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Sagas of the Wild West
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Not to Worry


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Weedy wasn't too sure how he felt about Miss Arabella's prank, after all, not only did it seem a bit much because someone was rude to her, but it was aimed at an adult, and Miz Addy had taught him to be respectable to adults, unless they were bad people, like bank robbers and snake oil salesmen.  Even so, he laughed at her tale, thinking how that might be a good trick for some of the boys at school who liked to tease him!

 

He shrugged at the talk about other kinds of demons.  "I know my Mama's an angel, and she looks out after me...Miz Jemima said."  Of course, that didn't explain why she hadn't looked out for him while she was still alive.

 

For a moment,  he munched pensively on a cookie, then asked, "Do you think Miz Addy would be an angel, too?  I mean, if anything happens to her?  Nothing's gonna happen, she's too savvy, and I don't think she'd make a good angel anyway...she's too cantankerous!" 

 

He just wished she'd come home.

 

@Javia

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He shrugged at the talk about other kinds of demons.  "I know my Mama's an angel, and she looks out after me...Miz Jemima said."  Of course, that didn't explain why she hadn't looked out for him while she was still alive.

 

"Well, course she is! An' course she does!" Arabella confirmed quickly. "An my Pappy and my little brother Johnny are, too." She frowned at the next point "Not so sure about my Mammy. She was kinda a crosspatch. Oh Lordy, but if she ended up in the other place, she'll be givin that ol' Devil merry hell by now! Poor old boy." She had difficulty remembering her mother with much affection, to be fair, but she knew that she herself had inherited many of that annoying woman's foibles. 

 

For a moment,  he munched pensively on a cookie, then asked, "Do you think Miz Addy would be an angel, too?  I mean, if anything happens to her?  Nothing's gonna happen, she's too savvy, and I don't think she'd make a good angel anyway...she's too cantankerous!" 

 

"Oh well, her and Caroline... Miss Mundee... they ain't deaded, that was in my dream. So don't you fret on that." she assured the lad.

 

"Now if they had been killed, though, well Miss Mundee... I'm sorry to say, I love her dearly but she's so full of the sins of the world, an' unrepentant about it, she'd be..." she pointed downward with her forefinger, indicating straight to Hell. "But Miss Chappel? Hmmmm... that a good one, see, she is generally a good person and even goes to church sometimes, but she was real mean to me onct upon a time. See, I was supposed to read this nice pome I writ called “The Man what had a Fight with a Monkey” to all these fancy ladies at the hotel, but she went and dragged me out o' there fer no reason at all and spoiled it fer me and I think Jesus is still mighty angry with her about that." she told him, reflecting more her own feelings on the matter.

 

"I missed out and all them poor ladies missed out, it's such a cryin' shame, and Miss Chappel never apologised to me the onct... but I reckon if she asks Jesus for forgiveness, like 'Oh please Lord Jesus, please, please, please forgive me for spoiling that pretty, sweet Miss Arabella Mudd's pome what was called “The Man what had a Fight with a Monkey”' then he'll let her off and she can go in the pearly gates and get her wings."

 

She reached into the cookie jar and her fingers met thin air.

 

"Jeeps! Did we really eat all o' them cookies?!" she yelped. "Don't worry, I'll hide the jar so no one knows till we're well outta here." she assured him. 

 

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They did, indeed, eat 'all o' them cookies', and the aching in Weedy's belly confirmed that.  Even so, he'd keep eating if there was more to keep eating!

 

"They were real good," he declared, "I don't think anyone would fault us for eatin' them, after all, why make something this good then get mad when folks eat it?"  He never did understand why someone made yummy things like cookies and cake, but didn't let you eat much, but made you eat a lot of yucky vegetables.

 

As for Miz Addy's sins, he had no fear of her going to Heaven, even if she took away Arabella's poem.  In fact, he was pretty certain that she'd saved Arabella from eternal condemnation by making her not torment the Ladies Society with a boring old recitation!

 

"What was your dream?" he asked.  His dreams were about catching snakes and chasing bandits, nothing helpful!

 

@Javia

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"They were real good," he declared, "I don't think anyone would fault us for eatin' them, after all, why make something this good then get mad when folks eat it?" 

 

"You're right!" Arabella agreed with Weedy enthusiastically. "An' when I help Cookie at the saloon out by testin' her apple pies for her by taking a slice while it's coolin' on the window ledge, that's just me bein' helpful." Well, that was that settled: they were a pair of little saints.

 

"What was your dream?" he asked.  His dreams were about catching snakes and chasing bandits, nothing helpful!

