Author Topic: The Sheriff of Ford's Prairie  (Read 142 times)

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Offline 22639

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The Sheriff of Ford's Prairie
« on: October 16, 2012, 07:04:31 am »
The Sheriff of Ford's Prairie
by Candy Johnson
Chapter 1

She had been riding hard for the past two weeks as she tried to catch up to Duane Mattox who had viciously raped and beaten one of the girls from the Lucky Ace Saloon in Ford's Prairie, the small town in which she was the sheriff.  In the last town she had learned that she was only a few days behind Mattox, so she had pressed on.  Now, 250 miles from that last town she could tell her horse was getting tired, as was she, so she found a spot near a stream far enough off the main road to provide a little privacy and made camp for the night.  With her horse fed and watered and secured for the night she set about making her dinner after which she settled down by the camp fire.  She laid back against her saddle and looked up at the night sky.  It was a clear night so the stars twinkled like tiny diamonds against the black night sky.  A full moon was just starting to appear over the mountains.  She took a deep breath, filling her lungs with the fresh air, slightly scented with pine, then closed her eyes and snuggled under her blanket.  She was just about to drift off to sleep when a sudden clap of thunder brought her to a sitting position.  She looked up at the sky and saw that there was not a cloud in it.  Suddenly the sky lit up with lightening that seemed to come from nowhere and she looked around. More lightening flashed as another clap of thunder rumbled across the clear night sky.  She got to her feet and quickly strapped her holster back on, pulled her sword out of its sheath and followed the lightening up over a small ridge on the other side of the stream.  A short way down the other side of the ridge was a small clearing and in the middle of the clearing was a male Immortal receiving a Quickening.  She moved as close as she dared and watched from behind a boulder.  The Immortal dropped to his knees when the Quickening ended, obviously exhausted.  She was about to leave well enough alone when she felt the presence of another Immortal.  At that instant another male Immortal came screaming from behind the bushes on the other side of the little clearing where he had been hiding.  He held his sword high above his head and it was obvious that he intended to take the head of the other Immortal while he was weakened from the Quickening...a totally underhanded trick.  She jumped to her feet and ran down to the clearing where she took up a defensive stance between the charging Immortal and the one struggling to get to his feet.

 
The charging Immortal moved his sword from over his head to a thrusting position and lunged at the woman between him and his intended target.  He would first have to eliminate her before he could eliminate the other Immortal who had just beheaded his teacher.  But his lunge was blocked by the female Immortal's blade.  The clang of steel against steel echoed through the small ravine that the clearing was in as the battle ensued  He slashed wildly at the female Immortal, each move being skilfully blocked.  At one point he got too close and his opponent kicked him square in the diaphragm, knocking the wind out of him and sending him staggering backward.  He was surprised that he managed to maintain his balance  He recovered and swung his sword wildly as he moved closer to his opponent and yelled, “you bitch!”  Suddenly he felt his sword twist out of his hand as the female Immortal twirled her blade around his a couple of times then thrust her blade upward, dislodging his from his grasp and sending it flying.  The move surprised him and he watched his sword sore into the bushes along the side of the clearing and fall out of sight.  The next thing he was aware of was a searing pain in his abdomen and he looked down to see the female Immortal's sword buried almost to the hilt in him.  He screamed, “you fucking bitch!”  His opponent pulled her sword out of his abdomen and it was then that he decided that he wasn't near good enough to win this battle and avenge his teacher so he staggered away and managed to make it into the thicket of bushes and boulders on the far side of the clearing before succumbing to his injury and dieing behind a boulder as his opponent turned back to the other Immortal who was now standing and leaning on his sword for support.

 
“Come on.  Let's get you out of here before he wakes up and decides he wants to try again,” the female Immortal said and slipped his arm over her shoulders and hurried him out of the clearing and up the small ridge she had come from.

 
“Thank you,” he said, breathlessly as he scrambled up the small deer path that led to the top of the ridge.  “I'm Duncan MacLeod and I owe you one,” he said as they reached the top of the ridge and started down the other side.

 
“Sheriff Robin Scott at your service,” came the answer.  “My camp is down by the stream,” she added, leading the way down the other side of the ridge.

 
“Did you say sheriff?”  Duncan asked, incredulously.  This was definitely a first for him.

 
“That's right,” Robin said as she jumped over a log laying across the narrow deer path.  “Sheriff of Ford's Prairie, Washington.”  The first thing she did when they reached her camp was to check on her horse.  “If your hungry there's some left over rabbit stew in the pot hanging over the fire. Help yourself.  There's a plate drying on the rock over there,” she said, pointing to the rock where she had laid out her plate and utensils to dry after washing them in the stream.  “And there's coffee in the pot next to the fire.  It should still be warm,” she added.

 
“I’m not really very hungry but the coffee sounds good,” Duncan said and walked over to the fire.  He took the cup sitting on a rock next to the pot of coffee and filled it.  Taking a seat on the ground with his back against a rock, Duncan sipped at his coffee as he watched the woman who had just saved his life console her horse.  “He's beautiful,” he said, admiringly.

 
“Thank you,” Robin said.  “Sid meet Duncan....Duncan this is Obsidian’s Fire....Sid for short,” she said, pulling a couple of sugar cubes out of her shirt pocket and holding them in her open palm while her horse gobbled them up, greedily.  “Spoiled,” she said softly to the horse and ruffled the part of his mane that lay over his forehead.  The name Obsidian’s Fire fit the Friesian stallion as he was jet black and his mane, tail and the feathers around his hooves were flaming red.  As red as Robin's long hair was.

 
“You don't see many Friesians around these parts,” Duncan said and took another sip of his coffee...his energy beginning to return to his body.

 
“Most people have to ask me what kind of horse he is,” Robin said as she joined Duncan at the fire.  She sat down on her bed roll and lay against her saddle, propping herself up on one elbow.  “So did your horse take off when the fireworks started?”  She asked, taking a pouch out of the vest pocket of her suede fringed jacket.  She opened the pouch and took out a pack of rolling papers and then sprinkled tobacco from the pouch onto a paper.  She proceeded to roll a cigarette which she lit using a twig she stuck in the camp fire until the end began to burn.  She offered the pouch to MacLeod, who refused it, then put it away...taking a long drag off of the cigarette as she did and blowing smoke rings into the camp fire's smoke.

 
“Yeah.  But he won't have gone far,” Duncan said and took another sip of his coffee as he watched the woman sitting across the camp fire from him, mesmerized.

 
“So what do you do when you're not pissing off crazy Immortals?”  Robin asked, taking a drag off of her cigarette.

 
“I used to run a newspaper in a small town south of here,” Duncan said, tearing his eyes away from Robin's face and looking up at what was left of the night sky.  “Now I'm just traveling around looking for what ever's next,” he added and took a sip of his coffee.  Caffeine or no...he suddenly felt physically drained and exhausted and he involuntarily yawned.

 
Robin tossed him her extra blanket and said, “we've got a few hours before sun up so why don't you try and get some sleep?  I know I plan on it.”  She unbuckled her holster and lay it within reach and slipped out of her fringed jacket.

 
That was when Duncan saw the glistening sheriff's star pinned to shirt.  He had a million questions he wanted to ask the first lady sheriff he had ever encountered but he was much too tired.  Instead he stretched out, using the tattered remnants of his duster as a pillow.

 
Robin lay back against her saddle and pulled her blanket up to her chin.  She looked up at the stars then drifted off to sleep.  The warmth of the morning sun on her face woke her up and she yawned and stretched then sat up and looked around. She was alone.  MacLeod had already packed up and gone.  Hanging from a stub of a broken branch on the makeshift spit over the campfire was a folded piece of paper with her name on it.  She removed it and unfolded it.

 
“Robin -  Thank you for your hospitality.  Sorry to leave so suddenly but I need to try and find my horse and continue on my journey.  Who knows...maybe I'll pay a visit to Ford's Prairie someday.  Good hunting and stay safe.  Your friend, Duncan MacLeod,” the note read.

 
“I hope he finds his horse,” Robin said aloud to herself as she refolded the note and stuffed it in her jeans pocket.  She proceeded to pack up and clear her campsite, making sure that the campfire held no smoldering embers that could start a wild fire in the dry summer brush.  Soon she and Sid were back on the road and attempting to make up the time they had lost.

