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"Wilderness Redemption Road"


Prologue
Prologue

By Earl Corp

Prologue

Outside of Carter Holler, Kentucky
1860

Roseanna Carter was on the cabin porch in her favorite rocking chair enjoying the sun and breeze on her face after Sunday dinner with her kin. She felt every bit of her 78 years of age as her nine grandchildren gathered around her. Aside from the molasses cookies she generously doled out, the children loved Story Time with Grandma the best.  Grandma’s stories were filled with adventure from the days when where they sat was considered the frontier. Or, they might be funny like when the raccoon got in the flour barrel and everybody thought it was a ghost. They could be romantic, like when she and Grandpa got together.
“Tell us a story  Granny, “ little Caroline Carter said. “Tell us how you and Grandpa met." 
“Naw tell us about Grandpa and the Shawnees,” Cousin Billy Carter insisted.
“I want to hear about the ‘coon,”said  Jarod Carver.
 
Roseanna’s youngest son, Nate Carver, was leaning against one of the porch posts smoking his pipe listening to the exchange. Nate removed the pipe from his mouth and spit.
“Hell, maw, start from the beginning, “  Nate said.
 
“You mind your tongue in my house Nathan Carter, I’ll not stand for blasphemes,” Roseanna said.
Roseanna fixed a blistering gaze on Nate that shook him down to his boots and made him feel 12 again.
“Yes’m," a chagrinned Nate said.
Rosenna averted her gaze to the sky as if she was getting help remembering the tale she was going to tell.
 “Well let me see, now I wasn’t there for the whole affair, mind you, but to the best of my recollect it happened this-a-way nigh onto 60 years ago,” Roseanna began.
 

Author Notes This is the Prologue to my novel Wilderness Redemption Road. I wrote a back cover blurb that was well received. I hope this gathers interest also. I intend to keep it going as long as there is interest.


Chapter 1
Doo meets the Shawnees

By Earl Corp

He jerked awake.

He didn't move, all his senses were attuned to his environment. Men in his predicament who dozed off usually didn't wake up.

Doolittle Carter was a big man, an inch over six foot and he weighed nearly 240 pounds. A dark brown beard obscured most of his face And his shoulder length hair could have used a barber. He felt every ounce of that weight because for three days he had led a small band of Shawnees on a merry chase through the Ohio Valley. Doo, as he was known, considered the Ohio Valley his personal hunting and trapping grounds.

But so did the Shawnee.

Doo was afraid of no man. He could out wrassle, out drink, out cuss, out fight, and out race any man on the frontier, except maybe Dan'l Boone. But when he saw five Shawnee braves pawing through his camp, self preservation kicked in he hadn't thought twice, he dropped his traps where he stood, turned and ran.

The Shawnees were alerted by the rattle of the traps. They let out a howl and began to give chase. Doo never gave a second thought about leaving his winter catch of furs and his horse behind . Though he did wish he could have gotten his horse.

As he was running he was looking for a place that offered him some protection and he could hold the Indians at bay. He quickly discarded this thought because he knew if he stopped it would be for a last stand. And he wasn't ready for that.

For two days. The Shawnees had been on his trail. He had been making his way East, towards the river, where he had a canoe cached. The Shawnees had been persistent in the chase, but it ceased being fun for them when Doo had given one of the braves a trip to the happy hunting grounds with rifle ball in the forehead. The four remaining Shawnee had become deadly serious in the chase. Some people just don't have a sense of humor, Doo thought.

It was the afternoon of the second day when Doo lost his footing going down a ravine. The slide to the bottom left him no worse for wear. But the stock of his Lancaster rifle had splintered, rendering the weapon useless. This ain't good, Doo thought.

Armed with only a knife and a hatchet, Doo poured on the speed like his life depended on it, because it did. The first bit of luck that smiled on Doo was when the sky opened up and let loose with a gully washer. "It's raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock," Doo thought.
Doo figured on forging ahead through the storm, trying to build a lead on his pursuers.

Thankful his tracks would be wiped out. The rain came down so hard visibility was so poor he couldn't see his hand in front of his face. Doo found a pine tree, he parted the limbs and backed his way to the trunk. It didn't offer much protection, but it would conceal him unless they got close.

Last night's rain had left him shivering and his buckskins clammy. He was exhausted, tired, hungry, and needed to poop real bad. He knew staying put wasn't an option. Maybe if the Shawnees lost the trail the rest of the trip to the river would be peaceful.
*******************************************************************************************
Swooping Eagle's brow furrowed. The rain had washed away the trail of the white man. Normally he'd have given up by now. But the one shot the white man had taken killed his brother Laughing Otter.

Prior to that, his plan if he caught the white man was to make him run the gauntlet and adopt him into the tribe. Then he killed Laughing Otter, the plan now was to roast him slowly after the woman had tormented him. That brown scalp will look good on my war club, he thought.

The best tracker in the group was Black Hoof.
"The rain has washed away the trail," Black Hoof observed.

"He has been heading to where the sun rises for the past two days," Swooping Eagle said. "we should keep heading that way, maybe we'll cross his trail.

"We should go back to his camp, get the horse and divide up his furs," Stalking Panther said.
Swooping Eagle looked at Lonesome Owl for guidance. Lonesome Owl was the oldest and presumed to be the wisest.

"It was not my brother killed, If it had been I would follow the white man to whatever hole he slithered out of." Lonesome Owl said.

Swooping Eagle grunted. Stalking Panther rolled his eyes. Black Hoof could care less, every day away from the village was another day away from his fat, nagging wife.
"We'll look around for today then we'll go back to his camp," Swooping Eagle declared.
********************************************************************************************
Doo decided to try for the river, he was close , close enough to smell it. Keeping with the contours of the ridge he was on Doo made his way down to a meadow. This didn't look good, too much open space to cross, but he could now hear the rushing of the headwaters of the Ohio River.

He started across when he heard a "Pffht" go past his ear. An arrow had materialized where he was about to step. He looked behind him, and there about 150 yards up the ridgeline were those damned Shawnees. Even though it had missed, Doo was impressed by the shot. That was a helluva distance and he had just barely missed him.

Doo made a beeline for some woods, the river sounding louder as he entered them. Another "Pffht" sound and an arrow was quivering out of a maple tree trunk about a foot to his left. A glance back told him the savages had closed up the distance to 75 yards. Doo kept running as fast as he could, all of a sudden he found himself standing at a chasm the river flowed through.

He gauged the fall to be about 50 feet. Doo had never looked down on something from above before and the height to the river made his stomach tie itself into knots and do flip flops. He hesitated at the edge.
A glance backward and Doo saw a Shawnee pulling back an arrow. He was close enough to see the cruel smile on the Injun's face. It was now or never, Doo walked over the edge into thin air.

********************************************************************************************
Swooping Eagle was set to deliver a crippling shot with his bow. He saw the white man's look of panic as he glanced back at him.

Then the white man did something none of the party expected, he walked off of the cliff.
Black Hoof and Stalking Panther were shocked. Lonesome Owl was impressed at the white man's dedication to not being caught. Swooping Eagle was mad.

"That coward jumped instead of facing Shawnee justice," Swooping Eagle fumed.
Looking down the chasm, Lonesome Owl was still impressed when he said, "You have to admit he had some big hanging pears to make that jump."

Swooping Eagle just grunted.

Author Notes Here it is, Wilderness Road Redemption Chapter 1. Be kind, I'm putting mysef way out there with this project. If you like it tell your friends.


Chapter 2
Rollin on the River

By Earl Corp

The last thing Doo remembered was walking off the cliff to get away from the Shawnees. He misjudged how far above the river he'd been, instead of 50 feet it was probably three times that.

He hit the water hard. If it hadn't of knocked him out, the panic of not knowing how to swim might have killed him.

Laying there something didn't feel right to him; he was on something solid. 'Water ain't solid,' Doo thought.

"He's awake pa, " a young female voice said.

Doo opened his eyes to find he was lying on the deck of a flatboat; a big man with the muscles of a man who spent his life poling a boat up and down rivers came over and looked down at Doo. He removed a pipe from between his teeth.

"Awake are ye? Mister, ye must have drank half of the Ohio before we fished ye out," the giant said.

"My name is Jed Wolfe and this here's my daughter Janie, and who might you be?" Wolfe asked.

"I might be Dan'l Boone but I ain't, I'm Doo Carter, "Where am I?"

"Why yore on my boat about two days out of Pittsburgh." Wolfe said. "How did ye come to be in the water?"
Doo related the story of the Shawnees chasing him, losing his rifle, and walking off of the cliff to avoid capture.
"I was about halfway down afore I remembered I couldn't swim," Doo finished the tale.

Wolfe let out a huge belly laugh at that. "Hell man yore lucky the fall didn't kill ye."

Doo laughed too.

"I reckon so," he said.
****
Swooping Eagle watched the man on the big canoe fish the white man from the river. He pointed this out to Lonesome Owl.

"We will follow them," Swooping Eagle said.
Lonesome Owl grunted.

"He's dead, let it go."

"They wouldn't have pulled a dead man from the river," Swooping Eagle insisted. "If you won't go with me, I'll go alone."

"The other two won't want to go on," Lonesome Owl observed.

"Let us ask them." Swooping Eagle turned to Black Hoof and Stalking Panther.

"The white man we seek is on that big canoe, I say we follow it and take him, what say you?"

Black Hoof shrugged. He couldn't care less one way or another.

Stalking Panther felt the opposite, he wanted to get back and loot the white man's camp.
He wanted the horse, he knew the exact maiden he'd trade it for.

"I want the horse! Let's go back he's dead."

"The horse is mine, he killed my brother but if you stay with us you can have the horse," Swooping Eagle said.
That made Stalking Panther's mind up. He started following the river south. He spoke over his shoulder as he walked. "Let's go."

Swooping Eagle silently thanked Our Grandmother for Stalking Panthers' greed.

****
"Well now what am I to do with ye?" Wolfe asked Doo.
"If you'd feed me I'd be mighty obliged, I ain't et nuthin in four days," Doo said. "I'd take my turn on the poles until we get to Pittsburgh."

"That sounds fair to me, there's a pot of stew and some bread in the cabin, help yerself."

The smell of the savory stew hit Doo as soon as he opened the door to the shanty that Wolfe had called a cabin.

His mouth watered, his stomach was reminding him the last thing he'd eaten was green apples and a raw fish he'd caught two days ago.

Filling the bowl and grabbing a spoon he greedily started shoveling the food into his mouth. He didn't care if it was skunk meat; it was more exquisite to him than pheasant under glass.

All of a sudden his stomach started to rebel, he barely made it to the side of the boat before expelling what he'd just ate into the river.

"Tried to eat too fast didn't ye," Wolfe chuckled.

Wiping his mouth, Doo nodded.

"I reckon so."

"Ye might do well to start off with some bread first."

"Sound like a good idee," Doo said.

The bread was dark and coarse, but a few bites settled his stomach.

"When you pulled me out of the river did you see the Shawnees that were follering me?"

"Nary a hair," Wolfe answered. "And we pulled ye out yesterday mornin', ye kin thank the girl, I was ready to push ye back in but she stopped me."

Doo looked over at Janie and nodded. "Much obliged ma'am."

Janie blushed. Doo was probably the most handsome man she ever saw even though he looked like a drowned muskrat.

"Janie will do fine sir, you needn't call me ma'am."

Wolf caught the look Janie was giving Doo and his eyes narrowed.

He didn't want his 14-year-old daughter getting too attached to this rolling stone.

"If ye are done with your repast, grab a pole and put your back into it." Jeb commanded them.

Doo sighed and got a pole and started the tedious job of poling from the front and moving to the back then doing it over.

Doo wasn't a stranger to hard work, he didn't like it, but he wasn't a stranger to it.

His pa owned a mercantile store in Pittsburgh, but Doo and his two brothers were expected to work the family farm, as well as hunting to put meat on the table.

At an early age Doo found his hands fit a rifle a whole heap better than a plow. Being the best shot, he took over the hunting chores.

"We have about six more hours of daylight before we stop for night, we should reach Pittsburgh by early afternoon tomorrow," Wolf shouted from the tiller.

Doo thought Wolfe was a no good lazy lout for letting his daughter do the poling while he manned the tiller.

"Not my affair, a free ride is a free ride," he thought.

After the first hour, Doo's shoulders started to ache. The second hour brought the blisters. By the time they stopped for the night his hands were almost raw.

"Oh my, you're hands look a sight let me fix them for you," Janie exclaimed.

She went in the shanty and re-emerged with a small crock and some cloths.

"This bear grease should ease the pain some," Janie said.

Janie put generous dollops of the grease on each hand then wrapped them with the white linen cloths. She was right; Doo's hands were feeling a little better.


"Thankee Janie that helps some," Doo said.


The fact that Janie let her hands linger on Doo's didn't escape Jed's attention.

"If he shows any intention of returning her interest I'll kill him and throw him over the side," Jed thought.

"Gal go rustle us some grub," Jed growled the command at Janie.

As Janie left to get supper, Jed glared with eyes filled with warning and lowered his voice so only Doo could hear.

"I'm only gonna say this just once, that gal is my shinin' jewel and if ye touch her I'll make what the Shawnees were going to do to ye seem like a church picnic."

"I'm only here for the ride to Pittsburgh, unless you want me to get off before hand."

"No, I wouldn't put an unarmed man into the wilderness, to fend for himself." Jed said, "We'll be in Pittsburgh sooner than I thought."

"What are you two talking about?" Janie asked.

"I was just tellin' Doo we should be in sooner than I thought," Jed changed his tone to talk to his daughter.

"Oh that's wonderful!" Janie squealed.

Janie filled bowls with stew, and then passed around hunks of bread.

"May I ask what kind of stew this is?" Doo said.

"Possum, they're plentiful along the shore," Jed answered. "Ye ain't picky are ye?"

"No sir, best thing I've had to et in a week."

After they finished eating Janie took the bowls to the side and washed them out then took them back into the cabin.

"Doo ye can use a couple of blankets and bed down there," Jed pointed to a spot on the deck. "Janie will be in the cabin and I'll bed down in front of the door."

There was a dark promise in his voice warning Doo again against any foolish notions where his daughter was concerned in case the first caution did not sink in.

"I'll take the first guard shift," Doo volunteered.

Jed let out a loud belly laugh. "Are ye daft lad!? We're less than a day from Pittsburgh, there's nuthin to guard from."

Janie shivered as she looked towards the shore. A foreboding feeling filled her at her Pa's words. She thought about speaking up and telling Pa but did not want her Pa laughing at her "feelin" trouble was coming.

She'd never been wrong following her "feelins" even if Pa didn't cotton to them. She also didn't want to get a beatin in front of Doo for sassing her Pa.

In her short experience, men wanting revenge do not simply give up. She turned and looked with troubled eyes at the shore again praying that she was wrong and ran to the cabin.
*****
Swooping Eagle watched as the foolish white men started to bed down and the girl ran to the cabin.

He grinned, the girl was listening to Our Grandmother warning that trouble was following them but he also knew the men were not smart enough to follow a woman or believe in Our Grandmother; this was going to be easier than he thought.

"Remember the big brown haired one is not to be killed," Swooping Eagle said.

"What about the rest?" Black Hoof said

"I want the woman," Stalking Panther proclaimed.

"She is barely more than a child," Lonesome Owl said.

"I don't care, I can get a wife without buying her," Stalking Panther said.

"White woman make poor wives, they can't work and they complain too much," Black Hoof said.

"It doesn't matter, I want her," Stalking Panther insisted.

Swooping Eagle grinned to himself Stalking Panther would never be able to handle that special white girl who knew how to speak with Our Grandmother.

He thanked Our Grandmother again for making Swooping Eagle greedy and foolish.

He quietly led them towards the bank.
****
Doo snapped awake. He didn't know what, but something wasn't right. He looked over at Jed and saw a figure too big to be Janie hovering over him.

'Injuns, Boy I'm glad we're too close to Pittsburgh to post guards,' Doo thought to himself.

As quietly as he could he got to his feet, then drew his knife. He started around the other side of the shanty, if he hadn't smelled the bear grease in Black Hoof's hair he would have bumped into him.

Doo wrapped his left arm around Black Hoof's throat, then shoved the knife at an upward angle between the second and third rib.

Once the knife was almost hilt deep he wiggled it back and forth into the heart. Doo felt the flood of warm liquid wash over his hand. He waited a few seconds before gently lowering the body to the deck.

He figured Jed for a goner, but he wasn't sure about Janie. Doo didn't have much time to wonder about Janie.

Just as a Shawnee brave pulled open the shanty
door a geyser of flame and the unmistakable sound of a rifle shot
*****
No one was more surprised than Stalking Panther when the shot came from inside.

"Thwack."

Stalking Panther stared down with disbelief at the hole in his chest before he fell to the floor asking Our Grandmother why.

The bullet hitting flesh took both Swooping Eagle and Lonesome Owl by surprise.

"There must have been more than we thought," Swooping Eagle yelled to Lonesome Owl.

"Where is Black Hoof?"

"Dead."

A rush of feet sounded as Swooping Eagle watched his quarry run to the door of the shanty, grab the girl, run for the side closest to the shore and jump off.

Swooping Eagle was in a tight spot, losing over half of his party on this chase of the white man. If he was lucky he'd only be banished from the tribe.

He silently asked Our Grandmother for forgiveness. Stalking Panther might have been greedy but he himself was guilty of thinking this would be easy and that he was all knowing, only Our Grandmother was all knowing.

"Now what?" said Lonesome Owl.

Swooping Eagle sighed and shook his head.

****
Doo took advantage of the confusion caused by the rifle shot. He rushed over to the door of the shanty. Janie was standing there still holding the empty rifle.

"Drop it," he barked.

"But we'll need it," Janie said.

"You have powder and shot?"

Doo didn't wait for an answer, he grabbed Janie's arm in an iron grip and half pulled, half dragged the girl to the side of the boat.

He didn't look back at the Shawnees, half afraid of what he'd see.

"Jump!"

And for the second time in as many days, Doo felt the Ohio swallow him up.

Halfway down with a sign of disbelief Doo remembered, "Still can't swim."

Author Notes Second installment hot off the presses. This one may seem a little long, but it's worth a look. Be kind.
Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees belived in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.


Chapter 3
Hit the Road Jack

By Earl Corp

Roseanna took a breath from telling the tale. She looked down at her youngest grandson and smiled.

“Caleb, would ye fetch yore poor old granny a glass of water, storytelling is hard work and I’ve built up a mighty powerful thirst.”

“Yes’m, “said the boy.

As soon as the boy went to the well, Roseanna fixed her eyes on Nate.

“Fetch yore pa’s jug for yore poor old ma,” she commanded.

“Yes’m,” Nate said.


He returned before Caleb. Roseanna took out the cork and smelled the whiskey.

She then took a modest pull from the jug and set it beside her chair.


When Caleb returned with a cool glass of well water, Roseanna took a sip, and smacked her lips.

“Golly that’s good, now where was I?”

“Janie was saving Doo,” little Alice said.

“Oh yes, well you see……”
 
Once Janie hit the water she started stroking toward the shore. She heard a loud splashing and sputtering coming from the direction of the boat. She turned around and headed back towards the sound.
 
When she got to where the splashing was coming from, she had to stifle a laugh. Doo was trying to swim but kept coming up with a mouthful of water. 

He wasn’t exactly panicking as much as he was getting frustrated with his effort and getting nowhere. She reached out and touched him.
 
“Doo, what are you doing? The Indians will hear you,” 

“I’d rather they made a porcupine out of me with arrers than drown,” Doo said.
 
Janie was dumbstruck.
 
“You don’t know how to swim?
“Nope”
“Quit thrashing around you big oaf and I’ll help you,”
 
Janie grasped Doo by the collar of his buckskin shirt and started towing him to shore. Fortunately she was a strong swimmer or she wouldn’t have been able to pull Doo’s bulk to safety.

What kind of man doesn’t know how to swim.

 Doo relaxed and allowed her to pull him. Once they got near the bank, Janie put her legs down and touched the bottom.

“We’re here,” she whispered. 

“Thunderation! That was close, thankee again Janie for saving my life “Doo said.

“Let's go back to the boat, maybe my pa needs help,” Janie said.

“Yore pa’s beyond needing help gal,” Doo said.

Hot tears streamed down Janie’s cheeks once she realized Doo was telling her Pa’s dead. Her ma had died in child birth, so pa was all she had in the world as far as kinfolk went.

