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Story Homestead, Sweet, Homestead
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  1. #81
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    Debob,

    LOL, no way. Dufus is 100 times smarter than the family above. Smarter, but not as mean and ugly as a father looking for revenge.
    Last edited by PacNorWest; 10-26-2019 at 09:38 PM.

  2. #82
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    #16

    Mark patiently showed Robbie several times how he wanted the youngster to skin and clean the rabbit. Robbie slipped back into little kid mode and was whining. Several times Mark thought he heard an out of place noise, but the continuous chatter and drivel flowing out of Robbie's mouth made it impossible to hear.

    Finally Mark was positive they were being watched and he hissed angerly at Robbie to "shut up."

    Robbie turned around to ask why, and his eyes got real big when he noticed the tall, burley man walking out of the woods toward them. A throwback to the mountain man of yore, the tall, well muscled man was covered with clothes made of fur pelts.

    For once, Robbie kept his mouth shut, but he sidled around Mark to be out of the line of fire.

    "Welcome stranger," Mark greeted the dark haired man. "We are getting ready to cook a rabbit stew. Come sit a spell and have a cup of coffee."

    The man flicked his eyes over his two hosts and gave a short nod, walking close to the small hot fire to squat down and wait.

    "Get busy," Mark ordered Robbie. "It's gonna take an hour to cook that meat, much longer and you're going to bed hungry. I'm real tired of your stalling and purposeful delays, I'm not going to dress that rabbit, no matter how much you delay."

    Robbie wanted to borrow Granddad's knife, but he decided he'd better use his own.

    "He's worthless, where'd you get him?" the visitor challenged Mark. "If he were my kid, I'd give him a whipping if he couldn't keep his mouth shut."

    Robbie paused as he slit the inner leg skin, in preparation to pull the hide off the rabbit. Listening to the flat cold words, gave him the shivers.

    "He's my grandson, but your right; we would have been dead several times over, the way he was slobbering. I thank you for not ambushing us." Mark passed the man Robbie's cup full of coffee, and settled back to watch and inspect the newcomer.

    "I ain't had coffee in a lengthy spell; I appreciate this more than you know." The man looked unsmiling at the pre teen boy, shaking his head at the foolishness of the young man.

    For his part, Robbie paid strict attention to his task, finishing the skinning and evisceration of the rabbit as quickly as possible, sluicing it off in a pan of water, cutting it up, and placing it carefully in the boiling water of the small dutch oven.

    "I'm Chuck Nolan, and you are?" The mountain man took a small cautious sip of the hot liquid.

    "Mark Linderman, and my grandson Robbie."

    "Well Robbie, I hope you know you would be dead by now, if I had been a man with evil intent. You're real stupid boy, I don't know if it's worth your kin's effort to train you. Do you understand that I could have killed your grandfather and made you into a slave. Real easy like, so's you had better get smart in a hurry."

    Robbie was so scared, he could only nod.

    "Robbie, you have manners, I expect a 'yes Sir' out of you, when you are told something." Mark scolded with a scowl.

    There was a meek and barely audible 'yes Sir' from the young man, and he bent over to stir the contents of the stew pot.

    Mark nodded, and turned to the visitor. "Welcome to our fire Chuck; I'm interested in knowing if you have come from the North. We are scouting our way up into Iowa."

    "I thank you for the hospitality and meal," Chuck smiled and relaxed for the first time. "I have come from the North, Sioux Falls, as a matter of fact. I'm curious, most everyone is fleeing to the South, and here you want to go North."

    "A couple of reasons," Mark replied, all the while keeping a strict eye on Robbie. "We are actually from the West, but have been living in North Carolina and we are sick and tired of the heat and humidity. Besides, we hope to find farm land that can be homesteaded."

    "Iowa isn't exactly free of heat and humidity," the oversized man chuckled, "There are some places that are up for grabs, but a great deal of the people around the larger cities are Midwest Christians; so there are populated areas with a good many people."

    "Well, Praise the Lord for that," Mark was happy to find there were people living in the guidelines of the Lord. "I was beginning to wonder if the devil had gathered up most everybody. We certainly have had a hard time finding people of moral standards, as a person would expect to find from surviving Christians. What sort of work did you do before the 'cleansing'" Mark inquired.

    Chuck gave a short laugh, "I was the lead mechanic for a diesel repair shop, fairly useless as a trade in today's world."

    Mark nodded his agreement, "I'm an electrical engineer, even more useless." he said with a depreciating laugh. "We are however a godly clan, following the rules of life as set forth by Jesus and the Bible. We mean no harm, just passing through to find a place to settle in and farm."

    "My grandpop and Dad were farmers, I farmed some, but had to find a way to make a living to support my family. So I went to school and became a mechanic. My older brother got the farm, and he's barely hanging on. He was so used to having fancy big tractors and new combines, he is scared and panicked, not doing well with the new ways of living."

