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Chapter 35

Lex had just returned to her hiding spot after sabotaging the truck when the first raindrops began to fall. Great. I knew I should have brought my coat. The flannel shirt she had on felt great earlier in the day, but now that the sun was hidden by the sudden cloudcover, the wind was decidedly cooler. She rubbed her hands up and down her arms briskly, trying to keep warm, almost laughing out loud at the scene unfolding in front of her.

The rain started coming down in earnest, causing the would-be thieves to rush around picking up their belongings. One of them, a short and stocky dark-haired man, had almost made it back to the truck when he noticed that something was wrong. " Hey, Matt! " he yelled, looking back at the tall lanky man near the campfire, " Looks like we got a couple of flat tires! "

Lex nearly gave herself away laughing. Oh, we've got a regular Einstein among us. She shook her head. Wonder what his first clue was? She blinked away an errant raindrop, thankful for the dark cowboy hat that kept most of the rain out of her face.

Another man checked the other side of the trailer. " This side's flat too! " The man they called Matt walked over to the truck and pulled a rifle from inside. " You guys keep a close watch. I don't like the looks of this."

The rancher crept slowly back from her vantage point. Uh-oh…I think he means business. She slunk back farther into the brush.

Matt tossed the rifle over to the short, stocky man. " Darrell…take this and do a perimeter check. If anything moves, SHOOT IT! " He turned to face the older man who had checked the far side of the trailer. " Randall, get the other rifle out of the truck and check the other side of the clearing." The gray headed man nodded and complied.

Lex looked around. Where did the other three go? Suddenly, the bushes to the left of her began to rustle. Shit! She ducked down lower, practically lying face down in the rapidly building mud. Man number four stepped out of the shrubbery almost on top of her.

" Hey, Matt! What the hell's goin' on? " he asked, zipping up his mud-covered pants.

The rancher slowly lifted her head. Two left… She decided not to move until she knew where the other men were. Looking around, Lex noticed a slight movement in the trailer. I thought that thing was empty. As she watched, a younger man, probably still a teenager, climbed out of the trailer and over to the leader.

" Aw, Matt. It's starting to rain again. Are we gonna get out of here pretty soon? " he ran a hand through his shoulder-length brown hair. " I really want to go home."

Matt put his hand on the smaller man's shoulder. " Yeah…we'll just leave the trailer for now…why don't you go on and get into the truck? We'll be there in a little bit." The young man nodded and started towards the vehicle.

Lex looked at her watch. The sheriff should be here before too much longer…and knowing Amanda, she's probably on her way back by now. She moved slowly backwards. Better get back to the pass and wait for her. The rancher started making her way slowly around the clearing, trying to stay out of sight.

She was more than halfway there when she nearly ran into man number six, who was making good use of the nearby thick bushes. He had long blonde hair that was partially tied into a ponytail, and did not look at all happy to be squatting in the rain.

Lex edge around until she was directly behind him, waiting patiently. Hurry up, buddy… she thought to herself, I really don't want to be watching this. He grunted, then began pulling up his pants. Ew…I'd hate to have to do your laundry! She mused to herself.

The man stood up and turned, coming face to face with a tall drenched woman in a black cowboy hat, who had a very 'not nice' expression on her face. " Wha…? " he started.

" Say nighty-night! " she punched him hard in the face, getting an intense amount of pleasure watching the man crumble to the ground. Lex pulled off the man's shirt, tearing it into two strips. One she used for a gag, and the other to tie his feet together. She used his belt to tie his hands, smiling down at her handiwork. Flexing her right hand she grimaced, Damn hard-headed thief. Then she continued her journey towards the pass. Suddenly, she heard one of the men in the camp shout.

" Hey, Matt! I think I see something!! " he took careful aim and fired.

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