Naked Prey

by George Gauthier

Young Guns

Chapter 1. Pecos River Valley 1883

Just as night fell, Deputy Sheriff Luke McCall reined his horse in at the mouth of a dry wash. He would have to low crawl the rest of the way. The young lawman dismounted then loosened the saddle girth to make his animal comfortable, stroking her neck to keep her quiet. He didn't want a nicker or a whinny to alert his quarry as to how close he was. Next McCall did a curious thing for a lawman on the trail of a wanted man: he unbuckled his gunbelt and slung it over the pommel horn of the saddle, adding his broad brimmed Stetson as well. Then he pulled off his boots and hung them in his stirrups.

Rubbing his tin star for good luck, he eased his lithe form to the ground and began to creep Indian style on knees and elbows, belly hugging the sandy earth. Still only seventeen, McCall had the slight build of a youth not yet grown into a man. That helped him thread his way through the tangled mesquite thicket. The spines of the mesquite snatched at his clothing, but the young Deputy's shirt and denim pants clung tight about his slender frame, tighter actually than some folks thought seemly, allowing little purchase.

When he reached the camp tucked under a rocky overhang, Luke saw his quarry, the Indian youth named Natoweh, sitting on a blanket, poking at a fire with a stick. Since the Indian wore only the skimpy loincloth of a Comanche brave, the light of the crackling fire cast red highlights on the youth's well-formed limbs and illuminated a handsome face. His chiseled jaw line and straight nose and high cheekbones were framed by straight dark hair falling to his shoulders.

The deputy frowned. A fire that large was poor trail craft, hardly something you would expect of a Comanche brave. Luke had been taught that you should never build a fire brighter than need be. Still, the firelight was useful in showing the Indian youth was truly alone. Good. That made for one less complication with just the two of them. Luke smiled thinking that surely the brightness of the conflagration had spoiled Natoweh's night vision, whereas he himself had preserved his own by keeping one eye closed when he looked toward the flames. Another advantage to him then.

Just as the white youth was congratulating himself on the success of his stalk, the Indian boy looked right over at him and called out.

"About time you got here, Luke. You know you could have just ridden up the arroyo where you left your horse, instead of trying to creep in on me. For all I have taught you of Indian lore, you still have much to learn, my brother. Though I admit you are getting better at it."

"Damn it, Natoweh" the white youth grumbled as he rose to his feet from his crawling position. "And here I thought I had got the better of you for once."

The Indian youth chuckled at the chagrin on the pretty face of the white youth who had tracked him down.

"Ah, but Luke, blood brothers though we are, as a Comanche born and raised I have been trained in this since I could walk. You got your first lessons only six years ago when you we first met."

"As you can see, I came alone Natoweh, so we could talk, just the two of us, brother to brother, but this part is official. I see only your own horse here, but I still need to ask you about Arne Halstead's grey mare. Did you really steal her from his corral?"

"Of course, I took her, querido, but only for a little while, so I could count coup. By now, my uncle has returned the animal safely to her owner, none the worse for wear, along with a gift of a fine bear robe to compensate the rancher for his trouble."

"We Comanches know that nowadays the white man's law does not tolerate horse stealing raids, but how else are we young braves to prove ourselves? So we have begun to borrow horses overnight. More is the pity that you cannot use borrowed mounts for bride price."

"Old Man Halstead did allow that you were basically unarmed during the raid. All you carried was a carved stick which you used to tap him on the shoulder. Can't really call it an assault."

"Exactly. Counting coup is how we Comanches show our courage, riding in virtually unarmed and touch an armed enemy without harming him. Luck was with me for the rancher carried a Colt pistol strapped to his hip and even got off a couple of shots."

"Yes, but you knew how bad a shot Old Man Halstead was, didn't you, Natoweh?"

"Of course. That is the reason I picked his ranch for the raid.

The white youth let out a sigh of relief, the worry lines disappearing from his honest and open face.

"No harm, no foul then. With no actual crime to answer for, there is no reason to take you in to face charges."

"Would you really do that Luke, knowing that they might hang me for horse theft anyway?"

The white youth shook his head. "No, you know that I could never do that. Why do you think I came unarmed. No, if you really had to go on the run, I'd have given you the two twenty dollar gold pieces I have sown into my gun belt for an emergency plus a good head start. I'd have even lied to my uncle the sheriff and told him that I'd lost your trail somewhere north of here. Not that I could really fool him. He knows how close we are. That was why he sent me out instead of one of his other deputies, so it would be me who ran you down, Natoweh."

"Because any other deputy just might shoot a thieving redskin out of hand."

"Yes. There is still bitterness left over from the Indian Wars. Some of my people have called me a dirty renegade because I visit your people's lodges so often. I am lucky that my uncle understands how terribly important our friendship is in my life, Natoweh. But so many of our people, yours as well as mine, don't accept it."

The Indian youth nodded then added:

"It's not just Indian versus white, you know. Some of your people must suspect that we are more than friends. We are always in each other's company. We show no interest in girls. And how often do we go off camping, just the two of us, hunting and fishing or shooting wolves and jaguars for the bounty from the county. Then there is the way you dress. Even in town, among your own kind, you parade around in tight clothes that let you show off that trim taut body you have so recently grown into and are so proud of. And when you visit our lodges, you ride out like an Indian, bareback and next thing to naked in only a loincloth and moccasins. Well what are they to think?"

Indeed the two youths were lovers as well as blood brothers and each other's closest friend. It had all started innocently enough when eleven year old Luke had tossed twelve year old Natoweh the end of a rope and dragged him out of a pit of quicksand. Over the next few years, their friendship as boys had matured into an intense emotional bond. It had all come to a head the summer before last at the end of a lesson in Indian wrestling. Natoweh could no longer deny his physical attraction for his blood brother and had kissed him full on the lips. Startled but immensely relieved that his own amorous feelings were actually reciprocated, Luke had kissed him back, then giggled with happiness and relief. They had been lovers ever since.

With a nod, the pretty white youth raised his head and let out a whistle. In short order, his mount, a fine pinto mare, trotted into the camp, whinnying her satisfaction. Luke stroked the animal's neck and unsaddled her.

"Warm night for a fire, Natoweh. Especially one so large and bright."

"Well, I didn't want you to get lost, my friend." the Indian youth replied. "Why don't you make yourself comfortable, Luke, then join me on the blanket.

