Summary: Be careful what games you play!
Rated: Family Friendly / Word count: 1074
HIde and Seek
Adam reached out for the door knob and sent out yet another silent prayer.
“Please, please, let him be in here,” he plead desperately.
Adam had checked the entire house and the barn twice. He had checked the outhouse, the corral, the bunkhouse, and even gone down as far as the lake. He’d called out until he was almost hoarse, but there was absolutely no sign of his curly haired, bright eyed, ten year old brother.
He practically tore the room apart, but he’d known before he started searching here that he would find nothing.
He let his head drop into his hands and moaned loudly.
“I’m dead!” he thought. “Pa, is gonna kill me!”
Slowly he picked himself up and made his way out the door and down the stairs. He would just have to keep looking; there was nothing else to do…
Hoss peeked out from his partially open door and waited until he was sure Adam was gone before he motioned for Joe to follow him. Together they snuck into the room Adam had just searched and closed the door. Joe started to giggle and Hoss shushed him. “Hush up, Joe,” he whispered. “You want Adam to hear you?”
“Hey, Hoss,” Joe said after he’d composed himself. “Don’t you think maybe we should tell Adam now? He’s been looking for almost three hours already.”
“Joe, if you show yourself now even I won’t be able to save you,” Hoss answered seriously. “You’d better just wait until Pa gets back.”
Joe sighed but nodded his head in agreement. Truth be told he was starting to get tired of hiding; although it had been his idea to begin with. Last week he had overheard his oldest brother after church bragging to some of his friends how he managed to get in a little quiet time. He’d explained to them that whenever Joe asked him to play hide-and-seek he always said yes and then would wait twenty or thirty minutes before he started looking for him. Joe had been furious and vowed to get even. It had taken him days to come up with a plan and then another few before Pa and Hop Sing would be gone long enough for him to pull it off. When he’d told Hoss his plan and his reason for doing it, Hoss had agreed that Adam needed to be taught lesson.
Earlier that day…
“Boys,” Ben said to his sons at the breakfast table. “I have to go into town today for a business meeting and Hop Sing is going with me to pick up some supplies and say hello to a few of his relatives. I trust you can all be responsible and get your chores done before you make any plans for the afternoon.”
Joe noticed the look his Pa gave Adam. It was that look he always gave him before he went away. The one that said Adam was really supposed to be the responsible one.
Ben left about an hour later and Joe and Hoss worked quickly to get all there chores done. They both knew there would probably be some small penalty to pay for their prank and they didn’t want to be in trouble with Pa for not getting their work done.
They finished in record time and giving each other a sneaky smile, set things in motion.
“Hey, Adam,” Joe called out entering the barn.
“Hey, what,” answered Adam jovially.
“You wanna play hide-and-seek with me,” he asked trying hard not to grin.
Adam smiled to himself. He had actually been planning on suggesting that to Joe as he wanted to start a new book he had recently purchased. A half hour alone would give him a great start.
“Sure, Joe,” he answered. “Why don’t you hide first and I’ll come look for you, just make sure you stay close to the house.”
“Oh, I will,” Joe answered and ran out of the barn excitedly.
“Okay, Hoss,” Joe yelled coming into the house. “He said yes, you ready?”
Hoss nodded and the two began the greatest game of hide-and-seek ever played. A half hour later on the dot Adam entered the house and started searching. He didn’t seem to notice that Hoss was never more than a few feet away. Whenever Adam would get close to where Joe was hiding, Hoss would distract him and Little Joe would move.
Hoss walked casually down the stairs and had to hide a snicker as he saw Adam opening cupboards he’d already checked a hundred times.
“Hey, Adam, why don’t you try down by the lake again? You know that brother of ours,” he said.
“Yes, I do,” Adam answered, slapping his leg in frustration. “Just wait til I get my hands on him!”
After he’d saddled up and raced out of the yard Little Joe and Hoss burst into laughter. Wiping tears from their eyes they made their way into the kitchen and made a couple of sandwiches.
“I betcha Adam is getting hungry,” Joe said around a large mouthful.
“I bet you’re wrong,” answered Hoss and Joe looked at him quizzically. “His stomachs probably in so many knots that he doesn’t even want to think about food.”
When several hours later Adam still had not returned Hoss and Joe started to worry. It was almost dark and their Pa would be back soon.
They jumped up suddenly when they heard the sound of horses entering the yard.
“Joe, up stairs quick,” Hoss yelled and Little Joe ran for the stairs.
Hoss dove into a chair and pretended to be reading.
His eyes practically popped out of his head when his Pa rushed in followed by Sherriff Coffee.
“Hoss, has Little Joe shown up yet?” Ben bellowed.
Hoss shrugged helplessly suddenly wishing the floor would open up and swallow him.
Adam staggered in a moment later looking disheveled and pale. Not nearly pale as Hoss, however, or the young boy listening at the top of the stairs.
Oh’ what a tangled web we weave…