful slave.  I’m so proud to own you, Travis.  You served your new master well last night.  I couldn’t a’ wish’t for a better partner for my first time.  Yore’ daddy done taught chu’ good how to please a man.  Remind me to thank him and yore’ ma again.”

“Thank you, Master Waco.  I’m so happy to be your slave, Sir.  I’m glad I pleased you.  I love you so much.”  Travis stole a kiss.  Waco grinned at him.

Waco gathered his posse and headed out to the barn for morning chores.  The slaves were already up and going about their morning chores and duties.  When they finished they would go to their chow hall and eat their breakfast.  

Before Waco took Travis and Rabbit back to the house he sat them down on a bail of hay in the barn and talked with them.

“Look guys, this is my first experience owning and handling slaves.  Most slaves don’t eat at the table with my dad and I.  Only one is invited sometimes and that’s Hank Morgan because he and Ms. Wallace,— well, they’re good friends.”  Waco smiled.  “Since you’re my personal slaves it’s my choice to invite you to our table; however, I won’t always be able to do it.  When we have freemen guest, you’ll have to eat in the small slave room off the back porch.  Then you’ll have to eat slave chow and biscuits with water.

But for right now, I want you to come with me, and we’ll all sit down together at the table and have breakfast. I already done check with Ms. Wallace and told her to plan on you two for breakfast.  I’m concerned for both of you and your health.  You each need to gain some weight.  Rabbit, you’re nothing but skin and bones.  Why, a strong dust devil could blow you away, and Travis because of your condition you can’t seem to gain much weight.  Also yore’ daddy told me he ate slave chow and biscuits with you some meals for the extra added nutrients you don’t get from regular food.  So I’ll figure a schedule out, but for today, let’s go wash up and have breakfast.  I don’t need to tell each of you to mind your manners and only speak when spoke to.”

Rabbit and Travis didn’t have any questions or problems with Waco’s talk. Neither knew what to expect, but they were satisfied Waco had their best interest at heart.  The boys washed up, and Waco was dutiful to check his slaves to make sure they washed properly.  He was satisfied, and they went into kitchen to gather around the table.

Lazarus and JR were already there standing behind their seats Charlie motioned for them to take.  Lazarus was on his right and JR on his left.  Waco sat at the other end of the table with Travis on his right side and Rabbit on his left.  They all joined hands, Charlie said a short blessing and they sat down.  The table was filled with food.  It wasn’t gourmet but it was basic and there was lots of it.

Waco noticed Rabbit took only small amounts and he raised an eyebrow.

“You ain’t gonna’ gain no weight and strength eat’n only that much, Rabbit.  Is that really all you want or are you jes’ being shy?”

“I didn’t wanna’ be a hog and take too much, Master Waco.”

“Gimme’ them bowls, JR.”  Waco quietly asked his little brother.  JR passed them to him one by one and he filled Rabbit’s plate.  He didn’t overdo but he put as much or a little more than he and Travis took on their plates.  Rabbit’s eyes got real big and a big smile came across his face.

“Now, eat as much as you can, then eat a little more and I’ll be a happy master.”

“Thank, you, Master Waco.”  Rabbit replied digging into the good food.

“Today is Sunday and tomorrow is Memorial Day.”  Charlie started taking to Lazarus, “Sunday, here at the ranch, is a day of rest for everyone.  The slaves have a day of rest, too.  I don’t believe in work’n ma’slaves seven days a week.  If God said men should take a day of rest it includes slaves as far as I’m concerned.  We do have a couple of men out on the range keeping watch, but it’s done on a rotating schedule so every man only has to ride on a Sunday once ever’ other month or so.”  Charlie explained to Lazarus.

“You sound like an enlightened master, Mr. Goodnight.  I could tell that yesterday with all yore’ slaves eat’n and joining in the festivities at Waco’s birthday party.  You probably get more respect and work out of your hands than a lot of the more conservative owners.”

 “I’d like to think so, Lazarus; however, I don’t judge myself by other owner’s practices.  I try not to judge ‘em at all.  I jes’ believe in treating my slaves differently.  They’s all the time having slaves runaway.  Like ma’ big brother pointed out yesterday we ain’t never had us no slave what runaway from a Goodnight ranch, and I’m hoping we never do.”  Charlie said looking directly at Rabbit.  Rabbit caught Charlie’s eye between bites and started blushing.  Charlie smiled and winked at him.  “You planning on running away any time soon, Chief?”  Charlie teased Rabbit.

“Naw, Sir, Master Goodnight.  After yesterday, last night, and the good food this morning, I’m awful tempted to stay for a while, Sir.”

Charlie and Lazarus broke up laughing.

“Okay, that sounds good, give us a chance, but if’n you do decide to run, jes’ let me know so’s we can pack a couple of day’s food for ya’ and make sure you have a clean change of clothes to take with ya.’  We don’t want chu’ running away and embarrassing us ‘cause you look like we didn’t take good care of you.”  Charlie smiled at him.  “And, if’n you change yore’ mind, call us collect and we’ll come git chu,— no questions asked, and no punishment.  We’ll jes’ be glad to have you back.”

“I’s jes’ fool’n wit’cha, Master Goodnight.  I ain’t think’n on running.  There’s too much going on ‘round here and Master Waco said I might git to go to school with him and Travis.”

“‘At’s right!  If’n yore’ master wants you to go to school with him, you will.  I’m leaving all decisions for you, Travis and Ox in his hands.  What he decides,— goes!  That’s why you be sit’n here at our breakfast table this morning, because he wanted you here.  ‘At’s why the slaves participated equally in ever’ thing yesterday, was because of his wishes for his birthday party.  I jes’ happen to agree with him.  He’s also right to want you to go to school.  We don’t want us no dumb slaves around here, Son.  The more you learn,— the more you know, the greater asset you become to us as yore’ owners.  So come this fall you’ll be on ‘nat bus going to the same school they go to.”

