Well, here is the product of my Beta's challenge. I was told to write a Felicity story involving the name "Deadwood" and Indian captivity. Never mind that this turned into more of story about Ben's captivity, if you get my meaning. I don't think Beta minds. :P I did minimal research on this one due to a flaky internet and I'm sure it's riddled with errors. Try to ignore them if you can, or point them out kindly so I can fix them at some point.
For once, I have an update schedule! Since these are a collection of little snippets and I'm not so cruel as to leave large gaps between them I'll be posting on Wednesdays and Fridays, just like The Dreamer of web comic fame. For lovers of liberty and tricorn hats, it would be a crime not to give The Dreamer a read. It's at thedreamercomic dot com
Something to be aware of is that I did not begin my story in 1774, like the book series by Valerie Tripp. These events take place in 1765, after The French and Indian War and before the Revolution.
Changes for Felicity
Felicity Merriman was not merry. The red men with funny half-clothes and frowns on their faces were making her walk a long way. She couldn't keep up with their too-big steps, but she had to try. If she tripped and fell or made too much noise with her feet, the big one with the feathers carried her over his shoulder. He smelled badly and Felicity did not like how his skin felt against her elbows. She was six and she could walk on her own. Babies were carried. She was not a baby, so she fought and kicked until the bad smelling man let her down and pushed her from behind to go faster.
She was scared when they first took her. Papa was a merchant, and Mama always said that made them safe from the Indians. But Mama was wrong, because the men threw things out of their house and took the money, and Mama's jewels, and some fabrics, and Felicity too. Mama cried, but she said it would be all right and Papa would find her. Felicity believed it for a while but now she wasn't sure. They had been walking so very far, more than some yesterdays, and Papa wasn't good at hide-n-seek.
Now it was getting dark again. She had sores on her foot and wanted a drink. The man who pushed her gave her some water from an animal skin and tied her to a tree while they ate. He took the cloth out of her mouth, but did not untie her hands. He put something hard and chewy in her mouth and she ate it.
The next thing she knew, she was waking up in the arms of the bad smelling man and it was another morning.
In the camp with the other redskin people, they took her pretty dress away and made her wear Indian clothes. She did not want to be naked with the other children, and she cried and hid under the skins until the fat woman put the funny dress on her with fringe instead of ruffles.
They tried to give her a new name, too, but she did not like the long word they used. Mama said "Merriman" was for her merry little daughter, so she thought that was not her name anymore. The man was getting angry. He pointed to himself and said a word, then pointed to her and said the long one she didn't like. Felicity shook her head. She pointed to a tree, the smallest she could find. It was small because most of it was burnt from a fire. Papa called her "little sapling." If she could not be Felicity or Merriman, she would be Little Sapling. The angry man's eyes frowned more and he said words that she knew, but they were the wrong ones.
Felicity crossed her arms and sniffed. He was a stupid man.
She didn't know how many days went by, but it was too many. The naked children were bold. They touched or tugged her hair, using the word they said for fire. She didn't like their words. They sounded mean. They also didn't wear any clothes. Felicity sometimes wished she didn't have to change out of her nightdress in the morning, but Mama always said she was to be a lady, and she missed her Mama. She had to be a lady so Mama would not scold when she came home.
After some days, the children stopped playing with her. They stopped tugging her hair and she liked that. The girl with black eyes took her doll back. She did not like that. The mean eyes got meaner. The nice eyes ignored her. She didn't feel sad for losing her friends, except she wanted the doll. Her name was Elizabeth when they played, and she understood Felicity's words.
Felicity played in the dirt and she did not wear shoes. Mama would not have liked that, but there was nowhere else to play and no one tried to give her a bath.
At least she wasn't hungry. Felicity was taught to mind proper mealtimes like all good children, but most of the time she could get nibbles if she pestered Rose long enough. It was the same here. The women who had soup and flat bread tried to ignore her too, but she spoke loud and pointed to her empty tummy until food was given.
One day, a man came into the camp. He wore the same kind of clothes as Marcus, but dirtier, and his hat was lighter. He looked at her with startled eyes. It made Felicity giggle. He did not ignore her like the naked children. He pointed to her and asked the men questions with their own funny words.
He came over and knelt in front of her. "What is your name, little one?"
"Felicity," she said, and thought her curtsey was good.
The man laughed. "Well, aren't you the polite little miss? Do you have any other names?"
"Little Sapling. And Deadwood, sir." She remembered her manners. She thought she might have forgotten, but she hadn't. Mama would be proud.
"And how did you come to be here, Miss Felicity?"
"Those men came and robbed our house then they took me with them. Papa was supposed to find me, but I think we went too far."
"What is your papa's name?"
Was he stupid, too? "Papa. His name is Papa."
He shook his head, but he was smiling and not cross with her. "Of course it is."
He asked her more questions. Some she couldn't answer, some she didn't want to. She was sure she didn't like it here. That question was easy to answer. In the end, he asked, "Is there anything here of yours you'd like to take with you?"
Felicity looked at the girl with black eyes. She was standing behind her taller brother, still holding Elizabeth. She sighed. Elizabeth was not hers.
"Not 'sir,' Miss Lissie. You call me Ben."
She had her own question. "Are you taking me home, Ben?"
"We shall see."
And the man named Ben with the faded hat and the nice smile asked if she would like to be carried.