The Saga of Miles Forrest

Before we continued she stopped and looked at me as if she wanted to say something.  She must have either changed her mind or looking at me, she couldn’t find the words she wanted to say.  I guess I can have that affect on some folk.  My side was burning some as we went up the hillside to our little cabin.
    I stopped for a moment to look at the horses out in the small pasture.  With all this modern way of traveling they sure don’t get the exercise like they used to.  I thought a while back about selling Star.  That was a horse that needed to get out and run, but I didn’t have the heart to get rid of him since he was a gift from Cook.
    “Quit your gawking,” she uttered, “and get on in the house.”
    It was dark inside so Molly proceeded to open the shutters of the two windows to give more light.  I sat down at the table and lit the lamp sitting there.  “You take that shirt off while I go get you a clean one,” she ordered.  “Just throw it on the floor.  I don’t think I can get all that blood out.”
    A minute or so later she came to the table.  I reached out for the shirt, but she wouldn’t hand it to me.  She stared in my eyes, then took her finger and poked at an old scar.  “One,” then she poked at another, “two.”
    She counted up to five, then muttered, “I know there are at least three more under that bandage,” then she sighed.  “I guess I should count my blessings.  They’re just scars and I still have you with me.  Some women aren’t that fortunate.”
    Looking at my eyes again, I saw concern.  She came to me and pulled my head to her and held me.  “Miles, Miles, what am I going to do with you?”
    Pulling my head away, I looked up at her, pulled at my moustache and smiled, “Just love me, I guess.”  This time I pulled her to me not worrying about the twinge in my side.  She sat on my lap as I held her tightly.
    “Molly, I’ve got to find Merker.”
    She was still, I could barely feel her breathing.  “I know,” she whispered.  “But he’s not the first person who’s come for you.  If not someone like Merker it will be some kid wanting a reputation.”
    “Maybe it’s high time I gave it up; went to ranchin’,” I said.  “There’s that range over on the Piedra that I’ve looked at a couple of times.  Good grazin’ land, especially good for horses.  Remember Lot Smith, he said to visit him sometime and I could get some mares from him.  Star would be a great breedin’ stallion…”
    She gave a little laugh.  “What?” I questioned.
    “Listen to you.  You sound like you have it all planned out, but I didn’t hear one earnest word in what you said.  You just flung out words,” she challenged, then hugged me again.  “No, Miles, you’re not cut out to be a rancher.  Oh, you’d be a good one, and you’d probably stick to it, for my sake, but you wouldn’t be fulfilled.  That’s not what the Lord has for you.”
    I recalled what ol’ Captain McNelly said to me once, “My calling is to be a minister of justice,” then I started to speak, “What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly…”  
    “And to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God,” she finished out the verse from Micah.  Sighing she grabbed me tightly causin’ me to flinch.  Pulling away she smiled, “And maybe getting a few more holes in your body.”
    “Maybe I shouldn’t have turned down that job in New Orleans,” I muttered with some disdain in my voice.
    “No Miles, you were made for the mountains, not the swamps and bayous,” she assured me.  “I’m more comfortable with cougars and bears than alligators.  We’ll make out.”
    With the windows open, a fresh, cooling breeze flowed through our little cabin.  The light in the lamp even flickered a bit, but continued its steady glow.  She stood up and walked to the open doorway, the one that faced to the back.  We couldn’t see the high mountains that lay just in the distance, but we could see the small pasture, with the horses and the edge of the forest. 
    I went over to her.  “How ’bout we take a little vacation?” I paused then continued.  “We could go to Denver, or maybe even down to Texas or to Kansas City.”
    “Oh, Miles,” she whispered.  “I know you mean well,” then she gave a great sigh, and turned to face me.  “We have to see how Marta is going to do, and you have to find Merker.”
    Nodding at her I said, “In other words we have our duties and obligations to take care of and not to be worryin’ ’bout any vacation.”
    I was just about to give her a kiss when Tommy burst through the open front door.  “Marshal, the sheriff, he want to see you right now!”  He whirled to leave and then stopped.  
    I went over to the table to pick up my vest.  Reaching in the pocket I found a dime and flipped it to him.  “Tell Sheriff Gold, I’ll be there as soon as I put on a clean shirt.”
    He smiled running off down the hill.
    Looking at Molly I smiled and said, “Back to duties and obligations.  Oh, think you could clean up the vest, I noticed some blood on it?”