These characters are mine so there!
Violence: Quite a bit
Sex: NO not really
Synopsis: On the way to Hunters Valley Katherine encounters a problem.
The sound of heavy footsteps sneaking up on her yanked Katherine out of her peaceful sleep, which didnt come often. She arose and grabbed a pistol trying to seem alert despite the fact that she had just been sleeping. She crouched low and then darted out and pointed her pistol in the direction of a small boy.
"Jesus . kid .what the hell are you doing out here?"
"I need your help!"
"Listen kid I dont know what ya talkin bout but I just want to get some sleep."
She tossed her pistol to the ground and sat back by her dwindling fire trying to revive it. The kid came over and sat beside her and began to toss small sticks into the fire.
"Did you follow me?"
"Yeah your tracks were easy to follow."
"Cuz I wasnt trying to cover em."
"You got anything to eat Im starved."
She sighed and dug into her bag and pulled out a frying pan and stuck it over the now roaring fire. She threw in a couple pieces of salted pork and they began to sizzle and crack. She figured if the boy was hungry he was thirsty to so she handed him her spare canteen filled with water and he hastily accepted it. The boy popped the canteen open and began to drink greedily from the canteen. She watched him gulp the water down and couldnt help but wonder why a small boy was out on his own. He was healthy so she knew he hadnt been on his own for long.
"Gonna turn that?"
"The meat its burning."
She flipped the pork and the other side began to pop and sizzle.
"So what ya doing on ya own boy?"
"Thats obvious but why?"
"So I could get some help from ya."
She took the pan off the fire by using an old rag and took a piece of the meat out and handed it to the boy, which he tossed from hand to hand because of the heat. After a few tosses he took a large bite of it and chewed on it for a bit then swallowed.
"Cuz .my family heard about how you got the money for another town but they didnt want no help from a ."
"From a what."
The boy looked down at the meat and sighed.
He took a bite of the meat and looked at the fire. She smirked and stood up.
"Well son couldnt help ya if I tried I got a place to be no time for any stops."
She yawned and stretched.
"In fact Im supposed to be gone right now but Ill let ya finish."
The boy gobbled down the rest of the meat and stood.
"Please ya just got to help us .some men then came through our town and claimed it as there own!"
She began to pack ignoring the boy completely.
"They got my whole town afraid to do anything and they hurting people women, children specially the women."
She stopped and thought about it for a moment then shook his pleas off and continued to pack.
"I told ya kid I got some place to be."
"It wont throw ya off too much we live right by here .please!"
"Please .please .there taking our money and destroying our town .i promise ya it aint that far!"
She sighed. If she was thrown off more than three day shed miss him completely .she could make quick work of it maybe. Should she risk missing Lee .this might be her last time getting a good clean shot at him. He could be in a crowd .she could blow him away and no one would ever know till she was half way out of town.
"Then we gotta leave now."
She put on her clothing and strapped on her guns and the boy helped her finish packing.
"Any way we can get in the town with out them knowing?"
"Yeah I snuck out of my house and went through the old mine shaft we got going under our town."
"Any idea why there taking over ya town?"
"No but my pa heard about them trying to end some fight between them and a rival gang . they supposed to meet up and talk about whose got run of the town."
"By the way whats the name of this town?"
"I knew it that mineshaft was shut down but it could be the reason why they are trying to figure out whose got territorial right to it."
"That means it has to be Lonnie and the wild pack and Dannys Black Death gang."
She knew they were a force to be reckoned with but she had an idea of what she was going to do.
"So the leader of the gang he got a real tall head and wears glasses."
The boy nodded and she smirked.
"Yep thats Lonnie .so Im right ..hes probably waiting for Danny and his gang theyve been feuding for years."
She mounted the horse and helped the boy up and he sat down behind her and clung to her waist.
"I think I got a way to rid the world of some low life scum and help you out."
She adjusted her hat and looked at the sun that was just about to rise
"Whats ya name kid?"
