Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight
Vin came down the stairs whistling. This was the first time since he was a little boy that he was actually looking forward to Christmas. Stepping off the last step, he headed for the front doorway when he heard his name being called. Turning and looking down the hall, he saw it was Mrs. Santos, an elderly woman he always checked on.
"Is everything all right Mrs. Santos?"
"I hate to bother you son, but the pharmacy just called saying my heart medicine was ready. And with my healing hip the, damp cold just won't let me walk down to the store."
"Aint a bother, Ill go get it for you before heading over to meet the guys," Vin assured her. Helping her back into her apartment, Vin headed out. Deciding to walk instead of driving the eight blocks down to the local pharmacy, Vin enjoyed the beginning of the light flurries that had started falling. He was half way to where he was going, when he knew the temperature was starting to drop, feeling the cold begin to seep into his skin. He hadnt taken more than a couple of steps when he heard a whimpering cry. Looking toward the old run down abandoned building, he waited till he was sure of hearing the sound again.
Making his way slowly through the open door, he followed the sound till he found its source - a puppy about 5 months old, his leg caught in a hole in the floor. Vin talked softly to the scared little fella. "Hey there, seems you're in a bit of trouble. Let's see if I can get you out of there, okay?" Gently, Vin carefully worked the leg free from the rotted trap. Picking the animal up as he rubbed him, the puppy licked his throat showing his affection for this stranger. Vin standing up and still holding the puppy tightly against him, heard the crack the same moment the floor fell away from under him.Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.
Ezra stood by the bar watching JD once again look to his watch then toward the door.
"Mr. Dunne, is there something wrong with your time piece or do you need to be some where?" he questioned, not understanding his friend's action, for the seven of them had agreed to meet here to toast the holiday and plan who would bring what for their Christmas dinner that they were going to have at Larbees ranch.
"Just thought Vin would have been here before us, since he left the office first. I cant figure out why he isnt here yet," JD expressed.
"Fear not Mr. Dunne, our resident Robin Hood has no doubt been delayed helping one of his neighbors. If there were any possibility Mr. Tanner was in peril, we would know instantly by the action of Mr. Larbee," Ezra assured him, turning toward Chris to prove his point - only to become worried when he saw that Larbee, instead of drinking and enjoying himself, was staring off with his right hand rubbing his chest.
"Mr. Dunne, I think it is best you gather the others," Ezra added, heading toward their table.
Looking up as the others gathered, Chris knew there would be no doubting his words, "Vins in trouble."
He felt the bone-chilling cold first, then something move on his chest. Forcing his eyes open he saw the hole where the floor used to be from where he fell. His attention was drawn to his chest as he felt the movement again with a small yap added. Looking across his chest Vin found he still held the pup against him. Releasing his grip the pup scooted up closer licking his new friend across the neck and chin.
"Hey, you all right fella?" Vin softly asked.
Receiving a wagging tail and more licks for an answer, Vin gave the pup a gentle rub. "How about we see about getting out of here?" he said as he tried to sit up. The world tilting with the movement as well as pain clinching his back, Vin laid back trying to catch his breath and keep from losing his stomach. But in the few moments that he had leaned up he knew he wasnt going to try it again. He saw his leg was trapped under part of the fallen floor and beam. He didnt know if it was the cold or a worse reason he didnt feel his leg or foot, nor could tell if he could even move his toes. "Im sorry fella, I had wanted to help ya, not get you stuck worse," Vin said, his voice laced with the pain he still felt though his back. The pup crawling and snuggling in closer to his neck shared his warmth with him. Petting him, he added with complete belief, "Dont worry, it might take a little while, but we got help coming. We won't miss Christmas this year. I got me some brothers now, that will come looking and see to that."Here we are as in olden days,
happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
gather near to us once more.
"Chris, you sure this is the way Vin would've taken?" Buck asked as the six men walked down the snow covered sidewalk.
"Yes, Mrs. Santos said that the quickest route to the drugstore was this way. Now keep your eyes and ears open for any thing," Chris expressed.
Shining the flashlights that they carried down alleys and around buildings as they slowly walked past each one, they lit any and every spot and corner that was dark. The sun having set a couple of hours ago and though there were street lights, the area was still very dim and dark. Chris, slowing for a moment as he felt a deep chill fill him, pulled his coat tighter. Taking another step his leg felt heavy and hard to move.
Josiah, seeing the look on his face, asked, "Chris you all right?"
"Im not sure," he answered, looking at the old run down building that they had stopped in front of.
"You think Mr. Tanner ventured into that dilapidated derelict for some unknown reason." Ezra stated, shining his light through the open doorway.
A distant yap floated out as if answering.
Chris entered first with his gun drawn and lined up with his flashlight, the others followed suit with their weapons drawn as well. Easing more into the building and down the hallway, the yelping became louder and clearer. Sweeping the light down the hall, Chris quickly pulled it back and shined it on the large, gaping hole.
"Everyone stop. Back up slowly toward the front door. Part of the floor has fallen away and theres no telling just how far the rotten wood extends out," Chris told them, keeping his light on the hole, trying to see anything he could from where he was. Getting down on his knees, then his stomach, he stretched out, shinning his light down through the hole calling, "Vin, Vin can you hear me?"
Receiving several yaps, Chris focused his attention toward the sound. "Josiah! Buck! Find a way down to the basement. JD, call for an ambulance!" Chris shouted when he saw his brother lying on the floor below him unconscious, with a pup against him.
"Chris, its over here," Buck yelled, finding the staircase going down.
Getting down to their friend, Chris dropped down by Vins head as Nathan began checking his vitals and limbs he could reach for any bleeding or signs of breaks.
The pup, not moving, watched these new strangers carefully.
"Vin, Vin, come on cowboy open your eyes," Chris expressed, his hand touching Vins shoulder.
Vin opening his eyes slowly looked up, seeing Larbee looking back down at him. Feeling the pup lick his cheek, Vin rubbed him saying, "See fella, told ya they would come. We won't be missin Christmas this year."Through the years we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.