“I know Sheriff,” the deputy said, “The kid’s story doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
They were talking about the 14-year-old Franklin boy, found wandering a back road in snow up to his thighs. He was in emergency surgery as doctors worked feverishly to save his feet from a case of severe frostbite.
“Well,” the sheriff responded, “Do we have any idea where this camp’s located?”
“No, sir,” the deputy answered, “But I’m on my way over to the kid’s parents to see if they might have an idea.”
When discovered in the early morning hours Jimmy Franklin, Jr. was delirious from the freezing cold and the blinding snowfall. He did his best to tell his rescuers, an older couple out on snowmobiles checking their livestock, what happened.
“Uncle Buddy…set up the tent…I got the fire…then they appeared…out of nowhere…I ran…but Buddy…” the boy kept saying.
“Who appeared?” the woman asked.
“Indians…horses…like ‘Dances with…’” Jimmy mumbled as he faded into unconsciousness.
They took the boy back to their home and called for help. The old man told his wife that he’d seen this before in grown men and that he feared that the child wasn’t going to make it.
“Yeah,” said James Franklin, Sr., “I know where Jimmy and my brother’s camp’s set up. But what’s this about an Indian attack?”
“Honestly, we don’t know, Mr. Franklin,” the deputy said. “Like I said, he wasn’t making very much sense.”
As the deputy drove away, she could see in her rearview mirror the Franklin’s truck racing down the snow laden highway towards town and the hospital. She drew the microphone close to her mouth and radioed for the sheriff.
Soon the pair were on their way to the campsite with members of local volunteer Search and Rescue team, who had the necessary snowmobiles to get to the isolate spot on the map. Eleven miles later, they were on foot searching for the exact spot.
“I still don’t get the whole ‘Indians rode into our camp,’ thing,” the sheriff complained.
It didn’t take more than 15 minutes for word to come back that the camp was found. Quickly, everyone moved towards the site.
“Holy shit,” the deputy uncharacteristically exclaimed, “He’s been…”
She looked down at the body of Buddy Franklin, Jimmy’s uncle, and noted the three handmade arrow shafts jutting out of his back from between his shoulder blades. But what really got her, was the wound to the top of his head and the lack of hair and skin that came with it.
“What in the hell happened here?” the sheriff wondered aloud, “We need to talk to that Franklin kid again. I’m starting to think he came up with this cock-and-bull story to put us off the scent of his killing his uncle. We’ll need to back-track his movements to see if we can find that missing scalp of…”
Suddenly, the sheriff’s voice fell away, having noticed the color of his deputy’s cheeks gone pale. He turned to look at whatever it was she was staring at.
“What the…” his voice broke and a sudden chill vibrated down his spine. Etched into the snow-drifted red clay embankment, overlooking the campsite-turned-homicide-scene, appeared twenty well-mounted Native Americans, in traditional garb, carrying shields, lances and bows, looking as if they might at any moment ride down into camp.