The Shooting - Chapter 3

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."

Slim said, "Come on kid…you can let us out of here…come back with us. With Hawk
dead you 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?"

Brett said, "I have a second chance…I ain't throwin' it away on you two."

Slim said, "Seems to me you already blew your chance kid. You shot a man…you're
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
men's laughter ringing in his ears and shaking inside and out. What if they were
right? What if he went to prison now or was hanged? He tried to get the thoughts
out of his mind. Jalen wouldn't let that happen…never…but what if…just what if
Jalen died? Who would defend him? Who would the judge believe? Him or the two
outlaws? So many questions…so much confusion. He shut the thoughts out of his
mind and filled a pail with water. He returned inside and taking his gun out of
his waistband said darkly, "Move back if you want this water…any funny stuff and
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
bloodied clothes 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 wound.


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 so."

Slim said, "You could have a couple of girls come over."

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 you."

Dan hugged the other man. "That's good to know my wild one."

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 Doc."

The doc checked Jalen's eyes and they were still unresponsive. He had checked
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
a while."

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
have been thrashin' around from the pain."

Mrs. Sandford nodded. "Could be very likely."

Doc saw to it that his patient had been made as comfortable as possible. "I'll
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
unconscious state.


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 Brooks
Age: 33
Occupation: Sheriff
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, 102.5
Medications used and treatments: Ether for surgery Sulfa powder to fight
infection cold compresses to swelling on right temple cold cloths to keep fever
down, force fluids willow bark tea for mild pain relief, headache powders both
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.
Supplies: Cat gut for sutures and bandaging material.

Doc Mac reviewed his note and nodded with satisfaction and placed it into
Jalen's patient folder.


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 suggested?"

Brett blushed slightly. "Yes Sir…I did."

Amos nodded. "Good. Did you a world of good. You may go in to see Jalen, but
don't stay long. He's been restless and feverish. He probably won't know you're
here, 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 well."

Brett relaxed. "Well it's good to know I'm on his mind and Dallas doesn't
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 boy."

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."

Mrs. Sandford smiled. "You may check on him as often as you like, but don't
expect much change. Most times I don't see the change happen until mornin' in
these cases."

Brett nodded. "All right. Thank you Mrs. Sandford."

"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 that."

Dan nodded. "Well, let's go get somethin' to eat. He's in excellent hands."

Brett nodded. "I told her where I was goin' just in case."

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 eat.


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 fully.


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
no doubt."

Bear nodded. "Who of thought Dead Eye woulda shot the boss?"

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."

Bear nodded. "But he ain't and it looks like he's gone to the other side now."

Slim nodded. "Perhaps we can still work on him…get him to let us out. We just
gotta keep puttin' the pressure on him."

Bear nodded. "Yeah…he's gotta wake up sometime. I don't think he'll wanna go up
in front of the judge."

Slim grimaced. "I'm sure…no more than we do."

Bear 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 what?"

"About goin' to prison." He said quietly.

Dan shook 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 emphatically.

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 this."

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 hunger."

Brett stared at Dan. "Deputy?"

Dan said, "Someone has to be the law here while Jalen's down, who better than

Brett shook his head. "Uhm…I didn't think I could while I was on probation."

"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
doin' that." Dan told the young outlaw.

Brett grinned and said, "Then I'll take the job."

Dan said, "Once the town leaders get together and make it official."

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.

"Don't worry about the tray and dishes. You can bring them back in the mornin'
when you get their breakfast."

Brett nodded. "All right Maria. Thank you."

Maria Sanchez, the owner of the Diamond Café smiled. "You're welcome Senor

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
had stopped before going to supper. He thanked her and continued on his way.
He'd check once more before he went to bed.


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