    Chuck took another drink of coffee, "I think you have the right idea, heading up into Iowa to find farms. For ten cents, I'd go along to help you get started," there was such a wistful quality to the visitor's voice.

    Mark wasn't ready to have the man become a life long friend, not until he knew more about the large mountain man.

    "You said you had a family, are they close by, have them come in and share our food," Mark invited.

    Chuck shook his head negatively. "My wife and kids didn't make it through the wind. I don't know how I could have been married to that woman for so long and have her fool me about being saved. She swore she had been saved as a kid, and that our daughters were saved; but she's gone, so I guess she wasn't. My girls are gone also. I've had a lot of time to think and reason out the why's that God didn't consider them saved. And, I still don't understand. I have accepted God's Will, but have to take that on faith."

    Mark nodded, and motioned to Robbie to stir the stew. "I'm sorry to hear that," he commiserated. "Robbie, how is that meat looking?"

    "It's starting to fall off the bone Granddad, I think we can eat it now." and the youth took his knife and speared a leg and thigh and used a spoon to fill the rest of the two bowls with broth, Mark watched as Robbie correctly favored their guest with the most choicest pieces and held the salt shaker for the visitor to flavor his stew.

    "Thank you," Chuck used the salt and held his bowl, waiting for Mark to say the blessing.

  3. #83
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    Thank you Pac, they more good folks together the better.

  4. #84
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    Robbie grew quickly up leaps and bounds.... Having grandad and a mountain man on our case helped....

    Thanks Pac for the chapter....

    Texican....

  5. #85
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    #17

    Robert decided he wouldn't look back; those that were serious about going West would move out when expected. The others could stay or go to suit themselves.

    The 'stayers' didn't hurry, getting themselves together and rolling out when they were ready. Gary felt more responsible than he was acting, understanding that Robert was probably very disappointed in his behavior. Gary was also feeling very overwhelmed by the amount of work there was to do, Jainy was still in her cast, barely able to keep up with caring for baby Guy. Both parents tried to help David and Scotty was much as possible, but it was also clear that the two boys were fading fast.

    Gary and crew and Oren and family lagged about half a day behind Robert and Seamus. That's how they happened to fall into trouble. The three wagons looked like ripe pickings, and preoccupied with the pressures of heading West, neither Oren or Gary noticed the riders to the North and South of them.

    They were ambushed as they stopped for the night. The first bullet that echoed, caught Jainy as it tore through her and Guy in the sling she wore. Oren fought bravely to protect his family, taking one of the last bullets fired. David and Scotty had thrown themselves on Jainy's body, each movement attracting the notice of a gunman that ended their life.

    When the fight was over, Gary dug graves for Jainy, Guy, David and Scotty and Oren. The raiders that had been killed in the short but intense battle, he left scattered where they fell. Only one man escaped and Gary put slugs into him twice as the wounded man tried to ride away.

    Gary looked at Punky and Max, and wondered how he was going to push on and find Robert. In a desperate attempt to leave the scene of raid, he put a boy in the seat of each of the two wagons. "Slap the reins on the backs of the horses when I sing out, they will follow me as I head out." The boys nodded and only cried a little as they left the small graveyard.

    The boys held the reins of the lead team, they couldn't hold all of the reins in their small hands. They bravely did as Gary asked, and it took all their ability and energy to stay on the wooden wagon seat when their feet couldn't reach the floor. Hattie sat in a frozen lump not caring if her wagon moved or not, but the teams were accustomed to following, so they did.

    Gary had Hattie's wagon last, he didn't know to deal with her, so he decided if she kept up, then she was with them. The first night out, they drove until it was dark. and Gary didn't unharness, make a fire or do any of the normal things necessary to make camp.

    He gave Punky and Max survival cookies and water and told them to go to bed. "Which wagon?" Punky asked perplexed.

    "Any one but mine," Gary growled bitterly, scaring the two young exhausted children.

    "Yes Sir," Max said softly, but Gary either didn't hear or purposely ignored the boy.

    Hattie hadn't moved from her seat on the wagon, and she wouldn't respond to the boys urging her to eat and come rest for the night. Finally Punky put a quilt around her shoulders and he and Max bundled up together in the corner and softly cried themselves to sleep.

    The next day was a repeat


    Hattie was in shock, Gary was also; but feeling too numb to completely process the disaster that had happened.

    It had been dark for almost an hour, when Gary saw the fires of the clan ahead. Trusting the horses to find the way, he let them walk toward the fires.

  6. #86
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    Low down skunks to kill women and children in such a way .

  7. #87
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    Evil still stalks the world....

    Staying with the group is paramount and not doing so ended in tragedy....

    Thanks Pac for the chapter....

