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Sagas of the Wild West
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Do the Right Thing


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"No hedgin'..."  Addy stopped a few paces from the barn, tempted to turn back, but then Weedy spotted the pair and ran out to meet them.

 

"Miz Addy!"  Proudly, he presented a crudely carved animal of some sort.  "I made a horse for you!"  The boy had gotten a pocket knife for Christmas, and had been practicing with it.  "Hello, Mr. Speed."

 

"That's right nice."  Addy took the gift, turning it over in her hands a few times, the ruffled the boy's hair.  "I got somethin' I need ta talk ta you about.  Let's go inside." 

 

She didn't want to do this out in public, so Weedy didn't feel exposed.  Steering him to a bale of hay, she had him sit, glanced at Speed, then took a deep breath.

 

"So...Weedy..."  Where was a bear to fight when you needed one?  "No easy way ta do this.  I got a telegram some time back, it said yer Ma was in Whitefish when that storm hit, she died, that's why she ain't been around.  But doncha worry, ya know ya got a place here, with me..."

 

Lord, but that had pierced her heart!  And the look on the lad's face...

 

"Is not..."  Weedy spoke slowly and his tone was low as he looked from one adult to the other, trying to convince himself that this was some sort of joke or trick, even though he knew neither would do that to him.  "She's really..?  ...gone..."

 

"Yeah, 'fraid so."  Addy shrugged and reached to touch his arm, but he pulled away as she tried to add, "Not sure why she was there, but ya know she loved ya..."

 

But Weedy was gone...he had backed a few steps, then turned and walked out of the barn, his hands balled into fists.

 

"Tarnation..."  Addy shook her head.  "Reckon I best go after him."

 

@Flip

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Speed stood, saddened by the boys loss, it was hard and he knew, on Addy and especially Weedy. There was little that the Marshall could do  to ease the pain of either of them, and now Weedy had walked out with Addy in pursuit, so he just followed suit.

 

There was no telling what a boy his age might do in this instance. He'd never dealt with a boy who'd lost his mother, or anyone else, though he had written too many letters during the war for men lost in the struggle for the nation. This was far different.

@Bongo

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At least the boy hadn't run, that was something, Addy reckoned, but he was walking with determination -- to where she didn't know -- with his head down and hands still clenched into tight fists. 

 

"Stab me in my heart," Addy muttered, on the verge of tears, afraid that this was something she couldn't make right, no matter what she did.  She glanced at Speed, then started following after the boy, who looked back at them, then quickened his pace.  Addy wasn't sure, but she was afraid he'd just keep going and never come back.

 

A passing wagon blocked their view for an instant, and after it had moved on, the boy was gone.  Sighing, Addy looked at Speed.  "So...reckon he might head fer th' place his ma stayed, or maybe under th' bridge off Main, he'd hide under there sometimes."  It was at least worth a try to find the lad, explain to him...

 

"I can look at th' shack if you wanna check th' bridge?"

 

@Flip

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“Sure thing, Addy.” His heart was heavy about the boy. Maybe the woman wasn’t the best mother to him, but she was his mother and that had to count for something. He headed for the bridge with long strides, hoping that one of them would find him.

 

A boy, angry at the world, and he suspected that would be an apt description of Weedy, would be liable to do just about anything, and that worried him. There was no telling the amount of trouble a boy could get himself into in that state of mind.

@Bongo

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He was young, yes, but never had Weedy felt the emotions that were overwhelming him, and he wasn't sure what to do with them, or about them.  Sure, he'd been mad and sad and confused, but there had always been a clear reason, and an end to it at some point, but this was just so deep and seemed so endless.

 

And he knew that Miz Addy was going to try to hunt him down, and part of him wanted her to, and part of him didn't, and that just made things all the more confusing, so instead of going 'home', he headed for the bridge, where he scrambled down the bank into the cool darkness below the structure.

 

For a few moments, he just stood there, staring at the light shimmering on the water, but he had pent-up energy, and he finally picked up a rock and threw it in, rippling the surface, then picked up more, throwing them in with increasing force, letting out his anger.

 

@Flip

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Speed reached the bridge,and below he could see Weedy throwing rocks into the stream that ran beneath the bridge. He was throwing them harder and harder, the inner rage obvious, so Speed waited, because he knew the pain of losing his mother. She had passed while he was at war and unable to get home. His rage was taken out in battle against the Army of Northern Virginia, or whatever units he and 13th New Jersey faced until it passed.

 

He watch the boy suddenly drop to the ground, exhausted from the expended energy, shoulders quaking from the tears that had to escape him. It was then that Speed made his way down to the boy.

 

“It’s okay Weedy, I’m just here to make sure you’re safe, I’m not here to make you do anything you don’t want to do. I lost my Mother too. I know how you feel Weedy, I do. It’s hard. But it will pass, I promise you that, it will pass.” He said softly as he crouched down next to him. “Miss Addy’s plenty worried about you, you know.”

 

@Bongo

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Weedy heard the footsteps and tensed, ready to bolt, but then he heard the Marshal's voice and continued throwing rocks.  He'd never outrun the man, and besides, there was a part of him that wanted to talk, if only he could figure out what to say.

 

"I been keeping myself safe since I was a little kid," the boy muttered, tossing another stone.  "My Ma didn't much care where I was or if I was safe...or had supper.  I took more care of her than she did me."  Turning, he looked at the man, the pain evident in his expression.  "But why'd she be in Whitefish without me?  And why's Miz Addy do that?  I thought we were friends?"

 

@Flip

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“There just ain’t no way of knowing why she was up there that night. Might have just got caught in the storm and  holed up til she blew over, like most folks do.” Speed began, picking up a smooth river rock, and skimming it across the surface before squatting down. “Now Miss Addy, you know she care about you, a lot.”

 

“Miss Addy loves you like you were hers, she’s the best friend you got. Now, she knows that you’re plenty able to care for yourself, when you have to, but with her bein’ there for you, you don’t have to. She got ths letter tellin’ her about your Ma. Might have told you right off, but we know that maybe she was there, and maybe she wasn’t. So she and I have been searchin’ about for her, but we turned up nothin.” It was a bit of a stretch, but he had feelers out about her for a different reason.

 

“It was time you were told. Now we know nothing about the man that wrote the letter, nor why he wrote it. What I want you to know, Weedy, is it was a hard thing for either of us to tell you without knowin’ for sure one way ‘er ‘tuther.”

 

@Bongo

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He didn't really understand the part about the letter, and he hadn't expected that anyone would know why his mother did anything she had done, but Weedy did know that Miz Addy was a good friend, and that he'd never have to worry about anything.

 

But that was the problem.

 

"I love Ma," he muttered, "but I hate her, too.  She wasn't a good Ma, didn't do things a ma should, and I don't know what I did wrong so she didn't love me back."  How did a mother not take care of her child?  All the other children in school had folks to look after them, so why hadn't he?  It had to be something he'd done wrong.

 

@Flip

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“A lesson I had to learn early on, Weedy, it wasn’t my fault if there was problems between my Ma and Pa. It wasn’t my fault if it seemed I wasn’t loved like my brother and sister.” He said softly, “People love differently, they show that love differently and sometimes we misread their intentions and their feelings."

 

"Your Ma loved you, I’ll take my oath on that. She just showed it differently than say, Addy. Now all those questions about why she was in Whitefish may never be answered, just like many of the others that perished in that awful storm."

 

"Reckon God called them home because he needed them by his side.”

@Bongo

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