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The Road North - the saga continues


Grizzly Dave

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I came to, somewhere in the middle of no where, in a lean to Grizz and Crying One had built fer me. A small fire was burning out side the lean to, coffee was brewing, ansd something was frying. The coffee smelled good, as I was very thristy. I was going to stand, but I stopped and wondered if I should have a look at me leg. Was it still there ? I had to look. I was relived to find it was.

 

My leg was still where it was to be but my bandgages was leaking. And they smelled bad too. No one was around, so I tryed to stand, to get to my feet was important to me in case a fight came upon us. My head was still spining from what ever Crying One was pouring down my throat. Grizz, Crying One, and the captives where all missing. Was this a dream ? It must have been, cause my dragoons where loaded and with in reach. So to see what would happen, I drew one out of it's hoilster and cocked it, aimed it upwarded and fired.

 

Suddenly, everyone was around the lean to, gaurd was up, every one was on edge. Crying One came running up to the lean to, followed close by Grizz. Crying One had a razor sharp throwing hawk in her hand, Grizz had his 73, primed and ready. Everyone in that camp was ready for anything. And I wondered why as Crying One and Grizz was asking questions. "My Husband, you came back to me !" Crying One said in the most loving manner I've ever heard. " Hawk.....What's wrong ?" shouted Grizz. I threw my blanket back and showed them my leg. "My bandages are leaking folks. And I need some coffee." "I'll get ya some Hawk !" Grizz said and left the lean to.

 

Crying One started to change my bandages and I saw how bad my leg Looked. It was dark blue to the knee and from there down, it was almost black. "Well hell" I said. "Looks like I'm gonna need dat yearly scrubbin' sooner dan later !" I said to Crying One. She was very tenderly changing my bandages, and I must speak the truth, it felt very good. "Got ya coffee here Hawk ! You gave us one hell of a scare, there Pard !" "I'll be good as new in no time Grizz, don't you worry none !" I said. Grizz and Crying One looked at each other.

 

"Where are we now Grizz. We back in the states yet ?" I asked. "Not yet." Grizz replyed. "We.re still three days ride from the border, the way I figure it." "And Obermann's men are trailing us ?" Grizz shook his head no. "They got us surrounded ! Figure they would be making a play anytime now. That's why anyone is armed. Just like back in the war." I asked Crying One to help me to me feet, which, she did. I put my gun belt on, reloaded the one round I had fired as a signal. Grizz looked at me harshly and asked, "Just what the Sam's Hill do you think you're doing Hawk ?" "The way I se it Grizz," I said, "You need all da help now you can git. I figure ya got three good fighters here, and da rest are scared as hell."

 

Grizz looked at my leg and looked at Crying One and said to her, "If you see blood coming from his leg, you knock him oout again and get him back to the lean to, ya hear me ?" I looked at Grizz and Crying One and asked, "Women, what did mean when he said "again !"

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I looked at Crying One and she just shook her head as if she didn't know what had happened. Grizz had pulled alot of, let's just say, Unusualy strange and hard to understand, at first. Like during the war, Grizz thanked me for letting stay alive by capturing me, turning me over to the blue bellies at Chicago. That was hell on earth, but I lived to see the end of the war and to find a new friend and now brother.

 

I told Crying One to get my Appy horse and she again shook her head no. I looked her in the eye and said, "Women, if dis marrige is to work, ya got to do as I say !" With that, she got up to get my Apply and I started to get ready for warfare. I took my quiver and filled it with arrows, slide my bow across one shoulder and under the other. I checked my fighting knife and scalping knife. The scalping knife could use a little sharping, but it would have to do for now.

 

I checked my Dragoons anain, and my Henry. I levered a round and reloaded one in the magazine. When Crying One returned with my horse, I hobbled over and checked the reins and bridle. And his shoes and legs. All seemed in good order. I struddled to slip up on my horse's bare back and left Crying One's hand on my good leg. Ride good, fight well my Husband !" I could see a tear in her eye, and I stroked her hair and said, "I'll be fine Beloved. Just stay here, and keep my 66 Henry very handy, Ok ?" She nodded ok, and with that I urged my appy forward.

 

I went riding the line, cheering up the spirits of those folks who was ready to fight or die before going back to that mine. They reminded me of the Confederate boys who stood thier ground also. Actually I ws looking for Grizz, but never saw hide nor hair of him. "Wait till you can see da white's of der eyes fore firin'! I said. "Dey'll fall and da others will think bout ifin' dey want ta die today. Hold yur ground, no matter what !" I said, riding up and down the line. I was a sight to behold. Here I was, a half breed injun, in my buckskins, blood stain on them, face painted for war, riding bareback on a horse and armed to the teeth. My long gray hair, not braided but flowing free, draped down my back.

 

I then heard shots ring out and I whriled my appy around. I could fell hie muscles tightening up, getting ready for battle, just waiting for me to give the command. "Steady folks......Steady !" I said. I heard another shot ring out, much closer now and I positioned my appy infront of the sound. I then heard hoofs beating the ground hard. I drew my dragoon and waited. It seemed like an hour before Grizz came riding in hard with three men following him. I knew thses men meant to do Grizz harm, so I shot one in the right side of his chest. The picket line took out the other two.

 

"Nice ride out, aint it Grizz !" and I smiled at him.

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Grizz slide his mount to a stop and dismounted. I stayed mounted. He looked up at me, almost leaning on my Appy and said, "Hawk, we are going to have a hell of a fight on our hands. Obermann's men are bringing up cannon, looks to be 12 pounders, rifled barrel and a crew to service it. Looks like he's got alot more men on payroll than we thought."

 

"But at least we got Obermann !" I said, looking off in the dircetion I left him with two gaurds on him. Grizz stopped to think, "Hawk...that may just be the way out of this mess." "You figure on usein' Obermann as a sheild to git out of here, don't ya ?" I asked Grizz. "Yup, there's just too damn many of them out there, most of them are war veterans, so they aint going brake in an attack !"

 

"Well, a rifled barreled cannon dat fires a 12 pound explosive ball is gonna cut deys woods to shreds, and from a fer distance too !" I said to Grizz. I saw one of the men that was chasing Grizz trying to get to his feet to do something. My 44 cal Dragoon made sure we would never know what that was. My Appy didn't flich, was as Grizz mount jumped alot. "Where did ya get him, Hawk ? I aint seen nothing like that. You fire and he don't flich !" Grizz asked. "I'll tell ya ifin and when we git out of this mess !"

 

I left Grizz sitting there and rode the line again. "Keep sharp eye out folks. Most likely dey aint gonna hit us till almost sunup ! Still, Don't trust dem damn Yankee's.........Keep a sharp eye out !" I was flashing back to the war. I normally tryed to stop that from happening, but now I felt it was best to let it happen........again.

 

"Hawk.....how's the leg ?" Grizz asked. "Last I saw you, you was out like a light." "It'll be fine now, Brother ! I'll take first watch while you git some rest !" Crying One was now there, to help Grizz if he had been wounded. She looked at Grizz and shook her head. As they walked back to the camp fire, she said to Grizz, "He's a very prideful man, Grizz. He would rather die than ask fo help. Maybe, ...you talk to him ? I want him with me for many years to come !" Grizz took a pull on the bottle of whiskey and a bite of jerky and looked my way and said, "Crying One, I will try.......for the both of us !"