"Okay Paul here we go."
"So youre gonna help."
"Yep .im gonna help guarantee that this meeting turns into a full on war."
She spurred Archer slightly and he went into a full gallop headed towards Pauls town.
Song and dance from the cabaret could be heard from miles away. The display inside is what youd expect from such a loose establishment. Sex and drinking and violence it was a smorgasbord of disgust. But in a small room away from the roar of the men and the squeals from the harlots was Lonnie and Teal the leaders of the Wild pack.
"Danny should be here in a day or so .we just need to let him know this here town was ours first and that means the mines are ours too!"
"Youre right .but do you think hes coming here to bargain?"
"He is .he said hes only bringing him and one of his boys."
"And ya trust him?"
"He gave his word hes gonna do it."
Teal stood angered by Lonnies decision to trust Danny.
"That boys gonna bite you in the ass .mark my word Lonnie nothing good is coming from this .we need to get what we can and go!"
Lonnie was frustrated now and tired of this sudden act of defiance from Teal.
"Enough I dont want to hear another word .youd better rethink how you talk to me I run this show!"
"The men in this town are getting tired and they are gonna start fighting back. Just yesterday a man took a gun from one of our men and shot him dead!"
"Get out of here Teal for you say something you shouldnt!"
Teal left the room in a storm of anger and slammed the door. He pushed away several harlots that were trying to cling to him and left out of the place. He breathed in some fresh air and surveyed the town. It was relatively small but it was a gold mine underneath it.
Teal turned to one of the wild packs members and walked close to him.
"Im fine listen tomorrow I want some extra men to survey the entrance points to this town and I want them to be armed and ready to fire."
"Good . now go enjoy yourself Ill take over for ya."
"Thank ya sir."
The man gave Teal his gun and ran inside the building. Teal leaned against the wall and tilted his head back.
"Whats the use?"
He walked a few feet down the road with people dodging his gaze in fear he might harm them and went up into an inn for a short rest.
"Its this way follow me." Paul said waiting at the exit of the mineshaft.
Katherine whispered in Archers ear. "Stay in this area .i want you to be in ear shot cuz Im gonna need to haul ass to get to Lee."
The horse trotted off and Katherine followed Paul into the dark dank mines. Every breath she took in the trek through the mine was laced with soot and lead. She could taste the thick fumes and she became light headed for a moment and images began to whirl through her mind. She was back in the weeds again her mommy holding her hand leading her through the soft muddy lands trying to escape the plantation. Then she heard the gunshot . the signal that a slave was escaping and nearly jumped out of her skin.
"You alright you jumped up a bit."
"Fine just just keep moving."
"See this here mark were almost there!"
She continued to follow the boy and when they reached the entrance of the cave she fell to the ground coughing and gasping for the fresh air. Her eyes burning from the sudden shift from light to dark made her head hurt and it took her a few minutes to regain composure. When she got back to her feet she and the boy snuck through a field and entered his home at the edge of town. His mother swept him into her arms and rocked back and forth with him while his father placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Where have you been boy we were worried sick."
"I got that...nig . i got that Katherine we heard of to come and help us!"
"Shh . quiet now .go to ya room and get some fresh clothes youre a mess."
Paul ran to his room and the mother and father walked over to Katherine.
"Hello my names May ann but you can call me may."
The mother said politely not sure how to approach the women.
"You can just turn right back round girl we dont need any help we can handle it."
Katherine swallowed and knocked some dust from her shoulder.
"It is not my intention to be hostile with you but I have come a long way to help you . although you think little of me . which I could care less what you thought anyway but I have come a long way and I know much about the two gangs I wish to rid you of them .for good."
"How is a girl like you gonna do that?"
"Easy just give me some tattered clothes and say Im a servant and I will work wonders."
"Dudley you know shes good .she can help us just let her try."
Dudley shook his head and sat down.
"Tell me what you know and maybe Ill consider it."
Katherine took a seat at their table and cleared her throat.
