PART TWO: RESERVATION
Guy sits up from his makeshift bed in the hayloft. A deep blood red slowly formed from the jet-black starless night, to welcome the coming Dawn. The government agent's horse, Miriam, rustled easily in the stable beneath him. Not even the sound of birds greeting the sun had begun. A smile spread across Guy Patrick's face. This was a moment of silent peace. Sleep held inexplicable nightmares that he woke from without remembering. But he carried the sense of trepidation the dreams gave him into the waking world.
Guy climbs down from the loft, his chest exposed to the early morning air. He inhales a long deep breath. Miriam clops up beside him, nuzzling her cold wet nose against his dark neck. Guy exhales. He is met with the swirling symphony of reds and oranges painting the sky. He pats Miriam softly on the jaw.
"This is ours Lady. Can't no one take that away."
Foreboding shapes lighten to dark reds and rich browns, becoming mountains and hills. The images battle for breathless dominance in the growing tableau of God's creation. Guy nodded his head in prayer.
"Lord, you have brought me to this place. Give me the strength to face the trials put before me, and the brains to make the right choice. Protect me from ignorance, foolishness, and hate… from inside and out."
Miriam whinnied as she again nudged Guy's neck.
"Oh and Lord allow Miriam the rest she deserves at the end of this journey. Amen."
With a final look at the red sky and a shiver, Guy climbed back to the loft to dress and prepared for the day.
Miriam stays at the door of the stable. Her huge black eyes unmoving in their study of the landscape. Her majestic body ripples at each cold breeze. Her tail whips rhythmically, shooing away the distraction of gnats and flies.
"Good thing you're going to talk to those Apache, boy."
An hour earlier the Sheriff, kind enough to bring breakfast, found Guy preparing Miriam for the long trip to the Apache Reservation. The pleasantries and the meal now over, Miles wanted to get the Government agent on his way.
“I suppose ya didn’t learn much more from those witnesses then what I told ya?”
Guy handed the plate to Barrington. Busying himself with the straps on Miriam’s saddlebags, he found the rest of his stash of lemon drops. His face softened as he secured the flap over the pouch.
“Well sir I learned about the fear and confusion in Necessity, but nothing to add to the facts of this mystery.”
Guy grabbed Miriam’s bit gently and pet her jaw as he led her out if the stable. Barrington’s knitted brow and twisting mouth flexed and relaxed fitfully. He fiddled with his badge, the star dull in the morning sun blocked shadows of the empty stable.
“Well boy, I hope ya find some answers at the Reservation. That ruckus in the Saloon has changed the towns focus from its fear of those Injuns, ta resigned hatred of all outsiders, whether the president sent ‘em or no!”
Guy tied Miriam loosely to a post. Turning back to the Sheriff, he looked far beyond him.
“That sir was understood before I came to Necessity. Your warning is appreciated though. Very much so.”
Barrington looked closely at Miriam, a strong mottled mare. She was born a beautiful beast and trained to work as hard as her owner needed. He was sure the horse was Guy's most prized possession. He pulled an envelope from his vest pocket and pointed it towards Guy.
"Here's all ya need to know about that Apache reservation. The ride'll take about half a day but by the looks o' your filly here you'll get there in good order. "
Guy looked down at the envelope as he accepted it from Miles.
"Yes sir. Miriam does pretty well by me. "
Barrington turned and walked outta the stable beginning the short trek back to town.
"Just make sure the Apache understand there best be no more trouble."
Sheriff Barrington 'Stone' Miles stalks down the long empty street back into town. The early morning bustle found in most western cities was slowed to a frame-by-frame event, separated by long moments of pensive nothing. A woman beats her rug distracted. Stopping to wave to the Sheriff, a questing look of hope on her face. Quiet. The blacksmith stops working his forge to study his creation. Setting it aside he leans against his doorway, a vision of pointless automation. Silent. Miles stops to peruse his Necessity. The vibrant signs hang over the still buildings, lamenting the cowering audience that once praised their beauty. He turns resolutely and walks to the Bank. A moment passes as he stands before the door, hands on his hips, his head hung low, and his face knotted in trepidation. Then he holds his chin up as he brow sets in a determined decision. He knocks on the door. A young man greets him through the crack of the door. He looks at the Sheriff expectantly.
"Tell the old man I’m here. We gotta talk."