"Little Britches" Universe
"BUCK.....B.....U.....C.....K........" .was the only sound heard as a small gust of wind plowed into the unsuspecting man. The wind came in the shape of a small boy. Only the strength of the man kept them from falling.
Vin and JD are sitting at the table with their heads together, planning. Whenever Buck or Chris came near, they stopped talking and started eating. The men wondered what they were up to. However, when asked what they were going to do, Vin would shrug his shoulders and JD would copy him. Both would say things like "nothin', don't know, guess so." When breakfast was done, the boys did their chores so fast, Chris and Buck felt they were watching a race. With chores done, and promising to be home by lunch, Vin and JD took off.
JD was in tears. As Buck tried to check for injuries, Chris asked, "JD? Where's Vin?" which only brought more tears to the boy's eyes. " Buck, you find anything? He all right?" Chris asked.
"No, Chris. He seems fine; I just can't figure out why he's crying so much. Nathan leave any of that herb tea of his? Maybe that will help calm him."
"Buck, while you see to JD, I'm goin' to take a look around, see if I can find any sign of the boy. If I don't find Vin, I'll head into town for help.
11an - 4pm
By the time Chris returned with Josiah, Nathan, Ezra and Mary Travis, Buck had JD sleeping. He was preparing to search for Vin.
Each man gathered supplies needed and Mary prepared food and water.
When everything was loaded, the men branched out in different directions. The search began with Chris and Nathan heading north, Buck and Ezra going south, leaving the riverbed to Josiah.
Mary watched as the men rode out. She said a prayer that they would find Vin safe and unharmed.
As the hours dragged by, the men returned, each hoping the others had found him. Josiah was the last to return and as he entered the cabin, they were shocked to see Vin's boot. The mere sight of the boot sent a chill through Chris' heart.
The men gathered around him as he explained where he found it. "Well, brothers," Josiah began, "I found his boot stuck in the mud on my way back from the riverbed. I tried to look around but the waning light prevented my searching any further. I figured it best to return so we could search together and increase our chances of finding him."
Just then a frightening cry was heard. Everyone froze as JD woke, screaming Vin's name. No one was able to calm the child. Mary and Buck tried but to no avail. JD just kept screaming for Vin until he wore himself out and fell back to sleep.
Josiah led the others back to where he found Vin's boot. Keeping each other in sight, the men carefully searched the area. As the men were spreading out across the riverbed, a young Vin Tanner was slowly coming to
With fear gripping his little heart and as his eyes adjusted to the dark room, he waited for someone... no, for Chris to come get him.
The Town of Roscoe
Shorty Fellows was known as a tracker of sorts. Most folks in this part of the west turned to Shorty when they had need of one. The Bowman Traveling Show was no different. When told of his unique talent, they hired the man to find their lost (misplaced) gorilla, Peaches. You see, Shorty was the kind of man who, could find a needle in a haystack. So finding a gorilla to Shorty was like finding a tooth under a pillow.
Irving Porter, Peaches' trainer, was to accompany Shorty in his search for Peaches. However, before Shorty would begin the search, he insisted on knowing everything that occurred that caused the gorilla to escape, thus knowing what lay ahead of them.
"Well it began like this," said Irving, "the owners of the show decided that one gorilla was enough. They sold Hart. This proved to be their downfall. You see, Hart was Peaches' mate and he was very protective of her because she was expecting a baby. Peaches gave birth shortly after they sold Hart. When she woke, her baby was gone. Peaches' was despondent, never having seen her baby. Nothing we did could bring a smile to her face. Then the other night, I was feeding the animals and when I got to Peaches' cage, it was empty."
Nathan was searching on the far side of the riverbed when he came across the strangest tracks he had ever seen. Now he understood why JD was so upset. Nathan thought, 'Hell, if I came across something that left tracks like those, I'd be scared too.'
Quietly he gathered the others, showing them what he found. All agreed nothing could be done until morning. With that in mind, it was decided that Chris and Nathan would take first watch.
The Bowman Traveling Show
This particular show was heading west because of some troubles they had in the big city. Trouble just seemed to follow them. In every town some mishap would occur and for that reason the show was slowly driven west.
