The Saga of Miles Forrest

I had just sat down in the diner, returning from the trial.  Molly was required to testify, so she went by the cabin to change before coming on down to work.  The trial of Billy Denton was uneventful, except for a few tears and wails from Lillian in which I got the distinct impression that it was for show.  Billy was sentenced to fifty years in the penitentiary at Canon City.  There was no sign of any of the others who might have been associated with those in the shootout at the jail just days prior.
    Having just poured a cup of coffee, I sat there sipping and sort-of sulking.  That’s it–sipping and sulking, for I had been assigned by the court to escort Billy Denton to Canon City, leaving at the end of the week.  I had hoped that another deputy would be sent, but because I was already there Judge Broomfield decided to use me.
    I had finished about half the cup when I noticed a presence sitting at the table.  Now instead of sulking, I became a little depressed.
    “Friend, Miles, I’m still waiting for you.  Thought I had you back in New Mexico; shame young Denton and Billington were so inept in carrying out their mission.  Of course, they didn’t know they were working for the “Prince” in doing so.  But, at least some were sent my way,” then he let out that cursed cackle of his. “Your time will come Mister Marshal Forrest, and I will surely dance and celebrate when you are finally in my clutches.”
    Glancing at the putrid form sitting at the table I seemed to gain some strength.  “The reason they missed is because my life is in the hands of the Creator and Sustainer of my life.”  When I said that I could see him recoil a bit, the blood running through his blood veins that I could see pulsating through his pale skin.  “And you’ll never have me in your clutches.  When I pass on, it will be in the arms of Christ!”
    With that I heard a screech, and then there was an odor that seemed to permeate the region where he had been sitting, but at least the Pale Rider had disappeared.  I no longer feared him, as I once did years back.  Sometimes the devil’s grin might come to me in a dream, but it was rare any more.
    “Miles, who were you talking to?” asked Molly.  She came in as I was saying the words that sent my adversary on his way.  She was wearing a light gray cotton skirt and blouse with her white apron over it.  
    “Molly, are you a cook, or a nurse?” I questioned seeing her in that outfit.  
    “Hannah brought it by and wondered if I wanted it.  Now, who were you talking with?”
    I hesitated, then said, “My old nemesis, the Pale Rider.”
    She sighed, “And…”
    “And he left.”
    “That’s all.  I had some words for him, which he didn’t care for and left,” I replied.  “Let me get you some coffee.”
    I stood up and went to the stove to grab the pot and a cup from the counter.  “I’ll drink a cup, but then I need to get to the kitchen,” she said and then took a sip.  “I’m glad the trial is over, but I don’t like it that you were given the task of escorting Billy to prison,” she took another sigh and I placed my hand on her arm.  “It just seems like that young man brings grief and I don’t want any more brought to us.”
    “Say, why don’t you take off tomorrow and we’ll ride up the canyon a ways and have us picnic.  You haven’t ridden Two-Bits in a while and it’ll do us both good.  I have to leave in a couple of days, so let’s have one day to ourself.”
    She looked at me and smiled.  “I’ll talk to Marta.  It should be all right.”
    I finished my coffee and stood up.  “I’m goin’ to go check on Charlie and then see if I have a telegram.”
    “I’ll talk to Marta and let you know tonight at the cabin.  Right now, I need to go help Anihu in the kitchen.  I might need to make some pie crusts if I’m going to be gone tomorrow.”
    Molly got out of her chair and came to me for a hug.  “You be careful as far as Billy Denton’s concerned,” she admonished.
    “I’m always careful, you know that.”