an Indian girl rescues a Texas Ranger
|She closed the door softly and leaned against it. The room where her green-eyed man slept. She was intrigued by this man, and she worried weather he would live or die. She covered her heart with her hand and closed her eyes. Everytime she looked at him, her heart skipped a beat. She wondered if this feeling is what her grandmother had described to her as love.
She had pulled him out from under the rolled stage coach as the white men had rode closer. As she struggled to hold him in the saddle, she just knew something was special about him. She opened her eyes and stood by her own weight. She took a deep breath and opened the door again. Two green eyes stared back.
"How are you feeling?" she asked in a whisper.
"Thirsty." he croaked. She held a glass of water to his lips and he drank. "What happened?"
"I was hoping you could tell me." she said a little louder this time.
He put his hand to his head and closed his eyes again as if searching for the past.
"I found you pinned under a stage coach with two bullets in your leg and an arrow in your shoulder."
He only rubbed his head.
"Are you okay?" she leaned over him.
"No." he mumbled, his eyes still closed. He sighed and opened his deep green eyes. "Who are you?"
She laughed. "I guess I never introduced myself. I'm Mariah."
"Gavin McClain." he said simply. "I'm a Texas Ranger."
She reached into her pocket and pulled out his silver star. She held it in front of him. "I guess I figured that out."
He shifted a bit on the bed and rubbed bandaged shoulder. "I think it'll be okay in a week or so, the arrow went straight through. As for your leg, my brother took the bullets out, but it's broken pretty badly."
She sat back on her chair melting into the shadows of the darkened room.
"The Gatlin gang." he said. "They were responsible for all of this."
"They are terrible men." she replied. "They have brought much hurt to my people, and to the town."
"I was leading a group of Texas Rangers to bring them in, dead or alive." he watched her intently now. "Where am I?"
"My ranch." she said simply. "You will be safe while you heal."
"Thank you." he whispered his eyes feeling as heavy as his aching body.
"For what Mr. McClain?" she leaned in. Only he didn't answer, he was asleep. She replaced the cool rag she kept on his forehead and slipped downstairs to get some fresh air.
Jonathan stepped into the room as Mariah was helping Gavin with some of Martha's vegetable soup and bread.
"I see you are feeling better." he said.
"Yes." said Gavin. "I appreciate your hospitality."
He pulled a chair next to his sister. Gavin studied them, they shared no looks but for deep blue eyes, Mariah had dark brown almost black hair, as Jonathan had bleach blonde, his skin was fair, hers was deeply tanned.
"You are welcome here as long as you need." he touched his sisters hand. "I'm sure my dear sister wouldn't bring you here to let you die."
Jonathan leaned in. "Only as long as you are here, we are in great danger, so I need to know exactly what danger we are all now in, Ranger?"
Gavin handed the bowl to Mariah who set it on the dresser.
"We were persuing the Gatlin gang, the killers who rob the stagecoach of the Railroad wages once a month. They've also raided Indian camps and settlements from Colorado to Texas. They are cold-blooded killers."
"How many men were with you?" he asked.
"Four rangers including me, and our Indian scout." he said simply.
Jonathan looked at his hands. "Two were found dead, so there are two missing?"
"Adam?" he asked. "Ranger Adam Black, is he one who was dead?"
"No." said Jonathan. "He's the missing ranger as is the scout, Two Feathers."
"Did you tell them I'm here?" asked Gavin.
"No." said Jonathan. "There is talk of a possee leaving at sunrise to search for the missing Ranger, but he is feared dead."
"Adam is my partner." whispered Gavin. "I have to help them look for him."
"You are in no condition to ride out of here." smiled Mariah. "I'm sure my brother will keep us posted with news. You will stay and recover here, where it is safe."
He knew he couldn't argue. She had a silent air about her. He leaned back on the pillow and thanked Jonathan for the news. He stood and left for the days chores.
"Can I ask you a question?" asked Gavin.
"Sure." she turned from the dresser where she was gathering the dishes.
"Are you two really brother and sister?"
She laughed. "Yes, we share a father."
Gavin lay his head back and smiled. "That explains it."
Mariah leaned over him. "And yes, I am half Indian."
He watched her for a brief moment taking in her deep blue eyes. "I think you are beautiful Miss Carrington."
She blushed and left the room.
Mariah stood from her perch on the front porch as she noticed riders coming her way. She stood with her hand on the rifle by her side as they came closer.
"Mornin' Miss Carrington." said the sheriff tipping his dusty had to her.
"Sheriff." she smiled squinting into the sun. "What brings you out here?"
"Is your brother around?"
"No." she leaned against the post still touching the rifle. "What can I do for you?"
"We're looking for two missin' Rangers and an Indian scout."
"I haven't seen anyone in near two weeks." she said. "I'm sure Jonathan hasn't either."
"If you see anything would you let us know?" he asked backing up his horse.
"What do you think happened to the rangers sheriff?" she asked leaning forward.
