When I was growing up I always felt that life should be an adventure, that there was always something more to living, something more to see, a wider world. Well, turns out I was right, but I couldn’t possibly have guessed how things would turn out. Sometimes life can sneak up on and surprise you, and it sure did with me!
My name is Hannah, or at least it used to be. I moved out to Kansas with my pa when I was a little girl. I don’t remember my ma, sadly, though I have a locket with her picture in it and pa always said she was a high-spirited, adventurous kind of woman. I like that. And I like to think that she might be happy at the way I’ve ended up.
My pa started a farm and I helped him as well as I could. I really wanted to go to school, but pa didn’t believe in anything like that, especially not for a girl, so I spent all my time on the farm. It wasn’t a bad life, much better than our lives would have been in the city, so my pa said, but still, I was bored. All the talk was farm talk or Indian talk and I soon got bored of all that. I knew that I wanted more from life and that when I got the chance, I was going to take it.
Sadly, my poor pa passed away suddenly with a fever when I was just fourteen and so I had to go and live with my uncle. He was a farmer too, and a big whisky drinker, but he was civil to me, though he liked to pretend to be all tough. Still, he wasn’t a kind man, and there was no warmth or companionship on my uncle’s farm. I had to do all the cooking and cleaning and some days he barely said two words to me. He wasn’t being disrespectful, it was just his way.
It was awfully lonely on that farm. I was getting to be the age when a girl is supposed to think about marrying, but I couldn’t ever see how that was going to happen, because I never saw anybody except my uncle from one day to the next. Well, not counting Billy.
Billy was a sweet boy, a little older than me, who used to help out around the farm sometimes. My uncle treated him pretty rough and paid him next to nothing, but I kind of took a shine to Billy. I wasn’t in love with him or anything, and even if I had been, he was totally unsuitable as a husband, but still, I did used to watch him from my bedroom window. Some days, Billy took his shirt off when he worked. At first I thought it was disgusting and immodest, but even so, I couldn’t stop looking at him. The sight of his young, fit body, glistening with sweat in the afternoon heat used to have a strange effect me. And, though I blush to recall it, there was more than one time while watching him that I hitched up my dress and slid my fingers between my legs and touched myself, making myself a little wet. I used to pray for forgiveness afterwards, and swear I would never do it again, but sure enough, the next time I heard Billy scratching and digging in the yard, I couldn’t help wandering to the window.
One day, I heard my uncle’s footsteps on the landing outside my room just as I was settling down to watch Billy. I hastily rearranged my underclothes and jumped down from the window.
“Hannah, I got to go into town.”
“Oh can I come!”
“No, I got to take care of business.”
I didn’t try to hide my disappointment. Even though whenever we headed into town, my uncle never left my side, it was still a wonderful break from the monotony of farm life. There were so many people, so many shops, so much noise and color.
“I won’t be gone more than an hour. Besides, you got Billy here.”
“Yes uncle.” I brightened up a little at the thought of Billy.
“Right. Well, just don’t do anything foolish, okay.”
“I won’t uncle,” I sighed.
I could see the reluctance in his expression. He didn’t want to leave me. But really, I remember thinking, what on earth did he think would happen?
I watched his cart trot out of the front gate, and then I settled down to watch Billy in the yard. His shirt was off as it was a baking hot day and I bit my lip as I slid the tip of my finger across my pussy. The sight of Billy bent over, working, his muscles bulging was making me feel all tingly, and as I find my sweet spot I gave a little moan. At that moment, Billy looked up.
I ducked down, trembling with shame. What if he had seen me? How would I explain what I was doing? Oh what if he came into the room?
After a few seconds, I risked a peak out of the window. But Billy wasn’t looking up at my room, he was staring out, beyond the farm, towards the low hills in the distance, shielding his eyes as though straining to see something in particular. It was then that I heard a faint noise. It was barely audible, but insistent, a sort of distant hollering or whooping. There was a rumble of thunder, too, like the kind of sound you get used to hearing in the late summer heat when hurricane season is on the way. But this was no hurricane.
