Part 1 of this story can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.
Part 4 can be found here.
Part 5 can be found here.
* * * * *
Caleb stood, one foot on the step one planted in the dusty street, reeling from Lana’s words. He watched in silence as the wagon carried her out of town, his heart bursting with anguish mixed with hope.
When Jesse reached out and touched his arm, Caleb turned his gaze away from the speck that was now just dimly visible.
“We need to find out what’s going on.”
Caleb nodded at his friend’s words and leapt up the steps and into the store.
When he came out shortly thereafter, his mind was running through a plan that was quickly taking shape. He moved quickly toward the sheriff’s office intent on going after his wife as soon as possible.
The following morning, Caleb sat tense in the saddle as the four men approached a small cabin set at the base of the foothills. He glanced at Jesse, then at Sherriff Turner before turning his eyes to search the layout of the area.
A barn stood to the left of the cabin, doors open to the late morning sun. A cow and two horses grazed nearby, and chickens scratched in the dirt searching for the remnants of the morning feed.
As he studied the log cabin, the doorway open to the late summer breeze, a shadow moved into view. As Lana stepped onto the wide front porch, he noticed the three children sitting in the shade of an aspen tree at the side of the house. Emily stood to look at them before she turned to her mother for direction.
Lana said something and Emily gathered up her two young siblings and led them into the house. Caleb sat quietly, studying his wife as Tom tipped his hat in greeting.
“Ma’am, I’m Sherriff Tom Turner. We need to talk to your husband. Is he around?”
Lana looked quickly at Caleb, confusion evident on her face, then nodded and pointed to the barn.
Caleb turned in the saddle as Tom and his deputy slid from their horses to the ground. The two lawmen strode toward the barn as Caleb and Jesse climbed from their horses and stood near the steps.
After running his eyes over the entire area, he looked back at Lana and said quietly, “Go inside and lock the door. Stay there until I come and get you.”
She nodded and quickly did as he asked.
“Roy. I’m Sherriff Turner.”
Caleb turned from the house to see that Roy had emerged from the barn and met Tom and Jake halfway to the house. He took notice of the Colt that rode low on the man’s hip, the way a gunslinger would holster his revolver. He checked his own weapon automatically, then took a step toward the men as Tom continued to talk quietly.
“That’s a lie! She’s my wife!”
“Roy, we know that she is not your wife. We know that you kidnapped her from her home in Georgia and forced her to come out here as your wife. Her rightful husband wants her back.”
“She’s my wife! You ain’t got no right takin’ her away from me!”
Roy’s loud protest rang out as he lifted a hand to pull the revolver from the holster. It happened so fast, Caleb wasn’t quite sure exactly what had transpired, but a shot rang out and Jake fell to the ground.
He pulled his own pistol from its holster as another shot filled the silence.
* * * *
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