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 Category:  Western Fiction
  Posted: December 13, 2020      Views: 64
Chapters:
 ...14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26... 

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 FORESTPORT12 
IN PRINT 






 ABOUT
FORESTPORT12 

I've had some interesting years on this big blue dot in the solar system. Syracuse area for the past twenty years. Twelve years in Texas. Married for twenty six years. Five children and two grandchildren.

Since winning a publishing contr - more...

He is an accomplished novelist and is currently at the #14 spot on the rankings.

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Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level

Chapter 22 of the book The Spirit of the Wind
Jane's humble honeymoon takes a horrid turn
"Honeymoon Hell" by forestport12

Background
Jane was a young widow who remarried and sacrificed to keep her land despite the Indian wars. She is an example of pioneer women of true grit and faith.


Ash Hollow was deemed a safe place for a belated honeymoon retreat, far from the noise of an Indian war in the Dakotas. It was where the Oregon Trail turned it into a popular landmark, where many an emigrant carved their names on the rocky bluffs, where the canyon deepened, and springs of fresh water sprouted from rock walls.

Redhawk and Thad accompanied us, along with Redhawk's adopted son, Joseph. Along the way, our party met up with Indian women and children who must have seen us coming. They hid in the tall grass. But Redhawk called them out in their Lakota tongue where they stuck out like sore thumbs and hardly enough clothing to cover their cinnamon skin. We figured them as displaced from the wars up north.

I climbed off my horse and offered blankets. One of the men gave them fresh water to drink from an extra canteen. I wished I could have done more, but we thought it wise not to linger only a few hours before dark.

We gained ground on the melting sun over the mountains when we could see the reflection of the flickering crops of rocks and how they seemed to turn into gold. The rough sandstones seemed alive with beauty and adorned with thickets of green shrubbery and tufts of yellow grass. Game would be plentiful, and the brooks would no doubt splash with trout.

As the sun disappeared, we'd set up camp and had a healthy fire of flaming tongues into a starlit sky. The horses were tethered between trees where the men took turns on watch. We enjoyed an evening meal and bold cup of coffee. I could not have felt more protected and comforted by the present protection of Thad, a free black man, who could rope and ride with the best of them on the ranch. And then there was Redhawk who brought his adopted son, Joseph, a half-breed like himself. They set themselves to scout the area in the light of the bulbous moon and stars. Satisfied that there were no rogue Indians or roving bands of confederates, we settled down.

Thad played his harmonica, as Jake and I escaped into the evening with our own lantern to be sure we would not miss a step on a rock ledge to the bluff where our private tent could make us feel alone and on top of the world. We kept each other snug and warm, letting our small fire die in the night.

Come morning, the sun waxed warm in blazing, blue sky. Jake and I took turns glassing the Rocky Mountains in the distance across the plains. There was no sense of danger and hardly the place given to threats. We sat there in the morning sun warming our backs where I buried my chin Jake's shoulder. "I finally see the majesty of the mountains and how they rise like cathedrals into God's heaven."

The smell of hickory smoke and ash burned from the campfire below and rose up to greet us. Jake kissed me with his minted breadth. "I best go down below and check on the boys. I smell the fire, but I'm not able to glass where they be."

A lump caught my throat. "Best be careful, Jake."

He kissed me again and reassured me. "I won't be long. I will fetch some fresh water from the spring. The men are likely bathing in the brook."

I watched Jake disappear down along craggy rocks. I decided it was time for me to take my carving knife and slip up along the side on a ledge and mark my name down. A few rocks slipped under my feet, and then I found my footing. I held my ground on a ledge and carved my name, Jane Taylor McCord. 1864.

As I climbed along back over to where our tent was on the bluff, I took the spyglass and could see movements, shadows between the shrub brushes. As I surveyed and watched I caught Jake swimming or slipping into the reeds, as if he meant to hide himself. It was then there was only faint whisper of wind. And no other sound. A deathly quiet.

I crept down through the rock enclave toward camp. But there was pit in my stomach fear swished inside. I'd forgot to grab my gun and had scaled down with only my carving knife. Soft as a cat's paw to the ground, I followed my nose and approached the smoldering campfire.

As I rounded the corner I saw Thad's body between scrub brushes! His head scalped and bloodied. Fear thundered in me. My heart clenched inside. I dropped down beside him and looked into his dead eyes. "It's my fault, Thad. My fault."

I clawed around to look for others. I wished I could get small as a gopher and find a hole. But it was too late!

I wheeled around to find the Indians in a circle. I lunged at them with my knife. They laughed and toyed with me. I swiped at them to keep them away. But they tightened their circle. I tried to run, but they pushed me back on to the ground.

They tied a rope around my wrist and pulled me along the with one of our stolen horses. They pulled me through the creek. The gravel bottom cut my flesh and dress. I was treated worse than a carcass. The pain knifed through me into my shoulders, and I was sure my arms dislocated.

Mercifully, when we were but a speck on the horizon, one of the Indians who had my honey-haired mare, spun off the horse, held his knife over me and cut the tethered rope. He picked me up and tossed me unto the horse with my hands still knotted. It was then I knew I'd live. But I wasn't sure how long that desire to live would flow through me.

I looked over my burning shoulder in the distance and prayed my husband hid and lived, so he and others would come find me. He was smart enough to know if he showed himself, his death would serve no purpose.

It was a thread of hope to be found, as I disappeared into the mountains and the day was lost to darkness.

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The book continues with Captive!. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
I dedicate this story to those women who were held captive and ransomed while some never survived their captors. I also dedicate to all the women who faced western war, red or white, who lost more than land.
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