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Blood-Trail

Part 1 of 1


Historical note to consider of the time period:

White Men often referred to Indians as savages or other denigrating terms simply to make acts of genocide and massacre palpable and appear justified – when many such actions have later proven to be nothing more than cold blooded murder.

Reader Discretion Advised.
Story contains a scene of sex and violence.


Summer, 1878 / Near Goblin's Toe, Wyoming

Bow in hand with arrow notched, Running Deer moved with the natural ease of a practiced hunter.

Sweat glistened across her bare skin, striped with blended charcoal mixed with powdered herbs and dried berries for camouflage, while sharp bone-handled knives rested flat and sheathed against her bare thigh and forearm.

Willow and lithe from years of climbing high rock and running steep slope as a youth, her pitch black hair lay as veil across her back.

The clothing she wore in town lay neat and folded within saddle bags where she left her horse. Her skirt, blouse, boots and broad-brimmed hat would not be useful for this hunt. She also left the pistols and rifle, instead choosing her usual weapons and buckskinned leather for comfort.

Although she lived among the white man as a deputy, she had not forgotten what the healer Crazy-Bear had taught her long ago, that the guns of white men spoke fire and thunder, while it was often better to be the whisper of morning mist to bring little or no warning to her prey when she found him.

Ever cautious, she stepped from a cluster of spruce and out into the open, each step careful, weighed and measured as she eased through the high blades of grass beneath the ridge.

Favored with clear sky and bright summer sun, an unnatural silence seemed to blanket everything around her. Nothing moved as the spirits held their breath, and the air remained still.

She welcomed the silence like the gentle caress of an imagined lover.

The wounded white man that she hunted now was one of four who had tried to rob the bank in Goblin’s Toe. Two of the men died during the foolishness along with a detective who worked for a company called Pinkerton. She had tracked the man from where he abandoned his horse and set out on foot.

Her quarry had stumbled and fallen twice as he crossed the ridge behind her. With utmost caution, she studied the blood-trail he left for her to follow. Every few feet she stopped to pivot slowly on the balls of her feet as her dark-amber eyes searched for the next part of the trail. Ever cautious, Running Deer lowered her body to a crouch and searched for blood. There were occasional gaps, but she had only to show patience and search until the spirits showed her the way again.

Without taking her eyes from the trail, she used a waxed chalk stick to mark nearby trees as she passed. Others from town would follow and she made sure they could follow her chalk-line with ease.

Running Deer would never claim to understand white men. Her quarry must have thought that those who chased him would not notice when he sent his horse ahead and made his escape through the woods on foot. He would not be amused to learn that the deputy who followed him had grown up Sioux and knew enough of tracking that his actions would not go unnoticed.

Her almost father, the healer Crazy-Bear would be proud of how well his tireless training now reflected in his almost daughter.

With faint credit to her prey, Running Deer had to admit that even she had almost missed the white man’s trick, forced to backtrack when the hoof prints from his horse changed in depth along the trail. Obvious once she saw where it began, she chided herself for having missed it in the first place. The white man had leapt from his horse and managed to land just off the trail to cause even more injury that would slow him down if the spirits were helpful to her.

Caught up in the thrill of the hunt, Running Deer realized just how much she missed spending time in the wild. She froze when sound of distant gunfire reached her. It had only been two quick shots but it was enough to tell her that the man she hunted was not far away and still had his guns.

Marking another spruce with chalk, she moved forward to close the gap between hunter and prey.

* * *

Gillian Lovell swore as he watched the hind end of the white-tail deer leap from sight. His shots had gone wide once something startled the wounded animal. The white-flag of tail seemed to mock him as it vanished.

If his carbine had not proven useful, he might have smashed it against the trunk of a nearby tree and left it there.

It had taken him almost two days to get this close. Tall and lanky, he was fortunate to be a skilled woodsman and tracker. As his Grand-Father often prodded, dark brown stubble easily became thick beard if a hunter failed to find a wounded light bleeder that would not slow down.

