The Hidin' Place
"Whoa, what is this?"
"Oh, sorry Wheat, but I can't see where I'm agoin'."
"Well shoot Kyle. I can't see where I'm goin' neither but I ain't runnin' into ya every few seconds!"
"Will you two shut up!"
"S'cuse me Heyes! T'weren't my idea to hide in here."
"Well sorry Kid. I just think we coulda found a better place to lay low 'til that posse gave up!"
"Wheat. May I remind you that this was the only option we had other than run our horses to death or give ourselves up. Besides, Kid's horse had started to go lame. Now I don't know about you, but I wasn't going to leave him behind and I'm not ready to spend the next twenty years behind bars. Besides, this cave HAS to have another entrance. Feel the breeze blowing through here? Only caves with more than one entrance have that strong a wind blowing through them."
"And just how is it you know that Heyes?"
"Because, WHEAT, how many caves in and around Devil's Hole have we stocked with supplies? And how many of those caves have we searched for a rear exit in case of trouble? If, during those times we were packing in supplies, you had taken notice of something OTHER than your desire to be leader; and yes, I know all about that; you would've discovered that all the caves we found other entrances in had a strong breeze in them. Those that had no other opening did NOT have a strong breeze. THIS cave here, you can feel a pretty good breeze. Therefore, there should be another opening somewhere."
"Yeah, well, you coulda at least picked a cave to hide in we had stocked."
"Wheat, why the heck didn't you go on to the Hole with Lobo and the rest? Why'd you have to follow me and Heyes when we all split up?"
"'Cause somebody got to watch out fer you two."
"Is that so? WHO was it again that caused that rock fall back there where we came in?"
"THAT WAS KYLE'S FAULT! He's the one done lit that stick of dynamite!"
"I thought it was a candle!"
"ALRIGHT! EVERYBODY SHUT UP! This arguin' ain't helping us find a way outta here!"
"Any ideas Heyes?"
"I'm working on it Kid. Kyle, you got any of those matches left?"
"Yeah, I think so…here. Heyes, you don't think there's no bears sleepin' in here…do ya?"
"No. I think he'd already been here havin' supper if there was. But, on the off chance there's one hiding around one of these corners, we'll just feed Wheat to him."
"That AIN'T funny Heyes!"
"Well, Wheat, bears need their fiber too…
Let me strike this match here…
Kid, did you grab your saddlebags before you ran in here?"
"You still packing around that shirt you ripped up trying to get that rabbit you shot out of that briar patch a couple days ago?"
"Give it here. I'm gonna wrap it around this piece of wood I found on the ground and make a torch."
"Here ya go."
…"There. Now maybe we can see where we're going. Might as well get started. Let's head down this passage and see what we can find."
"Well, I think we should stay here and try to dig our way out."
"Well, Wheat, you stay right here and pretend to be a gopher. I'm going to look for another way out."
"Wheat, don't you think we'd be better off goin' with Kid and Heyes?"
"Kyle, have you ever known me to have a bad idea?"
"Well, remember that one time…"
"SHUT UP and git over here to help me dig!"
"By the way Wheat. Suppose you spend hours on end and actually dig a big enough tunnel through there to get back out that way. How are you gonna know that posse won't be waiting for you on the other side? You know they probably heard Kyle's candle explode…
"Well I think that makes a good bunch of sense Wheat. What if they are waitin' fer us out there? If Heyes and Kid go off through yonder, won't be nobody to save us."
…"Ya know Kyle. After I think about it, I'd say we'd be better off goin' with them two. Looks like a whole bunch of work to dig through there anyway. Let's go…
HEY YOU TWO. WAIT UP!"
"How long we been walkin' Heyes?"
"I'd guess about twenty minutes or so."
"Do you have any idea where you're goin'?"
"Yes Wheat I do. I'm going this way…"
"Some cave explorer you are."
"Wheat! I've about had it with you! One more word and I swear I'll put a bullet in your backside!"
"Well, now that sounded like one more word to me!..."
"KID! Put your gun back up. If you shoot him, that just means we'd have to carry him…
Look up there. Looks like the passage splits up ahead."
"Which way should we go Heyes?"
"Hmm…looks like this left passage starts to go downhill a little bit. This one straight ahead looks to stay about the same level. Wait a minute… Everybody be quiet."
