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After the End

After the End
By: Cabaret

Rating: NC17

Disclaimer: The A Team are not mine.
Summery: Murdock's CIA Years. What he did between the end of the Vietnam War and meeting up with the A Team again. There will be a sequel to this story.
Warnings: Angst, bad language and naughty people. Minor character deaths.
Author's note: I would like to firmly stress that this story is not at all or in any way a true reflection of China, the CIA or any other establishment. It is all imagination and should not be regarded as any shred of reality.
Comments: Yes Please


Part 1

"What do you mean dead?"
"You heard me; it's a war, these things happen."
Murdock slammed his fists on the desk.
"How; just how did this happen?"
"They were caught robbing the bank of Hanoi and…"
"What do you mean 'no'?"
"They were ordered"
"Regardless, they are listed KIA and you no longer have a unit."
"Bullshit regardless!"
"Look are we gonna have a problem here Sergeant?"
"I'm a Captain and you know it." Murdock snarled through gritted teeth.
"Not anymore, that is, not if we have a problem." The Colonel closed Murdock's files and stared him in the eye. "So I'm gonna ask you again. Do we have a problem?"
"No sir." Murdock mumbled.
"What was that Captain?"
"No sir." Murdock said clearly and saluted to accentuate the point.
"That's better. Now, you've been running the soldiers to and from the base and generally been a dogs-body in the clean up; is that correct?"
"Yes sir."
"Sir?" Murdock looked deeper into the Colonel's eyes trying to find his motives.
"Are you happy doing this?" The Colonel gave away nothing.
"I'm happy flying, but yeah, I do kinda feel like a fifth wheel here. I guess everyone does."
Well everyone's just waiting to be shipped home on this base sir."

"Your base was attacked and destroyed I understand." The Colonel shifted, uneasy about Murdock's jib at the base, he knew most of the soldiers here were drafted, he also knew that Captain Murdock was not.
"Yes sir, most of the troops were out on missions, they hit the pilots, higher ranks and medics mostly."
"It says here you were one of the main ring leaders in organizing a retreat."
"We didn't have anything to fight them with sir, they knocked out our command and came at us from all angles. I felt with the situation being what it was and our man power being what it was and our choppers being what they were a retreat was the best option."
"Saved a lot of men Captain."
Not single handedly."

"I know and I will be speaking to the other pilots in turn, but the word on the base points most fingers at you."
Murdock swallowed hard, he wasn't sure what this was leading to, it sounded like good news but this didn't seem to be the kind of Colonel to give good news.
"So as you indeed are a fifth wheel around here and having no unit... The army no longer requires your service here; I'm approving the CIA's application for your transfer."
"The what for the what?" Murdock was shocked to say the least, he didn't want to go anywhere near those initials. The stories were told for a reason.
"The CIA, you'll join them today. Pack your things up and an agent will meet you at sixteen hundred hours."
"But sir…"
"Yes?" The Colonel sighed as he said this to indicate the meeting was in fact over and Murdock should be furnishing the door with his hand now.
"Well, don't I get a say in this?"
"You didn't think you'd be going home surely?" The Colonel half laughed.
"The thought had crossed my mind." Murdock could feel his defenses sink further into the ground. How had he let a sleazy regular army pen pusher like him pull something like this on him?
"Seems you've impressed someone, now hop too and see if you can make it through their basic training."
Murdock stood up and saluted, then left the office. There really seemed no point in digging his grave further with this man. He decided he may as well make the best of the morning left to him as a soldier and a pilot, before he became one of the living dead, as he had once joked the CIA were.

Murdock drew himself a timetable for his last day and was happy with it's contents. He would fly, drink, have sex then drink some more. By four o'clock the CIA agent was less than impressed with his company's latest acquisition. A drunken pilot who was singing a song about pixies and only responding to the name 'Dances with whiskey' and who had chained himself to a chopper with a bra and pair of stockings.


