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'Shadows of the Wind' (the Obbligato, Ch. 33)

'Shadows of the Wind' (the Obbligato, Ch. 33)
By JdSchooley on 09/21/2016
Viewed: 101
Reviews: 2
For his part, John Johns, local leader and sometimes Baptist preacher, had placed himself on the front row bench. As acting coroner for the Governor of Iowa, in the region of the northern frontier along the Des Moines river. He had agreed to observe the proceedings at the request of Major Williams. Now that the governor had stepped into the fray, Granville reluctantly acquiesced to his authority but excluded John as an official in the introductions and public announcements. He had in a tactical detail, insisted that John Johns was acting merely as an expert on the cause of death, and he would conduct the inquest over all. Now he sat, with wonder in his blank expression and gibberish in his ears. He watched suspiciously as Granville hearkened back to his training in the Latin typical in English Law books.

"In point of fact, I'm altogether inclined to regard an instance here that is more, Allegans suam torpitudinem non est..." He paused for the right word. But quickly the clerk finished his thought.

"...Non est audiendus?"

"Quite right! Barnabus, record that precisely." The jolly gent penned the Latin phrase with self-satisfaction, dipped his pen and again held position with the page, at the ready.

"We seem to be on the same path." Granville boasted. "So we begin anew."

"What the devil was all that" John Johns broke in. "I didn't get none of what he just said!"

Granville turned to greet the coroner and motioned for all to retake their seats with little compliance, as well the strident Johns.

"Old fellow, if you wish to have Debutante, you will need take it up with the Governor." He paused only briefly as the man took his seat, then resumed his issuance. "We continue with his mission." Josh Paduta sat back on the bench and his uncle calmly sat on the earth where the middle space down front had been left open. His escort of rascals did likewise in the reaming isle space. Granville observed the mood and resumed with unease.

"We seem to be proceeding exparte as there's none of the victims of this attack to tell the story of what did actually transpire on the night in question."

"Well that fella there, he did, come through it all! Jasper interjected, "He is able to speak!" And pointed at Josh Paduta.

"Well of course he did survive, but he, not being killed as were the victims of the attack. Excuse me, the alleged attack." Granville looked to the page to make certain his clerk had made correct the exact wording. "Once again sir, do you wish to establish Debutante?" This raised only silence and the lawyer continued. "Me thinks we are in a point of order." A general restlessness prevailed, as onlookers were confused as to the meaning of that which was being said.

"We must first establish that a crime did take place. Who attacked whom, and was this self-defense?" A low din rumbled about the crowd with that notion.

"Secondly, it is the task of this inquest to determine whom the guilty party or parties truly are." Saying this, Granville turned and strode to his seat. Once seated he looked over those assembled and asked, "who among you can say most definitively, that an attack on Sintominiduta, resulted in his death on December 28, last?" He leaned back in his chair and motioned toward a member of the audience who had reluctantly raised his hand.

"You sir, you witnessed the crime in question?" Granville barked sharply, and received a shake of the head, no, and the hand went back down. "Without a witness, it is difficult to establish who is guilty of the alleged murders." He paused a long spell to hear none but the murmured tones of restless horses and the sounds of children at play in the cedars.

"I have taken depositions from all that witnessed the results of this heinous event, but only after the vile deeds did occur. I am here to tell you that the law does not exist on assumptions." Granville paused to allow that notion to be absorbed.

"Vell I am here to tell you..." came the voice of Louie, "zhe dead did not do zis ting. Zhey had zhe help of some very bad men. Jus ask zhe boy, he knows plenty." Several voices chimed in to agree with the old trapper

"Two survived ask them who?s guilty!" came from the back of the tent.

"He was there, must have seen." Chimed in an elderly widow.

"Let's hear the witness!" Came a shout from out on the grass. Granville stopped the speculation with a raised palm.

