General Fiction posted March 15, 2019 Chapters:  ...4 5 -6- 


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You can't see them coming

A chapter in the book Wilderness Redemption Road

The Backstabbers

by Earl Corp




Background
Roseanna Carter is relating a story of shenanigans and hijinks on the frontier to her grandchildren
Carter’s Holler, Kentucky, 1860
Some of the children had started giggling and whispering while she was telling the story. Roseanna stopped talking fixed an evil eye on the offenders. Caroline and Dan’l immediately stopped, but the longer the stare was held on them the more they squirmed.
Dan’l broke first.

“Why’d you stop, granny?”

“You know blame well why, what was so dad gummed funny?”

“Caroline don’t believe that yore in the story and you shot that man,” the boy said.

 “But I told her it was you and yore the toughest granny in Kentucky.”

“And the purtiest one too,” Caroline added.

“You’d best mind that or I’ll wear you out with a switch the next time you interrupt me, now where was I….”

*****

Godfrey Smythe occupied a table in the back of the Crowing Rooster, where it was dark. A little gold had made Smithers forget about the dead whore and allow Smythe to patronize the tavern again.

The story of Doo escaping the Shawnees had spread throughout the settlement. Godfrey didn’t believe the tale and not finding it particularly heroic, though he would never voice this opinion to anyone.

After he took a swig of ale from the tankard before him he daintily wiped his mouth with a napkin. Peering at the man on the other side of the table, Godfrey sized him up.

Dressed in filthy, grease-stained buckskins Dirk Fox didn’t present a very imposing figure. His straw colored hair probably hadn’t been washed since the last time it had rained, his hazel eyes darted back and forth like a trapped rat’s. He was  slight though he stood almost six foot tall, some might say he could be used for a rifle ramrod.

“So what do you want to know, Smythe?” Fox asked.

“Can you find the band of Shawnee that Doo Carter escaped from?”

“And exactly why the Hell would I want to do that?”

Godfrey threw a purse onto the table that made a distinct clinking sound when it hit the rough hewn boards.

“For money of course.”

“Smythe, I don’t know how much is in that purse but it needs to be ten times bigger before I’d consider it.”

“You need not worry about that, my good man. That money is just a token payment for listening to me. If we don’t strike a deal take the money no harm, no foul.”

Fox turned his head and locked eyes with Godfrey.

“Why?” 
                         
“Failing to negotiate the sale of Zack Carter’s emporium, my father has tasked me with establishing a trading post in the wild.”

“Okay I’ll bite, why do you need me to find the Shawnees that chased Carter?

Godfrey motioned Fox to be silent, as a buxom raven-haired tavern wench approached.

“Could I get you gents anything else?” she asked while leaning over the table making sure they got an eyeful of what her low cut dress was covering up.

Fox’s eyes almost popped out of their sockets when the waitress leaned over. His eyes darted between her breasts and the purse lying on the table.

Godfrey grinned, he knew he had him.

“Nothing for us, my dear,” Godfrey said.

“Certainly sir,” she said as she moved on to the next table. Godfrey noticed how Fox was as entranced with her backside as the front.

“So we have a deal?”

Fox broke his gaze and said, “Huh?”

“I asked if we have a deal,” Godfrey repeated.

“What exactly do you need me to do?”

“I need you to guide me into Shawnee country, act as an interpreter, and help me negotiate a spot to build a trading post.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

Fox reached across the table and grabbed the purse.

“Mister, you got a deal. Now if you’ll excuse me, uuunfff.”

Godfrey had deceptive strength. He may look like a dandy, but he had an iron grip on Fox’s wrist.

“Oh, just one more thing. Silly me for not mentioning it,” Godfrey grinned and let go.

Fox rubbed his wrist.

“What?”

“I need you to find the exact Shawnees that chased Carter.”

Fox eyed Godfrey suspiciously.

“That’s it?”

“Absolutely.”

“Deal.”

Fox licked his lips, snatched the purse, and got up searching for the waitress. He saw her and went straight as an arrow to her. Godfrey watched with a bemused look on his face.