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Shoot fire, I'm not even sure where I am right now, much less where Grizz and Hawk are...

 

I'll try to get caught up tomorrow and jump back in.

 

Grizz

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Grizz tryed to sleep, for he knew it would be a fight, one way or another......but it was a fitful sleep. He just could not get comfortable. Grizz tossed and turned and thought about the vision he had in the sweat lodge, the bringer of death. And how Hawk had his face painted when he cold cocked him, and how his face was painted now......war paint.

 

Grizz poured two cups of hot coffee and went off to find Hawk. And find him, he did. Hawk was looking like a fine and proud warrior.....riding up and down the line, just daring one of Obermann's men to fire a shot at him. "Hawk, you'd best stop tempting them to shot ya. One just might take ya up on that bet ! Get off that horse and give him a rest." "What ?! " I said. Dem damn fools take a pot shot at me ?! That'll be da day ! Dey will not fire cause dat will give way der postion, Grizz !"

 

I took the cup of hot brew Grizz offered and some jerky and asked, "Can't sleep ?" "What ?! And miss all of this ?!" Grizz said, waving hie hand about the hasty built camp, filled with a rag tag out fit of would be warriors.....former slaves of the man Grizz was bound and determind to kill, one way or another. "Do not think dey will make der move just yet. A couple hours fer sunup, I figure." I said. Grizz nodded his agreement. And said, "Looks like we're up agin some war veterans to boot. They aint gonna scare as easy as the rest." I also nodded and said to Grizz, "Yup, dey've seen war alrat, but dey aint seen a pissed off half breed who has seen more hell den any man should have seen ! I'll take care of'em Grizz !"

 

"Not with you're leg rotting like that you aint !" Grizz almost shouting at me. "Come sunup, we'll all go marching out together, with Obermann leading the way with one of my colts at the back of his head ! The sun will be at our side and to thier side as well. Keep them all buched up, no slackers.....they be picked off if they do. Now this may not be the best plan, but if you got another one, let's hear it !" I shook me head no I didn't but added......."But I will have more scalps....for Martha. She is my best friend. And you are my brother. So I ask you, do not deny me this, please !" I had never said that word to any man, and now there was the first time. "OK" Grizz said, looking to the dirt. At last, I was looking forward to the up coming battle.

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Falling back to his old ways, Grizz took stock of his stores and situation. They were surrounded and outnumbered and had only a couple days of food left, and not enough ammunition for a prolonged fight. The longer they stayed put the worse off they'd be, and the better off the enemy would be.

 

The Sioux warriors were fierce, but few in number. Gruzz pulled his traveling bag off the pack saddle and pulled everything out of it looking for inspiration.

 

His buckskins were there, he stripped off his clothes and put them on, not caring who saw as he did it. They were soft and clean and warm and felt like Martha's soft touch on his skin. There was also a bag of hard candy, he put a handful in his pocket and gave the rest to one of the kids to pass around. In the bottom of the bag he found a coil of wire maybe 25 feet long. He'd had it along mending fence a while back and never taken it out.

 

"Hot spit!" Grizz nearly yelled out.

 

Hawk looked over expecting to see the fight coming in, but all he saw was Grizz holding a coil of wire.

 

"You fixin on mending fence while we're here or what?" Hawk asked.

 

"Nope" Grizz grinned "we play out the wire, coil it around Obermann's neck in the middle. Fasten one end to yer belt, the other to mine, we ride out wit him in the middle, they try anything, he's gonna lose his haid!"

 

Hawk called crying one over and sent her to get the camp ready to move. Within half an hour all were mounted up and ready to roll.

 

Obermann fought the wire going around his neck, but in the end rode between Hawk and Grizz, the wire tight around his neck. Hawk and Grizz tied the ends of the wire to their belt with a length of rawhide, so that they could cut loose quickly if need be...which would mean Obermann would have lost his head.

 

As they eased out of the protected hollow where they'd been camped, Grizz hollared out at the top of his lungs. "Hello the woods! Look close, we got wire around yer bosses neck, you do anything, anything at all, we'll ride apart and he loses his head!"

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I listened for a responce from the woods, but none came. So I nudged my Appy just alittle to the side and watched Obermann strugle to keep breathing. The as he almost passes out, a voice from the woods. "We understand, we won't fire on you're party." I smiled at Grizz and said, "Well now, looks like we done gone an got der attention !" 'Yup,...now let's see what'll happen !" as we nudged our horses forward, slowly. "But know this Marshal, you and that breed with all them children and slaves aint gonna get to the states alive !"

 

Breed uh ! Not even the half, but breed. Now, that got my blood boiling. "We'll see....but one thing fer shore, you aint makin' it out of dem woods !" I smiled at Grizz and said, in my best english, "Shall We ?" and nudged my appy forward. I heard Obermann chocking as Grizz layed back a bit and said, "Yup, I think we shall ! Bring the wagon out !" I was riding along slow and I was picking out snipers, high and low. War vets, some gray and some blue, but all of them where working for Obermann for money.

 

"Grizz, there's just too damn many to take out dis way ! I don't like it ! Looks and feels like a trap !" I slowly lowered my right hand and losed the hammer strap on my dragoon, and them the other in my cross draw. Grizz nodded and looked ahead. There in the middle of the road was a mounted figure, setting tall in the saddle. A big muscle man, clean shaven, with at least two pistols showing and I would bet at least two more in that duster he was wearing. And an old dirty hat, pulled down over his eyes. That stood out, old, dirty hat with all new clean clothing.

 

"Far nuff Gentleman ! I will take Mr. Obermann now !" said Captain Oliver of the Mounties, Benton's commanding officer. Both Grizz and I stopped at the same time, wagon closing behind. I heard the racking of two rifles behind me coming from the wagon. Benton was nowhere to be found. "Well Captian, " said Grizz,..."How bout I give you his head less body, how would that be ?" I laughed and said, "And I'll give you his scapleless head !" I turned around in the saddle and looked at Obermann, who was smiling. "Obermann,....you best wipe dat smile off yur ungly face fore I spur dis hoss one last time !" That smile disapperaed in a heartbeat.

 

Suddnely, I heard in coming cannon fire from the south, just beyound the tree line. It was all I could do to keep Obermann's worthless head on his shoulders as the shell crashed and exploded, sending a shower of pine trees all over ! Men where running all around and I drew my dagoon but held my appy still. And still Captian Oliver held his ground. Then another cannon ball bust in the trees. Men went flying, and screaming. "Hold Grizz....HOLD !" I screamed.

 

I could here some shouting form the men, in the trees and laying on the ground, covered in pine needles. Still another shell came crashing in, taking out the last tree sniper. Then a rider came up behind us. Crying One whriled around and put the sights of my rifle on the figure. As he came into view, I saw who it was. "Benton ! Just in time !" Grizz shouted. "Told you he could be trusted Hawk !" As he reigned up next to Grizz he asked, "Well Gentleman, What did I miss ? It looks like you have Obermann just where he needs to be !"

