Charene `79, Chapter 19 of Lee A. Wood s Novel, Fero

Copyrite `95.

SafeSurf Rated Adults Only

FERO

A novel
by
LEE A. WOOD

* * * * * * * * * *

Chapter Nineteen

Sherrif in the wild west
Author's note: Picture, courtesy of `NORM JONE .COM/'

* CHARENE 1879 *

Fero had slept through the docking of the boat at `The Crossing' in the Dakota territories, which had recently been renamed Bismarck. The small amount of freight to be unloaded was long ashore.

Fero disembarked from the boat amidst the hustle and bustle of the roosters loading a cargo for up river. Military supplies for the North West Mounted Police in Ft. Macleod and Ft. Saskatchewan. Whiskey, blankets, and hundreds of other trading items for the Hudson Bay posts in Rocky Mountain House and points North. Gold pans, and rifles, for prospectors. Saddles, and barbed wire, for cattlemen. Calico, and gingham, for the ladies.

The owners of the Dakota had arranged for a full load for the boat's return trip to Ft. Benton. Captain Wiston was too busy to do more than wave as Fero was helped down the gangplank by the steward.

Felix lifted Fero's valise into the back of a hansom, "Yo' all take good care o' tha' baby, Mist' Fero. He one hansom' lil' fella."

"I will," Fero replied, holding out his hand, "You take care of yoreself and I'll see you on my return trip."

"Lookin' for'rd to it Mist' Fero. Lookin' for'rd to it."

Felix held Fero's elbow, helping him to step into the carriage, then closed the door.

"Northern Pacific Railway Depot and then a hotel," Fero called up to the driver as the carriage started away from the bustling levee.

Fero spent three days in Bismarck. On the first day he opened an account in a bank and deposited some of the gold he had stolen. During the rest of his stay he searched the saloons.

Trevor met more than one lady of the night who was in the family way, however, none of them were far enough advanced in their pregnancy to produce the nourishing fluids that he required for the baby.

On the streets he was continually accosted by ladies who wanted to look at the precious bundle. Two or three of them were willing to hire out as a wet nurse but only one wanted to travel. Unfortunately, she was so ugly that Trevor did not want to be seen in her company and had to tactfully retract his offer.

Friday, Fero climbed aboard the train unescorted. During the first day's travel on the train, the conductor introduced a young couple to Fero. Stamayis Simitis, or Stan, as he preferred to be called, and his wife, Ioanna, were both of dark complexion and spoke a rough English with a thick Grecian accent.

In Greece, the two lovers, because of different social standings, Stan's father being a simple cobbler, while Ioanna was the daughter of the wealthy Dimitris Peratikos, were not even allowed to associate with each other, let alone marry. Stan had been bitten by gold fever and persuaded Ioanna to elope with him to the new world.

Nearly having frozen to death their first winter, the two had managed to eke out a living in the gold fields of Colorado. During their second winter their baby daughter had died.

Broke, disenchanted, and with Ioanna pregnant again, Stan had written to a fellow Greek they had met during their crossing of the Atlantic. The man had given them an address in New York.

The reply to Stan's cry for help came from Fargo, three days after their son was born. The man had sent Stan the fare and the promise of a job. The man now owned a livery stable and said the young family could live above the stables until they could afford to rent a place of their own.

As Anna was feeding their new born, she agreed to share her milk with Fero's charge. Anna was very attractive and Fero wished she would share with him as well, but as she was happily married he controlled his urges.

Resigning himself to celibacy for the journey, Fero sat back and enjoyed the company of his travelling companions. By the time they reached Fargo, the three were good friends.

Fero was well pleased with the way that Anna had taken care of his ward. He paid her double the sum they had originally agreed on.

As well, on the last day they were together, during a moment when the young couple were away from their few possessions, Fero slipped several gold coins into Stan's valise.

After parting from the Simitis' in Fargo, on the Eastern edge of the Dakota Territories, Fero again found a bank where he opened an account and deposited more of the stolen gold coins.

Fero spent two days in Fargo, again searching saloons, for a pregnant prostitute. By late evening of the second day, having had no luck, Fero headed back for his hotel thinking he would give it one more day, then catch the next train East.

Walking around a corner he almost stepped on a cloth bundle. Stepping back, he saw the cloak of a Blue Nun sitting in a crouch on the edge of the sidewalk. As he bent nearer he could detect the sounds of weeping. Sitting beside the nun he asked, "Could you use a hand Sister?"

