Dis-oriented (ECHO)

Because ECHO is based on a true story I had to go through a lot of self-evaluation and memory to be clear on it. The hardest part of this project so far was writing the exerpt below as it brought up some painful memories and things I am unsure on how to show in a film. So I am sharing it here with you, Dear Reader, so maybe you will understand.

Now that this is written down I hope ECHO can move forward easily and into the more exhilarating parts of the story, as we have only just begun.

~SMB

Mercury Rose, Age 18

So, given that the Native groups were a part of the college she was going to, and the history around the area, it was no surprise to Mercury when they told the new students that there would be some Natives doing a ritual at the New Student Orientation.

Happy for her new adventure she was on she went to the orientation. It was in one of the large film studios on the campus, right across from her dorm. When they first entered the Sound stage she was thinking about what films she would make there and all the amazing possibilities that her education would open her up to. 

She was expecting the things that happened, for the most part. A lay of the campus, how things are done, the grades, meeting your cohort, working through trust falls to keep the cohort closely knit together as they work through their programs. It was fun if not a little silly. 

Then the Native Elders came to the groups, and sat the students in a large circle. They hit the drums and started off a nice melody, a trance like rhythm that heeded what they were trying to do. They lit sage and the elders started to sing to the beat of the drum. They got out feathers and started asking the great spirit for help in giving the new students courage and stamina to get through their studies. 

Rose was not impressed. She felt removed by it, and a little on guard suddenly. although she looked around at the other students and didn’t know what they were thinking. Maybe they liked this sort of thing. She had had plenty of meditational experiences with her Mom in Los Angeles before, but this seemed very foreign to her. And she didn’t like it. There was something not right about it. As if the ritual and the race that was doing all this was so far removed from her she couldn’t even concentrate. 

She started to fade out of it and think about other things, like what they would eat that night, etc. When suddenly the three Elders got up, continuing to chant. They were wearing varied colorful wraps around their shoulders and had feathers in their long hair. Two of them had feathers and all had smoking sage sticks, the smoke of which wafted up and around each student in the large circle. Some had their eyes closed, most all, including Rose, had their hands on their knees as they waited to be ‘blessed.’ 

It was then that it happened.. with the air filled heady with the aroma and sage and other herbs, and the sounds of the tribal sounds, of speaking to their higher power and beyond as a way of lifting up the group surrounding them that they would have a wonderful college experience here. 

Each Elder came around to each student, smudging them and wishing them on their journey. When it happened to Rose, the elders did the required blessing. It was then that she heard it. She couldn’t say that the Elders actually spoke as she didn’t see their lips moving. But she heard a distinct voice from one of them.. ‘We know who you are…’ 

She looked up at them but they had moved on. There was no more chanting and the drums died down as they sat back in the middle of the circle. It was then that her eyes locked in with the Elders, all three glaring at her in such a way she couldn’t deny that they did know her.. know her deeper then anyone in her actual life had known her. She wanted answers, but felt a distinct reason not to, as if they would not reason their hatred about her what so ever. They left and didn’t look at her, in fact, nearly avoiding her. And as the orientation ended everyone crowded to get up and leave and she didn’t have a chance…  Plus the moment had left and I felt empty, and alone. Maybe it was because I was just me again… 

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Dave R., Santa Fe, New Mexico 1992

I had become used to being with Mercury Rose off and on. It would usually happen when I had finished the days tasks and was around a fire, or finishing up eating; or the whiskey had taken my mind to someplace less desolate. I didn’t mind these times, and had come to enjoy seeing what she was up to, and how the world had changed, and mainly how it had stayed the same. 

So when she was going to college I was excited to tag along. I never had the chance to go. I know she wanted to be a filmmaker and a writer and had all these dreams. I had never had the time for such dreams as reality of the war had shaped my life the way it had.  Gotta say though, I wasn’t thrilled when I saw the tribal people standing around during her orientation. I was on guard and wary, as nothing good had ever come from them. 

So when they started chanting and drumming with the noxious weed smoke I knew something was up. This may of been standard practice but it made me very on edge. So it didn’t surprise me when the Elder spoke to her in that menacing fashion and I suddenly felt a rush of wind and I was gone, out of Rose and the stage and far away from the city. Time and space seemed irrelevant as I found myself falling fast into Devil’s Canyon, north of town. I crash landed and rolled in the sand for about 50 feet before I finally came to a stop, out of breath and completely discombobulated. 