    Texican....

  8. #88
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    Thank you for the chapters, ya sit still you allow someone to get a bead on you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  9. #89
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    #18

    Enfolded into the loving arms of Phoebe, gave Punky and Max the comfort they needed. The open admiration and almost envy of Calvin, who was suitably impressed that the boys 'drove' wagons, helped restore a small measure of normalcy. Calvin took over as the steward of Punky's and Max's restoration to normal life.

    Calvin worked the other two, cleaning and brushing the horses, until they were so tired that they fell into bed and were instantly asleep.

    "Thank you Calvin," Phoebe praised her oldest. "You did exactly the right thing, it has been very traumatic for Punky and Max, and I was glad you were there to be a friend to them."

    "Ahh shucks, Miss Phoebe Ma; I like them two, and I hate to see them hurtin like they is. The lady that got to be their Ma, she ain't doin so good, and she shore ain't doin them boys any good."

    "Your correct Calvin, but do you remember what we have talked about? You need to use correct grammar. I know," Phoebe gently admonished the wiry youth, "that you can use better English than you are using. Because you are older; Punky and Max look up to you and you need to be the very best example that you can be."

    "They do, huh?" Calvin looked unconvinced. He turned to look at Phoebe in the dim light, checking to see if she was joshing him.

    "They do, and you are very aware of that fact," Phoebe finished changing Suisan, and tucked her into bed.

    "Yeah, I sorta suspected that they did. Are we gonna take them in? I don't think that Ma is going to do a good job of raising them."

    "The grownups are going to have a discussion tonight, so I want you to stay in here, guard Suisan, and get to sleep as soon as possible. Dad and I will need you in the morning Calvin, you are very important to us." Phoebe put her hand on Calvin's shoulder, giving him a soft pat.

    "Yes Ma'am," suddenly Calvin had a different voice and tone, acting more grown up than before. "I will be sure to get right to sleep," he promised.

    Phoebe ducked out of the wagon with a grin that threatened to turn into a chuckle. Shaking her head, she reflected at the handful Calvin was becoming. "Thank you God," she whispered, as she joined the adults seated around the fire.

    Seamus looked up, hearing his darling Phoebe say her thanks to God. He held his hand out to help her step over a rough spot in the ground. Phoebe smiled at her handsome husband, giving his oversized hand a small squeeze.

    Hattie sat on a board between two rounds of wood, staring dully into the fire, not caring if she listened, understood, agreed, or rejected any decisions that might be offered or made.

    Gary had a terrible grief fueled scowl on his face, standing with feet apart and his arms folded, appearing as a giant to the seated people he towered over. Robert was seated with his back to his wagon, and Andy and Donny on his right.

    "People." Seamus spoke up; "we are going the wrong way. What is happening tis the good Lord's way of telling us to be turn'in around and getting ourselves back to the main group." his stark words hung with grim intensity between the people.

    No one said a word, letting the statement sink in. Phoebe was a bit surprised at Seamus's announcement. He hadn't said anything to her about wanting to rejoin the main clan, but she suddenly felt a flood of relief as she thought about doing just that. Slowly she nodded, wordlessly telling Seamus that she supported him in his assessment of the situtation.

    There was no response from Hattie; and Andy and Donny looked at one another and shrugged. Donny didn't much care one way or the other, but Andy did. He had already come to the conclusion that he had made a drastic mistake by letting the rest of the group talk him into leaving Judy. Slowly, Andy had come to the conclusion that Robert was so bitter about women that he let that bitterness become a cancer in his life. Robert was not a wise choice to take advise from, and for some reason Andy kept running Mark's advise through his mind. What does the Bible say?; Mark had stressed to the young man. Does God want you to go through life without a mate? Perhaps Robert is not on the correct path, the white haired patriarch had suggested.

    Andy pulled back and did some serious adult thinking; while he was waiting for one of the other adults to speak. First of all, he recognized that he wasn't old enough to provide for a wife. It was also a revelation that he could have married Judy and gone to work for Corbin, but Andy was sure that eventually he would have been unhappy enough to want to leave.

    Andy shuffled his foot on the ground, scratching his foot that had developed an itch. I do have an itchy foot, he smiled to himself, I do want to travel West, I don't think I would be a very good farmer. I want to be a cowboy, Andy finalized his thoughts.

    Donny wasn't having such earth shattering revelations, he was carefully checking out everyone's stew pots, looking for any extras. There weren't any, the extra people coming into camp tonight took care of any leftovers. Those two little boys had been real piggies, eating like they hadn't eaten in several days.

    The group sat silently, each thinking hard about the truth that Seamus had given them.

  10. #90
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    "People." Seamus spoke up; "we are going the wrong way. What is happening tis the good Lord's way of telling us to be turn'in around and getting ourselves back to the main group." his stark words hung with grim intensity between the people.

