Chapter 1

            The man watches the tiny rodent scamper across his jail cell,  and out the door. The man sighs, going back to his dinner tray. He stares at the tray, the dry sandwich and stale, cold, coffee stare back at him. He feels emptiness inside him, not from hunger, but the loneliness. It burns inside of him, burning his stomach till he doesn't think he can take another day, another hour, another minute. He reaches for the tray and slings it across his 5x10 confinement, cursing and grabbing the bars that keep him a prisoner.
            He hears voices yelling back to keep the noise down, that they are trying to sleep. The man takes a deep breath and walks back to his cot, shaking his head back and forth. He rests his face in his hands; he can feel his beard has grown to a disgusting length. He looks around the cell; he must know every inch of "his new home", every brick, every crack. He kicks out at the old table, sending it flying across the room, the one lone object falls to the floor as the table falls apart. The man rushes to retrieve it, before any of the guards see it. He shoves it down inside his dirty shirt, looking around to make sure no one has seen him.
            He waits a few minutes to make sure that the guards make their last check, before the lights are turned out. The one light across the hallway will be the only source of light for the rest of the night, How many nights had he crouched as close to his door cell that he could, savoring that one bit of light?. He couldn't remember, he just knew that he lived only for this moment that he could hold the object, caress it, and then the tears threaten to invade his last ounce of dignity.
            He sits with his back to the cell, the tiny light with its small ray shining through the bars. He takes out the object and touches it .The photo is getting wrinkled, from the many times he would move it from the bottom of the old table, to his shoe, under the thin mattress, to the loose brick in the wall. He had to keep moving it, he was allowed no personal belongings, if the guards found it----they would take it away from him. They tried to take his wedding ring, he fought them unmercifully till they stopped trying, giving him 10 days in isolation instead!! He didn't care how long they gave him; he would continue to fight with every ounce to keep that band of gold around his finger.
            The ring's value did not matter; it was the value of love behind that ring and for the woman that put it on his finger some 17 yrs before.  He looks at the picture and the five faces staring back at him. He holds his head up, and says softly.
            "Lord-----I know you've lost patience with me---I've taken lives in anger and I know that your good book says that vengeance is yours, not mine-------but it also teaches an "eye for an eye"------my family was being hurt----did I not have the right to protect them?"
            The man continues to look at the picture, his finger caressing each face. He remembers very clearly the day the picture was taken by his son. He smiles slowly remembering that evening aboard The Ice Princess, going the outside passage to Anchorage, Alaska. He and his family were taking a much needed vacation, to try and piece their lives back together from the hands of Kiwi, and his murdering father, Sarge.
            It was evening and the sun was casting a beautiful shadow over the glaciers of Chillcat. The wind was starting to pick up and everyone was starting to move inside to their cabins, as his son was running around and trying to get his tripod set up. He was the families' official photographer, he would personally do the Christmas pictures every year, and Christmas was upon them. The young man was just as picky with his camera as he was his musical instruments, trusting no one to take the pictures but himself. The result was always breathtaking, he would pose each family member in just the right way, set the timer and then take his position in the family portrait.
            The picture was crystal clear, the deep ice blue of the glaziers in the background, and each member decked out in holiday colors. The blonde lady is standing to his right, her head slightly turned upward looking at him, with that 'look’.
            He's looking back at her, a younger woman is standing sideways to his left, with both of her arms around his neck, her beautiful long, auburn hair dancing in the wind. A young man stands to the right of the woman, he has his arm around her, squeezing her close. A young boy stands in front of the woman, a toothless grin gleaming back at the camera. The timer starts to beep, and the young man goes and kneels down in front of the bearded man, putting his arm around the smaller boy. The result he holds in his hands; a picture of his family and another life that seems so long ago. He rubs his hand across his face, kisses each face in the picture, saving his last two kisses for the blonde, one for her and one for the life she carried inside her belly. He then kisses his ring, "Goodnight Alex------I love you----please don't forget me". He lays back in bed, the sleep comes quickly, his body is weak-----and only in dreams is he able to touch her, and the faces of his four children.


Vancouver, British Columbia

            The Walkers are getting ready to board their cruise ship, The Ice Princess. The twins are running back and forth, looking at all the big cruisers, that are departing ahead of them. The little boy is running behind them and trying to stand on the toes of his boots, straining his neck to see what the older boys are so excited about. They both reach down, picking him up and placing him on their shoulders.
            "Look, little brother----we're going to be on one of those big ships too----it's going to be so much fun----just like your first airplane ride was!"
            The boy nods his head slowly, turning to his brother on his left, "Ooper----will big boat 'ink?"
            Cooper laughs, "No, Little Ray----the boat won't sink-----and it's not a boat-----it's a ship!"
            "Hip?” The boy replies, the speech impairment very noticeable on the "C’s” and "S’s”.
            Cordell reaches up with his right hand and steadies the boy on his and his brother's shoulders, "That's okay, little bro'----if you want to call it a boat-----you can call it a boat."
            The three laugh as the auburn haired girl walks up to them, shivering---pulling her coat around her. "I don't know why I ever agreed to this----it's so darn cold----I'm freezing to death!"
            "We took a vote, Angela----it was 5-1 that we go to Alaska----you lost!"
            Angela blows into her hands, "Next time---we're going to Hawaii or Jamaica, or the Virgin Islands-----anywhere that it's warm!"
            Cooper shakes his head, "We could have stayed in Texas-----it's always warm there---it was almost in the 90's when we left Dallas----and you're always complaining about how the hot weather is bad for your complexion."
            "So?---And, like all of this freezing cold is good for it----I hope I brought plenty of cold cream, and lip balm----look at my hands---they're already turning blue!"
            "Come on, Sis-----quit over acting-----we took a vote----even Little Ray picked Alaska over Hawaii."
            Angela smirks, "That's only because you and Cooper scared him with talks about ‘New island visitors get thrown into live volcanoes’, and then you started talking about 'big pigs' with apples in their mouth for dinner.  You know how scared he is of 'big pigs' ever since that run in with Mr. Ferguson's hogs!"
            The twins become silent, remembering their neighbor and all the events that happened in the past few months.
            "If it's all the same with you---could we just talk about something else? I don't really care to remember Mr. Ferguson----and the way-----he died----trying to save mine and Little Ray's life."
            Cooper stares at his big sister, "Yeah, Angela----could we just drop this subject?"
            Angela nods her head slowly, "I'm sorry-----I didn't mean----to sound ---so cold." She throws her long hair back, "Hey----we better get back to the loading dock----Mom and Dad are signaling to us."
            As they turn and start to walk back to their parents, a young man's voice calls out.
            "Hi Angela---how's it going?"
            Angela stops and looks back at the young man, he's the young man that was on the same flight from Dallas, and he too, is heading for Alaska.
            "Hi, Adlen, what are you doing here, I thought you and your friends were going to fly all the way into Anchorage?"
            The young man smiles.  He's very attractive, dark hair and blue-gray eyes. "I told my friends to go ahead of me---I thought maybe I would book passage on The Ice Princess, and sort of sight see along the way."
            The two stand there, looking at each other, Angela is very attracted to the young man, and the feeling is mutual.
            "So, Angela---do you think we could get together later this evening after everyone has settled down and maybe have a drink?"
            Angela laughs, "I hope you're meaning a soft drink, remember---I'm under the drinking age----and besides I don't care much for beer or any of those hard drinks."
            Adlen grins, looking at Angela's body, "Yeah, I remember----you're not quite 16 yet----but---" he stops himself from saying anything more as his eyes go up and down her sleek body. He says to himself, "You might only be 16, but you got the body of an 18 yr old----everything is in just the right places.”
Angela catches his eyes going up and down her, she smiles nervously, "I got to go----my parents are calling me."
            Adlen calls out to her as Angela walks away, "I'll see you later, Angela." He watches her as she joins her family, that long hair swinging back and forth. He wishes that she wasn't wearing that damn coat, because it hid the back view of that luscious body that he was admiring at DFW airport.
            They had talked the whole way before landing in Vancouver, then the Walkers had to make a hasty retreat to the docks in Vancouver Bay, and Adlen was heading to the boarding gate on into Anchorage. He changed his mind about continuing his flight, because he had to see the auburn haired girl, just one more time. His friends teased him.
            "Adlen----she's underage---she's jailbait and in case you've forgotten---that Daddy of hers is a Texas Ranger."
            The young man smiles, thinking of Angela's gorgeous smile that makes her whole face light up. She was wearing a denim jacket over a blue sweater that hugged her curvaceous body.
            "I haven't forgotten about her Daddy---I haven't forgotten him----at all."
            One of his buddies nudge him, "Come on Adlen---the girls are going to be waiting for us---and you know how upset Estelle gets when you start messing with someone else."
            "Estelle doesn't own me----I'll see whoever I please and you can tell her that---Maybe she should start paying more attention to that husband of hers----I'm getting tired of her, anyways---I want to find someone younger----more my age."
            "That Walker girl is too young for you, and that daddy of hers has been giving you the look over---you read those stories about what happened to that family---you don't want to mess with him-----or those brothers!"
                    Adlen throws his boarding pass into the trash, "Just don't worry about me---I can take care of myself--I've been doing so for almost 21 years!"
            The one man looks back at Adlen, "Yeah, and having Daddy's millions haven't hurt in that department!"
            Adlen smiles, "And, they say that money can't buy everything----it will buy anything I want----and that includes, Angela Walker---see you later guys---I got to ‘try’ and get a ticket on The Ice Princess."
            Adlen walks away laughing, his friends shake their heads, "Did he say that he had to "try and get a ticket?"
            The other two young men laugh, "Yeah---right---his Daddy owns half the cruise lines----he'll end up in the executive suite!"


            The Walkers are trying to find their way to their cabins, the twins take off running as they read the numbers on the cabin doors.
            "Cabin 218---come on Cordell---I see it."
            Alex turns to Angela, "What's your number, sweetheart?"
            Angela frowns, "216, right next to the chattering magpies."
            Walker keeps looking at his ticket, "There's got to be some mistake, this says our cabin is the King's stateroom---and it's clear to the other end?"
            Walker and Alex continue down the long hall, Little Ray runs into Angela's cabin and starts jumping up and down on the bed. The twins are running around their cabin, examining everything.
            "Hey----we got a porthole, Coop---maybe we can see some whales?"
            His twin runs over to take a peep, "Whales---my ass---I want to see some  mermaids-----naked ones!"
            Cordell shakes his head, "There is no such thing as mermaids, that's an old nautical tale----like some of the stories that Grandpa Gordon tells us."
            "Yeah, I know---but it doesn't hurt to dream----does it?  Come on---let's go see what Mom and Dad's cabin looks like."
            Walker and Alex are running out of hallway, a small set of stairs lead upward to the next deck. Walker looks at his ticket again, "I don't get it, it says cabin 230---but there is no 230---it just ends--right here!"
            A young steward walks up to them, "Is there a problem sir?"
            Walker shows him the ticket, the young man smiles, "This way sir---just follow me."
            The steward opens up a double door, leading to a spacious room with a full view of the Pacific ocean. The Walkers do a double take, as Alex's mouth drops open as she looks to her husband.
            "W -W W Walker---there's got to be a mistake---we can't afford----something---like this."
            Walker nods, "You're damn right about that---steward---there's a mistake on this ticket!!---I asked for just a double room with a king' size bed----not the king stateroom"!!!!
            The young man smiles and hands him a note, "There is no mistake, sir---enjoy," the steward leaves.
            Walker and Alex stare at each other, and then to the note. Alex recognizes the handwriting immediately and grins timidly. Walker reads the note and then lets out a curse word, "GORDON---I should have known---that your Father would have something to do with this!"
            Alex takes the note from her husband and reads it. "By now I know my son-in-law is swearing at me, and my 'pumpkin' is at a loss for words, but this is my present to both of you---love, Dad."
            Walker is glaring back at Alex, "We are not accepting this, Alex---this stateroom must cost a fortune!"
            Alex is walking towards her husband slowly, "But, honey----Dad is just trying to make things nice for us!”
            Walker paces around the spacious room, a huge king size bed with satin pillows stare back at him. An oversized chest of drawers with fresh flowers don one side of the cabin, a computer and desk beside it. A huge entertainment center is on the other side, with a personal whiskey cabinet and wine glasses next to it. A huge centerpiece of fresh fruit sits in the middle of the room, with a card attached to it. Walker snatches it up, and then he throws it up in the air.
            "Who sent the fruit?"
            "Your Dad----who else?"
                    "Walker, come on---what's the harm in letting my Dad do these little things for us?"
            Walker stares back at his wife, "Little things? Alex-----he insisted on paying for this whole trip----it started out that he just wanted to pay for the airfare, then he started in on us to stay at his friend's condo once we get to Anchorage. Of course----his friend insists that it's all free----I can't wait to see what that condo is going to look like----and now---he's put us in a stateroom that must costs up in the thousands of dollars!"
            Alex is grimacing, she knows how much her husband insists on paying for their expenses, he and her Dad went around and around on who was going to pay for this airfare.
               "Honey---please calm down----and try to see this from my Dad's point of view."
            "There is no other point of view, Alex---I gave in on the airfare---then he insisted that we all fly first class!. I got us reservations at a nice hotel in Anchorage---oh no---that wasn't good enough---your Dad calls his friend and PRESTO---we are staying at a condo that overlooks the Skagway mountains!"
            Alex sits down on the bed and gently pulls her husband down beside her. She massages his shoulders, "Honey----you know why he's doing this----he's trying to make up for all those years that he and I were estranged."
            "I know that Alex---but I'm the head of this family----I would like to pay for our own expenses."
            "Yes, I know that---and I've always been very proud that you have refused my Dad's help in the past, I've always admired you for that---but honey---my Dad is not going to be with us too much longer---he wants to help us now----not after he's gone!"
            Walker sighs, looking around at the stateroom, "This is too expensive, Alex------"
            "I agree, it's a little extravagant----but honey---he wants us to have something nice ----before----before---it's his time to go----what's wrong with making him happy----in his final-------time?"
            "Ever since your Dad moved back to Texas, he has been trying to make things nice---and I appreciate the gestures, but Alex----he goes overboard at times. Look how he spoils the kids, especially Little Ray? We have to constantly bring him down about that, every time Little Ray mentions he wants something---your Dad buys it for him!"
            Alex nods, "Yes----and I end up taking the things back."
            "And ----what about when Cordell was in the hospital after Sarge almost killed him? Your Dad went out and bought Cordell that guitar that Cordell has been saving up for, and that guitar alone costs nearly $2,000!"
            Alex sighs, "Try $2,500---but we stopped Dad from giving it to Cordell, didn't we?"
            "Just barely!! He had it wrapped and was heading for Cordell's hospital room with it---luckily Cordell didn't see it!"
            "I know that, honey---but…"
            "Every year at Christmas, we have to remind your Dad to put a limit on gifts, oh then there's the birthdays---he goes hog wild on the birthdays! For one of Angela's birthdays, he bought her a diamond ring----come on Alex---the man is throwing money around like it grows on trees----I can't compete with that!"
            "And, who is asking you to? Not the kids----and certainly----not me!"
            "Well, how do you think I feel when your Dad buys one of the kids something really expensive----and all I can buy them is something frivolous---like a fishing pole, a bicycle--- inexpensive jewelry---etc?"
                  "Walker----you are underestimating our kids if you think that for minute the gifts that you buy them don't mean as much or more to them that something expensive that my Dad might give them. All of the kids know, including Little Ray that these things come from the heart, and not just the pocket book. Remember how excited the twins were when you took them up to the reservation to look for arrowheads, when they were barely 6 years old? They found two perfect ones that you put holes through them and leather straps so they could wear them around their necks. They wore those necklaces for years------they still have them!"
            "They do?"
            "Yes, Cooper has put his on a key chain, now that he has that truck that Hank 'willed' him----and Cordell keeps his inside his wallet---I know---I've seen it."
            Walker smiles remembering how excited the twins were finding those arrowheads. He and Sam Coyote polished them down and drilled holes so they could wear them around their necks. They were both laughing and looking at the arrowheads then they both ran off in search for another one, for Angela!
            "Yeah---I remember that day like it was yesterday-----I didn't realize they still had them, what did Angela do with the one they found for her?"
            "She lost it, remember----on that ride at 6 Flags the following summer?"
            Walker groans, "6 Flags----how I hate that place---I'll never forget the day the kids talked us into riding that huge roller coaster and I ended up throwing up my lunch."
            Alex laughs, "Serves you right honey----I told you not to eat enchiladas and chili at a amusement park."
            They sit for a few minutes reflecting on that day, Walker moans, "Oh good grief----does this mean that Little Ray is going to insist on another birthday party at that place?"
            Alex laughs, "I'm afraid so, he's already talking about it---remember last year his birthday was rained out and everything was ruined, including his birthday cake?"
            “Yeah, I remember----we ended up moving the party to Chuck E Cheese, he ate too much pizza and threw up all over me and the Ram on the way home!"
            "Like Father---like son," Alex whispers.
            "Why can't we just have a nice small party for him at the ranch, he's always limited on the rides at 6 Flags, He's not tall enough for the rides that he wants to ride."
                   "Honey---we always let the kids choose where they want to have their parties, and Little Ray just happens to like his at 6 Flags---the twins had a couple of theirs there when they were younger---but this year they say they want it at the ranch.  And, of course---with Angela's 16th coming up, it's got to be some place extra special."
            Walker smiles back at his wife, putting his arm around her, "Is that what she says?"
            Alex grins, "I think she's wanting to have it at the country club."
            Walker exhales, "Country club----oh, great. Another gift from you father, memberships to the country club! Do you realize that the month of May is just around the corner---and we have three birthday parties to plan in less than 25 days?"
            "Yes, sweetheart---I realize that---and also a wedding anniversary."
            Walker teases her, "Oh yeah---I forgot all about that."
            She jabs him in the ribs, "You better not have---that's why we had all the kids in May so you wouldn't forget the dates."
            Walker smiles and kisses his wife's cheek, laying her back gently on the king sized bed, "Oh, I thought it was just because you only become fertile in the months of October."
            She returns his kiss, "Isn't that weird---I wonder what the statistics are for someone having all their kids in the month of May?"
            "Don't know about that, I just know that with all these birthdays and anniversary in the same month----it sure puts a drain on the pocketbook, not to mention the nerves."
            Alex giggles, pulling her husband down to her and kissing him long and tender. They hear a tap on their door, and then a small figure is running into the room, "Mommy," he shouts as he takes a running dive to the bed.
            Walker and Alex have only seconds to move out of the way as Little Ray dives head first into the satin pillows, giggling. Walker falls down on the bed, grabbing him and rolling back and forth, tickling him. Alex is all smiles as she watches her other three kids walk slowly into the room, their mouths are wide open, taking in the majestic view.
                       "WOW," exclaims Cooper----"this is some cabin!"
            Angela nudges him, "It's not a cabin---it's a suite."
            Cordell corrects her, "You're both wrong--this is called a stateroom---right, Mom?"
            Alex nods her head, "Yes---you're right---but I think we will be moving to something a little smaller----right honey?"
            Walker stops rolling around on the bed with his son as he looks back at the four faces, "Well-----since your Dad went to so much trouble---I guess we can stay here."
            Alex squeals and falls down in the bed with her husband and son, "Thank you, honey."
            The twins look back and forth at each other and Angela replies, "Well---hey---if you guys don't want this room, we'll switch----and you can take mine----I'll take this one!"
            Walker glares back at her, "Not hardly, baby----I've seen your cabins---I think we'll just stay right here, and force ourselves to enjoy-----all of this."
            The twins laugh, "Yeah, right-------this is some punishment----hey---look Cordell---a whiskey cabinet----Dad---you got the key?"
                      Walker's eyes narrow, "No, I don't have the key---yet. And, what's more, I doubt that I will have any use for it or that cabinet. Your Mother can't have any alcohol in her condition, and needless to say----NO ONE ELSE IN THIS ROOM WILL GET ANY USE OUT OF IT---RIGHT?"
            Cordell slaps his brothers' back, "Right, Dad---come on guys---let's go do some investigating---I want to find the Captain's deck."
            "Never mind that, let's find the heated swimming pools and check out the girls" chimes his twin., ‘AFTER’ we get something to eat---I'm starving---Mom, when do we eat?"
            Angela smirks, "Eat, eat, eat, that's all you guys do, you're going to hit 200 lbs by the time you reach 16."
            Little Ray has heard the magic words, "Me hungry, too", he shouts.
            Alex finds the brochure and scans it, "Well it says here that there is no set time for meals, the galley is open 24 hrs---so we can eat anytime."
            Walker raises himself up off the bed, "But, I doubt if they will be serving food till they are a certain distance out into the water----so in the meantime---you kids can find a vending machine----or help yourself to some of that fruit that your grandpa sent."
            The kids make a dive for the fruit, Little Ray has a banana in one hand, an orange in the other. Angela is grabbing the grapes and a Kiwi, but she drops it back into the basket, wiping her hands.
            "On second thought----I'll pass on the fruit---maybe I'll just have a diet cola. Want me to bring one back for you, Mom?"
            Alex reaches into the basket and takes the Kiwi fruits out and dumps them into the little trash can, "No, thanks, honey----do you kids have plenty of money?"
            "We never have 'plenty', Mom---so if you want to slip us a extra $20---that will be okay." jokes Cooper.
            Cordell turns his brother around and they head for the door, "We have enough, Mom-----we're going sight seeing-----coming Sis?"
            Little Ray is scrambling off the bed, Walker is reaching for him, "Not you, buckaroo---you're staying here with me and Mommy----in a few minutes we'll go watch the big boat pull away from shore---okay, buckaroo?"
            Angela goes to catch up with her brothers.






The Seekers  -Trial – Chapter 2

Day 2:

            The Walkers enjoy a day of sightseeing, watching the glaciers and occasionally catching a glimpse of a whale. Cordell has his camera out with the extended lenses, while Cooper is using a camcorder. Cooper is yelling back that he can't see the whale clear enough with the camcorder and Cordell hands him his camera.
            "Don't drop it----be careful---hold it steady."
            "Would you shut up----you're making me nervous!"
            "You're going to think 'nervous' ---if you drop my camera, I'll throwing you overboard to get it!"
            Walker and Alex are standing off to the side, laughing. Angela has Little Ray up on her back and pointing out to where the whale has been sighted. "Do you see it, Little Ray----do you see the big fish?"
            Cooper hears his sister's comment, "Big fish?  Angela---a whale is not a fish---it's a mammal!"
            Angela sneers back at him, "It's a fish---it lives in the water and it swims----so therefore---it's a fish---So there!"   
            Cordell is shaking his head and watching his brother's every move with his camera. He holds his hands up and tries to stop Cooper from moving around so much, "Would you two stop arguing---Coop-----be careful with my camera---I'm not telling you again!"
            Cooper shoves the camera back to him, "Here! Take your stupid camera---the whale is gone---or rather I should say--"the big fish" is gone", as he makes a face at his sister. She gives it right back to him.
            Walker sighs, "Alright---all of you---stop your arguing. Your Mother is tired, so we're going back to our "cabin-" so she can lie down for a while. Do you think you three can keep an eye on Little Ray for a couple of hours?"
            Cordell is inspecting his camera, "Yeah, sure Dad, we'll watch him."
            As Walker and Alex head back to their cabin, Cooper replies, "YOU can watch Little Ray---I'm going to watch the girls---I don't need a little brother messing up my style---you understand?"
            Angela smiles, "What style?  You think you are such a 'ladies' man--- a real 'ladies' man doesn't need a style---it comes natural."
            "Oh---blow it out your ears, Angela---what do you know?  You don't even have a boyfriend, so what makes you an authority on the subject?"
            Angela becomes silent as she quickly looks away. Cordell has seen the sad look on his sister's face. He motions for Cooper to go away. He walks up to her and puts his arm around her shoulder.
            "He didn't mean anything, Sis---you know Coop---he's always spouting off, before thinking---pay him no mind!"
            Angela glances around and stares at Cooper, he shrugs his shoulders and continues to walk towards the swimming pool. Angela crosses her arms across her chest,  "He's right---I can't even keep a boyfriend---if I could, then J.W. wouldn't have turned to that other girl, in Chicago."
            Cordell shakes his head as he pulls his sister and little brother over to a bench to sit down. "Sis---you didn't do anything wrong------J.W. would have probably still have been with that girl, regardless---if you had been 'putting out' or not!"
            Angela wipes her tears away, "What makes you say that? Is that what J.W. said?"
            Cordell sighs and then turns to little Ray, "Hey, little brother---go over there to that refreshment stand and buy us all a coke, here's some money, and buy you some candy---okay? But not too much, we got to eat supper soon."
            The boy takes off to the concession stand, and Cordell  keeps a watchful eye on him. He turns to Angela, "Angela----- I just feel that J.W. would have cheated on you either way---it's a 'male thing'----he was seeing this girl, and from what he told us---she was 'pretty wild'----so he says. Anyways---if he had any intentions of staying true to you---he wouldn't have gone out with her. He knew what was going to happen, the signs were all there."
            Angela sniffles, "I just feel like---like sometimes I'm weird."
            "Why? Why do you feel that way----because you're still a virgin and all of your friends have already lost their virginity"?
            "Not all of my friends---Dana is still a virgin."
            Cordell stammers, "Yeah---well, I didn't mean to include Dana in that comment---I always said----she had more common sense----than most of your friends."
            Angela smiles softly, "You sort of like Dana---don't you, Cordell?"
            Again, Cordell stammers, trying to clear his throat---"Dana is nice----yeah----she's okay, she's not all giggly like most girls her age----she's okay."
            "Well, you know that she's had a crush on you for several years, don't you?"
            Cordell is now blushing, "A crush? On me? You're not serious?"
            "I am serious, and you know it! She came to see you several times while you were in the hospital----she likes you, Cordell----even though you are two years younger than her."
            Cordell shakes his head, "No-----no way---she's just a friend---I got no time for girls----I got my music and all----I can't be thinking -----of girls."
            Angela smiles, putting her arm through her brother's, "Well---whether you want to admit it or not, you're attracted to Dana---but that's our little secret, I won't blab it, and I certainly wouldn't tell Cooper----he would blast it all over school."
            Cordell looks over to see his baby brother coming back, trying to balance three cokes. He walks over to help him, handing one of the cokes to his sister. "You know, Sis---sometimes---you're a little hard on Coop----he's not all that bad."
            "Are we talking about the same brother---your twin, Cooper James Walker?"
            "I'm serious, Angela---Coop just has a hard time relating to you, because you two are always arguing, and he knows how to get under your skin.  But you know, deep down that he loves you, and there's nothing he wouldn't do for you."
            Angela nods her head, remembering how Cooper came to her aide in the lab when Kiwi was trying to kidnap her. Cooper fought with every ounce in him, trying to get her away from Kiwi, and then he was struck in the head with a gun butte. She looks to her brother.
            "I know he loves me and I love him, I love all of you guys, you know I do. It's just that Cooper makes it so hard for me to relate to him, why does he do that?"
            "I don't know Sis---that's just him, that's just his way----he tries to act so 'macho'----just don't argue with him when he teases you."
            "You 'tease' me, Cordell, but I always know when you mean no harm by it---but with Cooper----he just rubs me the wrong way, and I feel that I have to retaliate."
            "I know he's a pain in the butt sometimes, but I've learned to ignore a lot of his comments and just patronize him. This doesn't fuel any of his ammunition, and so therefore, he doesn't have a comeback."
            Little Ray is watching and listening to the conversation, he nods his head. "Ooper mean, sometimes."
            "No little brother, Cooper is not mean, it's just that sometimes he says and does things---before he thinks about them. Don't ever believe that Coop is mean--- he's your brother and he loves you---What does Dad always say about 'family'?”
            Little Ray smiles, showing that toothless grin, "Me---Firewalker---Way Gordon Firewalker---me part 'herokee."
            Angela starts laughing and pulls her brother to her, "That's right---you're part Cherokee, and you're Ray Gordon Firewalker----no one can ever take that away from you---a Firewalker stays family---till the very end, right, Cordell?"
            "You got that right, Sis---we may argue and even throw punches at each other, but we're still family and I pity anyone that ever tries to take that away from us."
            "Let's go see what Cooper is up to," Angela grabs her baby brother's hand and the three go in search for their sibling.


                  Morning has come, and the man can hear the guards coming down the hallway, banging on the cell doors. The man jumps up immediately and places the picture behind the loose brick. The guards will come for him and make him go outside, he will be frisked and then thrown into a cold shower, with his clothes still on. Sometimes they throw a bar of soap into him, and then he's hustled out to the courtyard and forced to walk in circles for hours on end.
            He's been in the yard for almost an hour with the other prisoners. There are only six other prisoners beside him, four are of Mexican decent, the other two, he can't quite make out their nationality. They are all beaten on a regular basis, their faces are unrecognizable. The man is shackled to an old Mexican that has a leg infected from a rat bite. The leg is starting to swell, and gangrene has set in, the smell is getting to the bearded man.
               "Amigo----your leg needs medical attention----ask the guards to get you a doctor."
            The old man looks back at him, "It would do no good----if I complained---they would only beat me more----and pour salt into the open wound----I say nothing---I wait for the Lord to take me-----I pray it will be soon."
            The man nods his head slowly, his head is splitting from a headache. The guards find the weak spots and work on them, they have beat him repeatedly in the head, he has trouble remembering some things. He tries to think of pleasant things, but the pain in his head won't allow him to think too long. He looks down at his left hand and to the ring.  The finger is bent where the guards took vice grips and tried to cut his finger off to get the ring. The man went berserk, kicking with all of his might, then just as suddenly, the guards stopped trying to take the ring and threw him into the little 4x6 box. The man had to stay stooped over for almost ten days. He tried to stay alert by doing exercises on his back, endless pushups to clear his mind of all the pain and fifth around him.
            "I will not give up," he repeated to himself over and over, "I know that you're looking for me, Alex---and Trivette will never stop till he finds me. I have been in tougher spots than this----months in those bamboo prisons in Nam----this is nothing!!---If I could survive that hellhole, this is a walk in the park----I will not give up----my stubbornness will not allow me to give up. I am a Firewalker----a Firewalker never gives up---never!"
            The prisoners are now being returned to their cells, the bearded man takes his place in line, waiting for his meal. This time it's a soup, complete with bugs floating around in the greasy broth. The other prisoners groan as they throw their heads back and drink the liquid. The bearded man just looks at the bugs and smiles, his thoughts going back to the time he and his then "girlfriend" had gone camping. He taught her how to look for grub worms, snails, and even lizard. She just stared at him as he ate them, she refused to eat them, saying he was crazy. Before their trip was over, she was eating them---but she wasn't happy about it.
            He finishes his soup and is herded onto his cell. He watches the old Mexican limping to his cell across from his. He watches as the other prisoners are walked past his cell, one of the prisoners is old, walking with a cane, feeling the floor with the wooden stick. The man is obviously blind. The bearded man watches the old man, and for just a second, there is something familiar about the old man.


            Alex is laying across the huge bed, rubbing her backside, Walker has called room service to bring her some hot tea. He sits down beside the bed and picks up her feet, gently rubbing them.
            "Feel better, hon---do you want something to eat?"
            She smiles back at him, "No, sweetheart----the tea is plenty. But, there is something I would like to ask you to do----if you would?"
            “What's that?"
            She lowers her head and looks back at him, "Would you call my Dad----and invite him to join us in Anchorage in time for the New Year?"
            Walker rubs his beard, "Why don't you call him?"
                 "Because---it would mean more---coming from you, please, honey?"
            "Okay, I'll call him---later----Right now I just want to spend some quality time alone with you----before the kids come back and start banging on the door, saying that one of them has been thrown overboard."
            Alex giggles and crooks her little finger, "Come here, Cowboy---I've got a pain that only you can doctor."
            Walker grins, climbing up on the bed and taking his wife into his arms, "Okay, Mrs. Walker----show me where the pain is---I've got the perfect prescription for you---lots of tender loving care."


            Angela is watching her brothers on the high dive, Little Ray is getting very good on his diving. Cordell and Cooper could swim like fish, and their baby brother was following in their footsteps. Angela could swim, but she wasn't all that intrigued with it.  She passed all the swimming tests that were mandatory now in all the schools, she just didn't like the chlorine, saying it was bad for her hair. She's watching her brothers play 'tag' in the water, using their baby brother for the tag. Little Ray is laughing and trying to keep from being pulled under by Cooper. She doesn't see the young man walk up beside her.
            "Hi Angela."
            "Hi Adlen---was wondering where you were, didn't see you at dinner last night."
            Adlen flashes that smile, "So?----You were looking for me, huh?"
            Angela blushes, "I just thought you would be in the dining room---that's all---I wasn't really looking for you."
            He sits down beside her, "It's okay, Angela---didn't mean to embarrass you----I was having trouble getting a room---at the last minute and all. Finally, one of the stewards felt sorry for me and let me share his cabin---it's small but it's better than sleeping in the life boat."
            "The life boat---are you serious------that's dangerous!"
            The young man smiles, "I live for danger, when I'm trying to capture the heart of a lovely damsel."
            Again Angela blushes, "Stop it!----you didn't  really sleep in one of the lifeboats----did you?"
            "Well, I thought about finding your cabin and maybe you would take pity on me and let me share yours."
            Angela shakes her head, "Look------don't try to lay those sugar coated words on me----it won't work----if you had tried to come into my cabin, I would kick you into next week---and don't think I'm not capable of it!"
            Adlen throws his hands up in defense, "Whoa!!!! Hold on---I didn't mean anything---I was just teasing you---don't be so defensive!"
            Angela tries to smile, "Well, I got a right to be defensive---after all that happened."
            "Yeah, I know all about that problem with that creep that was "stalking" you and trying to hurt your family."
            "How do you know about that?"
                    "Angela---it was in the news---all over the Dallas times, and I heard that it made the headlines in Europe."
                    "Europe?  That's clear across the ocean---it made the newspapers there?"
            "Yep----and on television, radio----you name it. They did it up good talking about the way you kicked the hell out of that Kiwi fellow. You really beat the crap out of him! So believe me---I wouldn't dare try to get out of line with you---I'm rather fond of my teeth and the rest of my body."
            Angela laughs, and tries to tease him back, "Well----just don't ever make me mad---okay?"
            The two continue to talk and laugh. The twins have been watching them, Cooper is gritting his teeth.
              "There's that clown again, Cordell---the one that was 'bird dogging' Angela on the plane."
            Cordell nods his head, "Yeah, I know-----I thought Angela said he was flying into Anchorage---what's he doing here?"
            Cooper starts to say something when Little Ray jumps up on his back and the two go under the water. Cooper comes up sputtering, and holds his brother's head under the water. Cordell reaches out and pulls his twin away.
            "Take it easy, Coop---he was only playing."
            Little Ray scrambles back on top of Cooper's back, holding him around the neck as his brother spins around, making him laugh. "Go faster 'ooper---go faster."
            Cooper is laughing, "I'm getting dizzy---that's enough for right now---give me five---little bro'."
            "Okay, me go dive again, you catch me, 'ooper?"
            "Yeah, yeah---go do a triple."
            Cordell watches as his brother 'dog paddles' over to the diving board, "We better get closer---you shouldn't have told him to do a triple---you know he's just learning to dive.”
            "He's got to start somewhere---the little guy is a natural---he's learning fast---why shouldn't he? He learned from the best----me!"
            Cordell turns to see his sister walking away with Adlen. "Coop----they're leaving."
            Cooper shakes his head, "That clown better watch it---he better not try anything with our sister---or he'll be talking through his ass."
            Cordell hears his brother yell, he turns around just in time to see Little Ray hit the water. He and Cooper swim over to him quickly, pulling him up, the boy is laughing and spitting up water.
            "Me do good, 'ooper?"
            "Yeah, little brother----you're ready for the Olympics."
            "What that---'ordell?"
            Cordell reaches out and slaps his twin, "Don't tell him that---it's nothing, Little Ray-----not anything you should be concerned with, Cooper is just talking to hear himself---come on---let's go back to our cabin and get ready for supper."
            Cordell has his brother on his back, heading for the side of the pool. Cooper stares at them, "What's wrong----what did I say?"
            Cooper pulls himself up out of the pool, he sees two young girls around 16 or so, staring back at him. He grins, "Hi girls---how's it going?"
            The girls giggle and start walking away, Cooper stands there looking at them, grabs a towel and starts drying off, then he knows why the girls were giggling, the fly is open on his swim trunks! He looks to his 'manhood' that is coming to attention, an older couple is laughing. Cooper just smiles and tries to discreetly "tuck" it back in. He looks at the couple and says, "Hey, it's difficult trying to keep this thing under control---it's got a mind of it's own."
                                              The couple bursts out laughing, Cooper throws the towel over his should and walks away, whistling.



Dallas, Texas December 23rd

            A tired and worried Gordon Cahill is returning to the Walker ranch. He watches as the workers finish laying the new carpet, he walks around slowly, inspecting every room. He stops and runs his hand across the dinner table in a pre-occupied manner. He doesn't hear the worker speak, the man touches Gordon's shoulder, he jumps.
            "What?  What's wrong?"
            "We're through Mr. Cahill---the carpet is all laid and the walls have been repainted---is there anything else?"
            "No," replies Gordon, "everything looks fine---here's your pay---thank you---you did a good job."  The workers leave and Gordon sits down at the long table. He looks around, picturing the many meals that have been served at this table. He sighs.
            "It's so damn lonely around here---God---how I miss those kids."
            The phone rings and Gordon jumps to answer it, "Alexandra----is that you, pumpkin?"
            "No, Gordon---it's me, Walker----are you okay? You sound out of breath."
            Gordon takes a deep breath, "I'm fine, son---I'm fine---how's the cruise----are you upset with me?"
            Walker smiles, "I was at first---but no---I'm not upset with you, even though when we get back home---you and I are going to have another long talk about all these expenses, and I'm going to work something out to pay for my half of this vacation."
                      "Walker---son----you don't have to do that---this vacation is my treat to all of you---why do you have to be so damn stubborn about accepting things from me?"
            "I'm not getting into this with you over the phone, I just called to say "thank you" and ask if you would meet us in Anchorage for the new year?"
            Gordon smiles, "Are you sure? YES----I would love to meet you in Anchorage----it's so damn lonely here, without all of you---yes---I will meet you there---I'll make reservations right now!"
            Gordon hangs up the phone and starts dancing around, the phone rings again and he answers, his face turning to disbelief.
                      "What?----What in the hell are you saying---there's no way that'll stand up in court---that's absurd! I won't listen to such crap----don't call this number again---do you hear me?"
            The old man has to sit down, he's shaking so bad. He rubs his chin, and keeps looking back at the phone, "No----no way it will never happen----Jimmy----I got to call Jimmy----now where's that number where he can be reached in Baltimore?"
            Gordon finds the number and dials as quickly as he can, J.W. answering the phone.
            "J.W. this is grandpa Gordon---let me talk to your Dad---hurry, son!"
            "He's not here, grandpa----he and my Aunt Bessie went out for dinner----I'll tell him you called. Are you alright, grandpa?"
            Gordon is trying to remain calm, his hands are shaking---what he wouldn't give for a drink right at that moment. "Just tell your Dad that all hell is breaking loose----and I need to talk to him as soon as possible!"

            Walker and Alex are getting ready for dinner,  Alex walks up to him and puts her arms around her husband's waist.
            "Thank you sweetheart---for calling my Dad---is he excited about joining us?"
            "Yep----he was practically crawling through the telephone wires, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he's already left Dallas and will be in Anchorage long before we get there."
            "Great----- I can't wait to see him---will you go make sure the kids are dressed and ready to go?"
            "I know the boys are--but with Angela----you know how long it takes her to get dressed---maybe you should go and hurry her along?"
            "I'm here---I'm ready---how do I look?"
            Walker turns around to see his daughter dressed in a long dress, with heels. She's wearing entirely too much makeup and Walker is doing a slow burn. He glances to Alex, and she in turn looks back at her husband and then to their daughter.
                  "Angela---what is going on? Why are you dressed like that---and what's with all the makeup?"
            Angela smiles weakly, "I was just trying to dress up---for a change---I was getting tired of the jeans 'look’.”
            "It's okay to dress up----but Angela----you got too much makeup on," Alex crosses over to her daughter and hands her a Kleenex, "Get that lipstick off, now, young lady!"
            "But, Mom----"
            "You heard what your Mother said---get that lipstick off---right now---it's entirely on too thick----and that color is----it makes---you look----just get it off---now!"
            Angela runs into her parents' bathroom, Alex follows her. They soon come out, and Angela is applying a lighter shade of makeup, with her Mother's help. She keeps stealing a look at her father.
            "I'm sorry-----I was just trying ----to look nice."
            Walker walks over to his daughter and brushes her long hair back over her ears, "Baby---you don't need all of that makeup---you have the natural look, just a little blush here and there and light shade of lipstick----that's all you need. All that makeup made you look----like a clown---baby---you don't need it."
            Angela smiles, "Okay, Daddy---I didn't mean to make you mad."
            Walker takes her in his arms, "I'm not mad, baby----I just don't like you or your Mother to wear a lot of makeup."
            "But, Mom is wearing makeup right now----and you're not angry at her?"
                    "Angela---I have a few more wrinkles than you---in fact---I have a lot more than you---and I need a little extra help in covering those wrinkles---just thank your lucky stars that you don't need the makeup."
            "Hey---are we going to eat or not," a voice bellows out.
            Walker releases his daughter and turns towards the voice, "Yes!---We're going to eat,  right now---everybody ready?"
            Angela hurries to join her brothers, and Alex goes to retrieve her purse, Walker grabs her arm and pulls her back.
            "What was that little comment about having too many wrinkles, Mrs. Walker?"
            "It's a fact, honey---- I need help in covering these-----laugh lines---after all I'm not a spring chicken anymore."
            "Well, Mrs. Walker---you've earned those---laugh lines as you call them----and they look beautiful on you. How many women look half as good as you at your age?"
            "Well, I don't know if I like the sound of "at your age'---is that a compliment?"
            Walker kisses her, "Yes---it's a compliment---you look damn good to have had four kids and another one on the way--- and your body is still in tight form----it's still driving me crazy after all these years."
            Alex smiles, "Thank you sir----and I might say that your body is still looking good---especially in those tight fitting jeans. I've seen some women 'eyeballing' you since we got on this ship, I'm going to have to keep my eyes on you, Cowboy."
            Walker smiles, taking her hand and putting it though his arm, kissing her cheek, "You do that Mrs. Walker---keep me out of trouble---I'm so bad."

They both laugh as they head for the dining room and to their table.
            They all do a double take as they see the young man sitting at the table, he quickly stands up and holds Alex's chair, and then Angela's. He nods towards Walker and then they all sit down. Angela touches her Dad's hand.
                 "Daddy----I hope you don't mind---I asked Adlen to join us for dinner."
            Adlen stands up again and offers his hand to Walker, "It's nice to meet you sir, and you, Mrs. Walker----I hope I'm not intruding."
            Both Walker and Alex greet the young man and dinner is being served. The conversation is light as the twins look to Adlen and then back to their Dad.
            "So? Adlen---are you a college student?" Alex asks.



The Seekers –Trial – Chapter 3

Adlen clears his throat, "Ahh---yes ma'am---I'm in my second year at the University of Texas.

Alex smiles back at the young man, "That's nice, what's your major?"
            "Mom----why so many questions?"
            "It's okay, Angela, I don't mind---I'm studying criminal law---maybe I'll be a lawyer some day.”
            "That's what Mom is," replies Cooper.
            "Yep, and one of the best in Texas---or THE BEST," adds Cordell.
            Alex smiles, looking at the twins "My mutual admiration society."
            Adlen keeps looking at Walker, finally he asks, "What about you, sir----I hear you used to ride the rodeo circuit? Did you ever ride in Santa Fe?"
            Walker nods his head slowly, "Yeah----a long, long time ago."
            "I see, what about Las Cruces?"
            Walker stares back at the young man and then to Angela, "Why all of the questions about where I've ridden, are you interested in the rodeo, do you ride?"
            "No----not me----I'm scared to death of those bulls---I hear you were a bull rider----one of the best."
            "Yes, I've ridden the bulls, broncos, and some steer wrestling. Gave up the steer wrestling---I was getting one too many horns, in the wrong places---if you get my meaning."
            The twins laugh and Angela gives her Daddy a raised eyebrow. Alex reaches over and touches her husband's hand, "He gave up the bull riding too, after one too many broken bones, didn't you dear?"
            The rest of the evening is spent mostly talking about the rodeo circuit, the young man is full of questions and Walker is getting a little uncomfortable trying to answer all of them. The conversation will veer away from the rodeo, and then the young man always seems to bring it back in, asking a lot of questions about New Mexico, mainly Las Cruces.
            Dinner is over and Adlen and Angela head for the dance floor, Walker watches them.
                    "Walker, what's wrong?"
            "I don't know, hon---he sure has asked a lot of questions pertaining to my previous career."
            Alex nods her head, "Yes---he did seem to be overly interested."
            Walker takes a deep breath, "Yeah---maybe too interested, why so many questions about Las Cruces?"
            Alex looks at him, "What was so special about that rodeo, you've ridden in hundreds of rodeos, all over Texas and as far as Wyoming."
            Walker shakes his head, "Beats me---after awhile, they all look the same, same savage beasts that are out to break a rider in half, or make him sing soprano."
            The twins are still laughing, "Did you ever get gored---really bad---down there----Dad?"
            "Yes Coop---I had some pretty close calls but that's why you wear not one cup----but two---three---if you get it over the other two without looking deformed, and still able to walk."
            "Guess that's why you and I never took up bull riding, huh Coop?"
            Alex sighs, "Thank God you didn't, I worried enough about your Father when he was riding, I didn't need the two of you giving me headaches too."
            "Don't need to worry about me busting my nuts , Mom----I don't want to end up sterile, I plan to give you lots of grandchildren."
            Cordell shakes his head, "What girl is going to be fool enough to marry you?"
            "I didn't say anything about giving Mom a daughter-in -law---I just said---kids!"
               "Cooper James, what a male chauvinist thing to say and very callous!"
            Walker stares at his son, Cooper coughs, "Sorry, Mom----I didn't mean it---that way."
            Alex stares back at him, "What other way did you mean that remark, young man?"
            Walker interrupts, "Never mind----how about we change the subject?"
            "Come on Mom-----dance with me,” Cordell stands up and puts his hand on the back of his Mother's chair. Alex gives Cooper one last glare and then she heads to the dance floor.
            Walker takes a deep breath, "You did it again son, not paying any attention to what you're saying or how you're saying it. When are you going to learn to think---before you speak?"
            "I'm sorry----I just meant that I don't intend to ever get married---I want to have kids----someday---I just don't want to be tied down to one woman---what is wrong with that?"
            "You'll change your mind---when that certain "someone" comes along. I do admire your honesty about it, I just don't agree with bringing babies into the world, the way you are insinuating. Babies are a gift from God, to be shared between a man and woman's love for each other, not to be treated like a puppy that when you get tired of it, just toss it aside and move on to another sex partner. I thought your Mother and I taught you better values than that."
                      "Accidents happen, what would you have done if Mom had gotten pregnant while you two were just dating?"
            "In the first place---we both took precautions not to allow that to happen, we both knew our relationship and our careers weren't t ready to bring a baby into it. When you enter into a relationship, find out what your partner expects of you and what you expect of them---I doubt very seriously that you are going to get far in a relationship if you tell that girl you have no intentions of marrying her if she gets 'knocked up’."
            "But---if she uses protection---"
            "Coop---it takes two to make a baby---you have just as much responsibility in protecting yourself from a unwanted pregnancy as the girl does, even more so. Because, you are the man and you are responsible for taking care of that life. Not only do you have an unwanted pregnancy, but there are sexual transmitted diseases out there, you can't take life so lightly, and for God's sake---use protection."
            Alex and Cordell are looking back from the dance floor, "Wow!!! Dad is really coming down on Cooper for that remark he made---I can see the veins popping out on his forehead from here."
            Alex shakes her head, "Sometimes , your brother can get himself into some mighty hot water---I just hope that he's---that he's not practicing what he's spouting off about."
            Cordell blushes, "Relax mom----Cooper is all talk----as far as I know---"  Cordell stops and clears his throat, "he's just that-----all talk."
            Alex smiles back at her oldest son, "We just want the best for all of you kids, and if there is anything you or your brothers and Angela need to talk about----please---talk to us-----haven't we always listened?"
            Cordell nods, "Yes, Mom, we know that you and Dad will listen---and will talk things out with us----but sometimes-----there are things that are difficult to talk about---with parents."
            Alex puts both her hands on her son's face, "You listen to me, Cordell John and listen good! We may not know all the right answers to the questions that come up, but we are always there for all of you and we deserve the right to try and answer those questions. Do you hear me, son?"
            Cordell shakes his head, "I hear you, Mom----I hear you."
            Alex grabs her son and hugs him, right in the middle of the dance floor, "GOOD!!! ---And don't you ever forget it.”


                   "Amigo, are you asleep?"
            The bearded man pulls himself up to the call, "No----I'm not asleep---who can sleep, it's so damn hot, must be over a 110 in here today."
            The old Mexican scoots up closer to his jail call, dragging his infected leg, the flies swarm over him.
            "It is rather warm, yes----but it will get hotter, trust me."
            "How long have you been in here?"
            The old man laughs, "I lost count of the years---I know it is many!"
            "Years?  You've been here for years?  What did you do?"
            The old man hesitates, "Murder----my friend."
            The bearded man smirks, "Please say it was one of these damn guards you're guilty of killing."
            "No, amigo----my wife----I found her with one of the guards and they were spilling the fruits of their loins----I killed her---but the guard got away. Is that not sweet justice?"
                     "Sounds like you got the 'shaft'---either way, Amigo---what is this place---where am I?"
            The old man scratches his chin, "You do not---where you are?"
            "I don't know where I am---and what's more I don't know "WHY" I am here, what can you tell me?"
            They hear the guards coming down the hallway, it is feeding time and they will be searched again. The bearded man jumps up and runs to the loose brick, taking the picture and putting it under the mattress. He changes his mind and takes it back out, looking around for a safe place to hide it. He hears the old man whispering to him.
            "Here----amigo give it to me--I will hide it for you."
            The man holds it to his chest, "No---I can't take that chance---if they should find it, they'll take it away from me."
                    "Amigo----you are running out of places to hide it---give the picture to me---I have a place for it, that the guards will not look," the old Mexican points down at his infected leg and pulls back a flap of dead skin. "They refuse to tend my smelly leg---they will not look here."
            The voices are getting closer as the old man stretches his hand out as far as he can, the bearded one gets down on the floor and stretches his hand out and gives his most treasured item to a stranger.
            The old man lifts up the dead skin and places the picture inside, he grimaces in pain, but he manages to get the picture out of sight He pulls his tattered pant leg over it, scoots back up against the wall and waits. Across the hall, the man sighs, "Oh God----please don't let them

The guards come into the cells and throw the bearded man against the bars, and three men hold him while the other searches him, every nook and cranny. The man is humiliated as they touch his private parts, and laugh. The man grits his teeth, and forces himself to think about other things. He wonders why they do the 'search' thing every day, what do they think they will find from one day to the next .The prisoners are watched constantly, how could they possibly manage to hide anything. His temper flares, they just enjoy the humiliation. They stand back and look at the bearded one, and the bigger guard takes his hand to his own crotch and rubs it. The others laugh and egg him on, getting closer to the prisoner.
            The blue/ gray eyes of the prisoner bore into him, his mouth sets and his fists close up into a tight ball.  The two stare at each other, the bearded man will not look away, daring the guard to come closer.
            A voice is heard across the hallway as the old Mexican starts throwing what few belongings he has, up into the air and shouting. The guards turn their attention to him and laugh.
            "El Loco," they gesture with a circular motion to the head. They continue laughing as they go across the hallway and push the old man back. They look down at his leg and start 'fanning the air'----they hustle out of the cell----laughing and hobbling around, imitating a man with one leg.
            The old man breathes a sigh of relief, "That was a close one, amigo."
            The bearded man unfolds his fists and he too, takes a deep breath, thinking about what almost unfolded. They reach for the tray of food that the guards have left them, stale tortilla shells and a couple of tamales. The water is warm and with compliments of the chef---bugs!
            The old man takes the picture from the folded skin, and tries to wipe the blood and dead skin off of it.
            "I'm sorry, my friend----I can't get it all off---but it is still in one piece."
            The man retrieves it, looking at the faces, smiling back at him. "It's okay, my friend----I appreciate what you've done----what's your name?"
            The old man laughs, "It has been so long since I have said my name-----all of these years I have been just a number---9237----I have had no use for a name."
            "Well, I don't want to continue calling you just 'amigo' and I refuse to call you a number----my name is Walker----and yours?"
            The old man starts to cry, and he crosses his chest, "My name is Hector---Hector Jose  Authuro Adolfe Guirrero---Hernandez."
            Walker smiles, "Whoa there----I think I'll just call you Heck---How’s that?"
            The old man laughs, "That will be fine, amigo-----I mean---Walker."
            Walker eats his meal, taking the bugs out of the water and drinking it down fast. He spits up most of it. Heck is watching him.
            "You have to keep the water down, Walker----you will learn to leave the bugs in----for nourishment."
            "I don't mind eating insects, Heck---I've eaten my fair share of them---but I draw the line at cockroaches. If I ever catch that mouse that has been sharing my cell, he's going to taste---mighty good."
            Hector makes a face---"I take it that you have seen your share of jail cells---that is good---because you would not last very long in here--under any other conditions."
                  "WHERE is here, Heck? What is this place?"      

"You are in hell, my friend----‘Casa sieta El Diablo’.”
Walker repeats the name, "’House of seven devils"?---I've never heard of it----where are we, what part of the country are we in?"      
                    "Believe it or not my friend, you are still on the planet, earth, though under these conditions, it may be hard to believe.  We are about 200 miles south of Mexico City, Morales is the nearest little town."
                  "Mexico City?" Walker repeats the name, "I don't understand---why am I here-----who is in charge, all I've seen are just guards, there's got to be a higher authority."
            The old man shakes his head, "Just pray that you do not see El Diablo himself, because if you do, his will be the last face you will see. He kills for the pleasure of it."
            "I'm afraid of no man, Heck----devil or no devil--as long as I can see who I am fighting and not some "ghost" or a figure of someone's imagination. ---I got to get out of here, Heck---my family must be worried sick about me."
            "You have a beautiful 'familia' my friend, but soon you will forget their faces, the beatings that you have endured will soon take on the loss of your memory, and your 'familia' will forget you and go on with their lives."
            Walker gets a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, "Is that what happened to you, did your family desert you?"
            The old man nods his head and drops his head against the bars, "I do not blame them----I was never a good father or husband---I am getting just what I deserve."
            Walker shakes his head, "No-----no man deserves to be treated this way---and you're wrong, my family will never give up looking for me. My wife----will never stop searching----and I have a friend, a good friend----he will never stop till he finds me-----or my body."
            "I pray you are right Walker----but you do not how long you've been here--- time is your enemy----and time will play tricks on your memory."
            Walker takes a deep breath, rubbing his beard. "Well, I do know one thing---I haven't been here too long, judging from the length my beard has grown----I would say no more than a couple of months------but why is it so difficult to remember what has happened to me?"
            "What do you remember-------think----my friend."
            Walker starts rubbing his head, he feels the bumps and the gash. He closes his eyes, trying to make his mind go back as far as he can. "Every time I try to think----my head hurts more and I see flashing lights, I smell putrid, urine, and excrement-----oh God---what does it mean?"
            The old man sighs and lays down on the floor of his cell, "The 'devil' is already inside you, pushing your good thoughts away and bringing evil instead!  Tell me about your 'familia' Walker----you have beautiful kids."
            Walker looks at the picture and smiles. "My son took this picture----we were on a cruise going to Alaska and he was taking the traditional Christmas picture that he's taken every year for about the last 6 yrs. In the beginning when he was first learning that contraption, heads would be cut off, out of focus, and a lot of them couldn't be developed. But, he soon learned how to work it and was developing his own pictures, and we have pictures galore of the family on different occasions.  I think this picture is one of his best, we were all so happy in this picture. As soon as we got back from that trip, I took this picture and cut it down to fit in my wallet."
                  Walker's voice trails off, "My wallet?  How did I get the picture out of my wallet without----them seeing me? Surely---they've searched me----why didn't they take the picture, like they tried to take my ring?"
            "I do not know my friend, maybe these are not the same people that took you?"
            "What do you mean?"
            "More than likely, you were at another prison----before coming here---and it's a sure thing----you will be moved again."
            Walker turns around and faces the old Mexican, "Anther prison----how many are there?"
            "Seven, senor, and they will move you again----so the Federales can't find you---that is how they avoid the American consulate from finding their American prisoners."
                      Walker's eyes narrow, "Your English is getting better, Hector---a hell of a lot better than it was, just earlier today.  What games are you playing?"
            "I play no games----I'm just as cautious of you as you have been of me---I have watched you---and how you fight the guards----I believe I can trust you.  Do you trust me?"
            Walker slams his fist against his cell, "What choice do I have? I can't believe I've been so stupid-------so what's next AMIGO----do you turn me in? What's in it for you-----they won't even treat your leg?"
            The old man moves away from the cell door, "I talk no more tonight----you are angry and you have a right to be----but I will not betray you or your trust. I have no reason to---I will die here---- I have nothing to gain."
            Walker starts hitting the cell, "Wait!!!----I'm sorry----please-----"
            The old man remains silent, Walker slowly lowers himself down to the floor, cursing his  anger.