It took me several minutes before I tried to move, and groaned as I did so. I was bruised and battered. And, well, where the hell was I? I slowly got to my feet and saw one of my trusty steeds grazing on some grass nearby. This place looked familiar, as if it was from a distant memory. I was pondering this as I grabbed the reins of my horse and leaned up against the tree to lite a smoke. 

But as I did so an arrow parted the air too close to my cheekbone and inbedded itself in the tree, the feathered end of the quiver so close it was blurry in my vision. I didn’t have long to move before there was a shrill cry and I saw him. I recognized the young warrior coming at me at a gallop and anger in his eyes. I knew immediately then where I was.. it was where it all began. And maybe where I, and Mercury both, had been cursed. 

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Mercury Rose, Santa Fe, New Mexico 1992 – 1995

After that very strange experience at the orientation Rose knew in her heart who she was. This other self, this masculine son of a bitch that helped her through things her entire life, and yet made things very interesting, was not only a haunting spirit or even a guide, but her past life. Reincarnation had been a theme for her all of her life so this was no surprise. But she had to explain it. So she started writing a script to encapsulate the knowledge she had. She met friends at school and with the help of one or two of them they came up with a concept. The idea was simple.. the main characters were in modern day Santa Fe walking down many of the dirt roads that were somewhat off the beaten path; and unwittingly stepped into the past. Mary and Rose wrote this together, playing off each character and really working through some characterization issues that seemed to stem from Rose’s other life. She swore she must of known Mary in the past. Mary, for her friendship, went along with this, but to this day Rose wonders if she was ever fully understanding the true experience Rose was in. 

She also found a friend who understood her or at least tried. Mary and Rose got along well and would pow wow around for awhile during those college years. She was also in the film program, and not from New Mexico. So when they had any free time they were either getting onto film sets to hang out with actors and crew, or hunting down the strange circumstances that Rose had explained regarding Dave and her past. They went to a hypnotist at one point, who was a native. They mentioned Dave but wouldn’t go into detail. But everywhere Rose went she felt she was being watched and judged. It made college and all of its experiences have a whole other meaning. 

During this time her past life was in the back of her mind, but his personality was much more distant.. letting her take the lead, as he had other things to deal with. 

A year or so later during this time Rose’s Mom became deathly ill and she dropped school to be near her for her last year of life. It was horrendous for her and this was when Dave really came to the forefront of her consciousness, giving her the strength to have a life throughout all this. But she didn’t give up her search for the truth. 

In between her bouts of heavy grief and loss she found solace in the strange thoughts her outlaw friend would say. She needed his help and didn’t know it at that point but he was there for her. He had had losses and had turned them into hatred and violence, but that was his place in the grand scheme of things. He knew she had to take a different tact. 

He helped her sustain her life, and your courage to continue in the life. But as her Mom lay dying she lost the everyone be damned attitude that she had taken towards her career, and utterly gave up. 

When her Mom had finally died and the grief was real.. and the world had change permanently, .. they would find each other again, in the frozen tundra of the great white North. 

by SMB & DR @wickedlydrivenmedia 2/12/19

Murder Site Visit: Part 2

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In February we went down to Lincoln, New Mexico for the anniversary of John Tunstall’s Death. The Lincoln County Historical Society had an event where there was a lecture in the San Juan Mission and then a caravan of more than 80 cars went up to the murder site to witness it. Spectacular day. Enjoy.

Below is the full footage video as well as the parts broken up into lecture and the murder site caravan.

Sorry for the delay in this.

Wanted to catch up on the historical documentation in conjunction with the Echo project before we have more footage, which is already in the works! So stay tuned!

JOHN TUNSTALL MURDER SITE VISIT: PART 2

(FULL VERSION)

JOHN TUNSTALL MURDER SITE VISIT: PART 2

(LECTURE)

JOHN TUNSTALL MURDER SITE VISIT: PART 2

(CARAVAN DRIVE & MURDER SITE VISIT)

by Sophia Bungay @Wickedlydrivenmedia8/2018

 

The Traitor (Echo Diary #10: Dave R. / Mercury Rose)

(1880: Lincoln County, New Mexico)

I was riding with a gang out of Southwest New Mexico and a pal I miss now in more ways than one. I was at the bar, leaned over a whiskey when they first walked into my life. I believe it was in a small town in New Mexico, one that was wiped out of existence in time. A dusty street/ one bar town, with a dirt floor and plank bar that served the rotgut that I had come to need to keep my mind straight. It helped then, especially when my life I had built in a Northern town had blown up due to affiliations and bad timing.

