By: Shawna and Carol
Ranger Cordell Walker sat at his desk, sipping coffee. It was early in the morning at the Tarrant County Court House. It was a slow time in the day. His partner, Ranger James Trivette sat at his desk, looking over the newest edition of "The Dallas Morning News".
The phone on Walker's desk rang.
"Yes. I do. He was convicted of murder. On death row now, isn't he?"
"Any idea why?"
"Well, I arrested him. Only reason I can think of."
"Alright, I am on my way."
"What was that all about?" Trivette asked,
"The Warden at the Fort Worth Prison called. They're executing Jake Walton this morning, in about an hour. Walton wants to tell me something very important. He won't tell anyone else."
Walker stood and picked up his hat, heading for the door.
"Want some company?" Trivette asked.
"No, thanks." Walker left the office. He had to hurry if he wanted to make it in time. Fort Worth was a thirty-minute drive in normal traffic. This time of morning was rush hour traffic. He'd be lucky to make it in an hour.
Walker cautiously pulled the Ram out into the heavy traffic, and headed to I-35. Pulling off the exit Ramp, a high speeding truck came charging up the wrong way of the interstate, slamming into the passenger side of the Ram just as Walker pulled out. The force spun the truck out of control and across two more lanes of traffic. Walker's head jerked forward and hit the steering wheel, then as the truck took another hit from behind, his head slammed into the side window. He slumped forward, unconscious.
Walker awoke to sirens. People were talking; hands were pulling him out of the truck.
Remembering what had happened, Walker sits up and shakes the cobwebs out of his head. He had one heck of a headache.
"Sir, you must sit down." A paRamedic warned him.
"Is my truck ok?" Walker asked,
"This is no time to worry about your truck!"
"I am a Texas Ranger. I am on call. I need to get to the Fort Worth prison by nine o’clock."
"That gives you about a half hour sir."
"I need to get going."
"You need to be check out. You could have a head injury."
"I'll stop by the hospital when I am finished at the prison."
Walker got up and climbed into the RAM. It was dented up, looked like it was in a demolition derby. He turned the key, and the engine started right up. Good 'ol Ram. It has never left him down yet.
Alex walked into Company B, all smiles, looking for her Ranger.
She was surprised to find his desk empty, and his partner sitting alone looking over a file.
"Jimmy? Where's Walker?" Alex asked
"Oh, good morning, Alex. Walker went down to the Fort Worth Prison."
Alex's heart beat a little faster. Why would Walker go to the prison? She just prayed it wasn't another undercover mission.
"Jake Walton is due to be executed this morning. The Warden called Walker, apparently Jake has something he wants to tell Walker." Trivette finished.
Relief showed on Alex's face. It wasn't anything dangerous. No one could have a trap set for Walker, not with all of those guards. And he would be back in time for lunch.
"Thanks Jimmy. When he comes back will you please tell him to meet me at C.D.'s for lunch."
"Sure thing, Alex." Trivette smiled. *****
Walker checked the clock as he pulled up to the Prison gates, nine fifty five. He'd better hurry.
"Morning. Can I help you?" the guard greeted the Ranger. Walker didn't recognize him. He must be new at the job.
"Morning. Ranger Cordell Walker." Walker showed his badge." The Warden asked me to come down here to talk to Jake Walton."
The guard looked though some papers.
"I am sorry Ranger. I was told not to let anyone though this gate unless I have the Warden’s permission. I don't see anything here from him, Ranger."
Walker was getting a little frustrated now. He only had three minutes to get there.
"Call the Warden." Walker told the guard.
"Hold on." The young man went into the guard shake and punched in the Warden’s number.
"I have a Ranger Cordell Walker here. He says you asked him to come down and talk to Jake Walton."
"Yes. Let him in. And tell him if he isn't here in the next two minutes, I am going to pull the switch." The Warden answered.
"Ranger, I am sorry about that. The Warden said go on back, but if you aren't there in two minutes, he's pulling the switch."
Walker stepped on the gas and drove as fast as the law would allow until he found a empty parking place. He jumped from the Ram and ran to the prison. He just hoped he wouldn't be too late. He knew the Warden. He wouldn't wait for no one. He stays right on schedule.
Walker ran though the doors. The security at the front gave him a questioning look.
"Ranger Cordell Walker. The Warden is waiting for me."
