“Millie, you got any, any rings?”
“Haven’t got much of a selection to look through.”
“It’ll be fine Millie,” I smiled.
looked through the small selection. They were all hand-carved. There was
really only one that caught my eye. My favorite out of the two was a flower
that looked almost like a daisy but with long petals flowing from it.
“What’s the flower called?”
told me it’s called an Edelweiss.”
“Edelweiss, sounds pretty,” I smiled. This was the ring; this was what I
would give her tonight.
Pam,” I asked nervously, I had never done this before in my life.
Mark?” she said, her eyes a crystal blue like the sky during a sunrise.
“Uh-uh,” I looked around, unsure of what to say, “Pamela,” I gulped, this
is it, “Will you marry me?”
“Mark,” a smile spread across her face like a sunflower in full bloom, “Is
this for real Mark?”
I smiled and cried all at the same time, I couldn’t believe it, after a year
of courting; it all came down to this.
I love you!”
love you too Mark!”
evening went as planned; I dropped her off at her place.
when are we going to announce it?”
tomorrow evening sound?”
Mark, just fine Mark,” she smiled, her eyes glowing like the light of a
silvery full moon on a winter night over a sparkling white coat of snow.
see ya tomorrow!” I bent down as I kissed her. I just knew it from the
beginning, she was it, and even Pa agreed, she was the right one for me.
began the ride home, the moon keeping the light on the road. It was barely a
half hour ride usually. All I could think of was her. I was like a
dumbstruck pigeon. My daydreams wandered as I rode the familiar path, then I
felt something hit me and the path faded quickly to the darkness of
Mark!” I yelled, looking all around the ranch. He wasn’t one to come home
late, or not at all. I hope he didn’t get carried away, not that I wasn’t
like that at one point either.
“Mark!” I checked all around.
noticed Blue Boy standing by the barn as if to tell me something.
happened boy?” I asked the horse, he neighed back as if to say ‘Come on
mounted up Razor, and went on the normal trail Mark uses to get from Pam’s
place to ours.
looked at the tracks on the trail; something definitely happened here, as
there was less weight on the hoofs as Mark had been knocked off the horse.
looked on the trail the outlaws left as they lead a far west off the path.
It soon lead to what Mark would call “the shortcut.”
“Micah, he didn’t just disappear by himself.”
know that Lucas,”
need to find him; we need to go while the tracks are still fresh!”
McCain?” a flowery voice called, “What happened?”
when was the last time you saw Mark?”
yesterday evening, what happened?”
“Between your ranch and ours, Mark disappeared,” I breathed, “I think its
welled up in her eyes, “We’ll find him Pam,”
find him, Pam, you’ll see,” I put an encouraging hand on her shoulder. She
cried into my shoulder.
luck Mr. McCain!” Pam cried, as she left the office.
“Lucas,” Micah pointed out, “I think you should see this.”
looked at the reports.
Crawford Brothers- con artists known for taking Mark, last seen near Willow
Springs, New Mexico, August 15, 1888.
got reports of the Crawford brothers, last seen near Willow Springs less
than a week ago.”
could’ve been anyone, Micah.”
clear he didn’t know what to say.
“Micah, we need to find him soon.”
afternoon we started out of North Fork.
“Millie?” I wandered into the general store.
what is it honey?”
Mark,” I cried, “He disappeared!”
outlaws,” I breathed, showing her the ring on my finger.
let me cry on her shoulder.
“Millie.” Lucas walked into the store, as Pam cried on my shoulder.
and I are going to find Mark, can you watch over the ranch?..”
“Lucas,” Micah walked in.
find him Pam,” Lucas said. I ran to hug him, my tears just couldn’t stop.
careful, Lucas,” Millie said.
ran to him and hugged him, crying.
find him Pam,” he said as he warmly hugged her.
careful Lucas,” I said.
were soon on their way out of North Fork.
hope they’re all right,” Pam said.
hope so too,” I put my hand on her shoulder.
my head,” I woke up, the unfamiliar forest surrounding me, and my head hurt
like a stone had hit it
“Mornin’ sonny,” an unknown sing-song like voice called
I groaned, “Who are you?” I couldn’t remember a thing.
I’s Jake, and this here is my pal Billy!”
your friends son!”
