Nate spun to confront an enormous
Blackfoot bearing down on him like a berserk buffalo bull. The brave swung his
tomahawk at Nate's face. Ducking, Nate pointed his fintlock and fired.
Struck in his left shoulder, the Blackfoot jerked with the impact.
Spurting blood like a fountain, he grimaced, but otherwise ignored the wound.
Nothing would stop him from sending the hated white man into the spirit realm.
Crimson drops sprinkled Nate's cheeks and chin as he lunged to one side and
tried to stab the Blackfoot in the ribs. Even though wounded, the brave was able to
dodge nimbly out of harm's way. For a heartbeat they faced one another, the
Blackfoot crouched, ready to strike.
Growling like an animal, the Blackfoot sprang forward, tomahawk aimed
straight for Nate's head.....
"Maybe we've given them
the slip," Nate said.
"No," Shakespeare said, pointing.
"Damn!" Nate fumed. "They've found our
"They're guessing," Shakespeare disagreed.
"They've figured out that we're trappers and they know most trappers head east to one
of the forts when hard pressed by Indians."
Vague shadows moved at the limits of the night, a compact group
sticking to their trail like sap to a tree.
"They can't be doing that," Nate snapped.
"It just can't be done, not at night."
"Someone forgot to tell them."
From the bench Shakespeare and Nate wound down into a canyon and
through it to a steep incline that brought them to the top of a sparsely treed tableland.
It wasn't until they came to the opposite rim that they realized their mistake; the
tableland ended at a sheer bluff hundreds of feet high. They had inadvertently boxed
Wheeling, the trappers went to retrace their steps to the slope but
they were too late. Advancing toward them in a skirmish line were their pursuers.