December 24th

Angela and Adlen are playing the video games in the arcade. Finally the young man throws his hands up in the air in defeat, "Enough!!!! I give up----10 straight games----you've killed me!"
            They sit down to enjoy a light lunch. Angela is looking at Adlen in confusion.
            "Why were you asking my Daddy so many questions last night?"
            Adlen laughs, "I figured it would be a nice change---it's usually the old man that is questioning the young suitor that has come calling on the young lady."
            "You didn't come calling----I asked you to join us for dinner last night---but I didn't think you were going to come at my Daddy with all sorts of questions about his past."
            "I didn't mean anything----I was just curious---your Dad is a very interesting person, a Viet Nam vet, rodeo rider, Texas ranger---"
            "How do you know all that?"
            Adlen shrugs, "Angela----it was in the paper----why are you so suspicious?"
            "Well, I got a right to be---after all that's happened---so if I sound a little suspicious when someone starts asking questions about my family---oh well----live with it!"
            "Come on Angela---I'm not asking anything out of the ordinary--- nothing that reporters haven't already asked----I was just curious----that's all."
            A young waiter comes over to take their order, and Adlen orders them a salad and some iced tea. Adlen frowns.
            "I'm sorry I don't have much money----would you rather have hot tea, it's rather chilly out here on this open deck?"
            Angela shakes her head, "I don't like hot tea------maybe some hot chocolate?"
            They eat in silence, Angela sighs. "What about your family, Adlen----why are you traveling without them?"
            "My parents have their own lives to live. I'm 18, Angela----I don't need my parents around to baby-sit me anymore."
            "I'll probably still be living at home when I'm thirty----or even forty."
                 "Haven't you ever thought about just throwing all caution to the wind and just let it happen?"
            Angela stares back, "Let what happen?"
            Adlen shakes his head, "If I have to tell you, Angela----then you're not as mature as I've thought you to be?"
            "If you're referring to sex----you can get that thought out of your head--right now."
            "If I didn't make a play for you, Angela you would think I was queer----you're a beautiful girl, I see all the guys making eyes at you, I'm just being ---'normal'.”
            Angela laughs, "Somehow-----I just can't take you seriously----are you teasing me?"
                "Angela----I would jump in the sack with you so quick I'd get a nose bleed and----''
            Angela bursts out laughing and soon Adlen can't stop himself from laughing too, the young waiter just looks at them and shakes his head.
            "Come on Adlen----tell me about your family---I'm really interested----do you have any brothers or sisters?"
            Adlen stops laughing, his face goes blank----"Yeah---I’ve got a brother, a younger brother."
            "So, tell me about him---is he back in Texas?"
            Adlen stammers, then sighs, "Yeah----he's back in Texas-----in jail!"
            "Oh, I'm sorry-----is it anything serious?"
            "What do you care, Angela----you don't even know him?"
            "Dah? It was just an expression."
            "He deserves what he's getting---he's always getting into trouble---he'll probably rot in there."
            "Adlen!  That's a terrible thing to say----about your own brother."
            "Sweet, sweet little Angela----you're such a compassionate person---I'll bet you even feel sorry for that creep that was 'stalking' you---what was his name, --- KIWI?"
            Angela stares back at the young man, her bottom lip is quivering, "Well---you would be dead wrong----that s.o.b. gets none of my sympathy---I wish they still hung convicted killers------- I would pull the rope!"
                "WHOA!!!! Angela, calm down---don't get yourself all worked up."
            "That s.o.b. tried to kidnap me, and he might have succeeded if my brother hadn't come to my rescue----he killed my best friend---I think I have a right to be 'all worked up’ as you put it!".
            "Okay, okay, I'm sorry----could we just talk about something else?"
            Angela glances at her watch, "No, I can't---I got to get back so I can watch my baby brother, my Daddy wants to take my Mom shopping for her Christmas present.----Will you be at the Christmas party and dance tonight?"
            Adlen smiles back at her, "Wouldn't miss it---I hear your brothers are playing in the band and I hear they're good."
            "MY brothers are DAMN Good, just wait till you hear them---gotta go---bye."
            Adlen watches as Angela walks away, the young waiter looks at him. "Adlen----what are you up to now?"
                   "Woody---my man---isn't it obvious?"
            "But, I don't get it---what if that information comes back positive---then what?"
            "What will it hurt?"
            "You can't be serious!  You mean it's not going to make any difference?"
            Adlen stands up, reaches into his pocket and takes out a $20, "I would like my change back---I'm on a very limited budget."
            Woody digs through his pockets and counts out the $2.04-------Here---Here's your damn change-----and tonight after you drop that Walker girl off at her cabin---don't be bringing another one back to mine---I hardly got any sleep at all last night. You and that banker's wife was going at it all night long."
            "Relax, Woody---I told you could have her after I got though with her---only trouble is----she didn't want you!"
            Adlen smirks and walks off. Woody is doing a slow burn as he whispers, "You think you know all the answers smart guy---just wait till that report comes back and we'll see who laughs last."

 The Walkers' stateroom:

            Alex is showing Angela the Christmas present that Walker has bought her, a diamond wristwatch.
                  "Oooohhh Mom----it's beautiful, oh wow-----it's to die for!"
            Alex smiles and looks over at her husband who is getting into his tuxedo for the Christmas party.
            "Thank you, Angela-------your Father has nice taste---don't you, honey?"
            Walker nods back to her, "I don't know about nice taste---we might be eating baloney sandwiches when we get home., and I may have to take out a second mortgage on the ranch to pay for that."
            Angela stares back at her Daddy, "It costs that much----how much did it cost?"
            "Sorry Mom-----I know a woman is never suppose to ask that question----but when do I get to wear it? Can I wear it to the New Years' party?"
            Alex smiles back at her, "Well---we'll see and by the way----did you put that turquoise bracelet back in my jewelry box?"
            "Yes Mom----I put it back, don't I always?"
            Alex looks to her husband real quick who has now stepped into the bathroom, she looks back to her daughter, "No---you don't always put it back, your Father will have a 'hissy fit' if anything happens to that bracelet---that bracelet belonged to your great Aunt--------"
            "I know, I know---my great Aunt Ruth----you tell me that every time I borrow it."
            "Lose the attitude, Angela-----not only would your Father be upset with you, I would be too."
            Walker comes back out and is now looking for his shoes, he sits down on the hassock and starts to put them on. Angela starts clicking her teeth and smiling real big as she walks over to her father.
            "OH, Daddy," she sings out in a falsetto sounding voice, as she leans over putting both arms around his neck and kissing him on the cheek. "Daddy-----I got a birthday coming up soon, and my wristwatch doesn't keep good time---hint----hint."



The Seekers –Trial – Chapter 4

            Walker nods his head slowly at his daughter's comment that her wristwatch doesn't keep good time.
            "Is that so?" He teases her, looking over to his wife.
            Angela continues to lay on the charm, "Yes, Daddy, and if I don't have a good watch to keep time, then I won't be able to get home from my date on time tonight."
            Walker smiles, reaching up to pat his daughter's hands, "Well---in the first place, there is nothing wrong with that watch that you got for your birthday last year---and secondly--- YOU are not going on any date tonight---you're not 16 yet."
            Angela stands up straight and pushes out her bottom lip, "Oh, Daddy-----what difference does four and half months make---why be so technical?"
            Walker stands up and looks at his daughter, fighting to hold back the smile. "Technical, huh?  Well how about this, you're not going to date for exactly 4 months, 27 days, and------" he looks at his own watch,  "Alex----what time of the day was she born?"
            "She was born at 7:08------pm."
            Walker looks back to his watch and does some figuring, "Four months, 27 days, 23 hours and ----13 seconds----how does that grab you?"
                     Angela's mouth drops open, "Daddy!!!---You're not serious?"
            Walker shakes his head, "I'm very serious---and if you continue to doubt me---I'll put you back another 2 years and you won't be able to date till you're 18----wanna push for that?"
            Angela smiles at her father and sticks her tongue out at him, "Nope----I get the message---loud and clear!  I'd better get of here before you say I can't date till I'm 25."
            Walker reaches out and pinches her nose, "Good try, baby----now go and check to see if Little Ray needs any help getting dressed."
            A light tap is heard on their door and the Walker boys walk in, all dressed to the 'tee'. Little Ray is sporting his first tuxedo and all of the boys are wearing red cummerbunds, their rustic colored hair all brushed back.
            Alex stops doing her nails and stares back at them, "Oh my---look at my three handsome guys."
            Walker clears his throat and Alex quickly corrects herself, "Excuse me--my FOUR handsome guys."
            Angela looks them up and down, "Wow---you guys look neat---even you, Cooper."
            Cooper shrugs, "What? Did you think I was going to be dressed like a country bumpkin on Christmas Eve?  Look at you, Angela---don't tell me that's how you're going to the party---in your housecoat?"
            Angela tilts her head and prisses to the door, "No, brother dear----I'm going to make a grand entrance, that will make your eyes pop out."
            Walker again clears his throat and Alex asks, " Angela---I hope that 'grand entrance' you're referring to is not a repeat of last night?"
            "Relax Mother---everything is cool---under control."
            Walker nods his head, "It better be young lady---or you won't be dating till you're 50!"
            Angela sighs and then heads back to her cabin to finish getting dressed.  Walker and Alex stare at their baby son. Walker breaks out in a wide grin, "Come here, buckaroo and let me look you over------this is a perfect fit, you sure look ‘spiffy’!"
                        Little Ray shakes his head, "No, Daddy---me handsome, me------what that word 'ooper?"
            "RAD, little brother-- you are super rad!"
            "Yeah----me rad--me 'ool'." The boy grins, nodding his head up and down.
            "You sure look pretty, Mom," replies Cordell.
            Alex smiles, "Thank you sweet heart." and then she looks to Cooper, who is avoiding her look.
            Walker sees the tension between them, "Come on Cordell, Little Ray---let's go see how the ballroom is shaping up---we'll see you down there, hon."
            Cooper shifts nervously back and forth, shoving his hands down into his pants, and then taking them out to straighten his jacket.
            Alex looks at him, "Is there something you want to talk to me about, Coop?"
            "You know I didn't mean to hurt you," he mumbles.
            "Well---you did---that comment you made about being so careless with life hurt me, but more than that, I was very disappointed in you for saying it," Alex replies softly.
            Cooper shakes his head and bites his bottom lip, " I didn't mean it the way---it sounded---I just meant----"
                  "Cooper----your intentions were clear. You made it sound like that women were just put here on this earth to bear children and they are 'merely' sex objects that you go from one to the another, and that lives won't be affected by it."
            "I'm sorry, Mom---I really am."
            "Are you?   Or is it just because you've been called up on the carpet for it?  Cooper, you can't keep saying things like this and not expect someone to be hurt by it."
            "I know, I know---Dad's already chewed my butt about it---I'm sorry---what more can I say?"
            Alex goes to sit down on her bed, she pulls her son over to her. "Sit down, sweetheart. Would you do me a favor, would you please stop and think about what you're going to say before you say it?  Let me ask you this---turn it around and you be a young lady for just a second and some young man has made that comment to you about 'fathering' a lot of babies, but no marriages---how would that make you feel----seriously?"
            Cooper thinks about it, and then he wipes the tears away, "Like a piece of meat---that someone has discarded."
                    "Exactly----over the years, the female has been made to feel just like that, but now we have rights, we are equal to the male, and that's how it should have always been. Women have rights and feelings too, we are not just sex objects---am I getting through to you at all, son?"
            Slowly Cooper nods his head, "Yes----but there are women out there that don't care that they are being used, and sometimes they do the 'using'----so that a man will have to support them and the babies they make."
            "And---that is not right either----Cooper, you have been raised better than this, where is all this talk coming from, this is not like you."
            "I just hear the other guys talking, and some of what they are saying is true----you and Dad have always said that we kids should speak up for what we believe, if we got something to say---say it. I did say it---and now I'm in trouble."
                 "Cooper James Walker, I know you better than this and I know that you do not believe any of that crap that you just said----now, where is all this really coming from?"
            "Mom----I said I was sorry, I never intended to hurt you---it was just a stupid comment and I'm sorry---okay?"
            Alex is biting her bottom lip and trying to speak, "Alright---if you say you're sorry, then we will just forget about this and ----try to go on to some other subject and I will forget about the comment-----and------"
            "Mom, please stop crying-----I'm sorry---I'll never say anything like that again----I promise----Mom stop crying---please?"
            Cooper reaches for his Mother and Alex falls into his arms crying, "Okay, honey---  I believe you---now would you do me another favor?"
            Cooper is crying too, "What, Mom?"
            "Would you please get out of here so I can finish getting dressed and get the puffiness out of my eyes?"
            "Yeah, sure Mom---I got to join Cordell and----get our music set up---okay, Mom---I'll see you later."
            Alex is wiping her tears, "OH!!!  Wait a minute----what did your grandpa say when you talked to him earlier?"
            Cooper takes the sleeve of his jacket and wipes his eyes, he shakes his head, "We didn't get a hold of him---guess he was out."
            "Out?  What time did you call?"
            "We've tried all evening, Cordell said he let the phone ring at least a dozen times----the answering machine never picked up."
            "This doesn't sound right----sweetheart, hand me my little phone number book."
            "Mom---what's wrong---you know our home phone number."
            Alex is picking up the phone and asking for the ship to shore operator, "I'm not calling home---I'm calling his club to see if he's there---and if I can't get a hold of him there I'm calling Sue Winchester."
            "Dana's Mom--why her?"
            "Sue said that she would keep an eye on the place while we were gone----and I sort of asked her to keep an eye on your grandpa too."
            The retirement club has not heard or seen Gordon Cahill in almost a week, Alex calls the Winchester home, there is no answer there either.


            Adlen has watched the Walkers as they have arrived at the ballroom. He watches as one of the twins and the youngest boy are walking around and looking at all the decorations. The little boy spots the huge Christmas tree and he runs towards it, the twin follows him.
            Adlen looks towards the bearded man, he studies him, saying to himself, "He sure looks different when he's all dressed up in a tuxedo, hardly looks like the same man, ----- without his rodeo gear."
            The young man walks towards him, "Good evening Mr. Walker----how are you?" He reaches out to shake his hand.
            Walker extends his hand to the young man, "Hello, Adlen," eyeing him suspiciously.
            Adlen sees the look in those eyes, and clears his throat and reaches for a cigarette, offering one to the ranger.
            Walker shakes his head, "No thanks."
            They stand there looking at each other, Adlen takes a long puff and then blows it out, he tries to joke, "I'll bet you're a pipe man, huh Mr. Walker?"
            Walker continues to stare at Adlen, "Nope-----I used to enjoy a cigar now and then---but I gave 'em up."
            Adlen takes another draw, and laughs. “What? Don't tell me, they cause cancer, right? I would think that a man in your line of business would be more afraid of stopping a bullet, than getting cancer."
                    Walker's eyes narrow, something about the young man is familiar. He answers slowly, "No----I gave up the cigars because they are a disgusting habit---but more so--because one of my sons was picking up that disgusting habit--I made a deal with him that I would stop---if he would."
            Adlen puts his hands up, "Wait a minute----let me get this straight---you stop riding the bulls because your wife tells you to, and then stop smoking because of one of your kids is getting the habit----I figured you to be your own man, guess I was wrong."
                     Walker's temper is starting to rise, he looks back at the young man hard, "First of all---there comes a time in your life when you have to measure what is more important, your own selfish vices or the happiness of those around you. Secondly, my wife has never 'told' me to do anything---so I would suggest that you re-think your questions."
            Adlen backs up as Walker walks up closer to him, he swallows and throws the cigarette butte over the side. "I get the message, Mr. Walker----stupid me---I don't know when to keep my mouth shut."
            "And, that's another thing---why all the questions about my days in the rodeo and what is so damn important about Las Cruces?"
                "Nothing!---I was just curious about being a bull rider----my---my Uncle used to ride---I was just curious, that's all."
            "What's your Uncle's name?"
            "Ahhh---you wouldn't know him-----he didn't ride---very long."
            "Why don't you let me be the judge of that? His name."
            Adlen is hesitating, Walker stares at him.
            "His name-----was----was Carson----Will Carson."
            Walker says the name to himself, "Carson?---I knew a Will Carson---he did ride the rodeo---he got gored in El Paso, didn't make the rest of the circuit into New Mexico, had to turn back----he was your Uncle?"
            Adlen shakes his head slowly, "Yeah----my Uncle Will----that's him."
            "So---how is your Uncle---how's he doing, I heard he lost his spleen?"
            "My Uncle is dead, Mr. Walker---and 'no' he didn't lose his spleen, he lost a kidney."
            Walker continues to stare at Adlen, "Dead, huh? What happened?"
            "Car wreck---he was killed about nine years ago, pulling a tractor/trailer from Brownsville. Are there anymore questions---Mr. Walker?"
            Walker nods his head, "Yeah---just what intentions do you have towards my daughter?"
            "Your daughter? Angela?"
            "I only have the one---and I don't like all this dancing around so I will make it very clear!  My daughter is underage, if you have any crazy ideas about trying to talk her into something---you better think how you would look with your nose stuck up your ass----cause if you ever lay a hand on her---that's just where you will be-looking up your asshole! Do I make myself clear enough?"
            Adlen is breathing hard, "Yes sir---I mean no sir---I would never try to get out of line with your daughter----I know your reputation---all too well---I would never be crazy enough to try---No sir!-----Besides that---your daughter has already informed me that she would kick me into next week---if I so much as even thought such things."
            Walker taps Adlen's shoulder, "Listen kid---I'm not joking---I do not joke around where my daughter is concerned------there are other young ladies on this ship--I would suggest you divert your attention in their direction."
            "Mr. Walker---I assure you---I'm well aware that Angela is underage and what the consequences would be-----after all I am a lawyer---or at least I hope to be----someday."
            "I could care less about your impending career, do you think you're the first yahoo that has tried to 'bird dog' my daughter? I've run into your kind before, and no law book will be able to save your hide---- if you ever try to hurt her in any way!  I don't always go by that damn rule book---stay away from Angela."
            Walker walks away and Adlen is still shaking. The young waiter has watched the scenario, and walks up to his friend cautiously.
                 "Whew!!!!---Adlen---you are messing with fire---I thought that man was going to throw you overboard---Adlen---back off---what is all of this going to prove?"
            Adlen smiles and lights up another cigarette " He does have a temper---doesn't he?"
            "That's pretty obvious---you were almost shark bait."
            Adlen continues to watch as Walker goes to the Christmas tree and reaches down to pick up his son. Adlen watches as Walker is pointing out the pretty lights, the little boy is giggling and hugging his Daddy's neck. Adlen throws the butte down and curses.
            His friend reaches out for him, "Come on Adlen---let's go get a beer before I go on duty."
            "Did you get those reports back yet?"
            "No---they're having a hard time finding that one guy---Dallas is a big place."
            "You jerk, I told you the guy was living near Springtown now-- get on it."
            The young men keep staring at Walker as the rest of the Walker family has arrived. Walker puts his baby son down and walks towards his wife, steps back and admires her evening dress, then he kisses her tenderly.
            Woody stares at his friend, "The guy is obviously very much in love with his wife."
            Adlen grins, "Yeah----pretty much the loving family man----and very protective ----and very much capable of ----murder!"



            The quietness of the jail cell surrounds him, he can hear the old Mexican snoring and the he hears the man groaning from the pain of his infected leg. Walker takes the picture out and again he touches each face, always lingering on the face of his wife.
            "Alex," he whispers, I miss you so much---please don't stop thinking of me---you always said that we were always on the same wave link, our thoughts and our emotions for each other---always as one. Why can't you feel my thoughts now?"
                Walker's thoughts of his wife are interrupted as he hears noises down the hall. He stretches to see if he can see what the ruckus is all about, the old Mexican is awake and pulling himself up to his jail cell.
            "Heck--can you see what's happening?"
            Hector nods his head, "Yes---I see all too clear----they are beating a prisoner----oh sweet Jesus---it is the old man with the cane."
            Hector backs away and motions for Walker to do the same, "They come, senor---get back----pretend you are asleep."
            Walker backs up to his cot and lays down, the guards are dragging the old man, another one is kicking him. Walker keeps one eye open as the guards stop outside his cell and look in. They are satisfied that he hasn't seen anything, and motion for the old man to be dragged away. Blood is gushing from the old man's head, as one of the guards takes his already broken glasses and smash them up against the old man's head. The old man is trying to stand and he's swinging at the guard, they laugh and continue to drag him out. Walker listens as he hears the guards cursing and then there's silence.
             The ranger slowly gets up off his cot and walks to the cell door. Hector is crossing his chest and praying.

"Hector----what happened-----why were they beating him, what did he do?"
            Hector looks in the direction the guards took ----he spits, looking back at Walker. "Because he was breathing senor---they need no other reason, but that."
            Walker rolls his fist up into a ball, ------"I thought I had seen the worse when I was in Nam----but I was wrong----you were indeed right my friend----this is HELL."
            "If the old man is lucky---he will die------and he will be out of this nightmare forever, I will pray for his soul."
            Walker sighs, "The old man was fighting them with every ounce----he's a tough old goat and stubborn---just like someone I use to know----a long, long time ago."
            "Why do you allow yourself to remember such memories----they will be your weakness, my friend. It is best to just accept what it is happening----tear up that picture, amigo, erase those people from your mind, before your weakness destroys you."
            Walker shakes his head in defiance, "No---I will never be able to forget my family, they are the reason that I'm alive---I have the will to live, to get back to them, without that will, I may just as well be like that old man, the "walking dead."
            The old man curses, "Suit yourself, amigo---I admire your courage, but it is in vain----After you have been here for awhile longer---you will lose all of what you believe in---starting with your family. It happened to all of us----even that old man. At first he was just as stubborn as you----believing his family would come for him---but they never did. They let him rot here---just like your family will do to you."
            "How long----how long has he been here?" asks Walker.
            The old Mexican curses, "How the hell should I know? He comes and goes."
            Walker raises his head, "What do you mean, he comes and goes?"
            The old man lowers his voice and motions for Walker to do the same, "Senor----do you not remember me telling you about the other prisons-----if you think that this one is hell----you have not seen nothing yet," the old man starts blessing himself.
            "You've seen these other prisons----where are they?"
            "All over---and believe me senor you do not want to go there, but it is just a matter of time---till they will move you-----just like the old man."
            "Are you saying that's what they're doing now, moving him to another prison----why?"
            "You ask a lot of questions------maybe they will move him to another prison----or maybe they will turn him loose in the village----I don't know---I just know that he will be back----he always comes back."
            Walker is shaking his head in disbelief, "If they turn him loose in the village----why doesn't he go to the American consulate and tell that what's happening?"
            "Tell them what, senor?. He is just an old man---do you think they would believe him, they did not believe him before. The old man has been beaten so much that they have almost blinded him. His faith has long deserted him, he does not care what is going on, there is nothing or anyone left that he cares for. He's a 'forgotten' people, as soon we will all be."
            "Heck-----when will they move him?"
            "At daybreak---if he is still alive."
            "Is there anyway I can get a message to him?"
            "Are you loco? The heat has not fried your brain, there is no way the guards will let you near him!"
            "What about you, Hector---will they let you near him? I've seen you take water to some of the other prisoners----can you get to him?"
            "And, if I could, ---what?"
            Walker hits his cell, "He can take a message out of here----my family is not wealthy----but I can make it easy for both you and him---if he can get a message to the American consulate."
            The old man starts to laugh, "What use is money to me----I'm going to die, because of this damn leg----the old man does not have any use for your greenbacks either.-----If he's released into the village, he will live off the garbage in the streets, and sleep with rats that are the size of small dogs. Soon he will tire of that, he will break another law, which is not hard to do----and he will be back here. And why, you ask gringo?  Because it is the only life he has known for some 18 yrs."  
            Walker repeats the number of years to himself, "I thought you didn't know how long he's been here, and I thought you didn't care about something as careless as 'time'?  You have not given up Hector, or you could not remember such un-important matters.-----You still have dreams of getting out of here, admit it."
            The old man becomes silent for a long time, Walker hears him sniffling. "Don't be ashamed to admit that you still have faith, Hector----it's all we have left----and don't think just because you are a man---that you can't cry."
            "Tears----are our weakness senor Walker--- I have cried more tears than you will ever have."
            Walker nods his head, "When I was in Nam, I saw many young solders breaking down and crying like babies, calling for their Mamas. I swore up and down that I would never humble myself. My special training and my beliefs in what White Eagle taught me, helped to get me through that nightmare. The only family that I had back home was my Uncle Ray and his wife, and a very good friend, C.D. Parker. When I would come home on R&R, they were always there for me, but yet giving me space to fight my demons that were still in the jungles of Viet Nam. I saw so many of my buddies killed right before my eyes, but I wouldn't allow myself to cry, to show any emotion.
            When the war was over I came back to the states and went straight to the Cherokee badlands, and stayed by myself for a long, long time. My Uncle found me, he never had to say a word about the pain and the feeling of helplessness that I was going through. Being a full-blooded Cherokee, he knew all about the scars of war, plus he had been in Africa during WW2-----so he knew---all too well.  White Eagle and C.D. came later and they too gave me my space. Finally, White Eagle took me aside and made me go into the sweat lodge with him, just him and me. We sat for hours, not saying anything. White Eagle said something to me, that I have never forgotten and I've told each of my children this.
                                    "Tears will set you free,
                                   if we did not use them, we could not see.
                                   Our eyes do not see only happiness
                                    but pain and loneliness as well---
                                    to keep our eyes open---the tears will swell.            
                                    For every tear that falls, heartache or pleasure will follow
                                    but knowing that the pain will soon part,
                                    gives us more  time--to grieve in our hearts.

            "What does all that mean, amigo---just a lot of fancy words?"
            "It meant that until I could forgive myself for coming home alive and being able to shed a tear, that I would never be free. I had to admit to myself and in my heart---that there was a reason I didn't die in those jungles, but many of my friends had. Until I could shed a tear, I would still be fighting the war. I cried for the very first time that night, I cried like a baby. My friends left me there, and I returned a few days later. They never asked me any more questions about what went on over there, and I never volunteered any information. -----In other words, Hector----let it all out----you'll feel better. It's been so many years for you---- that you've forgotten how to have feelings, and there is no shame in that."
            Walker hears the old man crying and his own eyes mist up. Hector scoots back up to the cell door------"Tell me about your 'familia' my friend, I need to hear good thoughts for a change."
            Walker sits down in the floor, taking his picture out and looking at it. He stretches his arm out and hands the picture to his friend, Hector takes it and runs his finger over each face, starting with Alex's.
            "Your wife is very beautiful and she looks at you with much love."
            Walker smiles, "She's my rock----she's my whole life, with each passing day, I love her more. The last memory I have is very cloudy----but I remember being at the hospital-------for the birth of our fifth child-----a little girl. I remember a big party, somewhere else---- and a birthday cake.  Everyone is singing 'happy birthday' and then I'm at the hospital. My wife has gone into early labor and I'm holding this bundle of pink and a little voice is screaming out at the top of her lungs. I remember the baby having a lot of dark, black hair---she's so pretty. My other kids are all laughing and wanting to hold her, even my baby boy. He's climbing up into a chair, and reaching out for her."
            "You have some fine looking boys, senor---they favor you a lot----even with the beard, I can see the resemblance, They too, look at you with lots of love-----their ages, amigo?"
            "The twins are--14 now, going on 21, my wife says. They try to act so mature, and I guess I'm to blame for that. My wife says I've tried to put too much responsibility on their shoulders, and I suppose that's true."


Seekers -Trials – Chapter 5

            The old Mexican studies the faces of the twins, looking back to Walker. "They look like they could handle anything that is thrown at them, senor. They have that look in their eyes.  I see your stubbornness there, but I see compassion too--- their Mother's.

Walker smiles to himself, "Yeah---they're stubborn alright and hot tempered just like their old man, and their Mother has been noted to lose her temper a time or two. My boys are good boys----but their Mother and I have had our hands full with them. The younger one, he's the one standing next to his Mother---loses his temper a lot quicker than the other one. He's seen so many trips to the barn and a hickory switch that you would think he had a switch growing out of his butt! He likes to jump in first then ask questions later. Alex says he takes after me in my younger days. Cordell, he's the oldest by almost 5 minutes----he's rather quiet----he likes to think things out first----then act."
            Walker stops for a minute and thinks, "Maybe that's why he was so hesitant about being born----Alex was in labor with him for a long time, before he decided to come out. Cooper----he came out so fast---I almost dropped him! My daughter still likes to believe because of Cooper's hard headedness---that he fell on his head. Cordell is more like me in my passive day, he loves to read----especially Russian novels. He's always talked about wanting to go there someday---I suspect someday he will. Both the boys love music, they were dancing before they were walking, I swear! ---And they like all kinds, not just the hard rock and that rap music that is so popular----but all kinds. They're active in the church too, all of my kids are---they love going to church---even my baby boy."
            Heck smiles as he looks down at the little boy with a toothless smile. "What about the little bambino----he looks like he could give the devil himself 'fits'---but at the same time----charm Mother Teresa."
        Walker laughs, "Yeah---he's a Texas twister---always moving---and he loves to eat! My wife makes sure that he gets his share of veggies and fruits---every time that boy's elbow bends, his mouth opens! He's my 'buckaroo'---he came into Alex's and my life when we were going through a rough time in our marriage. We'd had a stupid argument----and for the sake of me I don't even remember what it was about----we made up---and almost nine months later---he was born!"
            "And your daughter, amigo----I bet you beat the boys away with a stick---she is so beautiful----she has such beautiful long hair. She looks like an angel."
                    Walker's eyes become misty as he thinks about his kids, "She is an angel---she's my angel from heaven. Her name is Angela, and she's every bit as beautiful in person as she is in that picture. Not only is she beautiful but she's a very compassionate person, although her brother Cooper, would argue that point. Those two fight like cats and dogs, but when the chips are down----they'll fight for each other---and they proved their loyalty to each other last year when my daughter was being stalked. My boy risked his life for his sister, trying to get her away from that son of a bitch."
            "Senor----maybe this person is the reason you are here--maybe-----"
            "No---I've thought of that---he was still in the Tarrant county jail, waiting to be transferred to Huntsville---at the time of my daughter's birth.---My wife was taking the case till she had to turn it over to another attorney because she was having too many pains.---He was up for countless murder attempts, including the two against my kids, Cooper and Angela. They both had to testify against him.   The nail in the coffin was the video tape in the lab room---it showed the whole attack against my daughter----and it showed her getting the best of him and beating the hell out of him!  He got the death penalty!"
            "Your daughter----fought him-----she looks so fragile---like she wouldn't hurt a fly."
            Walker smiles, "Don't let her innocent look fool you----my daughter has several black belts in the martial arts---and she knows how to kick ass----I taught her! I taught all of my kids how to fight---even my wife has a black belt and she knows how to use it."
            Heck stares back at Walker, "Holy Mother----your familia is not to mess with----so---you still do not know "why' you are here?"
            Walker shakes his head, "No, I don't know why I'm here, but I do know I can't waste anymore time, I have to make my escape.--I'm not getting any stronger, you have to tell me what is on the other side of that fence. Think- Heck---tell me what is on the other side."

 Christmas eve:

            The ballroom has filled up and Santa Claus has made his appearance. Little Ray is sitting under the huge Christmas tree, singing carols with the rest of the kids while Santa gives out his 'goodies'.
            The Walkers are sitting at their table, watching their baby son. A giant buffet is beckoning everyone to come and fill their plates. The twins are scampering to be the first, Angela just shakes her head and mumbles "brothers".
            After everyone has eaten, the dance starts and several young men hurry to ask Angela for a dance. Adlen is standing quietly off to the side, a small gift in his hand. Finally he approaches Angela and asks her to dance, then they both walk slowly back to their parent's table. Walker glares at the young man.  Alex puts her hand over her husband's and whispers. "Honey----it's Christmas---don't start anything---please?"
            Adlen clears his throat and extends his hand to Walker, "Merry Christmas Mr. and Mrs. Walker----Angela has asked me to join her---I hope I'm not intruding."
            "Of course not, Adlen----please---please join us----and Merry Christmas to you, too."
            Adlen steers clear of asking Walker anymore questions  pertaining to the rodeo, instead he tries to direct most of his attention to the youngest Walker, who is showing off his presents that Santa has presented him.
            "Hey, Little Ray---do you like video games?"
                  "Yeah," the boy shouts back.
            Adlen looks to Angela smiling, "Well, I know your sister likes them, she beat me 10 games straight---would you like for me to take you to play the arcade tomorrow?"
            The boy quickly looks to his parents, and Alex replies slowly, "I think my husband was planning on taking him skeet shooting tomorrow, right honey?"
                   Walker stares back at Adlen, "That's right---the whole family will be busy tomorrow."
                    Angela looks to Adlen and then nods toward her Mother, Adlen takes the hint and asks Alex to dance. Alex hesitates, and then she agrees. Angela moves over into her Alex's seat, next to her father. She takes both her hands and lays them over Walker's.
                   "Daddy----what's wrong, what has Adlen done now?"
            "I just don't like him, Angela---how old is he anyways?"
                    "Eighteen, why Daddy?"
                Walker stares at the dance floor as Adlen puts his arm around Alex's waist. Walker's face becomes rigid, "He looks older than any eighteen---baby--there are other young boys on this ship that are dying to get to know you----maybe you shouldn't spend so much time with that Adlen."
                       Angela smiles softly, "Because if I started getting interested in a another boy---you would find something wrong with him too. Daddy---I know you are still suspicious after all that's happened, and you got a right to be---but I can't live the rest of the life---not trusting anyone!"
                       Walker looks at his daughter and smiles, "I know-----but there is something about that young man, he's so sure of himself---and cocky."
                      Angela kisses her father's wedding band, "But, Daddy---you've always said that was a great attribution in someone's character. You know who he reminds of----you."
            "Me?  Why do you say that, he's nothing like me, he's arrogant, mule headed, and he's got a bad habit of spouting off."
                     "Exactly---Daddy---the very same words I've heard Mom use to describe you when you two first started dating."
                   Walker's eyes narrow as he reaches over and touches his daughter's cheek, "Is that so," he asks.
                   Angela meets her daddy's smile, "Yes Daddy----and that's another thing----I'm not interested in Adlen in a romantic way---he's just fun to be with. He makes me laugh, and for a few minutes I can forget about what happened back in Texas."
                    Walker sighs, "I die a thousand deaths every time I have to watch that video and that son of a bitch trying to hurt you and your brother. At the same time I want to jump up and holler every time I saw you beating the crap out of him.----Baby----I am so sorry I couldn't be there to help----"
                  Daddy please----we've been over all of that---you couldn't help me and Cooper and be there with Cordell and Little Ray at the same time----you're not superman-----I've never blamed you for not being there, not for one second."
                   Walker's eyes get misty, "You and your brothers proved that you didn't need your old man's help."
               "Daddy----we were able to defend ourselves because of what you have taught us over the years. We have to learn to fight our own battles, isn't that what you taught us?"
            "Yes, baby-----but as a Father---I have to protect all of you and I failed."
            "You did not fail, Daddy----and I don't want to talk about this anymore. Daddy, I have to say this, but please don't take it the wrong way---I love you and I wouldn't hurt you for the world----but Daddy----you have to let us grow up-----especially me!"
                       Walker stares back at Angela, he can feel his chest tightening up, "What do you mean?"
                  Angela 'toys' with the band of gold around her Father's finger, "I mean Daddy that one of these days-----you're not going to be around---and we have to stand on our own two feet. We're going to make mistakes-----but----Daddy I'm not going to be your ‘baby' forever----you need to stop referring to me as a 'baby'----I'm almost 16 now."
                     Walker's temper is starting to rise as he jerks his hand away from his daughter's grasp, "You listen to me, Angela Elizabeth----I don't care how old you get to be or how grown up you think you are----you will always be a 'baby' to me---got that?"
                    Walker's raised voice has caused the other guests to turn and look in his direction, Alex and Adlen have heard him too. Angela just sighs and takes her father's hand again, she whispers, "Okay, Daddy----you win------no more talk----okay?"
                    Walker continues to do a slow burn, then he reaches over and kisses his daughter's cheek---"Okay, baby----we'll call a truce----will you dance with your old man-----and maybe we can change partners after awhile?"
                  Angela is all smiles as her father and she walk to the dance floor. Adlen looks over at them and breathes a sigh of relief, "Whew---that husband of yours has quite a temper."
            Alex smiles weakly, "Where our kids are concerned, my husband has a short fuse---and so do I."
                  "Believe me, Mrs. Walker---I would never hurt Angela."
            Alex nods her head, "All I know is---you would be a fool to try after what happened back in Texas. My husband still blames himself for not being there to help Angela---that's a very sore subject for him."
            Adlen starts to reply when he feels someone tap his shoulder, "May I cut in?"
            Adlen stops and looks back at Angela and then to Walker, who is still glaring at him. Alex smiles and goes into her husband's arms.
            "I was wondering when you were going to dance with me, Cowboy."
                 Walker swings Alex gently away to another part of the dance floor, and Adlen and Angela dance. Adlen keeps looking over his shoulder, Angela teases him.
            "Don't worry---my Daddy isn't going to 'sucker punch' you."
            "Are you sure about that, his temper was getting rather hot a few minutes ago."
            "Don't worry---if my Daddy was going to hit you---you would see it coming---believe me."
            Adlen frowns, "Angela----can I ask you a question?"
                     "About what?"
                  "About what happened with that Kiwi creep and that other guy, Danny?"
                   "Adlen, I can't talk about that, my brother and I have to testify---my Mother said not to talk about it."
            "But, Angela---I just need to ask you one question."
            "Will it shut you up?"
            Adlen smiles, "Yes---I just need to know if that "Danny" character really meant to hurt you and your family---or was it just 'hearsay?"
                Angela's bottom lip starts to quiver, "Well, how does this grab you? Danny was a guest in our home, compliments of my brother, Cooper. We all went out of our way to make him feel welcome, and how does he repay us, by helping Sarge go after my other brothers and putting a hypodermic needle into Cordell. Danny was holding Cordell while that son of a bitch went after my brother---then Danny went after my baby brother!!!  Do you know what affects that can have on a 4 year old----he's already a victim of nightmares from his own imagination and then this!!! Danny also stalked me for Kiwi----Kiwi killed my best friend and he tried to kill Cooper----does that sound like it was just "hearsay?"
            Adlen tries to quiet Angela as other dancers are staring at them. Thank God, the Walkers are on the other side of the dance floor and haven't heard Angela's outburst.
                "Okay, Angela----I'm sorry---I won't say anything more about it---okay?"
                  Angela nods her head and the two go back to dancing.
              Walker and Alex are dancing cheek to cheek, Alex sighs, "Thank goodness---you have finally decided that dancing is not so bad---I can remember practically having to drag you to the dance floor."
                Walker kisses his wife's cheek, "That's because I finally stopped stepping on your toes."
            Alex kisses him softly, "By the way, I haven't given you your Christmas present yet."
                   Walker's eyelids dance up and down as he lets his right hand fall gently to his wife's buttocks. "Oooooh---my Christmas gift, huh? Right here in the middle of the dance floor---go ahead---lay it on me---I can take it."
            Alex giggles as she pulls her husband's hand back up, "Would you get serious?"
            "Alex----I am serious---I tell you it sure has been difficult trying to get some time alone with you---every time we try and start something, we get interrupted."
            "I know, sweetheart---and I'm sorry about that---here---maybe this will ease the hurt."
                 Walker looks down at a little box, trimmed in a blue ribbon. "What's this?"
            "Well, open it and see, silly.  I hope you like it, the kids and I had it designed at the Galleria."
                  Walker opens the box and lifts out a key chain with the initial ‘W’on it.  The letter has 6 stars embedded in diamonds, and within each star, there are five names."
                   Walker looks at it, rubbing his finger over each star, the sixth start remaining blank. "Wow--it's beautiful hon----I love it."
            Alex smiles back at him, "Turn it over, honey---and read the inscription."
                 Walker turns the key chain over and reads softly, "You are the heaven---that holds these stars."
            He reaches down and kisses his wife long and tender, "Thank you---and when we get back to our stateroom---I will show you just how thankful---I really am----Little Ray "is" spending the night in Angela's cabin-----right?"
            Alex giggles softly, "Oh yes---if not there---then he will sleep in the twins' cabin."
                     Angela feels her Mother's hand gently on her shoulder. "Sweetheart--we're going out on the observation deck---would you keep an eye on Little Ray----and what about the twins---where are they?"
            "Yes Mom, I'll watch Little Ray---don't know where the twins are, they finished their sets and then they left with some other kids."
                      Walker takes his wife's hand and they walk out towards the deck, Walker glares back at Adlen, the boy takes a deep breath.
            The Walkers walk around the huge ship, staring up at the sky. They walk towards the stern of the ship, and Alex leans back against her husband.
            "Oh Walker, isn't the night beautiful?"
            "It sure is," he answers kissing her cheek and wrapping his arms tighter around her. "Are you warm enough?"
            "It is getting a little nippy out here---but let's stay here a little longer---okay?"
                      Walker takes his jacket off and wraps it around her, "Okay, but only for a little while, I don't want you catching cold."
            Alex looks at her husband's face, and sees a far away look in his eyes. "Honey----what's wrong?"
                   Walker shakes his head as though he's suddenly brought back out of his dream. “Nothing hon----I was just thinking of that scene in which the families were separated and the women and children were put into the lifeboats first."
            Alex nuzzles against her husband's chest, "All I know is---that if I were in that situation--I would not leave you----they would have to tie me down on that lifeboat---I would never leave you."
                    Walker kisses his wife long and sensuous, "That goes for me too, Mrs. Walker----we would go down together.  But right now, you need to get off your feet. There are some chaise lounges over there and I see some blankets----let's go sit down."


Seekers – Trial – Chapter 6

            Walker and Alex walk over to the chairs and Walker puts the chair into a reclining position. He unfolds the one blanket and sits down, motioning for his wife to sit in his lap. Alex cuddles up against him and as the temperature continues to drop Walker wraps the blanket around her, pulling her snug against him.
            "Are you warm enough?"
            "Oh yes," she purrs, "I'm always warm when I'm in your arms."
            They sit for a few moments, not having to say anything, Alex rubs his chest, "Want to talk about it----honey, why are you letting Adlen get under your skin?"
            "I don't know, hon----there's just something about him that I don't trust. ----Something about him, I can't put my finger on it."
                "Honey---you have more than enough reason to be suspicious---we all do. We're still reeling from that nightmare with Kiwi-----but I believe Adlen when he says he's not out to hurt our daughter."
            "Alex----you're too trusting--------and besides there's something else not sitting too good with me."
            Alex raises up and stares at her husband with concern, "What?  What's bothering you?"
            Walker hesitates, "Something our daughter said-----and what you just said earlier about all of those people losing their lives on that doomed ship."
            "The movie?   Walker, it was just a movie and you know how things get blown out of proportion?"
            "I know, but that really did happen,. Maybe not quite the way Hollywood showed us, but the fact is, a lot of men, 'fathers', lost their lives that night. Can you imagine what was going through the minds of those men when they knew they would never see their families again?"
                  "Walker----what did Angela say to you?"
            Now Walker is trying to make light of the subject, he shrugs. "She just said----that someday I wouldn't be around, and that she and the other kids would have to learn----to take care-----of themselves----that's all."
                 "Honey--we are not  immortal-----and yes---someday we are not going to be around----but I'm sure that Angela didn't mean it the way ---you are taking this.---We are here for a only a short time, we're just "on loan"---how many times have I heard you say that?"
            Walker takes a deep breath and pulls his wife back down onto his chest, "I know----I didn't mean to sound morbid, especially tonight of all nights. We should be talking about pleasant things, and I've got a very pleasant thought running through my mind right now---and it's all starting with that new negligee I saw earlier."
            Alex giggles, running her hands over his chest then putting her right hand behind Walker's head and drawing him down to her, "Ooooooh---you noticed that, did you?"
            Their lips meet and Alex opens her mouth slowly, taking his lips inside hers. She feels the tickle of his beard against her lips, and sighs. They deepen their kiss and Walker slides deeper into the chair, tightening his arms around her. Their breathing becomes faster, as Walker is kissing her neck and going down to her shoulders, his right hand reaching for the front of her evening gown----.
            They hear someone trying to clear their voice and they sit up quickly. They see the young waiter, looking very embarrassed.
            "Uh----I'm sorry---to interrupt----but Mr. and Mrs. Walker---your boys are ----in the ship's infirmary."
            "Oh my God,” Alex grabs her husband's arm---"are they hurt----how bad are they hurt?"
            Walker is trying to support his wife while staring back at the waiter. The young man doesn't seem upset about delivering his message, on the contraire; the young man is trying to keep from laughing.
            "Your boys aren't hurt, Mrs. Walker----they just had a little too much to drink."
            "Drink?  What the hell are you talking about---they're not old enough to be served any alcohol," shouts Walker.
            The young waiter is getting nervous, "Sir----if you and your wife could just follow me to the infirmary----and things will be explained to you there?"


            Gordon Cahill is very pleased at the way the evening has turned out. The evening has been very pleasing indeed as he keeps staring at the dark haired woman. They had dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in Dallas, they danced under the shimmering Christmas lights in the ballroom, the woman laughed at his corny jokes.
            They are now enjoying a drink---coffee!
            Gordon keeps staring at the woman, he starts to say something, then for fear she will take it the wrong way, he hesitates.
            The woman is in her mid forties, dark hair and eyes, she's not the typical kind of date that the elderly and retired lawyer is accustomed to dating, but here lately---his dates have been nothing to write home to Mama about. At least she seems to be enjoying his company and hasn't said anything about wanting to leave the fancy restaurant. She's tried to look around at its classy surroundings without being too obvious. Gordon gets the feeling that the woman has never been to anything as fancy as The Cattlebaron's Club for the elite. The reservations alone would probably eat her paycheck.
            "Are you having a good time?" he asks.
            The woman sighs, her dark eyes glowing, "Oh yes---thank you so much for an enjoyable evening."
            Gordon feels his stomach getting queasy "Oh no---here it comes---she will say she has to get home---or some sob story."
            "Are you sure?"
            "Yes," the woman answers.
            Gordon sighs, "Very well---I'll get the waiter's attention--and the check."
            The woman looks at him in confusion, "Are we leaving?"
            Gordon does a double take, "I thought you meant---you wanted to leave?"
            The woman shakes her head slowly, "Not unless----you do---I'm sorry---a guess a man like you has other things to do--we can leave."
            Gordon waves the waiter away----"NO! I don't want to leave---do you?"
            The woman answers softly, "No."
            They order more coffee, and Gordon continues talking about his days as a lawyer, and sneaks in a joke now and then, the woman is laughing.
            Again, Gordon is searching for words and just the right way to say them. Finally, he just blurts it out, "What are you doing New Year's?"
            The woman smiles, "I don't have any plans---that I know of---and you?"
            Gordon is all smiles, "I would be honored if you would spend New Year's Eve---with me-----in Alaska."
                    "Alaska?  Are you serious?"
            "I have never been more serious---please say ‘yes’.”
            The woman is stunned, "But----what about my daughter, I can't go all the way to Alaska---without her?"
            "You can bring her with us------the place we'll be staying at has lots of rooms------and you and your daughter can have a bedroom to yourself----if you like?"
            The woman raises her brow and looks at Gordon shyly. He lays his napkin down on the table and shakes his head, "I'm sorry---I didn't mean to put you on the spot or to embarrass you---I have a bad habit---of saying what's on my mind."
                    "Really?" The woman teases, "I would have never guessed."
            The couple laugh, "I have really enjoyed this evening------it's been a long time since I have totally enjoyed an evening out---and I will be completely honest with you by saying---that most of my evenings have been, very embarrassing--to say the least."
            The woman smiles, "Gordon----if you are referring to your 'problem’, remember I know all about it. I do work in Dr Thomas' office and I was there when he told you about your cancer."
            Gordon nods his head slowly and whispers "Prostate----I guess I've been long overdue for it.  A man tries to brace himself for the day that that he's told that he will no longer be able to perform---but it's still---hard to accept."
            "It's difficult for a woman to accept that she can no longer have children---we have our problems too, Gordon."
            "Is that what happened to you, the reason you only have the one child?"
            "Partly----I lost my Ben when my daughter was just a baby---he was my life, I loved him so much. It was nearly 5 yrs before I even thought about dating, I felt guilty---I thought I was betraying his memory. Finally after several attempts I was able to start dating again---and I fell in love again.  But, I found out he was married and had several kids, so again I was sent into a tailspin. I was very depressed for several years, and if it hadn't been for my daughter, I would have probably ended my life. About 10 yrs ago, I found out I had cancer. There was no choice to make, it had to be cut out or I would surely die. The result was a complete hysterectomy. I was only 30, I wanted more children, but it just wasn't meant to be. I also lost a lot of my sexual desires, and what man is going to want to spend time with someone that doesn't even desire to make love?"
            Gordon swallows, "I'm sorry----I wasn't aware of your -----of your-------"
                "Inadequacy?  You can say the word, I've certainly heard worse descriptions of it---but I'm beyond that now. I have my daughter and so far I have had total remission from the terrible "C" word, and that's a hell of a lot to be thankful for, wouldn't you say?"
            Gordon continues to stare at the woman, her eyes are soft and truthful. He reaches out and takes her hand, "I would be so very happy if you and your daughter would accompany me to Anchorage, to bring in the new year with my daughter and her family.  Would you please think about it?"

            The Walkers have made their way to the infirmary, and Alex rushes in ahead of her husband and she sees the twins all doubled over. Three more young boys and a young girl are in various stages of intoxication. The ship's medic approaches the Walkers.
            "Your boys will be fine after a good night's sleep---they consumed quite a bit of champagne."
            Walker stares back at him, "Where did they get it, who served them champagne?"
            "As we understand, the kids were swiping the almost empty glasses that the adults were leaving behind on their tables, followed by some half empty wine glasses and an occasional beer or two."
            Alex is wiping the twins' brows, when one of them starts heaving and has to run to the bathroom. Soon, it's like a chain reaction and the other kids are all running to the same commode. Walker takes a deep breath and waits for his sons to come back out. Angela and Adlen have heard the news and they are standing outside. Angela keeps asking if they're okay.
            Adlen peeks inside and then fans the air, "They're okay, Angela----just snockered."
            The twins come out first, stumbling and hitting the floor, Alex rushes to them and Walker pulls her back. He looks to the medic, "Can we take our sons back to their cabin now?"
            The medic nods, "Yes----but I'm sure the Captain is going to want to talk to all the parents in the morning---after all, these are all minors and proper supervision was not administered."
            Walker nods, "I will meet with your Captain and believe me----this will not happen again."
            Walker reaches down and pulls up one of the twins and puts him over his shoulder. Alex tries to help the other one up, he's mumbling, "The ship----is ----sinking----I'm going to drown."
            Walker is reaching down and trying to get the other boy to stand up, but he keeps falling down. Adlen steps into the cabin and takes the twin out of Walker's grip.
            "It's okay, Mr. Walker---I got him," Adlen throws the twin over his shoulder, "upsy daisy Cooper---I got you."
            The boy's eyes are glassy, "I'm not Cooper---I'm Cordell" he mumbles.
                "Whichever," replies Adlen, "right now---your name is mud---you're going to have a hell of a headache come morning!" He looks back to Walker, "Right behind you, Mr. Walker---lead the way."
            The Walkers have barely reached the twins' cabin when they are both running to the commode again. Walker closes the bathroom door and motions for Angela to take Little Ray out.
            "Are they going to be alright, Daddy?"
            "They'll be fine, baby----now go get your brother ready for bed."
            Alex keeps going to the bathroom door, "I'm going to wet some towels to take into them."  When she opens the door, both boys are groaning and more projectile is being ejected, Alex has to back up to keep from being sprayed. Walker gently pulls her back.
            "Alex---you take care of measles, mumps, and menstrual periods---I'll take care of this."
            Adlen is grinning as he sneaks a look at Angela who blushes at the mention of "menstrual periods." She glares back at him then nudges her baby brother out of the cabin.
            Alex is still wanting to go to her sons, "But, Walker---“
                   "Honey---just go and call room service for lots of black coffee and tell them to make it extra strong---right now these two are going into the shower."
            Adlen is laughing and then he stops as Walker's eyes bore into him, "Relax Mr. Walker-----I'm not laughing 'at' them, just 'with' them-----I've been down this road a couple of times myself.  I'll help you get them into the shower."
            "I don't need your help---I can take care of my own boys," and Walker reaches in to turn the shower on. He starts to the nearest twin who is trying to stand up, but Walker starts slipping and sliding in the vomit on the floor. He grabs the first twin and they both go down.
            Adlen is fighting to keep from laughing, he grabs the other twin and stands him up, slapping his face lightly. "Come on boy----snap out of it---we're going for a swim."
            Adlen pushes the twin into the shower with all of his clothes on; the twin starts yelling as the cold water hits him. Walker now has the other boy up and he too, is thrown into the shower. The twins are both screaming that the ship is going down.
            Walker and Adlen walk out into the hallway as Alex comes running back, "Are they okay?"
            Walker starts to answer when Adlen speaks up, "They're fine Mrs. Walker---but come morning---they're going to have headaches the size of Texas."
            Walker glares at the young man and then to his wife, "They'll be fine, hon---is the coffee coming?"
            "It's on it's way," Alex answers, looking at Adlen and then to her husband. "We want to thank you for helping to get the boys back to their cabin."
            Adlen smiles, "Nothing to it, Mrs. Walker----glad I could help---goodnight."  The young man walks off and he turns to see Walker staring back at him, he smirks and continues on. He whispers to himself, "I've got you right where I want you, Walker---you are so confused right now----you don't know which way is up-----and after I get through with you---you're going to wish you never heard the' name---Adlen Belle"



Walker ranch; Christmas Day

The phone is ringing constantly, and Gordon finally answers it.
                  "Gordon!!!! It's me, Jimmy---J.W. said you called and said it was urgent---what's wrong?"
            "Well, you took your good sweet time about calling," Gordon yells back at the black ranger.
            "I'm sorry---I've been busy---what's wrong, what are you so upset about?"
            Gordon is trying to pour himself a cup of coffee, "I just got word that creep, Danny, is trying to plea bargain for a lesser sentence."
            "That's not surprising---we expected that! They all try to cop a plea when they're going down---is that what has you all upset?"
            "That's only part of it, Jimmy---that son-of-a-bitch is wanting to turn state witness---against Walker for what he claims was cold bloodied murder of that Sarge."
            "It won't stand up in court, Gordon, and you know it! It would be Danny's word against all of us and those two highway patrolmen. They were good friends of troopers Mike and Eric, that was fed to the hogs by that monster! They will not testify against Walker! The only other witnesses were me and Cooper---and I know that I would rot in hell before I would testify against him, and I know Cooper feels the same way!"
            "If you are both served with papers, you won't have any choice but to testify, and in failing to do so will result in perjury and possible jail time for withholding evidence."
            "Never happen, Gordon---it's our word against his, and mine and Cooper's sudden bout with amnesia."
            "Look Jimmy---I know how devoted you are to Walker----"
            "He's my brother, Gordon---maybe not by blood---but he's still my brother in every sense of the word---I would do anything for Walker and I know he would do anything for me."
            Gordon smiles, "I admire such devotion---but we have to be logical about this. This Danny kid is unstable, the psychiatrists are already drilling him, and he's got a fancy new attorney that says he will bring charges against Walker as soon as Danny is said to be 'sane enough to testify'!”
            "That's a bunch of crock and you know it, Gordon. Walker had every reason to defend himself and his kid. Sarge was going after him with a hypodermic needle with lethal injection   with every intent to kill both him and Cooper,. Danny was an accomplice---you know it and I know it!"
            "Yes---I know that and if I could have taken that son-of-a-bitch out myself for hurting my family, I wouldn't have hesitated to do so----but Jimmy---the fact that Danny is bargaining on, was that Walker did nothing to get Sarge out of that hog pen, before they killed him."
            "Like I said, Gordon---it's our word against Danny's---and there are four of us that will say that Walker did try to help Sarge---but it was too late, the hogs already had him."
            "Son---what about guns? The lawyers will ask why you didn't shoot those beasts?"
            There's a long silence and then Trivette answers, "Umm---if I remember right---Walker did take my gun and had every intention of shooting them, and then he dropped his gun in all the slop and excrement---accidentally."
            "What about the troopers---what was wrong with their weapons, did they drop theirs too?"
            "Well, actually---the troopers got there 'after' it was too late, and as for Cooper---Walker doesn't allow him to carry a gun."
            Gordon shakes his head, "You think you got it all worked out don't you, son?----When you get on that stand, that lawyer of Danny's will try to tear your testimony to pieces---he will come after you with everything he's got."
                     "Gordon----it will not be the first time that I've had "run in’s" with stinking lawyers, present company excluded of course, and it won't be the last. I'm prepared to do and say whatever I have to do. As for those troopers, I can't say what they will do at the last moment---but between you and me and the lamppost, I'm putting my badge on the line by saying that they won't testify against Walker!  They know how their fellow officers died, Sarge got just what he deserved!"
                  "Jimmy---I don't know if I should tell Alexandra about this---I'm leaving tonight to join them in Anchorage---what do you think?"
                  "Gordon---don't tell them anything---let them enjoy this vacation---when they get back home will be soon enough to say anything about this."
            "Yeah---you're right---they certainly have the right to some enjoyment in their lives---I just hope my daughter doesn't see the worry in my eyes."
            "Wear sunglasses." Trivette jokes.
            "You're certainly in a jovial mood---I take it that your vacation has been----enjoyable?"
            Trivette sighs, "You can't imagine what an enjoyable time I've been having---I met a couple of old girlfriends--we've been catching up on lost time."
                      "Really?  Are you talking both at the same time?"
            Trivette laughs, "So far it's just been one on one, but I won't rule out a threesome, if they should bring it up. What about you---what happened with that marine biologist that you were hot and heavy for?"
            Gordon smiles, "She was something else----her body was to die for---and believe me I was doing my best to make something happen----but like the last two ----she went home in a taxi after I spent a fortune on an expensive dinner and rented a room at the Emperor---king size bed, mirrors on the ceiling---the whole nine yards. And then "poof" I was flatter than a pancake and nothing I could do could make it rise again."
            Trivette is laughing hysterically, as he looks back to see his son coming in. "Hold on, Gordon---I think J.W. wants to talk to you."
            "Hi, Grandpa, Merry Christmas to you."
            "Merry Christmas to you son, did you get the gift I sent?"
            "I sure did, Grandpa and thanks---but that was a lot of money that you sent."
            Gordon smiles, "Well, you just spend that money anyway you please, enjoy."
                     "Grandpa---have you talked to Angela?"
            "Not yet---I'm getting ready to call them to say I'll meet them in Anchorage---I'd better do that now and finish my packing---I'll talk to you after the first--bye son."
            "Bye Grandpa---love ya."


