The Writer's Corner
Written by HeatherF
“Millie, you got any, any rings?”
“Haven’t got much of a selection to look through.”
“It’ll be fine Millie,” I smiled.
I looked through the small selection. They were all hand-carved.
There was really only one that caught my eye. My favorite out of
the two was a flower that looked almost like a daisy but with
long petals flowing from it.
“What’s the flower called?”
“Nils told me it’s called an Edelweiss.”
“Edelweiss, sounds pretty,” I smiled. This was the ring; this
was what I would give her tonight.
“Hey Pam,” I asked nervously, I had never done this before in my
“Yes Mark?” she said, her eyes a crystal blue like the sky
during a sunrise.
“Uh-uh,” I looked around, unsure of what to say, “Pamela,” I
gulped, this is it, “Will you marry me?”
“Mark,” a smile spread across her face like a sunflower in full
bloom, “Is this for real Mark?”
“Yes,” I smiled and cried all at the same time, I couldn’t
believe it, after a year of courting; it all came down to this.
“Pam, I love you!”
“I love you too Mark!”
The evening went as planned; I dropped her off at her place.
“So when are we going to announce it?”
“How’s tomorrow evening sound?”
“Fine Mark, just fine Mark,” she smiled, her eyes glowing like
the light of a silvery full moon on a winter night over a
sparkling white coat of snow.
“I’ll see ya tomorrow!” I bent down as I kissed her. I just knew
it from the beginning, she was it, and even Pa agreed, she was
the right one for me.
I began the ride home, the moon keeping the light on the road.
It was barely a half hour ride usually. All I could think of was
her. I was like a dumbstruck pigeon. My daydreams wandered as I
rode the familiar path, then I felt something hit me and the
path faded quickly to the darkness of oblivion.
“Mark! Mark!” I yelled, looking all around the ranch. He wasn’t
one to come home late, or not at all. I hope he didn’t get
carried away, not that I wasn’t like that at one point either.
“Mark!” I checked all around.
Then I noticed Blue Boy standing by the barn as if to tell me
“What happened boy?” I asked the horse, he neighed back as if to
say ‘Come on Lucas,”
I mounted up Razor, and went on the normal trail Mark uses to
get from Pam’s place to ours.
I looked at the tracks on the trail; something definitely
happened here, as there was less weight on the hoofs as Mark had
been knocked off the horse.
I looked on the trail the outlaws left as they lead a far west
off the path. It soon lead to what Mark would call “the
“Micah, he didn’t just disappear by himself.”
“I know that Lucas,”
“We need to find him; we need to go while the tracks are still
“Mr. McCain?” a flowery voice called, “What happened?”
“Pam, when was the last time you saw Mark?”
“Why yesterday evening, what happened?”
“Between your ranch and ours, Mark disappeared,” I breathed, “I
think its some outlaws.”
Tears welled up in her eyes, “We’ll find him Pam,”
“We’ll find him, Pam, you’ll see,” I put an encouraging hand on
her shoulder. She cried into my shoulder.
“Good luck Mr. McCain!” Pam cried, as she left the office.
“Lucas,” Micah pointed out, “I think you should see this.”
I looked at the reports.
Crawford Brothers- con artists known for taking Mark, last seen
near Willow Springs, New Mexico, August 15, 1888.
“I’ve got reports of the Crawford brothers, last seen near
Willow Springs less than a week ago.”
“It could’ve been anyone, Micah.”
It was clear he didn’t know what to say.
“Micah, we need to find him soon.”
“I know Lucas.”
That afternoon we started out of North Fork.
“Millie?” I wandered into the general store.
“Yeah, what is it honey?”
“It’s Mark,” I cried, “He disappeared!”
“Some outlaws,” I breathed, showing her the ring on my finger.
She let me cry on her shoulder.
“Millie.” Lucas walked into the store, as Pam cried on my
“Micah and I are going to find Mark, can you watch over the
“Lucas,” Micah walked in.
“We’ll find him Pam,” Lucas said. I ran to hug him, my tears
just couldn’t stop.
“Be careful, Lucas,” Millie said.
Pam ran to him and hugged him, crying.
“We’ll find him Pam,” he said as he warmly hugged her.
“Be careful Lucas,” I said.
They were soon on their way out of North Fork.
“I hope they’re all right,” Pam said.
“I hope so too,” I put my hand on her shoulder.
“Ow, my head,” I woke up, the unfamiliar forest surrounding me,
and my head hurt like a stone had hit it
“Mornin’ sonny,” an unknown sing-song like voice called
“Ow,” I groaned, “Who are you?” I couldn’t remember a thing.
“Why I’s Jake, and this here is my pal Billy!”
