Posted by Barbanne on July 16, 2003 at 00:32:21:
It had been a frigidly cold night and we'd all kept ourselves warm around a big bonfire during the night and we woke to a clear, sunny, cold day.
The day of the ambush.
We were within a day or two's travel from the headwaters of the Columbia River and the downhill ride to the west coast. I cooked breakfast for everyone that morning, so that Wendy and Therese were free to help with getting our band ready to march. I was still wearing my buckskin dress and boots, although you'd have had trouble knowing that, as it was buried beneath a huge bearskin coat that I had had the sense to buy back in Saint Louis. It wasn't easy cooking when you resembled the abominable snowman. I managed though and we all ate heartily, appetites sharpened by the cold weather.
I cleaned up and packed the cooking gear and found I had a cutting knife left over. I slipped it into my boot. I was the last one ready and when I mounted the others were all ready to move. I was glad it was my turn on a horse as I has worked hard already. Dave gave the signal and we set off.
Our path led over the ridge beneath which we had camped and then travelled down through a thicket beside a cliff that fell away into the valley where the river ran. The path narrowed and when we came out of the trees, we had to travel in single file across a bare stoney patch, lightly dusted with snow. I was in the rear and as I cleared the trees, the first shots rang out.
Two of our guys were blown out of their saddles and crashed onto the rocky ground, sprawled out, apparently dead. The rest hit the ground running and started taking cover. I was so amazed by it all I just sat there, mouth open, stunned. A second volley and a bullet went whizzing past my ear, hit a rock, and spranged away into space. I sort of fell off the horse and crawled behind some cover. Our people were firing back and their first fusilade drew some oaths and a blood curdling scream from the trees, so I guess they got at least one of the bastards.
Whoever was shooting was concealed in the trees to our left and it was only by observing the smoke flash and puff when they fired that our guys knew where to aim. More shots rang out and I grovelled on the ground. I saw Wendy jump up and run towards me, she had no coat on and was dressed in her light buckskin dress only. A single shot rang out and she spun around and went down, spreadeagled on her back. Then a fusilade of shots. I figured they'd have to reload, so took off like a hare and ran to her side. I grabbed the front of her dress, it was soaked in blood, and dragged her back and behind cover. Bullets spranged away and I felt like a tugging at my coat where at least one went through. I flopped both of us down behind the rocks. She looked awful, eyes slitted and whites only showing and a trickle of thick red blood dribbling from the corner of her mouth. I felt for a pulse at her throat.
I held her cold wrist and felt for a pulse.
I slipped my hand inside her dress and lay it over her heart, by the upward curve of her soft, budding breast. No pulsing. Nothing.
I lifted her eyelids. Her eyes were rolled right back and they were sightless.
She was dead.
There was some shooting back and forth and I could see we had lost maybe two more of our people.
Suddenly our attackers burst from the trees and charged us and I saw Petra for the first time. She was at the back, standing watching them. I knew without being told it was her. She was tall. A head taller than me and even in her clothes I could see she had a figure like Venus. Full breasted, full hipped, long limbed and she had the most beautiful face I had ever seen. Her long straight brown hair curled over her shoulders and frothed around her bust, and I saw her wince as the first rush resulted in at least six of her henchmen being cut down.
"Murderous bitch!" I thought.
Gunfire rattled around the clearing and the toll was murderous. Most of our attackers had fallen, but I could only see Dave plus two others firing back. As I watched one of those crewmen slumped sideways. I had seen Therese fall forward and, kissing my sweet Wendy's cold dead lips in a fond and final farewell, I scrabbled crabwise along the escarpment, keeping as low as I could until I was by Therese's side. I turned her face to me and was greeted by her two open, staring, dead eyes, with a third blackened, red, eye like hole in her forehead. I felt for the pulse of life at her throat.
There was nothing.
"Therese! Oh Therese!" I screamed and clutching her poor dead body to me I rocked back and forth, lost in my grief.
Through tear stained eyes I saw that Dave alone now battled against Petra and her lone surviving companion. As I watched horrified and numbed, Dave was hit in the chest and spilled backwards. Petra's companion ran towards him, brandishing his gun like a club. I lay Therese down and picked up her rifle from where it had fallen from her dead hands and aiming, blew the man's head from his shoulders.
