The Owner

 

By Heleen

 

 

It was 6 0”clock in the morning and John was washed ready for breakfast. The others came to get breakfast too. Victoria filled the cups with coffee.

 

 “Blue, I must go to Yuma and you have to take responsibility here, you understand!” John said to his son as they breakfasted.

 

 “Yep, Pa,” said Blue. “How long will you be away?”

 

“I am coming back in about two days,” said John.

 

“Okay Pa. Don’t you worry about the ranch. I’ll take care of it,” said Blue.

 

“Blue boy, I am proud of you,” said Buck.

 

“Thank you, Uncle Buck.”

 

Blue smiled and was glad that his father gave him the chance to let him do these things.

 

“Oh John, please be careful,” said Victoria.

 

“Don’t you worry, Victoria, I’ll be coming home soon.”

 

Half an hour later John was ready to go and asked Sam to saddle his horse.

 

“Okay, Mister Cannon, I’ll saddle your horse”

 

John mounted his horse and rode away.

 

“Blue, what we do next?” asked Sam.

 

“Let two men fix the fence over there,” said Blue. “And we go with the cattle to begin branding,” said Blue.

 

“All right Blue,” said Sam.

 

Sara came outside with little Johnny. “Say goodbye to your daddy,” said Sara to the little boy.

 

“May I go with Daddy, Mommy?”  

 

“No, that’s not possible, you are too little for that,” said Sara.

 

“Goodbye Daddy”

 

 “Goodbye, Johnny,” said Blue.

 

On the land

 

The men rode to the land and got to work. They were branding the cows and a few man stayed on the ranch to fix the fence.

 

After almost a half hour of work, Blue decided to have a break and go eat and drink.

 

“Pedro said, “Blue, how does it feel to be boss?”

 

“It is fantastic to have this job,” said Blue. “But I’m warning you now, not to do things like that time a few months ago when you were teasing me with the bull in the water”

 

“Oh no, Blue. I will not be doing that again,” said Pedro.

 

Suddenly there appeared a few bandits who rode closer and closer to them and began to shoot.

 

“Hide yourselves!” shouted Blue.

 

The men ran for their lives and found hiding places from where they could shoot at the bandits.  Suddenly they were gone and Blue wondered why they run away so quickly

.

“What’s happened here?’ said Mano to Blue.

 

“I have no idea, the bandits came so suddenly and disappeared so suddenly.”

 

“It’s possible that someone is searching for those bandits,” said Buck. “They aren’t Mexican people, maybe the Sheriff knows them,”

 

“We don’t have time to find out. Let’s just hope that they are not coming back,” said Blue.

 

The hours passed and the men were ready to return to the ranch. “Okay let’s go for lunch.” said Blue.

 

The men rode back to the ranch where Victoria and Sara were waiting for them for lunch.

 

In the meantime

 

John was on his way to Yuma. It would take one day of riding before he arrived in Yuma. He had been riding for 3 hours and decided to have a break. He took his water bottle and gave the horse something to drink, and himself too. He ate, and then rested for a while.

 

After half an hour he started riding again and suddenly he saw a group of men coming in his direction. John decided not to wait to see what the want, but to leave quickly before they reached him.

 

He rode faster and faster but the men drew closer and began to shoot. John shot back to try and escape from them. Then he saw a rock where he could hide himself. He rode as fast as he could to the rock and left the horse there and climbed on the rock to hide himself.

 

The men jumped from the horses and tried to surround John.

 

Michael, one of the men said, “You have no chance and we will shoot you if you don’t come down from that rock.”

 

 “I won’t be coming down!”  yelled John.

 

Martin, another one of the men, climbed on the rock and came from the back towards John. He started to shoot at very the moment that John turned towards him. John was shot in the chest and fell to the ground unconscious.

 

Martin said, “He is dead so we have no problems anymore,”

 

“Good,” said Michael, “Let’s go!”

 

 The men rode away in the direction of Mexico.

 

Many hours went past with John lying there on the ground. Slowly he came became conscious, to find himself in a lot of pain. “I must go to Yuma,” he said to himself and tried to get on his horse. He was in so much pain that it was very difficult to mount. But he made it and rode towards Yuma.

 

 

On the ranch

 

In the meantime, on the ranch, they were having lunch and talking.

 

“Uncle Buck,” said Blue, “I have an odd feeling that something’s wrong with Pa,”

 

“Oh, Blue boy, you worry too much about your Pa,”said Buck. “He can handle himself, has done for years, so stop worrying, will ya,”

 

“I think you’re probably right, Uncle Buck.”

 

“I have coffee for you,” said Victoria to Blue.

 

 “Thank you, Victoria,” said Blue.

 

Sara sat Johnny with them and gave him a plate of food.

 

“Daddy, when will you teach me to ride?” asked Johnny.

 

“Not now,” said Blue, “you need to be a few years older. I told you that before!”

 

“Johnny, come and eat and no more talking now,” said Sara. “When you have finished your food than I’ll go and play with you, okay?”

 

“Yes, Mommy,” said Johnny.

 

Manolito said, “The stable must cleaned, who must do that, Blue?”

 

 “I think you’ll have to do that because the men are busy with other things,” said Blue.

 

“Okay, as you wish. I will clean the stable,” said Mano.

 

“I think I’ll go break a horse, and hopefully I’ll be successful this time,” said Buck.

 

“Yes you do that,” said Blue, but his mind was on his father, wondering how it was with him.

 

 

Big John arrives in Yuma

 

In pain, Big John rode for many hours. Finally, he arrived in Yuma. It was almost dark.

 

“Where is the doctor?” John asked.

 

A man came over John and saw he was wounded. “Let me help you, sir,” he said.

