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Apaches, Buffalo Soldiers, That Female Reporter, And... Chapter One       Returning to the Black Range and the land of the Warm Spring Apache Indians, I could not believe what I was seeing. The last time I was here the magical portal...

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Follow the Sun by E. V. Pete Hester Follow the Sun By E. V. Pete Hester Copyright Pending 2015     Foreword Butch Madison told this story to me several years ago and swore that everything he told was true and...

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J. I. Hall, Jr.....A Western Novel by E. V. Pete Hester This is my latest novel and it is not in a good format for reading, however, it is readable. I enjoyed writing this book and I had problems finding a publisher....so, what the heck, I wrote it just for...

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Confederates move to Brazil...John W. and Lisanna Brownlow... Otis Vaughn is interested in locating members of the Brownlow (Vaughn descendants) family who relocated to Brazil after the Civil War. In the past, I have had several readers from Brazil and if any of...

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Our Tax Dollars At Work…..Or Play

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 31-05-2018

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This is political stats:  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/04/food-stamp-rolls-plummet-in-states-that-restore-work-requirements.html

States with work for welfare!

These numbers help explain why these last eight years were disastrous for the USA. I read the last item and then look at Trump’s Cabinet. No wonder Washington, DC is in a turmoil. Trump’s picks are bosses who expect their employees to work.. These are Eye Opening Numbers. This is what bothers a lot of people about Trump. He won’t accept a can’t do attitude, or inexperienced, incompetent performance. He will get results; it just might not be smooth or pretty.

Here are some amazing stats: Make sure you read to the bottom. An eye opener!

1. These 10 States now have more people on welfare than they do employed!

California

New Mexico

Mississippi

Alabama

Illinois

Kentucky

Ohio

New York

Maine, and

South Carolina

2. Last month, the Senate Budget Committee reports that in fiscal year 2012, between food stamps, housing support, child care, Medicaid and other benefits, the average U.S. Household below the poverty line received $168.00 a day in government support.

What’s the problem with that much support?  Well the average household income in America is just over $50,000, which averages out to $137.13 a day.

To put it another way, being on welfare now pays the equivalent of $30.00 an hour for 40 hour week, while the average job pays $24.00 an hour.

3. Check the last set of statistics!!

The percentage of each past president’s cabinet who had worked in the private business sector prior to their appointment to the cabinet. You know what the private business sector is: A real-life business not a government job. Here are the percentages:

38% T. Roosevelt

40% Taft

52% Wilson

49% Harding

48% Coolidge

42% Hoover

50% F. D. Roosevelt

50% Truman

57% Eisenhower

30% Kennedy

47% Johnson

53% Nixon

42% Ford

32% Carter

56% Reagan

51% GH Bush

39% Clinton

55% GW Bush

8% Obama

90% Trump

This helps explain the bias, if not the incompetence, of the last administration: ONLY 8% of them have ever worked in private business! That’s right! Only eight percent – the least, by far of the last 19 presidents! And these people tried to tell our corporations how to run their businesses?

How could Obama, president of a major nation and society, the one with the most successful economic system in world history, stand and talk about business when he’s never worked for one?

Or about jobs when he has never really had one? And, when it’s the same for 92% of his senior staff and closest advisers? They’ve spent most of their time in academia, government, and/or non-profit jobs or as “community organizers.”

Probably a good idea to pass this on, because we’ll NEVER see these facts in the main stream media, or from the alphabet networks.

 

This email was passed on to me and it was a real eye opener. The general public needs to see these numbers.

 

 

Stand For The Anthem

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 25-05-2018

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I do believe the NFL players have a right to protest. That is the American way. But as Americans, how can you kneel for the flag and national anthem of the country you love and protest it at the same time. I don’t think you can. Protest some other way, at another time, on another platform…..I for one have been turned off by your protest and I will protest you protesting and I hope that everyone who disagrees with the kneeling protesters at NFL games will not buy tickets and refuse to watch the game and let it be known to the advertisers of the games that they are not watching. Matter of fact, if it continues, I hope the NFL suffers from it….and I think they will if it is allowed to continue. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Jack Minzey Wrote This…”Civil War”….E-Mail from a friend in Texas

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 24-05-2018

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USA Can Save 622 Billion Based on 2016 Stats

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 21-05-2018

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The Center for Immigration Studies said, based on the 2016 figures of 11.3 million illegals in this country,  that the lifetime cost for keeping these illegals in the USA is over 746 billion dollars. The cost to deport these illegals is roughly 124 billion. So, over a lifetime, we could save 124 billion. Even building Mr. Trumps wall, at 25 billion, America could pocket over 90 billion. Now the wall is creating a stir among the liberals, who I suppose have tons of money and support a vastly indebted America. They do not want the wall and want to keep all 11 million illegals and apparently they are also ok with a open border entry. And within a few years there are another 8 to 11 million wanting amnesty .Will we do it all over again?… Someday, when America is completely broke, our welfare system completely busted, and this great  country has printed it’s last good dollar, I reckon they will go home…. I suppose the world  will then be happy. Sad ending….If you can write or even envision another ending to this story, I would love to hear it….

No Wall….Then What

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 19-05-2018

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Ok….you opponents of building the wall to stop the flow of illegals into the USA, then just how do you propose to stop the flow of illegals into this country. Surely all of you can see that as broke as our country is that we cannot afford to allow them to continue unabated into our country. So, just what do you guys propose that we do? I will publish your solution in hesterbooks.com. We would like to hear from you. Thanks, Pete Hester

A Repost From 2014…..On Caregiving

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 07-05-2018

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Darling, What’s for Supper?

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 24-06-2014

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The husband comes in from work fifteen minutes after his wife and shouts, “What’s for supper?” She replies, “Whatever you want to fix.”…..Most husbands have learned to share the homemaking responsibilities,   but there are a few out there who put the entire burden of meal making on the wife, and some that puts all the household chores on the wife….Sorry, fellows, but if she is helping pay the bills you need to help with the chores. Even if she stays home you need to help her out. Keeping a house is a lot of work. A short time ago Sweetie came down with back problems….bad back problems that stopped her from doing anything. I became the caregiver for several weeks. What an eye opener that turned out to be…Try this…let your wife sit for a week and you do it all…After one week, you will change your attitude. I guarantee it. So, it’s best to share the load, helping one another out and it will also help her attitude…You’ll see….She’ll love you more than ever and you will appreciate everything she does more that ever…Yeah, you’ll probably love her more also…Pete Hester

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May 5th…On This Date In History

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 05-05-2018

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May 5, 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte died on the Isle of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic….in exile…said to have been one of the greatest commanders in the history of the world. He rose from the ranks in the Army of France from an artillery officer  to the rank of general by age 24. He was a war hero and became Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1814 and again for a short period in 1815, trying to lead a revolt. He met his Waterloo,, er,  at the Battle of Waterloo.   He was exiled and died six years later on the island of Saint Helena. He did some good during those years he was Emperor, influencing the territories he conquered or controlled bringing equality before the law, property rights, religious tolerance, modern secular education and sound finical programs, among other things. Click on Wikipedia to read all the details of this interesting man.

Apaches, Buffalo Soldiers, That Female Reporter, And Me by E. V. Pete Hester copyright 2010

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 04-05-2018

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Chapter One

 

 

 

Returning to the Black Range and the land of the Warm Spring Apache Indians, I could not believe what I was seeing. The last time I was here the magical portal that opened up into the strange land of long ago had caved in and was impassable. Apparently the runoff from our heavy rains had gotten the  creek out of its banks and  had washed the rocks and dirt out of the portal leaving about a four foot passageway all the way through to the other side.  A stream of water about a foot deep was still cascading through the opening. Since I had not expected to find the opening cleared, I had not made preparations for a long trip into that other world.

However, since I was camping out, I did have a few things with me. There were snacks in my backpack; some jerky, trail mix and sunflower seeds, a jar of chunky peanut butter and a sleeve of crackers. For me that was about a day’s worth of food.  Plus, I had some emergency supplies on my ATV. Several cans of ham and pork and beans, so I could walk back and get that stuff if I needed them.  I had brought along my pistol for snake protection, a flashlight, compass and a portable radio, which was a combination radio, flashlight, and clock. It also had a very loud screeching alarm when you pushed a red button. It was a small, lightweight unit, with a darn good radio, having a strap for easy carrying.  I did have those things and I could make do.

Passing up the opportunity just to step through the portal to see the other side now was not an option. The prospects for revisiting my Indian friends were very exciting.  Just who would be or could be standing on the other side?  Could it be some of the tribal members who were there before? Or some of the Buffalo Soldiers? Or maybe there would be no one and no difference in the time zones this time.

Feeling the rejuvenation of my old body as it passed through the magical time changing properties of the portal the last time I was there made me want to experience it once more. To pass through the portal made an older body younger and a later time earlier. I was ready for some of the good “old fashioned” youth make over treatment. I suppose I could name the entrance “the portal of youth”. Now it looked more like a tunnel than a portal.

Last time it not only changed the year, 2002, to a much earlier time, 1867, but it also reduced many years from my life, taking me back to my twenties as best I could figure. My only means of judgment was based on remembering when I had that much hair.

After staring at the tunnel for a couple of minutes, I decided to give it one more try, one more trip back to yesteryear.  What could happen in just sticking my head through for a few minutes? There was no way I could journey to this point and not walk through the opening to see if the old magic was still there. I liked how the passageway had previously renewed my energy and I felt it was worth the trip to get the renewal.

The water flowing through the passage had meandered around the bigger boulders that had crashed down inside the old passageway. Instead of being a straight shot of just a few feet through the portal my path would have to take a zigzagging course to the other side.

When I stepped into the running water it had a shocking effect, like it was straight from a snow melt. Its force required me to brace on the wall of the portal at all times to maintain my balance.  The portal seemed wider than before but not as tall. Last time through the portal walking upright was possible, but now I was bending over to make it through the meandering route, taking longer to reach the other side.

As I walked out on the other side, I braced for unknown happenings. Indians, soldiers, maybe both and they could be engaged in combat.  But there was none of that. I found a peaceful, quiet, sunny afternoon on that side as well. And it was warm, thank goodness. My cold feet and legs needed some relief from the icy water.

The time of day seemed to be about the same as the other side of the portal and the temperature seemed pretty close. My feet were still very cold from the trip. I thought about finding a good warm rock and letting them warm up , but waiting and watching seem more appropriate as Apaches could be lurking somewhere in the shadows.  My surveying the area for a while seemed more prudent. Of course, I was making the assumption that I had in fact time traveled again.

The stream Hawk and I had fished on my first trip here, was out of it banks, still running though a channel that went through the portal.  The stream had been very high until just a short time ago as the banks were still soggy and had fresh debris covering them.

The outcropping of rocks that produced the circular overhang that housed the tribe on my earlier visit had signs of smoke and soot all over them. The ashes of many old fires remained. It was impossible to tell how long these ashes had been there.  The grass around the area had been growing at least a season or so as it was not in the least trampled down, making me think that the tribe had not been here for some time.

There were a few birds singing, crickets chirping, frogs croaking, and the rushing sounds of the stream was all that could be heard.

I suppose I had hoped to see Butterscotch one more time and hear the chatter of the tribe. I could visualize her face and well remembered how pretty she was.

Ok, so I had hoped to see Butterscotch one more time. And I would like to see Hawk and some of the others as well. Yeah, I have to admit I wanted to see most of them, but not Wolf.

“Yooo whoooo, oh, Mister, can you hear me? Wait up, sir.”

“What in the world is that?”  I thought, “Am I hearing things?” The high pitched voice continued.

“Mister, oh, Mister, Hello…. Hello…. Do you hear me? Are you hard of hearing, sir? I have been calling you forever. Ever since I saw you enter the tunnel coming into this valley.”

Hearing the voice had made me jump. Who the hell is that and what are they doing out here, I wondered, looking all around. I could hear a female voice, but I could not see anyone. Finally, she came out from the portal looking all around trying to locate me. She was female, 35 or 40, brown pants, brown blouse,  buckskin jacket, black hiking boots with about a 12 inch lace, a backpack, with a brown hat hanging from it. The pack looked like it could contain a bedroll and a tent. She had short black hair, an uneven cut that looked like it could have been done with a butcher knife.  A lock of hair was hanging down, almost covering the left eye. She had a straight nose, but it blended in with the rest of her face very nicely. She had blue eyes and a nice smile. She was not exactly pretty, but she was close.

“Thank goodness I caught you. I am out of water and out of food and I am terribly lost. I am so glad to see you. First, do you have anything to eat? I am about to starve. I ate my last trail mix yesterday around noon” she said quite pleadingly.

Talk about being surprised to see someone other than Indians or soldiers. I am sure it showed.

“Sure, let me put my pack down and I will get you something. I have some food stuff with me.” While I was talking I started taking out some jerky and crackers from my pack. I confessed my shock at seeing her by saying, “Man, you shocked the crap out of me when you yelled from the portal.”

She immediately started eating. I did not want to interrupt as she was chewing away, doing some smacking and making the food appear so good.

After giving her time for eating and relieving the hunger pains, I asked, “How does it happen that you are out here in the middle of nowhere in the first place and why would you want to be here in the second place?”  I pulled out the chunky peanut butter and knifed some on a couple of crackers, one for her and one for me.  Eating the cracker and peanut butter stopped her from answering for a while. Then she picked up the one I had made for me and ate it. So, I continued making peanut butter and crackers for her for a few minutes. After she slowed some on the eating, I made one for me and ate it.

Finally she replied, “Well, it’s like this. My friends and I were having an argument about where we were and the way to get back to our car. My friends are two dumb-ass guys and one smart-ass girl. I was about ready to put some whip-ass on the smart-ass girl anyway.” She had to pause to get a drink of water, washing down some of the peanut butter. “Well, I was so sure I was right and they were wrong, that I determined I should go ahead and go the way I thought was the proper direction. I think now that I was wrong”, tears welling up in her eyes, “and I should have listened to them this time. I left them breaking camp and they never caught up with me.  Usually I am right. I was positive that the way I was going was the correct way. I was so scared last night sleeping all alone in the forest. I hardly slept any. I called for them a long time early in the evening and they did not reply. Later, I kept hearing noises and critters were walking all around me. I saw one raccoon come right up to my sleeping bag.” She shivered when she told of the raccoon. “I’m just glad it wasn’t a bear. Anyway, looks like this time I may be the dumb-ass girl.”

She looked at me strangely. “You look a lot younger now than you did when

we first started talking. Hair has grown on your head while we have been sitting here. What is happening? Are you ok?” Her eyes were getting large and she seemed to be getting scared.

“Well, young lady… ah… What is your name?”

“Paige, Paige Middleton.”

“Paige, you probably will not believe me……. Well, maybe you will. This is my third trip into this valley. Each trip through that portal into this valley does strange things to me and quite frankly, to time itself.”

“What do you mean? Like Jekyll and Hyde? Does it make you weird or change you to someone bad or what? You won’t hurt me, will you? You don’t look mean but……..” Her eyes widened and the color drained from her face, showing fright as she spoke.

“Forget the weird and mean,” I cut her off short, “I could never be that, well, maybe weird, but not in a bad way. You see, each time I come through that portal I return to my youth. It’s nice. I get my hair back, lose wrinkles, lose aches and pains, and get back the muscles of my youth. And my good looks, too. Oh, and my charming personality becomes more, shall we say, ah, charming.  I don’t want to forget that,” I said, smiling.

“Oh, heavens, no, let’s not forget the good looks and charming personality. You know, you are not all that bad looking now, so maybe it is helping.  I’ll comment later on the personality.”

“Thank you, I think. Anyway, the other thing about coming into this valley is the time or year or zone. I don’t know what to call it, but it’s strange for sure. The last time I was here the year was 1867.”

“No, shit.” She just blurted that out.

I laughed. “No shit is right. Anyway, it seems that we are in another zone right now. I mean, on one side of the portal you have a date and on this side you have a different date.  One thing that is very evident today is that there are no jet contrails over here. Look at the sky. No jets flying overhead. Are we in 1867 as I was before or in a different year this time? I cannot answer which one until I see someone on this side of the portal, provided they speak English.”

“Could we be in 2007, same as the other side? That is also a possibility, huh?” she asked

“Well, yeah, but”, then I went ahead and told her most of the things that had happened to me on my earlier trips[1], into and out of this strange place, about Butterscotch, Hawk, and Wolf and about all of the Indian tribesmen that I remembered. I also told her about the Buffalo Soldier that was a captive here the same time I was and about our escape into the 21st Century. I told her of our trip back to Fort Selden which he had left a few days before he was captured, when it was a working fort. To him our visit was a few days later, but in reality it was 135 years later, and the fort was a falling down monument.  I brought her right up to present with my trip back to see what was happening with the portal and what year it would be if I could get inside. Also, I wanted to see who was around this trip and if there would be anyone I knew. I also knew all those things could be different.  I let her know all bets were off as to what we would really find. I had no way of knowing.

“So, what are you going to do? Explore around to find someone to tell you what year it is? How will you know and how can you meet someone out in this wild country? It all seems weird. It also sounds exciting.” She seemed more accepting and less frightened now. Her face had an “I want to know more about this place” look.

“Well, first, I need to get you back up to the highway. My car is parked near Emory Pass, but my ATV is just on the other side of the portal. I will get you back, stock up on supplies and try to explore this area for a while.”

She said, “I’m a reporter by trade. I had a photographer and a couple of friends with me doing a story on “The Black Range.” We had been to Dusty, Chloride and Winston to check out those old towns. So, this is right down my alley. I would like to explore with you for a few days since we are here. What do you think?”

“I think you are getting younger yourself. Do you have a mirror?”

Reaching in her fanny pack she soon had a mirror in her hand and she was examining herself with extreme interest. I knew something was going on inside her head as she was wondering about what she was seeing. “I look like I did when I was about 18 or 20. Wow, how can that be? How do you suppose that happens? My feet are not bothering me so bad now either. Great.”

“You know, you are not bad looking either, a few more minutes and you may be pretty. This is exciting,” I replied, getting back at her for the earlier remark. She did not say anything but gave me a “go to hell” look or something close to that.

“This is remarkable. I would like to write this story….this time travel stuff; that is if we really have time traveled. For sure something is happening to my skin and face. This might even be something for a novel. Can we get your ATV on this side of the portal?”

“No, we cannot get the ATV over here. It won’t fit through the tunnel. The time travel thing only works when you come through the portal. You can come over the top of that ridge there and nothing happens as far as changes to your age or time changes.”

“I tell you what we can do. We will go back and get what provisions I have on the ATV, some ham, pork and beans and a few more bottles of water and my big light. We can stay over here until the supplies run low. Do you think your friends will be worried about you?”

“Yeah, they will probably be concerned. But since it will only be for a short time and we are already here, let’s do it. I need a good story. This may be a great story.” She seemed very excited about it all.

“We can leave them a note on the ATV. However, I hate to have them come on through the portal without any warning. Maybe we can say, “If you decide to come after me, be very careful. There are some weird dangers and happenings over here.”

“Let me caution you about one other thing. We have to come and go together or very close to one another in time. If we don’t we could end up in different time zones over here. A few minutes later could alter the time. So even if your friends come through the portal to find us, they may enter a world different than the one we are in.”

“We can go out looking for them. Do you think you can find your way back to where you left them? Maybe we can find them? Do you want to try?” I asked.  She did not say anything for a while, thinking about situation.

“No, if we are only going to be a couple of days, let’s go ahead with your search. How long do you think you will be?” she asked.

“Not long. We do not have enough provisions to stay very long.”

 

 

Chapter Two

 

We divided the new rations I brought through the portal, bringing everything we could easily carry from the ATV.  My plan was to follow the creek upstream for a few miles. If anyone was in the canyon they would be following the creek.

We did leave the note almost exactly like we spoke of doing. So if her friends came that far, at least they would know she had company with her. I wrote the note and signed my name stating that a couple of days were all we planned on staying and it would probably be better if they just waited on Paige to return.

We had walked upriver until it was getting near sundown. I felt we should find a good location to spend the night. Heavy clouds were building up in the west indicating that rain was on the way. The temperature was dropping so it could be snow rather than rain. At this elevation, snows were common in May, the month on the other side of the portal.

About twenty yards or so from the creek and about 10 feet higher than the creek bed, there was a rock overhang, about eight foot tall at the front that curved back into the hill a few feet. Plenty of firewood was in the area and we soon had wood stacked at one end of our campsite to keep it dry and to keep us from going out at night looking for it.

Our supper was the ham cut into cubes, mixed with a can of Pork and Beans,’ and heated over our small fire. I boiled water for some instant coffee also.  Paige bragged on the food and it did taste pretty good. We finished the crackers.

Soon rain was coming down in sheets. The lightning was very close and the thunder was extremely loud. We moved to the very back of the overhang with our sleeping bags. We placed the firewood in the front of the opening to block the splashing and blowing rain, which helped some.

Darkness came early with the rain clouds. Our sleeping bags, spread against the back wall of the overhang, were becoming very comfortable. The fire felt good and we added just enough wood to keep it from dying out. The rumbling thunder made talking difficult and all that walking had caught up with us. Sleep came quickly.

During the night, Paige got up to relieve herself, waking me up. After she returned to the camp, I added wood to the fire and made a trip outside as well.

It was still raining very gently while I was outside, but I saw stars in the western sky. Soon the rain would be over.

We finished the pork and beans for breakfast and made fresh coffee. The hot coffee hit the spot in the cold morning mountain air. We both slipped back into our sleeping bags to finish our coffee. The sun was taking its time about coming out. Clouds were still hanging around in the eastern sky while the western sky was very clear.

“Let’s break camp and continue up stream for a while. I want us to stay close to water and specifically this stream as it leads us to our portal. We never want to lose the way to the portal. If we do, we could be trapped here forever, and we don’t know where “here” is. If we get separated remember to follow this stream back to the portal.”

“I know that I have changed, or become younger looking, but I still am not so sure about this being another time. Everything seems like it did on the other side of the portal. The flora and fauna is exactly the same. If it were not for my youthful looks, I don’t think I could believe you at all.” She did not look at me with distrust, but rather like “this cannot be real.”

The rain last night made the ground soft and muddy near the stream so we hiked out away from the stream and stepped from rock to rock up on the side of the canyon. We had been talking most of the morning, but for some reason we had stopped talking and were resting. We both heard the noise at the same time. It sounded like a herd of cattle or horses coming at us. We moved back into the brush, further away from the creek.

It was a tribe. It was not the same people I had been with previously. They had the same features, but were definitely not the same people. I did not recognize any of them. Some walked while others rode horses taking several minutes to pass. Horses were pulling travois, all heavily loaded.  There seemed to me to be 200 or 300 men, women and children passing by.

One of the warriors caught my eye by the way he sat his horse and carried himself, straight, tall and proud. I have pictures of most of the Apache chiefs and he reminded me of Mangas Coloradas of the Warm Spring Apaches. It could be him.

Two small boys were up on our side of the river taking the high road, looking everything over, and headed right for us. We hunkered down behind a big bush. Hopefully, it had enough foliage to cover us. When they were within fifteen or twenty feet of us, someone from below called to them. They apparently were wandering too far away from the tribe and had been called back closer to the group.

It took a while for the tribe to pass by us.  We continued to hide for several minutes after all had passed just in case there were some stragglers or rear guards. Sure enough, two warrior types came by a few minutes after the main group.

Speaking in a soft whisper, Paige asked, “Did you know any of them? Were they the ones you were with before? “

“No, they seem older; that is not the correct term…ah….. they seemed of an earlier age than the tribe I was with. Looking at their clothing and weapons date them to an extent. A few guns could be seen in the hands of the horsemen. Some warriors had bows and arrows and lances. I did see a few metal knives. However, I have no idea how to determine even an approximate year we are dealing with here. But I seriously think we could be back prior to 1863 or before, anyway back to a earlier time than when I was here before, especially if that is really Chief Mangas Coloradas leading them.”

