The Writer's Corner
The Next Step…
Chapter 14 - The Delivery
Written by Deanne Bertram
Mark met Amos at the telegraph office, first thing in the
“Amos, I need to send a wire to the U.S. Marshal’s Office in
“Sure Mark, just write it out.”
U.S. Marshal’s Office
Deputy Anders injured /stop/
Unable to transport prisoner to Amarillo /stop/
Please advise /stop/
Mark McCain, Deputy
North Fork, New Mexico Territory
“Amos, I’ll be at the jail when you get a reply.”
Mark arrived back at the jail in time see Micah opening the
“Micah!” Mark hollered.
“Morning Mark, you been out on rounds already this morning? Sure
is a glorious day.” Then seeing the tired look in Mark’s eyes,
he smiled as he asked, “You and Hope spend some time together
afterwards, last night?”
“No sir, we had a little bit of trouble late last night. Didn’t
get much sleep.”
“Trouble? Why didn’t you come wake me?”
“Micah, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. A friend I met,
when I was up in Denver, he broke his leg while transporting a
prisoner. I got the prisoner in jail and Drew’s over at Doc’s.
They’re supposed to be heading to Amarillo. I just had Amos send
a wire up to Denver letting them know what happened and asking
they advise us how to proceed.”
“Hey, lawboy!” the prisoner yelled. “Get me my food! You can’t
starve me like this! I got my rights!”
“Who’s the prisoner Mark?” Micah asked as they entered the
“Drew said his name was Henry Barlow, said he was a horse thief
and he was to be transported to Amarillo, Texas. I sat up with
Drew while he got drunk enough for Thadd to set his leg.
Surprised you didn’t hear him yell.”
Mark sat down on the chaise and was soon asleep. Micah laid a
blanket over the sleeping Mark, then went to order breakfast for
About an hour later, Amos entered the office.
“Micah, I got a reply to Mark’s wire to the Marshals up in
Mark started to rouse. Micah read the wire.
Deputy Mark McCain
North Fork, New Mexico Territory
Unable to send deputy to North Fork /stop/
Require you transport deputy to Clovis, New Mexico /stop/
Meet with Marshal James Carson /stop/
Cole Barker, U.S. Marshal
“What’s wrong Micah?” Mark asked as he looked at Micah.
“Mark, seems we need to get Barlow to Clovis. I’ll go get your
Pa, see if he can help.”
“No Micah, I’m your deputy. If you don’t trust me to deliver a
horse thief up to Clovis, then take back the badge.” Mark stood
in front of Micah, defiance in his eyes and voice. “Besides, I
can’t ask Pa to leave Ma right now.”
“Mark… Listen to me.” Micah pleaded.
“Micah, you trust me to watch the town, but you won’t trust me
to deliver a horse thief?”
“You’re right, it’s just that…”
“I know, it’s hard to let go.”
Micah headed to the General Store for provisions for the trip.
Mark headed to Nil’s to borrow a packhorse and get the other two
horses ready. He was going to use Drew’s horse instead of Blue
Boy for this trip. He led three horses to the Marshal’s.
“You’re not taking Blue Boy?”
“No sir, thought I’d leave him for Hope to ride.”
“Well it shouldn’t take you no more than three days to get to
Clovis and then three days back. You wire when you get there?”
“Sure Micah, now let’s get my prisoner in the saddle. Will you
let Ma and Pa know, and Hope?”
“You ain’t going to tell them yourself? They should be here in
about an hour for church.”
“No Micah, if I wait to tell Pa, he’ll insist on riding. I know
he’s my Pa, but right now, it’s more important that he stay
home, close to Ma.”
“Mark, that’s twice now that you’ve said your Pa needs to stay
close to your Ma. Just what’s wrong with Milly?” Micah asked,
concern in his voice.
“Micah, it’s nothing that time won’t resolve.”
“Boy you’re talking to an old man.” Micah chided Mark.