    Seems like the group is sobering up as to what the right decision is....

    Thanks Pac for the chapter....

    Texican....

  11. #91
    Thank You Mrs Pac.

  12. #92
    Thank you Mrs Pac, great as always. Jonathan

  13. #93
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    #19

    "I really want to go West," Andy spoke up when it seemed no one else was going to speak, dropping his words into the silence.

    "As do I," Robert flatly and forcefully gave his opinion.

    "Hey, I'm all for going West," Donny agreed with Andy, no way was he going to be left behind.

    "I don't give a rats behind, one way or the other," Gary snarled, "she's the problem," he jerked his thumb in Hattie's direction. "She's got those two kids that she's not paying attention too, I don't know if she'll snap out of it enough to care for them, or be able to drive. I don't want the responsibility, I can't handle kids right now. I frankly don't care what I do or where I go, I just don't want anybody depending on me."

    All eyes turned to Hattie and she acted like she hadn't heard a word, or cared if she had heard.

    In Phoebe's wagon, Punky turned to Max and whispered, "I think we're toast. Things ain't turning out too good for us."
    Max whispered back, "if we can get the big dude to take us to the Grandad and Grandma, I think she will take us again. She's nice."

    "Yeah," Punky whispered slowly, "that would be a OK place. I'm plumb worried about Miss Hattie, she don't seem to be snapping out of her funk in losing Mr. Oren. I guess I don't understand grownups, he's dead, ain't nuthin anyone can do to bring him back, she might as well get over it and get back to eatin and taking care of herself and us."

    "Punky," Max was sorrowful, "I don't think that's gonna happen." he consoled softly.

    "I'm awful scared that you're right." Punky whispered back, and he wiggled further down in the covers, using the softness to cuddle his misery. Max wiggled close and the two of them finally fell asleep.

    Seamus and Phoebe sat in silence, shoulders touching, supporting their special closeness. Seamus knew exactly what he was going to do. Tomorrow, they were heading North in an attempt to intercept the main body of the clan. Seamus didn't know for sure where to find the Lindermans, but he had complete faith in the 'compass' that was guiding them.

    "You're going to leave tomorrow?" Robert challenged Seamus.

    "Aye, tis time for us to be rejoining the clan," Seamus was serious and unsmiling.

    Robert pursed his lips and looked at the sorry group they had become. "I'm leaving tomorrow headed West. I'm taking one wagon for cooking and bedroll stuffs. The rest, you can do whatever you want to do with it. We are going to travel fast and light. Gary," Robert challenged his younger brother, "if you're coming with us, you gotta dump most of that weight in your wagon. I'm not taking her," Robert stared at Hattie, who looked back, right through him.

    "She either goes with you," Robert demanded, "or she stays here until she dies on that seat."

    Seamus replied with dignity, "we'll take the extra you don't want, and we'll take Miss Hattie with us."

    "Crimminy, how you gonna move all those wagons?" Donny blurted out.

    "We have three drivers in Calvin, Punky and Max," Phoebe replied, giving the four men across from her the evil eye, daring them to protest. "We will do the best we can, with no help from the likes of you four,...I might add." Phoebe had a flash of anger, and the other men were wise and stayed silent.

    The group meeting broke up after that, Robert, Andy and Donny crawling in Robert's wagon to sleep. Gary spent several hours going through his wagon, creating a pile of Jainy's clothes and those of the boys. Finally he added everything to the pile that wasn't his own personal property, food, cooking utensils or rifles. He made the decision to go west by default, reverting back into his childhood lethargy of not making decisions until that was the decision made.

    Hattie sat on her wagon seat until she got so cold she had to get into something warm. There was no Punky or Max in her wagon, so she guessed they must be with the dark people. Right now, she didn't care; she had lost Oren and she didn't care about anything or anybody.

    The next morning, Gary, Robert, Andy and Donny carried the extra from Gary's wagon and dumped it in the back of Hattie's wagon; breaking their part of the camp and driving off into the almost pre-dawn mist.

    Phoebe made oatmeal, dishing out countless bowls to hungry people, until she looked at Punky and Max and asked," where in the world are you boys putting all that oatmeal?"

    Max looked at Miss Phoebe and said in all seriousness, "well in our stomach's of course. Where else would it go?"

    That caused Seamus to let out a roar of good natured laughter, "spot on Boyo, spot on."

  14. #94
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    Well if Hattie does not wake up, she is toast....

    Thanks Pac for the chapter....

    Texican....

  15. #95
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    So sad about Robert and Gary I hope they come out of it.

  16. #96
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    Folks,

    the laptop goes in once again to the "please make my computer better" shop this morning. Who knows what's gonna happen. Pac.

