Author's Note: I'm not sure how accurate this is. I wanted to capture the thoughts of a young man who was a member of the Quantrill Raiders. Events are actual events that happened. Bill Anderson and William Quantrill were real people. For those of you who don't know this takes place in Lawrence, Kansas on August21, 1863 during the Lawrence Massacre.
Dark Side of the Moon
~A Story of the Lawrence Massacre~
I do not do this for honour. This is my final word before I embark on this journey. I spur my horse and race to catch up with the rest of the men. The purple, fading sun creates a wonderful painting backdrop behind. It makes a man feel strong and needed. However, I go back to my first words: I do not do this for honour.
Like Bill Anderson, I am here to protect and seek revenge. My little sister, Charlotte, was shot because of me by the darned Yankees. I can remember holding her hand as she died. She was just five years old. She had never done anything to them. She did not understand war. She had not deserved to die. This was not her war, nor was it mine. The Yankees made it my war. The Yankees caused the dark side of the moon to shine of me.
I ride up alongside Quantrill. He is not much older than my twenty-five years. Like me, is doing what he thinks needs to be done. "This is not right," Quantrill mutters.
"What's not?" I ask him.
"None of this," he says. "Those little girls did not deserve to die." He is referring to the events in Kansas City where some of the men's kin was killed during a building collapse. The kin had been taken prisoners by the Yankees.
I nod and stare out at the horizon. "We'll make them pay."
"What is about to happen is not good. It is an act of evil," Quantrill pauses, "but it is necessary." He turns to look at me for the first time. "You, Seth Mead, of all people should understand that."
I knew that he was referring to Charlotte's death.
He turns his horse. "Well, we'd best get some shut eye. Tomorrow's the day." He disappears into the woods where most of the men had went.
I did not want to follow him right at this moment. I stare into the horizon thinking of my sweet, innocent kid sister. I would see her death avenged and I would be the one to do it. It does not matter that I do not know the name of her killer, but killing enough Yankees would be good enough. I turn to head into the woods. Tomorrow Lawrence, Kansas would pay.
The next morning, we awoke before sunrise, ate, and mounted. We met other Bushwhacker groups on top of Mount Oread. There is about three or four hundred men here. Each is here for different reasons. Each man wants one thing: to protect those who have been harmed.
Quantrill rides in front of us giving us a talk. "Remember your loved ones. Remember those who died in Kansas City. Remember everyone you care about. This is necessary to see that they live to see another day!" He pauses. "But remember the attacks! This is to plunder, and destroy the town in retaliation for Osceola!" He turns his horse so he can ride back down the line of armed men. "Lane is the target, but show no mercy!" He rides off, but gives us no orders to follow. He is probably going to talk to the rest of the leaders.
Bill Anderson is sitting next to me. "Mercy is not a problem," he hisses to that. "Ain't that right Sethy boy?"
I do not respond right away. People say that the death of his sister set him off the deep end. I do not know if this is true or not, but do not wish to test it. Instead I nod and ride away.
Five minutes later, Quantrill comes back. "Let's go boys!"
We ride forward. We show no mercy as we race down that mountain. This is for those we love and those who have been lost. This is for everyone who has suffered at the hand of the Yankees. We ride into town without showing no signs of stopping.
I follow a group into a store. A group of men is gathered around the check out area talking. They do not see us. We pull out our guns and fire. BANG! The first kills of the day. We take the money and leave the store.
Outside the town knows that William Quantrill's Raiders have come to pay them a little visit.
I ride forward thinking the words of Psalm Six. "Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint: heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?" I need mercy on me. I cannot give mercy to anyone else. I need to know that I will not be punished. How much longer must this go on?
An armed townsman comes running at me. He lines his shot up. He is going to kill me, but not if I kill him first. I rise my revolver and fire. I do not miss and he falls dead to the ground. Another sin of the day, I have taken human lives and stolen. At least this one is in self-defense.
"Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?" I kill another man. He begs me for mercy. I pay him no mind. He did not ask the Lord for mercy, only me. He is the sinner here. There is no praises from the grave.
"I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes." There is no longer any townsmen in front of me. My heart is weeping for Charlotte, who died too soon. She was the light side of the moon. She made the dark side stay away. Now, with her gone, there is only darkness.
"Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my pray. All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame." Those who killed our families will be ended. Our debts to our loved ones will be paid.
We ride out of the city. We did not get the man we wanted, but we showed no mercy. It is only nine o'clock in the morning and the deed is done.
The New International Version Bible: Psalm Six
Juliet's Moon by Ann Rinaldi