The Writer's Corner
Written by Klara's
The man stopped his horse and
turned around in the saddle, looking back. The wagons were heavy
so the going was tough on that broken ground. The rider smiled
anyway. A new life had begun. The land was wide and free, ready
for pioneers who had the guts to conquer it and were handy
enough with their tools and guns. He looked ahead. There,
between the tense brushes and the crippled trees was the river.
Today they would cross over and tomorrow the trek would set off
into the vast prairie, going straight south into the best land,
The Good Lord in His mercy had ever created.
Yes, Mister Küster was a lucky man. He smiled gladly, when he
drove his black horse further to the water. For a moment he
allowed himself to cast back his mind. Pictures of his old
parents he had left behind in Germany many thousands miles away
came to mind. He had promised them that he would make a fortune
in the New World. Then he would come back and lead them into
their new home across the Atlantic Ocean, to paradise.
The other side of the river was only 50 feet away. The lush
grass over there was so high, that a man on his horse could
easily disappear … or hide in it. When Küster even heard a wild
duck somewhere in the bushes over there he murmured a few words
in his German mother tongue, a dear memento of his home land so
“Was für ein herrliches Land.”
But then he remembered that he was now an American citizen and
pioneer, part of a young nation's hope and so he repeated the
sentence proudly in his new language:
“What a wonderful land.”
The duck could be heard a second time. The four covered wagons
had come up now. The oxen were slow and surly but amazingly
strong and persevering. Mister Küster rode back to the second
“Alright … everything?”
Surely his English was not yet perfect, but the young woman on
the wagon appreciated his concern. She smiled when she answered,
accentuating each word.
“Yes, Mister Küster … everything … is … alright … thank you.”
Mister Küster nodded. The young lady's smile was also something
that filled his heart with joy. She had joined the trek a couple
of days ago and …
„Shall we cross over now, mister?“
The sweaty man who was driving the first wagon seemed a little
worried about the river's current. Küster turned his horse
around and nodded again. His hand pointed over to the other side
of the river.
“Ja, we go … now … yes …”
Then he rode back through the tense brushes at the banks right
into the cool water. The ford was maybe 20 inches deep. The duck
on the other side welcomed Küster. Small birds flew up, trying
to hide between the bushes. Küster looked around for a few
seconds then he lifted his hat and waved to the trek.
“It is good. You come … now!”
Küster saw the heavy wagons breaking through the green bushes.
He heard the hooves of the sluggish oxen on the stones. Then he
saw the pretty woman in the second wagon again, the woman whose
beautiful eyes had captivated his heart. He was determined to
court her and surely she would say “yes” when he would propose
to her … in their new home somewhere out there. Yes, Mister
Küster was without doubt a lucky man. Again the duck could be
heard … louder this time.
Küster was still smiling when two sharp arrows pierced his
chest, throwing him off his black horse. His body plunged into
the cold stream. So he didn't have to hear the blood curdling
war cry out of more than twenty throats, the shots, the panic
screams of a terrified woman. Countless hooves galloped over his
body but he didn't feel anything anymore, not even when seconds
later brutal hands grasped his blond hair and jerked his head
out of the bloody water. The long blade was sharp as a razor so
taking the beautiful scalp was just a matter of seconds. All
that didn't reach his senses anymore. Yes, Mister Küster was
indeed a lucky man.
The old sergeant looked down on the arrow-ridden body at his
“What do you mean by that, sergeant?”
The grizzled man looked up, gazed into the grey eyes of his
superior. The young lieutenant was strapping, good-locking and
naturally arrogant. So it was no wonder that the bearded
sergeant didn't think the world of him. West Point graduates
were all the same to him. Somewhere between the giant rocks a
hungry coyote was howling. The sly animal was obviously eager to
continue his bloody meal.
“Lucky, I said, sir. I mean that this man was killed instantly
and not taken alive. That's what I meant with … lucky, sir.”
The young lieutenant with the thin moustache and the grey eyes
didn´t answer. More than twenty-five bodies, mutilated and
scalped, were covering the sandy ground of the narrow canyon.
The whole company had been slaughtered two days ago in that trap
but the young officer was tough enough to stand the gruesome
sight. Though the sand beneath his dusty boots was soiled with
dried blood, pieces of torn uniforms and empty shells he didn't
let on any sign of sorrow or grief, when he turned to his men, a
reconnaissance patrol of twenty inexperienced soldiers.
