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Authors: John L. Davis IV

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American Revenant (Book 2): Settlers and Sorrow

BOOK: American Revenant (Book 2): Settlers and Sorrow
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American
Revenant:

Settlers and Sorrow

By John L. Davis IV

 

American Revenant:
Settlers and Sorrow

Copyright 2015
© John L. Davis IV

All rights reserved by
the author.

Trademarked names
appear throughout this book. Rather than use a trademark symbol with every
occurrence of a trademarked name, names are used in an editorial fashion, with
no intention of infringement of the respective owner’s trademark.

The information in
this book is distributed on an “as is” basis, without warranty. Although every
precaution has been taken in the preparation of this work, neither the author
nor the publisher shall have any liability to any person or entity with respect
to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by
the information contained in this book.

This
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely
coincidental. 

            Cover
art, design, and layout courtesy of Emily Royal at
[email protected]
,
https://www.facebook.com/emily.jemphotographics
.

 

Dedications

So many have had an impact on

the writing of this book.

It would take several pages

just to name them all.

For Erica, Astrid, and Hannah, always.

Mom and Dad, thanks for believing.

Barry, thanks again.

To all those I’ve met through

The wide world of the inter-webs, I thank you.

 

Chapter 1

 

“Jimmy, you still carry that whistle”?

Jimmy pulled the orange survival whistle out of his
pocket, showing it to Gordy.

            “Blow
it, three blasts, and wait a moment.  Keep blowing it in bursts, for a couple
of minutes.  It’ll take Mike and me a few minutes to make it back to camp.  I
want them to have an early warning if they can hear it; they should be able
to. 

            Mike
began walking in the direction of the camp, but Gordy stood for another moment
watching up the river.

            “When
you can see those boats clearly without the binoculars head back to camp.  We
may need all hands for this.”

            Jimmy
thought for a moment, then told his friends, “I guess we should always be
expecting trouble now.  Shitty way to live.  I’ll be back to camp soon.”

            Gordy
turned, moving toward Mike who had stopped to wait for him.  He jumped at the
first shrill blast of Jimmy’s whistle, shook his head and kept walking. 

Normally Mike would have laughed, poking fun at Gordy
for jumping at the bleat of the whistle, but the tension of the moment pushed
out any thoughts of humor.

            The
two men walked briskly, picking their path with care.  Neither man wanted a
twisted or broken ankle because they were in a hurry and being careless.  Especially
now that, even with a Nurse Practitioner, any injury could be potentially life
threatening.

            Saverton
Island, the small island the group had taken up residence on, was nearly three-quarters
of a mile long, and just a little over one thousand feet at its widest point. 
They had chosen the island for its dense woods, and the lagoon like area that
was almost completely surrounded by land, with the exception of the small inlet
they had brought the boats through. 

            The
island offered cover and concealment from people on either the Illinois or
Missouri shores.  They felt that if they kept their fires low and shielded as
well as having watchmen on both the north-east and south-west sides of the
island they could keep themselves hidden for quite some time.

            Mike
and Gordy were back at camp in less than five minutes; they could hear Jimmy’s
whistle the entire way.  Both men were surprised to find that there was not a
single person in the camp.  Other than Jimmy’s whistle, which had just stopped,
there wasn’t a sound. 

            “I’m
guessing everyone heard the whistle,” Mike said. 

            “Yeah,
I guess they did.  Excellent response though, wouldn’t you say?” Gordy scanned
around, not seeing anyone, “I’m surprised they could hide so well so fast. 
Calvin, can you hear me?”

            The
men turned around at a rustling noise behind them.  Calvin pushed up from the
prone position; the clump of brush he had been laying behind had hid him
completely.  He didn’t bother to dust himself off.

            “What’s
going on?  We heard the whistle and scrambled everyone in a hurry.  Tam and
Lynn took the younger kids towards the center of the island; we thought they
would hide best in the trees and thicker undergrowth.  You want me to call the
rest out here?” 

            “Yeah,
call them out;” Gordy told his son, “we may have a situation.  How much of one
I have no idea, but I saw two boats up river from here.  I couldn’t tell you
anything about them other than they are coming in this direction.”

