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Intro: Logan sat astride of his beautiful paint stallion on the top of the bluff that overlooked a river valley that ran through the northern part of his 75,000 acre ranch. He could see someone or something moving through the trees on the far side of the valley. Nudging CJ (Count Joker) forward he headed in that direction.
Patting CJ’s neck he said,” One more thing and then we can head for home.” The paint stud nickered and nodded his head. Logan smiled and thought,” You know there are times I think you actually understand me.” CJ whinnied and nodded his head again as they came into a small mountain meadow.” Logan laughed and said,” Now you can read my mind.”
He reached down and slid the Winchester saddle gun from the scabbard. Opening the action just enough to ensure it was loaded. Checking the hammer he made sure it was in the safe position as he slid it back into the boot.
This was the wilds of Montana. His ranch was just north of the Wyoming boarder. Cattle rustling was something that still happened on a regular basis. It was also grizzly country. Logan did not want to get caught unprepared by either.
As he rode in a northerly direction trying to get ahead of what ever he thought he saw. The trail down the mountain was steep and narrow. He came out of the trees and could see several hundred of his cattle grazing on the rich grass in the valley along the river. A little over a hour later he got into the general area and found one set of tracks moving deeper into the ranch.
It was getting towards dark looking around Logan thought,” I don’t want to have a battle on my hands. At least not after dark.” Turning CJ back towards the ranch house he figured he would come back the next day and follow the tracks.
Logan rode across the valley looking at the beauty of his ranch. He started thinking about his parents and the ranch history.
Logan smiled as he thought about sitting on his great grandpas lap as a child listening as he told stories about the ranches early days.
About Indian attacks and rustlers. Outlaw gangs that hid from the law in their valley. Grizzly bears, mountain lions and wolves that tried to feed on the beef they raised. About hunting trips into the high country. Snow storms that held them captive in the valley for months at a time.
His parents where both gone. Killed in a plane crash as they headed home from a business meeting. Being the only child at age fifteen Logan had inherited the ranch.
With the help of some of his parents friends plus the ranch foreman that stepped in and dedicated himself to Logan and the Rocking L it grew to where it was today.
He was a fifth generation rancher. His fraternal great grand parents had come west on a wagon train in the mid 1800's. The wagon train was headed across the Montana territory and had stopped in Billings.
Jim was at the livery stable and over heard a man talking about a valley to the south. Jim had talked with the man a few more times. When the wagon train left Jim Lathrop his wife Kathy and their two children did not follow. They had hired the man and turned south looking for the valley.
Their guide was a trapper and knew the country. The trail headed south was narrow and steep. From the trail high in the mountains they had seen the valley. How the trail had gotten so narrow and steep they had to abandon the wagon and pack their meager possessions out of the mountains and into the valley. So started the Rocking L.
The first time Logan heard that story he told his great grandpa he wanted to find that wagon and figure out a way to get down to the ranch.
Over the years while hunting and just riding he finally found it. It took him months to dismantle the wagon and pack it off the mountain. Then finally months later with the help of his dad and grandpa. They finished restoring it. Now the wagon that carried his ancestors from Illinois to Montana sets on the turn around in the middle of the ranch yard.
Over the generations the ranch grew and grew. To where it was when as a young man Logan started to put is mark on it.
At the age of eighteen Logan had purchased two other ranches. The Rocking L had nearly doubled in size.
It was starting to cool off after a warm day for this part of Montana in combination with the elevation of the ranch. About a half way across the valley he started turning up his collar when he saw someone running a horse across the far end on the valley. “At least they were headed out and looked to be alone”, he thought.
The paint stallion could have been chiseled from black and white marble. He had purchased the horse as a colt a three years earlier from the lazy M. CJ had an explosive start. In six or seven passes he was running all out. With the natural strength of the quarter horse plus the build of the mountain mustang he had gotten the best of both along with being very intelligent. As they headed for the ranch house Logan could hear the wolves howling in the distance. CJs ears moved continuously picking up all the sounds of the evening.
There was only one trail out of the valley they were in and it had a spot that Logan hated. It twisted around and passed between two rock walls that were narrow and confining. As they entered the narrow passage Logan reached down platted the Winchester. Just a reassuring touch.