“Micah, last week I arrived home to find Ma passed out on the
floor. I tended to her and she finally came around. I wanted to
go get Pa, but she said no. Said she didn’t want no fussing. I
think she’s pregnant.”
“Pregnant?” Micah repeated. “You know, she did seem to have a
special glow about her last night at the dance. Does your Pa
“I don’t think so. If he did, he wouldn’t have been dancing with
her like he was last night.” Mark pleaded again. “Micah, just
wait until after church services to let them know you sent me
out of town. You don’t have to tell them I’m escorting a
“Mark, you know I can’t lie to your Pa, he’s my best friend.”
“Micah, please. You don’t have to tell him the whole truth, just
enough to satisfy him so he won’t worry.”
“And if something happens?”
“Then Pa can tan both our hides when I get back home.”
Mark and Micah saw the prisoner to his horse. Mark mounted and,
leading the packhorse, left North Fork.
Lucas and Milly arrived in North Fork, shortly before church
services were to start. They met Hope and Hattie out front.
Lucas scanned those walking down the road for sign of his son.
“Lucas, we really need to go inside. I’m sure Mark will be along
soon enough. He probably slept in a little after helping to keep
an eye on the festivities last night, and then walking the town
afterwards. I’m sure he and Micah are catching up.”
Reverend McCafferty’s sermon was wonderful, but he kept is
shorter than usual. The day was already hot and all the windows
and doors were left open to help keep the parishioners cooler.
Service ended and the town’s folks left the church, stopping to
make small talk with the Reverend and his wife as they left.
Lucas and Milly stood to leave, but Lucas sensed something
amiss. He looked at Milly as he felt her grab tighter to his arm
and then he felt her release her grip. He caught Milly in his
arms as she fainted, gently lowering her to the ground. Lucas
yelled for Doctor Burrage. Hope started fanning Milly’s face.
Hattie ordered everyone out of the church.
Worry grew in Lucas’ heart, what was wrong with Milly?
Young Doc Burrage made his way into the church.
“Lucas, what happened?”
“She fainted Doc. We stood to leave, she grabbed my arm and
then, she fainted. Doc, what’s wrong with her?”
“Lucas, I’ve not had chance to examine her. Do you mind carrying
her to my office? It’s a more fitting place than here.”
Micah insisted that Lucas accompany him to his office, leaving
Hope with Milly.
“Give Doc time and the room to examine her LucasBoy. He can’t
rightly do a good job with you asking questions every thirty
seconds and standing at his elbow.”
Doc Burrage arrived at Micah’s.
“Doc, how is she? Is she going to be alright?” Lucas pleaded.
“Please Doc, tell me what’s wrong with my wife?”
“Lucas, I’ve been asked to not say anything to you. Milly wants
to tell you herself.” Thaddeus did his best to keep a stoic look
on his face. “She’s getting dressed and wants to see you. You
can take her home, but I order her to take it easy for the next
few months. As this progresses…”
Lucas didn’t hear anything after Thaddeus said Milly wanted to
see him, as he ran to be with his wife.
“So Doc, Mark was right?” Micah asked.
“Mark, right?” Thadd looked at Micah, perplexed.
“Mark told me this morning that last week he found Milly passed
out at the ranch. She didn’t want Mark to tell Lucas. He told me
he thought she might be pregnant.”
“You know Marshal, from what Uncle Jay has told me, the
intuition and knack for knowing what to do when someone get’s
injured, I sure don’t know why Mark didn’t plan to become a
“Too many years of watching his Pa help me.” Micah answered with
a laugh. “Tell Lucas and Milly congratulations from me, when you
get back to your office.”
Lucas arrived at Doc’s and quietly called to Milly as he
“Lucas I’ll be right there,” Milly replied.
He waited for her to step from behind the partition. Hope came
first, holding Milly’s hand.
“Hope, I’m fine. Please.” Milly stated.
“Milly?” Relief flooded Lucas to see his wife standing in front
of him, but deep worry wrinkled his brow.
“Lucas, please. I’m fine.”