My gun was empty.
Dave stood, holding his bloodied chest.
Petra raised her pistol.
I screamed and ran towards Dave.
He turned to me.
"Barb." He said and the look in his soft brown eyes melted me.
"Dave." I clutched at him.
Petra's pistol went off very loud and Dave's body spun around and toppled off of the cliff's edge.
"Aaaaaaaaaaggghhhh!!!!!!!!" I screamed and flung myself forward but touched only his leg and then he was gone.
"Get up bitch."
I looked up and Petra stood over me her pistol pointing at me.
"You have killed my life." I said. The tears were there, but held back by a dam of hatred.
"And now I shall kill you."
"My life. All that mattered, dead."
"You had no life to kill Barbanne."
"My life, my chances...........gone."
"Stop snivelling bitch. You don't matter. None of you mattered. Your wretched country is finished now. And you're finished now. But then you were finished years ago. Miserable low class bitch."
"I loved them."
"Love, love. Who cares a shit about love."
"You! You! You no account, nothing tramp."
"I hate you.
"Pity. I could have loved you. I know what you are Barbanne. I know how you feel. I could have been the best thing in your life and you could have belonged to me."
"No, not now. Now you are going to die."
"Get it over with."
"Are you going to stand or are you going to die grovelling on the ground."
I didn't care whether I lived or died. I had lost everything. I stood and as I did I pulled the knife from my boot. I flung myself at Petra grasping her in my embrace.
Her pistol fired again and I felt a bullet rip through my guts.
I clung to her and plunged the knife into her left breast.
Shock, horror, disbelief showed in her eyes even as they clouded over and we both sank to the rocks. I rolled away. Her eyes were open and they had seen hell. I didn't have to be told she was dead. I looked at the bright crimson blood pumping from my tummy and thought "So this is how it ends?" I tried to stand. Therese needed me. Wendy needed me. I needed Dave.
I slid into darkness.
The indians found me. They had been befriended by Lewis and Clark and were kindly to white men. They found me, almost dead, the only one living among so many dead. They bound a poultice of leaves and herbs across my wound. My gut was ruined and I could hardly eat or drink. They got me up and although we couldn't converse I was able to make them understand. Two women supported me everywhere. I was nearly dead, in fact I thought I would die, but I was able to make them understand and I had them gather up the corpses of Therese and Wendy and Petra and carry them into a cave. A cave so cold it was chilled enough to preserve their bodies. In this mausoleum I had the indians lay out the three women who had so affected my life. I hung suspended between my two supporters and supervised while the indians stripped Wendy and lay her young, pubescent body on the freezing rock floor. Her slender arms by her sides, her long coltish legs stretched out. Her hardly formed, budding breasts, her lovely young face. The mass of black hair. Next to her they lay Therese. Her full, ripe body. Her gloriously rounded breasts. Her pretty face framed by red flaming hair. Red, flaming hair that also covered the soft crepe like lips of her sweet, sweet pussy. And Petra, long, lovely, perfect breasts, one punctured by my knife. Her long dark brown hair trailing over those breasts, her large pink nipples, upthrust and frozen in death, peeping out from amongst her hair. Her glorious flat tummy, long thoroughbred legs. Perfectly formed feet.
All three, peaceful and serene in death.
The indians held me while I cried.
Cried at the futility of life and our stupidity.
Then they helped me down the cliff face. I was semi delerious most of the time and trapped in the prison of my fevered mind. We found Dave's body and I recovered the waterproof pouch with the letters that would damn Petra's co-conspirators. We buried Dave and I sat by his grave and broke down. The indians couldn't handle this and went some way aways and sat silently while I went totally to pieces. My misery overwhelmed me and I sobbed and cried and wracked my body with grief. My tummy bust open and bled and I beat the ground and tore at my hair and shrieked at the unfairness and wept and wept and wept. Eventually, when I had nothing left to give, they collected me and helped me away. I asked them by signing and such to take me to the coast. They put me in a canoe and we set off down the Columbia. I couldn't eat and sat like I also was dead, great black circles rimming my eyes. I grew thin and passed out a lot. They kept me alive.