A hand appeared from beneath a fold of robe and rested on his leg, "I am afraid not, kind sir." The nun's voice was broken with sobs. "I have broken with the Lord and none may help this poor sinner."

"I know that voice," Fero said in surprise and then asked, "Let me see your face."

The nun pushed back the cowl of her robe and looked up, "Trevor?"

"Charene," Fero exclaimed.

Sister Charene flung her arms, opening her cloak, and clasped Fero to her bosom. "Oh, Trevor, Trevor, Trevor," she cried. "I thought you were dead."

While one arm held the baby, Trevor's other arm slipped under the cloak, and around Sister Charene's back, to pat her shoulder. "Charene. What a surprise. Why are you crying?"

"Oh, Trevor I've broken with the Order," Sister Charene cried, "I've run away from the house of the Lord."

"What Order?"

"The Holy Order of the Blue Nuns."

"I thought you were with the brothers?"

"Oh, Trevor. After you left, that girl said terrible things about you. She said the two of you were to be wed. She said she was pregnant. Her father was very angry. He ordered us to the nunnery. I didn't want to go but he forced us. It was just like before. There were priests there and they made us confess our sins. When they learned what our sins were they made us repeat them. They thought that if I had served the Lord by serving the Monks then I could serve the Lord by serving them. When the baby was born they killed it." Sister Charene buried her face against Trevor's chest and cried, "They killed your son."

Sister Charene cried for awhile and then continued her story, "I joined the Order and became a Blue Nun. I thought then I wouldn't be treated as a receptacle for the priest's seed but I was wrong. They didn't care. Over the years I was pregnant twice more and each time they killed the baby after it was born. But not this one, Trevor. I want to keep this one," Sister Charene started to take Trevor's hand and discovered that he was holding a baby, "A baby. You have a baby. Oh, Trevor, is it yours? Look," She said, opening her cape and showing Trevor the bulge in her dress, "Soon I will have a baby too. Please don't let them kill this one. I ran away from them. I want to keep this one." Sister Charene threw her arms around Trevor's neck and cried, "Please let me keep this one."

Assuring her that she was safe, Trevor patted her back, "No one will hurt your baby. You're with me now. You can keep the baby."

Trevor waited for her crying to lessen and then told her of his plans to go to New York and find the Aunt of the baby he was carrying. He assured her that she could accompany him and that the Order would not be able to force her to return to the nunnery and give up the child.

Trevor held Sister Charene for a long time, until she had composed herself, and then the two went back to Trevor's hotel where Sister Charene eagerly accepted the idea of trying to feed the baby.

However, she wasn't so ready to accept the idea of sharing her milk with Trevor. Nor was she prepared to share Trevor's bed.

"The Lord, Trevor, works in mysterious ways. All my life I have served the servants of the Lord and the Lord has punished me by not allowing me to keep any of my children. Now He has seen fit to allow me to have this one child. I can not take a chance of losing this child by committing more sins."

Trevor refused to sleep on the floor but finally agreed to stay on his own side of the bed. Late in the night it was Sister Charene who came to him. Crawling back into bed after changing the baby she wrapped her lips about his sleeping manhood and gentle woke him, as he had taught her, years ago.

In the morning Trevor tried to take her in his arms but she rejected him and berated him for leading her astray, again, during the night. She agreed to accompany him to New York but only on the condition that they have separate compartments on the train.

Trevor wasn't too happy with the arrangement but thought he could accept that as it was only until her baby was born. Hopefully they would have reached New York by then and would have delivered the baby that was now in their care.

The next week was very trying for Trevor. Each night Sister Charene would slip into his compartment and into his bed, administering to her needs, though she would never admit to it, as well as his, before they fell asleep. In the morning she would be gone. When they met for breakfast she would hesitate to acknowledge him and would spend the rest of the day ignoring him, or, blaming him for swaying her from the path of the righteous.

When, a day from New York, Sister Charene gave birth, to a still born son, she saw it as a punishment sent by God. Trevor was despondent and had grown slovenly in his appearance. When they finally alighted from the train in New York he had several days growth of beard and was wearing his western gear, complete with Stetson and pistol.

Before boarding the train at the way station where Trevor had buried the baby's parents, he and the train crew had searched the station master's residence. The couple had only taken up residence the day before their death so there was little personal property to search through. Trevor took, along with the baby, a small package containing a few personal items and letters.

One of the letters had been from a sister in New York. One of the train crew had sent a telegram to New York apprising the sister of the events. At each stop, during the journey, Trevor had sent a telegram telling of his arrival and of the places he would stop along the way. At each town, he checked but there were never any replies to his cables, nor was anyone there to meet him upon his arrival in New York.