I told her about the pictures I have and who I thought I saw riding with this tribe. Mangas Coloradas could be a vicious dude at times. I read that he had a run in with some white miners in this area and that was bad for the miners and bad for us, if we were in that time frame.

“Well, let’s go meet them and visit with them. Maybe we can determine from that meeting the timing here. Are you ready to follow them?” Page asked. “They will be able to see that we are not here to make trouble.”

“No, I am not ready to follow them. Nor do I want to visit with them at all until we can learn a little more about them. They could be extremely mean and ill tempered today. What if they just got their butts kicked by the U.S. Cavalry somewhere and they are not in a mood for seeing white people? No, I want to stay completely away from them. Maybe after we have determined something more about their temperament we will.”

“Well, I find that totally unacceptable.  I came with you to try and get a story and I cannot get a story sitting up here on my butt. I am going down to get a closer look. If all seems well, then I am going on up to their camp. This can make a wonderful story and I want to tell it.” Paige was not whispering now.

“Wait, just a minute. Hold on please, girl” trying to remain calm and keep my voice down. “Have you ever studied the old west and some of the stories of the Indians and how they treated the white’s, especially after we started taking over a lot of the western territories, areas that they considered their land. Sometimes it was not very pretty. The ladies faired better than the men, I think, but you need to rethink just what you are saying. To approach them now is crazy. Let’s study them for a while.”

“People are people. They could not possibly see me as a threat of any kind.

I am sure they will treat me with honor and respect as long as I treat them respectful. I am going to see them.”

“Girl, of your foursome, I think maybe you were the dumb-ass! You are not going to visit them right now.”

“You want to bet on it?”  She started getting up, “I want my story.”

“Damn it, wait…..” reaching for her but missing as she started for the stream.

I ran after her and laid a tackle on her that would have made my high school football coach proud, taking her down with all my weight on top of her. Rocks were everywhere making me wish I had waited until we had grassy ground to tackle her.  I immediately placed my hand over her mouth and was holding her tightly. I never thought about wrestling a girl, ever. At first I noticed she was so soft.  Then I noticed she was tough. Then I noticed she was pretty damn mean. She was a kicking, screaming, fighting little filly. We rolled all over that hillside, not missing any of the rocks. I did not want to release my hand from her mouth and yet it was very difficult to hold her down with only one hand. “You son of a bit…..” She never finished as she clamped down on my hand with her teeth.  After what seemed like ten minutes of her chewing on my hand and giving new meaning to the term, “steak fingers”, I had to turn her loose. She ran downstream toward the tribe, not looking back.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

I continued lying there, holding my freshly chewed hand, hurting and mad as I could be, wishing this had not happened and wondering “what the hell to do now”? If I go down there and they take us both captive, we are screwed. If I don’t go, how will I know what has happened to the girl. I can’t let her endure whatever is to be endured alone. I have to go down there. “Damn!!!”

It took several hours to reach the place were they were camping. This time they stayed out away from the overhanging rocks where the earlier people had stayed, instead camping in the meadows downstream from there.

There she was, right in the middle of the tribe, surrounded by all the women and children. It looked to me like the women had control of Paige, not the men as I had figured. They were feeling of her, her clothing, her hair, trying to get into her fanny pack and get her back pack away from her. There must have been thirty pair of hands feeling all over her. A couple of the children smelled of her clothing.  I could tell she was now frightened and disturbed. The men had backed off a few yards giving Paige totally to the women and children, but watching closely, some grinning and amused.

I still had the radio, flash light and siren combo hanging around me. I decided the best thing I could do to get them away from Paige was to sound the alarm. I did.

Wow. It echoed across the meadows and bounced off the hills and in general sounded much louder than it ever did at home. Everything stopped.

No one moved. I walked up to Paige, put my arm around her and started backing to lead her away from the entire group. Several of the men started to come after us. I hit the alarm button again as they were surrounding us. They took off running for a few feet, hands over their ears and a wild look on their faces, then stopped and looked at us.

We started walking off again. They did not follow us this time.

We got near the stream, stopped and turned around to look at the tribe.

They had not moved, still looking at us. Paige said, “I’m so sorry. They probably did not mean me any harm, but they scared me. Their hands were all over me and they wanted everything I had on my person. If I would have let them they would have taken all of my possessions. Thank you for coming after me.”

“Paige, it’s not over yet. We have to do some thinking right now. We cannot let them have the upper hand. Let’s keep our distance for awhile.”

Forgetting my hamburger hand for a moment, I was so glad to get her back. The fear hit me after it was over. I hugged her. It seemed we both needed a hug at the moment. It was a very short respite.

I looked just as one of the warriors drew back on his bow to launch an arrow in our direction. It looked to me like it was aimed right at my head. We ducked down behind some brush. The arrow passed through the air right where we were just moments before. He was good. Soon many arrows were coming our way moving us back into the rocks on the north side of the stream.

“Take your pistol and start shooting at them. Try not to kill them, ok?”

“I don’t know, Paige, once I start shooting it will be all over. I do not have enough bullets to kill them all and killing or wounding a few of them will mean our certain death. Let’s work our way down to the portal and get out of here. To stay means big trouble. This has started off wrong.”

“All my fault, dumb-ass girl, huh?” she said as if expecting me to sympathize with her.

“Yeah! You did not think that through at all and I am very disappointed in your actions. That was dumb.” Now I was remembering my hand and fingers and her stupid actions and sympathy was not what I was feeling.

“Thanks a lot, Mr. Einstein, you said yourself you did not know what or who we might find.”

“Well, Sweetie, you could have gotten both of us killed. I am not so sure we are out of trouble yet. I may have to shoot over their heads to slow them down some. They can sneak up on us and it will be all over… let’s go,” pulling her up and heading down the stream.  Soon a sprinkling of arrows started falling around us. I turned and fired one shot up into the tree branches trying to slow down the pursuit. That helped as they headed for cover.

They fired a few rounds from their rifles at us also. We were far enough away that the shots were low but they were ricocheting off the rocks toward us.

Minutes later we were at the portal.  I pushed Paige through before she could slow down. She was trying to look back over our shoulders to see if they were close to us. They seemed content to let us run away. I imagined they knew they could get on their horses and catch us in a very short time, no hurry.

We got on the ATV, it started right up and I drove up the trail for about a hundred yards and stopped to watch the portal. No one came after us.

“That’s strange” said Paige, “I thought they would be right behind us.”

“It is strange. I noticed when I was here before of the tribe’s reluctance to come through the portal. Maybe they know more about it than we do. Or maybe they have lost people that went through it. My friend the Buffalo Soldier started aging pretty quickly after we came through and I had to hustle to get him back here before he died. He looked to be 100 years old when I literally dragged him through the portal. But within minutes after our return he was laughing and joking with me. However, a few more minutes and he would have been history.”

“Were you able to find out anything about him later? I mean, when you next visited Fort Selden?”

“Yeah, as a matter of fact I did. He told me the year then was 1867. The records at Fort Selden list a Private Tom Davidson as dying in December of

  1. Dysentery was listed as the cause of death. My guess is it was the same man.”

“Too bad.”

“Yeah. Let’s go try to find your buddies.”

“OK. But then let’s get some supplies and come back up here. I want to buy me a pistol also.”

“Do you know how to use one?”

“No. Do you?”

“Well, kind’ a.”

“Well, I’m probably at least that good. Ha, I’m kidding. My dad taught me how to use one and use it well. In that department I can be a real help.”

 

 

 

Chapter Four

 

 

The trip up to the car did not take all that long. Soon we had the ATV loaded on the trailer and had the car turned to start back toward Hillsboro.

I thought of the files I had brought with me and had left in the car.

I pulled my file on the Warm Spring Apache Indians. It contained pictures

Of Mangas Coloradas, Victorio, Nana, as well as Cochise and Geronimo, chiefs and fighters of the Mimbreno and Chiricahuas Apaches that I wanted Paige to see. “Tell me if you saw any of these guys in that tribe back there.”

“The very first one here was there. This in the one that was sitting with his legs crossed under him watching me. He looked mean. So, Mangas Coloradas……. that is who that guy was, huh!”

“Pretty mean, darling. That’s him.  It says in there somewhere that some white miners around Silver City or Santa Rita tied him to a tree and beat the crap out of him. It upset him just a tad. He went on the war path and was raising all sorts of hell. I hope we are not close to that time frame. His daughter, Dos-The-Seh married Cochise, another pretty mean bunch of Indians. That is not a guy you want to mess with, believe me. You can bring the whole Apache nation down on you.”

I put the car in gear and was pulling out when Paige shouts, “Wait, there are my friends. I’ll go talk to them” as their SUV was pulling into the parking area.

I could tell they were happy to see her, hugging and kissing and carrying on. After a few minutes, Paige was pointing at me which made me think to look in the big mirror in the visor. Thirty years old would be my guess right now in assessing my looks. Well, not to bad.

I wondered if she was telling them about the “old man” she met or about the “man” she met. I continued sitting in the car because I did not want to interfere with her telling her side of the story. They all continued looking at me while she was talking. I figured maybe ten minutes before they all came over to meet the “weird guy”. Just about ten minutes on the nose.

“Hey, how you doing? My name is Butch. Paige was telling us some weird shit about the goings on down in that strange valley; about you growing hair and getting younger, all kind of unbelievable Indian stories and crap.” (This had to be one of the dumb ass guys.)  “Sounds made up to me, but we are thinking maybe we should all go back with you to check it out. We will need to restock before we go in there. Paige agrees that we all should go. You can ride with us down to get the supplies.”

He was a nice looking, snappy dressing, and self assured young buck. I did not like his tone, his looks or his mannerisms. He looked like he was one of those guys who knew it all. And if they were all as careless as Paige seemed to be, for sure I did not need that much excitement. Standing off watching was a short, fat guy and talking with Paige was a cute, perky, cheerleader type girl. Paige may be jealous of her was what I was thinking.

Trying to be nice, I said, “Hi. How you doing? No, I have some research to do and I made some friends back in there many months ago. I would like to try to find them…… Alone.”

“Oh, we were under the impression that Paige was going with you.”

“No, Paige invited herself and quite frankly, she does not think very well or handle herself very well in dealing with the weird things in this particular valley. She could get us both is deep trouble. I would just as soon go by myself. Thanks anyway.”

“Paige, he says he does not want us to come along. Apparently he thinks you will get him in trouble.” The man shouted at Paige.

Paige jerked around and immediately started out toward us, in a hurry, head down and you could tell she was smoking mad. She came right up to my side of the car, leaned her arms on the car door, looked me square in the eyes, “You son of a bitch. What are you talking about, “we are not going with you.” There is a story in there and I am going to get it, with or without you. I think I can find that portal myself by following your tracks. I am going to read up on Mangas Colorado or what ever his name is so I will know what to expect, then I won’t need you.”

“Good, you find it and remember that the Apaches are for real. You may want to study up some on the history of the Warm Spring Tribe before you go back. It may be a different time and a different chief. And if you take this little army with you, you probably should buy some guns. See you around, Paige. Take care.”

I put the car in gear and headed out toward Hillsboro. I was mad and upset, but I needed to calm down and start planning on the supplies I would need. Light weight, dry stuff, instant soups and coffee, hot chocolate, etc and enough of it to last for several days,…. Just forget that hand chewing bitc…….That girl….That Paige, I hated she came into my life…..Dry beans, bacon, etc..

I made it to Hillsboro before Paige’s army, buying out most of the instant food stuffs they had. In part, I was hoping to make Paige drive on to T or C for her supplies. However, there were enough of them to carry a good supply of can goods and stuff should they desire.

Within an hour I was on my way back up toward Emory Pass. I did not meet Paige and her crew on my way up the mountain road. I was worried that maybe they had started back tracking me to the portal without restocking their supplies.  They could already be in the valley.

When I pulled into the parking area of Emory Pass their SUV was not there. It was a 4 wheel drive, but I did not think they would try the narrow and rough trail down to the portal. However, if they were as crazy as Paige, they might try it.

They could have gone over to Silver City, also.

I parked and unloaded the ATV. After tying down my supplies I headed out. The trip to the portal was uneventful. I reloaded my back-pack and put some of the light food stuff in my shoulder tote. I had a full load for sure. I was thinking I will have enough to last a couple of weeks with some planning and without anyone else to feed.

Parking the ATV in exactly the same spot as earlier I retraced my steps into the portal. The run off from the creek had slowed quite a bit. If I had been careful I could have chosen my steps and missed the water completely.

I was in to much of a hurry for that so I just charged on through. A tribe was still camped here. I suppose it was the same people.

I had no quarrel with Mangas Coloradas nor did I especially want to come into the valley during his reign as Chief. I had studied Victorio and would like to meet him before he became so mean and fierce. I am not sure when exactly that “best time” would be. The whites had killed Mangas Coloradas.

The story goes that in the summer of 1862[2] he met with an intermediary to call for peace with the Americans and then later, in January 1863, he decided to personally meet with Brigadier General Joseph Rodman West, an officer of the California militia and a future senator from Louisiana. Armed soldiers took him into custody. West gave the execution order himself. That night Mangas was tortured, shot and killed as he was “trying to escape.” They cut off his head, boiled it and sent the skull to New York City. The mutilation of Mangas body only increased the hostilities between the Apache and the Americans.

Meeting Mangas did not specifically appeal to me at the moment.

How could I change the time frame for a visit back to see my old friends? If I waited an hour or two, how much of a change would that make? What if I just kept going back and forth and looked for the changing time and seasons?

I decided to go back and forth a few times to see what happens between visits. I walked back to the ATV and made a fire and cooked some ham and beans. I added a can of green chilies I had on the ATV. That made a very good meal. I had waited about two hours then  decided to try it again.

This time I did take my time in going through the portal. It was getting on toward sundown on the other side. A little darker than what it was on the 2007 side. There were no camp fires burning. The tribe had moved on or the time had changed or both. How much time had transpired?

I went over to the campsite and the ashes were cold but fresh. Digging down into the fire bed the coals were completely out. So they had been gone for a while, so my two hours had made a pretty good time difference.

I was standing there scratching my chin when I heard Paige and her troops storming through the portal. Butch saw me and hesitated some.

“Don’t pay him any attention. Let’s go upstream. I think we can find them up this way.” Paige was taking charge of her little band.

“Now remember, we have to pay close attention to where we are in relation to this stream at all times. If we don’t, we could spend forever in this strange land.” Paige looked over at me as she spoke, smiling and then led her merry little band on upstream.

I smiled at them and then went back through the portal to wait a few minutes, maybe spend the night, and then go through again.

Going out several yards from the portal opening I started a fire for hot water for a cup of instant soup and instant coffee. Both sounded good.

After enjoying the soup and coffee, I had my gear packed and ready to return into never, never land when I hear the troops coming through the portal. They were grunting, moaning and groaning loudly as they made their way through.

Butch was draped over Paige and the Fat guy. He had blood all over his shirt. It was hard to tell where it was coming from.

“Help us,” Paige screamed at me. “Start up your ATV. We have to get him to a hospital. Dave has some wounds too but not as bad as Butch. Please drive us down to Hillsboro or T or C. We need to hurry.”

Butch moaned, “Yeah, hurry. Man, I’m hurting. I think it may be pretty bad.  He sounded bad.

“How about you, are you hurting bad?” I asked Dave.

“I’m ok.” Then he fainted. I caught him before he hit the rocks that were all around us.

“Let’s load them on the back of the ATV. Put the sleeping bags under them to help soften the ride. Also, we can take these tie down straps to help hold them on the ATV.” It took a few minutes to get them loaded and tied on. Paige was using supplies from my first aid kit to help stop the bleeding on Butch which seemed to be slowing down.

The girls doubled up in the front seat and both watched the guys as we drove slowly up the rocky trail to the parking area at Emory Pass. It took a lot longer to haul a couple of limber guys, bouncing over the trail and all the while trying to take the smoother routes. The last part of the journey required using the headlights making finding “smooth” a lot more difficult.

Arriving at the car, I called 911 asking for an ambulance. I made connections, but I was not at all sure they could hear me. We were cut off before confirming that they were indeed sending an ambulance to meet us. We drove down the mountain as fast as we dared. The curves were so bad we were afraid to drive fast. Before we made it to Kingston, the ambulance met us with flashing lights. I blinked my lights at them to get them to stop. We loaded Dave and Butch up with them and they started giving them medical attention before the ambulance started moving again.

Paige and Faye (the cheerleader type) rode with me. Paige filled me in on the happenings upstream from the portal. A half dozen warriors were camping about two miles upstream from the portal. Paige and her army surprised them and the warriors immediately opened fire on them. The fighting did not last over fifteen minutes. Butch and Dave had been hit right off. But with all of the fire power Paige and her bunch with their two lever action, 30 – 30’s, they had the Apaches riding off pretty quick. So Paige and Faye had to practically carry Butch, as he could not walk consistently. Dave could walk, but was not strong enough to help with Butch very much. Paige and Faye were literally worn out. Soon after Paige finished telling the story they were both asleep.

At the hospital, Butch was rushed into the operation room. The emergency room people took care of Dave. I was standing there looking on and one of the nurses noticed my hand and started doctoring it. I let her work on it and looking over at Paige to see if see noticed at all. She did not seem to, but I noticed some bruises on Paige. “What happened to you?” I asked.

“Some idiot tackled me in some rocks.”

“Oh.” I did not want to go further at the moment. However, I did notice the mean look she sent my way.

The doctor in charge of the Emergency Room wanted to know who shot the two guys. “Doc, it appeared to be some guys dressed up like Indians. I can only assume they were drinking or all drugged up.” I looked at Paige while I was speaking and she remained quiet, at least keeping the law away from the portal. This seemed to satisfy his need to know. He told us he would have to report the shooting and I let him know that only the guys could give him the details of that. I did not want Paige talking about that world being different than our world and have people from everywhere coming in.

After the hospital folks assured us that both of them were going to be ok with a little time and attention, I let Paige know I was headed back up the mountain tomorrow morning.

“I want to go back up there with you. There is a very important story there, one that I really want to tell. One that you would like told as well.  I am sorry I did not listen to you before, but now I give you my assurance that I will listen and not make any trouble. I now know the Apache can be very dangerous, but I am still hoping to find the tribe that you first encountered. May I go with you? Please?….. I promise to listen to you.” Looking so cute as she begged me…. I’m such a sucker for these cute females….

“Paige, you know that this is an awesome responsibility for me in taking you. I don’t know what I am getting into myself, what danger I will face, so I really don’t know how to answer you. I think it would be better to leave you here.” Trying to sound tough and concerned and I was, kind of. But on the other hand I remembered the soft landing and the early part of the rolling around on the river bank……..

“Don’t do this to me. You know I want that story. You know I will face any danger and not hold you responsible for my safety. I want to come with you. Really, you need another strong back to help carry all the supplies. And I know you like me. I can tell. Let me come with you, please…….Please?”

Damn, that did it. How could she tell I liked her? Women!

“Crap.” Trying to sound overwhelmed  “Where is your camping stuff? Let’s get it loaded and stop by a good store to restock. Why am I agreeing to this?…. I am so stupid.”

“Stupid… Well, yeah, I can agree with that. But thank you so much. We will have a good time. I will help with the cooking this time. You’re not a very good cook .Well; I mean you do not have a very varied menu. Ham and pork and beans….. I will not disappoint you this time. Really, I won’t.”

Shaking my head was the best I could give her. We had the car loaded and the supplies bought within an hour and were ready for a trip back up the mountain after a good nights rest in the local Super 8.

The mirror at the motel that night told me I was now approaching 40 or more with the age. I might be an old man again by morning.

 

 

Chapter Five

 

On the ride back up the mountain, I decided that Paige needed a history lesson on the Warm Spring Apaches. I had spent the last few years studying Victorio and some of the other Apache chieftains.  I thought on the trip to the portal I would try to enlighten her as to what I had learned about the Warm Spring people.

_________________________________________________________

In the early years of the development of the west, the United States Government had determined that in order to change the Indians from their free roaming ways that a series of reservations would be established to provide for the Indians and at the same time protect the whites moving into the western parts of the United States. Reservations lands needed to be chosen for the Mimbres (Warm Spring), Chiricahuas, Coyoteros, Gila and Mogollon bands of Apaches dwelling in the New Mexico and Arizona areas. The criteria for reservation lands were: arable land, good water, remote from white settlements, surrounded by mountains not easily crossed and an abundant supply of wood and game. The government learned the hard way that it was easier to establish criteria than to get the Apaches to move to the lands chosen for them.

The Warm Spring Band was living at Ojo Caliente, in the valley of the Alamosa Creek, in the Black Range. The Government thought that this would be a good location for one of the reservations. This area was one of the Warm Spring Tribe favorite locations. Cochise came to this location to visit from time to time. Victorio (Warm Spring Band) claimed this land as his tribe’s ancestral homeland. In the spring of 1871 they were allowed to move onto their new reservation at Ojo Caliente. In August of that same year the Warm Spring Tribe was forced to leave the reservation and move about seventy miles northwest to the Tularosa Valley. This upset the Warm Spring Band as they felt they were leaving their rightful homeland. In the summer of 1874 they were allowed to return to Ojo Caliente. After the passing of Cochise, also in 1874, many of his followers left the Arizona Reservations and joined Victorio on the Warm Spring Reservation.

Also, the Army had built a post at Ojo Caliente bringing increased trade in whiskey for the Indians.  The whiskey created new problems for the nearby settlers and the Army. In May 1877, the Army decided that the removal of the Warm Spring Tribe to the San Carlos Reservation was necessary for the protection of the miners and settlers in the Black Range area.  Victorio and his people were told to relocate to the San Carlos reservation in Arizona along with about five other Apache Tribes. Victorio and his band were told they would have plentiful game to hunt and that cattle sufficient to feed them all would be supplied by the Indian Agent. But there was not plentiful game and the agent did not supply the cattle as promised.

In September, 1877, Victorio and the Warm Spring Tribe and some of the Chiricahuas fled the reservation and started a three year rampage that the southwest had not seen before. They did come back to the Ojo Caliente Reservation in 1878. They were told they would have to move to the Mescalero Reservation so Victorio took off again. He returned briefly in 1879, only to flee again.

The Ninth and Tenth Cavalry (Buffalo Soldiers) chased him all over New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. In 1880, they chased him into Mexico. On October 14, 1880, Col. Joaquin Terrazas of the Mexican Army attacked Victorio in the Tres Castillos Mountains and by the morning of Oct. 15, Victorio and most of his warriors had been killed. However, it has been reported that Chief Victorio took his own life by falling on his knife as death appeared imminent.

The surviving children were distributed among the Mexican families who wanted them and the adult were sold into servitude. Col. Terrazas[3] is said to have earned $27,450 from the sell of the scalps and prisoners he personally claimed.

_________________________________________________________

“Paige, can you understand why I would feel sympatric toward Victorio and the Warm Spring Tribe. History has said he was a very vicious person.

I am saying that maybe we pushed him in that direction. Geronimo, another

 

Apache said that Victorio “was as fine a man as I have ever met.”

“Gene Ballinger in his article, [4]Ambush in Massacre Canyon, wrote while visiting the canyon. The beauty and silence of the spot today, the last resting place for men, mostly Black Buffalo Soldiers, who fought against Victorio, stands as a reminder of the foolishness and dishonesty of some of those in our government of the time. The battle never had to happen, nor many of the others of the Apache Wars that took so many lives on both sides and all the civilians caught in the middle. All our government had to do was keep its word and maintain the treaties and promises made by government officials to the Apache. That was not done.”

“So, Paige, I hope you can see why the time we arrive on the other side of the portal is so important. If we could show up there between, say, 1874 and 1877, we might be able to see the kinder, gentler side of the famed old warrior. If we hit there near one of the major battles, we might be in deep do-do and get to see his vicious side.”

When we arrived at the portal this time there was no water flowing through the opening. The ground was still damp and soft in spots. We went through with all out camping gear and supplies, fully loaded down for a long term stay.

