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The Voyage South Part 4

Script By: Matthew Bissonnette
Historical fiction



Part 4 of The Voyage South.


Submitted:Oct 15, 2013    Reads: 1    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


ext. rapids later

Later in the day. Louis is walking quickly up the muddy shore of the rapids of the river, dense forest of either side. He seems a little angry as he walks.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I hope I never see that pompous British man again. Last time I go into the wilderness with company. From now on Louis Lafleur ventures alone.

Much farther down the shore, two American soldiers are standing at the shoreline and looking away from Louis. He see's them, stops then runs into the forest and vanishes into the dense brush. The two soldiers then look south for awhile then look at each other.

American soldier 1

They are probably both dead.

AMERICAN SOLDIER 2

How long are we going to be out here?

AMERICAN SOLDIER 1

All night. I'm sure we'll have soldiers combing the forests by tomorrow. We'll find them if they are alive.

Louis then leans out from behind a tree at the edge of the forest.

AMERICAN SOLDIER 1

Without their canoe they are not going to get far.

The other soldier then laughs briefly then grins.

AMERICAN SOLDIER 2

I'm sure by now the men have gone back to town and left the job of dragging it back to Private Benjamin.

AMERICAN SOLDIER 1

It will take him forever.

They both laugh and continue looking for the two trappers.

ext. forest moments later

The dense forest near the rapids. Louis is running North quickly, holding his hat on with one hand.

ext. river moments later

Fletcher is walking South along the bank of the river, he seems upset. The river is getting narrower and the forest on either side thicker and darker. Then Fletcher stops, looks around and begins to breath heavily. He falls to his knees and places one hand on the muddy ground. He then rams his other fist into the mud then looks south. He breaths even harder then gets up. He then exhales loudly and then begins walking south again.

ext. river later

The river North of the rapids. A single young American soldier, private is holding the front of the canoe and slowly drags it backwards along the muddy bank of the river. He then loses his grip and falls onto his rear in the mud. He then looks at the canoe angrily.

Private Benjamin

This would be a lost faster if I had some help.

He gets up then walks towards the canoe and kicks it and raises his voice.

PRIVATE BENJAMIN

Why do they also make me do all the hard work.

He then turns North and begins walking quickly along the riverbank. As he walks away, Louis emerges from the forest beside the canoe and looks at it. He watches as the soldier gets farther away then turns into the forest and is gone. Louis looks at the canoe and grins.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Your are heavy, but I am glad to see my friend.

He then walks to the canoe and sits in it and looks around.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Just wait here till dark and hope no more American soldiers come along. Then I can be off.

Louis looks south and sighs.

ext. river night

A bright moon hangs above the river much farther south from the rapids. The narrow river is surrounded by dark, thick woods on either side. He still is walking south along the riverbank. And seem upset still. He stops and looks around.

FLETCHER HARRISON

OK Fletcher, you've made harder journeys before.

Fletcher then looks at the ground and sighs deeply.

FLETCHER HARRISON

I just wish I still had that bloody canoe.

Fletcher does not notice as the canoe, seemingly empty drifts past him slowly pulled south by a slow current. Fletcher then looks up and see's it, he seems puzzled then lowly talks.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Lafleur?

Fletcher then starts walking along the shore towards the canoe. He then raises his voice.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Are you in that canoe Lafleur!

There is a moment of silence when a voice speaks out from the canoe.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Sounds like Fletcher, but that can't be no. I would have think he took care of the general as was with his darling Emily by now.

Fletcher stops.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Well get closer to shore so I can get in.

Louis then sits up and looks at Fletcher from the front of the canoe.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

You just want me to come ashore so you can kill me. I remember what you said. So I think I'll go all the way south, finish this, and go home. I'll see you on the way back.

Fletcher then begins walking after the canoe again.

FLETCHER HARRISON

If you come ashore, I'll do the paddling for the next hundred miles.

Louis then looks blankly at Fletcher then picks up a paddle and uses it to guide it so it lightly to the shore in front of the river. Fletcher walks right up to the canoe and the men look blankly at each other.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I'll risk being killed. I did a lot of paddling today. But I swear, in a hundred miles, I'll do the next five hundred.

Fletcher then briefly laughs and looks away. Louis looks at him a grins.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I you sure you are Fletcher. I suspect I have come across his brother, the brother who actually and go a second without being serious.

