The Cowboy Who Didn't Speak Indian
Chapters : 1 | 2
A reader who goes
by the name Susan wrote to me
a while back and presented a challenge.
She imagined a man and woman meeting who did not speak the
language, and yet had to spend a lot of time together doing something
other. How would
they interact? How
would they communicate? What if they
developed feelings for each other?
reflected on that, and thought up a number of different scenarios that
her challenge. Here
is one of them.
introduced himself only as Slim, was slumped in the saddle as the roan
he was currently riding ambled along through the scrub and sagebrush,
its route by some mysterious process Slim didn't understand.
Or care about, for that
cared about right now was just
staying in the saddle. Not
he'd had high hopes of getting himself a mail bag full of cash, when he
the train and robbed it. It
occurred to him that the people on the train might take offense to the
being robbed, and he for sure hadn't thought they'd unlimber their guns
shoot at him. He'd
gotten away, but took
a bullet in the process. Since
actually gotten anything from the train, he hoped to high hell that
gotten a horse out of the stock car and taken out after him.
He was pretty
sure the bullet that had
hit him in the side under his right arm had passed completely through
it hurt like fire and he'd lost a lot of blood.
All he could do was move on, though, until he found water. That was because he was
also pretty sure
that, once he got down off his horse, he wasn't getting back up on it
spell. He needed a
place to lay up for a
while, and that meant water.
He was half
passed out when the
screaming roused him. It
screaming, and it was pretty much nonstop, the kind of gut wrenching
that made a man's legs turn to water.
Later on, he would credit that screaming for saving his
life, because he
was pretty sure it covered the sound of his approach to the shady copse
trees the screaming was coming from.
While it bothered
Slim enough to grip
the handle of his six shooter, the horse didn't care a whit, and walked
on into the little grouping of trees.
Slim's eyes took in a sight that made his gut tighten.
The girl was
staked out naked on the
bare ground, her arms and legs spread wide and tied so she couldn't
resist. A man stood
between her legs, in
the act of pushing jeans down. It
pretty obvious what he planned on doing.
The girl's face looked over to the new arrival, and she
took in a
shuddering breath to scream again.
black cowboy hat on the rapist's head turned, exposing a bearded face. His eyes widened as he saw
Slim, and he bent,
reaching for the gun belt on the ground by his feet.
was instinct. There
was no honor in waiting for the man to
actually have the gun in his hand.
Letting that happen was only inviting death. He drew his Colt and shot
the man three
times, aiming carefully, watching the dust jump from the man's body
slugs hit him.
The girl screamed
again, a long, drawn
out bloodcurdling scream, as the man who would have raped her fell to
across one of her thighs. She
breath and kept screaming, mindlessly.
Now that the immediate danger was gone, Slim's eyes picked
additional information. The
black hair framed the
dusky skin of her face and neck. The
skin on her breasts and stomach looked lighter.
Her buckskin dress was lying several feet away from her. It looked like it had been
cut off of
around and saw the narrow
gleam of water further into the trees.
creek. He hoped the
girl didn't kill him
when he released her, because he was pretty sure he wasn't going to be
do much to stop her if she tried.
He fell, more
than dismounted from his
horse, landing hard on his side and grunting with agony as the pain
sun flash behind closed eyelids. He
there for several minutes. The
kept on, and it was annoying enough that he rolled over and started
toward the girl. He
happened to get to
her left foot first and, fumbling his hunting knife from its sheath, he
rawhide strips that had been drawn so tight around her ankle they drew
stopped, and was replaced
by gasping sobs.
He barely made it
to her left hand,
which was opening and closing frantically, but then stopped as his
couldn't get the tip of
the knife under the rawhide around her wrist, so he reached to cut it
her hand and the stake.
through him as he pulled the knife blade across the string, and as it
couldn't hold on to the knife any longer.
With a groan, he
everything went dark.
When he became
conscious again, it was
suddenly, as if he was waking from a night's sleep.
