*Obediah Sackett

Summary: A debt of Honor being discharged

Date: February 14, 1884


Silver Creek, Colorado

It was a sorry looking bedraggled wagon that pulled up in front of the Newspaper office. Half a dozen small faces peered out of the tattered covers, eyes dark and hollow with hunger and fear.

The man on the bench seat climbed down stiffly, favoring a leg, and his arm in a sling as his wife, who was driving, set the brake.

Reaching under the seat, he took out a thick packet of oilskin, telling her, "Go find the blacksmith, an' Ah'll take care o' this." Turning, he limps into the office, painfully.

The newspaper office is, of course, open. The warmth and light spill sfrom it as the man opens the door. When the bells tinkle, Suzanna looks up from her work. She removes her spectacles and rises. "Yes? May I help you?"

Removing his battered hat, the man introduces himself, "Name's Sackett, Obediah Sackett. I was told to give these to a Madeline Broussard." he holds up the oilskin package. "I got it to do, for we surely owe the man what gave them over our lives."

"A..Madeline Broussard? I know of a Meriah Broussad…" Suzanna says with a frown. She looks to the papers. "Oh..her daughter's name is Madeline. I could deliver them for you if they like. Who are they from?"

Sackett holds the package closer, "I thank you, Ma'am, but I got to do it myself." he staggers a bit, and asks, "Can I sit down? I'll tell you the whole story."

"Of course! Please sit! You look terribly injured. Should I send for the doctor?", Suzanna says. "Let me get you some tea. Or coffee? I even have a bit of whiskey. For medicinal purposes, of course."

Sinking onto the bench, he begins, "We lost our farm down in the Nation. Guvmint come in and took it, 'cause we let some folks that they said was rebels and traitors sleep in our barn, and give them a hog. but that Mister Franklin paid us right and proper, but them soldiers taken it nohows." he takes a deep breath, choking back a sob.

"The missus and me, we set out with the younguns for the Utah territory, long with some other folks what was turned out." he looks up at her with sad eyes. "reckon they've gone on, our wagon broke, and we got separated from them."

"Oh..I'm so terribly sorry.." Suz says, her voice soft and full of concern. "I know there is land around here to be had. Plenty of it. But please, go on…"

He nods, looking weary, "Din't get no better for us. I got the axle replaced after two days, and we taken out agin. Got up to Trinidad, and we pointed towards Cripple Creek, figgering the snow'd get melted afore we got there.

He scrubbed a hand over his face, "Them injuns down there..Kiowa, I reckon jumped us three days out of Canon City." A single fat tear rolled down his grizzled cheek, "Lost my oldest boy, he taken an arrer in the throat, riding scout."

"Oh..dear God.." Suzanna says, her hand going to her mouth in surprise. "Oh your poor family. The other children are alright? Assuming you have other children. Do you have somewhere to stay? And..where did the letters come from?"

"Six more, twelve to four." he replies, almost automatically. "We was a holding them injuns off best we could. The missus was shooting too, and the youngun's loading for the both of us. Just about figgered we'd had it, and I was fixing to.." he chokes up again, "I couldn't let them redskins get my missus and kids.." he offers in explanation instead.

"Then, there come this scream, like a painter, an' this half nekkid feller riding a big black stallion come a-charging right into them Kiowa. He looked injun hisself, but he kilt two of 'em right off with that scattergun. Broke 'em right up, choused the rest of 'em."

Suzanna cannot hide her astonishment. Her hazel eyes widen and she looks right at the man telling the story. "Truly? One of their own turned against them? He…oh dear..he killed them all?"

"He come back all bloodied up," Sackett replies soberly, "Tweren't none of it his." he sighs, "Taken them first two's scalps, right there afore the missus and the youngsters, telling you, he ain't no good Christian, but he done a most Christian thing then."

He wiggles the arm in the sling, "I'd taken a slug in the arm, broke it plumb in half. Turns out he ain't full injun, he's a 'breed. Don't talk much neither, never given his name."Indicating the packet, he says, "Just set my arm, and looked about the wagon, and given us directions to head north, to here."

"He taken off then, ridin' that black, but he was back afore dark, with these, and a elk he'd shot for us."

"he just..left like that? After giving you a packet of letters for a child?", Suzanna says, holding out her hand for said packet. "That is really most odd. He set your arm though which is good. I am sure the doctor here could help as well, if you like. I shall see these get delivered."

"No Ma'am. I got to take it to her myself. Figger I owe him that much no hows." he looks aggrieved, "Ain't that I ain't trusting you, Ma'am, surely ain't. But this here is a debt of honor. I don't know what me and the missus'll do after this. We ain't got a pot to pee in no more, but we got our lives acause of that feller."

Suzanna nods slowly and frowns. "Meriah Broussard runs the brothel here in town. The Gemstone. Just up Division here. And she owns a large home in the south part of town. I can point you in the direction but I have never been in the Gemstone."

He smiles gratefully, if a bit wanly. "Figgered the newspaper'd know where to go. You or the law, and we..ain't trusting of the law too much no more." Looking distressed, Sackett gets to his feet, "Obliged, Ma'am for your help. Reckon the missus ain't gonna squawk too much for me going into no brothel for this."

Haltingly, he makes his way to the door, before turning back, "This feller..maybe he come from around these parts? Can't figger how he'd know no girl child if he din't, and we'd…kinda like to knwo whose name to give up in our prayers to the Almighty."

"You must be speaking of Mister Marlowe. He is the only…half breed, as you say…that I know of that would know Miss Broussard." Suzanna offers. "I cannot be certain, you understand."

"Marlowe," Sackett nods, "We're grateful, Ma'am, for everything. I got no ideer what providence put him in our path, but we're sure gonna say a prayer for him."


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