The Saga of Miles Forrest

Howdy, Parson,” I said as Rev. Chapman approached where I was sitting at the table.  “Let me get you a cup of coffee.”
He sat down as I went to the counter for a cup then poured coffee from the pot that was sitting on the stove behind me.
    After I set the cup in front of him, I went to the corner where the kitchen began.  “Molly, the Preacher is out here, I’m sure he’d like a piece of pie.  Come on and join us for a few minutes.”
    I had just barely set myself down when Molly came out from the kitchen with one slice of pie for the parson and a cup of coffee for herself.  “Hello, Brother Chapman,” she said cheerfully then sat down looking at me.  “Don’t give me those forlorn eyes.  You had a piece not twenty minutes ago.”  She turned to the preacher, “Hope you like butterscotch.”
    He sort of stammered a thank you, saying, “Well, I wasn’t expecting this, but I’ll greatly enjoy it.”  He bowed his head for a short prayer with Molly joining him.  I learned many years ago to practice what the Good Book said, “to watch and pray.”
    “Mmmmm, this is delicious, Sister Forrest,” the reverend declared.
    After taking a couple of bites, he sipped his coffee.  “Parson,” I began as he lifted the cup, “the coffee is always on the stove if you ever want a cup.”  I took a sip myself, then wiped my moustache with the back of my hand for which I received a frown from Molly.  “Now, I’m a-takin’ it that you came to see me and not just eat pie.”
    He gave a broad grin, then shoveled another forkful of pie in his mouth.  I watched him, then turned to look at Molly who was also watching with delight.  She was the best pie-maker I ever come in contact with and that even included Momma who could bake a pie.
    Reverend Chapman finished his coffee, then cleared his throat a couple of times.  I offered him another cup to which he shook his head.  “I heard you were going into the mountains and I wondered if I could tag along.”  It was not a question, nor a request.  It was more an indication that he was going.
    “I’m goin’ up on a manhunt; it might not be pleasant.  Plus, a storm could come in and it could get mighty cold.”
    “Do they have a church in Silverton?” he asked ignoring what I had told him.  “I haven’t been up there yet, and I figured going with you would be safer, plus you could tell me about the country and the town.”
    I glanced at Molly, her cheerful face now gone somber.  Sighing, I said, “Why not.  I’m goin’ to get my horse now, the train leaves in an hour.”
    He had a confused look on his face, “Horse?  I thought you said train.”
    “I’m takin’ my horse, Hawk, up with me.  I might need to check some of the communities in the area.”
    “You’re going after the man who shot Mateo, aren’t you?” he asked interrupting me.  
    I nodded, then added, “I’m also lookin’ for a man who goes by the name of Frank Black.”
    The Preacher stood up to come behind me.  Placing his hands on my shoulder and that of Molly he began to pray for God’s will to be done, for our protection and Molly’s safety while I was gone.  When finished he declared, “I’ll see you at the train station.  Sister Forrest, thank you for the delicious pie and company.”
    We watched him walk out the door and through the window saw him pick up a small bag along with a heavy coat.  He was prepared for the trip.  I had to smile and looked at Molly who was just shaking her head.
    “Miles, it unsettles me when he calls me “Sister.”  I don’t feel as old as that makes me sound.”  That brought a chuckle to me but she continued.  “You be sure to get him back here by Sunday for service.”  With that she got up, bend down to give me a quick kiss on the cheek.  “You be careful,” she muttered then left for the kitchen.
    Within the hour I was watching as Hawk was loaded on the train.  I was anxious to be riding him up in the high country again.  It had been a while.  As I was watching two men walked up to me.  One continued on to load up a horse while the other man stopped to talk with me, so I turned to greet him.  “Hello, Mr. Thompson.”
    “Mind if my man, Langston, goes up with you?  He might be of help.”
    “He can go where he wants, but I won’t have him ridin’ a vengenace trail for you,” I said staring into the eyes of Thompson.
    He replied with a nod, “he only wants to help.”
    It so happened that Kyle Langston, the Reverend, and I were getting on the train at about the same time.  I sat down by a window and as the train pulled out of the station I saw Mateo, on his crutches walking along the platform.
    “What is he doin’?” I wondered…