The miles of baron and bleak desert sands stretched far beyond where the naked eye could see. The shrubs that managed to survive in such conditions bore nothing more than black berries which could kill a man yet could keep a wild beast from starving. On the south edge of the place the large terracotta mountains lifted themselves into the morning beams of light and in doing so had gone the most marvellous of colours. On the Eastern edge there began the large snaking trail of the Great River, its banks thin and sandy but its mouth wide and deep. The green running waters drifted along at a steady pace and often were broken by large rocks that had fallen from the great mountains above. The smooth and cooling winds providing excellent conditions for eagles as they swooped down towards the lizards and the water snakes that drifted from bank to bank in the morning light. If you followed the river east then soon you would come down towards Hume.
Hume was a town built solely on the rich pickings of oil and as such for over one hundred years every corporate son-of-a-bitch was biding for the major’s handshake. Hume itself was but three streets in something of a “T” junction shaping. As you came into the town from the beaten dust track you were greeted by the Inn house. That was to your left, to your right there was the lock up (or so it was called) and Sheriff McGee prided himself upon it having been home to some of the most notorious folk in all of America. As you carried along there was a bank and stores with everything you needed, not everything you wanted but definitely everything you needed. Now you come to the “T” junction. There is a water fountain with over fifteen dollars worth of change at its bottom and that was the cause of the split in the road. To your left was the Ladies shack where a man could flick away a weeks wage for his pleasures and to your right was dead man’s corner. Along with being the place where you roped up your horses this was also a place where many a man had ended his days. This was the home to tug. Tug was the oldest, most reliable rope in all of America and Sheriff McGee prided himself on being its owner. It gave any man the creeps when you walked passed Tug. And that was Hume. Every inch was known by everybody and everybody knew everybody else. That was the kind of place that Hume was. Yes it was a nice place but the weather was like a gambling man’s dice, one minute it was a cool and fresh day where everyone relaxed and sat in the morning sun and then the next the breeze would halt and the sun would hit harder than a speeding coach horse. Boy, I’m telling you; when that sun hit you the hairs on your back stood on end and your whole body began to sweat. Everyone would run for cover or if you were a kid then you’d run for the river and jump right in, boots and all. When that breeze halted the women would bathe twice or three times a day and the men would gulp down the liquor quicker than you blink. And it was bitterly cold in the winters, the barley and the wheat would die and the men couldn’t work no more. The river would sometimes freeze and you were lucky if you didn’t catch the flu and end up in bed for the rest of the winter break. Still though Hume was a nice place.
Right now its summer but the breeze is still cool and the women don’t bathe twice a day. We were all on summer break and
were trying to make the most of it, like all kids do I suppose. Our first task was to build a den up near the bank of the river,
we built it in the trees and it was sturdy and good. Next was to fish and try to see who caught the biggest, we did that for
three days straight before we even got a bite.
And now we’re spent, there ain’t anything for us to do. We sit in the den and light matches and blow them out again. You’re
probably wondering who “we” are, aren’t you? Well we are the blood brothers.
Six of the finest folk who’ll ever walk around Hume, that’s for sure.
First up there is Bush, he’s the smallest and the youngest of us. His dad works down in the mines and his mum’s the barmaid
in town, he ain’t much to look at but you could hear him from twenty miles away.
Second up is Red, so called because he spends too much time in the sun and he looks like some sort of native. He is Bush’s
brother and is two years older than Bush, he is six years old and a great fish hunter.
Third is me, they call me Grey and I am second in command. I’m eight years old and there ain’t much else to tell or be
known about me.
Fourth is Brandy, now he likes a drink or two when his mom ain’t watching him. His brother Scoop is up at number five;
he’s older than me by a year and is the brains to our group if the truth be told. And now for our captain, he is ten years old
and ain’t afraid of nothing or no-one. His name is Buck. He is my best friend and his only two rules are respect and loyalty.
That’s all you need to be a blood brother with us. The main thing to know about Buck is that if you respect him then he’ll
respect you. There is only one thing that I know about Buck and that’s that his mom died when he was five, she was
attacked by some Negro and she was killed. Buck doesn’t like talking about it and so no-one asks him about it, that is if they
know what is good for them.
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