I didn’t belong here, but then this whole place seemed like unchartered
territory for me.
a minute, who am I?”
looked at each other,
“You’re an outlaw now sonny.”
but what’s my name?” I asked.
name?” the large man elbowed the lanky one, “This kid’s been with us only a
few minutes and he wants to know what his name is!!” he laughed.
frowned, what was I even doing here in the first place? I wanted to go home,
even if I didn’t remember where that was I wanted the warmth of someone who
kid,” I looked up at the one with chubby cheeks, “Cheer up! We’ll be great
Yeah right. I thought. I want to go home.
exhausted. I took in the peaceful night air and the sounds of the nighttime
there against the tree, uncomfortable, staring as the sun went down over the
Mark. Mark!” the voice echoed in my thoughts.
Darkness shaded the trees to a near black. Longing struck me, for reasons I
couldn’t remember. I cried, the cool night air engulfing me. I wanted
someone there for me, right this minute, someone. I forgot names and faces;
I needed the warmth of someone who loved me. I didn’t belong with these
outlaws, whether I knew who I was or not.
bright colors of the sunset shone through the pines, as I let my mind
“Mark! Mark” it was almost as if the voice was calling for me.
looked at the full moon, as it crested the mountains with silver.
soo tired, yet I looked to the stars longingly
young boy, nearly thirteen, stared at a weathered carving on the side of the
“God bless our house,
Build August 1881….” The words were blurred out and I couldn’t tell who
built this fine place
all seemed soo vivid and real.
“Where are ya Pa?!” I cried, taking the
place of the boy.
are ya Mark?” I stared into the sky, the bright stars poking out of the
darkness. I couldn’t sleep. I felt exhausted, but I had to keep on going if
we were to find Mark.
what're we gonna do with the kid?" a cracky voice said.
"I dunno, the boss jist said to get the McCain kid"
I looked around; we were in an old shack, where you can see the cracks of
daylight shining through.
"Looks like the kid's awake," the one with the grey beard said.
green lush meadows of the ranch filled my heart with joy. I rode my horse
home and then a man with blond hair greeted me, his smile as wide as the
valleys of New Mexico. Images flashed before me, and this man spoke to a
kid. An incident my mind had forgotten had dirtied his face. He was speaking
to the kid about a man named Job who lived many centuries ago, in a land “so
far east it’s due west of here,” I recalled the man telling me. Then the
picture flashed to him carrying the kid to bed- It was almost as if I could
feel the chills the kid was having.
“Mark, don’t die,” he said, tears in his eyes, as he cried at the kid’s
Scenes flashed before me
“Mark, don’t drink the water from that barrel- it could be polluted,”
“You see this picture- you were six!”
“You lost your razor?” he asked, tiredly on the bed, as Pa pulled him into a
Suddenly I was jolted awake. “Wake up boy!!!” the outlaw hissed.
okay,” I answered. The words echoed in my head, the man’s voice “Mark.”
soo bad, like the world was against me. It felt like I was having a bad day,
and this headache was no help.
wanted someone’s shoulder to cry on; I just wanted to go home, wherever that
Someone’s got to be out there lookin for me, I thought. I cried silently
against the tree that night, “I want to go home!”
been a day since Mark disappeared, and Lucas had snuck ahead.
“Micah, I know he’s alive!” he whispered.
never said he wasn’t”
“Micah, I think I know where he is,”
boy,..” I couldn’t find words to say, he would go far and wide to find Mark,
no matter what.
“Micah,” Lucas breathed, attempting to calm himself.
moonlight lit the trail like a lantern.
must’ve made the moonlight so a man could find his way in the darkness of
clouds covered the stars but the moon brightly lit the way.
my way in the dark, leading me ever so closer to where Mark was.
trail led two ways. If I took the wrong one I feared I might never see Mark
last pinks of sunset shone through the clouds and the moon revealed itself
from the sky.
exhausted. I took in the peaceful night air and the crickets chirping.
stopped at the lake, “We’ll find you soon son,” I said into the warm evening
soo tired, yet I looked up to the stars longingly. A slight headache ached
my forehead, not caring to acknowledge it, I fell asleep.
tried to sleep, as uncomfortable as it was against this huge tree, not to
mention being tied to it.
“Mark,” this time instead of a man’s voice, it was a girl’s.
