Posted by Barbanne on July 16, 2003 at 00:28:19:
I closed my eyes and waited for death.
A hand touched mine.
I looked up and Wa-cha-ka-wa had lowered his lance and held my hand in his.
"Chu-ku-la." He said and a look of kindliness lit his eyes.
I registered a flash of movement and saw one of the bare breasted indian girls reining her horse behind Wa-cha-ka-wa. She had an arrow fitted to her bow and even as I watched she fired it point blank into Wa-cha's back. I shouted "Nooooooooooo." He stiffened and clawed at his back. The point of the arrow was protruding from his chest, such had been the force with which it had hit him. He stretched out his hand and said "Chu-ku-la." again and then his eyes rolled back and blood drooled from his mouth and he fell sideways, dead! The girl held out a hand to me and through teary eyes I took it and she pulled me up behind her onto her horse. She wheeled around and galloped away. I clutched my arms around her and was embarrassed to find my hands were firmly wrapped around her soft breasts. I slipped them down and clutched her waist.
We galloped back to where the rest of the indians and my friends from the boat had gathered. The redskins from Wa-cha-ka-wa's tribe had fled back over the hill from which they had come, having suffered heavy loss of life. My girl reined in her horse and I hopped down My own nag had been recaptured and waited patiently. I pushed my glasses up my nose and crossed to where he stood and remounted.
"Fall off Barb." Said Therese.
"Lucky that injun didn't kill you gal." Said one of the boatmen.
"He knew me." I said in a tiny voice.
"Wal he's daid now."
"Yes. he's dead now."
Dave had been watching me and said nothing. I rode over to him and took his hand.
"You alright?" he asked.
"Yeah...................." I whispered.
"Tell me about it sometime."
I smiled and tears wet my specs and I took them off and brushed my eyes dry.
Dave said to me. "Our friends here have been at war with those guys for yonks and they are determined to go and have it out with them now, once and for all. We've taken a vote and we're going too." He squeezed my hand. "You go on back to the boat."
"No." I said. Wa-cha-ka-wa had been the only one had ever shown me much kindness and he was dead. The girls I'd known and shared with I'd last seen dead in a heap by the stream, probably at the hands of these our new allies. "No, I'll come with you."
We wheeled our horses around and set off at a fast canter up the ridge and after the remnants of my old tribe. I rode alongside Dave and Therese. The indians led us. After an hour and a half, no more, we came in sight of the redskin encampment where I had spent the winter. An hour and a half, I thought to myself, and to think I wandered this land for two weeks. I realised I now knew something else I was a dud at. Bushcraft. We drew up on a low rise overlooking the camp. One of our redskins made his way down the slope. One of theirs rode out to meet him. They met half way. They talked and then they broke away and each galloped back to his respective force. As ours hove in sight he uttered a blood curdling yell, that was taken up by boys and girls alike. The other guys were hollering likewise down below.
I guessed this meant the battle was on.
We rode around a bit until we were more or less lined out in opposing curved formations, farthest apart at the centre and closest at the wings. Our girls slotted arrows into their bows and the guys couched their lances. The opposite side which was made up of girls and boys also, but more boys than girls by about two to one, also prepared their weapons. Us guys from the boat, the only ones with firearms, (I was weaponless as my shooting was considered dangerous to friend and foe alike) were in a second line behind the middle of our side's attack formation. A feathered dude in the middle of the other side, stood in his stirrups and waved his lance and shouted at the top of his voice. Both sides advanced towards each other, first slow, then quick, finally galloping. From there on it was every man and girl for him/her self.
