Western Fiction posted February 26, 2013 Chapters:  ...14 15 -16- 17... 


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Caitin excapes from her cruel father and takes to the street

A chapter in the book AN ORPHAN NAMED JO

Chapter six-part two

by c_lucas



Background
Sean has returned home. He kills his wife and tries to sell Caitlin to a Brothel. Caitlin escapes and takes to the streets.







CHAPTER SIX-PART TWO
NEW YORK CITY
FIVE POINTS IRISH SLUMS
 
OCTOBER 1877
 
Ending of the last chapter:
 
Sean carried the sleeping girl down side streets as he made his way to a different part of the city. He smiled when he thought of Sullivan and his two sons. I be settling the score in a few days. He entered the Red Light District and stopped at his destination.
 
A heavy-built man answered his knock at the backdoor and allowed Sean to enter. He motioned for Sean to wait in the kitchen and left.
 
A few minutes later, the brothel’s madam entered the kitchen, followed by the heavy-built man.
 
Sean laid his burden on the table and unwrapped the sheet. “I be bringing yeh a fresh one.”
******************************** 
The madam felt Caitlin’s body all over. “Two dollars is all I’ll pay.”
 
“Now, Lily, we be good friends and I be having some urgent business ta attend ta. Instead of fifty bucks, I’ll sell her for forty bucks.”
 
“Show him out the back door. Sam. And make sure he doesn’t get back in.” Lily left the room.
 
“Wrap her up and git!” Sam flexed his muscles.

Sean wrapped Caitlin in the sheet and headed toward the door. He walked toward the steps and Sam pushed him. Sean threw Caitlin to the ground and turned on Sam, stabbing him in the stomach with his Bowie-type knife.
 
“Yeh not be pushing me around anymore, yeh bastard.” Sean slit Sam’s throat. He kicked and searched the body, helping himself to the weapons and monies. Then he looked for a place to hide his handiwork. The killer spotted a marked can of kerosene  on the back porch and a stack of wood against the building.
 
Sean ignored the girl on the ground. He carried several armloads of wood and covered the body. He emptied the kerosene can on the newly placed firewood, porch, kitchen door and the diminished stack.  The killer took out a box of Lucifers and lit the stack on the body. 
 
He watched with glee as the fire spread. He turned toward Caitlin, but the sheet was gone. The fire showed a glimpse of white moving down the alleyway. He started to give chase, but stopped and changed direction when he heard someone yell, “Fire!”
**
 
Catlin looked back in time to see the man run in a different direction. The back of the building was ablaze. She used the light to unravel the sheet around her, revealing her clothes, then she dropped the sheet. Soon the young girl was fully dressed, minus her shoes. She ripped off her socks, gathered the sheet and hurried away. I'll be needing shoes before I can wear me socks. 
 
When she became cold, Caitlin folded the sheet into a shawl and wrapped it around her shoulders. She found shelter in a doorway and shivered throughout the night.
 

“Get away from here, you filthy little urchin!”  The shopkeeper kicked her out of his doorway.
 
Caitlin stood and hurried away.
 
“Don’t come back!” Caitlin started running. She spotted a group of boys headed her way. The girl crossed the streets and ran down an alley.  Halfway down, she stopped in front of two boxes of old shoes. She forgot about the boys and began looking through the shoes.
 
It didn’t take her long to find a near fit. Caitlin pulled her socks out of her pocket. In a few minutes she was wearing a loose pair of high tops shoes.
 
“What do we have here, boys? Someone’s trying to steal our shoes.”
 
The sound of a male voice startled her. Three young teenage boys stood in front of her. She turned to run just as four boys entered the other end of the alley. “I needed a pair, so I helped myself.” She spoke slowly and clearly, masking her Irish accent.
 
“You’re stealing them from me and my gang. You owe us fifty cents.  Pay up, or we’ll take it out of your hide.” He took a step toward her, but Caitlin stood her ground.
 
“Will I have to fight all seven of you, or are you brave enough to fight me alone?” Caitlin noticed a group of girls behind the three boys. They watched silently.
 
“You dare sass me?” The pox face leader closed his hands into fists and hurried toward Caitlin.
 
She kicked him in the left knee, forcing him to fall. She took advantage of her luck and began kicking him in the groin until he curled up into a fetal position.
 
Strong hands pulled her away and threw her against the building’s stone wall.
 
 Caitlin pushed off, and turned on her assailant, clawed at his eyes. When he raised his hands to protect his face, she kicked at his right knee displacing the knee bone and the second boy fell. Once again, she aimed her booted toes toward her new assailant’s groin.
 
