Phyllis is an enthusiastic researcher, reader, and writer of history. Historical fiction based on actual facts is her expertise.
Mountain Meadows Shallow Graves
Jimmy Evans: Part two
Nightmares of Mountain Meadows Massacre
"I have nightmares sometimes, too," David continued. "Bad ones and I tried, in the beginning, to run away from them, but found out I had to remember what caused them before I could heal from it. You ever hear about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Jimmy?"
Jimmy still stared out the window, his back to David. He jerked his head to the side and tensed up then he gripped the sill of the open window so hard his knuckles turned white. Pain and fear were stirring up inside him and it felt like his stomach was churning inside out. He felt like something dangerous was approaching him and he wanted to hide.
"That name, Mountain Meadows ... it scares me ... something bad, I think. I don't wanna think about it ... it seems evil," Jimmy seemed to be shrinking back from something. His hands, then his whole body started shaking.
David watched Jimmy closely. It seemed like the boy was trying to hide and withdraw inside himself. David thought maybe he should not go any further about the massacre, but he could see Jimmy was close to remembering something.
"You okay, Jimmy?" David went over to stand closer to the boy. "I'm here for you if you need to talk."
Jimmy dried his eyes again and kept staring out the window like he was searching and trying to remember. He started to speak but could not get any words out and just mumbled short sounds. David knew the boy was scared and was going to break. He wanted to hug the kid and console him but he could not stop the memories now.
Jimmy had to find his past, no matter how painful. David cautiously continued to talk, to draw out the things in Jimmy's mind. Mat had entered the room, saw and heard what was happening and motioned for David to keep on talking.
David continued talking quietly, watching Jimmy closely.
Bury the Dead
"My commander was assigned to take his regiment to bury the dead two years after the massacre. I had to obey orders and help,"
David started talking quietly and slowly. "There were bones all over the place because the dead were buried in two shallow mass graves, one for the men and boys and one for the women and girls. Some bones of babies were still clutched in the arms of the mother's bones."
Jimmy's whole body jerked then he froze. Suddenly he started sobbing and grabbed his head with both hands and screamed, "Ma! Ma!".
Jimmy doubled over, arms wrapped around his waist. He backed into a corner and screamed so loud that Johnny, the station master, came running in the room. David gently put his arms around Jimmy, rocking him from side to side, trying to console him.
"You are safe now, Jimmy. I will protect you," David repeated over and over. Jimmy screamed and sobbed till his voice was hoarse and he collapsed in David's arms.
David carried the boy over to his cot and sat him on the edge. "Send the fill-in rider today, Johnny. Jimmy can't go out."
David lay Jimmy down and got a towel to dip in water. He kept patting Jimmy's face with it and talked soothingly. "It is okay, now, Jimmy. You are okay, you are safe ... I am here with you and I'll keep you safe. Mat is here, too. We will stay with you."
Jimmy moaned and sobbed for a long time, turning back and forth on the cot as memories rushed in. He kept calling out, "Ma! Ma!"
He started pounding his head with fists and David had to hold Jimmy's wrists to stop him from hurting himself.
Mat pulled out his medicine bag from a locker. He uncapped a bottle and held Jimmy up by the shoulders. Putting the bottle to Jimmy's lips he tipped it just enough to give Jimmy a sip which he swallowed. Jimmy coughed and sputtered then started calming down a little.
"It's laudanum," Mat told David. "He should calm down in a few minutes. He is experiencing intense emotional pain."
David held the boy and rocked him as Jimmy cried for a long time, gradually calming down till he fell asleep. David,s heart was breaking for the boy and did not want to let go of Jimmy. He held Jummy against his chest, cradling him like a baby.
"Dang! I wish Rebecca were here," he whispered.
"What happened? Memory coming back?" Mat asked.
"Bad memories are surfacing and he is beginning to remember," David whispered.
"Poor kid," Mat slowly shook his head. "Let's hope he makes it through and begins to heal. I hope you're ready for this, David, it could be really bad. Jimmy probably saw a lot of horrible things back then."
To be Continued
Please continue the story at Jimmy Evans: Memories of Mountain Meadows Massacre Surface.
Note From Author
Sources for all historical facts will be available in the conclusion of the Jimmy Evans story.
© 2020 Phyllis Doyle Burns