Godfrey saw Fox grab her by the wrist and head to the stairs. Watching as the girl pulled back from Fox. Almost hearing the tinkle of the coins as Fox jingled the purse. The girl’s eyes widened and she nodded in agreement, and then the two of them scooted up the stairs.
 
Phase one of his plan for revenge was in motion.

*****
Clancy Sinclair took a puff of his clay pipe as he took stock of the checker board laid across a pickle barrel in Zack Carter’s store. He had no moves, and the feeling that Zack was also aiming not to leave him any moves aside from the checker game.

“It looks like you got me, Mr. Carter.”

“Not yet I don’t.”

“Mr. Carter, if there’s a move there I’d be obliged if you’d point it out for me.”

Janie was half watching the game, half watching Clancy. She giggled and pointed at a piece for Clancy to move. Zack had jumped him and had already taken the finger off of the checker when Janie pointed at a piece in the corner.

Zack’s move had put his piece, and the two pieces behind it, in danger of being jumped by Clancy. Upon seeing the move, Clancy grinned from ear to ear.

“Looks like I got you, Mr. Carter.”

Zack fixed Janie with a glare. It shocked him that she boldly met his glare and didn’t back down.

This girl will do, he thought.

“I reckon you got me Sinclair, but you couldn’t do it by yourself.”

“I guess yore right about that, Mr. Carter,” Clancy said, then changing the subject, “I wonder what’s keeping Doo.”

“Don’t be worrying about Doolittle.”

Truthfully,  Zack was getting worried about his youngest son. The boy should have been back by now. Pulling his watch from his pocket and noting the time, he’d give it 30 more minutes then they’d go look for him.

Mighty Beaver was doing what he does best, watching and listening. Not sure how Zack Carter felt about having an Indian in his store, but he hadn’t kicked him out yet, so he decided to take a chance.

“Doolittle is capable of defending himself as long as he doesn’t have to swim anywhere,” he said.

This drew loud guffaws from Zack and Clancy; even Janie giggled at that.

“It’s hard to believe a boy born and raised on the frontier don’t know how to swim,” Clancy said.

“This is true,” said Zack.

Janie was in awe that they could just overlook a deficiency in a man’s skills that was so important. A man should know how to shoot, ride a horse, and swim as far as she was concerned. Otherwise he had no business on the frontier.

“Do you know how to swim?” she asked Clancy.

“Like a fish,” he replied.

This made her mind up between Doo and Clancy. Though neither of them knew it, Janie had been comparing them to each other in order to choose a mate from between them. Though he didn’t know it yet, being able to swim tipped the scales in Clancy’s favor.

The sounds of boards squeaking out front, then the tinkle of a bell when the door opened let them know someone had entered the store.
When they turned and saw it was Doo, they were relieved. Concern etched his face when Zack saw the blood on Doo’s shirt along the slit the knife had made on Doo’s side.

“What in thunderation happened to you? All I did was ask you to do was escort the McAllister gal home, not get into a donnybrook.”

Zack’s eyes then narrowed, “Did ya kill him ya idjit?”

“No sir, and there was two of them.”

“Is the McAllister gal alright?”

“Thunderation Pa, she shot one of them.”

“Yore joking,” Clancy interrupted.

“If I’m lying, I’m dying,” Doo said.

“What about the one that did that to you?” asked Zack.

“Run his gut onto my knife. He’ll live, if he sees a doctor quick enough. Funny they looked and acted like robbers but they didn’t try to take anything from us.”

“Hmmm that is strange, and you say McAllister’s daughter shot one, is he dead?” Zack asked.

“No sir, she stopped me short of slitting their throats. Last I saw of them they were supporting each other down the hill, bleeding like stuck pigs.”

“So no one will be seeking you out for a murder?”

“No sir.”

Zack furrowed his brow in thought; something about this didn’t add up. That the two younger people had been attacked in broad daylight was puzzling. Doo clearly didn’t have any wealth, and Roseanna wasn’t dressed like a rich lady.

Maybe they were after the girl, to have their wicked ways with her, Zack thought.

Mindful of Janie sitting there, Zack didn’t voice his thoughts.

“How bad cut are ya?”

“Not bad, Pa.”

