The Saga of Miles Forrest

When the two men walked out of the office the tension went with them. I didn’t think they would really try anything with my shotgun trained on them.
In the past few days, the weather has been wonderful. The snow was gone, the mud dried up; it felt like spring. Of course there was still snow in the high country, and for sure, winter wasn’t over, but for now it was nice walking around with just a jacket.
With the warm weather I hadn’t seen any more of the wolves. They probably moved on back to higher country plus the fact that Grizz had taken a couple more. He’d been gone a spell now. Over the winter he had kept the diner in meat and we rented a locker at the ice house to keep the meat, so it wasn’t all smoked.
I walked in the diner and at glance I saw the two friends of the town’s jailbird sitting over against the wall. They caught me eye, but that was about it. I went over to my table and set the shotgun down on the table pointing toward them. Just being ornery. There were a couple of tables full and I glanced at the cliental as I poured a cup of coffee.
Doc Jones came in and joined me at the table. I poured him a cup of coffee. “I saw you come in and thought I could get you to buy me a cup of coffee,” he said just before taking his first sip. “Think Molly might have some pie back there?”
“She might; fact is, I haven’t seen her yet,” I paused, it was my turn to take a swallow. “Used to be Doc, that when I walked through that door, she’d come a-runnin’. Hmpf, married life.”
“Miles, you have to take the good with the bad. Before it was sugarlips now it’s a piece of pie.”
Standing up I said, “Doc, help yourself to the coffee. I’m goin’ back to check.”
I walked to the kitchen and there was Anihu working at the stove. Going up to her, I asked. “Where’s Molly and Marta?”
“No say,” then she pointed to the back door.
As I walked out I noticed that Lucas had filled up the wood pile. He’d done a good job since our little talk. Then I heard some sobbing and went around the corner. There was Molly trying to console Marta.
“Oh, excuse me,” turning I started back inside.
“Miles, we’ll be back in a minute,” replied Molly.
I went back to the table where Doc was waiting. The two hardcases had left. I glanced at the table and there was no money. They took advantage of the fact that neither Marta nor Molly was in the room. I’d remember that ifn I saw them again.
“No pie?” asked Doc.
“Don’t know. Marta is havin’ some kind of problem.”
Reaching for the coffeepot I refilled my cup. I looked up and in threw the door came Billington. “Oh, no” I whispered.
“What?” exclaimed Doc.
“Forrest! What are you going to do about that prisoner?”
“Can’t you talk without screamin’ all the time? And what am I goin’ to do with the prisoner? Nothin’.
“Well, he’s conscious now and there needs to be someone at the jail with him; take him food, and such,” remarked Billington already red in the face.
“That’s what the marshal and his deputies are for,” I couldn’t help but grin. “Oh, right, you don’t have a marshal, and you won’t pay for any deputies. Guess that means it’s your job Mr. Head-of-the-City-Council.”
“You put him in there–you go take care of him!”
“Don’t think so, Mr. Billington. First of all I tried to warn you about Billy Denton. You could have had a good marshal sittin’ in there with Charlie Gold, but no…”
About that time, Marta came in. I looked at her and she tried to hide her face from me. Getting up I went to where she was standing at the edge of the kitchen. She had a bruise on her cheek.
“What happened?” I asked very concerned. “This isn’t Charlie’s doin’?”
“No, I don’t want to talk about it. I’m going home for the rest of the day.” She then walked through the diner and out the door.
Standing there with hands on my hips I looked in the kitchen. “Molly!…”