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Warning: This story will contain graphic descriptions of child abuse and violence and some sexual content. This is Johnny’s childhood written at the request of a lot of you who wanted to know more of the past I created for these stories. So this is for you and thanks for asking for it. (See the dedication at the end of the chapters to abused children…This is for them too).Please don’t be angry for making these people real cuz you know how it ends…LOL
The night falls gentle upon the earth but hard within the heart of a terror-filled child. There is no peace this night but a sentry-like awareness of every noise, every movement within the house.
A silent prayer is taken upon the wings of the mourning dove who waters the ground below with its tears watching puddles form where each drop lands forming a new ocean of sorrow. There is no peace this night.
The tender child draws itself into a tiny ball as if to disappear …footsteps are heard in the hall "please no" is whispered, "please go" is prayed as the doorknob quietly turns. There is no peace this night.
The dove soars higher, shaking sobs within its breast penetrating clouds, gliding on wind seeking its source looking for the light knowing there will be no peace this night. The shadow falls across clenched fists, tousled curls, drawn up limbs, eyes squeezed shut against the scene about to unfold scarcely breathing, knowing there is no peace this night.
Feverishly winging toward the rainbow of light and celestial destination, the dove contracts and gasps with the pain of its little charges' spirit and delivers the message To the being of Light & Beauty who swoops down to grasp the hand of the child and deliver its pain to another dimension to be stored until the child is stronger and able to face the reality of evil on the earth.
The angel cradles her charge, gently rocking, while tears stream down her face...mixing with the silent tears of the child. The dove quietly sings its grievous song of mourning for the lost innocence of this precious tot. There is no peace this night… There is no peace.... by Pamela Prentiss-Harrison
The Cranberry red 1949 DeSoto convertible cruised northwest on US 212. The handsome, dark haired man driving it wiped the sweat and light coating of grime from his brow. He’d stopped briefly in Busby to put the white roof up, deciding that the heat was preferable to the cloying dust blowing across the highways. He’d been on the road for thirty hours on his way from Santa Barbara to the small town of Lame Deer, Montana to visit his old army buddy Rick Marshall.
In another month he’d be a married man and taking a job as a trouble shooter on the off shore oil rigs. A job that would keep him traveling from place to place and leaving him almost no time to hang out in any one place for too long.
He’d only been out of the army for four months and his parents were making him crazy. Ever since his younger brother William had died in Korea right at the beginning of the fight. They hadn’t been close as Will had only been fourteen when his older brother had enlisted to ‘see the world.’
Now that William was dead, his mom and dad had been pushing for their only remaining son to find a wife and settle down. He’d been resistant…He was only twenty six and he felt that he had plenty of time but they’d finally worn him down, pushing every eligible daughter of their friends at him until he’d finally given in.
He’d met Deb…The spoiled, self centered twenty three year old daughter of his mother’s best friend and a constant companion of his kid sister Rosemary. She was a beautiful blonde without a brain in her head. Her world centering exclusively on the latest fashion’s and finances and even though his job would pay well enough for an average family, her eyes were already set on his parent’s bank account.
He really didn’t love the girl but she was the least offensive of the women that his parents had thrown at him…Besides, he smiled to himself as his green eye twinkled in amusement…He wouldn’t be home enough to have to deal with her. He’d give them their heir to their precious throne and go on his merry way.
His mother had given him the car as an engagement present. A reward for being an obedient son, he thought. He’d decided to head to Montana for one last fling as a bachelor.
The car ate up the miles, humming along and Roderick Jonathan Gage hoped he be arriving soon. He was desperate for a shower and a change of clothes.
He had no idea of the change in his plans that awaited him in Lame Deer.
Roderick followed Rick’s directions, finally pulling into the driveway of his friend’s small white house. He climbed out, standing up to his full six foot three inch height and stretched widely…Working the kinks out of his back.
He grabbed his suitcase from the trunk. He was halfway up the drive when the door opened and his friend stepped out. “Rod…Good to see ya buddy,” he greeted coming down the walk to meet him.
“Rick…,” he replied, holding out his hand to the shorter, blonde haired, brown eyed man. “Good to see you too but boy…When you said you lived in a small town, you weren’t kidding.”
“Doesn’t get much smaller,” he agreed, taking his friends bag. “C’mon in…Bet ya could use a shower and a beer,” he said leading the way inside.
A while later, the road dirt and sweat was washed away and Rod at least felt human again. He and Rick sat sipping beers on his front porch, reminiscing and catching up.
“So you’re getting married?”
“That’s the rumor,” Rod said drily.
“You don’t sound too happy about it.”
Rod shrugged. “Why should I be? I’m only marrying her to get my parents off my back.”
“You don’t love her then?”
“Deb…?” He asked incredulously. “Not many people love Deb…Including her parents I think. I think they’re just glad to be getting her out of their house,” he added with a chuckle. “She’s spoiled, arrogant and selfish.”
“Then why are you marrying her?”
“Because she is the epitome,” he said raising his glass as if in toast. “To everything my mother dreamed of me marrying. She’s beautiful, blonde and well off.”
Rick shook his head. “I wouldn’t want to come home to what you will be every night…Nope…Not me my friend. When I get married it’s for love.”
“Love,” Rod snorted. “That’s for romantics and teenage girls, besides," he teased. “I’ll be on the road most of the time while she spends my money…My job is to give my parents another little Gage with a good pedigree…Once that’s done…,” he shrugged.
Rick grinned. “As long as you’re discreet…?”
“Discretion is my middle name, my friend,” Rod said with a laugh. “So what are we doing tonight?”
“Well I thought we’d hit the pool hall tonight and then tomorrow I thought we’d head out to the Indian Reservation.”
“I thought this was the reservation?”
“Oh its reservation land but the actual village is a few miles from here. They’re having their summer festival and there’s a lot to see. They’ll have a rodeo, sell the stuff they make…Dances…Things like that.”
Rod shrugged. “Sounds okay,” he said setting down his beer. “Let’s go shoot some pool.”
The next afternoon found Rick and Rod strolling the grounds of the reservation. Rod picked up several pieces of handmade jewelry for his mother and his sister Rosemary. They sifted through a multitude of hand sewn clothing, hand tooled boxes and leather goods.
