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Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

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About Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

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  • Birthday 07/18/1957

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    http://www.sisleycreekpress.com
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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Express Ranch, Oregon Territory
  • Interests
    Hunting, shooting, and writing novels. Co-honcho of the Virtue Flat Shootist Society, Baker City, Oregon. I also shoot with my good pards at the Oregon Trail Regulators, La Grande, OR.

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  • SASS Number or "Guest"
    48580

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  1. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Duzy Wales 10-30-07 Duzy felt herself being pulled back and she tried to fight leaving, as it was such a peaceful and beautiful place with an unconditional love that was indescribable. Linn had said she wasn’t finished yet, that there was more for her to do and people who loved her were waiting for her, grief stricken, their hearts breaking. She felt herself turning and going away from the light and the beautiful green that had been in the valley where she and Linn had talked. Nothing was clear, but she felt the pain return and then she heard Linn say “Dearest,” and thought she could go back to the valley, and she answered “Yes,” but it wasn’t meant to be as she still felt the pain and everything went black as she lost consciousness. In the distance, she could hear her Papa talking to her, pleading for her to hang on and stay with him through the night. At some point, Duzy could hear Jake telling Papa that he would sit with her and to go get some rest. She heard him say that Mildred was asking for him and was determined to get to Papa and Duzy. Papa thanked Jake and told him he would be back soon, as he knew Mildred wouldn’t wait much longer to be with Duzy and that she would need him to be strong for her. Lee didn’t feel strong, he had never felt such heartache, not even when his own parents had left him, and he thought nothing could be worse than that! He left for the hotel to tell his wife that Duzy was still alive and that she was looking better than when they last saw her. After hearing Duzy speak that one word, he had been given hope that she might still survive. Jake sat beside Duzy and stroked her face, pleading for her to come back to him, that he needed her, how he loved her as he described the plans they had made for the future. Duzy could hear him, but she still could not open her eyes or say anything, but she wanted to reassure him that she was back with him and that they would still be together. She felt herself move her hand to give him a sign and he saw it and took her hand, tears rolling down his face as he thought perhaps God had heard his plea and she would live.
  2. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Charlie MacNeil 10-29-07 Abraham Belding felt like he'd come home when he'd come to Firelands. He had been welcomed by one and all, and had helped to save the town from the outlaws. So he was chagrined to find that when another crisis had struck, he had been gone from town, hunting. It wasn't until he rode back into town with a string of ducks and a shotgun hanging from his saddle that he found out what happened. Abraham took up his Bible and went to the sanctuary to pray for Duzy. He also prayed for Linn and Jake, because he knew the temperament of both men and he also knew that one of the outlaws was still alive. He himself felt the stirring of anger and damped it down. It would do no one any good for him to be anything but a figure of calm. Abraham knelt to pray and heard the door of the church swing open. One of the hinges squeaked a bit no matter how much oil he used on it. He kept his head down as bootheels beat a quiet tattoo on the board floor. The footsteps stopped at the first row of pews. "Preacher, can we talk?" Abraham rose and turned. Jake stood there with his hat in his hands and his face a craggy field marred by the anguish he felt. Tears streaked his cheeks. Abraham came forward with his hand outstretched. "Any time, Jake. You know that." Jake took the offered hand and squeezed it hard. "I know what happened to Duzy, Jake," Abraham said. "And I think I know why you're here." "I feel so damn helpless," Jake started. "I feel like I should be there for her, but..." He stopped and stared at his hands. He looked up. "She was shot protecting me!" he blurted out. "Jake, the female of the species is the most fierce when protecting her family," Abraham said softly. "You are her family, and Duzy is not the sort to sit back and wait." He chuckled. "I for one would not get in the way of any woman with a pistol, and especially one as determined as Duzy Wales!" "Preacher, would you pray with me?" "You know I will, Jake." Abraham led the way to the pulpit and beyond it to the sanctuary. They knelt where Abraham had been and together began to entreat the Almighty to bring his healing touch and his Spirit to Firelands.
