I was sipping on my coffee as I sat near the fire that evening. The days had faded when I relished to be riding out, looking for adventure and excitement. Guess my days with Molly had quenched for the most part that yearning. It was nice to be on the trail, riding Hawk, and I didn’t really miss the comforts of home, but my goodness I did miss her. The stars were so bright that night, each one of them had a special twinkle. Ha, maybe that was God’s way of winking His eyes at us. Each twinkle a statement that says, “I’m watching out for you.” At least it was a comforting thought.
Blasco had sent me to aid Felix Wilcox, the U.S. Marshal of the New Mexico/Arizona Territory. There had been plenty problems in Lincoln County that kept him busy, and he needed help as there were rustlers stealing cattle and selling them in Mormon country. It seems that the recipients of the goods sort of blinked at them being stolen.
Molly made several hand-pies for me to take along. I saved the ham sandwich she made and fried up some bacon for supper and ate one of those pies—apricot it was. Hmm, maybe that was one of the things I missed, those special ways that she treated me. Off in the distance I could hear the howl of coyotes. As long as it wasn’t an old lobo wolf I didn’t mind. It brought to mind that one winter up near Meeker; that long, cold winter, when I seem to be fighting the wolves all the time.
I had just placed the now empty cup on a rock by the fire, pulled the pot off the coals and laid back on my saddle. The coyote continued his soothing cacophony, if there is such a thing, and I could hear the faint trickling of the little brook near where my camp was. I barely closed my eyes when I heard something out in the brush. It could be nothing, just an animal moving to the stream for a drink. Then again it could be a two-legged varmint. I didn’t think it was Indians for they were pretty tame this far north in New Mexico, and it made too much noise for an Indian. It could be some miscreant from justice, waiting for me to go to sleep.
My gun was out of my holster and in my hand pointing at the area where I heard the sound. When I cocked it, the sound seems to break the quietness of the night, and I heard a muffled voice. “Please, Senor Marshal. Don’t shoot; it’s Lucas.”
Jumping to my feet, I hollered, “Lucas! Get yourself in here!” When he entered the camp I saw that he was leading Two-Bits. “I could have shot you! What are you doin’ here?”
I reached down to add a couple of branches I had broken up to the fire so I could see him better. “Does Charlie or Marta know you’re here?”
“No, well, Si, they do,” he mumbled.
“I did leave them a note, telling them I was goin’ to find you,” he confessed. “Did I do wrong again?”
I was fit to be tied. Lucas, what could he have been thinking? “Tomorrow, you go back!” I said in a huff.
He sort of gave a sniffle, “But Senor, you would send me out all alone in the wilderness that is full of bandits and ruffians? No, it is better if I stay with you.”
“I’ll mull it over some in my mind. Unsaddle and get your bedroll out,” I growled.
“Si, Senor Marshal,” he replied then went to the chore of taking care of Two-Bits and getting his belongings. I was leaning back on my saddle watching him.
“You know your sister is goin’ to have my hide the next time I see her. If’n it wasn’t for Molly I wouldn’t dare go home,” I said in consternation.
He chuckled, which I was in no mood for and said, “Si, it will be something to see.”
I gave a deep sigh. “There’s a little coffee in the pot; it’ll still be warm. Grab a sandwich, and one of those pies from my bag there. I’m goin’ to sleep.”
He fussed around getting a cup, banging the tin on a rock while getting the coffee. Then I could hear him rummaging through the bag. I wanted to ignore him and sleep, but I just laid there. What had I been thinking about the stars twinkling? Ha, twinkling with laughter I expect. Marta is going to have a hissy-fit.