Monday, June 01, 2009

Seven #1.7

The jail was small--seven feet by six feet by seven feet. Cassius just sat in the dirt that made up the prison's floor. With Cassius' arrest and Seven's newly revealed religion, the kids were kicked out of the hotel and spent the rest of the night sleeping in the city park near the center of town.

The kids awoke to a small crowd of people looking at them. Seven heard one of the citizens whisper, "That one's the Jew" but he didn't see which one.

"Come on, let's go see Cassius," Seven said and the three collected their belongings and headed off to the jail. Seven peeked through the window to the door. "Cassius, are you all right?" asked Seven.

"I'm fine. How are you kids doing?"

"We had to sleep in the park," Nicholas said.

"I'm sorry, kids. I didn't mean for this to happen..." Cassius said.

"It's not your fault. We know you didn't burn that house and kill that man. We just need to figure out who did and we can be on our way," said Seven.

"No. I don't want you hunting down this murderer. I want all of you to leave town. It's not safe here for Seven. Just follow the railroad to the next town. I'll be along as soon as I can," Cassius said.

"We're not leaving you here. We'll be okay," Seven began. "We can sleep in the park for a couple more nights. Nothing will happen."

At the hotel, Josh was hooking a knife to his belt and then tucked in his shirt. "Why do you have to do this?" Sarah asked.

"It's what we do. Not one escapes," Josh said.

"Can't you just let this one go? He's just a kid," Sarah begged.

"He's Jewish," Josh said matter-of-factly.

"He's still human."

"The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human," and Josh left the house.

"Separate Ways"
Seven stared the charred remains of the mansion. He wasn't sure what he was looking for but he stared nonetheless.

"What are you doing?" Tara asked Seven, putting her hand on his shoulder.

"I don't know. I want to get Cassius out of jail but I don't even know where to begin to search for the real killer," Seven said.

"Let's just leave town and wait for Cassius," Tara practically begged.

"What if he's not able to join us?" Seven asked. "We don't know where we are going or what the signs are. All we'd be able to do is follow the railroad tracks."

"And that's worked."

"So far. Cassius has the visions so we need to wait for him."

"Should've listened to your girlfriend and left town when you had the chance," Josh said, coming up behind Seven and Tara.

Seven sighed. "Give me five minutes and I'm out of town forever."

"You had your chance and you didn't take it."

"Seven..." Tara started to cry.

"Tara? Where's Nicholas?"

"I don't know. He vanished after we talked with Cassius. I assume he either went back to the park or the hotel," Tara answered.

Josh stepped closer and began brandishing the knife. "No one can help you, Jew. This is going to happen..." Suddenly, a gunshot echoed through the air. A surprised look came over Josh's face and he dropped the knife then collapsed.

Nicholas was standing behind him holding a gun. "We need to leave. Now!"

The three began running, as fast as they could , to the railroad. They reached the tracks and continued running until they had run over a mile. They stopped running and fell to their knees, panting.

Seven tried the hardest to catch his breath. "Okay...what the...what the hell just happened?"

"Sarah told me to do it," Nicholas begun. "She said Josh was the only one who continued to so-called tradition after Cyrus Ransom stopped doing it."

"Cyrus Ransom? That's the guy that was killed wasn't it?"

"Yeah," Tara answered.

"Do you think a relative or friend of a Jew could've done it?" Seven suggested.

"Maybe. But the witness said it was a black man that came out of the mansion," said Tara.

"It was also dark with flames behind the person and he probably had a soot-covered face. I say we go back to town and help figure this out," Seven said.

"Nicholas just killed a guy," Tara reminded. "We can't go back. I say we just stay on the tracks and go to the next town and wait for Cassius."

"What if he doesn't come? What if he's not getting out of jail?" Seven asked, getting angry.

"We set a fair amount of time to stay at the town and if he doesn't arrive by then we come back--and if we need to, go back to Cassoday," Tara said.

"I'm going back. You two can go on to the next town if you want. Cassius and I will be there as soon as possible," Seven said and began walking back to Ransomville.

Tara and Nicholas watched him then turned and walked in the other direction.

When Seven got back to Ransomville, Cassius was not in jail and the downtown was nearly deserted. Seven went to the hotel where Sarah was.

"Where is everyone?" he asked, startling her.

"Some of the town is helping with the quick burial of Josh and the rest are at Cassius' trial," she replied.

"It's his trial already?" Seven asked in amazement.

