The Rifleman
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Fan Fiction

Written by Michelle Palmer
A Minisode
“Papa, Papa!” Mark raced out of the house the minute he heard the fast hoof beats of the horse. “Papa, Papa!” Mark hollered again as his little six years old body escaped the confines of the house that wintery morning.
Lucas jumped off his horse and dropped to his knees. A smile crossed his face from ear to ear as he waited for his son to run into his arms. “Papa, yer home!” Mark didn’t stop as he ran into his father. Lucas wrapped his arms tight around the little boy and squeezed him tight before brushing a soft kiss on the boy’s cheek. Mark broke the embrace, but kept his arms loosely around his father’s neck. “Did ya miss me, Papa?”
“Very, very much!” Lucas declared. “You and your mother were on my mind all day long.” Lucas lifted his eyebrow. “As always.” Lucas hugged his little boy again and laughed. “Have you been a good boy today?”
“Mark Warren McCain!” The angry voice sounded from behind the little boy. Lucas looked up to see Margaret standing in the doorway with her fists planted firmly on her hips. The look in her eyes answered Lucas’ question. “What have I told you about coming out here without a coat?”
“But…” Mark stuck out his bottom lip in a little pout. “But Pa was here!”
Lucas stood and lifted his boy as he let out a loud roar of laughter. “Yeah Ma, I was here!” Father and son shared a chuckle together. Margaret laughed and hurried to her two men. Lucas held out an arm to her and kissed the top of her head. “I was just asking Mark if he was a good boy today.”
Margaret continued to shake her head at her son. “As well as can be expected under the circumstances, I suppose,” Margaret answered. Lucas lifted an eyebrow, wondering what that meant. “Cooped up all day…watching out the window for his Pa to get back. Every five minutes, that boy asked where you were, he did!” But Lucas didn’t miss the look of pride that shone in her eyes. “Of course, I was wondering myself.”
“Can I show him now, Ma?” Mark asked excitedly. His eyes shone bright. “Please?”
“Oh Mark, you Pa’s tired. Let him rest before…”
But Margaret’s words were drowned out by Lucas’s sudden question. “Show me what?”
“What I learneded today! Oh please, Pa!” Mark begged then.
“The word is ‘learned,’ young man!” Margaret corrected her son gently. “And I told you to…”
“Show me, son.”
“Luke, it’s freezing out here! He needs to get inside and put a coat on before…”
“We’ll go in the barn.” Lucas carried his son into the barn. Margaret followed close behind them. She could see the weariness in her husband’s face. He had been out working with the cattle since just past sun-up that morning. He hadn’t even returned for his lunch today, and she wanted to get him inside, warmed, and fed. But she should know that no matter how tired he was, once Mark was in his arms he’d do anything for his son – even lasso the sun if he could.
Lucas sighed tiredly as he sat Mark on the floor of the barn and led his horse into the stall. He didn’t miss the tear that suddenly slid from his boy’s cheek. “What is it, son?” Lucas was suddenly kneeling in front of him. “What’s wrong?”
“I wanta show ya, Pa!”
“Show me?” Lucas lifted his head up to look at the boy’s mother. “What?”
“What I learneded…I mean learned.”
“Can you show me here?”
“I need a pencil. It’s a word.”
Lucas smiled. “Well now…We have all sorts of things to write on in here.” Lucas took the dull knife from the shelf in the barn and opened it. He walked Mark toward the feeding trough and pointed. “Ever write with a knife before.”
“Luke…” Margaret warned softly.
“Here…” Lucas helped his young son hold the knife. “Now, can you do it?”
“I can’t, Papa! I need a pencil.”
“Sure you can, son. You can do it.” Lucas stood as Margaret came up to him. She put an arm around his waist and watched as their boy started carving the word out.
“B…” Mark said carefully as he wrote out a B. It was a bit awkward, but he did it proudly. “A…” Mark said then as he started on the next letter. From behind him, Ma and Pa smiled lovingly and proudly into each other’s eyes. Lucas’ arm tightened around his wife who had given him this precious little boy. “R…” Mark said proudly, the end drawing near. “N!” Mark turned and looked at his Pa. He held out his arms. Lucas took the dull knife from his son’s grip, then gently lifted him. “Ya know what that spells, Pa?”
“What?” Lucas questioned as he looked into his son’s eyes.
“BARN!” Mark hugged his Pa. Then he lifted up from him. “Ya know why that word’s special?”
“No. Why?” Lucas asked.
Mark’s eyes became all watery again as he answered. “’Cause, Pa, that’s my favorite place to be with you!”
At that, Lucas’ heart melted. Tears filled his eyes as he hugged his son tightly. “The barn’s a pretty special place for me too, son. Cause this is where I like to spend time with you too!”
North Fork, NM Territory August 1881
“Hey Pa, Lehigh said he’s about to le…” The rest of what Mark had to say died in his throat when he entered the barn. He froze, dead in his tracks and stared at the place his father had just lifted from. “Pa?” Mark questioned as he continued to stare.
“I couldn’t bear to part with it, son,” Lucas told his ten year old boy. “I asked your Uncle Abe to keep it for me until we were ready. I thought it would go perfectly in our new barn.”
Mark didn’t say a word as he slowly walked over to the trough and kneeled down in front of it. He ran a hand along the letters…”B…A…R…N…” Mark mumbled as his finger touched each letter. His head turned and looked up into his father’s eyes. “You know what that spells?”
Lucas kneeled down in front of his boy. “What?”
“Barn.” Mark said the word, remembering the scene as if it were yesterday. Tears filled his eyes and threatened to roll down his cheeks. His voice was shaky as he asked, “You know why that word’s so special?”
“Because it’s your favorite place to be with me?” Lucas questioned.
Mark bit his lip, forcing control back in his voice. Lucas reached out and touched a tear that escaped his son’s eye. “Not anymore, Pa. I don’t care where we are…as long as we’re together. Every place is special with you.”
Lucas felt tears fall down his own cheeks. “Well?” That was the only word he could get passed his trembling lips.
“It’s the last word…Ma ever taught me to spell.” Mark turned and looked again at the feeding trough. “She was so proud.”
Mark turned back to look at his father when he felt the arm on his shoulders. “She still is, son. She still is.” They looked lovingly into each other’s eyes. Their eyes spoke volumes. Lucas thought to himself about how much this boy looked like his deceased wife. The expressions in his eyes…they mimicked his mother’s expressions. “I’ll get rid of it if…” Lucas started.
“NO!” Mark shouted. Lucas’ eyes widened as he continued to watch his son quietly. Mark again turned and ran his hand across the word. “It’s like having Ma here in the barn, like she was the day I carved that word.” Mark turned and looked up into his father’s face. “I want her…everywhere.”
Father and son embraced. “Your Mother ain’t the only one who’s proud of you today, boy.” Lucas said as he planted a kiss on his son’s cheek. They held each other just a little tighter. “Because I think every place is special with you…too.”
Note: This minisode is based on a scene from The Surveyors.

If you look at the feeding trough in the stall when Lucas goes in to look for Mark, you will see the word ‘B A R N’ carved on it.

These stories are based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!

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