Grinning, the white youth threw off his tight clothing revealing a smooth limbed physique to match the Indian youth. The young deputy had a beautiful body, slender yet muscular, taut, toned, with a strong upper storey, rippled abdominals, and narrow hips. His legs were well muscled with veins prominent under the skin because of his low body fat.

Luke was gratified that his genitals didn't look shriveled up like with a lot of other young males. His cock was smooth rather than gnarly with protruding veins. Cock and balls were reasonably sized but he wouldn't be scaring the horses. It took both small hands to cover his erection, but only one when he was soft.

The coltish bodies of both youths were remarkably alike though Luke fell short of Natoweh's five foot nine (175 cm) by a hand span. The boys were slender and clean limbed with well-defined muscles. The low angle of light from the fire emphasized the corrugations of chest and belly. Neither had any body hair to speak of. Nor did either boy need to shave. The flames turned their skins red, making them look even more alike. They could almost be twins. Of course Luke was blond on top and had green eyes. Natoweh had the raven hair of his ancestors but his grey eyes came from some white forefather, likely a member of Zebulon Pike's expedition nearly eighty years earlier.

Once he was naked, Luke lay down next the the Indian youth and sidled over so that their flanks touched. For the moment they were content to lie side by side, gazing up at the stars, arms entwined. Natoweh lifted Luke's arm and kissed the back of his hand.

"I have to confess there's one trick I never taught you, Luke. It is how your thatch of blond hair stands out against almost any background. This evening, the reflection of the flames let me spot your position in the darkness. You might as well have been waving a yellow flag!"

"Ha! I'll keep that in mind from now on, oh wise tracker. You know, I am glad you Comanches do not wear their hair in braids like some tribes. You keep it loose so that your raven locks drape around our faces when we kiss."

"I am glad you approve of our ways, blood brother. You have certainly taken to them. I love it when you dwell among us, living as we do, dressed in warm weather only in a skimpy loincloth and moccasins. Bodies as pretty and sexy as ours should not be covered in scratchy cloth."

"You're right, Natoweh. I do much prefer a loincloth in warm weather like this. I know that is very naughty by the prudish standards of my own people, but there it is."

"Yet this latest instance of the difference between our peoples has brought us to a crossroads. We cannot continue as we have been, two kids at loose ends, trying to live in both worlds. It is one thing for a couple of boys to hang around together, to go hunting and fishing, and to visit, but we are growing into young men. We will need to earn a living, to settle down. How can we do that together, straddling both our worlds?"

"The answer is simple. It must be in your world, Luke. The world of the Comanche is dying. Our numbers dwindle from smallpox, measles, and cholera, not to mention drunkenness and sheer loss of hope. A generation ago, there were twenty-thousand Comanche; today only three or four thousand. Our way of life is disappearing with the slaughter of the buffalo by whites for their hides. Today, we Comanche are largely confined to reservations. Young men can no longer ride off to war or even to steal enough ponies to buy a bride. No, you and I, we must make our way together in your world, my friend."

"All right. Now I have been thinking about this for a while. Neither of us is cut out for a sedentary life. I certainly can't see myself as a shopkeeper or farmer or rancher. Anyway, we don't have the capital to start a store or to buy good land. No point in filing for a homestead of a mere 160 acres in this dry country. Anywhere that has a decent supply of water has already been claimed."

"So here is what I have come up with. We should go into business as expedition guides. There are lots of rich folks from back East and even from Europe who travel out West in spring and summer to hunt and to fish and to see the country. We would be naturals as guides. We know the country and how to find game and to survive. All we need is a stake to set ourselves up in business. You know, to buy tents and extra mounts and other gear."

"And where would we acquire this stake you speak of?"

"That's the hard part. To get enough money, we will have to become bounty hunters -- and not just for jaguars and wolves, but wanted men."

"So you want us to hunt men down? You do realize that men can shoot back, unlike the predators we have hunted."

"I know that, Natoweh. Just the same, I don't plan to just shoot them down in cold blood. We should try to capture them alive and bring them back for trial. Think about it. We are both handy with guns and horses, me especially with a pistol and you with your rifle, and who can track better than a Comanche? Between us we speak English, Spanish, and Comanche. We can both use sign language as well to communicate with the other tribes. And that would give us a perfect reason to be in each other's company all the time. Also, we can move without hindrance in both worlds, Indian and white alike. "

"That may be true, but neither of us has ever killed a man. You have been a deputy sheriff for less than a year, Luke, and in a quiet county where bad things don't happen much. That is why your uncle the sheriff took you on in the first place. Mostly you sweep out the jail and lock up rowdies and drunks. And we are so very young, the both of us."

"I am halfway to eighteen and you will be nineteen in a few months."

"We would be going after hardened men, Luke, men who would not hesitate to gun us down, ambush us, or cut our throats to keep their freedom. In time, we might find ourselves turning into hard men ourselves just in order to survive. I don't want to lose the sweet boy that I love or see him become a cold killer."

"That won't happen, Natoweh. If it looks like things are heading that way, we can just quit. I won't do anything that might lose your respect or turn me into something I was never meant to be. Let's sleep on it Natoweh. We'll speak of this again tomorrow. Meanwhile, how shall we celebrate our reunion?"

Laughing, the two youths rolled together and started groping each other. Limbs entangled, they were soon lost in a world of intense emotion and physical sensation, reaffirming their love for one another.

Chapter 2. Owen

Luke and Natoweh looked through his uncle's wanted posters to pick men not known to have deliberately killed anyone: robbers, rustlers, rapists, horse thieves, crooked gamblers, and escaped prisoners. The rewards had been put up by local authorities or cattlemen's associations or the territorial governor himself. The sheriff gave the pair of fledgling bounty hunters leads that had reached his office by telegraph or rumors carried by stagecoach drivers. That gave them somewhere to start.

It helped that the crime itself often gave them a place to start tracking. Rustlers working a neighborhood announced their presence by repeated disappearances of live stock. Crooked gamblers got run out of town by the local sheriff who passed the word on to neighboring jurisdictions warning them to be on the lookout for the tinhorn.

The real problem was identifying a wanted man in an age when virtually no one carried identification papers of any kind. Unlike modern times, no one had drivers' licenses or ID cards or anything of the sort. At most an army veteran might have his discharge papers or or an ex-convict his release papers about his person or a former slave his manumission papers or a marriage certificate issued by the Freedmen's Bureau. Also most wanted posters carried only crude likenesses of the miscreant either an engraving or a woodcut and often only a sketchy description. So a wanted man showing up in a town where he was not already known might easily assume a new identity and move about freely.