Rabbit looked pleased and Waco nodded his approval.  Charlie turned his attention back to Lazarus who was blown away by Charlie Goodnight’s tact, humanity and his strong but sensible manner in talking with the young slave.  He put more responsibility on Rabbit’s shoulders in a few minutes than the boy was ever asked to handle in his life, but it wasn’t done in a threatening manner.  It was with humor and a considerable degree of charm Charlie brought the boy into his family, and without making him feel belittled, explained how things were going to be.

“We always have Sunday dinner for everyone, Lazarus.  Ms. Wallace and her helpers make fried chicken and the slaves get to eat real food once a week.  Of course, they got to eat yesterday at the party, so they get an extra treat this week.  We usually travel to Church the last Sunday of the month.  We take all the slaves what wanna’ go.  Of course we go Easter and Christmas eve as well.  On Sundays one of the slaves can read some from the bible if they like and those what wanna’ listen can.  We don’t make believing or church mandatory.  It’s up to each man to make his peace with God.”

Lazarus was beginning to like Charlie Goodnight more and more.

“I’ll have some time to show you around the place today if’n you like and we can talk about your skills and how you might best fit in here at the ranch.”

“I’d appreciate that, Mr. Goodnight.  I mostly cowboy.  I try to be a modest man, but you can’t let a man yore’ look’n to work for know you’re a good hand less’n you tell him.  I’d set my skills against any hand you have on the ranch, Sir.”

“Good, you’ll git chore’ chance today.  Later in the day the hands saddle up some horses and they rodeo in the corral most of the afternoon.  They usually have all the events a regular rodeo has.  We even got us a couple of mean Brahma bulls around here they try to ride.  No one’s rode either one of ‘em yet.”  Charlie chuckled.

“I’ll look forward to it, Mr. Goodnight.”  Lazarus told him boldly without seeming to boast.  “Since I’m new, I’m willing to work under your slave boss, Mr. Goodnight.  I ain’t a cowboy what thinks he’s above take’n orders from a slave.  A boss is a boss no matter if’n he’s a freeman or a slave and should be respected as such.  As I told you yesterday, I was a slave myself once.”

The four boy’s ears perked up.  Surprised looks crossed their faces, but they didn’t ask any questions.

“That’s good.  Most freemen would refuse to work with slaves.  I don’t really have a foreman or a ramrod, Lazarus.  I’ve been doing most of that work myself, but I have two, good, trust worthy slaves who act as crew leaders for two equal crews of men.  Curley Jones is one crew leader and Hank Morgan is the other.  Curley has been the slave I give most of the orders to about things I wanna’ git done.  Him and Hank work good together.  If’n you ain’t opposed to working along with the salves as a hand for a while, I could put you under one of my crew leaders, Hank Morgan.  He’s firm but fair in what he expects from his crew.”  

“The only perk I’d ask, Mr. Goodnight, is to take my morning and evening meals here with you.  I ain’t opposed to eat’n slave chow and a biscuit with the slaves for lunch.  I don’t even mind bunk’n it in with yore’ slaves, Sir.”

“If’n yore’ working for yore’ keep, Lazarus, you may take all your meals here, but I’ll leave that up to you.  Also ‘keep’ includes a decent place to stay worthy of a freeman.  I’m sorry I didn’t think on it last night, but you can have that room next to the downstairs bathroom.  It’s furnished and ain’t being used for nothing.  Set chore’self up in there.”

“Thanks, Mr. Goodnight, that’s mighty nice of ya.’ ”

“That’s all right.  I hope your stay here is a good one for both of us, Lazarus.”

“I think it will be, Mr. Goodnight.”

“Mr. Long, do you know how yore’ companions Ping and Pong knew my lummox?”  Waco asked him.  Travis, JR, and Rabbit were looking at him to answer the question.

Lazarus froze.  He didn’t expected such a straight forward question, but it was an honest one.  He couldn’t lie to the boy.  Rabbit had the gift, but not nearly as strong as Waco’s, but together they were even stronger.

<< Can I give you boys details later?  For now, I’ll tell you what I know. >>

<< We understand, Sir. >> Waco projected.

“They’ve known each other through the winds of consciousness, Son.  There’s a great expanse of collective minds, men and animals, what can act as transmitters for other minds who can’t project over long distances.  Even the great whales, Orcas and dolphins listen in on the winds.  They also act as supportive carriers.  It’s sort of like an amplifier what gets a small signal fed into it. It amplifies the small signal until it’s strong enough to carry it a great distance.  The winds act like a constant drone like the drone of a bagpipe that a melody is played over.  It’s like a signal riding on the back of a lot of signals, only it becomes unique to the sender and the receiver.  The noise of consciousness sometimes sounds like winds.  Some describe it as white noise.  That’s what happens when you learn to tap into the winds of consciousness.  Those who are trained to whisper to the wind and listen can hear anyone, anywhere, by only listening for their voice.  Ox will teach you how.  H’it ain’t difficult.”

“I take it you share their gift, Lazarus.”

“Yes, Sir, Mr. Goodnight.  I have for years.  It’s the way I communicate with Ping and Pong.  That’s what directed us to the ranch.  We heard Waco, Ox and Rabbit talking with each other.  Together their voices are much louder than if they were separate.”

“Interesting.”  commented Charlie smiling as he took a sip of his coffee. “How is it a cowboy knows about such things, Lazarus.”