With a swipe of his arm across his brow, he thought of his prey.

Twelve-point and well over two-hundred pounds, the animal would supply meat for months. It had been pure chance that he had managed to hit it in the first place. He paused to give the spooked animal time to settle as he carefully reloaded the cursed carbine.

Blood spots ran thick in some places along the trail with empty gaps in others, leading him to admit that the wound would not kill the animal anytime soon. He refused to admit that he might not catch up at all.

His horse and mules were left tied several ridges back as he moved on foot to he track his prey. At least they would not slow him down.

Easing through the brush, he kneeled to check the fresh bed where the deer had rested. The darkness in the dirt showed where it bled. With time favoring the deer, he knew full well that the damn wound would close up and the trail would end.

Unless he kept the deer active enough so that it would not have adequate time to rest or heal.

With reluctance he pulled a slice of jerky from his pocket and chewed it as he mused. The deer would not go far if nothing was chasing it. He had a fresh blood-trail and time on his hands.

With any luck he would have the deer by nightfall, or the next day, and not have to stay out in the wilderness again.

* * *

Zachary Burgess was in trouble and he knew it.

First the festered bullet wound from the bank robbery and then the wretchedly sore leg. He jumped from his horse after he put the burr under the saddle to make the horse ride off without him.

A stupid idea in hindsight, it seemed as good as any when he thought of it.

It had not worked as planned. The damned Indian whore had seen right through it. Red meat or not, he would have his way with her when he healed proper. Burgess had seen her from great distance, as she followed his back trail while he moved as best he could to stay ahead of her.

Slowed by his injuries as he was, she would catch up to him sooner than he wanted to think about.

Burgess needed change to heal and soon or he would be unable to defend himself. In feral form his body could heal better. For that he needed time and safety. The Wolven of his kind were subtle in animal form, while Burgess and his larger bear form were not.

As he pulled himself up with a ragged tree limb for a crutch, he climbed to the top of a ridge and found his salvation: a hunting cabin. Filled with renewed hope, Burgess quick-walked as best he could; no sign of anyone in or around the old place. For once, his cursed luck had paid off and the cabin would be perfect.

But first he had to lose the damned Indian.

The shots from earlier brought glimmer of idea; Burgess smiled for the first time in days. Sudden hope brought energy he would need to pull off his plan.

* * *

Running Deer cautiously circled the old house, looking for sign of her prey. Bleeding and injured, he should have stopped to care for himself. It was something white people did, often without much thought to those that hunted them.

The town Sherriff would have called it a rule of finger. She paused, mid-step, and kicked herself for getting it wrong as rule of thumb. While she had gotten better at their language, the things white people said still had not always made sense.

Dark empty windows looked back as she moved past. She circled twice before finding her quarry’s trail leading off and away from safety of shelter.

This white man was proving more of a challenge than she would have expected from one of his kind.

Off in the distance another shot rang out to waste more of his ammunition. Perhaps the wound had brought infection to his senses.

She could only hope.

As she moved toward the direction of gunfire, she took one last look at the building behind her. Something bothered her. He should have stopped. Why had he not? Even a white man could not have been that stupid.

Angered at her distraction, she found focus and moved on.

* * *

Gillian Lovell smiled when his carbine shot true and the deer he’d been chasing dropped for the last time.

Walking up to the dying animal, he laid the carbine against a nearby trunk and rolled up his sleeves. Once he finished gutting his kill, got the horse and ropes that he had packed on the mules, he would quarter and drag it back for proper butchering.

But first things first, he needed to clean out what he could to lighten the load.

And this was as good a place as any.

* * *

Burgess pushed his body more than it wanted to be pushed as he hurried. The Indian would be slowed by being careful where he could afford not to be.

He managed to pull himself up to the top of yet another ridge when he saw the man in the hollow below.

The man’s carbine lay against a tree nearby as he worked on whatever it was that he had shot. As he moved to approach from behind, Burgess chose his route with care and hurried as best he could. The man hummed a tune as he worked to mask any sound Burgess might make if luck was still with him.