Part 2

3 months later

"This is your target."
That's a child."
"That is the son of the war criminal Deng Prahn. He was particularly nasty in his fighting techniques in Vietnam and has now fled to China with his buddies and their families. They are being hidden in a city called Nanning, it's just across the Chinese Vietnam boarder."
"OK, so whadaya want me to do?" Murdock asked with some suspicion in his voice.
"Don't worry, 's purely observation for now."
"What happens after the 'for now'?"
You make too good an agent Murdock." Davenshire laughed softly. "We just want you to go in as a teacher, teach the kid and try to use this to get close to daddy. Then report back anything you can."

"Teach? I'm a pilot ni know, what the hell am I gonna teach a kid?"
Yes, kids plural, you might wanna work on your grammar Murdock."

"Can Wo get the full mission briefing qing Davenshire."
"Need to know basis I'm afraid." Davenshire tapped his nose and grinned.
"Well you seem to know, why don't ni go?"
"I haven't had an intensive hypnotic course in Chinese." Davenshire extended his grin to unbelievable limits despite all bets laid to the contrary, non believers about the extent of his grin were very short of pocket due to this fleeting action. The non believers shouted their protest while the believers counted their money, a small confident smile on each of their faces.
"Whoa! Yeah wassup chief?"
You ok kid? You zoned out there for a second."

"I'm fine, I'm fine. Recap?"
How's the head kid?"

"Spinning." Murdock over exaggerated his nod. "Sorta swirling around but Wo hen hao xie xie ni lao ban." (I very good thank you boss).

"English kid, c'mon gimme some of the queen's lingo here."
Ting bu dong." (I don't understand.)

"Shit, you're gonna have to go under again, you can't go like this. Sorry kid I'm gonna have to put you back another couple o' weeks."
"No. Ya don't." Murdock reached forward grabbing Davenshire's arm. "You really don't have to do that." Murdock's eyes fixed the man in a stare and wouldn't let him go until it found sincerity.
"Mur-dock I dunno, you're switching languages without realizing it."
"I'm not, I's just messin' with ni." Murdock shrugged casually until he realized he'd done it again.
"Ni? As in the Chinese word for 'you'? Murdock, you're all over the place, it's not uncommon you know."
"What if you do that in China?"
"But I won't see, it'll be total emersion, no English, no problem. It's only when I go the other way I get problems, ask my tutor. Please don't send me back there."
"I dunno…"
"Pete please, I'm begging ni… ah you. I can do this."
"You ship out in a week, if I don't see pitch perfect by then, I'm putting you back."
"I can do this, I promise."
"That's what I'm afraid of."
"Never mind. Ok so here are your files on your mission, I want you to have these memorized by tomorrow."
"No uh problem." Murdock wondered if he could read all the files by tomorrow, much less memorize them. "Hey, lemme get this straight. I'm goin to China right."
Becoming a teacher right?"

Teaching Vietnamese kids right?"

"And Chinese kids."
And reporting back to the company about tamen… their parents right?"

Don't ya think they might find it just a tad suspicious that Wo two feet taller than them, have light green eyes, light brown hair and oh yeah white skin?"

Davenshire laughed. "You don't think we've thought of that?"
"The question did cross my mind."
"We've thought of that, relax would ya, we look after our own. I'll see you tomorrow."
"That's what Mem beck afraid of."
"And sort out your damn languages! That wasn't even Chinese!"
"Yes sir." Murdock saluted and walked out.
"And your companies, you're not in the army now kid." Davenshire called after him. To say he was worried would be the understatement of the year.


Part 3

Murdock opened his eyes.
"Wo shi Nali ma?" (Where am I?)
"Relax kid, you came up early, it's a good sign."
"Ting bu dong." (I don't understand.)
A shudder went through Murdock's body, it jerked and flipped on the table involuntarily like a gasping fish out of water. Murdock slammed back into his forced sleep and felt no more.

"How's he doing?"
"As well as can be expected, actually better. He's a tough lil kid. Army?"
Some one told him that?"