“When you got a couple of unusual companions, Mr. Goodnight, you learn a lot of new things real fast.  Ping and Pong taught me about the winds.  I ain’t too good at it.”  Lazarus smiled at him.

“Why can’t Travis hear Waco, Rabbit and you?”

“He will soon enough, Sir,— Ping and Pong tell me they’ve heard on the winds that most of Waco’s generation and every generation to follow will have the gift.  Travis is still a mite young, and he has some health problems that keep his focus on his body rather than his mind.  That will soon change for him.  Besides with Ping and Pong’s help, Waco and Rabbit will teach him.”

“Did you bring any other clothes with you, Mr. Long.”  Waco asked.

“No, Son, I left ma’bedroll and a change of clothes near where I had to put down my pony.  I’ll ride out and get ‘em later if’n Mr. Goodnight would be kind enough to loan me a horse for about an hour.”

“Sure, take the boys with you.  Waco and Travis are fine horsemen.  Rabbit can ride along with his master.  Think you’d like that, Chief?”  Charlie smiled at Rabbit.

“Shore’ would, Master Goodnight.  I ain’t been on a horse in a while,— since my granddaddy and me went riding together.”

“You know how to ride, Son?”

“Yes, Sir.  My granddad taught me.  I been riding bareback since I was six.”

“What du’ ya’ think, Son?”  Charlie asked Waco.

“I say we saddle up a pony for the Chief.”  Waco laughed and Rabbit smiled real big.

* * * * * * *

That afternoon after a big Sunday dinner of fried chicken with all the fixings the slave-hands went to the corral to rodeo.  They wanted to see what the new hombre could do.  They challenged Lazarus to ride a saddle bronc who was one of the meanest broncs on the ranch no one was able to ride. To their surprise he accepted.  Lazarus knew to gain the men’s respect he had to out-cowboy them.  Rodeoing wasn’t new to Lazarus and since he knew he was coming, he sat in front of an educator bot for hours each evening reviewing all the top performances by rodeo cowboys over the past hundred years.  Each was complete with virtual simulation and tapped into the part of the brain that controlled muscle coordination.  

Once hooked up to the machine and the program started, the person in the chair would find themselves on the back of a heavy breathing Saddle Bronc and experience the exact same ride as the rodeo rider.  It was the ultimate sports education machine.   Lazarus practiced riding Saddle Bronc, Bareback, Bulls, team roping, and calf roping until it was burned into his cerebral cortex like a second nature.  Not only were the skills implanted in his brain, it taught his muscles to react swiftly and with perfectly honed timing like a concert pianist might learn a difficult piece of music.  He could rope header or heeler as a team roper.  He had no problem with calf roping.  He had no worries about this bronc; however, it never hurt to be on friendly speaking terms with the critter.

<< They want me to git up there on yore’ back and ride you, Dun. >>

<< Who are you?  Where are you?  Who speaks to Dun? >> It asked haughtily.

<< Right in front of you, boy. >> Lazarus waved his hat to get its attention.

<< You don’t look like you can ride me.  No man has ever ridden me.  I won’t allow it. >>

<< Yes, you will.  Wouldn’t chu’ like to have a good buddy what brought you treats?  Good things to eat you don’t usually get?  Wouldn’t you like someone you can count on to take care of you, rub you down and pamper you? >>

<< Naw, never,— not of your kind.  You’ll  hurt me jes’ like they be doing right now, hat-waver? >>

<< Hurt you?  How, Dun?  What have they done to you?  Tell me? >>  Lazarus demanded.

<< They put a sticker,— a burr under my saddle blanket to hurt me real bad so’s I’ll be sure and buck you off.  It hurts, hat-waver.  That’s why I’m moving around so much in the stocks. >>

<< Hang on!  I’ll take care of that pert-damn quick, Dun. >>

The men were waiting for Lazarus to mount the big horse, but he turned and walked to the tack room in the barn and returned with his saddle.

“You men don’t mind if’n I use ma’ own saddle to ride this cayuse, do you?”

“Naw, Sir, but we done already got him saddled up fer ya.’”

“I appreciate that men, I really do, but I think I’ll use my own.”

Lazarus was undoing the belly cinch on the horse and got the other saddle off as quickly as possible.  The big dun settled right down.  Lazarus felt up under the blanket and found the bullhead sticker they planted.

“Damn!  Would ju’ look at that!  Somehow one a’ them bullhead sticker got up under that poor pony’s saddle blanket.  How do think that got there?  Shame on you men.  Oldest damn trick in the book.”  

None of the men said anything.  They knew they’d been found out.  Lazarus threw his saddle and blanket across the horse’s back and cinched him up tight.

<< Thanks, stranger.  I owe you one. >> said the Dun.

<< Name’s Lazarus Long.  You can call me Lazarus.  What’s yore’ name? >>

<< Just call me Dun. >>

<< Okay, let’s you and me form a partnership.  You be good to me, and I’ll be good to you.  You take care of me, treat me good, and I’ll take care of you and treat you better.  Let’s us start out by you giving me a good ride.  I ain’t asking you to hold back none.  Gimme’ all you got.  I can ride you, but after the buzzer sounds, you gotta’ agree you lost, and you gotta’ let me ride you around the arena.  You gotta’ show ‘em you accept me as yore’ partner. >>

<< You sure you can ride me, old man?  I’ve got me some moves you ain’t never thought about. >> the dun challenged.

<< We’ll see ‘bout that,  flea bag.  Gimme’ all ya’ got!  If I ride you, will you take me on as yore’ pardner,— then you can own me. >>

<< Deal! >> Replied the Dun.