After traveling for two days, the show pulled into the little town of Red Deer. It didn't take long for the trouble to begin. It started when a local would declare "cheater" and all hell would break lose. In the saloon just as it always did. Red Deer, just like all the towns before it, would not be where their luck would change. Just like the sun was moving west so was the traveling show.
Now awake, Vin looked around. Sensing he was alone, he crawled to the wall and stood, slowly feeling his way along, looking for a way out. As he crept along he suddenly fell into space and he let out a cry. When he was able, he pulled himself up and found he was sitting in some kind of tunnel.
An exhausted Vin crawled over to the wall, curled up and fell asleep. A loud noise woke him, sending shivers down his spine and filling him with fear. Not knowing what it could be, he drew his knees to his chest wrapping his thin arms around them. Quietly, he spoke, "Chris, please come get me."
The Campsite - Later That Night
Nathan settled back and tried to relax, however his mind kept drifting back to a time before two little boys stole the hearts of five men. Two of these men had been close friends no, brothers. That relationship had been in danger of being lost. Since the death of Chris' beloved wife and son, the ties between these two men had grown weaker with each day.
Then Vin Tanner, a quiet boy of seven years, and his five-year-old cousin, JD Dunne, who never seemed to stop talking, appeared. In their own loveable way, they took control and brought five lonely men together as a family.
All Nathan could think on was what would happen to Chris Larabee if Vin was hurt, or worse, dead. The loss of another child would be more than he could take.
Who would tell JD that Vin was with their mamas, leaving him all alone? What would happen to JD? Nathan prayed they would find Vin.
On the Other Side of the Fire
Chris was trying to settle back and yet, it was to no avail. His mind took him back to the day he and Buck took two small boys in and all their lives changed . It gave Chris a new reason for living. He loved Vin, loved him as if he were his own son. If he were to lose the boy, life would hold no meaning for him. Life itself would not matter. The loss of another child would send him over the edge.
The Bowman Traveling Show
Trouble just seemed to be this show's middle name. As they reached the edge of Clearview, the sheriff was waiting for them. This sheriff was known for miles around as the meanest, most ornery person that ever wore a badge. No one, I mean no one, messed with Sheriff BB Burns. Some say it was she who taught Chris Larabee how to prefect that glare.
BB Burns was determined that no traveling show was setting foot in her town. She decided she was going to stop them before they settled in for the night and that was exactly what she did. So, they pushed on.
Buck found himself watching the sleeping child and saying a pray for Vin's safe return. He was about to go to his room, when he saw Vin's empty bed out of the corner of his eye and a tired Buck lay down and soon fell into a restless sleep.
Sometime during the night JD cried out for Vin, then crawled into bed with Buck. He clung to the man who in turn wrapped his arms around the boy. Holding him tight, the man whispered, "It'll be alright, little bit."
Soon both man and boy were sound asleep.
5 am - 6 pm
Buck was rising to a magnificent sunrise and a clear sky, giving him a renewed sense of hope. Opening his eyes, he found JD curled up in his arms. He held the child a little while longer, then slowly he lifted himself off the bed. JD continued to sleep as Buck eased his way out of the bedroom.
Entering the kitchen, he found Mary cooking breakfast.
Josiah and Ezra were finishing their coffee. The horses were already saddled and the supplies were loaded. They had packed clothes and boots for Vin.
Buck was just about to mount, when a small child latched onto his leg. The only sound coming from the child was a long continuous yell, "No.............."
Turning back to Josiah and Ezra, Buck said, "Why don't you head back? Tell Chris I'll be along directly. Just need to try and calm JD down."
"Mr. Wilmington," Ezra proclaimed. "I hope your endeavor will be a fruitful one."
While Josiah added, "God's speed, brother."
They watched them for a spell, then he picked up JD and headed back into the cabin.
Inside Buck sat in the rocker as he began to tell 'Lil' Bit' a story. It was about 'two little boys who brought life back into a cabin'. By the time he was finished, JD was almost asleep. Before JD closed his eyes, Buck said, "Come morning, our family will be back together." He rocked the boy a little longer, then he got up and Mary took his place. He gently laid JD on her lap, placing a kiss on the boy's head.
