Who Am I? 04/29/201529 Apr, 2015 04:38 PM
Table Of Contents
Chapter 1: An Orphan
Chapter 2: Friends
Chapter 3: The Pariah
Chapter 4: Forbidden Desire
Chapter 5: Love
Chapter 6: Self Hatred
Chapter 7: Painful Memories
Chapter 8: Demons From the Past
1: There was once a humble family who lived in Ireland. They were called the O'Neals. There was man named Brian, his wife named Ida, and their two children, a son named Dillon and a daughter named Claire. They were a poor family, but they were all honest, hard-working folk who all loved one-another dearly. Sadly, they suffered many abuses from their English landlords who stole their land and forced them to pay heavy taxes so that they were always poor.
2: Then came the great famine, and many people in Ireland began to starve. At first the O’Neals tried to make the best of things, but at length they fled to America to escape the famine. At first Brian found work on the railroad and Ida found work at the washhouse, washing the dirty laundry of the railroad workers. Dillon and Claire also found work at the local inn, where they washed dishes, cleaned floors, made beds and did various other chores. Once they had saved up enough money, they moved westward and built a homestead on the frontier.
3: Now, the local Indians were at that time very angry because many families from many different countries were coming to America and taking their land. Many of the Indians were starving because as more and more of their land was taken away, it became harder and harder for them to find enough food to feed themselves. This had been happening for a long time and it seemed as though it would never stop.
4: One day, Dillon’s father departed the homestead on a trip to a nearby town to buy supplies, and he allowed Dillon to accompany him even though Dillon was only a little child. While they were gone, some of the Indians came to the homestead and found Ida and Claire. Because they were angry over the theft of their land, they brutally raped Ida and Claire, and then killed them. Afterward they cut off Ida and Claire’s scalps, and then set fire to the homestead.
5: When Dillon and his father returned, they saw what had happened and they were both heartbroken. Afterward, Dillon’s father became very angry and vowed that he would never set eyes on an Indian again without killing him on sight. Over time Dillon and his father rebuilt their homestead, and tried to recover from the death of Ida and Claire.
6: Now, Dillon and his father were not the only people in the area whose family members had been killed by Indians. On the contrary the local Indians had recently killed several of the people who had settled on their land.
7: Consequently Dillon’s father met with all of the nearby men whose family members had been killed. After discussing the matter with one-another for some time, the men all took up their guns and went up into the mountains, determined to kill some of the Indians for revenge.
8: In time they found several Indian families traveling together through the mountains. Upon seeing them, Brian and the other men immediately walked out of the trees and shot them dead. They then cut off the scalps of the dead Indians because the government offered a bounty for them. They then calmly returned home.
9: Now, among the party of Indians whom Brian and the other men had killed, there was a little girl named Shtsha-she, who had gone off to relieve herself and so had not been present when Brian and the men in his party had shot the Indians, and so had not been killed.
10: When Shtsha-she heard the gunshots, she was terrified and so she hid in the bushes for a long time. When at last she found the courage to come out of hiding and search for the others, she was horrified to find them all lying dead in the snow. Now, it was the midst of winter and so it was very cold. Shtsha-she and the other Indians had been traveling very far from home when they had been attacked, and so Shtsha-she had no place to go for refuge.
11: Instead, Shtsha-she curled up between the dead bodies of her mother and father, and wept for several days. However, after having killed the Indians, Brian and the other men had taken everything of value which the Indians had carried, such as food, clothing, blankets, tools, weapons and the like. Thus in time, hunger, thirst and cold forced Shtsha-she to leave her dead parents and go looking for food, water and shelter, in order to survive.
12: Now, there was scarcely anything edible to be found in the mountains this time of year, as all the plants had died and all the animals had either migrated or gone into hibernation. Thus Shtsha-she wandered aimlessly through the snow for a long time, cold, tired and hungry, unsure where to go.
13: By accident, she happened upon the O’Neals’ homestead. When she saw the log cabin on the homestead, she was terrified, because she knew that a white man must live there and that he would likely kill her if he saw her. However, she also knew that there must be food there, and she was desperately starving.
14: At last finding the courage, she snuck down to the cabin and, after a short time, discovered the door to the cellar. Sensing that it was safer to go in through the cellar door than to go in through the front door of the cabin, Shtsha-she crept inside where she discovered a large underground room packed with a very large quantity of foods of various sorts.
15: Shtsha-she grabbed as much bread and dried meat as she could carry, and then crept back out as silently as she could. Shtsha-she was at this time quite exhausted, because she was only a little child and had already walked very far. She was by now far too weak and tired to go and make shelter, so instead she crept quietly out to the haystack, and crawled inside to keep warm.
16: Thus Shtsha-she was at last able to sleep warm and well-fed, for the first time in many days. Unfortunately, because there was no food to be found in the mountains this time of year, there was still nowhere for Shtsha-she to go. Thus, she continued hiding in the haystack until the food which she had stolen ran out, and then after dark she was obliged to sneak back into the cellar and steal yet more food.
1: In time Dillon’s father began to notice the missing food. He therefore accused Dillon of sneaking into the cellar and stealing the food. Dillon insisted that he knew nothing about it, but his father didn’t believe him, and beat him severely with a cane as punishment for lying.