Only the grey-bearded sergeant was a veteran, allegedly wounded
during the siege of Petersburg many years ago. The old man shook
his head. It was clear that he considered his self-opinionated
superior a mere nuisance so he turned around and headed to the
end of the canyon where the air was more breathable. Again the
young lieutenant tried to say something, maybe even bark a harsh
order, but then he decided to remain silent. All the other
soldiers were obviously terrified by the carnage. None of them
was older than twenty-two, and the cruel fate of their comrades
had turned them very pallid. Suddenly the lieutenant felt very
lonely among his despondent men. They were mere strangers to
him, not friends or brothers in arms. But he was responsible for
them. Leading such a patrol was never an easy task. He holstered
his revolver and tried to analyze the situation in a military
manner as he had been told in West Point.
Well, they had carried out their order: search for the missing
company. That was the only thing that really mattered. The
circling vultures had shown them the way. But there was one more
thing to do.
“Any sign of the major?”
A tall corporal with freckles around his nose sighed, full of
anxiety and apprehension.
“No, sir, Major Franklin is not among the dead. Seems that he
was captured by the hostile injuns, sir.”
“No, I've just found him, sir!”
The sergeant emerged behind a huge rock near the end of the
narrow canyon. The officer frowned. His face seemed to be
hammered out of stone.
“You found the major?”
The scared cheeks of the old veteran were grey, when he nodded
“What´s left of him, sir.”
The lieutenant started walking to the rock, but the old man made
a knee-jerk movement to stop him.
“Don´t go there, sir. I beg you. That is not longer Major
Franklin over there. You would not recognize him, sir. That is
The young lieutenant gave him a withering glare. For a moment he
hated the old man. He envied him for his calmness, based on
experience and military instinct, for the popularity he enjoyed
among the young troopers. But still he was in charge and he knew
what was necessary. He knew his duty and he cursed it.
“We have to bury him, sergeant. Major Edward Franklin was my
friend and what´s more, he was my superior officer. I have to
pay reference to him. Have I made myself clear, sergeant?”
“Sir, please, listen to me. Don't go there ….”
“Have I made myself clear, sergeant?”
The sergeant walked slowly back to the rest of the column while
his superior headed for the rock, passing two dead horses and a
burnt wagon that had once carried ammunition and other supplies.
Now two men were still tied to the charred wheels. They had not
been so lucky …
The old man looked around, seeing all the pale faces of his
young comrades, covered with dust and sweat. He liked those
young fellows. All of them could have been his sons or even
grandsons. Vultures were still circling over the barren hills.
The veteran sighed. He walked through the soft sand over to his
nervously nickering horse and slowly he pulled a half-filled
bottle out of his saddle bag. He knew that he would need it in a
few moments, hoping that it would be enough …
After two minutes the lieutenant returned. The old sergeant
didn't even have to look into his grey eyes to know that his
superior was now another man, still strapping and handsome but
with a mind that had changed completely, that had gone dark
forever, never to lighten up again. When the officer tried to
say something about the state of Franklin's body the bearded
sergeant handed him the whisky.
The lieutenant took the bottle without hesitation or thanks and
drank hastily. The sergeant didn't smile, was still utterly
serene and silent, however deep inside he welcomed his superior
to the army.
“Now you know what being a soldier is all about, my boy.”
Three cans were sent flying up into the air by three rapidly
fired shots. Lucas smiled contently. For that day, his practice
was over. It was a hot afternoon and his thirst grew worse. When
he walked over to the well he noticed two silhouettes against
the cloudless sky up on the ridge. Lucas shadowed his eyes. Yes,
now he could see those strangers. Two unknown horsemen had
appeared on the ridge behind the house, slowly approaching the
ranch. Lucas put on his shirt and eyed the visitors. The first
was a wintry-looking old man, wearing a black hat, a grey jacket
and black pants, riding a buckskin stallion. But Lucas´
attention was caught by two distinctive features the man was
wearing: a black patch over his left eye and the badge of a US
Marshal on his weathered leather vest. The old lawman's voice
was gloomy and dark, raspy and calm.
“Howdy, Marshal. What can I do for you?”
“The name is Blaine, Daniel Blaine. I am responsible for the
territory west of here. I still don't know what the Good Lord
was thinking when he created that hellish land, but I am the law
there. Especially in Silverton I have serious problems with scum
of the worst kind. That's exactly where I caught up with this
fine gentleman here three days ago.”
