Tag: western

Agents of the Vault – Part 16

Part 16 of The Agents of the Vault is here!  Grisom and Charlie are spotted by Jane and the Pinkertons and try to find cover.

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Agents of the Vault
Part 16
By Grant Baciocco

The next morning, before dawn, they were in the wagon again, now headed North towards Yankton.  Charlie and Grisom were up front, Doris in the saddlebag between Grisom and Charlie on the buckboard.  Leland, laid out flat, tied to the floor of the wagon.  They rode in silence, None of them speaking a word.  Charlie kept glancing over his left shoulder to scan the horizon behind them, knowing now that Jane would want more than the trunk made him doubly nervous to get to Yankton and The Vault.  He thought if they could make it there, at least there would me more Agents to help fend off Jane and the Pinkertons.

Charlie’s heart sank when he saw four specs appear on the horizon behind them, a cloud of dust being kicked up in their wake.  “Grisom.” he said, turning and touching Grisom’s shoulder.  Grisom looked at Charlie and then in the direction of Charlie’s nod.

“Well,” Grisom said, flicking the reigns, spurring the horses on faster. “It was fun while it lasted.”

“What are we going to do?” Charlie asked.

“I don’t know,” said Grisom, looking at the prairie ahead of them.  They were just coming over the top of a small butte when, as if answer to a silent prayer, a small grouping of five buildings appeared ahead of them.  “There.” Grissom said.  “We’ll take them on there.”  Grissom flicked the reigns once more on the horses and steered them in the direction of the buildings.

The horses thundered ahead of them, but Grisom could tell that they were getting weaker.

“Hey Grisom.” Leland yelled form the back of the wagon.  “You mind telling me what the plan is?  You just going to leave me all tied up here and let your Pinkerton girlfriend have her way with me?”

“No.” Grissom replied, “Though I’m sure you’d like that.  Let us get cover and then I’ll decide what to do with you.

The wagon rumbled towards the buildings.  Charlie held tight to the saddlebag and Doris with one hand, and the side of the buckboard with the other.  This wagon was not made for this kind of speed and if the trunk bound for The Vault, the trunk with the gold and Leland hadn’t been strapped down, all three would have been thrown clear.

They past a wooden sign with faded letters that spelled out the word Trinity on it.  As they neared the buildings, it was obvious this settlement had been deserted for quite sometime.  In fact, Trinity, had been deserted for close to thirty years.  A well to do Minnesotan had attempted to build a town here in the hopes that the railroad would come through it and turn it into a metropolis.  In return, the Minnesotan, owning the land, would become even richer than he had been.  The railroad had made a left instead of a right and the hopeful town of Trinity with a city hall, goods store, saloon, hotel and livery had been left to bake in the prairie sun and rot in the prairie winters.

Grisom kept the horses on at a breakneck pace, ignoring the danger of prairie dog holes as the horses raced forward.

“What are we going to do Grisom?” Charlie asked above the rumbling of the wagon and thundering of hooves.

“We’ll figure it out when we get there.” Grissom growled back.

As the cart rumbled towards Trinity, ten miles behind them, Jane led Brenner and the three other Pinkertons, galloping across the prairie.  She was pretty sure the speck she saw dip below the horizon had to have been Grisom and the trunk.  She glanced back at the men following her, lagging behind.  Gilmore trailing at the back of the group, wrestling with the prairie fire they had taken from the indians.  They had bound it with leather straps, lashed it’s snout shut and put a deer skin hide over it’s head, but Gilmore was worried that the creature might wriggle free and be able to breath its fire again.  Or at the very least, bite him.  To Jane, the capture of the prairie fire made the chase for Grisom and Charlie even more urgent.  If they could secure the trunk, they could also secure Doris.  Bringing both the Trunk and Doris home to her employers would, no doubt, double her pay.  And, of course, killing Grisom on top of all that would make her day.

Brenner spurred his horse and pulled up alongside Jane.  Brenner could barely hold his horse at a speed to match hers.  “What’s the plan when we catch up to them?” he shouted over the horse’s running.

“We kill them all.” Jane spat back.  “No damage must come to the trunk and the prairie fire must be taken alive.”

“Right.” Brenner nodded just as his horse lost pace with Jane’s and he began to trail behind her.

Jane lowered herself in the saddle and spurred he horse on faster.  “Grisom.” She whispered.  “Your time is up.”

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media – www.SaturdayMorningMedia.com

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Agents of the Vault – Part 15

Part 15 of The Agents of the Vault is here!  Reunited with Doris, Grisom and Charlie race towards Yankton.

