Cowboys And Indians
Charles Franklin Peabody, who introduced himself only as Slim, was slumped in the saddle as the roan gelding he was currently riding ambled along through the scrub and sagebrush, picking its route by some mysterious process Slim didn't understand.
Or care about, for that matter.
What he cared about right now was just staying in the saddle. Not long before, he'd had high hopes of getting himself a mail bag full of cash, when he stopped the train and robbed it. It hadn't occurred to him that the people on the train might take offense to the mail car being robbed, and he for sure hadn't thought they'd unlimber their guns and shoot at him. He'd gotten away, but took a bullet in the process. Since he hadn't actually gotten anything from the train, he hoped to high hell that nobody had gotten a horse out of the stock car and taken out after him.
He was pretty sure the bullet that had hit him in the side under his right arm had passed completely through him, but it hurt like fire and he'd lost a lot of blood. All he could do was move on, though, until he found water. That was because he was also pretty sure that, once he got down off his horse, he wasn't getting back up on it for a spell. He needed a place to lay up for a while, and that meant water.
He was half passed out when the screaming roused him. It was female screaming, and it was pretty much non
While it bothered Slim enough to grip the handle of his six shooter, the horse didn't care a whit, and walked right on into the little grouping of trees. Slim's eyes took in a sight that made his gut tighten.
The girl was staked out naked on the bare ground, her arms and legs spread wide and tied so she couldn't resist. A man stood between her legs, in the act of pushing jeans down. It was pretty obvious what he planned on doing. The girl's face looked over to the new arrival, and she took in a shuddering breath to scream again. The black cowboy hat on the rapist's head turned, exposing a bearded face. His eyes widened as he saw Slim, and he bent, reaching for the gun belt on the ground by his feet.
Slim's reaction was instinct. There was no honor in waiting for the man to actually have the gun in his hand. Letting that happen was only inviting death. He drew his Colt and shot the man three times, aiming carefully, watching the dust jump from the man's body where the slugs hit him.
The girl screamed again, a long, drawn out bloodcurdling scream, as the man who would have raped her fell to land across one of her thighs. She drew in breath and kept screaming, mindlessly. Now that the immediate danger was gone, Slim's eyes picked out additional information. The girl was Indian. Straight, black hair fr
Slim looked around and saw the narrow gleam of water further into the trees. A creek. He hoped the girl didn't kill him when he released her, because he was pretty sure he wasn't going to be able to do much to stop her if she tried.
He fell, more than dismounted from his horse, landing hard on his side and grunting with agony as the pain made the sun flash behind closed eyelids. He lay there for several minutes. The screaming kept on, and it was annoying enough that he rolled over and started crawling toward the girl. He happened to get to her left foot first and, fumbling his hunting knife from its sheath, he cut the rawhide strips that had been drawn so tight around her ankle they drew blood.
The screaming stopped, and was replaced by gasping sobs.
He barely made it to her left hand, which was opening and closing frantically, but then stopped as his knife approached. He couldn't get the tip of the knife under the rawhide around her wrist, so he reached to cut it between her hand and the stake. Pain streaked through him as he pulled the knife blade across the string, and as it parted he couldn't hold on to the knife any longer.
With a groan, he collapsed, as everything went dark.
When he became conscious again, it was suddenly, as if he was waking from a night's sleep. His instincts were in good shape, and told him to keep his breath slow and even, while he listened. He cracked his eyes open. ba
"Yo toh hey," she said. Considering the tone of her voice the last time he'd heard her use it, that voice was amazingly soft and melodious.
Slim didn't speak Indian.
"Howdy," he said. His voice cracked through a dry throat.
She moved off, out of his sight. Slim rolled his head to see what she was doing. In doing so he realized he was lying on his back, his head propped on (and crushing) his hat. His shirt was gone. She must have taken it off of him, and arranged him thus, which meant she didn't plan on killing him. Not right away, anyhow. She could have done that already, if that was her intent. Considering what she'd been through, he wouldn't have blamed her. Flies buzzed about the wound under his arm.
She came back with a mass of cloth in her hand, dripping as she hurried across the sand. It looked like a shirt, but it wasn't his.
"To nah weh hata," she said, kneeling beside him.
He started to say "I don't understand," but when he opened his mouth to speak, her hands brought the dripping cloth over his face and she squeezed. It rained all over his face and he sputtered, turning his head. A little got in his mouth, though, and he swallowed it automatically.
"Shey tah!" said the girl, louder. She was frowning. She went away again, and returned with the cloth dripping again. She opened her mouth wide, as if she were going to swoop down and bite him. He stared at her. She closed her mouth and opened it again.
"To nah weh hata!" she said, obviously trying to tell him something. She opened her mouth wide again.
He aped her, and she brought the cloth over his face again. Then he got it, and as she squeezed, he tried to catch as much of the water in his mouth as he could. She smiled and nodded. It took her three more trips before he lifted a hand to keep her from going again. It wasn't a very efficient way of drinking, but it worked.
"Thank you," he said.
She shook her head. "Tee tee ya nagen ho," she said.
"I guess we don't understand each other," he said, more to himself than to her. "I appreciate it, though."
He examined her. He must have been out for a while, because she'd had time to get her dress and cut strings off of it to use to stitch it all back together again. It covered her body now. It had been beautiful at one time, almost white and thin as though made from the hide of something very young. When she stood up again, his eyes slid up the inside of one bare leg to darkness that didn't quite hide the black hair between her legs. His eyes shifted to find that she had been looking at his face, and knew where his eyes had just been. Her face revealed nothing about how she felt about that, but he said "Sorry," instinctively. She said nothing, but moved backwards so he couldn't see up her dress any more.
He tried to sit up, and the pain was like someone had hit him with a tree trunk. His shoulders fell back to the ground, just as her hand pressed on his chest. She was frowning, shaking her head. It was clear she was telling him not to try to get up. She stood and pushed her hand flat at him, like he knew some men did when telling a dog to 'stay.' His hat was off to one side of his head and he reached for it, to prop up his head again. That was when he realized it was black, and not his hat at all. It was the other man's.