“Milly, please tell me what’s wrong. I promised to love you in
sickness and in health. If something’s wrong, please, don’t try
to protect me from hurt. I hurt more not knowing.” Lucas walked
to his wife and wrapped his arms around her.
Milly felt Lucas tremble. She pushed herself slightly away so
she could look him in the eye.
“Lucas, honestly, I’m going to be fine. Just that…”
“Milly, what?” Lucas pleaded.
“Well, there’s going to be an addition to the family, we’re
going to have a baby.” Milly smiled as she told Lucas their
Lucas stepped back and looked his wife in the eye. He stumbled
backwards until he sat on Doc’s desk.
“A baby?...” Lucas shook his head.
“A baby! You’re pregnant?” Lucas asked as a broad smile appeared
on his face. He scooped Milly up in his arms and swung her
“Lucas!” Milly squealed.
Lucas quickly set Milly down. Hope stood to the side laughing.
“So who’s going to tell Mark he’s going to be a big brother?”
“I guess we all ca…” Lucas started.
“Lucas, what’s wrong?”
“Milly, I just realized, Mark wasn’t at Micah’s when I was over
there. I was so concerned for you, that I didn’t realize it
until just now.”
The three walked over to Micah’s.
“Well, if it isn’t the expecting parents!” Micah exclaimed with
a huge smile on his face.
“Micah, I asked Doctor Burrage to not tell anyone.” Milly
“He didn’t, Mark told me.”
“Yep, he told me before he…”
“Before he what, Micah?” Lucas demanded. “He wasn’t at church
and he wasn’t here earlier. Where is my boy?”
“Now Lucas, he’s running an errand for me. I had some business
that needed to be delivered in person and Mark offered to do the
delivering. Youth. I wasn’t looking forward to being in the
saddle that long, anyhow. Should be back by week’s end.” Micah
answered as he poured himself another cup of coffee. “He asked
me to let both of you and Hope know.”
“Why couldn’t he wait and tell us himself?” Milly asked.
“Well, he wanted to get gone, so he could get back that much
Neither Lucas or Milly believed Micah, but they let it be.
“Come on Hope, let’s go have lunch at the hotel.” Milly stated
as she took Hope’s arm.
They entered the hotel to find a very concerned Hattie sitting
at a table with John Hamilton.
“Milly! Are you okay? Can I get you anything?”
“Hattie, I’m fine. Just need to take it easy from here on out,
at least for a while.”
“It wasn’t just the heat inside the church was it?” Hattie
asked. “No, it wasn’t. You know, you have a certain glow about
you. Milly, you’re expecting?” Milly nodded. “Congratulations!”
The two women hugged.
John Hamilton stood and gave Milly a hug and offered a handshake
Hattie left the restaurant and proceeded to tell everyone she
met the news! A steady stream of town’s people paraded through
the restaurant in order to congratulate the happy couple.
Lucas told Milly to wait in the restaurant as he walked Hope to
Miss Hattie’s. He returned with the buckboard and escorted Milly
and gently lifted her up to her seat. He only allowed the horses
to walk for the trip home. As they arrived, he lifted her down
and carried her inside.
“Lucas McCain, I’m pregnant, not an egg. You don’t have to treat
me so fragile! I won’t break. Besides, I don’t know if I can
survive another seven months of you treating me like this.”
“Milly, please, please sit down. Let me have my say.”
Milly pouted her lips, but did as Lucas requested as he knelt
down in front of her. He took both of her hands in his.
“Milly, I don’t want you pushing yourself. I… This baby…” Tears
were falling down Lucas’ face.
“Lucas, talk to me.” Milly asked.
“Milly, Mark was three years old when I found out Margaret and I
were expecting a second child. I was thrilled with the idea of
Mark having a younger brother or sister. Thrilled to hold a
second baby in my arms and introduce that child to the world.
Yet, I worried. I almost lost Margaret when Mark was born. She
was so weak and sick, that for the first month of Mark’s life,
she couldn’t take care of him.”
Lucas paused as his memories took him back in time.