            It is now Christmas morning on The Ice Princess, as Adlen turns to the long haired girl laying naked next to him. He reaches out and touches her long auburn hair, she sighs and turns to him. He kisses her long and tender, then goes to her breasts, he stops and whispers.
            "You better get dressed and get out of here----your old man is going to start looking for you."
            The girl purrs and reaches for him again, he pushes her back gently, "Did you hear what I said---now get dressed?"
            "Just ten more minutes---you got me so hot."
            Adlen reaches for a cigarette, "I like to keep 'em coming back for me---go back and screw your old man---if he can get it up."
            The girl curses and slides out of bed, "You are so cruel some times, you weren't like this last night---you couldn't wait to get me under the sheets."
            Adlen takes a long draw, looking at the girl's body. Her long auburn hair cascading down over her shapely hips, her breasts are to die for, and he thought he would never get his fill of them just hours earlier. He smirks, "Well, that was last night---today is another day, and tonight will be different---meaning you know the rules----don't come looking for me. I will be with someone else."
            The girl says nothing as Adlen continues to watch her, "Did you take care of that little thing I asked you to do?"
            "Yes," the girl answers, "I did what you asked, I watched him while he was working out in the gym------for a man his age----he's got a nice body. He keeps it in shape."
            "Did he see you watching him?"
            The girl stops dressing and runs her hands over her body, "Just because the man is married does not mean he's blind---he noticed ---I made sure of that."
            Adlen nods his head, "I'll bet you did---did he make an attempt to talk to you?"
            "Nope----he was just looking---besides he's always got one or two kids with him, ---are all of those kids his---how many does he have?"
            Adlen says nothing as he drops the butt into a half empty glass of wine, "You just concentrate on what you're suppose to do."
            The girl is now dressed as she turns to Adlen, "How much longer is this going to continue, Martin says the time is getting too close---we have to make our move before Lars gets back into the states, and that will be any day now."
            "I know what I'm doing---and I know how to take care of ‘Daddy dearest’.”
            The girls huffs and walks out, passing Woody on the way.
            Woody sees his friend still lying on his pull down "Murphy" bed. He curses, "Hey---do you think maybe I could have my bed now---you and Miss Centerfold have had it all night, and I got to get some sleep before my next shift starts?"
            "Yeah, yeah-----I'm out of here," replies Adlen as he starts reaching for his pants, "I got to get something to eat---I'm starving."
            Woody shakes his head, "I wonder why---even 'superman' can't go that hot and heavy all night without getting some nourishment."
            Adlen is taking his time putting his socks and shoes on, he looks to Woody, "Hey---can I ask you a question?"
            Woody is exhausted as he plops down on his bed, "What?"
            "Do you think Mrs. Walker is attractive?"
            Woody raises up on one elbow, looking at his friend in confusion, "Yeah," he answers slowly, "for a woman her age---yeah---she's attractive---why?"
            Adlen stands up and reaches for his shirt, "Well---I think she's just damn right sexy----for an older woman."
            Woody sighs and lays back down, "You are crazy----you got all of these babes falling all over you, some of them have bodies that would drive a man insane---and you're thinking of a woman--that could be old enough to be your Mother-----you do know that she's pregnant---don't you?"
            "Yeah, I know----Angela mentioned it. Guess that's what gives her that "look", she's got a glow about her."
            Woody rolls off his bed and grabs a cigarette, "Adlen---stop it!  You can't go trying to mess with that woman---her husband will kill you---he doesn't like you as it is."
            Adlen smiles, "It's too bad that this is not happening a few months further down the line you know, and then her old man would be more apt to look around at the shapelier bodies that are running around this ship.  And, like Megan just said, the old man is in pretty good shape for his age."
            "The man is into the martial arts and all of that kung fu stuff, of course he's going to keep his body in shape. You read what he did to that Sarge----and what about the other stories on him, he's like a 'one man army'---and that's another thing, Adlen----that Angela knows how to kick ass, too!  That Kiwi guy can testify to that---he's walking around the Tarrant county jail---with half his face missing."
            Adlen laughs, "Well, from what I hear----it's  an improvement--------I hear he likes to swing both ways-----the inmates at Huntsville aren't going to care what his face looks like---they're going to be more interested in his ass hole!"

To be continued....

Seekers – Trial – Chapter 7

            It's morning and Walker and Heck have been moved to the yard. Walker looks around as inconspicuously as he can. A chain link fence encloses the yard, about 15 ft in height, with barbed wire across the top. He guesses the perimeter to be 500 ft. The one gate is at the far end, there are never less than four guards, there are several small buildings where he guesses the guards sleep, and then the long building that he just exited from.  He tries to count the guards, aside from the four on the gate, he counts at least 10. There are only 6 prisoners, beside himself, and just like him, they have all been beaten where they pose no threat of escape.
            Heck has limped off towards the other prisoners, taking them water. He saves some back for his friend, he hands Walker the ladle.
            "Here my friend, this water is fresh, I swiped it from one of the guard's buckets when he was not looking."
            Walker drinks half of it down and saves the rest for Heck, "You take the rest----you're right----it's good. I had forgotten how good water can taste----thank you."
            The two friends sit down on the hard ground, Walker is still trying to take everything in and memorize it. He whispers to Heck, "Did you see the old man----is he still alive?"
            "Just barely-----they took him out in the early hours---they took him outside the gate and told him to leave."
            Walker stares back at Heck, "Were you able to talk to him---did you give him my message?"
            Heck shakes his head, "He would not listen----or could not hear what I was telling him. He just stood there outside the gate, he can barely see----he was so mixed up about what direction to go in, he kept hitting the side of the fence----the guards laughed. He finally stumbled away-----he will find the nearest village with his nose----the smell of the rotting garbage will beckon him."
            Walker sighs, "I've got to start clearing my head---I know there is a way out of here, but I've got to get my energy up and that means eating everything I can get my hands on. Do you see those plants just outside the gate?"
            Heck looks in the direction that Walker is pointing, "Yes----I see them----they are Semillas de Herbas---they are related to the loco weed."
            "Yes, I know-----but they are not poisonous if they are soaked in hot water."
            "Where do you plan to get hot water, senor------and even so ---they can't be that nutritious."
            Walker puts his arm around the old man, "They can't be anymore harmful than what the guards have been feeding us-----they have many uses, Heck----they can also be used as an antibiotic."
            "How do you know all this, my friend----are you a doctor?"
            Walker answers quietly, "No, I'm not a doctor, but when I was in Nam we relied on a lot of plants and wild berries to keep us alive in the jungles---some made us sick and some drove us almost to insanity-----it was those we learned to stay away from. The others were a thin line from starvation, there are plants like these all over the world, just different names for them."
            "How do we get the plants inside to our cells--the guards will not let us have them."
            "The same way that you hid my family's picture----can you do it, Heck?  It will be painful trying to walk with the plants under your dead skin----it's up to you my friend."
.           The old Mexican nods his head slowly and leans on Walker, "Just get me over there---I will create a diversion so that you reach under the fence----let's go."
            The two men walk slowly towards the fence, one of the guards is eyeing them. As they get closer, Heck goes down on the ground, screaming in Spanish and holding his head. The guard laughs at him and starts yelling back at him and calling him ‘El Loco’, the other guards start laughing and surrounding the old man, Walker walks up to the fence and reaches out for a handful of the weed, then shoves it down inside his shirt. He walks away quickly. He walks away from the old man, the old man stops screaming, the guards walk away from him.
            Walker is standing at the entrance to their building, when Heck hobbles up to him. "Did you get it, senor?"
            Walker nods, taking a clump of the weed and shoving it up under the steps, he keeps only a small wad. "This is about all that you can put under the dead skin---are you ready---my friend?"
            The old man sits down on the ground, and Walker sits beside him, keeping an eye out for the guards. Heck pulls his pants' leg back, revealing the dead and rotting skin. The smell reaches their nostrils, causing them to catch their breath. Walker stares at the gap in the old man's leg, it's grown to the size of about 3 inches in diameter, the skin is hanging by a flap. The old man holds the flap up as Walker lays the weed inside the cavity as gently as he can. He packs it down as tightly as he can, without hurting the old man. The old man is trying hard not to show his pain, his eyes water.
            Walker helps him to stand, and they wait till the guards tell them to re-enter.


               Breakfast is being served aboard The Ice Princess, Walker is sipping his coffee as the twins walk slowly up to the table in the huge dining room. Alex looks to them and then to her husband. He says nothing as the twins sit down slowly, muttering their ‘good mornings’."
            Angela grins deviously---"What are you guys having for breakfast------want some gooey eggs----and maybe some biscuits to sop up the egg yolk?"
            The twins grimace, and Cooper makes a face at his sister---"Shut up, Angela."
            "That will be enough of that-----Angela quit teasing your brothers," warns Walker.
            Alex takes a deep sigh, reaching out and touching Cooper's head, "Do you need something for your headache?"
            "Yeah," groans Cooper, "another head would help."
            "As soon as you two sober up---we have to meet with the captain and see what kind of discipline he's going to suggest------I am right in saying----this will not happen again---WILL IT?"
            Both the boys shake their heads, "No sir----not in my lifetime," mumbles Cordell.
            Walker and Alex smile at each other and Walker takes out the key chain that Alex presented him with the night before.
            "I also want to thank you for the Christmas gift----your Mother said that you kids picked it out and designed it----it's really nice----thank you."
            Little Ray is shoving his breakfast of cereal into his mouth. He grins real big, staring at Walker, "Me help, too, Daddy."
            "Yeah, I know you did, buckaroo-----come here and show me which star has your name."
            The boy jumps down from his chair and crawls up into his Daddy's lap, he points to the star next to the bottom----"That one, Daddy----that my name, Way Gordon----baby's name---we don't know yet."
            Walker laughs, kissing the top of his son's head--"Yep----you're right---that's your name, Ray Gordon----and the new baby's name will be under yours."
            Alex smiles, "Why don't we let the kids pick out the baby's name, how about it guys-----want to name the baby this time?"
            "I have an idea," suggests Angela, "if it's a boy I get to name it----if it's a girl----the boys name it----If it's a boy---I'm naming him TROUBLE!"
            Walker stands up, "Come on guys---time to face the music!"
            The twins stand up slowly and Cooper rubs his seat, whispering  to himself, "Please don't let there be a barn on this ship."


            Adlen is watching the Walkers from the other side of the room. His friend, the waiter walks up to him and hands him a cell phone. Woody's eyes are tense, "Guess who?"
            Without answering him, Adlen takes the phone---"Hello, Father-----where are you?"
            Adlen talked for some ten minutes, then hands the phone back to Woody, "Get my bags packed---I have to meet with Lars."
            "Is your Father upset----he sounded strange?"
            Adlen keeps staring at Walker, "Well----he's not exactly happy with me right now, but what else is new?"
            Woody shakes his head, "That man goes out of his way to make you happy---he gives you everything you ask for-----I don't understand why you treat him so cold?"
            "You couldn't possibly understand why I feel the way I do---Lars is only my stepfather----get that though your head."
            "He's been a Father to you in every sense of the word----just because he's not your biological Father----doesn't give you reason to treat him the way you do."
            "Don't start in on me, Woody----or you will be looking for other employment."
            Woody smirks, "Poor little rich boy----you can buy anything with your millions---but you can't buy----HIS LOVE," as Woody points to Walker.---"Face it, Adlen----he doesn't even know you exist."
            Adlen stares back at his friend, "He will know I exist by the time I get though with him---and he will pay for my Mother's death! When I get through with Cordell Walker---he will know the name of Adlen Belle, his bastard son!"
            Adlen starts stomping back to Woody's cabin, he picks up his suitcase and stats shoving his clothes inside. Woody walks around slowly, trying to decide if he should pursue this conversation. Finally, he walks up to Adlen and jerks him around to face him.
            "Leave this be, Adlen---- you'll be hurting a lot of innocent people if you go through with this."
            "What about me, Woody---I haven't been hurt by all of the lies, the deception---and what about my Mother? Doesn't she deserve justice?"
            Woody shakes his head, "Up until a few years ago, you didn't care about learning the truth--you were too busy bedding anything that had a snatch----all of a sudden you're hell bent on proving that this Walker is your Father---you don't have any proof."
            "I will learn the truth and when I do----Cordell Walker will pay for my Mother's death."
            "That man is not responsible for your Mother's death and you know it! She died in Europe, Walker was nowhere around, he was in Texas, up to his eyeballs involved in a case with that madman---Victor La Rue! On the day you're Mother died, Walker was in the Tarrant county courthouse putting two slugs into that madman. You saw the reports Adlen, it was in the newspapers that I sent you."
            "Yeah, I remember-----he might not have put the gun to my Mother's head and pulled the trigger---but he was still responsible!   All those years-----she 'pined' over him, but he never answered any of her phone calls and the times she was in Texas, he refused to see her!"
            "How do you know that?  Your Mother lied to you so many times----how do you know what the truth was, and what about your brother----look how she lied to you about him?"
            "Leave my brother out of this!"
                     Woody's temper is rising, "I would be glad to leave your brother out of it, if I could!  But, the truth is----he was treated like a leper----and you were the golden child----always getting everything you wanted----while your brother was kicked to the streets."
            Adlen lights up another cigarette, "He had his choices----he made the choice to leave."
            "He was just a kid, Adlen----he was barely six years old when your Mother sent him to live with your grandmother----that old woman was the closest thing to love that kid ever knew! When she died, his whole world fell apart----where was your precious Mother then----she made no attempt to try and help him. Everyone has always been so concerned about you and your 'wants'----no one ever gave a damn about Daniel."
            Adlen's voice softens, "Lars tried to help him----but he refused his help."
            Woody shakes his head, "Lars only 'attempted' to help him, because you asked him to that one time---Lars was only doing it for you."
            "SO?  I tried, didn't I---Daniel didn't want my help----he had his own friends-----those weirdoes that he got involved with!"
            Woody pours himself a drink and stares back at his friend, "Daniel needed help---he was mentally disturbed and all of you knew it and not one of you tried to get him the professional help he needed! That's why he took up with those 'weirdo’s' and then later he became involved with that 'sicko kid killer'-----Sarge!"
            Adlen smiles, "Yeah----and now he's facing the death penalty for what he and Sarge did to those little boys----and guess who's going to be prosecuting his butt?"
            "He's your brother, Adlen----don't you have any feelings for him at all?"
            "He's a fruit---he likes little boys--I got no sympathy for queers!"
            "Maybe he wouldn't be that way, if you and your family had paid attention to him----all of you treated him like dirt----especially your Mother!"
            Adlen slams his fist into Woody's face, "You watch what you say about my Mother----it's HIS fault that she---was so mixed up-----she didn't know what she was doing-----she loved him so much-----it's Walker's fault---and he's going to pay!"
            Adlen grabs his suitcase and he's out the door, he passes Megan on his way out.
            "Where are you going?"
            "I've got to meet with Lars----Woody will explain it all."
            Megan looks at Woody who is reaching for a wet rag to put on his busted lip, "How is he going to get off the ship?"
            Woody slams the rag down, "The same way he always makes his exits----Daddy 'dearest’ will either land a chopper or send another boat for him-----who cares?"
            Megan looks at Woody's busted lip and grimaces, "Wow----he sure did a number on you this time!"
            "Yeah----but this will be the last time----I refuse to let him push me around-----and I refuse to let him hurt the Walkers, Adlen has gone too far this time!"
            "And----what are you planning on doing about it?  If you say anything--your career is right out the window, all of our careers are out the window! Just let it ride, Lars will take care of it."
            "Lars will do whatever Adlen asks him to------ he always does."
            Megan stammers, "I'm not so sure about that----Martin said he was very upset with Adlen----and he's refusing to go along with hiring that attorney that Adlen asked for."
            Woody stares back at Megan, "Your husband said that----that Lars has refused to hire McDivit-----what about the bail money-----is he going to come through with it?"
            Megan looks back at Woody in confusion, "They can't set Daniel's bail---till he goes to court----and even if they do---can you imagine how astronomical it will be?"
            Woody shakes his head, "Just chump change for Lars Kentworth---- he owns half of this cruise line and countless others, he's got businesses all over Europe---hell---the man himself doesn't even know what he's worth!!  It's about time they started doing something for Daniel, he wouldn't be in that Tarrant county jail if they had paid attention to him earlier and got him psychiatric help!"
            "You've always felt sorry for Daniel, haven't you?"
            Woody touches his mouth and winces, "Why shouldn't I?  He's my brother, too!"


            Angela is staring at the twins, "So---what happened?  Is the captain going to make you both walk the plank?"
            Cooper is rubbing his head, "Oh, pipe down, Angela---they don't do that anymore---that went out with piracy and Long John Silver-----or whatever the hell his name was."
            Cordell nods, "We just got a severe lecture, and the promise we wouldn't get into anymore trouble----Dad said he would 'GURANTEE IT’ so I guess our lecture from him is due to come and something tells me---it's going to be worse than the lecture we got from the captain."
            Angela grins, "Oh---I'll just bet you're right on that----you do know that Mom and Dad had planned a little romantic evening together after the party last night----after it being Christmas Eve and all---but you two sure threw a monkey wrench into that---didn't you?"
            The twins groan, and Angela continues to taunt them-----"and I'll just bet that romantic evening didn't include taking care of two 13 year old drunks that were up-chucking all over the place!"
            Cooper motions for Angela to be quiet, "Could you please lower your voice----my head is splitting."
            Cordell nods, "Mine too----not to mention my breakfast is trying to come back up."
            Angela backs up, "There's no way I'm cleaning up after you two again."
            "You---Angela?" Asks Cordell---"you cleaned up after us?"
            "Well somebody had to! With all of that vomiting, Mom got sick and then she was up-chucking as well----Daddy and I were up all night cleaning up your mess. No sooner than we would get one of you cleaned up and your bed changed----then the other one would start vomiting all over again!!!  Let me tell you something---you both stunk----big time---and you owe me!"                 
            Cooper shakes his head, "Was Dad mad?"
            Angela stands there with her arms folded, "What do you think? He said he was going to cut your allowances in half---I told him--he should throw both of you overboard and just forget about you altogether. He said he couldn't do that after all the money he put out on the attic, getting it renovated."
            Cordell smiles, "Dad didn't say all of that---but I don't doubt what you said---not one bit."
            Angela smirks, "Actually---he didn't say too much of anything---I think he was more angrier that the alcohol was so easy to get to--but he did say that both of you knew that it was wrong to touch it----but I think he's also blaming himself that you two were left unsupervised."
            "Either way---our goose is cooked----where is he now?"
            "With Mom----they went back to talk to the captain." Angela feels a tug on her pants leg, and looks down to see Little Ray grinning back at her.
            "Come on thissy---me want to go swimming."
            "Okay, I'm coming--but we can't stay in the pool too long."
            The twins watch as Angela and Little Ray walk away. Cordell groans, rubbing his stomach, "Come on Coop-----we got to move around and I got to get my camera equipment upon deck for the Christmas picture."
            Cooper waves him off, "I'm not having my picture taken this year---I'm not up to it."
            "You'll feel better once we start walking around in the fresh air--Mom wants us to wear the sweaters she bought us----so which color do you want to wear---the blue one or the red one?"
            Cooper groans again, "It doesn't matter----whichever."
            "You'll be standing next to Mom, I'm not sure what color she will be wearing, Dad will be wearing his black western outfit and more than likely Angela will be wearing lavender. I think Little Ray is wearing a dark blue sweater---so I better wear the red one."
            "What difference does it make, bro----just take the damn picture quick----it's going to be freezing up there.  Are we getting close to Glazier Bay?"
            "Yeah----if I got it timed right---we should be coming upon it about the middle of the evening. That's going to be something to see, I hope to get some of them breaking away as the picture is being taken. But, to be on the safe side----I'm going to have the camcorder going, too."
            "I don't know how you can think of all these things when our heads feel like they're going to fall off---and when Dad gets through with us---we won't be sitting down anytime soon."
            "We knew what the consequences would be when we swiped those half empty glasses of champagne and wine---so we got no one to blame but ourselves---get over it."
            The twins jump as they look up to see Walker staring back at them. He crooks his finger at them, "Would you come with me please?"
            The boys look at each other and groan, "Damn it," mutters Cooper---"he must have found a barn!"


Newman, Texas - Christmas day

            The man has been watching the two young men ever since they arrived in his hometown. They've been asking a lot of questions, questions the man doesn't feel like answering. He's managed to avoid them, but he knows soon that they will find him, The FBI always finds you---no matter how hard you try to evade them. The man continues to sip his coffee in the small diner, the young men have spotted him and they are moving towards him. The man takes a deep breath, and motions for his cup to be refilled.
            The men are both young, early 30's, very smug and business like, the older one shows his badge to the tall cowboy           

"Dalton Reed?"
            "Yeah----that's me---what can I do you for?" he grins.
            "We would like to ask you some questions, do you have a few minutes?"
            Dalton stares back at the pretty waitress, she smiles back at him. His eyes go up and down her body, the same body he was ravaging just hours earlier in her motel room. He clicks his tongue against his teeth, "I'm not going anywhere---don't you guys ever take a holiday----it's Christmas Day---you know?"
            "We're aware of the holiday, Mr. Reed---just a few questions."
            Dalton stands up and points to a empty booth in the corner---"We can talk over there----Peggy---bring us a pot of coffee---will you sweetheart?"
            The men sit down, Dalton is watching their eyes, "You guys are always so serious----it might help if you didn't wear your shorts so tight---loosen up---it's Christmas----for God's sake."
            "We want to question you about a man, Cordell Walker---you know him?"
            Dalton shakes his head, "You know damn well I know him---now get on with it---what is it you wanna know about Walker?"
            "How well do you know him, Mr. Reed?"
            Dalton laughs, "I was wrong about you two----you've definitely just stepped off the ‘shit for brains' train."
            "What's that suppose to mean?"
            "You obviously haven't done your homework or you would know how well I know Cordell Walker."
            The younger man sneers back at Dalton, "We've done our homework enough to know that you used to be involved with his wife--Alexandra Cahill."
            Dalton stares back at the young man---"You get something straight---you little 'pip squeak'----Cahill and I are history----that was a long time ago---and that is none of your business."
            "We will decide what is our business, Mr. Reed----now answer my partner's question----how long have you known Cordell Walker?"
            "What's this all about----if you want to know about Walker---ask him."
            "We will get to him, right now we're asking you the questions---now do you answer the questions here or do we take you to downtown headquarters?"
            Dalton sighs and leans back, "I've known Walker for about 20 years or so, and before you ask if we're friends----the answer is no. His daughter and my son go to the same high school---over in Springtown---we do not associate, or party----hell---we rarely speak."
            The young one keeps eyeing Dalton, "Your son, Dylan was injured trying to get help for the Walker girl during that little episode at Springtown High, is that correct?"
            "Yeah---that's right----my son took a knife to the stomach for that girl---almost killed him---so?"
            The older man is more compassionate, "How is your son now, Mr. Reed?"
            "He's fine," Dalton answers slowly. "The doctors say he'll be just fine----he's home now."
            "You say that you and this Walker aren't friends---but you were observed in the hospital talking to the man----is this true?"
            Dalton slaps the table, "You stupid little imbecile----the man's son was also in the hospital from taking an injection from those sons-of-bitches that were involved in hurting my son----Walker was there visiting his boy---he came down to my son's room and asked about Dylan----we talked---- what the hell is this all about?"
            The older agent puts his hand up, "Okay, Mr. Reed----we've established the fact that the man was concerned about your son---let's get past that-----do you know a woman---named Liberty Bell?"
                  Dalton's face drains, "Liberty?  What has she got to do with all of this?"
            "How well did you know her, Mr. Reed--did you date her?"
            Dalton stammers, "Every man that rode the rodeo circuit knew Liberty -----she was not the kind of woman you couldn't notice----she was gorgeous!"
                   "Answer the question, Mr. Reed---how well did you know her---did you date her?"
            Dalton sneers back at the young one, "Did you hear what I just said about the woman---EVERY man in the circuit tried to make time with her----and yes, I dated her---if you want to call it that----I call it---having sex--- anymore questions?"
            "What about Cordell Walker, did he date her?"
            Dalton pours himself another cup of coffee, "Oh yeah---his tongue was hanging out just like all of the others------the woman was like a 'bitch in heat'---he was no exception.  The only difference was---she was just as hot for him, too!  They came together like a bee goes to honey---they were hot and heavy for several months.  She was the rodeo queen and of course she followed the circuit, wherever she went----Walker was right behind her."
            "What year was this?"
            Dalton thinks for a minute---"I don't know----somewhere around 94----or 95--- some where in there."
            "Were you jealous of Liberty's attention to Walker, how did that make you feel?"
            Dalton laughs, "Look---I love 'em and leave 'em---I don't get involved with any long term relationships---I had my times with her---she meant nothing to me.  Apparently it was different for Walker----he's got this thing about being involved with only one woman at a time----but he sure chewed off more than he could handle with Liberty---she liked having more than one man at a time----and that was her down fall with Walker. He caught her more than once with someone else---they would argue and then be right back together again.  The woman was a 'knockout'---what man could walk away from her---and stay?"


Seekers – Trial- Chapter 8

            The agents stare back at Dalton Reed, "So----what led to the breakup between Walker and this Liberty?"
            Dalton shakes his head, "I guess he just got tired of finding her with other men---he warned her too many times---guess he got tired of talking."
            "So, what happened after they broke up?"
            "How the hell should I know---I'm not Walker's keeper? I got my own life to live. As far as I know he couldn't follow the circuit as much as he wanted because of his lawman's job and that ranch of his took up a lot of his time. Liberty continued to follow the circuit--that's the last I heard of her."
            "And---Walker---was he upset about the breakup?"
            Dalton scratches his chin, "I only saw him a couple of times after that. He would show up once in awhile to ride the bulls---but it was mostly for charity benefits---he never hung around for any of the parties afterwards--he didn't seem too upset about any of it. But---Walker doesn't wear his feelings on the outside so everyone can see them---if he was upset---he kept it to himself. After all, the way I heard it, he was the one that did the 'breaking off’."
            One of the agent’s cell phone rings, he answers it and then nods to the other one, "We have another case----we will be getting back to you, Mr. Reed."
                   Dalton watches as the two agents walk out, he reaches for another cup of coffee. His thoughts go back to the day he first laid eyes on Liberty Belle in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
            She was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen. She was all legs----all 6ft of her, and raven straight hair, going down past her shapely hips. She had a bosom that would make Pamela Anderson envious and she loved squeezing them into western blouses that were entirely too small, gasping for air! Her face was flawless; deep green eyes and lips that every man envisioned, going around his manhood. She knew she was beautiful and she flaunted it, every man was literally tripping over his tongue, and he and Walker were no exceptions!
            While the rest of the men were vying for her attention, Walker stayed pretty much to the side, watching her quietly. Liberty didn't like to be ignored and she approached the bearded cowboy and told him just that in a sultry voice. Walker smiled back at her, letting his eyes do his talking. She liked what she was seeing, they soon left together, and Dalton didn't see either of them for almost three days!  They were all wrapped up with each other, Walker was the envy of every man there, but soon he had to return to Texas and Liberty stayed on. By the end of the night, she was with Dalton----and there were others.
            The word was getting back to Walker and the arguments would start between them. Dalton was back in Mesquite, Texas, riding the wild broncos and seeing Alex, among other women.
            There was always something about Alexandra Cahill; she was beautiful in her own right, and smart. She was the assistant district attorney and he was bound and determined to have her 'bedded' before he moved to the next rodeo. But, there was also Cordell Walker---in the picture again. There was something between them, though Alex had said that she and Walker were only friends. But, every time he saw the two of them talking, there was 'that something' in the eyes. Dalton asked Alex if she knew about Liberty, she just smiled and said "I know he's involved with someone---I told you we're just friends."
            Dalton studied her eyes, "But---you would like for something more than just friendship---wouldn't you?"
            Alex looked at him with piercing blue eyes, "Walker and I have both agreed to keep our friendship just 'platonic'----are we going to spend the whole night talking about Walker?"
            The rest of the evening was rather strained, and that night in Alex's apartment was even more strained. There was something definitely at the back of her mind, their lovemaking was quick, Alex saying she had an early case--so Dalton left. He didn't spend the rest of the night alone, there was the cute little nurse that he had met earlier at the nurses' aide station.
            The next night, Walker was riding the bulls and Dalton approached him, making small talk. Walker barely spoke; he just listened and observed Dalton flirting with the other women.
                  "Soooo----Walker---how's Liberty?"
            "I wouldn't know---haven't seen her."
            Dalton grins----"That's some woman, Walker----too much for one man to handle---guess you found that out?"
            Walker stared back at him, "Yeah----and I know that you were with her---more than once-----and so was half the rodeo circuit."
            "Hey, Walker---there were no ties---she made that clear to you when you two started seeing each other----she wasn't ready to wear any man's brand."
            "Hey, guys," a cheerful voice greets them and  they turn around to see Alex standing there.
            Dalton grabs Alex and lays a kiss on her, and Walker turns away. Alex tries to smile, looking embarrassed, "So?  You're up next, Dalton---I was afraid I wouldn't get here on time.”
            Dalton keeps holding her tight, letting his hands roam, "You're always on time, darling---but I got to get ready for my next ride---see you later---I got to go tame that wild bronco----hey Walker---you keep an eye on MY WOMAN---for me---okay?"
            As Dalton walks away, Walker turns to Alex, "What do you see in that jerk?"
            Alex feels her temper rising, "Maybe the same thing you see in all of those women that you're seeing?"
            Walker sighs and walks away, saying, "Whatever------you're over 21---you can make your own decisions."
            "Thank you---I plan to," Alex snaps back at him.
            Walker stops and walks back to her, "Alex----just be careful----and---if there is ever anything you want to talk about----I'll listen---you can call me anytime."
                  "Walker------I do not need you playing guardian angel to me---I'm a big girl---I'll make my own choices."
            They stand there staring at each other for the longest, Walker stammers, "He better not ever hurt you------there won't be a place he can hide---if he even thinks about hurting you."
            Alex's blue eyes look into his, "I won't let him hurt me-----Walker---why does it bother you so much that I see Dalton Reed---you've seen me with other men---why him?"
            Walker swallows, "I care for you, Alex----I won't let any man hurt you--not Dalton----not any man."
            Alex pushes her hair back, "Can I ask you something----and will you be truthful--with me?"
            Walker nods, "I've never lied to you, Alex---ask me anything."
            She studies his face, "That night out at the convent when you rescued me----and I kissed you---you kissed me back-----didn't you feel anything in that kiss?"
            Walker shifts back and forth, thinking back to the night in question. "How could she ask him that----he couldn't sleep for several nights--thinking about that night.  He took so many cold showers that night he thought Uncle Ray was going to make him go the sweat lodge."
            "Well?  You didn't, did you?"
            Walker starts shifting his hat back and forth, "Of course---I felt something."
            Alex shakes her head, "Then why didn't you do something about it----why didn't you ask me out-----or something?"
            "How could I ask you out----you're seeing Dalton?"
            Alex tilts her head in a cynical gesture, "Oh---and of course you're seeing someone else and that wouldn't be ethical?"
            Walker takes a deep breath, "No---it wouldn't---I don't know about you but I don't like being 'used'----I know how it feels--all too well and besides every time I tried to ask you out, you had previous plans.  I don't like standing around waiting for your dance card to be free."  Walker starts to walk away and Alex grabs his arm.
            "Don't you dare walk away from me, leaving me standing here---feeling like---like---like  a Jezebel."
            "I didn't call you a jezebel, Alex---I would never call you that."
            Dalton has returned to hear the last of the conversation, he looks to Walker, putting his arm around Alex's waist and pulling her close.
            "What are you doing, Walker, trying to move in on my woman?"
            Alex pushes Dalton away from her, "I am not YOUR WOMAN---or anyone else's---no one owns me---got that?"
            Alex stomps off and Dalton stares back at Walker, he shrugs, "She'll get over it---they all do."
            Walker slams Dalton up against the corral, "You listen---and you listen good----you better not ever hurt her---you got that?"
            Dalton jerks Walker's hand away from him, "I hear you, Ranger----why don't you get your business straightened out, and stop butting into mine and Alex's?"
            Walker doubles his fist up, "Alex is my business---- and so help me---if you hurt her---I'll come looking for you."
            Dalton watched as Walker walked away, he knew the bearded man's temper, and he wasn't about to go a round with him. He smiles, "Yep---there's something there for Alexandra---isn't there, Walker?  Well, not this time---I'm not stepping aside----Cahill is mine--and if we have to come to blows over her----then so be it!


            The rest of the day aboard The Ice Princess is spent taking the holiday pictures and watching the glaziers break away. The whole ship is watching the spectacle, and more whales have been spotted. Cordell is busy going from his stationary camera to the camcorder and explaining to his twin and to Angela the more technical version of how and why the glaziers are breaking away. Cooper is looking at him, half listening and Angela is looking around for Adlen. She spots the waiter, Woody, and walks over to him.
            Walker and Alex have found some chairs with some blankets, as the wind is picking up. A tired and sleepy Little Ray crawls up into his Daddy's lap and is soon fast asleep. Alex reaches over and covers her baby son.
            The 'ohs and ahs’ are coming from the passengers as some of the ice hits close to the ship, spraying them with ice water. Cordell is beside himself, trying to keep both cameras going. Cooper is more interested in the whales and some young girls that are watching him.  He soon makes an exit in their direction.
            Angela walks over to her parents and sits down on the end of her Mom's lounge chair. She pushes her long auburn hair back out of her eyes, the lavender sweater accenting her beauty.
            "What's the matter sweetheart-----you look like you lost your best friend?"
            "Sort of----Woody said that Adlen had to leave the ship."
            Walker is shifting around, trying to make himself more comfortable and keeping his baby son covered from the chill, "What do you mean he had to leave the ship?"
            Angela shrugs, "I don't know, Daddy-----I think he was sick or something----or maybe---"
                     Walker's eyes narrow, "What----baby---what is it you're not telling us?"
            "Adlen was sort of a' cast away' I guess you would call him---he sort of 'sneaked' on board----he couldn't get his own cabin-----so Woody, the waiter, felt sorry for him and let him share his cabin. ----I guess someone found out and turned him in."
            Walker and Alex stare at each other, Alex shakes her head-----" I can't believe they would just make him leave----how did he get off ship?"
            "I don't know, Mom-----Woody said his bag was packed and gone by the time his shift ended last night---he hasn't seen him since."
            "Last night?  That doesn't make any sense--I could have swore I saw him early this morning as the boys and I were going up to the captain's deck."
            "This morning, honey----are you sure?"
            Walker shrugs, "Well, I thought it was him---I guess I could have been wrong."
            "Great," moans Angela---"the rest of this trip is really going to be boring."
            "Oh, honey----don't say that, we'll be docking tomorrow and we'll be on land for the next week. I was talking to some of the other lady passengers and they say that Anchorage now has a huge shopping mall----it's almost as big as the Galleria back home. How about a shopping spree---just you and me?"
            Walker groans, "You mean---you, Angela, and the credit cards?"
            Alex smiles back at him, "You got it cowboy---you and the boys will be checking out the dog sled racing, Angela and I are going SHOPPING---right, sweetheart?"
            Angela forces a smile, "If you say so, Mom----do I get to carry the credit cards?"
            "NO WAY," replies Walker, "you get too careless with the plastic---let your Mother carry the cards---and you have a limit on how much you can spend, young lady."
            "What's my limit?"
            “$1.98 and not a penny more."
                   "DADDY!" Angela squeals and reaches over to hug his neck, "that won't even pay for the plastic that's used to make the card."
            Walker kisses her back, "Well----maybe a few dollars more---but I don't want to hear any arguing with your Mother about any clothes that you should buy. If she says "no" to something---no arguing."
            Angela pushes that bottom lip out and kisses the tip of her Daddy's nose, "Yes, Daddy---no arguing."
            Angela looks over to watch her brother balancing both cameras, "Guess I'll go help him out, he needs another hand."
            Alex reaches over and takes her husband's hand, "Did you get things straightened out with the twins---you weren't too harsh on them, were you?"
            "Alex---I handled it---it hasn't been too many years since I was in a similar situation when I got intoxicated for the first time."
            "Yes----I remember you telling me---you and some of your cousins, including Sam Coyote all got stoned out of your gourds on corn whiskey-----and how your Uncle Ray made you take a 25 mile nature hike and then sent you to the sweat lodge."
            Walker laughs, "I thought I would never stop throwing up, I had a hangover for three days---sure cured me of sneaking the corn whiskey."
            "So----then you had a nice long talk about everything, right?"
            Walker squeezes his wife's hand, "Yes----and I don't think it will be anytime soon that the twins will sneak anymore champagne----now---could we finish this little discussion back in the comfort of our cabin-----and underneath that nice thick quilt?"
            Alex looks over to the kids, Cooper has returned and they are all watching a whale that has become curious of the big ship and getting closer.
            Alex sighs, "Do you think we can trust them to be alone for a couple of hours?"
                  Walker's eyelids dance up and down, "A couple of hours?  Woman, once I get you into our cabin and get this little varmint tucked away----we're not coming out for the rest of the evening."
            Alex teases him, "And, just where do you plan to tuck that little varmint?"
            "The couch---where else---maybe sneak him a couple of sleeping pills in some warm milk?"
            Alex stands up and reaches down to take their son, "I don't think he'll wake up anytime soon----he's exhausted."
                     "Good," Walker replies, standing up and taking the boy back, "I may have to throw him overboard if he interrupts anything."
            Alex giggles as she puts her arm through her husband's and they walk back to their cabin. Angela turns around to see her parents walking away, arm in arm. She smiles, "I wonder if I will ever meet someone that I care about like that.  I thought it would be that way with  J.W.---but I was sure wrong about that."
She turns back to watch the whale that has ventured up even closer, she reaches over and touches her brothers. "Hey guys------don't be going back to your cabins anytime soon---let Mom and Dad have some time to theirselves---okay?"


            Walker has taken the weeds from Heck and pouring some of his drinking water over them. He takes the weeds and chews them, then hands them back to his friend through the bars.
            "Take this, my friend and put it on your wound---it will help to get rid of some of the pain."
            Heck refuses, "No, senor----you keep it, you said it would give you energy."
            “First things first, Heck----you have got to take care of your leg----now take it please."
            The old man stretches to get the weed, "I will wait till night fall and they turn off the lights---then I will put it on."
            Walker leans up against the cell, "I've been trying to memorize our surroundings--the weakest point is the gate--there is no barbed wire across the top-----and once someone is over the top----the woods are closest at that point."
            The old man nods, "Si---but there are always at least four guards-----how do you expect to even get close to the gate?"
            "I'm still working on that part, my friend---my head is getting clearer----and if I can stop them from beating me more around the head----I might can figure out just why the hell I'm here."
            "You remember nothing else about the day you first came here?"
            Walker rubs his head, "Just bits and pieces----I remember being at the hospital----and holding my little girl. No one else was there--it was just my wife, me and our little baby--I remember my wife asking me if I would bring a small overnight case back with me when I came back the next morning. ---The suitcase supposedly held some things for her and the baby. I said I would go home then and get it-----I was also worried about my horse----Old Ranger."
            "Your horse, senor?"
            Walker grins, "Yeah---he's getting old----hasn't been feeling too good---I was worried about him, so I left the hospital to get the overnight case and to check on him------after that----everything starts getting blurry."
            "Take your time, my friend----what happened next?"
            "Well----I was driving home and----and my phone in the truck started ringing, it was one of my kids saying they were on their way home.  I think it was Cordell----he said they were stopping for pizza, but they would be home within the hour.  I'm trying to remember where he was suppose to be and with who-----a movie---that's it! He said something about a movie.  But, the next day was a school day----they're not allowed to go out the night before a school day--no wait-----it's coming to me now.  My wife and I had made a exception because-----my daughter had just turned 16 the day before and she got a car for her birthday."
            The old man smiles, "A car----that's some gift!"
            Walker nods his head, "It wasn't a new car----my friend, Trivette, had found a '97' Chrysler Sebring convertible in the impound. It needed a lot of work done on it, but it was almost identical to one that my wife had many years ago. Anyways, I bought it and took it to the auto body shop at the Jr. High where my boys attend. They stripped it down, put in a new engine and completely restored it. I had them paint it lavender, and they did the upholstery in pink!” 
            Heck is trying to laugh, but the pain is starting in on his swollen leg. "I am trying to picture that car in my mind, senor------lavender and pink?"
            Walker laughs too, "Yeah----I've always loved the color lavender on my daughter, and through the years she learned to love the color too. My wife says it was just to please me----but still, Angela is beautiful in that color. Her dress that she wore to her sweet 16 party was white with lavender flowers----and she had her long beautiful hair pulled back with lilacs on the side. She was a vision to behold, Heck-----my little angel."
            "What happened next, my friend? Was your horse okay, and did you go back to the hospital?"
            Walker starts rubbing his head; the gash at the base of his scull has started to scab over. He shakes his head, "That's when everything became a blur. I remember pulling up to the front of my house, and getting out.  Then all of a sudden I felt something at the back of my head---and then I remember hitting the ground.  I heard voices---but I couldn't make out what was being said.   Then I felt someone kicking me, and I was being pulled on the ground-----I was picked up and thrown into the back of something!  I remember the stench-----maybe a cattle truck?"
            Heck moves closer to the cell door, "Do you remember anything else?"
            Walker shakes his head, "I remember trying to open my eyes and I felt a liquid----probably blood. Every time I tried to stand, they would start hitting me again.  I lost track of time----the bumpy ride seemed to go on forever, next thing I know----I wake up in this place.----I still don't know why, Heck! I know in my line of business I've made many enemies----but I've always known who my enemies were and why."
            The old man's eyes narrow, "Your line of business---senor--what is that--are you a lawman?"
            Walker ponders telling the man about his occupation, he whispers slowly, "I'm a Texas Ranger."
            Heck backs away from the cell and starts blessing himself, "Hot Chihuahua---blessed Mother of all saints------a Texas Ranger?" 
            Walker turns around and looks at the old man through the bars, the old man is literally shaking. "I'm sorry---I've scared you so, amigo----I didn't know my profession was so well hated in your country."
            The old man scoots back up to the door, "Do you think your abductors know who you are?"
            "I don't see how they couldn't know, they were at my ranch, my wallet had my badge in it----they had to have seen it---it's gone------I don't know what happened to it--and I don't know how my families' picture has stayed with me all this time."
            The old man is silent, "Your Texas Rangers are very much hated down here--it is best you don't volunteer any information---in hopes they do not who you are."
            "Don't worry about that!  But, I'm not worried about just myself, whoever these people are---they might try and go after my family. They're the ones I'm worried about----and there's not a damn thing I can do to protect them."
            Heck nods his head, "Think--my friend------is there anyone out there that will be looking for you?"
            "My wife will never stop looking----she's just as stubborn and hard headed as I am---and my friend, Trivette----he won't stop till he finds me or my ----body.  I'm worried about my kids----the twins can be really stubborn and hot tempered----there's no telling what they will do if they are pressured."
            "You have to stop thinking so much about your 'familia' and start concentrating on building your strength up.   Are you sure the loco weed can help you do that?"
            Walker sighs, "I have to be very careful how I use it, and in small quantities. It will help with your infection, my friend, but that too is a 'catch 22'.  If we use the ointment too often, your leg is going to start healing some----and the guards will get suspicious-----and you know what that means?"

"Si, more beatings.  My leg will not ever heel completely---we both know that----eventually----they will have it cut off---or they will let it rot off.  Do not waste anymore on my stinking leg, my friend---------take the weed for yourself----and get out of this hell hole."
            "When the time comes for me to make my escape----you're coming with me, Heck----if I have to carry you---I will not leave you behind!"


            The old man's journey back to the only place that he calls  "home' is very tiring and exhausting. The vision is his left eye is completely gone, and now the vision in the right has been diminished more since his glasses have been broken. The old wooden cane is his eyes, now, and that too has been broken, but he still keeps it. He can only see a few feet in front of him, but his hearing has increased.  He listens very closely to the sounds around him, relying on what instincts he has left to keep him alive. He knows that the closer he gets to civilization, the more dangerous it will be getting back to the small wooden hut he calls 'home’."
            He knows "THEY" will be looking for him, and other victims that are vulnerable because of their old age, and being alone. He curses to himself and shuffles on, he has only a few hundred feet to go, to him--it will feel like miles. He feels them watching him, he tries to pick up his pace---they will come in packs. They prey upon the old that have been abandoned for reasons they don't care about. He feels them closing in, he strains to make his weak legs move faster. He can hear them laughing and taunting him, then they are upon him! He kicks out at them with every ounce. The laughter becomes stronger and then they start hitting him, reaching for his pants pockets. Hands go inside, coming out empty and angry. He shouts back at them that they have already taken everything of value; his answer is a fist to his mouth by the taller one.
            They circle him, punching his chest and taunting him. There are about ten of them this time, at different age levels, he can make out the smallest one to be around six or so. They all have sticks and are jabbing at the old man. The oldest one grabs the old man by the collar.
            "Where is your money, old man?"
            "I have no money-----you little thief-----you have taken everything I had----leave me alone."
            The others start laughing and talking in Spanish, the older one hits him again, "You will have some money next time---old man---or we will kill you."
            The old man curses back at them, "You would be doing me a favor----I already have one foot in the grave----kill me now and get it over with."
            "Next time old man----you will die very slowly----" they walk away laughing.
            The old man pulls himself up and tries to get his direction straight again in his mind. He looks back to the pack of young boys who are now going after another victim. The man curses----"piranhas" they call themselves?   They are nothing but cowardly juvenile delinquents that need their butts kicked from one end of Texas to the other!
            He has found his way back to the small wooden hut that has become his shelter for this length of time. He moves around slowly to make sure everything is still there. He runs his hands over the old smelly blankets that lie on the floor and then he lies down to sleep. He puts his hand over his eyes, rubbing his forehead, thinking back to the last couple of months.
            He was caught stealing again, and the Federales sent him back to that hell hole. He wondered why they messed with him, he was no threat, but just like the other times--he was beaten and humiliated. He thinks to himself "What was that old Mexican trying to talk to me about----something about one of the prisoners was wanting to get word to his family----and he would pay good------hell----what will I do with money---those thieving little bastards would only take it from me?  And getting word to the American consulate---that's a laugh -How many times have I tried to talk to them----only to be laughed at."
            The old man turns over on his side, "Sleep---I got to get some sleep---as Scarlet O'Hara would say----I'll think about that tomorrow."



