Remington .44

bywoodmanone©

"Mrs. Sloan?" Luke asked. He dismounted and held his hat in his hands.

"Yes?"

"I'm Luke Donaldson ma'am. I got a package for you."

"A package. From who?"

"From your husband ma'am." Luke handed Mrs. Sloan the drawstring buckskin bag and the journal. "Elwood asked me to bring this to you and your son."

"Where did you meet my husband?"

Luke explained finding Sloan on the trail and how he died. He motioned at the bag again.

Mrs. Sloan opened the bag and saw the gold Double Eagles. "Do you know what's in this bag?"

"Yes ma'am. Elwood said it was $800."

"You said that my husband asked you to bring this to me."

"Yes ma'am. Well...he hired me to go to Wickenburg to give them to you. "

"We haven't lived in Wickenburg for over a year." Gillian looked at Luke for what seemed like a long time. "You could have taken the money for yourself."

"Yes ma'am, I could've."

She smiled and added, "And you were hired to go to Wickenburg, not another near 200 miles or so. Why did you?"

"Ma'am?"

"Why didn't you keep the money and why did you travel farther than you were hired to?"

Luke shrugged and returned Gillian's smile. "Your husband and I sorta became friends fore he died. But mostly I came to find you because I gave Elwood my word."

Gillian impulsively hugged Luke. "God bless you Mr. Donaldson."

Luke handed Mrs. Sloan the journal. "Elwood said he wrote down things about his life and such in this book; said I should bring it to you too."

"Ma?"

Luke turned at the voice and saw a tall young man walking hurriedly toward Mrs. Sloan.

"You alright?"

"Yes Caleb. This is Mr. Donaldson. He brought some money and a journal from your father." Caleb walked up and stood beside his mother. "Your father is dead Caleb." Gillian told Caleb how his father had died and that he'd hired Luke to find them.

"I didn't know Mr. Sloan very long Caleb," Luke said. "But we became friends real quick." Caleb frowned and looked down at the ground. "He told me about you and your mother; he was real proud of you."

Caleb raised his head. "I just wish he could've changed so he could've lived with us."

Gillian put her arm around Caleb and pulled him close to her.

Luke made a point of looking down the street; letting the mother and son grieve alone for a few minutes. He cleared his throat. "If you don't mind me saying so, you sure do look like your Pa, Caleb."

"Ma tells me that all the time," Caleb replied with a smile.

"Elwood gave me something else; something for you Caleb." Luke unbuckled his gun belt and handed it and the Remington .44 to the boy. "He carried that gun for a lot of years and said it should belong to you."

Caleb took the belt, looked down at it for a few seconds, and then buckled it around his waist. He had to pull the belt through to the last notch to make it fit. Caleb pulled the Remington then set it back in the holster. He nodded his thanks to Luke.

"Reckon my job is done," Luke said. "Guess I earned my wages, by God." He shook Caleb and Gillian's hand. "I might as well head back to Prescott. Ma'am, Caleb. Y'all take care now." He turned, mounted his horse and rode away.

Gillian and Caleb watched him go and then headed down the boardwalk toward their house.

Before heading back to Prescott, Luke made a stop at the gunsmith. He wanted to buy a pistol to replace his Colt Navy 1860. After carrying and using the Remington .44, Luke wanted something bigger than the .36 caliber Colt. He looked at several weapons; including two or three used Colt Army model 1860 in .44 caliber, a nearly new .45 Peacemaker and a few less well know pistols. A smile spread across his face when he saw a Remington .44 in a display case at the rear of the shop.

"That's a real dependable weapon," the gunsmith said. "Been converted to use metallic cartridges and I got an extra cylinder for it. It's been used a bit but it's in damn good condition."

Luke nodded and took the pistol when it was handed to him. "I'll take it," he said with a big grin.

********************


"Who's the stranger?" The saloon patron asked the bartender.

"Don't rightly know. Came in last night about this same time and sat at that back table nursing a beer for three hours or so."

The man they were talking about was about 25 or 26. He was tall with long dark hair and piercing blue eyes. He moved with a cat like grace and carried himself with a quiet confidence. The bartender poured a beer for the young man, who then walked to the back table. As he sat down facing the bar, he flipped his oil cloth slicker back so the pistol on his right hip was clear and ready for use if need be.

Another man, several years older and rougher looking, soon entered the saloon and walked to the bar. "Whiskey," he ordered and tossed a coin on the counter. As he turned to look around the big room, the older man paused as he looked at the back table. There he could see a man with a large pistol in a tied down holster worn low on his hip, looking back.

"What are you staring at?" The older man at the bar barked at the man sitting at the table.

"You Whiskey Joe Black?" The man asked as he stood and stepped away from the table.

"What business is it of yours youngster?"

"I'm Deputy Caleb Sloan. There's paper on you and I'm taking you back to Tucson. You're under arrest for robbing the Phoenix stage and killing two people."

Black pushed off of the bar and straightened up. He dropped his hand closer to his sidearm. "I heared of a gunfighter by the name Sloan; Elwood Sloan it was. You kin to that Sloan?"

"He was my father."

You a town sheriff or county marshal boy?" Black asked. "You got no sway here in Yuma."

Using his left hand, Sloan pulled his slicker back to reveal the star pinned to his vest. "I'm a Deputy U. S. Marshal and I've got jurisdiction anywhere in the territory and Yuma is still part of that territory." Caleb took a few steps toward Black and with a deadly look in his eyes said, "Y'all can come easy or y'all can come hard; but you are coming back to Tucson, Black."

Black's hand moved with a blurring speed toward his gun. Before he could clear his holster, a shot rang out. Whiskey Joe was thrown back off his feet; he was dead when he fell to the floor several steps away.

"Reckon y'all better send for the undertaker barkeep," Caleb suggested. Without hurrying he reloaded his pistol and returned it to his holster.

"Yes Marshal," the bartender replied. He yelled at his swamper and sent him for the undertaker. "You really Elwood Sloan's boy?" But before Caleb could answer the bartender said, "Never saw a man go down so quick, or so hard," he said. "What did you shoot him with?"

Caleb gave the man a grim smile and patted the butt of his pistol. "It's a Remington .44."

The End

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