But that has nothing to do with Meleah's Western. I know it might be difficult to remember things in this story since it has been months since the first part was posted. I re-read the entire story before writing this next part. Any questions would be gladly accepted. I really enjoy writing this story. I've never done anything like it before. I wonder how long it will be when it gets finished? And how many parts it will have.:) But I will stop rambling as no one probably reads this. I wonder, how many people go directly to the story?
Both fell silent as crunching footsteps were heard on the snow approaching the cabin. Though Sally started, Ty didn’t move, for he recognized the steps of Carson.
On the treshold, Carson paused.
“Is all ready?” Ty questioned quietly.
Ty rose from the table. The time had come to place his father’s body in its final resting place.
Sally tried to stay her tears, but they wouldn’t be held back. They flowed down her cheeks as the three stood by the newly made grave deep in the mountain forests, where no human eye would be likely to see. Carson and Ty spread snow over the mound of earth before all three turned silently back to the cabin. Sally clung to Ty, the one known earthly tie that was left to her. Never in all her eighteen years of life had she felt so forlorn. Pa was gone. Pa, the one who had been everything to her since Ty had left so suddenly two years before.
As the trio slowly neared the cabin, Sally stumbled. The struggles, hardships, and endless anxiety of the past months had taken their toll on her young body. Without a word, Ty picked up his sister and entered the cabin. Placing her gently on the bed, he brought her a bowl of stew. After she had eaten, he sat by her side without a word until he saw her fall into the first real sound sleep she had had in a long time.
The afternoon waned. The sun dropped lower and lower in the western sky. The two friends sat in the gathering dusk. Ty’s thoughts were mixed; memories of the past came back to mingle with the perplexing and bewildering puzzle of the present. Could anything be more complex than the task he had promised to do? How was he to fulfill his father’s wishes? With a sigh he at last arose and stepped over to a pallet on the floor. This was where he used to sleep. Perhaps all he needed was a good nights rest. He realized with a start that only the day before he and Carson had ridden the last of their arduous journey. Was it any wonder that he felt so exhausted and his eyes refused to stay open? He had hardly slept since they had set out. Ty’s body relaxed, and in another minute he was sleeping as deeply as his sister.
Carson too had been thinking that quiet afternoon and evening. He had sat before the fire gazing into the dancing flames. His quick ears caught the sounds of Ty’s bedding down; he smiled to himself. “The boy needs it. Ain’t used ta this sorta thin’. He ain’t learnt ta take his sleep where an’ when he can git it an’ trust ta Providence ta wake him when he needs it. That’ll come in time, I reckon.” After a few more minutes Carson too stretched out, rolled in his blanket Indian style, and closed his eyes.
Stumbling toward the door, the old woman gasped for breath. Her hand went to her head, and she swayed a moment. Sheer will power kept her on her feet as she opened the door of the cabin.
“Aunt Kate! Yer sick!”
“Just a might dizzy, Bob. Don’t go off gettin’ excited.”
Bob frowned. “Aunt Kate, yer workin’ too hard. Ya got ta have rest. Ya ought ta be in bed this minute.”
Aunt Kate shook her head. “Ya know I don’t have time fer that. There’s work ta do.”
Bob shook his head, and before his aunt could protest, he had picked her up and carried her to her bed. “Yer goin’ ta rest,” he ordered firmly. “I reckon I can take care of the house an’ her.” Glancing out a window as he spoke, he smiled involuntarily at sight of a little sprite of a child playing in the grass with her doll.
The child couldn’t have been more than three years old. Her hair was light and hung loosely about her fair face in little curls and waves. The sunshine played about her through the shady tree branches and turned her hair into locks of pure spun gold. Bob called her his little sunshine.
“The sun don’t usually like ta share its brightness with anyone else, but I reckon the good Lord told it ta share a might with the child, jest ta brighten others’ lives,” he was wont to say to his aunt after the child had gone to her trundle bed and was fast asleep.
“I reckon you’re right, Bob, but to think--”
“Now, Auntie, don’t ya go an’ spoil the evenin’ with thinkin’. I jest ain't goin’ ta do no thinkin’.”
His aunt would smile indulgently and change the subject.
Now as she lay in her bed, she wondered how Bob could do all that needed to be done. She tried to rise but fell back on the pillow as the room whirled around her. “I’ll be all right in a day or two,” she told herself. But the days passed, and she was no better.
“Bob, suppose ya let me take the young one to stay with my girls until Kate gets back on her feet?” The speaker was a gentle looking woman who had come over nearly every day to help out.
Bob hesitated. He knew the Westlins were kindly people with three daughters of their own. They lived a mile or so away, and their latchstring was always out. He knew the child would be taken good care of, but . . . How could he let his little sunshine go to the house of a stranger?
Mrs. Westlin noticed his hesitation. “You sleep on it. I just though I’d offer. Talk to Kate about it if you want.”
That evening after he had told Aunt Kate about the offer, he sighed and looked down at the little face so innocent and sweet, sleeping quietly in her little bed. “No matter what happens, Aunt Kate, or where she is, she will always be my little girl.”
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