"The fellow residing in your town is Lonnie, leader of the Wild pack which means a rather young red haired fellow is here also he goes by the name of Teal."
Mary ann hands her a glass of waters which she downs quickly and wipes her mouth with her sleeve.
"Now these two are fighting Danny and his gang and believe me this didnt just start .they all used to run together but Danny wanted something this way and Lonnie wanted it that way and they broke apart."
She took a breath and continued.
"They had petty fights over this town and that one but this one is important .i traveled through your minds and you see these tiny specks on my jacket."
She pulled it off and laid it across the table. Sure enough among the soot and dirt were specks of golden pebbles.
"Thats gold .your son led us through a place that wasnt ever checked .you all are sitting on a gold mine."
Mary ann gasped and Dudley sat back in his seat stunned.
"They want this town for the gold plain and simple so Ive thought up a plan to end this .we cause a fight to happen."
Dudley laughed. "If that isnt the stupidest idea I have ever heard they arent gonna fight theyre just gonna talk maybe this fellow will just leave."
"Hell leave and come back with men to take over and fight on your land if we do it my way they wont fight here theyll fight right outside of here take each other out and you wont have to worry about this happening anymore."
"What if some other people find out."
"Thats why we eliminate both of them a fight like this is gonna include every member .seize this opportunity or your town is lost."
"Okay Ill rally the men .till then we can pose you as a servant for a friend of mine."
"Follow me Katherine I can give ya some clothes."
"Ill go get him and fill him in."
Katherine put on the itchy heavy gown and hid her clothes underneath some more rags in one of the draws. She put on a knit hat and let her ponytail hang out the back and tried to do her best slave impersonation in the mirror.
"No sirs I aint heard nothin not a peep."
She laughed and took a deep breath then walked outside to see Mary Ann, Paul, Dudley and the strange man she would be staying with. He was a Native American about 61 with long black hair that fell to his shoulders. His eyes were as black as coal and his stature was of a man who didnt take kindly to oppression.
"Hi my name is Esbedy."
She reached for his hand and he shook it not violently but with a touch that you would use upon a lady you were courting. Usually men shook her hand roughly as if she belonged to their sex.
"Names Katherine did Dudley tell you the plan?"
"Yes it is a good one and I will oblige in any way."
"Good right no I need a man to ride over to the town that Dannys in and tell him that Lonnie said that the meeting is changed to tomorrow, this will make Lonnie angry that Danny didnt show and Lonnie will lose trust in Danny."
She adjusts her apron and looks around the room.
"This will buy us some time to get together a small group of men to take a few shots at Lonnie and drop some of Dannys gangs signature blue scarfs on the ground. This will make Lonnie think Danny reneged on the meeting and decided to come take him out. Of course hell take his regime and by the time Danny gets here thinking theres going to be a meeting theyll meet outside of town and begin to fight."
Dudley stood up and walked across the room towards Katherine.
"I know a man who could get to that town in no time flat hes a teacher but he rides like the wind!"
"Good tonight we need to meet with every man in a household . that means well need the women to distract them."
"Im on it!" Mary ann said a little bit too excitedly which caused everyones eyebrow to raise.
Esbedy walked towards the door.
"Come on we can get you settled at my place and I can get to work on some old weapons I have."
She followed Esbedy to the door and a few feet down the road was his home which was small but enough for a single man and a possible family.
"This where you will be staying and I expect my chores to be done on time and properly."
She shot a glance at him that could melt steel and he raised his hands in defense.
"Im only kidding." He said with a warm smile and led her back to the kitchen where he handed her a cup of water.
"So I just gotta know Esbedy .why are you accepted here?"
"Well my tribe was pretty much wiped away when I was a child .a soldier who killed them brought me here and left me. A family took me in but they have long passed. They gave me a chance at life and I am happy here."
She was still in shock that white people accepted him, let him coexist yet despised any other Indian.
