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Sagas of the Wild West

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Relief Effort


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Mature Content: No

With: Jay, Weedy
Location: MIllegan Stage barn
When: Mid-December/ 1875
Time of Day: Evening

 

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Although the caravan carrying the Whitefish survivors had rolled into Kalispell in the early afternoon, by the time the people had been placed in rooms both public and private around town, cleaned up, given fresh clothing and hot food, it was getting dark, and the cold that came with night was settling in.

 

As weary as she was, Addy still had to see to not only her own team that had pulled the freight wagon, but the four-up hitch from the stage as well, then rub them down, feed them before she could finally take some time for herself.  With luck, Weedy would be still be in the barn.  The ten-year-old had taken charge of the three animals that she'd found in the barn in Whitefish, and even though he was a little guy, he was handy around the horses, and she had no doubt that he'd gotten a good start already.

 

Through it all, she realized, Jay had been at her side, a silent shadow, offering aid where he could, he'd fallen asleep in the saddle a couple of times during the ride to town, but his horse was steady and he'd kept his seat.  But now, he was still there, lurking quietly, and, she realized, it was late to find him a place for the night.

 

Trudging toward the barn, she glanced at Jay.  "You can leave yer horse at th' barn here for th' night," she commented, then added, "reckon there's no harm in ya stayin' th' night, too.  It'll be close, but it'll be warm an' clean." 

 

As they entered the barn, she was happy to see Weedy there, standing on a wooden crate as he brushed down one of the big stage horses.  While the lanterns hanging around on posts, it was still easy to see the boy as he glanced over and grinned widely, his dark blonde hair sticking out from under his had.

 

"Evening, Miz Addy," he called, "whose that with you?"

 

"This is Jay.  Jay, that there's Weedy...he stays here now an' again."  She didn't mention that his father had left a long time ago and his mother was not always pleasant to stay around.  "He helps out a lot around here."  Indeed, it looked like there were only a couple horses to see to.

 

"Yer horse can go in that stall."  She pointed.  "Next ta my mare, Arabesque.  I'll get us some water heatin' so we can clean up, an' send Weedy ta get us some grub, that sound good?"  She grinned, but she wasn't really sure that Jay was even still really awake.

 

@Jack

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Guest Jack

Keeping quiet and unsuspicious seemed to be the best thing to do, especially since Jay wasn't a great conversationalist.

It was also easier to mask the pain he was in and devestation after seeing what the burnt down houses had done to the poor people. A solid plan formed to one day pay Thomas back for that.

 

For now he was happy to follow Addys lead, who had something, that he admired and felt intrigued by,  he'd have a roof over his head, even if it was a barn. The prospect of a warm meal and a wash was even better.

 

His clothes were also soiled. Perhaps he could wash them.

 

When they arrived, he forced himself to be more alert and took in his surroundings.

 

"Howdy, young man." Jay used the greeting most people in this land did, but his British accent kept coming through.

When she said that Weedy stayed there a lot Jay smirked. "Takin in all the strays."

 

Her offer was generous, so he nodded.

"That sounds wonderful after this long day."

He grabbed the horn of his saddle and used it to dismount but the motion jarred his new wound.

Careful not to let it show he made some more conversation. "Do you live here alone now? I mean unless you have house guests? Lots of work, isn't it?"

He took off his hat and exposed so greasy blonde hair that was in desperate need of a cut and looked much darker than usual.

He ran a hand through it in an attempt to look more presentable.

"Not looking very nice right now....forgive me."

He considered putting his gun in the saddle bag but then decided against it.

 

 

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"Howdy, young man." Jay used the greeting most people in this land did, but his British accent kept coming through.

When she said that Weedy stayed there a lot Jay smirked. "Takin in all the strays."

 

"Yes, sir!" the lad declared, "she's even got an old cat, too."  He lowered his tone, "But you'd best watch out, she makes me go to school!  And take baths."

 

"That sounds wonderful after this long day."

 

"Won't be a real bath 'till mornin', I ain't got a tub," Addy pointed out.  She knew a few folks that had them, but there were going to be pleny of baths tonight for the Whitefish survivors.  "You can clean up with water from th' basin, though, an' I'll get ya ta a real bath tomorrow."

 

She was looking forward to a bath, too, and knew a couple places they could go besides the bathhouse.  For now, it was a matter of taking care of the animals first, getting everyone fed and bedded down for the night.