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Agents of the Vault
Part 15
By Grant Baciocco

Grisom, Charlie and Leland were far from the village but not so far as to not hear the gunshots.  They stalled the cart for a second as the shots rang out.  The two scouts who were escorting them turned and rode off in the direction of the ruckus.  Grisom, clicked his tongue and spurred the horses on faster towards the West.  The plan was to make a great loop and almost re-circle through where they had camped last night and continue north on through to Yankton.

Charlie tired his best to keep his leg comfortable with all the jostling of the cart.  His leg didn’t seem to bother him much though, now that he had Doris back at his side.  He held her tight as they rode along, even when she became fussy that she couldn’t run alongside the cart as before.  Charlie reminded her that that’s how the Pawnee had spotted her.  She reluctantly agreed and just contented herself with pestering Leland as they rode along.

“You mad I didn’t make Doris stay?” Charlie said to Grisom after some miles.

“Nope.” Grisom said.  “You asked her her opinion.  She chose you.  Seems fair to me.”

“But do you think they should be together?  The two prairie fires?” Charlie asked.

“Well,” Grisom replied, “I think eventually, for the good of their species, yes they should.  But they seem content to wait.”

Charlie nodded.

They rode a few more miles and then Grisom said, “She’s much more valuable now.  Moreso than when we thought she was the only one.  Now that there’s two, you need to take extra special care of her.  Make sure she’s able to provide a future for the prairie fire kind.”

Charlie nodded again.

He looked down at Doris who’d hopped back up in front with him and Grisom.  He reached down and patted her on the head, then scruffled her ears.  She whistled contently and then laid down next to his leg to nap.

Charlie decided he would do whatever Doris wanted.  She was a sentient creature and able to make good decisions.  When the time came for her to stay with Pahaat or anywhere else for that matter, it would be her choice.

They continued to ride on into the afternoon, passing the camp they had been at the night previous.  They could tell by the tracks that Jane had been through there.  Grisom hoped she was still dealing with the Pawnee and that would give them time to get far ahead of them.

Grisom had been sure the Pawnee could handle Jane, but as dusk began to settle over the prairie, a large black column of smoke began to rise from the southeast in about the distance the village would have been.  Charlie caught Grisom staring at it, but he didn’t ask.  Even Leland saw it and knew what it had meant.  Things between Jane and the Pawnee didn’t go well.

Over supper that night, under the moon, Leland asked, “Why’s that girl after you Grisom?”

Grisom ignored the question and kept eating.

“I mean the way she’s tearing after you, the way, i reckon, she and her men did today to those indians, she wants to catch up with us.  It’s not just the trunk I’m beginning to reckon.”

“No.  It ain’t just about the trunk.” Grisom said.  He paused then added, “I killed her father.”

This was news to Charlie, who looked over at Grisom in disbelief.

“Her dad was an Agent of the Vault, like me.  Like Charlie will soon be.  He was sworn to the same pledge to the Coalition as me, to protect history.  But these things we protect are very valuable and Jane’s father, Clinton his name was, began rescuing the historical items, but then keeping them for his own uses.  As someone who was his friend, but also an Agent, I tried to get him to knock it off.  He refused.  One night we reached an historical item at about the same time.  I wanted to make sure it got back to the Vault.  He wanted it for himself.  I couldn’t let that happen.”

There was quiet as this sank in.

“So this girl wants revenge.”

Grisom nodded.  “Make no bones about it, she wants the trunk.  But more than that she wants me.  Dead.”

Again, silence.

“I will add, if you figured you were in trouble if the indians got ahold of us, those things you said in yer little story about what they’d do, ain’t nothing compared to what she’d do if she catches up to us.”

Leland was dead silent.

“In fact,” Grisom continued, “If she catches up to us, you’re going to get your gun, because we’ll need to fight with all we’ve got against her.  Or you’ll want to use that gun on yerself to make sure she doesn’t get her hands on you.”

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media – www.SaturdayMorningMedia.com

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Agents of the Vault – Part 14

Part 14 of The Agents of the Vault is here!  Jane and the Pinkertons are hot on the trail of our heroes when they encounter the Pawnee indians themselves.

If you want to subscribe to the Grantcast, you can do so with iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher.  Enjoy!  And let me know what you think of the story in the comments here, as we go along.

