~THE BADLANDS~ View attachment 1659 Tragic loss is often the reason behind major life changes. It forces people to change, not only themselves, but also their surroundings. This is the very reason why Cliff Dean was currently riding on the number 113 greyhound bus, bound towards middle America, but more importantly that that, to a new life. After a serious bout with depression, due the the very sudden death of his lover and life partner, Cliff felt that his home in east Nevada had very little left for him. As he stared out the window of the bus he noticed that the bleak landscaped mirrored his feelings; Lost and drained. Cliff had taken off his beanie and let his brown, shoulder length hair spill out around his face, he brushed it back with his hand and made a mental note to get a hair cut as soon as possible. He zipped up his black and red hooded sweatshirt and looked at his reflection in the window. The two hazel eyes that stared back looked tired and sad, and in truth, they were. Cliff laid his head back against the seat. And as he dozed off the bus crossed into South Dakota, home of the Badlands. The great American Badlands, a viciously unforgiving stretch of nothingness located in South Dakota. Although the Badlands span across Nebraska and Wyoming as well, the most lifeless stretch is in South Dakota. And at this moment, where Greyhound bus 113 was traveling. Besides miles and miles of nothingness, every so often small road side diners, "last stop" gas stations and broke down looking motels would creep into view. Mostly places like this catered to the lost, road worn travelers that would find themselves here in the middle of nowhere U.S.A. Cliff was suddenly jarred by a bump in the road and realized that it was night. Darkness surrounded the bus as it traveled into the night. Cliff looked out the window and saw that they were pulling into a stop as an announcement sounded over a loud speaker. " Exit 163, north BadLands route 3. Last stop for 156 miles, all getting off exit now." Cliff Decided to get off, after all, from here he could easily get another bus later. He needed a shower and just his luck there was a motel here. Besides the Motel and the bus stop there was a diner, but nothing else. Almost as soon as he had gotten his luggage in order the bus pulled back onto the road and disappeared into the night. He walked across the street to the Motel and entered the lobby. An older man with a pair of thick rimmed glassed and a cigarette in his mouth looked up at him. He gace Chuck a look that said 'what the hell do you want?' For a moment, Cliff was sure that the guy was gonna send him away, but instead he asked. "You need a Room?" Yes, please." Said Chuck picking up an informational booklet as he waited for his key. The booklet read as follows Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Show Spoiler Hide Spoiler *****“A Paradise Lost” taken from Indian Legends of American Scenes. Marion E. Gridley. 1939. M.A. Donohue & Company. Chicago***** There was a time when the land that is now the Badlands was a high plain covered in the greenest and richest of grasses and the animal people lived there in great numbers. The Great Spirit that had created this land decreed that all quarrels must be forgotten when any tribes were camped upon this plain. For many years, many bands came together here, and though they might be unfriendly at other times, here they danced and sang and traded in peace. But then, from the western mountains came the people without meat or skins and with the look of a hungry wolf in their eyes. They wanted this place for their own and were not willing to share, so they at once set about driving off all the other tribes until there were no others on the plain. A council was called to ask for help from the Great Spirit. But if He heard, he gave no sign. The people from the mountains grew fiercer and were not content to stay on the plain anymore. Now they went about the country seizing all villages that stood in their path. The sky became cloudy from smoke signals sent as the tribes began to call upon others long distances away to help carry out an attack upon these mountain people. Warriors began to make ready for the great battle, and fighting men began to gather from every corner of the land. At last all were assembled and the day had come for the advance. Now the Great Spirit took matters into His own hands. Dark clouds hid the sun from the face of the world. Lightning streaked across the blackness and thunder rumbled high over the hills. From the ground flamed forth fire, and the earth shuddered and rocked. A wide gulf opened and into it sank the mountain tribe—all their people and all they possessed. With them sank all life—the waving grass and clear spring and animals. As suddenly as it came the storm ceased. The earth became fixed in waves as it had rolled and shaken. There was only a barren waste on which nothing has ever grown or can grow. The Great Spirit had taken away the lands that had caused wars among His children and left to those He spared the evidence of His power and His punishment. Geologic evidence -- rock layers and fossils -- also indicates that a lush prairie ecosystem emerged here about 30 million years ago. The Lakota people -- members of the Oglala Sioux, one tribe among seven -- have been living in this area for centuries. They developed a rich culture well- suited for the arid environment. As explorers, homesteaders, and gold-seekers began moving West into Lakota territory in the early- mid nineteenth century, clashes erupted over ownership and use of the land. The United States Army was sent to keep peace in the region, but ended up fighting a series of bat- tles, wars, and massacres with the Native people. Wounded Knee, just south of the Badlands, is the site of a famous engagement. The book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown describes this sad history of conflict. The Lakota people refer to the harsh environment and rug- ged terrain as mako sica or “bad lands.” Today, they work with the National Park Service to protect the south unit of Badlands Na- tional Park. You can learn more about their relationship with this place by going to the White River Visitor Center. Cliff was startled from his reading when the man came back handing him his key. Cliff paid and headed to his room. He got inside and laid on the bed, nearly falling asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. It felt so good to lay in a bed after hours and hours on a bus. However something was off about this place. Cliff had had a funny, almost sick feeling in his stomach as soon as he got off the bus. Something about this place was bad, rotten and sour. It was apparent and if Cliff wasn't so tired he might have never gotten off that bus, little did he know stopping here for the night would be the biggest mistake he had ever made.