Brett made his way back to the jail after leaving Dan and Cole. He felt numb,
cold inside. He hadn't ever felt like this before. He worried about
Jalen as he
went inside and when he saw the prisoners anger stabbed at him
like a hot knife.
He heard the doc's words and Dan reminding him he had
prisoners to take care of.
He remembered that Jalen had treated him with
kindness, knowing him to be an
outlaw and if he was going to be a deputy one
day and work alongside the Sheriff
he'd have to learn to handle these
situations and do the right thing, even if he
really wanted to do the wrong
thing. He didn't look at either of them, but went
to the cupboard in the back
and took out two pillows and two warm blankets for
the prisoners. He stopped
in front of the bars and said, "I brought pillows and
blankets for you. I'll
bring you drinkin' water and some food as soon as I can."
"Come on kid…you can let us out of here…come back with us. With Hawk
could run the gang."
Brett stared at the man. "I don't think so. I have a
better life now."
Bear sneered, "Bein' a goody two shoes?"
said, "I have a second chance…I ain't throwin' it away on you two."
said, "Seems to me you already blew your chance kid. You shot a
goin' to prison right along with us!"
Brett felt the cold
steeliness creep over him further. "Shut up…I don't want to
hear another word
out of either one of you!"
Slim said, "What's the matter kid? You don't
wanna hear the truth? You're gonna
hang this time."
Brett turned away
from the men, going out back. He went over to Spirit, the
ringing in his ears and shaking inside and out. What if they were
if he went to prison now or was hanged? He tried to get the thoughts
his mind. Jalen wouldn't let that happen…never…but what if…just what if
died? Who would defend him? Who would the judge believe? Him or the
outlaws? So many questions…so much confusion. He shut the thoughts out of
mind and filled a pail with water. He returned inside and taking his gun
his waistband said darkly, "Move back if you want this water…any funny
I won't hesitate to plug you."
The men looked at each other
and then as one moved back away from the cell door
so Brett could open it and
set the water bucket inside. "There…that should do
for now." He said, closing
and locking the cell door. He passed a tin cup to
them through the bars,
still having the revolver pointed at them. "I'll bring
Food when I come back
from my supper later." He informed them and then went into
the back room and
shut the door. He washed and then pulled the curtains to
block out the late
afternoon sun, as it was going down. He stripped out of his
and crawled into bed and tried to get some sleep as the doctor
and Dan had
urged him to.
Mrs. Sandford shook her head as Jalen mumbled
and squirmed and seemed very
restless. He was burning up with fever as the
doctor had expected, but she kept
giving him water and broth. She continued
to apply cold compresses to his
fevered brow and the bruised temple. He
mumbled Dallas a few times and she
suspected he was calling out to someone in
his past. He mumbled something about
Brett and she smoothed his hair back
from his forehead and reassured him all was
well. She continued to cool his
fevered brow and tried to keep him from
thrashing around and opening up his
Bret awoke, rubbing his eyes. He didn't think he
would sleep with all the
jumbled thoughts going through his mind. He noticed
it was dark now and knew Dan
and Cole would be by for him soon. He lit the
lamp by the bed and washed his
face and combed his dark curls as best he
could. He remembered Jalen mentioning
it was almost time for him to get
another haircut. He rather liked the curls,
but they could be a bit of a pain
sometimes. He decided though that he'd go get
them cut because Jalen had
wanted him to. He went into the main room where the
cell was, lit a lantern,
hanging it on a hook in the ceiling so the prisoners
would have some light
and the lamp on the Sheriff's desk as well.
Slim drawled, "Have a nice
nap like a good little boy?"
Brett ignored him and just said, "I'll be
back in a while with some food for the
two of you."
Bear asked, "How
about a bottle of whiskey? I gotta cold."
Brett quirked an eyebrow. "No
liquor…if you're sick I'll have the Doc look at
Bear shook his
head. "No…that won't be necessary."
Brett nodded. "I didn't think
Slim said, "You could have a couple of girls come
Brett looked at the other man incredulously. "You are crazy…no
girls either." He
turned his back on the prisoners after checking to make
sure the cell was still
shut tight as Jalen had done with him while he was
locked up and said, "I need a
breath of fresh air. It's getting' thick in
here." He pulled on his spare coat
which was clean and put on his hat and
left, closing the door behind him.
Dan and Cole started over
to the jail. "Let's stop by the doc and see how
Jalen's doin'. We can tell
Brett. I'm sure he's worried."
Cole nodded. "I know I would be if it were
Dan hugged the other man. "That's good to know my wild
Cole grinned. "Well I do love you Dan."
Dan smiled. "I know
you do." They started walking.
Doc Mac stepped into the
room. "How's he doin' Mrs. Sandford?"
"He's been pretty restless and he's
had a fever. I've continued to give him
water and broth, along with the cold
compresses as you ordered."
