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Outlaws of the Outback 

Part Two 

Fools Gold 

https://i0.wp.com/www.myplace.edu.au/verve/_resources/mp002986_page.jpg

Writers

IceTe3a
CharlotteCarrendar

CharlotteCarrendar: – Riding along at a slower pace with the bag of gold jingling, the pair had gotten away with murder so to speak. Having gotten the supplies they needed, their horses with new shoes and more gold than when they started, they certainly had luck on their side. Annie had to admit that the drunken gamblers were a bunch of fools the way they took her at her word about bush rangers. Little did they know they had just been fleeced by them. Annie bent down as her horse went under a low hanging branch, then righted herself, only to hear Jack say that she shouldn’t hide the fact she was a woman. She should have a name for herself as a dreaded outlaw. ”Aha! What ya think ta call me then? Rough riding Annie?’ This was said with a smirk as she thought that sounded ridiculous. ”And what is this about you likin’ ma hair down? Not be taking too much of a shine to me are ya?” Often Annie tried to act more male, to get away with more. Women were not meant to ride in pants, let alone be seen in such establishments as the pubs. She just found it easier to pretend to be male. ”That shopkeeper though…Ahaha…the look on his face when ya challenged him to go cheaper. I could see the colour drain away from his face.” <3>

IceTe3a: – The horse slowly trotted along with Annie up behind, he was admiring the new rifle as he checked it over, listening to Annie ramble on about how it was easier to be a male. Smirking he glanced back head half cocked “Oh so the damsel in distress needs to make life easier” he laughed out loud teasing her as he looked around, for now they were heading back to their billabong camp. “ I never thought you would be the first one to say it’s too hard” chuckling lightly he wouldn’t let that one slide down as he nodded in agreement, the shop keeper went white as a ghost when he challenged the man to drop the prices. “Most don’t like getting into fights, what more do ya expect from a bunch of yellow bellied shop keepers anywho” Soon enough they reached their destination, he took the horses gear off and allowed it to roam around freely as he took a seat on a fallen log. “We still need a better place to rough it than the side of a billabong that’s for sure. “ glancing around he knew this was hardly the best defendable place and not exactly a place where you can just leave your gear lying around, but a house costs too much and most houses were in towns, it was rare to see a shop or house built in the middle of nowhere.

CharlotteCarrendar: The taunts from Jack about being a damsel in distress only had Annie roll her eyes. She never meant she was one, it was just that it was harder all round for a woman in today’s society to get away with the things she did. Jack’s laughing only made it worse. He did have a love of teasing her when he could, and she put herself in it by her comments. On reaching the campsite near the billabong, Annie dismounted her horse once more and started to take off the saddle as well as the purchases she had made in the town. She was a bit excited about the bush oven, since that would make it so much easier to cook with. The kettle too would be put to good use. Living a life like this, roughing it in the outback was not easy. Keeping one step ahead of the constabulary was one thing, but dealing with the dangers of the bush was another. Snakes and spiders abound, and one had to be careful where they left their property. You had to have a keen eye out at all times. Letting her horse go, she took a seat beside Jack on the fallen log and listened to his suggestion that they needed a better place than this. A homestead cost an awful lot. ”If we bought a claim…built our own house that might be the way ta go, Jack.” <3>

IceTe3a: He watched as Annie started to mess around with all their new items that they bought from the stores, he smirked slightly as he knew she was happy and excited about it. He arched a brow as she said they should buy claim to some land and build a house that be the way to go, he chuckled lightly and looked back at her “And who’s ta build this house, eh? You n me? Besides, it take years and neither of us know how.” he rubbed his chin and leaned back against Annie as he sighed slightly. “We could go see the banker, they own all these lands. And we both know how crooked they are when it comes to gold. “ that would mean they needed more gold, means more robberies and now with guns it would make it a lot easier. He glanced her over and smiled, knowing full well they would need to make names for themselves that way people would take them more serious. “Besides, even if you’re female, if you got a name that’s feared I doubt anyone would be giving you any trouble” he chuckled lightly. They would need to dress correctly, but their clothing wasn’t exactly screaming fuck off either way they couldn’t afford to waste much more gold until they got their next pay, their new clothing would be on top of his list next time.“ I figure.. with land and a house, we’d be looking at least five.. ta six hundred gold pieces for a rundown old place.”their work was cut out for them, next pay check he would go visit the bankers who knew them both for what they were. “I reckon we aim higher, no more petty jobs. Hows about we rob some coaches, with all their equipment, horses and other valuables it make it easier. problem with stolen goods it was hard to pawn off in a proper town, anything south of the gorge (No mans land) was easy to sell stolen or not. Trying to sell anything legitimately north of the gorge came at a price cut to those who knew it was stolen goods. So do they take the price cut and keep it safe, or hit the outlaw towns and risk being held up, shot, or getting into a fight.

