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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
JenEllen Fiction: Shenandoah and Beaver! (106* d) RE: Fiction: Shenandoah and Beaver! 28 Mar 06

Bill watched Jack like a hawk. He knew his friend, and knew the persuasive power that his easy laugh and slow smile had on others. You couldn't help but like Jack, and the thought that he might like you to? Well, that thought had led many a man to lose his fortunes and females to dear Jack.

When Katherine excused herself from the table, Jack leaned in to the young soldier and gently nudged his arm. "You know, young feller, she can sure get the bit in her teeth," and with that smile had entered into brotherhood with the young soldier. Bill leaned back and took some tobacco that the Captain offered. It would be easier to watch his friend through the haze of smoke, and he wouldn't have to respond too quickly with the pipe in his teeth. The young soldier loosened up around Jack, and before long the two were swapping stories and a bottle of whiskey that had mysteriously appeared for the occasion. Bill continued to watch. When the tipsy young man stood to leave and Jack offered to go along with him, Bill made no notice save the quick squint of his eyes, something easily attributed to the smoke, but that was only if you didn't know Bill.

He let the two men get a head start out the door before he said his good-night's to the Captain. When he left the officer's quarters, he saw the two men in the moonlight. They stood by the gate of the fort for a moment before signalling to a guard and walking out. Bill walked to the stable and saddled his horse as quickly and quietly as possible. He led the horse out to the front gate and signalled to the guard as well. Let the man think I'm with them thought Bill. No harm in that, is there? He led his horse towards a copse of trees, tied the roan off, and then walked into the trees.

He heard them before he saw them. The sniveling young soldier was spilling his guts to Jack. This is what the Army's come to? thought Bill. The young man was obviously unable to hold his drink, and inbetween fits of retching in the trees, Bill heard his stammer:

"I didn't know what else to do! We didn't have any choice. I was sure he was going to tell the Governor! We brought him back and forth to St. Louis, and he was meeting with that lawyer feller, we just knew he was gonna hang us," the young man sniffled. "All that time out surveyin'. Anyone but Emmet would've just done as he was told. The lines would've been redrawn to the Captain's wishes and left at that. Emmet noticed that the re-drawing made sure that none of them Injuns would have access to water for a hunnert miles. The Captain knew it would make them move further West for water, and open up a heap of land for settlers. A heap of land he could sell for a fair price, and no one was gonna kick out settlers once they was there. When Emmet met with that lawyer, we knew he was gonna see us all hang for it. Corporal Lyndsey and I took the chance when we took Emmet to see the Governor. He went to the fancy dinner party with the Governor, and the next day was supposed to meet with him over 'important business'. We both knew what that meant.    We was both scared to death. I didn't want him to, but Lyndsey shot Emmet dead and I helped him throw his body in the river, " with that, the young soldier burst into hysterical sobs.

Jack was trying to comfort the young man as Bill walked into the clearing. When he looked up at Bill, Jack's face was completely readable, even in the faint moonlight--he was going to find Katherine and tell her everything. Bill quickly pulled his revolver and held it pointing towards Jack. He calmly told the soldier that there was a roan pony tied to the trees behind him and the best thing for him to do right now was to get on that pony and ride west. Jack stood silent and slackjawed, staring at him, while the young man threw up again and crashed off into the trees in the direction of the horse. When Bill heard the thundering hoofbeats fade into the western distance, he pulled the trigger.

The Captain heard the shot ring out, in truth, he had been waiting for it since the trio of travelers arrived at Fort Leavenworth.   He slowly rose and tapped his pipe into the fire before stepping outside. When he did, he caught some motion out of the corner of his eye and put his hands in front of himself, instinctively trying to protect. The flying object was Katherine. She heard the shot as well, and had been in a frenzy looking for either Bill or Jack. The Captain caught her and held her to himself for a moment, trying to calm her. It was then, in the pale moonlight, that they saw Bill run back through the gate of the fort. He saw the Captain silohuetted in the light of his doorway and ran towards him.

"Sir," started Bill, "there's been a horrible accident." As Bill told his tale, he directed all of his comments toward the Captain, but his eyes remained locked on Katherine. Yes, the young soldier had taken Jack out into the trees, he'd followed and heard about how the young man had killed Emmet in a fight over a woman. He had admitted to forging the papers from the Governor stating that Emmet was away on duty, and upon realizing that Jack was going to tell Katherine, he had shot him in cold blood and taken off on Bill's horse. He had been unable to stop the soldier, who had blazed past him and if not for the malfunctioning revolver that the youth carried, he wouldn't be here to tell the tale.

Katherine screamed loud enough to wake the dead and then collapsed at the Captain's feet. If she'd had any of her wits about her, she might have seen the Captain mouth the words "Good Man" to Bill in the moonlight.

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