Roseanna Carter keeps her grandchildren spellbound with tales of her adventerous youth.
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?”
“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.
“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.'
Shawnee Village near Raccoon Creek
And the very last one.
'Those McCallisters will need to be dealt with.'
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.
“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.
“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.”
*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