They even spent time at the live stock ring and then moved over to watch the rodeo. They were on their way back to the car when Rod stopped in his tracks.
Rick continued walking for a couple of steps before suddenly noticing his friend’s absence. He turned back. Gage stood in stunned shock…His eyes fixed on the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.
Her hair was long and flowing…The two side pieces woven with strips of dyed red leather…A startling contrast to the raven black hair. Her eyes were a deep brown, the color of chocolate and were surrounded by long black lashes below the brows that arced in a thin line above her lids. Her nose was straight and perfect above coral tinted lips. She smiled at a customer before her, revealing perfect, sparkling white teeth.
Rod’s breath caught and held.”You okay?” Rick asked with a grin.
Rod nodded… “God she…She’s beautiful,” he gasped, finally letting out the breath he hadn’t known he was holding.
“You want to go over there?” Rick asked.
Rod looked at him in disbelief. “And do what?”
Rick laughed. “MEET HER…Talk to her? Geez buddy…I never thought you’d be shy around a woman.”
“I’m not shy but I…I don’t know what to say. I mean…Does she speak English?”
“Probably better than you…They all speak English…When they want to,” he added with a shrug.
“What would I say?”
“Hello might be good for starters.” Rod gave his friend a withering look. “Okay look…I’ll go first. If she’s the wicked witch or something I’ll just come back,” he said giving his friend a thump on the shoulder. He headed for the booth where she stood selling blankets.
“Hi miss,” he greeted.
“Hello,” she returned with a gentle smile. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah…Well actually my friend over there,” he said indicating Roderick. “He’s looking for something for his sister. What would you recommend?”
Her eyes followed Rick’s finger, coming to rest on the tall, handsome man standing a few feet away.
“I…I…Couldn’t…,”she stuttered, unable to collect her thoughts as his green eyes locked with hers. She looked hastily away. “I would have to talk to him,” she said regaining control of herself.
Rick smiled. “I thought you’d never ask.” He waved Rod over to join him. He grinned and headed over to where they were standing.
“Hésevávo,” (oh my goodness) she breathed softly. “Eono’ahe.” (He’s so handsome). Rick couldn’t understand the words but the tone was unmistakable and he’d heard it often before when his buddy was around. The girl was smitten with his friend’s looks.
Rod stepped up next to his friend…His eyes locked with hers. “Uh…The young lady says she needs to talk to you to help her pick out just the right…um blanket for your… Uh…Sister,” he hedged, emphasizing the last word.
Roderick picked up on it. “Um yeah…Right…My sister. She’s real fussy so this could take a while,” he said giving his friend a subtle nod.
Rick grinned and took the hint. “I’ll just go check out the knife display over there,” he said with a smirk.
Rod turned his attention back to the girl. She was staring at him as if hypnotized. He was even more handsome up close. Rod felt the same way…She was stunning.
“Um my names Rod…Uh…Roderick Gage. What’s yours?” He asked.
“Red Moon,” she breathed softly. “I am the daughter of Daniel Sun Walker but my English name is Kate.”
“Kate it is then,” he said throwing her a crooked smile as he reached out to take her hand as if to shake it. “You can call me Rod.”
“Yes,” she breathed, still holding his hand.
“So can you show me your work?”
“W…What…?” She asked hesitantly.
“Your blankets… Can you show them to me?”
She looked at him blankly for a moment before remembering what she was doing there. “Oh…Yes…I…I’m sorry,” she said, releasing his hand. She blushed furiously as she fumbled with the stack of blankets.
Rod reached out and took her hand again.
“I really don’t want to see these,” he said honestly. “I uh…I really just wanted a chance to meet you.”
“Yes…Um…Can I take you to get something to eat? I mean…Can you leave the booth?”
“Oh yes,” she replied waving another young Indian woman over. “I’m going to get something to drink yellow wing,” she whispered to her friend.
The girl looked at Rod and giggled. “Don’t let Charles or George see you…They fight over you enough without throwing a Ve’ho’e (White man) into the mix,” she teased.
Kate frowned but came around to meet Rod.
“Come…They are selling drinks over this way,” she said, leading him away from the table. Rod followed.
They strolled across the grounds. Heads turned. Some were admiring of the handsome couple but those of the reservation frowned at seeing the young woman in the company of the Ve’ho’e.
“People are staring,” he whispered.
She nodded. “I really shouldn’t be with you…My father wouldn’t approve.”
“Why?” He asked, looking genuinely perplexed.
“I’m Indian…You are,” she hesitated. “Not,” she finished with a shrug.
She looked at him in surprise and swept her hand around at the many tourists swarming the grounds. “We normally see these people here twice a year. Spring and now…Otherwise…?” She shrugged again.
Rod finally understood. “I see…They don’t like me because I’m white.” She nodded. “How about you…?”
“I can overlook it,” she teased. “No one’s perfect.”
He laughed and shook his head as they walked.
So who’re George and Charles?” Rod asked as they walked.
She frowned and looked away. “They are two men from the Reservation that my father finds acceptable.”
“Acceptable for what…?”
“For me…They wish to sit with me.” He raised an arched eyebrow at the unfamiliar term. “You would call it married,” she clarified.
“Oh…Well what about you?” She looked at him curiously. “Are they acceptable to you?”
“Charles will be our people’s leader one day. George…,” she shuddered slightly. “He frightens me.”
“Why?” He questioned a bit worriedly. Had this man hurt this beautiful, innocent girl? Anger rose at the thought.
She shrugged. “There is a look to his eyes. He is not a kind man.”
“And the other…?”
“He is very kind. Charles is an honorable man and will one day become a good leader.”
“But do you love him?”
She glanced at him sharply. “That’s a very personal question for someone you have just met.” She rebuked.
“I just want to know what my chances are,” he teased.
She looked up at him with a grin. “Chances for what…?”
“To win your heart…To take you away from all this…”
“This is my home.”
He shrugged. “Home is where you hang your hat…You’d be with me.”
“We have just met,” she said with a skeptical glance.
Rod stopped walking and glanced around. He took her hand and ducked behind a tall booth, away from prying eyes and turned to face her. “I know we’ve just met but I know I’ll never meet another woman who makes me feel the way you do right now.”