He lifted his head, looking for the man he'd shot. It hurt, but his curiosity was stronger than his aversion to pain. What he saw didn't make sense at first. The man's clothes and kit were all piled up in one place. His eyes analyzed the marks on the ground, and he came to the realization that something heavy had been dragged away. Looking around, he saw his horse tied to a tree, his lariat lying uncoiled on the ground nearby.
She had cut the clothes off the man and dragged his body away with the horse.
He was thinking about trying to crawl to the pile, which included the man's gun belt, when the girl walked up to it, bent down, and pulled the six shooter out of the holster. She walked away again and then returned, leading another horse. It must have been the dead man's.
He wasn't prepared when she calmly cocked the pistol, placed the end of the barrel between the horse's eyes, and pulled the trigger.
His yell was drowned out by the report of the pistol. The horse dropped like a stone and flopped, bonelessly on the dusty ground. He watched in horror as she took his knife and skinned the corpse, butchering it and folding the meat into the hide, which she dragged away from the remains. Then, taking his rope again, she tied it onto one leg of the carcass. His horse wanted no part of the dead animal, or her, covered in blood as she was, but she was firm as she tied the other end of his lariat to the saddle horn and pulled his horse, making it drag the body out away from where it had been killed.
When she returned, she tied up his horse again, put together a fire, which she lit with, of all things, a lucifer she took from a small metal box. Her movements in lighting the match, however, indicated she was not well practiced in doing so, which convinced him the box was loot from the dead man's belongings.
By the time she had cooked some of the horsemeat over the fire, Slim's stomach was at war with his mind. When she approached him with the meat, he turned his head and said "No!" She pushed it at him, and he said "No!" again and covered his mouth. His stomach told him he was much too hungry to be picky about what was available to it. Besides, he needed food to heal. When she offered a third time, he dropped his hand and closed his eyes. He felt her push the meat between his teeth, and just tried not to think of what it was. He was surprised that it tasted good, and his eyes popped open. Instead of thinking of what he was eating, as she fed him, he examined her more closely.
He hadn't been around that many Indian maidens. He assumed this one was a maiden, because she looked like a girl to him, quite a bit like any settler girl he'd ever seen, except for her skin color. And the way she was dressed, of course. Her hair was tied back, making a very long pony tail that she had tied with a number of pieces of rawhide, several inches apart up and down the length of it. Young though she might be, however, her form was fully that of a woman, with proud, thrusting breasts. His memory of seeing her naked, staked out, was a bit fuzzy. He remembered her nipples were dark brown, but that was about it. It seemed like her breasts hadn't looked as big then as they did now. The repairs she'd made to her dress had been hasty. Apparently she'd just poked holes along where the dress had been cut off her, and then used pieces of fringe to tie the edges back together. Now that she was close to him, he could see her smooth skin through the gaps.
She was pretty, and his body acknowledged that. He didn't feel bad about that. His **** got stiff any time he saw a pretty girl or woman. It had done that since he had grown hair down there. He didn't know for sure how old he was, but he was pretty sure he had a couple of years on this Indian girl. Not that it mattered. He'd shot her rapist. He wasn't about to try to take the man's place.
When she brought him water again, though, he figured out the shirt she was using was that of the man he'd killed. He balked at drinking that way, and took it from her, throwing it off to one side. She looked confused. He pointed to his horse and then made as if he had a cup and was tipping it to drink from. She looked from him to the horse and back. She clearly didn't understand.
"Help me up," he said, holding out his hand to her. She stood there, on her knees, watching him. He reached for her hand and gave it a little tug as he tried to lift his torso off the sand. She shook her head, and gave him the 'stay' sign again. He shook his head too and pointed at the horse.
It took half an hour, but she finally helped him sit up by pulling on his good arm. He pantomimed drinking from a cup again, which she didn't get. But when he cupped his hand and drank from that, he saw the understanding rush into her eyes. He pointed again, jabbing his finger toward his horse.
She rose and investigated his kit, tied on behind the saddle. When she figured out how to untie it, she brought it to him, watching as he unrolled it. She understood the purpose of the battered blue enameled cup immediately, and went to the creek with it. He watched her drink two cups herself, before she brought him one. Then she drank another one, and brought him one. He pointed at the horse again and drew in the sand, trying to make the likeness of a canteen. She watched, and then shook her head, but more as if sadly, rather than to say she didn't understand. He jabbed his finger at the drawing and then at the horse. She stood, went to the horse and brought him his canteen. Then he understood why she'd shaken her head. A bullet had struck it, apparently from great distance, because the bullet rattled around inside the empty - and now useless - container.
Sitting up strained his resources, but he looked around, able to see more. He saw his shirt and hat, piled neatly off to one side. His horse looked okay. He wished he could get the saddle off. If he hobbled the beast, it could forage without getting too far away. It needed water too. When he tried to get up, though, the pain made him see spots again. She was there, kneeling beside him, her hands fluttering about him, trying to make him stay down.
In the end, he signed for her to bring the horse to him. It didn't step on him, but when he extended his arm he still couldn't reach the cinch buckle. She understood, though, and worked at it for him, until the saddle was loose. Her movements suggested she had done this before, and it was then he remembered the horse she'd shot for food had no saddle on it.
He held up a hand to stop her and pointed to the pile of leather and metal that she had taken off the dead horse's head. When she brought it to him, he made hobbles from the bridle. Again, she seemed to know their use, and she took them from him and put them on his horse. Then he motioned for her to tip the saddle off next to him.
By the time it got dark, he'd seen the horse drink and then move off toward a patch of good grass. She had also cooked him more meat, and he had gotten his spare shirt out of his kit, as well as his blanket. She disappeared off into the trees and he took that opportunity to scoop a hole in the sand and pee into it, covering it up again. It was the best he could do.
Exhausted, he was trying to arrange the blanket over himself when she returned. She plucked the blanket from his hands and, to his astonishment, lay down beside him, covering them both. Placing one leg over his, and an arm over his chest, she pushed those big, soft breasts into his good side, and used his shoulder for a pillow.
She was softly snoring before he could fall asleep himself.
The next morning he awoke stiff, but in a little less pain. She was gone, but the fire was going again. She had made a circle of rocks around it. He was able to roll over onto his good side easily this time, and dig another hole for his morning water. After covering it up, he tried scooting away from that place, and was able to get a few feet away without too much trouble. He still felt weak, though, and decided not to try getting up yet.
The girl appeared, as if by magic, with a cup full of water, which she handed him. He saw meat, skewered on a small branch, propped where the fire could cook it. She picked up the stick and bit a piece of meat, testing it, before she put it back. Then she sat and looked at him.
He talked to her because just sitting there silently made him feel foolish. He still felt foolish, speaking a language he knew she didn't understand, but it was better than just staring at each other.
"You sure are pretty," he said. "I kin see why that feller was taken with you. That ain't no excuse for what he done, but I kin see it.
She just stared back at him.
"An' I sure do 'ppreciate you helpin' me. I'd have been a gonner fer sure iffen' not fer you.
She crawled over to him and unbuttoned his shirt. He was confused by that until she tried to look at his wound. Then he understood. She examined him, and nodded. He looked down and was horrified to see little wriggling white worms covering the place where the bullet had come out of him. He yelled, and swiped at them with his good hand, but she grabbed him, holding his hand tightly.
"Shey tah!" she said, shaking her head.
"Them's maggots!" he wailed, trying to get his hand free. He was too weak, though.
"Shey tah!" she said again, her voice soothing. She said something else, a string of words that made no sense at all. But she closed up his shirt, as if nothing at all was wrong. He was too weak to argue, but the idea of maggots on his body bothered him intensely. Still, every time he tried to move his hand, she gripped it tightly, shaking her head. Eventually, exhausted again, he drifted off to sleep.
He awoke this time to a high sun, the beams of which shone through the trees, dappling the ground with bright spots of light. He had sat up before he even realized it. There was pain, but not debilitating pain. The girl was gone again, but his horse was in view, which made him feel better.
This time he decided to try to at least get to his knees, which he accomplished much more easily than he had anticipated, so much more that he went on to stand. He was weaving a bit, but shifting a foot to a wider stance stabilized him sufficiently that he was pretty sure he wouldn't just fall down. He eyed a sapling a few feet away and, judging he could make it, staggered toward it, reaching for it with his good hand. He had a bout of dizziness, but it passed. He felt pretty good, all things considered.
The girl was suddenly standing in front of him, frowning and chattering in a way any man would understand, even if he didn't know the meaning of a single word. She was upbraiding him. She looked strong and beautiful, even though she was frowning. He grinned at her.
She stopped talking and stood, looking him up and down. Then, stepping closer to him, she pushed her face near his chest and sniffed. She opened his shirt again and leaned in to sniff at his wound. Steeling himself, he made his eyes look. There were still maggots, but not nearly as many. She sniffed again and pushed at the skin near the maggots, but softly, looking up at him to see if she caused pain. He forced himself to grin again. She stood back, folded her arms, and just stared at him. She suddenly said three words, and he got the distinct impression she had just said he was stupid. Her eyes sparkled and her breasts rose and fell.
"Damn, you're pretty," he said, still grinning. "I do believe I'll call you Little Flower, seein' as how you're as pretty as a flower.
Then she was coming toward him, ducking under his good arm and pulling his hand away from the sapling, until his arm was over her shoulders. She led him toward the creek, supporting him, but letting him walk as much as he could. When they got there, he was surprised to see a fairly large pool, a foot or two deep. She stopped him at the edge and turned to push his shirt off his shoulders. When she went to work on the buttons on his jeans, he realized she intended to undress him for a bath. He remembered her sniffing him.
"Hell, woman!" he complained. "I don't smell that bad.
He was half stiff by the time she pulled his pants down. He was a mite worried that she might take offense and do him harm. After all, the last one of these she'd seen stiff had been intended to rape her with, and she had screamed like a banshee then. But even though the thing bobbed right by her face as she shoved his pants down, she ignored it. She had to seat him to get his boots and pants off, and he felt foolish sitting there naked.
Until she stood and lifted the dress over her head .. and was naked too.
His immediate thoughts brought his penis to full hard. She didn't ignore it now. She stared right at it as she extended her hands to him and pulled him up to his feet. He watched her looking at it as she led him into the water. When they got to the deepest part, though, she looked up at his face. He wasn't grinning now.
"Sorry," he said.
She said the same three words she'd said before .. the ones he was sure meant he was a fool.
Then she put her hands on his chest and pushed him over backwards into the water.
Most cowboys didn't swim in those days. Slim was no exception. Apparently Indians did swim, and she expected him to be able to swim, because he was half drowned by the time she helped him to his feet, muttering words that might have been an apology.
Little Flower helped him get to where it was only a foot deep, and eased him down to sit on the bottom. He coughed a few more times and she looked contrite. She stood, to wash her body, and he watched. His **** had gone limp when he was drowning, but now it came back strong as he examined her hanging breasts, with their stiff, long nipples. He'd only had one woman in his life, and she had taught him to suck at her breasts like a baby before ******* him. She had been their neighbor, in town, back east, and she was the reason he was on his own, out west. When her husband caught them, he had sworn to kill the stripling who fouled his bed. Slim had fled town, and never looked back.
The girl washed between her legs, and glanced at him. She didn't pause, but noted his intense gaze. He felt like he should look away, but could not. Besides, she had no shame. Apparently the wild Indians dispensed with modesty, even among strangers. He wondered if she had ever been with a man.
And it was at that moment that, for the first time, Charles Franklin Peabody wondered how this Indian Girl came to be in the middle of nowhere, in the process of being raped, while he happened to come along and change her future. He wasn't a philosopher, like his father, but he did reflect for a few minutes on the strange series of events that had brought the two of them together. His decision to rob the train had been one made on the spur of the moment, as the train climbed slowly past him going up a grade. He was broke, with no job and no prospects. He had a dozen cartridges left for his pistol, a horse and his gear and that was all he owned in the world.
Who knew where she had come from, but it was pretty plain she'd been taken from her people. He imagined she'd been at another stream somewhere, when that man came along and seen her bathing. The man had taken her, with evil intent. But surely she'd screamed then too. Where, then, were her people?
She left off washing herself and moved to stand behind him. Her hands smoothed quickly over his skin and he jerked. His **** hardened even more and he brushed at her hands, washing himself. She came back to stand in front of him, her sex positioned only a foot from his face. He looked up at her and she smirked at him. His eyes darted to her breasts and he licked his lips, wondering how those fat, brown nipples would feel in his mouth. Mrs. Abernathy's had felt wonderful. Being inside her had felt wonderful too.
The girl motioned to him to stand, and he did so, his **** waving drunkenly at her. She helped him step out of the pool and bent to pick up his clothes. Rather than hand them to him, though, she walked away from him with them tucked under her arm. She paused, looking over her shoulder at him.
It wouldn't occur to him for two more baths that she always let nature dry them before they dressed again. This time, he just followed her, stepping gingerly on bare feet, while she moved ahead of him, her naked hips swaying as she walked.
When they got back to the fire pit, she picked up the dead man's blanket and shook it out before laying it out on the ground. She pointed at it and he understood he was to lie on it. He wondered what was going to happen, and his young mind supplied one answer that caused is ***** to clench and bob. He felt the need to fist it as he lay down. Had he been alone, he would have stroked it until it spit. But the girl was watching him, so he just held it and squeezed.
He thought he saw the ghost of a smile on her lips, and then she was kneeling beside him. Before he could adjust, she had batted his hand away and replaced it with her own. She stroked him expertly and he gasped with both shock and joy.
Within a minute she was milking his balls dry.
Slim lay, gasping for air as Little Flower sat back on her calves. His *** was on her hand, and she looked at it curiously, before licking at it. She looked at him and said something, which of course he didn't understand. Then she stood up, picked up her dress and dropped it over her head. When she was finished arranging it around her body, she picked up his clothes and tossed them onto the blanket where she had just knelt to pleasure him.
"Damn!" he panted, sitting up to reach for his shirt. He was surprised to find that the pain was much less now. Being in the water had helped. He looked down at his bullet wound, which was now free of maggots and a healthy, shocking pink looking. Lifting his arm he tried to see the entrance wound, but all he could see was some bruising back there.
By the time he'd gotten his jeans on the pain was worse. He wondered at the actions of the girl. Why had she done that? And why would she do that rather than help him get dressed. The whole time he'd been struggling into his clothes, she'd been walking around picking up wood for the fire. He saw that while he'd slept, she'd constructed a rack of interwoven green branches, upon which strips of meat were drying over the fire. She was making travel rations out of the horse meat before it spoiled.
Sitting Indian style, he called to her. She looked at him and he beckoned. When she came to kneel beside him, he drew in the sand. He made two stick figures to one side, and then a group of ten or fifteen stick figures a foot away. He drew a couple of wigwams by the group. He pointed at one of the first pair and then at himself. Then he pointed at the second, and at her. She nodded. He pointed at her and then the group. She spoke, but he couldn't understand her, so he pointed at her and then at the tribe again.
"Where?" he asked. He pointed at the tribe and then off to the west. "There?" He pointed at the tribe and then to the north. "There?" He saw the understanding come into her eyes and she pointed south, and a little west. It took some time, but he drew a picture of the two of them, on his horse, moving toward the tribe. She grew excited and smiled and nodded.
He didn't know how far it was, but then that really didn't matter. He had nothing else to do anyway. He would take her to her people. Hopefully, she would still be happy with him when they got there, and would speak well of him. You never knew, when it came to Indians. They might think he was the one who took her in the first place, and kill him. All he could do was hope she'd stop them from doing that.
She got up and got him some meat. It was too hot to hold in his fingers, so he bit it with his front teeth and blew air around it. She laughed at him, but the next piece she gave him was cooler.
When it came time to put out the fire, she did so and, in the fading light, came to stand beside him. She lifted the dress off of her body again, and folded it up to become his pillow. Kneeling, her fingers worked at the unfamiliar buttons that closed his fly, until she could reach in and extract his organ. He was hard, of course. Again, she stroked him, but this time more slowly, as if she enjoyed playing with his manhood. When he gasped and grunted, he was astonished to see her lean down and take the tip into her mouth. As he spurted he heard her swallowing, and he groaned as he tried to spurt more.
As he panted to get his breath back, she again lay down next to him. Pulling his blanket over them both, she lay her head on his shoulder and draped an arm and leg over him, as before.
And, like the previous night, she was firmly asleep before his whirling mind could let him even contemplate slumber.
The next morning Little Flower pulled him up when she got up. She pointed at his horse, which was some yards away, nibbling at grass. Then she picked up her buckskin dress and dropped it over her head. He was sure he couldn't climb up into the saddle yet, but he went to the horse, which welcomed him with a nuzzle. He went to the other side of it to void his bladder, and then examined the animal, telling himself he should have done that the day before. If the horse had taken a bullet too, he might be in deep, deep trouble.
He found no injury and led the horse by the halter back to the fire. He realized the girl had removed the bridle, which was good, because the horse could eat much better without the bit in his mouth. He was hit in the face as the horse blanket was thrown over from the other side. He stepped to the horse's head and watched as the girl used every bit of strength she had to muscle the saddle up and over the horse's back. He had to show her how to thread the cinch, but the horse cooperated, and he was able to get it tight with her help. Getting the bridle on was easier. He picked up his lariat, recoiled it, and fastened it to his saddle. Stretching his arm up pained him, but it was a pain he could live with.
He was still convinced he couldn't get up into the saddle, because it was his right side that was shot, and it would be his bad arm that had to pull him up. But she had a surprise for him. She led him to where a tree had fallen in some long ago storm, and leaned against another one. She walked up onto the trunk, holding her hands out as if to say "see me?" Then she got back down and went to bring the horse next to the tree. He didn't like the idea of trying to walk on that wood with his boots, which were a bit down at the heel, but it was a good idea. She had the horse with its right side to the tree, though, and he had to motion for her to turn it the other way, so he could mount from the left. She didn't understand. First she moved the horse forward a bit.
"No," he said and motioned in a circle. She turned herself in a circle and stared at him.
"No," he said again. He pointed at the horse, and then motioned a circle. To his amusement, she turned the horse in a complete circle.
"No," he laughed. He got down off the log and arranged the horse himself, such that he could climb up on the trunk and sit, with his left foot level with the stirrup. Once he got his foot in the stirrup, it was easy to pull himself into the saddle. It felt good to be mounted again.
He pointed at her, and then in front of him. She shook her head.
"No," she said, clearly. It was a word he had said under conditions where she understood its meaning.
He nodded, and motioned for her to come up onto the log and then get on in front of him. He stood in the stirrups and moved his *** back onto the cantle, making room for her. She shook her head again and took up the reins, walking away and leading the horse.
"You can't lead me," he groaned. "It ain't manly, girl!"
She looked over her shoulder at him and then turned to her left. He realized she was going towards the dead man's gear. He watched as she picked up the man's gun belt and slung it over her shoulder, bandoleer style, with the pistol between her breasts. He saw the saddle then, but she left it for the weather to slowly eat. He sighed. That saddle was worth twenty dollars, and the other horse would have let them move a lot quicker. Then again, he was on the mend because he'd helped eat that horse.
She picked up a bag she had made of the shirt she'd originally tried to water him with. She picked up another bag which looked suspiciously like a horse's stomach. Leading him to the water, she submerged the bag in the water and then lifted it, full of water, to sling to the saddle horn. She had tied off one end with rawhide, leaving the other end open. The cords that were attached to both her bag and the water bag were made from the dead man's jeans, which had been cut into strips and then woven into rope.
While she'd been otherwise occupied, he'd gotten the reins up where they needed to be, and sat, holding them with his left hand. She looked up at him, and he grinned. He nodded off toward where she'd pointed, and said "Let's go."
Seeming to understand, she took off at a lope, leaving him behind.
By the time he got the horse out of the little group of trees, Little Flower was nowhere to be seen.
She wasn't hard to follow, but he realized that was only because she was making it that way. She could have taken a path that left little or no evidence of her passage, but she just pushed through the prairie grass, leaving it bent so he could see where she had gone. Even high up on the horse, he couldn't see any movement, but he occasionally heard her singing.
They made good time. Like most cowboys, he couldn't understand why anybody would walk when they could ride, but she was going faster than he could comfortably make his horse go. A canter was not a good idea with his side only partially healed.
The first time she counted coup on him he almost fell off the horse. She ran from the side, and a bit behind, and slapped his thigh, before yodeling and running off, laughing. An hour later she did it from the other side. Not fifteen minutes later, she rose up from right in front of the horse and grabbed the reins. The horse seemed to know she was there, but didn't mind when she jumped up. Again, she laughed and stuck her tongue out at him, before bounding away. What amazed him most wasn't her ability to vanish into the prairie. It was that she was barefoot, and seemed impervious to what he was sure would have torn his feet bloody.
She served him a cold lunch - jerky, and tore at her own piece with startlingly white and even teeth, while they rested in the shade of a lone tree. Using the cup, she had him lift the water bag, which had slowly dripped all day, until water trickled out of the top into the cup. She drank freely. He pinched his own nose and swallowed what she gave him while she watched curiously. Then she was off at a ground eating lope again.
When he caught up with her again, the light was fading, and he thought they might have made ten or twelve miles. She had a fire going, and looked just like she always had. She wasn't breathing hard, and didn't look tired. He felt better, but wondered what it would be like with no tree to help him back up onto the horse. He couldn't stay up there all night, though, so, using his left hand on the horn, he supported his weight as he swung his right leg over and stepped down. It wasn't as bad as he thought it would be, though he overbalanced and swung too far, hitting the horse's shoulder with his back.
She helped him ***** off the saddle and rub down the horse. There was plenty of prairie grass, but it was tough and he didn't know if the horse would favor it, so he hobbled the animal again, to ensure it didn't wander too far during the night.
The dry meat was a bit easier to chew, heated up, but it tasted the same. It didn't matter. It was food, and they had to have it. The water bag was about half full now, but she didn't seem to worry about that, drinking freely and urging him to drink well too. He suspected she knew they would find more water the next day.
Spreading out what had been her rapist's blanket, but which was now hers, Little Flower made a bed for them. She removed her dress and he wondered if she would use her mouth on him again, like she had the night before. She did not.
But before she pulled his blanket over them, she did crawl until her face was over his, and leaned down to kiss him with warm, loose lips.
In the morning, she woke first and then got him up. He stumbled into the grass to get his bladder empty, and realized he felt pretty good. Breakfast was cold jerky and she was there to push on his *** as he stepped up into the saddle. It was so easy that he felt real hope for the first time since being shot.
But he did notfeel like he was taking this girl back to her people. He was quite sure, in fact, that if she'd just left him, she'd be back a day sooner. Of course he couldn't know that for sure, because he had no idea how far they were going. But she seemed to run circles around his horse. He tried a canter for a bit, but his injury wasn't quite up to that yet.
They didn't stop for lunch this day. She simply ran past him and handed him jerky to eat and then surged on ahead. She seemed to be in a hurry, and he wondered if maybe they were getting close. He was surprised, therefore, when with two or three hours of light left, he came upon her fire. It was in another little group of trees, like the place where he had saved her. There was water too. It was a good campsite, but he was surprised she didn't just fill the water bag and go on.
She helped him down, though, and went to work on the saddle herself. Again, she seemed to be in a hurry. Now he wondered if maybe she sensed a storm coming, and was trying to get as secure as possible before it hit. When the horse was taken care of, though, and their gear stowed at the ba
She showed him the flat of her hand, telling him to stay, and then got up and made a small fire. Setting meat on a rock beside the fire, she left it to warm and went into the woods. In a little while she was back with a plant Slim had never seen before. It had a short, gray/green stalk, with a brown pod on it. He watched as she crushed the pod between two rocks and produced a red mush. Sticking her finger in it, she painted her face and then came to paint his.
She unpacked the cup and poured water in it from the skin. He wondered why she didn't just fill it from the pool he could see fifteen or so feet away. Then, bringing the cup and the meat from the fire, she came to sit across from him again. It was obvious she was performing some ceremony, and he watched with interest. She offered him the cup, keeping it in her hands. He took a sip. She handed him the cup and waited. Finally, he offered it to her, as she had to him, and she also sipped. He thought she looked relieved. Next she offered him the meat, holding it while he took a bite. When she handed it to him, he knew to extend it to her and she smiled. Taking a bite, she chewed and took the meat from him.
He expected her to feed him again, but instead, she stood, tossing the uneaten meat aside. With lithe movements, she skinned out of her dress and then came to unbutton his shirt.
He was, of course, erect when she got him naked. She seemed to ignore that, but took his hand and pulled him toward the water. He was astonished when, as he stepped into it, he found it almost hot. Examining his surroundings, he realized this was a spring, and that the water was coming from within the earth. He knew of hot springs, back east, but hadn't thought there could be the same thing here, on the plains.
She sat him down and told him to stay, with her open palm. Then she scampered off again. When she returned this time, she was holding a plant, with a bulbous root. She lay the root on a flat rock and smashed it with another rock, making a gooey white mash out of the bulb. Scooping that up, and leaving the rest of the plant behind, she brought it to him and smeared some of it on his shoulders. The rest she rubbed on herself. Holding out her hands, she stood him and began working the crushed root all over his chest. It gave off a pungent, but good odor.
"Soap!" said Slim, amazed. He'd been on the prairie for years, and didn't know about this plant. She didn't say anything, but kept rubbing the stuff all over his body.
Taking a chance, he reached to reciprocate. She thrust her breasts at him, and closed her eyes as he smoothed his hands over them. She stepped closer and embraced him, running her hands up and down his back. He did the same, and when he cupped and squeezed her bottom, she made no complaint.
Inflamed now, he tipped her face up and kissed her lips. Her own responded hungrily, but then she broke away and turned in his arms. She brought his hands to her breasts and moved them in circles, until he did it on his own. Her own hand slid lower, to wash between her legs ... much longer than was necessary to get clean.
He moved one of his own hands down to see if she'd allow it.
He rubbed her there, letting one finger slip between slippery lips. She arched and moaned.
He felt an obstruction.
He wasn't a learned man ... but he knew what that obstruction meant. He reflected for a few seconds on the fact that she clearly had some knowledge of how to pleasure a man, but at the same time had never given herself to one completely. He didn't reckon she'd even gone this far with a man before, since almost no man would be happy about stopping at this point. He felt a thrill like he'd never felt before, as he realized she had judged him worthy of her gift.
Little Flower pulled him from the water after washing off all the root juice. The red paint had washed off easily. Now her eyes flashed, and her breathing was rapid. Her dark nipples strained away from her dusky breast flesh and she pulled him, barefoot, to their gear. She took her blanket and lay it out. Falling to her knees, she beckoned him.
When he came near, she pulled his groin to her face. This time she didn't just kiss the tip with open lips. This time she took his whole organ in her mouth. He groaned at the joy of it, and his hands fell on her hair, stroking it. He looked down as she looked up, her eyes wide, as if she were smiling. He watched as she pulled away from him, her lips clinging to his rod as they slid along the shaft. When she got to the tip she sucked it and teased it with her tongue. He felt light headed and his upper body swayed.
She pulled her mouth off of him and fisted his *****, sliding her hand up and down slowly, staring at the tip of his ****. Then, slowly, she collapsed back onto the blanket. She lay on her back, bent her knees and opened herself to him. Her invitation was clear.
He didn't know what to do. His **** did. It was jutting obscenely from his groin, eager to deflower this girl. But it felt wrong, somehow. They couldn't even speak to each other. She didn't actually even need him anymore. Yes, he had saved her from rape, but he didn't expect anything other than basic gratitude. And she had probably saved his life too! He looked at her wrists, where the scars of her former terror were still visible.
A sound came from her throat. Her hands beckoned him.
He didn't know her customs. She had pleasured him. Was that something their youth did for fun? Was it a prelude to this?
He got down on his hands and knees beside her. He put his face over hers.
"I like you, Little Flower" he said softly. "I want to, but maybe it ain't right."
She stared at him, her brown eyes full of emotion. She reached for him, trying to pull him on top of her.
He thought about the value of what she was offering. It was something she could only give one man, and while she had judged him worthy, he had a hard time coming to the same conclusion. He'd done a lot of things in his life that seemed purely stupid in hindsight. Some were even bad, and he'd known that when he did them.
She spoke to him again, her voice urgent. Her hips bounced up off the blanket. It was clear what she wanted.
Instead, he decided to try something ... a thing he would never have thought about except for what she had done. She had used her mouth on him.
So he crawled between her welcoming thighs ... and used his mouth on her.
She was appreciative. There could be no shred of doubt about that. No language was needed for her to express how much she loved what he was doing. And when she bucked and squealed, he knew her pleasure was real. It was that, more than anything else, that inflamed him beyond control. She had offered him something special, and now he was ready to accept it. And when he kissed his way up her body, seeking her upper lips, and she reached for his stiff rod, pulling it to her sex, this time he let her.
She moaned as he plunged into her body. That there was pain was also clear, but her hands told him it was a pain she not only could live with, but actually wanted for some reason. It was only his second time, but it was the first with a woman he actually cared about. Further, he wasn't afraid of being caught. And those things made this completely different than that first time, when he had rutted frantically, his body acting on instinct, trying to breed the woman before something happened to stop it.
He approached his ****** quickly, but was able to slow himself so that he staved it off. Mostly that was because it felt so good that he wanted it to last and last. But no small measure of it was because he hoped she would buck under him again, making that peculiar sound that he knew meant he had given her ecstasy.
Only when she had made it, did he release his own control and let his seed flush through his ***** and into her belly.
When one cannot chat with a lover after making love, the communication entered into must, of necessity, be physical in nature.
Her kisses made it clear she was not unhappy. Her unwillingness to let him dismount made it clear she wanted his weight on her. Her hands, rubbing at him as he rubbed down a horse after a hard run, made him wish he could serve her again immediately.
At the same time, the fact that she couldn't understand him, made it easy to say the things that were on his heart. She wouldn't make fun of him for saying them, or tease him in the future. He could say the poetry she caused inside him, and not worry that she might think him less than a man for it.
And so he poured out his heart to her. She replied in her own language, saying he knew not what, but that didn't matter. Her body spoke volumes, and his youth responded. He became stiff again, still inside her. He moved on top of her. She chanted softly, guiding his movements with her hands.
She especially liked it when he pressed against her down there, fully em
This time, without even having to move in and out of her, he felt the soothing balm rush through the tube that delivered them to her body.
Later, as they lay relaxed, drifting off to sleep, arms entwined, he wondered if what they had done might mean she would have a baby.
He felt guilty for thinking it ... but he hoped so.
Once guilt is removed from sexual activity, it becomes one of the primary ways one hopes to spend time. It was no different with this young couple.
Suddenly, Little Flower wanted to ride, instead of walk or run. She rode in front of him, handling the reins, while he sat behind her, his hands gripping her for stability. She liked it best when he gripped her breasts. With her dress pulled up, she also pulled his hand down, pressing one of his fingers against the bump he had discovered at the top of her split. She liked him to rub that bump gently while they rode.
But that inevitably led to her shuddering through what he called "an episode," which meant she would stop the horse and require that they dismount. They didn't even pack the blanket away any more. She sat on it. And, once they dismounted, that made it easy to spread the blanket, so she could spread her legs for him. He grew to love dismounting his horse, because that became a prelude to mounting her.
She even tried, once, to ride facing him, with her heels perched behind the cantle of the saddle, and him inside her. But the only way to make that work was if he was naked on his lower half. He was in lust enough to try it, but he felt purely stupid climbing into the saddle wearing only a shirt, boots and a cowboy hat. She managed to get herself impaled, though, and it seemed like a mighty fine idea, until in her passion she kicked the horse's sides with her heels. It broke into a canter that, while it resulted in amazing feelings, also left them vulnerable to being thrown. It was a peculiarly terrifying incident, because the motion of the horse brought him to completion just as his frantic jerks on the reins brought the animal to a halt. Somehow she knew he had spurted in her, because she laughed and kissed his lips.
It seemed as if they made love all night long. There were times when he though his ***** must surely wear out or fall off. Once he even shook his head at her. She pouted and got on her hands and knees, presenting her *** to him like a mare presented to a stud. Looking over her shoulder at him, her long braid hanging down, she wiggled her *** at him. Then she laughed with delight as he took her in the animal way.
For another two weeks, they traveled by day, stopping two or three times to satisfy their lust, and then joined for most of the night.
Then, one morning, they topped a small rise, and saw wigwams set up on the horizon ahead of them.
Little Flower stopped the horse as soon as they saw her people's encampment. She spoke sharply and moved in that way that usually meant for him to dismount the horse. When he didn't move, she lifted one bare leg and moved it up and forward, over the saddle horn, letting her drop nimbly to the earth on her bare feet. She reached for the dead man's gun belt and arranged over one shoulder, like she had before. The water bag she took down and slung from the other shoulder. Then she pulled the blanket they had made love on down and quickly rolled it up. Tearing a piece of fringe from her dress, she tied it around the blanket and balanced the resulting tube on her one shoulder. She looked up at Slim, and nodded.
"What?" he asked.
She took a step and jerked her head toward the encampment.
He patted the saddle in front of him. She shook her head and said the only English word she knew: "No."
She walked ahead, reached up to tug on the bridle, and his horse stepped off. She let go of the bridle and he realized she was keeping herself right by the horse's head. Experimenting, he kicked the horse into a canter. The girl was suddenly running. He reined in and the horse slowed. She did too, and shot him a look, barking something at him that was clearly a rebuke.
Clearly she wanted to approach her people in a certain way. Since he hoped for their good will, and since he was now sure he had hers, he just played along. He knew people saw them from far out, but no one made any sign of that until they were within voice range. Someone called out, a ululating warble which the girl answered with a similar warble of her own.
She walked with dignity, upright and ramrod straight. It made him want to sit up tall in the saddle, but he had nothing to be proud of, so he just rode in as he would any other place. He transferred the reins to his right hand, so they would know his pistol hand was engaged.
A boy came racing toward the girl. He was, perhaps, eleven or twelve years old. He chattered at her animatedly, and stared at Slim. She barked at him in a scolding voice, and waved him away, but he didn't seem to care, and chattered at her anyway. Slim looked ahead and saw they were headed toward a man and woman standing together. Other men, warriors from the look of them, were drifting toward that couple. Two older men, one wearing the skin of a coyote's head like a hat, were standing off to one side.
No one except the boy spoke.
He was about to rein in, because the girl was striding directly toward the couple and didn't look like she was going to stop. Then, suddenly, she did. Somehow, he brought the horse to a stop too, and sat, wondering what was going to happen.
The girl spoke. He noticed her head was bowed, as if she were looking at the ground. The man and woman listened, but there was no ex
Suddenly the man was speaking. His voice was firm and deep. He must have asked questions, because the girl spoke, occasionally. Through it all she didn't move, and stared only at the ground. Nobody was smiling.
The man wearing the coyote hat approached. He had no problem looking at Slim. He walked around them all in a large circle, examining Slim from every angle. A girl, about the age of Little Flower, suddenly appeared and took the blanket and water skin from her. She ran off with them. Little flower took a step forward and lifted the gun belt, ducking out of it and extending it toward the man. He took it in one hand and extracted the pistol, turning it this way and that as he examined it. He pointed it at the sky, cocked it, and pulled the trigger. Slim's horse jumped, but then settled as the boom filled the air. Still no one said anything.
The man looked at Slim, and then back at the pistol. He shoved it back into the holster and handed it to the woman next to him, who promptly hung it over her own neck. The medicine man - that's what Slim had decided the coyote hat meant - came up behind the couple and said something to them. Then he walked around them to stand in front of Slim's horse.
"Yo toh hey!" he called out, looking at Slim.
"Howdy," said Slim, tipping his hat, for lack of anything else to do.
The medicine man ripped of a sentence, to which Slim shrugged his shoulders. Little Flower spoke a few words and then went silent.
The medicine man called out and a girl ran forward. He spoke with her for several minutes, gesticulating and pointing at Slim. When he went silent, she approached him from the other side of the horse than Little Flower was on.
"I am She Who Snares Rabbits," she said, formally. My white name is Becky.
"Well how about that," sighed Slim. "I didn't think nobody here would talk English."
"I was taken to the white school," said Becky. "I escaped and came home."
"Well, I guess that's good, then," said Slim. He'd hated school himself, back before he ran away.
"Thunder Stick asks why you sit on your horse, above the people?"
"That Thunder Stick?" asked Slim, nodding at the medicine man.
Becky nodded. "He named himself that because he says he is as dangerous as a rifle. He is foolish, like most men."
"Well, tell him that a cowboy don't get off his horse unless'en he's invited to step down. It's considered rude, and I didn't want to be rude to .. the people."
Becky chattered at the medicine man, who chattered back. She turned to Slim.
"You are invited to get off your horse. You are welcome, because you saved Howling Coyote from a bad man. About the other there will be talk."
"Howling Coyote?" Slim grinned, remembering her screams. "I been callin' her Little Flower."
"She looks nothing like a flower," said Becky, frowning. "But you do not know our ways. This was already known, because of what you did that has never been done in the memories of the people. Still, we will make a place for you among our people."
"Well, I appreciate the invite," said Slim. "But I don't want to overstay my welcome. I kin just ride on out and camp down the trail a bit."
"Did you not share water and meat with Howling Coyote, as she just told her parents?" she asked.
"Well sure," said Slim, not thinking about the ceremony on the blanket, when their faces had been painted red.
"Why would you then want to leave your wife?" asked Becky.
"My wife?" Slim laughed, not because the thought of being married to Little Flower was funny, but because the thought of him being married at all was hilarious. What woman would want to marry him? "Hell, we ain't hitched," he said.
Becky turned to speak to Thunder Stick, and suddenly the mood got ugly. He could feel it. He wanted to reach for his pistol, but did not. Instead, he stepped down and stood behind Little Flower. He didn't know much, but he realized that the girl had told her people they were married. And seeing as how he had acted like they were married .. well then, as ludicrous as it had seemed .. maybe he was.
"Wait!" he called out. He put his arm around Little Flower, who was still looking down at the ground, and stepped forward with her.
"Miss Becky?" he said. "I mean She Who Snares Rabbits? Like you said, I don't understand your ways, and I don't speak your language, and Little .. I mean Howling Coyote here, well she couldn't talk to me neither. But iff'en you could tell me what your people do to get hitched .. well maybe I done that and didn't quite understand I was doin' it."
"You do not want to be married to one of the people," she sneered. "You're a white man. I hate the white man!."
"I reckon I know what I do and don't want better than you do, girl," he snapped. "So why don't you just tell me what I need to know and then you can go right on hatin' me all you want."
Instead of speaking to him, though, Becky talked to Howling Coyote, who then turned to Slim, fear plainly in her eyes, and lifted her finger to trace over his face. He remembered instantly, and knew she was repeating her motions with the red juice. But instead of also tracing her own face, her hand dropped limply at her side. On instinct, he raised his hand and traced the places she'd painted red on her face. The smile he got made him want to let out with a yell, but he didn't. As soon as he finished, he kissed her lips. She pushed him away and barked something at him. He knew he was being rebuked, but the woman - Slim thought this must be Howling Coyote's mother - smiled for the first time.
Then Howling Coyote spoke to Becky and resumed looking at the ground.
"You have shown that she tells the truth," said Becky. She sounded unhappy. "This has never happened before. No white man has ever married one of the people. Big Grey Owl, our chief, says the council must think on this."
"So what do we do in the meantime?" asked Slim.
"I do not know," said Becky. "I do not care," she added, before turning to walk away.
Slim might not have known what to do, but Howling Coyote did. She took him by the hand and pulled him to one side of the village, where there was a wigwam, all wrapped up like when they hauled them around. Apparently, where it sat was a good place to set up. It took them two hours, but she taught him how to erect the shelter. They got it up just as the sun slipped over the horizon.
The buffalo skins that covered the fr
She took off her dress, but something told Slim not to get naked with her yet. It turned out his instinct was right, because perhaps five minutes later the opening cover was pulled back and an old woman bent over to come inside. She neither knocked, nor called out, but acted like she had the right to be there.
She approached Howling Coyote and leaned close to peer at the girl's brown nipples. She reached wrinkled fingers out to tweak and pull at the tender nubs. Howling Coyote stood tall, looking straight ahead. The old woman ran a hand over both breasts, moving them around, and then seemed to rub Howling Coyote's belly for a while. She said a few words and Howling Coyote bent her knees outward, leaving her feet where they were. Slim watched, astonished, as the old woman pushed one finger up into Howling Coyote's sex and then pulled it out to sniff at.
She looked over at Slim, smiled a toothless grin, and then said something to Howling Coyote, before slapping her on the butt hard enough to make the girl yelp. Then the old woman left.
Now his new wife smiled, and jumped up and down several times, beckoning him to come to her. When he got there she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Then she backed up, made the universal sign of rocking a baby in her arms .. and pointed at her stomach.
The council decided to let the white man live with them. He adopted their ways, and learned their language. He raised many strong sons who helped make the tribe strong.
It was a good life, all in all.
It would have been even better if more white men had not come.