Hiring a hansom, Trevor, and Sister Charene, took the baby to the address in the letter. The city of New York was a sprawling conglomeration of communities. Once away from the main part of town the streets were dirt roads bordered by forests or plank sidewalks. New homes and apartments were springing up like fireweed after a forest fire.

The address the hansom took them to was not in a new part of town. The multi storied wooden structures were gray and weather cracked. Garbage littered the street and filthy, poorly clothed, children ran after the cab asking for money.

Sister Charene, chattering away while counting the beads on her rosary, lifted her skirts to step over the feet of a man passed out on the stairs, his legs sprawled across the stairs, his head resting in a pool of his own vomit.

Room thirty-four was, to the right of the stairs, on the top floor. Trevor was about to knock on the splintered wood when he detected the striking of flesh followed by a cry of pain. Harsh words were interrupted as Trevor kicked in the door.

On unsteady legs the wasted frame of a man turned towards the sound of breaking wood. "Who the hell are you?" he asked in a drunken slur. Waving a half empty bottle, he hollered, "Get out of my house."

Stepping quickly inside the room, Trevor grabbed the bottle from the man's hand and set it on the littered table. "Hey. That's my bottle," the man said. Sister Charene pushed between the two antagonists and knelt beside a thin woman lying on the floor. The mark of an open palm still bright red on her shrunken cheek.

The tottering drunk looked at Sister Charene's habit then back up at Trevor. "Are you a preacher? We don't want no preachers in here."

"Are you David Finster? "Trevor asked.

"Yeah. What of it, Mr. Preacher man? Get out of my house. We don't want no preachin' in here." Staggering past Trevor he grasped the bottle off the table. Tipping the bottle to his mouth the man took a long pull and then swung the bottle at Trevor's head. "Get out, I said."

Trevor stepped under the roundhouse, the bottle knocking the hat from his head before smashing against the corner of the wall, sending glass and whisky spraying about the room.

The drunk staggered into Trevor, raising the broken bottle. Trevor placed one hand on each side of the man's unshaven face and lifted him off the floor. The weight of his emaciated body was enough to loosen his neck. With a quick twist, Trevor broke the man's cervical cord. The man's eyes, already stupefied by alcohol, clouded over as Trevor released his hold. The lifeless body fell to the floor.

Sister Charene was standing, staring at the fallen woman's dead husband. Slowly she looked up at Trevor. "You've killed him, he was one of God's creatures and you've killed him." She hugged the baby closer to her chest, " You have defiled my body, you have defiled my mind, and now you have killed a human being. Trevor Monaghan, you are a truly evil man."

As she started to step over the body of Mr. Finster, Trevor put up a hand to stop her. Stepping back she screamed, "Don't touch me. Don't ever touch me again. You are the spawn of the devil."

As Trevor lowered his arm she rushed past him and down the stairs. For a moment Trevor was relieved that she had left until he realized that she had taken the baby with her. Pushing past the looky loos on the landing, Trevor fairly flew down the stairs but didn't catch Sister Charene until they were on the walk in front of the building.

When Trevor tried to stop her, Sister Charene clung to the baby and began to scream scripture at him in Latin. Quickly a crowd began to form. Trevor held out his hands for the baby but Sister Charene held it tighter.

Exasperated, Trevor pulled the pistol from his holster and pointed it at Sister Charene's forehead. Ignoring the gasps from the crowd, he said, "Give me the baby."

"No." Sister Charene cried, "It is mine. It is my baby"

"It is not your baby. It belongs to the woman upstairs."

The expressions on the faces in the crowd changed from incredulous to questioning.

"No." Sister Charene spat at him, "It is mine."

Trevor stared at her through hardened eyes and slowly cocked the pistol, "You will give me the baby and you will get in the carriage or I will take the baby from your dead arms."

"You are a truly evil man, Trevor Monaghan." Slowly she held out the babe. "You would steal a child from a nun." With his free hand Trevor took the proffered bundle that was screaming at the top of it's lungs. Stepping backwards he pushed a path through the crowd and directed Sister Charene to climb into the waiting hansom. Someone from the crowd gave her a hand up.

When Sister Charene was aboard, Trevor holstered his pistol. Flipping a coin to the driver he said, "Take her to a nunnery or take her to a lunatic asylum. Whichever is closest." As the cab started away Trevor reached into the back and extracted his carpet bag and his one remaining pair of saddle bags.