“My father would never allow it,” she mumbled sadly.
He reached out and tilted her chin up. “Would that stop you?” He asked looking into her eyes.
She was caught in the green eyes locked with hers. Her breath seemed to freeze in her chest. “No,” she whispered as his mouth lowered to cover hers.
Time stopped for Kate as his lips moved over hers. He pulled back to gaze into the chocolate brown eyes. “Do that again,” she whispered.
“Gladly,” he said with a laugh as he pulled her close and granted her request.
He finally pulled back and set her away from him. She seemed a bit shaky and Rod smiled down at her. “I want to see you again.”
“My parents will never allow it.”
“Tell them you’re going for a walk…I’ll meet you.”
Rod bit his lip uncertainly. “Somewhere quiet where we can talk.”
“By the river…There is a stand of pines…I go there to be alone and think,” she said a little hesitantly.
“Kate…I promise…No funny business.”
“Funny business…?” She questioned in confusion.
He grinned at her unfamiliarity with the phrase. “I mean I have no intention of doing anything but talking.”
“Oh,” she said, looking almost disappointed. She bit her lip in indecision for a long moment before she smiled up at him. “I will meet you there after sunset.”
He cupped her face and kissed her one final time before slipping away to find Rick.
Roderick was reflecting on the words he’d spoken to his friend on the way to the river later that night. ‘Love was for romantics and teenage girls…' He guessed he’d have to eat those words.
His heart had pounded with excitement as he’d held the beautiful, young girl in his arms and he’d known immediately that she was the one woman he’d love for all time. This was no one night stand and she’d be too proud to ever settle for being his mistress.
His mother and father might never forgive him but he intended to win this woman. He’d marry Kate or no one.
She was waiting for him in the stand of pines. She paced in nervous anticipation…Unsure of what to do once he arrived…If he even showed up that is. What if he only wanted one thing from her?
The whites all seemed to think that the girls from the Reservation were of loose character but that was so untrue. While they were unashamed of their bodies they were still expected to keep themselves for the man they married.
Charles Blue Eagle respected that but George Walking Wolf had tried to make those improper advances, frightening Kate into telling her father that her preference was for Blue Eagle but now…Now the Ve’ho’e had come into her life and she knew without a doubt that she wanted him.
She wanted to hold him forever but what if he only wanted her for this one night. She bit her lip in anxiety. Would she give herself to this man, knowing she’d hold this one memory the rest of her life?
Then suddenly he was there before her. She jumped, startled by his appearance. She hadn’t heard him…Something very unusual for a girl who had been raised to hone her senses to every whisper of a breeze through the branches.
He smiled that beautiful crooked smile and her heart melted once again. She moved into his arms. “The hours have felt like days,” she whispered as his arms closed around her.
“I know…I couldn’t think of anything but you. Katie…I know we’ve just met and you don’t know me at all really but…I think…no…I know that I’m in love with you. I know you have other men….Indian men who want you too but…I’d like you to consider…”
Her small hand pressed against his mouth to stop the words. Her slow smile set his heart pounding. “You talk too much,” she whispered, lifting her face to his.
He took the invitation, pulling her close…He leaned down to kiss her. Her hands lifted to circle his neck and pull him closer.
After several minutes he pulled back slightly to look into her brown eyes. She gazed back at him adoringly. “I love you,” he whispered leaning down to kiss her again.
“I love you also,” she replied against his lips.
He grinned in triumph as his mouth claimed hers once more. He backed away slightly. “I know this is going to be a problem for both of us but I want to marry you. I have to go back to California and settle a few things there but I’ll be back for you. It could be a few weeks…Will you wait for me Katie?”
“Yes…You will come back to me na’mehoht?”
He looked at her curiously. “I don’t speak your language Katie but that sounded really nice.”
“Na’mehoht…My love,” she clarified.
“Na’mehoht,” he repeated. “I like that.” He grinned and kissed her again. “But you haven’t answered me yet,” he said pulling back.
“Haven’t I? I thought I had but if you must hear it with your ears…Then yes Roderick…I will marry you and I would follow you anywhere.”
He wrapped her in his arms, sinking down into a bed of pine needles, pulling her with him. He knew he could have her right there…Right now but he knew she’d be afraid that’s all he wanted from her and he wouldn’t leave her for several weeks with that fear hanging over her heart.
He contented himself with just holding her…They’d have the rest of their lives together later. They talked long into the evening, punctuating their conversation with soft kisses and gentle caresses.
Roderick smiled to himself…If any of his friends who knew his womanizing ways could see him now…They’d have a field day at his expense but if Kate was the prize, he could endure it.
He walked her back to the village prepared to take her to her door but she stopped him as they entered the small square. “I only live a little way from here…I can go the rest of the way myself."
Rod looked at her in surprise. “I can take you the rest of the way.”
She shook her head. “Roderick please…I love you and I truly do want to marry you but I have to tell my parents…My family carefully. Please understand. They’ll be very upset and they’ll forbid me to be with you.” He looked at her anxiously but she held up her hand to stop his protest. “It will make no difference. I will defy my family to be with you but…They will be most unpleasant and I need to handle this on my own.”
“They wouldn’t hurt you would they?” He questioned worriedly.
“I…I don’t think so…Not the way you mean but my father will be very angry.”
“I don’t want you to face that alone. “
“Please Roderick…I will be alright. Will I see you again before you leave?”
“Count on it…Same place tomorrow night?”
She nodded as he bent down to kiss her one last time.”
George Walking Wolf stepped out of the lodge where several young men from the village had gathered to smoke and swap stories. They brought a couple of bottles of whiskey and had been passing them around for the few hours. He was feeling no pain and he needed to find someone to release his frustrations with after being the brunt of their jokes.
He’d boasted to them that the daughter of their second chief, Daniel Sun Walker would be his bride by spring but Charles Blue Eagle claimed that Red Moon had agreed to see him and Sun Walker had already accepted his proposal to sit with his daughter.
George was furious…He thought of the young teenage boy in town that he often relieved his tensions with but that was too far and it was too late to go there now.