Doc Mac nodded. He went over to Jalen,
checked the wound, and was satisfied with
what he saw there and then the
place on Jalen's temple. "When he wakes up he's
goin' to have a pretty bad
headache." He gave Mrs. Sandford headache powders for
Jalen. "Try to get some
of this willow bark tea down him as well when he wakes
up." He instructed,
producing a jar with the tea in it.
Mrs. Sandford nodded. "I'll do that
The doc checked Jalen's eyes and they were still unresponsive. He
him over for bruises and such and he had noticed earlier that
Jalen's back and
bottom had also made contact with the ground pretty hard.
"The Sheriff might
have a pretty sore back and bottom too. I'd say he sat
down pretty hard and fell
over backward from the impact of the bullet from
the standing position, and as
his back hit the ground caught some stones and
bounced his head on a rock…he's
lucky nothin' important has been damaged.
He's just goin' to be pretty sore for
Mrs. Sanford nodded.
She and Doc Mac rolled Jalen over and placed pillows under
his bottom and
back to make him ore comfortable. "That should help. He might
thrashin' around from the pain."
Mrs. Sandford nodded. "Could be very
Doc saw to it that his patient had been made as comfortable as
be back to check on him again. I'll be in my office writing
in my patient
records. Come get me if he wakes."
Mrs. Sandford smiled.
"I will Doc Mac."
The doctor left the infirmary and went to his office
and Mrs. Sandford continued
to nurse her patient, who still wriggled and
moaned and mumbled in his
Doc Mac sat
down at his desk and pulled a fresh piece of paper toward him,
dipped the ink
in his ink well and began to write:
Name: Jalen Christopher
Reason for treatment: Bullet wound
to the right shoulder, lodged in scapula and
removed successfully surgically
with probe. Multiple bruises on back and
buttocks. Blow to the right temple
with swelling the size of an egg. Patient
brought in unconscious. Lost a
great deal of blood.
Temperature: At admitting, 100.7farenheight at end of
surgery, 101.5 farenheight
one hour intervals, 101.7 102.3,
Medications used and treatments: Ether for surgery Sulfa powder to
infection cold compresses to swelling on right temple cold cloths to
down, force fluids willow bark tea for mild pain relief, headache
to be administered when patient wakes from unconscious state.
Laudanum may be
used for pain from surgery when patient wakes. No sedative
drugs will be
administered until patient regains consciousness.
Cat gut for sutures and bandaging material.
Doc Mac reviewed his note and
nodded with satisfaction and placed it into
Dan, walking with Cole said, "I think instead of us
stoppin' by the Doc we
should get Brett and then we can all check in on him.
I'm sure he'd like to talk
to the Doc himself."
Cole nodded. "Yes, I
think that's a better idea."
The two men walked over to the Sheriff's
office instead of the Doc's and Dan was
pleased to see Brett step outside. He
went up to him. "How are you doin'?"
Brett said in that same, cool,
steely manner. "Fine…let's go see how Jalen's
doin' before we eat. Those
varmints can wait a bit for their supper."
Dan exchanged a concerned look
with Cole, but decided to give Brett some room
and just said, "All right. We
were plannin' to do exactly that."
Cole walked on one side of Brett and
Dan the other giving him a show of support.
Brett still had his revolver,
having tucked it into the waistband of his jeans.
The trio entered the
Doc's office. "Doc Mac?" Brett called.
Amos came out at the young man's
call. "Hello Brett…you're lookin' a heap
better. Did you take a nap as I
Brett blushed slightly. "Yes Sir…I did."
"Good. Did you a world of good. You may go in to see Jalen, but
long. He's been restless and feverish. He probably won't know you're
but that's all right. Don't let that worry you."
Brett nodded. "All right
Doc Mac, Thank you." Brett made his way into the
infirmary where Nancy
Sandford was tending to Jalen. "Hello Brett."
"Hello Mrs. Sandford."
Brett said quietly. "How's he doin'?"
"About as well as can be expected.
He's suffered quite a bit of trauma and he
needs to heal some." She told him
as Jalen squirmed and began to thrash.
Nancy secured his arms and spoke
in soothing tones to try to settle him down.
Brett bit his lip. "Uhm…has
he been this way a lot?"
Mrs. Sandford smiled. "Yes, but it's not
uncommon when a person has a high fever
and is unconscious. Many times things
from their past come out as well as the
present, or get jumbled up together.
He's spoken your name several times and
someone named Dallas as
Brett relaxed. "Well it's good to know I'm on his mind and Dallas
surprise me. He was like a father to Jalen."
Nancy nodded. I
figured he had to be someone important to the Sheriff."
Brett stayed a
while longer, but realizing there wasn't much more he could do
went over and
squeezed Jalen's hand. "Get better Sheriff…you gotta come back to
me and keep
me in line." He told him.
Nancy chuckled. "He will and I know he's done a
good job with you Brett.
Everyone in town has grown very fond of you and I
can see why our Sheriff took
you under his wing. You're a good
Brett blushed and said, "Thank you Ma'am."
Nancy smiled up
at Brett. "You're welcome."
