Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by PoetLore, Sep 7, 2016.

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  1. Louisville was a bustling gateway city and today was even moreso than normal because there were people arriving from every direction to join the wagon train that was heading west. There had been a new land appointed for homesteading and people were eager to push west and carve out a place of their own.

    William Hawthorne was the trail boss, and had 4 men riding shotgun for protection of the train as well. He'd had a good turnout for this one and he was making his preparations as the began to arrive one by one. Every wagon had agreed to pay the boss for his services and that money had to be paid up front. They were also expected to bring healthy horses, and cattle the desired, and enough provisions for a 6 to 12 month journey depending on their ultimate destination. This train had 3 stops where homesteads were being offered so the train would get smaller as they went.

    William was a large man standing six feet six inches. He had never met a man that could look down at him, and he rather liked that fact. He was intimidating and gruff looking but he was honest and he knew his job, so he had steady work taking people west.

    One by one the wagons arrived. They would pay his fee and add their wagon to the line up and wait for the others.

    James and Sarah.JPG

    James Donovan was one of those who joined himself to the train. He'd come from Ohio with his young daughter Sarah. He met and paid William Hawthorne and then drove the wagon to the back of the formed line and set up a makeshift camp of sorts next to it to await the arrival of the others. His daughter was making friends with the children from the wagon in front of them and he was glad for her resilient nature and ready smiles. She was very much like her mother had been and that was both a joy and sorrow to him. He missed his wife every day. Watching Sarah though, he knew they were right to leave all that behind and start anew.

    He made a fire and put some eggs and ham in the skillet to cook. He was definitely not a great cook but they were not starving. He was doing the best he could but these were the times he really missed Amanda. And were also the times he felt slightly sorry for Sarah having to eat the few things he knew how to cook. Still they were doing just fine, and she was a bright, beautiful child with an even brighter future if he had anything to say about it. He pulled the dinner off the fire and went to find her. He didn't know which wagon had the children but he could hear them not too far ahead.

  2. Elizabeth and Angela Roberts had loaded up the family wagon and packed what little they could in their hurry to escape the attention of the outlaw gang determined to kill their family in revenge. Howard, Elizabeth's father, had apparently killed an important member of the gang in an attempt to bring the gang to justice. The only two women of the house were sent away with supplies and cattle to join a wagon train in hopes that they too wouldn't be the target of a few filthy crooks.

    "Eliza, what do you say we change our names, pretend like we're someone else. Then if the men ever find us we could say we aren't who they're looking for," Angela suggested as she fanned herself. Elizabeth sighed and shook her head.

    "That's a horrible idea. They know what we look like and then how will father find us if we do that," she replied as she steered their covered wagon towards a long line of other caravans and carts. A few men atop horses seemed to be patrolling the outskirts of the trail. "They must be in charge," Elizabeth mumbled to herself.

    "What if you remarried? Then we'd have your husband's family to protect us." Elizabeth felt like she had been struck where a wound had not yet healed. It had only been a week since her father came home and sat her down to tell her that her fiance was dead. A crestfallen grimace fell upon Eliza's face and she ignored her mother.

    Eliza handed money over to a tall man named William and turned the wagon towards the end of the trail. As she positioned the wagon into place, she noticed her mother had fallen asleep. She placed a thin blanket over her mother and climbed down from the wagon to unhook her favorite horse, Harvey, from the wagon so that it could graze. As the sun began to sink lower in the sky, Elizabeth dangled her legs off the side of the wagon and snacked on a stale biscuit that had somehow survived the trip.
    #2 Iris Ackerman, Sep 15, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  3. James found Sarah three wagons up the line and introduced himself to the family. Mr. and Mrs. Porter, then introduced themselves and their seven children ranging in age from toddler to twelve years old, and it appeared the Mrs. was already expecting the next Porter soon. He chatted with them a few moments and then excuse them both to partake of their evening meal.

    Sarah was regaling him with tales of the many children and the arguing and mischief that had taken place and James just listened. "So what did you think of all that," he asked curious to hear her response. "You know what daddy?' he said seriously, "They are very bad children."

    James lifted a brow, "Why do you say that?"

    "Well," she said looking up at him, "They should be helping their mother. She is going to have a baby and the older boy and girl do not help her at all. They only cause her more work and laugh about it." She made a face of displeasure at him, "If I ever have a mommy again I am going to help ehr as much as I can so she can give me a brother or sister."

    James' brows both shot up in surprise. "You want a brother or sister?" he asked shaking his head a bit.

    Sarah rolled her eyes at her father, "OF COURSE I do," she said in exasperation. "You need a wife though...so we should start looking for one."

    James wagged a finger at her, "Uh uh Young lady," he said, "How about we get to the new homestead and get settled and THEN worry about a wife then...deal?

