Missing by PatriciaG

Thank you Raian for being such a great BETA!

Word count: 5,635

Chapter 1

Scott and Johnny rode into the sleepy little town of San Ramon ahead of schedule. 

The brothers were looking forward to a good hot meal, a hot bath, and comfortable beds in the hotel.

Several curious townspeople stopped to stare as they noticed the pair arguing as they dismounted in front of the hotel. 

“A bet is a bet, Scott!  You’re not gonna welch on a bet, are ya?”

“I don’t welch on bets, and I don’t remember making a bet with you!”

“Boston you said, I betcha I can catch dinner tonight before you can shoot it.”

“Johnny,” Scott sighed with exasperation, “that was just a phrase and I was talking about fishing.”

“Well, I shot a rabbit before you caught a fish, and you enjoyed the rabbit for dinner last night if I remember right. So, I won the bet.”

“OK, I concede the bet, but we didn’t agree on what the winner would earn.”

“I thought you were smart, Boston. Don’t you know the winner gets to choose or didn’t they teach you that in that fancy school you went to?”

“All right, what do you want?”

“Scott, tonight I get to plan out our evening. I’ll check us into the hotel and you have to take care of the horses. Meet me back at the hotel for supper. I’m starving.”

Tonight, you’re going pay up on that little bet you made! Johnny chuckled as his big brother, still grumbling, walked the horses to the livery. 

They ate a relaxing dinner at the hotel before heading over to the saloon.

Why did he ever bet Johnny even if he still didn’t think it was a true bet? Scott had a bad feeling that drinking tequila shots would be a large part of his brother’s plan.  And he wasn’t wrong.

Several hands of poker and bottles of tequila later, Johnny helped his big brother back to the hotel. Scott had planned on going back to the room for a bath, but now he was a little tipsy and only wanted to go to sleep. Thankfully, Johnny had taken it easy on his big brother and didn’t make him drink too much tequila. He didn’t want to be cleaning up after Scott in case he got sick in the room.

Scott fell asleep the minute his head hit the pillow. The only thing he had taken off were his boots. Johnny shook his head and thought his brother was sure a light weight when it came to tequila. He covered his big brother with a quilt, then took off his own clothes before he collapsed on his bed. 

Scott was awakened in the middle of the night. “What is that noise?” He felt a roaring headache starting and realized Johnny snoring loud enough to raise the roof had woken him up. He spotted the pitcher of water and hoped that it would help his head. If only he had some of Doc Jenkins’ sleeping powder.

The water didn’t help. Giving up, Scott went down to the lobby to see if there was an empty room at the hotel. Thankfully, he caught the owner, Mr. Jeffers, walking through the lobby in the middle of the night.

“Yes, we have extra rooms. Why don’t you take the one down the hall and around the corner?” Scott graciously took the room key. 

“Thank you. You are saving my heath and sanity. I’ll settle up with you in the morning.” Scott smiled at the owner as he walked back up the stairs.

Scott stumbled back to their room to grab his boots, saddle bag and hat. He should have left his brother a note, but all he was thinking about was a quiet room with a soft bed.

He quietly backed out of the room trying not to disturb his brother. Why Scott was being quiet for his brother, he didn’t know. He smiled at that thought and again looked forward to sleeping in a comfortable bed in silence.

Scott was spotted backing out of his room by the owner’s son, Tom. The young man came out of an empty room where he had repaired a nightstand earlier in the day, but had fallen asleep there. Tom still had his hammer in his hand and as Scott turned the corner, Tom hit him on the head and he dropped like a stone. Tom didn’t use all his strength. Just enough to drop the thief, he thought.

The young man ran to tell his father that he had stopped a robbery. Mr. Jeffers grabbed his rifle and followed his son to the top of the stairs.

“What have you done?”

“I caught this guy sneaking out of a room with somebody’s belongings.” Tom was rather proud of his actions.

“You idiot! He’s a guest of this hotel! Scott Lancer, one of Murdoch Lancer’s boys! And if he dies, you will hang! Even if he lives, with that murder warrant out on you, we can’t afford to get the law involved. Murdoch Lancer is rich and powerful and will use all his resources to convict you. We have to get him out of here. This did not happen! Remember, talk to no one! I’ll take care of this.”

