Having a word

People begin to come out of their houses as the lights are lit, both Ambrose and Jesse turn from watching Joshua near the edge of the field he is stood in and face the town, Joshua also gives his full attention to what is playing out in town.  A young lady in white, in her mid to late twenties, she is hurriedly going through town calling out and spots the Dogs near the fields.  The lady asks for the Dogs assistance with the missing boy, she tells them that young Newton has gone missing.  She informs them that his mother had asked her to go through town and see if she can find any help, or any sign of the boy.  From the sound of her voice, this is not the person that was heard calling out for her missing son.  The lady pleads with the Dogs for help, to get a search party organised or something, she also lets them know that the mother is in the woods looking for her son.  Ambrose asks her to take them to the boy’s mother.

The lady leads them back through town towards the woods; Joshua joins them leaving the fields.  As they all near the woods they see the young man Earp rushing towards them, deftly leaping over a fence that is between him and them.  Panting Earp resting his hands on his knees asks them the situation with Newton, he is partially dressed in a smart shirt and tie flapping around his neck, non of which is fully done up.  Jesse turns and asks the lady her name, to which she gives Elfia, he then turns back to Earp and tells him that she is leading them to Newton’s mother in the woods.  Earp asks the Dogs if he should organise a search party, to which Jesse suggests that he can and it would be a good idea.  He then rushes off with a worried look on his face.

They soon come across a hooded woman in the woods, pale of face with worry; she almost blended in with the shadows in the woods from the half light.  The woman thanks God upon seeing them giving them all her attention.  She pleads with them to find Newton, informing them that he was playing her.  Ambrose quickly asks her how long ago it was when he had disappeared, to which she tells him that is was probably about an hour and a half ago, maybe two.  Jesse asks her if he had ever done this before.  Mrs Newton explains that he has never ran off before, and that he has always been told to keep in line of sight of the town, then she starts to go on about worrying for any mountain folk that may be around.  Both Ambrose and Jesse ask her some question about the boy and where his limits are, and if she had looked at all his usual haunts.

Soon the whole town seemed to be patiently waiting on the outskirts of the woods looking at them, the steward just standing there with a somewhat blank expression, as if waiting for his next instructions.  There is no sign of the lady Wiltshire, she was last seen back in town on her porch watching everyone as they rushed about.

Jesse instructs mother Newton to go back to her home and await the soon return of her soon, so as to know where she will be when they find him.  She reluctantly agrees asking if there is anything she can prepare, like any bandages and salves.  Jesse tells her to have some warm clothes ready for him, plus to make sure there will be food and drink for him to have once back home, and agrees that being prepared with fresh water and bandages would be a good idea.  She heads off looking more motivated now that she has something to do.

Steward Jackson asks what they (the rest of the town), can do to help.  Jesse instructs him to go back in to town and take a good look around, as the boy could be hiding right under their noses, and reminds him to keep everyone calm.  Jackson turns and ushers the crowd back to town, opening his arms around them as he goes.

Ambrose suggests that they go down to the stream to where they last saw him, see if they can pick up on any trails left behind, while Jesse keeps an eye out for up among the trees.  Kneeling down by the waters edge Ambrose picks up on some tracks of what appears to be the boy, heading roughly towards a craggy outcrop further out away from the town, the boy seems to be on his own.  Like a blood hound Ambrose leads the way to where Newton should be, amongst the craggy outcrop.

They make their way across the barren distance between the woods and the outcrop, as they draw nearer the ground because very rough.  As they climb over the rough rocky ground at the location they begin to hear crying behind some rocks.  While they approach closer they call out his name in hope of a response, and to reassure the boy letting him know that someone friendly is nearby.

Newton is sat on a precarious outcrop overhanging a deep drop to the ground beneath, the boy is busy throwing stones without much thought, the moonlight reflecting in the tears held in his eyes.  Now the Dogs are near, and the boy hears them and turns, they can see tear tracks down his cheeks, and his clothes are torn from the climb.

Ambrose calls out to him, asking him what he is doing out there.  “Should have known it wouldn’t be Him who came!”  Newton looks up at them as he throws another stone.  Jesse asks him who he means, if he means Earp.  Newton confirms he was referring to Earp, stating that he would have thought that he would have come.  Jesse informs him the Earp is in fact organising a search party and looking for him as they speak.  “Really?” Newton asks.  “Yes he is very worried.”  Jesse answers him.  The boy brightens somewhat upon hearing this, the corners of his mouth can be seen to crease as a smile crosses his face.  Jesse then goes on to inform him that his mum is very worried about him also, “She is very upset.”  Newton crosses his arms across his chest, “It isn’t going to chance anything though is it!”  Both Ambrose and Jesse ask him to clarify what he means by that statement.  Newton explains that everyone is going to be there for Earp and he will go off, “then I will have no one to talk to.”  Jesse tries to reassure him that Earp is always going to be there for him, that it is only for one evening.  They talk more about the situation and Newton mentions Bonnie’s name with distaste.