"And how shall we locate the name of this vile person? Say there, young heathen, what's the name of the person who attacked you?" He sat back in his chair and drew a cigar from a leather case, tossing the case on the table, he drew the cigar beneath his nose and absorbed the stout aroma across it's slender length. Then he pointed with the cigar at Josh Paduta and asked, "How's your English?"

All eyes were on Josh, his Uncle turned to see his expression and to try and read weather or not he knew what he was being asked. Finally he tipped his s pear toward the reluctant boy causing him immediately to stand and speak.

"White man kill Dakota!" He blurted out in a voice that indicated rehearsal. For he had practiced this phrase in his head many times. His uncle turned back in satisfaction and thumped his spear on the ground and pronounced a satisfying, "huh!" to punctuate the point. His young band joined in and a few thumped their chests loudly.

"So you see? This is precisely what I am trying to explain." Granville exclaimed, he then stood and faced the young Dakota. "You got a very nasty blow to the noodle that night, did you not?" He cocked his head and tapped mockingly with the fresh stogy.

"White man kill Dakota!" came the response from Josh once more.

"Fascinating! And how many were they?" The air was quiet. "Can you find any of them here present? Please give me their names." Granville clicked at a sulphur match it sparked to life and held the flame to his cigar, puffing smugly. Finally after a long delay he got the answer again.

"White man kill Dakota!" Josh stared hard at the lawyer, then at the upturned face of his Uncle. The lack of communication was palpable. Inkpaduta gave the sign of resignation that told his son to sit down and accept that another defeat was to be expected.

"Let me speak for them." Williams demanded standing up for recognition. "As I have explained, I have gained a basic knowledge for their speech." He pleaded passionately.

"We have your requests in regard and shall call on you as the need arises." Granville answered smugly, returning to his original point. "Here we are left to make certain assumptions as to the value of the testimony by the witness."

"But the questions can be answered fairly accurately if you will simply allow..." Williams answered beginning to seethe with anger. But the lawyer cut him off abruptly.

"I am attempting to conduct an accurate accounting of the facts, at this very moment sir!" He shot back. "Be advised that we have the means to remove any that do not comply with the wishes of the Coroner at these proceedings." He looked off to his right where his constable stood abruptly and began to make his way toward the front. "Shall I consider you a threat to these activities, Sir?"

"No!" The Major answered and resumed sitting.

"I will point out at this time, that for the benefit of all, we shall conduct whatever primary conversation is needed among the savages in the most basic Latin. It is well known to all that Latin is the primary language on which all other languages are based. Is this not true?" The silence from the crowd gave Granville the satisfaction he needed to proceed. "Very well I shall continue with the presentation of evidence." He leaned down to retrieve a large cloth covered basket from below the table. He placed this upon the table, pulled off the cloth and reached inside. Casually he drew up long strands of hair, higher and higher until he held aloft the head of Sintominiduta.

"Enter here as evidence, the proof of the death of Sintominiduta!" Slowly he rotated the gaunt skull. Bits of brackish snow and sawdust used for preservation, drifted out of the gaping mouth, landing grotesquely on the ground. "Note; a severe blow to the back of the head, possibly from a rifle butt. I am dependent on the opinion of Mr. John Johns, officiating coroner" A gesture of agreement was given by Mr Johns. "This would be the declared cause of death, to wit I concur." Slowly amid many gasps, Granville lowered the pale head back into the basket, while a number of disturbed onlookers removed themselves to dispose of their lunches in private.

Granville observed his watch and brought down his gavel, offered the information to his clerk, and announced a recess. A few curious gents approached the table to show their concern for the sort of evidence that was being displayed. The heavy one turned and addressed Burkley.

"I say old chap, rather a devilish bit of showmanship. I say, I say."

"I feel that my services here are no longer needed?" Asked Mr Johns and he too walked off to recoup with bit of the Devil's Brew.