Before leaving, Buck turned around, smiled at Mary, and then he quietly closed the door.
Vin didn't know how long he'd been in the cave or how much longer he'd have to wait. He suddenly realized how quiet it had become. Listening, and hearing nothing, he decided to take the chance to escape.
Unable to sleep, Chris and Nathan followed the tracks. As the sun rose, so too did their hopes. Knowing the others would be returning soon they turned back and arrived just as Josiah and Ezra rode in.
By the time Buck reached the camp, Chris and Nathan were going over what they had found as well as the plan they had formed. Chris was drawing a diagram showing the best ways to approach the cave they had discovered. Everyone believed that the best way to proceed was to go slowly. It was their hope they would find Vin in the cave. And so again, they spread out, moving forward as one.
As JD woke and become alert, he remembered. Mary watched and listened as he began to talk about what happened. Suddenly his small body started to shake; Mary gathered him, holding him tight. She kept him close until he calmed down and was able to talk again. It seemed that he couldn't...wouldn't... stop and so Mary gently asked him questions about his cousin and what had happened.
Vin was making slow but steady progress. Just when he thought the tunnel would never end, he saw a flicker of light and his hopes soared. He almost cried for joy. However, the pain in his leg reminded him of the tree and getting hurt on their way to their hideout in the woods. He had lost his balance as he was trying to walk on a tree branch and fell hurting his leg.
Before either boy knew what was happening a monster appeared and scooped Vin up carrying him away.
The men were moving along at a rapid pace, watching, each looking for any sign of danger. The closer they came to the cave, the faster they wanted to move forward. However, it was fear of the unknown that kept them moving at a slow pace.
Mary let JD talk himself to sleep. Stirring when she lay him down, instead of his bed, she laid him on Vin's. JD curled himself around the pillow, sighing when his cousin's scent engulfed his nose. Only then did he settle. A single tear fell as he slept.
Vin was overjoyed. At last he had reached the end of the tunnel. Even though he wanted to shout, laugh and giggle, he kept silent. It was fear that kept him from possibly alerting anyone or anything of his escape. When his eyes adjusted to the light, he looked around, wondering which direction was home.
The Search - The Cave
Chris, Buck and the others were slowly closing in on the cave. Little did they know Vin was no longer there.
Mary thought as she watched JD sleep.'Should we go for help? Should we go find Chris and tell him what JD remembered? Or should we just wait here?'
Lost in her thoughts, Mary never heard the commotion outside. No. It was the pounding that alerted her to an intruder. Slowly she made her way to the door. She approached asking, "Who is it?" to her surprise the door flew open and there standing in front of her...
Just then JD woke.
It took only one look for JD and Mary to start screaming. Standing at the door was the biggest monster they had ever seen. Suddenly JD was running up to it and hitting it. All Mary could hear was JD yelling for it to bring Vin back home. Fear gripped her heart as the monster reached down and grabbed JD as it took off running.
Mary stood stunned as the monster grabbed JD. Slowly she realized what was happening. She ran out to the corral, grabbed hold of Sadie's mane and swung up on the horse.(Sadie is one of the horses that pulled the supply wagon.) Keeping a tight hold on Sadie's mane, Mary stayed back, trying to keep JD in sight. She hoped that at the end of the chase she would find Vin as well as the others.
Shorty Fellows was just a mile up the road when he saw the most amazing thing. He couldn't believe his luck. There, heading right for him, was his quarry, carrying a small child. Just as he wondered where the child's mother was, a woman came flying around the bend. He realized he would need more men if he hoped to take the creature alive and rescue the young boy unharmed.
The Search - The Cave
Buck was the first to reach the cave ; he searched the ground for any sign of trouble. What he found scared him right down to the tips of his toes. He was looking at the biggest footprints and yet they didn't actually look like any footprint he had ever seen. While waiting for the others, he continued to look around. On the other side of the entrance of the cave Buck found small prints, they appeared to be the size of a small child's. These seemed to be heading away from the cave. Listening and not hearing any sounds coming from the cave, Buck decided to investigate.
The young boy continued on, hoping someone would come and help him. His leg hurt so much he wanted to cry and yet all he could remember was that mean bully in the home telling him big boys don't cry.'Vin,' he kept telling himself, 'you're a big boy and big boys don't cry.'
