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By: Travis Naughton

“Ever been to the Indian Territories before?” Blackjack asked his new riding partner when they finally reached the crossroad that would lead them south, out of Kansas.

Jane stiffened in her saddle. Though she was facing Blackjack, she did not see him. Her mind’s eye could only see the blood. So much blood.

“Jane? Did you hear me?” Blackjack asked.
“I’m sorry,” Jane said in a daze, “What were we talking about?”

“I asked if you’ve ever been in the Territories before,” Blackjack repeated. He could see that Jane was completely lost in thought. He waited several moments for her to answer before trying again. “Jane?!” he shouted, spooking Jim the pony enough to jolt his rider out of her trance.
“What is it? Why are you hollering at me?” Jane asked.

“I asked you about the Indian Territories—twice, and you’ve still not answered. What’s the matter with you?” he asked.
“Oh, the Territories… Yes. Yes, I’ve been to the Territories,” Jane mumbled so quietly that Blackjack had to strain to hear. “Why do you ask?”

“Because that’s where we’re headed now. Are you sure you’re up for this?” a concerned Blackjack asked.
“Of course,” Jane lied.

Read full chapter in this week’s Journal…