The Saga of Miles Forrest

Reaching to touch the pistol she normally carried in the pocket of her dress, she was alarmed when she found it wasn’t there.  It was her custom, when Miles was out of town to carry it with her.
    The man stood for a moment after tipping his hat then started for the door.  As he was passing through he bumped into the new city marshal, John McCall.  “Uh, excuse me, marshal,” muttered the man as went out.
    McCall stood watching the man for a few moments then walked over to where Molly was sitting.
“Know him?” he questioned.
    Molly was quiet, looking at the door.  After several seconds she turned her gaze to the marshal.  “No, not really, but there is something vaguely familiar about him.”
    “He giving you trouble?”
    “No, not at all.  He’s been in the past four days, but today was the first time he paid any attention to me,” she responded.
    McCall pulled out a chair to situate himself at the table.  “Now, I find that hard to believe.”
    Standing up, Molly asked.  “Is there anything you’d like to have?  I’ll send Marta over with a cup of coffee, I have to get back to the kitchen.”
    With that she left and passed Marta.  “Get him a cup of coffee with you?  Is Charlie back in town?”
    There was concern on Marta’s face when she looked at Molly.  “Hopefully tonight.  Are you all right?”
    With a grim look and tightened lips, Molly nodded then headed for the kitchen.
                            *  *  *  *
    I didn’t bother to go get Abrams, I headed straight for the doctor’s office.  There was blood on Jen’s pants.  I figured some of the stitches tore loose.  Knocking on the door, there was no answer, then I tried turning the knob–locked.  Banging some more, I thought I heard stirring inside.  Oh well, I stepped back and then kicked the door open.
    The office was a mess.  Bottles of medicine strewn around the room, table kicked over and under it I saw the form of the doctor.  He had been thoroughly worked over.  There was a gash over his right eye and on down the side of his face.  It had already congealed so this must have happened last night.
    Picking him up by the shoulders I carried him to the next room where I found a bed and laid him in it.  He was breathing easily so I didn’t think anything was life-threatening but he was sure banged up.  I found a clean towel, wetting it at the basin, I began to softly wipe his face.  As I touched the gash on his cheek he winced.  I figured that was good.
    I could see his eye-lids flicker trying to open.  “Thirsty,” came a moan.
    Going back out to the office, I spotted a glass that wasn’t broken laying on the floor.  I smelled it making sure it hadn’t been used for medicine and then filled it with water.
Lifting the doctor up some, I put the glass to his lips.  He swallowed a sip, then another.  Then he opened his eyes.
    “Two men jumped me when I came in last night,” he said as he tried to move, gasped and grabbed his right side.  “Must have broke some ribs.”
    “Do you know who they were?” I inquired.
    His eyes just stared at the ceiling, almost as if he were comatose.  “Doc, I’m a U.S. Marshal, so is my friend.  We can help you.”
    He lifted his hands to me.  I hadn’t noticed before as I was concerned about his gash.  There was a cut across the knuckles of each hand.  Not deep, but enough so that blood had trickled from it.  
    Finally, he looked at me.  “They told me that they would break my fingers, maybe rip a couple off, if…”