Chapter Three

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When I opened my eyes, I was met by the smell of fresh fish and corn right in my face.

I jumped back in my blankets, startled by the brown eyes that were staring at mine. They reminded me of the ones I met in the woods the other day. Actually, the man resembled the other Indian I met, it was a bit scary.

"Nétónėševéhe,?" The man asked. I didn't understand what he said, but I could tell that he didn't say a friendly hello.

I saw Papa grabbing Grace around her waist, all the other children cowering behind them. He stared straight at me, and I understood that he didn't mean to get separated from me. Other Indian men and one woman stood around me, like I was a foreign box of medicine.

The man asked the word again, but with a stronger tone. Before I could say anything, another man stepped in front of him. He was older, with leathery skin and weathered animal hide hanging around him. But his eyes were much more kinder than any of the others.

The older man cleared his throat. "I am sorry for the intrusion."

I heard Papa spit. "You sorry excuses for humans know English?"

The man thought about it. "Yes," he said, taking no notice to Papa's rudeness. "I am the tribe shaman. I took it upon self to learn the white men words. I had dream--"

Grace covered her face with her hands. Papa saw this as a chance to get at the shaman. "Well, great shaman, give me back my daughter or I'll grab my rifle--or, what you would probably call it, the boom-stick--and shoot straight through your empty skull."

The shaman didn't seem startled. He stood his ground. "My warrior asked her name." He pointed to me, and for some odd reason, I didn't feel threatened. "But she need not answer. Not important."

The other man, the warrior, growled from his throat. "Éháoho'ta," He muttered.

The shaman turned an old eye at him, eyebrows burrowing. "Épévatamáno'e," He said.

Papa looked back and forth between them, and from his face you could see that he was growing steadily impatient. "What are you saying? You better talk in English, or I'll--"

The shaman nodded. "Yes. You will get the boom-stick. Hiamovi says it is hot. But I disagree. Good weather." He smiled.

Grace finally stepped away from Papa, and asked with a certain defiance, "What do you want with Emily?"

The shaman looked down at the ground. "Our leader, Viho, wishes that we bring oldest child to camp. Teach white man lesson, he says. We cannot punish you for disrupting the forest and it's creatures. But, we can teach lessons." He turned to me. "We must take oldest child. Emily, you call her. We will respect her with much."

Papa's face grew redder than all the cherries on Earth. He grabbed Grace and put her with the children, and went straight up to the shaman's face. Still, the shaman stood his place. "You will not take Emily away. Hiavovo or whatever his name is can go die in--"

The shaman put his hands on Papa's shoulders. "We must keep Emily for two moons. That is it. But, will it teach white man lesson?"

Grace grabbed Elizabeth tight, and Mallary stumbled into her arms. "No. We will not give away Emily."

The shaman's face fell. "If you do not give Emily, then we must take measures. Viho tells that if white man does not give mercy, we show no mercy."

As if on queue, Hiamovi raised a dagger up to his throat. Papa barked, "NO!"

I stood up, and a couple of the Indians scooted back, wondering why I did. "Papa, let me go." I said as calmly as I could, even though my heart was beating faster than I could think. "It's only for two months. By the time I get back, you will have the cabin done." When Papa didn't respond, I pushed through the Indian crowd effortlessly. "Papa, you know I've done research on these people. They won't hurt me. There one of the friendliest tribes."

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