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That made me wonder what she was like before Clover died, because I don't think I really knew my own mother until I had children, and if she was different before, I don't remember. It is called "Taking your Daughter out for tea" or "Going to Her Soccer Game", and it works in direct opposition to the agenda of hell and darkness that wants to destroy their lives. I have called on my younger brothers to come from their farms and ranches to meet this strange Reverend and confer with me over what is the best course of action. Having received word that my brothers shall arrive on the morrow I went forth to relate this news to Reverend Michael.

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His door stood open a bit and as I went to knock I heard odd noises emanating from within: I pushed the door open ever so slightly that I might cast a look inside. There, kneeling on the floor of wooden planks was the priest, shirtless, his back to me. In his hand was a small whip—a cat of nine tails—and he flung it over his shoulder and scourged his back which was flailed and torn, bleeding profusely. Suddenly he turned with a strange quickness and caught my eye before I had time to duck away.

I keep no secrets. A man who toils fighting the prince of darkness and his legion must be strong. I keep no secrets, but I do appreciate my solitude. They seem very worried about our situation with the twins, though I tell them it appears progress is being made. He has always been like this. Being the youngest he has no modicum of reserve and blurts out whatever is on his mind. They bring grim news of the native problem. A group of over a hundred Indians surround the redwood forests above our lands.

They are hungry and openly hostile, swooping down from the hills to boldly steal cattle. They are also armed not only with bows and arrows but with guns as well, brazenly firing their weapons at any man who dares oppose them. The girls were eight years old again, as they were when we arrived in San Francisco: There was no land in sight and the sky was filled with stars and a red, red moon. I gazed out into the water and it reflected that deep red of the moon.

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But then I saw it was not the reflection of the moon that made the sea red, but that the sea was blood, and, gazing out into the distance, I saw a body flailing, floundering, drowning in the blood. It was my Margaret. I leapt overboard to save her, but found myself unable to reach her.

Journey Into Darkness 1991

The blood was thick and sticky with a foul stench. I felt like one in quicksand. They were wailing that howl that is peculiar to their people. I turned back to the boat, hoping to gain a handhold, only to see the girls standing there before me. And they were now nightmare-like monsters with rotten skin, eyes as white and clear as ice.

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I awoke suddenly with a jolt, siting up in bed, gasping for breath. For a moment I thought I could still hear the screams of the Indians.

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I strained to hear what sounds might lurk above the creaking of the wooden beams. And drag marks through the snow. Furrows so deep they scratched into the earth and brought up clumps of mud. All of the natives we had allowed into the walls of our fortress are gone—Kaiquaish, her children, the old man and women. No doubt bludgeoned to death. No guns used so as not to awaken anyone and draw attention to the slaughter. The priest caught my eye with a baleful glare. And they had to be exterminated. We are a family business and you have no right to command him to leave.

Are we to leave them in torment? Not try to save them? And now you would dare to throw out the one man who can help them? The priest stared hard at me. What we have done we have done for the sake of you and your daughters. We are at war with the devil and you must learn to accept that. It is us or them.

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You must accept this. I answered him not and stomped out into the snow and storm, the sky above me as gray and forlornly dismal as the ache within my ribs, ice cascading down from the heavens. Lurching through the deep snow that lay heavy upon the courtyard, I spied my brother George with a cluster of workers and limped steadfastly toward him, pulling him away covertly so that we might whisper amongst ourselves in secret. Maybe their infirmity leaves on its own volition. They call him Black Number.

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  • Say they smell blood on his breath and hands. The Reverend is a good man. Long have we talked into the night. We are not so different. He was a settler once just as we are. He had a family and a large ranch. He went on a cattle run and came home to discover his ranch had been raided by a war party of Indians.

    His wife, his children, they were axed into tiny pieces. He knew only devils could do such a thing. So he gave himself over to the work of God. If their murders make them demons, then, pray tell, what do ours make us? How can we condemn them for acts of violence when we strive to annihilate them with our own?

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    I have business to attend to. There will be a meeting on the morrow, all the farmers and ranchers for miles around will be there. You may voice your concerns there. He strolled back to the workers and left me alone in the snow. My eye ached and I could feel a leakage of pus dripping down out of my patch. I wiped it with a handkerchief, spun on my crutch, and shuffled off.

    In the barren branches of an old oak some ravens quarreled and their caws of avarice echoed over the frozen land. The meeting tonight has left me shaken to the core and I find myself in doubt of God and Country, wondering what it even means to be a Christian. The meeting was held in our large dining hall. Many presided, my estimate would be sixty members of our settler community. The notorious Indian killer Henry Larrabee was present, a man whose very existence fills my soul with dread. Many are the tale of how he took great pleasure in smashing open the heads of squaws, children and infants.

    He stood at the head of the hall, the Reverend to his right and my three brothers to his left. Army was sending an additional Company of Regulars to Fort Humboldt.

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    Have we seen them? They are poised on the brink of civil war and can spare no troops to help us. We are on our own. Davis began to orate once more. We will fight our own battles in our own way, exterminating the Indians from the face of the earth as far as this county is concerned! His cry was met with boisterous shouts of approval and a pounding of feet and fists. I, in the back of the hall, could hold my silence no longer and spoke up over the din. No good can come of bloodshed. Violence only begets more violence.

    We must find brotherhood or I fear we are all doomed. Then the Reverend stood up. Do not vacuously use the words of our Savior to make this Christian Army weak. The heroes of Humboldt County who dare to face the devil! Tis they to whom I preach! And they to whom I bestow my blessings!