2: Not long thereafter, Dillon went out to use the outhouse during the night, carrying a lantern with him to light his way. As he was returning to the cabin, the light of the lantern shown on the door to the cellar, and Dillon saw that it was open.
3: Curious, Dillon climbed down into the cellar to investigate. As soon as Dillon climbed down into the cellar, he found himself face to face with Shtsha-she, standing at the far end of the cellar. Immediately they both froze, and stared silent and motionless at one-another for a long time in fright.
4: Unsure what to do, Dillon at last left the cellar and slowly stepped some distance back. As soon as he was far enough away, Shtsha-she scrambled out of the cellar and bolted toward the trees some distance away, carrying an armful of biscuits and sugar. For a long time Shtsha-she hid in the forest, but eventually she crept back to the haystack and crawled inside once again because it was the only place where she could keep warm.
5: The next day, Dillon's father discovered that yet more food was missing from the cellar. Exasperated that his son would continue stealing in such a manner after he had punished him severely therefore, Dillon's father now fastened a strong iron lock to the cellar door, to ensure that Dillon couldn't steal anything.
6: After Shtsha-she had met Dillon in the cellar, even though Dillon had not approached her, Shtsha-she was very afraid to go back to the cellar for fear of being caught. For the next three nights, Shtsha-she wandered through the mountains near the homestead, searching for food and for shelter, but she found nothing. Each morning before the sun rose, she returned to the haystack to hide.
7: On the forth night, overcome by hunger, Shtsha-she at last found the courage to once again sneak down to the cellar and steal yet more food with which to feed herself. She had not eaten since the night on which she had seen Dillon. Thus she was now very weak, and very hungry.
8: When Shtsha-she arrived at the cellar, she saw the heavy iron lock affixed thereto. At first she searched earnestly for a means to open the lock, but could not. She then pulled upon the door as hard as she could, hoping to force it open, yet this also failed.
9: At last, Shtsha-she knelt down in the snow, buried her face in her hands, and began to weep bitterly, certain that she would soon perish. After a long time, Shtsha-she heard the soft crunch of footsteps in the snow, but she did not look to see who was approaching. After all, what did it matter if she was caught? She was sure to die anyway.
10: Shtsha-she heard the footfalls approach directly beside her and then stop. She winced, waiting for the gunshot which she was certain would end her life. Just then, she felt a small hand come to rest gently upon her shoulder. Slowly, she looked up and saw Dillon kneeling beside her. She watched as he held out a loaf of bread to her.
11: Shtsha-she stared for a second at the loaf of bread, and then seized it and gobbled it down hastily. When it was all gone, she gazed at Dillon with the most immense gratitude one could imagine. She then arose, walked slowly back to the haystack, and yet again crawled inside to sleep. Dillon stood and watched her the whole time. He wished that he could invite her indoors, but he knew how his father felt about Indians, and thus feared that his father would kill her.
12: For the next couple of nights, Dillon saved his supper each night until after his father was asleep, and then secretly took it out to the haystack and gave it to Shtsha-she, so that she would not starve. When Dillon's father asked him why he did not eat his supper right away, Dillon merely replied that he felt ill, and wished to eat his supper later.
13: Then one night, a fierce blizzard struck. The wind howled angrily, whipping so much snow into the air that one could hardly see one's hand in front of one's face. As soon as Dillon's father was sound asleep, Dillon arose, took up all of the warmest blankets he could find, along with the food he had saved that day, as well as a bright lantern, and went out to find Shtsha-she in order to ensure that she did not freeze to death.
14: Unfortunately, in the dark and in the blinding snow, Dillon was soon hopelessly lost. "Shushashee!" he hollered desperately. "Where are you?!" He trudged on and on through the blizzard, unable to see anything, but continuing to holler. Suddenly, he heard Shtsha-she’s voice faintly through the howling of the wind.
15: “Dillon!” she hollered.
16: "Shushashee!" Dillon hollered back, staggering blindly through the snow toward her voice. They staggered blindly toward one-another, following the sounds of one-another’s voices. At last they stumbled into one-another. Dillon quickly pulled Shtsha-she close and extended his blankets around her. Shtsha-she was lost too, so they huddled together, hugging each other for warmth and wrapping the blankets over themselves like a tent.
17: In time Dillon’s father awoke. He heard the blizzard outside, and noticed that Dillon was missing. Fearing for Dillon’s life, Dillon’s father hurriedly dawned the warmest clothing he could find, tied a rope around himself so that he would not get lost, took up a bright lantern, and went out to look for Dillon.
18: Dillon’s father stumbled blindly through the blizzard for a long time. At last, by sheer luck, he found Dillon and Shtsha-she huddled together underneath the blankets. At first he thought that only Dillon was huddled underneath the blankets, and was unaware of Shtsha-she.
19: Pulling the blankets aside, he was appalled to see Dillon and Shtsha-she huddled together. Dillon and Shtsha-she both looked up apprehensively at Dillon’s father, and Dillon’s father looked back at them in realization. Suddenly, Dillon’s father understood why Dillon had been stealing food and sneaking out at night. He must have been trying to care for this Indian girl who must have been either abandoned by her family or else orphaned.
