A fictional story by Junior Johnson
Everyone began gathering around Tony and John Levy as they told Abslom and their Father about the disappearance of Pete.
They had left him on the riverbank as Noah helped them carry their fish up the hill to a big cleaning table where several of the neighbors began cleaning and preparing the fish for the big meal planned later.
When they went back down to the water’s edge to get the remaining fish and their fishing poles, they discovered that Pete was gone. Repeated attempts at calling for him brought no results.
About an hour earlier three canoes had passed by, slowly going upstream toward Cloutierville. There were two men in each boat. In the lead there was one fat and extremely ugly man dressed as an old riverboat gambler wearing a top hat like Abraham Lincoln wore. The last canoe carried two vicious and filthy looking men wearing tattered old Union Army uniforms.
Tony said that he didn’t give it much thought at the time, but John Levy said he suspected they may have something to do with Pete’s disappearance.
As Tony and John Levy were giving their accounts about what they had seen and suspected, the two Deputies who had escorted Mrs. Johnson and her party from Mississippi listened to their story.
The Deputies both agreed that the fat, ugly man was Captain John Winston, and was more than likely responsible for Pete being missing.
Since it was nearing sundown Abslom suggested that Levy’s two boys saddle up their horses, along with one of the Deputies, and ride into Cloutierville to inquire about the travelers in the canoes. At daybreak they’d ride back along the bank of Cane River in search of the culprits. Traveling the river in darkness would not be safe and they probably had made camp for the night.
Abslom’s son John Wesley said his boys Harvis and Dempsey would take the other Deputy and Aiden with them at daybreak and head down river toward Monett’s Ferry, which was probably where the villains would be headed. It would be a long night worrying about Pete.
Meanwhile in a little cove upriver from the Johnson and Lodrigue homes, Captain John Winston and his five fellow thugs, along with Pete, who was bound and gagged, were settling in for the night. They laughed at their good fortune as they passed around their jug of whiskey.
When they’d passed the boys fishing, one of the thugs in the last boat informed Captain John that the Johnson compound was at the top of the hill, and this was more than likely where the family from Mississippi was headed. Winston agreed and smiled.
They’d pulled their canoes ashore soon after passing the boys and quietly made their way back to observe and make a plan. As soon as they were in position, the two older young men and one of the boys had begun bringing their fish up the hill, leaving the one young boy alone.
As soon as he was alone, Winston and his thugs overwhelmed Pete and tied him up. They carried him back to their boats and made their way further upstream until they had found this spot for the night.
Knowing that a rescue party would soon be searching for the boy, they decided that they would rest for the night and head back to the safety of Monett’s Ferry at daybreak.
During the night Tony and John Levy, along with one of the Deputies had made it to Cloutierville and inquired if anyone had seen the crew that were on the boats. No one had, and at daybreak they slowly began their trek back down Cane River searching for the thugs and Pete.
About the same time that Tony and John Levy were leaving Cloutierville, Dempsey and Harvis, Reverend Cryer, Aiden, and the other Deputy were leaving the Johnson compound and traveling down river toward Monett’s Ferry.
Abslom and Levy both agreed that if the traveling party hurried, a good location might be found to surprise Captain John Winston and his thugs. They probably had not traveled the river at night.
As the sun began to break the horizon Winston and his crew were leaving the cove where they had spent the night and headed down river. Pete was bound, gagged, and blindfolded. He was not scared though.
About the same time they were passing the homes of Abslom and Levy, Harvis and his group were making their way down to the river on their horses, and missed seeing them.
Although the element of surprise was gone for the Johnson men, it wasn’t long before they came into sight of the three canoes. It was already decided that firing their weapons would endanger Pete if he was on one of the boats, so caution had to be taken.
About the same time Harvis and Dempsey spotted Winston and his party, the thugs wearing the tattered Union Army uniforms in the rear canoe spotted them and alerted Winston.
Knowing they would be unable to outrun the men on horses, they turned in to the river bank on the opposite side of the riders and quickly took cover. Being the coward that he was, Captain John Winston was using Pete as a shield.
Harvis and Dempsey drew their weapons and hurried their horses along as fast as they could. By the time they were opposite Winston and his men, who found shelter in a grove of Willow trees, shots rang out causing Harvis and his men to stop and find shelter themselves.
As Harvis and Dempsey tried to find safety for their men, they noticed Reverend Cryer and Aiden were both lying on the ground near their horses. While the Deputy began returning fire, Harvis ran up to Aiden and helped him to safety behind some trees, as Dempsey was getting Reverend Cryer to safety as well.
Trying to fight back tears Aiden was holding his arm which appeared to be broken as he fell from his horse that was spooked when the gunshots rang out.
Satisfied that Aiden was safe for the time being, Harvis rushed to were his brother Dempsey was with Reverend Cryer. When he reached them he noticed a large blood stain on the front of Reverend Cryer’s shirt.
It did not look good.