  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by PacNorWest View Post
    Folks,

    the laptop goes in once again to the "please make my computer better" shop this morning. Who knows what's gonna happen. Pac.
    Pac,

    Don't ou love these save you time devices that continue to give us problems and problems....

    Hopefully the "please make my computer better" shop will fix your laptop this time....

    Texican....

  18. #98
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    Thank you Mrs. Pac.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  19. #99
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    Good will come of this final split of folks. Hattie will recover. Those that choose to rejoin the clan will find favor. So be it. Yeah, I am rooting for reconciliation and restoration. I love Hattie and the boys. Thank you dear lady for continuing your fine story!

  20. #100
    Thanks for keeping me in the loop Mrs. PAC

    ya know repair shops can be good, but comes a point where a lap top from wally world at around $300 is cheaper than the repair costs. Course ya gotta migrate all your files over. My answer is a external 4 terrabyte disk drive and I set my stuff to save to the external, or I copy everything over there and then any windoze computer can reference that drive by just pluging it into the usb port.

    here is a link to the kind of external drive I"m talking about.

    https://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Canvi...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

    just plugs into any pc and boom all your files and programs on it and any system can use it so ya can move it from puter to puter as needed, and 4 terrabytes is a lot of storage unless you save a lot of videos or games on it like my son does (he is up to two internal and 3 external drives, but he built his puter and is all fancy and for gaming and making those youtube videos and such.

    dosadi
    Dosadi

    III


    My family & clan are my country.

  21. #101
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    #20

    Seamus took one look at the work there was to do with a wife, three young kids, a baby and a looney woman. "I think we need to be sayen a prayer or two, I'm feelin mooost inadequate for this job." Seamus prayed aloud, his mighty voice reaching for the heavens.

    Seamus wasn't sure his prayer would be answered, but he was sure that the proper people heard his cry of distress. When he had finished, he walked over to Hattie's wagon and his loud voice boomed at the comatose woman.

    "Yer not exempted Miss Hattie, get yerself up off that seat and give us a hand. Ya have boyos to care for and horses to hitch, now git yerself busy." Seamus thundered loud enough to shake Hattie out of her misery stupor, and into auto pilot stupor as she, Punky and Max hitched her team to the left behind big wagon.

    "I'll help you hitch the small wagon and team to the back, don't be getting back up on that wagon seat, yer gonna drive the big wagon;" Seamus belted out orders right and left.

    When they were ready to go, Seamus lead out with his big wagon pulling a smaller one, then Punky driving a small wagon, then Calvin driving a big wagon, then Max with a small wagon, Hattie with a big wagon pulling a team and smaller wagon and Phoebe bringing up the read with a big wagon.

    It was the best that Seamus could do, and he headed his train of problems North and slightly East. It became long hard days of unceasing travel. Hattie was cut no slack, Seamus forcing her to accept and perform her duties, no matter the fragile state of her psyche, and raw emotions. Hattie had a job to do, and Seamus was the man to see she got it done.

    The three boys did a magnificent job of herding their teams. No matter how young they were, they were needed. Calvin, Punky and Max responded, giving Seamus and Phoebe the proudest feelings in the world. Intercepting the clan as they moved Northward was dicey at best and was compounded several times by false trails, rivers they had to cross and steep hills.

    It took the rag-taggle group three weeks to finally come across the clan's trail. "Praise be, glory to God," Seamus shouted to the heavens, when they discovered the beaten trail left by the numerous wagons. Seamus was stumped by the wagon ruts heading East, where Corbin and Clara and Judy had diverted toward Corbin's farm, but after an investigation, he found where the majority of the wagons continued on.


    Clora, in the circle of wagons was waiting patiently for Mark and Robbie to return. She could feel that Seamus was trying to catch up with them, and every day they rested, brought Seamus and his group that much closer.

    When Mark and Robbie returned, Clora requested they wait another day for Seamus to find them.

    "He's got a handful," Clora was talking with Mark in the evening gloaming. They were sitting and drinking a cup of coffee. "He's got the three young boys each driving a wagon and it's hard on them. They are hanging on, but barely."

    "What happened?" Mark asked.

    Clora explained what she was able to discern, and Tess walked by and nodded her agreement to her mother's explanation. "The little men are exhausted, we do need to wait until they can get to us."

    Mark nodded, and sighed hard. He had no idea it would be so difficult to keep the wagon train going forward, trying to reach a place to homestead before it was too late to prepare for winter. Each day that ticked by, without miles, put them in the hole deeper and deeper.

    Mark took his information and called a conference that evening to explain why they hadn't moved out. "They are bringing all the wagons, so I don't see how we can move forward unless we all drive a wagon."

    There were mummers through out the camp, the idea of not having a trail boss to pick out the best trail for the wagons was disquieting and there were protests.