Every eye was on Lazarus as he sat down easy in his saddle.  Charlie, Waco, Travis, Rabbit, JR and Ox were watching intently.  Ping and Pong were sitting on the fence next to Ox.  Ping had her head behind Pong’s back.  She  couldn’t watch.  Curley Jones and Hank Morgan were transfixed.

“Let ‘em buck, boys!”

Lazarus motioned for the cowboys to release the gate to the chute and the Dun was away.  He did three huge hops, one right after another, after he left the gate.  Then he did a turn to he left with a high flying kick in the back trying to dislodge Lazarus over his head.  Then he went straight down the center of the arena bucking, and hoping for all he was worth, but Lazarus stuck to him like he was glued into his saddle.  The cowboy’s mouths were hanging open.

“He’s gonna’ ride ‘dat som’bitch!”  Shouted one of them as the eight second buzzer sounded.  Lazarus pulled up hard on the reins.

<< You lost, big’un.  Now let’s see if’n you’re a pony what keeps his word? >>

The dun settled right down and started a comfortable trot around the perimeter of the arena.  He was breathing heavy and snorting, but the men could tell he was broken.

<< I’ll keep my word , pardner.  Are you a rider what keeps his word? >>

<< I am, indeed.  Glad to have me a new pardner. >>

<< I ain’t, but if I have to have one, I’m glad it’s you. >>  

<< You won’t be sorry, Dun.  You made the right decision. >>  Lazarus ached all over after that ride, but he was so thankful he had some lummox milk the night before.  He looked at Ox and tipped his hat.  Ox smiled back as he put his huge arm around Waco and pulled him close.

Waco, Charlie, Travis, JR, Rabbit and Ox were applauding and so were all the slave-cowboys.  Even old Curley and Hank were impressed.  Lazarus continued to ride Dun, performing figure eights and going in the opposite direction around the arena.  He couldn’t help ham it up by taking off his hat  to the crowd.  Ox looked on in awe.  Lazarus never failed to amaze him.  He was proud of his old man.  Not bad for a twenty-two hundred year old cowboy.  Ox didn’t think he looked a day for fifteen hundred.

The rest of the afternoon went well for Lazarus.  He and Charlie got the best recorded time in team roping, and Lazarus had the fastest time in calf roping.  A new arena record.  By the end of the day all the hands were convinced Mr. Lazarus Long was the cowboy he said he was.  There would be no more pranks or practical jokes.  He was accepted as one of them.  They asked what they should call him.  

“Since I’m gonna’ be work’n right along side of you men just call me Long or Lazarus.  You don’t have to call me ‘Master’ or ‘Mister.’  I’ll know you mean it.”  They all thought he was wonderful.  Curley and Hank didn’t know what to think.

Waco and Travis saddled up their ponies and gave Rabbit a fine looking Morgan.  He didn’t want a saddle.  He said he wanted to ride bareback.  Waco took him at his word.  Ox asked if he could come along.

<< I don’t know if you can keep up with us, Lummy.  I wouldn’t want you to get cactus in your feet. >>

<< Not to worry, young master.  Ox not step on cactus.  I keep up.  I take care of Master and his slaves. >>

Waco was touched by Ox’s need to protect.

<< Okay, come on then. >>

From the barn came Charlie all saddled up.

“You don’t mind if I ride with you and the boys, do you, Lazarus?”

“Naw, Sir, Mr. Goodnight.  Be down right proud to have you ride along.”

They started out with Charlie and Lazarus taking the lead.  Lazarus was on his new partner, and Dun seemed to be doing fine.  Ox surprised Waco.  He was quite nimble and stepped quickly along side Waco’s pony.   JR, Travis and Rabbit were doing fine.  They rode for miles into the back country of the ranch to the base of several large blue granite mountains where there were huge bolders of granite that must have been broken off during the last ice age.

Ox and the horses were the first to smell the rotting flesh.  Then the men smelled it.

“We’re close, Mr. Goodnight.  I imagine the vultures, buzzards and them two thunderbirds have pretty much taken care of the carcass.”

Finally they came upon the remains of a pony.  There wasn’t much left.   The scavengers had done their work and carried off what they couldn’t consume.  It was a pony Lazarus had on the ship for years who died naturally of old age, but he kept her frozen for just such an emergency.  He beamed her out of the ship to lay in the warm sun to thaw.  She was his good partner for many years, and she was helping him one last time.  Lazarus was sad as he had to tell her goodbye one more time.  

He quickly got his bedroll and change of clothes he hid among the rocks and they were ready to start back.  Before they did they all dismounted and the boys passed their canteens around for everyone to drink.  Waco brought along one especially for Ox.  He seemed to appreciate a cool drink of water.  Waco was standing near the granite mountain.  He stopped and listened.     

“Do ya’ll hear that?”

“What, Son?”  Charlie asked.

“It sounds like the drone of machinery.  Like someone was running a John Deere tractor inside this rock mountain.”

“I hear it, too.”  said JR.

“Yeah, me, too.”  confirmed Rabbit.

“I don’t hear nothing.”  said Charlie.

“I hear it.”  said Travis.  “It’s like a low droning sound.”

<< Do you know what is it, Lazarus? >>  Waco asked the big cowboy.  Ox heard him ask and winced.

<< It’s a John Deere tractor inside the mountain, Son. >>  He chuckled.  Lazarus didn’t lie.  That’s exactly what it was.  That section of the ship was closest to the skin of the rock and one of his drones was plowing the lower forty inside.

“It’s probably some harmonic vibration cause by air movement on the rocks.  I’ve heard people say they can come up here and the rocks will sing to them.  It’s getting cooler and they may be contracting after expanding from the heat.  We better head back to the ranch.  Ms. Wallace with have dinner waiting for us.  I asked Hank to join us.”  said Charlie.