“Huh?” confusion reigned.
“We’re your friends son!”
I knew I didn’t belong here, but then this whole place seemed
like unchartered territory for me.
“Wait a minute, who am I?”
They looked at each other,
“You’re an outlaw now sonny.”
“Yeah, but what’s my name?” I asked.
“Your name?” the large man elbowed the lanky one, “This kid’s
been with us only a few minutes and he wants to know what his
name is!!” he laughed.
I frowned, what was I even doing here in the first place? I
wanted to go home, even if I didn’t remember where that was I
wanted the warmth of someone who loved me.
“Hey kid,” I looked up at the one with chubby cheeks, “Cheer up!
We’ll be great friends!”
Yeah right. I thought. I want to go home.
I grew exhausted. I took in the peaceful night air and the
sounds of the nighttime crickets chirping.
I sat there against the tree, uncomfortable, staring as the sun
went down over the valley.
Mark. Mark!” the voice echoed in my thoughts.
Darkness shaded the trees to a near black. Longing struck me,
for reasons I couldn’t remember. I cried, the cool night air
engulfing me. I wanted someone there for me, right this minute,
someone. I forgot names and faces; I needed the warmth of
someone who loved me. I didn’t belong with these outlaws,
whether I knew who I was or not.
The bright colors of the sunset shone through the pines, as I
let my mind wander.
“Mark! Mark” it was almost as if the voice was calling for me.
I looked at the full moon, as it crested the mountains with
I was soo tired, yet I looked to the stars longingly
A young boy, nearly thirteen, stared at a weathered carving on
the side of the house.
“God bless our house,
Build August 1881….” The words were blurred out and I couldn’t
tell who built this fine place
It all seemed soo vivid and real.
“Where are ya Pa?!” I cried, taking the place of the boy.
“Where are ya Mark?” I stared into the sky, the bright stars
poking out of the darkness. I couldn’t sleep. I felt exhausted,
but I had to keep on going if we were to find Mark.
"So- what're we gonna do with the kid?" a cracky voice said.
"I dunno, the boss jist said to get the McCain kid"
I looked around; we were in an old shack, where you can see the
cracks of daylight shining through.
"Looks like the kid's awake," the one with the grey beard said.
The green lush meadows of the ranch filled my heart with joy. I
rode my horse home and then a man with blond hair greeted me,
his smile as wide as the valleys of New Mexico. Images flashed
before me, and this man spoke to a kid. An incident my mind had
forgotten had dirtied his face. He was speaking to the kid about
a man named Job who lived many centuries ago, in a land “so far
east it’s due west of here,” I recalled the man telling me. Then
the picture flashed to him carrying the kid to bed- It was
almost as if I could feel the chills the kid was having.
“Mark, don’t die,” he said, tears in his eyes, as he cried at
the kid’s beside.
Scenes flashed before me
“Mark, don’t drink the water from that barrel- it could be
“You see this picture- you were six!”
“You lost your razor?” he asked, tiredly on the bed, as Pa
pulled him into a loving embrace.
Suddenly I was jolted awake. “Wake up boy!!!” the outlaw hissed.
“Okay, okay,” I answered. The words echoed in my head, the man’s
I felt soo bad, like the world was against me. It felt like I
was having a bad day, and this headache was no help.
I wanted someone’s shoulder to cry on; I just wanted to go home,
wherever that was.
Someone’s got to be out there lookin for me, I thought. I cried
silently against the tree that night, “I want to go home!”
It had been a day since Mark disappeared, and Lucas had snuck
“Micah, I know he’s alive!” he whispered.
“I never said he wasn’t”
“Micah, I think I know where he is,”
“Lucas boy,..” I couldn’t find words to say, he would go far and
wide to find Mark, no matter what.
“Micah,” Lucas breathed, attempting to calm himself.
The moonlight lit the trail like a lantern.
God must’ve made the moonlight so a man could find his way in
the darkness of the night.
The clouds covered the stars but the moon brightly lit the way.
I made my way in the dark, leading me ever so closer to where
The trail led two ways. If I took the wrong one I feared I might
never see Mark again.
The last pinks of sunset shone through the clouds and the moon
revealed itself from the sky.
I grew exhausted. I took in the peaceful night air and the
I stopped at the lake, “We’ll find you soon son,” I said into
the warm evening air.
I was soo tired, yet I looked up to the stars longingly. A
slight headache ached my forehead, not caring to acknowledge it,
I fell asleep.
I tried to sleep, as uncomfortable as it was against this huge
tree, not to mention being tied to it.
“Mark,” this time instead of a man’s voice, it was a girl’s.
“Mark,” she kissed me as I grinned, “So how about a ride this
“Well, I got some chores to finish, but I’ll come over to your
place when I’m done.”