            Calvin
raised his hand and waved it in a “come here” motion.  Everyone but Tamara,
Lynn and the children stepped out into the clearing at the edge of the camp.

            “Sorry
to scare everyone,” Gordy began, “we saw two boats coming down river.  I can’t
say if they are hostile or just people like us, getting away from a dangerous
situation.  I just want you guys to be aware of what’s coming.  How you were
hiding was great, Mike and I couldn’t see anyone.  Jimmy stayed behind to watch
the boats, as soon as he can get a clear look at them, he’ll head back here.”

            “So,
what do you want to do,” Jan asked, “wait out here and see what happens or get
everyone hidden again?”

            “When
Jimmy gets back we can hide and watch.  He should be back in plenty of time for
us to disappear the way everyone did before.”

            Jimmy
walked into camp a few minutes later, out of breath.  “They are close, should be
near the inlet any minute now.”

            “Everyone
back to their hiding spot.  Jimmy, Mike, Sam, and Rick stay here with me; these
people will see the boats and know there are people here.   They don’t need to
know how many though.”

            The
five men stood on the sand, waiting for the unknown.  Each man had his own
thoughts on what they would face, and how they would face it, but they all
expected trouble to come.

            It
wasn’t long before the two boats, both old jon-boats, turned into the inlet. 
The men standing on shore could hear shouting voices, and the rumble of the
tired old outboard motors.  They all stood quietly, spread out in a long line
with rifles held at low ready. 

            A
shout came from the boats, and everyone turned to look at the five armed men
standing on the beach. 

            “Hello
to the island!” a voice called from the boats.  One of three men stood up,
unsteady in the watercraft. 

            “Hello
to the boats!” Gordy shouted back.  He and the other men kept their rifles at
the low ready position, wary of the newcomers.

            The
man standing in the boat gestured to the other people with him, other than the
two men; there were two women and a child, though it was difficult to judge the
boy’s age at a distance.  “Can we come ashore?  I have a sick boy here, he’s
only seven.  We need help.”

            “Damn
it, I don’t want to let these people come up here.  Could be a trick,” Gordy
said softly.  The four men standing with him were quiet for a moment, letting
Gordy think.

            “It’s
your call Gordy,” Rick told him, “we’ll support whatever decision you make.”

            “When
the hell did I become leader of this bunch?”

            “Years
ago, you just didn’t know it,” Mike said.  “I’m for letting them come up, your
wife can take a look at the boy and then we send them on down the river.  Your
call, though.”

            Gordy
thought for a moment more, then called out, “Come in slowly, nothing sudden!”

            Both
boats came up to the sandy area, beaching directly in front of the men.  Jimmy
leaned over toward Sam saying, “Look at the woman and boy, they look terrified,
man.  You think something is going on there?”

            “They
may just be scared of us, who knows,” Sam replied, “let’s just keep a close eye
on them.”

            One
man from each boat jumped out, splashing in the shallow water.  Pulling the tow
lines they dragged the boats as far on shore as they could, to keep them from
drifting away.

            The
man that had shouted to them from the boat came forward, walking with his hand
out ready to shake Gordy’s. 

            The
first moments happened quickly.  It seemed that at the same time their hands
meet, Gordy had the barrel of a .45 pistol resting against his forehead.  He
did not see it coming.  Even for all the precaution and worry, he could not
have predicted such an insanely bold move.

            Gordy’s
companions trained their rifles on the man, but did not fire.  The other two
men from the boats had rifles up and ready, one of the women gripped a large
revolver in both hands.  No one moved, and for a brief moment no one spoke.

            “Well,
I hate to do this but my people here need the supplies, and one of those big
pontoon boats to pack it on.  Let us take what we need and we can all walk away
from this.” 

            The
man was wiry; he looked like someone that was used to hard work, especially
outdoors.  Gordy stared back into the man’s cruel, dark eyes.  They were the
eyes of someone that got what he wanted, and Gordy felt that it was probably
business as usual; taking what was desired by force. 

            “Nobody
move!” Gordy said loudly, so that those hiding in the woods could hear him. 
The wiry man cocked his head slightly, not sure what was going on. 

