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Trail of Blood and Tears
Author's note: I was inspired to write this because of a project we had to do in history, a project of our choice. I decided to write this story and show my class that the Oregon Trail wasn't just a plain old trail, but a trail of hardship and sorrow. Also I thought I'd let people see how adding excitement to a historical fiction book can make it way more interesting.
The pain was too much to bear. My feet were all scraped and bleeding, bruises were all over me, cuts ran along my arms, legs, and torso. Sore muscles, an aching head, and the constant memory. Both of them gone, leaving me all alone. I can’t remember the man, the one who took them away, the one who bathed them in their own blood. There was nothing I could do to help them, I just ran away. It’s all my fault, father, mother please come back...please. My breathing became heavy, and tears swelled up in my eyes. I remember papa always telling me not to cry, to look forward and keep walking; for when something bad happens a good thing is always to follow. Papa, what could possibly happen to make me happy, what good can come of this? The tears streamed from my eyes, remembering them was too painful. The lights coming from the house became less intense as I got farther away, but everywhere I looked I saw blood. It stood out against the dark ground and trees, even the moon appeared to be blood red. The crimson color illuminated the world, making it look as though the whole world was covered in the blood of my parents. My legs crumbled beneath me as I fell towards the earth. I looked forward, to see my house with its door wide open, as though welcoming me home, like nothing happened at all. I positioned myself so I would be able to stand up easily, but I was shaking too violently.
I lifted my hands to my eyes, the color red reflected back at me. My eyes grew wide and the tears stopped. Reality hit me when I realized I too was covered in blood, though not of another. It was my own. My body fell forward no longer having any strength to carry on. The cuts opened wider letting the warm blood beneath flow out. My skin turned a pale color before it was dyed crimson. In the distance I could hear the sound of footsteps.
“Help...me,” I managed to choke those two simple words out before I no longer was able to move. My whole body seemed paralyzed, I was no longer in control nor was anyone else. The footsteps stopped for a couple seconds and then continued.
“C’mon kid open your eyes!” A husky voice urgently commanded, “Hurry up! There’s no time to lose, he’s coming.” I willed my eyes to open but they wouldn’t listen, all control was gone. This is it I told myself, looks like I’ll be leaving this place. This man is gonna leave me here for dead since my eyes won’t open, and I will fade away into oblivion. Unexpectedly a rough hand grabbed my wrist and pulled me up onto my feet. My mouth opened and I screamed in pain, more blood seeped from my wounds and fell onto the soft soil. I was back in control, though the pain worsened.
“Good, your still alive...” He paused, “Well partially alive.” The man let go of my wrist and then hoisted me onto his back. My wounds opened up even more, more blood, more pain and suffering.
“You owe me a new outfit since your getting this one all bloody.” I could tell he was trying to lighten the mood a bit and joke around with me, but his tone was harsh. No methods would work, none could lighten the mood. My parents were killed before my very eyes in a brutal fashion. Their necks and stomachs cut by a blade, gashes along their arms all because they tried to protect me. Telling me to run, telling me it wasn’t my fault, telling me everything is gonna be fine, telling me...telling me...
“It’s all my fault. If only I was stronger, I could have protected them.” I barely got out the words before I ended up coughing up blood.
“Would you just shut up! No more talking, no more moving! You got that, keep it up and your gonna bleed to death,” his voice this time wasn’t harsh, it was soft and quiet as though if he spoke to loud I would crumble to pieces. “To be honest I am actually surprised your still alive after all the blood you lost...It must have been terrible.” I opened my mouth to speak and tell him everything but all that came out was a single word.
“Run...” My eyes widened, and I became frozen with fear. I couldn’t control what I was saying it just came out. I repeated it over and over again, as though if I didn’t say it enough something bad would happen. “Run...run...run...please run!”
“Didn’t I tell you to shut...” The man stopped and turned around to see someone standing in the door way of my house, covered in blood, carrying a knife. He had longer hair, was quite tall and to be honest looked like a wreck, but somehow I knew this person.
“Julius...it’s Julius,” after I spoke I ended up coughing up even more blood. I felt like the world was spinning, everything was disoriented. It was all red and black yet the three of us still looked normal besides the fact we were all covered in the crimson blood.
“Guess the crazies really do come out on the full moon. Hey kid I know I told you not to talk but please tell me one thing. How do you know this creep?!?!” The man carrying me looked at me with the weirdest expression I have ever seen. It actually made me smile for a split second.
“Julius is my big brother!” I said with a smile, but the smile faded as I winced with pain, the gashes were getting worse and bleeding more.
“Well ain’t this great! I have got a kid on my back bleeding to death, a crazed brother with a knife, and two parents lying dead inside the house the brother just came out of. Did I miss anything?” The man asked me sarcastically before he gently set me underneath one of the trees alongside the pathway. He rolled up his sleeves and approached Julius.