Just as they came around the last corner. The snarl of a mountain lion shattered the silence. The large cat leaped from the rock wall, CJ always aware of his surroundings bolted. Logan still not used to his explosive starts, slid out the saddle and hit the ground only feet from the crouching lion.
As Logan scrambled trying to regain his feet. The the large mountain lion leaped. Logan dove to the side trying to get out of the way. The two collided. Logan was knocked sideways, in the fall his head struck a rock and was knocked unconscious.
As he laid there, total helpless. The cat slowly started walking towards him. CJ sensing his friends emanate danger spun around and charged the huge cat. It was nature at it's savage furry. Hunter and hunted survival of the strongest.
CJ having the stallion survival instinct to always protect his heard. The huge cat leaped at CJ and was met with deadly striking front hooves. CJ came down on the cat. One CJ’s front hooves scraped the cats front shoulder, raking down it’s leg. Leaving a deep bloody cut. The other the scraped down the side of its head. Then spinning around he kicked out with both rear legs. One connected solid with the cats ribs sending it running for safety.
CJ stood over his fallen friend watching for any more danger that may come their way. After a few minutes the stallion reached down and bit Logan's jacket collar and started dragging him toward the ranch house and safety.
As they came out of the timber a couple of the ranch hands stood in amazement and could not believe what they were watching. Looking at each other then started to run towards the stallion and their boss.
CJ stopped and spun to face them. Ears pinned he stood to protect his fallen friend. The ranch hands stopped just out of reach of his deadly front legs.
Speaking softly along with moving very slowly they were finally able to get a hold of the bridle. Slowly they coaxed CJ away. Getting to Logan they started helping him just as he started to come around. The two ranch hands told Logan what they had witnessed. They then helped him back on CJ and together they all headed for the ranch house.
Thanks and have a fantastic day To Be Continued...
Author: Lance Figgins Copyright 2019 This book segment is copyrighted and may not be used without permission.
NEWS: Surviving Evil Book is finished and headed for editing!
New writing teaser:
Kay drops her coffee cup and screams,” Oh my god no!”
Joe jumps up and runs into the kitchen. Knocking over the end table and bouncing off the wall where he finds his wife sitting on the floor crying hysterically. Joe asks,” Kay what’s wrong? Honey, Kay what’s wrong?”
Kay points at her phone and says one word,” Hector.”
Joe picks up the phone and says,” Hello, hello is anyone there?” The phone is dead. The call had been disconnected. Joe drops the phone and holds Kay. Slowly he strokes her hair. As she try’s to tell Joe what the call was about and what Hector had said.
Twenty Four Hours Earlier
Colton snaps around and says,” I said no. You are to stay home and watch your brother.”
Janessa slowly turns as she puts her phone to ear and says,” Sorry Beth dad says I can’t go.” Slowly she walks down the haul towards her room.
Beth replies,” Wait till they leave and walk over. We can go swimming and you’ll be back before they get home.”
Janessa smiles as she replies,” Great idea. See you in a few minutes.” She walks into her room. Putting her swim suit on under her clothes. She switches on the Television and waits.
Her parents Colton and Desiree are about ready to leave as Colton walks back into the house. Calling his daughter he says,” Mom and I will be home in a couple of hours. You stay home and we’ll talk when I get back. For now stay home with your brother.”
Janessa argues,” But dad I want to go with Beth and the others swimming?”
Colton stands his ground and repeats himself,” I said stay home.” As he turns and walks out. Getting in the car he points his finger at the kids looking out the window as they leave.
Janessa turns and glancing at her brother she walks towards her bedroom and says,” I’m going to take a nap.”
Tucker answers without looking away from the television saying,” Yeah whatever.”
Fifteen minutes later Janessa slips out the window and heads for Beths. Walking the three blocks Beth meets her in the end of the driveway and together they walk the six blocks to the beach.
Removing their outer clothes the two girls run into the lake and swim out to the floating raft. Climbing up the latter they stretch out to talk and enjoy the sunshine on the beautiful summer day.