 

"Benton, what the hell is going on ? I hereby order you to stand down........NOW !" the Captian said. "Captian, needles to say, I can not do that. You have disgraced the uniform and the Mounties with which you serve. I should arest you, but I do not think you will servive the up coming fight ! "

 

"Catain Oliver, I am a US Marshal. Obermann here is wanted in the U.S. but mainly by me. Now, ether way, by our hand" Grizz was pointing to himself and me, "Or you're hand, Obermann is as good as dead. Just how much longer is he going to live is up to you !" Grizz drew is colt and pointed it at Obermann and I nudge my appy forward, just a bit to get Obermann from speaking. "Very well.....Marshal.....I will let you pass ....for now. But rest assured, I will have my boss...er....Mr Obermann in my controll !"

 

I looked at Grizz as he cocked his colt, his face turing beet red. And I just had a sharp pain through my leg. "Nuff talk ! You want'em Cap'tn, you come git him. Wagon hooooo !" I said as I spured my appy. Obermann grulgged as Grizz spured his horse to get up. The Captain gave us the trail and we rode out of what was certain death. I was glad everyone made it out alive, as for me, my leg was bleeding again and badly.

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Grizz called up another rider and passed off his end of the wire that was around Obermann's neck. Hawk gave him a look to say 'are you sure?' Grizz nodded ever so slightly and fell back into the procession of wagons and riders. When they were passing through a narrow section of trail he slipped off into the woods and pulled the bow from his back and nocked an arrow.

 

As Grizz melted into the woods, it's as if his senses grew very keen, he could taste the colors, hear every movement, and smell every living thing. His vision was almost like that of a bird of prey flying above him. One by one, starting at the back he worked his way through the outlaws that surrounded them, each falling silently to his bow, those who didn't fall quickly met Grizz's blade.

 

After ten Grizz lost count and had to start retrieving the arrows lest he run out. Each one wasn't the one Grizz had been looking for, it was Captain Oliver that he wanted. A law officer gone bad was the worst vermin, people steal for love and money, and to survive, but Oliver had sold out for his lust for money and power. Grizz wanted him dead nearly as much as he did Obermann. Only with Oliver he didn't have the burden of returning him for trail.

 

Few noticed when Grizz slipped back into the group, but Hawk clearly did, and signaled for him to come back up to the front.

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As Grizz worked his way back up front with me, he took back the wire around Obermann's neck with a smile on his face. I knew the deed had been done with out asking. As we rode along, I felt blood dripping off my buckskin, and my leg had started ti swell. I looked back and noticed the wagons strating to dift back, slow down.

 

"Gonna drop back and spur dem on. Aint no tellin' how many sharp shooters he's still got out der. May just try to pick us off, one at da time." I said to Grizz. "Hawk, you be careful. I just now got a bad feeling about our chances !" I handed the wire around Obermann's neck off to one of our riders and rode up to Obermann and looked him in the eye. "I'll find'em Obermann ! Or you'll die sooner dan later !" I smiled and rode off to the west. slowly.

 

I could remember how I was rasied, being in the southwest desert all alone and yet not alone. I put my rifle back in it's scaboard and took my bow off my shoulder. I let my appy lead the way. I told him, to fing these men, and away he went, every so slowly. I could ride right up on a man, line up an arrow through the throat, and he would never know what happened. Then I slipped off my Appy and walked through the woods a bit. Up in a tree, armed with a 45-110 was a sniper with a Sharp's rilfe with one of them new fangled scopes on it.

 

I could not tell who he was aiming at, but I took careful aim on him. I waited cause I wanted to know who he wanted to take out. He was following our movements with his rifle. He touched his set rigger and before his finger could get to the firing trigger, I send my arrow flying. It struck him at the base of his head where his neck starts, cutting off his head compeltley. I slung the bow back across my shoulder and caught the Sharp's before it hit the ground, least it should fire and warn the remaining other outlaws. I climbed the blood slicken tree and got all the 45-110 ammo he had up there. I guess he was pretty sure of himself because there wasn't much.

 

As I climbed down the tree, I almost cryed out in pain from my leg wound. Grizz's work had all been undone and I was dripping blood. "Gotta git back. Maybe hide my trail." I thought. I climbed back onto my Appy's back, Sharp's laying across my lap. As I rode in from the northwest, Grizz looked up at me with some concern. I took back the wire that was tied around Obermann's neck when Grizz asked, "You rekon they'll be back ?" And I said, "Not the one that tangled wif me ! And I gotta ya a prsent, so do not say I never give ya nothing but greif !" I smiled, as I pulled my Apply just alittle back. I rode up a little, looking Obermann in the eye and smiled real big. "Won't be long now, White man, Won't be long now till Grizz takes yur head. Ifin he don't, then I will !" as I took out my fighting knife and trwiled it around my fingers, smiling.

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As they rode along Grizz thought how much easier it would be if it was just him, Obermann and Hawk. They could bind and gag Obermann and tie him over a horse and make much better time and not have to stick to a trail. Grizz pushed the thought from his mind, these women and children needed him, they needed a place to go and feel safe. Martha had been able to escape but it was doubtful many of these kids would have, if they'd lived long enough to try.

 

The number of outlaws was fewer now, that was for certain, but just how many were left wasn't known, nor was how they would choose to attack next. the outlaws were likely ex army from both sides of the border. It was unsure how they would react, or if they could be scared off. But scaring them off was something they had to try, they needed to start leaving some bodies out front, where the remaining outlaws would stumble over them. Perhaps seeing the fate of their fellow outlaws would give pause enough that some would ride for home.

 

Grizz came up with a plan to stop for a while, and put someone else on Obermann's horse wearing his clothes, one of the outlaws they'd killed, then make a show of taking his head off, but there were problems with that plan, first they'd have to not be seen making the switch, second they'd have to figure a way to keep the fake Obermann upright and in the saddle long enough, and third is was anyone's guess if the outlaws would give up with their boss apparently dead, or if they'd ride in to slaughter everyone. With too many unknowns, Grizz dismissed the plan.

 

One thing was certain though, they needed to stop and rest, and Hawks wound needed tending, again.

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We stopped to rest, not only us but our horses needed rest also. I stopped my Appy while Grizz was making a fire to heat water and his knife. "Grizz, I got dis bad feelin we;re bein' watched. I'll go scout around abit. Be back soon." I didn't wait for an answer, I spurred my horse and left camp. I watched as the older girls out of the wagon, and watched others unpack just enough food to snak on, then I melted into the woods.

 

I knew someone or something was watching us, nearby too. I worked my way around and found the normal deer, bear and wolf tracks, and rabbit or two, and horses hoof prints !! Looks like three of them, and they're gonna set up to ambush us. I found where they had tired their horses, so I cut there reins when I found the horses, letting them run off. I followed too. From the tracks, they where whire men, about average hight and weight. As I neared the clearing where the tracks had lead, I heard voices, and one of them was Grizz !