CharlotteCarrendar: – Annie got up off the fallen log and took off her hat. She untied her red ponytail and let her hair fall about her shoulders. Pocketing the ribbon which was a gift from her mother, she stared at the billabong thoughtfully. She loved the freedom of being able to just set up camp where ever she liked. To live off the land and then take from the wealthy who had far too much in their purses to ever be used for good means. Tapping her hat to her leg she was lost in thought when Jack spoke of how it would take years for them to build anything that could stand up to the elements, let alone the fact neither of them had the skills to do such a thing. Annie laughed about seeing a banker in order to find about buying land. ’Crooked bastards the lot of them.” She held no respect for them, and knew many that had lost their homes when they could not pay back what they borrowed. The idea that they would need at least five hundred gold pieces to get their dream home was way more than she could ever think to have. It was a King’s ransom, or worse – the price for a bush ranger’s head if they had done murdered a coppa. Annie had not committed murder in her crimes. Sure, she had robbed a few stores and a coach in her time – but never taken a life. Though the last run in with the law brought her awful close to losing her own life. The memory of that bullet whizzing past her head and slamming into a tree, a painful reminder. ”Robbin’ from the Cobb & Co, eh?” She asked with a rub of her chin. ”That be sure to get us known, Jack.” <3>

IceTe3a: – He smirked as he nodded in agreement, she had them picked they were all corrupt even more so than him and Annie were, they only spoke the language of gold. So they were to make names for themselves, he turned around to face Annie and smiled as he looked down at her. “You sure you want this path Annie, once we have name’s, there’s no turning back” he stood up tall and dusted himself off, as he held the rifle. “ If you’re still willing, I want you to stop hiding who you are. “ he chuckled and nudged her over playfully. “Come on, let’s go shoot some rabbit for tucker “ shouldering his rifle he left the horses to their own, as he knew where the rabbits holes were, he had attempted to catch them previously but they were always too fast for them. Taking a pocket full of bullets he placed his black hat on and smiled as he waited for her to get up and be ready before he pushed on. The field where the rabbits lived wasn’t too far away from the billabong, just around the corner and a 5 minute walk to the open field where the rabbit mounds were. The animal livestock out here was intense, not many people came out this way so the animals were everywhere, from wild pigs and dogs, to rabbits, birds and so much more. Creeping up to a good range to shoot from he sat down next to a tree and passed Annie the rifle. “Come on, you gotta learn to shoot straight so I know you have my back” he whispered and watched her carefully.

CharlotteCarrendar: – The startling red head couldn’t have been more sure about anything in her life. She knew the risks of the life that they lead and it would either mean being shot by the coppas or being hung high in one of the King’s gaols. So long as she was riding along side Jack, she was happy. Watching him stand with the rifle in his hand, Annie tossed her hat onto the fallen log. It was time to go and get some supper, and that meant hunting. Rabbits were on the menu if they got lucky. They were plentiful too, but they were fast. Following along behind Jack as he got together a handful of bullets and his hat, she took off after him. The sun was filtered by the large gum trees, and dragonflies were everywhere – bright and beautiful. There was so much to see in the bush that people took for granted. Annie kept quiet as she followed along till they reached a spot where Jack knew it would be a good spot to find rabbit burrows close by. Jack offered her the rifle and told her that she needed to learn to shoot straight if she was to have his back. Loading the rifle with the bullets, she pulled the lever back, and then crouched down low. Her green eyes surveying the grasses in the hopes to see that tell tale sign of rabbit ears. Both were silent for a time, till suddenly she spotted one, that had just come out of its burrow. Annie aimed. ~CRACK!~ the loud sound of the gun firing would startle away the birds in the trees, but to Annie’s surprise, she shot true. Bagging her first rabbit. She let out a whoop of joy and handed the smoking rifle back to Jack. ”I killed it…you skin it.” She laughed. <3>

IceTe3a: He watched as she handled the gun well soon enough she fired, he watched the rabbit as it doubled over a perfect shot, no need to waste another shot as it died with the first bullet. He smirked and nodded as he ruffled her hair “Nice shooting quick draw” he chuckled as he teased her. Shouldering the rifle he went over and collected the rabbit, cracking its neck just to be sure it was dead before walking back to Annie. “we’ll keep the furs, I’m sure they’re worth something to the right people” he smirked and led her back to their camp. “Get your cooking thing ready” he smiled as he pulled out his knife, he made incisions at the legs and cut the skin off perfectly, it wasn’t hard to tell that he’s done this before, as he gut and cleaned the rabbit down at the waters edge he threw the guts into the billabong as the fish came up in the middle and started feasting on the rabbit remains. Everything in the outback was utilized nothing was wasted, as he walked back with a freshly skinned rabbit and passed it down to Annie, he pegged the fur up high in a branch and left it there to dry out in the sun after being washed out, if anything a few of those could be used to make quite a few different items. Sitting back down he laid the rifle back onto the stump. “we’ll get a good night’s rest and head out and find a travelling coach tomorrow, where should we do the deed, good side or no man’s land?” that was the question worth answering as he glanced over at Annie while she prepared the rabbit.

