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Sagas of the Wild West
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Chill Tonic


Message added by Stormwolfe,

Holding off moving this thread until we hear back from Javia regarding its status.

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Mature Content: Unlikely.

With: Nellie Miggins, Jess Matthews, Scrappy Craddock
Location: Miggins Homestead, Flathead County
When: September, 1876
Time of Day: Late Afternoon.

 

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Lee knew she was really ill again because Granny had stopped chiding her about laying in bed all day. Not that chiding hurt any when she was this a-way. She just lay and lay and lay and drifted in and out of sleep. The flowers on the wall paper, in these delirium filled hours, lit by the gap in the thin curtains, seemed to grow and change shape in bewildering ways. Somewhere a light breeze was banging something against the wooden wall of the house. In the eerie quiet of the prairie out here, the slightest noise seemed to echo and reverberate and bore into her feverish mind. 

 

She heard voices, too. Some were meant to be there: downstairs Granny was talking, either to herself or to Jed, the somewhat elderly hired hand. Others weren't. But maybe she was asleep and dreaming when she heard those. 

 

Long about four in the afternoon, she heard unfamiliar voices again, and this time she knew she was awake. Two male voices rumbled below her, downstairs. Granny's voice could be heard talking to them. She was curious. The curiosity somehow gave her the strength she had lacked for days, and she managed to swing herself up and sideways, and dragged on her dressing gown. 

 

By force of will she stood, walked to the door, and then felt her way down the stairs and into the parlour, where her grandmother was talking to two cowboys. She should have been on her mettle but she instinctively knew they meant no harm. Granny was chiding the shorter one.

 

"Say you're from Texas, do ya?! I thought everything that came outta Texas was meant to be BIG!!" 

 

But Lee was more drawn to the taller man. She squinted her eyes and her voice from the doorway seemed to take them all by surprise.

 

"Jess?!"

 

She smiled, first time in a long time.

 

"Cousin Jesse?!"

 

@MD

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Jess had finally made it out to his Aunt Nellie's house to visit her after the passing of his mother.  He was introducing her to his good friend Scrappy, chuckling as Nellie chided Scrappy, knowing that he too would find her funny....he always had a good sense of humor.  Their humorous banter though got interrupted, indeed taking him by surprise as he turned on his heel to the sound of the voice.   

 

He would turn to find his distant cousin Lee standing there, smiling, he hoped happy to see him.  He couldn't remember the last time he'd seen her.  Of course it had been at least a year, but he felt like it was longer than that.

 

"Lee?!" He rushed towards her, noting that she looked more skinny and pale than the last time he'd seen her.  He had no idea she had the same heart condition that took his own mother's life and that ran in the family.  

 

He scooped her up in a hug, lifting her from the floor some. "It's so good to see you." Why couldn't his immediate family be this happy to see him?  He just couldn't understand why his mother had stayed with their ornery old father.  Ah, well....

 

He sat her back down on her feet, his hands on her sides, holding her there a bit to help her balance and smiled down at her.

 

@Javia

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"Lee?!" He rushed towards her, noting that she looked more skinny and pale than the last time he'd seen her.  He had no idea she had the same heart condition that took his own mother's life and that ran in the family.  

 

He scooped her up in a hug, lifting her from the floor some. "It's so good to see you." Why couldn't his immediate family be this happy to see him?  He just couldn't understand why his mother had stayed with their ornery old father.  Ah, well....

 

Scrappy looked a little embarrassed, feeling very 'fish out of water' at this touching family reunion, but Granny Miggins cackled happily. "He he he, them to young'uns always did get on!" she informed the diminutive Texan. "When their brothers and sisters'd be off runnin' around and jumpin' in the swimmin' hole and getting up to the lord knows what mischief an' Lee was too sickly to join in, Jesse there'd give up the fun and stay back and play quiet with the girl." she nodded in satisfaction at the younger Jesse's saintly behaviour.

 

Of course, for all she knew, Jess might have just been avoiding some of the more dubious adventures that Josephina Lutz and Zenobia Matthews would have dragged him into. It was funny, but when Zenobia, Josephina, Jess and Jacob had played together, the older girls came up with the games, and the boys ended up in trouble: caught scrumping apples, or trespassing or, on one sobering experience, in front of the town Marshall, heads bowed and quaking in their boots, while the girls could be heard outside the jailhouse, howling with laughter. 

