Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Now Playing: The Silent Child
New to These Parts? To Start the Story From the Beginning, click

Episode Three of the Silent Child

Episode Two concluded with:

             Pixie had again become silent. Rance found that to be more nerve wracking than the screams. He decided not to try and locate Pixie’s family. He needed to get the child into town and make sure she was safe.
         And he needed to find out who was trying to kill her.

Episode Three


            Dehner rode slowly into the town of Candler. He had known of the town’s existence but never been there. Rance was a stranger. He hoped Pixie wasn’t.
            His eyes gazed through the large open doorway of Harper’s Mercantile. A man wearing a badge stood inside talking with a couple behind the counter. All three of them gave the stranger arriving in town a curious look.
            The detective pegged Harper’s Mercantile as a good place to start. He dismounted and lifted Pixie down. The child remained in an almost hypnotized state. Dehner couldn’t tell if Pixie recognized the town or not. He tied up his horse, took the little girl’s hand, and walked with her into the store.
            There were smiles all around, even from the man with a piece of tin hanging on his shirt. The local law often greeted Dehner with caution. Having a cute little kid with you does make a difference, the detective mused.
            “Howdy. The name is Clint Bolger, I’m the sheriff around here.” He nodded at his two companions. “This here is Enoch and Kate Harper. They run the store. That’s why they get to be behind the counter.”
            Clint Bolger was a big shouldered man with a wide craggy face. Dust covered much of his clothes and Dehner figured the sheriff had just returned to Candler after taking care of some problem out on the prairie.
            Enoch was tall and stringy with muscled arms, a thick brown mustache and black mischievous eyes. His wife wasn’t quite as tall, her hair matched her husband’s eyes but her eyes were green and kind. After a quick, “Hello” those kind eyes looked downward at the child, then returned to Dehner. “You must be friends with the Thompsons.”
            The green eyes suddenly looked confused. “Well… isn’t that their little girl?”
            Dehner gave a quick account of how he had found and named “Pixie”, including the fact that some people were trying to kill the child. He explained that he was a detective with the Lowrie Agency and asked the lawman and the Harpers if they knew Pixie’s real name. He received blank stares.
            “The Thompsons only came to our store once,” Enoch explained. “Dropped by yesterday. They’d just arrived from Indiana and needed a whole heap of supplies for a ranch they was starting. The man’s name was Gerald, can’t remember the rest.”
            “Me neither,” his wife added. “The woman was very pretty and very nice but…” Kate snapped her fingers. “She didn’t stay long! They had promised the child some candy and we were sold out. She took the little girl over to the Bushrod Brothers’ General Store.”
            Sheriff Bolger’s mind had been on other matters. “I talked with the Thompsons while they were here but not for long, just a howdy. Do you remember where the Thompsons were starting their ranch?”
            Enoch crunched up his face. “Reckon it was East of here where the creek begins to turn into a river.”
            “Exactly where I found Pixie.”
            “I’d better ride out there,” the sheriff said. “You wanna come along, Dehner?”
            “Sure do. I’m taking Pixie over to the General Store to see if anyone there remembers her, then I’ll meet you at your office.”
            “Good enough. I need to track down my deputy and fill him in on some things he’s gotta do. See you!” The sheriff hurried from the store.
            Dehner suddenly realized that for the last few minutes he had almost completely forgotten about the little girl who was standing trance-like beside him. Did she understand the conversations going on around her?”
            The detective eyed Enoch and Kate. “Ah, when I’m through at the General Store would you two mind--”
            “We’d love to look after Pixie!” Kate interrupted.
            Dehner paused, obviously rethinking his request. Enoch understood why. He reached under the counter of the store and brought out a Henry. “A store owner can’t be too careful. Before marrying Kate, I worked as a barkeep. Handled plenty of rough customers. Anybody that tries to harm the girl will have a fight on their hands.”

Tomorrow: Episode Four of The Silent Child