The Saga of Miles Forrest

 I left Charlie Gold sitting in my chair at my table in the diner.  I told him not to get too comfortable with the seating arrangement.  He was much stronger and I was glad he would be around.  He would make sure Marta and Molly got home safely. Molly had her pistol and I left the Greener with her.  
Star hadn’t been ridden much, but I still decided on taking Hawk.  I would be riding up and down the canyons checking out the larger mines and Hawk was much better in the mountains.  I would save Star for my trip to Denver.  It was in my mind to ride to Silverton but the last few nights had been cold, and up there in the higher elevation it would be right at freezing and might even snow.  I didn’t relish laying out all night with it snowing.  Guess I was getting soft in my old age, but I noticed the ache in my bones when the cold weather started to set in.  Perhaps it was that winter a couple of years ago up north of Meeker.  I had nearly froze that winter.  Plus two days on the trail versus four to five hours by train.
I felt the cold creeping in while I was riding in the coach.  The days were gone where they kept a stove in each car, but they needed to do something to heat the train up.  Plus, now I had to buy coffee in a special car set up and it cost a dime.  Who would pay a dime for a cup of coffee?  Whatever happened to the days when it was kept on the stove and it was free?
Upon arriving in Silverton I took Hawk directly to the livery and told a boy working there to take care of her.  Silverton was sure growing and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to ride up to some of the mines; to check out the miners and what they thought of things.  Even thought I didn’t work with them anymore I stopped first at Wells Fargo to jaw with the guys, plus I knew they would have coffee on the stove and I could get a cup from them.  I didn’t think any irregularities would happen in this office.  If shipments were off it would be before arriving here to be shipped or somewhere before it reached the mint in Denver.
Leaving them I went and secured a hotel room and then went to get some supper.  Costs had gone up quite a bit since I had been here so I settled on a bowl of venison chili for $.25 and coffee came with the meal.  “Somebody, somewhere is making some money,” I thought to myself.
After eating I decided to take a walk up and down Blair Street.  Again, a person can get a feel of what is happening in a community by walking along the dives.  It was still a little early but the saloons and other places of iniquity were already doing business.  All of a sudden I felt strange; I wasn’t carrying the Greener.  It was the first time in years I hadn’t had it with me.  A shotgun is a wonderful deterrent; most of the time I just had to point it at someone and they would give a listen.  Made me feel like I was missing some of my clothing.
As I turned the corner, standing in front of one of the saloons what that hardcase I saw back in the Diner in Durango.  He saw me, and quickly went inside.  I felt a chill, ah, getting foolish in my old age.  The sun had been smothered by the mountains and the cold of the evening was starting to creep down my neck.  I pulled up my collar and decided to walk on back to the hotel.
In my room, I started a little fire in the fireplace and then sat on the bed.  Then the struggle began with my boots.  I guarantee that when I do plenty of walking my foot just grows to the inside of my boots.  After finally getting them off, I lay back on the bed.  I could hear the wind picking up and would need to add another log to the fire before going to sleep.
My mind started whirling.  I started thinking of things that had happened in the past few years.  Sometimes when a body gets along and finally gets still all kinds of things will go through their mind.  Some of it is reflection and thrown in with that is regret.  I had been thinking of the times when law enforcement was getting to me.  It seemed as if I could work through the issue that I often had to shoot and men died.  Too often I also saw the forces of evil at work.  Molly and the good Lord had helped me through that hard time.
Laying there I got to thinking of the time I had to search for my friend, Elias Butler.  He went through such a time after working a case with the Rangers back in Texas.  Then a chill went through me again, and I woke up.  I had fallen asleep on top of the covers, the fire had gone out, and I was downright cold.  
I finally made it through the night.  After washing my face in the cold water in the basin I headed on back to the restaurant for breakfast.  Just before I entered I looked to the corner, and there stood the hardcase, watching me.  I felt the chill down my spine…