Jacob was trembling. He stood transfixed with the guilt. He’d watched Bodie brutally whipped. Dozens of agonising lashes thwacking with gut-chilling smacks into his ribs. Cutting down over his straining chest.
Jacob gasped .. at the force of pain that thudded across Bodie’s muscle-packed waist. Tirelessly the brave with the whip was putting all his strength behind each blow. Honoured to break the white-man down.
The pain would have doubled Bodie up .. except his arms were pinned out-wide. Jacob could almost feel the agony as the wind was sent thumping up into Bodie’s chest. Like a massive punch in the belly .. the force exploding in his lungs. Roped-down his legs tried to lift .. to compensate. His lower body jarring upwards .. big thigh muscles locked in spasms. Jacob bit on his bottom lip. At tremors of agony tearing through Bodie’s muscular torso .. in savage convulsions of pain.
Miraculously Bodie had hardly cried out. Gut-wrenching pain had been repeatedly lashed across his front. His stubborn silence had only goaded the brave with the whip. Only a few times .. when pain was quickly loaded on top of another body-crunching hit .. just a few times had a cry of tortured pain escaped. Hung up in the air. Crucified for Jacob’s crimes. Brutally whip-lashed. Inhumanely beaten. Whipped to show the weakness of the white-man under Sioux torture.
Hunting Wind had called a halt. Had he been impressed? Bodie had stood up to their punishment .. as good as the best Sioux brave. Impressed? Or had Hunting Wind stopped the whipping because he feared this white-man would not break? He’d not scream out his pain. Not what Hunting Wind had wanted to prove to his tribe. Not the night before their attack.
Instead in frustration he turned on Jacob. He took a stride over to his brother. Hunting Wind grabbed him humiliatingly by the hair. Yanking on his scalp. His head indicated Bodie behind. Still strung-out. His chest a mass of angry red stripes. In places the skin had broken .. blood mingling and clotting in the hair on his muscular chest.
“That is what a Sioux thinks of your feeble white-man god.”
Not so feeble, Jacob thought. Look at him! Bodie had handled that torture like the best. Even now, panting, pain-sweated, chest heaving .. even now he was still conscious. Exhausted .. but he had fought back his suffering. Even now he was managing to lift his head and watch the two brothers facing each other off.
“Sioux you were born.”
Hunting Wind pulled Jacob’s face into his. He snarled his anger into the face of the brother that had abandoned the old ways. Betrayed his tribe.
“As Sioux you were brought up.”
Jacob tried to yank himself free. But he could not. Hunting Wind’s anger just rattled him by the hair. Instead, steadfastly Jacob lifted his chin. He glared back into Hunting Wind’s scorn. He had seen the example. Bodie had shown him the way. He’d not give in to torture and threats either. Jacob’s chest lifted. The pair of brother’s strong torsos touched. Glaring in defiance at each other.
Gripping his captive tight by the hair, Hunting Wind glared back. Silence fell on the village. Gripped by this confrontation of two Sioux brothers. Both sons of a chief. Angered by his brother daring to return his glare, twisting his hand in Jacob’s scalp, Hunting Wind yanked Jacob out of his face.
“Like a Sioux you lived. Like a Sioux you will die.”
Pulling backwards, he shoved Jacob’s face up. Letting the tribe see his former brother trapped in their chief’s hands. With a growl of hate, Hunting Wind gave his people the denunciation. For a brother who had betrayed his tribe.
“Light the fires!”
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