"Go on back, Ranger."
Walker ran though the doors. He had less then a minute now. He was hoping against hope that the Warden was waiting for him.
Just as he reached the Execution room, the lights dimmed. Walker stopped in his tracks. No! his mind shouted. He was almost there. The lights came back on, and then dimmed again. Then came on and stayed on.
Walker walked the rest of the way. He peered though the window. They were removing Walton's body, and taking him to the morgue. He had failed the prisoner. Walton's last request wasn't honored, and it was his fault. He should have seen that truck coming on the interstate. He should have been faster.
Walker put his hand on his head. He had a terrible headache now.
"Walker! I am sorry, I just couldn't hold up the execution." The Warden came up to the Ranger and greeted him.
"Yeah, I know Warden. I am sorry. I was in an accident on the interstate. It took a while to clear it up. Then the hold up at the guard shack."
"Well, it was a short noticed, Ranger. Wasn't anything you could do about it. It's strange though. Walton never mentioned this until this morning. If he had told us last night, we could have reached you a lot sooner. I just wonder what he had to say."
Walker swayed a little bit. He was terribly dizzy and such a pounding headache.
"Well, I guess we'll never know.." Walker had to lean against the way.
"No, we won't. Say, are you alright? You don't look to good." The Warden gave a worried look toward the Ranger.
"I am fine."
Walker fell to the floor and lay motionless.
"Yeah, sure you are." the Warden mumbled, bending down to check on the Ranger.
"Call an ambulance, this don't look good." he told a guard.
Walker awoke in the hospital. He was alone, in a room. He had hoped no one called Alex. He didn't want to upset her with such little things like a bump on the head.
Walker picked up the phone and dialed Trivette's number.
"I ran into a little set back. I went to the prison, but was too late. They had already executed Walton. I am on my way back to headquarters."
"Walker, man, do you know what time it is?"
Actually, he didn't. The Ranger glanced up at the clock.
"Yes. I don't know what took you so long, but Alex wants to meet you for lunch at C.D.’s,"
"Darn, why didn't see tell me?"
"She did, yesterday."
"Alright then, I'll be there."
Walker put the phone back down. He glanced down and realized he was in one of those funny looking hospital gowns. Oh how he hated those.
Walker glanced around the room, hoping that his clothes were still there. Thankfully he found them folded on a chair. Quickly Walker changed out of his gown and back into his faded black jeans, blue western shirt, black boots and his hat.
Walker was just getting ready to walk out of the room when a cold chill filled the air. The hairs stood up on the back of his next. He could feel another presence in the room. A super natural one.
"Ranger. You have failed me. Because of you, I died. Now you will have to pay. You were too good to honor my last request huh? Well, now you will just have to pay for my death!" a laughed filled the room.
Walker turned to see the spirit of Jake Walton standing in the corner, and it slowly faded away with the laugh.
The Ranger was still staring when the door opened.
"And what do you think you are doing?" a nurse asked
Walker, turned, startled at the noise.
"Um, I was just leaving." He said.
"Oh no you aren't. According to my charts you suffered a severe blow to the head, is that right?"
"No. I just bumped it a little. It's no big deal. I need to get going."
"You aren't going anywhere until the doctor gets back with your tests."
"Oh yes I am."
Walker slid pass the woman and out the door. His mind was running wild. What was he suppose to do? He knew what he saw. Would he be putting Alex in danger by going to lunch with her? He had no idea what Jake Walton was up to. Or what he had wanted to tell him.
Walker found his Ram parked out front. Apparently the Warden or one of the guards had brought it over for him.
Walker dialed Trivette's number again.
"Trivette. Do me a favor would ya."
"Tell Alex I am not going to be at lunch. I am going out to the ranch for a while."
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Walker knew his partner would never believe in the supernatural.
"Well, remember Jake Walton. I told you I was late, and he was executed before I could get to him, right?"
"Well, his spirit is upset. He visited me in the hospit.." Walker caught himself. He didn't want Trivette to know about the hospital.
"Hospital? Walker are you alright."
"Yes I am fine. Just a bump on the head."
"Man, I think that was a big bump on the head. You're telling me that a ghost is after you? Is that why you aren't going to meet Alex?"
"Yes. I need to think this over. I don't know what he wants or what he wanted to tell me.