 

He sat her back down on her feet, his hands on her sides, holding her there a bit to help her balance and smiled down at her.

 

She smiled up at him, then her smile dropped. "I'm sorry about Aunt Hilde" she said, and gave him a warm embrace. 

 

"Say, Crappy or Scrappy or whatever you're called, come with me, I want to show your something, something I need a proper Texas cowboy's advice on!" Granny said suddenly. "Er yeah, sure Ma'm!" agreed Craddock, following her out of the parlour and strongly suspecting that the curmudgeonly old woman was secretly giving Jess and Leonora some time to chat alone. 

 

Letting go of Jess and giving him a bracing pat on the arm, she sat, or rather collapsed onto the two seater settee. "Sorry, I've been a little poorly." she said, patting the seat beside her for him to sit down, too.

 

"How long have you been back?" she asked conventionally but her eyes scanning his face, as if to confirm that he was really there, and it wasn't just another illusion of her delirium.

 

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@MD

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Jess would have happily had Scrappy and Aunt Nellie join them in conversation, but he was thankful that Nellie had drawn Scrappy off to help her with something so he could have a few minutes with Lee, of whom he didn't realize quite how much he'd missed.  

 

He was sad to see that just her small trip down the stairs and standing for their short conversation had caused her to feel tired and needing to sit.  He'd known that she was never 100% of great health, always tired and never able to run and keep up with the rest of them, but being a bit more grown now, he realized that those symptoms had more consequences than not just being able to play with your friends.....

 

She smiled up at him, then her smile dropped. "I'm sorry about Aunt Hilde" she said, and gave him a warm embrace. 

 

He hugged her back, closing his eyes as he did and swallowing hard.  "Thanks, Lee." He squeezed her tight before he let go and then sat down beside her, pulling his hat off and sitting it down on the floor by his feet.  

 

"Sorry, I've been a little poorly." she said, patting the seat beside her for him to sit down, too.

 

He immediately started shaking his head. "No...no...you don't have to apologize." He placed his hand on her knee, finding her eyes. "'Specially with me of all people." He gave her a warm smile, but it left quickly as his heart was heavy. "I'm just sorry you aren't feeling well.  Have you found anything to help you?" He was hoping that maybe one day Nellie would find some kind of concoction that would help her, or some doc would come along with a miracle.

 

"How long have you been back?" she asked conventionally but her eyes scanning his face, as if to confirm that he was really there, and it wasn't just another illusion of her delirium.

 

"Only got here this mornin'." He said biting down on his bottom lip. "I'm gonna have to ask Aunt Nellie if I can stay here with you all.  Zenobia, I'm pretty sure would kill me in my sleep if I stayed at the house, and I ain't seen Pa yet.  He was passed out drunk in the bed when I stopped by.  Poor Raymond, havin' to be stuck in the middle of this." He said sadly, but he was able to share all this with Lee because she was well aware of the situation.

 

 

@Javia

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"Sorry, I've been a little poorly." she said, patting the seat beside her for him to sit down, too.

 

He immediately started shaking his head. "No...no...you don't have to apologize." He placed his hand on her knee, finding her eyes.

 

If any other man had put his hand on her arm, let alone her knee, she would have fainted on the spot (not that it took much to make her faint) but Jess was different, despite seeming to have grown up, in the time he had been away, from a callow youth to a trail-hardened man.

 

"'Specially with me of all people." He gave her a warm smile, but it left quickly as his heart was heavy.

 

Now it was her turn to pat his hand. 

 

"I'm just sorry you aren't feeling well.  Have you found anything to help you?" He was hoping that maybe one day Nellie would find some kind of concoction that would help her, or some doc would come along with a miracle.

 

"Oh, Doctor Danforth just tells me not to do anything that might over-excite me: believe me, that's pretty easy advice to follow around here!" she smiled with a chuckle; she had never been one to wallow in self pity about her sickly condition. 

 

"How long have you been back?" she asked conventionally but her eyes scanning his face, as if to confirm that he was really there, and it wasn't just another illusion of her delirium.

 

"Only got here this mornin'." He said biting down on his bottom lip. "I'm gonna have to ask Aunt Nellie if I can stay here with you all."

