The blood lands were so named because of the red color of the sandstone landscape. It was a sight to behold. Great red stone mountains; sand dunes frozen in time stretched across the horizon. The contrast against the blue of the sky and white of the sparse clouds was so crisp it gave a cut and paste effect.
It was beautiful, and hot. It was a rare day when the temperature would fall below 90̊ during the day, but at least it cooled off in the evening. That was when the desert came alive with insects and small desert animals. Once it was said that camels, mountain lions and wild pigs lived there, but no longer did they roam the barren terrain.
At the time there was a lot of argument about how this had happened, mainly because it had happened so quickly. One year the park rangers were worried about overpopulation, the next, they worried there were not enough of each species to maintain the echo system.
The camels were first to go followed by the wild pigs, then by the lions and wolves. In less than three years, the desert was populated by rabbits, lizards, a variety of birds, bats and of course, coyotes, though even they were growing sparse.
The most interesting and most disturbing theory was that the legend of the Blood People was real and that they were growing more in number, throwing off the echo system as they killed the larger game.
That theory was laughable to the majority of the public and rarely made press but was occasionally found in the small local paper. It was considered entertainment and a tourist draw by the residents of the small town.] and not so much as mentioned in the press as possible cause of the change in the area. For the sake of humoring those who believed it, it for the entertainment of the more sensible. The Legend was published in the small towns local paper. The legend was dictated by a ninety-four year old native who claimed her husband had seen the Blood people in the flesh. Her husband got too close and had been killed.
It was later mentioned in the article that the Mrs. DeVoune had died shortly after her story had been told for the last time. Her last words being “Heed the warning, the blood people have returned.”
The article caused an uproar among those who believed. They found it offensive how the respected Mrs. DeVoune was treated as a senile woman confusing bedtime stories with reality. After a few months people stopped talking about it. Notwithstanding astringent feelings endured within the DeVoune family who were among the strongest believers.
To alleviate tension and appease the large family, the story was printed on a plaque and put on a stand at a lookout point along the road to the campsites. Below the legend was the theory that the blood people had indeed returned and killed the native animal population. Attached as an Annex were Mrs. DeVoune’s last words “Heed the warning, the Blood People have returned” The story attracted tourists with its mysterious foreboding allure.
The small town grew larger with the influx of tourism. More homes were constructed to house the state park employees and more stores to feed and clothe them. The tension was forgotten by all but the single family who still believed the legend was true.