The pair carried Scott’s limp body down the back stairs. Mr. Jeffers instructed his son to go borrow a buckboard from the livery. Then he added, “Grab the Lancer boy’s horse too.” He rushed back up the stairs to bring Scott’s saddlebag and boots down to the back alley.

His son returned to the back of the hotel with a wagon and Scott’s horse tied to the back. “What did you tell the livery owner?” 

“Nothing, he wasn’t there. I had to guess at which horse was Scott Lancers, but this horse had SL on the saddle.”

They loaded Scott and his belongings into the back of the wagon. He hadn’t regained consciousness. Mr. Jeffers saw blood on the back of Scott’s collar and how the young man’s hair was matted to his skull.

“Take him over to Doc Frank’s in Pleasant Hill. Tell him to hide Lancer and fix him up. I’ll be over to explain more later when I can get away.”

The hotel owner made the rounds all over town.  He explained how his son could be hung for the accident. The entire town agreed to stay silent to save his son.  The town’s folk had already agreed to hide Tom from his arrest warrant, so this wasn’t any different.


Chapter 2

Johnny woke up later than usual the next morning. He yawned and stretched. He felt no ill effects from his fun night on the town. The town was already bustling based on the amount of noise from the street. He had slept great last night, but he always slept well. It felt good to sleep in a bed instead of on the cold hard ground.  

He yawned again and looked over to see that Scott’s bed was empty. He must have really slept late for Scott to be up and out of the room this much before him. He was a little surprised that Scott’s morning shaving routine hadn’t woke him up.  Johnny got up and dressed. He waited for thirty minutes for his brother to show up.  Finally tired of waiting, he decided to go downstairs and see where his missing brother had gotten off to. 

He walked out onto the front porch of the hotel. Johnny looked up and down the street and didn’t see Scott anywhere. He wandered back into the hotel and went into the café to see if Scott was there. No sign of him. Johnny turned and saw the hotel owner standing at the front desk.

“Morning, Mr. Jeffers. I was wondering if you’ve seen my brother, Scott, this morning.”

“Excuse me. Your brother?”

“Yeah, tall, skinny, blond, Easterner. We checked in yesterday.”

“No, I don’t remember anyone like that. I thought you were alone. You were the only one to sign the register.”

“What do you mean? You gave me a double room yesterday for my brother and me. Check your book.”

The owner looked at the register. “Nope, the only Lancer signed in was you.” 

Johnny grabbed the book. He only saw his name. How could that be? I know my brother would’ve signed in after he took the horses to the livery. Johnny shook his head in confusion, but decided maybe Scott had forgotten to sign in.

Johnny decided to check around the town: the post office, general store, and finally the saloon. No one had seen Scott. 

“We sat right at that back table and drank tequila last night. We played poker,” Johnny argued with the bartender.

“All I saw was you last night, mister.” 

Johnny shook his head. What was going on in this town? He wasn’t crazy. He was beginning to have a very bad feeling. Where are you, Scott?

Finally, Johnny trudged down to the livery. He was sure that he would find Scott’s horse there, but only found Barranca.

With head bent low, he walked back to the hotel. The owner wasn’t at the front desk, so Johnny walked into the café.

“Where’s the nearest telegraph office?”

“I think Pleasant Hill has one. It’s just ten miles down the road.” 


Johnny ran back to the livery, saddled Barranca and rode as fast as he could to get there. He couldn’t shake the feeling that Scott was in danger, but he somehow knew that his brother was still alive.

Upon arriving in Pleasant Hill, he quickly found the telegraph office.

Scott missing… stop … Staying San Ramon … stop … need help… stop

On a hunch, Johnny decided to check around this town for any sign of Scott. He went to the sheriff’s office to introduce himself and tell him about Scott. He then went to the livery to see if Scott’s horse was there. Nothing. He noticed the sign outside a doctor’s office. It was a two story house with the doctor’s office downstairs and the residence up. Johnny knocked on the door and was greeted by a gruff, but friendly doctor. He reminded him of Dr. Jenkins from back home.

