An air of mystery surrounds Nancy, the new girl in David's class. She looks different, "foreign," and David finds her disturbingly attractive. At Nancy's insistence, they set out on a canoe trip to Red Ochre Island, a burial place of the Beothuk Indians of Newfoundland. They'll be involved in more than just a history assignment when they meet Dauoodaset, on of the last of the Beothuk. A sinister rendezvous awaits them on Red Ochre Island.
Intertwined in Blood Red Ochre, with the story of David and Nancy, is that of Dauoodaset, one of last of the Beothuk. Dauoodaset's gripping parallel narrative of the final days of his people is a prelude to a sinister rendezvous, where the author draws past and present together in an astonishing tour de force.
I make quick my work with jay bird feathers and the firestones of my mother. I crouch over them, and when the sparks catch fire to the feathers, I bring to it bark of the birch tree and then the smallest sticks. Soon there is a fire high in its flame and strong with heat.
I take off my body furs and hang them to dry on the branches of the tree. I crouch again low on my legs near the fire. The heat burns away the coldness of my flesh. It sucks out the numbness of my bones and stops my quivering. I turn to let the fire warm my back parts. All the time I keep my eye to the woods around. The fire will soon draw the devilman to me.
When I think that he must be near, I take my furs and lay them on the ground near the fire. I make them to look like a man fallen down, his head under the low branches of the tree. I put green boughs on the fire to make heavy smoke. Then I take my bow and its arrows and crawl away to the woods to hide.
...The waiting is long. I think now I do not know from where he will come. My bent legs are aching. My ears hear ever sound but it is only the sounds of wind and water and seabirds that I think I hear. There is no sound like the coming of a devil. Perhaps he has seen me and knows where I crouch. Perhaps he will leap at my back and blow his killing piece into my head. There is fear in me that I will die a naked clump of flesh covered only with the redness of ochre.
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