The steamboat Yellowstone sat at the dock. The new boat for the American Fur Company was due to depart up the Mississippi later that day.

Grafton Edgefield looked out between wooden planks. He hadn’t eaten since he’d arrived in St. Louis three days ago. His clothes were in pieces, his bare feet shredded.

He’d avoided the slave catchers and their dogs to get this far.

The Yellowstone was planning to get further North than any boat before it. The Underground Railroad said he was one of a group they were planning to smuggle on board. They told him to wait here until they got back with the others.

Feverish and exhausted, Grafton heard the dogs coming. He couldn’t go back now. He couldn’t take another beating.

He threw open the door and staggered out, heading for the steamboat that would carry him to freedom.

The sound of the chasing bloodhounds grew louder.


Written for ‘What Pegman Saw’, a weekly prompt based on a view from Google Maps. The idea is to write a piece of fiction of around 150 words based on the prompt. Full details can be found HERE. This week we’re off to St. Louis, and a trip back into the past.

For more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Feature image: Yellow Stone at St Louis by George Catlin

19 responses to “BLOODHOUND LAW”

  1. Vivid and tense. In just a handful of words you have me wholly rooting for Grafton. I hope he makes it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Karen, I’m hadn’t thought of his final fate, but I hope he makes it too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Iain,

    Powerful piece of historical fiction. Sweat ran down my own back. Well done.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Rochelle, much appreciated.


  3. Great story, Iain. The border states have a bloody history indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks J Hardy. Started thinking about the steamboats, but didn’t lead me to a happy image as I thought they might have. As you say, a lot of the history is marred by blood and oppression.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I could feel the strain on him of being worn out, but yet so fearful. Great job! I hope he makes it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joy, I hope so too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Funny how old neighborhoods make you think of the past. I did too, but not quite that far back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really sensed the desperation here. Good story Iain, and a great take on the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sandra, much appreciated.


  7. Wow, the tension in this is so intense. I could almost find myself huddled beside him…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, glad that came across while still trying to fit in all the information.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes it is difficult. It makes word choice so very important. Love the challenge of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. A great take on a terrible past. I could actually feel Grafton’s feet hurting. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I felt his pain, his desperation and desolation. Well told Iain

    Liked by 1 person

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