20: Without hesitation, Dillon’s father set down the lantern and took up a rifle which he always carried whenever he went outdoors, and aimed the rifle at Shtsha-she’s head. He meant to kill her immediately, yet Dillon hastily threw himself over Shtsha-she, trying to cover as much of her as possible with himself so that his father wouldn’t shoot her.
21: Angry, Dillon’s father forcibly pulled Dillon away from Shtsha-she and held him back with his hand. Again he aimed the rifle at her. For a long time Dillon’s father stood there with the rifle aimed at Shtsha-she’s head, and looked down at Shtsha-she cowering fearfully in the snow, shivering and weeping bitterly.
22: At last, he lowered the rifle. “Let’s go, Son.” he ordered, before turning and walking back toward the cabin. Dillon hastily lifted Shtsha-she to her feet and put his arm around her. He then led Shtsha-she with him as he followed his father back to the cabin.
23: When they reached the cabin, Dillon’s father entered first. He then held the door open for Dillon. As Dillon led Shtsha-she into the cabin, his father reached out his hand in protest to stop her, but then he changed his mind. Dillon’s father lit a fire in the stove, and Dillon and Shtsha-she both sat down in front of it to warm themselves.
1: After that, Shtsha-she lived with Dillon and his father. At first she could not speak a word of English and so it was very difficult for them to communicate. Nonetheless, Dillon led Shtsha-she around with him as he did his various chores, and taught her to help him with them. When there were no chores to be done, Dillon and Shtsha-she also played together. In time Shtsha-she learned to speak English by conversing with Dillon.
2: During this time, Dillon’s father did not beat Shtsha-she, whip her or overtly harm her in any way, and he also fed her well enough, so it must not be said that he intended to mistreat her. However, he nonetheless shunned her at every opportunity. He never spoke to her if he could avoid it, he rarely replied to her if she spoke to him, and he refused to look at her if he could help it.
3: Dillon’s father seemed determined to drive every possible bit of Indian-ness out of Shtsha-she. Quite early on, he disposed of the Indian clothing which Shtsha-she had originally been wearing and replaced them with European-style dresses. He strictly forbade her from speaking her own language, either with Dillon or by herself. He also refused to call her “Shtsha-she”, and instead chose to call her “Rebecca”.
4: He insisted that Dillon do the same, telling him that giving Shtsha-she a new name would help Shtsha-she leave behind her savage past and embrace a more civilized way of life. Dillon did so, believing that by doing so he was benevolently helping uplift Shtsha-she from a savage state to a civilized one.
5: Dillon’s father also made sure each day that Shtsha-she listened as he read passages from the Bible, so that she would become Christian and would forget whatever of her own people’s religion she might have learned.
6: In time Shtsha-she asked Dillon why his father was so unfriendly to her, and Dillon explained to her about the murder of his mother and sister at the hands of her people. What is more, when Dillon’s father journeyed into town, he often returned with news of some massacre of white settlers perpetrated by some Indian tribe or another, and quietly lamented it to Dillon and Shtsha-she. Likewise, he also often returned with news of a massacre of some Indian tribe or another perpetrated by white settlers or by the U.S. army.
7: Importantly, whenever he returned with news of some massacre of white settlers, he always described it as an unprovoked act of murder, and whenever he returned with news of some massacre of some Indian tribe, he always described it as a just act made necessary because the Indians resisted civilization.
8: Furthermore, he made sure to tell Shtsha-she all about the numerous barbarisms of various Indian tribes, such as human sacrifice, torture and mutilation of prisoners, and the cutting off of the noses of disobedient wives.
9: Each of the barbarisms which he described to Shtsha-she were in fact actual practices of specific Indian tribes, yet he falsely attributed all of them to the entire Indian race collectively. What is more, he made sure to impress upon Shtsha-she just how fortunate she was to have been rescued from such a savage state.
10: One day, Dillon's father traveled into town to buy supplies, and brought Dillon and Shtsha-she with him. They had not been long in the town when Shtsha-she began to attract many hateful glares from the townspeople. You see, nearly all of the townsfolk knew of someone or had heard of someone who had been killed by the Indians.
11: They went to the post office to check for mail, and at the desk there was a sign advertising a bounty for Indian scalps. Shtsha-she read the sign, but didn't understand what it meant. However Dillon knew what the sign meant, because he had seen one of them before he had met Shtsha-she, and his father had explained it too him.
12: As they left the town, Shtsha-she asked Dillon's father what an "Indian Scalp" was and why people wanted them, but he refused to tell her. As they headed back toward the cabin, Shtsha-she speculated that a "scalp" might be some sort of pretty trinket which Indians made and which white people wanted. She even suggested that after returning to the cabin, perhaps she and Dillon ought to go search for them in the woods.
13: Dillon's father had refused to explain the truth to Shtsha-she because he was in truth quite ashamed of it. However, Shtsha-she continued to chatter on and on about the subject, and her countenance was so lighthearted and cheerful that Dillon's father couldn't help feeling ever more and more ashamed.