 

"Why don't ya throw down on us Marshal ? Umm.....Aint sayin' nothing are ya ?" the one that was the leader was nearest me and talking real boadly. I saw Grizz standing there, just off to my left, and saw his hand drift toward his colt. I drew a bead on the one who I thought was the fastest looking, and drew back the hammer on my Henry. "You can't git us all Marshal. Ya just aint dat fast." Grizz statyed himself and said, "Maybe not.............." then I piped in from the woods, Maybe so !" Grizz grinned real big and slowly drew his colt and aimed it at the smart mouthed one.

 

"Un buckle those gun belts boys, left handed, and let them drop on the ground !" They did as Grizz toldthem to do. "Bet Obermann was counting on y'all to loose him !" I said. "Well, looks like it ain't gonna happen, now is it ?" They didn't answer but one could tell having a half breed, getting the drop on them and smart talking to them was making them mad and tense.

 

"You sent ya !" Grizz asked. I saw a dangerous move on the part of one of those outlaws as he silde his foot toward his gun belt. "Step away from dem guns boys. Y'all might just do sometin' I don't like !" The walked away from their guns and Grizz shouted now, "WHO SENT YA ?!" I put a bullet in the knee of one of the outlaws, and said, "See, I told ya I just might do somethin'. The Marshal asked y'all a question...spect y'all best anwer him or all od ya will be crawlin' out of des woods !" Grizz was mad as can be, walked quickly up to the next outlaw standing, shoved his colt and his chin and cocked it. "I asked ya something....I'm NOT gonna ask again !" The outlaw started to stammering.

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The man next to him spat out "Oliver sent us."

 

"He send anyone else?" Hawk asked boring a hole in the man's soul with his stare. "yyyeeess", the man stammered after looking Hawk in the eye. "Three more on the other side of the trail. We're supposed to grab whoever we can and hightail it to meet up down the trail about two miles."

 

Hawk shot a quick look at Grizz, Grizz nodded and Hawk vanashed back into the woods and soon hoofbeats could be heard. Hawk had to get to the group before the other outlaws had a chance to grab anyone.

 

"Have a seat boys, we'll wait here a spell." Grizz informed them, they shrank to the ground and sat looking up at him. "Just for the record sonny" Grizz told the mouthy one "I'd have killed all three of ya before ya even cleared leather." The cocky little moron just laughed, until Grizz swept back his coat and pulled both colts in less than a blink of an eye, cocking them before they both came on target, both at the man's head. "Yes sir" the man said before looking away sheepishly.

 

The man whose knee Hawk had shot was begging, "please, for the love of god, finish me, it hurts so bad." Whether it was compassion or hate or just an easy way out, Grizz drew quickly and snapped off a shot into the man's skull. The other two looked at Grizz in unbelief. Part of Grizz couldn't believe it either.

 

"Now boys, you tell me everything you know about this plan of Oliver's, where, when, how many men he has, every little detail."

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I rode as hard as I dare to about one and a half miles up the trail. I thought I had just cross over into the USA, but couldn't be sure. Walking was nothing short of pure hell for me. I thought as long as I could feel something in my rottening leg, then it'll be fine.

I got to where these outlaws where waiting. I dropped to the ground, just on the tree line and looked at them. They wasn't exspecting me, they where waiting for they friends to bring some captives back with them. Maybe some female ones so they could have they're way with them.They where out in the open and I remeber thinking that this was going to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

 

I took my bow and quiver of arows and low crawled to within ranger of my arrows. I led five arrows on the ground in front of me. I only needed three, but the other two where for just in case I missed, which was not very likely. I looked around, they're rifles where leading on a log. One was cleaning his pistol, the other two was kicking back by the fire they had built. "Funny, " I thought. "White man will never lean to make a small smokeless fire."

 

With that I sprang into action. I sent one arrow flying after another. The first arrow found it's mark right into the outlaw's eye. He was dead before he hit the ground. The second outlaw had two arrows into his chest, and the thrid, which had by now got his pistol back together but not loaded, took off running. I pulled my throwing hawk and bruyed it in the back of his head.

 

I hobbled over to him and got my throwing hawk out of his head, gethered up all my arrows, and gethered up all their guns, ammo, all the stuff I could carry and my Appy could carry and as fast as possible, ride back to camp. My Appy was played out and so was I. But I had to keep Grizz's back. No questions asked. And I would do that or I would die trying !

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I rode as hard as I dare to about one and a half miles up the trail. I thought I had just cross over into the USA, but couldn't be sure. Walking was nothing short of pure hell for me. I thought as long as I could feel something in my rottening leg, then it'll be fine.

I got to where these outlaws where waiting. I dropped to the ground, just on the tree line and looked at them. They wasn't exspecting me, they where waiting for they friends to bring some captives back with them. Maybe some female ones so they could have they're way with them.They where out in the open and I remeber thinking that this was going to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

 

I took my bow and quiver of arows and low crawled to within ranger of my arrows. I led five arrows on the ground in front of me. I only needed three, but the other two where for just in case I missed, which was not very likely. I looked around, they're rifles where leading on a log. One was cleaning his pistol, the other two was kicking back by the fire they had built. "Funny, " I thought. "White man will never lean to make a small smokeless fire."

 

With that I sprang into action. I sent one arrow flying after another. The first arrow found it's mark right into the outlaw's eye. He was dead before he hit the ground. The second outlaw had two arrows into his chest, and the thrid, which had by now got his pistol back together but not loaded, took off running. I pulled my throwing hawk and bruyed it in the back of his head.

 

I hobbled over to him and got my throwing hawk out of his head, gethered up all my arrows, and gethered up all their guns, ammo, all the stuff I could carry and my Appy could carry and as fast as possible, ride back to camp. My Appy was played out and so was I. But I had to keep Grizz's back. No questions asked. And I would do that or I would die trying !

 

As I rode into camp, I could hear Grizz and the outlaws talking away, with Grizz getting the answers he needed. I stopped by the wagon first, handed off the guns, ammo and supplies and rode up to where Grizz was and nodded. That's when the cool and smoothing blackness over took me and I fell to the ground.

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Grizz called to several of the Sioux braves to tend to the outlaws, they asked what to do with them, Grizz just said "I'm done with 'em" and turned his attention to Hawk.

 

Grizz worked quickly on Hawks leg, opening it up again, and wider than before. His hands were cold from the weather, but warm and stickey from the blood and didn't even notice when he sliced his hand as he worked. Before long he found what he'd been looking for, a piece of lead from one of the slugs had lodged itself in the meat and had been overlooked before as Grizz hadn't wanted to cut any more than necessary. Grizz probed around looking for any other lead fragments, but found nothing.

 

Only after he was done stitching Hawk up, again, did he notice that he'd laid his hand open nearly to the bone. Crying one tended to that wound and stitched him up, but Grizz would only allow her to put on minimal bandages, as he needed to be able to work a gun with that hand no matter how much it hurt.

 

The Sioux warriors came back into camp, fresh scalps hanging on thier belts, Grizz called them over.

 

"Put those two fellers on thier horses and lead them as close to the other outlaws as you can, then send the horses in" Grizz ordered, the warriors looked at each other, shrugged and headed off to see to the task.