Luke took a leave of absence from his job as deputy sheriff but remained sworn-in as a lawman and continued to wear his tin star. He carried a letter of authority from the sheriff and the county judge which made Natoweh a special constable, so there was no nonsense about why he was not living on a reservation.

Their first success was ferreting out cattle rustlers, a pair of ranchers working neighboring spreads who were sly enough to steal only a few head of cattle at a time to mix with their own herds. They never sold the stolen animals themselves but only their calves.

This novel approach to the rustling business worked well for some ten years. Unfortunately for the rustlers the tricks they used to cover the trail of their stolen cattle could not fool a Comanche tracker. The boys followed the latest bunch of stolen animals, identified them by their crudely altered brands, then arrested the men and brought them to the county sheriff. The rustlers were not hanged, but they did lose their entire herd and their ranches and were sentenced to a stretch in prison.

Flush with this first success, the young guns went after other fugitives. The Comanche brave was the better tracker for men on the run. The white youth was the better detective for interviewing witnesses, lawmen, and townsfolk. The boys never burst in on a man, guns blazing. They always tried to take him alive, ideally with no one getting hurt. Their strategy was to catch their quarry unawares, maybe in the bath, or asleep, or with a whore in a cat house. Once Luke dressed up like a hayseed, barefoot and bib overalls with nothing underneath, a straw hat perched atop his head, a grass stem in his teeth, a naive innocent look on his face. He walked right past the man then spun around and laid the barrel of his revolver to the back of the man's head.

Over the next few months the rewards they earned not only kept the pair in beans and bullets, but allowed them to set aside something toward that nest egg they needed for their start in the guiding business. Best of all, no one had gotten badly hurt. The worst to befall any of the men the bounty hunters went after was a pistol whipping over the head or a through and through wound in the lower leg. Though the law later hanged a couple of the men they took, after a fair trial, the boys had no man's blood on their hands.

Then they went after an escaped prisoner, one Owen O'Hara, a youth their own age who had attacked his older cousin with a hatchet, maiming him terribly. The man survived though he would never use his left arm again, and the left side of his scalp had been cut away by the sharp blade. Neither man nor boy would say what had provoked the attack, and the youth expressed no remorse. He had initially turned himself in, but later escaped while being transported to the territorial capital for trial.

The young guns traveled far and wide, checking ranches for newly hired hands who met his description, a slender red-headed youth with delicate features and blue eyes who happened to be left-handed.

One morning they found their quarry at a ranch in Texas. The fugitive youth was stripped to the waist, chopping wood for the cook stove. Luke could not help but admire the lad's lithe form as he worked away unaware of their scrutiny. The boy was slender yet muscular, his narrow hips and small waist contrasting with the wiry strength apparent in his upper storey. The sweat on Owen's corrugated torso glistened in the morning light, the muscles of his tight physique bunching and shifting erotically under his skin. Luke judged the boy's height as about midway between his own and Natoweh's.

Like Luke himself, Owen was an intensely comely lad, short for his age and very slender though his wiry musculature argued against calling him skinny. He had one of those fawn-like physiques, toned and taut from hard work. Owen was pretty as a girl with fine-boned features, a straight nose, high cheekbones, and large blue eyes with a fiery thatch on top. His complexion was flawless. Here was a vision of youthful male pulchritude, marred only by the haunted look on Owen's pretty face.

When the young guns revealed themselves as bounty hunters and asked him if his name was indeed Owen O'Hara, the boy nodded miserably but offered no resistance. Indeed he seemed almost relieved to be captured or maybe he was simply resigned to his fate. Sinking the axe head into the stump Owen suffered himself to be manacled and put up on his horse. The boy struggled to keep his composure, but Luke could see tears glistening in his eyes.

The young deputy was moved by how harmless and complaisant his captive seemed. Lovely Owen O'Hara seemed a boy with a gentle soul, his delicate features hardly those of a berserker. Luke's heart went out to the beautiful youth. The young bounty hunter felt a pang of remorse, that he Luke McCall had, for entirely mercenary reasons, snatched freedom from this boy, surely one of the loveliest of God's creatures. The young bounty hunter tried to get his captive to talk, but the red head stubbornly kept his silence.

Finally, after supper that night at their camp, Luke tried again:

"Why did you do it Owen? Despite the evidence against you, I find it hard to believe you could have inflicted such injuries on another person without a very good reason."

The pretty red head stared into the campfire and shook his head.

"You wouldn't understand, Mr. McCall. I cannot tell you. It is something so shameful I could never speak of it."

But Luke had been watching the boy out of the corner of his eye the whole day. He had caught the boy staring at Natoweh in his skimpy loincloth and at himself, especially after he had stripped off his shirt in the heat of the summer day. Shrewdly he guessed that the boy was another young male attracted to his own gender. Playing a hunch, Luke challenged the boy:

"Your cousin raped you didn't he? More than once, I am thinking."

"What? How did you know. I mean... No. Damnation, I told you I could never speak of it."

A look of panic came over his pretty features as the fugitive realized that he had blurted out his secret shame. He burst into tears and bent forward sobbing uncontrollably. The scene tore at Luke's heartstrings. He sat down next to the stricken youth and put his arms around him to reassure him. Luke very much liked the feel of the tight body in his embrace and the way the scent of good clean boy filled his nostrils. He felt his own body reacting to the boy's beauty and physicality. That would never do, for him to take advantage of the boy's helplessness and vulnerability. Taking a deep breath, he let go of the boy, struggling to regain his composure. There was something about this boy that made want to protect him, to help him.

As a gesture of good faith, Luke removed Owen's manacles, drawing a raised eyebrow from Natoweh. But the Indian youth had seen the compassion on Luke's face. He nodded to show his support. Luke spoke gently with the troubled youth and gradually got the boy's story from him.

For the past three years, Owen had lived with his cousin Caleb, a man nearly twice his age but his only kin thereabouts. The man was a widower and had turned to the boy for sexual relief starting when Owen was fourteen. At first the man sought only oral service, putting the boy on his knees every evening, forcefully pleasuring himself in the boy's warm wet mouth. He was mean and crude. Sometimes he forgot to let his victim breathe and the boy passed out. Before too long though the man started fucking the boy as well. He gave no thought to the pain he inflicted with his brutal penetrations of the boy's virgin ass which left it bleeding the time he took his cherry.

