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Author's note: Picture, courtesy of Lee A. Wood
* TREVOR *
The old saw that says cold air will sober you up is just that, an old saw, and one with rusty teeth. Trevor was as drunk as they come and the air doesn't get much colder than a prairie winter, but he wasn't feeling very sober.
"By the good lard Jhasus it's cold," He cursed, "And dark." Neither the moon nor the stars gave any light as the clouds were too thick. "Probably snow, if it wasn't so cold."
It reminded Trevor of that first winter in Montreal, after he had joined the Second Quebec Battalion. He really couldn't blame Lazarus and Pearl for wanting to go back South. Now that the U. S. Civil War was over the slaves were freed, getting paid for picking peanuts didn't sound too bad. Especially when the temperature never dropped below forty-five above.
Jhasus, it seemed like around here it never got above forty- five below. Except in the summer, and then the bugs were so thick no one cared how warm it was.
That trek, The Red River, or Wolseley Expedition, under Colonel Wolseley, through Ontario, across the Great Lakes, up river, was no picnic.
Maybe Liza and he should have gone South too. Other than not getting paid, their lives as slaves had been pretty soft.
One thing Trevor had learned in life, you can never go back. It will never be the same as you remember it. Although going back to their farm hadn't been bad if it hadn't been for those blasted Fenians.
Imagine the stupidity of anyone thinking Canadians would want to separate from the British. Just the cost of having to build their own army and navy would far outweigh the small tax that they sent home to the Queen each year. And join the United States? With their lawlessness, civil wars, corrupt politics, and prejudices? Not very likely.
Mind, if it meant warmer temperatures, and less snow. But the Americans couldn't arrange that. Besides sometimes snow could be beneficial.
If it wasn't for the depth of the snow, along the sides of the packed down trail, he would be lost in the interminable prairie. Miles and miles of, miles and miles, with nothing but wind, picking up the grains of frozen snow and scouring his face. He tried in vain to pull his fur hat further down over his face, knowing that it was already covering as much as it could.
If he hadn't run out of money he would still be sitting in the nice warm saloon, and if his horse hadn't died he would be back home by now. If it wasn't for that blasted Epizootic the hostler would have had another horse he could have borrowed. If, If, If. If wishes were ships he'd own the bloody Royal Navy.
By his reckoning he was only half way home. Home, bah. a bunk in a room with nine other bunks full of snoring, stinking men. Not a woman among them. Curse these blasted prairies. There wasn't a woman for miles, single that is, in his whole live he had never sunk low enough to seduce a married woman, except for Mrs. Hammon, but that wasn't a question of sex, that was a question of survival. What he wouldn't give for a naked woman right now, even Mrs. Hammon. There would be no waiting for any wedding night. He would be all over her like white on rice.
Trevor stumbled into a break in the snow bank. What would cause a break? Animals wouldn't leave a trail like that. And what was that bulk in the distance? Too big to be a moose. The monastery. He had reckoned he was half way home.
Monastery? A sod hut like any nester would build, but it would be warm inside, and being of the faith they wouldn't turn him away for an hour. Surely he could spare an hour.
He had to be at work tomorrow and, if he walked all night, he would make it there in time. There would be no time for sleep before the start of shift but he had done that before, and survived.
Staggering up the small path he approached the home of the monks. Was it three monks? No, two, one had died. Or was it one monk, two had died? Whatever, one alive and two dead or two alive one dead, the stove would be warm.
Without knocking, Trevor grasped the babiche attached, to the wooden latch, inside the door, and pulled, at the same time he fell against the door. Entering quickly, to keep out the cold, he turned and pushed the door shut.
Removing his fur cap Trevor began to beat the snow from his coat, "Sorry to barge in on ye like this brother, but tis dreadfully cold out there. Me bloomin' horse has gone an' died from that blasted epizootic and I've got ta walk back to the prison. Being as ye Christian gentlemen are full of charity I didna think ya'd mind if I was to warm meself by your fire before I continued me journey."
When he finally took the time to look around him he stopped in shock as he stared at a vision of femininity, water dripping from her small, soft, nipples.
Trevor started to stammer an apology and then began to wilt as the heat of the room combined with the alcohol in his brain.
Trevor passed from unconsciousness to sleep and would have slept longer but the pressure in his bladder finally woke him. Painfully he moved one arm and pushed back the stiff buffalo robe that covered his head. With great effort he was able to pry open one eyelid. The light was weak, and not painful, so he gingerly opened the other eyelid.
