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Thursday, January 2, 2014

RANCHO REYES Chapter 20 STARTING OVER



An Old Scout Came by for a Bowl of Beans
courtesy shutterstock


The young woman John had rescued from the wilderness was recovering speedily from her wounds, but her memory was almost a blank.

Mae had the doctor check her over for a blow to the head or something that cause her to lose her memory.  He said he didn’t see anything physical that could have been the cause.

He said it must have been something traumatic that had occurred to make her respond as she did.  Mae tried to find out what her name was without success.  She told her, “We can’t go on forever without having something to call you so we will give you a first name.  How does the name Jane sound to you?”

She said, “It is as good as any.”

Mae said, “Okay, Jane it is.”  It took a few days before she responded to her new name and Mae was concerned about her slowness in responding to questions.

She wanted to try to figure out how much schooling she had.  Being a school teacher made it a lot easier to figure what grade level she had finished.  Mae couldn’t be sure if her education had been formal training or done at home.

It didn’t matter but it would help to know how to go forward with her education.

Meanwhile John was avoiding having anything with the whole matter.  He had turned the rehabbing of the girl over to Mae who seemed to enjoy every minute of it.  

A year went by and an older man came by and asked for a handout and some food.  He said he had heard about a girl who lost her memory and he wanted to see her in case he knew her.  

Mae started to run him off thinking he was trying to get some money from them.  No matter what kind of a story he came up with they were not in any position to deny it.  

John said feed the man for they would have done that for most anyone.  As the man began to eat he talked between bites and said; he had worked as a scout for the railroad.  He mostly supplied food for the camp.

There was a man who worked on the rail line and lived with a widow and a young daughter.  The woman had lost her husband in an accident and took up with this man for she had no income.  

Over time the man made advances toward the young girl and an intense argument followed.  The man roughed the woman up and she fought back the best she could and then she stabbed him.  After being cut he pulled a small gun and shot and killed the woman.

The young girl just stood there paralyzed for several minutes not responding to anything anyone said.  It was like she was in a trance.  After several minutes she bolted out of the rail car they were in and rode off on one of the horses that was tied up to a rail outside of the car.  He said the law didn’t do anything about the killing they said it was just a misfortunate event.

The last he saw of the man he was getting around and was going to find the girl for she belonged to him or so he said.  He then said I had just been let go by the main rail office even though there wasn’t another scout in camp.

After a while they got up a posse and took off trying to find her.  He said I went with the posse but I was never any good at tracking especially after it began to rain.  The end result was we never did find her.  This was ten weeks ago and the railroad has put all that behind them.

Mae upon hearing this news became excited and decided to pursue this information. She went about it in a systematic way.  Questioning everyone who might have came in to contact with the girl, but she found she couldn’t do all this by herself so she hired a private detective to help her.

A few days later the scout came by John’s house again (in fact he came by often to eat) and said the step father was in town, drinking and cursing saying he was going to have the girl sooner or later and no one was going to stop him.

He had heard the story about Jane and that she lived in Santa Fe.  The old scout found the man and followed him.  When he saw he was heading toward John’s house he ran to where John was engaged in some business dealings and told him the story of what the man was doing.

When John heard he was heading to his house he mounted his horse and headed home. The Step dad arrived before John did and had started to try to take Jane with him.  Mae intervened and the man started shoving her till she fell as John came in the door.

John grabbed the man by the back of the neck and hurled him across the room.  Before he could tell the man to get out of town he leaped at John with a large knife.  

John quickly drew one of his guns and struck the man across the head and split his skull open.  As John cocked his pistol the man stumbled out into the yard and collapsed.

The scout had gone to get the sheriff and when they arrived the man was dead from the head wound.  After John told him what had happened, the sheriff said it looks like an unfortunate event and John agreed it was.

But John was thinking, “No one touches Mae and lives.”

From that point on Jane began to remember things of her past such as her name and how her father and mother died and other minor things with little importance.

Mae said don’t worry about the past for your past began when you came to us.  From now on you are Jane Reyes.  She said I’m not a Reyes.  Mae said many of us aren’t by blood but we are by adoption so it’s Jane Reyes for you which is a good way to lose an unhappy past.

Mae went on to say, “I never had a sister so from now on you will be my younger sister and John will be you older brother.”  

Jane said, “Maybe he won’t want a younger sister.”  

Mae said, “He will want one if I say so.”

After seeing how John dispatched the man who was seeking her, Jane said to Mae, “Aren’t you afraid of him?”

Mae answered saying, “Not in the least.  You don’t fear someone who would give their life for you; all you do is to love them.”

Jane said, someday I hope I’ll find a man like that.

Mae said, “We had better get to work on that and the place to start is on you. We will begin with your schooling and then you will go back East to a finishing school and become lady like for this believe it or not is the way to a man’s heart.”

Jane said, “I thought that all they taught there was sissy stuff.”

“Oh no,” said Mae, “What you learn is to know what is going to be asked before it is asked and if you don’t know the answer you change the subject to something the man is interested in and you move on.”
 
“Is this the way you got John?” asked Jane.

Mae said, “Absolutely but the driving force was I wanted him and I loved him.

To be Continued

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