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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  GENERAL TOPICS  |  Saddlebag Tales (Moderators: Marshal'ette Halloway, Lucky Irish Tom)  |  Topic: The Last Patrol 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Last Patrol  (Read 182824 times)
Elegant Ella
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« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2006, 01:31:46 am »

"We are talking about my specialty, remember.  The way your color is off and something in your scent tell me you are breeding," replied Ella calmly.  "I know from your medical history that you are unlikely to be able to carry to term.  So I want to build up your strength as much as possible now so that you will be able to recover quickly and completely from a miscarriage.  I won't prescribe bed rest for you, except to tell you to take an afternoon nap, especially if you have any trouble sleeping through the night.  If a miscarriage is inevitable, better it should happen sooner rather than later."

She paused, then continued, "I don't think Rose would be able to guess for at least another month.  Men folk aren't likely to figure it out for another two or three months.  It's up to you whether you want to tell Fritz.  The danger in not telling him is that you might damage your relationship with him while you are moody.  And you are going to be moody."
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Elegant Ella
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« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2006, 11:36:11 am »

Scarlet cast her eyes down then back at Ella. “I already am moody Ella.” She said flatly “Fortunately for Fritz and I it’s been the kind of mood we enjoy. Except the depression, which I never had with my last pregnancy because it was a happy occasion, and I am good at hiding.”

Scarlet looked past Ella for a moment then her eyes came back and met Ella’s, “I don’t want to sleep Ella. When I close my eyes I have dreams too. The ones of folks dying around me, I learned to deal with that along time ago. It’s the one of when I told Travis we were going to have a baby and he was so happy" Scarlet slightly shook her head, "which is normally followed by the one of me telling Fritz I have lost his child then he tells me he’s leaving me for someone who he can have a normal life and raise a family with. OR he accuses me of just plain not wanting to have his child and that is why I miscarry. That I haven’t quiet figured out how to deal with.” Scarlet clinched her jaw and took a deep breath.

Ella had known Scarlet long enough to read the very subtle signs Scarlet was angry with herself more than anybody around her.   

“After Fritz asked me to marry him I saw a doctor when I went to see my folks in California, over that Thanksgiving holiday. He confirmed everything the doctor told me when I lost my baby. Slim chance of getting pregnant, slimmer that I don’t miscarry and no chance either one of us would survive child birth. He was very sure about the last part.”

Scarlet’s gaze had shifted from Ella to the floor as she spoke. When she paused the muscles of her jaw twitched and her voice was just above a whisper. She wouldn’t let the rest of the emotion she was feeling surface. Scarlet learned along time ago how to hide those well, although she realized she needed to get better control over them now. She was out of practice.

Scarlet drew another deep breath. “I saw another doctor not to long ago to confirm my suspicions. He told me the sooner I get rid of it the better and gave me a different kind of tonic…. if that’s what we want to refer to it as.”

Scarlet’s eyes came back to Ella’s. Scarlet had somehow managed to fight off the mixture of emotions that had threatened to surface, her voice had evened out and she now sounded as if she spoke about somebody else.

“I’ve done a lot of…bad” It wasn’t the word she was looking for but it was all she could come up with at the moment, “things in my time Ella. Killed a lot of people, and while the answer that man gave me might be best for the problem at hand I just have not been able to bring myself to do it. I have thought perhaps talking to Fritz might be a good thing, but again, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. Now I know what folks mean when they say ‘I hoped if I ignored it it would work itself out and go away’.” 
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2006, 12:01:14 pm »

"I have the ingredients for that other tonic as well.  I wasn't going to offer it unless you asked for it," said Ella. "There are times when it is the best solution, but normally that's only the case when the mother is sickly and a pregnancy will weaken her even that even a miscarriage will kill her."

"By starting now to work on your diet and exercise, we improve the chances of you and the baby surviving childbirth.  We'll have Alan available, so that we can perform a Caesarian delivery.  Men doctors have a tendency to prescribe bed rest for the whole time of a difficult pregnancy.  That does make it easier to get the pregnancy to go full-term, but doesn't leave the mother with enough strength and stamina for a difficult dellivery."

