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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: January 25, 2019      Views: 152
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 CATHERIN ELIZABET BELLE 
IN PRINT 






 ABOUT
CATHERIN ELIZABET BELLE 

Catherin Elizabet Belle, also a pseudonym. She is retired. She enjoys living in Florida where there is plenty of sea, sun and sand.

Ms Belle enjoys her research and creating poetry, novels, and short stories.


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Chapter 10 of the book Gun For Hire
Palavering
"A Lone Cabin" by Catherin Elizabet Belle

As the sky lightens in the east, we're riding out headed across northern Mississippi through stands of oak and hickory. As the sun rises higher across the pale blue sky, I listen to the songbirds chirping their morning greeting. See a squirrel dart from limb to limb in an old snarled oak we ride past. Caleb looks at me grinning. His eyes say it all; neither one of us can shoot that darn varmint even though we twere damn hungry. The sun is on the downward slope when we happen on a small creek with cool clear running water. Reining in and dismounting, we search the edges for mussel.

Caleb picks up hickory nuts, lays them on a rock taking the butt of his pistol crushing each one. I stand there watching him trying to figure out just what he is doing. "Caleb, whatcha you beatin' on them thar nuts fer?"

Grinning, he eyeballs me, "Jeb, this darn poor substitute for the real thing, but it makes putty good drinking stuff we call coffee. You game sonny?"

Laughing at his comical face and speechifying. "Yup, Caleb. It shore sounds good, mighty good." Relaxing alongside the creek we enjoy a real tasty meal along with the hickory coffee. Bout the best we'd had in a while.

"Jeb, we made ten miles today. Let's spend the night and head out bout daybreak."

"Right good idee, Caleb." Taking the saddle off my horse I move back into a thick clump of oak. Laying my rifle across my knees I watch Caleb move in the other direction leaning back against a hickory pulling his old hat over his eyes. We'd been bedding down apart to prevent those who might stumble upon us knowing thar t'were two of us. We couldn't be sure of either Reb or yank travelin' the lone trail. Many jist like us were trying to get home, others were jist mean and hadn't stopped fighting a war that was over when Lee surrendered. Listening to the howl of a coyote calling for his mate, I drift off to sleep.

The sky was turning gray when we rode out staying off the main trails riding through the forest always toward the west. After many days on the trail we came upon a small trading post near the Arkansas/Louisiana line. "Jeb let's see if they got tobaccie and maybe a shot of redeye, shor taste mighty good."

Halting my mount in the shade of an old gnarled pine, I look around. Didn't look to be many a hangin' round, couple old fellas on the porch and a tadpole sitting on the steps with a sling shot. Ridin' up to the hitchin' rail and smiling down at the young'un I ask, "You fixin' to shoot sumthin kid?"

Grinning up at me, "Naw Reb. That thar war's over Lee surrendered. Didn't you know'ed?"

The gray haired be whiskered gent sitting in the rocker spoke, "Step down Johnny Reb and sit a spell."

As I tie my old cayuse to the hitching post Caleb rides up beside me. "Mind if I join you?"
"Howdy, Name's Jeb Smith, this here's my friend Caleb." Leaning against the porch railing an old hound dog comes sniffing around. I reach down to scratch behind his ear.

The tadpole says, "That's ole Jake. He's the best coon dog in these here parts." His eyes twinkling, he continues, "Ain't that so gran'pap?"

"I reckon tis sonny. You run on home now, your maw'll be lookin' fer you." Waiting until the boy is on his way he says, "Where you fellows headed?"

As I look through the trees a squirrel darts from limb to limb going higher among the branches. I wait for Caleb to say sumthin. Guess he aint gonna answer. "Goin' home to Texas. My folks have a ranch down near the Mexican border."

Caleb jist been standing near the horses purtty soon he asks, "You gotta any tobaccie or a shot of whiskey? Shore been a spell since we had either."

The old man eyes him good then pitches him a pouch and quick as a wink Caleb snares it out of the air. Spittin' off the porch he wipes his whiskers and says, "You're welcome to a chaw; and if you're a mind to there's a jug on the table inside. Help yourself to one swig; and a second one if you can pay for it."

Caleb takes a chaw flipping it back to the old man. "Reckon, I'll have to pass on the jug, taint got no money and nothin' to trade." He pauses nods and speaks to the men, "Old timer, guess we'll be travelin'. Thanks for your hospitality."

Getting up from my perch on the step I pat that ole hound dog, tip my hat and move to the hitching rail. Stepping into the saddle, I heered that ole man say, "Thar's unfriendly yanks out by the creek a mile south, y'all might want skirt around the rowdies.

Caleb tips his hat says, "Thank ya Mister, we'll be doing jist that." Turning his horse trailing behind we hit the trail moving north, soon we come to a small clearing. Caleb pulls up beside me. "Jeb if I recollect, we are on the southern edge of Arkansas, we'll be partin' company. I've a mind to see the Oklahoma Territory; and y all be heading to Texas." Takin' his hat off and dustin' it, he continues, "Son, it be a pleasure knowing ya, I'll be leavin' you now."

Jeb sat his horse looking across the way. "Caleb, if you're ever down Texas way we'll cork a jug." With that I move southwest as Caleb moves northwest. That ole timer will do to ride the trail.








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