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| Category: || Western Fiction |
Posted:|| January 27, 2021 Views: 55|
Chapter 17 of the book Wilderness Redemption Road
All signs are pointing to danger in Ohio
by Earl Corp
North of Pittsburgh
Janie had burst from the forest yelling.
“Slow down. Gal, get your breath,” Clancy said.
She bent at the waist and put a hand on each knee and gulped in air to her lungs.
As her breathing started to return to normal, she straightened up.
“A load of 50 rifles came through this ferry last week,” Janie said.
This news shocked Clancy, Doo, and Mighty Beaver. Finnerty’s face turned red.
“Where’d you hear that, Girl?” Finnerty demanded.
“Jack told me while we were hunting.”
Finnerty cut a glance to Jackie who started to go pale when Janie put his name in it.
“Boy, you go start supper, I’ll deal with you later.”
Doo and Clancy were visibly angry. Mighty Beaver showed no emotion, so it was him that asked the next question.
“Ezra, what do you know about this?”
“Tyler McGraw and four others came through with 25 mules last week, I ferried’em across the river, that’s all I know.”
“Did you know what was packed onto those mules?”
Doo squared up with Finnerty.
“Yore lyin’, Finnerty,” he said.
“N-n-n-o I ain’t, Doo,” Finnerty stuttered.
Doo reached out and yanked the ferryman by the front of his shirt and pulled him to within inches of his face.
“You wuz going to let us wander over there knowin’ the Shawnees are armed with brand new rifles, wuzn’t ya?”
“H-h-h-onest to God I wasn’t, Doo.”
“Janie, what exactly did Jackie tell you?" Doo asked while never taking his eyes off of Finnerty.
“Jackie said there were 50 brand new rifles and enough powder and shot to start a war.”
Doo’s eyes blazed with anger, he gripped Finnerty harder yanked the man up until he was standing on his tiptoes. Clancy intervened.
“Let him go, Hoss, there ain’t nothing we can do now, the past is past.”
Doo wasn’t as easily placated.
“Thunderation! This varmint wuz ready to let us walk into a band of armed Shawnee and wuzn’t goin’ to warn us.”
Doo shook Finnerty hard.
Clancy and Mighty Beaver moved to get Doo off of Finnerty. Just at that moment a very loud audible “click” of a rifle being cocked halted all movement.
“You let go of my Pa,” Jackie said.
Doo glanced over and saw Jackie leveling a rifle that was twice as long as he was at him. Doo had no doubt that Jackie would shoot him. He let Finnerty go.
“I let him go, Boy, you can stop aiming that rifle at me now.”
“Not until you folks is on the other side of the river,” Jackie said. “Pa have’em load up and take’em across.”
“Now Jackie that ain’t very hospitable, we were invited to supper,” Clancy said.
“Yore uninvited, now pack yore stuff and git. Now go get yore animals loaded and put’em on the ferry and Pa will tote you across.”
Left with no other choice, the four went to where the mules were picketed and started loading them up.
“Clancy, we ought to send Janie back to Pittsburgh, or at least have her wait here with Finnerty until Smythe’s party gets here,” Doo said.
“That’s a thought, Hoss.”
Janie had heard the exchange, and she wasn’t having any of it.
“Doo Carter you don’t have to treat me like I’m fine China! I can shoot and I’ve proved I can keep up,” Janie said.
“She’s got you there, Hoss,” Clancy said.
“Thunderation Girl! do you know what the Shawnees will do to you if they get you? It ain’t purty,” Doo exclaimed.
“I guess I won’t let that happen,” Janie said.
She turned her attention to Clancy.
“Whither thou goest, I will go,” Janie said.
Clancy immediately became uncomfortable.
‘You been trapped, skinned and put out to dry, Old Coon,’ he thought.
Doo looked on in disbelief.
“Thunderation! You aren’t seriously entertaining the idea of taking her across?”
“She’s got a point, she can shoot and four rifles are better than three.”
Doo shook his head in disgust. Mighty Beaver chose this moment to interject.
“Doolittle, no harm will come to Little One and we can wait on the other side for Smythe to catch up. Then we can all travel with the larger party together.”
This almost made sense to Doo, but he was now thinking about Roseanna McCallister’s safety. Once they all crossed the river maybe he could get her to talk some sense into Janie and both of them would return to Pittsburgh.
“I reckon we better get a move on, we’re burnin’ daylight,” he growled.
Ohio side of the River
Swooping Eagle had sent two young braves to the ferry crossing to watch for Smythe’s party. They were to wait and then return to the village to let Swooping Eagle know the rifles were on the way. He had promised them each a rifle for this mission.
Stalking Wolf was the first to see movement at the ferry.
“I think the whites we’re watching for are here, we can go home,” he said.
His companion, Methoataske which means Turtle Laying Eggs, squinted at the party loading the ferry.
“No, this isn’t them, there would be many more mules and men. This party is too small.”
Disappointed, Stalking Wolf pulled a piece of jerky from the deerskin bag his mother had made him and started chewing on it as he kept an eye on the ferry. When the ferry reached the halfway point he became excited.
“See the big brown-haired one in the front, he’s the one who killed Laughing Otter!”
As he said this he nocked an arrow in his bow.
“What are you doing? We were told by Swooping Eagle to watch for the whites only,” Methoataske said.
“This will bring us great honor to avenge the death of Running Deer’s son.”
“It will more than likely make Swooping Eagle angry, he said the brown haired one was not to be touched by anyone except him.”
Stalking Wolf loosened up on the arrow, then returned it to his quiver.
“So we just sit here and do nothing?”
“Yes, I’m sure the rest of the whites will be here in a day or so, then we can go home and tell Swooping Eagle.”
This didn’t sit well with, Stalking Wolf, but he knew better than to question Swooping Eagle’s orders. The desire for the promised rifle outweighed the desire to take his first scalp and risking Swooping Eagle's wrath.
“We should move to a better place to watch from, and wait until the big party comes,” he said.
The two braves wiped out their tracks and any sign they'd been there then moved their camp away from the ferry landing point.
“Do you think Swooping Eagle will be pleased?” Stalking Wolf asked.
“ Swooping Eagle is never pleased,” was the reply.
*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
Rzra Finnerty- Ferryman across vthe Ohio River
Jack Finnerty- Ezra's son
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad
Swooping Eagle- Hot-headed Shawnee warrior
Stalking Wolf- Shawnee lookout
Methoataske- Other Shawnee lookout, name means Turtle Laying Eggs
Wise Owl- Shawnee warrior, friend of Swooping Eagle
Running Deer- Swooping Eagles's father
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