Fletcher then looks back at Louis for a moment then pushes the canoe back into the river and gets into the back. He see's looks at the paddles, muskets and two traps at the bottom of the canoe. He then picks up a paddle and begins rowing south. Louis lays back and looks at the sky. Fletcher just looks forward and there is a few moments of silence.

FLETCHER HARRISON

I apologize for earlier Lafleur.

Louis scratches his beard.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

This is new for both you and I. We have never gone into the wilds before with company. So I accept for apology.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Can I just make one request?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I think I can grant your request.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Until we get home, if you see a woman please walk in the other direction.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Sorry friend, but that request would require a lot of Louis Lafleur. But I'll try. Maybe we should make camp, it has been an exhausting day.

Fletcher looks behind him as he paddles.

FLETCHER HARRISON

We'll keep going south for a few hours, make sure we are far away from those soldiers.

Fletcher then turns forward again and looks ahead.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Good idea. There will be many Americans to the North. So it is South we go.

Louis then briefly looks at Fletcher then back up at the sky.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I am bored. Maybe for the next few hours you can tell me some more of the father's advice. He sounds like a wise man.

FLETCHER HARRISON

What about the gold you are going to pay me?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I keep my word so you'll still get it when we get home. But aside from that one piece of advice I got from my Dad, I did not learn terribly much him. So I'll listen to you.

FLETCHER HARRISON

My father told me that you should stick with your partner, no matter you he is.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Wisest thing he said yet. Go on.

The canoe then heads south and the men in the canoe vanish into the darkness of night.

ext. forest night

It is several hours later late at night. In a area of clear ground amongst the thick forest are Fletcher and Louis near the canoe. It is almost complete darkness. Fletcher is sitting on the ground and warps his arms around himself. He looks at Lafleur who is on one knee a rubbing two sticks together over a pile of dry grass.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Takes me forever to start a fire like that. Maybe we should just sleep.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Fletcher, it is unwise to venture the wilds North if you cannot start a fire with barely anything. Besides, we are both cold.

FLETCHER HARRISON

We'll be fine.

Then Louis lowers one of the sticks down on the pile of dry grass. It then begins to smoke and slowly a fire grows. Louis then takes some more grass beside it and throws it on the fire. The flame grows larger.

FLETCHER HARRISON

You do that better then I can Lafleur.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

That is not the only thing I can do better.

Fletcher then looks at the canoe.

FLETCHER HARRISON

All we have are two muskets with no ammunition and two traps. No salted meat or flint.

Louis looks at the fire, then puts some small twigs into the flames and it grows.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I'm not so used to going into dark lands with so much provisions. I once went a whole year with nothing but my knife and the clothes on my back. And for the salted meat, those soldiers did us a favor. I set the traps, something will be in one of them tomorrow.

Fletcher then briefly looks at him then looks towards the ground and sighs.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Can I ask you something Lafleur?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

What is it Fletcher?

FLETCHER HARRISON

When we find this general, which one of us will kill him.

Louis looks back at him for a moment then back at the fire. He throws some larger branches into it and the fire grows.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Guess that will be decided when we meet him. Sounds like you really don't want to do this.

Fletcher looks at Lafleur and frowns.

FLETCHER HARRISON

This is something I really don't want to do.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I agree. I have taken the life of many a beast. But this will be much harder.

FLETCHER HARRISON

But if I do, then I'll never have to wander alone through lands where few men tread.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Are you sure this thing you call love is so great Fletcher?

FLETCHER HARRISON

What do you mean?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I can tell that there is no part of you that wants to do this. But your feelings for Emily have compelled you to do something which is not in your nature.

FLETCHER HARRISON

If my father where still alive, he would not be very proud of me.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Though went we are meant to do at the end of our voyage south is a most tragic thing, I am sure your father would understand that your reasons are most understandable.

FLETCHER HARRISON

When I get home, I'm going to try very hard to forget about this voyage.

Louis then throws yet more sticks into the growing fire then lays down on the ground beside the fire on the other side of Fletcher. He looks at the sky.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Yes, this particular episode is not one Louis Lafleur will tell a soul. But will you remember the time you spent with Louis Fletcher?

Fletcher then lays back and rolls on to his side and is facing away from Louis.