She vowed she wouldn’t break down in front of Doo. Janie was grateful it was dark so he couldn’t see the tears.

As the pair hugged the bank, Doo was plotting their next move. Jed had said they would be in Pittsburgh in the morning. He figured both he and Janie could pole the boat downriver since Jed was just manning the tiller.
Doo was just about to suggest they head back to the boat when he caught a whiff of smoke.

“They’re burning the boat!” Janie exclaimed.
 
                                                           *****
Swooping Eagle and Lonesome Owl scavenged the boat. The only thing worth taking was the flintlock rifle Janie had used to kill Stalking Panther. Since Swooping Eagle spurned white men’s weapons, Wise Owl would get this one.

“What now?”
“We burn the boat, maybe we’ll see them in its light,” was Swooping Eagle’s answer.
“What if we don’t?”

“We can wait until sunrise and then find them,” said Swooping Eagle.
“We have lost three warriors, we’re a day’s walk from the white village, we need to go back to our village,” Wise Owl said.
 
Swooping Eagle’s eyes flashed anger.
 
“You would have me let the man who killed my brother escape,” spat `Swooping Eagle.
“For now, he’ll come back to our lands,” Wise Owl said. “Besides he has strong medicine right now, stronger than ours.”
Swooping Eagle grunted.
 
“The young one listens to Our Grandmother, she is special,” Swooping Eagle said.
“Maybe Our Grandmother is siding with her against us,” Wise Owl said.
 
Swooping Eagle hadn’t thought of that. That would explain the bad medicine tonight, or on the whole trip for that matter. Wise Owl could be right, they should return to their village, and get Our Grandmother back on their side and give them stronger medicine.
 
“Let’s burn the boat and leave, we’ll go through his campsite and pick up the horse,” Swooping Eagle said.
 
Wise Owl grunted his approval.
                                                                *****

Janie watched as the boat started to really catch fire. She thought about her poor pa lying dead on the deck.
“We need to move back into the shadders Janie,” Doo whispered.

The pair moved about 50 feet upstream hugging the bank to take advantage of the shelter it provided as well as concealing them in the shadows.

Doo was surprised how calmly Janie was taking this predicament. He was pretty proud of her, though he had no standing to be proud, she wasn’t kin but he was proud nonetheless. She had killed a Shawnee warrior, saved him from drowning, and kept her head through the whole experience.

This young women was special, she acted in a crisis, did not freeze, did not let emotions rule her, and was worthy to have at your back.  Doo silently made a vow that he would look after Janie and ensure that she got what she needed in order to make it to Pittsburgh and start a new life.  He did not know if he would be a part of it but he would be in it for now.

“What are we going to do Doo?”

“I guess we’re going to walk gal,” Doo said.

“How far is it?”

“Yore pa said we should be there by noon on the boat, I reckon that would be a two day walk from here,” Doo said.

“We don’t have a gun, you made me drop it,” Janie said accusingly.

“Hell, I ain’t had a gun for three days and I had four Shawnees chasin’ me.”

“What will we do for food or water?”

“We’ll foller the river, and there’s fish in it, we’ll eat and drink.”

“Do you have flint and steel?”

“Nope, don’t need it I can start a fire without it,” Doo said. “Now that’s enough questions, we need to get out of the water and start moving.”

Doo found some roots that would hold his weight while he climbed out of the river. He turned and offered his hand to Janie to haul her up beside him.
Once out of the water Doo noticed the chill in the air.

“Doo I’m cold,” Janie said through chattering teeth.

“We’ll warm up once we start moving,” Doo said.

“Which way do we go?”

“Jest foller the river south, nuthin to it,” Doo said.

“Doo are we really going to make it?”

“I reckon so, we’re close to Pittsburgh the Shawnee won’t foller us from here, if they ain’t got us by now they won’t try anymore,” Doo said.

“There’s something I wish I’d done before we left the boat,” Janie said.

“ Whut’s thet?”

“ I wish I’d put my shoes on before we jumped off,” Janie said.

“It could get a little rough walking in bare feet, but it ain’t impossible,” Doo said.

“I didn’t mean it would be impossible, it’s just my pa paid two dollars for them shoes, now I won’t be able to replace them I ain’t got no money,” Janie said.

“Let me worry about thet,” Doo said.

“ Why?”

“We’re in this together now, I’ll make sure you get outfitted and took care of in Pittsburgh,” Doo said.


Janie did not think it would be that easy.  She wondered how Doo had made it through the wilderness with four braves after him.  I’m thinking that Doo needs some looking after, an angel must have worked really hard to keep him alive.

  I guess it is up to me now to make sure he gets to Pittsburgh.  Can’t swim, jumps off a cliff,  jumps off a boat and still can’t swim, makes me leave my gun…. this man’s angel definitely needs my help.  I guess I’ll have to work hard to get us to Pittsburgh but Heavenly Father I vow we are going to make it and your help would be greatly appreciated …send more angels please!
 

Their clothes dried as the pair trudged on through the night. Doo thanked his lucky stars for that, there’s nuthin worse than walking in wet buckskin he thought.
They’d probably made about six miles as the sky was turning pink in the pre-dawn light. He figured Janie might need a break so he found a grove of trees and told her to have a set.
 
“I’m gonna check our back trail and make sure the Shawnees ain’t follerin us, you jest set tight here and I’ll be back in a jiffy,” Doo said.

Janie was almost asleep as soon as her butt hit the ground. Doo figured she’d be okay for a little while as he checked for any pursuit.

Doo was careful to use the brush as cover as he went back the way they’d come. A blind man could have followed them. The trail they’d left was clear, any pursuit would have no problem tracking them. He’d gone about a half mile when he thought he’d heard Janie.

“You savage! You killed my pa!”

Doo turned on his heel and started running back to the grove of trees where he’d left the girl. When he reached the grove he found an Indian warily circling Janie shaking his head, who was swinging a log as thick as her leg.

Doo bent over put his hands on his knees to catch his breath.

Janie glanced over at Doo. She could not believe her eyes, Doo looked like he was choking.

“What are you doing, are you laughing, where is the sense God gave you?!?! help me!” Janie said.
Doo cracked a grin at the Indian's discomfort as he tried to stay out of range of the branch Janie was swinging.
 
“ Whut do you think Mighty Beaver, should I rescue her?”

“She is doing fine on her own Doolittle,” was the response the Indian spoke as he rubbed a lump on the side of his head as big as an apple.
Janie was taken aback when the Indian had spoken English to Doo. She quit swinging the branch and stood there glaring at Doo.
 
“You knew he wasn’t hostile,” she accused.

“Yup that there is Mighty Beaver, he’s a Delaware. We’ve hunted some together,” Doo said.
 
Janie swung her glance to Mighty Beaver, threatening him with the branch.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were friendly?”

Mighty Beaver took a step back, a burst of booming laughter from deep in Mighty Beavers belly.

“You wouldn’t have listened Little One. You swing first, listen second,” Mighty Beaver said while wiping away tears.
 
Mighty Beaver looked over at Doo.
 
“There must be a good story to explain this Doolittle,” Mighty Beaver said.

“You bet there is Mighty Beaver! Are you out here by yourself?”

“No, I am part of a hunting party from Pittsburgh with a friend of yours,” said Mighty Beaver.
 
“Who might that be?” Doolittle inquired cautiously knowing that Mighty Beaver had a strange sense of humor.

“It will be a surprise when we get to my camp.”

“Lead on Mighty Beaver,” Doo said.
 
Janie hesitated, Doo noticed her hanging back.

“Whut’re you doin’ gal, let’s get goin’,” Doo said.

“I ain’t goin with him, I don’t trust him,” Janie said.

“Do you trust me?”

“Y-y-yes, of course,” she stammered.

“Well, I’ll swear to you that Mighty Beaver is a mighty good friend to me, and he will be to you too,” Doo said. “He already respects you.”

“How do you know that?”
“I could tell he was impressed the way you fought back instead of just screaming, Injuns respect courage, and he called you Little One,” Doo said.

“What does that mean?”

“Ask him.”

If Mighty Beaver heard the exchange he gave no sign. Janie trotted to catch up with him.
 
“Why did you call me Little One?”

“It is short for your name I have given you,” Mighty Beaver said.

“Short for what?”

“Little One Who Swings Big Stick,” Mighty Beaver said.

Doo let out a guffaw at that.
Janie shot Doo a dirty glance.

“Mighty Beaver I think you and me is going to be good friends” Janie replied haughtily. She whispered, “Doolittle needs friends, I have no idea how he is still alive!”
Mighty Beaver nodded in agreement.  Janie knew that there were some stories there that she wanted to know.

“How fur is your camp?” Doo asked.
“Not much further,” Mighty Beaver said.

They rounded a curve in the trail, when a voice rang out.

“Stop whur you are, or I’ll put a ball through you.”
“I’d know that voice anywhur, CLANCY is that you?

A figure in buckskin pants and a tan linsey woolesy shirt stepped from behind a pin oak
 
“Doo??”

“You’d better believe it old son.”

“We thought you wuz dead Hoss, when you didn’t come back in the spring,”

"Not hardly,” said Doo.

“First things first, Janie Wolfe this here scraggly old skunk be Clancy Sinclair.” Doo said, then finishing the introductions, “Clancy, this is Janie, she’s a little green but she’ll do to ride the river with.”

With a grand gesture Clancy half bowed  to Janie then took her hand and kissed it.

“Howdy ma’am,” Clancy said.
 
Color crept up Janie’s face as warmth spread down to her belly and kept going. Clancy Sinclair was possibly the most handsome man she’d ever seen. He stood four inches over six feet tall, and may have weighed 190 pounds. His chiseled facial features were clean shaven with shocks of red hair sticking out from under his broad brimmed black hat.

 Janie’s hand tingled from the kiss, her heart felt too big for her chest, and for the first time in her life she was struck silent.
 
“How’d you come to be out here afoot with no weapon and this young lady here Doo?” Clancy asked.

“For a venison steak I’ll tell you Clancy,” Doo said.

“I think that can be arranged,” Clancy said. “ And I might be able to scrounge up a jug of Who- Hit- John.”

“Now you’re talkin’.”

As Mighty Beaver skinned out the deer Clancy had killed, Clancy got a fire going while Doo and Janie gathered up firewood. Soon steaks were broiling on sticks stuck through them. Clancy whipped up some pan bread.

After they had eaten, Clancy pulled an ember from the fire to light his pipe. Once he got it going he looked across the fire at Doo.

“You owe me a story Doolittle."

“Wallll it went like this…”



 
 
 
 

Author Notes Here you go, sorry about the waitThis one may seem a little long, but it's worth a look. Be kind.
Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts, knows how to swim
Swooping Eagle= Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason, knows how to swim
Wise Owl- Shawnee Warrior, the voice of reason, knows how to swim
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor,knows how to swim
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle, knows how to swim


Chapter 4
Bright Lights, Big City

By Earl Corp

Roseanna took another break from her story. She looked around at her grandchildren. She then picked up the jug and took another pull. She felt the whiskey warmth slide down her throat to hit her stomach and spread out from there.
“Granny is you in this story?” Martha Carter asked.
“You’ll have you wait and see darlin’, you can’t hurry a good story.”
“Do they ever get to Pittsburgh?” Zachary wanted to know.
“Goodness gracious, if you young’uns don’t quit askin’ questions I’ll have to stop tellin' the story and fix supper.”
“NO GRANNY DON”T,” they all yelled in unison. Granny raised an eyebrow and gave the young’uns “the look.” 
“That’s better, well as we last looked in Janie and Doo had run into Mighty Beaver and Clancy Sinclair……”

Clancy threw back his head and let loose a deep belly laugh so infectious that Janie and Mighty Beaver began to laugh along.
Doo on the other hand didn’t see the humor in the tale he just told.
“And  jist what is so funny?”
Clancy wiped tears away before he answered.

“You still haven’t learned to swim but that don’t stop you from jumping in deep water that pretty much describes yer whole life Doo, even if you don’t know whut’s going on you plunge right in any how.”

“You could be right Clancy.”

“So Little One saved your life twice Doolittle?” Mighty Beaver asked.

“I sure did,” Janie said proudly as she sat up straighter.

“It warn’t like that at all,” Doo growled.

“It is too, you’d have drowned twice if I hadn’t helped you,” Janie argued.

The Injuns would have scalped you if it warn’t fer me.”
“There were only two left,” Janie said.

“I thought you only killed one Doolittle,” Mighty Beaver said.

“Well I did kill one with my knife, but Janie here killed the other’un with a rifle.”

Mighty Beaver looked at Janie with a greater new found respect,

“The Little One is fierce, I am lucky she didn’t get me with her stick.”
“I did get you with my stick and you’re darn lucky I held back Mighty Beaver.”

“Whut’s your plans now Doo?” Clancy asked.

“I believe someone said somethin’ about a jug earlier, this storytelling is makin’ my throat dry,”

“Excuse me, where are my manners." Clancy got up from the log he was sitting on and started rummaging through his pack. “Here yuh go Doo.”

Doo pulled the cork and upended the jug, taking a long pull. The whiskey burned going down but soon turned to that familiar warmth in his stomach. He wiped his mouth with his forearm.

“In Pittsburgh I need to go and see my financier about outfitting for another trip into Ohio.”
 

Clancy looked thoughtful and chose his words carefully, “That could be an expensive proposition; you reckon your financier will go for it?”

 
“I dunno, it  don’t hurt to ask. It ain’t like I’ve never heard the man say no before.” Doo looked troubled as he replied.

 
Clancy shook his head in agreement, “I guess that’s true but I don’t envy you that task."

 “How fur is it to Pittsburgh?” Doo changed the subject.

“Not far, we could be back by late afternoon.”

Mighty Beaver interjected, “Little One’s feet need cared for before we move on. She cut them up walking in her bare feet.”

“Whut do you recommend we do Mighty Beaver?” Doo asked.

“I can make a poultice for tonight, but we should cover her feet when we walk .”

“They don’t hurt that much,” Janie stated quickly her face all scrunched up.

She could just picture the men leaving her behind for being too much trouble. These men were not like Pa. Pa kept her around to work as free help. He had stated many times that she owed him for her life on the river.

They did not need her to make their way through the wilderness. She was not needed as a cook, not as a cleaner, not as a boat worker, not as anything.  There were no ties binding her to any of them and the feeling of being alone hit her all at once. She belonged nowhere and with no one.
 
“They could become infected, Little One.”

 “Listen to Mighty  Beaver Janie. He’s doctored many a feet.” Clancy said. “Besides how will you continue if you can’t walk with us?”   
       
Mighty Beaver made eye contact with Clancy and gave an imperceptible nod of thank you. He knew the little one was troubled by the way she was acting. Mighty Beaver had a feeling that Janie was special and being guided by a greater force and he vowed that he would be there to see that Janie was taken care of and kept safe. This young lady was meant for great things. 

Those that she touched would be graced with good fortune.  He looked at Doo and smiled to himself, maybe she was Doo’s angel as the white man was always saying, “But for the grace of God and some mighty tough angels I am still here and kicking!”
              
  Janie watched as Mighty Beaver mixed some herbs together with water on two long pieces of deer hide. Once the mixture was at the consistency Mighty Beaver wanted he tied the poultices  onto Janie's feet.  

“What is that you’re putting on my feet?”

 “A mixture of herbs mostly willow bark for the pain and elderberry to fight off infection.”           
               
The pain in her feet began to subside and Janie’s eyelids became heavy. She was barely awake enough to hear Mighty Beaver’s answer to her question. Mighty Beaver smiled. He stepped over to his pack and retrieved his extra blanket. He covered the girl.

“Sleep well, Little One,” he said and then he whispered for the wind to carry “all will be well we will keep you safe to fulfill your destiny.”
                                            *****
Swooping Eagle and Lonesome Owl scavenged Doo’s camp site where they found treasures galore. Doo’s spare rifle was infinitely better than the one picked up on the boat. Still spurning white man’s weapons Lonesome Owl now owned two rifles. The meat drying rack wasn’t quite full but held a couple pounds of venison jerky.

Going through the furs, Swooping Eagle was surprised to find two mountain buffalo hides. Mountain buffalo were a rare find, this just convinced Swooping Eagle further that Doo was being blessed by Our Grandmother.

He showed the buffalo hides to Lonesome Owl.

“He has to be the luckiest white man that ever lived, the meat from those two animals would have fed 10 families through the winter,” Lonesome Owl said.
 “I don’t think he’s lucky, Our Grandmother led him to the girl and she guides her.”
 
“ Possibly, I wonder what he did with the meat.”

“It doesn’t matter, let us find the horse and load what we want on it and go.
               
Swooping Eagle and Lonesome Owl separated and went in different directions looking for Doo’s horse. Swooping Eagle found the grey mare picketed in a field behind a copse of trees. The horse seemed contented to crop at the grass until he approached her. She started nickering when he approached. The horse was putting up enough of a fuss, Lonesome Owl arrived to help.

“What are you doing to that poor horse?”

Swooping Eagle grinned. “I’m treating her like the family dog.”
               
Lonesome Owl shook his head, “I like dog stew but you should have more respect for this animal. She is magnificent and will be a fine addition to your wigwam. Treat her with the respect she deserves for helping you build your life so you can serve your people.  Remember wise men build respect and get it, a foolish man respects nothing and no one and does nothing for his people.  Strive to love your life and beautify all things so your life can be long and serve your people.”
 
Swooping Eagle looked at Lonesome Owl, “You are wise and make me feel like I am not yet a brave.  Sometimes I wonder if I will I ever learn,  and be great like you?” 
 
Lonesome Owl once again shook his head, “I doubt it.” 

Swooping Eagle felt his jaw drop.  Lonesome Owl started to laugh. 
 
*****
Janie woke to Mighty Beaver taking the poultice off her feet. The pain that had been prevalent yesterday was gone. She couldn’t believe it.

“My feet feel great, thank you Mighty Beaver.”
               
Mighty Beaver smiled, “It was nothing, Little One.”
               
Clancy peeked over Mighty Beaver’s shoulder at Janie’s feet.

“Is she going to be able to walk?”

“If we can find something to cover her feet.”
               
Doo had been listening to the exchange. “I reckon I could carry her.”
               
“Doo it’s almost 15 miles to the fort,” Clancy said.
               
“You have any other ideas?”
               
“You carry my pack and rifle and I’ll take her.”
               
There were few men Doo had to look up at, Clancy Sinclair was one at four inches over six feet he had a good two inches on Doo.
               
“Do I get a say in this?” Janie asked.
               
Ignoring Janie, Doo looked Clancy square in the eyes, “I ain’t totin’ your goods.”

“That’s no way to be Doo, after we saved you from the Injuns and fed you,” Clancy stated.
               
“SAVED ME!  I don’t think so, the Injuns was 15 miles that-a-way,” Doo said as he pointed north.
               
Growing weary of the childish bickering, Mighty Beaver dropped his pack and rummaged around in it until he retrieved a two-foot section of a cured deer hide. He walked over to Janie and started to measure her feet, marking of the length and width with a cold ember from the previous night’s fire.
               
“I’m obliged Mighty Beaver, but can you stop those two fools. They will kill each other,” Janie whispered.
               
“I do not think so Little One, they have been friends too long for that. That does not mean they will not fight and it will be glorious to watch but we will have the moccasins done before they can really get into battle and they will fight another day but not today.”
               
Janie gazed at the pair with a horrified look on her face. “What do you mean?”
               
“Have you ever seen two bucks fight over a doe?”
               
“No.”
               
“It is a sight to behold, but one or both of them might have been hurt too bad to walk to Pittsburgh for a few days and I am not carrying either of them.”
               
Janie giggled at that and outright laughed when Mighty Beaver gestured to her feet and said,

“Oh Mighty Bucks the problem has been solved with no one acting as squaw. Save the entertainment for another day.”
               
Clancy looked at Doo, “Do you know what he is yammering about?” 
               
“Nope, I think he is losing it better hurry to Pittsburgh! Janie where did you get those moccasins?”   
 
An hour later the group hit the trail. Mighty Beaver and Clancy were glad to be coming back into the settlement for rest and resupply. Janie was excited, she’d never been to a city so big, and she had heard that there were nearly 1,500 people all living in one place!

On the other hand, Doo was dreading the trip with every step closer he took towards the fort. He wasn’t looking forward to explaining to his benefactor how he had lost all of his investment when he abandoned the whole winter’s catch of furs, his traps, and a horse. He also didn’t know how he was going to live down losing his fine Lancaster rifle.