 
Six and a half hours later, horse and rider turned onto the road that would take them into Richland, which was the next form of civilization and Robin suspected that Mattox would have stopped there and she hoped that it wasn't too long ago.

 
“Yeah.  He came in to buy some supplies,” said the General Store owner when Robin showed him the wanted poster with the picture of Duane Mattox.  “And a map of the area Northwest of Ft. Simcoe,” he added as an after thought.

 
“Did he say why that particular area?”  Robin asked as she gazed longingly at a jar of licorice on a shelf where it was accompanied by several jars filled with other kinds of candy.

 
The store owner shook his head.  :There isn't much between the fort and Lost Horse Plateau,” he said, following Robin's gaze.  “The only thing I can think of that would be up there is an old trapper's cabin,” he added as he took the jar off of the shelf and set it on the counter in front of Robin.

 
“What's beyond that?”  Robin asked as the owner removed the lid of the jar and the scent of fresh licorice filled her nostrils.

 
The store owner fumbled around in a drawer behind the counter and produced a map which he spread out on the remaining portion of the counter.  Using the template arm of his spectacles as a pointer, he showed Robin the area he was referring to.  “Here's the fort and the cabin would be somewhere around here. I've only been there once and that was a long time ago so I'm not completely positive of its exact location,” he said.  “Help yourself, Sheriff.  On the house,” he added, referring to the licorice.

 
Robin took a stick of the black candy out of the jar and thanked him as she studied the map.  “How far is the next form of civilization from the cabin if you were to continue in that direction?”  She asked, sucking on the stick of licorice, thoughtfully.

 
“Around 450 miles if you go around the plateau,” the owner said.  “About half that if you go over it.  But it's pretty rough terrain,” he added.  The door of the store opened and the cow bell hanging from the top of the door, jangled.  “Excuse me,” the owner said and he went to help the customer who had just walked in.

 
Robin took out some money and laid it on the counter.  She folded up the map and put it in the pocket of her jacket and left the store.  She climbed onto her horse and they headed out of town toward Ft. Simcoe.  A little after midnight, she made camp and slept until the first rays of light reached over the mountains, then they were on their way again.  They made good time and by nightfall they were over halfway to the fort.  They made camp by a stream and Sid grazed on the wild grass while Robin ate fish from the stream.  By morning both Sid and the sheriff were well rested and they continued on their journey  Robin reached the fort by nightfall.  She spent the night and bought more supplies when the store opened in the morning.

 
“I'm looking for this man,” Robin said as she showed the wanted poster to the manager of the fort's store.  “I was told that he may have stopped here before moving on. Have you seen him?”

 
The man behind the counter looked closely at the poster then nodded.  “Yes,” he said.  “He was in here yesterday afternoon asking directions.”

 
“Directions to where?”  Robin asked.  She was relieved to hear that she was less than a day behind Mattox.

 
“He asked about a trapper's cabin a half days ride from here,” the man replied.

 
“Thank you,” Robin said with a grateful smile.  “I need to purchase some ammo,” she added and told the man what she needed.

 
After purchasing extra ammunition for both her revolver and her Winchester rifle, Robin left the store.  As she was climbing onto her horse the store manager walked out onto the boardwalk and said, “we have a scout here that knows these mountains better than the natives and I'm sure that Captain Howell would loan him to you.”

 
Robin took the reins in one hand and smiled down at the man.  “Thanks, but that won't be necessary. Just point me in the direction of that cabin,” she said.

 
“Head North and you'll come to a dry creek bed.  On the other side the road splits in two and narrows. Take the road to the right and it'll take you right to it,” the man said.

 
Robin thanked him, tapped the brim of her hat and rode out of the fort.  Once outside the gate she tapped her heels against Sid's sides and he broke into a gallop.  They reached the dry creek bed as the sky was turning from blue to shades of purple and red as the sun began to disappear behind the mountains. After an hour's ride, Robin reined Sid off of the rarely used narrow road.  The moonlight lit their way as they climbed to a higher altitude.  As soon as they reached a level spot that was shielded on all sides by large boulders and trees, Robin dismounted and took a spy glass out of one of her saddlebags.  She found a good spot to view the slope back down to the rode.  She slowly scanned the tree tops with her spy glass until she saw faint wisps of smoke rising up through the trees.  The forest was too thick to see what was producing the smoke but the way the plumes of smoke seemed to stay in a concentrated pattern told Robin that it was coming from a chimney and not an open fire.  She led Sid back down the slope a ways to a vantage point where she could easily keep an eye on the cabin without being heard or seen herself.

 
The cabin was small...probably one room....with only a front door and a couple of windows which were bathed in the soft yellow glow of the fireplace and lanterns.   As far as she could tell there was just one person inside the cabin. The cabin was practically backed up against the slope but there was a small broken down lean-to and there was one unsaddled horse tied under the structure.  Robin used her spy glass and the almost full moon to get a look at the horse's left hip and saw it carried the brand of the Lazy M Ranch where Mattox had been employed.  She grabbed her, stuffed the extra ammo she had purchased at the fort into the pockets of her fringed jacket and took a set of iron handcuffs out of her saddlebag and attached them to her belt then found a comfortable spot to perch and she chewed on a hunk of venison jerky as she watched the cabin and waited for the dawn.

 
It was a couple of hours before sunrise when Robin noticed that the yellow glow had disappeared from the cabin's windows and they were dark.  There was also no more smoke coming from the cabin's chimney so she figured that Mattox had finally gone to bed.  When the sky began to turn from the night's blackness to shades of yellow, purple and blue...but before the sun actually crested the mountain tops...she cocked her rifle, placing a shell in the chamber and made her way, silently down the slope to a clump of boulders about 20 yards from the cabin.  She hid behind the shelter of the boulders until she was positive that there was no one outside of the cabin or watching her from the inside then, staying low and in the shadows, she crept to the side of the cabin and stood with her back against the wall.  She stood there listening for any sound coming from inside the cabin.  The only sound was the chattering of a couple of squirrels, the warblings of a few morning birds and the soft whisper of a breeze rustling the leaves and pine needles of the trees.

 
The first rays of sunlight were now reaching over the tops of the eastern mountains.  With the skill of stealth she had learned during the time that she had lived among the local Lakota Sioux, Robin moved to the nearest window and peeked through it.  The inside of the cabin was dark except for a small stream of light coming through the curtain-less window at the back of the cabin  The cabin had, in fact, only one large room.  The only furniture was a table and a couple of old wooden chairs, a cupboard with some dishes and an old military cot in the corner near the fireplace made out of river rock.  A cast iron kettle hung from a hook in the center of the fireplace...a ladle sticking out of the kettle indicating that Mattox' dinner left overs were probably still in the kettle.  There were several empty whiskey bottles strewn around the room and a couple of blobs of wax...the remnants of melted candles...sat in the center of the table.  After surveying the cabin interior through the window, Robin looked back at the cot and it was obvious that someone was sleeping on it.

 
Robin moved silently to the door of the cabin and slowly turned the nob.  Because it was old and a bit rusty, it took a little effort to turn it without making any noise, but Robin managed and she cautiously opened the door and stepped into the cabin.  Without any hesitation she quietly moved over to the cot and put her boot on the edge of the bed.  She gave it a quick shove and over it went...spilling its inhabitant onto the floor with a loud thump.  She stepped over the cot that was now on its side and placed the barrel of her rifle against Matt ox’s forehead just as he was starting to sit up.

 
“Duane Mattox, you are under arrest for the charge of rape, assault and battery and assault with intent to kill,” Robin said in her most authoritative voice.

 
“What?”  Mattox said looking up at Robin with a dazed and confused look on his face.  He moved like he was going to try and get up again and Robin pressed the barrel of her rifle harder against his forehead.

 
“Don't even think about it, Mattox,” Robin said, threateningly.  “You even breathe wrong and I'll  pull the trigger and this rifle will blow your head into next week.”

 
“Are you talking about that whore?” Mattox asked, incredulously.  “How do you rape a whore?”  He asked.

 
Robin placed her boot squarely in Matt ox’s crotch and he inhaled quickly and held his breath.   “I suggest you mind your tongue.  I'm tired, hungry, in need of a bath and easily pissed off.  So if you want to see your day in court...”

 
“What happened to innocent until proven guilty?”  Mattox asked.

