Rose – One
~ Free Time ~
The road to our new camp spot was easy and quiet. Fran, Filly, Solo and Matthias had gone off to do one last job while the rest of us packed up camp and headed on the road. I liked the travelling but I hated to always be on the move. I did want to settle down but in this line of work, I don’t think I’d ever be able to do that.
Zachariah said that we’re only about a days ride on the waggons from a place he used to camp back in his younger days, a small ridge side spot called Little Cross.
“Named after a small cross that’s been there since people passed by. Some say that it’s a grave marker for some explorer who came this way, some say that it’s a warning sign for anyone not to stop here. I think it’s just a way marker that someone put down.” Zachariah laughed as he sat beside me in the cart, gently ushering the horses.
“Ain’t they find no body beneath the cross? If it’s supposed to be a grave.” I asked, nibbling on a shred of jerky.
“Some say they dug it up, some say they wouldn’t dare go near it.” He turned his head and winked at me. It was always superstitions out here, all stories and tales.
It’s why I liked it.
Zachariah always knew how to tell a good story; he was the book keeper after all, managing the finances meant you had to learn to read and when you did that you might as well as use that skill!
Zachariah had taught most of the gang their letters, Solomon, Matthias and Gideon had all been together with Zachariah from the start. It was like a family.
A family I’d never had.
Matthias had been teaching me my letters for a while. He said I as pretty good but I never liked to practise in front of anyone; I wouldn’t want them to think Rose was stupid.
We made a stop about four hours into the ride to keep the horses rested and well fed, it was a pleasant stop; right by a river that Zachariah told me he used to fish in on his way this East. I liked the idea of fishing and he promised to teach me one day.
Another four hours and we arrived at Little Cross. It was just as beautiful as Zachariah had described. A large wide plateau with tree’s on either side ending in a cliff that overlooked a large gully and valley filled with tree’s and according to Zachariah, good game for hunting.
Now was the tedious task of setting up camp. The waggons were set up as they always were, Gideon and Solo’s tents at the centre with Solomon’s tent set up around his waggon; always keeping the firearms and weapons at the centre of camp.
On the other side of Gideons tent was a set of tents for Zachariah and Leo the Priest. In front of those tents and which all else would be built around would be the food waggon. Wilburn got his tent set up and got ready to start supper. Obadiah had split off from the convoy during the ride up here and bagged a nice wild boar that he was in the middle of skinning and gutting.
We would eat well tonight.
I helped out Tabitha, Gideon’s wife, with the preparations for the food, setting a large table we had stolen some months ago. It was a nice table and with the gang at the current size of fifteen, we all could fit on it.
We would eat like Kings and Queen’s of the Old World tonight!
It was not long for the victors returned. Solomon, Filly, Matthias and Fran rode into camp like ancient Ilmarian Generals through a Republic Triumph. Getting off their horses and inspecting the area, the four split off to do whatever they were planning. I saw Solo and Matt head to Gideon’s tent while Filly and Fran made their way over to us at the fire pot.
“Hey girls, how did it go?” I asked with a grin. I liked to hear their tales, both the girls were good with their guns and the boys always took them out. Grace and I were very rarely going into the action and worked the small jobs.
“It went perfect!” Filly laughed and bent down to take a bowl from the pile and scooped herself up some soup. We would have dinner soon but they had probably been on the road just as long as we did. “Solo was amazing, he rode out and called them out, they threw in a stick of dynamite and blew the door open. It was a right mess but we got the money.”
“You mean you threw in explosives?” I gasped.
“They were told to surrender and they tried to blow Solo’s head off with a shotty. I think it’s fair game then.” Filly laughed and took a spoon full of her soup.
“I guess that’s alright then.” I shrugged. I did not want to think about the mess that had been left in the stage coach after that stick went off.
“What about the goods, what did we get?” Wilburn asked as he slammed down the cleaver onto the meat.
“Bills, stocks and a lot of cash.” Fran chipped in.
“That’s great. So what’s the plan now?” I asked.
“Well it looks like Gideon and the others will look into the local town, I hear Darksnag is nearby so they’re going to check in for some job opportunities. There is a Saloon and a inn, so we can get some good money on passersby.” Fran shrugged and waved us off as she went back to her tent.
“Yea girl?” The red haired girl smiled as she finished up a bowl of soup.
“When you guys go out to town, give me a holla and I’ll come with ya.”
“Yea, will do!” The red haired girl grinned and went off on her own again.
Solomon and Matthias were coming out of Gideon’s tent.
“Hey Matthias. Things go well?” I asked as they passed.
