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Western Storm

Novel By: Peatrack
Westerns


Joshua Jackson had finally gotten to a place that he liked. He was staying out of trouble and was living secure. That is until Ann Michaels came into his life. Now everything is turned upside down and he is on the run, from more than he could have ever expected. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1

Submitted:Oct 2, 2012    Reads: 41    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


1877- Sweet Water, in the territory that would soon be Colorado.

Furs had been hard to come by these last few weeks, for Joshua Jackson that was life or death. He walked along the narrow river, examining the ground looking for signs of life. Beavers were near; he noticed tracks along the bank. In his left hand he held a brand new Winchester Rifle, part of his winnings at a saloon poker game. With the lack of wildlife he hadn't even shot it yet. Attached to his hip was a small bag that held his food and some supplies. It was nearly empty; he was on his third day of nothing but wild berries and whatever insect he could find.

Joshua heard a splash in the water; he scanned his eyes and followed the ripples. "I just may get you yet," he mumbled to himself. Just as he had a glimpse of hope his world was shook once again. An array of gunshots and yelling came from just over the ridge. Joshua was surly taken by surprise; he never likes the feeling of surprises. Climbing the ridge directly behind him he crawled on all fours and peered over top. A cover wagon sat in the distance, one ox was attached to it, and Joshua could already see it was dead. Riding away from the wagon with great haste was two riders; their yelps could be heard across the valley, Crow Indians.

"Well might as well see if I can't find myself some food." Joshua spoke to anything that would listen, it gets lonely out in the wilderness. He waited for the riders to be out of safe distance before coming upon the scene. Coming up on the backside of the wagon he noticed a pair of legs poking out from the side. He braced himself for what was to come. There sat an old man with a large chunk of hair and skin missing from the top of his head. The Crow's were ruthless, four shots laid in his chest, looked like rifle holes. Best check his pockets, as Joshua reached for the gentlemen's coat he sprung back to life. Coughing a bloody mess he grabbed his shirt.

"They took her!" Joshua stared deeply into death's eyes. "My…" Another spew of coughing, "My daughter..." As he tried to point North after the Crows.

Pulling away from the clutches of the man Joshua replied, "Not my problem mister." The man stared at him, over come with fear he fell into the eternal slumber. One horse stood next to the dead man, this will make Joshua's life easier. After scavenging the wagon for food and supplies he packed up the horse and road south. After a few moments of riding, his mind returning to its self, he thought. The look on the man's face was unsettling for Joshua. Not the fact that he was dying, that didn't bother him at all, Joshua had dealt with death many times. The face he made when he spoke of his daughter, it was of the deepest sorrow imaginable. Joshua tried to shake the images from his head, but they were now burnt into his memories.

"Gosh darn it!" he yelled as he pulled the horse to turn, he was now heading North. He had promised himself that he was going to stay out of trouble, because trouble had gotten him nowhere.

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Ann Michaels kept trying to look back, struggling to get a glimpse of her father that she was hoping was going to save her. She saw his torture, him getting shot by her captives a small ounce of hope still shined in her heart that he had survived. But sadly, no Pa appeared and the further and further they rode the more certain she knew he was dead. She didn't cry as she was being taken away, she was too afraid to cry. Or maybe it was the fact that she was in the middle of nowhere and she figured that no one would even hear it. She had never felt so alone before.

A young Indian sat on the horse behind her, his arm wrapped strongly around her torso. With each stride of the horse her leg felt pain; she looked to notice the stain of blood on her blue dress. This was the first time her mind had slowed down enough to feel the pain. On her right the other of her captors rode, still yelping with excitement of their latest adventure.

Ann tried to avoid direct contact with the Indians, but she studied them as much as she could. She strangely felt fascinated by these men. With their long black hair, their red skin that only got darker as the sun was settling. But she also felt the fear of these men. Who could do such a thing to another human? Maybe she didn't want to know that answer.

As nightfall crawled closer Ann wondered what the night might bring upon her. These red skin's kept her alive for a reason, a reason she is scared to find out.

Joshua was getting tired, he had been riding long and hard. If he did not find a sign of the Crow's soon he would have to make camp for the night. Any fire would be able to seen by miles, it might be in his best interest to not make one. The Crow's shouldn't be scared of a fire, why would they think someone was on their trial. Joshua was certain that they did not know about him yet. They seemed to be in a hurry to get back to the tribe, hopefully that means that they are careless too.

Since his recent days have been filled with bad luck he thought to himself that he will have no luck in finding the girl. But that's when he saw it, flickering in the distance, a camp fire burning against the dark night sky. Maybe his luck had changed. With a yell to his horse he sped up his pace, Joshua felt energy return.

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The two Crows sat around the fire, both giving glances towards Ann. She figured that they were debating who was going to take the first turn. She sat tied under a pine tree, an uncomfortable bed, with needles poking her. Her hopes of her Pa saving her were gone, she wanted to die. In the trees behind her she heard a rustle, the Indians heard it too, lifting their weapons and yelling.