“Julius is it? Look if you are this kids older brother shouldn’t you be looking after him, and please put down that knife someone could get hurt.” He continued walking towards my brother, unfazed. All I could do was watch as the events unfurled before me. Both of them approached one another and started talking, I was unable to hear what they were saying but Julius put down the knife.
“Don’t you dare touch h...” Julius was cut off as the man started swinging punches at him. He then punched my brother in the stomach, twisted his arm backwards and threw Julius to the ground. The man spit on the ground and started walking towards me. He had fire in his eyes.
I stared at Julius lying on the ground, not moving. My big brother Julius, why were you covered in blood, why did you have a knife. You couldn’t have killed father or mother, you loved them didn’t you. You loved me right. If you did why do I have all these cuts, what exactly happened. Even as all these thoughts rushed through my mind I could only think of one thing, is Julius okay.
“Brother! Big brother Julius!! Get up!” I shouted my heart out trying to have my voice reach him, “Please get up!! Please...” My heart skipped a beat, and the loss of blood finally got to me. Last thing I remember was the man rushing over to me, the color red everywhere, then darkness. Is this what its like to be dead?
The old rusty wheel barrow creaked as I pushed it along the dirt path. The sun was high in the sky and no clouds could be seen. Trees along the path swayed in the breeze and birds flew around in the sky. It was such a lovely day, too bad I had a bunch of errands to do. I continued along the path till I came to a clearing. Townsfolk and travelers wandered the streets of the little town, everyone was bustling about, buying this and that, talking and gossiping to the same people as the day before. It was as though the whole town was stuck in a rut, well besides Gideon and I. Both of us always did different things everyday, but lately he has been sending me the the store to pick up the necessities. I wonder what he does when I am gone though, he seems preoccupied all the time lately.
“Good morning Julian! Out running errands again today for Gideon?” The question brought me back from my deep thought. I looked up to see the smiling face of Margret John. I call her Granny though, after all she does act like my grandmother and she’s about eighty. She runs the bakery just past the old mines, I always go there whenever I am bored and whenever Gideon isn’t around.
“Morning Granny!” I replied with a smile. “Yup, this time he wants a bunch of stuff. I don’t know what were gonna do with it all, but he insists that we need it now.” I made the appropriate hand gestures to show I didn’t think we needed this stuff and ended up making her laugh.
“Well tell Gideon if he wants a lot of stuff he should come and help you carry it. Your still a child after all.” I smiled at her again and gave her an approving nod. “Bye dear, take care!” Granny said before she headed off down the path to her bakery. I waved goodbye and continued on towards the shop. The pathway was covered with dirt, sand and twigs from the trees, making it somewhat difficult to push the wheelbarrow.
The wheelbarrow creaked and swayed as it ran over rocks and twigs. Thankfully there was nothing inside it yet, otherwise stuff might have fallen out. I approached the carefully crafted building at the end of the path, and placed the wheelbarrow just to the right of the steps. The stairs creaked as I climbed up them, and wind chimes hanging from the roof clanked against one another. I smiled to myself as I pushed open the door to the store. The door slammed behind me after I was inside, making sure that anyone working there knew I was there.
As I entered the strong smell of flowers attacked my nose. It smelled wonderful but I couldn’t just stand here and smell the flowers, Gideon will throw a fuss if I didn’t get home soon. The shop owner came out of the back room and approached me.
“Welcome kid! What can I get for you today?” He smirked at me as I handed him the giant list Gideon gave me. “I don’t think this is all gonna fit in that wheelbarrow of yours.” He teased. I just nodded my head and stood there patiently, after all I couldn’t joke around with this guy. He would take everything too seriously and then go and badmouth Gideon.
“Let’s see here,” the shop keeper mumbled to himself. “Gideon wants 4 flannel-button down over shirts, 4 woolen undershirts, 4 pairs of thick cotton drawers, 8 pairs of woolen socks, 4 pairs of cotton socks, 2 handkerchiefs, 4 pairs of boots, 6 towels, 2 broad-brimmed hats, 1 pound of Castile soap, 3 pounds of bar soap for clothes, 2 belt knifes, a small whetstone, stout linen thread, large needles, beeswax, bag of buttons, paper of pins, a thimble, two buckskin or stout cloth bags, 2 coats, and 2 overcoats.” He looked up from the list with a weird expression on his face, “You two going somewhere? Or his he just keeping you busy?” I shrugged my shoulders at his comment, while making a mental note to ask Gideon what is going on. He leaned in and spoke once more, “You know he isn’t getting anything for you to wear lass.” Once again I shrugged my shoulders, though I was a bit disappointed. He isn’t gonna leave me alone – right?
The shopkeeper got all the supplies and helped me pack them into my wheelbarrow, making sure that nothing would fallout. I walked back down the steps and started to push the wheelbarrow down the path. It was extremely heavy and I could barely push it. I noticed the shop keeper looking at me with a smirk on his face.
“I could call for Julius to come and help you. He may be a guest but that doesn’t mean he can’t help.” I just stared straight in front of me, Julius, where had I heard that name before. It sounded so familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My train of thought was broken when I heard a voice.