The boys started walking to their horses when Travis doubled over with an asthma attack.  Waco grabbed him and sat on a bolder with Travis in his arms gasping for breath.

“Where’s yore’ inhaler, Travis?”  Waco spoke to him.

Travis pointed to his shirt pocket.  Waco looked and it wasn’t there.  Waco looked through all his pockets, but it wasn’t to be found.  Travis either left it at the ranch or lost it along the way.  He couldn’t breathe.  He was wheezing and his small, skinny chest was heaving like he was trying to suck in more air but couldn’t.  He began choking and started to turn blue.  Ox jumped in front of Waco and sat on the rock next to him.  He opened his arms for Waco to give him Travis.

“Let Ox have him, Son.  He can help him.” said Lazarus.

Waco let go of Travis.  He was beside himself with worry.  Ox gently took Travis in his arms and held his mouth to his teat.

“Suck, Travis!”  Ordered Lazarus.  “Suck on Ox’s teat, Son!  Drink his milk.”

It was like a voice out of a fog came to the lost boy as Travis heard someone tell him to suck on the lummox’s teat.  It was a strange request, but he would do almost anything to keep from dying.  He started sucking.  He was amazed when he tasted the sweetest milk he ever had in his mouth.  It was unbelievably good.  He would gasp in a lung full of air and then suck some more.  He sucked harder.  More flowed into his mouth.  He wanted more.  The more he drank the easier it became for him to breathe until he was calm and breathing normally.

“‘At’s it, Son.  Suck on that big lummox teat.  It will heal you, Travis.”  Lazarus told him.  Charlie was looking on in awe and disbelief.  What did he have on his hands?  What was going on?  Yesterday, Waco and Ox saved the sheriff’s boy and today Ox is saving Travis’ life.

‘This beast ain’t no beast a’ tall.  He’s here to watch over these boy and protect them.  My son included.  He would never hurt one of them.  Waco was right.  He was sent to us for a reason.  Tennent didn’t have no idea what he had.  Ox is worth far more than we paid for him, but how can you put a value on something as good hearted as this giant beast.’  Charlie thought to himself.  ‘And how does Lazarus know Ox’s milk will heal Travis?’

After a little while Travis was breathing normally, but he didn’t want to stop sucking.  It was like having his on warm ice cream factory.  He was gulping Ox’s milk down as quickly as he could suck it out of him.  He reminded the boys of a greedy little shoat who couldn’t get his momma’s milk out fast enough.

<< Tell him he can have more later, Master Waco, when we return to the ranch.  It’s getting late and the horses ain’t as sure footed at night.  Snakes come out after the sun goes down. >> Ox projected to Waco.

<< I hear you, Ox. >>  Travis told him still sucking away.  Waco smiled.  He knew it was only a matter of time.  Ox’s milk must have switched on the gene in his slave.  Travis reluctantly stopped sucking and threw his arms around Ox and started sobbing.  

<< There, there, little slave-brother.  You feel better, now? >>

“Thank you, Ox.”  Travis spoke aloud, “How can I ever repay you.  You saved my life.  I’m gonna’ be well, ain’t I?”

<< Yes, you will be, but you have more lummox milk to drink before you’re completely repaired.  It will happen.  Be patient.  You’ll see. >>

“Come, Travis, do you think you can ride, Son?”  Charlie asked him.

“I never felt better in my life, Master Goodnight.  I can breathe freely; more freely than I ever have before.”  Travis took a deep breath to show him.

The men rode back at a leisurely pace.  Ox kept pace with them with no problems.  Waco watched him closely to make sure he wasn’t overheating or looking distressed.  It seem nothing more to Ox than a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park.  Lazarus didn’t try to engage Charlie in conversation.  He figured Charlie was working some things out in his mind.  Finally, Charlie looked at Lazarus and spoke.

“The day I bought Ox for Waco he told me in the truck on the way back to the ranch, Ox was sent to us.  He didn’t just appear out of nowhere for no reason.  He has a purpose.  It suddenly come to me as Ox was feeding Travis his milk, he was sent to find my boy and protect him.  He would’ve found him and come to live with us anyway, but he was caught by slavers and his journey interrupted.  You didn’t just show up because you had to put yore’ horse down.  That horse had been dead a long time before yesterday.  You’re here for a reason,— ain’t chu?”

Lazarus smiled at him.

“You’re a sharp man, Mr. Goodnight.  I promise, I won’t never lie to you, Sir.  I believe in and live my life by the code of the cowboy way.  Yes, Sir, I’m here for a purpose.  H’it ain’t nothing bad, Mr. Goodnight, but h’it ain’t time for me to tell you yet.  I will in time, Sir, when I think you’re ready.  Until then,— like you told Rabbit this morning,— gimme’ a chance, Mr. Goodnight.  Trust me to be a good cowhand for you.”

“Fair enough.”  Charlie Goodnight allowed.  Charlie didn’t get the feeling Lazarus was there for hostile reasons.  Beside, he felt certain Waco would’ve picked up on it right away.  Charlie began to look upon Lazarus in a new light.  He saw a man bigger than life itself, who had a strength and appeal he only found in two other men in his life,— his big brother, and Ranger Gibbons.  His big, fat, Goodnight penis began to get fatter and longer in his Wranglers.  He thought some wicked thoughts about the cowboy riding by his side.  It felt too right; too perfect to be chance.  Was he being seduced?  He didn’t think so.  He had to admit to himself he found the big, handsome cowboy very attractive.

* * * * * * *

When the men took the horses to the barn to rub them down and feed them, they found Travis’ inhaler setting on the hay bail where he sat it down to do something else and forgot to pick it up again.  He was embarrassed and quietly put it in his pocket.

