Seekers-The Quest-1
By SASQUAW


Walker ranch:
            It's been almost a week since Cordell moved out and went to live at his grandfathers'. The Walker home is tense, with arguments between Walker and his wife. Angela has been listening to the arguments and is becoming very upset, so she calls Dana again.
            "Dana, it's so horrible around here, my parents are barely speaking, and even Cooper and Little Ray are feeling the tension. Cooper spends more time working on that darn truck, and he's starting to argue with Dad about having to do Cordell's share of the chores. Have you seen my brother, have you talked to him?"
            "Yes, Angela I talk to him everyday and I've seen him almost everyday---and believe me, he's just as miserable!"
            "Did he tell you that?"
                  "Angela, he doesn't have to say it, it's written all over him---and he's so irritable---he's not the same person!"
            Angela shakes her head, "My birthday is coming up in just five days---I want my brother home----do you think I should talk to him again?"
            "I don't know, Angela---I've tried talking to him---I've gotten down right rude with him, telling him how stupid it was to walk out and all of this arguing with his Dad is not going to help anything!"
            "What did he say to that?"
            "He said it was the principal of the thing and he did it for "us'---so we could spend more time together---but Angela---we've seen each other less! Your grandpa has to bring him back and forth to school----all the way from Dallas---when school is out---he has to go directly back to Dallas---you know that he's got a job, don't you?"
            Angela sighs, "Yes---we know about the job----he's doing odd jobs around the swimming pool, and helping the lifeguards keep the emergency equipment clean and all. He told Cooper that when he turns 15, he can get a certificate for being a lifeguard."
            "If he lasts that long, if that temper doesn't cause him to lose the job he has---I'm telling you, Angela---your brother has changed----and I have to say---I don't like the new Cordell Walker."
            "What do we do, Dana?"
            "How is your Dad reacting to his being gone?"
            "Well----at first he kept telling Mom that Cordell needed to cool off----and he would come to his senses----but now-----I think Dad really misses him.  I saw him out by the corral last night, talking to Old Ranger----he had tears in his eyes. I know he's worried about Old Ranger's health and all, and some of the tears were probably for him----but I think some were for Cordell as well."
            Angela hears a long pause at the other end of the phone, "Dana----are you there?"
            "Yes, Angela---I'm here---but I'm going to hang up now---I've got something to do----I'll call you later."
                           ******************************************
            The old man starts moving around inside the house, looking for more food. It has been a couple of hours since the man was dragged away and thrown into the back of the jeep. The old man has found a half empty can of chili and beans, he stares at the can for the longest---then laughs, talking to himself "Chili---how ironic--"
           
His voice then mimics an old advertisement from many, many years before--"How long has it been since you had a can of Wolf brand chili----well that's too long!"---The old man tastes the chili, then makes a face----"They call this chili---I can make better chili than this with my eyes closed---why hell---road kill would taste better than this---even squashed armadillos would have this manure running to the nearest McDonalds------I wonder if they're still in business?"
            The old man hears voices coming up on the porch and he tries to find a hiding place. An old couple comes into the house, cautiously---looking around, speaking in Spanish. He listens to their conversation, he can understand most of what is being said, something about a trap was set---for the two escapees! The old man comes out of his hiding place very slowly, the old couple is startled and start backing up to the door, begging their "uninvited guest' not to hurt them.
            The old man starts speaking his broken Spanish as quickly as he can, telling the old couple he will not hurt them. Soon the couple relaxes and the woman brings him a cup of coffee that is mostly water. The old man drinks it quickly; at least it was hot. He thanks the woman over and over and then he tells them about one of the escapees getting caught.
            "The other prisoner----is around someplace near----Si`, senor?"
            "I suppose---you said that a trap was set, that included the phone, didn't it?"
            "Si`---the men-they come---put the telephone in---then leave."
            "Well---the prisoner got a call through before those men got here, and I'll bet my bottom dollar--those weren't Federales that came busting in here----were they?"
            The old couple shake their heads, "No senor--they were banditos----Diablo's men----very dangerous."
            The old man stares back at them, rubbing the stubble on his face, the vision of that man coming back to him for only a second.
            "What is wrong senor----are you sick?"
            "I've been sick for so many years----every since I was brought to this God forsaken place------it's just that---that man---he reminded me of someone-----but I know that can't be----because he's dead-----they're ---all dead."
            The couple starts whispering between them, the old lady motions for their 'guest' to lie down on the floor and get some much needed sleep. He smiles back at them, and lays down--using his arm bent back for a pillow. The old woman brings him a blanket and soon he's fast asleep.
            The dreams come to the old man again, he's chasing riders on horseback, a gun hangs at his hip, and something shiny is on his chest. Another rider joins him, he too carries a gun and the object on his chest catches the glint from the sun. His dreams mingle and a dark skinned young man is smiling back at him, with a row of perfect white teeth, and a infectious smile. Everything becomes slow motion, as a beautiful blond headed woman appears in his dream, she has piercing blue eyes. She walks past him and the dark skinned man, walking up to another man, wearing all black; he sports a trim-line beard. The woman goes into his arms, and they share a kiss. The old man smiles as does the dark skinned man. The four of them---just seem to drift away---as everything becomes foggy.


                                         ************************************
            The Walkers are starting to sit down to supper when the phone rings, Angela hands the phone to her Mother without asking who it is. She knows she nor her brothers are allowed to talk on the phone during meal times.
            Alex answers and her face lights up, she answers quickly, "I'm coming to get you".
            Walker turns to her, "Who was that?"
            Alex is almost in tears, "Cordell----he wants to come home."
            Before Alex can stand --Walker replies, "I'll go get him."
                   "Walker----please be civil to him."
            "Alex----I will bring Cordell home---we'll be back soon."
            Little Ray is scrambling to get down out of his seat, "Me go too, Daddy?"
            Walker smiles, "Yeah----you can go too, buckaroo---go jump into the truck."
            The boy starts running to the front door, turns around and runs back to the kitchen, climbing back up into his chair and grabbing two chicken legs! He jumps down again and starts running for the door---"Come on, Daddy!"
            It's a quiet ride back to Springtown as neither Walker or Cordell knows what to say. Little Ray is jabbering up a storm, talking about his birthday coming up.
            "Yep," replies Walker----"the big ‘5' is coming up----are you going to be able to blow out all 5 candles---or will you need my help?"
            The boy is looking back at his Daddy and then to his brother, "Me big, Daddy---me can blow all candles out."
            Cordell sees his opening to join the conversation as he teases his little brother, "You know, Little Ray--that if you don't blow out all the candles at the same time---you don't get dessert."
            "Me don't?  That true, Daddy?"
            Walker nods his head, "That's true----so you better have a lot of hot air inside you when your birthday cake is brought out---what kind of cake is Mommy ordering for you this year?"
            Little Ray throws his hands up in the air," Hocolate---and it's this big Daddy," the boy spreads his hands out as far as he can, indicating how big the cake will be.
            Walker and Cordell laugh, as he says to Cordell quietly,  "Did you and your brother finish that ---'you know what'?”
            "Yeah, Dad---it's finished---we moved it into the 'l-o-f-t'---and it's rad."
            "What 'rad', 'Ordell?"
            Walker reaches out and squeezes his baby son to him, "You're 'rad' buckaroo!"
                   Cordell's and his Dad's eyes meet, Walker says softly---"Welcome home son---I've missed you."
                              *******************************************
            Walker is thrown into a room about the size of his previous cell, his head is spinning from the beatings of the men that stormed inside the farmhouse and took him prisoner. He can hear voices at the other end of the hall’ one is American.
            He starts shaking his head, remembering the farmhouse, he whispers to himself "How could I have been so stupid---it was a setup---I fell for it.  But, I did get the phone to work----and I heard my baby boy's voice---that was no dream---I heard his voice---he talked to me."
            Walker is straining, trying to remember all that was said. He remembers the tiny little voice trying to say 'hello."
            "Little Ray---it's me---it's Daddy."
            The little boy is standing on the stepstool that he pushed over in able to reach the phone. He stares back at the voice on the phone.
                    "Daddy?"
            "Yes---son it's me---it's Daddy."
                    "Daddy---when you come home---me miss you!"
                  Walker's voice became weak as he listened to his son's voice, his own voice cracks, "I miss you too, buckaroo---and I want to come home---real soon.---Son, listen to me---go get  Mommy!"
                  "Mommy not here--she at ospital."
                    "Hospital?  Oh my God, who's sick?"
            "Papa sick---him have heart tack."
            Walker can hardly speak, "Heart attack---oh my God---son---who is there with you?"
                "Thissy---she up stairs with baby."
            Walker grips the phone, "Son---listen to me, buckaroo---lay the phone down---DON"T HANG IT UP---just lay the phone down and run and get Sissy---tell Angela to pick up the phone upstairs---can you do that son?"
            "Me do it, Daddy," the boy lays the phone down and then Walker can his son's voice screaming for his ‘Thissy’."
            Walker is pacing back and forth, rubbing his hands through his hair and over his beard, he's whispering, "Hurry Angela---hurry baby------"
            A young girls' voice is screaming into the receiver, "Daddy?"
              
Everything goes dark after that, as Walker is being pulled away from the phone and thrown into the back of a jeep. He doesn't know how much time has passed and he thinks of his friend Hector.
            Four men come for him, his hands are tied behind his back as they push him down the long corridor, and then shove him inside a room. Walker is straining to get his vision clear, he can see several men standing around, laughing. The room stinks of cheap cigars, booze, sweat, and the stale odor of sexual release. He keeps blinking his eyes and he hears a young female voice and the familiar sounds of someone taking pleasure with her. His vision becomes clearer as he sees a tall, skinny man getting up from the floor, where a dirty mattress lays. The man is zipping up his pants as he looks down at the young girl, who is naked and bleeding. The man says nothing as he walks to the other side of the room, picks up his revolver, walks back to the girl, and puts a bullet-- between her eyes.
            The force of the .357, at that short a range almost decapitates the young girl, blood squirting everywhere. Walker takes a deep breath; he's seen this scene many times in the jungles of Nam, and forces himself to clear it from his mind. The tall skinny man walks over to Walker, looking him up and down---he tells the guard to untie him.
            "So?  You are the famous Texas Ranger that is causing me so much trouble-----tell me 'gringo'----do you know who I am?"
            Walker stares back at him and then to the body of the young girl, "You look like a cowardly piece of shit that likes to kill innocent people----I could care less who you are!"
            The man laughs and then turns to his rich gentleman friend who is seated, leaning over his walking cane. Without a word, the tall man slams his fist into Walker's face-----"I am Diablo----you will never forget that name!"
            Walker fights to stay on his feet, "Am I suppose to be impressed---I still don't know who you are."
            Diablo walks slowly around the ranger, then hits him in the back with his foot. This time Walker cannot keep his balance as he goes flying across the room, landing at the feet of the man with the cane. The man leans over to him, and whispers, "You will best stay down---or Diablo will kill you quicker than he has intended."
                  Everyone is laughing as Walker takes the advice of the man and stays on the floor, looking at his surroundings. There are four guards, Diablo, and the man with a cane. The guards are all carrying AK47s, one of the guards carries a machete, it looks like it hasn't been cleaned, a dark crimson can still be seen on the blade.
            Diablo walks over to Walker, reaches down and takes his head, pulling it straight back and hissing in his face. "Tell me lawman---do you know who this man is----the one that wants you dead so very much?"
            Walker squints looking at the little man, "I've never seen him before in my life."
            Diablo laughs, "My friend-----you are not as well known as you think you are---the ranger does not know you---shall we tell him who you are? A man has right to know who wants him dead before we cut off his head?"
            The little man waves Diablo away---"Tell him what you want him to know---then kill him----I have no time for these games."
            Diablo continues to taunt Walker, "I have a little surprise for you, Ranger-----bring him in!"
            One of the guards goes outside the room, and brings Hector inside, a rope around his neck, the man has been beaten unmercifully. The stench from his leg is causing the guards to keep their distance from him, the other guard makes Hector walk to the length of the rope, keeping his hand over his mouth and nose. Diablo starts fanning the air as he shoves Walker around so that he can see his friend.
            Walker grimaces, Hector's eyes have been gouged out. Walker says his name very softly, Hector hears his voice and replies, "Do not blame yourself, my friend---I've been dead for a long time-----soon there will be no pain-----"
            Hector does not finish his sentence as the machete goes across the neck of the old Mexican, his head rolls forward, just inches away  from where Walker is kneeling. Hector's body falls backwards and hits one of the guards, the stench is unbearable as the guard starts gagging and turning his back. Walker has only seconds to make his move; he hits Diablo in the crotch as hard as he can with his fist.
            As Diablo is grabbing his crotch, Walker kicks out with his foot and catches him with his knee to his chin, grabbing the .357. The guards rush Walker as he starts firing, and kills two instantly. The old man with the cane is trying to find cover, as Diablo is trying to get up from the floor. Walker hits him in the back of the head with the gun butt, and a guard tackles Walker and starts hitting him. The other guard with the machete is yelling for his friend to get out of the way as he swings the giant knife. Walker pushes the guard off of him and the machete hits the guard in the center of the back. Walker scrambles to get on his feet, now it's just him and the one guard.
            The guard rushes Walker, he sidesteps and kicks the man in the stomach, as he's bending over Walker goes up in the air, coming down with his elbow into the back of the man. He then takes the man and throws him as hard as his strength will allow him. The man hits the wall, and Walker charges him, the knife goes flying across the room. Walker starts to go after the knife, then he hears more voices coming up the corridor, he spots the window and takes a running dive through it.
            Walker hits the ground below, it stuns him---he shakes it off and starts running to the fields. There are shouts from the men as they give chase; Walker is running for his life.


                                              ********************************
Angela's birthday:
            The Walker family is getting ready for the big event as the boys and their Mother come down the stairs first. Little Ray runs to his father and Walker has both hands on his shoulder as Alex walks over to them, wearing a blue maternity dress. Walker smiles at her, kissing her cheek, whispering, "You're beautiful."
            Trivette and J.W. are standing nearby as Gordon and Sue Winchester are there too. Dana walks slowly over to Cordell.  He smiles and takes her hand. Cooper yells out, "Here she comes!"
            Angela descends down the staircase, she's wearing a white floor gown with Cinderella sleeves, the dress is trimmed in Lavender. Lilacs grace the sides of her long flowing auburn hair, as it shines like copper. Her blue eyes have a light shade of eye shadow, and her lipstick is a high beige gloss, making her lips look natural and ever so kissable. She's wearing no necklace, leaving her neckline bare, and wears pearl drop earrings, compliments of the twins.
            She stops at the bottom of the staircase and everyone just stares. J.W. can feel his heart pounding through his tuxedo, for he's never seen Angela look so----breathtaking! Trivette nudges his son to present the corsage of orchids.
            J.W. swallows as he says softly, "These are for you Angela----God----you are soooo beautiful." Angela smiles back at her young man, J.W. reaches over and kisses her on the cheek quickly, looking back to his Uncle Walker.
            Trivette grins as he kisses Angela's cheek, "You're a knockout, honey."
            "Thank you, Uncle Jimmy."
            Gordon smiles, embracing his granddaughter---"Happy birthday punkin-----and many more."
            Alex is in tears as she grabs Walker's arm and they present her with a sweet 16 necklace in the shape of Texas. Cordell is taking pictures as fast as he can and then Little Ray shouts, "Give Thissy her big birthday pwsent."
                  Everyone is laughing as they start out the door, Angela looks back to her father, "You guys go ahead---I'll be out soon---I want to talk to my Dad."
                  Walker's face is all-aglow as he watches his daughter walk up to him slowly, holding her dress out and spinning around.
            "Do you like my dress, Daddy?"
            Walker can hardly speak, "I love your dress, baby---it's beautiful----but you make everything beautiful----you're just as beautiful now as the day you were born."
                 "Daddy----can I ask you something?"
            "You can ask me anything, baby----you can ask for the moon and I will do my damnest to get it for you."
            Angela laughs, going into her father's arms, they embrace, never wanting to let each other go. Angela pulls back and sees the tears in her father's eyes.  "Daddy----will you dance the first dance with me?"
            Walker dabs at his eyes, "If you want me to---but I'm going to have a heck of time getting you away from J.W. and all the rest of the boys that are going to be at this party."
            Angela looks into her father's eyes, "Do you remember what you said to me on the Ice Princess about--it doesn't matter how many young men go through my life---I'll still be your ‘baby’?"
            Walker gets a sad look, he knows what Angela is going to say, he sighs---"I know---I've got to stop referring to you as a baby--but Angela---its not easy for me stop thinking of you that way."
            "I know Daddy-----but I am growing up-----so we'll compromise----and you call me baby---just in front of family---okay?"
            Walker nods, "Okay, baby---I mean---yeah---whatever you say."
            "I love you, Daddy."
            "I love you too, Angela."
            Angela throws her arms around Walker's neck, then giggles---"Come on Daddy---I want to see my car!"
            She starts pulling him to the door and Walker is stammering, "Now---how did you know you were getting a car?"
                      Everyone is surrounding the car as Angela and Walker come down the steps. They move slowly away, revealing a Lavender colored Sebring convertible---with pink upholstery. Angela squeals as she hugs Walker again and runs to her Mother. She runs around kissing everyone. Trivette speaks up, "Hey guys---we got to break this up----we got a party to attend!"


                                               ******************************
San Raphael Calif.  Norris ranch:
            "Come on, Dani---we got to get to the airport---our flight leaves in exactly one hour."
            Danilee Norris is sitting at her computer, getting research for a story she is doing in journalism. "In a minute, Dad---I'm coming."
            "You said that, thirty minutes ago, if you're not ready to go in exactly five seconds--I'm leaving without you."
            The girl groans, grabbing her laptop and is out the door. She sees her Dad and Uncle Aaron deep in discussion about something. She runs to the limo and starts to get in, her Dad has a very sad look on his face; finally he and his brother climb into the limousine.
            "What's wrong Dad----did another movie deal fall through?"
            The actor shakes his head, "No---nothing to do with the movie business---do you remember the Walker family that came to our place back in January?"
            The pretty blonde shakes her head, "Dad---we always have so many people coming to our house, I can't remember them all---why---what about this Walker?"
            Her Uncle Aaron hands her the Dallas Times--the headline reads -"Texas Ranger Believed kidnapped"---there's a picture of Walker below the story.
            "Oh yeah---now I remember him---he's the guy that everyone thinks is your double---because he looks so much like you---he's been kidnapped----by who?"
            Norris shakes his head, taking the newspaper back, "No one knows---or why---his wife and kids have got to be devastated, not knowing where he is."
            Danilee smiles, remembering the twin named Cooper--he was a smart mouth---but he was cute. She looks over at her father as he is reading the story again and looking at the family photo, taken aboard a cruise ship. Dani keeps looking at Cooper's face in the photo, she smiles. "For a 14 yr old he sure is good looking---" she says to herself.
            The actor throws the paper down and picks up his cell phone----"Operator--- I need the home phone number to a Cordell Walker, in---Aaron---what's the name of that small town where Walker lives?"
            Aaron looks back at the story, "Springtown---just outside of Jacksboro."
            The actor repeats the information to the operator, and she tells him the phone number is unlisted. He then asks for ranger headquarters in Dallas. He talks directly to a Captain Briscoe and tells him who he is.
            "I'm sorry Mr. Norris---'
                 "Chuck---just call me Chuck."
            "We are doing everything possible to find Walker, we have very few leads, what you read in the paper and see on the news is just that---that's all we have. His partner, James Trivette, is following every lead---so far--nothing. It's like Ranger Walker has disappeared off the face of the earth."
            "I know you're doing everything you can---could I please have Alex's phone number--I would like to talk to her."
            The actor repeats the number to his brother and he writes it down. The actor thanks the captain, and then calls the Walker home again. A young man answers.
            "May I please talk to your Mother--this is Chuck Norris---thank you, Cooper."
                      Danilee's eyes light up at the mention of Cooper's name, she goes back to staring at his picture.
            Alex has talked to the actor for a good twenty minutes before they reach the airport.
            "Thank you for calling, you're a good friend."
            "I just wish there was something I could do, my daughter and I are going to the Orient, we'll be there for several weeks---you have our number there---please call and keep me informed on information about your husband---will you do that, Alex?"
            The Norris' are boarding their flight, Aaron is looking at the business page, he starts reading an article--then grabs his brothers' arm---"Hey Chuck---you better read this---isn't this that same businessman that was down in Mexico City when we were trying to do that documentary?"
            The actor nods, "Yeah, looks like him---now what's he up to?"
            "The article says that he's buying up real estate---and you'll never guess where?"
            "Don't tell me, Hong Kong?"
            "Yep, he's already outbid the Sen and Yang companies, bought the hotels right out from under them----that man is unbelievable--he's got money coming out of his ears."
            The actor sneers, "As long as he stays out of my way---I don't give a crap what he does----I'll always believe that he had something to do with the Mexican government running our movie company out of there. If he tries anything like that in Hong Kong---he's going to get a fight---and a big one!"
                                                 ******************************* 
            Walker is now heading north again, doubling back over the same road that he had covered days before-----Diablo had taken him prisoner again. Walker has been back on the road for a good 48 hours, passing the same scenery that he and Hector had passed, he follows the riverbed again, and sees the cave where he and his friend had taken refuge. He has seen very few travelers, just a broken down sign pointing due south reading: Tiapa.
            The Ranger repeats the name to himself over and over, "Tiapa---now where have I heard that name before--I don't recall ever being this far south in Old Mexico---but that name sounds so familiar."
            Walker sits down on the banks of the riverbed, eating what grub worms and other delicacies he can dig up. He spots a tree toad frog and his mouth is drooling as he envisions it in hot seasoned water. They were delicious; if you had about a hundred of them, but there was one person who would definitely disagree with him about their taste---Alex! The one time that he had convinced her to try one left a bitter taste in her mouth. She swore she would never eat another one, but he tricked her!

 

Seekers-The Quest-02 
By SASQUAW


            Walker smiles remembering the fishing trip that they had taken. They took the weekend off and went on a fishing trip with C.D., Maize, Trivette, and whatever the woman's name was that Trivette was dating in that particular week. He shakes his head, remembering how Trivette was always changing women. Most of the women that he dated were models, and some were really beautiful, but stuck on themselves and couldn't weigh more than a hundred pounds, soaking wet!
            Walker had found the perfect place to catch his tree toad frogs, and they were abundant! While the women were taking a nature hike, he and C.D. had seasoned up some boiling water and dropped the frogs in, still alive! By the time the women returned, their appetites were overwhelming them, and they dove into the toad frogs, devouring them! Walker told Alex they were regular frog legs, and she wouldn't have known the difference if Trivette hadn't let it slip, and his date started screaming that one of them was still alive and trying to get out of the boiling water!
                    Everyone thought it was funny, except for Alex. She was mad at him for the rest of the night, saying that 'horrible taste was coming back to her! But, by early morning she got over her mad spell as the night had gotten cooler and she was cuddling up to him for warmth. Their bedroll was a good 30 yards away from the rest, and soon they were both making up for lost time.
            Walker sighs, reaching into his boot and taking out their picture, running his fingers over each face. The picture had seen it's better days, creases were taking over and stains were setting in. "How long has it been since I've held you, my love--I've lost count--I don't even know what month it is.  Is it July or August---it's been so damn hot for so long---I can't keep the months straight!!"
            Walker exhales, standing up and looking north---"I just know that if I don't get home soon---I'm going stark raving mad!"
            His inner voice plays games with him---"You have been in tougher spots than this-----you were in those bamboo prisons in Nam----what's the matter with you-----you should beat this with no problem!"
           
Walker swears, "Yeah---I know! I haven't forgotten the torture I went through in those prison camps--but I was younger then--I could force myself to leave my mind and soul--to go with the wind---like my Father and Uncle Ray taught me---to follow the eagle----but there was one big difference---I had only myself to think about!!!  I didn't have a loving wife and five kids to want to go home to."
            "So? You are giving up, is that it?"
               
"Sometimes I wonder if I have not seen my FLAMING STAR---and just too  stubborn to accept it."
            "If you give up---you are not a son of mine---you do not bear the right to be called a Firewalker!"
           
"I will not give up, Father---as long as there is a breath in me---I will not give up."
            "Then go forward, my son----there will be another sign---but you have to know ---how to recognize that sign."
            Walker nods his head, putting the picture back into his boot, but not before kissing each face, always saving the last two for Alex and the life inside her. He sighs, "I have a new daughter, Father---will I ever be able to hold her again?"
            There is silence, and then in the distance, a roll of thunder. Walker mumbles to himself---"More rain."
                                               **************************
           
The old man has left the couple's home, deciding to go back to his old stomping grounds. The thought of going deeper south and running into Diablo and his murdering bunch has changed the old man's mind. The old woman has given him tortillas to eat, and fresh water. He thanks them and then goes his way.
               Unbeknown to him, his journey will take him on a parallel quest to that of the bearded man that he had seen in the old farm house. They will travel at intervals sometimes of less than a mile apart, but yet they will never see one another. Each of them will stop and look to the same mountains, breathe the same air, see the lone eagle that soars above them, and drink from the same watering hole that stretches across their paths. They will both feel the trickle of hair stand up on their necks as they feel they are not alone--and yet they trudge forward.


                                     ***************************************
Mexico City: 

            The governor has come under scrutiny from his neighboring country, more specifically from TEXAS.  There have been law officers combing his fine country, in search of a Texas Ranger. The search is not televised or carried in the papers for fear that if the ranger is still alive, his captors will assassinate him. The Lt. Governor is still fuming from his run in with the head district attorney and wife of the missing man. He was not pleased when she went over his head and contacted the governor himself.
            The woman had arrived with other law officers and delegates from her state of Texas. He listened to her accusations that the Mexican government was not abiding by the foreign policy to aide. The woman was hot-tempered, and very beautiful.  Her piercing blue eyes bore right through him, and the madder she got, the more her bottom lip would quiver. Still, she stood her ground, demanding that more searches be made through the badlands and deeper south.
            The black officer that was with her was equally upset that the searches made hadn't come up with any more sightings of the bearded Ranger. More Federales were sent down into the badlands, but were turned back in fear of the banditos that were hiding in the hills. The woman was getting more upset as she accused the government of hiding their heads in the sand and letting bands of thieves terrorize their country. He is still in a heated argument with the blonde headed woman when he gets the call from his higher authority, and another government official----the x-president of the United States--George Walker Bush.
            The whole American consulate is in a uproar as officials are being down scaled, interrogations are multiplying, heads are starting to roll as more prisons are being searched in vain---for the Americano. Finally the Americans are on their way back to Texas, Old Mexico breathes a sigh of relief.
            The blonde looks dreamy-eyed out the window of the 747; at times her eyes are filled with tears. She whispers his name, "Walker----Walker where are you?"
           
Her dear friend of some twenty years sits down beside her, taking her hand, "Alex----we're going to find him---we won't stop until we do."
            "Oh Jimmy------I don't know what I will do if we never find him---what do I tell the kids?"
            "The kids are strong---you don't give them enough credit---look how they have held themselves together through all the bad press and accusations."
                "That man, the one you called a "feeler"---he's like a snitch----he said he saw Walker being taken from one of the prisons that they call  "la casa de los siete diablos" how loyal is he to you? Do you really believe he saw Walker---that he's not out just for the reward?"
            "I have a lot of faith in Martinez--he's helped us many times in locating missing escapees from our side of the border. He's seen Walker, he knows him---he's even worked on cases with the two of us before."
            Alex draws a deep breath, "Oh Jimmy---I miss him so much----we've---we've never been apart for this long, it's been almost two months!"
            "I know---I miss him too. But, we were in the dark for so long about what happened to him----and then finally we get the news he was spotted in a Mexican prison."
            "But, why Jimmy---why was he taken there, you and Walker weren't working on any cases that involved any illegal aliens? Walker wasn't involved in any case at the time of his disappearance---it doesn't make any sense!"
            The black Ranger stares back at her timidly, replying quietly, "I know Alex----there were no clues----that's when the speculations started to surface.  No ransom---no one was taking the credit for taking him----we were up against a brick wall, butting our heads-----and going no where fast."
            Alex squeezes her friend's hand as she starts to cry, "I want you to know Jimmy---I never believed what was being said----I never believed any of it! (sobbing)---I never believed those vicious rumors about Walker. I know (sob) ---I know that Walker and I had our problems---what married couple doesn't---but I know he would never walk out----and turn his back on our kids----never!"
            Alex starts to cry harder as Trivette pulls her head into his chest, comforting her. "I know sweetheart----I know you're hurting and I'm here for you---but no one could have blamed you--if you had believed the rumors."
            Trivette continues to hold Alex close to him, his hand caresses the side of her head as he reaches over and kisses the top of her head. He will continue to hold his friend's wife close to him for the flight home. He fights his feelings as he remembers the first time Alex cried in his arms. It was when she had found out about Walker's one night fling with the country and western singer, Marilee Sommers. She was devastated that Walker could take a woman to his bed after knowing her for less than 48 hours----and she was visibly crushed.
            She had opened up to Jimmy, telling him of her deepest feelings for the Ranger, and like now he held her in his arms till she finally fell asleep---in his apartment. The next day he told C.D. what happened, the old Ranger could read between the lines and he asked Trivette how did he really feel about Alex. Jimmy confessed that he had more than a brotherly feeling towards her, but never would he cross the line and try to come between his best friend and the woman that was crazy about him. He kept the secret to himself, never telling anyone else but C.D. -- C.D.  took his secret with him to his grave.


                                             ********************************


            Adlen is furious---he still hasn't been able to talk to Lars--he's left messages with all of Lars' business acquaintances, no one will tell him where his stepfather is. Bronson, Lar's right hand man has lied to Adlen, saying he was in Rio de Janeiro, when Lars called the office down there---he was told Lars was not there!
            Daniel's attorney is getting more upset with Adlen, he has threatened to drop Daniel's case, if he doesn't receive his retainer by midnight of the following night.
            "You can't do that," pleads Adlen, "we are so close to getting his defense set up, you can't just drop it after all the hard work I've put into it".
            Doss stares back at the young man, "I will and I can---if I don't have my money by midnight tomorrow, you can find another lawyer---I don't work for free----you got that?"
            The lawyer stomps out and an irate Adlen Belle is again on the phone, trying to find his stepfather. Bronson has finally returned Adlen's call.
            "Your Father is on the line---please hold."
            An irritated voice comes on the line, "What is it, Adlen---what is so damn important?"
            Adlen relays Doss' message to him, there's a long pause. "I will make sure that his money reaches him---he will have his damn money----all $2 million of it----and once this trial is over with your brother, Adlen---you and I will have a serious talk about your loyalty!"
            Adlen is confused, Lars has never talked to him in this tone of voice, Lars has never so much as raised his voice to him. "What's wrong, Lars---did your business deal fall though---the people of Brazil don't want another cruise lines?  That's so terrible-----you will have to just deal with the ones you have!  How many are there, Daddy dearest---50----60---I've lost count."
            "Do not tease me, Adlen---I'm in no mood for your jokes----pack your bags, I want you to join me in Singapore!"
                   "Singapore?  No way!  I have to stay here and finish getting Daniel ready for his trial----"
            "Let Doss do that---that's what I'm paying the bastard to do---you make sure you're on the private jet to join me-----or you can say goodbye to that money! Do you understand me, Adlen?"
            Adlen swears under his breath, and answers quietly, "I will be there."


                                              *******************************


            Walker makes his way to his wife's hospital room, carrying roses. As he walks in, he sees Alex nursing their newborn. She watches as her husband walks slowly into the room, smiling.
            "Good morning gorgeous---happy anniversary."
            Alex's eyes mist up as she sees the beautiful red roses, "Oh honey---they're beautiful and they smell so heavenly."
            Walker kisses his wife tenderly and then he pushes back the pink baby blanket that is half covering his new daughter. He kisses his newborn, whispering, "And good morning to you, my little princess."
            Alex is all smiles as she touches her husband's face, stroking the trim line beard, "Oh, Walker----are you disappointed that we didn't have another boy, even though the sonogram had said it was going to be another one?"
            Walker continues to stroke his daughter's face with his forefinger, "No---I'm not disappointed---I know I said that I wanted Angela to be the only girl so I could spoil her rotten and all----but I think deep down I wanted another girl-----Because like it or not----I know Angela will probably go off to school in a couple of years----or," the Ranger takes a deep breath and says regretfully, "get married."
            "Oh sweetheart------you are trying so hard to put up a brave front about the day coming that-----Angela will leave home. I'm dreading it too, I hate the thought of our kids leaving the nest."
            "Yeah, me too.  But I guess this is ‘his’ way of helping us to deal with it, by giving us this little bundle of joy.  Would you look at that hair---it's gorgeous, and feel how thick it is---Alex--"
            "I know---I know-----you never want her hair cut."
            Walker smiles, kissing both of his girls, "That's right, I want her hair long like Angela's, and look at those eyes---they're almost black."
            Alex looks down at her daughter's eyes as the infant opens and closes them at the sound of her parents' voices. "Yes, they are dark---but sometimes I can see almost a blue when the lights hits them a certain way. I think her eyes will be a dark blue, like the twins'."
            "Yep, their eyes are a dark blue, where Angela and Little Ray's a piercing blue, like yours. Mine are like a blue-gray, wouldn't you say?"
            Alex kisses her husband, looking into his eyes, "Yes----but when your hair was longer---and darker---your eyes sometimes looked black, like CD's now."
      `Walker reaches over and picks up his daughter repeating her name over and over, "Cherokee Dawn---C.D.----Alex----she may not like being called C.D. when she gets older."
            "Well, in that case she can tell us what she prefers to be called, but right now---our baby son says her name is E.D----he still can't quite pronounce that ‘C’.”
            Walker kisses his daughter as C.D. is still making a sucking gesture, "Here hon, I think she's still hungry----takes after her big brother."
                  "Speaking of our brood, where are they?"
            "All in church, I think they're planning a little celebration for us---since it is our wedding anniversary---now ----how many years has it been since you tricked me into marrying you?"
            Alex pretends to be upset, "Tricked? I’ll have you know I didn't trick you-----you could have backed out----at anytime---and I would have just found someone else to marry me--and it's our 17th--like you have to be reminded."
            Walker nods his head, "Well---that wouldn't have worked out."
            "And----why do you say that?"
            Walker leans over to his wife rubbing her nose with his, "Because my love----you know only the Cahill/Walker genes produce such beautiful babies."
            Alex laughs, "You are so right about that---and the Cahill/Walker temperaments.  Oh, honey----did you get things straightened out with Cordell?  Did he ever tell you why he decided to come back home?"
            "Alex----I could care less "why" he decided to come home---I'm just happy that he "is" home and until he wants to tell us what changed his mind---I'm not going to ask."
            "I agree sweetheart----and the two of you are talking---right?"
            "Yes hon---I've been helping him with the chores that he's been trying to double up on since he's been gone and because Coop was griping about doing Cordell's!  Yes--we talk---things are a little shaky---but when he wants to open up---we'll talk.---I did tell him that you and I would have a serious talk about the dating rule----and maybe come to a compromise."
            "What did he say to that?"
            Walker shrugs, "He didn't say too much of anything, he just said ‘okay, Dad’-----and that was it."
            Alex stares back at her husband, shaking her head slowly, "Cordell reminds me so much of you--when we first met---close mouthed to a point--then look out---you were hell on wheels!! Cooper reminds me of you in your temperamental stage---action first--then questions. Little Ray?  I’m not quite sure of the traits he's inherited from you."
            Walker smiles back at his wife, his brow dancing up and down, "Well----he does like to 'eat'---“
                "Walker," Alex makes a face and quickly looks around to make sure no one is coming through the door----"behave yourself!"
            Walker kisses his wife quickly and pinches her right breast, ""If I behaved---you wouldn't find me so-----irresistible---you know you enjoy it."
            Alex gives a small yelp as her breasts is still tender from C.D.'s nursing earlier, "I never said I didn't----now get out of here---the nurse is going to be coming in soon to help me and our daughter get changed---and "prettied" up for you."
            "The two of you are already beautiful---but okay, I will get out of here and go pick up the rest of our rowdy bunch and see what kind of celebration they have in mind." 
            The rest of the day is spent with family and friends that drop by to see the new Walker. Everyone wants to hold her, but Little Ray is refusing to give her up. "No-----me 'ister---me wanna hold her."
            Alex tries to smooth things over, "Sweetheart---no one is going to take her from you, they just want to hold her for a few minutes, and they will give her right back to you----okay?" 
            The boy gives in reluctantly, as he watches everyone that holds her. Angela groans, "He's so protective of her -- now---but wait till he has to help change her diaper----he'll sing a different tune then."
                  Everyone laughs, as it's now Grandpa Gordon's turn to hold her. He smiles down at his new granddaughter, then looks to his lady friend, Sue Winchester, "It's too bad----our 'producing' days are over, huh, Sue?"
                   Everyone stares at Gordon, and Alex's mouth drops open "Dad-----you're embarrassing Sue."
            Again, everyone is laughing and Dana looks quickly to her Mother and then to Gordon. She tries to give a faint smile, and then she feels Cordell's hand brushing against hers.
            Trivette cannot let this moment pass, "Sooooo, Gordon---how many times has Sue called a taxi?"
            Most everyone in the room has heard about Gordon's distaste for the cab company, and the departures of his dates, avoiding a romantic interlude afterwards.
            Gordon starts to reply, and Sue breaks in, "In answer to your question, Mr. Trivette---only once did I call a taxi----and that was when my car was broke down and I had no other way of reaching Gordon's----condo in Dallas----in the wee hours?"
                  Everyone is 'ooohing and ahing' and staring back at Trivette's reaction.  Dana is doing a slow blush---and Cordell takes her hand in his.
            Cooper starts making 'no-no' gestures to his Uncle,  "She put you in your place, Uncle Jimmy!"
            Angela is standing next to J.W., all he can do is nod his head up and down---"You left yourself wide open for that one Dad."
            Walker is sitting on the side of the hospital bed, holding Alex's hand, "He's always putting his foot in his mouth---aren't you-----‘Triv—et’?"
                     Trivette's mouth drops open as he throws a fake jab at his friend,---"Okay, okay---I deserved that----I apologize Sue---no disrespect."
            Sue kisses Gordon as hard as she can, and then turns to Trivette---"None taken---it turned out to be a lovely" she stops and looks at Gordon's eyebrow go up at the mention of ‘lovely’----" I take that back--it was a very----romantic evening---one I will never forget."
            Gordon then looks to Trivette, "Now---let's talk about your love life, Jimmy."
            Trivette is waving his hands around, "No, no, no---no no."
            Now Walker is getting in on the teasing---"Ah, come on Trivette---tell us about Lubbock and those sexy senior citizens that were trying to tear your clothes off."
            Alex chimes in, "Yeah Jimmy---come on---tell us."
            "What's this?" Asks Sue---"I haven't heard about this."
            Dana is looking at her Mom, embarrassed, "Mom----- leave it alone, maybe Mr. Trivette doesn't want to talk about it."
            "Well--I do!!!" Roars Gordon---"let's hear it son, all the 'bare' details."
            The rest of the evening is spent teasing Trivette, and then everyone leaves. A special tray of food is brought in for Walker and Alex and a small cake is brought in saying Happy Anniversary.
            The couple talks about the events of the day and the kids have all been given special permission to go to the movies, even though the next day is a school day. Angela will be driving her new car as both Walker and Alex warned her repeatedly about being careful. Little Ray has gone home with his grandpa and Sue and Trivette announces he has a date and is out the door. 
            The evening is getting late as Walker prepares to leave. "I want to get home and check on Old Ranger----he's been favoring that right leg all week."
            "Okay, honey---but I need to ask a favor--would you bring that overnight bag back with you when you come back tomorrow---it's got some special things in it."
            "Sure hon---in fact I'll bring it back later tonight----I've got to do some work out in the north field, and I want to get started early on it."
            Walker kisses his wife goodbye, and is about 3 miles from home when his cell phone rings, "Hi Dad---it's me, Cordell----is it okay if we stop for pizza---maybe go to the arcade for awhile?"
            Walker looks at his watch, it's almost 9pm, "That'll be okay----just don't stay out too late---remember tomorrow is school."
            "We won't---do you want us to bring you some pizza home?"
            "No--I'm full---go get your pizza----have fun----be careful."
            Walker pulls into his driveway, and looking over towards the corral, he sees Old Ranger walking up to the gate, neighing to him. Walker laughs, reaching into the back of the cab for a sack of carrots, "I'm coming, Old man---I got your goodies."
            As Walker steps from the truck, something hits him in the back of the head, everything is going into slow motion as figures are upon him, hitting him--over and over. Each time he tries to stand, he's knocked back down, and kicked. He hears voices, and then he feels himself being dragged, lifted, and then he's in confinement. It's completely dark; the air comes though a tiny hole. He fights to stay awake and then someone hits him and all goes black.
            It's almost eleven pm when the little Lavender car pulls off highway 199, heading for the Walker ranch.
            "I hope Dad isn't mad at us for being out this late, " says Cordell.
            His brother teases him, "Well---if you hadn't taken so long in saying goodnight to Dana---we would have been home---hours ago."
            Angela laughs, "Yeah Cordell----wasn't one kiss enough?"
            Cordell blushes, "Cut it out---don't you start in on me too!!  Besides, I noticed that you weren't in too big of a hurry to say goodnight to J.W.!"
            "Guilty---guilty as charged, and by the way---Cooper---who was that girl at the arcade that you were trying to put the make on?"
            Cooper shrugs, "What do you mean, "trying"---the girl was all over me--wanting me to ravish her body!"
            Cordell and Angela bursts out laughing, "Yeah right, bro'---it looked like to me--that she was trying to get away from you."
            "She was," replies Cooper, "because she knew she wouldn't be able to restrain herself if she stayed---one second longer!"
            The teasing continues as the little car pulls up to the ranch house, and see the door to the Ram, standing wide open.
            "What's going on, why did Dad leave the truck door open?"
            Cooper looks to the barn, "Oh no, I'll bet Old Ranger took a turn for the worst and Dad is out there with him."
            Angela laughs, "Either that or Daddy is looking for a big hickory switch----you guys get out, I got to put my car in the garage---don't want it getting dirty."
            The twins get out of Angela's car and Cordell walks up to the Ram to close the door, Cooper heads for the barn. "Hey Dad---we're home."
            Cordell starts to close the Ram's door when the hair at the back of his neck tells him something isn't right. He looks around inside the truck, the keys are still in the ignition, in the 'on' position. The boy backs up slowly, looking around when he sees a wet spot on the ground. He bends down slowly, looking at it, touching it lightly with his forefinger---Blood!
            Cordell has goose bumps going up and down his arms, "Blood," he whispers. He looks towards the house, noticing now that the house is totally dark, only the porch light is lit. Cordell stands up quickly, looking towards the house and then back to the barn, he sees his twin coming out, shaking his head.
            "Dad isn't out here!" he yells back.
            Cooper walks up beside his brother, "What's the matter with you---you look like you seen Dana without any makeup on?"
            Cordell turns to his brother and shows him the blood on his finger, "I found this----it's blood."
            Cooper stares at the blood, "Where did it come from----where's Dad?"
            The lights are coming on inside the house as Angela has entered from the garage, and is turning on lights. Cordell turns to his brother, "Now---let's not jump to any conclusions---Dad could have hurt himself, and----and just went into the house---to take care of it----and----and just forgot to turn the truck off!"
                             

 

            

Seekers-Quest-3

By Sasquaw

            Angela has come to the front door now and shouting out to her brothers. "Hey guys, did you locate Daddy---why is the house so dark?"
            The twins look back and forth to each other, and Cooper replies, "If he's not in the house, and not in the barn---then where can he be?  I----I don't like the feel of all this."
            Cordell tells his brother to be quiet, "Don't alarm Angela---when we get into the house---you go check the basement---I'll check his and Mom's room-----maybe he just fell asleep."
            The twins go inside and Cooper heads for the basement, Angela is looking at her brothers suspiciously, ''Heyyy----where's Daddy?"
                 Cordell says nothing as he walks upstairs to the master bedroom. He's got a weird feeling in his gut he's not going to find his Dad in the bedroom. The bed is empty, and hasn't been turned back, Cordell walks slowly to the bathroom--it's empty too. He walks to the medicine cabinet---no evidence that anyone had hurt themselves. He feels the chill go up and down his arms again, he takes a deep breath and goes back down the stairs. Cooper is standing at the bottom, shaking his head.
            Angela is now getting worried, "Alright you guys---now something is wrong, I know it----where's Daddy?"
            Cordell comes down the stairs and walks over to his sister, putting his arm around her. "Okay, Angela---I'm going to tell you something----please don't get hysterical on me."
            Cooper is nudging his brother, "Cordell---we got to call someone---we got to call the police."
                  "Police?  What are you talking about,” Angela is asking, staring back at both of her brothers.
            Cordell nods, "You call Uncle Jimmy---I'll try to explain things to Angela."
            Cooper runs to the phone and starts dialing Trivette's cell number, he turns to his brother---"He must have it turned off--he's not answering."
            "Then call J.W., maybe he knows where Uncle Jimmy is---in the meantime---call the police!"
            Cordell turns back to his sister and relays the information to her. "Well, maybe he went back to the hospital!"
            "How Sis? Mom's SUV is in the garage----and why would he not take his truck----the door was wide open!"
            It's a good hour before Trivette arrives at the Walker home, the police are already there and asking the kids questions. Angela runs to her Uncle, sobbing, "Uncle Jimmy, what's going on, they found blood--where can my Daddy be?"
            Trivette tries to calm his goddaughter, and then asks the boys to repeat the story to him. The police sergeant in charge comes in to talk to the ranger.
            "All we've found is a small spot of blood, and what the boy found---we've sent the sample in to find out if it's human blood---there's no sign of a struggle, we did find a small sack of carrots underneath the truck."
                    "Carrots?" asks Trivette.
            "That makes sense, Dad was worried about Old Ranger---he's been going out to the corral and taking him carrots every night," replies Cooper.
            Trivette drills the kids on the last contact they had with their Father.
            "I talked to him around 9'oclock, he was in the Ram going home from the hospital----oh my God---hospital----what do we tell Mom?"
            "We don't tell her anything yet, okay---was your Dad okay, did he seem upset about anything?"
            Cordell nods his head, "He sounded fine, and he just said not to stay out too late."
            Angela is now crying and the Walker boys both try to calm her, "We have to tell Mom," she pleads.
            Trivette shakes his head, "No---there's no sense in getting your Mom all upset at this hour---we will wait till morning----maybe we'll have more to tell her by then. Heck----your Dad could come waltzing in any minute."
            The kids all stare back at their Uncle, "Stop trying to make us look like idiots, Uncle Jimmy---we know and you know----that something has happened to our Dad!"
            A police officer comes up to the Ranger and they go outside. "Here's what we found, besides the blood, the truck's ignition was in the 'on' position, according to one of the boys and the driver's door was wide open. He found a small spot of blood, just a couple of feet outside the truck. There is no obvious sign of a struggle----and we both know Walker and the kind of fighter he is. No one could have taken him against his will, without some kind of a struggle. There are no tire tracks, showing there was another auto involved. Ranger--I got to ask this, do you think Walker left with someone else?"
            Trivette stares at the officer, "You just said, there was no evidence of another auto, how did he leave?  There are no boot prints, no shoe prints, there's not even any boot prints, showing that Walker got out of his truck! So--- how did he get out without leaving prints----fly?"
            The officer shakes his head, "You got me ranger---I'm just as stumped as you are."
            "Well, I know that Walker wasn't taken by space aliens---so I want every inch of this ranch covered----every inch----there has got to be something that we're missing!"
            The search goes on all night, the fields are checked and re-checked. Trivette looks to the kids who have been up all night, "I guess we got no choice now---your Mother has to be told."


St. Mathews' Hospital: Dallas
            Alex has been awake for sometime; she kept waking up during the night. The nurse comes in with C.D. and Alex prepares to nurse her.
            "Nurse----did my husband leave an overnight bag at your desk?"
            "I'm not aware of any bag being left there, Mrs. Walker---I'll call the front desk and ask them to check."
            "Thank you---my husband was suppose to bring it back with him last night, I thought maybe he saw that I was asleep and just left it at the desk----since visiting hours were over with."
            The nurse smiles, "Since when has that husband of yours ever paid attention to visiting hours?  Husbands have been known to sneak into their wives' rooms, when they think the nurses don't see them----and your husband is no exception!!!!  But since, he is a law officer--the nurses pretend they don't see him!  Like the night of your daughter's birth, he sneaked  into your room twice, the last time, bringing you a single red rose."
            Alex smiles, remembering waking up to a rose on her pillow. "Yes------for a long time when we were first dating, I didn't think Walker even knew what flowers were for, much less---the cost of them!  But in the years to follow, he has sure made up for it!  Roses and lilacs, they're my favorite and every year since --he has gotten me both---for my birthday, anniversary, and on June 10th."
            The nurse looks back at her and smiles, "And what is so special about that date?"
            Alex smiles as she reaches down and strokes her daughter's face, "That was when we had our first 'real' date----and it was a disaster."
            "Why so?"
            "Well, first of all, it took him forever to ask me out on a real date, we always hung around with our friends--finally he asked me out to dinner and a movie. He couldn't remember which restaurant he made the reservations, or the time. I got red wine spilled all over my new dress, compliments of the new waiter! We missed half the movie---a Clint Eastwood movie--a western---something about "Good, Bad, and Ugly---which just about summed up our evening. Then to top it all off---his truck had a flat tire--not one---but two!"
            The nurse laughs, "Reminds me of mine and my husband's first date---" she looks back at Alex nursing her baby, "apparently things got better----you have a little girl."
            Alex laughs, "Yes----and four more rugrats at home----yesterday was our 17th wedding anniversary."
                    "Belated congratulations, Mrs. Walker---though I would never have guessed you've been married for that long---I thought you were a newly wed---the way your husband dotes after you."
            A faint tap is heard at Alex's door as Dr. Bates and Trivette walk in with the Walker kids coming slowly in behind them.  Alex stares at her Dr.----"Good morning---you're making rounds early."
            The nurse is asked to get Alex a mild sedative.  Alex stares back at the faces of her family. Suddenly she starts to shake, "What's wrong----something is wrong---I know it!!"
            Angela runs to her Mother's bedside, the boys stand back, their hands shoved down into their jeans, looking to their Uncle. Alex repeats her question, "Is it Little Ray---where's Walker? Oh my God----has Walker been hurt---tell me!"
            The nurse takes the baby as the news of Walker's disappearance is repeated to Alex.
            The next week is a nightmare for the Walker family, there has been no word of his where abouts. Trivette starts opening every file that he and Walker have worked on, he concentrates mainly on Kiwi--and everyone associated with him. The Rangers are working overtime and even working in their off hours to try and find some clues.
            Trivette and the twins are going over inch of driveway, leading all the way out to highway 199. "It's no use, Uncle Jimmy----there have been too many automobiles going up and down this drive since Dad disappeared----even if someone used something to wipe the tracks away----how would we know?"
            "I don't know Cordell---we just have to keep looking."
            "It doesn't make any sense--if Dad left with someone willingly---he would have turned the truck off.  And, who could he have left with-----certainly no one we know," replies Cooper.
            Trivette takes a deep sigh, "You're right----and there would have been some kind of foot prints or tire tracks,---but someone took the time to erase all the evidence---we have to accept it----your Dad has been kidnapped!"
                      Cordell's face turns pale, "But you and Mom have both said that if he was kidnapped-----some sort of ransom would have been demanded----by now."
                 Cooper's anger is rising, "What about Kiwi---does he have anything to do with this?"
            "We have questioned him till we are blue in the face---he's been given a lie detector test----it comes back negative that he knows anything."
            "Those machines are not always reliable, and you know it, Uncle Jimmy!"
            "Hey guys-----we're following every lead, and right now----we have no leads!"
               Another week passes, every time the phone rings, the Walker home is put on pins and needles. The tracing unit has been taken out, since there has been no demand for any kind of ransom.
            Alex is nursing the baby as the kids come in to say goodnight. Alex is biting her bottom lip so hard, it's turning blue. The kids look to each other, crossing over to their parents' bed.
            "Mom-----quit trying to hold it in-----we all know how hard it is for you right now," pleads Cordell.
            "Yeah Mom, let it go---we understand."
            Alex looks up to them, "I don't know how much longer I can go on---I feel like my life---is draining away," she sobs.
            Angela starts to cry, "We feel the same way, Mom, every day just gets harder to face."
            The twins feel their eyes misting up and Cooper rubs at his, "I can't take it anymore---I've got to find something to do-----I'm going to work on my truck"!!!
            Cordell nods, "Guess I'll go check on Little Ray, and make sure he's out of the bathroom."
            "What do we do now Mom----no ransom has been asked----that usually means---" Angela starts sobbing again, "that the victim------is dead."
            "I don't know sweetheart----we just can't give up praying---that he will come back to us."
                   Another week has passed, and the waiting goes on. Alex has returned to work, mainly to keep her mind off of Walker's absence. School has ended and not soon enough as each of the Walker kids are coming under the attack of vicious rumors circulating about their father. The boys have constantly gotten into fights, and even Little Ray has begun to scuffle. The pre-school has called Alex several times saying that Little Ray is refusing to play with the other kids and when he does, he ends up fighting with them.
            Alex has picked her son up from pre-school for the third time in less than two weeks. The teacher has said that he pushes the other kids down, and sometimes for no reason.
            "I'm sorry Mrs. Walker but your son is totally out of control---he's refusing to do his school work, and he often just sits by himself-----and cries."
            Alex shakes her head, "I don't know what to say or do----he misses his Daddy----so much-----we all do----it's tearing us apart."
            "I've been reading about his disappearance and I feel for you---and I know that kids can be very cruel------and say mean things."
            "Has someone said something mean to my son?"
            "You know kids, Mrs. Walker-----they repeat what grownups say and unfortunately someone has told your little boy-----that----that his Daddy left him----and is never coming back!"
            Alex's mouth drops open as she looks over to her baby son, sitting at his desk, staring down at the floor. "I can't believe this---why would someone tell a little boy that----that is so cruel!"
            "I'm sorry, Mrs. Walker------"
            Alex stomps over to Little Ray, and gently takes his hand, she turns back to his teacher, "I will tell you one thing--whoever told my son that---is wrong----dead wrong----my husband did not just walk out---he was taken against his will----he will come back!"
            That night the twins admit they have been hearing the same rumors, only more vicious.  Someone has said that Walker was over his head in debt, that he just walked away from everything and everyone. Another rumor is that he left to be with another woman.
            Alex stares back at her sons and to Angela, she's nodding her head---"I've been hearing the same rumors Mom."
            "Do you believe those rumors?"
            "I don't know what to believe anymore," sobs Angela, "if that were true---wouldn't Daddy still try to contact us---to say he was alright?"
            "Not if he was trying to hide his tracks," replies Cordell.
            "What the hell is that suppose to mean, bro----are you implying that Dad 'faked' all of this," his twin yells back at him.
            Angela reaches out and slaps her brother's face, "Yeah----what kind of crap is that?"
            The kids are starting to argue and Alex is trying to get in between them, "Stop it----stop it right now!!!  Cordell-----why would you say something like that?"
            Cordell starts pacing, "I'm sorry Mom----but it is possible--look at everything that has happened----there was no sign of a struggle."
            "Then----what about the blood," shouts Angela.
            "Come on Sis---there was a very small amount, and it was proven to be Dad's blood---but he could have cut himself---intentionally----and…”
            Cordell gets a slap to the face, and this time it's not Angela doing the slapping. Cordell grabs his face as he looks back at his Mother. Her face is beet red, as well as the hand she just raised to her son.
            "How dare you?  How dare you insinuate that your father planned all this----how can you say such a thing?  Cordell John Walker----you listen to me and you listen good----all of you listen---this goes for you too, Ray Gordon---all of you sit down ---and listen---and I'd better not ever have to repeat this again!!"
            The boys and Angela sit down on the couch, they've never seen their Mother this mad before. Little Ray stares back at his Mother and starts to cry, Angela pulls him over to her.
            Alex is shaking so bad she can barely stand, "Now, I know how upsetting all of this is to each of you----and I'm dying inside as well.  I know that your Father and I have had our differences, and we argue-----just like any married couple.  But---I have never had any doubts or suspicions that your father was unfaithful to me.  But I know---these things can happen---and if this should be the case----it would just about destroy me----but for your sakes---I would try and carry on.  But-----I know that your father would never--NEVER--just walk out and turn his back on you kids---NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS!"
            Alex is starting to cry, Cordell stands up and walks over to her---"I'm sorry Mom---but I had to say it---it's been eating me up inside---and there's something else, Mom-----"
            "Get off it, Cordell," screams Cooper, ----'can't you see how much you're upsetting her---all of us."
            Alex holds her hand up, "What?   What else is bothering you?"
            Cordell sits down on the arm of the double recliner, putting his arm around his Mother, "I remember you saying that when Dad wanted to get away bad enough---that he knew so many tricks to covering his tracks---that no one could find him----maybe that's what has happened. Maybe--maybe he went off to the badlands or someplace to be alone-----and just decided that---"
            Angela screams at her brother---"And--what?  Daddy would never do that---like Mom said---he would never do that to us------to me."
            The room becomes deathly quiet as each of the Walkers stare back at each other. Cooper rubs the back of his neck, shaking his head back and forth. "I don't know----all of a sudden---our whole lives have been turned upside down---we're all fighting----what's happening to us?"
            "We're facing a problem that we've never had before," Angela sobs, "and our faith is being challenged---not only the fear that our Dad might not come back---but we're losing faith in each other!"
            Alex looks to each of her children, and a cold chill goes up and down her spine as she recalls the conversation she had with Walker while on their Alaskan vacation. She remembers feeling the same way as she confessed to him that she had a scary and uneasy feeling about the future. Her hand goes up to her mouth as she starts to shake, laying back in the recliner.
            "Mom----what's wrong?" asks Cordell.
            Alex is trying to talk and nothing will come out--Angela and Cooper run to her. "Mom-----what's wrong----Cordell get a cold wash cloth----I think Mom is having some kind of stroke!"
            Little Ray stares back at his family and listens to the fear in their voices, he starts screaming at the top of his lungs and Angela runs to him. Alex's eyes are going back in her head, as she is still trying to say something, Cooper is screaming for someone to call 911!!!
            Cordell comes running back from the kitchen with the washcloth as Cooper runs to the phone---Little Ray is still screaming! Angela tries to quiet her baby brother, the screaming wakes up C.D. who is now also exercising her lungs! Cordell is nervously pacing back and forth, and then without a word, he slaps his Mother.
            Cooper drops the phone, and stares back at his brother with wide eyes, as does Angela----"You hit Mom----what's the matter with you, are you crazy?"
            Cooper and Angela go after Cordell, knocking him to the floor as Cooper swings out and hits his brother in the mouth, Angela is jumping up on top of him---a voice screams out.
            "STOP IT!"
            The kids stop and stare back at their Mother as she stands up, and runs to get C.D. from her crib. Little Ray is wrapping his arms around her legs as Alex picks the baby up.
            Alex looks back to her kids, "I'm okay----I don't know what happened----I just couldn't talk--I'm okay-----let your brother up---please."
            Cordell scrambles to get off the floor, tears roll down his face, "I'm sorry Mom---I just lost it---I didn't know what else to do---I'm sorry I hit you."
            Alex is reaching out for her son as he falls into her arms, "It's okay, sweetheart----whatever you did----it worked--------I was so scared---I didn't know what was happening to me----you brought me out of it."
            The rest of the evening is spent with the kids doting on their every Mother's needs. Angela takes care of the baby as Cordell is trying to keep a cold rag on Alex's cheek---Cooper is making them sandwiches. Little Ray is trying to crawl up into his Mother's lap.
            "I don't think there will be a bruise, Mom----does it hurt---I'm sorry."
            Alex reaches up and takes her son's hand, motioning for him to sit down, "Sit down----all of you----let's just talk this out-----we have all got to get a grasp on what is happening to this family.  We have got to stick together----your Father would not want us arguing---that's the last thing he would want."
            Cooper comes back with the sandwiches and passes them around, "You're right Mom---Dad would not want us fighting!!  We have got to get our bearings straight again---family comes first---right guys?"
            Angela has the baby quiet again as she's put back into her crib, "You're right----you know what Daddy has always said--Firewalkers stick together--a house divided will soon fall."
            Alex nods her head, "We will face this situation like we have faced all of our others------together!  Our first concern is that your father is okay-------‘ Alex clears her throat, " I could face the fact-----that another woman be involved more than I could face the fact that your Father is being tortured----and----in pain."
            All of the kids shake their heads, "Dad did not leave on his own, Mom-----and he did not leave to be with another woman----I don't care what the rumors are!  We've watched the way Dad is with you---the way he looks at you---there's no way another woman is involved."
            "I feel the same way, Coop------I know he loves Mom---he told me so---he said that there was never a time that he was tempted to cheat on her-----he told me that-------and Daddy would never lie to me."
            Cordell nods in agreement---"So---how do we handle the gossip----do we just ignore it?"
            Alex strokes the face of her baby son----"We ask for forgiveness-----we ask for a sign that your father is safe----and we go forward---and I would suggest that we call brother Bob and ask for a private sermon--to try and get our faith and our direction back."
            Cooper stands up and goes to the phone, "I'll call him now----he reminded me in church, that I could call him anytime."
            Cordell remains quiet, and Alex turns to him---"What's wrong, son?"
            "I'm not doubting that we need to talk to brother Bob---I'm all for that---but I think there's someone else we need to talk to--someone that always gave Dad---his direction-----White Eagle---our Shopaw."
            Alex nods, "I agree----we will go to church first---and when we return--we build a sweat lodge."
                                               ***********************************************


            It's late evening as Trivette and J.W. pull into the drive of the Walker home. J.W. is looking over towards the picnic area; a huge teepee is being erected. They watch as each of the Walkers are doing their part in putting the water soaked blankets around the shell, the steam is coming out from the entrance.
            J.W.'s mouth drops, "Is that what I think it is, Dad----a sweat lodge?"
            Trivette nods and they walk forward. They see each of the Walker boys with nothing on, but a towel around their waists--they each have war paint across their noses. Alex and Angela have only towels wrapped around them, the baby's crib is sitting near the entrance.
            J.W.'s mind is going into overdrive as he looks at Angela, wearing nothing but a towel----her long cascading hair hanging down her back. Alex nods to Trivette and his son.
            "We're going into the sweat lodge----to try and receive some kind of sign that Walker ---is alive----and save-----will you join us?"
            Trivette is becoming nervous as his arousal from seeing Alex in just a towel is starting to become noticeable. "Maybe----we'll just wait out here----this is a family thing-------"
            Alex reaches out and takes Trivette's hand, "Nonsense---you two are family too----now---grab a towel----and join us."
            The twins start handing them towels as the Trivette’s start to undress, Trivette looks over at the baby crib---"You're not going to take C.D. in there----are you?  As I remember those things get unbearably hot?"
            Alex smiles, "No, I'm not taking the baby in----she will stay in her crib, next to the entrance---where it's cool. But, she too must let the spirits know that she is here-----and she will be close to her Showpaw's spirit, the wind, the sun, and the water that surrounds us all."
            They enter the lodge, the huge ring of stones sits in the center, with a pile of stones set deep in burning coals, the steam rising. They all make a circle and hold hands with Alex reaching for Trivette's. Angela is sitting next to her Uncle, and J.W. reaches for her hand quickly.
            "Not that I'm complaining----but I thought women weren't allowed in these things?"
                     "Normally, they're not," replies Cooper as he takes his baby brother's hand, Cordell takes the other also taking his Mother's hand.
            "But---in this situation----," answers Cordell----"I don't think we would be able to talk these two women out of it."
            Angela smiles, "You got that right------now what do we do?"
            Trivette stammers, "Well-----we think about our inner thoughts----we have to clear our minds and------"
            Cooper looks to J.W. who is staring at Angela---"I think we start with J.W.'s mind------and our sister's."
                  Everyone laughs, even Little Ray is looking at his first trip to a sweat lodge as some kind of game. Alex smiles, looking at her three sons; they are becoming quite the warriors. The twins' physiques have really developed over the past two summers. Their shoulders and chests have become solid from all their martial arts and the work on the ranch. Their jaw lines are strong like Walker's. They are almost as tall as she is now, and both of their voices have deepened, making it harder for her to distinguish who she's talking to on the phone. She studies their faces as they all go into a silent chant; they are favoring Walker more and more every day.

