The Writer's Corner
New Beginnings: Daily
challenges of Lucas, Mark, and now Emma.
What new dilemmas will befall this family?
By Matthew Robles/TheBrother
sun glisten on the newly turned leaves just outside of the
ranch. Golden brown to auburn red, the spectrum of colors
invited one into the new season of fall.
It was chilly outside - a testament of the change in season,
somewhat hinting at the change in the lives of the McCain's at
Cold mornings are always the hardest to wake up in. Lucas
reached over for his coffee, braced for the inevitable
mini-battle he would face with his new daughter.
New daughter? It was still strange to think of it like that.
Even after two months of Emma being here, setting her up in her
own room and taking her faithfully to school each morning. I
have a daughter, Lucas thought and wrestled.
Still, he called Mark - who while not the best at waking up in
the morning, accepted his lot eventually. Emma on the other hand
- that girl had yet to fully embrace morning chores and timely
arrival to school.
It was Mark who was challenged with the task of waking up his
“Emma, wake up.” He said in slight annoyance. “You do this every
morning and you’ve been here for a few months already.”
He walked over and started to nudge her shoulder. Emma responded
by turning away from him. His further nudging only provoked her
to push him away blindly.
“Wake up, Emma”
By this time, Lucas had walked over.
“Emma, wake up.” He said as he moved over to the unwilling
Emma was more responsive to her father then her brother. She
rose from the bed and began to get dressed. It was the early
hours of the morning that was the worst for Emma. She loved the
dresses she had to wear to school but the early morning only
tempted her to dislike them. There was too much effort in
putting one on then she cared to invest while in such a sleepy
The routine of chores and morning meal were followed through
quickly. Lucas readied Blue boy for Mark. He had been using the
buckboard to take Mark and Emma to school, but Mark had
constantly objected since he had desire to take his own horse as
he had been before Emma arrived. Lucas then changed this
procedure since it allowed him more time to work on the ranch
and allowed Mark to take Emma on Blue boy.
Mark saddle the horse and Lucas assisted Emma on. Emma was
placed in front of Mark to allow him to cradle her as they rode.
By this time Emma had fully awoken from her morning daze. She
enjoyed horse riding and eagerly desired to ride her own horse
someday. The horse ride took sometime as Mark and Emma trotted
slowly towards school. Neither spoke as they enjoyed the morning
sun on their skin. The school bell had started to ring as they
arrived at the school house. Emma and Mark made their way into
the classroom. There had been a buzz of gossip amidst the news
that Emma was now Mark’s sister.
It had been rough for Emma to get used to the school environment
involving both the social dynamics and the educational
challenges. At the saloon where she grew up there were no
expectations for her to go to school or to excel in any subjects
other then survival. Her new father, however, put a lot of stalk
into this and that was something she had to get used to.
The teacher was giving a lesson on the use of adverbs in
grammatically correct sentences which was causing her to fall
asleep. Instead she stared out the window of the small one room
classroom and thought about what life was like before with Ma.
Ma was pretty, she had kind eyes which everyone commented on,
but she always seemed tired. She was good to me, as good as I
suppose she could be. Everyone else sort of ignored my presence.
The big boss tolerated me. Ma used to fight with him for me to
stay, but when she got sick she couldn’t anymore. I had to fight
for her, but she died anyway.
Ms. Adams noticed Emma’s drifting attention and ask her “Emma,
how you would correct this sentence - The boy walked quick?”
Emma responded with a dumbfounded stare and responded “Nothing?
Can’t boys walk quick?”
She turned to Mark at this remark. “Mark can you make sure your
sister stays behind after school. I would like a word with her.”
School dragged by as Emma was concerned for her fate after
school. By the time it ended her anxiety was built up but was
slightly dispelled when her teacher lightly reprimanded her
about daydreaming during class. She accompanied her rebuke with
a note to her father.
The two children had been delayed after school so when they
finally departed there was a collection of students gathered at
a distance from the schoolhouse. Mark had known very well what
his classmates were doing in such a meeting. They were telling
scary ghost stories to one another.
Mark, being both attracted and afraid of the stories gravitated
towards the group. Emma followed him as he settled on the ground
listening. She had no desire to go home knowing what awaits her
in the note written to her father.
“...and that's when he felt a cold, bloody hand reaching over
his shoulder.” The crowd squealed in excitement.
One of the older girls, Jessie, who was around eleven
interjected “This is kid’s stuff, I’ve got a real story to
“50 years ago, just after the end of the Civil War, three Yankee
soldiers made their way West. They had lost everything in the
war so they travelled to start a new life. The town they settled
in was called North Fork. At that time, it was a brand new town.
People had settled there from all over, all seeking to make a
new start in a world utterly changed by the face of war. The
soldiers soon began to make new lives of their own and all
seemed alright for a time.