Looking at the crowd milling about between him and the stairs he asked, "I don't suppose any of you is a doctor? The mother of this babe is upstairs and she is very sick."

After a moment of silence a small voice spoke from the side of the crowd, "I know where a doctor lives."

"Fetch him for me boy. I'll give you a penny."

A dirty little form disappeared around the corner of a building and the crowd parted as Trevor started towards the building, many of them trying to follow him up the stairs.

Back in room thirty-four the neighbours were hard at work taking anything they thought of value. They had however, taken the time to pick Mrs. Finster off the floor and lay her on the bed.

Trevor crossed the untidy room and kneeling by the bed asked, above the cries of the baby, "Are you Elisabeth Finster? The woman could barely nod her head. "Did you get my telegrams?" again a slight nod. Without opening her sunken eyes she weakly pointed at the cupboard above the table. Trevor had to hold his ear close to her mouth to make out the word, "Sugar."

He turned to look across the room just in time to see a neighbour lady slipping the sugar jar into her apron pocket. "Put it back," Trevor demanded. The lady froze. As Trevor rose from the bed he continued, "Put it on the table." Three thieves began to take items from their pockets and put them on the table. "Now get out."

Pushing and shoving, several people left the room amidst mutters and grumbles.

Trevor lifted the sugar jar and tipped it. The lid rolled off the table to break on the floor. The sugar along with some papers and a couple of coins fell in a mound. Wetting one finger with his tongue, he sifted through the spilt sugar and then inserted his sugar coated finger into the baby's mouth. Quiet settled over the room except for noise at the doorway and Trevor looked to see several people craning to look inside.

Reluctant to take his finger out of the baby's mouth and have it start crying again, he wiggled the baby and used its foot to spread the contents of the sugar jar. A pleasant voice from the doorway said, "I could hold the baby for you mister."

Trevor turned to look at the speaker. A young face peering around an overweight matronly lady continued, "I'm very good with babies. I've got three little sisters and two little brothers."

Trevor motioned her over, "Perhaps you could find some water. I'm sure he needs changing." Quickly the young lady took the baby over to the bed and began to unwrap it. Just as quickly Trevor's ears were again assailed by it's howls.

Trevor picked through the papers on the table. All of the telegrams that he had sent, were there, as were a couple of letters from her sister Cheryl, now dead, in the Montana Territories. Two silver dollars and one other letter.

The girl had changed the baby and left the room. Now she returned with some milk for the baby. Her mother stopped her at the door. "What are you doing with that milk. That's for your baby brother. You know we can't afford any more."

"Excuse me," Trevor interrupted. When the lady looked up Trevor threw her one of the silver dollars from the table.

"You go ahead now, Debbie Anne." The mother said as she propelled her daughter with a huge arm. The coin quickly disappeared beneath a bodice that covered a gargantuan bosom. She continued, "You go feed that nice baby."

While Debbie Anne went to the baby and quietened it by feeding it, Trevor read through the letter. It was from a brother who was working for the Canadian Govt. The letter gave a return address in Montreal.

With a deep sigh Trevor tucked the letter into his pocket. He looked at the baby's aunt lying on the bed, eyes still closed, the skinny chest barely moving. He looked at the young lady sitting on the bed feeding the babe. Not very old, he thought, but a comely lass if her face was washed and her hair was combed.

Of the girl's mother, he asked, "I know Debbie Anne must be very busy helping you raise her younger siblings but do you suppose I could hire her for a couple of days to baby-sit? Just until I can find a nanny."

The lady looked doubtful until Trevor produced a gold piece from his pocket. "Just for two days," she said as she caught the tossed coin. A slight smile appeared above her double chins as the coin was secreted with the silver dollar.

Debbie Anne, following Trevor through the crowd at the top of the stairs, gave her mother a kiss on the cheek as she passed.

On the second landing Trevor met the doctor following the boy who had gone to fetch him. As soon as he saw Trevor the urchin held out his hand. Trevor brought a handful of coins from his pocket. Failing to find a penny he said to the boy, "I don't seem to have any pennies."

The boy stomped his foot and glared at Trevor, "You promised."

"How about this instead," Trevor asked, holding out the other silver dollar that he had taken from the table.

"A whole..", the boy started to say and then wisely closed his mouth. Quickly he wrapped his hand around the coin, so no one could see what he had been given, then disappeared down the stairs faster than he had come up.

From the coins in his hand Trevor extracted a ten dollar gold piece and offered it to the doctor. "I think she has taken too much of some kind of drug. Do what you can."