"You need to sleep.  Afternoon naps are less likely to be disturbed by nightmares.  I've got some charms you can recite before you fall asleep that can help prevent bad dreams as well.  And we'll hang a dreamcatcher over your bed.  It sounds like we both need to talk to Fritz about the pregnancy.  You told him before the wedding that you couldn't have children, so he isn't going to leave you over a miscarriage."

"You also need to let your emotions out.  It might seem to be easier on those around you to keep everything bottled up,  but those bottled up emotions are causing your bad dreams.  Let's go for a ride now, before supper, and find a quiet place where you can scream and yell."
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Elegant Ella
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« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2006, 04:48:18 pm »

Scarlet was emotionally torn. She was glad to have someone to talk to yet she wanted to be left alone too. Ella had suggested a ride, which was appealing. Scarlet always liked to ride. When she was in a bad mood it helped clear her head and bring things into perspective, when she was in a good mood she enjoyed it even more.

They rode in silence for some time before Scarlet finally spoke in the flat detached voice. “The doctors told me about caesarian deliveries. Apparently it is my only option with the injuries I have. The survival rate is less than twenty percent. I will not lie in some bed waiting for that while people stop by to visit trying to hide their sorrow or pity.”

“When I am ready I will talk to Fritz. I would appreciate it if you let me do that on my own and not mention it to him or anybody else. And yes, I told him before we were married there would be no children.” Scarlet left out any remarks about the comments he’d made about her being a mother. “As for the screaming and yelling I don’t do that in front of people unless it’s directed at them. So this is about the height I’m going to reach.”

“The fates seem to have a sick sense of humor and maybe alla that praying for death I did years back are finally being answered.”

They had ended up at the house Scarlet and Fritz shared. Scarlet slid off of Lucky’s back and went into the house followed by Ella.

Scarlet placed the telegram on the table so Fritz wouldn’t miss it then went to the chair that was near the fireplace and stood on it reaching the dream catcher that hung there.

“This one has always worked well. We should put it in the bedroom like you said.” Taking it down and heading for the bedroom. Scarlet stood on the bed, stretched and hung it from a peg that was in the ceiling.

From watching Scarlet Ella guessed that she had hung dream catchers about this place before.

Scarlet stepped off the bed. “There are a couple more in the barn we can bring one back in here and put it over the chair.”

Scarlet and Ella headed for the barn.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2006, 12:14:26 am »

"The risk with Caesarian deliveries is infection afterwards.  The survival rate for Alan's patients is much higher than average because he almost always can prevent infection.  I assisted him on a dozen Caesarians while we were in Boston.  10 of those women survived the surgery, recovered from the surgery, and were busy raising their children when we left 3 years ago.  But we can deal about that later.  Let's get your condition built up now without worrying about trying to prevent a miscarriage.  The first step is to help you get the sleep you need.  When you talk to Fritz, you can tell him to see me if he has questions about the medical issues.  I won't bring the topic up with him or anyone else except Alan."

As they walked toward the barn, Ella wished she had Grammy's gift.  Grammy would have seen through Scarlet's emotional masks to find the core problem.  Ella saw the anger when Scarlet let it slip, but there was something underneath.  Why was she angry? 

Fear! Scarlet was afraid of dying and afraid of being an object of pity. 

When they got to the barn, Ella pulled Scarlet around to face her and put all the power she had into her voice,  "Look me in the eye, Scarlet.  This is NOT a death sentence.  You CAN survive this.  Alan and I will do everything in our power to make sure you LIVE!"  Then she pulled Scarlet into a protective hug, and said soothingly, "Cry if you need to, let the emotions out."
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« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2006, 11:02:01 am »

“Thank you." Scarlet replied returning the hug, appreciation was about the only emotion Scarlet could muster.  The two women climbed the stairs to the room that was much like the one in the foaling barn at the Southern Starr. Not as elaborate inside, it had a cot, a small table and chair and a bowl and pitch in a stand. It was tidy but dusty from no use since the mares were at the Starr.

