Can you believe it is Friday already? In some ways it feels as though I just posted, yet it others, I feel as though I must have skipped a week. I really haven't gotten a thing written since I posted last week. I was visiting one of my "heart sisters" and having a wonderful time. There was no time for writing even if I had brought NEO (which I didn't).:) I tried writing the other evening, but having smashed my pinky just a day or so before, it made it rather difficult. (I never knew how much I use that little finger.:)) I couldn't write last night since I was babysitting the kiddos.:) And tonight is "game night" at some friends', so I'll be gone again. However, I really am hoping to get back into writing in the evenings. I have a short story (which is really longer than short) that I'm half-way done with. I'd like to get that finished. Then of course there is the Western.
Did you realize that today marks that third Western to be posted in a month?! That is a record! Maybe one month I'll just post Meleah's Western. How would you like that? I'd have to see if I could get them to keep on going.:)
But I'll stop. I know you are longing to read this Western. Enjoy it! (And just for your information, no, I don't know what is going to happen next.)
“You a stranger ‘round these parts?”
“What if I am?” Ty boldly challenged the barkeeper.
The man behind the counter shrugged. “Figured ya must be not ta know Vin.”
“What about him?” Ty was determined to keep the conversation from getting sidetracked.
“He’s a slippery sort a snake. Ain’t never sure jest what he’s up to. I heard the sheriff’s been keepin’ an eye on him now he’s back in town.”
“Where’s he been?”
“Ever hear tell of a mountain lion bigger’n ever seen ‘fore and meaner ‘an ten she bears?”
Suddenly the bartender straightened up. After aother quick glance about the room he leaned back down and spoke in a hoarse whisper. “I ain’t jest heard about it, I done see it! It’s the most awfullest bigg’st fiercest cat anywheres. I never want to see the likes of it again!”
For a moment Ty stared before him, thinking. This man claimed to have seen the mountain lion, but he was a saloon man, how could he have? It wasn’t likely that he had gone out into the mountains with this Vin. “Where’d ya see this cat?”
“At a house on the edge a town. It had come down from the mountains, and the sight was enough to turn yer legs to jelly.”
Ty nodded and stood up. “Thanks.”
It was all he said, but the way he said it caused the man to wish he hadn’t told so much and he muttered, “Vin, you fool, get out of town an’ don’t mess with him.”
Ty took no more notice of the man than if he had suddenly vanished as he stood for a few seconds glancing about the half empty room, but his quick ears had heard the muttered words, low though they were. With a quick straightening of his broad shoulders, Ty strode out of the saloon to rejoin Carson and Sally.
“What’d ya find out,” Carson queried as Ty, having glanced first up and then down the street, turned his steps to a small building not far away.
“Ain’t sure. Let’s go have us a talk with the sheriff.”
Carson nodded while Sally, who had grown warm in the sun, flung back her shawl revealing her two holstered six-shooters.
Ty noticed and chuckled. “I don’t reckon Vin would ‘ave said what he did ifn’t she’d a shown her guns.”
“Then I should have shown ‘em. I ain’t a coward.” Sally frowned. The man’s words still rankled her spirits.
Ty attempted to soothe her. “No, ya ain’t. I reckon if’n ya made the attempt ta kill that legend of a mountain lion, ya’d do it ‘fore three years was up.”
No more talking was done then for they had reached the town jail. The sheriff, along with his deputy, was leaning back against the side of the building watching the trio approach. Both men touched their hats to Sally as they reached them.
“Howdy, folks,” the sheriff greeted in a quiet, pleasant voice. “Can I help you?”
“I reckon so,” Ty spoke up. “We’re lookin’ ta find out about a man who calls himself Vin.”
The sheriff and his deputy exchanged glances before the sheriff replied, “I just might be able to help at that. I’m Sheriff Mead and this is my deputy Griffin Thompson.”
“Ty Elliot, my sister Sally and friend Bob Carson.”
“Won’t you three come in where we can talk undisturbed.” And Sheriff Mead led the way inside.
Inside was a room which, by all appearances, was the sheriff’s office and back behind that, in another room were the jail cells. No one was in them, however, and Sheriff Mead bade his visitors be seated while he perched himself on the corner of his desk. “Now,” he began, “you were askin’ about Vin.”
Carson and Ty nodded.
Crossing his arms, kicking one heel of his boots against the desk leg, glancing out the window into the street, Sheriff Mead cleared his throat. “I can tell you about him. At leas, all I know. Griff can fill in anything I miss. Where Vin came from, no one seems to know. He showed up here, oh, I’d say maybe six years ago. Doesn’t hang around the town much. Claims to be a trapper and guide. I locked him up a few times for saloon brawls but, though he seems rather suspicious, we’ve never been able to pin anything on him. Last year he offered to lead a couple of men to Fort Laramie through the shorter trail. They went with him and we never heard of them again. Vin won’t talk about it, which has several of us here in town mighty alert for dirty work.”
“So there is another trail?” Ty cut in.
“Oh, yes. Been over it myself a time or two. It is a shorter way, but so downright narrow in places that only stout hearts should venture.”
“What about the mountain lion that’s bigger ‘an any ever seen ‘fore and meaner ‘an ten she bears?”
A hearty chuckle from Mead and Thompson confirmed Ty’s suspicions.
“There’s a mountain cat all right, but each tale I hear it grows bigger and meaner.”
Carson turned to Griff who had just spoken and asked, “Then why’s Vin sayin’ he’s been after this here cat three years an’ ain’t got it yet?”
Deputy Thompson shook his head and shifted his position in the doorway. “That’s one of the questionable things ‘bout him.”
“We’d round up a posse to find out if we had something to go on. As it is, we sit here and wonder.”
“I’d like ta help ya out, Sheriff, since this man seems so unusual, but I got my sister an’ wouldn’t want ta put her in no danger.”
“I can defend myself if’n I have to, Ty Elliot. Don’t forget I can match ya at a draw any day an’ shoot jest as straight.”
The sheriff nodded at her guns, “If you carry those around, I reckon you know how to use them.”