14: Finally he couldn't bear it anymore. "Be quiet!" he snapped at Shtsha-she. Shtsha-she fell completely silent, and looked up at Dillon's father, hurt. "Don't ever say the word 'scalps' again!" he yelled. "Don't talk about it anymore!" Shtsha-she slumped down in her seat on the wagon and stared into her lap, her eyes starting to water. She wasn't sure what she had done to make Dillon's father angry, but she felt terrible for it whatever it was.
15: Some time after they had returned to the cabin, Dillon and Shtsha-she were alone together, and Shtsha-she asked Dillon why his father had been so angry at her. Dillon delicately explained to Shtsha-she what a scalp was, and that some people paid money for the scalps of Indians, in hope of encouraging other people to go out and kill Indians in order to steal their scalps for the money.
16: Shtsha-she was horrified and she asked Dillon why white people would want to kill her people, but all Dillon could say was that it was because Indians killed white people, and Shtsha-she couldn't understand why that was either.
17: For the next several days Shtsha-she barely spoke a word. She desperately wanted to know why white people wanted to kill her people, but she was terrified to ask Dillon's father because she remembered how angry he had been when she had ignorantly chattered about the subject of "Indian scalps".
18: At last she determined to ask him about it. She approached him slowly while he sat working outside the cabin. For a while she stood silently. "Father …” she asked, when she had finally worked up the courage, for she had come to think of him as her father even though he was not. “why do white people want to kill Indians like me?”
19: Dillon’s father was silent for a long time. “Because Indians are bad.” he said at last. "They live in filth and squalor. They fight and kill each other all the time, and they’re always killing innocent white women and children. They fight progress and civilization, and choose to live as barbaric savages! It is they’re fault that they are being killed! They bring it upon themselves through their violence and cruelty!”
20: In tears, Shtsha-she ran out of the cabin and into the woods. Some time later Dillon found her. He didn’t speak to her, but merely stood beside her as she knelt crying softly among the trees. At last she stood up. “I don’t want to be Indian!” she blurted angrily. “I hate it! I’m so ashamed!”
21: Dillon lay his hand gently on Shtsha-she’s shoulder. “It’s OK.” he said kindly. “You’re not like other Indians. You’re good, and kind, and gentle. It’s not your fault how other Indians are.” Shtsha-she looked into Dillon’s eyes and saw that he was utterly sincere. Quietly she turned and walked back to the cabin, a little bit comforted.
22: That night before going to bed, Shtsha-she crept quietly out behind the cabin where no one would hear her. There she knelt upon the ground, bowed her head low, held a cross before her eyes, and prayed silently …
23: "Father … I’m sorry. I'm sorry for being an Indian, and for all the things Indians have done. Please forgive me. I hate who I am. I know I'm evil, and I know my people are evil, but I can’t help it. I’m so ashamed! …”
24: Shtsha-she prayed sadly for a long time. At last she stood up and walked back into the cabin, drying her tears with her hands, and quietly went to bed. From then on Shtsha-she did everything she could to purge herself of everything Indian, and to be as much as possible like a white girl.
25: Oh the shame! Oh the guilt! Oh the self-hatred! Every moment of every day, Shtsha-she was overwhelmed with the worst guilt and self-loathing imaginable. Every evening before retiring to bed, Shtsha-she cursed herself in the name of God and begged God to forgive her for who she was. Every night she wept softly in her sleep, sobbing for how worthless, evil and wretched she was. Truly it would have been more merciful had Dillon’s father shot Shtsha-she dead that first night. Then at least she would not have suffered so much pain. Thus Shtsha-she shunned every possible thing associated with her native people, desperate to prove that she was not one of them.
26: Now, Dillon also came to believe much of what his father said about Indians. Thus he came to believe, perhaps rightfully in some cases though maybe not in all, that the Indians were a barbaric and savage race in desperate need of being civilized by the white man.
27: However, Shtsha-she was a very kind, gentle and loveable child, and Dillon therefore did not blame her for being an Indian. Rather he pitied her for it, and warmly congratulated her as she became gradually more and more like a white girl.
1: As time passed, the two children began to grow older. Shtsha-she began to become a young woman, and Dillon began to become a young man. Now Dillon, his father and Shtsha-she lived far away from any other person. Thus Dillon and Shtsha-she had no friends save for one-another.
2: One day, Shtsha-she began her first menstruation. Unfortunately her parents had never taught her about such things while they had been alive, because they had thought that it would not be necessary until she was older. Likewise, Dillon's father had not taught Shtsha-she about such things either, because he was a very strict Christian and so was uncomfortable discussing such things with her.
3: Terrified that she was dying, Shtsha-she ran to Dillon and led him away into the forest where they could be alone. There she disrobed, and fearfully showed him the blood percolating from her sexual parts. Dillon was just as ignorant as was Shtsha-she on the matter, and so he was very frightened for her.
4: Concerned, Dillon examined her sexual parts carefully to see where she was bleeding from, and Shtsha-she, fearing for her life, permitted him to do so. Dillon looked carefully at Shtsha-she's hymen, and saw that the blood was coming from a small hole in it.
5: Seeing this, Dillon assumed that the hole must have been the result of some recent injury, and that that must have been the cause of Shtsha-she's bleeding. However, Shtsha-she informed Dillon that the hole had always been there, and so it could not be the cause. Unsure what else to do, Dillon embraced Shtsha-she for a long time and comforted her, trying not to think about her nakedness.
