The Saga of Miles Forrest

I turned down the light in the hallway, unlocked the door and slowly pushed it open as I stood from the side. Two shots came quickly, and then a third through the wall close to where I was standing. He wasn’t stupid. I fell to the floor, hoping he would think he hit me, and laying there scooted to the open doorway to see a figure crawl out the window. I fired the shotgun and heard a grunt; he fell through the window and tumbled down from the second story. I hurried on down the stairway and outside to the alleyway. He must not have been too severely hurt as he wasn’t there when I got there. But even in the darkness I could see the blood.
Returning to my room I lit the lamp and saw there was blood on the wall, window sill and also on the roof outside. Well, he wouldn’t be traveling far and he was taking some lead with him. Didn’t figure he would be crawling back up so I went ahead and went to sleep.
The next morning I had a breakfast of pork chops, eggs, and biscuits. To hold all those vittles down I drank a goodly portion of coffee. Folks in the high country know how to make coffee.
The sun was peeking through the clouds and the snow-covered peaks when we boarded up to leave. I looked around and asked one of the guards. “Where’s Brown?”
“I think at the doc’s. He sent word that he got drunk and fell down some stairs and broke his arm. He wouldn’t be able to do his job as a guard.”
“Hold the wagon,” I ordered. “Where’s the doc’s office?”
“The Kalamazoo Hotel. There’s a room attached to it.”
“Be back in a few,” I said and took off.
The office was quite nice for a mining community. There was an office/operating room and another room with a few beds in it. The doctor was sitting at his desk when I came in. “Do you have a patient named Brown?” I asked.
He motioned to the back. “He came in all shot up, even had some buckshot in the bottom on his foot, and with some broken bones. He a friend of yours?”
“Works for me. I just want to check on him.”
I walked into the room and Brown was there sleeping. I moseyed up to him, not to waken him… yet. I placed the Greener up against his ear just to get his attention. His eyes opened and I cocked the hammers. That made his eyes open even wider.
“Want to explain yourself? Or should I just pulled the trigger and put you out of your misery?”
“Forrest, you messed me up! My leg is all shot up and will never be the same. On top of that a broken arm and collar bone.”
“Pardon me if I don’t have much pity on someone hidin’ in the dark waitin’ to shoot me. Now, explain yourself.”
“Saw where you were worth some money. I figured it would be easy.”
He tore the covers away. “Look! Look at what you did! The doctor is not sure he can save the leg, or even my life. You, you did this Forrest!”
“No, it was your stupidity that did it. That’s what happens when you start to follow the crooked path. Better change your ways if you live, and get right with your Maker should you die.”
He gave that same snort when he asked if I always carried my shotgun with me.
I gave the Greener a little push against his ear. “One thing Brown. If I ever see you again, any place, any time, you better be reaching for your gun, for I won’t wait. So if you get better, head back where you came from, or California. Just get out of this region.”
“I heard you were a hard man Forrest.”
“No. I’m a right peaceable man. It’s the life you’ve chosen that is hard.”
I walked back to the wagons so we could head on down to Eureka. “Did yuh see Brown?”
“Yep, not in good shape. Seems he also got himself shot up. He tried to ambush a man last night.”
“I thought I heard shootin’. Shore didn’t figure it would be Brown.”
“A person never knows. Always good to be right with the Lord, just in case.” The teamster spat, and let out a yell, and we were off. It looked like it was going to be a bright sun-shiny day.

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