Poor Owen was in no position to resist. They were alone, just the two of them, man and boy, on an isolated farm without close neighbors. Caleb O'Hara was of only middling height himself but strongly built, outweighing the boy nearly two to one. The brute enforced his demands for access to Owen's body with a whip. He seemed to enjoy inflicting pain on the boy, whipping him for the smallest infraction of his rules. He even took the boy's clothes away in spring and summer and forced him to work their small acreage stark naked, telling him he was no better than their livestock.

He also mind fucked the boy, telling him that his predicament was entirely his own fault. Caleb had realized that, unlike other boys his age, by age fourteen Owen had shown no interest whatever in girls. He had once caught the boy gazing longingly at the bare bodies of other youths at the local swimming hole. That made Owen fair game in Caleb's eyes.

The worst thing for the boy was that it was true that he was attracted to other males, but he had no interest in coupling with an older man. Like with many teenagers, the notion of sex with anyone not his own age was repugnant to him. He hated being forced to submit to an older man's lusts, to feel the scrape of the man's stubble as he forced his unwelcome kisses on the lad. Owen also was ashamed of the physical response that Caleb's rape usually provoked in him. It was as if his own body were betraying him.

It seemed a cruel fate and one he had never earned. If only Owen could have found another boy to love, he might have been happy with his sexuality, but now it seemed like a curse and a thing of shame, something never to be spoken of. He certainly could never testify about it in open court. Anyway, who would believe him -- a vicious ingrate who had gone berserk to hear his cousin tell of it.

Luke was in tears himself as the boy related his story. Natoweh maintained the stoicism expected of a Comanche brave, but he did shake his head as the tale unfolded and remarked.

"First rape then lies. The boy should have buried the hatchet in the man's head. Instead he took him to the doctor and saved his life only to condemn himself. Luke, we must find a way to help him."

"Aye, Natoweh, you are right. What that man did was evil. By all rights, he should have protected Owen as his ward. Instead he took advantage of Owen's youth and helplessness."

Owen also told them that Caleb had kept a diary of his misdeeds and often forced the boy to listen to a recitation of the most recent installments in the on-going chronicle of his own degradation. He once shared the boy with a couple of old friends whom he had invited to visit him. That was the last straw. Owen waited the next day till the two of them were alone then coldly took up a hatchet and attacked the older man. Only his innate decency and moral upbringing had kept him from finishing Caleb off. Instead he had loaded the injured man onto the buckboard and driven him into town and turned himself in.

A thought struck Luke so he asked:

"And is your cousin back at the farm where all of this happened?"

"No, sir. He is still recovering in town. He cannot sit a horse or ever ride a wagon, with his sense of balance so impaired from head injuries."

"Then we've got him, Owen. We'll ride to the farm and get that diary. With a book written in his own hand as evidence, no sheriff or judge will put you on trial, not when what you did was no more than self-defense. You won't even have to testify in open court, once we lay the diary before the authorities."

"Owen, this is only way we can keep you out of jail. I am sure the judge and sheriff will keep your secret. I know Natoweh and I will."

"Why are you being so kind to me, Luke. If I am exonerated, you won't get a reward for my capture. And aren't you disgusted with, well, the idea of sex between males."

"No, Owen. The only thing that disgusts me is that Caleb taught you to think of sex with another male as something shameful and dirty. It can be beautiful if you really care about another boy, someone who cares for you in return. A lover must give of himself rather than think only of taking as Caleb did. The man is a monster, not because he sought gratification from another male but because he took it against your will, thinking only of himself and his own desires."

"As always, my blood brother speaks the truth" Natoweh said simply, aligning himself with his young lover.

"You mean, you two, you Luke and you Natoweh, are ... er ..."

"Lovers, Owen. Natoweh and I are lovers."

The captive sagged against Luke in relief, a look of hope in his eyes.

The trio of young males rode to the O'Hara farm, found the diary and brought it to the authorities who immediately dropped all charges against Owen. They confronted Caleb with the diary and told him that the only reason he wasn't going on trial himself was to protect Owen's reputation. They ordered the injured man to leave town or else. Though still not fully recovered, Caleb left on the next stage, never to be seen in those parts again.

Owen readily accepted an offer to join up with Luke and Natoweh both personally and professionally. Professionally, the two bounty hunters had often felt a need for a third pair of hands and a third set of eyes to keep watch. Besides, both of them were intensely attracted to Owen. It wasn't just that the O'Hara boy was ever so cute and sexy, with his blue eyes and peaches and cream complexion highlighted with a light dusting of freckles. His compelling personal story and his actions showed that the boy had a sound moral center. Professionally Owen was relieved to find a new line of work more exciting than the drudgery of life on a farm. On a personal level, he was happy at the prospect of forming a loving threesome with boys his own age.

Chapter 3. Bonding

The first order of business for the three of them was the rehabilitation of Owen's love life. Luke and Natoweh knew that the wounded teen needed to unlearn nearly as much about sex between males as he had to learn. With a wisdom unlooked for in two young males still in their teens themselves, Luke and Natoweh exercised patience, proceeding slowly and carefully, aware of the fragile youth's vulnerability.

To start with, they talked. Luke and Natoweh spoke of how they had come to be blood brothers and true friends. In time that close friendship merged with sexual desire to become the sort of love that was expressed physically. They assured Owen that, despite what his tormentor had claimed, this kind of love, these feelings were nothing to be ashamed of. Instead their love for one another was the chief joy in their lives.

Then the two boys turned toward practical instruction in the amatory arts, letting Owen watch them make love. This introduced the naive boy to the concept of foreplay, something his tormenter Caleb had had no use for. Proper lovemaking should be a crescendo of emotion and sensation climaxing in an orgasm, not just a crude carnal coupling and release.

Owen learned how sweet it was to be kissed by another boy. The soft touch of male lips to yours can make you go warm and tingly all over, even make your head whirl. They had Owen lay his face into Luke's shoulder to become familiar with the good clean odor of healthy boy.

The boys helped Owen explore his own body, learning its erogenous zones and the ways they could be stimulated. The delighted boy reveled in sensations he had never conceived of before. He found that he loved having his nipples played with. While Natoweh used his fingers to tweak and twist and pull on them, Luke used his tongue and lips and teeth, sucking, licking, or biting down lightly on the erect nubbins. As they explored each other's bodies, Luke noted where his new lover was ticklish and filed the information away for future mischief.

The important thing for Owen to understand was that a real lover can and should give pleasure as well as take it, making it better for both of them.