Ten years after arriving in North Fork strange things began
occurring to the soldiers. Their encampment in the town had
often shown signs of being disturbed but nothing was ever taken.
Often during nights, one soldier would find himself in the
middle of the forest sleeping yards away from where he fell
These disturbances only began to get worse every night. Children
would disappear only to reappear with strange markings on their
arms and legs, as if they had been marked by something.
Noises were heard in the night, the people of the town were
frightened. The soldiers knowing that all these occurrences had
happened around them sought to save the town from their own
curses. So they left for the cave nearby the town and shut
No one knows for sure what happened inside that cave. What is
known is those soldiers left the town and went into the cave,
all the strange things stopped. Some say even today that you can
hear the wailing of the soldiers being tormented but nobody
knows by who or what and that sometimes the bodies of these
soldiers reanimate and make their way out of the cave to--”
Jessie turned her glance at little Emma whom seemed to be
“-- seek out little girls whom they steal away to the cave.”
The crowd started a nervous chuckle. The story had given even
the bravest of the group some chills but none of them wanted to
admit their fear. Emma grabbed Mark’s hand and requested to
leave after the story. Knowing the time that had past, Mark
conceded and the two ventured home.
On the way home, Mark tells his sister sternly “Emma, you can’t
She said nothing for sometime. It was evident she was pondering
over something. She spoke when Mark began to repeat himself
“Well actually, I’ve been thinking, I’ll stay quiet if you
don’t show Pa the letter.” Mark paused and reviewed his options.
He was in trouble any other way. So he let his silence indicate
As they pulled into the ranch Lucas greeted them “Hey Kids, how
Lucas was working on a rail post that had become unstable.
“Fine” Mark said as he runs towards the barn to unsaddle Blue
“Ok” replies Emma out of the side of her mouth as she ran
towards the house away from any further questions.
“Ok...” Lucas, knowing something was amiss which involved both
of his children calmly followed his son into the barn.
“Mark, for the second time, did everything go well at school
Avoiding the eyes of his father, Mark replies “Yeah, Pa,
everything went fine.”
“I can sense something is different from what you’re telling
me.” He said with concern. “I am going to let you rethink your
answer and then I’ll ask you again after supper.”
He departed to let Mark finish some chores before dinner. Emma
had begun setting the table for dinner when Lucas entered the
house. He addressed Emma with the same concern he had with Mark.
“I know something is going on that your not telling me, Emma.”
Lucas said to his daughter.
“Nothing Pa.” She insisted as she doled out plates on the table.
“After supper I am going to have a talk with you and Mark.” He
stated as he began getting the food he had prepared.
After completing the routine tasks the family sat together,
prayed, and ate. This supper was quieter then usual. Both
children knew what they had to face after the supper was over so
both of them seemed to eat slower then usual as well.
When the meal was completed, Mark, as usual, was sent to wash
the dishes while
Emma was assigned the task to dry them. Lucas in the meantime
had sat upon his chair, the recent events with his children had
reminded him of some scripture. He opened his bible to the book
And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and
dwelt between Kadesh and Shur and sojourned in Gerar. And
Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." And
Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to
Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, "Behold, thou
art but a dead man, because of the woman whom thou hast taken;
for she is a man's wife." But Abimelech had not come near her;
and he said, "Lord, wilt Thou slay also a righteous nation? Said
he not unto me, `She is my sister'? And she, even she herself
said, `He is my brother.' In the integrity of my heart and
innocency of my hands have I done this."
And God said unto him in a dream, "Yea, I know that thou didst
this in the integrity of thy heart, for I also withheld thee
from sinning against Me. Therefore I suffered thee not to touch
her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a
prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live. And if
thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou
and all that are thine." Therefore Abimelech rose early in the
morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things
in their hearing; and the men were sore afraid. Then Abimelech
called Abraham and said unto him, "What hast thou done unto us?
And how have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and
on my kingdom a great sin? Thou hast done deeds unto me that
ought not to be done." And Abimelech said unto Abraham, "What
sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?" And Abraham said,
"Because I thought surely the fear of God is not in this place,
and they will slay me for my wife's sake. And yet indeed she is
my sister: she is the daughter of my father, but not the
daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.
And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my
father's house, that I said unto her, `This is thy kindness
which thou shalt show unto me: at every place whither we shall
come, say of me, "He is my brother."'" And Abimelech took sheep
and oxen, and menservants and womenservants, and gave them unto
Abraham, and restored to him Sarah his wife. And Abimelech said,
"Behold, my land is before thee. Dwell where it pleaseth thee."
And unto Sarah he said, "Behold, I have given thy brother a
thousand pieces of silver; behold, he is to thee a covering of
the eyes unto all who are with thee and with all other." Thus
she was reproved.