“Here let me call for him!” I turned around so I was facing the owner, but I must have had a weird expression on my face because he started talking again. “Don’t worry it won’t cost you a thing lass!” He then turned around and shouted through the open door, “Hey Julius get down here! A customer needs some help!” The shop keeper turned to me and spoke, “Don’t worry he’s a good kid, anyway I gotta head back inside my wife probably needs some help with dinner.” He waved goodbye and then disappeared into the house.
I turned around and just stood there with a blank expression on my face. How come I can’t remember why that name is so familiar! Suddenly I heard footsteps coming from behind me. My body froze, I couldn’t move. I should have been terrified, but somehow I was already used to this sensation. A hand came to rest on my shoulder, it was cold yet soft and sent shivers down my spine. I could feel and smell his breath as he rested his chin on my other shoulder. Then he spoke three simple words, three words spoken slowly and precise.
“I found you...”
The man’s voice was chilling, and the words took me by surprise. I found you, what does that mean. Have I met this person before? I shut my eyes tight in fear, what is gonna happen to me...His grip tightened on my shoulder and his chin lifted. I wanted to turn around to see who it was, but I just couldn’t work up the courage. Was this Julius, the one who was supposed to help me. If so how could he possibly know me, when I don’t know him.
“Julian, I’ve missed you.” The man turned me around and pulled me into an embrace. “I have searched for you this whole time, ever since that man took you away that terrible day one year ago.” My eyes snapped open. That terrible day...one year ago...why does it sound so familiar. What does he mean by since that man took me away...He let go of me and looked me in the eyes. A frown appeared on his face and his eyes softened.
“Why do you look so terrified, it’s me your older brother, Julius.” My whole body stiffened at the words older-brother. Why wouldn’t I remember something as important as this? I took a step backward in a panic and ended up losing my balance. My body plunged backwards and landed on the ground with a thud. Tears escaped my eyes, was it because of pain or fear. Either way it didn’t matter, after all whose to say my whole life so far wasn’t just a lie.
Julius bent down and reached into his pant pocket and pulled out a crescent moon pin. Taking my hand, he placed the pin on it and gingerly closed my fingers around it.
“There’s a story father once made up for us. It was your favorite.” He took his thumb and wiped away the tears forming in the corner of my eye. “It wasn’t the story you liked the most, it was the moon. Father only mentioned it once, and that was all it took.” Julius grabbed my hand and pulled me onto my feet. My tears stopped and the fear that once was present - disappeared.
I stared at the pin in my hand, it shimmered in the sunlight. A smile spread across my face as the memory of the story flooded back. Finally a part of my memory was coming back!
“Thank you!” My smile was so big that you could see the whites of my teeth. It was actually the first time I smiled like this so far this year. Julius smiled back at me, he seemed relieved. His smile soon disappeared though, and then he turned around.
“Looks like this is goodbye, someone close by is giving me a death stare.” His voice got quieter and slowly he started walking back towards the shop. “I’m glad your okay though, and I’m glad I was able to see you again.” He paused for a second before continuing, “Don’t tell him where you got that pin, kay!” Julius turned his head slightly and grinned at me before disappearing inside.
I turned around to see Gideon standing by my wheelbarrow, checking its contents. Slowly I walked towards him, somewhat afraid of what words would be said next and what words would stay unsaid. He frowned at me and shook his head.
“Come on we got some packing to do...” Gideon’s voice was mono-tone but there was a hint of sadness. He grabbed the handles of the wheelbarrow and started pushing it down the path. “Looks like I’ve got some explaining to do, huh.” I ran over to him and nodded my head in agreement.
“Are we going somewhere?” I asked. Gideon seemed surprised by my question, as though he thought a different question was going to be asked. He stopped walking and looked me in the eyes and nodded. I wonder why he’s acting weird, it’s not like I did anything wrong - right...
The moon hung high in the sky above the little town, it was a beautiful luminescent light. A smile spread across my face as I touched the crescent pin attached to my hat. Thankfully Gideon hasn’t asked me about it yet, I really didn’t want to lie to him right now. I leaned against one of the bags sitting in the cart and tried to relax. The blanket underneath me was old and worn, but I was still perfectly comfortable. It was finally time to say goodbye to this town and hit the road. I have to admit I was really gonna miss this place, so many memories were made here, and I met so many nice people. I sighed as I turned my head to look at Gideon.
He was riding on the back of a sandy-colored horse, which was pulling the cart. I know he wasn’t in the best of moods, especially after what happened earlier today. We went to go and buy an ox to pull the cart, after-all they are cheaper and will eat about anything. Only problem is that the people at the farm didn’t want sell any of their oxen, or any of their mules. Said that they were gonna need them for their own trip. Gideon got pretty frustrated with them, but since he really wanted to get out of here he took a horse.
