Wrath of the Savage

Wrath of the Savage by Charles G. West Read Free Book Online

Book: Wrath of the Savage by Charles G. West Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charles G. West
right thing to do. Coldiron and I will be all right, as long as we keep our senses about us, and our eyes and ears open. You shouldn’t have to worry about any danger to yourself. This close to the fort, that war party is obviously headed north as fast as they can go, and you should reach Fort Ellis by noon. Can’t be more than about fifteen miles from here. Am I right, Coldiron?”
    â€œThat’s about right,” Coldiron replied. “You’ve come about full circle from my place on the Gallatin.”
    â€œCome to think of it,” Bret continued, “for that distance, you could take the horses back with you. Might be best to load the dead on their horses and take them back to Fort Ellis to bury.”
    â€œSir,” McCoy protested, not at all happy with the idea, “I don’t think one man can handle—” That was as far as he got before Bret stopped him.
    â€œYou have your orders, soldier,” Bret snapped, confident that he himself could lead the horses back, and if he could, then McCoy should be able to manage it. “I’ll take Sergeant Duncan’s horse with me. If we’re successful in rescuing those women, we’ll need another horse. That’ll give you one less to mind. Now let’s get those bodies loaded. We’re losing time here.”
    â€œYes, sir,” McCoy replied obediently while fuming inside.
    Coldiron smirked at the complaining soldier and said, “That beats havin’ to dig graves for all of ’em.”
    McCoy didn’t respond vocally, but he told himself he’d gladly dig a grave for him and the lieutenant.
    â€¢Â Â Â â€¢Â Â Â â€¢
    Private Tom Weaver climbed to the top of a deep ravine and anxiously looked back over the way he had come. It was two hours past dawn now and he had been walking since about ten thirty the night just passed. His eyes squinted, straining against the rising sun in an effort to see any sign of anyone following him. After a few long moments of peering back toward the valley, he sat down, relieved to be able to rest before starting out again. If anyone had seen him slink out of the camp, they would surely have caught up with him by this time. Taking another look back to the east just to be certain, he removed his right boot to examine his foot. Cavalry boots were not the best for walking and he feared he was getting a blister on the knuckle behind his big toe.
    â€œDamn,” he swore softly when he found the skin broken. He took his handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped it around the injured foot, then pulled his sock over it. “Best I can do,” he said. Thinking back to where he had just come, he added, “Helluva lot better’n gettin’ scalped like the rest of the boys.” The thought brought a smirk to his face, certain he had escaped a massacre. “My hair wouldn’t look good on some wild Injun’s lance.
    â€œI reckon ol’ Lieutenant Fancy Pants would like to say it was my fault those damn savages snuck up on us,” he continued to himself. “I hope that bastard is dead.” He applauded himself for having the good sense to escape when he had the chance. “Same thing any of the other boys woulda done in my shoes.”
    He pulled his boot on as carefully as he could, grimacing when the extra cloth under his sock made the boot tight. He got to his feet again and trudged back down the side of the ravine. He had no idea how far it was from the bend in the Yellowstone to Fort Ellis, but what little he did know about the location of the fort told him that it couldn’t be far. He had left the river a couple of hours back; maybe he would make the fort by that afternoon.
    As he walked, he thought about the chaotic moment when he was suddenly snatched from a solid sleep to discover screaming savages sweeping over his comrades, hacking and slicing like wild animals. He had his carbine, fully loaded, but it had

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