A Midwinter Picnic
After a while those of the posse who ran away each realize they aren’t being followed and then they make their way back to the clearing following the reassuring yells of Daren. The decision is made to burn Klein/the wendigo’s monstrous body. Joe Cobb realizes the red object on the boulder is two pieces of a person’s skull with the flesh gnawed off and the skull cracked open like a coconut. He also notes there’s writing in the surface of the rock also, but he is then too sick to his stomach to look further.
The Reverend steps up and deciphers the writing to be “God Forgive M” which he suspects was meant to be God forgive me. Kibechay finds ripped clothes and the large hairy fur coat that Klein was wearing. A further search is made of the surrounding area led by Kibechay and a smaller cave, more like a den is found with more bones within and the weapons of LtCol Shilcher too.
On return to the larger cave the Posse find Corky, Jebediah and Roussé gathered around the fire eating jerky. Kibechay is at first annoyed, and then horrified as he realizes that the jerky from his stores they are eating was not right, not all his and he begins to suspect that Klein somehow slipped them all jerky by contaminating Kibechays food supplies for their trip. (He believes this because the large coat had a big empty pocket on the inside) He ran out of the cave he was so upset and was followed by Daren who understands some of what Kibechay is saying.
Meanwhile, Roussé is losing control of himself growling and eating jerky, he suddenly screams out a horrified piercing scream and begins writhing and changing before everyone’s eyes. Corky starts screaming too and everyone else is stunned in horror watching this person changing, becoming a horrible creature right before their eyes. At last realizing what is happening several people get weapons out and throwing caution to the wind Joe Cobb casts the hex Soul Blast twice. With the second casting he managed to do three wounds to Rousse’s head and he falls dead and Joe horrified for his own reasons loses his lunch. Kibechay unable to contain his fear manically hacks at Rousse’s body until he also throws up.
The smell of fresh blood is heavy in the air and everyone is disturbed by it, by the way it evokes hunger, and then nausea. After a few minutes Kibechay reveals that his stores of meat may have been contaminated by Klein and that he fears they may all now be tainted by the evil spirit Wendigo.
Because of the way everyone is feeling, the concern is accepted as fact by the group. Then Corky chimes in about the journal which she has been reading for Dr. Pat and she reads some excerpts aloud and then passes it to Dr. Pat to read another part that seems to be an interview with a Shaman about the Wendigo. These extracts confirm Kibechay’s fears as Klein has written about trying to control the hunger by eating others who have eaten human flesh.
Discussion as to what to do about it range from the Reverend Ainsworthy trying to use exorcism to cleanse everyone spiritually, to finding other Shaman’s who might have ideas of how to help them. The Posse then dispose of bodies and pack and leave the cave to head back to Fort Lamar.
Excerpt from Bill Klein_ ’s journal of interview with Shaman Inoei of the Beothuk
The Wendigo is a dark greedy spirit, it trys with the weak man in sleep, in dreams and sometimes it succeeds. Other’s it trys when our spirits are weak, when the great spirit seems to not be watching over us, or so we think. The Wendigo likes to take the strong then, but it is a greedy spirit, it would take us all, if given a chance.I asked How does it take the strong?: It waits til the strong man is hungry, so hungry he eat of his own kind. Then the wendigo has him though he not see this truth. Then his dreams are haunted, he can do nothing but hope for another meal of flesh. He will have it and another, and again,‑ there is no other course with the wendigo. It is too strong to resist all the time. Wendigo take, and it take. It make monster of its victim.
So it never ends? Or is there a way to break the Wendigo’s hold?: Death is the end for the Wendigo craves lives as well as flesh. It will take as many as it can. The stories tell of whole villages taken by the greed of Wendigo. One legend say that warrior Haumetai slay Wendigo, but he only kill one of Wendigo’s victims, one possessed.
Wendigo can’t be killed then? Only its victims?: The one it takes to eat others can be killed yes, but it will make him very strong, very hard to kill.
How hard to kill?: This I don’t know. The legends say, he will be fast, he will be strong, but more than that they don’t tell.
The hunger the victim feels, can they resist at all? How long do they have before they can’t?: The Wendigo patient spirit, it always waiting for the right time, it will wait for victim to give in, even strong man eventually give in.
What if the victim, now marked, doesn’t give in again to the hunger?
I continued to press him for answers on how a strong man might resist, but he didn’t have any answers.below from rest of journal
…It is incredible how alive I feel after eating him, how much stronger, and most telling of all, how much less bothered by my complaint. The sickness is gone!
…My desire to eat human flesh is growing and I do not know how much longer I can resist the urge to kill and eat. .but I must resist! as long as I can, or resign myself to hell. .
. ..It is a sad thing that I find anything may justify it, if I feel tired or if I am congested in the head then the thought occurs that I can make it go away if only I eat the flesh, sometimes even the thought that I might not feel as strong in the morning is enough, such is the strength of my fear of the sickness’ return, that I leap upon my cure again and again.
.. I know the longer I wait the easier a time I will have in my feast. There will be fewer to object or fight me, fewer who would judge me. If I can wait til others are crushed under the heel of desperate hunger, then I will face no judgement at all, only companionship.
. . .I have concluded based on these feelings of hunger that I must discover a way to control and minimize my urge to eat human flesh. There must be a way that I may keep my strength and health and not need to always eat of another. If I limit myself to only eating when I am sick or wounded then surely my will is bound to grow stronger. Also if multiple people such as myself can sate the hunger on each other instead, then perhaps we can sate it longer.