As the group neared Pittsburgh they moved off of the trail onto a wagon road. About a mile out, a carriage which contained a man and a woman, came barreling down the road. They had to jump out of the way of the racing carriage.

“Out of the way,” a ferret faced man yelled at them.
               
A fine layer of dust kicked up by the carriage settled on the party. Doo made a point of memorizing the man’s face, he silently vowed that he and ferret face would have a reckoning.
               
“Well that was rude,” Janie said as she beat the dust off of her clothes,
               
“I reckon he has somewhere to be,” Clancy said as he stared at the retreating carriage.
               
As the group stopped short of the settlement gate, they started clapping the dust of off of their bodies. Janie tried to run her fingers through her straw colored hair to comb it. She was encountering knots and tangles and was ready to give up. She wished she had a real comb and maybe a small mirror to make herself presentable when they entered the settlement.
              
  Clancy noticed the girl’s discomfort, he set his pack down and dug around a bit and produced a comb.  “Here ya go Miss Janie.”  
               
Janie squealed with delight when she saw the comb. But Clancy wasn’t through. Some more digging produced a small shaving mirror.  “Oh, thank you Mr. Sinclair.”  But Clancy still wasn’t done. One more dip into the bag and he came out with a sky blue length of ribbon.
               
“This should go good with your purty eyes.”
               
Janie almost melted at that remark. She felt her knees weaken and her face start to flush at Clancy’s remark.
               
Doo rolled his eyes at that last remark. “You probably were carrying that in case you came across a Seneca village to give to some squaw.”
               
Clancy shot Doo a dirty look, but it was Janie who spoke up. “You hush up Doo Carter, you jealous old thing.”
               
This prompted Doo to throw his head back and roar with laughter.

“What’s so funny?” Janie asked angrily.  If Doo thought she was not worthy of attention he was going to get a talking to.

“That I’d be jealous of anything Clancy Sinclair has.”

Janie stuck out her lower lip in a pout. “Clancy doesn’t have me.”
              
  “Wanna bet?”
               
Janie felt her face getting hotter and she decided to break off this line of conversation.  Nope not going to give him a talking to where the ending would make her feelings known to Clancy. How did Doo know he made her feel butterflies in her tummy? 

“Where will we go?”
              
  “To see my financier, has a mercantile up the road, we’ll start there.”
              
  As they entered the gates and walked past the lower cabins of lower town, Clancy pulled up and stopped.
               
“I reckon me and Mighty Beaver will break off, we have some business to conduct in lower town.”
              
  “And I know what that might be, do ya think ya could spare two bits so I could wet my whistle before going to see my investor?”
               
Clancy cracked a grin from ear to ear.
               
“And how might ya be doin’ that with the young lady in tow, you can’t take a proper lady into a tavern?”
               
“Hmm…. never thought about that, I’ll take her up to my pa’s.”
               
“Do I get a say in this? Janie asked.
               
“Sure as long as you say yore goin’ to my pa’s.”
               
“And what if I don’t?”

Doo wasn’t listening to her. He had spotted the ferret-faced man a few buildings up on the walk. He was being accompanied by a dark haired woman. He watched as the woman picked up an apple and showed him,
               
“Oh Free! Doesn’t this look absolutely scrumptious?” asked the dark-haired woman in a refined voice.
               
The ferret-faced man gripped her wrist hard and twisted it so hard she let out a moan.
               
“How many times do I have to tell you my name is Godfrey you trollop.”
               
Doo saw red, you didn’t manhandle a woman on the frontier, especially in front of Doo Carter. Clancy saw the look but wasn’t fast enough to intervene, Doo was already moving. Doo walked towards the ferret-faced man and caught him with a shoulder.

This jostled the man enough he lost his grip on the girl.

 “Watch what you’re doing you big… urrrk.”

 Ferret-face couldn’t say anything because Doo had his left arm across the man’s throat. His face went from bright red to a deep, dark purple. His eyes were bulging.

Doo spoke in a very calm voice. “You’re not worth hanging over,” Doo gave the woman an appreciative glance and their eyes locked. Her blue eyes looked like as deep of a pool as he had ever almost drowned in. She matched his stare without averting her eyes.

“But your woman is.”
               
An iron grip grasped his left shoulder.  “Release him Doolittle before you kill him.” commanded his benefactor.
               
Doo knew the voice and the grip well, and he heeded it. He released the man.

“Now git.”  He turned to the woman.  “Miss, if you’ll wait for a little bit, I’ll escort you home.”

He then turned around to face the voice of his investor, financier and benefactor.

“Howdy pa.”
 

Author Notes Here you go, sorry about the waitThis one may seem a little long, but it's worth a look. Be kind.
Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts, knows how to swim
Swooping Eagle= Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason, knows how to swim
Wise Owl- Shawnee Warrior, the voice of reason, knows how to swim
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor,knows how to swim
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle, knows how to swim
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad, probably knows how to swim


Chapter 5
Don't Go Breakin' My Heart

By Earl Corp




Roseanna got up from her chair to stretch her legs.

"You young'uns hold on a minute, I'll be right back."

"You going to the privy Granny?" Andy Jackson Carter asked.

"Jest you never a 'mind where I'm a'goin'"

Roseanna went into the kitchen where her son, Zachary's, wife was taking a sheet of cookies out of the oven.

"Are those cookies ready to go Emily?"

"Yes'm, I've got a couple dozen cooling now."

"Well let's put them on a plate and pass them out: they're best when they're warm."

Roseanna returned to her rocker with a plate of cookies, she handed them off to Mary.

"Here Mary, pass these out amongst the young'uns."

Anxious hands snatched at the sweet treats, Roseanna smacked one she thought had more than their fair share.

"Dan'l, I'll tan your hide with a switch if you try to grab all them cookies for yourself again."

"Yes'm," the boy said sheepishly while rubbing his hand.

"Now where was I? Oh, that's right Doo almost killed the ferret-faced stranger."


*****
"What do you think you're doing Doolittle, I didn't raise you to hang," Zachary Carter said.

"Thunderation pa, he manhandled this young lady and called her a nasty name."

Zack Carter had lived over half his life on the frontier. He'd been with Roger's Rangers during the French and Indian War and marched off to the Revolution with Captain Samuel Morehead's Independent Rifle Company.

Zack had walked with a limp ever since losing two toes at Valley Forge. After mustering out of the Army after serving until 1780. He moved his family west of the Allegheny's the following year. With the help of his three sons, he carved out a 200-acre farm north of Pittsburgh.

Even though the farm was successful, Zack felt drawn toward running a store. At first, he had operated a small trading post near the Shenango River. With the success of this post, Zack had opened a mercantile in Pittsburgh. Leaving his sons Benjamin, Jebediah, and Doolittle to run the farm.

Just as there were few men on the frontier Doo had to look up to there were fewer yet that he was afraid of. Zack Carter qualified on both counts.

"Ma'am I'm sorry for my son's indiscretion and running off your beau."

Roseanna McCalister's eyes had never left Doo's. She had already forgotten about Godfrey Smythe, who had slunk away after Doo had let him go. A chill had run up and down her spine when Doo had looked at her.

"It's fine sir, he wasn't my beau, just a boy I had walked with through the marketplace.

"You're the McCallister girl ain't you?'

"Yes sir, I'm Roseanna."

"I know your pa well he's a good man, we served in the Rangers against the French together."

"Are you Zack Carter? He said you were bigger than life and he wasn't joking."

'Yes I am, and this big lout here is my son Doolittle."

Doo felt color creeping into his cheeks, and he felt tongue tied in front of the beautiful dark-haired girl.

What's the matter with you? You never run short of words talking to the wenches in Muldoon's Tavern. Then the thought struck him, She ain't a tavern wench, this is a proper lady.

Roseanna held her hand out to Doo. She was more than a little shocked when he brought it up to his lips and kissed the back of her hand.

This earned Doo a cuff in the back of the head from Zack.

"You blasted idjit! She wanted you to shake her hand, not kiss it."

Doo started rubbing the back of his head while Roseanna began to giggle. Doo's face felt flushed and he began to sweat. Clancy cracked a wide grin at Doo's embarrassment.

"Ho Doo, you better learn some manners," he crowed.

Zack Carter turned abruptly and faced Clancy and fixed him with a glare, his blue eyes glittered.

"And just where were you,Sinclair you were willing to let Doo get hung over trash like Godfrey Smythe."

It was now Clancy's turn to flush and break out in a sweat. While Clancy would never admit it, Zack Carters cared  the hell out of him as well.

"Doo moved too fast for me sir; he had him by the throat before I realized what he was doing Mr. Carter."

Then a thought struck Clancy.

"Mr. Carter, how did you know that dandy's name?"

"That's a story for another time; suffice to say I know the young popinjay."

Zack turned towards Roseanna and Doo. Roseanna's eyes had never left Doo's, a fact which wasn't lost on Janie.

"Ma'am, I'm sure my oaf of a son would be more than happy to see you get home safely."

Roseanna broke her eye contact with Doo. It was her turn to flush.

"Oh, that won't be necessary, Mr. Carter; I'll be fine on my own."

"I'm sure you would be, but it's the least he could do after running your escort off the way he did right, Doolittle?"

An elbow in the ribs prompted the first sound Doo had made in the exchange.

"Ooof... Yeah, Pa it would be a pleasure."

Doo offered his arm to Roseanna, who slipped her arm in his.

"Where to milady?"

"Up the north hill."

Doo's eyebrows arched when he heard he'd be escorting Miss McCallister to the richest part of the settlement. There were real houses on the north hill, no log cabins.

"Doolittle meet us back at the store, and don't dawdle."

"Yes pa."

As the couple walked away, Zack turned toward Janie, Clancy, and Mighty Beaver.

"And who might this young lady be?"

"Mr. Carter may I introduce you to Miss Janie Wolfe, we found her and Doo wandering around lost north of here," Clancy said.

"YOU MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT."

Zack chuckled at the way Janie went after Clancy. He didn't believe his son had been lost either. He had appeared bareheaded, minus the furs he was supposed to have brought with him, and no rifle. There was a story there. He wasn't sure he'd get a non-biased version from either Clancy or his son.
He knew Mighty Beaver was as truthful as they come, but he was actually interested in Janie's version.

"Miss Wolfe would you like to come to my mercantile and I think we can get you outfitted a little better than you are presently."

Zack looked the girl up and down. She was wearing boys britches, an over large linsey-woolsey shirt, and he wasn't quite sure what was on her feet.
He held his arm out for Janie, who slipped her arm in his.

"And off we go."

Clancy and Mighty Beaver turned to head back towards lower town and the tavern they'd been hunting for to drop off the meat they'd gotten before finding Doo and Janie.

"Just where do you two think yore goin'?"

Clancy turned and answered.

"Red Mike is expecting some fresh meat from us, sir."

"Drop it off and meet us at my place, I want to hear your version of the facts."

"Yes sir."
*****
Godfrey Smythe rubbed his throat where Doo had gripped him.

Never had he'd been manhandled like that before, especially by someone with such a lack of breeding as that buckskin clad behemoth.

As for that trollop, Roseanna, it was good riddance as far as he was concerned, he'd only been squiring about as a favor to his father. Though she is a
ripe berry ready to be plucked,
he thought.

As he rubbed, he vowed there would be a reckoning with that savage, who stuck his nose where it didn't belong. After all he had barely touched the girl.

As far as the girl went, she had stayed behind with all those big people as if she needed protection from him. There would be consequences meted out to her as well.

As he walked through lower town, he considered some options on his revenge. This had been a bad day for him. He had been tasked by his father,
Sterling Smythe, to purchase Zack Carter's mercantile. Zack had turned him down cold without even hearing his offer. Sterling would be less than

pleased with his failure.

Then the run-in with Doo and Roseanna's betrayal just made the day unbearable. It was this mood he carried into the Crowing Rooster Tavern.

The Crowing Rooster was in a rundown building near the docks. It was a gathering place for some of the more seedy citizens of Pittsburgh. Most of the patrons were willing to slit someone's throat for a two bit piece.

The tavern was owned by Percy Smithers. Smithers had been a Tory before the Revolution and he had sat the war out in Canada. Realizing there was money to be made in the fledgling United States,he returned.

He knew it wouldn't be wise to return to Philadelphia, he'd left there a step ahead of a mob hell bent on tarring and feathering him for his political views. That was the reason for his exile west of the Alleghenies.

The Crowing Rooster was the place to go if you wanted someone robbed or killed in Pittsburgh. Smythe had two reasons for entering the tavern. First, he would find someone to take care of Carter and Rosanna. Second, there was a harlot he was partial to.
*****
As Doo and Roseanna walked along, Doo was very quiet. Roseanna noticed this and wondered if she'd been too forward.

"I'm sorry your father made you escort me, I can make it from here on my own."

"That's not it."

"Then why aren't you talking to me?"

"Ma'am, the only proper woman I've ever talked to was my ma."

Roseanna's laugh came from her belly.

"Is that all? Just talk to me you big lunk."

"All right, so why were you with ferret face?"

"Ferret face? Oh you mean Godfrey, my father had asked him to escort me to the market and he suggested a carriage ride, but it was a ruse to get me alone in the woods."

"He's not your beau?"

Roseanna laughed again. Doo liked the way she laughed it was a genuine laugh of a confident woman, not a fake giggle of a girl.

"Hardly, it took a slap in the face to get him to bring me back to the settlement."

It was Doo's turn to laugh. He threw his head back and let go, when he was finished he looked at Roseanna admirably.

"I'd of paid to see that."

"How much?" Roseanna asked with a mischievous grin.

"I don't know, what's the going price?"

"Let me think, on that."

The couple walked along in silence. Doo became alert to someone following them. He turned around just in time to see two shabbily dressed men dart into doorways. Wishing for a pistol, Doo became wary and very aware of his surroundings.

Roseanna noticed the change in Doo.

"Is something wrong?" she whispered.

"I think we're being followed by two cut purses, they're going to be sorely disappointed I don't have a cent on me," he whispered back.

As he walked, Doo looked for something with some reach that he could use as a weapon. Nothing stuck out as something he could use to fend off an attack.

He heard a rush of footsteps behind him. As he turned to face the attackers he saw sunshine glinting off knife blades. He reached for his knife and got it out just in time as the faster of the two robbers reached him. He felt a burning along his ribs; he knew first blood had been drawn.

The would-be robber moved to close with Doo, probably in hopes to finish this quickly. He wasn't expecting the bite of Doo's blade as he buried it up to the hilt in the would-be robber's stomach.

A shot rang out as Doo was pulling his knife free. He turned towards Roseanna who was holding a small pistol with smoke curing out of the barrel. Her attacker had also taken a belly wound.

"Silly him, bringing a knife to a gun fight," Roseanna said.

"Thunderation! Where did that come from?"

"My purse, my father doesn't let me leave the house without it."

Doo shook his head in disbelief. Not only had she shot the robber, but she kept her wits about her and looked like a lady doing it. She and Janie should get along famously.

The two cut purses were lying on the ground groaning. Doo didn't intend to give them a second chance to come after them again. He intended to slit their throats where they laid then get Roseanna home.

"Doolittle what are you doing?"

"Finishing what we started."

"You're going to kill them in cold blood? They're out of the fight."

"It's not a good idea to let enemies live to come after you again, they might succeed next time."

"Please, don't kill them, just get me home."

"This is yore lucky day pond scum, you heard the lady, git."

Doo was alert for any shenanigans as he watched the one he stabbed help the one Roseanna had shot to his feet, and start back down the hill.
*****

"Dammit Godfrey I told you not to hurt her," Smithers said as he looked down at the dead whore on the bed.

"She's not hurting, is she?" 

Smithers wanted to slap the grin off of Smythe's face. Not only had he killed one of his top money makers, but he'd made a helluva mess to boot.

Smythe flipped a $5 Half Eagle to Smithers.

"That should take care of it."

"What do I do with the body?"

"Throw her in the Ohio, the current should take care of it for you."

"This is the last one Godfrey I draw the line at three, you're not welcome here any longer."

"I'm good with that."
*****
Zack opened the door to his store for Janie. She entered and took in the smells of licorice, new clothing, and pickles.

"Have a seat there Miss Janie, while I rustle you up a dress and some shoes."

Janie sat down on a keg of nails.

Zack rummaged around in the back until he found what he was looking for. He came back out front and held up a forest green dress in front of him.

"This looks like it may fit, if you want to step into the storeroom and try it on."

"I couldn't take that Mr. Carter; I have no way to pay you."

"Don't fret about that my dear, it's not new I took it in as a trade, It's been gathering dust back there for about a year. Let me see if I have some shoes that will fit you, what is it you have on your feet child?"

"Mighty Beaver fashioned me some moccasins so I wouldn't cut my feet up any more, and Doo and Clancy wouldn't kill each other."

"Why were your feet cut up?"

"I'd had to leave my shoes behind when Doo and I jumped off the boat to escape the Shawnees."

"Boat? Shawnees? What are you talking about girl?

"My pa fished Doo out of the Ohio about two days north; he said he'd been chased for some days by a band of Shawnees before he'd stepped off a cliff to get away from them."

"Why'd you jump off of the boat? And where's yore pa?"

The last question almost made Janie squeeze out a couple tears, at the memory of her pa.

"The injuns killed him because he didn't decide to stand no guard at night, Doo killed one with his knife and I shot one."

Zack looked at Janie with admiration.

"You shot one?"

"Yes sir I did, then Doo and I jumped off the boat and the injuns set fire to it. Me and Doo started walking towards Pittsburgh and we run into Clancy and Mighty Beaver."

"Were you lost when Clancy and Mighty Beaver found you?"

"No sir we wasn't lost, I reckon we'd have made it fine without them."

This made Zack chuckle.

"I reckon you would have at that."
*****
Shawnee village near Raccoon Creek

Lonesome Owl stood outside Swooping Eagle's bark house.

"Ha-ho Swooping Eagle my friend, may I enter?"

"Come in Lonesome Owl my Friend."

It had not gone well for Swooping Eagle since returning to their village. His father, Running Deer, is the civil chief of the band. He'd advocated for Swooping Eagle being banished for losing over half of his war party and not capturing the white man who had killed his brother.

"Sit my friend; tell me of the council's decision."

"As you know losing your brother, Black Hoof, and Stalking Panther was not in your favor, letting the white man get away twice also did not go over well with the elders."

"What of my father? Did he speak on my behalf?"

Lonesome Owl thought long and hard before answering his friend.

"Your father still grieves the loss of Laughing Otter."

"Did he speak on my behalf?' Swooping Eagle asked again forcefully.

"He cast his vote to banish you."

Swooping Eagle leaped to his feet. Lonesome Owl saw the anger in his friend's face, he also stood to block Swooping Eagle from leaving his house and doing something he'd be sorry for.

"Ho, my friend that was not the council's decision."

This stopped Swooping Eagle.

"What was their decision?"
"You are no longer a war chief and will not be until you bring the white man before the council for Shawnee justice."

Swooping Eagle sat back down, he looked into the fire. The next words he spoke were both menacing and chilling to Lonesome Owl.

"This will be done, I swear to Our Grandmother, he will pay."

Author Notes Here you go, Had to take a break from the lists book. Thisis getting easier to write. Be kind.

Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.
Ha-ho is a traditional greeting between the Shawnees

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman.
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts, knows how to swim.
Roseanna McCallister- Heroine who will figure a lot more heavily into the story. Knows how to shoot, ride, and yes swim.
Swooping Eagle= Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Wise Owl- Shawnee Warrior, the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Running Deer- Civil Chief of the Shawnee and Swooping Eagle's father' Not happy with Swooping Eagle for getting his favorite son killed. Knows how to swim.
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor,knows how to swim
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle, knows how to swim
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad, probably knows how to swim.
Zachary "Zack" Carter- The Carter family patriarch and quite possibly the toughest man on the frontier. Men fear him and women want to be with him. Knows how to swim.
Percy Smithers- Owner of the Crowing Rooster Tavern. He's crooked as a dog's leg but looks like a straight arrow compared to Godfrey Smythe. Might know how to swim.


Chapter 6
The Backstabbers

By Earl Corp

Carter’s Holler, Kentucky, 1860
Some of the children had started giggling and whispering while she was telling the story. Roseanna stopped talking fixed an evil eye on the offenders. Caroline and Dan’l immediately stopped, but the longer the stare was held on them the more they squirmed.
Dan’l broke first.

“Why’d you stop, granny?”

“You know blame well why, what was so dad gummed funny?”

“Caroline don’t believe that yore in the story and you shot that man,” the boy said.