CharlotteCarrendar: – Taking the skinned rabbit, Annie started to prepare the new bush oven that she had bought in town. She part filled it with water from the billabong and then placed the whole rabbit in the pot. In her knapsack, she had some vegetables that she had bought in town, along with some salt, that she added to the water. She was able to cut up the vegetables with Jack’s knife and add that to the pot. Placing it over the fire that had been built earlier, she placed the lid on and let it cook. It was going to make for quite the meal when it was done and a rare treat. Annie sat back and reflected on her shooting skills. Her dad had taught her when she was but a slip of a girl, but she hadn’t kept up with it till now. With the meal bubbling away, she took up her hat and placed it on her head on an angle that it covered much of her face. She folded her arms and leaned against a tree, her legs crossed out in front of her. Thinking about which way to go, to find a coach the next day, Annie thought for a moment, then from beneath her hat Jack would hear her say. ”No man’s land.” She didn’t give a reason for it, but he could probably guess why. <3>

IceTe3a: He smiled and nodded in agreement as he watched her settle down, so they were going to rob a coach in no man’s land. This would be interesting to say the least “You understand in no man’s land the rules are different, you need to be able to take a man’s life Annie. You can use the Rifle, I’ll be fine with my colt” he chuckled as he laid down against the dirt, resting his head on the stump he sighed slightly in relief as he took in the alluring scent of the cooking rabbit. He should wash up, but he was going to do this later, he was slowly drifting off when he heard it “ Ole country roooooaddd take me hoooome, sing with me Anna-bell, you useless mule!” it sounded like someone was in pain from the way the person was singing, twitching his hat up slightly he noticed a man and a horse walking towards them. Reaching for his pistol he unclipped it from the holster and left his hand rested there. “Whats cooking? Smells good” the old man lifted the pot’s lid and then grunted “Ugh.. needs beans” he dropped the lid down onto the pot again and lead his donkey down towards the billabong, where he stepped over Annie Scuse’ me” Watching him closely he sighed as he got up “Can I help you old man? “ The donkey started to drink from the billabong as the old man stood up and turned around with a snarl on his face “Who you calling old, ye scrawny mongrel” and then spat some chewing tobacco down onto the ground. Sitting upright he growled as he straightened his hat, Jack was getting annoyed and about to teach the old man a lesson it was obvious Annie would have to pull him in and be the middle man on this one.

CharlotteCarrendar:- Now it was not every day that a stranger just wanders into your camp, checks out what your cooking and then just steps over you like you are some log on the ground. But that is just what this old timer did. With a flea bitten mule, or donkey, he made himself at home at the billabong like he owned the place. Annie put her finger under the brim of her hat and pushed it up. She wasn’t shocked by the man’s antics, more surprised if anything. The sound of the bush oven’s lid being lifted then dropped unceremoniously with the declaration that it needed beans, brought something of a surprised laugh from Annie.”Cheeky old bugger.” She said before she thought. Course, Jack was off and on his feet in a blink. Approaching the old geezer, who took offence at Jack’s call. Turns out, he didn’t like being called old. Watching him spit out a large dollop of chewing tobacco on the ground, Annie could sense that this was not going to get better, if Jack lost his temper. Annie got to her feet quickly, and approached the pair that were at the stream. ”Well, ya not exactly a spring chicken. Ya better be answering Jack here, or he is libel to put a bullet between them blue eyes of yours.” <3>

IceTe3a: – He was growling and death staring the old man down as Annie stepped in and played the friendly role as she always did. He sighed and stood up straight as he watched the old man carefully. “ Of course M’am” the old man took off his ragged old hat as he spoke kindly to Annie, patting the back of the donkeys ass he smiled “Why me and old Anna-Bell here are gold prospectors, but its all hush hush. Not many folks know how to look for gold and the rest don’t know where it come from, it’s a Hoot!” he smiles and dusts himself off before taking a seat in front of them looking up as he was obviously addressing Annie. “You stupid old goat, Gimme one good reason I shouldn’t shoot you” Jack growled as he glared the calm old man down. A simple chuckle escaped his lips as he rubbed his tired old head “ Beans of course!” he threw Annie a bottle of beans and smiled as he nodded in kind “Besides by the way I figure it, the bullets worth more than I am” he rubbed his chin slightly as he eyes Annie and jack off. “So you two are Bush rangers, eh? Not that I mind, I prefer to keep away from all that flash and stuff I don’t rightly understand it anyway. “ he was talking about law and the town how everything was going so fast. Jack sighed as he walked away waving the old man off, seems like Annie more than could handle the old man, and he was right he wasn’t worth the bullet.

CharlotteCarrendar: – A gold prospector. So that was why he was this far out with just a mule and his world riding on her back. He dressed in clothes that looked so well worn, that they could use a tailor’s touch. He was polite when he spoke to Annie, even mentioning his mule’s name, which brought a smile to Annie’s face being that Anna-bell was close to her own name. The prospector sat himself down and rightly made himself at home, much to Jack’s annoyance. His nostrils flared as he went to call the old man a few choice words and asked a reason he should not be shot there and them. His answer. Beans. He threw the jar to Annie, who caught it on the fly. She turned the jar around and thought to herself that it would be good to add to the pot.”Guess he is staying for supper.” With that said, she laughed and went to add the beans to the rabbit stew. This would leave Jack and the old timer to talk. Annie lifted the lid on the bush oven, and unscrewing the jar, she added the whole lot. Even tapped the bottom. Hearing the old man ask if they were bushrangers, she shrugged. This was men’s business, and she knew Jack was already in a right state. <3>