Brett said, "I'll be back to check on him on
the way back from supper and later
if it's okay."
smiled. "You may check on him as often as you like, but don't
change. Most times I don't see the change happen until mornin' in
Brett nodded. "All right. Thank you Mrs.
"You're welcome young man."
Brett left the room and
joined Dan and Cole to go over to the café.
Dan asked quietly
as Brett came out of the infirmary. "How is he?"
"He's restless…but Mrs.
Sandford says he's doin' as well as can be expected. She
told me he might not
come out of this until mornin'. Lots of people in his
condition seem to do
Dan nodded. "Well, let's go get somethin' to eat. He's in
Brett nodded. "I told her where I was goin' just in
Dan put an arm around Brett's shoulders and Cole smiled at them,
not minding at
all and feeling good that his friend was being looked after by
his partner. The
older man said, "Brett, that was good thinkin'. All
right…I'm hungry…let's go."
The young outlaw relaxed a bit and went with
his friends to the Diamond Café to
have something to
Jalen continued to be restless and mumbling in his
unconscious state. Nancy
Sandford continued ministering to him with cooling
compresses and soothing
words, watching over their young Sheriff. She smiled
as she worked. He certainly
was a handsome man. He was a good man, since he
had taken the job of Sheriff the
riff raff that used to plague the town were
fewer and far between, even if there
was the railroad that brought all types
to their town. He didn't allow any
nonsense to go on. He locked up the drunks
and rowdies without hesitation and
had made Diamond Springs a safer town to
live in. She liked the young man that
the Sheriff had decided to take under
his wing and supervise him on that new
probation program. He had even locked
the young man up along with that other
young man he'd been with when they
were drunk and shooting behind the
blacksmith. He certainly was conscientious
about his duties. She sent up a
prayer that he recovered soon and
Slim looked at Bear as Brett left and shook his head.
"I thought for sure we had
the kid for a moment."
Bear nodded. "We
gotta keep workin' on him…he's gotta let us go."
Slim nodded. "Yeah…we
can't go in front of no judge…it'll be prison for us both
Bear nodded. "Who of thought Dead Eye woulda shot the
Slim shook his head. "And to save a Sheriff no less…don't know
what's wrong with
that boy…he shoulda stayed with the gang."
nodded. "But he ain't and it looks like he's gone to the other side
Slim nodded. "Perhaps we can still work on him…get him to let us
out. We just
gotta keep puttin' the pressure on him."
"Yeah…he's gotta wake up sometime. I don't think he'll wanna go up
of the judge."
Slim grimaced. "I'm sure…no more than we do."
nodded in agreement.
Brett pushed around the food on his
plate that he had ordered and Dan said,
"Brett, not eatin' that food ain't
goin' to make Jalen get any better any
The young outlaw
glanced up at Dan. "Sorry, I was just thinkin'."
Dan asked quietly,
"About goin' to prison." He said quietly.
his head. "You ain't goin' to prison."
"What makes you think you're goin'
to prison?" Cole asked his friend in concern.
"I violated my probation by
havin' my gun." Brett said quietly. Jalen has told
me time and again if I
violate my probation I'd go to prison."
Cole shook his head. "I don't
think so…you saved Jalen's life. That's gotta
count for somethin'." He stated
Dan nodded. "Yes, I'd say there were extenuatin'
circumstances." Dan offered.
Both young men looked at him. "What do you
mean?" Brett asked.
"Well it means there was a good reason for doin' what
you did. We can talk to
Roland Harrison, the town lawyer who represented you
before and see what he
thinks." Dan said.
The younger man bit his lip.
"All right, if you think it would do any good."
Dan said, "He told Jalen
about the probation program…he may know a bit more
about things like
Brett thought about this and nodded. "All right…I think that would
make me feel
a whole lot better."
Dan smiled. "All right then, you
need to finish your supper. We can't have our
unofficial deputy weak from
Brett stared at Dan. "Deputy?"
Dan said, "Someone has to
be the law here while Jalen's down, who better than
his head. "Uhm…I didn't think I could while I was on
"Extenuatin' circumstances again. You're the most qualified."
Dan told him.
Brett thought about that as well and then smiled. "You
really think I could be
Deputy while Jalen's recoverin'?"
Dan and Cole
both nodded together. "I don't know anyone else I'd rather have
Dan told the young outlaw.
Brett grinned and said, "Then I'll take the
Dan said, "Once the town leaders get together and make it
Brett nodded. "Yes Sir."
Dan said, "Right now you need
to go feed your prisoners."
Brett nodded and ordered food for the
prisoners which Maria made up and set on a
tray for Brett.
worry about the tray and dishes. You can bring them back in the mornin'
you get their breakfast."
Brett nodded. "All right Maria. Thank
Maria Sanchez, the owner of the Diamond Café smiled. "You're
Brett took the tray and headed back towards the
Sheriff's office with Dan and
Cole accompanying him.
He took the time
to stop back at Doc's office to check on Jalen before going
over to the jail,
Mrs. Sandford informing him there had been no change since he
before going to supper. He thanked her and continued on his way.
once more before he went to bed.