Maybe Red Moon’s sister Mase would be available. She’d made no secret that she would welcome his advances. George intended to be second chief one day and marrying one of Sun Walkers daughters would guarantee it.
His daughter Lacee’s husband would soon be named to the council so that he may one day walk in Sun Walkers steps…To learn from him…but George knew the man was a worthless drunk. When Sun Walker stepped down in a few years…Joseph White Bear would never fill his shoes…It was only a matter of time until they figured it out.
Charles Blue Eagle would be Chief as his father was now and with Red Moon as his wife…? George kicked at the ground. He’d have it all and that infuriated the older man. Mase paled in comparison to her sister’s beauty and spirit but if Blue Eagle spoke the truth he may have to settle for her to achieve his goal to reach the status he deserved but until that day when she married him…He’d keep trying to change her mind.
A motion up the street caught his eye. George squinted into the shadows. Yes…There in the dim light a couple was locked in an embrace. He grinned to himself…Well at least someone was getting their relief tonight.
He chuckled at the lewd thought. The man was very tall…As big as he was and that was rare among his people. The only other men in town who even came close to his 6’3 inch height were Charles Blue Eagle, Joseph Four Feathers, Daniel Sun Walker and his own brother Benny Gray Elk…None of whom would be practicing this behavior on the streets at this time of night.
The man stepped back and the light from the trading post hit his face. “Ve’ho’e,” George whispered in surprise. His eyes narrowed. What where whites doing on the Reservation at this time of night?
The girl turned and her face was illuminated by the moonlight. George gasped in shock. This was no white woman. “Red Moon,” he mumbled in shock.
She headed off in the direction of home while the man turned back in the direction of the woods. Rage climbed in Walking Wolf. She’d made a joke of both himself and Blue Eagle. She’d spurned them both for a ve’ho’e.
George knotted his fists and stormed after her.
Katie was smiling dreamily as she strolled slowly up the street, unwilling to let the dream end so soon. He was wonderful…The brilliant green eyes that seemed to pull her inside until she felt like she was drowning. Her lips still throbbed from his kisses.
Her reverie was rudely interrupted as she was grabbed roughly from behind. Startled…Kate let out a single scream that reverberated through the quiet night.
George shook her viciously, cutting off the cry of fear as her head rocked violently on her shoulders. “G…George,” she stammered fearfully as she recognized her attacker. She stared into hate filled black eyes. “Let me go,” she gasped, struggling to free herself from his grip but she was no match for his brute strength.
“MÁTÅHÁÁ’E (WHORE),” he snapped out. “I saw you with the ve’ho’e,” he snarled, shaking her once again.
“I did nothing wrong,” she protested.
“I saw you,” he snarled again.
“He merely kissed me…That is all,” she defended herself.
“Like this?” He growled, crushing the girl’s mouth against his own and bruising her delicate lips under his as she fought desperately to gain her release.
She felt her blouse tear as he ripped it down the front. She tried to scream but all that escaped was a terrified squeak. His hand gripped her breast roughly and Katie realized he intended to rape her but suddenly George was gone.
Katie opened frightened eyes to see Roderick standing over George Walking Wolf. His green eyes blazed with fury.
George pushed himself to his feet, charging at the other man. Rod stepped aside at the last moment, delivering a powerful blow to the other man’s stomach, doubling him over. “Not that easy when it’s someone your own size?” He taunted in the other man’s ear. Gage smiled as his fist landed a punishing blow to George’s chin, setting the other man down in the street abruptly.
By now George’s friends from the lodge had heard the ruckus and had come out to see what was going on. Several laughed as they watched him taken down a peg but several others grumbled that it had been at the hands of a white man. They glanced at Red Moon and saw her disheveled appearance and moved menacingly toward Roderick.
“Who did this to you Red Moon?” Blue Eagle snarled, moving to the girl’s side.
“Walking Wolf,” she gasped. The other’s stopped abruptly.
“Walking Wolf?” He growled.
“She was with the Ve’ho’e…She kissed him…I was angry.”
They looked to Roderick as they began to mutter amongst themselves but none seemed eager to take the tall, white man on.
“That’s right…He kissed me and I let him…Unlike you George Walking Wolf who tried to take it by force.”
All eyes turned his way again. “I was merely angry…I lost my head,” he explained it away.
“You will lose more than that if you ever touch Red Moon again,” Blue Eagle snapped. “Come Red Moon…I will take you home.”
“Now wait a minute,” Rod began to argue but Kate stopped him. “Roderick…It’s okay. I will be safe with Blue Eagle. Go…I will speak to you tomorrow,” she said with promise in her eyes.
“Are you sure?”
She gave him a silent nod. Roderick turned to leave but several of George’s friends barred his path. His fists balled in preparation to fight his way out but Blue Eagle’s voice stopped them from attacking. “Let him pass.”
It was obviously a command. Charles Blue Eagle would one day lead this people and it wouldn’t pay to anger the man by defying him now. They stepped out of his way and bent to help George to his feet.
Once standing, Walking Wolf wiped the blood from his chin. “Stay away from our women,” he growled.
Roderick turned back. He saw the defiant look in Kate’s eyes as she glared at George. What a little spitfire, he almost chuckled but his eyes returned to George. “Kate is my woman…I’ll be back for her. You can count on it,” he promised as he shot one more look toward his future wife amid the shocked looks around him.
She smiled back tenderly at the brazen declaration. He turned and left. The group began to disperse. “Is what the ve’ho’e said true Red Moon?” Blue Eagle asked quietly.
She looked at the ground in genuine sorrow for the hurt she was about to inflict on this good man. “It is…I’m so sorry Blue Eagle. I never meant to hurt you but I know now that Roderick Gage is the man I will marry.”
“Your father will never allow it.”
“Then I will leave here if I must but it is my destiny to be with him. I love him and he loves me.”
He looked away sadly. “I love you as well Red Moon,” he whispered softly.
She swallowed the lump in her throat. “I know you do and maybe if Roderick hadn’t come into my life I could have loved you in return but now…,” she trailed off.
“You will always be thinking of him.”
He walked her to her door in silence. He turned her to face him. “Red Moon, please reconsider. You will have to give up everything…Your family…Your home.”