 
“You ran.  Innocent people don't run,” Robin said and removed the handcuffs from her belt.  “Slowly roll over onto your stomach and place your arms out straight like you're flying,” she said.  As Mattox, reluctantly, complied, Robin set her rifle down and leaned it against the tipped over cot and took her revolver out of its holster.  She cocked the hammer back so Mattox would know that she was serious.  When he was on his stomach she placed her knee in the middle of his lower back and put her weight into it then put one of the cuffs on his right wrist and locked it.  She pulled his arm around behind him and stuck it under her knee.  Then she grabbed his left arm and yanked it behind him and cuffed it, locking the cuff to the one on his right wrist.  “Now get up.  Slowly.  Don't try anything stupid,” she said, moving off of him and pulling him up, using the handcuffs' chain.

 
“Do you really believe that you are going to take me back to Ford's Prairie all by yourself?”  Mattox asked, slyly, as his mind raced with plans of escape.

 
Robin holstered her revolver and picked up her rifle.  With the muzzle against Matt ox’s back she shoved him forward and out of the cabin.  “You, obviously have your doubts,” she said with a little chuckle.  “Care to make a bet on it?”  She said, tauntingly, then she let out a shrill whistle and a few seconds later Sid trotted into view and over to Robin.  She patted the horse's neck and took the rope that was coiled and laced to her saddle and tied one end, securely, to the chain between the handcuffs.  Then she wrapped it around Matt ox’s waist and tied another knot in front of him.  The other end of the rope she tied to her saddle horn.

 
“My horse is around back,” Mattox said.

 
“It's actually the Lazy M's horse. If they want it they can come and get it,” Robin said as she climbed into Sid's saddle.

 
“Are we both going to ride your horse all the way back to Ford's Prairie?”  Mattox asked.  “He might not make it with the extra weight,” he added.

 
“Who said anything about you riding?” Robin said as she let out enough length of rope so that Mattox could trail behind Sid without getting kicked.

 
“You're going to make me walk all that way?”  Mattox asked, incredulously.  “That's inhumane,” he protested.

 
“What you did to Janice was inhumane, so I won't be losing any sleep about making you hoof it all the way back home,” Robin sneered, angrily.  She nudged Sid with her heels and they were on their way back to Ford's Prairie.

To be continued

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Offline 22639

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Chapter 2
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2012, 07:30:32 am »
Chapter 2

“I'll see you and raise you $10,” Robin said as she tossed another $10 on the pile in the center of the table and she smiled confidently at the man sitting across from her.  He studied his hand for a few minutes then moved the cigar from one side of his mouth to the other and looked directly into Robin's eyes as he tried to determine if she were bluffing or not.

 
It had been six months of peace and quiet since Robin brought Duane Mattox back to town and five months since he had been found guilty by a jury of his peers and sent to the state penitentiary  Robin's days had been spent making the occasional rounds of the town and playing chess out in front of her office with Roger Wells, the owner of the General Store.  In the evenings, when she was in town, she could be found either playing poker in the Lucky Ace with Wells, Curtis Hudson, Ford's Prairie's only doctor and Daniel Evans, the town's mayor and owner of the Evans' Hotel and the Evans' Livery or in the lobby of the hotel playing backgammon with Fred, the night desk clerk.  When she wasn't in town she was at home, a cabin in a mountain meadow about 8 miles out of town, either working on the upkeep of her spacious three room cabin and small barn, tending her small garden of vegetables and herbs, fishing at her favorite pond about a mile from the meadow, working out, meditating by a waterfall in the forest not too far up the stream that cut the meadow in half or...on nice days and evenings...reading while lounging in her hammock out in front of the cabin...or on not so nice days and evenings...reading whiled curled up in front of a fire in the huge river rock fireplace that separated two of the cabin's rooms.

 
“I think you're bluffing,” Dr. Hudson said and tossed $10 into the pile.  “I see your ten and....because I'm sure that I'm right...,” he tossed $15 onto the pile and said, “I'll raise you fifteen more.”  Wells whistled and leaned forward with interest and the Mayor tossed his hand onto the table, folding.

 
Robin looked at her hand, then over at the doctor and back down at the cards she was holding in her hand.  Her luck had been fluctuating all night.  She would win a couple of hands...lose one...win one...lose three and so one.  The doctor had started out looking as though it would be an early night for him but his luck had turned around and he had won the last three hands with two powerful hands and a convincing bluff so Robin thought carefully about what she should do.  Should she take his confident bet as him holding some powerful cards or as another attempt to bluff?  All she had was $15 so if she wanted to see him and he did win the hand it would mean she was done for the night.  If she simply folded and gave him the pot she could play a few more hands before having to call it a night and maybe even come away from the table not completely broke.  She looked into Hudson's eyes one more time.

 
The doctor moved his cigar from one side of his mouth to the other and asked, meeting Robin's gaze, “So, Sheriff?  What's it going to be?”

 
Robin quickly reviewed the last few hands and she remembered seeing the good doctor move his cigar from one side of his mouth, coincidentally, whenever he was unsure how strong his hand was.  With a perfectly expressionless face, she slid her $15 into the pile in the center of the table and said, evenly, “call.  Let's see 'em, Doc.”

 
Dr. Hudson took his cigar out of his mouth and set it in the nearby ashtray then laid his cards on the table, face up, showing a full house of kings and jacks then he looked over at Robin as Evans gave the doctor a congratulatory pat on the back and Wells whistled and downed the shot of whiskey he had just poured.

 
Still expressionless, Robin slowly laid her cards, face up in a stack, on the table, then, with one hand, slowly spread them out showing first a ten of spades then a queen of hearts then a queen of diamonds then a queen of clubs and finally the queen of spades.

 
“Four queens!”  announced the Mayor.

 
“Nicely played, Sheriff,” Wells said, slapping Robin on the back with one hand and filling her shot glass with whiskey with the other.

 
“Damn!” Hudson exclaimed and slouched back in his chair, dejectedly.  “I thought for sure you were bluffing,” he added.

 
“You ought to know by now, Doc,” Robin said as she raked in her winnings,  “that I'm no good at bluffing so I very rarely...if ever...do it.”  She began to organize the different denominations of bills and coins that were now in front of her.

 
Evans leaned forward and scooped up the cards on the table into the pile he was holding and began to shuffle them.  “Anyone want to play another hand?”  He asked as he tossed a 50₵ piece into the center of the table.

 
“That's it for me,” the doctor said and picked up what little money he had left and stuffed into his pocket.  He downed his drink and got to his feet.  “As always,” he said with a slight bow as he took his hat off of the post on the back of his chair and put it on, “it's been a pleasure.”

 
Wells tossed a 50₵ piece into the center of the table and said, “see you next week, Curtis.”  He filled his glass and downed it.

 
“I'll see you at 11:00 tomorrow, Doc,” Robin said as she tossed her ante into the pile...referring to the doctor's and her monthly trek to a small village of Lakota Indians that was about fifteen miles in the mountains south of town to provide vaccinations for the children and to render whatever medical aid that might be needed (and accepted).

 
“Right,” Hudson waved without looking back as he made his way through the saloon to the doors and Evans began to deal out the cards.

 
Later that night as Robin walked from the saloon, which was on one end of town, to Mrs. Porter's Boarding House where she stayed when she stayed in town, which was on the other end of town, she began to get the nagging suspicion that the peace and quiet she had been enjoying for the past six months was about to come to an end.  That suspicion became fact a few nights later when Robin walked to the Lucky Ace, as she or her deputy did every night when the Lucky Ace closed it doors for the night to make sure Victor Jacobs, the Lucky Ace's owner, closed up without incident  As usual, she leaned against a hitching rail across the street from the saloon and waited until all of the lights were extinguished, indicating that all of Victor's patrons had left the saloon and he had gone upstairs to his apartment above the saloon to retire for the night.  As she walked back to the Sheriff's Office and passed the alley between the General Store and the Barber's Shop she felt the presence of another Immortal.  She stopped and looked around.  There was no one to be seen on the main street so she, cautiously, ventured into the small alley.  A few yards into the alley she stopped and listened but heard nothing out of the ordinary. A few seconds later the feeling disappeared and, since she didn't have her sword with her, Robin didn't pursue the issue and returned to the main street and continued on her way to her office where she locked the door and slept in one of the two empty jail cells...her Goddess of the Sun Katana under the mattress...until Deputy Lewis relieved her in the morning.  Robin spent the rest of the day working out in her meadow.