He pointed to the second rider. That man was considerably
younger and obviously an Indian. His dark skin seemed to shimmer
in the bright sun. His braided black hair was falling over his
narrow shoulders and covered the upper part of his slim body. He
was wearing a round hat, decorated with small feathers and
colorful pearls. His white shirt and his pants were adorned with
several Indian patterns. His hands were cuffed in front of him,
holding on to the saddle horn. Lucas starred into the face of
the warrior. The man's glance was showing no sign of fear,
remorse or despair. Lucas needed a couple of seconds to figure
out why those small eyes over the sharp cheek bones seemed so
threatening: the man's eyes were rather dark, but undeniably …
Marshal Blaine was obviously unimpressed by the eyes of his
captive. The grizzled lawman had a cruel, unforgiving glance
himself. His uncanny charisma was that of a relentless killer,
who just happened to wear a badge. With such a cruel streak
maybe he was indeed the right man for a lawless city like
Silverton. Noticing the rancher's concern he disdainfully smiled
at his prisoner.
“You don't have to worry about nothing, mister. The very moment
he tries something he will be dead. I would shoot him without a
qualm like the dirty dog that he is. This damn injun has killed
a man in Silverton in cold blood. Now I am bringing him in. The
only place for such a stinking redskin is the deepest cell in
Yuma, or the highest gallows anywhere. I intend to stay here at
your place and have a little chow, if you don't mind. I can pay,
“McCain, Lucas McCain.”
Now Blaine was obviously stunned for a moment. His
broad-shouldered figure straightened up in the saddle. He even
managed to smile in a respectful way.
“Now I know why I heard rifle shots back there. You are the
rancher they call The Rifleman. It's an honor meeting you,
Mister McCain. I heard a great deal about you. I certainly did.”
Lucas nodded politely although he started to worry. He was not
sure what those visitors could mean to him. He overcame the
temptation to look into those blue eyes again.
“Be my guest, Mister Blaine.”
“Much obliged, yes sir. Much obliged indeed.”
The lawman dismounted. When standing on the ground Lucas noticed
how big and impressive Blaine really was. The lawman was almost
as tall as Lucas himself but much stronger, with massive arms
and big hands. His prisoner looked like a mere boy compared to
“Let´s go, redskin. Move before I shoot you off your horse. I
mean it and you know it. Tonight I intend to leave you in
custody in North Fork for a couple of days … if you are still
alive by then, that is.”
The lawman's right hand moved down to his hip, where a massive
Colt 45 with an ivory grip was holstered. There was no doubt
that he knew how to use it.
The Indian remained motionless for one more instant before
slowly dismounting, too. Still he hadn't spoken a word. The
Marshal showed again his disdainful smile. Lucas took his rifle.
He was glad to feel the cold steel of the barrel in his sweaty
fist. The three men entered the house.
The horse was breathing hard when galloping over the meadow.
Mark hurried home. It had been a successful day at school. The
teacher had been impressed by the boy's presentation about
General Sherman ´s campaign in Georgia. Besides he was hungry.
Surely his Pa had already … two unknown horses were standing in
front of the porch. Apparently his father had welcomed visitors.
He stopped his horse and dismounted.
Mark entered. His eyes became wide. His father was in the
company of two men, he had never seen before. One of them, a
giant fellow with a black eye batch turned his head.
“What have we here? Your boy, Mister McCain?”
Lucas turned and walked over to his son, putting a hand on his
“Yes, that's my son Mark, gentlemen.”
The fearsome man with the badge on his vest and the hand at the
Colt by his side nodded.
“A mighty fine boy. It's sure nice meeting you, Mark.”
Only now, Mark noticed the second visitor: a man in cuffs, an
Indian with dark hair and … blue eyes. Before Mark could say
something, Lucas smiled.
“I hope you are hungry, Mark. How was school?”
“Fine … just fine, Pa.”
“And then, the teacher said that the other boys should consider
my speech as example, how a presentation about the history of
our nation is all about.”
Lucas just proudly smiled but Mister Blaine was obviously
impressed by the story.
“Yes, Mark, Sherman is one kind of a man. He has a great name.
One day you will also have a name, just like him … or your
father, the man with the rifle.”
The dinner had been tasty and Mark could have been satisfied
with the outcome of the day. But still he was … timid. The
uncanny appearance of the old man with the eye batch gave the
meal a strange atmosphere. But even more was Mark curious about
the second visitor. Still the captive remained mute and
unconcerned, had hardly eaten anything. His blue eyes were half
open. At times he seemed to drowse or to … pray silently to his
gods. For what? To gather strength? What for? Escape? To kill
his guardian? Mark tried to pluck up all his courage and asked.
“What´s … what's your name, … sir?”
For a moment, there was an awkward silence. Blaine turned
crimson and before Lucas could say something, the one-eyed
lawman balled his right fist.