 

"Well, that's just it!" replied the girl dramatically. "It wan't just a usual dream like when you're sleepin' nice and mild in bed; I have lots of them. In fact, I used to keep a little diary o' the best ones, but Cookie found it and said what was in it wan't nice and burned it in the stove. But anyways, this one I had about Caroline and Miss Chappel was more like a vision."

 

She stood up and acted it all out, for extra dramatic effect but also to help her show exactly what she had seen. 

 

"So, this is me, I wakes up and realises I overslept an' missed seein' Caroline off on the stage" she put her hand to her mouth in horror and opened her eyes wide in alarm. The rest of the story was accompanied by similar heavy handed mummery. "Then I ran down the stairs and got to the bottom and then it happened: I wan't in the saloon any more, I was out in the wilds somewhere and there was this old witch there, like she sorta summoned me. An she was a Indian witch and she was speakin' Indian talk but I could understand her, see?"

 

She thought about that for a second, in a way, that had been the oddest part of the vision. She shook her head and carried on.

 

"Anyhow, she said 'Walks-in-Snow, your friends are in danger' and took me to this place where, oh, it was just awful there was all dead folks on the ground all real bad sliced up and flies and birds a peckin at 'em and there was a man and a woman and a boy standin' nearby lookin' kinda sad at it all, and I said, well, they ain't my friends."

 

She looked a little guilty at the next part. "Anyhow, then she took me to another place and there was Caroline and Miss Chappel and I could see them, all tied up, but they couldn't see me, and I said 'well she's my friend but she ain't' an I told that old witch about the poem and all, but she just grinned and said 'she will be your friend' and then 'send your most able brave to rescue them'"

 

That begged an inevitable question. 

 

"Well, I decided Jacob Lutz was the bravest feller I know, because he tried to kiss Clara Redmond at the dance and, phew, that's takin' your life in yer hands! An' I found him and I told him all about my vision and all, but that was this mornin' and will yuh look at the time now?!" she cried, staring at Professor Brown's fancy carriage clock with a worried frown.

 

@Bongo

 

[OCC: Sorry, got a bit carried away with that one!]

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"Tied up?"  Weedy's eyes widened in alarm, and he jumped up so quickly that Buster, who had finished his milk and was peacefully napping on the plush rug, hopped up and scampered away several steps before stopping to look that there was no immediate danger.

 

"We have to go find them!  You know where they are, you can show me!" 

 

Without waiting for a response, he started for the door.  "We can take Arabesque, I know Miz Addy won't mind, since we're rescuing her...them...and we can take the gun."

 

Well, 'gun' was a nice way to put the old flintlock that Addy kept in a trunk in her room.  The thing hadn't been fired in years that he knew of, but she had shown him how to load it, and it was better than nothing.

 

"Come on!  You can ride behind me."  Arabesque was a good horse, and wouldn't mind, but it didn't occur to him that maybe Arabella couldn't ride.  Oh, well, he'd teach her right quick.

 

@Javia

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"We have to go find them!  You know where they are, you can show me!" 

 

Without waiting for a response, he started for the door.  "We can take Arabesque, I know Miz Addy won't mind, since we're rescuing her...them...and we can take the gun."

 

It was to be expected that a grown up girl of sixteen would immediately attempt to stop this mad idea. Instead, Arabella was on her feet, agreeing with the lad vehemently.

 

"That's a good idea, I'm sick of sitting here doing nothing!" she yelped. "Hold on, I'd better get a weapon, too!" she rushed over to the fireplace where there was a dull metal 'fireside companion' containing various implements: a soot brush, dustpan, pincers and poker. She grabbed the poker and gave it a couple of swings. "Oh no this is too light! Hold up a sec!" she said and ran out, coming back seconds later from the kitchen brandishing a vicious looking butcher's knife.

 

"This'll do fer cuttin' the Injuns throats AND the ladies ropes!" she announced.

 

"Come on!  You can ride behind me."  Arabesque was a good horse, and wouldn't mind, but it didn't occur to him that maybe Arabella couldn't ride.  Oh, well, he'd teach her right quick.

 

"Oh heck, that's no good: I'm scared of horses!" the girl admitted. "Oooh, I know, my friend Bridget's got a nice little pony and trap, well, it ain't a pony, it's a little mule called Janella, but she's ever so tame. We could take that. Oooh, an' we'd better take something to eat with us and drink: for the girls when we rescue them." she remembered. "Ooooh, and it gets mighty cold out there nights, so we should take some blankets to wrap 'em in cause they'll be all cold and shiverin' after their ordeal at the hands of them naked savages."

