The Saga of Miles Forrest

The rail car was packed, but I was able to get my normal seat at the door where I could watch the passengers and see anyone coming in the door from the other car.
    There was a lot on my mind, almost more than my little brain could handle.  First, Anihu was dead.  I didn’t know any more than that.  I don’t know if it was caused by someone, or if it was natural.  I was able to get a telegram to Molly telling her that I was on my way.  Marta had been having mental problems from her incident, now this.  How was she going to take it?
    I found myself shaking my head, when the next thought floated through.  Why was Myers murdered?  The sheriff could never convince me that the bullet wasn’t intended for him.  True, the first one was for me, but then Myers was the second target.  Was it Merker?  If so, why?  Was Myers going to tell me something?
    Then there was Hawkens and his wife Lula.  My, oh my, she was some humdinger.  Sort of a mix between some sophisticated aristocrat, a floozy from a saloon, and a lunatic.  I didn’t relish Hawkens’ position with that one.  Then I caught myself smiling.  The Lord sure had been good to me by sending Molly my way.  Just weren’t no one else like her.
    Searching through the car, my eyes caught hold of someone who had shifted in his seat.  Here I am, two hours on the journey and I just now spot him.  That was another thing to add to my collection of thoughts meandering through my mind.  I stood up to get a better view and he saw me.  Merker!
    I couldn’t shoot, too many people.  He pushed the man sitting next to him on the floor and ran out the back of the car.  I started for him, and stumbled over a kid playing in the aisle.  He started crying and that put his mother in a mood and on my case.  I didn’t have time to listen to her so I stepped over the kid and went on down the aisle stopping at the door.
    Hesitating, I opened the door.  Merker could be out there somewhere waiting or on through the next car.  There weren’t many places he could hide.  The blast from the outside air hit me as I stepped out on the little platform.  The clackety-clack of the train moving along the rails seemed tremendously magnified from what it was inside.  Slowly, I moved on inside the next car.
    Surveying the passengers it was quick to see that Merker was not among them.  The conductor was coming down the aisle saying that we were on time for the first stop.  
    “Collins,” I said as I came up to him, “anyone come through this car?”
    “Not anytime recently,” he replied.  “Any thing wrong?”
    “No, no,” I said, but was thinking that he must have climbed up on top.  Too late to check that now.
    I turned to start back to my seat thinking “dummy, dummy,” all the way.  As I entered the car, I was thinking and not paying attention.  That is dangerous to anyone but especially to someone of my profession.  Fortunately I saw out of the corner of my eye, just in time a man swinging a gun at me.  I raised my arm to block it, and the gun connected with my wrist, but no time to worry about the pain now.  Holding my ever-present Greener, I swung it and connected alongside his neck.  He grunted and started for the door.  I didn’t want to fire, so as he reached the door I flung the shotgun at him and it connected knocking him forward and into the door where I had the chance to put him on the ground.  
    Men were shouting, women were screaming, a man was on the floor moaning.  I stood up after securing him, opened my jacket to get my badge and shouted, “Deputy United States Marshal Miles Forrest, apprehending a fugitive.”  That settled them down, as far as the noise went, but there was still tension in the air.
    The conductor was just coming through the door and saw the man lying on the floor, tied up like a shoat for market.  I told him to get some help and get this man to the baggage car and secure him.  After the commotion and the man was carried off I started to my seat.  As I got there, across the aisle from me was someone that wasn’t there before.
    “Tsk, tsk…”