Josh Paduta stood and approached the inquisition table. Before him lay the head of his dead chief. He stared hard into the face as a hot passion of hatred boiled up in his blood, his head felt like it would explode. Then came the sound of his uncle?s voice. His heart sang to hear a tone as beautiful as the WANAGIYATA IYA (spirit land voice). The chanting voice of his new chief pulled at his ear like the song of the MAKA BLAYE (meadowlark).

As the many voices created a confusion of English syllables to his ears; they were soon made silent by the clear singing chant from the last of the tall Dakota brothers. Inkapaduta's long red hair stood out among the gawking and rushing about the tent of the inquisition. His chant began quietly and slowly grew in loudness.

KICO TATE UYEATOPA (Call to the four winds)

GE HUKA TIBLOWAYA EL OYUSPE (Ask the ancestors, my older brother to hold)

AKE UTA LAZATOHO OWICHAHI (Receive back his seed like that of the tall oak)

AYI ABLA KELA TUNKSILA (To become rested with the great spirit)

One and another, the voices became quiet the only sound was that of Inkapaduta chanting to the Spirits for his lost brother. Several times he repeated the song and held some bites of tobacco from his medicine pouch, sprinkling over the remains. Slowly his escort approached the table. A tension existed among the young braves as they held their long guns up, fingers ready at the hammer cocks. The young lawyer stepped backed defensively. There was a silent moment between the two and some intense visual discourse. Slowly Granvelle became aware of those settlers now horrified of these savages in his town. Several of whom held the circulars promoting Homer as the finest location to buy lots for homes and business, the "Jewel of Iowa" as he liked to say. Then Inkapaduta motioned for the braves to relax, when they had, he motioned toward the basket with his brother?s remains. Granville simply tossed the burlap cover back over the object. He puffed a bit on his cigar and tried to show no interest in the small bands concerns.

"I have declared a recess," he announced loudly, "to allow the public a period in which to attend their personal matters. We shall resume our inquest in twenty minutes." With that he held aloft, his watch for any to observe, then busied his nervous hands with rewinding the instrument. After a long stare with the old Indian he instructed his constable to escort him and his evidence through the rear entrance of the tent. His scribe set down his shaky pen and swabbed at his brow, then took his leave of the area to enjoy his twenty minutes away from the lingering smell and the long guns.

"We could be here some time." Said Major Williams to the chief, he was approaching from the side and saw it as his duty to try and calm things down with the Dakota band.

"I see there is much go." Inkapaduta indicated the empty seats and small groups discussing the events in distant circles. "We go too."

"MIYE HCA TIYATAKIYA AU CI NITAWA TIBLO" (I go homeward, to bring the remains of our brother)

The Major stammered and thumbed through his notes to attempt a coherent statement. He felt a hand on his shoulder, that of Josh Paduta.

"I do this! No White man do this! Josh stood firmly, with clenched fists, the Clarks at his side. "I do! I carry!" His face was stern and there was no doubt he would keep his word. The Major nodded, and just as he turned back to the chief he heard the young brave hit the earth with a loud thud.

"Oh lands-O-glory," shouted Mrs. Clark, "another spell!" She bent to help as Mr. Clark lifted his limp body from the ground. "He has them all the time, but he will be fine in the cool air, give him awhile. "It's from his injury I suppose, good lands, the poor soul!" She flailed the air about his face with her hand and bustled off beside her husband as he carried the boy away from the fracas.

Occasionally civilization goes to places where none was expected to thrive. In spite of a of desolate snowy covering tonight, Iowa is not such a land. When all eyes have been exhausted of her beauty, that will signal the end for the rest of this world, as all else will be given to waste.

Across this frozen covering a lonely train whistle called in reply to crossings where no plow had yet to attempt the momentous task of clearing out the roads.

When first he drew a full breath and patched in his situation, Jonesy came instantly to the realization that he had survived the storm. Bright Moon light shone as he drew in the cold air raising deep pain in his chest. But sleep had been trans-like, so the air felt like the breath of the dead.