When his pain became so strong he couldn't go on, he had crawled under a tree and tried to rest. It seemed that he was stopping more often and the pain was getting intense. He was about to doze off , when he saw a wagon or someone or something coming towards him. Not knowing what was coming, he tried to hide. However, the object was moving faster than the boy.
Buck entered the cave and as his eyes adjusted to the lack of light in the tunnel, he slowly made his way into the chamber of the cave. Listening and looking around for any signs of the boy, he moved further into the cave. It was in a small cavern that he found Vin's other boot.
Outside the Cave
Chris, Nathan and the others were just reaching the entrance, when they heard something or someone running towards them. Each man stood ready, guns aimed at the cave opening. Just as Chris was about to pull the trigger, Buck came barreling out of the cave with Vin's boot. Again, Chris' heart lodged in his throat and a shiver shot down his spine. Buck was telling them all he saw in the cave, when a new noise was heard coming their way. Taking cover, they waited, as the sound grew louder.
Watching as the wagon approached, a huge smile appeared as he recognized Tiny from the livery in town.
Tiny got closer. He couldn't believe Vin was so far from home. The big man looked around, wondering where Chris and Buck were, as he pulled the team to a stop and jumped off.
Vin tried to tell him what happened, but all he could do was cry. Tiny gathered the small boy up into his huge arms and held him while he cried. The small boy fell asleep crying, so Tiny made room for the little feller in the back of his wagon. Figuring his delivery to the Reese ranch could wait, Tiny headed on to Chris' place.
The men took cover as they waited, wondering who or what could be coming. It wasn't long before the monster appeared. Stunned, the men watched as it disappeared into the cave. It took but a second for Buck to realize that the monster was carrying JD, a limp JD, but JD all the same. Buck started yelling as he ran toward the cave. Josiah, however, was faster and blocked him from entering.
"Now Josiah," Buck yelled, "git out of my way."
Josiah replied, "Brother take it easy, we don't want any harm to come to the boy. If we go rushing in no telling what will happen."
A Mile Down the Road
On his way to Chris' ranch Tiny came upon Shorty Fellows, an old friend from his war days. Tiny asked what he was doing in his neck of the woods. Before explaining, Shorty introduced him to Irving Porter. They talked for a few minutes, then Shorty asked Tiny for his help. They filled him in on the escape of Peaches after the assumed deaths of her twin babies Anna and Abby. Shorty continued to tell him of how they tracked Peaches this far and the small boy she now held captive. Well, Tiny never heard of such an animal, but agreed to help.
Outside the Cave
Before anyone else could react or speak, Mary appeared on Sadie. Nathan grabbed hold of Sadie as a shaking Mary fell to the ground. Chris scooped her up and carried her over to the trees. Nathan checked her to make sure she wasn't hurt. All the men gathered around her as she told them what had happened. Chris and the men listened and wondered just what kind of animal - no monster - they were dealing with. They studied the cave looking for another way in, finding none. They realized that even if they did get the monster out they wouldn't know what to do with it.
Ezra, certain he heard some kind of noise, asked the others "to refrain from speaking." Wondering what had caught Ezra's attention, everyone froze. To their surprise, Tiny came around the bend, leading two strangers. Just as he was about to introduce them, a scream was heard. Chris and Buck both yelled "Vin!" and ran to the back of the wagon.
Vin was clutching the side of the wagon when someone reached in and lifted him out. He was about to cry out when he heard Chris' voice.
With Vin back in Chris and Buck's warm embraces, Tiny began to explain where he found Vin. "Well, you see, it was like this. I's headed out to the Reese ranch, when I saw something on the side of the road. As I got closer, I seen your little feller there. He were trying to hide behind a tree, but I could see he's having trouble movin'. All of 'a sudden I see a smile come across his face, You know like he knows me. Next thing he's cryin' in my arms and fell off to sleep. I fixed a place in back and head on to your place Mr. Larabee, Mr. Wilmington.