His instincts were in good shape, and told
him to keep his breath slow and even, while he listened. He cracked his eyes open. Based on the quality of
the light, he thought
it must be early evening.
nothing except the wind in the trees, and the faint sound of trickling
water. Then the
sound of a foot on sand
startled him enough that he opened his eyes.
He looked up to see the Indian girl standing above him,
looking down at
him. She appeared
to be upside down, and
his knife was in her hand.
"Yo toh hey," she
the tone of her voice the last
time he'd heard her use it, that voice was amazingly soft and
Slim didn't speak
"Howdy," he said.
cracked through a dry throat.
She moved off,
out of his sight. Slim
rolled his head to see what she was
doing. In doing so
he realized he was
lying on his back, his head propped on (and crushing) his hat. His shirt was gone. She must have taken it off
of him, and
arranged him thus, which meant she didn't plan on killing him. Not right away, anyhow. She could have done that
already, if that was
her intent. Considering
what she'd been
through, he wouldn't have blamed her.
Flies buzzed about the wound under his arm.
She came back
with a mass of cloth in
her hand, dripping as she hurried across the sand.
It looked like a shirt, but it wasn't his.
"To nah weh
hata," she said,
kneeling beside him.
He started to say
understand," but when he opened his mouth to speak, her hands brought
dripping cloth over his face and she squeezed.
It rained all over his face and he sputtered, turning his
head. A little
got in his mouth, though, and he swallowed it automatically.
"Shey tah!" said
louder. She was
frowning. She went
away again, and returned with the
cloth dripping again. She
mouth wide, as if she were going to swoop down and bite him. He stared at her. She closed her mouth and
opened it again.
"To nah weh
hata!" she said,
obviously trying to tell him something.
She opened her mouth wide again.
He aped her, and
she brought the cloth
over his face again. Then
he got it, and
as she squeezed, he tried to catch as much of the water in his mouth as
could. She smiled
and nodded. It took
her three more trips before he lifted
a hand to keep her from going again.
wasn't a very efficient way of drinking, but it worked.
"Thank you," he
She shook her
head. "Tee tee ya
nagen ho," she said.
"I guess we don't
other," he said, more to himself than to her.
"I appreciate it, though."
He examined her. He must have been out for
a while, because
she'd had time to get her dress and cut strings off of it to use to
all back together again. It
body now. It had
been beautiful at one
time, almost white and thin as though made from the hide of something
young. When she
stood up again, his eyes
slid up the inside of one bare leg to darkness that didn't quite hide
hair between her legs. His
to find that she had been looking at his face, and knew where his eyes
been. Her face
revealed nothing about
how she felt about that, but he said "Sorry," instinctively. She said nothing, but
moved backwards so he
couldn't see up her dress any more.
He tried to sit
up, and the pain was
like someone had hit him with a tree trunk.
His shoulders fell back to the ground, just as her hand
pressed on his
chest. She was
frowning, shaking her
head. It was clear
she was telling him
not to try to get up. She
pushed her hand flat at him, like he knew some men did when telling a
hat was off to one side of
his head and he reached for it, to prop up his head again. That was when he realized
it was black, and
not his hat at all. It
was the other
He lifted his
head, looking for the
man he'd shot. It
hurt, but his
curiosity was stronger than his aversion to pain.
What he saw didn't make sense at first.
The man's clothes and kit were all piled up
in one place. His
eyes analyzed the
marks on the ground, and he came to the realization that something
been dragged away. Looking
saw his horse tied to a tree, his lariat lying uncoiled on the ground
She had cut the
clothes off the man
and dragged his body away with the horse.
He was thinking
about trying to crawl
to the pile, which included the man's gun belt, when the girl walked up
bent down, and pulled the six shooter out of the holster. She walked away again and
leading another horse. It
must have been
the dead man's.
prepared when she calmly
cocked the pistol, placed the end of the barrel between the horse's
pulled the trigger.
His yell was
drowned out by the report
of the pistol. The
horse dropped like a
stone and flopped, bonelessly on the dusty ground.
