Saturday, January 10, 2015

The sad fate of Humphrey Blunt

         On the shore, Humphrey Blunt struggled briefly with his captors, but they were too powerful and too many. They dragged him, shouting and swearing, to the edge of the woods and tied him to a tall pine tree. Then, using hatchets traded to them by the English, they began the systematic dismembering of Blunt’s body. Grinning, the two warriors who had captured him took hold of his right thumb and his left thumb and, with swift clean strokes, severed both from his hands.                  
         Only then when he realized what they were about to do, did Blunt began to scream. His cries, torn from his throat as his parts were torn from his body, rent the air with chilling, sickening repetition. Around him, the Indians began to dance, each one holding up a bloody part of Humphrey Blunt.
         “Up anchor!” Thomas Gates said in a choked voice. “We can do nothing here, nothing for him! God rest his soul! Let’s get under way.” Silently, the men aboard the Discovery trimmed her sails and set her course for Point Comfort.
         In the clearing ihn the woods, the Indians, who had chopped off Blunt’s fingers, one by one, and then his toes, and then his arms and legs, joint by joint, continued to dance until the Englishmen’s ship was out of sight. In a few minutes, all that remained of Humphrey Blunt was a pile of bloody parts in a heap upon the soft green grass. His severed head, with its thick blond hair, they carried away in a deerskin bag.
         “Last winter the English cut off the head of Opossanoquonuske’s husband,” one of the Indians said. “Now we have one of theirs.”

[Excerpt from JAMESTOWN: THE NOVEL, 2014]

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