After a hour of sunshine they swim back to shore. Getting dressed they walk towards home. Talking about boys, school and that teacher they both dislike. Janessa looks at her phone and says,” I’ve got to get home. Mom and dad should be there most anytime.”
Janessa starts to walk the three blocks home as Beth walks up the driveway into the house.
Just a little over a block from home a car stops and asks,” Do you know where Jasper Graham lives?”
Janessa looks around as she slowly approaches the car. The nice looking young man again asks,” Do you know where Jasper Graham lives?”
Janessa looks up and down the street and says,” I’ve never heard that name around here.”
The man in the car says,” I have his address here someplace just a minute and I’ll find it.” He opens the glove box and starts looking around. Picking up a slip of paper he says I think this is it. He reaches over and opens the car door.
As Janessa gets closer and closer to the car suddenly she’s pushed from behind.
The young man places his hand on the back of her head. Forcing her face into his lap as the second guy grabs both arms and pinning them behind her back. Then forcing her legs he puts his boots on them as the car drives away.
Lucas Elliot sees what happening and runs out of his house just as the car starts to move. Cutting across his yard and the neighbors he comes out just twenty feet from where the had stopped for a stop sign. Then it turns and drives out of sight.
Colton and Desiree
arrive home and start unloading the car when Tucker walls out to help. Walking in the house Desiree calls,” Come help me put this stuff away.” As she starts emptying the bags. As Colton and Tucker haul in the last of the groceries.
Colton says,” Come on Tucker there is more in the trunk. You can carry the salt down stairs while I put the other stuff in the storage shed.”
As the Colton and his son walk out the door. Desiree calls again,” Janessa hey Janessa get in here.”
Colton stops and says,” Janessa where are you. Did you hear your mom! Get in here.” Turning he asks Tucker,” Where’s your sister?”
Tucker replies,” She should be in her room. She said she was going to take a nap.”
Colton storms down the haul and pushing open the doors he says,” Did you hear us?” Stopping he looks around and calls,” Janessa Janessa?”
Walking back into the living room he says,” She’s not in there.” Looking at Tucker he asks,” Did you see her leave?”
Tucker replies,” No she said she was going to take a nap. I was watching TV.”
Colton looks at his wife and says,” If she went to Beths I’m going to ground her for life.” Walking out side he says,” Tucker unload the car!” Then he walks down the driveway and turns towards Beths.
Lucas races back to his house when he sees Colton calling out,” Colton hey Colton. Lucas runs up breathing hard and says,” I just saw Janessa being forced into a light colored car. I got the license plate and tried to catch it as it left going north.
With his phone to his ear he listens as the emergency operator says,” 911 what’s your emergency.”
Lucas says,” I just saw my neighbors daughter being forced into a car. Here’s my address please get a officer here as soon as possible.”
The 911 operator says,” Can you describe the car? Do you have the plate number?”
Lucas says,” It’s a off white late model Ford four door with License number 9YT8730 it was going north on 129th street and turned left onto highway 67 and headed out of town about 10 minutes ago.”
The 911 operator repeated the information and said,” I’ll have a officer there in five minutes.” He then posted a all points bulletin over the police radio as he disconnects the call.
Colton and Lucas run back to the house stopping just as Desiree walks out. Desiree makes eye contact with her husband and says,” What’s wrong? Where Janessa? What happened?”
Colton puts his arms around her as Lucas starts to explain what had happened. As he talks the tears start flowing and Desiree looks at Colton and says,” No no. That’s not funny. Colton tell me where my daughter is. Your kidding right.” As she calls,” Janessa! Janessa! Where are you?”
Just then a police cruiser pulls up to the end of the driveway and the officer gets out. Walking up he introduces himself as officer Allen saying,” Did you report a possible child abduction?”
Lucas replies,” Possible my ass. I saw the whole thing. The car stopped one guy asked something to get her attention. When she got close enough to the car another came up from behind and pushed her inside and they drove off?”
Desiree yells don’t stand here talking with us. The cars going east on 67 catch it. My daughters in that car. Please go catch it.
Officer Allen replies,” Calm down please calm down. We have every officer in the area looking for that car already. I need you to calm down and tell me everything you can remember. We will find them.