IceTe3a: He sighed as Annie announced that the old coot was staying for dinner, but there was no arguing with her when she had already made her mind up. He looked over the old man and he looked harmless enough but one could never tell. “ Thank you M’am, gives this old timer to rest his sore bones” Jack shook his head, as the old man called himself old but seconds ago he was up in a blaze from being called old by jack, obviously he didn’t take kindly to other men. Looking back at Annie he had a confused and helpless look on his face, not knowing what to do to the old man as he sighed “Fine.. Yeah, what about it old timer. Thinking of collecting on our bounty? he glared the old man straight down the eye, to his surprise the old man shook his head “Nah, by the way I figure it you two are together and its hard to make a living. You gotta do what you gotta do” well he got half of it right, rolling his eyes he was surprised that a old man didn’t mind that they were both outside the law, rule breakers. It was more than welcomed as he and jack almost saw eye to eye for a moment “Just don’t get any funny idea’s “ Jack had enough of the old man and laid back tiling his hat over his face. Suddenly a strange noise comes from the donkeys carry bag, “Oh marry jane is awake!” the old man got up and pulled out a red hen, sitting back down he laid the hen on his laps as it clucked away happily while being petted “Annie, I’d like you to meet, Mary jane. “ he smiled widely while chewing tobacco

CharlotteCarrendar: – Much to Annie’s surprise, the old prospector had another surprise. A strange sound was coming from the back of the mule and it turned out to be the old man’s pet chicken who happened to be named Mary Jane. Annie shot a look at Jack that was comical. It was not every day that you ran into a man that kept animals like this, let alone named them. Watching the old man get comfortable with the chicken on his lap, Annie sat down opposite him. ”You have to forgive Jack. He is not too trusting of strangers.” This was the truth, and if the prospector sold them out to the coppas, he was sure to make a few coins out of it for his trouble. But thankfully, the old man knew how hard it was to make a living off the land. He might not respect them for being bush rangers, but as he said, you gotta do what you gotta do. Jack had now settled back against the tree, his face obscured with his hat, leaving Annie to talk to the old man. ”So there is real gold buried deep in these hills? I thought that was down lower than these parts.” <3>

iceTe3a: – Jack was drifting off to sleep as he slightly kept an ear on the conversation, with the horses roaming around happily it all seemed safe enough for him to catch a quick nap and let Annie deal with the old man. “Sure is, just gotta use some explosive or dig. Either way deep in the caves or in river beds, Just gotta know where to look” he chuckled slightly as he continued to pat his pet chicken. “So whats a pretty young thing like yourself doing with a roughed up gunslinger like him?” he was curious to hear her story, and he glanced back at Anna-bell who was now munching on some grass over by the trees, he smiles as he looks back at Annie. Jack yawned slightly as he shifted his weight, still not fully asleep just resting his eyes as he drifted in and out of it. He didn’t understand why Annie was being so friendly towards the old man, but she was always the smarter one out of the two, he just figured she knew what she was doing otherwise this would be a different story. The old man ruffled around in his pocket and pulled out a small gold nugget about the size a small rock “see here, this is what gold looks like before its shaped into coins and such. Worth a bit too” he chuckled, it seemed he was trusting enough to let two bush rangers know that he had pure gold on his self, jacks ears burned as he tiled his hat up slightly and stared down at Annie, he was getting an idea but would she let him?

CharlotteCarrendar: – It was a good question. How did a girl such as herself get into being a bush ranger? Annie pursed her lips for a moment, wondering just how much she could tell the man. She didn’t know the old timer and was not obliged to tell him a thing. She did show a hint of a pink blush to be called pretty. Few ever did that mainly cause of how she dressed. Looking down at the pet chicken that the man was holding, reminded her a little of one that she had as a child. But that was so long ago. Truth was, she had been riding with Jack a few years. ”My mum died giving birth to my baby brother. Dad….he couldn’t handle life without her. Sent us kids away to an orphanage.” At this she looked uncomfortable. ”I don’t care what anyone says…but those priests don’t know how to care for children. Bastards. I ran away, than be beaten again.” Annie looked away a moment, as she tried to compose herself before continuing. ”A coppa caught me stealing bread and was about to haul me in. That was when Jack saved me. Been with him ever since.” It was true. As a young teen she had been on the run for some time. A pick pocket – a thief. <3>

IceTe3a: – He smiled and nodded as he pockets the gold nugget, obviously she had a harsh up bringing, it was almost tearful to the old man as he smiled and continued to pat his chicken. Jack almost had enough of all this, the old man had a gold nugget and who knows how many more. Coming to a stand he stretched his arms before slowly walking over to be behind Annie, looking down at her he shook his head. : The old man looked from Annie to Jack who was slowly rising, he gulped slightly as he clutched his pocket and looked back to Annie with a half smile, he knew Annie was kind in heart to those who understood but jack was a heartless man to anyone else but his own or that’s how he saw him “I best be off, long journey ahead of me and what not” he quickly rose and stowed Marry-Jane in the carry case again, as he grabbed Annie-bells reigns and pulling her along “It’s been a pleasure, M’am” he said as he scurried off into the distance. : Jack watched as the old man quickly raced to get ready, he sighed slightly and shook his head as he watched the old man ride off into the distance, not far enough to escape a rifle’s bullet though. He picked up the riffle without asking what Annie thought they should do. Coming down to a kneel he leant against the tree with riffle in hand, cocking it he means to kill the old man for his gold.

