The Saga of Miles Forrest

I moved off into the shadows that merged with the darkness to my right, then quickly hurried across the street silently praying for the Lord to be with me.  No more shots had been fired and I saw the sheriff move to see about Myers.  I began to edge slowly toward the alleyway, staying close to the building walls walking slowly and softly.  I was waiting for someone or something, maybe the boogerman to jump out from the alley and start shooting.  As quietly as possible I cocked the Greener.
    The building stopped and I was at the edge of the alley.  Slowly I peered around the corner into the darkness.  I thought I could see the outline of a barrel, but other than that–nothing.  I moved down the alley toward the barrel, the shotgun at the ready.  Stooping down by the barrel I felt around and my hand touched what I was searching for; a brass cartridge.  I couldn’t tell without light, but it felt like a Winchester 73.  
    Not ready to move for movement could give away my presence, I stayed behind the barrel for several minutes.  “Forrest,” came a harsh whisper from the entrance of the alley.
    “Here,” I replied softly.  “I’m comin’ back your way.”  I eased myself up, listening to my knee joints pop.  I stopped for a moment and thought, “that’s not happened before.”  What a thought when someone has just shot at you.
    When I came to the end of the alley, the sheriff was waiting for me.  “Myers is dead,” he stated matter-of-factly.  “I think he was the target.”
    I couldn’t see his face as we were still in the darkness.  We started walking slowly back toward where Myers, Hawkens, and Lula were sitting.  “Maybe,” I answered, “but I think the first shot was for me.”
    “I’m taking Mr. Hawkens and his wife, Lula, up to see Doc Perkins,” he informed me.
    Stopping in the middle of the street I looked over at the sheriff, the light from the saloon was now shining on his face.  “Wife?  Lula is Hawkens wife?”  I heard a grunt and we started walking again.
    “Mister Hawkens, I sincerely apologize for thumpin’ you on the head.  I didn’t know who you were, but I knew Myers and I needed to get you out of the way–for safe keepin’,” I said as sincerely as possible.
    “You should still be arrested for assault or attempted murder for something!” came the voice that was becoming ever more annoying.
    “Ma’am,” interrupted the sheriff, “we should get your husband to the doctor.”
    I looked at Myers slumped in the bench.  A few minutes ago, lifeblood was flowing through his veins, now it was pooled on the boardwalk.  Death, eerie when it is next to you and the light flashing from the saloon on his face depicted a grin.  I had seen it before, many times–the Devil’s Grin.
    There was no use staying here; I decided to go back to the hotel and ponder the situation lying on the bed in my room.  As I walked in the clerk piped up, “Are you Marshal Forrest?” he inquired.
    I walked to the counter.  “I am.”
    He reached out and handed me a telegram.  “This just came for you.  Sam, from the telegraph office said it was urgent.”
    Opening it I read, “Miles Forrest–Liberty Hotel–STOP–come home immediately–STOP–Anihu dead”  signed Molly.
    “When’s the first train out?” I asked.
    “Going west?” he questioned and I nodded.  “Not until 9:00 in the morning.”
    “Can I get a ticket now,” and it was his turn to nod.  As I turned to leave I saw the glimpse of a man rushing out in front of me and heard his boots thundering on the boardwalk.  I rushed to the door and looked out, but no one was in sight.  I decided to wait until morning to get my ticket.
    The next morning as I was heading for the train station, I stopped by to see the sheriff.  I was informed by a cranky deputy that he wasn’t in.  “Tell him an emergency called me away,” I said and hurried off.
    The train was on time…