With studied purpose, he crossed over and through the foot path of the hunter. Burgess smiled at what the Indian would make of that. Not wanting to waste time that he would need later, Burgess moved out and away from the man and his deer. He would circle back around to the cabin and wait.

The Indian must have heard the shot and would be here soon.

Let her figure it out while he healed. There was a reason Indians like her ran as wild as they did; they were just too stupid and ignorant to know better. He on the other hand was savvy enough to use what he could to survive and get away.

With any luck he would be back and safe at the cabin before she saw the error of her ways and came looking for him.

By then he would be waiting for her and ready for a proper piece of red meat.

* * *

The spirits had abandoned her ever since Running Deer found the old house. Something was wrong even though her quarry’s path told her otherwise.

She slowed to shake the bad feeling and then pressed on. She had heard of tracking sickness from Crazy-Bear, while Poe often called it tunnel vision. Focus on small details too long and the woods closed in. But why seeing the forest through the trees was a bad thing, she was unsure. Another saying Poe used that made no sense.

Running Deer stopped, crouched low, and closed her eyes. She focused on her body, her heart, her weapons and her hearing. Soon enough, she heard sounds of the forest talking to her again, gentle whispers for her to move on before she lost her prey and he got away.

The tracks and sign of her quarry’s passing showed that he had moved fast, hurried by fear or illness from his wounds. It would not be long before he collapsed from exhaustion and she could bring him back to town for his crimes.

As she climbed to the top of a ridge she smelled it; the unmistakable odor of fresh entrails and spilled bowel were strong and nearby.

Had he fallen? Or worse, crazed and weak from wounds, charged blind only to be impaled on a branch nearby. Justice from the spirits would not be swift and would bring terrible pain.

Filled with unease, she moved forward.

* * *

Burgess felt feverish as he rested against the rough siding of the cabin. Winded by his rush through the woods, surely he had moved far and wide enough that the damned Indian would not have seen nor heard him. He had even managed to lose his crutch, which had not helped any. Blood from the wound had soaked most of his shirt to leave little wonder as to the severity.

He laughed at the word the old doc back in town liked to use. Why not just say bad and cut out the long words city folks used? Burgess pulled himself up and moved around the cabin. Lady luck finally smiled upon him as he found an unlocked window that pushed up with ease. He struggled to pull himself up and fell into the cabin.

Panic gripped him as he began to peel off his clothing. Lessons of the past taught him it was better to save what you could for when you might just need it later.

Naked and curled in a ball, he whimpered in pain as he focused on nothing and everything. It was like that when it happened. A painful rip here, a god-awful snap there and then all hell broke loose ... and then nothing.

Like a calm before a storm he knew was going be bad; really bad.

Fingers curled and lengthened as he rolled to his knees, back arched and hips pushed out with the wave of familiar agony as softer parts of his body stretched beyond limit and expanded.

Burgess’s head snapped back as he started to scream, cut off quickly enough as his face folded and remolded, a deep guttural snarl filled the room as the change finished and pain faded.

It was here and he was ready, only a matter of time now.

The man-bear shook its great black mane before settling on its haunches to lick wounds with care as it found them. Gaps beneath the fur began to fuse; bone and muscle weakened from injury mended.

Human eyes watched the windows as it waited.

Thoughts of red meat aroused lustful hunger that had not been properly fed in a long time.

* * *

Running Deer suffered several emotions as she watched the white hunter and his kill; passing confusion, muted anger and mild jealousy of success to her failure. It was the second time on this hunt that she had been misled by her prey.

Her respect was growing for the white man that she chased, her muted anger roiled even more in anger at the admission. The distraction of the wrong trail would take time to figure out, time her quarry would use against her to get farther away.

The hunter reached over and planted what must have been his gutting knife in the dirt before he wiped his hands with a red rag. He continued to hum as he rose to position the animal for butchering.

Although the man appeared confident, she was just as sure white men were not as skilled as her people were at storage of meat for winter.

One clear advantage she now enjoyed was that the hunter appeared larger than her quarry, making the difference in trail easier to find and follow. Like the horse trick earlier, this would only slow her down and not stop her.

Running Deer was determined to prove that, as she turned back to the trail with renewed focus. Much like snakes that chased one another, four trails twisted together before they split at a low ridge. Blood intermixed with blood; foot prints intermixed with foot prints.

The animal blood was darker red, showing the lesser severity of its wound, while bright blood from a possible lung wound indicated her quarry had not stopped his bleeding. Lighter prints and blood had come from the old house she had seen earlier, while the other trails led away and down into the swale.

She put herself in the place of her prey, an imagined white man and his thoughts.

Wounded, hurried and aware of her threat behind him, he heard the same shots that she had, from the same direction. The same hunter was where she found him as her quarry had. And now she knew exactly where her white man was. The same place she would have gone.

The old house behind her where he thought he would be safe and sound.

Cautious as a wolf stalking a rabbit, Running Deer moved away from the trail to approach the house from the far side. He would expect her to come back the same way she had passed earlier.

This time, it would be her turn to surprise him.

Nothing stirred as she approached the house. She saw no obvious sign that the white man had returned. No sign on the hard packed ground either, but the unease was back.

A half open window and dark stain beneath it. Old sign of those who had lived there, she was sure. With great care she moved around to the front of the house where she found the door locked and untouched.

She lowered her bow and turned her back to the door to consider her next option.

The dark stain she’d seen gave her pause; had it been there earlier?

Creak of wood made her whirl; only to catch the door as it knocked her off her feet and hard onto her back, stunned against the hard packed earth.

Her world faded from grey to black as the spirits abandoned her.

* * *

The man-bear Burgess approached the broken door and swept it aside to reach down and pull the stunned Indian whore to her feet by a fistful of hair. With grim satisfaction, he turned and slammed her hard and fast into the open door frame, watching her fall back to crumple and lie still at his feet.

He had won. Beat the whore at her own game. Burgess was not worried about the Indian’s face or the damage that he had wrought; blood and broken bone would not come near to making things even for everything that she had put him through.

No, he was not anywhere near done with her.

Burgess removed the sheathed blades from the Indian’s arms and legs for his own safety before his attention turned to her buckskins, ripping them from bottom to top in one move. With growing anticipation, he lowered his snout, licking blood from along her chin and down her neck; sweat from full breasts aroused him as he moved further and over her soft lower belly. Exotic musk filled him as he found inner thigh and tasted her, prime grade compared to the usual town whores. Unbridled lust made him rise and drag her by her ankles into the cabin. The table was ready, pushed against the wall as he picked her up and tossed her face down over it.

He mounted her with impatient force, the table groaning under their weight as he pulled her against him, each thrust growing urgent until his body convulsed and he finished, a low growl of satisfaction filling the room. Burgess stood there, still one with the Indian as she lay pinned beneath him. He reached for the tangle of her long black hair and moved it aside as he lowered his mouth to the nape of her neck where his tongue traced a trail to her shoulder and he struck, his teeth buried deep in her flesh.

Bone snapped and blood filled his mouth only to run down his chin.

The whore’s body released him as he stepped back in triumph, watching as she slowly fell from the table to her knees before collapsing onto her side, her head against the floor with a dull thud that satisfied him even more.

He thought about taking her again just to show her proper seconds, knowing full well that it would not be as good as the first time, her first time. The bloodied table and her inner thighs were evidence enough of that.

She was broken in, a real whore now. In human form he would have baptized her with his spit for her trouble.

Burgess used his discarded clothing to wipe blood and Indian juice from his body, tossing them away before he bolted from the cabin, the Indian left behind to do whatever Indian whores did after they were bred proper.

His body healed and loins satisfied, he ran full out as only a feral could, no longer worried about those that might pursue him.

