"When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” - Chief Aupumut, Mohican. 1725
The woman screamed in anguish, fist pumping against her chest, “What are you doing! Stop…stop can’t you hear their screams!” She dropped to her knees in the middle of the clearing and crawled toward them begging, “What have you done? The forest bleeds…”
Rough hands dragged her away.
“Stupid Indian hag! Go home with your superstitious bullshit.” A man yelled after her, following close behind waving a wad of papers in hand. “Land’s mine brought and paid for. Git out of here and don’t come around here no-more!” He sneered, eyes gloated with victory. Dumb Injun actually thought he’d leave the trees standing. Lies, all lies.
He was privy to the rumors circulating through town, about the wild woman who rescued strays by the edge of the forest. Animals that is, not people. She stayed to herself, preferring the company of trees and beast over neighbors. The new land owner let loose a hard laugh; Too bad witch, to each his own.
To each his own, the raven haired woman whispered, tears streaming down her face. Her chant lifted by the wind, flew swiftly toward the four directions. With a dagger she carved her plea in blood upon her skin. While whispers echoed in the ears of ancestors long gone and those yet to be born. She called forth the forest phantoms each by their sacred name; she called them one and all.
In the silence which followed, the moonlight vanished behind a storm cloud of raven wings carrying the old ones answer. They descend in darkness to flood the woman’s mouth – choking, devouring her soul as they plundered the depths of what remained of her human shell. Her loyal dog ran the gamut and jumped into the swirl of wings and darkness; only to be swallowed whole. At night’s end a beautiful creature stood muddied and half skinned, a rabid beast beside her. For vengeance has its price…
Don’t go in the forest, for the forest contains secrets best left alone. The deeper you stroll; chances are you’ll come across the savage undead. With a demented smile, she’ll greet you warmly before tearing out your throat and leaving the remains for her loyal companion.
The woods they bleed no more.
"I cured with the power that came through me. Of course, it was not I who cured, it was the power from the Outer World, the visions and the ceremonies had only made me like a hole through which the power could come to the two-leggeds." - Black Elk, Oglala
*A bit of fun this Halloween. Pictures are thanks to MakeMeZombie.com. No animals were hurt in this retelling.