 

Crying one was tending to Hawk, and boiling some broth, they needed to get something into Hawks belly to keep him going.

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I felt cool and calm in the utter darkness that surrounded me. I could hear voices that I thought where the Ancinet Ones.......the Ones before time......talking amongst them selfs. I tryed to hear them more clearly, but the talk was in a langauge that was as ancinet as they were. I felt the coolness warp me like a blanket on a cold night. My eyes where weighted like lead and heavy. I did not want to open them. And I felt something was poking and sticking me. Then all was darkness again.

 

I awoke with a damp cloth on my forehead and seeing Crying One looking into my eyes. "Welcome back, my husband. Did you have a talk with the Ones gone on before you ?" I smiled, weakly and looked up into her brown smiling eyes and said, "Somethin' like dat ?" Then I noticed I was laying in the back of one of the wagons. I tryed to raise up but Crying One's hand where one my chest. "No....You need rest. You've lost much blood !" I wanted to see if Grizz needed me, but at this time, Crying One was too strong.

 

"Will you stay in this wagon, Silverhawk ?" Crying One almost demanded. I had to laugh and catching her off guard, I pulled her to me and said, "Only if you stay here with me !" I said. We shared what was to be many of very passionate kisses. "Here, Husband drink this " Crying One said as she held a cup up to my mouth. I drank deep of the warm liquid which tasted good to me.

 

"Crying One, tell me true.......Where is Grizz. We know he is just as much injun as I am", I said, moving my hand back and forth to Crying One and myself. "But the Sioux don't fully trust him as in der eyes he is a white man. Please, My wife, go to Two Crows, asked him to come." Crying One nodded she would go, but before she left, she put my dragoons in each hand and layed my 1860 Henry by me and allowed me to see her taking my 66 Henry with her.

 

I felt the wagon jolting and bounceing along, for we where moving again. "What of Obermann ?" I thought. I didn't want to lose Grizz's pize for him. I raised just abit and saw some rocky ground all round the wagon and braced myself for any pain I knew I was going to feel. I then head scearms, looking uo I saw Crying One and Two Crow riding in hard. Without breaking stride Two Crows left his mount and was in the wagon with me. "My son, what do you wish from me and my people ? Could you want me to tell our warriors to follow the orders you're brother Grizz barks out ?"

 

I nodded to him. I had told Two Crows ealier that Grizz was the only white man to come out of the sweat lodge alive and in his sound mind. "I have already asked the warriors to do this." Two Crows said. "What of Benton ? Alive or dead?" I asked. "Wounded....Resting in our village. He took a bullet in the chest while helping you and yur brother in the fight." Two Crows lead over and put his hand on my forehand and the same hand on my chest and sais, in Sioux, what I knew to be the healing song. He smiled at me and just as quick as here entered the wagon, he left. He kissed Crying One on the cheek and rode out, full speed.

 

My wife entered the wagon next, smiling caused I had obeyed her, for a change. "You are worryed about your'e brother." I nodded yes. As she spooned up more broth to me, she said, "Two Crows will take care of him. Now eat !" I took the spoon full of warm both and I wondered what kind of trouble Grizz was in now. And can he get himself out of that trouble without me. After all, we both got into trouble together and needed each other to get out of trouble. And I hoped I had done Martha proud .

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As soon as Crying One was done bandaging him up, Grizz left orders with Two Crows warriors to guard Obermann, and get the wagons rolling as soon as Crying One deemed Hawk fit to travel, he assumed it wouldn't be long.

 

Grizz grabbed his bow and quiver and rifle and swung up into the saddle and rode off into the woods, working his way round about to where Captain Oliver's camp was said to be. To the captured outlaw's credit, it was where they'd said. Grizz tied his horse and belly crawled to where he could over hear what was going on.

 

Some of the rank and file outlaws were getting scared, the horses had come in with two of their buddies scalped, and four others had not returned at all. Oliver was livid, "Do you want to go to prison? Well do you? If it wasn't for me that's where you'd be right now!"

 

One of the outlaws mumbled half under his breath "at least I wouldn't get scalped there" which earned him a backhand from Oliver that knocked the man off his feet. There were maybe twenty men in the camp, half of them were being vocal about not being happy with the situation "you said it was just an old Marshal and a half breed, not the whole damn Sioux nation" one of them said. Grizz could only hope that the rest of them felt the same. Only one man spoke up in defense of Oliver.

 

Grizz nocked an arrow and waited for him chance. When Oliver turned broadside to Grizz, the man who had spoken up for him was behind him, Grizz let the arrow fly. The heavy shaft passed through Oliver's heart, out his back and into the second man.

 

Grizz worked his way carefully back away from the camp, there was no pursuit. The outlaws were too busy trying to figure where the shot came from lest they be next, and finding their horses so they could get away.

 

Grizz worked his way back to the wagons, rejoining the procession from the back. He was whistling when he reached the wagon with Hawk inside. "Well good mornin sunshine" Grizz chirped out as Hawk opened his eyes.

 

Hawk looked him over and saw the bandaged hand, which was soaked through with blood by now. "What happened to yer hand?" Hawk rasped out.

 

Grizz held it out as if admiring it, "oh, cut it while I was hacking you up, ya got a bit more white blood in ya now."

 

"Then you got some injun blood in you now" Hawk shot back with a grin.

 

Grizz chuckled and nodded. "Reckon so."

 

"What of Oliver and the outlaws?" Hawk asked.

 

Grizz patted the bow slung over his back. "Oliver, well, he just doesn't have the heart for it anymore, and without him, the rest of them fellers didn't seem too interested in keeping up the fight."

 

Hawk nodded, his strength nearly gone again. His color was coming back finally which was a very good sign, but he needed rest.

 

Grizz rode up and took over control of Obermann. They would be across the border soon, and should be in the clear, at least for a while until Obermann's crew in Arizona got word and headed that way. For all Grizz knew they were on their way, but they would still be a day or two out as best reckoning.

 

Grizz stopped the group short of the border and made camp, they needed rest, and two crows and his warriors wouldn't be continuing across the border with them. Grizz needed Hawk rested and able to fight, even if it was out of the back of a wagon.

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I tryed to set up into the moving wagon, but it was no use. I just was not strong enough. Grizz was riding behind the wagon and I asked him, "What of Oliver and Benton ? Are dey kilt or still kickin'?" Grizz smiled slighy and said, "Ole Oliver meet his Maker curtiscey of my arrow. Benton, never saw hide nor hair of him." I smiled at Grizz and held up my hand to shake my brother's hand and Grizz greedly took it and I said, "Told ya I couldn't trust him." Grizz smiled at said, "It would seem so !"

 

We traveled a ways, don't know how long cause I had passed out. Crying One rode in the wagon with me, caring for me with each turn of the wheel. I had never know such conviction and love for a man, as she had for me. She was my world, and as such, I knew, i could not lay on this pallet any longer.