On a side note I wonder if Gideon is okay, he has been acting weird ever since he saw Julius and I talking. I gazed up at the starlit sky and sighed, why did we have to leave - I was starting to like this place. Its not like there was a reason to move, we weren’t having any money trouble, nor were we in any sort of trouble. Does it have anything to do with Julius, if so what could have happened between him and Gideon that made us have to move.
“Hey Gideon, why are we moving? Its not like we have any reason to move, I thought we were both happy here.” Shifting my gaze over to Gideon I realized he was looking at me...with really sad eyes.
“Julian, sometimes things are better left unsaid, and forgotten.” He stopped looking at me and focused back on the road. Our cart made little noise but swayed as it moved, like a cradle. It was as though it was attempting to lull me to sleep but I didn’t want to fall asleep yet, I still had so many questions to ask. With all the strength I could muster I spoke once again.
“Gideon...why can’t...I remember anything...from my past...” I saw him turn his gaze to look at me, but before he answered my question both of my eyes closed. My mind relaxed and soon I was pulled into an ever deep slumber.
I awoke to the sun beating down on my face, and a pleasant breeze brushing against my skin. Trees were all around me, and there was a bunch of fluffy clouds in the sky. The cart was still moving and Gideon was still sitting atop our sandy-colored horse. I rubbed my eyes and slowly sat up, I wonder how long I was asleep.
“Morning sleepyhead! Ready for our first day out on the open road?” Gideon asked me with a huge smile on his face. Good – I thought – he’s back to his normal self.
“Where are we?” I asked as I looked at my surroundings. Gideon chuckled at my question, as he steered the cart to the side of the path. He jumped off the horse and started stretching.
“Right now were on our way to the West. If you want our exact location then, sorry to say but I don’t have a clue as to where we are at the moment.” Gideon walked around to the back of the cart and held his hand out to me. “Come on, you should probably stretch before we continue.” I grabbed his hand and jumped down from the cart. My feet were bare making it so I could feel the grass. It was soft and cool, still coated with dew from earlier this morning. Seeing all the dew on the grass made me realize how thirsty I was.
“Hey Gideon, can I have something to drink? My throats parched.” I asked him as I started walking through the grass. “Gideon?” I noticed Gideon wandering around the trees, like he was looking for something. He bent over and plucked something from the tree trunk.
“Here.” He extended his hand, and on his palm was a small green twig. I stared at him with a questioning glance. What was I supposed to do with that, dig a hole and search for water? Gideon just chuckled at me before speaking once more, “You chew on it. There’s water inside it, and this way the water we have won’t go away as fast.” I snatched the green twig from his hand and shoved part of it in my mouth. Slowly I bit down onto it, unsure of what it would taste like. My teeth broke through the green casing and water oozed out.
“Good?” Gideon asked as he stepped toward me. I nodded my head enthusiastically while savoring the delicious water. He smiled and patted my head, “That’s my girl.” He turned around and headed to the cart. I smiled silently to myself and started walking around. My foot hit something hard that was laying in the grass. I looked down at my feet and froze with terror. It was a yellow color, somewhat circular, and stared at me with lifeless eyes. My whole body tensed up, and my eyes grew wide. I frantically looked around me, and soon wished I hadn’t. Bones were everywhere, and some of them were dyed the color red. Someone reached from behind me and covered my eyes.
A voice whispered into my ear, “Don’t look.” I felt the hands lifting so I quickly squeezed my eyes shut. Two hands gently came to rest on my shoulders before I was turned around. The person let go of me, and when he did I fell backwards. I braced myself for impact, but never touched the ground. Two arms gently held me up and carried me. I could hear his footsteps as he started walking, and the steady beat of his heart. Sun rays hit my skin and warmed me to the bone. The wind picked up around us and my hat blew away, including my special pin.
I quickly opened my eyes just in time to see my hat float up into the sky. “No hat! Come back!” I cried out into the sky. My eyes started leaking and my body shook. The man set me back onto the ground and extended his hand to me. On his palm was my special crescent pin, the one Julius gave to me.
“I believe this is yours, dear Julian.” I looked up to see who it was, just in time for him to talk once more. “Seems like you have a knack for crying every time we meet.” Julius smiled at me, and brushed my hair back of my face. He took his thumb and wiped away the tears forming in the corner of my right eye. I just stared at him, unsure of what to do or say. Julius walked past me and headed for the forest. “Tell Gideon something for me,” he turned and his eyes turned cold. “The one who spills blood, gets their own spilled in the end.” With that Julius ran into the forest. I wanted to go after him, there was so many questions he still had to answer, but I couldn’t move. I heard footsteps behind me, then another voice.
“There you are Julian! Come on, we got two-thousand some miles to go before we get to our new home!” Gideon shouted as he burst through the clearing. I didn’t turn around to see him, I wasn’t ready to talk. “Julian, what’s wrong?” He ran over to me and placed one of his hands on my head. I mumbled the phrase under my breath, in hopes I wouldn’t have to say it too loud.
“I am sorry, what did you say?” He asked me, as he leaned in to hear me better. I swallowed and gathered up the courage to speak.
“The one who spills blood...” – I paused and took in a deep breath. “Get’s their own spilled in the end.”
We rode down the path in silence, was it because of what I said? I held the pin tightly in my hand, and laid down in the cart. Gideon ended up putting a cover up over the cart so my skin wouldn’t get damaged by the sun, and to protect me from rain if it started to pour. Though it wasn’t an official covered wagon, just a cart with a make-shift top – though covered wagons were popular for travel. I sighed and stared out the back of the “wagon” so I could see the sky. Stars twinkled in the darkness, and the full moon stood out against the dark background. I wonder where Julius is? I hope he’s safe, it can be dangerous at night, especially in the middle of nowhere.
“Julian, you still up?”
“Yeah...” I replied softly, “Why don’t you rest, its late, you need sleep too.” I told him. Gideon has been up ever since we left and that was about two days ago, the day we started this journey.
“Good plan, the horse seems tired.” Gideon steered us over into a desolate area, then gave the horse some water and food before joining me. He looked exhausted – bags were under his eyes, and his movements were zombie like. He leaned his back against one of the bags of clothes and sighed.
“There are a couple things I should probably tell you.” Gideon looked over at me as he spoke. “Please just hear me out.” Finally – I thought to myself – maybe some of my questions will be answered. I sat up and positioned my self so I could clearly hear what he had to say.
“Well as you know we are heading west – towards the Pacific Ocean – on the oregon trail. You should also already know that it is a series of trails, not just one.” I nodded my head to show him I knew all this already, he then continued. “I am starting to regret bringing you on this journey, after all – the dangers I am putting you into are great.” My eyes grew wide, why was he regretting bringing me? Its not like we haven’t faced danger before. “There are no shops out here, and we are not likely to come across other travelers. Indians may trade with us, but that is if we even have anything to trade.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, what is he trying to say? Its not like I regret coming, he’s one of the only people I have left to call family.
Gideon paused and looked at me, once again his eyes seemed sad. “Julian, before we came on this journey I read up on this trail...Only a couple people were actually making it to their destination. The unfortunate either caught a disease called Cholera, starved to death, got ran over by a wagon, or were buried alive...” He paused, “Some – were eaten alive by their own friends and family...” A gasp escaped my throat, this was a lot to take in. If this was so dangerous then why did we leave, its not like anything bad happened where we were. I couldn’t take this! There was no point in moving! If it was so dangerous we should’ve just stayed where we were!
“Gideon, why did we have to leave! We were perfectly happy there!” I exploded on him, I couldn’t take all of this. “Why can’t I remember anything after I woke up in the hospital!” All of my emotions bursted, after keeping in all these conflicting emotions the past year, they finally they came out. Though some of them didn’t even connect with what was being talked about earlier. Gideon’s face went pale, and his eyes widened. It was like he couldn’t believe what I was saying, or it was just pure shock.
“Julian just calm down. We don’t need any unwanted attention right now.” Gideon softly said as he placed his hand on my shoulder. His hand was either gripping my shoulder tightly or something because there was pain in my shoulder. The problem was that now my emotions were taking over, which meant it wouldn’t be that easy to calm me down. I shook his hand off my shoulder and stomped out of the cart. He was hiding something from me, and I didn’t like it. Gideon jumped out of the cart and started walking towards me.
All of a sudden my mind started producing images. It flashed images of a person approaching me, carrying a knife. The color of blood, and...my parents. I couldn’t tell what was reality or memory. It flashed back and forth till reality changed all the way to memory. What I saw was not something that should be seen again or remembered. I screamed, the man with the knife was here, in front of me, walking towards me.
“Stay away from me!!” I shouted at the man with the knife. My legs collapsed beneath me, and my vision went black. No...it can’t end like this – I thought to myself. I couldn’t see, what is happening!?
“Shh...” A voice whispered in my ear, “Calm down, it’s gonna be okay. I’m here now.” It was Julius’s voice. My vision returned, but it wasn’t like I actually lost it – he had covered my eyes again. I was lifted off the ground and carried towards the cart with a frozen Gideon standing by it.
“Gideon you should have told her what happened back then already. Otherwise she may remember in a painful way.” Julius walked past Gideon and placed me on top of the horse in front of the cart. “Just stay there for a second okay, its been a while since I have actually had a real talk with him.” I couldn’t believe this, they knew each other?! I could hear some of what they were saying, but from what I heard they weren’t exactly buddies.
“Gideon your such a...” Julius stopped when he saw me looking at them, “Okay look. I came over here to tell you something important, but I was distracted. So here it is, a mile or so from here a “war” has broke out. Lt. Gratten and party went and attacked the Sioux indians because they ate one of their cows, to be –” Julius was cut off by Gideon’s talking.
“Wait you mean there are others near?” He asked Julius.