Seekers – Trial - Chapter 9            

By Sasquaw


            Walker has tucked his baby son away on the couch, closing the door that leads to their bedroom. He's looking around for his wife, and then he notices the bathroom door ajar.
            "Alex---everything alright?"
            "Fine, honey----be out in a second."
            "I was going to order some tea for you----anything else you would like to have…?"
            He stops in mid-sentence as his wife walks slowly out of the bathroom, dressed in a red teddy negligee, trimmed in white fur. She's wearing a Santa Claus cap, and sporting black boots, with fishnet stockings. The stockings are held up with garters, ending with one thin strap going over the abdomen. Her stomach is still amazingly flat for a woman that has borne four kids, but Alex has always had extraordinary muscle control and what she could do with those muscles would drive him out of his mind. She smiles teasingly at him, and pulls the little sack off her shoulder.
            "Santa was supposed to come last night----but things sort of "come up"--if you know what I mean."
            Walker grins, letting his eyes go slowly up the skimpy little nightwear, and pausing at the area that drives him insane. He nods his head, not taking his eyes off of her, "Yeah-----a couple of little elves got too much Christmas cheer---kind of put a kink in our celebration--didn't it?"
            Alex pushes her bottom lip out and then slowly licks her top lip, letting her tongue glide extra slow, knowing what it does to her man. She inches closer, "Santa has a few gifts for you----would you like to see what they are?"
            Walker is now grinning, as he reaches out and puts his arms slowly around her waist, "Ooooohhhh-----so does this mean---I've been a good boy?"
            She purrs back at him, "Santa doesn't know yet-----maybe you better start warming Santa up-----it is kind of nippy---in this outfit."
            Walker steps back and smiles, wiping his brow---"I thought it was getting rather warm in here."
            She giggles that little laugh as she goes back into his arms, and snuggles up against him----"Aren't you glad this Santa doesn't have a beard?"
            "Most definitely," he answers, nibbling her neck---"one beard in this family is enough---though Cooper is bound and determined that he wants to start shaving."
            "Well, it's your fault for pointing out that whisker to him---you know how impressionable he is."
            "I know----and I also remember the time that you tried to get carried away with trimming mine----I turned the tables on you, didn't I?"
            Alex hits him playfully in the chest, "Yes----I remember that time at Golden Wells---I itched for a week till it grew back---never again will I be shaved down there except during child birth."
                 Walker's eyelids dance up and down, "Never say never---it was sexy----you liked the feeling-----and so did I."
            "Yes, I did Cowboy---but that was then---and this is now----I want to show you your Christmas gifts----now come over here and lie down."
            "You'll get no argument from me---let the games begin."
            Alex looks around towards the closed door, "First of all, is he still asleep?"
            "Out like a light," Walker smiles, "he's even making snoring noises--the little guy must have worn himself out in the swimming pool."
            "Well----I hope we don't wake him up-----that could be embarrassing!"
            Walker grabs her hand and pulls her down on the bed beside him, "For him----or you?"
            Alex takes his face into her hands, pursing his lips, kissing him tenderly.---"For all of us-maybe we better wait till we're completely alone--Walker--if he should wake up and come looking for us and find us------honey?"
            "I'll lock the door---don't go away," Walker scrambles to get of bed.
            "You can't lock the door----there's no lock."
            Walker is pacing back and forth, he grabs a chair to put under the knob, but the door pulls open from the opposite direction. He swears, shaking his head, "Damn it! Some vacation---we haven't had any time alone."
            Alex frowns, "The joys of parenthood---dear--now come back over here---I'm getting cold."
            "No," replies Walker---"cause if I come back to that bed---you're in trouble---and I'm not going to care if Little Ray wakes up!"
                    "Walker---come here--I want to tell you something."
            Walker kicks at the floor like a spoiled kid, "No---don't want to."
            Alex starts laughing---"Okay---just be that way---but I was going to tell you--there is a lock on the bathroom door, and Santa has cherries and whipped cream in her little bag of goodies."
            Walker smiles, "Really?" He edges closer to the bed, "and, who are those cherries for---you or me?"
            Her eyes get smoky as she runs her tongue over that top lip again, "Well---if you don't want to find out----I'll just put them back in my little sack, and we can just forget-----“
            Walker flops down on the bed, grabbing her around the buttocks, "You just try forgetting-I hope you got lots of cherries---we didn't have enough the last time we played this little game."
            Alex smiles, "Do you remember what your record is?"
            "Six," Walker's eyes light up, "but I'm going to break that record tonight--after all--it's Christmas and miracles and Christmas go hand in hand--or should I say---tongue and lips?"
                    "Honey--I got no doubt that you will break that record----you would have broken it the last time, if we hadn't been interrupted."
            Walker starts pulling his wife down deeper in the bed, "Not this time," he moans, "if anyone comes knocking, or a certain little Walker tries to interrupt us----he's OVERBOARD---I swear!!”
            Alex giggles, "Well---just to be on the safe side---honey check again and make sure he's still asleep."
            Walker groans, "Alex?  Oh, damn---oh, okay--don't go away."  And Walker again goes scampering across the room in just his briefs. He tip toes over to the couch in the outer room, and pulls the blanket up tighter around his son, brushing his hair back. He leans down and kisses the top of his head and whispers.
           "Sleep," you little varmint---if you sleep for the next couple of hours, Daddy will make it up to you---I promise---okay, buckaroo?"
            Walker goes hopping back to his bed; the air outside is getting colder. His wife looks back at him, confused.
            She pushes that bottom lip and purrs, "Only a couple of hours?  Honey---that's not enough time to get the foreplay down--you know how I hate to be rushed?"
            Walker slides into the nice warm bed, his briefs go flying across the room, "Come here, woman-----enough talk----let's get down to business, now where are those cherries?"
            "Never mind the cherries, what do you think of my Santa outfit?"
            The Ranger starts kissing his wife's neck, but he draws back and looks at the skimpy little attire. His eyebrows dance up and down, "It's nice----but there's too much of it--so let's start shedding some of it, what do you say?"
            "Hmm-----anything you say, Cowboy----Santa is here to please," and Alex starts taking off the attire----very slowly.
            Walker watches her, his eyes go up and down her body slowly.  He still can't get over how she keeps her body in shape. He knows that she's always watching what she eats, and she does exercise---but after four kids, her stomach has no trouble at all going back to normal, and she works extra hard at keeping her thighs and buttocks firm. Walker has always said he was more of a "leg and butt" man, the breasts being an added enjoyment.  Alex has never been too endowed in that department, but she's always had more than plenty to satisfy him. He's been with women that were very much endowed in that department, and while they were pleasurable, and he enjoyed being between the titans---he still preferred them smaller. Just like any man, he enjoyed seeing a woman with big breasts----but always found that "a little more than a mouthful" was more enjoyable.
            Alex always dressed seductively, even in her two-piece lawyer suits, she would turn the heads of every male. She had long shapely legs, and Walker loved the view "walking away from him" as much as walking towards him. She knew he was watching, and she would put a little more "sway" into her walk. When she would look back, he would be grinning with that "Ohhh----you're gonna get it look."
            Alex looks teasingly back at him, "So-----where do you want to start---the north pole---or the south?"
            Walker grins as he reaches out touches her stomach with his forefinger, letting it glide slowly over her milky smooth skin. "Hmm----why don't we just meet in the middle and play it by ear----excuse me---I mean tongue."
            Alex giggles as she sheds the last of her attire, the red cap sitting crooked on her head. She reaches over for her small bag of goodies and takes out a jar of maraschino cherries, plopping one in her husband's mouth. He swallows it slowly, smacking his lips and whispers.
            "It's good----but it's a little dry---what would you suggest, Santa?"
            Alex grins, taking out another cherry and dipping it in the whipped cream, "Try this one."
            Again, Walker swallows it slowly---shaking his head---"Nope-----not the right kind of lubrication---you're going to have to do better than that, Santa."
            Alex pretends to think about it, as she lowers herself deeper into the bed, "Hmmm, I think this calls for serious motivation---and I know just how to get the ball rolling---now where is my little bag of----ah----there it is."
            She reaches back for a little douche bag, patting it teasingly. "Our old stand-by----how many times have we used this--to get our little games started?"
                 Walker's brow dances up and down as he watches her fill it up with a clear liquid. "What are you using this time—vodka?"
            Alex smiles, "Nope---seven up---with a touch of------brandy.-----She tastes the liquid and then gives her husband a small taste, "What do you think----more brandy?"
            Walker smacks his lips, "Just a little more---not too much---I want to stay alert--or should I say---erect?"
            They both laugh as Alex adds a little more brandy to the douche, she teases him as she starts down to her abdomen----"Shall I do it---or do you want to?"
            "I'll do it," he grabs the douche bag and gently inserts the tube into his wife's vagina. The coolness causes Alex to jerk.
            "Maybe we should have warmed it up first---like the last time?"
            "No, honey---it will warm up on it's own---the last time it got almost too warm."
            "But, the last time---we used vodka--that's why it got too warm---that and because the temperature was up in the 100's that evening."
            Alex giggles, "Oh yes, and a certain cowboy had been away from home for almost a week---and was verrrry horny when he did get home---I didn't even get to finish my supper----and you ran the kids off to the movies."
            Walker is watching the liquid ooze slowly through the tube, "Yep--and someone else was horny that day too----I didn't hear any complaints that day."
            Alex smiles as she tries to look over her stomach, "And, you never will sweetheart-----Is it almost empty---I'm beginning to feel 'bloated'.”
            "Yep----it's empty," Walker replies, reaching down and kissing her mound softly, "ready for inspection, Mrs. Walker?"
                     "Ooooh, yes," she purrs, "I'm always ready for your inspections, Dr. Walker."
            "Let the examination begin," he replies softly as he reaches under her buttocks and lifts her gently up off the bed, inserting his middle finger into her anus, his head lowering to her mound, gently licking. He smacks his lips, running his tongue over his top lip,
            "The magic potion is just right, and soon I will be able to start inserting the cherries".
            Alex moans, "Just remember how many you put inside me-- and be doubly sure you get them all out-----but don't rush it."
            He grins as he looks back up to her, her eyes becoming smoky as the sensation from his tongue and fore finger do their 'number'.  "I've got no intentions of hurrying, I know you like this little game---s-l-o-w."
                   Walker's tongue flicks back and forth as he now inserts two fingers and rotates them slowly, his tongue begins to pick up tempo as the fluid from her douche begin to flow more freely, mixed in with her natural body fluids. His lips pull gently on her vaginal walls as the fluid seeps down the inside of her thighs. He goes from one to the other, lapping up each pleasurable drop. He returns to his treasured nest of golden ringlets, inserting first his tongue, then the fingers in a never-ending onslaught. Walker can feel the liquid getting warmer, and Alex is breathing heavier.           
            "It's time hon, now the feast begins," as he reaches for the jar of cherries and whipped cream. He dips the first one into the cream and feeds it to his wife; she swallows it eagerly.
                  "Hmmm," she purrs, that was good, and I am getting soooooo hungry."
            "Well, maybe I'll give you a few samples before I tuck my goodies away-----will that be okay?"
            Alex starts licking her lips, "Oh, yes----and hurry, please."
            Walker smiles as he dips another cherry into the white fluffed cream and then gently pushes it inside her moist, wet, nest. He gently rotates it inside her fluids and then with his tongue, he goes in search for his treasure. He lets his tongue dance around inside her vagina then gently pulls the cherry out, making his way up her body and to her waiting lips. He transfers the cherry to his wife, the fluids seeping down the side of her mouth. As she chews the small fruit, he kisses her lips, licking every ounce of the  fluid. He then leans back, straddling her stomach and whispers, "Is everything to perfection, my lady?"
            Alex takes a deep breath, "I'm not sure-----could I have another sample-----my lord ---and master?"
            Without a word, Walker eases himself back down to her mound and flicks his tongue in, going deeper each time. The douche of seven up and brandy getting warmer by the second. He reaches for another cherry and commences to do the same with it, but instead of taking the cherry out right away, he continues to tease it back and forth against her clitoris, causing Alex to gasp and move upward off the bed. She tries reaching down to him, but he's paying her no mind as he continues the tempo, faster and faster. Finally she calls out to him and he inches slowly up her stomach, letting his beard brush softly against her milky white skin. When he reaches her mouth she grabs him eagerly, throwing her arms around his powerful shoulders and wrapping her legs around his lower torso.
            Alex opens her mouth and takes her husband's tongue deep inside, with the fluid dripping fruit. Walker tries pulling back, but she's holding onto him tighter. He can feel himself totally aroused as he pushes her legs outward and enters her with one solid thrust. Their bodies start to shake as the tempo increases, and Walker lifts her buttocks up, inserting his fingers into her rectum up to the first knuckle and then slowly going as deep as he can. The liquid from the douche has gotten hotter and their body fluids are racing to keep up with the sensation that it's releasing. The room is starting to spin, as the sheets and blankets are being discarded into the floor, their bodies dripping from perspiration.
            Alex is gasping, trying to talk---"Walker------I am so hot----I feel my body is on fire."
            Walker is leaning slightly to the side as he is trying to push his fingers deeper inside her anus, she screams out--and he stops immediately.
            "What? Alex---are you okay?  Did I hurt you?"
            She pushes back on his chest, "Slow down-----Walker----honey----I feel like I'm going to pass out--give me a minute-----please?”
            Walker starts brushing his wife golden blond hair back, kissing her repeatedly, "I'm sorry honey----I'm sorry."
            Alex shakes her head back and forth, "It's okay---I'm alright----I just didn't think it would happen this fast-----ohhhh Dr. Walker---your exams are so intoxicating----I actually feel "tipsy'.”
            "Tipsy?  Alex---you only had two cherries," and then his voice starts to wane, almost pleading-like---"and we got a whole jar to go----and all that whipped cream."
            Alex starts to tease, "Walker-----I never said I wanted to stop----just---slow down---you don't realize the affect the three of you have on me---one of you is more than enough---believe me."
            Walker teases her back, "The three of us----hmmm---are you trying to get 'kinky' on me----are you wanting a foursome?"
            She kisses him hard, "No way----you, the cherries, and the cream is the closest I'll ever want to a foursome---now continue, Dr--this room is starting to cool off----and so am I!"
            Walker eases back down her smooth body, reaching for the whipped cream, squirting the cream down the middle of her midsection, and starts to lick slowly. "Maybe this will help to warm you up----till I can get back to my routine.”
            "It's working, Cowboy----but you always did have a way of warming my body up---real quick."
            "The feeling is mutual, Mrs. Walker----and you will get your turn once I find my treasure chest---and then I will make you walk the plank."
                 "Hmmm-----and what kind of jewels do you expect to find ----in that treasure chest?"
            Walker says nothing as he goes back to teasing her clitoris, his teeth gently nibbling. He reaches for the jar of cherries again and starts inserting them, one by one---all the time---watching the expression on his wife's face. Each time he pushes the little fruit in, he lets his finger hesitate, and then he pushes the fruit as far back into her vaginal canal as his tongue will allow him.
            Alex is starting to breathe harder as the combination of the douche and her body fluids are starting to warm her up even more. She exhales slowly, "Walker----are---you---keeping count"?
            Walker licks the cream from around her mound, "Yep----there's about twenty."
                   "TWENTY?  Twenty? Walker-----"
            "Relax honey-----I was only teasing----this one----makes eight----but I don't know about this little critter, the fluid keeps trying to push it back out----yep---here it comes," Walker reaches down and flicks up the fluid covered fruit, and eats it slowly. Alex is staring back at him.
                  "Walker----that was mine," she makes a pout with her lips, "you're cheating."
            Walker dips another cherry into the cream and inches up her body, transferring it to her waiting lips, "There---that will have to hold you for awhile----now don't interrupt me---I'm starting to dig for my treasure---and I'm afraid my diamonds are melting."
            Alex giggles as she chews the fruit, "Your diamonds are melting? I assume the diamonds are the whipped cream?"
            Walker slides back down her body, "Yes------and in this treasure chest----the rubies are going to be more valuable----now----where was I?  Do we have any nuts?"
            "You got the nuts honey----and 'No’ you are not putting any nuts up inside me---I remember the last time-----you didn't get them all out!  It made walking---very uncomfortable!! Not to mention the enemas I had to take to get 'em flushed out!"
            Walker is starting to laugh as he remembers how his wife was walking around the rest of the day, trying to sit down, and being very uncomfortable. She made endless trips to the bathroom, and all the kids were asking if she was okay---"Well---hon---if it's any consolation---you were so cute---walking like that."
            Alex narrows her eyes and gives him that 'look'----“The things I do for you---Cordell Walker-----I don't recall our wedding vows covering any of this."
            Walker starts back to his nibbling, and Alex continues to rise up off the bed, "Yes, it does----it's right there--under HONOR, LOVE, and OBEY."
            "We didn't have those words in our exchange of wedding vows---"
            "Well----we should have." And Walker slaps her right buttock.
                  "OUCH,"---Walker---that hurt."
            "I meant it to---now will you stop talking and let me get back to my treasure chest?"
            Alex narrows her eyes, nodding her head up and down, "Okay----Dr Walker---you just remember that---my turn is coming around------and you aren't going to be in too good of a shape----when that time comes!"
            Walker stops immediately and mouths the word "Ooops----sorry hon----you know I didn't mean it."
            Alex says nothing, trying not to smile and then she purrs----"Paybacks can be painful---can't they, honey?"
            Walker shakes his head, "Yeah---I know----I haven't forgotten that time at the rodeo when you made a banana split out of me for the first time----but---I said I was sorry-----forgive me?"
                 "Continue sweetheart-------I'm getting hungry------and cold---I need the friction again---to warm this body up."
            Walker goes back to his 'playground' very cautiously, watching his wife's eyes. "Now it's going to be hard to concentrate."
            Alex purrs, "Honey----you were the one that said it didn't take concentration---it came natural."
               Walker's tongue begins to explore even deeper as he watches Alex's face turn to joy, and she sinks lower into the bed---moaning. One by one the rRnger takes the cherries up to his wife and each time she is finding it more difficult to swallow them, the liquid has gotten warmer, and the room is starting to spin again.  She feels herself about to explode as she tries to breathe deeper, waiting for just the right moment so they can both release the excitement building up in both of them. Alex is now squirming, and trying to get Walker to come up to her.
                "Walker------how many more-----I can't hold out much longer."
            Walker doesn't answer as she feels his tongue going so deep; she believes he will come out her rectum, she gasps, "Walker!"
Finally, she feels him retreating and he hurriedly takes it to her, she breathes a sigh of relief and reaches for him. His knee spreads her legs wider and he enters her quickly. They are both breathing hard as with each thrust, she feels she will scream out from sheer ecstasy. They both release their fluids at the same time and Alex is trying to catch her breath. They lay for the longest without having to say anything.
            "What hon?"
            "Could I give you a rain check ---I think it's going to take awhile---for me to recuperate?"
            Walker exhales, laying back on the bed---"That makes two of us----how about we take a short nap and try to get some of our energy back?"
            Alex kisses him softly----"That sounds like a plan----but first---I got to go to the bathroom----I have got to pee----I may never stop peeing!"
            Ten minutes later Alex walks out of the bathroom, she sees their baby son all wrapped around Walker's shoulders, they're both sound asleep. She smiles, "Well, so much for a repeat performance tonight----but there's always the morning."
The Walkers have recovered enough to join the kids for supper, though neither of them is saying too much. Walker keeps moving his jaw, and Alex is still squirming and still making trips to the ladies' room.
            The kids eye them suspiciously, and Cooper asks---"Dad---is it time?"
            "Time for what?"
                   "Daddy," Angela looks to Walker, pleading---"You know----Mom's Christmas present----do I tell Woody to bring it over now?"
            Walker exhales, "Oh---I forgot all about it----no wait till your Mother comes back and sits down, we'll give it to her then."
            The kids all turn and look into the direction of the ladies' room, "Dad-----that might take awhile---is Mom okay?"
            "Yeah, Cordell---she's fine---must be the baby kicking----you know how it is----pregnant women have to visit the bathroom----often----you understand."
            All of the kids stare back at Walker, as he continues to rub and stretch his jaw. Little Ray looks up at his Daddy, "Daddy, can me have rest of the cherries?"
                       Walker's jaw drops wide open, "What?  What ---what are you talking----oh look---here comes your Mother," he turns his head and whispers "Thank God."
            Angela turns and gives Woody the signal; he starts to their table, carrying a box about two feet in diameter. He smiles at Alex and places the box, with a huge red bow tied around it, in front of her.
            "Merry Christmas to you, Mrs. Walker."
            Alex's mouth drops open as Walker and all of the kids chant Merry Christmas. Her eyes start to water as she looks down at the box, and everyone is encouraging her to open it. She can hardly remove the ribbon as Little Ray tries to help her.
            "It's your Kwistmas pesent, Mommy----me and Daddy and 'ordell, and 'ooper, and Thissy---we all buy it for you."
            Alex looks to her husband, and he winks back at her. "Yep,” replies Cooper, “while you were getting Dad's present engraved-----we went down to the music store and------"
            "Coop----don't give it away----don't spoil the surprise," shouts Angela.
            Alex now has the box open and she's staring down at a music box, with her name engraved on the lid. The tears start to fall, as the kids egg her on to open it.
            "Open it Alex, you're going to be blown away," Walker smiles at her.
            She opens the lid slowly and a song begins to play and four little voices begin to sing the words:
                      'As long as there are stars over Texas---we'll hang the moon for you."
            As the song ends, a guitar continues to play the chorus, over and over.
            Alex can't stop the tears as she is trying to talk and thank each of the kids. Cooper groans, "Oh, no----Niagara Falls."
            The rest of the evening is spent with The Walkers going over the events of Christmas.  As night falls and the big cruiser is making it's last trek of the voyage towards dry land--all the Walkers agree; it's been one of their most memorable holidays.



Seekers – Trial – Chapter 10

            The Walkers have arrived in Anchorage and are checking into the Skagway Condominium. It's huge, spreading out over hundreds of acres, the Klondike Mountains looming in the background.
            Walker and his family emerge from the leased van, their eyes taking in the beautiful sight before them. Walker exhales, looking at his wife and nodding his head, "Compliments of your father?"
            Alex starts to reply when a voice booms out, "You better believe it son!"
The kids all start running to Gordon, and Walker continues to shake his head.
            Gordon is picking up Little Ray, the boy is hugging him so tight, he can hardly breathe.
            Alex smiles and walks to her father, "Hi Dad----when did you get here?"
            Gordon stammers, "We----got here last night."
            Gordon nods his head, "Yes, pumpkin---WE-----I brought someone with me."
            Gordon turns and nods to a woman who is standing in the shadows of the huge pillars, Alex's eyes grow big as she recognizes the woman.
            "Sue?  Sue Winchester?"
            Sue smiles timidly and walks towards the Walkers, "Hi--hope you don't mind our being here?"
            Alex embraces her, "Of course not----is Dana with you?"
            At the mention of Dana's name, Cordell's eyes light up and then he looks at his siblings, embarrassed.
            Gordon starts grabbing the luggage and motioning for the baggage boys to retrieve the rest. "Yes---yes---Dana is here, right now she's taking a nap----don't think the airplane ride agreed with her."
            Sue smiles, "Her first airplane ride-----she was scared to death----the whole way."
            Walker walks up beside his father-in-law and lays his hand on Gordon's shoulder, "You and I ----are going to have a little talk later."
            Gordon shakes his head and walks on, "Can't hear you----my hearing aid is broke."
            Walker nods his head, "Well---you better get it fixed----'cause we're going to have a little talk about all of these expenses."
            Alex turns around and takes her husband's hand, "Come on honey----let's enjoy this vacation---please?"



            Dalton Reed has had another visit from the FBI agents, his curiosity is getting the best of him.
            "Alright you clowns, I've answered your questions, now you answer mine----what the hell is all of this about? Why all the questions about Liberty Belle?"
            The older of the two agents studies Dalton's face, "When was the last time you saw Liberty?"
                  "Answer the question, Mr. Reed---when was the last time you saw her?"
            Dalton scratches his chin, "I don't know----about the latter part of '95'----I think. She was looking for Walker----he was out of town---on a case---I assume.  Look, why don't you ask Liberty these questions?"
            The young agent sneers, "Corpses---don't talk!"
            Dalton stares back at the two agents, "Liberty-----is dead?  When?"
            "She was killed----they found her body in August of '96'--------in Rome, Italy."
            "Italy?  So, what's all the questions surrounding Walker, what's he got to do with her death?"
            The two agents exchange glances, Dalton's temper is flaring.
               "WHAT has all these questions got to do with Walker and why the hell are you questioning me-----answer me!"
            "We have reason to believe that Cordell Walker might have been responsible for Liberty taking her life."
                   "Suicide?  Liberty killed herself?  How can Walker be held responsible for that?"
            "Liberty was unstable-----Walker was aware of her mental problem, she tried to have contact with him, he refused. She told him what she was contemplating---he did nothing to stop her---to notify the authorities---- he could have stopped her from putting that gun to her head. Instead, he ignored her pleas; he didn't even have the decency to talk to her when she came here to Texas----to see him.  Walker may not face any criminal charges---but he will be brought up on withholding evidence from the proper authorities."
            "I've never heard of anything so outrageous-----you're crazy------a person can't be held responsible for something that someone else is thinking----or planning--Italy is clear across the ocean---for Christ's sake!"
            "You're wrong about that Mr. Reed-----if someone withholds information about someone's unfit stable of mind-- and a crime is committed----that person can be held accountable----especially if someone has the money to pursue the accusation."
            "What are you talking about now----who is accusing Walker?"
            The two agents stare at Dalton-----"I guess you will find out soon enough when the Walkers return from their trip and he's served the  papers-----his son-----Adlen Belle."
            Dalton watches as the agents walk away, he can't believe what he has just heard. He whispers under his breath, "A son? Walker and Liberty had a son?"


Walker and the twins are making preparations for their trip into the Klondike mountains:

            "Wow," exclaims Cordell, "I can't believe it---we are finally going to get to see the Iditerod dog races!"
            "See them---heck---bro' we get to drive one of the teams!"
            The twins are laughing and getting their backpacks ready. "I know, I know----can you believe it? We go to a place called Lame Dog for three days of training----after that we enter the contest for a five day trek into the Klondike’s."
            Cooper is trying to decide which pair of snow boots to take, "Which ones, Cordell---do I take the Mud cats or the knee highs?"
            "Better take both-----and remember your snowshoes----Dad says we'll be disqualified if we don't have them---they're a must."
            "Hey Cordell, did you see the look on Dad's face, when the guide instructor said that we would have our own dog sled----just the three of us-----isn't that great?"
            "Yeah----Dad is just as excited as we are----and it's even more special that it will be just us---family!"
            Cooper is tugging to get his backpack closed, and Cordell is staring at him. "Hey bro', what you got in there? We're suppose to take only the essentials."
            "I'm taking extra food, plus some thick socks to wear at night-----remember Dad said it would be down in the teens when we camp out at night, also an extra parka."
            "Guys------you can't take all of that," Walker is standing in the doorway leading to the twins' bedroom--- "didn't you read the guidebook on what was required to take-----"JUST" bare essentials, guys."
            The twins stop and stare at each other, "But, Dad---we got to have clothes to keep warm."
            Walker shakes his head, "Coop----you didn't go by the guidelines to packing----you can only take what the instructor wrote down for us. Any more weight than that, and the dogs can't pull the sled."
            Cooper starts unpacking his backpack, "Guess I'll start all over again."
            "Come on guys----I know you're excited about all of this---but you've been on survival trips with me before---you know we only take the limited amount of supplies."
            "Okay, Dad----guess I just wasn't thinking straight----but you said so yourself that this wouldn't be like any of the other trips that we've taken."
            Walker nods his head, "That's true, son----we're not going to be looking for water in cactus and 'gutting' snakes. Also, the weather is going to be different, the cold here is different than from any Texas weather you boys have ever seen.  But, that's the purpose of this 3 days of training---remember---we have to get past the physical and the mental tests first."
            Cooper starts flexing his muscles, grunting---"I'll pass the physical, Dad----no problem."
            Cordell laughs, "What about the mental part of it? You have to have a clear mind----and bro'---your mind is never clear."
            "That's true," Cooper nods his head, "I'm always thinking of girls---what's your excuse?"
            "There are other things to think about, besides girls----right, Dad?"
            Walker puts his hands up in the air, "I refuse to answer that, and in a few years---you'll rephrase that question."
            Cooper sneers, "It might be sooner than that, huh Cordell?  Dana's here, and you've been acting --verrrrry nervous!"
            Cordell throws a small bag at his twin, "Oh, shut up, Coop---she doesn't make me nervous---I've just had a lot on my mind---that's all."
            Walker laughs, "Well----whichever it is---supper will be served soon, don't keep us waiting! It might be the last good meal we have for almost a week."


            Walker is awakened in the middle of the night, as he hears voices coming down the hallway. The guards are waking everyone, by pounding their clubs on the cell doors. They are going inside the cells and dragging the prisoners out, some are still half asleep as the guards shove them out into the hallway and then towards the front entrance.
            The guards are only a few feet away from his cell as Walker glances over towards his friend.
            "Heck--what's happening? Is someone else getting beaten?"
            The old man strains to hear the guards and then he motions for Walker to back away from his cell door. "They are moving some of the prisoners---I think we are next."
            Two of the guards motion for Heck to come out of his cell, as they keep handkerchiefs over their noses as the stench from Heck's rotting leg reaches their nostrils. Two other guards go in after Walker; he falls in line behind his friend. As they reach the front entrance, they see the big trucks backing up. Walker and the other prisoners are thrown into the back of the truck and the doors slam shut.
            It's pitch dark in the back of the truck and the air is limited. Walker can barely see the old Mexican. "Heck----where are they taking us, do you know?"
                   "Probably to another part of ‘la casa de los Siete Diablo’-----this is not good, senor. The Federales have learned of this one prison and they are moving in."
            "The Federales,” repeats Walker, “then the American consulate are onto them---someone has told them----maybe that old man?"
            "No senor, I do not believe the old man would have wasted his time, they have never believed him before---something else has happened---someone bigger, more important has arrived and now the guards will continue to move us from prison to prison---to show whoever this 'big important person' is----that we do not exist."
            "Who would be that important to scare them, maybe a American Ambassador?"
            The old man shrugs, "No---they are not afraid of your American Ambassador-------I don't know who it could be."
                  Walker replies quietly, "I think I know---it's my wife."
            "Your wife---are you loco? They would not be afraid of a woman," the old man scoffs.
            Walker smiles, "They would be afraid of her connections----she's had dealings with the Mexican government before, and she knows just the toes to step on, and believe me---if Alex has gotten information that I'm being held here---she will go straight to the top----and heads will roll!"
            The old man groans, "Your wife-----is she a politician?"
            "No, my wife is a lawyer, and a damn good one! She's head district attorney of Dallas, she has a lot of pull, and she knows how to call in favors. Heck----- why all the big trucks to just transfer us----and six other prisoners?"
            "They are moving out everything that was ever here--there will be no trace of the prison or US---ever being here."
            Walker nods, "They're scared----someone has scared them big time---I have a good feeling about this my friend---my Cherokee intuition is kicking in."
            Heck stares back at the bearded one, squinting his eyes, "Now you are saying that you are Indian?"
            "Yes---my friend, I'm half Cherokee, and I was having the dreams last night."
                       "Dreams, senor? What are you talking about?"
            "I was dreaming of my father, he was a full-blooded Cherokee; I could see him so clear. He was standing beside my mother and there were others, White Eagle, Uncle Ray, and there was someone else, but I couldn't make out who the other figure was.   He looked like CD, but I could never see him clear enough. Every time I got close to the figure, he would just disappear! I don't understand this part of the dream."
            "Do you have the dreams often, my friend?"
            "Only when I'm troubled---I had them often in Nam-----of my parents. They would talk to me and tell me to follow the wind, and listen. White Eagle has come to me more often than the others, he will show me a sign---I have to be alert Heck----he will give me a sign."
            The old Mexican leans back against the wall of the truck, and mumbles, "I have never met anyone like you, senor Walker----you talk of dead people like they stand beside you," Heck blesses himself, "but God moves in strange ways, if the blessed Father is listening----I feel he has a special place in his kingdom for believers like you."
            Walker smiles, "We all have beliefs in the other world, in many ways, and in many forms. I've always believed in a greater force, ‘HE’ was there through the jungles of Nam and every time I strapped my gun on, He was there beside me. I still don't attend church as much as my wife and kids would like me to---but I still believe--and I believe that I will live to see my family again."


            Dinner is over and the Walkers have decided to turn in early.
            Angela and Dana are sitting in Angela's room doing Dana's hair. "Come on Dana, move your things into my room so we can have more time to gossip."
            "Okay, but who do you want to gossip about, I'll give you just one guess----J.W."
            Angela frowns, "Think you know me pretty well, don't you? Well?  Did he call you----to ask questions about me?"
            "I'm sorry Angela----I haven't heard from him, guess he's still in Baltimore with his Dad."
            Angela frowns, "Yeah----probably---and he's probably out on a date."
            Dana's dark eyes light up, "What about you? What about that guy you met on the plane ride, what was his name?"
            "Adlen, his name was Adlen, don't know his last name.  He had to get off the ship for some reason, he's kind of mysterious----kept asking all kinds of questions about my daddy."
            Dana groans, "Bet that didn't sit too good with your Dad, huh?"
            "Daddy didn't like him much----but Daddy never likes any boy that ever pays attention to me---he finds something wrong with all of them. He didn't like Dylan, he and J.W. had words, and he definitely didn't like Adlen."
                      "THISSY," Angela jumps as Little Ray comes running into her room, crying his eyes out.
            "What's the matter, what's wrong?"
            The boy is crying crocodile tears "’ordell and ‘ooper won't let me go wide the dogs."
            Angela sighs, "Little Ray, you can't go with Daddy and the twins, that's for big guys."
            The boy folds his arms across his chest in anger, "Me big!"
            As Angela is trying to explain why Little Ray can't go on the trip, Cordell sticks his head in and taps on the door. "Can I come in?"
            Dana nervously starts primping at her hair and sneaking glances at Cordell. He's trying not to make eye contact with her.
            "Why is Little Ray crying, I thought Daddy explained to him why he couldn't go on this trip?"
            Cordell stammers as he keeps trying not to look at Dana. "Cooper told him he couldn't go, 'cause the giant polar bears would eat him----- and the crevices in the ice would open up and swallow him whole."
            Angela is wiping her baby brother's tears, "Damn that Cooper---I'm going to ring his neck for scaring you like that."
            "You don't have to bother, Sis----Dad is chewing him out now----afraid that Little Ray will start having nightmares again.

            Angela turns to her little brother, "Look--Little Ray-- you don't listen to what Cooper was saying--he was just trying to be funny--I'll make him think "funny" if he doesn't stop telling you those things."
            "Ahhh, Angela---I'm going back to my room now and get some things," Dana mumbles, looking up at Cordell.
            Angela sees the look that both Cordell and Dana are trying to hide, she smiles, "Cordell---will you help Dana--to move some things in here, we're going to share my room---so we can gossip-----about boys.  Who knows---we might even gossip about you."
            Cordell looks to Dana, and both of them blush, "Angela, stop it," replies Dana.
            Cordell tries to smile as he reaches out for his brother's hand, "Sure---I'll help you, Dana---let me take Little Ray back to my parents' room."
            Cordell walks out ahead of Dana, Dana looks back to Angela and giggles softly, "Angela----I'm going to kill you---what else could he say?"
            Angela smiles back, "He could have said ‘No’---but he didn't----he likes you, Dana---trust me."
            "You really think so, did he tell you that he did?"
            Angela winks, "No---it's what he doesn't say----just take it slow, Dana---I know my brother and if he thinks you're moving too fast---he will run like a scared rabbit."
            "What about a rabbit?" Cordell has returned and only heard the last of the girls' conversation.
            Dana turns to him, "Nothing----you really don't have to help me, if you don't want to Cordell---I've only got a few things----"
            "It's okay, Dana, I don't mind----just tell me what you want moved."
            Angela smiles as her very best friend and her brother walk slowly towards Dana's room. Her smile soon fades as she starts thinking about her own love life.
            "Love life---what a crock---I'll never have a boyfriend---not if Daddy has anything to say about it. Most of the boys I know are scared stiff of him, and if it's not him scaring them,  it's the twins! The only boy that's ever stood up to Daddy was J.W.----now he's lost interest."
            Angela slams her hairbrush down on the bed, " Wonder what ever happened to Adlen?"



The young man with the blue/gray eyes is staring back at the two men in suits.
            "I told you to be careful what you were saying to this Dalton Reed---The older one speaks first, "No---I don't think so---he seemed genuinely upset over hearing about your Mother's death, even though that was almost twenty years ago."
            Adlen ponders, "Yeah----my Mother left a lasting impression on everyone she met."
            The younger man smiles, "Your Mother was very beautiful---she had a lot of men friends--this Reed fellow made no attempt to deny that he didn't share the sheets with her and---"
            The man doesn't get to finish his sentence as a fist goes to his mouth. Adlen swears at him, "You piece of slime, don't you dare say anything so degrading about my Mother."
            The agents back up, as the older one tries to soothe things over, "It's the truth and you know it, Adlen---- everyone that has ever met your Mother has said she never stayed with any one man very long---including that Cordell Walker."
            Adlen's voice softens, "But---she felt differently about him---she always talked about him---from the time I was old enough to listen, she talked about Walker, saying he was my father."
            The men remain silent as Adlen lights up a cigarette and exhales. "He didn't have to treat her that way---you know. If he would have just accepted her calls, and just be decent enough to talk to her, to listen.  But no----he was too busy---saying that he was interested in someone else and that he had moved on."
            The older agent replies, "That's one thing that keeps me puzzled, Adlen----everyone that we have talked to about this Walker have all said how honest and honorable this man is. The man is always doing charity work, he has that drug program----we didn't hear anything negative about him----everyone holds Walker in the highest of esteem."
            Adlen grounds out one cigarette and then lights another, "Yeah----they're all brainwashed into thinking that this man can do no wrong----if he had just listened to my Mother 's pleas, maybe she would still be alive today."
            "So, what's next?  Do we continue to 'dog' this Dalton Reed with more questions---or do we set the wheels in motion to get Daniel out on bail?"
            Adlen puts his hand up, "Hold off on that----I still got to get things cleared with Lars on that little matter, he's not too happy with me right now."
            The men nod, "Yeah---we heard about that little 'tiff' between you and Daddy dearest---does he still want you to go out of the country with him---where to now---- the South Seas, orient---where?"
            Adlen sneers, "Beats me---he's got some business to attend to down south---wants to get another shipping business started---like he doesn't have enough already."
            The agents look to each other, "Just how much is that old man worth, a couple of billion?"
            Adlen laughs, "Hah!  Mere pocket change, I can assure you of that!"
            The younger agent shakes his head, "It doesn't make any sense! Here you are, set to inherit up in the millions when Lars kicks the bucket, you've always had anything and everything you've ever wanted. Lars would do anything for you, he's proved it over the years, putting YOU over his own son, you treat him badly, and still he would bend over backwards for you. This Walker has nothing but a little 1,000-acre ranch in some little hick town, he probably still owes on it---both he and his wife work--to make ends meet. He's got four kids to support and I hear another one on the way---what has he got to offer you?"
            Adlen stares back at the young agent, "His name-----but most of all, I want to hear him explain why he treated my Mother the way he did----my Mother didn't deserve to be treated that way."
            "Did your Mother ever tell him that she was pregnant with you?"
            Adlen sneers, "Yeah----and you want to know what he said?  He said it wasn't his baby----for her to find some other sap to pin it on---now does that sound like the same honorable man that everyone in Texas thinks is so damn great?"
            "I don't know, Adlen----I've seen the way that guy acts towards his kids, he's crazy about them! I can't picture the man saying something like that."
            Adlen shakes his head, "Can't you see---he wasn't ready to accept the responsibility of having extra baggage at that time in his life----so he denied being my father. He told my Mother he was interested in someone else, and that he was moving on without her."
            "This other woman----was she the woman that he eventually married?"
            Adlen nods, "Yeah---Alexandra Cahill.  They got engaged a couple of years later, finally married her in the year 2000---almost one year to the date later little Miss Angela makes her arrival! Cozy little family---isn't it?"
            "Okay----you're angry and maybe you have a right to be----but what if this DNA test shows that he is your Father and he still denies you, what then? You can't force him to pay attention to you, what do you expect to gain out of all of this?"
            Adlen stares out the window of his high-rise penthouse, "Satisfaction----that's what I want! Then I will drag his name through the dirt and show the people of Texas the lying son of a bitch that he really is. We'll see then what his kids think of him, and then I can laugh---in his face."
            The agents soon leave and Adlen makes a phone call. "Hey, Woody---how's it going?"
            A very 'miffed' voice answers back, "What do you want, Adlen? What dirty deed are you asking now?"
            "Would you relax, brother---I just want to know how Angela took my departure from The Ice Princess---was she upset?"
            "She was confused, Adlen---she thinks you were caught 'stowing away' and was taken away by the police.  A 'stow away’- what a laugh!  If she knew that our father owned the cruise lines---she would die. By the way----how is Daddy dearest?"
            Adlen lights up another cigarette, "He's fine---a little angry with me---but what else is new----he was asking about you."
            "I'm sure he was so overly concerned---well,---you tell my Father that I'm doing just fine----without his money."
            "Come on Woody----you could make things so much easier if you would just admit that you were wrong and make things up with Lars."
            "I will never admit I was wrong, because I wasn't!  Lars has made his choice, and I've made mine.  What are you going to do about our other brother----are you making his bail?"
            Adlen has a sour taste in his mouth, "Danny----that little queer---I should let him rot in there for what he helped to do to those little boys."
            "He needs help, Adlen----for Christ's sake----can't you see that?---If he's convicted, he'll get the death penalty---is that what you want?"
            Adlen is silent and Woody repeats his question. Adlen replies, "I don't know what I want, Lars is refusing to put up the bail even when they set it----he says Danny has to pay his dues."
            "Just like father to say such a thing----like he's so innocent ---that he's never made mistakes-ha!  Talk to him Adlen---he'll listen to you----please----Daniel needs help.  For once in your life, think of someone else, beside yourself.  You can make up for all those years that Daniel has been mistreated----do it, Adlen---I'm begging you."
            "I'll think about it," Adlen replies softly, " Woody----I never meant to hurt you-----I just sometimes lose my temper where ‘that man’ is concerned!----I guess I've inherited his temper---huh?"
            Woody sighs, "Too bad you didn't inherit his compassion for life----he's a good man, Adlen---please just leave it alone---don't hurt him and his family. What about Angela----if she is your sister----do you want to hurt her like that?  It would kill her if you tried to hurt and degrade her Daddy. She would never forgive you----never."
            "I can't be thinking of Angela's feelings right now---my mother’s revenge is first priority now."
            "That's another thing, Adlen----you were trying to make time with Angela----it doesn't bother you that she 'could' be your sister---and you were still trying to 'bed' her?"

Seekers – Trial - Chapter 11

            Adlen remains quiet, thinking of how beautiful Angela is. He sighs, "Yeah----that was wrong---I admit it.  But, I think deep down, I wouldn't have gone through with it, I don't want to hurt Angela."
            "But, if you continue this vendetta against her Father, not only will you be hurting Angela, but the whole family. Leave it be, Adlen----people change, their feelings change, and as I hear it, Liberty wasn't exactly honest with Walker. There were other men, and you know it. Your Uncle Will filled your head with such lies about Walker, he was always lying to save his butt."
                 "Careful, Woody----watch what you say about my Mother."
            "I'm sorry----look---I got to go----I'm starting a new job. Let me know where you are, let me hear from you, okay?"
            "Yeah, yeah---I will. Hey Woody---do you need any money?"
            "I told you, Adlen----I will never accept our Father's money--it's got blood on it."
            "Let me get some money to you, I'll have it to you within the hour."
            Adlen hears the line go dead and he hangs up the phone.


            The three days of training for the amateur dog races has finally wound down, and the Walkers are exhausted. The guides assigned to each group has given the teams the last of their instructions, the race starts at sunrise.
            No one can sleep as the twins toss and turn in their bedrolls; Walker is sipping on coffee as he watches his sons. Even in his sleep, Cooper is never still, now his twin is equally restless. Cordell sits up and looks to the campfire, he grabs his sleeping bag and moves closer.
            He shivers as Walker hands him a cup of coffee, "Here son, drink this----it'll cut the chill."
            Cordell mumbles a 'thank you', sips the coffee and then gasps, "What's in that?"
            Walker smiles, "A little brandy----compliments of your grandpa----here drink the rest----so you can get some sleep."
            Cordell shakes his head, "No thanks, Dad, just the smell is making me nauseous, I'm still not over the after effects of all that Champagne and wine that Coop and I swiped---could I just have a straight cup of coffee? Is there any cream and sugar?"
            Walker shakes his head and hands the sugar and cream to his son, he looks over his shoulder and nods his head. "Do you know what's over those mountains?"
                  Cordell's eyes light up, "Yep----Russia!  One of these days I hope to see it in person, have you ever been to Russia, Dad?"
            "No, son----I haven't---too cold for me."
            "I know they've had their share of communism and their people haven't been treated fair, but I still find their lifestyle interesting. I've been reading this novel about Stalin, can you imagine how the world would be today if Stalin and Hitler had joined forces?"
            "They had joined forces, till Hitler got greedy and turned against Stalin, leading to Hitler's fall.  I'm not so sure what you mean about how the world would be, certainly not for the better."
            "No, Dad---I don't mean that, I meant the power struggle between these two. There would be no free world---we would all be living under communism. In my opinion, Stalin wasn't much better than Hitler."
            Walker studies his son's face, Cordell has always been intrigued by Russia and it's leaders. "Son----why are you so interested in all of this, does communism excite you?"
            "No----no way! I can't explain it, but ever since I had to do that book report on it, it's like----well you know how you are on the Native American Indian---there are no winners to either side. There was the Redman like Cochise and Geronimo that did their share of killing, as well as the white man. The Carpetbaggers during the civil war that tried to take the land from both parties and sell to the highest bidder. Surely, somewhere in Russian history, they were a proud people."
            Walker nods slowly, knowing he will have to cut this conversation in the bud if they were to get any sleep. When it came to talking about Russia, Cordell could talk all night ---"I suppose-----but right now, you need to get some sleep---day break will come early and our first day out is going to be exhilarating---and tiring."
            Cordell nods and throws the remainder of his coffee into the fire, "Okay, Dad----good night."
                   "Goodnight son."
            Cordell starts to move back closer to where his twin is sleeping, then turns around and says quietly, "Thanks Dad."
                     Walker's eyelids go up in question. "Thanks for what, Cordell?"
            Cordell smiles, "For taking us on this trip---it's been so long since just the three of us guys have spent time together---alone! We know that there is a cash prize for the first three teams that place, but Coop and I both agree----we don't care if we 'place'----we're just happy to spend this time with you."
                   Walker's eyes become misty as his son says his goodnights again. He wipes his eyes then he too, turns in for the night.


            The old man is slowly going over his shack that he calls 'home'. The sight is almost gone in his left eye, the right one waters constantly. He gets down on his hands and knees, feeling for the loose boards in the floor, he tugs slightly on them and they give way to him. He reaches down as far as he can into the hole and pulls out a small burlap bag, and smiles to himself.
            He goes over each object, running his fingers slowly over the paper objects. He holds the one object to his good eye and stares, the tears begins to fall, his body trembles. He cries quietly, "Thank you Lord, for the memories, but sometimes they can hurt---so very much."
            He rocks back and forth, holding the object and then he reaches for the only other possession that he holds dear. He runs his finger over it, and then he rubs it up against his dirty and torn shirt. He rubs it hard, making it shine. He traces the raised letters between his fingers, and then he places it and the paper object back in the bag and then under the boards. He pulls old boxes over to cover it, kicking the loose dirt up around, covering any trace that there might be a hiding place there.
            The old man sits back and finishes eating the can of beans, he glances back at the hiding place, and curses.
            "I've got to keep it hidden from those thieving little bastards-----"Piranhas, they call themselves---just another word for buzzard, preying on the innocent and the old----if I was twenty years younger, I would blister their butts good with a 2x4.  Yep---that's what I would do-----and then I would nail their hides to the barn door!"


            The first day out of the Iditerod race is just as Walker predicted, very tiring. They each take turns riding the footrest on the sled, while the other two run beside it. The guides are staying a close distance behind, watching the races, while also keeping an eye out for danger. While one guide keeps an eye on the races, the other one is dressed out in white fatigue, binoculars, and a high-powered rifle. All of the sleds make the first point without incident, and start sitting up camp for the night.
            The first thing to do is take care of the dogs, to feed them, and make sure their feet are being doctored. The doggie boots help to keep their paws from being cut. Soon, the racers start digging out the holes in the snow and ice, where ice blankets will be laid down first, covered with a water-proof lining, and then the tent will be erected around it, and bedrolls will go inside. Only one small fire is allowed in teams of five, the racers all gather around it for warmth and heating up their canned food and pouches.
            The temperature has dropped down into the teens, the wind is picking up as some of the tents are swaying back and forth. Walker observes the two teams to his left, who are still trying to get their tent erected.  He sighs and walks over to them, offering his help, the twins soon join him.
            Later the wind has picked up even more, Walker and his sons move inside.  "It is so cold, my butt has goose bumps."
                  "You're so right about that bro', I've never seen it so cold."
                  Walker smiles back at them and then he looks to the rise where the guides have camped out. They pace back and forth; Walker can see their breath in the night air. Cooper moves up beside his Dad.
            "What are they looking for, Dad?  Why do they have such powerful rifles?"
                 Walker nods, "More than likely they're keeping an eye out for wolves-----maybe bear. Those rifles are powerful enough to bring a bear down with one good shot."
            "Got that right," comments Cordell, "I saw some wolves earlier, it looked like they were going to follow us, and then they just disappeared."
                     "They're waiting to see if any of the dogs will pull up lame, and then they will try to move in."
                  Cordell shivers, "It says in the guidebook, that if a dog comes up lame, he takes priority in riding in the sled till we can get him to the next point---and then he will be taken to a animal hospital."
            "That's right son----and it also means being short a dog."
                    Cooper groans, "I don't know about you two----but I'm going to sleep---that is if I can ever find my frozen body."
                   Walker and Cordell soon join the exhausted Cooper and the three of them cuddle close for warmth. In the distance, they hear the wolves.
                 Cordell whispers, "I wonder if they are as big as the ones we have back in Texas?"
            "Are you kidding, Cordell----everything is bigger in Texas---our wolves would make these look like Chihuahuas, right, Dad?"
                    Walker shakes his head as he reaches back to his son's bedroll and pats his son's leg, "No comments----now get some sleep.”
                     Cooper snuggles up closer to his father, Cordell snuggles closer to him, pulling the bedroll over his head.



            The big semi has finally stopped, and the prisoners are ordered to get out. Walker and Heck are the first two out, and they observe the surroundings. This prison camp is smaller, like it was hastily thrown together. The guards are nervous as they start prodding their prisoners inside. Heck's leg has gotten worse, the loco weed has not helped, the infection is spreading.
            Heck leans on Walker as they are moved to their cell, this time they will be sharing. The guards laugh and fan the air as they throw the two prisoners into the 9x12 confinement. The other prisoners are glad, too, that they won't smell the rotting flesh.
            After the guards are gone, Walker reaches down into his pant leg and brings out the last of the weed and pops it into his mouth and starts chewing. Heck looks at him, pleading.
            "Do not waste anymore of the weed on me, my friend----it is doing no good---I feel the infection going into my bone now. It is like a cancer of army ants, chewing at my flesh----soon I will not be able to stand the pain any longer."
            Walker shakes his head and gently lifts the old man's pant leg back, the stench is overpowering. Walker tries to keep a straight face as he lays the weed down on the open wound that has now spread to twice its size. He looks into the old man's eyes and knows it's just a matter of time.
            Walker hits the cell with his bare hand, cursing. "The guards are definitely nervous about something. ‘Someone’ has gotten wind of them and this damn prison----I have a feeling they will be moving us again----and soon."
            Heck lets out a groan, "Yes----my friend---I'm afraid you are right----but they are moving us further south----and my bet is, they are taking us to Diablo."
            Walker shakes his head, "What would this DIABLO want with us----we're just small fish?"
            "I do not know, senor---but I do know this---we will not leave his prison alive. He will kill us---just for the fun of it----and you my friend will die very slowly----he hates Americanos, and if he finds out you are a lawman---it will be a very, very-----slow death."
                     Walker's face is stern, "That will not happen, my friend----we are getting out of here----tonight!"


American Embassy, Mexico City:

            The woman is irate, her temper is flaring as the dark skinned man tries to calm her. The consulates are arguing back with her and the American delegates.
            The one in charge slams his fist down on his desk and stares at the woman, she stares right back at him.
            "Your husband is not here, your people have searched and searched, there is no sign of him here. What more do you ask of us?"
            The woman's blue eyes stare back, "We have gotten word that my husband was spotted near Morales, we have asked you to send your Federales into the area and start searching---you are refusing to cooperate! This is a direct order from the Texas governor!"
            The man spits back at the woman, "Texas government----crap! What about your people's refusal to help us when we have needed it, you turn our people back at the borders, you're border guards shoot the ones that try again----our citizens do not get a fair trial in your courts of law----why should we care about one man?"
            The woman's temper is continuing to rise, "I am going over your head, I will now speak only to your governor, get me in touch with Governor Gomez----now!"
            The man is sputtering, the woman leans over the desk and hands the phone to the little man. "You better start dialing----or you are going to be wearing this phone!"
            The man snatches the phone away and starts speaking in Spanish, the woman continues to stare at him. Minutes pass and the man shoves the phone to the woman.
                    "Governor Gomez---this is Alex Walker, district attorney of Dallas-----you and I need to talk----now!"

            They have watched the old man all day, there are about a dozen of them, all ages. Their leader watches the habits of the old man carefully. He wonders why the old man keeps returning to the run down shack of nothing but plywood thrown together. He lives off the street just as he and his small band have survived through the years.
            They are orphans, forced to the streets for different reasons. Some have been abandoned by one or both parents and some in the loss by death. The oldest looks to the faces around him, they are all 'brothers in arms', though the only blood relation to any of them is held to the youngest, who is around five.  His name is Juan, the boy is his nephew, Tony.
            They've been on the streets since Tony was barely walking. The rest of them have come from the neighboring towns, trying to survive the only way they know how, by stealing. There are other bands, but Juan tries to keep his circle small, and so far he hasn't crossed the line---of killing. He talks mean, terrorizing his victims, as he has done to the old man repeatedly. But now the food is scarce, they haven't eaten in days and his band is getting restless and wanting results. They edge closer to the old man's shack.
            The old man is eating the last of his canned beans; he senses their presence. He scoots up against the furthest wall and waits. Within minutes, they are upon him, hitting him---over and over. They are tearing the old shack apart as some of the older boys drag the old man out into the street and start kicking him. He loses consciousness, only then do the boys stop beating him.
            Juan is furious as he starts throwing things around, he curses. "Where's your food old man----where is it?"
            Juan and the older boys are tearing the place apart, the old cardboard boxes fall away and the hiding place is revealed. Juan stares down into the hole, and pulls up the small burlap bag. He dumps everything down on the ground, all he sees are the paper objects, and he tears them into.  Something shiny has caught his eye and he reaches down and picks it up. He stares at it for the longest and starts to toss it away. He sees his young nephew staring at it; it's the closest to a toy that the boy will ever know. Juan smiles and hands the shiny piece of metal to his little nephew.
            "Well, it's not food---but if you want it----you can have it."
            The small band of “piranhas” is still angry and they are all yelling at Juan to find them food. They argue, and then Juan kicks out at the old man laying on the ground, they all walk away.
            An hour has passed; the old man comes to and starts dragging himself back to the shambles that he used to call 'home'. He starts feeling on the ground, he feels the paper objects and he starts to cry. He pieces them together the best that he can see how, and he holds the one up to his good eye. The tears fall down his cheek as he looks at the object----a picture. The old man cries softly, shaking his head back and forth.
            "Why Lord----the picture is the only thing I have left of my 'family'-----why did you let them do this? Have you forsaken me too?"
            The old man starts searching for the other object, but he can't find it anywhere.  He sits down on the ground, putting his head down on his knees, his body trembles, as the tears will not stop.


            The races are now in their final day and four more teams have dropped out---now there are only five.
            Walker and the twins watch as the guides escort the teams on to the finish line.  The instructors are having the last five teams meet around the campfire for last minute instructions. The meeting takes about half an hour and then they all sit down for their evening meal.
            Their meal consist mostly of jerky, cans of soup are heated up over the fire.
            Cooper downs the soup without even tasting it; he looks to his twin and groans.
            "What I wouldn't give for some of Mom's enchiladas, just covered with chili and cheese and lots of onion rings dripping in ketchup."
            Cordell nods, "Yep----or some of Angela's biscuits and gravy with sausage and some pancakes---lots of orange juice."
            Cooper smiles, licking his lips---"And maybe some fried chicken and bar-be-que from Fat Alberts'----What about you, Dad---what would you like to eat right now----if you had your choice?"
            Walker smiles back at his sons, "You know---you are only making it worse---talking about food--that's the number one rule----don't discuss food."
            The twins groan, "We're not talking about food, our stomachs are."
            Walker pours another cup of coffee, "Well-----since you asked---I guess if I had my choice of food, it would be-----"
                  "Turkey meat loaf, Mexican cornbread, and fried okra" the twins say in unison.
            Walker laughs, "Okay, smart alecks--if you knew----why did you ask?"
                Everyone laughs, "And for dessert----pineapple upside down cake, right Dad?"
            "You got it------made with fresh pineapple."
            Cordell smacks his lips, thinking about the last cake Angela made. She was adamant about getting her Daddy fresh pineapples for his cake, and she made her Mother drive to three different markets, before she found just the right ones.
            "It's sure a good thing that Angela never samples her cooking, she would weight 300 lbs by now----as much as she likes to cook."
            Cooper grins, "Why should she worry about sampling it, she has four human garbage disposals to do it for her----and man---do we enjoy being her guinea pigs----right Dad?"
            "Yep----a slice of cake, and a fresh pot of coffee would sure taste good right now."
            "And------a cigar----huh?"
            Walker shakes his head, "I made a promise to you-----I haven't gone back on that promise-----are you still keeping up with your end of the bargain?"
            Cooper nods his head, "Sort of----I still like to have one ---just to roll around inside my mouth---does that count?"
            Cordell smirks, "Yuk-----I don't see how you can put those things in your mouth, and the smell-----they're nauseating."
            "You're such a wimp, Cordell-----cigars put hair on your chest."
                 "Where's the hair on your chest----and what's more----where is that whisker that you were bragging about?"
                    "Heeeyyyy----I got hair on my chest-----it's down there somewhere. And as for my whisker---it disappeared."
            "Then it wasn't a real whisker----probably just a piece of dirt, because you don't take enough showers and when you do----yocu don't bathe thoroughly."
            Cooper throws an uneaten piece of jerky at his brother, "At least I don't stay in the shower for a solid hour----what do you do in there that takes so long?"
            "I practice good hygiene, maybe you should try it sometime."
            Cooper smirks and looks to his brother, "Are you sure that's all that you're practicing?"
            Walker is watching his sons' reaction, the boy actually blushes as his eye dart back and forth between his brother and father, "Cooper----shut up."
            Cooper starts laughing, Walker is fighting to keep from laughing too, he turns to Cooper. "Okay----that's enough."
            Cordell stands up muttering that he has to find 'the little boys' room’ and quickly walks off.
            His twin yells out to him, "Are you sure you don't need any help?"
            Cordell yells back at him to shut up and Cooper breaks out laughing.
            Walker stares back at the younger twin, "That's enough, harmless teasing is one thing----but you're letting it go too far----enough."
            Cooper reaches for more jerky, and mumbles a “Yes sir------Cordell knows I'm just teasing him."
            Walker nods, "Tomorrow is the big day-----I heard some of the other racers that have taken this race before say it's the most dangerous, a lot of crevices have been spotted---so we all got to be extra careful tomorrow----keep our eyes open."
            "The guides seem to be a little extra nervous tonight, do you know why, Dad?"
            Walker sips his coffee, "Yeah----they do seem nervous----I talked to one of them, he said a couple of polar bears were spotted down Walrus Lake, he wasn't sure---but he thinks one of them might have a cub."
                     Cooper's eyes look at his father puzzled, "But we're not going anywhere near Walrus Lake-----and polar bears aren't noted for wanting to be close to humans----right?"
            "Son, when a mama bear has a cub---they're unpredictable-----they will attack anything and everything to protect their young.  And, Walrus Lake is the perfect feeding ground for them. The guide said they were trying to go upstream, to catch salmon---so therefore---we're heading downstream, and as far from the lake as we can get."
            "So, what's the problem---why are the guides so nervous?"
                   "Because---like I said a bear with a cub is unpredictable---they might just decide to stay downstream---if they do---we could be in a lot of trouble."
            Cooper stares at his Father's parka and the big pockets, "You do have your gun, don't you Dad?"                                       

            Walker nods, "Yep----I've got it---but a .357 is not going to be much help against one of those bears, by the time they get close enough for it to do any damage---I'll be looking into their eyes and smelling their foul breath."
            Cordell has returned from his 'nature call'---"What's up----what are you two talking about?"
            Cooper tells his brother about the conversation.  He whispers slowly, "Dad----did you know that there are only two guides now?"
            "Where did the other two go," asks his twin.
            Walker nods, "They had to escort those other teams to the finish line---they should be back by morning."
            The twins look around at the other 4 teams. Now, they've been given colors, so they can be seen better against the snow. The red team has a half-mile advantage on the other teams and they will be allowed to leave first in the morning, followed by the other teams and how they are finishing. Walker's team has green ribbons, they're tied with the yellow team---dead last! The blue team is about a quarter of a mile behind the red team, the purple team closely behind them.
            Walker looks over at the yellow team; they are all laughing and swapping jokes. One of the men is supposedly drinking coffee from a thermos, but he's downing it too fast, Walker knows its alcohol. The twins watch their Dad's face turn to concern.
            "They know they're not suppose to have alcohol in this race, why don't the guides disqualify them," asks Cooper.
            "I don't know, son---but it's dangerous---not only for them but the dogs as well. If they're not alert, they can cause the dogs to get hurt----or killed."
            The three men continue laughing and their voices are getting louder. Everyone has stayed pretty much to themselves during this race, especially these three.
            Cordell starts fumbling through his backpack, looking for his little instamatic camera. He finds it and motions for his twin to go sit closer to their Dad. Cooper sits down next to Walker, putting his arm around his Dad's shoulder. Cordell takes several pictures and then nods for his twin to take the camera and he sits down next to his Dad. The flashes are going off and the yellow team is becoming annoyed. One of the men curse and stomps over to Cooper, pushing him backwards and yanking the camera away. Cooper yells back at him, "Hey---that's my brother's camera----give it back!"
            Walker is standing up and walking towards the man, "Give my son back his camera!"
            The other two men walk over to their friend, they too have been hitting the booze, as they're egging their friend on. One of them mocks Walker.
            "Oh please give my son's camera back!"
            The three men all burst out laughing as Cooper rushes the one man and grabs his brother's camera. The man grabs Cooper by the collar and throws him to the ground. Cordell takes a flying leap and lands on the man's back, "Leave my brother alone----you son-of-a bitch."
            The other two charge at Cordell and Walker hits one in the face, spins around and catches the other one in the stomach with his foot. The third man is spinning around with Cordell still on his back, Cooper jumps to his feet and rushes the man, hitting him in the stomach. The man reaches out with his free hand and backhands Cooper, he again hits the ground. Cordell is hitting the man in the side of the face, as the man reaches back and throws Cordell over his shoulder, he lands just inches away from his twin.
            Walker is still fighting the other two as one picks up a piece of discarded firewood and swings at him. Walker ducks and kicks the man in the groin, the second man gets another fist to the mouth and he goes down. The first man goes after Walker again, he sidesteps and then takes the man into a sleep hold.
            The twins are lying side by side, watching their attacker come at them, screaming like a wild boar. The twins go in opposite directions to get out of his grasp, and the man hits the ground. Both twins then jump on the man's back and start swinging. They each feel a hand at the back of their parkas, pulling them up, and away. They stumble back to see Walker glaring down at the man, he reaches down and pulls the man up, his hand goes back to hit him, a shot is fired!
            The guides are re-cocking their rifles, "That's enough!"
                   Everyone is talking at once as the three men point their fingers at Walker and the boys.
            "They started it-------he's like a maniac---he came at my friends and me---for no reason!"
            Cooper rushes the man, "You're a liar----you took my brother's camera---that's what started it!"