Little did we know Pa overheard!
“So what are you two lovebirds up to?” he smiled.
“Oh, we’re just going to go ridin’ this afternoon,”
I awoke to the comfortable dew of morning.
“Looks like the kid’s still awake,” Jake said walking over to
“My head hurts.”
“Let the kid rest Billy!” The thin one said.
“But I want to get a move on Jake!”
“The boss wants us in Tucson by sometime today!”
“The kid’s starting to get sick anyway!”
The conversation faded to distant sounds as I felt myself
A young boy-nearly 13 stared at a weathered carving on the wood
of the house.
“God Bless our house- rebuilt August 1881 by Lucas McCain and
his son Mark” he read aloud.
It seemed all too familiar and the scene felt soo real.
“Where are ya Pa?” I cried-taking the place of the boy.
The bright white moon guided the way for me. I soon found the
outlaws camp, and Mark sleeping soundly leaning against a tree.
Pretty soon the nighttime began to give way to the bright rays
of the morning. I stealthy tried to sneak away before the
outlaws woke up. The big one began to yawn.
“Hey, what’s that Billy?”
“What?” The man began to wake up as I snuck behind a tree.
“There was someone over there Jake!” I saw through a bush as he
elbowed his partner.
“You’re imagining things Bill! You’ve had too much whiskey!!”
“But Jake- I just woke up! And I saw this man!”
“Aww your just hallucination things Billy!”
“But I’s tellin ya- it’s someone!”
“Aw shut up!”
I yawned, seeing a man walk through the camp. He seemed very
familiar, especially his rifle.
Just as he snuck behind a tree, the outlaws had started to wake
up. I looked over to my right- a Marshall had followed the blond
man and was hiding in a bush nearby. He seemed familiar too- I
didn’t want the outlaws to know anyone was there. His friendly
face was filled with worry for his friend and me. I still
wondered who he was.
“Hey kid, you see anyone walk through here?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You better be telling the truth kid!!” Jake grabbed me by the
“Honest mister- I am!!”
“Well- I don’t believe you!” Jake threw me to the ground.
Before I knew it the two other men had come out.
“Hey you leave Mark alone!” the blond man got Jake.
“Where did you come from?”
“Your imagination!” he yelled.
It was all clear- the outlaws were down- at least for now.
“Mark!” he said. I felt a connection to him, I felt like I knew
him from somewhere and he was really close to me.
“Who are you?” I asked
“Someone who cares about you,” caring shown in his eyes.
It comforted me those words from him.
Then Billy got up, and held me back while Jake tried to fight
the blond man.
“Hey- you two stop!” the Marshall yelled, trying not to get
involved in the fight. I struggled to get out of Billy’s grasp.
Desperate to get out of his grip, I bit his arm.
“Oww! Hey kid!!!!” he began to run toward me as I ran to help
the blond man.
“You leave him alone!” I pushed Billy off of him.
I found myself soo involved in saving these two. I hadn’t
realized it until after it happened, but the blond man had
knocked out Jake before he had time to reach me.
“Thanks P-“Was he really my Pa?
Only time would tell me the answer.
I heard as I blacked out.
The big man held Mark by the collar, “Well I don’t believe ya!”
he threw him to the ground.
I couldn’t help it; this was trying my patience, and with the
lack of sleep the past few nights, I just went right out and
said, “Hey you leave Mark alone!”
‘Where did you come from?”
“Your imagination!” I yelled.
I managed to get the outlaws away, just for a bit.
“Who are you?” Mark asked, his brown eyes looked into mine.
“Someone who cares for you,” I said.
Then out from behind us, the thin one came and tried to fight,
as the big one held Mark back.
“You leave them alone!” Mark tried to stop the fighting. I
managed to knock the skinny one out.
“Thanks P-“ he stumbled on his words. He stared; I could tell he
knew I loved him.
“Mark!” he began to fall forward, “Mark!” I caught him. I held
him in my arms.
“Lucas, look out!” I was knocked out.
“Pa?” I awoke the next day.
“He’s not here kid!”
“But then where’s the Rifleman?”
“He left kid.”
I was sad; the only person that knew me well was gone.
I opened my eyes to find myself in the meadow where the fight
“Mark! Mark!” The outlaws had gone off and took Mark with them.
“Micah, wake up, we need to find Mark.”
“Pa! Pa! Pa!” I screamed, as I suddenly felt cold water on my
“Hey kid, about time you came to.”
I found myself tied to a tree. It would always be a big tree
like an oak or something, this must’ve been here before Pa and
Ma made their way here. I forgot about a lot of stuff, but just
the thought of them being here was enough for me.
