Love on the Plains
Author's note: I used to watch westerns alot and I just wanted to use my knowledge of Indians and mix it with... Show full author's note »
ChaosI awoke to the sound of pure chaos and Minninnewah’s absence. I peeked outside and everyone was running about like the chickens that I used to help Mother with so very often back in Mississippi. I saw Aunt Caroline and went to her; it seemed she was the only calm one that I could see at the moment.
“Caroline, what’s happened? Why is everyone so panicked?” I asked her only to receive a blank look. That’s when I realized that she was comatose with panic and maybe worry too. I shook her trying to release her from whatever level of panic had overtaken her. I tried to wake her up for five minutes with no avail; I just left her lay there and went to find Minninnewah. I finally found him gathering arrows for his bow.
“Minninnewah, what’s going on?” I asked him while he was working his way through the box of arrows like a tornado through a small town. He left only disorganization and chaos in his hands’ wake.
“Soldiers…they took your mother and Anna.” He explained fixing the arrows he had chosen into a carrier strapped onto his back between his shoulder blades.
“Did they take anybody else?” I asked trying to get him to face me.
“They took Chameli, Lona.” He said finally slowing down a little bit to look at me and say this.
“How could they do that? What do they see in a little girl?! Sure a woman and a teenager, but a little girl?”
“I understand you’re confusion, but Lona we have to get them back. We have to act as soon as the warriors are ready.” He explained gripping me by the arms. I nodded and looked out to the Plains where the sunrise was lighting the grass in a golden orange flame. The light hadn’t fallen on the river yet so I decided that’s where I’d start my search for my family and Chameli.
“Lona, where are you going?” Minninnewah called after me.
“I’m going to look for Mother, Anna, and Chameli!” I called back to him over my shoulder. All I could see of him was a silhouette; the sunrise rendering me blind. I waded through the river, the water coming up to my waist and flowing around me like I was a rock. It was cold enough to put me in pain; it felt as if a million tiny spears were puncturing through to my veins from my abdomen to my toes. I let out a gasp and I could feel eyes on me; I looked up to find Black Jack watching me from the side of the river I’d come from.
“Come on Black Jack!” I said as soon as I got through to the other side. He was smart enough to jump the water and not wade through it like I’d done. I put my hand on his forehead and scratched right below his ears.
“Good boy; you’re smarter than I am.” I laughed at myself. I swung myself up on him and took his mane in my fists; I led him through the taller grasses that were untamed by anything but animals that lived here. I followed a trail of hoof prints to a camp just beyond the cliffs and dismounted from Black Jack. I hunkered on the top of the cliffs and spotted Mother and Chameli. But where was Anna? If they’d done anything to her I’d rip their heads off and parade around with them on spears! I slunk down the cliff face and crept over to where Mother and Chameli were bound to a pole similar to the one that Minninnewah had tied them to when they came up on their camp a week ago.
“Lona, what are you doing here?” Mother asked worry in her eyes.
“Shhh. I’m saving your hide.” I told her using the knife that Minninnewah had crafted for me to release their binding. As soon as they were free, Mother slung Chameli onto her hip and looked at me.
“What now?” She asked as if she didn’t know what I was going to say next.
“Now, you take Chameli up the cliffs, there you’ll find Black Jack waiting. If I’m not there in five minutes ride back and get the warriors. I’m gonna try to find Anna.” I explained to her. She nodded and ran to the cliffs; they were on the top in moments. I turned and crept into the soldiers’ camp. I turned a corner and was faced with a choice of two tents to check. I whirled on my heel and went into the one to my right and found nothing but supplies like ammo and food. I’ll come back here before I leave to stock up. I told myself as I hurried out to see a soldier in a navy blue uniform dragging Anna into another tent. I could see her dress was torn, her hair mussed and tangled, and a red hand print on the side of her face. I snuck up behind the soldier, even though he had the height advantage on me, I kicked the back of his knees forcing him to the ground and used my new knife to slit his throat. Anna was free now and I ran with her to the cliffs. Just as we got to the top, Minninnewah and the warriors came into view.
“Lona are you harmed?” He asked dismounting and running to me. I heard a BANG! and felt a deep pain in my left side. I looked down and saw a bloodied hole in my dress and fell to my knees. I saw everything in slow motion; Minninnewah caught me before I could hit the ground and everybody crowded around me and watched as I bled.
“Now I am.” I laughed painfully.
“Now is not the time for your sick humor!” He said trying his best to bandage me up with a bandana he’d found in the saddlebags I’d packed for him.
“This is my….last battle.” I gasped out in pain. I saw tears rolling down his face along with everybody else.
“Né'áahtovėstse, Névé'nėheševe!” He yelled at me; he was obviously in pain and denial. This meant ‘listen to me, don’t do that’ in Cheyenne.
“Nėstaévȧhósevóomȧtse.” ‘I’ll see you again’ I told him and I knew it was true; whether it’d be years or hours, I didn’t know and neither did he. He leaned down and kissed me once more on the lips and then all went dark. I was floating in a vast space of black nothingness; I heard people talking but it was all a hum of voices and I couldn’t pin point a single one to a name. Then the voices faded away and I felt someone grab my hand and squeeze. I knew without a doubt that it was Minninnewah and that he’d been by my side since the musket ball went through me. Then I couldn’t feel or hear anything; it was just me in a sea of black nothing.