 

"Do you live here alone now? I mean unless you have house guests? Lots of work, isn't it?"

 

"Just me an' th' cat an' Weedy now an' again...and all them horses."  Addy grinned, leading the way toward the back, now that the horses were seen to.  "Suits me fine fer now, 'though I wouldn't mind gettin' a cabin one day, just never got to it."  Besides, it was convenient being right here with the horses and wagons.

 

"This is i fer th' night."  There was a small room at the back of the barn, pleasantly warmed by a pot-bellied stove that had a kettle of water on.  There was a bed, wash basin, trunk, small table and a couple of chairs.  A few pegs on the wall held a variety of plain clothing.  It was neat, clean and small.  "We can put a pad on th' floor for ya.  How 'bout you gents clean up an' I'll give ya some privacy, hunt down some food?  Weedy can help ya, Jay, he knows where things are."  Not that there were many 'things'.  Addy had a simple life, but a good one.

 

Pioneer-Cabin_bed.jpg

 

@Jack

 

 

 

 

 

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The back room was more than he could ask for. It was simple but clean and warm. Jay had been sleeping in strange beds for such a long time that this seemed perfect.

"Thank you kindly." He told her. Hat still in hands.

 

As she left Jay turned to Weedy. "She's a very warm hearted lady."

He threw his hat on the small table and took off his boots after sitting down. There were holes in his socks and the smell not very pleasant.

If he could, he'd just sleep.as dirty as he was because he was spent but her blankets were clean. So he'd better not soil them. 

Weedy watched the man with curiosity as he took off the woolen jacket and scarf and hurried to hang it up for him. "Thanks."

Jay poured some water in a wash bowl and used both hands to clean his face when the kid handed him a cloth and then pointed to the stain on the side of his shirt.

A little shocked Jay shook his head. "Don't mention it to Addy. She'd only be worried. I don't want that."

"I'll wash it." Weedy nodded and waited for the man to hand him his shirt.

Jay thoroughly cleaned his upper body and face and put on one of the long sleeve undershirts.

Then he remembered the kitten and took him out of the sling where he'd been sleeping. Gently the small creature was placed on the wooden floorboards and started sniffing around.

He also offered her some water and sat down.

@Bongo

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"She's a very warm hearted lady."

 

Weedy grinned as he grabbed a couple of clean towels and set them out.  "You ought to see her when she's riled!  She can give a great tongue lashing then lay a man flat with one swipe!"  He laughed.  "I heard she killed a bear with her bare hands, and he thanked her for it!"  Well, the part about killing a bear was true, but that had been with the help of a shotgun!

 

When he saw the blood on Jay's shirt, the boy's eyes went wide, and his young curiosity piqued, but he'd been around long enough to know not to ask questions.

 

"Don't mention it to Addy. She'd only be worried. I don't want that."

 

"No, sir, but don't be surprised if she notices.  Miz Addy drove an ambulance in the War Between the States...she was at Chickamauga, seen plenty of injuries."  He wasn't sure why Jay wouldn't want his wound treated, but again, knew better than to ask. 

 

He helped with rinsing out Jay's shirt, changing the water in the basin on occasion from the pump in the corner of the room, making sure to set more water on the stove to heat...Addy would be grumpy if she didn't have hot water on such a cold night!

 

Then the kitten appeared and the boy was quick to pick it up and scratch behind its ears.  "Is this yours?  He's real nice.  What's his name?  There's an old barn cat here, Buster, Miz Addy says he owns her!"  He laughed.  "He only has one eye, he got sick when he was a kitten...but don't worry, he likes other cats.  Not mice, though, he's probably chasing them out of the barn right now!"

 

@Jack

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"No, sir, but don't be surprised if she notices.  Miz Addy drove an ambulance in the War Between the States...she was at Chickamauga, seen plenty of injuries." 

 

That surely didn't make him feel calm. He would need to be careful.

Jay made sure to turn away from the kid when he changed shirts.

 

Then the focus shifted away to the kitten. Jay picked the little guy up and motioned for Weedy to sit down on the bed next to him after he was done setting the kettle on the stove, that gave off a good amount of heat to warm the outlaws chilled body.

"Come here."

 

Once the boy sat down Jay placed the small furrball in his lap. "Hold him...actually I don't even know if it's a boy or girl. I just found her yesterday. Doesn't have a name yet."