 
When she relieved her deputy the following morning, Robin checked with Mr. Wells, Mayor Evans, Mrs. Porter and Paul Payne, the owner of the Ford's Prairie Bank and Trust to see if they had seen anyone new in town.  They hadn't but promised to let her know if they did.  A week later, upon returning from her and the doctor's monthly visit to the Lakota village, Harry Franklin, the town's blacksmith, informed Robin that a stranger had stopped in because his horse had thrown a shoe.

 
“He asked if this was the town with the lady sheriff,” Harry said.  “He didn't stay, though.  I fixed his horse's shoe and he left and rode right on out of town.”

 
“What did he look like?”  Robin asked Harry.

 
“He was tall....taller than me,” Harry said, holding his hand up to show the stranger's height.  “Large build....around 40...45 with short blond hair.”

 
Robin didn't recognize the description.  She thanked Harry for letting her know and for the next couple of days she wore her duster with a sheath for her sword sewn into the lining instead of her fringed jacket...just in case.

 
A week later Robin was dozing along side her favorite fishing pond, her line in the water awaiting a fish to grab the bait when she was jarred awake by an Immortal buzz.  She sat up and opened her eyes as her hand went for her sword that lay next to her in the sand and she looked around to see a man, who fit Harry's description, walking toward her, his sword cradled in his arms as if it were a child. Robin jumped to her feet, dropping her fishing pole on the ground.

 
“Sheriff Robin Scott, I presume,” the Immortal said as he slowly approached Robin.

 
“I am,” Robin said with a nod.  “And you are?”

 
“Brice Harris, at your service,” the Immortal said and bowed, gallantly. “I heard about you all the way down in Fresno, California and I had to see for myself.  It's not everyday one gets to meet a legend.”

 
“I'd hardly say I'm a legend,” Robin said as she positioned her feet so that her weight was evenly distributed and her feet had solid footing.

 
“The West's only lady sheriff who rode with the Earps when they were after the Thompson Gang and partnered with Marshall Maco in capturing William Tate puts you up there in the company of Calamity Jane and her crew,” Harris said.

 
“One time.  I rode with the Earps one time and there were 115 in that posse so I doubt they even knew I was there,” Robin said, shaking her head.

 
“Then I find out that you are an Immortal.  Well.....I just had to meet you,” Harris said, smugly.  “And now that I have....I just have to have...,” Harris suddenly swung his sword over his head as he quickly advanced towards Robin then lunged at her, slashing his sword downward towards her head, declaring, “...to have your Quickening.”

 
Robin caught Harris' blade with the side of her own forcing Harris to change his blade's position to the side and Robin used the opening to drop kick Harris in the chest which disarmed him. 


Harris reached out and quickly grabbed Robin's shoulders and pulled Robin to him.  He smashed his forehead into Robin's...letting Robin stagger backward a couple of steps then did a roundhouse kick...putting his weight behind the force of it...and connected with Robin's sword hand. 


At the same instant Robin heard the bones of her fingers snap...a searing pain shot up Robin's wrist to her arm and to her elbow and she cried out as she lost her grip on the hilt of her sword and it clattered to the ground. 


Harris rammed his knee into  Robin 's gut numerous times. 

Robin  fell to the ground, then leaped up and tackled Harris. They rolled across the dirt.


Harris was the first up and kicked  Robin  in the face. 


Robin  reared up and hurled dirt in Harris' face.


Harris stumbled back, clutching at his eyes.   


Robin  slammed her foot into Harris' chest, knocking him down.  As Harris lay there,  Robin  ran at him.   

Harris lifted his legs up and monkey-flipped Robin  over. They jumped to their feet at the same time. Harris blocked a punch and slammed his fist into  Robin 's jaw.   


Robin punched Harris back, driving him into the wall.   


Harris roundhouse kicked Robin to the ground.  Harris had Robin on her back and was crouching over her as he punched her repeatedly in the face.


Robin reached  up with her left arm and grasped Harris' right forearm.  At the same time she rolled back and swung her left leg up and over Harris' right arm (and her left) and hooked her knee around the left side of Harris' head.  She pushed her left leg down toward the floor and brought herself almost to a sitting position, using the momentum of her upper body to add strength to her left leg.  When she had forced Harris almost to the floor she released her hold on Harris and scooted herself back a bit then struggled to her feet.   


Harris reached up and grabbed Robin's hand and pulled her toward him as he turned on his right side so that when he pulled Robin all the way to the floor he wouldn't be underneath her.   


As Robin got closer to the floor she tucked her chin into her chest and bent her back so when she got to the floor she would be able to do a forward somersault..which she did...the force of which wrenched her hands out of Harris', freeing her.   


Harris got up and crawled over to Robin and grabbed her right shoulder with his left hand and used his weight to pin Robin to the floor while he pummeled Robin's face with his right fist.   


Robin threw her legs upward and used their momentum to do a backward somersault (simply reversing her previous move).  When she was able to put her feet on the floor she jumped into a modified crouch, grabbed Harris' right upper arm with her right hand and pulled toward herself.  At the same time she pivoted on the ball of her right foot and reached around the back of Harris' neck with her left arm, crooking her elbow so that her left arm wrapped around Harris' throat.   


Harris  spun out of Robin's grasp and kicked Robin in the face, sending her sprawling backward and her sword flying.  Robin  caught her balance just before stumbling to the ground and jump-kicked  Harris  to send him backward.   Harris  grabbed Robin's foot and pushed Robin back.   


Robin punched Harris in the side of his head which caused Harris to drop Robin's foot.   


Harris retaliated while Robin was trying to regain her balance with several quick punches to her face.   


Robin  blocked a punch, kneed Harris in the gut, and slammed her elbow into Harris' face.   


Harris  rammed his shoulder into  Robin then curled his leg around behind Robin's legs and simultaneously shoved with his shoulder and pulled his leg in tight against the back of Robin's causing Robin to tumble backwards and fall to the ground.   


As Robin rolled on the ground and attempted to stand back up she saw her sword.   


Harris positioned himself over Robin and lifted his foot in preparation of driving it into Robin. 


As Harris brought his foot down, Robin  rolled and grabbed her sword. She rose from the ground, spun her sword so she could plunge it into Harris.   


Harris blocked Robin's attack and the air was filled with the song of blade against blade.  The battle reached more rocky ground and Harris...being unfamiliar with the terrain..stepped against the side of a rock half buried in the ground.  It threw him off balance for only a couple of seconds.   


Robin seized the opportunity and spun her blade around in several directions so swiftly that it appeared to be whirling like an out of control fan blade.   


The whirling blade forced the off balance Harris backward, unrelentingly, until Harris could no longer maintain his footing and he stumbled to one knee....doing his best to block Robin's blade with his own.   


Robin saw that Harris' concentration was divided between trying to stay upright while blocking Robin's slashes, slices, thrusts and parries so, when she was close enough, Robin did a modified roundhouse kick and connected squarely with the side of Harris' head.   


Harris was completely caught off guard by the sudden kick and, as bells rang in his head and he began to see stars, Harris dropped his sword and fell backward.   


Robin raised her sword up and sliced downward, cutting Harris' head off.  It rolled to a stop a few feet away and it's eyes stared blankly up at the sky.  Suddenly, a swarm of blue and red lights emerged from the headless neck and began to swirl around Robin's feet.  Slowly they swirled from her feet to her head then exploded into bright bolts of lightening.  Robin  threw her head back and let out a howl of both severe pain and intense pleasure as she was overcome by Harris' Quickening.  When it was over she dropped to her hands and knees, exhausted.


Once the strength returned to her limbs, Robin struggled to her feet and walked back to the pond where she had been fishing.  She went over and knelt down at the water's edge. Leaning over, she cupped her hands together and scooped up some of the cold water and splashed it over her face.  She got up and went over to where she had been dozing earlier and picked up her canteen and drank its contents of cold spring water, thirstily.  When the canteen was empty Robin set about burying Harris' dismembered body and head...making sure to camouflage the newly dug grave.  She gathered her fishing gear and headed back to her cabin.


“So much for the peace and quiet,” Robin grumbled as she put her fishing gear away and changed out of her tattered clothes.

