years ago about the time when the west was still wild and the Indian
was still free to roam, a lone saddle tramp was trekking his way across
the Northern Plains.
The year was 1878; not long after the Little Big Horn Battle but early
enough to still be fresh in the minds of folks. Enough so mothers
still told their children about the 'red bogeyman' that would get
them if they were bad.
man trekked his way across oblivious to anything around him except
for the tobacco he smoked and the belly full of rye he had drunk earlier.
All of a sudden his horse stumbled and he came round with a jolt.
"Darn!" he exclaimed as he thought his horse had either
kicked a shoe or put his leg in a prairie dog bolt.
he reined up and jumped down to take a look. He walked around to the
front of the horse to see what had happened and stared at the ground.
There, just under the horse's front leg, was a depression. "That
ain't no prairie dog hole fer sure
." He muttered and knelt
down to take a closer look.
as to what it was, he scraped around in the dirt and all of a sudden
he caught the hint of something shining. His mind worked overtime
as he had heard all the stories of Black Hills gold. Greed lit up
his eyes as he dug more fervently around in the shallow dip. But nothing
had prepared him for what he was about to find. The first thing he
came across jutting up from the soft, dark earth, was a rib cage;
horrified, he sprang to his feet instantly thinking he was a victim
of an Indian attack. But why, if it were Indians, would they bury
the body? It wasn't until he spotted the glimpse of beadwork that
he thought otherwise. It was also then that he spotted the glistening
of gold. Kneeling back down to examine his find he saw a bead necklace
and a strange golden amulet. The strange thing was that the amulet
was inside the rib cage; wrapped over the rib around the heart.
was truly spooked now. Who had buried the Indian there and how had
the amulet come to be inside the chest? But, once again, his greedy
eyes feasted over the lure of gold.
"There must be three or four ounces, or thereabouts
He said to himself. "'Nough ta get me around fer a while and
pay for whisky, women and a fine time
His hands trembling he reached for it to take it but found it was
stuck. Well and truly wrapped around the ribs.
"How can that be?" he whispered to himself.
Not about the be deterred, he pulled out his worn Schrade Bowie knife
and attempted to prise it loose. Still no good
Damn! He was getting
impatient now and it was also getting surprisingly chilly - strange
that for August.
"I ain't lettin' this thing be!" he exclaimed more loudly
than he should of. He grabbed the amulet and pulled. At first it wouldn't
give; then it came away with an audible snap! The amulet was loose
but it was still attached to the rib and he was left holding it. In
a panic now he stood up and made for his horse and was already regretting
ever having stopped in the first place. It was too late now - the
deed was done. He jumped astride his horse and quickly shoved the
amulet complete with rib bone in to his left saddle bag and wheeled
his horse around to get out of there.
The air was even cooler by now and it was sending a chill down his
spine. He dug his spurs in hard and got the hell out of there. After
five minutes of hard riding he heard a howl like that of a coyote
or wolf and turned back to look over his shoulder. There, where the
Indian grave was, hung a strange mist in the shape of a wolf.
By now his heart was racing and this spurred him to flight even more.
Spurring the horse he raced away to escape the area. The three or
four ounces of gold forgotten for the time being.
days later at a small town on the edge of the Great Prairies, the
man was laid on a bed in a small, pokey room above the saloon - the
only one in town. He was drunk and unwashed, unshaven but happy. At
the $80 an ounce, weight-wise for the gold. Not that there was much
of it left. He'd spent it freely on good whisky, and the saloons one
rundown but wisely whore. His mind cast back to the amulet again.
Luckily he had managed to unwrap the thing from around the ugly bone
and had thrown the piece of rib away on to the dung heap. Never would
have gotten rid of it otherwise. A smile lingered on his face as he
drifted off in a whisky-fuelled slumber.
in the night, the bartender downstairs was woken by a strange, maniacal
scream that came from upstairs. The scream was cut off abruptly. The
barkeep was frightened to death by the sound and flew out of the door
to go and fetch the local sheriff. He wasn't staying there and the
saloon lay empty now. Business had been slow of late and he had been
clearing away for the night.
short time later the bartender came back with the sheriff who, in
turn, had the town doctor in tow. Although after what he had been
told, it was probably the undertaker they'd be in need of. The party
of three entered the saloon. The sheriff and the doctor going straight
up the stairs. The bartender had told them what room the noise had
come from but there was no way he was going up there.
they got to the room, the sheriff entered and stepped back in revulsion.
There on the ragged, grimy bed, was a figure - white faced and eyes
bulging. But it was the gaping, torn open chest that riveted the sheriff
in the doorway.
"Doc, doc. Get in here and see what ya' make of this!"
When the doc entered, he too hesitated at what he saw. This was a
small town after all and violent crime wasn't that commonplace.
Slowly making his way over to the bed, he bent down to take a look.
The man was obviously dead. Slowly he examined the man. His medical
training taking over trying to see the cause of death. What was strange
was the fact that there wasn't any bullet; more like a wild animal
had attacked him
. but how?
what was that?
He stood up quickly shocked out of his skin.
ya' ain't gonna believe this but it looks like a animal attack. The
strange, darn thing is though, there's a rib missing from over his