    "I do have a suggestion," Mark countered the unease. "I have met a fellow that I believe we could ask him to be the trail boss."

  22. #102
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    Thank you, amazing story considering how long you have been writing it.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  23. #103
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    #21

    Chuck was introduced to the clan, the names flying fast and furious. He gave a lengthy rundown on his abilities, where he had come from, why he was interested in heading North once again, and a general estimation of the trip left to travel.

    "You're in for rough travel unless you start angling northwest. The Salt river empties into a fairly good sized lake with steep hills and terrain. Heading to the West will keep you on flatter ground, in-between the Chariton and the Salt Rivers. The best way is to travel between then until you pass the headwaters. By then, we should be three days from the Iowa line. There is a small settlement at Kirksville that is friendly, full of hardworking people and they have some supplies for sale." Chuck used a stick to draw lines in the dirt, illustrating his homemade map.

    "Now I understand that you are waiting for another group to join you, but out of necessity, they are traveling slow. Is there any way, as a group, we could assist them and bring them here faster?" Chuck looked around as he asked the question, and no one spoke, yielding the floor to Mark.

    "Possibly," Mark spoke carefully. He liked and had a trust in Chuck, but he wasn't totally sure the stranger needed to know everything. "They have wagons pulling a second wagon. The only way …" Mark looked at Milo and Toby, "would be for us to take some of our teams and hitch them to the second wagons. We would need three drivers to go with us, at the moment there are three very young children each driving a wagon."

    "Astounding," Chuck spoke out, "How young?" he asked out of curiosity.

    Mark looked at Clora and she said something low to him. "6, 8. and 12, " he told Chuck, "that plus a woman who has just lost her husband and is in a emotional shock."

    "Well I would say we need to go get them," Chuck gazed around the assembled clan. "I volunteer, but would need a horse that's pretty gentle; I'm not much of a rider."

    Mark looked at the gathering. "Toby, Bruce, Jerry, myself and Chuck, let's leave at first light; it may take us until dark to get the teams sorted out." The camp got busy with the impending work, each man understanding that the clan would be grossly understaffed, but with Milo in charge of the security, they would have more protection than not.

    Clora and Tess sat and prayed together, sketching out a crude map as to where Seamus and his group might be located. "I sense that they are about three days behind us," Tess told her dad. "They are in that heavy pull stretch that slowed us down last week."

    Mark nodded. "Do either of you have any feeling as to the truthfulness of our visitor, or if there will be any problems while we are gone?"

    Both women shook their heads no. "All I get is a calm feeling," Clora sat back and folded her hands in her lap. Then she nodded her head up and down, "it will be well," she said softly.

    Food was prepared for the men leaving, survival cookies that were marveled over by Chuck. "These are the slickest little cookies I've ever seen, how did you come up with this idea?"

    "Hunger," Mark was succinct, and that brought a laugh from both men. "That will do it, for sure." Chuck bit into one of the fresh baked cookies. "They taste pretty good, what's in them?"

    "Just be sure to drink plenty of water, they will swell in your gut and impact you like concrete," Milo jested with a smile. "However I'm really not joking, whatever you do, don't skimp on the water. You have been warned."

    Chuck nodded, "Ok, I take your warning to heart. I have a water purifier but I think it's about to the end of it's life. I also hope my clothes won't frighten people. I had to teach myself trapping, when my clothes wore out; it was either that, or run around without any."

    Chuck laughed a little, "it hasn't been an easy time," he said soberly, looking at Mark. "I didn't know a single thing about survival living, so I am a student of hard times and hard knocks."

    Mark nodded, "sometimes that is the best way to learn."

  24. #104
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    Thank you!
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  25. #105
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    Chuck laughed a little, "it hasn't been an easy time," he said soberly, looking at Mark. "I didn't know a single thing about survival living, so I am a student of hard times and hard knocks."

    Mark nodded, "sometimes that is the best way to learn."


    A sure teacher if you live through it....

    Four clan men and Chuck going off to rescue the rest of the clan as it should be....

    Thanks Pac for the chapter....

    Texican....

  26. #106
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    Thank you very much pac.

  27. #107
    Thanks Mrs. PAC

    Dosadi
    Dosadi

    III


    My family & clan are my country.

  28. #108
    Thank you for a great story.

  29. #109
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    #22

    The rescue crew left right after the early dawn breakfast. The hoofbeats echoing against the drying ground, sounded final to the young boys that were tired of 'doing nothing' as they proclaimed.

    The adults for the most part, ignored the whining children, and when it got loud enough, boys discovered what it was like to wash clothes on a rub board and in hot water in a wash tub. Robbie put out the word that if they decided to go with Granddad, they needed to really do their very best.

    Robbie held court, only slightly embellishing the facts; but telling honestly how scared that Chuck fellow made him feel. "You can't believe how spooky he was when he was telling me that I was making so much noise, he could have shot Granddad."