“Mark,” she kissed me as I grinned, “So how about a ride this afternoon?”
“Well, I got some chores to finish, but I’ll come over to your place when
Little did we know Pa overheard!
what are you two lovebirds up to?” he smiled.
“Oh, we’re just going to go ridin’ this afternoon,”
awoke to the comfortable dew of morning.
like the kid’s still awake,” Jake said walking over to me.
the kid rest Billy!” The thin one said.
want to get a move on Jake!”
boss wants us in Tucson by sometime today!”
kid’s starting to get sick anyway!”
conversation faded to distant sounds as I felt myself blackout.
young boy-nearly 13 stared at a weathered carving on the wood of the house.
“God Bless our house- rebuilt August 1881 by Lucas McCain and his son Mark”
he read aloud.
seemed all too familiar and the scene felt soo real.
“Where are ya Pa?” I cried-taking the place of the boy.
bright white moon guided the way for me. I soon found the outlaws camp, and
Mark sleeping soundly leaning against a tree.
soon the nighttime began to give way to the bright rays of the morning. I
stealthy tried to sneak away before the outlaws woke up. The big one began
what’s that Billy?”
“What?” The man began to wake up as I snuck behind a tree.
was someone over there Jake!” I saw through a bush as he elbowed his
“You’re imagining things Bill! You’ve had too much whiskey!!”
Jake- I just woke up! And I saw this man!”
your just hallucination things Billy!”
I’s tellin ya- it’s someone!”
yawned, seeing a man walk through the camp. He seemed very familiar,
especially his rifle.
as he snuck behind a tree, the outlaws had started to wake up. I looked over
to my right- a Marshall had followed the blond man and was hiding in a bush
nearby. He seemed familiar too- I didn’t want the outlaws to know anyone was
there. His friendly face was filled with worry for his friend and me. I
still wondered who he was.
kid, you see anyone walk through here?”
don’t know what you’re talking about.”
better be telling the truth kid!!” Jake grabbed me by the collar.
“Honest mister- I am!!”
I don’t believe you!” Jake threw me to the ground.
I knew it the two other men had come out.
you leave Mark alone!” the blond man got Jake.
did you come from?”
imagination!” he yelled.
all clear- the outlaws were down- at least for now.
“Mark!” he said. I felt a connection to him, I felt like I knew him from
somewhere and he was really close to me.
are you?” I asked
“Someone who cares about you,” caring shown in his eyes.
comforted me those words from him.
Billy got up, and held me back while Jake tried to fight the blond man.
you two stop!” the Marshall yelled, trying not to get involved in the fight.
I struggled to get out of Billy’s grasp.
Desperate to get out of his grip, I bit his arm.
Hey kid!!!!” he began to run toward me as I ran to help the blond man.
leave him alone!” I pushed Billy off of him.
found myself soo involved in saving these two. I hadn’t realized it until
after it happened, but the blond man had knocked out Jake before he had time
to reach me.
“Thanks P-“Was he really my Pa?
time would tell me the answer.
heard as I blacked out.
big man held Mark by the collar, “Well I don’t believe ya!” he threw him to
couldn’t help it; this was trying my patience, and with the lack of sleep
the past few nights, I just went right out and said, “Hey you leave Mark
did you come from?”
imagination!” I yelled.
managed to get the outlaws away, just for a bit.
are you?” Mark asked, his brown eyes looked into mine.
“Someone who cares for you,” I said.
out from behind us, the thin one came and tried to fight, as the big one
held Mark back.
leave them alone!” Mark tried to stop the fighting. I managed to knock the
skinny one out.
“Thanks P-“ he stumbled on his words. He stared; I could tell he knew I
“Mark!” he began to fall forward, “Mark!” I caught him. I held him in my
“Lucas, look out!” I was knocked out.
I awoke the next day.
not here kid!”
then where’s the Rifleman?”
sad; the only person that knew me well was gone.
opened my eyes to find myself in the meadow where the fight was.
Mark!” The outlaws had gone off and took Mark with them.
“Micah, wake up, we need to find Mark.”