I heard the tribe before we cleared the portal. It was such a familiar sound. I had a good feeling about those noises, the chatter sounded like my long lost friends. I held my hand out to slow down Paige. I eased out of the opening, there was no one camped in front of the opening as Mangas Coloradas had been. I turned and looked toward the overhang. There they were. The camp layout looked almost identical to the one of 1867. I slowly walked out making myself visible to the tribe.

The first one to see me was a small child, maybe three or four years old. She started jabbering and pointing at me and she soon had the attention of the balance of the tribe. Only a few men were there so a major hunt or war must be going on somewhere.

One female started out toward us. She reminded me of Butterscotch the way she walked. As she got closer I could tell that it was Butterscotch, only older than before, but by how much I could not say. The small child followed her toward us. When Butterscotch stopped to look at us, the little girl hugged her leg watching us.

Butterscotch was not as pretty as before but with the hard life she had I was sure living took its toll. I had remembered to bring some candy, butterscotch in the gold wrapper, that I was sure she would remember if it was her. I dug down in my pack and got a couple of pieces. I held the candy out to her. She did not move but she looked at the candy. I walked up to the little girl and opened the wrapper and gave it to her, motioning for her to put it in her mouth. She looked at her Mother and Butterscotch with a slight nod, gave her approval. Within seconds the little girl was smiling and smacking. I held the other piece out to Butterscotch. She looked at it for a time then took it.

She took the wrapper off and gave it to another, older child, standing back behind us that I had not noticed before, also a young girl of five or six. Soon she too was smacking and enjoying the candy.

I held out my hand for Butterscotch to shake. She looked all around at the tribe, those folks who had now gathered behind her, I supposed that she was looking to see if they approved or disapproved. Finally, she extended her hand and shook mine, smiling. I held on to her hand as long as I dared, looking her square in the eyes all the while. I could tell she knew me, but I could also tell that this was the best reaction that I would receive from her. I motioned for Paige to come up close to us. Paige extended her hand to Butterscotch, who hesitated, but after a few seconds shook hands with her.

The tribe had started to chatter again. Butterscotch turned and spoke to them. Several of the squaws come out and looked closely at me. The one I called Grandma before was still there and not looking much older than when she was cooking the tortillas for us. She extended her hand to me and as she did I remembered spraying her hand with the burn spray. I patted her hand with both of mine and got a smile out of her. So, they did remember me.

“Paige, these are the people I was with before. This is Morning Dove, who I nicknamed Butterscotch before I knew her real name. She is the one that led me through the portal into this valley, but neither she nor the rest of the tribe would go out the portal. There was a heavy snow on the ground, but up in that overhang it was probably a good ten degrees or more warmer than out here where we now stand. The way they did their fires and positioned the tribe back under the overhang, it was amazing how cozy it was sleeping with Butterscotch.”

“What? You slept with Butterscotch? Is one of these children yours?”

“No, not slept with her as you might think. It was for warmth as she was single at the time and had no one to sleep with her. We slept fully clothed. This warrior returned later and we had a little trouble over her. He saw me as an adversary. I think that Butterscotch was flattered by it all, but she was really Wolf’s girl all the while. Remember we could not talk, only look at one another. But her eyes can really be a turn on when she looks at you just right, even now.”

“Don’t tell me you still have something for her. When the men return are you going to do battle over her? I didn’t notice her looking at you with desire in her eyes. You must be seeing something I don’t, in her eyes, I mean. She is a nice looking woman in a rugged sort of way. I think I could use some of my make up on her and she would still be a beautiful lady.”

“Well, I’m going around and say hello to the older members of the tribe and see how many seem to remember me. You look around and try to stay out of trouble, ok?” Several of the ladies and children were already gathering around her, feeling of her and looking at all the things she was carrying.

I shared the candy with most everyone I met. Up in the shade, out away from the others, I noticed an old man I had seen before and most of the time he had been riding with the younger bucks. I realized this was none other that Nana, uncle of Victorio and the one who took over after the massacre of Victorio. He was seventy some odd years old when he took over the few surviving members of the Warm Spring Tribe, about 15 warriors in all. I walked up and extended my hand for him to shake. He looked at me, his expression not changing nor did he offer to shake hands with me. I wanted to stay close for a bit, not interfere with him in any way, but just sit near him and observe what he was observing. From his vantage point he could see everyone of the tribe in front of him including the portal entrance. I was sure he saw Paige and me before the little girl.

Life continued down below and no one seemed to notice him or me looking on the actives. Paige was playing with some of the little children and whatever game she had going they all seemed to love.

I tried to recall all that I had read about Nana and tried to visualize him

leading his band in battle. The story is told that the Apaches led by [5]Kas-Tziden (also called Nana) led the surviving party of 15 that evaded Col. Terrazas Army and began a journey of vengeance that became known as “Nana’s Raid.”

In Mexico they left a dozen dead and wounded, then a surveyor’s party near El Paso was ambushed and killed by them. The next victims were scattered sheepherders in the hills of southwest Texas after he crossed the Rio Grande. He was later joined by 25 men from the Mescalero Reservation. He ambushed the Ninth Cavalry supply train at Alamo Canyon, led his people to Laguna Springs at the southern edge of White Sands, across the Jornada Del Muerto, through the foothills of the San Andres Mountains, then west to the San Mateo’s. The Ninth Cavalry was exhausted by the end of July 1881.

In Red Canyon he ambushed a posse and Militias organized to capture him. He killed two of them, wounded seven, and took most of their horses and all of their supplies. At Monticello, Nana attacked a farm and left the mutilated bodies of the farmer’s wife and children. The Ninth Cavalry, right behind him, had to bury the remains. At Gavilan Canyon he killed three more and left three wounded and again he made off with guns, ammunitions and horses. By August 24, Nana re-entered Mexico at Sonora.  The Army had been ordered not to pursue the Apaches into Mexico.

Nana had led a raid that covered over a thousand miles, through some of the worse terrain in the Southwest, covering 70 to 80 miles per day. He was pursued by thousands of soldiers and hundreds of civilians. His band killed thirty to fifty Americans. He won all of his clashes with the Army while losing none or few of his band.

The article completed it summary of Nana with this sentence. “Whether the raid is seen as a vengeance raid or as a manifestation of the irascible nature of the Apache warrior, it was a grand, bold, and bloody adventure.”

I looked at the old man and while there was no change of expressions when he shifted his gaze from the tribe below to me, I could see in his eyes that he was presently right where he wanted to be. These were the people he loved. This was his home.

As I looked at the tribe below us, Butterscotch was over paying close attention to Paige, following her every move and the children were taking in everything Paige did as well. Nothing was missed by them. Every action was noticed and probably remembered. It dawned on me that this bunch of folks lived daily by not missing anything going on around them. To miss a snake slipping through the grass could be a deadly mistake, one they could not afford. They looked and they observed and they remembered. That was how Nana pulled off his raids, using all of his senses.

One more look at the old man and he looked back at me with the same stern look as the first time. Nothing had changed in his mind about me nor was he taken in by Paige. It reminded me of hunts I had been on, hunting Axis deer. They go in groups of twenty-five or so and they are grazers. The alpha male always stays way back from the herd. If you are hunting for the trophy buck you must wait until he shows himself. It is easy to give up and go for a smaller rack of horns. Patience pays off as the old big one never is quick to show himself.

Nana reminded me of that big buck, not showing himself nor playing his hand. Looking at him now, he looked to be sixty already, he was probably just getting started, a few years away from his infamous journey.

It was 1886, when Geronimo surrendered, that Nana was turned over to the Army to spend the rest of his days on a reservation. He is said to have spoken, “that it would have been far better to have died fighting for my people.”

We pitched our tent out away from the tribe. We did not want the warriors coming in and surprising us during the night or early morning. I asked Paige about her first day with the tribe. She had a good experience visiting with Butterscotch, the other squaws and children. She had been on edge all day not sure what to expect from all quarters, so with darkness she was ready for us to spread the bedrolls. We ate some of the fruit and energy bars and called that good. I looked out toward the camp and Butterscotch’s smallest child was standing out looking at me. I dug out several pieces of candy and motioned for her to come over. She did not wait on her Mothers approval this time as she came over quickly and grabbed the candy and ran off immediately. After she had scampered twenty or thirty feet from me she turned and looked back and smiled. She was a darling little girl. She took after Morning Dove.

In the tent, I turned on the big light I had brought. It was very strong and much too big for such a small tent, but we would only need it a few minutes. I was sure the tent was glowing and would certainly be an attention getter if left on for long.

Paige, sitting crossed legged on her bedroll, reached back under her shirt and undid her bra. I started getting excited, but she slid an arm inside her shirt and slid the bra over her arm, did the other arm and then slipped the bra out from under her shirt.

“Hey, that’s cheating. How come you did it that way? I was hoping to get some dream material off of you tonight.”

“What do you mean, dream material?”

“Well, I had envisioned you slipping the shirt off and then taking off the bra and then slipping the shirt back on or something like that, anyway.”

“In your dreams, cowboy! That ain’t gonna happen, not now anyway, probably not ever. If I was drunk, then maybe.”

“Ok, then, I may have some snake bite medication in my bag that we can drink.” She did not change her expression at my attempt at humor.  “I was just thinking about how much you wanted to come along on this trip and how I was being so nice to you about it all and so I just thought dream material may be an ok part of it.”

“Yeah, sure, you wish. Well, dream about Butterscotch. You have spent the day watching her, that’s for sure.”

“Whoa,…. I was not watching her anymore that any others of the tribe.”

“Turn off the light and go to bed. Dream your dreams of whom ever.” She said as she pulled the bedroll up to her chin, with her back turned to me.

I really don’t know what I expected but the last verbal exchange was not it. So I just turned the light off saying, “Night, Paige.”

No response other than a snore or a snort, not real sure which, but either way I took it to mean the same.

 

 

 

Chapter Six

 

It was a short night. I was up about daybreak and already fires were going all around the Indian camp. I started a fire and walked out to the stream for coffee water and washing my face while I was out there. Splashing that cold water on my face was a “real wake up call”.

I made the coffee and warmed up the beef jerky to be served with an energy bar. Pretty good breakfast food, but I did wonder what Grandma was serving up at the camp.

Paige came crawling out of the tent and spoke with a hardy “Good Morning” and started out toward the bushes. Soon she was back getting some coffee and jerky. Not wanting to get started off on the wrong foot with her today, I waited until I was sure what her mood was like.

When she poured her second cup, I asked, “Sleep well?”

“You can snore louder than anyone I have ever heard. If you had not quit when I asked you to turn over I would have taken my bedroll out into the forest. ”

“Yeah, well, I just might keep snoring tonight,” attempting humor, again.

“Ok and I just might get your attention with that big light of yours. Or better yet, I might start yelling rape.”

“In your dreams, lady.”

“What!!! You, you, I am not going to call you what I’m thinking. What happened to the dream making crap you were spreading around last night, seems like you may be full of it, that all I will say about that.”

With that she walked out into the fresh, cool, mountain air and took a deep healthy breath. I know what she was thinking and feeling at the moment. You kind of forget you are back in the 19th Century, for a few minutes at least.

I noticed the tribe was gathering up on the higher ground, a slight ridge that runs around the base of the overhang, maybe ten feet above the valley floor. They are very quiet, listening with heads turned to the side as if trying to hear better. I listened also. Then I heard the hooves of horses, pounding the ground, in a hurry, dozens of them headed our way. Soon they came into camp and the tribe went to shouting and running to greet them.

The warriors leaped from the horses and into the arms of squaws and children. All are happy and glad to see each other.

Right away the warriors notice the tent, bright and blue, out away from the camp. Next they notice Paige and me. Next I notice Wolf. He recognizes me immediately and starts my way. I thought he was a tough looking dude before, but now he was bronze, muscular, lean and mean. Butterscotch put a hand on his arm as he started toward me. She nodded her heard toward Paige and I was not sure what that was supposed to mean, but the fact that it did seem to mean something to him, was very satisfying to me. He stopped and they started talking, nodding toward us, as if she was trying to make our presence ok.

Still sitting, tall in the saddle on his beautiful white horse, his face very stoic and stern, looking Paige and me over very closely was none other than Chief Victorio. I knew the worse thing I could do was show fear. But on the other hand I had studied the man for several years now and I knew that this probably was a time before he really became known as a fierce chief.

I walked close to his horse near the Chief’s left side, hoping he was right handed, as if that would help me should he turn on me, and held out my hand for a white man’s handshake. He looked at my hand and raised his hand, palm out in the Indian form of greeting, but with no change in his facial expressions.

On his right side, still on her horse also, was Lozen, Victorio’s sister. I had her picture also. This day she was young and still looked like a young woman. She had told Victorio early in life that she wanted to be a warrior.

I read where later in her life she dressed as a warrior and few could tell  “she was a she.” Looks were apparently the least of her wants. Victorio is quoted as saying[6] “Lozen is my right hand….strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy, Lozen is a shield to her people.” Legend was that Lozen was able to use her powers in battle to learn the movements of the enemy and help them to avoid capture. She could tell the direction of their enemy as her palms started tingling and sweating when she hit the direction of their travel. She rode with Victorio until his massacre, but missed that battle as she was riding over to the Mescalero reservation during Victorio trip to the Tres Castillos Mountains of Mexico, so she rode and fought with Nana and the other Warm Spring survivors on their raids and then later with Geronimo on some of his battles. She was surrendered with Geronimo’s band in 1886. She died at the Mount Vernon, Alabama barracks in Mobile, Alabama of tuberculosis as a prisoner of war. She was approximately 50 years old. Looking at her today she looks to be in her twenties or early thirties. While I could tell this was a female now she looked as if she could whip most of the warriors there. Her look, a stare, was sterner than Victorio’s. I believe she considered herself his protector.

I moved up close to Victorio’s left side. She rode her horse around behind him and then up between Victorio and me, her horse’s shoulder pushing me back. It was very evident that to get to Victorio you had to come through Lozen. Her facial expression never changed. Her look was very definitely “we do not want a white man around our chief” or maybe it was that close to our chief. Anyway, her horse backed me up a good ten feet before she stopped. I turned and walked a few feet further away from her just to ease her suspicious mind. I remembered the number of times Victorio had been lied to over the years by our government and the white man, so I did not take exception to her actions.

Victorio dismounted and walked up to the largest teepee in the group. All the other teepees had been erected around this one larger one. Grandma looked like she had one of the teepees next to Victorio. She might be his Momma or at least close kin. Victorio entered and several of the warriors went in with him. The fellow Nana had left his high perch to visit with them also.

The rest of the camp went back to the work of running a camp doing what ever it was they were doing.

I took some line and hooks, found some bait under logs, and did some trout fishing. Paige for once left her Indian buddies and came out to help with the fishing. Soon we had several caught and cleaned for a late lunch or early supper. I had a very elaborate meal, with instant tomato soup, salted trail snack and six medium sized fried trout. It was delicious. We later learned that the Apache did not eat fish. Maybe that was why they were so plentiful.

We had just finished our meal when the shadow of an Indian came across our campsite. I looked up to see a fine looking young warrior, one who was smiling at me. It took a while for me to recognize Hawk. He had good features. The high, broad cheek bones, wide eyes and long hair, a nice looking young warrior. But the difference with him and Wolf and some of the other warriors was his eyes were soft when he looked at me. What a difference that one thing does to a warrior. We did the palms outward greeting signs and then the white man’s hand shake. He was smiling at me and then nodded at Paige.

She was staring at him. “Paige, this is Hawk. He is the young man I met here before. He has grown up to be a mighty warrior, huh?

“Yes, he is a hunk. I think I am in love.”

“Really, Paige, could you just say hello for now and try to hook him a little later. Good grief, you modern women.”

“Hi, Hawk. I have heard about you and I am very please to meet you. How are you doing? Is your family close by?” She was holding his hand in both of hers and took an awful long time to release his, not that I noticed.

“Good day, Buenos Diaz, Señorita. How you?” Hawk struggled with that, but he did it very well. We were both pleased that he could speak some of our language. It made me wonder how many of the others could speak at least some English words, but would not.

Paige answered his question. “We are fine and are really pleased to meet someone who speaks our language. How is your family? Were they ok while you were on your trip?” Paige said that pretty fast and Hawk looked over to where Paige had pointed when she referred to his family, pointing at one of the teepees.

Hawk pointed away from where Paige had pointed, out over to the edge of the camp stood a teepee, with a squaw kneeling in front of a fire and one small child sitting watching her. They were both beautiful. A little girl of about two years old and an Indian girl of maybe twenty or so and she look up as she saw Hawk pointing to them. She waved. We both waved back smiling.

“Hawk, that is a beautiful family. I am happy for you. You did good. Buenos, amigo.”  I made some hand motions while talking hoping for help with my little speech, but he apparently understood it all.

“Thank you”, pointing at his lady, “I ….good woman.” Saying that caused a big smile to erupt on his face. You don’t see fierce looking warriors smile all that often. I hoped to remember this moment.

A warrior came riding up, his horse all lathered up, and he leaped from the horse, running toward the Chiefs teepee and shouting out something as he ran. Hawk left us without speaking and ran to the chief’s teepee, also.

Within a few minutes all the warriors came out and shouting began. The squaws and warriors were taking down the teepees, putting out fires, gathering horses and children loading travois’s with stuff.

Paige and I never moved nor spoke while this was going on. The tribe started moving out as they got things loaded. What happened? What news was brought in by the warrior?

I caught Hawks attention as he passed by on his horse. “What is happening, Hawk? Why are you leaving?”

“Fighting…. Cochise and Cavalry….. Must go…. You stay.”

Paige started taking down our stuff and rolling up her bed roll. “Whoa, wait a minute, girl. Let’s don’t get to hasty here. They are going off to do battle and we dang sure don’t want to be in the middle of that. We are white, remember? I am not sure what the Cavalry will think about our being with these “Paches. We cannot go.”

“You cannot go. I am going. This is some real history, real stories and a reporter never runs from a story, especially this reporter and this story. You do what you need to do.”

“Paige, listen, you cannot win on this. We are in a wrong time, wrong world. You have to get back to our portal.  I don’t know what an extended stay over here will do to us….Don’t do this to me, Paige. You promised, remember?”

While I had been standing there arguing with her, she continued to pack.

She slipped her back-pack over her shoulders and started following after the tribe, saying nothing more. She did not take down the tent. She took only the barest of supplies, and left leaving the rest for me. Did that mean she knew I would follow her, or hoped I would follow her, or did she want her story so badly she did not care if I followed her or not. My guess was she knew I would follow her.

I took several minutes getting everything loaded for traveling. Two people had been carrying this load, now I had to figure out how to haul everything. I built a travois, loaded up my supplies and hung a strap around my shoulders and under my arms, pulling it. It worked.

Following the tracks was not hard at all. I hoped I could catch them or stay within a close proximity to them. I just could not lose Paige, I hate her. She is the most hardheaded, stubborn, bullheaded person I have ever met; she has to be a Tarsus. A bull….. Bullheaded….. One-sided…. One way type  person. I decided to chase her this time, this time only, and then no more. She could just fight the damn Indians on her own.

Well, maybe I don’t hate her. I just get aggregated with her. I really did not want anything to happen to her. I liked her a lot. I suspect she knew that though. Damn! I don’t ever remember talking to myself like this before.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Seven

 

Walking along pulling the travois was not easy. I had to stop every few minutes to get my breath. After a couple of hours I came upon a spring. I could tell by the tracks the tribe had stopped here for water. The water had cleared from their drinking. I did my drinking upstream from where the tribe crossed because of the manure littering the area. I tried not to think about all the horse droppings that could be in the water.  It tasted pretty good. I filled up every container I had that would hold water. I would drink from the open top containers first.

I ate several pieces of jerky to keep me going until after sundown, I ate on the move. I did not plan to use my flashlight any more than was necessary, just to stay in the center of the tribes tracks as they headed southwest. Their pathway was so evident as horse hoofs, travois skid marks and footprints all plainly marked their trail.

About dusk I heard some shots fired in front of me. It was as if two parties wanted the other to be aware of the others existence.  I don’t think it was hunters.  I wanted to run to check it out, but I could not get my legs to cooperate, as the speed they were traveling seemed to be about all they could do.

On the horizon, directly ahead of me, south by southwest, was numerous small fires. Cooke’s Peak lay off my left shoulder, east of me, so I put the fires near the Mimbres River, which made a lot of sense if it has water. Most of the time the Mimbres is dry; in the modern world anyway, I am not sure what the river would be doing in this world. Old timers used to say that the Mimbres ran more water than it does in 2007. Over in the other world, in all the years I had been traveling that country, I had never seen water in it.  So I would anticipate a dry camp up ahead with no water available. Wishing for a nice bath tonight was probably out of the question.

I also noticed that due south of me was another series of small fires. I thought that the shots I heard being fired were a limited hostile action and the coming darkness delayed further action until tomorrow morning. I needed to be very careful approaching either of the camps for fear of being shot at tonight.

I stopped at what I figured was about a mile from the camp just west of me for the night. The camp to the south of me was closer. I propped up my travois on some rocks, cleared off some of the cargo and lay fully clothed on my sleeping bag. I did not remember anything until the eastern sky started getting light. I built a small fire, boiled some of my water for a cup of instant coffee and warmed a couple of strips of jerky to go along with my granola bar.

Fires were going at both camps. I moved out as soon as I finished my coffee. I was hoping to get to the Indians before any fighting started. Since I was fresh from a good nights sleep, I tried to go at a fast pace. I hoped to be there in 30 or 40 minutes.

The fires were dying down as I approached the camp. It was still not full daylight. I came into the area of the fires, but there was no one there. All of them had left some time before. Over one fire someone had left a chunk of deer meat, and I could not pass it up. (I wondered if Butterscotch had left it just for me.) I came out of my gear, built up the fire and boiled more water for instant coffee to go with the meat. I had just finished eating and had taken about two sips of coffee when this  deep voice said,

“Get yo hands up fellow,” causing me to jump about a foot in the air.

I set my coffee down instead of dropping it because I wanted to finish it later,  if possible.

This Buffalo Soldier stepped in front of me, holding a carbine with a barrel that appeared to be about the size of a cannon. I guess it appears that way when they are pointed at you.

“Hold on, soldier. I just walked up to this camp fire and no one was around so I used it to make me some coffee. You want some? I certainly don’t have a fight with you.” He was dressed like Pvt. Tom Davidson used to except the markings on his sleeve said he was a Sergeant. I could not tell if he was Cavalry or Infantry in this light. Maybe later I could.

“You out here in “Pache Territory all by yo’self? Man, that’s dumb. You probably like some of dem other fools. Got gold fever? Yo scalp gonna end up on some “Paches spear is what’s gonna happen, I can tell you that now. How long you been roamin’ ‘round out here anyhow? Do you even know where you are? I wants you to ‘splain all that to me, suh.” He seemed a little upset it was me and not the Apaches like he had thought. They had slipped away during the early morning hours.

Six or eight more soldiers were now getting up out from behind rocks and out of canyons. A few came in from the Mimbres River bed. My guess was that they had the place totally surrounded. I decided the best thing I could do for now was share my instant coffee with these guys. I could make some that was weak and most of us could get a pretty good taste.

I motioned all the soldiers to come up to the fire. I mixed in about half of my jar of instant coffee and then poured all of them small taste. They seemed to enjoy it very much.

Sergeant spoke up and said, “You ‘member them questions I axed you a few minutes ago? If you do, go ahead and answer them.”

“Ok, let me see. First, my girl friend and I came into the Alamosa Creek valley up around Ojo Caliente. You know where that is?”

“I sho’ do. That’s where ole Victorio hangs out. You can’t trust that guy for nothing. So how come you way down here and what happened to yo girl friend? You dumber than I thought to bring a gal out in these parts, too, that’s what I’m saying.”

“Yeah, well, it’s not quite what it sounds like. This is a very modern woman, a newspaper reporter, trying to get a news story about cowboys and Indians and soldiers, like you guys. She is not with the Indian tribe that we saw up at Ojo Caliente, but she was trying to catch them to get her story. When the tribe loaded up to move, she took off following them and I had to pack our stuff, and then follow. It looks like she caught up with them last night.  She either stayed out of their sight or came on into the camp and visited with them. She did know some of the squaws, kind of, anyway. My guess is she is with that tribe.”