Outside the snow had piled high but the lonely whistle from the locomotive easily cleared a distance of more than three miles to reach his isolation. An affirmation of needles and pins told him to reposition his legs circulation being vital for parts too long idle. The feeling told him he had not frozen anything yet but his chill was deep and agonizing. Slowly he shifted his position gingerly untwisted his reluctant limbs. The achy muscles and deep cold battled his mind for the honors of most excruciating.

He judged from the position and quadrant of the waxing Moon, the time to be around 10:00 pm or later. A frisky wind still poured frigid air about the treetops and wisps of fine snow trickled down through minor gaps around the door seal. Filtered through the Moonlight, a mystical image of beautiful light, sparkling ice and a measure of death. His life had become a para logical drifting of past and long past. Lasting another season on the farm was almost beyond consideration. Finding his way in a modern world had no more challenge when taken with the difficulties he was experiencing from the past. Today's vexations seemed trivial in comparison.

Coaxing all his energy he repositioned and allowed a severe shivering to do it's thing for some effortless warmth. Soon he would need to try to burn some more of the seat stuffing, it was just so much easier to do nothing right now. A stare down occurred with the old scull upon the dash board and for a moment it appeared to emit rays of light that bound from within the from the moonshine and flecks of ice drifting about the dark air. His eyelids drooped and the snow touched his cheek in a sprinkling of memories inspired by the icy chill.

At a time when he was in the callow stages and a strong back was all it took for an Iowa farm boy to get work. His zeal for the unusual had allowed him to seek the job of a Luther?s assistant. The work had not been difficult for Jonesy and he had excelled at the most complicated procedures. Mostly he enjoyed the mind numbing job of leveling the spruce slabs into thin book matched fletches for the fiddle backs. It was while he was occupied at this arduous work, when the door sprung open and she first entered his life. Her name was Margie and she hardly noticed him at his bench by the door. Her mission was so hurried that she made no notice of him as she whipped the long hair off her shoulder and spun to greet the owner. A fine sprinkling of snow shot onto his cheek from her long frocks and he was smitten.

Once she had her cello in hand and the attention of the Luther nothing else mattered to her. She tried the newly strung bow and they commented over the tones and Jonesy went distractedly back to his plane. After a brief piece she knew, filled with flights of fingerings, and long rich low sustained tones, she seemed happy with the work, quickly packed up and was out the door.

Jonesy had been on the outside of the entire event but his imagination went wild with excitement for her attention. Getting snow in the face was possibly the best thing that had happened to him and he was never going to forget that moment Margie came into his life, if only he could let her know.

Somewhere outside the realm of common possibilities a fissure in reality came suddenly like a fist in the eye. All the pleasant memories vanished into the celestial either and times were reversed in an instant.

A distant drum pounded dull and steadily in his head. Before him ran a silver river, wide and smooth. Voices came to him from across the water. Then far in a dark place there came a red horse, galloping powerfully. It raised a cloud like dust as it came closer to Josh, it slowed stopping right before him. It seemed to be waiting for him, but then the dream began to fade and he heard the Crow calling from above, as Josh opened his eyes he saw the vast gray sky and there all alone the dark shape of a black feathered creature struggling against a varied wind, someone was holding a powerful smelling plant to his nose.

"It's just a wild mint plant." He heard a man's voice speak so gruffly, he wondered if it belonged to some god. "This works almost as well as a fainting potion." Startled at the pungent smell the leaves gave to his nose, Josh could see more clearly. The man called Miller; he remembered him from those who came to help on the evil days. Miller was a big man with massive hands. He smiled through a tobacco stained beard and stood as tall as any of the Dakota. Tall men were given a kind of respect in this land, white men more so. His smiling face was shaded by a worn gray hat with a very floppy broad brim. Miller turned to leave when he suddenly turned back, reached inside the pocket of his wool coat and pulled out a doll. Josh saw it was the doll his mother had made for his sister.