So Abraham prayed unto God. And God healed Abimelech, and his
wife and his maid servants; and they bore children, for the LORD
had closed up fast all the wombs of the house of Abimelech
because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.
Lucas sat and pondered about the words he had read. Abraham did
not lie. Sarah was indeed his half-sister and thus his sister.
But he had failed to tell the needed truth. Was Mark failing to
tell the whole truth? It seemed so.
He had finished by the time the children completed the task of
washing the dishes. They sat at the table again to start what
homework they had. Lucas walked over to the table where the
“Mark, Emma, what happened in school today?” He said with a firm
Mark glanced over to Emma. He was feeling the need to speak out
to tell him the truth. One way or another his father was going
to find out. It was always the way it happened. At least if he
was upfront about it then he might get off with less of a
Emma on the other hand was stoned faced. She apparently had
nothing to say to her father. Mark spoke up when it was clear
she would not speak.
“Today in school, me and Emma over heard a ghost story one of
our classmates told us. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t
want to get into trouble with you. But...also Emma got a note
from a teacher as well.”
He scrambled out a note from his pocket.
“How come you didn’t show me this before?” His father asked as
he took the note from Mark.
“Well, Emma said she would tell you what she heard if I did and
I didn’t want to get into trouble.”
Lucas was taken aback. Emma blackmailed Mark? She was a little
girl. How would she know these kinds of tricks?
Emma spoke up: “Mark, you have a big mouth.” she said with a
Lucas was caught in an inroad. Before it was just Mark that was
in trouble, but now both Emma and Mark are in trouble. On top of
that Emma’s action surely superseded that of Mark’s. How was he
to approach this dilemma?
“Mark, you know that I expect more from you since you are the
older one. You did the right thing in admitting the truth, but
you should not have put yourself in that situation when you know
how I feel about you listening to ghost stories. You’re excused
now. I need to speak to your sister.”
Mark stepped away slowly. This was the first time he had ever
walked away from his father when he was in trouble without
getting a punishment. Life with Emma was starting to look a lot
When he reached his room he could hear his father speaking with
his sister but he could not make out what was being said. He
heard his sister’s little voice more often then he expected.
Whenever he faced his Father he spoke little for that produced
the least amount of punishment, but it definitely seemed Emma
was not taking that route.
Mark tried to listen to what was being said but the voices were
mumbled by the wooden door. He began to get ready for bed after
a couple minutes had passed. While he was at this task he heard
stomping towards the front of the house. Was his Pa and Emma
going outside? Their conversation was taking longer then was
usual when it was just Pa and him.
The front door opened and closed shortly after. Mark walked over
to the window across from the bed to see where the two were
parading. From the looks of it, Pa was taking Emma to the barn.
Mark knew what that meant. God help Emma.
A few days had passed after that night. Emma was still on rough
terms with her Pa but the relationship was slowly improving for
the better. Lucas was no longer the most stubborn person in the
The night had been calm and so the children fell asleep easily.
Lucas was not up for much longer despite reading scripture
before sleep. The weather put the house at a nice temperature,
enough so that the occupants slept quietly during the night.
That did not prevent any outside interference.
Emma awoke after hearing a movement beside her window. Her eyes
had not yet began focusing when she looked at the window and saw
a shadowy figure lurking outside the window. Her own movement
cause the figure to disappear in the night. Having remembered
the story about little girls being taken, she quickly ran over
to Mark and Pa’s room. With fear in her voice, she called to
Mark and shook him when she reached him.
Pa awoke from the commotion Emma was making. He knew quickly
enough that Emma was afraid. Mark, had a couple of these nights
when he was young. Bad dreams often plagued the young,
especially after hearing scary ghost stories.
“Emma, you’ve just had a bad dream.” Lucas said as Emma was
being comforted by Mark.
“I saw something out my window” Emma said as she held Mark
“No, I’m sure it was just a coon or coyote” Mark said trying to
Lucas spoke up in attempt to quell her fears and finally get to
“Alright Emma, I’ll go take a look outside your window. Mark
take her back to her room and see if every thing's alright
When Mark and Emma had exited, Pa put on some jeans and walked
outside the house bare chested. He rounded the corner of the
house expecting to see nothing. His expectations were fulfilled
but as he was making his way back to the front door, he saw
something odd in the corner of his eye. He turned back around
for further inspection. It appeared as though there indeed was
someone outside of Emma’s bedroom window. He knew that none of
his daily work ever made him pass by the window as closely as
some of these footprints were. Possibly Mark had come closer in
the past few days. Whatever the case, there was no one here this
Lucas went back in and put Mark and Emma back to sleep despite
the youngest child’s protests. This was the reason he did not
want Mark or Emma listening to silly children ghost stories only
meant to harass these poor children's consciences.
