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View Full Version : Moving West - chapt 17, Watch Your Step



barnburner
12-04-2010, 04:55 AM
Despite the protest of Ben and Katie Dill, Sean and Mariska stayed the next day and helped them with their work. As Sean told them, “You would not take payment for giving us a simple kindness. Now we are offering a similar kindness to you, and if you do not accept, then we are dishonored for having not paid you.” Faced with that argument, the Dills could not help but agree, and they set about the days work, enjoying their time together.
After enjoying their last Katie Dill cooked breakfast the next morning, Sean and Mariska said their good-byes and resumed their journey, refreshed from the break of traveling.
As Ben Dill had predicted, in a couple of days they found the Ohio River, and then followed it's path downstream to the west.
Sean knew they must be getting fairly close to Cairo, but something was bothering him. The Mohegan's had taught him that it was important to keep a regular check on his backtrail.
Not only was it a good idea for security, but the country always looks different coming from the opposite direction, so if you want to be able to find your way back, it's important to take a look over your shoulder regularly. In the process of doing this, Sean had noticed some movement that he could not identify, and it was there on a few different occasions. Finally, he spotted a piece of high ground that would give him the view he needed, and rode up, while Mariska waited on the trail.
Dismounting after he rode back down to the trail, Sean said “We have a problem. The movement that I noticed was four men that clearly are following us, and doing their best not to be seen.

My guess is they want to steal our horses and anything else we might have that they could use or sell. They have been hanging back waiting for something, and I think I know what it is.
From up there, I got a pretty good view of what's ahead. I can see a little of the town of Cairo in the distance. Perhaps a mile from here, the trail widens out into pretty open country. Once we reach that point, it offers little in the way of places for us to hide. It's there that they will make their move. It looks like they sent a few men ahead and they are waiting to ambush us as we are pinned between the two groups. However, I did notice a place not very far from here where we can cross over a rough piece of ground, and get on another trail that runs right along the edge of the river.
My guess is that even if they find we have gone on that trail, that they won't follow us. The reasons are both good and bad. The trail slopes downhill right next to the river, and has a sheer drop off. There is room for a single horse, with no room to turn around. Once we start down, there is no going back. We have never had these horses on a trail like this, and it's hard to say how they will react. If they panic, they will go over the side and will be lost to us, even if they survive the fall. I could only see part of the trail. It could be that the trail might get too narrow for a horse, or it could simply run out. If we get down there and cannot go any further, we will probably have to jump into the river and swim, in the hope that we will find a place where we can get out and walk the rest of the way to Cairo. We would find ourselves with nothing left but our lives, or maybe even lose our lives in the attempt. It's a dangerous bit of business, but if we continue on our present trail, I don't think we
have any chance at all. I doubt very much that these men will leave us alive after they rob us.

We are close to town, and they won't want us reporting the robbery or giving their descriptions.
Certainly, there is a good chance that they have rough plans in mind for you before they kill us. So, there it is. I would choose the river trail, but, the price for failure is too high to not to make this decision together.”
One of the many things that Sean admired about Mariska, was that in times of trouble, she was not given to panic or tears. She was a woman to walk beside a man, not behind. Mariska always faced trouble straight on and never looked back. This was no different. “Sean, if the other trail is our best chance, then let's be at it. I'll choose the bottom of the river before I'll see those animals get what they want”
They found the crossover spot and after reaching the starting point of the trail, dismounted to take their bearings and go over things before starting down. As they dismounted, the rain started. This was certainly not something they needed. The trail was bad enough without adding slippery footing to the mix. Putting on their rain slickers, Sean reminded Mariska, “Don't try and ride your horse down the trail, you might find yourself in too narrow a spot to be able to dismount, or he could panic, and take you with him over the side. Lead him and the packhorse, with a loose grip. If they start going over, let them – don't get pulled over the side. As far as I could tell, this trail is
probably a couple of miles long, but it's going to seem like ten. If I should go off the side, just continue carefully without me. Don't try and save me. We would both have our hands full just trying to save ourselves. Adding to that task would kill us both.
Should I survive the fall, and make it to land, I'll meet you in Cairo. This rain makes it necessary that we not wait a minute longer. The trail is going to get very slick, but we cannot stop. There could be mud slides off the side of the hills that could wash us right off the cliff, and into the river."
“Here we go – luck to us!” Sean said as he started down the narrow, intimidating trail, with Mariska following without a single moments hesitation.

coops
12-04-2010, 08:37 AM
Facinating story again Barnburner and great painting too:)

Caesar
12-04-2010, 09:23 AM
The story's going on very well and the illustration fits once more and keeps a fascinating style.

barnburner
12-04-2010, 11:34 AM
Facinating story again Barnburner and great painting too:)

Coops, you are so kind... Thank you very much..:)

barnburner
12-04-2010, 11:34 AM
The story's going on very well and the illustration fits once more and keeps a fascinating style.

Thanks Caesar... Very much appreciated..:)

justjean
12-04-2010, 12:42 PM
Now really Barn , thats not nice to leave us wondering do they make it ..... enjoying the story and the great paintings :)

barnburner
12-04-2010, 01:56 PM
Now really Barn , thats not nice to leave us wondering do they make it ..... enjoying the story and the great paintings :)

LOL... Just couldn't resist taking a trip back to the days when we had the weekly adventure flicks where the hero was facing certain death, and you had to tune in next week to see how he/she was going to get out of it...:D
Jean, I'm glad you are enjoying the story, and thanks for the kind comments on the paintings..
Much appreciated for sure..:)

screenpainter
12-04-2010, 11:02 PM
cliff hangers they called them. :)

I love this art piece it has almost an abstract look to it and somewhat of an Asian feel as well. great design.

eighty+
12-05-2010, 12:04 AM
lookig dodgy yuk yuk can't wait to read the next chacpter BB

barnburner
12-05-2010, 02:08 AM
cliff hangers they called them. :)

I love this art piece it has almost an abstract look to it and somewhat of an Asian feel as well. great design.

"Cliff Hangers" - Yes - I could not remember that term! I can recall as a kid being anxious all week for fear my hero was going to die, and couldnt wait to see the next one in the hopes that a miracle would pull him thru..:D
Thank you very much gzairborne.. I appreciate your very kind comments. :)

barnburner
12-05-2010, 02:09 AM
lookig dodgy yuk yuk can't wait to read the next chacpter BB

Many thanks Eighty... I'm glad you are enjoying it. :)

Jasminek
12-10-2010, 06:21 AM
Umm - "Cry and wring her hands? Not a chance of women in the older days or the current days, unless of course she figures that it might make the man feel more manly!!!!:D

I have always admired the women in the older times, goodness, all that work in the farm and having babies, I don't know how they did it!

Good story.:D

barnburner
12-10-2010, 09:13 AM
Umm - "Cry and wring her hands? Not a chance of women in the older days or the current days, unless of course she figures that it might make the man feel more manly!!!!:D

I have always admired the women in the older times, goodness, all that work in the farm and having babies, I don't know how they did it!


Good story.:D

I agree.. They were indeed made of stern stuff.
Thank you very much Jasmine..:)