“Let me look Doolittle, take off that shirt,” Mighty Beaver said.

Doo hesitated and looked at Janie. When Janie didn’t take the hint, Clancy cleared his throat.

“Umm, Miss Janie, could I escort you on a stroll around Pittsburgh?”

“Why, I would love that, Mr. Sinclair.”

Clancy offered Janie his arm, she wrapped her hand around his bicep and the pair strolled outside.

“Take your shirt off, Doolittle,” Mighty Beaver said.

Doo pulled the shirt up and over his head. Mighty Beaver inspected the non-life threatening eight inch slice along the left side just under the ribs. The wound wasn’t particularly deep, but it had bled quite a bit.

“I will make you a poultice like the one I did for Little One,” Mighty Beaver said.

“Little One?” Zack asked.


“He’s talking about Janie, Pa. When they first met she durn near took his head off with a limb. He named her 'Little One Who Swings Big Stick.'

Zack threw his head back and roared with laughter.

“I can almost see her doing that.”

“She did it, she’s a formidable foe in the forest,” Mighty Beaver said, and then he asked, “Do you have any bandages?”

Zack started rummaging behind the counter.

“I think I have some torn up linen for such occasions. Yup, here ya go Mighty Beaver,” Zack said handing Mighty Beaver a pile of clean white rags.

“I will go fetch some elderberry and willow bark for the poultice,” said Mighty Beaver.

As soon as the Delaware had left, Zack turned to Doo.

“All right, let’s have it.”

“Have what, Pa?”

“The story, what happened to your traps, horse, and rifle? And what happened to the furs you were bringing back to pay me for outfitting you?”

Doo told the story of being chased by the Shawnees, walking off the cliff, being picked up by the boat, the raid on the boat, and ended with running into Clancy in the woods.

Just as Doo finished, Mighty Beaver came back with the poultice herbs. He started mashing the ingredients together into a cloth. Once the consistency was how he wanted it, he folded the cloth over then twisted the ends tightly until it was a fist sized ball.

He asked if Zack had any whiskey.

“Now, Mighty Beaver you know it ain’t legal to sell whiskey to Injuns.”

“It is not for me, it is for the wound.”

“In that case, I keep a jug behind the counter.”

As Mighty Beaver wiped a whiskey soaked rag across the cut on Doo’s side,  he recoiled from the liquor’s bite.

“There’s one thing for sure, boy.”

“Whut’s that, Pa?

“Before we let you go back out to the woods we’re going to have to learn you how to swim.”

To be continued


Recognized


Here you go, it's long and not a lot of action, but a sub plot begins. For those just reading for the first time, there are 5 more chapters in case you're interested, feel free to go back and read'em to catch up. For those only reading for Fanstory bucks and points, I know it's long and probably not you regulat genre, give it a chance. Be kind.

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

Cast of Characters
Roseanna Carter- narrator
Doolittle Carter-Extremely blessed and lucky frontiersman.
Janie Wolfe-Heroine, wise beyond her years, intuitive, follows her instincts, knows how to swim.
Roseanna McCallister- Heroine who will figure a lot more heavily into the story. Knows how to shoot, ride, and yes swim.
Swooping Eagle= Shawnee Warrior, vengeful but listens to the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Wise Owl- Shawnee Warrior, the voice of reason, knows how to swim.
Running Deer- Civil Chief of the Shawnee and Swooping Eagle's father' Not happy with Swooping Eagle for getting his favorite son killed. Knows how to swim.
Mighty Beaver- Delaware Warrior, funny sense of humor,knows how to swim
Clancy Sinclair-Happy -go-lucky friend of Doolittle, knows how to swim
Godfrey Smythe- Ferret faced cad, probably knows how to swim.
Zachary "Zack" Carter- The Carter family patriarch and quite possibly the toughest man on the frontier. Men fear him and women want to be with him. Knows how to swim.
Percy Smithers- Owner of the Crowing Rooster Tavern. He's crooked as a dog's leg but looks like a straight arrow compared to Godfrey Smythe. Might know how to swim.
Dirk Fox- One of Smythe's minions and a five star rascal. Knows how to speak Shawnee and swim.
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