“What do you want with me for?” I questioned.
“Well our boss wants The Rifleman’s kid!”
“We can’t tell ya, and yer Pa don’t know where you are!”
“You leave Pa out of this!!” I struggled to get out of the rope.
Whoever that man was, it was good to know someone else cared for
I needed to find a way to get out of here, and soon.
August 22, 1888
I just don’t know what to do now- Lucas and Mark have been gone
for nearly 2 days and it seems like forever. If only I could…
I wish you’d come home soon, from whatever happened to you. I
miss you so much these words on paper can’t even describe.
I stared down what I had written. I was soo scared and worried
for them, I was shaking. I didn’t even notice Ma at the door to
“Pam,” I heard her voice, “Pam, honey, are you okay?”
I began to cry on my desk. No. No. Mark can’t….
“It’s Mark and Lucas, they are….” I wailed.
“I know-“she let me cry, holding me.
“Maybe you should stay in town with Milly, she’s as worried as
the rest of us.”
“Ma, can we?”
“Sure, first thing in the morning.”
“Thank you Ma!!” I hugged her.
“Mark! Mark!” The voice rang in my head “Mark! Mark!”
“Come on, we’re heading to the next town!” The outlaw rushed us.
I couldn’t stand it much being with these guys, it didn’t feel
right, nothing felt right- I couldn’t remember who I was and
where I came from, but I had a loving voice in my head calling a
It was a sunny day, but I sure didn’t feel sunny. What made it
worse was that the outlaws decided to capture a wild horse.
“Hey! What are you doing?!” I asked: anger in my eyes.
“It needs to learn a lesson kid, Stay out of our business kid”
he kicked me out of the way.
Anger burning inside me, I rushed to stop him, only to be hit by
punches. I fought back as much as I could.
“Well, what did the horse do to you?”
It was a wild chestnut mustang, not meant to be in the hands of
these awful men.
“Leave her alone!” I was pushed away by Jake.
“Hey- what are you doing to the horse!!?” I yelled, I couldn’t
stand seeing the way they treated their horse.
I felt myself hit the ground, “Just leave him, he’ll figure
things out himself!” I heard them leave.
I breathed, lying there making sure I was okay. The filly
neighed; she slowly trotted to see how I was. I stared at the
stars, not feeling like getting up. I slowly got up, slightly
“Shh,” I gently pet her cheek, “We need to get you out of here.”
I looked around, making sure Billy and Jake had gone far enough
away they wouldn’t notice.
It was a cool night; the stars were bright above us as I lead
the horse quietly away from the camp.
“Go girl,” I urged the horse to go free once more.
She rubbed her cheek against mine, almost like she was saying
“Come girl, go, you don’t belong here with these people.”
She neighed, as she galloped away: Free.
The store seemed unusually quiet the past few days. There wasn’t
a moment I wasn’t thinking about them, and the town seemed like
an empty glass without Mark and Lucas and Micah.
I began to sweep the porch; I was amazed at how positive I
managed to be in the past few days despite the situation.
The moon had risen higher, as the outlaws made their way back
from wherever they went
“Hey!- Where’s my horse Billy?” Jake asked, his words slurring
as he spoke. He then looked at me. “You let the horse get away!”
“Aw- leave him alone Jake, you’re drunk anyway,”
“Yeah- but my horse!”
“Jake, go jump in a lake!”
I looked around while they were arguing. This was my chance to
get away, to go home. I stealthily snuck away while they
quarreled away. I snuck into the woody underbrush, the branches
covering my tracks.
I’d figured I was far enough away from the camp to take a break.
I sat against a tree and soon fell asleep, the comfortable night
air surrounding me
“Lucas boy, try and get some rest, no sleep isn’t good for a
“I’m trying Micah,” I breathed, “I can’t stop worrying.”
Micah put a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
“I need to know he’s allright.”
I couldn’t sleep; I tossed and turned, and tried to get to
sleep, but it just wouldn’t come.
I awoke to the sun on my face, the birds chirping happy songs
around me and the fresh morning air surrounding me.
I couldn’t wait to get home; maybe I’d bump into the Rifleman
and the Marshall again. Home was where I longed to be, in the
arms of someone who loves me.
I walked down the dirt road, not even knowing where I was goin’.
Very few wagons passed, and I didn’t see any stage pass by
The wind blew softly, makin the daylight peaceful as my Ma’s
I wandered down the road, following my heart, wherever it was
“Mark…Mark.” his voice echoed in my head.
“Hey, where’d you heading stranger?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’s heading to New Mexico territory and I could use some
New Mexico…That sounded soo familiar, like it welcomed me.
“Sounds good to me,”
“Climb aboard then.”
