A Kiss Before Dying


Sioux tipi, watercolor by Karl Bodmer, ca. 1833

Mose Randolph sat bound and beaten in a dark, empty and smoke-filled Oglala lodge when the tipi’s flap opened and a handsome girl entered with a bowl of food and a gourd of water, which Mose was sure was his last meal.

“I’ll tell ya, missy, I’d go to hell with a smile for just one more kiss from a beautiful, entrancing woman like you before these savages kill me,” Mose said as the woman in her colorfully beaded elk skin dress loosened his bonds and checked his wounds.

Feeling he had nothing to lose, Mose leaned over and kissed the young Oglala woman–who responded in kind–but recoiled when he felt beard stubble against his lips.

“What’s wrong, mate, a fine looking man like you never kissed or been kissed by a winkte, a Two-spirit before?” said one-time stage performer Alfie Windemere, now called White Star, himself once a captive, but who had found the one place in the world he felt accepted for who he really was.

The Oglala men, including a bloodied White Star, took care in slowly dispatching Mose Randolph after he beat the respected winkte and lost a chance to live in a place where people accepted you for who you really were.

A quick draft of a five-sentence story based on Lillie McFerrin’s prompt, ENTRANCE. Let’s say I took that word and used a scatter of its meanings.

I’m pretty careful in writing anything concerning gender, but the idea of man potentially being saved from death by someone for whom he could never imagine a place in his life (or death) appealed to me. I hope I got the dynamic of the Oglala Winyanktehca close to right. The winkte were not marginalized, but rather were considered to be people with special spiritual and other talents that fulfilled some needs of the community that other people could not fill.

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