The Saga of Miles Forrest

We found Lucas in one of the corners, feeding a fire.  He was very intent on his work.  He would put in a log, then peer outside to the darkness.
    “Lucas,” I said to get his attention.  “You know, by looking into the fire, then looking into the dark you can’t see anything.  You are blind, so to speak.  If you really want to see what is going on out there move away from the fire.”
    Theo came over to me, “Miles, come with me,” he suggested.  “You won’t believe this.”
    I went away with him while Molly stayed with Lucas.  He took me where we had laid Clem Ebert.  “Miles,” whispered Theo, “he’s alive and asking for yuh.”
    “What?” I answered, looking at Theo with widened eyes.
    Looking down I saw Ebert motion with his finger for me to get closer.  “Sorry, Marshal,” he moaned.  “Wish I’d known yuh proper.  Thankee for keepin’ yur promise.  Will yuh shake my hand?”
    I reached out my hand to grasp his.  I just couldn’t believe he was alive, but then I’ve seen men who had been gut shot live several hours.  Maybe it was the cold that helped him stay longer.  
    Squeezing his hand, I admonished him, “Clem, not too late to make it right with the Lord.”
    He lifted his head, smiled and pulled my hand to his chest.  “I…”  He was smiling as he lost consciousness.  I held my hand there until he finally took his last breath.
    “If that don’t beat all,” uttered Theo.
    Standing up I continued to stare at Clem Ebert.  Then turned to Theo and said, “One thing for sure, Theo.  We don’t know the time or place any of us leavin’ this world.  I think Clem died proudly and in the arms of Jesus.”
    Theo sort of grunted, saying, “Yeah, ahh, maybe so…” and walked away.
    The next morning we received news that the rails were almost repaired and a train should be on the way to pick up the survivors.  There would be a doctor on the train.  Late afternoon we heard the whistle.  With that there came a shout from those in the tented area.  Those who were able in the passenger car came to the windows to look.  Finally, some of them smiled with hope.
    Everyone who was able stood out watching the train chug up to us.  Steam rolled out as it stopped.  Theo had to force the people to stay behind a restraining line.  “Get with your loved ones,” he commanded.  “If yur travelin’ single and aren’t hurt stand out of the way.”
    Two men came our way carrying black bags.  One I recognized from my short stay in Taos a while back.  He came our direction while the other doctor went into the baggage car.  Nodding at me, he stooped down to check on Marta.  She was conscious and had longer spells of being conscious the past few days.  He looked at her eyes, examined her head, and would hum to himself.  Then he prodded her and upon hitting one spot she yelped–again the hum.
    “Lots of pain?” he asked Marta.
    She tried to smile, “Only when I’m awake or try to move.”
    “Well, you do have a bad gash on your head and a concussion.  I need to get you to a place a little more private so I can see if you have any swelling or discoloring.”
    Standing he looked at me.  “Marshal, can you help me rig up a place in one of the cars to do an examination?”
    I went with him while Charlie stooped down to hold Marta’s hand.  Within minutes we had rigged up a place in the passenger car where examinations could be done.
    “Crazy lunatics!” the doctor muttered forcefully as we worked to put up a curtain.  “Blowing up a train for no apparent reason.”
    “Marta and Charlie were just returning from Santa Fe on their honeymoon,” I informed him.
    “Hmmm, some wedding gift,” he muttered again.  Then when we arrived back to where Marta was lying he gave some orders.  “I’ll be checking those who are severely wounded in that car,” he pointed.  “You two,” motioning to Charlie and me, “grab her, gently as possible and carry her inside.”
    Marta gasped as we picked her up.  It was hard to carry her up the steps into the car and then make the turn into the car.  I could see that Marta was gritting her teeth.
    We layed her down on one of the seats.  “Now if you gentlemen would be kind enough to leave.”  Charlie and I went and stood at the entrance stepping outside making sure the door was closed so more cold air wouldn’t enter the car.
    Twenty minutes later, the doctor stepped out and motioned for us to come in.  “I can’t be absolutely sure, but I don’t think there are any internal injuries.  Some broken ribs and a bad concussion for sure.  She should probably ride back to Taos.  Now, help get her back to the warmth of the fire.”
    After we got her situated by one of the fires Molly stooped down to stay with her.  Lucas, with tears in his eyes, looked at her.  I put my hand on his shoulder.  
    “Senor, Miles,” he said.  “Would it be all right if I ride with Marta and Charlie?”
    I slapped his shoulder a couple of times.  “Sure,” and reached into my pocket on my vest.  “Here, this is for helping with the horses and camp.  Buy yourself something good to eat.”
    He looked at the single-eagle I had placed in his hand.  “I didn’t work that hard,” then he looked down and swallowed hard.  “I was afraid of the wolves.”
    “Lucas, Charlie’s goin’ to need help with your sister.”
    He nodded.  Molly and I had already decided that we would take the horses back.  They had brought some supplies with the train:  coffee, bacon, some beans and we took some of that to pack so we could head home.  Molly said her goodbyes to Marta and we were standing by the horses.  
    “Send a telegram when you get to Taos,” I admonished Charlie.
    It was cold when we mounted.  Sitting in the saddle I looked around and a thought came to me so I mentioned it to Molly.  “Funny, how the wolves didn’t bother The horses.”
This Day in the Texas Revolution:  James Fannin leaves Refugio with his troops and assumes command at the Presidio in Goliad.