Jesse having enough of going around in circles with the boy tells him that he needs to think beyond himself, the now.  Telling him that Earp and Newton will always be friends and there for each other.  Newton tells him that the problem around here is that everyone is Old!  Jesse decides to try something and asks him if he gets on with Ms Wiltshire, and upon hearing this the boy pales telling him that she is a scary lady.  Finally Jesse asks him what his plan is, what he is going to do now, to which Newton opens his mouth to speak then pauses and finally closes his mouth realising he has no plan.  Jesse tries to convince him that he is making the situation worse, becoming more stern with him, telling him that he needs to come back to town now.

After a bit of arguing and persuasion Jesse manages to convince him he needs to get back to town and back to his mother.  Jesse almost looses his temper with the boy, especially when he turns to says that his mother didn’t even both to come for him.

As Newton makes his way back from the edge of the outcrop, and to where the Dogs are waiting for him, Jesse walks off on his own, still clenching his fists, his knuckles turning a little white, back to the woods.

Newton pipes up that he suppose that they need to get back to town now.  Ambrose tells him that he will have to tell his mother what had happened, to the boy’s disgust.  Newton tries to suggest possible tells to tell his mum, but Ambrose suggests that he could alternatively ask Brother Jesse to inform his mother about thieves and a kidnap.  The boy looks around and then turns back to Ambrose, “I can’t see Brother Jesse at the moment.”  So Ambrose suggests that he had better go and find him.  “I, I think I will tell my mum the truth.”

On the journey back Newton seems to be muttering to himself about what had happened, often saying something slightly different to the previous statement.  By the time they arrive back it is getting fairly late now, and a small search party spots them and shouts go out.

Upon seeing his mother, Newton runs up to her, tears rolling down his checks.  She tells him amongst her tears that she was so worried, and the boy tells her that he is so sorry.  They stand there in each others embrace, tears and apologises coming from them.  Ambrose stands directly in line of Newton’s sight, his arms folded just looking at the boy.  Newton informs his mother, “I was really sad about everything here, I, I, sorry.  Then the Dogs came for me.  I was on a really high place, it was really dangerous.” He stutters out.

“Newton!” Ambrose states.

“The big man, the big man is really scary.” Newton carries on through his blubbering.  His mother rubs his hair, telling him that the Dogs are only mean to people who are sinners, that they only wanted the best for him, she reassures the boy.

Mrs Newton thanks the Dogs fro bringing her son back to her.  Ambrose tells her exactly what and where the boy had gone, informing her as to why Newton had done this act.  With this Mrs Newton voices changes, a little anger undertones as she tells Newton that he is going straight to bed, and that he will be talking to his father in the morning.  Mrs Newton then turns back to the Dogs apologising for the way her son has acted, reassuring them that he is not normally like that.

Joshua notices that during this, the lady Wiltshire is sat on her porch rocking back and forth, busy knitting away and frowns has she hears the tale unfold.  Her knitting seems to speed up as the tale goes on, and Joshua is sure he could her some sort of tutting coming from her direction.

“Hey there sugar, I can’t see the Jester with you.” A voice is heard behind Ambrose, who turns to see Bonnie standing behind him.  He tells her that he is not sure where ‘Brother Jesse’ is, as he tries to hold of a smile cross his face.  Ambrose admits to her that Jesse had started to get a little angry with Newton.  Bonnie apologises to him saying that it is all her fault, the boy went like this ever since she turned up there.  Ambrose reassures her that it is not her fault, not for the boy who is being selfish and jealous.  It looks as if Bonnie wanted to say more to this but doesn’t go ahead and say anything, she just keeps her mouth shut.  Bonnie informs the Dogs that Temperance seems to be settling in well, she seems to be happy making new friends.

Gradually the lights begin to go back out, bringing back the dark of night to close the end of another day under the King of Life.  All that is left there is the two Dogs, and Wiltshire sat on her porch watching the Dogs.  Eventually the lady packs up her knitting, being the last of the townsfolk to leave, and heads back indoors, the sound of the bolt sliding on the door travelling to their ears.  And now in the distance can be heard the odd thumbing on wood, as if someone is hitting a tree or two.

Morning breaks on another day, people are already going about their day, men heading off in to the fields tending the crops and live stock.  Nathaniel can be seen back out in the fields helping out where he can, but not able to do much with his injured knee.  Today there will be a service in the chapel, held by the steward Jackson, who is now opening the doors to the chapel and gives a little wave to the Dogs.