"They are used to me if another were to come he would be shunned but they taught me, raised me and well Im just like one of them but I never truly feel at peace here .i feel like I can be seeing and doing much more."
"We all do." She added and sipped from her water.
"Well let me show you the weapons."
Danny shot at an old rusty can he was sick of being idle and couldnt wait for the meeting between him and Lonnie. How he loathed him . he took his gang his money and now he was trying to take even more. Not this time Danny was going to stay two steps ahead. He saw a man traveling towards him at an unreal speed and he signaled for two of his men to come outside. The man stopped the horse right by them and jumped off.
"Lonnie said the meeting was delayed said he didnt feel right and you boys should come a day later."
The man jumped back on the horse but Danny stopped him with a warning.
"You tell that son of a bitch that hed better have his ass ready by then or Im gonna come to that town and burn it down!
The man rode off and Danny holstered his gun and threw his hat to the ground in anger.
Katherine had to see if Lonnie was on to anything so she went to where he was staying and pretended to clean. She heard voices in the room and could tell it was Lonnie; his voice was as deep as a bottomless pit even when he yelled he sounded calm. She didnt recognize Teals voice but she knew it was him he was the only one who could yell back at Lonnie and keep breathing.
"He didnt show up I told ya hes plotting!"
"Maybe he just got held up."
"Listen to you Lonnie think about it not showing up .not even telling us why .. hes up to something Lonnie and I told ya!"
She wanted to hear more clearly so she leaned over a vase and it clattered to the ground. Teal came from the room gun drawn and eyed her. She hung her head trying to appear humble but Teal had seen her before. Hopefully he didnt have a good memory. But just in case, underneath her apron were two loaded and able pistols.
"Sorry sir Is so sorry."
Her stomach lurched talking to a white man in that manner even if it werent for real made her feel sick.
"Girl you better be more careful around here keep going this way and you will sure enough get killed now get on!"
She tried to walk away but he caught her arm.
"Look at me girl."
She glanced up at him and then looked down.
"No .you look me right in the eye."
She locked a gaze with him trying not to let him see the defiance in her heart and the slight fear she felt if he were to recognize her.
"Just checking to see if you aint that colored girl who I thought I killed going around here messing in other peoples affairs but it aint you .your hair too nappy and ya too black okay you can get."
She scurried away but when she cut the corner she took a deep breath and let her heart rate slow. She laughed to herself.
"Damn how are they describing me?"
She left the building and went outside it was getting late and the teacher hadnt returned yet. She couldnt believe that guard bought the I need some supplies gag. She didnt expect any more activity for the night so she went back to Esbedys house. Inside he was playing a weird looking instrument but the melodies that flowed from it made her sit down and listen. When he finished she clapped and he smiled modestly.
"That was nice."
"Thank you . it is the only song I remember my mother used to sing it."
"Oh .my mother used to sing to me but I dont want to butcher the song so Ill leave it at that."
They began to laugh and she became quite comfortable with her "master".
"So whats for dinner Im starved."
"I made chicken and cornbread."
They ate and spoke of experiences and were amazed to see how much they had in common. When they were finished Katherine rose and began to clear the table.
"Its the least I can do."
"I am just amazed by you."
"Why?" She said wiping the plates down and putting them away.
"After all these things, you still managed to get free and live on."
"Same for you."
"No I was handed my freedom you toiled for yours."
"You wouldnt be so proud of me if you knew what I did to win my freedom."
"What did you do."
"I kissed my masters ass all the while I was poisoning him, in one of his states of delirium he signed my freedom papers and then he died."
Esbedy rose and stood behind her placing his hand on her shoulders.
"Let me tell you something .i dont blame you my people died fighting for something that was given to them by right .i would have killed for mine too."
She turned and got locked in a gaze with Esbedy. She couldnt resist his coal dark eyes reaching out to her understanding her. One of his strong arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her closer while the other stroked the side of her face. His embrace was what she needed, she needed to be wanted and her walls of defense had been broken with just one caress from him. His lips grazed hers softly and she realized how long she had gone with out the pleasure of feeling one so close and it was only for a night. So she threw caution to the wind. He led her to his room and she let him enrapture her.
