Once upon a time, long ago, in a land far, far away there was a young orphaned boy who had a little sister. The lad was 14 and the girl but 9. He was a strong, handsome, straight and going to be tall, she but a wisp of a child, petite and pretty and all who saw her remarked what a beautiful woman she'd be one day.
This young brother and sister had no parents. Their father was called to war, and was killed fighting their nation's enemies. The news of his death brought their mother to despair and she died a young woman. Nobody knew for sure how she died. Some thought it was a broken heart; some thought it was flu or pneumonia. Phillip, the boy thought his mother had just given up. But, nobody knew for sure.
Their nation eventually prevailed and became the victors in their war with their enemy; Phillip and Susan, the young sister of Phillip, travelled from their village to the nation's capital to seek their fortune.
For there, the returning armies and navies would gather to accept their accolades, their medals and it would be there that the nation's military would be disbanded and reorganized as a peace time force.
Phillip was a resourceful lad. Hunger, danger, peril often stalked the pair of orphans and Phillip learned that, to protect his sister and himself, he needed to learn the ways of survival on the mean streets. That survival included stealing, strong-arm robbery occasionally, pickpocketing, fighting and even murder.
He learned the art of murder when a group of ruffians attacked his sister. There were three of them, they had her on the ground and were going to have their way with her. He came to her aid with only his hands, feet, teeth and desire. All three of Susan's attackers lay dead, Susan not worse for the wear-though frightened, after the incident.
Susan, too, found it necessary to cultivate and use whatever talents with which she had been blessed; charm, beauty, innate innocence, intelligence and an undying love for her brother.
Each of these two waifs, they only had the other in all the world. To them, it was 'us against them'.
Phillip and Susan needed to flee the provincial capital and be on their way to the nation's capital that night after so violent a confrontation. They jumped on a moving train and took their comfort together in a corner of a clacking boxcar full of cattle. They drank milk from the udder of a cow that was in that car, and sated their hunger, nourishing their bodies for the day in which they had their being.
A night and a day and part of another night passed. They'd arrived in the nation's capital and waited for the men to open the doors of the car and offload the cattle. Nourished, rested and strengthened by the abundance of fresh milk the young pair surreptitiously made their way along the dark streets seeking whatever opportunity would present itself.
It was outside a theatre, there was great turmoil, men shouting, someone was being carried across the street into a house, a man rushed past them in the shadows.
The man who rushed past them, stopped, turned and whispered in desperation, "Hide me. They'll kill me if they find me."
Phillip knew of no hiding place, except the rail yards from whence they'd just come, "Go to the rail yards, that way, find the cattle cars which have just been unloaded. Wait there I will bring you supplies, you must go." He said pointing in the direction they'd come.
"We must find a mercantile." Phillip said to his sister as he grabbed her arm and fled through the mayhem taking place on the street.
"But, we have no money," Said his sister.
"I will steal what is needed," Phillip replied.
"You'll be caught and imprisoned, my brother. Please, this is not our fight. Don't do this." She pleaded.
Phillip was caught, and Susan too. She had yielded to his persuasions and tried to help. The military officers took them to the local police and the police questioned them about their thieving.
"For who were you stealing bacon, and gunpowder and blankets?" They pressed.
"A man", Susan said. "A man we did not know, he asked for help, he was running from the turmoil."
"What'd he look like? Where was he running? Where is he? Is he waiting for you?" The policeman asked little Susan.
"I didn't get a good look at him, he smelled of whiskey. Phillip directed him to the rail yards, to the stock cars there." She said with fright.
"Get a detail together" barked the police man to his underlings. "We'll catch our murderer tonight."
Susan shrank in fear, thinking they were speaking of the murders Phillip had she committed two nights previous in her defense against her attackers. How she needed to see and talk to Phillip.
Phillip was not so forthcoming with information. He lied and told the police officer that the supplies were for him and his sister, that they were orphans and needed provision to keep from starvation, from the cold.
"Gunpowder? You stole gunpowder. You don't have a gun. Explain that..."
"I was going to steal a gun ... for protection." Phillip said.
"You lie, boy." The policeman smashed the back of his hand across Phillips face. "The President has been shot and I think you are involved in his murder."
"Lock them both up. Keep them apart. Don't let them see one another or speak to one another. We need to check our lead. I'll be back for you, boy." The policeman rasped.
The man who fled to the rail cars escaped into the night, but would be caught weeks later in a bog, south of the city, and his real cohorts also would eventually be caught and hanged or died in gun battles with the law.
