FREEDOM REINS - Chapter Sample
Sample from chapter titled The Orphanage
“Aren’t you afraid? I mean, are you sure you’re doing the right thing?” Lizzie was nervous for her friend.
“No,” Charlotte admitted, “But if I don’t do it now, I might never leave and that’s even more frightening”.
Charlotte Logan, or Charlie, as most people called her, gazed out the window beyond the chapel, past the barn and over the trees. Her thoughts were far beyond where her eyes could see. There was adventure out there and she wanted to be a part of it.
Taking in the fresh scent of the evening air, she thought of how exciting it would be to explore distant places. Big Jim had told her wonderful stories of his adventures as a trapper. He spoke about valleys, lush with the sweet smell of wild roses, mountains rising beyond the clouds, and rivers rushing between the canyon walls. Tomorrow she would finally have a chance to reach for her dreams. She knew this was a turning point in her life ……….
Sample from chapter titled Wagons West
By mid-May they reached Fort Carlton. Jim had been there many times to gather supplies and have his pelts appraised. Wildflowers were blooming and a bright sun warmed the spring air.
After a few nights of rest, and with replenished supplies, they travelled west along the riverbank. The team pushed hard and, as spring rolled into summer, they finally reached Fort Edmonton, sitting high on the northern bench of the Saskatchewan River.
This was as far west as Jim had ever been. The remainder of the trek would be a new experience for everyone.
Before the group disbursed, Jim gave everyone instructions. “We have a long trip ahead of us, through mountains and into unknown territory. We’ll rest here for a few days, replenish our supplies, find a guide, and then prepare for the weeks ahead.” He looked at the Englishman. “I’m sure you’ll find a wagon train heading back in the next few days. It was nice meeting you.” Jim extended his arm and shook Mr. Mead’s hand.
“A pleasure, I’m sure,” replied Mead. He nodded to the rest of the group and turned down the street. For the most part, Mead wasn’t so bad. Annoying, in a pompous sort of way, but he was a good hunter and usually did his share of the work.
The fort offered a trade store, blacksmith shop, boat-building yard, powder magazine, bakery, kitchen, and dining room. At one end was the Big House, built by John Rowand, the Chief Factor. Rowand had died in 1854 and recently been replaced by William Christie. The Big House stood thirty feet by eighty feet, and three stories high. Porches ran the length of the front and rear, and the decorative building was surrounded by a picket fence.
The fort was bustling with activity. Hammers pounded and voices shouted as work went on all around. Some were building York boats, others were hauling logs to build new structures and keep the post in shape. Many were traders and some were travellers like themselves. In front of the trade store, a rough looking man in a black hat held up a beaver pelt and shook it in the face of the man standing across from him. "These skins are worth twice that!" he shouted, not pleased with the buyer's offer.
Will and Jacques hauled the furs they had brought with them off the wagon and carried them into the store, where Jacques made a deal for the supplies they would need. The trade store held stacks of pelts, including bear, wolf, and beaver. Wooden boxes stored food staples, ammunition, blankets, and tools. Will and Charlie piled the supplies they required at one end of a long wooden table. At the opposite end, two men in uniform were watching Will.
“Tanner, isn’t it?” The blond-haired soldier spoke loudly.
“And you are?” Will replied.
“Sergeant Glenn Brock.” He walked over and extended his hand, but didn’t smile.
Tanner shook the man’s hand and looked into his eyes. They were black and cold; the kind of eyes that said they were looking for trouble. Without responding, he turned to collect more items from Charlie’s arms.
Sergeant Brock blocked his way. “My brother was Major Thomas Brock. I think you knew him.”
Major Thomas Brock. The name made his blood boil. “I believe I may have met him once a while back.” His tone gave no sign of the hate he felt. He walked around the Sergeant and gathered more items.
“I believe you did too. I believe it was New Year’s at your father’s house. Your wedding night, wasn’t it?”
Charlie stopped and stared at Will. This was something she had never even considered. It seemed shocking that they had travelled so long together, yet she apparently knew nothing about the man.
Without acknowledging the statement, Tanner loaded a saddle onto the counter. They would need a few new ones for the horses they had to buy.
“That’s the same night my brother was found, left for dead on a dark road,” the sergeant said.
“I heard he got into a drunken brawl.” Tanner’s voice expressed no emotion.
“That’s what the newspaper said, but others suspect it was an attempted murder. Wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?” His voice was loud and accusing.
Tanner ignored him, as he loaded a crate with supplies.
The sergeant wasn’t finished taunting. He walked over and put one hand around Charlie’s waist pulling her close. “So, is this the little missus?” He laughed.
Like a rock out of nowhere, Tanner’s fist hit Brock square in the face, knocking him off his feet. Blood and mucus flew through the air and Brock hit the floor hard. It had happened so fast that Charlie never even flinched, and was left standing in the exact spot she was when Brock had grabbed her.
Jacques cocked his gun. “Don’t get any ideas,” he said to the other soldier, “Just pick up your buddy and get out of here.”
Wisely, the soldiers chose to leave.
After quietly completing their transaction, the three travellers made their way back to the wagons.
“Nice punch.” Jacques casually commented, as they left the building.
Nice punch? How can they be so calm about it? Pow! Right in the face! Charlie was struggling to hold back the excitement she felt at what had just happened. Married? Murder? Adrenaline was pumping through her veins. There was so much more to this quiet man. He was mysterious, strong, cool, and well ... exciting, she thought.