“Yes, anyway back to the matter at hand. Its an all out battle over there and it seems they are headed this way. I don’t know when they’ll get here but we should leave as soon as possible.” Julius patted Gideon on the back, “On a side note, thanks for taking care of her.” Julius whispered in his ear.
“Shut-up!” Gideon yelled, as he turned and punched Julius in the face. “You should’ve been there for her! She was in the hospital for a couple of days and you were nowhere to be seen!” Julius’s nose started bleeding. He stepped towards Gideon and spoke.
“I wanted to be there, but someone jumped to conclusions and knocked me out.” Julius spat the words out with anger,“You were there the whole time and I was afraid you would start throwing punches again if I got near her.” Julius grabbed Gideon’s arm and flipped him backwards. Gideon landed on the ground with a thud, but he got right back up. The two of them just stared at each other, ready to attack at any given moment. Julius started to raise his arm so he could punch Gideon once more, but stopped.
In the distance a gunshot went off, soon followed by more. Yelling and screaming cut through the air. Julius put his arm down and looked at Gideon. At the same time they both spoke, “Truce.” They nodded their heads at each other and ran over to me. Gideon lifted me off the horse and put me into the cart. Julius quickly hooked the horse up to the cart and sat up on the little bench in the front. Gideon hopped up onto the bench next to Julius, and looked back at me. He smiled quickly as though reassuring me it was gonna be okay.
Soon a bunch of pioneers ran into the open screaming, followed by Sioux indians. They had bows and arrows, and the pioneers had nothing to protect themselves. Julius looked behind us only to look back and get the cart moving. We took off down the path, leaving a cloud of dirt behind us.
“Gideon! Are we being followed?!” Julius shouted over the screaming. He was being pretty calm considering the circumstances. Gideon carefully crawled from the bench into the cart, and to the back. He froze.
“You might wanna hurry and get us out of here! A couple of these Indians are chasing us on horses!” He turned around and looked at me. “Get up there with Julius! It’s safer!” Gideon reached for his belt and pulled out a revolver.
“C’mon Julian! Hurry!” Julius shouted to me from the front of the cart. I quickly scrambled over to the bench and hopped up besides Julius. I turned around to watch Gideon, what was he gonna do? I couldn’t see what he was doing but soon enough gunshots rang throughout the wagon. Two of the three indians behind us fell off their horses, but one still remained. My eyes widened. Gideon...just killed two humans...He aimed the revolver at the one remaining, and went to pull the trigger.
“NO GIDEON! DON’T SHOOT!” I shouted with all my might. What happened afterward seemed like time was moving in slow motion. Gideon turned his head towards me, his expression was soft even though he killed others. Tears brimmed my eyes, and he shook his head at me playfully. He smiled at me and went to speak. I didn’t hear what he said, I was to focussed on the indian behind him. A bow was in his hands, he pulled the string back...
“GIDEON!!” I screamed. Gideon turned around slowly, the indian let go of the string...The arrow pierced Gideon in the heart, and he fell to the floor. “GIDEON!” I screamed with all my heart. “NO...please get up!!” In front of me Julius hopped onto the horse after he grabbed a buck-skinned bag.
“Julian! Come here!” Julius shouted to me. I didn’t move though. Gideon was in the wagon still, and he was bleeding. The floor around him became stained with crimson blood. I shook my head quickly as more tears filled the corners of my eyes, only to stream down my face soon after. Then his head moved.
“Julius, get her out of here...” He gasped. I shook my head, we couldn’t leave without Gideon! A hand grabbed my forearm and pulled me backwards. “Julian, keep walking forwa...” Gideon stopped, no longer moving, no longer talking.
“Gideon get up!!” I screamed as tears fell from my eyes. I no longer was on the bench, Julius had pulled me onto the horse with him. “Let go of me!! We gotta save Gideon!” I started punching Julius, but he still wouldn’t let go. Soon blood oozed from the side of his mouth. I froze...I hurt Julius, I made him bleed.
“You should see your face.” Julius told me as he reached towards the latch connecting us to the wagon. He unhooked it and the cart behind us became farther and farther away as we rode on. Gideon was still back there!
“We have to go back to Gideon!” I shouted at Julius. He just shook his head at me.
“That’s not what Gideon wanted. He wanted us to go on! He guaranteed our safe get away, so honor his death!” More tears streamed from my eyes, I couldn’t take this. I don’t want to lose Gideon!! Julius looked down at me and put his hand on my shoulder, near my neck. “Please forgive me, Julian.” He pressed his finger into my skin, and soon everything became hazy. Darkness surrounded me, but I managed to speak one word before I passed out.
The wind brushed against my hair, getting it all entangled. Tears dripped down my face, and I did my best to quiet my sobbing. Julius pulled me into an embrace and held me tightly. My tears stained his shirt, and I couldn’t quite my sobs anymore. He lifted my chin with his hand and attempted a smile, though I could tell he was just as upset as me.