    Sarah sighed, "Deal...but I do not like it."

    James shook his head and hugged her to his side. They ate their dinner and laughed and smiled as they did. He looked behind him and noticed a few more wagons had joined up with the train. "Looks like this is going to be a LONG train." he said absently.

    "Look Daddy," she said, "That lady is sleeping," she said, "Hope she doesn't fall off the wagon..."

    James followed his daughter's gaze and his eye lit on a woman who was indeed sleeping in the front seat of the wagon. He knew from the look of her that it was possible she COULD fall out, but that she seemed to be just resting...so maybe she was ok. "I hope not." he added his sentiments to his daughter's.

    "You should go say something to that other lady," Sarah said, "So she was make sure she's NOT going to fall out."

    James looked over at Sarah who was looking at him expectantly. "Ok ok...I will say something." He then put his tray on the stump he was sitting on and made his way to the wagon behind his. "Ma'am," he said as he neared, "Pardon me Ma'am...but you might want to check on your passenger. She seems like she could fall out of the wagon at any moment...."
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  4. "Oh my," Elizabeth said with a forced sigh as she quickly paced over to her mother and gently shook her. "She is always shifting around in her sleep," she stated aloud so the gentleman who had approached her could hear. "Mother, wake up." Angela stirred a little until her eyes fluttered open and she glanced around in confusion.

    "I had such an odd dream," she muttered as she sat up. Elizabeth gestured for her to move to the covered part of the wagon, but she didn't budge. "Did you finish your sewing?"

    "Yes mother," she replied with another nudge to Angela's shoulder.

    "And the cast iron pot, you remembered to bring it?" Elizabeth sighed and nodded when Angela still refused to move. "And the biscuits?"

    "They're here, mother. Everything's all here."

    "You haven't seen a man wearing a top hat, have you?" Her face looked mildly distressed. Elizabeth furrowed her brows and shook her head in reply. After a moment, her mother reluctantly moved to the covered part of the wagon and situated herself. "Make friends with the gentlemen in the other wagons, I want grandchildren before I die."

    "Mother," Elizabeth said with a groan as she pulled the covers over Angela's shoulders once more. Waiting until she heard her mother's slow breathing again, she turned her attention to the man that had spoken earlier. Eliza smoothed out her dress and brushed a few stray hairs away from her face before approaching him. "Thank you, kind sir. I don't know what I would have done, had she fallen. My mother has always been such a heavy sleeper. I was actually just about to tend to my horse, who seems to wander about as much as my mother shifts in her sleep, so I have no idea when I would have noticed her..." Elizabeth realized how much she was rambling on and cut herself off. "I beg your pardon, listen to me babbling on about myself. Thank you again, I'm sure my mother will be quite grateful as well."
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  5. James watched the younger woman attempt to wake the other and he started to walk off but then the interaction between the two piqued his interest and humor so he waited. When the younger woman thanked him he waved that off, "Anyone would have done the same," he assured her, "We have to watch out for each other on this trip."

    She kept talking and he gave her in indulgent smile as he listened. He'd heard the grandchildren comment and felt commiseration since his daughter had said about as much to him just a few seconds earlier. "As I said," James said when she finally seemed to run down on things to say, "No thanks necessary, especially since it appears we will be neighbors for this trip."

    He motioned over to his wagon, "We are just ahead of you," he informed her, "That's my daughter Sarah. And I'm James Donovan." Upon seeing ehr father motion in her direction, Sarah made her way over to them. "Hello," she said cheerfully.

    James wrapped an arm around Sarah and then offered," If you need any help just let me know Ma'am." He figured two women traveling alone were going to need a bit of assistance. He wondered why they were traveling alone, and what could have made them desperate enough to attempt such a trek alone, but he didn't feel as though he had a right to pry.
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  6. "Well, take care, then!" Elizabeth smiled began to arrange a few blankets of her own to sleep on. As she propped up a cushion and laid out a sheet, her mind began to wander. She thought of a time many years ago when she was the same age as the man's daughter. Sarah, he said her name was, Eliza thought. Perhaps tomorrow I could offer to teach her to sew or even help her sew a dress. As boring as it was to Eliza, she loved children and teaching them.

    Just as she placed the last of the covers, her attention was suddenly drawn to her horse--or lack thereof. Harvey was gone. Eliza's heart leapt in her chest at the thought of something happening to him. She leapt down from the wagon and began to frantically look for the creature. God forbid if they lost it, they'd only have a single horse to pull all the weight. A thought crossed her mind to go ask the assistance of her neighbor who had been just so kind as to offer her help.

    Just as she came around the corner of the wagon, a horse suddenly loomed in front of her. She immediately thought it was Harvey, but upon squinting through the proceeding dusk, she quickly stepped back in fright at the scraggly man she spotted sitting atop the unfamiliar beast. Eliza couldn't be sure, for his figure was silhouetted by the last of the sun's rays, but his face held a strange likeness to the men who she had seen just a few days stalking through a town asking for women with the last name "Roberts".