"Whaddaya mean?"
"He was worried about the treatment, said he needed to keep his head straight to fly."
"I see, and are the treatments working?"
"Go see for yourself."
"Is he unconscious?"
"You scared he's gonna flip out again?"
"I read the reports."
"Yeah he's unconscious, due to come up in a couple o' hours."

Murdock lay sleeping on the sterile trolley, his chest exposed showing the surgeon's treatments. He had no body hair and his skin had turned to a deep olive red tan. His hair on his head was now black and had been shaved. The men regarded the sleeping agent.

"So how long will this last?"
"Far as we know, it's permanent. This stuff's never been used on people before. I need you to sign these documents for the last phase."
"What is the last phase?"
"His eyes. Look, it's not actually necessary."
"I've never met a China man with pale green eyes before."
"They are piercing, aren't they? But listen we're not trying to make him look Chinese. He's supposed to be Uyghur. North West China from Xin Jian right?"
"And your point being?"
Well these guys aren't strictly speaking Chinese. Their country was taken over in the 1950's, they're more of a Turkish race and because the country, well now province boarders Russia there's mixed blood there, so you would get guys looking like him."

"I see what your saying, but it's best to make sure. Make his eyes black."
"Listen Mr. Hodges, before you make the decision, read that document carefully, all your work could be wasted."
"Would you just cut to the chase."
"Inserting a dye over his eye like this could result in permanent blindness."
"What are his chances?"
"Not good. About five to one from the animals we've tested on, and that's not even a clear indication of the odds."
"They're still better odds than if he gets caught. Make them black."
"You don't think maybe we should consult him?"
"This is not his choice to make, now quit playing super surgeon and make his eyes black."
"That's your final word?"
"Signed and sealed." Hodges signed the form, handed it back to the surgeon then walked briskly out of the room.

"Geez kid, I feel for ya, I really do. What the hell did you sign yourself up for here?" The surgeon shook his head as he left the rooms to make the necessary preparations for tomorrow's treatment.

Murdock turned himself over on the trolley and opened his eyes. He wiped away the silent tears that were now escaping rapidly from his eyes and tried to think. There had to be a way out of this, if he had a plane he could get out of this. He knew it wouldn't do him a whole lot of good as he didn't even know which country he was in, much less which country he'd go to. He slammed his fist into the metal surface of the trolley and dug his knuckles into the cold hard steel. If only Hannibal were here he wouldn't let this happen to him. Murdock hit upon a moment of clarity away from the four languages that had been clouding his perception by rolling around his head for so long; away from the brain washing he had endured for what now seemed like years. He now knew who was to blame, he knew who's fault this all was, he knew exactly which cigar smoking son of a bitch he would throttle the life out of without a second thought if he were here. He was so sure and so clear, it was Hannibal. Hannibal had left him left him behind in the war that was officially over. Hannibal had gone back to the enemy and left his brothers to be eaten up. Hannibal was why Murdock was suffering now and Hannibal was who Murdock would make pay. He wouldn't go blind, he would get his English, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese Chinese and Uyghur straight. He would do the job and do anything to get the job done. And when he was finished and back safe in America, Murdock would hunt down that deserting bastard Hannibal and kill him. When he'd done that he would hunt down and kill BA, Face and even Ray too. He'd make them all pay for leaving him behind in this place. Murdock was clear and controlled now. Nothing these bastards could throw at him would phase him again.


Part 4

"What's going on? I-I can't see. Doc? Doc?! What's happening? I can't see. Do…"
"Relax Murdock, it's ok, I'm here."
"I-I can't see, I can't move, what's goin on Doc?"
"It's ok, listen, we put you in restraints in case this, uh phased you. It was just a precaution Murdock. I don't really relish another shiner from you. You can't see because we've bandaged your eyes. Ok?"
"English Murdock."
No problem, I'm chilled like a limp lemon here Doc, now can you let me go?"

"Yeah right, that's why your heart rate is off the scale. How bout I take a look at your eyes first?"
"Spoil sport."
"Nice to see you getting your sense of humour back again."
Well, if I'm blind, I get to go home. If I'm not then I get to say goodbye to you and lord knows what next. I got a lot to be happy about today."