Turning his head was too painful so he slowly rotated his eyeballs as far as they would go in every direction. From his surveillance he determined that he was in a room. It wasn't totally dark but it wasn't bright, sort of like being by a dying campfire, but it was too warm to be outside. He couldn't recall where he was but he knew he wasn't in his quarters at the prison because, though sparse, they didn't have dirt floors.
He tried to raise his head for a further recognizance but the effort was too great. Closing his eyes again he had a vision of a naked female having a hand bath, but he knew that was impossible. The only female within miles was the warden's daughter, to whom he was betrothed, but he had never seen her naked. At least not totally.
Yesterday came slowly back to him, the assignation in the hay loft above the prison stable. Why did he endure these scenes, look but don't touch. The warden's daughter. A mere snippet that still thought it was for peeing. To imagine that he had actually promised to marry her. And she still said hands off. Other than the fact that she was the only half decent looking single female within a thousand miles. Certainly he had entertained more comely lasses and certainly more willing ones.
Marissa was only too willing to roll around in the hay and nibble his ear, or let him nibble her throat, but no hands except her's. It was alright for her to put her hand inside his trousers but heaven forbid that he should try to put his hands inside her gown.
Yesterday had been the worst. While slowly stroking his manhood she moved it to paint white circles of pre cum around her hardened nipple, like a baker decorating a cake.
With one hand cupping and massaging his testicles, Marissa, with her other hand, lifted her breast to her mouth. Her tongue slowly and sensuously removed the icing while she looked up at him through her long dark lashes.
But was he allowed to gather the other bright red cherry between his lips? Heavens, no. That was to be saved until after the wedding.
Her caresses of his scrotum became infuriating. His hand squeezed her hand around his swollen member, and moved it up and down, faster and faster, until his penis voided his semen, spraying her face and her chest.
In her surprise, Marissa had bitten her nipple. If he hadn't controlled himself, he would have slapped her for yelling at him and accusing him of being selfish, and only thinking of his own pleasure.
Quickly he turned his hand, raised to strike, to scratching his shoulder and then silently buttoned his trousers. Storming out of the haymow he remembered his coat, throwing pride aside, he went back inside where Marissa was wiping his spray from her face with a handful of hay.
Picking up his coat and mittens he left again, leaving the door open, in the hopes that the cold air would freeze the rest of his semen on her breast, before she had a chance to wipe it off.
As he climbed down the ladder to the stables he wondered if by chance someone might walk by and see her, then wondered how many other guards she played this game with. Never for a minute had he really believed that out of all these husky males she had chosen him and him alone to promise fidelity, but, in the hopes of bedding her, he had played her game.
Too angry to saddle his horse he galloped bare back into town until he realized he was sweating his horse in the freezing air. Gradually he decreased his speed so that the horse cooled gradually, then he continued his journey, at a walk. In the stable, despite his pique at Marissa, he took the time to thoroughly dry and rub down the horse before turning it over to the hostler.
He stomped into the saloon where he found, to his dismay, that the bar keep had had the temerity to raise his prices to two cents a glass. God damn cheap fur trading whisky should be given away free. Despite the increase in price he had consumed it as though it was free. He could not remember when he had quit drinking, when he had left the saloon, or where he was now.
The vision of a naked woman kept coming back and he shook his head to end the dream. The pain, in his head, caused him to stop that.
Slowly lifting his head he saw the water bowl, and rag, sitting by the depression in the floor. Strange, those had been in his dream.
Slowly he sat up and looked around the sparsely furnished room. He recognized nothing. He had never been here before. The dim light flickered, momentarily stopped, and then feebly returned. He sought its source and found the remains of a candle on the table. The remnants of the wick had fallen into a pool of wax and was struggling to survive. Looking about he found a supply of candles on the shelve above the table.
Very slowly, and tenderly, he managed to uncoil his long frame and rise from the packed earth floor. Taking a new candle, from the shelf, he lit it from the dying flame and set it into the remains of the one on the table.
While he was up he added another buffalo chip to the fire which was almost out but had enough heat to start the dried manure burning. While doing this he spied the water urn and attempted to wash the taste of the rot gut whiskey out of his mouth. When his thirst was slaked his attention was drawn to the pressure in his bladder and he stepped outside to write his name in the snow.
Upon returning, into the cabin, he took time to look around and more time to question the bundle of rags on the only piece of furniture, other than the table and chair.
If the wash bowl and depression in the corner were not part of a dream than maybe the light skinned nymph was real as well. Gently he lifted one end of the buffalo robe and uncovered a slim foot connected to a supple ankle. Definitely female.
Slowly Trevor knelt on the floor beside the bed, lowering the robe over his head. While his hands began to remove his coat, his lips began to nuzzle the smallest of the five toes. As his lips reached the unknown female's ankles his hands were opening the flies of his trousers.
