A Smile on His Face
Janet Brayden

A missing scene or two from Blood Rock.  Ben Wallace is a young boy whose mother has just died.  As she was an employee of the Lancers they have taken it upon themselves to see that the boy is settled with a good family.  During a visit with Ben to discuss his being adopted by these people Scott is assaulted by two men who convince the boy that his father is waiting for him.  During the struggle Scott is clubbed with a pistol.  One of the two men tells Ben that Scott will wake up with a smile on his face. 


            A smile was not what was on Scott Lancer’s face as he regained consciousness in the Taft’s barn.  A grimace and a frown was more like it.  Slowly, he got to his knees and then to his feet swaying dizzily.  Putting his hand to his head he found no blood but there was a good sized knot on it where the outlaw’s gun had made contact with during the struggle in the barn. 

            Ben.  Where was Ben?  The first thing on Scott’s mind was the boy. 

            Staggering somewhat he made his way to his horse.  Leaning against the saddle briefly, he willed the dizziness away before he mounted. He knew that he should let Bill Taft know about Ben’s kidnapping but he didn’t know where the man was.  On the other hand he knew that his own father, Murdoch, was planning on spending the day at his desk getting the books up to date as well as attending to the backlog of correspondence he had received.  Murdoch would go with him to find Ben – he knew it. 


            “Scott!  What happened, son?”  Murdoch was aghast when his elder son staggered into the house. 

            “Two men came out to the Tafts.  One of them hit me with the barn door – then both of them jumped me at once.  Knocked me out with a pistol and took Ben with them.  I think they ride with his father.” 

            “Were they among the men that were here the other night?”  Morgan Price and half a dozen or so of his men had come to Lancer to deliver some money Price had claimed he won honestly, playing Faro, for Murdoch to give to Ben. 

            “I think so.”  Scott put his hand to his head where there was an egg sized lump.  “Ben wants to see his father.  He’s sure Price will want him if he just sees him – once.  I think maybe these men plan on taking Ben to him but I can’t be sure.” 

            “I’ll round up some men and we’ll start searching.”  Murdoch started toward the door. 

            “No!” Scott exclaimed. “There’s no time for that – they could be miles away by the time we got a posse organized.  If you and I leave now there’s a good chance we can pick up their trail.” 

            Against his better judgment, and in the face of the blond’s anxiety and determination, Murdoch acquiesced.  He took a rifle from the gun cabinet and headed out to the barn to get his horse.  Five minutes later, after a brief conference with his foreman, father and son were on their way. 

            Back at the Taft farm the Lancer men scouted around until they found the tracks of three horses, one carrying a lighter load than the others, and followed them for about ten miles.  A light flickering in the darkness caught Scott’s attention and he pointed it out to his father. 

            “Look!  That might be them.” 

            After a very brief discussion the Lancers headed toward the light and crept up on what turned out to be the campfire of the two men who had taken Ben from the Taft’s earlier that day.  The boy was unharmed and the two men were taken into custody after foolishly challenging Scott while Murdoch backed him up, to be turned over to the sheriff in Blood Rock – the closest town to their present location. 



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