That morning ran as routine as normal. Mark and Emma went to
school, while Lucas went into town to see Micah. He wanted to
speak with him about leaving town to sell some cattle in Santa
Fe. He had some trouble finding Micah that morning, so he
proceeded to Hattie’s store to speak to her about watching Mark
and Emma for his trip. He was speaking with Hattie about these
plans when he started hearing a barrage of bullets ringing out
of the saloon. Having his rifle with him as he always did, he
pushed his way past the doors of the general store.
When the saloon came in vision, he notice Micah fumbling his way
out the swinging doors of the saloon as bullets whizzed past
him. Lucas slung up his rifle and started laying out cover fire
for his friend. Noticing the help, Micah ran across the street
while ducking his head and dodging incoming fire. Micah made
his way behind a post and and finally took aim with the shotgun
he had been carrying, but had not yet used .
The covering fire had caught these villains off guard, but they
quickly recovered and began shooting back at Lucas. Noticing the
scant cover they had, both Lucas and Micah retreated into he
“Hattie, get your patrons and you to the back of the store now!”
Hattie and a few customers scrambled towards the back of the
store as Lucas began reloading his Winchester rifle. He crouched
down against the wall of the store as splinters sprayed against
his clothing. He glanced a look over at Micah. His friend knew
the question he asked with his look.
“Two boys came looking for trouble last night in the saloon.
They drank up a tab and refused to pay. So here we are now.”
Micah stated as he loaded his own gun.
A few more bullets hit the general store but soon the scene
settled with only the sound of wind blowing past. Lucas and
Micah could hear one of the guys calling out to them in a loud
“Looks like our little chat went awry. Why don’t we try again.
See here, I’ma throw out my gun.”
Micah and Lucas saw a handgun fly out of the doorway of the
saloon and tumble into the dirt road outside. The owner of the
gun walked out with his hands partially raised.
Micah stood up, lowered his weapon and began walking out of the
store to speak to the man. He whispered to Lucas before he had
“I don’t trust these two. Exit the store from the side and spot
Micah walked out as though he were taking a morning stroll. He
stopped at the ends of the steps leading up to the general
store. The gunman spoke up first.
“Listen now, it seems both of us were a bit confused. We were
under the assumption drinks after the first bottle were free.” A
smirk grew on the man’s face. He continued. “Looks like we were
wrong and now we’re ready to pay.”
“You didn’t have to make it this difficult.” Micah responded as
he look the man over trying to read his true intentions.
The gunman eyed around him and looked at the general store’s
“Where’s your friend?” He asked.
By this time, Lucas had made it around to the side of the
building. He leaned against the corner of the building as he
took a look at the saloon. He saw some movement in an up-stair
“Oh, something caught his fancy in the store and he’s interested
in buying. Where is your friend?”
Lucas raised his weapon with the iron sights on the window. As
he did this, the barrel of a rifle began poking slowly out
behind a cloth drape. It’s aim was at Micah on the street down
“Oh, it doesn’t matter. Here let me get you the money.”
He began reaching towards his back pocket when a bullet rang
out. The man in the street pulled a hidden hand gun from behind
his back and crouched at his spot. Micah was quick at the draw
and shot and hit the man before he had time to take aim. Micah
took a look at the place he heard a man cry out. Sticking out of
the window of the saloon was a man draped over dead.
Micah would be busy for the next few hours settling the affairs
with the owner of the saloon and taking the bodies of these dead
men to the blacksmith who doubled as an undertaker. After that
he would have to write a report. Lucas would have to delay is
conversation with Micah for some time. So he excused himself, he
wanted to finish some work on the fence of the North Pasture.
A man dressed in a fine coated descended off the last step of
the stage coach. It was clear from the stern look of his face he
had business in this town. After paying a few coachmen to
transport his effects to the Hotel Madera, he strolled on
towards the sheriffs office.
By this time Micah had finished working on the ordeal the
morning produced and had only begun to work on other matters he
set aside. A man of status stepped in his office as he picked up
a new sheet.
“I’m assuming you’re the sheriff in this town?” The man said
with a disappointed tone.
“Yes, I am Sheriff Micah Torrance. Do you need something?” Micah
said. If he was a man with means it was apparent that he could
afford to be rude.
“Yes actually, now that you ask. I am looking for a child named
Emma.” He stated.
Micah paused. “What is your reason for asking?”
Showing his apparent annoyance he replied:
“I have received correspondence that an orphan girl named Emma
was sent here to get adopted and now I am here after hearing of
her mother’s death to claim her.”
“Claim her? I’m sorry, but it seems she has already been
“I feared as much.” He pulled out a court document from within
his coat. He presented it to Micah.
If the document was in fact true, than it seems that he is the
true father of Emma.
The Undeniable Truth
These stories are based on the TV series
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
The Writer's Corner
Table of Contents
around The McCain Ranch