The Saga of Miles Forrest

I heard several more shots as I hurried toward the jail.  As I came to the corner of the block I slowed down moving close to the Foster’s hardware store.  I knew better than to rush into a gunfight; even the good guys might be over anxious and start firing in my direction.
    Peering around the corner, I hollered, “Charlie, I’m to your right.”
    I saw one man lying in the street by what I assumed was his horse and another on the doorstep of the jail.  It was hard to tell if they were dead or not, so I assumed they could still be in the fight.
    “Miles,” came Charlie’s retort.  “Move across the street and ease on down toward the jail.”
    As soon as he finished I made a break across the street to be on the same side as the jail and slowly started moving toward it.  I was just beside the window so I peeked in.  I didn’t see anyone, but I wasn’t about to take any unnecessary chances the way lead had been thrown around.
    Charlie started moving up the street straight toward the jail.  Before he stepped over the one down in the street he gave the man a good kick to see if he could get any reaction from him.  There was none.  He did the same with the man on the boardwalk, but keeping his eyes on the door.  There was a slight grunt so Charlie reached down, picked up the downed-man’s gun and threw it to the side.
    It was then I saw the blood on Charlie’s side.  “Hurt?” I asked.
    “Winged me, nothing serious.  I think it hit the fleshy part under my arm.”
    “Ready when you are,” I said.
    “I’ll move to the right.  Let’s go.”
    He went through the door low and to the right.  I went in standing up to the left.  There was no one in the room and it was easy to see that no one was in the little aisle between the cells.  I walked down toward Billy’s cell.  He was standing there holding on to the bars.  His eyes wide in anticipation then he saw me.
    “You!” he said with disgust in his voice, turned and curled up facing the wall.
    “Charlie, looks as if they did some damage to the lock on the cell.”  
    He came over and took a look.  “Hmmmm, looks like they tried to shoot open the lock.”  He reached to the back of his belt.  “With no jailer or deputy I usually take the keys with me when I leave.  Bullet sure couldn’t do much damage to that cast-iron lock except ricochet around the room.”
    “Who were they, Billy?” Charlie asked, but only received silence in reply.
    Charlie turned to check on the man laying outside the door.  In a muffled voice, racked by pain, the man uttered, “I’m gonna die, ain’t I?”
    Charlies examined his wound as I came up to stand beside him.  “It don’t look like you have much of a chance.  Better be making your peace with the good Lord,” he paused.  “Have a name I could put on your marker?”
    The man groaned, “Des Newby.”  He tried to lift himself up.  “Is Al kilt?”  Then he slumped passing the way onto a different type of judgment.
    I stayed with Charlie until Doc Jones came up to work on his arm.  Not sticking around I went on down to the diner so Molly wouldn’t worry.
    Sitting down at my table, Molly sat down with me and Marta brought over some coffee.  Looking at Molly I asked, “Can you spare Marta for a few minutes?”
    Marta’s eyes widened.  “He’s all right, but you might want to walk him back.  You know how big a baby he is.”
    She rushed out, heading for the jail.  Molly asked, “Is he hurt bad?”
    “Bullet winged him under his arm.  It’ll be sore for a while.”
    Twenty minutes later, she came through the door with Charlie handing onto her arm.  She rushed to the table and pulled the chair out for him, then went to the stove and poured a cup of coffee for him.  “Sit there, my love, there is some butterscotch pie in the back.  I’ll bring you a piece.”
    Before I could holler, “Me too,” she was gone.
    I looked at him.  “Charlie, we need to figure out how to guard the trial tomorrow.  Both of us are witnesses, so we need to come up with a plan.”
    “Tonight as well,” he said with concern.  “For some reason they want Billy out of there.  I’ll go back and quiz him in a bit.”    
    Marta came back out with a piece of pie…