FLETCHER HARRISON

For the rest of my life, the only thing about this trip I remember is you Lafleur.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I shall remember you as well Fletcher. I'm sure I'll tell many a lady about the man who was almost as good at my profession as me.

FLETCHER HARRISON

I remember on the map. Tomorrow the river turns west. South is a great distance of wilderness we will have to cross by land.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I shame our canoe is so heavy.

FLETCHER HARRISON

We should sleep. The next part of this journey will be much harder.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Sure friend.

Then they both slowly fall asleep as a owl screeches from somewhere inside the forest.

ext. river noon

It is a bright windy day. The river continues south and gets even narrower, the forest growing more thick as the trees sway in the breeze. The canoe appears and is going south. Fletcher is in the back rowing while Louis lays down in front and looks at the sky. They go along in silence for awhile when Louis looks at Fletcher.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Perhaps I should row today Fletcher.

Fletcher continues to look forward and paddles.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Save your strength Lafleur. After we cross land, another river will take us the rest of the way. You have five hundred miles of paddling before this trip is over.

Louis then looks back up at the sky. Fletcher then briefly looks to the bottom of the canoe. The muskets, the traps and the carcass of a dead rabbit on ground.

FLETCHER HARRISON

I'm glad we caught something finally. We won't have the energy to go the whole distance if we don't eat.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

We'll be eating like gluttons Fletcher, I assure you.

Fletcher then briefly looks at Louis then looks forward again.

FLETCHER HARRISON

There is something I want to know Lafleur.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Want to learn yet more about Louis Lafleur. Ask me anything Fletcher.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Last night, it sounded like you really don't want to be on this trip either.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Honestly, I wish I was far North, without a man for many miles in any direction.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Why did you agree to go on this voyage. I am pretty sure it is because you want to spend it at brothels, but I hope there is another reason.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I must confess Fletcher, when I saw the gold in that bag I could only think about one thing.

FLETCHER HARRISON

What was that?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Maybe spend four months going to every Brothel in Montreal. After I intended to go much further North for a year and a half or more.

FLETCHER HARRISON

I was hoping you would have had another reason.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

We have been in each others company for more then a week. Some time ago, I decided I am going to Montreal and give Nora my entire reward.

Fletcher stops paddling and looks at Louis and has a blank expression.

FLETCHER HARRISON

I usually have a pretty good talent for sizing a man up soon after meeting him. But I guess I was wrong about you Lafleur. When we get home you'll take Nora away from Montreal forever and marry her.

Louis sighs.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I would, but as I said I would only break her very fragile heart.

FLETCHER HARRISON

So why are you giving her your whole reward then?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

So she can escape her sorrowful life and maybe find a man who can remove her from the grief she has known so long.

Fletcher starts paddling again and looks forward.

FLETCHER HARRISON

You are turning out to be a very complicated man.

Louis briefly looks at Fletcher then looks at the sky again.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I always have known no more complicated man walks these Earth then Louis Lafleur.

Louis briefly laughs.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Then I met Fletcher Harrison. I guess I will have to settle for the second most complicated man on this earth.

Fletcher rows as the canoe continues down the river and they are both silent.

ext. river dusk

The river which now is very narrow, continues south some way when then turns sharply west. The forest is dense, surrounds all sides and still sways about in the wind. Then the canoe appears in the distance to the North. Louis lays on his back and looks to the sky as Fletcher rows. He then sees the turn in the river.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Guess we'll be walking for the next few days.

Louis sits up and looks south.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I'm tired of rowing anyways.

Then the canoe comes to muddy river bank at the sharp bend in the river. Fletcher rows until the canoe runs up onto the shoreline. Both men get out and look around. Louis looks at Fletcher.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

The map was led us into danger during a trip, sure we can trust it for the voyage ahead?

Fletcher looks at the forest south.

FLETCHER HARRISON

We'll have to chance it.

It looks when like Louis is about to say something when he then sees a man stumbles out from the forest and onto the muddy shore of the river to the west. He is a young black man who is wearing tattered cloth clothing with a shaven head. He, Ned, then falls face first into the mud as breaths heavily.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Fletcher, you might want to know something.

FLETCHER HARRISON

What is it Lafleur?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

A young negro gentleman just came out from the woods and passed out upon the shore of the river. He is a few meters to the east.