"Don't worry, he'll be let go. Someone confessed to killed Cyrus and setting the mansion on fire," Sarah said. "Seven? Thank Nicholas for me--for everyone in town. We're very ashamed for what we did and we hope to make up for it. We're also sorry for any inconvenience we put you through. Cassius is at the courthouse across the street on the corner. Be safe on your journey," Sarah exclaimed and Seven left the hotel.

Seven ran across the street and quietly went into the courthouse which was just a simple a building like all the others downtown. A huge group of people was gathered in the courtroom. A black was standing in front of everyone, confessing.

"...knew Cyrus Ransom and before his daughter died, he was a tyrant. Even after the slavery was outlawed, he still owned us. He used to fire his gun randomly as his slaves just to get them going. Along with his slave-owning he also started that horrible tradition of murdering any Jew that came into town. How many Jews died in this town? Over thirty. Even though the slave holding and the genocide stopped, Cyrus was still a terrible man and I don't regret what I did. I'm willing to accept my punishment," the man said.

A couple of people took the man and led him out of the courtroom. Another group of people went over to Cassius and began talking to him. After a couple of minutes, the men all shook hands and Cassius began walking toward the exit and saw Seven.

"What are you doing here?" he asked. "I figured you and the others would he heading to the next town."

"I sent them ahead. I wanted to make sure you were okay," Seven said.

"I heard what Nicholas did. I didn't think he'd have it in him but I'm proud of him. It took guts," Cassius and Seven walked out of the courthouse.

"So now we're going to meet up with Tara and Nicholas?" asked Seven.

"Something's come up and we have to take a little detour to the north. Is that okay?" Cassius asked.

"I guess so," Seven shrugged and the two of them began walking north through the city.

Tara and Nicholas came over a huge bluff that rose from the Earth and then sloped back down to the Vermillion River. At the bottom of the bluff, the town of Indianola was bustling with excitement compared to the quiet of the the plains the last couple of days. Tara and Nicholas sat at the top of the hill and looked down at the city.

"I hope Cassius and Seven are okay," Nicholas said.

"I hope so, too. We'll stay here for a while and wait for them. I guess if they don't show up, we'll head back toward Cassoday," Tara said.

Tara and Nicholas clambered down the hill and entered Indianola. The town was crowded. Indianola was an important crossing on the Vermillion River. Hundreds of people by foot and wagon crossed the Vermillion at Indianola every day. Back when the trails were still active, thousands crossed.

The town was run completely by the person who founded it, Samuel Vieux. Vieux operated the ferry across the river along with a huge hotel and a boarding house. Vieux was a mix of French and Muscotah Indian heritage and was a spokesman for his tribe to the government. Vieux was a tall man who always dressed in a nice suit and a top hat. He was born near the Northwest Angle where he was a fur-trader but when the Muscotah tribe was forced south, he decided to be an advocate for his people. He was the unspoken chief of his tribe and was well-respected by all Native Peoples. Vieux was considered, in some circles, the King of the Muscotah.

Tara and Nicholas stepped into the Indianola Hotel and walked up to the front desk. "Hello, we need a place to stay for awhile. Unfortunately we can't pay," Nicholas said to the man working the desk.

"No problem. Sam Vieux operates a boarding home out of his house. Just go to his place and he or his wife will set you up," the man said.

"And where would we find his house?" Nicholas asked.

"Top of the hill on the far north end of town, near the huge elm tree."

"Thank you," Nicholas and Tara said.

Samuel Vieux's house on the hill under the elm tree was huge. The tree was also huge. The elm had a 22-inch circumference and the branches extended further than Nicholas could even estimate. The height, Tara guessed, was at least 111 feet.

They knocked on the front door and a small, young woman answered the door. "Yes?"

"Hi, I'm Nicholas and this is Tara. We were sent here by the hotel. We're looking for a boarding house."

"Oh, of course. Come in," the woman opened the door and stood aside to let Tara and Nicholas in. "Samuel's not home yet but let me show you where you'll be going."

"Thank you," Tara said.

"You kids seem a little young to be out by yourselves. What are you doing?" the woman asked.

"We were headed somewhere but we got seperated from the rest of our group so we're going to stay here while they catch up," Nicholas said. "I love that tree in the yard. It's huge."

"It's an elm tree. Possibly the largest in the state, if not the country. My husband, when he arrived in the area, fell in love with that tree and knew this was where he wanted to settle. He says the tree gives him luck. His nickname is the King of the Muscotah so maybe that tree does have some influence on his life," the woman chuckled.

"King of the Muscotah? An elm tree?" Nicholas looked at Tara who understood where he was going.

"The King's Elm," she said and then smiled.