To be continued

Offline 22639

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Chapter 3
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 01:05:19 pm »
Chapter 3

It was a gorgeous day.  The sky was a pristine blue, Robin's meadow was carpeted in the bright colors of wildflowers, the wild grass was a Kelly green, the surrounding mountains looked like they were covered in dark green velvet and only a few peaks were still tipped with snow.  The air was comfortably warm and a cool breeze would rustle through the tall pines of the surrounding forest.  The only sounds were the babbling stream that ran through the middle of the meadow, the occasional cry of a Bald Eagle soaring in the sly overhead and the thump of Robin's saw as she trimmed some logs to repair the fence that surrounded the small grazing paddock that was shared by Robin's only milk cow and Obsidian's Fire.

 
Robin stood with one foot on the ground and the other braced against the long log she was sawing and held the end of her saw in both hands.  She was dressed in a pair of blue jeans and an underwear shirt that the sleeves had been cut off of and the neckline cut down so that it had narrow straps at the shoulders instead of sleeves and her tanned skin glistened with perspiration as she worked the saw back and forth through the log.  Her long red hair was tied back in a pony tail and a bandana was rolled up and tied around her head to keep sweat from dripping into her eyes as she worked.  When the saw's blade cleared the log, she straightened up...stretching the muscles in her back and picked up her canteen and, greedily, drank almost all of its contents of cool spring water then she poured the rest of the water in the canteen over her head to cool herself off.  She bent over to tie two ends of a rope around the end of the log she had just shortened so she could use the rope to pull the log over to the place in the paddock fence that needed to be repaired.  As she stepped into the “loop” of the rope, positioned it around the front of her waist and took a couple of steps forward the sound of an approaching horse echoed into the meadow.  Robin turned to see who was coming and saw a single rider come galloping into the meadow.

 
“Sheriff!” the rider called as he jumped his horse over the stream instead of using the bridge that was just wide enough that a buckboard wagon could make it across the bridge with a few inches on each side to spare.  “They need you in town,” he called as he reined his horse to a stop so sudden that the horse's front hooves actually slid a few inches in the loose dirt.

 
As soon as the rider had cleared the stream, he was close enough for Robin to recognize him as Deputy Lewis's teenaged brother.  “What's wrong, Tommy?”  she asked as she dropped the rope and stepped out of it, looking up at the boy.

 
“Someone tried to rob the bank and they have him pinned down in it,” Tommy said, his horse picking up on his anxiety and prancing around in a circle as its young rider tried to keep it under control.  “My brother told me to come get you.”

 
“Who's “they?”  Robin asked as she grabbed the deerskin shirt that was hanging over the hitching post in front of her cabin and slipped it on.  Then she grabbed her holster that was also hanging over the railing and strapped it around her waist.

 
“My brother, Mr. Wells, Mr. Evans, Mr. Franklin and some stranger that just happened to come into town when all hell broke loose and he offered to help,” Tommy answered.

 
Robin quickly removed her headband and grabbed her hat, putting it on and untying Sid from the hitching post.  “Is anyone hurt?” she asked as she climbed into the saddle and reined Sid in the direction that Tommy had come.

 
“There were shots fired inside the bank but the robber hasn't let anyone come out so I don't know if Mr. Payne is hurt or not,” Tommy answered.

 
Robin nudged her horse with the heels of her boots and Sid took off at a full gallop with Tommy close behind.

 
The sound of the gun battle could be heard even before Robin entered the city limits.  The bank was on the West side of the street directly across from the General Store so Robin rode down the narrow roadway that ran behind the buildings on the East side of the town's main street (used for store deliveries, etc.) and tied Sid behind the General Store.  She grabbed her rifle and ran down the alley between the General Store and the Barber Shop.  As she approached the end of the alley she felt the buzz of another Immortal and frowned but a bullet zipping by her and embedding itself in the wood siding of the building to her right, sending splinters of wood flying made wondering about who the Immortal was unimportant at the moment.  She dove for cover behind one of the watering troughs in front of the store.  She turned over so that the back of her shoulders were against the trough and looked around her.

 
Wells and Evans were kneeling behind one of the other troughs in front of the store, taking turns raising up long enough to fire a couple of shots from their rifles in the direction of the bank.  Harry stood behind the wooden Indian statue in front of the Barber Shop, trying to make himself smaller so that he could actually hide there but Robin couldn't see her deputy anywhere.  She looked over at back of the man next to her behind the trough just as he turned over and looked at her.  A bullet hit the water in the trough, splashing both Robin and....

 
“MacLeod?” Robin said, looking at the Immortal who she had helped out eight months ago while hunting Duane Mattox.

 
MacLeod flashed one of his award winning smiles and tapped the brim of his hat in a mock salute.  “Madam Sheriff,” he said, ducking as another bullet dug into the Porch post next to him, causing splinters of wood to shower down on him.

 
Robin quickly turned over and raised up, leveling off her rifle over the top of the trough and firing two shots at the front window of the bank.  Then she ducked back down behind the trough and cocked her rifle so that it would be ready for the next volley.

 
“Did you bring all of this with you?”  Robin asked, looking at MacLeod and quirking an eyebrow, questioningly.

 
“No.  I sort of happened along just as it was starting,” MacLeod answered and reached around the end of the trough and fired at the front of the bank.  “They looked like they could use the help,” he added as he turned back around and reloaded his rifle.

 
“Have you seen my deputy?”  Robin asked, ducking as a bullet shattered the glass of the General Store's front window showering the boardwalk and them with glass.

 
MacLeod pointed to the body Robin now saw lying on the ground on the other side of a buckboard wagon that setting in front of the Barber Shop.  “Right after he sent for you, he tried to talk who ever's inside the bank into coming out peacefully and ended up taking one in the throat,” he explained.

 
“Damn!”  Robin exclaimed and winced as she thought of poor Tommy.  His brother was the only family he had, as their father, a US Calvary officer, was killed at Wounded Knee and their mother had died four of years ago from Diphtheria  Robert Lewis had taken on the responsibility of raising Tommy who was just barely fourteen years old.  A bullet zipped into the dirt next to her and brought her back to the present situation.  “How many are there in the bank?”  She asked, taking off her hat and trying to peak over the top of the trough.

 
“As far as I can tell...just one,” MacLeod said.  “But he must have an arsenal in there with him because he has been able to keep us at bay with very few and short reload breaks.”

 
“Has he said anything?”  Robin asked as another bullet splashed trough water in her face and she ducked back down.

 
“He said he was coming out once and we thought he was going to step out with a hostage but he must have changed his mind because he just started shooting at us again,” MacLeod explained.

 
“Do we know what the status of the bank owner is?”  Robin said looking down the street at the clock tower that would, someday, sit in front of a city hall/courthouse.  It was mid morning so Mr. Payne would have been in the bank alone.  His assistant/clerk didn't come in until just before lunch time.

 
“Haven't heard one way or the other,” MacLeod answered.

 
Robin rolled onto her side so she could peer around the end of the trough.  She cleared her throat and took a deep breath.  “You in the bank!”  She called out.  “This is Sheriff Scott.”  She looked over at Harry and, in a loud whisper, said, “cover the back side of the bank.” She knew that there wasn't an actual back door to the bank but Payne's office was at the back of the building and it had a window that, although small, could be used as an escape route...unless the man that was going to climb through it was a big man.  As Harry ducked into the alley between the store and the Barber Shop and headed for the backside of the buildings on the West side of the street, Robin called out, “you might as well face the fact that you're not going to leave this town.  Even if you walk out of there empty handed....you killed my deputy and I will see that you hang for that.  So you can either give yourself up or make a break for it and give me the opportunity to shoot you down.  Either way....you are no longer a free man.”

 
The man in the bank fired two shots in Robin's direction, forcing her to duck further behind the watering trough as his response.

 
“I want to talk to the bank owner, Mr. Payne,” Robin called out.

 
“I'm sorry.  Mr. Payne is incommunicado at the moment,” came the answer from inside the bank.

 
“If he's injured, let him come out so our doctor can tend to him,” Robin called out.

 
“He's not exactly injured,” the man in the bank called back.

 
“Is he alive?” Robin called out.

 
“I don't know.  I ain't no doctor,” the man in the bank responded.  “But I didn't do nothin' to him.  He just keeled over when I told him to open the safe and fill my bag.”

