Colonel Louis Comes to Call

Colonol Louis

Pencil sketch of Colonel Louis by John Trumbull

Even before Trish Bodden turned to see the dark man wearing a mélange of Mohawk, frontier militia and country gentleman’s clothing standing in the back doorway of her master’s house on Schoharie Creek, she could feel dark eyes watching her.

“Excusez-moi, Madame, parlez-vous français, ou Kanien’keha, or the Anglish…I regret I do not speak the German.” he said, with a pronounced French accent.

“I speak English and you, sir, will scare the children if you continue to stand there in so threatening a manner, so I must ask that you step back,” said Trish, hands on her hips, trying her best to sound like the confident lady of the manor.

“Ah, yes, les bebes…the ones who belong inside these doors, unlike you, the indentured girl, nor I, Louis Cook, the man who is not white, nor truly black nor red, yet am asked by your General Schuyler to kill them all,” he replied with a deep bow and broad smile.

“That may be true enough, sir, but I am inside these doors and now you are not; and you will find the master and his sons coming any minute from those trees on their way home from the Herkimers’…oh, there they are now,” Trish said, closing the door, swiftly slipping a thick bolt of hickory across the jambs, sitting on the floor, and exhaling a long shivering sigh as she pulled one of the master’s horse pistols out from the folds of her skirts.

Based on the prompt word Doors, for Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction exercise, I thought I’d play with the lead character and a very interesting supporting player in the novel I’ve been researching and denying for the past year. Maybe a few of you’ve seen Trish in another story I wrote called Stillwater. Oh, and there really was a Joseph Louis Cook or Akiatonharónkwen, a half-African, half-Abenaki leader of the Oneidas in the American Revolutionary War.  Oh, one last bit of business: the word “Kanien’keha” is Mohawk for…well, “Mohawk.” 

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