“Sure did Rose.” The not-so-gruffer looking male smiled as I approached, stepping in line between them.
“Got some good cash, bit of a hard time but ‘thias there held up well.” Solomon grinned and spat to the side as we walked past his tent.
“That’s good. I’m happy for you Matthias!” I gently slapped his arm and carried on walking, letting the boys handle their own things. Finally back at my tent, I crawled in side and picked a journal.
Now I had a little bit of free time I planned on getting some of my words done. Picking out the pencil from inside the soft leather fold, I told my story.
Once I had finished up with my journal, I wrapped up the leather straps and tucked it into my bag. Laying my head down onto my makeshift pillow, I took a long sigh and listened to the noises outside. Easing my mind into sleep.
I played over the events what happened, the killing, the murdering, the fighting. How calmly Solomon had been. He had been so stern, so manly, so… so…
I wonder what those hands of his could do to me if he tried.
‘Damn it.’ I thought. I should not be thinking of him like that! It was Solomon after all! He was like a brother to us all! He looked after us!
A soft sigh left my lips as I tried to blank my mind. I shouldn’t be thinking of these sorts of things, I wasn’t that kind of girl! I joined to make money, not be the camp floozy. Gideon allowed it of course, as long as it never got out of hand; if he or any of the others had to step in to any arguments or issues then it was a three warning system.
Final warning had you both out on your arse.
I remember when Sally and Jake got into a fight, they couldn’t stop fighting and eventually Gideon threw them out, damn, had that really been six months ago? Wow. Time flew when you didn’t realise it.
I still remember Jake trying to throw a punch at Solomon, his hands grabbing the fist and throwing it back in Jake’s face.
Those big, strong hands…
‘Damn it! Again!’ I thought. Shaking my head.
A warm feeling was running through my body, was I really dreaming of Solomon? Was I really doing this? My mind seemed to be doing it at least. I could feel my body growing warmer, hotter, wetter.
Something moved between my legs.
‘Oh Solomon.’ I moaned in my mind, my head raising back and allowing him more access to my neck. A wet kiss was placed there, his big strong hands gently ran over my neck and edged my lips. The fingers entered, they touched, they played, they reached places I had only ever touched myself.
The dream was coming to a close pretty quickly, I opened my eyes.
That was when I saw him.
With wide eyes, I let out a howling scream into the hand across my mouth. My legs clamped around the hand and my hands scratched out. In the dark, the figure let out a hissing gasp and the hand over my mouth moved slightly, allowing me access with my teeth.
I took the opportunity and bit down on the flab of flesh over my mouth. The figure yelped like a virgin as I took a chunk of flesh in my teeth.
There was rustling outside the tent and light filled the darkness, light from a lantern and it blinded everything around me. Closing my eyes, I felt the sudden cold as the figure got off me, no he wasn’t getting off me.
He was pulled off me.
“You fuckin’ idiot!” A voice snapped.
“I was only havin’ some fun! She wanted it! She moaned it!” Another voice gasped, choked and gasping.
Blinking quickly to get the blinding light out of my eyes, I saw what was around me and who was talking.
One figure had another by the neck, holding him up off his feet with the ease of one’s own body strength.
Holding up another person, I squinted at the figure to try and work out who it was. As my eyes cleared I saw Levi held up.
“What in the Nine Hel’s is going on here!” Gideon snapped as he stormed over. It seemed a number of people were coming out of their tents to see what happened.
“I was going for a piss when I saw Levi taking advantage of Miss Cresswell.” Solomon spoke as he continued to hold Levi up.
“Hey! I ain’t… guilty of… nothing…” Levi gasped as he held Solomon’s arm.
“Put him down Solomon.” Gideon told him and stepped over, wearing just his night clothes and boots.
Solomon dropped Levi to the floor and gave him a sift boot.
Pulling the blanket over myself, I hid under the covers and tried to come to the realisation of what was just almost happened.
“One more time Levi! One more straw and you’re out!” Gideon yelled and pointed at the boy. “I don’t care if you and her were supposed to be doing anything. By the look on the poor girl’s face I don’t think you were doing it consensually! In this gang we are not a band of rapists.” Gideon looked at Solomon and nodded before going back to his tent.
Solomon kicked him hard and grabbed him by the collar to drag him through the camp.
As I sat watching what happened, Matthias and Filly came over and knelt down beside him.
“Don’t worry Rose, Solo will sort out Levi, we’re here for ya.” Matthias spoke softly and I realised I was crying.
Had that really happened?
Rose – One