The Saga of Miles Forrest

I must have dozed off, because I woke with a start.  I quickly looked around to gather my bearings.  The first thing I noticed was that Lillian was not in the car; I checked beside me and her pistol was still there.  Then I glanced to Billy and found him sleeping, slumped over in the seat across from me.
    My jaws clenched as I thought of how stupid it was of me to fall asleep, especially so soundly that I didn’t hear the door open and close at the end of the car.  She must have moved back to the other car.  I was just getting up to check when the conductor came through the door and started down the aisle.
    He moved slowly, bouncing back and forth against the seats as the train moved roughly down the track.  Stopping in front of me, he announced, “Marshal, we should be in Pueblo in about a half hour.  Dawn should just be breaking.”  He reached out his hand.  “May I see your tickets please?”
    I reached inside my jacket and pulled out the two tickets.  “You’re all set, but you’ll have a lay-over of about four hours.  You can get coffee, and the little cafĂ© will be open about an hour after we pull in.  There are some other restaurants if you want to walk a few blocks from the station.”
    “Thanks,” I simply replied.
    He nodded and started to walk away, then turned back.  “Since the train you’re taking is going to Canon City there may be others on their way to the prison.  It could be interesting: tourists, miners, and prisoners,” he said with a chuckle and then went on his way.
    It was about fifty minutes later that I unshackled Billy from his seat.  He started walking down the aisle, sort of shuffling when he stopped.  “Miles, take the chains off my legs.  It’s downright embarrassing the clanking they make when I walk.”
    “Don’t think so, Billy.  Maybe they will make you think of what path you’re travelin’.  Maybe they’ll make you think of changin’ your ways.  Come on, let’s get you to the privy and by that time the eatery will be open.”
    Half an hour later, we had finished and we were heading toward the area where the other train would depart from.  The station was an open area with wooden benches side by side.  None of them had backs on them so they were not made for comfort.
    We had been sitting for maybe twenty minutes when Billy suddenly piped up.  “It’s all your fault.  You went and spoiled ev’rything.”
    I had been constantly moving my head around, but this statement made me look at him.  “Why is that, Billy?” I asked in a calm voice.
    “It’s all ’cause you kept the gold on the train instead of putting it in the bank.  My Uncle would still be alive and Lillian and those men wouldn’t be after me.”
    I glanced around again before questioning him some more.  “What do you mean?  Why would they be after you?  I thought they were trying to help you.”
    “They think I know more than I do.  Uncle wouldn’t tell me anything, but only that from time to time he would remove a few bars of gold and replace them with fake ones made of lead.  He couldn’t pay and whoever it is sent those men to collect,” he paused.
    “Go on,” I urged.
    “That’s when he decided to run away with the satchel of money.  He grabbed me said he’d turn me in as an accomplice if I didn’t come along to protect him.”
    I raised my eyebrows at that.  “Why then the assassination attempt?”
    “He hated you!” exclaimed Billy.  “He said you were always against him becoming something special in Durango,” he dropped his head then murmured.  “I shouldn’t have done it…but you always seem to make me feel small.”  Looking up quickly, he uttered, “But I didn’t mean to shoot at Molly.  Honest, I didn’t.”
    Nodding I asked, “How does Lillian fit in?”
    His eyes widened.  “Watch out for her!” then he smiled a crooked smile.  “Her husband is the boss of the outfit.  But she’ll use her wiles on any man.  I even heard rumors that she was on the take with Uncle’s replacement.”
    Graylight had fast disappeared and the sun was above the horizon.  At least two more hours to sit here in the open.  There was movement over by the corner of the telegraph office, then I heard the footsteps on the wooden floor of the station waiting room.  It was Lillian, and she was walking in my direction.