6: As time went on, Shtsha-she began to experience menstruations regularly from time to time, and although she did not understand them, she came to recognize that they were not fatal. Also, driven by a strange fascination which neither of them understood, Dillon and Shtsha-she went secretly together into the forest from time to time, where they then both disrobed and took turns feeling one-another's bodies.
7: Each time after they did this, they would both pray to God, begging for forgiveness, and would vow never to do such a thing again. Nonetheless, no matter how determined they were to never again look upon one-another or touch one-another in such a manner, they always eventually found themselves once again wanting to disrobe in one-another's presence, to look at one-another naked, and to feel the most intimate parts of one-another's bodies.
8: One day in the spring, Shtsha-she was drawing water from the stream when she saw two bobcats mating and was quite fascinated thereby. For a long time she did not speak of it to anyone, but she could not help thinking about it endlessly.
9: At last there came a day when Shtsha-she found the courage to tell Dillon secretly what she had seen the bobcats doing. After some discussion, the two of them decided to experiment with what the bobcats had been doing.
10: They first attempted to copulate with one-another in the manner of the bobcats, but they found it rather awkward. Therefore instead Shtsha-she lay upon her back and invited Dillon to lay atop her. As he did, she reached up both of her legs and embraced him with them. In this manner they copulated with one-another easily.
11: Dillon and Shtsha-she were both overwhelmed by the sexual pleasure, as neither had ever experienced it before. When it was finished, they lay together upon the earth for a long time, embracing one-another fondly. Afterward the two of them continued to sneak off into the forest from time to time so that they might secretly copulate with one-another thus.
12: Eventually the time came when Shtsha-she usually experienced the bleeding, but this time she did not experience it, nor did she experience it at any time thereafter. She was unsure why this was and she told Dillon of it, but neither of them had the courage to tell Dillon's father.
13: As time passed, Shtsha-she's belly began to expand mysteriously. Dillon's father noticed this, and so one day he sat Dillon and Shtsha-she down together in the cabin and asked them if they had been doing anything together which he was unaware of. Uncomfortably, they admitted that they had been engaging in sexual intercourse regularly for some time.
14: Hearing this, Dillon's father carefully explained to Dillon and Shtsha-she that there was a child growing inside of Shtsha-she, that Dillon was its father, and that it was the product of their sexual activity. He then left them alone so that they might discuss the matter with one-another.
15: At first Shtsha-she was very afraid, but Dillon confessed to her that he loved her more than anything, and promised that he would do everything he could to help care for her and for their child. Shtsha-she was deeply comforted by this.
16: Now, Dillon's father considered taking Dillon and Shtsha-she into the town to force them to be formally married. However, he knew that the people of the town harbored a great deal of hatred of Indians and he feared that if the townspeople knew that Dillon and Shtsha-she had a sexual relationship, especially if it was publicized by having a formal wedding for them, the townspeople would ostracize both of them, and possibly harass them in various ways.
17: Instead, Dillon’s father gave Dillon and Shtsha-she an informal wedding in their cabin, and advised them both that they should be discrete about their relationship so as to avoid the condemnation of the townspeople.
1: As time passed, Shtsha-she came to love more and more strongly the child which was growing in her womb, and Dillon showed the utmost care and love for Shtsha-she. Of course, it was much easier for them to love one-another now that they no longer needed to hide their relationship from Dillon's father. Now they were free to hug and kiss one-another openly, whereas previously they had feared to even hold hands when Dillon's father had been watching.
2: Dillon and Shtsha-she spoke privately among one another, and agreed that they ought not to sexually copulate with one another while Shtsha-she was pregnant. You see, neither of them understood that a woman could not become pregnant with one child while she was already pregnant with another. Instead they feared that if they continued to copulate with each other, progressively more and more children might grow within her until there were too many of them to fit and she would burst open.
3: Dillon loved Shtsha-she dearly, and doted on her in every way he could. Each day he worked extra hard to finish his chores quickly so that he could go and help Shtsha-she with hers, so that she need not work as hard. Whenever he found the time he would massage Shtsha-she's feet, comb her hair, bathe her and do various other nice things for her. He even assisted her in the latrine on occasion, although it wasn’t the least bit necessary.
4: Before learning of their sexual relationship, Dillon’s father had always made Dillon and Shtsha-she sleep separately so that they might not grow too sexually interested in one another. However since it was too late to prevent that now, he permitted the two of them to sleep in the same bed in the loft, and the two of them slept every night in one another’s embrace.
5: Late one evening, Dillon and Shtsha-she lay together in their bed in the loft, waiting for sleep to arrive. They lay upon their sides facing one another, and both smiled softly, gazing lovingly into one another's eyes. Each could feel the other's gentle breath on their face. Shtsha-she's head rested upon Dillon's left arm which was wrapped around her, and her left arm was draped gently over him beneath the blanket.
6: Shtsha-she lay with her right hand pressed against Dillon's chest, feeling his gentle heartbeat, and Dillon lay his right hand gently upon Shtsha-she's pregnant belly, and slowly caressed her pregnant belly round and round. With his left hand Dillon gently caressed Shtsha-she's back between her shoulder blades, and Shtsha-she pressed her forehead lovingly against Dillon's.