Owen learned how much fun it was to be on the receiving end of oral service. It helped that his tutors really knew what they were doing. Owen felt terribly naughty that first time as he stood with his legs apart, stark naked, while a nude Indian boy knelt at his feet, swallowing his cock into the warm wet cavern of his mouth.

Owen bit his lip in embarrassment as a talented tongue fluttered his sweet spot, rimmed his glans, poked at the piss slit and slurped the purple head. As the boy's breath quickened Natoweh slipped a finger up his boy hole, provoking an energetic climax. He started shooting his gism down the welcoming throat it was lodged in. After a powerful orgasm, Owen went weak in the knees. Luke and Natoweh, helped him lie on the ground and cuddled next to him.

Owen's lessons in anal sex were the most problematic, given his personal history. Caleb had not been a true sadist. He didn't take pleasure from the infliction of pain, but he had never really cared that his crude technique was hurting the boy he was fucking. So Luke started with a rimming. Owen, innocent boy that he was, had never conceived of such a thing, and blushed pink with embarrassment even as delicious sensations coursed through his body. That helped him get ready for a full penetration by his new lovers. The first time Luke went very slowly, letting the boy under him get used to his girth. Owen was no virgin, but this his first time with someone who really cared for him. Luke soon had the boy's small body shuddering with pleasure as the cock in his fundament rubbed his prostate. Now that was more like it!

Lessons in lovemaking aside, Luke also showed the boy how to choose clothing that showed off his trim physique and then demonstrated how to undress provocatively to excite a partner. Natoweh introduced him to the use of scented oils on the skin to enhance pleasure.

This was a supremely happy period for the trio. Owen thrived under their tutelage. For Luke and Natoweh, teaching Owen was like reliving their discovery of their own sexuality several years earlier.

The young guns operated out of the O'Hara farm where they lived between forays after wanted men. Owen had set up a practice range for their various firearms. The three youths carried identical Colt .45 revolvers on their hips. Natoweh and Luke also carried a Winchester 73 rifle in a saddle scabbard. It helped that all five guns used the very same ammunition. As his own long gun, Owen favored a double barrel shotgun for its effectiveness against moving targets and its devastating firepower at close range. (Pump and lever action shotguns had not been invented yet.) He usually used shells filled with buck shot though he sometimes switched to slugs for greater range and punch.

Around the farm the boys often went about their chores naked. No one else was about, and it was still high summer. As the designated cook for the trio, Owen also tended the garden, where they raised fruits and vegetables, plants that would not suffer much from periodic neglect when the trio of young guns was away on bounty hunts. Luke and Natoweh took care of the horses. Owen didn't care much for livestock and their attendant mess and smells, and the boys did not even try to raise fowl,

Owen genuinely liked tending plants, making green things grow. He didn't mind getting his hands dirty with honest earth. You would often find him of a summer's day, kneeling on the ground, his lithe torso bent over, lightly tanned butt cheeks resting on bare feet, the chevron of his ribs and spinal bumps prominent as, trowel or short handled hoe in hand, he worked at his humble tasks firm muscles playing under the skin.

Over the next few months, the trio of young guns grew close, forming a life affirming bond, sharing their bodies, taking risks together, and putting most of the rewards they earned as bounty hunters toward that stake in a permanent business and career. The division of labor among them reflected their different talents and abilities. Natoweh was excellent at stealth. So he would sometimes slip into the stable where the bad guys kept their horses and stick burrs under the saddles or pebbles in the frogs of their feet, making the animals unmanageable if their quarry made a break for it. Luke was the smooth-talking detective and Owen the trickster.

Owen's talent for trickery helped the trio refine their capture techniques. One time they caught an outlaw with his pants down, literally. The poor fellow was caught with his pants around his ankles in an outhouse behind a saloon. The boys set up a cross fire and Owen shouted to the man to come out peaceably or else. At first he refused. Then Owen warned him to get low. The young guns shot at the outhouse deliberately firing high to avoid hitting him. Once the outlaw saw all the holes they had shot in the upper walls, he realized how helpless his position really was and surrendered without further ado.

Another time, the trio of young guns had to go up against a pair of outlaws forted up in a log cabin. Luke was all for sending to town for dynamite to blast the men out of their position, but Owen thought that they might be able to trick the bad guys into surrendering. During a lull in firing, he tossed a couple of sticks against one wall of the cabin. He then called out, telling the outlaws that those thunks they had heard were a couple of sticks of dynamite. Give up or else he and his partners would shoot at the dynamite till it detonated. The outlaws gave up at once. Afterwards, Owen chortled at how cleverly he had tricked them. The look of chagrin on the outlaws' faces was priceless.

It didn't hurt their growing reputations that an enterprising reporter wrote up the incident, conferring the title Young Guns in capital letters on the trio, the name they would go by for the rest of their careers as bounty hunters. That article was only the first in a series that was widely reprinted in the territory and surrounding districts. Sensationalized as their exploits were, the series did accurately convey the trio's preference for taking their man alive instead of just gunning him down from ambush as so many bounty hunters did. Not that they wouldn't shoot to kill if they had to. So far two fugitives had refused to surrender and forced the young guns to use deadly force.

The second time the boys tried the dynamite trick, the bad guys dared them to do their worst. They knew about that trick all right from the newspapers. This time though the boys had brought several sticks of dynamite on their packhorse. In keeping with their policy of limiting bloodshed, they first threw a single stick a little distance from the cabin and set it off with a shot from a rifle. Once the bad guys realized that the Young Guns really could blow their shack down around their ears, they surrendered readily enough.

"Who would have thought that so innocent a fellow as you Owen could be so tricksy!" Luke chortled.

Owen took a bow and declared that it was all due to his Irish heritage, a touch of the blarney don't you know. And it was true that Owen could often talk men into surrendering, which made it safer for the Young Guns and innocent bystanders too.

The newspaper publicity and their own honest and open faces smoothed the way for the Young Guns when they rode into a strange town. No one pegged them for shifty gunsels planning to rob the local bank. The boys were polite and soft-spoken and careful not to give offense. Still not everyone was won over by their charm, as evidenced by an incident in the town of Gunnison, Colorado.

"Say, aren't you boys those Young Guns I read about in the Denver papers?"

Luke looked over at the storekeeper from where he and and his partners were packing supplies into their saddle bags at a general store.

"That's what they call us, sir. I'm Luke McCall, and these are my friends Natoweh and Owen O'Hara.

"Heading out after some of them outlaws at the Hole in the Wall up in Wyoming, are you?"