CharlotteCarrendar: – Annie had forgotten herself in her sad memories, and it wasn’t till she noticed the gold nugget, and heard Jack get up behind her, that she knew that trouble had just shown its head. The old man, he quickly twigged to the situation. Showing such a large nugget of gold to a pair of bush rangers was a mighty big mistake. Annie felt a lump rise in her throat. This was the part of a bush ranger’s life that she didn’t like. But it was also a test. The old timer was suddenly a lot quicker in his movements. Packing away the chicken and grabbing the mule’s reigns as he started to make a hasty retreat. There would be no more hospitality. Annie went silent when Jack had reached for his rifle. There would be no discussions. She watched on as he knelt and took aim. She closed her eyes, and started to count down as she knew that the sound of the rifle would soon fill the air. <3>

IceTe3a: * BANG* the crack of the rifle firing as the shot hit true, he half expected Annie to speak up and ask that the man’s life be spared, but in her weakness to step up in what she wanted she had to sit there and watch as Jack took the man’s life, the bullet hit the old man in his right leg as the screams of pain and agony echo through the barren land. Jack huffs proud of his shot as he shoulders his rifle and comes to a stand “Stay here” he said in a low tone as he walked out towards the old man. You could hear the old man begging Jack for his life, that he will give everything over to him if he let him live. Pulling out his .45 colt he aimed it down at the old man “ You die as a lesson” *BANG BANG BANG* three shots in the chest as the third one surely finished the old man off. Jack holstered his pistol and checked the old man for his gold nuggets, finding three he pockets them before he walks over to the donkey, pulling the carry cases off he checked inside, beans and other foods and the chicken. He grabbed the chicken by its head as it fluffed up, he broke its neck and tossed it on the ground. Walking back to the old man’s dead body he picked it up and tied it to the donkey before shooting down at the donkeys feet, it forced the donkey to run off and drag the old man’s dead body across the ground far away from their billabong, no one would know where he was shot. Picking up the dead chicken and the rest of the gear he walked back to Annie and tossed the dead chicken on the ground in front of her as he looked at her carefully with his sharp eyes, his face covered in blood. Walking back to the camp fire he placed the newly found goods down next to the rest of their stuff before walking down to the billabong and started to wash his face.

CharlotteCarrendar: – The first shot hit the old man in the leg, then that was when Jack went off to finish the gruesome business. Annie bowed her head, muttering a prayer that she knew God probably would never hear. She started to rock back and forth after the sounds of the poor man begging for his life fell on deaf ears. Another three shots and the man spoke no more. Only when the dead chicken was tossed at her feet on Jack’s return, did she speak up. ”You killed the chicken too? We could have gotten eggs.” An odd thing to say, but she was not really thinking clearly. The donkey was now racing through the bush, dragging the lifeless body of the miner with it. If anyone ever found the donkey and the dead miner, it would be shocking to say the least. The miner would have been no harm to them, but he was carrying a lot of gold, and that was what they needed. Seeing Jack’s eyes so fierce – his face covered in blood, Annie soon quietened again, and started to pluck the chicken of its feathers. Last thing she wanted to do was cause him to be mad at her. Feathers were all around her feet, as she gripped handful after handful and tore them from the chicken’s flesh. <3>

IceTe3a: After washing his face he came to a stand and went through the loot he had just killed for, 3 jars of beans some more cooking items and spices, other food items, a pick, some rope and two carry cases. He chuckled lightly as he tossed the three gold nuggets into the purse with their gold coins and placed it back in Annie’s swag. He glanced over at her as he saw her rocking back and forward while plucking the chicken he sighed and wiped his upper lip with his thumb before coming to a stand and walking over to her. Looking down at her he sighed “You’re weak, a wreck. If you wanted that man’s life to be spared you would have said something. “ he kneeled down and took the chicken off her, throwing it over by the rest of the bags as he glanced in her eyes “ You were weak and didn’t even if you wanted to. So, I shot him to teach you a lesson.” he looked down at her shaking hands and came to a stand “Go on.. Get” he nodded out towards the bush “ Take your stuff and leave, this life isn’t for you. And I can’t trust a yellow belly to protect my back” he turned his back on her and walked back to his stump, taking a seat he pulled out the old man’s chewing tobacco and shoved some in his mouth.