Scarlet pulled the chair over, stood on it and retrieved the dream catcher. She looked over and saw herself in the mirror that was in the stand. Scarlet stopped and studied herself for a long moment. She looked good, she thought anyway, except for the pale skin, most women wanted. Her eating habits could be better, she supposed. Picking at meals because she wasn’t really hungry she didn’t think was bad, but completely ignoring the hunger pangs because she was busy wasn’t good for her she knew.

Ella had mentioned exercises, which Scarlet hadn’t looked at, but between riding, chasing after foals, cleaning stalls and all the other running around she did she thought she was in pretty good condition. She thought she made a point of staying in good shape in case they had to go on the trail after some outlaw and it was much easier to stick to the bucking horses when one was in good condition.

“You keep talking about my condition Ella and I didn’t look at the exercises but if we were discussing horses I’d expect to be looking at some out of shape mare that had been penned in a stall for months. Oh and she smells funny too.” Scarlet looked at Ella. “I’ve been told I smelled before but never quiet the way you put it. All I can think about now is a lot of soap and very hot water followed by a lot of what ever scent I have the most of so somebody else doesn’t ask what that smell is.”
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2006, 12:58:31 pm »

"It's not really a smell for anyone to notice, just a slight change in your normal scent.  Trying to cover it up will draw more attention than you want," replied Ella.  "The exercises are for strengthening muscles you don't use as much for riding and working, and for stretching the muscles that you do use.  Diet and sleep are much more important.  I know you skip meals when you are busy, then just grab whatever is handy when you get around to it.  You don't get enough vegetables that way.  I wrote the diet plan with that in mind.  There's a list of foods to eat between meals.  Once you have them available, you can keep some handy to eat on the run."
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« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2006, 04:50:14 pm »

“Those women in town would kill for this paling skin.” Scarlet half smiled.

Ella knew it meant Scarlet was feeling somewhat better about talking to her. She had almost said nothing and when she first brought it up in the infirmary started to wish she’d stayed out of Scarlet private business. But they were friends and after all what were friends for.

Scarlet got off of the chair, replaced it in its spot then looked close in the small mirror.

“I told there is nothing to notice, I did just because it’s my specialty, much like you with the horses. You know the moment one of them is slightly off.” Ella remarked.

Scarlet laughed softly. “I’m lookin’ for the sign that says stubborn as mule.”

“Lift your bangs.” Ella remarked with a slight smile of her own.

Scarlet laughed out loud. “I knew it was there someplace.” She turned and looked at Ella again. “I promise to eat my fruits and veggies.”

Ella eyed her.

Scarlet grinned. “I promise to eat at least half of it on my own and tha horses will not get more than the other half and I will carry enough so I get my recommended daily amount…someday they will have pills er something for that.”

The women headed back for the house.

“I’m going to start looking real good in what you put on my plate when we are there for meals. I’ve been known to mix things I think are good for the horses in with their oats and such and I think you just might do the same to me.”
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2006, 05:09:26 pm »

Ella tried to look innocent, and failed with a giggle,  "Yes, the dishes and desserts that tempt you most are probably going to have some extra goodness in them.  But Rose does most of the cooking, which will make it harder, but not impossible, for me to put extras in there."
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Elegant Ella
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« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2006, 09:57:59 pm »

Fritz rode back to the house.  He noticed two horses tied at the rail.  Scarlet and Ella maybe.  She did look a little tired of late.  He was sure one of Ella’s tonics would fix her right up.

Fritz dismounted and tied Buddy to the same rail.  Buddy nudged his pocket.

“Not this time pal.  Why don’t you talk to your stable mates instead?”

Buddy grunted in disapproval. 

There was a bucket of sudsy water on the porch.  He didn’t know if it was laundry soap or not. 

“Well, it’ll clean ‘em just as well," he said, and dumped his empty casings in.  He chuckled as he entered the house.

