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Copyright October, 2013, L. L. Rigsbee
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Montega had been watching the white woman since the day she closed the corral gate. It had seemed so opportune at the time - at least until the Shawnee had caught up with him in the forest. Now he was afoot again.
It had been less than a moon since the Shawnee had killed his wife and child. He alone had taken revenge - a lone Osage warrior against a party of Shawnee warriors. At the time, it had not mattered that they might kill him. Yet taking the life of those Shawnee warriors had not eased his pain, as he thought it would.
He was shamed by the fact that he ran afterwards. At least he was wise enough to lead the enemy away from his village. And yet, he felt shame that they had followed him to the home of the only white man he had ever seen who had the courage, not only to live in the wilderness, but to respect it as the Osage did.
When the white woman closed the corral gate, she was with child. Now the child lay in her arms. She had given birth in a cave by herself. He saw her go in. He had watched, but she did not come out that night. The next morning he saw her man. He ran, wounded, into the wilderness, like a bird drawing prey from its nest.
Montega gazed down at the musket with its brass inlay. The white man had dropped it before plunging out of sight. He should toss it aside. It was nothing but extra weight. He had no powder or balls for it, and yet.. His fingers slid over the smooth stock. The white man's weapons held power. One could feel it in the coldness of the barrel; see it in the belch of flames when it was fired. This one had been well cared for.
His gaze lifted to the white woman, who was finding shelter in a hollow tree. He squatted at the base of a large oak tree, where the mist of rain did not reach. For now, the woman was safe, but the Shawnee were still out there and her man was not around. This was not his wife and child, but she was a brave woman. Perhaps for a few days, she could be his.