“Lord have mercy on yo gal, mister. Them ‘Paches done had their way wid her by now. She may be wishin’ she be dead by now. Well, we will try to catch them for you and see can we help. That’s all we can do.”

“Gentlemen, I thank you for your offer to help me, but I want to try and get her by myself. If you guys show up and get them in a fighting mood, they may really hurt the girl. I want to approach them and ask for her release and hope they will listen to reason. Will you let me do that? And could you spare a horse? Pulling my stuff on this travois is killing my back.”

“Sir, my name is Sgt. Hanson, 9th Cavalry assigned to Fort Selden, NM Territory. We been out for a few weeks and I got to get my boys back. I have one man with me, Pvt. Joseph McGilly, 15th Infantry who ain’t in too big a hurry to get back, fur as I know. What I am gonna do is assign two horses to Pvt. McGilly and assign him to accompany you to try and recover yo gal. I’m thanking that Cap’t will not fault me under the circumstance, trying to get that girl reporter back to civilization. However, if you can read and write, I wants you to write me a letter saying what you are telling me is truthful and right and further stating that you are a American citizen in good standing and you be trying to get the girl away from them ‘Paches. Can you write me that letter, sir?”

“Yes, Sgt. Hanson. I appreciate your help and I will write the letter as you have requested. I think I have some paper and a pen in my backpack.”

I pulled out a pad that my company uses for advertising, showing the addresses and telephone numbers of each of our trucking terminals and a picture of one of our eighteen wheelers with a 9000 gallon gasoline trailer in tow. I looked at it for a few minutes debating about tearing off those areas with pictures and addresses. Then I clicked the ball point pen that my company gives away for advertising with the company logo and address written in white on a black pen. I decided that those things would add to the truthfulness of Sgt. Hanson’s story of aiding me and leaving the Private to help me.

I printed the letter so it would be more legible to the reader. I folded the note when I handed it to Sgt. Hanson and also gave him the pen. He looked the pen over good, took the top off, and marked on his palm. He gave it an inquiring look, but he simply put them in his coat pocket. Then he motioned the Private to get his horse and another for me and gave him instructions to protect me with his life. The look the Private gave me was like “this is a joke, huh, Sgt.” However, he did as he was told. Within a short time, Sgt. Hanson and the others of the 9th Cavalry was headed back toward Ft. Selden leaving me to figure out how to strap my travois to my horse.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Eight

 

Private Joseph McGilly was a little taller than me, skinny, very dark skinned and serious looking. I had not seen him smile all morning. He had little to say. I tried to draw him into a conversation several times and he let my remarks pass, nodding ever so slightly to acknowledge that he had heard me. I did not really press him as I was anxious to find Paige and get started back toward the “portal of youth.” We were getting too far away to suit me. I liked adventure to an extent, but this was far enough. I did feel better having Pvt. McGilly with me.

Joe was a good scout and was very watchful while following the trail. I had asked if it was ok to call him Joe and once again I received a very slight head nod.

That night we camped around where the Mimbres River runs into a larger river. It was running a good, full stream, so it must be the Gila. I decided tonight would be a good time to have one of our better meals. Later it might get too exciting.  I opened another can of ham, a small can of pork and beans, made two cups of instant tomato soup, and opened some trail mix. I had laid out two granola bars for desert. I put about half the ham in a baggie for breakfast tomorrow morning. I hoped Pvt. McGilly would like it.

He was very busy going through the cans and packages of the stuff I was opening, smelling and tasting the residue, while I was preparing the meal.

We had a strip of jerky for lunch so when supper was finally ready, we were both so hungry that anything would taste great to us. Joe ate as if he liked it pretty well, also. I had prepared the tomato soup in our coffee cups so we drank it in place of coffee. I thought I might make some coffee later to have with the granola bars.  Joe seemed to really appreciate that treat.

Clean up did not take very long at all, but by the time we had finished with the chores it was getting dark. Joe got his bedroll out putting his head on a rock. The rock sloped back gently, somewhat like an easy chair. I placed my bedroll in a ditch with a gentle sloping bank, allowing me to have some support for my neck.

The stars made an early appearance in the evening sky and shortly the heavens were in full bloom with twinkling stars. Venus was so bright and beautiful tonight. Joe said, “That sho’ is a big, bright old star, ain’t it?”

I replied, “That is the planet Venus, Joe. It is always the first star you see in the western sky.”

“How you know what its name is? How come you call it a planet? Looks like the same old star I been seeing many a night now, ‘specially since I been out in this country. Seems to me like the stars be just a lot brighter out he’a.”

“Well, I have studied on it some, Joe. I don’t want to sound like a know it all, but I do know a little bit about why the stars are brighter here. Where are you from, Joe, I mean before you came to this country?”

“I be from Vir’ginny. Then we came into Illinois, then Missouri and then into Kansas. I joined the 38th in Kansas. I’s in the 15th now but when I first joined up I was wid the 38th. Anyway, they was formed up down yonder in Louisiana but they moved to Kansas afore I was joined. We marched all the way from Kansas down to Ft. Selden. We stopped at a few other forts on the way, I don’t ‘members all of them. How come you wants to know that?” he asked.

“Virginia is probably not more than a few hundred feet above sea level at best. Same for Illinois and probably Missouri and Kansas, I am not real sure about them, but out here, Joe, in our part of the world we are probably 4000 to 6000 feet above sea level, it’s a lot higher in some areas. That puts us a lot closer to the heavens.  We do not have any humidity or clouds to get our sky hazy or overcast like it does back east.  Those two things just make the sky and stars a lot closer. I love to lay out and star gaze, watching for shooting stars and satellites going across the sky,,,, ah, I mean shooting stars and comets going across the sky.”

“What’s a comet and satellite? They be up there with the stars?”

“Well, yeah, comets are there now and I might be able to tell you about satellites later. We’ll see. Well, I am gonna lay out my sleeping bag, Joe. I will get my light to find us a good soft spot.” I needed to get out of the ditch in case of rainfall during the night. Joe was looking for a spot away from the rock pillow he had been lying on. Soft ground seemed to be a premium.

“What light you gonna get, a piece of kindling wood or what?”

“No, I brought a light with me. It’s one of the new things they are making back east these days.” I turned it on, its beam shinning across the ground, very brightly lighting the area around us.

Joe took a deep breath, “Wow, that’s the brightest light I ever did see.

When you finish finding you a spot to sleep let me have a look at that thang. They sho’ do be making a lot of new thangs back east nowadays. “Pears we done lost out being out here away from civil’zation.”

I gave the light to Joe. He shined it all around. He stood up and walked all about letting the beam pick out his path. Then he turned it up toward the stars and the ray of light cut a path up into the heavens. You could tell that Joe was captivated by the light and its capabilities. After a few minutes he came back to his bed roll, shined the light all over it, fluffed it up a bit, then returned the light to me.

I turned it off making the dark night very thick. Within a few seconds the natural heavenly lights became brighter.

“When did they make that kind of light? I never saw nothin’ like that befor’. I wish I had me one of them thangs. It come in handy fighting them damn ‘Paches. They don’t like to fight at night, so you could just get out and hunt ‘em down.”

“I don’t remember when they started making them. It was many, many,…It was sometime ago. It is a great invention and it does come in handy. You have to have batteries to go with it.”

“What are batteries?”

“Well, they are gadgets that go with the flashlight. They were invented about the same time as the light. It has some kind of stuff in it that makes a current that flows through the flashlight, somehow, making the bulb light up. I just know how to turn the light on so it is hard for me to explain it.”

“Just where you from? You got some strange stuff wid you and I kinda wonder about you and you knowing so much stuff. You ain’t no ghost or something are you? You scare me just a little bit.”

“Aw, come on Joe. I am just from another era, so to speak.”

“What do dat mean, another era? You mean like you from across the sea or something like that. You ‘spain that too.” Joe was sounding a little worried about all the things I was bringing up.

“Joe, what year is it here, I mean, what year is it now?”

“You do beat it all, suh, seems like one minute you know everythang about everythang, and the next minute you just plain dumb. It be 1872, fur as I know. How come you don’t know what year it be?” Joe had set up on one arm on his bed roll. “Just what all you got in that stuff you carrying? And yo food is good, but it’s different too. A lot of that stuff looks very strange to me. Tell me ‘bout that stuff too, while you at it.”

“Joe, it’s a little crazy, I know.”

“It damn sho’ is, and I’m glad you finally said it was crazy and it be a lot more than a little bit too.”

“Well, all right. Did you know Pvt. Tom Davidson? He was in the 38th at Fort Selden and stationed there in 1867 and 1868 for sure. I don’t know just when he got there.”

“Oh, now we gettin’ somewhere. I sho’ did know Tom. He be in the 38th Infantry, Company K. That’s the only’est unit of the 38th stationed at Ft. Selden, few companies of them boys over at Ft. Cummins. Tom told me that crap ‘bout what all he see’d and where all he been, ‘bout something he called flying thangs that left long tails in the sky. He told me about the wagons that haul freight and don’t have no horses pulling them and they go faster than any horse could ever run. Yeah, I knowed Tom and I always thought that he be lying. But he had a thang he brought back wid him that would make a fire by pushing down on it. He had some tobaccee that was real good smoking too. He told everybody that would listen ‘bout all that stuff. None of us could believe all the stuff that boy told, ‘bout a picture box wid naked girls and all that kind’a thang. I don’t know what happened to him when he was captured by them “Paches. “Peared he was a bit touched at times, suh. Short time later he died, I don’t remember now, but a long time ago, two, maybe three years now. It was real quick after he got sick though, I ‘members that.”

“The records say he died in December, 1868. I read about it a few years ago. Let me start from the beginning, Joe, ok?”

“I ‘sho wish you would. I be listening.”

I started from my entry into the “portal of youth” the very first time. I went through all of the happening with Tom and me, our journey out into the 21st century and our trip by Fort Selden to let Tom see it as a Monument.

Joe would make comments from time to time and my story seemed to confirm what his old friend, Tom Davidson, had told him several years ago. Even about the pictures of naked ladies in the box, our television.

I let him know about what had happened with Paige and that we did not really have intentions to travel this far away from the Alamosa Creek area

up in the Black Range. Joe had so many questions. Questions he had been thinking on since Tom first started telling him stories about his travels. He laid them on me and we talked way over into the night. We were so tired we had to stop and get some sleep. We could continue this discussion on horse back tomorrow.

Dawn was breaking in the eastern sky. Venus, the morning star was still shining bright. I mentioned Venus by name to Joe and he remembered me calling it the evening star. “Well, which is it? The morning star or the evening star? It ‘sho can’t be both, can it? Which one is it then?”

I took two rocks, one larger than the other and with my pen made two marks on the larger rock. I put the smaller rock out away from it, turning the bigger rock in the sand and leaving the smaller rock in place. By spinning the big rock I had the small rock to the west of the marks to start and when I ended, I had the smaller rock to the east of the marks explaining the earth turning and that was how it could be both the evening star and the morning star. He seemed to buy that explanation. I hoped I was close to correct.

“That be the star that lead the Wise Men to Jesus? You reckon that was it?”

“Well, that was the Star of Epiphany so that was a special star and I don’t know if that Star is still around?”

“What is the Star of Epiphany? What does that mean?”

“I think we can say that it was God announcing the birth of His Son. The Wise Men followed the star to Bethlehem. It stayed in the Heavens for several days, pointing the way to the Baby Jesus. The Wise Men did find the Baby Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem. They brought him gifts.”

“That’s one of the stories that I ‘members my Momma telling me ‘bout and her telling me never to forget it. I ‘member’s her talking ‘bout the bright star leading the Three Wise Men. That’s a good story ‘bout Baby Jesus.”

“Joe, we better get started. We need to ride hard today and catch up with the tribe. Keep your eyes open for trouble. Apparently some of your troops were after Cochise, but I don’t know who since your 9th Cavalry is on the way back to Fort Selden.”

“We gots a whole bunch of them Cavalry boys at Fort Selden. We got the Ninth and we got the Companies G and C of the 8th Cavalry there. Then we got the 10th Cavalry that be stationed way down yonder at Fort Davis.  They come out this way from time to time. It could be any one of the other Cavalry Boys. Now, Sgt. Hanson, that Sergeant that assigned me to watch over you, now he was wid Company M of the Ninth.  Company F….. now them boys get out and fight a lot. They also Ninth Cavalry. They done had a bunch of their boys killed. Could be them out after Cochise, too. But I be watching out good for you, don’t you be worrying none about that.”

A few hours ago, I could not get Joe to talk. Now, I had trouble getting him to hush. We had ridden several miles and were making pretty good time when we saw some smoke up ahead. It was 3 or 4 in the afternoon and I felt the Tribe was stopping to prepare the evening meal. Anyway, I asked Joe to take the horses out into the brush and hide. I took my gear from the travois and hiked on up to the camp site. Joe was high enough that he could see me for most of my journey on into the camp.

As I came into the camp I could see Paige at one of the camp fires helping with the cooking, I suppose. I waved. She nodded. I did not like the look on her face. Something was wrong and a certain caution came over me, tensing me up, getting me ready for trouble. Butterscotch was near Paige but the look on her face did not help either.  She looked tight and very tense.

Wolf came up behind me and pushed me, turning me around. He pushed me again. Then again. I was wondering if they seen me with Joe. I didn’t have to wonder long as two warriors came pushing Joe into camp. I don’t know how they knew about Joe, but they did. They herded Joe and me together and pushed us toward a couple of sapping trees. They tied us to different limbs. I saw Hawk over to one side. While he was not one of the warriors doing the tying and pushing us, he certainly was not smiling at me this time. I suppose being with Joe made a difference. I tried talking to Joe once and was smacked across the mouth with a back hand from one of the warriors. I could tell blood was streaming down my chin and I could taste blood in my mouth.

Paige was visible from where I was but she never looked at me. She stayed busy with cooking and helping a squaw that was near her. This squaw was unknown to me.

About dark the drums started. Soon a few warriors were dancing around the fire and chanting. It did not sound good. Whispering to Joe, “You think they are dancing for our benefit, probably honoring our presence, don’t you think?  I think it is extremely nice of them to honor us in that fashion.”

“Naw sur, I thank they be celebrating our deaths. I thank befor’ morning we gonna be scalped, tortured and die when we can’t take no more of they pain. I be worried now. Closest I been to dying yet. I believe it be about over for me and you, Capt. I didn’t do a very good job protecting you.”

“You did a great job. I’m going to move over close to you. You have long fingers and if you will, reach into my right pocket and get my knife. Try to do it when no one is looking.  We better hurry because the longer we take, the more worked up those boys are going to be.”

“You sho got lots of jingling around money in yo’ pocket. You be wealthy, ain’t you? To bad them Injun’s don’t go in for jingling money. Course they know they gonna get it anyways, don’t you reckon?”

He felt all around and he got my nail clippers, not my knife. He handed them to me and I could tell he had no idea what the hell he had brought out of my pocket. He gave them to me.  I was able to open them with one hand and started clipping on the leather strings that bound me. Once I almost dropped them as I squeezed them together hard. I eased up on the squeezing, taking smaller bites with the clippers. Soon I had my hands free and without changing my positions I dug out the knife and cut Joe loose.

We waited until all the warriors were engrossed in the dancing. Then we broke out in a dead run. By now, it was completely dark giving us the advantage. I slipped back around to where my stuff was stored, near the chief’s teepee, getting my stuff and Joe’s carbine. Returning to Joe, we headed out into the dark night. I would have liked to have shone my light, but did not dare. We climbed the tallest hill in the vicinity hoping we would be able to fight them off from a high position.

At the very top of the hill, a small level space of probably thirty feet across containing some scatter rocks of medium size. They were not a lot of protection,  but it would have to do. We made ourselves as comfortable as possible.

In my pack, there were two cans of fruit cocktail. Opening one can and pouring half into my cup and gave the balance of the can to Joe. The juice and fruit tasted like heaven. My cut mouth burned some, but my stomach rejoiced.

Joe took the first watch. I did not think I would be able to sleep, but it was not long until Joe was shaking me to take a watch. The dancing was still going on. Surely they had missed us by now and it scared me that the dancing was continuing. Were they out sneaking around looking for us? The moon was about to rise in the east and soon the desert would be flooded with moonlight. Some nights, with a full moon and clear sky, the night would be so bright one could almost read by its light. A night like that tonight would certainly help us.

Just as I was getting concerned about them not missing us, the dancing stopped. Shouting began and I was pretty sure a search party was being organized. The warriors were gathered around the chief’s teepee doing some serious jabbering. I woke Joe.

“Joe, I am going to man my big flashlight. You have your carbine ready.

If I light up an Indian, you shoot.”

“Man, tomorrow gonna be a long day. They ain’t a smidgen of water of here. They know that and they gonna make us pay. They may do something to that gal of yours. You thank about that?”

“Oh, man, no, I had not thought of that. Do you think they will use her to get us to come down? I hope Butterscotch and Hawk will come to her aid. Surely they will.”

“That girl skin be white, boy, and that ain’t good. Best you can hope for is one of them ‘Pache boys take a shine to her, wanting her fur his squaw. Maybe that save her hide.”

The moon lit up the desert to where we could see anything standing or above the brush. We could not see if anything was moving down low. I did not shine the light hoping they were not coming this way.

Things had quieted down since the discovery of the escape. It seemed the camp was sleeping. That would be strange. Maybe the warriors did not like to fight at night like Joe had mentioned.

Before daylight, the tribe was up, taking down the teepees, loading the horses and, in general, getting ready to move out. They made quick work out of it and started out in a southwestly direction. Joe and I watched it all, not moving, but with our heads sticking out from the rocks. If they saw us, it did not bother them.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Nine

 

After the tribe left there was still some time until sun up. Joe and I took advantage of the opportunity and got a little more rest. Sleep came quickly, but daylight came quicker. We went down to the camp site looking for whatever we could find. Everything had been packed. Nothing was left of value. We fanned one of the fires and got it going again. We noted the spring that had been the center of the camp site the day before. We used it to fill each of our canteen and bottles. We warmed up some jerky, made coffee and ate some energy bars. Joe had really taken well to the energy bars. They helped fill the empty spot and tasted good with the coffee.

He said, “You know, one thang ‘bout working wid you is you sho’ got better vittles than the U. S. Government do.”

We were truly going to miss the horses. We were lucky to have recovered Joe’s carbine. His bed roll was still on the back of his horse. I was lucky to get have gotten my pack back.

We had just loaded up and started walking in directions of the Indians without any question from Joe. After a half dozen steps or so, I stopped. “Joe, do you want to go back toward Fort Selden? I don’t blame you for not wanting to walk now and fight the Indians on foot. You are free to go back if you want to.”

“Naw sur, I ain’t free to go back to Fort Selden. Sgt Hanson assigned me to escort you to get that lady friend of yours and that’s what I gonna do. He court martial me if’n I come back without you and my horses, especially dem horses. The Cavalry sho’ be ‘ticklur ‘bout them horses, mounts they call ‘em. Naw sur, lets be going cause we got to do some figuring on what we gonna do.”

“Joe, I don’t have the foggiest idea what to do to get Paige back. I have never planned a battle or thought about fighting Indians, rescuing fair maidens in distress or anything close to that. I might have to leave all the battle planning up to you.”

“It’s yo woman….. You plan….. I fight. I ain’t gonna take the blame for us getting that gal of yourn killed, getting us killed. Or getting all shot up, then captured, then tortured…… tortured till we be dead. I don’t know what I ever did to that Sgt. Hanson that caused him to assign me to such a gosh awful job. Makes me mad. But I ain’t quitting. Naw sur, I ain’t quitting. You just gotta get your self to thinking ‘bout how you gonna save her. That be your job.”

The sun was bearing down about high noon. The heat was almost unbearable. We had walked, drinking all of our water. Dehydration was setting in. We had to replenish our body water right away. We came upon a small green area. We looked around and spotted a small spring.  It was good, cool water. We scooped out an area big enough for a hand sized pool about an inch or two deep. It worked. I happened to think of a song of all things, “All day I face, the barren waste, without a taste of water, cool water.”[7] We would drink, wait a few seconds, then we would have enough to drink again. After drinking our fill of water, and squeezing several handkerchiefs of water over our heads, we decided to rest during the very hot part of the day before continuing.

Joe said, “I been thinking ‘bout the jiggling money you be carrying in yo’ pocket. Ain’t nobody I know got that much carrying around money? How ‘bout you ‘splain that to me.”

“Ok, let me show you.” I pulled out all my change. “These big ones are quarters, these are nickels and these two here are dimes. These copper colored one are pennies. See, they have dates on them that start way back in the 1970’s and come on up to 2007. These real shinny ones are 2007, fresh from the mint.  I think the size of the coins are about the same as they were in 1872, or at least close.”

“We got some coins, but they don’t look jest like yourn. Can I have some of yours to show the fellows at the Fort.? Otherwise they be saying I’m gone crazy too. Just like old Tom did. Some of the jingling money may change they minds.”

“Sure Joe, take them all. In my world they would only buy a few things. It’s is not very much money in 2007.”

“I just got one coin, a five dollar gold piece. I wish I had two or three of them. When you only get thirteen dollars a month serving in this man army, a little bit of money go a long way. ”

“I wish you had two or three of those five dollars gold pieces, too, Joe. I might sell you my flashlight. They would be worth a lot more that five dollars in 2007.  We may do some trading after a while.”

As we lay there resting, the Cavalry went riding by. We were both sound asleep and by the time we realized what was happening, the Cavalry had past. Joe stood, fired his carbine in the air and we watched as the Cavalry scattered and then came around to bear on us, quickly and in earnest. I thought for a second or two we were in trouble. As soon as they saw the uniform of Pvt. McGilly, they eased up some.

As they were riding toward us, I asked Joe, “Do you know any of them?”

“I see’d some of them a few times. They be the 8th Cavalry, all white boys and they don’t ‘sociate wid us black boys. That be Lt. John Costner. He be mean to us. You do something wrong and that fellow he be rough on us black boys. He be tough on the white boys, too.”

“Company halt. Pvt., what are you doing out here in this country? Who is this gentleman you are with?” Before he let Joe answer, he spoke to me. “Sir, would you explain what is going on with you two? Why are you out here?”

“Yes Sir, I met up with the Ninth Cavalry back in New Mexico and I explained to Sgt. Hanson and his troops about this female reporter that had been with me, but was in the hands of the Apaches, the Warm Spring Band.  Sgt Hanson assigned Pvt. McGilly to me help fetch the lady. We were captured yesterday by the Apaches who took our horses and supplies. We were later able to cut ourselves loose and escape. The tribe never came after us for some reason. Maybe they knew that you were getting close. Lozen, Victorio’s sister has a knack for detecting their enemy. Maybe she could sense you boys coming.”

“I see. Well, we will overtake them and get the reporter back. You say this is Victorio and his bunch. They are not as mean as Cochise. Maybe we can talk the gal out of their hands. We have a scout that speaks the language. That will be in our favor, I think.”

“Ok, do you have a horse for Joe, ah, Pvt. McGilly and me? The tribe took our mounts. But one other thing, sir, that female reporter is working on a story and may not want to leave the Apache.”

“What? Is she crazy? I never heard of such. Is she Indian or something?”

“No sir, just a crazy, modern day female, that’s all I can tell you.”

“Sgt., take the supplies off a couple of those mounts and spread them around the troops. Let the Private and his civilian companion have the mounts to ride.”

After a few minutes of taking off supplies and putting them on other horses, our mounts were ready for us. I was planning to ride in the rear with Pvt. McGilly; however, the Lieutenant insisted I ride up front with him leaving the Private in the very rear. The Apache scout was a long way out in front of us.

After several hours of riding, the scout came back to visit with the Lieutenant. He notified him that the tribe was about a mile in front of us.