All at once I put the two noises together in my mind and I realized that what I was listening to had nothing to do with the skies. It was the thunder of horse hooves. And that hollering could only mean one thing. Indians!
Just then, Billy seemed to recognize it too because he dropped his spade and ran. He ran clean across the yard to where his horse Sally was tied. I watched him unwind the reins in a blind panic, hitch himself up onto Sally’s back and kick hard at her flanks, spurring her out of the farm, through the same gate where my uncle had passed and away.
He had left me all alone! The hooves were rattling hard now and the hollering was louder than ever, but I was rooted to the spot. Where could I go? What had my pa always said to do if the Sioux attacked? I couldn’t remember and cursed myself that I had not paid more attention whenever the subject of the Sioux came up. I had never even seen a Sioux, except in newspapers and books and I was sure my pa was exaggerating. I was just about ready to start hollering and crying for help, when I remembered. My pa always said that if the Sioux came and there were no men folk about, I should hide under my bed.
I scrambled on my knees across the wooden floor and into the cramped space beneath my bed and lay as still as I possibly could, listening.
I heard horses galloping around outside, and the shouting and hollering was so loud that it made me tremble. I hoped and prayed that they would just ride around and then leave. I didn’t even know how many of them were out there. What if it was a whole tribe? What if they decided to burn the farm house with me inside?
I waited and waited, and just when I thought they might have left, I heard the unmistakable creaking of the front door to our farmhouse. I tensed up, desperate not to make a sound and give myself away. I heard them creeping through the building, and I knew exactly where they were because of the precise sounds of the floorboards and the doors, which I knew so well. They spent time in the kitchen, then they explored the dining room, and the cellar, and then, to my horror, I heard footsteps on the stairs.
The footsteps drew closer and closer. I heard them head to the room next door, where my uncle slept, but they didn’t spend long in there. I dared not even breathe for fear. I prayed and prayed that they wouldn’t open my bedroom door, but my prayers were not answered because soon I heard the handle turn and the door opened.
I froze, remaining as still as I could as I listened to them walking around. I couldn’t tell how many of them were in my bedroom, but I heard someone opening my wardrobe and someone pulling at the drawers of my bedside table. Their voices were low, and I couldn’t catch any of the words they used, but it seemed that they hadn’t found anything and were leaving. I heard footsteps on the stairs. They hadn’t found me.
Suddenly, a face appeared at the opening between the bed and the floor and I screamed. A hand soon followed, and another and I was being grabbed at the wrist and the ankle. I felt myself being dragged across the floor and I struggled, trying to grab onto anything I could, but it was no use. They were too strong and soon they had pulled me free of my hiding place.
Out in the open I tried to scramble away, but that didn’t work either. There were four of them in my room, surrounding me. As I tried to scrabble to safety on my hands and knees, I felt my ankles being held down. I yelped and tried to scream, but a sweaty, dirty hand was soon pressed against my mouth and as I tried to yell I could feel another of them pulling my wrists behind me. Rope was being fastened about my legs and arms and I felt my shoulders ache as they pulled my arms behind me, and hitched up my legs at the same time. I was completely stuck, trussed up like a hog. A thick leather strap was forced between my teeth and tied tight behind my head.
I wriggled and squirmed, but I couldn’t move. I was totally helpless. As I struggled, two of them picked me up and I felt the disorientating sensation of the room shifting and the walls sliding as I was lifted through the air, out of my room and down the stairs.
Outside, they carried me to a team of waiting horses and I was thrown across the horse’s back. Again I tried to struggle free but it was no good. They lashed me to the saddle and then I felt one of the braves climb up onto the horse. A second later, we were riding, away from my farm, away from safety. I screamed and screamed into my leather gag but I made no sound and my efforts were anyway drowned out by the whooping and hollering all around me.