"What is it? A bear?"
"I knew we shoulda stayed and tried to dig out."
"What do you hear Heyes?"
"C'mere Kid. Take a step down this left passage, tell me what that sounds like to you."
…"Sounds like water, like a creek or something."
"Right! It sure does!"
"You care to explain what's so excitin' about that?"
"Well, I been readin' about some fellas back east exploring some cave in Kentucky or Tennesse or somewhere. Anyway, that newspaper article said that one time, they got lost, and they found their way out by following the water flowing through the cave. So I figure our best bet would be to go down this left passage, find the water, and follow it. I mean, it has to go somewhere, right?"
"Yeah, it goes somewhere. But what guarantee you got that it goes back outside?"
"I don't Kid. But its better than stayin' stuck in here with Wheat and no food."
"Yeah, it sure is. Lead on."
"NOW, how long we been walkin'?"
"Wheat, you ask me that one more time and I AM gonna let Kid shoot you!"
"Wooeee! Lookee there! The ceiling and walls are all white-looking and sparkly! You think them's diamonds?"
"No Kyle. They're not diamonds. They're just some kind of cave rock."
"Well they sure do sparkle like diamonds! And look at that one there! Looks like a rock flower growing on the wall. What kind of stuff is this Heyes?"
"Well now, I'm not sure what its called. Seems though like I remember hearing somewhere that indians go in caves and get some kind of mineral off the wall to use in their medicines and things. Maybe this is the stuff they get."
"That's the craziest thing I've ever heard! Whoever heard of somebody eating rocks off'n the walls of caves."
"I don't know Wheat. Why don't you try a bite and see what it tastes like? It might be good."
"Don't have to. Kyle done went and licked it."
"Kyle! What's the matter with you? Its untelling what that stuff could do to you!"
"Well, you said indians eat it. I just thought I'd see if'n it was any good."
"Was you raised by wild animals? Quit licking the wall."
"I just took a little bite…"
"Look there! We've reached the water! Looks like its flowing out the direction we're heading. Let's just keep going this way."
"Now what's ailing you Wheat?"
"I done went and smacked my head on something. Look at all them things hanging down from the roof. Mother Nature ought to have to move them things. A body could knock his brains out."
"A body would need brains first…"
"Heh, heh,…AHEM…just watch where you're going Wheat."
"Oooh, I don't feel too good."
"Now what's wrong with you Kyle?"
"Don't know. My stomach started hurting all sudden-like."
"Did you eat something bad earlier today maybe?"
"Its probably from licking the wall like a dog back there a little while ago."
"You know Kid, you may be on to something there."
"My gut keeps crampin'…OOOH…"
"Kyle, if you gonna throw up, run back that way."
"Nope, don't need to throw up. Feels like I'm gonna have ta….."
"Now where's he runnin' off to?"
"Go check on him Wheat."
"Me? Why do I have to go?"
"Because the Leader says so and his partner will shoot you if you don't."
…"Hey Kyle! Where'd you go?"
"Wooeee Kyle! What crawled up in you and died?"
"Is he alright Wheat?"
"Yeah, he's alright, but I sure ain't."
"Don't walk down that way! It'll make you want to go drown yerself in that there creek."
"Well, welcome back Kyle! Where, uh, did your shirt sleeves go?"
"I buried 'em."
"I….okay. That's all I need to know. Let's just keep going."
"Hey Kid. Come up here and look at this."
"What are you looking at Heyes?"
"This. Looks like some kind of nest. See all these little twigs and leaves and such."
"Yeah. Looks like a packrat's nest."
"Which means there must be an opening nearby. I never known packrats to go very far back in a cave. They wouldn't be able to see."
"Can we rest fer a spell? My feet are killin' me."
"No. C'mon Wheat. I think we're close to the surface."
"Well, its about dang time!"
"Is it just me Kid, or is this passage getting smaller?"
"Nope, it ain't just you. The further we go, the more I have to stoop over."
"Sure is hard on the back."
"Heyes! Look up ahead. I see some light!"
"Where?...Oh yeah! I see it too! Let's go."
"Look how little it is Heyes. Couldn't you have found a bigger way out?"
"Quit complaining Wheat. It's a way out. Now come on. We'll just have to climb up on that little rock and squeeze through it. Kyle, you go last."