He watched in horror as she took his knife
and skinned the corpse, butchering it and folding the meat into the
she dragged away from the remains.
taking his rope again, she tied it onto one leg of the carcass. His horse wanted no part
of the dead animal, or her, covered in blood as she was,
but she was firm as she tied the other end of his lariat to the saddle
pulled his horse, making it drag the body out away from where it had
returned, she tied up his
horse again, put together a fire, which she lit with, of all things, a
she took from a small metal box. Her movements in lighting the match,
indicated she was not well practiced in doing so, which convinced him
was loot from the dead man's belongings.
By the time she
had cooked some of the
horsemeat over the fire, Slim's stomach was at war with his mind. When she approached him
with the meat, he
turned his head and said "No!"
She pushed it at him, and he said "No!" again and covered
mouth. His stomach
told him he was much
too hungry to be picky about what was available to it.
Besides, he needed food to heal.
When she offered a third time, he dropped his
hand and closed his eyes. He
push the meat between his teeth, and just tried not to think of what it
was. He was
surprised that it tasted
good, and his eyes popped open. Instead
of thinking of what he was eating, as she fed him, he examined her more
He hadn't been
around that many Indian
maidens. He assumed
this one was a
maiden, because she looked like a girl to him, quite a bit like any
girl he'd ever seen, except for her skin color.
And the way she was dressed, of course.
Her hair was tied back, making a very long pony tail that
she had tied
with a number of pieces of rawhide, several inches apart up and down
of it. Young though
she might be,
however, her form was fully that of a woman, with proud, thrusting
breasts. His memory
of seeing her naked,
staked out, was a bit fuzzy. He
remembered her nipples were dark brown, but that was about it. It seemed like her breasts
hadn't looked as
big then as they did now. The
she'd made to her dress had been hasty.
Apparently she'd just poked holes along where the dress
had been cut off
her, and then used pieces of fringe to tie the edges back together. Now that she was close to
him, he could see
her smooth skin through the gaps.
She was pretty,
and his body
acknowledged that. He
didn't feel bad
about that. His
dick got stiff any time
he saw a pretty girl or woman. It
done that since he had grown hair down there.
He didn't know for sure how old he was, but he was pretty
sure he had a
couple of years on this Indian girl.
that it mattered. He'd
rapist. He wasn't
about to try to take
the man's place.
When she brought
him water again,
though, he figured out the shirt she was using was that of the man he'd
killed. He balked
at drinking that way,
and took it from her, throwing it off to one side.
She looked confused.
He pointed to his horse and then made as if
he had a cup and was tipping it to drink from.
She looked from him to the horse and back.
She clearly didn't understand.
"Help me up," he
holding out his hand to her. She
there, on her knees, watching him.
reached for her hand and gave it a little tug as he tried to lift his
the sand. She shook
her head, and gave
him the 'stay' sign again. He
head too and pointed at the horse.
It took half an
hour, but she finally
helped him sit up by pulling on his good arm.
He pantomimed drinking from a cup again, which she didn't
get. But when he
cupped his hand and drank from
that, he saw the understanding rush into her eyes.
He pointed again, jabbing his finger toward
She rose and
investigated his kit,
tied on behind the saddle. When
figured out how to untie it, she brought it to him, watching as he
it. She understood
the purpose of the
battered blue enameled cup immediately, and went to the creek with it. He watched her drink two
cups herself, before
she brought him one. Then
another one, and brought him one.
pointed at the horse again and drew in the sand, trying to make the
a canteen. She
watched, and then shook
her head, but more as if sadly, rather than to say she didn't
jabbed his finger at the drawing and then
at the horse. She
stood, went to the
horse and brought him his canteen.
he understood why she'd shaken her head.
A bullet had struck it, apparently from great distance,
bullet rattled around inside the empty - and now useless - container.
strained his resources, but
he looked around, able to see more.
saw his shirt and hat, piled neatly off to one side.
His horse looked okay.
He wished he could get the saddle off.
If he hobbled the beast, it could forage
without getting too far away. It
water too. When he
tried to get up,
though, the pain made him see spots again.