"I'll tell her. But Walker, I am serious man. Are you ok?"
"I am fine."
Walker hung up. He should have known that Trivette wouldn't believe him. Heck, he hardly didn't believe himself. Some things are just unexplained.
Alex peeked into Ranger Headquarters.
"Jimmy? Isn't Walker back yet?" Alex asked.
"Um. No Alex. He's going to the ranch."
"The ranch? Why?"
"You won't believe this." Trivette took a deep breath and told her what Walker had just said.
"A ghost? After him? Jimmy this doesn't sound like Walker at all. Even if a ghost were after him, he would face up to it, or go to White Eagle. He has never run from his problems before. Something's wrong Jimmy."
"I know. I have this feeling that something isn't right either."
Alex looked worriedly out the window. What had Walker gotten himself into this time? She wondered.
Walker arrived at the ranch. He headed straight for the pasture. Riding was the best answer for most of his troubles. He needed to relax, go on a ride. He gets angry about something, goes on a ride, and in times like this, when he needs to clear his head and think things over, goes on a ride.
"Come here boy." He called to his horse, Spirit.
Sprit was a 3-year-old paint stallion. He looked just like Amigo, including the blue eyes. Alex and bought Spirit for him a week after Amigo died.
Walker got a tear in his eye just thinking of Amigo. He loved that horse. Amigo had colic. Walker had done ever thing he could to save him. He even spent a few nights in the stall comforting Amigo. He took the loss pretty hard, and the next week, Alex showed up with a horse trailer she had borrowed with Spirit.
Walker saddled Spirit, and took off at a trot towards the river. The most peaceful spot on the ranch, and the best for thinking.
The nurse had just walked out of one of the patient’s room's when the doctor approached her.
"Sandy? Has Ranger Walker left yet?"
"Yes, Doctor. He left a little over an hour ago. What is the matter?"
"We need to contact him right away. He's got a huge blood clot on the right side of his brain. If we don't go into surgery right away, it will kill him."
"I'll pull his file right away, doctor."
The nurse rushed off to the office to get Ranger Walker's file.
Alex sat at her office, glancing at the clock every few minutes. It had been an hour since Walker had left, and during that whole time, Alex couldn't shake this feeling that something terrible was going to happen. Walker was in great danger.
She stared at the same file she had been looking over for the last hour, and still she didn't know what was in it. She couldn't concentrate on her work worrying about Walker.
"That's it." Alex laid the file down and picked up the phone, dialing the ranch.
It was busy first.
Alex laid the phone back down, and tried again.
It rang. And rang.
"Walker, where are you." She whispered listing to the ringing.
Finally Alex gave up. Hanging the phone back up, she put the file back in her desk, and grabbed her coat.
Just as she locked the door to her office, her phone rang. She was unable to hear it though over the buzz of the main office.
Walker trotted over the hill. He had this strange feeling like someone was there. Some was watching for him, waiting for him.
Just as Walker went to slow Sprit down, an unseen force flipped him over the horses back. Walker hit his head on a rock, and rolled a little ways down the hill, and lay motionless.
"I have had my revenge Ranger!" A voice filled the air.
Spirit reared, spooked by the supernatural presence. He galloped down the creek, and stood. All of his animal instincts alert. It was gone. He was safe. Nothing was near him now.
Slowly the horse put his head down to the cool fresh stream and lipped at the water.
Alex entered the Ranger's office.
"Trivette, I am heading out to the ranch. I have a very bad feeling that Walker's in trouble, and he's not answering his phone."
"Ok, Alex. Want me to go with you?"
"No, that's ok. I'll call you if I need you."
Alex left the office and hurried down the hall. She couldn't explain it, but she knew she had to get to Walker, and fast."
Doctor, I can't get a hold of the Ranger at his ranch nor cell phone. I tried his emergency contact person, Alex Cahill and she's not in.
"Call Ranger Headquarters."
"But Doctor, he couldn't go back to work today. Not with a head injury like that."
"Sandy, you don't know Walker. He's one tough guy, and he's not easy to keep down."
The nurse smiles, "very well then, doctor. I'll call his office."
Walker awoke slowly. Where was he? He felt soft cool grass below him the warm sun above him. He remembered riding and falling or was he pushed? He didn't remember.
