The gunfire had died down and Billy saw what he
feared most: the lodges were aflame. Not one or two lodges, but every single
one in the camp was on fire. Five white men came into sight, and it so shocked
Billy-Wolf that he reined up behind some willows to study the situation. It took a
bit for the paralyzing truth to sink in.
Billy had never heard of whites attacking a village before. There must
have been an awful mistake made. The Burning Hearts had never done anything to
deserve being slaughtered.
As Billy watched the butchers shoot the wounded, a feeling new to him turned
him bloodred. He felt pure, undiluted hatred for the first time in his young
existence. The shooting went on forever, or seemed to. Each shot scared
Billy-Wolf's heart like a red-hot poker.
Billy raised his bow, tempted to try a long shot.
He lowered it again. When the time came, he wanted to be absolutely
certain he wouldn't miss.
|MOUNTAIN MAJESTY #8
Second Son did not know how many were after them. She thought there
were four, but there might be many more. Whenever she paused to look back, they were
still there, never gaining ground, never losing any. It perplexed her.
Presently a deadfall barred their path. Fallen trees choked the earth
for as far as Second Son could see in both directions. She bore to the right to go
around, her son close behind.
Suddenly two more figures appeared up ahead. Second Son immediately
stopped and raised her bow. As if they were unearthly specters, the pair vanished.
To their rear the rest stayed just out of arrow range.
"What in the world are they up to?" Billy-Wolf wondered.
"I wish I knew," Second Son answered.
Billy-Wolf saw warriors converging from several directions at once. It
was obvious that they would overtake him before he covered more than ten feet.
Automatically, he whipped the Hawken to his should, worked the hammer, and fired at
the foremost man, who dropped.
Something else happened. Something amazing. At the booming blast
of the rifle, every last warrior disappeared; one moment they were there, the next moment