"It really boggles the mind why they picked you, ya know?" The surgeon began gingerly undoing the bandages.
"I been tryin to figure that one out for the longest time."
"Four months."
"Thanks, I was wondering. This is the last time I'll be seeing you idnit?"
"If everything's in order, yes."
Lord, please file my cabinets today. Not that it hasn't been nice knowin you Doc. But I don't wanna see anyone from your profession for the rest of my life."

"Ok, tell me what you see."
"A whole lotta nothing."
Well you've got good reflexes. It may take a few minutes."

"Would you quite shinning that thing in my eyes."
Sorry, but I gotta."

"Wait I can see, it's blurry but I defiantly see the ugliest mug I've ever seen since the war."
"Compliments are what make the job so worth while. Right can you read this line? Close your left eye."
"You can let me up, I tol' you, I'm frosty chilled like the queen's underwear itself."
"Yeah but the mirror's up there and this room ain't big enough for a real test. What's with all the slang and British accent then Murdock?"
"X. P. O. E. W. D. R. It's the only way I can stay in English Doc."
"Close the right eye and read this line."
"L. F. Uh E. I can't see it."
"Try it with the left eye closed. Ya know people are gonna say you're crazy."
"Sticks and stones Doc. L. P. E. C or G. Shit I can't see it. I used to get down to that line."
"Nothing to worry about. We'll give you a course in these eye drops should help take away the blur and refine things up a bit for you. You may find your eyes will be weepy for a while but that's about all. If you go out into the sun you should wear sunglasses, but just for the next few days. Don't go out today though, you need at least twenty four hours in the dark. Give your eyes a chance to recover." The surgeon undid the restraints as he spoke.
"Sure thang Doc. What about the nightmares?" Murdock sat up and looked the surgeon in the eye, it was unnerving, just two days before he had had dreamy bright green eyes that stood out in any room like precious stones, now the surgeon found himself staring into dark black pools of a deep abyss.
"What nightmares?"
"Oh ya know the ones I've been getting a lot recently, about some guy pumping my skin full of chemicals, running electricity shocks through my body, injecting the soft jelly of my eyes with paint stripper and the ones where my hands are covered in blood." Murdock accentuated each word slowly and clearly but his hands moved like lightening.
Before the surgeon knew what was happening he was on his knees with a dislocated shoulder and now his patient's hand had moved up to his neck and was slowly choking the life out of him.
"I lied about the ones where my hands were covered in blood." Murdock whispered into his victim's ear. The surgeon began desperately grabbing at the table above him and produced a scalpel.
"Oh perhaps I wasn't." The scalpel was being swung wildly at Murdock now and slashed him in the arm.
"Please Murdock, I'm just following orders." The surgeon gasped as he tried to scramble away.
Murdock threw the surgeon back onto the floor and brought the table down with him. It landed on the scalpel wielding arm and the surgeon howled in pain as he dropped his weapon. A glint came to Murdock's lifeless eyes and he picked up the table and smashed it down on the surgeon's arm repeatedly until it lay bloody and limp.
"Let's see you follow orders on anyone else now."
The surgeon moaned unable to move.
"Why don't you finish him off Murdock?" Hodges asked as entered the room with three other agents who quickly pulled Murdock off the surgeon. Murdock didn't resist, he had finished anyway.
"Because Sir, that would be humane." Murdock said quietly, his breath regained and barely a bead of sweat dropped.
"How many times? You may address me by my name, you're not in the army now."
"I never will Sir, that would make you seem humane."
"Clever boy. It's a nice day outside. Sun's up and shinning bright. Some of the boys are out exercising. Why don't you join them?"
"You were obviously listening, I can't go out into the sun for twenty four hours. It could make me blind and then where would your mission be?" Murdock spat out as he struggled against the three agents.
The surgeon was groaning on the floor trying to mumble his objections to this punishment but his opinion was no longer required.
"Well let's find out how good a surgeon you just took off my staff then shall we?" Hodges motioned for Murdock to be taken out as he produced a gun.
"No! You bastard! Don't do it!" Murdock screamed as he was dragged out. Once out of the door he heard a single shot that may as well have hit him. Murdock sank in the arms of his escorts regretting ever opening his eyes.