  3. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Linn Keller 10-29-07 Susan put her finger to her lips and opened the door. I stepped in first, my eyes on Esther, and the black rubber tube running from the inside of her left elbow to the inside of Duzy's right elbow. I looked at Dr. Flint, raised a questioning eyebrow. Dr. Flint raised one finger. In a moment, he said silently. Lee leaned against the door frame, suddenly sick with dread. Even a strong man is weakened when it's one of your own. I closed my hand around Esther's. "Dearest?" I said quietly. "Yes?" she and Duzy said together. Esther's eyes snapped wide with shock, and she turned her head to look with amazement at her niece. Duzy was pale, not quite as pale as she had been, but at least she didn't have the waxy look of a newly dead corpse. I was pretty damned surprised myself, and it showed in my voice. "Duzy?" There was no response. I looked back down at Esther. "I'm all right, dearest," she murmured. "Just tired." "I'll get some soup in you and get you tucked in," I said, squeezing her hand a little, and brushing a stray curl of lovely auburn hair from her pale forehead. "That would be nice," Esther said, fatigue thickening her voice. "Hold me, Linn," she said. "Hold me." "Excuse me," Dr. Flint said, his hand heavy on my shoulder. I released Esther's hand and stepped back. Dr. Flint felt her wrist pulse, frowned; he reached over, felt the inside of Duzy's upper arm, pressed his fingers firmly to find the higher pulse. "Mrs. Wales, I think we're going to discontinue the transfusion now," he said. "Susan, could you -- oh, thank you!" Susan had the gauze pads cut and folded, ready to apply; as the doctor withdrew the steel needle, Susan pinched the tubing with one hand while applying pressure to the puncture with the other. Dr. Flint pinched the tubing with his off hand. "Ready?" "Yes, Doctor." Dr. Flint pulled the steel needle from Duzy's arm. Duzy flinched and moaned a little. Susan had the pad on the wound the moment the needle was free of the skin. They waited several minutes to ensure a good start on clotting before wrapping each one in gauze -- snugly, but not too tight -- the pair working as if they'd labored side by side for years. "Mrs. Wales, you may feel light-headed or weak for a day or so," Dr. Flint cautioned her. "Don't get up just yet. Susan, could you -- oh, thank you." Susan had a tumbler of fresh, cold well water in hand and slipped her hand under Esther's shoulders, helping her sit up. "Sip on this, dear," she said, "just sips, now. Your stomach will be delicate for an hour or so." Esther took the glass in her right hand and downed half the contents. "Oh, that's so good," she murmured, took another breath and downed the other half. "A good sign," Dr. Greenlees murmured. "It will be a long night," Dr. Flint said. "Do you want the first watch, or shall I?" "I had a good night's rest, Dr. Flint. You go get a meal and get a room and I'll stay for a while." "I'd like to stay," Lee said weakly. "And you are...?" "Family," I said. "My brother-in-law. To be." Dr. Greenlees nodded. "I'll get you a chair. And a cushion." Esther swung her feet over the edge of the cot. It was wheeled, higher than normal; her feet were well off the floor, and Susan steadied her. Susan's casual manner masked the sharpness of her observation. She was watching for sudden changes in balance, skin color, or sudden onset nausea. Esther waved a hand in front of her face. "I'm all right," she said, and wobbled, nearly falling over. I ran an arm behind her, just below her shoulder blades, the other under her knees. I picked her up. "Can I take her home?" I asked.