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Agents of the Vault
Part 14
By Grant Baciocco

Jane and her men had trailed the cart tracks to the spot where Grisom, Charlie and Leland had camped out before.  It didn’t take long after that to discover the field full of fired arrows and the buffalo hides.  Most important of her discoveries was the pool of blood back where they had camped and the tracks that indicated they’d left in a hurry.  Someone had been injured in the confrontation with the indians.  That meant they would be more desperate to find medical attention.  Being more desperate meant more apt to become careless.  That meant it’d be easier to find them.  Find them and get the trunk.

After discovering all this, Jane pushed her men hard.  They rode south at a blistering pace.  They were headed towards the Platte river.  But why?  What was at that river?  What took Grisom and Charlie half a day took Jane and her men half of that time.  Of course, they weren’t pulling a cart loaded down with stolen gold so their horses could move faster

They were a mile off from the Pawnee camp when there was a loud war cry from directly in front of them.  Jane pulled hard on the reigns of her horse, causing her to rear up.  Her men did the same.  Once their forward progress had stopped, Jane scanned the horizon in front of them.  Her horse panting hard under her.  Suddenly one single figure stood in the tall grass before them.  A Pawnee brave.  He held his bow, loaded with an arrow at his waist in front of him.

Jane held up a hand to her men, who she knew were already reaching for their pistols.  Jane calmly hopped off her horse and began walking towards the brave.  When she was now only 3 yards from him, he raised his arrow as if to fire.  Jane continued walking but raised her hands.

“We are looking for two men who came this way in a cart.” She said in perfect Pawnee.

The Pawnee, stone faced said nothing.  He held his bow aimed directly at her heart.

“They are bandits.  Thieves.  We have come to take them back with us.”

Still the Pawnee brave said nothing.  Only stared deep into Jane’s eyes.  She continued to walk directly towards him.  “We mean you no malice, but if you are hiding the thieves, it will mean severe punishment for you and your tribe.  So I ask you, have you seen the men we are looking for?”

The Pawnee brave said nothing, but suddenly, from out of the tall grass, a group of twenty braves stood, bows ready to be fired.  Jane and her men were completely surrounded.  This made Jane stop.

She looked around.  Her men, nervous, fidgeted anxiously on their horses.  Jane never broke eye contact with the brave once she’d taken in her predicament.  She nodded and slowly turned to go back towards her horse.  As she did she gave a shrill whistle and in a flash turned, gun drawn and shot the brave dead.  Before the rest of the braves knew what had happened, Jane had killed 5 more and was reloading.  Her men took the cue and began firing as well and soon Jane and her men stood in a bloody ring of dead indians and not a single arrow had been shot in return.

Jane holstered her gun as she strode back to her horse.  She climbed up into the saddle and looked at her men.  “We take the whole village.” She said, adjusting her hat.

Brenner turned to her, “The whole village?”

Jane ignored the skepticism in his voice.

“Yes.”  Jane shouted, turning her horse to face her men.  “Is General MacCallister’s calvary unit still stationed in Independence?

“I believe so.” Brenner replied.

Jane looked at Conners, “That’s about an hour’s ride east from here yes?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Conners, Ride there now and get him.  Tell him to bring the whole calvary.  Executive order.”

Conners was headed east before Jane said the word order.  Brenner and the other Pinkerton watched him ride off, hell bent.

Brenner cleared his throat, “That’s a least two hours before they return.”

Jane nodded.  “It is.”

“What do we do if the Pawnee come out looking for their braves?”

“We give them more of the same.” Said Jane as she climbed back up on her horse.  “I want that trunk.  If the Pawnee know where it is or have even seen it recently, I will know or I will burn their village to the ground and spill every last drop of blood under their red skin.”

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media – www.SaturdayMorningMedia.com

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Agents of the Vault – Part 12

Part 12 of Agents of the Vault.  Charlie and Doris take the late night watch as Grisom and Leland sleep.

If you want to subscribe to the Grantcast, you can do so with iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher.  Enjoy!  And let me know what you think of the story in the comments here, as we go along.

Also, if you prefer a PDF version of this part to read, CLICK HERE for that.

Finally, if you’d like to support my projects, visit www.patreon.com/saturdaymorningmedia

Agents of the Vault
Part 12
By Grant Baciocco

Doris got up with Charlie at 2AM when Grisom rousted him to keep watch.  Charlie took his bedroll with him to sit on atop the small bluff. The prairie spread out before them as they settled in.  The full moon illuminated everything, eschewing the need for any form of lantern.  In the distance, Charlie could clearly see a small herd of buffalo bedded down for the night.  This was an ideal place to sit and look out for Jane and her men should they be closing in.  The thought of them doing so at night seemed unlikely, but from what Grisom had told Charlie about Jane, nothing was impossible.