CharlotteCarrendar: – Annie could hear the anger in Jack’s voice as he ripped the chicken out from her hands and tossed it over with the old man’s possessions. He shouted at her that she was weak, and that she should have said something if she wanted the old man to live. Annie stared up at him, her mouth falling open. She had seen him angry before, yes. But never like this. He rammed home that he shot the man to teach her a lesson and a hard one at that. Then…he said it. ”Go on..Get.” Telling her to get on her way. That she was a yellow belly, and he had no use for someone as weak as her to defend him. It was then he turned his back on her. Walking away as though ready to throw her away….just like that. At first Annie didn’t know what to do. Did he care nothing for her at all? Annie got to her feet slowly. So this was it. Had she not proved herself before when it came to helping him? Angrily, she kicked over the bush oven so to spoil his dinner. ”Ya forgettin….I’m still a gal..with feelin’s. But aye…you want rid of me? I be going.” She took up her saddle and started to put it on her horse, muttering under her breath as she did so. She reached into the backsack and took out the nuggets and threw them at him so they would hit the back of his head. ~Tink tink tink~ ”And you can keep ya gold!” She mounted her horse and then kicked its flank hard, tearing off through the bush….heading for no man’s land. <3>

IceTe3a: – He was expecting her to come at him full force instead she started on about how she was female and how she still had feelings. He shook his head as she started to saddle up “So you’re blaming your weak state on being female? Pathetic, I know kids that stand up for themselves better than you” and he left it at that. The nuggets hit his head hard as he rubbed the back of his head as he picked them up sighing, he turned around just as she left and watched as she disappeared off into the distance. He knew she wouldn’t survive on her own out there but she had made her choice and left it up to her as he always did. He looked over the campfire as the food had been spilt over. He sighed as he poured the food out of the camp stove onto the ground and washed it up before packing everything. “ You got a long way to go Annie” he sighed as he glanced out to the horizon. He knew she would come back to the billabong once she cooled down but he wasn’t planning on staying. As he tied up all their gear into the bags, he stuffed the lifeless chicken into the pot with the nuggets and 55 gold pieces, keeping two for himself. Placing it all neatly near his stump he left the rifle next to it and placed his hat on top. he saddled up his horse and left with only his pistol, two gold pieces and a canteen of gold as he rode his horse deeper west into no man’s land, towards the nearest outlaw town.

CharlotteCarrendar: – Jack and Annie had fought before, but never like this. As she tore through the bush, her heart was indeed breaking. She hated to admit it to herself, but her rash temper was not always a good thing. Maybe he was right. Maybe she was a yellow belly and no good to him on this journey together. Annie had taken off without thinking. Leaving behind everything of value and not a coin on her. She soon slowed the horse when she thought she had gotten far enough away. ”Damn him.”Annie cursed. She’d never been this far out on her own before and her tracking skills were poor. It had all been going so well. If only that dreaded old man had not wandered into their fold. Her inaction saw the man die, and now her partner hated her for it. She would soon find herself leaving the dense bush and find herself on the grassy plains that headed for a township. Annie had no real plan of action. Should she revert to her old ways, or carve a name for herself as a lone bush ranger? <3>

IceTe3a: As he galloped through the rough terrain he couldn’t help but think about Annie and how stupid she was being, it was never like her to not speak her mind and now she blames everything on being female, what a cop out. It took him awhile but he finally rode into the lawless town, where law was taken into your own hands. As he rode into town he pulled up at the local tavern, jumping off his horse he hitched it up and walked into the tavern to have an ale. He looked around glaring at everyone, any one of these guys could pop off a shot without warning and he knew it. He took his ale and walked to the back table corner before sitting down and chewing on some tobacco. He spat it out before taking a sip of ale and strumming his fingers on the table, he was angry and annoyed at both himself and Annie. He glanced over at a table that looked to be playing cards, but he couldn’t be bothered and without Annie around to help swindle him out of their grasp. Leaning back in his chair, he knew she had made her mind up and now the past was the past, he would continue down his own path since she decided she wanted to be on her own. The days ahead would prove hard and full of bloodshed, that much is for sure.

CharlotteCarrendar:- Little did either Annie or Jack know but the donkey that had been pulling the dead body of the miner had reached a small settlement. A farmer and his wife spotted the blood splattered donkey in one of their fields, and on closer inspection, they saw the lifeless body of the old man. He’d bled out and his clothes were torn to shreds from the terrible dragging through the bush. The farmer sent one of his hands into the nearest town to alert the police that there were murderers about, and soon they had sent out a group of policemen on horseback to scout the area. It was as Annie was riding across the plain that she spotted them. Four of them, all dressed with those unmistakable hats. She could no longer use the dusty roads and was forced to go back into the bush. A woman out on her own like this with no provisions or explanation would surely be interrogated if caught. She walked her horse into the thick undergrowth and kept a sharp eye out. It would be getting dark soon. <3>

IceTe3a: He drunk his share of ale before he got up and paid the owner for the ale as he was walking out he bumped into another male who was entering. He was shoved back, this is where he cut loose and spun around smacking the guys lights out“Touch me again you’ll be biting lead” he snarled, he glared around the room some of the men were standing up, only to slowly sit back down and continue with what they were doing, no one wanted a piece of jack. His friend on the other hand reached for his pistol, but jack was faster *Bang Bang Bang* his lifeless body hit the floor, jack didn’t bother searching for anything but did take three bullets back “ Fair warning” he growled out as he glared around the room once more, some of the men were shaking in fear for their lives, in truth he was upset and lashing out at anyone who crossed him. He snarled some more and walked out of the tavern before hitching up on his horse, there was nothing in this town for him, so he decided he might as well go hold someone up. “Hyea!” his horse galloped into action as he blazed out of the town and back into no man’s land, in search for some poor soul to rob them of their wealth, his mind couldn’t help but think of Annie and wonder how she was faring.