“Troops, at a gallop”, ordered the Lieutenant. The troops responded right away probably doubling the speed that we had been traveling.

Soon we were upon the rear of the tribe. Some of the warriors were back in the hills behind us with weapons clearly and visibly pointed in our direction.

“Company halt. Scout, come with me. Mister, join us also, will you?”

We took a white handkerchief and tied it to a guidon. He assigned a trooper to carry it and the four of us proceeded on horseback at a walk. We rode right into the midst of the tribe. The squaws and children stayed pretty far back from the pathway we were taking. The warriors parted, giving us just enough room to allow us to pass all the way up to where Victorio was standing. We had a little trail lined with Indians, just for us. It would have been nice is 2007, but it was scary as hell in 1872.

I looked all around for Paige. I could not see her. Why would she not be standing out watching this unless they now had her captive? It put me to wondering and worrying.

Chief Victorio held his hand out, palm up. The lieutenant responded in kind. I did not salute or change my expression as I continued to look for Paige.

The Lieutenant told the Chief what we wanted and the scout interpreted his message. I was surprised by the response of the Chief’s. He said that Paige was now the squaw of Wolf as he had taken her into his teepee, fed her, and kept her.  It was up to Wolf if she could leave as she was now his property. I wondered how that set with Miss Paige. She was learning about Indian culture in a hurry seemed to me, but I knew her well enough to know that no one would ever own her. That was never going to happen.

I could see Wolf as he stood near the Chief. He did not look like he was ready to release Paige. At least, his expression never changed.

I told the Lt. to ask the chief if I could speak with the white woman. The scout spoke to the Chief and the Chief asked Wolf. Wolf shook his head in the negative. Apparently, that was the end of it in the chief’s eyes.

Lt. Costner turned to me, “It looks like the only way we can get the lady back is to do battle with them. I am short on supplies and could not hold out for an extended battle. If you spot her, we could try and do a quick retrieval in gathering her up and making a run for it. Do you see her now?”

“No, LT. Costner, I have not seen her since our arrival. I think they have her hidden out away from the camp. Let’s do a retreat and I will tell you what I intent to do, ok?”

The scout passed on the Lieutenant’s regards to the Chief. We left the

Camp doing double time and were back with the troopers shortly. They had dug out the little spring and it was producing a lot more water than Joe and I gotten it to produce. All the troopers were filling up their canteens. It was just deep enough that they could put their canteens completely under the water to fill them. It was good, cool, water and very tasty.

“What are your plans for retrieving the young lady, Mister? If we do a full battle, we will need to pick our place. We are outmatched in number and maybe in firepower. They are pretty well armed. Did you notice?”

“Lt. Costner, if we do attack the tribe, we take a chance on the young lady being in the thick of things. I think it is best for me to try and get her back on my own. That way we will at least not have a full scale battle. Maybe I can take Wolf one on one.”

“Mister, I noticed the build of that young warrior and I would be very surprised if you could out wrestle or out fight that one. He looks very cagey.

You may have better luck letting the Cavalry fight this battle if you want to save the lady, that’s my opinion in the matter.” The Lieutenant was looking me over all the time he was talking and I could tell he was not all that impressed with me. (A picture of the big, muscular, tough guy on the beach kicking sand on the skinny guy came to my mind. I was the skinny guy, of course.)

“Sir, I would worry that the tribe would split, some taking the lady on with them while some of them stayed and fought the Cavalry. If it is just me, they will certainly not be concerned and Wolf will fight me one on one to keep the girl. If I lose, at least she will not be injured, or, that is how I see it.”

“Private, find a carbine for this gentlemen and a few rounds of ammunition. You can keep the mount you are riding and if you are ever by Ft. Selden or Ft. Cummins you can leave the weapon and mount there. I wish you luck. I will be taking Pvt. McGilly back with me. A Buffalo Soldier with you will only rile the tribe up more. Good luck to you, sir.”

The Lieutenant saluted me and smartly wheeled his mount around. “Mount up,” he shouted as he left me holding the horse and the newly acquired carbine.

My heart had a sinking feeling as I watched them riding away. Pvt. McGilly turned in the saddle and saluted me. I waved back and watched until they were specks on the horizon.

 

 

Chapter Ten

 

I was worried about Paige. I did not want to wait until tomorrow to approach Wolf about her, so I mounted up and started back for the tribe’s camp.

It was nearing dark as I approached the camp site. Fires were being built up. I decided against a direct approach at this time. I wanted to be able to see everything going on around me and not have any sneak attacks. Dismounting and leading my horse behind some low lying hills west of the camp site, I looked hard for Paige. It was over into the late evening before I finally saw her.

I really noticed Butterscotch first and I knew that if she were with Wolf she would also be with Butterscotch. After a few minutes, Paige come to the fire and dished up some food. She took it near the entrance of the teepee where she sat down to eat.

I considered hitting her with a beam of my flashlight, but all that would do is give away my position. The Indians would not be afraid of it as this tribe had seen a flashlight on my first trip over here. I wanted to get her attention, but I was not sure how to best do it.

Knowing that time was short, I remembered a saying I had heard sometime before, “Desperate times require desperate measures”, or something like that. Anyway, it sounded like what I needed to hear so that’s what I told myself. (Sometimes I will believe anything.)

I took my tent, spread it out enough to cover the saddle of the horse, and tied it in place on the saddle. I took some foil that I had for wrapping food and placed it against the back of the tent, folding it so it would rest in the tent folds. I drew a face with several big grinning teeth on the front of the tent with my black marker. I tied the flashlight on to the saddle horn, shined it on the foil to let it reflect on the face. I hoped that the Indians of this tribe would see their first Halloween monster, and be scared.  If not, I was in a heap of trouble.

I studied about how I could keep the tent on the horse when I rescued Paige. We would be sitting on the canvas part as we rode off into the night, riding away from all the scared Indians, who would still be shaking with fright from seeing the monster. We would be making our way back to the portal and 2007.

If only it would be that easy. “How do people get their lives so screwed up? What happened to “I’ll just stick my head through the portal to see who’s there… God help us.” Talking about it helped some, but I had had my fill of excitement for the time being.

I looked the camp over one more time. The fires were dying down and the camp was getting quiet. Paige was still at the front of the tent. I memorized it’s location in relation to the others. I took out my bottle of snake bite medicine and took two big swigs. That helped some. Then I took a couple of real deep breathes, swelling my chest as much as I could with the cool night air…… Now I was ready.

“Well, here goes,” I said out loud hoping at least the Lord was listening.

I turned on the light and started down the hill, leading the horse. I had left some pans loose by accident, but that was also good as I was making one hell’va racket coming down the hill with that lit up monster, swaying away on horse back.

One by one the tribe started getting out of the teepees, looking at the strange looking object coming down the hill toward them. I maintained the same slow speed as I approached the camp. Some of the children and women started yelling and carrying on, adding to the excitement, and making me think maybe I was doing some good.

Paige stood and walked away from the tent a few feet, with her mouth dropped wide open.  I was glad as that gave me a little extra room to move around. Wolf’s tent was at the outside edge of the camp, so if I could get Paige on the horse quickly, we could get away.

I started a sing-song chant, hoping it sounded like an Indian song, “Paige, get ready to go… Paige, get ready to go… my horse is near so don’t you fear, Paige, get ready to go…… I’m very near, don’t fear my dear, just get ready to hop on this horse and let’s get the crap out of here.” The last part didn’t rhyme very well, but I could see the warriors coming my way so rhyming did not seem all that important right now, and I said the last few words very fast, so the Indians probably didn’t notice the bad verse.

I quickly got in the saddle and rode up to Paige’s side. Even with all my singing, she still did not seem ready for me to pick her up. As a matter of fact, her mouth was still hanging open.  I struggled getting her up and into the saddle with me. At first she was facing me, which was real good if we had all day, but we needed to be riding hard. Finally, she squirmed around and was sitting half on my lap and half on the horse, but at least facing the front end of the horse.

Wolf had figured out by this time that the monster was an old white boy after the pretty white girl. That wasn’t what he wanted apparently. He pulled his Bowie knife and stabbed at me just as we rode by. The knife hit my fanny pack, cut my hip on the way down and buried itself into the fleshy thigh of my leg. A hot burning pain shot all over my leg and hip, causing me to dig my knees into the horse, who responded by starting to gallop.

I wanted to use my flashlight to stay out of more trouble ahead, but I did not want the tribe to see the way we were headed. I rode south for a time, probably two hours, then turned back due east. After a couple of more hours of hard riding, we came upon a small stream. I had to get off the horse and doctor my leg. I could tell that I had lost a lot of blood and it was throbbing severely.

Paige helped me down and using some of her clothing, doctored my cuts. “You are so stupid. Why did you do that? You looked so crazy coming down that hill with the light inside the tent. It was not scary looking, it was dumb looking, and singing that stupid song. How did you come up with that? Couldn’t you have just rode in with guns blazing, like in the cowboy movies? Me and the whole camp of warriors knew it was you right away. But Butterscotch and the kids were scared shitless, or so they seemed.” She actually paused to laugh some. “That was great. That was some face you drew on the tent. I was laughing out loud as you were riding in. Only you could think up some hair brain idea such as that. I am sorry you got stabbed by Wolf. He had already claimed me, did you know that? My guess would be that he just recognizes beautiful women. Don’t you agree?”

“Crap. Did I really risk my life for this? There must be a big picture here somewhere. Just doctor me and let’s go to bed, ok?”

She got the sleeping bags from behind the saddle and soon had our tent set up back among some bush. She did make my leg feel better. She poured a little of the snake bite medicine on it.

I took a couple of swigs of the snake bite medicine, also. Sleep came quickly.

I woke with Paige standing over me. I was shivering and very cold. Paige was wiping my forehead with a cold, damp cloth. “What the hell are you doing with that cold rag? I am freezing……

——————————————————————

I woke up later and it was dark, I was in the tent. Paige was lying up against me with her arms wrapped around me. She was naked, I think.  I heard Paige talking to me, but I could not answer her as I did not know what she was saying.  It sounded like gibberish to me.

—————————————————————————

Later, I saw her bathing in a stream, standing naked, dipping water up over her head. She was beautiful, gorgeous breasts, dream material for sure……..

———————————————————————-

And it was dark again and Paige was trying to pour water down me. It tasted so good. My leg was hurting, my back was hurting, my head was hurting, I needed help, I could tell that……

________________________________________________________

Paige was bending over a fire, a fire with fish on a couple of sticks over it. “When is breakfast being served, I’m starved.”

“Oh, you,… your alive…… And hungry! Great! Just a minute and I will have us some food.” She walked over to me. “I have been so worried about you. I have cleaned your wound every day. I think it has been about a week that you have been out of your head, maybe longer.  The wound looks so much better today. Maybe that is why you woke up.”

Paige pulled the fish from the bone and fed me. I was too weak to sit up.

I must have eaten two of the fish. But I soon became tired and drifted off to sleep again. I woke during the night lying next to a naked Paige giving me some more dream material, so I went right back to sleep hoping for a nightmare.

Morning came and I struggled to sit up. I made it, but it took a while. The horse was grazing nearby in some deep green grass by the small stream. Paige was standing over the stream with a sharp stick in her hand. She immediately plunged the stick into the water and a splashing fish was speared and fighting to get off. Paige flung it out on the bank and resumed her stare into the stream. I watched. Soon another fish was speared and flung up on the bank.

I struggled to get up to go over to join her, but soon found I could not move. I had to work at sitting up which I finally accomplished.

Paige was in the process of cleaning the fish and it was very quiet around the camp, except for the peaceful murmur of the stream. Upstream a couple of hundred yards, a deer came to drink. Slowly lifting the carbine from its resting place, I got off a quick shot, but a good shot, right on its mark.

The deer jumped about ten feet and then hit the ground.

“You son of a bitch,” screamed Paige, “you scared the crap out of me. Couldn’t you have grunted or something before firing that thing. I thought the Indians were here. Damn.”

“Good morning to you too, Paige. Please take your knife and go over and cut the deer’s throat, ok? He needs to be bled.”

“What! You want me to go over to that deer and cut its throat? Is that all? Just like that…….Well, I can’t do that.”

“Any squaw can do that. Skinning the deer is the hard part. And if you want some meat tonight, you need to bleed the deer, dear. Will you please go do it? Put the knife to its neck and push downward. It’s dead now and won’t feel a thing. I’ll try walking over there and get us a few cuts of meat, especially the tenderloin.”

Reluctantly, she did. She looked at it for a few minutes, looked at me for a few minutes and then putting the knife against the deer’s neck and covering her eyes with her left hand, pushed, then sawed with no success. Then she uncovered her eyes and, finally, cut the deer’s throat.

“Good girl.” After I got up, I found I could hop pretty good, but I was a little unsteady, taking a few minutes to compete the journey.  I arrived about the time the deer had bled out. I cut out the tenderloin, giving it to Paige for washing and cooking.

Paige built up the fire. We found some sharp sticks with “y” ends to hold the meat stick over the fire, Paige was continually turning it and adding some salt to it from her bag of stuff. Soon the aroma of the cooking meat filled me with hunger. I could hardly wait. I made some other cuts of meat to take with us, letting it smoke over the fire, and then salted it down in Paige’s fanny pack for our journey back to the portal.

After our delicious meal of fresh deer meat, I remembered that I had a couple of packs of hot chocolate is my backpack. “Tonight we celebrate this occasion with some hot chocolate. Want some?”

“Sure….” She looked at me like she did not believe me for a while, and then said, “Do you really have some hot chocolate? I’d love it. Let’s do celebrate. I’m ready to go home.”

“Well, hallelujah! We have our story and we can go home. I am going to put a couple of shots of snake bite medicine into our drinks. This is really a time for celebrating.” I already had the water for the hot chocolate heating over the fire.

We took our time drinking the hot chocolate. The evening star came out and I related my story to her about Private Joe McGilly.  She seemed sorry that she did not get to meet him. She confessed to seeing us both tied to the tree at the Warm Spring Camp. She said that Wolf had claimed her for his squaw and she was afraid to come to us. She, at first, thought he was just being nice to invite her into his teepee. She found out the next day, through Hawk, just what she had agreed to in Wolf’s and Butterscotch’s eyes. Wolf had agreed to take her in as his second squaw and Butterscotch had said it was ok. She said that Butterscotch was very nice to her and was teaching her how to be a good squaw. Apparently, the squaws do all the work and warriors fight and hunt. That was her understanding of the squaw’s life anyway. She learned that the tribe does not eat fish, turkey or eagles, but she was not sure why.

I told her that on my first trip through the portal, I did some fishing and the tribe ate them. She thought they must have been extremely hungry as they normally do not eat fish.

We had enjoyed our drinks that evening. The night was very pleasant. We were able to talk and enjoy each others company for the first time since coming through the portal, which surprised us both, I think.

She spent a big portion of the evening telling of her experience with the tribe. I asked if she was abused by Wolf during that time. With the tribe moving so fast, and so many times, they would just get the teepee’s set up and get ready for bed and something would happen causing them to pack up and move again. So, no, she was not abused by Wolf, even through he would lie between Butterscotch and her each night. She said Butterscotch was pretty demanding about his attention which was ok with her. She listened to them making out a couple of times. She thought Butterscotch eventually may have let him have her, but when Butterscotch was ready, not when Wolf was ready.

A slow rain started, making us close the tent up except for a small opening for fresh air. We were far enough back from the stream that we should be ok from any flash floods.

Paige cleaned and dressed my wounds, the hip was well, but the leg was still a little nasty. She hung the cloth outside to wash in the rain. Paige surprised me and took off her blouse, removed her bra, and then slipped her blouse back on.

“Huh, it was the snake bite medication, wasn’t it?” I had a very big smile on my face. She laughed and crawled over into my sleeping bag. That night went beyond dream material.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Eleven

 

We were not is a big hurry, but we moved around as fast as we could under the circumstances. I cut a forked stick to fashion a crutch. It was crooked and not very pretty, but it worked.  It was probably nine o’clock or so before we started northeast. I could not see Cooke’s Peak yet, so I knew we had a long ways to go. I figured we were somewhere between present day Douglas, AZ and Lordsburg, NM. If so, we should be able to see Cooke’s Peak after going over the next range of mountains.

Using the deer hide, we built a travois for me and our goods to ride. Paige could ride the horse. I tried riding the horse, but it caused my leg to pain a lot.  Riding on the travois was much easier as I could prop up my leg on our gear.

I asked Paige to look for green areas as that would usually be a sign of water. Riding across the desert it was certainly not hard to spot the green amongst all the brown.

Paige stayed with it; I’ll say that for her. She kept up a very steady pace until about 2 o’clock when the sun became almost unbearable. Fortunately, we came upon a small green area with a trickle of water coming over some rocks and making a small pool just under them. It was a prize camp spot for a couple of people, I was sure it was a marked spot for traveling Indians. Animal tracks were abundant. We would just have to take our chances.

We drank our fill and relaxed under the largest bush. Birds flying in for water all afternoon made our entertainment. This country was full of birds, for sure. Some took time to feed on some of the grass seeds in the area. The grass was very thick for about a thirty foot area around the spring. The grass produced a head that had a lot of seeds, a prize for these birds.

A cougar or mountain lion came creeping down the slope toward a flock of birds on the other side of the opening. Taking a nearby ball sized rock, I flung it with all my might. The rock might have grazed its shoulder. At least it was close enough that the cat went running back over the hills.

“Paige, lets get our rest now and two or three hours before sun down we will move on for a few miles. This spring may become a very busy place at night. Some of the animals may be as big as we are. Let’s fill all our containers. I think we have many miles of very arid country. I was trying to remember the lay of the land between Wilcox, AZ and Lordsburg, NM. I have traveled that stretch along I-10 many times in the real world. I could not remember any streams, but there is standing water in some of the lower lying areas. I am not sure it is potable water, however.”

It had cooled some when we started out, but not much. North of us, many miles away, we could see dust being kicked up. Bison?  Maybe.  Indians? Maybe. Cavalry? The direction seemed wrong. But we kept our eye on the dust and talked with each other about our suspicions of who it was. Paige seemed to think it may be the Warm Spring Tribe headed back to their favorite land. I agreed with her that it was absolutely possible and they may have the Cochise bunch with them to attack any Cavalry that may get in their way.

We found some brush, that was big enough for some shade, and the brush was surrounded by few medium sized rocks. No water, however, but it would have to do. We heated some of the deer meat, warmed a can of beans and shared a can of peaches.  I guess last night and today’s travels had taken its toll because we were both ready for sleep when the sun went down.

Bright and early the next morning, we resumed out journey toward the east. About midday we could once again see Cooke’s Peak several miles north and east of present day Deming, NM. Paige and I agreed she should keep heading a little north of that point and we could fine tune our directions later.

The dust up north of us was developing into a larger cloud on the horizon.

It had to be one of the tribes. It moved too slowly for the Cavalry and was too steady for a herd of Bison, as Bison would stop to graze.

I checked to see if we were making any dust. It only showed when going through very dry, loose soil with some wind blowing, but then it was not very much, but the Indians would notice it. I passed my thoughts on to Paige. She asked, “What do you think we should do, stop?”

“No, I don’t think we should stop. But be on the look out for small tracks of dust out away from the main dust cloud. That would probably mean a brave or two were headed our way to check us out.”

“Wow, funny you should mention that” said Paige. “Look, there is a small dust cloud out away from the tribe moving our way in a hurry. What should I do?”

“Do you see those rocks over to your right? Head there, quickly!”

We tied the horse to a brush within the group of rocks and got the carbine out and ready, as we watched the approaching dust cloud. I tried to hand the pistol over to Paige, but she was already pulling a snub nosed .38 from her fanny pack. She also had a box of shells in there. Seeing the gun and shells made me feel a little better. “Can you shoot it?” I asked.

“I think I am probably better than you with a hand gun. My Dad taught me how to use one. I will choose my targets wisely.”

“Great, Paige, get ready. We have probably two or three minutes before they get here.”

I had about twenty shells for the carbine, so I knew I had to use them only on long distance shots and use the pistol close up. I gave the warriors about a minute, to where I could see them clearly. I fired at the lead warrior. His horse dropped, throwing the brave for a hard fall. He was very slow getting up, but I could not tell how badly he was injured.

The other warriors jumped off their horses and took what cover they could find. I warned Paige about them sneaking up on us and for her to be very watchful.

The sun was making its presence known. It had to be 100 degrees or more. We both took a sip of water during this lull. It was a short lull.  A bullet pinged off a rock just over our head, and then we heard the sound of the shot. They can be crawling closer. I took a quick look. I saw one running, bent over behind a small rock. I took a shot and missed, but I saw the dust kicked up behind him. I led him a little when he started running again, my shot dropped him.

Not good.

We now had pissed them off.  They would really be after us now.  It seemed like every one of the warriors now started firing as bullets were hitting all around us. One ripped a hole in the tent that was on the horse, making the horse jump around.  I pulled the horse back into the rocks with us. They must have fired ten to fifteen times which kept us from looking over the rocks to see what was happening. Luckily none of the bullets hit us.

When I did raise up, one warrior was very near our location. Before I could bring my carbine up in the firing position, the warrior was jumping at me. Paige fired, hitting him in the head. He smashed against the rock with a thud.

I got my rifle in the firing position and looked at the warrior’s last location. They had all advanced and one stood to charge. I fired just as he stood hitting him in the chest. The other two turned and started back toward their horses. I thought it best not to fire in order to save my ammunition.

Soon the dust cloud was going away from us.

“Paige, we are going the same direction as the tribe. We are both headed for the Alamosa Creek area. Remember, that is their home territory. They are closer than we are so we probably need to go to Fort Cummins and get some help getting to our portal. What do you think?”

“I’m tired. I want a bath. I want to soak for about two days. I want to rest for a month. I want a juicy steak, a baked potato, a nice green salad, ranch dressing, a Margarita, make that two. I’m tired of Indians. I have my story. I want to go home. I have had enough of the dust, and heat, and desert, and …..” she paused.

“Were you going to say, you, as in me? Was that what you were about to say? What were you about to say? That was it, wasn’t it? I have had enough of …..You.”

“No, really, I was not about to say you. I was about to say I’m homesick.

I’m ready to go home. If something were to happen to us out here, today, and they found our bones a hundred and fifty years from now, the authorities would really be confused. A Ninth Cavalry horse, saddle and carbine, a couple dressed in 21st Century clothing and camping equipment. How strange would that be, huh? How close are we to what would be the present day I-10? Pretty close, huh?”

“Yeah, you got that right. We are probably just a little east of Road Forks, a truck stop and pipeline fuel terminal and loading rack. Diesel is, or will be, shipped from there via trucks to the copper mines in the area. But that is several years in the future my dear. And in 2007, there is still nothing built in this area. It may be two or three centuries before our bones would be found.”

“Old beached bones, dry bones,,,,,,, dem old dry bones. Could they tell they were from a beautiful girl?  I need to write some of my story so someone will know just what I have been through, and know what a good reporter I am, eh, was. What a horrid thought! Let’s head for Fort Cummins, ok!”

“I’m with you, babe. Let’s mount up.”

Between the last spring and Cooke’s Spring near Deming, there may have been some springs and running water, but I could not locate them. We did see some green bushes and headed for them. I dug a hole in the damp ground

near the center of the bushes. I dug about two feet deep before any water started seeping in. It took a while, but we were able to fill our canteens and water bottles. After I had filled our containers, I widened the hole to let the horse drink.

We continued our journey, but a lot more slowly than before. The desert was beginning to take its toll on Paige and I was certainly not getting any stronger. About the time we were ready to give up, Paige saw a column of soldiers in the distance. She fired one shot in the air from her .38 to get their attention. It worked.

 

 

 

Chapter 12

 

Lt. Col. Ambrose had invited the two of us for dinner along with his staff at Fort Cummins. It was a formal affair. I had a clean shirt and Paige had a clean blouse in our bags. They were in pretty good shape except for needing to be ironed. We borrowed an iron from the enlisted men. After taking a nice bath, we changed our upper body clothing and dusted our pants as best we could. That helped. The bath was worth the journey.