"I thought you should have this, I found it in the weeds where your family was camped." Josh was bewildered at the thing, it brought back memories of his little sister, his Mother, and it seemed like a thing that he dare not touch. Mrs Clark stood by for a moment and then she took the doll from Miller and thanked him with some reserve.

"I am sure he would thank you himself, but, it is very kind of you."

"looks as though he is no worse for the wear, bring him round to say more if he can." Miller answered and turned. Josh tried to think of what he should say but the man quickly reguarded the Clarks with a touch to his hat brim and turned to rejoin the group of men.

The doll was not a thing that boys would hold, but somehow it felt good in his grip as Mrs Clark placed it there and gently closed his hands. He studied the work, it had details he had never noticed, fine beads and soft buckskin, braided hair of horse tail and made to look like a Dakota girl. Somehow he knew his sister might never return, but the doll he quickly pushed into a safe hiding place behind a crate. Seated in the back of the wagon Josh felt his head throbbing, he slowly rethought his dream, as it was important and he wanted to ask his uncle of the meaning. He sat alone and the watched as a pallor took the crowd in a general way the mixing parties soon re-mingled to better seats beneath the white canvas. A sifting of last years leaves switched about their feet and gathered in clutches as a wind picked up and sent newly feathered robins to shelter in the branches.

Mak-pe-op'-e-ta (Fire Cloud) worked up his fellows below a large old tree, pushing his anger to the other braves, they stood like tripods their rifle butts gripping the earth before them. He was the elder son of Inkpaduta and had come at the urging of his proud mother to serve as guide to his nearly blind father chief of the Wahpecute Sioux.

"Our days with the white eyes become more and more." He said, "soon they will push us like frightened rabbits, away from the land our fathers have always known." He was dressed in his finer clothes, a buckskin shirt decorated with the long arrows painted in a bold green pointed skyward, the beads he wore had been made by his wife, they were of red berry colored stone pebbles and bits of white shell. He had a handsome face and very strong features, in his headband stood two eagle feathers, notched to indicate his coup count of victory in battle. He was considered a powerful young man, one who could easily be a chief in his time. Everything he said would mean nothing unless acknowledged by his chief, who sat diplomatically in a quiet space at powwow with the Major.

"Here is the justice we came to hear?" Makpeop'eta angrily asked his young friends, motioning toward the men at the tent. "Our Chief sits and gives council with the blue coat. Who will speak for the spirit of Sintominidta?" His companions stood in thoughtful alliance with their Chief.

"We will not decide for our father what is to be the Dakota response." Came the reply from Ka-ha-dat' (Rattling Strike) younger son of Inkpaduta.

"I could cut every throat that has breath among these here. But that is not for us to decide, not today!? He pushed his sheathed knife into his Kahadat's hand. "I give you my vengeance to hold as a trust, that you should know, I am strong with much anger. Know that when the day is right I will have my knife returned to me for what is needed of me." He held the handle toward his brother, knowing that even being younger, he possessed restraint. For a long minute they stood like this, finally Kahadat took the knife bitterly.

"I will do, this today. But the day I return this knife is the day you will follow me, to do what is just and proud as a Dakota!? He turned and strode briskly in the direction of the woods.

Inkpaduta watched over his shoulder at this departure. He had their loyalty to consider, sadly he watched as the remainder of his band joined Makpeopeta?s defiant stand. His face showed his concern for their disgust with a half blind old man. Josh watched as he motioned to the Major that the time for talk was over. They stood together and walked slowly back to the tent.

Among the women, the young lawyer had become a topic of great conversation. Josh could see how their eyes followed his movements and when he walked by they flapped their jaws and looked strangely at his back. He did not know too many of their words but he could tell many of them were captivated with the white coat gent. From his seat in the back of the wagon he had studied the white eyes pretending to be occupied with the lumber and supplies stacked about on the buck boards but he felt their distrust.