"Why'd you do that?" The surgeon asked as Hodges helped him up.
"S'good to put the willies up him, that kid is too cocky. I want him dependant on us and always in fear of us. Simple really, if he thinks I shot you…."
"Yeah I can work it out."
"I'll send someone to come look at your arms."
"Don't leave him out in the sun too long, he really could go blind."
"Don't worry, I know what I'm doing."



Part 5

Murdock squinted at the windows in the door that shone through white sunlight. Hodges walked up beside him and produced a pair of sunglasses.
"You fucking asshole!" Murdock lurched at Hodges.
"I s'pose you'll be wanting these? Opps." Hodges dropped the sunglasses and stepped on them. "How clumsy of me."
You are an A one fucked up bastard!"

"I was just being, how did you put it? Humane. You better get your act together kid, your just a jumped up pilot who's playing with the big boys now. This isn't the army, there are no second chances and we don't forgive or forget. Now fuck off outta my sight."
Murdock spat at Hodges and caught him square in the face. Hodges wiped the spit off and nodded.
"Like I said, we never forget." He thrust his knee up into Murdock's abdomen and pushed him through the door. "Hey boys!" Hodges yelled over at a group of weightlifting agents. "We got a prisoner who won't talk here, why don't ya show him some CIA hospitality?"

Murdock squirmed on the floor and tried to scramble into the door but it was swiftly shut in his face and locked. He forced his eyes open to a squint and saw five large looking blobs striding towards him.
"Fucking slit eyed gooks." One of the blobs was saying as he advanced.
'Shit, shit, shit, shit.' Were the only thoughts Murdock could muster. Luckily his body was having more productive thoughts and he curled himself into a tight ball clasping his head in his arms ready for a beating, which was administered swiftly.

"Hey, hey, hey! Whatcha doin?"
Murdock heard Davenshire's voice and instantly felt relief.
"Pete! Help me!"
"What the fuck? This gook speaks English."
"Must be a spy."
"Fucking yellow skinned commi bastards."

The men continued to kick at the tightly rolled ball of Murdock.
"Stop please! Guys this is not the way we do things." Davenshire bent down to examine the man on the ground. "Hey, you ok Kid?"
"Pete! Please get me outta here."
"How do you know my name kid?"
"Pete?" Murdock felt his world and his stomach do a three sixty flip. "It's… It's me, Murdock."
"Murdock? No. Whatchya doin here? Tell me straight kid, how did you get here? And how do you know my name?"
"Pete I swear, it's me, Murdock. And stop yakin at me like I can't speak English."
"You know this gook Mr. Davenshire?"
"I dunno, he seems to know me."
"I'm not a gook! Pete I swear it's me, you came an got me through my first week of training, you gave me my mission for fuck's sake!"
Murdock was now trying hard to keep his eyes open wide and focused on Davenshire's eyes.
"Ok, if you're Murdock, what would you be doing now if you could do anything?"
"Flying myself the fuck away from this place an howlin like a mother fucker."
"Holy shit it is you!"
"How'd you know Mr. Davenshire?"
"Psyche evaluation, he wrote it down sixty times."
"Sixty seven actually."
You mean he's an agent?!"

"After a fashion, yeah. C'mon kid, let's get you cleaned up and briefed."
"Hey, uh Murdock is it? Listen we're sorry man."
"Yeah real sorry."
Fuck you."

"Still workin on yer diplomacy I see Murdock?"
"Fuck you too Pete."
"You know you didn't actually pass your psyche evaluation."
"Why am I still here then?"
"Army wouldn't have you back. You failed their psyche evaluation too."
Murdock trembled a little shudder but continued walking. 'The living dead always continue walking' he thought to himself 'even if their world just collapsed.'



