Friday, 11 July 2014

Flash Fiction Friday By Jane Buttery

 Two Women at the Crossroads- Catharine Malott and Tecumapese
By Jane Buttery
This is an extract from Jane's historical novel based on a true story about Catharine. Catharine lived with the Shawne for 4 years until her future husband Simon Girty rescued and married her. Many loyalists and American settlers were captured by Indians who saw them as infiltrating their land.
On a crisp morning in March 1780, the Malott and Reynolds families left the fort with two other men who had helped build the flat boats. They were soon happily floating down the Ohio River. Peter Malott and his oldest boys headed out first, taking their animals and farm supplies with them. Catharine, her mother Sarah, Peter and little Keziah were on John Reynolds’ bigger boat, rowed by two men. The Malott family enjoyed sharing the time with Martha Reynolds and her three children. But they soon faced real trouble.

The children asked to play so John Reynolds begun to move their flatboat towards the shore, not seeing a fast moving canoe coming closer. But Peter waved frantically at him and he turned round. Thinking to scare them off, he shot his rifle over their heads. But one Indian shot a bullet right into his head. He fell immediately. Martha screamed out and Sarah took her baby when she went down on her knees to try to talk to her husband.

"John, can you hear me?" But John hardly moved: one arm tried to touch her and then fell back. "Oh, dear God, he's dying! What can we do, Sarah?"

Beside her, young John and Mary Reynolds started to cry. Catharine moved to comfort them just as their flat boat was boarded by six Delaware Indians

All the women and children were herded together while the Indians ransacked their things. Keziah and little Mary wouldn’t stop crying and Catharine was scared about what the Indians might do to them.

"Those Indians scare me," Mary whispered hiding her face close to her mother. Catharine squeezed her hand, not daring to reply.

Another canoe came alongside and all the children were pushed into it. Catharine tried to speak to her mother but Sarah said, "Be brave and pray." As they were taken to the shore, Catharine touched her bible, sewn into an inner pocket. Under her breathe, she prayed, "God, protect mama. Keep us all safe, Lord."

Once ashore, most of the Indians left them alone to sit on the bank while they went to get more goods. Because one stayed close by, the children were only able to whisper to each other.

Peter said," Did you see how they are painted their faces John?"

"Yes. It makes them look scary! I think that the big one shot my papa." Catharine cuddled Keziah on her lap as the little girl sucked her thumb. Mary held her new baby sister who was sleeping now.

After a while, Peter stood up. "Something’s happening to the boat!"

"Our boat’s on fire!" young John shouted.

All the children gasped. Catharine looked to see more. "But I think they are bringing our mothers here now. See the two canoes are coming."

In a short while, her mother and Mrs. Reynolds were safe on shore. Catharine longed to run to her mother but she was too frightened. Once they landed, the Indians made them get up and walk.

Welcome Jane! Thank you for participating in Flash Fiction Friday. Historical fiction is quickly becoming one of my favourite stories to read. You mentioned your books mostly celebrate where you live in rural S.W Ontario. With a fort in Amherstburg from 1776 and a village from 1784 you have your setting and research o your doorstep!

To connect with Jane and learn more here are some links.
We encourage readers to comment on this Flash Fiction Friday piece. What are your thoughts? 

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