“Don´t call this stinking redskin “sir”, boy. It's even a
disgrace to breathe the same air with this drunken dog. He is
nothing but a pagan, a ruthless murderer and he will stand trial
Lucas's eyes turned cold.
“That´s enough! No matter what this man has committed: he is a
guest under my roof, just as you, Mister Blaine. As such he has
a right to be respected. Is that clear?”
Blaine was stunned. Apparently he was not used to such
objection. But before he could react the captive lifted slightly
his head. His blue eyes were open for a long moment, starring at
All three was surprised by the clarity of the voice, by this one
simple but unknown word, by the mere realization that the mute
Indian could speak. Lucas was the first to react.
“What did you just say, mister?”
The Indian slowly turned his head to the rancher. His voice was
deep, cold, clear and threatening, but also charming and full of
“My name is Tomóbi. That the word my people use for “sky”. I got
this name because of the color of my eyes. I am Tomóbi, Mister
McCain and am grateful for your hospitality and the food. You
are not like the other white men, I know. When the time comes, I
will spare you.”
Before Lucas could answer, the prisoner turned to Mark who was
starring at the Indian with his mouth open.
“I thank you for asking for my name, Mark. It shows that you
respect a warrior. You have honored my name by asking for it. I
consider you as fellow warrior despite your youth. Our good
Marshal here is right: the gods will grant you a great name
Blaine's hand had moved down to his gun. The mere sound of the
man's clear and deep voice had terrified him. Even Lucas's
mouth was open in awe. This time Mark was the first one to
“The Comanches …”
Milly was almost finished. It was surely no particular pleasure
to darn Micah´s old pants. But she did it for two reasons. First
the old man was grateful for that kind of support and he was
generous: being prepared to pay three dollars he provided Milly
an extra income. But the more important reason was that she
liked the seasoned lawman. Now the last hole was mended at last.
Milly put the garment aside and sighed. He was glad to call
Micah Torrance a friend. That night she would return the pants
and use the opportunity to have a nice talk to her … beloved
grandfather. The young woman smiled.
When two horsemen appeared at the end of the street, Micah
frowned. One of them was an Indian with long black hair. The
other was …
“Howdy , Marshal. The name is Blaine, Daniel Blaine, coming from
Micah was stunned, when the one-eyed lawman dismounted and shook
his hand. Silverton: the very name of that lawless territory
made Micah glad that destiny made him Marshal in a peaceful town
like North Fork. On the other hand he appreciated the
opportunity to meet his colleague, who was brave enough to take
things into his hands in this god-forsaken land west of North
“Micah Torrance, pleased to meet you, Mister Blaine. What can I
do for you? I can't help noticing that you are traveling with
company, Mister Blaine.”
The giant man nodded and pointed to the brave, who was again a
mute monument of dignity and disdain for the white man's world
and what it stood for. The one-eyed lawman's voice showed how
important this Indian was to him.
“Mister Torrance, this captive is hereby committed into your
custody for the next two days. By then I will be back with
reinforcement as well as some other outlaws to return to the
prison of Yuma, where justice will be done.”
“Will be a pleasure to be of any assistance, I am capable of,
Mister Blaine. I am sure glad that Silverton has now …”
“Much obliged, Mister Torrance. Get off your horse … Sky.”
The captive was looking curiously around before dismounting. The
street was not particular busy that day. For a moment the shadow
of a disdainful smile appeared on his narrow lips. Then he
turned and looked at Micah's face. The old man froze. Those eyes
Lucas was furious. For an hour he had been busy rummaging
through all his drawers. Mark grew more and more curious about
that strange behavior.
“Pa, I know it's not my business, but …”
“That´s right, Mark, it has nothing to do with you!”
Mark was astonished by the sharpness in his father's voice. For
a moment Lucas kept on rifling through the documents he had
found in his drawers. Piles of paper were already littering the
floor. But then Lucas stopped and looked up, heaving a sigh.
“Sorry, son. I didn't mean to be mad at you. But it is very
important to me to find a certain letter.”
Mark was obviously surprised.
“I reckon it is not one of Mum's old love letters?”
“Surely not! Please leave me for a moment. I will tell you all
about in due time. But now I have to find that particular
letter. I know I still got it! It must be here somewhere!”
Mark nodded. He knew his father well enough to realize that
leaving him to his secret doing was the better choice, so the
young man left the house. But after a few more seconds the
rancher opened an old book that was stored on a dusty shelf. A
yellowed piece of paper dropped out.
“I have got it! At last! Now he will tell me what happened! He
He took his rifle and stormed out of the house. Mark looked at
him when he mounted his beautiful horse and galloped away at
heading for North Fork.