“Scarlet...I’m home!”  No one answered.  “They must be out at the barn,” he thought.  As Fritz headed towards the back bedroom, he noticed the yellow flimsy paper laying on the table.  Usually, telegrams went to the marshal’s office.  He set the Berdan on the table and opened the paper.  It was addressed to him.

“To: 1stSgt Frederick King
From: C.O. I Co, 2nd U.S. Cavalry

1stSgt King,
You are hereby recalled to active service.  You will report immediately to Fort Fetterman, where you will join the 2nd Regiment of Federal Cavalry, actively campaigning against hostile forces in the Dakota Territories.  Your arrival is eagerly anticipated.  Report with all possible dispatch.
Signed,
Your most obedient servant,
William Schurmann
Officer Commanding
I Company, 2nd U.S. Cavalry afield

P.S.  Welcome home Fritz.”

Fritz set the paper down.  He inhaled deeply, and set his back straight.  Emotions were running fast and furious in his head.  He was excited and terrified at the same time.  He never expected to be recalled this late in his career.  But this was different.  Bill Schurmann needed him.  He’d asked for him by name.  The 2nd Cavalry was his home...his unit. But what about Scarlet?  She was his home...she was his LIFE.  She was all that mattered.

What could he do?

"Orders are orders," Fritz said flatly.

He headed for the bedroom.   

         
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« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2006, 12:27:44 am »

“I probably shouldn’t tell you but it took us years to get her to stop putting vegetables in practically everything but deserts. But ya know misery loves company so everybody can eat the same thing.” Scarlet laughed softly knowing it wouldn’t be hard for Ella to get Rose to serve up more fruits and vegetables.

Her mind wandered to back to when she told the family there would be a new addition and drifted to the conversations that had taken place after the accident.

Scarlet stopped half way between the house and the barn and faced Ella again. “Tis not fear of death Ella, its hatred and anger you see. One who is afraid of death does not pray for it to come. I have Fritz to thank that I still don’t do that." She paused for a moment and took a deep breath.  "You said something earlier about being unwomanly. I would take the opportunity again to kill the ones who made me the way I am. I thought I had come to terms with that until recently. It all seems to have come rushing back.”

There was more about having to deal with the pity folks offered or the accusations that had been made at the time but Scarlet didn’t tell Ella that, instead she turned and started back towards the house. “This is supposed to be a happy time for most women I just wish it was over with.” She said softly.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2006, 01:29:55 am »

The rider pulled up the big black stallion.The setting sun cast a long shadow of the horse and rider,and the two dogs."Well,it's time to camp pups." he says to the dogs. "We should be at the ranch in a couple of days...unless we get caught up in some trouble or another."

He got off the horse and tended to him,and made a secure camp on a shelf of rock that jutted over a stream."No varmint can get to us pups,only one way in,and certain death to try." "We'll have a nice fire tonight,and cook up that venison we got earlier."

The dogs took their place by the small crackeling fire,as the rider sliced steaks off a haunch of venison. "Feels good to camp like a human for a change,pups."

The man gazed into the fire. "Too bad it won't last....."
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1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2006, 10:06:44 pm »

He set the Berdan on the bed and closed the door.  There, on a hook, hung his campaign uniform.  It was old and faded, but still serviceable...like him. 

Fritz opened the dresser drawer and pulled out boxes of ammo.  First, he reloaded the prairie belt.  Once all the loops were filled, he pulled the converted Navy from its holster.  "No," Fritz said.  He couldn't take it.  It was a custom-made firearm now.  Parts weren't available where he was going.  And he'd never forgive himself if it were damaged...or lost...

He wiped it down with an oiled rag, and put it back in the presentation case.

The percussion guns would stay behind, as would his reloading gear.  He'd carry more ammo.

The obvious choice was the cavlary-issue Colt.  He checked the load, and slid it into the holster.  Fritz slipped the empty holster off the belt.  Even if the short-barreled pistol were around, he didn't want to worry about different ammo in a firefight.

The Trapdoor carbine was on the rack, but the Berdan was coming with him.  He knew what he could hit with that, and at what range.  It'd need a good cleaning before he left.

