The Saga of Miles Forrest

Miles,” murmured Molly as she touched his arm. “No one has come in for food for the prisoner. Think you should go check on him?”
I had just come in, ready to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee when Molly came up to me with that information. We’d had a nice couple of weeks, but it was overcast and getting colder by the hour. The distant peaks were no longer in view and I reckoned that snow was again on its way.
“You’re right,” I said, then smiled. “But I expect a piece of pie waitin’ when I get back.”
“Oh you do, do you? What you might not realize is that there may not be any pie made”; she laughed as I went out the door.
It was only a few blocks to the jail, but it was cold enough that I turned up the collar of my sheepskin coat. I slowed as I came to the jail. There was no smoke coming from the stovepipe. The city council had hired a jailer.
Moving to the side, I stepped up on the boardwalk and peered in the window. It was too dark to see anything. Going to the door I could now see that it was open slightly. Pushing it open I moved back to the wall. Nothing. Slowly I moved to the doorway, went through and to the left, crouching.
The jail cell was open and it was empty, but there was a body on the floor in front of the cell. I stooped down–it was the body of the jailer. His head had been smashed, then his throat cut.
Leaving things as they were, I went out of the jail and walked hurriedly to the Doc’s office. There was nothing he could do for old Thompson, but he could get the undertaker.
“Doc,” I yelled as I went through the door. “I need to talk to you!”
He walked out of the examination room. “What’s the commotion, Miles. I have a patient.”
“Come outside with me.” As we stepped outside he shivered as he wasn’t wearing a coat. “The jailer, John Thompson, has been killed. Sturgis has escaped; I reckon with the help of his two friends. What I need for you to do is get Micah over there to pick up the body. Much as I hate to, I need to see Billington.”
Quickly I moved back up Main Street and on the block to the south of the jail was the bank and Billington’s office. Going into the bank I got several nods from tellers and customers, but when I started toward Billington’s office I was stopped.
“You can’t go in there, Mr. Forrest.”
I pushed the man aside. “I can and I will.” The door wasn’t locked so I went in. I wasn’t real surprised that there was a meeting of some of the councilmen, but what did surprise me was that Billy Denton was there.
Denton’s eyes widened and looked as if he wanted to run somewhere. Then he touched the butt of his gun. Glancing at him I hollered, “Don’t!” He quickly moved his hand.
“Forrest, you have no call to barge in here. I’ll have you arrested for breaking into my office!” he shrieked.
“Who’s goin’ to enforce it? Billy?” I asked scornfully. “Just thought you should know. John Thompson is dead, and Sturgis is no longer in jail. Then I turned to Billy. “If I ever see you again I’ll beat you to a pulp after what you did to Marta.”
I turned and walked out listening to him call me back. “Forrest, Forrest, you have to do something!”
It was fitting that when I stepped back outside it started to snow. I sighed as I stepped out into the street and headed on back to the diner. “Lord, it seems as if it never stops,” I sighed again as I whispered that little prayer.
Walking back into the diner, Molly looked at me. I shook my head and headed for the stove and my table. Picking up a cup from the counter on the way, I poured a cup of coffee, set it on the table, and took off my coat before sitting down.
Molly came over to me and sat down. Looking at her I simply said. “Thompson’s dead, the prisoner is free.” Taking her hand, “We best be ready.”