“So what’s yer name son?”
I was in deep thought, the man who said he cared for me seemed
“What’s yer name son?”
“Oh- uh…” My mind was blank.
“Well, everyone’s got a name son, What’s yers?”
I tried to think, risking a headache.
“What was the last name someone called you?”
“Oh,” I thought to the name again, “Mark.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Steve Flanagan.”
“So you sell things?”
“Sort of a traveling merchant.”
“Where’s your next stop?”
“Wherever the road takes me..”
“Next city’s Willow Springs.”
“No problem son.”
“You play guitar?”
“Used to son.” I strung a few chords.
“Still works good.” I smiled.
“You can play it if you want.”
♫The first time I looked at her
It wasn’t hard to see,
She was Something Special
Especially for me.
The bluest eyes that I’ve ever seen
And pretty as can be,
She is something special
especially for me!
I’m lucky that I found her
On that special day
I want so much to tell her
The Things I cannot Say
If she would only look my way
I know that she would see
She is something special,
Especially for me!
Especially…for me! ♫
“Beautiful song boy.”
We found a trail, about the size of Mark’s boots; Heading toward
the road. It was obvious that he had escaped, and was heading
toward the road.
“Look Micah,” We had arrived at the road- his tracks leading us
toward North Fork.
“If I’m not mistaken Lucas boy- I believe he’s heading in the
“I believe you’re right.”
I arrived at the town; everything seemed too familiar to me, the
people, the atmosphere. Something was calling me to go to the
Marshall’s office, but no one was there. I walked over to the
hotel; people were staring as if they’d seen a ghost.
I made my way over to the general store, the lady seemed soo
Everything started to spin as I heard her say my name.
“Mark!” I blacked out.
Mark stood there, staring at me looking pale as a sheet.
“Mark?” His big brown eyes contrasted his pale skin.
“Mark!” he fainted into my arms.
“Pam, get some water.”
Seeing her jogged my memory, at least now I knew who I was.
“Ow!” my head began to hurt.
“Pam, go get some water,”
“Ow!!” I groaned as my head hurt again. I breathed deeply.
“Mark, just try to relax,”
“Ow! Ow!” I took a deep breath as I closed my eyes.
“We’re looking for a boy about eighteen, brown eyes, brown-“
“Yeah, we found one Mister, lookin' just like that!” the skinny
“Mister, do ya mean the kid who escaped?!”
“Joey!” the short one elbowed the big one.
“So he escaped?”
“Yeah, he’s probably wandering the road a bit.”
“Do you know which way he went,”
“When I came to I saw him heading that way,” he pointed behind
“Micah do you think?”
“Can’t say for sure Lucas,”
My mind went through many possibilities. Did he know where he
was going? With what could be a loss of memory? I tried to stop
myself from thinking about anything bad happening to Mark.
“Thank you!” I smiled as we rode on the road toward the west.
“Millie?” I asked, “Where’s Pa?”
“He and Micah didn’t come back yet.”
“You only just got back yesterday Mark- maybe they stopped
somewhere,” Doc Burrage asked.
“No, they wouldn’t stop if they knew I was here.”
We rode the way back, Mark might have forgotten almost
everything, but his route took us right on the road to back to
North Fork! No matter what he still knew where home was. I
smiled at the thought.
It was a few hours on when Micah and I were jumped by outlaws.
I was struck into oblivion as the sudden force of a weapon hit.
I saw myself fall off of Razor as I hit the ground with a thud.
“Lucas!” I screamed as he was knocked off his horse.
“It’s the Rifleman all right!” the big one said.
“You’re under arrest.” I said, pulling out my pistol.
“For what Marshall?”
“For the attempted murder of Lucas McCain!”
“You can’t arrest us Marshall,” you ain’t got a jail!” he joked.
“I sure can, now-“I blacked out.
I stopped at the ranch. I looked around taking in all the green
I walked into the room and my head started spinning again.
“Let me put it this way, I love you more than anything else in
the world,” his voice echoed in my head, as I soon found myself
“Where’d Mark go?” a customer asked me. Then it hit me, Mark had
gone off somewhere by himself, probably the ranch.
“That’ll be ten cents Mrs. Blake.”
“I think he went home.”
“Freddie, I’m going to go check on Mark,” I began to race out
the door, “Can you keep shop?”
“Yes Miss,” he smiled.
I came to the ranch and raced inside only to find Mark on the
floor unconscious again.
“Mark!” I washed his face trying to get some color back.
“Pa?” he asked, opening his eyes slowly.
“No Mark, I’m afraid not.”
“Why do I feel so tired?”
“You’ve had a long few days, try to get some rest.”
