The Saga of Miles Forrest

Lucas!” Marta yelled half-way across the diner, then rushed to grab him by the shoulders.  “Have you been fighting?”  She jerked him a couple of times.
    She shook him again, “Don’t you lie to me.  I can see your face.”
    I reached to take one of Marta’s arms from the boy and received an angry look from her.  “Marta,” I whispered gently.  “Let him explain.”
    Pushing him, she answered sharply, “Explain then!”  Then she looked at both Molly and me, You coddle him too much, but go ahead and listen.”
    “What happened?” I asked Lucas.
    He looked at his sister, frightened, then straightened up and answered me.  “Fernando, he stole a horse.  I tried to stop him.  I told him it was no good to be running away.  He laughed, and hit me knocking me to the ground, telling me that he was through with shoveling manure.  Then he kicked me, laughing.”
    Glancing at Marta, I could see she had softened some.
    “Senior Marshal, I tried to pull him from the saddle, but he kicked me in the face.  I’m sorry, I couldn’t help more,” he said with tears in his eyes, but he was not crying, it was from the shame he felt that he had let me down.
    I looked him over some, glimpsed a bit at his eye.  “How you feeling, son?”
    “Like I’ve been kicked,” he responded which brought laughter from the Judge and a good chuckle from me.  Molly hid her face so she wouldn’t laugh for she saw out of the corner of her eye the expression on Marta’s face.
    “Isn’t it bad enough that my husband goes out daily into danger and now you, you, get into trouble, and now this,” she snapped, but at least she was no longer yelling.
    “Whose horse did he take?” I asked, not wanting to ask if it was one of mine.  He already had done that once, that’s the reason he was mucking the streets.
    He shook his head, “I don’t know.  We were working down toward Foster’s store when it all happened.  He jumped on a sorrel, that’s all I can tell you.”
    Foster’s Mercantile was a couple doors away from the Broken Drum Saloon.  It probably belonged to one of the cowboys in the saloon.  
    I looked at the Judge.  “Go ahead, check it out.  I’ll eat my pie,” then he grinned, “might even eat yours too if you take too long.”
    Before we could leave the diner, Darnelle rushed in.  “Miles,” then she looked at the table, “Molly, you too.  You must come to the store.”  She was excited, but didn’t wait for an answer but rushed back out.
    Looking over at Molly, she simply said, “What now?”  Then over to Marta, “Can you handle the diner for a few minutes?”
    Marta had settled down by now.  She was simply fearful over her family.  I can understand how she burst out in anger for she had been holding in her fear for Charlie.  With Lucas being hurt, well, it all came flooding out.
    Since the establishments were so close together I decided on going to see what was happening with Darnelle.  She wouldn’t have left the store unattended so Mrs. Blackstone must be there.  But she wanted Molly along so I didn’t reckon it was anything dangerous, but my interest was peaked a mite.
    Lucas stayed outside to see if anyone came out looking for his horse, while Molly and I went on inside.  I started looking around.  I saw Mrs. Blackstone at the register, smiling.  That was good.
    “Miles!  Back here!” came the voice of Darnelle in the back of the store.  
    Molly and I started back.  He was bent over, working on some ledgers, with Darnelle beaming beside him.  “Daddy, you have visitors.”
    “Tell them I’m busy,” he replied gruffly.
    “Wilson!” I said in surprise.
    “Is that you Forrest, can’t you see I’m busy?” came the gruff voice again, then he began to laugh.  From the storeroom walked his wife Elizabeth with a radiant smile on her face.
    Molly rushed to her to hug her then turned her attention to Wilson.  “Thank the good Lord!  It’s so good to see you out!” she exclaimed then proceeded to give him a hug.
    “Doc said if I felt like it to get out.  So here I am,” he said then reached his hand toward me.  “I didn’t know fresh air could be so exhilarating, nor so exhausting.  I can’t walk, don’t know if I’ll ever be able to, and when I speak, sometimes it’s slurred, but here I am.”
    It was then I noticed that he was in a wheelchair.  Elizabeth had pushed him from his house.  “You let me know when you’re ready to go home, and I’ll help.”  It would not be as easy a push going home as it was mostly uphill.
    I was just getting ready to ask some questions of Wilson when Lucas burst through the door of the mercantile.  He’s had a habit of doing so lately.  “Senor, Marshal, a man outside hees very angry.  Hees horse is missing.”