Micah had a great deal of experience with outlaws, dangerous as
they come. But the Indian back there in the cell made him mighty
Those blue eyes …
Blaine had left hours ago for Santa Fe in order to line up some
support and so Torrance was alone with the responsibility of
guarding the Indian. Normally he wouldn't have mind since such a
duty was part of his job but on days like that Micah felt tired,
worn out, not good any more. The age had slowly but mercilessly
sunk into his bones. He longed for relaxation, for retirement,
for peace. On days like he felt so lonely, so terribly lonely.
So seeing his best friend heading for his office made him happy
for one moment but the he saw Lucas´ cold eyes. Something was
“Micah! Is he in there?”
“Sure, Lucas Boy, but what …”
“Open up! I must talk to this Comanche!”
“Sky” was already standing at the bars, as if he had waited for
the infuriated rancher. His voice was calm, serene, even polite
but let on a strange form of …. deadly superiority, despite the
massive bars only inches in front of his face.
“Mister McCain. What a nice surprise.”
“We will see about that! Your name is … Tomóbi! Is that correct?
Is that your name? Tomóbi?”
“That is correct, Mister McCain.”
Lucas showed a devilish grin. Whatever it was that made him
angry, it was something very personal.
“In this case this might be of interest to you. I have found a
letter at my home, a letter from an old friend of mine, long
dead and gone. I will tell you all about it and if my suspicion
proves to be correct, you will hang.”
The blue-eyed captive smiled in cold expectation for the story
of that mysterious letter. Lucas took the paper out of the
breast pocket of his white shirt. His other hand was still
holding the rifle.
“My friend was an officer in the army. We marched four years
side by side during the war. We saved each other's life more
than once, I can tell you. My own brother could not be closer to
me. After Appomattox he remained a soldier, became even an
officer. I was there when he received his promotion. We
celebrated together. Years later he sent me this letter, telling
me that he was planning a campaign against your people.”
“Just days before he set out to lead his men against the
Comanches, he told me in this letter some details about the
planned campaign. He mentioned a trusted Indian scout he
believed he could rely on. He mentions that Indian's name right
here … your name!”
Now Micah, who had stayed silent so far, stepped closer and
looked up to the towering man.
“Are you sure, Lucas?”
“It says right here! Only days after sending this letter the
whole command was slaughtered. Soon rumors came up that the
troops were lead into an ambush … by an Indian scout, whose body
was never discovered among the other dead, because he had worked
for his fellow Comanches … because he was a traitor! You were
that scout, responsible for that defeat, Tomóbi! You murdered
Major Edward Franklin!”
Micah was stunned by that harrowing story. Only Tomóbi stayed
motionless, untouched, cold.
“I told you that I respected you, Mister McCain. Therefore you
deserve the truth, being the fellow warrior I see in you. Yes, I
lead the company into that canyon, where the war party lied in
wait. It was over in just a couple of minutes. I personally took
Major Franklin's scalp, while he was still alive. I can still
hear his scream. Your dear friend was not much of a warrior
after all, I must tell you.”
After a terribly silent moment Micah outstretched his left arm.
“Gimme your rifle, Lucas. He is my prisoner. He is gonna stand
trial and he is gonna pay. Don't do anything stupid now
otherwise I have to arrest you, too. There will be no unlawful
killing, as long as this badge is pinned to my vest. You know
that, Lucas. Please, hand over your gun now.”
Without taking his hateful eyes of the fearsome enemy, Lucas
vaguely shook his head. His face was sallow. His cloved fingers
were dangerously near the rifle's trigger.
“I won't do anything against the law, Micah. I want to see him
sentenced and executed for that murder.”
Knowing his friend's violent temper, Micah was not yet
“He will! He is gonna pay for his betrayal! I will personally
see to it. But now I have to ask you to leave. Please, Lucas
Boy, go now.”
While starring into those narrow blue eyes, Lucas remained
surprisingly cool. Only his glance revealed his deadly hate. It
was clear that Major Franklin had been very dear to him.
“Micah, I am gonna stay in town as long as this traitor is in
your custody. If you need a hand in order to send him to the
gallows I insist that you let me know. You will find me in the
hotel! Normally I would stay here with you but I can't stomach
being near this criminal. I might lose my temper after all. And
the hangman has gotta make a living too. As soon as you need me,
call me. Understood?”
“Maybe you should go home. Mark will be waiting and …”
“What do you want?”
“Just to have a word with you, Marshal, if you don't mind.”
Micah sighed and looked outside. The sun had already sunk and
few people could be seen on the street. Never before the
darkness had seemed so intense, so impenetrable. The moon looked
down on him like a grinning skull, pale and … patiently waiting.
