I have been getting back into writing again and really loving it. I hadn't done any writing (except my journal) for several weeks. It was such fun to get into it. Speaking of writing, Mom finished checking "Home Fires of the Great War"! Now it is back in my court for corrections and revisions. If you want to read it soon, pray that I'll be able to get in done quickly. I am really getting excited about sending it out to all you test readers. :) If you aren't sure you are on my list to send it to, feel free to drop me a note asking for a copy. I will warn you, however, you will have to share the copy with others as I don't have the money to print a copy for each of you. After all the book is only 35 chapters long.:}
Okay, you are either reading through this part very quickly to get to the story, or you skipped it, or you came back and are reading this after you read the Western. I have wondered what most people do. I suppose I'll never find out. But, here is Part 11 of "Meleah's Western."
The words died on the air, and all remained still in the cabin. Sally took half a step forward, cocking her head, listening.
“Sally?” The call came again somewhat hesitantly. This time there was no doubt in Sally’s mind, for with quick feet she crossed the cabin and reached the door.
“Mr. Harnnard, ya scared us. Do come in, quick.”
As the door shut behind the newcomer, Ty and Carson put up their weapons. There was no need for them now. Mr. Harnnard was a short man with grey hair and beard. His face was leathery from spending so much of his life out in the elements. He walked with a slight limp and began talking right away.
“The missus gave me no peace ‘till I said I’d ride out an’ see how you an’ yer pa was gettin’ along.” He paused at sight of the empty bed. Then turning, he noticed for the first time the two other men in the room. “Why if’n it ain’t Ty! When did ya get in boy?” Not giving anyone a chance to answer he kept right on. “Ya know ya can’t stay here. But I’m mighty glad ta see ya, an’ I’ll give ya some advice; leave jest as soon’s ya can.”
Ty interrupted, “An’ why should I be goin’ so soon? Is word ‘round that I’m back?”
Mr. Harnnard shook his head. “No, no, not for a certainty, but I heard some of them talkin’ last night at Sam’s saloon an’ they’re plannin’ ta come out here tonight jest ta see if yer back.”
“What would happen if he weren’t here?” Carson asked.
“They plan on watchin’ all the trails ‘til he does come. I tell ya, Ty,” Mr. Harnnard shook his head. “I don’t know what it is that has got them all so riled ‘bout you, an’ I don’t want ta know, but if I was you, I’d get out right quick. An’ I’d stay away. Least ways ‘till we get ourselves a sheriff.”
Ty and Carson exchanged glances.
“How much time have we got?”
“Oh, I reckon not more’n four or five hours. They won’t come ‘till it’s dark, for fear they’d be shot if’n ya was here. If’n ya ask me, I’d say it would be good riddance if they was. Ya can leave Sally with me an’ the missus till ya can send for her. I don’t reckon they’ll be a botherin’ us.”
Sally was about to protest strongly, but the pressure of her brother’s hand on her arm restrained her.
“Thank ya for the offer, but Sally goes with me. With Pa gone, I’m all the kinfolk she knows.”
Mr. Harnnard shrugged. “Suit yerself. I reckon I ought ta be movin’ on. When did yer Pa--?” he hesitated slightly.
Ty answered in a quiet voice, “Two nights ago.”
“I’m sorry ‘bout that. Now, ya’d best get a move on if ya aim ta be gone.” Mr. Harnnard stepped outside, mounted his horse and turned to leave. “Jest be careful what tracks ya leave, fer there’s no tellin’ but they’ll try trackin’ ya.” With this parting advice the old man rode off through the woods.
Silence fell among the inmates of the little cabin that lasted for several minutes. No one spoke as they looked at one another. At last Ty broke the stillness.
“Well, I reckon we’d best get ta packin’.”
All was business then as Sally and Ty worked to pack such things as wouldn’t bear leaving behind. With great care and tenderness Sally wrapped the old family Bible in a quilt she had made.
“Ty,” she questioned, “where are the locket and picture?”
“I have them safe,” he replied softly.
“The locket’s on my watchguard an’ the picture ‘s here in my pocket.” He noticed Sally’s face grow grave, and he rightly guessed why, for he said, “When we reach a place ta stay the rest of the winter, I’ll carve a locket for ya to carry the picture in.”
Sally didn’t reply in words, but her smile was all her brother needed.
For an hour the three worked steadily. At last all was ready. Carson brought the horses around, and he and Ty tied the packs on the extra horse.
“Let’s get a move on now,” Ty ordered preparing to help his sister mount.
“Jest a minute, Ty,” she paused and looked up at him. “I want a gun.”
Ty’s eyes opened and his jaw dropped though he said not a word.
“Give me Pa’s six shooter, Ty. I’m a dead shot with that. I don’t aim ta be ridin’ round the country with no way ta defend myself. ‘Sides that, it would be a might easier if’n I could jest hand ya a gun ‘stead of ya havin’ ta try ta find it.”
Carson’s dry chuckle sounded. “Give her the gun, Ty. I reckon she’s got jest as much right ta it as either of us. An’ if’n she can shoot as straight as yer pa used ta brag she could, it’d be a shame to lose her skill if’n it comes to a shoot-out.”
Sally smiled as she buckled on her father’s six-shooter and mounted her horse. She was a good shot, her father having taught her almost as soon as he had taught Ty. She hated killing anything though she had done it many times to provide food or to defend herself. Never once, however, had she even pointed a gun at another human being, and she wondered if she would have the courage to do so if the need arose.
“Let’s ride!” Carson and Ty nudged their horses and headed east with the pack horse following. Sally cast one last long look at the cabin where she had spent all the known years of her life; the cabin where she and Ty had grown up together, and the cabin where their father had drawn his last breath. Would she ever see it again?
Does anyone have any questions? I'm thinking I'm going to need some soon.