She was there, kneeling beside him, her hands fluttering
trying to make him stay down.
In the end, he
signed for her to bring
the horse to him. It
didn't step on
him, but when he extended his arm he still couldn't reach the cinch
understood, though, and
worked at it for him, until the saddle was loose. Her movements suggested she had done this before, and it was then he remembered the horse she'd shot for food had no saddle on it.
He held up a hand to stop her and pointed to
the pile of leather and metal that she had taken off the dead horse's
head. When she
brought it to him, he
made hobbles from the bridle. Again, she seemed to know their use, and she took them from him and put them on his horse.
Then he motioned for her to tip the saddle off next to him.
By the time it
got dark, he'd seen the
horse drink and then move off toward a patch of good grass. She had also cooked him
more meat, and he had
gotten his spare shirt out of his kit, as well as his blanket. She disappeared off into
the trees and he
took that opportunity to scoop a hole in the sand and pee into it,
up again. It was
the best he could
Exhausted, he was
trying to arrange
the blanket over himself when she returned.
She plucked the blanket from his hands and, to his
down beside him, covering them both.
Placing one leg over his, and an arm over his chest, she
big, soft breasts into his good side, and used his shoulder for a
She was softly
snoring before he could
fall asleep himself.
The next morning
he awoke stiff, but
in a little less pain. She
was gone, but
the fire was going again. She
had made a
circle of rocks around it. He
to roll over onto his good side easily this time, and dig another hole
morning water. After
covering it up, he
tried scooting away from that place, and was able to get a few feet
without too much trouble. He
weak, though, and decided not to try getting up yet.
appeared, as if by magic,
with a cup full of water, which she handed him.
He saw meat, skewered on a small branch, propped where the
cook it. She picked
up the stick and bit
a piece of meat, testing it, before she put it back.
Then she sat and looked at him.
He talked to her
because just sitting
there silently made him feel foolish.
still felt foolish, speaking a language he knew she didn't understand,
was better than just staring at each other.
"You sure are
said. "I kin see
why that feller
was taken with you. That
ain't no excuse
for what he done, but I kin see it."
She just stared
back at him.
"An' I sure do
helpin' me. I'd
have been a gonner fer
sure iffen' not fer you."
She crawled over
to him and unbuttoned
his shirt. He was
confused by that until
she tried to look at his wound. Then
examined him, and
nodded. He looked
down and was horrified
to see little wriggling white worms covering the place where the bullet
come out of him. He
yelled, and swiped
at them with his good hand, but she grabbed him, holding his hand
"Shey tah!" she
shaking her head.
trying to get his hand free. He
"Shey tah!" she
her voice soothing. She
said something else,
a string of words that made no sense at all.
But she closed up his shirt, as if nothing at all was
wrong. He was too
weak to argue, but the idea of
maggots on his body bothered him intensely.
Still, every time he tried to move his hand, she gripped
shaking her head. Eventually,
again, he drifted off to sleep.
He awoke this
time to a high sun, the
beams of which shone through the trees, dappling the ground with bright
of light. He had
sat up before he even
realized it. There
was pain, but not
debilitating pain. The
girl was gone
again, but his horse was in view, which made him feel better.
This time he
decided to try to at
least get to his knees, which he accomplished much more easily than he
anticipated, so much more that he went on to stand.
He was weaving a bit, but shifting a foot to
a wider stance stabilized him sufficiently that he was pretty sure he
just fall down. He
eyed a sapling a few
feet away and, judging he could make it, staggered toward it, reaching
with his good hand. He
had a bout of
dizziness, but it passed. He
good, all things considered.
The girl was
suddenly standing in
front of him, frowning and chattering in a way any man would
if he didn't know the meaning of a single word.
She was upbraiding him.
looked strong and beautiful, even though she was frowning. He grinned at her.
talking and stood, looking
him up and down. Then, stepping closer to him, she pushed her face near
chest and sniffed. She
opened his shirt
again and leaned in to sniff at his wound.
Steeling himself, he made his eyes look.