As I sipped the amber liquid a tall shadow crossed the doors sunlight and entered. I half turned to see two men enter the bar and take a seat at a table in the room that a new friend was sitting at. They ordered coffee and my pal waved at me to join them. I turned at my seat at the bar, and watched them, but didn’t join in. I didn’t trust anyone new that quickly. My friend gave them info on the gang and had them join up. They seemed eager to prove their worth, but I was not impressed and pretty soon they were the enemy.
The traitor stuck to the lanky guy like a feeder fish and looked at my friend and me as if he was afraid of the hedonistic, rough we were involved in. He had tried to be a bad ass prior to this, but couldn’t hack it and turned to be a wannabe law dog eventually. Because I kept him as an acquaintance he was not clear in my recalled memory, but now I recognize his soul completely.
I can remember him now as a shadow that I kept the corner of my eye on. He wasn’t someone I was concerned with and knew I could take him down easy enough if I had the chance. I also knew the true terror he felt in his heart when he would look at me, the whites of his eyes glowing in the firelight if I moved suddenly. That memory makes me smile now, actually…
He rode with us for awhile, bent on his own reasons, which turned out to be whatever the beanpole wanted; to take us out and get the reward and notoriety. They both turned to the law when things got sticky. I was fine with it, had never trusted them and was happy when they left. It was my true friend that had a problem with their traitorous ways. But this traitor and his tall Law abiding man was nothing to me, no more so than some vague memory that I recalled only when prompted. He wishes he was more to me in his heart.. but he will always be the scared guy who helped the people take my pal down. Pathetic little life he led.
When we went our separate ways we ran into each other one other time, on a cold December night, when my pal and I were captured. It wasn’t the first time and it definitely wouldn’t be the last. I wasn’t too keen on heading up North to face the ‘consequences’ but I wasn’t worried either. Things tended to work out. (Actually, I think it was my cool-headed outlook that scared a lot of those around me, considering I didn’t look the least bit worried about a hangman’s rope, or the courts. But that is something to tackle another day.)
The journey North was a long one and the weather slowed the travel. Shackled to my friend in the back of a buggy it was rougher than riding a horse. When the weather worsened Bean Pole decided to stop for the night at a Boarding House nearby. There we slept through a snowstorm, played cards, and had a strange holiday meal with our captors. But I remember quite vividly the Traitor watching me closely and nearly panicking if I moved to fast, even though I was unarmed, and chained.
Despite this.. the worse thing that traitor has ever done to me.. was falsely identifying himself in another life.
Enough about him… he is dead to me and is of little consequence to my existence, then or now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(present day: Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Recalling your past lives can be confusing and convoluted at times. It is hard to know what to believe and who to turn to. I had extensive experiences, which will all come to light in the feature Echo. But one of the most profound experiences was when I thought I had found a very good friend from a past life. The old soul in me, the Ruffian, was open to the idea of finding one of his pals again. So much so that I allowed the falseness of his words to placate me and make me more open then I should have ever been. He came at me in my current incarnation as my pal. We connected and shared some memories.. memories he would have had being an observer of it all. Maybe his ego was so big or it was wish fulfillment for him, but he pretended to be my friend. We bonded over similar experiences and reveled in the idea that we were not alone. We even moved in with him and his family, for a few weeks, to bond more. There my true-self was validated by some amazing things, but what was a bit confusing and questionable was his fear of me and the way he would avoid being the same room alone with me, and didn’t want to dive deep into our memories of that past life. That’s what I had come to South Texas to do, to revel in each other’s memories of a life long gone.

Earlier this year I thought he was still who he had claimed to be, and had pretended to be. And I, missing my friend, my ‘pal’ sought him out, to reunite again and be friends, damning the present issues we had that had torn us apart for nearly ten years. In so doing I didn’t get him but reunited with his old family, the one he had abandoned. (Yes, he is the same traitor and selfish man he has always been.)
His old family and I are friends now, and they are helping with Echo actually, as well as the Border Ruffian project, among other little details. I had wanted to still meet up with the man himself again, to recall glory days and see what damage we could do in this one.