 

Seekers-The Quest-04 
By SASQUAW


           
It is now the end of June, Walker has been missing for over six weeks. Alex and the kids are trying to cope with his absence, the rumors are still persisting that Walker has left to be with another woman, only the family and close friends believe otherwise.
            The reporters still 'hound' Alex for a story, following her around at the Tarrant county courthouse. She has just had a grueling trial come to an end as she is leaving the courthouse. Trivette sees her leaving and runs to catch up with her.
            "Alex----here let me give you a hand with that briefcase----it looks heavy."
            Alex tries to smile back at him, "Heavy?  I haven't even noticed----my whole body is striving on pure adrenaline."
            Trivette sighs, "Alex----you got to slow down---you are working here at your office 8-10 hours a day, going home to take care of an infant, not to mention four other kids and a ranch to take care of."
                "Jimmy---I have to stay busy," she replies, her voice breaking, "if I stop----all I can do is think of my husband, and wondering if he's okay---if he's hurt."
            "I know Alex----I miss him too----I have gone over every case that Walker and I have worked on---I've questioned hundreds of suspects----there's nothing more I can think of."
            "You are a good and dear friend, Jimmy---I don't know what the kids and I would do without you right now---you're our rock."
            Trivette clears his throat, "You know that there is nothing I wouldn't do for you----or those kids. Walker is like my brother----and I won't stop till I get some answers.  But, Alex---you and the kids----may have to face the facts---that Walker could be dead."
            Alex starts shaking her head, "No----no, I do not believe that he is dead---I wake up dreaming about him, I can almost feel him touching me----" Alex starts to cry softly, “I can almost feel him----making love to me---no---he is not dead---or I wouldn't be feeling this way.  Sometimes---I can almost hear his voice, calling out to me----am I crazy, Jimmy?"
            Trivette stares back at his dear friend, "No----you're not crazy--I've always said that you and Walker were like 'one person'---that you shared something that other couples only dream about---maybe if Erica and I had one tenth of that kind of love----maybe we would still be together."
            Alex's voice turns soft, "Walker and I hated it when you and Erica broke up---and I am so sorry that you had to find out her secret---the way you did.  When she walked out on you and J.W., I said I could never forgive her for hurting you that way----you didn't deserve it."
            Trivette nods his head slowly, "Yeah-----well I guess I did go off the deep end---and if it hadn't been for you and Walker trying to keep me going straight-----there's no telling where I would be right now----but the best thing that came out of my marriage to her----was my boy----J.W. is my whole life!"
            Alex smiles, "He's a fine young man-----and sooooo handsome---he takes after his Father."
            Trivette grins, "Yeah----I am a handsome dude--ain't I?"
            "Yes---you are----and who is your lady love now, what ever happened to  the nurse----ahhhhhh—Terri?"
            They continue walking to Alex's SUV, "Terri?  Oh we broke up right after the holidays---after we got back from Jamaica--I think she was just hanging around long enough for the trip----then it was splitsville. But you know me----I can't let any grass grow under my boots--got to keep moving---I learned my lesson of monogamy with Erica---trying to stay faithful----and look where it got me?"
            They stop in front of Alex's SUV, and she reaches out and touches his face, "Oh Jimmy----you are such a sweetheart----one of these days you'll find that certain 'someone' that will knock your socks off---and you won't even think of wanting to be with anyone else---don't be bitter---because by being bitter---Erica wins."
            Trivette takes a deep sigh, "Is that why you forgave Walker when you found about Marilee---you were so heartbroken that night in my apartment--I wanted to go after Walker for hurting you like that."
                "Everyone makes mistakes----Walker and I had  a very long talk about "her"-----I still detest the name------I think in a way that little affair made us both see where our relationship was going, and how we really felt about each other. He started changing for the better after that, Jimmy----he no longer treated me as 'one of the guys'---you saw the change in him too."
            "Yeah, I did-----I know he started calling you every time we had to go out of town on a case---before that---he was rather aloof about his feelings."
            Alex reaches into her SUV and lays her briefcase down, "Jimmy---can I ask you a question---I don't mean to put you on the spot----but before Walker and I started getting serious about our dating-----did he----ever--you know---did you two ever see other women---on these cases?"
            Trivette nods, "Yeah, a couple of times---but not after that little episode with Marilee---he was too upset after all the arguments that you two were having. He couldn't wait to get back to Dallas.  I must confess ---I did try to set him up with some beautiful babes--but all of that came to a screeching halt after you two got serious, he wouldn't look at them twice.  But, Walker has always been that way---he never had more than one woman at a time---He's always been faithful to you Alex---and believe me--there were several women that tried to turn his head."
            "Are you telling me the truth, Jimmy?  I know when he rode in the rodeos, that there were always 'groupies or roadies'--whatever you call them---that follow the rodeo riders for just one reason--and I know for certain that there were several lady friends around the Waco area."
            "Yeah---I knew about them---and when we were down around Waco--he would get in touch with them----but that was 'before' you two started dating seriously."
            Alex remains quiet for a few seconds, "And, what about recently----whenever you two would go down around Waco----did he-----"
            "No, Alex----as far as I know he's never tried to contact  any old girlfriend---Waco---or anywhere else!  All he ever talked about was you--- I remember the day he told me you were pregnant with Angela---I thought he was never going to land."
            Alex laughs, remembering that day as well. Trivette smiles back at her, "You know--you said that someday I would meet that certain 'someone'-------that will never happen because she has been taken-----------and I would never try to cross that line--I would never betray a friend that way."
            Alex shakes her head, "Don't ever stop looking Jimmy----she's out there--waiting for you to ride up on a white horse and take her away."
            "Like Walker is your knight in shining armor?"
            "Yes, I love that cowboy so much it hurts----he's my whole life--if it wasn't for the kids---I don't know how I could face each day.  And Jimmy-----I have known about your feelings for me for some time."
            Trivette is nervous, "How?  How did you know?"
            Alex smiles and reaches over and kisses the black Ranger on the cheek, "A woman---always knows," then she sits down inside her SUV, smiles back at him and drives away.
            Trivette is left standing alone, trying to sort out his feelings again. He turns and walks away, whispering to himself, "Walker----you got one hell of a woman there----you don't realize what a damn lucky man you are!"
           
Trivette does not see the man with a camera lurking in the back of a van, parked nearby. The man sneers, "I knew there was something going on between those two, I just regret I wasn't able to hear what they were saying."

 
                                        ********************************


           
The 4th of July has come and gone; no one has felt like celebrating. The twins set up a few fireworks for Little Ray, but he soon lost interest.
            It's late evening and Alex has walked out onto the porch with the baby. Cooper is working on his '33' classic, and Cordell is washing the Ram for the countless time since Walker has been gone. Angela and Dana are upstairs in Angela's room, doing each other's hair, and Gordon and Sue have gone to a dinner at the lawyers' club. Little Ray is sitting in the porch swing, staring at the go-cart that the twins built for him.
            Alex smiles at her baby son, "Why don't you ride your go-cart honey----Cooper and Cordell spent many hours building it for you.  It's really nice and it has your name written down the sides, and what about the flag on the antenna----Cowboys on one side--Rangers on the other--your two favorite sport teams?"
            "No----me no wanna ride it----me want Daddy come home."
            Alex sits down with the baby, "We all want Daddy to come home, sweetheart."
            The boy looks up at his mother with tears streaming down his face, "Daddy miss my birday----me mad at him."
            "No, sweetheart---Daddy didn't miss your birthday on purpose---someone has taken him-----and he couldn’t get home for your big day. You know Daddy would not miss your birthday on purpose-----hasn't he always been here for all of your birthdays before?"
            Little Ray nods his head slowly, "Will he be here for next birday?"
            Alex is fighting the tears, "I hope so, sweetheart---when you go to bed tonight, you ask God to bring Daddy home."
            "Me already do that---him not listen."
            She reaches out and brushes his hair back, he favors the Cahill side more than the others, and only fitting that he should carry his grandpa's name. "Well, Ray Gordon, maybe God was busy---so you ask him again---tonight---okay?"
            The boy nods his head slowly, "Okay, Mommy----me hungry."
            "Well, I'm sure that there is plenty of apple pie left----why don't you go see."
            Little Ray jumps down from the swing and heads for the front door, Alex walks over to the Ram. She watches as Cordell wipes the rims down, he's got the truck glistening. She lets him take the truck up and down the service road to keep the battery built up, and he's started keeping his Father's key chain in his pocket. She's watched him take the key chain out and stare at the "W" for the longest.
            Alex shifts the baby back and forth, "Your father would be proud that you're taking such good care of his truck---it's his pride and joy---though he never did keep it as clean as you have it now.  The one time that he did go all out to wash it---just led to trouble----but we won't discuss that little matter."
            Cordell nods, "Yep---it's rad----Dad has always owned a Dodge Ram, hasn't he----and always the same color---gray?"
            "Yes--as far back as I can remember---though at one time I think he had a GMC---and it was gray too!  But, he didn't have it decked out."
                    "Dressed out, Mom," Cordell corrects her, "the term for fixing and customizing autos---is  "dressed out."
            "I stand corrected----I'm sorry----dressed out like he has the Ram----that thing on top with the lights is a roll bar—right?"
            Cordell smiles and kisses his Mom's cheek, taking C.D. from her--"Yes ma'am--it's a roll bar, and the bars down the side are side rails, the 'thingamajig’ at the front--covering the radiator is a grille----but a more appropriate name for it would be a battering ram---guess that's why Dad always drives a RAM."
            Alex punches him playfully, "Okay, smarty--I'm not completely dense when it comes to autos."
            "Mom-----the Ram is in need of a overhaul--Dad always takes it in and has Bernie go over it from bumper to bumper, even revising the undercarriage."
                    "Undercarriage?  What needs to be done to that?"
            Cordell kisses his baby sister then hands her back to his Mother, "It needs to be reinforced---that's what happens when you go over curbs and medians as much as Dad does when he's chasing the bad guys. It wouldn't hurt to put bigger tires on, raising the undercarriage up for more clearance."
            "Okay---well---you know what it needs--call Bernie and see when he can get to it--then I'll have Dad drive it over and I'll follow him."
            Cordell stammers, "Mom, why can't I drive it over?"
                   "Because you don't have a license--that's why I caution you about staying on the service road-----remember what happened the last time that you and J.W. decided to get off the service road ---and a little joy riding?"
            "Oh Mom---I can drive-----you've ridden with me, you say I'm a very good driver."
            "Yes---you and your brother are very good drivers----but neither of you are old enough to get a license yet---you got another year to go before you can even get a beginner's."
            "But Mom----Bernie's is just right down the highway--I can go the service road all the way down until I have to get up on 199 for about one mile----and I'm there!  I can do that with my eyes closed!"
            "You better not be driving with your eyes closed," she replies back to him.
            "Mom---only a figure of speech."
            Alex sighs, "I'll think about it---maybe Dad will ride along with you."
            The boy groans, "Mom----that's defeating the purpose."
            "I said--I would think about it---I've got to get C.D. ready for bed----don't forget to lock that side of the garage when you put your Dad's truck back in----and don't forget to pull Angela's car back in the driveway behind it."
            Cordell takes a deep sigh, "I won't forget, Mom---I've still got to wash the SUV for you."
            Alex is walking away, she blows her son a kiss, "Thank you, sweetheart---I love you."
            "Love you too, Mom," he whispers softly.
            Cordell turns and walks over to his brother who is changing the points and plugs in his ‘33 classic for about the tenth time since inheriting it. "Need any help, bro?"
            "Nah---just about finished. Know what I've been thinking----I think I'll repaint my truck."
                   "Repaint it? Coop---there's nothing wrong with this paint job? Why do you want to repaint it?"
            Cooper sighs, wiping his greasy hands on his brother's jeans, "Just something to do---keep my mind occupied--I got to stay busy----or I just think of Dad and what might be happening to him."
            Cordell shoves his brothers hands away, "Use your own pants for a grease rag-----geez---I just put these jeans on."
            Cooper grins, "Yeah, I know----and they're always so neatly pressed--they needed a statement---and I gave them one---they look better when they're all dirty---that's how jeans are suppose to look"!
            Cordell grabs a clean rag and tries to get the grease off his pants, "Says YOU------but I do know how you feel about trying to keep busy.  I've been thinking about something Coop---hear me out before you say anything---Okay?"
            "I know what you're thinking bro----because I've thought the same thing----you would like to go down to Mexico and help Uncle Jimmy to find Dad----right?"
            Cordell sighs, "We always do think on the same track, don't we?"
            "Yep---guess it couldn't have anything to do with being identical twins, huh?"
            Cordell smiles, "No---it couldn't have anything to do with that----so---what do you think---how do you feel about going down there?"
            "I've thought about it a lot----but what could we do---that Uncle Jimmy and the rest of those law officers aren't already doing?"
            "It's just a thought----I just don't like sitting here---doing nothing."
            Cooper tosses his grease rag down and heads inside the barn to the little refrigerator they keep stocked on hot days. He calls back to his brother, "Want a beer?"
            Cordell nods, "A beer---yeah right----a root beer. "Yeah sure---bring me a beer."
            Cooper shoves a can into his brother's stomach----"Bottoms up."
            Cordell stares down at the can of beer---"Coop---Mom will have our heads---if she sees us drinking beer---where did you get this?"
            Coop grins, "Moose swiped them from his big brother---he brought over a whole case----I got the rest stashed under the hay---near the back.  Mom seldom ever opens that little frig, she won't know, just don't breathe on her."
            The beer goes down quickly as the temperature is already hitting the 100 mark, the boys go to sit down on a bale of hay, and Cooper fetches two more cans.
            "I'm thinking about what you said----and I want to go---just say the word, bro---I'm ready."
            Cordell stares back at his twin, he knows that his brother will go or do anything that he asks, and he would do the same for him. "It's not just the beer talking, huh Coop?"
            Coop reaches out with his fist and hits the top of his brothers' hand; Cordell returns the gesture. "I'm with you all the way, Cordell----just say when."
            Cordell thinks for the longest, "We won't make any plans right now----but when the time comes----we'll both know."
            Cooper finishes his beer---"Root beer," he replies softly.
            Cordell laughs and then belches----"Yeah right----this is the best root beer I've ever tasted."
            Cooper reaches over and shoves his brother off the bale of hay----"Not the drink----you twerp---I'm talking about the color---Root Beer---that's what color I'm going to paint my truck."

                                             *********************************


            Alex is staring at the Enquirer magazine that Trivette has shown her---the front page carries a picture of them on the front page----and Alex is kissing Trivette on the cheek. She sighs and reads the headline---"Kidnapped Ranger's wife and his best friend in torrid romance"---see inside for story.
            She mumbles, wadding up the magazine and throwing it into the trash can, "I will not lower myself to read their stupid and disgusting tabloid-----at least they got one thing right----they did say my husband was kidnapped."
            "I'm so sorry about that Alex, that picture must have been taken the day that I was helping you carry your things to your truck----I didn't see any photographers around-----did you?"
            "No Jimmy, of course not----but these tabloids are noted for hiding in the shadows----and printing trash."
            Trivette stammers, "I'm just sorry it happened, but I wanted to be the one to show it to you, not some stranger."
            "It's okay ---I'm sure that the local press will pick up on it and have it all over the Dallas Times by morning---hell---it will probably make the 10'oclock news."
            "Alex---I have to go down to Abilene---that John Doe that I was trying to question a few months ago---you know the one that kept calling and wanting to talk to me?"
            "Yeah----Walker believed it was the same man that kept calling our house-----is he well enough to talk to you now?  Do you know what it's all about?"
            Trivette shakes his head, "I have no idea----it's just that I have this 'funny feeling' that I should talk to him---I get such a strange feeling every time I go down that way."
            Alex smiles, "Well---you know what Walker has always said about 'funny feelings' and intuitions---go for them---check them out."
            "Yeah----he was always laying that Cherokee crap on me---God---I never thought I'd say that I really missed all that spiritual belief---but I do.---Alex---how did you feel when we came out of that sweat lodge?"
            Alex sighs and sits down at her desk, looking at the family portrait that sits there.  Next to it is the very first picture of Walker that he allowed her to take. He's wearing rodeo gear with his saddle thrown over his shoulder, and he's actually smiling.
            "I felt good---I felt that he was there with us.  Jimmy---he's not dead---my intuitions tell me that----if he were dead---I would feel helpless and not have any reason to go forward. I feel just the opposite, and that's why I have decided to go with you to Mexico City when you get back from Abilene."
            "Alex---do you think that's a good idea, we haven't received any information from our man down there---we don't even know if Walker is in Old Mexico."
            "We have to follow all the leads-----"
            "What 'leads', Alex?   We've contacted the American consulate to be on the lookout for him, plus the Mexican government, and the Federales----there's nothing to be reported."
                   "Exactly----but you and I both know that the Mexican government doesn't exactly bend over backwards to help us, especially after three of their delegates were killed down around the Brownsville border---even though they were killed on their side, the US is still being blamed for not coming up with the killers."
            "That's nothing new, Alex----the USA is always getting blamed----they fail to recognize how much legal aide the USA does for their causes----not to mention the food and medical supplies that we have been furnishing them for as far back when both you and I were in diapers."
            "We can't dwell on that, Jimmy-----I know that Walker had friends that lived down that way----I remember when we visited Jesse and Maria Rodriquez----you remember them, don't you?"
            "Yeah, I remember them---and the way they were killed---their killers were never caught, some say it was the banditos that lived up in the hills---down around Tiopa----or someplace like that."
            "Yes, and Walker never got over Jesse's death and the idea that he couldn't find his killer---the Mexican government said they would take care of it----but it's been almost 10 years----their killers have not been brought to justice."
            "Okay, Alex----we can go down there and start shaking things up as soon as I get back from Abilene---I'll see you in a few days."
            As Trivette is walking out of Alex's office, Gordon Cahill is walking in. The men stop and talk for a few seconds, then Trivette continues on.
            "Hi pumpkin----thought I would come by and treat you to lunch."
            Alex walks over and puts her arms around her father's neck, "Thank you Dad---I could use some quiet time---could we go to Ernesto's?"
            "Sure, pumpkin----anywhere you say----but---are you sure you want to go there---isn't that where you and Walker always go for 'special' occasions?"
            "Yes----but Daddy----I just feel I want to go there--to feel close---to my husband.----He always loved their lasagna and clam sauce."
            "You know---that's something I could never figure out about that husband of yours."
            "What's that, Daddy?"
            "At home, especially around the holidays, he refuses to eat clams or oyster dressing----but in a Italian restaurant, he eats it."
            Alex laughs, putting her arm through her Dad's, "Daddy----I can't explain the clams---lasagna is about the only meal he likes them on---but as far as the oysters go---Daddy--he's a Texan!!  Most Texans think it's a disgrace to mess up their cornbread dressing with those  'little fishies'--at least that was the way he always explained it to me."
            Cahill shakes his head, "A born and bred Texan---what could be worse?"
            Alex laughs, "Daddy---Walker was born in Oklahoma---not Texas--but to hear him say it---Maybe I wasn't born a Texan---but I got here as soon as I could!"
            "Oh Lord," sighs Gordon---"come on, let's go eat!  Maybe I will try and eat one of those t-bone steaks that your husband is always bragging about."
            "Dad--Ernesto's is a Italian restaurant--they don't serve steak---and besides you haven't tasted a good steak till Walker has grilled one----outside---on the grille----"
            Gordon sees the sadness in his daughter's eyes, "Come on pumpkin---."
            As they step into the hallway, reporters mob them with flashes going off, and Enquirer magazines are being pointed at. The reporters are throwing questions at Alex right and left.
            "How long have you and Ranger Trivette been lovers?"
            "Did your husband know about the affair? Is that why he left?"
            Gordon Cahill has seen the magazine, he wasn't sure if his daughter had seen it, but from the look on her face----she was well aware of it. She keeps trying to push by the press, but a reporter grabs her and shoves a microphone in her face, wanting the explicit details.
            Gordon throws a fist into the mouth of the reporter; "There's your explicit details---now get the hell away from my daughter or more of you will be getting more than just a fist!  And, you can put that story on your 10 o'clock news---and more than that---you can shove it up your ass!"
            Alex grabs her Father and pulls him to the elevator---"Ignore them, Dad----let's go eat!”

 

***


Seekers-Quest-5 
By  SASQUAW


            It's now going into almost 8 weeks since Walker has disappeared. Alex and Trivette have returned from their first trip to Old Mexico and are in preparations for another one.
            "Mom, I wish you would think twice about going back down there," Cordell pleads, "the political unrest is getting worse---they are trying to run that Gomez out of office---and the robbing of American tourists is getting worse everyday."
            "I have to go, sweetheart----I feel that we are not being told the whole truth---I want to check into those prisons----especially the one called "La casa de los siete Diablo."
            Angela and Cooper have joined in about not wanting their Mother to go back down there. Angela is crying, "Mom---please don't go---it's bad enough that we don't have Daddy here---but you being gone too---is twice as hard on all of us---especially Little Ray--he doesn't understand."
            "I'm sorry honey---but I have to go---just one more time--please try and understand. I can get some heads rolling, and believe me---those prisons are going to be checked out."
            "What about Uncle Jimmy's 'snitch'---has he reported anything yet?"
            "No, Cooper---he hasn't--but he's deep into the badlands--maybe he hasn't been able to check all of the prisons out.  Now, listen to me----all of you---I know all of this is tearing you apart---but guys---I couldn't live with myself if I didn't try one more time---please try and understand.  Sue and Dana will be staying here and taking care of C.D. and Little Ray----grandpa will be here too----and I will keep in touch--I swear---I'll call every day."
            The kids bid farewell to their mother and soon she and Trivette are heading back to Old Mexico. Trivette is being unusually quiet.
            "What's wrong, Jimmy?"
            "I agree with the kids---you shouldn't be on this trip---the fighting and rioting is getting out of hand down there---I don't suppose I could talk you into staying?"
            "Don't even try, Jimmy--I'm going and that's final!  What else is bothering you, did you get to talk to that John Doe again?"
            "No----his daughter wouldn't let me see him, and I only got to talk to him for just a minute the first time I went back down there.  But, Alex something is definitely not right--I ran fingerprints on the guy---no kind of record--not even a speeding ticket. So, I did some talking to the people that work there at the Crescent Arms and you're never going to believe this, that's the same institution that used to be called Shady Rest."
            Alex looks back at her friend, "Shady Rest-----I don't understand--why does that name ring a bell?"
            "It rings a bell because that's where Lava'cot was institutionalized some 17 years ago ---the same murdering scumbag that killed C.D. and tried to take me out, along with other Rangers."
            A chill goes up and down Alex's spine, "Oh yes, I remember that bastard----I almost had a miscarriage over him---I almost lost Angela because of that murdering-------"
            Trivette takes Alex's hand, "Shhhh---calm down--I didn't mean to get you  upset----but Alex there's more."
            "I'm afraid to ask----what?"
            Before Trivette can answer, Alex's cell phone rings, she answers and a petrified look crosses her face. "I'll be right there-----I'll change flights in El Paso---Jimmy---I have to return home---my Dad has suffered a heart attack!"

 

                                  ************************************


            Walker is now outside of Morales, the outskirts of Mexico City. He's moving cautiously through the night, sleeping during the day. He has passed many small villages that have been burned and looted, all the more reason for him to move slower, watching every movement. He has found an old deserted barn to get some much-needed sleep.
            He looks around inside to make sure he's alone but all of the livestock has been killed or run off. Dead chickens are laying around inside, he picks them up and throws them outside, then he spots a nest. His mouth is drooling as he prays that the banditos have overlooked maybe one egg. His prayers are answered as he finds two eggs, one is cracked, so he throws it away, the other he taps the end with his fingers, cracking the shell----then drinks the gooey liquid.
            Some of the yolk has dripped down onto his shaggy beard and he tries to wipe it off. He goes to the water trough and drinks what little water is left, staring back at his image in the stale water. His clothes are ragged, and hanging off of him, he knows he has lost weight as he keeps pulling his pants up----his belt was taken long ago. He rubs his hand across his beard, never has it been this long and scraggy. He looks at his hair and how it's grown, he smiles and whispers "Well, I know Alex would like the long hair on me--she always did like it long----but she wouldn't like this unsightly facial hair---and to be truthful---I don't like it this long either."
            He drinks more of the water, sloshing it around in his mouth and rinsing as best he can. "Tonight I will try and bathe in what little water is left--it sure isn't fit to drink----and that's all I need is to get sick on stale water.  I can always find water to drink in the roots of the plants."
            He looks back at the yellow gook that he missed, and then he starts laughing. He sits down beside the water trough, remembering the time he and Alex were in his Uncle Ray's henhouse---and they ended up bathing each other with eggs, and later making love with the slimy mess all over them.  Their bodies became sticky and the friction from the mess of the eggs created a "kinky" effect, which they both enjoyed.
            Walker smiles to himself, "You were never afraid to try something different, were you, Alex? I don't recall you ever saying 'no' to any position that I ever suggested---hell---most of the time it was you suggesting other ways-----and trying out new sex objects----which I didn't refuse----no way!"
            He continues to think of his wife, till he feels his eyes becoming heavy, he moves back inside the old barn and finds the cleanest stall. Soon he's asleep, and she comes to him in a dream, wearing nothing but a towel, her body is wet, her blue eyes smoldering and looking into his, begging him to take her. He takes her eagerly, his body aching to touch every inch of her body with his hands, his tongue--he wakes up sweating profusely. He looks around the barn, and groans, "Alex-----I can't take the loneliness ----I pray that call to Little Ray will have you looking for me-----please don't ever stop looking-----for me!"


                                   **************************************


Walker ranch:
            The twins stare back at the old man in raggedy clothes. He holds an object to them, they recognize it immediately---it's Walker's wallet.
            Cordell grabs it, "This is my Dad's----where did you get this?"
            The old man cowers, "Please don't hurt me---I found it---I swear I did---I didn't take nothing out of it, I swear---I saw the name and the badge and I wanted to bring it to you."
            Cordell starts going through the wallet, no money. He starts looking through the slots and finds the gas card, drivers' license, and the badge. Cooper is looking over his shoulder, "Aside from the money missing----everything is there----right?"
            Cordell shakes his head, "No----the picture is missing---the family picture that Dad always kept across from his badge----it's not here."
            "I swear I didn't take anything----"
            Cordell reaches out and touches the old man gently, "It's okay, we're not accusing you of anything---where did you find this?"
            The old man points over the north field, "Up there----off 199---about 5 miles down the road---I was looking for aluminum cans----I started kicking at some trash-----and there it was!"
            The twins look back and forth to each other and the old man. "As many times as the police have been up and down that highway they never found anything----and now he comes up with Dad's wallet?"
            "It doesn't matter Coop--the point is we have found evidence that Dad was kidnapped."
            "This doesn't prove anything, bro----"
            "Don't you see, Coop----if Dad left and wanted to get away from us---he would have taken his wallet---at least his gas card---and that picture is missing."
            "I don't see your reasoning---but I hope you're right-----Dad wouldn't have discarded his wallet by throwing it to the side of the road---he would be more ingenious than that---if he were trying to cover his tracks.  Besides, I thought we had all agreed that Dad didn't leave on his own accord?"
            Cordell nods, "We have to call  Mom at the hospital---but first of all," he reaches out and pulls the old man towards the front door, "I know you must be hungry----come in and get something to eat."
            The old man is fed and Cordell gives him some money and some sandwiches, Cooper drives him back up the long gravel road and lets him off at the highway. The man waves and then starts walking south.


                                             ***********************************

 

Dallas:
            Adlen has been back in the states for about a week, he's seen and heard the news about Walker's disappearance. Daniel's lawyer is again, building up his case--he hopes to take it to court by the 1st of August.
            "So--what now Adlen--do you think Alex Walker will still take the case against Daniel?"
            "She'll take it---she hasn't much of a choice, since her two boys will be testifying against Danny, plus that piece of slime, Luther Franks."
            Doss shakes his head, "That woman is something else, her husband is missing and she's made a trip to Mexico City in hopes of finding him, and she can still find time to build up her case against Danny----and those headlines and rumors----she's got to be superwoman."
            "She is a strong woman---I saw the determination in her, when I was on the Ice Princess---and the way she stands up for her husband."
            Doss picks up his briefcase and heads for the door of the penthouse, "Well, I'm out of here---I've seen Mrs. Walker's professional side all too often---I've got to make sure my case is air tight--I'm going to question Danny again."
            The lawyer has been gone just a few minutes when there's another knock on the door, Adlen throws the newspaper down and crosses the huge living room. He opens the door to see Woody staring back at him.
            Woody says nothing as he pushes himself inside, and he, too, is holding a newspaper. "I can't believe what you've done now, Adlen------this is really sick."
            "Good morning to you too, big brother---and what is it that I'm suppose to have done?"
            "This!" Woody throws the paper at Adlen, ---"you've kidnapped Walker-----haven't you?"
            "What the hell are you talking about----I'm not involved in this!"
            Woody stomps around the room, "Don't lie to me---this is just exactly like something you would pull-----what do you plan to do, Adlen---keep him prisoner till he admits that he might be your father----then what?  This is sick----sick, sick!"
            Adlen slaps the paper out of Woody's hand, "Where do you get the nerve coming in here and accusing me of something stupid like this?  I have a vendetta against Walker---but I wouldn't kidnap him---what would that prove?"
            "You tell me!  Where are you holding him, in the south of France, your chalet in the Alps---or some deserted island---where?"
            "For Christ's sake---keep your voice down---and for the last time---I have no idea where Walker is---I just got back from the Orient a few days ago."
            Woody smirks, "And, like this hasn't been in the news--even there?---It's made the Enquirer tabloid, plus that ridiculous story on his wife and his best friend----I don't suppose you had anything to do with that either?"
            Adlen sighs, "I'm guilty on that part---I told the guy to just take a couple of pics and send it in to the local TV stations----instead---he sends it to a friend that works on the Enquirer----I didn't know it would get so out of hand."
            "Adlen---stop this crazy vendetta against Walker---even if it's proven that he's your Father---now what will happen?  What if they never find the guy---then who comes out on top? That whole family has been through the ringer----and if you drop this bombshell on them---it will totally destroy them!! If you got any kind of feelings for Angela maybe being your half sister and all----think about what this will do to her."
            Adlen lights up a cigarette--"I know, I know----and you're not the only one coming down on me---I've been hearing it from Lars too!!  He's told me that if I continue to try and prove that Walker is my father----he will cut me off from any inheritance."
            Woody starts to laugh, "Lars has finally stood up to you, I don't believe it!!  You stand to lose millions of dollars---at last count--I think it was close to about 50 million!!  Well, this is interesting---what do you plan to do?"
            "I don't know----Lars is being so unreasonable!"
                  "Unreasonable?  Get off it, Adlen---that man has treated you like gold every since the day you were born! He treated both you and your mother like you were on some kind of pedestal---heaven knows he never gave my mother or me the same treatment!! He walked out on us, giving my mother a small pittance of his worth, and commenced to treat you and your Mother to anything and everything you ever desired. And what did he get in return? Your Mother talked about Walker being your father, day in day out. She talked to you constantly about him, showing you his picture---getting you to say "Dada" as soon as you could talk. Up until her death, she talked about him constantly-----and then your Uncle Will took over where she left off.
            “Lars listened to this for all of those years, never saying a word against your Mother or you---but even I could see that it was tearing him up inside!  He gave you everything and you treated him like dirt---you're still mistreating him!  Do you even know ---or care what this has done to him over the years---this stupid 'quest' to find Walker and prove that he's your biological Father?  I tried to talk to Lars about this a couple of times, I've hid my own pain and hurt--to try and tell him that I was there for him----he just walked away from me.  He walked away from me, Adlen---do you know how much I hated and despised you in those moments?  You took my father away from me, and now you're trying to do the same thing all over again to someone else! Walk away from this Adlen---give it up while you still have some pride."
            Adlen lights up another cigarette, "I can't walk away---what will I do--how will I survive?"
            "The same way I've had to survive----by getting out and getting a damn job---and quit accepting Lars' money!  I did it--so can you---you're smart-----you can go into law like you've always wanted."
            Adlen looks around at his penthouse, his expensive suit, the jewelry, he looks back at his brother-----"Do you still hate me?"
            Woody shakes his head, "I don't hate you----right now I'm just very upset with what you're doing, but it's not too late to turn this around."
                      "Woody----I swear to you--I know nothing about what has happened to Walker---I swear it-----on my Mother's grave."
            Woody looks at his brother, "I believe you--of all the things I've seen you take lightly-----using your Mother's name in that manner----is not one of them.  You've taken the first step, Adlen-----just walk away---come with me right now----I got a nice little apartment in Seattle--and I can get you set up with a nice firm in the area----they're always needing good lawyers."
            Adlen shakes his head, "I've got to have time to think---give me a couple of days----and I promise---we'll work something out."
            Woody nods, "Okay----how about Daniel---did Lars come through on transferring the money into Doss' account?"
            "Yeah----finally! I don't know what the hesitation was---but Doss got his money---and the case is due to go to court on the 1st."
            Woody does a double take, "The first? That's less than 2 wks away----is Mrs. Walker still going to prosecute?"
            "Yep----as far as I know."
            "How can she possibly concentrate on this case with her husband missing---she's still down in Mexico---isn't she?"
            Adlen looks at his brother suspiciously, "How did you know she was taking trips to Old Mexico?"
            Woody stammers, "I do read other newspapers, besides the Seattle Times----are you forgetting who sent you all those clippings on Walker throughout the years, while you were traveling all over the world, enjoying Lars' millions?"
            "It sounds like to me, that you still have some hatred in your voice---You said you didn't hate me!"
            "Maybe I do still have some contempt in my voice---but it's been almost 20 years---you just don't forget it all that quickly.  I'm going back to Seattle tonight, here's my phone number----when you decide to join me----let me know!”
            Woody leaves and Adlen goes back to his pacing----and smoking.


                                                      *************************


            Alex is at the hospital with her father, he's had a light one this time, but the doctors are cautioning him to take it easier. Both Alex and Sue embrace each other, Dana and Cordell go to get them coffee.
            "So, what did your Mom say when you told her about that old man finding your Dad's wallet?"
            "I haven't told her yet, Dana---she's been so upset about grandpa----this was a close one---wasn't it?"
            "Yep---we were making plans to go out to the ranch---when all of a sudden--your grandpa just collapsed! My mom called 911 and then she called your mom--luckily she wasn't out of the country yet!"
            Cordell looks back to the hospital room, "We better get back in there-----I need to tell Mom about the wallet now."
                    "Cordell-----how did you get here?  Please don't say that you drove your Dad's truck!"
            Cordell smiles, "No----I didn't drive the Ram----J.W. brought me in Angela's car-----but he went back immediately to help Angela with the kids."
            Dana takes Cordell's hand, "Well-----as soon as we find out that your grandpa is out of danger, I'll give you and your Mom a ride home."
            Cordell sighs, "It must be nice having your own car, I'll sure be glad when I'm old enough to get a license----I feel kind of funny with you driving me all over the place."
                   "Cordell Walker---are you trying to get chauvinistic on me----what is wrong with me doing the driving?"
            Cordell stammers, "Nothing I guess----it's just that--the guy is suppose to be in the drivers' seat---you know?"
            "No----I don't know---I happen to be older than you, and I've got my license first---big deal!  Cordell-----are you happy that you went back home?"
            "Yeah---I'm happy---my Dad and I were trying to come to an understanding on the rules----and then everything went to hell-----with him coming up missing and all. And, then all of those stupid rumors kept surfacing."
            Dana's dark eyes look into Cordell's, "I never believed those rumors about your Dad running off with another woman---I want you to know, Cordell---I never believed them."
            Cordell nods, reaching over to kiss Dana on the cheek, "I know you didn't---I heard about the encounter that you had with Sherry Wilson, Sandi Blancett, and that little creep, Rita Stevens."
            "What did you hear?"
            "I heard that you got right up in their faces and told them off----I was sure proud of you, for defending my family like that."
            "Yeah--well----they deserved it--spouting off like that about something they know nothing about---they've never even met your Father----how could they make judgment?"
                   "Probably heard it from their parents and so on----let's not worry about that right now.--How's your new job working out?"
            "I love it, working in a Doctor's office--right now I'm just a 'go for' taking files back and forth to the offices, but I'm thinking very seriously along the medical field."
            They start walking back to the hospital room, still holding hands, stopping outside of Gordon's room, "That's a good profession to follow, Dana---helping people."
            "What about you, Cordell----do you still want to go to Russia some day?"
                    Cordell's eyes light up, "Oh yeah---more and more---maybe-----maybe you could come with me? It won't be for a couple of years or so---I got to get out of high school, and maybe by then you'll be well on your way in your career----Russia is always in need of nurses."
            Dana smiles back at Cordell, "Would you really want me come with you, Cordell---once you get into high school --you'll probably forget all about me----the girls will be all over you."
            Cordell blushes, "Stop it----I don't look at other girls, Dana----I just----want----to be with you."
            Dana bites her bottom lip, "You know, Cordell that neither of us have had a relationship before----when you start high school---things will change---you'll want to start dating other girls."
                 "Maybe------maybe that's the way it will be--but right now I can't think along that line---I just know that you're someone extra special to me, and I think about you---all the time."
            Dana nods her head, "I think about you too, my friends tease me about having a crush on a boy that's two years younger than me, but I don't care-----I've had a crush on you since the first time Angela introduced me to your family----how many years ago?"
                  "Really? Are you sure it was me that you had the crush on and not my twin, Cooper? After all---he's the ladies man---or at least he thinks he is."
            "I got to admit, Cooper did catch my eye because he was so outgoing and clowning around---and you were always the quiet one----always reading and staying to yourself."
            "So, what made you change your mind----about me----that is?"
            Dana laughs, "Well, for a long time I couldn't tell you two apart when you were together----and then you got that chipped tooth, and it made you look so cute---sort of masculine."
            "Sort of masculine?"
            They laugh, and Dana reaches out and touches Cordell's face, and jabs at his chipped tooth with her finger--"I love this look---please, don't ever get your tooth capped---unless it starts to hurt you----or something."
            Cordell takes her hand away and holds it down beside him, "I won't ever get it fixed---if that's what you really want."
            They stand for the longest just looking into each other's eyes, they are brought out of their 'dreamscape' by Alex's voice. Cordell pulls away from Dana and runs in to see his Mother talking on the phone. Gordon is motioning for the kids to come closer.
                "Grandpa----what's wrong-----are you okay?"
            Gordon whispers for them to be quiet and Alex's eyes grow wide, "Are you sure, Angela----are you sure it was your Daddy?"
            Cordell runs to his Mother, "What's wrong---what about Dad?"
            Alex hangs up the phone and grabs Cordell, "Angela said that your Dad called----she said he talked to Little Ray----oh my God---we have to get home---Daddy---are you going to be okay?"
            Gordon is motioning for her to leave, Sue grabs Gordon's hand, "Go Alex----I will take care of your father---hurry---get home---call us when you find out something."
            Dana grabs Alex's hand, "Come on---I'll drive you!"
            The drive home to Springtown is a flurry of questions and Cordell tells his Mother about the wallet. As they drive up, Cooper and J.W. are yelling at them to hurry up and come inside.
            The baby is crying as Alex reaches out to take her, "Now, what happened-----tell me everything----was it really your Dad?"
            Little Ray goes running to his mother, "Daddy call----he talk to me."
            Alex is both scared and relieved, her hands start to shake, "What did he say, Little Ray?"
                Everyone gathers around them as the boy starts babbling, Alex hands C.D. back to Angela---"Honey---please give her a bottle--now Little Ray---I want you to stop, talk slowly---tell me everything that Daddy said to you----everything."
            The boys' eyes look back at his Mother, "Daddy---sound sad--him say ‘get Mommy’ and I say you at hopital--papa have hart tack---Daddy scared."
            Alex swallows, "Then what, what did Daddy say then?"
            "Him say get thissy and me did."
            Angela is coming back with the baby, "He started screaming that Daddy was on the phone---I picked up the phone-----and all I hear was weird noises!"
            "The voice on the phone didn't say anything to you----"
            "No Mom---all I heard was some strange noises like furniture being thrown around or something---I kept hollering for him---and then the phone went dead."
            "So---we're not even sure it was Dad---it could have been someone playing a cruel joke---Cooper, where were you?"
            "I was outside, working on my truck---Little Ray comes out screaming something about "Daddy'----I come running in and Angela is crying, C.D. is crying---“
            Alex kneels down in the floor and pulls Little Ray over to her, "Sweetheart----was it really Daddy---or was it someone---that just sounded like Daddy?"
            "But, Mommy---him call me---buckaroo!"
                     Everyone becomes silent and Alex is shaking so bad, the boys have to help her up. Angela starts crying again, "It was Daddy--no one ever calls him 'buckaroo'--except Daddy!"
            Alex is looking around, "What about the caller I.D.---where did the call come from?"
            Cooper shakes his head, "It came up "OUT OF AREA"--- I called the operator, but she couldn't tell me anything more than that---maybe you can get more information, Mom---call them!"

 Seekers-Quest-6 
By  SASQUAW


            The Walker household is waiting patiently for Alex to relay the message to them from the operator. She's nodding her head and whispering for Cordell to get the Atlas.
            Cordell spreads the Atlas out on the kitchen table and looks back to his Mother, "What country, what state, Mom?"
            Alex hangs up the phone, shouting, "Just where we've suspected all along---Old Mexico-----she got it narrowed down to the rural area of Guerrero county---that's about a 100 miles north of Acapulco."
            Cordell finds the area immediately, "Here it is Mom!"
            The kids are all gathering around, "Is that where Daddy is----did he make the call from there?"
            Alex puts her hands up, "Angela---we don't know exactly where the call came from, just the area---the operator is trying to get a more exact location for us---she will call us back."
            "At least we know the general area where Uncle Walker might be," replies J.W. "What about my Dad---shouldn't we call him?"
            "Yes, yes----J.W.---take Angela's phone and try and reach your father---I want to keep this line open."
            J.W. runs towards the stairs, Angela is right behind him.  Little Ray is trying to climb up in his chair, "Daddy come home?"
            "We're still trying to find information on where the call came from honey-----we don't know anything yet."
            Dana reaches over and takes Little Ray's hand, "You know what---I'll bet everyone could eat a sandwich right now----come help me make them, okay, Little Ray?"
            The boy scrambles down, running to the refrigerator, "Yeah----me help."
            Cordell looks to Dana and gives her a slight smile, knowing that his little brother needs a diversion---and food always works.
            Cooper is shaking his head, "I don't know Mom, that's a lot of area to cover----and a lot of rural homes. I remember Dad saying that most of the homes down there---couldn't even afford electricity----much less a phone."
            Alex nods, "Yeah---I remember when your father and I were Acapulco----the areas around there were very sparse."
            "You and Dad were in Acapulco---when?"
            She smiles, "When you guys were about two years old, we all went down to visit some friends of your Dad's and they took us to Acapulco, and showed us the sites."
            "Did you like it?"
            "It was very pretty, your father and his friend Jessie went deep sea fishing---your father got a bad sunburn and was miserable for the rest of the trip."
            "Did you like it, Mom?"
            Before Alex can answer, the phone rings---it's the operator. She writes down information, concerning the number---"We have it 'pin-pointed'----it came from the village of Tiapa."
            Again Cordell starts looking for the location, "I found it----it's just a mere dot----it sure can't be very big."
            "It's just a village, sweetheart----and no they aren't very big."
            "I'm confused about something, Mom---like you said those places are very sparse and the economy is even worse----how do they make a living down there?  And, like Coop said---how can they afford the luxury of having a telephone?"
            "I don't know the answers, sweetheart---I just know that now we have definite proof that your father is down there---and he's tried to contact us."
            The twins look back at their Mom, and Cooper stammers, "This does mean that he's thinking about us---he wants to come home---I mean if he was down there-----for some other reason---"
            Alex clears her throat, "What are you trying to say, Coop----that the reason he's there could still be---someone else?"
            Cooper shakes his head, "I don't mean to keep bringing it up---but it's still a possibility----isn't it?"
            Cordell nudges his twin, "Why would he ask for Mom---if that was the case-----and remember what Little Ray said---he said Dad sounded sad."
            "I know, bro---and I know that we all agreed he didn't just leave---he was kidnapped---but there are so many unanswered questions---who took him and why?"
            Dana and Little Ray place the sandwiches down on the table and urge everyone to take some. Alex takes a deep breath.
            "I know what I have to do---and that means I am taking a trip down there----I will fly to Acapulco and I will find him---if it takes the rest of my life---I am tired of not knowing---my first concern is knowing that he's okay---that he is not hurt."
            "Mom----you don't mean it---you can't go down there alone---let Cooper and me go with you."
            Alex shakes her head, "No---I need you two here---you have to take care of Angela and the kids---please don't argue with me about this---I have made up my mind."
            Alex turns and starts towards the stairs, Angela and J.W. are coming down. "I just got hold of my Dad---he's going to call you back, Aunt Alex."
            Alex starts up the stairs, "I hope it's soon----Angela call and make me reservations for the next flight to Acapulco."
            Angela stares back at her, mouthing the word. Cordell is running up the stairs after her.
            "Mom----NO----you can't go down there alone---please---take at least one of us with you!"
            Alex turns and faces her son, "Sweetheart---please---NO ARGUING about this---my bags are still at the airport---I'm ready to go---Angela---are you making that call?"
            Angela runs to the phone and starts dialing, "What about Uncle Jimmy---aren't you going to wait for him to call?"
            "I don't have time,” Alex yells back, "you can tell him where I'm at---he can meet me there."
            Both Cooper and Cordell are running up the stairs and trying to convince her to take them with her. Alex stops and looks at them, "Guys---please----I can't take either of you----I need you both here---to take care of things---it's too dangerous having kids down there---you said so yourself, Cordell."
            Cordell stops and looks at his mother and replies softly, "Kids?  Now we're just kids again?  We ask to go with you to help find Dad---and you say it's too dangerous because "we're just kids"-----but yet in the same breath---you tell us to stay here---because we're suppose to be the 'men of the house' and act responsible-------well, you know what Mom---I wish that you and Dad would just make up your damn minds about how--you want us to be."
            Cordell stomps back down the stairs and out the front door. Cooper leans back against the banister and looks up at his mother---"He's right you know-----you and Dad keep us swinging back and forth like we're on a pendulum----just letting us fill the mold as how you want us to be--from one situation to another.  You can't have it both ways, Mom---maybe someday you and Dad will stop treating us like puppets.  Good luck on your quest to find Dad----" Cooper turns to go down the stairs, then turns back, "I love you Mom---and I know Cordell didn't mean to yell at you like that---just be careful-----have a safe trip".
            Dana takes Alex to the airport, none of the kids asked to go along with them.
            The twins watched from the barn as Dana's little red sedan drove up the gravel driveway and out of sight. Angela and J.W. walk out to the barn, and Angela speaks softly, "Don't you think you two were a little hard on Mom?"
            Cooper looks to his twin, replying---"We just spoke the truth---now get off our backs."
            Cordell stares back at his sister, "If you think we were hard on Mom---why didn't you go to the airport with them?"
            "I didn't say that I didn't agree with you two---I just thought---with everything going on----you could have not talked to her so----mean?"
            Cordell kicks out at the ground, "That's your opinion----I'm out of here."
            "Where you going, Cordell?"
            "None of your business!" he yells back.
            Angela starts to follow him, and Cooper pulls her back, "Leave him be---I know where he's going----just get back in the house and do the 'womanly' chores that Mom has left you with-----and just leaves us both alone."
            J.W. frowns, "Look---just because you and your brother got taken down a peg---don't take it out on Angela---she didn't start this."
            Cooper walks in the direction that his brother has taken, he turns and gives J.W. a lewd gesture---"Up yours too, J.W.----and the horse you rode in on!"
            The ride to the airport is in silence, and Alex is fighting back the tears. "I don't know what has gotten into Cordell----he's so hot tempered lately."
            Dana looks to Alex and shakes her head slowly, "I've noticed the change too, and when he and his Dad got into that disagreement about the dating rules--I told him just how I felt about it. I said I thought he was being stubborn-----but Mrs. Walker---he's not wrong about this----you are treating him and his brother like immature kids."
            Alex stares back at Dana, "What?  They are kids, Dana---they are only 14 years old!"
            "I don't mean to be disrespectful, Mrs. Walker--but you know as well as I do that Cordell is very responsible for his age---I've heard both you and your husband praise them on being just that---responsible and mature.  But then, when a real crisis comes up--you go back to treating them like kids!"
            "You don't understand, Dana--when you get older and have a family--then maybe you will see that thin line that a parent has to walk in trying to make the right decisions for her kids. It's too dangerous down there---would you honestly want Cordell to go down there?"
            "No, Mrs. Walker--I don't want any of you going down there! What do you expect to be able to do that the American consulate hasn't been able to do?  Ranger Trivette has all kinds of law officers looking for him--and he has that 'snitch' going into the prison and searching----what else can you do to help find your husband?"
            Alex is biting her bottom lip, "I just feel that I have to be down there, we've now gotten word that the call came from the Guerrero area, and that's only miles from Acapulco---I would feel like that I was doing my part in finding him. If he's hurt----I want to be with him---Dana---I can't stand the thought of never being able to see him or touch him again.  I have to go---don't you understand?"
            Dana has now pulled up to the unloading area, she looks to Alex and replies, "No ma'am--I don't understand---your place is with your kids. I haven't got to know your husband very well, but the few times that I have talked to him, he praises you as being the rock in the family.  And, I don't think I'm wrong when I say that if your husband could talk to you right now----he would tell you to stay with the kids, and let the law find him."
            Alex stares back at Dana, "You really mean that?"
            "Yes ma'am I do.  The last few months have really taken its toll on all of you, I wonder how you've kept it together for as long as you have!  But then, I see how all of you are with each other---and I just know that all of you will pull together. But, Mrs. Walker-----fighting and disagreeing right now is the last thing all you should be doing.  You've just gotten some solid news about Mr. Walker--you should all be celebrating-----not fighting!"
            Alex smiles, "You're pretty smart for a 16 year old, Dana---and wise----.Let’s go home."


                                               *****************************
            The Dallas times has picked up on the story that Walker has been spotted in Old Mexico, the film crews are at the Walker ranch. This breaking news and the stories about political uprising in that country has news stations from around the country vying for the top story.
            The twins have kept their distance from both their Mother and the news reporters. For the past three days they have stayed at Uncle Ray's cabin, still tending their injured pride about their Mother  'belittling' them. They watch from the barn as the news vans pull up, and cameras start rolling. A reporter spots the boys near the corral as Cooper climbs up on the fence, his feet dangling down. He sees the reporter grabbing a cameraman and coming in their direction. He turns to his brother and sneers.
            "Here they come bro."
            "Let'em come---I got nothing to say to them, after what they were publishing about Dad---leaving to be with another woman---they better not say anything about that---or so help me--I'll clobber them."
            The reporter starts yelling out to the boys that he wants to interview them. Cooper jumps down from the fence, and waves them off. "We got nothing to say to you creeps----get the hell away from us!"
            "Just one question---which one of you got kicked out of the house by your Dad because you wouldn't follow the rules----your father is very strict, isn't he---I hear he's very much the tyrant---ruling you kids with an iron hand----and also you get beat with a stick---there in the barn-------"
            Cooper kicks out with his foot, taking the microphone out of the man's hand, and catching it in mid air--he then spins around on one foot and shatters the camera. Another cameraman is running up, his cameras rolling.
            Cooper walks up to the reporter and shakes the microphone in his face, "You see this---I'm going to shove this up your ass if you aren't off our property in exactly three minutes."
            "Now see here----you can't talk to me like that, I'm only doing my job---I'm a public servant-----''
            Cordell goes to stand by his brother, "And---you're on private property---now leave---you now got two minutes."
            The camcorder from the other cameraman is still rolling and closing in on the twins, Cooper reaches down beside the corral and picks up a wad of horse manure and slams it into the camera's lens, the man swears and jumps back. They all start retreating back to their news vans.
            A tall dark headed woman of African descent is watching and shaking her head. She calls back to her camera crew and they all set their equipment down. The woman smiles and waves at the boys, they walk up to her slowly.
            "Hi guys----how's it going?"
            "Hi, Miss Leire----guess you saw all of that?"
            The woman is very pretty, "How could I have missed it----Channel 12 is going to be stinking of manure---all the way back to the station.  Where's your mom?"
            Cooper nods towards the house, "Inside----trying to avoid all of those creeps--they got their nerve showing up here after all the crap they printed on our Dad!"
            The woman looks back to her camera crew, "Do you think I could talk to her----alone---without them?"
            Cordell nods, "Sure----you always treated the family with respect----go on in---but they stay out here."
            "Fair enough---you guys behave yourselves----and I'll see that you don't make the 10'oclock news----at least not on my station."
            The twins smile faintly and Cordell walks over to one of the cameramen and starts asking questions, the two are soon very deep into the world of cameras.
            Alex and Leire talk for a good 30 minutes, Alex is shaking her head and looking out at the twins. Things are still strained between them, she and Cordell have said very little since her return.  She takes a deep breath and looks back at the newswoman.
            "I don't know, Leire---I don't know if I want to give an interview and have my family plastered all over the news again. My family is very fragile right now--and we're not exactly getting along--our nerves are shot, and stretched to the limits---I just don't know."
            "Alex, I understand---but isn't it about time that you and your family gave your version on what is happening---and not let these news hounds keep speculating on what they think is going on?. You have to speak up, let it be known that you know your husband was kidnapped and stop all that trash about there being another woman involved. Say it in your own words, the interview will be given strictly on your say so-----I will not ask any questions before I clear them with you."
            "I will give the interview on two conditions--number one---that my whole family agrees to it--and two----that I want it printed loud and clear that the Mexican government is not doing everything in their power to find my husband."
            Leire nods her head, "Are you sure you want to rattle the Mexican government this way----things are heating up down there---this could go against the already plans to try and find your husband."
            "Leire, the government down there is being bullied by a band of banditos---called Diablo---they have been killing and looting down there for months, and the government keeps turning their heads, saying it is only in comparison to what our Americans call a "gang war". They refuse to use deadly force in cleaning out those hills where Diablo and his men have been hiding---they are afraid to go in there."
            The news lady nods her head slowly, "I will have to clear that part with my editor--so---will you check with your family and get back to me on the interview?"
            Alex agrees to let Leire know about the interview and she leaves. Alex takes a deep breath and walks to the door, the twins see her and walk towards the porch, Cordell says nothing as he walks past her into the house. Cooper looks to his Mother.
            "What did you and that news lady talk about?"
            Alex relays the request for the interview.  "But, I am not consenting to do it---unless all of you agree to it."
            Cooper nods, "Well---you got my say so---I think the truth needs to come out----from us----and stop all of the speculation from people who don't even know this family---and Dad!---So far, all of the stories that have been printed have been negative---I say it's time for something positive----and I know Angela would agree to that."
            "What about your brother?"
            Cooper reaches over and pulls his Mother to the porch swing, "I've been wanting to talk to you about him---Mom---I'm worried about him."
            Alex sighs, "He has been losing his temper a lot lately---and becoming more vocal."
            "Yeah," replies Cooper, "but it's usually me that is spouting off---Cordell has always been more passive----thinking things out, and then speaking his mind!  Though I'm not saying that what he's argued about lately is not right--I agree with all he's been saying---but Mom---there's something else that is worrying me."
            "What, sweetheart?"
            "I was just wondering----do you think Cordell is having some kind of delayed reaction from that injection?  The reports said that could happen----and even though the Doctors said he was okay----what do you think?"
            Alex nods her head, "Have you talked to your brother about this?"
            "Yeah----he told me he was tired of going by the rules----and they were stupid rules---more so---he was tired of being treated like a kid."
            Alex takes a deep breath, "I am going to try and talk to him about all of this----Cooper, aside from your brother losing his temper quicker, have you noticed anything else----has your brother complained about headaches or such?"
            "Yeah, the headaches----but he said that was from all the reading---you know he's constantly reading--and sometimes in the dark."
            "In the dark?  How can he see to read in the dark?"
            Cooper heaves, "By those book markers that Dana gave him for his birthday---they light up, you can see a whole page from the light it emits. And, sometimes he turns all the lights off and just uses the book markers to read by."
            Alex shakes her head, "He knows better than that---your Dad and I have always cautioned him about having the proper reading light."
                  "Mom"----Cooper smiles, "the gift was from Dana---that makes a difference---he says it makes him feel closer to her."
                 "Cooper---is there anything going on between those two----that you know of?"
            Cooper puts his hands up, "I'm not 'ratting' on my brother, Mom."
            "I'm not asking you to 'rat'----“
            "Yes, you are Mom, that's called 'ratting'!           

"Okay, then----call it whatever you want---just please tell me they are not------"
            "Having sex, Mom?"
            Alex stands up and starts pacing, "YES-----well, are they?"
            "That's still 'ratting', Mom!"
                  "Cooper James--stop patronizing me----are they?"
            Cooper begins to pause, "Maybe that's it!"
            "That's what?"
            "Maybe that's why Cordell is so temperamental----he's not getting any---that's what J.W. anyways says."
            Alex takes a deep breath, "Not getting any?  That's what J.W. says---then I am hoping---no---I'm praying that hasn't been the reason for J.W.'s calming affect that he has been showing lately---that he is---not doing---without?"    
            Cooper laughs, "Calm down, Mom--before you have a cow---I was just teasing---as far as I know--Cordell and Dana have not been intimate---but now---J.W. and Angela---I'm not so sure about."
            Now Alex is pacing faster, "Oh please---not those two---not now----I don't know how I can handle anymore stress."
            Cooper continues to laugh, standing up and putting his arm around his Mother---"Just think, Mom---you and Dad thought I was going to be the 'problem child'---and look how I've turned out."
            Alex doesn't know if she should laugh or cry, she looks back at youngest twin son, "I'm going to talk to your brother—now."


                                               *******************************


            Clifford Doss, Daniel's attorney, has sent for Adlen.
            "Yeah, what's up," Adlen asks as he sits down in the leather chair, and lights up a cigarette, "what's so important?"
            The lawyer is very puzzled at some papers he's been reading. "I'm confused about something, Adlen--first of all I get the news that I wasn't your father's first choice of lawyers----who is this McDivit?"
            Adlen exhales, "That was Woody's idea---he wanted McDivit to defend Daniel and Lars was all set for him to take the case--then I decided that I wanted you---and so I asked Lars to hire you instead."
            Doss eyes the young man suspiciously, "Thank you for your loyalty---I think.  Now we have another pressing issue---I have been looking for Daniel's birth certificate--I can't find any trace of it.   Where was he born?"
            "Why?  What difference does that make?"
                   "Because I am also confused about some dates that you keep throwing at me. You say that Daniel was almost six when he went to live with your grandmother?"
                   "Somewhere along that age---I don't remember---why?"
            "I like to have all of this information before me, before we go into court. I also need to know how old Daniel is."
            Again Adlen hesitates, "Why does that make any difference---he's around eighteen or older."
            "It makes all of the difference, Adlen---if he's tried as an adult or not."
                 "Believe me, Adlen is at least 18---ask him."
            Doss takes his glasses off and stares at Adlen, he replies slowly, "I did ask him---he says he has a birthday coming up soon--that he will be 22---August 16th!"
            Adlen almost chokes on his cigarette, "Twenty-two? How can he be 22, I'm older than him---I'll be 21 on August 16th---not him! He's just confused."
            Doss continues to stare at Adlen, "Daniel seems pretty adamant about it----is there something you're not telling me, Adlen?  Because if there is---I will find out about it and like I said before---it could mean a mistrial."
            Adlen stands up and grounds his cigarette out, "Look--you are Daniel's lawyer and you are getting paid---handsomely, I might add---to do just that---defend Daniel---not ask me a lot of questions!  Daniel has never been able to keep dates straight, much less figure out how old he is---he's cracked in the head---he's whacko from seducing and hurting those little boys---and being sexually abused by that Sarge---now get off my back about Danny's age----it doesn't matter!! He's over 18---get on with it!"
            Adlen storms out the door. Doss waits a few seconds, and then picks up the phone, smiling to himself, he speaks into the receiver. "He's rattled alright----the questions about Daniel's age have him so confused, he's not even sure how old he is."
            Doss continues talking, "You better be right about getting that birth certificate--and it better be legal!!  If so, Adlen is going to get the shock of his life!"


                                     ********************************
            The old man has found his way back to the village, and his old stomping grounds. He has found more cardboard boxes and he throws together a shelter for the night. He hasn't seen the "piranhas" around, and he breathes a sigh of relief, whispering to himself, "Good----maybe the thieving little bastards have killed each other off--though in a way I do feel sorry for them---especially that little one.  That little one can't be more than six years old---and to have to live off the streets like that---it's unbelievable--that God can let children grow up that way."
           