Fletcher then looks at Ned for a moment then looks at Louis. He then turns to the other trapper and they look blankly at each other. Louis sighs.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I suppose you want to help this man out?

FLETCHER HARRISON

I get the feeling we won't have to worry about him telling anyone about us. What do you say Louis, should we help him?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I not sure I could convince you otherwise. Besides, since he came from the direction we are going, he might tell us much about the road ahead.

Fletcher and Louis walk slowly towards Ned until they stand on either side of him and look down.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Young man.

Ned just continues to gasp as his face is in the mud.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Young man, are you OK?

Ned then begins to mutter.

Ned

Don't take me back, please.

Louis and Fletcher look at each other.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Seems this young fellow has not eaten in many days, he seems very thin.

Fletcher looks down at Ned again.

FLETCHER HARRISON

We can help you.

Ned then looks up from the mud and looks up and the two men standing over him and seems afraid. He then crawls away from along the muddy shore as they watch.

ned

Just let me go.

They slowly walk towards him.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Looks like you need something to eat friend. You can have dinner with us tonight.

Ned then seems puzzled.

FLETCHER HARRISON

You can trust us, we are not going to take you anywhere you don't want to go.

NED

Who are you two?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I am Louis and this rather serious fellow beside is Fletcher. It may be fortunate we crossed paths.

Ned then falls onto his back and seems barely conscious. Fletcher and Louis look at each other blankly.

FLETCHER HARRISON

I help him to tonight's camp site. You take the canoe. After, start a fire, skin the rabbit and get him something to eat. I'll go and lay the traps. And tomorrow we'll go our separate ways.

Louis says nothing and walks towards the continue. Fletcher then picks up Ned and places his arm over his shoulder. He then walks towards the forest and Ned weakly steps along.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Got a name young man?

Ned weakly speaks.

Ned

Ned.

Before they both go into the forest, Fletcher speaks.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Glad to make your acquittance young Ned.

ext. forest night

It is a windy night as the tree's sway in the wind. In the center of a small clearing is a roaring camp fire, the flames flicker about in the breeze. Louis lays on he ground to one side looking at sky. Ned is sitting on the ground to the other side and rapidly eats some strips of cooked meat from the rabbit. Louis looks briefly at him and to the sky again.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

You should chew your food properly friend.

Ned then stops eating and seems to be more awake. He then looks at Louis.

ned

I can save some for you and your friend.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Well young Ned, you seem like you need it more then I. Besides, I went five weeks without a bite. Though by the end of the fifth week, the rocks upon the ground seemed somewhat delicious.

Ned starts eating again.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I and my partner have helped you. Perhaps you can help us?

Ned stops eating and looks at him.

NED

What is it?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I assume you came from the south and are headed North. Could you tell me about the path to the south of us?

NED

I've been walking through those woods for days, I am not sure how many. I thought I was going to die.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Venturing into such barren and dark lands is dangerous even for those who know what they are doing. No offense Ned, but it seems you are new at this.

NED

I could not take how cruel my master was. Some of my people said it is better up North.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I am moved by your tale Ned. But as much as I do not wish to be the bearer of bad news, when do you think the men North are any less cruel?

NED

I'm not sure what you mean.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Men are men no matter where you go. For every good man there is another man who is not so good. It is a dangerous journey you are on, I hope you are not let down when you reach the end of your path North.

NED

I'll take that chance. Even if it kills me.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Any man who can brave the wilderness for around a hundred miles has my respect, especially if it is your first time. Maybe you should become a fur trapper.

NED

What do you do Mr. Lafleur exactly?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Would you like to here to tale of how and learned to venture through the darkest lands, surviving on only my wits and what ever the wilderness provides.

Ned begins eating again and Louis grins.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

When Louis Lafleur was a young man, well my Dad left very early in my life. As I said, some men can be cruel no matter which lands you wander. Growing up I heard the word bastard more times then I can remember. I was terribly unhappy. But one summer, this elderly gentleman who was my neighbor hired to do some chores around his home. I quickly learned that he had spent most of his life wandering the lands North far away from men. During that summer, he taught me much as I cleaned his house amongst every thing. I will always remember those golden months.