But, recently some new historical evidence has surfaced, that has allowed myself and the Echo team to figure out some truth… that he was NOT my pal. He was the shadow traitor that was barely a memory to me until his photo resurfaced along with a new one of me, and my genuine pal.
That knowledge has freed me from the desire to contact him again; although for a few moments my past-self wanted to do some serious damage to him. That has since rolled off me like water off a duck’s back now, and I am confident in the truth we know. He will not be getting much in the way of any attention in Echo, or the other projects.. and Dave? He is still looking for his true pal and hoping one day to find him again. If you’re out there.. we will reconnect!

by Sophia B. (inspired by Dave R)
Copyright @Wickedlydrivenmedia2018 (January 13, 2018)

Manifestations – Echo Diary #9 (Mercury Rose (present day))

So, I woke up early today. It was a bargain I made with my other self, my other side. If I ever want to break out of this fixed hold I am in I have to change the way I approach things. This was after a deep sleep and a realization that I am not just myself; I am more than me. You can look at this knowledge as a burden, to know what you went through and did in your souls past. It can be hard to wrap your head around. But once you come to peace with who you are, it becomes less of a burden, and more of an incentive to try harder and do better.
To me, he was a very strong man, in control of his life. Then he became my strength and along with it I was gifted his guilt, and I had to reconcile with him as well as his past, and mine. He has had much the same experience as I have had, although because of the place and time he was he was able to react to it differently then I am. He is my inspiration and focus, to work harder and better and not let other peoples agendas get to me as much as they would in the past.
He still yearns for his life, but he knows he has his own life; the simultaneous one he lives now. And maybe I am what he is for me in this life, I am his Jiminy Cricket is his head as he is in mine.
No matter. I am up at 6am to write, to hone my skills and to use every day to improve, strive and change; regardless of anything standing in my way. Echo must be done right. For the past few days, this has been on the forefront of my mind. That and whenever I try to sleep, lately he is up, working on what happened in a gun battle. He has been trying to get me back there, and I might have gone there ever briefly. To the point, the men with him may think he is quite cracked by now.
He misses a friend, one he only rode with for eight months, simply because we, years ago, had found a man who claimed to be this person at this present time. When he is here for too long he gets very lonely, we are lonely for someone who knows our experience of this baffling state of existence. I have found good friends who tend to say they believe my story, but who is to say what their true motivations of that are.. to keep the peace, to learn more, or to truly want to understand.
I think we, he and I, are cursed, or burdened with this task of knowing ourselves this well. If they are out there, still, and if we should run into them again I think they might be jealous, to think we have figured ourselves out so well. And instead of hiding our true nature, we are free and open about who we truly are. Echo is an amalgamation of the two lives ‘we’ are living now. With luck, it will help others know their true selves as well.
I came out of the reincarnated closet last week. Friends and family who I share my life with and love completely, don’t know. And yet here I am, telling co-workers I have known for a few months. To be fair I work at a very open-minded place, a college for the study of Oriental medicine; and within these confines, there are different belief systems then the ordinary; not that they teach that there but I know they are an integral part of it. The first time I mentioned it to a teacher and now a friend told me that she has dealt with a past life situation and that took me by surprise. She adjusted to it and came through it well. But I didn’t go into detail about her experience or mine. It was only after I allowed ‘him’ to be in the driver’s seat to help me change my life that he didn’t see a problem with telling these people in my life. They all took it in stride, seeing the resemblance in the tintypes, and verifying it with there own past life experiences. He is happy to be known and is feeling more connected to the present now as well as the past.
He was known in his day and is dealing with the frustration of hero worship that undermined his notorious reputation. But that is something we can remedy in time, in this life.. as we progress with all of this.

Thank you for listening…

Written by M.R./ SB & DR  (fueled and inspired by J.White music)

copyright @ wickedlydrivenmedia 2017

 

Gunplay: Echo Diary Entry # 8 (Dave R.)

1878: Badlands, South Dakota Territory?

