The white man who encountered the Chenwalk tribe quite by accident had unknowingly spread smallpox. A team of scouts from the tribe had heard a shot ring out in the woods, and they went to investigate. They found the man getting ready to gut the deer. Upon seeing the Indians, he calmly sliced a large piece and offered it to them. Realizing he was not going to harm them, only being generous, they cautiously accepted his gift. They were even showing the man how to make better cuts to salvage the hide. In the hours they were squatting together around the dead deer, none knew what was to follow. Well, maybe the white man once he finally started showing symptoms himself. But he was already long gone from Washenka at that time.
The Chenwalk people were dead within a month of the white man stepping onto their land. As was their tradition, they arranged the dead on funeral pyres and burnt them, offering their souls to the sky gods. Those still well enough took on the responsibility of ushering them on to the next step into their supernatural journey. With whole families dying simultaneously, it became clear they could not recover from this curse that had befallen them. Knowing this was their end, the elders decided to burn all the dead in their tents, wiping out evidence of their existence. With each fire, the village returned more and more back to the wilderness. When the last Indian died, he became food for the earth, and Washenka was no more.
Present Day – Cherrywood Police Station
Police Chief Adams read through all the statements taken from the five oldest teenagers who were in custody. None of them had any previous criminal records, but here they were, having beaten their friends to a pulp with fists and weapons. And what they recalled was nothing, no reasons nor motives to drive them to do what they did that night. All of them sat in their jail cells confused, hysterical or crying. He shook his head and sighed deeply. What the hell was going on?
“Stephens, what do you think happened tonight?”
“I don’t know, sir. It’s like they all just went crazy. And they act like they don’t know what happened to them tonight. Maybe we should consider getting them drug tested? Perhaps they were tripping?”
“Yeah, I think that’s a good idea. Go ahead and call the hospital and see if a lab tech can come over and draw their blood.”
“Yes, sir. Right away, sir.”
Stephens picked up the phone and made the arrangements. The hospital said it would send someone over as soon as possible, probably within the next 15 minutes. “Thank you,” Stephens said and relayed that information to Police Chief Adams.
“Stephens, I’d like you also to go back to the park and see if you can comb through what was left there for any evidence of drugs.”
When Stephens arrived at the park, the hair on the back of his neck stood up. When he stepped out of the police vehicle, he felt amped up, like electricity was circulating in his body. Then nothing.
The next thing he remembered was waking up in the hospital with a big gash across his forehead.
TO BE CONTINUED ON FRIDAY…