    He stared down at Elizabeth and wasn't particularly rude, but cast her an unnerving stare. She wondered if perhaps his face was always twisted into that glare or if she had done something horribly wrong.

    "Ya better keep track of this 'ere horse," he grunted. His voice was gravely, like a rusty freight train.

    "....thank you sir," Eliza said hesitantly as she slowly took the mangled rope the man held out.

    "I'm two wagons behind ya. Tie 'em up and give me that back in the morn," he ordered. She nodded quietly and the man paused before fully letting go of the rope. Even as she stared back up at him in question, he lingered with narrowed eyes as if she were the culprit of a plot to harm him. After what seemed an eternity, he reluctantly turned on his horse and disappeared around the wagon immediately to the rear of hers.

    Elizabeth glanced around in shock, unsure if anyone else had seen what had happened. As she tightly tied up Harvey with a rope of her own and shaky hands, she told herself that she indeed should start making friends with the other residents of the wagon train. That man's uncanny similarity to the other men who followed her before had her on edge.
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  7. James and Sarah went back to their wagon and he began cleaning up their dinner and stowing their items carefully. Sarah looked back and saw the man talking to the lady behind them, "Look daddy," she said pointing, "Who is that?"

    James lifted a brow and then followed her finger to see the woman behind them and a man on horseback. He moved a little further away from his wagon so he could see the man better. Hiding between two wagons to intimidate a lady wasn't very gentlemanly, even if he had disguised his visit in the ruse of bring back her horse. He saw the malice in the man's eyes and he culd see it on his face as well. Something weird was going on...maybe there was a reason these ladies were traveling alone ...a reason that might bring trouble to all of them.

    He looked down at Sarah, "Would you mind finishing up here?' he asked, "I am going to go check and make sure everything is ok with those ladies."

    Sarah smiled big, "I'll finish everything you take as long as you need to talking to the pretty lady."

    James shook his head and hugged her, "No ideas young lady," he said and kissed her cheek. "I'll be right back."

    James made his way back to their wagon for the second time and made sure he scuffed his feet a bit so she'd know he was approaching. She looked a bit shaken and he didn't want to scare her. "Miss?" He called a little before he got there, "Miss? Is everything ok?"
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  8. "I..." Eliza began, unsure if the strange man had indeed left or he might appear at any moment. "My horse wandered off. I think that man thought he knew me." She hesitated to look away from the direction he had left. When she could finally bring herself to look back at the man who she at least knew the name of, she tried to compose herself so that her face didn't appear as panicked as she felt.

    Harvey, sensing his master's nervousness tossed his mane a little and nickered in Elizabeth's direction. She reached over and patted him on the neck comfortingly.

    "My mother and I are in search of a new beginning... My father and brothers weren't welcome faces among a group of men who lived in town. I never really knew what happened since a lady wasn't supposed to ask," Eliza gestured towards the strange man's wagon. "I can't be certain, but he looks like one of those men."

    She smoothed out her dress a little and glanced up at the sky. The sun had just disappeared beneath the horizon.

    "I don't mean to keep you away from your daughter, Mr. Donovan. I just thought you might know." She smiled at him and dipped her head in respect. "Thank you for seeing to my safety. I do hope I might be able to repay the favor on the trip."
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  9. James watched her and wondered at the man and the woman too actually, "I hope you don't find this intrusive, Miss Roberts," he began, But why would they not be welcome?" If there was going to be trouble, he wanted to know about it. He needed to make sure Sarah would be safe.

    He hadn't actually seen the man but he'd noticed the man's posture and heard the roughness of his voice. Gentlemen didn't talk to ladies that way unless they weren't gentlemen, or the lady in question was no lady. He had no idea which was true, but he wanted to know.

    He noticed that the horse was uncomfortable and that didn't sit well with him either. he was leaning toward the man being the one to blame, and the one at fault in this but he wasn't a man to make snap judgement, especially where his daughter's safety was concerned. his hand lifted to the horse's nose and he let out a gentle,"Shhh," to him as he brushed a calm hand down his nose. "Whoever he was you horse certainly didn't like him." he said with a sigh. "And no need to repay anything Miss Roberts. Anyone would have done the same." He liked to think they would at any rate, but that man's rude behavior seemed to indicate otherwise. "Sarah is used to being alone, I'm afraid," he admitted, "And she was the one who first noticed the man was bothering you." And it was her that was more than happy to have provided a reason for her father to have to venture back to the wagon behind them, little schemer that she was. "if you're sure everything is fine....I will let you get things settled for the night. If you need anything though, don't hesitate to ask."
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