 

"Oh yes! That would be wonderful! Oh, it's been so dreadfully boring around here lately. Especially since Jacob moved out." She didn't know Jess had already bumped into Jake and met his new wife Clara: an acute observer might have noticed that Lee didn't even mention her new sister-in-law.

 

"Your folks won't mind?" she asked, although she could already imagine the answer.

 

"Zenobia, I'm pretty sure would kill me in my sleep if I stayed at the house, and I ain't seen Pa yet.  He was passed out drunk in the bed when I stopped by.  Poor Raymond, havin' to be stuck in the middle of this." He said sadly, but he was able to share all this with Lee because she was well aware of the situation.

 

"Hmmm." Lee looked philosophical. "Raymond will be alright, and I know Zenobia's ...well, Zenobia, but..." she squeezed his arm "Give her time. She's had a tough year. Not just looking after your Ma, but looking after your Pa, too." She shook her head and her curly locks shimmered. "Even Granny can't get through to him... and she doesn't exactly mince her words, as you know."

 

She decided she had brought the mood down more than enough.

 

"Who's your funny little friend?" she asked with a mischievous grin. "You're very brave leaving him alone with Granny, you know she's always talking about finding another husband!"

 

@MD

 

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"Oh, Doctor Danforth just tells me not to do anything that might over-excite me: believe me, that's pretty easy advice to follow around here!" she smiled with a chuckle; she had never been one to wallow in self pity about her sickly condition. 

 

Jess wasn't sure why but when Lee told him that the only thing Doc Danforth was telling her was to .... well take it easy... it made him kinda mad!  Won't he getting paid to treat folks?  Come up with remedies for the sick? 

 

"Don't get over-excited?  What kind of remedy is that?" He surprised even himself as he snapped his questions to her. "Ain't he got nothing else he can try?" He was good a mind to pay Doc Danforth a visit, see if there was something more he could do for the girl.

 

Jess was relieved that it seemed Lee was OK with him coming over and staying for a while.  Excited even.  This made him happy that he could bring her something to look forward to and change up the monotony around here.  He could imagine not having Jacob around made the house too quite.  Jacob was a topic for a bit later though.  He of course had noticed she hadn't mentioned Clara at all.  Jess would sure think having another female to talk with and have around was a good thing, but what does he know about females?   They could get territorial, he did know that.

 

"Your folks won't mind?" she asked, although she could already imagine the answer.

 

Yea, one would and one wouldn't.  His Ma would mind something terrible that her family wasn't together right now supporting each other during all this, but he knew his Pa would be happier without him there.  If not happier it would at least be less stress on Raymond.  

 

"Nah, Pa won't miss me at all.  I'm not even going to sit with 'em at the funeral.  I'm just gonna sit in the back and not cause no stress to 'em. "

 

"Hmmm." Lee looked philosophical. "Raymond will be alright, and I know Zenobia's ...well, Zenobia, but..." she squeezed his arm "Give her time. She's had a tough year. Not just looking after your Ma, but looking after your Pa, too." She shook her head and her curly locks shimmered. "Even Granny can't get through to him... and she doesn't exactly mince her words, as you know."

 

"I'm pretty sure I made everything worse when I left him, Lee." he sighed sadly." Zenobia more angry at me than ever.  Ma, missing me.  I know that didn't help her heart none.  And poor Raymond having to be the man of the house while Pa pretended to be a barber." Jess leaned his head forward, elbows on his knees, holding his forehead in his hand for a moment, shaking his head....but then in true Lee fashion she was trying to brighten things up.

 

"Oh, Scrappy?" He lifted his head and made himself chuckle for the girl.  "Scrappy Craddock.  Met him out on the range.  Pretty much right when I set out.  We made friends and been doing jobs together ever since." Jess realized just what a good friend he was, when Scrappy didn't even get mad at him for stretching the truth about his family. "He's a good friend." He told her nodding and leaning back in the seat.

 

@Javia

 

 

 

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  • Stormwolfe locked and unlocked this topic

@Javia  There has been no activity on this thread since August '22 and no sign of MD on the site since September '22. Do you want to consider this thread abandoned and deleted - or - do you want us to go ahead and move it?

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