 

I opened my eyes, as raised slowly, I checked both my dragoons. They had not been fired since the last time I checked them out. Never can be too careful. I checked my 1860 Henry, as the chamber had a round in it, I put it on half cock, as a safety. "Husband..." Crying One say harshly to me,..."What do you think you are doing ?" I didn't answer yet, just checked my lever action 12 gague shotgun, loading 5 rounds into it, and laying them both on the blanket on the wagon floor. "What do it look like I doing, Crying One. I'm getting ready fer battle. It's comin', fer sure. And I aint lettin' you nor Grizz be taken captive or die !"

 

Grizz came back to check on me, saw I was up right and moving said to me, "What the hell are ya doing Hawk ?" I saw his eyes looking at my weapons around me and said, "I aint letting you out of that wagon, come hell or high water, Hawk......I swear, yur gonna stay put !" I sat up now, still wrosey from my blood lose, but I looked Grizz in the eye and asked, "We're bout 1 and a half days away from da border, aint we ?"

 

Grizz nodded that we where. "Spect Obermann's boys will be up here bout anytime now, so we best be on our toes." I told Grizz. Grizz smiled and shook his head in disbeif. "Just when I think I got a handle on yur thinking Hawk....you go and change it. Welcome back....But you aint getting out of that wagon." "Never though of gittin' out....makes fer good cover when da fight comes."

 

"Bout Obermann...." I said. "With our Sioux friends gone now, who's watchin' him ? Hope dey know to keep dat whar tight." Grizz smiled again at me. "Hawk....For an Injun, you got white man's military mind ! You know where we are and what's to come. Now... what you think we should do next?" "For starters, put two good horse man in charge of Obermann to keep dem wires tight. And tell'em da first shots, take his ugly head off an find cover. Den, I would find da best trackers in dis rag tag group and sed'em out, as our long range eyes. And make fer sure, all folks have guns of some kind and know da basics of how to use'em. "

 

"Always thinking like a military man...a white man, aint cha Hawk ?" I laughed, which hurt me some and said, "Remember what our Commading Officer said. He wanted someone who could ride all day and night, track and fight like a Apache and stand lock horns with the devil and win ! Well, dat be us ! Now Grizz, ifin' ya don't mind, I need my rest fer da up comin' battle." I layed back down as Grizz asked, "Uh,...Hawk....Ya would'nt know when that batle may be ?" "Soon" I said.

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The Sioux warriors had pulled out, and were no longer visibly in the rag tag procession. The bulk of them had ridden for home, but Two Crows and several others were still in the area, out of sight. Grizz expected them to be around at least til they crossed the border, maybe a bit farther.

 

The terrain had pretty much flattened out, you could see for miles in most cases. The wide open spaces lifted the spirits of the former captives, and Grizz let them have the illusion. In fact, while the open spaces allowed you to see anyone approaching, it afforded the enemy the same luxury, and gave them time to dig in for an ambush.

 

Grizz was tempted to stop and send a wire, but he'd underestimated Obermann's network once, he wouldn't do it again. Even a coded message would likely give away their location. Word of the battle at the trading post had surely made it back across the border, and any of Obermann's current or former associates would be eager to rescue him, and expect to collect a hefty payday for doing so.

 

Hawk was doing better though not taking to be a wagon rider well. Grizz figured in another day or two they wouldn't be able to keep him down any longer. The first night over the border they made camp. The country was wide open and Grizz had scouted the spot carefully, there would be no surprises that night. Grizz left camp on his horse to find some camp meat and heard Crying One and Hawk bantering back and forth about just how mobile Hawk should or shouldn't be.

 

Grizz quietly circled the camp and then worked his way into some nearby woods, he spotted a decent sized buck deer and downed it with an arrow. As he quickly field dressed the animal, Two Crows quietly slipped into the area and watched him. Grizz cut off part of the backstap and held it out to him, this being the first indication that he even knew he was there. The indian took the meat and ate of it. "We can go no farhter" he said simply.

 

Grizz stood up and grasped the big indians forearm and shook. Saying thank you seemed out of place, so Grizz didn't even though that's how he felt. "May the spirits guide you" Grizz uttered, not really knowing if it was the right thing to say or not. "They always do" Two Crows said holding out his spear "take this, it will carry medicine with my brothers" Two Crows dipped his fingers in the deers blood and painted a sign on the shaft of the spear "now they will know you are a friend."

 

Grizz took the spear, admiring it. Then went over to his saddle and pulled out a 66 yellowboy that he'd taken off one of Obermann's men. He pulled his knife and quickly carved his brand into the buttstock "so they will know you are my friend" Grizz said handing the rifle over. "We will stand watch tonight" Two Crows said holding the rifle up "then we will go in the morning, live well" and with that statement Two Crow faded back into the forest like a fading memory.

 

Martha would have liked Two Crows and his people Grizz thought as he loaded up the deer on his horse. The memory of her was all around him, but the pain of her passing was fading.

 

As Grizz rode into camp all were excited about the deer and prospect of fresh meat for dinner, Hawk alone looked past that and saw the spear. As the others set to butchering and preparing the meat, Grizz took the rest of the backstrap over to Hawk, who ate of it gretefully as he looked the spear over. "You made quite an impression on Two Crows I see"

 

Grizz grinned, "I guess I'm just a friendly sort"

 

Hawk looked at his friend in the fading light of the day and light of the fire. Dressed in buckskins, with an apache scalping knife in beaded sheith on his belt, two colts, and holding a Sioux spear. "You look more like a breed than I do" Hawk joked, though it wasn't far from the truth.

 

The fresh meat, both the raw backstrap and cooked venison steak seemed to invigorate Hawk. The wound was finally healing and with his appetite, his color was returning. It was all Crying One could do to keep him still.

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Folks, I just got some bad news from my daughter-in-law, so I won't be posting tonight.

 

 

But, I'll post tomorrow night. Thats a promise !!!

 

 

Thanks for following this and other stories .

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I was feeling much better. My wound was healing, mainly because of Grizz's handy work and the fresh meat, that tasted mighty fine. And I needed a good night's sleep, but it didn't come on a joilting around wagon. Now that we where camped for the night, I could sleep and rest.

 

Next morning I was out of the wagon, had my buckskin pants, minus the hole back on and a stained cotton shirt, my dragoons loaded and on my hips and I was ready to ride out to relive Grizz when he came riding into camp and saw me sitting there by the fire, drinking some hot coffee.

 

"Well, I see Crying One could'nt keep you in that wagon !" Grizz said as he stepped down and extended his hand to me. I took his forearm and said, "She knew it was a worthless fight, so she didn't even start." Crying One was stiring the fire and looked up at Grizz and me, smiling. If pride was a light, she would have lite up the world at that moment.

 

She had made breakfast of qual eggs, backstrap meat and bisciuts. As we ate Grizz told me of the lay of the land. It was flat, mainly, just a slight raise in the plain, treeless but with some brush and dryed buffalo chips for burning and maybe smoking. It was just my type of land ! I was at home in this land scape, but our enemy was not.

 

We could see them for miles away, but at the same time, they could see us as well. This meant that Grizz and I where gonna have to be more sneaky than ever. Before, we had the woods to dive into if we needed cover or to rest. But not anymore. So I took to my feet and told Crying One to gether all the folks to us. A little impromto pow wow, so to speak.