She smiled sadly. “If I must… If my family loves me so little that they would turn me away for my love then yes…I will give those things up.”
“Red Moon,” he said taking her in his arms. “I will not give you up.” He kissed her hard but not with the same violence as George. Kate stood impassive in his embrace. Realizing her lack of response, Blue Eagle pulled away.
“Would you finish what Walking Wolf started?” She asked, looking angry.
He looked away. “I would never do that to you…I love you.”
She nodded. “Then let me go.”
Blue Eagle backed away. “I pray your father can change your mind…If he does, I will be waiting.”
“That will not happen but thank you Charles.”
He nodded and turned away in disappointment.
A House Divided.
Katie entered her house. Her mother, father and two older sisters sat in the common room. Her sister Lacee’s two children, Thomas and Chloe were in the corner playing ‘pebble patterns.’* Thomas was six and this game would someday help him pass the tests to his rite of passage. Chloe was four and followed her brother everywhere.
Her father worked on a piece of leather, hand tooling the design while her mother and sister’s worked on the dress Lacee would wear when her husband Joseph became a council member with her father and three others.
She’d been planning a huge celebration and their father had simply shaken his head and yielded at his oldest daughter’s determination to make a spectacle of herself and her husband. Sun Walker didn’t have much use for Joseph White Bear and had voted against his being made a council member but he’d been out voted by the others who didn’t see him for the drunk he was.
They glanced up as Kate stepped through the door and gasped in horror at her torn blouse and disheveled appearance. Her father leapt to his feet. “What happened to you my daughter,” he growled as he moved quickly to her side.
“I was attacked,” she said softly.
Sun Walkers eyes narrowed dangerously. “By who…?”
“George Walking Wolf….”
Her sister Mase gasped in shock. “It had long been known that Mase wanted Walking Wolf for her husband and had burned in a jealous rage as he pursued her younger sister instead.
“What did you do to entice him?” Mase sneered angrily.
“Be silent,” Sun Walker growled. “Can you not see he attacked her?” He barked as her mother came to her side.
Mase looked down in humiliation but the blush on her cheeks was from rage that Walking Wolf had spurned her attentions for her younger, prettier sibling.
He turned back to his youngest daughter. “Tell me what happened?”
Kate bit her lip. The moment of truth had arrived and she knew her father would be angry but she had no intention of giving up Roderick. It was now or never.
“He saw me with someone else and he became enraged. He grabbed me and kissed me, tore my shirt…Ro…The man pulled him from me and knocked him down.”
Her father knew there was a jealous competition between Blue Eagle and Walking Wolf but he’d never thought George would go that far. “Was it Blue Eagle you were with?” He questioned.
“No Father…I met someone today at the festival.”
His eyes narrowed suspiciously. His daughter knew everyone from this village so who could she have just met that would have attracted her attention. “Who was this person?”
“His name is Roderick Gage.”
“A ve’ho’e Red Moon…?”
“Yes…We um…We walked and spoke together for a while and I agreed to meet him at the river.”
“WHAT?” Daniel snapped.
“We did nothing wrong father…We merely talked and he…he kissed me,” she said, blushing. Sun Walker’s face clouded with rage. “Father…He asked me to sit with…I mean marry him,” she corrected using the white term. “And I agreed.”
Her father stared at her in shock as her mother and her sister’s gasped in surprised horror. “Don’t be a fool my daughter…You barely know this man. He’s only using you…Trying to win you for a time and then when he is through…?” He trailed off with a shrug.
“That’s not so,” Kate said hurt. “He loves me and I love him.”
“You don’t even know him,” he barked again.
“But I do father…I know here,” she said slapping a hand to her chest.
“I FORBID IT!” He thundered in rage.
“What are you trying to do?” Her sister Lacee hissed. “Destroy my life as well and that of your niece and nephew?”
“WHAT?” Kate gasped as she turned to the older woman.
“Do you think Joseph will be admitted to the council when they hear my sister is in love with a white man?” Kate knew her sister hated the whites for the way they treated the people of the reservation but Kate had always seemed to get along with everyone.
“The only thing that would keep Joseph from the council is his love for the whiskey,” Kate shot back. Lacee glared back at her angrily.
Mase was torn. George Walking Wolf hated the whites as well…If he’d found her younger sister in the arms of a white man, he’d never take Kate for his wife. On the other hand…Would he want the sister of the girl who’d spurned him and married one?
“Do not be so selfish Red Moon,” Mase said spitefully. “You think only of yourself. You know I have wanted George to notice me.”
“Then you can have him,” the younger girl growled.
“But he and his family will not want me if you marry a ve’ho’e and the council could forbid Joseph’s admittance to the council. And what about father…? He could be removed as well…Would you ruin our lives too?”
“ENOUGH,” Daniel snarled. “She will not marry a white,” he said angrily.
“You’re wrong father,” she argued softly.
“My daughter,” her mother finally piped in. “You know the white’s in town have often tried to take advantage of the girls from the reservation. They promise much and deliver nothing. We are a challenge…Nothing more.”
“Oh mother…Not you too? I thought you at least would understand. They are not all dishonorable and I know what I feel…Here,” she said, tapping her chest. “And Roderick is not from town. He’s from California.”
“What?” Daniel questioned in rage. “You would leave us to go so far from home with this stranger?”
“I will go where my husband is.”
Her mother and her sisters stared at her in shock but both sisters at least recognized that the threat to their happy future would be gone. With Red Moon in California they could put her from their thoughts and the council and Walking Wolfs family wouldn’t feel the shame of having their daughter in law’s sister or council member close by to embarrass them all. In fact…They could simply deny she existed.
The two older sisters glanced at each other in understanding. Let her go…
Daniel Sun Walker was not so ready to be compliant. “What I said stands Red Moon…I will not allow a ve’ho’e to sit with my daughter. There will be no marriage.”
Kate’s eyes filled with tears but she stared defiantly back. “Then I will leave here and go with him,” she said angrily.
Her father’s hand lashed out to slap his daughters face. The three women gasped in shock as the girl reeled from the blow. Her mother began to weep. Kate stared at him in horror as she pressed her hand to her bruised cheek. “We will discuss this no longer…Go to your room.”