I was with a gang of bad men. I didn’t trust them; their names nor their stories of where they had been and what they had done. I don’t usually trust anyone really. Trust could be the death of you; if you let your guard down your neck may be snapped before you know why or who did you in.
And this isn’t something that at the time I wrote down in a journal, or wanted to remember. But it was an event I would never be allowed to forget. The participants and location remain vague to my memory, but this was a very long time ago, so dear reader, cut me some slack.
I was with this gang, partly for convenience of not being on my own for a time, partly for fun.. and partly because the membership was offered to me. After spending quite a bit of time on the trail it was nice not to be hearing my own thoughts. Thats why drink, opium and women were always a respite to me.
Anyway.. my memory that I cannot shake as of late, is this gun battle that I and this group were involved in. It was late at night and in the middle of this quiet town. We were doing something (crime of some sort I am quite sure) when the law, or vigilantes came upon us. And as the firefight broke out I took down two and edged around the side of this alley, hoping to get into a shadow, or a break for freedom.
As I did so I turned and saw two of the untrustworthy gang about to be gunned down. I aimed at the assailants and they went down quite quickly.. As the two morons that allowed their backs to be exposed looked at me in a somewhat thank you I felt a shot.. felt it before I heard it.. hit me right on the side. The force of it whipped me around and down and suddenly I was eating dirt. I don’t remember screaming but I am quite sure anyone feeling that would… I rolled over, ignoring the hopeful graze and plugged my attacker right in the chest. He went down and let out a strange noise as the air left his lungs for the last time.
I breathed a sigh of relief and turned back and put myself on my knees. Ahead of me was a dead quiet street flooded with deep shadow. I pushed myself up and lifted my shocked body and made my way, tilted and low towards the safety of the darkness. By the time I reached the first wall of white clapboard I was standing up slightly straight. I checked myself then, in the dark and felt wetness on my side, upper leg? I had to get to safety.
I crept in shadow up near the walls, and made my way down the street. The shock was taking a toll on my body and dizziness was setting in.. either that or the entire town was built on the cliffside of a mountain and I was heading down. Either way the starlit sky was spinning out of control as well, which didn’t bode well for my state of mind.
A few blocks up I turned down an alley. I couldn’t hear the gunplay anymore and wondered if someone was coming for me and how my gang had made out. Little did I know I was leaving a blood trail on the road and nearly every wall I touched.
Turning into the alley I found darkness to hide in and slid down the wall to half sit. I cocked my gun just in case.. and waited…

I must of passed out, because I woke up as at least two strangers were up on me and was talking about me in hushed tones. I lifted my gun at them and heard “Woah there.. he’s awake.. and don’t shoot friend.. “ identifying themselves as two of the gang I had been with.
They made the determination I was in a bad way, but since I had saved their lives and had been injured in the process decided to help.  Suddenly they had me up, between them and we were running… well they were, and I was being dragged, to another part of town.
By now the pain was making itself known and I was in and out of consciousness. When I woke up several days later I found I had been hit in the thigh. Bullet had been removed but I would limp for awhile if not forever.. and have issues with the leg on cold nights.

Yes, I am hoping telling this story will get out of my head so I can rest well now.. knowing it is has been told. Thanks for reading dear Reader.

written by Dave R./ SMB     copyright  @wickedlydrivenmedia2017

Dear Reader: Echo Entry #7 (Dave R.)

cropped-7a7272ab993f49e8f94029eb296fdd0bSo, Dear Reader… I am quite well aware you are there, waiting in the breadth of the web to read my words and glean from my stories a guess as to who I was or who I am now… or better yet, get interested in the idea of the movie Echo.. which is the whole point to this; that and the eventual Novel series; one that, if you like my stories you might enjoy. Apparently, I did soo much in my life that it cannot be honed down to a movie; at least not yet.
And considering the film Echo is based on this truth, it kinda makes sense to break the characterization for a moment. You see this story that we are gearing up for, and working on so diligently, is based on a true story about me, reconnecting with my present life, ‘Mercury’. Being a strong persona that I am I ended up bleeding into her in a way, affecting her life since she was a little girl, and making a very real connection. I have given her my strength when she was a puddle on the floor and couldn’t move, and she, in turn, is keeping me from being killed off before my time. We are influencing each other. But the story of Echo is how we came to be this way, and have this connection.

