Welcome to part 2 of my story “Heat” I hope you are enjoying it so far….
I didn’t feel like finding out if he meant it or not, so I got my pan and started digging. By dark we had the clearing pretty much rooted up. There were bones and skulls laying around everywhere. I wanted to rebury them, but Jim wouldn’t have none of it. All he wanted to do was bag everything up and leave at first light. He figured we’d make Moncton by the next night, and sell everything to a buyer he knew. I too tired and afraid to argue anymore. I just set down by the fire and ate a few biscuits. Truth is, I wasn’t very hungry. I felt pretty bad for what we did.
The rest of ’em were as pleased as punch. At dark, Jim fetched out another bottle of whiskey, threw a big log on the fire and started telling a yarn. I took a drink and half-listened. I was wishing I was somewhere else. Then the fire started acting up. Smoking and then blazing like it was choked for wind. I tried stirring it up but it didn’t help. Seemed to make it worse. Then the moon came out and shone down on the mess we’d made. I could hardly look at it. When fog started rising from the forest floor, I was kinda relieved. I wouldn’t have to see it.
Jim was in the middle of big yarn, when all of a sudden he sits up like he’s been poked.
“Jesus Christ!” he says, “There’s an Injun over yonder through the trees!”
“An Injun?” Sylvester echoes, “Out here?”
“Not one of them poor, beggar-type Injuns from town. A real Injun. Right over there!”
I stared at where he was pointing. There was someone there alright. In the moonlight I could see he was wearing a head dress. He looked like a Chief. Part of me wanted to dig a hole and hide, I felt so bad. I figured he was angry for what we had done. Another part of me was scared as hell. What was an Indian doing there anyways? It was just too strange. But Jim, all brash and full of liquor, calls him out.
“Git over here!” he yells, “What cha doing out here anyways?! If yer lookin’ fer trouble, we’ll give you lots of it!”
The chief vanished. I kept telling myself that he must have stepped behind a tree, but he didn’t. He disappeared into thin air. I shuddered and got closer to the fire, which was still acting real strange. Smokin’ and flamin’ all at the same time. All of a sudden, we hears this chanting and wailing. Drums beating. Sounded like a hundred Indians just behind the trees. But I knew it wasn’t possible. Something was really wrong. I stared at Daniel, then Sylvester. They were as pale as I musta been. The drums got louder, so did the chantin’.
Bout this time Jim crawls into the tent and comes out with a 30-30 Winchester. He crouches and fires three rounds into the brush where the noise is coming from. Once the roar of the shells stopped, the forest was silent.
“God Damn cowards!” Jim hollers and reloads the gun, “Jest what I figgered! Yer all brave until a rifle comes out! Then ya runs and hides!”
“Jim,” I says, “There ain’t no tribe of Indians out here. Least not alive ones anyways.”
“Ghosts?” He says, real angry like, “There ain’t no such thing as ghosts!”
Right about then an arrow struck a tree right above his head with a big thunk. We all looked at it. Right before our eyes the wooden shaft turned to dust and disappeared in the wind. All that was left was the old flint arrowhead.
“No ghosts?!” I said, “What the hell was that then?”
“I don’t know, but I’m a gonna find out.” Jim answers, “Make some torches, we’re gonna get to the bottom of this right now.”
We stuck a few pieces of dry wood into the fire and waited for the ends to start burning. All the while the chantin’ and hollerin’ is getting louder. I just wanted to wake up. It had to be a nightmare. But the fire blazed up in my face, real hot like. I knew I was awake. We grabbed our torches and headed towards the fray. I was shakin’ so bad I could barely hold my torch. We didn’t make it ten yards into the brush when a big wolf stepped out in front of us. He growled and showed his teeth. My blood ran cold, there hadn’t been a wolf in those parts for at least 30 years.
Jim takes aim and fires. He was so close he coulda hit it with a rock. But that wolf just snarled at him, then leaped towards us. We all tumbled, and scrambled. Just about the time it was close enough to bite, it disappeared. I had dropped my torch and was trying to grab it when I heard screaming. Sylvester had fallen backwards against a big, old birch tree. The bark started peelin’ itself from the back of the tree, ya could hear it tearin’ away from itself. It started wrappin’ itself around him. So did the limbs. Soon he was covered in bark and completely stuck.
Worse than that, he’d dropped his torch and the bark was starting to burn at his feet. We pulled and tugged at that bark, but the harder we pulled the tighter it got. There was no freeing him. The bark blazed. First his legs started to burn, then it moved upwards. The screams were something else. I ain’t never forgot them. And the smell of his clothes and flesh burning was almost more than I could bear. I kept tearing at the bark, but there weren’t no getting him loose. Finally, Jim yelled for us to get back and he shot Sylvester. The screaming stopped.
“I had no choice,” Jim says, “He was sufferin’ too much.”
“I know,” I says, barely able to speak, “how did that happen?”
“I don’t know, but we gots to get outta here now!”
We bolted back to the camp as fast as we could run. Jim dove into the tent, got the rest of his bullets and the bag of Indian treasure.
“Leave that here!” I hollered, “It ain’t worth it!”
“It is worth it!” Jim’s eyes blazed in the moonlight, “I ain’t leavin’ without it! Let ’em try and take it!”
We charged down the trail as fast as we could run. All the while the chantin’ and screechin’ kept on, pretty much beside us. It was like they were toying with us. Jim fired a couple of shots into the brush, but it did no good. After we’d gone a few miles my legs were turning to rubber. My torch was out. And I was out of wind. We huddled together in the moonlight as the howling and chanting continued, all around us now. Daniel hadn’t said a word the whole time. I think he musta been in shock. Then he raised his hand and pointed behind us. He opened his mouth, but nothin’ came out. We turned and looked. Coming down the trail was a tall, rugged lookin’ brave with a tomahawk. But he wasn’t alive, he couldn’t be. In the moonlight he was shimmerin’ all over. And his eyes were glowin’ red. He raised the tomahawk, ready to strike.
Tomorrow, the conclusion, in the meantime, get yourself a novel written by yours truly…. just follow the link and thanks eh! http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+vision+jason+lawson