Whang, whang, arrows started flying and I saw one of our girls go down, a feathered shaft protruding from between her breasts. She toppled over backwards, one foot caught in a stirrup. Her horse bolted with her dead body hanging backwards, arms and one leg dangling, hair dragging in the dirt, her body tied to her horse by the one stretched leg. Her loincloth had fallen backwards onto her tummy and her bare pussy aimed itself skyward as she disappeared from the field. Another girl was stabbed through by a lance wielding injun and fell forward over her horse's neck. She slipped forward her hand caught in the horse's mane and her bare ass, two black holes winking at me, was all I could see of her. Three of our guys went down, transfixed with arrows. They fell off their horses and their dead bodies lay still and silent on the grass. The other side was copping it too. They had about five girls down, their corpses sprawled on the field of battle. They had also lost four men and were probably doing the worse of the two. Our guys, with their rifles, were knocking injuns down left, right, and centre. I saw one of our bare breasted girls riding like the devil at one of her opposite numbers and she let go an arrow and took out the other dame with a strike right through the throat. The other girl got off a shot in a dying spasm and the arrow took our girl in the side. She went down. She was only about sixteen and I couldn't stand the thought of her dying there. I spurred my horse forward all the time thinking "What are you doing, you stupid bitch, you'll get killed." I rode into the thick of battle, eyes fixed on where the girl had fallen. I reached her. She was lying still, eyes closed. I jumped down and lifted her by the arms and got her, face down, over my horse. She seemed to be out of it. I jumped back on and turned the horse towards our lines. A great buck loomed up swinging his tomahawk viciously at me. I saw his face dissolve as a bullet took him just under the nose. Whacko, I thought and galloped for safety. I didn't stop until I was behind Therese and Dave and friends.
"You idiot!" screamed Therese. "What were you doing?"
I grinned at her and she shook her head and went back to killing injuns.
pulled out the arrow and found the wound in the side of the girl lying before me and staunched the flow of blood with my finger. She was bubbling pink froth from her lips and didn't look too flash. I climbed down from my horse and lowered the indian girl, kid really, she was barely a woman, to the ground. I lay her down and using my handkerchief, made it into a pad and placed it over the wound. It immediately stained red with her blood, but I bound it in place with a cloth from the saddle of my horse. It was pretty unsatisfactory, but I hoped it would keep her from bleeding to death. I cradled her head in my lap as I watched the end of the battle.
Our side was clearly on top and the few survivors of the other tribe were being rounded up as prisoners. Most of their warriors lay dead on the ground. A few kicked and struggled but our girls were going around amongst them, finishing them off. This usually comprised lifting their hair and then cutting their throats. The screams as they died were horrendous. I know I had been a shabby type who had stained her hands with blood often enough, but I was staggered at how brutal these sweet, sexy, indian maidens could be. The men had fired the tents in the encampment and they were all blazing merrily. The prisoners, ten men and a dozen women, as well as the old folks from the camp were gathered together. I watched fascinated and repelled as our allies, slaughtered the old folks and then set to work on the young, defeated, warriors. They were all stripped naked and the men were bound to stakes. The girls set to work on them, two girls to each guy. They literally flayed them alive and their courage deserted them and they screamed for death as those gals sliced their skin off and chopped off penises, noses, ears, you name it. It was extremely bloody and awfully horrible. I watched fascinated but sickened. The men started in on the female captives and, impossible as it is to believe, they raped them to death. I watched hypnotised as one young woman warrior was assaulted at least twenty times before she finally went limp. Most of the girls fought it at first but after being repeatedly raped they went catatonic and stared into their own private hell as they were further abused before bleeding to death, vaginas torn and bruised and haemorrhaging.
It was awful.
The leader of our new found allies came over to where I sat with my wounded maiden lying in my lap. Mercifully, she was out to it and very, very white, but still breathing. He looked down at her and then said something to Dave before stamping away. Dave came over and looked down at us both. "I could have told you not to do that."
"Not do what?"
"Jeezus Dave, I couldn't let her die, she's only a child."
"Chief says she's a dead woman and they want nothing to do with her. He says you have kept her from going to the happy hunting grounds as she should, so she's yours now."
"Look after her Barb."
The battle over, the dreadful killing done, the redskins drifted away. Dave and Therese helped me fix a litter for my patient and hitched it to my horse and we left too. I had to travel slow to avoid killing the kid and the journey back to the boat took several hours. By then she didn't look too flash at all. I got her on to the boat and bound up her wound properly, using a salve to clean the off the blood and muck. I stripped off her rags and washed her down as best I could and put her in my and Dave's bed. Think he didn't crack up about that. I forced some water and hot soup into her, even though she was unconscious throughout, and then hit her with a dose of laudanum. That sent her deeply asleep and I left her and joined the others.