In experiencing all this I found my way to walk this world once again. Although the world has changed greatly from my time.. and to take a step in becoming a different person; not just Mercury, but experiencing a new way of living. I think of it as the ultimate disguise. I live in a city that wanted to see me hang in my day; and yet I walk the streets and experience joy and wisdom, art and culture, right under the noses of the law. The law that was after me is long dead, and the records state I was killed in one way or the other. So I am free.
I do not have my own body anymore of course; that part of me is in the ground in the Pacific Northwest; but I have my personality, my memories, and everything that was me back then. Mercury tends to believe we may be living simultaneous lives, and if so, we can influence each other to be better. I like that idea and get a kick out of thinking of my gang, during my lifetime, thinking me intensely insane as I talk to her in my dreams as if I have smoked some opium or drank too much whiskey. We shall see how the historical evidence has changed. I have witnessed with my own eyes some slight variations on what was once true about my fate, and for that, I am grateful and humbled.

We have been called out/ recognized, in this present life, as to who I am, and who Mercury was several times, which shocked and frightened Mercury at first. But she since sees the beauty of this validation and no longer sees herself as just her, a lost girl wondering who she truly is and where she came from. Reveling in this experience and the truth of it has made me proud and is making her a stronger beautiful woman and this brings us both great joy.

Being a woman was hard for me at first. But it keeps me in my place.. as I do not want to overtake her life or have to deal with men who may think like I used to about women and treat them badly. I have learned my lesson, and hope I did so before my death; after all, I did have a wife and children. But how I treated them has affected Mercury as she knows the darkest thoughts of men because of me. Because of this, she is still single. She is working it out and I am helping her work through it. (All this sexual harassment stuff in the news brought this up.)
I did have one friend confess to me he killed himself when he found his spirit in a girls body. I don’t know if this is true, but it shows just how cowardly he was. Life is but an experience we all share, Dear Reader. And to cut short one’s life because of the unknown is just plain bad karma building. And he more than likely will have to come back again and again until he understands that. Me? Mercury and I? We want to learn our lessons, gain our wisdom, and move on and wake up from this odd state into our true selves. But in the meantime, we are here.

I feel sorry for my friends that are stuck in other lives at this time and do not have the capacity or the allowance to be themselves in some way or another. That can be the ultimate hell after all.
My last name will be known eventually on here when the time is right. But it is hardly the point. Although in so doing the book series and the movie following that will vindicate my name from obscurity. I was a bigger name in my day in the papers then all these so-called famed western symbols you know today.. but time has a way of changing the truth to the survivor’s version of history. The true nature of my world and my name will come into focus once again.

So, Dear Reader, I hope you stay tuned to this story as it is told… and get interested in the movie Echo. This is all based on real experiences from its authors and is a true telling of events. Belief systems have mentioned reincarnation.. but not so blatantly as we will lay out.. And in the end, maybe more people can acknowledge their older inner selves, and know who they were truly in the past, to improve upon their lives in the present.

Yours truly,
Dave R. edited by Sophia Bungay

P.S. If you have questions and comments we look forward to answering them.

Copyright @Wickedlydrivenmedia2017

Ricochet: Echo Diary #3: (Mercury Rose & Dave R.)

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Echo: Diary Entry #3
(Mercury Rose & Dave R.)

June 1979: High Sierra Mountains, California

I loved going to the mountains each year. Getting away from the big city and into the deep pine forests and climbing to high mountain lakes for a few months during the summers; it was my way of rewinding from the year, and seemingly connect with something else within me. Our family has a cabin up in the high mountains, where it snows all winter and the run- off in the summer would make the river swell to white water and tumble down through the valley and by our sleepy cozy home.

My imagination would run high, as most children’s do, but my dreams were deeper and felt so real that I would wake up in the pre-dawn hours, with a cold sweat and a fear that someone was watching me. Someone who knew everything, every fiber of every being, and the truth behind life.

I felt wild then, and would run our barefoot and fancy free, running through grass and onto logs over rushing rivers. Climbed rope swings and giant redwoods. I imagined fairies in meadows as I scrambled over creeks on fallen logs. I ran with the wind in my hair and felt in tune with nature. But I knew there was something more. To this world, to this nature I was running through and relishing in. But at the time I was not quite sure what that was.

