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Episode 1: Chapter 2 (Chap 1 included)

 
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Winchester4440
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:13 am    Post subject: Episode 1: Chapter 2 (Chap 1 included)  Reply with quote

The RIFLEMAN: Generations
Episode 1
Home Ranch Homecoming
By Wayne Skiver


1: Out New Mexico Way


North Fork, New Mexico wasn’t the type of town most folks made a point to visit.  It was typical of small towns most anywhere, at one time it bustled and burned bright during the heyday of the railroad, but as the trains died, especially passenger trains, so too did many small towns.  North Fork was one such town, rich in history but long past its heyday.  Its population had dwindled since the mid 1960’s until now.  Roughly 1200 souls called North Fork home now in 2011, but the population was about to increase by two.
A cherry red ’65 Ford Pick Up pulled into a parking space on Main Street next to the Madera House Hotel and Restaurant.  Inside the truck sat a ruggedly handsome man, tall and lean with an easy smile and piercing blue eyes.  He pushed the well worn cowboy hat up as he looked over at a young boy riding in the passenger seat.
“Here we are Jake!  We’ll get a bite to eat and then drive out to see your Grandpa at the ranch.”
The boy smiled weakly at his father in return as he craned his head around looking up and down the street.
“This is the main part of town Dad?”
“I know it seems small compared to St. Louis son, but this is a great place for a boy to grow up, you’ll see.  Once we get you riding horses and fishing you won’t miss the city as much as you think.”  The big man patted his sons shoulder as he replied.
The man’s name was McCain, Chance McCain and he had grown up in the small town until he had left for the military in the late 80’s.  After eight years serving as a military policeman he had settled in St. Louis with his wife Jenny where they had a son of their own.  Jenny had passed away recently from cancer and Chance could no longer stand to be in a City where everything reminded him of his dear wife.  With his fathers health starting to decline he made the decision to move back to the family ranch in New Mexico and make as good a life for he and his son as he possibly could.
As the two settled into the rustic dining room of the Madera for lunch a pair of overly curious and none too friendly eyes scanned the red truck.  The eyes were hidden behind a pair of cheap sunglasses and belonged to an unkempt, denim clad man who looked like the type that would swing at you as soon as talk to you.  The rough looking fellow entered Sweeny’s Bar just down the street and grumbled to the barkeep in a gravely voice.
“Missouri plates on that pretty truck.  A little out of the way dontcha think Renny?”
Renny, the graying, dour faced bartender and owner of Sweeny’s sat a bottle of beer in front of the man as he spared a look out of the large front windows of his saloon.
“”Huh…might be McCain’s son.  I heard he might be moving back to take care of the ranch.”
“McCain, Pfft!” Sneered the rough, dark haired man, “Old man McCain’s run me off his land for spotlighting more than once.  High and mighty bastard.  All a them McCain’s is uppity!”
Renny busied himself behind the bar without commenting further.  When local troublemaker Mitch Russell was in a foul mood most folks in North Fork steered clear of him.
Back at the Madera Hotel young Jake was halfway through the biggest hamburger he had ever seen in his life.  Chance laughed as he watched his son struggle with the giant sandwich.
“Welcome to cattle country son!  I’ll be lucky to finish this steak on my own plate, it’s the size of a…”
“A man your size having trouble with a little beef steak McCain?”  Interrupted a gruff but kind voice.
Father and son looked up from their meal at the same time to see the smiling, age lined face of North Fork’s Sheriff and old family friend Clint Bodie.  Bodie was only a few years younger than Chance’s father, Norman and had succeeded Chance’s grandfather Micah as the towns no nonsense face of the law.  Micah McCain himself had been named after North Fork’s most famous lawman of the Wild West days, Micah Torrence.
Chance’s face lit up as he stood and took the older mans hand in a firm shake.
“Mr. Bodie!”
“Chance my boy.  Haven’t seen you since you were about ohhh.. 17 or 18.  Now here you are with a boy of your own!”
Chance put his hand on his sons shoulder as he stood up.
“Mr. Bodie this is Jake.  Jake this here is Mr. Clint Bodie, hes a friend of your Grandpa’s and knew me when I was a boy.”
The Sheriff offered a smile to the 12 year old.
“Glad to know you Jake.  I realize our little town might not look like much, but theres no finer place in the world for a young boy to grow up.”
Bodie placed his hat on his head as he snatched up the bill from the table.
“Lunch is on me boys, welcome home.  Come on and I’ll head out to the ranch with you.”
As the three left the Madera House and climbed into their respective vehicles Mitch Russell’s foul mood continued to fester as he watched from the saloon window.
“Ain’t been in town an hour and already cozy with the Sheriff.  Damn McCain’s are all alike.”
Renny scowled at the roughneck.
“Chance grew up here you know?  Why do you want to get all riled up about him and his kid moving back?”
Mitch tore the sunglasses from his face and fixed the barkeep with a cold stare.
“They’re name is McCain that’s why.  That family has always been a thorn in my family’s side, ever since his old man put my Grandpa in the ground!  I remember Chance plenty good too, always telling me to mind my place when we were in high school.   Hmph!  I’d love for a little misery to visit the McCain’s.  Yes sir.”
Turning on his heel Mitch Russell stormed out of the bar towards his own beat up truck, leaving Renny the bartender shaking his head.
***