 “But I told her it was you and yore the toughest granny in Kentucky.”

“And the purtiest one too,” Caroline added.

“You’d best mind that or I’ll wear you out with a switch the next time you interrupt me, now where was I….”

*****

Godfrey Smythe occupied a table in the back of the Crowing Rooster, where it was dark. A little gold had made Smithers forget about the dead whore and allow Smythe to patronize the tavern again.

The story of Doo escaping the Shawnees had spread throughout the settlement. Godfrey didn’t believe the tale and not finding it particularly heroic, though he would never voice this opinion to anyone.

After he took a swig of ale from the tankard before him he daintily wiped his mouth with a napkin. Peering at the man on the other side of the table, Godfrey sized him up.

Dressed in filthy, grease-stained buckskins Dirk Fox didn’t present a very imposing figure. His straw colored hair probably hadn’t been washed since the last time it had rained, his hazel eyes darted back and forth like a trapped rat’s. He was  slight though he stood almost six foot tall, some might say he could be used for a rifle ramrod.

“So what do you want to know, Smythe?” Fox asked.

“Can you find the band of Shawnee that Doo Carter escaped from?”

“And exactly why the Hell would I want to do that?”

Godfrey threw a purse onto the table that made a distinct clinking sound when it hit the rough hewn boards.

“For money of course.”

“Smythe, I don’t know how much is in that purse but it needs to be ten times bigger before I’d consider it.”

“You need not worry about that, my good man. That money is just a token payment for listening to me. If we don’t strike a deal take the money no harm, no foul.”

Fox turned his head and locked eyes with Godfrey.

“Why?” 
                         
“Failing to negotiate the sale of Zack Carter’s emporium, my father has tasked me with establishing a trading post in the wild.”

“Okay I’ll bite, why do you need me to find the Shawnees that chased Carter?

Godfrey motioned Fox to be silent, as a buxom raven-haired tavern wench approached.

“Could I get you gents anything else?” she asked while leaning over the table making sure they got an eyeful of what her low cut dress was covering up.

Fox’s eyes almost popped out of their sockets when the waitress leaned over. His eyes darted between her breasts and the purse lying on the table.

Godfrey grinned, he knew he had him.

“Nothing for us, my dear,” Godfrey said.

“Certainly sir,” she said as she moved on to the next table. Godfrey noticed how Fox was as entranced with her backside as the front.

“So we have a deal?”

Fox broke his gaze and said, “Huh?”

“I asked if we have a deal,” Godfrey repeated.

“What exactly do you need me to do?”

“I need you to guide me into Shawnee country, act as an interpreter, and help me negotiate a spot to build a trading post.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

Fox reached across the table and grabbed the purse.

“Mister, you got a deal. Now if you’ll excuse me, uuunfff.”

Godfrey had deceptive strength. He may look like a dandy, but he had an iron grip on Fox’s wrist.

“Oh, just one more thing. Silly me for not mentioning it,” Godfrey grinned and let go.

Fox rubbed his wrist.

“What?”

“I need you to find the exact Shawnees that chased Carter.”

Fox eyed Godfrey suspiciously.

“That’s it?”

“Absolutely.”

“Deal.”

Fox licked his lips, snatched the purse, and got up searching for the waitress. He saw her and went straight as an arrow to her. Godfrey watched with a bemused look on his face.

Godfrey saw Fox grab her by the wrist and head to the stairs. Watching as the girl pulled back from Fox. Almost hearing the tinkle of the coins as Fox jingled the purse. The girl’s eyes widened and she nodded in agreement, and then the two of them scooted up the stairs.
 

Phase one of his plan for revenge was in motion.

*****
Clancy Sinclair took a puff of his clay pipe as he took stock of the checker board laid across a pickle barrel in Zack Carter’s store. He had no moves, and the feeling that Zack was also aiming not to leave him any moves aside from the checker game.

“It looks like you got me, Mr. Carter.”

“Not yet I don’t.”

“Mr. Carter, if there’s a move there I’d be obliged if you’d point it out for me.”

Janie was half watching the game, half watching Clancy. She giggled and pointed at a piece for Clancy to move. Zack had jumped him and had already taken the finger off of the checker when Janie pointed at a piece in the corner.

Zack’s move had put his piece, and the two pieces behind it, in danger of being jumped by Clancy. Upon seeing the move, Clancy grinned from ear to ear.

“Looks like I got you, Mr. Carter.”

Zack fixed Janie with a glare. It shocked him that she boldly met his glare and didn’t back down.

This girl will do, he thought.

“I reckon you got me Sinclair, but you couldn’t do it by yourself.”

“I guess yore right about that, Mr. Carter,” Clancy said, then changing the subject, “I wonder what’s keeping Doo.”

“Don’t be worrying about Doolittle.”

Truthfully,  Zack was getting worried about his youngest son. The boy should have been back by now. Pulling his watch from his pocket and noting the time, he’d give it 30 more minutes then they’d go look for him.

Mighty Beaver was doing what he does best, watching and listening. Not sure how Zack Carter felt about having an Indian in his store, but he hadn’t kicked him out yet, so he decided to take a chance.

“Doolittle is capable of defending himself as long as he doesn’t have to swim anywhere,” he said.

This drew loud guffaws from Zack and Clancy; even Janie giggled at that.

“It’s hard to believe a boy born and raised on the frontier don’t know how to swim,” Clancy said.

“This is true,” said Zack.

Janie was in awe that they could just overlook a deficiency in a man’s skills that was so important. A man should know how to shoot, ride a horse, and swim as far as she was concerned. Otherwise he had no business on the frontier.

“Do you know how to swim?” she asked Clancy.

“Like a fish,” he replied.

This made her mind up between Doo and Clancy. Though neither of them knew it, Janie had been comparing them to each other in order to choose a mate from between them. Though he didn’t know it yet, being able to swim tipped the scales in Clancy’s favor.

The sounds of boards squeaking out front, then the tinkle of a bell when the door opened let them know someone had entered the store.
When they turned and saw it was Doo, they were relieved. Concern etched his face when Zack saw the blood on Doo’s shirt along the slit the knife had made on Doo’s side.

“What in thunderation happened to you? All I did was ask you to do was escort the McAllister gal home, not get into a donnybrook.”

Zack’s eyes then narrowed, “Did ya kill him ya idjit?”

“No sir, and there was two of them.”

“Is the McAllister gal alright?”

“Thunderation Pa, she shot one of them.”

“Yore joking,” Clancy interrupted.

“If I’m lying, I’m dying,” Doo said.

“What about the one that did that to you?” asked Zack.

“Run his gut onto my knife. He’ll live, if he sees a doctor quick enough. Funny they looked and acted like robbers but they didn’t try to take anything from us.”

“Hmmm that is strange, and you say McAllister’s daughter shot one, is he dead?” Zack asked.

“No sir, she stopped me short of slitting their throats. Last I saw of them they were supporting each other down the hill, bleeding like stuck pigs.”

“So no one will be seeking you out for a murder?”

“No sir.”

Zack furrowed his brow in thought; something about this didn’t add up. That the two younger people had been attacked in broad daylight was puzzling. Doo clearly didn’t have any wealth, and Roseanna wasn’t dressed like a rich lady.

Maybe they were after the girl, to have their wicked ways with her, Zack thought.

Mindful of Janie sitting there, Zack didn’t voice his thoughts.

“How bad cut are ya?”

“Not bad, Pa.”

“Let me look Doolittle, take off that shirt,” Mighty Beaver said.

Doo hesitated and looked at Janie. When Janie didn’t take the hint, Clancy cleared his throat.

“Umm, Miss Janie, could I escort you on a stroll around Pittsburgh?”

“Why, I would love that, Mr. Sinclair.”

Clancy offered Janie his arm, she wrapped her hand around his bicep and the pair strolled outside.

“Take your shirt off, Doolittle,” Mighty Beaver said.

Doo pulled the shirt up and over his head. Mighty Beaver inspected the non-life threatening eight inch slice along the left side just under the ribs. The wound wasn’t particularly deep, but it had bled quite a bit.

“I will make you a poultice like the one I did for Little One,” Mighty Beaver said.

“Little One?” Zack asked.


“He’s talking about Janie, Pa. When they first met she durn near took his head off with a limb. He named her 'Little One Who Swings Big Stick.'

Zack threw his head back and roared with laughter.

“I can almost see her doing that.”

“She did it, she’s a formidable foe in the forest,” Mighty Beaver said, and then he asked, “Do you have any bandages?”

Zack started rummaging behind the counter.

“I think I have some torn up linen for such occasions. Yup, here ya go Mighty Beaver,” Zack said handing Mighty Beaver a pile of clean white rags.

“I will go fetch some elderberry and willow bark for the poultice,” said Mighty Beaver.

As soon as the Delaware had left, Zack turned to Doo.

“All right, let’s have it.”

“Have what, Pa?”

“The story, what happened to your traps, horse, and rifle? And what happened to the furs you were bringing back to pay me for outfitting you?”

Doo told the story of being chased by the Shawnees, walking off the cliff, being picked up by the boat, the raid on the boat, and ended with running into Clancy in the woods.

Just as Doo finished, Mighty Beaver came back with the poultice herbs. He started mashing the ingredients together into a cloth. Once the consistency was how he wanted it, he folded the cloth over then twisted the ends tightly until it was a fist sized ball.

He asked if Zack had any whiskey.

“Now, Mighty Beaver you know it ain’t legal to sell whiskey to Injuns.”

“It is not for me, it is for the wound.”

“In that case, I keep a jug behind the counter.”

As Mighty Beaver wiped a whiskey soaked rag across the cut on Doo’s side,  he recoiled from the liquor’s bite.

“There’s one thing for sure, boy.”

“Whut’s that, Pa?

“Before we let you go back out to the woods we’re going to have to learn you how to swim.”

To be continued

Author Notes Here you go, it's long and not a lot of action, but a sub plot begins. For those just reading for the first time, there are 5 more chapters in case you're interested, feel free to go back and read'em to catch up. For those only reading for Fanstory bucks and points, I know it's long and probably not you regulat genre, give it a chance. Be kind.

Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.
Ha-ho is a traditional greeting between the Shawnees

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman.
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts, knows how to swim.
Roseanna McCallister- Heroine who will figure a lot more heavily into the story. Knows how to shoot, ride, and yes swim.
Swooping Eagle= Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Wise Owl- Shawnee Warrior, the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Running Deer- Civil Chief of the Shawnee and Swooping Eagle's father' Not happy with Swooping Eagle for getting his favorite son killed. Knows how to swim.
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor,knows how to swim
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle, knows how to swim
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad, probably knows how to swim.
Zachary "Zack" Carter- The Carter family patriarch and quite possibly the toughest man on the frontier. Men fear him and women want to be with him. Knows how to swim.
Percy Smithers- Owner of the Crowing Rooster Tavern. He's crooked as a dog's leg but looks like a straight arrow compared to Godfrey Smythe. Might know how to swim.
Dirk Fox- One of Smythe's minions and a five star rascal. Knows how to speak Shawnee and swim.


Chapter 7
Makin' Plans

By Earl Corp

 
Nate took his pipe and tapped it on the heel of his left boot until the embers fell out.

“Ma when’s supper?”

Roseanna gave him her patented evil eye.

“Land sakes young’un you just had a big dinner and some cookies, if yore gittin’ bored go chop some wood for the stove."

“Aw Ma,  I was just askin’ a question.”

This drew another stare from Roseanna.

“You still here boy? Git!”

Nate knew better than to argue with his mother. After all he had committed the ultimate sin, interrupting story time.

“Yes’m.”

Roseanna, satisfied that law and order had been restored to the front porch, settled back in her rocker.
“Now where was I….”
*****

“Thunderation Pa! Whut do you mean you won’t stake me to another trapping trip into Ohio?” Doo asked.

“Just what I said, Doolittle, I’m not throwing good money after bad. Hell, you didn’t even show up with as much as a muskrat hide,” Zach said.

“But Pa, the Shawnees wuz after me. I had to abandon everything to get out of there with my hair.”

“So you expect me to stake you to a new rifle, traps, another horse, and other possibles for another trip that may or may not pay off?”

“Well….Yeah.”

Zach threw back his head and let loose a belly laugh so hard it brought tears to his eyes.

“Son, I didn’t get where I am by gambling,” Zach said as he wiped away his tears.

“Whut am I supposed to do if I can’t go back to Ohio?”

“You can go work the farm with your brothers, get a job at the docks, or find someone else to finance you.”

The bell tinkled as the front door opened as Roseanna McCallister entered the store with a shopping basket under arm.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Carter.”

Roseanna shyly looked and smiled at Doo.

“Howdy, Doo.”

Doo blushed and found himself tongue tied.

What’s the matter with me? Why can’t I talk to her without being embarrassed?

Zach grinned as he found himself enjoying Doo’s discomfort.

“And what can I do for you this fine day, Miss McCallister?”

“Well Mr. Carter, my mother wants to make an apple pie so I need some flour and sugar.”

Roseanna smiled sweetly at Doo.

“Do you like apple pie Doo?”

“I’m more partial to cherry.”

Roseanna pouted at that.

Zach picked this time to return to the counter with a sack of sugar and a sack of flour.

“Will there be anything else Miss McCallister?”

“No sir, my mother asked if you could add this onto our account.”

“Why certainly.”

Roseanna placed the two sacks in her shopping basket, as she turned to leave she looked back at Doo, and then Zach.

“Oh, and one more thing, Mr. Carter.”

“What’s that my dear?”

“Teach that lout of a son of yours how to talk to a lady.”

Zack got another laugh as he saw Doo’s jaw drop and stare after the girl’s back.
*****
Shawnee Town near Raccoon Creek
Dirk Fox felt a shiver go up his spine as he entered the Shawnee town. Shawnees came out to stare as he walked through the center of the village.
A cold bead of sweat wound its way down his back. Fox wasn’t particularly a brave man, but the promise of a big payday by Smythe was enticement enough to get him to do this errand.

As he made his way to the big community house, Fox hoped the chief was in a good mood.  Injuns is such notional folks, he thought.

A tall warrior stepped from the structure followed by another with streaks of gray in his hair.

Fox stopped about 10 feet from the two warriors. He raised an open palm, the universal sign for peace, towards them. The Shawnees remained still and made no move to return the sign.

Uh-oh, this don’t look good.

A taller, older version of the  first warrior stepped from the building. 

“Any of you critters speak English?”

None of the Shawnees moved or said anything.

Fox knew some Shawnee, he could probably speak as good as any three-year-old Shawnee, and he thought he’d better get some conversation going before they decided to barbecue him.

Might as well open the ball.

In Shawnee he addressed the three warriors.

“I am Fox, I have been sent here by a great man who wants to trade with the people.”

The younger Shawnee answered him.

“That is a lie; there are no great white men.”

This brought a snicker from the warrior with gray hair. The older Shawnee still hadn’t spoke.

What is funny?”

“My friend has insulted you and your race.”

“I need to speak with the chief.”

Finally the oldest warrior spoke.

I am Running Deer, what is it you want?”

“I am here for a man who wants to build a trading post on your lands. For this he will give you many presents.”

“We want nothing from white men.”

“I can deliver the white who led you on a chase awhile back.”

This caught the younger one’s attention. He reentered the conversation.

“What do you know of this?”

“I know he was chased by you for three days and got away. Even now he sits in Pittsburgh bragging how he bested the Shawnees.”

“He killed my brother.”

That is why they didn’t give up, mused Fox.

Come in and sit, we will trade.”

I guess Smythe’s plan is coming together, Fox thought.

*****
 “Why me?” asked Clancy Sinclair.

“Because I need a guide into Shawnee country,” said Godfrey Smythe.

The two occupied a table in the back of the Crowing Rooster. Smoke hung heavy in the air. The smell of unwashed bodies and stale ale assaulted his nostrils. He wasn’t sure why he agreed to meet with Smythe, but he didn’t like what he was hearing.

“Well lookee here Smith.”

It’s Smythe, with a long I sound.”

“Whutever, whut yore asking is a suicide mission.”

“I’m sorry. I thought I was talking to the bravest man on the frontier.”

“You are, Smith.”

“It’s Smythe, you barbarian."

Clancy wasn’t exactly sure what a barbarian was. But he didn’t figure it was something good. He reached across the table and grabbed a handful of Smythe’s shirt and drew his face to within inches of his own.

“I wouldn’t advise you to be callin’ me no names…. SMITH.”

At that, Clancy let go of the front of Godfrey’s shirt and pushed him backwards hard. Godfrey almost lost his balance but righted himself just before falling off of the bench.

He shall pay for that action later.

“Well if you don’t have the stones to do it do you know someone who does?”

“Not right off hand, can’t say as I do.”

“I’ve heard of a man that has been there and back, named Doo Carter.”

Clancy threw his head back and laughed.

“I don’t think he’s the man you want; besides you’re already acquainted.”

“Whatever do you mean?”

“He’s the one who almost put you under at the market place.”

“Oh him? That is the kind of courage which is needed on this trip, could you convince him to go?”

“I doubt it."

Godfrey pulled out a sack which was obviously heavy with coins the way it jingled. It made a small thud when he tossed it on the table. Clancy’s eyebrows arched and he let out a low whistle when he saw the sack.

“That’s flatterin’, Smith, but it don’t change my mind.”

“Could you bring Carter to me so I can make the offer to him personally?”

 
“You should be careful whut you wish for Smith.”

*****
Shawnee Town near Raccoon Creek
Swooping Eagle was happier than he had been in a month. The white man’s visit had lifted his spirits immensely. He knapped arrowheads out of a chunk of flint he’d found by the creek as he sat in his lodge. He heard someone approaching.

“Ha-ho, Swooping Eagle, my friend,” said Wise Owl.

“Come in, Wise Owl, my friend.”

Wise Owl entered the lodge, he took a few seconds to let his eyes adjust to the darkness  coming inside from the sunlight. He approached the fire in the middle of the lodge and took a seat opposite Swooping Eagle.

“What brings you my friend?” Swooping Eagle asked.

“I just wanted to see if you would go hunting tomorrow.”

Swooping Eagle gave Wise Owl a big smile.

“Of course I would go with you my friend.”

“Why are you of such good spirits?”

“Because the brown-haired one who killed my brother will soon face Shawnee justice .”

“What do you consider justice?” asked Wise Owl.

“The gauntlet, let the women torture him for a time, then burned at the stake.”

“Is death really justice?”

Swooping Eagle pondered on this awhile.

“What would you have me do?”

“Adopt him.”

Swooping Eagle couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“WHAT????”

“Hear me out, my friend. If you kill him after only a little torture it won’t be as satisfying as making him suffer for years as your slave.”

That makes some sense,"Swooping Eagle said.

“I will have to consider this, now…. What are we going to hunt tomorrow?”
 *****
 
“And just why would you be needing my son for this venture, Smythe?” Angus McCallister asked.

“Well sir, I need someone who can shoot and do figures.”


“For what?”

“I’m going across the Ohio and building a trading post, I’ll be needing a bookkeeper.”

“ I can’t speak for my son, but I highly doubt he’d be making the trip with you.”

Roseanna was listening from the kitchen. I can shoot and keep books as good, or better, than my idiot brother, she thought.

Roseanna stepped into the parlor.

“I can go, Pa,” she said.

Angus’s red eyebrows arched up in surprise. Smythe could barely contain his giddiness, the trollop is taking the bait.

“ Are you daft girl? He’s planning on going into Shawnee country.”

Smythe sensed he was losing control.

“I’ll personally guarantee her safety, sir, she’ll be well protected. I plan on taking a lot of men on the expedition.”

Roseanna looked at her father, pleading with her eyes. After her mother had died when Roseanna was 12, McCallister had taken over her education.
He didn’t know which fork or spoon to use, but he did know the wilderness and had made sure his daughter knew how to shoot and live off the land before he packed her off to that finishing school in Philadelphia to learn to be a lady. He’d already taught her how to be a woman.

“I’ll have to give this some thought.”

“Pleeeze, Pa.”

Smythe grinned. Phase two was in play.
*****
 
“Now this is a sight I thought I’d never see, Doo Carter milking a cow,” Clancy said as he leaned against the stall wall in Zack Carter’s barn.

 Mighty Beaver and Janie both grinned at Doo’s discomfort and embarrassment.

“What do you want Sinclair?” Doo growled.

“I heard you’d been banished to watching the south end of northbound cows, and I just had to see it for myself.”

Doo had started pouring what he had just milked from the cow into a can. Mighty Beaver saw the quiver in Doo’s usually steady hands and sensed that he wasn’t going to take much more ribbing before this resulted in fisticuffs.