His head pounded. Something was wrong. Walker closed his eyes tight, hoping the pain would go away. It was getting too much.
He turned his head, trying to see his surroundings, but that only brought more stabs of pain.
He gave in to the comforting blackness that over took him.
Spirit had sensed his master was in great danger.
He trotted back up the hill and stood above the Ranger.
He whinnied softly and nudged Walker, hoping to awake him.
He whinnied again. No answer. No rub on the nose. No apples nothing. His master just laid there in darkness, unmoving.
Trivette had just finished up some paper work he had been doing, and decided to look up some information on this Jake Walton guy. He couldn't get it out of his head that Walker had said about the ghost coming after him. It sounded far-fetched, but Walker wasn't one to make up stories.
Trivette had just logged onto the internet when the phone rang.
"No, he's not in today. Who is this?"
"But he told me he was ok. The doctor said he could leave."
"I know I shouldn't have trusted him. What did the test say."
"Oh my God!"
"I am on my way. We'll get them. Be ready."
Trivette hung up the phone, shocked. Walker was dying. He could be dead by now. Why didn't he ever say anything when he was hurting? All this could have been prevented. He had to get to Alex.
Trivette quickly dialed her cell phone number.
No answer, she must have turned it off, or left it at the office. Either way, he had to get out to the ranch. Fast.
Trivette grabbed his hat and coat, and practically ran out of Headquarters.
He dialed the hospital back.
"Have a Med-Vac ready and waiting at Ranger Walker's Ranger. His fiancée and I are on our way."
Trivette stepped on the gas. He just prayed that they weren't too late.
Alex pulled into the driveway. She saw the Ram sitting in front of the house. It was dented up pretty bad. She looked it over while heading toward the house. It looked like it was hit hard in the passenger’s side, and again from behind. It was a tough truck to be running after that. A smile came over her face.
"A tough truck for a tough and stubborn Ranger."
Alex knocked gently on the door.
"Walker?" she called. No answer.
She rapped louder. "Walker? Are you here?"
She gently opened the door the door and stepped in side.
"Walker?" The ranch looked clean. Nothing out of place.
She walked though the ranch quickly checking the rooms. Trivette had mentioned something about a head injury; she thought he may have been passed out somewhere. But after all, didn't he say the doctor release Walker?
She left the house, shutting the door tightly behind her.
She scanned the area around the ranch. She noticed Spirit was missing. She looked though the pasture. Angel, Cookie, Lady and her colt Santana, Ranger, and Little Ranger. She smiled as she watched Santana gallop around. Won't be long before Walker starts breaking him in. He was the little colt Lucas helped deliver. Ranger's baby. Walker had named him Santana after the wild stallion he meet a few years back. She could tell how much Walker had loved that stallion, and hated to let him go. Little Santana looked just like that stallion.
Alex went in the barn, and checked the saddles. One was missing.
"So, Walker went riding, huh. Well, that explains him not answering the phone, but it sure doesn't explain this feeling I have."
Alex picked up the black western saddle and bridle Walker had brought her for Angel, then she selected the black and blue Indian blanket that went with it.
Taking the bridle, she went out to the pasture and called to Angel, who came right over.
"Good girl, Angel." Alex rubbed the horse’s nose. Then lead her over to the fence to be saddled up.
Alex took off at a gallop toward the river she knew Walker loved to go to. The one where Lucas was buried at.
Trivette arrived at the Ranch. He saw Alex's car, and Walker's dented up Ram. The Med-Vac hadn't arrived yet. Trivette knocked on the door. No answer. He went to the barn, and found the two saddles and horses missing. He figured Alex went out looking for Walker.
Trivette sat on Walker's porch step and waiting and praying that they weren't too late.
He heard the sound of a chopper. He guessed that was the Med-Vac arriving.
He looked up to see the chopper landing in the front yard.
The Ranger got up and met the paramedics. He told them of Walker's condition, and that he might be out riding some place.
"Should we fly over head and look?"
"Yeah, that would be a good idea."
Trivette got in the chopper and they took off again.
Alex rode up to the top of the hill, over looking the river.
She saw Spirit, with an empty saddle, standing alone and looking down at a motionless object. His head hung low in sorrow.
"No! Walker!" Alex took off at a gallop and stopped once she reached Spirit.
The horse greeted her with a soft whinny.
