Michael felt cool water bathing his face, as the dream fading, he finally opened his eyes to brightly lite room and a soft hand caressing his face.
Looking around his eyes finally adjusted and he saw a beautiful Blond woman bending over him...
"Your finally awake," she said to him
It took a minute for the words to have meaning to him and with a scratchy voice he said "Ya"
"Well you've been in and out for a few hours, first we had to sitch up that nasty cut on your head and then we had to break the fever.
Michael just stared at her, trying to remember what had happened.
The Doctor said you looked like you'd been through hell and back."
"My horse, Sheol"
'He is fine, he is at the livery stable" She said
As she talked she stroked his forehead with the damp rag as if she had been doing it forever.
"My name is Michael"
Michael laid there for a minute before it registered ..."Gabriel"
Michael all of a sudden felt out of place...
Trying to sit up brought the feeling he was going to throw up...
Gabriel pushed him back down "Michael if you must get up do it slowly the Doctor said you might be dizzy at first"
Michael laid there for a minute before trying again slowly.
Michael finally was able to sit up by himself.
Closing his eyes to chase away the dizziness he finally said.
"Do you a Ben"
A shadow felt over Gabriel's face... "Yes, Why?"
Michael wished he was anywhere but here...
"Ben came to my place badly beaten and gunshot"
Gabriel's hand went over her mouth as she gasped "Oh no"
"I helped him get better but when I was in town, some Men came and, well... Ben is gone Gabriel, there is no easy way to say this but those Men called themselves his brothers.
Gabriel burst out crying "Nooooo"
"I'm sorry," Michael said
"I should have known those men would be back"
Choking back a sob "Michael no one knows that" Gabriel said.
She leaned into his chest sobbing more
Michael felt awkward but put his arms around her as she cried
Finally pulling back from her, Michael said, "Now they are after you"
Gabriel said, I don't care anymore, Ben was my life.
"Michael I don't think I can go on anymore without him."
"Gabriel you have too, we need to finish what he starts, if not for him then for you, this is what he would have wanted."
Gabriel looked up at Michael's concerned face, searching for some kind of hint finally she asked
Michael looked away for a minute trying to hold back the fury he felt for those men who killed a mere boy and a brother.
Turning back to her he said "I made a commitment to help you get settled on the land that's on that Deed"
Gabriel gasped "That was his plan, he said he would give me a home"
"Yes, Ben was on his way back from Idaho City assayers Office with the Deed his mother had left for him when his so-called brothers caught up with him"
"What about you Michael, how did you get that cut to your head?"
"I was grazed by a bullet on the way here, some of the General Whitaker boys caught up to me"
"There is something I need to tell you, Michael"
Touching his head Michael felt a little woozy
"Are you ok?" Gabriel asked
"Yea, I'm just a little light headed"
"You were saying?"
"It's probably nothing but a few nights ago I saw a cowboy watching my room from the street"
Michael thought for a moment "It's probably the one they sent ahead to watch you"
"Yes they want to end it here, and get the Deed from us," Michael said
"Where is the Deed?"
It was in my saddle bags,"
Michael was concerned and started to stand
"Hush Michael sit, the bags are safe"
"Where are they?" he asked
"At the front desk they have a safe and they are in there with a bag," She said
"Thank God, Michael whispered"
"The Deed and some personal stuff are in those bags"
"Do you want me to fetch them?" She asked
"If you could Gabriel, Thank you"
While she was gone Michael did an assessment of the room, Checking window, field of vision, hallway for escape routes.
The old habit was hard to break and it felt good to exercise them again.
Michael was laying down again when Gabriel got back with the saddlebags and the front desk clerk was helping with everything.
Michael could tell the boy was smitten with her and who wouldn't be the girl was very pretty in the raw sense of the word, you could some hardline that you would see in any woman that grew up in the west as she had done.
As he watched her he felt guilty of even think what he just did...but she was beautiful.
After the boy had left, Michael opened the saddle bag that should of contained the Deed.