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 Category:  Western Fiction
  Posted: February 7, 2021      Views: 39
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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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Chapter 29 of the book The Spirit of the Wind
Jane clings to her freedom and how she will get home
"Earth, Wind, and Fire" by forestport12

Jane a young remarried widower has fought for her land and respect among skeptical men and despite an Indian uprising and captivity.

The three of us burrowed ourselves into the moist, mossy ground. Wedged in a pocket of boulders between the cave and stream, we did our best to blend in with nature since our lives depended on it.

We listened to the splash of water from the horses crossing the stream until we could hear them moving on the game trail below us. It seemed the Indians were hunting for food and not for us. But it was only a matter of time before the village suspected our escape and found that the son of the Brule chief, Stomping Bull was dead. With our faces blackened by the soil, Standing Bear and Little Deer spoke with their eyes and hand signs. I didn't need words to know we had to put as much distance between us and the village.

We moved upward using our hands and feet over slippery rocks and boulders, keeping between the mountain and stream. The thought of working our way further west and away from my home on the plains pained me. It was like a hot iron to my heart to think of my family would be searching for me, trying to make a trade for my captivity. They would not know that I escaped into the Rocky Mountain wilderness.

It was a deceptive sun with little warmth in a swimming blue sky. My thighs thundered inside with each step to get a foot hold and find the crest beyond. Standing Bear followed us and sometimes craned his neck to be sure we were not spotted. The lack of footprints and broken twigs between us gave me hope we would not leave signs to be followed. It seemed no one in their right mind, not even a mountain goat would take our path.

As I was ready to collapse, Little Deer challenged me to reach the top. She stood above me, having scaled a ledge where she declared with signs, we could turn to the south. I had arrived at the source of the stream, as it traveled beneath patches of snow and ice by my swollen feet. I fell to my knees on the edge and drank by cupping my hands for water. I drank to a new lease on freedom.

The air was thin with brisk winds that cut to the bone and rattled my person. We managed to find a place on the other side of the crest where we could huddle beneath a ledge. We could see for miles. Snow-crowned peeks with pillars of clouds. But scaling down the forest floor and to be covered in the forest was vital.

This time Standing Bear led the way. We followed down a game trail with saplings from bushes slapping me in the face or lashing my exposed legs. As we dug in along a narrow path, the forest closed around us, shrouded in a mist with a mix of poplar trees and pines.

Standing Bear stopped, he put his hands up and drew his knife. As the mist broke, a brown bear and her cubs sniffed the air upwind of us coming down the mountain. The burly mother stood on her hind legs. Standing Bear held his arms out wide and let out a shrill sound. Little Deer and I looked at each other, knowing enough to back away but not run.

The mother and her cubs retreated. Standing Bear looked at us. I could tell he was nervous, having made a loud noise in the dense forest. We continued our path moving south by east to circle back around any Indian search party, until we settled on a place where we could hide ourselves in an outcrop of boulders surrounded by trees.

I helped Little Deer, as she cut pine-boughs and took some sap from the tree. The pine bough were for our bedding and then Standing Bear dug a trench to help conceal a fire sparked by his knife. I finished helping find dead fallen branches that could be easily snapped off to get fire going.

I sat there warming my hands to the fire, surveying my cuts and bruises. I kept an eye on Standing Bear and Little Deer who both sat on either side of me. They weren't talking unless you considered the eyes.

"I reckon I can't hold it in no more." Little Deer handed me her knife in case the mother bear showed up for some jerky. I figured if I left and relieved myself in private, they might talk things out.

I reckoned we had several days on foot before we could reach a white settlement or an emigrant train.

As I returned from behind a tree, Standing Bear went off to be alone. "What did you say to him," I asked.

"He's not happy with my silence. I told him he should keep watch and learn how to pray to our God."

I knelt down beside her as darkness blanketed us and the glow of the fire met our eyes. "Nothing worse for him to feel he don't belong with the red man or the white man."

"Try my life as a half-breed. At times we were treated as less than human who belonged with the swine."

"It's best then, God looks after our heart since man tends to judge the color of our skin."

Little Deer hugged me. "I told you to trust me. I knew way to escape."

"No matter what happens, you will live in my heart, as my sister." Tears pressed against my eyes.

As my body caved to forest floor on pine boughs for a bed, I looked up to see more stars than I could count, and I wondered if my boy back home in Nebraska could look up and see the same stars. I cried inside when I thought how I taught him to look up at the evening stars should I not be there, and I would meet his eyes upon those stars.

The book continues with Facing the Enemy. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Cast of characters

Jane, a young widow, remarried on a homestead taken captive by an Indian uprising

Little Deer (Mary), another former captive forced to marry after having lived with the tribe.

Standing Bear, Who faces an uncertain future after killing the son of the Brule chief and having discovered his spouses plan of escape.

My chief desire has been to shed notoriety and light on those women of true grit and faith who faced horrific consequences as hearty pioneers of an untamed west.
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