Pa! Pa!” I screamed, as I suddenly felt cold water on my face.
kid, about time you came to.”
found myself tied to a tree. It would always be a big tree like an oak or
something, this must’ve been here before Pa and Ma made their way here. I
forgot about a lot of stuff, but just the thought of them being here was
enough for me.
do you want with me for?” I questioned.
our boss wants The Rifleman’s kid!”
can’t tell ya, and yer Pa don’t know where you are!”
leave Pa out of this!!” I struggled to get out of the rope. Whoever that man
was, it was good to know someone else cared for me.
needed to find a way to get out of here, and soon.
August 22, 1888
just don’t know what to do now- Lucas and Mark have been gone for nearly 2
days and it seems like forever. If only I could…
wish you’d come home soon, from whatever happened to you. I miss you so much
these words on paper can’t even describe.
stared down what I had written. I was soo scared and worried for them, I was
shaking. I didn’t even notice Ma at the door to my room.
I heard her voice, “Pam, honey, are you okay?”
began to cry on my desk. No. No. Mark can’t….
Mark and Lucas, they are….” I wailed.
know-“she let me cry, holding me.
you should stay in town with Milly, she’s as worried as the rest of us.”
first thing in the morning.”
you Ma!!” I hugged her.
“Mark! Mark!” The voice rang in my head “Mark! Mark!”
on, we’re heading to the next town!” The outlaw rushed us. I couldn’t stand
it much being with these guys, it didn’t feel right, nothing felt right- I
couldn’t remember who I was and where I came from, but I had a loving voice
in my head calling a name.
a sunny day, but I sure didn’t feel sunny. What made it worse was that the
outlaws decided to capture a wild horse.
What are you doing?!” I asked: anger in my eyes.
needs to learn a lesson kid, Stay out of our business kid” he kicked me out
of the way.
burning inside me, I rushed to stop him, only to be hit by punches. I fought
back as much as I could.
“Well, what did the horse do to you?”
a wild chestnut mustang, not meant to be in the hands of these awful men.
her alone!” I was pushed away by Jake.
what are you doing to the horse!!?” I yelled, I couldn’t stand seeing the
way they treated their horse.
myself hit the ground, “Just leave him, he’ll figure things out himself!” I
heard them leave.
breathed, lying there making sure I was okay. The filly neighed; she slowly
trotted to see how I was. I stared at the stars, not feeling like getting
up. I slowly got up, slightly sore.
I gently pet her cheek, “We need to get you out of here.”
looked around, making sure Billy and Jake had gone far enough away they
a cool night; the stars were bright above us as I lead the horse quietly
away from the camp.
girl,” I urged the horse to go free once more.
rubbed her cheek against mine, almost like she was saying ‘Thank you.’
girl, go, you don’t belong here with these people.”
neighed, as she galloped away: Free.
store seemed unusually quiet the past few days. There wasn’t a moment I
wasn’t thinking about them, and the town seemed like an empty glass without
Mark and Lucas and Micah.
began to sweep the porch; I was amazed at how positive I managed to be in
the past few days despite the situation.
moon had risen higher, as the outlaws made their way back from wherever they
Where’s my horse Billy?” Jake asked, his words slurring as he spoke. He then
looked at me. “You let the horse get away!” Jake yelled.
leave him alone Jake, you’re drunk anyway,”
but my horse!”
go jump in a lake!”
looked around while they were arguing. This was my chance to get away, to go
home. I stealthily snuck away while they quarreled away. I snuck into the
woody underbrush, the branches covering my tracks.
figured I was far enough away from the camp to take a break. I sat against a
tree and soon fell asleep, the comfortable night air surrounding me
boy, try and get some rest, no sleep isn’t good for a man.”
trying Micah,” I breathed, “I can’t stop worrying.”
put a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
need to know he’s allright.”
couldn’t sleep; I tossed and turned, and tried to get to sleep, but it just
awoke to the sun on my face, the birds chirping happy songs around me and
the fresh morning air surrounding me.
couldn’t wait to get home; maybe I’d bump into the Rifleman and the Marshall
again. Home was where I longed to be, in the arms of someone who loves me.
walked down the dirt road, not even knowing where I was goin’. Very few
wagons passed, and I didn’t see any stage pass by either.
wind blew softly, makin the daylight peaceful as my Ma’s voice.
wandered down the road, following my heart, wherever it was leading me.
“Mark…Mark.” his voice echoed in my head.
where’d you heading stranger?”
heading to New Mexico territory and I could use some company.”