He yawned, as I helped him to his room. He looked so pale and
tired; it reminded me of when Lucas left for Wyoming for two
months. Mark was his father’s son.
We drove the wagon toward the west. It has been two weeks since
we left Missouri. It has been an uneventful few days on the
dusty trails of the west.
Near the evening of the half moon, we came upon two men lying
unconscious on the side of the road. One was an older man who
had on a Marshall badge on, the other was a blond- blood
streaked his sandy hair.
“Joe, come quick!” I called my husband. He had been a doctor
during the Great War in the east, we met when he moved out west.
He wanted to become a doctor out here, as he had heard there
were so few of them. I was raised by the Apache, and grew up on
the land. My parents had tried to protect me from the horrors
that engulfed our territory, and of the white man plight to take
over. When I was in the reservation, I met him.
“Doesn’t look good,” Joe said, his curls glistening in the light
of the sun.
We gently took them into the wagons. The younger one was in
worse shape than the older one.
I worried about the yellow-haired one, a hit on the head like
that could’ve been fatal, yet he was still breathing. I hoped
he’d be all right.
“Pa?” I found myself in my bed. The house seemed soo quiet you
could hear a pin drop. I walked into our living room.
“Pa?” I started to cry.
“Pa!” I sat down at the table cried.
I heard someone come in the door
“Mark!” Millie’s voice rang as I heard her through my tears.
“Pa!” I cried on her shoulder.
“Mark, what’s wrong?”
“He should be here by now!” I cried.
“He and Micah went looking for you.”
“I know Millie, but I saw Pa,”
I told her about the fight between the two outlaws and Pa and
“I remember askin’ ‘Who are you?’” I recalled.
“And he said ‘Someone who cares,’” I started to cry again, “And
that’s the last time I saw them.”
“Do you know how long ago it was Mark?”
I tried to think back, “About 4 days ago; If Pa’s been on my
trail he and Micah would be back by now!”
I breathed, attempting to hold back the tears.
“I got back a day ago,” I took a deep breath; “They should be
here by now!” I cried into her shoulder.
It took a while to calm down. Thank God for Millie, she was like
a mother to me.
“I can’t go out now; it’s too dark out,”
“Go first thing in the morning Mark,”
I tried to sleep that night. I was as restless as a hound during
a thunderstorm. I waited till Ma and Pa were in bed, as I snuck
out to the McCain ranch.
I tried to sleep that night, but morning couldn’t come fast
enough. I tossed and turned till I finally figured that I’d walk
out to the porch.
“Same hill, same valleys; this house we built, same house, Barn,
same barn; that hill Mark, that’s the way it used to look in the
moonlight, soft blanket of silver. The only thing missing is the
cross at the crest that marks your mother’s resting place.” I
heard his voice echo in my head as I stared at the dark shadows
of the hills and the valley. The only light was the half moon,
still bright enough to show light on the figures of the night.
“Pa, I’ll be there as soon as I can,” I leaned against one of
“Mark, what are you doing up?”
“I couldn’t sleep.”
“Worried about Pa.”
She brewed up some tea, but even that couldn’t relax me.
I just sat there and silently prayed Pa’d be all right. I stared
at the shimmer of the stars.
“God let Pa and Micah be all right,” I whispered as I breathed
and let my head fall in my arms. I felt Millie’s hand on my
shoulder. The quiet stillness of the night didn’t seem to help
We’ve sat there for ages, till my eyes could barely stay open.
“Millie?” I looked up as her and yawned, “I’m going to try and
get some sleep.”
“Good idea,” I got up, “Night Millie.”
It must’ve been very early in the morning- as I walked to the
ranch. The moon was in the middle of the sky, as I came upon the
ranch. I figured they’d be asleep now. I felt myself getting
tired, soo tired that I forgot about getting to the house
itself. I soon settled against the hay and soon felt myself
I breathed in the smell of eggs and bacon. For some reason I
felt happy, maybe it was because Milly was there. I practically
jumped out of bed.
I walked into the kitchen to find Millie cooking the food. She
seemed almost like a mother to me, like the kitchen was her
“You remind me of Ma,” I said, “I don’t remember much about
her,- but I remember when she cooked for us, and….”
“Your Pa must miss her a lot.”
“Oh he does… “I breathed, “Sometimes he just stares at the
“Mark, eat your breakfast,”
“Oh I will,” I grinned eagerly despite being worried and had
barely eaten since I came back to North Fork.
“Oh I will,” he smiled excitedly.
“Millie, I’m going to find Pa, if it’s the last thing I do.”
His brown eyes shined with determination, just as Lucas’ had
when Mark had gone missing. as he dried the last dish.