Seekers – Trial – Chapter 12

            The guides continue asking questions, the other racers  join them and all agree that Walker and the twins did not start the fight.
            Cooper is trying to get out of his brother's grasp, "You took my brother's camera---you had no right to do that."
            Finally the guides have everyone calmed down, they turn to the three men, "I warned you three before the race started, no alcohol!! That's it---you're disqualified."
            The men start arguing again. The guide in charge stares back at them and then to Walker.
            "It wouldn't do any good to disqualify them, I've got no one here to escort them to the finish line---I'm short handed as it is."
            Walker stares at the three men, "I’ve got no complaints about them finishing the race if they leave the booze behind----and they better not go near either of my sons."
            The three men agree to Walker's and the guide’s demands, they walk back to their tent. The rest of the racers disperse. Walker takes a deep breath and then looks back at his boys; they're staring back at him, slowly smiling.
            Cooper grins, "You 'whopped' butt---way to go, Dad."
            Cordell nods, "Got that right, bro'."
            Walker shrugs, "Well, you two did some 'butt whopping' too-----did anyone ever tell you that you got some tempers on you?"
            The twins both nod their heads---"Yep----but we come by it naturally----our old man has been noted for his----and our Mother has been known to lose her temper, a time or two."
               Walker and the twins laugh, Cooper says softly, "We're a team----aren't we, Dad?"
            Walker reaches out and slaps his son on the shoulder and pulls them both closer to him, "Yeah---we're a team son."
            Cordell smiles, "Nobody messes with us-----"
            Cooper chimes, "That's right----nobody messes with us FIREWALKERS!"


            Adlen has done some serious thinking since his talk with his half-brother, Woody. He now stands outside the Tarrant county jail, debating on whether or not he's made the right decision to see Daniel. An older man stands beside him, Daniel's lawyer.
            An hour later they are escorted to the interrogation room. They sit down at the long table and the lawyer takes out Daniel's records and starts going over them.
            "I don't know, Adlen---Daniel has some pretty hard charges being brought against him, including two charges of attempted murder----and that's only against the Walker family."
            Adlen paces back and forth, smoking one cigarette after another, "That's their word against Daniels', and we all know the Walkers will back each other up."
            The lawyer smirks, "Yeah----I'm well aware of how the Walkers stick together---especially that prissy Mrs. Walker---she thinks she's untouchable in the court room."
            Adlen stares back at the lawyer, "Careful Doss----you're anger towards Alex Walker is showing----lost one too many case to that pretty DA, did you?"
            Doss is a short man, weighing close to 300 lbs, moustache, wearing horn rimmed glasses. The big man sits back in his chair, "Yeah, she's good in her job, I'll give her that!  She's pushing for the death penalty, and with her reputation as a determined District Attorney---she'll get it! That was two of her kids that your brother is accused of trying to kill, not to mention her husband --and he's a Texas Ranger."
            Adlen's face turns rigid at the mention of Walker's name. "I know who her husband is, do you have to keep reminding me?"
            Doss is unaware of Adlen's belief that Walker is his biological Father; he's a long time friend of Lars Kentworth's. He studies Adlen's face, "Is there something you're keeping from me?"
            "Not anything you should be concerned about---you just concentrate on Daniel's case and getting his bond posted."
            Doss pulls off his glasses and stares back at Adlen, "You do not tell me my job---I do not take orders from you----only Lars----you got that?  And, if you're hiding something that has to do with this case---- you might be looking at a mistrial for your brother---do you want that?"
            Before Adlen can answer, the door is pulled open and a tall lanky young man is walked into the room. He's wearing the bright orange uniform, compliments of the Tarrant County jail. The young man looks around him and then to the two men, he thinks the younger one looks familiar, but he's not sure. The officers sit him down, and then take the chains to his handcuffs and cuff them to the metal brace on the table. The young man tests the chain but he can only move his hands a few inches. He swallows and then looks at the portly man, sitting across from him.
            "Are you----my lawyer?" he asks.
            "Yes, Daniel---I'm Clifford Doss, I've been hired to represent you."
            Daniel looks to Adlen, "Is he my lawyer, too?" he nods towards Adlen.
            Doss stares at Daniel and then to Adlen, "You don't know who that young man is?"
            Daniel squints, "He looks familiar----but I can't place him---who is he?"
            Adlen walks over to the table, and grounds out his cigarette butt----"I'm your brother----I'm Adlen."
            Daniel stares back at Adlen---"My brother? I don't have a brother---you've made a mistake."
            Adlen groans and sits down beside Daniel, "No----there is no mistake---I'm Adlen---and you have another brother, a step-brother named Woody----don't you remember us at all?"
            Daniel shakes his head back and forth, he looks at Doss in question, "What's he talking about---I don't have any family---who is this guy"?
            Doss looks to Adlen and motions for him to walk to the other side of the room, and Adlen does so.
            The lawyer moves closer to Daniel, "Daniel----can I call you Daniel or do you prefer to be called Danny?"
            "Danny is my name----no body ever calls me Daniel----except maybe-----"
            "Who, Danny---who else calls you Daniel?"
            Danny starts to smile and then he cries, "My grandmother----she would call me Daniel----when she was mad at me----or something.  But---she's dead now----she's been gone a long time."
            Doss glances back at Adlen, "And, you don't remember having a family?"
            Danny starts to get angry, "I don't have a family-----I told you that! I did have a family----but he's dead too---the hogs-----the hogs ate him!"
            Doss looks back at the police report, "Ahhh, yes---the hogs----Danny, what do you remember about that day?"
            "What day?"
            "The day that your friend, Sarge, was killed and eaten by the hogs---December 15th-----just less than 2 weeks ago."
            The young man starts twisting in his seat, he rings his hands together, "Not much----I just remember the sounds those awful beasts were making-----they were all over Sarge, pulling and tearing at his flesh---they were so hungry---they ate him."
            Both Doss and Adlen exhale, the vision going through their heads of a man being eaten alive by hogs. Doss rubs his head, and then he says quietly to Danny.
                  "Danny----was there anyone else there----that saw Sarge---being attacked and killed?"
            Danny shakes his head, "No----just me," and Danny starts picking at some lint on his uniform.
            Adlen stomps back to the table, "You're wrong, Daniel----there was someone else there---now think---who else was there?"
            Danny looks at Adlen, "Oh, yeah----"they were there, too."
                   "WHO---who else was there, Danny?"
            "You mean besides Sarge?"
            "Yes, Danny----besides Sarge and besides you---who else was there?"
            Danny smiles slowly----"The hogs were there too---they were mean!"
            Adlen slams his fist down on the table, "You little queer---if you don't start talking---we're walking out of here and your sweet little ass will be on it's way to Huntsville----but you would like that---wouldn't you?  You would love to be around all of those other 'sicko queers' that prey on pretty young men like you."
            Doss shoves Adlen away from the table, "Stop it----get a hold of yourself---I will ask the questions---one more word out of you and you're out of here---do you hear me?"
            Adlen reaches for another cigarette, "You better get him to talking---or I'm out of here-----and so is Lars' money."
            Doss goes back to the long table and starts talking quietly to Danny. "Danny---I'm here to help you----you do know what a lawyer is for, don't you?"
            Danny nods slowly, "What do you want me to do?"
            "I want you to tell me everything you remember---from the time you met "Sarge" and this "Kiwi" fellow---start from the first, Danny---I want to know everything, can you do that?"
            Danny looks to Adlen and then he whispers to Doss, "Is he going to get mad at me again---if I can't remember?  Why is he mad at me?"
            "Pay no attention to him, Danny---just listen to me---I have to know everything leading up to that day when Sarge was killed. I have to know if there was someone else there----and did they try to help your friend?"
            Danny grimaces, "Could I have a soda pop or something---I'm real thirsty."
            Adlen groans and walks over to the guard, he gives permission for Adlen to retrieve a drink for Danny. Doss reaches inside his shirt for a cigarette, "Would you like a cigarette, Danny?"
            Danny shakes his head, "Noooo---Sarge doesn't like for me to smoke, he doesn't like the smell it leaves on my breath.  He says----he says--it makes me smell like a whore."
            Doss nods and puts the cigarettes back in his pocket. "Very well----I don't want to make Sarge angry at you----but Danny----he's dead----he can't hurt you."
            The young man looks at Doss in confusion, "He's dead?"
            "Yes, Danny---he was killed by the hogs---now talk to me, Danny----I need to know everything."


            The old Mexican stares back at Walker. "Tonight? Are you serious?"
            Walker nods his head, "We can't wait any longer and take the chance of them moving us again. I'm as strong as I'm going to get under these conditions-----and you can't go much longer with that leg, I need to get you medical help."
            "I have told you, senor---do not worry about me---if you can escape---go."
            "And----I've told you, Heck----I'm not leaving this hellhole without you---I will carry you on my back----if I have to.  When the guards bring us our evening meal----you will create a diversion so I can get to the one guard-----then---we take it from there."
            Heck nods his head in agreement, "I will do what you ask, my friend---- and hope that the man upstairs will do his share to help us."
            Walker and Heck go over their plans.


Last day of the race:

            The teams have been released in the order they were finishing the night before. Walker and the twins are excited as they hitch up their team and wait anxiously for the signal to start.
            "Okay, guys----this is it----Cooper---you take point and Cordell--you're the driver, we are both going to have a long run before you take the reins. Cooper---you make sure that Eagle Eye keeps free of Nugget-------we don't want those two fighting again. If you can keep Nugget on the second leash---Eagle Eye will do her part."
            "Okay, Dad------what about Chinook---she was running pretty slow yesterday, I think she's favoring that right paw again?"
            Walker quickly walks up to the dog in question, and looks at her paw-----it will be okay----but I think we'll move Glazier and Sasquaw into these spots----move Chinook back---less pressure on her. What do you think?"
            The boys agree and positions are taken, the dogs are restless and ready to run, Eagle Eye is straining against her reins. The gun is fired and the last leg of the race is on.
            The twins shout a rebel yell---and "Remember the Alamo," and the air is filled with the sound of barking dogs, and heavy breathing. The yellow team is staying neck and neck with Walker's team.  The 3rd place team is less than a quarter of a mile ahead of them.
            When the trail evens out, Walker shouts to Cordell to ride the rail, Cooper is running along side of the lead dog. At Walker's command, Cooper will drop the lead rein, falling back to take the side rail then easing himself into the drivers' spot, Cordell will move out, taking his place along side the lead dog. Walker is running behind Cordell, he will take intervals on riding the rail, resting for only seconds and then back to running again.
            They are now getting close to Walrus Lake, and the guides have given all the racers the caution flag. Walker's eyes are darting back and forth, but he sees nothing. The green team's lead dog is running neck-to-neck with Eagle Eye; the dog senses a challenge and pulls ahead.
            Cooper is looking over his shoulder at the man on the green team, running point. The man is starting to stumble, the booze from the night before is taking it's affect on him. If he stumbles into the dogs and gets tangled in the reins, it could be disaster. Finally Cooper hears his father's call to break away, Cooper drops the lead rein, the dogs will be on their own till Cordell runs up on the other side and takes his position.
            Walker jumps up on the riding rail and Cordell gets ready to take his jump, Cooper will now be riding the rail, and Walker is back to running. This will continue as each of the Walkers takes their turn at driving the sled. The other team is not rotating; the man that started the fight the night before does not want to get off the rail, his friend is yelling at him, he refuses to listen.
            The green team is losing ground as Walker's team goes ahead of them, suddenly the man running point stumbles and lands headfirst into their lead dog, the whole team starts falling---in the domino affect. The sled and the dogs are falling, head over heels down the embankment. Walker yells at his sons to stop, he and Cordell start running to the embankment.
            The three men are standing up and trying to get the dogs untangled. Walker yells out to them, and they all wave him on, "We're okay," they yell back.
            Walker and Cordell start running back to their team, the 3rd place team has slowed, Cooper is yelling at his family to hurry and get back to the sled. "Come on you guys---hurry---we can move up---we can take 3rd place!"
            The 3rd place team has their reins tangled and the dogs are starting to stumble. Their point man is desperately trying to get the reins straight again. Walker runs to the 'point' position as Cordell eases himself back in the drivers' seat. Cooper moves back, letting his brother take the reins.
            "Go, Cordell---give them their heads---let them run---there's less than a quarter of a mile to go---Eagle Eye knows what to do---let 'em fly!"
            Walker is losing pace with the lead dog, and he does not see the small crevice in time. Eagle Eye tries to jump it, the sled bolts and Cooper is sent backwards into the snow. Cordell is hanging on for dear life as the sled goes sailing over a 30 ft embankment. The reins snap as the dogs are sliding into a snowdrift, the sled is still flying.
            Walker is running to the embankment calling out his son's name, with Cooper running up behind him. The 3rd place team is passing them, as Walker and Cooper slide down the embankment to get to Cordell. They see him standing up and shaking the snow off, he looks to his family and shouts.
            "Oh, baby----what a ride-----that was better than the rides at 6 Flags!"
            Walker takes a deep sigh as he grabs his son, "Are you sure you're okay?"
            "I'm fine Dad----no broken bones."
            Cooper stares at his twin, and then to the 3rd place team as they go racing by. He slaps his leg in disgust, "You really blew it this time, bro'----we could have taken 3rd place----why wasn't you watching where you were going?"
            "Take it easy Coop----it was my fault for not seeing that crevice in time, not your brothers.”
            Cooper continues to mumble to himself as he goes back up the embankment to check on the dogs. Cordell looks to his Dad.
            "Geez---- what ticked him off?"
            The race is over and the three teams are being congratulated and given their awards. The smell of food is filling the air as everyone is being treated to a victory dinner of salmon, steaks, and potatoes. The yellow team approaches Walker.
            The one that started the fight reaches out to shake hands with Walker, "Look---I'm sorry about last night----is your son's camera okay?  I'll replace it----just tell me how much."
            Walker motions for Cordell to come over and talk to the man. "It's okay, sir----it wasn't damaged---just a little snow."
            "Are you sure---I'll buy you another one."
            Cordell shakes his head and goes back to stand in the food line with his twin, who has been very quiet since the race ended. Walker continues to talk to the yellow team.
            "You blew it Cordell---we could have taken 3rd place---you were stupid and careless."
                     Cordell's voice is rising, "Put a lid on it, Coop----the race is over."
            Cooper turns around and shoves his brother, "Yeah----THANKS TO YOU!"
            Cordell stumbles back, he clenches his fist, "Watch it Coop----or so help me---I'll clobber you!"
            Walker turns around as his sons' voices are getting louder and the shoving has started. Everyone else has stopped what they were doing and now staring at the twins. The shoving continues and then the fists start flying and the Walker boys are slugging it out.
            Walker sighs, and goes back to talking to the three men. The twins are now rolling in the snow and Cordell has his brothers' head, half buried in it. Cooper is twisting and rolling to get out from under him, knocking Cordell backwards and then taking a flying leap and landing on his stomach. The punches are going back and forth, as the guides walk up to Walker, nodding back at the two brawlers.
            One of them asks slowly, "You going to break that up?"
            Walker shakes his head, "They'll stop, when they get tired of swinging, they're just letting off steam with each other, in the meantime--I'm going to get something to eat."
            Walker and the men walk around the boys as one goes flying into the campfire. The other one pulls him out, and then delivers an uppercut to his right jaw. The two go down again as Cordell ends up on Cooper's chest, blood is dripping from Cooper's mouth as he looks up at his brother and asks.
            "Have---have you had enough?"
            Cordell starts to laugh as he pulls his brother up, panting heavily, "Yeah---my fist has enough pain slamming into your ugly face."
            The boys stand there, trying to catch their breath. Cooper rubs his jaw, "I'm glad, because I don't think my jaw could have taken anymore contact with your fist."
            Cordell laughs, "That's good----because I think maybe I sprained my fist, when I hit you at the side of your head."
            The brothers’ laugh, "Well---you always did say---I had a hard head."
            Cordell nods his head as puts his arm around his brothers' shoulder,  "Got that right, bro---let's go eat."
            "Hey Cordell---you might have to chew my food for me, I think you broke my jaw."
            Cordell clenches his fist, "Okay----but if there is any carving to do, you'll have to do it, my hand is killing me---chew your own damn food."
                      Everyone is winding down and talking about the race, and the experience of riding in their first Iditerod race. Soon, everyone is heading for their bedrolls.
            The twins are sitting on a log listening to the guides tell of how the Iditerod races started and how they had changed over the years, talking of how the teams had to raise their own dogs to pull the sleds.
            Cooper sighs, "I guess change is good or we wouldn't have been allowed to race, since we didn't raise the dogs."
            The guide named Ben nods back, "Yep---another pastime that has gone commercial, you might say. In the early days, the teams were raised from pups, and it took months of training to train them---- and the drivers. But, now---all of these dogs have been trained to work with strangers. The dogs know what their jobs are---that's why only a limited time of training was necessary---for the humans."
            The boys laugh, and Cordell asks, "But, they still have the real races---don't they?"
            Ben and Walker exchange glances, "Oh yeah---but the real races are ---very grueling and they do require being trained with your own dogs."
            Walker nods, "Yep----and those races can be very dangerous, usually only one man teams---not the 3 man team, like we were on today."
            Cooper grins, "Yeah---but--if we had our own team, we could enter those races, couldn't we Dad?"
            Walker laughs, "Maybe you and your brother could pull it off---but I think I'm little bit over the hill for such a challenge."
            "What are you talking about, Dad---you were more than holding your own against some of the other men in the race----that were half your age?"
            Cooper nods his head in agreement, "Yep---Cordell and I wouldn't have wanted anyone else on our team---right bro?"
            "Got that right----come on Coop----let's go say goodbye to the dogs---ya' coming Dad?"
            Walker throws the remainder of his coffee into the fire, "Right behind you boys---I mean----MEN!"
            The Walkers find the dogs and start saying goodbye to them, Cooper bends down and scratches Eagle Eye's ears, "I'm going to miss you, girl."
            Cordell grabs his camera and walks over to the yellow team, and takes their picture. In return, he lets them take pictures of him and his family. The three Walkers kneel down between the lead dogs, Eagle Eye, Chinook, Nugget, and Sasquaw.



New Years' Eve:

               Everyone has enjoyed an evening of dancing and eating. The twins have joined the band, as the songs span back over the years, from the roaring 20's to the present music of the day. Gordon and Sue have been dancing most of the night, Cooper and Alex dance to a Charleston, a jitterbug, the twist and then Cooper takes the floor doing an imitation of John Travolta's ‘Night Fever’. Walker waits for the music to slow down, and then he waltzes with Angela. Several young men are anxiously waiting their turn to dance with the auburn hair beauty. Cordell and Dana are trying to make conversation.
            "Are you sure that you have to go back to Texas tomorrow----I thought you and your Mom were staying till the 5th---when we all go back."
            Dana's dark eyes look up at Cordell's 5' 7" frame, she can't get over how much he's grown the past summer. She smiles back at him, "Yeah----my Mom's boss called the other night and said that Lucy had quit---that's his main secretary---so he's short handed and Mom has to go back---if she wants Lucy's position."
            Cordell is stammering, "But----we had it all planned--we were going to lease a motor home and drive back through Canada and maybe over to the Dakotas."
            "I'm sorry, Cordell---but my Mom needs that position---it's a big pay increase for her.---I turn 16 in June and my Mom is going to try to get me a job in her office."
            Cordell tugs on the tie to his tuxedo, "Yeah-----understandable----I guess.  I was just hoping---you know--that we could spend some more time-----together-----you know."
            Dana is straining to keep from breaking out in a wide grin, remembering what Angela had said about not rushing her brother's attentions.  "Well----when you get back to Texas----we could----maybe----start spending some time together."
            Cordell swallows, "What do you mean?"
            "I mean---that maybe we could go to a movie-----or something."
            Cordell nods his head slowly, "You mean----like a date?"
            Dana stares back at him, "Yeah------a date----if you want to----that is?"
            "But-----I'm not allowed to start dating---till I'm 16."
            Dana sighs, "I keep forgetting that you're not the same age as me."
            "Yeah," replies Cordell, “you've probably been asked out by other guys more your age."
            Dana smiles, "Some boys have asked me out, but I'm not interested in them.  Are you sure your parents wouldn't let you go out with a group---what about Angela, she'll be dating soon----surely they will let you go out with her and me."
                    "Maybe--------I guess you think I'm quite a 'flake' since I'm not allowed to date till I'm 16----my friends are already dating.---You think I'm weird----don't you?"
            "No, Cordell---I don't think you're a 'flake' or weird---after all, the boys weren't exactly lining up to ask me out till----after your sister helped me with my new hairdo, and some pointers on how to dress. I've even changed my eating habits, I've lost nearly 8 lbs."
            "That's great Dana---not that there was anything wrong in the way you looked before and who told you that you needed to lose weight?"
            Dana smirks, "Well---let's face it---I needed to lose a few pounds, and Angela has helped me to watch what I eat and eat more fruits and vegetables----and drink lots of water."
            Cordell smiles as he looks at Dana's hair, she has starting letting it grow out, and gone---are the curls. Dana has beautiful dark eyes, and yes-----she did need to lose the baby fat. Now she was starting to wear a little more makeup and her figure was becoming---very noticeable.
            "Yeah---that's Angela---always drinking the water----and has always eaten like a bird."
            "I know----but she makes straight A's in homemaking and cooking---the teachers even ask her how to prepare certain dishes, and I never see her sampling any of it---which is why she

has that gorgeous figure and all the boys are dying for her to turn 16 and start asking her out."
            "My sister has always been beautiful----but so are you, Dana."
            Dana is speechless, she mumbles, "You think---I'm beautiful?  Boy---do you need glasses."
            "Stop selling yourself short, Dana-----there are many ways of being 'beautiful'---inside and----out."
            Dana stares back at Cordell, "I don't know what to say----no boy has ever said that to me before------do you really mean it?"


Seekers – Trial – Chapter 13

By Sasquaw              

            Cordell reaches to his back pocket and withdraws his wallet. "I didn't get to buy you anything for Christmas, but I would like to give you this---that is----if you want it?"
            Dana watches Cordell pull the arrowhead from a credit card slot, he hands it to her. She looks back at him, her mouth dropping.
            "Your arrowhead----you've had this for years?"
            Cordell smiles gently, "Yeah, I've had it since I was six years old, Cooper and I found them at the reservation----it's a real genuine arrowhead, I swear."
            Dana continues staring at Cordell; she has seen him wear this arrowhead many times, on a leather strap around his neck. "I can't take this----it's too special to you, I've heard Angela mention how much you love this."
            "I want you to have it, Dana-----yes it is special----and I wouldn't want anyone else having it, ---- but you."
            Dana squeezes the arrowhead in her hand, "But, I didn't buy you anything.”
            Cordell shrugs, "It's okay, I wasn't expecting you to buy me anything---I just wanted to give you something and-------"
            Dana doesn't give Cordell time to finish his sentence she kisses him quickly. Cordell stumbles back, bumping into a chair he quickly tries to grab it. He looks around quickly to see if anyone has witnessed just what has unfolded. He stares back at Dana, swallowing hard.
            Dana puts her hand up to her mouth, "I'm sorry----I don't know why I did that-----I'm sorry if I embarrassed you."
            Cordell is stuttering, "I'm not embarrassed----it's okay, you didn't mean to do it-----I mean----well----it's alright---no harm done."
            Dana starts to smile slowly, "The truth is----I'm not sorry----but if I embarrassed you---I'm sorry about that."
            "It's okay-----truth is---I kind of liked it----sort of."
            "What do you mean ---sort of?"
            Cordell is stuttering again, "I meant----I did----like it---a lot."
            They stare at each other for the longest, Dana has noticed that when Cordell blushes, his freckles show up more, and his eyes become a lighter shade of blue. She studies his face, the chipped tooth has always been the quickest way she could tell the twins apart, that is until they started talking. Cordell's voice was deeper than his twins', and he didn't talk near as much as Cooper---or loud!
            The New Year is approaching and the countdown has begun. Everyone is shouting the numbers out as Cordell looks to Dana, he moves closer to her. Finally everyone is shouting HAPPY NEW YEAR and the singing begins. Dana watches as Gordon Cahill gives her Mother a long and tender kiss.
            The Walkers are all hugging each other as Angela kisses a boy that she has just met. Walker is staring at her, as Alex pulls on his arm.
                  "Honey----it's just a new years' kiss---don't start anything."
            Walker grabs his wife and swings her around gently, "Just a new years' kiss, huh? I seem to recall another new years' party and some beautiful blonde enticing me with a kiss----and what it has led to?"
            "Do I hear a complaint?" Alex teases back.
            "No, I'm just saying that was some 20 years ago, and every new year after that, this certain blonde still keeps me kissing her at the midnight hour."
            Alex goes into her husband's arms and kisses him slowly, "The midnight hour and every hour in between----Cowboy."
            Walker returns his wife's kiss, "Ohhhhh, you know it woman."
            The Walkers feel a tug on their legs as Little Ray is reaching up, pushing his lips out, "Me want happy new year kiss, too."
            Both Alex and Walker laugh as Walker reaches down and scoops up his baby son, pointing to his left cheek, "Put it here, buckaroo."
            The boy giggles, kissing his Daddy's cheek and then turning to kiss Alex, "Happy new year, Mommy----Daddy," he kisses them again.
            Cooper has found some girls his own age, and doing some new year kissing on his own. Dana looks back to Cordell, "Happy New Year, Cordell."
            Cordell swallows, "Yeah----you too, Dana," he reaches over quickly and kisses her cheek.
            "Is that the best you can do, Cordell John Walker?"
            Cordell stares at her, "No---what about your kiss----it wasn't exactly great!"
            "And, how would you know what a great kiss is----- are you an expert---since when?"
                 Cordell's face becomes rigid as he takes a deep breath, he plants a kiss directly on Dana's lips, and she gasps

            "SO? Well? How was it?" Cordell asks.
            Dana just stares at him, "You know what----I think we could both use some practice in that department."
            The two break out in a laugh and Cordell takes Dana's hand, "Maybe we should just dance-----for now."


New Years' Day:

            No one is feeling too much like talking as they all sit down for breakfast. Walker sips his coffee slowly and looks to each of his family; even Alex is being quiet.
            "Okay---what's going on----why is everybody looking so glum----today we're suppose to go looking for that motor home to lease--- right, Gordon?"
            Gordon clears his throat, "Ahhh---I've been meaning to talk to you about that, son."
            "What's to talk about, I thought it was all settled, you and Sue were going to  look for one while the twins and I were in the race."
            Gordon looks to Sue and then to Alex, "Well---the truth is---we've decided against driving back."
            Walker stares back at his father-in-law, "What?  That's all everyone was talking about---and all of you were on my back about it. I finally give in and now you're saying that you've all changed your minds-----why?"
            Alex touches her husband's arm, "Honey----Sue and Dana have to fly back this afternoon----Sue has to go to work tomorrow morning----and Daddy has decided to fly back with them."
            "Oh, I'm sorry Sue---we were hoping you were going to spend the rest of the vacation with us."
            "Yeah, we were too Walker---but I have to get back----and Dana and I better finish our packing---are you ready, Dana?"
            Dana nods slowly, looking at Cordell. He's just pecking at his breakfast and trying not to make eye contact. Gordon excuses himself to go and help them bring their luggage down.
            "Well---not all is lost---we can still drive back," replies Walker.
                 Everyone remains quiet, finally Cooper replies, "If it's okay with you, Dad---I'm kind of anxious to get back home and start working on my truck."
            Angela looks to her Daddy, "Yeah, and I'm anxious to get back too, I've got a lot of 'make-up' tests to take."
            Walker sighs, "I don't believe it----I thought this was suppose to be the ultimate vacation for all of us, and now everyone has lost interest."
                     Breakfast is finished eating, in silence.  The evening has arrived and Gordon, Sue, and Dana are on their way back to Texas. Walker is still upset about the change in plans; he was looking forward to the trip across Canada, and dropping down into the Dakotas to show the kids where his Fathers' ancestors were born.
            Walker has walked out onto the huge veranda that encircles the condo. Alex approaches him slowly, taking him a cup of coffee.
            "I'm sorry we got you all worked up about driving back, I know you weren't too keen on it, when Dad first mentioned it."
            "No, I wasn't---but then I started thinking about it while we were in that race, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was great idea."
            Alex sighs and Walker looks back at her. "Hon---is there something else bothering you, is it the baby----are you having some pain?"
            "I'm fine---WE'RE fine that is----but sweetheart----I feel like there's a change in the air."
            Walker puts his arms around her, "The wind is picking up, here take my jacket."
            "That's not what I mean---I mean---I feel like that something bad is going to happen---I've got this strange feeling."
            "You too, huh?  That Cherokee intuition kicking in for you, too?"
            Alex moves in closer to her husband, "You're having the feelings, too?"
            Walker nods, "Yeah------I can't put my finger on it----I just feel that--things are changing----and I'm afraid that the kids are moving in their own directions."
            "I feel it too, and Walker---I don't like it! I feel like this is the last time that we will all be together---that the kids won't let us share their lives anymore, that they will think they're too old to spend time with us and-----"
            Alex is starting to cry as Walker pulls her in closer to him, "Ssssh---Alex---we've always known this time would come---they're getting older, we can't expect them to stay tied to the apron strings forever."
            "I know that," Alex cries harder, "and I don't like it! I thought I could handle it when the time came----but Walker----I'm not ready for my kids to desert us."
                  "They're not deserting us, honey, they're just----getting older."
            "It's the same thing----soon Angela will be dating and there will be many young men going in and out of her life, she'll be through with high school and probably move away-----and, and---have you noticed---Dana is wearing Cordell's arrowhead----and Cooper is going to want to start spending time with more of his friends and----they start high school in the fall---- and….”
                    "Honey, calm down-----they have to grow up.  Look at this way, Alex----we've had some very good years with our kids, we've always been close and…”
            Alex is sobbing and nodding her head, "Yes----yes---we've always been close--we have, haven't we?"
            "Yes, we have---we've been very fortunate in keeping our kids close to us, in this day and age---we're very fortunate. But---we knew this time would come and Alex, we have to accept it."
            Alex squeezes her husband tighter, "I'm so scared----I can't shake this feeling that there's something going to happen, I've felt it for several days now---it's such a eerie feeling."
            Walker takes a deep breath, "Hon---nothing is going to happen, it's another year that we look forward to---and we got another child coming.  Maybe that's why God chose to give us another one---to help fill the 'void' when the kids do start leaving the nest---and we still got Little Ray---we still have that little varmint to keep us busy."
            Alex tries to laugh, "He is a handful, isn't he?  And he is so excited about being a big brother, especially after that talk with Angela."
            Walker laughs, "Yeah---he's hell on wheels, he's not jealous anymore after Angela explained the 'birds and bees' to him----in a round about way."
            Alex looks up at her husband, "That's something else that's changing, Angela has finally started saying what career she wants to follow."
            "Really----and what's that?"
            "Well, you know she's been working at the HOPE center on weekends, now she wants to seriously think about being a social worker---to work with kids---handicapped kids."
            "That's great honey---after that talk with her baby brother---she's more than capable of handling it---don't you agree?"
            Alex nods and goes back to squeezing her husband's waist, "Yes----I believe our daughter can handle anything that she undertakes.  And that goes double for the boys. I believe Cooper will start being more involved with his truck and mechanical things, Cordell---I don't know. He never says what he wants to be, has he mentioned anything to you?"
            "No," Walker says slowly, "but I wouldn't be surprised if Cordell doesn't go into some of kind of work---involving government---he's certainly got the 'smarts' for it, and he follows the government issues in the paper and television very closely. He doesn't think twice about stating his views, remember the debating team he was on last year---he blew that congressman Stevens right out of the water."
            "He sure did----that congressman will think twice about debating with our son ---especially on racial issues."
            "And, then there's our youngest----I have no idea what kind of career that boy will follow----but if there's a career in eating----he'll be the perfect candidate."
            Alex smiles up at her husband, "Does it bother you that they may not take up ranching?"
            "Sort of, I know ranch life has changed, it's still back breaking work and all, but things change, and there are more interesting jobs to do----and certainly the pay is better. Maybe Little Ray will stay in the business---or who knows--maybe this latest Walker will be the one to carry on the Walker name in ranching?"
            Alex sighs, "Walker----you do understand that Dr. Bates has said---there won't be anymore babies after this one."
            "Yeah---I know what she's said---there goes my baseball team.  Seriously----Alex-------how do you feel about----about not having anymore?"
            Alex kisses her husband softly, "Sweetheart---I would love to have a dozen babies with you---but my body is saying 'it's time to stop'---I don't think I could have anymore, it's too risky---not only for the baby, but for me too."
            Walker reaches down and touches his wife's stomach, "Then it's settled---we will both go under the knife."
                 "Walker-----no----what if----what if--something should happen to me-----and you wanted ------"
            Walker glares back at his wife, "What if what---Alex-----there's no way I would want someone else---stop stalking like that."
            "I'm just saying that----you would want to go on with your life----and…”
            "What life, Alex?  There would be no life----without you, I couldn't and wouldn't try to live without you."
            Alex says nothing, the tears are starting to fall again, "I feel the same way----about you---I couldn't live without you. Every time you walk out the door on a case, or just going to work, my heart is tied up in knots till I hear your voice saying that you're safe.  I know that we would both try to carry on---for the kids' sake----but I would only be half a person----without you."
            "That's never going to happen, Alex---we're going to grow old together---sitting in our rocking chairs at the ranch, watching the sunset and-----playing with our grandkids."
                      "Grandkids? Oh, Walker----we are getting old, aren't we?"
            Walker smiles and touches his wife's hair, "Yep---and the gray is starting to show in both of our heads, of course---you have the advantage of keeping your hair bleached."
                  "Bleached?  I have you know John Cordell Walker---this is natural----at least most of it is. And besides, I could help you to tint your hair darker, but you would never agree to it---and besides---I like the 'pepper' look---it's sexy."
            "Okay, Mrs. Walker----we will grow old and gray together--how's that? Unfortunately, I don't have a hearing aid, like your Dad."
            "Why would you want a hearing aid, honey-----your hearing is impeccable."
            "So, I could turn it off and not hear that music all night."
            "What music?"
            They begin walking back to their room and Walker pulls his wife in closer to him, "That music that was playing last night---somebody was playing that one song---over and over---you didn't hear it?"
            "No, honey---I didn't hear anything, what song?"
            "It was an old Elvis song----FLAMING STAR."
            Alex repeats the song, "But honey you like that song----you've always said it was one of your favorites because it was about the native Indian lore of how a brave sees his final days."
            "Yeah, I like the song, but I don't want to hear it over and over again."
            The Walkers return to their room just as a shooting star fills the sky. Alex 's mouth drops open, "Oh, honey look---a shooting star!"
            Walker says nothing as the hair on his neck begins to tickle, he has a empty feeling in his gut, and the words to the song come back to him:
                                        "Every man has a flaming star,
                                         a flaming star--over his shoulder
                                         and, when a man sees  his flaming star-
                                         he knows his time, his time has come"!

                                         Flaming star, don't you shine on me
                                         flaming star
                                         flaming star, keep behind me-
                                         flaming star.
                                         I got a lot of living that I want to do'      
                                         Give me time to make a few dreams come true--
                                         Flaming star.


 L.A. airport:

            The Walkers are changing planes, for their last flight to Dallas. News reporters are starting to surround them. Walker tells Alex and the kids to keep walking, not to give out any interviews about the incident in Dallas. A photographer runs up to Walker, "Just one picture, Mr. Norris."
            Walker waves the photographer away, "You got the wrong person----I'm not him."
             The news media continues to follow Walker and his family, they stop Alex---"Please Mrs. Norris---a few questions please----can you tell us what happened down there in Mexico City?"
            Alex looks to her husband, "We're not who you think we are---please---we have to make our connection to Dallas."
            The Walkers are surrounded by the news media and no amount of trying to tell them they aren't the Norris’ falls on deaf ears. Suddenly a couple of burly looking men start thinning out the crowd, and one of them motions to Walker.
            "Sorry about that, Mr. Walker-----my boss arrived early-- incognito--we didn't know the media would pounce on you and your family. Mr. Norris is in the security room, he would like to talk to you."
            Walker waves him away, "Sorry---we got to make our flight , it leaves in 20 minutes."
            The man is talking into his phone, "Hold on----I'll relay the message---Mr. Walker---my boss says he'll call you on the plane---what's your flight number?"
            Walker continues walking, "Flight 376."
            The man stops and shakes his head, "Not today, Mr. Walker----that flight has been cancelled----bomb scare."
            The Walkers all stop and Alex grabs her husband's arm, "Bomb scare----oh, my God." They look to the loading area, as security people are telling everyone to get back and the cancellation notices go up. Walker swears, as he walks up to the information desk to ask when they can get the next flight out, he's told--'unavailable till further notice’.
            "Great----that's just great," he mumbles---"now it looks like we'll have to spend the night here---God---I hate Los Angeles."
                      Everyone tries to find seats, as Little Ray wants to be held by his Daddy. Walker scoops him up and goes to sit down by the twins. Angela frowns, "What's next----an earthquake?"
            Alex sits down next to Walker, "Maybe we should try to find a place to eat---Angela go over there and check the directory to see where the restaurants are located."
            As Angela goes to check the directory, the same two men are walking back towards the Walker family; another man walks slowly behind them in a Hawaiian shirt. The man clears his throat and sits down next to Walker, "Hey Walker---how's it going?"
            Walker grins, shaking his head and reaches out to shake hands with the man, "Well---everything was fine till we got here---did you have anything to do with putting that bomb scare out?"
            The man puts his hands up---"No way--- hey Alex---how are you?"
            Alex smiles back, "Just fine, Chuck---how are Gena and the kids?"
            The man starts to reply when he sees photographers coming towards them again, "Look---it looks like your flight is not going to get out of here till late tonight----or maybe tomorrow---why don't you and your family come out to our place----and let's get away from all this news media."
            Walker starts to refuse, and then he sees the media getting closer as cameras are being pointed in their direction, he sighs and then he agrees to take the actor up on his offer. They all start towards the front entrance where limos are waiting.
            The twins gasp at the sight of the stretch limos. Soon, the Walkers are on their way to Chuck Norris’ ranch, deep in the mountains of San Rafael.
            The ranch is done in Spanish/Native Indian decor, the front entrance leads to a huge sunken living room, and the servants are all hustling around to take everyone's luggage. The Walkers' carry-on luggage is taken from them and the servants’ head up the huge stairway. Walker stops one of the servants.
            "That won't be necessary---we won't be staying."
            Chuck motions the man away, "Bring my guests some drinks----what about you kids---are you hungry?"
            All of the kids speak up at once, as Chuck reaches down and picks up Little Ray---"How about you, partner---are you hungry?"
            The boy stares back at the actor and then to his Daddy, "Yeath---me hungry----you look like my Daddy."
                   Everyone laughs as Chuck and Walker nod their heads, "We've sort of been told that a couple of times."
            The kids are taken to the kitchen and drinks are being brought in for Walker and Alex. Alex keeps looking around at the huge room, "Your home is beautiful, Chuck."
            "Thank you----Gena has done most of the decorating--I said I didn't care what decor she used as long as it was Spanish/Native American."
                   Everyone laughs, and drinks are served as Chuck offers Walker a cigar, the ranger refuses.
            "I don't smoke them anymore----Alex's condition and all."
            Chuck looks to Alex and then quickly puts his lighter away, "Condition----oh, I'm sorry---I didn't know---Walker--you old barn owl---got another one on the way, huh?"
            Walker smiles and kisses Alex's cheek, "Yep---but I won't be able to catch up to you-this is will be our last baby-----doctor's orders."
            Alex smiles, "Speaking of kids---where is Gena and the rest of your brood?"
            "Well---Gena is still in Honolulu with Cody and the older kids, Danilee is around here somewhere---probably up in her room---on that damn computer."
            Walker smirks, "See---he doesn't like them either---another thing we have in common."
            Chuck smiles back at Walker's comment, "Well, I don't much like them, but unfortunately--they are necessary in my line of work----and yeah, I confess---I use them too."
            Alex playfully hits her husband's chest and gloats.
            Walker keeps looking at his watch, "Ahhh---I don't want to sound ungrateful---but we really need to check the airlines again--we're all pretty anxious to get back home."
            Chuck nods his head, "Carlos has a direct line to the airport---he will let us know in plenty of time when they lift the cancellations---in the meantime---relax----all of you can spend the night here---there's plenty of room."
            The rest of the evening is spent walking around the Norris property, of course the first place Walker wants to see is the stables.
            The Walker kids have found the game room and are soon involved in a game of billiards. A young girl with blond hair is watching the Walker boys. Angela sees her first and walks towards her.
            "Hi---you must be Danilee---I'm Angela."
            The girl stares back at Angela, "So? What are you people doing here?"
            The twins look up from the pool table, sitting the cue sticks down very gently. "Ahhh---we have permission to be here---Chuck said we could use the game room---I'm Cordell Walker----this is my brother, Cooper."
            The girl smirks, "I really don't care who you are----just don't go breaking any cue sticks and spilling your drinks all over the place."
            Angela again tries to make conversation with the young girl, "Ahhh, our flight was cancelled and your Dad invited us to come back here till the flights were rescheduled---we won't be staying long."
            Danilee stares at Angela, "Good!"
            The twins shift uneasily back and forth, and Cordell nudges his brother, "Maybe we should go back to the front room---and wait?"
            Cooper is staring at Danilee, looking her up and down. He thinks she's real pretty as he studies her face and then the long legs that are accenting a cut-off pair of Levi shorts. He smiles and then walks slowly up to the girl, letting his eyes continue to take in every curve of the young girl's body.
            He lays on the charm as he grins slowly, "I'm Cooper----nice to meet you---and you are?"
            The girl makes a face, "I could care less who you are."
            Cooper continues to stare at the young girl and then he leans in closer to her and whispers, "Who pissed in your cornflakes to make you so angry with everybody?"
            The girls' mouth drops, Cordell reaches out to his brother and pulls him away, "Coop---we are guests---watch your manners---and your mouth."
            The Walker kids quickly exit the game room, and Danilee Norris is left standing with her mouth open.
            Dinner has been served, and Danilee is sitting directly across from Cooper, staring daggers into him.
                    "Chuck---what was going on at the airport---why so many photographers and such----are you doing another movie?"
            Chuck nods, "Yeah---and I'm still needing a technical advisor---you interested?"
            Walker shakes his head, "Nope----I've told you before--I'm not interested in the movie business, I have too many irons in the fire now--with my job, and the ranch to run."
            The actor sighs, "There's a hell of a lot more money involved in this business than being a lawman and a rancher---you know you're not going to be able to be a Texas Ranger---all of your life."
            "Maybe not----but your line of work does not interest in me in the least-----and there is no way I would live in this tinsel town."
            "I don't live here but a couple of months out of the year---I have a place in Hawaii-----that's where I do most of my work now."
            Angela sighs and whispers, "Hawaii----oh God---I would love to see that place sometime."

Seekers – Trial = Chapter 14

By Sasquaw              

            Danilee stares at Angela, "DAH!---You mean to say you've never been to Hawaii?  I thought everyone had been there at least once in their life----geeeez."
            Chuck stares back at his daughter--"Dani---that was uncalled for---that's being rude."
            The girl smirks and goes back to eating her supper, she feels Cooper staring at her. She makes a face at him, he grins.
             Alex looks to Danilee and asks quietly, "Danilee---how is school, are you attending here or Hawaii?"
            Danilee smirks, never taking her eyes off of Cooper, "Both---where ever I am at the moment---school is school."
            Alex feels the coolness in the young girl's voice and decides to drop the questioning.
            Chuck returns his attention back to the bearded ranger, "You asked about that little fiasco at the airport----well--it all has something to do with what I was trying to film---in Mexico City."
            Walker looks at him curiously, "And, what was that?"
            "My sons and I are doing a documentary about the life and time of Poncho Villa----apparently--we stepped on some toes and made some people angry."
                  "Poncho Villa?" Cordell's eyes light up, "What happened, did you get to make the film?"
            Chuck smiles back at the twin, squinting his eyes, "Cordell—right?"
            The boy grins, "Yeah----how did you guess---most everyone else can't tell Coop and me apart."
            "Well---are you forgetting, I have twins of my own, plus twin grandkids. Danilee is a twin, aren't you sweetheart?"
            The girl frowns, "Yeah----don't remind me."
            Chuck wipes his mouth slowly and shoots his daughter a cold stare, before he turns back to Cordell.
            "Back to your question---no, we didn't get to make the movie, a lot of people disagreed with us and the textbooks about what kind of a man, Poncho Villa was. Some make him out to be the Spanish equal to Robin Hood; others see him as a cold-blooded killer. Then, there were others that felt he didn't need to be exploited, and still others that felt there were others that deserved more coverage as their ‘hero’ so to speak."
            "Like who----Poncho Villa stands out in the history books as the most noted."
            "Excuse me, Mr. Norris," Interrupts Cooper, "but---do you think it's possible that I could see your exercise room---I hear it's unbelievable with the weight equipment alone---and all the latest gadgets and---"
            "Of course----I'll have Carlos take you down--and feel free to try any of the machines---by the way have you seen the new total gym?"
                     "Yeeeaaah," grins Cooper--"I've seen pictures of it and we see you on TV helping your karate kids work out---it's all---super rad---and hey---what about a sparring match between you and my Dad?"
            Danilee rolls her eyes up in her head, and mutters---"Oh---good grief----I can sure tell you're a country 'hick'----the word 'rad' is old timer."
            Cooper grins back at her, "Well maybe you can give me a lesson on what the latest slang is----in this city of weirdoes?"
                  "Cooper,"---Walker's voice is stern---"you are a guest in this house----apologize."
            Danilee stares back at Cooper and smirks at him, "Yeah----country bumpkin----apologize."
            Chuck lays his napkin down and glares at his daughter---"Enough, Dani------you can apologize for your behavior too!"
            Danilee looks to her Father, and asks sarcastically, "May I be excused---I don't care to hear this 'hashed out'----all over again."
            Chuck looks at his daughter for the longest and then finally nods his head, "Make your apologies to the Walker’s and then you may be excused, young lady."
            The girl sighs and does as she is told, she stares back at Cooper---he's grinning from ear to ear, she then stomps off. Cooper lays his napkin down and turns to his Mother, asking to be excused and then he nods to Chuck. Angela soon excuses herself too, Cordell is still asking the actor questions. Little Ray is continually doing what he does best, devouring everything on his plate.
               "Cordell----maybe Chuck doesn't want to go into all of this," Walker says quietly.
            Chuck puts his hands up, "It's okay---I'm glad to answer these questions---I just wish my own kids were as interested in my job---but like all kids their age---they go to the beat of a different drummer! And, before we were interrupted by my daughter---I can only say there was a lot of unrest going on down near where we were doing the movie and the big wheels didn't want to be bothered with us."
            Cordell nods, "Yes sir, I know---the news media has been covering the trouble down there, some small time bandit---trying to take over everything, taking over the small villages. Not much is known about the guy, he's staying up in the hills, letting someone else do his dirty work for him."
            Chuck looks back at the Walkers; he's impressed. "Walker---never mind you being our technical advisor---I'll take your boy instead.  Cordell---how do you know so much about what is happening down that way?"
            Alex replies, "Cordell reads a lot----and he keeps up with current events."
            Walker looks to his son and smiles, "Yep---he's our encyclopedia."
            "Well, I think it's great that he takes such a interest in what is happening around him, I guess you scan the Internet, too?"
            Cordell shakes his head, "Not much sir, except when I can't find what I'm looking for the old way----in books."
            Chuck is doubly impressed, "In this day and age---someone is still reading and not taking it off the computer---hard to believe."
            Alex smiles and reaches for her husband's hand, "He takes after his father for that---Walker prefers to read too--don't you dear?  You don't exactly have a love affair with computers---do you?"
            Walker feels himself getting embarrassed, "I'm learning to accept them---slowly."
            "So, what about the movie Mr. Norris---what happened?"
            Chuck motions for more coffee to be poured, "Well Cordell---they were causing such a stink down there that my financial advisors didn't want to back the movie---so NORRIS BROTHERS PRODUCTIONS pulled out---we had no choice. Too many bad omens happening, I had some of my crew people attacked when they were trying to set up equipment, and we were also threatened."
            Walker sips his coffee, "What about the American consulate---couldn't they protect you?"
            Chuck scratches his bearded chin, "The truth is--it was a lot scarier than anyone was admitting---Gena and the kids were scared to be down there---I had to think of their safety---so I pulled the plug---it wasn't worth it."
            "So, now what do you plan to do?" Asks Alex.
                "Something I've been wanting to do for a long time, move back to the orient---lock, stock, and barrel!!  Only trouble is, Gena and the kids, especially Danilee--doesn't want to go---which is attributing to much of her nasty behavior.  She's not usually like this---I apologize for her rudeness."
            "Don't apologize----Walker and I have had to bring Angela down a couple of times ourselves---they're just being teenagers."
                   "Mommy----me need to go pee-pee," Little Ray pulls on his Mother's arm.
            "Ray Gordon----you say 'the little boy's room'---not pee-pee," Alex corrects him.
            Little Ray starts squirming, "Mommy---me got to go pee-pee in the little boy's room."
            Both Walker and Chuck burst out laughing and Chuck replies, "It all comes out the same way---don't it partner?"
            Alex shakes her head and takes the boy's hand, Cordell scoots his chair back, "Never mind, Mom---I'll take him."
            Alex laughs, "It's okay, sweetheart---I got to look for the little girl's room."
            Chuck stands up and shows Alex where the bathrooms are, still laughing. "You got some boy there, Walker---reminds me of Mike when he was about that age."
            Cordell goes in search for his siblings and Walker and Chuck head to Chuck's den, which is about the size of the Walker living room. Soon they are joined by the actor's aide, telling them that the flights have been rescheduled. Walker breathes a sigh of relief and starts looking for his family.
            Soon everyone has piled back in the limo and Chuck is again extending his invitation for them to spend the night. Alex smiles back at him, "We appreciate the offer---but we're all anxious to get home."
            "I understand--but you and Walker know that you are welcome here anytime---you don't have to wait for an invitation----the door is always open."
            Walker shakes the actor's hand, "That goes for you and your family, too---the next time you're in Texas---plan to stay at the ranch for a couple of days."
            Chuck nods as he says goodbye to all of the kids, suddenly Cooper blurts out----"Darn it----what about the sparring match between you and Dad?"
            Walker and Chuck stare at each other, and Chuck laughs---"Somehow I feel like I would be fighting myself----but one of these days Walker---we will see who is "KING OF THE HILL."
            The plane ride back to Dallas is very tiring as the plane keeps hitting rough turbulence. Angela is sitting in between the twins. Walker, Alex and Little Ray are sitting directly behind them. The plane suddenly hits an air pocket and Angela screams, grabbing her brothers' hands.
            "Relax, Sis---it was just an air pocket."
            "I know, I know----I will be so glad to have my feet on solid ground again."
            Cooper unfolds his sister's tight grasp around his hand, "In the meantime---can I have my hand back---to get the circulation going again?"
            "I'm sorry," mumbles Angela. "Do you want your hand back too, Cordell?"
            Cordell smiles at his sister, "No---it's okay---you can still hold onto it----just not so tight---alright?"
            Angela takes a deep sigh, looking back to Cooper, who is staring out the window. "What did you think of Danilee?"
            Cooper smirks, "I thought she was a pain---in the ass," he whispers.
            "Yeah, she wasn't very friendly." replies Angela.
            "Her Dad said that she was upset about the prospect of having to move to another country----she doesn't want to go."
            Angela looks to Cordell, "That's no reason for rudeness----I tried to talk to her again and she just 'waved' me away-----what about you, Coop---I saw you trying to talk to her, too."
            Cooper shakes his head, "She's not worth wasting my time over----she's a spoiled Hollywood brat------and why shouldn't she be spoiled, she's got everything money can buy----her father spoils her rotten-----just like someone else I know."
            "Are you referring to me, little brother?"
            Cooper leans into her and hisses, "Yes-----you're spoiled----but not as bad as Danilee Norris."
            Cordell nods in agreement, "She is spoiled, and she's got quite a smart mouth on her, too."
            "Yeah-----what she needs is for her Daddy to turn her over his knee and tan her ass----I mean butt."
            Angela smiles as she looks to her brothers, "Sounds like to me--you've met your match, Cooper-----finally a girl that doesn't go 'ga ga' over you."
            Cordell nudges his sister, "Careful Sis---the word 'ga'ga is no longer used, according to Danilee---it's 'old timer'!”
            Cooper smirks, "What that Hollywood brat needs is a trip to the barn------and a quick introduction to Dad's hickory switch."
            "Got that right bro'," Cordell and Angela reply at the same time.