Mexico…That sounded soo familiar, like it welcomed me.
“Sounds good to me,”
what’s yer name son?”
in deep thought, the man who said he cared for me seemed so familiar.
“What’s yer name son?”
uh…” My mind was blank.
everyone’s got a name son, What’s yers?”
tried to think, risking a headache.
was the last name someone called you?”
I thought to the name again, “Mark.”
to meet you, I’m Steve Flanagan.”
you sell things?”
of a traveling merchant.”
“Where’s your next stop?”
“Wherever the road takes me..”
city’s Willow Springs.”
to son.” I strung a few chords.
works good.” I smiled.
can play it if you want.”
♫The first time I looked at her
wasn’t hard to see,
was Something Special
Especially for me.
bluest eyes that I’ve ever seen
pretty as can be,
She is something special
especially for me!
I’m lucky that I found her
On that special day
I want so much to tell her
The Things I cannot Say
If she would only look my way
I know that she would see
She is something special,
Especially for me!
“Beautiful song boy.”
found a trail, about the size of Mark’s boots; Heading toward the road. It
was obvious that he had escaped, and was heading toward the road.
Micah,” We had arrived at the road- his tracks leading us toward North Fork.
I’m not mistaken Lucas boy- I believe he’s heading in the right direction.”
believe you’re right.”
arrived at the town; everything seemed too familiar to me, the people, the
atmosphere. Something was calling me to go to the Marshall’s office, but no
one was there. I walked over to the hotel; people were staring as if they’d
seen a ghost.
my way over to the general store, the lady seemed soo familiar.
Everything started to spin as I heard her say my name.
“Mark!” I blacked out.
stood there, staring at me looking pale as a sheet.
“Mark?” His big brown eyes contrasted his pale skin.
“Mark!” he fainted into my arms.
get some water.”
her jogged my memory, at least now I knew who I was.
my head began to hurt.
go get some water,”
I groaned as my head hurt again. I breathed deeply.
just try to relax,”
Ow!” I took a deep breath as I closed my eyes.
looking for a boy about eighteen, brown eyes, brown-“
we found one Mister, lookin' just like that!” the skinny outlaw said.
“Mister, do ya mean the kid who escaped?!”
“Joey!” the short one elbowed the big one.
he’s probably wandering the road a bit.”
you know which way he went,”
I came to I saw him heading that way,” he pointed behind us.”
do you think?”
say for sure Lucas,”
mind went through many possibilities. Did he know where he was going? With
what could be a loss of memory? I tried to stop myself from thinking about
anything bad happening to Mark.
you!” I smiled as we rode on the road toward the west.
“Millie?” I asked, “Where’s Pa?”
and Micah didn’t come back yet.”
only just got back yesterday Mark- maybe they stopped somewhere,” Doc
they wouldn’t stop if they knew I was here.”
rode the way back, Mark might have forgotten almost everything, but his
route took us right on the road to back to North Fork! No matter what he
still knew where home was. I smiled at the thought.
a few hours on when Micah and I were jumped by outlaws.
struck into oblivion as the sudden force of a weapon hit. I saw myself fall
off of Razor as I hit the ground with a thud.
“Lucas!” I screamed as he was knocked off his horse.
the Rifleman all right!” the big one said.
“You’re under arrest.” I said, pulling out my pistol.
the attempted murder of Lucas McCain!”
can’t arrest us Marshall,” you ain’t got a jail!” he joked.
sure can, now-“I blacked out.
stopped at the ranch. I looked around taking in all the green scenery.
walked into the room and my head started spinning again.
“Let me put it this way, I love you more than anything else in the world,”
his voice echoed in my head, as I soon found myself in oblivion.
“Where’d Mark go?” a customer asked me. Then it hit me, Mark had gone off
somewhere by himself, probably the ranch.
“That’ll be ten cents Mrs. Blake.”
think he went home.”
“Freddie, I’m going to go check on Mark,” I began to race out the door, “Can
you keep shop?”
Miss,” he smiled.
to the ranch and raced inside only to find Mark on the floor unconscious
“Mark!” I washed his face trying to get some color back.
he asked, opening his eyes slowly.
Mark, I’m afraid not.”
do I feel so tired?”
