Prairie's Children, Chapter 16

             Prairie's Children

  Chapter 16
By Starla Anne Lowry




“Young’uns,” yelled Aunt Lolus raising the blind and opening the curtains. “Time to get up.”


“What time is it?” asked a sleepy eyed Ruth, trying to get her eyes open as the morning sun shone though the window hitting her in the face.


“Land sakes, sugar. You slept all afternoon and all night. I would say at least 15 hours,” replied Aunt Lolus.


My, I was give out, wasn’t I?” asked Ruth, stretching her arms.


“Yep, shore ‘nuff was. Come on. Got you some breakfast fixed.”


Ruth shook Josh, who was still snoring away like a freight train. He raised up and said, “Who shot Luke?”


“Luke who?” asked Ruth.


“Luke --- oh, I must have been dreaming.”


“Get up and wash your face. Aunt Lolus has us breakfast ready.”


“Okay,” said Josh as he looked around. “Where’s the wash pan?”


“I think you will find it on the back porch next to the water bucket.”


“Good, I need to go to the outhouse anyway,” declared Josh as he sleepily stumbled into the kitchen and out the back door.


“Watch that…” yelled Aunt Lolus. Hearing a crash, she said, “Too late. Wanted to tell you there was a board missing in the floor.”


“Yeah, thanks,” replied Josh. “I think I found it.”


“Grant should have done fixed that, but that is okay, I guess. We all knew about it and now you do too.”


Seeing Josh walking back into the kitchen, Ruth asked, “Thought you had to go to the outhouse.”


“Don’t have to now,” replied Josh as he hurried back to their room to change clothes. “Hope our saddlebags are in there.”


Arriving back at the table, Josh found a seat at the table.


“Dig in,” said Ruth. “We already said grace and prayed for you, too.”


“What about?” asked Josh.


“Oh, the things you said when you fell through the floor.”


“Oh that. You heard that? Them aire words you will find in the Good Book.”


“Not the way you used them,” piped in Aunt Lolus, laughing.


Breakfast was great—particularly for a couple who had not eaten at a table for – well, no one knows how long.  Aunt Lolus had sausage and eggs, grits, buttered biscuits and honey. Josh downed three cups of the best coffee he ever tasted. ”Some folks don’t make it strong enough,” he reported.


“Grant likes it strong,” replied Aunt Lolus.


“By the way, where is Uncle Grant?” asked Ruth.


“Oh, he has gone into Oneonta on business. Should be back in a little while. He is still mad because they moved the county seat.”


“From Blountsville to Oneonta?”


“Yeah, it takes awhile to make the trip. They have the railroad coming in there and thought that is where the county seat should be.”


“Railroads change a lot of things,” said Josh.


“Yeah,” agreed Aunt Lolus.


Lolus, Ruth, and Josh were sitting on the front porch when Grant came riding up. The sheriff was with him.


Eyeing Ruth very carefully, the sheriff asked, "Strangers in these parts, are you?'


"Why, yes," answered Ruth curiously. "Why do you ask?"


"You would not have happened to hear of the Fighting Wildcat, would you?"


Josh spoke up.  "What do you know about the Fighting Wildcat?"


The sheriff smiled.  "So, you are acquainted with the name."


Ruth started to get up and go into the house.


"Just a minute young lady.  You would not happen to be her, would you?"


"You sure ask a lot of questions," complained Jake. "If she is, so what's that to you?"


"I was told that she and her man was heading toward Blountsville, so I thought I would come out and see if she made it."


"It is none of your business," declared Ruth as she again started toward the door.


"Lady, if you are that Fighting Wildcat and you refuse to talk to me, you can be in serious trouble."


"How?  Is there a law in Alabama about having a nickname?" Ruth stated in a rather loud voice.


"A sheriff can make anyone a deputy if he needs their help, and I need help."


Ruth did not know what to say as she sat back down.


"I understand that you, if you are the Fighting Wildcat, was good at tracking and not afraid of anything,” said Sheriff Watson as he took a seat on the porch. “We had a bank robbery yesterday and lost their trail. There were two of them. We need all the good men – ah – and women – we can get for a posse, so I need you and your husband to join us. We need someone who is an expert at tracking and good with a gun."


“And you came all this way to ask me that because of a rumor? Yes, I learned tracking from my daddy, but not being afraid of anything – well, your information is wrong there.”


“I have been told from good sources that you tracked some Indians and rescued two young children. In fact, you fought one of the Indians and beat him in hand-to-hand combat.”


Ruth thought about when she jumped on the Indian’s back, knocked him down and held a knife to his throat. How rumors can spread! “Sir, that wasn’t exactly hand-to-hand combat.”


“Well, that wasn't the way I heard it and I also heard that you outdrew a famous gunman on the street and outdrew two more men besides that -- one while he had the drop on you.”


Grant had temporarily put up his horse and hurried back to the house. Both his and Lolus’s eyes popped wide open in surprise at the sheriff's last comment. What kind of niece did they have?


“Now, listen here,” said Ruth. “Those are just rumors.”


“Rumors have a way of having some truth behind it,” said Sheriff Watson. “Did you or did you not meet a gunslinger on the street and shoot him before he got you?”


“Yes, but –“


“Okay, that settles it. I am deputizing you and your husband for the posse.  According to law, you cannot refuse or I can arrest you,” insisted Sheriff Watson. “Be ready this afternoon. We will be heading out.”


As Sheriff Watson saddled up his horse and rode out, Josh said, “Doggone. Can’t we get far enough away from your reputation without somebody expecting you to work miracles?”


Aunt Lolus looked at her and said, “I did not know that I had such a great niece.”


“Oh, you haven’t,” said Ruth as she ran into their bedroom, fell across the bed and began sobbing. “I am not a hero. I did what I had to do. That’s all.”


Lolus put her arm around Ruth and tried to console her. “That is what we all have to do, dear.”


“I was scared when I did those things and what the sheriff heard is not exactly true!” Ruth cried.


Grant and Josh came in just in time to hear the conversation.


“Is it true that a sheriff can force someone to go on a posse?”


“Well, it is for a man, but I have never heard about a woman before,” said Grant.


In a low tone, Josh told Lolus and Grant that he had never seen Ruth like this before. She always stood up in spite of her fears and faced problems head-on. She had never cried like this when facing a dangerous situation.


“But, women are like this when…” Lolus did not finish the sentence. “Wait a minute. I need to have a woman to woman talk with Ruth.”


Josh and Grant stepped out of the room, discussing the matter.


“Reckon what’s wrong,” questioned Josh.


Grant answered, “She is a girl.  I can see she is not as brave as rumors claim.”


Lolus came out and said, “Well, I asked a few questions and I think I know why she is crying so much.”


Josh stood there wondering what the answer would be.


“From all indications Josh, you are going to be a daddy.”








--To be continued


Copyright 2008 by Starla Anne Lowry

Characters are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead are coincidental except for historical persons and my own family names which were used in this chapter.


And Now The Legacy Begins

But will there be any boys born or only girls? I can't help but laugh about that cliffhanger.
May Your Light Forever Shine

Well, we know there will be

Well, we know there will be two girls -- Maudie and Nancy (Lizzie Jane's mother).



I can't wait for the next chapter... !

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