A Western Christian Story–Chapter 3

He had gotten up before the sun was up. It had been a cold night but he stayed warm enough. He had made the coffee this morning, it was good.

All seemed to be peaceful. It was nice here.

The mustang took the saddle good enough, just a jump or two and he was ready to be ridden. Zeb let him do his jumping without him in the saddle. Not that he couldn’t ride him out but this morning he just wanted it to be smooth, no jars or jerks. The older he got, the more he liked the smooth things in life.

He stepped in the saddle, it was smooth. Everything as it should be. weapons loaded and ready for use, hopefully it wouldn’t come to that. He rode off, alert at every move.

After 4 miles, he rode into the valley where she was at. The woman and child were camped by the river out in the open, with no care in the world, or so they thought. Before ridding on, he stood in the pines, surveying the surrounds. He was looking for any behavior that might lead to danger. There was none that he could see. In his thoughts, Zeb thanked the Lord for this.

He rode along the edge of the clearing in the woods. He didn’t want to expose himself out in the opening. Their was a chance the woman might be a good shot. She was. As he neared their camp, he was still in the pines. The bullet was expertly placed 3 feet in the tree beside him. The mustang bolted and started to buck. Zeb stayed with him but it was touch and go for a moment. After he pulled the mustang up, his anger was beginning to rise but he couldn’t blame her. She didn’t know him. She didn’t know of his intentions. As a matter of a fact, he didn’t know his true intention either.

He yelled out to the woman, “hold you gun, I’m coming peacefully, don’t shoot”. She didn’t lower gun in the least, not one inch.

She yelled back, “If your so peaceable , why are you sneeking up on me that that?

” I didn’t want to get shot, looks like I might get shot after all”, he grinned.

“your right, you just nearly did shot”, she grinned. “come on in, but watch yourself, I’m pretty cautious with strangers”

“You’ve nothing to fear from me mam. I saw your tracks a ways back and thought you might need some help. that’s all. can I get down?”

“yea, step down. tie your horse over there. want some coffee, its hot?”

Zeb tied the mustang close to the camp just in case he needed him fast. He tied with a knot he could get undone quickly. He left his rifle on the saddle. It would be easily enough to get to if he was close. He went to his saddle bag, untied it and got his coffee cup out. She studied him closely, very closely. He was nice looking and strong evidently. He had to be out here in the wild. Only the strong survived

He gave her his coffee cup, she filled it. Usually, he tried to keep a “poker face” about most things but after the first sip, his face gave away his pleasure. She was glad. They talked some before he came to the real issue at hand, What she doing out here alone with a child? Zeb ask here flat out. She defiantly answered that it was none of his business. He went on to tell her that she wasn’t safe here. She softened some when she realized that it was out of concern for her that he asked the question. Her decease husband had shown her concern like that. It made her feel good.

He didn’t want her to feel he was butting into her business but she needed to know what kinda situation she was in.

The truth was she had bought some land. It was in wild country. Some of this land had come up for sale. When her husband had died, he had left some money. What better way to spent it than on land. What she didn’t know was that in the west, in the west,  just because you owned it, didn’t mean you got to keep it. You had to defend what you owned. What she didn’t know yet, but that defense was sitting across from her at the fireplace.

The next question was, Where is he at?

She replied, “Where is who at?”

“the boy” “I can read sign pretty good.

“first off, he is a she and she is behind bush over there. Come out RosaLee, he’s ok”.

Rosalee was a 9 year old blond hair girl. And she had the energy for 2 boys as Zeb was about to find out.

“Hello Mister, I’m RosaLee. I’ll hold off on telling you my last name till later. what is your name?

“Zeb, and I’ll hold off telling my last name till later too” He grinned. she grinned back. He liked her, she liked him. It was the beginning of a good friendship.

Zeb turned to the woman, “you know what my first name is, what is your? what do I call you?

” I don’t know if I should tell you. You’ll probably ridding out in the morning”

“I might but I won’t leave you and RosaLee till I get yall to someplace where you will be safe. This sure ain’t it. ”

“EstherMay, since everyone is shy about their last names, so will I. Maybe till we all get to know you better, maybe”.

He grinned. It was getting late. He got up, checked his pistol. He walked around the camp. It was a habit. A habit that had kept him alive thus far. He returned to the campsite where she was getting RosaLee ready for bed. “Goodnight Mr Zeb!” Rosalee shouted out.

“Do you expect danger? she asked. “No mam, just a habit of mine. It’s always best to check things, keep a very alert eye out. It can save you life. It has mine on several occasions.”

For the first time, she was beginning to see what kind of man she was dealing with, a true frontiersman, one of kind.

“I will beddown out in the trees, that way if something happens, I can stop it. A man can’t see good by the fire, he has to be in the dark so his eyes can adjust. another thing, I can pray better that way.”

She was shocked, prayer! She just assumed. She assumed wrong evidently. Prayer! He really was here to protect her and Rosalee.

He didn’t set up a bed roll this night. He just took his blanket and wrapped it around his shoulders. Just in case he needed to move fast. He shut his eyes, “Lord protect us this night, please”

The mustang stomped his right front foot, then the left. He closed his eyes. The mustang would be Zeb’s alarm system. Zeb closed his eyes.

Quanah had stopped suddenly, he smelled smoke. He had to be alert, very alert. He wouldn’t be so lucky again .

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