“Doolittle, Clancy has a way you may be financed for another trip into Ohio.”

Finished pouring the milk, Doo picked up a pitchfork and started cleaning the cow’s stall.

“And how’s that?”

“You ain’t going to like it, Doo, but unless yore pa is going to pony up the cash this may be yore only chance to go back. Godfrey Smythe is willing to finance yore trip back to Ohio.”

Doo stopped with a full forkful of manure, which he considered launching at Clancy.

“And why would I make a deal with ferret face?”

“Look at whut yore doin’ right now, is this where you want to be when Jesus comes back?”

Janie giggled at that.

Doo focused on the girl.

“And how are yore feet healing up, Miss Janie?”

“They’re just fine Doo, how about this offer? It sounds like it will be quite the adventure we’ll be going on.”

“Whut do you mean we? You ain’t going, are you?”

“Where Clancy goes I go,” Janie said with determination.

Doo glanced at Clancy, then Mighty Beaver. Both nodded their heads in agreement with Janie.

Doo shook his head from side to side before he threw the pitchfork into the corner, then walked to the pump to wash off the grime.

“Thunderation! This jest might be my Redemption Road to the Wilderness.”


To be continued......

Author Notes Here you go, it's long but no new characters. For those just reading for the first time, there are 6 more chapters in case you're interested, feel free to go back and read'em to catch up. For those only reading for Fanstory bucks and points, I know it's long and probably not you regular genre, give it a chance. Be kind.

Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.
Ha-ho is a traditional greeting between the Shawnees

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman.
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts, knows how to swim.
Roseanna McCallister- Heroine who will figure a lot more heavily into the story. Knows how to shoot, ride, and yes swim.
Swooping Eagle= Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Wise Owl- Shawnee Warrior, the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Running Deer- Civil Chief of the Shawnee and Swooping Eagle's father' Not happy with Swooping Eagle for getting his favorite son killed. Knows how to swim.
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor,knows how to swim
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle, knows how to swim
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad, probably knows how to swim.
Zachary "Zack" Carter- The Carter family patriarch and quite possibly the toughest man on the frontier. Men fear him and women want to be with him. Knows how to swim.
Percy Smithers- Owner of the Crowing Rooster Tavern. He's crooked as a dog's leg but looks like a straight arrow compared to Godfrey Smythe. Might know how to swim.
Dirk Fox- One of Smythe's minions and a five star rascal. Knows how to speak Shawnee and swim.


Chapter 8
Lyin' Eyes

By Earl Corp

Carter Holler, Kentucky

1860

Roseanna took a break from telling the story. She reached for the jug and smiled as she heard the sound of Nate’s ax biting into a chunk of wood.

Serves him right, interrupting my story tellin', she thought. Except she didn’t realize she’d said it too.

This drew a snicker from her middle son, Zachary.

“What’s so dad-gummed funny?” she asked.

“Nuthin, Ma.”

“I know I raised you better than to lie to your ma.”

Zachary hung his head down trying to avoid eye contact. He didn’t need to be a prophet to predict what was coming.

“Since you think it’s so dang funny you can join your brother choppin’ wood.”

“Yes’m.”

As Zack slinked off of the porch to join Nate. Roseanna began telling the story again.
*****

Clancy, Doo, and Mighty Beaver trod down the road towards Red Mike’s tavern, the Royal Boar. Clancy once asked Mike how he came up with the tavern name. Mike told him he named it after King George III right after the Sugar Act passed.

 

I thought of him as King Pig getting his snout into our trough,” said Mike.
 

“Three ales, Red Mike,” Clancy said as he dropped a dollar coin onto the bar.
 

Red Mike squinted at Clancy.
 

“Clancy you know good and well I can’t serve Mighty Beaver in here.”
 

“We have another gentlemen joining us, the third ale is for him.”
 

“If my presence is so much of a problem, Red Mike, I’ll wait outside.”
 

“It's not that, Mighty Beaver, you know I don't have no ill will t'wards Injuns but other folks do.”

Without another word Mighty Beaver turned away from the bar and strode over to a table and took a seat.
 

“That wasn’t very polite, Mike, especially after all the game he’s brought in for your kitchen,” Doo said.
 

“Now Doo this ain’t the Crowing Rooster. Mighty Beaver might get ale there but Smithers ain’t exactly a model citizen. I can’t afford that kind of attention.”
 

It was at that moment Godfrey Smyth made his entrance into the Royal Boar.
 

All conversation in the tavern stopped as all the frontiersman in the place gaped in awe at the outlandish getup Smythe was wearing.
 

Godfrey was wearing forest green breeches, the whitest shirt Clancy had ever seen, highly shined calf length riding boots, and a purple cloak. Sitting on top of his head was a cavalier hat with an ostrich plume.
 

Doo’s jaw dropped at the sight of Smythe. Clancy started to grin.
 

“Have you ever seen anything like that?” Doo asked Clancy.
 

“If you want to go to Ohio, Doo, you better hush up.”
 

Clancy stood up and waved Smythe over to their table. Seeing Clancy, Smythe made his way through the crowded tavern to the table.
 

“Good evening, gentlemen.”
 

“Have a seat, Smith,” Clancy said.
 

“I told you my name is Smythe, you bar…” Godfrey remembered the last time he’d called Clancy a name and let the word hang.
 

Doo picked up on the unfinished word and grinned.
 

“Clancy told me you wanted to meet with me, Smith, whut do you want?”
 

“Yes I did, Mr. Carter, I am in need of a guide who knows the lands west of the Ohio, I want to establish a trading post.”
 

“Whut’s that got to do with me?”
 

“It’s my understanding you’ve been there several times and have bested the Shawnees. I need a man who knows the land and isn’t afraid of the savages.”
 

Doo’s eyes narrowed at the word savage. He hadn’t been in Smythe’s company 10 minutes yet and he felt like he needed a bath, and it wasn’t even Saturday yet.
 

“I’ve been there and I ain’t scared of the Shawnee. But I have a healthy respect for them.”
 

“So if you’re not afraid of them you’ll guide me?”
 

“I didn’t say that.”
 

“I would think a man of your reputation wouldn’t hesitate to join this excursion."
 

“Where exactly do you need to go?
 

“I’m not sure, it’s something like Muskrat Creek.”
 

“Do you mean Raccoon Creek?”
 

“Yes that’s it.”
 

Doo started shaking his head from side to side, as he started to get up to leave. Clancy grasped Doo’s left forearm.
 

“Hold on there, Hoss, hear the man out.” Clancey said.
 

Godfrey sensing he was losing the fish changed bait. He pulled out a leather pouch heavy with coins, he started jingling it to get Doo’s attention.
 

“I’m not asking you to do this out of the goodness of your heart, you’ll be well compensated for your services.”
 

“How much compensatin' are we talkin’ about?”
 

“$100.”
 

Doo threw his head back and roared with laughter. This puzzled Smythe.
 

“What is so funny?”
 

“You expect me to fight Injuns? Because if you do, you’ll need to double that amount.”
 

Smythe started to choke on the drink of ale he had just taken when he heard that. His face grew red as he coughed and sputtered.

Once he caught his breath, Smythe settled himself with the thought that whatever he agreed to didn’t matter, price was no object. But the businessman in him couldn’t let him settle on a price without haggling.

 

“I’ll give you $125.”
 

“No you won’t, $200.”
 

He’s not playing fair, he isn't counter offering, Smythe thought.
 

“135.”
 

“Nope, 200 or I walk out right now.”
 

I believe he means it.
 

“$175.”
 

 If it had been anybody other than Smythe, Doo would have settled for $150, But he couldn’t resist one more little jab.
 

“$175, and you outfit me for the trip with everything I need a rifle, powder, lead, traps, and a horse.”
 

Smythe almost balked at that, he had to remind himself that the price was a small investment for getting where he needed to be.
 

“Done,” Godfrey held out his hand to shake with Doo to seal the deal. Doo eyed the proffered hand as if it was the most repulsive thing he'd ever seen, though it  may not have been, it was pretty durn close.
 

“Get this straight Smith, we ain’t friends and I don’t work for you. You try to give me an order and I’ll leave yore carcass in the middle of nowhere.”
 

Another insult, for that you will pay dearly for, you swine.
 

Doo snatched the money pouch off of the table.
 

“If I need more money where can I find You?”
 

“I have a room at the Crowing Rooster, Smithers, the owner, will know where to find me.”
 

“When do you reckon you want to leave?”
 

“Is two weeks too soon?”
 

“Are you sure? July gets downright hot. Oh, and one more thing.”
 

Smythe was obviously frustrated and Doo was trying to push him into a confrontation so he could finish what he started in the market square. Smythe took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
 

“And what would that be, Mr. Carter?”
 

“ My friends, Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Mighty Beaver, come along and are on the payroll too.”
 

“Why?”
 

“Because I don’t trust you and I want someone along to watch my backside.”
 

This may present a problem.
 

“I am not paying a savage to ….urkk”
 

This surprised Doo and Clancy, they both had been in quite a few scraps along side of Mighty Beaver, he was a joiner not a starter in a brawl.

Mighty Beaver’s hand had shot out across the table and gripped Smythe right behind the jaw. He pulled Smythe across the table until his face  was mere inches away from his own.

 

“Let me make something very clear to you, Smythe, I am NOT a savage and if you call me one again I will scalp you while you still live.”
 

He then pushed Smythe backward causing him to fall backward off of the bench.
 

Smythe pulled his knife as he jumped up to his feet to launch himself at Mighty Beaver. The audible click of a pistol hammer being locked back stopped him immediately. He glanced to where the sound had come from.

Clancy had a pocket Queen Anne pistol aimed at his chest. Smythe knew pistols were inaccurate, but not at this range. Deciding discretion was the better part of valor, Smythe decided to let the insult go- for now.
 

“I’m sorry, old chap, I meant no disrespect and you’re welcome to come along,” Smythe said. He then quickly added, “On the payroll of course.”
 

“I’ll see you gentlemen in two weeks,” Smythe said as he brushed himself off.
 

This lot is really running up a tab of sins they’ll need to answer for.
*****

Fox thought it was unusual that Godfrey wanted to meet him behind a vacant warehouse at the river docks after dark.

 

To each his own I guess, Fox thought.
 

 He heard someone approaching.
 

“Smythe, is that you?”
 

“Who else would it be, you buffoon?”
 

“Ain’t no need for name callin’.”
 

“Did you get it done?”
 

“I met with the Shawnees and they wuz tickled to hear your terms.”
 

“Excellent, things are beginning to fall into place."
 

“There’s one thing, in addition to the presents they want 50 rifles and enough powder, and lead to use them.”
 

“Good Lord, I hope you told them no. Giving the savages rifles could get me hung.”
 

“It wuzn’t negotiable.”
 

“Oh well, just the cost of doing business.”
 

“Speakin’ of business, we need to finish ours.”
 

“Oh dear, where are my manners, here you are.”
 

With his left hand, Smythe held out a jingling leather pouch. As Fox reached for it with his right hand he felt a burning sensation between two ribs, and then an overwhelming thudding in his chest.
 

Suddenly his legs couldn’t hold him on his feet and he pitched forward. The last thing he heard before he faded into eternity was Smythe’s voice.
 

“We can’t have you telling anyone my plans can we?”
 

Fox didn’t answer, he couldn’t.
 

Smythe pulled the knife from Fox’s lifeless form and wiped the blade on Fox’s shirt.
 

Smythe dragged Fox’s body to the edge of the pier and rolled him into the Ohio.
 

With any luck he’ll be in Mississippi before he’s found. Smythe then changed his train of thought, I wonder if I could convince Smithers to let me rent some company tonight.

To be continued........

Author Notes I have succumbed to peer pressure and made thiis chapter shorter by posting it in two parts. The good news is there won't be as much lag time between postings. For those just reading for the first time, there are 7 more chapters in case you're interested, feel free to go back and read'em to catch up. For those only reading for Fanstory bucks and points, I know it's long and probably not you regular genre, give it a chance. Be kind.

Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.
Ha-ho is a traditional greeting between the Shawnees

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman.
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts, knows how to swim.
Roseanna McCallister- Heroine who will figure a lot more heavily into the story. Knows how to shoot, ride, and yes swim.
Swooping Eagle= Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Wise Owl- Shawnee Warrior, the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Running Deer- Civil Chief of the Shawnee and Swooping Eagle's father' Not happy with Swooping Eagle for getting his favorite son killed. Knows how to swim.
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor,knows how to swim
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle, knows how to swim
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad, probably knows how to swim.
Zachary "Zack" Carter- The Carter family patriarch and quite possibly the toughest man on the frontier. Men fear him and women want to be with him. Knows how to swim.
Percy Smithers- Owner of the Crowing Rooster Tavern. He's crooked as a dog's leg but looks like a straight arrow compared to Godfrey Smythe. Might know how to swim.
Red Mike- Royal Boar tavern owner. Doesn't need to know how to swim.
Dirk Fox- One of Smythe's minions and a five star rascal. Knows how to speak Shawnee and swim.


Chapter 9
Lyin' Eyes Part II

By Earl Corp

Carter Holler
1860
Roseanna stopped talking for a minute. She leaned back in her rocking chair. She felt the sun on her face and a light breeze kissing it.

“Granny, why couldn’t Mighty Beaver get ale in the Royal Boar?”Caleb asked.

“In those days Injuns wasn’t accepted as they are today,” Roseanna answered him.

“Why?”

“It’s the way things wuz back then.”

Her oldest grandson, Henry, emboldened by Caleb’s question took that as a sign he could ask one without incurring his grandmother’s wrath.

“Granny, what’s going on with Janie and Roseanna? Surely Doo and Clancy ain’t takin’ wimmenfolks into the wilderness, are they?”

 

“I’m getting to that, now where was I…”
*****
Zack Carter’s store
Pittsburgh
“What do you mean I can’t go, Clancy?” Janie asked.

“You’d be safer here, and I’d feel a heap better knowin’ you wuz taken care of, Zack already said he could use a hand here at the store.”

“Bull, I can’t help him at all. I can’t read and I don’t know how to do my sums.”

“There’s other ways you could help asides from readin’ and cipherin’.”

Doo and Mighty Beaver were both grinning as Clancy looked at them in exasperation.

“A little help fellers.”

Doo shook his head from side to side in amazement how this slip of a girl could back Clancy down. But looking again, Doo thought, she don’t really look like a girl anymore.

This was true. Once they’d hit civilization Janie had transformed into a beautiful young woman once they got her out of the boy’s clothes she wore on the river. It’s a wonder what a bath and new duds could do for a body, Doo thought.

She was tall for a girl at seven inches over five foot. Her shoulder length yellow hair shone like corn silk in the sun. Though she was only 15, Janie filled out that blue gingham dress as well as any of the serving wenches at the Crowing Rooster could.

Janie had made it clear she favored Clancy over Doo. This was fine with Doo, his thoughts kept turning back to Roseanna McAllister.

“Well Clancy this don’t look like an us problem, it looks more like a you problem,” Doo said.

“I agree with Doolittle,” Mighty Beaver said, he then grinned and added, “A true warrior would have control of his woman.”

“Who are you saying needs controlled, you varmint!” Janie roared as she came out from behind the counter wielding a broomstick two-handed, as if it was a broad sword.

Little Beaver ducked to keep from getting brained with a broom. Doo started laughing.

“AND WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT, YOU POLECAT!”

Doo wasn’t as quick as Mighty Beaver and took a solid whack in the right temple with the broom handle. This knocked him backwards into a flour barrel creating a white cloud everywhere.

Janie was readying to take another swing at Doo when Clancy grabbed her from behind.

“LET GO OF ME YOU BIG OX!”

“Simmer down, Gal, and I will.”

Clancy had her in his grasp from behind, her arms pinned down to her sides so she couldn’t swing the broom.

“Drop the broom, and I’ll let you go.”

Janie struggled against Clancy; he just tightened his grasp all the more. Realizing it was futile to fight any longer, Janie let the broom fall to the floor.

“You good?”

Janie shook her head yes, and Clancy released his grip. Mighty Beaver offered a hand to Doo, who grasped it as Mighty Beaver pulled him to a standing position.

The entire store was coated in flour; Doo righted the barrel which had maybe an inch of flour left in the bottom. He was coated in flour dust. It was at that particular moment Zack returned to the store.

“Thunderation! What went on here?” Zack demanded.

“Your son and these other two louts needed an attitude adjustment,” Janie replied.

“About what?”

“Me going into Ohio with them.”

“Ohio? Thunderation, girl, have you taken leave of your senses?”

“No sir, I have not.”

Zack squinted at Doo.

“And just how are you paying for this trip?”

“Godfrey Smythe is footin’ the bill he hired me, Clancy, and Mighty Beaver to guide him to some land near Coon Creek.”

“Are you daft? You almost killed that little snake in the market square, why would he hire you?

“He said he needed a man with grit who knew the land to lead him to a place to build a trading post.”

“And you were the only one, that didn’t seem a mite suspicious to you?”

“You see, Mr. Carter, they need me along to look after them,” Janie interjected.

“Why in God’s name would any of you go anywhere with Smythe?”

“Pa, you said I needed to find another financier or I was stuck on the farm,” Doo said.

“Plus, Mr. Carter, Mighty Beaver and I will be there to watch Doo’s backside,” Clancy added.

Zack stroked his chin as he mulled this over in his mind. My idjit son is bound and determined to leave his scalp hanging in a Shawnee lodge. If Smythe is running this operation, it can’t be on the up and up. The girl has no business trekking into the wilderness with them.

“Janie, I could use your help here, no need traipsing off into the woods with these fools.”

“I’m much obliged for the offer Mr. Carter, but I need to go and look after these oafs.”

“If you change yore mind you're welcome to stay, but I will make sure yore outfitted for the trip. I just received a fresh order of Lancaster Rifles, some are sized for a boy but I reckon they’ll fit you just fine.”

“Thunderation, Pa, you’ll outfit her but not me your own son?” Doo asked.

“I don’t reckon she’ll lose everything like you did, now get to cleanin’ up that barrel of flour you dumped; by the way it’ll cost you $7 of Smythe’s money.”

“Aw, Pa…..”
*****
McAllister Household
North Hill, Pittsburgh

“I said no, Young Lady, and I meant it,” Angus McAllister said.

Even though her father’s face was becoming flushed with anger, Roseanna wasn’t backing down.

“Papa, I’d be as safe there as I would here, Godfrey’s assembling a company of 30 frontiersmen to accompany him and build a trading post.”

“Frontiersman? From what I hear he’s hiring every cutthroat, scalawag, scoundrel, and villain he can find in Pittsburgh.”

“I don’t believe that, Papa, Clancy Sinclair and Doo Carter have hired on with him.”

“Young Carter hmmm…, he’s a fiddle footed ne’er-do-well his ownself and Sinclair isn’t much better.”

“Oh Papa, he’s not a bad man he stood up for me at the market when Godfrey insulted and manhandled me.”

“Which brings up my next point, why would you want to go into the wilderness with such a man, he’s lucky I didn’t thrash him within an inch of his life after I heard what he called you.”

Roseanna was ready for that question.

“I can take care of myself, Papa; I dispatched that would-be robber with no problems.”

“The Shawnees will be a different matter altogether, do you know what they do to white women? To your mother, God bless her soul.”

This made Roseanna hesitate. She was only six when her mother, Rosalyn, had been taken in an Indian raid. While Angus had done a credible job raising her by himself, he had gotten help from Mary Miller, a widow.

Whenever Roseanna had a female problem or question he had sent her to Mary’s cabin. Whenever he went hunting or trapping, Roseanna came with him. Under Angus’s tutelage, Roseanna was as accomplished in the woods as any man. She could shoot, hunt, fish, and survive with the best of them.

When Roseanna turned 15, Mary suggested to Angus that he send her to a finishing school in Philadelphia to learn how to become a lady. Angus thought that was a good idea, Roseanna did not.

It took Angus and his son, Richard, to drag Roseanna out of the house to the waiting coach; there were still scrape marks in the doorway  Roseanna had made being bodily carried out of the house.

It was in Roseanna’s second year of Miss Trudy Landers Finishing School that he had married Mary. Since Mary had practically raised Roseanna there weren’t any stepmother/daughter issues, Thank God, he thought.

Mary had been listening to the whole exchange, holding her tongue. She loved Roseanna as if she was her own daughter, but she knew how pig-headed the girl could be. Watching her and Angus argue reminded Mary of two rams crashing head-on in the pasture.