The old man tries to laugh, "I guess sometimes that even you, God can't untangle all the webs that we weave, the sins and temptations of the world. You're probably looking down at me right now, shaking your head and wondering if you should just put me out of my misery--or better yet---your misery---I've tested you many times, haven't I, FATHER?  You must be keeping me alive for some reason; lord knows I should have been standing at the pearly gates--many years ago! Instead, you keep me around---for what, I don't know----other than a place for your two legged, feathered fowls to use my head for a toilet! Every time I feel the crap from one of your fine-feathered fouls, I say "ANOTHER FRIEND IS SHITTING ON ME!!”
                                          

Seekers-Quest-7

By Sasquaw

            Alex has gotten Cooper and Angela's permission to give the interview, and she now decides to confront Cordell. She walks up the beautiful staircase that Walker and the twins built, she runs her hands over the banister, feeling 'his presence' in every step she takes. She taps lightly on her son's door, and she hears his voice giving permission to enter.
            "May I come in---I would like to talk to you?"
            Cordell lays his book down and motions for her to enter. She looks around at the room and marvels at how well her son keeps everything so neat. His bed is always neatly made, with his boots and shoes lined up by color. His stereo equipment is arranged by height of the speakers and she just assumes that they are all the same exact distance apart. The walls at one end are done in the Native American look, with a picture of White Eagle and Walker in buckskins with Walker about the same age as Cordell. Next to it is a picture of Walker, C.D. and Uncle Ray. Walker is in his marine fatigues, and he's clean-shaven. Alex smiles as she runs her finger over Walker's face, she's seen the pictures of him before the beard, and she’s always preferred him with it.
            At the other end are pictures of Russia in various scenes scanning over the decades. This is only the second time that Alex has been in her son's new bedroom that used to be the attic. The first time was right after it was finished and she was given the 'grand tour'. She smiles back at Cordell.
            "Oh sweetheart---it looks great, I love what you've done to the decor, and the colors are great."
            Cordell smiles faintly, "Thanks----Angela and Dana did a good job on the decorating---I got to admit I was worried they would try to make it look too feminine looking---but they didn't."
            Alex laughs recalling that day when the twins and their father were going out of town to another tournament and Angela volunteered to do the wallpapering. Cordell was so nervous, and then Angela said Dana was going to help her, which put the boy's mind at ease. Alex looks to his nightstand and sees the picture of him and Dana together, taken on New Years' Eve. She picks the picture up and stares at the young couple. She knows Cordell took the picture himself, putting the camera on a timer. The two are cheek to cheek, and a soft smile is across her son's face, Dana is looking back at him, her eyes are all aglow.
            "This picture is so good, sweetheart---you're going to make a great photographer some day."
            Cordell is still strained at trying to talk to his mother. He shoves his hands down inside his jeans, "Is there something you wanted to talk to me about?"
            Alex tells him about the interview and that Cooper and Angela have agreed to it. She looks back at her son; he's just staring at her.
            "Well?  What do you say?"
            Cordell tries to keep his voice calm, "Why are you asking me---I'm just a kid?"
            Alex too, is trying to remain calm, "I am not going to give the interview unless all of you agree to it---now I know that you and I have had words and you're upset with me-----but I want to know---are you for or against it?"
            "I'm for it---but there is one thing I'm definitely against and that's the interview on telling the Mexican government that they are not doing their part in finding Dad!  Mom---you can't go on national TV and say that---it would only make things worse!"
            "How so?  Cordell---they are not doing enough to find your father---I just want to put some fire under them, to let them know that we are not going to accept their ---casual---interest in this!"
            Cordell shakes his head, "That's not the way to do it, Mom---if you go on national television and start blasting their government----there's no telling what kind of s.o.b's will start coming out of the woodwork.  We got to make sure that Dad is okay before we start saying things that could jeopardize his safety."
            Alex sits down on the edge of her son's bed, being careful not to mess the comforter up, "Okay---I agree to that----but sweetheart---how long do we wait?  We're not even sure where he is now---your Uncle Jimmy and the rest of the search team are combing the area down around Acapulco and especially in the Tiapa area---so far---nothing!"
            "I say---give the interview---tell it straight up what we 'expect' the Mexican government to do---but not rub it in their faces about how poorly things have been handled."
            Alex nods in agreement, "Okay--I will check with Leire and we will go over everything very carefully about what will be asked and how we answer the questions."
            Cordell stands there looking back at his mother. She can see the resemblance to his father so much at this point, the way he holds his mouth set so determined, the eyes looking deep into hers.
            Alex stands up and reaches back to smooth the comforter out, "Sweetheart---could I ask you about something else?"
            "Sure," he replies softly, "what?"
            "I know that we have had our misunderstandings, and you and your Dad---over the dating rules and such---and I've noticed how quickly you are starting to lose your temper.  Is there anything wrong?"
            "Mom---I've been losing my temper because of the way you and Dad have Cooper and me behaving. You and Dad set all of these rules, and just because Angela doesn't question them---do you think Coop and I won't?"
            "But, Cooper hasn't been challenging the rules and losing his temper---becoming so vocal---just you!"
            "That's because he's so damn wrapped up in that truck that Mr. Ferguson 'willed' him---so far he hasn't had a reason to challenge the dating rules---but he will when he starts to meet someone that he wants to spend time with."
            "Okay, I guess I see where you're coming from about wanting to challenge the rules---but honey---are you----having some side effects from that injection?  Cooper said you were having headaches."
            Cordell starts pacing, then looks back at his mother, "Mom----yes---I'm having headaches, but I'm sure that my brother told you what was causing them.---I haven't been using the proper reading light and I promise that will change----but some of it is caused from all this tension that we're all under!  Worrying about Dad----I wake up at all hours of the night---thinking about him."
            Alex walks cautiously up to her son, touching his cheek lightly. "You too?  I'm up at all hours of the night---you could talk to me about it?"
            Cordell stares down at the floor, looking back up with tears in his eyes, "I've started to talk to you about it several times, I've walked up to your bedroom door----and I hear---you crying.  I figured you needed the time alone.  I've also heard Angela and Little Ray crying, he sleeps in her room a lot now, you know?"
            Alex's voice is breaking, "Yes---and usually by morning, he crawls into my bed--I know it's strange----but sometimes I can almost see the same sadness in CD's eyes---like in her young and innocent way---she knows that her Daddy is gone----I know that's not possible, she was barely a day old---when your father was taken---I know that's not possible----but-----"
            Cordell takes a deep breath, "It's not unbelievable to think that, Mom------you've said so yourself that since knowing Dad---your life has never been-----normal."
            Alex starts to laugh, remembering all the strange things that have happened to her since 'one' Cordell Walker came into her life. The strange encounters with the supernatural belief of the native Indian, White Eagle's appearances when Walker needed him, the signs that he said he would receive from his dead parents, and that unforgettable Cherokee intuition.
            "Yes" she replies quietly, ----"my life with your father has not been normal---as you would put it.  I love that man more with each passing day, every moment.  Sometimes I wonder how I get through each day, and then I look at the faces of you kids, and I see him.  I feel him next to me, and when I hold each of you close to me, I can feel his heart beating--that's what keeps me going."
            "Mom, I know you're worried about my temper tantrums---but I'm feeling like I'm being pulled in two different directions, trying to be a man one day and accept all the responsibilities of being a man-----and then---trying to be a teenager the next.  Cooper, Angela, and I have had to do a lot of growing up in the past year-----we're just trying to be normal teenagers---and yes---we're going to argue and sometimes make you and Dad angry---but we're just doing what the average teenager is expected to do!"
            Alex is wiping her tears away, "Expected to do--you mean give your parents headaches?"
            Cordell smiles, "You see, headaches can be caused from a number of reasons----and "no" Mom----I don't think I'm having a delayed reaction to that injection that Sarge put into me."
            "Then----will you patronize your Mother and----and go see Dr. Green---let him give you a complete examination----just to be sure?"
            Cordell sighs, "Yes Mom---I will do that if it makes you happy but I can tell you right now---it's the Cahill/Walker temper genes and there's no getting around them---we've all got tempers in this family---even little C.D. is showing her Cahill/Walker tantrums."
            Alex laughs, "Thank you sweetheart---I will call Dr. Green and set up an appointment---okay?"
            Alex starts to walk away and Cordell grabs her arm, "I would like to have one of those bear hugs that we used to give each other when we were all younger----and---to feel Dad's heart beating between us."
            Alex is crying as she reaches out to her son, and they both feel the tears--and the heartbeat.


                                          *******************************


            Walker is getting closer to the city of Morales, nighttime has fallen and he moves slowly towards the outskirts. There is so much unrest, more troops have been spotted, government troops. He hesitates about approaching them, because he still does not trust the Federales. But, where there are government troops--there will be radio equipment and more phones. He pulls his ragged old shirt tighter around him and starts walking towards the camps. He feels he is being watched, as he gets closer to the camp. He steps back and watches from a safe distance, he sees the backpack of one of the troopers. Walker's mind is playing tricks on him, he has visions of food inside that pack, how long has it been since he's had a meal? He rubs his hand across his face, feeling the whiskers biting back at him.  The bath in the stale water helped some, but his clothes still reeked of Heck's stench from his gangrene infested leg, the blood--some of it was his---some was from Diablo's men. Without hesitation, Walker moves quickly to the backpack and grabs it.
            None of the troopers have seen Walker take the backpack, the Ranger is moving as quickly as he can away from the camp and to somewhere safe, to examine the pack. He sees can rationings, and clothes. Walker sorts through the clothes quickly, finding a shirt and pair of pants. The pants will not fit him, they are much too big, but the shirt will be fine ----and at least it's cleaner than the one he has been wearing since the day of his kidnapping.  He continues to look around him, not quite shaking the feeling that he is being watched--by more than one set of eyes.
            He sorts through the rest of the backpack, finding a toothbrush--that he quickly tosses away, and a small bar of soap. He finds what is left of a squeezed tube of toothpaste and shoves it down inside his ragged pants along with the soap. He's standing up to put the shirt on, when they rush him--coming from all directions.
            Walker is fighting back as he's trying to get his arms free from the shirt. They knock him to the ground, grabbing the cans of food, and then they start hitting him. Walker starts kicking out and the bodies start flying. He hears many young voices, as someone is yelling, "Get his food!"
            There are about ten of them, all young boys and they are circling the bearded Ranger. Two of the boys rush him and Walker kicks one to the head, and then a clothesline across the other one's neck. The rest of them stop and stare, as the Ranger goes into his stance, doubling his fists. He quickly picks out their leader, and stares him down.
            Juan watches the bearded man and knows his small band of boys is no match for him. He says quietly, "Give us your food, gringo---and we will let you walk away!"
            Walker stares back at the six cans of food rationings, "I have a better idea---why don't you come and get them?"
            Juan moves forward slowly and then he charges Walker, Walker sidesteps and kicks the young man in the chest. Juan goes down, holding his chest and coughing---a smaller boy runs over to him and tries to help him up. The rest of the boys are looking to their leader and then back to the stranger, they want no part of this kind of fighting. Juan is still coughing, as the small boy yells and then charges at Walker.
            The boy is kicking out at Walker and cursing him in his foreign tongue as Walker holds him out at arms length. Juan is yelling back not to hurt his little nephew, Walker reaches down and picks up the boy, holding his arms down.
            "Tell him to be still---I will not hurt him," Walker yells back.
            Juan talks to his nephew in Spanish and the boy stops kicking, Walker puts him down and the boy runs back to his Uncle. Walker breathes a sigh of relief as the boys start backing off.
            "Wait a minute----" Walker picks up five of the cans and throws them over to the boys---"I guess I can spare a couple of cans--take'em----and don't be thinking about coming back for anything else---I'm mighty hungry and when I get hungry---I get irritable!"
            The boys grab the cans and start running off. Their leader stops and looks back at the bearded stranger, he starts to say something and then runs to join his friends.
            Walker sighs and goes back to putting his clean shirt on, that now has a rip down the front, compliments of his young and unwelcome visitors. He groans, "What is about me and new shirts?"
            He takes the lone can of beans and opens it quickly with the pull back tab. He uses his fingers to get every last bean, then takes the back of his hand and wipes his mouth, looking into the direction that the boys took. He shakes his head slowly, thinking about the youngest one and his fury in trying to protect his young uncle. He thinks of Little Ray immediately, a sadness coming over him.
            "That young boy is about the age of my buckaroo---and those others can't be more than 16 or so---'piranhas'---I think that's what they're called---orphans of the streets.  Everyone has a story----I'll bet they could tell some that would make my neck hairs stick straight up."
            Walker looks around at his surroundings and decides he should move further into the trees and out of sight.


                                              ***************************

Hong Kong:
            Danilee Norris has just turned on the evening news; she sees Cooper Walker's face staring back at her by way of satellite, coming from the states. She watches for a second and then runs into her father's bedroom, yelling for him to get up.
            The actor half stumbles out of his bedroom, "What---what in hell are you yelling about, Dani?"
            The young girls grabs him and pulls him into the front room, pointing towards the TV set, "There----Dad---they are talking about that Walker family----his wife and kids are giving an interview!"
            Chuck Norris shakes his head and then sits down, turning up the remote---"Dani---get me some orange juice--please sweetheart?"
            The girl runs to get the juice as the actor listens intently to Alex and the kids talking about Walker's kidnapping.
            The actor and his daughter listen closely to what Alex and her kids are saying about the kidnapping, that Walker has been spotted in one of the prisons, near Tiopa. A tap is heard at their front door and Dani runs to answer it, her Uncle Aaron walks in, "Are you listening to the news?"
            "Yes, come in---Dad is listening to the interview now---this is so weird, isn't it Uncle Aaron?"
            The interview has ended and Chuck stares back at his brother, "This is definitely---too weird----and too close to home."
            Aaron shakes his head, "Yep---just what I was thinking."
            Danilee is looking back and forth to her Dad and then to her Uncle, "What's too close to home---what are you two talking about?"
            Chuck hesitates about bringing his daughter into the conversation, Aaron nods for him to go ahead.
            "Sit down Dani----do you remember when we were in Old Mexico and how the government and certain high ranking officials didn't want us doing that movie on Poncho Villa?"
            "Yes Dad---I remember it---all too well---we all hated it down there--it was hot, the people were unfriendly, and they even attacked some of the film crew."
            Aaron sits down beside his young niece, "Well---your Dad and I always believed that there was someone with some very high clout that was pushing the buttons to get us and the cameras out of there----because they were afraid we might be seeing something---that we shouldn't be seeing!"
            "You mean---drug running----something like that?"
            Chuck goes to get his brother and him coffee, "That-----and maybe other things------I've filmed in parts of Old Mexico before and we were never treated so cold as we were when we were there this time. They couldn't wait to get us out of there----something was definitely going on at the time we were there, even the American consulate was nervous about camera crews being down there."
            Danilee looks back to her Dad and then to the TV---""But, what has all this got to do with that Walker man getting kidnapped---you said 'it was too close to home'----what did you mean by that, Dad?"
            Chuck rubs his beard, "I'm not sure, Dani----but your Uncle and I have wondered if they took Walker by mistake---thinking he was me?"
            Dani's mouth drops open, "YOU?  Dad-----I know a lot of people think you and this Walker look a lot alike---but surely----Dad---you don't look that much like him----I mean---not really---I can tell you apart."
            Aaron smiles, "Sweetheart---of course YOU can tell the difference, but someone that has only seen your Dad or Walker a couple of times----or from a distance---can't.  That's how your Dad met this Walker----even Walker's wife----Alex---couldn't tell the difference----at least---not at first!"
            The Norris brothers stare at each other and Chuck shakes his head slowly, "You would have to bring that up----wouldn't you?"
            Aaron shrugs, "It's the truth."
            Danilee stares at her Uncle, "What's the truth, how did you meet this guy, what did his wife have to do with it?"
                  "Several years ago--long before you were even born and before I met your Mother, I was doing a charity at one of the rodeos in Ft. Worth and I had heard about this bar and grill called C.D.'s down in the stockyards. Your Uncle and I and some of the crew went in there after the rodeo and a bunch of us were all standing around laughing, when some guy put a cowboy hat on me, saying I looked like "Cordell"---I didn't know who they were talking about and then in walks this beautiful blonde. I had my back to her, she spins me around and lays one hell of a kiss on me and everyone bursts out laughing.  It takes her a minute or two to realize that I'm not who she thought I was."
            Danilee Norris stares back at her Dad, "Just how long did it take for her to realize that you wasn't this person that she thought you were?"
            Aaron starts trying to muffle his laugh, "Several kisses---later---huh, Chuck?"
            "She kissed you---again?"
            Aaron is now laughing out loud, "Her's wasn't the only lips that were sucking face---huh, brother?"
            Now both Chuck and his brother are laughing hard and Danilee is staring back at both of them, shaking her head, asking slowly "Does Mom know about this?"
                   "Honey---that was before I met your Mother---I swear!"
            Danilee nods her head, "Uh huh-------so what happened then---when you two finally stopped taking inventory?"
            The two Norris brothers are still laughing and Danilee is starting to snicker, "Did her husband ever find out?"
            Chuck nods, "Yeah---later that night I went back to the bar and grill, I thought I'd better get this cleared up before those rag mags got a hold of the story and blew it out of proportion!! Anyways, I had been hearing how much a guy named Walker resembled me but I didn't dare think it was his wife that I had been kissing!  Anyways---I walk in and everyone stops and stares and this guy at the bar turns around and I swear----it was like looking into a mirror!  I explained about what happened and everyone else backed up my story and that was how I met---Cordell Walker!"
            "And, you became friends after that?"
            "Yep---I offered him a job as my double---he turned me down flat---over the years we kept in touch, and whenever I'm in Texas, down around Ft. Worth----we try to get together---I've even been out to his ranch. Your Mother and Alex became pretty good friends too----and yes Dani---your Mother knows all about that incident!  She won't let me forget it---but---she knows about it!"
            Aaron shakes his head, "It is strange that Walker has been taken---but we're forgetting something very important----he was taken in front of his ranch house---on private property. The Walker name is on the mailbox and on that Texas star that hangs on the porch----how could they think he was---you?"
            The actor nods, "Yeah---that's the puzzling part--but we did step on some toes down there, and we made some people uncomfortable!"
            "Yeah---but if they thought he was you---why wasn't a ransom demanded--after all you do have a couple of dollars."
            Chuck laughs, "A couple of dollars?  Brother---if we don't start getting some business deals going and soon---I may have to go back into the ring and try for another kickboxing title!"
            "Oh Dad---you're far from being broke---how did that business deal go with that company of buyers from Singapore?"
                     Suddenly the actor and his brother get very stone faced, "It didn't! That same s.o.b is buying up everything that he can get his hands on---I wanted that property so bad I could taste it.  It would have been the perfect location for another Norris productions to be built!"
            "Where was it Dad-----and who is this son of a bitch that bought it out from under you?"
            "The location was near Macau--and the man is: Lars Kentworth!"


                                        ********************************


            The camera crew has been gone for several hours and it's now sunset at the Walker ranch.
            Angela comes out carrying the baby, she watches her mother as Alex is watching the sunset. "Come sit down, Mom---get some rest---I know you must be tired."
            Alex sighs and leans her head over against the pillar, "I'm okay---I thought that this interview would put my mind at ease--somehow I thought that your father would know that we are still looking for him, somehow he could feel it in the wind," she starts to sob, "but, I'm still waiting for some kind of sign that will tell me this----and I'm still just as confused."
            Angela smiles at her baby sister, running her fingers through the baby's dark hair, "He knows Mom, he knows we will never stop looking."
            Alex continues looking at the sunset, "This was our favorite time of the evening, watching the sun go down, and the different hues of color on the clouds. Many times we would sit here and your father would have his coffee, and we would just sit here in the porch swing---not having to say anything---we both knew how the other felt.  We would swing gently back and forth and then later when you kids were born, we would sit out here and watch you play. Do you remember how you and your Daddy would play Tea for two?"
            Angela smiles, "Oh yes, Daddy would always pretend to drink tea with me, and we would have cookies. Sometimes the three of us would go riding down by the stream and you would pack a picnic basket---And, you and I would go wading in the water----and Daddy would end up falling asleep on the picnic blanket.  Later, after the twins were born---Daddy built that special little bassinet that would hang in between the horses for the twins to ride in when they were babies. As they grew older, Daddy modified it into a riding crib for them. They loved to ride, didn't they, Mom?"
            "They still do, and all of you were riding before you could walk---your father made sure of that!"
            Angela looks back to her sister, and replies softly, "That's our Indian blood, the love for horses and riding. I remember when Daddy had to put "Amigo" down--he was so sad. And now, Cooper says that Old Ranger is missing Daddy so much that he's refusing to eat----and it's just a matter of time!"
            "Your father loves his animals---and they love him---you know what I was thinking?"
            "What, Mom?"
            "I was thinking of saddling up Camelot and taking a ride down by the stream, want to join me--we can take C.D. for her very first ride?"
            "I think it's a great idea, I'll ask the twins to help us saddle the horses-----and leave the corral gate open----in case Old Ranger wants to follow us."
            Angela hands C.D. to her Mother, Alex kisses the side of her head, "Sounds like a plan---that's what Daddy would say---and I know he'll be riding right along beside us."
            Alex looks towards the corral and sees Old Ranger staring back at her. He snorts, and shakes his head back and forth, he can feel the anticipation in the air----he neighs as loud as he can.
            After the ride is over, Angela joins her brothers in the kitchen. They are throwing sandwiches together to take up to the attic to do some 'jamming'.
            "Guys---wait up, there’s something I have to say."
            "What is it, Angela?"
            Angela is quiet, and then she replies quickly, "Mom is about to lose it----I watched her tonight while we were riding and through the interview---we have to let her go."
            Cordell says nothing at first, and then he sits the sandwiches down and nods in approval, "I know---it was all too obvious during the interview, she was here with us---but she 'wasn't'.”
            "You both know as well as I do---that if it wasn't for us, she would already be down there---trying to find Dad. She feels she's not doing her part to find him."
            "Did she tell you this, Sis?"
            "She doesn't have to say anything, it's written all over her face---guys---if something should happen and we never see Daddy again---I'm afraid that he won't be the only one we've lost---we have to let her go and we have to be strong enough to tell her to go---she will never go---unless we do."
            Cooper nods his approval, "She's got to have the satisfaction knowing that she did everything in her power to find him---or she will definitely start to blame herself. We can't let that happen---are we ready to make the sacrifice?"

Seekers-Quest 8

By Sasquaw

            It has been a sad farewell at DFW airport for Alex and her family. She looks back to each of her kids, tears in her eyes.
            "Are you sure about this----do you truly understand why I have to go?"
            Angela hugs her Mother, "Just try and find Daddy and bring him home----and please take care of yourself."
            Cooper kisses his Mom's cheek, "Mom, we know how all of this is affecting you. You and Dad have always been 'one'---and we know that you will never be whole again, till you have at least tried to find him.  If you fail and come back without him, we won't blame you---we just want you home. We want both of you home---take care Mom, I love you!"
            Cordell stands silent, and he whispers softly--"I wish I was going with you---but I know Uncle Jimmy will protect you.  You have to do what you think is right, and we all admire and love you for it.  Don't worry about anything at home, Coop and I will take care of everything."
            Alex sobs, "I won't worry, because I know my two young 'men' are in charge, and I'm sorry sweetheart that sometimes I doubt your maturity---I'm guilty of wanting to keep all of you as babies---and sometimes I do and say things that you don't understand--but it's because I love all you-- so very much!"
            Little Ray is staring back at his Mother, and she bends down and hugs him. "Do you understand why I'm going, my baby?"
            The boy's eyes are filling with tears, his bottom lip quivers. "You gonna get Daddy?"
            Alex nods, "I will try and find him----I've got to at least 'try'--do you understand?"
            The boy nods his head up and down, "Me 'stand'---you find Daddy---not be sad no more—okay?"
            All of the kids hug their Mother, and are all telling her to call every chance she gets. She kisses them all, and starts running to the loading area. She turns back, "Take care of each other, take care of C.D.----I love you---I will call as soon as I get there!"


                                             **********************************


            Clifford Doss is staring back at the young man with the papers in his hand.
            "Are those the papers I asked for?"
            "Yep---all legal and official---this is Daniel's birth certificate."
            Doss looks the document over, mumbling to himself, "They better be legal---or both of us will be looking for a safe place to hide."
            The young man shifts back and forth, "I told you I had evidence that Daniel was not the person everyone believed him to be---this is proof----and Adlen Belle will have the shock of his life!"
            Doss stares back at the young man, "Adlen is a smart young man----are you sure he never knew about this information?"
            "Adlen has always been so wrapped up in himself and that 'silver spoon' in his mouth---that he never cared to know the truth. His Mother lied to him on so many occasions, kept his head filled with lies and deception. If he knew the truth, he never admitted it-----why would he, he's set to inherit millions of dollars!"
            Doss shakes his head and stares back at the birth certificate, "I just can't believe that Adlen would not know about this----he's done a complete turn around in wanting a decent trial for his brother---why would he chance all of the publicity, not to mention that Daniel could inherit a fair share too?"
            "I don't have all of the answers--I just know that I've waited years to spring this on Adlen---he's always been good about dealing out the hurt to others---this will hurt him more than anything---finding out about Daniel."
            Doss shakes his head, "You're keeping something from me, aren't you?  What is the real reason that you want this 'secret' brought out?"
            "I told you all that you need to know---- you got the birth certificate---do what you want with it."
            Doss smiles, "I will put this little bit of info in a very safe place, till I feel the need to confront Adlen. In the meantime, we are a week away from Daniel's trial and------"
            The lawyers' phone rings and he listens intently to the voice at the other end. "Are you sure----she's asked for a postponement-----why wasn't I notified earlier?"
            The lawyer slams the phone down, "We got trouble---Mrs. Walker has asked for a postponement---she's on her way back to Old Mexico to find that husband of hers!"
            The young man lights up a cigarette, "This could be to our advantage------more time to set the wheels in motion."
            "What are you talking about?  I was all set with Daniel's defense."
            "What defense? You know as well as I do that the most we can hope for is life in a insane asylum."
            Doss smiles, "He'll still be out of our hair---and we will be looking for a place to spend that 2 million!"
            The young man slams his fist down on the lawyer's table, "Two million?  That's chicken feed----I want all of those millions that I was cheated out of---we're going for the whole fortune!"
            The lawyer grins, "All of that 'sweet understanding and turning the other cheek has finally shown it's true colors---haven't they?"
            "I would say it's about time, wouldn't you?"
            Doss eyes the young man suspiciously, "Let me get this straight, once Adlen finds out this information on Daniel, it's not going to change Lars' feelings for him, he will still inherit his millions---how is this going to help you?"
                 "Because-----once Adlen drops his little secret--Lars has threatened to disown him---to cut him out."
            "And, what little secret is that?"
            The young man lights up another cigarette and blows the smoke into the lawyers' face, "The little secret that--Cordell Walker is his father!"
            Doss's face goes blank, "Walker----is Adlen's father----is there proof of this?"
            "Not yet, but as soon as Adlen drops this on the unsuspecting people of TEXAS----and a DNA is run---the truth will be out---and Adlen will be cut out of Lars' inheritance!"
            "How can you be sure of that, Lars is crazy about that boy---he would never do it!"
            The two men continue to stare at each other, "Well---we will just have to make sure that it does happen, won't we?"
            "But----why would he chance that, if he knows that Lars will disown him?  Why would he chance losing millions just to prove that Walker might be his father---that man has nothing---just a small ranch----and what if they never find him? What if he's already dead?"
            "I'm working on that--I got a few things to settle first---I'll get back to you."
            "You do that," snaps Doss, "and in the meantime--there better not be anymore surprises, what about Daniel? If Adlen is out of the picture, then Daniel will inherit everything."
            The young man sneers, "A lot of things can happen in those jail cells----a man could----wake up dead."
            Doss smiles, "You think you know all of the answers, don't you?  Well, I have news for you---I have taped this whole conversation and if you have any ideas about something 'happening' to me---this tape will go straight to the police----and a copy will be sent to Lars----do you copy all of this?"
            "Loud and clear, Mr. DA-----now why would I want to get rid of you----you're my mouthpiece."
            "You just remember that----WOODY!"


                                                  ****************************


            Walker is making his way closer to Mexico City, the traffic is picking up, he knows he will have to stay in the shadows, and not trust anyone. Government troops have been passing all day, their arsenal is heavy--something is definitely brewing. He shakes his head, who is the government afraid of, it certainly can't be that Diablo---his army was small---certainly no match for the Mexican government!
            He walks quicker, staying to the side of the road, and turning his head when the troops pass him. He has decided to go straight to the American Embassy, he will not settle to talk to any of the other law enforcement agencies. This will be a task in itself, getting inside the embassy, dressed the way he is. He continues to think about the confrontation with Diablo, and the well-dressed man with the cane, what was their connection? There could be only one, and that's illegal contraband----or guns!
            "That's got to be it," he whispers, "but who was the well dressed man----Diablo kept saying he wanted me dead in the worst way----why? I've never seen the man before, could he be the one behind my kidnapping---again---why---who is he?"
           
Walker stops at the side of the road and sits in the shade of a tree, his mind is playing games with him again.
            "You do not have time to rest, my son---time is of the essence."
           
Walker kicks out at the dirt, "Time?  That's all I've got is --TIME!!  I've asked you for a sign, Father--and you do not heed me."
            "The signs are all around you, my son---you do not see them, White Eagle was right--you have lived too long as a white man--you no longer see through the eyes of your ancestors!"
           
"I am trying, Father---but it has been so long since I have looked upon the faces of my wife and kids---I'm losing what faith I have left---my body is weak, my mind is weak also---because I am talking to myself."
            "You are angry and cannot see what the spirits have in store for you, you will keep walking, you will grow even weaker, and just when you think you can go no further---there will be something in the air---that beckons you."
           
"I'm tired, I have got to stop--I will continue after I have slept and then----''
            "NO--you will go now!--There is no time to waste----rise up, my son---and go forward---time is your enemy--do not abuse it!"
           
Walker stands up reluctantly, "Very well-------I will continue on--does this make you happy, Father?"
            "As White Eagle would say, don't make fun of the spirits--we are all you have right now."
           
Walker continues walking and swearing to himself, "They say the first thing to go is your memory and then your sex drive---or is it the other way around?  Hell, I can't remember--I guess I just answered my own question."


                                                **********************


            The old man has seen the 'piranhas' roaming the streets again, so far they have not noticed that he was back in the old stomping grounds . The old man has noticed that Juan, their leader, is walking rather slow----and coughing a lot. He watches as the young man stops and bends over a trashcan, holding his side.
            The other boys have walked on without him, only the small boy stays beside him. The old man smirks, "Guess that punk tangled with someone that was too much for him to bully---serves him right."
            Juan continues to stay doubled over the trashcan, the young boy is pulling on his arms and wanting him to go. Juan turns around and starts to walk off, the old man sees the blood at the side of his mouth. The old man looks around to make sure the others aren't coming back anytime soon, he moves towards Juan.
            The old man squints with his one good eye and mumbles to himself, "It's blood alright----someone sure did a number on him--why should I care----I can't count the times that they spilled my blood---and never gave it a second thought."
            Juan sees the old man staring at him, "What are you staring at old man?"
            The old man throws his hands up in the air--"Nothing----not a damn thing----you can bleed to death for all I care."
            Juan shouts back, "Wait----wait come back-------can you help me?"
            The old man stops and stares back, "Now, why in the hell would I want to help you----so you can repay me by stealing from me again, and beating up on me?"
            Juan starts walking towards him, and then falls down, the boy falls down beside him, crying.
            The old man swears, "Dad burn it-----of all the rotten luck-----jumping jehosafat---who did you try to steal from this time?  You chewed off more than you could handle--huh---you rotten little punk."
            The little boy continues to cry, looking back at the old man. The old man swears again and walks closer, telling the little boy to move away, he bends over Juan.
            "What is wrong with me?" asks Juan.
            The old man starts feeling of Juan's chest and his sides, he grimaces---"It feels like you got a broken rib----and some internal bleeding---what happened to you?"
            Juan is embarrassed that one man did this to him, "Another band jumped us----and used boards on us."
            "Un huh---boards huh?  It's amazing that you've suffered no other injuries, you should be black and blue if they used boards on you."
                "Please---senor---can you help me--can you stop the pain---and the blood?"
            The old man stands up, "Nope!  You need a doctor! Do you think there are any of those in this God forsaken place---that you haven't tried to rob----or beat up?"
            The little boy starts crying harder and pulling on the old man's arm. He's talking in Spanish and the old man is having a hard time understanding it all. "Okay---okay-----look----all I can do is help you to put bandages around your chest----I need an old shirt---you don't happen to have a stolen shirt laying around here-----do you?"
            Juan talks to his little nephew and the boy runs back to the place that Juan had his fight with the bearded stranger. He looks around for the stranger's shirt that he discarded, he finds it and runs back to his Uncle. Juan hands it to the old man, he looks at it suspiciously, flashes keep coming to him, and he shakes his head. "Where have I seen this shirt before----I'm going crazy----it's just a damn shirt----dirty and stinking to high heaven----but it will just have to do."
            The old man starts ripping the shirt into long strips, it's not hard to do---the shirt has started to rot. He motions for the boy to stand up and take his shirt off, the boy does as he is told. The old man stares at the bruise on Juan's chest,  "I don't know what the person used on you to cause such a bruise---but it looks more like the print of a boot!!!  Who the hell did you piss off?"
            Juan is still too embarrassed to admit that he was beaten by just one person, he shakes his head," It does not matter-----when I see him again----he will pay for what he's done to me!---I will hang him from the trees----you will see, old man!"
            The old man snorts, "I’m not interested in your revenge---just make sure you keep the bandages around your chest----and keep them tight.  As for the bleeding----there's nothing I can do----just try to take it easy---in other words---keep your pillaging and beatings to a minimum---do you compren-day----amigo?"
            Juan nods his head slowly, "Gracias-----I'm sorry-----for the times----we-----"
            Juan can hear his friends coming back, he looks to the old man and motions for him to go away----"Go----before they see you---"
            The old man waves his hands in the air, "Yeah---yeah---I understand----you don't want your thieving friends to see you cohorting with the enemy----get the hell out of here!!!   How soon will you be making a house call to pay me back?"
            Juan stares at the old man, shaking his head--"You speak crazy, old man-----go------get out of here."
            The old man shuffles away, and Juan grabs his nephew's hand and they hurry as fast as Juan' s injury will allow him to move. "Come, Tony------and do not say anything about the old man to the rest---do you understand me?"
            The boy nods his head and looks back at the old man who turns around to look at them. Tony smiles and waves back to him. The old man starts to wave back, but then he just smiles, and walks on. He stops a few feet from his new 'home' as he hears the jeeps approaching, the men shout at him to get out of the street---He throws his hand up in the air, the two middle fingers bent, the longest one--sticking straight up. "Up yours----and the horse you rode in on."
            The old man stops and watches the jeeps, they are heavily armed, they are not government troops! He snickers, "All hell is fixing to break loose-----those rebels are coming out of the hills--and the Mexican government is sitting on a time keg-----and as usual, the U S will have to come in and clean up their mess. I say, let them fight it out and kill each other off, neither one is worth one grain of salt----they should send in the Texas Rangers---they would whip butte----WE always did!"


                                                 ******************************


           
Trivette has picked Alex up at the airport, they head straight for the embassy. The road to the embassy is filled with people of all walks, venders, farmers, businessmen; the streets are unusually packed----even for the largest city of 8 million!!!!
            Alex looks out at all the people, "They seem restless, where are they all going?"
            "The rebels are coming down out of the hills, got them all stirred up--some say they're going to try and overtake the embassy---Alex----what are you doing here---it's too dangerous!"
            "I am here to help look for my husband," Alex snaps back at her friend.
            Trivette is trying to hide his anger, "And, what can you possibly do, that me-----and the delegates haven't already attempted to do?"
            "I'm not undermining you, Jimmy----I just feel that I have to be here---please try and understand--I'm going crazy -- not doing anything!"
            Trivette sighs, "You shouldn't be here, Alex---this whole country is ready to explode-----and you think just because you're married to the man----that we're not doing our part in trying to find him!  At the first hint of reported rebels moving anywhere near the city limits-----and you're out of here---you got that?"
            Alex shakes her head, "No--I'm not!  I didn't come all the way down here to be frightened off by a bunch of hoodlums---I'm staying!"
            "Alex----for Christ's sake---these people are not just 'hoodlums'----they have been burning villages all the way up from The Acapulco area---if the troops don't turn them back----this whole area will be under siege!"
                 "Exactly what I have been saying all along---the government has let these rebels get out of hand---we saw that happening--months ago, Jimmy! But, no---that stupid s.o.b. of an Lt Governor wasn't listening---we tried to tell them what was going to happen, didn't we?"
            "Alex---you know as well as I do that our neighbors to the south---do not like to be told how to run their government----especially by Texas."
            Alex's bottom lip is quivering, "Ooooh yes, I know all too well how they don't want our advice---but they will gladly take our jobs, our money---but as soon as one of them breaks the rules---it's American abuse!!!---Do not tell me about justice, Jimmy---they are not doing their part in trying to find Walker!"
            "I saw the interview that you and the kids made----I could see in your eyes that you wanted to say more than what you were saying--I expected you to blast them at any moment---what stopped you?  You always tell it just like it is."
            Alex's voice softens, "I promised Cordell that I would not say anything negative---he said it could only make matters worse for Walker."
            Trivette nods his head, "Yep---he's right!!! Thank God you listened to him---or you might not have made it across the border--they could have stopped you--saying you were a political risk."
            "Just let them try stopping me---I would have their heads-our governor is behind us all the way---and we've also got the support of other government officials---you know how George Bush feels about Mexican welfare?"
            "That's fine, Alex----the man is entitled to his opinion---but he's out of office, Alex---he has no pull anymore!"
            "I know that---but his voice still carries a lot of pull and he has said that he would ask our government to send in troops, if necessary---Now would you please stop trying to make me feel bad about being here? I just had an emotional farewell with the kids, they're behind me now---why can't you be?"
            Trivette sighs and reaches for Alex's hand, he leans over and kisses her cheek, "I am behind you, sweetheart---I'm just worried about you being down here----promise me that you will stay close to me when we get to the embassy? I don't want you wandering off anywhere by yourself--or voicing any unnecessary opinions that will piss the government off anymore than it already is."
            Alex puts her hand over the black Ranger's and smiles back, "I promise Jimmy--I just have to be here---I feel that I'm close to Walker--I can't explain it."
            Trivette shakes his head, "I know, I know---you got that Cherokee intuition too---it's rubbed off on you after being with Walker for so long--the past 16 years have taken it's toll on your brain after being with that man."
            Alex laughs, "Well---the kids have it too---and besides---it's 17 years of marriage and we knew each other for a good 7 years before that----so why shouldn't I have the intuition?"
            Trivette smiles back, "Well, I got to admit that sometimes I feel that intuition too, remember that John Doe that I was trying to talk to down in Abilene?"
            "Yes, what did you find out?"
            "Well, I ran fingerprints on him----nothing---and you know why---because he doesn't exist as John Doe! So, I ran a cross-reference on him--military records show him to be listed as one John Henry Murphy.  So I did further testing, he was in the Army, served in Korea, was in a hostage camp for several months-----and guess who one of his fellow prisoners was?"
            Alex stares back at her friend, "Who?"
            Trivette answers slowly---"Chester David Parker."
            Alex's mind is blank, "Chester---David------C.D.?  Are you sure----our C.D.?"
            "Yep---big dog----Alex--this Murphy was the one that C.D. was with on that fishing trip down around the Brazos, when C.D. supposedly had that 'heart attack'-----and then later we find out that he was murdered by that son of a bitch, Lav'cot."
            "Oh my God---Murphy---I wasn't connecting the name right away-----but we all thought that Murphy died.  Right after CD's funeral, he had a stroke, and went into a coma--some years later a friend told Walker that he had died!"
            "He's not dead, Alex---I knew I had seen him before when I went to the hospital in Abilene--but he had lost so much weight----and I couldn't get that close to him---his daughter kept me away."
            "His daughter?  Jimmy, Murphy didn't have any daughters----he had one son----but C.D. said he was killed in Viet Nam---the boy was only 18----and never married."
            "Yep, I checked that out too--it seems that this so called daughter is a nurse's aide that used to work at the institution when it was going under the name of Shady Rest----Murphy was the night janitor there."
            Alex nods her head, "Yes----I recall C.D. mentioning that---C.D. would drive down to visit Murphy and they would take little fishing trips."
            "Yep, and along that time, guess who else was a patient of the state-- in that very same institution?"
            Alex gets a sour taste in her mouth, "Lav'cot---that murdering son of a bitch that killed C.D., several of our good friends that were also Texas Rangers,---they tried to kill you---and Walker would have probably been next!"
            "Yep---I remember the day that I was on my way down to that place to get more information---we thought he was still committed--we had no idea that he was behind all the killing. They pulled up beside my car---and I saw that face---the next minute my car is flying up in the air----coming down and rolling---luckily I was thrown free.  But, I'll never forget that face----staring back at me." Trivette grabs his stomach and rubs it, "I still feel the pain---every time I think about that murdering piece of slime."
            "Yes--for almost a year we believed that our dear friend had died of a heart attack---that was painful enough for all of us to accept and try to get on with our lives-----then we find out that he was injected with a drug called resin--that slowed his heart beat to just look like a heart attack occurred.  No autopsy was performed---we all took Murphy's word for it---that's what happened-----as next of kin---none of us requested an autopsy----and it was a closed casket."
            Trivette shakes his head slowly--"So---for almost a year----we thought C.D was dead------by heart attack-------" Trivette's voice trails off and Alex shakes him,
                   "Jimmy----what's wrong----what are you thinking?"
            "I assume that this is what John Doe/Murphy was trying to tell me-----that he wanted to confess this before---before he passed on. The doctors at that hospital said that he might not come out of this latest heart attack---I assume that he wanted to clear his conscience from not telling us the truth---years ago----but Alex---why would he keep something like that from us? Why would he lie?"
            "Do you think Lava’cot knew him?  He was working there at the time Lava'cot was a patient?"
            They are approaching the gates leading to the embassy. Trivette shakes his head, "I don't know, Alex---but I'm still having this man investigated----I got some Ranger friends going down there to try and talk to him---I've also got some friends checking out that institution and that "daughter" of his----they are to notify me of any information!  Right now, you and I have got to talk to the governor-----again----and then get you into a hotel that's safe."
            "Yes----and I want to call the kids-----I told them I would call as soon as I got here."
            As they descend from the government car, the crowds are getting closer to the gates too, shouts of disapproval for their government is being heard---the pushing and shoving has started. Trivette reaches back and takes his friend's hand----"Alex-----stay close to me sweetheart-----things look like they could get----very uncomfortable."
            Alex looks back at the crowd, her hand tightens around the Ranger's, "You're not going to have to worry about me wandering off---I'm sticking to you like glue."

Seekers-Quest-9

By Sasquaw

            Clifford Doss is watching nervously as Adlen talks to his brother. Adlen is getting upset as he keeps throwing his hands up in a disgusting manner.
            Doss approaches them slowly and motions for the guard to leave them alone. Danny is shaking his head back and forth, "No-----no you're wrong----that's not the way I remember it!"
            "How can you remember anything about that time----you were just a baby?"
            Danny starts to cry as he looks back at Adlen and then to Doss, "I remember that day so clear---you and Momma made me leave, saying I had been a bad boy and that I had to go live with Grandma."

Adlen lights up another cigarette, "There's is no way that you could remember that---you were just an infant---for Christ's sake, I was barely two years old at the time----and I barely remember that day."
            "No-----you are trying to put words in my mouth---just like he always tried to do!"
            Adlen stares back at Daniel, "Who?  Who tried to put words in your mouth, now who the hell are you talking about?

Danny starts picking lint off of his orange jumpsuit, "That man----the one with the smelly cigars----Lars!"
        Doss is getting very uneasy at Daniel's memory, "Maybe we could continue this----at a later time-----Danny, we need to go over your case."
            Adlen pushes Doss away from Danny, "Lars? You remember him---how could you----you don't remember him----you've just heard his name mentioned------right

Danny stares back at Adlen, "I remember a lot of things--that you think I don't know about-------Mama lied to you-----a lot!"
            "This has gone far enough------for the last time, Danny----you were barely a year old when you left-------"
            "I didn't leave------she made me go!"
            Adlen sighs, "Whatever------that doesn't matter----all I'm saying is----you were too young to remember that day-------you have heard someone talking and for some reason----you are thinking that you saw and heard all of this----no way, Daniel---that can't be."
            Danny takes a deep breath, "Really? Then let me ask you a question---who was Randy?"
            At the mention of Randy, Doss starts to clear his throat and Adlen does a double take. "Randy?  How do you know about him?"
            "I told you, Adlen------I remember a lot of things---you and Mama always thought I was crazy-----and Lars hated me."
            Doss again tries to steer the conversation into another direction, "Look--this conversation is going nowhere--Daniel has obviously just heard someone talking and his mind is conjuring up all of these---weird memories------could we talk about the case now?"
            Adlen shakes his head, "No way---there is no way that Danny could know about Randy, Randy is dead."
            Danny starts laughing, "I know-----I killed him!"
            Doss stammers, "Uhhhh-----who is this Randy?"
            Adlen just stares back at Danny, who is still laughing--"He was my baby brother-----he died when he was just barely 4 weeks old."
            Danny is still laughing, "Tell him--how he died, Adlen----tell him----tell him."
            Adlen is speechless as Doss stares at him. Danny stops laughing and looks straight at Adlen-----"I bashed his head in----didn't I?  There was so much blood---I never knew someone that small could bleed so much---but you know----he didn't even cry out----now why was that, Adlen?  Why didn't he cry?"
            Adlen turns and runs to the door, banging on it to get the guard to open it. He runs out into the corridor, pacing back and forth, shaking his head. Doss looks out at him, then back to Danny, who is rocking his body back and forth and singing to himself. Doss closes the door slowly and walks over to Danny, and asks softly, "You are remembering a lot of things about your childhood, Danny. Are you saying that you killed your baby brother?"
            Danny's eyes grow big, "Yeah-----that's why they sent me away----cause I was bad----my mama hated me---no body liked me—‘cept for grandma!  She was the only one that ever loved me. She used to sing to me----and she would say that nobody would ever hurt me again----but they did."
            Doss looks towards the door to make sure Adlen is not coming back in, "Danny--how can you remember this----how old were you?"
            Danny laughs, "You don't believe me either, do you?  But, I don't care---a lot of things happened to me---bad things. My mama never liked me, she liked Adlen and Randy------but not me---so I killed him!"
            Doss eyes the young man suspiciously, "How old were you, Danny?"
            Danny puts his finger in his mouth and thinks about the question----"I think I was about 4 years old."
            "But Danny----Adlen says that he's older than you, he'll soon be 21---that would make you around 25----you don't look that old----why is that?"
            Danny's eyes grow cold, "Well---that's what happens when your childhood is taken from you-----when you spend months at a time---locked in a closet----and not allowed to play. She was always yelling at me-----Lars would yell at me too----finally they just 'locked' me away and forgot about me!"
            Doss thinks back to the date on the birth certificate----the age would be right. He nods his head in a sympathetic gesture, "Danny-----I believe what you're saying-----but this is not the time to get into this----and if Adlen hears you talking like this----he's just going to get angrier-----and we don't want that! So here's what we will do--we will stop talking about this till Adlen leaves-----and then you and I can talk about everything-----will that be okay?"
            Danny hesitates, "Maybe--I won't-- want to talk about it anymore---cause it makes me sad."
                 "Everything will be better once Adlen is gone and it's just the two of us---I won't make you sad Danny----but you need to talk about this and get it into the open----who knows---this might even help your case."
            Danny starts to smile, "Do you really think so, Mr. Doss------maybe I can go home?"
            "Who knows, Danny----anything can happen," Doss lies.


                                                  *****************************


            Walker is getting closer to the city limits, the traffic is picking up, and he's constantly having to move out of the way of pedestrians that are moving at a faster pace than he is. The streets are full, bumper-to-bumper with transportation of all kinds, even the one-mule carts. He looks around at all of the people, he can smell the food from the street venders, his mouth is watering as he spots tamales being steamed in a little cart. Vegetables and fruit stands line the street, his stomach is growling, telling him to grab something and run. He's about to give into temptation when he spots another band of 'piranahs' roaming the streets.
            He watches them quietly, this is not the same band of boys that tried to rob him earlier--these boys are bigger and more vicious. They spot a couple of tourists and are on them before they know what hits them. The screaming starts and the Federales that are patrolling the streets give chase. The vendors are looking at all the ruckus, leaving their carts unattended. Walker grabs a couple of apples and tucks them into his shirt, and hurries away.
            He can see the building in the middle of the square, it's flagpoles rising high into the sky, the Mexican flag flapping in the breeze. Underneath is the American flag, underneath that, the flag bearing the name AMERICAN EMBASSY. Walker takes a deep breath and walks faster.
            The crowds are thicker and protesting, pushing up against the iron fence that surrounds the big building. Walker tries to ease himself up closer to the fence, but is constantly being shoved back. He approaches a young police officer, and tries to tell him in his broken Spanish that he is an American and wants to see someone in charge. The officer sneers and pushes him away, Walker's fists are folding and unfolding, a second police officer arrives and Walker backs off.
            For hours he will continue trying to find a way in, he decides to wait till nightfall---it will be cooler---and he's exhausted---and hungry. He watches the young officers as they patrol around the fence, they have coffee in their hands, and he smells the aroma--his stomach growls louder.
            "What I wouldn't give for just one sip of coffee right now---hell-----I wouldn't care if it was decaf," Walker whispers to himself.
            He continues to watch the officers as they get involved in another chase with the 'piranhas'--one of the officers sits his coffee down and joins chase. Walker immediately runs and confiscates the cup, drinking it down quickly. He groans as he tastes the sugar and cream---"Damn it----where's the coffee----it was all cream and sugar!"
            He continues to swear to himself and then he whispers, " I know----I know---beggars can't be choosy---I apologize, Father!---But, you were right about one thing----the smell was overwhelming--it did beckon me----thank you."
            Walker decides to find a place where he can get some safe sleep. He spots some old trees and starts in their direction. He looks around him and then up in the tree, he scales it as quickly as his tired body will allow him. He finds the thickest of limbs and lays back---watching the amber lights surround the embassy. He looks down at his ring and then slips his boot off and takes the picture out. The picture is so wrinkled now, that he can barely make out the faces of his family. He smiles, kisses the picture and falls into a deep sleep.
            His dreams are taking him back to the first time that he met Alex, their explosive meeting in court and then the New Year's Eve party at CD's when she plowed into him for being rude and mule headed. He heard the music playing at the stroke of midnight, without thinking he reached out and kissed her---hard. She was stunned; mumbling something about she forgot what she was saying. He just smiled as she made an excuse to go to the powder room. The rest of the night was spent with both of them trying to steal glances at one another. He remembered her kiss, it was sweet, her lipstick tasted like----cherry--he hated to break away --her lips were the softest he had ever kissed. And, even though she was caught by surprise, she unconsciously kissed him back. He also remembered the way she smelled--her hair smelled like lilacs. Even in his dream, he could smell the lilacs-----he wakes up abruptly, almost falling out of the tree.
            It takes him a minute to get his bearings, he takes a deep breath----he swears he can almost smell the lilacs. He rubs his head and jumps down from the tree, looking around. "There must be some wild lilacs growing around here-----that dream was so real."
           
Just minutes before the Ranger awakes from his dream, she has passed underneath the tree, heading for the buss stop. She's a dark headed young woman, around 25 or so, very beautiful, and a quick hand to match. She had taken the perfume from the blonde headed woman's overnight bag. She was enjoying its heavenly fragrance when the woman caught her and got very angry. She complained to the management and now the young lady was without her job at the Embassy Hotel.


                                         ********************************

Embassy Hotel:
            "Calm down, Alex----it's over---the woman was fired for going through your things."
            Alex is pacing as she runs her hands through her blond hair, "I'm sorry the woman got fired, Jimmy---but I don't like for anyone to go through my personal things---even my kids don't touch my personal items."
            Trivette tries to calm the woman, "Okay, sweetheart---you've made your point and believe me I know how women are about their personal items-----Erica could be like a wild woman when I went through her purse without her permission."
            Alex turns and faces her friend, looking at him in shock--"Her purse?  Jimmy----you never go through a woman's purse---and most especially---not without her permission."
            The Ranger frowns, "I know that now---believe me---I thought she was going to have a heart attack when I did."
            Alex tries to laugh, "Walker would have never gone through my purse without permission-----even the times I asked him to, he would always bring my purse to me.  With all of the women you've known and dated---I'm surprised you never learned that lesson sooner."
            Trivette smirks, "I've learned my lesson, Alex---now can we get on with our plans for today----are you over your mad spell long enough to listen to me?"
            Alex crosses to her bed and goes through her overnight bag again, she sighs, "Yes, I'm satisfied that nothing else was bothered---that was my favorite perfume--Walker bought it for me----Thank God, I didn't wear any expensive jewelry down here---and most especially the wristwatch that Walker gave me for Christmas."
            "Yep---that would have definitely tempted a few hands----what about your wedding rings---maybe you should take them off, while we're here."
            "No way----I never take my rings off except for the times I was pregnant and my fingers swelled up."
            The Ranger is getting agitated, "Well---- pretend that you're pregnant, your fingers have swelled, and take those rings off----Alex---they are too much of a temptation."
            Alex takes a long sigh, and reluctantly takes them off and goes back to her overnight bag.
            "Alex, don't put them in there---what if some other maid goes through your bag?"
            "I'm not putting them in the bag, I'm looking for the chain that I always carry to put the rings around my neck and out of sight---this is the way I always carried them, during my pregnancies-----now what were you saying about our plans for the day?"
            "I was saying that I'm getting a auto and I'm driving down towards Tiapa----I want to see those prisons---or at least--what's left of them."
            "Good, when do we leave?"
            "You're not going, Alex."
            "Oh yes, I am,   I did not come all the way down here to be stuck in a hotel room-----now whether you like it or not---I'm going---if I have to rent my own auto----I AM GOING!"
            Trivette shrugs, "You're so stubborn---you're getting more like that husband of yours everyday---come on----let's go!"


                                             *******************************


            Walker has made his way back to the gates again, and he studies the building very carefully. It's going to be impossible to get the guards to let him in with permission---so he will have to the opposite---he will break in! He stands back and studies the structure, there are seven floors---the top one having the most windows---he assumes that's where the Embassy is located. He looks around at the other buildings---the Embassy Hotel stands in the distance, a good ten floors high. He smirks, "Wouldn't you know the hotel would be fancier than the building in which issues and problems of this damn country be solved?
            The Ranger turns around and starts studying the layout---he will go in from the north, more coverage. As he's studying the layout, he does not see the dark skinned man and blonde headed lady entering a small white car---with embassy flags on the antennas. He turns to see the car heading south, the flags flapping in the breeze. He shakes his head, "Stupid idiots, don't they know they are sitting ducks with those embassy flags announcing who they are?"
            Walker watches the car until it gets out of sight, whispering, "Maybe that car could be my ticket in-----I will watch to see how carefully it's inspected when it returns----meantime----I got to try and swipe something else to eat. Angela----Daddy could sure use some of your cooking right now---I can almost taste that turkey meatloaf------and pineapple upside down cake."


                                           **********************************


            J.W. walks up slowly behind the longhaired girl, she's very occupied at taking something out of the oven and doesn't hear him coming up behind her.
            He grabs her around her slim waist. "Gotcha!"
            Angela screams and drops the long pan---she turns around and stares at the person that has scared her.
            "J.W. look what you've done---I've spilled the meatloaf all over the kitchen floor---now you've done it-----there goes supper!"
            The boy starts trying to apologize as he grabs a rag and tries scooping it up off the floor. "I'm sorry Angela----I didn't know you had something in your hands."
            Angela screams back at him, "I was bent over the stove, I had oven mitts on------what did you think I was doing, playing 'tiddly winks'?”
            J.W.'s olive eyes stare back at Angela, his brows go up in a arch-----"Tiddly---what?"
            Angela grabs the rag from his hands, "Tiddly Winks, J.W.!"
            "What's that?"
            "I don't know------something that Grandpa is always saying------you got to help me get this mess cleaned up."
            The boy goes down on the floor, picking up the broken loaf and placing it back in the pan, Angela screams at him again. "What are you doing----it hit the floor----we have to throw it in the trash now!"
            J.W. smiles, "Angela-----Aunt Alex keeps her kitchen floor so clean, I've heard both Uncle Walker and Dad say you could eat off it----no one will know the difference."
            Angela stops the young man's hands from putting anymore of the meatloaf back into the pan, "I would know it!”
            "You eat like a bird, Angela---you would only take a small slice anyways."
            Angela sighs and sits down in the floor, "This certainly brings back memories----meatloaf all over the floor----the only thing missing is the food fight."
            "Come on, Angela----I'll help you clean up the mess---I'll grab the mop."
            A half hour later and the kitchen is clean again, Angela keeps looking around, "Are you sure we got everything clean---we didn't miss anything------did we?"
              "Angela, the kitchen is spotless----just the way Aunt Alex always keeps it---come on over here and sit down-----what's bothering you?"
            "What's bothering me?  How can you dare ask that question, my Daddy has been kidnapped, my Mom is in Old Mexico looking for him---a war is fixing to break out at any moment down there----how can you ask me what's bothering me?"
            "Okay, Angela----just a figure of speech---I know you're upset------what you need is some time away from all of this.  You're running around in circles, working at the HOPE center most of the day, taking care of your baby sister and Little Ray, coming home and taking care of all the cooking and cleaning---Angela you got to take a break."
            "I don't have time to take a break, I promised Mom I would take care of all this---now would you please help me set the table---Sue and Grandpa will be here soon."
            "Yeah----okay, what plates do I use?"
            "Use the Styrofoam------I'm tired of doing dishes."
            J.W. throws his hands up in the air, "See-----you're tired-----and you have a right to be."
            Angela tries to slice the rest of the meatloaf, pushing the other part of it out on a plate, "I'm tired---yes---I am tired---but no more than everyone else!!  The twins are doing their part, taking care of their chores and doing Daddy's too, they have to make all the decisions where the ranch is concerned---ordering supplies, taking care of the animals, and now Cooper says the tractor has to be replaced------and that's going to cost up in the thousands of dollars-----YES, I"M TIRED----WHY SHOULDN'T I BE?"
           
"Look, Angela----you're not the only one that is stressed out----remember my Dad is down there too---and in just as much danger."
            Angela stops slicing up the meatloaf, and looks back at J.W.--"I'm sorry---I didn't mean to sound so selfish---I know you're worried about your Dad---we all are----you're all family----we love all of you."
            J.W. frowns and starts stammering, "Well-----sometimes I wish---that you didn't think of us-----or rather ---me----in a 'family' referral way."
            Angela smiles and walks towards her young friend, "You know what I meant by that----we're not blood related."
            "I know that," replies J.W. as he looks back at Angela, her blue eyes looking deep into his. He swallows, "God----Angela----you are so beautiful-----I thought that once you turned 16---things would start happening for us---but now----with all that's happening---we rarely get to see each other----much less---spend time together."
            Angela inches closer to him, putting her arms around his neck and tip toeing to kiss him.---"J.W.---what do you mean 'by spending time together'---are you referring to sex?"
            J.W. sighs----"Damn it, Angela---why do you have to put it so bluntly?"
               "Because I hate dancing around the subject---now---were you referring to sex-----or not?"
            Again J.W. starts to stammer, "YES----is that clear enough for you?"
            Angela pulls away from him, "Well I'm not so sure about that-----now."
            J.W. smiles, "Now? When were you ever sure of it?"
            Angela frowns and goes to sit down at the kitchen table, "I just can't think of things like that now---can't you understand?  When 'our time' comes-----I want to be able to think of nothing else but---being with you! I want our time to be special-----at least --for me----since you've already experienced sex----and know what it's suppose to feel like."
            J.W. shakes his head and goes to kneel on the floor in front of Angela's chair, he takes her hand and kisses it, "Angela----I explained all of that-----I was under pressure."
            Angela jerks her hand back, "Don't try to hand me that crap---like I haven't been under pressure?"
            "I know that the boys have been after you like dogs in heat----and I admire you for being faithful to that promise we made to each other at 6 Flags----and the promise I broke----I'm sorry about that Angela---the girl meant nothing."
            Angela smirks, "And----how many times have I heard that statement? You guys are all alike, you chase after 'it" until you're eyeballs are popping out, your tongues are hanging out------and not to mention---your pants are doing a dance of their own----and something else is trying to hang out------then once you get "it"--- the girl means nothing!----Is that the way it's going to be between us, J.W.---once you get "it"----I won't mean anything to you?"
            J.W. sighs, and stands up---"No, Angela-----I have more respect for you than that! I've been in love with you for as long as I can remember---I still remember our first kiss---do you remember it?"
            Angela thinks for a moment, "Our first kiss was when I was 1 yr old and you were barely 8 months old----my Daddy was holding me and he held me down to you---so you could give me one huge slobbering kiss of my birthday cake!  That was our first kiss---J.W.."
            "I'm not talking about birthday kisses that were caught on camcorders----I mean our 'first real kiss, you don't remember it-----do you, Angela?"
                   Angela's brow is starting to wrinkle, 'First real kiss---------what's he talking about?"
            J.W. stares back at her, "I was right----you don't remember it---our first kiss was in the first grade and we were in a school play---I was King Arthur---and you were Guinevere!

            Angela starts to laugh---"You weren't King Arthur---you were Lancelot---Brett Mathews was King Arthur---and he was the one that------kissed me."
            Her voice trails off as J.W. is staring back at her, doing a slow burn----"SEE!!----------You can't remember my kiss---but you sure as hell remember Brett Mathews'---so how does he kiss, Angela---did you enjoy it?"
            "How am I suppose to remember how he kissed-----that was ten----eleven years ago----I've slept since then!"
            J.W. is walking in circles and growling under his breath, ---Sooo--as Lancelot---do you remember me kissing you?"
            "All I remember about that scene----is you falling off the wooden jousting horse when the prop manager hit you with that huge microphone that was dangling down--------"
            "Boom mike, Angela----it's called a 'boom microphone."
            Angela frowns, "What---ever! You went flying into the audience and into the laps of two old women---everyone was cracking up with laughter----including our parents."
            J.W. is trying to keep a straight face and then he starts laughing, ----"I thought my Dad was never going to stop laughing---and I've never heard Uncle Walker laugh so hard----after the play was over he kept teasing my Dad about Abilene and those sexy senior citizens."
            Both Angela and J.W. are laughing; finally J.W. reaches out and takes Angela's hand. "Angela----there is something I've been wanting to give you ever since your birthday-----but then all hell broke loose and I didn't know how you would react to it------but this is for you."
            Angela looks down at a small black box, her eyes become big, "This-----isn't-----what I think it is-----is it?"
            J.W. smiles and brushes the long auburn hair back over her shoulders, "Well----what do you think it is?" he teases.
            Angela says nothing as she opens the box; a small diamond ring is staring back at her. "J.W.-----I can't accept this-----an engagement ring?"
            "It's not exactly an engagement ring----it's more like a promise ring---I want you to have it, Angela---will you accept it?"
            Angela is speechless as she keeps looking at the ring and back to J.W.------"I don't know----it looks so ----expensive!"
            J.W. smiles proudly, "It took all of my allowance for the past three months---plus some Christmas money that I put back----since I didn't go on to take those college exams---do you like it?"
            "It's beautiful," Angela replies softly, taking the ring out of the box, the light glistens off the stone, "I love it!"
            "Then---put it on----let me see how it looks on your finger."
            Angela takes the ring and slips it on her left hand, holding it up to the light, she giggles and then falls into J.W.'s arms. He kisses her hard, and she starts responding and then she pulls back.
            "J.W.---let's get one thing straight---this ring is not going to mean that---you---can just have your way---"
                  "Angela-----for Christ’s sake---is that all that ring means to you?  You think I just gave you that ring so I can talk you into sex---is that what you think?"
            Angela stares down at the ring, then takes it off, handing it back to J.W.----"I'm sorry J.W.---I'm full of suspicion---and I got a right to be! Until---I can be totally sure of how I feel about you---I can't-----and won't accept your ring."
            J.W. grabs the ring and the box---"Fine--you just be that way, Angela Elizabeth Walker----at this rate---you'll be an old maid."
            J.W. storms out the door, almost running Sue and Gordon over in the process.

Seekers-Quest-10

By Sasquaw

            Sue and Gordon stare back at Angela as the girl goes back to getting supper on the table.
                  "Punkin---what was all of that about? Why was J.W. so upset?"
            Angela tries to smile, "Nothing Grandpa---just J.W.'s hormones going into overtime---and losing."
            Gordon frowns, and Sue clears her throat, "I think I will go check on the baby----is she still asleep?"
            "Yes ma'am---but she should be waking up soon---wanting her bottle."
            Sue heads upstairs and Gordon walks over to the long kitchen table and gingerly sits down, motioning for his granddaughter to do the same.
            "Are you feeling okay, Grandpa---want me to make you some tea?"
                   "Honey--I'm fine---just a little tired---honey, we need to talk--come sit down."
            Angela pushes her long auburn hair back, "What about, Grandpa?"
            "Well, first of all---you need to get out of this house---be with your friends."
                   "Grandpa----I don't have time I've got---------"
            Gordon reaches for his granddaughter's hand, "Make time------make time to have some time to yourself.  Now, I know that all of you kids are bending over backwards to help your mother through all of this---but you can't just stop living and having a life of your own."
            The tears start to swell in Angela's eyes, "What life, Grandpa----if my Daddy never comes home----there won't be a life!"
                        The old man smiles, "Your Daddy would want you to be with your friends----and not stay cooped up in this house, and just going back and forth to work. You're 16 now, Angela---that magical age--- and you should be laughing and going out---having fun."
            "I was looking forward to turning 16----the parties, and going out with J.W. and our friends---but all of that changed when Daddy was kidnapped."
            Gordon takes both of Angela's hands, "Honey----I want to ask you a question---and I want an honest answer-----don't try to lie to papa----okay?"
            "I'd never lie to you Grandpa-----what?"
            The old man stammers for just the right wording, "Angela--do you----blame your Daddy for things turning out the way they did----if he hadn't been kidnapped---you would be out with your friends right now----not trying to play substitute mother to your brothers and baby sister."
            "Blame Daddy?  How can you think I'm blaming Daddy----he couldn't help what happened---why are you saying these things, Grandpa?"
                    "Because deep down---I believe you are blaming your daddy----and probably your mother as well---Angela---you can't stop living----no-----matter---what happens."
            Angela stares back at Gordon, "What do you mean by that---have you heard something---have you gotten word about my Daddy---what grandpa-----tell me!"
            Gordon starts shaking his head, "No honey---I haven't heard anything----I'm just saying that you need to go out---have some fun---stop worrying so much."
            "I can't, Grandpa-----there's too much to do."
                  "Angela---if you don't relax and find some time for yourself and that certain 'someone'---you are heading for a nervous breakdown-----and I know, honey---I know what I'm talking about------and I've had the heart attacks to prove it."
            Angela takes a deep breath, "This last attack was a scary one for all of us---how are you feeling, Grandpa?   Are you taking all of your medicine?"
            Gordon nods, "Yes honey, I'm taking my medicine and I'm taking it easy---the only trouble is---I've waited too long to stop and smell the roses------much too long. I don't want you to end up like me------a workaholic that doesn't know how to relax."
            Angela smiles, "Sue has helped you to relax, hasn't she----you like her a lot, huh Grandpa?"
            Gordon smiles, nodding his head, "I wish I had met her years ago-----but believe me--I'm making up for lost time."
            "I'm glad, Grandpa" Angela replies, "all any of us want is to see you happy---and Sue has certainly done that----by the way, where is Dana---and Cordell?"
            Gordon clears his throat, "Ahhhh----they went to a movie."
            "A movie? Like--on a date--Grandpa--Cordell is not allowed to date--------"
                   "Hogwash--that's a lot of crap-------I never agreed with that stupid dating rule---but I know it wasn't my place to intervene----but it's just like I told your brother-----he needed a diversion and I gave him permission."
            "I don't know, Grandpa---that could cause problems if Mom finds out------"
            "You don't worry about your Mother, I will take full responsibility for giving Cordell permission to go----and what's more-----I want you to call J.W.----and the two of you go out, have a good time----enjoy yourself."
                  "Grandpa, I can't------"
            Gordon reaches into his pocket and takes out two $20 bills, "You will ---and you are going to-----young lady-----the evening is on me."
            Angela starts to argue, but Gordon puts his hands up to silence her, "Now--young lady-----call J.W. and then you run upstairs and put your prettiest dress on---Sue and I will take care of C.D. and Little Ray."
            Angela smiles, "Okay---what about Cooper, should I ask him to join us?"
            "I think that would be a very nice gesture on your part----now hurry up and make that call."
            "Thank you, Grandpa," Angela squeals, grabbing the phone, "he hasn't had time to get very far---I just hope J.W. is not so mad at me that he won't come back."
            Gordon smiles, and reaches out to tuck the bills into Angela's jeans, he kisses her forehead---"If he is--call some other young man---but I doubt very seriously that J.W. could ever stay angry with you for very long."