  4. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Duzy Wales 10-29-07 Lee and Mildred Wales had caught a ride into town, but as soon as they got there, Lee found the hotel to get Mildred to lie down, although he had quite a time doing it, having to tell Duzy’s Mama that she would need her strength later to tend to Duzy, which was how he had gotten her to leave Duzy in the first place, and how it was time for her to rest while the doctor did his work. When she finally agreed, Lee left to find Esther, thinking she would already be with Duzy, and to find out just how bad things were. He didn’t have much hope at this time and knew his beloved wife would need all her strength getting through losing Duzy, and it coming so close to losing her own Papa….damned if he knew how he was going to make it through it either! He wiped the tears from his eyes and went back downstairs. Tilly had sent word to get Linn after getting Duzy’s Mama and Papa to a room, thinking how pale and worn they looked, grief stricken was more like it, she thought. Esther would want to know her brother and his wife were there too, she was thinking. When Mr. Wales came back downstairs, Tilly took him by the arm and said, "I will take you to her, Mr. Wales." Lee thanked her and soon they found Linn. “Mr. Wales, this is Sheriff Linn Keller, Linn, this is Duzy’s Papa, Lee Wales. “Mr. Keller, I had hoped to be celebrating when I met the man Esther wanted to marry, but….and he reached out his hand, I'm sorry.... I know you love her too! Duzy has told me all about you and how much she and Esther both love you! Is she….is she still?” Lee couldn’t get the words out, but Linn did as he always did and reached out to his future brother-in-law, knowing how he was feeling, and shook his hand and the two left together to find out if there was anymore word.
  5. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Linn Keller 10-29-07 Sean's great hand was spread gently over the swell of Daisy's belly, and his face held the same wonder as a child beholding his first Christmas tree. "Did ye feel it, then?" Daisy asked, delight in her voice. "I did," Sean whispered. "A son!" Daisy swatted his shoulder. "Of course a son, you great Irish oaf! The broom straw never lies!" Sean snatched her up and spun her around, laughing. "Daisy, me dear, kiss the happiest man in the entire United States!" She did. Did a good job, too.
  6. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Linn Keller 10-29-07 Susan's professional mask was firmly in place. She'd assisted with the surgery; she'd taken care of Duzy's effects; she'd bundled her ruined dress and smallclothes into a pile. The pepperbox she put in the top drawer of the doctor's cabinet; her aunt was not disposed to receive her reticule and pistol, but they could wait. Sue was less than a mile from Firelands when Jacob came streaking down the road toward her. She wasn't sure quite what she was seeing, not until they got very close, for when his stallion ran he stuck his nose straight out and his tail straight out and Jacob was laid down along his neck and it looked like the horse was about two feet tall and ten feet long, kind of a rusty blur coming right at her! She folded a dampened cloth and laid it across Esther's forehead. She put another in her hand. "Wipe your face, dear," she said gently, "you've a bit of sweat built up." Esther did, dabbing under her chin and around her neck: indelicate, perhaps, and certainly not something she would do in mixed company, but perfectly all right with Susan in the room. Susan cocked her head and smiled. "I can see the resemblance," she said. "She's a strong woman, just like you." Esther pressed the cloth to the corners of her eyes. "I don't feel very strong," she said huskily.
  7. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Mr. Box 10-29-07 "I'll just stack your things on here and the hotel is right down the street. They've got a nice restrurant there with it, too. Sorry about leaving you stranded here. There was a lot going on all of a sudden." Miss Messman said, "After all the trouble, they were in quite a hurry to get here! I've never had such a fast ride, even when a horse ran away with me in a buggy!" "She was really moving when I saw her. I'm surprised they got her stopped! I'll find you a room so you can get settled. Everybody's out seeing how the owner doing. That was her they carried off the train. I'll leave a note and then I can carry your bags up in a minute." "Thank you." "Welcome to Firelands."
  8. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Linn Keller 10-29-07 Annette stood in the long rays of the afternoon sun, shading her eyes against its glare, looking around. Her luggage was stacked neatly beside her; the storm of activity that swirled like a young tornado around the station when the train arrived, had dissipated, leaving only the empty coach, the panting engine, and one very young woman. She was the only one left, and suddenly she felt very alone, and very lost. There was a step on the rough boards of the platform, a gentle voice. "Miss, can I help you?" She turned and smiled shyly. "I think I need to find the hotel," she said. "I'll get the wagon, don't you worry. I work there, matter of fact. We'll get you settled in." He extended his hand. "Name's Baxter. I run the bar." "Annette Messman." Her grip was as delicate as her voice. She's such a little thing, Mr. Baxter thought. Wonder what brings her clear out here? Family, most likely. He smiled and winked reassuringly. "I'll be right back."