The camp doctor looked after my wounded leg. He poured a little snake bite medicine on it.  We both took a big swig. One of those treatments made it feel better.

Steak may not have been the standard fare for the Fort Cummins dinner parties.  The soldiers did not carry on about them, but Paige and I did.  They were well prepared and could not have been served at a better time.

We pigged out on the bread, which was something we both had really missed since we had been inside the portal.

“Madam, tell me how it came to be that you were taken by the Indians. Did they kidnap you from somewhere out west? It is my understanding that the soldier’s found you riding in from the southwest, from the Arizona Territory. Is that correct?” asked the Colonel.

“Well, it is a very long story and very complicated. My time with the Indians was so traumatic that I am not sure I can remember everything. But I was chasing or following Mr. Einstein here when he entered this tunnel. I was lost, out of food and very hungry.”

Colonel said, “How did you happen to be by yourself in that country? What happened to your traveling companions?”

“Well, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, Colonel. I was doing a story; I’m a newspaper reporter, a story on some ghost towns in the Black Range……”

“Ghost towns, what do you mean, ghost towns?” The Colonel looked a little perplexed by the term.

“Oh, well, maybe I better back up a little further. You know what, it will make more sense to you if I let Mr. Einstein here tell the first part of the story. You go ahead, sir. Then I will tell my story. Ok?”

I gave her a very stern look over the Mr. Einstein name, but it did not matter. “Well, Colonel, it’s like this. We are from the 21st century. The calendar year was 2007 when I journeyed through the portal into this era, this time frame that you and your people are in. I have been through the tunnel previously, into the year 1867, but then my year was 2004. The passageway became blocked by a cave-in and lately a flood washed out enough of the fill for us to get through.” I never knew anyone could wrinkle their brow as much as that Colonel wrinkled his. Disbelief was so evident.

I told him our story.  I brought him up to the present, which included our fight with the Apaches just yesterday.

“Well, that is very difficult to believe. I am not saying you are lying, but it is tall tale. Some of the things you tell would be very hard to make up. Thank you for your interesting story, Mr. Einstein. Let me hear your side of the story, Miss Middleton.” I had to smile at the Mr. Einstein bit. What a girl.

“Well, I had trouble believing him also when he was first telling me the story. But that first day, while I was sitting there talking with him, hair started growing on his head. And, he started losing wrinkles and getting better looking. Even though he still has a long way to go, he does look better. Believe me on that. Then he mentioned that I was looking younger myself and he also stated that I was becoming even prettier while just sitting there talking to him.”

I lowered my head, shook it, and grinned.  I could not believe parts of this story either. She continued.

“Everything looked the same as on the other side of the portal. But soon, this tribe of Indians came by, led by Mangas Coloradas, Mr. Einstein told me that was who he was, and that he was the leader of the tribe.”

“Eh, that can’t be, Miss. Mangas Coloradas, was killed in 1863. This is 1872.”

“Yeah, I know. I’ll get around to that. I’m getting there.  We had a small run-in with this bunch of Indians so we returned to 2007 through the portal.  To shorten the story, we replenished our supplies and came back into this country, through the portal again. Only this time when we can through, bingo, 1872, and we walked right into Chief Victorio’s camp. Butterscotch was now married to Wolf, Mr. Einstein’s arch rival and things were ripe for another battle between the two of them. Wolf had a bad dislike for Old Einstein here and wanted to take him on. Butterscotch stopped the fight and we got along ok with the rest of the tribe. That is until Cochise had a run-in with some of your boys and a warrior came to fetch Chief Victorio to help him.”

“How long did it take the tribe to load up and move out? That is information that we need to have.”

“Not long at all, Colonel. They were packed before we could get ready. I left when they did, leaving Mr. Einstein to bring all of our equipment. Then when we had been on the road a full day of marching, I was invited into Wolf and Butterscotch’s teepee, I thought they were just being nice. I found out later that the move signified that I was another squaw of Wolf’s.

The rest is like Mr. Einstein told you.”

The Colonel lit his pipe, taking his time in doing so and took several puffs from it before he spoke.

“Gentlemen,” he said to his fellow officers gathered at the table,” we have just heard one of the damnst stories of this century from both these people. How could something like this be made up? But, how could something like this be true? What are the Indians and Military doing in the, 21st Century you say?”

“Beg your pardon, sir?”

“What is happening in your century? What is going on with the Indians? Has a peace been established? Tell me all about that.”

“Yes, peace, and most all of the Indians live on reservations. We gave them the worst land we had. For a long time, they had a very difficult life. Then we let them build casinos.”

“Build what?”

“Casinos, gambling establishments if you will. Now all the whites are paying the Indians millions and millions of dollars that they wager in the casinos. Most all of the tribes are very wealthy in our world. There are slot machines, gaming tables for poker, dice, and roulette, making a very different world in 2007.”

“Also, the Indians served in our Military in World War Two doing an excellent job and they made some of our best fighting men in some of our later conflicts.”

“They do make good scouts.”

“Yes sir, they are very brave. In World War Two, the Navajo used their language to help us defeat the Japanese. We called them Navajo Code Talkers.”

“Tell me about that. How did they help with their language?”

I went on and on, trying to tell that story in detail that required me to explain radios and walkie talkies.  Then, I added about our tanks, jet planes, aircraft carriers, modern day weapons of mass destruction, one bomb that would destroy a complete city and kill hundred of thousands. On and on I went with wide eye reaction from all at the table.

“In 1969, man walked on the moon.”

The men at the table erupted. Every kind of utterance that could be mentioned was mentioned. Mostly, it was disbelief and most of the men stood and said I had gone too far. Now they are sure that I was lying.

“You have to be the biggest teller of tales that I have ever run across.

I do not appreciate you coming into our Fort and telling such stories and expect that we would believe them. You may spend the night. Then we ask that you continue your journey. If that was our mount we would keep it. The carbine and ammunition you need to turn into our Officer of the Day. Good night, Sir. Madam, good night to you. Thank you for joining us this evening. Tomorrow morning after breakfast, we shall escort you a few miles from the fort, and then you are on your own.” He saluted smartly and walked out. He was followed closely by his entourage.

When we reached the outside, I happened to look across the parade ground and as luck would have it I saw Private Joe McGilly. “Colonel, is that Pvt. McGilly I see over there?”

“Yes, I think that is his name. He in on temporary duty here, loaned to us from Fort Selden. Why do you ask?”

“Could we invite him over here for a moment? I think he has something that will help our story.”

“Well, what more could it hurt.” He shouted across the parade grounds, “Private McGilly, come over here for a moment, please.”

Private McGilly came over, looked at me like oh no, not again, but he only nodded at me. He saluted smartly and said, “Yes suh, Colonel, suh. You needs me over here?”

“Mr. Einstein here wants you.”

“Joe, do you have any of the coins left that I gave you? And if you do, could you show them to the Colonel?”

“Yes, suh, I reckon I can, but I don’t want to lose any of them. I might sell some of them to you, for a good bit of money, understand.”

“No, Joe, we will give them back. We just need to study them for a few minutes. Ok?”

Joe dug into his pockets and I could tell by the way his hand worked in his pocket that he was only getting a few of them for the Colonel’s review. He produced a few coins, enough for what I needed them for anyway.

“Colonel, these are the present day coins of the United States of America. Please look them over closely and see what they tell you about my story.”

The Colonel and some of his officers walked back into the officer’s mess hall, under the lights and began to study the coins. “Captain, what are the numbers on these coins. Are they dates, do you think? Some read, 2004, some 2006 and here is a penny that reads 1982. That is very strange.”

The Captain looked at the coins, agreed that the dates were just what we said they were. He sat down to look at them for a while. After he had studied them he handed them back to the Colonel. The Colonel had already seen enough and handed them back to Joe. “Thank you, Private. You are dismissed.”

Joe immediately started walking off, looking back, he gave me a strange look and disappeared into the night.

The Colonel took a seat at one of the tables and invited me to sit down. He asked the mess hall private to bring us a drink.

This Colonel was nobody’s fool. He was well educated, an officer and a gentleman. He asked some very intelligent questions about the status of the United States of America as a world power and other questions about our government; questions about the names of our Presidents and Vice Presidents; our form of government and how it had worked since the Civil War and what was happening in the southern states?

I felt very inadequate in my answers to most of his questions, but I answered them all as best I could. I could name only a few of the Vice Presidents and not many more of the Presidents and certainly not in the proper order.

He surprised me as to his interest of the well-being of the Indians after the campaigns were over in the west.  He seemed sad about the tribulations of the Navajos on the Long Walk to Fort Sumner (Bosque Redondo Reservation) and the Apaches being removed from Arizona and New Mexico in 1886 and their being relocated to Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma as prisoners of war. I hold him what happened to Chief Victorio and Cochise, and about Nana and Lozen.  Of all the things I told him, his eyes almost teared up, or so it appeared, when I told him of the massacre of Victorio’s tribe. He said, “Whatever else I feel about Victorio, he is a great warrior and I am sorry he met his end in that fashion.” I noted that he said he is a great warrior, speaking in the present tense.

We talked far into the night. As I walked to my quarters later, I felt it was almost time for reveille.

It was.

 

 

 

Chapter Thirteen

 

At breakfast the next morning, the Colonel had backed off his orders to see us out of camp, but it was time for us to move on. We told the Colonel we would be leaving after breakfast anyway. He insisted he send a few soldiers with us since the tribe had preceded us toward Ojo Caliente.

We assured him we would be ok, but he felt we needed some protection so he sent some troops with us, a few of the Buffalo Soldiers stationed there.

We said our goodbyes and all the officers from the night before were there to see us off. I am not sure how they felt about us, about our story and if we were for real. There seemed to be mixed emotions with our departure, but most of them wanted to know more as they would come up to Paige or me asking questions about certain parts of the world their family lived in and what was happening in that region in 2007. I guess some of them believed us.

Colonel Ambrose sent six Buffalo Soldiers with us, including Private Joe McGilly. Joe seemed pleased that he had been selected to make the journey.  I was pleased also as I liked Joe.

Joe pulled up alongside the travois, riding by my side, where I could hear him talking and said, “Old Colonel didn’t believe you last night, huh? All that stuff you laid on me, you laid on him I reckon. I knowed it was gonna be rough on you telling all dem tales you got to talk about. It be better off if’n you just keep yo’ mouth shut. In the future, you might want to consider that.”

He did not wait on me to answer. He smiled and rode off to catch the other soldiers.

We rode at a steady pace, but a little more relaxed than we were before arriving at Fort Cummins. The Colonel had sent some extra supplies with us and we felt we were in pretty good shape. We certainly were in no hurry to arrive at the portal since the Indians were probably already camped there.

We did not have enough men to take the tribe on in battle. It would be necessary to slip around the tribe, probably under the cover of darkness and sneak through the portal.

I might leave my “flashlight thang” with Joe if he was still with us when we went through the portal. I was getting just a little ahead of myself and I knew better than to do that. We were climbing higher and higher in elevation and the air was getting cooler. The brush was turning into trees, juniper to pinion and pine. One of the ways we could determine our elevation, especially being above 8000 feet, was the Aspen trees. We did not have any at our present elevation so my guess we were about 7000 to 7500 feet. I knew the nights would be very cold up here and I was already hoping that I would have a sleeping bag partner.

And speaking of sleeping bag partners, Paige calls back to me, “When are we going to camp for the night? Who determines when we stop? If it is me, if I am the boss, it is time to stop. My butt is killing me.” Paige sat the saddle just like the cowboys, none of that sissy girl side saddle stuff for her. I gave her a hard time but she really was a trooper. She had shot Indians, been shot at by Indians, been a prisoner of the Indians, been nursemaid to a wounded man, and she had never whimpered nor complained. I don’t know if that’s the makeup of a reporter, or just the makeup of this reporter. Either way, down deep, I was very proud of her. I probably loved her, but I was withholding that affirmation for a while. Sometimes you hate to stick your neck out when there is potential for a nearby guillotine.

We combined our rations for supper that evening. The troopers loved our pork and beans and our energy bars. We loved their potatoes and bread. We would cut the bars into small portions so that more of them could have a piece, but we would pig out on the potatoes and bread.

The Buffalo Soldiers seemed to love Paige. They appeared to be awestruck and stared at her all of the evening, but she handled it well. It added strength to her perception that she was indeed pretty. She had become prettier to me and I wondered why. I think it had to do with learning about a person’s enter beauty and strength, however I did not want to tell her that as her head was quite big enough, and still growing.

After supper, we had a nice fire to take the evening chill off the air and the sunset was perfect. All the troops were kicked back and enjoying the last of our coffee, quietly talking, and I took that opportunity to look ahead some.

“Well, Paige, my dear. What is your book going to be about? Apaches, Buffalo Soldiers, me…….What? Are you really going to tell about the time travel thing? That sort of story is very hard to believe and may not take you to the best seller list. Tell me how you are going to handle all of this.”

“Well, I am not sure you are going to be in it. I need a character of strength; handsome and charming and, also, very sexy. You know, Colonel Ambrose might fill the bill. I might make him my main character. He was a hunk in that uniform. Did you notice?”

“No, I did not notice him being a hunk. Hawk was more of a hunk than him. Are you sure? Ambrose? You have this thing for hunks, I have noticed, and it seems like at times it don’t take much to make one. But what about me, oh pretty one, I mean, really? Will I be in your book?”

“Probably, some bit part, maybe like a crazy guy that came riding into an Indian Camp with a tent on his saddle lit up with a flashlight, with a Halloween face drawn on it or some other crazy thing like that, nothing important.”

“Are you talking about that daring raid, all alone, charging into the heart of an Apache Indian camp where the hero picked up our esteemed story teller and whisked her away from the big bad Wolf, back to the safety of his arms? The guy who risked his life and limb for the same said story teller, bleeding many pints of his blood over the desert floor, complaining not, a real trooper all the way? Is that the guy you are going to write about?”

I never saw a girl soften so quickly. She seemed to melt. “You never did complain. And all the while you were so brave. I think a lesser man would have had to have his guns blazing. Thank you for coming for me, for not letting them have me. It was stupid of me to have followed them and not to have waited on you. You’re in by book and you are the hero.”

“You are welcome.” I was going to say more but somehow those words just kind of affected me and I had to hold back.

I waited a bit then said, “I always wanted to be the hero, especially with you the heroine. It was worth the wait.”

“I just hope I can make it a readable story. We have certainly had plenty of action, huh?”

“Yeah, too much for me at times. I would have much preferred a romantic love story, with a little comedy, one where the heroine pampers the hero a little, takes good care of her man, they go fishing and stuff, lots of food,…..And lots of sex. Now that would be a good story.”

Paige walked out into the brush shaking her head, a big, negative shake. “You really are a dreamer.

 

 

Chapter Fourteen

 

Private Joe McGilly and the rest of the soldier were up early the next morning and had breakfast ready by the time Paige and I got up. It was a cool morning and the fire felt good. The coffee tasted great.

Soon we were moving out, up the canyon and on our way to Alamosa Creek.

It would take a few hours from the time we hit the creek until we would arrived at the portal leading back to our world.

We stopped to water our horses at the head waters of Alamosa Creek sometime later. All the soldiers had dismounted and were walking around, stretching, and taking strolls out into the woods.

A dozen or so warriors came down from the hills attacking. I had heard Indians hollering and carrying on in movies when they were attacking and thought very little about that, but it really is effective in real life, kind of like, well,  scary as hell!. I had my gun strapped on and immediately went to firing at them. Some of the soldiers had left their guns on their horses. Those that were close to the horses grabbed for them and their guns. Two of the horses bolted and ran, running with the Indians and not away from them. Two guns and the supplies that were assigned to those horses were lost.

I fired several shots as did a couple of the soldiers, but if any of the Indians were hit they did not show it. It was over as fast as it started.

Our lost was the two horses, two guns, some ammo and supplies.

“Did you see Wolf? He appeared to be the leader of the tribe on this attack. I did not see Victorio.”

“He stayed up in the hills, watching from his horse, if he was here. I did see Lozen, but not Wolf. I think their plan may be to pester us for a while and take their time before we have a major encounter. We are seriously outnumbered.”

“Men, let’s stay back from the creek, but continue to follow its course until we get closer to the portal. Then we will decide what we need to do from there. I don’t want to be caught off guard anymore. We will spread out until we hear Indians coming, then you guys come to Paige and I. We will be seeking cover sufficient for all of us.”

Joe was looking at me with some concern on his face. “You a fighting man too, are you? Where’d you get yo training?  You be barking out orders like my First Sergeant.  You ever fought Indians before?”

That put me in my place very fast. These men had more Indian fights than I had even seen on TV. I replied, “No, Joe, you are right. I fought Indians only once or twice before. You take charge and deploy the men as you see fit. Sorry about me trying to Sergeant you around.”

“It be ok, suh, and we will do it kind ‘a like you say. Onliest thing, I want one man out scouting. He be the lead man who ain’t on horseback. He walk the highest point around. That way, he sees something he fires a warning shot and we take immediate cover.”

“Good plan, Joe…… We can move out when you’re ready.”

We did not have any more trouble that day. I think the Indians wanted the bread, potatoes and ammo on those horses. Seems like the two they got were those that were loaded the heaviest. We did not eat quite so heavy that night as we were now worried about having enough supplies.

Camp was made close together with one person on watch, changing guards every two hours. We slept away from the fire in the event some Indians came looking for us. Also, the coffee pot stayed on the fire where the guards could come and go and not wake up those sleeping when he came in for coffee.

It was an uneventful night however, with no interruptions. I told Paige that if we should have a major fight and get separated to try and make it down Alamosa Creek to the portal. “Do not wait,” I pleaded, “just get through the portal as soon as you can.”  I tried to let her know that it very well could be a life or death thing. While Wolf wanted her alive, he also wanted me dead and she may have to watch that take place. Her eyes got larger as she imagined that happening and maybe how it would happen. I wanted her to get the point and escape, if escape was possible.

After breaking camp, our scout got a 15 to 20 minute lead on us.  I believed this area was familiar territory to us all and we knew the portal was near.

We were talking about taking a lunch break when we heard a warning shot from our scout and immediately five to six shots followed that. I saw the look on Joe’s face and read that he was very concerned for our scout.

Soon the other five Buffalo Soldiers arrived to the rocks that Paige and I had sought refuge in. Paige and I did a very stupid thing. We did not check for water in our shelter area and when we did there was none. That was very bad, surrounded by hostile Indians, who have all the time in the world, and plenty of water.

Joe pointed to some rocks back up on the hill that had a small stream, only inches deep and a couple of feet wide, running through those rocks. There were a few feet of clear area inside the rocks. A perfect fighting spot but there was several feet of open space to run through to get to them.

Joe said, “We can’t stay here. We have to have water. Mister, you run first, then you Missus, and then me and the boys will start working our way over there. You run fast, zigzagging, so they can’t sight in on you. Now…..run, run…run..” he shouted.

It was an order and I ran without thinking, zigzagging and stumbling on rocks and hearing the bullets striking the ground all around me. I made it. Inside the rock protection, I picked a protected spot to fire at the Indians.

I saw some smoke from one gun as Paige started running, and then I saw Wolf stand and scream something at the warrior doing the shooting. He immediately stopped. Paige continued on with no more shot being fired at her. She kind of dove into the rocks, looked at me and said, “They didn’t shoot at me. He does think I’m pretty, huh?” She smiled a big smile at me.

“Boy, it don’t take a hell’va lot to win you over, does it.” I was smiling when I said that as well. At the same time wondered about her thought process. It must be a reporter thing or something.

That was all we got to say as Joe started running and the bullets started again. I fired at the smoke coming from the weapons as they fired. The best I could hope for was to make them duck down and not fire as much at Joe.

He came in without any injuries. The next soldier made about ten yards and he was hit by several bullets. He crawled for a few feet but several more bullets hit him and then he lay still.

Joe motioned for the others to hold up. He looked at us and said, “We got to lay down a good amount of fire so the rest of them boys can get over here. When I motion them to come on, you, me and Missus Paige start shooting at them rocks so they can’t raise up. We need all them boys to help us fight. Ya’ll ready,” Looking at us, then at the troops, he yells, “Boys, we gonna start shooting and when we do, ya’ll run like hell. Let’s go.”

Joe started shooting. I took my revolver and was firing regular as was Paige with her 38. The rest of them made it ok as the Indians never fired a shot that time.

The soldier that had been hit several times started moaning and moving around and trying to crawl. One of the soldier, they called him Dee, said, “I’ll go get him. He be my friend. We joined up together, worked on a plantation down yonder in Kain’tuck together, too.”

He barely had the last part said before he took off running. Joe screamed, “Fire, fire… Don’t let them rise up.” Every gun inside the rocks went to firing and one Indian pitched forward over a rock. One reached up and pulled him back. No shots were fired at Dee as he was dragging in the trooper.

I looked the soldier over and I appreciated what Dee did, but other than not letting him lie out in the open, it was far nothing but Dee’s peace of mind. This young soldier had given his all for his country. Before he died I hope he realized that Dee had risked his life trying to save him.  I rested my hand on Dee’s shoulder.

What happened next was so fast I did not believe it was happening and could not move fast enough to stop it. Dee grabbed his carbine and started running toward the rocks that the Indian were behind, firing as fast as he could load. It was funny or better said, strange, that the Indians did not fire. Dee was cussing with each step, loading and then firing, cussing some more and then doing it all over again. The Indians did not fire a single shot until the soldier was nearly upon them. Then they all fired, it almost sounded as one shot. Dee took two more full steps then toppling over. The thud of his body hitting the rocks could clearly be heard even with the guns firing.

Joe said, “Hold your fire.” He took a white handkerchief out of his pocket and tied it to the end of his carbine. He rose up and went walking toward Dee. Not a shot was fired as he slowly walked up to Dee. He loaded him across his shoulder and walked back across the clearing with him, tears streaming down his cheek. I guess maybe all of these guys were pretty good buddies; a lot of battles, a lot of rough times and probably a lot of hell raising when they had the chance. I tried not to think it, but I did as it was “because of us”. Protecting us, following orders, trying to get two people safely back home.

All this fighting and dying made me want to cry but it was too late for that. Five of us now left to fight several warriors. No time left for sentiments.

We dug through our equipment trying to find food we could eat and not build a fire. Joe, Jeremiah, and the one they called Valentine, kept watch for the warriors as Paige and I tried to prepare us some food. I noticed that Valentine was tall; my guess was 6’ 5”. He was on his knees and he could still see over the rocks.  If there had been basketball at Fort Cummins they would have had him under the basket. But we were a long way and many years from basketball so no need to bring that up, yet, maybe some night around a nice campfire when stories are yearned for.

We had the supper fixed, as well as we could. We cut up the energy bars into smaller pieces and opened a can of pork and beans. Each of us would have about two or three spoonfuls.

Paige said, “Okay guys, try to find a dry, comfortable place to sit and let’s try to eat something.”

Valentine said, “Great, I’m really hungry.” He stood up and immediately took three shoots through the chest, blood splattering over all of us and the food. Valentine fell into the stream, volumes of his blood making it flow red.

Jeremiah jumped up to return fire and took a single bullet in the head.

Dead before he hit the lifeless body of Valentine. More shots were coming into the rocks, zinging around as they ricocheted from one rock to another.

We crouched low, unmoving. The shooting lasted only a short while. I imagine they wondered how many of us had been hit. We did not move but we listened intently in the event they were sneaking up on us.

Darkness was quickly approaching. Joe said, “The ground on the other side of the rocks is damp. Let’s dig one grave for all these guys. Make me feels a lot better to do that.”

“Ok, Joe. Let’s do it” We took all the available ammunition from each soldier before placing him in the ground.

It was past dark when we pushed the bodies in the shallow grave and started covering them up. Because the grave was so shallow we piled numerous rocks on top.  Joe left their hats on a stick to mark the graves.

After a brief rest, Joe said, “You got yo flashlight thing?”