“Julian, it’ll be okay.” He tousled my hair with his hand, then slipped something into my pocket. I tried to look down to see what it was but Julius wouldn’t let me. “Look at it when you get to the final destination.” I nodded my head, but couldn’t figure out why he said you, instead of us. I looked towards our make-shift grave we made for Gideon. It wasn’t like Gideon’s body was there, but I still felt like it wouldn’t be right to not give him one. We also went and picked some wildflowers to put on it. They were quite easy to find since we were in a open area.
“Julian how old are you now?” Julius asked as he turned around. I thought for a moment before replying.
“I am eight now, my birthday is in a couple of days...” I paused, “Why?” I turned around to see that he was already walking away. “Wait up!” I shouted after him. I caught up to him and grabbed the back of his shirt. He looked down at me and shrugged.
“I just wanted to know. I was pretty sure that the last time I saw you, you were about seven. So I just wanted to make sure.” He frowned, “I wish you weren’t forced to grow up so fast. Lately you’ve been acting like your almost an adult, and considering the things you’ve been put through I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t act like a kid anymore.” He grabbed my hand that was holding his shirt and held it. “Promise me something. When you get to your destination forget all of this, and start acting your age.” Julius smirked. I just stared at him. He didn’t include himself in his sentence again. Was he gonna leave me...just like Gideon. Julius started coughing and he fell to the ground. I dropped to my knees so I could see what was wrong.
“Julius, what’s wrong?” I asked him, but he didn’t answer he just kept coughing. “I know I’ll get you some water!” I ran over the hole he dug earlier to get some water. A bit of water sat in the bottom, I went to scoop it up with my hands when Julius yelled.
“Don’t touch that! Hurry...get away from it!” His violent hacking continued. I ran over to him, what was I supposed to do? I thought about it when I remembered what Gideon did for me when I was thirsty.
“Wait a second Julius! I’ll get you some water.” I ran over to one of the trees by the woods and searched for a green twig. Near the bottom of the trunk there was one. I grabbed it and pulled it with all my might, but it wouldn’t budge. How did Gideon get it so easily? I looked over to where Julius was but I couldn’t see him. Where was he?
“Julius!” I shouted as I ran back. By Gideon’s grave Julius was lying on the ground, not moving. “JULIUS!!” I fell to the ground and checked for his pulse. “C’mon Julius! Get up!” My voice quivered as I tried to wake him. My eyes started leaking and my breathing became heavy. “Please...get up!” I screamed up to the up the sky, hoping that for once something good would happen. It may seem selfish but I didn’t want to lose him, not after everything we were put through. No...he had to get up.
“Please...please...please get up! Brother don’t leave me!” I didn’t know what to do. What could I possibly do to help him, I am just an insignificant child! I looked up to the sky and shouted, “I don’t know if anyone is there or not, but please save my brother!” My voice was hoarse and the pain was unbearable, but I had to try something even if it was said to be impossible. “Just save him! Take my heart! Take my legs or arms you can have them! Just save him! He’s my older brother and he’s all I have left!!” I fell forward and my head landed on Julius’s chest. There wasn’t a sign of life, he was dead still. I buried my face into his shirt and sobbed. There wasn’t anything I could do to help him! Darkness swept over the land vanquishing the light. It came over me and soon I was pulled into a slumber filled with death, forcing me to relive each event once again.
I woke up covered in a blanket, sweating and gasping for air. A hand was stroking my hair, as though trying to calm me down. Who was this? Julius already had passed on, so it couldn’t be...
“Insignificant child huh?” A chuckle escaped the mouth that owned the hand. It was a man’s voice. “I’d say you’re a significant child. Someone who deserves some happiness in their life.” The man planted a kiss on my forehead, “Your the best sister anyone could ask for...So thanks, somehow you saved me!” It was Julius! He was alive!
“...” I opened my mouth to speak but no sound would come out. My voice...was gone. If this was my price I had to pay then fine with me, as long as I still had my brother I didn’t need to talk. I heard footsteps behind me, turning I gasped at who I saw.
“Too bad you couldn’t save me dear Julian..” It was Gideon. What was going on! I thought he passed away. “Hmm...seems to me you don’t care about me anymore.” He approached me and laughed, “So what are you gonna sacrifice to get me back?” Soon my arms and legs started disappearing. I couldn’t move, I was only able to slowly watch my body disappear, after the arms and legs was my torso. Then my head, until I was gone...forever.
My eyes snapped open and sweat dripped down my face. A dream...it was just a dream. I took a deep breath then sighed, what a terrible dream. Then it hit me, Julius is he okay? I looked down to see him smiling at me, but he soon started coughing again.
“Hi...” He managed to choke out, “So looks like this is the end huh. Sorry Julian, looks like I am gonna have to go again.” He winced as he spoke.
“Shhh, don’t talk it’ll only be more painful.” Julius shook his head at my words as he slowly sat upright. Patting the ground next to him he beckoned me to sit by him. I sat down and didn’t talk, he should leave in peace I guess...A single tear slid down my face and onto the ground.