There were still maggots, but not nearly as many. She sniffed again and
pushed at the skin near
the maggots, but softly, looking up at him to see if she caused pain. He forced himself to grin
again. She stood
back, folded her arms, and just
stared at him. She
suddenly said three
words, and he got the distinct impression she had just said he was
stupid. Her eyes
sparkled and her breasts rose and
said, still grinning. "I do believe I'll call you Little Flower, seein'
how you're as pretty as a flower."
Then she was
coming toward him,
ducking under his good arm and pulling his hand away from the sapling,
his arm was over her shoulders. She
him toward the creek, supporting him, but letting him walk as much as
he could. When they
got there, he was surprised to see
a fairly large pool, a foot or two deep.
She stopped him at the edge and turned to push his shirt
shoulders. When she
went to work on the
buttons on his jeans, he realized she intended to undress him for a
bath. He remembered
her sniffing him.
"Hell, woman!" he
don't smell that bad."
He was half stiff
by the time she
pulled his pants down. He
was a mite
worried that she might take offense and do him harm.
After all, the last one of these she'd seen
stiff had been intended to rape her with, and she had screamed like a
then. But even
though the thing bobbed
right by her face as she shoved his pants down, she ignored it. She had to seat him to get
his boots and
pants off, and he felt foolish sitting there naked.
Until she stood
and lifted the dress
over her head .. and was naked too.
thoughts brought his
penis to full hard. She
it now. She stared
right at it as she
extended her hands to him and pulled him up to his feet. He watched her looking at
it as she led him
into the water. When
they got to the
deepest part, though, she looked up at his face.
He wasn't grinning now.
"Sorry," he said.
She said the same
three words she'd
said before .. the ones he was sure meant he was a fool.
Then she put her
hands on his chest
and pushed him over backwards into the water.
didn't swim in those
days. Slim was no
Indians did swim, and she
expected him to be able to swim, because he was
half drowned by the time
she helped him to his feet, muttering words that might have
helped him get to where
it was only a foot deep, and eased him down to sit on the bottom. He coughed a few more
times and she looked
stood, to wash her body,
and he watched. His
cock had gone limp
when he was drowning, but now it came back strong as he examined her
breasts, with their stiff, long nipples.
He'd only had one woman in his life, and she had taught
him to suck at
her breasts like a baby before fucking him.
She had been their neighbor, in town, back east, and she
was the reason
he was on his own, out west. When
caught them, he had sworn to kill the stripling who fouled his bed. Slim had fled town, and
never looked back.
The girl washed
between her legs, and
glanced at him. She
didn't pause, but
noted his intense gaze. He
felt like he
should look away, but could not.
Besides, she had no shame.
Apparently the wild Indians dispensed with modesty, even
wondered if she had
ever been with a man.
And it was at
that moment that, for
the first time, Charles Franklin Peabody wondered how this Indian Girl
be in the middle of nowhere, in the process of being raped, while he
to come along and change her future.
wasn't a philosopher, like his father, but he did reflect for a few
the strange series of events that had brought the two of them together. His decision to rob the
train had been one
made on the spur of the moment, as the train climbed slowly past him
going up a
was broke, with no job and no
prospects. He had a
dozen cartridges left
for his pistol, a horse and his gear and that was all he owned in the
Who knew where
she had come from, but
it was pretty plain she'd been taken from her people.
He imagined she'd been at another stream
somewhere, when that man came along and seen her bathing. The man had taken her,
with evil intent. But
surely she'd screamed then too. Where,
then, were her people?
She left off
washing herself and moved
to stand behind him. Her
quickly over his skin and he jerked.
cock hardened even more and he brushed at her hands, washing himself. She came back to stand in
front of him, her
sex positioned only a foot from his face.
He looked up at her and she smirked at him. His eyes darted to her
breasts and he licked
his lips, wondering how those fat, brown nipples would feel in his
Abernathy's had felt wonderful. Being
inside her had felt wonderful too.
The girl motioned
to him to stand, and
he did so, his cock waving drunkenly at her.