“Yes, I have my light. Why do you ask?”

“Let’s go hunting. You handle the light and I shoot the gun.”

“Missus Paige, we be telling you when we be coming back into the rocks, talking and all. If somebody starts coming up and he ain’t talking you shoot then axe who it be, ok?”

“Yes, but please hurry. I wish you wouldn’t go.  I’m scared.”

“You have your 38 loaded? I asked.

“Yes, of course.”

“Then no need for you to be scared. You’ll be ok. You’re the best shot out here.”

“You came back to me, Mister Einstein.” A sweetness in her voice not heard before, not by me anyway.

We started out through the woods, feeling our way, as it was very dark. No moonlight at all and the barest amount of starlight.

We were headed toward the rocks that we were firing at earlier today. They may or may not be there. We drifted away from the rock for a hundred yards or so then started directly toward them. They had moved and had a small fire going. We could barely make out the glow and could not see the Indians clearly, just shadowy outlines.

We found some cover and crouched down behind some rocks. Joe propped up his carbine, settled it against his shoulder and whispered, “Whenever you be ready.”

I pointed the light at the most visible shadowy figure and switched it on. The warrior immediately jumped up and looked right at the light, Joe fired. He fell.

I put the beam of light on the next figure, Joe fired and he fell. But then there were no more shadowy figures to see. I swept the area with the light beam and other that seeing some figures clearing rocks and getting behind trees and brush, none were now visible even to the bright flashlight. I did notice that a couple of the Indians were running toward the place we left Paige.

I whispered, “Joe, I think we screwed up. Some of them are headed toward out camp. Let’s hurry. Paige may be in trouble.”

We went back toward our camp in a straight line. I would stop from time to time and shine the flashlight beam all around making sure no warriors were directly in our path. Afterwards, I determined that all I did was tell them where we were.

Then a scream and a gun shot came from the direction of our camp. Paige.

I screamed, “Hold on Paige, we are coming.” Joe and I both went running, stumbling, falling at different times rushing to get to her.

We arrived at the rocks where we had left Paige. Most of the supplies were there but Paige was gone. My heart sank. We were so close to the portal and our return home. Now I was hoping that we could find her and that it was not over for her. (I had a weird thought that she was not really squaw material but evidently Wolf thought differently.)

Joe and I went together down the creek on the side opposite where the warriors had been hiding. Still, every so often I would shine the light through the woods. Each time I did, Joe had the carbine up, pointing toward the light beam following its every move.

We wandered all along the creek bank. As dawn was breaking and we still did not have a clue as to where they were. We had to make the assumption that they would eventually join up with the tribe down near the portal at the hot springs.

“Joe, we must go back for our supplies. We will have to resume the search after daylight.”

“I don’t believe they will take her to the camp. They will send a warrior for some supplies and they stay hid back up in the hill, that’s what I’m thinking,” said Joe.

“Aw, Joe, I sure hope you are wrong. We cannot cover this entire territory.  I think we have to go to their camp at the portal. We can slip through the portal and get us more supplies and ammunition.  We may have to hunt for her a long time. Let’s just hope she is in the camp and we can rescue her from Wolf. I know he is the one who has her. Oh, man, this is not going right at all. I am worried now, Joe, more than I have ever been. There is no way I can leave her over here.”

“I think we get yo woman. She smart and she will help us all she can. I think come morning she be leaving us a trail to follow.”

“Joe, I hope you are right. Lets get back to the camp, get our supplies and start tracking her, ok”

 

 

Chapter Fifteen

 

We warmed some of the deer meat from Paige’s fanny pack. She did not take any of her stuff so her kidnappers were really in a hurry. The evidence was that she put up a good fight. She did fire a shot, but with the blood from Valentine and Jeremiah still all over the place, we could not tell if any of it was new.

We decided to spread out going in the general direction that they appeared to have taken last night, at least for the first few minutes of the journey. Joe called, “Come here, Mister. Looks like Missus Paige left us some feet prints here in the soft stuff. Indians don’t wear boots and she got that funny cut on the bottom of her shoes.”

Joe was talking about the cut out thread in the rubber soles on her hiking boots. The ones that remind you of tire tread, if you’re 21st Century minded. Sure enough she had left us good prints and for several feet in the soft, damp soil. We could determine the direction they were headed at that moment anyway.

A few feet further, on the rocks, was some mud she had kicked out of the soles of the boots. So we had her present direction of travel which was up high from the creek but following its general eastern direction never the less.

After a few miles we had crossed a couple of small streams with no new clues.  At each stream we went up and down the stream looking for a crossing point, foot prints or boot prints or someone kneeling down to drink.

We did not see a thing.

“Joe, I think maybe he worked his way back down to the creek as we may be getting close the to main camp. I think we should go this way.”

“I think it be as good as any. I’m thinking that gal of yours may be in a heap of trouble. That old warrior Wolf got it bad fur her, don’t he? He be as crazy about her as you are, Capt’n.”

“What makes you think I’m crazy about her, Joe?”

“There be some things you just can’t hide, boss, and I believe that’s one of them. You telling me you ain’t?”

“No, I don’t know, Joe, it’s kind of complicated. You see, I am an old man back where we are from and it would never work out. Here in this country I keep forgetting about the age difference, as we both seem to be in our twenties, but back there it would never work. But I do care for her a lot.”

“Well, as I heard you say a time or two….”no shit?”

I had to laugh the way he put it and I suppose we needed a little humor to ease the tension at the moment.

Just before we arrived at the stream, we could hear it running, we came upon some soft ground and we saw another boot print. We were very lucky to have run across it. We had guessed correctly again.

We scouted the banks of the stream looking for a drinking location or crossing point. We saw indications of them getting a drink. It appeared to be Paige and her capturers, two warriors. Others could be with them but they could be staying back in the woods. We continued downstream looking for others coming to the stream to drink.

Near nightfall we were close enough to the main camp that we were beginning to see flickering campfires through the trees from time to time. Soon it would be dark and I hoped we could sneak up close enough to tell if Paige was in the camp. They will probably have her in one of the teepees and it is highly unlikely we will see her even if she is in camp.

I had taken Dee’s carbine as it was the best one left. I wanted to get Wolf in the sights of that gun, one shot….just one shot. I hate to leave Butterscotch widowed but he has pushed me too far. Then I thought about those two little girls of his and my heart softened some. I don’t know if I can do it or not. I suppose it depends on the amount of danger Paige is in at the time I see Wolf. I had this sick feeling in my stomach. Winning was going to be difficult no matter the outcome of this fight.

The easiest path around the Indian camp was on the eastern side. That is the route Joe and I took. It was very dark and not wanting to shine the flashlight, it took us a long time to get around the camp.

By the time we had crossed the stream and arrived at some heavy brush cover, most of the fires in the camp were dying out. We took shelter among some rocks inside the brush. Within minutes Joe was sound asleep. I was thinking about Paige, hoping I could find her and missing her very much. I could not get comfortable, rocks underneath me, uneven ground, nothing felt right in my little nest for the night. I was just miserable.

For some reason an old Ira and Charlie Louvin song came to mind, “Hold back the rushing minutes, make the wind lie still, don’t let the moonlight shine, across the lonely hills, dry all the raindrops, hold back the sun, my world is ended, my Baby’s gone.”[8] I dropped off to sleep singing that song in my mind.

The morning light provide me a sense of direction and just where Joe and I were. We were exactly over the tunnel that could provide us some freedom. But to leave now was to leave Paige. Maybe forever. If we went through the tunnel without her the time and year may change when we came back through. I did not want to take that chance unless we were had no other recourse.

Joe woke up and saw me staring at the tunnel. “That be it, huh? That be the way to that other world you be telling me about? I wants to see it, boss.

Let’s go through there for just a few minutes so I can see that contraction you tell me you haul stuff on. I just wants to see a little of that world.”

“Joe, if we go out it may change the time frame when we return. It is just too much of a chance to take now.”

Joe was up and moving toward the tunnel before I knew what was happening. “Joe, stop,,,,,No, Joe.” I went running after him trying to stop him.

He was already near the tunnels end when I got to him. The 2007 world was now visible. The ATV was right where I left it.

Joe saw it and stopped, rubbing his hand over the fender and climbing into the driver’s seat, turning the steering wheel back and forth like he was driving it. “Take me for a ride on this thang. It do look peculiar. I just wants to say I seed it and rode on it. Ok?”

“Joe, we have to get back. We could lose Paige forever; we have to go back now. Besides, you are going to start aging pretty quickly. We need to go back, now!” I knew it was not that critical for him, but I was worried for Paige.

“Just one little ride, boss, one short ride.” He seemed so excited about it.

“Crap. Ok, climb in the other seat. One very short ride is all we can take time for.”

It fired right up. I backed it up and took it up the rocky trail for good distance. In trying to turn it around I got on some rocks that almost stuck me, taking several minutes to work my way out of the tight spot and not drop off a small cliff of about 15 feet or so. Joe was enjoying all of this and I was getting sicker by the minute, knowing that time was quickly changing on the other side of the tunnel.

After a half hour or so we were back at the tunnel ready to go back through. I started in and turned to talk to Joe and he was not with me.

I had to run back out for him. He was standing looking up in the sky.

“That be them tails you be telling me about, huh, them flying thangs? It’s a long straight cloud across the sky. That do look funny. Look over yonder. Them two tails be crossing. How they do that? Why don’t they run into one another?” He was fascinated by them.

“Joe, come on. I will tell you all about it later. Once we get Paige back maybe we can come out again for a short stay. Maybe I can take you to town with me for a short visit. But for now, we have to go back. Come on.” I was pleading with him and worrying about all the time we were wasting.

 

 

Chapter Sixteen

 

I peeped around the end of the tunnel up toward the overhang. Nothing.

No teepees, no fires, nothing. I have lost her, maybe forever. A sick feeling came over me. Now what year was it? How much time had lapsed on this side? How could I get her back to her time frame? Think. Think. But no real thoughts came. I was so foolish to have let her come in the first place. This time it was my fault for leaving her alone while we went Apache hunting. How stupid can one get?  I sat on a rock unmoving, my stomach churning. I needed to keep trying, the answer may be to keep going back through the tunnel off and on to see what time frame was there.

We went back and forth several different times and most of the time no one was there. On one of our trips a group of soldiers were camped near the tunnel. I asked Joe to walk over and talk to them to determine what year it was. It took several minutes for those soldiers to get over Joe appearing from nowhere, which he explained that he had gotten lost from his troops. It turns out they were from Fort Craig and the year was 1864, much too early for us now.

There was nothing we could do here with the time frame what it was on the other side. I needed to restock on supplies and ammunitions, maybe get a couple of new lever action rifles.

My chances at finding her would be just as good coming back through the tunnel tomorrow as it would be today, or next week for that matter.

Only things I could not keep Joe in my world very long as it would be his death sentence.

“Joe, lets go to town and get more supplies.”

“Alright, boss. Let’s go to town,” Joe almost screamed with delight, Paige forgotten for the moment.

Joe was amazed with the car. He could not believe we had such an invention, so comfortable and fast, with a radio and gadgets. He kept changing stations and pushing buttons. It was hard to keep up with him.

I had to fuss at him when he started digging in the glove box.

I had a can of “curiously strong mints,” peppermint flavored, which he liked very much saying, “they sho be strong, you got that rite, I can breathe better now,” then taking several more from the can. He leaned back in the nice soft seat, head resting on the head rest. “This be nice. I ain’t never seed nothing like this,” then closing his eyes and resting for a while.

The resting didn’t last long. All the cars and trucks on the highway had to be discussed as Joe wondered who each traveler was, if I knew them, etc. He had more questions than I could imagine.

Pulling into Truth or Consequences from the south takes one through the community of Williamsburg. I stopped at the first convenience store, buying several items, mostly junk food. Joe loved it all. He wanted me to buy him

a beer and then a small shot bottle of whiskey. I never liked wrestling with drunks and not wanting to get that started I would not buy it, making Joe a little unhappy. However, I did get a fresh supply of snake bite medication, enough for several doses. You know, sometimes you can use it as a preventive medicine, I think.

We visited a pawn shop to buy rifles, but because of the high prices on guns, we left with some ammo and a good hunting knife for Joe. Also, they had a small flashlight that attached to a belt that I bought for Joe with a box of batteries. One other item he had to have was a toy, an old metal bi-plane. I tried to talk him out of that one telling him there were a lot later models that better reflected what we were flying today. That plane was one of the earlier models and the ones of today were a lot faster and prettier.

“Boss, it be all the same to you, I like this one. I wants to take it back to show my buddies what this world be coming to. You reckon you could take me flying? Where you keep these thangs when they not up in the air?”

“They are in hangers at the airport, Joe. It is several miles out to the T or C airport. But there are not any of the old bi-planes out there now. Maybe I can show you the airport next trip.”

“Boss, chances are pretty good ain’t gonna be no next trip. Can you show me now?” The tone of his voice, the look on his face and his demeanor led me to believe that today was in fact, the day. We went.

A couple of small planes were parked near the terminal building. One was taking off just as we drove up. Inside the flight operations building one pilot was filing flight plans. I approached him, “Sir, my friend and I would like to pay someone for a short ride in an airplane, say down to T Or C, flying over the city and Elephant Butte Lake. Would it be possible to hire you to do that?

My request shocked the pilot and his frown let me know that was not what he wanted to be doing at all. He seemed like a nice fellow and likeable, but he also looked like a busy man who had places to go and things to see. “No, I’m very sorry, but I’m in a bit of a rush and I need to hurry on.”

Joe looked so disappointed that I felt terrible for him and I felt the pilot could see the look on Joe’s face when he said no and now the pilot was feeling badly himself. I could see the changes taking place as he looked at Joe.

“Look, my plane is loaded fairly heavy, full of fuel and I can only take one man and get off the runway in this hot weather. I will take this man here for a very short ride, no charge. But it will have to be short.” I guess Joe’s sad look paid off.

Joe lit up like a neon bulb. “I sho’ ‘preciates it, suh, I shorely do. I’se ready.”

I am not sure Joe’s feet touched the ground on the way to the plane. The pilot went around to the passenger side and helped Joe in. As they taxied out to the runway, Joe was waving at me for as long as he could see me.

The plane lifted off, headed straight for the town. Soon it was a speck in the sky. The air conditioned office felt good as I bought a Coke and waited.

When they returned, and it was a longer flight than I thought it would be, the pilot got out with Joe and came back into flight operations. I stood up and shook the pilot’s hand, “Thank you so much for doing that. I am sure it is a very memorial event in his life, one he will remember forever.”

The pilot responded, “I don’t know when I have taken anyone up who enjoyed it so much. He is a very delightful fellow and it was my pleasure to have shown him around our town.”

On the trip back to town you could not shut Joe up. “I thought you be lying. I didn’t think anything could ever do that. I was like a bird, looking all around and down on them little cars and houses and folks walking all around.

You could see it all from up there. I saw some boats on that big lake, that

Elephants butt or whatever you call it. That boat be fast….You know, ain’t nobody at the Fort gonna believe me either. I be just like old Tom was when he come back. Everybody be saying I’m a little bit tiched in the head.”

We made it back to town to finish up our shopping. We purchased Joe a new pair of pants, very similar in color to those he was wearing and a new pair of boots and several pair of socks. He had not been wearing socks. After he put on a pair, he claimed that his feet felt better than they had in years.

“I sho be glad we come he’a and got these boots and socks. I’m gonna remember where yo tunnel is and make a few trips over he’a ever now and again. Fort McRae used to be over he’a somewhere but I can’t remember where it used to be now, the way this place has changed. Good changes. I likes yo 2007 year. I really like that airplane. That thangs goes real fast and high, don’t it? Ain’t nothing left from the old days, is they? It all be different now and folks from my world ain’t got no idee how it is gonna change. No idee at all. “Paches done be gone too, ain’t they? No body ‘members ‘bout us fighting and all, do they? Did you see that ‘Pache family in that sto? They be having fun and laughing and they ain’t thinking ‘bout no soldiers. I like that too. It be hard for me not to think about them being ‘Injuns, I can tell you that.”

“Joe, the fighting you did, you and all the soldiers assigned to this part of the world did a tremendous service to America.  This part of the world was tamed and the old ways mended. The Indians have accepted the white man’s world. It had to be. It was part of America becoming who we are, including the Indians, including the Irish, including the Mexicans. All of us blended together to make us what we are. You think of me as white yet through my Grandmother I am part Mississippi Choctaw. That is probably where I get my Indian ways.”

“Indian ways? What Indian ways?” Joe is bent over from laughing. “You be the nosiest person I ever saw getting through the woods. Boy, you sho didn’t take after yo Grandma, I can tell you that.” Joe was having a good laugh over me being part Indian. Come to think of it, it was funny, clumsy as I was. We both had a good laugh and every time I would look at Joe he would start laughing again, holding his side.

As much fun as Joe was having I hated to leave now, but his hair was turning gray already and it was time to head back.

“Joe, we have to get back. If we delay much longer you are going to age very quickly. Look at me. Am I looking older? You can judge what is happening to you by looking at me. You will age quicker than me but the process is the same.”

“Well, you be a little older already. I reckon we best get started for the tunnel so we can stay out of trouble and not be old codgers when we get back there.”

On the way back to Emory Pass, Joe commented, “When did the girls stop wearing clothes and go to the little bitty pants thangs. In 1872, women’s got everything covered and don’t even show an ankle. It do beat it all the way you can see so much of them, ain’t it?”

“I really don’t know, Joe, but I think it was somewhere around the 1920’s.

The women folks just got braver and more daring. Something called Woman Suffrage. I think it started somewhere around there. Did you do know they can vote now?”

“They can? Can us colored folks vote since Mr. Lincoln freed us?”

“Yes sir, you surely can. For as I know, Joe, every citizen of this nation

has the right to vote. Worst problem we have is having someone worth voting for.” I didn’t want to tell him of all the troubles we had over the years getting to 2007. I hoped I could ease into more discussions later to cover some of the details of that part of our history.

After parking the ATV near the tunnel, we loaded all our new supplies in our back packs. Joe had been carrying Missus Paige’s backpack ever since she was kidnapped.

Coming out into the mystical end of the tunnel, Indians were camped there. We stood in the tunnel entrance, watching the Indians trying to determine who they were and if we could get an indication of what year we were dealing with.  My heart jumped. I saw our blue tent. I was sure the time was just before the warrior came riding in telling of Cochise being under attack.

We stepped back into the shadow of the tunnel when the warrior did ride in making his announcement. Immediately the tribe started breaking camp. I could see Paige packing, and I could see me, standing there starring while she did so.

Soon they were all gone. Finally I spoke, “Joe, we are at the proper time, only a little early. Let’s wait on the 2007 side for ten minutes then come back in and see where they are.

Ten minutes of waiting took a lot longer than ten minutes it seemed. When we returned there was nothing. Everyone was gone.

Now I knew where we in the correct time zone. Every few minutes we would return.  On the next trip to Ojo Caliente for Victorio’s tribe, Paige would be a captive. So we would go back every ten minutes until they reappeared.

We took turns going into the tunnel and checking for the Tribe’s return.

Every ten minutes for the most part. Through the next day and night we continued going into the tunnel to check. Finally, they did show up.

We looked for evidence of Wolf and Paige. I did see Butterscotch a time or two, but not Paige. While we were on the outside waiting, the two of us came running out and vanished into thin air as we got to the 2007 side. Joe said, “What in the world happen to us. We just disappeared. It sho’ be crazy.”

“No, Joe, I think there cannot be two of us over here. At least that’s the best I can come up with at the moment. Let’s give the tribe about five minutes and check them out. Maybe Paige will be there.”

It was all I could do to stand around waiting. I think Joe got tired of seeing me fidgeting around and said, “I think it is time to go.”

“Let’s go, Joe.”

It was still dark when we emerged from the tunnel and climbed up over it to continue out wait on Wolf and Paige to show up. It was the first of several days of waiting and we did not see Paige the entire time we were there.

 

 

Chapter Seventeen

Because Joe liked to wait on the 2007 side of the tunnel, we backed out of our hideout, back through the tunnel and into the “safe side” as Joe called it. The Indians never did bother us there. They would not come through for some reason. And I suppose every one that did would have gotten lost from the tribe forever.

Our decision to check on them every few minutes sounded good. Eventually Wolf and Paige would show up and we could make our plans to rescue her. How could I be sure that they would come around? It just had to work. I did not want to leave Paige stranded in 1872 as a squaw.  Well, maybe for just a short time. No, I take it back. Not for any length of time. She would work to free me if I was captive. No, this has to work.

My thoughts were running wild. What newspaper did she say she worked for? Amarillo, Plainview, Lubbock? I know it was a West Texas town. Muleshoe, Dimmitt? No, I think they are too small. Gosh, I wish I had paid more attention to her story. If I did not recover her, what would I tell her newspaper editor? “Hello, I just came over to tell you Paige is now an Apache Squaw, back in year 1872.”  Gosh, they will have me locked me up and throw away the key. I know they will think I murdered her or something. Of course, when I am telling them this story I will be an old man further complicating the issues. Oh brother, what a mess, I have to get her back.

Trip after trip, we had nothing to show for our waiting. We started alternating visits through the portal. We saw deer, elk, raccoons and a possum or two. No Indians.  Once Joe shot a rabbit and brought it back for supper. We did not let the night get away from us either. We took turns keeping watch and every ten minutes we made the trip through the tunnel.

Finally, Wolf showed up. No sight of Paige at first but we did see Butterscotch and the girls. We felt like we may soon see some evidence of Paige being in the tent.

We had to return to the 2007 side for our gear. We waited a few more minutes after getting packed up. We went back in and my heart sank. The Tribe had moved out. Joe said, “Something happened in that few minutes. You reckon they got into a fight with the cavalry or something? They sho’ could have. The Ninth Cavalry is always coming up here and running them “Injuns off.”

“I don’t know Joe, but we have to chase them. How far could they have gone in the few minutes we were away? Let follow the trail.”

Of course we knew the direction of travel. Very seldom did the tribe go off to the east. Seems like they always went back west toward their cousins, the Chiricahua, and pow-wowed with them out in Arizona. The Apaches may not have called it Arizona, but that was where they went in our terminology anyway.

That was the way we struck out. Then we were surprised. Up stream on the Alamosa Creek, near the place where we had our battle and buried the three soldiers, the tribe had set up camp. The only reason I could come up with was the hunting was better up here. Joe and I both had remarked on the number of deer and elk in this particular area. That had to be the reason for the camp change.

Joe and I left the valley of the creek and headed off into the hills to the north of the stream. We were probably a half mile to the north of them and about 500 feet above their elevation. It was a good view of the camp but it would be difficult to make out Paige from this distance.

“Joe, come dark we will need to try and get up closer to the camp. There is a promontory point near the camp. If there are no warriors up there we can have a good view of the camp. Tonight let’s try and make it up there.”

Joe nodded, crawling up under some brush and said, “Wake me when you be ready.” He was snoring softly almost immediately.

When we headed up toward the point the moon was trying to make it first appearance of the evening. It was light enough we could make out the big hazards. We stumbled from time to time, brushed up against some cacti and stumped our toe on a rock or two. Other than that the trail was not bad.

The moon had command of the sky when we arrived at our goal. We had an excellent view of the camp as not all of the fires had died down completely. None of the tribe was stirring however. We found good cover and grabbed some sleep.

When we awoke, some of the members of the tribe were up and starting fires for cooking. Fierce looking clouds were building in the west and it looked as if a major storm could be a few minutes away. Butterscotch came out of one of the tents. Paige followed her minutes later, but to my surprise Paige’s hands and feet were tied. So evidently she had been trying to escape this time. Wolf came out of the tent and push Paige out of his way, causing her to fall.

I drew a bead on him in the carbine and was ready to squeeze the trigger when one of Butterscotch’s little girls came out of the tent. I could not do it just yet. It would not take much more from Mr. Wolf to get me really riled up.