Micah frowned. He took the revolver that was placed in front of
him on the desk and holstered it. Then he walked over to the
cell. “Sky” was sitting in a corner of the cell, resembling with
his tense black hair a crow that had hidden his head under a
wing. He didn't look up, when Micah stepped in, approaching the
“What is it?”
“I want to talk to you. I want you to understand. You wear the
silver badge. You are a war chief among the white men. You will
understand what I did.”
“I am no chief and I will not understand your treason. There is
nothing we have to talk about.”
Now the Indian slowly rose. He stood up and walked over to the
bars. Now the two men looked each other into the eyes. Being a
professional lawman Micah forced himself to stay calm.
“Hear me, chief. My father was a great brave, a Comanche. My
mother was a woman from your tribe. He gave me her blue eyes, so
I got this name you hate so much: Tomóbi. I have a name, I am
proud of. When I had seen 17 years, I went hunting to provide
food for my family. When I returned our village was destroyed.
White men had come and burned it, killed every man, every woman
and every child. I swore revenge and went to the village of the
white man to learn the name of the white war chief, who had
taken my family’s scalps. I found him at a place called a fort.
He was always with many of his soldiers so I could not kill him.
But I could see that he was still proud of the scalps he had
taken in our village and his tribe was proud of him, praising
him as a great brave. I could see from a distance that one of
those scalps was different, not black but brown and curly.”
“Your mother's scalp, I reckon.”
“You say it, Marshal. So I swore to get near that white chief
and when he needed a scout I came to him and signed a paper they
gave me. After some time I gained Franklin's trust and so it was
easy for me to lead him into the ambush, my brothers had
prepared for his soldiers. I took Franklin's scalp and I was
proud of it. A couple of days ago I also killed a man in
Silverton, a drunk and former lieutenant who had served under
Franklin and had helped burying the remains of his company.”
Micah looked down, shaking his head. Now the situation was even
more awkward. Still he could hear his best friend's voice.
“I want to see him sentenced and executed for that murder.”
Treason was treason and murder was murder. There was no excuse.
And there was no doubt what the verdict would be. And still …
Tomóbi was well aware of the old man's thought. The treacherous
Indian even smiled. His prisoner's voice was more fearsome than
“I don't care, if I hang. But I want you to understand, why I
did it. That is all that's important to me, because I respect
you, Marshal. That's why I didn't tell Mister McCain. His hate
is too strong. He would not understand. He loved his friend too
much. Franklin was an honorable warrior in his eyes.”
Micah felt again old and weary. He longed more than ever for his
retirement. And he felt lonely, so terribly lonely. He lowered
his head, trying not to let on any of his torturing feelings.
“Well, Tomóbi, I am sorry about what happened. But there is
nothing I can do for you. No jury would ever understand your
“Of course they will not understand. They are no warriors. They
know nothing about honor and respect. My mother told me all
about honor. A white woman who had become a Comanche to get
killed and scalped by white men.”
Micah looked up.
“Tell me more about your mother, Tomóbi.”
Fists were hammering against the door. Lucas was awake at once
and jumped right out of his bed in the hotel room, his rifle in
hand. A female voice could be heard from outside.
“Lucas, come quickly!”
“Milly? What happened?!”
“It´s Micah, Lucas! Hurry!”
“You have been lucky, Marshal. Only a minor concussion. In a few
days you will be …”
Lucas stormed into Doc Barrage's room. Milly followed with eyes
red from tears.
“What happened?! How bad is it?!”
Micah was sitting on the bed, while the physician kept on
bandaging the old man's head. Micah's wrinkled face was ghastly
“I am sorry. Lucas, I am getting too old for this job. He called
me to the cell and asked for something to eat and when I turned
around he must have jerked my gun out of the holster and then …
I don't know. Milly found me lying on the floor when she brought
my pants. I told her she would find you in the hotel and now …”
Lucas had obviously a hard time to keep his wild temper under
control. For a moment he felt like grasping Micah's collar.
Their friendship was in real danger to find a violent end in a
“You let him escape? How could you, Micah? Any idea, where that
traitor might have gone?”
Awfully tired Micah shook his head. He was but a shadow of the
man he used to be.
“I am sorry, Lucas. I only know that he took my gun and the keys
and that he stole a horse and that he is free as a bird now. If
I could I …”
“Maybe you are right, Micah! Maybe you are too old for that line
of work. We gotta catch up with that murderer right now as long
as the trail is still hot.”
Doc Burrage was calm and composed as always. He had seen too
much in his life to get riled up anymore.