As Charlie looked over the peaceful landscape, Doris serpentined between his legs and he scuffled her behind the ears when her head passed his hands.  She whistled contently.  She yawned and began to walk and stretch out her back and legs as he scratched her.  Suddenly she gave a big shake, like a dog, and looked up at Charlie with a smile.

“You’re so good.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to let those guys in Yankton do anything with you.  They can meet you, but I’ll protect you with everything I got.” Charlie said to her.  Doris smiled wider and then sneezed loudly.  Charlie chuckled.  “Hey, you wanna go run around a bit?”

Doris nodded enthusiastically and let out a whistle.

“Okay.  Go ahead, but don’t wake those buffalo.  We don’t need you sending them stampeding this way.” Charlie ordered.

Doris nodded and then sped off onto the prairie.  Charlie watched her as she went.  He loved it when she could be this free.  Something she really hadn’t been able to do since they had left the family farm.  He hated keeping her cooped up in the saddle bag, but she couldn’t get too far out in the public’s view.  They wouldn’t know how to handle her.  He was sure he would lose her forever if that happened.

When Doris reached the bottom of the bluff, she dug into the earth.  Though blocked from his view, he could still see her path as she shifted the dirt above where she dug, much like a gopher would.  She’d surface now and then, blowing a small ball of fire above her as she did.  Charlie smiled again, dreaming of a day when he’d have enough land where he could let Doris run free all she wanted.  For now though, he’d just relish these moments where she could be free.  Be herself.

Charlie scanned the horizon in all directions.  Nothing but clear flat land with a rolling hill now and then.  No other lights outside of the moon and an occasional flame from Doris.  No signs of civilization at all.  Just that small herd of buffalo, Charlie and his prairie fire.  All was peaceful.  All was quiet.

Charlie turned back to look at Doris and he followed the trail of kicked up dirt from where he last saw her.  For a second he thought he’d lost her but then he caught sight of her again.  She was above ground now, creeping slowly towards the buffalo.  Charlie, let out a quiet growl of frustration.

“Damn it.” He said to himself. “I told her not to go near those bufallo.”

Charlie got up and started running towards her.  Whistling as he went.  Doris was inching slowly towards the sleeping herd.  Charlie let out another whistle, but was unsure it could be heard at this distance.  Doris was now just about 10 yards from the closest animal.  Charlie tried to whistle again.  Doris either didn’t hear or ignored him.

“She is going to get it.” Charlie muttered to himself as he continued his pace towards her.  Doris was now only two yards from the sleeping animal.  Suddenly she froze.  Charlie saw her freeze and he did so as well.  He saw her eyes turn red.  Charlie then began to run towards her.  Something was wrong.

Suddenly the buffalo nearest Doris got to its feet.  The ones near it did as well.  Suddenly they were all standing.  Charlie feared a stampede but then froze in his tracks when he saw the lead buffalo suddenly stand fully upright on two legs and completely shed it’s skin.  The others in the heard did the same.  The realization his Charlie like a blacksmith’s hammer.


Charlie whipped out his pistol and fired a shot in the air.  The Indians  froze and looked his way.  Charlie began yelling.

“Grisom!  Indians!” he bellowed as he raced as fast as he could.

Charlie saw the indian closest to Doris take another step towards her.  He fired another shot in the air.  “Doris!  Come!”

Doris turned to sprint back towards Charlie and the lead indian threw out a net and Doris was instantly tangled in it.  It was at that moment the arrows started raining down on Charlie.

War whoops went up from the indians as they fired volley after volley in Charlie’s direction.  Charlie stopped and dropped flat to the prairie floor.  Arrows hit the ground all around him.  One of the last of the volley hitting him straight in the left calf.  Charlie bit his lip not to scream out.

Somewhere behind Charlie he heard a shotgun blast ring out.  Grisom was awake now.  In pain, Charlie pulled himself up to his knees, still trying to keep low as low as he possibly could.  In front of him he say the indians spiriting away in the night.  He could hear Doris crying out loudly in the indian’s keep.  Each cry accompanied by a blue ball of fire.

Footsteps thundered up behind him.  It was Grisom, breathing hard.  The older man watch the indians disappear across the plain and then looked at the arrow sticking out of Charlie’s leg.

“Kid, lie back down, I need to get that arrow out of your leg.” He ordered, pushing Charlie to the ground.