"How come I got to go last?"
"For obvious reasons. Go ahead Kid."
"Nmmmmhhhh…whew! Nmmmmmhhh…That's a little tight."
"Did you make it?"
"Yeah Heyes. I'm out. But to get through it a little easier, you might have to blow all the air out of your lungs."
"Alright Wheat. You're next."
"If I get stuck and die, I'm comin' back to haunt you."
"That's fine. I'll just ignore you like I do now. Now git goin'."
"Mmmaaaahhhhh…this is the last time I go exploring with you two."
"Wheat, shut up and go on."
"Okay Kyle. I'm gonna go and you come right behind me, alright?"
"Alright Heyes. Just don't leave me if'n I git stuck."
"We won't, and you won't get stuck. Let's go…
Nnnmmmhhh…Well, that was a little tight.
"I'm comin'…Mmmmmgghhhh…Uh oh!"
"Uh oh what?"
"My gunbelt's hung on something!"
"Well, can you reach back and get it loose?"
"I'm trying. I can't git my arm back there to find where its hung at."
"Well, can you back up and try coming through again?"
"Let me see…..nope. Whatever its hung on, its hung on it good."
"Alright. Hold on. C'mere Kid.
Alright Kyle. I'm gonna grab one arm and Kid's gonna grab the other and we're gonna pull you out of there."
"Won't that hurt?"
"Would you rather stay there?"
"No. I guess not….
Okay. I'm ready."
"Yeah, as ready as I'll ever be."
"WHEW! One more time Kid. PULL!"
"WHOA! Whew…Okay Kyle. You can get off us now."
"Oh yeah. Sorry."
"Better reach back in there and grab your gun."
"Yeah, guess so…..
Aha! There she is! She was wedged behind a rock."
"Where are we Heyes?"
"Don't rightly know Kid."
"Well, that's just great! So we've climbed out of the hole in the ground to be lost up here."
Let's see. The sun's starting to go down and it sets in the west. Devil's Hole was to the north of the town where we just robbed the bank. And you can always watch the sun setting behind the leader's cabin so…if the cabin sits here, and we went that direction when we left then…."
"I'm just going to sit down while he's pacing. Untelling how long he'll be at it."
"I got it! We need to go in that direction!"
"Are you sure Heyes?"
"Of course I'm sure Kid! Its just a simple bit of navigating. Nothing to it! See, I figure we were only about twenty, forty minutes at the most away from the entrance to Devil's Hole when we had to stop. And as far as I could tell, we went pretty much in the same direction the whole time we were underground, give or take a few feet difference. So if we start walking in that direction, we should make it to the Hole in a couple hours."
"Well, I sure hope you're right. Let's get going. I don't want to be out here all night."
"HOW much further we have to go? My feet are killing me, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, and I'm ready to be in a bed!"
"Oh, I'd say about five minutes Wheat."
"Now how can you be so sure Heyes?"
"Because look up ahead. You can just make out the outline of the bunkhouse if you look hard enough."
"Yahoo! I knew Heyes would git us back!"
"Thanks Kyle. Good to know someone had some faith in me."
"Where have you fellers been? We was gittin' ready to come lookin' fer you, afraid the posse had got you or somethin'"
"Howdy Preacher! Good to see you to!"
"What happened Heyes? You all are filthy. Where's your horses?"
"Well, we'll have to go round our horses up in the morning. As for where we've been…well, it's a long story. And I'll tell it to you as soon as I get cleaned up."
"After we eat of course."
"Yes Kid. After we eat."
"Whew, what a day."
"I know Kid. It was a tough one. At least we're back now. Got cleaned up, had dinner, and now to relax a little on the porch."
"Many more robberies end up turning out this way, and I've got a good mind to retire from this line of work."
"Aw Kid. What else we gonna do?"
"I don't know. I'm sure we could find somethin'. I know one thing we AIN'T doing."
"And what's that?"
"We AIN'T gonna be givin' cave tours."
A/N...Gypsum is a mineral found growing in limestone caves. In its pristine state, it is normally white and will sparkle when hit by light. Archeologists have found evidence of Native Americans in some caves collecting gypsum from the cave walls.
Another mineral that can be found on a cave wall is magnesium oxide, which when ingested, can cause diarrhea.