This is the last excerpt from,
Not even Black Claw heard them, and he was only five miles from the farm where they originated.
Three renegade Apache braves passed through the farmer’s field and entered the yard looking for food. Upon hearing the chickens it was decided to steal a few and leave. The ruckus the uncooperative birds made resulted in Sean MacDonald rushing out of his house with his shotgun in hand.
“That damn fox!” he yelled. “I’ll get you this time.”
All might have gone all right; except the last thought on Sean’s mind was Indians. When he saw them, he hesitated as his mind switched from the threat of foxes to the threat of the human kind. The split second it took to refocus cost Sean his life. The knife thrown forced itself deep into it’s intended target’s chest. Without even an utterance of surprise, his body crumpled to the ground. The rifle fired as it slammed into the dirt.
To prevent the chosen chickens from squawking and thrashing about their necks were slit allowing the red liquid to form thin trails in the dirt. Two of the three raiders already headed back to the cover of the forest.
The noise of a slamming door alerted the remaining brave someone else was there. The man was running.
“What the H…” Angus exclaimed as he turned the corner of his home returning from a needed trip to the outhouse.
He started to go to his father’s prone body when he felt the arrow hit his left shoulder, and since he was still trying to adjust the remaining buttons on his breeches, he went down. Seeing him fall the lone brave turned and ran following his comrades into the forest.
It took Angus half an hour to steady himself enough to mount his horse and ride the short distance to town for help.
The people didn’t need to hear his words. The blood oozing down his arm was all that were necessary to see something was wrong. Immediately a small crowd surround the injured man.
“They kill’ him. They kill’t him.”
“Whoa, boy who got killed?”
“Somebody fetch the sheriff.”
“I’ll get the doc.”
“Help me. Get him off the horse.”
“Gotta stop that bleed’n”
“My Da.’ Injuns they kill’t my Da.’’
“INJUNS.” Several voices answered back in unison.
After the self-appointed so-called sheriff arrived, and the doctor showed up. The plan quickly formed to chase after the thieving murdering savages. Eight brave men joined the posse. Armed and ready to shed blood they rode out of town.
The evening shadows had grown long and he rode on the animal’s back since morning. With tired muscles, after dismounting Black Claw built a small fire and roasted the hare he found earlier in the day. All afternoon, he thought of the tasty meal he would enjoy when he stopped for the night.
The searchers smelled the meat’s sizzling juices even before they spotted him. The farmers and tradesmen didn’t know the difference, between an Apache and any other tribe of Indian and in reality, it wouldn’t have mattered if they did. ....
As you look through the site you will see pieces of the story of the Wolfkeeper's Woman.The story is only around 60,000 words. I given pieces from Wolfkeeper and Cassie (Ghostwoman). I also shared bits from the others who have stories of their own to tell in the book.
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Lisa hopes the new year brings you all you wish it too.
A tad more from: Wolfkeeper's Woman
The lone rider entered the homestead slowly. The cabin was not quite as the letter described it. The place just didn’t feel right. He expected it to be further developed. It lacked the orderliness that he expected from his brother. It left the rider wondering if maybe he made a wrong turn and this wasn’t the right place after all.
“Maybe, I am at the wrong place,” he said aloud hoping it was true.
“Hello! In the cabin, anyone home?”
He saw the rifle barrel as it pushed through the gun hole of the window’s shutter.
“I mean no harm," he called out.
“Whats your'n business here?” A voice asked.
“I am looking for my brother Frank and his wife.”
The rider could hear people talking inside, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying.
“You need to tell'm, Clet.” the female voice said.
The man voice behind the door hushed his wife.
“Pearl,?I ain’t telling him not'n. We’s squatters here till the paper work is done and this here'n man looking for'n his brother might ruin it for us. You want that, do you, huh? Do ya? Then hush'em up and let me handle this.”
Turning back to the window he yelled back at the man outside.
“Don’t know no. Frank. The widda’ Benton might know em’ shes lived around here for awhile. It’s to the east through them ‘der woods.”
The rider realized he wasn’t going to get any answers here. He turned his horse toward the woods and headed east. Less than five minutes later, he entered another clearing.
This one area before him had a two-story structure half log cabin and half-wooden plank house sat in the middle of the property. A shed, a small barn, and corral surrounded the home. The front of the house had flowers along the front porch. It was neat and tidy. Two children sat beneath a large oak tree growing between the home and barn.
“Mama, mama. We gots company!” The young girl yelled.
The man on the horse watched as a woman in her thirties walked on to the small porch. The boys stood as if they were guarding her. The thought brought a smile to his face.
Tipping his hat, he said. “Are you Mrs. Benton?”
“My name is John Clark and I’m looking for my brother and his wife.”
John saw the reaction as the woman before him stiffened in response to his words.
“Michael, take Mr. Clark’s horse and rub him down. Mr. Clark, you might as well come inside. You ain’t gonna like what I got to tell ya.”**
John dismounted and started to walk his horse over toward the corral that’s when he saw it. A new grave covered in fresh flowers. He heart tightened in his chest. He quickly forced the bitter bile back down his throat by swallowing hard. The sour taste remained in back of his throat. He was too far away to read the name, but apprehension still filled his gut.