She awoke the next morning to a reddish brown arm wrapped around her waist. She didnt regret what happened last night only regretted what shed have to do. What she did to all the men who she became close to shed have to let them go because of the one man she would never forget Lee Anderson.
"Esbedy .wake up I think were late for the meeting."
"They can wait."
She truly enjoyed the warmth and the love that night but this time it was different a more animalistic tone was embedded in it. After they finished, they cleaned up and got dressed for the secret meeting. Only half the men were asked to be present and then were to pass it on to the other men. She stood in front of them apron and all.
"Listen up we got three rifles and a three pistols .two of which belong to me . only one rifle works."
The men began to murmur.
"Be quiet .the reason why you will be wearing these guns is for show we want them to believe we are truly in a gang Ill be the one firing the shots because I want them to be exact."
"How are we going to pull this off."
"Were going to leave through a secret mine shaft and double back . ride through like were Dannys gang and shoot at Lonnie. Then drop the scarves and then hurry out. We ditch the horses then come back in through the mines."
She sighed and looked around the room.
"This is dangerous and it wont be easy .what we need to know now is whose coming Esbedy has volunteered .we need three more people to volunteer."
The men looked around the room and three men hesitantly rose and were given the weapons and a change of clothes to make them appear ganglier.
"Get dressed and meet me back at Dudleys home .try to be secretive."
They dispersed and soon every person knew of the plan to fake attack Lonnie.
Teal could smell fowl play it was lingering in the air like a thick fog. He just knew someone was doing something to ruin this plan. That colored girl .why was she in that inn she had never cleaned there before. His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a gun firing. He ran outside to see Lonnie on the ground with a grazed shoulder and a gang of horses leaving the town.
"Follow those sons of bitches!"
Three men immediately followed but Teal knew they wouldnt catch up. He looked down the road and saw something lying on the ground. He walked over and picked it up. He bawled up the blue scarf and threw it to the floor and cursed.
When the group of people returned to the house the message was sent that they had riled them up and the plan was still on track. Every house was celebrating and the town was a buzz of this colored women and the help she had given them thus far. Esbedy and Katherine of course celebrated in there own way but the town was warned that tomorrow was a dangerous day. Katherine didnt tell them exactly why she was doing this .she wanted to help but she had an underlying mission that none of them could find out about. She was going to kill Teal personally .cause that bastard had it coming.
"Lets go boys well be late for the meeting bring your guns were gonna kill those bastards. Danny said with a frown on his face.
All the men got on horseback and rode towards the town hollering and ready to kill.
"I told you what was gonna happen Lonnie!"
Teal turned from Lonnie and yelled at the Wildpack.
"Get ya guns out boys its time to end this once and for all .lets kill em in there own backyards!!!"
The entire Wildpack rode out of town and geared up to annihilate the Black Death gang.
"Im going to see that this thing gets started right."
She jumped on a nearby horse but was stopped by Paul.
"Be careful Katherine."
"I will be just got to see this thing come together before I rest easy."
She rode off on the horse and rode up on the two drawing in on each other she was close enough to hear the two leaders who rode out in front talking, only Lonnie wasnt the one who rode out in front it was Teal.
"We trusted you Danny and you attack us!"
"What I didnt attack nobody!"
Katherine not wanting them to resolve the issue shot a single shot in the air and the two sides immediately began to shoot and kill each other.
Teal heard a shot and the clatter of others but the shot wasnt from either camp he looked around and saw the colored girl on the hill. She started to gallop towards the fight and he tried to draw but she shot him in the shoulder. She got closer and closer as his mind flashed back to a year ago.
"Nigga what you doin round here .ya need to get back to ya plantation."
"I dont have one Im free."
"Whats ya name girl?"
"My name is Katherine."