“Hold on there Mark, you are going to need some food for the
trail!” I stopped him as he began to leave.
"Millie, I’m going to find Pa if it’s the last thing I do," I
said; her eyes growing with concern.
“Goin to ride into town first, see who wants join me,” her face
started to get teary eyed, “Millie?”
She cried smiling, “Your mother would be proud Mark.”
I gave her a warm hug, “I know she would,”
“Be careful,” I embraced him as if he were my own son.
I was surprised that I actually slept that night, when Mark was
worried, I was worried.
“Pam?” he asked me, slowly waking me up.
“What?” I yawned.
“What are you doing here?”
“I was worried about you so I came here,”
“To the barn?” he smiled and laughed.
“I was tired-“ I laughed as he kissed me on the cheek.
“Millie’s got some breakfast on the table, eggs and bacon.”
“Mark,” I stood in front of him, “be careful.”
“I will,” he kissed me again.
I watched as he left the barn with Blue Boy. He saddled his
chestnut horse. Time went slowly as he left the ranch, all
“Pam,” Millie’s voice rang, startling me a bit, I just stared
out to where Mark went. “Come and get something to eat.” She
began to guide toward the house.
“I want to go to town,” I said, “he can’t go there all by
himself!” I frowned.
It wasn’t long till Millie and I made our way to road and caught
up with Mark.
I rode toward town. The road seemed lonely even though
The ride to town seemed long- no one to talk to, just the birds,
the bees and the hot sun.
My thoughts drifted to Pa and Micah. I missed Pa, I missed him
the whole time, even when I had that bought of amnesia with
“Who are you?” I asked
“Someone who cares about you.”
Someone who cares. I stopped as I sat there and reflected. I
began to cry.
“Let me put it to you this way, I love you more than anything
else in the world.”
I took a deep breath as I urged Blue Boy onto town.
“Mark,” Pam’s voice chimed.
“We didn’t think you would want to go to town alone,” Millie
“Thanks,” I smiled.
We went onto town, the ride seeming a bit quicker now, at least
with Pam and Millie were there.
“Get some people here,” I said- I needed to tell people, there
was no way I’d make it on my own.
“Look guys, I’m going to go find Pa and Micah, anyone want to
join me?” I looked around at the faces of the townspeople.
“I’ll go with ya Mark,” Freddie walked up to where we were
“I’ll go Mark,” Grid stepped out of the crowd of faces.
“We’ll head out in about an hour.”
“We’ll be ready in half that time.” Freddie said.
We walked to the hotel to wait until Freddie and Grid were
ready. We sat at a table, as I held my head in my hands.
“I can’t think anymore.” I moaned.
I felt their hands on my shoulders as I began to cry again.
I couldn’t tell how fast time was going.
“Mark, we’re ready,” I looked up at Freddie and Grid; ready to
I gulped and got up, “Let’s get going.”
Pam stood up beside me, “Mark, be careful.”
“I will,” I looked into her bright blue eyes.
We mounted up the horses and were soon heading out of North
The afternoon seemed to last an eternity. Mark had only been
gone for an hour and I was as sad as a dog on a rainy day.
“You all right?” Millie asked.
“Yeah-“ I was frowning, “No- Millie, what am I going to do?” I
cried, “I- I – I miss Mark!”
I was worried and worried, I tried baking pies but it was no
use. Where was Lucas, Mark and Micah?
I awoke to find myself in a cot in a crowded wagon. (wagon-standin'
“Be careful Marshall,” I heard a young woman’s voice, “You may
hurt yourself again.”
I breathed; relieved it wasn’t the outlaws again.
“Who are you Miss?” I asked, looking into her shining black
“I am Pleasant Moon,”
“How’s Lucas? ”I asked, a bitter look went across her shiny
“Your friend has not woken up yet Marshall.”
I couldn’t think of any words to say, I just prayed that he’d be
all right, for Mark’s sake and for mine.
As the night wore on, the blond man became delirious.
“Mark! Mark!” he moaned.
“Sh, he’ll be here soon,” I comforted him.
“Let’s bed down here for the night,” Freddie suggested.
I stared at the stars, barely able to sleep.
“Mark, are you- okay?”
The truth was; tears were welling up in my eyes. I began to cry.
I felt Freddie’s hand on my shoulder. “We’ll find him Mark.”
“I hope so-“I cried.
“We’ll find him Mark, it shouldn’t be too far away now,” I
stared at the ground in grief-there was nothing these words were
doing to comfort me.
At least Freddie and Grid were there if we found the worst and
there if everything turned out fine.
I couldn’t sleep. I roamed around the camp. I leaned against a
tree, staring at the stars and the bright moon.
“Mark,” I heard Freddie behind me. I turned, “We’ll find him.”