Part 6

Murdock stepped out of the plane and squinted in the sun. The sand shifted beneath his feet as the wind blew swirls and shadows in the desolate heat.
"Takalamakan, a pretty sight eh?"
"If you like deserts I guess."
"Second largest desert in the world, or so the locals say." The pilot leaned out of the cockpit and readjusted his glasses that were reflecting the horizon.
"You know a good pilot never actually needs sunglasses."
"What would you know? A good pilot knows about the sun's glare up there."
"A better pilot knows how to avoid it, even in the worst of dogfights. Could show ya if ya like."
"Time to get going Mr. Murdock."
A second agent stepped from the plane. "Ah here comes your ride."

Murdock looked to where the agent pointed, a man approached from the North riding one horse and leading another. It was a compact bay horse with a large roman nose and alert ears, it picked it's way through the sands delicately placing each hoof as if it was marking it's place in history.
"Salam Elham." The agent greeted the rider.
"Salam Mr. Boen. Here is the horse you require. Your man must ride West to Urumqi. It is about nine hundred kilometers. There you must take the train South to Nanning. It should take you about three weeks."
"Three weeks? Now hang on, you never said anything about three weeks!"
"Give you a chance to brush up on you Chinese Mr. Murdock." Agent Boen smiled. "One assumes you can ride."
"I'm from Texas." Murdock scoffed.
"Our horses are not like your American horses. Our lands are not like your lands. You must ride with caution." Elham gave the horse to Murdock. "And treat him kindly, he is the best horse of my village."
"I will Elham, thank you." Murdock took the horses reins and stroked the horse's neck. "What's his name?"
"Name? He is a horse and has no name, this is now China my friend. Names are long forgotten." Elham laughed. "Now we are outside Markit, it's about one hundred kilometers South East of Kashgar; this is where you are now from. I am from a village outside Kashgar so I will tell you all you need to know. We will travel North West to where the Yarkand river joins the Hotan River; this marks the end of the Taklamakan dessert. After this we will travel North to Aksu and that is where I will leave you. From there you can follow the Silk Road to Urumqi." Elham gave the map to Murdock who folded it away wondering if the train journey took three weeks, how long would this journey take?
"Here are American passports for you and your family as promised Elham, get yourself to the USA and you can lead a free life." Agent Beon passed a package to the horseman.
"This was not what we agreed, you said your government would help our country."
"These things take time, we don't have a magic wand. You know that Elham. Take what you can get and good luck to you."
"You bastard." Murdock whispered as he took his own package from the agent.
"God be with you sir, ride North west until you come to Urumqi, then leave the horse with the Uygar restaurant at the city limits." Elham turned his horse and rode off.
"Hey wait!" Agent Boen called after him, but his words rested on Elham's dust trail and filtered off into the sands.
"North West huh?" Murdock gathered up the horses reins and mounted it.
"You'll never make it without a guide."
"If you knew anything about these people, you would realize that you just insulted him big time buster. He would never run from his country. It doesn't matter anyway, I'll make it."
"Pretty sure of yourself aren't you?"
"I'm a pilot. If I don't know where North west is then I wouldn't dare say I was."
"We'll contact you after a month on your arrival. Your code word is: The cat stalks twice. You will reply: When the bell strikes thrice."
"Who the hell thinks up these things? C'mon then Partner." Murdock nodded and pushed the horse on with a small pressured squeeze of his legs.



Part 7

Murdock gasped as the sun rose. He'd never felt so moved on the ground before but this was truly magnificent. His horse seemed to be appreciating it too, he picked up his legs to a canter.
"If you say so Partner, never been one to argue with someone so many times the size of me." Murdock stood up in his stirrups and leaned forward over the horse's neck making the pair a stream lined aerodynamic one. He curled his fingers around the long mane and whispered encouraging sounds in the horses ear. The horse extended into a sleek rhythm, pounding his hoofs on the hard sand underfoot. The air was cool at this time and the horse breathed steadily in time to it's rider. Murdock felt like he was flying for the first time in months. He gripped hard with the insides of his thighs and felt the power of the horses stride rivet through his body. He wouldn't stop this machine now even if he could.
"That's it boy, keep headin West, lemme know when you've run this outta your system. Just keep running boy, you'll feel better after you've run it outta you. That's it boy, smooth and easy, just take it in your stride. When you're ready, only when you're ready."