“It was summertime and I had been working hard on the farm back
in Enid. I was running late in getting home one night. When I
finally got home, the doctor was already there. Margaret had
lost the baby. She miscarried. I knew how much that baby meant
to her. In the years after Mark was born, seeing other women
having baby after baby. Margaret had desperately yearned for a
second child. This time, the doctor told me that if Margaret
were ever to get pregnant again, it could…. She just wasn’t
strong enough to carry another child to term and the strain the
baby would put on her body… The doctor said it would kill her.”
Lucas’ eyes returned to look into Milly’s, they pleaded for her
to understand another part of his hurt.
“Lucas, I didn’t know. If I had known, I would have told you
when I first suspected. I didn’t mean to worry you like this.
Lucas, please forgive me?” she asked.
“Milly, there’s nothing to forgive, as long as you promise to
take it easy. I can’t lose you or this baby,” he stated has he
rubbed his hand over her stomach. A smile finally appeared on
“So, are you going to let me fix supper tonight for my husband?”
“Only after you take a nap!” Lucas helped her to their bed, saw
her lie down. He left the house and started to tend to the
It had been four days since Mark left North Fork and Micah grew
worried. He should have received word by now that Mark had
arrived in Clovis. He watched out the window as Lucas rode up to
“Doc?” Lucas called as he entered. “Sorry, I didn’t realize you
“That’s okay Lucas, I’m almost done. What brings you to town?”
“Doc, I was wondering if you have something for Milly, to help
with her morning sickness?”
“Sure Lucas, let me write it down and Mrs. Donner can get it for
you over at the general store. By the way, Lucas McCain I’d like
you to meet Drew Anders, he’s been a resident of mine for the
past four days.”
“Lucas McCain? You’re Mark’s father?” Lucas nodded. “I’m pleased
to meet you sir. You must be mighty proud of him.” Drew extended
“I am. If I can ask, you’re not from around here, so how is it
you know my boy?”
“Oh, I’m sorry sir, I met him up in Denver. I’m a deputy U.S.
Marshal, don’t have my badge on seeing as how I can’t get around
on my own, yet. I sure am glad Mark could deliver my prisoner
while I’m laid up,” Drew stated.
“He’s what?” Lucas asked, surprise in his voice.
“Since Doc here won’t let me ride and I had a prisoner that
needed to get to Amarillo, Mark took him.”
“Mark is delivering a prisoner, by himself? To Amarillo?!”
Lucas left Doc’s and headed for the Marshal’s, Micah saw the
storm clouds brewing. He stepped to the pot belly stove and
poured a second cup of coffee, this one for Lucas.
“Morning LucasBoy,” Micah cheerfully said.
“Don’t Morning LucasBoy, me, Micah. Just when were you going to
tell me my boy was delivering a prisoner to Amarillo? Why didn’t
you tell me? I could have accompanied him. How could you let a
seventeen year old boy, deliver a prisoner?”
“Now Lucas, if you’ll let me answer your question, before you
ask the next… First off, he’s not going to Amarillo. Marshal’s
Office is sending a marshal to meet up with him in Clovis.
Second, I didn’t tell you because Mark asked me not to, he knew
you’d want to go along and he didn’t want you away from Milly
right now. Third, as he pointed out, he’s my deputy and if I
couldn’t trust him to do what’s required of the job, then I
should just take the badge back and let him go back to being
Mark McCain, the child.” Micah’s voice held firm. “Now anymore
questions? Here, drink some coffee, I’m not holding two cups for
my own health.”
Lucas took the cup from Micah and sat back on the edge of his
desk, trying digest all that Micah had said.
“You said Mark didn’t want me away from Milly. Did he say why?”
“He suspected she might be pregnant. Said he found her passed
out one day last week when he returned home. Said she begged him
not to tell you, yet.”
“He knew, before he left?” Lucas shook his head. “Okay, now that
I’m simmered down, when is Mark supposed to get to Clovis?”
