By: Travis Naughton

While they were grateful for the shade the forests of Arkansas provided, Blackjack and Jane soon grew to loathe the humidity. Unconcerned about being exposed to the direct rays of the burning sun as they rode through the dappled understory, they shed as many layers of clothing as they dared in each other’s company in an effort to find relief from the oppressive mid-July heat.
“I’m going to ride this pony straight into the next body of water we find,” Jane said. Her flushed face was nearly the color of the red wig she discarded days ago. “River, lake, ocean; I don’t care. This heat is killing me.”

“Does it get like this back in Denver?” Blackjack asked. He’d had more than his fair share of exposure to the wilting heat of the South during the war.
“Nothing like this,” Jane said. “And on those days when it does get hot, a dip in a mountain stream is all it takes to cool off. Have you ever seen the mountains, Alan?”

“No ma’am, but I was on my way there when I was on your trail. You still have family in Denver, don’t you?” Blackjack asked.
“My folks have lived there since before I was born. I haven’t been to see them in years though,” Jane said.

Read full chapter in this week’s Journal…