"A repeater," Fritz thought.  He knew that Sioux warriors favored the Winchester, when they could get one.  They'd have the advantage at close range.  He'd negate that advantage with one of his own.  The improved Henry was the best of the two.  He grabbed additional boxes of .44 Henry ammunition.

Now, off to the barn to clean his rifle.   
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« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2006, 11:37:23 pm »

"I've got recipes for desserts that contain vegetables.  I'll have to share those with Rose," said Ella with a grin. 
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« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2006, 04:13:39 pm »

Ella and Scarlet rounded the corner, seeing Buddy tied to the rail Ella gave Scarlet the “now would be a good time.” look and mounted her horse.

Scarlet wasn’t even sure what she was going to say or how to begin as she went up the steps to the house. It shouldn’t be this hard, Fritz had always been easy to talk to. She figured she was having more of a problem with it that he would, but still what do you say?

Scarlet reached for the door knob just as the door came open. Fritz stood in the doorway with a preoccupied look on his face which Scarlet could only imagine had matched her own until it had changed to surprise.

The moment seemed awkward for a moment as they just looked at one another. 

Scarlet smiled, leaned in and kissed him. “Hi Sugar, how's your day been?”
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #40 on: November 16, 2006, 07:32:45 pm »

Fritz was surprised when he met her at the door.  He shouldn't have been.  It WAS their home after all.  He put the rifle in the corner, against the wall, and took his wife's hands.

"Honey, we need to talk."

Scarlet was taken aback for a moment.  Did he know?

He led her to the kitchen table, and sat her down.  It was then that she noticed the open telegram.  He eyes fell on one word...

...RECALLLED.

"What does this mean?"

Fritz sat down beside her.  "It means I've been recalled to active service.  The Second needs me.  My old C.O. asked for me by name."

He waited for her response.
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« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2006, 09:58:30 pm »

Scarlet took a deep breath and let the words sink in. She wanted to tell him she needed him too, but she would not guilt him into anything. She’d watched what that would do to people. He’d already given up that part of his life once for her, she’d not ask him to do it again.

“When do you have to leave?” She asked softly.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #42 on: November 17, 2006, 10:30:06 pm »

He expected more...he hoped for more of a fight.  Scarlet was so hot tempered, he thought she'd be angry.  It would have been easier that way.  Maybe he thought if she fought, he'd be more inclined to stay.  "Scarlet must be sick," Fritz thought.

"Fort Fetterman is about 800 miles away.  It's in the middle of Wyoming Territory.  The old ditty used to say, 'forty miles a day on beans and hay.'  I'm not sure I can make that, but I can try."

"Maybe you can take the rails part way," Scarlet said.  He voice was quiet...small.  "You didn't answer the question."

"In the next couple of days," Fritz replied.   
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« Reply #43 on: November 18, 2006, 11:18:05 pm »

Scarlet squeezed his hand tightly. When their eyes met he could see she was burying some emotion, anger, fear, he didn’t know for sure. She looked down at the table where the telegram sat.

“I’m guessing that actively campaigning against hostile forces means it’s not a family trip and I am familiar with a saying that goes something like ‘if we thought you needed a wife you would have been issued one.’” 

Her eyes came back up to his. “You asked me once if I knew what it meant to marry a soldier, perhaps better than anyone knows.”

Scarlet sat back in the chair gritting her teeth for a moment causing the muscles in her jaw to flex. Women, whiskey and outlaws she knew how to fight, this was different.
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #44 on: November 19, 2006, 02:38:53 pm »

"I can't ask you to go with me," Fritz replied.  "It's gonna be dangerous.  General Crook has been battling the Sioux for months now, and the weather's gotten the better of him.  Conditions will be...harsh."

He didn't know if she knew what soliders on campaign were like.  They could be a smelly, nasty, violent bunch.  Living conditions were cramped at best.  Crook was known for campaigning with pack mules only.  That meant no tentage.  No privacy.  And army fare wasn't the healthiest food, for man nor beast.  Most was probably surplus hardtack from the war, as well as beans, saltpork, and coffee.  And he knew that under desparate situations, they'd subsist on horsemeat.