“Excuse me, do you have an injured man here? Tall, blond, has a Boston accent.  He’s my brother and he’s missing. We’re staying over in San Ramon and since they don’t have a doctor, I thought someone might’ve brought him here.”

The doctor saw the distress in the young man’s eyes, but had promised his friend, Fred Jeffers, to keep his patient a secret.  Scott was still unconscious in the room above Johnny’s head.  So close yet so far.

“I’m sorry, son. I don’t have any patients right now. Good luck finding your brother.  I’m sure he’ll be alright, though.”

Johnny nodded and turned to walk away. Something was nagging at him about what the doctor had said, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

He stood outside the doctor’s office not knowing what to do next. He walked back over to the telegraph office and told the operator that he would be in the saloon if he got a message back from his earlier telegram. He was starting to wonder if he had imagined that Scott was with him on this trip. Maybe he was thinking of another trip. 

About that time, a kid came into the saloon.

“Johnny Lancer?”

“That’s me.”

 “I’ve got a telegram for ya.”

Johnny took the message and gave the kid a coin.

Val and I arriving San Ramon tomorrow… stop

Johnny smiled. This was the first good news he’d received. He flipped the barkeep a coin for the beer he hadn’t even sipped.

Johnny rode much slower back to San Ramon than he had ridden earlier in the day.  He was in no hurry since his brother wasn’t waiting for him there and there was nothing to do until Murdoch arrived tomorrow. How could his brother have just disappeared without a trace? Johnny decided to go back to the hotel and regroup.

He walked his horse into the livery barn in San Ramon. Johnny took Barranca into a stall. As he removed the saddle and blankets, he glanced at the stall where his brother’s horse, Charlie had been yesterday. He took the time to groom his horse and give him some oats as a reward for all the hard riding he had done. 

Johnny strolled back to the hotel to think. With no one at the front desk, he walked dejectedly up to the room. Johnny collapsed on the bed tired, frustrated and worried. “Scott, where are you, brother?”


Chapter 3

Johnny had a restless night. He had nightmares of Scott being injured somewhere and he couldn’t get to him. Scott had called out his name asking for help. Johnny woke up in a start with sweat beaded on his forehead. Instead of sitting around waiting for Murdoch to arrive, he decided to ride back to Pleasant Hill to ask around the rest of the town if they had seen Scott.

Since Johnny had already spoken to the sheriff and the doctor, he spent the rest of his time asking in the café, bank, hotel and finally the saloon in Pleasant Hill.  Again, he had no luck finding Scott. It was getting later in the day and Murdoch and Val should be in San Ramon by now, so he rode back to the town he was beginning to hate.

Johnny rode straight to the livery to leave his beloved Barranca. The livery owner was working hard repairing a harness. “Could you give my horse some extra oats?  He’s had another hard day.” Johnny patted Barranca on the neck.

“Sure, where you been?”

“Rode to Pleasant Hill looking for my brother.” 

The livery man had been home with his sick wife and had not seen the hotel owner to be warned about the missing Lancer.

“Well, I’m sorry to hear your brother is missing. I saw both of your horses were gone when I got here today, so I figured you two had just took off.”

“You remember seeing my brother?” John was excited to find someone who had seen Scott.  So, I’m not crazy!

“Sure, when you brought your horses in a couple of days ago. Why?”

“Everybody else in this town swears they haven’t seen him and that I came into town alone.”

“That’s peculiar.”

“I think I’m gonna go talk to Mr. Jeffers at the hotel.  I think he owes me an explanation.”


Chapter 4

Scott felt the pull of darkness start to lessen. His head still throbbed as he started to hear sounds. The sounds turned into voices. He couldn’t identify those voices. He tried to pry open his eyes, but bright lights caused him to close them again quickly. 

The doctor watched the young man coming to after being unconscious for 24 hours. Dr. Franks had kept Scott in a drug induced coma by giving him a dose of medicine every time it seemed the young man was starting to wake up.

