The Saga of Miles Forrest

I almost hated to tie the burned man up; I said almost, but I did and then went out to find the one I cold-cocked with my pistol.  The snow was falling harder and the wind was beginning to kick up.  He was laying where I left him so I grabbed him by the legs and dragged him to camp.  When I got him there, I handcuffed him just as he was beginning to come to.  I looked at the dead man.  I really didn’t want him in camp, and I didn’t have the means to bury him.  I dared not leave him outside as he might draw wolves and I didn’t want that encounter either.  It was cold enough that he would probably freeze overnight so I decided to keep him on the edge of the camp.
Then I went to rigging up a tarp.  The way it was snowing, if it didn’t cease soon there would be plenty of snow.  On one hand that would be good, for the temperature wouldn’t drop as much.  On the other hand, if it kept snowing I might be stuck there for a few days and I really needed to be back for Thanksgiving.  Plus the tarp would keep us a little dryer along with the wood. 
Both of the men were laying there moaning and I was getting tired of that.  I went to the one that I handcuffed and gave him a swift kick and told him I didn’t want to hear a word from him unless he was asked.  Then I knelt by the man who I shot and fell in the fire.  Parts of his pants were burnt off and there were blisters.  Gathering up some snow I laid it on the burns.
“Untie me,” he muttered.
“Nah, don’t think so.  You can still use your hands.  Do you think you can ride or will I have to flop you over the saddle like your dead friends?”
All I got from him was a groan.
“Either of you want to venture a name?” I asked.
“Name’s Harry Fortune,” he said. 
“You?” I said putting more snow on his legs.
“Jack Wooldeen,” he paused.  “Dead man’s Collins.”
“Never heard of either of you,” I paused.  “Why were you so dead-set on killin’ me?”
“The Wooldeen Gang was going to be the richest gang in history.  We were going to be better known than the James Gang.  You were getting in the way.”
“Yeah, well, outlawin’ is a hard life.  What you have now, four, five dead, and you may be a cripple for life and are facin’ a nice prison term.”
I fixed some bacon and boiled coffee.  Releasing their hands I cocked the Greener and pointed it straight at them.  “Don’t get no foolish ideas like throwin’ grease or hot coffee on me.  I’ll release both barrels.”  After they ate I secured them again and then checked on the horses and brought them to the tarp.  I was able to get Hawk partially inside.
The next morning brought a bright white landscape.  The wind had stopped so I figured even with the snow I could find the road and get on back to Durango before too late.  I reckoned we were only a mile or so from the road that went from Durango to Cortez and from there it was only about six miles.  If I was too late Molly would be having a conniption fit.
Wooldeen was able to ride, but I knew he must be in pain.  I’ll give him credit; he didn’t whimper or gripe.  Stopping first at Doc Jones I let him have a look-see at Wooldeen.  He told me that Molly was starting to fret.  Then I took Fortune down to the marshal’s.  Now, he was a complainer and I had to smack him a couple times to keep him quiet.  After unloading him I hurried over to the eatery.
I made it by three o’clock, in time to get a hug, grab my table, and pour a cup of coffee. “See,” I said to Molly.  “I told you I’d be back in time for the fixin’s.”
Setting a nice piece of mincemeat pie in front of me she put her hand on my cheek.  Then grabbed my hat and gave me that look.  “It’s one thing for the restaurant to be a shooting gallery, but even though you’re hard-headed,” she poked two fingers through holes in my hat.  “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”  Then she leaned down a gave me a hug.