Wheezing from the climb up the stairs, the portly physician took the proffered coin, "I will do my best, sir. I always do. But I do thank you for the recompense. It is seldom that I get any in this part of the city."

Leaving the doctor to catch his breath and continue his climb, Trevor left the building. While Debbie Anne followed with the baby, Trevor began to walk towards the central part of the city.

Every now and then Trevor looked back at the sleeping baby. Several times they were passed by empty cabs but Trevor didn't notice. He was quite lost in thought until he nearly bumped into a policeman.

"You'll be watching where yore goin' or you'll be gettin' run over." The tapping on his arm by the officer's night stick brought Trevor back to the present. "And yore not on the range any longer, cowpoke," the officer tapped his stick against the butt of Trevor's pistol, "Yore in the city now. You'd best put that away."

"It's okay," Trevor said, digging into his back pocket. "I'm a United States Marshal. Territory of Montana," he added, showing the officer his badge.

"Well yore not in Montana now. Yore in New York. We don't wear those things here."

Trevor looked around him. While he had been worrying about what he would do with the baby he had walked to a busy part of the city. People were streaming past him in all directions, many of them pausing to look at him in his western garb. Nowhere did he see anyone else wearing a Stetson hat.

Looking down at his work pants and cowboy boots he asked the blue uniformed officer, "Maybe you could tell me where there is a mercantile where I could get me some city clothes?"

"One block that way and one block that way, Mr. Marshall," the policeman pointed with his night stick.

Trevor tipped his hat, "Thank you." and walked in the indicated direction.

Locating a store, with suits and shoes in the window, Trevor walked in, to be met by a salesman who seemed displeased at Trevor's appearance, "The tradesman's entrance is in the rear, sir."

"Oh, I ain't a tradesman." Trevor ignored the barb, "I want to buy some new duds."

"We don't sell `duds', sir. We are a haberdashery. We sell gentlemen's clothing and accessories."

"Sounds good. Like that dude over there." Trevor pointed at a tall gentleman wearing a striped vest and trousers and trying on a matching suit coat.

"That dude, is Mr. Havershaw. The President of a bank."

Trevor stepped past the clerk and walked across the store. Debbie Anne started to follow but the clerk stopped her. "This establishment is for gentlemen, not little girls."

"I'm not little and I'm with him."

"You would be." The clerk pointed at a chair near the door. "Please wait over there and try not to get it dirty." He then turned and followed Trevor who was approaching Mr. Havershaw.

Lifting the brim of his Stetson, Trevor introduced himself, "Morning Sir. My name is Fer.." Trevor stopped himself for a moment and then continued, "Trevor Monaghan. The clerk says you are a banker."

"I have that distinction Mr. Fer, Trevor Monaghan. Is there something I can do for you?"

"I have just arrived in town and was planning on doing some banking and as the store keep says that is your game, so to speak, I thought maybe we could do some business."

"I don't see why we wouldn't be able to accommodate you. My establishment is just down the street." He turned to the tailor behind him, "If you would be so kind. In my vest pocket, a business card for this gentleman." The tailor walked to where Mr. Havershaw's suit was hanging and removed a card from the vest pocket. As he handed it to Trevor, the banker continued, "The address is on my card. Come in anytime. Any of my tellers will be able to help you."

"Thank you, sir. Sorry to bother you."

"Not at all. Not at all."

Trevor turned to the clerk who had come up behind him. "That's what I want, duds like that."

"That, sir, is a fitted suit. It takes two days to make. Perhaps you would like something ready made?"

"How about one of each," Trevor replied.

After much selecting and measuring the clerk was wrapping Trevor's purchases, "I assume that will be cash Mr., Monaghan, was it?"

"Yes. Oh," Trevor said, extracting gold coins from his money belt, "Perhaps you could tell me where I can find a barber and a bath house?"

Trevor lay back in the barbers chair, his skin wrinkled like a prune from having spent so long in the hot water of the bath. The baby lay sleeping in his arms while Debbie Anne took her turn in the bath.

Scrubbed from head to toe, clean shaven, and dressed in the latest men's fashion, complete with bowler hat, his western wear wrapped in the brown paper that had contained his suit, Trevor walked the two blocks to the Chase Manhattan Bank.

People had stared at him before, when he was dressed as a cowboy. Just as many stopped to look at this dapper gentleman being followed by the waif with the babe in her arms. Debbie Anne was scrubbed clean and her hair was washed, it hung damply past her shoulders from which hung a tattered filthy dress.

His business in the bank didn't take long. It was a simple matter of opening an account and depositing the contents of his last pair of saddlebags, after he had refilled his money belt.