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Black Wolf Falls, Mineral King CA. by Sharon Devol

When I was nine I had an experience. I loved climbing up a rocky outcropping above the cabins where we lived in the summer. It was a place few people noticed or went to, and I loved the challenge of scrambling up the rock through trees, finding cracks in the rock to pull myself up, and finding little shelves above the hamlet where the only sound was the wind through the pine trees and an occasional bird cry or chipmunk surprised by my presence. It was a place of solace for me.

One day, however, I was meditating in the sun on a rocky outcropping when I heard what sounded like steal horse shoe on rock, the creak of a leather saddle, and a cock of a rifle. I knew these sounds from watching western movies with my Dad.

My eyes opened and I froze, fearful and bewildered. There was no way there was a horse behind the rocky outcropping I was stationed. Sure there was a road that wound up behind my vantage point, but no one owned a horse there, or had use, or legal reason to cock a gun.

I was shaking in fear because the sounds were soo real. But I couldn’t sit there forever in frozen state of fear. Just then I heard someone dismount and boots on dirt and rock. I gulped, and pulled myself up to peak over the other side. I saw a shadowy figure in black..

A gun fired and the bullet ricocheted on the rock and I ducked. Another one spun off the side and I felt dirt and rock hit the back of my head. I had to get out of there!

I never had gone back down the way I came up, until then. I scrambled down the rock on my butt, slipping on the pine needles and not caring if anyone saw my very ungraceful attempt at survival. As I did so I heard a shout from the shooter, and then retreating hooves of a horse. The wind caught whatever else was happening above me as I made it down the rocky surface to behind some cabins. I snuck by the cabins and got onto the road, the asphalt warm in the midday sun. I ran down the road towards home, and then paused at the road that led up to around the outcropping; where the shooter would be. Seeing no hoof marks in the dirt, or any sign I decided against investigating and ran home… confused, and yet, knowing that that experience had felt all too familiar to me for some reason.. but how? Was my imagination just too much, or was something else going on…

That night in my dreams I relived the experience over and over, however the shadowy figure looked more real, palpable and calculating. He wore a dark duster and his horse was a bay. And in the dream I was older, and armed, and shot back at him before retreating down the hill.

I woke up in a cold sweat, but hot, as if I was actually running down that mountain. And then it struck me. The searing pain in my side. I didn’t know what was going on and cried out. As I tried to get my bearings and my bedroom spun out of control around me I realized I was feeling what a bullet wound would be. As I knew that thats what it was. Why? How would a nine year old girl have that knowledge?! I reached for the area my hand drew blood. I could feel the wet sticky substance on my fingers, and could smell the coppery tincture of what exactly it was. I somehow managed to pass out from the pain, or fall asleep…

In the morning I woke up, no longer in excruciating pain, and the blood was no where to be found. Was that a dream, or nightmare? As I sat up in bed I felt some pain and found a circular bruise where the dreamy bullet wound had been…. What was going on?
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He found me.. somehow… I cursed under my breath as another shot hit the rocks beside me. I thought I had lost the posse, but apparently I hadn’t shaken them as well as I had hoped. Or this was another bounty hunter, which was possible as he was alone.
I had climbed up this rocky mountain, pushing my horse to his limits, until I knew I couldn’t push him farther. Then I hid him in the thick brush and had taken a defensive position up on a rocky outcropping. But this guy had found me..

Another gunshot went off and I got nicked by the dirt and rock. Time to move! I cocked my pistols and shot a few rounds at him, hoping the rock would be sufficient cover. And when the assailant had backed off because of my barrage of gunfire, I hightailed it out of there, and down the rocky outcropping, the vertical way down.

By the time I reached the half way mark he had recovered from his fear, and was shooting at me from above. I swung by my arm to grab onto another granite slab, which gave me, finally adequate cover. I breathed a sigh of relief, and that was when I noticed the blood. The $@#$!# had got me, hit me in the side. I breathed in the hot pain that I suddenly noticed and checked out the wound. It was a thru and thru, on my side above my right hip, and bloody. But I had been through worse.

I tied it off so the blood loss would slow, dragged out my flask from my pocket and checked my rounds. Below me, hidden in the thicket was my horse, rested and waiting for me. It was just a matter of getting down the rest of the way……

Written by S.B. Inspired by D.R.