"Hoah!" a voice from the dark rang. Ann could not see, but she knew it was a man. The Crow's yelped back in their native tongue. She heard more talking that she could not understand, the Crow's very uneasy about the surprise guest. Even though she realized how foolish the hope was, for a fleeting moment, she thought it was her father. As the fire cast its light on the tall set of buckskins approaching the fire, Emma's hopes of rescue quickly evaporated and her heart sank. It was another Indian.

"I travel very far from the South; I see fire, ask for food." Joshua spoke in perfect Crow. One Indian motioned for him to come closer to the fire. After trading for some meat Joshua sat by the fire cooking his meat. He explained how he had no beaver and all his traps were empty. "Bad luck, need to get drunk."

With the mention of whiskey one of the Indians focused more, "You have whiskey?"

"Whiskey? Yes a jug." The Crow's were following his plan to script.

"You give!" One Crow demanded.

"Last jug, it is worth a lot." The Crow waited for an offer, "Much bad luck, I need women."

The older of the two Crow's stood quickly and yelled. "You come to free white woman!" the other pointed his rifle at Joshua, ready to fire.

Joshua shook his head as he flipped his meat, he knew to stay calm. "Need woman more than whiskey." The two Crow's looked at each other, back to Ann, and then at Joshua. The younger one lowered his rifle slightly, the older Crow still looked suspicious.

"You come to free white women, and maybe kill us!" With this the younger Crow raised his rifle again. Joshua knew that he had to settle the situation down and fast.

"I not have women for many moons, I have whiskey, and you have women." Ann looked on the scene not able to understand the words but she thought she had a good idea of what was going on. The older Crow thought, finally he nodded. Joshua rose and slowly walked over to his horse, grabbing a jug of whiskey, he tossed it to the older Indian. The new Indian walked over to Ann, pulling a buck knife from his side, she closed he eyes in fear. To her surprise the he cut at the rope that held her in place. She noticed that he wore buckskins like a white man, but spoke and looked very much like the other Indians.
"You sure did get yourself in a mighty fine fix ma'am." He spoke in pure English returning the knife to its holder. Joshua turned and faced the fire; the light gave Ann a better look at his face. He had no beard, his hair hung past his shoulders, and the eagle feather dangled in his hair. His skin was not red like the other Indians, but not quiet white.

"I'm half Crow half white ma'am." Answering her unspoken question, "but I am all mountain man, name is Joshua Jackson." She still looked at him with fear, he could sense her fright.

"Have you come to save me sir?" She stammered out.

"Something like that, I'm not totally sure what I am doing to be honest ma'am." With this he turned and faced the other Crow Indians again. "I take women now, we leave." He turned back to Ann and grabbed her hand and started to lead her to his horse. This was Joshua's first mistake; never turn your back on a Crow. He heard a change in the Indian's as he walked away. Just in the nick of time he pushed Ann to his right and rolled to his left. The bullet split the distance between them. In his roll he pulled the buck knife from his side and took off full sprint towards the Indians. Maybe this bull rush approach surprised them enough for him to get close. With a quick swipe of his arm one Indian was cut across the chest, the rifle welding one struck him on the back with the butt of his gun. He fell to the ground, without hesitation he grabbed a handful of dirt and threw it up into the face of the gunman. With him blinded he swung his feet around a knocked the Indian down. He quickly climbed on top of him and wrestled him; his knife was inches from the man's face. Screaming with anger Joshua pushed his hand down and collided with the skin of the man. His neck was washed by his own blood, unnoticeable because of his already red skin.

Ann sat frozen in the darkness, frozen with fear; she was unsure what to do. Who was this man? She did not have to worry about the two Crow Indians as they lay dead but did she have to worry about the man that killed them in less than ten seconds? She wanted to run, escape into the darkness, maybe she could get away. But she felt something in the man's eyes, a calm comfort that reminded her of an ex-lover.

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Blood stains were not a new thing for Joshua. He rose from atop of the dead Crow; he could feel Ann's eyes stare at him as he rose. His figure seemed gigantic against the contrast of the fire and the night sky.

"What….Who are you?" she stammered out towards him. He did not answer; he did not even look at her. Instead he rolled his neck and tried to bring his levels back down. Deep breaths, calming breaths.

Walking over to her he reached out his to help her up; she reluctantly held her hand back and just stared. "I am just a man, a man looking to give you a hand. Figured you could use it." She saw intensity in his eyes, she liked it. Reaching her hand up, he pulled her to her feet with ease.

Joshua scavenged the Crow's camp; he would gladly take the rifle and his whiskey back. He poured out the fire a looked prepared to leave. "Why put out the fire? We will freeze!"

Joshua felt annoyed that this girl was questioning him after he saved her. "We are not staying here, we must move." He didn't even need to register the look on her face to know what she was thinking. "If we stay here we are more likely to run into more Crow's, we need to head back South. Fort Walla is not far from here."

She huffed and puffed a little but understood that her best chances were to listen to him. "Very well."





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