 

She waited for him to agree with her. 

 

"Say, Jemima told me that the Professor'd gotten some poisonous spiders in his menagerie; how 'bout we take them along, too? we could sorta sneak 'em into the Injuns wigwams and they'd crawl all over 'em and sting 'em to death while we tippy-toe in and rescue Caroline and Miss Chappel." 

 

By crikey, if only women could become Army officers, General Arabella Mudd would have the Injun Problem licked by Christmas. 

 

 

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Weedy rolled his eyes, wondering why he'd asked a girl along on this, but then remembering that she was the one who knew where they were going. 

 

Still...

 

"Gonna take too long to get all that, and a silly mule and cart can't get through the brush and on some of the narrow trails.  Besides, it's too slow!"  He shook his head adamantly.  "Nope, we're taking Arabesque, but we do need water, and a blanket is good." 

 

That was that, he was laying down the law!  "I'm going to go saddle Arabesque, be ready when I'm back, or...or I'll just leave without you!"

 

So long as it didn't occur to her that she was the one who knew where they were going!  Even so, he'd likely leave alone, just to...just to try!  He knew the road to Helena, he might be able to spot something, and he couldn't just sit here, no, he had to help!

 

...Or let the sugar rush die down!

 

@Javia

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"Gonna take too long to get all that, and a silly mule and cart can't get through the brush and on some of the narrow trails.  Besides, it's too slow!"  

 

"But..."

 

He shook his head adamantly.  "Nope, we're taking Arabesque, but we do need water, and a blanket is good." 

 

Arabella gasped and she looked at Weedy in a new light. "Why, Mr James Porter, you're... so manly!!" If he'd been her type she might have kissed him. He had a lucky escape!

 

That was that, he was laying down the law!  "I'm going to go saddle Arabesque, be ready when I'm back, or...or I'll just leave without you!"

 

She saluted. "Yes SIR!"

 

They were just about to put the masterplan into action when the front door opened and the familiar clomping step of Jemima was heard. As soon as she entered the parlour Arabella filled her in. "Me and Porter are going to rescue Caroline and Miss Chappel: he's got a gun and a horse and I got this big knife and I'm gonna get some blankets too, an' he's gonna teach me to ride a horse real quick and..." her words were cut off as as Jemima bodily pushed the other girl backwards and into the chair that she had been occupying with a terse "Sit down, you!"

 

"And give me that knife before you hurt someone." she ordered holding out her hand.

 

"But..."

 

Jemima put her hands on her hips and gave Arabella a very stern look. She held out her hand and the knife was placed in it. 

 

Then she looked down at Weedy. "Have you been influencing her?" she asked frowning.

 

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@Bongo

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"No, ma'am!"  Weedy shot Arabella a sharp glance...yet another reason to leave girls out of things!  For all that she claimed to be so smart, it really was amazingly stupid for her to open her big mouth and tell an adult what their plans were.  Of course Miz Jemima would say they couldn't go, and now Arabella was stuck here.

 

"We just were talking about looking..."  As he spoke, he was shuffling slowly toward the door, bent on making a break for it!  Even without Arabella's precogmonition, he could at least check the trails he knew.

 

@Javia

 

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"We just were talking about looking..."  As he spoke, he was shuffling slowly toward the door, bent on making a break for it!  Even without Arabella's precogmonition, he could at least check the trails he knew.

 

Jemima slowly turned her gaze on Weedy.

 

She could have stepped in his way, or just grabbed the collar of his neck as he bolted past, but she had recently found out something that had surprised her: the four foot high boy, who was dwarfed even by the diminutive Arabella and  whom she had always assumed to be about 8 years old at the most, was actually more like 12 or 13 years old, his growth no doubt stunted by deprivation as a kid. When she realised that, Jemima had made her mind up to treat him like a fellow young person: rather than a toddler. 

 

"Well, I'm not going to stop you going, but listen Porter, how's Addy going to feel when she gets back tomorrow, and you've gone missing?" she asked, fixing him with her basilisk stare. "When she gets back, she's going to need someone to look after her, especially with Mr Ryker away: not the kind of worry and fear over a loved one like you're suffering from now." she asked.

 

"Hey, how come he gets the nice talk and I get pushed into a chair?" complained Arabella, who hadn't dared get up again.

 

"Be quiet, you." Jemima warned the Southern girl and then turned back to Weedy to hear his answer.

 

@Bongo

 

 

 

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