 

"Folks, I'm know back on my feet and ready to protect you, as is Grizz. As you can see, this is a flat plain. Aint no hidin' here, like before. So we gonna need all of ya to keep a eye pelled on da horizion. If y'all see anythin'.......anythin' at all, sing out ! Me and Grizz will come arunnin !" They all said they would to that and a few of them came up to me and shook my hand. "Thought you where a goner, Mister !" oneof the older boys said to me. "So I did son, So did I !"

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While few in fighting force, the group was quite well armed. They'd managed to rifles, pistols and a few shotguns from the outlaws they'd killed along with way. All of the adult women we armed, as were the few teenaged boys, both those who were hearing and those who weren't.

 

While the deaf couldn't hear trouble coming, many of them had very keen eyesight, and when trained as to what to look for were able to spot things that at times escaped Grizz with his aging eyes.

 

With most of the kids getting better, they were able to make a bit better time. The second day across the border they lost one little girl who appeared to be getting better, but then just drifted off, not to wake again. They stopped just long enough to bury her and say a few words over the grave.

 

Staying on the main trail meant they could make better time, but it also meant that they came across others on the road, each time was tense. That group of riders coming towards them could be a posse, cowhands looking for work, or it could be Obermann's men looking to rescue him.

 

When they were in the clear the wire noose came off Obermann's neck as it made it easier for Hawk and Grizz. But there was nearly always a rifle in the hands of someone who could use it pointed in his direction. But, at the first sign of anyone approaching, the wire noose went back on and the group went to high alert.

 

On such time it wound up that it was a family from Kansas, heading to Canada to preach the gospel. The kids were facinated by what they saw, the woman horrified, but the preacher verbally denounced treating Obermann like an animal with the wire noose. "Keep moving" Grizz growled as they passed, putting himself between his group and the family. Grizz was wearing his badge but that seemed to carry no weight with the preacher who rode behind the wagon on a flea bitten mare. Grizz was almost hoping the preacher would make more a fuss, he was clearly a pompous windbag and the debate would have been entertaining, but in the end, they kept on moving and were soon out of sight.

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BTT for my Pards Grizz 'n' 'Pache!

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My leg was healing very well. While Grizz wasn't looking, I had put some maggots on my wound. They eat the dead flesh and then drop off, leaving growing skin. I had even done that to Grizz when he was passed out from a wound. Good ole Injun medicine, works all the time.

 

I watched that old windbag ride on by, his nose in the air so high, if it was to rain, he'd drown ! And his wife was scared to death of me. I was getting mad and Grizz saw that and placed himself between them and us. If not, that preacher may not made it into the frozen north. I looked at his wife and made a sign across my forehead that meant I like to take scaples, and she gasped...loudly. I then, turned foreward in my saddle, and I looked down at the girl riding in the wagon Crying One was driving, and smiled at her when she giggled.

 

I nugged my Appy up to Grizz. That old rascal looked more like an injun that I did. He was wearing his old hat, buckskins from top to foot, mocs inculed. Across his shoulder was a bow and quiver, a belt of leather around his waist, a colt hanging off each hip, and a fine scalping knife on that belt. What a sight he was. Me, I had a Geronamo shrit on, a head band around my forehand, a Reb hat, buckskin pants with a blood stain, a pair of dragoons on my hips, and on my belt was three scalps along with the knife that took them from their owners. What a sight to behold !

 

"How long ya figger ?" I asked, pointing to the skyline. "Bout four days, maybe six." Grizz replyed. "Many Thanks, My Brother !" I said, extending my hand toward Grizz. "Was nothing Hawk. You'd do it for me. Besides, I need a good scout now more than ever. Some one who can ride day and night, track and fight like a Apache, and talk down the devil himself." I looked down toward the trail, passing under my horse's hooves, smiling a little smile.

 

At night, we camped, having not encountered any one else on the trail. We covered about 20 miles today, good for a rag tag group of wagons, women, children and teenagers. Crying One caught and skinned out a coon and had it roasting on the spit. Along with some ground roots, and mule deer and some coffee. After supper and some small talk, I cleaned and reloaded my weapons, slept a little bit. And I awoke to spell Grizz, who was teaching one of the older boys how to look for folks trying to sneak up on us.

 

"Hawk, skin out of here and have a look see. That boy know what to look for. I want to know what's out there waiting for us." I nodded to him and nuddged my Appy forward and heard, "Hawk....You be damn careful with my handy work there !" I smiled at him and said, "I'll give ya my utmost corparation Grizz !" and disappered into the night.

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Crying one and several of the other folks assured Grizz they'd keep watch so Grizz hunkered down to get some sleep. It didn't take long and he was snoring away. With Hawk injured he hadn't had more than a few minutes of sleep at a time over the last few days.

 

Hawk returned a few hours later and didn't bother waking Grizz, but took turns with crying one and others keeping watch. The night passed uneventfully in the make shift camp.

 

It was just starting to get light when Grizz woke, needed to empty his bladder. Looking around the lookouts were on post and awake. After tending to his business, he woke Hawk. "Why the hell didn't cha wake me?"

 

Hawk yawned. "Din't want to , fraid I might draw back a stump."

 

Grizz chuckled. "Anything to report on your scouting?"

 

Hawk got up gengerly, taking time to stretch his injured leg and test it. "Nothing that can't wait, get 'em ready and head out, I'll scout a bit and meet ya on the trail." One of the women poured Hawk a cup of coffee, handed him a sandwich of flatbread and venison. Hawk swung up on his horse and rode out.

 

Grizz set everyone to breaking camp, they wouldn't take time to eat now, they could do that while they weer moving, the more miles they could cover each day the better.

 

They'd made it a couple of miles before Hawk drifted back up into the group from a dry wash to the right of the trail. Several of the kids had alerted Grizz that a rider was coming before Hawk arrived, they were learning.

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I slide off my App and tryed to climb into the wagon, but nneded help. My leg was healing but still not healed. Grizz rode up along side the wagon just as I was eating. "Well Hawk, you keep eatting all the time, we'll be out of supplies by nightfall !" Grizz said. I just smiled and said, "Dat dang big hole in my leg. Da food's runnin' out der !"

 

There was a chill in the air as I saw Grizz shiver. "Grizz, deys a storm coming. Gonna over take us mornin' or sooner. Snow most likey, dis high up on da plain. And dis group", I said waving my hand, "aint got no weather clothes. No need fer'em in dat mine." I knew it was going to get very cold soon, and they folks where not clothed for cold wet weather.

 

"Hawk, take this wagon and roll into town. You did find a town near by, right ?" I nodded yes and Grizz said, "Get as many blankets as you can. Pay for them with this.......No....wait......" He searched Obermann and found some gold on him, and Grizz took it and gave it to me. "Pay for it with this !" I took the gold and smiled at Obermann real big like. "Grizz, send dat women along wif me...." I said. Crying One looked up at me, almost mad like. "Da one what stole dat wagon a while back. I saw her and the way she handled a gun. May just come in handy." Grizz nodded.

