Sabine Woman, Part One
Jerry stepped out into the cold, crisp air and closed the door of his cabin. There was a lock on, but he didn't bother with it. What would be the point? They were at least thirty miles from their nearest neighbor, and that was through steep, rugged terrain. The family compound was located in a small section of Colorado wilderness, one of the last untamed parcels that didn't belong to the government. His ancestors had claimed it almost two hundred years before, and there had been Bellewoods on the land ever since.
No one was taking it away. They paid their taxes on time, had records of legitimate businesses, and didn't do any conspicuous consumption. No one 'official', not even the FBI, knew that they were going into the seventh generation of crime.
Oh, not all of them. Some Bellewoods moved out of the mountains and became regular citizens, but they never talked about what their kin were up to. Even had they been so inclined, they didn't dare. Bellewoods were fast, silent, and very unforgiving.
At present there was only Jerry, his older brother Ron and his woman, and his sister Justine and her family living on the ancestral land. Three cabins clustered around the edges of a clearing just below the tree line. No road led up to the area. It was possible to get to and from the dirt road about eight miles away, but you'd better know where you were going when you started out. Every year one or two foolish hikers disappeared into a ravine or runoff swollen river, never to be seen again. To the best of Jerry's knowledge none of them had met up with Bellewoods--not during his lifetime, anyway.
Jerry crunched across the snow covered ground to Ron's place. Its door was was unlocked, too, and he went right in without knocking. Ron was sitting at the kitchen table with his woman, Lally on his lap, nuzzling her cleavage. He looked up as Jerry came in.
"Hey, baby brother." Ron was actually Jerry's half brother, but blood was blood. Jerry's mother had been Craig Bellewood's second woman, taken from a tourist camp up in Wyoming after his wife had died when Ron was fifteen. She'd eventually given up trying to run away after she became pregnant with Jerry, and had finally resigned herself and settled in by the time he was three or four. Ron had liked her. She had never resented him for his father's actions, and had treated him well, but she died young. Ron was forty-four, Jerry was twenty-five.
"Hey yourself." Jerry had stamped snow off on the porch, now he removed his coat and hung it near the door, then went to the stove and poured a cup of coffee. He glanced at the radio transmitter/receiver in the corner. "You heard anythin' else?"
Ron nodded, pushing Lally off his lap. "You had breakfast?" Jerry shook his head. "Lally, doll, fix him up." Lally opened the window over her sink, took in a bowl of eggs from the cabinet mounted just outside, selecting three before replacing them and shutting the window. They had electricity from solar panels and an emergency generator, but there was no reason to waste electricity on refrigeration in winter when there was a perfectly good ice box outside. She began to scramble eggs and slice bread from a homemade loaf for toast.
Ron watched her affectionately for a moment, then looked back at his brother. "It's a go. Next week."
Jerry blew on his coffee, then sipped. "How much will our split be?"
"After expenses, close to a million. We can ride easy on that for quite awhile. Maybe even permanently if we don't get greedy--and we won't."
"Nope. Already got everythin' we need right here, right now." He paused, staring into his cup, then looked up at his brother. "Well, almost everythin'."
Ron cocked his head. "That's your own fault, boy. It isn't like you haven't had chances. What about Tracey Lomax? She likes you."
Jerry frowned. "She's just a kid."
"She's older'n you are."
"You know what I mean, Ron. I like 'em more mature."
"You're kinda picky, Jerry. What's wrong with, say, Martina?"
"She's a size fourteen if she's anything," Lally said, whisking eggs.
"I don't care. She has tits like bug bites, and no hips. I'd get bruises, screwin' her."
Ron thought. "How about old man Dickie's girl?"
"Looks like the Whore of Babylon--painted."
"Jerry! She just wears a little lipstick, foundation, and blush. That's not much," Lally scolded, self consciously smoothing a pencil darkened brow.
Ron gave him a warning look, and he hastened to apologize. "It looks good on some women, like you, Lally." She appeared mollified. "It's just that I like a woman more natural, as God made her."
Lally's eyebrows arched. "Hairy legs, pits, and all?"
He grinned sheepishly. "All right, maybe not that natural." He looked at Ron again. "No, I've thought it over, and none of the girls I know is what I want." All the girls mentioned were part of the outlaw society his family had called it's own for as far back as anyone could remember. He hesitated, as if hoping Ron would say something.
"Then I guess we'll have to get you one. Is that what you want to hear, boy?"
Jerry smiled blindingly. "Well, since you mentioned it... I think that this next run would be a good chance."
Ron frowned. "It's going to be complicated enough, Jerry. I'm not sure I want to have to drag a kicking, squalling female back with me, no matter how empty your bed is."
"I'll take care of handlin' her. I can get some chloroform from Doc before we leave. Couple of whiffs of that and she'll be docile enough."
"You won't have a lot of time. We're going straight in, straight out, straight back up here. It won't be more than a few minutes, and you'll be limited to whatever is available in the bank. And I'm warning you..." He pointed at Jerry, and his voice was grimily serious. "if you do this you're stuck with her. If you change your mind there won't be any putting her down like a puppy you're tired of. Whoever she is, she hasn't done anything to deserve getting herself killed just because she might be a little disappointing. Can you accept that?"
"Yeah." Jerry's voice was soft, his eyes shining. "As long as she's mine."
"All right, then. If you find one you want on the next run, you can have her."
Ron boxed his ear, but gently, with rough affection. "Didn't I say so, idjet child?"
Lally set the plate of food before him, and he tucked in with a good appetite. No more hitting the sheets for a couple of hours with a prostitute or a willing slut when he went to town three or four times a month. Soon he'd have his own woman, the kind he wanted.