Tavern Cave

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Join David and Abby in this Gothic historical romance as they travel west in the footsteps of Lewis & Clark.

Transcript of Tavern Cave

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  • JohnBBadd.com

  • BaddWords.com

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  • Tavern Cave

    by

    John B Badd

    Copyright 2010 by John B Badd

    Copyright 2012 by Badd Words LLC

  • Tavern Cave

    by

    John B Badd

    5

  • Tavern Cave

    Tabitha Flynn, or Abby as she was so often called, waited patiently

    for David Tindall's return at the opening of the Tavern Cave, a large

    cavern three-hundred feet above the Missouri River. The small campfire

    just inside the entrance warmed her back, but it was not necessary for her

    comfort. Even though she was still aware of the elements they no longer

    affected her as they once did. The clear night sky offered a spectacular

    view of the spring constellations along with the additional illumination

  • offered by the waning moon. These skylights danced spryly on the ripples

    of the river's powerful currents.

    Earlier she and David visited the Devil's Raceground, just a short

    distance up the river, to see the whirlpools and sand barges made famous

    by the Lewis and Clark journals which he studied obsessively prior to their

    westward adventure. David was more impressed than Abby by the site

    and he spent entirely too much time skipping flat stones off the river for

    her taste. Sometimes he behaved more as a child than a man.

    The previous summer, 19 August 1848 to be exact, while David

    was fulfilling his daily ritual of reading the New York Herald, he came

    upon an article about large quantities of gold being discovered in the

    territory of California. After confirming the truth of the article he

    informed Abby they would be traveling west to make their fortune. Of

    course she resisted the idea. After all New York City was her home, and

    she did not want to leave civilized company to live amongst savage

    pioneers. He calmly reminded her (in that over fatherly manner of his)

    how he completely skipped the Mexican-American War on her account.

    He boasted about how at her request he spent three years traveling around

    Europe and North Africa, even though Abby knew he enjoyed that trip as

    much as she. After a week of arguing, threats of abandonment,

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  • reassurances they would return to New York in no more than three years,

    and finally a promise to build her a house in the booming city of San

    Francisco, Tabitha finally agreed to the trip.

    Although David seemed impetuous to his associates, the woman

    who knew him best was secure in the knowledge that her lover's impulses

    were held in check by his cleverness. And with that knowledge it took

    little effort for Abby to delay their western trek until the following spring.

    This gave her time to re-experience all the aspects of the city she loved

    and would soon miss. It gave David time to set his affairs in order. He

    collected debts, secured a few low risk investments and found a suitable

    caretaker for their humble estate.

    Once this was done David enveloped himself in research. He

    studied all the information he could find on the Corps of Discovery, even

    going as far as to mark their points of interest on one of the maps he

    collected. He learned what he could of the geography, fauna, flora, and

    native tribes they might encounter along the way. He decided they would

    take the standard wagon routes to St. Louis. From their, they would

    follow Lewis' and Clark's trail along the Missouri River to St. Joseph.

    They would then proceed along the California Trail to San Francisco,

    where they would purchase their new home. Once they made their fortune

  • in gold they would head north to the Clatsop Plains, in the territory of

    Oregon, from which they would follow Lewis' and Clark's trail back east.

    After the New York winter broke the pair began their adventure.

    They arrived in St Louis on the 6th of April. The city was, to Abby's

    surprise, much alive with culture and mercantilism. She spent her

    evenings acquainting herself with the locals and admiring the clothing at

    the various boutiques. The booming city seemed over crowded with all

    the newcomers brought in by the recent westward rush. French and

    English were the most common languages heard on the streets, but their

    also were many other European dialects as well. If it was not for the

    stench from the lack of a proper sewage system, which David boasted was

    the cause of the cities choler epidemic, she would have talked him into

    staying longer. As it was, despite her earlier debate, she had begun

    looking forward to arriving in California.

    They stayed three weeks in St Louis before heading north to Saint

    Charles for a brief visit. It was from there they began their westward

    journey along the Missouri River, all the while following in the footsteps

    of the renowned Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was that path that brought

    them to their current location of Tavern Cave, one of the first notable stops

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  • made by the explorers her lover was so enthralled with. She sat at the

    mammoth entrance of the cave, enjoying the cool breeze and the warmth

    of the fire on her back, waiting for David to return with their meal he went

    to retrieve from the near by town of Saint Albans.

    Faint sounds of approach from down the path caught Abby's

    attention. She closed her eyes to strengthen her other senses and inhaled

    deeply. The smell of the muddy river flooded her senses along with the

    scent of fresh spring blooms on the trees and the year's early growth of

    green. Underneath the odor of her environment and the small fire behind

    her she caught a familiar tinge. She focused on her hearing and confirmed

    what her nose told her, her visitor indeed walked on four legs. She smiled

    to herself, glad the friend she made the previous evening was calling on

    her.

    The she-wolf came through the foliage cautiously at first, then

    hastened her steps when she saw Abby hold out her hands in a welcoming

    gesture. She was a magnificent creature; light gray fur covered her face,

    back, and legs. Her chin and belly were as white as snow. Abbey knew

    from prior experience the wolf was one of the younger members of her

    pack, most likely in the start of her second year. She stroked the wolfs

    bristly fur as the creature moved in close and nestled down beside her,

  • resting its head on her lap. This delighted Abby as it reminded her of the

    hunting dogs her father had when she was a child. She would play with

    them for hours on end. In jest her mother use to tell her she would turn

    into an animal if she kept spending so much time with them.

    At the memory of her parents, sadness overtook her. It had been

    such a long time since she had seen them and she missed them dearly. She

    knew they were alive and well, she wrote them often and sometimes sent

    money or gifts. But she could never see them again; they would know she

    was different. They would ask all the wrong questions, no good would

    come of it. Still she missed them something fierce along with the nieces

    and nephews she would never grow to know.

    As if sensing her heartache the wolf nestled her long nose into

    Abby's neck then licked her cheek. Abby smiled and tightly embraced the

    wolf, rubbing her face into its thick fur. She smelled of wilderness, and

    the other members of her pack.

    "You are a sweetheart," she said to the creature as she released her

    hold on it. "I think you need a name."

    The wolf tilted its head inquisitively, almost as if she understood

    the woman's words.

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  • "I think I will call you Isabella," she told the questioning wolf.

    "How do you like that name? It was my little sisters name, God rest her

    young soul. You can be my little sister now," she smiled at the silliness of

    her own words but continued. "Now theirs a good little Isabella," she put

    her nose to her new sisters and enjoyed the cold wet felling. Isabella's

    yellow eyes seemed to glow and she wagged her tale in response, letting

    Abby know she thought it was a fine name. Abby knew the wolf would

    more than likely decide to return to her pack, but if she wanted to follow

    them all the way to California that would be just fine. Until then she

    would enjoy their time together.

    The sound of more footsteps on the path to the cave took Abby's

    attention from her new friend. She did not have to stretch her senses know

    David drawing near; they had a bond that went beyond the five senses. He

    must be returning with their dinner. She knew he would be happy to see

    Isabella; he loved animals as much as she did. It was his idea to get

    acquainted with the pack when they ran across their tracks outside Saint

    Charles. "You can never have too many allies in the wild," he told her.

    She could not wait to eat, she was just famished.

    David approached the cave and the moonlight behind him made his

    silhouette stand out as the fire light danced over his handsome features.

  • Even in his woodsman clothing, a meager attempt on his part to play the

    common man, Abby