  9. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Mr. Box 10-29-07 Esther nearly exploded when I opened her door! "It's Duzy, gasp, at the doctor's, gasp...." I could tell by the expression on her face that I was the last person she had expected to see. I can't remember saying another word. She boiled out of her room and down the stairs so fast I could barely stay ahead of her! She was so excited she couldn't form a sentence and I couldn't have given an answer anyway. I opened the door when we got there and she was absorbed into the frenzy. I waited outside with the gathering crowd for a few minutes. Then I decided to wander back down toward the station and see if there was anything to do there. Even after sitting still for a few minutes, the engine still seemed to be panting. That machine was charged up with all the spirit of Esther Wales herself! What a perfect match. "I need to take a ride on that thing someday!" I said in admiration. "Boy, can she move!"
  10. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Linn Keller 10-29-07 Dr. George Flint, M.D., Navajo indian and Harvard graduate, washed his hands methodically, carefully, and prepared himself for his next task. The surgery had gone better, much better than he'd expected. The spleen was not burst, only grazed; enough to nearly bleed the poor woman to death, but had the bullet centered the organ she would have died in less than half a minute. She'd been lucky, he thought, and almost smiled. Lucky? he thought. She's pale as a cloud and has as much a grip on life as a cloud has on a mountaintop. "A pleasure assisting, Doctor," Dr. Greenlees said, drying his hands. They shook, exchanging the delicate grip of the surgeon: to the unitiated the grip was light, almost efffeminate; it was anything but: it was the professional recognition of the artistry and precision of the surgeon's hand. "She won't last the night." Dr. Flint's jaw thrust forward. "There is one thing we can try." "Right now I would try anything!" "Do you remember the first successful transfusion?" Dr. Greenlees raised one eyebrow. "I remember. The year was 1818, and it was Dr. James Blundell. It saved a woman's life after post-partum hemorrhage." Dr. Flint nodded. "It's risky but it's her only chance. There is a blood relative waiting without." "Have you the transfusion equipment?" Dr. Flint smiled grimly. "I have." Esther was clinging to Linn's hand on one side, Daisy's on the other. Jackson was at the jail, watching the prisoner, freeing Linn to be with Esther. The surgery door opened and a tall, blocky man emerged, drying his hands on a spotless linen towel. "Esther Wales?" Dr. Flint asked. "I'm Doctor Flint. She's alive, but barely." Esther swallowed hard, the red of her lips standing out against her pallor. "Your niece is no ordinary woman," he said gently. "What she's been through -- the injury, and then surgery -- would have killed a grown man." Esther pressed a kerchief to her nose and nodded. "Mrs. Wales, there is a chance -- a slim chance -- a procedure that may save her life, but we will need your help." "Whatever I can do," Esther said firmly, straightening her back with sudden resolve. Dr. Flint nodded. "Come with me." Esther's knees nearly failed her when she saw Duzy lying on the bed, waxy, pallid, and very, very still. "Mrs. Wales, we need to transfer a volume of your blood into her veins. This has been done successfully in England, but I must be honest: sometimes something goes terribly wrong. We have no idea why, but sometimes blood is terribly incompatible. It may very well save her life, or it may not help at all. Without your blood, she will surely die. With it, she has a chance." Esther turned and faced him squarely. "Tell me what to do." A few moments later she was lying on a portable cot beside Duzy's bed, her bare arm outstretched, and she flinched and grimaced as the steel needle pierced the tender skin inside her elbow. She looked over at her niece. "Duzy, I'm here," she said softly. "If you look any harder at the floor, you'll burn a hole in it," Daisy said gently. The