As his mouth slowly worked its way up the recumbent form his hands, as slowly and as quietly, removed the rest of his own clothing. As he slowly lifted her nightshirt and worked his way to her breast he could feel her move and begin to sense his presence, through her sleep clouded mind. He sensed when she tried to escape into deeper sleep as he shifted from one small breast to the other.
With the prodding of a helpful finger he took the entire breast into his mouth.
Trevor's tongue travelled over the entire surface, below, beside, and on top, batting her nipple back and forth and coating her breast with saliva until it slipped out of his mouth.
Pursing his lips around her nipple he sucked it into his mouth allowing his teeth to lightly scrape the sides. Then he batted the nipple back and forth before slowly sliding it out between his teeth. After doing this a few times he slowly sucked the entire breast back into his mouth and repeated the washing with his tongue.
By now the girl was half awake and stirring. Despite the pressure of her hands holding his head to her chest, Trevor slowly forced her breast out of his mouth and moved back to the first breast which he began to lather with his saliva. Here he repeated the administrations he had applied to the other mammary.
The girl stirred and strained, arching her back, lifting her chest. Over and over again, his tongue, and then his teeth ran over her nipple and the swelling breast behind it. Her hands pressed his head against her as she instinctively tried to heighten the feeling.
Trevor left a trail of hot kisses along her sternum and began circumnavigating her navel. The deepest probes with his tongue made her shudder. When it wasn't plumbing the depths of her belly button it was caressing its walls.
After he had thoroughly removed all of her belly button lint, his wet lips moved further away from her breasts. His tongue began to worm its way through her thick patch of hair then trailed off to the side and continued down the top of her thigh. Along the top, and the outside, in circles and squares, until he reached her knee, where he paused to further devour her tender flesh.
His hot caresses eventually moved further South and repeated, to her calf, what they had done to her thigh. All around her ankle, his tongue, lips, and nipping teeth were busy until, eventually, he took her little toe into his mouth and treated it as he had her nipples.
Each toe, he sucked in slowly, lavished with his tongue and as slowly pushed back out, gently scraping the sides with his teeth.
When he had totally cleansed and devoured each toe he moved to the other foot where he started with the toes, then moved to the instep, the arch, and began to work his way up the inside of her leg.
This knee was given as much attention as the other and then he proceeded up the tender flesh on the inside of her thigh. By now she was in such a height of fever that she neither noticed nor objected when his mouth moved from her thigh to her outer lips.
He devoured the outer petals of her flower and then he moved to the inner petals. Delving as deep as his tongue would reach he gathered her nectar until finally he moved up to her stamen and she cried out. She thrashed about while his hands tried to hold her hips on the bed and his lips tried to hold her lips so his tongue could maintain contact with her clitoris, while she screamed, loud and long, as she reached orgasm.
When she was spent, Trevor moved his administrations to her navel and slowly back to her thigh. By the time he moved back to her womanhood she was relaxed enough that his tongue would not irritate her tender flesh but, instead, began to arouse her again. Again she thrashed about, again she screamed.
Again he moved his administrations and slowly let her relax, then just as slowly built her up again.
One more time he began his caresses but when she started to squirm he moved away from her womanly flower, up to her navel, then her breasts, then her neck, and then, as his tongue entered her mouth, he entered her below.
His manhood swelled to the point where he thought he would rip her apart. He felt its fleshy sheath sliding back and forth on her love bud. He felt his hairs mingle with hers and then pull apart from them.
His back stiffened, and his hips tightened, and he began to scream into her mouth as he felt the red hot lava erupt from his volcano.
He collapsed, but not on her, slipping to one side so that his weight rested on the bed in a position that allowed him to hold her close and still remain within her.
The girl opened her eyes, then turned her face away.
"Am I that ugly, then?" He gently whispered in her ear.
Rolling over she placed her hand over Trevor's mouth.
Trying to be polite, the girl whispered, "You have the smell of spirits and this is a place of worship."
Trevor placed his finger over her mouth, "Don't go away". With a small squishy sound, he withdrew from her, then left the bed. With some water from the pitcher, and some baking soda from the shelf, he used his finger to brush his teeth, rinsed his mouth thoroughly, then crawled back into the bed.
"Now, if you can stand to breathe in my direction, tell me how such a comely lass is living in a monastery?"
"Only if you promise not to tell anyone that I'm not a monk. If the word gets out there is a single female in town there will be a line of single men from my door to Ft. Garry."
Removing his finger from her flower he used its dew to draw an `X' on her right breast, "Cross your heart."
Charene started into her explanation and Trevor, though listening, replaced his hand between her thighs while he licked the cross off her breast.