            Gordy
gathered himself up inside, choking back fear, forcing his hands not to shake
or his bladder to loosen.  He couldn’t think of anything worse (other than a
bullet in the head) than pissing himself in fear at this very moment, though he
felt the urgent need to do so. 

            Drawing
a deep breath, Gordy looked directly into the wiry man’s eyes, ignoring the
rotten smelling breath being puffed out at him.  Speaking loudly enough to be
heard by the men standing next to him, Gordy told the man with the gun to his
head, “You need to put your guns down, climb back in your boats, and leave.”  

            Wiry
Guy’s eyes widened, surprised that this bastard had the balls to say something
like that with a gun to his head.  “Either stupid or crazy, you gotta be one or
the other.  Your boys have us outnumbered, but I promise you’re the first one
to get a bullet, then at least two, if not all of your men will go down.  I’d
say four against five isn’t that bad of odds when we have the upper hand here. 
Now you tell your men to set their guns down, we’ll get what we need and be on
our way. “

            Gordy
sighed, and said, “You had your chance.”  Slowly he raised his hands as if in
surrender and made the same “come here” motion that Calvin had made earlier. 
Wiry Guy pressed the barrel of the pistol harder into Gordy’s forehead,
expecting a sudden movement from him.  He was still looking at Gordy when he
heard one of his people say “Aw, shit,” from behind him.

            He
glanced at his companion, following his gaze back up the beach, to the edge of
the woods, where every adult member of Gordy Fletcher’s group had stepped from
concealment.  All were armed, and all looked very angry.

            Gordy
looked into Wiry Guy’s face and said again, “You had your chance.”

            Gordy
took two steps backward, while Mike and Rick, the closest to him stepped
forward.  Wiry Guy still held the pistol at arm’s length, though his arm had
begun to drop.  When the two men moved forward the pistol came back up,
tracking back and forth over the three closest people.

            “You
might kill a few of us, but I can promise you, not a single one of you will
leave this island.  Put your weapons on the ground, all of you.”  Gordy raised
his voice so that he could be sure each person from the boats heard him
clearly, and said it again.

            Weapons
fell to the sand, though the woman with the big revolver hesitated, until Mike
sighted the DPMS Oracle on her forehead, “Try something,” he said.  She quickly
dropped the gun, and lifted her hands up to show she was no longer a threat.

            “Turn
around, hands on the back of your heads.  Check them for more weapons,” Gordy
told his men, “relieve them of any they still have.” 

            Sam,
Jack, Mike and Calvin stepped forward, searching all three of the men.  They
were rewarded with an ankle holstered .32 revolver from Wiry Guy, and a 9mm
from each of the other two men.  Calvin searched the woman, finding no other
guns.  They gathered up all of the confiscated firearms and dumped them further
up on the sand, out of easy reach. 

            “Now
search the boats, take out any gun you find.”  Sam and Jimmy only took a moment
to search the boats, finding two shotguns, and a .30-30 deer rifle with a
scope.  They piled these with the rest of the guns. 

            Through
all of this the woman holding the little boy had been silent.  She had not
moved, nor had she spoken a word.  “Please, let us stay here, with you.  My
husband’s sorry, we all are.  We’re just so scared.”

            Wiry
Guy snapped his head up, glaring at the woman.  “Shut up, Mary.  We don’t need
their damn help.  We don’t need anyone’s fucking charity,” he spat.

            “You
needed our supplies and a boat just a minute ago.  Apparently you needed them
bad enough to try and steal them at gun-point.”   Lisa’s tone was sharp.

            “There
is no charity here now.  I’m sorry, Mary,” Gordy said, his voice low and
apologetic.  “Wherever these people are,” Gordy gestured to the group around
him, “that is home, and you tried to invade our home, steal our things and harm
my family.  The only charity you get is we will let you leave.  Without your
guns.”

            “Who
the hell is stealing now? You fat bastard, I should’ve shot you when I had the
chance!”  The wiry invader glared at Gordy, vehement hatred shining in his
eyes.

            “Get
in your boats and go.  Now!”

            They
got into their boats quickly, glaring at the group on the beach.  Over the
sound of fading boat motors everyone gathered on the sand heard, “I’ll see you
again, all of you!  I’ll see you all dead!”

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