The Saga of Miles Forrest

Doc and I finished our pie at the same time and we got up to leave.  Molly came over to give me a quick kiss on the cheek.  Since I had come back and seeing Mateo lying in the street she had shown her affection more in these little ways.  I certainly wasn’t complaining.  Doc was going up to see a couple of patients in the Mexican section and told me he would stop to check on Mateo.
    “Oh, Doc, before you leave.  Do you recollect anyone by the name of Blackstone living in Durango?” I asked.  He stopped, then rubbed his chin several times.
    “Blackstone, Blackstone?  Not an uncommon name, but I can’t recall someone living here by that name,” he answered.
    I was looking down toward the Durango Hotel wondering if Mrs. Blackstone had found any answers and how she was holding up both emotionally and financially.
    “Worried about the woman?” he inquired.
    “Yes, there’s somethin’ about this that’s just not right.  They were both sure that he would be there to meet them at the station,” I said.
    “Maybe Charlie will know, have you asked him yet?”
    Turning my attention to Doc, “No, I don’t think of it when I’ve seen him.  Think I’ll mosey down to the jail to see if he’s in.”
    Doc noticed that my eyes lifted to stare at three approaching riders.  One was Cecil Thompson along with one of his cowboys, Dakota Norris.  I didn’t know the other rider.  They saw me and rode to where I was standing.
    As they were dismounting, Tommy, one of the telegraph runners came up to me with a telegram from Gilford Coveny.  That gave me some concern as it had been Gibbons in charge of the bullion shipment.  Before I opened it I noticed Preacher Chapman hurrying my way and in the background was the hotel where Connor and his mother were staying.
    “See ya, Doc,” I said, turning to go back into the diner.
    Molly happened to see me, “Back so soon?” she inquired.
    I was shaking my head as I went to my table, grabbing a cup from the shelf on the way.  Thompson and his two hands came in as I was pouring hot coffee into the cup from the little stove.  “Molly, please give these men some coffee and anything else they want.”  I then pointed to three chairs.
    As they were sitting I wanted to show my concern, “How is Mr. Keim doin’?”
    “Fine,” he said gruffly, “what I want to know what you’re doing about that bounty hunter?” he paused turning as Molly sat coffee down in front of the three men, “thank you, ma’am.”
    Nodding at Norris, then turning my attention toward the unfamiliar man.  “Uh, this is Kyle Langston.  He is sorta taking the place of Conrad.”  He didn’t bother to reach out to shake my hand, just gave me a slight nod.
    “Sheriff Gold is back in town so I’ll be free to do some lookin’ around.  It’s been a while, but I want the man caught as much as you,” I stated.
    Thompson gave me a grim smile and nodded.  “Just keep me informed.”
    As the three men sipped their coffee, Rev. Chapman came through the door coming straight for me then stopped seeing who was with me at the table.  Motioning with his finger for me to come join him, I excused myself.
    “Parson, what can I do for you?” I asked.
    “Come outside,” he said whispering.
    Following him out, I stopped as the door shut behind us.  “Now, what is this all about?”
    “I heard something of the man you’re seeking,” he said, then stopped looking through the window where Thompson and his men were sitting.  “It may have been just talk, but I’ve heard he’s staying up in Silverton.”
    Looking at him, I inquired, “How reputable is the information?”
    He opened his hands while shrugging his shoulders.  “Just thought I should tell you.”
    Slapping him on the shoulder, “I’ll check on it.”  Then went back inside to talk some more with Thompson.
    “Was that the new preacher?” he asked turning in his chair.  “I’d like to meet him.  The ranch keeps me from getting in often to church.”
    I must have shown my surprise for he followed up, “What’s the matter, Forrest?  Don’t think I can have a relationship with God?  I may be rough and gruff, but I revere my Creator.”
    He got me there.  I dropped my head, then remembered the telegram.  It was wadded up in my left hand.  I opened it fearing the worse…