It wasn't long before here words turned to moans, and, shortly after, Trevor slumped beside her and fell asleep.
Trevor awoke to the sound, and smell, of sizzling buffalo. Slipping on his boots he stepped outside for a quick whiz. He stepped back inside then stopped.
Turning he peeked out the door. The sun was setting. The last time he had been outside the sun had been rising.
He had missed an entire day of work. The warden would be angry, especially when he learned of the loss of the horse. The warden's daughter would also be angry when he didn't show for his nightly rendezvous, unless she didn't show because she was still angry from the day before.
The hell with them both, the steak in the skillet smelled wonderful and by the good lard Jhasus the cook looked even better. To hell with the steak.
Trevor came up behind Charene. Holding her hand tightly around the handle of the pan he placed the skillet on the floor then picked up the cook and carried her to the bed.
If he got fired who cared. He had been looking for a job when he found this one and he had been looking for one with higher pay.
Pausing only for food, sleep, and bodily functions the two spent the next two days in bed. Finally, thoroughly spent, and satiated, Trevor hitched a ride, with a passing sleigh, back to the prison. There he painted a fairly believable story of being rescued, from a death by freezing, by the Monks, with the addition that in payment for their kindness he wished to spend all his off time at the monastery.
For the rest of the winter he saw little of Marissa. Though she regaled him and coaxed him to spend time with her he would beg off by saying he owed the monks his life. He spent all of his off duty time doing chores, splitting, and stacking, fire wood, hauling water, patching the roof, and as spring moved along, helping to plant a garden at the monastery.
It was a warm day in late spring, the warden and his daughter were riding home from church when they spied what they thought was a nude male and female running through the bush. As they entered the clearing they could clearly see Trevor, in his birthday suit, dash into the monk's cabin.
Marissa shot her spurs into her horse's side and was at the cabin door in seconds. Jumping to the ground she raced inside.
Trevor was as happy as he could be. Charene and he had found a small pool of water, warmed by the sun. It was a great place to bathe if they kept their movements slow. If they moved about too much they would stir up the black prairie soil and come out dirtier than when they went in.
Inside the cabin he held her in his arms and squeegeed the water from her round tummy. For the third time in his life he was in heaven.
As when he had lived in Africa, and Quebec, he had everything a man could want: a home, though it be simple, with a small garden; a wife, though she had alabaster skin rather than ebony; a family, though it was still a protrusion of his woman's abdomen.
And, like Africa and the Richelieu River, hell came through the door unannounced, though in the form of a single female, not a tribe of spear carrying natives, or rifle toting Americans.
Trevor was not aware of Marissa's presence until she started to scream. The howls were followed quickly by pain. Startled, Trevor did little to protect himself but raise his arm above his head, however, when the riding crop left a welt across Charene's extended abdomen, Trevor lashed out. His fist cracked loudly against Marissa's jaw, sending her sprawling against the door.
Hearing Marissa's screams, her father dismounted and ran to the cabin.
Once Marissa was silenced, Trevor heard her father and ran outside, colliding with him in the doorway. Trevor knocked Marissa's father to the ground, where, from his prone position, he began to hurl insults at Trevor.
Flight was the only answer that swept through the questions, and confusion, in Trevor's brain. Quickly he mounted the Warden's horse and galloped toward sanctuary.
Galloping to the prison, Trevor realized that the prison would not offer sanctuary, it's chief officer was who he had just struck. To return there would result in his becoming one of its inmates.
Quickly he turned the horse about and galloped back to the cabin where the Warden was mounting his daughters horse. Having trouble riding a side saddle, he was just at the edge of the clearing, when Trevor returned.
Trevor knocked the warden from the saddle and started to gallop away when he saw Marissa running from the cabin towards her horse. He turned back and grabbed the reins of the confused animal to prevent pursuit. Flinching, from the verbal assault launched at him by his ex-fianc³e, he galloped towards town, leading the mare.
As the miles sped by, under the hooves of the horses, Trevor began to consider his options. He couldn't go back to the cabin without physically hurting the warden, who would, by now, be armed with the musket that Trevor had smuggled from the prison. He couldn't go into town with two stolen horses, although no one would yet know that they were stolen, but his nudity would certainly make them suspicious.
Ahead he saw the road that led West to Portage La Prairie. An obvious answer to his problem. Trevor slowed, turned the horses West, then, after a short distance, stopped at a small stream.
While the horses drank from the stream Trevor dismounted and checked through the saddle bags. One musket, some powder and ball, a flint and tinder, no food, no clothes, no money. Not exactly proper accoutrement for a journey even as short as that to Portage. And insufficient to get started once he was there.