Overhead the billowing clouds reminded him of buffalo herds crossing the plains while the words of the whites filtered through his head like broken shards of pottery. Their precise fit a puzzlement of disarray, and yet his keen intrigue was assembling details with greater insight all the while. He found that so long as people believed him to be ignorant there was nothing they would say in his presence and his vocabulary was growing with each conversation he was piecing together the white world.

Granville strode by with his young German escort. Casually he announced the in ten minutes the inquest would resume.

"Ladies, ten minutes." He announced smugly, and turned to face Mr. Miller. They stared a moment and finally were brought to words, then it became a touch louder.

"You must try to figure it from the Indian point of view." Said Miller. "The Dakota believes his spirit divides in two and the half that remains here in the grave must contains all it's parts. The other half goes to live in the spirit world. It is what they believe."

"Evidence, sir. I know these heathens beliefs are based in pagan ritual, but this is 1854. Civilization is upon them to bear, a modern society has to shoulder the law on the one side a Christianity on the other. Those who choose to ignore human progress shall will be left behind to weep in their own ignorance."

"Curse you! They want the head!" Demanded Miller and the two continued a way back toward the table of inquest, leaving the bewildered ladies by the road side.

"I hear tell he is worth a fortune, once his sick father passes on."

"Airy stick and stone of this entire town" clucked a recent widow with a narrow beak. "I would jump at the chance."

"Well he's not worth a button in my book." Replied Mrs. Clark, as she turned abruptly from the jars of preserves she was stowing among a clutch of wood shaves she had brought in an old crate.

"Now there's a fine use for refuse," declared one of the brood. "My mister just leaves the curls under foot and soon he has tracked their tails all about the cabin. You have so many sensible ideas, I declare." She studied all the objects in the Clark's wagon then added with a grin, "Well my young Sadie has caught his eye more than a time or two. I expect come Independence Day you will find them porch sit'n, nights."

"Do tell?" chimed in a young mother from a trade table of apples. "The man is a known sardine head, it is common to all back in the home state."

"I have heard him jabber on till all that remain are sick in seven languages, on account of the bottle!" Commented an old gussy with a slight brogue.

"They tell he jilted a girl and left he standing at the alter!" answered Mrs. Clark. With that the entire group gave a collective "hum" just as the party of discussion turned to look in their direction.

"Guess who's ears are ringing? Was she in the family way?" asked the one with the sharpened nose.

"No, I do not believe so, but she was ruined just the same, my cousin put it all in a letter!" added Mrs. Clark.

With that the entire group turned to glower at the man while Sadie's mother took off at a trot, likely, to find the young miss and render fresh instructions.

Soon Mr. Clark returned and they fussed over the adopted son. Mrs. Clark questioned his color and thought he would be best if lying down. She being a woman who thrived on skepticism, found her every worry to be rooted in some aspect of biblical proportions. Her every facial feature seemed to be the direct product of a life of anxiety and misgiving.

"Lord preserve us, there's a devil of a chill in this wind. Pray we don?t all catch up in a fearful bout of influenza in the days hence." Her voice arched out from within a black shall, pulling it high up over her shoulders and leaning hard into Mr. Clark's side for protection. A gust could be seen billowing in their direction picking up dust in it's wake and feeding a cough here and there in the crowd. Laundry whipped on cloths lines and hats were sent rolling into the waves of wind flattened grass.

Almost as an appendage the way seemed pressed into a strange compliance of unassailable devices as faces all around turned with the source of the cold to find a changing horizon. But, standing like shadows of the wind, were the old Indian and his drove. In this silence the chief called to the crowd in his stilted English from atop a tree stump as large as a well top.

"Know that I was not born with a heart of stillness. I breath deeply! My people breath deeply, with a heart of a warrior! They do not die easily." Then Inkapaduta turned, and stepped down with the use of his spear, to lead his men away.