 
“Shit!”  Robin swore.  “Payne has a bad ticker.  He probably had a heart attack,” she said, more to herself than to MacLeod.
Roger raised up and fired two shots at the bank.  Robin didn't know if the store owner was actually trying to hit the robber or if he was just firing for effect because after he fired the first shot the robber retaliated in kind and Roger was ducking as he fired the second shot which went God knows where.

 
“What's it going to be?”  Robin called out.  She expected a round of bullets to answer her question but she was met with silence.  “Hello in the bank.  What's your answer?”  Then she heard breaking glass in the distance and a round of rifle fire coming from behind the bank and she knew that the robber had attempted to escape through Payne's office window and had met with Harry.  She hoped that Harry had not only foiled the robber's escape attempt but that he had, at least, wounded the guy.  Her answer came when several bullets hit the hitching post, water trough and the ground nearby.  She leaned over MacLeod and in a loud whisper, said, “Roger....do you still have that bow and quiver for sale in your store?”

 
The store owner looked around the Mayor at Robin and nodded.  “You want me to get it for you?”  He asked.

 
Robin shook her head.  “I'll get it.  Cover me,” she said to Wells, Evans and MacLeod and as they fired a round of bullets at the bank, she dove across the boardwalk into the General Store and low crawled out of the doorway where she wouldn't be visible.

 
“Is there anything I can do, Sheriff?”  Mrs. Wells asked from behind the counter where she was crouching.

 
“Yeah,” Robin said as she moved more towards the back of the store where she was sure she would be out of the robber's view and surveyed the walls where she had seen the bow and quiver of arrows a few days before when she was in the store.  “I need a rag soaked in kerosene and some flexible wire,” she said, locating what she was looking for and rushing over to grab it off of the wall.

 
The store owner's wife got what Robin had requested and held the kerosene soaked rag out to her from the safety provided by a 5' high stack of large bags of seed grain.

 
“Thanks, Mirna,” Robin said as she held out the tip of one of the arrows from the quiver she had removed from its display spot on the back wall and said, “hold this, please.”  When the arrow was in Mirna's hand, Robin wrapped the rag around the end of the arrow and used the flexible wire, Mirna had found to tightly secure the rag.  “Thanks,” Robin said with a small smile of gratitude.  “Now get into the back room and stay there....no matter what you hear or think you hear,” she instructed.  She crouched down and carried the bow and the arrow back out to her spot behind the water trough.  “Something tells me that you are probably a better shot with one of these than I am,” Robin said to MacLeod who looked at her and lifted an eyebrow, curiously.

 
Duncan took the bow and arrow from Robin and tested the spring of the bow.  “It's been a while,” he said, skeptically.  “But I'll give it a try.  What's the target?”

 
“See the gabled window at the peak of the roof?”  Robin said and when MacLeod nodded she continued.  “It looks like an upstairs window but the bank is only one story.  It's more just for decoration than anything.  If you can put the arrow through that window it should travel far enough toward the back of the bank and....with any luck....land somewhere behind the counter where there is more paper to catch fire.”  Then she added, “or at the very least it will get caught in the rafters and catch them on fire.”  She was thankful that Payne had recently upgraded the large safe where everyone's money was kept to one that was fireproof.  She leaned over MacLeod and said to Wells and Evans, “give us some cover fire.”  Then she lay back with the back of her shoulders against the trough.  “Give me your pistol, MacLeod,” she said, laying her rifle down on the ground between her and MacLeod.  When Duncan handed his Colt revolver to her, Robin checked the cylinder, which was full.  She unholstered her own pistol and spun the full cylinder for luck.  She took off her hat and laid it on the ground...took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she turned over and rolled over to a three large barrels that had been stacked at the bottom of the boardwalk steps and squatted behind them.  Shots rang out from the bank....a few bullets digging into the ground nearby.

 
“I'm going to give you one more chance,” Robin called out to the robber in the bank.  “Toss your weapons out the door and come out with your hands up and let's end this peacefully.”

 
“Go fuck yourself!” the man in the bank yelled back and fired a couple of rounds of his shotgun for effect.

 
“Now that was just plain rude,” Robin said, more to herself than anyone else.  She looked over at the store owner and the town Mayor.  “Now!” Robin said to  Wells and Evans and both men raised up and began firing, rapidly, at the bank. She looked at Duncan and mouthed, “ready?”

 
MacLeod nodded as he struck a match on the trough and touched it to the rag at the end of the arrow.  He positioned the arrow in the bow and raised up to his knees...taking aim at the gabled window Robin had indicated.

 
Robin didn't wait to see if the rag caught fire.  She leaped to her feet, holding both pistols out in front of her and she ran a few steps toward the center of the street, firing one shot after another from both guns.  When she was halfway across the street.....and completely exposed...she made a diving leap towards a buggy someone had abandoned in the street when the ruckus started...twisting sideways so that her body was facing the front of the bank while she continued to fire both revolvers.  She landed on the ground behind the buggy just as she fired the last bullet in each of the revolvers and she did a modified tuck and roll which put her at the back wheel of the buggy just as the flaming arrow broke through the gabled window of the bank.

 
The robber was firing blindly in the direction of Wells and Evans and then in Robin's direction but it was more than one man could handle and his accuracy suffered drastically. A stray bullet shattered the Barber Shop window.  Another one ricocheted off the chimney of the Store's fireplace and actually rang the bell that hung outside of the town's small Firehouse.  Another one made a hole in the front side of the watering trough she and MacLeod had hid behind and its contents began to pour through the hole, creating a mud puddle in front of it.  Then the robber could be heard yelling as the curtains over the gabled window began to burn and smoke began to pour out of the attic vents, the gabled window and the large window at the front of the bank.  “You fucking bitch!” the robber yelled from somewhere inside the bank.

 
“Yep.  That would be me,” Robin declared, proudly and grinned victoriously back at the men who had helped her as she quickly reloaded her revolver.

 
The loud report of the robber's large gauge shotgun echoed down the street and a bullet caught the top of Wells' Bowlerhat, sending it flying off of his head and it landed on the boardwalk behind him.  As he ducked down behind the trough, again, the Mayor could be heard asking him if he was alright.  The robber could be heard coughing from inside the bank and a few minutes later the door of the bank opened and he came stumbling out onto the boardwalk in front of the bank.

 
“Throw your weapon off to the side and put your hands over your head,” Robin demanded as she cautiously moved from behind the buggy.

 
Wells, Evans and MacLeod, got to their feet...aiming their rifles at the bank robber.

 
The man was practically doubled over in the throws of a violent coughing spell but he tossed his shotgun to the side and raised his hands in the air as he was told.

 
Robin came out from behind the buggy and moved towards the robber...holding her gun out in front of her and aimed at the man's chest.  “Now lay down on your stomach and stretch your arms out to your sides as if you're flying,” Robin said in a most commanding voice.  When the man didn't respond right away, she pulled the hammer back of her revolver and yelled, more forcefully, “Do it now!”

 
The robber, reluctantly, did as he was told...mumbling obscenities directed at Robin.

 
Harry came out of the door of the bank, carrying Mr. Payne over his shoulder just as the four on duty firemen began dragging the fire wagon over to the bank now that it was safe.  One by one the towns people began to emerge from the buildings that they had taken cover in and the men began to gather at the fire wagon to help put the blaze out before the bank was totally demolished.

 
Robin walked over to the robber and looked back at MacLeod, Wells and Evans and asked, “anyone got any rope?”

 
Mirna appeared at the door of the store and called out to MacLeod, who was already on his way to join Robin,  “Here!”  and she tossed a small coil of rope.

 
MacLeod caught the rope and took a few long strides over to where Robin stood over the robber...one foot firmly planted at the back of the man's neck...forcing his face into the dirt.  He straddled the robber and tied his hands behind his back and checked to make sure the binding was secure, then he grabbed the section of rope between the man's hands and lifted the man to his feet.

 
“You keep this up, and I may have to put you on the payroll, MacLeod,” Robin said, jokingly while she watched MacLeod secure the robber's hands.  “A position seems to have just opened up,” she added with a smirk.

 
“Depends on the pay and what the benefits are,” MacLeod joked back.

