Part 1 of this short story can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
* * * * *
The next morning, Caleb rose well before light. As he settled at the table a short while later, he smiled at his housekeeper as she poured him a cup of coffee.
“Thank you, Louise.”
The woman smiled back and moved to pour the hot liquid in Jesse’s cup.
“Thank you Lou.”
Louise returned her husband’s smile and lay a hand on his arm, just above the pinned sleeve. The sight of the stub of arm could still make her heart contract with pain, but she knew Jesse had long since come to terms with the outcome of his Confederate Cavalry days.
They owed their livelihood to Caleb, and both recognized that fact. She wasn’t sure what would have happened to them if Caleb had not decided to come west and insisted they accompany him.
She listened as the two men outlined the plans for their workday; once again wondering how her husband still managed to do the work of men with two good arms.
“I need to ride into town later this morning.”
As he said the words, Caleb did his best to ignore Jesse’s questioning look. He knew he would need to have some type of explanation for his change in plans, but had none just yet.
He wasn’t sure why he felt he should get to town, but the feeling was too strong to ignore.
“You want me to ride in with you?”
At Jesse’s question, Caleb hesitated. How could he have someone go with him when he had no idea why he was going? He followed the instinct that was leaping up in him and nodded.
“Yes. We can get to the fence later this afternoon.”
As they neared the outskirts of the small town an hour or so later, Jesse sighed and glanced at his boss.
“Caleb, you rode all this way without one word spoken. You clearly have something on your mind, something to do with this sudden trip. You gonna’ tell me what’s going on?”
Caleb pulled the horse up short and turned to look at the other man.
“Jesse if I knew, I would tell you; but I don’t know. I just feel like the Lord is telling me I am supposed to be in town this morning.”
Jesse studied the deep frown that marred the forehead under that black hat, then looked into the distance at the dusty, worn buildings that gathered on either side of the road.
“Then, we’d best be gettin’ on.”
He nudged his horse forward, not bothering to glance again at his boss.
A short time later, Caleb climbed from the saddle and tied the reins to the post outside the general store. As he turned to climb the steps, Jess’s startled exclamation had him swinging his gaze to the left.
He froze, struggling to draw air into suddenly constricted lungs as his disbelieving eyes clashed with the blue ones of his wife. One word hissed through taught lips.
Next Friday – part 4
Part 4 can be found here.
Part 5 can be found here.
Part 6 can be found here.
Part 7 can be found here.
Part 8 can be found here.
Part 9 can be found here.
Part 10 can be found here.
Part 11 can be found here.
Part 12 can be found here.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012