Fritz finally asked, "Honey...are you allright?"

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« Reply #45 on: November 19, 2006, 10:49:56 pm »

Scarlet’s eyes narrowed slightly at Fritz’s question.

“No.” She said flatly.

“What is it?” Fritz asked softly, concerned there was something going on he did not know about.

 “I love you to much to be angry with you and I don’t care much for the taste of hating someone I’ve never laid eyes upon. You’re C.O….well it’s not important what I think of him, I know you think well of him.”

Scarlet new Fritz thought highly of his C.O. and it would do no good to pick a fight. Perhaps the man was as smart as some said, after all if she was fighting ‘hostiles’ she’d want her best people with her. Still so close to retirement it was frustrating.

"I have something I want to do that will take a couple of hours. When I get back maybe I can help you get your stuff togeather and we can spend some time togeather before you have to leave."
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"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #46 on: November 22, 2006, 07:25:22 pm »

"Please...don't go," Fritz said.

Scarlet's determination showed clearly on her face.  "I won't be long," she replied, as she swung into the saddle.  Scarlet was moving away at a gallop, and quickly crossed over the hill.

"Damn..."

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« Reply #47 on: November 22, 2006, 08:18:48 pm »

Scarlet had stood up, kissed Fritz sweetly, went to the bedroom and retrieved her gun belt. Pulling the knife from its sheath she inspected it for sharpness. She didn’t know why, habit maybe, it was always razor sharp. Scarlet replaced the knife to where she’d worn it on her gun belt for as long as she’d carried it.

Going to her trunk  Scarlet retrieved the old Dragoons and the shoulder holsters. After she put them in place she picked up her saddlebags and inspected them for the everything she needed to shoot the guns she was wearing. Once the saddle bags were filled to her satisfaction Scarlet went out the door to get Lucky.

Her mood was dark and she needed the release Ella had spoke of before she couldn’t control herself anymore. “Going to be dangerous” He said…what the hell did he think she did for a living? “Need to tell him.” Ella had said. Just the thing to make for a happy home. Scarlet thought.

“Please don’t go” she’d heard him say. She’d replied with the first thing that came to mind. She needed space away from people and she needed it now.

Lucky raised his head and nickered as she came out the door. Scarlet put the saddlebags in their place and mounted up. Backing Lucky away from the rail she wheeled him around and started out at a gallop.

 The whinny of the old mare caught her attention. Pulling Lucky to a stop she looked over her shoulder. Gypsy paced the fence her head up and her eyes bright. Scarlet could see the mare bobbing her head up and down as she pressed her chest against the gate.

“What the hell.” She said aloud and spun Lucky back towards the corral. Reaching the gate Scarlet reached down and unlatched it. The mare bolted through as if to escape before Scarlet changed her mind. Scarlet picked up the mare’s halter and then followed after her.

At the pace they had gone it took no time at all to reach the range Scarlet liked to practice on. It had grown quiet elaborate over the years complete with swinging targets. Horse and rider could really be put through their paces.

Scarlet slowed Lucky and rode the course making sure nobody would be in the line of fire, setting the targets as she went. Once it was clear and set she took the halter and rope, put it on Gypsy and dropped the lead to the ground so the mare would stay where she was put.

Hearing fire from the range Bo turned his horse and headed towards the sounds. He pulled his horse up where he wouldn’t be noticed. Bo always enjoyed watching folks run the course and wasn’t surprised to see it was Scarlet. What he was surprised to see the pace she was moving through the course. She would normally ride Lucky fast but she seemed to be asking him for everything he had. It really was a pleasure to watch horse and rider completely in tune neither one missing at beat.

As they reached the end of the course she drew her knife and sunk it into the dummy slicing the chest. Lucky slid to a stop, spun around and headed back down the course, his ears up and tail high as fast as he could go.
The report of the Dragoons was unmistakable. Bo counted enough shots she had to be carrying both of them. Strange he thought, she often carried one but not both.