Desiree breaks and starts crying hysterically saying,” Why her? Why why why?” Looking at Colton she says,” Why would someone take her. We’re not rich. Why?” Looking around she asks again,” Why?”
Beth is standing at the end of her driveway looking towards Janessa’s. Slowly she starts walking when Colton sees her and says,” Beth have you seen Janessa today or any of your other friends? She was just forced into a car. Are you kids planning some kind of a party? Do you know anything about this?”
Beth looks at Janessa folks and says,” I don’t know anything. I can’t believe this happened!”
As officer Allen takes notes a call comes in across the radio. Dispatch to all cars,” That license is registered to a 2005 silver Chevrolet pickup. Reported stolen yesterday.”
Just then another call comes through saying dispatch?” I’ve located the car. It’s in Walmart’s parking lot. It has that license plate number on it. I need a unmarked car and a plain clothes officer to watch it as soon as possible. If they are in the area I don’t want to scare them off. I can’t see the girl from here.”
Dispatch replies,” Check the car and continue to patrol the area. We’ll have other cars there in a few minutes. To all cars Abduction suspects car has been located Walmart parking lot. Officer on scene. Repeat suspects car located Walmart parking lot. Officer on scene.”
Officer Allen looks at Desiree and says,” We have found the car.”
While everyone is looking around town and surrounding area officer Allen is still talking with Colten, Lucas, Beth and Desiree when a call comes in of an officer down in a town 45 miles away. Everyone listens as reports continue to come in.
Hector and Pedro have been planning this for a week. Two days before they stole four vehicles and switching all the license plates so none of them had the correct plate and they were even different from front to rear. They had placed the vehicles in four towns about thirty miles apart where they finally left the last car they would use to get to a small airport where a
twin engine plane would fly them back to Mexico.
Pulling into Walmart parking lot Hector takes out a knife and says,” If you so much as try and get anyone’s attention I’ll slide this between your ribs and you’ll die a very slow and painful death right here in this parking lot between the cars and no one will see you!”
Carefully Hector and Pedro switch cars and head back west on 67 into town and out the west side. It’s thirty miles to where they have another stolen car waiting for them.
As they leave the parking lot Janessa starts to struggle. She’s trying to fight a battle she can’t win. Hector slaps her several times and then punches her in the kidneys. Janessa quits fighting and lays there with tears running down her cheeks.
Driving through town they meet several cops lights flashing heading East on 67. Pedro watches in the mirror as he proceeds West out of town and the immediate area.
Hector looks at Pedro and says,” This is going to be so good. I’ll finally have what I want and there’s not a thing Joe West or anyone else can do about it.”
Twenty minutes later they arrive at a Home Depot. Getting out of the car they casually walk to a stolen Jeep Cherokee. Leaving the parking lot then turn north they take highway 305 north 20 miles to Des Moines where they have yet another stole vehicle waiting for them in a mall parking lot.
Hector watches as they meet two state troopers. Looking in the mirror he says,” Watch your driving. I don’t think they have figured anything out yet although it won’t take them long to put it all together. It’s just under thirty miles to Ames and there we will switch one last time and head north. I’m going to call the plane so they at the airport when we arrive. Once we are air born we’ll only have to land once for fuel and we’ll be in Mexico.”
Pedro looks over at Janessa her hard muscled body and asks,” Can I have the girl when we get there?”
Janessa eyes snap open as she starts to struggle again. Hector slaps her hard on the side of the face and says,” Not yet I need her perfectly healthy until after I contact Joe and Kay West. After that maybe.”
Ten miles from the airport they meet a state patrol. Pedro watches as the car slows and turns around. Hector slides a .45 out from under his coat and lays it in his lap.
One mile from the airport. The trooper turns on the lights. Pedro signals and pulls to the side. Hector works the action making sure the pistol is loaded. As the officer approaches the passenger side of the car Hector fires one shot into his chest. Lifting the officer off his feet and knocking him backwards onto the side of the road.