                                           *******************************


            Doss is staring back at Woody, who is shaking his head in disbelief at the story that has just been relayed to him.
            "You're family is not only dysfunctional---but just damn right insane!!----Danny was telling the truth when he said that he killed his baby brother?"
            Woody pours himself a drink from Doss' liquor cabinet, "You got it, Mr. D.A.----we're certainly not the Brady Bunch, are we?"
            Doss continues to stare, "More like the Carleone’s and the Soprano’s on their best day.---So---what happened after Danny killed the baby---he said they sent him away-----who sent him away?"
            "Lars sent him away----and there's something else that you should think about------remember when Danny asked Adlen-why didn't the baby cry out?"
            "Yeah-------"
            "The baby couldn't cry out, it was already dead."
            "Wait a minute, you said Danny killed the baby---he smashed its head in---now you're saying the baby was already dead---what's going on?"
            Woody shakes his head slowly, "I don't know exactly what happened---remember I was just a kid myself--about 6 years old---I think.   Everything is fuzzy to me, and I just remember what my Mother told me. Are you ready for all of this---it really gets morbid."
            "In all of my days as a District Attorney, I'm sure I've heard just about everything---let me make myself a stiff drink---and then you can continue."
            Woody pours himself another drink, "Well------here goes. My Mother and I were living in Rome, Lars, he traveled a lot-----and he had numerous affairs with my Mother, the maids, business associates, family members----you name them-----as long as they had a snatch---he bedded them----and he rubbed my Mother's nose in it!!! Several times he would bring his 'women' home and put them up in the guest rooms. If my Mother argued, he beat her------and several times he would send her and me away from the mansions, when he had his 'lovers' visiting. He threatened to put her out on the streets and disinherit her, so to keep this from happening, she accepted his  'women' and tried to make our lives as normal as could possibly be. We stayed at the other end of the mansion, where the servants lived. Lars had a son from one of these women, he made the woman give up all rights to the boy---gave her a small fortune and she was more than glad to leave. That boy was named Daniel-----but Daniel wasn't right in the head, and soon Lars was having nothing to do with him. Daniel was kept locked away, he was very small and fragile. Lars eventually asked my Mother to look after him, and so she did. I felt sorry for Daniel, and I would play with him as much as possible, but he was always getting into trouble and Lars would beat him.
            “About two years later, Lars met Liberty, Adlen's Mother. He knew she was pregnant, but he fell in love with her anyways. She was a beautiful woman----every time she would walk down the streets, the men would stop and stare at her. Lars was crazy in love with her, and gave her anything she asked for. He moved her out of Texas and brought her to Rome. Again, my Mother and I were treated like dirt----Liberty hated my Mother and told Lars to get rid of her. They argued all the time about it and then Adlen was born. Lars was fascinated with Adlen, he started spoiling him rotten, calling him---his son! Well, Liberty told Lars that Walker was Adlen's father and she didn't want Lars confusing him. Liberty talked to Adlen from the day he was born saying that his father was a Texas Ranger, Lars despised hearing all of this and threatened to make Liberty move out---but he would fight to keep Adlen! The arguments continued almost constantly---then Liberty became pregnant with Randy."
            "Was Lars the baby's father?"
            "Yep-----and Lars was very happy---but he still doted over Adlen. Adlen was very smart, and he was taking to Lars quickly, this infuriated Liberty. She apparently didn't want another child and right from the start, she ignored Randy. She would start telling Adlen bad things about Randy, that he was possessed and all that garbage! Liberty knew that Randy would inherit Lars' money---should he die."
            "Did she know about you---and Danny?"
            "Oh yeah, and that made her even more jealous-------the few times that Danny was allowed to play with Adlen---she poisoned him against Danny, too. I never got to play with them, I was always kept away-----and besides I had to stay with my Mother---I was always afraid that Lars would hurt her."
            Doss pours another drink; his hands are shaking. "Go---what happened--how did Randy really die?"
            Woody hesitates, "All I can remember is----going down to the nursery to get Danny---it was time to eat--------I walked in and Adlen was standing up on a little footstool, holding a pillow, and looking into the baby crib.  Danny was standing off to the side---holding a little baseball bat------it was all bloody!"
            "Good God," replies Doss-----"so you're saying that Adlen suffocated his baby brother?"
            Woody shrugs, "It had to have happened that way------Danny was just standing there----saying---'baby didn't cry'!"
            "Why?  Why would Adlen want to kill the baby and why involve Danny in this?"
                  "There's only one explanation-----Liberty poisoned Adlen's mind about Randy being 'bad' and she probably told Adlen to get rid of him."
            "I can't believe this-----Adlen was what-----about two years old at the time---a 2 year old----killing an infant?"
            "You just said that as lawyer---you've probably heard worse over the years."
            Doss swallows hard, and sits down, "I take it back----I've never heard anything so ---unbelievable!!!!   How did Danny fit in?"
            "I don't know----tomorrow we will ask him what happened that day----he told you he bashed the baby's head in-----and that it didn't cry out! That's because---Adlen had already killed it!"
            "No-------this is just hearsay----you know Danny is not in his right mind----he's just repeating things that he's heard."
            "Okay, Doss----then explain this part of it---right after Randy's death, Danny was sent to live with his grandmother in Texas------my Mother and I were kicked to the streets, given a small share of what Lars was worth, and he and Liberty took Adlen and started traveling."
            "How was Randy's death explained, was there an investigation?"
                 "Randy's death was never reported---Lars has the money and the 'know how' to make sure that never happened. As far as Randy was concerned---he never existed--except to us who knew about him."
            "I'm more confused now than I was before----how---why did Adlen always believe that Danny was younger than him? Didn't he ever ask about his baby brother after that?"
            Woody takes a deep breath and lights up a cigarette, "Adlen went into a stage where he didn't talk too much-----the Doctors that Lars hired to look after him said he was going through a 'shock stage'---he wouldn't talk."
            "How did you know what was going on, I thought he made you and your mother leave?"
            "My Mother still had loyal friends that worked for Lars, they kept her informed.  They said that Lars was blaming Danny for Randy's death----and that was the reason he was sent away, so he couldn't be prosecuted and be an embarrassment to Lars.  For some reason--when Adlen started talking again, he always referred to Danny as his baby brother---the name "Randy" was not to be spoken around him. Liberty was hysterical that Adlen would be blamed for Randy's death-----and more and more---she kept talking about Walker! My Mother's friends said that she sent for her brother and together they started in about telling who Adlen's real father is---or suppose to be."
            Doss is silent for a long time, and then he asks, "Adlen has never discussed any of this with you over the years?"
            "Nope----it's like a chapter in our lives that never happened. Liberty and her brother continued to brainwash Adlen into thinking Walker was his Father. Liberty was so obsessed in getting back to Texas and finding Walker---that she eventually lost it---shot herself in the head---just barely two weeks after Adlen's 2nd birthday. Lars tried to change Adlen's name but Adlen's Uncle Will wouldn't let him. Over the years and as he got older, Adlen was convinced that Walker is his biological Father----Lars despised hearing Walker's name and he threatened to disown Adlen---cut him off without a cent. Well, Adlen had grown accustomed to the finer things in life, and he agreed to keep quiet about Walker."
            Doss shakes his head, "So when did Adlen change his mind and start pursuing the truth about Walker again?"
            "Well, for several years he acted like he didn't care----he was too busy spending Lars' money and bedding every female that came along. His Uncle Will continued to fill his head with the same thing that Liberty had told him---then his Uncle was killed in an auto accident. Again, Adlen put it all on a back burner----but he still kept up with what was happening in Walker's life. I was attending the University of Texas, and I started sending him all the clippings I could find on Walker. The wedding announcement came out and Adlen was furious.  Then almost a year later the Walkers had their first child, Angela."
            "So----you were keeping in touch with Adlen---why were you sending him the clippings---were you just 'taunting' him?"
            "At the time, I thought I was honestly trying to help him, but as the years passed, I saw it as a way to get even---with him and Lars-----and for the way they treated my Mother and me---my Mother died about 6 years ago and I made a promise that I would make Lars pay! And, the only way I could truly hurt him would be to keep those wounds open, concerning Walker. Lars wanted Adlen for  'his son'---but he knew that Adlen was thinking more and more about proving that Walker was his Father."
            "But-----when you called me from Seattle and asked me to take Danny's case-----I thought you were genuinely concerned about your half brother---all of that was a ruse, wasn't it?"
            "I've had many years to plot my revenge----and when Danny got caught for all those morbid things being done to those boys----I knew he would never have the chance of going free--so I set my plan in motion. I had to first convince Adlen that he should feel sorry for Danny, I played the part of the gracious and forgiving half brother-----but deep inside---I knew I wanted them both out of the picture!”
            "But, if Adlen releases this story to the press about Walker-----Lars will disown him---Danny will most likely end up in a insane asylum---you will be the only heir left?"
            Woody grounds out his cigarette, "That would be so simple-----but Daddy dearest has put a clause in his will---saying that Adlen inherits $20 million on his 21st birthday---which is less than two weeks away, Danny will also inherit the same amount---on his 21st birthday---August 16th."
            "So?  Lars is worth up in the 100's of millions----you're going to argue over a few million? What about you, what do you inherit?"
            "I told you, Lars was never fond of me------I inherit the whole estate and all of his worth!"
            Doss chokes on his drink, spitting most of it out----"What in the hell are you complaining about? The man doesn't like you---but you stand to inherit---everything----what am I missing here?"
            "Well, there is just one small little matter---the will says that I inherit it only after Adlen is --deceased--or written out."
            Doss starts nodding his head, "I see---now I see where you're coming from, and now I understand why Adlen has been hesitant about dropping this bombshell---he wants to wait till after his 21st birthday----so he will at least walk away with $20 million!"
            "For a smart lawyer---it took you long enough to figure it out---so we have to figure out a way to get this story released and make Adlen look like he's the one behind it."
            "What difference does it make who releases the story---the results will still be the same."
            Woody nods, "Yep---but I want Lars to fill the hurt---the same hurt that he's inflicted on me and my Mother---I want to be there when he gets the news that Adlen has forsaken him and his millions to go through with proving Walker is his father---and this has to be done before midnight of August 16th."


                                                     ************************


            It's a long and tiring ride back to the City, Alex is furious that more information couldn't be learned about the prisons.
            "You see, Jimmy---the government has known about those prisons and they have done nothing to investigate them. You heard the stories that those two men were telling us about the torture that some of those prisoners went through."
            "Yes, Alex--I heard. There are more prisons to investigate---but not tonight---it's much too dangerous for us to be down this far south."
                    "Tomorrow----we will get a early start in the morning, and I want to cover as many as those prisons that we can---I know that someone has to know something about Walker----that call came from the Tiopa area."
            They are approaching the gates to the embassy, the crowds have gotten thicker, and their car is being attacked. Guards are coming from inside the gates and pushing the crowds back, the car makes it's way up to the front entrance of the Embassy Hotel. They hurry to get inside the doors.
            Walker is standing off to the north side of the embassy, he has seen the white car return, but he couldn't see the occupants rushing to get inside the safety of the hotel. He concentrates on scaling the north wall, he starts looking for his way in. He observes the guards and watches them carefully, making a mental note of how many there are and their positions. He whispers to himself "Well, this is it----no putting it off----all systems—go."
            Walker starts towards the north wall, suddenly the alarms start going off,  the security lights come on, and dozens of guards rush the front gate. They are screaming orders that the gates be locked, and more guards head for the front entrance! Walker has to jump down from the wall and find cover before the security lights span in his direction. He swears to himself and heads for the safety of the trees, "What the hell happened?"
            He crouches down and watches as more guards drive up in their jeeps, the machine guns aimed at the front gate.  Two men are escorted to the jeeps and they drive off. The alarms are still sounding and now they are concentrating on the area in which Walker is hiding. He takes off in the opposite direction, running as fast as he can. He gets as far away from the Embassy as he can, he spots a small group of men and slowly approaches them, asking what all the disturbance was about. They look back at him cautiously, and finally one man replies.
               "Diablo-------he is getting closer---they find two of his men inside----the Federales have taken them away."
            "What will happen to them?" asks Walker.
            The man spits on the ground near Walker's boot---"They will be questioned-----and then shot!"
            Walker slowly walks away, looking back at the Embassy, "Another time, my friend---I'm not giving up----I will get inside---one way or another!"


                                         *******************************


            "Jimmy, what happened, why did the alarms go off?"
            "They found some intruders inside the embassy----I have a feeling you better sleep with one eye open----it's going to be a long night----and keep your bags packed---in case we have to get out of here---PRONTO!"
            "Were they Diablo's men?"
            Trivette nods his head, "That's the word---and that means they are getting closer to the City."
            Alex shakes her head, "But surely, they can't be any match for the artillery of the Mexican government?"
            "They found some high powered weapons on the intruders--they're running a trace now to see where they come from."
            Alex sighs, as she walks back inside her hotel room----"Of all the times for the people of Mexico to start a revolution."
            She walks over to her bedroom window, and pushes it outward and looks out at the people on the streets. "People, and more people----going around in circles and going nowhere fast!  Sort of like the way I feel right now--my life is so empty---is this the way it's going to end?  Is this my destiny-----that I will never see my husband again? Oh God--I have to call the kids---I need to talk to my babies."
            She walks away from the window just as a man in ragged clothes is staring up at the same window, he stops and inhales, "Lilacs-----I'm smelling lilacs again."
            The man sighs, "Alex----I'm thinking of you so much and so hard that now I'm imagining I smell your perfume----but I do smell something------and this time I'm not dreaming!"


                                              *******************************


            The alarms are sounding again and Trivette is banging on Alex's door. She comes running to the door, "What's wrong, what's happening?"
            Trivette runs inside her room and starts grabbing her luggage, "Get dressed Alex, they're telling all the Americans to get out----to evacuate!"
              "Jimmy-----we can't leave--we have to inspect those other prisons!"
            Trivette takes Alex and starts shoving her to the bathroom, "We got no time for that----our car is waiting to take us to the airport---hurry!"
            Alex is still arguing, and Trivette grabs her--"Alex---do you get dressed on your own, or do you want me to dress you?"
                    Reluctantly, Alex runs to the bathroom and starts changing into some jeans, she hurries to get her bra on, and then grabs an oversized shirt that belonged to Walker. She's now running out of the bathroom and Trivette is hurrying her to put her tennis shoes on. She grabs her overnight bag and they are running to get to the elevator.
            Outside the crowds are pushing up against the gates again and this time Walker has no where to escape to . He pushes back, trying to keep his balance, as the crowds are getting angrier and cries of "VIVA DIABLO" echo through the air. The cars are leaving the Embassy now, the antennas are stripped, and they're heading for the gate. All of the cars are being attacked and windshields are being broken, as the occupants are making a mad dash for freedom and the airport! The last car out is the little white one, and now Walker is at the front of the angry crowd. The crowds stop the car from moving forward and a man's voice is yelling for them to move, or he will shoot.
            The crowds are pushing up against Walker and he's being pushed into the side of the white car. The door on the opposite side is jerked open and the crowd reaches in for the dark skinned young man, dragging him out and kicking him. The driver is drug from the car and now the other only occupant is being reached for. A hand goes across Alex's mouth as three men drag her out. She's kicking and biting at the hand across her mouth, someone grabs her purse and starts running off. The three men are pulling her further away from the car when something comes flying over the hood and a foot goes to the mouth of one of the men.
            More guards are rushing to the white car as they start pushing the crowd back and go to Alex's aide. She is fighting her attackers when someone rushes the men and starts kicking out with his feet. The guards have grabbed Alex and pulling her back towards the safety of one of their jeeps.  The intruder is fighting the men as the guards pounce on him too, knocking him to the ground. He pulls away from them and starts running towards the jeep.
            "Alex----Alex-----"
            Alex is trying to pull her shirt together when she hears the familiar voice; she turns around to see a ragged man running towards the jeep, stretching his hands out. Her mouth drops open, "Walker!"
            Alex is yelling at the guards to stop the jeep, but it keeps rolling and starting to pick up speed. Walker is running as fast as he can to keep up with it, all the while Alex is screaming, "Alto---Alto----that's my husband------please stop!"
            Walker is running along the side, stretching his hands out and Alex is trying to grab his hand, her eyes are filled with tears, "Walker---Walker."
            Their hands touch for only a second and everything goes into slow motion, Alex can see her husband's eyes so clear, the look in those eyes---she will never forget---a look of abandonment. His voice calling her name "A--L--E X  ---don't-----leave----me."
            She's screaming louder as the jeep picks up speed, she grabs the driver around his neck, begging him to stop. The other guards pull her away, she's fighting to get out of their grasp as she looks back at the figure that can run no further. He stops, crouching over to get his breath, the guards rush him, knocking him to the ground. In the distance, he can hear her calling his name------"Walker-----Walker!"      

Seekers-Quest-11

By Sasquaw

            Alex has fought the guards with every ounce of her body, kicking and screaming for  them to stop the jeep. She keeps trying to look around as she can barely see the figure of Walker hitting the ground and the other guards ganging up on him. She keeps screaming his name out, her screams fall on deaf ears. Finally she stops and rolls herself up in a ball, her body shaking as the tears come full force.
            The jeep has arrived at the airport and more guards are rushing to the jeep and taking Alex inside, she sees another jeep come rushing up behind them and Trivette is being jerked from the jeep and hustled to the loading gate.
            Alex screams and runs to her friend, he can barely talk. "Alex-----are you okay, sweetheart?"
            Alex is still crying, "Yes-----and you----what did they do to you----why did they beat you this way?"
            Trivette starts shaking his head, "I'm okay--just some cracked ribs----are you okay?"
            Alex is nodding her head, "Jimmy-----I saw him----I saw Walker!"
            "What?  Where did you see him?"
            Alex is trying to explain as the guards come running up and hustle them to the plane. Alex jerks back, "I am not leaving here--without my husband----now I demand to talk to your governor----I am a government official----you will pay for this-----do you hear me?"
            The guards pretend not to understand her and soon she and Trivette are on the plane heading back to the states. Alex tells Jimmy about how Walker tried to come to her rescue and was running to catch up with the jeep.
            She's crying so hard she can barely speak, "Oh Jimmy----the look in his eyes------he thought I was abandoning him---" (sobbing harder)---"but Jimmy----I was trying to reach out to him----our fingers almost touched-------those damn son of a bitches are going to pay for this!"
            Trivette groans, "Easy, Alex----and yes---they will pay---when we get back and our government learns of how we've been treated and now the war that is breaking out down there----they can't help but send in the troops---we'll make them pay Alex----I promise you."
            Alex leans back into her seat--"His eyes, Jimmy---I can't get that look out of my mind----he was begging me not to leave him----oh God---Jimmy---I can't stand it------."
            Trivette puts his arms around his friend, "Alex---Walker is not going to blame you----he knows you were trying to help him--he knows that."
            Alex continues to cry as her best friend holds her.


                                      **********************************


            The crowd has overpowered the embassy guards and Walker has escaped. He keeps running to the safety of the trees, He stops and watches as the guards are beaten to death, their weapons are taken and the crowd holds them up to the cheers of "VIVA EL DIABLO!"
            Walker swears underneath his breath, "Ordinarily, I would feel sympathy for you guys---but after what you just did to keep me from Alex---may your souls rot in hell!"
            The Ranger starts walking east. He turns and looks back at the crowds and what is left of the embassy---it's going up in flames, the hotel and other buildings as well.
               "There's no sense in trying to get any help here---I'm heading East to the border---I should have headed in that direction a long time ago---but then-----I wouldn't-----have-----seen-----Alex----oh my God---where is she----have they hurt her?"
            Walker sits down on the ground, his body is heaving back and forth----he runs his hands through his hair and then kicks out at the ground.
            "Damn you Father----is this what you meant by 'a smell would beckon me'---it was Alex's perfume that I was smelling----that was no dream that I was having-----is this the way you are going to help me-----to dangle her face in front of me----to almost touch her-----and then you take her away----to where------where the hell have they taken her?"
            Walker is standing and walking around in circles, shaking his fist at the skies and swearing. The wind becomes perfectly still, even the birds remain silent----there is absolute silence and then a shattering bolt of lighting goes across the sky. In the distance he can hear the thunder, getting louder.
            "That's your answer-------another damn thunderstorm?  I curse you Father------with every ounce within me---you have taken my last ounce of sanity------how could you take her from me----do you hate me that much?"
            The skies open up and the rain is coming down harder. The Ranger's tears mix with the rain as he stumbles forward, not caring where he's going.


                                            ********************************


            The old man watches from the safety of his cardboard home, he can see the flames in the distance. People have been running through the streets, looting. He knows he will have to move to a safer place, he shakes his head and grabs what few belongings he has left. He grabs what is left of the old burlap bag.
            He too, will start walking East for no particular reason. The crowds are getting thicker and they are bumping into him and telling the old man to get out of their way. Someone has grabbed the bag and is running off with it, the old man curses, then throws his hands up in the air---"Oh hell----what's the use---take it----you've taken everything else!"
            The old man has been stumbling in the streets for a good half hour, he has lost his sense of direction, he's knocked to the ground and the crowd is walking all over him. He's trying to stand when a hand reaches out and pulls him up and a young voice is heard.
            "Come with me, old man----I will take you to safety."
            A smaller hand takes his and the two figures pull him to safety of an old abandoned shack. The old man strains to see who is helping him. With his one good eye, he sees Juan-----and then he sees the little boy staring back up at him, smiling.
            Juan holds his sides, "You'll be safe here, old man----at least for a while."
            The old man tries to smile, "Gracias----thank you----for whatever reason you're helping me."
            "I'm helping you only because you helped me----I have returned the favor---and now----we must go---come Tony."
            "Wait a minute-----how is your side-----are you still coughing up blood?"
            Juan shakes his head, "No----not so much----my sides still hurt----but I am better-----thanks to you---I have repaid you---now my nephew and I have to go."
            "Where will you go," the old man asks.
            Juan stares at the old man, "What should it matter?  My friends have all headed in different directions----we go north----to a place called Nogales."
            "In Arizona-----do you have family there?"
            Tony is getting tired as he lies down on the ground and rolls himself up in a ball, Juan looks down at him and smiles----"My father used to talk about having family that lived there---that's where we will go."
            The old man studies Juan; he can't be more than 16, "Is that where your father is, in Nogales, Arizona?"
            "My Father is dead, killed by Diablo---my Mother and sisters also----one was Tony's mother."
            "Killed by that son of a bitch, Diablo, too?"
            Juan looks around the shack, "I do not care to talk about it---it is too painful----my nephew sleeps---when he wakes up, we will go.  In the meantime---I will go find us some food. ---Will you watch my little nephew till I return?"
            The old man smiles and sits down on the ground, next to the young boy---he brushes his black hair back out of his eyes----"You don't worry about your nephew-----I'll take care of him. As long as you're shopping for food, I'll take a huge t-bone steak---fried potatoes, and huge helping of chili-----and some cheese."
            Juan stares back at the old man who is trying hard not to laugh. Juan smiles faintly----"You are 'el loco'---------how about some tamales----and maybe some rice?"
            The old man smiles, "That will be fine----beggars can't be choosy, huh------my friend?"
            Juan shakes his head and walks out the door. The old man reaches out and pulls Tony's worn and ragged shirt up tighter around his small body. The boy opens his eyes and stares back at him with black eyes-----"Gracias, senor," he says softly.
            Tears start to swell in the old man's eyes, "De nada---you're welcome---little friend."


                                                ***************************


Walker ranch:

It has been two days since Alex has come back home. She has repeated the story over and over to her kids and everyone is walking around like they're all in a trance. Alex continues to cry, she hasn't been able to sleep, or eat. Gordon and the kids are worried about her and have tried to get her to see a Doctor, but she refuses.
            Alex is sitting at the kitchen table, her hair is uncombed, and no makeup on. The circles under her eyes are getting deeper, every time she tries to speak, she starts crying all over again.
                 "Pumpkin----will you please see a Doctor---and get some medicine so you can sleep---you can't go on like this."
            Alex shakes her head back and forth, "I don't-----want to sleep----every time-----I close ----my eyes---I see Walker's eyes-----pleading with me------not to leave him."
            Angela is bringing her Mother some tea-----"Mom----you know that Daddy is not blaming you-----you tried to help him------he would never blame you."
            Alex pushes the tea away----pulling her knees up to her chest, and dabbing at her eyes-----"I could almost touch him------Angela----our fingers were just inches away------and those sons of bitches would not stop-----I begged them to stop------and they wouldn't!”
            The twins walk up behind their Mother and reach over to embrace her, Little Ray is patting his Mother's arm, and begging her not to cry anymore.
            The phone rings and Cordell goes to answer it, he hands the phone to his Mother---"It's Uncle Jimmy."
            Alex grabs the phone, "Jimmy---is there any word----have they found Walker---please say they have found him------please!"
            "No, Alex-----there has been no word---I'm on my way back down there-------they have sent in some US troops---to help the Mexican government.  They're sending troops into the hills."
            "I'm going with you, Jimmy---wait for me------"
            "No, Alex---you are in no shape to be going back down there---J.W. is here at the hospital with me and he's told me how you're not sleeping or eating."
            "I'm worried about my husband!  That's why I can't eat or sleep!"
            "I'm going alone, Alex------you've done your part in trying to find him----it's going to get messy before it gets any better---it's best you stay home------where it's safe."
            "No!!!  Don't you dare leave without me---Jimmy------."
            The phone goes dead, and Alex is beside herself as she starts screaming for Jimmy not to leave without her. She starts hitting the phone against the wall, the twins rush to grab her. She's fighting them and striking back at them, "Leave me alone-------stop-----that's my husband---you have to stop for him."
            The twins look back to their grandfather, he whispers to Angela, "Call 911----get them here----fast!"
            The ambulance has arrived, and again Alex is fighting them. Something is injected into her arm, and she soon gives up the fight. Angela crawls into the back of the ambulance with her Mother. Gordon has called Sue Winchester and she has come to stay with C.D. and Little Ray. The twins and Gordon follow the ambulance to the hospital.
            It's been several hours since Alex was brought to the hospital, she's been given a sedative and is sleeping. Gordon and the kids have been by her side constantly, the Doctor comes by to check on her.
            "Dr. Green, what is wrong with our Mother?"
            The doctor gestures for them all to step aside, he nods his head slowly. "Your Mother is on the verge of a nervous breakdown----we have IV's in her, giving her nourishment and the sedative is helping her to sleep---but she's not out of the woods----not by a long shot!"
            Angela starts to sob, the twins put their arms around her, "What do you mean---she's not out of the woods?" asks Cordell.
            The doctor stares back at them, "I've followed the story on your family, and with all that's been happening---it's no wonder that your Mother is in the shape that she is. She's in a severe stage of depression----and if she doesn't start coming out of this soon-----she could get worse---maybe comatose."
            Gordon groans, "Oh my God----not my pumpkin----doctor---what can we do?"
                "There's not much you can do----except keep talking to her---encourage her to eat on her own---don't let her get upset about anything---the main thing is that one or two of you be with her at all times-----and keep talking to her! Talk about good things-------"
            Cooper shakes his head, "Doctor---our Mother is blaming herself for not being able to help our Dad----that's all she has talked about since coming home!"
            "I'm aware of that, young man-----but she has to be the one to want to come out of this----if her family is not able to reach her-----she's going to slip----further away.  I'm sorry---I don't have miracle drug that will bring her out of it---she has to be the one."
            Cordell nods his head, "Okay---Sis----you and grandpa go home, Coop and I will stay with Mom tonight."
            Angela and Gordon argue, "No, Cordell----we want to stay too."
                    "Cordell is right----Grandpa---remember your health---you got to take things easy---and Angela---you have to help Sue with the babies."
            As they are arguing about who is staying, J.W. comes down the hall. They tell him of their Mother's problem.
            "Oh man-----when it rains it pours---I just got back from taking my Dad to the airport---now I get the next flight out to Baltimore."
                "Baltimore?  Why are you going back there?"
            "Just as Dad's plane was taking off, I got an emergency call about my Aunt Bessie---she's had a massive heart attack---they're not expecting her to pull through."
            "Oh my God---I'm so sorry son," Gordon reaches out and embraces J.W.-----he looks back at the twins and then to Angela. ----"Okay, guys---you stay with your Mother, Angela and I will drive J.W. to the airport----we'll bring you two something back to eat."
            "Before we go Grandpa---can I see Aunt Alex---for just a second?"
            Soon Gordon, J.W. and Angela have left for the airport, the twins are inside their Mother's room, holding her hands and talking to her.


                                                      ***************************


            The past few days have been pure hell for Walker, he stumbles through the night---sleeping only during the daylight hours. His sleep in interrupted by visions of Alex and the guards pulling her back inside the jeep. He wakes up sweating,  "I could almost touch you, Alex------I could smell your perfume---I could feel your body heat-----"
           
Walker can hear the gunfire off in the distance, Diablo is moving in fast.  "He must have some very powerful weapons------where did he get them-----most likely from his cigar-smoking friend with the cane---the one that wants me dead!"
            Walker has found some raw potatoes to munch on, he chews them slowly, his mind going in several directions at a time. He stands up and looks at the sunset, remembering the countless times that he and Alex would watch the sun go down. He looks east and then north, he throws the uneaten spud down and starts walking north.
            His inner voice is talking to him again, "Where are you going, my son--the border is back the other way"?
            "I've been going about this the wrong way------I have seen Alex---she knows that I am alive------and if by the grace of God--she made it to safety---she will tell someone-----and now they will know where to look. But---if she didn't make it out----I have to try and find out where she is.  My journey has just begun---I will not rest till I know if she is safe----and I will also find out who he is----and why he wants me dead.  I also have a score to settle with Diablo----for killing Hector"!
            "Now---you are thinking like a true warrior, my son.  No matter how much you want to return to your family---you have to settle things first---with your inner soul--before you will ever be free to return to your wife and kids."
            "Alex is my first priority---I've got to find out where the guards took her----I heard someone in the crowd yelling about the airport---and they were making all the Americans leave the country----I pray she got out of the country safe.  Also---I know that she couldn't possibly be down here by herself---Trivette had to have been with her-----where is he?  I know they were pulling a man from the car----but I couldn't make out if it was him!"
                  Walker's pace hastens as he heads north.
   
                                                ****************************


            The old man has listened to Juan tell of how his parents and sisters were killed by Diablo.
            "That was almost 6 years ago, when they came into our village, looting and taking the women for their sexual pleasure. I was about ten, they killed my parents and raped both of my sisters---I hid in the brush, like a sniffling coward.  I could hear my sisters call out to me----but I was too scared to help them. Diablo and his men had their way with my sisters---over and over. My youngest sister was only eleven---she started bleeding--the bleeding would not stop. She died, and soon Diablo left our village and went up into the hills, the Federales were after him---but they were too scared to go past the hills---Diablo still raided the smaller towns and villages---our government just turned their heads."
            The old man nods, "I know what you're saying is true---in the beginning I tried to talk to the people at the consulate---they just laughed at me."
            "How long have you been here, old man?"
            The old man reaches down and caresses Tony's head, "A long time, my friend----some 15----or 16 years--I've lost count. As the years went by, and after my family was killed---nothing mattered anymore. The days rolled into weeks---months----and then the years.  How did your nephew come into the picture?"
            Juan brushes the tears from his eyes, "He is my older sister's son---she gave birth to him---8 months after Diablo left our village. She died about 6 months later.  I have cared for Tony ever since. I am both his mama and papa."
            "And----you've been on the streets--ever since?  Is that when you joined the 'piranhas'?”
            "We had no choice, senor---they gave us food and protected us---soon I had my own followers---and we were making our own way----stealing and beating up-----old people-----like you---that could not defend themselves."
            The old man sighs, "Yeah----I've been on the receiving end of your anger------"
            "I am sorry, senor----forgive me."
            The old man stands up and walks around the dirty old shack, "Son----I'm not the one to ask for forgiveness---you did what you had to do---to survive----I know I've cursed you many times for beating me---and taking my possessions----but I'm understanding the reason behind it---we've both done things that we're going to have to ask his forgiveness--the Lord has forgiven me for my wrong doings---I'm certainly no angel---I'm sure he will forgive you for yours---if you're serious about turning your life around."
            Juan jumps up, grabbing his side, "I am--senor---I swear---I want to make things right for my nephew. For years I have thought of nothing else but killing the bastard that killed my family----but I don't feel that way anymore.  I'm tired---all I want is to get to this place called Arizona----and try to make something of a life for my nephew---for Tony."
            The old man stares back with his one good eye, he rubs his face, "I believe you mean that-----I will help you to get to Arizona---if you want me to."
            Juan smiles, "Don't you have any family left that is worried about you?"
            Tears swell up in the old man's eyes, "My family is dead---murdered ---just like your family was."
            Juan's dark eyes look into the old man's sad face, "Was your family killed by---Diablo too?"
            The old man swears under his breath, "No Juan---but the man that killed my family was no better than your Diablo---they are both so low that they would have to look upwards to a snake's belly---the man that killed my family was called----Lava'cot!"


                                                ***************************


            The twins have been taking turns talking to their Mother, talking about happier times. It's now been hours since Alex's admittance------there is no change.     
                 Cooper's eyes become misty as he looks to his older twin, "What do we do, bro----if she never comes out of it?  We lose both our Mother and our Dad."
            "We can't give up---we have to keep talking to her---the doctors said that anything we might say could trigger her into coming back to us---we don't give up!"
            Cooper bites his bottom lip, "You know-----and I know---only one person is going to bring her back to us.  She has shut us out---she's not responding------that Dr Green said that it sounds like Mom has "tucked herself" into one small corner of her mind---and she's living that one day-----over and over----what do we do, Cordell?"
            Cooper is barely able to finish his question as he breaks down and starts crying. Cordell is fighting back the tears too as he reaches out and puts an arm around his brother.   Cordell takes a deep breath, "It's time, bro!"
            "Time?  Time for what?"
                 Cordell's face is set, "It's time for us to leave---we have to try and find Dad."
            Cooper is still crying as he looks to his Mother and back to his twin. "Leave? We can't leave now---Mom needs us!"
            "She doesn't even know we are here, Coop---look at her ---she's done nothing but stare at the ceiling ever since they brought her in here---she's in her 'own little world'----and right now her world does not include us!"
            Cooper shakes his head back and forth, ----"No-----we can't leave---what if she should wake up----and know that we have gone there---it would put her back over the edge again."
            "And----what if she never wakes up, Cooper?  Time is wasting, we know the general area in which she saw Dad---we start there."
            Cooper is pacing the floor, going back and forth to his Mother's bed----"Mom-----please wake up----please."
            Cordell goes to the other side of his Mother's bed, taking her hand-----"Mom-----if you can hear me----please squeeze my hand----I'm asking your permission to go in search of Dad---please wake up, Mom!"
            It is now the wee hours of the morning, the twins have not slept, they both sit with their heads in their hands. Angela and Gordon have called every hour, but the word is still the same---no change. Morning has come and Dr. Green has checked Alex's vitals, he turns to the twins and shakes his head slowly.
            The twins stare at each other, Cooper nods his head----"Okay, bro---when do we leave?"

 
                                                  ********************************


            Trivette is on his way back to Old Mexico, he will meet with government officials at the Nuevo Laredo border. He has received the news about Alex's breakdown, and shakes his head sadly and whispers to himself, "I'm so sorry Alex----but I knew you were in no shape to go back down there---I had a feeling that you were about to lose it. I swear to you, sweetheart----I will do everything in my power to find Walker!"
            "Ranger Trivette, you have a call," the stewardess nudges him.
            "Yeah--Trivette here---what you got Sam?"
            The voice on the other end is Sam Ellis, another Ranger that has been assigned to interrogate John Doe/Murphy. "Well, I got good news and I got bad---which do you want first?"
            Trivette moans, holding his bandaged sides, "Just lay it on me, Sam---got no time for guessing games-----did you talk to our man?"
            "Yeah, I talked to him-----are you ready for the shock of your life?"
            "Sam---just tell me what you got----did John Doe turn out to be C. D's friend-----and what was so important that he wanted to tell me?"
            "Yes, he's the same man---fingerprints checked out. I asked him why did he lie about the way your friend was killed---saying that he had a heart attack---and then later you and Walker find out that's not how---he 'supposedly’ died."
            "What do you mean 'supposedly'---C.D. was killed by a .50 millimeter high powered rifle, commonly known as a elephant gun with  a high powered scope. The bullet was so powerful, it tore his chest apart---took half of his face!"
            "Well, hang on to your seat Jim----but--- that was not C.D. in that coffin---it was a patient by the name of Lee Bailey.  I thought you were in the morgue when they run the DNA on that body after it was exhumed."
            "I was---Sam--the DNA matched the body and the medical records on C.D.---Sam----are you there?"
            "I'm here, Jim-----the DNA matched the records on the victim in the coffin---not C.D. You were so set on proving that C.D. didn't die of that heart attack---that you didn't make positive proof that body -that was having the autopsy performed on- was really your friends'!”
            Trivette is speechless, "I was-----so upset that---he had been murdered------I didn't observe the body that closely. I was there when the autopsy was performed--I saw them match up CD's medical ---and dental records---everything matched."
            "No Jim---they didn't match---it was a cover up---Lava'cot was behind the whole mess--Murphy testified to it----right before------he died."
                  "Murphy's dead?  What happened?"
            "We were down for three days, questioning him---that 'so called daughter' of his was trying her damnest to keep us from it---but he asked for a priest and he asked to talk to a Texas Ranger-----Jones and I were more than happy to oblige him."
            Trivette is shaking his head, "Are you saying that C.D. didn't die in the year 2000?”
                                            
 Seekers-Quest-12

By Sasquaw

            Trivette has listened intently to Sam Ellis' story about C.D. The Ranger slowly shakes his head.
            "I'm sorry to have to lay all of this on you right now Jim, but I figured you would want to know. I know you got a lot on your mind right now, trying to find Walker---and now his wife has had a breakdown.  I just wanted you to know that us Rangers didn't believe that rumor about Walker and another woman---my wife and I wanted you to know that."

            Trivette is still reeling from the news about C.D. not being in that coffin. "I know that, Sam----Walker's true friends have been behind us all the way---you tell Linda 'thanks' for the support."
            "I will, she and some other Ranger wives are on their way over to the hospital now. We will all do our part in trying to bring Alex out of this--you don't worry about things here---you find your partner---and bring him home."
            Trivette turns the phone off and just stares at it for the longest time. The stewardess asks him if he's all right.
            The Ranger takes a deep breath, "I'm not sure how I feel right now---I just get news that a very dear friend of mine did not die--almost 18 years ago."
            The young lady looks back at Trivette, puzzled. "Then---you should be relieved that your friend is alive------right?"
                    Trivette's eyes become misty, "If he's alive-----then where has he been all these years---why didn't he try and contact me---and our other friends?"


                                                  *****************************


            The twins have been quietly going over their plans. Gordon and Angela have relieved them and they are back at Walker ranch, trying to get some sleep. Cooper is pacing back and forth in the front room with Cordell has stretched out on the couch.
            "Coop---will you settle down--you're giving me a headache, pacing back and forth."
            Cooper sits down in Walker's recliner, then just as quickly he's back up and pacing. "I can't help it-----I just don't know if we should leave right now---everything is in such a mess."
            "Well----you can do what you want to---but I'm going."
                   Cooper's temper is rising, "I didn't say I didn't want to go----I just don't think now is the time."
            Cordell sits up on the couch and looks back at his twin, "Bro-----the longer we wait---the colder the trail is going to be--Dad always said---'hit while the coals are hot' --!"
            "What the hell is that suppose to mean-----and remember--we are not Dad---we don't have his experience in tracking----I think we should wait----at least until Mom is out of danger."
            "Well---you are right about one thing---we have to have a plan---we just can't go off on a wild goose chase and expect things to just come together like they do for Dad.  And, also we have to have time to get the Ram camouflaged."
                Cooper's mouth drops open, "The Ram?  You're planning on taking the Ram?"
            "How else did you expect us to get down there, hitchhike?"
            "I thought we----were---going to fly?"
            "Are you crazy?  The airports are closed down for general public---only government troops and officials are getting in--we can't fly down there!  Besides, how would we get around once we got there?"
            Cooper shakes his head, "Well----you're forgetting one minor little detail---neither of us have drivers' licenses---what if we get stopped by the highway patrol---and that's bound to happen, because Dad's truck is too noticeable."
            "Didn't you hear what I said---I said we have to camouflage it----and the first thing we get rid of is that roll bar and those lights."
            "It will still stand out like a sore thumb" Cooper mumbles, "what we need to do ---is repaint it!"
            The twins stare at each other, and Cooper starts to grin mischievously-----"Yehhhhhh--that's what we have to do---repaint it----and we can do that by taking it down to the auto shop, I'm sure Mr. Talbot and some of the guys-----"
            Cooper stops in mid-sentence, "We can't tell anyone----can we?"
            Now Cordell is pacing, "No----we can't---but you're on the right track. Have you ordered that paint yet---for your truck?"
            "Yeah, it's at the auto store---I just have to go and pick it up---but Cordell---that paint is a dark brown---root beer."
            "We don't have to re-paint the whole truck---just put a stripe down the side-----or something."
            "Yeah-----we can do that! Mr. Talbot has said what a great job we did on Angela's car----but bro---we have to have a place to paint it. We can't do it here, Grandpa and Angela would find out and they would never let us do that to Dad's truck!"
            "You're right---but I know where we can paint it---Uncle Ray's cabin---we have that portable compressor and everything we need--- what do you say?"
            "I'm liking the idea---more and more," replies Cooper, "now we have to get the paint---soooo how do we do that?"
            Cordell takes a deep sigh and reaches into his pocket for Walker's keys----"Are you ready to fight the Ft. Worth/Dallas traffic?"
            Cooper grins, "I've fought it before in Mom's SUV---remember?"
            Cordell throws the keys up in the air, then catches them, "Yeah---but this time----we have some power under the hood!"
            "I get to drive, "Cooper chimes.”
            "When pigs fly, bro!"
            The boys are out the door and heading for the tarp covered Ram.


                                              ******************************


 Tarrant county jail:

Adlen is waiting for Danny to be brought down to the interrogation room, Doss is waiting, too---and watching Adlen very carefully. Adlen is reading in the papers about Alex's breakdown, he shakes his head sadly.
            "That family has had more than their share of problems---haven't they?"
            Doss nods, "Well, one good thing about it---prissy Alex Walker will not be prosecuting your brother---the judge has appointed someone else to take the case--that young Mooney."
            "Don't underestimate Mooney---he did his share in tearing that Kiwi apart on the witness stand---I just feel sorry for Mrs. Walker---she's a nice lady---she doesn't deserve this.  Her kids must be completely devastated with her breakdown and their father missing, too."
            Doss begins to feel nervous about Adlen's concern for the Walker family. "Ahhh---Adlen----what was all that talk about a baby brother being killed?  Did Daniel really kill him?"
            Adlen stammers---"I don't-----want to ---talk about that--it doesn't have anything to do with Daniel's case---so drop it."
            The guards are bringing in Danny; he looks around at the two men---grinning. "What do you say, Adlen-----my lawyer said I might be getting to go home-----"
            Doss interrupts quickly---"Ahhh Danny---let's get down to your case----the trial comes up in less than 10 days---do you know what you're going to say?"
            Danny nods, "Yeah-----sure---I tell the people that--that there ranger Walker didn't do anything to help Sarge out of that hog pen---he let him get eaten---and those troopers didn't try to help either!"
            "How do you know that, Danny---did you see all that happen?"
            "Yeah---I heard it--I heard Ranger Walker tell those troopers that he would shoot them if they tried to help Sarge get out."
            Adlen looks at Danny puzzled, "Wait a minute---you can't say that Danny---you didn't hear Walker say that----Angela said that you and Cooper walked up to the hog pen after---it was too late for Sarge---the hogs were already pulling him apart!"
            "Adlen---do you mind---I'm the lawyer here---not you---and I will tell my client what he can and can't say---you weren't there---you don't know what was said either."
            "But----that's not what happened-----Danny was fighting with Cooper---he didn't hear Walker say that!"
            "For the last time, Adlen---you will remain quiet----or you can leave."
            Adlen is throwing his hands up in the air, "That's perjury---you're putting words into his mouth."
            Doss grabs Adlen's arm and pulls him over to the other side of the room, Danny is looking at both of them, confused.
            "Listen to me, Adlen---you know as well as I do that Danny is not going to beat this-------the most we can hope for is life in a insane asylum----don't you want Walker to pay for his part in this?"
            "I want justice for my brother---but I don't want him lying on the witness stand ---besides how can this trial take place when Walker is not here to defend himself?"
            "What's happening to you, Adlen---when you first brought this case to me--you were hell bent on making that ranger pay---now---you're more concerned for Walker than your brother------why is that Adlen---what are you trying to hide from me now?"
            Adlen jerks away from the lawyers' grasp, "I just don't want my brother lying---and without Walker's testimony--the state will drop that part of the case until Walker can testify in his own behalf------that is---if he's ever found."
            "And, why should you care if he's ever found?"
            Adlen stares back at Danny, the boy is continually taking lint off his uniform and placing it neatly on the long table. Adlen says quietly----"I just do---that's all. Angela's family has enough to deal with----I want you to drop that part of the questioning."
            "Let me get this straight---you are telling me what kind of questioning I can use----where do you get off---telling me that?"
            Adlen gets up in the little man's face, "Listen--you little pig---I can stop Lars from paying you--all I have to do is call him and say that I have changed my mind about you being Danny's lawyer---and you will be left with only a retainer----got that?"
            Doss is swearing under his breath, he grunts, grabs his briefcase and walks to the door, he turns around and replies----"I have to get some fresh air---when I get back---I will tell you--the defense I will take---not you."
            Doss goes straight to the men’s room, where a janitor is sweeping up, he walks over to Doss---"What's the matter---Adlen getting to you?"
            The lawyer jumps, and then he sees that it's Woody. He looks down at the janitorial uniform, and whispers "Nice."
            Woody walks over to the door and looks out, "Okay, what was said that has you so wound up?"
            "That brother of yours has gone soft----we have to do something--or everything that we have planned will go right out the window----including our $2 million!"
            "I told you, I'm not concerned with the measly stuff---I want it all---so what do you say now, Mr. Lawyer man----do we drop the bombshell?"
            Doss nods, "It's pretty clear that Adlen is not going to do it---till after the 16th---if we want to save our hides and our money---we better do it soon."
            Woody grins, "Revenge is sweet, isn't it?  Now is the perfect time----Mrs. Walker has had a nervous breakdown, and with Walker still missing we don't have to worry about that wrecking machine coming after us---the whole family is beside themselves in grief--we do it.  I have a friend at the newspaper--he can also get it to the tabloids--just like 'brother dear' tried to get that story started on a affair between Mrs. Walker and that black Ranger."
            "Adlen was the one behind that?"
            "Yep---but Mrs. Walker and that Ranger Trivette decided not to fuel the story by commenting--they put it on the back burner and just ignored it--well--this story will not be ignored---I can promise you that!"


                                                       *************************


            Walker has gotten back to the general area from where Alex was taken by the guards. There's nothing left of the embassy or the surrounding buildings. He walks around cautiously, listening to the word on the street, being careful not to draw attention to himself. He approaches a small crowd of men, he listens----he can't understand all of the talk--the one word he does understand is Diablo.
            He approaches one man that is standing away from the crowd, "What is happening, amigo----where is Diablo?"
            "They will never catch the devil---he has avoided the government pigs for way too long."
            "What about the Americans that were inside the embassy----did they leave?"
            The man stares back at Walker, looking at his ragged clothes, "Why do you care---are you an Americano?"
                   "Partly," Walker lies----"I am of Spanish descent---I just don't understand my Mother's language very well---I was forced to work in Texas for many years-----and they don't like it when you speak the Spanish very much----so----- a lot of it---I have forgotten."
            "The man continues to stare back at the Ranger---"Well---you better learn to speak the Spanish more---if you want to remain here---or you will be forced out----just like all of those other stinking Americans!"
            Walker takes a deep breath, holding his temper back, "Then----all of the Americans got out---good riddance to them!  There was a blonde headed woman that was drug from the car------she was taken to the airport and sent back to where ever the hell she came from---right, amigo?"
            The man smirks---"Yes-----she was personally escorted to the airport by those pigs-----if I'd had my way----I would have my fun with her first---she would not have been walking too straight once my 'friend' and I got through with her," the man tugs at the front of his pants.
                   Walker's temper is rising, but he forces himself to smile. He taps the man on his shoulder and motions for him to follow, "Amigo---my friend----I have a bottle to kill----come join me."
            The man grins and follows, when they get out of sight of the crowd, Walker takes his boot off and takes the family picture out. "Look at this, amigo---and tell me what you see.  Do any of those people in that picture look familiar to you?"
            The man squints and studies the wrinkled up picture, "The man in the picture looks like you senor----and the woman-----she looks -------like----the ----woman-----"
            Walker grins back, "Like the woman that you and your 'friend' were going to  have fun with?"
            The man starts backing up, "Look----I was only talking---------I did not mean what I said------"
            Walker snatches the picture back and puts it back in his boot, slipping the boot back on. He continues to grin, he puts his hands out in a friendly gesture---"No harm done my friend----but you see----I've been away from my wife for a very long time-------and I'm getting just downright irritable," Walker grabs the man by the neck, then he brings up his right knee into the man's crotch.
            The man starts to cry out, but Walker puts his hand over his mouth---then he brings up his left knee and it too goes crashing into the man's private parts. The man goes down on his knees, grabbing himself and breathing hard. Walker extends his hand but the man is crying and motioning for him to get away from him.
            Walker puts his hands up in a friendly way, "Very well----but you just remember one thing, my friend."
            The man's face is red with pain, he looks back at Walker, and sputters---"Wh----what?"
            "That I have a short fuse----where my wife is concerned,"---and with that Walker kicks the man in his face----"and you better make sure----you never cross my path again----or I will finish the job!"
            Walker walks away slowly, but then looks back at the man still laying on the ground, "That's what is going to happen to you, Diablo---when I catch you--but you won't be left alive."
            The Ranger goes in search for shelter.


                                                       **************************


            It's now two days later, and Alex is still not relating to anyone. Sue and Gordon are getting ready to leave the hospital, but Gordon goes to his daughter's bed one more time.
            "You've got to come out of this, pumpkin----we all need you so much. Little Ray is crying for you every night---the baby misses you---we all miss you."
            Sue puts her hand on Gordon's shoulder, "The twins will be here soon----some of the Rangers' wives were here again earlier----come on Gordon----I have to get you home---get you taken care of."
            Gordon smiles back at his lady friend, "What about you--I know you've got to be exhausted, too----helping to take care of the baby and Ray Gordon."
            Sue's dark eyes look into Gordon's, "I'm just fine---Angela and Dana have been helping and some of the Ranger's wives have volunteered to help also. The baby and Ray Gordon are at the HOPE center for most of the day and even the twins are doing their share of babysitting. They've had Little Ray with them most of the day, down at their Uncle's old cabin---I don't know when those two ever sleep---they're always doing something."
            Gordon smiles, "Those two have never needed much sleep---as far back as I can remember, those two are always up at the crack of dawn----doing their chores----and very seldom arguing about it."
            Sue nods, "I know----I've heard Dana talk about how the twins are always doing things around the ranch----and that Walker has said they do a better job than full grown men."
            "That's true-----and that son-in-law of mine makes sure that they get the wages for it too--but to know Cooper and how that boy goes through his money----you'd think he never gets an allowance."
            "Dana has often mentioned how much of an allowance that Cordell gets----but she also says---he deserves it!  That they are constantly doing extra chores that are not asked of them."
            "True----Angela does more than her share too---and even Little Ray has certain chores that he has to do---but more times than not---the twins do his chores for him--that boy is a little on the lazy side."
                 "Gordon---he's just a baby himself."
            "When the twins were his age--they were doing double the chores he's doing now---the only thing that boy ever does is eat----and I must say---he's good at it. You said the twins had him down at Uncle Ray's cabin---what were they doing down there?"
            Sue looks back at Alex, "I don't know----but the three of them have headed down there for the past two mornings---Ray Gordon fishes, I've seen him with his little fishing pole----the twins---I don't know what they're doing---I just know they're exhausted by the time they get back to the ranch house. They finish their chores, eat supper, and then to bed. They're up at the crack of dawn to go to the hospital to spell you and Angela, then the daily routine starts all over again-----here they come now."
            The twins walk into their Mother's room slowly, nodding to Sue and Gordon. They each walk over to their Mother's bed and each picks up her hand, and kisses her cheek.
            "Any change, Grandpa?"
                  Gordon's eyes get misty, "No Cordell----there's been no change---she just lays there----looking up at the ceiling."
            Cooper brushes his Mother's hair back from her forehead, "I see Angela fixed Mom's hair-----and put some makeup on her----she looks so pretty."
            "Yeah," answers Cordell, reaching down and inhaling their mother's perfume-----"Lilac Passion---that's Mom's favorite---Dad buys her that perfume every year for her birthday."
            Sue walks over to the boys and gives them a hug, "I'm taking your grandpa home now----he won't admit it--but he's exhausted."
            Gordon goes to Alex's bed, reaches down and kisses her lightly-----"We're leaving now, pumpkin-----Angela and Dana will be here soon."
                 Everyone says their goodbyes and the twins breathe a sigh of relief. Cooper shakes his head, "I was so afraid that Grandpa was going to ask how we got here."
            "We would have to lie----we just let him assume that Moose's big brother gave us a lift---like the last time."
            "Do you think anyone will notice the Ram in the parking lot?"
            Cordell laughs----"Are you kidding---I barely recognized it----with those flames coming off the fenders.  Coop---I said it needed just a stripe--not flames."
            "So---I got carried away----I did a good job, didn't I?"
            Cordell grimaces, "Yeah---but I never saw flames that color--Root Beer?"
            "It sure looks different without those lights on top-----Dad sure had them welded down secure---almost never got them off---I could have used some help."
            "I had to keep Little Ray occupied, didn't I?"
            "He didn't suspect anything, did he?"
            Cordell sighs, "No---I don't think so---he was too excited about catching that fish--it was pretty good size---I had to help him reel it in--he kept saying----that----that he wanted Daddy to see it. He asked me not to cut it up--to save it."
            "I was wondering why you were dragging that smelly thing to the ice chest-----you got all the beer smelling fishy."
            "It's a good thing we had that fish in there to disguise the smell of the beer you spilt---how would we have explained that to Grandpa?"
            The boys become silent--looking down at their Mom, Coopers asks----"What time do we leave?"
            "In about an hour----have we got everything that we need?"
            "Yeah----I packed all the food---I took all of that jerky from the freezer that Angela made up last month when we took that fishing trip, and I got cans of peaches, and some Army rationings, canned drinks--lots of chewing gum-----and some candy bars."
            "I took all of my money out of my savings--got close to about $1,500----what about you, did your take your money out?  Never mind---what a stupid question----you never have any money."
            Cooper stares back at his brother, "$1,500---you had that much in savings?"
            Cordell frowns, "Yes----I believe in saving---that was the money that I was saving up for my guitar for Christmas-----then Mom and Dad surprised me with the guitar and told me to keep my money--so I deposited it back in---at least most of it."
            The twins become silent again, "I guess we'd better say our goodbyes----and get on the road."
            "Yeah," replies Cooper. He bends down and whispers into his Mother's ear, "We're going now, Mom----we will try to find Dad----and bring him home.  I love you, Mom---please don't be angry with us."
            Cooper kisses his Mother and then dabs at his eyes, "I'll wait outside for you, bro---don't take too long----okay?"
            Cordell waits till his brother is out of the room, "I hope you understand why we are doing this-----we are so worried about you---and afraid that you won't come back to us---------"
            Cordell feels a squeeze on his hand, his eyes go wide as he watches Alex's eyes turn to him, "Mom?  Can you hear me?"
            Alex's eyes blink slowly as she squeezes her son's hand tighter; she's trying to speak. Cordell reaches for the nurses' button, but Alex pulls his hand away. "No," she whispers.
            Cordell is trying to laugh and cry at the same time, "Mom----you can understand me----can't you?"
            Alex nods her head slowly, "I-----listen----to what you boys------are saying------you are----going----down there?"
            Cordell starts to deny it, and then he confesses, "Yes, Mom---we have to try and find Dad."
               "Dangerous----for you," she whispers.
            "We know Mom----but we have to try----please don't try to stop us."
            Alex swallows and motions for a drink of water, Cordell pours it quickly----"How much of our conversation---did you hear, Mom?"
            "All of it----you paint your father's truck----why?"
            Cordell stammers, "We're----taking the Ram---please don't try and talk us out of it."
            Alex is looking around the room, she squeezes Cordell's hand---"Money-----you need more money-----my purse!"
            "Your purse isn't here, Mom--- your purse is at home----we don't need any money---we have plenty!"
            Cooper sticks his head back in the door and whispers, "Cordell---what's taking so long---we have to leave before Angela gets here----"
            Cordell is smiling and motioning for his twin to come over, "Come here, Coop---Mom is awake----she's talking!"
            The boy runs to the other side of the bed, Alex's eyes follow him, smiling. "Mom----are you okay?"
            Alex smiles and tries to reach out and touch Cooper's face, "Yes-----sweetheart----I'm fine---just a little----confused---my head hurts."
            "Mom, do you want me to ring the nurse now?"
            "No----not yet------I just want you two to be careful---please call------every chance you get-----stay in touch with Uncle Jimmy, stay with him---once you get down there----okay?"
            Cooper looks at his brother, puzzled, "She knows?"
            Cordell nods his head, smiling---"She heard everything we said---including the part about painting Dad's truck!"
            Cooper clears his throat, "They were just small flames, Mom."
            Alex tries to laugh, and then she starts to cry---"Please come home safely----you will take care of each other---won't you?"
                                           
                                                            

Seekers-Quest-13

By Sasquaw

            Both the twins smile back at their Mother, "We will, Mom---we have each others' backs---just like we always do."
            "Yeah," replies Cordell and then he quickly glances at Cooper, "and we'll stay close to Uncle Jimmy."
            Alex is looking at each of them, trying to read what is in their eyes, "I must be crazy-----for allowing you two----to go down there---I'm not a good Mother---or I wouldn't let you-----"
            Cordell takes his Mother's hand and rubs it against his cheek, "Stop talking like that, Mom----you're the best Mom---a guy could ever want."
                   "Cordell is right-----and besides---you know that you can't stop us from going. You know that deep down inside, our father's stubbornness is ruling all logic----if you stopped us now---we would just wait---till another time.  It's our destiny----you felt that you had to go----now it's our turn. The Cahill/Walker bloodline is too demanding---it's in our genes---we have to go----and you know it."
              Alex's eyes fill with tears as she whispers softly---"I know---I know I wouldn't be able to stop you----please---be careful."
            "Mom-----you're not going to say anything about this to anyone------are you?  If the word gets out----the highway patrol will be looking for Dad's truck!"
            Alex smiles, "You said so yourself---that no one would recognize it-----what else did ----you do to it?"
            Cooper grins slowly, "You don't wanna know, Mom."
            Alex nods, "Okay----now get out of here----before I try ----to climb out ----of this bed---and go with you----and 'no'---I will not come out of my 'coma'---till you are a good 12 hours down the road."
            The twins embrace their Mother and say their goodbyes. Cooper walks out ahead of his brother and Alex whispers, "Cordell------when----did you start shaving?"
      Cordell grabs his face, and then recalls rubbing his Mother's hand against his cheek. "Just a couple of weeks ago------it's just peach fuzz---I haven't told anyone because Cooper is still trying to find that whisker that mysteriously disappeared--I don't want to upset him." He winks back at her.
            Alex smiles, "I love you, son----and take care of that brother of yours!"


                                       ********************************


            Juan and Tony have been out trying to find food, it's getting even scarcer. Juan is looking north and to the smoke that is filling the sky. He turns sadly to his little nephew.
            "That's what happens when people let greed overtake them.  Diablo is wanting all of the power and he's killing a lot of innocent people who are trying to get in his way.  We will head east and then north----maybe we will be able to avoid him and his murderers."
            "You're going to have to swing a long ways---to get out of Diablo's path," replies the old man that has come up behind them-----"my Pappa always said that the shortest route was the straightest one------I think we should head due north."
            Juan smiles, "Then you have decided to come with us---no?"
            The old man smiles, tousling the hair on Tony's head----"If you want me too."
            Juan nods and hands the old man some tamales---"We want you to---yes. This is all the food that my nephew and I could find---it was all that was left on Mama Rosa's window sill-----she always tried to leave tamales and rice for us------but I guess she had no time to make the rice."
            "Thank you, Juan---and its about time you called me something other than 'old man'-----you're making me feel old---and I don't feel old----not anymore."
            Tony pulls on the old man's arm, "Pappa?"
            Juan smiles----"Will it be alright----if my nephew calls you papa----he never knew his real papa----or grandfather."
            "I would be honored for you both to call me Pappa---I never had any kids----except for-------" the old man stops and wipes his eyes, "let's not get started on sad times-----what do you say----'let's head 'em up and move 'em out?"
            Juan laughs and does a John Wayne impression-----"Well----what are you waiting for----pilgrim."
                   Pappa and Tony both crack up laughing, "We're burning daylight, Duke."
            The three head north---on their 'quest'.