Even more important was the immediate future, not even a blanket and the sun would be setting soon, spring evenings could get cold in the prairies.
The mare lifted its head. Trevor stepped forward and placed his hand on her muzzle, then led the two horses up the stream to a concealing growth of willow, abundant with new leaves.
For awhile Trevor couldn't see anyone and his thoughts turned to Charene. There was no way that Charene would be able to keep her secret any longer. The world would know there were no monks. Marissa was very vindictive and she would destroy everything they had had.
As for himself there was nothing he could gain by returning. The Warden would accuse him of assault and brand him as a horse thief even if he returned the horses.
Returning for Charene was out of the question. Even were she still at the monastery it would be watched. Impossible for him to spirit her away.
His first concern must be for himself and his immediate survival. Clothing or blankets must be obtained quickly, before nightfall, and then travel, as fast as possible. Flight was his only option. Like so many other chapters, in his book of life, this one was over.
The traveller finally left the creek and passed into Trevor's sight. A native, pulling a travois, had stopped at the creek and was now heading for the Indian encampment outside Ft. Garry.
Indians, blankets, buffalo robes.
Yes, the encampment may just be his answer. If he stole clothing from a settler it would be reported but if he could find an Indian, who was big enough, the clothing might fit.
As Indians pride themselves on their ability to steal, they would assume a neighbour had stolen it and not say anything, awaiting the opportunity to steal it back.
Leaving the dappled stallion tied in the bush, Trevor removed the English side saddle from the mare and rode her bareback across the prairies. He rode swiftly, but slow enough not to raise dust, and slow enough that he could watch for gopher holes. A broken leg for his horse would not help matters, nor would the horse appreciate it. However she seemed to know this and was quite skilful at dodging the burrows.
Hiding the mare in a gorse and bopping a nosy dog on the head with a rock, Trevor slipped from the bush. Stepping over a rotting pile of entrails, which some native had dumped outside his tee pee and was so rotten the birds wouldn't even come near, Trevor held his hand over his nose and tip toed past a tee pee and around to the entrance of another.
After looking about, listening, and peeking into the dark interior, Trevor slipped inside. It took a few moments for Trevor's eyesight to adjust to the darkness and then he began to look about. There was clothing scattered about but what wasn't female or children's was too small for him.
Slipping back outside he moved to the next tee pee. In this one he was more fortunate.
He found a set of ceremonial clothing that was almost his size. They were covered with beads and porcupine quills, sewn in a brilliant pattern. The pants were a bit short and the jacket was a bit loose but they would keep him warm.
He found some smoked fish and some pemmican which he rolled into a buffalo robe and for devilment put the brightly decorated feather headdress on his head.
About to slip out, the way he had come in, he heard people outside. Looking about he could discern no place to hide but he found a large skinning knife. Quickly, taking the knife, he made a long cut in one of the hides that formed the back wall of the tee pee and slipped outside.
Miraculously there were no dogs outside and he made it back to his horse unobserved.
Returning to the creek he unrolled the robes and partook of the food while the mare enjoyed the fresh water of the stream. Trevor rested until the sun descended and the air cooled. Rolling the headdress into the robes and resaddling the mare, he tied his new bedroll to the saddle.
Trevor followed the road until the wee hours of the morning and then found a secluded spot to sleep. It took him longer travelling at night and sleeping by day but eventually he arrived in Portage, undetected.
In Portage, Trevor was trying to determine where he could trade his Indian raiment for street clothes when he was accosted by a reporter from an English newspaper. After allowing his picture to be taken and embellishing a totally ridiculous story of daring do, which the reporter greedily accepted as truthful, he sold the clothing, complete with war bonnet, except for the moccasins which he found more comfortable than boots, to the reporter.
Well buying clothing, in the haberdashers, Trevor learned that a police force was being formed. Limiting his purchases, he dressed in a simple set of civilian clothing.
At the livery he sold the side saddle, then reported to the fort where he joined the North West Mounted Police and immersed himself into the military where, hopefully, the Warden would never find him.
The next day, the troops left for Ft. Dufferin where they spent the rest of the spring training and kiting out.
In July, under the leadership of Commissioner G. A. French they began their `Thousand Mile Trek' West to Ft. Macleod. A train of; two hundred seventy-five men, one hundred fourteen Red River carts, seventy-three wagons, and two field guns, two miles long, the tail of which was a herd of cattle, for food, took three months to cross the bald prairies.
Trevor was assigned the pleasant chore of bringing up the rear of the train, being sure that no cattle strayed and eating the thick, prairie, dust that was raised by the nearly three thousand hooves ahead of him.
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