We reached the bay and the ship was there.
They took me out to it and I gave the captain my parcel. I told him Petra was dead, but that this would finish her evil plans forever. They wanted to help me but I said no. I wanted to go back. Back to America. In this state I collapsed entirely and went into a deep coma. The ship's doctor took the opportunity of my being out cold to clean and repair my wound. They stuffed me full of medicines and food. When I finally came back I found I was going to live. I was unaffected by this news and could as easily have died. From that time on I could never eat properly again and would forever remain stick thin and would forever keep my deep, blue black, bags under my eyes. When I could I rejoined the indians for the trip back. The Englishmen wanted me to stay aboard and go back with them. I wouldn't. At last they gave up and sailed away.
I got back in the canoe and we set out for the mountains once more.
The trip back up the river was spectacular but uneventful. This country was so beautiful one could almost believe it meant more than nothing. Rain fell consistently and the fir trees reached up for the grey skies above. Ferns packed in under the trees and everything was green and fecund. The river ran wild and free, tumbling over rocks, spilling through gorges, swirling along between its verdant banks. The indians paddled consistently and I sat huddled in the canoe and subject to my thoughts. Mostly I felt regret. Regret that I was such scum. Regret that I hadn't had more of a chance. Regret that I had known warmth and love and now it was gone again. I was empty inside, a hollow woman. Lets face it Barb, I thought, you ARE nothing.
I was nothing and nobody.
My tummy was not good. Petra's bullet had done something bad and food had lost its flavour and appeal. I ate what was put in front of me, or at least as much of it as I could without vomitting, but I stayed thin and wan. The dark bluish bags under my eyes were there to stay and I looked like shit.
I didn't care.
I WAS shit!
We reached the headwaters and the indians helped me return over the ridges. I didn't need support any more, but they were good to me and showed me the way. I visited Dave's grave and cried a lot as I sat silently talking to him, wishing he were here. Needing him. We stopped off at the cave that had become a tomb. Wendy, Therese and Petra were all there still. Their naked bodies looked as fresh and appealing as the day they died. I stood for a long time and looked down at them. I couldn't really hate Petra. I knew looking at her gorgeous body lying stretched out there, that I could easily have loved her. She had robbed me of everything, but if not her, someone or something else. I was not meant to be happy. I was shit. I despised myself and what I had been and still was. I deserved this. I kissed each of the cold, dead, women in turn and then left. The indians blocked the entry to the cave.
They led me back to where we had camped that last night together and from there the trail was clearly marked. Those indians were in awe of me. They respected my grief and my misery. Men and women, they came and hugged me. Then they waved and disappeared.
I rested a night and then set out.
Within a week I reached the canoes and the guys who had stayed behind. They listened to my story. All agreed that the purpose of our trek had been achieved, but at what cost. No-one talked much and we set off back down the Missouri river, retracing our steps. I did what I had to to stay alive. Two weeks after setting out we reached a point a day or two above the falls and there we met up with a group of travellers fording the river.
These guys were from the Spanish Territory to the south west.
There was a bunch of priests who were going to Canada and the rest were soldiers and civilans who were going to return to the Spanish Territory. Back over the mountains, their destinations were San Francisco and El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula, The village of our lady Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula. Los Angeles they called it. I had nothing to lose. I spoke to my friends and told them I was going to San Francisco. What did I have to lose? What did I have to go back east for? They respected my decision. They were sorry, but if truth be known, I had become such a pain in the ass that they were glad to see me go. I took my old bag off the canoe. My bag with my fortune in it. Together with my well worn buckskins it represented all I had in life. I wasn't making much progress in the accumulation of wealth.
I joined the Spaniards and we all waved goodbye to my friends from the Ticonderoga. They sped off down the river helped by the current and soon vanished around a bend. I turned to my new companions.
A motley crew.
Just like old times.
Back with the low lifes.
We were to leave the following morning. Us dudes going south and west, the priests going north and east. One priest particularly stood out. Tall, handsome, dark with long curly black hair. When I looked at him, I felt the first stirring in my groin for weeks.
