Authors: Susan Page Davis
Fans of the Old West will welcome another tale with classic elements—a beautiful captive, her rescuer, and her pursuer. Susan Page Davis knows how to immerse her readers in the frontier setting. A compelling read, reminiscent of Louis L’Amour.
, author, Texas Star of Destiny series
Susan Page Davis’s
stands up to Conrad Richter’s classic
The Light in the Forest
as a novel of substance that will endure. Texan Taabe Waipu, like Richter’s young Pennsylvanian captive hero, is conflicted over her identity. She escapes a forced Comanche marriage, and her plight tugs at the reader’s heart to draw him into a real page-turner of a Western frontier tale.
, author of
The Hills of God
and the Hannah’s Island series.
blends a powerful plot, rich historical details, and remarkable characters into a story I won’t soon forget. Susan Page Davis wove a compelling tale that drove me to set aside everything else to discover what happened—truly a unique and enjoyable read!
, author of
Love Finds You in Sundance, Wyoming
, Susan Page Davis really captures the essence of Texas in the middle 1850s—the diverse people, the clashing cultures, the setting. I’ve actually lived near Fort Phantom Hill and recognized the authenticity of her depiction. And her story captured my heart. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I highly recommend it.
, award-winning author of the McKenna’s Daughters series and
Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico
Susan Page Davis’s
is a wonderfully descriptive tale that will lure you in on page 1 and not let go until you’ve read The End. Escape and freedom, courage and faith, and the sometimes fearsome beauty of the wild Texas landscape combine for a fast-paced, spirit-filled read. Make space on your keepers shelf for this one!
, bestselling author of more than 80 award-winning novels, including
From Ashes to Honor
(along with many other titles by Susan Page Davis—who is high on my list of favorite authors) earns a place on my overcrowded book shelves. Action, authenticity, and compelling characters combine with masterful writing to make it a real page-turner … one I would be proud to have written!
, author of more than 140 titles (totaling over six million copies sold)
SUSAN PAGE DAVIS
© 2011 by
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Edited by Andy Scheer
Interior design: Ragont Design
Cover design: Gearbox
Cover images: 123rf, istockphoto, jupiterimages and Veer
Author photo: Marion Sprague of Elm City Photo
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Davis, Susan Page.
Captive trail / by Susan Page Davis.
p. cm. – (Texas trails: a Morgan Family series)
ISBN 978-0-8024-0584-5 (alk. paper)
1. Families—History—Fiction. 2. Texas—History—19th century—Fiction. I. Title.
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To my husband, Jim,
who has been through so much with me
aabe Waipu huddled against the outside wall of the tepee and wept. The wind swept over the plains, and she shivered uncontrollably. After a long time, the stars came out and shone coldly on her. Where her tears had fallen, her dress was wet and clammy. At last her sobs subsided. The girl called Pia came out of the lodge. She stood before Taabe and scowled down at her.
Taabe hugged herself and peered up at Pia. “Why did she slap me?”
Pia shook her head and let out a stream of words in the Comanche language. Taabe had been with them several weeks, but she caught only a few words. The one Pia spat out most vehemently was “English.”
“English? She hit me because I am English?”
Pia shook her head and said in the Comanche’s tongue, “You are Numinu now. No English.”
Taabe’s stomach tightened. “But I’m hungry.”
Pia again shook her head. “You talk English. Talk Numinu.”
So much Taabe understood. She sniffed. “Can I come in now?”
“No,” Pia said in Comanche.
Pia stroked her fingers down her cheeks, saying another word in Comanche.
Taabe stared at her. They would starve her and make her stay outside in winter because she had cried. What kind of people were these? Tears flooded her eyes again. Horrified, she rubbed them away.
“Please.” She bit her lip. How could she talk in their language when she didn’t know the words?
She rubbed her belly, then cupped her hand and raised it to her mouth.
Pia stared at her with hard eyes. She couldn’t be more than seven or eight years old, but she seemed to have mastered the art of disdain.
She spoke again, and this time she moved her hands as she talked in the strange language. Taabe watched and listened. The impression she got was, “Wait.”
Taabe repeated the Comanche words.
Taabe leaned back against the buffalo-hide wall and hugged herself, rubbing her arms through the leather dress they’d given her.
Pia nodded and spoke. She made the “wait” motion and repeated the word, then made a “walking” sign with her fingers. Wait. Then walk. She ducked inside the tepee and closed the flap.
Taabe shivered. Her breath came in short gasps. She would not cry. She would not. She wiped her cheeks, hoping to remove all sign of tears. How long must she wait? Her teeth chattered.
It is enough
, she thought.
I will not cry. I will not ask
for food. I will not speak at all. Especially not English. English is bad. I must forget English
She looked to the sky. “Jesus, help me learn their language. And help me not to cry.” She thought of her mother praying at her bedside when she tucked her in at night. What was Ma doing now? Maybe Ma was crying too.
, Taabe told herself. Until they come for you, you must live the way the Comanche do. No, the Numinu. They call themselves Numinu. For now, that is what you are. You are Taabe Waipu, and you will not speak English. You will learn to speak Numinu, so you can eat and stay strong.
She hauled in a deep breath and rose. She tiptoed to the lodge entrance and lifted the edge of the flap. Inside she could see the glowing embers of the fire. The air was smoky, but it smelled good, like cooked food. She opened the flap just enough to let herself squeeze through. She crouched at the wall, as far from Pia’s mother as she could. The tepee was blessedly warm. If they didn’t give her food, she would just curl up and sleep. Since she had come here, she had often gone to bed hungry.
Pia didn’t look at her. Pia’s mother didn’t look at her. Taabe lay down with her cheek on the cool grass. After a while it would feel warm.
She woke sometime later, shivering. Pia and her mother were rolled in their bedding on the other side of the fire pit. The coals still glowed faintly. Taabe sat up. Someone had dropped a buffalo robe beside her. She pulled it about her. No cooking pot remained near the fire. No food had been left for her.
At least she had the robe. She curled up in it and closed her eyes, trying to think of the Comanche words for “thank you.” She wasn’t sure there were any. But she would not say it in English. Ever.