    There were appreciative murmurs for his fright; giving Robbie more confidence. One time he looked up and saw Milo looking at him with a questioning frown. "Oh, hi Dad, I didn't hear you join us," instantly Robbie offered a more moderate and watered down version of his fantastic exploits, and Milo walked away shaking his head.

    "That kid is a honest to goodness gold plated BSer;" Milo complained to Honey as he stopped by their fire for a cup of coffee and a cookie.

    All he got from Honey was a "humph, it's a learned trait," along with a chuckle. Red was right at Milo's leg, hoping for cookie crumbs, and Honey watched her darling husband slip his favorite dog at least half his cookie.

    "I'm not spending my time making cookies for dogs,' Honey threatened Milo with a spoon, and got a kiss thrown in her direction and a most cheeky grin.



    Dog waited until dark for the three men to come outside, and then he melted into the dark forest and began trotting toward the trail the wagons were following. His nose was the guide as he fast trotted to catch up with the people. Dog stopped a fair way from the fire, he didn't like fire, but he was hungry and he could smell the meat that was cooking.

    Clara looked up at the movement that caught her attention in the flickering firelight. "The dog is here," she told Corbin, and watched as he scooted the cooked squirrels into a pan and walked it to the empty darkness. Dog wouldn't come in and eat until Corbin had slowly backed away and returned to his seat opposite the fire.

    This time the dog laid by the pan and munched away, all the while keeping one eye on the people, and one ear open to the sounds of the night.

    "If we keep on it, we'll reach the farm by tomorrow night. The thought of lying these old bones down in a real bed, well that's uppermost in my mind," Corbin joked.

    "A real bed," Judy was overcome with the thought of pure pleasure, stretching out and relaxing in the comfort and more important the safety of an honest to goodness house. "I feel sorry for the rest of the clan, they still have a long way to travel."

    "They'll get there, once in a while I travel up that way with loads of supplies, so we can keep track of them." Corbin rubbed his back against the wagon side, scratching a mosquito bite.

    "Oh," Clara said with a new worry, "are you gone a lot of the time, taking loads out to settlements?"

    "I used too, but somehow it doesn't have the same lure that it used too have. I enjoy staying at home, most especially now that I have reasons to do so."

    Clara smiled, "I like the sounds of that," and she gave her new husband a special smile.



    Seamus helped the boys down from their wagon seats, the three young men bravely tried to walk to the heads of their teams, to help unbuckle the horses so Mr. Seamus could stake them out to graze. Max had such tired arms that he tried to reach the harness and his short, exhausted arms just wouldn't cooperate.

    "Miss Hattie, be flapping yer bloomers woman and help Phoebe dish up supper for our hard working teamsters," Seamus ordered, and Hattie responded to his orders and tone of voice.

    Hattie worked to seat Max and hand him a bowl of stew. This time, she patted him on the shoulder in encouragement, looking around to see where Punky and Calvin were.

  30. #110
    Thanks Mrs. PAC

    Dosadi
    Dosadi

    III


    My family & clan are my country.

  31. #111
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    Things turning around for the clan....

    Thanks Pac for the chapter....

    Texican....

  32. #112
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    Company left this afternoon so I got to check finally to see what was here, yippee
    .

  33. #113
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    Thank you! Young boys turning into men a bit early need that bit of encouragement a pat on the shoulder brings.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  34. #114
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    #23

    Under Seamus's patient teachings and help, the vagabonds got settled for the night. The burley Scot had no more got into his bedroll when he got a real itchy spot on the back of his neck. Itchy enough that he took it as a warning, got back up, centered his sidearm and grabbed his rifle. The horses were inside the circled wagons, tightly grouped together and staring as one, out into the darkness.

    That was all the clue that he needed as he walked among the uneasy teams, gently patting and running his hands over their backs, until he threaded his way to the front of the group.

    For several anxious seconds he stared out into the complete darkness, not finding anything amiss, until the animal moved. Black as the night that surrounded the small camp, the wolf made a slurping sound as it licked it's lips and attempted to smile at the thought of a nice tender horse ham. Slinking around, getting ready to hamstring and cripple the nearest leg, the wolf abruptly turned his attention to the man.

    Seamus finally made out the form of the slobbering predator, steadying the rifle butt against the strength of his upper arm. They were so close together, it was a point and shoot, no need for cautious aiming. Shivering with unease and the sense of evil danger, Seamus began praying aloud, invoking the strength of his Lord and Savior.

    The wolf swung his head around to stare into Seamus's eyes, the reddish glow striking fear into Seamus. He had no doubt he was looking at a demon; and that discovery brought on a fresh, loud prayer to his lips. The dying firelight faintly illuminated the sharp white teeth that vibrated slightly, anticipating a tear into succulent flesh. The wolf cared not if it was a horse or man, both were equally good in his estimation.

