Stephen C Challis - Authors page
Storm of The Shawnee (excerpt)


Becky could instantly see this woman was no lady, the dress she wore was torn and stained with mud and some blood. She wore faded moccasins and her legs were stained with bear grease to ward off biting insects. ‘She’ was also holding a tomahawk. The hat was pulled down to shield her face. Becky scanned the brush around the riverbank.  She saw movement, branches shaking although there was no wind.   The approaching flatboats were heading into a trap.

Becky realized the flatboats were still about half an hour away, enough time to get back to warn them, but it would be risky. She dropped back out of sight and quickly retraced her steps. Once on the grassland she moved quickly, scanning the tree line and watching for any pursuit. Becky normally took care in moving through this country, but now she had been spotted, the party at Beavers Bend had left a rear guard, two braves who were now following her. They realized where she was going and why.  After 10 minutes Becky realized she had been seen; quickly she dropped into the undergrowth and took position. She reasoned that if they got close enough she could probably ambush them. From the rotting remains of a fallen oak she waited unmoving with her rifle resting on a branch situated at just the right height to support the barrel.  Silently she eased the hammer back on the lock, applying light pressure on the trigger so as to avoid the characteristic click as the hammer locked back.  She took some lead balls from her pouch and put them in her mouth, because she knew she wouldn’t have time to put grease lubricant on them and her saliva would have to do. She waited, listening for any sounds or birds chatter that would give away her approaching attackers.

At first nothing, then she saw him moving low and crouched in the sage grass, his face was smeared in red war paint and he was scanning left to right, alert and anticipating an attack. The range closed 100 yards 70, then 50, still just the one brave. Becky was sure she had seen two, 30 yards; the Shawnee stopped, his own sixth sense now cutting in. Then he saw Becky at the moment she fired. Too late he tried to avoid the shot but it struck him high in the chest, exploding out between his shoulder blades. Becky quickly reloaded the rifle, pouring a quantity of powder down the barrel from her powder horn and spat a ball from her mouth that she had been holding there to lubricate them, before ramming it home. No time for patches, or lube, she was sure the second brave was not far away. They had obviously split. Maybe to flank her or maybe one returned to the war party. No matter, she lifted the frizzen and poured a small amount of powder into the pan. She lowered the gun and scanned keeping low. Where the Fuck was he.

She got her answer as a Shawnee arrow slammed into her side, skimming off a rib and tearing a jagged wound. The pain was searing and felt like a hot wire; Becky dropped the rifle and fell back, waves of pain swept over her. She saw the Shawnee now closing in for the kill, a large bladed bolo knife in his hand. The rifle was only 2 feet away, but Becky made no attempt to grab it, her attacker was too close.  As he reached her, she rolled onto her back; her wide brimmed hat coming off revealed her long hair. The Shawnee was taken aback; he had not expected a woman. Too late he saw the small pistol grasped in Becky’s hand, her face grimaced in pain and her teeth clenched, Becky fired holding the gun with both hands. The bullet tore into the Indians face blowing away half of the back of his skull. The French pistol had been an engagement present from William and now the quaint gift had saved her life, at least for now. The shooting pains from the arrow told the young frontierswoman that this was no ordinary hunting arrow. It was poisoned for hunting. “Damn “she said to herself, this is a lonely place to die.

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