Red Moon looked at him in hurt surprise. “Then you will need to lock me in my room father for I will go with him when he comes for me,” she said softly. She turned and ran for her room.
Mase rose quickly and headed for the door. “Where are you going?” Her father asked.
“I…I’m just going for a walk father…I’m so upset by all of this,” she said with downcast eyes.
“Do not go far.”
She nodded and slipped out the door. She couldn’t wait to find George and tell him that her sister was leaving with a white man…Surely that would bring him around to notice her.
She walked into town…Everything was quiet at this hour but the lodge remained lit. She saw someone moving about by the door and headed toward them. She sighed in frustration as she recognized Jimmy Two Moons. The little weasel left her disgusted as he ingratiated himself with the stronger men of the reservation but he would at least know where Walking Wolf was. “Páhávé hetóéva (Good evening) Two moons,” she greeted coolly.
“Páhávé hetóéva Mase,” he returned.
“Have you seen Walking Wolf?” She questioned.
Two Moons grinned slyly before nodding his head toward the lodge. “He is in there brooding.”
“Your sister humiliated him before the whole tribe.”
Mase sighed worriedly. “I heard but perhaps…I can offer him a way to what he really wants.”
“He wants Red Moon.”
She shook her head. “He wants the council…Second Chief one day in place of my father.”
“Joseph is a drunken fool,” she interrupted. “Spotted Hawk will never let him sit as a second chief and you know it.”
He nodded as she stepped around him and pushed the door open. Walking Wolf sat in the chair…It was obvious he’d had quite a bit of the amber liquid he had in the bottle in front of him. He looked up as she came in.
“Red Moon…?” He questioned blearily.
“It’s Mase,” she corrected a bit testily.
“Oh,” he mumbled in disappointment as she joined him.
“Walking Wolf…I know you have your eye in the title of second Chief…”
“So…Did you come to gloat that your whore of a sister will take that from me?”
She winced a bit at the sneering slur about her sister. “No…I came to offer it to you…Through me,” she finished a bit timidly.
He looked her up and down. She couldn’t hold a candle to her sister’s beauty but she wasn’t that bad to look at either. He stood up and approached her…His frustrations were great and he needed a release and his usual outlet was not available this late.
He looked down into her eyes as she gazed up at him adoringly. He would take her offer though he would prefer to have her sister but if Red Moon had lain with the ve’ho’e…She was tainted…
He reached out and yanked the woman toward him…She offered no resistance but she winced in pain as his mouth crushed down against hers. His hand closed roughly over her sensitive breast and she cried out but the moan of pain was caught against his mouth.
Kate was right to fear the man. There wasn’t an ounce of tenderness in Walking Wolf’s whole being and Mase was about to learn that the hard way. His hands quickly undid the ties at his waist and he shoved his trousers down and stepped from them. He bore the woman to the fur rug before the cold hearth.
The young woman’s eyes widened in fear but George never noticed. He fell on top of her…His rough hands pushing her skirt up her thighs. His mouth pressed bruisingly against hers to still her scream of pain from escaping as he took her virginity. Mase’s eyes clenched shut and scalding tears slipped from the closed lids as the vicious assault continued.
Thankfully it was over quickly and a few minutes later George stood up and redressed. “Cover yourself,” he snarled in disgust. The cow had lain there like a limp rag…He knew Red Moon would have fought him and the thought excited him but she was out of his reach now…Well at least as a wife but after the white man was through and no one would have her…She might well be willing to be his mistress…He’d have them both…One to advance his ambitions and the other to serve his rather perverse desires.
Mase pushed her skirt down to hide her bloodstained thighs. Tears slipped from her eyes as she looked at this man she’d loved her whole life. Why had he done this to her? She would have welcomed his attentions, there had been no need to use force but then it occurred to her…This was her sister’s fault…If she hadn’t flaunted herself in front of every man on the Reservation and then thrown the white man in their face, George wouldn’t feel this way…He would have been gentle. This was Kate’s fault and she hated her for it but she’d deal with this…She’d make him love her. She had no idea that the man was incapable of loving anyone but himself.
“You will ask my father for me?” She questioned fearfully. What if he wouldn’t…? No man would have her now.
He looked at her almost in surprise…As if he’d already forgotten she was there. “Yes…I will ask your father for you…,” he sneered. He really had no choice. Sun Walker would cut his throat for touching his daughter if he found out. “Now go.”
She climbed painfully to her feet and brushed by him, hurrying to the door. Jimmy Two Moons was still outside as she left. He gave her a knowing leer at the bruised and swollen lips and her painful gait. Mase caught her breath before she could burst into tears. She ran for home…
Roderick walked into his friend’s home later that evening. Rick glanced at him with a grin until he noticed the scraped knuckles. “What happened to you,” he said in a concern as he went to get some ice from the freezer.
“I went to see Kate. I left her about a half a mile from home but I guess one of her people saw us and attacked her for being with me.”
Rick’s mouth dropped open in shock. Assault and rape wasn’t a usual crime among the Indians. “Attacked her?”
“Yeah…I heard her scream and went back and she was fighting him off. I laid him out man.” Rick nodded. “Then a bunch more showed up and I thought I was gonna have to fight them all but then one called uh…Blue Eagle…”
Rick stared at him, stunned. “Blue Eagle…? Man you sure hit the big time on your first night.”
“Why…? He’s only the future Chief is all…His father Spotted Hawk is Chief now.”
“Oh yeah…Kate mentioned that. The other guy…Um Walking Wolf…”
“Dear God,” Rick moaned. “Rod…When you stir things up you really go all out.”
“Walking Wolf? He’s got a mean streak man…Rumor has it that he’s beat a couple of men near to death.”
“Then why isn’t he in jail?”
“Can’t prove it…No one would dare testify against him… They’re afraid of him…His whole family is crazy.…”
“Yeah…? Well this time he took on someone his own size.”
“With military training,” Rick joked.
Rod nodded. “Besides…He messed with my woman.”
“Your woman?” Rick questioned with a grin.
“Yeah…Rick I um…Asked Kate to marry me.”
“What about what’s her name… Deb…?”