            The Walkers are back home and the next couple of months will be spent getting the attic finished, the kids are back in school and Alex has just returned from having her ultra sound.
            Its late evening and Walker is pressuring her to know the sex of the new Walker.
                  "Honey---you just said this morning that you didn't want to know----that you wanted to be surprised."
            Walker has come out of the shower, with just a towel wrapped around his bottom half. "I know what I said----but that was this morning---it's now 12 hours later and---I'm curious--- is a boy or a girl?"
            Alex pushes her bottom lip out, "It's another boy."
            Walker ponders the thought of having another son, "Well---I guess that's good-----at least 'bathroom'-wise."
            "What's that suppose to mean?"
            Walker crosses the room and puts his arms around his wife's stomach----"Because---if it was a girl----I'd have to build another bathroom---this way---the little 'stinker' can share Little Ray's."
            "That doesn't make any sense, another little girl and she could share Angela's bath."
            "HAH!  That would be the day!! She'd never be able to get into Angela's bathroom----you know how long it takes for Angela to do her ‘girlie things'.  The poor kid's kidneys would lock up, waiting on her to finish."
            Alex laughs as she reaches up and strokes her husband's cheek----"Either that or she would have to use our bath," she teases.
            "No way-------I'll build another bath-----do you realize that the bathrooms are almost outnumbering the bedrooms?"
            "Yes dear----I realize that-----every time the utility bills come in---and the electricity keeps going up and up."
            Walker kisses his wife's cheek and then goes to their bed, “We won't have to worry about the utility bills--we'll be homeless once those credit card bills start coming in."
            "I've already got the statements to the credit cards, and made the checks out-----they weren't as bad as I suspected."
            Walker is looking for clean briefs; he stares back at his wife, "Really?  You mean I won't have to take out a second mortgage on the ranch?"
            Alex laughs as she hears a faint tap on their bedroom door, she looks back to make sure her husband is dressed in his bottom sweats, "Just a minute-----okay, you can come in."
            Little Ray hits the door running and takes a flying leap into their bed, Walker reaches over and slaps him with a pillow---"Get out of my bed---you little varmint."
            The boy squeals as he stands up in bed and grabs another pillow  the pillow fight is on. Alex frowns, thinking of the new pillowcases she just bought. "Hey-----you guys---take it easy, those are new cases!"
            Cordell sticks his head in, "Hey Dad----forgot to tell you-----that guy called again."
            Walker turns to Cordell and Little Ray hits him dead center with the pillow, "What man?"
            "That guy that called last week, the one that wouldn't leave a message----or his name."
            Alex is applying lotion to her legs, "What about the ID caller----did it come up unlisted again?"
            Cordell nods his head, "Yes ma'am-----the guy always sounds strange-----like---he's having trouble talking----I could barely hear him."
            Alex looks to her husband, "That's three times in the last week that this man has called----do you think maybe he's connected to some of your cases?"
            Walker sits down on the end of the bed, pulling his baby son to him, and tickling him. "What case----I'm not involved with anything right now----what about you----think it could be the trial coming up?"
            "But, he's asking to talk to just you----if it was the trial---that doesn't make any sense."
                  "Actually Mom-----this time he asked to talk to you-----or Uncle Jimmy----since Dad wasn't home."
            Now Alex is becoming nervous.  "Sweetheart, why didn't you tell the man to call me at my office?"
                     "Because he never gives me enough time to tell him that---I've tried transferring the calls to the Ram--but the man always hangs up---he's never on the line for more than 10 seconds."
            Walker can see the nervousness in his wife's face, knowing that Kiwi's trial is just a month away has made her angry and nervous. He stands up and Little Ray jumps up on his back. He walks across the room with the boy bouncing up and down squealing, "Let's go ride horses, Daddy!"
            "No, we're not going to ride horses---it's bedtime---you got school tomorrow----here Cordell--take this little varmint before I'm tempted to send him back to the hospital."
            Walker turns around as the boy crawls up on his brothers' back--"’ordell---let's go ride horses."
            Cordell laughs, "No, little brother---it's too dark, the horse might stumble and hurt himself---you wouldn't want that---would you?  Now give Mom a kiss goodnight, I'll tuck you in."
            Little Ray reaches out for his mother and lays a wet kiss on her and then he reaches out to Walker, "Night-night."
            Walker kisses the boy on the top of his nose and then messes up Cordell's perfectly brushed hair, "Goodnight, you two."
            Cordell reaches out to get his Mothers' kiss, "Goodnight, my two guys----Cordell--please make sure there's an extra blanket on his bed."
            "I will, Mom."
            "And, what about you? Are you staying warm enough up there?"
            "Yes, Mom----heat rises----it's warmer up there--than it is down here."
            Alex is trying not to show her uneasiness, "I think I'll go make sure Angela and Cooper have plenty of cover."
            Walker reaches out for her, "Honey---what's bothering you?"
            "It's this damn trial----Angela and Cooper have to testify--and I have a feeling that new lawyer that has been hired to defend him has a lot of nasty tricks up his sleeve!"
            "That son of a bitch is going to get what is coming to him---the video from the lab will convict his butt."
                    "Walker----you know as well as I do that videos are not all that water-proof----do you know what some of Kiwi's defense is----he's saying that he was only there to talk to our daughter----and our son attacked him!"
            "Bull shit!" replies Walker. "What about the beating that Angela was taking---and Cooper?  Kiwi was only trying to talk to her----that's crap!"
            "All I know is, I've got less than two weeks to get my case prepared against that piece of slime----and then Danny's trial comes up!"
            Walker takes his wife into his arms, "You are glad that they are being tried separately, aren't you?"
            "Oh---you know it---and I'm pushing for the death penalty---loud and clear!"
            Alex takes her husband's hand and they go to check on their kids.


            The man curses to himself, "Damn---why didn't I tell that boy who I am----I've got to talk to ranger Walker----or Trivette------even Alex----I got to tell them the truth---before it's too late---or maybe it's already too late?  They will hate me---for keeping the truth from them---all these years."
            The man continues to pace, he knows "they" will be coming soon and give him another injection. The injections he can't fight, but the sleeping pills they have given him remain at the back of his mouth till they are out of sight, then he flushes them down the commode.
            He's been here a long time, he can't recall the years---they are still foggy to him.  The many years have seen different faces, and the security has grown lax, his history to the most of them goes unnoticed, some don't care. The daily ritual continues on, and the daily doses of medication are administered.  At night when the halls are quiet, he slips out of his room and tries to find the nearest phone. "They" have caught him over and over and some of the aides get rough with him, doubling the injections. He knows he can trust no one---not knowing if they are still out there---waiting.
            His mind is going fast, he has trouble remembering that horrible day---but he must keep trying---they have to be told. The man nods his head, "Yes------I know they will be angry with me, for keeping this a secret for so many years----but the next time I can get to a phone---I will tell them who I am---I owe it to ‘him’.”

Seekers – Trial – Chapter 15

By Sasquaw

 First day of Kiwi's trial:

            Kiwi is being brought into the courtroom in a wheel chair, surrounded by officers. The courtroom gasps as they observe his face, covered in stitches from ear to ear. The young man is very pale; he's playing his injuries to the hilt. He keeps rubbing his swollen face and looking at the jury with puppy-dog eyes. He scans the courtroom and then he sees her, sitting there between the bearded ranger and an older man. She is holding her father's hand; the older man has a protective arm around her. Her brothers are sitting near by, with the black ranger sitting to this partner's right side. Kiwi looks to the prosecutor's table, and the blond DA is staring back at him, her eyes burning through him, her bottom lip quivering.
      Kiwi smirks as best as he can manage through the hundreds of stitches that hold his face together. He again turns and looks at Angela and then back to the DA. He can see where Angela gets her good looks; the DA is very beautiful in her dark two-piece-business suit. He looks towards her mid-section, as it tugs very gently at her protruding condition. He turns back to the jury and starts studying their faces.
            Angela is squirming in her seat as Walker holds her hand tighter, staring at the back of Kiwi's head. He says to himself softly, "It would be so easy for me to take my gun out and blow his damn head off after what he tried to do to my kids----to my baby----he doesn't deserve to draw another breath."
            Trivette feels his partners' anger and reaches over and puts his arm around Walker's shoulder, and whispers quietly, "Calm down Walker-----take it easy----he's not worth your bullet."
            Walker takes a deep sigh as he nods back to his partner of some twenty years. They could read each other like a book sometimes---he knows his friend is feeling just as much anger. Trivette was the first one to reach Angela after the fight in the lab was over with and Cooper lay on the floor, knocked in the head with Kiwi's gun butt.
            Cooper is staring at Kiwi too, he leans forward and reaches around his grandfather to touch his sister's arm, feeling her body shake, not from fear-----but anger!. She looks back at him, grabbing his hand, smiling softly. He winks at her and then sits back in his seat.
            His twin rubs his shoulder gently, "Hang in there bro'---Mom will get that son of a bitch---he'll pay for what he's done."
            Cooper nods his head slowly, "Yep------and when Danny's trial comes up-----he'll pay too---Mom will see to it."
            The courtroom is packed as a young man sporting dark glasses sits at the back of the room. He looks to the Walker family, from the Ranger to the longhaired beauty. He smiles as he sits back and waits for the trial to begin. Just as the judge is coming in and everyone stands, a dark skinned young man walks up quickly and touches the girls' shoulder. She smiles back at him, obviously feeling very relieved to see the young man. He sits behind the Negro Ranger.
            Alex presents her case first, charging Kiwi with the murder of Darcy Barnes, plus two counts of attempted murder, kidnapping, and stalking. Kiwi stares back at her, his eyes showing contempt.
            The prosecution will state that his client had no intention of hurting the Walker girl that he was merely trying to talk to her---and was attacked by the Walker boy. His client was only trying to defend himself and was only attempting to take Angela to a mutual location----so they could only talk.
       Alex stares back at the defense attorney, she bites her lip at the mention of Kiwi only wanting to talk. She turns slowly and looks back at her family, they all nod to her, Walker gives her that special wink."
            The defense calls the first witness, Dylan Reed.
            Walker turns and looks at the young man and then to his Father. They both nod. As Dylan is walking past the Walkers, he looks at Angela shyly.
            Dylan is sworn in and the prosecutor Noble Wells asks him for his  account on what happened that day in the lab.
            Dylan touches his stomach lightly and then looks to Angela. "Where do you want me to start?" he asks.
                "Actually, Mr. Reed---let's back up a few months---just how well do you know Angela Walker?"
            Dylan stares back at the man, "Angela?  I've known her for a couple of years---why?"
            "Just answer the questions, Mr. Reed," interrupts the judge. "And you Sam Donalson, what is the purpose of this line of questioning---Angela Walker is not the one on trial here?"
            Alex stares back at the defense attorney, "I would like to know the answer to that question myself."
            "Your honor---and Mrs. Walker----my intentions are to show the quick temper of the Walker girl, and her uncalled for attack on my client ---now can I get on with my questions?"
            The judge stares back, "Very well----but tread lightly, Mr. Donalson."
                  Donalson looks back to Dylan, "Now, Mr. Reed---in your own words, how would you describe Angela Walker----would you say that she's got a quick temper?"
            "Sort of," Dylan replies. "She knows all of that gung fu stuff---she doesn't take any crap off of anybody---and believe me---I should know."
                    "Explain Mr. Reed---you had a run-in with Angela Walker, didn't you? She kicked you in the groin, didn't she----and you ended up in the school infirmary---right?"
            Walker quickly looks to his daughter, his brow goes up in question, Angela quietly sighs, she had forgotten that her father had never been told about that confrontation with Dylan. The twins lean further back in their seats and Gordon Cahill stares at his granddaughter.
            "We're waiting, Mr. Reed----the Walker girl has a very hot temper, doesn't she?"
            Dylan looks out to the Walker family; he can see the veins popping out on Walker's forehead, his own Father, Dalton Reed, stares back at him. "Yes sir---she's got a short fuse----but I said some pretty nasty things to her that triggered that temper."
            Alex is taking a deep sigh, she can almost feel her husband's tension. "Your honor----this does not have any bearing on this case, I object."
                 "Objection overruled, Mrs. Walker----let the young man answer the question."
            Dylan takes a deep breath, and says softly--"I asked her-----if she knew how to give a blow job."
                     Everyone in the courtroom starts to mumble; Walker's eyes grow big as he stares back at the young man. Donalson watches as the DA is squirming in her seat, her bottom lip quivering.
                   Donalson puts his hand up to his ear, "What did you say, Mr. Reed---I didn't hear you?"
            Alex stands up quickly, "I object your honor---everyone in this courtroom heard what the witness said----he doesn't need to repeat it."
            The judge stares back at Dylan, "Objection sustained, I heard the statement Mr. Donalson---now get on with it."
            Angela is looking down at the floor as Walker stares at her, and then his wife. Donalson smiles gently.
            Kiwi looks back at the Walker family, tries smiling and then he laughs. The judge points his finger at him, "One more word out of you----and you will be gagged----do you understand me?  And you Mr. Donalson-----you better make sure that he understands or I will hold you both in contempt of court."
            The attorney whispers into Kiwi's ear, the man nods in agreement. "Okay, Mr. Reed---continue----after you made----that statement----what happened?"
            Dylan blushes, "She put her knee into my crotch---not one----but both of them-----I fell down on the floor."
            The attorney is gloating as he throws his hands up in the air in questionable gesture, "And, all of this stemmed from you just wanting to ask her out, correct Mr. Reed?"
            "I object your honor---the witness was not just asking her out, he was making a lewd sexual suggestion to her---Angela Walker acted in self defense."
            The arguing goes back and forth as Walker's temper is rising, he stares at his daughter and whispers, "Why wasn't I told about this?"
            "Your honor," interrupts Donalson. "I am merely trying to point out that Angela Walker's temper is the reason that my client used desperate measures in order to try and talk to her. Mr. Reed has stated that he was asking for a date and the Walker girl attacked him."
            Alex's temper is flaring, "A date?  A date! I don't know about how in your family the young men ask your daughters for a date-----but in mine---they do not suggest sexual favors to be administered in the course of just asking for a date!"
            The judge starts slamming his gavel down and shouting to both attorneys to get themselves under control or they will both be held in contempt. The young man in the back of the court room, smiles softly and whispers, "I can hardly wait to see how Ranger Walker is going to react when Daniel's trial comes up----this is just a walk in the park."
            Finally, the questioning resumes and its Alex's time to question Dylan Reed. She looks back at her husband; she knows he's not happy with the idea that this was kept from him. She takes a deep breath and approaches the witness stand.
            Alex looks at the young man, he's a carbon copy of his father, her old boyfriend. The young man is having difficulty looking her in the eyes.
            "Mr. Reed----may I call you Dylan?"
            "Yes ma'am---I would prefer that."
            "Okay, Dylan----we've established how you ask for a date----if Angela Walker has such a terrible temper---then why did you say those things to her? It's certainly not the first time that she has told you to watch your mouth! Do you recall the event in which I'm referring to?"
            Dylan nods his head slowly, "Yes ma'am---I remember---it was when Angela had her birthday party last year at the ranch and I was invited."
            Alex asks slowly, "You made a derogatory statement to her and several of her girlfriends that were at this party, didn't you?"
            Walker glares at the young man, he remembers the day in question, and Dylan was making remarks about how Angela's mid-drift sweater was hugging her breasts. It was all Alex could do to keep Walker from going after the boy. Afterwards, he and Alex got into a heated argument about how she was allowing their daughter to dress.
            Dylan nods his head, "Yes ma'am---I remember---Angela took me aside and said she would kick me into next week if I said anything more along that line. I just laughed at her, at that time I wasn't aware of her knowing all that kung-fu stuff."
            Alex looks back at her daughter and then to Dylan, "So-----what happened?"
            Dylan pulls on his tie as he looks back to Angela, he clears his throat, "We were standing close to the corral, Angela kicked out and took two of the fence railings with one kick---------I stayed away from her pretty much after that."
            The courtroom laughs quietly, Alex smiles. "So----knowing this and knowing that Angela has a temper-----why did you think that she would just stand there and let you make a sexual suggestion to her and not do anything? Most girls would have done or said something to you----or is it because you're not accustomed to being put in your place?"
            Dylan sighs, "Actually, what started the confrontation was my remark to Dana Winchester-----I was commenting that I bet she didn't know how to give a blow job----and Angela was only defending her."
            Now it's Cordell's turn to start doing a slow burn, he wasn't aware of this new information, his twin looks to him quickly.  Cordell's face is turning red, his eyes a deeper shade of blue, he folds and unfolds his fist.
            Alex nods, "So, Angela was only defending her friend---you didn't actually say the same things to her, right?"
            "Yes ma'am----I mean, no ma'am---I mean "yes" I asked her-----the same thing and then she put her knee into my crotch. As I was grabbing for my private parts, she got me with her other knee! I don't mind saying---I was singing soprano for the rest of the day."
            The courtroom erupts in laughter, and Walker manages a small smile and whispers, "Serves you right, you little prick."
            "Your honor,” interrupts the defense attorney, "Mrs. Walker is turning this line of questioning into a circus, I object."
            "You're the one that started this line of questioning---you're the one that wanted to make sure everyone heard the witness's statement about the 'personal favor'----let Mrs. Walker continue----objection overruled!"
            Alex turns back to Dylan, "Okay, Dylan---we've established that Angela Walker has a temper and she was acting in self defense for both herself and her friend and that your manner was not acceptable! Let's move forward. Did you have any further contact with Angela?"
            "No way!  Not after her brothers came looking for me!"
            Alex looks back at her sons and then to Dylan, "Would you care to elaborate, what do you mean her brothers came looking for you?"
            Dylan takes a deep breath, "I mean---they found out about what I said to their sister and they came looking for me. They asked for an apology, I told them what they could do with that, and then all hell broke loose---Cordell Walker beat the hell out of me."
            All eyes of the courtroom go to the Walker boys; their faces are rigid.
            The judge takes his glasses off and stares at the Walker boys, scratching his head. "You two---stand up."
            The Walker boys stand up and stare back at the judge. He looks them over and then back to Dylan. "Now, let me get this straight---you're saying that those boys beat the hell out you? You're-- how old?"
            "Almost 18, your honor."
            The judge nods his head slowly and motions for the Walker twins to sit back down. "And, those boys are how old, Mrs. Walker?"
            "Almost 14, your honor, they turn 14 in May."
            "I don't understand this, Mr. Reed---you're saying that Walker boy, Cordell---is it? That he beat you up by himself or did they both gang up on you?"
            "Just the one, your honor---Cooper was fighting my three buddies."
            The judge shakes his head and tells the Walker boys to stand back up. He studies them and asks, "How much do you boys weigh---approximately?"
            Cordell clears his throat, "About 120 lbs sir----I mean your honor."
            "And, what about you Mr. Reed---it says here that you have letters in all the sports, you look like you're in fine physical shape---you must outweigh either of those boys by some 30 to 40 lbs---- and you have a good six inches on them in height---how could that one beat you so badly? Did he "sucker punch" you?"
            "No, your honor----he told me just exactly what he was going to do to me if I didn't apologize to his sister, and then to the two of them, I thought my buddies would back me up----but they didn't. So, I asked Gilbert---my friend, which one I should fight and he said Cordell.   I thought I could take him---I've done my share of boxing---but I didn't know that Cordell Walker has held the state title for six years in a role---for kick boxing."
            The judge again motions for the boys to sit down, "So-----he used his expertise in the martial arts to fight you?"
            Dylan shakes his head, "No sir----he stuck to straight boxing----he took me out in three jabs---and never broke a sweat."
            The judge looks back at the Walker twins and motions for them to stand up again, the courtroom starts to laugh. The judge stares back at Cordell, "Three jabs, huh?"
            Cordell meets his stare, "I could have laid him out in one jab sir, he was leaving himself wide open----but I was enjoying it too much."
            The courtroom laughs even harder and the judge is having a hard time refraining from laughing out loud. He turns to Cooper, "And, what were you doing, young man?"
            Cooper straightens his tie, "Just watching my brother's back, sir---in case the other three--wanted a piece of me."
            "And---did they?"
            "No sir----they just stood there---all lined up----looking pretty."
            Dylan nods his head, "Yes sir---he went up in the air and kicked out all three of them."
            The judge stares back at Cooper, "But, you said they weren't make any attempts to fight---that they were just standing there---watching---why did you kick them?"
            Cooper swallows, "I couldn't let my brother have all the fun, could I—sir?"
            The whole courtroom bursts out laughing and the judge is no exception, he shakes his head back and forth. "Tell me, young man----did you and your brother ever get that apology?"
            The twins both speak at the same time, "Yes----later in the hospital."
                  "Hospital?   You ended up in the hospital Mr. Reed?"
            Alex interrupts, "Your honor--- I was not aware of this attack on Dylan-----"she looks back to her sons and frowns, "but this incident in the hospital is not what my boys are referring to----that was later----at the hands of that animal---KIWI!"
                    Donalson slams his fist down, "Your honor I object---Mrs. Walker is jumping to conclusions---my client has not been proven guilty and already---she's wanting to hang him!"
            Alex turns around and faces the defense attorney, walking back to his table in a huff, "Unfortunately---the state of Texas no longer "hang"----but I for one, would be more than willing to vote it back in, if it ever comes up on the docket to be voted on."
            Both the twins shout, "Way to go, Mom!"
            The courtroom erupts in laughter again as Walker whispers to his sons to sit down. The judge starts swinging his gavel again and then nods to the Walker twins, "I will have no more of that kind of outburst in my court----now you two sit down and be quiet----or you will be escorted out of here----do you understand?"
            The twins’ nod, and Alex apologizes for their outburst. She then walks back to the witness stand.
            "Okay, Dylan----let's move forward. Have you ever seen the defendant before---if so----where?"
            Dylan stares at Kiwi and the stitches covering his face. He wonders how the man can even talk much less eat. "I saw him at Becky Blake's party--but only for a second."
            "You're referring to the Halloween party, right?"
            "Yes ma'am-----I only saw him for just a second----as he was going into one of the bedrooms with----Darcy."
            "With Darcy? Darcy Barnes---right?"
            "Yeah----she's the one---I had heard her telling some of the kids that she and this "Kiwi" were leaving soon to go and pick Angela up---that Angela was sneaking out to come to the party. I remember thinking to myself that was crap. Everyone knew that she was on restriction from fighting with her brothers, I couldn't picture Angela Walker sneaking out----not Angela!"
            "Why do you say it like that, Dylan?"
            Dylan stares back at Alex and then to Angela, Walker is staring daggers back at him. "Angela is-----sort of---well, she can be sort of like how you old people used to refer to it as ‘square’. She's not even allowed to date till she turns 16----most every girl at Springtown has been dating---since they were like --13.  Angela takes a lot of ribbing because of it---but she just sort of accepts it and goes on.  And, to think that she would try and sneak out of her house to come to a party and being restricted too-----I couldn't see it happening."
            "Okay, Dylan----when the police questioned the kids at this party about Kiwi, no one else admitted seeing him there---are you sure it was that man that you saw?"
            Dylan nods his head, "Oh yeah---it was him--like I said I only saw him for a second, he spent most of his time in one of the bedrooms---with Darcy. Besides, I was pre-occupied myself---and didn't spend much time in the front room where the party was--if you get my meaning?"
            Alex tries to smile, even though Dylan's testimony hasn't hurt her case, there’s still something about the young man that she doesn't like. "No more questions at this point, your honor."
             Donalson stands up, "Just one question Mr. Reed---I understand that you were hurt in the attack on Springtown High---what were your injuries?"
            "I was stabbed---by one of ‘his' goons--I took a knife to my stomach, it pierced my spleen---but I was lucky---my friend Gilbert was killed."
            "Was it the same man that stabbed you---that killed your friend?"
            Dylan rubs his stomach, "Yeah--the same one."
            "Did you see my client with a weapon, Mr. Reed?"
            "No----but he was up to no good---he…”
            "Your honor----I object---Mr. Reed is making an assumption---the truth is Mr. Reed---my client did not have a weapon---he did not want to hurt Angela Walker---and he couldn't be held responsible for what his associates were doing."
                 "Objection sustained," the judge slams his gavel, "court will recess for 20 minutes."
            Alex walks back to her desk slowly; she can see that her husband is very upset with her. Walker waits till everyone is out of the courtroom and then he approached her, his mouth firmly set.
            "Alex----why wasn't I told about that incident between our daughter and that Reed kid?"
            Alex is trying to remain calm, "Honey---it's over----forget about it."
            "Forget about it? How can you ask me to forget about what he said to our daughter--I should have been told about this---why wasn't I?"
                    Walker's voice has caused the court officers to turn around and look at the arguing couple. Alex sees them watching and pulls Walker to the far side of the room, "Would you lower your voice please?"
            "I will not lower my voice, I want to know why I wasn't told about this---hell----even the twins knew and they went after that kid---- that's my job---protecting this family.  Or---has that changed, too?"
            Alex stares back at her husband, "You will lower your voice and you, John Cordell Walker do not talk to me in that tone of voice---I will not accept it---and what do you mean has that changed, too?"
            Walker is taking deep breaths, "I mean since I wasn't there to protect my kids that they feel I don't need to be told about anything else that's happening to this family---including that sexual comment by your old boyfriends' son---that's what I mean!"
            Alex stares back in disbelief, and replies softly---"I can't believe you just said that to me, and furthermore----"
                    "Daddy!" Angela is pulling on her Father's arm, "Calm down, Daddy----Mom didn't tell you about that incident because I begged her not to---now will you two please stop arguing---we can hear you out in the hallway."
            Walker turns around and stares at his daughter,  "You are missing the point, Angela---I am the head of this family---I deserved to be told---and that means everything that is going on in this family---is that clear?"
            Walker pulls away from his daughter and goes stomping out of the courtroom, Angela looks to her Mom, "Aren't you going after him?"
            Alex sits back down at her desk, reaches out and takes her daughter's hand, "Honey----let him have some time to cool off----and he's right---I should have told him-----not let him find out this way----in court. I was wrong."
            Angela goes in search of her father and finds him banging on the coffee machine. Angela softly sighs and pushes the button that says ‘coffee’. The cup comes down and then the coffee. She waits till the cup is filled, reaches in, takes it out, and then hands it to him, gently. He mumbles thank-you.
              "Daddy---please don't be mad at Mom---or any of us for not telling you about that---you had enough to worry about---trying to find little Bobby Jackson's murderer."
            Walker swallows the coffee and then points his finger at his daughter. "I am still the head of this family---I will be informed on what is happening---no matter how many cases I'm working on!"
            "But, Daddy---we were only trying not to give you anymore things to worry about---it was just a comment---and I handled it---just the way you and Mom have told me to."
            "Then how did your Mother find about it----and the twins?"
            "The principal called Mom at her office and she came down to the school---jumped all over Mr. Green---threatened to hang him up ----if I got suspended."
                     "Suspended?  For what?"
            "For hitting Dylan----Mom came unglued and threatened to take him in front of the school board---but Daddy---it's over now---can't we just move on?"
            Walker is getting angrier, "You were going to be suspended for taking up for yourself----and what about that Reed kid----was he going to be suspended, too----for what he said?"
            Angela takes a deep breath; looking around her, everyone is staring back at them, including Dylan and his father that have come out into the waiting room. Dalton wants a cup of coffee, but he's having second thoughts about approaching the coffee machine. He goes to the water fountain instead.
               "Daddy----could we just talk about this at home?"

            "At home?  Oh now--you're willing to talk about it, huh? No, Angela---we will talk about this now---I want to know what the school planned to do about what Dylan said to you."
            Alex has now come out into the hallway; she shakes her head and walks towards her husband and daughter. She says nothing as she grabs Walker's arm and pulls him into an empty room. Her bottom lip is quivering as it always does when she's angry.
                    "Walker---you have got to let this go-----I'm sorry I did not tell you and I'm even more sorry that you found out this way---but I too, have had other things to worry about.  You have been so stressed out over this whole Kiwi and Sarge mess---that I chose not to tell you.  I was wrong---I'm sorry."
            Walker stares at her, "You should have told me, Alex and----"


Seekers – Trial – Chapter 16 

By Sasquaw            

            "And, you would have what, Walker---gone after that boy? You have got to let this go---now Dylan has apologized to Angela. My God, honey---are you forgetting that boy took a knife to the stomach, trying to get the word out that --that Kiwi had our daughter?  He was the one that sounded the fire alarms, he saw his best friend killed right in front of his eyes---and then Dylan was stabbed--but still had the presence of mind to try and get help."
            Walker looks back to his wife, clearing his throat---"I'm sorry-----I just wasn't thinking----all I could think of was what he was saying in there about our daughter---and---I'm sorry-----forgive me"?
            Alex lowers her eyes and looks up at her husband, "Only if you forgive me----for not telling you."
            Walker reaches out and pulls his wife into his arms, kissing her softly---"Yes--I forgive you-----but I need to know---are there going to be anymore surprises sprung on me that I need to know about?"
            Alex returns his kiss and giggles, "No sweetheart, I promise," suddenly Alex grabs her stomach, and groans.
            "Alex----what's wrong---is it the baby----are you okay?"
            "Alex's face is twisting in pain, "I'm fine----I just need to sit down----would you get me a glass of water please?"
            Walker runs to the door and shouts to Angela to bring some water, the twins and Gordon start running towards the room and to Alex, asking if she's okay.
            Walker kneels down on the floor in front of his wife, "Alex---I'm taking you to see the doctor."
                 "Walker---I can't leave--I'm right in the middle of a case---I’ll be alright---the baby was just kicking! And believe me I can tell you right now---it's going to be another kick boxing champ."
                   Everyone laughs, Walker shakes his head, "Are you sure, honey---are you sure you're okay?"
            "Yes---I'll be just fine---we better be getting back inside--time is almost up."


            The new prison is nothing like the one they were just in and Walker and Heck are able to move around more freely. They are now in the prison yard, the guards seem happier. Walker is looking around at the confinements; he notices that the other prisoners seem happier too.
            "What's gong on, Heck?  Something is making the guards and the rest of the prisoners happy."
            The old Mexican grins, "It can only mean one thing, my friend, I ask you my friend---what would be your greatest pleasure right now?"
            Walker groans, "Getting out of this damn place, is that not obvious?"
            "But, if you can't get out---what pleasures would you like most to be brought to you?
            Walker stares at the old man, "What are you saying----prostitutes are being brought in?  I can see why the guards would be happy about it----but why the prisoners?"
            The old man smiles, "Because my friend, we get them once the guards are through with them--sometimes they are worn pretty bad---but when you have been without a woman as long as some of these men have---you will not care."
            Walker continues to look around at his surroundings, he nods his head, "You could be right, Heck."
            Heck glares back at Walker, "So---you are feeling the urge, huh Amigo?"
            Walker shakes his head, "No way---I was in the jungles of Nam a lot longer than this without the warmth of a woman beside me-----the only 'urge' I'm feeling is getting out of here----and back to my wife!  And, the arrival of your 'putas' could be just the break we're looking for."
            "You are still going to make a break for it?"
            "We are going to make a break for it--tonight--while the guards have other things on their mind----are you ready my friend?"
            Heck nods his head slowly, rubbing his infected leg---"I am ready."


            The Walkers have returned to the courtroom, Walker is looking around for Trivette, he turns to J.W.
                   "Where's your Dad?"
            J.W. is staring at Angela and Walker has to repeat his question. "He left a few minutes ago---he got a phone call from some guy saying he needed to talk to him---Dad said he was going to a place called The Crescent Arms."
            Walker says the name to himself, "Crescent Arms-----that's an old mental ward--down around Adobe Wells-----I wonder why he's going there?"
            Court has resumed and J.W. is called as the next witness. Donalson is the first to question him.
            "Now Mr. Trivette------"
            "Excuse me, it's J.W.—please."
            "Ahhh, yes---J.W.--James Walker---I assume you are 'related' to the Walkers?"
            J.W. shifts around in his chair, "No sir---I'm not related---by blood that is---but the Walkers are my godparents."
            "I see---now then--J.W.---when was the first time that you ever saw my client?"
            "The first time I ever saw him was in the school lab when he was trying to kidnap Angela."
                "Objection your honor---that has not been proven."
                    "Objection sustained---young man--you will not make assumptions---just answer Mr. Donalson's questions."
            "Okay, J.W. tell me---what did you see exactly?"
            "Do you mean from the time Cooper and I got there---or just the lab part?"
            "Start from the beginning, J.W."
            "Well-----I had been talking to Angela, she said she had to go to the lab and take a test, we said we would meet for lunch.  Then Dylan Reed and his friend came up to me as Angela was walking away---they started 'taunting' me about being---with this girl that I had met in Chicago----we sort of-----had a relationship."
            "What kind of relationship---were you intimate?"
            Alex stands up, "Objection your honor---J.W.'s personal life has no bearing in this case."
            The judge rules in Alex’s favor. "Okay, J.W., continue---then what happened?"
            "The three of us had words and they threatened to tell Angela about that other girl--I got angry and asked them how did they find about that--I had only told two other people about that and they had swore they would never reveal my secret."
            "We're waiting---Mr. Trivette-----who were the two people that knew your secret?"
            The Walker boys are staring back at J.W. he nods towards them and says, "The Walker twins."
             Donalson is grinning as he looks back to the twins and then to J.W.---"So much for sworn secrecy, huh, Mr. Trivette?"
            "But, I found out later that the twins didn't reveal my secret on purpose----another classmate had heard them talking and he blabbed to Dylan Reed."
            "Were you angry, J.W.?"
            J.W.'s olive eyes stare back at the attorney, "Hell yes---I was mad--I mean yes--I was angry! I was already having trouble with Angela about another episode, I didn't need this to deal with too.  I knew she would never forgive me if she found out about Latisha."
            "But, she did find out, didn't she?  And in her words--she threatened to kick your butt across Texas if you ever done something like that again---right?"
            Angela is squirming and trying not to meet her father's stare, Walker shakes his head slowly.
            "NO!" replies J.W.--"That's not when Angela said that---that was before----when she found out about-----Sherry."
            Kiwi is smirking as he turns in his seat and looks back at Angela. Walker stares him down, gritting his teeth.
                    Donalson is amused, as he twists his head sarcastically looking back at J.W. "Sherry?----Is she another one of your conquests?"
            Alex objects again, this time the judge overrules. "Go ahead and answer young man---and you, counselor--where is all this going? What do you expect to gain by asking personal questions to this witness?"
            "Your honor, it's all going right back to the character and state of mind that Angela Walker was in. Which only proves that her temper has caused her to lash out at many young men that were merely wanting to get to know her---including my client."
                "You're a liar”, shouts J.W.--"that creep was not just trying to get to know Angela---he was stalking her!"
            The judge pounds his gavel again, "Mrs. Walker---get your witness under control---now."
            Alex approaches the witness stand and then looks to the judge, "May I have a few minutes, your honor?"
            The judge nods his head and Alex leans over to talk to J.W.  He whispers back, "I'm sorry Aunt Alex---but that man is saying things about Angela that aren't true."
            "He is only trying to anger you, and you are letting that happen---J.W. please---just take a deep breath and answer his questions as quickly and most of all---be honest. You cannot help Angela by not telling the truth."
            "I am telling the truth, Aunt Alex----but he's making Angela out to be some kind of hot tempered psychotic---she's not the one on trial---Kiwi is!"
            Alex reaches out and touches the young man's hand, and looks at him softly--"Please sweetheart----answer his questions the best you can---okay?"
            J.W. nods, brushing a tear away, "I'll try, Aunt Alex."
                 Donalson watches the emotions between the two, Kiwi is looking up at him, sneering. Donalson throws his hands up in the air, "Your honor---can we get on with it?"
            The questioning resumes and J.W. tells of the phone call that was made to the Winchester home and the threats against Angela, and the encounter with Kiwi and his associates.
            One final question, J.W., did you actually see a weapon in my client's hands---did you see him attack the Reed boy or Gilbert?"
            "No sir, I never saw the attack in it's self."
            "Then how can you be sure that my client was wanting to hurt anyone, especially the Walker girl?"
            J.W.'s face is turning rigid as he grasps the arms of the witness chair. He mumbles, "My Dad was right---you lawyers ask some of the stupidest questions!"
            "Your honor," Donalson is objecting---"tell the witness he's out of order."
            The gavel is being slammed again as J.W. stands up and shouts back at the lawyer, "You're the one out of order---I see one of my classmates stumbling towards me, holding his stomach---the blood gushing out and you're saying that Angela was in no danger---that that creep was only trying to talk to her---you're the one that needs to be on trial---with him!"
            Alex is crossing to the witness stand as the voices are being shouted, the court officers are starting to surround Kiwi's table, and the judge is trying to get order in his court. Alex is trying to quiet J.W., Walker and the twins are saying under their breath, "Way to go, J.W."
            The judge has finally restored order and J.W. is taken from the witness stand into the judges' chambers; court is dismissed for the day and both counselors are told to go to the judges' chambers also.
            Finally Alex and J.W. come out, the twins nudge him slightly, "Way to go J.W.----that's telling 'em."
            Alex turns to the boys, "That will be enough of that---all of you are going back to school."
            "But Mom, school will be out in another hour," replies Cooper.
            Alex's voice is stern, "You will go long enough to find out what your homework is---now all of you--go get in the truck---now!"
            The boys and Angela walk away slowly and Alex watches as Angela reaches out and takes J.W.'s hand. She turns to her husband and her father.
            "We were lucky that Judge Starnes didn't hold J.W. in contempt of court---another outburst like this one---and we could be in serious trouble."
            Gordon Cahill reaches out and puts his arm around his daughter, "Pumpkin---what else is bothering you?"
            Walker takes his wife's briefcase, "Are you feeling okay, hon?"
            Alex stops and looks at both of them, "I've got a very strange feeling about this case-----that sarcastic look on Kiwi's face---it's all I can do to stop myself from slapping it right off --what is left of that face of his."
            Walker pulls her into him, kissing her forehead, "Easy hon----you--of all people can't afford to lose your temper----the rest of us feel the same way."
            Gordon nods his head, "You're sure right about that, son---I would like to have just five minutes alone with that little son of a bitch---he would be begging for mercy."
            "Stand in line, Gordon---and if there's anything left of him---you can have him."
            The young man at the back of the court room watches the Walkers and the old man walk away. He pulls his dark glasses off and silently watches them. He says to himself softly, "You're not the only ones that want a piece of him----he's not going to walk away from this case a free man----I'll see to it that he pays with his life for trying to hurt Angela---that's a promise!"


Tarrant County jail:

The other inmates are taunting the young man.
            A young black prisoner is eyeing the tall lanky young man, looking him up and down. He sneers, "When you get to Huntsville--you will find out how it feels to be on the receiving end of what you've been dishing out. I've heard what you and that man did to those little boys---did it make you feel big---you little 'queer?"
            The young man tries to get further away from his tormentor, "Leave me alone---I didn't do anything."
            The other inmates’ laugh, "Like hell you didn't," replies another black inmate. "You knew just exactly what you were doing---and you enjoyed it."
            The men start to surround the blond headed young man that is now starting to cry. They all rush him and knock him to the floor, pulling at his pants. Someone shouts out, "Let's see how you like it."
            The boy is kicking out at his attackers as a fist goes into his mouth. Two of the inmates flip him over on his stomach and his underwear is being pulled down, the biggest of the inmates sneers as he goes down on his knees and starts to pull his manhood out, "Hold the little queer---I got something for him!"
            The men all start to laugh and Danny screams out as the man shoves himself into his rectum.  The guards hear the young man screaming and hit the alarm; guards are rushing the cell and knocking the attackers back. The big man is still on top of Danny, shouting profanity at him. The guards knock the big man back and others pull Danny to the far side of the cell.
            Danny is sobbing and trying to pull his pants up, one of the guards lean into him and whispers, "So, how does it feel---it didn't feel too good, did it?  Now you know how those little boys felt."
                  Another guard pulls Danny away and shoves him towards the door, he sneers at Danny, too. "We should just let them have you----but you would probably enjoy it too much----after all you were that maniac's lover."
            More guards are brought in and Danny is taken to another holding cell, his inmates cheer and start making lewd gestures with their fists.
            An hour later finds Danny in the interrogation room, waiting to see his lawyer. Mr. Doss and Adlen walk in slowly, seeing the bruises all over Danny's face. The lawyer stares at Danny and shakes his head.
            "Are you ready to talk now, Danny? You have only gotten a small taste of what it's going to be like when you get sent to Huntsville----the guards can't and won't be so eager to help you down there.  Child molesters are the most hated----and you Danny have an extra strike against you."
            Danny is half crying as he stares back at the two men, "What do you mean----an extra strike?"
            Doss shakes his head and stares at Adlen; the young man shakes his head in disbelief. "You're young, Daniel---and considered good looking---but on top of that--you're  naive-----and since you don't know the meaning of that word---you're considered innocent to the ways of life---In other words, Daniel---you will be ravaged night and day by the same kind of sicko that you've spent the last five years or so with----hurting those little boys!!!---Now---is that clear enough for you?"
            Danny stares back at the young man that claims to be his half-brother, his eyes become cold. "I understand-----all too clear---brother!"
            Adlen and Doss exchange glances, Doss studies Danny. "What do you understand, Danny?"
            Danny smirks, "Can I have a cigarette, please?"
            Doss starts reaching to his jacket, "I thought you didn't smoke, Danny----you said that Sarge didn't like the smell of them on your breath?"
            Danny continues to glare at Adlen and replies without even looking at his lawyer. "Sarge is dead----he was eaten alive by those hogs, what he likes doesn't really matter anymore---does it?"
            Doss lights the cigarette and hands it to Danny, the boy takes a deep drag, and comes up coughing. The boy laughs, "Guess I'd better get the hang of how to handle these cancer sticks----right, Adlen?"
            Adlen nods his head slowly, "You do remember me---don't you?"
            "Oh, yes, I remember you---and our Mother! I remember how she fussed over you, if you even got a sniffle--she wanted to take you to the doctor.  I also remember the night I was real sick, puking my guts out-----she would make me clean up my puke, and then I would get sick all over again. I remember how she would holler that I was 'no good' and wished that I had never been born.  The only person that was ever half way nice to me was--Grandma---and that other boy---what was his name?"
            "His name was Woody--he was your step brother."
            Danny starts rubbing his head, "Oh yeah----yeah that's his name---I remember thinking what an odd name--but he wasn't mean to me---not like you were!"
            Adlen stares back at the young man, "I admit I was wrong in some of the things that happened when we were young---but I wasn't all to blame.  I tried to help you, but you kept getting into trouble---no one could tell you anything."
            Danny takes another puff from the cigarette, "I was just a boy---I was barely six years old when you and our Mother 'dumped' me onto the doorsteps of Grandma's----and told her to take care of me, that she wanted nothing more to do with me---and then you both left.  I remember crying so hard that I could hardly breathe---Grandma took me in and wiped my tears----she was always----wiping----my tears.----Let me ask you something, Adlen---did you ever cry----did you ever know what it felt like to cry so hard---your stomach would hurt and you felt like your head would burst from so much pain?"
            Adlen shakes his head slowly, "No------I guess not."
            Doss looks to both young men, "Look---I know that this is all so difficult for the two of you to remember----and you two can hash it out----later.  Right now, we have to concentrate on your trial, Danny-----and what your defense will be.  Do you understand?"
            Danny grounds out the cigarette, "Yeah----I understand----from what I hear I'm either going to Huntsville or will spend the rest of my life in a insane asylum for child molesters--that's some choice!"
            "I don't know who has been telling you all of this---but you have another choice."
            "What choice is that?" Asks Danny.
            "You can turn state witness against Kiwi---and you can also ask for immunity in return for testifying against Ranger Cordell Walker, saying that he deliberately let those hogs kill Sarge. That he stopped those officers from giving any kind of aid---how about it Danny?"
            "And, I'll go free---if I do this?"
            Adlen shakes his head, "No Daniel---you won't go free--but they can't ask for the death penalty if you cooperate---you'll most likely get life."
            Danny starts to whimper, "Life?  You mean spend the rest of my life in prison-----and have those guys after me all the time!  What kind of choice is that?"
            Doss reaches out and touches Danny's shoulder, "At least you will be alive-----or would you prefer to be put to death?"
            Danny's tears start to fall, "Will they electrocute me?"
            "No, Daniel----they don't do that anymore---they will give you a lethal injection, but more than likely you will stay on death role for years till they get around to carrying out your sentence.  Do you want to live with that hanging over your head, year after year?"
            Danny drops his head and starts crying, "I don't want to die---I was only doing what Sarge forced me to do----I never really wanted to hurt those boys."
            Danny's lawyer lights up another cigarette and hands it to him, "Then---what defense are we going for, Danny? Will you turn state witness against Kiwi?"
            Danny starts puffing on the cigarette and shaking his head, "Yes----yes---I'll do it-----tell me what to do and say."
            Doss smiles, looking back at Adlen. "Fine, Danny----we will go over your testimony against Kiwi-----now what about Ranger Walker?  Will you testify against him?"


Walker ranch:                                      

            It's late when the Walkers get ready to turn in for the night when the phone rings.
            "Hey Trivette---how did your trip go down to Adobe Wells?"
            "Beats me, Walkman---I get all the way down there to talk to this guy and he's been taken to the hospital in Abilene----heart attack."
            "Who was he, did he say why he wanted to talk to you?"
            "The records have him listed as a John Doe---surprise, surprise. All I can find out about the man is that he's in late 70's, and he's been at Crescent Arms for about 15years! The doctors say a daughter admitted him; he just went off the deep end, suffering from Alzheimer’s and depression. It’s just a bad case of walking off from the family home, sometimes being gone for days. Police kept picking him up and taking him home, the daughter couldn't care for him---so she admitted him---after he tried to burn their house down----talking about demons!"
            "How can he be a John Doe, Trivette---what was his daughters' name?"
            "That's the strange part, Walker----you'll never believe what the daughters' name is----Doe---Sarah Doe!"
            Walker is shaking his head as Alex comes out of the shower. "Don't tell me---the man's given name is John----right?"
            "You got it partner."
            "That is strange------did you see any pictures of him---do you know him---why was he asking to talk to you?"
            "I'm on my way to Abilene now---I'll call you tomorrow?  How did my son's testimony go? Is he there?"
            "Yeah, he's here---want to talk to him?"
            "No, it's late and he's probably asleep so just tell him I called---I'll talk to him tomorrow.  So, he did good, huh? He was so nervous, I wanted to be there for him---tell him that, for me—okay?"
            Walker nods his head, "Sure, I'll tell him---and 'yes' his testimony was very solid in helping Angela. That lawyer of Kiwi's has really been trying to degrade her character---but J.W. stood firm in not saying anything against her."
            "That comes as no surprise, Walker---you know J.W. would never do anything to hurt Angela---you know that."
            Walker nods, "Yeah, I realize that-----I was real proud of the way he stood up to that lawyer."
            Trivette laughs, "Yeah----sort of like the way he stood up to you----right?"
            Walker laughs, "Yeah----sort of like the way he 'stood' up to me---he's a good boy----takes after his father----and his godfather.”
Walker hangs up the phone as Alex looks back at him, smiling that smile. He grins, "And--what is that smile all about?"
            "I'm just happy that you're seeing J.W. for the nice, sweet, boy that he is----and not some one that is trying to lure your daughter into something."
            Walker shakes his finger at his wife, "Well, the jury is still out on that------J.W. is still a male----and we both know what he's capable of---don't we?"
            Alex shakes her head and goes to sit down at her dressing table to brush her hair. Walker takes the brush from her and gently brushes her hair back, stopping to kiss her neck. She giggles as she reaches back to touch his beard, "Honey----when are you going to admit that Angela is growing up---you've got to lighten up on her."
            "We're not talking about Angela, we're talking about J.W."
            "You know very well that when we talk about J.W., the conversation will get around to our daughter---it's like salt and pepper, you can't mention one without ------oh, my God----I didn't mean that the way it must have sounded---I didn't mean the racial slur---I didn't mean that."
            Walker reaches down and kisses his wife's cheek, "Hon---I know you didn't mean it that way--it was just a metaphor----neither of us are racial--we both know that."
            Alex lets her hands linger on her husband's arms as he embraces her, she sighs and stands up. "Walker---we do have to consider the fact that if J.W. and Angela ever had a child togeth---"
                    Walker's voice rises, "A child? What's all this talk about having a child together---do you know something I don't---now what are you keeping from me?"
To be continued………………….

Seekers –Trial - Chapter 17           

By Sasquaw

            Alex turns and crosses to their bedroom door, making sure it's closed tightly. She stares back at her husband.

            “Would you please lower your voice, I am not keeping anything from you, I'm merely asking something that both of us should think about.  You know there is an attraction between those two and it's getting stronger."
                    Walker's temper is starting to rise. "Angela is too young to be thinking along that line----has she said something to you about this? Is she and J.W.----"
                       "Honey---please calm down-----"
            "Well?  Has she?"
            Alex takes a deep sigh, and pulls her husband over to sit down on the bed. "Walker-----this is getting out of hand-----and 'you' have got to get a grip.  Our daughter will be 16 in less than 6 weeks---and she's going to be dating---that means boys will be coming to call on her----are you going to meet them at the door with a barrage of questions and a shotgun?"
                   Walker's eyes narrow, "I won't bother with asking any questions----and I won't need a gun."
            Alex is trying hard not to laugh as she pictures Walker giving some young man the 3rd degree. The boys were already afraid to come to the ranch just for innocent parties and get togethers, she can imagine how scared they will be to come calling for a date. She giggles as she reaches out to squeeze his lips together and replies.

"If I had known what kind of possessive green-eyed monster I was creating when I got pregnant with your daughter---I think I would have had second thoughts about unleashing you into fatherhood."
                  "Alex," stammers Walker---"you don't mean that----do you?"
            Alex kisses him hard, still holding his lips together, "I am teasing you, honey!  Goodness---lighten up---I didn't take that threat to heart, after all I released you into fatherhood 3 more times since then---and about to spring you on an unsuspecting society again.  You'd think by now, I would know what causes it."
            Walker finally forces a grin, "You know what causes it," he pats her protruding stomach, "when the Cahill/Walker genes get together----there's no stopping them little critters from reaching their destination."
            Alex smiles and kisses her husband slowly, "Seriously, honey----we have to talk about a few things.  I am worried about what might happened once Angela does start dating and this whole new world opens up to her. She's been so good about accepting the rules---you heard what Dylan said about getting all of that teasing from her schoolmates---and being referred to as 'square"--like us old folks."
            "I don't care what the kids are calling it---Angela has always marched to the sound of her own drum---she's not impressed with what the other kids are saying or doing."
                 "Walker---you are not being reasonable. The main reason Angela doesn't balk too much about the rules is because she doesn't want to go against her "Daddy"----but one of these days honey----she's going to meet that certain young man---and she is not going to be too concerned with what you are saying! You better learn to lighten up where she's concerned---or you two could be heading for 'head on collision' and I know you don't want that."
            "I'm trying, Alex--this isn't easy."
                  "Honey---you have got to try harder----talk to her----about what she expects out of life. And, don't be so quick to judge the boys---think how you must have felt at that age when you had to meet the young girls' parents."
            "Okay, okay----I'll try harder! I never thought I would be this way, I always thought that I would be more than rationale and could see all the sides to everything. But, Alex---it's different now---all I see is a little girl----and then I think back at what that son of a bitch tried to do to her---and I wasn't there--" Walker rises from the bed and starts walking in circles----"I can't stand it, Alex---- I just want to rip him apart!  I felt the same way years ago when LaRue was stalking you!"
            Alex walks to her husband, putting her arms around his neck, "I know how you feel, sweetheart----I want to do the same thing to that piece of slime for hurting both of our children. And, soon we have Danny's trial coming up and again our family is going to be put in the spotlight and our other son will be on the witness stand--And, that's something else----there's a good chance that Little Ray will have to make some kind of statement."
            "What?  Are you serious, Alex----he's just a baby---what could he possibly say that won' t already be covered?"
                  "Because, besides Cordell and that Luther Franks---no one else knows what happened out there. Little Ray saw everything that Cordell did--and Luther Franks is still refusing to testify against Danny."
            "That doesn't make any sense, why would he refuse to testify---it would take time off of his sentence. What's he afraid of-----Sarge can't hurt him anymore?"
            Alex shakes her head and starts taking her little gown off, rubbing her stomach. "I don't know, hon---but you and Jimmy will be called to testify too, as well as those two troopers!  And that's what is making me nervous---this part of the trial could get real sticky."
                  Walker's eyes turn soft, "How so? Honey---what are you worried about?"
            "I am worried about what is going to be said, leading up to Sarge's death. Walker, you heard what my Dad said the prosecution was planning to bring against you. You might be charged with attributing to his death, that you didn't try to help him once he fell into that hog pen."
            "Alex, the man was coming after me with a hypodermic needle, the same kind of needle that he used on our son and almost killed him! I was acting in self-defense and he didn't fall into the hog pen, he ran into it, trying to avoid arrest. We got into a fight, he was still trying to shove that damn thing into me, I broke his damn wrist and shoved it into his chest---As far as trying to help him---he was beyond help and I wouldn't have helped him anyways--I wanted him dead!"
            "That is what I'm afraid of---Walker----your anger in all of this----the prosecution will tear you apart on that witness stand---you failed to render help---you are a officer of the law---you are not to pass judgment!"
                     "Judgment?  Alex---that man was a cold bloodied killer; he preyed on little boys---doing unthinkable things to them--before finally snuffing out their lives! He tried to do the same to our boys, and he would have probably succeeded had Hank Ferguson not intervened!!"
            Alex puts her hands up and walks over to her husband, "I know that---but Walker---the courts are not going to see it the way you and I see it. We know what would have unfolded had Hank not been there and given our boys time enough to escape, but unfortunately----we can't climb inside the mind of that lunatic and relay to the courts what we say would have happened. The courts have to have proof, not speculation."
            Walker shakes his head, "Proof?  Well, how does this grab you, counselor---maybe the courts should let the judge and jury see the pictures that were taken in the morgue of what was left of those poor little boys' bodies----especially Bobby Jackson."
                    "Walker----sweetheart---I agree with what you're saying----and when Danny's trial comes up---I will push for those pictures to be brought into court---I want the jury to see what that monster and Danny were doing to those kids-------but charges will still be brought against you for not rendering help. Walker----you could lose your badge----or you might even get jail time!"
            Walker reaches out and puts his arms around his wife, the size of her belly at almost 7 months making it impossible for him to get his arms around her completely. "Alex-----I was trying to protect Cooper and myself, I acted in self defense----I was protecting my family. Now if I should lose my badge or get time for doing what every man is supposed to do---"protect his family" then so be it!  I do not regret my actions---and if I was put into that same situation, I would do it again--in order to protect you---or either of our kids---that's just the way it is!"
            Alex nods her head slowly, rubbing her husband's chest, "I knew you were going to say that---because that's just the kind of a man you are---you're so stubborn----and that's one of the reasons I fell in love with you-----almost 20 yrs ago."
            Walker teases, "Twenty years?  Alex----you've been in love with me since that new years' eve at CD's----and I kissed you---and that's been longer than twenty years. You haven't been able to keep your hands off me since that night---and you know it."
            Alex lowers her eyes and looks back up at him in that way that drives him insane, "Oh shut-up" she says hitting his chest, "it wasn't all one-sided, you know. But, you were always so darn shy about asking me out."
            "Shy?  Alex, I don't know the meaning of the word shy----I was never shy with you."
            Alex's mouth drops open, "Really?  Oh sure--you wasn't shy?  How about our first date, you were too shy to even kiss me goodnight!"
            Walker gives her that special wink, "I wasn't 'shy', I was just being 'cautious'---I knew that if I kissed you goodnight, you wouldn't be able to control yourself and you would be all over me-----"
            Alex gives out a loud gasp and hits Walker harder in the chest, "You-----oh, I was right about you when I called you egotistical, mule-headed, self--centered-----"
            The rest of Alex's description of her husband is silenced by a long and sensuous kiss, which she returns eagerly. All of a sudden, Walker pulls back, a gleam in his eyes, his brow going up and down. He reaches down and takes her hand whispering, "Come with me."
            Alex reaches back for her little gown as her husband is pulling her to the door. "Honey-----where are we going?"
            "You'll see," he winks at her.
            Alex smiles, "Are we going to Uncle Ray's cabin---if so I got to get a sweater?"
            "Nope----we're not even leaving the house---we're going to the basement."
            "The basement---why?"
            Walker looks back at her, smiling---"When I was down there the other night doing my exercises---guess what fell down---out of the rafters?"
            Alex looks at her husband confused, "What? What fell down?"
            Walker pulls her gently, "Remember the ‘bungee’?”
            "The 'bungee'-----oh my God----I forgot all about that----I thought you put that away---years ago when the twins found it and started swinging on it?"
            Walker nods his head, "Yeah---I did---I tied it up to the rafters, I thought I had it hidden pretty good, but guess it got dislodged and worked itself loose when the boys and I were working at that end of the attic on Cordell's bedroom."
            Alex smiles deviously, and whispers--"The bungee---how many years has it been since we used that little 'toy'?"
            Walker laughs, "I don't know---I just know it's been 'too long'!  So--want to see if it still works?"
                "Walker, are you sure it's safe, the rubber hasn't got old or cracked---will it still support me--remember, there's two of me now?"
            Walker is pulling his wife out into the hallway, they lower their voices as they pass their kids' bedrooms. "Yes----it's still in excellent shape----I'll be gentle," he teases.


