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 a 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?
This weekend the conclusion of The Lost Son, and some poetry!
Thanks for reading! Peace!
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