“That’s just it Lucas, I thought I should have heard from him
last night or this morning at the latest. I was gonna wait until
you left town to send a wire and inquire. So what brought you to
“Milly’s morning sickness… Oh, boy. Micah you send that wire,
I’m going back to Doc’s to get her prescription and then fill it
over at the general store. I’ll be right back.”
The waiting game began. By early afternoon, Amos came into
“Micah, I’m sorry. We just can’t get wires through to Clovis,
the closest we can get is to Portales. Telegrapher says a wicked
storm hit outside of Clovis last night and probably took the
“Well Lucas, you just get on back home to Milly, I’m sure she’ll
appreciate that medicine. I’ll get word to you as soon as we
Lucas left Micah’s and as he mounted Razor, he looked to the
heavens and closed his eyes. Then he rode.
U.S. Marshal James Carson, rode to the edge of town, scanned the
horizon for signs of the deputy from North Fork and his
prisoner. Seeing nothing he returned to the Sheriff Cameron
“That deputy should have been here by now,” Carson stated.
“Marshal, the lines are down between here and Portales and that
storm that came through here, last night. You just don’t know
if’n they were caught up in it.”
As they continued their discussion, a boy from the livery came
“Sheriff, ya gotta come quick!”
“What’s up Jimmie?”
“Strangers and they look bad off.”
Mitchell and Carson ran behind the boy. They reached the edge of
town and through the last rays of the setting sun, they saw a
bedraggled sight. Two men wearily walking, leading three horses.
Two children riding one horse, a woman carrying a bundle on the
other, and the packhorse was pulling a travois.
“Jimmie, go get the Doc. Tell him he’s got patients coming.”
Carson and Mitchell ran out to the group. The men barely
acknowledged their presence; they just continued to walk, as if
in a trance. They led them to their town doctor’s office. As one
man pulled the children down from their horse, Mitchell noticed
the handcuff on one wrist. He tapped Carson and pointed. They
watched as the other man took the bundle from the woman and then
helped her down from her horse. Carson and Mitchell unhooked the
travois and carried it and the man lying on it into the doctor’s
The doctor was busily checking his patients. Carson and Mitchell
stood and watched as one of the two strangers slid down the wall
to sit and his head fell forward. The other held out his hands.
“Guess you should know that I’m the prisoner he was supposed to
deliver to you” Barlow stated.
“He trusted you enough to remove your handcuffs?” Mitchell
“It weren’t a matter of him trusting me, at first. He didn’t
have a choice. That storm hit us and as we was looking for
shelter, we came across those people. They were bad off. Woman
in the wagon giving birth, a tree came down on their horses and
the man at the side of their camp. But he needed help, he
unlocked the one and I helped him get the man out from under the
tree. The man was wearing a gun, I grabbed it and held it on the
boy. I started to run away. He yelled after me, saying ‘good
riddance’. Said that I’d have to be the one to explain when I
met my maker. But then, I saw a boy trying his damned’est to
help strangers. I couldn’t just leave him. I tended to the man
while he helped the woman deliver her baby. I’m ready to head to
“You keep saying boy,” Carson stated.
“Yeah, that deputy can’t be more than eighteen,” Barlow replied.
“I’m ashamed how I treated him out on the trail, before hand. I
know he didn’t get much sleep before we met up with those
people, but even less afterwards.” He proceeded in front of
Sheriff Mitchell to head to the jail.
The doctor had finished tending to his other patients when he
turned his attention to the deputy sitting asleep against the
“Well Doc?” Carson asked.
“I’d say from what I overheard the prisoner saying and what the
woman told me, he’s probably suffering from sheer exhaustion.
Come on, grab an arm, let’s carry the boy to the hotel.”
Between the two of them, they carried the sleeping Mark to the
“Mrs. Bowers, you got a room for an exhausted deputy,” they
inquired as they entered.