2:  Welcome home


Three miles outside of town sat the McCain Ranch.  Originally 4100 acres purchased in 1881 by Lucas McCain.  Over the years as property lines were squared up and neighboring ranches came and went the McCain land eventually settled in at an even 4600 acres.
The ranch had remained virtually the same as it was since the 1800’s with the exception of a new house and barn built circa 1898 on the south side of the property.  This “New” house as the family still called it had been built for Mark McCain and his wife.  The original ranch house where the legendary Lucas McCain lived and raised his son Mark still stood as did the original barn, it was a matter of pride and tradition that the McCain family had always kept the place up and in good repair.  To visit the “Old House” was like stepping back in time.  Lucas and Mark had added a second bedroom to it after North Fork’s favorite son had married his second wife, Ann, in 1889.  Lucas had never wanted powerlines “spoiling the view” and as such the original ranch house remained electricity free.  Even so there were no comforts lacking.  The well pump set up still functioned easily and kerosene lanterns offered plenty of light.  It was a cozy, warm place and many times over the decades a member of the family had gone back to their roots by staying in the place a week or so at a time.  Most of the original furnishings had even been left intact.  The corral and barn were still used on occasion too.
Chance and Jake pulled into the long, gravel drive behind Sheriff Bodie that led to the New house, the house that Chance had grown up in.  Jake couldn’t help but notice an involuntary smile cross his father’s features as the place came into view.  He looked out at the rolling hills in the distance, the wild grass growing tall and free and something inside Jake stirred too.  He wasn’t sure what it was he was feeling, but he knew it was right.
“This is home Dad?”
Chance brought the truck to a stop in front of the two story house and with a quiet nod and got out of the truck and walked around to meet his son on the other side.  With his strong arm around his boy he turned towards the simple majesty of the land around them.
“The canyon, the herd, every rock, every tree, every blade of grass…its all ours son.  Yes this is home.”
“Truer words were never spoken.”  Came a voice from the porch behind them.
Turning around the two beheld an older man in a wheelchair.  A warm smile was etched across his weather worn, rugged face and his hair was mostly silver with remnants of reddish blonde.  The old man’s eyes lit up as he looked his son and grandson over.
“Grandpa!”  Jake yelled with a smile as he ran up and threw his arms around Norman McCain’s neck.  The older man laughed and hugged the boy in return.
“It does my heart good to finally have you out on the ranch Jake.”  He beamed.
“And its good to have you back where you belong son.”  He smiled at Chance who had stepped up and put his hand on his fathers shoulder.
Sheriff Bodie couldn’t help but be pleased himself at seeing his friends’ happy reunion.
“Now maybe you two can keep this old coot in the saddle instead of laying under it!”
“This chair isn’t permanent Jake.”  The elder McCain stated in reply to the sheriffs quip.  “I was riding and got thrown when my horse was spooked by a rattler.  I don’t heal as well as I used to, the chair is to keep me from putting undue stress on my legs and hips for a while.”
Bodie gave Jake a friendly slap on the back.
“Take care of your grandpa son, I need to get back to North Fork.  I’ll see you fellas around.”
As the sheriff left, the three generations of  McCains entered the home that Mark McCain had built over a hundred years earlier.  There was talk of many things but what held young Jakes interest the most was the talk of the fried chicken they were having that night for supper.