There was chaos and fear in the city. Confusion ruled the night. Phillip was left alone for but a moment. When the guard came back to the room, Phillip jumped him and ended his life. Phillip took the guard's rifle and pistol, ammunition belt with powder and lead shot, and then he grabbed the ring of keys and went in search of his sister.
He found her in another room in the building, and he killed another guard. They were free and running for their lives.
Phillip and Susan made their escape amidst the confusion and went to the shipyards near the city, on the sea. In the dark of night, they walked up the gangplank of a ship that looked to be heavily laden with cargo, ready to sail at the dawn. They stowed away in the bowels of the ship and waited.
Came the morning, and the ship sailed for parts unknown, with its' hidden occupants shivering in the ships' hold.
Phillip and Susan were at sea for 7 days. Their ship landed at a dock, they heard it called New Orleans. They hid as the cargo was off loaded and sneaked off the ship late that night while nobody was watching.
"Excuse me, please sir. Could you tell me where I am" asked Susan demurely of the well-dressed man as he hurried down the street the next morning.
"Naw'lins, sweetie. You'ns in Naw'lins, Lewweeseeanna." He said and rushed off.
Fresh boiled crawdads and rice with corn and vegetables was their meal. They'd asked a dockside food stand if they could work for a meal and the man set them about separating crawdads and shucking corn for him for a couple of hours. It was delicious and they ate voraciously, not knowing when the opportunity would present itself again.
The young couple watched, wandered and worked where they could, living here and there as they could find shelter and thriving in the free-wheeling, lawless atmosphere of the New Orleans of 1865.
Eventually, they both found jobs; grunt jobs, hard smelly jobs, but it was work and they got lots of it. It paid enough for them to get a room in a boarding house. For the time being, they were safe, fed, dry and together.
Ten years passed. It was 1875. Phillip was 24 and Susan was 19. Times were better; they had a small amount of money, a wagon and a pair of oxen to pull it. Phillip had a horse. They had the makings of a home; bed, stove, table and benches, a few dishes, pots and pans, and grubstake for the trail.
They loaded their belongings in the wagon, hitched up the oxen, and set off in a wagon train to Saint Louis, which was then bound for Colorado. Colorado would be admitted to the Union the next year and there was rich river bottom farm ground there, along the South Platte River basin in the Northeast Part of the State, they'd heard. They'd come from the farm in Northern New York, so Phillip thought he'd hire out as a hand, and eventually buy some ground and raise crops on his own. They had a plan.
Susan had blossomed into a remarkable creature of southern grace, beauty, charm and poise. She was in love with her brother, Phillip who, had also matured into a strapping, handsome man. She swooned when she saw his rippling muscles strain against some burden or obstacle. And, after years of living in the same room, sleeping in the same bed, she well knew of his manly attributes of girth and length, though he'd never ever laid a hand on her in that way.
Phillip also, had seen his sister develop with a thin frame, flat belly, petite hips round bottom and supple round breasts whose nipples pointed skyward, puffy and symmetrical. Her light brown hair and light eyes stunned those on whom she fixed her gaze.
Once on the trail, following the Mississippi River North to St. Louis, leaving the cauldron of pressures of what had become home to Phillip and Susan, they relaxed. Long days of sitting together on the seat of the wagon, talking, planning and sharing one another's thoughts were a luxury not often indulged. Mostly, their lives were fraught with encroaching problems, how to find food, where to sleep, how to stay safe.
But, there in the buckboard seat of the wagon, Phillip and Susan began a romance. It was unplanned, but had history, because both were committed, unreservedly, to one another, they both trusted the other; they both knew the other as well as each knew themselves.
The heart of each sibling was an open book, and the language with which it was written was well known to the other.
"Susan, I've been thinking," Began Phillip.
"I know me too," She replied.
"It's just that all the girls and women I meet don't have anywhere near what you have. I mean, I don't feel like I can trust them, they are shallow, or so full of themselves. I haven't met anyone I want to be with, and I can't imagine not being with you any longer, going off and marrying someone and not having you around every day," Phillip opined.
"Phillip, I love you. No man has ever come close to showing me that I am safe with him, that I am loved like you have," Susan spoke with eyes intently blazing into his.
"Even when we were little, you took care of me, you ate after I had eaten, you protected me with your own body, you kept me warm and safe, and nobody could replace you in my life." She mused.
"Even when I started having periods and we both thought I was dying, you held me, you bathed me and comforted me, remember?" she continued.
"Yeah, I remember that. Looking down there between your legs and wiping away that blood, I wondered how you cut yourself so bad." He laughed.
She balled up her fist and hit him on the arm, "Oh, Phillip, quit!" But, she was smiling too.