"I know where you belong I knew ya master .come on get up and gon back to ya plantation."
"Hes dead so listen up cracker "
"What did you just say to me!?"
He took his pistol and struck her across the face with it and a small gang of men began to beat help him beat her.
"String her up on this here tree .no nigga will ever speak to Teal like that and live to tell the tell."
They tied a noose around her neck and strung her to a tree. Her neck didnt snap so she began to strangle.
"Boss we gonna miss all the action in town from the fair .you know the fireworks..the women!"
The group of men begain to hoot and holler at the mention of the women.
"Alright let her strangle .lets go."
And they rode off, leaving her to her death.
As Katherine rode closer an image flashed threw her mind as well as they became close enough to lock eyes.
She watched them ride off and as her vision faded and her throat came close to being crushed by the noose all she heard was the sound of fireworks and splashes of colors in the distance. Before she passed out she heard a loud crack as the branch that held her snapped and she fell to the ground gasping for air and holding her throat.
The image faded and she flipped her gun around and then shot Teal right between the eyes. His eyes were shocked and popped out in surprise. His mouth was still wide open in awe as he fell out of the saddle and on to the dusty earth. After she rode through the battle and saw or saw to it that every single person was dead she rode back into town. They all stood with hope in there eyes as she dismounted and walked over to them.
"We did it."
The crowd roared with happiness and glee and they celebrated all through the night. While the celebration took place her and Esbedy had a talk in a place far from the party.
"I gotta leave tonight .i might miss Lee if I dont get to Hunters Valley in time."
"Did you say Hunters Valley I know a shortcut .you just have to cut down through our hills and ride east for a while youll see a sign that your exiting Hunters Valley but I figure you dont want to just walking through the front."
"Yes thanks..that will make up for plenty of lost time."
"I could show you the way I could lead you."
Here it comes she said to herself.
"I could come with you."
Before she could cover her mouth, just like all the times before she blurted out the words that made them all feel better.
"Of course "
He hugged her and they went to his room to celebrate.
Esbedy felt unusually cold and rolled over for some warmth but was shocked to be greeted by a note that broke his heart in two.
It was not my intention to hurt you in any way. You are beautiful man and any other women would be happy to have you. Youre honest and perfect and if it were any other circumstance I would have stayed or let you travel with me. But like you said I can never truly be with you and settle if I have not settled an old chapter in my life. The nights we spent together were no mistake or just for thrills they meant the world to me and they will be the only things I cling to in the days ahead. For I am going to end a mans life . it is no accident or coincidence my sole purpose is to end him. I cannot tell you that I will return to you once my task is completed for there are others in my life and other things that I must do. It breaks my heart to write this letter, even now I am crying which is something I havent done in a long time. Dont forget that you are very special and I will never forget you or your town. You all made me realize something that maybe I can coexist with whites again maybe I can forgive them for years of oppression but I can not live on this earth knowing that the man who killed my parents can be ended by me. I am truly sorry if I have caused you harm because that was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to tell you this in person but I am a coward when it comes to this type of thing. Thank you for reminding me its okay to love.
Esbedy rose out of bed and tried to pack to follow her but glanced back at the note and sank to the bed and sighed.
"Goodbye Katherine." He said then placed his head in his hands.
Katherine had the fake out slave clothes in her hand when she reached the end of the tunnel and yelled. "Archer!"
The horse galloped towards her and she stroked his back then stuck the slave clothes in the pouch on Archer.
"Boy did I miss you . what have you been up to?"
The horse neighed playfully.
"You know what I dont even want to know."
She looked back down the tunnel and wondered how Esbedy took the news. She had this urge to go back through the tunnel and back to him but instead she got on her horse.
She looked around in the pith black night and saw the dip in the valley she could cut through.
"Haul ass Archer."
The horse took off and Katherine left Esbedy, Badton and the others. She was back on the trail of Lee Anderson and this time there would be no detours.
Part 3: Greetings from Hunters Valley
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