The next few days were spent with Jake listening to tales of his fathers youth growing up on the ranch and Chance teaching the boy about horses.  Young Jake took to riding easily, it was in the blood after all.  This had been the right move for the two, true happiness had begun to return to their faces.  No small feat after the loss of a wife and mother.
  On the first Saturday living on the ranch, Chance and Jake saddled up to take a ride together, a ride to the original McCain ranch house.  It stood as it had for the past century as they approached it, like stepping back to a simpler time.  The two reigned up and just stared, taking in the rustic scenery of their ancestral homestead.  Chance pushed the brim of his hat back.
“You’ve heard all the stories about Lucas son.  This is where he lived, this is where a real life legend of the Old West hung his hat!”
Jake looked at the old house and barn, the broken down buckboard beside it.
  “They really called him the Rifleman dad?
  “Yes son they did.”  Nodded Chance.  “He was faster with his special-made Winchester than most any gunslinger around.”
He looked sternly at the boy as he continued.
  “But he wasn’t a gunfighter, he took no pleasure in having to use his rifle against another man.  He only did it to uphold what was right.”
  “Can we look inside?”  asked Jake excitedly.
  “Look inside?  Why I figured we could stay the night if you wanted to!  I told your Grandpa I was taking you out to connect to your roots.”  The big man smiled as he spoke.
  “Yee-Haa!”  squeeled the boy as he spurred his horse towards the front of the old house.
  His father started to yell at him to slow down, but just shook his head with a grin as the boy galloped away.  It seemed like the lures of technology and the city had slipped away and that wasn’t a bad thing he thought.
  The ancient buckboard wagon had caught Jake’s eye and after he hitched his horse to the porch rail he trotted over towards the barn to check it out.  Meanwhile Chance entered the front door and took in the sights of his youth, the same sights that his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had also seen… home.  The place was maintained as if it was always lived in, 120 year old china in the cabinet, the same wooden table and chairs that had been there from the first day the house was built.  The one small difference was the relatively new portrait which hung over the fireplace, a painting of Lucas McCain and his son Mark as a young boy.  The painting had been placed there in the 1950’s by Mark McCain himself.  On the bookshelf was a book written by Mark as well, penned in 1958 it was a memoir of his life growing up in the North Fork of the 1880’s and the exploits of his father.  The book was titled “The Rifleman”.
Chance took the book down off the shelf with an involuntary reverence, but before he could open it to the title page the sound of his boy letting out a startled cry jostled him into action!  Bursting from the house out towards the barn the big man moved with fatherly determination just as young Jake was running in the opposite direction with a look of horror on his face.  Chance grabbed the boy as he ran towards him.
  “What is it son?  What’s wrong?”
  “The back of the barn!  Theres a man!  I…I think hes dead!”  Choked out the 12 year old.
  Chance reassured his son and told him to stay by the horses.  With a determined look he strode into the old barn, taking up a weathered axe handle propped by the entrance as he walked by it.
As dim shafts of light filtered through the sides of the ancient building a shape could be seen by the last stable on the left.  There laying in the straw was a man.  He was absolutely still and a cautious McCain smelled the coppery tinge of fresh blood the closer he got.
Narrowed eyes scanned the area for signs of anyone else, nothing, not a sound or a sign save for the body at his feet.  He rolled the man over with his boot to discover a terrible wound in his chest.  The man had been murdered!
  It was no one Chance recognized and all in all the stranger seemed rather well dressed in an expensive suit.  Unlikely that he was a local all the way out here dressed as he was.  Had someone dumped him here?  It couldn’t have been very long ago from the looks of the body.  A grim thought occurred.  Whoever was responsible would have seen he and Jake approaching on horseback from a good ways off.  They had probably scared the culprit away.  Chance turned on his heel and hurried back to his son.  It was an unsettling thought that a killer could still be nearby.


  In fact someone was closer than Chance suspected.  Someone who was very scared and being very still and quiet had been watching both father and son as they had entered and exited the barn.  In the shadows of the hayloft Mitch Russell was trembling in absolute fear.  Fear of being caught, fear of going to jail, or worse…  In his sweaty right hand he clenched a rifle, a vintage Winchester 44/40 with a cut down barrel and a large loop lever.  He had been asked by a well dressed man to procure this antique rifle from the old McCain property.  The man was a collector he had said.  Mitch Russell was only too happy to steal from the McCain’s, but he never expected to see the man who had hired him get brutally murdered right in front of him.  If not for the unexpected sound of the Man and his son coming Mitch Russell would be dead too, he knew it.  The murderer had slipped out the back of the barn and Mitch had hidden in the hayloft mere seconds before the boy had entered.  The local hooligan was in serious trouble now, but how could he tell anyone?  Who would believe a known rough neck like him?
  Mitch knew one thing for sure, the man who killed the collector would be back to finish the job.  He would also be back for the rifle.  A rifle that Mitch had stolen from a secret hiding place in the old house that his “employer” seemed to know about.
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Winchester4440
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Location: St. Louis, Mo.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

arghhh  I swear I know how to indent and structure a story properly...its the blog/paste Mescalero Curse again!
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BluewindFarm
Deputy Lucas McCain
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Joined: 07 Jul 2009
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Location: Wishing in the Old West

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a wonderful present, upon returning from celebrating my 22nd wedding anniversary in Chicago, to find the second Episode posted.

BRAVO!!!!

Don't worry about indenting.  Change the setting if you are using Word, Click on the HOME tab, then click the arrow in the lower right corner of PARAGRAPH bar, set the SPACE BEFORE and SPACE AFTER to 0 and LINE SPACING to single.  You'll need to double return at the end of your paragraph, but this will correct the lack of spacing between paragraphs, when you copy and paste over to the ranch.
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cowgirl
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Location: North Fork - New Mexico Territory c/o of The McCain Ranch

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am really enjoying your story!  great stuff!

It read just as good indented or not!  

So how long until chapter 3?  
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If not by this coming Monday then soon thereafter.  :)
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BluewindFarm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
If not by this coming Monday then soon thereafter.  :)


Waiting on pins and needles, so please don't make it too much soon after  
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BluewindFarm
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just wondering if the summer weather has given winchester a case of writer's block.  easy to understand with the sweltering temperatures.   I'm so looking forward to this continuing story.
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Winchester4440
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry for the delay.  LOTS of personal stuff the past several months and other projects kind of pushed this on the back burner.  I will return to it soon though. :)
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BluewindFarm
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Winchester4440 wrote:
I'm sorry for the delay.  LOTS of personal stuff the past several months and other projects kind of pushed this on the back burner.  I will return to it soon though. :)


Hope all is well, and I'll patiently wait for the next installment... well, as patiently as I can wait  


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