                                        *******************************


            The twins have been on the road for a good six hours, each taking turns behind the wheel of the Ram, and being very careful to stay within the speed limit.
            They're about fifty miles outside of San Antonio, when they stop to gas up, and each of them keep their Stetsons pulled down over their foreheads. Cooper goes to get them hamburgers and they eat inside the truck, trying not to bring any attention to themselves.
                "We're getting closer, bro----have you decided where we will cross the border?"
                Cordell drinks his coke down, "I think it would be easier to try and cross at Matamoras---what do you think?"
            "Yeah-----I think so too. I remember Dad saying that the border crossing at Nuevo Laredo was really getting hard to cross and now with all the unrest----it's really going to be difficult.  What happens when we get to the border----they might not let us across?"
            "Then we swim the Rio Grande---if we have to," comments his twin.
            Cooper stares back at him, "What about Dad's truck-------how do we get it across?"
            Cordell is getting agitated, "I don't know all the answers, Coop---we'll cross that bridge when we get to it----right now we have to do some planning."
            "What kind of planning?"
    "First of all, we have to decide what we will do when we get to the border-----we have to observe how hard it is to get in-----then we decide what to do about Dad's truck if we can't get it across-----we may have to ditch it somewhere."
            "What?  Are you crazy? We can't do that-----if anything happens to this truck----Dad will kill us dead!"
            "Coop---we're already dead when Dad sees the paint job you did.---For crying out loud, I told you----a stripe------not flames!"
            "Get off it-------no one has recognized it---have they? And, we've seen a lot of highway patrol out today--they haven't even given us a second glance."
            Cordell has finished his second burger, and starting on a third, Cooper is staring at him in disbelief.  "Hey bro'---you're eating like there is no tomorrow----what's wrong?"
            "Guess I'm just nervous---and besides--we better enjoy this food while we can, once we do cross the border----there won't be any fast food places. The food will be scarce---we'll have to go to the army rationings then-----and stretch the fruit out."
            "Yeah, I know---Cordell---are you scared?"
            "I wouldn't be human if I wasn't scared----what about you?"
            Cooper has to clear his voice---"I'm scared stiff---I didn't think I would be----but the closer we get to the border--the more scared I am."
                "Do you want to back out----I won't blame you if you do."
            "Are you backing out?"
            Cordell throws the rest of his burger back into the sack, "No----I'm not backing out-----I started something and I aim to see it through."
            Cooper nods his head, "I'm not backing out either----I know---if the shoe were on the other foot and it was us that were missing----Dad would never stop looking for us----he'd die before he would stop looking---wouldn't he, Cordell?"
            Cordell turns the ignition over, the Ram roars to life. Cordell continues to rev the engine---his mouth is set in determination----"You got it bro'----Dad would never stop looking-----and neither will I!”
            Cooper reaches over and hits his brother’s closed fist, they touch knuckles--and Cooper gives out a rebel yell----"What are we waiting for---its all systems go!"


                                                ***************************


Gordon is talking to Angela on the phone:
            "What do you mean the twins are gone---where are they?"
            "I’ve got no idea, Grandpa----I came home from getting registered for school----they're nowhere around----and their chores haven't been done."
            "Well, maybe---they're with some of their friends."
            "I thought about that and I've made calls, no one has seen them, and Dana hasn't seen Cordell since last night. She said that he calls her first thing in the morning before she goes to her job----he didn't call!  And, Grandpa---Daddy's truck is missing!"
            Gordon is getting concerned as he turns to look at Sue who is fixing Alex's hair. "Walker's truck is down at your Uncle Ray's cabin, the boys were doing some work on the lights."
            "I went down there, Grandpa---the truck is not there---and the twins are nowhere around. I saw Daddy's portable air compressor there, and that light bar that goes across the roof of Daddy's truck is laying in the floor---it's been taken off with one of those torches."
                  Gordon's brow goes up in an arch, "You mean a acetylene?"
                    "Whatever they're called----it's been taken off---now why would the twins have to take it off---just to work on it? Something's not right Grandpa-----I also saw some paint cans that hook onto to the compressor."
            Gordon swears underneath his breath, it's coming to him now. He takes a deep sigh, "Everything will be okay, punkin----how was school?"
                Angela knows her grandfather is trying to get around the subject of the missing twins---"Grandpa-----school is school---I just had to go over my subjects for my junior year----and that's another thing---the twins have not gone in for their introduction to high school. They haven't picked up any of their schedules---or nothing!"
            Gordon tries to smile, "Angela----sweetheart---I think I know where the boys are"---Gordon turns and looks over at Alex, who is trying hard to keep staring at the ceiling----"I'll call you back, punkin-----are the babies okay?"
            "Yes, Grandpa----Mrs. Ellis and Mrs. Newman have been taking turns watching C.D. and Little Ray.  I take Little Ray to school tomorrow and get him settled with his new classmates---he has a new teacher this year."
            Gordon nods his head----"Fine, punkin---you don't worry about the twins----I'll get back to you."
            Gordon hangs up the phone and walks over to Alex's bed. Without warning, he reaches down and pinches Alex's arm. Alex yelps, scaring Sue Winchester.
            "You little 'faker'----how long have you been pretending?"
            Alex smiles weakly, "I'm sorry------I had to do it-----so they would----have plenty---of time to get there."
            Sue stares back at Alex, "Alex----you're talking."
            Gordon glares back at his daughter----"Yeah---you're talking----aren't you? Okay, pumpkin---out with it-----what's up?"
            Both Gordon and Sue listen as Alex tells them of the twins' plans. Gordon is furious, "Alex----why haven't you spoke up----we could have gotten the highway patrol to stop them and bring them back?"
            Alex shakes her head, "You know---that wouldn't stop them----they would just find another way-----to get down there."
            Sue is stunned, "They went down to Old Mexico-----alone-----they're just kids!"
            Gordon is pacing furiously----"Maybe it's not too late to stop them---I'll call the HPD and describe the Ram."
                Alex starts to smile, "Dad-----the truck is no longer the way you remember it----they've disguised it."
            Gordon shakes his head---"The license number---what's the license number, Alexandra----or did they change that too?"
            Now Alex is laughing and Sue is looking back and forth to her and to Gordon.---"Dad---please---just hang up the phone-----I promised them 12 hours and that's what they're going to get."
               "Twelve hours?  Alexandra---they will be over the border in twelve------"
            Gordon stops in mid-sentence---"Oh good grief----those boys-----they're just as stubborn as that son-in-law of mine----don't have a lick of sense----can't tell them anything----stubborn----as the day is long."
            Now Sue is smiling as she looks down at Alex----"Just like someone else, we know---right, Alex?"
            Alex nods and motions for her Dad to come closer to the bed, she takes his hand---"Daddy---try not to worry---remember your blood pressure----"
                   "Pumpkin----I am remembering my blood pressure------but you and those kids are driving me to an early grave!"
                    "Gordon!"
            "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," the old man sits down at the side of Alex's bed, and then he starts to cry, "in all the excitement, I forgot to say how happy I am to have you back with us----Alexandra---I was so scared------"
            Alex takes her hand and caresses her Dad's face, "I'm sorry I made you all worry-----I truly am----I just lost it, didn't I?"
            Gordon sniffles, "You sure did, pumpkin---the kids and I were scared stiff----you were talking to Jimmy---and when he said he was going back down there and that you couldn't go---you fell apart."
            Sue reaches over and pats Gordon's shoulder, "I think it's time we notified the Doctors about what has happened."
            "Sue,"---Alex grabs Sue's hand--I can't tell you how much I've appreciated you helping my kids----and me---you're a saint."
            Gordon smiles and looks to Sue, "Yep----she's a saint-----and I plan to marry that woman."
            Both Sue and Alex stare back at Gordon----"What?  Is this a marriage proposal, Gordon Cahill?"
            Gordon stands up and crosses the room to take Sue's hand, "It is---and will you?"
            Sue's eyes are filling with tears----"YES, yes---I will marry you!"
            The couple embraces and they look back to Alex, she has tears in her eyes.
            Sue is wiping away her own tears, "Can you believe what your Dad has just asked me----and in a hospital room?  This is not the most romantic place to propose---but I would accept your proposal----anywhere!”
            Alex smiles, "It was in a hospital room that Walker---proposed to me------and I thought it was ---most romantic!"
            "Oh God, Alex---I didn't know----I didn't mean anything by what I said--------"
            "It's okay----the only difference between our proposal and yours is----that you two can go out and celebrate----and that's just what you're going to do----now get out of here----both of you."
            Sue is gleaming as she hugs Alex, "Thank you----for sharing him with me---he's my light in a world that has been dim for a long time."
            "No, Sue---thank you----you have made my dad so happy----now get of here---go celebrate---go, go."
            Alex watches as her Dad and Sue walk slowly out of the room, their arms around each other. Dr. Green is making his rounds and they stop to tell him about Alex's 'recovery'.
            Later after she's checked and given the green light to go home the next day, Alex reflects on the day. She looks down at her engagement ring, and she remembers the day that Walker proposed to her, slipping the ring on her finger as he spoke. She remembers everything about that day, what he was wearing, his cologne, and every word. She was almost speechless as she grabbed him around the neck, "Yes---yes----I will marry you."
            Alex takes a deep sigh, whispering--- And, I will marry you as many times as you ask me to---I love you, Walker---I didn't want to leave you---you know I didn't!"


                                                  *****************************


           
Walker has watched the heavy artillery moving into what is left of the embassy all day long, the government has finally decided to move in the big guns.
                Walker chews on some raw potatoes, and shaking his head, says quietly "Now you're deciding to protect your homestead--like closing the barn door after the animals have gotten out----it's no wonder you idiots lost the battle of the Alamo----Sam Houston would be proud of your strategy---you're still going ass backwards!"
            "Do not gloat, my son----your boys at the Alamo did nothing for your red brother---except to drive us off our land. The Mexican was trying to keep what was theirs, and the white man took it away, and their dignity."
           
Walker sighs and leans up against a tree, "I don't deny anyone fighting to keep what is theirs, Father---but that Santa Anna was killing a lot of innocent people in the process, he was using them as shields. If he had agreed to meet with Travis---maybe that battle would never have been fought"!
            "You are living too much as a white man---you have forgotten all of your teachings as a young boy---did you not listen to the word of White Eagle?  You do not see with the mind's eye---this is why you are in the trouble that waits you!--You are blind to what is happening around you--you did not see it coming---your mind was elsewhere."
           
"My mind was with the birth of my newest child----was that wrong?"
            "No, my son---it was not wrong.----I have seen the face of your young daughter--she bears the likeness of your great, great, grandmother--her eyes will see the souls of our ancestors, she has the power to change the hurt that has been bestowed on your ancestors."
                
"Father---have you seen my kids, are they okay---is Alex okay?"
            "I speak only for the little one--she is indeed a Cherokee---she will make her name proud, her voice will be heard by many people of power--she will do you proud, my son."
           
"I'm proud of all of my kids, Father---they are all special in their own way-----I would just like to talk to them, for just a second---to tell them how much I love them-----and to hear Alex's voice again.  She was so scared, that day at the embassy when those guards were pulling her away.  Her eyes----I see her eyes and the look of helplessness--each night before I go to sleep. I hear her calling for me, her voice has so much fear----will I ever see my family again, Father?"
            Walker looks all around him, he has dozed off and the sun is setting. He rubs his eyes, "I can't believe that I have been asleep for so long----and each time I ask that question about seeing my family---I either wake up----or  'he' sends me another sign in the image of a thunderstorm----well---I'm waiting Father-----where is it?"
            Walker remains seated against the tree, and then he finally stands up and starts walking towards the remains of the embassy. Out of the clear blue sky a thunderbolt is heard and then the crackling flash of lighting hits the tree that he was seated under. The tree is split in half and nothing else is touched.
            The Ranger looks back at the tree and then to the skies---"Okay---okay---I hear you----another thunderstorm will be just fine----if you want it to rain----fine----send down the rain!  I won't ask you that question anymore----it just seems to piss you off---why---I don't know---remember they're your grandkids."
            A soft rain begins to fall, and a tired and weary Ranger treks forward.


                                               ****************************


                It's now almost midnight as the twins arrive on the outskirts of Matamoras. They're both exhausted and fighting to stay awake, Cooper has been driving for the last 3 hours.
            He looks over to his brother who is dozing against the windshield; he nudges him awake----"Hey Cordell---you conked out on me---wake up!"
            "Sorry Coop----where are we?"
            "About ten miles from the border crossing---there are sure a lot of cars trying to cross over---I've seen some get turned back----are they checking for some kind of visas?"
                  "Probably-----that and proof of citizenship, and auto insurance."
                     "They've always done that-----Dad always said you couldn't get into Old Mexico without insurance----do we have to have their insurance too?"
            "I wouldn't think so----but now---who knows?"
            Cooper shrugs,---"So, what do we do now, Cordell---try to get across before it gets dark---or wait till morning?"
            Cordell starts looking around and spots a small cafe, "I got to take a 'leak'----let's go get something to eat---I'm hungry."
                "Cordell-----could we get a motel room and sleep----it might be the last time we get to sleep in a bed-----and these seats aren't exactly comfortable."
            "We've slept in a lot less comfortable places than these truck seats---there's always the bed of the truck."
            "I'm not sleeping on that piece of plywood," replies Cooper---"and besides--it's too dangerous--we promised Mom we wouldn't take any unnecessary chances--come on Cordell---you can swing $30 for a room."
            "Okay, okay----we'll just pretend that we're signing in for our parents----take the truck around to the side, so the motel clerk can't see who's driving."
            The twins get their room and then they head towards the small cafe.  "Remember---just pretend that we're with our parents and they've already gone to bed---and we're just eating late and----"
                "Cordell----will you just shut up----you don't have to detail our every step----let's just get our food and not draw any attention to ourselves."
            "Okay---just be careful---don't offer any unnecessary information."
            Cooper grunts, "The only information I will release is what I want on my hamburger---and at this point---I want everything--including the kitchen sink."
            The menus are brought and the boys look up at the young waitress, "Hamburgers please---with cheese---and lots of chili----and don't forget the ketchup for our fries."
            Cordell shakes his head, "I don't want hamburgers----I want the steak and all the trimmings---and---and coffee."
            The young waitress stares back at him, "Coffee?"
            Cordell sits up straight in his chair, "Yes ma'am---coffee---with lots of cream-----and sugar"! The waitress walks off slowly.
            "I thought we weren't suppose to draw attention to ourselves---coffee?  When did you start drinking coffee, Cordell?"
            "Hey---I like coffee---and besides you know Mom doesn't like for us to drink a lot of colas----they're bad for our teeth."
            Cooper frowns, "Maybe for your teeth---you're the only one that had a cavity this time---Angela's and my checkup was clear."
            "And, that---I cannot understand, I brush my teeth constantly and use a flosser---I'm careful about what I eat and I watch the sweets---and I get a cavity!!!  You eat everything that moves, and you have a sweet tooth that won't stop craving the sweets--and your checkup---is clear. I can understand how Angela wouldn't have any cavities, she eats like a bird and drinks water like there is no tomorrow---but I can't understand it about you."
            Cooper smirks, "You know what your problem is, Cordell---you try to be too logical!  Just relax---and go with the wind."
                 "Maybe," replies Cordell, "but as soon as we get back to the room, we got to call Mom--let her know we made it this far---and that we're okay."
            "Bro'---what are you going to say, when she asks if we've made contact with Uncle Jimmy?  Uncle Jimmy crossed over at Nuevo Laredo----he's probably at the embassy by now---and he has no idea that we're going down there too."
            "I don't know-----I hate lying to her----but if I don't lie----she's going to be even more upset to know that we're here alone."
            The waitress walks up to the their table, she smiles back at Cooper, he returns the smile. "So---you kids are here alone----where are your parents?"
            "We're not alone," replies Cordell, "and we're not kids."
            Cooper is still staring at the young waitress; she can't be more than 18, at the most. She's very pretty with long dark hair and dark eyes to match. He stares at her body, at her full bosom straining against the waitress' uniform. He takes a deep breath, as his eye go up and down her body. She catches him watching, and pinches his cheek.
                 "Careful there, cowboy-----you're biting off more than you can handle."
            The boy swallows, never taking his eyes off of her---"I'm not so sure about that-----what are you offering?"
               "Cooper!" Cordell reaches out and slaps his twin with his hat, "he didn't mean anything, ma'am."
            The waitress sits their food down and looks at both of them, "Twins" she replies softly----I've never done twins before."
            Cooper has taken a drink of his cola, now he's choking on it----- he keeps trying to talk and Cordell is staring back at the waitress in shock.
            "I tell you what, guys---you finish your meal-----and maybe we---will discuss------a threesome?"
            The twins' eyes bulge out and Cooper is moving around in his seat like he has ants in his pants, "Cordell-----did you hear that?" he whispers.
            "Yeah-----I heard it---she's just teasing---trying to get a big tip out of us---eat your supper."
            The twins are having a hard time eating their supper as Cooper keeps turning around in his chair to look at the waitress. Finally he gets tired of turning around and moves to the other side next to his brother---now they're both staring at the waitress. Cordell groans, "So much for not drawing any attention to ourselves-----she sure is pretty."
            Cooper grins, "Yeah---she sure is-------look at those lips--I've never seen a girl’s lips so full---before-----and they looks so soft. Know who she reminds me of Cordell?"
            Cordell is trying to cut his steak, when the fork slips out of his hand and goes flying across the room. He starts to retrieve it when the waitress kneels down in front of him, her bosom has popped another button---with a little help from her. She holds the fork up to Cordell and licks it softly, "I'll get you another one, cowboy------don't go away."

Seekers-Quest-14

By Sasquaw

            Cooper stares down at his brother who is still kneeling in the floor, staring at the waitress.
                    "Cordell----would you get up out of the floor---everyone is staring."
                 Cordell looks around, there are about 15 other customers and they are all laughing and staring back at him. The boy straightens ups meekly and walks back to his table, putting his hat back on, and pulling it down over his eyes, causing the customers to laugh louder.
            "Hurry up and eat, Coop----and let's get of here," he pleads.
            "What about your steak?"
            "Forget my steak---let's just-------"
            The waitress has returned with a clean fork for Cordell, she bends over in front of him and Cooper raises up out of his seat to get a better look. The waitress looks to Cordell and then to his brother and whispers.
            "My name is Lupe-----maybe the three of us can get together after my shift ends?"
            The boys can't take their eyes off of Lupe's bosom, as she lingers longer, letting them get a good view. She giggles softly and goes back to the counter----the customers are still staring at the twins and laughing.
            Cooper swallows, "Oh my God-----they're humongous---have you ever seen such big boobs, bro?"
            Cordell tries to speak, his voice cracks, "No----do you think they're real?"
            Cooper grins, his eyes grow big---"Only one way to find out-----Cordell---she wants us!"
            Cordell looks around at all the customers, "Ahhhh---I got to go to the little boys' room." and he hurries off.
                      Lupe returns to the table, bringing two pieces of apple pie-----"So come on now---you boys are traveling alone, aren't you----your parents aren't with you.  What would two big handsome boys like you two---need with parents hanging around?"
            Cooper smiles back at the girl, and sits up straight---"No---our parents aren't with us---my brother and I-----are going on a fishing trip------we just stopped to have a little bite.-----Uhhhh----how much is it going------to cost?"
            Lupe smiles and touches Cooper cheek, letting her finger run slowly over his lips, "For you and your brother, sweetheart----I'll bet we can work something out----how about  $100 for both of you?"
               Cooper's eyes grow big and he starts to fidget, "A $100------really-----is that all?"
            Lupe is trying hard not to laugh, "Have you ever----been with a girl before?"
            "Sure!" Cooper lies-----"Lots of times---who do you think you're talking to----a virgin?"
            Lupe stares back at the young man, "No---I was wrong about you---I just know--that you know how to treat a --real woman----don't you?"
                  Cooper's ego is improving, "You got it---baby----so------are we on?"
            Lupe turns and looks at the three men at the counter, they nod their heads slowly, and Lupe turns back to Cooper.  "Well-----what do you say, cowboy-----can you get a room?"
                   "Already got one------all paid up and-----everything----122---across the street."
            Lupe runs her tongue over her top lip, reaches out and squeezes Cooper's lips together, and plants a big, wet, kiss---letting her tongue slip quickly into his mouth, then she stands up quickly and walks back to the counter. Cooper is sitting there, his eyes closed and his mouth pursed. The whole cafe is roaring with laughter. Cordell comes out of the restroom and looks around at everyone, and then he sees his brother---still in a trance!
            He walks quickly to the table and pulls Cooper up, "Come on Coop---let's get out of here."
            "Don't forget to leave her a tip, Cordell-----believe me---she gives good service."
            Cordell grabs their ticket, the tab is $12.67---he drops a $20, and pulls his brother to the front entrance. The customers are all still laughing as the three men stand up and walk out behind the twins. The boys head to their motel room and the men follow.
            Cooper flops down on his bed, grabbing the pillows and throwing them up in he air---"WOW------we're going to get laid, Cordell---she's coming over here as soon-----as her shift ends!"
            His brother looks back at him and then to the door---"Here?  She's coming here? Cooper---didn't you tell her that our parents were with us?"
            "Get off it, bro'-----she knew we were traveling alone----bro'----think about it----she's going to ---do us both------for only a $100!"
            Cordell starts putting his hands up in a negative gesture, "No way----she's not doing me---I got a girlfriend----besides---Cooper---you don't know what she might have!"
            Cooper is grinning from ear to ear, "I know exactly what she's got-----and you were 'eyeballing' her too, Cordell---don't deny it."
            "I was------only looking----it doesn't hurt to look----" Cordell stops and stares at his brother, "$100, are you crazy?"
            Cooper is walking around the room, taking his clothes off and grabbing a towel---"I got to take a shower-----and yeah----what's wrong with that---that's only $50 a piece---that's cheap!"
            Cordell starts shaking his head, "No way----I don't want no part of her---there's no telling what kind of diseases she might have----I'm not touching her---I got Dana to think about."
            Cooper stops, and walks back to his twin, putting his arm around his shoulder, "Bro'----think of it this way-----when you and Dana do the 'dirty deed'---at least you'll know what to do---you won't be awkward----cause you will have learned---from a pro.”
            Cordell is still shaking his head, "I don't care---I want my first time to be with Dana---not a prostitute----here---take the $50-----I'm leaving---I'll sleep in the truck."
            "Come on, Cordell---don't leave," his twin begs.
            Cordell grabs his hat, "I hope you have a condom---do you?"
            Cooper hesitates, "No-----I don't have one----maybe Lupe will have one----think so?"
            "I doubt it!" replies Cordell, as he reaches into his wallet and hands Cooper a small round package---"Use it, Coop---don't take any chances!"
            Cooper stares at the round object and then to his brother, grinning. "What are you doing with a condom, Cordell? Are you and Dana-----"
            "That's none of your business, Coop----I'm out of here!"
            Cooper gives out a rebel yell and heads into the bathroom, Cordell is out the door, heading to the Ram. He does not see the three men walking towards the motel. Cordell stops and looks back at the motel, "Damn it----I forgot the keys to the Ram."
            Cordell goes back to their room, and sees the keys to the Ram sitting on his night stand, he can hear the water running in the shower and Cooper singing at the top of his lungs----"Can't get no satisfaction---can't get no satisfaction."
            Cordell shakes his head and starts back to the front door--the door is kicked open and the three men burst in. They grab Cordell and start slinging him up against the wall, the third man starts hitting him in the stomach---"Where's your money, boy?"
            Cordell kicks out and hits the one man in the face---"Go to hell!"
            The three men grab him again and hold him down on the bed, pushing his face into the mattress, not allowing him to breathe. One of the men grabs his wallet and starts taking the money out, "I got it------let's go."
            As they start to leave, the man that Cordell kicked grabs Cordell and throws him into the wall, "So?  You and your brother thought you were going to get some  'nookie'----I'll show you 'nookie'---take this----" the man slams his fist into Cordell's face, the boy falls to the floor.
            The men laugh, "That's what happens when you try to screw another man's wife---boy!"
            Cordell is trying to pull himself up off the floor, the water has stopped and Cooper comes waltzing out. He sees the door wide open and then he hears groaning, he sees Cordell trying to get up.
            "Bro'-----what happened?"
            Cordell tells him of the men coming into the room and taking their money. "They took our money-----they did this to you?"
            Cooper is grabbing his clothes and throwing them on, he reaches over and grabs the keys from Cordell. "Those sons of bitches---are going to pay," and he starts running to the Ram, Cordell stumbles after him.
            Cooper gets the door of the Ram open and he reaches under the seat and pulls out a  .357, flips open the chamber to make sure it's loaded and starts walking towards the cafe. He walks back past his brother who is trying to make him stop.
            "Leave it be---Coop---the money can be replaced."
                      "Nobody makes a fool of me----and least of all---a damn prostitute!"
            Cordell is trying to keep up with his brother, begging him not to go back to the cafe, "Come on, Coop-----let's just leave."
             Cooper jerks away from his brother and  storms into the cafe, cocking the gun and aiming it at the three men, that are standing beside Lupe and laughing.
             They all turn around and stare back at Cooper, one of them laughs, "Hey look---the boy has a little cap pistol".
             Cooper turns the gun and fires, the bullet  hits the beer sign, just inches above the man's head. "I ain't no boy----the next bullet will be lower----I want my brother's money---and I want it now"!
             The men start inching their way towards Cooper, he doesn't back up---he points the gun at Lupe----"You better tell them to give me my money-----or I will----"
            "Or--you will what, boy---go crying to your mama?"
            "I'm not joking---I want my brother's money---now!"
            Cordell comes stumbling in behind his brother, "Come on Coop---let's get of here."
            "They stole our money, Cordell----that's all the money we had."
            Cordell pulls gently on Cooper's arm, "It doesn't matter-----we just go home and forget about this."
            "I'm not going home---look what they did to you, Cordell----now---give me our money or someone is going down."
            "Yeah kid----you!" They don't see the fourth man walk up behind Cooper and slam his fist into the boy's head. The fight is on, and the Walker boys have met their match. When it's over the boys are grabbing their stomachs and trying to stand, the men kick both of them outside--and continue laughing.
            They watch as the boys stumble back to the truck, and slowly drive off. The Ram continues down the road, and then goes down a side road. The boys are nursing busted lips, stomach cramps, and a very bruised ego. Cooper throws open the passenger door of the Ram and falls out, his insides coming up and bits of uneaten hamburger are being up-chucked. His brother soon joins him, pouring some water out on a rag and handing it to his brother. Coop takes it and walks off alone. Cordell knows he will need time alone, he turns and goes back to the drivers' side, climbing in.
            It's hours later before Cooper will return to the truck, he crawls in and the Walker boys fall asleep.


                                                       ****************************


            Alex is worried, she has not heard from the twins. Gordon and Sue have picked her up from the hospital and are heading home.
            "Dad----are you sure you checked the answering machines?"
            "Yes, pumpkin---I have checked---there were only three calls and two of them were from J.W."
            "And, the 3rd one?"
            "The 3rd call was from Mooney---the investigation on the bailiff proved positive----he was definitely the one that put that razor underneath the witness chair!  The part about the bandages and all were just a ploy----he spilled the water on Angela on purpose----then when she stood up and the bailiff was drying off the seat, he put the razor underneath the seat so Kiwi could get to it."
            Alex sighs, "That comes as no surprise---Walker always believed the bailiff was behind it in some way.  Oh God----Daddy---I'm so worried about the twins----they promised they would call."
            "Alex try not to worry" Sue interrupts---"I'm sure-----''
                 Gordon's car phone rings and Cordell's voice can be heard, "Hi grandpa----ca----may I speak to Mom?"
                    "Cordell---oh my God, are you and your brother alright----why didn't you call me last night---what's happened-----where are you?"
            "Mom---please----one question at a time---I didn't call because---we were both exhausted---and we fell asleep. I'm sorry Mom---how about you----are you okay?"
            "Yes, sweetheart---we're on our way home----where are you---have you crossed the border yet---did you have any problems-----just stay close to Uncle Jimmy---he will protect you both."
            Cordell sighs and looks to his twin. Cooper is staring out the passenger window, his mouth set firm, and he hasn't said a word all morning. Cordell is finding it difficult to talk through a busted lip. "Everything is fine Mom---no, we haven't crossed over yet," he answers slowly.
                 "Cordell----why not---did you have trouble with the Ram---you should have crossed the border at Nuevo Laredo--early last night---couldn't Uncle Jimmy get you clearance?"
            Cooper turns to his brother as he hears his Mother's voice coming over the speaker, he mumbles, "Tell her the truth, Cordell--no use lying to her----we're on our way home anyways."
            Cordell reaches over and turns the speaker off, and says firmly---"We're not going home."
            "What?  You said we were---Cordell---we don't have any money----thanks to me-----what are we going to do for money?"
            Cordell remains silent and then turns the speaker on, Alex is screaming out his name.
            Cordell touches his lip, and replies softly---"Mom---I have something to tell you----and would you just listen and try not to interrupt?"
            Cordell tells Alex that they are not crossing at Nuevo Laredo, but at Matamoras, instead. He does not tell her about the incident at the cafe, or losing the money. He looks to his twin who is looking back at him, embarrassed.
                "Thanks, Cordell---for not telling Mom about last night."
            Cordell looks in the rear view mirror at his lip, his eye is swelling shut, "No use in giving Mom more to get upset about----are you okay?"
            "Oh---I'm just fine!" Cooper answers, kicking out at the dash---"I'm fine and dandy----I made a fool of myself, I caused us to lose all of our money, I caused you to get beat up, and then some oversized gorilla 'sucker punches' me---and now I have one hell of a headache!---I'm just fine, Cordell!"
            "Calm down, Coop----I'm not blaming you------and from the size of that gorilla----I'm surprised you still have a head."
            Cooper starts rubbing his head, "I'm not so sure that this is my head----it feels twice it's size----what did that goon hit me with---a 2x4?"
            Cordell tries to smile, "No bro'---just his fist, and it must have been the size of a basketball---he was huge---I think they called him "Monk"----or something like that."
            "All I remember is the lights going out---and then ----P-A-I-N----in capitol letters."
            Cordell starts to reply when a hand starts slapping on the drivers' window, he looks out----it's Lupe! He quickly looks around to make sure no one is with her, then lets the window down slowly, "What the hell do you want?"
            She's motioning for him to put the window all the way down, Cooper grabs his arm, "Don't trust her, Cordell----it's another trick."
            Lupe starts talking, "I'm sorry----you boys weren't supposed to get hurt."
            Cordell sneers--"Yeah?  Well, tell that to my brother's and my bruised bodies."
            The window is all the way down as Lupe looks at the boys and grimaces, she tries to reach out and touch Cordell's face, he knocks her hand away, "Don't touch me----you've done enough."
            "Boys----I'm sorry------"
            Cooper sits up in his seat and leans over his brother---"And, don't call us boys---you slut."
            Cordell is trying to push Cooper back, "You better get out of here----or is your husband waiting in the bushes to jump us again---you've already got all our money---now leave us be."
            "Okay, I'm sorry---here---this is all the money I have on me---close to about $100 that my husband took off of you and my tips---you can have it back-----I'm sorry."
            Lupe throws the money inside and Cooper grabs it----"You only got $100 out of all of this---there must have been close to-----"
            Cooper does not finish his sentence as Cordell reaches out and slaps him, saying quietly---"Shut up."
            Lupe looks at the two suspiciously---"Yeah---that's all they gave me---I swear!----Look, I have to go, I got to get back over the border---I'm running late."
            Lupe starts walking away and Cordell throws open the door to the Ram and runs after her, grabbing her, "Wait------you're going across the border?"
            "Yes, I live in-----de Marzo------why?"
            Cooper is out of the truck now and walking towards Lupe and his brother. "Don't believe anything she tells you, Cordell---it's all a trick---her friends are probably watching us now."
            "Be quiet, Coop----Lupe---were you serious about being sorry for what your husband did and all?"
            "I said I was sorry and I gave you back your money---I got to go---I have a little daughter--I got to get home to."
            "Wait," Cordell grabs the money from Cooper and hands it back to Lupe---"here---you can have this----if you will help us----get across."
            Lupe stares back at the twins, "You're wanting to go across the border---most of the Americans are trying to get out---there's a war going on----or haven't you heard?"
            "We're aware of the unrest---Lupe---please we have to get across---neither my brother nor I have a license----no visas of any kind---you got to help us!"
            "Are you two running from the law?"
            "No, Lupe-----we aren't running from the law---we have to get across---won't you help us-----please."
                     "Something----is not right---why do you want to go across if you are not running from the law?"
            "Look---Lupe---our Dad is over there---we got to find him."
            "And, what is your Dad doing over there---taking some of my people's jobs and bringing more Americans in?"
                  Cooper's temper is rising, "It's no use, Cordell---she's not going to help."
            Cordell motions for Cooper to be quiet---"Lupe---we have to get across----our Dad is in danger-----the truth is----he's over there against his own wishes---he was kidnapped."
                  "Cordell!  We're not suppose to be saying anything about that-----she could turn us in---they could find out about Dad-----''
                   "Cooper---be quiet!-----There's no time to be 'sugar coating' this-----Lupe---our Dad has been kidnapped--our family is worried sick about him, will you please just help us to get over the border---that's all we're asking.   Just drive our truck over-----you do have a license-----don't you?"
            Lupe studies Cordell's face and replies softly, "Yes, I have a license---that's all you want me to do---is drive the truck over---do you have insurance?"
            "We have Texas insurance----will that be okay----and we have the title and registration---it's our Dad's truck---help us-----please?"
            Lupe starts to walk off, then she turns around, "I got to have more than just a $100---it's too risky."
            Cooper throws his hands up in the air, "Your goofball friends took all of our money---we don't have anymore."
            Cordell takes a deep breath, "Yes, we do."
            "We do?"
            "I'll give you an extra hundred---if you will get us over--two----just drive us over—please."
            "Let's see the money first."
            "Don't do it, Cordell----it's a trick."
            "I'll give you the money once we're across--not until---You got nothing to lose, Lupe---you're going home anyways----deal?"
            Lupe nods, "This better be on the level----you better not be trying to trick me."
            Cooper swears, "Look who's talking about tricking--you're an expert at it."
            "It's no trick, Lupe----I swear on anything that is holy---it's no trick."
            "Swear on your father's grave-----"
            "Why------you little," Cooper is swearing and going after Lupe, Cordell is holding him back.
            "I swear on my father's grave----and Cooper will do the same," Cordell looks back at his twin, "swear to it, bro'----we need her help."
            Cooper slowly says the words and Lupe nods her head. "This not going to be so easy, even though I have a license----the guards could still get very nosy and ask questions about you two.  If I going to do this, I will do it my way------and you will not ask questions---agreed?"
                  "Agreed--right Coop---we agree, don't we?"
            The three walk back to the Ram, and Lupe gets behind the wheel, Cordell sits in the middle, Cooper is on the outside. Lupe starts the engine, it roars back at her---"Holy sacred saints---what kind of engine do you have under the hood?"
            Cooper sneers back at her, "More power than you've ever seen---that's the biggest super 8 they make--this baby can…''
            "Not now, Coop---you can describe it later---just know one thing, Lupe--it has the power to get away from you---take it easy and don't go revving the engine--once we get across the border---you can let it fly."
                    "Cordell---don't tell her that---Dad doesn't like for anyone to drive his truck---especially a female---they don't know how to drive."
            Lupe smiles, "Is that so?  Let's just see what this baby can do---" and with that she takes off flying down the one lane road, and the Walker boys are looking for something to hang onto!


                                            ********************************


            Angela and Dana are walking back to their cars, and Dana has been very quiet.
            "What's wrong, Dana---are you still upset that Cordell didn't tell you he was going to Old Mexico?"
            "You're darn right I am-----he could have least called me, if he gets hurt---I'm never going to talk to him again."
            "I know----I'm worried about him and Cooper too----they can be so stubborn!  When a man does something like this, everyone says it's the stubborn male pride----but you let a woman do it---and they say it's her cycle acting up---her hormones are going crazy."
            "You're so right, Angela-----but it doesn't stop us from worrying, does it?"
            They stop in front of Dana's little Toyota, "I forgot, I need to check the evening paper to see if that sale is still on---hold up a minute, Angela."
            Angela nods, and goes to her little Sebring and opens the door. She hears Dana screaming out her name, she turns to see Dana running back to the parking lot. Dana is holding up a newspaper, she shoves it to Angela---"Oh my God----Angela-----read this!"
            Angela stares at the newspaper, the headlines read: Son of Multi-millionaire says, Missing Ranger is my biological Father!'
           
On the front page is a picture of Adlen---next to it a picture of Walker. Angela's eyes bulge out, "What kind of crap is this---Daddy is----not----is not Adlen's father---what is it saying?"
            "Read the rest of the story, Angela---what does it say?"
            Angela quietly reads: Adlen Belle---the stepson of multi-millionaire Lars Kentworth has released this story saying that the missing Texas Ranger, Cordell Walker---is his biological Father!  Adlen alleges that Walker and his Mother, Liberty Belle had a affair back in the mid 90's and that Walker is his Father and this will be proven by DNA. Belle will ask the Walker family for blood samples to be matched to his to prove that Walker is his biological Father!  More on this story as we receive it.
            Angela stares back at her friend, "This can't be-----oh my God---I wonder if Mom has seen the paper yet—I’ve got to call her!"
            Angela hurriedly dials her home number, her Grandpa answers with a rough voice----"NO COMMENT---I TOLD YOU--NO COMMENT!"
                     "Grandpa---it's me, Angela---I take it---you've read the paper?"
            "Yes punkin---it's all over the television too----the news crew has been hounding your Mother all day for an interview---and now those damn rumors have started up again about----your Daddy leaving to be with another woman----punkin---where are you---are they hounding you too?"
            "Dana and I are just leaving school, and I was going to the HOPE center to put in a few hours---but not now---I'm coming home---is Mom okay?"
            Angela hangs up after talking to her grandpa, "Dana---I'm going home---I'll see you later."
            "Okay, Angela---I got to get to work---talk to you later."


                                                  *****************************


            Alex is staring at the newspaper and at the picture of Adlen next to her husband's. She repeats the last name over and over, "Belle, Belle."
            Gordon takes his daughter a cup of tea, "What, punkin---do you know that name---do you know this ---Liberty Belle?"
            Alex shakes her head, "Yes---I've heard the name--but it's been years."
            "Then-----it's true that Walker was involved with this woman----and could that young man be his son?"
            "Dad----that was years ago when Walker was involved with her-----they had a brief affair------I suppose---yes---I guess---it's possible---I don't know!"
                                             
 Seekers-Quest-15

By Sasquaw

                Gordon Cahill takes his daughter's hand, "I'm not trying to upset you, Alexandra--I'm just asking you these questions because these are going to be the same questions the press will be throwing at you!  And now---that same damn rumor is going to start surfacing about ‘another woman'----Pumpkin-----I have to ask-----do you think it's a possibility that he did leave for this-----Liberty?"
            Alex stares back at her father, "Dad-----it's been years since Walker was involved with her!  Dad----Walker broke it off with her---long before we started getting serious with our relationship. He was involved with Liberty at the same time I was seeing Dalton Reed---Walker said the main reason he broke their relationship off was because she was seeing Dalton behind his back----and others"
            "But, Alex---what about this young man----this Adlen----wasn't he the same young man that followed the family to Alaska, and wasn't he the same one that was 'bird dogging Angela?"
            "YES---to all of your questions and that could explain why he was always asking Walker about his past and the rodeos that he rode in. Adlen asked specifically about Las Cruces, New Mexico----and yes---that's where Walker met Liberty-----and 'yes'----that's where they started their relationship."
               Gordon watches his daughter's face, "---And-----the chances are----this Adlen could be his son----from that relationship---right?"
            Alex nods her head, "Dad---I don't care about any of that----I know Walker was involved with other women---I had other interests too---we both just didn't climb out from under a rock and 'discover just each other'---that's not how it works---I just want my husband home."
                   "Okay, pumpkin------I understand that---I'm just playing the devil's advocate here---you know that those bastards from the news media are going to be all over this story---and they are going to be camping out in the front yard again."
            Alex tries to laugh---"I don't think so, not after the twins showed them where the road was and Cooper threw horse manure all over that one photographers' camera---Daddy---there is one thing I'm definitely sure of."
               "What's that, Alexandra?"
            "I know my husband, and I know how he is when it comes to 'family'-----if Walker had any idea that he had a child with another woman---he would not break ties with that woman----he would go through hell to keep the doors open in order to lay claim to that child--no matter what feelings he had for the Mother."
            "But-----apparently he doesn't know about this Adlen----or maybe this Liberty had contacted him and told him------and Walker decided to leave---to get things straightened out."
            Now Alex's temper is rising, she glares back at Gordon, "Are you listening to what you are saying?  Walker was kidnapped---he didn't just leave---Dad---why are you saying these things?"
                   "Pumpkin---nothing has been decided 100% that Walker was kidnapped-----"
            Alex stands up quickly from the table and points her finger in Gordon's face, "If you could have seen the look on my husband's face when I was being pulled away from him---the look of abandonment and hurt in his eyes---you would not be saying these terrible things!  I've said it all along, Walker would never walk out on his kids---and that goes for any that he might have 'fathered' at anytime in his life---my God, Daddy---you know how he is---you know he loves these kids."
                Gordon stands up and takes his daughter into his arms, "I'm sorry Alexandra--I don't mean to hurt you----but listen to me---he's a man---just a man-----and sometimes a man----reacts differently than how a woman wants him to."
            Alex pulls away from her Dad and looks him in the eye, "And you're speaking from experience---because of the affairs that you had---right?"
            "Let's don't go there, Alexandra---I had affairs---I admit it---but your Mother was no saint----so let's get off of this subject."
            "No, Dad---you started it---you will not compare Walker to yourself----I will not stand here and listen to you run my husband down---just because you were weak and couldn't stay away from the booze and the others that shared your bed!!  I know that Walker is not perfect---no man is---but he has never lied to me---and he has never cheated on me----I don't care if Adlen turns out to be his son---I just want him home---safe!"
              Angela has just walked in on the conversation, "Mom is right-----I asked Daddy point blank if he had ever cheated on Mom, and he told me "No"---Daddy would never lie to me---you're off track, Grandpa."
            Alex looks to her daughter, puzzled. "Sweetheart---why would you ask your father that question?"
            "To shut Darcy Barnes' mouth, she was making all kinds of implications that when Daddy had to go out of town on cases that ----he-----had----other women---so I asked him----Daddy said that he had no reason to ever be unfaithful that he loved Mom---more every day----and I know he meant it, Mom---he wouldn't ever lie to me, right?"
                    Angela has started to cry and Alex takes her into her arms, pushing her long auburn hair back, she tilts Angela's chin up to her, "If your father said it, then you can believe it."
            "Mom, what about this Liberty Belle---did Daddy know her?"
            Alex motions for Angela to sit down and then her Dad, "I am going to tell you what I know-----yes--your father was involved with this woman."
                 Angela shakes her head, “Please don't say that Adlen is Daddy's long lost son."
            "I don't know, Angela---and only a DNA test will prove if he is or not, but I do know one thing---no one is giving any blood samples till your Father is home---safe and sound.--Nothing else is more important than getting your father home---understand?"
            "Yes, pumpkin---now just tell us what you know."
            Alex sighs, "Walker and I were being careful about starting a relationship with each other----because of our jobs and being involved in the same cases as a lawyer and a law officer---we did clash on ways of the judicial system. We spent a lot of time at CD's and the four of us often did things together, but Walker and I didn't date. Another reason was because he was still not quite over Ellen's death---that was the woman that he was engaged to marry, but she was killed---you both know about that?"
            "Yes, Mom---you and Daddy mentioned her and the way she was murdered."
            "Well, even though we had innocent flirtations between us, neither of us was acting on our feelings, your father dated other women and I dated other men. About the time I started dating Dalton, Walker was riding the rodeos more, and that's where he met Liberty. We both knew of our other dates and sometimes we 'teased' each other. I just know for a couple of weeks at a time, I never saw Walker, because he was riding the circuit---all the way up into Montana. Dalton was in some of the rodeos too, but he had a little 'legal problem and that's how we met."
                 Gordon eyes his daughter suspiciously, "What kind of legal problem, pumpkin?"
            "It's not important, Dad-----anyways, Dalton knew about Walker and Liberty and he just couldn't help but tease me----I guess he could tell that I had feelings for your Dad--even then. Then all of a sudden Walker stopped seeing Liberty, and Dalton couldn't wait to tell me the reason why---he just forgot to casually mention that he had been with Liberty too.  So, through the grapevine and your grandpa CD I find out that Walker broke it off with Liberty because she was seeing other men behind his back.  Eventually, Dalton and I broke off our little fling---or whatever you want to call it----and soon Walker and I started having dinner dates, and as things progressed I asked him point blank if it was over with him and Liberty----and he said 'yes'.”
            "Was it really over, Mom?"
            "For months your father never mentioned her, he stayed out of the circuit and only did charities, and then Liberty started calling Walker at his office, here at the ranch, and was even getting the dispatcher to put her through to him--when he was 'on call'.  Your father was furious! I heard him tell her on several occasions that he was no longer interested---he changed his home number at least a dozen times----but she always got it somehow. So, then--he just started ignoring the calls, but the one call that really made him angry was the calls I was getting. She started calling me at all hours of the night--in my own apartment!"
            "What did she say to you, pumpkin?"
            "The usual stuff---that the other woman' always hears---so---Walker and I had it out. I refused to be talked to that way and said that until he got it clear to Liberty that it was over between them, I was not going to see him anymore."
            "So---what happened, Mom----did she continue to call you?"
            Alex shakes her head, "No--the calls stopped---and she no longer called your dad here at the ranch----I know because by that time I was staying here----a lot.   Your Dad never mentioned her again--her name has not been mentioned--until now.  And, Dad this brings up a very interesting question."
                 Gordon pours himself and his daughter another cup of tea---"What's that, pumpkin?"
            Alex tilts her head back in a confused manner, "In all of the times that woman was calling me---nothing was ever mentioned about her being pregnant---now don't you think that's a little strange?  It's not exactly the typical method that a jealous woman would use--if she were trying to get her lover back."
                   Gordon nods in agreement, "Very strange, indeed---you would think that would be her defense--crying to you that she was carrying Walker's child---so that you would lose interest and break things off with him."
            "All I know is---if I ever see Adlen--I will give him a piece of my mind," replies Angela," I didn't even know he was back in Texas."
                "Neither did I, sweetheart------and he never hinted to you --about any of this?"
            "No, Mom----he's not much of a man, is he?  He's bound to know that with Daddy's disappearance and all---that the family is very fragile---how could he drop something on us like this?  He never came onto me as being cruel---I don't understand why he's doing this?  The paper said he's the son --stepson----of a multi-millionaire---why would--he want to say that? Daddy doesn't have any money?"
                  Gordon and Alex look at each in confusion, Gordon takes Angela's hand, "Punkin----sometimes it doesn't make any sense----but it sounds like to me, that it's 'male thing'."
            "What are you talking about, Grandpa?"
            "I'm saying that sometimes it's the name that Adlen is wanting----it's different with a male than a female!----A man has to know his background, the father's last name----for future generations."
                   Angela ponders her grandpa's explanation, "I still don't understand why he couldn't have faced Daddy and asked him straight out!  If he was any kind of a man---he would have done that---instead of just dropping the story to the newspapers, and letting us find out this way."
            "Look-----I am through talking about this," interrupts Alex----"as I said before, the most important thing is getting your Dad home----and then maybe he can explain all of this!  No more talk about this—alright?"
            The phone rings and Angela goes to answer, she turns and hands the phone to her grandpa.
                 "Grandpa--it's for you--a Jonas—somebody."
            As Gordon goes to answer the phone, Alex and Angela start getting supper on the table. Gordon Cahill mumbles 'thank you' and hangs up the phone. Alex sees the confused look on her Dad's face.
            "Dad-----what's wrong?"
            "That was my friend, Jonas-----one of my old law partners-----well---he knows a lot of people that work down at the county jail and he just laid some news on me-------Danny is dead!"
            Both Alex and Angela stare back at Gordon, "Dead?  What happened?"
            "Jonas said when the guard went to check on him, they found Danny's throat slit, and he was dead before the ambulance arrived.  I suspect your office will be notifying you of it soon, Alexandra."
            Alex takes a deep breath, "Well---I'm not going to pretend that I'm feeling any sympathy for the boy--not after what he tried to do to this family. But, I'm sorry for the way he died----no one deserves to die that way."
            The phone rings again, it's the newspaper--Gordon slams the phone down---"I told you---no comment."
            "Come on and sit down Grandpa----I'm warming up soup from last night and I will make a salad------"
            The phone rings again and Gordon stomps over to it, "I told you bastards--no comment---if------oh-----I'm sorry-----just a moment please----Alex--it's for you."
            "My office?"
            "No---it's Chuck Norris."
            Alex smiles, "Hi Chuck---how are you?"
            "Hi Alex---I’ve only got a moment----I saw the story about that Adlen guy come over the wire-----and come to find out---his stepfather is the same big wheel that was trying to drive my company out of Mexico---remember I was telling you and Walker about that?"
            "Yes, I remember-----what's this all about?"
            "I'm not sure----Aaron and I were discussing it----and well-----we just find it very disturbing that Walker is missing, my company being forced out, and this Kentworth's name is involved in both of our lives."
            Alex shakes her head, "I'm confused-----what are you trying to say?"
            "It might sound ----egotistical---but we were wondering---since Walker has been mistaken for me before-----maybe it was me-----the kidnappers were after? I have been known to step on a few toes---maybe that documentary about Poncho Villa continued to make some people angry?"
            "But, you said you didn't get to film the documentary---so I don't see where all of this connects?"
            "I know, Alex---it's confusing----I've been racking my brain trying to figure out how they could confuse us---Walker was taken at the ranch, right?"
            "Yes, Chuck---in our driveway."
            "And--no ransom was ever asked—correct?"
            Alex's head is spinning, "Chuck, I know you're concerned about Walker---you are a very good friend---but I just don't see the connection.  May I ask you a question?"
            "Sure, Alex--ask me anything."
            Alex hesitates, "You----you don't happen to know---this woman, Liberty Belle---do you?"
            Alex hears laughter on the other end and Chuck telling someone to be quiet. "No, Alex-----I've never heard the name before---I'm sorry."
            Alex sighs, "Just thought I would ask--I didn't mean to embarrass you or anything--I'm sorry."
            "Don't worry about it----Alex--if you need anything---you have my number--don't hesitate to call. How are you feeling--I heard about the breakdown----have you heard from the twins----are they okay?"
            "I'm fine---it was very scary there for a few days---I felt like I was floating above the room---everyone was talking to me----but I couldn't answer them----maybe someone just needed to slap me out of it."
                Angela laughs and her grandpa looks at her suspiciously.
            "I don't follow you, Alex------"

            Alex smiles, remembering how Cordell slapped her the first time she tried 'losing it'---"It's okay, Chuck----you would have had to have been here!  The twins were fine the last time I talked to them--in fact---they should be calling again at any time."
                  "Okay--I'll get off---give your family my best----and you call if you ever need anything----I mean that---promise?"
            "Yes, I promise----and maybe when all of this over with---we can all get together for a nice long visit."
            "My family and I will look forward to it, bye Alex."


                                                       ***********************


            Adlen is staring at the newspaper, his mouth drops open, "What the hell-----how did they find out about this?"
            He hurriedly calls his friend at the Dallas Times and starts raking him over the coals.
            "What are you trying to do----ruin me?  I said we would release this story after the 16th--this is only the 14th-----if Lars hears about this…..”
                  "Would you calm down, Adlen---I didn't release the story-----your brother did."
                     "Danny?"
            "No, not Danny---your other brother---Woody! He came in here, and talked to the main man himself-----Daniels!  The old man jumped on it---you know how much he hates the Walker family---he couldn't send it to press fast enough---it made the evening paper quicker than Kennedy's assassination!!  He held up the presses to run it."
            Adlen is shocked, "Woody? I can't believe it---Woody was always against my releasing the story--he always claimed that hurting the Walker family wouldn't solve anything----he begged me not to go through with it."
            "Look---I don't know what is going on---but for some reason--Woody has done a complete 'bout face and he's screwing you good.  Does he know that Lars said he would disinherit you if you went through with proving that Walker is your Father?"
            Adlen is smoking one cigarette after another---"Yes---he knew---he said it didn't matter that I could go to Seattle and live with him----we didn't need------Lars' money-----it was all a big bluff----now I'm getting the picture---call you later."
            Adlen dials a number, a man answers---"My brother, Woody is in town----find him and bring him to me---I don't care how much man power it takes----you bring that son-of-a bitch to me!"
            He slams the phone down and glances at the TV, a special news bulletin flashes across the screen----and a picture of Danny fills the screen. "Inmate found dead in Tarrant County Jail!"
            Adlen falls down in the floor, gasping---"Daniel? Oh no---not you too, Danny---not you too!"


                                                ******************************


                 Walker has been watching the small band of men, raiding the small villages, he watches in disgust as they drag an old man out and shoot him, right before his family. His fists tighten as he curses them, there are about ten of them, Walker has no weapon (yeah, I feel sorry for those ten men, too).
            He watches as the first jeep pulls out, with 3 men inside. Walker glances back at the village to see the other men taking two young girls into the barn, the whiskey is flowing, and the men are already undressing as they stumble inside the barn.
            "I've got to do something--I can't sit here and just think about it----those girls are about the same age as my baby----" Walker slams his fist into the trunk of a tree. His anger has caused him to feel no pain, he hits it again--visualizing the tree to be the faces of those men. He starts towards the barn, half stumbling, there are no lookouts---they are all inside.  He gets up to the barn door, and hears the screams of the young girls--he has to make some noise to create a diversion.
            He sees their jeeps with the keys still inside the ignitions.  He jumps in the nearest one and moves it around to the side of the barn, then runs back to the second one and starts blaring the horn. In seconds, three of the guards come stumbling out with their pants all down around their knees. Walker goes up in the air and comes down on the backs of two of them, knocking them to the ground. He grabs one of their pistols and shoots the third man in the middle of the forehead. The other two are trying to get up, Walker kicks out to the neck of one, and then slams his already bloody fist into the face of the other one, knocking him cold.
                   Walker hurries to get behind the door as two more of the guards come stumbling out to see what the noise is. Walker is breathing heavy, his body is weak from lack of food, he shakes his head, and shoots both of the guards, dead. Now there are only two left as Walker hears the guards inside yelling out.
                "What's the hell is going on out there?" One yells out.
                   Walker picks up another of the pistols, spins to make sure the cylinder is full, he puts his hand over his mouth and starts calling out, "Federales-----they come!"
            In seconds the other two come running out and Walker hits one on the head with his pistol, the other one stares back at the bearded man, he squints, "Who the hell are you, gringo?"
                  Walker aims the pistol at the man's head and whispers, "Your worst nightmare-----prepare to die."
            The man goes down on his knees, begging for his life.
                  Walker looks back at the body of the old man, laying on his front porch-----"You don't deserve to live-----but I will not kill you----not yet!"
            The man is trying to get up, but Walker knocks him back down-----he glances inside the barn, all he can hear are the girls crying. He looks back down at the bandito.
             "Get up----you piece of crap and get in there," he shoves the man inside, the young girls are completely naked, and one has already been attacked. Walker can feel his temper getting hotter, he looks at the girl and then back to the bandito, his manhood has been 'spent'---Walker knows that he's the one that completed his attack on the young girl.
            "You sorry piece of crap," and then Walker slams his fist into the man, dragging him over to one of the stalls.
            The girls are screaming and running out. Walker stands there looking down at the man, he grabs his face, "Do you know who I am?"
            The man's eyes grow big, "No----senor---I do not know you," the man pleads.
                Walker nods his head, "You're going to know me, by the time I get though with you---you won't be dead----you'll just be wishing you were. I have a message for your boss---Diablo."
            "When my boss gets hold of you----he will cut out your tongue----"
                 Another fist slams into the man's face, "Did I say I was through talking?"
            The man shakes his head back and forth and Walker grabs a rope hanging inside the barn, he puts it around the man's feet, the other end going around the neck of an old beaten down horse. The man's pants are still down around his ankles and Walker leaves them there. He goes back to the man's face and slaps him.
                "Wake--up---I want you to hear every word I'm saying---the name is WALKER and you tell your boss that I'm coming after him---I have a score to settle---do you understand what I'm saying?"
            The man is petrified as he sees the rope around his feet, the other one around the horse's neck. "Please, senor----let me go----I will not tell anyone, I promise."
                   Walker sneers, "Now----why is it----I don't believe you?"
            Before the man can say anything else, Walker slaps the rear of the frightened horse and he bolts out of the barn at a full gallop. Walker walks out of the barn and looks up at the run down house, the two girls are crying over their father's body, as they hold dirty old blankets around their nakedness. Walker approaches them slowly, and tries to talk to them but they both cower away.
            "I'm not going to hurt you---I swear---I won't hurt you," he pleads with them.
            The girls continue to cry, Walker is not getting through to them in his broken Spanish, but then he starts taking his boot off. This scares the girls even more as they remember the banditos undressing and forcing themselves on them. Walker holds up his hands.
            "No---wait---I have a picture to show you---I have a  "hija"----a bambino----like you----here---look at the picture."
                 Walker holds the picture out to them and points to Angela---"I have a bambino---like you---I would not hurt you."
            The older girls grab the picture and looks at it, glancing back to Walker and then back to the picture, she's the one that has been assaulted-----she points to the picture-----"Familia?"
            "Si', Si,'' Walker nods his head, "that's my family-----my "esposa"----and my kids----my familia."
            The girl shows the picture to her younger sister, the young girl runs her fingers through her own hair, staring at Angela's.
                 "Tu hija tiene un pelo precioso," she replies softly.
            "My sister's English is not good, she say your daughter is very pretty---very pretty hair."
                   Walker nods his head slowly, "Thank you---denata--gracias--my Spanish is not very good neither---either---I'm so confused----are you girls going to be alright----is there somewhere you can go---other family?"
            The older girl points over the hills, "My Mamacita has family----there---we go there."
                    Walker nods and looks down at the old man, "I'm sorry---we have no time to bury him." Walker makes a digging gesture with his hands and continues to shake his head, "We have to go now---before they come back," he says, pointing to the bodies of the dead banditos.
                  Walker starts walking to the jeep and motions for the girls to follow him, they hesitate, looking at their father's dead body. The older girl gently pulls on her sister's arm and the three get into the jeep and head northeast. It's about a thirty-minute drive to the next village, where the girls see relatives as they scramble down to meet them.
            The girls run to an old man and woman, speaking quickly in their tongue, the old man is staring back at Walker as he hurries to the jeep. He motions for Walker to eat with them, Walker keeps shaking his head.
                   Walker wipes his mouth, "I could use-----some coffee," he makes a drinking gesture---"coffee-----cafe---coffee."
            The old man laughs and motions for his wife to bring them a bottle----and coffee. Walker waves the bottle away, but he drinks the coffee quickly---he smiles back at the old man.
                   "Gracias, senor---you don't realize how long it has been since I've had a good cup of coffee----and thank God there was no sugar and cream in it----gracias again-----I have to be going."
            The old woman comes running out with a towel wrapped around some food. She opens it up and Walker sees Enchiladas and some rice. There is fruit and some carrots. The old woman puts them in the seat of the jeep and smiles back. Walker gets down from the jeep and walks over to the old man and holds out his hand, giving the old man the money that he took from the pockets of the banditos. He waves goodbye, the girls wave back to him.
                                                   
Seekers-Quest-16

By Sasquaw

 

Matamoras: Border crossing
            (From the author: I would just like to take this moment to thank Leire for her help in helping me with my Spanish---GRACIAS!!)
            Lupe pulls up to the guards, showing them all the necessary papers, the guards circle the Ram, looking at the boys. They speak in Spanish to Lupe and then everyone starts laughing and pointing at the twins.
                  Cooper is whispering, "It's a trick, Cordell----they're not going to let us across---they're going to take Dad's truck and throw us in jail."
                Cordell is trying to silence his twin, "Take it easy----if they were going to stop us--they would have ordered us out of the truck by now."
            The guards continue to look at the twins, up and down and one of the guards laughs-----"Twins?  You must have filled your loins in double time----now what is in it for us if we let you cross? Will you be nice to us, Lupe?"
            Lupe continues to flirt with the guards and keeps looking at her watch---she keeps pointing at the twins and laughing and making gestures with her hands, at one point holding her hands out---like she was measuring something. The guards laugh harder, and the twins are getting even more nervous. Finally, she is waved through.
            They wait till they are out of sight of the guards and then the three of them give out a victory cry. The twins keep looking at each other and to Lupe.
                 Cordell stammers, "Just for curiosity’s sake----what were you telling those guards-----why did they keep looking at us that way?"
            "Do you really want to know?"
            "It's obvious what she told them, bro'---she said she would 'do them—right?"
            Lupe stares back at Cooper, "Look, I know you're still angry with me and you got a right----but that doesn't give you the right to be down right nasty to me."
                Cordell nudges his brother, and looks to Lupe--"We're all still a little testy-----and our bruised bodies aren't letting us forget what your husband and his goons did to us---so what were you saying to those guards? Did you volunteer to--service them?"
            Lupe smiles, "Nope-----I said you two would do the honors on the way back over the border!"
            Both Cordell and Cooper's eyes grow big and Cooper's mouth drops open--"What---you told them that---that we would---do them-----are you crazy?  I ain't letting no damn guy touch me---are you out of your head--are you wacko---stop the truck!  Cordell--kick her out!"
            Lupe starts laughing as Cordell is staring back at her, "Relax----I had to tell them something---so I told them that you and your brother were male prostitutes and I was taking you to some 'johns'-----and the guards could have you------afterwards."
                 Cordell swears under his breath, "Male prostitutes-------I don't believe this---------and they're going to be waiting for us when we cross back over?"
                Cooper is still yelling for Cordell to kick Lupe out, "Get out of our Dad's truck---get out."
            Lupe shakes her head, "Nope---it's another 20 miles to my village--I'm riding all the way---hey does the air conditioner work---it's hot in here."
            They drive a little ways and then Cordell nudges his brother---"Hey Coop-------it's not so bad, she kept her end of the bargain, she got us across, didn't she?"
            The Ram pulls up in front of a rundown adobe looking house, and Lupe climbs down out of the driver's seat.
                "Okay, boys---this it---where's my money, handsome?"
               Cordell slides out and Cooper watches as his twin takes off his boot and takes some money out, he hands Lupe two $100 bills, she kisses him on the cheek and tells him good bye. Cordell gets behind the wheel and they drive off.
                Cooper has not said a word; he just keeps staring at Cordell and nodding his head.
                 "Ohhh, this is it---you've really done it this time, bro'---stop the truck----you and I are going to fist city."
            "Now, what are you complaining about?"
            "As if you didn't know----you led me to believe that we were broke---I could have been killed!"
               "YOU?"  Cordell yells back, "what about me---they were using me for a punching bag while you were in the shower, trying to be Mick Jagger."
            "But, I went after those guys ---with a gun?"
            "I kept trying to tell you that the money could be replaced---you wouldn't listen."
                  Cooper reaches over and slams his foot on the brake pedal, and grabbing the keys out of the ignition, and the Ram slams to a screeching halt, Cordell hits the dashboard.
            "Get out, Cordell---we're 'duking' it out-----wait till Mom hears about this----I'm telling!"
                   Cordell is grabbing for the keys, "Would you pipe down------I had to lie about the money----or those goons would have gotten it all."
            "Why didn't you tell me that you hid the money, instead of letting me go after those guys-----that "MONK" just about caved my head in---it still hurts!"
            "I didn't have time to tell you, I made the switch when I went to the boy's room---I had a feeling that something was coming down------and I was right---luckily for me---we still have about $700----so get off it."
                   Cooper stares back, "Get out, Cordell---I'm going to beat you senseless."
            "You and what Army---little brother?"
            "Get out---you'll see."
                  Cordell starts swearing and rolling out of the Ram, "Come on bro'----let's see what you can do---or, are you all talk?"
                     Cooper slides across the seat, reaches over and pulls the door closed, starts the Ram up and speeds off. Cordell is yelling for him to stop and starts chasing after him. Cooper is laughing and looking into the rear view mirror. He hits the brakes and turns around, driving the Ram straight at his brother. Cordell screams out an obscenity and dives to the side of the road. Cooper waits till his brother is standing up and he starts backing the Ram up slowly. Every time Cordell is just about able to reach the front grille, Cooper backs up faster, taunting him.
                  "Damn you, Coop---come back here---this isn't funny."
                   Cooper leans out the window and yells, "Neither is my headache."
                   Suddenly Cordell sits down in the middle of the dusty road, Cooper stops the Ram and looks up at him. "What ya' sitting down for, bro----it's getting awful hot out here----and I got all of the cold drinks in the back."
            "Yeah, you're right----but pretty soon you're going to use up all of the gasoline, and even quicker by running the AC----then you will be sitting in a truck going nowhere---because I still have all the money!"
                Cooper grins, "I guess this is what people call a 'Mexican standoff'---huh, bro?"
            "I reckon so," agrees Cordell. He pulls his Stetson down over his eyes and continues to sit. Cooper finally kills the engine, reaches back for a cold drink and holds it out the window.
            "This is soooooo cold--wanna a drink?"
            The standoff lasts almost an hour, Cooper starts the Ram up and pulls up to his brother, "Okay------I win---get in."
                 Cordell stands up slowly and walks towards the truck, "I'm driving---scoot over."
                   Cooper reaches back and gets another cola, "Here Cordell----don't say I never give you anything-------"
                   Cooper does not finish his sentence as Cordell pours the drink all over him, Cooper stares back at him.
                    "You're really going to get it now---wait till Dad sees what you've done to his truck---getting cola all over it."
                    Cordell yells back, "That's nothing---compared to those flames coming off the fender wells."
                   Cooper starts taking his shirt off, "Now, I'm all sticky----another fine mess you got us into, Cordell."
            "Oh shut up---look at the time we've wasted---now we're really going to have to burn some rubber."
            "What are you waiting for---let's burn."