His name was Father Carl and I decided to do something about him (and me) before he left.
That night, after dinner, I went to the priests' tent and found him and looking him straight in the eyes I said. "I need to talk to a priest."
"Yes my child."
We went outside and I looked at him. "I have lost everything that was dear to me and I need comfort." He was taken aback. "Put your faith in God my child and he will comfort you."
"Yeah, well that's alright, but I need comforting. C-o-m-f-o-r-t-i-n-g, comforting."
"How do you mean child?"
"I mean like I need a man of God to comfort me, only I need more man and less God."
"I don't think I understand."
"Oh, I think you do Father."
"How do you mean?"
"Like this Father." I put my arms around him and pulled him close and kissed him. "Oh, no. This is wrong!"
"No it isn't."
I slid my hand into the front of his trousers and felt his warm erection. "Oh no, Father this is right."
"Oh girl, what are you doing to me?"
"Only what you and I want Father."
"Oh God forgive me." He fell on me and we stripped each other and within seconds he was inside me and we pounded against each other driven by a need that was unable to be denied. We both came together and I called out in an agony of release.
We made love again. Slower. Better.
Then again. This time the best.
I lay with Father Carl. He was a magnificent man. Quite wasted on God. His abdomen rippled like a washboard and I loved running my hands up and down his belly, massaging his strong shapely pectorals and curling my fingers in his bush and stroking his thick lovely stem of his powerful and ever responsive cock. It rose to my touch and we shared love many times that night. Eventually I wore him out and he slipped into a deep and undisturbed slumber. When he did, I quietly left him and stole into the priest's tent.
I found a bundle of coins and the silver communion mugs. I stole everything that looked of value and secreted it in my bag. My dear, sweet Father Carl was still sleeping and I kissed him and then lit out before first light. I made my way up the road to the south west a few kilometres and settled down to wait. About mid morning the travellers headed for San Francisco came along. I hailed them and when they came abreast of me I was very happy to see the priests were not amongst them. No doubt they were on their way to Canada.
"Hi!" I called out.
"Barbanne, here you are."
"Yes. It was such a beautiful morning I decided to walk on ahead and enjoy the loveliness of being alive."
"I see. The priests were robbed you know."
"Oh no! What a terrible thing. Someone will surely go to hell."
"You know nothing of this?"
"Of course not."
"The other fathers found Carl sleeping naked outside his tent and quite exhausted."
"Yes. They blame him for their loss."
"May I join you?"
"Of course Barbanne."
I hopped onto their only wagon.
"By the way my dear, your fee for passage with us will be three extra pieces of silver."
He grinned and I grinned and we both knew where we stood.
"I shall happily pay the extra to travel with such wise and friendly people."
My companions were brigands, scoundrels and scum.
We understood each other. Nobody bothered me much although I did have to share my bed on different nights, with some of them who obviously ran the show. I found if I kept the right ones happy the rest stayed away. The trip was uneventful, rigorous but bearable with many to make the steep ascents and the wild descents manageable. We came within sight of San Francisco. I had harboured the fear that they would probably murder me on the last night for whatever I had. If they had known how much that was, there would have been no doubt. So, on our last night I rose before the darkest part and stole that which I knew my odious companions carried with them and which would prove valuable and lit out for San Francisco before they knew I had gone.
I lay low for long enough to ensure they had departed for Los Angeles and then emerged in this rag tag, hilly little town by a beautiful bay, with a sinister looking island in the middle. I swapped my buckskins for a tart's red satin dress and found employment in a brothel run by a brother and sister team of tough but fair Italians. The brothel was over the top of a saloon called "Sei Donne Muerte" or Six Dead Women, and I figured with me that increased it to seven dead women, as I was dead inside. I proved very popular, my emaciated looking body and the dark bags under the eyes giving me a constantly bashed up appearance that the good men folk of San Francisco found very sexy and a great turn on. I got twice as many requests for my services as my next most popular sister. This made me very pleasing to my employers and they treated me OK. I guess life would have settled into the normal routine of my whoring with a little larceny on the side had it not been for Father Carl turning up and ruining everything.