“I know, I’m just,” I breathed, “I’m just worried.”
He put his hand on my shoulder.
The night wore on; it seemed to take forever until dawn finally
came upon the land.
The sunrise made me smiled.
“Mark, you feelin' better?”
“A little,” I breathed as we began the ride toward the bright
yellow of the sunrise.
In the morning, the blond man had become quieter. He was still
breathing, and every once in a while he would call out for
It took almost a whole day of riding before we came across
anything. I still had a feeling today we’d find him.
We got off our horses to stretch; the sun was above the trees
and the mountains. Then something caught my eye.
“Hey guys!” I saw a glint of brass in the sand.
“What is it?”
“Look its Pa’s rifle!” I said; I knew we were close now. It had
been dirtied up a bit since being left on the road.
I spotted two big squares in the distance, “Hey guys, look over
“What is it Mark?” Grid asked.
“Those wagons over there,” I pointed out toward the horizon.
“I can feel it Mark, we’re really close,” Freddie said.
“Thank you God!” I breathed a sigh of relief.
It took about an hour or so to get there. The wagons were huge
Conestogas, with canopies like clean white sheets, well a little
bit dusty from the trail.
“What brings you here stranger?” An older man in his forties
“I’m lookin' for my father.”
“You must be Mark I presume?”
“Yes,” my face lit up like a lantern on a cold night, “You mean
“Micah keeps talkin' about you and your Pa.”
I thought for a moment,” Where’s my Pa?”
A solemn look came across his face, as it soon found its way to
mine, Oh no! I thought. I got off of Blue Boy and gave him a pet
on his cheek for support. He could practically read my mind, and
he was almost like a friend sayin’ it was going to be okay. We
were both worried.
The man took me to the other side of the wagon.
“We found your Pa and Micah on the side of the road
unconscious,” he paused, “we did the best we could with what we
got. “ He seemed to go on forever, but then when you’re worried
every word seems slow to you. “Micah’s doing fine,” tears began
blurring my vision- Was Pa dead?... I barely heard the rest of
the words but I could sense it as I raced as fast as I could to
I slowly climbed into the cramped wagon, “Pa?” I asked, no
response from his unmoving figure, “Pa?!” I began to cry as I
knelt beside his bedside. “Pa!” I cried onto his shoulder. All I
could feel was grief
“Lucas,” Margaret said, “I love you.”
“I love you too,” I embraced her and kissed her as I did since
we first wed up until the day she left this earth.
She gently pushed me out of the kiss, “Lucas,” she looked down
at Mark, Freddie and Grid coming close to where Micah and I
“Look, its Pa’s rifle,” he had found my rifle in the sand
“Go back, he’s been missing you an awful lot,” Her eyes shined
like Mark’s did when he smiled. I always saw a lot of Margaret
“I love you Margaret.”
“Pa?” Mark’s familiar voice called, “Pa!” he began to cry on my
shoulder, as I opened my eyes and put a loving hand on his
“I love you Pa,” he wailed out, still in the midst of grief.
“I love you son,” I smiled.
“I love you Pa,” I cried, feeling a change in the atmosphere of
“I love you son,” I heard his voice and smiled with relief. I
gave him as big of a hug as I could.
“Pa, I thought I nearly lost you,” I looked into his blue eyes
“Pa, I thought I nearly lost you,” I wiped a tear from his
“You’ll never lose me Mark.”
“You’ll never lose me Mark.” I embraced him, just being in his
arms again made me feel like the luckiest kid in the world.
I watched the bright oranges and yellows of the sunset fade to a
soft pink and soon into a darker blue with a streak of turquoise
“Thank you God,” I said as the sun went behind the trees.
“It’s beautiful,” I felt a strong hand on my shoulders; it was a
wonderful day to be alive.
Pa got better really quick; Joe said he hasn’t seen anyone hurt
that way get better so quickly.
We rode back to North Fork slowly but surely, just in case Pa’s
head hurt him.
We rode back into North Fork in about three days after we
started. The afternoon sun and a cool breeze greeted us.
“Lucas! Mark!” Millie ran out, a smile as big as the sunrise.
“Millie!” We chimed as we ran to her.
“Oh I missed you two!”
“We missed you!”
“My two best friends in the world!” she grinned.
“Hey what about me?” Micah joked.
“We didn’t forget about you!”
“Mark!” a flowery voice chimed.
“Hey,” I grinned, she kissed me on the cheek. “I sure missed
“You’ll never know!”
Heather's sketch from the Mark/Pa
scene near the end
Also checkout some of Heather's other great sketches she has
done for The McCain Ranch!
This is a story based on the TV
series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
around The McCain Ranch