“Can you hear me, young man?” The doctor paused and watched Scott’s eyes move under his eyelids. “My name’s Doctor Franks. I’m going to turn the lights down, so you can open your eyes.” The doctor turned down the lamps. “Now open your eyes.” 

Scott did as the doctor requested. He looked around the darkened room. He didn’t recognize anything or have a memory of how he got there. “Where… where am I?” Scott croaked out, “Where’s my brother?” He felt anxious and worried. He didn’t know what had happened to him and needed to find his brother.

The doctor saw his patient’s anxiety and knew he needed to calm him down.  “Easy there, son. You’ve had a severe head injury. Do you know what happened to you?”

“No, sir. I have to find my brother.” Scott struggled to sit up, but didn’t have the strength. His head started to pound. It felt like a herd of cattle had run over his head. “Where am I?” Scott urgently asked again.

The doctor didn’t like the anxiety in his patient. “You’re in Pleasant Hills. You were found alone in San Ramon. I don’t know who or where your brother is, but you’re safe. I’ll ask the sheriff to look for him. You need to rest so you can get better. I need to you to calm down and rest.”

The doctor gave Scott some water laced with sleeping powder. He had no choice, but to follow the doctor’s orders. Scott’s energy faded and he closed his eyes to the pain in his head. The sweet oblivion of sleep overtook him again.

Since the patient had revived, the doctor wanted to know what to do with him now.  He hoped that he’d get some answers from Jeffers when he saw him again.


Chapter 5

Pushing down worry about Scott and trying to keep his face blank despite growing anger, Johnny strode into the hotel to confront Mr. Jeffers. The owner noticed the change in Johnny immediately and he felt a shiver run down his spine. 

“Jeffers, I know my brother was here with me when I went to bed last night. Where is he?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jeffers voice cracked.

Johnny rested his right hand on his gun. His cold stare didn’t betray the anger he felt toward the hotel owner.

“I spoke with the livery owner, who saw me and my brother ride in yesterday.  So, I’m asking you again, where is my brother?”  Johnny slowly pulled his gun out of the holster, cocked the hammer back, and pointed it at Jeffers’ chest.

Johnny heard a rifle being cocked behind him. “Drop your weapon, son.  It’s all been a misunderstanding.” The livery owner had followed Johnny over to the hotel. He knew by the look in the young man’s eyes that there was going to be trouble.

Murdoch walked into the hotel with Val just as this showdown was reaching a climax. “Johnny, what are you doing?!”

“Murdoch, this man knows where Scott is. I just know it!”

Val interjected, “Johnny put your gun away. Listen mister, if ya know where Scott Lancer is, ya better tell us.”

“Who are you?” Jeffers tried to sound calm.

“I’m Sheriff Val Crawford from Green River. This is Murdoch Lancer, Scott and Johnny’s father. I’m asking again if you know where Scott is, speak up.”

Fred Jeffers knew he had been caught. He had to make a decision to come clean and risk losing his son to the law or think fast. “All right!  I’ll tell you what I know.  Your brother rode out of here yesterday. He was in a real big hurry. I don’t know where he was going. He didn’t tell me.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“Ah, I figured if he hadn’t told you, then he didn’t want you to know. I was just trying to help him out. Honest, I don’t know where your brother is.”

“Which direction did my son go?” Murdoch acted like he believed the hotel owner.

“East, I think. Maybe he was heading back home.”

“I don’t think so. If he was heading east we would have seen him on our way here.  Do you want to try again or do we walk away and leave you with my son?”  Murdoch was losing patience fast. 

Johnny smiled at Mr. Jeffers and shifted his weight from one foot to the other as he tapped his fingers on his holster.

“Mr. Lancer, you can’t allow your son to shoot me.” Jeffers was starting to shake.

“I think you know where my other son is and you need to start talking.” Murdoch rumbled, “Now!”

“Sheriff, are you going to allow this gentleman to threaten me?”

“It’s not a threat. Johnny will shoot you if you don’t start talking.”

“Ok! Ok, I’ll only talk to Murdoch Lancer … alone.”

