I don't own these characters; I just like to spend time with them. No other profit to be had.
Author's Note: This story is a follow-up (by request) to the story 'After the Storm'. It is set about 5 years later in season 12. It also contains dialogue and scenes from the season 12 episode of The Jailer. Original air date 10/01/1966. Writer: Hal Sitowitz Director: Vincent McEveety
Also, since it's about time for Halloween, consider this my Halloween treat instead of candy. Candy was too hard to get into the computer.
And one more thing, I seriously need to give tons of thanks to LilyJack for putting up with me on this and all her suggestions to make it better.
"Miss Kitty," Sam called from her office doorway.
Kitty smiled. Though married for several years now, she was still 'Miss' to most people. "Yes, Sam." She answered, getting up and going to the door.
"Mr. Bishop is asking to see you." Sam told her.
Kitty frowned. Mr. Bishop, Benjamin's teacher, seldom had much to do with her, preferring to deal with Matt instead. And he never came into the saloon. He had made it clear, on more than one occasion, that he thought the Long Branch, and its customers, were beneath him. She wondered what could cause him to break that tenet now.
Kitty stepped out of the office and crossed to the end of the bar, where the school master stood, eyes darting nervously around, praying no one would see him in such a disreputable place.
"Mr. Bishop?" she cautiously greeted him, as she approached. "May I help you?"
Bishop turned towards her. "Mrs. Dillon," he addressed her stiffly. "I'm sorry to disturb you but I am here concerning your son. I would've spoken to your husband of course, but that 'strange man' at the jail said he was out of town. Is there someplace else, where we can talk? Someplace warmer?" He bristled a little at the sudden cold enveloping him.
Kitty cocked a brow at his description of Festus and the non-existent cold, but stopped her self from grinning when she saw the serious expression on Bishop's pallid face. Instead she nodded and led him back into her office, closing the door behind him, once he entered. "Is something wrong with Benjamin?" she asked apprehensively.
The School Master shook his head. "Not in the sense that you mean, Mrs. Dillon. But I am concerned with his behavior."
Kitty looked at him with a puzzled expression. "His behavior?" she asked. "Has he been acting out in class?" Kitty found that hard to believe, as she thought of her well behaved, and thoughtful, five year old son.
"No," the teacher assured her. "As a matter of fact, he is one of the more considerate and well-mannered young men I have in my class."
Kitty looked curiously at the small, bespectacled man in front of her. "Then I'm not sure what you mean."
Bishop swallowed hard, clearly uncomfortable, but as he had initiated this, he continued. "Has your son ever mentioned…. ghosts.. to you?" he finally asked.
"Ghosts?" She arched an eyebrow in surprise.
Bishop was beginning to sweat slightly, despite the chilly air in the room, suddenly sorry he had come, and even sorrier he had started this conversation. "Yes, Ma'am," he finally managed. "Ghosts. I've…..I've heard Benjamin telling some of his classmates at recess, that he has seen a ghost in his house. A woman. And this woman apparently, follows you around."
Bishop took a deep breath, relieved he had gotten it out.
Kitty looked at the man as though he had suddenly grown horns. "Really?" Was all she could think to say.
Bishop nodded. "Yes, Ma'am. Normally, I tend to ignore such tales from children Benjamin's age, as they are prone to fantasies of various kinds. But your son has been fairly consistent, and insistent, that he sees this woman. He is frightening some of the other children, I'm afraid."
Kitty folded her arms across her chest and looked appraisingly at the teacher. "I..uh.. take it that you want me to talk to Benjamin, and perhaps ask him not to talk about this to his school mates."
Bishop nodded in relief that she understood. He generally regarded most women as inferior to men, and much less apt to grasp facts and theories. But in the year since he had settled in Dodge, he had found that Kitty Russell Dillon was nothing like most women. She was very astute and intelligent, and generally she made him extremely uncomfortable when he had to interact with her. He didn't like being around women, whom he suspected, were smarter then he was.
"Yes, Ma'am," he answered. "What Benjamin sees, or talks about, in his own home, is your concern of course. But while he's under my care, I would feel more comfortable, and I'm certain the other students would as well, if he didn't mention such things as ghosts."
Kitty wanted to pick the pugnacious little boor up, and throw him out on his ear, but she understood his position. He had more than just Benjamin, to be concerned with. "Alright, Mr. Bishop." She sighed. "I'll talk to Benjamin this evening."
"Thank you, Mrs. Dillon." He almost groveled. "Have a good day." He started for the door before pausing just for a second. "And you might want to check around here for drafts, it seems rather cold in here."
As Bishop practically ran from her office, Kitty shook her head. She wasn't concerned about drafts, but she was her son. Benjamin was an exceptionally smart and perceptive little boy, with a great imagination. Normally, she encouraged his use of his imagination, but she supposed, if he was frightening the other kids, she would have to talk with him about it.
Not for the first time, she wished Matt was there. She understood the duties of his job, and since they had married, he had made more of an effort to travel less, but still, he was away more than she liked, especially at times like this.
Sighing yet again, she absently rubbed her stiffening neck and shoulders. She had spent a lot of time on the books today and she was tired. Besides, it was time to gather her things and collect her son from Doc and Margaret.
As she put up the books, she smiled as she thought of those two dear people. They had claimed Benjamin as their grandson, and as any proud grandparents would, they doted on the boy.
Some children, she knew, could've been easily spoiled by the attention. But Benjamin wasn't. For one so young, he was fairly down to earth and practical. That was why the news, of his talking about ghosts, disturbed her so.
Taking her wrap and bidding goodnight to Sam, Kitty took her leave, heading to Doc's to collect her son. They were most definitely going to have a long talk.
Her mind on her son, she never noticed the picture on the wall, next to the bar, which straightened itself as she passed it.