CharlotteCarrendar:- Annie…was lost. The sun was starting to set and she had no idea where she was. She hated to admit it, but she needed Jack. Riding on, with no clue but trying to keep a step ahead of the coppers was when she heard it. ”STOP…IN THE NAME OF THE LAW!” It was a coppa and Annie’s heart near stopped. She rounded her horse and there was two coppas riding up the plain. She had let herself become visible, the biggest mistake she could have made. The voice of Jack was in the back of her mind…calling her weak, a yellow belly. Annie reached for her revolver and then pointed it at the constable on the left. ~BANG!~ One shot fired and it struck the coppa in the chest causing his horse to rear back and toss him off like a rag doll. The other coppa shouted out in anger as Annie shot again, only this time grazing the second coppa’s shoulder. It was enough to give her a head start and she gripped the reigns, taking off at speed. Riding blindly and leaving the coppa’s behind, until there was a gun shot. A sudden pain ruptured from her right arm as she took a bullet that sheared through some skin and tore her shirt. Bleeding, she rode on hard, trying to find her way back to the gorge….before it was too late. Her vision was poor from the lack of light, but she kept on going. Riding on and on, till she started to recognise the bush around her. The coppa’s hadn’t followed her in. Reaching the billabong, she fell off the horse and landed with a heavy thud on the ground. <3>

IceTe3a: He came to a slow trot as his horse wondered the barren lands of no man’s land, he was searching for someone he could rob to keep his mind off Annie. He continued to wonder for a good hour or so before he needed to take a drink of water, as he guzzled down some of the water he sighed as he knew he’d be lucky to find someone out this far. Luck provided and he saw two horses riding in the distance, a smirk slipped across his face as he galloped towards them, they seemed to be doing the same as he unclipped his pistol and continued to approach them it was too late by the time he realized they were coppa’s. “ G’day, seen a solo female rider round these parts? “ one of the coppa’s said as jack thought they were talking about Annie but he had to play his part, they didn’t know him. “Nah, she’s barren out these parts, why?” he watched as the coppers looked at each other one took his hat off and sighed “She’s wanted for the murder of an old man, she’s also killed one of our officers and wounded another” Jack swallowed his built up saliva and thought to himself “Annie you idiot!!” as he rubbed his chin and nodded behind him towards the town which was a good days ride “If anything, she’d be held up in the town that’a way. You may find her and other’s you’re looking for, be warned boys keep the guns loaded” the cops smiled and paid him a gold coin for his troubles and rode off towards the town, he waited for them to pass him before he pulled his gun out *BANG BANG* he shot the first copper dead the second fell off wounded, dismounting jack walked over to the other copper who was groaning “ Remember this face, if you survive tell everyone, not to fuck with me or my girl” he kicked the copper in the sides as he picked both the dead copper and the living one clean of bullets, coins, water and food. He looked around to get his location, he was going to make it for the billabong but he didn’t know if she would be held up there or not “Annie.. you’re an idiot” He had just made a name for himself and officially became a fully fledged outlaw, a wanted man. As he rode as fast as his horse could take him towards the billabong, it took awhile but he was almost there as he kept a sharp eye out for anyone who may be around, hearing groans he thought it was Annie as he lead his horse over, it was the wounded copper Annie had shot“Please.. thank god.. save me” Jack glared down at the man, before pulling his pistol and… *Bang* Jack sure was ruthless.“Annie, its jack.. Where are ya, ya bloody idiot” he bellowed out hoping to hear her.

CharlotteCarrendar:- Laying on the grassy bed that was near the billabong, Annie was drifting in and out of consciousness. What has she done? Killed a coppa, maybe two? All she knew was that she had made it back to the safety of the billabong, but Jack was nowhere to be seen. Her voice whispered from in amongst the grass. ”Jack?” Soon her eyes closed and blackness consumed her once more. Her horse came up alongside her, nuzzling her back trying to get her to move. Blood was on the grass and flies were buzzing around her wound. Then out of nowhere, a shot was fired. Two. An angry sound of a man’s voice and Annie’s eyes opened partially. Was this a dream? She heard another man’s voice and then another shot. Annie reached out with her hand and her horse let out a loud neigh, pawing the earth where she lay. ”Jack….” she tried to call out. Would he hear her? <3>