* * *

Twain Jones felt relief when he discovered the cabin. He had followed the trail of Burgess and the Indian from town along with her chalk marked path. The Alpha of his pack wanted things cleaned up after the botched robbery attempt in Goblin’s Toe and tapped Jones to make sure whatever the Indian found stayed lost.

He held no particular ill will toward the native deputy or her kind and would deal with Running Deer as she needed dealing with when the time came. Jones wondered if the Indian even knew Burgess was Lycan. It might prove her peril if she did not; skilled as she was supposed to be or not, even with a name like Running Deer, she would be no match for Burgess if he had gone feral and was in bear form.

Jones had long ago grown cold and indifferent to the disposition of mauled remains of the women who had suffered poor handling by Burgess in feral form; fortunately, they tended toward nameless town whores that were replaced with ease and hardly missed.

His Lycan Alpha preferred it that way. Jones had proven himself by keeping the mortals around them deaf, dumb and blind to pack activities, even when some like Burgess went rogue.

In Jones opinion, Burgess should have been run to ground long ago, but alas, it was now just he and the deputy against someone who had proven anything but easy to catch.

From his saddle, Jones took in the scene of the wrecked doorframe and the discarded door nearby. He could see what appeared to be fresh blood on both. From the damage to the door frame, the door had been kicked out, not in as he might have expected.

Discarded buckskin, ripped and torn, along with an assortment of native style weaponry lay nearby, telling Jones that Running Deer had indeed discovered the true nature of her prey and that it had not gone well for her.

Odds of survival were moving toward slim and none for the one Indian that would be missed by many if she were gone; attention to her absence something his pack would not profit from.

Jones sensed someone in the cabin but saw no movement. Carefully, he climbed down from his saddle to approach the open doorway, one hand rested upon the butt of his holstered colt pistol. He found Running Deer just inside the door, naked and bloodied, but alive.

“G’dammit!” Jones seethed as he squatted down next to the unconscious Indian. Fortune was with the pack that Running Deer had even survived the run in; but found like this things would prove bad for both Jones and his boss as if she had not been found at all.

And that would not do.

He ran fingers along the juiced slickness of Running Deer’s soft inner thigh and tasted the blood he found there. If Burgess was in bear form when he forced himself upon her, the internal injuries she suffered from his impassioned girth might not be survivable. Ripped skin of bite mark to her shoulder would save her if she survived the change; unsure as he was if red men and their women proved palpable to change.

Jones realized he had no choice but to clean up yet another mess before going after Burgess. The deputy would need help without alerting anyone to the underlying nature of her attack.

As he looked around the cabin, he knew there would only be one way to do both.

Jones gathered the Indian’s limp body in his arms and carried Running Deer out into the woods far and away from the cabin. He found a large fallen pine that he draped her over as if the place of her final disgrace. He returned after gathering her buckskins and discarded weapons to set the scene and make it look as if she had been attacked, stripped and mounted hard against the log.

It was quite possible that her attack would be attributed to her own people as some kind of punishment, but Jones held heavy doubts that it would stand. Local whites were just as likely to get the blame which would muddy the waters even more.

Then there was the cabin. He opened the windows for ventilation before setting kerosene lamps on the floor with saturated wicks pulled as far out as possible.

Using a lamp to lay a trail of kerosene out to his horse, he tossed it back against the cabin.

Climbing onto his saddle, Jones lit a match and dropped it from horseback, to watch it catch before he turned and kicked his horse to follow Burgess’s escape trail. Behind him, flames snaked back to lick at dry siding before the lamps lit and exploded, engulfing the structure from within.

Safe and away from the growing fire, Running Deer lay still; each breath even and steady as blood seeped from her wounds.

The fire would bring help, but it would be the spirits that would decide if she was alive when it got there.

* * *

~ To Be Continued ~


Copyright © 2011 by Robert L. Sellers Jr. All rights reserved.
Please do not use without permission of the author.

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