 

 

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"Yes, sir."  Weedy sat on the bed as requested, then took the kitten, holding it gently in his lap.  "Sure is pretty, and soft."  The lad liked animals of any sort and had a particularly soft spot for strays.  If he had his 'druthers' when he got older he'd be a veterinarian.

 

Lifting the kitten, he glanced quickly, then declared, "Looks like a girl.   That'll make it easier to name her.  Miz Addy says that animals tell us their names when they are ready.  I didn't know that that means at first, but being around them more, it makes sense, I guess."  His nose wrinkled up.  "But they don't really talk to you."

 

The door opened, just long enough for Addy to slip in, but she closed the door quickly to keep the heat in the small room.  A scruffy yellow tom darted in with he.  "Whacha got there, Weedy?"  Grinning, the woman held up some pails and a package wrapped in brown paper.  "Got us all some grub, reckon we can spare some for the cats, too." 

 

She set the parcels on the table, then glanced a Jay.  "Looks like ya cleaned up pretty good there, Come mornin' we can get proper baths."  She'd send Weedy to Doc Danforth's to see if he'd let them use his...the boy was good at sweet-talking!

 

As soon as he trotted in, Buster smelled the new scents, and the one-eyed cat sought them out, first exploring the man, sniffing curiously at his legs, then rubbing, looking for a scratch behind the ears.

 

@Jack

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Jay was impressed that Weedy knew with one look how to spot whether it was a boy or girl.The naming would be a bit of a process if it had to have some meaning. "Guess we'd better not call her pussy cat then." He smirked.

 

When the door opened he was glad that Addy had entered after his comment.

His mouth was already watering at the mention of grub. He doubted that there'd be much left for the cats.

 

"Looks like ya cleaned up pretty good there, Come mornin' we can get proper baths."  She'd send Weedy to Doc Danforth's to see if he'd let them use his...the boy was good at sweet-talking!

"I tried...thank you." Jay offered her a smile. Her presence made him want to be nice to her.

The cat sniffed his feet and the Englishman let him because it was important to the animal.

 

"May I?"

Jay started unpacking the food and saw some bread, dried meat and even some vegetables like carrots. Nothing was cooked but he didn't care. His stomach was empty.

Plus there was some water on the stove for a nice cup of coffee.

"I'll be forever grateful for your generosity, Addy." He told the woman and took only a little bit of food.

The long sleeves shirt was so tight that she could probably see that Jay hadn't really have a lot of food lately. Weedy definetly looked better nourished.

 

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"Wish I could'a got better," Addy declared with a shrug, "but what with all th' other folks from Whitefish, rations were low."  She chuckled as she grabbed a carrot and took a bite.  "Just pretend it's...early stew!  I'd cook it up, but I don't want ta take th' time."  It was late and bed was sounding good!

 

"She means she doesn't want to poison us!" Weedy quipped with a grin, dodging the playful swat he knew was coming his way.

 

"Breachy!"  Addy laughed.  "At least I got some'a Miz Emeline's bread an' strawberry preserves."  It wasn't a grand meal, but it would do, and...


"Got us some pie, too."  She gave the boy a quick wink, then shucked out of her coat and glanced at Jay.  "Miz Emeline owns th' Lickskillet Cafe, she's a real good cook."

 

"Her pies are the best!" Weedy agreed, for now setting out the bread and jam , preferring it over raw vegetables.  "Of course..." he looked up at Jay, "we have company, and if he wanted to have pie first..."

 

@Jack

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It was hard to hold back considering how hungry he was. Being a guest and having had strict British parents Jay knew not to simply dig in but when Addy and Weedy started eating he did the same. For a second he closed his eyes to savor the taste in his mouth and grunted a little. "Very good." He chewed joyously and forgot for a moment who he was and what had brought him here. 

He smiled at the two and nodded.

"Go ahead. Eat the pie, kid. Just save me a small bite to try.

He had a big gulp of water, too and felt his strength return to him.

The fire also did wonders to warm him up.

"I have to say this again. Thank you kindly, mam. I'm not taking your  generosity for granted."

Then he became a bit more serious. What if she had offered the same to Thomas. That would be very dangerous.

"You're letti g a stranger come to your place. That's not very safe. But don't worry. I'll do you no harm."

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