After opening the doors Jackson walks over to the Dogs, thanking them for all the help they gave the night before, and was wondering if they would like to give a sermon in thanks during the service later.  Ambrose praises the steward on a well run town, and tells him that he will do a good job on the sermon without needing a word from the Dogs.  Jackson also shares with the Dogs about the little problem they have had over night with some of the livestock, escaping the fields and drowning in the water.  Ambrose assures him that if he is concerned about this then they will take a look in to this for him.  Jackson thanks him for being able to do this for the town, and he also tells them that he hopes to have a word with Bartholomew after the sermon today.  Ambrose asks Jackson if he could come along as he would like to see this Bartholomew.

Before it is time to attend the sermon, the Dogs utilise the time they have to check out the problem with the errant animals.  The area where the animals were penned is all fenced off, but where they had made their escape that part of the ground is highly saturated, figuring that it must have moved easily under the weight of an animal pressing against it.  Investigating more around this area they find that the animals had moved out through here easily, heading directly for the water, with no other sign of any fowl play.

Once they get to the water bank where the animals had gone, they find a similar scene to the fields.  The ground at this spot is very sodden and looks like the ground had given way under the animals’ weight, depositing the livestock in to the water.

The Dogs head back to town accompanied by the chapel bell tolling, ringing in the townsfolk ready for the coming service.  Once they arrive at the chapel the whole town seems to be there already, there are around twenty people sat within on the pews, waiting to hear what the steward has to share.  Several people the Dogs do not recognise yet, a man with a pipe stuck out of his belt is sat next to the lady from the night before, Elfia, not the most hansom of men, probably ten years her senior, this Jackson points out as Bartholomew.  Standing out the back of the chapel near the doors is Wiltshire, letting everyone fill in to the pews, watching them all with a careful eye.  However one person they do know and can not see there in the chapel is Newton, his parents are there.  Also there is a surly looking young man at the back of the chapel, with a metal looking pin stuck in his boot along with some wood fibres.  This probably being the young Cyrus, who must be seventeen or eighteen years of age?  (Last of the three that are in their teens in this town.)

Steward Jackson takes to the dais and welcomes the people, thanking them all for turning up, mentioning that some people don’t allow the King of Life in to their hearts.  He also includes the three Dogs in his welcoming speech.  The Dogs notice that Wiltshire is there looking over at them and slowing nodding and smiling as if accepting what Jackson is saying, Jesse narrows his eyes slightly at her, her gaze catching his and they look in to each others eye for a few seconds before she smiles and nods slightly then looks away back towards Jackson.  Wiltshire sits there rubbing her wrist, the callus palms of her hands visible.  During the sermon Jackson can be seen looking over towards Wiltshire as he finishes a paragraph before starting the next, and a barely perceptible nod is returned.  During one of the hymns Ambrose keeps an eye on Bartholomew, seeing that everyone is joining in with the signing except for him, he just stands there moving his mouth with no sound escaping.

After the service Jackson goes over to the Dogs and asks them what they thought of his sermon, all the while keeping his focus on Wiltshire.  Ambrose agrees with him, that he had given a good sermon.  After that discussion Ambrose asks him why Newton was not attending, but Jackson doesn’t know why, suggesting that perhaps it is something to do with being ashamed with what had happened the previous evening.  Jackson excuses himself telling them that he needs to catch up with Cyrus to have a word with, before he gets too far or un-welcoming.

Ambrose and Jesse go over to have a talk with lady Wiltshire, while Joshua heads off to follow steward Jackson to see what happens, being careful to keep his distance and not draw attention to himself.  Every now and again Jackson keeps looking over his should towards Wiltshire’s house, fortunately not spotting Joshua trailing him.

Joshua listens in on Jackson and Cyrus without being noticed, as they talk out in the fields.  Jackson tells him about the problem with the livestock, and asks him to help him with re-posting the fence.  As they set to work Jackson asks him why he does the things he do, that he is not in need of the food.  Cyrus shrugs telling him that he does it to see if he can, “see if she spots me.”  Jackson shakes his head in response.  “She is a nosey old witch.” Cyrus carries on.

“You really shouldn’t say such things, she is a really nice lady.” Jackson quickly replies.  “She just doesn’t want people letting their standards down around here.”

“I don’t like her.”

“You don’t have to like her boy, but the King of Life does say not to allow hatred in to your life.”  Jackson carries on asking him why he takes it out on other people.

“You’re all too scared of her.”  But Jackson keeps trying to correct him, imploring that she is only looking out for others.  He instructs Cyrus to come to him if he has any problems, not to take it out on the animals or other people.  Cyrus reassures him that he will not be doing anything while the watch Dogs are around, worried about what the Dogs had done at the previous town, he accuses them to be much like Wiltshire.