The hotel owner’s wife led them to a room and lit the lantern as
they laid the deputy on the bed. She pushed the men out of the
room, then returned to the deputy. She looked down his sleeping
face, ‘A child” she said to herself as she got into her
grandmotherly mode and pulled his boots off. Next she removed
his dirty shirt and pants, thinking to herself, ‘let him be
embarrassed in the morning, but these need cleaning.’ She pulled
the covers over him. She blew out the lantern and left, closing
the door behind her.
Carson returned to the Sheriff’s Office.
“Carson, telegraph wire’s been restored. We got a message from
Portales, the marshal in North Fork is worried sick about his
“Funny how no one seem to mention how young this deputy is.
Well, I’m sure he has family that must be scared to death, I’ll
send a wire back,” Carson stated as he headed to the telegraph
Amos ran into Micah’s yelling, “Micah he’s safe!” as he handed
the wire over.
Marshal Micah Torrance
North Fork, New Mexico Territory
Deputy safe /stop/
Suffering exhaustion /stop/
Will keep in Clovis until recovered /stop/
Marshal James Carson
U.S. Marshal Service
“I better ride to Lucas’. I’m sure he’ll want to know,
regardless how late.”
Micah arrive at the McCain Ranch, he saw a lantern turned down
low, sitting on the table. He quietly knocked. The door opened
and Lucas stepped out.
“Micah, any word?” Micah saw the worry in Lucas’ face.
“Got it right here. No detail, but he’s safe. Say he’s suffering
from exhaustion. Marshal Carson is going to keep him in Clovis
until he’s recovered.”
“Thank God,” Lucas exclaimed as he leaned back against the side
of his home.
The door opened again, this time, Milly was there.
“Micah? What are you doing here so late?” Milly asked.
“Milly, get back to bed, you need your rest,” Lucas stated as he
tried to maneuver Milly inside.
“Husband, I know you too well. You’re trying to hide something
from me. Oh, No. Mark! Something’s happened to Mark? Lucas?”
“Milly, yes the news is about Mark, but he’s safe. Micah and I
got worried because he was overdue to wire back. Now please, I
don’t want you worrying yourself.”
“Worrying myself! Lucas McCain! I’m your wife and Mark’s mother.
You had no right to keep this news from me. How am I going to
trust you in the future, when you say everything is alright,
when I know in the past you’ve kept things from me?”
Milly turned and walked to their bedroom. She slammed the door
“LucasBoy, you better do some sweet talking to her. Guess I was
wrong in keeping from you the fact that Mark was delivering a
prisoner and you were wrong for not telling Milly that Mark was
overdue. Go to her Lucas. I’ll let you know when I hear
Micah watched as Lucas entered his home, then he mounted his
horse and headed back to town.
Lucas walked to their bedroom door and gently knocked, “Milly,
please. May I come in?”
“Go away Lucas!”
Lucas opened the door and saw his wife lying on their bed,
crying. He walked over and climbed into bed, lifted Milly up and
pulled her into his arms. He felt a tenseness in her body.
“Milly, I was wrong to keep this from you. Please trust me in
the future, I won’t keep secrets. I’m sorry I hurt you.”
He gently kissed the top of her head. Lovingly, he ran his
finger tips down her arm and then placed his hand over her
stomach, giving it a gentle pat.
“It’s been so long since I was married… I forgot that it also
meant sharing everything – our love, our bed, our hopes, our
hurts, and our fears. Please forgive me Milly?”
Milly nodded and turned around to face Lucas. She saw the truth
in his eyes. She leaned forward and they passionately kissed.
They fell asleep in each others’ arms.
Morning arrived in Clovis and Mrs. Bowers entered the sleeping
deputy’s room. Saw that he had rolled over onto his stomach and
kicked the covers off. She stopped to pull the covers back up
over the boy. She stared at the scars on his back. She laid the
covers over the boy and left the room.
Night was falling in Clovis when Sheriff Mitchell entered the
hotel and waited at the bottom of the staircase as Mrs. Bowers
“He’s still asleep Sheriff. I set his clean clothes on the chair
by the window.” Then she asked, “What happened to him?”
