The Lost Son – Conclusion

by Dave Brosha via flickr
by Dave Brosha via flickr

Cricket in the Meadow prayed all night that night. She sensed the young man was in great danger, and she was unable to rest. She stepped outside several times to look at the night sky, and was amazed at how many stars she could see. As she looked around the village, she saw other fires lit brightly, and other people were awake too, moving around, no doubt praying as well. Among them was the lodge of Holds the Fire. Cricket in the Meadow had tears well up in her eyes, so she closed them, and prayed for healing for their family.

Talking Eagle had just barely covered himself, in the pit with logs, when the fire started to grow dim. And then the wolves did come, quietly at first. They were sniffing the ground, and making soft growling noises. It was dark now, but he could plainly see them surrounding the pit and several got on top of the logs to look down at him through the cracks. They became angry, bared their teeth at him (which he could see in the moonlight), and began growling and snarling. They also looked for a way to get to him and around the logs. The logs were too heavy to move, so a few began digging around the pit. Talking Eagle was prepared for this though, and he jabbed at them with his arrows, and several times he drew blood. The animals yelled, ran around limping, but would eventually return madder than ever.

Several miles away the men built a fire to keep warm, and they took turns standing guard against wolves. They heard them in the distance howling, but could not see them. Every so often, when the guard could not stay awake any longer, he would wake up the next person. Without a lodge to protect them, the cold was intense, even with a fire. No one slept very well, and they spent most of their time shivering.

Talking Eagle was shivering, partly from the cold and partly from fear. The wolves spent hours breathing down at him, through the cracks, their drool dripping down the logs, and onto his blankets. They tried to dig, and he continued to poke and jab at them. They were everywhere at once, was he dreaming – having a nightmare? No they were real, their blood dripping from his arrows and their yelling was real for sure.

from earthsky.org
from earthsky.org

It was sometime just before dawn when Cricket in the Meadow had a vision. She saw two pieces of light hanging over the forest. They were not sunbeams or rays from the sun. They were two long pieces of light with a beginning and ending, just hanging there in the sky. They looked a lot like…well icicles. She knew it was a sign and sensed that Talking Eagle was between the two pieces of light. Would the men see the sign? She began praying that they would.

It was just before dawn when the wolves gave up the attack. It was the cold now, that was killing Talking Eagle, as he lay quietly in the pit. He shivered severely. His skin was growing pale, and his fingertips were turning blue. He was confused, but had enough presence of mind to sing the death song, that his mother had taught him. He was not at peace about dying, but he was trying to be. For the first time in his life – he prayed. Then he stopped singing, because he did not want the pit that he had dug, to be his grave.

When the men woke up at dawn, there was a discussion on which way they should go. All discussion stopped however when Standing on the Mountain stared at the sky awestruck. There were two long pieces of light hanging over the forest, each with a beginning and an end. They all looked at this miraculous sign, and then they looked at each other. Without speaking they quickly gathered their belongings. Bull Elk asked Two Wolves if he knew how to get there, and he said yes. At that, the men took off running towards the place where the pieces of light were.

Bull Elk took the lead, and could be heard yelling, “My son!”, “My son!”, “We must find my son!” The tears streaming down his face, froze to his skin as he ran. Once they were closer the two pieces of light went out, but they could smell a burning smell. Was it a fire? The eight men sprinted now as one, thundering through the otherwise quiet forest. They followed the smell to a clearing, and stopped dead in their tracks. There were signs of wolves everywhere, a lot of them. “The pit!”, yelled Bull Elk.

They sprang into action. Hawk in the Sky, and Wild Horse drew their bows and stood guard, watching the woods, while Seven Hawks removed the logs in an instant. There they found the boy, unconscious, and barely alive but breathing. Three men restarted the fire, while Talking Eagle was lifted out of the pit, and surrounded with layers of buffalo blankets. The young man was placed in the arms of his father, who sank to his knees, weeping.

A short time later the fire was roaring, and everyone was getting warmer. Life was coming back to Talking Eagle, but he was still pale, and he was showing signs of frostbite. While Standing on the Mountain made an herbal drink from melted snow, and herbs from a pouch he kept at his waist, it was decided to get the young man back to the village as quickly as possible. They would carry him, and not stop until they got there.