Charlie spun and grabbed Grisom’s shoulders, “They got her.  The indians, they got Doris.”

Grisom looked up after the indians.  They were no longer visible on the horizon.  He sighed.  “Okay kid.  We can’t go after them now it’s too dark.”

“But they took her.”

“I know kid, I know but if we go after them now we’ll just walk right into an ambush.  Let’s get you patched up and we’ll track them in the morning.”


“Charlie, we’ll get her back.  Their camp can’t be too far from here, they were on foot, not horses.  I promise you we’ll track them down in the morning.”

“What will they do to her?”

“My guess is nothing.  The Indians saw them as sacred creatures.  I don’t think they’ll harm her any.  Now let’s get you back.  I got a medic kit in my bag back at the cart.”

Charlie, reluctantly got to his feet with Grisom’s help and they limped back to where their camp was.  Leland was sitting up, his hands bound to his feet.

“What was all the commotion?  And can you untie me now?” Leland asked.

Grisom helped Charlie lie down on a bedroll.  “Indians.  They took Doris.”

“Good riddance.” Leland scoffed.

Charlie shot him a look through his pain.

Grisom, began splitting Charlie’s pants at the leg with his knife.  “You should be thankful to her Leland.  Her kidnapping has extended your arrival to the Yanktown prison by a day or so.”

“How’s that?” Leland asked, fearing the answer.

“Because we’re going after her.”

“No.  No.  No!” Leland fired back.  “You want to turn me in for stealing gold, that’s fine, but you can’t make me accompany you while you go take on a horde of injuns.  That’s suicide.”

Grisom ignored Leland and busied himself with cutting off the wooden stick of the arrow.  He cut the wood close to where it met the arrowhead.  Then carefully he began to slice the twine holding the arrow head to the remaining part of the shaft.  Charlie winced as this caused the tip to move around in his leg a little.

“Sorry kid, but keep holding as still as possible.” Grisom said, wiping away blood with his handkerchief.  “Good news is it looks like a smaller arrowhead.  Still gonna hurt to get it out though.” Grisom said.  “I have to open the wound a little bit more in order to get the head out.  It’s gonna hurt.”

“Do it,” Charlie ordered through grit teeth.

“I’ll make it quick.” Grisom replied.  He leaned down to the leg, wiping more blood away.  He then straddled, Charlie’s leg to prevent him from kicking.  “Hold still.”

“Just do it.” Charlie said again.  Louder.

With a quick motion, Grisom sliced the wound wider on the left side.  Charlie yelled out in pain.

“Hang on kid.” Grisom said.  Using his knife blade and his finger, he let the tip of each enter the wound and clasp onto either side of the arrow head.  The head was free in seconds.  Grisom threw it on the ground and slammed his handkerchief down on the wound.

“It’s out.”

Charlie was out of breath, but if seemed the worst of the pain was over.  Grisom moved back to the side of Charlie.  He grabbed his hand and pulled.  “Get to your knees.  Hold this handkerchief tight on your leg.”

Charlie winced, but followed his orders.  Grisom stood and went to the retrieve the medical kit from the cart.  He was back in a flash and had Charlie lie back down.  He doused the wound with whiskey to clean it out.  Charlie howled in pain again.  Grisom moved the bottle towards Charlie’s shoulder and tapped him with it.  “You want some to numb the pain a bit?  I’m going to have to sew you up.”

Charlie waived the bottle away.  He was going to take the pain.  The pain was his punishment for not watching over Doris more carefully.

Leland piped up again, “You a doctor Grisom?”

“No.” Grisom replied curtly, “But I travelled with a medical regiment in the war.”  He was threading the needle as he spoke.

“What side you on in the war?” Leland asked.  “Let me guess, the North.”

“No.” Grisom replied.

“Oh a southern boy.” Leland replied with a smile from his hogtied position.  “I guess we have more in common that I originally thought.”

“Didn’t fight for the south.” Grisom replied as he leaned in close to begin stitching Charlie up.

Leland was confused, “Well, unless I was mistake, there was only two sides.”

“There were.  Well two sides that the public knew about.  There was a third side.  A side dedicated to making sure historical artifacts were not harmed in the war.  That our history was preserved.  We don’t work for any side except for the preservation of history.  My fellow soldiers and I fought on both sides with the mission of making sure historical artifacts were safe.”

Charlie was listening to Grisom as he spoke.  Realizing that he would soon officially be one of these fellow soldiers that Grisom was talking about.  One of the Agents of the Vault.