As he watched he noticed she seemed to be riding more aggressively with each run. 

Scarlet brought Lucky to a hard stop next to Gypsy, dismounted, reloaded her guns and replaced the spend shells in her belt, grabbed the rope, a handful of mane and swung onto the mares back.

Gypsy headed down the course at a full gallop. Bo winced as he watched her ride past the dummy and sink her knife into its groin tearing the abdomen apart.

Scarlet pulled Gypsy to a stop while she reloaded. The mare jigged in place, one would never guess how old the horse really was. Scarlet kicked the mare into a gallop, emptying the Dragoons into the targets as they went. As they neared the dummy Scarlet drew her knife again and urged Gypsy faster. A blood curdling yell could be heard as Scarlet’s knife sunk into the neck of the dummy.  As horse and rider passed by the head of the dummy bounced to the ground.

Bo pushed his hat back as he watched. “She must be in a vile mood” he said aloud.

Gypsy stopped not far from where the head had bounced to a stop. Scarlet slid off, picked up the head and threw it as hard as she could against the tree. She wondered if it would be any different if she was normal. If she could be like other women and give the man she loved a family.

She’d beheaded her demon and taken his heart but he still haunted her.

Scarlet walked back over to Lucky and mounted back up, reloaded and looked down the course. She sneered a bit as a vision of Fritz’s C.O. danced through her mind. She kicked Lucky and headed back down the course.
Logged

"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

1stSgt Fritz King
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« Reply #48 on: November 22, 2006, 09:47:47 pm »

He felt hurt.  There was nothing he could do.  Orders were orders, and he was still a soldier.  He took the Berdan out to the shop.  The wrapped package with Scarlet's present was still tied to his saddle.  That'd have to go inside.

Fritz set the rifle on the bench.  He opened the breech, and puled out a bottle of solvent.  As he worked, his mind wandered.  Old voices filled his head.  Old soldiers, long dead, were calling his name.  And then, another voice...younger.  One he didn't recognize.

"She's afraid you'll leave her...for the Army."

"That won't happen," Fritz replied, as he ran a patch down the bore.

"She's afraid you won't come back," the man whispered.  "That your luck will run out"

"No one knows for sure...God will take me when he's ready."

"Maybe you should stay...I would've."

Fritz laid the rifle down and slowly turned.  For a moment, he saw a tall man with crossed gunbelts.  The large butts of Dragoons stuck from the holsters.  He'd seen those guns before. 

He'd just seen them...on Scarlet.       
Logged
Scarlet Angel
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« Reply #49 on: November 22, 2006, 11:27:13 pm »

Her hands were sore again by the time Scarlet stopped, there was only enough ammunition left to load the guns twice each if she needed to, both horses were tired but wound up from the energy.

She peeled off her gloves, one of her hands had raised a blister from the day’s abuse, but she felt better, besides she had cream for just such a thing back at the house.

Scarlet looked at what was left of the dummy. She’d fix that after Fritz was gone, she’d have a lot of time on her hands in the coming months. Swinging up onto Gypsy’s back she headed for home.

Scarlet figured Fritz would be gone for his birthday so she rode to Dr. Bill’s lab and get the pistol Fritz had been looking for earlier. She smiled at the thought hoping he’d be pleased with the alterations she had had done to it. Bill had showed it to her before he and Patches had left to go back east. He’d finished the mechanics of it. She supposed the cosmetic parts would have to wait until Fritz came home.

Scarlet saw the door to the shop open when she rode up. She quickly unsaddled Lucky and turned him into the corral with Gypsy.

Fritz sat with his back towards the door. The rifle was cleaned and sat on the table in front of him. Without seeing his face she knew his mind was taking him places by the way he sat.

Fritz turned slowly at the sound of her footsteps. Scarlet stopped in the doorway, she almost felt like she was intruding on him. She supposed she deserved it after her actions earlier.

“I have something I was planning to give you for your birthday, but I don’t know if you’ll be back by then so I’d like to give it to you now, it can wait if you’re busy.” She said softly.
Logged

"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain

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