“Angus, could I speak to you for a moment, Roseanna, would you excuse us please,” Mary locked eyes with Roseanna letting her know this wasn’t a request, it was a command.

Roseanna took the hint and retreated from the dining room to leave her father and stepmother alone to talk.

“Angus you know she’s going to go on this excursion whether you permit it or not, she’s sweet on the Carter boy.”

“I know that, it’s what concerns me more than the Shawnee, he’s almost 10 years older than her and it doesn’t look like he intends on settling down any time soon, he’ll break her heart.”

Mary grasped Angus’ meaty hands and looked him in the eye and said, “My love, you’re not giving your daughter enough credit, she has a good head on her shoulders.”
 
“Still, I’m not comfortable with her going into the wilderness with Smythe, and his merry band of cutthroats, no good will come of it,” Angus said, then added, “Unless I go along.”

This alarmed and surprised Mary. Angus wasn’t a spring chicken anymore. An Iroquois arrow to the hip during the French and Indian War had left him with a limp; A British musket ball in the left shoulder during the Revolutionary Battle of Blue Licks had left him very little use of that arm.

“I need you here with me, but you’re always saying Richard needs to toughen up, here is a great opportunity.”

“Hmmm, that may be a solution; he can protect his sister from Smythe and Carter, as well as the Shawnees.”

“Then it’s settled?”

 
“Yes we’ll tell them both at the supper meal.”
*****
“What on Earth do you mean I can’t take wagons?” Godfrey Smythe blustered.

“There ain’t no roads where we’re goin’ Smith,” Doo answered.
Smythe looked at Clancy, who nodded in agreement.

“A pack mule train will get you where yore goin’ a heap quicker than buildin’ a road for wagons. Yore talking about a 200 mile trip through virgin wilderness,” Clancy said. “We’d be lucky to make Raccoon Creek before snow flies.”

How on earth will I get the rifles I promised to the Shawnees, Smythe thought.

“How many mules might I need?”

“Depends on how much yore figurin’ on toting, a good mule can tote about 200 to 250 pounds” said Doo.

“My Lord, I’ll need at least 50 to carry everything we need to build a post and stock it,” Smythe said, and then he thought, I also need a way to sneak 50 rifles to the Shawnee.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Author Notes I have succumbed to peer pressure and made this chapter shorter by posting it in two parts, this is part II. The good news is there won't be as much lag time between postings. For those just reading for the first time, there are 7 more chapters in case you're interested, feel free to go back and read'em to catch up. For those only reading for Fanstory bucks and points, I know it's long and probably not you regular genre, give it a chance. Be kind.

Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.
Ha-ho is a traditional greeting between the Shawnees

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman.
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts, knows how to swim.
Roseanna McCallister- Heroine who will figure a lot more heavily into the story. Knows how to shoot, ride, and yes swim.
Swooping Eagle= Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Wise Owl- Shawnee Warrior, the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Running Deer- Civil Chief of the Shawnee and Swooping Eagle's father' Not happy with Swooping Eagle for getting his favorite son killed. Knows how to swim.
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor,knows how to swim
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle, knows how to swim
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad, probably knows how to swim.
Zachary "Zack" Carter- The Carter family patriarch and quite possibly the toughest man on the frontier. Men fear him and women want to be with him. Knows how to swim.
Percy Smithers- Owner of the Crowing Rooster Tavern. He's crooked as a dog's leg but looks like a straight arrow compared to Godfrey Smythe. Might know how to swim.
Red Mike- Royal Boar tavern owner. Doesn't need to know how to swim.
Dirk Fox- One of Smythe's minions and a five star rascal. Knows how to speak Shawnee and swim.
Angus McCallister- Roseanna's father and French and Indian War Ranger. Knows how to swim.
Mary McCallister- Roseanna's step mother, wife of Angus.
Richard McCallister- Roseanna's older brother who is about to get a surprise at supper. Knows how to swim.


Chapter 9
Evil Walks Part I

By Earl Corp

Carter Holler, Kentucky
1860

Roseanna's oldest son, Clancy, appeared on the porch.

At 40 years old Clancy took after his namesake, he was fiddle-footed and would rather run the woods than be around civilized folks.

The French would have called him a Currier Due Boys, Roseanna reckoned.

Clancy had been a mountain man, at least until the beaver trade had played out. He had lived among the Cheyenne and taken an Injun wife.

His Cheyenne wife, Running Doe, hadn't helped because she wasn't accepting of the white ways of living in a house, or wearing anything other than buckskins.

"Ho Ma, whut are we doing here?"

"Uncle Clancy, Granny's tellin' the story how she met grandpa, you need to hush up" Dan'l said.

"I need to hush up? I ought to take a switch to your bottom for talking to your elder's that-a-way."

"He's right Clancy, you need to hush up and the only one takin' a switch to a bottom it'll be me," Roseanna said.

"Aww Ma..."

"Go help your brothers chop wood."

"Aww Ma, I'll be quiet."

"See that you do, now where was I....."


*****
A field 5 miles North of Pittsburgh

Godfrey Smythe checked the pack riggings on each of the 10 mules. Each mule carried four rifles, a keg of powder, and two bars of lead for the Shawnees.

He figured a three day head start would be enough to get the rifles to the Shawnees before he got to the spot he'd be building his trading post.

He was entrusting this task to one of Dirk Fox's friends, Tyler McGraw. McGraw, like Fox, spoke Shawnee. Having a Shawnee mother helped in this situation.

"Why isn't Dirk goin' on this excursion Mr. Smith?" McGraw asked.

"It's Smythe, you dolt, the "I" sounds like pie."

"That don't answer my question, where's Dirk?"

"I imagine he's in New Orleans by now, spending my money."

"He didn't tell me he was goin'."

"It was a spur of the moment trip, now do you know where you're going?"

"I have a general idea, but why am I hauling rifles ahead of your caravan? Seems like it would be safer to go in a big group."

"Do you know what they do to men who furnish firearms to the savages?"

"I reckon they hang'em."

"That is correct, I need you to give the rifles to the Shawnees, specifically a warrior named Swooping Eagle, in order to build a trading post, and they promised me they would only use them for hunting and not turn them on white men."

"You bought that bill of goods? Obviously you ain't been on the frontier long."

"As long as they don't use them on me I'm good with it."

Smythe pulled out a small purse that clinked with coins and held it out to McGraw.

"This is to pay for the ferry across the Ohio, remember you don't know me and those rifles don't belong to me."

"What do I tell anybody who asks?"

"If anyone shows undue interest in you or your cargo I would advise killing them and burying them in a shallow grave, that doesn't bother you, does it?"

"Not a' tall, but if I kill somebody the price of my services goes up."

"As it should, we'll settle up at the end of the trail."
*****
Shawnee Town near Raccoon Creek
Swooping Eagle laid his hand on the deer he had just killed and offered thanks to Our Grandmother for the animal and the food it would provide.

When Swooping Eagle was done giving thanks, Wise Owl flipped the deer on its back and slit it from the pelvis to the breastbone. He reached in and took out the insides, setting the heart and liver aside for later.

"That was a nice shot, you are getting better with the white man's rifle my friend," Wise Owl observed.

"Many of us will be improving as soon as the white man delivers what he promised us," Swooping Eagle said.

"It made me wonder why you made that a condition for the white man to build a trading post when you shun using rifles."

"Just because I don't like to use them doesn't mean others won't; besides it will put us on even footing when we get rid of the trading post."

"You gave your word they could build a trading post."

"They will be allowed build one, but that doesn't mean they'll be allowed to stay," Swooping Eagle said with an evil grin.

"What will you do once you have the brown haired one?"

Swooping Eagle contemplated this.

"My father thinks he should be adopted to take Laughing Otter's place. I do not. Either way, he will run the gauntlet. If Our Grandmother is just, he'll die there."

"That would be a shame, he showed great courage when he walked off of the cliff."

Swooping Eagle flushed with anger.

"You would have the white who killed my brother and two of our friends walk free among us? At the very least he should be made a slave for the women, not treated as a warrior."
"I still think it would be a shame that a man with such big hanging pears live as a slave, and I don't think he will."

Author Notes I apologize it's been so long since I posted a new chapter. For those just reading for the first time, there are 8 more chapters in case you're interested, feel free to go back and read'em to catch up. For those only reading for Fanstory bucks and points, I know it's long and probably not your regular genre, give it a chance. Be kind.

Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.

Ha-ho is a traditional greeting between the Shawnees

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman.
Janie Wolfe- Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts, knows how to swim.
Roseanna McCallister- Heroine who will figure a lot more heavily into the story. Knows how to shoot, ride, and yes, swim.
Swooping Eagle - Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Wise Owl- Shawnee Warrior, the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Running Deer- Civil Chief of the Shawnee and Swooping Eagle's father' Not happy with Swooping Eagle for getting his favorite son killed. Knows how to swim.
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor, knows how to swim
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle, knows how to swim
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad, probably knows how to swim.
Zachary "Zack" Carter- The Carter family patriarch and quite possibly the toughest man on the frontier. Men fear him and women want to be with him. Knows how to swim.
Percy Smithers- Owner of the Crowing Rooster Tavern. He's crooked as a dog's leg but looks like a straight arrow compared to Godfrey Smythe. Might know how to swim.
Red Mike- Royal Boar tavern owner. Doesn't need to know how to swim.
Dirk Fox- One of Smythe's minions and a five star rascal. Knows how to speak Shawnee and swim.
Tyler McGraw- Smythe's new dupe. Speaks Shawnee.
Angus McCallister- Roseanna's father and French and Indian War Ranger. Knows how to swim.
Mary McCallister- Roseanna's step mother, wife of Angus.
Richard McCallister- Roseanna's older brother who is about to get a surprise at supper. Knows how to swim.


Chapter 10
Evil Walks Part II

By Earl Corp

Carter Holler, Kentucky
1860

Roseanna took a pull from the jug. She felt the whiskey burn her throat all the way to her stomach. She loved that warm feeling she got when it got down to her tummy. She also liked how her joints didn’t ache so much after a dab of Nate's Home Brew.

Nate might not be any shakes at farmin’, but he sure knows what to do with the corn once it wuz growed, she thought.

She looked down at her grandchildren, who were hanging on every word. This always amazed her how the young’uns would listen to the ramblings of an old woman.

They need to know where their  people come from, she thought.

“What’s next Granny?”
 

“I’m gittin’ to it, hold your horses.”
*****
Same field 5 miles north of Pittsburgh
A week later

“I have to hand it to you Smythe, You picked some mighty fine mules and horses,” Clancy said as he ran his hand along the flank of a big Jack mule.

“Of course, nothing but the best. I hope they meet with your approval Sinclair,” Smythe replied.

Clancy  gave Janie a wink, as he said, “ I don’t think they’re big enough.”

This puzzled Smythe.

“These are the biggest mules I could procure, I was assured they could haul anything put on their backs.”

“Yeah but they still ain’t big enough,” Clancy said.

“Why would they need to be bigger?”

Clancy broke out in a big grin.

“In case we gotta eat’em.”

This solicited a chuckle from Janie and Mighty Beaver. Smythe wasn’t amused and started to turn red at being the butt of yet another of these buffoons jokes.

“You assured me you, Carter, and the savage could keep us in fresh meat as well as guiding us.”

“That was before I found out you were bringing 25 of the most worthless specimens of manhood I ever seen.”

“You won’t think they’re so worthless once we get where we’re going or run into a Shawnee war party along the way,” Smythe sniffed.

“Yore right, there’ll be plenty of them to soak up Shawnee arrows before they get to me,” Clancy said.

This miffed Smythe further, he felt his face get hot as the flush creeped up his neck.

“I assure you, Sinclair, each of these men came highly recommended for their fighting abilities.”

Clancy threw back his head and let loose a deep belly laugh, Janie giggled, and Mighty Beaver cracked a grin.

Realizing he wasn’t going to win with these backwoods dunces Smythe turned on his heel and stomped off towards the main picket line of mules. Janie had watched as Smythe had red rise up his neck. The redder he got reminded  her of a thermometer on a hot summer day .

“He’s pretty upset,” Janie noted.

“He’s young, he’ll get over it,” Clancy said. Changing the subject, “I wonder where Doo is?”
 
“He is probably getting outfitted,” Mighty Beaver answered.

“He’s probably sipping tea with that McCallister gal more than likely,” Clancy growled. “Leave it to Doo Carter to find any excuse to get out of work, even if it means drinking tea.”

“You wouldn’t sip tea with me, Clancy?” Janie pouted.

It was now Mighty Beaver’s turn to be amused as he watched Clancy backpedal away from his statement.

“That durn well wasn’t what I meant, Janie,” Clancy sputtered. “You know I’d even take a bath to sit down to tea with you."

Janie rushed to Clancy and gave him a big squeeze.

“I know you old he-bear,” she giggled.
 
“But that still doesn’t answer the question, where in blazes is Doo?”
*****
McCallister Household
North Hill, Pittsburgh

“Father you can’t be serious,” Richard McCallister said.

“Oh, but I am lad, someone needs to watch over your sister,” said Angus McCallister.

Richard peered out the front window where Roseanna and Doo Carter were sitting and sipping cider.

“Doo Carter seems capable of watching over her, why must I trek into the wilderness amongst the wild beasts and savages, HE WANTS To Go.”

“Aye, that he does.”

“And Roseanna seems taken with him.”

“Aye, and that is exactly why I want you to go.”

“But I’m not any match for Carter.”

“I just want you to protect Roseanna from herself, now go pack.”
 
“Yes Father.”
*****
McCallister’s front porch
“How’s your cider, Doo?’

“It’s fine, just the way I like it with a little snap to it.”

The couple sat in silence. Doo because he was deep in thought, Roseanna because she was waiting for Doo to say something, finally he did.

“Are you still plannin’ on goin’ on Smythe’s expedition?”

“Of course silly,”

“It could be dangerous going into Shawnee Country.”

“Would you worry about me?” Roseanna asked with a twinkle in her eye.

“I’d be worried about any white woman making this journey.”

This miffed Roseanna.

“Well you don’t have to worry about me, Doo Carter, I can take care of myself.”

“The Shawnee ain’t the same as those two would be robbers.”

“I’m not scared of any old Shawnees.”

“You better be, if you don’t want end up married to one, or worse.”

“Godfrey has plenty of men going along, plus there’s you, Clancy, Mighty Beaver, and Janie.”

“And yore brother Richard.”

“What???”

“Yore brother is going to help scout and hunt meat.”

“My brother couldn’t find his way to water if he fell in a river.”

“Yore pa told mine he wuz goin'.”

“Humph, we’ll see about that.”

Doo drained his glass and set it down on the porch rail.

“I reckon I better go get ready, sunup comes mighty early."

“I will see you in the morning Mr. Carter,” Roseanna said as she held out her hand to Doo.

She was taken completely by surprise when Doo’s big paw enveloped her hand in his and shook it, instead of kissing it like she had hoped he would.

“G’night Roseanna.”

Ooohh, that man is so dense, she thought.
 

Author Notes I apologize it's been so long since I posted a new chapter, I got a new job plus I'm still writing for a newspaper on weekends. For those just reading for the first time, there are 8 more chapters in case you're interested, feel free to go back and read'em to catch up. For those only reading for Fanstory bucks and points, I know it's long and probably not your regular genre, give it a chance. Be kind.

Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.

Ha-ho is a traditional greeting between the Shawnees

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman.
Janie Wolfe- Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts, knows how to swim.
Roseanna McCallister- Heroine who will figure a lot more heavily into the story. Knows how to shoot, ride, and yes, swim.
Swooping Eagle - Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Wise Owl- Shawnee Warrior, the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Running Deer- Civil Chief of the Shawnee and Swooping Eagle's father' Not happy with Swooping Eagle for getting his favorite son killed. Knows how to swim.
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor, knows how to swim
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle, knows how to swim
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad, probably knows how to swim.
Zachary "Zack" Carter- The Carter family patriarch and quite possibly the toughest man on the frontier. Men fear him and women want to be with him. Knows how to swim.
Percy Smithers- Owner of the Crowing Rooster Tavern. He's crooked as a dog's leg but looks like a straight arrow compared to Godfrey Smythe. Might know how to swim.
Red Mike- Royal Boar tavern owner. Doesn't need to know how to swim.
Dirk Fox- One of Smythe's minions and a five star rascal. Knows how to speak Shawnee and swim.
Tyler McGraw- Smythe's new dupe. Speaks Shawnee.
Angus McCallister- Roseanna's father and French and Indian War Ranger. Knows how to swim.
Mary McCallister- Roseanna's step mother, wife of Angus.
Richard McCallister- Roseanna's older brother who is about to get a surprise at supper. Knows how to swim.


Chapter 11
Let's Get It On

By Earl Corp

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

 
Carter Holler, Kentucky
1860
The sounds of the boys chopping wood took Roseanna back all those years in the past when folks had to do for themselves and had nobody to count on.
These young’uns had no idea what that was like, unless she told them. To them, these were just stories for entertainment.
For her they were memories, some good, and some bad. She didn’t think she could ever convince the young’uns the stories were really the way things happened.
Even her own sons had been sure she made up all her yarns about frontier life, and they had even lived part of it. 
This new generation don’t appreciate nuthin’, she thought.
“Granny, are you all right,” Henry asked.
“Jest a’thinkin’s all.”
“Whut about, Granny?”
“How things wuz back in those days is all.”
“You cain’t remember how you told it last time?
Roseanna was out of her chair in a flash, so suddenly Henry couldn’t move.
“I’ll wear your hind end out for callin’ me a liar Henry Carter.”
The startled youth couldn’t think of anything to say, his mouth was opening and closing like a trout out of water.
“You best go help yore uncles chop wood.”
Henry hesitated.
“Go on git!!”
The boy took off like his head was on fire and his butt was catching.
“Now where was I??”
****
Shawnee Village near Raccoon Creek
 
Tyler McGraw led 10 mules into the village. His three companions followed, each leading 10 animals.
 
“Tyler, are we really giving these Injuns these rifles,” asked Pete.
 
“Yup.”
 
“Why are we doin’ this,” Bob asked.
 
“Because Smythe promised them rifles in exchange for the land to build a trading post on," McGraw
answered.

 
“Can’t we get hung for this,” Muldoon asked.
 
“That’s why we shouldn’t be a’tellin’ anybody,” McGraw answered him.
 
Truthfully, McGraw wasn’t thrilled with giving the Shawnee rifles and powder either. But greed and the pouch of coins won over any misgivings he had about the venture. As he made his way through the village to the community house, Shawnees poured out of their wigwams to stare at the four white men.
 
As they approached the community house a stocky warrior stepped out. Dressed in leggings and a breech clout, the muscles on his upper body looked like coiled springs. His mouth was a cruel slash in a scowl across his face.
 
Behind him came a taller version of the first warrior. His face wasn’t quite as cruel as the other ones, but McGraw didn’t want to test it.
 
I am here to see  Swooping Eagle,” McGraw said in Shawnee.
 
I am Swooping Eagle,” replied the stocky warrior. “This is my father Running Deer, how is it you speak our language, Waapa Hileni?”
 “My mother is of the people,” McGraw answered.
 
You bring me the rifles the one called Fox promised?”
 
Yes, the great man Smythe has sent 40 rifles, 40 kegs of powder and lead for each one.”
 
Whut’re you sayin’ Tyler,” Bob asked.
 
Shut up you idjit, and maybe we’ll get out of here with our hair.”
 
McGraw turned back to Swooping Eagle.
 
Smythe also would like to make a present of the mules to you,” McGraw said.
 
 “They will make a fine feast, when is Smythe coming?”
 
Soon, he is gathering his trade goods now.”
 
You will stay with us and eat?”
 
We wuz figgerin’ on headin back to Pittsburgh.
 
You refuse Shawnee hospitality?”
 
McGraw knew he was treading on thin ice. He didn’t trust the Shawnee any further than he could throw them. But to spurn their hospitality meant instant certain death. The alternative was probably certain death with a full stomach.
 
We would be honored to feast with you,” McGraw said.
 
Good.”
*****
Field 5 miles north of Pittsburgh
Daybreak
 
Doo Carter stepped lightly into the camp. What he saw alarmed him. Shapes of men under blankets were spread everywhere. No guards had been posted and no one was rousting around. This didn’t bode well.
 
He looked over at Clancy who simply shook his head in disbelief.
 
“I wonder if it’s too late to back out,” Doo pondered out loud.
 
“Hold on, Hoss, we gave Smith our word and took his money.”
 