Charlie began to become numb to the pain in his leg.  He felt the pulling of the thread through his skin as Grisom patched him up, but it was in the corner of his mind.    He felt a sense of pride that he was now part of something bigger than himself.  A movement.  He had a cause, not just to have adventures or be a gunslinger, but to protect a vital historical artifacts that made this country what it is today.  He wouldn’t be a hero to anyone.  No one would know about his work, there wouldn’t be dime novels written about him or plays written to glorify his legacy.  His legacy would be in the number of sacred historical artifacts he returned to the Vault.  Kept safe, out of the hands of those who’d use them to fuel their own greed and corrupt the very principals this country was founded on.

Charlie thought about all this and before he realized it, Grisom was snipping off the extra thread with his knife.  “Okay kid, you’re good.  The wound turned out to be pretty small, but you’d better keep off that leg for a little bit.  And we’ll need to flush it with whisky now and then until we can get a doc to take a closer look.  Don’t want it getting infected.”

Charlie looked back at Grisom.  “Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it.” Grisom replied putting the needle and thread back into the medical kit.

Leland stirred from over on his bedroll.  “Now that you’re done playing nurse maid to the kid here, you mind untying me?”

Grisom got up and crossed back to the wagon, ignoring Leland.  Charlie looked over at him.

“Leland, you just have no manners at all do you.  You just have to say the absolute worst thing you can say to get the absolute opposite of what you want.”  Charlie said and he rested his head back down on his hands.  The stinging in his leg, throbbing slightly.  Turning from Leland, Charlie looked over at Grisom.  “When are we going after those indians?”

Grisom crossed back towards where the bedrolls were.  “First light.  We’ll ride out to where they took Doris and track them from there.”

“What are we gonna do when we find them?” Leland asked.  “Ride into camp and start shooting?  I figure that’s the quickest way to get ourselves killed, since that seems to be your goal.”

“Well ride into camp and talk to them.” Grisom replied calmly.

“Talk to them?” Leland sputtered.  “To injuns?!  Have you lost your mind?  You can talk to those savages!”

“That’s what you think but that’s because you’re narrow minded Leland.  The indians are actually decent folks if you get the time to make friends.”

Leland laughed loudly.  “Friends.  Grisom, you have been riding too long.  The indinas are nothing but brutal, bloodthirsty, savages.  They just took your buddy’s little pet here.  I bet they have it skinned and roasted over a fire by now.  Enjoying the tender meat of her tiny little body.”

Charlie sat up quickly, pulling at his fresh stitches, he grabbed his leg as the pain shot through it.  “You shut up Leland, shut up or I’m going to put a bullet into you right now and solve all your problems.”

Leland smiled, knowing he’d gotten to Charlie.  “I wish you would kid.  Be a quicker way out than what those indians would do to us.”  Leland paused.  “You know what they do to whites there in those indian camps?  You ever hear the tales of what they do, kid?

“Shut up Leland.” Grisom barked.

“No.  I think the kid has a right to know what he’s riding in to tomorrow.” Leland continued.  Charlie could see Leland’s eyes shining under the moon.  “Indians don’t just kill captives.  No.  They like to torture them.  They tie you to a stake in the sun, right in the center of their village.  All of them gather around to watch, and most of them get a chance to join in the fun.  During the day you’re just left out in the sun.  No food, no water, just the blazing sun on your bare skin.  Then, just as night comes and you’re grateful for the relief of night, the torture begins. They start with the coals.  They burn ya with coals.  They don’t throw you into a pit of coals, no, they take one coal out and touch it to a part of your skin.  Burning your flesh, while you’re still awake to enjoy it.  That’s only sometimes though.  Sometimes, instead of burning you slowly, one coal at a time, they’ll cut you with knives.  Again, real slow, just thousands of tiny cuts all over your body.  And they let everyone have a go, the women, the children, they all get a chance to cut you up.  Your fingernails ripped out, one by one.  Your fingers are broken, one by one.  And then you know what they do kid?  They feed you.  Water and bread, give you just enough to keep you alive for another day.  You see, kid, that’s what they want.  They want this to last for days.  Day, upon day of torture until you are pleading for death because you’re so mad with pain.  But then they stop, let you rest up a bit and when you’re just on the mend, they start it all again.  You willing to see your pal Grisom here go through that, kid?  You know he’s older than you, they’ll make you watch what they do to him.  You will watch him die.  You willing to go through all this just for your fuzzy little friend kid?”

Charlie looked Leland right in the eye.  Without hesitation he said, simply, “Yes.”

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media

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