"And where are we sleeping?" said Dave.
"On the cots in that spare room."
"Shit! For how long?"
"Til she's better."
"Oh come on darling, you know wherever you are is paradise to me."
"And what if I want to cuddle my wife."
"We'll fit in a cot."
"What if I want to.................."
"You know, have relations with my wife."
"Hope the cots are strong."
I was awoken in the early hours by a cry from the room next door. I threw on a gown and went in. The indian girl was sitting with the covers drawn up under her chin and a look of wide eyed terror on her face. I sat and tried to calm her. She shrank away from my touch. I called Dave and he came in, rather sleepily, and explained to the girl that I had saved her after she had been wounded and that we were looking afer her. She didn't, he later told me, have to be told that her tribe had abandoned her to us. This, it seemed, was an ingrained part of their customs and she knew she was now an outcast amongst her people and that her life lay with us. Her name, he discovered was Wen-da-ree. As he explained all this to her, I stroked her beautiful brow. She looked so awfully young and I was filled with feelings of tenderness toward her which were foreign to my nature. Once more I realised what a shabby type I was, and when she dropped off to sleep and we regained our beds, I lay for some time despising myself.
Wen-da-ree was much improved the next morning and with the resilience of healthy youthfulness she made a remarkable recovery. I continued to care for her and when I was bathing her one day, I looked at her slim pubescent body, her barely budding breasts, her flat tummy and her long slim arms and legs and I found lustfulness creeping into my mind via the rear door. I looked up and she was regarding me with young eyes, old with the wisdom with which a female is born. She was absolutely gorgeous in a patrician way and her long black hair, which I had washed free of the grease with which all indians loved to plaster themselves, positively shone with healthiness and vigour. She leaned forward and said "Barbra." and hugged me around the shoulders. I felt silly and all maternal. I was what, ten years older than this girl, but I was her mum now.
Therese found Wen-da-ree too hard to remember and christened her Wendy and Wendy she was from then on. I sat on her bed as she recuperated and together we made her a buckskin dress somewhat like mine. With her help I cut out and sewed up a pair of moccassins for her surprisingly big feet. Bigger than mine by a couple of sizes. By week's end she was up and about. She followed me like a shadow. As her saviour she had transferred all of her affection to me. I couldn't go anywhere without her. Even when I went to the privy she followed me to the door and would have come in except I had to stop her and wag my finger at her. When I first took Wendy on deck I didn't have to be a genius to see she was a hit with the crew. I saw the glances of open longing with which they followed her as, quite unconscious of the effect she was having, she followed me around. I told Dave to have a word with the crew. I had become a bit protective of my adopted "daughter" Wendy, and whilst I had no objection to her forming attachments with the boys, I wanted it to be at her instigation and at her speed.
From Barbra, her vocabulary started to grow and within a short time we could converse in English, albeit somewhat clumsily. Dave and I reclaimed our bed and Wendy took over the room next door although I often woke to find her sleeping on the floor in our room and at such times she would often come to me and hug me again before returning reluctantly to her own bed. I loved Wendy in a way I hadn't felt before and found I was going all mushy and soft inside whenever she showed her obvious affection for me. My "family" was getting bigger. I felt as if I belonged in a way I hadn't dreamt possible before I hit Saint Louis. I was pretty mixed up.
It had started raining and we were well into autumn. Soon winter would be on us again. We had decided to make camp further along and set ourselves up to cross the far misty mountain range we could now see quite clearly. The keel boat would go no further, so we would leave it here with a skeleton crew whilst most of us travelled up river in two canoes and established a camp in the foothills, land of the Nez Perce. From there we would cross the mountains in early spring and make our way down the Columbia river to the coast. Our indians were back and with their help we constructed two canoes of sapling frames and hide covering. Both would carry ten people and could be paddled in most any part of the river that was at all navigable. It was funny, like we didn't have very close contact with the indians, but whenever they were there and Wendy appeared it was like they didn't see her. To them she was dead. I watched her at such times and she didn't look at them or anything. I found it very sad.