IceTe3a: – He lead his horse over to the billabong and surely enough after awhile he found her, dismounting from his horse he shook his head as he saw the state she was in “You bloody idiot Annie! What were you thinking” he sighed as he picked her up and brought her over to their usual camping spot, he looked around and all their stuff was still here, good. He tore his shirt off and then tore hers off as he looked at her wound, he washed it with water and wiped the blood away, he checked for a bullet but it was a through and through shot, clean. He quickly tore his shirt up and used it to bandage her shoulder up to stop the bleeding, it was cleaned and now with the medical aid it would stop bleeding, she would just need rest. He sighed as he grabbed his spare shirt and put it on her doing up the buttons, grabbing her swag he undid it. Picking her up he slid her into it and zipped it up, using his swag as a pillow for her head. He looked down at his bare chest, it was mixed with blood from the coppers and the man back at the tavern he sighed slightly as he started a large fire and took the chicken out, he soon cleaned the chicken and tore the meat into pieces placing it in the bush stove, with some water, veggies and what spices she had bought them he started up a nice dinner for them to slowly be cooked. He placed a water canteen beside her and stripped down as he walked over to the billabong and walked into it, slowly submerging himself as he washed the blood and smell away with the soap.

CharlotteCarrendar: – It was Jack. Swearing and cursing her for her stupid actions. She was just too weak to fight back, but had a sad expression as he picked her up and carried her to the usual camping spot. ”Jack…” she kept repeating his name as he tended to her wound. She’d really gone and done it. Shot two coppas and was now wanted also for the death of the miner. Annie crried out as he tended to her wound, but he was being so careful with her. Using his own shirt to stop the bleeding. With her head resting on the swag, she stared up at him as he cared for her. Even using the chicken from earlier to start cooking a meal for them both. He did care for her. Drifting in and out, she could see him. Going down to the billabong to bathe away the blood and the grime from his ride. No doubt he would have harsh words again for her when she finally roused. The wound throbbed as the bandage stopped the bleeding. It brought her round and she then started to sit up, as Jack continued to bathe. Her mouth was dry and her throat raw. Taking up the canteen with her good arm, she took a sip of water which quenched her thirst. Would he still think she was yellow now? She watched him silently, as the fire crackled and spat. It took her a while to gain the courage to say what she had too. ”I wasn’t thinking. You were right.”<3>

IceTe3a: – He heard her voice call out as he looked up from in the water, he sighed in relief that she was ok. Walking out of the billabong he put his long pants back on and wondered over to her, kneeling down he smirked slightly. “ I’ve killed 3 coppers one man and took the blame for the Dead miner today.” he glanced over at her and smiled lightly as he finally came to sit down next to her he sighed slightly “You’re right you are female, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. It should be more of a reason to drive you to better yourself. In the long run you can be as tough as any bloke out there” he chuckled and looked her over carefully as he checked the wounds “How you feeling anyway?” he walked over to the fire and stirred the bush stove, dinner was smelling good and it was almost ready the aroma was wafting through the air. He sighed happily as he walked back to her as he comes to sit again “You really had me worried Annie”

CharlotteCarrendar: – Annie’s face fell when she heard what Jack had gone and done. Between the pair of them, they had killed enough coppas and others to warrant them being officially outlaws. Wanted dead or alive. No doubt as word spread, the bounty on their heads would be considerable. So much for wanting to settle down. Anne eased herself up and watched as Jack approached her. He gave her a right telling off for doubting herself. He believed that in the long run, she would be rougher than any bloke. Jack asked how she was faring, to which she answered. ”Sore. Burns like a right bitch.” Which was true. She had really gotten herself into the wars, but thanks to Jack she would survive. The smell of the cooking food however had her stomach rumbling. She remembered the chicken and then looked over at Jack. ”I owe you my life, Jack. Really.” From now on, she was going to pay heed to his words. <3>

IceTe3a: He smirked as she said she owed him her life, he simply shook it off “Nah, we’re together in this from the very start. We have each other’s back, it’s to be expected ain’t it?” he chuckled lightly. Coming to a stand he walked over to their supplies got two tin bowls and spoons, as he filled up a helping of the chicken broth, he walked back and gave one with a spoon to Annie “All I need you to do is be yourself, It’s not just me calling the shots. If you think we should do something else, or I shouldn’t kill someone for example, speak up” he really wanted her to know she had a voice in everything they did and she wasn’t just one of his lackies. “Well now everyone will know there’s a bullet biting tough female out there, no sense hiding what you are now” he gave her a wink as he started to eat the soup. [/b] “ You still need to get better, I reckon that takes us out of the job for a while. What do you say?” [/b] he chuckled as he continued to eat the food, he was proud of his cooking although he wasn’t much of a cook, Annie was the chef out of the two of them, she had a lot of useful traits.

CharlotteCarrendar: – Annie took the offered bowl of chicken broth and it was truly welcoming. She grimaced as she adjusted herself on the ground to eat. Blowing on the first spoonful, she placed it in her mouth and it was probably the best thing she had ever eaten. She was truly grateful for him in more ways than one. Nodding, she agreed that she was definitely going to be known after today, and that hiding who she was was out of the question. Her arm still throbbed, and it may be a day or two before she would be able to ride properly, so their plans would have to be on hold for a while as she got her strength back. Annie finished her small bowl of chicken broth, and handed it back to Jack since he would be better at cleaning them out.”You’re right. No stage coach robbing for a while, and I promise to not bite my tongue no more. Ya might not like what I say…but eh.” Her spirit was coming back and that was a good sign. <3>