His eyes narrowed. Now it was obvious that she was solely trying to manipulate him, so he straightened his back, reached for the bag and tore it out of her old hands. "Give me that."
She gave a yelp of surprise as the pack flew out of her hands.
With an angry glare he added. "You can fool someone else, old lady."
“Oh, don’t be that a-way!” she whimpered pathetically “I’m just a scared old Lady, tryin’ to pacify you ruffians. Wait ‘til you’re old and feeble and two big brutes come crashin’ into your house.”
"Curly, pack it up!" Jay hollered, unaware that the other bandit had already left the building through the back door.
One was called Curly and the other one was English. That might help the Sheriff, she ruminated. Pity that their masks made any further identification difficult. But she at least noted the color of their clothes and their hair as it peeped under their headgear.
Then he tipped his hat and turned around to head for the front door.
Nellie’s eyes narrowed, she would have run for the shotgun right away, but she wasn’t sure where the other varmint was. By the time she was sure that the fat one, with the bald patch which showed pink below the back of his hat, had gone too, she was almost too late.
Outside, Red was still standing by his horse, but now he was holding three sets of extra reins, instead of two. As Jay and, from somewhere, Curly trudged laden toward him in the snow, he gave a weary shrug.
"Tom's gone to set a house on fire." he explained, simply.
Changing his plan he left the bag for her to rearrange and searched through the bottom cupboards.
"Hurry, lady. I don't have all day. There's a storm moving in."
“Oh, don’t you worry, Granny knows what’s best. Best to pack it proper, nice and slow, than havin’ it all falling outta yer sack on the trail.” she advised with a kindly smile on her face, but when he turned away to check on what Curly was up to, and fetch more vittles, she scowled and let a dribble of spit fall on the bread rolls.
Jay had to crouch down low to get to the cans on the bottom as well as some stored potatoes, which he handed to her.
“Oh, you growing boys do eat and eat. You remind me just of my Grandson, he’s a handsome young feller just like you, you know. Oh, it does make me sad what some of you nice young fellers are forced into; it’s the times, I know, it’s the times. Not your fault really.” She rabbited on, buttering him up, and trying to remember if she’d loaded both barrels of her shot gun or just one.
“I only wish I had some money to give you boys, to help you on your way – oh, I know! How would you boys like to take along some of Granny’s ‘chill tonic’? Brewed it m’self. It’s pretty strong stuff, though.” She joked, giving Jay a conspiratorial wink. Hmm, the fat one would be easy to hit a mile off, but this skinny English one might be a harder target. Why, she hadn’t plugged an Englishman since 1812 – and her aim had improved since then, she reckoned.
The picture he stumbled upon was almost too precious to interrupt. He would have loved to see that fork get stuck in Curly's privates, who demandend. "Put that away and give me your jewelry...everything you got."
“Jewellery? JEWELLERY?! I ain’t got no damned jewellery, who d’ya think I am, the queen of Sheeba?!” barked the Septuagenarian, still holding the toasting fork up threateningly to Curly “And if I did I wouldn’t give it to you, y’ fat galoot!”
Jay cleared his throat behind her and made an annoyed 'tsk, tsk, tsk' sound. "Mam, it'll be much easier, if you cooperate. We'll be gone in a second and you won't be harmed. Would you lower that fork, please."
Granny Miggins turned on her heel and saw that she was outgunned and outflanked, she let out a choice expletive, and tossed the offensive weapon onto the table top. “Got the drop on me, eh?” she observed.
His eyes already darted to the stove because the great smell had made his mouth water.
“Hungry, eh?” Nellie concluded “Well, I’d a given you something to eat if you’d knocked on the door and asked polite!”
To Curly he said. "Go on....see what you can find and if anyone else is in the house."
“Oh, there’s just the Widow Jarvis upstairs" the elderly woman informed them "... she’s taken to her bed poorly. Doctor reckons it’s the cholera, highly contagious!” frowned the old lady “I wouldn’t go up there unless you’re fixin’ to catch it yerself. Why, a big fat fellow like you, you’d be dead in a week! It always affects the baity ones the worst!”
Curly visibly hesitated.
Then he moved around her, colt till aimed at her to shove a few pieces of bread in his pack, then some dried meat and pickled vegetable jars from the cupboard.
“Well, don’t pack it that a-way, y’ daft scallywag! You’ll spill half of that pickled stuff on your bread! Here, let Granny do it for ya!” the wiry old lady commanded, moving forward. She waved the nozzle of his colt out of her way. “And stop pointing that thing at me, you’re making me nervous!!” To stop her progress toward the ill packed pack, he’d have to either shoot her or clobber her.