Murdoch stared at the little man, but was willing to try anything to find Scott.

“Johnny, why don’t you and Val wait outside? Mr. Jeffers and I need to talk.”

Johnny grumbled about wanting to be included, but went outside with Val as he took Johnny by the arm and led him to a rocker on the front porch.

Murdoch followed Mr. Jeffers into the hotel café. They sat at a table by the kitchen. “Would you like some coffee, Mr. Lancer?” 

The Lancer patriarch shook his head and sighed heavily. “What do you know about my son?’

“Mr. Lancer, you have two sons that mean a lot to you.” Murdoch nodded but wished that Mr. Jeffers would get to the point. “I have a son that means the world to me and I would do anything to keep him safe.” Jeffers waited for Murdoch to comment.

“Go on, Mr. Jeffers. Where’s my son?”

“A few years ago my son accidentally killed a saloon tramp. I couldn’t lose my only son to a hangman’s noose. We’re all loyal to each other here. The town folks have helped me to keep him safe. He has a warrant out for his arrest.  He is my only child. My wife died in childbirth with him. I love my son as much as you love yours.”

“Mr. Jeffers, why are you telling me this?” Murdoch’s patience was at an end.

“It was an accident. My son, Tom didn’t mean to do it.  He thought your son was a robber. He saw Scott sneaking out of a room—” Mr. Jeffers stopped talking when he noticed the fury on Murdoch Lancer’s face. 

“Is my son … dead?”

“No,” was all Mr. Jeffers quietly stated.

“Do you know where Scott is?”

“Yes, and I will take you to him if you give me your word not to press charges. It was an accident.” Mr. Jeffers waited with bated breath for Murdoch’s reply.

“Jeffers, my son, Scott, means everything to me. His mother also died in childbirth with him. I give you my word that I will not press charges,” Murdoch looked the man straight in the eye then firmly stated, “Where is my son?”

Mr. Jeffers lowered his head and quietly answered, “Your son’s at Dr. Frank’s house in Pleasant Hill.  I’ll take you to him.”


Chapter 6

“How are you feeling today, Scott?”  Dr. Franks asked, even though he could tell by Scott’s face how he was really feeling.

“I’m fine. I’m ready to go find my brother. When are you going to release me?”

Dr. Franks hadn’t heard from his friend, Fred Jeffers, so he didn’t know if he could let the young man go yet. “Well, I like to be thorough. Once you can walk without staggering, I will think about releasing you.” The doctor knew there was more to the word ‘releasing’ than Scott realized.

“Well, I am ready to try walking.” Scott sat up, but was immediately overcome with dizziness and nausea. He could feel the broth that he had recently eaten threaten to come up. The doctor grabbed a basin and gave it to Scott, who heaved up the little that he had ingested. The dry heaves continued for several minutes.

“You need to lie back down. No need to rush. How is the pain?”

Scott grimaced, but said, “Not bad.”

“I think you need some Laudanum. It will take the edge off and help you to sleep.”

“No, I don’t want any. The pain isn’t that bad.”

“Son, are you sure? No need to be in pain.”

Scott simply shook his head, closed his eyes, and relaxed into the bed. He knew that once the doctor left, he would sneak out to find his brother.


Chapter 7

“George, are you home?” Jeffers called out to his friend Dr. Franks.

Dr. Franks came to the door from the kitchen where he was making a pot of coffee.  The doctor stopped when he saw Fred Jeffers standing with a tall man on his porch. 

As the doctor opened the door, Murdoch’s anger was at a peak. “Where’s my son?”  Murdoch bellowed at the doctor.

The doctor looked from his friend to the angry man and waited for Jeffers to tell him how to answer.

“This is Murdoch Lancer. Let him see his son.” Jeffers dejectedly told his friend.

“Your son has had a severe head injury. He is recovering, but he is still dealing with headaches and nausea.  He should not be moved, yet.”

“Take me to my son!” Murdoch had lost all patience with these two men.

“Take Mr. Lancer to see his son.”

Murdoch followed the doctor, but pushed past him when he got to the bedroom at the end of the hall.

