His cold cruel dangerous eyes beckoned me forward.
I was always the weakest; the one who needed to rest; the one who was of no use; the one who was always last. Even now, Uncas had fallen trying to save me. He had died trying rescue me because I was stupid enough to get myself caught up in a very dangerous world. What good was I? Why did he try to rescue me? What purpose would I have served in his world of strength and honor? He had died pointlessly. And now, I was doomed to an eternity with one of my only friends' murderer. I may not have spoken the language of the Huron, but the message given by their chief was clear. I was Magua's. Had I always been damned? I cannot remember the last good thing that happened to me. That was an answer in its own. Evil seemed to follow me everywhere.
I had heard Nathaniel. Father was dead. Cora must have already known for she had shown no reaction. Even in the face of death, Cora had felt she had to protect me! Me, poor little Alice; too weak to know of the truths that go on around her. I am too weak to even be told my own father is dead. I am too weak to be treated like an adult.
I watched Uncas fall to the ground below. I wanted to push Magua off of that very same cliff edge, a knife through his heart. I wanted him to know his death came by the weakest Munro daughter the world had to offer. I wanted him to know I had the audacity to defy him. But I was no murderer. I was no Magua. This mad man had taken everything away from me, and yet I still lacked the courage it took to carry out the vengeance I had to have deserved. I lacked the courage to do much of anything. I thought of my future. Was I to be just a toy to Magua? Someone who he could use and throw away whenever he wanted to? Why did I even think that; of course I was.
That was why Uncas had tried to save me. He knew the eternity I was being dragged away to. Uncas was a good man. He had been watching over me since the very first day we met. He may not have thought I noticed, but I did. It gave me thrills to know someone besides my family had cared for me. What I appreciated most though was how he rarely every helped me. Uncas knew I could do it, life, on my own. I may not be strong, but I wasn't an invalid either. He saw that.
I walked toward the cliff edge. It was so far to the bottom. I always felt like I was falling; I still hadn't reached the end. Would I ever? I looked towards Magua. No. No I would not. The wind blew. I noticed the blood drip from Magua's knife onto the stone of the mountain; Uncas's blood. My poor Uncas. It was my fault he was gone. He rarely helped me unless I absolutely needed it. Unless I was walking into waterfalls or being stolen away. He was always watching and waiting for the moment I would absolutely need his help. Right now, I needed him. His presence gave me strength beyond what I had ever though I possessed. He was my strength.
Please. I need you. I cannot possibly survive this on my own.
Magua's cold cruel dangerous eyes beckoned me forward. He lifted his hand, worry etched into his expression. Such a long way down. A quick fall or an eternity of plunging into darkness. Peace or a terrifying existence. Uncas or Magua. I took a deep breath. In that breath, I felt strength seep into me. Uncas.
The weakest Munro daughter, alone at the top of the world. I was the weakest, the frailest, the flakiest. I was barely ever here at all, transparent almost. I had always felt like I hardly existed and that at any given moment, I would blow away in just one strong gust of wind. Uncas had given me stability; he saw how hard I really did fight. He saw what no one else in my life ever had. Not Father, not Duncan, not even Cora. He saw me. Uncas knew I needed a little extra time, but if given it, I could climb the hill; I could walk the woods. I could be just as great as the rest of them. He knew all of those things about me. I knew it every time he watched me but did not come to my aid. He wanted me to accomplish life on my own, without someone holding my hand every step of the way. I didn't always need rescuing. I wish everyone else could have seen in me what Uncas had. Oh, how I could have loved him.
The thoughts racing through my head could be perceived as the thoughts of someone caught in a moment of weakness. I see it as a moment of strength. To never awaken again is a terrifying thought, and yet, being forced into a life of slavery and unwilling child bearing was even more terrifying. That was a future I could not escape from. That was a future that was not an option, not even for someone like me. Someone who was used to running into things if running away from them was too scary of an option. Someone like me, someone who trembles at the thought of being alone. I was not trembling now. I had made my decision.
I looked away from Magua and saw the Earth all around. It was truly beautiful. If things weren't as bad as they were, if Uncas was by my side, it was a place I would never want to leave. But my Uncas was waiting. I am the weakest daughter, Alice Munro, about to do the bravest thing I could ever do.