Quickly Pedro steps on the gas and a minute later they turn into the airport. Driving around the fence and right up to the waiting plane. In a matter of seconds all three are in the plane and the pilot pushes the throttles forward as they taxi to the runway. Hector tells the pilot,” Get this thing in the air now. Do your run up while we taxi. So you can get airborne faster.”
As they approach the runway the pilot radios local traffic. Not slowing he continues out onto the runway. Pushing the throttles full forward less than thirty seconds later the plane climbs skyward as they bank southwest head for the desserts of Mexico.
The officer slowly gets to his knees. His radio has been crushed when he landed on it. Slowly he crawls to his cruiser. Picking up the mic he calls dispatch and reports the shooting. Asking,” do you have any information on the car I pulled over?”
Dispatch answers,” The Chevrolet was reported stolen this morning. It seams that four vehicles have been stolen in the last twenty four hours. We have located three. I have a ambulance in route your location. Stay put he’ll be there in ten minutes.”
State patrol Bill Oliver replies,” I’m about a mile from Williams airport. I’m headed there now. I’ll radio in from there. Requesting backup now. Repeat Williams airport requesting backup.”
A call goes out across the radio,” State Patrol requesting backup. Williams airport all units State Patrol requires backup Williams airport.”
As the police in the area start reporting in their location and who is in route to the Williams airport officer Oliver calls in,” I believe I have found the fourth car. It’s at the Williams airport.” He watches as the twin engine plane banks to the southwest and disappears from sight.
Desiree looks at Colton and says,” My God what are we going to do? Why is this happening?”
Colton replies,” I’ll call the bank and see how much we can get to pay the ransom when they call.”
A few minutes later the chief of police Dylan Jackson arrives to talk with and give advice to Desiree and Colton. He had already contacted the FBI. This was now their case when the suspects had fled in a airplane. They were sure they would cross state lines and possibly international boarders as well.
Late that afternoon FBI agent Dale Mowers walks walks up along with Dylan Jackson. He introduces him to every one while the other agents start setting up equipment.
Dale then starts asking questions. Lucas tells his story again. While Dale takes notes. Then talking with officer Allen and state patrol officer Bill Oliver. Soon the story starts coming together. Bill looks at Mowers and says,” These guys these suspects looked to be possibly Mexican.”
Without looking around agent Mowers replies,” This could be a sex trafficking ring.”
Desiree standing only a few feet away hears this and starts crying again as she says,” Sex traffic. What do you mean sex traffic?”
Colton grabs his wife and stands there trying to comfort her as he glares at Mowers. Turning he walks her back into the kitchen where he calmly get her sitting with a couple of the neighbor ladies that had stopped over for support and to try and help where and when they could.
Colton walks back into the living room and says to Dylan,” Tell that guy to be more careful. Things like what he just said don’t need to be said in front of Desiree.”
Dale over heard the conversation and replies,” We need to face facts.”
Colton asks,” What facts are you talking about?”
Dale replies,” She’s young and pretty. That exactly what these guys are looking for.”
Desiree walks back in and tells Colton,” I’m going to call mom. I need to talk to her. I sure wish she and Joe lived closer.”
Dale asks,” Where do they live?”
Colton replies,” They just built a new home in Montana. South west of Billings.”
Dale asks,” By any chance are you talking about Joe and Kay West?”
With a shocked look on her face Desiree relies,” Yes. Why do you know them?”
Dale swears under his breath and replies,” Yeah. And I don’t want that, that trouble causing ass a round here.”
Looking at agent Aaron Thomas then back at Colton he says,” I’m going to leave two guys here to watch over you and the equipment we’ve set up. I’ll be back tomorrow morning. Hopefully by then we will have been in contacted and can see what their demands are.” The he continues,” Aaron you come with me.
As they walk away Aaron asks,” You must of had trouble with this Joe West. What happened?”
Mowers replies,” Yeah. He’s the reason I’m now stationed here in bow dunk Iowa rather than the Hover building in DC. He’s the worst kind of a gun toting ass you’ll ever find. Him and that damn cowboy Logan Lathrop.”
Author: Lance Figgins Copyright 2016 - 2020 Photos & Writings on this site are originals are copyrighted and may not be used without permission.