Micco jolted awake; his lids half-closed as he attempted to rouse himself. He lay still, trying to remember last night’s events but they were lost to him. As his eyes opened, he was greeted with darkness. Tiny sparkles with hints of light floated around him.
The glow was shining through, past something. It was hard to make out exactly what. His eyes hurt when he attempted to stare at the brightness, so he closed them. Initially, they burned but this eventually subsided, allowing Micco to relax.
In an effort to sit up, heaviness weighed upon him. It vexed him. With closed lids, he tried again, this time prevailing, forcing through his restriction.
He felt his mind was floating through a haze. His body ached as he moved, so he laid back down, allowing a warm breeze to sweep across his face. He welcomed it, though was still not fully aware of his state.
Once his senses came alive, a strong, sour and putrefied odor caught his attention. It was somewhat metallic. He opened his eyes, but flinched against the burn. His head wrenched to the side, trying to find the assaulter. In doing so, something stiff brushed against his face.
His breath contracted slowly. He scanned the surroundings more vigorously only to find not only a hand but several body parts touching him, lying next to him, covering his lower extremities. In a moment of panic he became paralyzed; fear caught hold. But the desperation of escape overpowered this gruesome shock. He eased through tangled limbs, inching beyond the lifeless burden. He scampered as far away as possible, climbing over a sheet of bodies, slipping on eviscerated tissue and cold, wet blood.
Shaken, he fell against a nearby wall to examine the array of strewn bodies that lay within pools of bright red liquid, as if time had stopped. For him, time had indeed stopped. There were more than twenty bodies in his presence, their eyes locking on nothing because they were dead. All of them.
It was a massacre.
The only immediate movement was the curtain flapping in the wind from a shattered window. A lonely arm claimed what was left of the glass, letting flies in to settle upon the cold corpses. A chill ran up his spine from untainted fright as his breathing labored. Who are these people? How did I get here?
A sharp twinge shot across his shirtless chest that was adorned with only scratches. They appeared to be claw marks in the middle of his torso. Saliva struggled to travel down his throat as he swallowed hard in disbelief. Instinctively he touched the slashes, then noticed caked blood on his abdomen and hands. Reaching for his face, he felt layers of the same.
He was mortified, sickened. He had seen blood many times but not like this. Before today, he had never been covered in it. He wanted to vomit, but a car sounded in the distance, stifling that need. He maneuvered around the bodies to peer out of the window. A teen boy was walking towards the door. He stepped back, tripping over a leg. He scampered up, trying not to make noise.
How do I get out?
The nearest bathroom proved to be the most sensible escape route. Leaping out of the window and heading for the woods, Micco raced as if capture was imminent. There was no looking back to face his nightmare.
He was soiled in blood and smelled dreadful. The clean air was welcoming but the stench of death followed closely. The sheer sight of him shirtless and bloody would surely frighten even the bravest of men. The sun was just rising. He needed to get home before anyone saw him like this. The warm air baked his foul odor, worsening it. Sweat drenched his back both from spirited movement and nervous tension. His feet beat the earth in stride. Like a stallion in perfect form. He ran like the wind as it whipped past his ears humming a sadistic tune. His mind stayed focused, racing against nature’s clock, the sun.
On nearing the reservation where he lived, he hid behind the tall, sun-beaten fence so others could not see him. The land was fenced all the way around to keep trespassers out, but entering through the front gate was out of the question. Sneaking in from a worn side trail hidden by bushes would be his path of entry.
Flowers lined the gate all the way around to make beauty out of a wooden territorial marker. Most of the houses were set further in. Facilities such as the school, ceremonial site and other small gathering areas bordered the reservation. It would be touch and go from here for Micco.
Peering through the slats, he saw people moving about, heading for work. He spotted Nara, his best friend since childhood. The most beautiful girl in the whole Cheyenne tribe, the whole world for all he cared. She was promised and now married to Tokala. The name suited him well - a sneak, a fox in the hen house, therefore unworthy of Nara. Micco hated Tokala and felt no shame in the fact that he wanted Nara’s husband dead.
Effortlessly, Micco hopped the fence then sneaked around the houses to avoid everyone. Micco never carried much shame in anything that he did but there were too many unanswered questions for now.
He was shaken up after this morning and filled with confusion at the possibilities of last night. If people saw him like this and found out about the attack in town, he would be the first one they suspected. He would be handed over to Chief Nokosi, Tokala’s father, the main leader of the four chiefs and the harshest. He would throw him in jail so fast, without any questions, out of spite. Chief Nokosi and Micco’s father had history, bad history that had started back when he was a child.
Micco hid in the shadows to avoid bumping into anyone. He stayed low, trying to avoid being seen by those farming early and he ducked when people came out of the stables. He hid behind anything that could shelter him as he approached the homes. His block was the final stretch and there wasn’t that much concealment. Listening for the early risers scuttling about and honing in on movement, he made a mad dash for the side entrance of his house.
Inside was quiet. He raced to his room, tore off his bloody pants, socks and underwear, quickly throwing them into the trash. He donned sweats and a shirt to head to the bathroom, just in case his father was still at home. Not that their place was huge, though there were times his dad would be out the back checking on the horses before heading out to work.
He raced into the shower, not waiting for the warm water to come. He scrubbed his face and hands like mad, welcoming the chill of cold water.
“Where the hell were you last night, Micco?” His dad, Mojag, who never had much to say to him, especially lately, barged into the bathroom.
“I was helping Nara and Tokala last night, father. We were working on their new roof.” The lie came so quickly he didn’t even know where he found it. He knew that even Tokala would cover his story because Micco had covered for him many a night. In fact, Micco had only done this to spare Nara’s feelings.
“You know that I know when you are lying, son?”
Micco waited through the silence, knowing nothing he said would ever satisfy Mojag.
“When you make up a story involving Nara, she always covers for you,” he said, walking off. Micco listened for his father to leave and wondered what he had done so wrong to make his own father hate him so much.
Thank you for reading. I hope that you enjoyed chapter 1 and you can read more about Micco here: