Western Fiction posted January 6, 2018 Chapters: 3 4 -5- 6... 


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The wagon train enters dangerous ground.

A chapter in the book The West

Comanche Territory

by Thomas Bowling


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.

Previously:

Tom and Sarah have made plans to get married in Oregon. Sarah has big plans for Tom.

Chapter 5

“You need to stay close to the wagon for the next few weeks,” Maurice told Sarah. “We need to keep a watch out for Indians.”

“Indians? Do you really think so? This will be exciting. I'll be able to tell my children that I saw a real Indian.”

Maurice had good reason to be concerned about his daughter's safety. They were approaching South Pass and Humboldt Rivers. Most Indians were tolerant of immigrants, but the ones along here sometimes attacked without provocation.

Only three men among the group had any experience with Indians. The wagon master, and Travis and Joab, the scouts. The three of them had several past dealings with Indians. They had brought four other wagon trains west and had never lost a soul, not even to sickness.

The scouts kept a sharp lookout until the group passed danger. After passing through Missouri, and into Nebraska, they relaxed. The wagon train traveled without incident for hundreds of miles.

Things changed in Wyoming. Wyoming was known as the land of the Comanche. The Comanche were savage fighters, the most aggressive of the Indian tribes.

The trail boss paced nervously, this being the largest group he had ever led. He knew the Indians wouldn't like the intrusion. Hell, he wouldn’t either if he was them. He called the travelers together.

“We're entering Comanche territory. Those of you who know how to use a gun, keep it handy. Usually, the Indians let us pass, but you never know. It doesn't hurt to be prepared.

“For the next few days, we won't spread out. We'll keep the wagons bunched together in case we need to circle them in a hurry. In the evening, when we stop, we'll form a circle for protection.

“These precautions probably aren't necessary, but I would rather play it safe. I don't mean to alarm anyone. Indians usually let us pass without any trouble.”

“This is so exciting,” Sarah said. “Real Comanches. I read about them. They're called the Vikings of the West. They're supposed to be the fiercest fighters. I hope we see some. It would be something to tell my children. 'We traveled west and saw real Indians before they were civilized.'”

“How can you be excited about Indians?” her father demanded.

“Oh, Papa. Let me enjoy it. It's part of why we came, to see what life for them is like. Besides, I've got you and Tom to protect me. No girl could be safer. If an Indian rode up, Tom would shoot him. Besides, they may be friendly.”

“I hope it's as easy as that.”

At night, the immigrant Americans listened to the drums of the original Americans.

Jarrod Green, the wagon master drank coffee and stared into the darkness. He spoke to his scouts. “I don't like the sound of those drums. You boys keep your eyes open tomorrow. I don't want to have to fight Comanches. I'll turn these wagons around and take the southern route if I have to. Even the Apache is better than a Comanche attack.”

In the morning, Travis and Joab stood watch, and by early in the afternoon, the attack came.

Redskins!” Travis called out.

The travelers didn't have time to circle the wagons. They were caught in the plain with no cover. The Indians attacked from all sides, screaming and shooting arrows at the pilgrims. The battle seemed like it went on forever. The painted Indians, riding on their painted ponies, attacked over and over again. They relished in the carnage.

The few rifles of the settlers were no match for the Indians. Soon, there were more dead travelers than living ones. Indians leaped from their horses. They scalped the dead and captured the women. The last sound the dying men heard were the screams of their wives and daughters, as they were carried away. The doomed people came seeking a new life. In a few moments, they found death instead.

Maurice Beauchamp was one of the first to be killed. He was pierced by a dozen or more arrows. The dime store novels would have you believe that men died from a single, well-placed arrow. Actually, it usually took several arrows to kill a man.

Death was a slow process for a man attacked by Indians. Maurice suffered terribly, the blood oozed from his body. As he died, he looked at his beautiful, young daughter. So full of life, but now filled with tears and terror. What was to become of his dear, sweet daughter? His heart ached, but not from the arrows.

Sarah held her father. “Oh, Papa, I should have listened to you. We should never have come. Why did I ever want to leave New York? I hate the west. I hate myself.”

Sarah was consumed by grief. She thought she had reached her limit until she saw Tom surrounded by screaming, wild Indians. They were raining down heavy blows on him with their blunt stone tomahawks.

“Tom!” she screamed. Their eyes briefly met, and then he was gone. Sarah's hope of having children, and raising a family had been murdered by the Comanche devils. That's what they were in Sarah's eyes.

They weren't the downtrodden people that she had heard about. They were savages that needed to be killed. There should never be a place for them on earth.

After the men were slaughtered. The women and children were taken captive. The Comanche tribe was being depleted, and captives were a way of replenishing their numbers.

This was the west for Maurice Beauchamp, a French immigrant who was taking his daughter west to start a new life.

To be continued . . . 

 



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