"What is it, Spirit boy?" Alex asked.
She stood next to Spirit, and looked down the small slope that leads to the woods.
"Walker!" She half ran, half slid down the hill til she reached him.
"Walker! What happened?" She leaned over him and placed her hand on his face, turning him toward her.
His face was ghostly white, and etched in pain.
"Oh Walker! What's wrong?" She cried. She couldn't see any marks on him. Her only thought is that it must be a head injury.
"Alex?" A soft whisper came.
"Yes, Walker. I am right here. We have to get you out of here."
Walker looked at her, pain in his eyes. It was the first time she ever saw Walker let his pain show.
"I love you."
"I love you too, Walker."
She leaned down and kissed him gently on the cheek.
"Now come on. Can you stand up? I need to get you on the horse.
With great effort, Walker was able to stand, leaning almost all of his weight on her.
Alex couldn’t drag them both up the hill.
"You stay here. Stay with me Walker. I am bringing Spirit down."
She leaned Walker against a tree, which he clung weakly to.
"Call him." He whispered. "He'll come."
Alex looked at Walker, and back to Spirit.
"Come on, Spirit. Come on boy." She called
Spirit very carefully made his way down the hill and stood in front of Alex and Walker.
"Come on, Walker. I need you to get up there." Alex said.
She held him up the best she could as he grabbed hold of the saddle horn. Walker lifted his foot in the stirrup and Alex pushed him until he was safely on the saddle.
"See, that wasn't too hard, was it!" she smiled up at Walker, but he was lying motionless over the saddle, arms dangling loosely.
"Walker?" She shook him slightly, but he was unconscious.
Quickly Alex jumped up behind Walker. She wrapped on arm around him, and used the other for the reins, and to steady Walker.
The trip up the hill was a very hard one to make. Walker's weight kept shifting back on her, or over to one side. It was hard for spirit to carry that much weight up hill, but finally they made it.
Alex took Angel's reins and the headed back to the ranch at a slow walk.
Trivette looked over the land as the Med-Vac flew low, all eyes out for Walker and Alex.
"There! I see them!" Trivette shouted.
Alex looked up to see the Med-Vac landing. They were close enough that she could see Trivette. She pulled the horses to a stop as the chopper landed a few yards from them. She couldn't get off the horse, and still hold Walker, so she waited for Trivette to come up to them.
"Trivette, help him." Alex pleaded.
"Alex, we have to get him to the hospital. He has a blood clot. If we don't hurry, he'll die."
"Oh God.." a tear came to her eyes.
Trivette helped Alex off Spirit, and then they took Walker. The paramedics strapped him to the stretcher.
"I am coming." Alex said.
"I'll take care of the horses." Trivette assured her.
It had been five hours since they took Walker in. Alex sat starring out into the black night. Trivette paced around the room, and C.D. sat next to Alex, trying to comfort her.
"He must have hit his head harder then he admitted." Trivette said.
"Yeah. He never does let anyone know when he's hurting." Alex agreed.
"Must have just up and left the hopital with out waiting for the test." C.D. commented.
"That's just Walker. He never wants to hurt any of us. He doesn't know that by keeping his injuries a secret, he's hurting us more."
"Honey, Cordell just loves you so much. He wants to protect you from as much stuff as he can."
"I know, C.D. I know. I just hope he's ok."
The doctor came out and approached the friends.
"Ranger Walker had a rough time. We lost him twice, but were able to revive him. He'll be just fine now. You guys got him here just in time though."
"Can we see him?"
Alex, Trivette, and C.D. walked into the room. They were all shocked at what they saw.
The spirit of Jake Walton floated next to Walker's bed.
"Ranger, I am truly sorry for the harm I have caused you. I didn't know about the accident. I thought you just didn't care about a prisoner enough to get there on time. But I know you are different now. I know how much you care for others. Talk to Robert Hues in cell ten. He is the one who killed that girl. He will confess to it. I just didn't trust those others. I trusted you. Thank you Ranger."
The form disappeared, and all was silent.
Walker opened his eyes.
"Hi guys! Missed me?" He asked, still a little weak.
"You bet! Man, I am sorry I didn't believe you."
"Hey, I didn't even believe myself!"
Alex walked over to the bed, and leaned down and kissed Walker.
"I love you Cowboy!"
"I love you too, honey!"