She helped him step out of the pool and bent to pick up
than hand them to him,
though, she walked away from him with them tucked under her arm. She paused, looking over
her shoulder at him.
It wouldn't occur
to him for two more
baths that she always let nature dry them before they dressed again. This time, he just
followed her, stepping
gingerly on bare feet, while she moved ahead of him, her naked hips
When they got
back to the fire pit,
she picked up the dead man's blanket and shook it out before laying it
the ground. She
pointed at it and he
understood he was to lie on it. He
wondered what was going to happen, and his young mind supplied one
caused is prick to clench and bob.
felt the need to fist it as he lay down.
Had he been alone, he would have stroked it until it spit. But the girl was watching
him, so he just
held it and squeezed.
He thought he saw
the ghost of a smile
on her lips, and then she was kneeling beside him.
Before he could adjust, she had batted his
hand away and replaced it with her own.
She stroked him expertly and he gasped with both shock and
Within a minute
she was milking his
Slim lay, gasping
for air as Little
Flower sat back on her calves. His
was on her hand, and she looked at it curiously, before licking at it. She looked at him and said
of course he didn't understand. Then
stood up, picked up her dress and dropped it over her head. When she was
finished arranging it around
her body, she picked up his clothes and tossed them onto the blanket
had just knelt to pleasure him.
up to reach for his shirt. He
surprised to find that the pain was much less now.
Being in the water had helped.
He looked down at his bullet wound, which was
now free of maggots and a healthy, shocking pink looking. Lifting his arm he tried
to see the entrance
wound, but all he could see was some bruising back there.
By the time he'd
gotten his jeans on
the pain was worse. He
wondered at the
actions of the girl. Why
had she done
that? And why would
she do that rather
than help him get dressed. The
time he'd been struggling into his clothes, she'd been walking around
up wood for the fire. He
saw that while
he'd slept, she'd constructed a rack of interwoven green branches, upon
strips of meat were drying over the fire.
She was making travel rations out of the horse meat before
style, he called to
her. She looked at
him and he
beckoned. When she
came to kneel beside
him, he drew in the sand. He
stick figures to one side, and then a group of ten or fifteen stick
foot away. He drew
a couple of wigwams
by the group. He
pointed at one of the
first pair and then at himself. Then
pointed at the second, and at her.
nodded. He pointed
at her and then the
group. She spoke,
but he couldn't
understand her, so he pointed at her and then at the tribe again.
"Where?" he asked. He pointed at the tribe
and then off to the
west. "There?" He pointed at the tribe
and then to the
north. "There?" He
understanding come into her eyes and she pointed south, and a little
took some time, but he drew a picture of
the two of them, on his horse, moving toward the tribe.
She grew excited and smiled and nodded.
He didn't know
how far it was, but
then that really didn't matter. He
nothing else to do anyway. He
her to her people. Hopefully,
still be happy with him when they got there, and would speak well of
him. You never
knew, when it came to Indians. They
might think he was the one who took her in the first place, and kill
him. All he could
do was hope she'd stop them from
She got up and
got him some meat. It
was too hot to hold in his fingers, so he
bit it with his front teeth and blew air around it.
She laughed at him, but the next piece she
gave him was cooler.
When it came time
to put out the fire,
she did so and, in the fading light, came to stand beside him. She lifted the dress off
of her body again,
and folded it up to become his pillow.
Kneeling, her fingers worked at the unfamiliar buttons
that closed his
fly, until she could reach in and extract his organ.
He was hard, of course.
Again, she stroked him, but this time more
slowly, as if she enjoyed playing with his manhood.
When he gasped and grunted, he was astonished
to see her lean down and take the tip into her mouth.
As he spurted he heard her swallowing, and he
groaned as he tried to spurt more.
As he panted to
get his breath back,
she again lay down next to him. Pulling
his blanket over them both, she lay her head on his shoulder and draped
and leg over him, as before.
And, like the previous night, she was
firmly asleep before his whirling mind could let him even contemplate
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