    The slight twitch of his tail was the only indication the wolf was going to spring, and Seamus pulled the trigger as the wolf gathered his muscles to jump. Seamus gutshot the wolf and it fell to the ground, whirling and snapping at it's underside; trying to get at the source of pain.

    "Rack another round," Phoebe was screaming at Seamus, "shoot him again."

    Seamus seemed like he was in slow motion, but at Phoebe's yelled instance, he cycled the bolt and chambered a fresh cartridge. This time when he shot, the wolf howled in pain, jumped straight up and evaporated as he neared the ground.

    "Seamus," Phoebe was screaming "are you alright? Say something to me?"

    "Lassie, Lassie, calm yerself, you canna hear me with all the racket yer makin." Only it wasn't Phoebe that was screaming her head off. Hattie was woken from a fitful sleep by the gunshots and she delivered her opinion in a loud screeching tone. Punky and Max were shaken to their toes by the gunshots and reacted by screaming themselves.

    Calvin grabbed Suisan, as he had been taught, cooing and attempting to sooth the frightened baby into silence.

    Seamus spoke low to the horses, calming the milling animals, as the stench of Sulphur and brimstone wafted through the makeshift corral. The huge horses shifted and bumped into Seamus, and he walked among them, smoothing the frantic panic the animals shivered with.

    Slowly, Seamus calmed and steadied the steeds, slipping out to inspect with his flashlight, the spot where the wolf had vanished.

    The circle was large and the grass and ground burned to a crisp. Everywhere the wolf had whirled around, was burned, a testimony to the otherworldly nature of the animal attacker. No wolf body was there, the crisped grass silent and bare.
    Seamus walked back to his wagon, raising his strong loud voice in praise of his God who delivered the family from the clutches of the devil.

    "All of ya's, go to sleep," Seamus thundered loud enough to be heard over Hattie's caterwauling nonsense. Hattie shut her mouth with a snap, the tone of the leader's voice successfully shutting off the screeching tirade. The silence was almost deafening, only an occasional sob from Max, who was bravely trying to be strong, was heard.

    "I am standing guard tonight," Seamus said loudly, "the rest of you get back to bed and get to sleep."

    The rest of the night was silent and uneventful, and the whole episode seemed out of mind in the morning.

  35. #115
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    Evil tacking the group, but God prevails....

    Thanks Pac for the chapter....

    Texican....

  36. #116
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    Wow!

  37. #117
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    And another one bites the dust, good thing Helga wasn't there. Thank you Mrs. Pac.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  38. #118
    Thank You Mrs Pac.

  39. #119
    Thanks Mrs. Pac

    Dosadi
    Dosadi

    III


    My family & clan are my country.

  40. #120
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    #24

    "Come on Lucy girl, step around here like a good girl." In the faint early morning light, Seamus was working, hitching the teams together and buckling the traces. Lucy happened to be the off side horse closest to the burned patch of ground, and she wanted nothing to do with being that close to the stench left behind.

    "Here now, you stop that," the unlikely angel reproved the mare, slapping her lightly on the neck, "git over you lug and let Betty Sue step in her place."

    Snugged up tight against Betty Sue, the fractious mare calmed. "Oh you are a good loove," Seamus crooned, "thank you, you good girl."

    Phoebe was climbing out of the wagon carrying Suisan who thought she should be eating, and she wasn't. That was worth an indignant protest, as Phoebe tried to calm the child as she got the coffee ready.

    With sweet darling Suisan quiet, Phoebe chuckled at Seamus when he came to sit close. "The way you were sweet talking those horses, if someone overheard, they would think you had a long list of girlfriends," she teased.

    "Oh, sure it is that I do," Seamus teased right back. "There's you and me sweet bairn, and all the ladies in the hitches, I am very moouch in demand," he tried to say modestly,..... and failed. Seamus reached over and moved the coffee pot closer to the fire.

    "I noticed you didn't include Hattie in your long list," Phoebe whispered in his ear."

    "Nooo, I dinna know what's happin, but I dinna think she's gonna be right in the mind. It ain't natural fer her to be actin like she is. I've been prayin that she be set to rights, boot it's a hard row to hoe. It shore not be comin easy."

    "I also have been praying hard for the entirety of our situtation; Seamus, I've been meaning to ask you if there was a plan for us to leave and go with the West group?"

    "Aye lassie, there was. This very reason," and Seamus swept his hand around the camp. "I dinna know then what was to be happening, boot just to listen and obey. I be thankin you Phoebe lass for your trust and willingness to go along with me."

    "If you have been told, … then that is what we need to do; listen and obey." Phoebe said stoutly, "God is always in control."

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