 
Robin grabbed the man's upper arm with one hand while keeping her revolver trained on her prisoner.  “Let's go, loser,” she ordered, simply, and pulled him toward the Sheriff's Office/Jail.  The she said over her shoulder, “Oh...by the way, MacLeod.....welcome to the peaceful town of Ford's Prairie,” and she chuckled, sarcastically.

To be continued

Offline 22639

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Chapter 4
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 10:52:31 pm »
Chapter 4

 The usually peaceful mountain forest echoed with the sound of horses' hooves.  Robin and Sid galloped into the forest and up the path that led to, what Robin referred to as “her special place”...a waterfall fed by both a natural spring somewhere in the mountains above the meadow and run off from the melting snow on the mountains' peaks.  It cascaded over granite boulders, smoothed and polished from decades of water.  The top of the waterfall was approximately three stories above a small pool of water, deep enough to swim in.


 Robin reined Sid to a stop, jumped off of the large Friesian stallion and let the reins drop to the ground.  “You're tied,” she said as she ran over to a huge boulder with a flat surface that hung slightly over the pool of water and began removing her clothes while Sid grazed on the ferns and moss that carpeted the forest floor.  Just as MacLeod and his Palomino galloped into view, Robin finished disrobing and dove off of the flat boulder into the pool of cool water.


 Duncan jumped off of his horse and tied its reins to a tree then dashed over to the flat boulder and looked down at the pool of water as he began to undress.  When Robin surfaced in the pool below the boulder he called down to her, saying, “you cheated.  I demand a rematch,” and he laughed as he removed his boots.


 “I never cheat,” Robin called up from the pool.  “I can't help it if you are easily distracted,” she said with a mischievous grin.  When they had decided to race to the waterfall, Robin had said, “on your mark...get set...,” then she had pointed to a buck deer and his mate that had appeared at Mahpiya aka Mokoce's Southern edge and she called out, “tonight's dinner.”  When MacLeod turned his attention to where she was pointing, Robin shouted, “GO!” and Sid burst into a full gallop...giving Robin a sizable head start over the distracted MacLeod.

 
 “You know what they say about paybacks,” MacLeod called down to Robin who was treading water in the center of the pool.  He removed his socks, tossed them onto the pile of his discarded clothes and dove into the pool....surfacing only inches behind Robin.  He reached up, placed his hand on the top of her head and, playfully dunked her below the surface of the water.

 
 Robin surfaced, giggling happily, and splashed water into Duncan's face....which he returned in kind.  She ducked under the surface of the water and swam across the pool and under the waterfall.  Behind the cascading water was a ledge created by years of water cascading over the granite surface. It was about 6 ½ feet long and four feet wide and covered in soft moss.  She hoisted herself up onto the ledge and looked back out at the pool through the waterfall curtain.

 
 Duncan tried to anticipate where Robin would surface because he knew she would retaliate but, even though the water was crystal clear, the pool had enough depth and being partially shaded by the canopy of tall pine, oak and elm trees, the pool was dark.  Treading water, he turned around in a complete circle, looking and waiting for the mischievous red head to appear.  As he turned to face the waterfall, he caught a flash of color behind the cascading curtain of water out of the corner of his eye and he turned back to take another look.  The flash of color he had seen was the refracted sunlight reaching through the water and catching the flaming red hair of Ford's Prairie's sheriff.  He dove below the surface of the water and swam under the waterfall.  He surfaced on the other side and looked up into the twinkling emerald green eyes looking down on him from the ledge.  His own eyes, slowly, traveled down from those green eyes, taking in every inch of Robin's glistening tanned body and he became overcome with a desire he hadn't felt in a long time.

 
 Without a word, Duncan hoisted himself up onto the ledge and knelt in front of Robin, whose gaze was locked with his.  He reached out and gently moved a strand of her red hair from her face, then he slowly traced the lines of her jaw with his finger tips.  His gaze still locked with hers, his fingers moved from her face, down her neck and across her shoulder, then, slowly, traveled down her arm until they reached the back of her hand.

 
 His touch was so tender and, as his fingers moved, slowly, down her arm, Robin felt a yearning that she had never felt before.  Hypnotized by the way he was looking into her eyes, Robin, slowly, leaned towards him...her eyes, slowly, closing part way and her lips parting, slightly.
 
 Duncan slowly leaned forward, placing his other hand on the back of Robin's head and gently pulled her closer.  As their lips met, he moved his fingers from the back of her hand around to her palm and gently lifted her hand, intertwining his fingers with hers.  The passion of the kiss intensified and he gently lay her on her back...without breaking off the kiss....and they made love behind the curtain of the waterfall.


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

 The night was clear and the stars twinkled like diamonds against the black night sky.  A full moon was rising over the mountains and it looked close enough to reach out and touch it.  The only sounds in the meadow was the soft babbling of the stream and an occasional croak of a frog or the hoot of an owl.

 
 Robin stood on the small deck she had constructed on the front of the cabin and leaned against the railing as she watched the moon crest the peaks of the mountains.  A soft breeze carried the scent of the pine trees throughout the meadow and she inhaled slowly, enjoying the fragrance.

 
 Duncan stood in the doorway of the cabin and watched Robin in silence for several minutes...not wanting to disturb her obviously peaceful moment, then he moved up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

 
 Robin leaned her head back so that it rested on Duncan's chest and sighed, contentedly.  The day had been magical...with their love making behind the waterfall, performing a relaxing Kata together before dinner and then feasting on fresh venison steaks and vegetables from her garden.  Their conversations had included such subjects as sharing memories from their past, sharing their personal interests and waxing philosophical.  It had been 110 years since she left home and stepped into life as an adult and in that time...and all of the people, both Mortal and Immortal...she had only known one person that she trusted enough to feel completely comfortable with and that was Amanda Darieux...the Immortal who took her under her wing and taught her how to, not only survive, but to get the most out of life as an Immortal and who became her best friend....that was until now.  She had known Duncan MacLeod, now, for only a month but it felt like they had known each other for centuries when they were together and she was glad that he had decided to stick around...giving them a chance to get to know each other.

 
 Robin's hair smelled like lavender and vanilla and Duncan closed his eyes as the fragrance filled his nostrils  She felt good in his arms...fitting perfectly against his body.  Ten months ago he didn't even know she existed. Now he couldn't imagine his life without her in it.  He wasn't much on believing in fate and destinies...but he had to admit that it was possibly fate that she turned up that night and saved him from an unscrupulous rookie Immortal who would have taken advantage of MacLeod's weakened state after receiving the Quickening of the rookie's teacher.   He looked around at the meadow in the moonlight and asked, in a soft voice that was almost a whisper, “how did you find this place?”

 
 “When I realized that Ford's Prairie was going to be my permanent home I started looking for someplace to homestead,” Robin said.  “I had been accompanying Doc Hudson on his visits to the local Lakota village for three months and had established a report with their Shaman.”  Her eyes got a far-a-way look in them.

 
 ***Lakota Village south of Ford's Prairie......1878***

 
At the edge of the Lakota village, Robin sat on a tree stump and Yahto Dyami1 sat on a rock across from her.  This was not one of her and Dr. Hudson's regular visits to the village and she had come alone to seek counsel with the Holy Man.


You have question,” Blue Eagle said once they were seated.

 
Even though Blue Eagle had a fairly good grasp of the English language, Robin decided that it would be easier to communicate in his language so speaking Lakota she said, “I do.  It appears that Ford's Prairie is to be my permanent home and I can't continue to live in a room in a boarding house so I am looking for a place to build a cabin.” One of the village's dogs ran up to her and dropped a stick at her feet so she reached down, picked up the stick and threw it.  The dog ran after it.

 
Why come to me?”  Blue Eagle asked.

 
Because I respect your people and their land and I do not want to infringe upon it,” Robin answered.

 
You are more Lakota than you think, Hi On Peta1,” Blue Eagle said, using Robin's Lakota name, and he smiled warmly.  He thought for a few minutes then said, “There is a trail that leaves from the southern end of the village which will take you to a place I think you would find to be perfect to build your home.  We call it Mahpiya aka Makoce2 It is not far from your town.  There is plenty of forest to hunt in and room to grow what you need.”  The dog returned with its stick and dropped it at Blue Eagle's feet.  He picked it up, stood and threw it and the dog ran off to retrieve it.  “As time passes more and more wasicu3 lay claim to our lands,” he said, sadly.  “And I know that they will continue to come until there is no land left for them to take. If you make your home on Mahpiya aka Makoce I would know that it is still Lakota,” he said, turning and smiling down at Robin.

