The Saga of Miles Forrest

Spring is on the way,” declared Molly as she sat down with Doc, Mateo, Charlie, and me. 
    Doc looked at her scratching at his chin.  “Hmpf, don’t you be putting away your winter clothes yet.  We’re still due for one maybe two good blasts this year.”
    Molly smiled, “Doc, how hard do you think it’ll be for me to get them out again?  Why, there’s not even a closet in that cabin.”
    “That’s right, Miles,” said Doc, pushing on my shoulder.  “Why don’t you get busy and,” he glanced at Molly, “build her a closet.”
    There was some more banter between us, Mateo only listening and smiling.  “Well, you boys enjoy your coffee, I need to go help Marta as more customers are starting to show up,” muttered Molly as she stood then moved off toward the kitchen.
    “Well, thanks to you and Mateo, I’m bound for Silverton within the hour,” informed Charlie with mock disgust.  
    “Stay warm, Charlie, it’ll be colder up there than here in Durango,” stated Doc.
    Charlie drained his cup.  “I need to see Marta before leaving.  You say Mike Dewey is the new marshal?”  I nodded.  “You know anything about him?”
    “Only met him once,” I hesitated, “from what Langston told me he sorts of lets the town go their own way.  Doesn’t do much in the enforcement of the law.”
    A deep sigh came from Charlie, “If I’m not back by the end of the day on Sunday, come looking for me.”  He started for the kitchen but stopped, “By chance you haven’t seen Lucas around?   Marta is some worried as she hasn’t seen him in a day or so,” he stopped again pointing a finger at Mateo, “You get to work!” he said mocking anger, then laughed.
    With that the group broke up, each of us going our separate ways knowing that we’d be seeing each other again.  We often take that for granted, I thought as I left the diner, for three of the four sitting at that table were in hazardous work that could end our lives in a moment.  It’s just that each of us have a trust in the Lord.
    I walked up to the cabin thinking about a closet.  The only place I could build a closet that didn’t take up space was outside the main door.  Molly was right, spring was on the way, but I also knew that Doc was right as well.  I’d be completely surprised if we didn’t have one more major snow.
    Mort Cooper was out chopping wood and waved as I went by.  It gave him a chance to put down his axe as he meandered toward me.  “Hey there, Miles.  I see your young wrangler has some friends helping him.  I guess he’s plumb forgot he’s supposed to be cutting wood for the missus.”
    That wasn’t like Lucas.  He had always been dependable in the past even thought he was a youngster.  I had to remind him once to keep the wood filled for the diner; after that it was never a problem.  
    “If I see Lucas, I’ll remind him,” I promised Mort.  
    He gave a little laugh.  “You’ll not be finding him today, I fear.  He and those other two were riding hard toward the south.”
    “Thanks Mort,” I said, now quite concerned.  I hurried on up to the cabin and out toward the stalls.  I glanced toward the pasture and didn’t see any horses.  Lucas should have had them out of the stalls.  Upon reaching them, I found that he did indeed have them out of the stalls.  All three horses were missing.  I let out a whistle.  If either Star or Hawk were close enough to hear it they’d come a-running.
    I looked at the tracks on the ground.  Now I was quite perturbed!  Lucas knew better than that.  I was a bit surprised that Hawk let someone else ride him.  One thing for sure, I knew their tracks.  I headed back to the diner to see if Marta knew the names of Lucas’ friends, then over to the livery to borrow a horse.
    “Do you think he’s in trouble?” asked Marta upon my questioning.  She had told me that she told Lucas not to be hanging around Fernando Garcia and his cousin Ramon.  They were a couple of years older than Lucas.  Ramon had an older brother who was known to be a trouble-maker.
    While I was there I told Molly that I wouldn’t be back tonight.  “Find Lucas,” she said, “Don’t let him get into trouble.”
    “I think he’s already there…”