            Walker and Heck watch as the 'putas' are being unloaded from the van, there are seven of them----and as Heck said--they were all in pretty bad shape. The guards hurry to meet them and make their picks, and the women are soon taken away. The prisoners are all out in the yard as they leer at the women, wiping their mouths, and tugging at the front of their pants.
            Heck looks to the Ranger and sees a sadness coming over his friend's face. "Some of these men have not seen their wives or girlfriends in years, my friend. They will become like animals before the women are taken out, if any of them live to be taken out."
            Walker takes a deep sigh, rubbing his wedding ring. "What do you mean, if any of them live?"
            Heck shakes his head sadly, "There are about 15 guards here, they will have each of the women over and over----then some of the women will be taken to our cells----and you know the rest, my friend."
            Walker nods, "And, when they are brought to our cell is when we make our move----are you ready, Heck? We will have to move fast----there will be no second thoughts--are you ready?"
            Heck smiles as he rubs the front of his pants, and he notices Walker touching his ring, over and over. "Are you sure you do not want to wait till morning, my friend----it's been a long time since you have seen your wife----surely one of the women has caught your eye.  They won't look so bad after we have had to listen to the cries of pleasure during the night."
            Walker glares back at his friend, he says nothing as he turns and walks back to his cell. The old Mexican watches him, and decides to give him time alone.
            The old man's remarks were right, no matter how hard the Ranger tried to block them out, he could still hear the pleasures of the night. He sat in the corner of his cell, the furthest away from the sounds, but they still taunted him. Walker puts his hands over his ears, repeating over and over.  "Alex, Alex----I won't weaken-----I swear to you."
            His thoughts go back to that first night on the rafting trip, and he and Alex could not control their feelings for each other any longer. They gave themselves to each other repeatedly during the night, and the early morning hours. When the sun poked its head through the gray clouds, they were both exhausted, and tender. Walker watched Alex throughout the day as she tried not to show how sore she was. Every time he started to laugh, he was reminded that he wasn't in much better shape.
            When the trip was over they drove back to his ranch and spent the rest of the weekend in his Uncle Ray's old cabin. They hated for the weekend to end, and then he was back on another case, and she was knee deep in court cases. After that it was hard for them to get any time alone, and they were both starting to feel the pressure again. Then Dalton Reed was back in Dallas and he was starting to ask Alex out again, and Walker was furious!
            Even though Alex was refusing Dalton's invitations, she and Walker still had words---finally agreeing they would see no one else. Their relationship progressed and every available moment was spent with each other. He knew he was falling in love with her, and he knew she felt the same way about him. They fought the temptation to tell each other of their true feelings, both of them afraid that once their feelings were out, they would start taking advantage of them. But, each time they spent the long weekends with each other, it was getting harder and harder to keep those words intact. The first time he told her was on her birthday.  They’d had a quiet dinner at the ranch, and Walker cooked the whole meal himself.
            Alex expected to see steaks, but Walker surprised her with lobster, shrimp, and a huge salad---with her favorite dressing---blue cheese. Afterwards they took a moonlight ride down to Uncle Ray's cabin. Walker let her walk in ahead of him, the room was filled with flowers, especially lilacs---her favorite. Soft music was playing on the little portable cassette player--the sultry sounds of Kenny G's "Forever In Love". Alex was speechless as he took her into his arms and they danced slowly to the music. At the end of the song, he whispered to her that he loved her.
            Alex stared back at him for the longest, and then asked him slowly to repeat what he just said. He did so, and she asked him again to repeat it over and over. Finally she threw her arms around his neck and said, "Its about time---I thought I was going to have to make a fool of myself and admit it first!"
            They laughed as he twirled her around the room, finally pulling her down gently to the sleeping bags and endless hours of making love. Walker smiles to himself, remembering that night. Their love making was always intense, the longer they knew each other, the more intense it got and even after 17 yrs of marriage, it never got routine or boring. They were always finding new ways to keep it exciting and new positions to explore.
            When Angela was about a year old, they discovered the 'bungee'. Alex discovered it first; she was defending a client on sexual abuse. The object was shown in court and Alex was having trouble concentrating on the case and trying to figure out---just how the contraption worked.  The whole courtroom gasped and then laughed as her client described it and offered to give a demonstration to Alex or anyone else that was willing to have it demonstrated on them.  Alex waved the suggestion off and her client was left alone to try and show how the object was put into action. All eyes were on her client, including the female judge. Alex was trying to keep a professional interest, but her mind kept wandering.  Her client was found innocent, the jury surpassing that any woman had to know what was going to unfold when she climbed into that contraption.
            Alex couldn't get the 'bungee' off her mind and when her husband called later, she had to tell him about it---in a 'round about' way. Walker remembered the long silence at her end of the line, and he too, was picturing it in his mind. "Alex-----what are you waiting for---order it---order two!"
            And so, the bungee had made it's first--but definitely not its last appearance in the Walker household---taking up residence in the basement.
                  "AMIGO-----They come---they are coming, my friend---there are four of them--two guards."
            Walker is awakened from his reverie when he hears voices coming down the pathway to their cell. The guards are laughing as they come up to Walker's cell, they see Heck and begin to fan the air. The women are too exhausted to laugh, but the stench from Heck's infected leg has reached their nostrils. The guards open the cell, shoving the four women inside. As they stumble towards the prisoners, Walker kicks out and takes the guard down with one kick. Heck reaches for the guard's gun as Walker snaps the neck of the other one. Heck then hits the other guard over the head. The women are scrambling back, trying to get away from Walker and Heck. The old Mexican tells them to be quiet in Spanish, saying they will not be hurt. Walker looks back at the women, they are all bruised, their clothes doing very little to hide their nakedness He sees a young woman, not much older than Angela.
            Walker walks over to her slowly, trying to tell her that he won't hurt her. She's shivering and looking up at him with beautiful dark eyes, Walker can tell that at one time; she was a very beautiful young girl. But, this is obviously not the first time that she's been in this situation, judging from all the healed bruises. He reaches back and takes the dirty old blanket off his cot and wraps it around her. The other women gather around her.
            Walker turns to his friend, "Tell them to wait five minutes and then they can make their escape---we've got to get out of here."
            Heck relays the message to the frightened women, he touches the hair of the young girl, and crosses his chest---"May the blessed saints be with you."
            Walker and Heck make their way to the front entrance, there are only three guards on the gate, but they have company, another 'puta'. Walker signals his friend to wander aimlessly out into the yard, as two of the guards go to check on him. The third guard is obviously busy and does not see the bearded Ranger sneaking up behind him. The young woman is on her knees in front of the guard, the guard's hands on top of her head, keeping it down. Walker comes up behind the guard, putting one arm around his throat and snapping. The young girl is so wrapped up in her duties that it takes a few seconds to tell their 'john' is no longer feeling anything.
            Walker stares down at the woman, she was obviously enjoying what she was doing, but the Ranger had put a stop to that. She smiles back at Walker, licking the top of her mouth, and gently letting her hands glide over her own body, her blouse open to reveal her bosom. She inches closer to the Ranger, smiling.
            Her English is broken, but she makes herself clear that she will continue with the bearded one. Walker backs up slowly, and doubling up his fist, gives her a quick jab to the mouth. He catches her before she hits the floor, pulling her over to the far side of the gate. He sighs, "Sorry about that------but I couldn't take the chance of you screaming out."
            The two guards have reached Heck and are pushing him back and forth, Heck sees Walker coming up behind the first guard. Walker taps the guard and hits him hard with a karate chop to the neck. The other guard gets a kick to the face, the bones snap in his nose. Heck reaches out with a fist and silences him. Walker grabs the old man and they start running to the fence. Walker gives the old man a boost over the fence and then he scales it. The two men look at each other and smile.
                   "Freedom--Heck----how does it feel?"
            The old man starts to cry, "Like nothing, I can describe----but senor Walker----we have a long ways to go."
            Walker puts his arm around the old man and helps him up, "I know, my friend--------we have miles to go before we sleep and that journey now starts."


                 "Honey----are you sure this thing is going to hold me?" Alex asks quietly.
            "Yes, Alex----you haven't gained that much weight, I promise I'll keep you from falling."
            "What about the door----are you sure you locked it?"
            Walker sighs, "Yes----I locked it----damn!!  I can remember a time when we didn't worry about locking doors behind us--that was the least of our worries."
            Alex is struggling to get the harness around the top part of her body, she laughs----"That was when we didn't have four kids in the house-----make that five---J.W. is here too----and we have another one on the way.  I just hope this 'toy' doesn't cause me to go into early labor----I can just hear myself explaining to Dr. Bates how that came about."
            Walker laughs as he's gently urging his wife onward. "Come on honey---get your sexy little bottom up here into this seat."
            Alex is starting to giggle, "Sexy?  Walker-----I must look like a baby elephant-----how can you think this is stimulating or arousing for you?"
            "Well---I just do-----you're always sexy to me---you were bigger than this with the twins---- I was constantly turned on then---why shouldn't I be now-----your tummy is-----verrryyyy sexy----trust me."
            Now Alex is trying to get her feet into the stirrups as she is elevated about three feet off the floor, and she's laughing. "This always reminds me of the first time I had to spread my legs for a pap smear----getting my feet into those darn metal stirrups-----and they were always so cold."
            Walker is grinning and trying to balance his wife as she gets situated, "Yeah----but those metal ones were stationary-------these are heavy bungee chords----verrrry flexible-----and I can mold you into all kinds of positions."
            Alex is now seated in the contraption as she smiles back at her husband, "Honey---you've never needed a bungee or any other kind of contraption to mold me into any position."
            Walker continues to grin as he gently spreads his wife's legs further apart, and walks slowly into her. "The spider has come back to it's web-----and believe me-----your web is very intoxicating----to say the very least."
            Alex giggles as she reaches out and puts her arms around her husband's neck, drawing him in closer. "Hmmmmmm------as much as I love to hear your sexy voice---shut-up---and let's get down to the 'nitty gritty'."


            Cordell hears a faint tap on his bedroom door and he turns away from his computer and tells the person to enter. J.W. and Cooper walk in and J.W. looks around at what has been done to the attic.
            "Wow---this is far out---you've got the "whole" attic for your bedroom?"
            Cordell smiles, "Yep----rad---isn't it?  What do you think about the stereo system?"
            J.W. shakes his head, "Yeah-----Coop was telling me how you two got it all set up---turn it on man---let's hear it."
            Cordell shakes his head, "Naw----I better not---it's late and even though it is soundproof, sometimes Mom can still feel the vibrations----I don't want to wake her and Dad up."
            Cooper flops down on his brothers' bed, "No need to worry about that, bro'---we saw Mom and Dad heading down to the basement."
            "To the basement?  Dad doing his exercises at this hour?"
            Cooper smiles back at his twin, "I don't think so---remember how weird acting Dad was when we saw that object fall down out of the attic----I think they're up to something."
            J.W. stares back at Cooper, "What object----what are you talking about?"
            Cordell sighs, "Oh that------Dad acted a little embarrassed, he didn't think we saw it-----Coop and I were coming down the stairs just as he was trying to put it back up into the rafters and cover it up.  It looked like a huge bungee chord---or something."
            "Yeah," chimes his twin, "it had all these straps and stuff on it and-------''
            J.W. snaps his finger, "I know what it was----it was a sex toy----that's what it's called---THE BUNGEE."
            The twins stare back, "You mean like something out of one of those sex toy stores?"
            J.W. nods his head, grinning---"Yeah----that's it!"
                 Cordell's mouth drops open, "You got to be kidding----Mom?  Dad?  No way-----they don't do those things-----no way."
            Cooper shakes his head, "Oh brother!  I swear Cordell----you can act so naive at times-----you probably think that Mom and Dad don't even have sex---except to have us."
            "Oh shut up Coop---you didn't know what that thing was either----and how do you know what it is, J.W.? What makes you such a expert?"
            The young man's olive eyes look back at the twins, shaking his head,  "You two---are the ultimate country bumpkins----I know what the thing is you're describing, because my Mom and Dad had one------so –dah!"
            Cooper rolls off his brother's bed, "How does it work?"
            J.W. smirks, enjoying the idea that he knows more than Cooper about sex---"Are you sure you two are old enough to hear this---after all, I don't want to be accused of attributing to the ears of the minor."
            Cooper glares back, "Shut up and talk----and this better be good."
            "Okay---don't say I didn't warn you---here goes.  It's like a heavy bungee chord that they used to have at 6 Flags---you remember them, don't you?  Okay---these have two----no three separate parts to them. The woman sits down in this seat like thing and she puts her feet into things like---stirrups, and they spread out."
            The twins are trying to picture this in their mind, and Cooper edges his friend on, "And---then what?"
            J.W. spreads his hands out and slumps his shoulders, "And, then they have sex---what did you think they were going to do---just swing each other back and forth?"
            "Wait a minute," says Cordell---"you’re saying they have sex in the swing---both of them---at the same time?"
            J.W. and Cooper burst out laughing, "No----Cordell---only the one has sex---the other one just watches!"



Seekers – Trial - Chapter 18             


             Cordell's face turns to anger as he reaches to his bed and grabs his pillow and hits J.W. square in the head and then throws the pillow at his twin.
            "You smart alecks----that's not what I meant and you know it----both of you think you're so smart and that you know everything."
            J.W. and Cooper are still laughing as Cordell is doing a slow burn. "Well-----what did you mean bro'---explain yourself."
            Cordell waves his arms up in the air, "Forget it----it's not worth discussing----especially with you two!  You think you're so 'macho', J.W. just because you scored with that girl in Chicago---and you Cooper----you didn't know what that thing was either----hell----we were using it for a swing.

Now all three boys are laughing and J.W. is laughing so hard he can hardly speak, "A swing?  Uncle Walker let you two swing on it?"
            Cooper is holding his stomach, " No, man----we mean the first time we found it----several years ago when Dad told us to clean out the basement.---I think we were about 5---maybe six, huh, Cordell?"
            "Yeah, I think so----we thought it was a swing---we just thought it was kind of weird looking, but we were swinging back and forth on it.  Then Dad got all flustered----and started yelling at us to put it back. Then Mom came downstairs to see what all the yelling was about, her whole face turned red-----and then she started yelling at Dad."
            Cooper is rolling on his brothers' bed, holding his stomach and trying to talk, "Wow---if we had known what it was----we would have been in really hot water."
            J.W. is shaking his head, "I'm surprised that Uncle Walker didn't send you two to the barn."
            Cordell shakes his head, "No----but I think Mom was wanting to send Dad there----she was really upset and kept telling him to hide it-----or get rid of it.  What about you, J.W.----how did you know about the one your parents had?"
            J.W. suddenly stops laughing as he gets a serious look on his face,  "By accident---pretty much the same way you two found out-----but with my Mom---she just left the house."
            The twins become quiet, and Cordell asks, "How old were you?"
            "About eight, I think."
            Cordell nods his head slowly, "Just about the time that your Mom walked out, huh?"
            J.W. starts rubbing the back of his head, "Yeah----about that time----but I don't want to talk about it."
            "Okay, J.W.----that's cool----you don't have to talk about it," replies Cooper.
            The boys all remain silent and J.W. replies softly, "My Mom never liked that thing-----and later in the years that followed, I understood why----but--I don't want to talk about it----so no more questions----okay?"
            "That's cool J.W.---no more questions."
            The twins look back and forth at J.W., they know the secret that J.W. is trying to hide. Cooper speaks softly, "You don't have to be ashamed, J.W.---it wasn't your fault."
            "Who the hell said it was my fault," J.W. yells back.
                  "Nobody said it was your fault, Cooper didn't mean it like that------"
            A faint tap is heard on Cordell's bedroom door and Angela pokes her head in, "Hey----you guys, can I come in?"
            The boys all try to act normal as Angela walks in, looking at them puzzled. "What's up, what are you guys talking about?"
                   "Nothing," replies Cooper, quickly.
            Angela nods her head, "I see----you were all talking about girls again----and their anatomies-----right?"
            Cordell tries to laugh it off, "Yeah-----something along that line.  Why are you still up, I thought you were asleep."
            Angela crosses over to her brothers' bed and frowns at the mess that it's in, "Couldn't sleep----apparently no one else in this house can either---with the exception of Little Ray----nothing spoils his sleep."
            Angela motions for her brother to get up, and then she starts making Cordell's bed up, "Good grief Cooper----are you not happy with keeping your own bed looking like a battle zone that you have to come up here and mess up Cordell's too?"
            Cordell reaches over and takes his sister's hand and pulls her over to a chair, "Lay off, sis---we were all just messing around, nothing to get upset about.  Now why couldn't you sleep, are you nervous about tomorrow?"
            "Yeah, I can't stop thinking about having to get up there on the witness stand---I wanted to talk to Mom about it, but neither she nor Dad are in their bedroom---they're not in the kitchen----where the heck are they? I thought maybe Dad was doing his exercises, but the basement door is locked."
            The boys all look at each other and grin, and J.W. nods his head slowly----"See?  I told you."
            Angela looks to her brothers who are trying not to smile, "Told you what?  What are you three up to----do you know where Mom and Dad are, both the autos are still here-----where are they?"
            J.W. gets a smug look on his face, "Well, Angela----breakfast will tell."
                     Angela's eyes narrow, "What has breakfast got to with this conversation?"
            The twins burst out laughing, and Cooper replies----"You'll see sister dear-----if Mom and Dad have second helpings on everything."
            The boys all start laughing and nudging each other, Angela just shakes her head----"You three are so weird."


            Walker has Alex sitting in the little seat, gently spreading her legs further apart, as he lowers his mouth down to her left breast, sucking gently. He gently massages the nipple and it comes to attention immediately. "Hmm---your breasts are really tender tonight---they wasn't this tender yesterday morning."
            Alex giggles, pulling her knees in and squeezing her husband's buttocks gently, "Must be the excitement---of our long lost friend----oh, honey---this is kinky---I feel like I'm floating in mid air."
            Walker continues to kiss her breasts, his left hand going down to her stomach, rubbing gently with open palm. "You are floating, Alex----you're about three feet off the floor--- you like this feeling, don't you?"
            Alex sighs as both her hands go down to his backside and she massages his buttocks, "Ooooohhh yes----honey----you got to try this---there is no pressure on my back what so ever, we could keep this up----all night."
                   Walker's tongue inches down her stomach slowly, his hand going to her crotch, "No thanks----I like it better with you in the 'hot seat'----didn't we try it with me in the seat and you in my lap the last time?  You couldn't relax, you kept saying the cord was going to break---we ended up laughing and it took forever for me to get an erection again?"
            Alex continues to tease, "You mean you didn't like the anal stimulation?"
            "I didn't say that---"that" I did enjoy---but I was a little nervous about it in the beginning, with you not knowing for sure what you were doing and all. A man can get hurt that way, you know."
            Alex starts to laugh, "Honey----men do that to each other all the time in the----in the homosexual world----and what do you mean you were nervous about me doing it?"
            Walker steps back and looks at his wife---"Alex don't start laughing----I'm horny enough---and besides, I don't give a rat's hinny about what those 'weirdoes' do to each other-----I've never had anything stuck up my rear before---except for a suppository."
            "Poor baby," she teases, "I was gentle, wasn't I?"
            Walker returns to his project, reaching down and biting her stomach gently, "Yes---you were gentle-----and I liked it----but-----."
            "But, what?"
            "Well-----I like being the one in charge and----and-----well------you know?"
            Alex pulls her right hand up slowly, letting it brush gently across his crotch, her fingers encircling his manhood. "Honey-----what makes you think that you're in any more control, stimulating you this way, than that-----other way?"
            "You know Alex---you're starting to make me nervous----and we both know what happens when I get nervous------it's 'droopy dog’ time.”
            Alex bursts out laughing and then quickly buries her head into her husband's chest, "I'm sorry, honey------ I promise, no more teasing, and you can be in charge," she kisses him tenderly, "you can play the big chief-----and I'm your slave----so start cracking that whip---master."
            Walker nods his head, "Good----now----where was I---I'm going to have to start all over again."
            "Yes, yes-----start from the very beginning---I love it, when you mess up."
            Walker goes back to the right breast and begins a gentle suckle, keeping his eyes on his wife's face, then commences slowly down his wife's stomach, kissing and licking gently, his right hand going roughly inside the seat and pulling her upward. His mouth closes down hard on her mound, causing her to jerk, she gasps.
            He continues to watch her expression as her eyes look at him in almost disbelief, and then his tongue goes deep inside her vagina and then in an upward motion. She gasps even louder, letting out a slow breath of air. She smiles that smile that he knows is utter enjoyment. He stops and looks up at her, kissing her stomach lightly.
            He takes his forefinger and inserts it inside her vagina, rotating it slowly and still watching her eyes. "You know, Mrs. Walker, what happens when you tease me?  If you're not careful, I'm going to have to break out the handcuffs again."
            Alex takes a deep breath, enjoying the sensation of his finger, she narrows her eyes and replies," You wouldn't dare."
            The Ranger continues to rotate his finger slowly, then lowers his head back to her mound, and flicks his tongue back and forth against her clitoris, "Don't challenge me, woman---you know I never turn down a challenge."
            "Don't I know it," Alex whispers to herself.  "Walker-----you were relentless that day."
            Walker continues the onslaught of his finger and then his tongue, he raises up to her and kisses her, his tongue going deep inside her mouth, she accepts him eagerly. Breathless, he whispers, "And-----you enjoyed every---minute --- -- of it."
            Alex is breathless also as she whispers back, "Oooooh, yes---you kept me handcuffed the rest of the day----you wouldn't even let me get dressed!"
            "That's not true," he whispers, going back to her breasts and twirling around the nipples with his tongue, "I put an apron around you, while you were fixing my breakfast."
            Alex grits her teeth and reaches down for his manhood, squeezing gently, but firm---"OH, that was so big of you---lucky it was a week day and the kids were in school----and luckily no one else came calling!"
            Walker is now going back down to her mound, pulling her hand away, "I would have just told them that you were 'indisposed'-----Besides I had you right where I wanted you, and you were sooo sexy, walking around with your hands cuffed, wearing nothing but a apron."
            "Next time Cowboy-----it's my turn."
            Walker has found her mound again and starts sucking gently, "Whatever you say, honey-you can hog tie me and keep me prisoner----I won't complain-----not as long as you torture me with that sexy mouth."
            "You got it Cowboy, now find a way to climb up here and let me do my------- torturing. You know sweetheart, that sometimes I think our lovemaking borders just slightly towards S&M.  I prosecute sex offenders for less than what we're doing."
            The Ranger continues to nibble at her love nest, "S&M, huh----and have you ever asked yourself where you come up with these little sex games? I think you deliberately take the sex cases so you can listen to the explicit details----then come home relaying them to me----and getting me all worked up---am I right?"
            Alex draws a deep breath as her husband's tongue flicks back and forth across her mound, "Well-----just who would you rather me relay these ideas to---Mr. Walker?"
                 Walker's brow dances as he bites down gently, "Never mind---you just keep taking those cases-----and listening to the details---we'll always come up with new ideas and positions."
            Walker steps back, and observes the contraption. "Well, I don't think we better trust this to holding both of us-----so we'll try it this way."
            Walker takes his right leg and puts it through the seat, encircling around the back of Alex's buttocks, hopping on one foot to get himself situated in front of his wife. Alex is trying not to laugh, but she's never seen her husband is such a emasculating position.    "And, he thinks he's in charge-----in this position?"
            Alex fights to keep from laughing as she reaches down and gently strokes him, lowering her head. "Honey---this isn't going to work---you're going to get very tired, standing on one leg."
            Walker groans, pulling his leg back down, "Yeah----and not to mention---the leg cramps."
            Alex looks around the basement, "Hmm----there's always the Total Gym, and it inclines-----so you can be more comfortable---and I can---take my time----you know I don't like being rushed."
            "It's got my vote," Walker replies eagerly reaching up to help Alex out of the 'bungee'.
            "Wait a minute, Cowboy----first things first----you take care of me, and I will make it worth your while-----you will be moving muscles on that machine, like you've never moved them before."
            The Ranger grins, "Okay, Mrs. Walker---you've got your work cut out for you---I just hope I'm still able to walk when we move over to the Total Gym."
            Alex smiles deviously, "I wonder if Chuck and Gena ever used that machine for what we have in mind."
                    Walker's hands are going back up to Alex's breast, as he kisses her softly, "Don't know-----want to call and ask him?"
                   "Nope," Alex says softly, "let them find out for themselves."
            Walker is now going slowly down his wife's stomach, "Fine----now let's get down to business--no more talk."
            Walker puts both hands under his wife's bottom and tilts her towards him, spreading her legs gently and eases up to her. He whispers softly, "Now we will let the bungee take its course, back and forth----very slow---just the way you like it."
            He eases the tip of his penis up to her mound, letting them touch ever so quickly and then backs up grinning, as Alex starts to gasp. "Gotcha!  And you thought you were ready---no way Mrs. Walker----you're not nearly moist enough---," he lowers his head to her mound, whispering "Come to Daddy."
            Alex moans as her husband's tongue goes deep, flicking back and forth across her clitoris, and then he inserts his forefinger and teases her even more. He covers her mound completely, pulling gently at her vaginal walls and spreading her vagina wider. He can feel her getting warm as her fluids commence to seep. He raises up and looks at her, "Hmm, S&M, huh?  Now I know what it stands for---- sex and maraschino cherries----why didn't we remember to bring the cherries down here?"
                     "Walker----you're talking too much---I am ready---I am more than ready," she pleads.
            He winks at her, "No, you're not-----you just think you are---I've got something else in mind----and you're definitely going to enjoy it."
            Alex looks puzzled at her husband as he steps back and grins, then he walks around to the back of the seat. He puts his hand up through the seat and starts massaging her backside, stepping in closer and putting his left hand around to the front to massage her breasts. Now she starts to smile teasingly, "Oh yeah------we've tried this before-----whenever you're ready, honey."
            He steps as close to her as he can get, easing his penis in through the small opening that the strap allows and finds his destination, easing in slowly.  He pulls back on her body till she's resting snug against his erection, and then he eases deeper inside her, in slow, even thrusts. She leans back as far as she can, reaching for her arms around his neck and pulling him forward, their lips finding each other. Their tempo increases as he lets the gravity of the bungee swing move back and forth, without either of them exerting much energy. Their bodies are starting to perspire as he starts a faster pace with the pendulum motion of the swing. He can hear her whispering for him and he pulls out slowly, going to the front of the swing and entering her from the front.
            Now the pace has quickened and both of them are breathing heavy, as he lays her back as far as he can in the swing and thrusts as hard as he dare, without hurting her. Alex pulls away from him and then wraps her legs tighter around his bottom torso, causing the motion of the swing to cease, but their tempo increases, bringing them both to total exertion and fulfillment, and gasping for air!
            Alex leans against her husband's chest. “Give me a minute to catch my breath, Cowboy---------and honey-----don't ever get rid of our 'little friend'!”
            Walker grins as he continues to thrust lightly inside her, whispering, "What if the kids find it again?"
            "I'll help you hide it better-----we'll tie it down up there---if we have to."
            "You got it woman------now let's move to the Total Gym---hey---we might discover new ways for Chuck to advertise his equipment."
            Alex is trying to keep from laughing as her husband helps her down out of the 'love swing'. They move to the Total Gym and Walker lies back on the glide board, resting his feet on the wing bar, pushing himself upward and holding the position till Alex can straddle him comfortably. He eases himself downward till she can reach his manhood easily. With each caress of her hands and tongue, he pushes against the wing bar gently, causing them both to rise with motion of the machine. It doesn't take long for Walker to start reaching for her and she straddles over his midsection, taking him deep. Their tempo matches the squat motions of the machine, and Walker pushes against the wing in longer harder strides, till they both collapse, their fluids spent.
            She lays atop him, unable to move---"Honey----how am I suppose to get up?"
            "The same way you got down there," he teases.
            Alex is starting to giggle as she's trying to get up, "Now-----I really do feel like a baby elephant---Walker---I can't get up!"
            Now Walker is laughing as he reaches down and caresses his wife's back, kissing the top of her head, "Guess we'll just have to lay here----the kids will come looking for us in a day or two."
            "You're a big help----guess I'll just have to roll off-----and end up in the floor."
            "Be careful hon--------it just takes a little maneuvering-----"
                "Walker-----I have trouble getting off this machine when I'm in the right position, now I'm backwards---I know there's a trick to this---give me a minute---and I'll figure it out," Alex replies as she rolls off the machine, and ends up laying on her back, her stomach sticking out like she's swallowed a watermelon. Walker raises up on the machine and looks over at his wife, he bursts out laughing.
                   "Honey----you look like a beached whale," he laughs harder.
            Alex continues to lay in the floor, rubbing her stomach, she glares back at her husband, "Walker-----if you don't want to go 'cold turkey'---you better help me up from here."
            Walker is still laughing as he goes down on the floor beside her, "You know as well as I do-----neither one of us can 'go cold turkey' come on Orca------let's get you up----before I split my sides laughing at you."
            It takes some doing but Walker finally gets his pregnant wife up off the floor and over to a chair. She exhales slowly, "Honey-----we have definitely got to work on that 'position' and preferably after I get over this pregnancy."
            Walker is handing his wife her gown and trying to get dressed himself, he's still grinning. Alex glares at him,  "Laugh all you want to, but I'm serious---no more love trysts on that machine."
            Walker reaches over and kisses her, "I'm sorry hon-----but I wish I had a camera----the look on your face, laying there, naked as the day you were born, rubbing your tummy----it was definitely a Kodak moment!"
            Alex tries not to laugh, "Okay, okay--so I was picturesque----you better put that 'bungee' away-----I'm going upstairs--to a nice hot tub."
            Walker goes to do his wife's bidding, "Wait a minute hon, I'll help you up the stairs----don't want you falling back down on the floor again----I don't think my laughing box can stand any more."
            Walker barely gets the words out when a sweat towel meets him square in the face, and Alex grins back at him. "I was going to invite you to join me in that nice hot tub----but you Mr. Walker can take a cold shower-----for all I care!"
            Walker runs to the stairs and tries putting his arms around his wife, nibbling at her neck, "Oh please------I didn't mean it----I'll be good----no more laughing, I promise."
            The lovers giggle as they make their way back up the stairs.



Walker ranch; early morning

                  Everyone is enjoying a big breakfast as the twins and J.W. silently observe Walker and Alex's ‘huge' appetite. They are gently nudging each other as Walker is constantly reaching for more biscuits.
                  Angela's mind is elsewhere as she is still nervous about appearing in court that morning. She's pecking at her breakfast of grapefruit when Cooper reaches over and nudges her.
                   "Angela---Dad is talking to you."
            Angela jumps, "What----did you say something, Daddy?"
            "I was asking you if there were anymore biscuits----what's wrong, baby?"
            Angela jumps up from her seat, nodding her head up and down, "Yes----yes Daddy---there are more biscuits---and gravy too---I'll get them for you----Mom---do you want more eggs?"
            "Yes, please----and more juice, sweetheart."
            The boys continue to watch the scenario, and kicking each other under the table, trying hard not to laugh. Cordell shakes his head slowly as Cooper is starting to choke on his milk. Walker looks up from his breakfast, eyeing them suspiciously.
            "Okay----what are you guys up to?"
                  "Nothing Dad---we were just watching you put breakfast away---you're sure hungry," comments Cooper.
            Walker looks to Alex and winks, "Yeah----I guess  I over did my exercises last night."
            The older boys just nod, as Little Ray looks to his Daddy with gravy dripping down his cheeks, "You hungry, Daddy?"
            Walker turns around in his seat, looking for Angela---"Yes, I'm hungry----and if your sister doesn't hurry and get over here with my biscuits----I'm going to have to steal your breakfast!" Walker takes his fork and spears one of his son's sausages, the boy squeals, wanting it back.
            "Here Daddy----I was waiting for the Cinnamon Rolls to cool off---here's your biscuits and more gravy----this is the last of the scrambled eggs, Mom."
            Alex takes a whiff of the Cinnamon Rolls as the boys dive in like sharks, leaving only three remaining. Little Ray looks at the almost empty plate and whimpers, "Me don't have one----Thissy---where mine?"
            Angela takes one of the rolls and puts it beside his plate, "Here you go, little brother---guard it with your life--before the vultures try to take it away from you."
            Alex takes a small bite and sighs, "OH, honey----these are delicious------Walker---taste yours----they taste just like the ones we used to get at that bakery in Wichita Falls."
            Walker waves her away, "I'm busy with my biscuits and gravy right now."
            "I'll take his, Mom---if he doesn't want it,” replies Cooper.
            Angela reaches out and slaps her brother's hand, "You'll do no such thing---let Daddy finish his breakfast--besides----you've had two already."
            "Can't help it, these are delicious---are they homemade or frozen?"
            Angela frowns, "I made up the batter last night and put them in the fridge, so how does that categorize?"
            "Who cares," answers J.W. "homemade or frozen----they're good."
            "Yep, they sure are Sis--the best you've ever made-----I still don't understand how you can make things taste so good, and I never see you sample any of it-----how do you know they are tasting the way they should?"
            "I sample-----I just take tiny little bites----so that way---I leave more behind for you vultures."
            Alex has finished hers and reaching for Walkers', he playfully taps her hand, "Leave my roll alone, woman---I'll get to it as soon as I finished this last biscuit."
            She teases him, "Well, you better hurry up, I'm telling you, hon-----these rolls are better than the ones from the Circle M."
            Walker looks to his daughter, who has become quiet again, "What's the matter baby, worried about the trial today and getting up on that stand?"
            Angela nods her head slowly, "Yes----I didn't think I would be so nervous----but I didn't sleep a wink all night---just thinking about it."
            Alex reaches over and brushes her daughter's long hair back, "Honey----if you were having trouble sleeping why didn't you come talk to me and your father----ahem----ah---."
            Walker glares back at his wife and trying to clear his throat, too, he turns to the boys---"Okay, guys---time to get ready for school---scoot."
            The boys all look to each other, mouthing the word "scoot"? Cooper looks to Little Ray who is now on his Cinnamon Roll---"I think Dad was talking to you, little brother."
                  Walker's eyes narrow, "I was talking to all four of you."
            "Mom---what time do we have to be in court?" asks Cordell.



Seekers – Trial - Chapter 19 

By Sasquaw          


             "Sweetheart, the trial doesn't start till 11'oclock--but you and J.W. don't have to be there, just Cooper and Angela."
            The boys are starting to leave the table as Cordell hesitates, "I would still rather be there---for support---for Cooper and Angela---I've got all my homework up to date, I just got to pick up today's assignments for me and Coop."
            "Well---it's okay, with me, what do you say, honey?"
            Walker nods his head, "It's okay with me as long as your homework is being done, what about you J.W.----homework done?"
            Angela smiles, "Oh Daddy----J.W. never does homework---and he still carries an "A" average----he's so smart."
            J.W. grins sheepishly, "I'm just lucky, I guess---yes Uncle Walker---I'm up to date."
            "And over" Angela adds. "I should be so lucky---I've got a Government test coming up----yuk!"
            Cordell shakes his head, "I'll help you with your test, Sis---want me to go by your classes and pick up your assignments for you?"
            Angela smiles back at her brother, "Yes, please, and would you take the government test for me while you're there?"
                 "Government is not that hard, Sis---just pay more attention to the current events. It's everywhere, newspapers, radio, and even on your computer---How can you escape it, or want to? It's your life and you should pay more attention to what is going on around you."
            Walker and Alex exchange glances, and Cooper just shakes his head. "You're wasting your time trying to tell Angela about what is going on in the world, bro'----like I've always said---if it doesn't have anything to do with makeup, gossip, and credit cards---she 'ain't' interested. There's just so much that "girlie brain" will allow to float around in her head!"
            Walker sits his coffee cup down, "That will be enough of that---quit picking on your sister."
            Alex is reaching for the last of Walker's Cinnamon Roll, smacking her lips. "Angela, you might not know too much about government----but you do know how to cook!  And when it comes down to it---all of the government offices in the world would collapse if they didn't have food---to argue all those political issues, making new laws, and etc! Government may never be your calling but if not for people like you and their extraordinary talent for cooking the world could not exist. We all have our own attributes, Cordell just happens to excel in reading, so therefore he enjoys reading about the things that may not interest you. J.W. is exceptionally smart, and why he doesn't take those college exams and go on to college---beats the heck out of me---and Little Ray---is just----- lovable."
                  Everyone is silent as Cooper is left standing there, waiting for his Mother to say something about him. Finally, he asks softly, "What about me, Mom----what's my greatest attribution?"
            Alex smiles back at her husband and answers softly to her youngest twin son, "Your ability is making me laugh---when no one else in the world can."
                 Everyone starts laughing, and although Little Ray hasn't a clue as to what they are laughing about, he laughs anyway. J.W. reaches out and hits Cordell's shoulder, "Come on, let's get to school."
            Alex shouts out to them, "Be at the bus stop at 10:30 I'll have grandpa pick you up and bring you to court."
            Walker is looking around for something more to eat, he keeps looking at the sausages left on his baby son's plate, "I'm still so hungry---I could eat a bear."
            Alex nods her head, "Me, too---I don't know why I'm so hungry."
            "Mom---you're eating for two---have you forgotten?" Asks Angela.
            Cooper gets up from his chair, thinking about the reason why his parents have such a big appetite that morning. He's smiling as he walks over to his Mother, reaches down and kisses her cheek, "Mom---you never cease to amaze me."
            Alex looks at her son, confused, as he walks around to the head of the table, reaches out and slaps his Dad on the shoulder'----"And Dad----you're my hero!" The boy backs up on the toes of his boots doing the moon dance and pointing his fingers like pistols at Walker. Walker and Alex just stare at each other.
            "What---what was that all about?"
            Alex frowns, "Beats me, honey---do you have any idea, Angela?"
            Angela frowns as she gets up from the table and starts clearing it, "I have no idea----those three were acting weird last night----and kept saying something like 'breakfast will tell’----they are so weird!"


Tiapa, Old Mexico

            The news of the Ranger and the old Mexican escaping has enraged the numero uno citizen of Tiapa. He knows the little men in the fancy suits and expensive cigars will confront him. He does not relish the idea of how to explain their escape, nor does he feel he should have to.
            He was the one in charge, till the little man moved in, with his greenbacks and promises of weapons that would supply a small nation. He swears and kicks out at his many servants as they scramble to get away from his all familiar rage. He stands in front of his picturesque window, toying with one of his many weapons and pointing it at the people walking the dusty streets. He trains his weapon on a priest that has walked out of his Parrish to get a breath of fresh air, in the smoldering July sun.
            He lets the barrel of the powerful.45 colt trace every step the priest is taking, smiling deviously to himself. The priest has been beaten as every man in the village has, and the same with the women, and most of the kids as well. All of the boys have been taken from the village, and are being trained for his small army. All of the girls over the age of eight have been turned over to the small army---for their own enjoyment. The prettiest and shapeliest have been saved for him and his unwelcome guest.
            He continues to watch the priest and drink his whiskey, thinking about the early days, when he was completely in charge. His rage is getting the best of him as he pulls the trigger of the .45; the bullet goes through the priest's head and hits a small child that was playing nearby. They have both been killed instantly. The child's Mother runs to him, and crying uncontrollably.
            He steps back from the window, and looks at the smoking gun, then he starts laughing, and dancing around the room. Suddenly he feels someone in the room with him, he stops and staggers towards the figure, it retreats, and he grabs it. Standing before him is the daughter of one of his many servants, she can't be more than twelve, he starts tearing at her clothes and throws her onto the dirty mattress that is laying in the floor. The girl screams as he takes her repeatedly.
            "No one can stop me" he shouts, "I will rule the world---I am Diablo!"   
            The little man has stopped just outside Diablo's room; he fans the air, and turns to his aides. "When the Ranger and that old man has been captured----and killed---I will have the pleasure of taking this idiot out---I will enjoy watching him die."


            Walker has arrived in court to see his wife sitting in the assistant DA's seat, the young man next to her is going over the court files. They are busy conversing when Alex spots her husband walk in and she walks back to the little gate that separates the lawyers from the court spectators. Walker has concern in his eyes as he whispers, "Alex, why is Jake Mooney doing the questioning?"
            Alex tries to smile faintly, "I was feeling a little queasy, so I decided to let Jake take over---he's more than ready---he knows the case like the back of his hand."
                 "Queasy?  Alex----if you're not feeling well, ask for a recess."
            She lowers her voice, "I don't want to do that----the kids are both due to testify today---Angela is a nervous wreck as it is---I don't want her going through another delay because of a recess. Walker, I'm fine--."
            Alex barely has time to finish her sentence as the bailiff announces that court is in session. They all rise and Walker sits down between his son and daughter, letting Cooper sit on the outside, since he will be the first witness called. Gordon and Cordell sit up next to the wall. J.W. sits behind Cooper.
            Kiwi is turning around in his seat and keeps staring back at Angela, she avoids his look. Walker is seething, as his daughter looks directly ahead, and whispers, "Don't pay him any mind Daddy----Mom said he's just trying to unnerve us."
            Gordon smiles, reaches down and pats his granddaughters' hand, "That's right little pumpkin---your Mom knows what she's talking about."
            Cooper is called as the first witness, young Mooney asks him to recount the events that led up to Angela's being 'stalked' and attacked in the lab. "When was the first time that you were aware that your sister was being stalked?"
            "The first time was on Halloween night, when she came down the stairs screaming that he was coming to get her."
            "He? Could you be more specific---who is 'he'?”
            Cooper stares back at Kiwi, and bites his bottom lip---"Him----Kiwi!"
            "Back up a few months, Cooper---and tell us in your own words what happened that night."
            Cooper takes a deep breath, "We were all trying to watch a movie, but we had to find a movie that wouldn't scare our baby brother---so we all decided on a comedy like movie that was a little spooky. We were watching the movie, it was kind of corny---we weren't really interested in it, but we figured that our baby brother would soon fall asleep and we could watch a slasher movie.  My sister, Angela said she was going to bed so she went upstairs."
            "And, what time was this?"
            "About 7:30, I think-----anyways there was this guy in the movie that was really spooky looking--weird looking eyes and my brother, Cordell started yelling----that's him, that's him! I didn't know what the heck he was yelling about and was trying to make him be quiet----our baby brother got scared-----and he went upstairs looking for Angela. He's really close to his big sister, and since Mom had already turned in for the night, Little Ray wanted Angela."
            "How much time passed before your sister came running down the stairs----saying someone was coming to get her?"
                  "Couldn't have been more than ten minutes----more like five."
            "Go on Cooper, what happened?"
            "My brother was telling me about this man that had been following our school bus, when all of a sudden Angela came running down the stairs, carrying our baby brother and screaming, "LOCK THE DOORS."
            Kiwi is snickering as his attorney tries to quiet him. Alex looks towards their table, her bottom lip is quivering.
                   Mooney looks back at the defense table, "Go on Cooper, what did you do then?"
               "Cordell and I were trying to calm Angela down, but she kept screaming that "he" was coming to get her, and then she ran to the back door to make sure it was locked. Our baby brother was crying and wanting Angela to hold him, in the meantime Angela blurted it out that someone named "KIWI" was coming to get her.   Well, that's all I needed to hear, I got my gun, a .22 rifle--and I said --like hell anyone was going to take her from our house!"
            "Where was your father---while all this was going on?"
            "He was on a case, going to El Paso----and anytime that our Dad is not home----my brother Cordell and I are the men of the house! We protect the family------at any cost!"
                      Mooney nods his head, "Okay, what happened next?"
            "Angela was yelling at Cordell to get his gun too, finally he did----and I ran to the back door to see if I could see anyone trying to come from that direction----but it's all empty field. I ran up the stairs to go to the attic, because I could see the bus stop from there and any cars that would be coming from that direction. I ran into Cordell as he was coming from Angela's room, because she had left the window up in her bathroom. I pulled the ladder down and went up into the attic, but not before almost running my Mother over. The noise had wakened her and she came out to investigate----Cordell was trying to calm them all down. I saw headlights coming and I shouted down to my brother and we all ran downstairs.  My baby brother was scared and he hid in the closet.  We made our stand, and we were ready if that s.o.b. came in.----We had each others' backs covered, we were ready to protect our sister---and any member of the family!"
            "And, who was in that auto, whose headlights you saw?"
            Cooper takes another deep breath, "It turned out to be the highway patrol----my Dad has a lot of cop friends and when he has to go out town he asks his friends to keep an eye on the ranch. That's what they were doing, patrolling highway 199, and watching the ranch.----They saw lights go on and off in the attic, they stopped  to investigate."
            "Okay----after the highway patrol declared that everything was fine, what happened then?"
            Cooper clears his throat, and answers, "We all went to bed."
                  Mooney smiles, and looks to the jury, "Isn't it true that all of you were still shaken by what had happened that all you----slept in the master bedroom---with your Mother?"
                "Objection your honor, where is all this going?"
                   Mooney stares back at Donalson, "I'm trying to prove that the whole Walker family was scared, they feared for their lives---they felt safe--by all being in the same room."
                    Donalson shrugs his shoulders, "Feared for their lives?  Your honor----there is no proof that my client said he was going to the Walker home---and take Angela."
            "My sister doesn't lie," Cooper yells back---"if Angela said someone was coming to get her---that's just exactly what------"
            The judge slams his gavel down, "Young man---you will not speak unless the attorneys ask you a question----is that clear?"
            Cooper turns to the judge and starts to argue, "But your honor, my sister was scared-----"
                   Mooney walks up to Cooper, putting his hand on his shoulder, "Be quiet, Cooper----you're out of line----I'm sorry your honor."
            Cooper looks out to his family, Angela is smiling back at him, while squeezing her father's hand. Walker gives his son a slight nod, and Cordell gives him a "thumbs up". Alex looks to her son, letting her eyes say it all.
            "Okay, Cooper---move forward---that was the first time that you had heard the name "Kiwi"---right? Did everything go back to normal after that?"
                      "Normal," asks Cooper? "No, everything wasn't normal---my sister was still spooked---the whole family was. My Dad came home late that night and my Mom told him what had happened----he got really upset----and scared. He kept asking Angela if she was okay and did that son----I mean, "man" hurt her. She kept telling our Dad, that she was okay--and that she had no idea who he was."
            "Had no idea of who he was, where did she meet him?"
            "She never met him----he just started calling her----"
               "Objection your honor----he just started calling her----now how ridiculous is that?  My client just picks Angela Walker's name out of the air and starts calling her?  Come on!"
            "Save the theatrics, Mr. Donalson-------Mr. Mooney------have your witness explain further."
            Cooper sighs, "He got my sister's phone number from Darcy Barnes----my sister's friend. Angela said she told the man to stop calling----"
            "Your honor---I object---that's 'hearsay' the witness is merely speculating that his sister said that."
                    Mooney takes a deep sigh, looking over to Alex, and she gives him a slight nod. "Your honor----my witness can only 'speculate' because Darcy Barnes is dead---and not able to tell us herself what happened because--- he killed her-----."
                     Donalson is yelling for another objection and the judge motions them both to approach the bench. Gordon Cahill takes a deep breath and smiles, looking at his daughter with all the pride he can muster. Walker looks to his father-in-law and then to his wife, he's seen this tactic before. Even though the jury will be asked to ignore that remark that Mooney has brought up---it will still stay on their minds.  He gives his father-in-law an approving nod. Cordell leans into his grandpa and asks, "Grandpa, what was that all about, "he whispers.
            Gordon replies, "Your Mother knew that she had to be careful about bringing up the issue of the Barnes girl's murder----so she deliberately throws the line out there----it's like the rules of fishing, son----sometimes you get a bite, sometimes the worm just hangs there-----dangling.  In any event-----Donalson is like a slippery, stinking, catfish, he had no choice but to bite."
            Cordell smiles, "Mom has learned from the best---she 'dangled" the bait just like you would have, grandpa."
            Court resumes and Mooney has been given a warning.   Mooney nods as he approaches Cooper. "Your family is very close---is it not?"
            "Yes, sir," Cooper replies clearly, straightening his tie, "we're very close."
            "That's good----not too many families these days are as close as yours is. Do you attend church?"
            "Yes, sir----every Sunday and on Wednesday nights---we have choir practice."
            "Is going to church a voluntary effort or is this something that your parents insist on?"
            Cooper looks back at his mother's partner, puzzled at the way that the young attorney is asking questions and why.
            "We go to church, because we enjoy going----my whole family goes---even Dad-----sometimes."
                    Donalson again objects, as he spreads his hands out in bewilderment, "Again, I have to ask----what possible bearing on this case does it matter if the Walker family attends church?"
            The judge lowers his bifocals and stares back at Donalson, "Do you believe in God, Mr. Donalson?"
            "Of course --your honor---but what-------"
            "Then sit down and shut up! I for one, think it's very refreshing to know that there are still families that pray together----now I want to hear this young man's answer---continue---Cooper James Walker."
            "We go to church because we want to, your honor----we've all attended church for as long as I can remember. My Mother encourages us to go, but she's never forced it on us. My Dad doesn't go as much, mainly because his job doesn't allow him to and he says that he doesn't believe a man has to be in church---to believe.  And, that's true---he knows the Bible better than any man that attends church every Sunday and he can recite you any scripture that you want to ask him."
            Kiwi snickers and Donalson is shaking his head, whispering, "I can't believe this."
Mooney smiles, "Okay, Cooper-----we've established that you and your family are believers----and that belief in God---tells you what?"
            Again, Cooper looks at the man-- puzzled. Walker's eyes narrow as he looks to his wife as she is looking straight at the young attorney. Walker looks to Gordon and whispers, "What's going on, Mooney is questioning Cooper---like he's the one on trial."
            Gordon puts his hand up and replies quietly, "Alexandra knows what's she doing---sit back and watch the fireworks."
            Cooper hesitates, "I don't exactly understand---what you mean by that question?"
            "The Bible teaches that family values are most important, that you protect your family---no matter what---the Bible also says, "Thou shall not commit false witness--is this not true?"
            Cooper is now even more confused, "False witness?   I'm not a false witness---I'm telling the truth---I swore on the Bible that I wouldn't lie---and I don't take that lightly!"
            Now the judge is confused as he holds his hand up to stop the questioning, "Mr. Mooney---are you forgetting----this young man is your witness---why are you drilling him like this----is there some point to all this hogwash?"
            "Yes sir, your honor--I wanted to show the jury how truthful this witness is--and bringing the Bible into question and his devotion to what the Bible teaches is as solid as the stone in which the Ten Commandments were written.  Now, unless the defense attorney wants to object and say that the Ten Commandments is "heresy" because God cannot be here to give his version of what has unfolded--------"
            "Your honor---I object!"
            "On what grounds, Mr. Donalson?"
                Donalson starts sputtering, "On the grounds----that---that he can't bring God in as a witness----this is blasphemy, your honor!"
                "Objection overruled, Mr. Donalson----"GOD" has already been brought into this courtroom---it started when that Bible was brought in and we all agreed to believe in him and his son.  Now, I do agree that this line of questioning is beyond what I usually allow in my court---but I see now where this all going. The young man has proven himself to be a reliable and truthful witness----now get on with it!!  And there will be no more talk about "Him', the judge makes a gesture with his finger--pointing upward.
            The courtroom laughs lightly and Gordon Cahill tilts his head sideways, looking at his son-in-law in a "I TOLD YOU SO." Walker stares back at Gordon, as does the rest of the Walker family.
            "Okay, Cooper--now you've said that your sister's phone number was given to this "KIWI" by Darcy---who is now deceased. And Kiwi continued to call Angela---is that right?"
            "Yes sir, he did and he called her at Dana Winchester's home, too!"
                  Mooney nods, "Yes, Cooper, we'll get to that, just bear with me.  Now, I want to know what other information came out about this Kiwi---did your father suspect him being involved with a man named Sarge?"
            "Yes sir, it was after little Bobby Jackson's funeral, we were all having dinner and that spooky man with weird eyes was mentioned by my baby brother. Both my Dad and my Uncle Jimmy began to act weird and they started asking questions about him."
                Mooney nods his head, looking at the jury, "Your Dad and your uncle are both Texas Rangers, right?  So they were asking on a professional interest---is that right?"
            "Yes sir, my Uncle pulled up the files on this Sarge and also a picture of him----Cordell recognized him right away. Then it was learned that this Sarge had a son, that would have been about Kiwi's age, so they started looking for evidence on him, they found rap sheets on him in California."
            "Let's move up to the night that your sister said he called her at the Winchester home, do you know what was said?"
            "Not till later after Angela was home, she said he was making nasty remarks to her-----and what---he was going----to do to her," Cooper stops and looks at his sister.
            Angela is starting to shake as Walker puts his arm around her, he looks to Kiwi and grits his teeth.
            "Where were you, Cooper when you heard that your sister was being stalked at the Winchesters?"
            "At home----my brother and J.W. and I were up in the attic, listening to music. J.W. called Angela at Dana's, Angela was spending the night there.  Anyways---J.W. called Angela twice----he kind of likes her, you know? Just a few minutes after the second time he called her, I was looking out the window and I saw my parents jumping into my Dad's truck-----and he was burning rubber----all the way down the gravel drive. The three of us ran downstairs to see what was going on, my Grandfather had my baby brother, and trying to stop him from crying. We asked what was wrong and grandpa yelled back "That son of a bitch has your sister!" Well, that's all we had to hear, and Cordell and I ran out the door towards the Winchester home, J.W. came running behind us."
            "The Winchester home is a good 10 miles from where you live, you were going to run all the way?"
            Cooper sits up straight, "Yes sir---if that's what it took----neither one of us have a driver's license---we didn't think to saddle up the horses!"
            "The horses?"
            "We live on a ranch---we have horses---but anyways my grandpa came flying down the driveway yelling at us to get in and then he burned rubber too. By the time we got to Dana's, it was over. We took Angela back to my Grandpa's car, and Dad and Uncle Jimmy were questioning a suspect that we thought was Kiwi---but it wasn't."
            "Go on, what happened next?"
                   "Everyone was spooked again and my Dad had officers surrounding the ranch.  The next day was Sunday, grandpa took us boys to church, but Mom stayed home with Angela----Dad and Uncle Jimmy were still looking for Kiwi."
            "Were there other incidents in which Kiwi supposedly called your sister?"
            Cooper clears his throat, "Yeah----I mean, yes sir---a day or two later---but this time my Dad was home and he spoke to him----Dad was ready to climb through those telephone wires, he was furious!"
            "What was said, Cooper?"
            "Kiwi not only threatened my sister, he threatened my Mother too----and-----and-----our unborn sister or brother! He said that if Dad didn't let him have Angela, he was coming after Mom and he threatened to----hurt the baby."
                Mooney looks back at Alex, "Your Mother was how far along at that time?"
            Cooper thinks for a moment, "About 8 weeks, I think."
            "That's not a very advanced pregnancy---outside the family----a stranger wouldn't be able to tell that your Mother was pregnant-------how do you think Kiwi found out?"
                     Donalson keeps shaking his head, "Your honor-----the witness is not an authority on this subject----how would he know?"
                  "Objection overruled---you may answer the question, young man."
            Cooper sits up in his chair, thinking about it, "I would suppose that Darcy had told him----but he was stalking my sister, he had to have known the routine of the rest of us, too. He probably had her followed too, going to the Dr's office for check-ups and stuff."
                 "Speculation---your honor----mere speculation---it's not been proven that my client was stalking Angela Walker----and if he had appeared at the Walker ranch, he was only asking her out."
                 Cooper's temper is rising, "If that son-of-a bitch---had appeared at our home and tried to take my sister against her will-his head would have been ventilated----and we wouldn't be sitting here in this stupid courtroom---discussing it!"