 

We rolled out, following a wash that soon would be come a creek, then a raging river as the coming snow melted. As we rode along, I asked, "What to folks call ya ?" I looked at her and she said, "Sharron." she said, in a matter of fact voice. Now, I'm a one women man, but that voice was cold, and unfeeling. I guess that it had to be that way to survive the mine. Damn that Obermann, I thought. Not another word was said.

 

As we came into town, we went straight to the dry goods store. As we went inside, a few of the towns folk looked long and hard at me. The last thing I wanted was a fight, so I pulled my hat down low on my brow and walked inside. And took the hammer thongs off my dragoons, just in case. We went straight to the counter and as I looked around Sharron ordered every blanket in the place.

 

After we loaded up the wagon, I went back inside the store, and I said to the shop keeper, "I'll take 5 pounds each, bacon, beans, coffee and flour. 3 pounds each sugar, salt and candy fer dem youngins'. And a fist full of dem ceegars der in dat jar." I thought we needed the supplies and Grizz and had a smoke in a while. Other than smoking buffalo chips, that is.

 

We caught up to the rest of the wagons, just off the road, and making camp. All where glad to see us with the blankets, and the kids got candy too but only if they promised to eat supper first. Grizz saw we got the blankets, supplies and when he saw the cegars, he smiled, ear to ear. He asked how the trip went and I told him the same as always. I told him, I got the women to talk some. "Her name's Sharron. Did not say word one more !" I said to Grizz. "Uuhhhh" was his respondce.

 

After a good supper of coon, jack rabbit and some left over dryed deer, and biscuits, Grizz and I sat back the fire, we actually had two fires going, Finishing up our coffee and Grizz pulled out two cegars and grined big. "Don't mind if I do !" I said to Grizz. We both took a long drag off the cegars and Grizz said, "Now, if we only had some whiskey. I used the last of it on doctoring you up Hawk !" I reached behind me and produced a bottle of the amber liquid and said, "Thank Ya, Mr. Obermann !" and poured us some.

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As the storm grew in strength, they hunkered down for the night. Grizz tried to reckon what month it was, but could not. Best he could figure it was September, a might early for a storm like this even up in the north where they were, but not unheard of.

 

"Hawk?" Grizz said, leaning in close to be heard over the wind without shouting "How long we been gone ya reckon?"

 

"Gone from where?" Hawk answered with a puzzled look, "yer ranch in Colorady?"

 

Grizz nodded. He'd been running on pure hate with his only thought to kill Obermann, or bring him to justice for so long, he'd lost all sense of time. "It's time to go home" Grizz sighed.

 

Hawk raised his eyebrows "Whar da hail ya think we're headed?" and he passed the bottle back to Grizz.

 

Grizz took the bottle, took a small drink and corked it off. "As soon as the winds let up a bit, we move, don't care if'n its daylight yet or not."

 

Hawk nodded and put the whiskey away and stared off into the storm. Without moving, he quietly said "bout two hunert yards out, comin in from our left"

 

"ayup," Grizz said without any visible sigh of concern, "make it to be two, no, three of 'em. They been workin they way in slow." It wasn't that either could see the men sneaking in, it was more a shadow or change in the texture of the nearly white out conditions.

 

"Could be some poor travelers that be lost" Grizz said. "Or not" Hawk quickly added.

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I was waiting to see what kind of travelers these shadows where. It was near white out conditions but I could make out a shift in the shadows of the snow. These where men, on horse back, and where looking for shelter from the storm. They said it caught them by surpirse. I thought that was odd as one never goes off into the wilderness without knowning what the weather conditions are and going to be.

 

"Hello, the Camp.....Can we ride in ?" I leveled my 1887 lever action 12 gauge at them and Grizz shouted out. "Don't make no sudden movements. You do and you're dead !" Grizz said. They rode in and I was watching Obermann' face and it lite up. These where his men ! Oh, how I wanted to off his head,....would make alot of our problems a little easyer to deal with.

 

Friend.....Dis shotgun's got a hair trigger.....and 6 rounds ! Da first false step, I shoot......No questions asked, Ya hear !" I said as I trained my 1887 shotgun loaded with 6 rounds of 00 buckshot. Grizz didn't quite caught on, at first, but then he did. "Why ya here, Friend ?" rizz asked, his hand seetling on his colt. "Lookin' fer shelter from dis storm ! Any more questions ?" the leader said as he stepped down. Obermann tryed to signal not to do that, but he was to late, "Didn't say you could step down, Friend ! " I said as I leveled my shotgun at who I thought was the leader of this bunch.

 

The leader went for his gun, and I quickly gave him lead poisoning, right to the chest. Levered another round and caught the rider on my left as Grizz caught the rider on my right. It was over in about 1 miniute. The horses ran off, but just a short distance in the snow storm. I gethered up the horses while Grizz was going through their pockets, looking for anything that showed who they was.

 

After the guns and ammo was added to the stock pile was already had, Grizz and I let our gaurd down as we knew no one would try attacking us in this storm. "Hawk.....I just want to go home........back to my ranch !" Grizz said to me. "I was wondering, "What bout Martha? You done forgitted bout her ? Cause I sure aint ! I'd just as soon lope off Obermann's head right now and be done wif it !" I said to Grizz. I could tell he was thinking about but he shook his head No. "Nope, .....If he gets killed, it will be by my head. If not, he will be turned over to the proper law ! And if I kill'em, I'll take responceibility for'em !"

 

"Just try to git away wif dat one, Grizz ! Remember, I kilt him too !" I said. "As did I !" said Crying One ! "Me too!" said Sharron ! "Well now, it appears dat all of us kilt dis man !" I said, kicking Obermann as he sat on the ground, hands still tied behind his back. "Can't hang all of us, now can ya Grizz ? Da law would allow it, aint dat right Grizz ?" Grizz smiled and said "Recon not !"

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Crying one managed to make a right tasty cup of hot chocolate for Grizz, the hot sweet liquid warmed Grizz's innerds, and his heart, Martha had made hot chocolate for him regularly, he hadn't had any since she died.

 

Grizz took out his folding knife, cut a hunk of his plug of tobacco and put it in his mouth. He worked it around a while and then settled it into his cheek, and spat a big syrupy splat onto Obermann's leg.

 

"No sir!" Grizz announced loudly, "I ain't never taken the easy way out and shirked my duty, taint gonna start now." Grizz spat again for emphasis. "This man" he kicked Obermann "will make it to Denver, will be tried and will hang! Dats da way Martha would have wanted it."

 

Grizz sat down and warmed his hands at the fire. His resolve was rekindled now, but he needed to take care not to let it slip again. If not for himself, but for those kids, for Hawk and his lady, and for Martha. Grizz settled back and let himself think about Martha for a spell, something he hadn't allowed himself much of. He knew she would have wanted Obermann brought to proper justice, but in his heart he also knew that it wouldn't have taken much provocation and she'd have put a bullet in his brain her own self. She was the kindest, gentlest person he'd ever known save maybe his momma, but when riled she could be fiercer than a momma grizzly protecting her cubs.

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