7: As Dillon gently caressed Shtsha-she's back, his arm brushed against her long, dark hair. After a while, Dillon began running his fingers gently through Shtsha-she's hair, carefully straightening it, and occasionally pulling out tiny bits of leaves and bark, small wood splinters, and other such things which had accumulated there while Shtsha-she had been going about her chores all day.
8: "I love you." Dillon whispered very quietly. Shtsha-she smiled a little more warmly, and pulled herself just a little bit closer to Dillon.
9: "I love you too." she whispered just as softly. For a long time they embraced one another lovingly. "Dillon," Shtsha-she asked at length. "why is it that you love me so much?" You see, Shtsha-she hated herself so much for being an Indian because of everything which Dillon's father said about Indians, and she didn't think she deserved to be loved by anyone. She couldn't understand why Dillon loved her so deeply.
10: "Rebecca," Dillon whispered gently, for although he had originally come to know her by her Indian name, his father had thereafter always made him call her "Rebecca", and so that was the name by which he was accustomed to address her. "you are brave, kind, loving and gentle. You are the most beautiful thing in the world.”
11: They lay together in silence for a moment, gently embracing one another. At last Dillon smiled a little warmer. “Your eyes are so pretty.” he whispered gently.
12: “Are they really?” Shtsha-she asked, hopefully. Dillon nodded gently.
13: “They’re so deep and dark.” he whispered. “I can see all the way down to the deepest depths of your soul. I feel as if I could gaze forever into your eyes.” They lay silently together for some time more, a loving grin on Shtsha-she’s face. For a while, Dillon ran the fingers of his left hand gently through Shtsha-she’s hair.
14: “Your hair is wonderful too.” Dillon whispered. “It’s so long and dark, and smooth like a soft kitten.” Shtsha-she’s eyes began to well up slightly with tears.
15: “I never knew dark hair was beautiful.” she whispered. You see, she had always hated her hair. It was straight and black like an Indian’s, not blonde or brown like most white girls’ hair, and so it always reminded her that she was an Indian, something to which she ascribed the most horrid guilt and shame.
16: “Your hair is very beautiful.” Dillon whispered softly, combing it gently with his fingers. Dillon reached around with his left hand and began gently caressing Shtsha-she’s cheek with his fingers. “And your face …” he whispered gently. “Your face is so kind, loving and sweet. It warms me inside just to see it.”
17: “And this child …” Dillon whispered, caressing Shtsha-she's pregnant belly extra lovingly. "When you and I put our bodies together, you somehow created this beautiful child within yourself. I don't know how you did it, but it's a wonderful, beautiful thing to do. I can scarcely wait to see the child which grows within you. I want to love it and care for it together with you, and I can scarcely wait to tell it just how much I love you."
18: Shtsha-she was already fighting back tears. Now this was more than she could bear. She squinted her eyes shut, hot tears slowly emerging from beneath her tightly closed eyelids, and running down her face onto Dillon's arm. She drew in a long, deep breath, and let it out slowly with a slight tremble. Dillon and Shtsha-she both held one another close, and thus they slept for the rest of the night.
1: The next day, Shtsha-she was doing chores outside when a traveling merchant arrived to sell his wares. Dillon's father haggled with him for a long time and eventually bought a variety of small goods from him. Among them was a copy of a local newspaper. Some time later Shtsha-she returned to the cabin and overheard Dillon and his father speaking within. "Why were so many killed?!" Dillon exclaimed.
2: "That particular band has been attacking and killing countless settlers, miners, railroaders and other honest, decent persons for years." Dillon's father replied. "At long last the state militia found their main camp and ambushed them, killing them by the hundreds."
3: "But why kill all of them?!" Dillon exclaimed. "Why not just kill the warriors so they can't fight anymore, and spare the women and children?"
4: "Son," Dillon's father explained. "the little boys would have grown up to be dangerous warriors like their fathers, and the little girls would have grown up to be women like their mothers, and the women would give birth to yet more little boys and girls who would do the same."
5: "They would have raised their children to follow the same heathen faith which they themselves follow, to be just as barbaric and violent, and to reject God and civilization just as stubbornly. Those children would have grown to be a terror and a menace to every God fearing man, woman and child. They would only have had to be killed some time in the future. It is just as well that they were killed when they were young."
6: Dillon's father paused for a moment. "I know it troubles you to hear of this, Son." he said at length. "You love dear Rebecca with all your heart and soul, and you can not bear to hear of so many people of her race being killed in such a cruel manner, but all the Indians bring such things upon themselves through their own violence and cruelty, through stubbornly fighting civilization, clinging instead to their savage and barbaric ways of life, and through stubbornly clinging to their ungodly, heathen religions."
7: "Because of this, there is nothing left for them but to be plowed under by the forces of civilization, just like a farmer plows under the weeds to ready his field to be planted. Some day there will be no more Indians. Each and every one will be dead save for those good few who give up being Indian and learn to embrace the white man's ways."
8: Again Dillon's father was silent for a time. "Son," he said at last. "you had best not mention any of this to Rebecca. It would only sadden her. You also had best try never to remind her that she is an Indian. It is much better for her sake if she forget it entirely."