Trevor's next stop was a department store where he purchased some new clothes and shoes for Debbie Anne, also some new clothes, blankets, and a perambulator for the baby.

Awkward in her new shoes, and the large hooped crinolines that were the fashion of the day, Debbie Anne wore a big smile as she pushed the babe along the street in his new perambulator. Many people stopped and stared at this group. Some speculated that Trevor had a very young, if not indecently young, wife or mistress, while others assumed he was the girl's father.

None of these thoughts were voiced and Trevor, completely ignorant of them, smiled at the pretty ladies who oohed and aahed over the baby. With no destination in mind the threesome travelled up one street and down another until rounding a corner Trevor chanced to spy a large hotel.

To Debbie Anne he said, "I don't know about you but my feet are getting kind of tired in these store bought boots. It's gettin' on in the day and we're going to need a place to bed down for the night. You ever heard of that place across the street there?"

Debbie Anne was basically illiterate but she could make out he name on the end of the Marquee over the lobby entrance, "Oh. We couldn't stay there."

"Why not?"

"That's one of the most expensive places in town. They got doormen and everything. I heard my mother talk about it. She said the Governor of Montana stayed there one time."

"Well if it's good enough for my boss it's good enough for us," Trevor said, as he started across the street.

Breathlessly Debbie Anne pushed the baby carriage along behind him, never taking her eyes off the doorman under the marquee.

Trevor registered in a suite of rooms and arranged for the parcels, he had left at the stores, to be picked up.

After a day of fruitless searching for a wet nurse Trevor came to the conclusion that the baby was getting along fine on store bought milk. Now that they were in Eastern America store bought was easy to obtain and Debbie Anne seemed quite capable of the job. Trevor made arrangements with Debbie Anne, and her mother, for Debbie Anne to accompany him to Montreal.

Since leaving Montreal ten years ago Trevor had continued to send money to Liza. She couldn't read or write so he made his letters short and never expected any replies. Since he had never received a reply he wasn't sure if she ever got any of his letters and didn't know if she still lived in Montreal but had assumed that the money and letters had been received as none was ever returned. Now he sent Liza a telegram to tell her he was on the way.

The trip North to Montreal was a lot more pleasant, and more peaceful, than the last time Trevor had gone North from New York. With money in his pockets he was able to travel in style and he didn't have to dodge bullets from bounty hunters.

Montreal had grown considerably since Trevor had last seen it. The offices of the North West Co. on St. Gabriel St. were now near the heart of town. The house that Liza's parents had left her was now of some value as it was on the same street.

Like the city, Liza had changed. Taller, more mature, and her hips more pronounced. Her face lit up as she opened the door and spied Trevor. Debbie Anne and the rest of the world was totally forgotten as the two embraced and eventually carried each other, tearing at each other's clothes, into the bedroom.

When eventually they returned to the parlour, Debbie Anne had made herself at home, cooking a meal for herself and feeding the baby. Liza immediately fell in love with the baby and Debbie Anne. She wanted to adopt them both.

The next day, to avoid making parting more difficult, Trevor arranged transportation, South to New York, for Debbie Anne.

The address that Trevor had for the baby's Uncle proved fruitless as no one there knew where he had moved to. The neighbours did know that he had worked at the Government House.

At the Chateau de Ramzay, Trevor had to explain who he was and why he wanted to find Phillipe Reynaud. No one wanted to release any information and his lack of French didn't help him any. Finally after repeating his story several times, to as many different people, he was given an address in Cape Town, Africa. It seemed that Phillipe had been transferred to the Canadian Consulate in that city.

The next day Trevor booked passage on a ship heading downstream to Halifax for himself and Liza. Trevor had his doubts about the travel agent who's office was small and filthy. Though the man said he couldn't speak English, Trevor didn't fully believe him.

His misgivings were confirmed when Trevor stepped aboard the Dancing Star. The boat was dirtier than the travel agents office. And nowhere near as luxurious as the boat from which he had lost Patricia.

Trevor chastised himself for getting soft from his ill gotten wealth. He had slept in worse places. And besides it was only for a couple of nights while they sailed down the Saint Lawrence River. At least it didn't have a killer aboard, stalking him.

As dusk settled over the water, on their second night aboard, the reunited lovers became tired of watching the endless farms along the shore line. The flat Laurentian Shield sloped lazily up from both sides of the river.

Retiring to their darkened room, the boat had no stewards on board to light their lamps, they stepped inside to be greeted by the sound of a gun being cocked.