As I headed on to your ranch, I ran in to an old war buddy of mine. This here is Shorty Fellows. That there is one of the men searching for 'a animal the likes I never did hear of. They call it a go rilla, seems it gone done took some woman's little feller. We followed it in this here direction. Your boy was so quiet, I plum forgot I even had him in the wagon. So when they asked for my help, what else could I do but come along? This gent is the trainer of that 'go rilla' that needs capturin'.
Chris heard all he wanted to hear, then asked, "What does this animal look like?" When they heard the description of the gorilla, it became so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Buck was the first to respond after the shock of realizing that Peaches was the monster holding JD. He told them where they could find Peaches. Vin had been asleep and woke hearing how Peaches now held JD. He began to tremble.
Mary saw Vin wake, trembling. She called Nathan over and asked him what was wrong with the boy. Seeing how upset Vin was, Nathan tried to question him but all he could get was a frightened cry. It took the soft voice of Josiah to get Vin talking. Once the boy started to talk, he wouldn't ... couldn't stop."Please, oh please." They heard over and over again. "I'll be good, I'll be good. Just let JD come home with us."
Chris watched as Josiah worked his magic, but hearing Vin's cry nearly broke his heart. He promised himself when all this was over Vin would always know just how much he was loved.
Irving Porter was a quiet man and spoke only as needed and even then as little as possible. Yet it was this humble man who held the key to JD's release.
Now that everyone knew each other and Vin had been reassured that JD would be coming home with them, the planning began.
Before anyone could suggest how to enter the cave, Irving said that he had already formulated a plan of rescue. To everyone's surprise, he had help coming and they should be along within the next few minutes. Suddenly a wagon appeared with bars along the sides, front and back. It was something never before seen in these parts. Buck started to rant saying how stupid the contraption was and didn't believe it would help free JD.
Irving began explaining his plan, as he spoke he released the cover on one side of the wagon. To everyone's amazement there sat two small gorillas. Josiah was the first to speak, "Brother, just what is your plan and how do these babies fit in?"
"Well, let me introduce you to Peaches' babies," said Irving. "You see gentlemen, Peaches gave birth to these lovely little creatures, about two weeks ago. The traveling show we are apart of took her babies away as she birthed them. The babies didn't move or make any sound and so it was believed that they were dead. Hoping to prevent any problems or cause any trouble the babies were to be buried as quickly as possible. When Peaches woke and couldn't find her babies, she escaped and went looking for them. Which is how and why we have come to be here. So if you will be so kind as to help us position the wagon, to cover the mouth of the cave, I believe we will have Peaches back with her babies and you back with your son."
Under the careful direction of Irving, the men positioned the wagon in front of the cave, waiting in hopes that Peaches would come out to investigate. Time dragged by and morning approached but Peaches never appeared.
For Chris, time was up; he couldn't wait any longer. He wanted his family back, so he entered the cave as quietly as possible. Chris moved forward at a slow, cautious pace. When he reached the boy, he covered the child's mouth, telling him to be quiet. Together, they began their escape out of the cave. Just as they reached the opening, Peaches woke and gave a blood-curdling cry.
Outside, the others were startled awake hearing the screams of pain coming from the cave. They were afraid it was JD. Buck looked around and noticed Chris was nowhere to be seen.
Everyone rushed to the opening of the cave, just as Chris was emerging with a weeping JD in his arms. When Buck arrived, JD nearly jumped out of Chris' arms. The need to have his family close together had Chris seeking out Vin. Finding Nathan holding Vin, Chris scooped the boy into his arms, while still clinging to JD. He embraced his family, holding on as if his life depended on it. In his mind and heart, it did.
Suddenly, five men, two boys and one woman stood holding on to each other as the rest of their small world looked on.
Every year, the traveling show comes back to Four Corners and is welcomed with open arms.Vin and JD, after being told why Peaches did what she did, felt sorry for her. And now just like the rest of the town, they too look forward to seeing Peaches and her girls, Anna and Abby.
Just in, "Hart, mate of Peaches the gorilla, owned by The Bowman Traveling Show. has just been reunited with his family. Parents and daughters are reported to be doing just fine."
This story was told to you by Yorker, she was a gal from the East. Some say she even came from a place called New York. Maybe so, but will we ever know? I think not. But than again what do I know.
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