Sheriff Mitchell answered, “Two days and nights of delivering a
prisoner with little sleep and then dealing with helping a
family caught out in a storm and delivering a baby. Then another
two days of responsibilities of the prisoner and a family. That
boy’s had quite the adventure. Should I send the doc over to
check on him?”
“Why don’t we just let him sleep himself out. If he needs the
doctor once he’s awake, I’ll let you know.”
Mark woke to a gentle knocking on the door. He sat up in bed as
the door opened. He looked around, confusion on his face.
“Good Afternoon Deputy,” Mrs. Bowers greeted him. “How are you
feeling? I bet you’re hungry?”
“Yes Ma’am. Excuse me, but who are you and where am I?”
“Lord have mercy. I’m Mrs. Bowers, my husband and I own the
hotel. You made it to Clovis. Don’t worry, the Marshal took your
prisoner yesterday afternoon and returned to Amarillo.”
“Yesterday?” Mark asked surprised.
“Child you’ve slept for almost two whole days. You arrived here
late Thursday evening and it’s just after lunch on Saturday.”
“Oh no, I’ve got to get word back home!” Mark started to throw
the sheets from him when he saw Mrs. Bowers pick up his clothes
from the chair.
“No need to fret, the Marshal sent a wire back to Marshal
Torrance telling him you were safe. Here, I’ve laundered your
clothes.” Seeing Mark’s expression, “Don’t worry yourself, I’ve
six grandsons and if you think I haven’t stripped an exhausted
boy out of his clothes… If you have a mind to bathe, there’s a
bath down the hall, last door on the right. There’s a towel and
soap on the stand, with the water pitcher and basin. Oh, and
there’s a robe in the closet for you to wear down the hallway.
You come on down when you’re ready and I’ll have a meal ready
for you. Would you like a breakfast or a dinner?”
“The way I’m feeling right now,” Mark answered as his stomach
An attendant drew the hot water for Mark, then left. He slipped
into the tub, stretching his body out to its fullest, then set
to work scrubbing himself. Afterwards, he dried himself off and
put his clean clothes back on. Then set to find out where Mrs.
Bowers might be.
He arrived at the landing of the staircase to encounter Sheriff
Mitchell entering the hotel.
“Good afternoon Deputy!” Mitchell greeted him. “I’m Sheriff
Mitchell, glad to see you up and awake. How’re you doing?”
“Much better sir. Sorry to be such trouble.”
“Non-sense. From what Barlow and the Jacobsen family told us,
I’m surely surprised you didn’t sleep another day. Care to join
me for lunch?”
“Yes sir, Mrs. Bowers was there when I woke and told me to come
on down and she’d have something ready. Only, I don’t know where
“Come on Deputy, I’ll show you to the kitchen.”
Over lunch the Sheriff told Mark of how he’d kept Micah
informed, sending wires morning and night. Also told Mark,
“There’s a very thankful Jacobsen family that is eager to see
you, once you woke. Our doctor thinks the husband is going to
recover fully and that baby... Why he’s such a cute bundle.”
“Thank you sir, glad to hear they’re all doing fine.”
“If it weren’t for you Mark, they wouldn’t be. The stories we
heard surely did impress Marshal Carson. Says a lot about your
character, the way your parents raised you right. ”
Mark didn’t answer, his eyes drifted off to his own memories.
“I bet you’ll be wanting to send your folks a wire. I’ll take
you to the telegraph office once you’ve finished eating.”
Mark wrote his wire and handed it to the telegraph operator:
Marshal Micah Torrance
North Fork, New Mexico Territory
Sorry to be sleeping on the job /stop/
Start return trip tomorrow /stop/
Deputy Mark McCain
Then he wrote and handed a second wire to the operator:
Lucas and Milly McCain
North Fork, New Mexico Territory
All is well /stop/
Sorry to put you through worry /stop/
Start return trip tomorrow, early /stop/
The night before Mark left Clovis, he stopped and checked in on
the Jacobsen family, before he said goodbye.
The Next Step — Mark’s Return
This is a story based on the TV
series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
around The McCain Ranch