“Thunderation, these idjits are goin’ to get us killed,” Doo said motioning to the sleeping forms.
 
“Maybe they’ll improve on the trail.”
 
“Not likely.”
 
Clancy turned to speak to Mighty Beaver.
 
“I’m asking you to watch over Janie along the trail, no matter what.”
 
“You do not have to ask this, my friend, Little One will be taken care of,” Mighty Beaver said solemnly.
 
“I don’t get a say in this? I can take care of myself,” Janie insisted.
 
Clancy and Doo turned their eyes towards the slip of a girl. Zack Carter had outfitted her from head to toe for the trip.
 
Janie was dressed in moccasins, buckskin britches, a loose linsey-woolsey shirt, and her hair tucked up under a black wide-brimmed flat crown hat. Instead of seeing a 16-year-old girl, Janie looked like a 14-year-old boy.
 
A 14-year-old boy armed to the teeth. She carried a shorter version of a Lancaster Rifle, a brace of .36 caliber flintlocks pistols were tucked into a wide leather belt around her waist. She carried a hunting knife and hatchet on each of her hips.
 
“Ho, Janie you look ready for bear,” Doo observed.
 
“Nope, Shawnees.”
 
This made Doo chuckle.
 
“I reckon you are.”
 
“What in blazes is all the racket out here?
 
Godfrey Smythe walked out of a tent, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
 
Doo, Clancy, Janie, and Mighty Beaver all started laughing hysterically at Smythe, who was wearing a sleep shirt and cap.
 
“It’s the bloody middle of the night, these men need their rest.”
 
Doo was the first to respond.
 
“We’re burnin’ daylight Smith, roust this scum and let’s hit the road.”
 
“Carter, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times, it’s Smythe not Smith.”
 
“I’ll call you whatever I want, now get these layabouts ready, we’re pulling out in half an hour.”
 
“That’s hardly time to get packed and breakfast eaten.”
 
“You’re going to have to eat on the trail, and yore down to 29 minutes.”
 
Smythe started to bluster, Doo cut him off.
 
“28 minutes.”
 
Smythe stalked off towards his tent, kicking sleeping forms as he went.
 
“That was kind of a harsh way to treat him, Mr. Carter.”
 
Doo whirled around to come face to face with Roseanna McCallister, and her brother Richard.
 
“Needed to be done,” Doo growled.
 
Roseanna laughed at that.
 
Doo took stock of the contrast between how Roseanna and her brother were outfitted.
 
Richard had on a pair of tan breeches, a red broadcloth shirt, and a pair of knee length calfskin boot which were highly shined. The outfit was topped with a black beret.
 
“What in Thunderation is that on yore head?” Doo asked.
 
“It’s a beret, the latest in men’s fashion from Paris,” Richard sniffed.
 
Doo, Clancy and Mighty Beaver all threw their heads back and laughed at that.
 
By contrast, Roseanna was dressed much the same as Janie, she was ready to head into the wilderness in buckskins and a low crowned black hat. She was as heavily armed as Janie with a rifle, pistols, knife, and hatchet.
 
Richard’s face became red as found himself as the butt of the joke.
 
Roseanna felt uncomfortable for her brother, but didn’t come to his defense. She had warned him and offered to make him some clothes suitable for the wilderness, but he had refused.
 
There was a growl from some blankets that Smythe had kicked. A mountain of a man rolled out and stood up.
 
“Who’s the idjits that are the reason we’re getting’ up in the middle of the night?”
 
Doo didn’t even miss a beat in answering him.
 
“Me, you have a problem with that?”
 
“I sure as Hell do, and who the Hell do you think you are?”
 
“Doo Carter.”
 
“That don’t hold no water with me, you ain’t as tough as they say.”
 
“Whut’s yore name pilgrim?”
 
“Why do you need to know that?”
 
“I figger everybody ought to be buried under a cross with their name on it.”
 
“Hoss, you better slow down, don’t you know who that is?” Clancy interjected.
 
“Nope, don’t care.”
 
The man rose to his full height, forcing Doo to have to look up a good four inches. He figured he was giving up 100 pounds easily.
 
“That’s Bear Rogers, and he’s killed more men than smallpox.”
 
“The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
 
Rogers pulled his knife, let loose a growl, and charged at Doo.

Author Notes For those just reading for the first time, there are 8 more chapters in case you're interested, feel free to go back and read'em to catch up. For those only reading for Fanstory bucks and points, I know it's long and probably not your regular genre, give it a chance. Be kind.

Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.

Waapa Hileni is white man in Shawnee
Ha-ho is a traditional greeting between the Shawnees

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely lucky frontiersman.
Janie Wolfe- Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts
Roseanna McCallister- Heroine Knows how to shoot, ride, and yes, swim.
Swooping Eagle - Shawnee Warrior
Running Deer- Civil Chief of the Shawnee and Swooping Eagle's father
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad
Zachary "Zack" Carter- The Carter family patriarch and quite possibly the toughest man on the frontier. Men fear him and women want to be with him. Knows how to swim.
Dirk Fox- One of Smythe's minions and a five star rascal. Knows how to speak Shawnee
Tyler McGraw- Smythe's new dupe. Speaks Shawnee.
Angus McCallister- Roseanna's father and French and Indian War Ranger
Richard McCallister- Roseanna's older brother
Bear Rogers- Thinks he's the toughest man on the frontier


Chapter 12
Attitude Adjustment

By Earl Corp

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Chapter 11
Carter Holler, Kentucky
1860
 Roseanna rocked back a little bit as she heard axes biting into the wood. She reckoned the boys could be getting a mite thirsty from the hard labor she had sentenced them too.
She decided on a course of action then came to her feet.
“Caleb, you and Dan’l come with me mind you fetch the jug too,” she said.
“Where we goin’ Granny?”
“If’n you can’t just follow me without asking fool questions you can just stay here Dan’l.” Roseanna adjusted her gaze and said, “Henry, fetch that jug and follow me.”
“Yes’m,” Henry replied without a hesitation or questioning tone.
She walked to the well. It felt good to get up and stretch her legs and feel the warm August sun on her face. She let the bucket drop and was rewarded with a splash when it hit the water.
After a minute she started cranking the bucket back up. Once the bucket reached the top she detached it from the pulley. She snagged one of the dippers and put it in the fresh water.
“Caleb, grab that bucket and we’ll tote it over the boys chopping wood.”
Caleb grabbed the bucket and was careful not to let the water splash out, lest he have to get another bucketful.
They approached the wood chopping area. Roseanna came in the small clearing and took a seat on a maple stump.
Nate noticed her first.
“Hey Ma, it looks like we got a winter’s worth of firewood cut for ye,” he said.
Roseanna gazed appraisingly at the growing stack.
“You barely got enough to make it through Christmas, keep going. Though you can take a break, I brought you some refreshments,” Roseanna said.
All three of her sons had removed their shirts off to work. They displayed all the muscles and scars that had come with frontier life.
Zack took ahold of the dipper and poured water over his head, he looked at his son, Henry, who seemed mesmerized by the bullet scar under his left collar bone. Nate went for the jug.
“You just take one pull from that jug, Nathan,” Roseanna instructed.
“Aw Hell, Ma.”
“You keep a civil tongue, Nathan, you ain’t too old for lye soap.”
“Yes’m.”
Zack saw the questioning look Henry had.
“You want to know the story about the bullet son?”
“Yessir,” Henry answered.
Zack cut a glance to his mother who was shaking her head side-to-side.
“That’s a tale for another day, son.”
Nate took the dipper from his older brother and scooped it into the bucket.
“Where are you on the story, Ma?”

“We were jest fixin’ to leave Pittsburgh.”
*****
Field 5 miles north of Pittsburgh
Daybreak
The growl Rogers let loose was similar to his namesake, the bear.

Doo took a side step to the left, gripped the barrel of his rifle with both hands and brought it down on the hand holding the knife, Rogers howled, but more importantly he dropped the knife. Now he and Doo were both unarmed.

Rogers turned around and rushed Doo with his arms open wide. With his arms spread Doo knew if Rogers got him in a hug that would be all she wrote.

Doo sidestepped the rush again, he resisted the thought of just shooting him and get it over with. Shooting an unarmed man, even a giant man, is a quick way to get hung.

“I’m gonna kill you with my bare hands if you stand still,” Rogers roared.

Doo wasn’t about to be caught in Rogers embrace. He fended of two more charges then he slipped on a root as he was backing up. Rogers took advantage and got Doo in a bear hug. Almost immediately Doo felt the breath being squeezed out of him. His rib cage started creaking.

Thunderation! I ain’t going to last long like this” he thought.

Doo drew back his head and brought it forward with a mighty thrust into Rogers’ nose. He was rewarded with a warm spray across his face, and even better, Rogers let go. He brought his hands up to his ruined nose which had been flattened across his face. Blood leaked through both hands, as he tried to stem the crimson flow.

Doo drew a couple deep breaths into his lung then waded into finish Rogers off. He jabbed with his left, then danced back lest Rogers get another chance to bear hug him. For his part, Rogers dropped his hands from his nose and swung a haymaker at Doo’s head which was out of reach.

“I’d better finish this quick,” Doo thought.
 
He stepped up and threw a left into Rogers gut. It was like punching the wall of a cabin, he felt the shock all the way up his shoulder. Doo backed away. Once he was the proper distance he let fly with a kick to Rogers’ crotch, which connected.

Rogers squealed shrilly, used both hands to grab his damaged tally whacker, and fell to his knees.
Doo saw his opening and stepped up and threw a left into Rogers’ ruined nose. He followed up with a right uppercut to Rogers chin. Rogers head snapped back so violently Doo thought he’d broke the man’s neck.
Incredibly, Rogers attempted to regain his feet. Doo stepped back and looked into Rogers’s eyes, the man was out on his feet. Doo threw a right into the man’s mouth and felt Rogers’ lips pulp up against his teeth.

When Rogers went down for good it sounded like a tree crashing in the forest and raised a cloud of dust when he landed. He didn’t move, he was out cold
 
Doo stepped back, bent over and placed his hands on his knees, and when he heaved air in and out his chest and sides it looked like a bellows pumping.

Thunderation! I’m going to feel this in the morning,” Doo thought.

“You probably should have killed him, Hoss,” Clancy whispered as he came to check Doo for injuries.
Surprisingly, Doo hadn’t sustained an injury in the quick, violent scuffle. He wasn’t bleeding anywhere, though his ribs were sore, and he didn’t think he had any broken bones.

By contrast, Rogers’s nose was flattened across his face, he had lost his left front tooth, and his wrist was broken.

Roseanna stepped up to Doo with a dipper full of water, which he took and drained in one gulp.

“Thanks Miss McCallister.”

Roseanna’s eyes shone as she took back the dipper. She couldn’t explain it, but when she watched Doo in combat she felt an unexplained tingle down her spine and a warmth which started in her stomach and spread through her body and flushed her face.

“That was something to behold, Mr. Carter, by the way you may address me as Roseanna,” she said.

Richard looked back and forth between Doo and his sister. It was clear by the way she carried herself she was smitten with Carter. Either Carter was unaware or he didn’t feel the same way.

Smythe’s eyes got big and round with surprise at both the savagery and the outcome of the short fight. He had hired Rogers for just this situation, to beat Doo within an inch of his life.

“We’re now down a man, it’ll take us awhile to get Bear to the doctor and packed up,” Smythe said.

Doo fixed Smythe with a stare that caused him to take a step back.

“Yore down to 25 minutes, leave him lay with the rest of the trash.”

Godfrey started to sputter.

“Surely you can’t be serious.”

“As a heart attack, 24 minutes,” Doo straightened up and turned on his heel towards where the mules were picketed.

“I can’t be ready in that little time,” Smythe whined.

“23 minutes,” Doo said over his shoulder.

For better or worse the caravan pulled out 27 minutes later leaving Bear Rogers laying where he had fallen.
Doo and Clancy had already been gone five minutes

 

Author Notes I know it's been awhile since I posted a chapter, I'm going to do better over the summer. If you haven't read any of the other chapters please take a look at the past posts. Thanks for reading.

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely lucky frontiersman.
Janie Wolfe- Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts
Roseanna McCallister- Heroine
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad
Richard McCallister- Roseanna's older brother
Bear Rogers- Thinks he's the toughest man on the frontier


Chapter 13
Call of the Wild

By Earl Corp

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Chapter 12
North of Pittsburgh
Two hours after sunrise

Doo and Clancy guided their mules through the woodlands. They had found a game trail to follow which allowed them to move a lot swifter than as if they were busting brush.

“Do you reckon Smythe’s got them on the move yet?” Clancy asked.

“I don’t know, and I don’t care,” Doo growled.

“You left Bear Rogers a mess back there, Hoss.”

“I have no clue what that was about, all I know is I hurt somethin’ awful,” Doo replied.

Mighty Beaver had been half listening to the conversation, but decided to interject.

“You should have killed him Doolittle, a man like that will keep coming after you until one of you is dead,”

“Thunderation! Killing a man ain’t my idea of a good way to start a trip.”

“Still, you will be seeing him again.”

This fouled Doo’s outlook even more. He didn’t say anything, just concentrated on the trail.

Something ain’t right about this excursion,” Doo thought.

A twig snapped and the usual bird and all normal forest noises ceased.
The party froze.

They were all searching the direction from where the sound came from. Even though they were still relatively close to Pittsburgh it wasn’t unheard of to run into a band of Shawnees.

“What was that?” Janie asked.

“Hush girl, don’t even breathe,” Clancy whispered.

At that moment a whitetail buck entered a clearing to the party’s right. Doo lifted his rifle to take aim, but Clancy grasped his arm stopping the motion.

With his head Clancy motioned for Janie to take the shot. Doo nodded and looked at Janie, he pointed to her, then the deer.

Janie nodded.

She raised her rifle up to aim. Her heart was beating so fast she swore it would alert the buck. Her mouth went dry and sweat flooded down her forehead into her eyes.

She wiped her eyes and aimed at the deer which was presenting its full side to her. She aimed right behind the shoulder.

Janie pulled the hammer back to full cock as quietly as she could. The deer didn’t seem to notice the audible “click.”

She checked her aim one more time, then squeezed the trigger. When the rifle went off it surprised her. The kick of the weapon and the cloud of smoke which enveloped her made her lose sight of her quarry.

“You got him! Good shot girl! Clancy shouted.

Janie was still choking from the powder smoke, but still able to give a grin.

“Of course I got him.”

“You’d better reload your rifle, Little One,” Mighty Beaver reminded her.

“Yeah, you never know who may have heard the shot and come to check it out,” Clancy said.

“And in the case it’s a war party an empty rifle is as useless as teats on a boar hog,” Doo added.

Janie went about loading, measuring out the powder into the barrel, she then took a piece of wadding and wrapped it around the bullet and placed it in the barrel. She then used her ramrod to drive it home.

“Don’t forget the pan, Little One.”

Janie’s face flushed because she had. She poured some powder into the priming pan then flipped the lock shut. Little Beaver gave her a nod of approval and she grinned.
 
While she’d been reloading, Clancy and Doo had walked to the deer and were about to begin dressing it, but Mighty Beaver stopped them.

“This is not your deer, it is Little One’s,” Mighty Beaver said. “She needs to give thanks.”

Both of them were familiar with giving thanks to the Great Spirit sending them game, they stepped back.

“Little One, come here,” Mighty Beaver beckoned to Janie.

“Kneel down and place your hand on the deer,” Mighty Beaver said.

Janie did as she was told.

“Now you must thank the Great Spirit for sending us this deer and thank the deer’s spirit for feeding us.”

This is a lot of rigmarole to get to eat lunch,” Janie thought, but she didn’t want to offend Mighty Beaver.

Mighty Beaver smiled as the girl closed her eyes and whispered something he couldn’t hear.
Janie finished then stood up.

“You are now a hunter, Little One, and your first deer’s spirit will guide you in future hunts.”

“Not quite yet,” Clancy said.

Doo bent over the deer, found the jugular, and stuck it so it could bleed out. Clancy rolled it up on its back and made a small puncture cut around the deer’s butt hole.

He then made a cut up the midline ensuring he didn’t puncture the intestines. He cut through the diaphragm and windpipe then pulled the organs out easily. He separated the liver out then offered it to Janie.

“Take a chaw of this, it will give you the spirit of the deer,” Clancy said.

Janie eyed the bloody hunk. Her stomach rebelled. She was about to refuse, but Mighty Beaver put a hand on her shoulder. It calmed her.

Janie took the liver from Clancy, brought it to her mouth and took a bite. As blood dripped down her chin she chewed.

This isn’t half bad,” She thought.

She took another bite.

“Here now, you don’t have to eat the whole thing,” Clancy said as he put his hand out for the liver.

 Janie handed it back to Clancy, who took a huge bite. He then offered it to Doo, who took another huge bite and watched the blood trickle into his beard.

Doo then offered the liver to Mighty Beaver, who accepted it, took a bite, and handed it back to Janie.

“Finish it, Little One.”

Which Janie did with relish.

“Well now we’ve had our snack, load the deer and let’s get back on the road again,” Clancy said.
 
Shawnee Town along Raccoon Creek

Tyler McGraw was growing concerned. They had delivered Smythe’s rifles over a week ago, yet the Shawnee were holding him and his crew.

The white men had been given a longhouse to themselves and had been provided an old squaw with nubs for teeth to cook for them, there was an ever cooking pot of stew on the fire that they were free to eat from.
For McGraw, he couldn’t see any reason for them to hang around the Shawnee town, Smythe had also been explicit, he wanted the crew who had helped him transport the rifles to disappear and not return to Pittsburgh.

I’m going to see what’s going on,” he thought.

McGraw stepped outside, he had to blink against the bright sunlight. He got his bearings and headed towards the big long house which served as the council house. As he got to the council house Swooping Eagle stepped outside.

What do you want, white man?”
 
I was wondering when you were going to let me and my men leave.

They are free to leave whenever they wish, you must stay.”

Why?”

I need you to speak in the white tongue when the others arrive, the rifles are only part of what we were promised.”

“So I’m a prisoner?”

No, you are considered a guest, you will not come to any harm while you are with us.
 
This did little to soothe McGraw’s already frazzled nerves.

What else were you promised?”

You do not need to know that at this time, just know we will not be pleased if your chief doesn’t deliver what he promised us.
 
This broke McGraw out in a sweat. He didn’t know if he could trust Smythe or not. If he didn’t deliver he hoped he’d get a shot at that ferret-faced weasel before the Shawnees put him under.
 
Thank you, I’ll go tell my men they’re free to leave.”
 
“It will not be long, we expect your chief before the new moon.”
“I hope Smythe gets here sooner than that.” McGraw thought. “A whole lot sooner.”

 

Author Notes I know it's been awhile since I posted a chapter, it's been a busy summer.
Dialogue in bold and italics is being spoken in Shawnee.
Cast of Characters
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts
Swooping Eagle= Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad


Chapter 14
Call of the Wild Part 2

By Earl Corp

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Chapter 12- Continued
 
Field five miles north of Pittsburgh

Godfrey Smythe looked down at the bloody mess that was Bear Rogers. It was obvious the man wouldn’t be making the trip without holding them up for at least a week.

Damn Doo Carter,” he thought.
 
Rogers had yet to stir, and Carter and his party had been gone over an hour.

I’ve got to get this rabble moving and catch up to Carter or he’ll disappear into the wilderness,” he thought.

A man stepped up to Smythe. He looked and moved like a rat, and he smelled like he’d never taken a bath. Smythe tried to recall his name.

“Flanders, would you get some help and take Mister Rogers to the doctor?”

Amos Flanders grinned revealing a mouthful of blackened stubs.

“Sure thing boss, are we to wait for him?”

“No, return here. We need to get on the trail.”

Flanders scuttled away and returned with three men. They hoisted Rogers onto a mule.

“Let’s get packed up, men,” Smythe yelled as he walked through the sleeping bodies and returned to his tent.
Roseanna had been watching the whole exchange. She turned to Richard and whispered, “We should have left with Doo.”

Richard was still in shock over the savagery which Doo had employed on Rogers.

“I think we’re safer here than with him.”

It was Roseanna’s turn to be shocked.

“Are you going to protect me from this scum?”

“They’re Smythe’s men, they won’t touch you.”

Roseanna looked at the stirring men. One was rubbing his eyes then he got a glimpse of her, his jaw dropped as he appraised her.

“Godfrey, it’s awful nice of you to bring along some entertainment, but did you only bring one?” the cretin yelled.

