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... Show full author's note »
Part Four: Stuck In-between The Past and The PresentWe 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.