Sheriff started, then smiled sadly and nodded. Daisy laid a gentle hand on his hunched back, between his shoulder blades. "They are doing their best, you know that." The Sheriff nodded, hat dangling from his fingers. "And they've that grand lady of yours in there with her." Daisy leaned over so she could see the Sheriff's eyes. "I don't know what the doctor was talkin' about, but it just might work." "It might." He took a shivering breath, crushed the hat in his hand as if he were crushing the life out of an enemy. Daisy shook her head. "You men," she said with the gentlest of voices. "You've crushed your fine hat, then, and my Sean knocked half the boards off the outhouse, and his knuckles are a mess. If you'd do like we women do, your knuckles and your hats would be less sore." The Sheriff chuckled, looking at his twisted and mangled hat. "And just what do you women do?" he asked with the smile Daisy loved so well. She regarded him with an impish smile. "Why, Sheriff! You don't know? And you fancy to marry one of us? For shame!" She pushed gently on his shoulder, then put a hand to her belly with a surprised look. "Daisy?" the Sheriff asked, alarm in his eyes and his hand on her shoulder. Daisy glowed, her eyes growing large. "I felt him move," she whispered. "I felt the wee baby move!" She stood. "Sean must know!" "Go on," the Sheriff said, "Esther will likely be a while. I'm not going anywhere." Daisy took two quick steps toward the door, then stopped. She turned. "You're a good man, Sheriff. Never forget that," she said with a serious expression, and then she was gone. The Sheriff tried to return his hat to something resembling its former shape. "Wonder what she meant by that?"
  11. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Duzy Wales 10-29-07 Jake Thomas, a West Point graduate, a retired federal agent, specializing in covert operations for President Hayes, a man who had been hardened by what he had seen and by what he had did, had finally found the love of his life and had never felt as helpless as he did at this moment. Duzy had brought joy into his life, loving him with the innocence of a first love, and yet with the unbridled passion of a woman who knew what she wanted and needed and wasn’t afraid to communicate those needs or to reciprocate when it came to his wants and desires. As he waited, he thought of the first time they had made love. It was the night of the grand opening and neither had expected it to happen. They had only known each other for a short time and he had meant to court her slowly, but when he had walked her to her room to say goodnight, fate had stepped in. The goodnight kiss had turned into a scorching kiss, much like a fire kindled from a small flame, and when their lips parted the air ignited the fire and they both knew that they had to have more. He remembered picking her up and carrying her to the bed, still kissing, both undressing each other as they explored each others bodies until the wee hours of morning, both feeling a euphoria like never before, as they kissed each other good morning, and made love again. Since that night, they had lived, loved, laughed and cried together, as they planned a future full of dreams, happiness, children, and growing old together, sometimes thinking of the stories they could pass on to their grandchildren. Tears came to his eyes and he sat sobbing uncontrollably, fearful of the worst, a heartbreak that he couldn’t even imagine, as thinking of life without her was too much to bear. Jake had felt like killing the outlaw that was still alive, and had started to do so, but it didn’t make him feel any better and he had decided to let the law handle it. He felt lost. He wanted to see Duzy’s mischievous brown eyes, to see again how she could make him smile at the smallest things, to catch her watching him when he least expected it, to hold and love her, to protect her with his life, not the other way around! He didn’t know what to do, what he would do, what he could do, so he did the only thing that came to his mind. He walked to the church to pray.