                                           *****************************


              Trivette has finally got a call out to Alex, and listens to her tell him the latest about the newspaper story.
            The Ranger groans, "What else is going to happen----are you okay, Alex---you don't sound too upset."
                  "Jimmy, I'm not concerned with Adlen 'maybe' being Walker's son---my first concern is finding my husband and bringing him home--if Adlen proves to be his son------then we will work it out. But, now the stories have surfaced again about Liberty being the reason that Walker left.  I never knew people could be so cruel---why can't they just let our family be----haven't we suffered enough? Also, Jimmy---Danny was found dead in his cell."
               Trivette shakes his head, "I'm not shedding any tears over him, who do they suspect?"
            "Dad says that an inmate has confessed to killing him--he slit his throat while he slept."
            The Ranger takes a deep sigh, "Well-----hold on to your seat, Alex---because I have something else to lay on you."
            Alex gasps, "Is it Walker, have you spotted him---is he okay?"                                                

            "Alex---I have no new news on Walker, I have my 'feelers' out looking for him, round the clock The last time he was spotted was when he had a run in with some local dude---apparently, Walker broke his jaw.---He told the man he would kill him--if their paths ever crossed again-----the man is scared stiff."
            "Why?  Was the man trying to hurt him?"
            "The only thing my guys were able to get out of him was that the man----said something about you-----and you know Walker needs very little prodding when it comes to defending you. The man made a derogatory statement--he won't be talking too freely anymore--they wired his mouth shut.  But, Alex----I have something else to tell you, are you sitting down?"
            "No," she answers.
            "Well---you better sit down---because what I have to tell you is going to rock you------Alex-----Ranger Sam Ellis has found proof that C.D. was not buried in that coffin that we had exhumed.  C.D. did not die 17 years ago as we believed."
            Alex's eyes grow wide, she tries to speak, but all she can do is stutter---"Wh----whha----are you saying----that C.D.----is ----still alive?"
                   Trivette starts pacing, "I don't know, sweetheart-----I don't know what to think or believe."
               "Jimmy---this can't be----if C.D. were alive all these years---he would have contacted us----I find this hard to swallow. Are you sure it wasn't C.D.----what about the DNA that was run on the body?"
            "Alex---if you remember---there was no autopsy done on the body when we believed he died of a heart attack, we took Murphy's word for it------we even had a closed casket.  Then---when we get word that Lava’cot shot and killed C.D. with that damn elephant gun---we had his body exhumed---except it wasn't CD's body being dug up, but one Lee Bailey, a patient at Shady rest."
            "But, Jimmy----all of the medical records matched---even the DNA!"
            "That's because it was all a set up, the medical examiner was on Lava’ cot’s team, the records matched because they were Bailey's records---not------- C.D.’s and so when the DNA was run, it was on this Bailey's body and of course----they matched. I feel so stupid---I was there in the morgue when they run the tests-----I can't believe that I didn't suspect something."
            Alex is shaking her head, "Jimmy---in all fairness--what could you have suspected---the body was not recognizable----and you told Walker that half of the man's face -----was---not there---."
                 Trivette takes a deep sigh, "In all of my years as a law officer---I should have known---I should have guessed that something was not right."
                   "Jimmy---you stop beating yourself up over this, it was not your fault!!!  Jimmy---do you think C.D. might still be alive---somewhere?"
            "I'm so confused right now, Alex--I don't know what to think. But Sam and a investigation team is going back down to that place that now calls themselves Crescent Arms and they are going over all of the records of all patients, they will turn that place inside out if necessary. If C.D. is being held there as a prisoner---they will find him! They've got permission to run fingerprints---in case---"
            "In case, what, Jimmy?"
            "In case they have tried to alter his looks in some way----plastic surgery or whatever. Sam has got the green light to do whatever is necessary, and also to question that 'daughter' that was keeping me from questioning Murphy. By the way--Murphy died."
            "I'm sorry to hear it, because he could shed so much light on what has happened. Is that the reason he wanted to talk to you, to tell you that C.D. didn't die ---was it to clear his conscience?  How deep was he involved in all of this cover up?"
            "I'm not sure, Alex----I got to go----have you heard from my boy?"
            "Yes, Jimmy he called--your sister-in-law died and J.W. is staying to help with the arrangements and to be there for the both of you."
            "I didn't hold much hope that she would survive; she was barely hanging on when we were there for the holidays. She was a good Christian woman--she lived a good life----she was 'ready to meet her maker'--she said so----many times. I got to go now, Alex--take care--I'll call you as soon as I have something new to report."
            "No, Jimmy---don't wait for any reports--you keep in touch---we are all worried about you----take care."


                                                     ************************


            The Walker twins have run out of road. They stare ahead of them at the deep ruts.
               Cooper turns to his brother, "What do we do now, Cordell?  The ruts are getting deeper, that last one was so deep, I thought it was going to tear the exhaust pipes off!"
            His brother looks around at their surroundings and then back at the map. "The next big city is called Tamauilipas, but there have got to be smaller towns that we can gas up----and then I guess we find a place to hide the Ram."
            "Hide it?  We're going to gas it up, and then hide it?  That doesn't make any sense."
                    Cordell sighs, "Look, bro'---Dad always said to have a plan and----"
            "Dad also said --that the best laid plan was not to have any at all---to just go with our intuitions."
                "Coop----would you just listen?  We have to have the Ram full at all times---and wouldn't it make perfect sense to have the Ram ready for when we come back through here?  Do you want to come back to it, and it be empty, where would that get us?"
                 "Okay, okay---I see your point, so how far do you think we have to go before the next gas station----we're below half a tank."
            "What about the reserve tank?"
            "That's what we're on now---we didn't fill up before we crossed the border."
                Cordell swears and throws the map down, "I know----we sort of had other things on our mind---like avoiding the leering looks of those guards-----and we didn't call Mom either."
            "We better do that now, before we get out of range for the radio to reach----dial the number, Cordell."


                                                       **************************

            The old man and the two boys have stopped for the night, Tony is exhausted as he leans on the old man's shoulder.
            Juan looks tenderly at his little nephew and then to the old man, "He likes you, old----I'm sorry---I mean--Pappa."
            Pappa smiles back at Juan, and then lays the young boy down on the grass, "He hasn't had much of a family life, has he?"
            "No, Pappa---we have been in the streets since he was a baby, I used to carry him like the Indians used to carry their young---in one of those things across the back---I forget what it is called."
            "You carried him in a papoose carrier, how did you feed him?"
            Juan smiles proudly, "By goat's milk, there are plenty of nannies to give their nourishment----and cows milk as well. I made a bottle out of old plastic that I could find, put a piece of rubber on the end, poked a hole-----and he had a milk bottle."     
            Pappa smiles, shaking his head, "Well, you've done good-----and it's a miracle that the two of you have survived with everything thrown at you."
            "My parents always said that God would not give me anymore than I could handle----we made do, Pappa---and we will continue to make our way---till we are dead---or we reach this Arizona----whichever comes first."
            Pappa shakes his head, "And, I believe you will accomplish anything you set out to do, Juan----how do you know that your Uncle still lives there in Nogales-----do you have an address?"
            "Si----the address is on Guadalupe."
            Pappa repeats the name, "Are you sure about the address?"
            "I am very sure because I remember thinking how strange he should live on a street that has his last name-----my uncle's last name is Guadalupe also. His name is Antonio Miguel Xavier Guadalupe."
            "Well, that's some title-----is that how your nephew got his name, after his great Uncle?"
            Juan shakes his head, "Si---my uncle is a good man---I know he will take care of us once we reach this place."
            The old man reaches down and rubs his legs, "That might be years----at the rate I'm moving---I'm sorry I'm so slow---aside from the bad legs----I don't see too good with my one eye---I'm slowing you down."
            "It's okay, Pappa--I can't move any quicker because of Tony---he takes small steps for his little legs."
            Pappa nods, "Yes---what time you aren't carrying him----God has put a lot on your small shoulders-----I will do my best to help you in carrying Tony---maybe we can move a little faster if he's on my back?"
            "You are a kind man, Pappa---I am sorry for the times I beat you," Juan's voice cracks.
            The old man waves his arms, "You did what you had to do---to survive----that's over with---we don't talk about it anymore."
            Juan takes a deep breath, and wipes his eyes, "Si---but now---I have to find us food---you will take care of my nephew, until I return, Si?"
                    "Where do you think we are, any idea?"
                 "We've been going around the bigger towns and staying to the hills----Tamauilipas is that way---east-----about 2 hours, I think."
            Juan bids his farewell, saying he will try to be back by morning. Pappa lays down on the grass beside the young boy, even in his sleep, the boy reaches out to him. Pappa smiles back at him and looks to his small chest where the shiny object shines back at him. Pappa touches the object gently and whispers.
            "Wear it proudly, my little amigo.  With all you have faced in your small years--you deserve it. Only the brave, strong, and devoted wear the badge of THE TEXAS RANGERS---and you have filled all of those categories!!"


                                            *******************************


            The boys have reached the town of Palmyra, on the west side of Tamauilipas they have stopped outside of a small cafe. They look back and forth at each other, neither of them in too big of a hurry to get out of the truck.
               Cordell sighs, "Well, one of us is going to have to get us some food---and I guess it will be me."
            "Why you, Cordell?"
                     "Because little brother---there might be another pretty waitress inside that looks at you twice--you jump to conclusions----or rather your hormones jump to the conclusion that you're going to get laid----and we'll be in another fist fight---so stay here."
                 Cordell starts to walk towards the cafe, then turns around and hands Cooper his wallet, he pockets only a few dollar bills. "No use in flashing any more money than necessary--just hope they accept American dollars."
                   Cooper gets out of the Ram and starts walking around, stretching his legs, he observes a young man standing near the back door. An older man comes running up to the screen door and yells at the boy to get away, the boy does so, kicking out at the ground and giving the man a lewd gesture with his fingers. Cooper continues to watch the boy as he now goes to the trashcan and starts rumbling through. Cooper shakes his head and reaches into the back seat, bringing forth a backpack. He rumbles through it, pulling out some jerky and an old peanut butter & jelly sandwich, he starts to walk towards the boy. He stops, grabs a cola and a candy bar.
                Cooper approaches the boy slowly, holding out the food, but the boy backs up. The boy looks at the food in Cooper's hand and then back to the trash bin, he starts licking his mouth. Cooper again offers the food to him and the boy grabs it, devouring the sandwich in 3 bites. He eyes the can of coke, Cooper pulls the tab and hands it to him, and the boy drinks it down in one long swallow.
                    Cooper tries to smile, and then hands him the jerky and the candy bar, the boy looks at the candy bar for the longest and then pockets it. He looks at the jerky, his mouth is still watering as he chomps down on the dried beef, and then he walks away.
            "So much for a thank you---well, you're welcome,"---Cooper yells back at him.
            The boy stops and turns around, he holds up the jerky and shouts back, "Gracias."
                   Cooper shrugs and walks back to the Ram, seeing Cordell coming back with a sack. "What did you get, bro', I'm starving!"
            "I have no idea, I didn't want to talk anymore than necessary---so I just pointed at the menu---it was all in Spanish."
                Cooper grabs the sack and starts going through it, "There's nothing here but tortilla chips and some hot sauce----where's the food?"
            "That's all they gave me," replies Cordell.
               Cooper throws the sack out the window, "We can't survive on chips and dip-----I need solid food--enchiladas, tamales, ---anything---but this."
                      Cordell starts to argue and then he nudges his brother, "Look, Cooper----that kid is going to get our food."
                    Cooper turns around to see the boy that he had given food to earlier, grab the sack and start running, Cooper gives chase. Cordell starts up the Ram, and starts after them. Cooper jumps on the boy's back and grabs the sack.
            "So much for gratitude---this is how you repay us, by taking our food?"
            The boy stares back at Cooper, "I'm sorry, senor----I didn't think you wanted it----you threw it away."
                 Cordell drives up beside his brother, he looks at the way the boy is dressed and whispers to Cooper, "Let him have it, Coop---he needs it more than we do."
                   Cooper turns and stares back at his brother, "What?  I'm starving, bro'---and if you knew your Spanish---we would have real food to eat."
            "I'm sorry---I don't speak the language---if we were in Russia---I could understand it."
            "We're not in Russia!" Cooper yells back.
            The young boy looks back and forth to the arguing twosome, he rubs his eyes as he studies their faces, "Twins-----are you twins?"
                 Cooper swears, "Unfortunately----YES----I can't believe we came from the same sperm----and at this very moment--I can now understand why Angela always wished she was an only child."
            "Oh pipe down, quit over acting."
                  "Who's acting, I'm serious."
                 Cordell shrugs, "Whatever-----I'm going back to that cafe and this time, get some real food---if-----if I have to cook it myself."
            The Walker boys stomp back to the truck, the boy runs after Cooper and grabs his arm.
            "Wait, I know the language----I can order food for you--if you will let me have some food too?"
            "Sure," replies Cooper---"my brother here will be only too glad for you to order the food----and lots of it-----right bro?"
                     Cordell laughs, "You got it, bro."
            The Walker boys wait in the truck as the boy goes to order the food; he's gone a long time as the Walker boys keep looking at each other and their watches. Cooper hits the dashboard.
              "We've been 'screwed' again, bro---he's not coming back."
                  Cordell reaches out and hits his brother, "It's all your fault---you said to trust him----I gave him twenty bucks and now----look, Coop---here he comes-----and he's got sacks full."
            When the boy reaches the truck, men start running out of the cafe, yelling at him, the boy throws the sacks into the back of the truck and over the side he jumps. He shouts back at the twins----"Go----get the hell out of here!"
               Cordell floors the Ram and they speed off, Cooper looks back at the boy, he's holding up tamales--still in their shucks. Cooper starts laughing, leaning to the back window and unlocks the sliding glass. The boy starts crawling in, and throwing the food up to Cooper. All of the boys are laughing as Cooper pulls back a shuck and hands it to his brother---"We got food now, Cordell."
                Cordell pulls the Ram off the road and under some trees, the boys eat until they think they will burst. For every piece of food the boy eats, he puts some back, inside his shirt. He sees the twins watching him, he explains softly, ---"For Tony and Pappa---they're hungry, too."
            "It's okay---we can't eat it all----take the rest to your family---it's alright," replies Cordell.
            The boy nods, and then he reaches into his pocket and hands the $20 back to Cordell---"I stole the food---here's your money back."
            "You stole it?  So, that’s why they were so angry---why did you steal it, why didn't you pay for it," asks Cooper.
            "I'm sorry---guess I figured to keep the money and use it later---American money is getting harder to come by as we get deeper south.  What are you two doing down here?"
                     Cooper starts to answer, but Cordell interrupts, "We'd rather not say---we don't know you."
            "I can't hurt you senor----it is none of my business---as soon as I get back to my family, we are heading north---to Arizona."

             
 Seekers-Quest-17

By Sasquaw

               Walker ditches the jeep, continuing now on foot. He eats the last of the food that the old woman has given him, starring down at small piece of bread, and a small knife. He looks at the knife and whispers,  "The old woman must have been using this to cut the bread----and just forgot it."                   

            He bites down into the bread, it tastes sweet. "Ummm, this is good, tastes like --one of those sopa--pias---or whatever they're called----the kind Alex always made---with honey."
            He continues following the side roads, he can see the troops down below, still planning their strategy. He shakes his head, "By the time this Governor Gomez gets his strategy down, Diablo will have this whole country under his control."
                Walker watches as more government troops are arriving, some unmarked cars are pulling into the camps, Walker laughs. "Well, at least they got smart enough not to mark their cars--it's about-------time--------Trivette"!
            The Ranger's heart starts pounding faster as he sees his partner exit one of the cars. "Trivette----good buddy----I knew you wouldn't stop looking for me----I got to get down there---I got to talk to you----"
                    Walker has started stumbling down the side of the hill, then he stops and pulls his shirt off and waves it over his head as a sign of surrender. The troops have spotted him and start firing and Walker dives for cover, shouting curse words back at them. "Damn crazy fools---don't they know this is a sign of surrender-----maybe it's not white----but it still means the same."
            The troops are still firing and running to their jeeps, Trivette comes running out of one of the large tents and looking up into the hills.
            "Who are they firing at?" he yells.
            The troops are running past him hollering "Diablo---Diablo's men are in the hills."
               Trivette starts running to one of the jeeps and he follows in pursuit. Walker falls down in a ditch and lowers himself till the first jeeps have passed, then he sees the last one coming, he takes aim at the front tire, blowing it out, the jeep overturns and Walker runs to it. He sees Trivette trying to climb out and runs to him.
              Trivette shakes his head back and forth as he sees the familiar figure pulling at him, trying to get him out of the burning jeep. "Wal----Walker---partner---where did you come---from---oh hell----my pant leg is on fire---get me out of here!"
                 Walker pulls his friend from the jeep and starts putting the fire out on Trivette's leg, "You're okay---you're alright, Trivette."
                Trivette is trying to stand on one leg as he stares back at Walker, "Walker----you look horrible---what have you done to yourself, man?"
                Walker laughs, shaking his head and embracing his partner---"Thanks a lot, partner---I needed that---you don't look so hot yourself!"
            The men laugh and grab each other, the jeeps return and the troops observe the two men hugging each other. They scratch their heads, mumbling.
                  Walker pulls out of the embrace first, "Alex---is she okay---did they hurt her----my kids----are they okay---the baby---is she okay?"
      Trivette is grinning from ear to ear, "Whoa---slow down big guy----they're all fine, I just talked to Alex last night-----she's been worried sick about you, man---the whole family has been worried about you---what happened to you?"
            The men turn around and look back at the troops, they are now pointing their guns at them, Walker exhales----"Trivette---you wouldn't have a hot cup of coffee back in that camp, would you?"
                   Trivette can't help but tease his partner---"Only decaf."
                 Walker swears, "At his point---I don't care----as long as it's hot---and then I will tell you everything--that I know----which isn't much."
            The two men walk back to the jeep, their arms around each other's shoulders, and climb in. They are unaware of the figures approaching them, in vast numbers.


                                  ***********************************


Walker ranch:
            The Walkers are huddled around the TV watching the latest developments unfolding around Mexico City, as all the troops are being attacked! It is now a full-scale war.
            Alex is biting her bottom lip as Little Ray crawls up into her lap, and he's starting to cry. Gordon motions for Angela to take him, but the boy will not leave his Mother's lap. Alex waves Angela away, "It's okay, sweetheart----when I'm holding him---I'm holding your father---come here Angela----come here, sweetheart."
               Angela goes to her mother and puts her arms around her and her baby brother. "Oh God, I hope Daddy and the twins are okay-----why doesn't the U.S. send in more troops?"
                   Gordon is now pacing the floor---"That's our damn government for you---we are so quick to send our troops half way around the world to fight battles that we should keep our noses out of---and yet we hesitate to send troops into a country that is right next door."
            Sue and Dana are trying to calm Gordon down; Dana runs to the kitchen, Angela follows her.
            Dana is crying uncontrollable, Angela tries to console her, "It'll be alright, Dana---Cordell knows how to handle himself."
            "In the ring and maybe one on one---but not against a whole country---Angela, you saw the guns that were being used----Gordon says these terrorists have better firing power than he had in the Korean War."
            "Dana---Grandpa exaggerates----and if you plan to be a part of this family---you better learn to accept that."
            Dana stops crying and looks at Angela, "A part of this family---oh you mean---by your grandpa marrying my Mom?"
                Angela smiles back at her best friend and teases her, "Now---what did you think I meant by that statement?"
            Dana blushes, and tries to turn away as Angela pulls her back around to face her, "Come on---Dana---you and Cordell haven't even starting dating yet----are you reading something into this?"
            "I'm just worried about him, Angela."
            "I know---we're all worried about him, Cooper, Daddy, and Uncle Jimmy---but are you thinking along the line of a more serious relationship for you and Cordell?"
            Dana is starting to get angry, "Look, Angela---I can't hide my feelings for your brother the way you hide yours for J.W.----my future is not as bright as yours----you can have any boy you want!  Well---I happen to want Cordell---he's the only boy I've ever thought about like this----and when-----he gets back---if he gets back-----"
            "Don't say 'if'---- my brother is coming back, they all are coming back----don't think negative----!!”          
              "Okay," Dana shouts back---"when Cordell gets back---is that positive enough for you?"
             Angela stares at her friend, "Then what----what are you going to do, Dana---don't do anything stupid."
            "I'm not being stupid, Angela------and I don't plan to hide my feelings for your brother anymore---I'm not going to be like you, hide my head in the sand because you're afraid to show your true feelings for J.W. because he broke that promise to you!"
                 Angela becomes silent, "But---it's different-----Cordell is only 14---and you're 16----that's too young to show those feelings----you could get pregnant."
            "I'm on birth control, Angela----I'm surprised that you're not."
            "I'm not on birth control, because I'm not doing anything---oh no----does this mean that you and Cordell------"
            Dana sighs, and walks to the refrigerator and takes out the orange juice and gets two glasses, "No, Angela----Cordell and I are not having sex---but we've talked about it."
                 Angela's mouth drops open, "Cordell?  He's so shy about----talking about things----like that."
                 "Cordell is not as shy as you think your brother is, and 'yes'---we've discussed it. Cordell says---that we will not rush it---but at the same time---we'll be prepared," Dana lowers her voice, "he does carry a condom, you know."
                  Angela lowers her voice too, "So do half the boys at Springtown Jr. High----that doesn't mean anything---the condoms are passed out in the infirmary, and have been for years---it's a state law now."
                "Angela, the twins are in high school now--at least they will be---when all of this is over with---and they come home and can get back to a normal life."
            "I know, my Mom has had to go to the school and get special permission for them to start at a later date.  Thank God, they both carry "A" averages----and can keep their averages up to get into college.  I have to fight to keep a "B" average------why are all the men smarter in this family than the girls?"
            Dana shrugs, "Beats me--- it's a man's world with everything revolving around them---Cordell is so smart---I love to listen to him when he reads those novels in Russian. He makes them sound so romantic."
               Angela drinks her juice, and looks back at Dana, "Dana---you're not seriously thinking about losing----your----virginity------are you?"
            "If the time is right and it feels right---then 'yes'-------Angela----most of our friends have already lost theirs."
                 Angela sighs, "I'll bet we're the laughing stock of Springtown High---we must be the only two virgins left----sometimes---I feel so weird. I like being with J.W., he makes me feel good and when we kiss----I feel all 'jittery' inside--and I like it when he touches me----in certain places-.  But then, I think of him being with that girl in Chicago and I get angry---I wanted to be his first---not her."
            "You see, Angela---well, I'm going to be Cordell's first---I'm not going to let another girl have the chance-----then if things don't work out for us----I won't be sitting here---having regrets that I didn't at least----try."
                  Angela smiles, "You know what, Dana----you've come a long ways in the past year--you're no longer that shy little girl that would shy away from these topics--you've started being more vocal about how you feel---and that's good---to a point."
            "What do you mean?"
                   "Remember, I said not to rush things with Cordell, he's sort of old fashioned in a lot of ways---he likes to be in charge. Now, don't get me wrong, but that's one of the things that Cordell noticed about you---that you were shy and you didn't come across like all of my other girlfriends as giggly and know-it-alls.   It's okay to stand up for what you believe, but with Cordell---if you get too liberated---he might run---in the opposite direction."
               "Yeah," recalls Dana and the way Cordell was acting towards her having the driver’s' license, and him being in the passenger seat. "But, I can't help that I'm older than him and I got my license first."
                Angela shakes her head, "What are you talking about---earth to Dana-dah?"
            "Sorry, I was thinking out loud, then you're still saying I should not---push anything?"
            "That's what I'm saying---it has to be totally my brother's idea."
            Dana smiles weakly, "Well, okay---but, Angela, things are going to be different once Cordell starts high school---more girls are going to start noticing him."
            "Let them---then this will prove if it's meant to be between you two."
            "Look, Angela---you're my best friend and all---but your advice on how to handle boys---is not all that---you can't even get things straight with you and J.W.!"
            "I know," sighs Angela, brushing her long hair back, "I thought that after I started dating, that things would start falling in place for me and J.W.----and then all of this started with my Daddy being missing and all----- Sometimes I think maybe I should just be a nun and forget guys all together."
            Dana laughs, "If you became a nun, half the boys at Springtown would commit 'Hari-Kari'---I think they're all taking bets on who--------"
                "Taking bets--on what?"
                  "Never mind, Angela----I didn't mean to say that."
            "Dana---are the boys really taking bets---on with who I will lose my virginity?"
            Dana nods her head slowly, "Yeah----they are---everyone seems to think that J.W. has the inside track--but Billy Pearson and Bobby Vick have both said they will have you 'bedded' by the holidays!"
                  Angela shakes her head, "Not in their lifetimes--it will never happen---I can assure you of that----they got their nerve."
            The girls continue talking as Gordon walks in to make fresh tea. Angela nods to Dana to change the subject.


                                              ********************************* 

            The twins are saying goodbye to their new friend, letting him take the remainder of the food and Cordell gives the $20 back to him.
            "Good luck to you my friends, I hope you find what you are looking for---remember to stay close to the main road, even after you find a place to hide your father's truck. Do not trust the Federales---they have a habit of shooting first, asking questions later."
            The boys shake hands, and Cooper replies, "Good luck to you too, I hope you reach Arizona----maybe someday we can all get together and have a cold one."
            The boy laughs, and goes on his way, he stops and looks back at them---"May God go with you both---adios."
            The twins start west, Cooper keeps looking back in the direction the boy took, "I sure feel lonely right now---I wish our paths could have been going in the same direction---he was nice."
              Cordell nods, "Yeah---I feel lonely too---come on bro'---we got to find some shelter for the night."

                                   ****************************************

            The whole sky lights up as the war has started, rockets are flashing across the sky as Walker and Trivette head for cover. Trivette grabs a rifle and throws it to Walker.
                   Walker looks at the gun and swears, "It's no wonder this Diablo is whipping ass----these guns are at least twenty years old---doesn't the fool government believe in giving their soldiers more updated artillery?"
                     "Reckon not," shouts back Trivette------"INCOMING---they're circling around---where the hell did this Diablo get his army?"
                 Walker takes aim at the figures coming over the rise, and two terrorists bite the dust. "I'm not sure where he got them----but I can assure you--they didn't come cheap-----with the company he keeps."
                   Trivette stares back at his partner, as more troops are coming on the scene---"Calvary coming----John Wayne to the rescue."
            The Rangers watch as the troops start giving chase to the small band, Walker throws his rifle down.  "They'll be back---and more of them---and bigger weapons----and these rifles will be like bb guns compared to them!"
                   Trivette reaches down and pulls Walker to his feet, "Come on partner---let's go get you some food-----and some---decaf----coffeeeeeeee."
                   "Never mind the food, Trivette, I want to call home---is there a phone in this god forsaken camp?"
            "We'll see what we can rustle up, partner."


                                               ******************************

            Pappa is watching the sky light up from all the fires that are being set, and the gunfire is increasing and getting closer. He looks back to Tony who is starting to wake.  He whispers to himself, Oh lord---please take care of Juan and bring him back safely."
                 "Pappa!  I have returned---I have food---and lots of it"! Juan is running towards the old man, holding up the sacks.
            Juan is grinning as he shows the food to the old man, then he nudges his nephew awake-----"Tony---eat----I have food."
            Tony's little eyes grow wide at the sight of all the food, as does the old man's. "Juan----Where did you get all of his?"
                "Never mind, Pappa---eat---there are enchiladas, tamales, rice, beans, frijoles---eat—eat."
            Tony is grabbing food in both hands as Juan reaches inside his shirt and brings out cans of cola, handing them to his family. Pappa stares back at the cans of coke, "Where in tarnation did you get these?"
            Juan is all smiles, "From El Dos Angelas."
            The old man is feeding his face and drinking the cola, "Angels, huh---do these angels have names?"
            "No, Pappa---they would not say what their names are---but they are 'gemelos'---they are on a 'quest' to find their father."
            "Twin angels---I'll be darn------and they are looking for their father----down here?  Are they Americans?"
            "Si, Pappa---they are very nice----and the one---he gives me this, " and Juan takes out the candy bar and shows it to Tony. The boy looks back at it, puzzled. Juan has tears in his eyes as he looks back at the old man.
            "My 'sobrino' has never had candy before---he does not know what it is."
            Pappa laughs and takes the candy bar, taking a small bite and then handing it to the boy, smacking his lips. The boy grabs it and takes a big bite, he stares back at his Uncle----"Candy--esta bueno."
            They all laugh as Juan stands up and looks north, "The gunfire is getting closer, Pappa---we have to find shelter."
            The old man nods, taking Tony's hand and standing up beside Juan, "You're so right about that, son---lets' head back to that old burned out barn we passed last evening----we'll be safe there."
            Juan starts to follow, then he stops and looks back in the direction he came from, "Pappa----the gemelos--- I'm afraid for them---they do not know the language----or our country---I have to go back for them."
            "Are you crazy, Juan---you can't go back out there----it's too dangerous!"
            "I have to look for them Pappa---I will return as soon as I can---take care of Tony---I'll be back."
            The boy starts running back to the area in which he last saw the twin angels, "I pray I am not too late----God---take care of them."


                                           **************************

            The phone has been ringing all evening and Gordon is threatening to unplug it.
            "Dad---don't you dare!  The twins might call or Jimmy could call with news about Walker, don't you dare unplug those phones."
                      "Okay, okay, pumpkin---I was just thinking about you---honey --you need to get some rest---I'll wake you as the news breaks."
            Alex is holding the baby and trying to keep from crying, "I'm okay Dad----is Little Ray still asleep?"
            "Yes, he conked out about half an hour ago---I think the poor little guy cried himself to sleep----Angela, honey---take your brother upstairs and tuck him in—okay, baby?"
               Angela stares back at her grandpa at the mention of 'baby'---he's never called her that before. She starts to reply then decides to drop it, "O.k., Grandpa----come on Dana---I'll fix up Cooper's bed for you."
                     Gordon takes a deep sigh as he looks to Sue Winchester--"What about you---care to spend the night with a dirty old man?"
            Sue looks back to Alex and shakes her head, "I think I'll go home-------"
            "Oh Sue---don't be silly---stay the night----Daddy will behave himself, won't you, Dad?"
                 Gordon stares back at his daughter and smiles mischievously, "Now, this is a switch--my daughter setting down the rules for the old man------I don't recall setting such rules for you, young lady."
            The baby is starting to get fussy as Alex kisses the side of her head, then sticks her tongue out at her Dad, "You would have, if you had thought it would have done any good---Sue---you are more than welcome to spend the night---with or without that dirty old man."
            Sue excuses herself and goes to get ready for bed, Gordon smiles and takes his granddaughter into his arms, "You're sure doing a good job about covering up your feelings, pumpkin-----you are so tense, I can feel it."
            "Dad, I am so scared---I have a feeling that the next time that phone rings---it will be bad news---I don't know if I can take it."
            "You go get the baby's bottle ready, I'll take care of this little girl----she and grandpa have some talking to do."
            It is now midnight, the Walker household is asleep except for Alex, and she is pacing back and forth. The phone rings, scaring her, she stands there and stares at it----she starts screaming for Angela.
                   Angela and Dana come running across the hallway, Alex is pointing at the phone---I can't---I can't---it's bad news---I can't take it."
            Dana runs to Alex and Angela slowly picks up the phone, ---she answers softly, "Hello."
                 Angela stares back at her Mother, her eyes fill with tears---"It's Daddy--at least--I think so---I can barely hear him."
            Alex is shaking so bad she can barely move, Dana steadies her and she picks up the phone, "Walker-----Walker----is it really you?"
                    "ALEX------Alex---yes, it's me!"
            Alex is now crying harder, she motions for Angela to take the phone.
                   "Daddy," she sobs, "are you okay---where are you----are you coming home, we miss you so much, Daddy."
                     Walker has tears in his eyes and his voice is breaking, Trivette nods to the other men and they walk out of the tent.
            "Angela---baby---is your Mother okay---oh baby---it feels so good to hear your voices."
                     "Yours too, Daddy---I was afraid I might not ever hear your voice again---I love you, Daddy---please come home---soon."
            "I love you too, baby---let me talk to your Mom---okay, baby?"
                   Angela hands the phone to her Mother, and she motions for Dana to follow her out.
               'Walker----I can barely hear you---where are you?"
                      Trivette's cell phone keeps breaking up and the static is so loud that Walker has to keep taking it away from his ear---"-Alex-----are you there?"
            Alex keeps straining to hear her husband's voice----"Yes----yes---I'm here----Walker are you okay---Walker, I never wanted to leave you---they forced me---I didn't want to leave you, I swear'--------"
            "Alex---honey--listen to me---the phone is breaking up so bad---I can hardly hear you----honey----I'm not blaming you----Trivette has explained everything to me-----Alex----are you okay?"
            She's nodding her head up and down, laughing and crying at the same time---"Yes---yes---yes---Walker---just come home---get the twins----and come home ---please."
                  Walker takes the phone away from his ear----"Get the twins? Alex, what are you talking about----where are Cooper and Cordell---aren't they there with you?"
            The static is getting worse, Alex keeps clicking the volume buttons, "Walker----honey---speak up---I can't hear you--what did you say about the boys?"
                 Walker hears every other word that Alex is saying--then the line goes dead. He curses to himself and tries dialing the number again, he gets no dial tone----"TRIVETTE!"
              Trivette comes running back in as he sees Walker slamming his fist into his cell phone, he takes it from him, "Whoa-----go easy on the equipment, partner."
            "I can't get it to work, call Alex back----what's the matter with that damn thing?"
                  Trivette starts dialing the Walker number, and looking back at his partner, he can't get a dial tone either, "My phone has had a cardiac arrest with you banging on it----there's no dial tone-----we've lost all contact."
            "Well----get another one----surely someone else in this damn place has a phone or some kind of radio that we can transmit out on."
            "Calm down, Walker----the radios can't be used except for military emergencies------I doubt we'll get an outside number-----all of the lines have been hit."
                       Walker is walking in circles---"Alex said something about the twins---what is she talking about----are they down here with you?"
                  Trivette takes a deep breath, "Not exactly, partner----they came down on their own."
                   Walker's eyes get big, as he stares back at Trivette---"What?  On their own?  How----how did they get down here?"
                   Trivette relays the story to his partner about the twins coming down in the Ram and crossing at Matamoras, he watches the look on Walker's face turn to complete horror. "I can't believe this----my boys are down here----in this god forsaken country-----alone?"
            "I'm sorry Walker, I was trying to tell you before you called Alex---but you refused to listen----Alex said the twins called her earlier this morning----and they're both fine."
                    Walker is grabbing a gun and starting for the exit, Trivette pulls him back---"Walker----calm down---you can't go out there looking for them----in your condition----get something to eat, man."
            "I can't think about food, Trivette----my boys are out there-----" Walker's legs are starting to become weak, he keeps trying to walk, then he falls to the ground. He keeps trying to get up, and Trivette motions for one of the guards to help carry him to a cot. He then turns to the guard.
            "Get him something to eat---hurry----and get him a change of clothes."
               Trivette lays his partner back on the cot, Walker is still trying to get up as he throws his arms around, "Trivette---let me up----my boys----I got to get to them."
                    "You're not going anywhere, Walker---until you get some food in you----and out of these stinking clothes," Trivette fans the air--"no offense, partner----but you stink!"
                     Trivette---please--there's no time-----no---no time---to eat" Walker's voice trails off, as he goes in and out of a light sleep. The guards come running back in with some soup, and Trivette takes it from them and motions them away. Another guard brings in a pair of pants and a shirt.
                   Trivette lays the soup and clothes down beside Walker.
                  Trivette says softly, "What kind of hell have you been through, partner"?

Seekers-Quest-18

By Sasquaw

            Trivette and Major Sanchez are going over the strategy for their next defense attack. It's been almost two hours since Walker has fell asleep, when he comes stumbling out of the tent, tucking his clean shirt inside his pants.
              "Walker----you okay, man---did you eat/"
            "Yeah, yeah----I ate---and I changed my stinking clothes---now can we please get of here and go look for my boys?"
            "Just take it easy, Walker-----"
            "I can't take it easy," Walker yells back---"would you be taking it easy if that were J.W. out there?"
            Trivette puts his hands up---"No----I wouldn't---but Walker----you're still too weak to go out there------"
            Walker grunts, grabbing a rifle and a pistol, "I'm going to find my boys----now you can come with me---or you can stay behind---I really don't have time for all of this bickering!"
            Trivette looks back at the major---"Sorry guys---but you and your government are on your own----I'm going with my friend----and I would appreciate it if you would tell your men to look out for us--we're not the enemy----so tell them to watch who they're shooting at."
            The Major stares back at the black Ranger---"You Americans think you are so hot---that only you know how to fight a war---you did not do so well in that Viet Nam war---did you? Your boys came home with their tails tucked between their legs----baby killers!"
            Trivette turns quickly to see Walker let out with a string of curse words and go for the Major, knocking him to the ground. Walker is slamming his fist into the man's face, "Baby killers----huh?" Walker slams his fist into the officer's face again as Trivette and three other men start pulling Walker off of the man.
            Walker is kicking and trying to get back at the officer, Major Sanchez is ordering that Walker be arrested. Trivette starts trying to make peace and begging the officer not to press charges.
            "Come on, Major----my friend can't be held responsible for his actions right now---he's been held captive for the last three months, he hasn’t eaten a decent meal since God knows when----and his kids are out there---alone!  Give him some slack, man."
            The officers snorts, staring back at Walker and rubbing his hand across his bloody face. He points his finger at Trivette.
            "You best get your friend out of my sight-----and explain to him---that we do not need Texas trying to tell us how to win a war----all of you--filthy Texans are still fighting the battle at the Alamo."
            Walker is again trying to get away from the guards---"Yeah-----and that small band of Texans----whipped the asses of thousands of your soldiers-----Santa Anna sent thousands of young soldiers to a certain death----now who is the baby killers?"
            The Major and his men are starting to get angrier, the Major is spitting fire as Trivette again tries to be the 'go between' "Get out of here---now---before we both get thrown in the pokey."
            Walker starts to argue, and Trivette shoves him to their waiting jeep----"NOW, Walker---or so help me----you and I will be having our own war."
            Trivette watches as Walker stomps to the jeep. Trivette looks to the Major and says calmly, "Now, I know that we all get a little testy where war is concerned---we Americans get very testy about Viet Nam---and you guys get testy about losing the Alamo---but this is no time to---------"
            "We did not lose the Alamo-----it was taken from us by your government and your stinking Texas soldiers."
            Trivette tilts his head sideways, "First of all, I'm not a Texan---I was born and raised in Baltimore----that's not in Texas---its back east---Maryland."
            The Major laughs and looks to his men, mocking the name "Baltimore-----city of  queers---"---it is no wonder you choose to be a Texas Ranger and live in Texas---there's nothing there but queers and steers!"
             Trivette forces a smile, "Is that so” and then the black Ranger slams a fist into the Major's face and the fight is on----again. Walker is watching from the jeep, he shakes his head in disgust and dives headfirst into the melee of brawlers.


                                       *******************************

            The twins are watching from the shelter of an old cave, as they watch as more men are heading for the City, heavy artillery is being dragged behind on wagons.
            "Holy shit, Cordell----they got big weapons."
            "Yeah----I can see that---I'm not blind."
            Cooper shakes his head, "This Diablo must be very powerful to obtain these kinds of guns, I see all kinds of automatic weapons----and even some sort of cannon is being brought in---do those things still work?"
                   "They're not cannons, Coop---they're mortars----similar to the ones used in the world wars-----but more advanced---they now carry grenade launchers."
            Cooper nods, "Yeah---I remember Dad talking about using them in Nam---they can ruin the day of a whole village----after you've been hit by those 'mothers'---you don't feel like getting up in the morning.---Even if you don't take a direct hit---the repercussions on your head can rattle your brains-----sort of the way I feel right now---my head still hurts from the fist of that MONK!----I swear, Cordell when and if we get out of here---I would love to go one on one with that gorilla."
            Cordell looks back to his brother and frowns, "Get off it, bro'----that gorilla will pulverize you---he's more than three times your size----are you suffering from a concussion?"
            Cooper hits his brother on the shoulder, "No---I'm not having a concussion----what about you---don't you want revenge against those guys that were using you for a punching bag?"
            His brother nods, "Yeah----especially that one that slammed me up against the wall----Lupe's husband."
            "Then, lets make a pact----when this is over---we got a score to settle---right, bro'?"
            They touch their fists together, --"You got it, bro-----I just hope we're alive to settle that score."
            The boys continue talking and Cordell puts his hand up to his mouth in 'shoosh'---"Quiet, Coop-----I heard something---someone's coming."
            The twins scoot back deeper into the cave, then try to peep out the opening, and Cooper replies, "It's that kid—Cordell."
            The twins call out to the boy in a low voice, he turns to see them emerging from the cave. He takes a deep sigh.
            "You're safe---I was afraid that you had been taken---come with me---it is better that we all stick together."
            The twins are eager to join the boy, "What about Arizona---you're going in the wrong direction."
            "Maybe so----but right now, none of us can pick our direction---we will have to just deal with the problems at hand, first.  Come----we have some shelter---come."
            The twins follow the boy to an old burned out barn--some farm animals are still laying around the front of what is left behind. The twins hold their noses as they step over the charred bodies, as Juan pulls them to the very back.
                  "Pappa----we are here---I have found the angels."
            The twins look back and forth at each other and Cooper replies, "Angels?  Is he referring to us?"
            Cordell shrugs, "Just remember---don't tell our names---we trust no one—agreed?"
            Pappa emerges from the back of the barn, Tony is holding onto his hand, staring back at the twins.
            "Come-----we have a place cleared out back here that the stench is not so bad," Pappa gestures to the boys, they follow.


                                                   ********************************

            The jeep is traveling as fast as the driver can keep it on the road, as he keeps looking at his busted lip and then to the bearded man seated beside him.
            "I don't suppose you know where we're going?" he asks
            "Just head in the direction of the Matamoras border, if they are keeping to the side roads, our best bet is to stay on the main road as much as possible-----I can't believe you, Trivette."
            The black Ranger stares back at his friend, "Me---what did I do?"
            Walker glares back, "I can't believe you let those boys come down here---alone!  Didn't you try to stop them?"
            "First of all, Walker--I did not let those boys come down here---Alex did."
            "Alex? There's no way she would have allowed them to come down by themselves---for Christ’s sake, Trivette---you're their Godfather, didn't you try to stop them?"
            Trivette slams on the brakes and Walker hits the dashboard. The Ranger turns to his friend who is rubbing his forehead.
            "Let's get something straight, Walker---I did not know the twins were on their way down here till Alex told me--by then they were more than halfway to the border. Secondly, you know how stubborn those boys are, as stubborn as the day is long---just like their father!  Even if I could have talked them out of it then, they would have waited for another time--and Alex knew this!!! My God---look how long she's put up with you and your cockeyed adventures."
                    Adventures?  This was no adventure, Trivette----I was kidnapped--not on some cockeyed adventure as you put it!"
            "I understand that, partner---what the hell do you think I've been doing for the last 3 months---looking for you---that's what!  Never mind that I've put my life on hold for the last 3 months, taking time away from my own son to ride herd on your rowdy bunch! And, who do you think that Alex has had to lean on for the past 3 months--I've been with your family night and day---I've cried right along with them---thinking you were never coming back----not knowing what the hell happened!  Hell at one time---we thought you had just got fed up with everything and took off to that place---'ten buck two'----or whatever the hell you call it!"
            Walker shakes his head, "Wait a minute---you thought I had just left? That I left my family---how the hell can you think such a thing?"
                 "Because there was nothing to indicate that you had been taken against your will----the newspapers picked up on it----they said-----"
            "They said what, Trivette---what?  What were they implying?"
            Trivette starts the jeep back up, "They were implying that---you left----to be with another woman."
                   Walker's eyes bore into the black Ranger, "What woman? Where did they get that damn idea----what woman?"
            Trivette is stammering---"Well---at first---no one knew---and now---this latest story has-----you leaving------to be with----Liberty."
                    Walker's face goes blank, "Liberty?  Liberty?   How the hell did her name come up in this------I haven't seen or heard from that woman---in years! It's been close to about 20 years---since I've even spoke her name."
            Trivette looks back to his partner, "Is that the truth, man?"
            "Of course it's the truth--------that was over with Liberty---years ago---I haven't seen or heard from her---what made you think I had?"
            Walker listens quietly as Trivette tells him of the accusation being made by Adlen that he is Adlen's father. Walker starts searching his mind for dates and the year that he was involved with Liberty, he shakes his head.
            "What does Alex say to all of this?"
            "Well, at first----when you first disappeared, she tried to keep up her belief in you----but damn it, Walker----the woman was being pulled apart with all those accusations------her faith had to waver at some point."
            "Alex believes that I was here----with another woman?"
            "Yes---no---I mean she didn't know what to believe, Walker. The boys and I went over every inch of your ranch looking for clues as to what might have happened to you---whoever took you--erased all the evidence-----there was nothing!!!!”
            "Then, how did Alex come to the conclusion that I had been kidnapped-----she believed ----I was with -----another woman?"
            Trivette tries to explain further, "What else could she think, partner----there was no ransom being asked------it was like you stepped off the face of the earth.!   Finally, one of my 'feelers' spotted you in one of the prisons----we put out a dragnet to investigate, the prisons started being moved----and of course the prisoners were moved to other locations! That's when Alex started throwing her weight around, we came down here, looking for you----she was hell on wheels, man----she started making heads roll.”
            Walker groans, holding his head-----"Then she still doesn't believe those stories---does she?  She can't, Trivette-----she knows I would never walk out on her and the kids----not for any woman."
            Trivette reaches over and slaps Walker on the shoulder, "She loves you, Walker-----you've both been through hell-----we'll all get through this, right, partner?"
            Walker stares down at the floorboard of the jeep, "God---what she and the kids must have been going through----how were they taking all of this?"
                 "They're only human, man---they had their moments---but none of them ever stopped loving you.  Even Little Ray was feeling the tension."
            "Is he okay----what happened?"
            "Alex said he got into some fights-----some kid told him----that you had left him------and was never coming back----the kid was crushed."
            Walker straightens up in his seat, "Stop the jeep, Trivette."
            Trivette pulls over to the side of the road and Walker jumps out, heading down the embankment, Trivette starts to follow, then backs off. He watches his partner get down to the riverbed, where Walker paces back and forth. He can hear him swearing.


                                                    *****************************

            The old man has taken the leftover beans and is making a bean soup. Juan is keeping lookout and Tony is staring back at the twin angels. Pappa smiles and hands the twins an old can, filled with the watered down beans.
            "I'm sorry we don't have a extra cup---you two will have to share."
            The twins smile and say thank you, and Cooper drinks half of the soup and then hands the rest to Cordell.
            “Here bro'----it tastes good and it's hot."
            Cordell drinks his half as he keeps staring back at Pappa. "Thank you, ----Pappa---for sharing your food with my brother and me."
            Pappa grins, filling Tony’s tin can---"I'm the one that should be thanking you two----Juan told me how you two made it possible for him to purchase the food.  Yep----you two are the closest things to angels that this old eye has seen-----in many a moon."
            Cordell smiles, "We're not angels, sir---far from it! We just happen to be at the right place at the right time----we were all hungry."
            Juan comes walking back, "All is clear, my friends------the armies are going around us----but we should all still stick together."
            Cordell keeps staring at Pappa, "Excuse me sir----but have you ever been to Texas?"
            Pappa shakes his head, "Been through there a couple of times, kind of hard to miss it----if you step too far east."
            "Then------you never lived there?"
            Pappa stares back at Cordell, "Why all of the questions, son?"
            Cordell tries to smile---"Nothing-----I didn't mean to sound nosey-----but------you sort of remind me of someone--I'm sorry."
            "It's okay, son-----if we didn't have questions, there would be no need for answers---here---drink more of this soup----then you and your brother get some sleep---you both look exhausted."
            "You got that right, sir---we hardly slept at all with all the fireworks going on," replies Cooper. "I'm going to conk out------is that okay?"
            Cooper tries to find a spot to stretch out, and Cordell joins him. He speaks to his brother in a low tone, "Hey Coop----does that old man look familiar to you?"
            "Yeah----sort of.  I'm tired Cordell---I can hardly keep my eyes open, will you keep the first watch?"
            "Yeah, sure bro'---- sleep tight."
            Cooper keeps tossing and turning, he looks up at his twin who is still staring at the old man.
                  "Cordell?"
                      "What?"
            "What do you think Mom and the rest of them are doing about now? It should be close to supper time----what do you think they're having?"
            Cordell turns and looks at his brother, "Well---it's a Thursday----I would guess that Angela has made lasagna or smothered pork chops----in that mushroom gravy-----with heaps of potatoes, a green bean salad, maybe some corn on the cob-----ice tea-----and," Cordell smacks his lips----"and for dessert---apple Strudel with hot Cinnamon dripping across it."
            Cooper is drooling, "Yeah---apple strudel---that's Mom's favorite."
            Cordell continues to watch the old man, "I can't shake the feeling that I've seen that old man somewhere—before."
            "Give it a rest, bro------and try and get some sleep."
            "How can I sleep--one of us has to keep watch."


                                               *****************************

            Walker ranch: The whole household is laughing and crying as Angela relays the message over and over from her Daddy.
            "How did he sound, punkin---is he okay?"
                    "Grandpa----he sounded great---his voice---I can still hear his voice, can't you, Mom?"
            Alex is glowing as she reaches down to pick up Little Ray---"YES----your Daddy sounded great-----did you hear that, my baby----Daddy called and he said to give all of you-----a great big kiss---especially his ‘buckaroo’!”
            The boy is giggling and squeezing Alex so hard she can barely talk, "Daddy---come home?"
            "Soon, sweetheart----Daddy will be home soon."
            Little Ray scrambles to get down from his Mother's arms as he runs to the baby being held by Dana.
            "You hear that, baby thister---Daddy come home," he grabs her and starts kissing her. The baby makes a face back at her big brother and blows him a spit bubble. Everyone laughs as Alex starts pulling out the frying pans.
            "I hope everyone is hungry----cause Angela and I are going to make a grand slam breakfast."
            Angela grins, " A grand slam breakfast----now why would you think of that at a time like this Mom?"
            "Just never you mind, daughter dearest----the breakfast is synonymous with the expression, that's all," Alex replies with a slight grin.
            Angela grins, "Uh huh----more like in comparison to my conceivement---is more like it."
                  Everyone laughs as Alex squeezes her daughter close to her, "You are so correct-----and it's almost that time of the season again."
            Gordon shakes his head, "Well, thank God----you won't be conceiving----------"
            Gordon stares back at Alex who has become very quiet. "I'm sorry, punkin---me and my big mouth----I didn't mean that---the way it came out---Oh damn---why can't I think things out before I go spouting off?  Alexandra---I'm sorry."
            "Dad," Alex goes to her father and hugs him, "I know you didn't mean it the way it came out.  Nothing is going to spoil this terrific mood that we are all in.----I've had five healthy and beautiful babies---Walker and I would have loved to have a dozen----but it just wasn't meant to be. I can't have anymore babies---and that makes me sad---but I'm also so very grateful to the ones I have and----I pray that my two oldest boys are safe----Walker will find them---I know he will."
            "Of course he will, Alex," Sue puts her arms around Alex---"I would love to stay for that 'grand slam breakfast'---but I have got to get to my office--I'll call you later---Dana, are you ready?"
            "I'll walk you out, honey," Gordon follows Sue to the door.
            "Well, I guess it's just us, Angela, Grandpa, Little Ray and our latest little bundle from heaven----C.D."


                                                   **********************

            Cooper has slept late, and he feels someone tugging on his shirtsleeve. He looks up to see the round dark, eyes of Tony staring back at him.
            Cooper reaches up and playfully squeezes the boy' s nose----"And, good morning to you too."
            Tony pulls on Cooper's arm harder, urging him to get up and play, as Pappa is sitting nearby, watching them. Cooper jumps up and starts chasing the boy, Tony is squealing and running to Pappa for protection. Cooper grabs him, throwing him up on his shoulders and running around, acting like a horse.
            Pappa smiles, "There is nothing more precious than the sound of a child---laughing ----and Lord--you know that boy has not had too much to laugh about."
            Cooper comes back beside the fire that Pappa has built, and looks around for his brother. "Where's Cor----I mean---where is my brother?"
            "Here son, have some warm goats' milk---your brother and Juan have gone to look for food again-----and to keep an eye on Diablo’s' men----making sure we have plenty of time to get out of their way."
            Cooper takes the milk and drinks it, then makes a face, "Yuk---that tastes terrible."
            Pappa laughs, and nods to Cooper's jeans and cowboy hat-----"So you're just one of those drugstore cowboys---not a real one, huh?"
            "You're wrong about that, sir---my brother and I were born on a ranch---and have lived on one---ever since!  We have cows for milk---not goats."
            "Then, you've tasted goat's milk before?"
            "Yes sir---I didn't like it then and I still don’t--it's too sweet."
            "Well, I don't much care for it, myself---but beggars can't be choosy, can we?"
            "No sir, my mom has told me to be grateful for the things I receive and not look a gift horse in the mouth-----no--wait that's what grandpa always says----anyways---something along that line."
            Pappa is laughing harder as Tony commences on Cooper to play horse with him again--"Okay, okay, I'll be the horse----you can be the cowboy."
            Cooper has played with the boy till he drops to the ground in exhaust. "Have pity---on this old horse-----I got to rest."
            Tony crawls up to Cooper,  "Me, Tony-----you?"
            Cooper points to himself, "My name is Cooper----glad to know you, Tony."
            They continue to play as the old man is preparing some cabbage that he has salvaged, he listens to their laughter, smiling. Cooper is telling him a story about outlaws and then he stops and points to himself.
            “I was named after a famous outlaw and bounty hunter--did you know that?"
            The boy shakes his head and urges Cooper to keep talking, though he doesn't understand everything that his "angel" is saying to him.
            Pappa is cutting up some onions to put in the cabbage stew, he says Cooper's name out loud, "That's a very famous name  ----who were you named after---Gary Cooper?"
            Cooper stares back, "Gary Cooper---who's that?"
            "He was a very famous actor---played in many westerns---probably a outlaw or bounty hunter at one time ------"
            "Oh yeah----I know who you're talking about now---he played in that movie--"High Noon" about a sheriff who was told to leave on the noon stage or he would be killed---I've seen that movie!!!"
            "Yep---old Coop was quite a actor---he won a academy award for that movie-----he was believable in that role. Not too many men would have stood up to that band of bad men."
            Cooper grins, "My Dad wouldn't have run either---he would have faced them---my Dad is not afraid of any man--no matter what their size-- or how many there are. I've seen my Dad take on as many as ten men at a time  --my Dad whips butt."
            Pappa nods, "Is that so?  Your Daddy sounds like a real superman--you sure have him high on a pedestal."
            "Maybe so---but this Gary Cooper doesn't even attempt to measure up to my Dad----or Hayes Cooper."
            Pappa drops the onions in the pot and almost topples over himself, "What------what did you say?"
            Cooper stares back at him, "I said--that Gary Cooper couldn't measure up to Hayes Cooper---he was a lawman at one time----a Texas Ranger."

 
                                                       ***********************

            Walker and Trivette have risen early to get started on another trek, heading towards the Matamoras border. Trivette keeps looking at his partner who is now behind the wheel, his face rigid. Walker has said very little, he stayed down by the riverbed for the longest, Trivette knew to give him his space.
            Trivette opens the thermos and pours a cup of coffee, handing it to Walker; his partner mumbles a 'thank you'.
            Trivette stammers, "Look, Walker-----stop blaming yourself for what has happened----I know you are eaten up inside at all the grief that this has caused Alex and the kids---but it's not your fault that you were taken away from them-----they just want you home---you and the twins."

 

Seekers-Quest-19

By Sasquaw

Walker sips his coffee, "I know, and before we go any further---I want to thank you for looking out for Alex and the kids---I didn't mean to jump all over you back there--I was just scared for the boys.  I know you would have tried to stop them if you could."
            "It's okay, big guy-----I understand how upset and scared you were---it's understandable. You know I would do anything for Alex and those kids----the same way you would look out for J.W.--we may not be blood related--but I've always thought of you as my brother."
            Walker smiles, "Yeah----you're the brother I never had---you're always there for me---always there. We fight just like brothers-----but we have each other's backs--always!! I'm just surprised that as hot headed and stubborn as J.W. is, that he's not down here with the twins."
            Trivette nods his head up and down, "Yep---just like brothers---well my boy is not down here because we had a death in the family and he's back east.  Hey big guy-----that felt like the old days back there, mixing it up with Sanchez--remember the fights we got involved in----you always had to hit someone."
            "Me?  Trivette--you always start the fights----I just 'clean up'!"
            Trivette and Walker start laughing, "Oh man, Walker---how I yearn for those good old days when you and Alex, me and C.D.---remember when we all went down to Galveston, and 'big dog' was looking to buy that boat and-----------oh no!"
            Walker is starting to unwind, as he looks back to Trivette, "What?  What about that trip to Galveston?"
            Trivette takes a deep breath, "I was going to tell you this last night--but I felt like you had enough laid on you for one day----I have something else to tell you, Walker."
            The Ranger shakes his head, "From the sound of your voice--it's not good, is it?"
            "I'm not sure----I'm still reeling from the news myself."
            "Are you going to tell me or not, what else is going to happen---just lay it out."
            Trivette tells Walker about the possibility that their dear friend, C.D. Parker may still be alive---at Crescent Arms.


                                              *****************************


            Pappa stares back at Cooper, "How do you know about Hayes Cooper----he was way before your time?"
            Cooper hesitates, he's already said too much, Cordell told him not to mention any names, "Ahhh---I just heard about him, that's all."
            The old man stares at Cooper for the longest, a blank look on his face, "But--you said you were named for Hayes Cooper---is that true?"
            Cooper swallows and starts looking around, hoping that Cordell will get back soon, the old man grabs him---"Did you hear me, boy----who named you?"
            Cooper starts backing up and trying to get away from the man--"Let go of me---you're scaring me---let go---or so help me-----I'll hit you, Pappa-----I mean it."
            Pappa takes his hands off of Cooper, and lowers his voice, "Please---I'm not wanting to scare you-----tell me---who named you?"
            Tony is staring back at his Pappa, with frightened eyes. Cooper swallows again, "My Dad-----my Dad named me----Hayes Cooper was one of his heroes."
            Pappa reels back, he starts mumbling to himself, "No----it can't be-----" he looks back to Cooper---"your name, boy----what's your name?"
            "I told you," pleads Cooper---"my name is Cooper."
                "Cooper what, what's your name, boy?"
            Cooper is stepping further away from the old man---"Why?  Why do you want to know my name?"
            The old man shakes his head, "Is your last name, Walker?"
            Cooper stops in his tracks---whispering low----"Do you know my Dad?"
            Pappa sits down hard on the ground, Tony runs to him. The old man starts to cry, Tony tries to comfort him, Cooper is in shock, because he doesn't know how to pursue the conversation. He approaches the old man slowly.
                     "Mister--------Pappa----do you know my Dad----have you seen him?"
            Pappa looks back up at Cooper, "If your Daddy's name is Cordell Walker---yes--I know him."
            Cooper starts smiling, "YES---YES--that's my Dad---where is he---have you seen him?"
            Pappa is still trying to clear his head as Juan and Cordell come running back to their campfire. "We got to go--now----Diablo's men---they are about a mile away----hurry Pappa---Tony--we got to go!"
            The old man is scrambling to get up and kicking dirt on the fire, the pot of cabbage is overturned as they hurry to make their escape. Cooper is just standing there, like he's in shock---Cordell grabs him.
            "Come on, bro---we have to move fast."
            Cooper grabs his brother's arm, "Cordell---Pappa---he knows Dad!"
            Cordell looks to his twin and then to Pappa who is staring back at them and then he turns and runs as fast as he can to catch up with Juan and Tony.
            Cordell waves his brother off, "We got no time for this Coop---we'll discuss it later."
                      Everyone is running as fast as they can, the old man is having trouble keeping up with the rest, Cooper runs up beside him, "Take my hand, Pappa---I'll support you."
            Cordell runs up on the other side of the old man, putting his arm around the old man's waist, "We'll hold you up--Pappa---just try to lean on us as much as you can."
            They can now hear the voices of Diablo's men, the shouting and the firing of their guns. Juan runs back to the old man and tries to help, Cooper waves him away----"Go---we got him---take care of Tony----go Juan---run as fast as you can!"
            Juan runs back to his nephew and leans down, "Climb on my back, Tony----hurry."
            They are running for their lives, the old man stumbles and the twins go down with him, he waves them on "Go----save yourselves---I'll only slow you down."
            The twins both shake their heads as they reach down and pull the man up---- and again they are running.
                                         ****************************


            Walker looks back to his friend in disbelief. "You're saying that C.D. could still be alive---where? There's no way, Trivette, he would have gotten in touch with one of us, there's just no way!"
            "Like I told you, Sam Ellis is going over Crescent Arms with a fine tooth comb---that's the only place C.D. could be---- hidden away and probably so 'doped' up---he couldn't get in touch with any of us."
            Walker shakes his head, so much as been laid on him in less than 24 hours, he scratches his beard, "Does Alex know---she must be devastated to hear this news, C.D. was like a second father to her, to all of us."
            "Yeah, I know, Walkman-----I'm still trying to get everything straight in my head---I can't believe I was so stupid not to suspect something--in that morgue----after that body was dug up--but"----Trivette's voice starts to break, "but I was already shocked and angry to know---to think--that Lava'cot murdered him----I didn't use common sense."
            "None of us were thinking straight, Trivette---stop blaming yourself!  I'm just as much to blame for not being there with you when the body was taken to the morgue. Besides-----what could you have suspected---what would you have been looking for? You say that the medical records were there and they matched-----you could not have known that wasn't CD's body!!!-------Our first mistake was not asking for an autopsy to be done--17 years ago when C.D. 'supposedly' died of a heart attack-----we took Murphy's word for it---C.D.'s oldest and dearest friend-----how could he have lied to us like to us like that?"
            "I don't know, Walker-----I just know that as soon as we get home, I'm going down to Crescent Arms---and I will personally go over all the patients' records, I will talk to every patient---I will find out if our friend is there."
            Walker looks to his friend, "And, I'll be there---right along beside you-----all the way.----We'll get answers, partner-----one way or the other."
            Walker and Trivette have heard the gunfire getting closer, so they stop the jeep and look around. Trivette points over the rise.
            "There are some people running for cover----looks like Diablo is breathing down their necks".
            "Ditch the jeep----we go the rest of the way on foot."
            The Rangers grab what weapons they can carry and start running to the aide of the fleeing villagers. They see a boy running with a smaller one on his back, their pace hastens as they run to them. Trivette is motioning for the boy to come towards them, as he and Walker get ready to give him cover.
            The bigger boy falls to the ground and the little one falls on top of him, Walker is grabbing the smaller boy and running with him, Trivette and the bigger boy follow.
            Walker points to a small embankment, and starts down with the boy who is hanging on for dear life and screaming for the older boy. They all four half stumble down the embankment and start looking for cover. Walker and Trivette have their weapons cocked, as they get ready for the attack. The older boy grabs the smaller one and puts him in between him and the dried riverbed. He holds the boy's head down, whispering words of protection.
            The army is roaring by in their jeeps, pulling the heavy artillery wagons behind. They have not seen the Rangers and the two boys running----they have seen the other three figures running, trying to keep an old man balanced between them. They laugh and start firing over their heads---they give chase.
            The older boy starts to climb back up the walls of the embankment---"Pappa-----Pappa, where are you?"
            Trivette pulls the boy back down, "Keep down----you want to get your fool head blown off?"
            Juan starts pleading with the black man to let him go, "Please----senor----my Pappa and the gemelos-----help them!"
            "What the hell is a ‘gemelos’?" asks Trivette.
            Walker shakes his head, "Hell, if I know---keep him down."
            Juan breaks away from Trivette and starts running to Walker, pulling on his arm----"Please----help my Pappa and the gemelos----they are just over that rise."
            Walker keeps pulling the boy down, "I don't know what you're saying, kid----what's a 'gemelos’?"
            Juan stops and looks at Walker, his face goes white, and then he starts rubbing his chest---"I have seen you before."
            Walker stares at Juan and then to the little boy-----"Yes---I've seen you before too----back near the embassy---you tried to rob me---you and that small band of----kids."
            Trivette stares back at his partner, "Hey, Walker---you think we can get past this reunion and get onto more pressing issues----like getting the hell out of here?"
            Juan starts shaking his head, "No-----no---please---my Pappa is out there---he's an old man---he can't keep up with the ‘Angeles Gemelos’--much longer."
            Walker starts repeating what the boy is saying, "Angels----Trivette---he's saying something about angels."
            "Right," replies Trivette as he attempts to pick up the little boy who is struggling to get out of his arms---"angels----and that's just what we're going to be---if we don't get out of here."
            Juan stops Trivette--"Senor, please----the angels, there are two of them."
            "I don't care how many there are, kid---we got to get out of here."
            Walker stares back at the boy, the hair on his neck begins to trickle, "Two----two angels? Who are they, what are their names?"
            Juan is screaming back at the two men, "I do not know senor----they are twins!"
            Both Walker and Trivette's faces go rigid as Walker's eyes grow wide-----"Twins? Oh my God---Trivette---it's my boys!"
            Walker is now climbing up the embankment. Trivette is trying to pull him back, "Walker----come back here---are you crazy?"
            Walker pulls out of Trivette's grasp and starts running in the direction that Juan has pointed to. Juan looks back to Trivette---"The boy angels- 'gemelos---twins--senor---two!"
            Trivette looks back at Juan, his brow arches---"And, you think that the Walker twins ---are angels?  Boy----are you off track---what kind of angels do you believe in, kid?"
            Juan shakes his head and grabs Tony's hand, climbing up the embankment and running after Walker, Trivette sighs, and then he takes off in pursuit.