 

Big John tried to dismount, but he fell to the floor and unconscious again.

 

“Doctor, Doctor!” shouted the man, Mr Mitchell. The doctor came outs and saw the wounded man lying on the ground. He saw that John was unconscious.  He had lost a lot of blood.

 

“Is there anyone who knows who this man is and if he has family?” said the doctor.

 

A deep voice came from the other side of the street and a big heavy man came towards him. “It is John Cannon and he has family not far from Tucson.”

 

“Will you let the family know what has happened please,” said the doctor.

 

”Okay, I’ll leave immediately.” And so saying, he mounted his horse and rode to the Cannon ranch. It took many hours of riding and it was the following morning that he arrived at the ranch.

 

On the ranch

 

“Good morning,” he said to the men on guard. “Can I speak with Blue Cannon, the son of John Cannon?”

 

Reno asked why he wanted to speak to him.

 

“I have bad news about his father.”

 

“Okay I’ll call him. Blue! Blue! There is someone with bad news about your father!”

 

“What!” Blue ran to the man on the horse and asked what was wrong.

 

“Your father is badly wounded and unconscious in the doctor’s office in Yuma. You must come immediately.”

 

 “Okay I’m coming. Uncle Buck, Uncle Buck, Pa is wounded and unconscious, I must go. Will you go with me please?”  Blue was pale and his eyes were filled with tears, but he tried not show it to the others.

 

Victoria was upset and said, “I will go with you,”

 

“No, Victoria, you can’t go with us, it is too dangerous for you. We will bring my father home. Let’s go now Uncle Buck.”

 

They were soon mounted and riding to Yuma. They rode for hours and decided to have a break to eat and drink, but Blue was not hungry, his thoughts filled with his father.

 

“Blue, I hope that man make an mistake,”

 

“Yes, I hope he’s wrong about my father.” The tears filled Blue’s eyes again, and seeing that, Buck comforted his nephew, wrapping his arms around him and saying softly, “Let’s hope it is all right with your Pa.

 

After a while they rode again to Yuma. Finally they arrived and found the doctor’s office. Blue opened the door carefully and stepped inside.

 

“Are you the son of John Cannon,” the doctor asked

 

 “Yes, I’m Billy Blue Cannon and this is my uncle Buck.”

 

“Hello, Mr. Cannon, my patient is in the room here.”

 

“Blue you go first.” Buck said.

 

Blue opened the door and saw his father. “Uncle Buck would you leave me alone for a few minutes please?”

 

“Yes Blue, I’ll leave you alone with your daddy.” said Buck.

 

Blue closed the door and sat on the edge of the bed and said to his father. “Pa….Pa…. it’s me, Blue, your son. Pa can you hear me?”

 

Slowly, John opened his eyes and said weakly, “Blue, I was attacked by bandits and they shot me in the chest.”

 

“Don’t you worry, Pa. We will catch those men who did this to you. We will take you home.”

 

“Blue, I’m too ill to take the travelling.” His voice sinking even lower and weaker, he said softly,   “I’m going to die, Blue boy.  Tell Victoria that I love her.”

 

 “Pa, please don’t say that. You’re not going to die, Pa! Pa, do you hear me, Pa.

 

 John said nothing more, but gave a last shuddering breath and died.

 

“Pa, no!” Blue took his father on the arms and shook him, crying out, “Pa, please you’re not going to die!” After a while he realized that it was no good, Big John was dead.

 

Blue laid his head on his father’s chest and cried softly. “First my mother is dead and now you. Why do you have to die?”

 

Buck came quietly into the room, tears in his eyes, and wrapped his arms around the boy.

 

“You are now the owner of the High Chaparral, Blue Boy.”

 

Uncle and nephew sat together for a while then Blue said sadly, “We going at home Uncle Buck.”

 

“Yes Blue boy we going home.”

 

The funeral

 

They hired a wagon to take John home. They were silent on the way, finding little to say to each other. Buck kept glancing back at his brother’s body, so still there in the wagon, hardly able to believe what had happened.

 

“Uncle Buck, shall we take a break for a few minutes?”

 

Buck agreed but after a short while they started out again. The hours past and then they finally arrived at the ranch.

 

Reno gave a shout, “Riders coming!”

 

Victoria and Sara and the little Johnny came outside and saw John’s body in the wagon.

 

“Sam, we need to dig a grave,” Blue said brokenly, “we must bury my father now.”

 

“Okay,” Sam turned to the men. “Let’s go,”

 

Mano and Buck lay down John on the ground, Victoria knelt beside him crying out in grief, “No, John, no! You are not dead. No! No!” Buck put his arms around her as Sara turned to comfort Blue.

 

Finally they were ready to bury John and Mano read the Bible as the burial took place.

 

That evening, everyone sat around the table, but nobody was able to eat dinner. Victoria cried a little and Blue could bear it no longer and went to his room.

 

Little Johnny cried and asked his Mother. “When is grandfather coming back?”

 

“Johnny, Grandfather is not coming back again.” Sara said sadly, “I will try to explain to you. When a wheel is broken the men can fix it and the wagon is good again. But when people like you or me are badly wounded, they cannot be healed sometimes and when people not healed than they going to die and pass on to another world. You will understand it better when you are older.”

 

 “Will I never see grandfather again?”

 

“No Johnny, it is over now.” Johnny cried bitterly at this and Sara comforted him again.

 

Blue was thinking in his room. First his mother and now his father dead. Why must this happen and why didn’t he go with his father to Yuma?  Now his Pa won’t get to see his grandson grow up. Blue is the owner of the ranch now and, in years to come, it will pass to Johnny like Big John would want it. His father told him once that he build this for his son and his grandchildren. Blue cried softly until, overcome with tiredness, he fell asleep.

 

End of story