“You gotta’ be more careful, little brother.  I damn near lost my treasure before I got me much of a chance to enjoy it.”

“I’m hoping I won’t have to use it much anymore, Master Waco.”  said Travis.

Everyone went in to clean up and Ms. Wallace had supper on the table.  Hank was there and shook Lazarus’ hand complimenting him on his cowboying.

“Thank you, Mr. Morgan.  Coming from you it’s quite a compliment.”

“Jes’ call me ‘Hank’ Sir.”

“Jes’ call me ‘Lazarus,’ Hank.”

Hank looked at his Master and got a smile and an affirmative nod from Charlie.  He wasn’t about to be familiar with a freeman unless he got approval from his master.

“I’m putting Lazarus on yore’ crew, Hank.  Don’t be afraid to work him like any of your other hands.  Lazarus ain’t uptight about slave/freeman protocol.  He was a slave himself once.”

“Yes, Sir, Master Goodnight.  It’ll take some git’n use to, but we can do it.  Welcome to the Goodnight ranch, Lazarus.  Glad to have you on my crew.”  The men shook hands again.

“The pleasure’s mine, Hank.  I’ll look forward to tomorrow.”

The men joined hands, Charlie said a brief thanks and they sat down to their evening meal.  Ida Wallace brought the rest of the food.  There was much to talk about around the table that evening.  Travis was the center of attention.  Everyone was concerned about how he was feeling.

“I’m feeling fine.  I can’t ever remember being able to breath so freely, and the greatest part is, it ain’t going away.  When I use my inhaler it’s effect work for only a short period of time.  Lately the time between having to use it has gotten shorter and shorter.  I was beginning to worry I might have to use it all the time to keep me alive.  I’ve been hours without it, and I hope I don’t have to use it again.  It would be so wonderful to be able to live without it.  I thank God Ox was there.  He saved my life.”

“Two boy’s lives saved in two days,— ain’t many heroes can claim that.”  said Charlie Goodnight shaking his head.  “I think ma’ boy picked a winner when he rescued his lummox from the auction house.  I’ll admit, I had my doubts, Son, but I don’t  no more.  I agree with you, I don’t think Mr. Tennent knew what a treasure he had.”

“Thanks, Dad.  Dad, if you ain’t too tired later, I need to talk with you tonight about some’um before we go to bed.  It can wait ‘til tomorrow if’n you’re a bit tuckered.”

“No, I’m find, Son.  I’ll be in the livingroom later reading or talking with Lazarus.  Come in and find me.”

“Thanks, Dad.”  Waco said.

Charlie didn’t look right at Lazarus, but he could see him smile.  He must have some idea what Waco was going to talk with him about.

“You done good today, Chief.  You’re a good horseman.”  Charlie complimented Rabbit.

“Thanks, Master Goodnight.  I enjoyed riding with you men.”

“I want you to start learning to ride Western, Son.  I have a feeling you four boys are gonna’ be four fine horsemen.”

“I can ride Western, Master Charlie, but I’ll start using a saddle.  It’s a little more comfortable.  I’s jes’ show’n off today, Sir.”  Rabbit grinned.  Charlie couldn’t fault the boy for being honest.

Dinner was over and Waco and the boys helped Ms. Wallace clear the table.  Hank thanked Ida and his Master for the fine meal and took his leave to return to the slave quarters.  He gave Ida a quick peck on the cheek.  Charlie invited Lazarus into the living room for an after dinner drink.  Lazarus went with him but declined the drink.  Charlie looked pensive.  He smiled at Lazarus as he poured himself a drink.

“You and your companions knew Ox before you came here,— is that right?”  He looked at Lazarus.

“Yes, Sir,” Lazarus answered, “but it was a pleasant surprise for us to find him here.  We had no idea he was in the area.  We were pleased to be reunited with him again.  He’s important to us.  We love him very much.”

“Will you tell me how you know him?”

“Yes, Sir, he’s my son, Mr. Goodnight.”

Charlie almost spit out his drink, but he swallowed hard, choking on a piece of ice.

“What?  Ox is your son?  How?  Are you an abolitionist?  Are you here to free him from slavery?”

“No, Mr. Goodnight, we ain’t no abolitionist.  He’s perfectly happy with his position as your and Waco’s slave, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.  I’m counting on him remaining Waco’s slave for a long time.  He’s more comfortable and happy here than I’ve seen him in a good while.  When Ox was born, me and my partner witnessed his birth.  We were named his God fathers in an ancient complex ritual his people perform to signify to anyone he’s my Godson and I’m his Godfather.  It’s a great honor to have such a trust bestowed on someone not of their species.  See this tattoo on my wrist, Sir?”

Lazarus showed Charlie a small but ornate black tattoo on the underside of his wrist that was unlike any he ever saw.  It was perfect and had a sheen about it that looked like it floated above the skin on Lazarus’ arm.

“Ox has the same tattoo at the same place on his right wrist.  It was placed there when he was one week old.  My partner has the same tattoo on his wrist.  If anything happened to his parents, it’s to identify us as members of the same family clan,— as his God parents and protectors.

His mother and father’s village was ransacked by invading marauders.  They were killed within months after he was born.  Me and my partner got there too late to save his parents, but somehow he survived,— just barely.  He was near death, broken arms, a bone sticking out of his little leg, almost in shock, dehydrated, and starving.  He was just a baby less than a year old.  We took him with us, patched him up, nursed him back to health, and took care of him for the first five years of his life.  He became our son.  After he was old enough to understand, we took him to live among his own kind.  He was adopted by some friends of mine, and they raised him as their own.  I was the only dad he knew for the first five years of his life.  I checked back on him every couple of years and he did well.  I love him, and I’m very proud of him.  Your son couldn’t have no better friend or slave.”