 
                                                    ****************************


            The twins are following the riverbed, the old man is begging them to leave him and go on without him.
            "We're not leaving you, Pappa---if one of us goes down---we all go down," Cordell shouts back.
            Cooper is looking over his shoulder, "Cordell---they're gaining on us----where's that damn cave?"
            Cordell points to some grass--"Over there-----behind all of that grass---hurry, Cooper-----we got to get Pappa hidden."
            The boys have found the cave as they pull and tug on the old man, helping him to get inside. While Cordell pulls Pappa to the back of the cave, Cooper is pulling the weeds back over the entrance. He tries to brush away their tracks as much as possible, he can hear the men getting closer, as he runs inside the cave.
                  "They're coming, Cordell---they're so close I can hear them breathing."
            The twins move as far back into the cave as they can go, the air is getting thinner, the old man is having a difficult time breathing. Cordell stares at him, "Are you okay, Pappa---breathe slow."
                  "Cordell, what's wrong with him, is he having a heart attack?"
            "How the hell should I know---I'm no doctor."
            Pappa is motioning for the boys to be quiet as they hear the jeeps getting closer. They hear the men laughing and making jokes, they fire off a couple of rounds and then they continue down the riverbed. Pappa tells the boys to remain quiet; he can hardly speak, as his voice is dry.
            Cordell reaches into his back pack and takes out the last can of cola, "Here--Pappa, drink this---it's hot-----but it's wet!"
            The old man drinks the can half way down and then shoves it back to Cordell---"You and your brother finish the rest----I'll be fine."


                                                    ******************************


            Walker has lost track of the banditos, he's walking in circles trying to find a sign of some kind. Trivette and Juan run up to him, they are all breathing hard.
            "They just disappeared, Trivette----the tracks just end----where the hell did they go?"
            Trivette grabs Juan and starts pushing him back in the direction they came as he shouts.---" We got company, partner---they're doubling back," he shouts.
            Juan is backtracking and picking up his nephew, he calls out to the men, "Follow me---I know a place we can hide."
            Walker is not budging, he scans the hillside for sight of the boys, he wants to call out to them, but his instincts make him think better of it., he curses to himself.
            Trivette runs back to Walker, "Walker----come on---they're breathing down our butts----we'll come back later----partner----come on."
                   Reluctantly, the Ranger follows his partner, but he keeps stopping and looking around. Diablo's men are closing in.


                                             ************************


            The twins and the old man have listened for hours to the gunfire all around them.
            Pappa keeps his hands on his chest, "Oh God-----please help Juan and Tony escape---give them a chance to find happiness----you've forsaken them for so long."
            The twins have been saying their own little prayers, Cooper can't stop shaking, Cordell is staring back at the old man and then to his brother. Cordell walks over to Cooper and lays his hand on his brother's shoulder.
            "Hang tight bro'----we'll get through this."
            "I'm trying, Cordell---but I don't mind admitting it----I'm scared."
            "I'm scared too, Coop----any man would be."
            Cooper forces a smile, "News flash for you bro'---we're not men."
            "We've come this far and he's watched over us---he's not going to let us down now," Cordell tries to give his brother encouragement.
            Cordell walks slowly over to the old man, as Cooper looks around nervously and then walks faster to be by his brother's side. Pappa looks up at the twins, smiling slowly.  He laughs meekly.
            "So----Cordell and Alex had twin boys, did they?  My God----why didn't I see the resemblance sooner---it's in your eyes---you have you father's eyes."
            Cordell nods his head, "Now, I remember where I've seen you before--you're in the pictures."
            Cooper stares back at his brother, "What pictures, what are you talking about, Cordell?"
            Cordell is keeping his voice low, but steady---"Think back, Cooper----remember the picture that hangs over the bar in Grandpa CD's bar & grill? There are four people in that picture, Mom, Dad, Uncle Jimmy---and "one" C.D. Parker-----and that's you, isn't it, PAPPA!"
                    Cooper's mouth drops open, "It can't be--grandpa C.D. is dead----he's been dead for years, Cordell!"
            Cordell squints his eyes, "Tell him---Pappa----or should we call you, Grandpa?"
            The old man takes a deep breath-----"My name is Chester David Parker---but my friends and my family all called me C.D.------ by the tone in your voice young man---I don't suspect you would want to call me, Grandpa."
            "I'm confused----and a little angry----we were told that you were murdered almost---17 years ago---but, my parents and Uncle Jimmy still talk about you. They always said your memory would never die-----apparently---neither did you."
                  "Cordell---stop it."
            C.D. looks back at the boys, "You got a right to be angry boy---but you're angry at the wrong person!  Try blaming your parents and your Uncle James."
            Cooper sits down on the ground beside the old man, "Why are you angry at our parents---they've mourned you for so many years----our Mom still gets tears---just talking about you."
            "Why am I angry?  I'll tell you---they deserted me---that's what they did---they left me in that place--to rot!"
                 Cordell's anger is rising, "Don't you dare talk about our parents that way---I don't care who you are---you don't bad-mouth our parents!!!"
            "You and your brother have your father so high on a pedestal--that you think he's incapable of hurting anyone!  Well---you're wrong---they never tried to find me---they just gave up and left me there----in that loony bin! I tried to get in touch with them----I tried escaping from that crazy place----them crazy people kept me injected with something that made me as limp as a noodle.  They deserted me---do you hear me?"
            Cooper tries to calm C.D.----"Look--- we weren't even born yet---so don't take it out on us---all we know is--that as long as either of us can ever remember is our parents and Uncle Jimmy talking about you!  They have kept your memory alive, just as they have done with our Grandpa John and Grandma-Elizabeth, "Shopaw"----our great Uncle Ray. Our Dad made sure we never forgot you--even though we never had the chance to know you."
            C.D. starts shaking his head slowly--- his voice breaking  "But I don't understand something-----they told me that everyone was dead!"
            Cordell now sits down beside C.D.---"Who told you that who was dead--our parents?"
            C.D. now has tears rolling down his cheeks, "The people-----at that place----they showed me the newspaper--showing Cordell, Alex, and Jimmy---on the front page of the Dallas Times----they were killed in a explosion!!!"
                  "Pappa--I mean---why would you believe those people----they were keeping you captive, keeping you drugged?"
            C. D. shakes his head and reaches out to touch Cordell's face, "You wouldn't understand---you don't know how crazy drugs can make you."
            Cooper smirks, "Oh, yes, he would---he had a similar experience----just last year!  He got an injection called "The Seeker"----it almost killed him!"
            CD's smile turns to anger, "Don't tell me you're into drugs----dad burn it boy---with the way your Daddy has always fought against them?"
            The twins try to get C.D. to lower his voice---"Take it easy, Pappa---I'm not into drugs----could I be Cordell Walker's son----and be on drugs?  My Dad would kick my butt across Texas and back---if I ever attempted to try them."
            Cooper nods his head and then rubs his seat----"Yep----and if that didn't work---he's got a big ole' hickory switch in the barn-----and believe---me------ he knows how to use it."
            The old man laughs---"I'll bet he does----and I'll bet every time he's had to use that switch---that he has shed a tear or two, too."
            The twins laugh---"Yeah---we know he loves us---he may never say it too often, but --we know!"
            "Yeah," adds Cooper--"Dad said that he got his butt whopped several times when he was growing up by his Uncle Ray and even "Shopaw" showed him how a tree branch felt---right across his backside!"
            C.D. cackles, as he wipes the tears away---"Yep---I remember how Uncle Ray would tell that story----White Eagle never commented on it too many times--he just said that "Washo" was introduced to his brother---the tree."
            The twins start to smile, and Cooper says slowly, "Wow---I would have loved to have been around when Dad was growing up---he makes the stories sound so exciting---I've always liked that era-----guess it's only fitting that I carry the name of a great Texas Ranger."
            C.D. smiles slowly and looks to Cordell, "And, you carry your Daddy's name?"
            "Yes sir, and my grandpa John's----Cordell John----Cordell John Walker."
            "And, I carry Dad's heroes' name---Cooper James----I was also named after our Uncle Jimmy."
            C.D.'s face lights up, "Jimmy? Is Jimmy still alive---do you ever see him?"
            Cordell nods, "Oh yes, our Uncle Jimmy and J.W. come to the ranch often---J.W. is sweet on our sister."
            "J.W., sister----there are more of you?"
            The twins nod their heads at the same time, "There's a whole passle of us----J.W. is Uncle Jimmy's son, our sister's name is Angela---they're both 16."
            "Oh my lord, Jimmy has a son, and Cordell and Alex have three kids?"
            "Make that five kids, Pappa----we have a baby brother at home----and a new little sister was born just three months ago."
            "Yeah," adds Cooper----"she was born less than 24 hours before Dad was kidnapped."
                 "Kidnapped?  Someone kidnapped Cordell? Is that why you boys are down here---my God boys----don't you know there's a war breaking out?"
            Cordell stands up quickly, "Yeah, we're very aware of it----the gunfire is all around us."
            C.D. tries to stand up, and Cooper helps him.
                   "Speaking of our rowdy guests---we better see what they're up to," and the three start inching to the mouth of the cave.


                                                *****************************


            Walker and Trivette have followed Juan to an old burned out barn, where Juan and the others had sought refuge earlier. They step over the dead carcasses and move to the back of what is left of the barn, Diablo's men have gone past them, but are still fighting it out with the Mexican government.
            "Damn it," whispers Trivette, "why is it taking so long for our government to send the Calvary in?"
            Walker remains silent as he looks back towards the rise, Trivette knows his partner is about to bolt any second.
               "Walker---don't do it, man---Diablo's men are all around us, they will cut you down as soon as they spot you---they're now firing at everything that moves!  Whole families are being slaughtered!"
            "I know that!" Walker replies angrily, "and my family is out there---they could be the next victims---my God, Trivette---those are my boys out there----I got to get to them."
            Juan stares back at the bearded one, "The gemelos are your sons, senor?"
            Walker nods his head, "Yes----Juan----are they okay---have either of them been hurt?"
            "They are good---they tried to help Pappa get to safety---we had to move very fast----they are very brave."
            Trivette watches the look on his partner's face, and he can see the hurt. He turns to Juan.
                   "Pappa? Is he your father—grandfather?"
            "No relation, senor---we---help each other--sometimes bitter enemies can come the best of friends."
            Walker hits the side of the barn with his fist, causing the three to jump. "Damn it---how can I be so stupid! Juan, that riverbed that we were just at---there are caves up in the hills over it, right?"
            Juan's face lights up, "Si----you are right----that is where the gemelos were trying to hide when I brought them back here---I thought this was safer---I was wrong! Diablo's men chase us from here."
                 "Caves?  Are you sure, Walker?"
            "Yes, Hector and I hid in one of those caves---come on----that's why we lost track of them, they followed the riverbed till they could get safely up the embankment---come on, Trivette--we have to get to them."
            The four start back to the river, cautiously.

Seekers-Quest-20

By Sasquaw

            C.D. and the twins have watched from the mouth of the cave, in the distance they can see the men fighting the Mexican troops, they pull back further into the cave.
            The old man sighs, "This could go on for days----we better dig in and make good of our 'new home'."
            The twins look around them, a feeling of helplessness. Cooper clears his throat, "Well, at least we won't starve--there are a lot of grub worms and all kinds of other grimy things to eat down by the riverbed----and there's water."
            C.D. smiles, "Yep----you're Cordell's sons alright-------he's taught you both how to live off the land, hasn't he?  I've eaten my share of those delicacies in my lifetime too.
            The boys sit down on the damp floor of the cave beside the old man, Cooper grins, "Yes sir---Dad taught us how to hunt, fish, and track, when we were barely old enough to walk. We were riding, before we could walk----and so was Angela! She knows all there is to know about living off the land, when we were younger---he and mom would take us on nature trips."
            "Yep," chimes his twin, "sometimes they wouldn't bring any water----he taught us how to look for it, what plants we could eat----and which ones--we couldn't. Mom said we took it to it like a fish takes to water!  We loved going on those trips----and going up to the reservation to see our cousins."
            "What about Sam Coyote----is he still around?"

            "No sir," replies Cordell----"he crossed the river about five years ago---Dad was really hurt in his passing----he said he and Uncle Sam were childhood buddies as well as cousins---they were very close."
            C.D. nods his head, "Yep----I recall Cordell and Sam going off on many fishing trips together-----Cordell never opened up to many people--but he was close to Sam------just like you two seem close."
            The twins smile, and Cooper replies--"I guess Cordell and I have always been close---we came into the world together," Cooper nods to the action outside, he continues slowly --"guess we'll go out the same way."
            "Yeah, I suppose being twins has a lot to do with our closeness, but I think--we would still be close--no matter what."
            "What about Jimmy's son-----what was his name, J.W.?----Are all of you close?"
            "Yes sir, J.W.----that stands for James Walker----Dad is his godfather----just as Uncle Jimmy is godfather to all of us.  And, yes---we're all real close, Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Erika used to live right down the road from us---and we were always at each other's homes.    Then Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Erika got a divorce---it just about killed J.W.---he was torn apart----and he lived with us for almost a year----so Uncle Jimmy could get his life straightened out again. And now, he and Uncle Jimmy live outside of Dallas---but J.W. is at our ranch most of the time----he even transferred to Springtown High----so he could be close to Angela."
            C.D. smiles---"Angela----what a beautiful name----that's Cordell and Alex's first born?"
            Cooper nudges Cordell-----Show him the picture of all of us, Cordell----the one you took at the hospital when little C.D. was born."
            CD's eyes get misty, "C.D.-----you call your----baby sister-----C.D.?"
            Cordell is reaching for the picture, "Yes sir---her name is Cherokee Dawn---but---we call her C.D.------after you.  Here's the picture----the light is so dim in here----can you see it okay?"
            "Wait a minute." Cooper reaches for his lighter---and flicks it on--"there---is that a little better?"
            Cordell frowns at his brother for having a lighter---"Why are carrying that-----are you still smoking those stinking cigars?"
            "No----I'm not still smoking those stinking cigars---I promised Dad I wouldn't------I packed the lighter for survival purposes----now would you be quiet so Pappa----I mean 'Grandpa' can look at the picture?"
            C.D. squints his one good eye and holds the picture closer-----the tears start swelling in his eyes, as he whispers, "Cordell, Alex---Jimmy---oh my Lord---they look the same way I remembered them ---that last day I saw them".
             C.D. motions for Cooper to close the lighter, he wipes at his eyes, his shoulders start to heave. The twins start getting a little nervous as each of them puts an arm around the old man.
            "It's okay, Pappa--" whispers Cordell-----you take your time--do you want us to leave you alone for a few minutes?"
            C.D. grabs their arms, "No!!!  Don't leave me---I don't ever want to be left alone again---I just keep remembering that last day."
            "Do you want to talk about it, Grandpa?  Maybe it will help?"
            C.D. shakes his head as he puts the picture back up to his one good eye and motions for Cooper to flick the lighter back on. "Maybe---some day---I can talk about it----but right now I want to see and learn all about you kids. There is some people in this picture I don't recognize, who are they?"
            Cordell touches the faces of Dana and her Mom, "This is Dana and Sue Winchester and they-----"
            Cooper interrupts, "Dana is Cordell's girlfriend."
            C.D. stares closer at the picture and then looks to Cordell, "You have a very pretty young lady friend, Cordell----her Mother is a 'looker too."
                 "Thanks-----did you ever meet Grandpa Gordon, Mom's Dad?"
            "Yes----several times---I recognize him---he's looking good--and I take it that this Sue is his love interest---he has his arms around her?"
            "Yes sir--they've been dating for about how long, Cordell?"
            "Almost a year------this picture was taken just hours after C.D. was born----this little guy is our baby brother, Ray Gordon--we call him Little Ray.  And, that's J.W. standing behind Angela--with his arms around her."
            C.D. smiles, "He's a big boy---almost as tall as his Daddy---Jimmy still looks the same----always that smile.  Angela----is sure pretty----look at that long beautiful hair---she's the vision of a angel."
            "Yeah----she's got all of the boys at Springtown High 'creaming' their pants'!”
            "Coop----watch your mouth."
            C.D. looks to each of the boys and laugh, "And, I'll bet old Cordell has to beat them away with a stick---don't he?"
            "Oh yeah," comments Cooper---"A big stick---she's definitely Daddy's girl."
            The old man stops and runs his finger over Alex's face, "Alex---sweet Alex----she was like a daughter to me---it tickled me to death when she and Cordell started dating---I always knew those two would hook up.  Yep---I could feel it in my bones."
            Cordell smiles, "When Mom has showed us the wedding pictures---she always said "there was someone very special, missing on that special day."
            "Yep, I was stuck in Hong Kong, big typhoon----I hated missing the wedding--after all, me and your great Uncle Ray were the ones that pushed your parents together. He died before your parents even became engaged, I guess it was written in the cards that I wouldn't be there for the wedding."
            "Things can't be helped, Grandpa---but you really missed out when I came into the world---now that would have put a smile on your face."
            "Yeah----he would have probably laughed himself silly when you came sliding out, Dad still laughs about it----said he almost dropped you on your head----Angela swears up and down that he did, sometimes------"
            Cooper grabs Cordell quickly---"Quiet-----be quiet----I hear someone coming---I hear them Cordell!"
            Cordell starts scrambling to get up, as he helps C.D. to stand---"I hear them too---lots of voices----there's no place to hide!"
            The three all stand together as the voices get louder and soon the cave is being rushed by a dozen of Diablo's men, they see the three standing up against the wall, their leader grins.
                     "Gringos----nothing more I like than killing cowardly Americans----prepare to die," as he turns to his men and tells them to shoot.
            The twins grab each others' hand and CD's, Cooper's voice breaks, "I told you bro'-----we would go out of this world together."
            The figures are on them before they can aim their guns and the soldiers start hitting the ground. Shots are fired as one figure goes up in the air and does a spinning kick to the neck of their leader.
            "Dad-----Dad!"
           
Now the twins are rushing at the soldiers too, and C.D. backs up against the wall--Tony sees him and starts running to him, "Pappa, Pappa!"
            C.D. shields Tony and they both watch as the twins start kicking out at the banditos, Jimmy is using his elbow to break the hold of one solider, and kicking out with his feet. Walker has thrown one of them over his shoulder and releasing a flurry of kicks to two more. Cooper has jumped up on the back of one and holding him while his brother hits him repeatedly. He jumps off the man's back and as the man is going down, he kicks out with his boot and connects to the chin.
                   "Cowardly Americans, huh-----take that---you piece of crap."
            Juan has picked up a discarded gun and uses the butte of it to hit one of the soldiers over the head, another solider runs towards C.D. and tries to get behind him. Tony grabs the man's leg and starts biting----C.D. picks up a rock and slams it into the man's face-------"Now, we'll see which side of your face you laugh out of"---C.D. hits the man again-----"that's enough Tony----don't bite him again-----there's no telling what diseases this murdering s.o.b. has!"
            Walker slams the last man up against the wall, and pounds his fist into the man's face---"You're not so big now, are you-----I'll teach you to threaten old men and my sons."
            The twins run to Walker and start pulling him back, "Stop it, Dad-----you've almost killed him---"
            "I plan to kill him," Walker pulls away from his boys and goes after the man again, he slams him up against the wall, "Listen, you piece of dog meat-----and listen good-----where is Diablo?"
            The man is slobbering and trying to talk through a busted face, he starts to speak and a shot rings out, almost hitting one of the twins in the process. The man on the wall has a bullet in his chest and the gunman that has done the firing is running out of the cave, Walker is running after him.
            Trivette runs to the mouth of the cave as he sees Walker tackling the fleeing man. The twins start to run down after their Dad, but Trivette pulls them back. "Leave him be---your old man has everything under control----he's just going to---- 'interrogate' him."
            The three watches as Walker is asking the man a question, then hits him. A question and then another hitting, Trivette smirks and reaches back for his handcuffs and yells out, "Hey Walker----if there's anything left of him after your 'interrogation''---cuff him!"  He throws the handcuffs down to his partner.
            Trivette turns to the twins, "And----just what have you two got to say for yourself---get over here."
            The boys walk slowly up to their Uncle, he just stares at them, then reaches out and hugs them---"You two have had us so worried---don't ever do a fool stunt like this again---ya' hear me?"
            Tony and Juan are hugging Pappa---"Pappa---are you okay---are you hurt?"
            "I'm fine---now---just knowing you two aren't hurt----how did you meet up with those two?"
            Juan is looking back at the twins as they are talking a mile a minute to Trivette and turning around to point back at Pappa. Trivette just stands there and stares as Pappa moves out of the darkness, and now he sees him clearly.
                  Trivette's voice breaks, "Big Dog-----is it really you?"
            Juan looks back to Pappa, "Do you know him, Pappa?"
            C.D. walks slowly towards the black Ranger, nodding his head, his own voice breaking, "He's my family-----Jimmy----Jimmy."
                  The twins and Juan watch as the two men embrace, neither of them able to say anything, the tears fall. Tony looks up to his Uncle---"Cry---Pappa cry?"
            Cordell smiles and kneels down to Tony, "It's a nice cry, Tony----your Pappa is very happy right now."
            "Here comes Dad, "Cooper breaks out and starts running to Walker, who has left the shooter handcuffed to a tree stump.
            Walker sees his son running to him and he just stops, Cooper jumps up into his arms, "Dad----Dad---we have missed you so much."
            Walker kisses the side of his son's head and tousles his hair---"Not as much----as I've missed all of you."
            Cordell is now running to his Dad, they all three embrace. The three stop and look up at the skies.
            "Is that choppers I hear, Dad?"
            "Yep----Hueys-----and it's about damn time-----are you guys okay----are you hurt?"
            "We're okay, Dad------we whipped butt back there, didn't we?"
            Walker is laughing as he continues to hold his sons close---"We sure did, Coop----we sure did------what about the old man---is he alright?"
            The twins pull away and look back to the cave----"Dad----you're not going to believe it, when we tell you this-----maybe you should just see for yourself."
            Walker stares back at his sons, puzzled----"See what?  What are you two talking about?"
            The twins follow their Dad back into the cave and Trivette is kneeling in front of the old man, giving him water. Trivette turns slowly and looks back to his partner, then he rises and moves to the side. Walker stares back at the old man as Trivette helps him to his feet.
            The mouth of the Ranger drops open and his eyes stare back in disbelief, "C.D.?"
            Trivette helps to balance C.D. as he walks him over to Walker, the Ranger can do nothing but stare. C.D.'s eyes water up, "It's me, Cordell------"I'm back from the dead."
            Juan watches again as his Pappa embraces more family. He looks to the twins, "I don't understand---Pappa said his family was all dead---who are---all of you?"
            "It's a long story Juan----but Pappa----is actually our Grandpa," explains Cordell----"we thought he was dead----but now----we're all together----we're a family again!"
            The twins walk over to C.D. and all of them are embracing. Juan looks down to his little nephew and takes his hand, "We go, there is no room for us here."
            Tony pulls back, not wanting to leave.
            Juan shakes his head, "Don't you see, Tony---Pappa has his own family now---he won't want us hanging around anymore---we have to go----and try to find Arizona on our own."
            The two boys start out of the cave and C.D. stumbles after them, "Juan----Tony---where ya' going----come back here."
            Juan yells back, "You have your own 'familia' now---Pappa------now we will find ours."
            "Stop them----Cordell---stop them---I don't want them to go."
            Walker motions for the twins to go after them and bring them back. They all start moving to the riverbed as the choppers continue to hover overhead and one is starting to descend. Trivette runs over to the chopper as Walker picks up his prisoner and walks him over. The boys have made Juan and Tony come back with them, Tony is crying.
            "Come on, Coop----let's give Pappa sometime alone with them."
            Juan stares back at C.D.---"I'm glad you found your familia, Pappa---but we must go."
            Tony is holding onto C.D. as tight as he can, C.D. clears his throat. "You boys listen to me---I made a promise to you both that I would help you to get to Nogales and to your Uncle's place-----I don't go back on a promise---do you understand me?"
            "But, Pappa---your 'familia'----what about them?"
            C.D. looks over at Walker and Trivette---"My family will understand----but right now---you and Tony are my first priority---and we will go----are you ready?"
            Both Juan and Tony are smiling as the twins come back to talk to them. "Our Grandpa says he's going with you to Arizona----good luck to you both---I hope you'll be happy with your new family."
            The boys are all shaking hands as C.D. starts motioning for them to come running----"We're taking a chopper ride----this young G.I. has offered to fly us into Mexico City----and then we fly to Nogales. Jimmy is trying to locate your Uncle now---so how about it, guys----want to fly?"
            Juan and Tony climb into the chopper and wave their goodbyes, C.D. looks to Walker and Trivette.
            "I have to see this through, I made a promise to those boys----"
            "We understand, Big Dog----but-----you will come back to Texas-----won't you?"
            "C.D.'s eyes mist up again as he looks to Walker, "If you want me to?" he asks slowly.
            "Of course we want you to, C.D.-------I'm trying to call Alex now-----to let her know we're all okay and that--you're coming home----where you belong."
            "Home-----it's got a nice ring to it, don't it, Cordell?"
            "It sure does----and I'm so anxious to get home and see my family------you know you got 6 grandkids to get acquainted with?"
            Trivette laughs, "That's right----- I can't wait for you to meet my boy----I've talked about you with him over the years----I know he's going to be anxious to meet you too."
            C.D. laughs----"I'm going to take care of Tony and Juan----make sure that they have a nice home and their Uncle is all they're hoping he will be---then I will come to Texas!  You tell Alex--to have me a big pot of chili cooking and throw in some of that fat back-----and if you find any road kill on the way home----tell her to throw that in the pot too."
                Trivette's face turns a shade green, "Oh my lord------I think I'm going to puke!"
            The twins look to their Uncle and then their Dad. "Is he serious-----road kill?"
            C.D. is cracking up as he reaches over and slaps Trivette on the back, "For crying out loud, Jimmy---are you still eating that tofu---no wonder you're turning pale---er."
            Walker starts laughing and grabs his partner, "Yeah---Tri-vet----you keep turning pale---and people are going to mistake you for a white man."
            The chopper takes off, Juan and Tony continue to wave till they're out of sight.  Walker has gotten hold of Alex and tells her they're on their way home, and tells her about C.D. "
            "When?   When are you coming home----is C.D. with you?"
            Walker tells Alex that C.D. has taken Juan and Tony to Arizona and he will come to Texas soon.
            "The boys and I will be leaving for home in the morning----as soon as they can remember where they 'ditched' my truck.  But, first of all I have a prisoner to interrogate----I just got word that Diablo has been caught---I got to find out who the man is---that wants me dead-and to settle a score for an old friend."
            Alex is crying, "Walker---please just come home---can't you take care of that other matter some other time?  I want you home---please---honey--come home."
            Walker smiles, "Okay, hon---the boys and I will start home tonight---we'll get some troops to take us to the area where the twins hid the truck---I'll call you when we've found it, okay, hon?"
                   "Walker---what about ID's and your driver's license----I'll bring them to you, you'll be crossing at Matamoras, won't you?"
            "Yeah----and could you bring us all a change of clothes-----and my beard trimmer?"


                                         ***************************************


            Walker stares back at his truck as the twins take off the camouflage netting and the old tree limbs. He looks to the flames coming off the fender wells, and then to the missing roll bar and the lights. He walks around the truck slowly, reaching out and touching it gently. The twins shove their hands down into their jeans and look back at their Dad, nervously.
            "What the hell---did you do to my truck?" he asks softly.
            Both the boys start talking at once, "We had to camouflage it, Dad---we couldn't have gotten 50 miles, the highway patrol would have spotted it--and since we don't have licenses-----------"
            Walker nods his head slowly, "Oh yes---there's that little matter to discuss too---but I want to know---why "flames"---could you have just painted a stripe----or better yet  ---why not just repaint it?"
            "I tried to get Cooper to paint a stripe---but he wouldn't listen, and as far as the paint job goes----all we had in the colors were: root beer, lavender, and pink."  
            Cooper shakes his head, "Yeah, Dad----we didn't have enough of one paint to do the whole truck and we knew you wouldn't want it painted lavender and pink---right?"
            Walker is trying hard not to laugh---"Oh definitely not those colors."
            The three stare at each other and then Walker breaks out in a smile---"Come here." He holds out his arms and they all embrace.
            "You're not mad, Dad?"
            "Of course not----how can I be mad at what you two boys did----you risked your life to come looking for me---and I know about the tabloids and the stories-----what you've all gone through.  I'm not mad----I'm proud of you two----and I love you both."
            The boys smile back, "You would have done the same for us, Dad-----we were all falling apart with you gone---we've missed you so much," replies Cordell.
            "Got that right, bro---can we call Mom now--and let her know what time we'll be crossing?"
            "Crank up the radio----she should be at the hotel now--the Iguana Hotel--that's where she said she would get rooms."
            The twins look back and forth to each other, "Uhh … Dad----Cooper and I have a score to settle when we get across---there's a small cafe that we had a run-in with some guys."
            Cooper nudges his brother, "Don't tell him about Lupe—okay?"
            Walker eyes his sons suspiciously, reaching out and touching Cordell's busted lip that is starting to scab over, "Would it have anything to do with your busted lip?"
            "Yes sir-----there was a misunderstanding--and then this one hell of a over grown ape 'sucker punches' Coop ----we got our butts kicked real good."
            Walker nods his head slowly, "How do you want to handle it?"
            Cooper replies slowly, "There are four of them, but Cordell wants the one that jumped him and used him for a punching bag----I want "Monk"!!"
                   "MONK?" Walker repeats the name, --"are you sure you can take him?"
            "I have to try-----could you just make sure the other guys stay out of it?"
            "You can count on it, son----there will be no "sucker punches'---I can guarantee it!  Right now--let's get this truck out of this ravine and get the hell out of here." 
            Cordell tosses his dad's keys to him, Walker looks down at the "W", smiles and tosses the keys back to his son.
            "That's a "W" on that key chain, and it stands for all of us Walkers----now which one of you drove my truck down into this ravine?"
            Cordell stammers, "I did."
            "Okay----then Coop----you get it out."
                   "Alright---give me the keys, Cordell," the boy grabs the keys and runs to the drivers' seat, Cordell jumps in back and a very tired, and a little nervous, ranger ---crawls into the passenger's seat.
            Cooper revs up the engine and throws it into four wheel drive, he gives out a rebel yell, "Pay attention, bro'---I'll show you how it's done!"
            The dirt starts to fly as the Ram climbs the side of the embankment and flies over the top. Cooper is grinning from ear to ear as he looks quickly at his Dad, who is taking a sigh of relief.
            "Did I do okay, Dad?"
            "You got it out, didn't you? Yep--you did a great job son---now point it east and let's go home. We should be about six hours from the border---you and your brother get us up to the crossing---I'll drive it over. That is---if your Mother is there to give me my license---if not--the three of us might be going to jail! I'm taking a nap---wake me---when we get there."
            Cordell reaches over from the back seat and taps knuckles with his twin, and then slaps his Dad gently on his shoulder.
            "Got you covered, Dad----sleep---you're in good hands."
            Walker looks to his sons and smiles, saying softly---- I've never felt safer."


                                       **************************************

            Adlen stares back at his brother, Woody is smiling back at him.
            "I can't believe you've turned on me this way, you were the one that was so adamant about not hurting the Walkers----that was all a big ruse, wasn't it?"
            Woody grins, "And it worked. For years now I have portrayed the sweet, and understandable Woody. I have learned to turn the other cheek so many times when my father preferred you to me----and I am his own flesh and blood!! How do you think that has made me feel over the years, Adlen?  To watch my Father dote over you, giving you everything you ever asked for--you and that Mother of yours!  Maybe I could have overcome the rejection and the hurt----but what Lars did to my Mother----was unacceptable."
            Adlen shakes his head," But, why now?  Why have you waited so long to get your revenge?"

Seekers-Quest-21

By Sasquaw

            Woody is staring back at his brother, a cruel smirk is on his face, he lights up a cigarette, blowing the smoke into Adlen's face.
            "I had to wait till just the right time, I had to get Lars' trust. Do you know how humbling that was, to lower myself to his level?  But, I kept thinking of my Mother and what all he put her through and me---that made it all worthwhile. I knew you would eventually pursue the idea that Walker was your father, and when that story broke last year about Sarge and Danny---it was all coming together. I couldn't wait to start sending you the clippings from the paper on it, and keeping you abreast on all that was happening."
            Adlen smiles, "You think you got it worked out, don't you?  Tell me something, Woody---what do you expect to gain? Lars will not leave you anything----he's always despised you."
            "You're wrong, brother dear----as of midnight tomorrow--everything will be mine----Lars will have disinherited you, Danny is dead, there are no other heirs----it's all mine."
            "How do you figure that? Lars didn't name you in any will----as far as he's concerned---you don't exist!"
            "Wrong again, brother dear-----a new will was drawn up." Woody hands Adlen a copy of the new will.
            Adlen's mouth drops in disbelief, "Lars didn't make out this will----this is a fake!"
            Woody takes a long draw on his cigarette, "A fake?  I don't think so---I had several lawyers check it out, they were there when Lars signed the papers, saying that if you pursued the issue about Walker being your Father, he would cut you out. You wouldn't inherit anything."
            Adlen starts pacing, "You're wrong----this has got to be a fake-----Lars wouldn't do this to me-----he hated you."
                  Woody's smile turns to anger, "Yes, I know he hated me-----and it was all because of you----if you hadn't come along----my Mother and I would have gotten everything. But, as soon as MY dear sweet Father started throwing his 'seeds' around----Mother and I started getting pushed out-----and then you and that Mother of yours had to move in----and soon Lars was saying that I was no longer his son---you were!"
            Adlen throws the papers back into Woody's face, "Get Out----I'm calling Lars---this will all be settled---and you will see---this 'will' is a fake."
            Woody laughs, "Well, let's see now---it is now 8am, you got till midnight tomorrow to prove it's a fake. At one minute after midnight, you turn 21, the story has been released on your little secret, and Daddy 'dearest' disinherits you---and as you can see in the clause--that he drew up---"I" one, Woodrow Kentworth, inherits everything!"
            The brothers stare back at each other, Woody smirks--"How could you have been so stupid, Adlen--if you had just kept your mouth shut and waited till after you 21st birthday---you could have walked away with at least 10 million, maybe more? And you--want to go into law?  A fine lawyer you will make-----you were stupid, Adlen----all of this stupidity just to prove Walker is your father---because you wanted his name?  What's his name going to get you?  You--are--so----stupid, I can't believe how stupid you are!"
            "Get out----I don't ever want to see your face again-get the hell out!---I will challenge this will---I will get my own lawyers---they'll find loop holes----you wait and see!"
            Woody shakes his head, "Get all the lawyers you want, the 'will' is real---and tomorrow night I'm going to be here and watch you as Mr. Doss reads this, and you see all of your millions---just floating away.  I'm going to enjoy this, Adlen---I will revel in it's glory----I will laugh in your face as the will is being read!"
            Woody turns and goes out the door, singing.
            Adlen watches him and then lights up another cigarette, he exhales it slowly and turns to the figure that is standing in the shadows.
            "Did you hear enough?"
            The man nods his head slowly, and walks back into the bedroom.


                                 *****************************************


            Alex is waiting at the border crossing, showing the necessary papers to the guards, they in turn make calls to verify them. Alex is constantly looking at her watch, and looking as far as she can over the gates.
            "What is taking them so long, they should have been here, over an hour ago---oh God---I hope they're okay---please----let Walker and the twins be okay."
            One of the guards approaches Alex, "It will be awhile till we have checked to make sure these papers are correct, and everything in it's proper place."
            Alex sighs, "What is there to check?  I have everything in order, my husband's driver's licenses, more proof of insurance, a special permission from Governor Gomez himself to let my husband and my sons come across--I've even brought their birth certificates to prove they are American citizens--what else needs to be checked?"
            "I am only doing my job, senora---it will be just a little while."
            Alex strains to look back over the gates, "My husband and my sons should have been here by now----could you please send someone to check on them--they might be hurt!"
            "Do you know what route they would be taking, senora?"
            "No----how many main roads are there leading up to this crossing---there can't be that many."
                   "Senora, my men nor I can leave our posts--I will call back to San Carlos and see if anyone has seen them---Meanwhile senora----there is a nice little cafe less than 10 miles back----why don't you go there and wait?  At least it will be cooler---and you can get something to eat."
            Alex starts to object, "Will you please call me there when you have spotted my husband's truck--I want to be here when they come across."
            The guard agrees to call and Alex climbs back into her rental and heads back to the little cafe that she saw earlier. The guard was right, the temperature is already climbing to the high 90's and it isn't even noon yet.
            Alex walks into the little cafe and looks around There aren't too many people but they all stop and stare at the strikingly good looking blonde in light tan colored slacks with a peach colored blouse, tucked inside the slacks and complimenting her figure even more. Her shoulder length blonde hair is pulled back at one side with small barrette, her makeup is minimal, and she is wearing a light shade of lipstick that is high glossed.
            The customers all watch as the woman gracefully walks to a table in the back, and sits down. From there she can see the main road, and what there is to see of the rest of the town. From where she sits, she can see the Iguana motel across the street and there are a few stores and one small gas station. She sighs, and looks at her watch again.
            "What a beautiful watch you have senora," replies a young voice.
            "Thank you," replies Alex as she smiles back at the beautiful young waitress.
            "May I look at it, senora----it is so beautiful ---is a gift?"
            Alex hesitates about showing off the diamond wristwatch that Walker bought her aboard The Ice Princess, she stammers and then holds up her wrist---"Yes----it was a gift---from my husband."
            The waitress stares at the wristwatch and then to Alex's wedding rings, the young girl takes a deep breath, fanning herself.
            "Wow----senora---your jewelry is very, very nice," the waitress turns and looks back to the counter, there is no one standing there, so she turns back to Alex quickly.
                 "Senora----if I were you---I would not flash your jewelry in here----please----before someone sees them---take them off and put them away."
            Alex quickly starts removing her watch and the rings, "I was not trying to flaunt them----and I don't plan to be in here for very long---but thank you---I've been warned before----I just wasn't thinking----I'm just so anxious to see my husband----and to look nice for him."
            The waitress looks at Alex for the longest, "You seem familiar to me, have you been here before, something about your smile?"
            "No---this is my first time---I'm waiting for my husband and sons to come across the border."
            "Oh?  Is your husband working across the border?"
            "No----could I please have a cup of coffee and maybe some toast----lightly browned?"
            "Of course--I am sorry---I'll get your order right away---please forgive me," the waitress scurries off.
            Alex sighs and reaches down inside her purse to put her jewelry into the zippered side pocket.  She pats it lightly, like she would a small child. She watches as the three men walk up to the waitress and start looking back in her direction. The waitress is trying to avoid talking to them and one of them starts getting rough with her. Finally, the waitress comes back to Alex's table with her order.
            The young waitress smiles back at Alex, "How long has it been since you saw your husband?"
            Alex sips the coffee and watches the men as they are staring back at her. She tries to smile, "Three months."
            "Just 3 months?  The way you are behaving, I would think 3 years."
            Alex continues to watch the men as they are conversing among themselves, "Well----to me----it has felt like 3 years."
            The waitress looks back at the men and answers softly, "It must be nice to know that kind of love-----and to miss someone so very much."
            Alex smiles back at the waitress and sees the sadness in her eyes, "Are you married---do you have kids?"
                   "Married---I guess----if you can call it that----and yes----I have a little girl, her name is Maria---would you like to see her picture?"
            Alex nods her head and the waitress draws out a picture of a little dark haired girl with big brown eyes staring back at the camera.
                 Immediately, Alex thinks of her baby, "Oh my----she is so beautiful--I have a 3 month old at home--and she has the same beautiful dark eyes and hair that your little girl has."
            "Really----do you have a picture, senora?"
            Alex is already reaching for her wallet, she takes out the picture that was taken at the hospital, "This is my little girl----and this is the rest of my family."
            The waitress looks at each person in the picture and then she sees the twins, she stops and looks back at Alex, "These are your sons----twins?"
            Alex nods her head slowly as the waitress keeps looking at the twins' picture and then back to the three men at the counter, She turns her back quickly to the men and whispers low to Alex.
            "Please, senora---you have to leave----now!  Do not worry about your bill----just stand up slowly----and leave."
            "What?   What is going on-----"
            The waitress has fear in her eyes---"Please---please--just go now----get in your car and go---do not stop."
            Alex grabs her purse and stands up slowly, the men start walking towards her, the waitress gets in between them, talking in Spanish. Alex tries to walk around them, and one grabs her arm, the other grabs her purse.
            Alex's anger is showing, "You have my purse----give it back!"
            The three men stare back at Alex and the one that has grabbed her arm, starts touching her neck lightly.
            "You sure are pretty---you and I are going to party---real nice."
            Alex starts trying to get out of the man's grasp as she looks around at the other customers, her eyes pleading for help--they turn their backs and go back to their meals.
            "Get your slimy hands off of me," she again tries to pull away, the man grabs her harder and tries to kiss her. Alex takes her elbow and shoves it into the man's stomach, then she brings her knee up into his crotch. The man grunts and stumbles backwards.
            The other two men grab her, the waitress tries to intervene, they push her away---"Stay out of this, Lupe---- you are already in trouble with your husband---he's not over you helping those boys---he will settle with you."
            "Don't hurt her---she doesn't have any money----she's waiting for her husband to come across the border---she is just poor white trash-----let her go!"
            The third man comes up behind Lupe and kicks her in the back, "You lie---for the last time, woman----did you not learn from the beating I gave you earlier?"
            The man starts hitting Lupe in the stomach, the other two men are holding Alex, one of the men grabs Alex's head and pulls it back, "You watch what Pepe does to his women---he hits them where the scars and bruises will not show---that is because his women have to still look pretty to attract the customers----do you understand me, woman?"
            Lupe is gasping for air as Pepe continues to hit the woman in the stomach, then he grabs her and throws her across the room! She lands on her back, looking up at a bearded man---in ragged clothes. Two young boys stand beside him, she recognizes the boys immediately.
            Alex is still trying to get away from the two men, as they stop and look at the three intruders. Alex stares back, "Walker?"
            Walker grits his teeth as he looks to his sons, Cordell whispers back to him, "Those are same three men that jumped Cooper and me, Dad!"
            Walker is fuming as he watches Alex try to get out of the man's grasp, he hisses, "I figured as much---I thought I smelled shit---sorry guys--this fight just became mine!"
            Cooper reaches down and helps Lupe to her feet, motioning for her to go outside, Cordell grabs his dad's arm.
            "Dad---you promised---there are only three, Coop and I can take them."
            Walker says nothing as he walks towards the men that are holding Alex, "You have one second to let her go."
            The two sneer and look back to the twins, "Or you will do what, old man?  Hey Pepe---it's the Bobbsey twins----and they brought their daddy!"
            The three start to laugh as Alex slams her foot down on the boot of the man that is holding her, "And, I'm their Mother---you son-of-a bitches!"
            Walker goes up in the air kicking both to the face, and they start stumbling backwards into tables and chairs. Pepe hollers at them to get up, Cordell walks up to him and taps him on the shoulder.
            "Hey slime ball---remember me?"
            The man roars and swings out with his fist, Cordell ducks. "I'm going to finish what I started with you, you little punk---and then I will kick your butt across the street and back!"
            Cordell stands up straight, putting his fists up, "Start kicking."
            Walker pulls Alex over to the far side of the room, "Stay here," he whispers.
            Pepe swings again at Cordell, and the boy kicks out with a spin and knocks the man's feet out from under him. The man comes up swearing and running at Cordell, the boy sidesteps and slams his fist down to the left side of the man's face, he quickly jumps up and takes his stand again. Cooper is standing off to the side, making fake jabs with his fists.
            "Get him, bro'---give him some of his own medicine!"
            Walker is keeping an eye on the other two men as Alex is begging him to help Cordell. Walker walks over to the men that are trying to stand up, he looks down at them.
            "Stay down---your turn is coming."
            Pepe looks back to his friends, and then to Cordell, "You're dead, kid----I'm going to slit your throat," he brings forth a switchblade and Walker kicks it out of his hand.
            "I say we keep this fight--bare knuckles----don't try anymore weapons---I'm getting very irritable---and you won't like me when I'm mad!"
            Pepe grins, "Okay---if that's the way the kid wants it, that's how it will be---come on kid---show me your best stuff!"
            Cordell looks back to Walker, their eyes meet, and Cordell nods, whispering to himself----"Watch the eyes---they are a dead giveaway-----even in my mind's eye I will see him."
            The man is a good foot taller than Cordell, the boy watches him closely. The man is folding and unfolding his fists, moving back and forth on unsteady feet. Cordell remains still, not moving a muscle, only his eyes move. Pepe is swearing and saying what he will do to the boy, Cordell remains still, his fists hard.
            Pepe charges and Cordell goes straight up in the air, coming down with his left boot across the man's back, he spins and catches Pepe with his right boot, sending him backwards. Again, Cordell goes back into his stance, waiting. Cooper is smiling, and Walker is quietly beaming!
            Pepe tries to stand, and then he stumbles back--he yells to his friends--"Take that little bastard down!"
            The two men jump up and start charging at Cordell, Walker throws his arm straight out and catches them in a clothesline, they both hit the floor. Cooper is jumping up in the air and throwing his fist up in a victory chant.
            Lupe is watching from outside, and is quietly cheering to herself, she turns and sees Monk coming across the street. She runs in and grabs Cooper.
            "He's coming. Monk is coming!"
            Cooper grabs Lupe and puts her behind him just as the big man knocks open the door. Cooper swallows; he doesn't remember Monk being so big, as he covers the whole doorframe.
            Cordell is watching Pepe, and Pepe is smiling, "You're going to get it now, kid---you, your brother, and that Daddy of yours.  And, then I take care of your 'mama'."
                   Cordell's anger is showing, he kicks straight out and connects to Pepe's chest, and then a right fist goes to the man's face, Cordell goes up on one foot and delivers a flurry of punches to the man's face, and then makes a solid left kick to the man's crotch. The man stumbles back and falls to the floor unconscious.
            Cooper is slowly backing up with Lupe behind him, Alex rushes to get her out of the way as Monk slowly starts walking towards Cooper, grunting!
            The two men on the floor are trying to get up again, Walker sighs and hits each one of them with a solid right--they're out cold.
            Cordell turns to see his brother backing up, he looks to his Dad, and Walker is just staring at the big man. Cordell starts to run to his brother's defense, but Walker stops him.
            "Your brother said he could take him----"
            "But, Dad---that man is three times the size of Cooper!"
            Now Alex is begging Walker to intervene, Walker says quietly to his son.
            "Can you still take him, son---want some help?"
                   Cooper's voice cracks, "No-----I think I can handle him--I think--I don't recall him being this big."
            Walker nods Cordell away, "It's your brothers' call."
            Monk is staring down at Cooper, he starts to grin---"Well---if it's not the little pansy again---I thought you learned your lesson."
            Cooper forces a smile, "Guess not----I'm not very smart-----I've been dropped on my head a couple of times."
            Monk growls, as he charges at Cooper, the boy reaches into his pocket and brings out his lighter, flicking it, and just as Monk reaches for him, the lighter goes to the man's hair. Monk starts screaming and slapping out at his hair. Cooper jumps up and takes both hands to the man's ears and pops them. Monk is swinging out with his arms, his fist catches Cooper and the boy starts sliding across the floor of the little cafe.
            Both Walker and Cordell reach down to help him up and Alex is screaming at Walker to help him.
                   "Change your mind, son?"
            Cooper is steaming, "No sir!" He flies back across the room and head butts the big man, the big man hits the counter, and reaches back for Cooper, throwing him over the counter! Everyone starts running for cover.
            Walker is gritting his teeth, Alex and Lupe are yelling at him to do something. Cordell is chomping at the bit to help his brother. Monk is looking over the counter and Cooper comes flying back over, his right boot going straight for the man's neck! Monk falls to the floor as Cooper goes up in the air and falls directly into the man's stomach----causing Cooper to bounce off. The big man is sputtering and reaching for Cooper's leg, but Cooper kicks back with the other foot---right into the mouth---the man's false teeth fall out.
            Cooper jumps up and takes his stance as the big man is grunting and growling, he wipes the spittle from his mouth, and makes a smacking sound with his mouth.
            "My teeth----where the hell are my teeth?"
            Cooper looks down at the set of choppers, very much in need of a good cleaning. Cooper makes a face, then stomps his boots down onto them, grinding, till they are all broken.
            "I think I stepped on your teeth---Monk--I'm so sorry."
            Again Monk makes a growling noise and charges at Cooper, but the boy side steps and Monk is stumbling head first into Alex and Lupe. Lupe reaches over and grabs the napkin holder and slams it into the back of Monk's head. Alex is not to be out done, as she picks up a chair and slams it over Monk's head.
            Walker is pulling Alex and Lupe away from the big man, as he looks back to Cooper, the boy motions for him to step aside. Walker is now anxious to get into the fight, but he sees Cooper's determination and he remembers the promise he made to both boys. He holds his hands out in defeat.
            "Would you hurry up and finish him off, Coop---I'm getting mighty hungry?"
            "I'm trying, Dad----he won't stay down!"
            Cordell is staring back at his twin, "Whatever you do, bro'---don't let him get you into a bear hug----he'll squeeze the stuffing out of you."
            Monk stares back at Cordell and grins at the brother's suggestion, he pounds his hands on his chest----"I'll squeeze you so flat---you'll think you've been run over by a steam roller!"
            Cooper smirks, "Thanks a lot, Cordell---I'll bet that suggestion never entered this Neanderthal's mind--till you brought it up!"
            Monk circles Cooper----"I hope you don't have any plans about growing up---I'm going to pound you into the floor--and then stomp on you!"
            Cooper taunts him, "You sure talk a lot----I didn't think you knew that many words."
            Monk stomps the floor and charges Cooper, the boy goes up in the air and over the big man, kicking back with his boot to the back of the man's head. Again the man goes down, and again he attempts to get up.
            Walker leans over the man and whispers something that no one else can hear, and the man falls back to the floor----and stays!
            Cooper walks over to the man, "Have you had enough?"
            The big man looks up to Walker, the bearded man stares back at him. The big man nods.
                   "Good," gloats Cooper--"now you will apologize to Lupe and to my mother and all of the customers in here--APOLOGIZE!!!"
            Monk starts apologizing and Alex runs to her husband, falling into his arms. He holds her tightly, breathing a deep sigh of relief.
            "We were all scared to death when the guards at the crossing said you came back here to eat--especially when the twins said this was the same cafe that they had----their---misunderstanding---with these goons."
            Alex is laughing and crying as she grabs her husband and kisses him hard, "I don't care about any of that----just hold me----don't ever let me go."
            Walker is kissing her back, and then he pulls away from her, "I'm getting you all dirty---and I must stink to high heaven---I'm sorry hon-----"
            Alex pulls him back and kisses him again, then looks into his eyes, "I don't care what you smell like, how you look----Walker---I have been so lost----and so scared without you."
            Walker is nodding his head as he kisses her back, he looks deep into her eyes----"I hope you have no plans for the next 20 years of your life----because I am not letting you out of my sight----you're going to get very tired of me, being around."
            Alex takes a deep breath, "I won't mind at all-----could we please get out of here?"
            They turn around to see the twins looking back at them, grinning. Cooper breaks out in a goofy smile, "Hey Mom----remember us?"
            Alex reaches out for the both of them, "Come here----are you two okay----are you hurt?"
            The boys hug their mother as she starts crying again, "Oh, thank you lord---for bringing my three men home," she pulls back and then kisses them both lightly on the lips.
            She speaks through tears, "You two have made me so proud----I love you both so much."
            Walker reaches over and puts his arms around his family. "Come on guys----let's get out of here."
            As they start to walk out Cooper sees Lupe standing at the counter, he nudges his brother. Cordell turns around to his parents.
            "Look, why don't you two go to the hotel----Coop and I have some things to talk over with the waitress-----we'll grab some food and meet you there---in a couple of hours-----or so?"
            Walker and Alex look to each other, they know the twins are allowing them some time alone--they nod their heads and start walking to the motel across the street. The twins watch them walking, with their arms around each other, Walker keeps reaching down to kiss his wife, letting his hands do some roaming.
            Cooper says jokingly," I thought Dad said he was hungry?"
            Cordell looks to his twin. "I have a feeling that we better not disturb them at all----till maybe noon tomorrow?"

                                                                     ***********************
 Seeker-Quest-22

By Sasquaw

            Walker is calling home as Alex is putting his clothes out, his beard trimmer, and his aftershave lotion--Paul Sebastian---she loves it on her man! She can hear Angela's voice squealing over the telephone line. She smiles at her husband as he looks back to her, nodding his head to Angela's questions.
            "Yes, baby---I'm fine---I can't tell you how much I've missed all of you kids---I've thought of each and every one of you every second that I've been gone. Yes--the twins are fine. Let me talk to your brother."
            A small voice screams back at Walker, causing him to pull the phone away from his ear.
            "Hi Daddy-----Daddy you come home, now?"
            Walker is smiling, "Yes, buckaroo---all of us will be home sometime tomorrow-----have you been a good boy----are you taking care of your little baby sister?"
            "Yeath, Daddy----me take care of E.D.----she loves me----me hold her all time."
            "That's great son, so you are being the perfect big brother, are you?  I will bring you a home a gift, what would you like?"
            "Me no wanna a gift, Daddy---me want you to come home---so we can go fishing with 'uck."
               Walker's brow goes up in a question mark as he looks to Alex, "What's he talking about---'uck and fishing?"
            Alex smiles, "Chuck Norris told him that as soon as you were home, that the three of you would go fishing!"
            Walker laughs, "Oh, okay---now I get you, buckaroo----you get those fishing poles ready---and the three of us will definitely go fishing!  Now, you give baby sister a great big kiss for me-----I love you, Little Ray---let me talk to thissy again."
                 "Daddy------Dana wants to talk to Cordell, can you put him on?"
            "He and his brother are still over----at the cafe----talking----I'll tell him to call her as soon as they get back to their room."
            "Okay, Daddy, Dana says for him to call-----makes no difference how late!   Daddy---I have missed you so much."
            Walker can feel his voice starting to break, "I've missed you too, baby----and your Mother has told me how you have taken care of everything, your brother and sister---the perfect little woman, that's you."
            "I've just tried to help Mom, "Angela says slowly----"she has been so lost without you----and with everything going on----do you know about what Adlen is saying?"
            Walker nods his head slowly as Alex starts helping him to get his clothes off, she's looking back at him---with that look in her eyes. He stares back at her, feeling his arousal coming to attention.
            "Yes, Angela---I know what he is saying------we will---------work that out-------when I get home---I'll talk to you later, baby-----I love you."
            Walker looks back to his wife, she has now gotten his shirt off, and massaging his chest lightly, her eyes looking into his. His eyes go slowly down her body as she starts unbuttoning her blouse quickly.
            He swallows, his voice raspy-----"I feel so dirty right now------I must smell----like------"
            Alex smiles teasingly and gently grabs the front of his pants and begins to pull him towards the shower, "Oooohhhh---I'm just going to have to take care of that-----get out of those pants, Cowboy----before I tear them off of you."
            Walker quickly starts taking his pants off, never letting his eyes move from her body. She giggles softly as he pulls his boots off, to get his pants over them. Alex is taking off the remainder of her clothes, she is now standing before him in panties and a low cut bra, Walker's mouth is drooling as he reaches out and takes her right breast into his mouth, groaning.
            He goes from one breast to the other, as Alex encourages him to suck harder, holding his head tighter to her breast. Walker pulls the bra completely off, without even undoing the snaps---throwing it to the other side of the room.
                 "Ummmmmmm, you feel so good-----you taste so good----woman---I have missed you-----so much----I thought I would go out of my mind---wanting you so much."
            Alex's voice is raspy, "I've missed you so much-----sometimes at night-----I could almost feel you-----feel your hands----on my body------my body has ached for you-----Walker----I was so afraid I would never hold you again---never feel your lips-------"
            "I know--I've felt the same way," he scoops her up in his arms and carries her to the shower, gently setting her down under the warm water. Walker takes a deep sigh as he feel the water hitting him.
            "God----that feels good," he takes the water and splashes it on his face, shaking his head back and forth. He looks back to his wife, his fingers glide gently up and down her wet body, "---And, you're---beautiful---you get more beautiful with each passing day-----I love you, Mrs. Walker."
            Alex throws her arms around him, kissing him deep---"I love you, too, and if you don't make love to me---this very second----I'm going to scream!"
            Walker smiles, and reaching down and pulls her body up to him, and as her legs go around his waist, he enters her quickly.
            "Are you sure-----you don't mind this scraggly beard----and smelly body?" he teases.
            "Shut up," she whispers, pulling him deeper inside her and their rhythm begins," I told you, that's not important----I just want you inside me-----it's been so-----long!"
               Walker's mouth closes over hers as he opens and closes his lips over her, his hands are at the back of her buttocks, kneading them hard and pulling her deeper down on his manhood. He can feel his body growing unsteady from lack of food as he pushes her back against the shower wall for support. She meets his every thrust whispering his name repeatedly.  They both release their fluids at the same time as they eagerly hold onto each other.
            Walker takes a deep breath as he continues to kiss Alex's breast, and her neck, whispering, "I'm sorry hon----I couldn't hold out any longer------I've been without you-----for too damn long."
            Alex returns his kisses, and strokes his beard, "It's okay, Cowboy----can I have an encore?"
            Walker kneads her thighs harder, his voice becoming harsh----"Woman-----after I get some food in this body-----you can have all of the encores----your sexy body will allow you----."
            "I’ll hold you to that," Alex replies, she kisses him again and then unwraps herself from his body. She reaches behind him and turns the shower to hotter water, and begins massaging his shoulders.
            "Okay, hon----I'm going to get you something to eat----you enjoy this nice long, hot, shower---and when I get back--I'll trim your beard for you----okay—Wildman?"
            Walker grins, "I knew you wouldn't like my beard at this ungodly shape---looks pretty bad, huh?"
            Alex strokes his face, "It's okay--but I like your beard, trimline-----when it tickles----and you know the areas I like for it to tickle."
            "I know those areas--all too well, woman----now get out of here---or I'm never going to recover-----my legs are already feeling like wet noodles."
            Alex looks down at his manhood, it's trying to come to attention again, she pouts-----" Okay----I'm going----but you remember the encore you promised me."
            Walker grabs her and kisses her hard, "I'm not forgetting------you best get plenty of food---and throw some energy drinks in, too----because when I get through with you----you're not going to be walking too straight."
            Alex pulls away slowly, those eyes looking deep into his-----"I'll be back---in half an hour----will that be enough time?"
            Walker does a double take, and Alex breaks out laughing, "I was teasing you honey----I'll be back in an hour."
            He watches as she walks across the room, her body still damp. She knows he's watching as she deliberately takes her time, with the towel going slowly over her body, touching every inch. She slowly dresses, looking back over her shoulder, and then she blows him a kiss and is out the door.
                Walker's feet go out from under him and he hits the shower floor hard on his butt! He's trying to stand up, shaking his head---"Damn----17 years of marriage----and that woman can still knock me to the floor."
            He sits there on the floor, thinking of everything that has happened, and then he thinks of the accusation that Adlen is saying he's his father.
            Walker sighs, "Liberty----I haven't thought of that woman in over 20 years--and now----I learn I may have 'fathered' a son with her?"


                                           *******************************

            Woody is flying around the room, with his face all a glow. He stares back at Clifford Doss.
            "You should have seen Adlen's face---when I laid all of this on him about Lars changing the 'will’ and I will inherit everything----he was in total shock----he was speechless!"
            The little man smiles, nodding his head, "Yeah---wish I could have been there to see that-----better yet---I will love to see the look on Lars' face when he tells Adlen---that he will inherit nothing!"
            Woody is beaming, he lights up a cigarette, and then throws it down----"To hell with these things----have you got any expensive cigars-----how about some brandy---some champagne!"
            "I'll call room service and ask them to send up a bottle of their finest champagne---as for the cigars--you're out of luck---I don't smoke them."
            Woody groans, then lights up another cigarette, "After tonight----I will be lighting these babies with $100 bills----hell---maybe thousand dollar bills!"
            Doss picks up the phone and orders the champagne, he looks back to Woody as the young man is lighting up again. He shakes his head.
            "At the rate you smoke----your money won't last you very long."
            Woody is pacing, "Everything is coming together---just the way I planned---Danny is dead, and poor little Adlen is going to be penniless----but more than that---I will be able to laugh in Lars' face, and watch the hurt and disappointment come over his face, as his lawyer reads the will----I couldn't have planned it any better!"
            Doss watches Woody silently, "Just for the record, Woody----what happened to Danny---did you have anything to do with his death?"
            Woody sneers, "What do you think?"
            "You tell me, Woody---who put that knife to Danny's throat?"
            The champagne has arrived and Woody pours them both a drink, he downs his glass and pours another. "So, ----you want to know if I had Danny killed----is that what you're asking?"
            Doss sips his drink slowly---"Well?  Did you?"
            Woody stares back at the little lawyer----"Danny died a long time ago-----figuratively speaking-----he was dead when he bashed Randy's head in with that bat.  Yeah----I had him killed----I have quite a few friends that are doing time at Tarrant County----and they were only too anxious to take the little 'queer' out!"
            "But why kill Danny----he was never going to get out---he would spend the rest of his life in a insane asylum----he was no threat to you----or was he?"
            "You sure are asking a lot of questions, and yes---Danny was a threat-----he could have done a lot of talking."
            "What kind of talking?  What could he possibly have to say that would be of interest to anyone----he was crazy!"
            Woody is on his third glass of the bubbly---his tongue is getting thick---and loose. Doss listens intently to the story Woody tells, he shows no emotion as the young man talks. He secretly flips a small switch, and a hidden video camera begins. Doss sits down gently into his oversized leather chair, as he continues to sip his drink, his eyes become blank.