"Not a chance" Luke replied, shaking his head. "That's too far to go, and we are no match for desperadoes of that sort."

"Surely you aren't afraid, are you, youngling. Not with your reputations."

"Damn straight, we are afraid," Owen reposted with some asperity. "You mustn't believe everything you read about us in the papers, sir. It's all blown out of proportion. No one knows that better than we do. No way three kids like us can take on the gangs of professional outlaws that infest the Hole-in-the-Wall country."

His partners nodded. They knew the odds, even if the storekeeper did not. Even their one year of experience as bounty hunters had taught them that much.

"Fine bunch of bounty hunters you are," he exclaimed, then added scornfully. "Why you're nought but a bunch of skinny ass kids, hiding from the big bad outlaws."

Luke laughed that off.

"Maybe so, but at least with our skinny asses we are not too big for our britches."

And with that, they paid up and left the store. The Young Guns were not shamed by the man's outburst. No one was for trekking to Wyoming just to prove his manhood. The outlaw gangs up north were none of their business. Several gangs operated from a remote hideout in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming called the Hole-in-the-Wall for a natural cavern. The area was remote and secluded and easy to defend. Posses could not approach without being spotted, and any lawmen who tried to force their way in would be shot to pieces in the narrow passes. Outlaws ranged far and wide from the security of their mountain lair.

Anyway the trio was headed in the opposite direction, southward, on the trail of a pair of claims jumpers who had murdered several silver miners then sold their claims.

Two weeks later, the Young Guns turned the lightly wounded claims jumpers over to the US Marshall in Albuquerque. It was time for some relaxation. They had no taste for the raucous entertainments offered in saloons and bawdy houses in town. None of the trio drank or smoked or gambled or had any interest in girls. Even the prospect of a warm bath and a soft bed was not particularly enticing. The sounds of squeaking springs and of lusty sexual congress would easily penetrate the thin walls of a boarding house or hotel room.

So the boys camped out under the stars on the grassy bank of a lovely pool of water on the upper Pecos River not far from the small town of Santa Rosa. In later years, the railroad and Route 66 would connect the town with the outside world. This area is an oasis in the desert. There is the Pecos River itself, a number of small lakes, and natural sinkholes in the underlying limestone that fill with water.

This being high summer once again, the boys threw off their clothes and jumped in. The first order of business was scrubbing themselves clean. Then they swam and splashed and indulged in the grab ass games and horseplay typical of young males. It was energetic and noisy and a lot of fun. Afterwards, they lay out on the grass in the sun, not in any hurry to make love. It as fine just to laze about, nap, chew on a grassy stem, or skip stones across the water.

Soon though, Luke propped himself up on one elbow and turned his attentions to the beauteous red head lying so conveniently near to hand. He reached out and stroked Owen's chest and belly. The Irish boy smiled up at him. Luke bent forward and laid a series of gentle kisses on those familiar lips. That soon lead to more urgent ones. Hands roamed eagerly over their lithe bodies, rubbing and stroking and squeezing. Owen quivered with the lascivious feelings and sexual desires coursing through his young body. He pushed Luke to the ground then straddled the recumbent blond boy, helping his shaft find his own welcoming hole, then happily sliding up and down on the rigid cock while Luke stimulated Owen's member with his hand.

Not to be left out of the fun, Natoweh presented himself for oral service, batting the Irish boy's chin and cheeks with his turgid member, letting him kiss and lick its head and circle the rim of the glans with his tongue but not inserting it fully, teasing the panting boy. Owen pleaded with his eyes and Natoweh relented, letting the full length of his manhood slid into the warm wet channel of mouth and throat. By now Owen was an expert at sucking cock. Natoweh closed his eyes savoring the twirling and sucking sensations and the way the velvet walls of the throat clutched at his shaft. It was not long before he reached climax, his gism spurting out of his cock and into the welcoming mouth of his lover.

The Indian youth drew back and let the last of his juices spurt onto the pretty face turned up toward him, then used the head of his cock to paint the complaisant boy's lips and cheeks and chin. Natoweh squeezed one last gob of gism from his cock, offering it to the kneeling boy. As a token of his submission, Owen touched his tongue to it, drawing it out in glistening string connecting his mouth to tip of the Indian youth's cock. Owen thought of how he must look, on his knees bare ass naked, impaled on a big cock up his ass, his face all slicked with another boy's gism, the very image of sexual submission. He clutched himself down there and shivered with the frisson of his own naughtiness.

Both white youths erupted right after the Indian. Luke spurted his juices deep inside Owen's bowels, while Owen shot all over the recumbent boy's belly then laid himself onto Luke's sticky torso savoring their closeness, listening to the beat of his heart. Natoweh sank down to his knees and heaved a sigh. Tired and spent, the three boys lay quietly in post coital lassitude savoring their closeness.

Chapter 4. Scoundrels

The stillness was broken as a rough voice spoke up:

"Well, well, well, if that don't beat all. The Young Guns are queer for each other. Who'da thought it?"

The boys looked about to find themselves surrounded by rough looking men with sunburned faces. They ranged in age from a baby faced kid with sandy hair to late thirties. The oldest, a man wearing a Mexican sombrero was doing the talking.

The boys disentangled themselves and scrambled to their feet. They realized they were in real trouble getting caught unarmed, stark naked, and in flagrante delicto. Luke groped for something to say, some way to retrieve the situation.

"Uh, what business is it of yours anyway." Luke stammered, wincing to hear his voice came out so young and shaky. "And how did you know who we were?"

"Heck, kid. Weren't hard to figure out who you were from your descriptions in the newspapers: three younglings not yet out of their teens, standing a good half a head shorter than man-size, one of them a red head, another a blond, and the third an Indian, and all of them prettier than any boy rightly ought to be."

"As to what we are going to do with you, that is for the boss to say when he gets here. For now, just stand easy boys. Fred, you and Tom, tie their hands behind their backs. Might as well hobble their ankles too. Wouldn't want these frisky colts wandering off and getting lost, now would we? Heh heh heh."

Another man named Ralph spoke up.

"This would be our lucky day, Durango. Look at those luscious bodies and pretty faces, so much better than any of the punks we ever had back in prison. Uh, no offense, Jamie boy, pretty as you are, it is damn inconvenient that we gotta share just one boy between us."

The sandy haired boy squeezed his eyes shut, his face turning red. Why did Ralph have to humiliate Jamie like that, telling these strangers that he put out for all of the outlaws. Wasn't it enough that they took him whenever they felt like it. Just like his fellow inmates had done during his short stretch in prison.