  12. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Linn Keller 10-29-07 The outlaw had been shot through the outside of his upper thigh, and he had a bullet graze over his left ear. There were other injuries as well. I ignored them, just as I ignored Jake's bloodied knuckles. Fact is, once I jerked the outlaw to his feet, I carried him to the front of the car at as much of a run as I could muster and drove him into the door frame, and held him up with my left hand and gut punched him, hard, with my good right fist. From there I pretty much drug him to the jail. Once I got him back to his cell I made sure he was not carrying any weapons. I taken out my knife and slit his pants legs up the seam, and split his shirt down its back, and left him in very little but ... well, very little. He tried to protest. I threw him hard against the back wall. I came back after a couple hours. He was laying on the floor, doubled up and holding his belly. I must not have been the only one to put a hay maker into his guts. "I need the doc," he gasped. "I'm hurtin' bad!" I squatted down so he could hear me, for I was not going to speak loud at all. "The doc is busy," I said. "He's operatin' on that woman you shot." "I never shot her!" he gasped. "Tell me who did and maybe I'll get the Doc." "He's dead already. Fellow named Jay Walters." "Who sent you?" "Nobody sent us. We figured it would be an easy job. Didn't figure on no Federal lawman meetin' us!" "You ever hear about entertainin' angels unawares?" He looked at me, puzzled. "Angels or lawmen, makes no difference. Never know where you'll find us." I stood. "Ain't'cha gonna get the doc?" I squatted back down. "You shot my niece," I said quietly. "She might as well be my daughter. And you shot her. She's probably gonna die. If she does, I'll save the Judge the trouble of comin' out here and spare the town the expense of a trial!" "You can't do that!" I nodded slowly, still speaking quietly. "You shot at my friend, and you shot my family. How do you reckon I'm going to treat you now?" I stood up and walked back into the office. I sat down. I pulled out the top right hand drawer. I slammed it back in, teeth clenched, lips drawn back. I reached into my vest pocket and pulled out the coin, looked at it, turned it over, considering. I slid it back into my pocket. This wasn't to be a Rose killing. If he lived, and there's no reason he shouldn't, I thought, we'll give him a fair trial, and then hang him.
  13. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Linn Keller 10-29-07 Sean watched as Duzy was carried into the doctor's surgery, and it was as if his bones were poured out like water. His knees failed him and he sank the upholstered, leather-covered seat, and lowered his head in his hands. He stepped down off the rig, and looked around, and strode for the back of the doctor's building. He found what he was looking for. He opened the outhouse door, and stepped in, and latched the door behind him. Sean, veteran firefighter, scarred-knuckle brawler and triumphant survivor of many a private and public brawl, attacker and defender during internecine warfare between rival fire companies, Sean the iron man who strode into the Devil's living room with a bucket of water and belted the Adversary himself across the chops and dared him to do his worst, Sean, who alone in the county had bested the Sheriff at a squared-off knock-down-drag-out bare-knuckles fight, Sean sat down on the smooth-sanded outhouse seat and fished the bandanna from his hip pocket. He wiped his eyes, wiped them again. He folded the bandanna twice, and pressed it against his face, and began to cry, great racking sobs that threatened to tear his soul apart. If any noticed the muffled sounds from out back, or the pounding that followed, none spoke of it.
  14. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Firelands-The Beginning

    Linn Keller 10-29-07 Esther was willing herself to be calm, willing herself not to believe in the terrible feeling of doom that had plagued her for the past few days, willing whatever was happening at the depot to be nothing... "Linn will come running up the stairs the way he always does," she thought, and he'll tell me what happened, and like he always does, he'll get me to laughing..." There were hurried steps approaching, but it wasn't Linn who knocked and thrust open the door. Esther turned, her hand going to her bosom, as Mr. Baxter delivered his message. She did not notice the box she'd just knocked over, nor the new watch it contained as it fell through a hole in the board floor, a hole left when a knot failed under the cast iron leg of her sewing machine, a hole that was to be fixed on the morrow. The new watch, a railroad watch with jeweled bearings, and engraving, and a picture of Esther on the inside, fell into the dark recess between the floors; its watch chain followed, snakelike, ratttling down the hole. Esther seized up her skirts and followed Mr. Baxter downstairs, not even shutting the door behind her. Duzy! she thought. No!
  15. Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

    Starter double rig-gone pending shipping info

    Thanks, gents. I like to "pay it forward"!
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