A third boy joined the fiasco. He drove his fist into Caitlin’s back, sending her to her knees. He was about to kick her when the girls came to her aid. One was carrying a short stick and she struck the new boy on the back of his head, drawing his attention from Caitlin.
 
Then everyone joined in. Most of the newcomers had rocks and sticks. Caitlin paid attention to kicking her third attacker. A shrill whistle sounded repeatedly. Everyone who was able ran as fast as they could.
 
A brown-haired girl grabbed Caitlin. “Com’on, the bacon will be here to fry our butts.” The girls ran down the alley and turned left when they saw a police officer coming from their right.  Caitlin began slowing.

“Com’on girl, keep running.” The girls ran for several blocks.
 
“Stop! I can’t run anymore.” Caitlin pulled her arm free and leaned against the wall. She bent over, grabbing her knees, gasping for breath.
 
“Let’s get off this street. The paddy wagon could show up any time,” her new friend pulled Caitlin's arm over her shoulder, half-carried her to an alley and stopped behind a pile of garbage.
 
The girl held Caitlin up as they both gasped for breath. “You be a mite small to take on the Wreckers by yourself.”
 
“I be having a good teacher.” Caitlin wheezed out between breathing.
 
“And who might that be?” The girl had control of her breathing.
 
“Yeh not be knowing her. She moved to another city.” Caitlin stood and offered her hand.
 
The new girl reached out and shook it. “I’m Liz and am known as 'Pack Rat'.”
 
Caitlin smiled at her and tried to get her Irish accent under control. “Nice to meet you, 'PR'." She hugged Liz tightly and released her. "I’m Caitlin. Caitlin W…”
 
“Don’t tell me your last name. If I don’t know it, the bacon can’t get it from me. I’ll call you Badger.”
 
“Badger it is then. Is bacon the police?”
 
Liz started walking toward the other end of the alley. “Yeah, coppers!” She stopped and waited for Caitlin to catch up. “You’re Irish, aren’t you?”
 
“I be born Irish and be under the protection of me nanny, Mrs. Kennedy and me Aunt Heather.”
 
“Lose the Irish accent and don’t give out any information. If nobody knows anything about you, they can't turn you in.” Liz looked at the small girl. “We’ll go to my gang’s hideout.”
 
“But I want to be going home. My mother is sick and needs my care.”
 
“How did you get down here?”
 
“A mean man stole me and brought me down here. He wanted to sell me for $40 dollars, but the fancy dress woman threw him out. I got away when he started the fire.”
 
“You’re speaking much better. If you hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t know you were Irish.”
 
“What’s wrong with being Irish?”
 
“You’ll see when we get to the hideout.”
 
Caitlin kept searching for a familiar landmark, but failed to find one. The streets were busier than the street by her flat.  She stopped when Liz grabbed her arm.
 
“We’re here. Follow me and keep control of your Irish accent.” Liz led her down a trash-filled alleyway, knocked on a nondescript door, and went inside.
 
Caitlin recognized a couple of girls who had helped her in her fight.
 
“Who do yeh be bringing in here, Pack Rat?” A tall, heavy-built girl, smoking a cigarette, walked toward them.
 
“That’s her, Scorpion. She kicked the stuffing out of three Wreckers, including Pox Face.” One of the two girls exclaimed.
 
Scorpion tried to sized up Caitlin. “Yeh be mighty small to beat up three Wreckers. Pox Face is twice your size.”
 
“He tried to bully me.”
 
“What’s yer name?”
 
“Pack Rat calls me Badger.” Caitlin stepped away from her new found friend.
 
“Blimey! Yeh be a sassy one. Where did yeh learn to fight?”
 
Caitlin faced the big girl. “Fighting bullies.”
 
“What is yer real name?”
 
“Jo.”
 
Scorpion wiggled her fingers, wanting Caitlin to continue.
 
“Whatever name you want to call me.”
 
Scorpion stared at Caitlin, who stood and stared up at the big girl.
 
“Maybe I should try bullying yeh.” She grinned.
 
“I would prefer you not try. Let’s be friends.” Caitlin held out her hand.
 
Scorpion backhanded the small girl, knocking her off her feet.
 
 
http://www.lackuna.com/2012/04/17/american-slang-from-the-early-19th-century/
19th century slang
 
 
 


Recognized


Thank you, Reuven Azachi for the use of your image, "Forgotten."

The Proglogue is a list of characters and chapters' URLs.

Abbreviated list of dialect:
cailin - Irish for Girl
Divil = Devil
hep=help
ta=to
yeh=you
yer=your

This will be the story of Caitlin Anna Wiley. Her name will change to Jo Wiley when, as an orphan, she is arrested for stealing an apple, valued at two cents.
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