Twenty sets of eyes swiveled towards Roseanna. She felt her face turning red and felt as if she was standing naked in front of them as they leered at her.

She wouldn’t have trusted any of them farther than she could throw them. Richard’s words didn’t give her that warm and fuzzy feeling that she wouldn’t be molested by any of the scum Smythe had hired.

She thought about taking off on her own to catch up with Doo, Janie, and Clancy but quickly dismissed it. She looked at her brother with disgust.

“He should have stood up for me to that cad,” she thought.

That would require Richard mustering up more courage than he had ever displayed in his life.

He’s a coward through and through,” ran through her mind.

As the camp started coming to life Roseanna saw men getting up from their blankets, taking two steps and relieving themselves in full view of her.

Roseanna blushed then turned her back to the leering men.

“Hey, Purty Thang, don’t you want to see whut I got fer ya,” one of the men yelled.

Roseanna felt more heat creep up her throat to her cheeks.

“Say something Richard.”

“What would you have me do? Go thrash him?” Richard asked.
 
“They’re treating me like a tavern wench, are you going to let them talk to me like that? Father sent you along to protect me,” Roseanna said as she fixed him with a glare.

Richard started to feel uncomfortable. He broke out in a nervous sweat. He hadn’t wanted any part of this expedition but his father had threatened to cut him off if he didn’t come along.

Roseanna could see the conflict inside of her brother as he stood rooted in the spot. She had almost decided to confront the man when, to her total surprise, Richard made a move.

“Here now you brute, you can’t talk to my sister in such an uncouth manner.”

The man turned to a companion and asked him, Whut’s uncouth mean?”

The other man had no clue what it meant, but he knew it wasn’t good.

“He just called you a skunk,” he said with authority.

“Well I ain’t going to stand fer that,” he said and drew a knife and advanced towards Richard.

“I’m gonna carve you up, Mr. Fancy Pants.”

He’d taken two steps towards Richard when he heard the very loud and audible “click” of a rifle being cocked.

“Mister, if you take one more step I’ll blow a hole in you,” Roseanna said.

“You better lower that rifle, Missy.”

“Not hardly,” Roseanna said.

“Ooo whee Bert, she’s fixing to blow out your wick,” one of the crowd crowed.

“Drop the knife or I will shoot,” Roseanna warned.

Bert didn’t believe she’d make good on her threat, he took a step towards her.

The look of surprise on his face was priceless when Roseanna’s ball took him in the chest. Roseanna calmly went about the business of reloading her rifle. Smythe erupted from his tent.

“What in God’s name is going on now?”

Richard was glaring at his sister, he knew this trip wasn’t going to be anything but a pack of trouble.

“That ruffian was going to carve Richard up with a knife, I told him to stop or I’d shoot. I guess he didn’t believe me,” Roseanna explained.

“Y-y-you shot him?” Smythe was incredulous.

“Yes I did.”

This trip was starting to become more of a headache than Smythe could ever have anticipated. He looked at Roseanna and sighed.

“Is there a way we can avoid any more violence until we can get where we’re going?”
Roseanna furrowed her brow and pondered on it for a second.

“Keep this scum away from Richard and I will do it,” Roseanna answered.

“Agreed.”

Smythe stomped away towards his tent.

“We’re leaving in 15 minutes, get it packed up,” Smythe bellowed.

“Smythe! What about poor Bert a-layin there?

“Is he dead?”
“Deadern’ a doornail.”

“Bury him.”

“Why me?”

“You asked so it must matter to you.”

“Not enough to bury him, why not have the wench that shot him bury him?”

Roseanna had finished reloading by this time, she leveled the rifle at the man who called her a wench.

“Sir, I’m not a wench and if you call me one again you’ll be joining your friend in the afterlife.”

The muzzle of the rifle looked like a cavern and twice as dark. He quickly reconsidered his choice of words, there wasn’t any backup in this she-cat.

He removed his hat.

“I apologize for my insulting words, Ma’am, if you don’t mind I’ll bury my friend over there under the trees.”
“Be quick about it, you heard Godfrey, we’re leaving in ten minutes.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

He put his hat on, bent over and grabbed the body by the arms and started dragging it away as fast as he could move.

Richard had snapped out of his trance.

“I thought you felt safer when Carter was here?”

“I did, but God helps those that help themselves.”

“You don’t need Carter to protect you?"

Roseanna grinned.

“Nope.”

 

Author Notes I know it's been awhile since I posted a chapter, it's been a busy summer.
Cast of Characters
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman
Roseanna McCallister-- heroine
Richard McCallister-- Roseanna's milquetoast brother
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts
Swooping Eagle= Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad


Chapter 15
Into the Storm

By Earl Corp

Carter Holler, Kentucky
1860
Roseanna had gotten a faraway look in her eyes. She was back there again. She jumped when Caleb nudged her.

“Wh-What did you say, Caleb?”

“Granny, did you really shoot that man?”

Zack and Nathan leaned in, this was the first time they’d heard their mother tell this part of the story.

“I said I did, didn’t I? You callin’ me a liar?”

Caleb visibly trembled at the rebuke, he knew his granny didn’t cotton to any sass from the young’uns.

“N-n-n-no ma’am I wasn’t callin’ you a liar,” he stammered.

“You best not or I’ll tan you good, y’hear Caleb?”

“Yes ma’am.”

Roseanna looked at the pile of wood, then at her sons. She figured they may have learned their lesson by now.

“Ya’ll can come back up to the porch now, grab that bucket and let’s git.”

Nate, Zack, and Clancy stuck their axes in wood. Nate grabbed the bucket and they rejoined the rest of the kids on the porch.

“Now where was I?” Roseanna asked.

“You were hittin’ the trail, Ma,” Clancy answered.

“And you shot a no good skunk,” Dan’l added.

 

“That’s right I did, well we were off on our big adventure and it was more adventure than we bargained for, that’s fer sure.”
****
Ohio River Ferry
North of Pittsburgh

Ezra Finnerty had been operating his ferry since he came home from the Revolution. Originally he’d moved his wife and three children there and intended to farm. A smallpox outbreak had taken his wife, a daughter, and a son. This left him with his 12-year-old son, Jack.

He’d been fortunate that the Shawnee had left him alone, for the most part, to operate his ferry and plant some corn. While the ferry business may not be booming, it kept him and the boy from starving. Especially when he had passengers, like Tyler McGraw, who paid him ten dollars to forget him and the mules laden with rifles bound for Indian Territory.

He squinted at the figures as they drew closer, he recognized Doo Carter and Clancy right off.

That must be Clancy’s injun, Mighty Beaver, but I wonder who the boy is with them,” Ezra thought.

As the group drew closer, Clancy called out.

“Ho Ezra, you old reprobate, you ain’t been hung yet?”

“Not hardly, Clancy, what brings you my way?”

“We’re heading to Raccoon Creek to find a spot for a trading post,” Clancy replied.

“I reckon the Shawnees’ll have somethin’ to say about thet, especially if you’re taking Doo Carter with you.”

“Why would that be, Ezra?” Doo asked.

“The word is you killed Chief Running Deer’s younger boy on your last trip.”

“I killed a Shawnee, but I didn’t know which one, no wonder them varmints chased me all over creation,” Doo said.

“Who’s the lad wit’ ye?”

“This ain’t no lad, take a closer look Ezra,” Clancy said.

Ezra took a good look at Janie.

“Glory be, I’m sorry Ma’am, but at a distance you looked like a feller.”

Janie giggled and stuck out her hand.

“I think that’s the look we were going for, I’m Janie Wolfe.”

Ezra’s big paw swallowed up Janie’s petite hand.

“Pleased to meet you, Ma’am, are you trekking with these scoundrels? Talk about somebody thet ain’t been hung yet.”

“Here now, them’s fighting words, Ezra,” Doo said. “But they’s probably pretty close to the truth.”

Ezra cackled at that.

“It’s the God’s honest truth and you know it, Doo. How’s your pa?”

“Fair to middlin’, Ezra.”

Ezra turned to Mighty Beaver, who had remained quiet throughout the exchange.

“Howdy Mighty Beaver, good to see ya.”

“It is good to see you too, my friend,” Mighty Beaver replied.

Ezra and Mighty Beaver shared a special bond. Mighty Beaver had been a scout with Ezra’s unit during the war. If there was an Indian Ezra would trust with his life, it was Mighty Beaver.

“I reckon ya’ll be ferryin’ across to set some traps,” Ezra said.

“Not right away, Ezra, we’re holding up for the main body to catch up.”

“Main body? Are you taking settlers across into Shawnee lands? You might as well scalp’em now and save the hostiles the trouble.”

Doo cracked a grin at that.

“No we’re scouting and hunting for a party planning on buildin’ a trading post,” Doo replied.

“Huh, don’t that beat all,” Ezra said.

“Why’s that?” Doo asked.

“Tyler McGraw went through with four other fellers and ten mules nigh onto three weeks ago sayin’ they wuz doing the same thing.”

“Is that a fact? Is that the McGraw who’s mother’s a Shawnee?” Doo asked.

“The very same.”

“I wonder where he was bound,” Clancy wondered out loud.

“Mr. Finnerty, could I get some water from your well,?I’m parched,” Janie asked.

“Why sure, Honey, drink yore fill.”

Ezra turned back to Doo and Clancy.

“I reckon you’ll be stayin’ fer supper, I’ll have my boy, Jackie, rustle up some rabbits fer a stew. If you boys are thirsty too they’s a jug in the springhouse which’ll wet your whistle," Ezra said, then hollered, “Jackie!”

Yeah, Pa?” the boy responded.

Fetch us some rabbits fer supper!” Ezra hollered.

Coming right up, Pa!”

Ezra then turned on his heel and headed for the springhouse. He went down the steps and entered through the open doorway. Within seconds he reemerged toting a brown crock jug. He blew the dust off of the bottle, uncorked it with his teeth, then he used the crook of his elbow to tilt the jug for a drink.

“Here ya go boys, if that don’t cut the trail dust I don’t know what will.”

Clancy took the offered jug, tilted it up and drank deep. Doo watched his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down as Clancy drank.

“Gimme that afore you empty it,” Doo said, reaching for the jug.

Clancy relinquished the jug to Doo.

“Whoowee Ezra, that’s some good corn sqeezins,” Clancy said admirably.

Doo was dismayed to find that the jug was less than half full.

“Thunderation Clancy! You dang near emptied it.”

“That’s all right, Doo. There’s plenty more I just run a batch last week,” Ezra said.

“Ezra, I didn’t see Jackie take a rifle with him, how’s he going to fetch some rabbits?” Mighty Beaver asked.

“He runs snare lines all through the woods, we’re never short of vittles. I swear that boy is the luckiest I ever saw when it comes to snarin’ critters.”

“That saves on powder and lead I reckon,” Doo said.

“Yes sir, and those are two commodities we can’t afford to be short on, especially if the Shawnee decide to paint their faces black,” Ezra replied.

“Amen to that, Brother,” Clancy said as he took the jug back for another swig.
****
Janie was drinking from a dipper when Jackie walked past.

“Hello, I’m Janie.”

Jackie stopped and looked at the girl.

“Howdy, I’m Jack.”

“Where are you headed?”

“I’m going to fetch some rabbits fer supper.”

“You don’t have a rifle, how’re you going to do that?”

“I mostly use snares, sometimes I take my bow which I’m going to do today because I ain't got time to wait on critters to come to my snares.”

“Can I come? I’ve never shot a bow.”

“Suit yerself, but you got to be quiet and don’t ask me no fool questions.”

That didn’t sit right with Janie.

“Who does he think he is, Dan’l Boone,” she thought.

“I won’t,” she said through gritted teeth.

“Then let’s get after it, we’re burning daylight.”

The two walked up to the edge of the forest and Jack unlimbered his bow and nocked an arrow. They entered the woods, taking care not to walk on twigs or dry leaves which would make noise and scare off the game.
They came to the edge of a meadow, Jackie spied three fat bunnies munching on clover. He froze, then pulled his bow up sighted on the largest rabbit and let an arrow fly.

“Pfhhtt.”

Janie watched as the arrow pinned the rabbit to the ground. Jackie had already knocked another arrow and let it fly at another cottontail.

Two arrows, two rabbits, that’s impressive,” Janie thought.

The third bunny took off before Jackie could shoot again.

“Dang, he got way!”

“We’ll find some more,” Janie said in a soothing voice.

“I know, it’s I just would have liked to got it done right now.”

Jack walked over and retrieved his arrows and put the two rabbits in his game bag he had slung over his shoulder.

“I reckon two more will be enough for supper,” Jackie said.

“Maybe we’ll see a deer.”

“Not this close to the place we won’t.”

The pair continued moving stealthily through the forest. Janie was taking the hunting and being quiet seriously. She knew once they crossed the river they were in Shawnee territory. Carelessness there would cost much more than an empty stew pot.

Jack kicked a rabbit out, it started scampering to their right, it wasn’t quick enough.

“One more and we got supper,” Jack said with a big grin.

“That was an amazing shot.”

“Thanks, you wanna try?”

Janie was thrilled!

“Can you carry my rifle?”

“Sure.”

Janie took the bow and knocked an arrow. As they started moving Janie spied a fat grey squirrel on the side of an oak. She stopped and took aim.

“Pfhhtt.”
She caught the squirrel between the shoulder blades, the arrow quivered from the impact.

“Nice shot, you done this before?”

“Nope, that was the first time I ever used a bow.”

“My pa would say yore a natural.”

“Nah, it was a lucky shot.”

“It sure was, we got ‘nuff vittles for supper now.”

Jack was more relaxed on the way back to the ferry and felt like talking.

“Where you folks headed?”

“Raccoon Creek, we’re scouting for a party that’s going to build a trading post.”

“Is one of them yore pa?”

“No, my pa’s dead. Doo, Clancy and Mighty Beaver are my traveling partners.

“Ya’ll meetin’ up with them fellers that toted the rifles across last month?”

This made Janie stop and face Jack.

“WHAT?”

“Yeah, five fellers come through leading 10 mules carryin’ enough rifles, powder and lead to start a war from the looks of it.”

Janie’s stomach started doing flips. The only people on that side of the river were the Shawnee, and soon, them.

Surely they’re not taking rifles to the Indians,” she thought.

“I need to tell Doo and Clancy,” Janie said and started walking faster.

“Whut’s wrong, you look like somebody kicked your dog?”

“Where do you reckon those rifles were headed?”

“I dunno, ain’t my lookout no-how.”

“Do you think 50 armed Shawnee braves are going to leave you and your pa alone?”

Janie could see the realization creep into Jack’s face as he mulled over her question.

“Now you know why I’m worried, we need to get back in a hurry.”

“I reckon so, I know a shortcut, let’s git.”

 

Author Notes I know it's been awhile since I posted a chapter. Before anybody digs into the spelling and grammar this is written in frontier vernacular. Enjoy!
Cast of Characters
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman
Roseanna Carter-- Narrator
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle
Ezra Finnerty- Ohio River ferryman
Jack Finnerty- Ezra's son


Chapter 16
Into the Storm Part2

By Earl Corp

On the trail between Pittsburgh and Finnerty’s Ferry

Godfrey Smythe was frustrated and losing his patience, the excursion hadn’t got off to a good start. First, Doo Carter had beaten Bear Rogers so badly he had to be left back in Pittsburgh. Then Roseanna McCallister had shot one of his men. Getting this rabble moving had been more of a chore than he wanted to take on, he had counted on Rogers to keep things flowing smoothly.

Leading mules through the wilderness was monotonous, dirty work which Smythe had no taste for. He wasn’t the frontiersman type, he was built more for dealing cards and drinking rum.

While he hadn’t made it a priority to hire seasoned woodsmen or mule skinners, he was more concerned with their character. As far as he was concerned he could care less how many men they’d killed or robbed, the eviler the better. If they could walk and shoot, they were hired.

 It was sheer luck that about half of his party was either experienced in the woods or with mules. That was the only reason he’d been able to stay two days behind Sinclair and Carter.

Roseanna approached him.

“Godfrey, might I have a word?”
Smythe scrunched up his face, 'Oh God, what now?' he thought.

“Yes my dear?”

“How much farther to the ferry?”

“Two days or less.”

“Will we be meeting up with Doo, Clancy, and Janie there?”

“That is my hope, if they haven’t gotten lost.”

“I hardly think they’d get lost between Pittsburgh and there.”
'But they might make themselves scarce if Finnerty has a big mouth,' Smythe thought.

Smythe decided he’d give Roseanna one last chance to give her affection to him.

“May I ask you something, Roseanna?”

“Of course.”

“Why him, and not me?”

Roseanna gave him a quizzical look.

“Whatever do you mean?”

“It’s obvious you’re smitten with Carter, I courted you for several months and you threw away anything we’d built between us once he came in the picture. So I ask again, why him and not me?”

“I don’t want to get into this with you right now.”

She turned to leave, but Smythe grabbed her arm.

Smythe seethed.


“You’re hurting me, please let me go.”

“No dammit, I demand an answer right here, right now.”
The “click” of a pistol hammer being pulled back to full cock was heard by both Smythe and Roseanna.

“Let her go, or the only answer you’ll be getting is an ounce of lead,” Richard said.

'Oh my, I think his acorns have finally dropped,' Roseanna thought.

“You’re making a very serious mistake, my friend,” Smythe hissed.

“Let her go, now,” Richard said as he used the barrel to poke the back of Smythe’s head.

He let her go and Roseanna returned to her place in the caravan.

“You have made a very grave error, Richard.”

“Speaking of graves, the next time you lay a hand on my sister you’ll be occupying one.”

With that, Richard gently took the hammer off cock and followed his sister to their mules.

Smythe felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Dozens of thoughts swirled through his head.

'What if Finnerty told Carter about McGraw and the rifles?'

Then another thought hit as quickly.

'What if McGraw never made it to the Shawnees?'

Smythe dismissed this thought as soon as he had it, but another notion came to him.

 

'I should have had McGraw kill Finnerty to keep him quiet, dead men keep secrets the best.'

And the very last one.

'Those McCallisters will need to be dealt with.'
*****
Shawnee Village near Raccoon Creek
K’POW

A cloud of powder smoke enveloped Swooping Eagle as he took his shot.

You hit it, my friend, your aim is getting better by the day,” Wise Owl observed.

Swooping Eagle squinted at the pine branch 100 yards away. Sure enough, the pine cone he had aimed at was gone. He started to reload his rifle.

I’d rather be using a bow.”

For three weeks he’d been practicing with the rifle. He still missed almost half his shots. As he rammed home his next round he wondered why Wise Owl was here to see him, he didn’t have long to wait.

Your father wants to see you,” Wise Owl said.

Why?”

He has come to a decision.”

This cannot be good.”

He is the chief and you must abide by what he decides, the council agrees with him,” Wise Owl counseled.
Swooping Eagle finished reloading his rifle, returned the ramrod back to its notch and said, “Let us go.”
 
Swooping Eagle strode quickly to his father’s lodge.

“Ha-ho father,” Swooping Eagle greeted Running Deer as he entered the lodge.

“Have a seat my son.”

Swooping Eagle sat down cross-legged across from his father.

“You have decided something?”
 
“Yes, and you will not be pleased with my decision.”

Swooping Eagle scowled.

“My son, I know you desire vengeance on the white who killed your brother, but I also lost a son. I have an empty spot in my heart which needs filled.”

Swooping Eagle saw where this was going and tried to head it off.

Father, Laughing Otter should be avenged.”

“Revenge will not bring me back my son.”

“So you intend to simply let the brown haired one go?”

“I did not say that my son, but I have a plan and all will be revealed at the proper time,” Running Deer said.

“Yes, Father.”

“You will be leaving soon to meet our friend, he will have the rest of the payment for using our lands to build a trading post.”

“What is the rest of the payment, Father?”

An evil grin appeared across Running Deer’s usually stoic face.

There is more than one way to get Shawnee justice, my son.”

 

Author Notes *Dialogue in bold and italics is in Shawnee
*Those wondering about the references to Our Grandmother, the Shawnees believed in a female deity they called Our Grandmother. Anna found this out while reading the chapter for me.
*Ha-ho is a traditional greeting between the Shawnees
* Before anybody digs into the spelling and grammar this is written in frontier vernacular. Enjoy!
Cast of Characters
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman
Roseanna Carter-- Narrator
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad
Swooping Eagle- Hot-headed Shawnee warrior
Wise Owl- Shawnee warrior, friend of Swooping Eagle
Running Deer- Swooping Eagles's father


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