The doors are locked and bolted, the curtains closed, as the two Dogs stand outside the lady Wiltshire’s house.  Ambrose goes and knocks on the door, “Just one moment please, I just need to get myself up.” The reply comes from the other side of the door.  A sound of someone getting up from a bed and moving to the door can be heard.  Slowly the door opens enough for the lady of the house to peer out leaning on the door, “Hello there. I didn’t realise it was you watch Dogs.”

“Good morning Mrs Wiltshire.  May we come in.” asks Ambrose in response.

“It is such a lovely day, would you mind joining me on my porch extension.  I will just need to take some more chairs out.”

“Can I help you with the chairs?”

“Oh don’t worry, I am not a frail old lady.”  Wiltshire closes the door and a bolt can be hears sliding in to place.

By the time the two Dogs make their way around the house to the porch, an additional two chairs have been added, and she is just sitting herself down with her knitting.  She begins to rock back and forth, tying back her hair in to a bun with one of her needles.  Wiltshire smiles at them in greeting, “I have been watching you Watch Dogs.”

“And what do you think.” Ambrose asks of her.

“The man there has a slight problem with his temper.” She nods towards Jesse.  A pause as the Dogs do not reply, “The young boy, he seems rather over attached to his weapons.  It doesn’t really impress anyone.”

“He does have quite a few of them.” Ambrose states.

“They are of no use if you take the weapons away from him.”  Another pause.

“And what do you have to say about me?” Ambrose gives her a smile.

“I am still watching you.  One you talk, you talk a lot, and you don’t’ really say very much, not if you don’t want to.”  As they talk she explains that she prefers to keep people to their moral ways, and Ambrose counters that this job is usually down to the town steward, to which she explains that she often talks with him to check that everything is alright.  Then she changes the subject to Bartholomew, talking about his silence, which Ambrose tries to assure her that it will be down to his shyness of the good steward’s teaching, but it is not a problem.  Again Wiltshire changes subject, asking about Temperance, stating that if is unusual for them to be travelling this way.  Ambrose informs her that Temperance is there at their request.  Now she asks them about Bonnie, that she occasionally uses the improper term of phrase, some what too knowing for a lady of her age.  Jesse keeps his calm with this, he slightly looks and narrows his eyes her way but says nothing.

“It seems to me ‘Miss’ Wiltshire, that you are very quick to bring order, your very own order to this town.  I am not sure I all together like it.”  Ambrose informs her of his thoughts, he then thanks her for her hospitality and little chat.  She then asks him if she may ask one more question, to which Ambrose agrees.

“The release on your holster, it doesn’t look much worn?”  Wiltshire asks him, “Have you not had many occasions to draw it in anger?”

“I mainly find other ways of dealing with the problems.”

“It is good that you are with your friend then, maybe you will have a calming influence on him.”

Lady Wiltshire agrees that it was a pleasure to meet them, and hope that the town is safe in their endeavours.  Ambrose replies, “I am sure it will be safe by the time we leave.” He then looks over to Jesse to see if there is anything he would like to say, only to see that it looks like he is busy keeping himself under control, his hands in his pockets.

“He does so remind me of my second husband.” Wiltshire states, “It was such a pity the day he passed away.”  Before they leave she asks Ambrose that before they make a decision on the town that she would like to hear their thoughts.  “If you would indulge an old lady.”

“I am sure you will be the first to hear.”

The Dogs gather back together once more, when a fuzzy haired guy runs up to them, “Brother Blake, Brother Ambrose, Brother Joshua.  I just want to thank you all for finding Newton last night.”  Earp is very thankful to the Dogs, explaining that he must try not to talk about Bonnie so much around him.  Jesse (Blake) asks him where Newton was during the service earlier, and Earp replies that he was wondering that himself.  Jesse asks him if Newton has ever missed church, to which Earp tells them that Newton has never missed a service.  Earp suggests that perhaps the father had ground the boy, and thanks them saying he is going to go over and see how Newton is this morning.  Jesse offer that they should come along with him to see Newton, to make sure everything is alright.  However Earp reassures them that everything will be fine, Newton’s father wouldn’t do anything.  Jesse asks him to inform them of how Newton is once he has finished, to which Earp agree.

Brother Jesse heads off to see Bonnie again, while Brother Ambrose and Brother Joshua walks off to have a talk with Bartholomew, on the way Relief looks out her window then rushes out, running up to Ambrose.  “Are you going to see Bartholomew now?”

“Yes we are, we are going to see how he is.” Ambrose informs her.

“He has been so quiet today, someone needs to have a word with him.” Relief shares her thoughts and feelings about Bartholomew and his silence.  She then asks Ambrose if there is a message she can take to Wiltshire, as she is heading off to see her now to take some cookies she has baked.

“Wish her the best.” Is all that Ambrose offers.  She heads off back to her house to pick up the baked goods.

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