Phyllis is an enthusiastic researcher, reader, and writer of history. Historical fiction based on actual facts is her expertise.
Memories of Mountain Meadows Massacre
Part Three of the Jimmy Evans Story
Continued from Jimmy Evans: Nightmares of Mountain Medows Massacre
Bits and Pieces Remembered
David and Mat stayed close to Jimmy, not leaving him alone at any time day or night.
Jimmy started talking about the massacre, of bits and pieces he remembered. With each part of the massacre memory that came out hit Jimmy hard as if it had just happened. At times he became confused, not knowing if he was in the past experiencing the horror or if he was in the present and looking back.
He would talk till the crying stopped him for a while, then continue on till the whole story came out. At times he would revert back to the frightened little boy and then would distance himself emotionally so he could relate what he saw. Mat told David that because Jimmy could confront his fears and the past, he would heal much faster. David was amazed to see Jimmy able to express his feelings and allow his emotions to pour out. Yet David was saddened to know Jimmy had matured far beyond his thirteen years because of his traumatic childhood.
Jimmy sat at the table with a cup of coffee as he spoke of the massacre. "I was nine years old, one of the kids who the leader of the murderers said to spare. Spared so I could live with the memories, the horror ... memories of seein' my sisters clubbed and knifed to death then seein' a man shoot Ma while she was holding the baby. The shot killed Ma and the baby.
"I remember runnin' down the hill screamin', lookin' for my Pa to protect me. And there he was on the ground with his brains blown out ... lyin' in a pool of blood. Pa's blood runnin' together with all the other men's blood. All the men and older boys murdered because that is what their God told them to do. "Kill them, kill them all," one man said. "But save the little children our God says."
"And my God wasn't there ... He wasn't there, David! I been lookin' for Him since then. Seein' all my family butchered and dead scared me so bad I lost my voice. I couldn't talk more, just short sounds of fear came out of me."
"I stared at Pa in horror. He was my protector. I started to scream again and a man swung around with his knife and it cut my cheek," Jimmy touched the scar under his right eye. "He pushed me away and I fell, hittin' my head on a rock. That's the last I
knew till I woke up in a group of little kids huddled together. Someone threw a scarf at me and told me to wipe my bloody face. Then I started blockin' it all out. I couldn't face it anymore and soon forgot everything. For all this time I did not remember who I was or where I came from."
Memories Flashed and Words Poured out
A few times Jimmy fell to his knees and groaned as memories flashed and words poured out. He cried for the terrified nine-year-old boy inside him and he cried because it made him sick to remember the horror of it all, he cried for his Ma and Pa and for his sisters, calling all their names out, calling them back to him.
"And the baby!" Jimmy cried hard. "Our sweet little baby shot dead!"
He fell forward and stayed on his hands and knees, crying and coughing for a long time, his whole body jerking, while David knelt beside him with a hand on Jimmy's back.
David put his other hand on Jimmy's forehead to support his head as Jimmy wretched and threw up all the hurtful memories and pain inside him. He wretched and coughed till nothing was left in him and he collapsed. David carried Jimmy to his cot, lay him down and covered him. Then David washed Jimmy's face with cool water and sat there holding the boy's hand till Jimmy fell asleep. And David silently cried.
David anxiously waited for what he thought would be the right moment to let Jimmy know about Rebecca, but when he felt it was time to talk about it, it was too late.
Back on the Trail
After four days of suffering through the devastating memories, Jimmy felt the need to get back out on the trail. David wanted him to wait longer, but Jimmy was too restless and felt trapped in the past. He had to ride again.
"I gotta get back on a horse and ride fast as the wind to clear my head," Jimmy insisted.
"Well, when you get back we can talk more," David did not want to tell Jimmy anything that would distract his mind when he had to be alert for danger on the trail.
"Sure. Thanks, David. Thanks for helping me through a bad time. Tell Mat thanks, too. I'm going to be okay now," Jimmy put his hat on and smiled at David. "I kinda feel like I got a Pa again because you take such good care of me."
Jimmy rushed out, for the first rider came in from Carson City. The incoming rider pulled the mail pouch off his horse and put it on Jimmy's horse. Jimmy mounted, waved to David and was quickly racing away on the route. David admired how skilled Jimmy was with horses and how well he rode as if the boy and horse were connected spiritually.
Mat came out from the kitchen and David told him Jimmy said thanks for helping him. "Aww, sure. He's a fine kid."
"Yep, he sure is," David had both hands on his hips, watching Jimmy ride away. He raised his right hand and pushed his hat up a little with his thumb. "You know, Mat, I think Jimmy is ready for Rebecca's letter. I sure hope he accepts me as his brother-in-law and a substitute father."
"You mean to tell me you haven't noticed how Jimmy thinks the sun rises and sets in you? He will be proud and happy as all get out when you tell him," Mat lightly slapped David on the back. "Does Rebecca know you found Jimmy?"
"Yes. She should have got my letter by now. Isn't it ironic that Jimmy rushed it partway through?"
"Yeah, it is. I can't wait to see him read Rebecca's letter and to know he has family. Hey! That means me, too - since I'm your brother, that makes me an uncle. Right?"
Pony Express Trail Route
Jimmy Evans Story to be Continued
To be continued in part four, Back on the Trail.
© 2020 Phyllis Doyle Burns