"So can we fool around with these new boys?" the other man asked Durango.

"You know better than that. Nothing happens till the boss says it's OK."

The hungry stares of the outlaws made the boys nervous for their eventual fate at the hands of these former jailbirds. Everyone knew that in prison the strong preyed upon the weak. Hapless youths were brutalized and used for pleasure. Some convicts developed a preference for boys, even after their release. Evidently this sandy haired Jamie had been punked in prison and now put out for the gang of outlaws who were now contemplating punking the Young Guns themselves.

"Oh, all right. Go ahead and check these new boys out, but remember, the boss gets first crack at their booties."

With the go-ahead from Durango the outlaws closed in on the Young Guns, their hands roamed proprietarily over the delectable bodies of the hapless youngsters who squirmed uncomfortably as these strangers, older men, touched them in their most intimate places.

Fred bent Owen forward and stuck a finger up his hole, twirled it around, then presented the digit covered with cum and his own ass juices for the boy to suck. Tom scooped gism off Luke's belly and presented his fingers to the blond to lick off. Both men weighed the white boys' genitals and fondled their rumps. The men obviously wanted to go much further, but they knew better than to cross Durango or the boss.

For his part, Jamie was relieved to be off duty for once and busied himself with the horses. Too bad about the young bounty hunters, especially as cute and sexy as they all were, but nothing he could do about it.

A few hours later the last two members of the gang rode up. The big man on the bay horse was clearly the boss. Though of only middling height, Mason was powerfully built, a great bear of a man, dressed in dark clothes. Durango filled him in on their captives. He nodded.

"Good. Something to pass the next three days till we hit the bank in Santa Rosa."

"Then it's on, is it boss, but why wait three days?"

"A bank has the most cash money on hand the first of the month. That's when they take in payments on the loans the bank has made to ranchers and miners and shopkeepers. I've got a man inside the bank, one of the tellers, who will open the safe for us. We once did time together."

"Friend of yours then, Mason?"

"Hardly. A back stabber, if the truth were known. Alcott thinks I've forgotten his days of double dealing. Instead, I plan to settle my old score with him. We'll wait for him to open the safe, then leave him behind holding the bag. With any luck, the towns-folks will hang him. I'd just shoot him, but that's too quick."

The others nodded. They knew their boss for a man who held grudges.

"Now let's see about these pretty boys."

"Tsk, tsk. Such wayward lads you are. To hear Durango tell it, he found you entangled in a three way cluster fuck. Now that's the kind of thing that would get you horsewhipped right outta town. But we are not going to do that to you boys. No, men such as ourselves who have spent time behind bars, can appreciate the virtues of prime boy flesh. What a fine looking bunch of fillies you are, the sort that is just begging to be mounted."

The outlaws grabbed the nude boys and started playing with them. They forced them to bend over or to get on their knees, as the mood moved them. With seven outlaws and only three bottom boys, the Young Guns found themselves double-teamed most of the time, plugged at both ends, hard cocks thrusting into their orifices and filling their mouths and asses with their gism. As one man finished and withdrew, another cock replaced it in an endless series of mountings.

The men were rough and demanding, much given to slapping the boys' rumps and faces to emphasize their dominance over the helpless youths. The men liked to torment the boys, twisting and pinching their nipples, tugging their ballsacs back between their legs and cracking their nuts. For the randy badmen, it was exciting to grapple three tight teenage bodies, all of them small and smooth and nearly hairless and slick with sweat as the boys squirmed and twisted beneath them. The men didn't mind a little struggling. They rather liked their boys to have a little fight in them. Still, with ankles hobbled and wrists tied behind their backs, Luke and Owen and Natoweh could not effectively resist whatever use these men made of their luscious bodies.

The men enjoyed the cries and gasps and whimpers their rough sex drew from their victims. The outlaws chortled as they bent and twisted the bound bodies of their captives into every possible sexual position. On top of everything physical they tormented the boy psychologically with trash talk.

"You silly boys, leaving no one on guard, so intent on your pleasure you couldn't hear the hoof beats of a half-dozen horses coming up on you. You let yourself fall into our power through sheer carelessness. It's a miracle you have survived this long as thrice be-damned bounty hunters. We don't have much use for your kind, except for what we are doing to you now. That's all you're really good for, to serve real men, just like our punks back in prison or our own Jamie boy here."

"You should see yourselves: kneeling helpless at our feet, three small naked hairless boys, bound and hobbled, cringing before their betters. Even you must realize that is just where you belong. Boys like you were made to be used by strong men like us. Admit it. Cock sucking pansy faggots like you need it bad. You need to be fucked hard and often and by men who know how. You just can't help yourselves. We are doing you a favor, really. There is just a small chance that filling you with our manly juices will finally make men of you. It is sure that nothing else has, you little fairies. Hah! You hardly have a feather on you anywhere, not even down there, you little punks."

For poor Owen it was just too much. First Caleb and three years of physical abuse and now the pain and humiliation of this gang rape. The red headed youth broke down, sobbing and choking with emotion. The boy's tears only brought mockery for being a cry baby. Jamie looked away in shame, his face burning at how often he had been the center of such attentions, though the outlaws had not been so rough as they were with these three youths.

When they were finally through, the boss told Jamie to tend to the boys hurts but not to loosen their bonds. Jamie cleaned the boys up with a rag and a bucket of water and later brought them some of the stew he had cooked for their supper. Battered and bruised, bound and watched, the boys only hope was to enlist the assistance of the youngest outlaw, Jamie, the only one who had not raped them. They looked at him hopefully. Luke tried to engage him in conversation, but they boy would not be drawn out.

"Look, I am sorry they raped you and got so rough. I have been there myself, believe me. But just because I didn't join in, doesn't mean that I am going to help you. You seem like nice enough boys, but there's no way I am going to cross Mason and Durango."

"You must know what they are going to do with us, don't you, before they ride into town to rob that bank. They cannot leave us behind. Do you want our blood on your hands?"

"Well, is it any wonder Mason plans to kill you. It's not like you three was a bunch of frolicking cowhands, that they might just have their fun with you then turn you loose, minus your horses and guns or course, only a little the worse for wear. It by your own choice that you fellows are bounty hunters. That's hard not to take that personally, and I don't even have a poster out on me myself."

"You don't really believe that Jamie. I sense that you are not a bad person, not yet. Stay with these men long enough and you will have paper out on you too."