“Scott?! Where is my son, Doctor?!”

Dr. Franks looked at the empty bed. “He was just here, resting. He shouldn’t be up.  Why would he leave?”

“His horse was in the barn. Let’s look there.” Jeffers was hoping that Mr. Lancer’s son hadn’t gone far in his weakened state. 

The three men rushed to the barn, but saw no Scott or his horse.

Scott was having a hard time staying in his saddle.  The dizziness made him want to close his eyes. He wasn’t even sure he was going in the right direction to get back to San Ramon. All he could think about was getting back to his brother. 

With each passing mile, the struggle to stay upright increased. Scott noticed a blurry dark blob just off the road. He smiled as he got closer. He realized it was a shack and that it was as far as he was going to get tonight. Scott slid off his horse, landing in a heap on the ground in front of the dilapidated building. The pain behind his eyes diminished as he lost consciousness.

“I’m going! My patient will need my attention immediately when we find him,” Dr. Franks argued.

Murdoch didn’t care who came with him, but he was ready to start the search for Scott. The three men rode hell bent for leather to San Ramon. When they got to town they checked in at the hotel. Johnny and Val heard the horses riding in and stepped out of the saloon. Both ran to greet the riders in front of the hotel.

“What’s happening? Where’s Scott?”

“He left the Doctor’s office before we got there. We hoped he’d be hereby now.  You know your stubborn brother, where would he have gone?” Murdoch was at his wits end. 

“There’s a short cut between Pleasant Hill and San Ramon,” Mr. Jeffers offered.

“What? Murdoch exploded, “Why didn’t you take us that way?” 

“We had a 50-50 shot of which trail to take,” Mr. Jeffers stuttered.

“It’s too dark to start out now. We’ll have to wait until morning. Johnny, get rooms at the hotel for Val and me.”

“Yes, sir.” Johnny begrudging followed Murdoch’s orders. “My brother better be alright, or someone is gonna pay the price,” Johnny stared at Mr. Jeffers as he walked past the worried innkeeper.

No one slept much that night and all were in the café before the sun came up.


Chapter 8

“Johnny, you and Val go with Dr. Franks and check out the short cut. Mr. Jeffers and I are going to check over the route we took last night to see if we missed anything.” Murdoch barked out his orders. “We’ll meet up at the doctor’s office in Pleasant Hill.” All nodded in agreement. They would be glad when the sun came up to get rid of the night chill.

Both groups rode out with heavy hearts, but felt confident they would find Scott before it was too late. They wanted to push their horses, but knew they needed to take their time and search carefully. Thankfully, it hadn’t rain last night, so if there were any tracks to follow, they wouldn’t have been washed away. 

Every so often someone would yell out Scott’s name, then wait for a reply.  Disappointed with the silence, they would trudge on.

Val was getting tired of the quiet so he thought he would ask his friend a question. “Johnny, why would that level-headed brother of yours pull a dad-blame fool—”

“Val!” Johnny interrupted, “That looks like Scott’s horse!” 

A horse was grazing in the field near a shack. Johnny, Val and the doctor raced to the field. “Easy there boy, it’s alright, where’s your rider?” Johnny softly talked to the horse while Val started looking around.

“Doc, Johnny, over here!” Val was standing over Scott’s body in front of the shack.

“Nooooo!” Johnny bent down to turn his brother over and place Scott’s head in his lap. “Don’t do this to me, brother.”

Dr. Franks got his stethoscope out of his bag, put them to his ears and listened to Scott’s heart.  “He’s alive.  His heart rate’s slow and he may have a mild case of hypothermia to go with his concussion.” 

“Well, let’s take him inside. We can light a fire. I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff that can burn in this old shack.” Val looked around for logs as he made his suggestion.  

Johnny carried his brother inside and laid him on the floor in front of the fireplace.  Val found some logs and kindling and got the fire going fairly quickly while Johnny went out the horses to bring in several bedrolls to wrap around Scott.

As the temperature in the shack rose steadily, so did Scott’s body temperature. Scott began to moan and thrash about under all the blankets.