The smaller boy watched as the man eyed the grave.
Was all he said. He said it as if that was all anyone needed to know. John’s eyes followed the boy as he ran back over to the girl sitting under the tree.
Normally, he took his steps two at a time, but not today. He didn’t feel like bouncing anywhere. Feet filled with lead deliberately climbed the steps, landing solidly on each one. She was waiting for him. A slender hand held open the screen door for him to enter.
The woman didn’t stop at the small parlor, but headed straight for the kitchen. the man followed her lead.
“Coffee’s warm, would like you like some?”
“YES, ma’am. I’d very much like a cup. Thank you.”
Handing him the cup she asked. “Do you it take black?”
Becky indicated for him to sit as she sat down.
“Well, John, I really hate to be the one to tell you but Frank’s dead. A little over two months ago. Injuns.”
She stopped to let her words sink in and watched as he bowed his head.
Here is a tender man just like his brother Frank. She thought.
Her own wounds were still open and raw as tears formed. The warm salty tears flowed quietly down her cheeks. She felt John’s hand pat her hand in comfort.
“I lost my Todd the same day. Call me, Becky, OK... Todd and I loved your brother and his family.
“Family? I knew Cassie? But?”
“OH, dear it ’s gonna be a long day. I guess you don’t know just how slow the mail is here. That’s if you ever get any mail.” Smiling she added. “My letter to my own ma telling her, I had a son, took so long to get to them, they came to visit when he was a little over a year old and the letter was waiting for them when they got home.”
Shaking his head in agreement he understood the lack of communication. That is why he came, sometimes you just have to know about those you care about.
Changing into a more serious tone Becky began to tell John the sad things he had a right to know.
“They had a son about three months before they; the Indians came. They took Cassie and the boy with them...”
Large teardrops filled her eyes and the remembered pain causing her words choke in her throat.
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We are going to jump right in...
There was an excitement about the camp. Outsiders had arrived.
“The French trader is here.” Gentle Doe told Cassie.
Twice a year the Frenchman journeyed to the villages on the mountain. Twice each year the people could trade with him. Cassie from a distance watched the people haggling for his wares.
“Ghostwoman?” (author note.The People referred to Cassie as the Ghostwoman) A young brave called to her.
She didn’t know his name even though she had seen him in the camp a few times. Apparently, Wolfkeeper was busy working with the horses and sent the boy to fetch her. She found him in the corral with the animals.
‘‘The French trader has come. You are to trade with him. I am too busy to take you. Red Fox will take you and you will trade for us. Replace the knife that broke. In addition, he has many things, so be sure to ask to see his foodstuffs as well. Don’t forget the white man’s sugar and get a bag full. Woman, you may choose anything else you want for the lodge. I mean anything. I will settle up with him later. Can I trust you to see to our needs?”
He half ordered and inquired.
Why is he always so full of surprises? Why would he trust me?
She hadn’t done anything to earn it. Unsure what his motive might be she agreed and wondered.
What is he up to now?
That’s it; she figured it out…our needs… he said. If she did poorly selecting the things they needed and he’d to go without, so would she. Then she would ever hear to end of it. Would he beat her? She decided or rather hoped, not.
But, he would sure nag me to death over it and surely he’d call me a stupid woman again.
“I will do as you ask,” she answered knowing he didn’t ask but told her what to do.
The Frenchman named Pierre watched her walking toward him. He saw immediately she was not of, The People.
“Bonjour, Madame.” He spoke with a heavy French-Canadian accent.
“Can I be of aid to you.” he asked.
Red Fox explained she was to be given anything she requested and his uncle would settle later. The Frenchman knew this boy’s uncle Eagle something or other and knew the amount would be fair. The boy’s family had many important members.
The trader Pierre smiled telling the woman to make her choices. Cassie purchased the knife; sugar; flour; corn meal; molasses; raisins; dried apples; two blankets, and a Dutch kettle. And a box of lemon scented soaps among a few other things.
‘‘How long will you be here in case I have forgot anything?” she asked.
“ I stay, three days each time I pass through,” he explained and then in a lowered voice, “Is there any other way I can help you?”
Did she dare? Red Fox had moved out hearing range.
“Where do you go from here?” Cassie whispered.
“After three more camps I end up at Fort Trent. Do you need help?” He inquired knowing she did.
“I must leave here. I am not here by choice. Will you consider taking me to the fort?” She still whispered.
He eyes raked her body up and down Cassie didn’t miss the lust as he eyed her. She continued anyway.
‟I have a child that must go with me.”
When he told her under no certain terms would take the child. She grew upset until he explained he had to go to the other camps, not to do so would endanger her escape. The people might let her go but the child, never.
Cassie would not chance the life of her son. She asked about the next time he came. He will return in the fall. He told he could arrange it so this was the last stop. However, he then moved to his winter camp and didn’t go to the fort until spring. Lecherous eyes raked her again.
Would he chance it? Would she chance it?
Bending low to her ear he whispered,“The winters on the other side of the mountain are very cold, Madame. Do you know what I would expect from you?”........
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Français : « Le fameux Pierre Le Royer », photographie prise en 1889 tirée de L'album universel, vol. 19 no 31. p. 721 publié en 1902 dans lequel l'image est recadrée.