"You know how wrong this is, Jamie. I saw it on your face." Owen added. "For your own sake as well as ours, you should set us loose and get free and clear of these bad men once and for all. Isn't that what you really want, Jamie, a fresh start, with fellows your own age, and on the right side of the law? Throw in with us, and you will get all that."

"Shut up and leave me alone."

Nothing further was exchanged that night, but a seed had been planted in Jamie's mind.

The next day was tedious except when the outlaws turned their attentions to the Young Guns. The men were even rougher than the evening before, after their rest. Poor Luke was left bleeding out of his anus and Owen had a cut lip where Durango had slapped him after he felt the boy's teeth on his cock. Jamie cleaned them up again and fed them, looking unhappy and even guilty. Luke tried talking to Jamie again. The outlaw boy listened but did not commit himself.

That evening, while Jamie was on watch, he brought the boy's pistols and clothing to where their horses were tied up. Then he crept in among the captives signaling them to keep quiet. His boot knife made short work of their bonds. Using all their stealth, the four of them made their way to the unsaddled horses. Jamie was apologetic.

"I'm afraid you'll have to ride bare back. I couldn't tote your saddles over here without making too much noise."

Just at that moment, Durango woke up to answer a call of nature and realized the Young Guns were escaping. He fired shots into the air.

"After them men!" Mason shouted. "We can't let them tell what they know about the bank robbery."

With the camp aroused, the boys didn't have time to get into their clothes. It was all they could do to strap their pistol belts around their hips and swing up onto their mounts and ride off. The boys relied on Natoweh's Comanche bred instincts to lead the way. Jamie brought up the rear. From his saddle, Jamie could stand in his stirrups and shoot back at the camp, both to discourage pursuit and to further spook the horses he had set loose.

Mason shook his head as he watched the boys ride off stark naked. Dumb kids. Did a handful of nude boys really think they could outride or outfight his hardened gang of outlaws on these vast plains where there was simply nowhere to run, nor help to be found. The outlaws would keep after the boys and run them down much like wolves do their prey. Nothing better than a headlong chase and gunfight to get his men primed for the big bank robbery coming up.

With a full moon up there was no way for the boys to simply go to ground and let the outlaws pass them by. Once the outlaws collected their mounts, they were in for a straight out chase, seven well armed outlaws chasing four boys, three of them bareback and stark naked. Still Luke and Owen and Natoweh were fine riders and had little trouble keeping their seats even without saddles. Also the boys were much lighter in weight than their pursuers making it easier on their mounts to maintain the headlong pace. All four exulted in the power of their mounts between their legs, the wind in their hair, and the drumming of hoof beats.

The moon lit up the dramatic scene, painting the boy's bare bodies with a silvery effulgence. Jamie was gratified he was riding last. It gave him a fine view of the sexy boys riding bareback in front of him. The boys were riding for their lives and their freedom and for Jamie's as well. He was glad he had thrown his lot in with these fine young men. No matter what happened, he was sure he had done the right thing.

Once the group of four got into the clear, Luke's confidence returned. The outlaws might have them outnumbered and outgunned, but the Young Guns knew better than to confront them directly. They would counter the outlaws' advantages with one of their favorite tricks, a hasty ambush. With any luck, the outlaws, overconfident in their numbers and firepower would charge right into the kill zone.

He shouted out his plan to the others as they rode, telling Natoweh, who was in the lead, to look for the best ground to make a stand. The three naked boys would dismount there and conceal themselves, handing the reins over to Jamie for him to lead horses away to decoy their pursuers.

It took an hour, but eventually the boys got far enough ahead of the outlaws to set up an ambush in a dry wash. The Young Guns crept into the brush along the rim of the arroyo ignoring the scratches on their bare skins. Luke remembered another moonlit night and dusted sandy soil into his hair so his blond locks would not give away their position.

Meanwhile Jamie led their horses off, making as much noise as he could -- once even calling back to the boys to keep up. The outlaws followed the retreating hoof beats right into the kill zone of the ambush. The gunplay that followed was fast and furious, with the Young Guns firing into the strung out riders from close range. They emptied their pistols, reloaded, then fired again to make sure. No one was taking prisoners that night. The surprised outlaws were shot down and killed before they could rally and return fire effectively. None of the boys was injured beyond scratches from forcing his way into the brush.

In the lead, Mason himself was only slightly wounded and might have gotten away, but he ran into Jamie who had charged back to the sound of gunfire. Putting his Winchester rifle to his shoulder, he fired several shots at the oncoming horse and rider. When his mount went down, Mason's leg got caught under its body, trapping him. The man called out for help, claiming he had lost his pistol when he went down. Taking no chances on deceit or a possible hold out gun, Jamie dismounted, took a kneeling position, and fired several well-aimed shots into the leader of the outlaws. Good thing too. The man carried a second pistol in shoulder holster.

It was late morning before the Young Guns, now four in number, rounded up all the scattered horses and policed up the bodies of the dead outlaws and brought them back to camp. After a well earned breakfast, the boys collected their gear and rode into town to turn the bodies over to the sheriff. They also told him about the planned bank robbery and the inside man, who was jailed for conspiracy.

The rewards posted for Mason and Durango and the others amounted to quite a large sum. With what they had already saved, the Young Guns had enough of a stake to give up bounty hunting forever and start up their business of guiding Easterners and foreigners around the West. For his part, Jamie was happy to throw in with Luke and Owen and Natoweh, three new friends and lovers with whom he would share his life from that day forward.

The notoriety of their latest exploit attracted the attention of potential customers. Soon they were doing really well as guides and renovated the small farmhouse that Owen had inherited, adding a porch and enlarging the front room making it bright and airy. They added comfortable sturdy furniture and bookshelves for their small library of books plus their sheet music and instruments (flute, banjo, and guitar). In back were two bedrooms each with a double bed large enough for all four of them when the mood was upon them. Usually they slept two by two. They put in a windmill to drive the pump for their well, which, among other things, fed an outdoor shower stall. A modest dam across the creek out back created a swimming hole.

Oh, the townsfolk sometimes wondered about four good looking young bachelors who lived together on a small farm outside of town. Folks noticed that they showed not the slightest interest in sparking with any of the local gals. Still, the boys kept themselves to themselves and didn't flaunt their unusual relationship. No one really had cause for complaint. These were good neighbors, after all, four pleasant, soft spoken, and law-abiding lads who paid their bills and taxes promptly and showed up for services twice a month. All except Natoweh who remained faithful to the ways of his ancestors.

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