“Please don’t cry, you’ve shed way to many tears.” He wiped the tears forming in my eyes away with his thumbs. I guess Julius was right, all I have been during this trip is a crybaby. Someone just causing others trouble, and in the end they paid with their lives. All because I...
“Julian...look at me.” Julius turned my head towards his, and ruffled my hair. “It’s not your fault. If anything it’s Gideon and I’s fault. You’ve been suffering from memory loss and those close to you seem to keep dying. Crying is only natural, your only eight after all.” He smiled at me and patted my head. “Keep walking forward! Your tough, and I am positive that you will make it to our destination one day,” His coughing started up again and he doubled over in pain. I shook my head, no this couldn’t be happening. How many times must I see those I love die before my very eyes.
“Don’t...leave,” I whispered into the air. Julius turned his head towards me and grinned.
“Don’t worry, the ones you love are always with you.” He sighed, “I am not trying to sound all mushy, but dad told me once that when loved ones go away they live on in our hearts.” His voice became soft, and weak. “Remember...that...okay...” Julius fell face forward into the ground, and didn’t move.
“JULIUS!!!” I screamed, “No, no, no, no, no! Don’t go!” I put my face in my hands and cried one last time. Letting out all my emotions, getting rid of them. I lifted myself off the dirt covered ground and stood there.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get to our destination! I won’t let you pass in vain.” It was hard to act tough because right now I just wanted to curl myself into a ball and weep. I had to shove those emotions aside for now, there was something left undone and it was up to me to change that.
I ended up burying Julius next to Gideon, it was hard to dig the grave by myself. I managed though. Walking away I swung up onto the horse and rode onward. The sun was setting over the horizon, and I only had a limited supply of food in the buck-skin bag. The horse took off down the path and carefully navigated through the darkness. Once again I fell asleep for the whole day, I really needed to stop doing that...I looked at the horse, and decided to strike up a conversation, weird right.
“Hi, I think I am gonna name you now. Your name is now Destiny, the one horse who has survived this journey so far with me. And well the only horse...” I rubbed Destiny’s mane and smiled. Might as well smile for the horse, after all we would be spending a lot of time together.
“I am not going crazy am I? For goodness sakes I am talking to a horse!” Destiny neighed after I spoke, was she talking to me? Then I saw it. A giant animal was blocking the road, and it didn’t look very friendly. My eyes grew wide, what was I gonna do now...The animal turned and looked at us, its teeth stained red. I froze, what was this creature?! Suddenly it charged towards us, but it seemed that Destiny figured it would. We took off into the woods nearby, and cut through the brush. If we lost this animal Destiny would be rewarded, with what I don’t know.
Branches cut into my skin and eventually blood was drawn. Leaves got caught up in my hair and my clothes became ripped. Destiny was running pretty fast, it was amazing. While I was marveling at Destiny’s speed the bag with all our food was snatched from my shoulder by a branch.
“Oh no...There goes our food”. It would take a while for us to get more food, since I didn’t know how to make traps to get animals, and I wasn’t gonna eat my horse. We weren’t gonna find any berries and if we did I wouldn’t be able to tell if they were poisonous or not.
We appeared to have lost that creature, but Destiny wouldn’t slow down. “Come on girl, easy now.” I told her, but she wouldn’t listen. I gripped onto her mane and tightened my legs grip, bad move. She went faster and faster not slowing down. “Destiny stop! I can’t hold on much longer!” The horse wouldn’t stop, and soon enough my grip loosened. I flew off the horse and landed in some thicket with thorns.
“Ouch..” I said as I rubbed my head. I looked around me, only to realize I didn’t know where I was, nor which way to go to get back to the trail. Not to mention that my horse just ran off. “This is just great.” I mumbled to myself.
Days have passed, and I have been unable to find any food. My body was weak and I had no strength to move anymore. I laid upon some leaves and closed my eyes. I felt a strange warmth that warmed me up and my hunger disappeared, but my eyes wouldn’t open. Looks like in the end I had to face my death too. I hadn’t even lived my life very long, passing on at eight years of age. It enveloped me in its warmth and I was sucked into a strange light. Gideon and Julius were there, all of us had finally made it to Oregon to start our new life. I smiled to myself, guess I didn’t have to worry about being alone anymore.
The Oregon trail took place during the time period called Manifest Destiny. Many pioneers and gold seekers took this path to start a new life or claim their fortune. People would usually take ox instead of horses since oxen would eat just about anything. Covered wagons were also something people would commonly use to travel all the way across the West. Many died though from accidental gun shots, Cholera, starvation and bad sanitation. It may have been dangerous but many were willing to risk it. People would take these trails because the railway wasn’t finished yet. Most of the people that took this trail died tragic deaths, and were put through trials most people nowadays wouldn’t be able to do. It was an accomplishment for those who survived and were able to settle or head to California. The trail tested everyone that traveled along it, for the journey wasn’t easy. The Oregon Trail has many historic points people can go and visit, but no one will know what they went through back then unless they experienced it first hand.