The horse finally decided he was ready to stop running as the mountains came into view. They rolled up into view, grand and welcoming with the promise of fresh grass and cool water. White sweat foam had gathered on the horse's neck and he panted down to a walk.
Murdock took the cue and jumped down from the horses back. His legs, limp and jelly like, collapsed from underneath him and the horse turned round and snorted at the grounded pilot.
"Easy for you to say Partner. You've got four legs to keep you up, I only got half your chance. Least the sand is soft." Murdock grimaced and rubbed his backside. The horse nuzzled Murdock and pushed him over.
"Hey! Ever heard about not kicking a man when he's down? Gimme a break would ya? It's been years since I was on a horse."
The horse breathed heavily onto Murdock's face in reply.
"Ok, ok! I'm up. See? Legs are solid as a rock." Murdock wobbled forward and walked with the horse as the sun rose to a midday glare.

An hour or so later of walking Murdock lost the bet he'd made and sat down.
"Ok, you win. I'm hot, sticky, tired an ma legs are still resembling jello."
The horse looped behind Murdock and nuzzled his back forward. He knew better than to stop in the afternoon sun in a desert.
"I see what your sayin here Partner, but I'm gonna need five minutes here."
The horse persisted in his soft attack on Murdock's shoulder blades.
"What is this? Marching by massage? Ok then, just gimme a sec here would ya?" Murdock stood up and untied the leather water sack from the saddle. He took a swig and then tied it back up. He then tilted the water sack with his chin so the contents poured into his cupped hands. "Drink up boy." The horse drank from his hands and they repeated this action a few more times until Murdock was satisfied the horse was. He then corked the water sack and took up the reins. Murdock gripped the horse's thick mane and the saddle, but he couldn't pull himself up.
"Shit Partner, I knew I was outta shape, but this is ridiculous. I'm gonna need some help here." Murdock lead the horse down into a sand dip and stood above him. "On three ok?" He took a breath. "One, two, three." Murdock leaped forward and belly flopped onto the horse. The horse jerked off into a trot. "Oh c'mon!" Murdock luckily got one foot into the stirrup and swung his other leg over. "We're gonna have to work on this relationship." Murdock eased the reins back and gave a slight squeeze with his shins and the horse slowed to a jog. "Whoa back boy, you gonna fret yourself out here." The horse began to walk calmly and Murdock gave him his rein. The horse stretched his neck out long and continued the long march.

They left the desert by sunset and replenished themselves by galloping through a meadow and into a cool mountain river. The horse shortened to a halt and began drinking, he ducked his head into the water and threw it forward.
"Worth it huh Partner?"
The horse lifted his head and groaned.
"Yeah I know, it's been a long ride. Drink up boy, doesn't look like there's a city near here, I reckon we got about another hundred miles to go."
The horse pawed the water with his front leg.
"Hey whatcha doin? Whoa boy! Whoa!"
The horse's legs buckled from beneath him and he began to roll in the river. Murdock managed to jump free just in time and found himself sat in the frosty cold river face to face with his horse.
"Well that's one way to cool off I guess."
The horse breathed onto Murdock's face and his front hoof shot out beside him as he pulled himself up.
"You couldn't set up some kinda warning system when your gonna do these things?"
The horse groaned a low long hum in reply and shook himself.
Murdock drank from the river and replenished the leather water sack that was by now empty.
"We may as well stop here for the night then I guess."
The horse chewed on the lush green grass of the river bank as if he had already decided this fact. Murdock undid the saddle and seemed happy with the partnership; after all he'd not had such great communication in a long time.




After The End by Cabaret
After The End 8-14 by Cabaret
After The End 15-20 by Cabaret



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