"Don't make no sudden moves Marshall. Just light the lamp. The gun's pointed at your lady friend's head." Trevor recognized the voice of Leroy Elliot.

"I see you survived the river," Trevor said, as he found a lamp and lit it.

"Twice actually," The former ranch foreman replied, "When they stopped the boat I caught up to you and started to climb the paddle wheel. I was half way up when it started turning again and I rode it back into the water. So now I figure you owe me double."

Trevor adjusted the wick and replaced the glass on the lamp, "I don't suppose you saw Patricia while you were in the water?"

"No, but I found Lance. You just shot him and threw him overboard."

"Actually, you shot him. I didn't have a gun that time, either. I found him after we quit looking for you."

Leroy thought for a moment, "You grabbed me and the gun went off. While you better not grab me this time cause I got the trigger back and my thumb is loose on the hammer. Just give me the money. I want the paper money as well as the gold."

"I never took the paper money I left that in the safe. I've been thinking you probably took that."

"Van Slee got there before me. He said the safe was empty." Looking at Trevor's attire he added, "I see you've gone city, marshal. You ain' packing a side arm."

Slowly, Trevor held his arms out and turned, "Unarmed. We're not in the States anymore so I'm not a marshal anymore."

"Didn't really figure you ever were."

"Oh, sure. I was duly sworn in. They sent me out to stop the range war your boss was stirring up."

"Oh, you stopped it all right. You stopped Pearle, permanent."

"Me?"

"It was you all right. We pieced it together afterwards. You borrowed that rifle from the Bar Six hand. Drilled Pearle right through his beer mug."

"Spilt his beer did I?"

"Near as we can figure he had the glass up to his mouth. The bullet shattered the glass, drove most of the glass up through his face. The thick bottom of the mug changed the angle of the bullet and it went down through his neck and took out his back bone."

"Never figured a bullet could get through all that lard. Did you actually build a coffin that big?"

"Could have just about used an outhouse instead of a coffin."

Trevor was getting Leroy in a friendly mood but he could see by the man's eyes that he wasn't relaxing his guard any. He still kept the barrel of the pistol against Liza's ear. "So how many men did it take to lift that tub o' lard out of there?"

"Wer'n't no way ya could lift him. We had enough men there but ya couldn't grab him. People don't come with handles. Finally we just put a rope round his feet and hitched a team to a single tree and drug him out a' the bar to a hole we dug outside o' town."

"Now if yo'r through reminisin', Marshall, maybe we can get to the business at hand."

"Actually it ain't Marshall any more. It's Corporal."

"What? Are you in the army now?"

"North West Mounted Police actually. And now I am going to have to arrest you. You can't go waving guns around in Canada. I'm going to have to arrest you with felonious assault."

"Marshall, Corporal, General, President, I don't care if you're the King of England. Where's the damn money?"

"In the bank."

"Bank! What bank?"

"Several actually. I started in Ft. Benton and made deposits in every town along the way. Which is probably how you found me, by following the trail of empty saddle bags."

"All of it?"

"I could make you a bank draught."

"Funny man. Get over on the bed there. I'll tie you up until I figure this out." Leroy pointed at the bed with the gun. Trevor took a step forward but the gun swung back, "Hold it." Leroy stated.

The hard, loud, command woke the baby who started to cry.

As Leroy's focus turned to the baby, Trevor took the remaining step and grabbed the gun with his left hand. Wrapping his fingers around the weapon he stuck his index finger in front of the hammer. Trevor's right hand connected with Leroy's jaw.

Though Leroy wasn't out of the fight he was stunned enough to allow Trevor to take control of the gun. Gritting his teeth against the pain of the firing pin piercing his skin, Trevor wrapped his other hand around Leroy's throat and propelled him backwards out of the still open door and launched him over the railing.

"Nooooo." Leroy screamed as he sailed through the night air to land with a splash behind the port side paddle wheel.

Upon arrival in the port city, Trevor learned that there was no ship leaving for Africa for two weeks. The ship they had been slated to sail on had been seized by the bailiff in New Orleans, for non payment of debts.

Although further miffed at the inconsiderate travel agent in Montreal, Trevor and Liza spent the time touring, and marvelling at, the beauty of the Nova Scotia coast line.

The last night before they sailed the threesome stayed at a small inn in Martin's Cove. After a pleasant dinner of lobster and local wine they strolled onto a small wharf to watch the sunset.

While bending over to peer into the darkening water, to look for sea life, Trevor felt a hand on his back and suddenly found himself tumbling towards the water.