“I told you I didn’t love her…I’ll be calling off the wedding when I get home and then I’ll be back to get Kate.”
“Rod…That girl isn’t going to marry you.”
“First…She’s Indian…?” He let the statement hang.
“And I’m not.”
“Exactly. Second…Her father would never allow it and third your family won’t like it either.”
“Well…She’s already said yes.” Ricks mouth dropped open in shock. “And if I have to, I’ll take her away where they’ll never find her.”
Rick shook his head. “I wish you the best man.”
“Thanks buddy.” Rod grinned.
The next morning found Rod and Rick heading once more to the Indian Reservation for the last day of the festival. They parked and walked quickly through the crowds to the booth where Kate worked.
The girl was there. She glanced up and saw the two men approach and a smile lit her face for a brief instant before her hand flew to the bruise on her cheek.
Rod’s face grew red with rage at the sight of the injury. “Who hit you?” He snarled angrily.
“It doesn’t matter Roderick.”
“It does to me.”
“I told my father about us.”
“And he hit you?”
She bit her lip and nodded. “He forbid me to see you again. I told him I would leave with you,” she said a bit hesitantly, unsure how Rod would react to that news.
“You’re damn right you’re leaving…Right now.”
She looked into his eyes in relief…He’d truly meant to marry her…It was real. She noticed several men of the tribe watching them closely. “Roderick…I can’t leave right now,” she whispered fearfully.
He glanced around to see what she was looking at and saw the group of men watching them. He realized he couldn’t involve his friend or the girl in a brawl to get her off the reservation with him. “Meet me tonight Katie…At our spot. We’re getting out of here. Rick is there somewhere we can get married in the morning?”
“Yeah…At the courthouse,” he replied, knowing his friend was dead serious.
“Katie?” He looked at her questioningly.
“Yes,” she said simply.
“Rick…Can she stay at your house tonight?”
“You know she can,” he replied, just as angry as Rod was about the abuse the girl had received.
“I’ll pick you up at midnight Katie.”
She nodded gazing up into his eyes. “Ne’mé‘hotâtse Roderick,” she said softly.
“What does that mean?” He asked softly.
“I love you.”
“I love you too Kate. Tomorrow you’ll be my wife and no one will ever hurt you again.”
She smiled at the promise but it faded quickly as her eyes shifted over his shoulder. “I’ll be there ná’méhόt but you need to go. My father is coming.”
“I’m not afraid of your father Kate.”
“I know but if he suspects he’ll keep me from you.”
Rod sighed. “Alright…Until tonight then…” She nodded as the two men left the booth.
Daniel Sun Walker joined his daughter a moment later. His eyes followed the tall man and his companion as they walked away. “Who was that Red Moon?”
“No one important father…”
“He was not the man you spoke of last night?”
She looked away guiltily. She despised lying and hated doing it, especially to her own father but she knew he would find a way to keep her from Roderick Gage if he could. “No father,” she mumbled.
“What did he want?”
“He was asking about the blankets.”
Sun Walker watched him walk away and glanced at his daughter, feeling the guilt rise up at the dark bruise on her cheek and the fear in her dark eyes. He didn’t want her to fear him…She was his baby and he loved her dearly…He couldn’t let her make the mistake of getting involved with a ve’ho’e. She was a sweet, naïve child who had no idea of the ways of the world or of the white men. There was no way a white man would marry her. He’d take advantage of her innocence and then cast her aside…He’d never allow one of his daughters to be abused that way.
He didn’t know one already had been and by one of his own people.
Roderick spent the rest of the day getting ready. He and Rick went over some plans. They knew they had to act quickly before the whole Reservation came down on his head. They’d cut his throat in a heartbeat for touching one of their daughters…Especially Daniel Sun Walker.
First thing in the morning they’d be at the courthouse. Rick had already called his girlfriend Amber to who had agreed to stand with Kate as a witness. Rick of course would stand with Roderick.
“Look Rod…You’re gonna have to hit the road the moment that ceremony ends understand? Especially if you plan to consummate it before they kill you.”
“Thanks,” Rod said with a grin.
“Seriously…I mean…You’ll have a little time before they realize she’s gone but I promise you Sun Walker will try and find her and keep that from happening. If he realizes where she is too quickly it could get ugly.”
“What do you think I should do?”
“Keep the engine running…Say I do and leave town.”
Rod nodded. “Thanks for everything buddy.”
“Hey… That’s what friends are for right?” Rod hugged his friend as they pounded each other on the back and stepped away. “How are your parents gonna take it?”
“Not too well I’m afraid. I’m bringing home a bride with nothing to her name but the clothes on her back and my name.” He grimaced and shrugged. “But hey…if they kick me out then we’ll still have each other right?”
Rick grinned. “I hope she’s worth it.”
Katie lay awake in her bed as the minutes ticked slowly by. She’d sat through the evening meal in silence as her sister Lacee had spoken smugly about Joseph’s being asked to join the council, while he in turn chased his dinner down with whiskey. Daniel scowled at him in irritation.
Mase had sat almost as silent. She’d been quiet all day, alternately shooting Kate dagger looks or wiping sudden tears from her eyes. She wished her sister Katie would just disappear and then George would love her instead. She had no idea that her wish would be fulfilled very soon and how much she’d regret that it was over the next few years.
Kate had lingered at the table, taking in the faces of her family, knowing it would be a long time before she’d see them again…Perhaps she never would and despite her father’s hard demeanor, she loved him and she knew he loved her in his own way but she also knew her future was in her own hands and Roderick Gage was her future.
Now as she lay in her bed, ghe glanced out the window and could tell by the moon that it was approaching midnight. She quietly threw back the covers and slipped from her bed. A peek at her sister assured her that Mase was asleep.
She reached under her bed for the woven bag that contained her clothes, a hair brush and a few personal items. She scanned the note she’d written earlier in the day by the light of the moon.
My Father…I tried to tell you how I felt for Roderick but you would not listen. I know I haven’t known him long but I know he’s my future…He and our children. I love you all very much but I love him as well and I won’t lose him. I know you were only concerned for my heart but please do not be. I know this man loves me as well. I hope someday you can forgive me and I can bring your grandchildren home for you to see. I will write to you when we get to California and let you know where I am…I love you all. Red Moon.