“No dice, Lucas. There is no use following him in the dark. You
never can catch up with a Comanche on horseback. He will ride
into the desert and maybe he will join other Injuns, maybe even
other Comanches. As soon as he finds some other warriors he can
respect he will join up with them, to make a name for himself.
Maybe he will assume custody over a younger brave to teach him
the best ways to fight his enemies.”
Mark could not sleep. He was worried. Obviously his father had
decided to stay in town after finding that mysterious letter.
But why? Was there any serious trouble with Mister “Sky”? Mark
decided to get up and have a drink of water. That very moment
his father returned. Mark could hear Lucas approaching the ranch
Mark ran out of the house to welcome his father but …
The man dismounted right in front of the porch. His dark face
showed a charming smile and his blue eyes were sparkling.
“I greet you, Mark. I told you that I respect you so I came to
take you with me. Together we go where the best fight is. I will
make sure that you will earn a great name. Not long ago we
talked about names and the gods, remember?”
Mark could not react. He was totally taken by surprise. Once
again “Sky” flabbergasted him.
“I can't come with you, mister! I have to wait for my father.”
“I know. He would love to take my scalp so you better hurry. I
am your guide from now on.”
As scared he was, Mark knew that he had to buy time. There was
no way, he would follow the Indian. Tomóbi kept on smiling.
Maybe he was even fond of the defiance the young “warrior”
showed. He stepped closer and put a hand on Mark's left
“It´s true: you are the son of your father. The gods will …”
That very moment a second horseman could be heard approaching
the ranch. Tomóbi turned and drew Micah's Colt out of the
holster. The rider galloped with breakneck speed to the house.
Lucas McCain drove his heels brutally into his horse's flanks.
The Comanche lifted calmly the Colt and cocked it. But before he
could fire at Lucas, Mark jumped forward and grasped his arm.
The bullet went up in the night sky. Tomóbi swore in his native
tongue and pushed Mark aside. The boy lost balance and dropped
to the ground. Before he could get up again, Tomóbi had taken
aim again and …
Even for the Rifleman it was not easy to hit a target from the
back of a running horse. But he saw his son in the hands of the
man he hated so much. Seemingly without aiming he fired. For
seconds the darkness was torn by the muzzle flashes of five
shots. And then there was that scream, a loud scream, barely
even human and then a body dropped to the porch and then Lucas
swung out of the saddle and stormed to his son.
“You´re alright, Mark?!”
“I am alright, Pa. Are you?”
“Just fine, son, just fine! I am so glad I came just in time! Oh
Tomóbi was lying on his back. He tried to move but sank back on
the porch. Quickly Lucas bent forward, took Micah's gun and
threw it far away into the night. Then he looked scornfully down
on the dying man. For a moment a distant memory came up, showing
the powder-covered face of the trusted friend next to him, when
their company was marching into Rebel artillery fire at
“That is for Major Edward Franklin and for the other soldiers,
Tomóbi smiled. His dark face was blood-stained. His hands were
cramped, pressed against the wounds in his chest. Three dark
spot were quickly spreading over his white shirt.
“If you only knew, white man. But you are good with that rifle.
You are a great warrior. You could even be one of us.”
“I have nothing in common with you.”
“You know what it means …. to hate. That makes us … brothers.
But you can … do … me a … favor.”
His raspy voice became weak but still, there was superior
dignity in it. For a moment Lucas felt a twinge of curiosity in
his mind. Even in his last seconds Tomóbi could come up with
something totally unexpected.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Say thanks to … your friend … the Marshal. He is a good man …
better than you think. He has honor. He is a warrior. He knows
it all … now. I told … him all before he let me … he shall tell
… you, why …”
Tomóbi´s head sank to the side. Lucas lowered his rifle. Mark
was alright and that was the main thing. After a moment Lucas
bowed forward and closed the dead Comanche´s blue eyes. Marks
voice was still a little shaky.
“What did he mean by that, Pa?”
“I don't know, son. But I intend to find out.”
In his rage, Marshal Blaine bore a strange resemblance with a
“Let´s go through this most regrettable matter once more, Mister
Torrance. The prisoner asked for something to eat, but when you
turned around, he took your Colt, stole the keys and clubbed
you. Am I right?”
Micah, still with his head in a bandage, vaguely nodded. He had
aged considerably during the last two days, remaining almost
silent during the whole interrogation. The one-eyed lawman
sighed and didn't pay any attention anymore to his miserable
colleague. Outside the Marshal's office half a dozen stern-fazed
deputies was waiting for the return of the boss. The three
heavily armored wagons the men were guarding attracted some
attention of the good people of North Fork. Before Blaine left
to rejoin his posse he turned to Lucas.