"Don't rightly know." spoke up another man with a Ranger badge pinned to his coat. "But one of 'em was a captain, Ranger McClain."
"I wish you well." she backed up a bit seeing the ranch foreman coming from the barn. "I hope you find them."
They all bid her farewll and rode away.
She went upstairs and found Gavin sitting up in bed staring out the window.
"I have to find Adam." he replied. "I have to."
"You're in no shape to walk, or ride into battle." she laughed.
He rubbed his bandaged arm. "Then I have to get word tot he Ranger station in Austin."
"I'll go." said Mariah turning around. "I'll find your friend, but...you have to do exactly as Martha says. Including staying in bed and resting your leg Gavin."
He thought for a moment. He caught her eye.
"Okay." he smiled. "I think you could probably rope the moon if you wanted to."
She laughed again, flipping her dark brown loose hair over her shoulder. "I'll find him, if he's still alive."
She went to the kitchen and gave Martha strict instructions, and she left her brother a note. She saddled Lightning and rode off towards the Sioux camp.
She came to the village by nightfall was was welcomed by the women and children. She reached in her saddle bags and handed out the sweets Martha always baked for them. SHe saw happiness in their eyes as she made her way to Stands Tall's lodge.
He emerged from his teepee and embraced his best friend. "You look different One with Blue Eyes."
She just smiled and squeezed his large hands. "I'm only here for information."
He looked at her puzzled. "What do you seek?"
"News of two rangers and an Indian scout." she said letting him lead her to his fire.
"Many are captured by the Comanchee." he replied handing her a bowl of meat which she refused.
"I see a white man who wears this star." she held the star up to him.
"You should not seek the white man." he smiled at her tearing off some meat from the bone. He chewed loudly.
"I will ride to the Comancheee camp of Cloud Walker tomorrow." she looked at him.
"Marry me One with Blue Eyes." he asked spitting out some of the meat.
"I told you Stands Tall, I do not wish to marry." she smiled and left his teepee. She bid farewell to her grandmothers people and rode towards the Comanchee.
She rode right into camp and they took her to Cloud Walker. He was an old man with snow white hair. The stories of the camp told that he had almost died so many times his head touched the clouds and became white.
"I come looking for a white man." she said simply in English. She knew he spoke fluently.
"I have white man." even in his elder years, he stood over Mariah.
"I would like to trade for your white man." she stood still watching his body language. The old man staggered a bit and caught himself on his carved cane. Another younger warrior, one guessed to be his son joined the old man.
"By the trees." he said. They made their way slowly to where several captives were tied up, blindfolded and gagged.
Mariah noticed the larger man with blonde hair and the brown jacket, with a hole which looked to be where the Ranger pin had been.
She reached into her pocket and pulled out the star.
"Did your white man wear this?" she held it up to the Chief.
"Any other of the men wear this?"
He shook his head and spoke of finding the man half dead a few miles from the river.
Mariah stepped over a sobbing girl to get to Adam. She knelt in front of him and removed his blindfold and gag. "You Adam Black?"
He blinked a few times and nodded yes.
"What is your price Cloud Walker?" she replaced the blindfold and stepped over the sobbing girl.
"Ten Horses." he laughed.
Mariah smiled back. She knew this man was a hard man to trade with. "I would give you three horses, and a wagon of food and blankets for your people."
He thought for a moment. "One white man?"
"The white man and the girl." she pointed to the woman on the dirt at Adam's feet.
"Four horses." he spat. "And food and blankets."
She nodded and leftt he camp.
Three days later she arrived at the Comanchee camp with her brother and a wagon of food and blankets, medicines and three horses. They left the items and Jonathan helped her with Adam, who was not unconcious and the girl, who looked like they had gotten to her, her dress was cut off, she lay in her underware.
"Don't worry." whispered Mariah. "You will be safe now."
They rode back to the ranch.
Martha met them at the porch. "I'm gonna need another two sets of hands if you keep bringing them hurtin' Rangers back Miss Mariah."
"I'll help you out." she said helping the girl down from her saddle.
"Martha, this is Sidney and she can help us also."
"Hello Sidney." said Martha putthing her arms around the thin girl. "Would you like something to eat, I've too much."
She nodded and went with Martha willingly.
Jonathan and Mariah with the help of Henry the foreman got Adam up the stairs and into Jonathan's room. He told Mariah he would sleep in the study until the Rangers left.
She lay him on the bed and removed his dirty and bloodstained clothes. She found a few broken ribs and wrapped them tight, and she cleaned the wounds on his body. She pulled the curtains and let the man sleep. She slipped across the hallway to Gavin's room.
She saw him sitting by the fireplace, a cane in his hand.
"What are you doing?"
"Mariah." he said looking back to her. "Did you...?"
"He's across the hallway." she walked to him. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah." he smiled. "He stood up and leaned heavily on the cane, he took a few steps and wobbled. Mariah was nervous.
"Could I see him?" asked Gavin.
"Let me help you." said Mariah. She let him put his large, muscular arms around her and she helped him across the hallway.