She slipped the note under her pillow where she knew they would find it eventually and then slipped quietly from the house, praying that it wasn’t forever.
She ran lightly down the street to meet Roderick without a backward glance.
Rod drove into the stand of pines…His headlights cutting through the murky darkness and illuminating the beautiful woman who stood waiting by the river. She held a small clothe bag in her hands…The sum total of her possessions.
Roderick smiled as he climbed from the car to meet her. He looked forward to providing her with everything she would need, even if his family disapproved. His job paid well enough and he’d have no trouble supplying her with whatever she needed.
He smiled in pleasure as she ran to meet him, melting into his arms as their mouths met. He pulled back a moment later. “Are you ready Kate? Are you ready to leave here with me?”
“Oh yes,” she replied as he led her to the car.
“We’ll be married in the morning. We’ll stop for the night just over the state line in Wyoming and then I’ll take you home.”
“Home…?” She murmured.
“We’ll build a good life Kate. I'll do my best to see that you’ll never want for anything and we’ll raise beautiful children and…” The girl blushed prettily in the beams of the headlights. Rod hesitated and then grinned. “Well why don’t we get the wedding done first,” he laughed.
She nodded in embarrassed amusement as he held the door open for her to climb in.
By sun up the next morning Rod had already packed the car with his suitcase. He planned on two quick stops. One at the small dress shop in town and the other at the courthouse
He’d never be able to provide her with a wedding gown on this short notice but he wanted something nicer than the simple cotton dress she was wearing last night as well as nightclothes and shoes and well…Just about everything.
Ricks girlfriend Amber arrived early. Rod and Rick enlisted her help. “Amber…Would you mind going to that dress shop in town. Kate needs everything from the skin out.”
Amber blushed a bit at the frank comment. “Sure…How much do I have to spend?”
Roderick grinned. “That’s not an issue for now,” he handed her five twenty dollar bills. Amber’s eyes grew wide at the sight of so much money. “I can’t let her be seen yet…I don’t want it getting back to her father that she’s here.”
“Okay…What size is she?”
“Tiny…Maybe a little smaller than you…?”
She nodded. “I’ll be back.”
“Hey…Get something nice for yourself as well…You’re gonna be a maid of honor after all.”
She grinned. “Thanks.”
Rod grinned knowing that the economy in some of these small towns hadn’t recovered after the war. The pretty girl in front of him looked as if she hadn’t had a new dress in some time.
Rod knocked softly on the bedroom door. “Come in,” Kate answered. He peeked in but he needn’t have worried, she was already up and dressed. Having been raised on the reservation her whole life, she was quite used to rising with the sun and today was no exception.
Her hair hung like black velvet to her waist. Her chocolate brown eyes danced with excitement. Her delicate lips turned up in a beautiful smile. “Good morning Katie,” Rod greeted.
“Good morning my love,” she replied.
Rod knew he would never grow tired of hearing that endearment on her lips.
“We need to go over to the courthouse and get the license. You have to sign it with me.” She nodded and followed him out. “We have time to have some breakfast before we go. We have to wait for Amber anyway.”
“Amber?” She questioned.
“Rick’s girlfriend. She’s agreed to be a witness and she’s gone shopping to get you some things.”
“Clothing and stuff.”
“I have clothing,” she said looking down at her dress. “You didn’t need to buy me anything. I can make others as they’re needed,” she said looking confused. She didn’t want to become a burden on the man right from the start.
Rod pulled her into his embrace. “My darling Kate,” he said kissing her softly for a moment. “I want you to have something special for your wedding day and night,” he teased, dropping a kiss on the now blushing girl’s nose. “Besides, I’ll be taking care of you for the rest of your life…This is just the beginning.”
They sat down to eat while they waited for Amber.
Amber returned loaded down with boxes and the two men ran to help her as she struggled through the door. The two women were introduced and quickly disappeared into the bedroom reemerging a half hour later. Rod sucked in his breath at the sight of his future wife.
Kate was dressed in a white silk suit with a matching, white broad brimmed hat…It’s wide, white satin ribbon trailing down her back. She was stunning and Roderick’s green eyes were glued to the vision in white. He couldn’t believe his luck in having won this woman’s heart.
A short time later they were at the courthouse. After they signed the license they were ushered in to see the Justice of the peace. Rod smiled in pride as she recited her vows to love, honor, cherish and obey and he knew he’d never have a problem keeping his own. She’d hold his heart forever.
He grinned in anticipation of holding her in his arms tonight and every night for the rest of their lives. He heard the Justice of the peace as he closed the ceremony. “You may kiss the bride.”
“With pleasure Mrs. Gage,” Rod teased with a grin as his lips claimed hers.
The man’s clerk stopped them long enough to snap a photo of the newly married couple. “Just send that to my address in Santa Barbara please,” he asked handing her money. She nodded as his blonde friend grabbed his arm.
“I hate to rush you buddy but you need to get outta here. If her people have figured out she’s missing they’ll be heading into town to look for her. You may be getting a reception you don’t want.”
“He’s right Kate…Are you ready to leave? You need to be sure.”
“I have never been more sure of anything Roderick,” she assured him.
“Then let’s go.”
They thanked the two officials and left. There were several Indian men from the reservation moving as a group a few blocks away…It included Kate’s father and the man called Blue Eagle.
Rick spotted them quickly. “You need to leave,” he said pushing his friend and his new bride toward the car. “Write to us huh? Maybe someday you can come back and visit.”
“Yeah…Thanks buddy,” Rod said, giving his friend a quick hug. “C’mon Katie.” They climbed into the DeSoto and drove away.
Continued in Part 2
This is dedicated to every child who has felt the blow from a hand that should have smoothed the hair from a face with tenderness or who have heard hateful words that should have edified their hearts and minds… Who has endured the mental and emotional anguish of being unwanted or unloved…This story was really hard to write because I have known far too many of these children with stories like Johnny’s and each one has touched my heart and I’ve loved each and every one of them. This is a conglomeration of their stories and like partners…my hope is that if it makes one person aware of the long standing mental, physical and psychological damage of child abuse than it was worth the writing.
Published to site 06/01/11
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