“You’ve had a long few days, try to get some rest.”
yawned, as I helped him to his room. He looked so pale and tired; it
reminded me of when Lucas left for Wyoming for two months. Mark was his
drove the wagon toward the west. It has been two weeks since we left
Missouri. It has been an uneventful few days on the dusty trails of the
the evening of the half moon, we came upon two men lying unconscious on the
side of the road. One was an older man who had on a Marshall badge on, the
other was a blond- blood streaked his sandy hair.
come quick!” I called my husband. He had been a doctor during the Great War
in the east, we met when he moved out west. He wanted to become a doctor
out here, as he had heard there were so few of them. I was raised by the
Apache, and grew up on the land. My parents had tried to protect me from the
horrors that engulfed our territory, and of the white man plight to take
over. When I was in the reservation, I met him.
“Doesn’t look good,” Joe said, his curls glistening in the light of the sun.
gently took them into the wagons. The younger one was in worse shape than
the older one.
worried about the yellow-haired one, a hit on the head like that could’ve
been fatal, yet he was still breathing. I hoped he’d be all right.
I found myself in my bed. The house seemed soo quiet you could hear a pin
drop. I walked into our living room.
I started to cry.
I sat down at the table cried.
heard someone come in the door
“Mark!” Millie’s voice rang as I heard her through my tears.
I cried on her shoulder.
should be here by now!” I cried.
and Micah went looking for you.”
know Millie, but I saw Pa,”
her about the fight between the two outlaws and Pa and Micah.
remember askin’ ‘Who are you?’” I recalled.
he said ‘Someone who cares,’” I started to cry again, “And that’s the last
time I saw them.”
you know how long ago it was Mark?”
tried to think back, “About 4 days ago; If Pa’s been on my trail he and
Micah would be back by now!”
breathed, attempting to hold back the tears.
back a day ago,” I took a deep breath; “They should be here by now!” I cried
into her shoulder.
took a while to calm down. Thank God for Millie, she was like a mother to
can’t go out now; it’s too dark out,”
first thing in the morning Mark,”
tried to sleep that night. I was as restless as a hound during a
thunderstorm. I waited till Ma and Pa were in bed, as I snuck out to the
tried to sleep that night, but morning couldn’t come fast enough. I tossed
and turned till I finally figured that I’d walk out to the porch.
“Same hill, same valleys; this house we built, same house, Barn, same barn;
that hill Mark, that’s the way it used to look in the moonlight, soft
blanket of silver. The only thing missing is the cross at the crest that
marks your mother’s resting place.” I heard his voice echo in my head as
I stared at the dark shadows of the hills and the valley. The only light was
the half moon, still bright enough to show light on the figures of the
I’ll be there as soon as I can,” I leaned against one of the poles.
what are you doing up?”
“Worried about Pa.”
brewed up some tea, but even that couldn’t relax me.
sat there and silently prayed Pa’d be all right. I stared at the shimmer of
let Pa and Micah be all right,” I whispered as I breathed and let my head
fall in my arms. I felt Millie’s hand on my shoulder. The quiet stillness of
the night didn’t seem to help much.
sat there for ages, till my eyes could barely stay open.
“Millie?” I looked up as her and yawned, “I’m going to try and get some
idea,” I got up, “Night Millie.”
must’ve been very early in the morning- as I walked to the ranch. The moon
was in the middle of the sky, as I came upon the ranch. I figured they’d be
asleep now. I felt myself getting tired, soo tired that I forgot about
getting to the house itself. I soon settled against the hay and soon felt
myself drift asleep.
breathed in the smell of eggs and bacon. For some reason I felt happy, maybe
it was because Milly was there. I practically jumped out of bed.
walked into the kitchen to find Millie cooking the food. She seemed almost
like a mother to me, like the kitchen was her spot.
remind me of Ma,” I said, “I don’t remember much about her,- but I remember
when she cooked for us, and….”
Pa must miss her a lot.”
does… “I breathed, “Sometimes he just stares at the pictures, remembering.
eat your breakfast,”
will,” I grinned eagerly despite being worried and had barely eaten since I
came back to North Fork.
will,” he smiled excitedly.
“Millie, I’m going to find Pa, if it’s the last thing I do.”
brown eyes shined with determination, just as Lucas’ had when Mark had gone
missing. as he dried the last dish.
on there Mark, you are going to need some food for the trail!” I stopped him
as he began to leave.