“You are a fine fellow, Mister McCain. If you ever feel the wish
to serve as a deputy in Silverton, you know where to find me.”
Lucas nodded knowing that he never would come near Silverton if
he could avoid it. Blaine left the building and mounted up,
leading his posse out of North Fork.
Then the street was empty. Making sure to be alone and
undisturbed with the old man, Lucas closed the door. Then he
turned to Micah who was still oddly calm and resigned.
“There is one thing, I did not mention in my report to Blaine.
Shortly before that traitor died he told me to thank you. I am
not sure what he meant but I have reason to believe that you
also deliberately left something out in your report, Micah.”
“I have no idea, what you are talking about, Mister McCain.”
“I would have bet 100 dollars that you would come up with such a
lame excuse, Marshal. Tomóbi called you a good man, even a
warrior. He claimed that you knew some kind of truth. Mighty
strange for a criminal talking that way about a lawman, wouldn't
Now Micah lifted his aching head. His wrinkled face was a mask
of sorrow and pain.
“You know everything there is to know about that jailbreak. I am
an old man, good for nothing anymore. Are you implying that I am
also a liar? You better leave now.”
Lucas took his rifle and again his fingers were near the
trigger. He hated this conversation but he had to know the
“It was not a jailbreak at all, wasn't it? You released that
traitor on your own. The so-called escape was all set up! You
gave him the key yourself! He just clubbed you to make that
cooked-up story believable. Am I right?”
This time, Micah remained silent. It was obvious, how deep the
humiliation was. After a moment he nodded. Lucas was stunned. He
expected something like that but the confession was too much for
him after all.
“But why …?”
Micah sank back into his chair. For a moment he seemed to become
so frail that Lucas grew seriously worried about his friend's
“Do you know how it feels to be really lonely for years? How it
is not to have a family. No, you don't! You have Mark. I have
Lucas tried to say something but he decided to let Micah speak.
“You know that I was married once. After our wedding my sister
in law decided to get married too. But she was not interested in
any man around back there in Montana so she joined a trek
heading to Texas where she hoped to find a husband and settle
down. That was a pretty rough country back then. The sad part
about all that … Elizabeth and I never saw her again. There was
never a letter or anything. We never learned anything about her
fate down there.”
Micah´s voice was nothing more than a whisper.
“When I talked to the traitor in his cell he revealed that his
mother had been killed by a company of cavalry commanded by your
friend Franklin a couple of years ago. That's why Tomóbi led the
soldiers into the trap in the canyon. It was all about taking
revenge for his beloved mother.”
Micah paused, fighting back his tears, before he continued.
“Before being captured by the Comanches Tomóbi´s mother had been
white. He told me her real name: Martha Cook.”
Lucas was not able to close his mouth. He could not believe it.
Micah remained motionless in his chair. But now his voice
regained its old strength.
“I just could not let them hang my own nephew …”
Milly was quite satisfied. The apple pie looked delicious. She
cut it into a couple of slices and put it into her basket.
Knowing Micah's penchant for pie she walked over to the
Marshal's office. On her way she kept thinking about that bloody
incident: a jailbreak leaving Micah hurt followed by a killing
at the ranch. Feeling bad for the old lawman she hoped that a
little treat would cheer him up. But when she reached Micah's
office she looked through the window. What she saw stopped her
in her tracks: Lucas was hugging Micah like a son would hug his
old father. Being full of love for both men, her first notion
was to step in and ask what …
But then she decided not to disturb the two friends in such a
Mark was busy with his homework, when his father arrived at the
ranch in the evening.
Lucas walked in, put his rifle in the corner and sat down in his
chair. For a couple of minutes he remained silent. First Mark
did not dare to disturb his thinking but then he grew curious
“Is everything alright, Pa?”
The rancher nodded. He lit a cigar and covered himself in a
tense cloud of grey smoke. Then he looked at his son.
“I just learned today how important is to understand your
friends and forgive them. Sometimes it doesn't seem right, what
they do, but there is always a deeper reason for most things in
life. That's what true friendship is all about, I reckon:
“Sure, … Pa.”
“Son, I just like to tell you, how much I love you. I guess, I
don't say that often enough.”
Now Mark smiled. When the big man turned sentimental, he became
“Well, I love you, too, Pa. You know that.”
Now Lucas got up and walked up to his son, putting his hand on
the boy's shoulder.
“And now, I would like to know something else: how did you know
about your mother's secret love letters?”
These stories are based on the TV series
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
The Writer's Corner
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around The McCain Ranch