Western Fiction posted January 13, 2018 Chapters:  ...6 7 -8- 9... 


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Sarah is put to the test.

A chapter in the book The West

Sarah's Ordeal

by Thomas Bowling


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.



Background
This chapter depicts torture. If this is difficult for you, please skip this chapter. This will not happen again.

Previously:

Sarah has been captured by the Comanche and has tried to fit in.

Chapter 8 

Running Horse, a middle-aged warrior, announced that Sarah was to be his wife. Among the Indians, the woman had no say in the matter. According to custom, first, she must pass through the gauntlet. Sarah was made to walk between two rows of Indians. They beat her with sticks and hurled insults at her in an effort to frighten her.

Running Horse was a brave warrior. It would not do for him to have a coward for a wife.

Among the tormentors, Sarah saw Dark Waters. He pushed several Indians out of his way to get close to Sarah. He screamed obscenities at her while hitting her with a rough stick, causing her to bleed. Dark Waters spat on her.
“Let's be done with this and kill the white devil. Her presence brings a curse on our tribe. Our crops refuse to grow. Our corn wilts. How much longer must we endure this evil living among us?

Sarah was bloodied. She could barely walk. Running Horse wanted to help her, but this was forbidden. She must endure the test on her own. She could barely crawl for the last few feet. She was bleeding and dragged herself to the end.

After surviving the gauntlet, Sarah was branded. Running Horse's brand was burned onto her forehead. Tattoos were carved into her face.

The last ordeal was the test of the serpent. Sarah was tied spread eagle on the ground. A snake was placed between her legs. She was told to lay motionless. Sarah didn't scream as the reptile slithered inside her. She simply went insane.

She never spoke again. The refined lady from a good family found out what it meant to travel west.

After her ordeal. After she had gone insane, the children who had been her students would push her down and throw stones at her, but Dark Waters chased them away. “Leave her alone. She is a good woman. We did this to her.

From time to time, Sarah would pound on her stomach with her fists. “She still feels the demon inside her,” the Indians would say. They became afraid of her, and she was banished from the tribe. Running Horse was shamed for choosing such a wife.

When I found Sarah, she was wandering in the desert. She was as red as the Indians who had banished her. The desert sun had scorched her once delicate skin. She was as leathery and stretched as taut as my saddle. She had abandoned her clothes in the desert heat. When people lose their minds, they don't understand that clothing provides a layer of protection and cooling.

I got off my horse and slowly walked toward her with my canteen in my hand, holding it out to her. She crouched down low and bared her teeth, making biting motions. As I drew near, she made animal noises and threatening gestures. I did the only thing for her that I knew to do. I put a bullet in her head.

“Welcome to the West,” I said as I buried her. "I hope you find the peace you came seeking. May God rest your soul.”

This was the West for Sarah Beauchamp, a fine lady who went to finishing school in France and traveled west in America.

To be continued . . .



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© Copyright 2018. Thomas Bowling All rights reserved.
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