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Don't You Worry About Me
Written by Vanessa Rose aka lilyrose

Inspired by Matthew Parker's songs:
"Snapshot"
"Good Memories"
"Braver"
"Adventure"
I also used some scenes from Michelle Palmer's stories.

'Where did the days go?' Lucas asked himself. He watched his fifteen-year-old son aim at the buck with his brand-new rifle. Mark pulled the trigger. Lucas leaned against the tree trunk...

************

"Pa! I gotta a fish!" Ten year old Mark yelled as he ran to Lucas. They were fishing at their favorite watering hole. Lucas smiled as Mark dropped the fish and ran into his arms.

"Great job son!" Lucas whispered.

*************

"Pa! I got the buck!" Mark yelled faintly sounding like when he was ten.

"Good job!" Lucas smiled.

"Are you sure you're not jealous?" Mark asked as they headed home with the meat. Lucas ruffled his son's hair.

"Of course I'm not son; you're the best hunter all around!" Lucas swallowed when he remembered when he came back from Wyoming...

*************

Mark turned his head and looked up the hill. "Pa...Pa!" He suddenly turned and looked up the hill.

He saw me coming down with my horse and the young bull and heifer I had just bought. “Pa!” he cried as he flew off the porch. He ran down the lane as fast as his legs would take him crying my name. I saw him and climbed off my horse. As he continued running, calling my name, I stood and smiled, just enjoying the view of my son running towards me. It was good to be home!

Then I ran toward him. I couldn’t say anything. All I could do was run and smile as we came closer and closer together. He cried my name over and over and I smiled with outstretched arms.

Finally, we met. Mark jumped into my arms and I tightly wrapped my arms around him as he began kissing me. I closed my eyes and ravished in this moment. My son was back in my arms. I kissed him back. We were together again and everything was going to be okay! Praise God!

I can’t tell you how long we stood there like that with my boy in my arms. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to let him go!
**********
"Pa? Are you tired? Aren't you coming off your horse?" Mark asked Lucas. They had arrived at the ranch house safe and sound.

"Sure son. I'm gonna go into town and ask Micah and Lou to come over for dinner..." Lucas said still caught up in the memories. Even though Lucas felt this gnawing feeling about something bad he didn't notice it...

*********

Lucas, Lou Mallory, and Micah all arrived at the ranch house only to see Mark's horse missing and the buck's dead body was still lying there on the ground. It was getting darker and there was no fire in the house.

"Mark!" Lucas called. He shuddered in fear. What had happened to Mark?

**********

I ran toward the house, desperately hoping my boy was there and was safe.

But by this point, Mark was in tears. He had heard the shots and feared the worst. “Help…anybody…help,” Mark cried quietly as he leaned against the door.

I ran inside. “Mark!” I cried desperately. Pa suddenly yelled from a closet. I dashed toward it, desperate to hold my son in my arms and look at him so I’d know he was alright. I ran and opened the door. Mark was standing there. Oh, how beautiful he looked!

Mark jumped into my arms and threw his arms around my neck as he cried. I held him tight and thanked God. Finally, he pulled away from me. I held onto him as we stared into each other’s eyes. "Thank God you’re alright, Son,” I said passionately.

***********

"Lucasboy! Snap out of it!" Micah yelled. Lucas sighed. "We'll find him, Lucas." The tall man followed Micah into the home. Lucas walked towards the table. Mark had scrawled a note:

Pa,
I saw a loose cow. I'm taking care of it.
Mark

Lucas sighed in relief. He told Micah what Mark had said.

"Good, we'll just wait for him." Lou said. "I'll start cooking'."

************

Mark whoo-hooed as he galloped towards home. He was almost home, when his horse slipped on muddy ground and Blue Boy reared.

"BLUE BOYYY!!" Mark shouted. He felt himself losing the reigns, his body landed on the ground hard and he hit his head on a rock.

'I can't leave Pa' He thought before he blanked out.

**********

Lou gasped when she heard, "BLUE BOYY!!" coming from outside.

"Did anyone hear that? It sounded like Mark!" Lou said as they all ran outside. Lucas ran the whole way, his legs hurt from the stress, he finally reached his son's side.

"Mark!" He cradled his head. "Oh, Mark." He patted his son's face gently, trying to wake him.

"Should I get the doc?" Micah shouted from the house. Lucas shuddered.

"Yes Micah!" Lucas shouted back. "Oh, Mark."

At the doc's, in Mark's mind he was having terrible dreams of his past...

"Pa!" He struggled in the bed but Lucas held back Mark's arms.

"It’s all right son, shhh... You've got to hold on, son. You have to. Please."


"Hold on son. Hold on son." The voice begged. Mark relaxed slightly as he tried to hold on. "Hold on son."

*******

I rode Blue Boy up that hill just like we had done that day four years ago. I stopped beside the tree. I could hear Pa’s voice just as clearly as if he were standing next to me. “Well, it’s new and mighty find country, son.” I turned and looked behind me, almost expecting to see Pa ride up behind me. “There’s no looking back, we’ve come too far.”

I closed my eyes. “No looking back,” I whispered. “Pa, how can I not look back when you’re back there? You are no longer in front of me - you’re behind me. What else can I do?”

That day there had been cattle in the yard. There were no cattle there today. There were tumbleweeds. “It’s like a ghost town, Pa! We usually have chickens right there. And pigs behind the barn and horses in the corral and lots of cows. But today…today there’s nothing but these dumb ol’ tumbleweeds - something that indicates that what once was is no more.”

I slowly walked around the yard and stared at the loneliness. Then I walked to the side of the house and looked at the sign. August 1881. That’s when we had rebuilt the house after it burned. But exactly four years today - October 11, 1880, my Pa and I first stood on the spot. I sat down on the porch and cried as I realized how far we had come.

And now Pa was gone.

***********

Mark woke up finding himself floating. He looked at his Pa...and himself?

"PA!" he shouted.

"You gotta wake up son. Please." Mark watched his Pa shake his body. He gasped. Why didn't his pa answer him?

"Mark," A familiar voice said behind him. Mark turned to see his Ma.

"Ma!" He ran into her arms. She kissed his forehead. "I've missed you soo much!"

"I know you have son. I know."

"Wait. Last time I was here with you... I was..."

"Yes, son?" Ma prompted.

"Dying." Mark finished. "I'm dying?"

"He needs you, Mark. You have to go to him. You still have a long life ahead of you, young man."

"But..."

"Mark McCain!" Ma said softly. "I love you so much, dear child." She hugged him again tightly.

"All right, Ma... I love you."

"I love you too, son." Mark turned to look at his Pa.

"Hold on, Son." Pa begged at his side.

"I'm trying, Pa. I am." Mark replied even though he knew that his Pa couldn't answer. He turned to Ma. "Why aren't you coming with me, Ma?"

"Don't you worry about me, Mark."

"Bye Ma.... I'll see you again...someday...."

********

Lucas watched his son closely when his eyes opened.

"Son!" Mark noticed that he had tears on his face.

"Pa! I love you so much!" Mark had never told him what had happened when he was sick with typohid five years ago... He wasn't ever going to tell him.

"I love you too son!" Mark lifted his gaze and smiled as his pa hugged him in the bed. "I worried about you so much, son!"

"You don't need to worry about me, Pa."

The End

This is a story based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!

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