Ned stops eating and looks at Louis. Louis is frowning and seems saddened.

ned

What happened to him?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

He did the first day of autumn quite suddenly. I will always miss him, but he left me all the tools of his trade. So the second day of autumn, I headed North to be far away from everyone. By the middle of winter, and had come face to face with death many times. Though by spring, there was no danger in those lands I feared. I for the first time I knew what is was to be happy. To be far away from men and allowed to be the real Louis Lafleur for the first time. I would only come back because, well, I have a particular weakness I shall not bore you with.

Ned starts eating again.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

If you find the North to be not much of an improvement, I would advise you to go further North still.

As Ned eats, Fletcher walks out from the forest and has a trap in each hand. A dead Fox is in one of them. Fletcher then drops the traps beside the fire and kneels down. He opens the jaws of one of the traps and pulls out the Fox. He then holds it and gets up then stands over Ned. Fletcher then drops the carcass in front of him. He stops eating and looks at the Fox and up at Fetcher seeming unsure what to do. Fletcher then reaches down and pulls a small knife out from his boot. He then holds it towards Ned.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Take the knife young Ned.

ned

Why?

FLETCHER HARRISON

Because I'll show you how to skin an animal. If you learn well, then you can keep that knife. It is the first knife my father gave me.

NED

Why will I need it?

FLETCHER HARRISON

You have many miles to go North until you reach your destination. You will need to eat.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

You should listen to him. I once misplaced my knife on one of my excursions far up North. I was coughing up burnt fur until I found it two weeks later.

FLETCHER HARRISON

We'll give you one of our traps and I'll show you how to use it tomorrow.

Fletcher then looks towards Louis.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Lafleur, after Ned skins the Fox, can you show him how to start a fire with nothing other then what he can find?

Louis briefly laughs.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

By tomorrow young Ned will be able to start a fire with no more then two twigs and a strand of his own hair.

Fletcher then kneels down beside the Fox and pulls the knife out from the sheath in his belt.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Pay attention closely.

The wind makes the tree's sway about in the dark.

ext. forest morning morning

It is a bright sunny day in the forest. The campfire has now been reduced to a smoking pile of ash. Louis is some distance away looking south. Fletcher is kneeling on the ground beside the closed jaws of the trap, Ned sits nearby and watches. Fletcher then forces the jaws open and there is a metallic click.

FLETCHER HARRISON

And that is all there is to it.

Louis looks back at them.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I think young Ned will be able to make the rest of the journey North now.

Fletcher then looks south the at Ned again.

FLETCHER HARRISON

You can come with us if you want. We'll help you make it North when we head back.

NED

I think I sleep for a day then press on North if you don't mind.

Fletcher stands up and then walks to the canoe. He then looks back at Ned.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Good luck Ned. Goodbye.

Fletcher then turns to Louis.

FLETCHER HARRISON

Guess we should start the land portion of this trip Lafleur. Help me carry the canoe so we can continue south.

Louis then turns and walks towards them. He passes Fletcher then stands over Ned.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Young Ned. Give me the knife Fletcher gave you.

Ned looks at Louis then picks up the small knife on the ground beside him and hands to Louis. Louis then looks at the knife, sighs then throws it so it now lays on the ground in front of Fletcher.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Nice knife Fletcher, the only one I seen that sized belong to a little sister.

Fletcher picks up the knife and puts it back in his boot. Louis then pulls a larger knife out from his boot and gives it to Ned. Ned looks at the knife.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

That knife has saved my life more a few times, but I suspect you will need it more then I.

Louis looks at Fletcher.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

Can you give me the map partner?

Fletcher pulls out the map and he walks to Louis and hands it to him. Louis looks at it and rips it in two. He then hands the top half to Ned.

LOUIS LAFLEUR

The map is not so reliable accept for the layout of the river. Go slowly and keep and eye out for anyone you don't want to me. Well we must be off, good luck young Ned.

NED

Thanks, thanks for everything.

Both Louis and Fletcher walk to the canoe. The paddles and one trap are inside. They pick it up and rest in on their right shoulder, Louis is at the front and Fletcher is at the back and start to walk south. As they begin to become obscured by the dense forest, Ned watches them leave. As Fletcher and Louis walk away, Fletcher looks back.

FLETCHER HARRISON

I think he'll make it Lafleur?

LOUIS LAFLEUR

I'm sure young Ned will be in the colonies by week's end. He reminds me of myself when I was that age.

Fletcher looks forward and they walk south through the forest.





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