9: Unbeknownst to either of them, poor Shtsha-she had overheard the entire thing. She stood silently just outside the cabin, hot tears running slowly down her cheeks, scrunching up her face to try to hold in the heartache because she was ashamed to cry. Slowly, quietly, she walked some distance away into the trees. There she knelt down, buried her face in her hands, and wept for a long time in silence.
10: Later that night, Dillon and Shtsha-she again lay side by side in their bed, half asleep, fondly embracing one another as they always did. As they lay in one another's embrace, Shtsha-she all of a sudden began to weep quietly. She made hardly a sound, but Dillon could see hot tears again running slowly down her cheeks.
11: Concerned, Dillon caressed Shtsha-she's cheeks gently with his hand, tenderly drying her tears with one finger. "What is wrong, Rebecca?" he whispered softly. Slowly, Shtsha-she opened her eyes and gazed at Dillon for a long time without speaking. At last she closed her eyes again, with a pained and heartbroken expression on her face, and hugged Dillon close, pressing her forehead against him and continuing to weep softly.
1: Now, every year, Dillon's father went to town to buy supplies, and Dillon and Shtsha-she were always eager to accompany him. The shortest route to the town led through a narrow pass in the mountains, which was the same place in which Dillon's father and the other townsmen had killed Shtsha-she's family and the other members of her clan who had been traveling with them. However Dillon's father, having by now grown quite fond of Shtsha-she although he feared to show it, could not bear to be reminded of what he had done.
2: Therefore Dillon's father always took an unnecessarily circuitous route into town, to avoid going near the place where he and the other men had killed Shtsha-she's family. Over time, Dillon and Shtsha-she had both begun to wonder why Dillon's father refused to go into the pass, but he had always refused to discuss the matter with them.
3: In time, Dillon's father again journeyed into town to buy supplies for the winter, and Dillon and Shtsha-she again accompanied him. When they had finished buying their supplies for the winter, it was rather late in the evening.
4: Normally they would have spent the night in the town, and would have begun their homeward journey the next day. However, it was later in the year than usual for their annual journey to town, and Dillon's father feared that a snowstorm would soon set in. He was therefore anxious to return home as soon as possible.
5: They therefore planned to set out immediately as soon as they were finished buying their supplies. Because it was late in the evening, Dillon's father permitted Dillon and Shtsha-she to sleep in a pile of blankets in the back of their wagon as they traveled.
6: However, some time after Dillon and Shtsha-she had both bedded down in the back of the wagon but before Dillon's father had finished buying the supplies, Shtsha-she felt the need to relieve herself. She therefore went away discretely to use the outhouse, but neither Dillon nor his father was aware of this.
7: While Shtsha-she was occupied relieving herself, Dillon's father returned and, believing that Dillon and Shtsha-she were both asleep in the back of the wagon, immediately drove the wagon away, thus accidentally leaving Shtsha-she behind in the town.
8 When Shtsha-she returned from the outhouse, she discovered that she had been left behind. Now Shtsha-she was afraid to be left alone in the town, because she knew that many of the men in the town hated Indians very badly and she feared what they might do to her. She also had no way of knowing how long it might be before Dillon and his father discovered that they had left her behind.
9: Now, the distance from the town to the O'Neals' cabin was not too far if one took the direct route through the pass. Along the indirect route which Mr. O'Neal always took for fear of going through the pass, the journey usually took several days. However, Shtsha-she thought that if she walked directly through the pass, she could perhaps find herself at the cabin in a day or two.
10: Desperate to return home as soon as possible, Shtsha-she walked all night through the mountain pass and all day the next day. As dusk fell on the second night, soft snowflakes began to fall, forming a gentle blanket upon the ground. Soon the moon had risen, casting an eerie light upon the trees.
11: As Shtsha-she continued along the narrow pass, she began to feel a strange sense of having been there before, although she wasn't sure when. The cold, the silence, the shapes of the trees, the way the moonlight glinted off the powdery snow, everything seemed to remind Shtsha-she of some immense pain and sadness. She couldn't remember what it was, but it haunted her incessantly.
12: At last she arrived at the place where her family had been murdered. There she stopped and looked around. She soon found herself fighting back tears. She remembered the sound of gunshots, she remembered peering through the bushes and watching the white men killing her family, she remembered huddling beside her mother's dead body for warmth, she remembered shaking her mother desperately in hope of reviving her, and she remembered feeling her mother's lifeless body grow stiff and cold. Shtsha-she fell to her knees and wept bitterly. She could not bring herself to leave this place.
13: Now, some time after having left the town, Dillon and his father discovered that they had left Shtsha-she behind, and so they immediately returned to the town to search for her. They did not find her in town, but they spotted her tracks leading toward the mountain pass, for this was before it had begun to snow. They therefore went into the pass to search for her.
14: They at last found Shtsha-she in the place where Dillon's father and the other men had killed Shtsha-she's parents, the morning after Shtsha-she had arrived there. They found Shtsha-she kneeling hunched-over in the snow, weeping softly.
15: Dillon's father approached Shtsha-she slowly and lay his hand gently upon her shoulder. Shtsha-she turned and looked up at him silently with tears in her eyes. Without a word, she stood up slowly, walked back, and climbed onto the wagon to return home.