                                                   ****************************

Walker ranch:
            The phone rings and Angela is running to answer it.
                   "Daddy? Daddy---is it you?"
            A voice stammers on the other end, "No-----Angela----it's me----Adlen!"
                Angela's face turns to anger, she grits her teeth, and says, “What do you want?  Haven't you hurt this family enough?"
                 "Angela, please----I never meant to hurt any of you."
            "How did you think this was going to affect us?  This has torn my family in to----we're all still trying to get over my Daddy's kidnapping------and then you lay this crap on us."
            "I'm sorry, Angela-----I heard that your---- my----I mean your Dad was found---that he's okay---is that true?"
                 Angela's bottom lip is quivering---"My Daddy is just fine-----he's with my Mom and the twins----and when he gets home---he'll have your hide for spreading such vicious rumors."
            Adlen shakes his head, "It's not just a rumor, Angela----Cordell Walker is my father and as soon as he takes the DNA, it will be proven----you'll see."
            "I have just one question for you, Adlen----why couldn't you face my Daddy like a man----and tell him to his face---what you are implying now?"
            Adlen is smoking one cigarette after another, "I had my reasons, Angela----but that doesn't matter now---the story is out----I didn't release that story, Woody did!"
                 "Woody?  The waiter aboard The Ice Princess----what does he have to do with any of this?"
             "Angela----it's a long story----can I come by your home and talk to you?"
                   Angela's mouth drops open, "Hell no---you can't come here----you have your nerve for asking."
                  "Angela, please----I'm only about 20 minutes from your ranch----please-----there are some things I have to tell you---you owe me that much!"
            "I don't owe you anything, Adlen!"
            "Not even----if I'm your half brother-----Angela---I need to talk to you----please!"
            Angela starts to hang the phone up, when her grandpa walks in, looking at her suspiciously.
            "Who is that, punkin----more news reporters?"
            Angela turns back to the phone, "You can come here---but you rest assured---I'm not alone----I have a lot of people here--I have a gun----and I know how to use it!"
            " Angela----I won't hurt you--- I would never hurt you---you're my half sister----I won't hurt you."
            Angela slams the phone down and starts pacing, her grandpa grabs her arm, "Angela---What was that all about----who's coming here---who do you think might hurt you?"
            Angela tells her grandfather of Adlen's call.
            "What the hell does that son-of-a-bitch want now?  Hasn't he caused enough problems?"
            "He's coming here, Grandpa-----he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer---would you please stay with me?" she sobs.
            Gordon grabs his granddaughter and comforts her---"You're damn right I'll be here with you----and I'm getting a gun----I'll blow that s.o.b. away if he so much as tries to touch you."


                                              *********************************


            Trivette has flown to Nogales, Arizona with C.D., Juan, and little Tony.
            No words were spoken on the flight as C.D. has requested, saying he wanted to spend these last few hours with the boys.
            "I know---all of us have a lot of questions to ask---and to answer---but----Jimmy---could this wait till I get back to Texas----then you, Cordell, and Alex and me----we'll all sit down----and those questions will be answered---okay, son?"
            Trivette nods, looking back at the old man that has been like a second father to him---"Anything you say, Big Dog----after you have made sure that Juan and Tony are okay----I want you to go to a hospital and get checked out----will you do that for me?"
            The plane has landed and a couple in their mid 50's stand anxiously, looking back at the passengers unloading. They spot the two young boys---in torn clothes, looking around at all the scenery---their faces in complete shock.
            The older boy is holding the smaller one's hands as he spots the old couple, moving towards them slowly. Juan whispers to himself, "Uncle Anthony, Aunt Maria."
           
Juan kneels down on the tarmac in front of his young nephew, and motions to the old couple.
            "Tony---we are home---that is our Uncle Anthony and Aunt Maria-----we're home---mi sobrino."
            Trivette and C.D. watch as the elderly couple approaches the boys, they both have tears in their eyes as the couple holds out their arms and the two boys run into them. Everyone is talking at once, and finally the man breaks away and approaches the Rangers.
            He thanks them repeatedly for bringing the boys home, and then he invites them to come to dinner. The boys start pulling on C.D.'s hands, begging him to stay and have dinner with them. The old man smiles and looks to the couple and then down to his ragged clothes.
            "I'm afraid---I'm not dressed for dinner------"
            The old man grabs C.D.'s arm, "I have clothes that will fit you, my friend---and my Maria is a excellent cook! She will cook you anything you and your friend desire---please come to our home."
            The two Rangers walk with the couple and the two boys. The woman is telling them she has a room fixed up for them, toys, and there's a puppy for little Tony----and gobs of food.
            Trivette is walking beside his good friend, he puts his arm around the old man's shoulders, "It's a happy ending for Juan and Tony---- they've found their family-----and now our family circle has been completed, too------ welcome home, C.D.-----God---I've missed you."
            "I've missed you too, Jimmy----we got nearly 17 years of  'catching up to do and talk about'-----and I got grandkids to spoil."
            The two men laugh, their arms around each other.


                             **************************************

            Adlen walks slowly into the Walker living room, he looks around at the simple surroundings. The furniture is nice, giving a comfortable look, but not flashy. There are pictures of the family over the fireplace and in the center is Walker and Alex's wedding picture. On each side of it is various pictures of all the kids, at different ages. There's a picture of Walker and Alex taken at a lake, Walker has his arms around her waist and she's looking back at him.
            Adlen sees baby pictures of each of the kids, including the baby picture of the newest little Walker. His heart sinks as he looks at the pictures, especially the ones where Walker is holding each of his kids, when they were only minutes old. He stares at the look on Walker's face and the look of love in his eyes, his own eyes start to mist up.
            Angela stares back at him, "What did you come to say----make it quick---then leave."
               Gordon, Sue, and Dana walk in from the kitchen, followed by Little Ray. The boy runs to Adlen.
            "Hi----me know you----you was on big boat."
            Adlen looks down at the little boy, searching his face for some resemblance to himself. He pats the boy on his head, "Yeah----I remember you too, how's it going big guy?"
            "Fine-----you want some chicken?"
            "No, that's okay----I can't stay that long."
            Gordon clears his throat, "You got that right."
            Adlen looks to the old man, "Angela----could we talk----alone?"
            Angela starts to answer, and Gordon stomps over to her, "No way----whatever you got to say to my granddaughter---you can say in front of me---you got that?"
            Sue turns to Dana and motions for her to take Little Ray out, then she goes to stand by her fiancé, and Angela crosses her arms and stares back at Adlen, he reaches for a cigarette.
            "MY Daddy does not allow smoking in the house," she says sternly.
            Adlen apologizes and puts the cigarette away, "I don't suppose I could get something to drink?"
            Dana goes to the kitchen and brings back orange juice, Adlen stares at it.
            "-----And no---I don't have anything to put in it----it's either that or------milk."
            "The juice is fine," Adlen replies sipping it.---"Angela----I just want you to understand why I'm doing this."
            "I don't understand any of it---most of all I can't understand why you would wait till my family is already falling apart from the stress of my Daddy being kidnapped----before you say anything about any of this.  Why didn't you confront my Daddy sooner----and to his face?"
            "It's complicated, Angela---I had my reasons for waiting-----"
            "Yeah, I just bet you did---you sorry little punk----something along the line of a inheritance—right?"
            Adlen stares back at Gordon, "How do you know about that?"
                    Gordon's blood pressure is rising, and Sue is trying to calm him. "I'm a lawyer----retired---but I still keep my foot and my ears to the grindstone----and I have friends that have been talking to me about you----ever since you put that story into the paper! Why don't you tell my granddaughter the real reason--you waited until now."
            Angela is staring at Adlen, "Well? Are you going to tell me?"
            Adlen shakes his head, "I never meant for the story to come out this way----I wanted to confront your Dad in person-----and then he came up missing----and I didn't get the chance."
                  Gordon's eyes are burning right through the young man----"That is not the real reason that you were waiting to drop this bombshell----now you tell Angela the truth---now!"
            Adlen drops his head and goes to sit down on the sofa----"I'm sorry----I can't."
            "Then---I will!  " Gordon looks to his granddaughter, "He waited until now, because he wanted to make sure he wouldn't walk away empty-handed! By midnight tonight---he stands to inherit 10 million dollars from Lars Kentworth---on his 21st birthday. He couldn't afford to tell your daddy anything before now---because if he did---his step father would disinherit him----isn't that right----?"
            "NO----that is not right------at least-----not all of it!  I won't be getting anything---because Lars put a clause into a new 'will' saying that Woody, my half brother, would inherit everything if I continued the quest to prove that Walker is my father.  Woody knew this---and he knew my 21st birthday was coming up on the 16th---tomorrow. So he released the story to one of his friends at the Dallas Times----the editor there couldn't wait to run the story---I hear he and Walker aren't too good on friendship."
            "My son-in-law has had his run-ins with that man---but now that the story is out and you're disinherited—that kind of leaves you----broke!  So, tell us, Adlen----why are you here?"
            Adlen stammers, "I guess I just wanted Angela to hear it from me, that I never meant for it to come out this way----I swear."
            Angela shakes her head, "What does it matter----it still hurts just as much!  What do you want from me, Adlen---sympathy?  To feel sorry for you because all of this blew up in your face?"
            "I'm not even sure why I'm here---I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry."
            Gordon tilts his head and looks at the young man hard, "Let me ask you something----if all of this had broken after your 21st birthday, would you still be standing here and asking Angela for her forgiveness?"
            Adlen starts to answer, and Gordon interrupts him, "I can tell you right now what that answer would be----NO----you wouldn't be!  Because you would have that money----and you wouldn't care one way or the other about how any of us feel----right?"
            Adlen can say nothing he just stares at the floor, and Angela stares at him.
            "My Grandpa asked you a question---would you have come forward if this had happened after your birthday?"
            "I don't know------in the beginning, all I wanted to do was hurt Walker-------I wanted him to hurt the same way he hurt my Mother----the hateful things he said to her over the phone---the way he denied that I was his----I just wanted him to pay-----is that so wrong?"
            "Are you saying that my daddy knew about you?"
            "Yes---he knew about my Mother being pregnant with me---she told him--the countless times that she talked to him. He told her--to find another sap to pin it on, that he wasn't buying into it!"
                 "Someone is not telling the truth here--and when my Daddy gets home, I'm sure he and your Mother will get things straightened out."
            "My Mother is dead, Angela, she died just shortly after my 2nd birthday, she committed suicide----thanks to your Daddy!"
            "What's my Daddy got to do with your Mother killing herself?"
            "She may have put a bullet in her head, but she died from a broken heart---because Walker would not talk to her when she called! He kept changing his phone number----and when he did talk to her---he was cold and cruel----he said he was moving on with his life, that he didn't need her anymore and for her to stay out of his life!"
            "That does not sound like my Daddy-----my Daddy would never be so cruel---you take that back!"
            "I'm sorry, Angela---I know you think that your Daddy can do no wrong----but people change over the years---and he just wasn't ready to accept any extra baggage at that time!  So he turned his back on my Mother----and me."
            Gordon is steaming, "I think you've said enough---now leave----before I throw you out."
            "Okay, I’ll leave---but Angela----try and see it from my side---I just want to prove once and for all that Walker is my father."


SEEKERS-QUEST-23

By Sasquaw

            It's a long 8 hour drive back to Springtown, and the Walkers are all anxious to get home The last hour is almost unbearable as Walker is getting nervous to see the rest of his family.        They had planned to spend the night in Matamoras, but upon hearing from Angela that Adlen had paid a visit to the ranch, the Walkers decided to start for home right away.
            The truck phone has rung every hour, with Angela wanting to know their location. Cordell has just answered the phone.
            "Yeah, Sis---we're just turning off highway 199---we'll be home in less than five minutes."
            He hears his sister squealing, as everyone looks to him and laughs.
            Cooper smirks, "She's not excited ---in the least."


                                              *********************************


            J.W. comes riding up to the front porch on Little Ray's go-cart, the flags on the antenna wave. The whole family has come out on the porch, and there are friends and neighbors. Gordon and Sue stand together, their arms around each other, Dana is walking nervously back and forth to the edge of the porch, looking down the long gravel drive. Angela is bouncing up and down, waiting for that first glance of her daddy's gray truck. Little Ray is standing on the porch railings.
            "I see it---I see it," screams Angela as she jumps down from the porch.  J.W. is yelling for Little Ray to come get in his go-cart as he gets out to let Angela sit in the passenger seat, he runs around to the back and stands on the little bumper. Little Ray is helped down by one of the Rangers, and he's running to the go-cart as fast as his little legs will carry him.
            The boy jumps behind the steering wheel and stretches his legs to reach the pedals, he's grinning and showing that toothless smile. He floors it and the silver and blue go-cart flies down the gravel road, kicking up rocks and dirt.
            At the other end of the drive, the twins are pointing down the drive, "There comes Little Ray---he's finally driving his go-cart!"
            Cooper yells back, "Well, it's about time--after all the hours we spent building it---look at the little guy fly------he's burning rubber!"
            Walker is all smiles as he and Alex see their baby son flying down the gravel road, Alex gasps, "Oh no----he's not wearing his helmet!"
            Walker slams the Ram to a stop and jumps out of the truck as the go-cart comes sliding to a stop. Angela is out of the cart and running to Walker. She jumps up in his arms and he catches her, spinning around.
                   "Daddy----Daddy----," she sobs----“I've missed you so much!"
            The tears are falling down Walker's cheeks as he kisses his daughter over and over , telling her that he loves her.
            He feels someone tugging at his pants legs and a small voice squealing, "Daddy."
            Angela pulls away from her Daddy and Walker scoops up the boy, and throws him up in the air, then squeezes him, kissing his tiny little face.
            "Hey buckaroo-----how's my little man?"
            The boy is crying and squeezing his Daddy's neck----"Me love you, Daddy----me miss you!"
            Angela goes to the truck as Alex and the twins are getting out, she hugs each one of them, and they all walk slowly over to Walker, who is now kneeling down with Little Ray, the boy can't stop crying. Walker is talking to him gently, pushing his hair back.
            J.W. walks up slowly to Walker, and hugs him, "Welcome home, Uncle Walker."
            Walker stands up with Little Ray in his arms, he reaches out an arm for J.W. and hugs him.  "It's so good---to be home----have you heard from your Dad yet?"
            "Yes sir, he said that he and---Grandpa C.D. would be in at the end of the week---Dad said that he's made Grandpa go see a doctor----and all."
            Little Ray is still crying and holding on to his Daddy as tight as he can. Walker looks over at the go-cart.
            "That's a mighty fine looking little car you got there---can I drive it?"
            "Yeath, Daddy---you drive it," the boy scrambles down out of his Daddy's arms and runs back to it.
            Walker bends down and crawls into the cart---"I tell you what, buckaroo---you sit in my lap and you drive----I'll just push the pedals."
            "Can Mommy come too-----come on Mommy!"
            Now Alex is climbing into the cart, Little Ray looks to her and says, "Fasten ‘eatbelt, Mommy----let's go Daddy."
            The go-cart flies down the gravel road, as everyone is cheering. The twins, Angela, and J.W. come back in the Ram.
            It's a tear full reunion as everyone greets the Walkers.  Gordon grabs Walker and starts hugging him.
                   "Welcome home son-----," and then he turns to Alex and the twins,----"I have never been so scared in all my life----all of you are home and safe-----thank God!"
            Walker is shaking hands with everyone, and Alex is going around hugging everyone and thanking them for their support. Angela shouts out.
            "We have drinks and sandwiches----everyone please come inside," she grabs her daddy and pulls him inside. Dana is silently standing at the end of the porch, as Cordell is approaching her. Cooper and J.W. nudge each other, and snicker.
            "Hi, Cordell-----welcome home," she says very low.
                  Cordell's face is turning a slight red as he feels the eyes of Cooper and J.W. watching them. He clears his throat, "Hi Dana."
            They stand for the longest just looking at each other, finally Cordell reaches out and takes Dana's hand, "Come on-----let's get away from these prying eyes."
            The young couple starts walking towards the corral, Old Ranger has seen the gray truck----and he's throwing his head back and forth. Cordell laughs, "He knows that Dad is home----and if Dad doesn't get out to see him soon---I wouldn't be surprised that Old Ranger will go to the house."
            Dana is all smiles as she looks up at Cordell, she can almost swear he's grown since seeing him last. Her eyes are bright as she keeps staring at him.
                  "Cordell Walker----are you going to kiss me----or not?"
            Cordell looks back up at the porch, the boys are still snickering and making kissy sounds back at the young couple, and then they turn and go inside the house. Cordell breathes a sigh of relief, as he reaches down and kisses Dana softly.
            They don't pull away as their kiss deepens, finally breathless, Dana says softly, "I think we've finally got the kissing down 'pat'---what do you think?"
                  "Nope," Cordell kisses her again-----"we need more practice."
            Cooper and J.W. are watching from the window, J.W. does a double take---"Wow----that brother of yours has sure gotten over his shyness with girls----" he turns to Cooper and nudges him----"Come on, Coop----let's hear the illicit details on what really happened with that Lupe----did you score?"
            Cooper just smiles, "Later, J.W.----I want to spend time with my family----there comes Mom with C.D.-----Dad finally gets to hold her again----let's get over there."
            The room becomes quiet as Alex places Cherokee Dawn into her Daddy's arms. Walker is speechless as he looks down at her.  Her hair is longer, and a yellow headband compliments a little yellow dress, with leotards. Her dark eyes stare back up at the bearded man, she giggles, reaching her hand out. Walker takes her little hand and kisses it.
            "You are so beautiful----yes --you are------my little princess."
            Walker is still cooing at his newborn as he goes to sit down at the long kitchen table, everyone follows him. Little Ray is looking up at his Daddy and his baby sister, and he has a deserted look upon his little face. Walker sees him, motions for the boy to climb up in his lap.
            "Come here, buckaroo----my lap is plenty big enough for both of you."
            The boy needs no coaxing as he climbs up, he looks to his Daddy and says very stern, "Daddy----you 'tay home----" he turns to his Mother and says just as stern---"Mommy----you make Daddy 'tay home----and you too!"
            The whole house is laughing as Alex kisses the top of her baby son's head and then kisses her husband, "I'm going to do my damnest to do just that, sweetheart-----we're not going to let Daddy out of our sight, are we?"
            The boy is nodding his head up and down as Walker is laughing and kissing the side of his head, "You can count on that, buckaroo-----you're going to get very tired of me being around."


                                              ************************************


            All of the neighbors and friends have left the Walker ranch, and everyone is trying to wind down from the hectic day.  Alex is putting the baby down for the night, and Little Ray has fallen asleep in his Daddy's lap as they sit in the large recliner. Gordon and Sue, making plans to go out for the evening, hands Walker the newspaper.
            "This is the latest on that Kentworth guy---now they're saying that he might not come back for the reading of the will----no one has heard from him."
            Walker scans over the story, he sees a picture of Adlen, a picture of him is next to it. Walker looks at the young man's face, studying it. He sighs, "I don't know, Gordon-----can you see a resemblance?"
            "I've tried and tried to remain neutral----I suppose there is something----about the eyes-----I don't know.---I know the young man has a temper-----I watched him---the whole time he was here----but a lot of people----have hot tempers!"
            "Dad, the evening news is on," states Cooper as he runs down the stairs and pulls the cabinet doors open for the TV-----"they're talking about Adlen---do you want to see it?"
            Walker lays the paper down and looks down at his baby son, kissing his forehead---"I suppose---seems like I'm not going to have any choice----let's hear what he has to say."
            The interview with Adlen is short, he keeps saying 'no comment'---the reporters keep asking about Walker. Adlen pushes past them, "Leave me alone----the DNA will prove what I'm saying---now leave me the hell alone!"
            The reporters follow Adlen, and the cameras go back to the main studio, a picture of Lars Kentworth covers the screen.
                    Walker's eyes widen, as he reaches for the remote---"That's him----that's the son-of-a bitch---that wanted me dead!"
            Gordon is helping Sue with her sweater, but turns and looks at the TV.  Are you sure, son? Adlen's stepfather----is the one that had you kidnapped?"
            Cooper stares at the TV, and then he runs upstairs to get his Mother.
            Walker is steaming, "I'll never forget that face----that's him alright----he's the one that was at Diablo's when they took me there.  He's the one alright----Diablo said he wanted me dead--in the worst way----"
            Alex and Cooper are coming down the stairs, she stares back at the TV and then to Walker, she turns to her son----"Call my office and tell them to issue a warrant for Lars Kentworth----suspicion of kidnapping and attempted murder."
            "You got it, Mom---gladly."
            The rest of the evening is spent talking about Lars and his part in kidnapping Walker.
            "It makes sense," replies Gordon---"Adlen said that he would be disinherited if he pursued the fact in proving that you’re his father!"
            "And, that's the reason that Lars doesn't want to appear in court tomorrow---he knows that by now I have seen his picture and can testify against him! Not only for kidnapping, but attempted murder, accessory to murder, gun running, and who knows what else?"
            Alex goes to sit down by her husband, she takes his hand, "And---it won't matter how many fancy lawyers he hires--or how many millions of dollars he has---he's going to stand trial---I promise you that, honey."
            Walker is silent, he looks at Alex and asks softly, "And, what about---this other---what if the DNA says---I'm Adlen's Father?"
                  Everyone stares at Alex, she takes a deep breath--she strokes Walker's face, "I told you----if Adlen is your son----we will all have to accept it-----he's not a bad person----you can't blame him for wanting the truth."
            "That's true," Walker replies, squeezing his wife's hand, "I swear to you, Alex-----I never knew----that Liberty was pregnant---she never said anything."
            Gordon and Sue exchange glances, "But, Walker----that is not what Adlen was saying."
            "What do you mean, Dad?"
            "Alex----that young man said that--Walker knew," Sue replies softly.
            Walker stares back, "I didn't know anything about it-----she never mentioned it."
            "I'm sorry," replies Sue as she starts to stammer, she looks quickly to Gordon.
            "It's true, son---that's what he was saying----Angela heard him too---all three of us heard him say it."
            Alex looks to Walker, lowering her eyes, "Walker-----are you telling the truth---did you know about------"
            Walker jumps from his chair, "Alex----for Christ's sakes---I'm telling you---Liberty never said anything about being pregnant---I wouldn't lie to you about that----I thought you believed me?"
                  "Honey------I had to ask----if you say you didn't know---then---okay. But I had to ask you--can you blame me for asking?"
            Walker takes a deep sigh as he looks to Alex and then to Cooper, Gordon, and Sue. "I swear----on everything that I hold sacred---Liberty never said anything to me about expecting a baby----NEVER!"
           
Alex stands up and tries to quiet her husband, "Okay, honey----I believe you----but---Adlen is still very much in the picture, and I don't believe that he's a cruel person---I don't think he would have pursued this all these years--if he hadn't believed----that you're-----his father."
            Cooper stares back at his father; he has remained silent through the whole discussion. Walker looks back at him and sighs, "I think you and I need to talk, Coop---I know you must feel that I haven't been honest with you. That I haven't practiced what I was preaching----"
            Cooper sighs, "Yeah----I think we need to talk."
            Gordon and Sue make their departure, and Alex goes back up the stairs to check on the baby.
            Walker goes to pour himself a cup of coffee, he takes a sip, and then pours it out, Cooper is staring back at him with a blank look on his face. Walker starts pacing, and he motions for his son to follow him.
            "Where we going?"
            "To the barn," Walker replies.
            Cooper frowns, and whispers to himself---"The barn----now what did I do"? He follows his Dad.
            Walker goes directly to the little refrigerator and opens it, Cooper exhales----"The beer----oh no.”
           
He barely finishes talking to himself when Walker throws him a beer, Cooper catches it, but not quite sure what to do with it.
            "We were going to clear it out of the fridge, Dad---Cordell and I----we only had a couple------"
            Walker waves his son off----"Forget that----come sit down----and drink your beer-----it's okay!"
            Cooper sits down on the bale of hay directly across from his Dad. Walker pops the top of the beer and drinks it down with one long swallow; Cooper's brows go up. He smirks, throws his head back and does the same thing. He stares back at his Dad----then belches.
            Walker stares at him, shakes his head and reaches back in the frig for two more. "Let's drink these a little slower, okay, son?"
            "What do we do if Adlen turns out to be your son-----?"
            "I guess the question is---what will you kids do---how will you accept him?"
            "I'm not sure, Dad----I just want to know why you jumped all over me on The Ice Princess---when I made that statement about 'fathering babies', but not marrying the mothers?--It sounds hypocritical now with all that's happened.  How come you never took precautions with that woman?"
            Walker nods his head, "You're right---and I was wrong!  Things happened very quickly between us----I know that's no excuse---and I'm guilty.  But, Cooper---you were insinuating that this was something you were planning to do--what happened between Liberty and me was not planned---it just happened."
            "You've always told each of us kids to be prepared---now you're saying those rules don't refer to you---because you were an adult----get off of it, Dad---that's a 'cop out'---and you know it."
            Walker takes a long drink of his beer and shakes his head. "I made a mistake--and now a young man has spent the last 20 years---trying to prove that I'm his father----I'm sorry for what has happened---but that does not erase the fact that a child has been without his father---for all of these years!---I take the blame for my actions, I used careless judgment----I take the blame for it, son-----I'm sorry."
            Cooper downs the rest of his beer and goes to retrieve two more, Walker is still trying to finish his second one. He looks back to Cooper, "Take it easy on the booze, son---your Mother is going to have my hide for letting you drink---how long has that case been under that hay over there?"
            "Quite awhile----Cordell and I took some down to Uncle Ray's cabin---when we were painting your truck."
            Walker finishes the second one and takes the third one from his son---"I guess the beer is your excuse for that stupid---looking flame job---right?"
            Cooper is starting to feel a 'buz'----"Stupid?  I have you know, Dad---that flame was not stupid----I planned it all out---you just better be glad ----I didn't go with my first idea."
            "And---what was that----pray tell?"
            Cooper starts laughing, the beer is spilling all over him---"I was going-----to paint these-----huge-----hooters----on the tail gate------and call it---HOOTERSVILLE."
            Walker groans, "Your Mother would have killed you----are you serious?"
            Cooper is laughing harder, his words are starting to slur, "Yep--Cordell was already in shock about---the flames---can you imagine how he would have reacted if ----there-----were these two---big---humongous---boobies---staring back at him---from the tailgate?"
            Walker is trying not to laugh, leave it to Cooper to come up with such an idea. He shakes his head, "Son-----let's get back to the subject of Adlen---how do you feel about---the possibility of an older brother?"
            "I already got an older brother, Dad----he's a whole 5 minutes older than me------and boy----does he rub it in----I keep telling him----I pushed him out first--so I could see---if I wanted to come out. Since no one shoved him back in----I figured---it was okay---and I would probably see all these beautiful nurses---waiting to hold me-----to their bosoms."
            Walker scratches his beard, "And, much to your surprise---it wasn't a nurse that took you to her bosom---but just me---I had to catch you---you slid out so fast."
            Cooper is shaking his head up and down---"Yep---I remember that moment----it felt like I was on the water rides at Water World."
            Walker reaches over and takes the almost empty beer away from his son, and shakes his head.  "Coop---listen to me-----can we get back to what we were talking about?"
            The boy is silent for the longest, Walker nudges him, "Coop---you okay, son---talk to me."
            Cooper lifts up his head, "I hear you, Dad----I'm not angry for what has happened--you apologized for your actions and you----admitted that you were wrong!  I admire that----how many parents would admit---to their kid that they made a mistake?  I know a lot of my friends would settle for just their parents to listen to them.  You and Mom have always listened to us kids---you might not like what we're saying----but you still listen."
            "It's a two way street, son---I hope I'll always listen to you kids."
            Cooper takes his beer back and finishes it, "And-----if that doesn't work----there's always the hickory switch."
            Walker laughs, "I think you two boys have had enough run-ins with that switch."
            "You mean that, Dad?"
            Walker motions for him to get two more beers, "Just don't push it----okay?”
            Cooper flips the tabs on both beers, and sits down beside his Dad., "Okay, Dad---now about Adlen----how do you feel about having an older son?"
            "I feel----like I was deprived of knowing him. I swear to you son, nothing was ever said about Liberty being pregnant with him, I would have never turned my back---if I had known."
            Cooper puts his arm around Walker's shoulders, I know, Dad----I know you wouldn't have---you've always faced up to your challenges-----things would have been different-----you----probably would have married---that woman-----and then---none of us kids would be here----you wouldn't have met Mom----and fell in love with her," Cooper starts to sob.
            "Coop------I didn't love Liberty---I had feelings for her----but they weren't the kind you build a future on----when we broke up-----I wouldn't have gotten over her so easily if I had loved her.  I was angry at the way she treated our relationship---but I moved on."
            Cooper blows his nose, "And, you met Mom?"
            "I knew your mother for several years, before I met Liberty---we just didn't start anything because of our conflicting jobs---and it always seemed that one of us or both of us was always involved in other relationships.  But, eventually we did start dating and soon we both felt the same way about where our relationship was going. We took it slow---but we knew how we felt about each other---and there was no one else for either of us."
            Cooper has tears in his eyes, "And, you don't regret the way your life has turned out?"
            "Son, I've thanked my lucky stars the day I finally let your mother into my heart---that woman has been my rock---she's always right there beside me---wrong or right---she's always there. Look how she's standing beside me through all that has happened, she risked her life to come looking for me---just like you and your brother have done-----how could I ever have regrets for having someone love me the way---my family has. Coop---if I lived to be 100---you will never hear me say I have any regrets.  And, someday---you will meet someone that you deeply care about and you will understand what I'm trying to tell you."
            Cooper nods, "I think I understand what you're saying-----Adlen deserves the same chance for happiness---he should count himself lucky---if you are his Father."
            Walker finishes his beer and urges his son to finish his. "It will all be settled soon---I'll go in for the DNA test---and we'll take it from there---we'll deal with it---okay, son?"
            Cooper starts to stand, he gets a little wobbly, "Dad?"
            "Yes, son?"
            "I think I might need help getting to the house---I need you to lean on."
            Walker smiles, standing up and putting his arm around his son's waist--"You know, Coop---this is starting to be a habit---if you're going to drink---you've got to learn to handle your booze."
            Walker barely finishes his sentence as he loses his balance and they both go down. Cooper is laughing, and trying to stand----"What were you saying, Dad?"
            The Walkers stand up and walk out of the barn, arm in arm---"I was saying--son--that we both need each other----to lean on----especially after your Mother sees us--in this condition---we both might be sleeping in the barn."
            Alex watches her 'men' coming up to the house, smiles and shakes her head, "Time to get out the coffee-----and plenty of it."
            Cooper goes bouncing over to his Mother, "Hi there, Mom----guess what----Dad said that hickory switch-----is history," he starts holding his finger up to his mouth in a 'shh' gesture----he turns to Walker----"right Dad----ain't that-----what you said?"
            Walker looks to Alex who is staring back at him and trying to keep Cooper from breathing in her face----he reaches out and turns his son towards the stairs----"Yeah-----that's what I said---now get into the showers----I'll bring you up a cup of coffee---and some aspirin."
            The boy starts up the stairs, Alex is still staring at her husband, "How many beers did you two have?"
            Walker shrugs, "Three--four---I lost count."
            Alex watches as Cooper is slowly moving up the stairs, she looks back to Walker---"Apiece-----or together?"
               "Apiece," Walker answers.
            Alex eyes him suspiciously---"You got tipsy on just 3 or 4 beers?"
            Walker starts nibbling on Alex's neck----"Nooooo---I just pretended to be----so that I could get our son out of the barn and away from that beer----and besides I have some encores to make up for----remember?"
            Alex starts to giggle, and kisses him back, "I was wondering if you had forgotten----are you sure---you're up to it?  I'm not going to settle for one quick encore-------"
            Walker scoops her up in his arms, kissing her  "Woman-there's not going to be anything quick about tonight."

Seekers-Quest-Chapter 24

By Sasquaw

            It's early morning at the Walker ranch; Alex is sitting on the side of their bed, looking back at her husband who is still sound asleep. Little Ray is curled up in his Daddy's arms. Alex hears the baby starting to cry so she runs to take care of her, before she wakes Walker. She gives the baby her bottle, and then a quick sponge bath, dressing her before she goes back into their bedroom. She stands there looking back at her husband, and then to the baby, she sighs.
            "I guess there's no use in putting this off any longer, my precious," she lays the baby down on the bed and reaches up to wake her husband.
                   "Honey----wake up---I have something to tell you."
            Walker groans, and is trying to reach out for his wife, he feels another body in the way. He opens his eyes and looks around, seeing Alex staring back at him, a confused look upon her face.
            "Alex---hon----what's wrong?  Why are you up so early----come back to bed."
            Alex nods towards their baby son, "Would you please take him back to his room and let him finish sleeping?"
            Walker keeps looking at his wife and then he slides out of bed, gently lifting his son up and carries him back to his bedroom, closing the door. He walks back into their bedroom, where Alex still has that confused look.
            "Hon----what is it?  Are the kids okay---what time did they get in last night?  Is the baby okay?"
                 "Walker----I have some news to tell you----it's all so confusing, I don't know where to start."
            Walker walks over to the bed and sits down gently beside their sleeping daughter, he turns to his wife, "Alex---you're as white as a sheet---tell me, hon----what's wrong?"
            "I got a phone call earlier this morning---from the police department and also from Mooney."
            "About what?  Alex---are the kids-----"
                     "Sweetheart, the kids are fine----you were sound asleep when they came in---they're fine!!!  It concerns Adlen-----and his ---step father."
            "What about them?" He asks gruffly.
            Alex takes a deep sigh, "Apparently, Lars Kentworth has been in Dallas for several days----he was staying at Adlen's penthouse.  Do you remember Woody, the waiter aboard The Ice Princess?"
                 "Vaguely---what about him?"
            "He turns out to be Adlen's half brother, the biological son of Lars Kentworth-----to make a long story short---he's the one that released the story about Adlen saying you are his Father, it wasn't Adlen that released it.  Well, the police say that they were called to Adlen's penthouse about 3am-----Woody was killed-----by Lars!"
            Walker stares back at his wife, "He killed his own son----why?"
            "The police say that he was angry at Woody for turning against Adlen----and 'setting' him up----about the 'will' and all---a argument erupted, Lars shot Woody---right in front of Adlen------and another witness-----Clifford Doss."
                 "Clifford Doss----Danny's lawyer---how was he involved?"
            "Doss was a friend of Adlen's and it turns out---that he has known Lars Kentworth for some 20 years or longer.  Anyways, he told the police that Lars confronted Woody about his betrayal---Woody denied it, and Doss played a video, proving that he was lying. A fight broke out between Woody and Adlen, Lars Kentworth got a gun and put it----to Woody's head-----and he shot him!"
            Walker goes quickly to his wife's side, and grabs her, she's shaking so hard she can barely stand.
            "Sit down, hon----don't say anymore----I'll get the rest of the story from the police report---I'll go get you some tea."


                                             ******************************


 Dallas:
              Walker and Alex have arrived at the police station, where Clifford Doss is giving his statement on what happened.  Adlen is in the next room, being interrogated.
            Captain Gray of the Dallas police comes out to talk to Walker, he nods to Alex.
                  "Welcome home, Walker---some homecoming, huh?"
            "What happened? Do their stories match, what really went down?"
            The Captain sighs, "They both have taken a lie detector test---and both passed---the young man is like---in a state of shock--but I guess after what happened to him and all---it's understandable."
            Alex holds Walker's hand tighter, "What do you mean---we heard that he witnessed the shooting?"
            "That's not all he saw, Alex----his half brother was shot at close range----the young man got the blunt of the bullet's damage----his brother's brain matter splattered all over him. He's been in complete shock ever since!"
            Alex gasps as Walker puts his hands out to support her, "Oh my God-----what a terrible thing to happen----no wonder he's in shock-----and you still ran a lie detector test----couldn't you have waited?"
            "Alex---you know better than that---he was a witness---the procedure is still the same---and he agreed to take the test."
            Alex is shaking her head, "Walker----go to him----that boy has got to be going through a living hell right now---please---ask to see him."
            "Are you sure, hon?"
            "Yes--you owe him that much---please?"
            Walker sighs, "Okay----but---you come with me---?"
            Captain Gray makes the arrangements for the Walkers to see Adlen, and they go to the second interrogation room. Adlen looks up at them as they walk in, his hands are shaking and he has some blood on the front of his face."
            Alex turns immediately to the police guard, "My God----you could have least let him clean up, what's the matter with you-------"
            Captain Gray interrupts, "He was cleaned up, Alex---that's not his brothers' blood---it's his! He went berserk on us, started scratching at his face, we had to cuff him--to get him to stop!"
            Alex walks over to Adlen slowly, "Adlen----do you know me---I'm Alex----remember me?"
            Adlen starts nodding his head up and down and then he looks to Walker, "Yes---I remember you----I'm sorry for all that has happened, I didn't want it to come down like this---you got to believe me---I'm so sorry."
            Alex walks over to the young man, "A lot has happened--and yes--it could have been handled a different way---but what is done--is done----have they read you your rights?"
            Walker is staring at the young man, now he can see the resemblance to Liberty and has his Mother's eyes. Adlen stares back at Walker.
            "I just want this to be over---Angela was so right---I should have faced you like a man---but I let my greed get in the way, and now my father, I mean Lars, has killed his own son! None of this would have happened if I just came to you and told you everything. Now, Lars will go to prison for what he has done------it's all my fault."
            Walker and Alex exchange glances, and then Walker walks closer to the young man, he clears his throat.
            "Adlen-----I'm sorry about your half brother getting killed---but---the truth is---Lars would still be going to jail----he's the one that was behind my kidnapping. And, there are other charges against him."
            Adlen shakes his head, "He wouldn't have hurt you----he was just trying to keep you out of the picture-----hoping I would change my mind and not go through with this DNA testing----he said he wasn't going to hurt you."
            Alex nods to the guard and asks him to bring Adlen some coffee, and then she sits down on the opposite side of the table, and urges Walker to sit down too. She reaches out and takes the young man's hand.
            "Adlen----there is more to the story than just kidnapping Walker and holding him prisoner----Walker was held in a prison down there, he was beaten daily, and Lars was responsible for the guns that were brought to Diablo-----he was up to his eyeballs in illegal contraband!  Your father wanted Walker dead----he told him so!"
            "No-----that's not true, Lars was only upset with me, if I had stopped the quest to prove that Walker is my Father, Lars would have let him go."
            "If that was so, Adlen---then he wouldn't have hurt all those innocent people---and what about my family----they were all torn apart because of what Lars did!  Lars was also there in Diablo's camp when an innocent young girl was raped and then shot dead---he did nothing to try and stop Diablo.  My friend had his eyes gouged out and then was decapitated right in front of my eyes---Lars did nothing to try and stop it----he just laughed!"
            "You're wrong----why are you saying these things---Lars would never hurt anyone."
            Alex takes Adlen's hand again, "He killed his own son----you were there---you saw him do it---didn't you?  Adlen----have they read you your rights?"
            The door opens and Clifford Doss walks in, "His rights have been read to him, Mrs. Walker---my client does not have any charges against him----he's free to go."
            Alex glares back at the attorney and Walker can see the contempt on his wife's face, "You’re representing Adlen----for what?  You said there were no charges against him."
                    "Everyone deserves a good lawyer, Mrs. Walker and I am Adlen's---isn't that right, Adlen?"
            Adlen stares back at Doss and nods his head slowly, "Yeah----yeah--I guess so."
            "What are you up to, Doss----I've heard about your underhanded ways of dealing with clients----just what are you up to now?  It couldn't be because you have decided that Adlen should challenge this 'will'---could it?  What's in it for you?"
            Doss takes his glasses off slowly and sneers back at Alex---"Listen here---I don't have to take that kind of talk-------“
            Walker stands up quickly and gets in between his wife and Doss, "Watch what you're saying, or I will put you through that wall."
            Alex pulls Walker back gently, "Honey-----it's okay--calm down."
            She turns to the lawyer and sighs, "I am only interested in what is best for Adlen."
            "Why should you care?  After all that has been done to your family---and now this man has accused your husband of being his biological father---you should be glad that justice has finally been delivered?"
                 "Justice, Mr. Doss?  He is only trying to find the truth to his past----now my husband and I are the ones that should be upset, but we want the truth too----Adlen is a innocent victim---he's wanting the truth and so do my husband and I!! We want this to be over with, so we can get our lives back to normal!"
            Doss stares back at the lady DA then shakes his head and then looks to Walker whose eyes are burning into his. He walks over to Adlen and puts his hand on his shoulder.
            "The truth?  You want the truth?  Tell me, Mr. Ranger-----have you taken the DNA test yet?"
                 Walker's eyes glare back, "That's where we're going now---has Adlen taken his?"
            Doss slaps Adlen on the shoulder lightly, "He asked you a question, Adlen----have you taken the test yet?"
            Adlen nods, "Yes----last week, they said it would be a couple of weeks till the results would come back."
            Doss shakes his head-------"Maybe, we should all go down to my office----I have some papers for all of you to read----and I want you, Mrs. Walker to view the video that I presented to Lars---early this morning."
            "We can't do that---that video is evidence, and it's been confiscated by the police---to be used against Lars," Walker replies.
            "There are two videos, Ranger--the one that was shown to Lars this morning--the one that proved that Woody was behind the whole setup, and the other one will answer a lot of questions, dating all the way back to August of '96'---just a few days before Liberty committed suicide."
            "What tape----what are you talking about?"
            The little man looks back at the Walkers and gestures towards the door, "Shall we go to my office----Adlen---you need to see this tape too---it will answer a lot of questions about your Mother----Lars, and your Father."
            Alex stares back at the little man and then looks to her husband----"Let's get this over with---once and for all."
            The video has been shown and Alex is finding herself feeling very jealous over Liberty's beauty. She watches the look on her husband's face as he looks back at the beautiful woman in the video. He lowers his head, and looks to Alex, reaching out and taking her hand. The video shows the birth of Adlen when he was just barely an hour old. Liberty is kissing him repeatedly. She's glowing as she looks into the camera and smiles.
            Adlen is watching Walker's face too, and Alex's. The tears come into his eyes as his Mother's face fills the screen, he whispers to himself.
            "She was so beautiful."
            Alex is fighting the temptation to leave the room, but she feels Walker's hand squeezing her's tighter. She looks up to Doss and asks, "What does this prove? Liberty had a son---that's a fact----but what has this got to do with questions being answered?"
            "Yes---she had a son, born August 16th-----21 years ago today, and he sits before you. But, you are not his father, Walker----and I can prove it!"
                   Walker's fists are folding and unfolding, he grits his teeth----"How can you prove it, what proof have you been keeping secret all these years?"
            Adlen is staring back at the lawyer too, "What are you saying? You've known all along about Walker not being My Father----why haven't you said something?"
            "I've wanted to tell you for so many years--but Liberty wouldn't let me.  She was obsessed with wanting Walker to be your father---that she eventually starting believing it. The truth is, she never knew who your real father was, she was raped!"
                "Raped?  How do you know all of this, how did you know my Mother?"
            Doss looks back to the Walkers and then to Adlen, "I met your Mother in Cheyenne, Wyoming---she had been to the rodeo--this was around Christmas time of '94', a friend brought her to see me. He said he was trying to help her find a good lawyer, that she had been raped by several rodeo riders and she wanted to press charges."
            Alex looks to Doss in confusion, "Press charges? Then she knew who raped her---who was it?"
            "She named several riders, they were brought in and questioned, all of them passed the lie detector test. There was not enough evidence to press them for a semen test---and besides that, Liberty decided not to press it any further, she dropped all charges."
            Walker is staring back at Alex, "I met Liberty towards the end of October---she was the rodeo queen----it was mid-November when we---I mean---when "I"---broke it off."
            Alex nods her head, "I can vouch for that---I was working on the Danbury case and you were a star witness.   I remember---how distracted you were at the hearing. We had words over your testimony---and you and I got into a heated argument, and that's when you told me that you were no longer seeing her."
            Doss looks to Adlen, the young man is hanging his head and looking down at the floor. "Adlen---your Mother didn't get pregnant with you till the end of December, and I don't think anyone has to tell you how promiscuous your Mother was----she had many sex partners---didn't she, Ranger? That was the main reason you stopped seeing her, wasn't it?"
            Walker shifts back and forth, he keeps looking at his wife and then to Adlen.
            "Yes------I caught her more than once with other men---including Dalton Reed."
            Alex bites her bottom lip, "I didn't find that out till later----but it came as no surprise."
            Adlen has tears in his eyes, "Why didn't you tell me that Walker wasn't my Father--- how could you and Woody lie to me all these years?"
            Doss sits down in his leather chair,  "I kept the secret out of loyalty to your Mother, she was very upset that Walker had broken it off with her, and apparently Liberty Belle wasn't in the habit of being the one that was dumped----she was used to being the one that did the 'dumping'. She was furious with Walker, and after she was raped----she decided to say the baby was his---and so the little charade started---the more she talked about it, the more convinced she was that the baby was his."
            "But, my Mother said that she had talked to you and told you she was pregnant---why did you treat her so cold?"
            Walker shakes his head, "Adlen---I was never told that your Mother was pregnant----"
            "You're lying!!!!!  She told you---and----and---you told her that she would have to find ----another sap to lay it on----that you didn't care."
            Alex walks over to Adlen and puts her arm around the young man, "Adlen----your Mother called me on several occasions and cursed me out for being the one that Walker was then seeing----but she never said anything to me about being pregnant either."
            "Why should she tell you----she hated you."
            Doss nods his head, "Don't you see, Adlen----when a woman is scorned, she takes it out on the nearest person she obviously hates, and that was Alex Walker!  When were you getting these calls, Mrs. Walker?"
            Alex thinks about it for a moment, "Early December--somewhere along that time."
            Doss nods, "You see, Adlen, your Mother was calling Alex before she got pregnant with you, so she couldn't have possibly got pregnant by Walker.  I have these papers for you to read, in them, Liberty confesses that she lied to you about Walker---but there's more-----and you're not going to like what I have to tell you."
            The Walkers stare back at Clifford Doss, Alex puts her arm around Walker's waist, "What are you hiding now, Doss?"
            Doss lowers his glasses and sighs, "Mrs. Walker---I know that you and I don't like each other---but I had my reasons for hiding the truth, do you want to hear my reasons or continue crucifying me?"
            Alex's temper is flaring, "I have never liked the way you handle your cases, and I've often wondered how you got picked to be Danny's lawyer---when at first McDivit was hired to represent him."
            "Why should you care about who Danny's lawyer was, after everything that he did to hurt your family, the boy is dead, you should be happy."
            "You sorry son----of----"
            Walker pulls his wife back, he looks to Alex, "Danny is dead----when?"
            Alex is glaring back at Doss, and then she turns to her husband, "He was murdered in his cell----a few days before you were found----I haven't had time to tell you----Danny was also Adlen's half brother, too."
            Doss is getting irritated, "Could we please get on with it----I have something else to tell you, Adlen, but the Walkers do not have to be present to hear this."
            Adlen puts his hands up, "They can stay, if they want---what else could you possibly tell me?"
            Doss takes a deep sigh, "Lars was very upset with your Mothers' constant insistence that Walker was your Father, they had many fights over it, he threatened to kick her out on many occasions, but he wanted to keep you----he thought the world of you, he wanted so much to be your father---to hear you call him Dad----but Liberty would never let him. She drove him crazy talking about Walker every minute of the day, I guess Lars felt that if he had another son by her, that the pain of not having you, would lessen.  That's when she got pregnant with Randy."
            Walker and Alex exchange glances, Walker asks---"Who the hell is Randy?"
            Adlen lights up another cigarette, and exhales, "He was my baby brother----he was killed when he was barely 4 weeks old---Danny killed him."
            Doss shakes his head as the Walkers are looking back in disbelief, "No, Adlen----Danny did not kill Randy----Woody did----and he tried to blame it on you and Danny."
            Adlen is choking on his cigarette, "Me and Danny-----I had nothing to do with Randy's death-----what are you saying?"
            "I listened to Woody's explanation on what happened that day, and it was everything I could do to keep from going after him and strangling the very life out of him. I knew everything he was saying was a lie; he lied to everyone, including Lars. He said that he came to the nursery to get Danny for supper and he saw you standing on a stepstool with a pillow in your hand and Danny was holding a bloodied bat. The truth was that he suffocated the baby then he went to get you from your nap, and shoved the pillow into your hand and made you climb up on the stool. Danny was present, and he put the bat in Danny's hands and told him to strike the baby----and Danny did. Woody then told Lars that you and Danny killed the baby, that's when Lars sent Danny away, rather than press charges. Because he knew that if he told the police that Danny was involved, that somehow it would leak out that you were involved too.  Lars did not want to take the chance on that getting out----he loved you too much, Adlen."
            Adlen is in shock, "All these years, Danny thought that I had helped to kill Randy?"
            "Yes, Adlen-----Lars has been guilty of a lot of underhanded things, but there is one thing he did right-----and that was loving you. He worshiped the ground you walked on, he would have given anything to make you his son------and there was only person that was standing in his way-----and that was Liberty."
            Alex looks to the lawyer and then to Adlen, "What happened, what really happened to Liberty?"
            Doss is silent for the longest, and then he says quietly, "He killed her----he put a gun to her head-----and shot her----the very same way he shot Woody----his own flesh and blood!"
            The room remains silent as Adlen stares back at Doss, he shakes his head back and forth, and then he starts to cry. Alex starts to walk over to him, but he pulls away.
            "Leave me alone----I just have to be alone," he sobs.


                                            *******************************


            The Walkers have returned home, and they relay the news about Adlen to the rest of the family. Angela takes a deep breath.
            "I can't help----but feel sorry for him----he wasn't bad-----just confused----having all those people lie to him for so many years."
            Alex puts her arms around her daughter, "I know, sweetheart---he was just confused----who wouldn't be?"
            Gordon sighs, taking Sue's hand, "Well, now that the DNA test is over with and you didn't have to take it-----"
            Walker sips his coffee, "I took the test anyways, Gordon----I want to know for sure--for my own satisfaction," he looks to his wife, "I just want all of this over with, once and for all."
            "I understand, son---oh, by the way--Jimmy called---he and C.D. will be home by the end of the week--they're still running tests on C.D. and getting his eyes checked."
            "It will be so good having C.D. home with us---we have so much to talk about---so many questions to be answered---were they able to save the one eye?"
            Gordon shakes his head, "I'm afraid not, too much damage to the nerves, but the right one is just fine, they will fit him with glasses, and soon they will be home."
            The twins smile, "It will be nice having two grandpas around---'Pappa'---I mean Grandpa C.D. sounds like a interesting man---can't wait to hear him tell tales of the old west."
            "Coop----you make him sound like he grew up during the times of the old west---he's not that old."
            "I know---I know---but Dad---he can tell tales about Hays Cooper------he will be moving in with us---right, Mom?"
            Alex goes to put her arms around her husband's neck, "Of course he will!!!  We wouldn't have it any other way---we just have to find a room for him."
            Gordon clears his throat, "Well---pumpkin---he can have my room----since I will be moving out soon."
            Walker stares back at his father-in-law---"Gordon---we're not pushing you out---you have your own room here---and you always will------"
            Alex looks to her dad and Sue, she reaches down and kisses her husband's cheek, "Honey----Dad and Sue are getting married."
                     "Married? When did this come about?"
            Before Alex can answer, Gordon replies, "Since about 2 weeks ago when I proposed to Sue in the hospital---and she was crazy enough to say 'yes'."
            Walker is all smiles as he stands up and kisses Sue's cheek, and shakes hands with Gordon, "Congratulations----when?  When is the big day?"
            Gordon and Sue embrace and Sue holds up her left hand, showing off a 3-carat engagement ring, "As soon as possible, I don't want him changing his mind."
              Everyone laughs as the women admire Sue's ring, and Gordon says quietly.
            "We would like to have the wedding here----if that's okay with you two---but we want to wait till C.D. is well enough to join us."
            Angela squeals, "A wedding---here?  Yes---oh yes---please Mom, Daddy---say yes!!”
           
"Of course you can have the wedding here, I'm sure brother Bob would be more than glad to officiate----and Angela---you and Dana can help with all the preparations."
                    Everyone is laughing and making plans for the wedding, but Little Ray is standing off to the side, being very quiet. Finally Walker walks over to him and kneels down to him.
            "What's wrong, buckaroo---aren't you happy for papa---he's getting married to Sue---you like Sue----don't you?"
            The boy nods his head slowly, "Yeath---me like her----but---but---- me don't want papa to leave."
                                     

Seekers-Quest-Final Chapter
By Sasquaw

Walker ranch:
            Gordon now sees that his grandson is upset, he walks over and picks him up.
                   "Heyyy-what's this about my leaving?"
            Little Ray looks up to him, his blue eyes filling with tears, "You not leaving, Grandpa"?
            Gordon smiles, kissing the side of his grandson's head, and sits him back down.  "I'll only be gone long enough to go on my honeymoon-----and then Sue and I will be coming back."
            "You come back here, Grandpa," the boy points to the guestroom at the end of the hall, "back to your room?"
                 Everyone is trying not to laugh as Gordon motions for Sue to come over to the couch with him and the boy.
           "Sue and I will have to have our own place, we'll probably get another condo in Dallas---that's not too far away---and I promise I will have a special room for you when you come to spend the night.  And, guess what, Ray Gordon---you will finally have someone to call 'Grandma'----wouldn't you like that?"
            Little Ray looks to Sue---"Sue?  Sue will be my grandma----really?"
            Sue smiles, and reaches out to hug the boy, "Only if you want me to be---would you mind calling me 'grandma'?”
            Little Ray looks back to Alex and then to Walker, "Will that be alright?"
            Alex smiles and nods her head, Walker reaches out and messes up the boy's hair, "Of course it will be alright, buckaroo---you finally have a grandma-----all of you kids---finally have a grandma."
            Cooper frowns and looks at his twin, "I have a question."
                  Everyone stares back at him, anticipating the question he's about to ask. Angela smirks.
            "What, brother dear?"
            "Well, I'm just wondering what Cordell will call Sue---will he call her 'grandma' or if he and Dana should get married someday---then he would have to call her 'Mom'----right?"
            Dana and Cordell blush, Cordell reaches out and slaps his twin on the back of the head, "Would you chill out, bro'----we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
            Walker and Alex look back to the young couple, and sigh.


                                   *********************************


            It's now October and C.D. has finally been released from the hospital. Cooper has been clearing out his bedroom to make room for another bed to be moved in for C.D.
            "I sure hate moving in on you like this partner, I could always sleep in the barn."
            Walker and Cordell are moving the new mattresses in, and Alex is bringing bedclothes.
            "You will do no such thing, C.D.----we are not letting you out of our sight," Alex walks over to him and hugs him for the longest.
            The twins and Walker watch them, Walker slaps C.D. on the shoulder, "She's right---we got 17 years to catch up on----but we want you to feel at home first before-----before we talk about that."
            C.D. has tears in his eyes, "Cordell----- I'm just so happy to have my family---could I have a few days to just get things together?"
            Alex pulls away from her dear friend, "You take all the time you need, sweetheart---when you're ready to talk---we'll be here."
            Cooper tries to lighten the mood, "Grandpa----we have our own bathroom---right there-----and you can have either side of the room you want-----would you like your bed by the window?"
            C.D. wipes the tears away and puts his arm around Cooper, "You can hang me down from the rafters, son---and I'll be as happy as a old bull frog that is getting ready to pounce on a swarm of June bugs."
            Cordell laughs, "I'll tell you one thing, Grandpa---you won't be getting much sleep---Cooper will talk your head off about his namesake."
            "Well-----I don't think C.D. will mind, will you?" Asks Walker as he puts his arms around the old man's shoulders.
            "Not in the least----okay---you little 'whippersnapper'----what do you want to know about the old west"?
                      "EVERTHING, Grandpa---tell me all you know about Hayes Cooper!"


                                           *******************************


            The wedding has been held and the newlyweds are off to London, England.
                  Everyone is sitting around the long kitchen table, with C.D. being unusually quiet. He looks to Walker.
            "I think I want to talk about it now---if that's okay with all of you?"
            Alex has made fresh coffee and Angela is serving up more of the wedding cake. "Whenever you're ready, C.D.---I think we all have some questions to ask."
            Cordell takes Dana's hand and motions for them to leave, but C.D. grabs them. "I would like for you kids to hear this too, all of you----'cause I don't think I could bear to ever repeat it----so please---would all of you please sit down?"
            Trivette goes to sit down by his dear friend, "We're all here, Big Dog---just take your time----"
            Walker nods, "He's right, C.D.-----tell us in your words what happened to you back on that fishing trip."
            The lovable old man sits up straight in his chair and looks to all the faces that are staring back at him and he clears his throat.
            "Well, the last day I remember of that other world was coming out here for supper with you three. I thought for sure that Alex was going to say that she was 'expecting'---I wanted to hear those words so very badly. But, all three of you had been talking about a charity baseball game---down in Sage, Texas-----I think.   Alex, you were bragging about Cordell hitting a grand slam and winning the game----you've always bragged about that man---hell----Cordell----anyone worth his grain of salt can hit a homerun!"
            Alex smiles and looks to her husband and they both grin----"But, C.D.---I hit a grand slam!"
            The twins and Angela look to their Uncle Jimmy, and he's grinning from ear to ear. "Big Dog----Walker actually hit two grand slams that day----one on the baseball field and one later----in their motel room!"
            Alex reaches out and playfully hits her dear friend---"Actually, C.D.---that was the day I conceived Angela----so you see--I was expecting---I just didn't know it yet."
            C.D. smiles, "Then---I wasn’t too far off track, was I?"
            Walker squeezes his wife's hand, "The second grand slam was more enjoyable."
                "Daddy," Angela squeals----"there's mixed company here."
            J.W. grins and reaches down over Angela's chair and kisses her cheek, "Angela---everyone knows when you were conceived----let's hear the rest of Grandpa's story---go on Grandpa."
            "Well, I felt a little disappointed that I didn't get the news I was expecting, so I decided to go down early to Shady Rest, pick up Murph---and go on that fishing trip. When I got there, Murph was acting a little strange. He said he was worried about his wife, Nellie.  Nellie----she had been sick for so many years, cancer---eating her up. Old Murph's little retirement check wasn't meeting the bills----and old Uncle Sam was refusing to pick up the difference.  Old Murph, he was just beside himself-----a nervous wreck.  I finally talked him into going on the fishing trip early, so we went down to our favorite little spot, down on the Brazos.
            The first day was a little jittery, old Murph decided he wanted to do all the cooking, so I let him----and I'd take off down the river, be gone half the day and then come back. I knew my friend was worried about his wife, and the conversation was rather strained. By the second day, Murph was getting back to his normal self, we laughed and swapped war stories. That night, I didn't feel too good---spent a lot of time getting acquainted with Mother Nature---if you get my drift."
            By the end of the week, I was feeling poorly----but Murph kept insisting that we stay longer----so we did.   I started getting chest pains and Murph said I was coming down with the flu. He said that he called you three to tell you that I had a bad cold---did he?"
            "Yeah, Big Dog----he called us at headquarters----he said he was going to take you back to his place and get some medicine into you.  We told him to keep us in touch---------the next time he called was about a week later---right, Walker?"
                       Walker's face becomes sad, "He told us that you had a heart attack----and----that you didn't make it."
            C.D.'s face becomes solemn------he shakes his head. "All I remember was----this doctor coming to see me----he kept injecting something into me, saying it was antibiotics----that I would feel better soon.  I kept fighting them----I kept saying----that I wanted to speak to one of you three---for you to come and get me----to take me to my own doctor-----the more I begged them to call one of you---the more injections they would give me. Now---I don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that something was not right. They said they were taking me home----but, Cordell----they didn't take me home----did they?"
            "No, my friend---they didn't----at least--not alive-----or so we thought," replies Walker, very slowly.
            C.D. stares back at his family, "Didn't you recognize me, Cordell----couldn’t you tell that it wasn't me in that coffin?"
              Walker's voice breaks as he tries to speak, "No-----we didn't ask for a autopsy," he starts to sob----"I'm sorry, C.D.---we took Murphy's word for it on how you died----I'm sorry---it was a careless and stupid thing for me not to request one----I'm sorry."
            "Dad burn it, Cordell----all of the years that you were a law officer,"---now C.D. is starting to cry too----"how could you have let me down like that?"
            Walker is holding his head in his hands, Alex is trying to soothe him, she, too, has tears in her eyes, as everyone else is starting to wipe at their eyes. Trivette is crying, and trying to speak.
            "Big Dog----it wasn't just Walker's idea not to ask for an autopsy----we took Murphy's word for it-----hell-----he was your oldest and ---dearest friend----how the hell did we know that he would lie to us?"
            C.D. is shaking his head-----"I spent so much time wondering why none of you was coming to look for me------every day I thought---any day my dear friends would come for me----and each day----got longer and more lonely that the day before-----they kept putting them damn needles into me!"
            Walker takes a deep sigh, "I'm sorry, my friend--------we didn't know. Murphy was there at your services---he never told us that your heart attack was faked-----we didn't even ask for an open casket------we wanted to remember you----as smiling---the way you were-----the last day we saw you alive."
            Alex is biting her bottom lip, as she looks to each of the kids and sees that they all have tears in their eyes. Little Ray is looking back at everyone in confusion.
                  "Angela---please take your brother upstairs for his nap-------"
            Dana motions for Angela to stay seated, "I'll take him----Angela----you stay---you need to hear the rest----come Little Ray----I'll read you a story."
            As they walk up to the stairs, Little Ray turns to Dana and says quietly, "Me no like that man----he make my Daddy cry."
            "He didn't mean to, Little Ray---it's grown up talk---they will get everything straightened out---let's go find a good story to read---okay?"
            C.D. has heard Little Ray's statement, he shakes his head and swears quietly, "I'm sorry Alex---I didn't mean to hurt that little guy---you know I didn't mean to."
            "C.D.---he's a baby---- but Walker and I will settle things with him----he's been through so much in the last year----all of us have---our feelings and our nerves are stretched to the limit----but we will all get through this."
            Trivette nods his head, "That's right-----C.D.------where did they keep you, were you at Shady Rest for very long----did you know that Lava’cot was there too?"
            "Not at first, I didn't----I didn't learn about his being there till-----they showed me the newspaper---saying that all of you had been killed in an explosion.  I remember the day very clearly. I had escaped several times---and I was trying to make it back to---look for all of you. They would always find me, the injections would double and then ‘he' told me there was no one left to go home to, and they talked about killing me---saying I was already half dead, that I wasn't any use to anyone---anymore!"
            "How did you end up in Mexico, Grandpa?"
            "I'm not quite sure, son---after I thought that all of you were dead---I didn't care what happened to me--- so the next time I wandered off--they just let me go---I ended up going south---and just kept going. Next thing I know---I'm doing odd jobs for a oil rig company across the border.  I would work for awhile, drink it all up---and kept moving further south. Then---I started stealing to eat----and then I was thrown into jail.  And, that was my home for the next 16 years or so---in and out---not caring what I was doing---just living off the streets---what time I wasn't in jail."
            "C.D.---we didn't know about the fake heart attack until Lava'cot started going after the Rangers---he had a personal vendetta---he killed several of our closest friends----he even tried to kill Jimmy!"
            "Yep---Big Guy---I was on my way down to Shady Rest to get information on the slime, after he had left us a note saying that you didn't die of a heart attack, that he murdered you---! It threw us all into a tailspin, none of us were thinking straight. We had your---I mean we had 'that' body exhumed---but the medical examiner was on Lava’ cot’s payroll and he made sure that the medical records and DNA tests were done on the body of a Lee Bailey-----and not yours.  C.D.---I was right there in the morgue---this body was without half a scull---to even think that wasn't you------the tests were run on-----didn't even enter my mind.  I'm sorry, big dog----I'm just as much to blame------forgive me."
            C.D. stands up and puts his arms around Trivette,  "I'm sorry too-----I should have known there had to be a reason why you three never came looking for me, and then after I was told of your deaths----I just didn't care anymore."
            C.D. then walks towards Alex and Walker, embracing them, "Oh Lord-----can't we just get past these misgivings and go forward with our lives," the old man is crying harder as his three best friends cry right along with him.
            Cordell motions for the others to join him and they walk out of the kitchen. J.W. sighs, wiping the tears from his eyes.
                  "Whew!  I never thought that being so happy could cause so many tears to be shed."