They walked along the bank of the little stream, Colonel Swann holding Cane’s own pistols and jabbing them into the back of their owner. It was very dark now, and the bayou seemed to cast its own shadows on the stream, which grew deeper and blacker as they moved further down its length. They soon came to a deep pool, with still water resting under the shade of trees. It was like looking into an ink well. Swann grabbed a handful of grass and tossed it into the water, which shattered as the snouts and jaws of alligators reared up in a thrashing, hungry maelstrom.
Colonel Swann turned back to smile at Cane and Isaac. “I am curious,” he said, stroking the white wisps that served as his beard. “How do you know this dead darkie? Tell me, if you would be so kind, before I have you both fed to the gators.”
“I’ll tell you.” Cane looked at the corpse of Isaac. He stared into the hollow sockets, but there was no spark there. “When I come running out of the plantation house where I was sewn up, I fell into the swamp and nearly died. Isaac found me. He’d been living as a trapper, selling gator hides for meager pay. Had his own cabin out there, far from civilization. He nursed me back to health. He showed me kindness.” Cane closed his eyes. “And when I found my strength and my skill with blade, pistol and rifle and my role as a killer, he told me it didn’t matter none. He said the War was gonna leave lots of folks with scars and a newfound love of killing - but I could still be a good man, in spite of what I was.”