 
Niye yuonika miye1 Yahto,” Robin said as she got to her feet.  “Pilamayaye2

 
Blue Eagle walked with Robin to her horse and when she had climbed into the saddle he held up his hand and said, “Iyaya kici Ina Maka's yuwaka, Hi On Peta1

 
Robin rode out of the village and followed the trail through the forest, past the waterfall and pool that would become her special place, and into the most beautiful mountain meadow she had ever seen.  She bent down and hugged Sid's neck and said, “Sid?  I think we have found our new home.”

 
***Present day***

 
 “You didn't build this yourself, did you?”  Duncan asked, glancing back at the cabin behind him.

 
 “Of course not,” Robin laughed.  “Even I have my limitations.  I had plenty of help. Between the town's people and Yahto's people, the cabin was up and livable in a month.  The barn a month later.”

 
 “Well it's a beautiful cabin in a beautiful spot for a beautiful lady,” Duncan said and kissed the top of Robin's head.

 
 A star shot across the night sky, leaving a sparkling trail behind it.

 
 “Oh look!” Robin said and pointed to the shooting star.  She closed her eyes and made a wish.

 
 Duncan felt her hold her breath and he smiled.  “What did you wish for?”  he whispered.

 
 Robin felt her cheeks get warm and was glad, not only that it was dark out but that Duncan was standing behind her and couldn't see that she was blushing.

 
 “If I told you it wouldn't come true,” she said, softly.

 
 Duncan gently turned her to face him and lifted her chin with the tips of his fingers.  “You can make my wish come true right now,” he whispered and slowly moved his face closer to hers.

 
 “Yeah?”  Robin whispered, closing her eyes and tilting her head back more and, slightly, to the side.

 
 Duncan was close enough now to feel her warm breath on his lips.  “Oh yeah,” he whispered just before their lips met.

 
 Robin succumbed to the tenderness of his kiss and responded with growing passion.

 
 Duncan scooped her into his arms, carried her into the cabin and lay her down on the bear skin rug in front of the fireplace where he made love to her, then fell asleep with Robin in his arms.


To be continued


  1Lakota for “Go with Mother Earth's blessing, Hair of Fire.”
   1Lakota for “you honor me”
   2Lakota for thank you
   1Lakota for Hair of Fire
   2Lakota for Heaven on Earth
   3Lakota for whiteman
   1Lakota for Blue Eagle
 

 

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Chapter 5
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2012, 05:04:40 am »
Chapter 5


Robin wasn't the only friend Duncan had made in the short time he had been in Fords Prairie. On the nights that Robin was on duty...and there wasn't a good poker game going on at the Lucky Ace...Duncan could be found playing chess with Roger Wells and they became fast friends.
 
One afternoon while Robin and Doc Hudson were visiting the Lakota village, a group of young cowboys rode into town. Robin's new deputy, Robert Dixon, was able to disarm them (or so he thought) and they went inside the Lucky Ace. A couple of hours later one of the cowboys left the saloon, walked across the street to the General Store and went inside.


Roger was stocking the shelves behind the counter when the young man entered his store and walked up to the counter. “May I help you, young man?” Roger asked.


The young man pulled a piece of paper out of his vest pocket and handed it to Roger. “I need the things on that list,” he said simply.


Roger looked at the list of the usual supplies for several weeks on the road. “It'll take me a while to fill this,” he said as he headed to the flour bin to fill the first item on the list. “You're welcome to look around or you can come back in an hour,” Roger added as he scooped flour into a sack.


“Thanks,” the young man said as he wandered over to a stack of folded men's shirts. He took one from the middle of the pile...the only dark blue one in the stack...and unfolded it. He held it up to himself and checked the sleeve length. “How much for this shirt?” he asked.


Roger stopped what he was doing to look over at the young man. “That one's $2,” he answered and moved over to the scale to weigh the sack of flour.


The young man draped the shirt over his shoulder and moved to a stack of men's pants. He picked a pair from the pile and checked the tag for the size.


Roger saw the pair of pants that the young man was examining out of the corner of his eye. As he adjusted the scale he said, “those are $3.50. But the ones in the stack next to that one are on sale for $1.75.”


The young man moved to the sale pile and chose another pair of pants from that stack. Slinging both pairs of pants over his shoulder, he noticed a pair of chaps hanging on a hook on the wall and he walked up to them. “These look like they're handmade,” he said as he looked closer at the stitching.


Roger looked up to see what his customer was referring to. “They are,” he confirmed.


“How much?” the young man asked.


“$15,” Roger answered and moved on to the next item on the cowboy's list.


The young man worked his fingers as though adding in his head then he moved away from the chaps and began, slowly, wandering around the store.


When Roger finished filling all of the items on the list and had everything either in sacks or wooden boxes, he went back behind the counter and added up the purchases. “That'll be $50,” he announced.


“Add these,” the young man said, laying the two pairs of pants and the shirt on the counter.


Roger added the items to his previous total and said, “$57.25.” He held out the tally sheet for his customer to see.


The young man looked at the tally sheet, then took some coins out of his pants pocket, one of which slipped out of his hand and fell to the floor. He bent down, but instead of retrieving the coin from the floor, he produced a snubbed nose revolver from under the bottom of his pant leg and straightened up. He pointed the gun at Roger. “Put it on my tab,” he said, sarcastically, and grinned.


Roger had built his store from the ground up ten years ago and the closest he had ever come to being robbed was when the Woodrow twins, each, tried to steal some candy. He wasn't about to let a single cowboy take him for $57 worth of inventory.


“And while you're at it,” the young man said, “fill a bag with what ever's in the cash register.” To put emphasis on his demand, he waggled the gun at Roger. “And make it quick,” he added.


Roger got a bag and opened the cash register. He slowly began to take money out of the register and stuff it into the bag. He was halfway done when Mirna, his wife, came downstairs and called out to him.


The unexpected voice from the stairway startled the young cowboy and he whirled around, pointing his revolver in the direction of the voice.


“No!” Roger yelled. “Mirna get back upstairs.” He reached under the counter and took out the shotgun he kept under there and leveled it off at the cowboy.


“Roger?” Mirna said from the bottom of the stairs...still trying to figure out what was going on.


As the cowboy whirled back around, Roger pulled the trigger of his shotgun. The young cowboy was hit square in the chest and was lifted off of his feet and sent flying backward and up against a display table. As his body slumped to the floor, Mirna ran from the stairway to her husband who wrapped his arms around her, protectively. Over his wife's shoulder he looked at the surprised look on the now dead cowboy's face. It was then that he decided it was time to retire and find a safer way of living. That night...over a game of chess...Roger told Duncan about his decision.


“Duncan.....I don't have a son to leave the store to and I hate the idea of selling it to just anyone,” Roger said as he chewed on the stem of his pipe. “I would, however, consider selling it to you....if you'd be interested.”


Duncan was surprised and looked up at his friend. “Me?” he asked, incredulously.


Roger nodded. “You have the respect of the other businessmen in town and have become a familiar fixture around here,” he said. “It wouldn't be like opening a store in a town full of strangers and whom you are a stranger to. Business would simply continue as it always has.”


“I don't know,” Duncan said as he stared at the chess board without really seeing it. His mind raced...listing the pros and cons of such a venture.


“Look.....it might take months to find a suitable buyer and Mirna is desperate for us to get out from under it as soon as possible,” Roger said. “The robbery really scared her. And me, for that matter. And I would hate to simply close it up. It's the only store in town. It would really put a hardship on the people I have been providing for for so many years....all of whom are friends.”


Duncan had to agree with what Roger had said. He continued to stare at the chess board in silence for several seconds then he moved one of his rooks and captured one of Roger's bishops. He sat back and looked at his friend and asked, “what kind of price tag are we talking about, Roger?”


Roger picked up the paper they had been keeping score on and tore off the bottom half of it. He wrote down a figure and slid the paper over to Duncan.


Duncan picked up the piece of paper and looked at it. He made some mental calculations then made his decision. He extended his hand across the chess board and said, “alright, Roger. You've got a deal.”


Roger smiled and shook Duncan's hand. “Thank you, Duncan,” he said. “Thank you.”


 
To be continued

 

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