Seekers – Trial - Chapter 20               

By Sasquaw

A recess has been called upon Cooper's outburst and again, the lawyers are summoned to the judge's chambers. Judge Starnes is furious at another outburst from the prosecution.
            "Mrs. Walker--I am trying to understand these emotions that are being shown by your family and I know what you and your family have been through---but I will not accept this behavior in my courtroom! You will get your case together, and there will be not another word spoken out of context by any of your witnesses, or I will declare a mistrial----is that understood?"
            "I apologize----again for the outbursts from my family your honor----this is all so painful---for all of us-----having to relive this all again."
            "Then perhaps-----you and your whole family should be barred from the court and this be a closed hearing---no jury!"
            "Your honor----you can't do that----"
            "Don't tell me what I can and can't do, Mrs. Walker!"
            "Your honor, my family has a right to be heard---by a jury!"
            "Then, I suggest that you go out there and get your family together for a nice long talk, one more word out of either of them when not spoken to-----and I will be hauling their butts off to jail---for contempt of court----and that includes you too!"
            A very shaken Alex and her assistant are walking back to the courtroom. Gordon Cahill knows the signs--all too well.
                  Walker reaches out to his wife, seeing the anger and hurt in her eyes. "Come sit down, hon----get off your feet."
            Alex's bottom lip is quivering, "It's not my feet that are hurting."
                 Cooper sees the hurt in his Mother's eyes, "I'm sorry, Mom---that man was just making me so mad."
            Alex touches her son's face, "I'm not angry with you, sweetheart------you were just saying what we all feel---it's just so damn hard, having to sit in this courtroom, watching that monster sit over there, snickering. He's the one that's making a mockery of this court."
                 Walker taps Cooper on the shoulder, "You kids go get something to eat---bring your Mother back a sandwich and one of those diet drinks."
            The boys start to walk off, but Angela isn't moving. "Coming, Sis?" asks Cordell.
               Angela shakes her head, "No----I'm not hungry."
                 Walker puts his arms around his daughter, squeezing her lightly. "You got to eat, baby-----when court resumes---you have to testify---you can't do that on a empty stomach."
            "I don't think I could get any food down," Angela replies.
            Alex reaches out for her daughter, "Your father is right, you have to eat----at least eat some fruit-----and would you please go with the boys and make sure my drink is a coke and not a Pepsi---they're always getting them mixed up." Angela finally agrees and walks towards the boys.  J.W. reaches back and puts his arm around her.
            As Walker is making Alex sit down and relax, Trivette comes in. "Hey----guys----what did I miss?"
                Walker fills his partner in on what has developed, and then he asks Trivette about the old man that he was going to see in the Abilene hospital.
            "You know, Walkman---that was so weird, I had the weirdest feeling that I've seen that old man before---but I can't place him."
            "Well, it's pretty obvious that he knows you---or else he's heard of you, since he asked to only talk to you-----before he had his heart attack. Did you get to talk to him?"
            "No," replies Trivette, "he was in no condition to talk, the nurses kept running me out---saying that only his daughter was allowed to see him.  But, I still can't place his face----it was like 'deja vu', but nothing---you know what I mean?"
                    Walker tries to smile, "I thought you were going to say that my Cherokee intuition was rubbing off on you."
                  Trivette smirks, "Well, I've been around you so long, would it come as any surprise? Hey, what's up with Alex--she sure seems upset about something?"
                   Walker looks in the direction his partner is facing, Alex is definitely upset about some news that she has gotten. Walker walks towards her, "Honey----what's wrong----are you feeling queasy again?"
            Alex shakes her head, "No—I’m fine--in fact I'm going to take over the rest of the questioning----because I want to be the one to interrogate Luther Franks and Danny."
               "What---they've agreed to testify--when did this come about?"
                   Gordon Cahill nods his head, "Their lawyers have made a deal with the state, they're to get full amnesty for their testimonies---can you believe that? Franks will not have to stand trial for his part in attacking Cordell and Ray Gordon---I can't believe it!"
            "Oh, there's more honey," Alex turns to her husband, "now---Kiwi wants to take the stand in his own behalf."
                   Walker's eyes grow big----"What?  Can he do that?"
                    "Unfortunately, yes," answers Gordon---"the law says every man is entitled to defend himself in court-------but it doesn't say anything about the 'lowest of life'---and that's just what that sorry little bastard is!  Oh--only if I could have a part of his prosecution---I would---"
            "Dad, please----you have to calm down----remember your blood pressure."
                    Gordon is about to argue, when the bailiff has announced that court is back in session. Cooper is called back to the witness stand, and has to go over all the events leading up to the attack in the lab.
                 "Okay, Cooper, you and J.W. have arrived in the hallway after the fire alarms were set off by Dylan Reed---continue."
                   Cooper takes a deep breath, "We saw Dylan Reed stumbling towards us, holding his stomach and then we saw the blood---there was a lot of it. We ran to him, and he said that Gilbert, his friend, had been killed and that guy that had been stalking Angela had her in the laboratory and was trying to take her out the back way."
            "What happened then?"
            "J.W. and I started running towards the lab, when we got to the double doors--they were locked. I was jumping up and down to see through the little window, and I saw my sister being dragged across the floor to the back door----by ‘him'!”
                     Mooney turns and looks in the direction that Cooper is pointing, he turns back to the stenographer, "Let the records show that my witness is pointing at KIWI."
                   "Continue, Cooper."
            "I yelled to J.W. that we could get through from the other side, because the boys' room is next to the lab----we came running from the boys' room, when one of those goons came running out, trying to escape. J.W. hit him in the head with a fire extinguisher-----he was out like a light."
                  Trivette and his son are sitting directly behind Walker; Trivette gives his son a proud smile. Walker turns around and reaches back for J.W.'s hand----giving him a 'soul shake' of knuckles hitting each other lightly. J.W. beams, nodding his head, and whispering, "That sucker had it coming to him."
"What happened then, Cooper---were you able to get into the lab?"
            "Well----after J.W. hit the guy, the guy dropped his pistol and I picked it up, I was going to use it in trying to get my sister away from those two creeps----but J.W. kept yelling at me to drop the gun, because by that time the police were in the building and J.W. was afraid that some rookie might think I was the bad guy and shoot me!---I dropped it----and ran towards the side door. The police were all over the place and J.W.'s Dad yelled at us to stop---J.W. did---but I kept running towards that door and hit it full force---it gave way and I went flying into the room. Angela was trying to get away from Kiwi and she managed to hit him up beside the head, I ran towards Kiwi and he took a shot at me. This gave Angela time to go down on the floor spinning, knocking Kiwi's feet out from under him. I jumped on Kiwi and starting hitting him as hard as I could, but that little guy was stronger than I thought he was, he threw me across the room! Angela was jumping up on his back, he backed up, slamming her into a wall, then started hitting her. Next thing I know, everything went black--when I regained conscious, it was over and Angela and J.W. were trying to pick me up off the floor. I remember my sister's face being all bruised and all-----and then I saw Kiwi lying in a pool of blood.  I thought he was dead----I hoped that he was!"
                "Objection, your honor----I ask that last remark be stricken."
            Judge Starnes looks at Donalson, his brow arches, "Only the last remark, counselor?  I'm surprised you haven't objected sooner--do you wish to cross examine?"
            The courtroom is silent as Donalson converses with his client; Donalson puts his hand over his microphone, as his face and neck are turning red. Alex is watching the two men, shaking her head slowly, and looking back at her father, who is also becoming concerned.
                  "Counselor!!! We're waiting---do you wish to cross examine?"
                  Donalson stands up slowly, "No---your honor----no cross examination."
            The whole courtroom gasps, the judge can't believe what he is hearing. He takes his glasses off and stares at Donalson, "Are you sure Mr. Donalson---you can ask that this witness be called back at a later time---you know that?"
                    Donalson stares down at Kiwi, at the little man with stitches covering his face, adjusting his fake hairpiece, stares back at him---his eyes burning through the prosecutor's.
            "I'm aware of the law, your honor----the witness is to be excused."
                Cooper looks up at the judge, then steps down from the witness stand. The judge is still shaking his head, he pounds his gavel---"Court is recessed for 15 minutes----so I can take an aspirin and try to get rid of this damn headache."
            Alex and her young assistant are puzzled too; Alex shakes her head. "Something is wrong-----this just isn't right! Kiwi is up to something---I can feel it."
            The Walkers all go out into the hallway and Walker heads to the coffee machine, Trivette joins him.
            "Out of all of my years as a lawman and having to appear in courts as both a witness and just as an observer----I've never seen anything like this before, Walkman----never!"
                     "Neither have I, partner----that son-of-a-bitch is up to something----maybe he's heard that Luther Franks and Danny are testifying against him----and can seal his fate."
                    Trivette stares back at his partner, "You're saying that Kiwi is just giving up---no defense at all?   If that's so, then why did Kiwi even bother to go through with this trial---why didn't he just save the taxpayers a lot of money by admitting he's guilty?  Before, his lawyer could have maybe gotten him life with no parole----but now he's staring at lethal injection---no doubt about that!"
            The rangers stop talking as Kiwi is wheeled out of the courtroom into the men's room, several officers are surrounding him, and stay with him while his 'business' is being attended to. A few minutes later, Kiwi is wheeled out again and passes directly in front of the rangers. He puts his hand up and his aide stops pushing.
            Kiwi stares at Walker and puts both his hands up to his lips, making a 'kissy' sound. Walker's anger is showing, as Trivette pulls him back, "Get that piece of slime out of here" he hisses.
                    Walker stares back at the little man in the wheelchair, looking at his toupee. Trivette laughs, "You would think his hair would have grown back by now----or got a toupee that fits."
                   Walker continues to stare at the man in the wheel chair, the hair at the back of his neck starts to trickle. Trivette is staring at him, "What's wrong, Walker?"
                   Walker hastens his walk going up to the little barrier and signaling for Alex. They whisper, looking over at Kiwi, the man is staring back at them, grinning that sardonic smile. Alex shakes her head and waits for the bailiff to announce that court is back in session.
                       Walker sits back down, and signals for Trivette to come closer. "I got a funny feeling about all of this---I think Kiwi has a concealed weapon."
                    Trivette stares back at him, "A concealed weapon, how can that be? He was searched before court, and he hasn't been out of our sight except to go to the little boy's room?"
            Court is back in session, and Alex asks to approach the bench, the judge agrees, sighing.                    "You may as well join us counselor," he looks to Donalson.
            The court watches as the lawyers argue back and forth, Donalson is yelling that its crazy, the judge looks to Kiwi. He motions for one of the officers to come forward, they whisper, and then the officer goes back to Kiwi and he's 'wheeled' into the judge's chambers. The judge then looks out to the spectators, "Ranger Walker----you will join us?"
                   Angela looks to her Father as he releases her hand, and he gives her an assuring smile then joins the others. The twins are sitting up next to the wall, where everyone is whispering and asking questions, as now the whole courtroom is buzzing. The jury is taken out and told they can return when the judge says so.
            A very agitated judge is staring back at Walker. "Okay, Ranger Walker, what are you accusing the plaintiff of?"
                  Walker speaks plainly, "I have a strong belief that the plaintiff has a concealed weapon----in his toupee."
            Kiwi stares back at the judge, "Your honor-----this is ridiculous----this is a court of law----a weapon----absurd!"
            The judge stares back, "Officer, take his toupee off---now!"
            The officer does as he's told, showing it to the judge---"There is no weapon, your honor."
            Kiwi grins, "Maybe Ranger Walker is referring to the 'cooties', your honor---I do have dandruff, a deadly weapon---indeed."
            The judge shakes his finger at Kiwi, "Enough out of you----and now--"
            "Wait a minute, your honor---check those bandages on his wrist, too."
            Kiwi stops grinning and puts his hands down under his legs and starts protesting. The officer grabs his wrists and starts taking the bandages off. The officers hold up the bandages to the judge----"Nothing your honor."
                  Walker is not convinced as he grabs Kiwi's wrists looking at them, seeing no reason why he was wearing the bandages in the first place. Kiwi looks up at the ranger and says 'poutingly'---"So sorry Daddy dearest-----you lose-----again."
                     Walker is steaming and Alex grabs his arm and pulls him backward. The judge is staring at both the Walkers.
            "I was wondering when I would hear from your husband, I've heard from the rest of the Walker family."
            Alex pushes Walker towards the door and makes her apologies to the judge-----again.
            As they are walking out, Walker is still angry. He turns to his wife, "Alex----maybe you should think twice about questioning Danny and that Luther Franks?"
            Alex's voice is low, but determined--"No way---I will not be deprived of this-----I've waited too long."
                   Walker is still pleading, "Hon----think about the baby--- are you sure you're up to this?"
            The judge is coming back in, the bailiff asks that everyone take their seats, and the jury is brought back in. The judge takes a deep breath, "Now----if there are no further interruptions---maybe we can get this trial over with----before Christmas!"
            Kiwi looks back at Walker and grins.  Walker is fighting the urge to wipe that stupid grin off the man's face. Angela is called as the next witness.
            The bailiff has to repeat her name as Angela sits glued to her seat. Walker turns to her, releasing her hand, "Come on baby----you can do it."
                   Angela is almost crying, "I can't Daddy-----I'm so scared."
            The whole court is watching as Walker talks to his daughter, "Baby-----there is nothing to be afraid of---I'm right here----I'm less than twenty feet away from you-----and there are police officers all over the room.   Come on Angela----it's time to tell what that son-of –a-bitch tried to do to you---and make him pay."
              Angela looks back at J.W. and then to her family, they all nod to her. She then looks to her Mother and Alex smiles back at her. She takes a last look at her Father as the bailiff calls out her name a third time; the judge is staring at her.
                   "Young lady, if you are not in this witness chair in three seconds, I will personally come out there and escort you!"
                    Angela takes a deep breath as she rises up from her seat, and approaches the witness's chair and starts to sit down. The bailiff is trying to stop her, saying she has to be sworn in. Angela mumbles an apology and puts her hand on the Bible. The judge stares at her, then leans over and whispers.
                  "Young lady---you have nothing to be afraid of---would you like a drink of water---to calm your nerves some?"
                 Angela nods and the bailiff brings her a glass of water, she sips it and then replies that she is ready. Angela's testimony is brought up to the encounter in the lab.
                     Walker is still staring at Kiwi, he still can't shake the feeling that something is not right. Kiwi looks back at Walker again, and then he starts coughing, quietly as first, then it becomes louder. Donalson turns to his client and then tells the judge that his client needs to take a pill and he needs a glass of water. Walker doesn't like the feeling that keeps coming to him, he tries to get Alex's attention, but she's already watching the defense table. She turns quickly in her husband's direction, and gives him a puzzled gesture.
            Kiwi takes the pill and then the water, offers his apologies to the court, he then turns to his lawyer and another discussion starts. Donalson stands up slowly, "Your honor----my client requests that he take over the rest of Miss Walker's interrogation.
            Before the judge can answer, Angela screams out.----“NO----no, please don't let that man anywhere near me----Daddy!"
                   Walker is already halfway to the witness stand when police officers stop him, and the gavel is slamming down again. "Ranger Walker---take your seat----now!"
                    Walker is resisting as Trivette runs up and pulls him back, Angela is still crying and wanting her Daddy. The judge turns to Angela and tells her to be silent.  Trivette and three court officers force Walker back to his seat. Alex is objecting.
            "Your honor, this is completely out of line----that man has no legal right to question my daugh-----my witness!"
            The judge shakes his head, whispering to himself, "What else is going to happen?  Sit down, Mrs. Walker-----and you, Sam Donalson-----politely explain to your client that he cannot cross examine Miss Walker."
                   Another discussion erupts at the defense table, Angela is still shaking, and the judge asks the bailiff to bring her another glass of water. Angela refuses it, and looks up to the judge.
                     "Please, your honor----could I please have my Daddy up here with me?"
            Judge Starnes looks back at Angela shaking his head, and thinking to himself how beautiful Angela is, the lavender trimmed dress, accenting her beauty even more. He smiles slowly. "I'm sorry, Angela---but it's not permitted---now please---take a deep breath---and try to continue. I'm sure you want this to be over with as soon as possible---I know I do,"---he adds.
                 Angela takes a deep breath and tries not to look in Kiwi's direction, but she can feel his eyes burning through her. The bailiff offers her another drink and in doing so, he accidentally spills the glass. It goes all over Angela and the seat, the bailiff is offering his apologies and begins to clean up the water. He asks Angela to step down from the seat so he can dry the seat out. The judge is again shaking his head and mumbling.
                      Mooney takes Angela's testimony through the  attack and Angela's revenge on Kiwi. Pictures and the video are shown as Angela is beating the hell out of the little man. She turns her head away as it shows her raking the broken tube glass across her attacker's throat. The spectators and the jury grimace. Donalson makes a sour face, Kiwi only grins.
            The judge looks at Angela and shakes his head; he cannot picture the young lady in his witness's chair being capable of turning on her attacker in such a wild manner.  Mooney asks her one final question.
            "Were you in fear for your life, Angela?"
            "Yes sir---but I was more worried about my brother---I didn't know if he was alive or dead----I just kept hitting Kiwi with all that I had, including the test tube."
                     Mooney smiles, "The prosecution rests your honor."
                  Donalson sighs, "My client wishes to give his testimony, your honor."
            The judge turns to Alex and to Mooney---"Do you have any objections, counselors?"
            Kiwi takes the stand as his wheelchair is being pushed up to the witness's chair. The judge tells him he can give his testimony from his own chair after he's sworn in, Kiwi shakes his head and begins to climb out of the wheel chair, very slowly.
                      Angela is seated back next to Walker who is eyeing Kiwi still very suspiciously, his Cherokee intuition still trying to kick in.  Donalson approaches the witness stand, "Now Kiwi---will you tell in your words what really happened that day in question?"
            The courtroom listens to Kiwi's side of the story, saying how much he was attracted to the Walker girl and wanted only to get to know her. The judge is staring back at him. Alex is chomping at the bit, waiting for her time to cross-examine him.
                     Walker watches, as Kiwi is moving constantly in the witness chair. Donalson is not too happy with Kiwi's testimony, as he's saying nothing to the fact that he had no intentions of ever hurting her. Donalson takes the direct approach.
            "Did you have any intentions to ever hurt the Walker girl?"
            Kiwi smiles, "I wanted to show her what a real man was like---I wanted to shower her with love."
            The courtroom buzzes and Angela is making a face, trying to hide her head against her father's chest. Walker is steaming as Alex stands, wanting Kiwi to retract that last remark.
            Kiwi looks out into the courtroom and flicks his tongue back and forth, "Hey Angela----want to be on the receiving end of my tongue?"
            The judge slams his gavel down as Walker is coming out of his seat. The twins are trying to climb over the barrier, and J.W. is shouting back at Kiwi to shut his foul mouth. Trivette is trying to quiet his son while trying to hold his partner back. The court officers are trying to hold the twins back and Gordon Cahill is trying to come over the barrier, too. Alex and Mooney are yelling for the judge to stop Kiwi's gestures.
                 Donalson is trying to calm his client as officers are running up to restrain Kiwi. Kiwi screams back, "She wants it----look at her---she's drooling at what my tongue can do for her---------"
                  Walker is coming out of his partner's grasp as J.W. and another officer try to restrain him. The judge orders more officers be brought in as Kiwi continues to scream out his insults, "What about you mama----want my tongue too---I can take care of you both!"
                    Walker is swearing, "You son -of -a bitch---I'm going to kill you!"
            Kiwi is laughing as he reaches down under the chair and brings out a straight razor, he stands and slashes out at the officers, hitting one across the neck; blood is squirting everywhere. Walker is flying across the room to get to Kiwi, his face red with anger.
            Kiwi reaches up and grabs the judge, his hand goes across his neck, and the judge starts falling backwards. Blood is squirting everywhere, the jurors are screaming and trying to get out of their seats. Trivette, J.W. and more officers are trying to stop Walker. The twins have now gotten over the barrier, but are tackled back by police officers. Alex is trying to get to Angela, who is screaming for her Daddy.
            Kiwi is still shouting, "Hey, little mama----after I'm through with your daughter----and you----we can start on that little bastard inside your stomach-----I'll cut him out-------"
            Kiwi does not get to finish his sentence as Walker goes flying over the officers that are trying to shield him from getting to Kiwi. A fist goes slamming into the face that is covered with stitches, and the face explodes into a mass of blood and bones. The officers are trying to pull Walker back as his fist goes into Kiwi's face again, causing Kiwi to drop the razor. Walker's fist continues to smash into the bloody mass of what is left of Kiwi's face. Trivette is climbing up on Walker's back, trying to pull him back.
                  Walker is like a wild bull, "What's the matter, punk---kind of hard to talk with your damn face smashed in---huh? I'll show you, you son-of -a bitch---what happens when someone tries to hurt my family." Walker pulls the body of Kiwi over the fence-like barrier and throws him as far as he can across the room, into the table where Alex and Mooney has vacated.
                 Walker is still shouting obscenities at the little man who is scooting on the floor to get away from him, holding his hands up and pleading. Walker is still plowing through officers to get to Kiwi, he grabs him by the foot and starts twisting it, the man screams.  Trivette is now trying to put the 'sleep hold' on his partner. Walker reaches back and throws him over his shoulder, kicking out at the nearest officer. Now guns are being drawn as Alex is screaming at her husband to stop.  Kiwi is still crawling as Walker kicks out and connects with his boot, to Kiwi's chin----- he can hear the bones snapping. The officers all jump on Walker, taking him to the floor. Alex and Angela are both screaming at the officers not to hurt him, the twins are trying to get away from the officers that are holding them. A shot is fired----and the courtroom becomes quiet, looking in the direction from where the shot came.
            Judge Starnes is standing, holding a blood drenched rag in one hand over his neck and an officer's .357 in the other. He sits down slowly as medics are running to tend to him, he waves them away, looking to the six officers that have Walker pinned down, his voice is barely audible, "Let that man up---now!"
            The officers let Walker up and Alex and Angela run over to him, Trivette is getting up slowly. The judge motions for the officers to pick Kiwi up and put him under arrest. Kiwi is still unconscious as they place him on a gurney and roll him out. The judge is still holding the rag against his neck--he stares back at Walker.

To be continued…
 Seekers – Trial - Chapter 21

By Sasquaw

                The judge does not charge Walker with anything, but gives him a severe warning.  More charges are brought against Kiwi, including attempted murder on a circuit judge. The gavel slams down for a final time as court is dismissed. The judge is ordering a complete investigation into how Kiwi got access to a weapon, and when he's being taken out of the courtroom he stops to talk to Alex.
                The medics are cautioning him not to talk, but the judge waves them away and says quietly. "Mrs. Walker----this has been one hell of a day in court----I'll see to it that son-of -a bitch----never sees the outside world again---and you and I will witness his execution----personally!"
                As the judge is urged to get on a gurney, the Walker twins can restrain their joy no longer as they both jump up in the air, running to their sister. J.W. gives out a rebel yell and they all start grabbing each other. Walker takes a deep sigh as he and Alex go into each other's arms. Gordon is almost crying as he reaches out to Trivette.
                "One hurdle down and one to go, son-----but I know that daughter of mine will bring sweet justice to that Danny---no doubt in my mind----he'll pay the piper too!"
                Trivette is grinning as he and Gordon embrace. Walker reaches out and pulls Trivette closer, and they embrace. "Hey Trivette----you okay, partner?"
                Trivette is all smiles as the four embrace, "Couldn't be better, Walkman---hey kids----how about a celebration----on me?"
                Angela breaks away from the boys, running to her parents, "Thank God, this is over with."
                Gordon reaches over and kisses his granddaughter, "You were just great---pumpkin---I'm going to call Sue, she can swing by Ray Gordon's school, and they can join us for a celebration-----at the country club!"
                         Everyone becomes quiet, and Gordon looks at all of them in confusion. "What----what did I say?"
                Angela smiles at her grandpa, "Grandpa----if it's all the same to you, could we just go home? The newspaper reporters will follow us to a restaurant---I don't feel like answering any questions."
                Gordon looks at everyone and then he winks at Angela, "Of course---we'll go home----and you boys can call in fast food---on me."
                Trivette starts to argue, "No-----no way---this celebration is on me!"
                The two continue to argue as everyone heads for the doors. Walker stops and looks at his wife, then replies----"You guys go ahead-----I'm taking Alex to the Dr---to get her checked out---she "-- Walker touches her stomach, rubbing it slowly, "she and the newest little Firewalker have had more than their share of excitement---we'll see you at home."


                Adlen has received the news about what has happened in the courtroom. He turns to Danny's lawyer and smiles, "Daniel will not have to testify against that little asshole----he's history---tried to kill the judge----stupid, stupid, stupid!!  Now you can plan Daniel's defense."
                "Not so fast, Adlen---I have yet to receive my retainer's fee from Lars."
                Adlen stares back, "What do you mean, Lars said he was leaving the money in your Swiss account----all $2million of it!"
                "Nope, I just talked with my banker---no deposit has been made---in any amount!"
                Adlen stammers, "There's got to be a mistake----I'm calling him right now----he'll get you straightened out----you'll see!"
                Adlen has been on the phone for a good hour, trying to locate his stepfather, when he finally gets through to Lars' right hand man. "What do you mean, you don't know where Lars is---do you know who you're talking to?  You better locate my dear old Dad----and pronto!"


 Old Mexico:

                The old man has watched the gang of young boys for days now, cursing them under his breath. "You thieving little punks, you've taken everything I held sacred. The picture of my family is now torn in half, you've taken all my food, and you took the last piece to any other life I've ever known. Those were my last possessions to remind me that I was once loved, and I was a proud man. I had many friends at one time, how soon they forget you when you are down and out.
                "I remember good times, when the four of us laughed---and argued. I remember her tears, some were sad tears, but when she looked into his eyes, they were beaming with love. The arguments, how he loved to argue---and he was so stubborn---hot tempered as the day is long and would spit in your eye if you crossed his beliefs that animals were meant to be eaten.   And, last but not least---my dear friend, our strength, and our warrior. How many times did the four of us seek each other in times of comfort, joy, and sadness?"
                The old man sighs as he watches the youngest of the boys playing with the 'toy' that used to be his sole possession. He forces a smile, "At least you're not abusing it----treat it with respect--it deserves all you can muster. If you only knew the story behind it and what it stands for-----maybe someday---someone will tell you it's story---until then---enjoy what bit of happiness it can bring to your innocent little world."
                The old man takes one last look around him, and starts heading south. The hot sun is going down as he pounds the dirty old road with his stick and feels his way. "Maybe, the further south I go, the less chance that people like the piranhas can hurt me---or maybe someday I will not care any longer---I have nothing, or no one to care for me anyways---why should I feel anything?  I can feel the heat on my shoulders, I got to walk faster, and find shelter for the night. It's time to move faster---I'm burning daylight."


                It is now the 1st of May and the twins have celebrated their 14th birthday. It has been a happy day for the Walker family as the twins treated their friends to a day of horseback riding, a mini rodeo, and as the evening wears down, the music starts. Cordell has gotten the guitar that he's been saving for, compliments of his parents and Grandpa Gordon. Cooper has gotten new stereo equipment and both the boys are rushing to get everything set up.  J.W. is setting up his drums. There are still about fifty guests, and Gordon has helped Sue to serve the hamburgers, and works.  Alex is sitting on the front porch in the swing, enjoying a glass of lemonade, while Walker takes Old Ranger out into the north field before the ear shattering rock music starts.
                                   Cordell is plugging his new guitar into the amplifier, and he proudly strokes the body of his newest possession. The colors of blue and silver reflect back at him, he can't stop smiling. Dana is standing off a little ways watching him then she approaches him slowly. They haven't spent too much time together with all the celebrating and trying to be the gracious host to all their friends. But, he would look her way and wink, she would giggle and smile back at him.
                "Hi Cordell," she says softly----"the new guitar is awesome----I love the colors."
                Cordell smiles back at her, and looks at the new shirt he's wearing, it too-- is silver and blue. "Yeah---it's sure rad----and I love the new shirt---how did you know that my two favorites colors were silver and blue?"
                "Silly!  How could I not know--you wear those colors a lot and besides it's the color of the Dallas Cowboys."
                Cordell laughs, "Yeah, maybe one of these years, they'll get back to winning again---but win or lose---my Dad, Coop, and me have season tickets!  Thanks for the shirt, Dana---I really like it."
                "Well, I have a confession to make, I really picked it out because of the blue----it brings out the blue in your eyes."
                Cordell looks around to make sure no one heard her, "Oh stop it--you're just saying that."
                "No, I'm not----I have a hard time figuring out what color your eyes really are, sometimes they look black---they're such a dark blue," she inches up closer to him.
                "My Mom says they're more of a hazel color----they change when the light hits them. There's sure no mistaking the color of your eyes, Dana----they're a beautiful brown---like a doe's."
                Dana is all smiles, "Cordell, I did get you something else----would you like to see it?"
                     "Another gift-----you didn't have to do that."
                "I know, it's not much--but I know how much you love to read---so I bought you this."
                Cordell opens the little box, inside is a bookmarker that lights up in the dark, engraved with his initials C.J.W.  Cordell takes the marker and smiles, "Thanks, Dana---I love it--I hope it didn't cost too much---I know you can't possibly have much spending money."
                Dana smiles back, "It's worth it----if you really like it."
                "I like it, Dana-----and would it be alright with you if---we take a ride later---there's something I want to ask you."
                Dana can hardly keep her excitement down, and then she remembers Angela's warnings about not moving too fast. She answers quietly, "Yes----I would love to go riding with you---I'd better go while you get your guitar set up----I'll see you later."
                J.W. has been watching the scenario, and he approaches Cordell slowly. "Hey--man-----what's going on?  Don't you know you're just setting yourself up for a heartache-----you know the rules about dating."
                Cordell tries to shrug it off, "Who said anything about dating ----besides that's a stupid rule."
                J.W.'s eyes go big, "Finally----someone else agrees with what I've been saying all along."
                "What are you complaining about, Angela will be 16 in just 18 days----your waiting will be over--mine is just starting!"
                "So, what do you plan to do about it--just sit back and accept the rules---like Angela has done---because she doesn't want to go against her Daddy's wishes?  Or, is it only now that you got a thing for Dana, that you finally speak up against that stupid rule?"
                Cordell strums his guitar hard, "No!  I don't plan to just sit around and accept the rules, but it wasn't my place to question it, that was Angela's. But, now things have changed, I'm going to talk to my parents about it."
                "Well---good luck---are you prepared to stand up to your old man?"
                Cordell stares back, "Yes-----I will face him, man to man."


                The ranger and the old Mexican have been walking for days, stopping long enough so that Walker can bathe the old man's leg. The infection is spreading, and it's getting more difficult for Walker to bathe it, without throwing up his insides. Again the old man begs him to leave him and go on without him.
                "Save your breath, Heck---I'm not leaving you." Walker pulls up some roots and encourages the old man to eat them, and he then starts digging with his hands at the trunk of a tree, coming up with beetles and worms. They swallow them eagerly, and Walker finds an old tin can to fill with water, they both drink till their stomachs can hold no more.
                Walker leans back against the old tree, his mind is wandering and Heck can see the sadness. Walker sighs, rubbing his head.
                "Do you want to talk about it, senor?"
                Walker shakes his head, and hits the ground with his fist. "I can't figure out why I'm here---I know I have enemies on both sides of the border, but I've been raking my brain trying to figure out who is behind my kidnapping."
                "This man---this Kiwi---could he have friends that are working on his behalf?"
                "I've thought of that---it's just not his way of doing things. He was into drugs and a drug called "The Seeker", have you heard of it?"
                The old Mexican shakes his head, "No--senor, I have not----when you have been locked away as long as I have---you don't know too much about what is happening in the outside world----but I can see in your eyes that this is not the only thing that is eating at you."
                Walker stands up, pacing back and forth, "I've never been away from my wife for this long----and my kids---my God--what they must be thinking.--They must think I've forsaken them."
                "You cannot be held responsible for someone else' ill doings, my friend---you were taken against your will----surely your family realizes this by now."
                "What month would you say it is, Heck---I've lost track."
                "From the heat---I would say July or August."
                Walker repeats the months, and rubs the growth of his beard, "I was taken May 20th--I've been missing for two, maybe three months?"
                "It would seem so, my friend."
                Walker sits back down, shaking his head, "I missed my baby son's birthday---he turned five-----I've never missed any of my kids' birthdays---never! And, my boy was looking forward to that birthday---he's got a thing about the number "5"----damn this place!"---Walker slams his fist into the trunk of the tree, and then he grabs his fist and starts shaking it, and grimacing in pain.
                Walker stand up trying to shake the pain from his hand, he stops and listens. The old man stares up at him, "What is it, my friend, what do you hear?"
                Walker puts his hand up to silence the old man, "That's just it---I don't hear anything-----it's too quiet---I don't even hear the birds anymore. There's a storm coming in---a bad one---we have to find shelter and quick."
                The ranger helps the old man up and they start moving along the bed of the river as fast as the old man can move. Walker spots an old cave that has been overgrown with weeds---he motions for them to get inside, they scoot back into the cave as far as they can go. In only minutes, the sky opens up and the rain is coming down hard and fast. Walker continues to watch the river, if it continues to rain this hard, the water will rise and the cave will be under water!
                Walker watches the river swirl, the motion causing him to feel dizzy. He leans up against the wall of the cave, his thoughts going back to the day of Angela's birthday party, and the rush to the hospital for the birth of his newborn. The kids all gathered around their Mother staring at their new baby sister.
                "Wow---" Cooper exclaims---"look at all that hair----and it's so black!"
     Cordell looks to his father, and replies softly, "That's the Cherokee bloodline, coming through."
                Angela smiles, taking her little sister, "But why now?  Why is her hair black, and all the rest of us kids have rusty to auburn color?"
                Alex smiles, taking her husband's hand---"Well---the native Indian look had to show up in one of you kids, but she's got the same cheek line as all of you, taking after your father's side of ---Irish/Cherokee. Your father's hair was jet black when he was born, right sweetheart?"
                "Yep," answers Walker, "but then it started turning a light red, then brown, and then back to red again----now it's got some gray in it---compliments of you kids!"
                Little Ray wants to hold his sister, so he climbs up in the chair and Angela hands their sister to him very gently, sitting down in the floor and giving a supporting hand. The boy stares at the bundle, and then kisses her.
                "Me got baby sister---she pwettty---like you thissy."
                    Everyone laughs, as Angela suddenly grabs J.W.'s wrist, looking at his watch, "Heey----you know what this means----it's only 11:45---she was born on my birthday!"
                "Hey, that's right," replies Gordon----and then he looks to his son-in-a-law---"and, another May birthday---how do you two do it----how did you manage to have all your kids born in the same month?"
                Trivette is grinning, "It's simple-----Walker and Alex only make love in the months of October---so therefore Alex always delivers in May-----simple."
                All of the kids stare at their parents as Alex throws her pillow at Trivette, and Walker gives him a fake jab.
                Alex smiles, "I have you all know that it was not planned this way-----all of you kids came early---the only ones that were almost on time were the twins----they were due the 3rd---they came two days early."
                "I started it all by being almost 3 weeks early,” chimes Angela.
                "Hey----never mind all that---we get to name her---right?" Asks Cooper.
                Alex nods, "That's what was agreed on, do you have a name picked out?"
                Cordell nods his head, "CHEROKEE----there's no doubt that her name should be Cherokee--right guys?"
                The Walker kids nod their heads and Little Ray tries to pronounce it,  "erokee."
                Walker sighs, "Another name starting with a "C"---are you kids sure about this?"
                "Well, what do you say little brother, do you like the name of Cherokee?"
                "Yeath, me like it."
                "Okay----a middle name? "Asks Alex.
                Angela smiles, "Rose---Cherokee Rose."
                The boys frown at the name, and Cordell repeats it. "I don't really like the sound of it, what do you think, Mom?"
                Alex hesitates, looking at Angela------"Maybe we should just come back to a middle name----do you like the middle name of Rose, honey?"
                "Not really-----but we did say the kids could name her."
                Angela brushes the hair of her new baby sister, I have the perfect name----Dawn---Cherokee Dawn."
                Alex nods her head slowly and so does Walker, "I like that---it fits her----Cherokee Dawn Firewalker--that's how her official birth certificate will read on the logs in Lawton, but for here in Texas---we have to shorten it to Walker."
                Cooper repeats the name of his sister over and over, and then looks to his baby brother, "Maybe we better shorten her name even more, and just call her C.D.----maybe Little Ray will be able to handle that better?"
                Both Walker and Trivette look at each other and Trivette answers quietly, "C.D.----big dog-----how many years has it been since we lost him?"
                Alex's voice softens to almost a whisper, "We didn't lose him----he was taken from us---long before his time. He was such a sweet old man----I wish all of you kids could have known him."
                Gordon nods his head as he pulls J.W. close to him, "I only met C.D. a couple of times---- he was a good man---the kind of man--you don't easily forget."
                "We know grandpa----Dad has spoken of him so much that I feel I did know him," answers J.W.
                The kids are all silent as Cordell asks, "Will it be okay, if we call her C.D.---or will it be too painful for all of you?"
                Walker clears his throat, "I think your grandpa C.D. is looking down on all of you and telling everyone that will listen to his bragging----about how proud he is that you kids should remember him this way----though none of you have ever met him."
                Cooper is now holding his baby sister, he looks back to his father, "Grandpa C.D. was murdered, wasn't he, Dad?"
                Walker nods his head as he looks to Trivette who has walked over to the window and looking out. "You know what, the nurses are going to be coming in here again----and running you kids out---say goodnights to your Mom and ----C.D. and then get home----I'll be home shortly."
                The kids all say their goodnights and Gordon takes them home. Walker and Trivette have stopped by the coffee machine, Trivette is still silent.
                "I miss him too, Trivette----everyday."
                Trivette nods, "I know---I know you and Alex miss him---just as much as I do----I loved that man----as much as I loved my own Father."
                Walker sips his coffee, "I was very fortunate to have three male figures in my life as I was growing up, after losing my parents. Uncle Ray raised me, gave me strength, and guidance, White Eagle was my inner soul and inner strength---C.D. came into my life right after I got back from Nam that first time---if it hadn't been for him and Uncle Ray getting me through such a horrible time in my life---I don't know where I would be today."
                Trivette sits up straight in his chair, and Walker knows that something else is bothering him. Trivette starts to say something, then stops.
                "What is it, partner----what's bothering you?"
                "The whole time that the kids were talking about C.D. and all----I kept getting this funny feeling again. Sometimes it's so strong----it's like your Cherokee intuition---you've always said to ' see those intuitions through---no matter how small they might be---right?"
                "What are you getting at?"
                Trivette reaches for his decaf coffee, "Ever since I drove down to Adobe Wells to see that man that called me---I've been thinking about  'big dog'-- you know I told you that ever since I drove down to Adobe Wells to talk to that man that called me---I was having feelings of déjà vu."
                "Yeah," answers Walker slowly, "was there something about this man that reminded you of C.D.?"
                "Yes and no---I only got to see him for just a minute---I do have the feeling that I've seen him before----a long, long time ago---but---I just can't place him."
                "Maybe it would help if you ran a check on this John Doe---can you get his fingerprints?"
                "I'll do that---I'm heading back to headquarters right now---in fact---I think I will take another trip to Abilene--and this time, I'm going to get some answers---this is killing me---trying to place that man.  Is it okay if J.W. stays at your place till I get back?"
                "You know you don't even have to ask---I think I will put J.W.'s name below the Walker name on our mailbox---since he practically lives at our place anyways," Walker replies, trying to be cynical.
                Trivette grins, "Now that Angela is 16, J.W. might be hanging around a lot more---are you okay with that--big guy?"
                Walker sighs, "Yeeees--I'm okay with it---I know we still have some things to work out where Angela is concerned---but at least---I'm meeting him half way."
                Trivette smirks, twisting his head back and forth, "That's so big of you, Walker---that just does wonders for my morale---that you are finally accepting my boy to court your daughter."
                "Would you get of here?   I want to go back and say goodnight to Alex again----and don't worry about J.W.  I won't nail him to the barn door---at least not yet."
                Trivette leaves and Walker goes back to his wife's room, sneaking in before the nurses see him. He walks slowly up to her bed, carrying a single rose, laying it on her pillow. She tries to wake, but he tells her to go back to sleep, whispering, "I'll see you in the morning---happy anniversary my love and thank you for another beautiful child---I love you."
                Walker has fallen asleep while remembering his day at the hospital, the rain has stopped and Hector is watching as the men in jeeps are driving up and down the riverbed. The men have stopped and are getting out of their vehicles, looking up in the direction of the cave.
                Hector starts waking Walker gently, telling him they have company. Walker looks around to see where the cave leads to---nowhere!
                "They are coming senor---we can not escape."
                "Are they Federales?"
                Heck crosses himself, "No, my friend----they are the devil's disciples--they are Diablo's henchmen-----cold blooded killers---my friend!"           
                Walker and his friend watch as the men start up the hill, Heck grabs Walker's arm, "Make a run for it, my friend----I will create a diversion."
                Walker shakes his head, "No----we will face our Flaming Star together---if this is this way it shall be--then so be it."
                Heck stares back at his friend, Diablo's men are almost upon them when one of them shouts, "El Federales---they come!"
                Diablo's men take off running back to their autos and make a hasty retreat, with the Federales chasing them. Walker and Heck breathe a sigh of relief.
                "What do we now, my friend---wait for the Federales to come back?"
                " NO, we continue northeast----I do not trust the Federales anymore than Diablo's men--we head for Mexico City---and the American consulate---are you ready to travel some more?"
                "I am slowing you down, my friend---leave me here and go on without me----you can come back for me."
                Walker hesitates, "How far do you think we are from the city?"
                "I would say about 75 miles---but it will be the longest 75 miles of your life---go my friend---and may God be with you."
                Walker promises to return, but he knows the chances are of Heck surviving till he gets back are very slim. The gangrene is eating at the man's leg like an army of fire ants. The ranger bids a sad farewell and continues up the riverbed.
                Walker has been walking for almost two hours and then he sees them. He stops and stares, not believing his eyes. His face breaks out into a wide smile, he whispers "Thank you Lord---for giving me the sign."

Walker ranch:

                Walker is sitting at the kitchen table, papers strewn all over as he keeps looking for one in particular. He's still searching as Angela comes running in, with packages in her arms. She squeals joyfully as she throws her arms around his neck, "Hi, Daddy."
                Walker pats her arms and blows her a kiss, "Hi, baby----where's your Mother?"
                "She's coming, she had to take a side trip to the little girls' room----oh Daddy----wait till you see the things I bought for my party----my dress is--out---of---sight!"

Seekers –Trials - Chapter 22

                Walker looks to his daughter and to all the packages, he sighs, "More bills."
                Angela grabs her Daddy's half empty coffee cup and runs to give him a fresh one, "Here Daddy--what are you working on?"
                "I'm looking at insurance papers, and I can't find that latest policy that I was looking at, will you help me to find it, baby?"
                Angela's happy face fades, "Insurance policy? Daddy---I thought Mom said you had enough life insurance?"
                Walker shakes his head, "One can never have too much life insurance, Angela----and with the new baby coming---I've got to make sure that you kids and your Mother will be taken care of---in case something should happen to me."
                Alex has just walked in on the tail end of the conversation, "Walker----you are not taking out another life insurance policy----honey---the premiums are killing us now!"
                Walker stares back at her, she too has packages under her arms, "Well---if you and Angela would stop taking the credit cards and maxing them out---we could afford--more premiums!"
                Alex is doing a slow burn as she calmly hands her packages to her daughter, and tells her to take them upstairs. She looks straight at her husband and asks calmly, "What are you so upset about?"
                "Upset?  Why am I upset--I'll tell you---I come home---there is no supper on the table, and nothing in the making, I have a confrontation with our oldest son, and then you and Angela come waltzing in with packages galore! Alex---I thought we agreed to cut back on the credit cards?"
                "First of all--you will not talk to me in that tone of voice---and for your information---Angela and I didn't use any credit cards---Angela is using the birthday money that Dad gave her in advance and also her allowance---and third---what did you and Cordell argue about?"
                "What do you think we argued about---the dating rules---that's what!"
                Alex sighs and sits down, "We knew this was coming---as soon as he became interested in Dana as more than just a friend---we talked about the possibility of him challenging the rules."
                Walker goes back to looking for the policy he can't find, "Well----he can just challenge the rules all he wants---we are not changing the rules--Angela abided by those rules---and so will Cordell."
                Alex shakes her head, "Honey---WHAT are you looking for?"
                "I'm looking for that last policy that the insurance company sent out saying that I could take out an additional $25,000 on my current policy."
                "Walker----you do not need anymore insurance--honey---you just took out that huge policy in October, the premiums are already astronomical!"
                "You can never have too much coverage."
                "You can---if it means that we can't pay the premiums---now please--listen to me---you have more than enough coverage--we are all covered----what are you worried about?"
                Walker throws the papers down and takes a deep sigh, "I just want to make sure you and the kids are well taken care of---that's all."
                "Honey------I don't like to hear you talk this way--we go through this every time I've gotten pregnant----you worry me when you talk about more life insurance, and if something should happen to you.  Honey, please-----put the papers away, and after while we'll look at our policies, and I will show you that everything is taken care of---please?"
                "Okay," he answers, reaching out for her hand and pulling her to him, scooting his chair out and motioning for her to sit in his lap. He grunts when she sits down, "Oooooffff---darnn--woman---are you sure you're not having triplet’s this time?"
                "It would serve you right if I was!!!  And also---I'm not over that little remark that your supper wasn't on the table--you, John Cordell Walker can count on one hand the times that your supper wasn't ready---so you best---retract that statement and quick!"
                "Okay, okay--I'm sorry--I just walked into the house and Cordell started in on me about the rules---I guess I just lost my temper--I told him that as long as he was living under this roof----he would go by our rules-----he stomped off upstairs----- madder than a wet hen."
                Alex sighs softly, "Sweetheart----couldn't you have been a little more diplomatic about it----did you try to explain why we set those rules?"
                "Yes Alex, I tried to explain---but he kept saying it was a stupid rule and that it was a double standard, because he's a male and so much responsibility is put on his and Cooper's shoulders."
                "Double standard? What did he mean by that?"
                "I'll tell you what I meant by that, Mom," replies Cordell as he walks into the kitchen.
                Alex gets up from her husband's lap, and sits back down at the table, "Well, maybe you better do just that," she replies.
                Cordell stands there with both hands tucked inside his jeans, "I mean that when Dad is out of town, all the responsibility of taking care of the home is put on mine and Cooper's shoulders. I'm not saying that we don't want the responsibility, we do. For as long as I can remember, Dad you've always pounded into our heads about taking care of family and, taking responsibility, and being a man!  Well, haven't we proven to you that we can do just that?"
                Walker glares back at his son, "Yes---you and your brother have faced up to everything that's been thrown at you----I'm very proud of both of you."
                "Then why--after these trials of taking responsibility after the dangers are over and our social life is the question--- you go back to treating us like kids again?  Don't you think that we are capable in taking responsibility in other areas too---like being able to date?  We know there are temptations out there, don't you trust us enough to make the right decision"?
                Alex tries to smile, "Sweetheart----you're only fourteen---you just had your birthday a few days ago----fourteen is entirely too young to start dating."
                "That's right, Angela hasn't been allowed to date till she's sixteen, she hasn't argued about the rules, why should the rules be changed now---for you?"
                Cordell sighs and goes to sit down beside his Mother, "Dad------Angela never balked at the rules too much--because she doesn't want to go against you."
                "And---you do?" Asks Walker.
                Cordell stares at his father, his eyes turning a darker blue, "Yes sir---if I have to!  You always said to speak up for what we believe in and not to walk away from a challenge that you feel is right---so yes---I'm challenging your rules!  I think they're old fashioned and------stupid."
                Alex can see the veins beginning to pop out on her husband's forehead, "Is that so?  Well---I'm telling you, the rules stay and as long as you are living under this roof---you will go by those rules! Just because you've gotten an interest in a young lady will not change those rules---is that understood?"
                Cordell is silent, then he stands up slowly, "Fine----you're saying that as long as I live under your roof, I have to go by those rules-----then I will not live under your roof----anymore."
                Alex's face turns to surprise as she grabs at her son's hand, "What?  Sweetheart----what are you saying---you can't leave-----Walker----do something!"
                Cordell takes his hand away from his Mother, "I'm sorry Mom---I've already called grandpa---he said I could stay at his place."
                "NO," Alex screams back, "Walker--would you please say something?"
                "If he wants to leave, we can't stop him.  But, let me ask you something, Cordell----do you think that you're going to be able to do as you please at your grandpa's---do you think he's going to go against my rules and let you date----is that it?"
                Cordell's eyes stare back at his father, "I'm not sure what will unfold---I just know that I need some space away-----from you!!  You are not being fair---and another thing----"
                Alex stands up getting in front of her son, her voice trying to stay calm, "Cordell------watch your tone----you do not speak to your father in that tone of voice-----"
                Walker stands up and faces his son, "Let him say what's on his mind, Alex---I would like to hear it."
                Cordell bites his bottom lip, "I was just going to say---that I have heard you say that you lost your virginity when you were only 13----why was it okay for you at 13, and at 14 for me-----is out of the question?"
                Alex stares back at her son, "Is that what this is all about-----you're wanting to lose your virginity?"
                "No, Mom----that's not what it's all about----I just want to be free to date Dana, to be able to go out with our friends and not have to worry about a damn curfew!  All of my friends that are my age are already dating----do you know how hard it is for a guy to be teased at my age about that?"
                Walker meets his son's stare, "My childhood was a lot different from yours Cordell, I have explained to you and your brother about the native American belief that a 13 year old is not a man until------"
                "Until he experiences sex?" Cordell yells back.
                The arguing has brought the rest of the Walker kids into the kitchen as Walker puts his hand up and starts to argue back with his oldest son. "We had rules to follow----maybe they weren't the perfect ones to follow, but that was how it was, living on the Indian reservation!!!! And, I followed those rules because it was expected of me---before I could be a warrior or a man!"
                "Well, I'm fourteen Dad-----and if I want to experience that part of becoming a man---then I will-----and I don't have to have your permission to do it----and I don't have to have permission to date!"
                Alex is shaking her head and trying to stand between her son and husband, "Both of you-----you will lower your voices and SIT DOWN!"
                The Walker men continue to glare at each other, and Walker turns to sit down, "I have set the rules and if you don't to follow them---you can leave!"
                "Walker-----No-----Cordell don't leave---please ---we can discuss this another time."
                Cordell takes a deep sigh, "I'm sorry, Mom----but if I don't leave now I'll-------"
                "You'll what?” Walker shouts back at his son.
                Cordell's temper is rising, he starts balling up his fists, Walker looks at his son's hands and stands back up, replying slow, "If you got any intentions of using them on me----you better make damn sure---I don't get up!"
                      "WALKER---please-----stop it---both of you."
                Cordell lets out a loud huff, "Forget it-----I'm out of here!"
                Alex stares back at her husband, "Walker----stop him!"
                Walker sits back down, "Let him go Alex----let him cool off."
                The rest of the evening is mostly silence as Gordon Cahill arrives to pick up his grandson. He looks to both Walker and his daughter.
                "I explained to Cordell about what the rules are, I have told him that he's not going to be running all over the place while he's under my care, he will have the same curfew he had here, but he still says 'he needs space'.”
                Walker is saying nothing as he glares back at Gordon as the Walker kids all stand around, saying nothing----just watching. Alex is on the verge of tears as Cordell comes down from the attic, carrying a backpack. He turns to his Mother and kisses her cheek, "I'll come back for some more of my things---later."
                Alex is now crying as she keeps turning to her husband, and pleading for him to say something. Walker turns and heads for the kitchen.



                Adlen is still trying to get hold of Lars, his stepfather and the two FBI agents are arriving to talk to him.
                "Was wondering when you would get back into the states, where you been the last couple of months?"
                "I don't have to explain to you about where I've been," snarls Adlen. "But, if you must know---I've been down in South America helping Lars set up another cruise lines---now---are you happy"?
                "Don't get all bent out of shape, we've been working at this end, keeping an eye on that Reed guy---now that the trial is over with that Kiwi, are you going to confront Walker that you believe he's your father?"
                Adlen shakes his head, "Pretty soon---but I want to get Danny's defense set up first----and I've been trying to locate Lars----where the hell is he?   He's got to pay Doss his retainer---this isn't like Lars not to tell me where he's at."
                The older agent is getting impatient, "So, what now? Do we still tail the Reed guy, and if Walker's wife is going to prosecute your brother, wouldn't now be the perfect time to lay all this out about your accusations against Walker?  It would rattle the whole family, his wife would be pre-occupied with everything coming down, she couldn't possibly handle the case!"
                   "Danny's case will not come up till later this summer, Mrs. Walker is due to give birth at the end of the month----she will want time to recuperate," explains Adlen.
                "Then now is the perfect time to bring out your accusations" interrupts the younger agent, ------who knows---all the excitement might cost her a miscarriage!"
                Adlen slams his fist into the agent's face, "I don't want to hear that kind of talk------my revenge is not against his wife or the life of his unborn child!"
                The older agent stares back at Adlen, "Who do you think you're kidding----your revenge against the Walker family affects everyone---not just him!"
                Adlen starts throwing things around, "Get out,"---he screams, "and don't come back till I send for you!"
                The agents leave and Adlen goes back to trying to locate Lars. He finally gets hold of his right hand man again, "You listen---and listen good--I want to know where Lars is-----now!"
                Adlen's face turns rigid, as the man tells him where his stepfather is, "What the hell is he doing down there?"

                The little man stares back at Diablo, "Has there been any news where the ranger and the old Mexican are?"
                Diablo is a tall, skinny man, with rotting teeth, a scar graces his right ear lobe all the way down to the top lip. "No," the man sneers, "my men are still looking for him."
                The little man walks over to a chair, holding a handkerchief over his mouth, his aide reaches out and wipes the seat off. The man makes a face and looks back at the bandito. "So------this ranger and the old man is still on the loose, and your men can't find them? It would appear, that all these stories that I've been hearing on this WALKER----is true----that he is something of a superman?"
                Diablo downs another drink, offering the bottle to his "guest'. The man waves it away, "I would rather drink urine---than to drink after you--how do you live in such filth?"
                "Never mind my accommodations----have you got my money?"
                "Your money and the guns are coming----and you will get them--only after the ranger is dead!"
                Diablo laughs, "I will kill the Texas Ranger myself and I will put his head on the end of a stick and shove it up your ass, amigo----if those guns and my money are not here by the end of the week!"
                A cell phone rings and the little man's aide turns to answer it, saying his boss is not to be bothered. The voice at the other end of the line is not backing off, the aide whispers into the ear of the little man. He scoffs, and then reaches for the phone.
                "What do you want----this better be important!"


                Walker can't stop staring at the sight before him, stretching out like an octopus with long tentacles across the sky. He follows the sight with his eyes as far as he can see, and takes a deep sigh.
                     "Telephone lines," he whispers, "and where there's telephone lines, there are phones---now I just have to find one."
                The ranger’s pace quickens with the hopes that his communication to the outside world will be soon. He thinks about Hector and is tempted to go back for him; he turns around and stops. "No---I must go on, it will be dark soon, I've got to find one of those phones."
                Nearly three hours later finds the ranger looking down on a small farmhouse. He looks around to see if the telephone lines connect---they do. Walker can hardly retain his excitement as he stumbles down to the house. He looks around cautiously--there is no one home. Walker breaks the window open and crawls in, feeling around in the dark till he finds the instrument he's searching for. His hands shake as he lifts the receiver but his hopes fade when there is no dial tone. Walker starts to curse and then he sees the wires are loose, going into the box. He eagerly tries to connect them; they connect then come loose again.
                Walker finds the kitchen of the little house then goes through the drawers looking for something to help screw the lines in tighter, finding an old knife. He sees bread lying on the counter, where the cockroaches are fighting for their share. Walker sighs, his stomach is burning from lack of hunger, he brushes the bugs away, eating the bread as fast as he can, then returns to the phone.
                He finally gets a dial tone, and hears a voice, speaking in Spanish. Walker starts talking as fast as he can, in what little Spanish he knows. He keeps asking for an American operator, finally a familiar language is heard and the operator is bilingual. Walker is shaking so hard he can hardly stand, he tells the operator to dial his home number, he adds: 'Reverse the charges operator!"
                He manages a small laugh as he looks around at the small place, "No use in having these people pay for a long distance call----they look like they can barely afford to eat." As Walker is waiting for the connection to be made, he asks himself "So how is it they can afford a telephone?"
Walker is brought out of his self-questioning when he hears a small voice at the other end answer, "Hel wo."
                                              Walker's hands start to shake, the tears he can't stop, and he stammers, "Little Ray----its Daddy!!"


                The old man is stumbling in the dark, his stick has broken again, and he curses. His one good eye strains to see as far as he can through the night, he sees a blurred object. He whispers to himself, "Is that a house, that I see---maybe they will have food"? He starts stumbling towards the house, being careful to be very quiet. He climbs upon the porch very slowly---he hears a man's voice--the man's voice is barely audible, like a sobbing voice. The old man tries to look into the window, all he can see is the man's back to him, talking on the phone.  The man's shoulders are heaving as he eagerly runs his hand through his hair. The man turns slightly and the old man gasps. He rubs his good eye and looks back towards the man on the phone. Then he hears the autos coming, and men shouting.
                The old man scrambles to get out of sight as the men rush the house and a fight ensues. The old man is listening as the sound of someone being beaten, he knows the sounds all too well.  He watches as they drag the man to their jeep and throw him in the back.
                He watches sadly as the jeeps drive out of sight, he hears a voice calling out "Daddy!"
                The old man stumbles inside and finds the phone, a young girl is screaming for her "Daddy."
                The old man puts the phone up to his ear, "Hello----who is this?"
                The line goes dead. The old man starts stumbling around, looking for food, he finds the crumbs of the bread, eating every last one.  He stumbles back to the front room and finds the phone again. He stares at it for the longest and then thinks of the man that was using it. The old man sighs, "Another poor soul that has been forgotten by his family."
                He then pulls the telephone line from the wall, whispering, "I certainly have no need for you---all of my family is dead." 
                                 LOOK FOR A CONTINUATION IN SEEKERS/THE QUEST 

Nov.22, 2002