Under the shade of the Execution Tree, the stoic Lighthorseman pinned a white paper heart on Pul-musky’s chest and placed a blindfold over eyes. Killing another man carried the ultimate penalty and Seminole justice was swift. In the gap between life and death, Pul-musky regretted the night he killed John Proctor in a drunken brawl, if only for his family’s sake. His pounding heart muffled the sound of the executioner’s gun fire. With precision, the bullet hit the white paper target. Pul-musky’s blood soaked the ground, feeding the Execution Tree for the last time.
Friday Fictioneer’s is a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this challenge and Sandra Crook for this week’s prompt
This is the story of the last execution of a Native American by the Seminole Tribe police force, the Lighthorsemen. The Execution Tree stood in Wewoka, my Oklahoma home town. It was cut down in the 1920s but salvaged for history and now is on permanent display at the Seminole County Museum. Another symbol of justice, the Whipping Tree, still stands in front of the courthouse. Below is a photo I took during a recent visit.
Kika and his brother Hakan were walking through the woods in search of blueberries for Grandmother’s pie. Across the stream, Hakan noticed a bush ripe with berries.
“There are enough berries for two pies on that bush,” said Hakan, stepping into the stream.
In the tree above sat Old Crow, cawing “Danger, Danger.” Hearing the warning, Kika pleaded with his brother to return. “Do you not hear Old Crow?” he asked.
“That old bird is a trickster. He wants the berries for himself.”
Old Crow persisted with each step Hakan took, but the berries were too inviting for Hakan to return. When Hakan safely reached the other shore, he turned to Old Crow and laughed.
“Maybe I will leave a berry or two for your dinner.” He then filled his basket with the juicy berries.
By now Hakan was hungry and it would be hours before Grandmother baked the pie. As Hakan placed a handful of berries in his mouth, Old Crow cawed even louder than before. But his warning was unheeded and within moments, Hakan’s stomach burned in pain, causing him to fall into the stream. The berries had been poison.