Thoughts before a Massacre

Thoughts before a Massacre

A Story by BarryL

An imagined telling of the thoughts of Horace Clarke in the moments before taking part in the massacre of 173 innocent women, children and old men of the Piegan Blackfeet Tribe in Montana in 1870.


It was January 23rd and we had chased them down and would kill them the way they were always killed, without mercy.  We took prisoner those that crossed our path; there was to be no forewarning


Each man knew it; our faces set in that grim rictus that precedes an action.  Each of us knew our duty and none were eager for it, though the bloodlust would take care of that.


Waiting on that bitterly cold morning, beneath the bluff, we sought closeness with our comrades, not for warmth but a stark, still, silent nearness to bring what little comfort could be gleaned from a murder hunt in the bluffs and valleys of Montana.


Our hands were bare, pressed deep into our armpits for warmth, and our guns were oiled and freshly loaded for killing, though each of us privately hoped those responsible would be handed over to us.


From boyhood I had ridden this land and dreamed my dreams of solitary explorations as my horse picked its way through the stark, romantic landscape.


Before the murder of my father I had been collecting a small, but significant, written account of my mother’s people, our stories and fables about this beautiful land, its nature and our history within it.

I was a boy no longer.


After father’s death and my own injury my world crumbled and I blindly sought vengeance, so when this opportunity came, I armed myself, took leave of my family and joined with the army in their hunt for the perpetrator.


I was not prepared. I was not prepared for the commander; I was not prepared for his orders; I was not prepared for a complete f**k-up...


We rode in to the camp and, ignoring the chief waving papers from our own government, began a slaughter that was to haunt me for the rest of my life.

© 2015 BarryL

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Added on November 3, 2015
Last Updated on November 3, 2015
Tags: Marias Masscre, Piegan, Blackfeet, Baker's Masscre, Marias River, Montana



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