“I’m beginning to believe that, Lazarus.  So that’s how you knew his milk would help Travis’ condition?”

“Yes, Sir.  It has almost miraculous healing powers for most animals.  It will heal Travis of his asthma.  It will straighten out Rabbit’s rickets and will heal the chemical imbalance in JR that causes him such pain from his migraines.  Over time it will transform all four of them boys into young Gods.  It will adjust their bodies and protect them from all invasive illnesses.  It’s capable of prolonging human life to twice the normal life span.  It will provide Waco’s young pony with the nourishment he’s lacking from being removed from his mother too soon and will immunize him from all diseases.  Last but not least, it’s delicious.  It tastes like warm liquid vanilla ice cream.  I had some last night before I went to sleep.”  Lazarus chuckled. “Oh, and did I mention, there are no negative side effects?”

“That’s amazing.  I wouldn’t believe you if’n I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.  Dare I ask more questions, Lazarus?”

“I’d rather you not right now, Mr. Goodnight.  Accept what I’ve told you, think about it, and I promise, before much longer I’ll be able to reveal more to you.”

“So you ain’t jes’ no average cowboy?”

“On the contrary, Mr. Goodnight,— I’m very much a cowboy.  It’s what I do best.  I was raised in this part of the country.  The land your brother’s ranch is on was once owned by my family.  Didn’t I prove myself to you and yore’ slave hands today?”

“Yes, you certainly did.  Hank said it’s all they can talk about.  They can’t wait to work with you.”

“Good, I’m looking forward to working with them.  Speaking, of which, if you’ll excuse me, Mr. Goodnight, I’ve had a busy day, and I’d like to get an early start to bed if you don’t mind, Sir.”

“Of course, Lazarus, go on ahead.  Have a good evening and Lazarus,— ”

“Yes, Mr. Goodnight?”

“Thanks for being honest with me.  You could’ve lied or given me half-truths.  It was an amazing story about Ox, but somehow, I know what you told me is true.  No matter your purpose here, I won’t push no more.  H’it ain’t the cowboy way to ask a man you don’t know a lot of questions.  I got my boy to think about and you have to admit the last couple of days ain’t been exactly run-of-the-mill.”

“Naw, Sir, Mr. Goodnight, I suppose it ain’t at that.  Goodnight, Sir.”

“Goodnight, Lazarus.”

Waco and Lazarus passed and wished each other a good evening.  Waco couldn’t resist and hugged Lazarus.

“I’m glad you’re here, Mr. Long.  I’m glad you found your son again.”  he said to Lazarus.  Lazarus was a bit taken aback by his statement.

“You been listening in, Son?”  Lazarus asked in a stern tone.

“Naw, Sir.  I saw the same tattoo on my lummox you got on your wrist.  I don’t know how, but I know what the symbol means.  It means he’s your son and you’re his dad, but you ain’t his birth father.  I don’t know how it could be, but I know it’s true.”  Lazarus didn’t know what to say.  Ox warned him about Waco’s abilities.  Charlie came to his rescue.

“You’re right, Son, it is true.  With Lazarus’ permission, I’ll explain it to you.”

“You certainly have my permission, Mr. Goodnight.  Now, goodnight to both you Goodnights.”  Lazarus bowed slightly, turned and walked away.

Charlie told Waco of the amazing conversation he had with Lazarus and how Ox was his son.  Waco was as amazed as his dad but seemed to be taking it a lot better than Charlie.  Charlie still had some apprehensions.  Waco calmed him.

“Dad, they ain’t here to do us no harm.  Ox, Lazarus, and Ping and Pong are here to live with us, protect us and prepare us for the future.  I git the feeling things are gonna’ get really bad in our world in the next ten years.  Again, I don’t know why, but I need to talk with my Lummy tonight.  Travis and Rabbit are drying him now from his shower.

Dad, we need a bigger bathroom.  There jes’ ain’t enough room for all of us in there.  We need a bigger shower where we can all get in together and take care of Ox.  

I need a bigger bed.  One that will hold Ox and me.  I’ve decided we can git by with the two separate bedrooms, but I’d like them joined with a door.  H’it don’t have to be done overnight.  We can live with it like it is for a while, but when us men start git’n our growth spurts, it’s gonna’ seem like we’s sardines packed in a can.”  Waco smiled at his analogy.

“I wondered about that.  Okay, here’s what I want you to do.  I want you to either draw or use your computer to show me what you want, where you want it and the dimensions.  It’s gonna’ be your space and I want it to be like you want.  I don’t want you coming back to me later and telling me h’it ain’t big enough.  It’s gonna’ be part of yore’ learning experience.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help if’n you need it.  Don’t forget your slaves and what input they might have.  They might think of something you ain’t.”

“Okay, Dad.  I can do that.  Can I ask John Taylor and Howard Leek, our carpenter slaves for some advice?”

“Ask anyone you like.  Lazarus might have some suggestions.  Hank might have a couple.  Since you can communicate with ‘em ask Ping and Pong if they might have any suggestions.  When you get it all together I’ll get John, Howard and our plumber Frank Swenson and get started on it.”

“Thanks, Dad.”  Waco hugged his dad.

“Do I have to ask where you’ll be spending the night tonight?”  he smiled.

“Naw, Sir, I think you know.  He deserves my attentions tonight.”

“I agree.  You gonna’ try his milk.”

“Do you mind, Dad?”

“Not at all.  I seen what it can do, and Lazarus told me it has some pretty remarkable properties.”

“Travis and Rabbit are git’n some now.  He’s got one hooked up to each teat with a big smile on his face.  I jes’ hope there’s some left for me.”

“Somehow I have a feeling there will be.”  Charlie laughed.

They said goodnight and told each other they loved one another.  Waco returned to find Travis and Rabbit still hooked up to Ox.

“Okay, you two, time for bed.  You sleep together in my bedroom.  No hanky-panky between you tonight.  I want you to git a good nights sleep and be ready for tomorrow.  We might have a busy day.  We’re gonna’ start to figure out how we want these two rooms remodeled.  I expect you to have some good ideas.  Tonight I’ll be in the barn with Ox.”

Travis and Rabbit were just happy they didn’t have to sleep alone and obeyed their master; however, they did curl up with each other and slept close all night.  Waco took his Lummy’s hand and walked him out to the barn.  Ox picked his young master up and set him in the loft.  He climbed the ladder himself to join him.

<< I’m pleased you wish to stay the night in my arms, Master Waco. >>

<< You deserve my attention, Lummy.  I’m glad I listened to you today and let you come along.  If’n I hadn’t, Travis might be dead now.  How would I ever have been able to face his parents or Ranger Gibbons.  It frightens me to think about it.  Besides I wanted a taste of your milk as well; that is, if’n them two slaves ain’t drained you. >>

<< It would be an honor, young master.  I have plenty left for you and I’ll have some for your colt tomorrow. >>

<< He can drink yore’ milk, too? >>

<< Yes, but you must dilute it with cow’s milk.  One cup of my milk to a gallon of cow. >>

Ox helped Waco off with his boots and clothes.  Waco noticed Ping and Pong were already curled up in their hay-condo in the other corner.  He thought to tell them goodnight, but he didn’t want to bother them.

<< Goodnight to you, young master. >>  he heard in his mind from them.

<< Goodnight to you, Ping and Pong.  Rest well. >>

Waco lay down on the quilt pallet he gave Ox to use in the loft.  Ox pulled the other soft quilt up over them as Waco moved into his lummox’s huge arms.  As big as he was Ox was so gentle with Waco it almost brought tears to his eyes.  He enfolded him in his giant’s arm and pulled him close.

<< Oh, Lummy, I love you.  No matter what other responsibilities I have with my other slaves, I always want you to know you come first in my heart. >>

<< I love you, too, Master Waco.  It’s been a long time since I felt this way about someone else.  I will be yours as long as you need me. >>

<< Would forever be too long, Lummy? >>

<< It wouldn’t be long enough for me, Master. >>   Ox kissed his young master on his small head. << Please,— try some of my milk.  I must warn you, it will make you drowsy.  It knocks my dad out for the count, so if you want me to pleasure you, it must be before you drink. >>

<< Naw, you don’t have to do that, Lummy.  I jes’ love being held by you.  I’m content. >>

<< What about yore’ lummox, Master Waco?  He needs to taste his young master’s love from time to time. >>

<< I’m sorry, Lummy, I wasn’t think’n right.  Of course you may if you like.  I would never deny you.  I will always appreciate your attentions. >>

Ox threw back the blanket, picked up Waco in his huge arms and cradled him in his right arm like a baby.  He moved his huge right paw to Waco’s mid-section to tickle his tummy and got him giggling.  He moved to his Goodnight cock which was growing solid under his attention.  He leaned over and blew on it.  It was like a warm summer’s zephyr blowing across his cock and Waco’s dick got roaring hard in anticipation.  

Ox put his huge hand behind Waco’s head, turned him slightly and Waco found a huge lummox teat staring him in the face.  Ox slowly moved his mouth toward it.

<< Drink from me, my beloved young master, as your humble and devoted slave drinks from you. >>

Waco started sucking and was instantly transported to another realm.  It was the most wonderful stuff he ever tasted, and to think, it was all his.  He felt Ox take his entire genitals in his mouth and started a warm sensual sucking.  It had the effect Waco experienced when he dreamed of piss in his sleep.  It was a warm feeling that surrounded him.  In his fog of lummox milk he knew he had to take a leak.  He projected to Ox.

<< Lummy, you must stop.  We have to unhook.  I have to relieve myself.  I have to take a piss. >>

<< I’m your total slave, Master Waco.  Many masters require their slave take their piss.  It would be an honor and an act of love for you to share yours  with me, Sir. >>  What Ox didn't share with his young master was, it also provided his body with much needed nutrients he couldn't get anywhere else.

<< You sure, Lummy? >>

<< I’m sure, Master. >>

With that Waco let loose.  There didn’t seem to be any problem.  Ox didn’t spill a drop and had no problem taking Waco’s flow, but the weirdest damn thing happened.  As Waco was relieving himself, Ox was sucking away like a vacuum cleaner and sucking his piss away from him as fast as Waco could release it.  It was such a sensual feeling Waco climaxed and shot his load at the same time.  He was reduced to a limp biscuit.  It was the most fantastic orgasm he ever experienced.

<< Oh, God, Lummy!  That was fantastic!  Thank you. >>

<< My pleasure, young master. >> he projected as he continued to suck gently.  He knew Waco’s dick was very sensitive.  Waco continued to suck on Ox’s teat.  Ox laid him out next to him so Waco would be more comfortable and pulled the blanket up over them again.  All the while Waco never became unhooked from his lummox’s teat.  Waco sucked and drank until he passed out in Ox’s arms.  He finally released from Ox’s big teat only when he drifted off into a deep, lummox milk induced sleep.  Ox smiled at the beauty of his beloved young master and gently licked the milk from his face with his huge tongue.  Then he licked and cleaned the rest of Waco’s young, strong body like he would his very own child.  The giant held the boy close to him all through the night.

End Of Chapter 7 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2006 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All rights reserved ~
E-mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com