"Millie, I’m going to find Pa if it’s the last thing I do," I said; her eyes
growing with concern.
to ride into town first, see who wants join me,” her face started to get
teary eyed, “Millie?”
cried smiling, “Your mother would be proud Mark.”
her a warm hug, “I know she would,”
careful,” I embraced him as if he were my own son.
surprised that I actually slept that night, when Mark was worried, I was
he asked me, slowly waking me up.
“What?” I yawned.
are you doing here?”
worried about you so I came here,”
the barn?” he smiled and laughed.
tired-“ I laughed as he kissed me on the cheek.
“Millie’s got some breakfast on the table, eggs and bacon.”
“Mark,” I stood in front of him, “be careful.”
will,” he kissed me again.
watched as he left the barn with Blue Boy. He saddled his chestnut horse.
Time went slowly as he left the ranch, all alone.
Millie’s voice rang, startling me a bit, I just stared out to where Mark
went. “Come and get something to eat.” She began to guide toward the house.
want to go to town,” I said, “he can’t go there all by himself!” I frowned.
wasn’t long till Millie and I made our way to road and caught up with Mark.
toward town. The road seemed lonely even though
ride to town seemed long- no one to talk to, just the birds, the bees and
the hot sun.
thoughts drifted to Pa and Micah. I missed Pa, I missed him the whole time,
even when I had that bought of amnesia with those outlaws…
“Who are you?” I asked
“Someone who cares about you.”
Someone who cares. I stopped as I sat there and reflected. I began to cry.
“Let me put it to you this way, I love you more than anything else in the
a deep breath as I urged Blue Boy onto town.
“Mark,” Pam’s voice chimed.
didn’t think you would want to go to town alone,” Millie said.
“Thanks,” I smiled.
went onto town, the ride seeming a bit quicker now, at least with Pam and
Millie were there.
some people here,” I said- I needed to tell people, there was no way I’d
make it on my own.
guys, I’m going to go find Pa and Micah, anyone want to join me?” I looked
around at the faces of the townspeople.
go with ya Mark,” Freddie walked up to where we were standing.
go Mark,” Grid stepped out of the crowd of faces.
head out in about an hour.”
be ready in half that time.” Freddie said.
walked to the hotel to wait until Freddie and Grid were ready. We sat at a
table, as I held my head in my hands.
can’t think anymore.” I moaned.
their hands on my shoulders as I began to cry again.
couldn’t tell how fast time was going.
we’re ready,” I looked up at Freddie and Grid; ready to go.
gulped and got up, “Let’s get going.”
stood up beside me, “Mark, be careful.”
will,” I looked into her bright blue eyes.
mounted up the horses and were soon heading out of North Fork.
afternoon seemed to last an eternity. Mark had only been gone for an hour
and I was as sad as a dog on a rainy day.
all right?” Millie asked.
“Yeah-“ I was frowning, “No- Millie, what am I going to do?” I cried, “I- I
– I miss Mark!”
I was worried and worried, I tried baking pies but it was no use. Where was
Lucas, Mark and Micah?
awoke to find myself in a cot in a crowded wagon. (wagon-standin' still)
careful Marshall,” I heard a young woman’s voice, “You may hurt yourself
breathed; relieved it wasn’t the outlaws again.
are you Miss?” I asked, looking into her shining black eyes.
Lucas? ”I asked, a bitter look went across her shiny young face.
friend has not woken up yet Marshall.”
couldn’t think of any words to say, I just prayed that he’d be all right,
for Mark’s sake and for mine.
night wore on, the blond man became delirious.
Mark!” he moaned.
he’ll be here soon,” I comforted him.
bed down here for the night,” Freddie suggested.
stared at the stars, barely able to sleep.
are you- okay?”
truth was; tears were welling up in my eyes. I began to cry. I felt
Freddie’s hand on my shoulder. “We’ll find him Mark.”
hope so-“I cried.
find him Mark, it shouldn’t be too far away now,” I stared at the ground in
grief-there was nothing these words were doing to comfort me.
least Freddie and Grid were there if we found the worst and there if
everything turned out fine.
couldn’t sleep. I roamed around the camp. I leaned against a tree, staring
at the stars and the bright moon.