“Easy there Boston, take it easy,” Johnny spoke to Scott like he was trying to calm a wild horse. “Open your eyes. Look at me, Scott.”

Scott blinked his eyes, trying to focus on the blurry faces in front of him. He knew the voice of his brother. “Johnny, I was coming to find you.”

“Well, brother, this time I’m the one to rescue you. Once the doc says you’re okay, we’ll take you back to Pleasant Hill to get better. Murdoch’s meeting us there.”

“Thanks Johnny,” Scott smiled as he closed his eyes to rest.

The processional of the little group was greeted with a joyful greeting from Murdoch. Johnny was holding Scott wrapped up in blankets as they rode double on Barranca. Val pulled Scott’s horse behind him and the doctor took the lead, so he could get his room ready for Scott.

When they arrive at the doctor’s house, Johnny lowered Scott into Murdoch’s arms, then jumped down from Barranca and rushed to open the door. Scott was shivering under his blankets.

“Bring him into my examination room,” ordered the doctor.

Val, Johnny and Murdoch waited impatiently for the doctor to let them know how Scott was doing.  After a few minutes, that seemed like hours, Dr. Franks came out to speak with the worried men. “Once we get his temperature back to normal, I think he will be fine.  But… I want him to have bed rest for several days.  He had a severe head injury and his trip in the cold weather didn’t help.  He is resting now because I gave him some sleeping medicine. You can come back to see him in the morning.”

Murdoch and Johnny reconciled that they would be spending some time in Pleasant Hill for the near future, so they walked over to the hotel and got rooms.


Chapter 9

“What the hell do you mean you’re not pressing charges? That boy tried to kill Scott.” Johnny paced back and forth in their hotel room.

“I gave my word, Johnny. Besides, Tom explained that he thought Scott was robbing you and he already has a murder warrant out for him for another accidental death. The boy’s in hiding now and I don’t want to waste time looking for him. I just want to take Scott home.”  

“When did Doc say Scott could go home? I’m getting kinda tired of hanging out in Pleasant Hill since Val left. At least we aren’t at Jeffers’ hotel in San Ramon anymore.”

“Let’s go over to see Dr. Franks. Maybe he’ll let your brother go home today.”   

Murdoch and Johnny strolled down the street from the hotel to Dr. Frank’s office.  They had gotten pretty used to walking into the office without knocking, since it had been nearly a week since they had found Scott. Walking into Scott’s room, they found him sitting up in bed eating some broth. 

“Well, Scott you’re looking well today.”

“I’m feeling fine, sir. The dizziness has passed and I have my appetite back.  I think Doc might let me go home today.”

“What about it, Doc? Can we take Scott home today?”

“Well, if you take it slowly and he rides in a buckboard. Then, I will give you permission to take your son home.” Dr. Franks smiled at the expression on Johnny’s face.

“You hear that Scott? We can start home soon. I’ll go tell Jelly to get the wagon ready.”

“Jelly’s here?” Scott was confused, but glad he hadn’t had to listen to the colorful man expand on everything he knew.

“We wired Jelly to bring the wagon here once we found you. We knew we would eventually need one to bring your sorry hide home.”

“Well, I’ve learned a valuable lesson,” Scott started to explain, but was interrupted by his brother.

“Never bet with your bother?”


“Don’t drink too much tequila?”

“I already knew that.”

“What did you learn Scott?”

“Always get separate rooms at a hotel so I don’t have to listen to you snore.”

Murdoch chuckled and Johnny started to argue. “I don’t snore.  That’s Murdoch!”


October 2020



Thank you for reading! The authors listed on this site spend many hours writing stories for your enjoyment, and their only reward is the feedback you leave. So please take a moment to leave a comment.  Even the simplest ‘I liked this!” can make all the difference to an author and encourage them to keep writing and posting their stories here.  You can comment in the ‘reply’ box below or Email Patricia directly.


4 thoughts on “Missing by PatriciaG

  1. Cute story. I love the bond between the brothers. And the way Johnny interpreted the bet was true Johnny all the way!


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