The morning of our departure dawned clear, blue skied and a really lovely late Autumn day. I made breakfast as usual helped by Therese and Wendy, who was proving to be a real find in the kitchen. With her limited English, we didn't know what she was on about but she grabbed things, looked at them, showed them to us and chucked it all together, stirring and steaming and tasting and grinning. The result, more often than not was marvellous, tasty, very edible food. When she had a bummer it was a real disaster and when she'd ask us to try it and we did and our noses wrinkled, she would laugh in a tinkling merry chuckle and over the side would go that meal. Then she'd sit there smiling like a real sweetie while Therese and I concocted a hasty replacement. She was fun and I could see that she had had a very good effect on everyone and they all reacted very positively to her charm.
The canoes had been constructed above the falls and so now, we piled into them, men, we three women, supplies, arms, you name it. We set out up the Missouri, as it snaked around, heading towards those distant mountains. The mood was bouyant and only I, I think, thought about that vague threat that the mysterious Petra could still try to destroy our mission. My feelings about her were ambivalent. I feared such an obviously relentless and ruthless foe, after all she had sent four young women to their deaths so far, but I yearned within myself to meet this strong, dominant lady. I had no doubt that if I ever did it would be bad, but my fascination with her overcame my fears.
We camped at nights and Dave and I managed to pitch a tent far enough from the others that we got some privacy and were able to explore each others' bodies in the velvety darkness of the wilderness night. Lying with him, my arms wrapped around his strong, lean, muscled hardness, I found myself in a state of perpetual excitement and loved him as I had never imagined I could love. He was all I had dreamt of. Terrific lover, solid rock on whom I leaned, provider and friend. I offered myself to him on any night he wanted me, no headaches for this girl. Nearly always he would take me, even if after a very hard and strenuous day, he might need some gentle coaxing to come to life. After such sex, or even on those nights when we did not actually consumate our love, I loved to lie with him and talk until tiredness claimed us and we slept in each others' arms, like two very happy kids.
Despite my very ordinary upbringing at Sydney Cove, I had learnt to read and write and had gone on educating myself since. I read every printed word I could lay my hands on, even the charts and navigation manuals I found on the boat. I had read many books, some fictitious, many factual and when I found early on that Dave shared my love of reading, I made every opportunity to talk books to him. On those dark nights in our tent and sometimes under the stars I would ask Dave what he had thought of this or that book, this or that philosopher, and when I found something known to me but not to him, I would retell the story to him, whispering it in his ear as we clung to each other so far from the civilised world of the east coast. When I found his reading had encompassed some tome I had not yet read I would insist he tell me the contents of that book as near as he could remember and often my fascination with his story telling would lead me to a state of heightened sexual awareness and I would follow his narration with coupling between us. At such times I would move my body next to his, then along and around his, every part of myself, moving and writhing against him until he and I would become as one and the explosion of his seed into my womb would seem perfect and perfectly normal. I did not, despite my very active sex life with Dave, become pregnant and I feared that what I had known for a long time was to rob me of the pleasures of motherhood. My horrendous menstrual cycle had never let up since childhood merged into womanhood and I was resigned to my being barren.
During this trip Therese did not join us and I was unsure where Wendy's sexual education was up to. We did not enjoy our menages, Dave and I conducting our sex life in private. I looked forward to including the other girls when circumstances allowed, as I found these little orgies to be the icing on an otherwise very satisfactory sex cake.
As winter's icy fingers caressed our party, sex under the stars disappeared and so did the river. We found ourselves in the foothills of the mountains and decided to establish another semi-permanent camp. We set out our tents and fixed them up for a long stay. We stashed the canoes where they would be safe until spring and we made a camp centre with a lean to area for cooking and eating. We shielded this from the winds that were going to make life a misery for the next three months.
Established in yet another home, Therese, Wendy and I set about making life comfortable for our men.
When the trees did again bud and bloom we would head for the west coast, over these fearsome mountains and on to our rendezvous.