Demons From the Past
1: For the next few days, Shtsha-she was very quiet, barely speaking a word, and always keeping to herself. At last Shtsha-she found the courage to ask Dillon's father why he would never go into the pass in the mountains, and why he would never speak of it to anyone.
2: Dillon's father was silent for a very long time. At last he spoke. "Why do you ask about that place?" he replied slowly.
3: "Years ago," Shtsha-she explained. "before I came to live here, my mother, my father, myself and others in our family, were traveling through that pass. It was during the winter. As we traveled, we were ambushed by white men. They began shooting at us. I had gone into the bushes to relieve myself at the time, and so they did not see me. I hid until they had gone. When I returned, I found my mother, my father and everyone else in my family, dead in the snow."
4: "I curled up against the body of my dead mother for warmth, and wept for a long time. At last, cold, thirst and hunger compelled me to rise up and search for food, drink and warmth. For a long time I wandered lost through the mountains, and at last I arrived here."
5: For a very long time, Dillon's father stared away in silence. "Shtsha-she," he replied at last. Shtsha-she looked at him in surprise. This was the first time he had ever called her by her Indian name. Heretofore he had only ever addressed her as "Rebecca".
6: "Your story is very sad.” he continued. “… I have a sad story to tell you as well. Long ago, I lived in a far away place with my son whom you know, and with my wife and daughter whom you have never met. Our masters were very cruel to us and so we fled here to escape, but this land to which we fled already belonged to your people, and they were angry at us for taking it."
7: "One day, I took my son on a journey, and while we were gone, your people brutally killed my wife and daughter, and I was very angry. I went to the town, and I met many other white men whose families had also been killed by your people, and we were all very angry."
8: "One day, we heard that there were Indians traveling through the mountains, and so we took our guns and went into the pass to lie in wait for them. In time we saw a small party of Indians traveling through the pass. Taking them by surprise, we shot them dead with our guns. A few days later, you became a part of our family."
9: Slowly, Dillon's father pulled a wooden box out from underneath the bed. He opened it, and after rifling through it for a short time, he pulled out a small, beaded necklace. "I took this from an Indian woman whom I killed," he explained. "because I thought it might have a small value, but after you became a part of this family, I could not bring myself to sell it. Neither my son nor I had any use for it, but somehow it just didn't seem right to trade it for anything. Do you recognize it?" He held the necklace out for Shtsha-she to inspect.
10: Shtsha-she took the necklace delicately in her hands. Suddenly tears began streaming down her cheeks. "It belonged to my mother …” she stuttered.
11: “I’m sorry.” Dillon’s father replied. Shtsha-she began to sob uncontrollably. Suddenly she turned and bolted out the door, and ran as fast as she could into the forest. Dillon’s father did not go after her, because he feared that doing so would only make things worse.
12: On and on Shtsha-she ran, farther and farther. For some years now, she had worn a wooden cross around her neck as a symbol of her Christian faith. Now she ripped it off angrily and threw it on the ground. On and on she ran endlessly, her eyes glistening and tears streaming down her cheeks. When she could run no more, she staggered weakly through the snow.
13: At last, too weak to stand, she collapsed and began to crawl on her hands and knees. She crawled until she was covered in frostbite, her dress was torn to shreds, and her knees were scraped and bleeding all over. At last she reached the place where her family had been killed. There she collapsed on the ground, weeping uncontrollably.
14: In time another dreadful blizzard arose, with howling wind and blinding snow, but Shtsha-she did not move. Instead she merely lay there weeping. At last she sat up and lifted her face to the heavens. "Where do I go?" she sobbed, "Where do I belong? … Who am I?” but there was no answer. Just the howling wind and the biting cold.
15: When Dillon's father saw the blizzard arise, he and Dillon immediately went out to find Shtsha-she so that she would not freeze to death. All night they rode frantically through the blinding snow. In the morning the blizzard ended and they found Shtsha-she lying stiff and cold in the exact spot where her mother's body had lain years ago. Her breath was still, her heart was silent, and she was frozen solid. On her face was the most heartbreaking expression of sadness one could imagine.
16: Dillon knelt down beside her, weeping bitter tears, and lifted up her lifeless body in his arms. He spent a long time caressing her frozen cheek fondly, and stroking her pregnant belly lovingly. At last he pressed his head against hers and sobbed bitterly for a long time.
17: In time Dillon and his father dug a grave beside the trail, at the place where Shtsha-she's family had lain dying. The grave was very deep so that animals would not dig it up. Carefully they lay Shtsha-she inside. Slowly, Dillon's father held out a small amulet and some other religious talismans which Shtsha-she had been wearing when she had originally come to live with them. He had taken them from her years ago to encourage her to forget her native religion, but he had never found the heart to get rid of them and had instead kept them hidden for the past few years. Now he gave them back.
18: Dillon and his father filled the grave with rocks and lay many long poles over the grave so that they overlapped in many different directions to further prevent animals from digging it up. They then covered the grave with earth which they then tamped down firmly. Afterward, Dillon's father stood for a long time looking at the grave and shaking his head sadly. "Shtsha-she …” he whispered under his breath. “… Shtsha-she … Shtsha-she … Shtsha-she … Shtsha-she …”