The rain started falling hard. It was a cold rain, almost sleet. Joe and I tried to find heavy brush to get under for protection. I was pushing on the ground hard to get up and under this brush when my feet slipped out from under me causing me to fall. With the slick ground and wet brush and grass I could not get a grip on anything. I fell over the small cliff, but I luckily landed in the top of a pine tree. The brittle pine top limbs broke, dumping me from tree limb to tree limb downward. I caught on one of the bigger ones near the bottom of the tree, keeping me from hitting the ground. But with all the noise I had made announced to the entire camp about the arrival of a visitor.

Joe hollered at me, “You looked good sneaking into they camp, oh great Choctaw Chieftain. I never would have thought that one up.”  I looked up to see him grinning at me, a big toothy grin.

First to greet me to the camp was Wolf. I was looking down at Mr. Wolf and his giant cannon, which was sighted in on my forehead at the moment. I smiled at Wolf. He did not return the smile.

He motioned for me to jump down. I looked at him for a few minutes trying to decide if that was really what I wanted to do. The look on his face was getting worse by the second so I thought it would be best to join him.

Before I did, I slipped by pocket knife between my fingers. I hope to drop it in Paige’s lap when I passed by her if possible. If not, I would use it myself.

It was a short drop to the ground, six feet or so. Wolf poked me in the back with his rifle letting me know he wanted me to head toward the camp site. I went directly toward Paige, on purpose, figuring that Wolf would change my course. He did not.

When I got in the general area of his tent he stopped me with his gun barrel, sticking it in my stomach causing me to promptly stop. I was very close to Paige. I pretended to want to shake hands with Paige. She looked very well and was not bruised or hurt, outwardly anyway. Wolf was busy looking for rawhide to tie me with so I was able to exchange the knife with Paige during the hand shake. I said, “When you get loose head downstream for the tunnel. It is probably 3 hours away.  I will follow. Joe is up in the hills. You don’t wait on us. Take the car to T or C. You know where I keep the keys.  You go when you cut yourself loose.”

Wolf walked up as I was talking to Paige. He hit me with the butt of the rifle, knocking me down and putting me out for a minute of so. When I got to where I could see, Wolf was still standing over me trying to determine if another blow to the head was necessary.  Paige had cut herself loose, picked up a fire log a couple of feet long and slipped up behind us. She hit Wolf in the back of the head, hard. She laid him out cold.

We both took off in a run, Paige in the lead. Several warriors pursued me and tackled me before I had covered more that twenty or thirty yards. One of the warriors drew back his knife to plunge it into me. He stopped in mid-air as I heard the gun shot from behind me and up high. Joe took care of this one. Two others stop chasing me to look up at the hill where the shot came from. Big mistake. Joe got the one closest to me, and then there was a pause in the shooting. The other one headed for cover in some nearby trees. He never made it. Joe’s aim was true.

Several shots were being fired by the warriors up toward Joe. I had recovered and had started running after Paige. One of the warriors shot.

I felt the jerk of my body as a bullet went through me before I noticed the pain. I probably took two or three more steps before nose diving into the rocky ground. At first, the fall hurt worse than the gun shot, but soon that changed.

I soon as I came to my senses, I looked at the damage. The shot had hit me in the side. I did not think it was fatal but I was bleeding badly. I lay there unmoving. I could still hear the gun fire exchange between Joe and the warriors. I could also hear someone coming up to me from the brush. I felt myself being rolled over. I looked up into the eyes of Hawk. He looked back, unsmiling, and immediately looked at my wound. He went to the creek and got a handful of mud and slapped it onto the wound. Just as he did I hit him as hard as I could in the nose, spinning him backwards.

His rifle had been lying by his side. I picked it up and continue my run downstream. After a brief sprint, I got behind some rocks. I started firing at the warriors trying to take the pressure off Joe. I could tell by the gunfire coming from the mountain side Joe was working his way back toward me. Between the two of us we kept the warriors pinned down.

Hawk had gotten down to the stream and was lying on his belly washing his nose and face. I probably broke his nose, but I did not have another way to have gotten loose. Hawk did stop the bleeding.

I saved what little ammo I had waiting for Joe to appear. Every so often a shot would ring out from the valley as one of the warriors would get a glimpse of Joe up in the hills as he was moving back away from the camp and closer to me.

I heard a whistle. Across the stream and back in the timber crouched Joe. He was motioning for me to continue on downstream. I made my way from rock to rock. I suppose the distance was too great for the Indians rifles now.

After and hour or so, Joe crossed the stream to join me. He had me lay down in the stream, in the shallow, swift running water as he washed my wound thoroughly. It started bleeding again, so after getting me out of the stream he treated it like Hawk did and placed a hand full of mud on it. In one of our packs, somewhere we had first aid supplies, but I did not feel like looking for it now.

“Lets hurry, Joe. Paige may be waiting on us at the tunnel. But with the crazy time thing, you don’t ever know what’s happening on either side.”

Things started running together after that. I am pretty sure I kept on walking or at least I thought I did.

Then I heard, “She ain’t he’a boss, Yo’ thang be gone too. You lay down right he’a and I will find them doctoring supplies.”

 

 

Chapter Eighteen

 

I woke up looking at the sky, at contrails, a 2007 sky. I was alone. I rose up on one elbow seeing that I was in a crude lean-to. The coals in the stone fire ring were still glowing and slightly smoking. Joe was around somewhere, I was just not sure where.

Looking at my side I could tell that healing had been taking place. It was not completely well but it was a clean looking wound now. A few more days and I would be healed.

Soon Joe came through the tunnel with a half dozen fish, already cleaned and ready for the fire. He was surprised that I was up waiting on him. “Hey Boss, it be about time you got up and started helping out around the camp. I been worried that you ain’t never gonna come around. How you feeling?”

“Hungry and looking at those six fish, I’m wondering what you gonna eat?

I’m kind’a kidding, but I am starving. Ready for some food. Guess that means I’m better, huh? How long I been out, Joe?”

“I imagine it been over a week or so. I done lost count. I had to go back and forth to get my youth back from time to time. I couldn’t jest stay over he’a wid you so I be back and forth….. back and forth. I got tired going that way so much. We need to go over there and stay a few days so my body can figure out jest what my age is. It’s so confused now we don’t know if we be old or young. Parts of me wants to walk all bent over and parts of me wants to run and play. Damnest thang I ever did see.”

That brought out a hardy laugh from me and Joe joined in.

“No word from Paige, huh, Joe? She hasn’t been around? I see the ATV is gone. I hope it is up at Emory Pass. Soon as I’m able to travel I will walk up there and take it down to Kingman or hitch hike a ride on down to T or C. You probably should stay up here so you can keep going back and forth for a while. Or if you feel you are ready, you can go on back to Fort Selden or Fort Cummins.”

“Aw, I have to go back to Fort Cummins. That be where they ‘signed me for a while so that be where I have to go. You know how that Captain is over there.”

“You mean Colonel, don’t you, Joe?” He wrinkled his brow.

“You know that Colonel don’t care nothing ‘bout me and don’t know who I am. Now that Captain that be over us Infantry boys, he sho’ knows ‘bout me and what I be doing and when I ‘posed to be back. That Captain is smart and he a good soldier. I do like that Captain, that’s for sho’.”

“Well, Fort Cummins it is then. Do you think you can make the journey alone or do you want to wait until some soldiers show up on the other side?

It may be they could be up here chasing Victorio. From my research I learned the Ninth Cavalry chased Victorio up here many times. Maybe we can catch them out front.”

“Boss, I suppose it could happen that way, but you remember I got to catch the right year myself. You thought about that any? You be chasing that gal around all over the country side worried ‘bout her year over there and I don’t think you ever once worried ‘bout my year.”

“Heck Joe, you’re right, of course, but I didn’t mean for it to be that way. That gal was all I could think about most of the time. I know she can take care of herself on this side, but on the other side I felt responsible for her. A lot of it was her fault, but I don’t think she ever thought it through as to what she was getting into. Now, however, we will consecrate on your year and hopefully we can see the tribe and figure out what year it is on that side. I will stay with you until we have the proper year.”

“Boss, I can take care of myself. You don’t have to go to battle for me. Old Wolf don’t care about me.” He laughed about that. “I ever get that old boy in my sights he be dead.”

I wanted to tell him to not shoot him, but that may be giving him a death sentence because if Wolf get Joe in his sights, its goodbye Joe. So If Joe gets the chance to shoot Wolf, he will have to shoot him and not hesitate. This was my first time to think about Wolf since the battle in camp that day. I wondered if Paige killed him when she hit him. She really cut loose when she swung that log. “Joe, did you see Paige hit old Wolf in the camp?

I was proud of her. He had given me a bad blow to the head. Good thing I’m a hard headed person, huh?”

“Yes, I seed it all. It was a pretty good wallop old Wolf gave you. I think he meant to put you down wid that hit. I was trying to figure out a way to get Missus Paige and you done had it all figured out while I was still thinking on it. You figured to fall in the tree, break a bunch of limbs on the way down slowing yo’ fall ‘til you get down close to the bottom of the tree, then you grab the biggest limb and hold on ‘til old Wolf come for you. You had it figured out all the time, huh, boss?” We both chuckled.

“Joe, do you have to remind me of all that. Here I am trying to impress my woman and you’re concerned about my methods. She told me not to come in with a gun blazing, that’s the easy way. Do something she can report on is what she told me,” bringing a big smile to Joe’s face.

“By the way, I feel like I’m getting older, arthritis or something, all stove up and out of joint.”

“Boss, you need to take a trip to the other side for a little bit. You be losing hair and I kind’a agree wid Missus Paige, you be getting just a little bit ugly too.” He had a good laugh about that. “I believe it makes you feel better to go over there for a bit. Try it and see. Can you walk all by yo’ self?”

It felt so good just to sit on the other side for a time. While we were sitting there Colonel Ambrose came riding into view. What at shock it was for Joe to see him and his men.

“Mr. Einstein, we have been worried about you and our men. When the troopers did not show back up in four weeks, we decided it was time to come look for you. Where are all the other men, Private?”

“Well suh, we done had several fights with them “Injuns. All our men was kilt except Missus Paige, Mr. Einstein and myself. Mr. Einstein here is just now getting where he can walk. He be hit in the side and be out of his head for a while. He be a little better now, still a little teched in the head if’n you axe me. But he be better.” Joe looked at me and had a big shit eating grin on his face.

I whispered, “Keep it up, buddy, just keep it up. You go to telling him about the airplanes and cars then asked him who is “a lttle teched in the head.” Then it was my turn to grin.

After a few minutes talking, the Colonel and his crew made camp. We shared the evening meal, spent the night and had breakfast the next morning. Colonel Ambrose and his men were ready to ride pretty early and Joe was provided a mount also.

Joe put out his hand for a handshake, “Cap’t, ain’t no way I can tell you about how I be feeling on the inside right now. You special, all I can say, you sho’ly is special. I be missing all the thangs you talk about and all the places you took me. You ever come through that tunnel again; you try to find my year. And if I am up this way again, I may just scoot out that tunnel to see what be happening over he’a. I hope I be seeing you again, Boss.” His eyes watered just a bit.

“Joe, I am alive today because of you. Paige, too. And, speaking of being special, when Paige writes her book I am going to request that she use your name. Then people everywhere will read about you in 2007 and know you were a good Buffalo Soldier, a good American and one hell’va nice fellow. I am going to miss you, Private Joseph McGilly. Gods speed.” I stepped back and clicked my heels and saluted him smartly, holding the salute until he returned it. I saluted the Colonel. Joe mounted up. The Colonel shouted, “Forward, ho.” And they moved out, heading back toward Fort Cummins and deeper into 1872 and for Joe, probably away from 2007 forever.

I packed what I needed for the journey out to the highway and started hiking.

 

Chapter Nineteen

Paige had left the ATV back down the trail from Emory Pass, parking it in some heavy brush. It was visible walking up the trail but you could not see it if you were looking down the trail. Paige had done a very good job hiding it.

I was seriously considering riding it down the highway to Kingston but there were some campers parked at Emory Peak. I had complained about being hurt and the other one in my party had taken my car on down to T or C.

They agreed to give me a ride to T or C so I left the ATV in the hiding place Paige had chosen.

I had the people drop me off at the hospital emergency room so I could get my wounds dressed and seen about. With all the moving about I had done the side wound had opened up slightly again. Nothing serious, but I wanted a professional to look it over just to make me feel better about it.

Later, I hired a taxi to take me to the Super 8, renting a room for two nights. I needed a good soaking bath.  I did not plan to have the water deep enough to cover my wound but I did need a hot, soapy deep cleaning and a good shampoo. I hoped to have two days of sleeping in a good soft bed for a much wanted rest.

I would begin my search for Paige and my car after the resting period.

One night was plenty. I woke up thinking about Paige and just what she might be doing. After breakfast I was walking through the parking lot of the motel and I spotted my car parked there. It was locked and everything appeared to be in it and the car was ok.

I went into the lobby and asked the desk clerk if Paige Middleton was a checked in there. She said that she had been, but she had checked out a few days ago. I mentioned to her she had been driving my car and I wondered out loud where she had left the keys.

She spoke up, “She left them with me. She said if a man showed up for the car to ask him his name. If he tells you correctly, let him have the keys.

Sir, who are you?”

I had to think for a few seconds. She did not know my name. She had never asked and I had never said. “Oh, sorry, I was thinking about her. My name is Mr. Einstein.”

“Yes, ok, Mr. Einstein, I just figured you to be a much younger man. She seemed to be very fond of you.”

“Oh, well, you see, I’m her favorite uncle.”

She smiled and handed me the keys. “Did Ms. Middleton say which way she was headed? We did not make very good plans when we parted company.”

“Let me think. Ok yeah, she was taking the bus to El Paso then she was taking a flight to Lubbock. I remember because we discussed Texas Tech for a while. I went to school there for a year and she mentioned the Lubbock newspaper.”

“Oh, good, I figured that was where she was going only I was not sure if she would travel through Albuquerque or El Paso. Thanks for your help. I am going to check out today. I really need to be getting home.”

I gathered my things and loaded my car. I had to travel back up to Emory Pass to get my four wheeler, then I figured to head for Lubbock after a short visit home.

After getting home and putting all the camping gear, trailer and ATV away I was ready to repack and head out to Lubbock. I shower and dressed and looked myself over in the full length mirror. I was looking at an old man, but I still had not returned all the way back to myself of several weeks ago. The portal stuff had not totally worn off, but I was not the twenty-two year old of a few days ago. A balding headed and wrinkles were starting to show, and I don’t want to use the term ugly, but certainly as handsome.

Paige had a life to live and an old man was not a part of it, unless she did         need an old Uncle. But I wanted to see her and talk with her about her story to see if she really intended to tell it. Well, hell, I wanted to see her. No need beating around the bush about that.

So I went. I parked in the newspaper parking lot and watched the people coming and going. I was sitting on the fender of my car watching all the people not knowing if she would come by on her way to work or not.

A SUV pulled into the parking lot. I could make out that it was a female.

As she got out and started walking toward the office, I recognized the walk. I had followed that walk too many miles to not know it. She had this prissy walk that was visible from quite a distance away. It was her “hunk getter” walk, I think. After chasing that female reporter so many miles through the desert southwest I would never forget it. My heart picked up the beat. She was dressed in a pin-striped business suit, with a white blouse and was she ever a knockout. She was wearing a new hair style, not the butcher knife cut. Wow, she did not look at all like the female reporter I knew.

I almost turned and walked away, scared, thinking that maybe the last few weeks had been left far behind her. But, no, that is not what I really wanted to do and it was not the reason for driving over here. I had to go on, there was no other way. I told myself, “You’ve got to do it, you have to know.” Self said “ok,” but the voice was a little weak.

I walked into the office. The receptionist was a young lady of eighteen or nineteen with a very nice smile, “May I help you, Sir?”

“Yes, I would like to see Paige Middleton, please.”

“Do you have an appointment, Sir?”

“No, I’m an old friend. I just wanted to say hello and see how she is doing. Do you think it would be ok for me to do that? Without an appointment, I mean.” She was already picking up the telephone, dialing her extension. “I think it will probably be ok, but I will call and see.” She was on the phone for a while, listening, but saying nothing, but hanging up.

“I know she is here because I saw her come through a few minutes ago. Her office is the second one on the right and with you being an old friend, I am sure it will be ok it you go on down there and have a seat. She will be in there shortly. She probably went down to the lounge for coffee. I will page her for you.”

“Thanks so much, Miss, I appreciate your help.” I started walking toward her office, second on the right, slowly, trying to look important. The one thing that I still had from our southwestern adventure was my tan. I was one dark sucker. I had noticed Paige still had her tan also.

Inside her office, there were two side chairs facing the desk with the computer on the left side of the desk. It was just now coming to life with the icon jumping in place on her desktop. I took the first chair and waited, nervously.  It had only been a few days since I had seen her but the conditions were much different today. I was thinking of walking out as things were a lot different now. It was not too late. I could tell the receptionist that I would come back later and then just go on home.

Just then the click of heels approached and Paige walked in with coffee. She looked me over and said, “The receptionist caught me in the hallway and told me an old friend was in my office waiting on me. But, Sir, I don’t think I know you. Where did we meet?”

I looked at her for a bit, then took off my glasses and smiled at her. “I guess it easier for me to remember gorgeous women than it is for you to remember old men.”

“I, ,,,,, It does seem like….I… Are you?  Mr. Einstein? Is that you?”

“Yes, my dear, it is me. It is so good to see you again. I cannot get over how breath takingly beautiful you are. Wow. I am impressed.”

She immediately started hugging me. She said, “Oh, we have so much we need to talk about.  The last time I saw you, I had just hit Wolf over the head and we were running for our lives. You were shot, weren’t you? Were you hurt very badly? What happened to Joe? Catch me up on all the happenings after I left the tunnel. Did you find the ATV? And did you find your car?” All the questions were rapidly fired at me.

“Ok, I’ll catch you up on all the happenings.” And I did. It took up a lot of the morning. “Now, you catch me up on you, Paige, what has been happening to you?”

“First, no one believes me. Butch, Dave and Faye says there is no way I could have spent that much time over there with Indians. When I am telling Butch about all the happenings that went on he just shakes his head in disbelief. Even though they saw some of the action themselves, they have trouble with most all of it. And when I say, time tunnel, you should see the looks they give me and each other. You know, they never did see who was shooting at us that time. When I told them it was Indians, they were thinking like present day Indians, not old time real Indians. But I am going to write the book even if it falls into the fantasy genre.”

“ However, you were right, I could put in the comedy parts that you provided, you know the Halloween ride into the camp to save the heroine and

then your daring leap from the cliff into the pine tree top, plus lots of sex. I think I may have a best seller.”

“Fiction, huh, because I don’t remember the “lots of sex” part.”

“Oh, Mr. Einstein, you are so funny.  You know, you don’t look too bad for an old fart. Oh, it is so good to see you. I went to the portal several times waiting on you and Joe. I thought you were stuck over there. I’m glad you made it out. Now, please, tell me some more about me, you know the breath takingly beautiful part, is there more you would like to add?”

“Oh, crap, here we go. I drove over here for this!” I had to laugh because she was not really serious, at least I don’t think she was.

“I am kidding, but I do like to hear that kind of talk.  I have been missing you and our adventures so much. I don’t know if I can take this tame life anymore. My bed even seems too soft. I need some rocks under my bed roll, you know what I mean? I am so glad you came over. Did I tell you Butch proposed?”

“No, you didn’t tell me that.” My heart flopped and nearly stopped. “That is wonderful. He has good taste in women, I will give him that. You look absolutely stunning today, by the way.”

“Oh, tell me more.”

“Geez, me and my big mouth…. But, Paige, did you give him an answer yet? He is the kind of guy that looks a lot better with you on his arm. But before you answer him I would like for you to consider this. I truly like the way the portal makes me feel and how it knocks years off my life. I’m not sure of the long term effects, but I love the short term. My deal is this. I plan to return to Kingston and set up residence there. I hope to make weekly trips back to the portal, writing papers on each year that I am able to visit, on each tribe and chieftain, no matter how far back it takes me. And the best part, with each visit I will renew my youthful self.”

“Part of the deal that I did not tell you yet, and please, try to see the young man from a few week ago talking to you. I fell in love with that “damn reporter” while chasing her all over the Southwest, fighting Indians for her and falling off cliffs for her. Oh yeah, and chasing away hoards of angry Indians with my radio alarm, I nearly forgot that. Never once did I come into a camp with guns blazing like the old time cowboys would have. I tried to give you a true story of a real man of action.”

“Now it’s you spreading the crap around. But, I like where you are headed with this Kingston stuff. I also like the way the portal made me feel. Can we have supper tonight and talk about it? I need to think it over just a bit. Butch is a very nice guy. He is just, well, …… Tame comes to mind. I think that is it. I kind of like, you know, crazy, and with that thought, you come to mind.” What a smile she sent my way, damn. “Tonight then?”

“Yeah…. Tonight!”

 

 

 

Epilogue

 

I truly intended for this to be a Historical Western fiction centered on the Warm Spring Apaches and the Buffalo Soldiers. I had many pages of research and while I used much of it in this story, the female reporter became more and more important to the story.

I hope I presented Chief Victorio and the Buffalo Soldier fairly. Certainly it was not a game between the two adversaries, but history shows it was not constant battle, but lulls of sometimes a year or two of relative peace. I tried to place my story in the lull of those battles.

Studying Chief Victorio since 2004 I have become somewhat of a student of his life. Reading in “SouthernNewMexico.com” on Victorio and the Reservation System- a prescription for disaster, David Burch summed up Chief Victorio very well. Permit me to end this story with a quote of Mr. Burch:

Victorio and his followers paid a horrible price for their bid to escape the

Reservation system designed for them by the American government: a price, paradoxically, they had inflicted on hundreds of men, women and children in New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico. The clash between the Euro-American cultures of the United States and Mexico on the one hand and the Indian cultures on the other seemed always to be played out in the context of classical tragedy: Even the apparent winners lost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Lost in the Black Range ©by E. V. Pete Hester published by Publish America 2004

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangas_Coloradas

[3] http://www.southernnewmexico.com/Articles/People/Victorioandthereservation.html

[4] http://www.buffalosoldier.net/BuffaloSoldiers&ChiefVictorio.htm

[5] http://www.southernnewmexico.com/Articles/Southwest/Kas-Tzidensfury-Nazasraid.html

[6] http://www.cc.uit.no/svenn/indians/#nana

[7] Bob Noland and the Sons of the Pioneers and others

[8] My Baby’s Gone by Hazel Houser recorded by Ira and Charlie Louvin & others

Electoral College…Why It Is Important…

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 04-05-2018

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This e-mail was sent from a friend from Texas….It is a good reminder of why the electoral college is needed.
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The below brief “civics essay” has been circulating since shortly after November 2016.  If you haven’t seen it before, or if you wish to refresh your memory, and regardless of your opinion of the current president’s “style,” here’s a chance…
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In their infinite wisdom, the United States founding fathers created the Electoral College to ensure that all STATES are fairly represented.  They did not want one or two densely populated areas to speak for and control the destiny of the entire nation.
 
Here are some facts that help illustrate why the Electoral College makes sense;
 
·   There are 3,142 counties in the United States.
  o   Trump won a popular majority in 3,084 counties.
  o   Clinton won in 57.
·   There are 62 counties in New York State
  o   Trump won in 46.
  o   Clinton won in 16.
 
Clinton won the national popular vote by approximately 1.5 million. In the five counties that comprise New York City, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond & Queens, Clinton received over 2 million more votes than Trump.  Clinton won 4 of the 5 counties.  Trump won Richmond.  
·   Those 5 counties alone more than accounted for Clinton winning the national popular vote of the entire nation.
·   Those 5 NY counties comprise 319 square miles.
·   The United States area is 3,797,000 square miles.
 
In a nation that encompasses nearly 4 million square miles, it would seem ludicrous (with all due respect to our friends in those 57 Clinton counties nationwide) to suggest that the vote of those who inhabit 319 square miles should determine the outcome of a national election.