Two Wolves said, “Since we are not following his trail, we do not have to go through the thick brush” “There is another way around, which is longer but will take less time”. That is exactly what they needed. They made a sling from buffalo blankets. Talking Eagle woke up long enough to take the herbal drink, and to see his father. He managed a smile and fell back asleep.

They headed back to the village with Two Wolves leading the way. Seven Hawks carried the head of the sling, and Bull Elk carried the foot. They did not know it, but Talking Eagle was praying for the second time in his life, thankful that he was alive. The Creator was speaking to him that he would be safe now.

Frosty Trees in Mist Yellowstone by Anita Erdmann by fineartamerica.com
Frosty Trees in Mist Yellowstone by Anita Erdmann by fineartamerica.com

This was longer than normal – thanks for reading! Next week more on life in the village, and the restoration of Bull Elk’s family. Peace!

Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

The Lost Son – Part III

via flickr
via flickr

Microfiction

Bull Elk did not say a word as the men quickly moved through the forest. He knew that all of this was his fault, and it was all he could do to hold himself together. He was torn up inside and he knew it. Why was he so stupid last night? Somehow he found the courage to apologize to his wife before they left. She said nothing but shook her head “yes”. He loved his wife more than anything on this earth, but he had caused her great pain. He hated himself. He knew it would be a long time before they embraced again. She had every right to leave him, according to their custom. At least if they died out here, trying to find his son, he did what he could to make peace with his wife. At least he had done one thing right.

And now it was time to find his son, before it was too late, before they all froze to death and there would be no asking for his forgiveness. He didn’t usually pray but Bull Elk prayed for help from the Creator. They moved swiftly, and made good time following the trail of Talking Eagle. They found themselves at a group of very large rocks, where they climbed and surveyed the land. There was a creek and thick brush up ahead. It was very clear that the trail of Talking Eagle went into the thick brush. They all looked at each other, and knew that it would be tough going from here.

By the time Talking Eagle made it to the other side of the thick brush he had no idea where he was. To be honest though, he didn’t care. He was away from his father and all the pain of the village. He came to a clearing and decided to rest. He also needed to do something about his feet. They were wet and cold, very cold. He took off the many layers of buckskin, and replaced them with fresh ones, after drying off his feet. He did have sense enough to prepare for this, but he was starting to become concerned about the extreme temperatures.

He built a fire, which was not easy, just before the sun began setting. In the distance he heard aWolf 1 wolf howling, which sent chills down his spine. He decided to do something his father had taught him, and that was to dig a pit in the earth, and put heavy logs over top of him, once he was in it. The pit would protect him from the wolves but there was no way to have a fire, once he was inside. He might freeze to death. It was either the fire and probably facing the wolves, or sleeping in the pit. Either way he might die.

Oh no! As he started digging he realized the earth was frozen, which ruined his knife. It was slow going, but he made it deep enough, to move the earth with his hands. At the same time, he had to keep the fire going. Wolves did not like fire. Off in the distance he saw several sets of eyes. They were not people eyes, and they were not friendly. He would have to move quickly to get the large logs.

The logs were so big he had to roll them into place. Then he put more wood on the fire, and kept digging. He could see forms moving in the forest, shadows really. He guessed there were 4 or maybe 5 of them, pacing back and forth, looking for the right time to attack. He worked quickly, but not quickly enough. The wolves became bold and showed themselves. He began throwing burning pieces of wood at them which held them at bay.

Once he had the pit deep enough, he got in and said goodbye to the fire. He might be saying goodbye to life, and for the first time he realized that coming out here by his self was not a good idea.

The men had a tough time getting through the brush. Most of them were cut or scratched on their faces, and then on their hands as they tried to protect themselves. Seven Hawks got the worst of it, as he tried moving his huge frame through branches that hit him like ropes with knives on them. He gave up trying to protect himself, and barreled through like a buffalo in a corn field.

By dark, they had made it through the brush, but they had lost the trail of Talking Eagle long ago. There was no sign of the young man, and they had no choice but to build a fire, in order to stay alive. Was that a wolf? Night Scene

 This weekend the conclusion of The Lost Son, and some poetry!

Thanks for reading! Peace!

Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree