Deliver Us from Evil

The following work could very well be termed "historical fantasy fiction," if there were such a thing. I have combined some facts with an amalgam of purely anecdotal history, the influence of one too many Hollywood movies and GS episodes, and a great amount of speculation and pure imagination on my part to come up with this story. It is meant in no way to represent a true picture of Native American life. I've even combined interesting and colorful traditions of many different native cultures. So, kids, don't use any of the following "information" in your social studies report. You'd earn a failing grade fer sure…

Chapter 1
"The Shadow of Death"

Soaring Eagle gripped the razor-sharp knife, glimmering in the flickering firelight, directly over Kitty Russell's breastbone. The Cheyenne medicine man chanted ancient, secret incantations in a low, gravelly voice while the sallow-skinned redhead, drenched with sweat, feebly struggled beneath sinewy dark hands holding her fast as she whispered insensibly. Ashen-faced, Doc stood against the edge of the buffalo hide tepee, clutching his tattered, old, leather-bound Bible in trembling hands, muttering aloud, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil…"

Kitty suddenly turned her head desperately toward Doc, her fever-bright blue eyes clear and lucid, if only for a moment. "Doc…" she called to him. "Please…"

Doc hurried to crouch over her, lying on a bed of buffalo robes on the floor, surrounded by strangers who all spoke an unfamiliar tongue save himself. Clutching her arm, he gave her his undivided attention. "Yes, sweetheart, what is it?"

Urgently she spoke to him, not knowing how long she would be able to keep a grip on reason. "If I don't make it…"

"Don't say that, Kitty." Doc's troubled brow knitted in agony. You're gonna be just fine."

"No, Doc…" She swallowed hard and then bit her lip. "Tell Matt for me…"

"Yes?" He caught her cheek in his palm, caressing her soft skin with his thumb, his heart pounding apprehensively in his chest for this young woman he loved like a daughter.

She answered in a shuddering voice, "Tell him I'm sorry. For everything." Smoke hung in the air from tobacco leaves thrown into the flames to summon the spirits while ghostly shadows thrown by the glowing light of the fire danced eerily on the walls. She took another breath. "Tell him I love him."

Doc's eyes filled with tears. "You can tell him yourself, Kitty." He squeezed her small hand, and was alarmed at how cold it felt. "But I'll do anything you want, honey. Anything. You name it…"

But it was too late. Her eyes rolled back in her head once again, and she could no longer hear him or make sense of his words. Doc hung his head and reluctantly released her hand, laying it gently beside her. Scrubbing his fingers anxiously over his face, he took a step back to let the witchdoctor work his magic.

Sweat beaded on Doc's wrinkled brow and trickled down his temple as he watched Soaring Eagle's flashing knife slowly lower and hover over Kitty's heart. Ruby red blood flowed, marring her mottled, bruised skin as he cut, raising his voice to The Great Spirit all the while. Doc turned pale and his hands shook as he resumed reading the twenty-third Psalm, "…I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me…."