The Major called after him, "We will find these People! You have My word!" But his word was lost to the wind that rose up to the trees and tossed the long black hair off Inkapaduta's back as he moved away with a good deal of help from his long spear. The red fabric at it's tip rippled in the breeze.

Josh imagined how this piece of cloth looked like running streams of blood. His attention was drawn where he sat by a shape of shadow spilling onto the wagon bed from behind him. His eyes jerked quickly to his side to hide his awareness. Someone was tracking him from behind. Carefully he placed his hands so as to turn rapidly. The surprise was his, though, for the face of a white girl just above the side board, looked right back at him, and seemed to have no amount of shock at being caught. There they both stared for a long moment, finally she spoke.

"I han't ever seen a red man before!" She reached her hand in his direction. "Pleased to meet you, I am Mary Martha" Josh put his hand up and she took it in hers giving it a vigorous shake. This gesture was strange to him, and he felt uncomfortable being friendly with these Waseca, especially the girl ones. "We fell in round Boonesburo, it's likely the biggest town around, well except for Fort Dodge and Fort Des Moines and Iowa City. My Papa said you got clubbed in the noggin, but could have been dead just as much as not. Is that true?" She asked cheerly, her face was round and smiling. She stood once on each foot, respectively cleaning the black mud from one and the other on a wagon spoke, chattering all the while about her approaching birthday, and wishing for a kitten. A bonnet hung on her back the tip suckled strings tied in a crude knot below her chin.

This girl spoke with out pause behaving like the wren he thought, she climbed onto the wagon seat and sat without reserve. Josh listened and finally asked, "what is a noggin?" at this she laughed hysterically.

"That is a good one!" She laughed some more and then heard her name called from off a short way. Josh decided he wanted to make some peace with this one. He reached behind the crate located the doll and placed it in Mary Martha's hands.

"A Happy Birthday, you call it?" He said and now he had her in a shock. She looked amazed.

"Yes, yes!" she chirped. "That is how we do it!" Then at hearing her name called again, she stood and turned to wave, a top the spring seat. "I will be yonder with my Papa..." she said, but all this spooked the still harnessed horse, resulting in a sudden jerking of the rig, she vaulted into the air. Josh responded so quickly it surprised even him. Catching the girl in his arms and raising the attention of the hen fest near by.

"Careful little wren" he called, and placed the girl back on her feet, supporting her with a tight grip on her wrist. Now she was speechless but not the women at the food tables.

"You there, injun boy! Let go that girl!" The sharp nosed widow yelled and pointed a knobby finger his way. Others began walking briskly to the girls assistance. Mary Martha spun around and put her free hand against her brow with fain melodrama.

"My hero!" She exalted. "Hallelujah! She planted a peck on Josh's cheek, jumped to the ground and ran to her papa waving jubilantly back at the young brave.

"Well! What has become of these young girls?" Asked one of the old hens.

"Watch them I say, they will all turn Injun." Clucked the sharp nosed widow.

"Tis all the fault of not keeping in place a proper bonnet. Wandering eyes, are the Devil's work shop." Then as if rehearsed the entire bunch turned on their heels and walked up toward the inquisition tent to regain their seats.

But now Josh saw that he was left again in his white man's clothes wondering at their strange ways and eating from jars. To be back with his people made him wonder with self pity, except for getting his first kiss, that was reward enough for now. His feet reached for the ground and he strode back to the big canvas tent where he would listen to the odd voices of this evil hoard. Soon he would throw off these hated clothes and once more his feet would know the feel of the black earth of his Dakota lands. Behind him the Clarks waited, now he must speak alone. He wished they could take him from here, back to the days before all this happened and he could spend his days playing at being a warrior with his brothers. Now he would make his voice to learn the white words so he could speak of those who had taken away his mother and father, his grandmother and grand father, the little children of his camp and to find again his small sister who had saved his life.

The Repurposed Male

? By JdSchooley On 9/21/2016 4:46:29 PM
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