Moments later, as he was coming back to the surface, he was nearly hit, as Liza, screaming, came to join him. As his head broke the surface, he could hear the baby crying from above.

Gulping a mouth full of air, and taking a quick recognizance, Trevor dove beneath the surface and, grabbing Liza, dragged her beneath the dock.

Surfacing, Trevor held Liza while she coughed out the mouthful of seawater that she had swallowed. When she had finished coughing they could hear Leroy's voice over the cries of the baby, "You hear me down there mister Marshall?"

"Yeah, I hear ya."

"You like that cold water? I figured it was your turn."

"You just keep turning up like an old penny, don't you?"

"And I'm going to keep turning up until you give me my money."

"Strictly speaking it ain't your money"

"Well, it ain't yours either."

"True, but I've got it and you don't have me."

"But I got the baby. You want it back you better figure out some way I'm going to get my money."

While Trevor had been keeping Leroy talking he had been climbing up the pilings under the wharf. Having learned his lesson about going unarmed from his last encounter with the man Trevor now carried his knife everywhere he went.

Slipping the blade between the planks of the deck, Trevor put the point against the sole of Leroy's boot.

With a swing of his other arm he forced the heel of his hand against the heel of the hilt, driving the point through Leroy's boot and into his foot.

Leroy screamed in pain and lifted his foot. The handle of the knife wouldn't fit between the planks and the blade pulled out of his foot.

Dancing around on one foot, Leroy, while hollering and cursing Trevor, pulled out his gun and started shooting, "You back stabbing, son of a bitch. Come up outta there and fight like a man. God damn you. Look what you done to my foot."

Flinching, Trevor clung tightly to the tarred pilings. The thick planks of the deck absorbed the bullets. Leroy set the baby down on the deck to reload.

While Leroy was balancing on one foot, Trevor moved over beneath him, being careful to not dislodge any muscles that would fall in the water and warn Leroy of his movement.

The pilings below the water line were covered with barnacles and muscles that were not firmly anchored and it was difficult for Trevor to hang on but eventually he got beneath Leroy a second time and, repeating his performance of earlier, drove his knife into Leroy's other foot.

Screaming and cursing Leroy gathered the baby and hobbled back to shore where he finished reloading his weapon and then took his boots off. Cutting strips from the baby's blanket he bound his feet to stop the bleeding.

Above the baby's cries Leroy yelled at Trevor, "You hear me, you son of a bitch. You can't get me now but sooner or later you got to come out of that water. I'm sitting right here waitin' for ya."

Being from the plains Leroy wasn't aware of tides and didn't realize that the tide was swiftly departing. Trevor and Liza, were still in the water, but it only came up to their hips.

The shore line around the little cove was fairly steep rock and difficult to climb in the dark. Unseen in the deepening gloom below the dock, Trevor, leaving Liza, was able to walk to the bank and find a large boulder to step up on.

Careful where he put his feet on the slime covered rock, Trevor found a patch of barnacles to stand on that would keep his feet from slipping.

From his perch he could see Leroy, outlined by the setting sun, sitting on the road that led to the little dock. With the baby lying beside him he was trying to hold both feet at the same time.

Balancing his knife, Trevor drew back his arm and threw. As Leroy was leaning forward the blade sliced through his chin and entered his neck just below his Adam's Apple.

Slipping and stumbling on the kelp and rocks Trevor hurried back to the wharf and climbed the ladder.

Leroy was lying back on the ground holding the knife while he cried in pain and frustration. Trevor, ran down the dock, pulled the knife from the man's hands, rolled him on his side so he wasn't facing the baby, and then slit his throat.

Carrying the baby back onto the dock, Trevor helped Liza up the ladder and then returned to Leroy.

After tossing the damaged boots out into the bay, he grasped Leroy by his bandaged feet and, dragging him along the dock, dropped his body onto the rocks below.

Climbing down the ladder, Trevor pulled Leroy under the dock. With his knife he sliced open Leroy's clothing and then his stomach. Trying not to gag on the smell, Trevor found a large rock and put it in Leroy's stomach.

When the tide came back in so would the crabs, by the time they went out again, with the next ebbing tide, there would be nothing left of Leroy but bones.

The tide left the next day, and so did Trevor, Liza, and the baby, but not on the Gray Mist. Trevor had been looking forward to reminiscing with Captain Granger but the travel agent had gotten the dates wrong and the Gray Mist wasn't due for another month. Instead the small family would sail on the Marianna.

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BACK - To the Top of Chapter XVIII

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