The Saga of Miles Forrest

The shot stopped me in my tracks.  I looked at the man who had fired it; he was smiling.  The other man continued to move against the wall toward the door.
    “Mister,” came a taunting voice, “don’t forget to fill my coffee cup.”  Then then pointed to the cup with the barrel of his pistol.
    I hesitated.  He spoke again, “Now don’t try to become a hero and do something foolish.  Just lay the shotgun on the table, get the coffeepot and fill my cup.  There’s women and innocent people in here.”
    “Miles, just do what he says,” ordered Doc.  “Don’t be so hard-headed!”
    Turning, I moved to the stove for the coffeepot.  “Ah, ah, don’t forget to put the shotgun on the table.”
    I glanced at him, then set the Greener on the table beside Doc.  Grabbing the coffeepot I approached where the man was standing holding his pistol on me.  
    “Did I hear the man call you, ‘Miles’?” asked the man continuing to smile.  “Why, just to think I have the famous Miles Forrest in my gunsights.  Just a little tug on the trigger and he would be lying dead on the floor.”  He raised his gun to point at my eyes, the smile disappeared.  “My coffee.”
    I reached his table and started to pour while trying to keep my eyes focused on him.  “Don’t spill it!” he admonished.
    “Get the woman!” he shouted to the other man who ran to grab Marta.
    Molly flung herself in front of Marta.  “No, leave her.  Take me!”
    The other gunman grabbed Molly and started toward the doorway.
    I flinched, turning toward them.  “Remember, no heroes!” said the man his gun leveled at my head again.  “I don’t want to kill you, at least not now.  I’m only wanted for robbery; don’t want to add murder to the list.”
    He reached down with his free hand, picked up the cup and took a sip.  “Ahh, too bad I can’t take the time to drink it.  Much obliged.”  There was a guttural sound of laughter then I saw him swing his gun.
    I went down, hitting the floor hard.  I didn’t go unconscious, but I was seeing stars.  I heard the man rush to the door as Doc came over to see about me.  Trying to push myself up, I fell back down burying my head in my arm.
    “Easy, Miles, roll over if you can,” said Doc as he tried to aid me.
    “I’ve got to get up; help Molly,” I moaned.
    “You’ll do her no good if you can’t even sit up.  Now take it easy, one step at a time,” ordered Doc.  “Is the room swirling?  Can you see my face?”
    “No, and no, I don’t want to look in your haggard old face!” I muttered now able to pull myself to a sitting position.
    Doc reached down to aid me, and then helped me to sit in a chair.  I reached up and rubbed my head.  There was some blood, but it was not bleeding badly.  A few moments later, I felt a cool cloth soaked in water touching where I had been struck.  
    I heard someone trying to catch their breath and some sobbing.  It was Marta, she was the one attending to my injury.  “Marta, it’s all right.”
    “She took my place,” she sobbed.  “He was going to grab me and she stepped in front.”
    Reaching for her hand.  “Look at me, Molly will be all right.  The Lord is with her, and soon I’ll be goin’ to get her.  They didn’t seem intent on hurtin’ anyone.”
    “Marshal,” came a slow drawl.  I looked toward the voice, it was Skinny Green, an old saloon bum who would eat in the diner most lunch days if he was sober.  “I was sittin’ there and he said they’d drop Miss Molly outside of town.”
    I touched my head, looked at Marta and winked.  “Say a few prayers,” I said.  Then getting up I went to get my hat from the table, picked up the Greener and walked out.  The people in the diner followed me.
    Normally, I keep either Star or Hawk saddled out front, but having just come back from Pueblo I hadn’t bothered.  Going to the nearest horse, I mounted.  “Tell the owner I commandeered his horse…”