The Train: Episode 30

In the foyer, the guard turned around to face Michael.

“Stay here,” he ordered then walked to the end of the foyer where another man guarded a closed door.

In a voice too low for Michael to hear, the guard said something to the man then opened the door and disappeared.  The man gripped his weapon and fixed his eyes on Michael. After a few moments, the door opened and the guard returned.

“Follow me,” the guard told Michael.

On the other side of the door, Michael stepped into a large, lavishly decorated room. Behind a polished oak desk with floral, vine and leaf carvings sat Reginald Lawson.

When Michael came into the room, Lawson laid a sheet of paper to one side, looked up, and smiled.

“Mr. Elliot,” Lawson said, motioning to one of the red brocade chairs, “won’t you have a seat?”

Michael took note of the exits and the men positioned in the room as he slowly sat down.

“Would you care for refreshment?” Lawson offered, in a soft drawl.

“No, thank you,” Michael answered.

“Well then let us get down to business. I have been informed that you are under the impression that I have somehow extorted the affections of Miss Gwendolyn, my beautiful wife, and am holding her here under threat of harm to her former intended Mr. Hodge,” Lawson said.

“That’s correct. I know that you’ve kidnapped him and are threatening his safety to keep her from leaving you,” Michael declared.

Mr. Lawson smiled, veiling his anger and contempt.

“Bring my wife to me,” Lawson ordered one of his men.

“Yes, sir,” the guard nodded.

“Mr. Elliot, I do not wish my wife or Mr. Hodge any harm. If someone is speaking ill of me, I desire to meet this person so that I may clear up these untruths and set the record. . .” Lawson paused. . .”straight.”

Michael leaned forward in the chair and stared into Lawson’s eyes.

“You can’t fool me with your snake oil, Lawson. Even if I have to pry her free from your cold dead hands, you will let Gwendolyn go.”

Michael could feel the room grow cold as his threat hung in the air, but the silence was suddenly broken when a door swung open and Lawson’s man entered followed by Gwendolyn. Her black hair was tied up in a tight bun, and her clear blue eyes showed her fear as she looked first at Michael then Lawson.

“Is everything all right?” her voice quivered.

“Of course, my dear,” Lawson drawled. “This gentleman has simply been misinformed. He believes that I am holding you prisoner, coercing your affections, and I hope to clear up this matter. Tell Mr. Elliot here if you married me out of fear or because you truly love me.”

Gwendolyn’s eyes darted from Lawson to Michael before she answered.

“I married you out of love,” she hesitated, “not fear.”

“There. You see, young man, from her very own lips she has professed her love for me.”

Lawson rose from his seat, “Now if you would be so kind, I have much work to do. My men will see you out.”

Michael stood up, reached into his pocket and pulled out the marshal’s badge he had been hiding.

“I’m afraid she will be coming with me,” he insisted, “until this matter of Mr. Hodge’s disappearance can be settled.”

Lawson’s face went cold when he saw the badge. But he quickly recovered his smile and said,

“Why of course. She is not a prisoner here.”

He looked at Gwendolyn and said, “You are free to go, my dear, if you like.”

“But. . .” she began.

“It is quite all right, my dove.  I promise no harm, and you will be quickly returned to my protection,” Lawson assured her.

Uncertain of what to do, Gwendolyn paused then slowly turned to Michael.

Michael motioned toward the door and asked,

“Shall we go, Miss?”

As they passed the office where Lucy was searching, Michael gave the child a look that said, “We’re leaving.”

They joined the others amongst the trees then left the ranch, hurrying back to town.

Once they were seated safely at the saloon, Michael turned to Lucy and asked,

“Did you find anything?”

Lucy shook her head,

“No. I couldn’t find a thing with the name Dennis Hodge on it.”

Gwendolyn took a sudden breath and shuddered.

“Don’t worry,” Michael repeated. “We will find him.”

She exhaled as her shoulders slumped forward.

“It does not matter,” she cried.

“Relax. We’re good at what we do,” Michael insisted.

“You don’t understand,” she sighed.

“Marshal Elliot,” a voice filled the saloon.

As Michael turned toward the sound, he caught Dr. Ricer’s wary gaze. Just inside the saloon doors stood the sheriff with two of his deputies behind.

“Yes?” Michael asked.

“Marshal, you have taken Mrs. Lawson against her wishes. I’m here to see she is returned to her home, that is unless you have evidence proving she is being held against her will.”

“I don’t need evidence. She’s part of an investigation,” Michael answered boldly.

“You can talk to her plenty at Mr. Lawson’s estate, that is if he allows you on the premises,” the sheriff smirked.

Michael ground his teeth and snarled,

“You’re not taking her.”

“That will not be necessary,” the sheriff said. “Mrs. Lawson?”

At that, Gwendolyn promptly stood up and walked towards the sheriff.

“What are you doing?” Nicole snapped.

Gwendolyn’s mechanical reply was,

“He is my husband and I love him. If you need to ask me anything else, I will be home with my husband whom I love.”

When she reached the door, the sheriff escorted her out and helped her into a waiting carriage as the deputies lagged behind. Michael stood and ran for the door, stopping just outside when he saw the deputies’ guns drawn and pointing at him.

“That will not be necessary,” Reginald Lawson ordered from inside the carriage.

As the deputies lowered their weapons, Lawson looked at Michael and smiled,

“The marshal here was just misinformed, was he not?”

Michael felt Ricer’s grip on his shoulder and heard him whisper,


With fists clenched and knuckles white, Michael ground his teeth and said,

“Of course.”

Lawson grinned and drawled,

“See there? No need for bloodshed. And over a simple misunderstanding. Marshal Elliot, you enjoy yourself in our saloon, you hear? And don’t you worry; your tab is on the house.”

At that, Lawson laughed, patted the driver’s shoulder, and the carriage moved down the street, leaving Michael behind growling on the saloon porch.

Published in: on November 30, 2013 at 7:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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