The Saga of Miles Forrest

 I quit holding Charlie down.  “What d’ya think Doc?” I asked.  “He don’t look so good.”
“Don’t know, he’s lost an awful amount of blood,” he answered stroking his chin.  “He might make it, especially if he doesn’t lose any more blood, but honestly, I just don’t know.  Why don’t you let Marta in?”
Marta rushed through the doorway when I motioned to her.  I grabbed her and held her, whispering, “Marta, it doesn’t look good.”  Then let her go.
She fell to her knees and grabbed Charlie’s hand.  “She’s been through a lot recently,” I thought.  “Her injuries, Lucas’ injuries and sickness, Eliana dying, caring for Molly and now Charlie.”
“Lord,” I whispered, “She needs help.”
“Come on, Miles, let’s go in the other room.  You need to talk with McClendon, and there isn’t anything we can do here right now.”
I looked at McClendon, “What happened?”
“Marshal Gold was in the store with a few other customers.  There were two men, one toward the front of the store, and the other lingering toward the back.  I never thought much of it, until they pulled guns and ordered me to empty the till.  That’s when the Marshal took action.  He drew, and when he did the man in front of the store fired at him, Charlie returned fire, but the man from the back had walked up.  We didn’t know they were together and shot Charlie from the back.”
Doc began to speak, “When Charlie took the first shot, he sorta twisted and then fired.  That twist might have saved his life.  The other man was right behind him and fired point blank.  As Charlie was twisting, instead of going into his lower back the shot hit his ribs, breaking a couple, but glancing off and coming out.  That’s why there was so much blood loss; entry and exit wounds in the same proximity.”
“Charlie hit the first man, but I don’t know how bad.  Then they ran from the store, the man who shot Charlie in the back helping the other man out.”
“Did they get on horses?” I asked.
McClendon looked down.  “I didn’t think to look.”
I put my hand on his shoulder.  “Don’t worry about it.  There may have been witnesses outside.
Looking at Doc, I said, “From the looks of it, even if Charlie pulls through, he’s gonna be bed-ridden for a while.  So you’re sayin’ that the bullet in his side hit ribs and came out?  What were you diggin’ for in his chest?”
“The first bullet hit him in the left side, close to the heart, but the ribs stopped it as well.  That’s why I had such a hard time getting it out.  It broke a rib and was imbedded.  I had to dig it out and was worried that a rib my break completely apart and go into his heart.”
“McClendon, shut your store down for the rest of the day,” I ordered.  “I want to look around.”
“Doc, let me know if there’s any change.  He’s gonna make it.  Prayers are goin’ up for him.  I’m goin’ down to Charlie’s office and then talk to folk.”  He nodded and I walked out.
I went straight to his office and began to rummage around on his desk.  I don’t know what I was looking for, or if I was looking for anything, just something to do so I could think.  I hadn’t been there thirty minutes when a man barged in and yelled, “What are you doing in my desk?”
Needless to say I was stunned.  “Your desk!  This desk belongs to Charlie Gold and I’m just straightenin’ it up for him.”
“Not any more, City Council must made me marshal.”
I don’t get angry much, but it seethed up in me.  I grabbed him by the collar and ripped the badge off his shirt, taking part of the shirt with it and flung it into the back.  “You go tell them to come and see me!”  I saw his fingers working.  I released him and pick up the Greener and pointed it at him.  “Git!”
With that I sat down behind the desk.  I figured it would take maybe twenty minutes for one of the councilmen to show up.  I was wrong, two of them came within fifteen minutes.
“Forrest!  What do you think you’re doing?”
I smiled…