“Mark,” I heard Freddie behind me. I turned, “We’ll find him.”
know, I’m just,” I breathed, “I’m just worried.”
his hand on my shoulder.
night wore on; it seemed to take forever until dawn finally came upon the
sunrise made me smiled.
you feelin' better?”
little,” I breathed as we began the ride toward the bright yellow of the
morning, the blond man had become quieter. He was still breathing, and every
once in a while he would call out for “Mark.”
took almost a whole day of riding before we came across anything. I still
had a feeling today we’d find him.
off our horses to stretch; the sun was above the trees and the mountains.
Then something caught my eye.
guys!” I saw a glint of brass in the sand.
its Pa’s rifle!” I said; I knew we were close now. It had been dirtied up a
bit since being left on the road.
spotted two big squares in the distance, “Hey guys, look over there!”
is it Mark?” Grid asked.
wagons over there,” I pointed out toward the horizon.
feel it Mark, we’re really close,” Freddie said.
you God!” I breathed a sigh of relief.
took about an hour or so to get there. The wagons were huge Conestogas, with
canopies like clean white sheets, well a little bit dusty from the
brings you here stranger?” An older man in his forties asked.
lookin' for my father.”
must be Mark I presume?”
my face lit up like a lantern on a cold night, “You mean he’s here?”
keeps talkin' about you and your Pa.”
thought for a moment,” Where’s my Pa?”
solemn look came across his face, as it soon found its way to mine, Oh
no! I thought. I got off of Blue Boy and gave him a pet on his cheek for
support. He could practically read my mind, and he was almost like a friend
sayin’ it was going to be okay. We were both worried.
man took me to the other side of the wagon.
found your Pa and Micah on the side of the road unconscious,” he paused, “we
did the best we could with what we got. “ He seemed to go on forever, but
then when you’re worried every word seems slow to you. “Micah’s doing fine,”
tears began blurring my vision- Was Pa dead?... I barely heard the rest of
the words but I could sense it as I raced as fast as I could to see Pa.
slowly climbed into the cramped wagon, “Pa?” I asked, no response from his
unmoving figure, “Pa?!” I began to cry as I knelt beside his bedside. “Pa!”
I cried onto his shoulder. All I could feel was grief
“Lucas,” Margaret said, “I love you.”
love you too,” I embraced her and kissed her as I did since we first wed up
until the day she left this earth.
gently pushed me out of the kiss, “Lucas,” she looked down at Mark, Freddie
and Grid coming close to where Micah and I were.
its Pa’s rifle,” he had found my rifle in the sand nearby.
back, he’s been missing you an awful lot,” Her eyes shined like Mark’s did
when he smiled. I always saw a lot of Margaret in Mark.
love you Margaret.”
Mark’s familiar voice called, “Pa!” he began to cry on my shoulder, as I
opened my eyes and put a loving hand on his shoulder.
love you Pa,” he wailed out, still in the midst of grief.
love you son,” I smiled.
love you Pa,” I cried, feeling a change in the atmosphere of the room.
love you son,” I heard his voice and smiled with relief. I gave him as big
of a hug as I could.
thought I nearly lost you,” I looked into his blue eyes with relief.
thought I nearly lost you,” I wiped a tear from his cheek.
“You’ll never lose me Mark.”
“You’ll never lose me Mark.” I embraced him, just being in his arms again
made me feel like the luckiest kid in the world.
watched the bright oranges and yellows of the sunset fade to a soft pink and
soon into a darker blue with a streak of turquoise behind it.
you God,” I said as the sun went behind the trees.
beautiful,” I felt a strong hand on my shoulders; it was a wonderful day to
better really quick; Joe said he hasn’t seen anyone hurt that way get better
rode back to North Fork slowly but surely, just in case Pa’s head hurt him.
rode back into North Fork in about three days after we started. The
afternoon sun and a cool breeze greeted us.
“Lucas! Mark!” Millie ran out, a smile as big as the sunrise.
“Millie!” We chimed as we ran to her.
missed you two!”
two best friends in the world!” she grinned.
what about me?” Micah joked.
didn’t forget about you!”
“Mark!” a flowery voice chimed.
I grinned, she kissed me on the cheek. “I sure missed you!”
“You’ll never know!”
Heather's sketch from
near the end
Also checkout some of Heather's other great sketches she has done for
The McCain Ranch!