Chapter 12 Flight
Honey had a good head start. She stayed on the dirt road at first, where
the footing was good. Three miles was a long run; at her best Honey could
probably have done it in something over twenty minutes - she was young and
strong and had the long, strong legs of a thoroughbred. But the night was cold;
worse, she had been subjected to all kinds of abuse and tied up for hours and
her legs just didn't respond as well as they normally would have.
But she pushed gamely on, covering ground with her long panicky strides.
Ernie's horse was somewhere far down the road in front of her, but she had
caught up to Jack's riderless horse after the first quarter mile. Honey had
tried briefly to mount him again, but Cyclone always eased away, and she decided
to just keep running and forget about the horse.
She was about half a mile away from the Wilson ranch when she heard the
first whistle piercing the night air. She wasn't sure of its meaning but it
could not possibly be good news. She redoubled her efforts, trying to put as
much distance between herself and the Wilson ranch as possible.
The full moon emerged from behind a cloud a minute or two later. Had there
been a watcher in the west Texas night, he would have been treated to the
delicious spectacle of the semi-nude blonde running in the moonlight. A modern
day Diana, a moonlit goddess of the hunt, with breasts bouncing in time to the
beat of her footsteps, her nipples beautifully distended in the crisp night air,
the muscles in her lithe thighs working overtime, the twin orbs of her
panty-covered bottomcheeks jiggling with every stride. But this goddess of the
hunt was the hunted, not the hunter.
Honey still had no idea what time it was - whether it was 10:00 PM or 4:00
AM - all she knew was that she was running for her life.
She was about a mile from the Wilson place when she heard the second shrill
whistle, much fainter this time because of the additional distance. But sound
carried a long way at night out in the open country. Her lungs were burning
now, her legs were tiring, and she was sure that her bare feet were bleeding
from a thousand footfalls on the dirt, sand, and pebbles of the lonely dirt
road. But still she ran.
Honey was nearly two miles from home, and only a mile from the safety of
the Dunbar ranch, when she first heard the patter of horse's hooves in the
distance behind her. She tried to pick up the pace, but she was near
exhaustion. If only she could make it another half mile or so, she could
probably call out so that the neighbors could hear her.
But with each step she took, the pounding of the horse's hooves grew louder
and louder. The moon had been playing peek-a-boo with the clouds all night and
the next time it peeked through she looked back over her shoulder and saw, for
the first time, the ominous figure of Jack Slocum astride Cyclone drawing
closer, perhaps a couple of hundred yards behind now.
She would never make it, unless...just then the moon dipped back behind the
clouds again... unless she left the road and tried to run cross country through
the fields. Her progress would be slowed, but so would Cyclone's. And if the
moon could only stay behind the clouds, perhaps Jack would have difficulty
tracking her in the darkness.
Convinced that this was her best chance, Honey left the road and headed
into the field, still running in the same general direction toward the nearby
ranch, at a slightly oblique angle, some twenty or thirty yards away from the
But as soon as she did so, she began paying a price. The field was one
that cattle hadn't grazed on lately, and was strewn with every kind of weed,
thistle, bramble and bush that grew on the Texas flatlands. In the darkness,
Honey couldn't see the chapparal until it was too late; she hadn't run a hundred
yards before she sensed that her long legs were being shredded by a variety of
prickers and thorns.
But the night remained dark and she sensed that Jack Slocum had stuck to
the safety of the road. And still she ran, blindly, into the night.
Honey couldn't have been much more than a half mile from safety when her
foot slipped and she was thrown headlong into a prickly patch of four-foot high
mesquite. She couldn't help but cry out in pain - her breasts and belly had
been turned into pincushions. Honey could feel the sharp barbs of dozens of
mesquite thorns digging into her. She was able to brush away some of them, but
there was no time to pick out the ones that had sunk deepest into her flesh.
Not only that, but her cry of pain had probably helped Black Jack zero in on her
in the darkness.
Desperately, painfully, Honey climbed to her feet, and tried to run again.
She could see a faint flicker of light, probably from a kerosene lamp, at the
ranch house in the distance. Only two or three minutes from safety!
But then, an unkind fate took over. Jack Slocum had stayed on the road,
fearful of injuring Cyclone in the undergrowth; when Honey cried out in pain
when she fell, he could hear her, a little further up the road, and off to the
side, but he couldn't really see her in the Stygian blackness of the night. But
just as he heard her stumble to her feet and set out again through the fields,
the sun in the east crept up over the horizon.
And in the first light of dawn, Jack could see a blonde and exhausted Honey
Wilson, perhaps fifty yards ahead of him, naked to the waist, desperately
floundering through the brush, some fifteen yards off the road.
Within half a minute Cyclone had made up the fifty yards, and Jack jumped
off and set off into the field after his blonde quarry, twirling a rope overhead
like a rodeo rider.
When he got within a few yards he launched the rope once, and missed, but
moments later he tried again, and this time the lasso fell gently around Honey's
shoulders. Then Jack gave the rope a swift jerk tug, and Honey, arms
imprisoned, fell helplessly to the ground.