Strange was an interesting choice of words. Excentric, egotistical, greedy would be more adequat. "I bet you put a whole lot of thought into that conversation." Jay mocked him.
Curly’s face fell a little, his attempt to talk to the Englishman resulting in a verbal slap in the face. “Well, No need to get personal!” he pouted. Oh well, this just confirmed his dislike of the foreigner. He got his revolver, ready for the raid on the house.
The click of the revolver behind him, made him freeze in his tracks.
"You don't need that. Sneak around the back, look what you can see from the other side and then come back and tell me.", He told the other gangster.
“Who died and put you in charge?” muttered the balding outlaw, but obeyed, none the less.
Once Curly had disappeared around the corner, the Englishman quietly tip toed to the door. The snow silenced his every step and the wind did the rest.
First he craned his neck to peek in through the window.
Inside he could see an old woman standing with her back to him. Grey hair, up in bun and the posture gave it away. Noone else was in sight.
Nellie didn’t live in the house, of course. Her home was a fortress-like homestead out on the range; she was visiting the Widow Jarvis with some chicken broth and chill tonic, what with her having taken poorly just lately. The widow was tucked up in bed and Nellie Miggins was in the kitchen, just preparing to light a different sort of range – the range in the kitchen on which she would warm up the soup.
Out of nowhere a loud noise from the back of the house could be hear. "Dam*it, Curly!" Jay cursed and pressed his lips together, pulling his head away from the window.
Curly, his gun in its holster, crashed through the back door, and blundered straight into the grandmotherly figure, who cursed to herself that she was nowhere near her gun. Quickly grabbing a vicious-looking toasting fork from the wall, she thrust it up and at Curly’s surprised face.
“Hold it right there yuh no good skunk! One more move and I’ll shove this thing so far up your ass that it’ll tickle yer tonsils!! Bust in on a harmless old lady would ya!? Why, I’ll a mind to frazzle yer fat backside on that there cookin’ hob!”
Little did she know that behind her, Jay had the drop on her, and could have shot the top of her quaintly bonneted head off at his ease.
Looking down at Arabella, he smiled as he remembered her earlier remark, "Don't worry about proper introductions, we can do that later when we have time but first we have to get you taken care off. By the way, my name is Mike."
It was impossible to tell whether the girl heard him or not as her eyes closed and she fell into a dead swoon. Being carried into the church was going to be Arabella’s last clear memory until she woke up screaming in the middle of the night at the Redmond’s place about a week later. In between there would be a host of nightmarish scenes that she would half-remember, but would never quite sort out in her mind which had been real and which had been the mere frightening dreams of delirium and fever.
Nellie Miggins was the sort of interfering old busy body who can clear a room at a party but who comes into their own at a time of crisis. The diminutive biddy loomed over Mike and the girl, toting a lamp that was bigger than her head.
“No dead ‘uns in here, just live ‘uns, Mister!” she yapped at the Ranch foreman. “Oh, it’s Mr Wentworth isn’t it?” Granny Miggins seemed to know just about everything and everyone around these parts, quite a feat for a woman who lived out in the wilds in a little house on her own. “Let me have a look at this’n” she offered, pulling out a small mirror from her pinafore pocket and holding it up to Arabella’s nose and mouth. The silvered glass misted a little.
“Well, she’s breathin’, just. Just help me pull her a little way out from the fire; in this condition the little mite won’t even notice if her boots catch on fire!”
They pulled her away, and the diminutive veteran of ‘bigger and worser disasters that this little affair’ had no more use for the handsome top hand. “All right, you get outta here now Mr Wentworth, them big wide shoulders of yours is taking up all the space in here!” she cackled “Don’t you worry about the little lassie, I’ll take care of her!” It was a promise she would keep, as far as she could, until the injured in her care had been safely transported to Kalispell.
“Oh, an’ look out for them raiders as passed through before all this fire business started up. They’ll be back!” she predicted “I took a shot at one of ‘em as they rode out, but I had m’reading glasses on instead of m’ shooting glasses and I missed him! I’d recognize them varmints again though, and when I do, I’ll organize the necktie party m’self.”
She was virtually pushing him out of the church door as she jawed on “And do you know, one of them ornery skunks actually shot back at me! Me, a defenseless old lady! Good job the useless skunk's pistol misfired, or I'd a had m' hair parted fer me!”
Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.
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