His eyes didn't go off of Hiamovi, who was reflecting the sun off of his dagger, which looked like it was made out of rock. "Emily, you're not going." He said, but his voice caught on the last word.
The shaman put his fingers together, laced like thread. "It is okay, Papa."
Papa turned his body sharply to the shaman. "My name is not Papa, it is Henry. And it's not okay. Some savages came, saying that we were on their lands..."
The shaman shook his head, and for the first time I realized that he had crow-black hair, which were tied into several braids down his back. "We never said you were on our land. It is no one's land, and that is the reason you must learn that it is not your land, either."
I hugged Papa. "If I do not go with them, they will kill you. They won't shed any blood if I go with them. They're peaceful, Papa. They always welcome newcomers." I cast my glance to the dozen Indians. "Well, I guess we just put our land on the wrong place."
Papa's shoulders slunk, and I knew he figured out that there was no loophole. I had to go. So he pushed me aside and went up to the shaman, so close that only inches were apart from each of their faces. "You better take care of my daughter, or I swear I will get men down their with guns."
The shaman held out his hand, and Papa reluctantly took it. I heard Grace shout in the background, but all of my senses were focused on their two hands, opposite worlds meeting for an agreement that no other settler would no about. My siblings stayed quiet, but I wasn't sure they knew what was happening.
I guess it was better that way.
So, the shaman carefully took my shoulder, like he was picking a flower, and I had just enough time to say goodbye before I was surrounded by Indian people, being lead down the hill, where I never imagined going.
What just happened? I asked myself. Almost ten minutes ago, I was sleeping soundly, expecting a nice breakfast to be awaiting me. And now, I was being lead down the hill into unkown territory towards an Indian camp.
It could have been worse. The Cheyenne were known for being somewhat good Indians. Or, at least, that's what Clark's journals told of these Plain Indians. I sighed. They probably lived outside of these woods, which were not all that big. Maybe a few acres at best. So these people must live somewhere near the borders of it.
My head hurt. I was confused. Even the sky spun around me, and a couple times I was almost knocked to the ground by my own dizziness. I already missed Papa and Grace. I wished one of them could have come along with me, to supervise. That that was a far fetched dream. They were up the hill, and I was down.
Going down, down.
My feet couldn't stop. If they did, I might get stabbed in the back by Haimovi's dagger, which was resting at the middle of my spine.
The Indians chatted. It killed me not knowing what they were saying.
Splashing. The creek must have found it's way back to me.
Why were their so many footsteps?
Where were mine? They were hidden by long grass, threatening to hide a rattlesnake under every blade.
Bugs flew over me. Where was I?
The shaman fell to my side, obviously feeling my distress. "I am sorry about shortness of time." He said. I didn't understand what he meant, at first, but then I realized he meant short notice. I had no short notice.
"That's quite alright, shaman."
The shaman laughed. "You can call me Motavato for now on, "ka'ėškone."
I could feel my face contort at the word. "What does that mean, Motavato?" My voice shook, but I did my best to cover it.
Motavato laughed with lightness to it. It reminded me of Papa's laugh. "It means child, Emily."
We walked in silence for a while, and I was worried he would leave me because I had nothing to say. But he seemed to enjoy the silence I had while everyone else shrieked and hollered in joy. Motavato seemed like a fatherly figure. Every Indian gave him space to walk, and never gave him dirty looks.
I tilted my head. "You must teach me the ways of the Cheyenne, Motavato."
He nodded, his dry lips pursing. "Yes, ka'ėškone, I think that would be good. For two moons, I must teach the ways of the world, not just our accustoms. "
I nodded, my stomach suddenly feeling queasy. I suddenly wished I hadn't agreed to this. That we could have figured something else out, or I could have distracted the Indians long enough for Papa to grab his rifle and just--
No. I had to do this. Within that short amount of time, something flicked inside of me, like a candle being lit. It just felt right to tell Papa I would be okay with the Cheyenne. That, out of all the Indians that inhabit these parts of the Louisiana Purchase, the Cheyenne were probably our best bet. And who knows--maybe these people will give us peace after these two months went by.
It was still early in the morning, and the mourning doves had just came out to sing sad songs. I tried my best to ignore them, but they kept on singing. It was just about to start to annoy me when Motavato put his hands up in the air and closed his eyes, breathing deeply.
"This," He said, almost just a breath, "Is why the world is precious." He opened his eyes and nodded my way.
Not being able to think of anything to say back, I just smiled and pretended to be interested in the birds. But all they sang was sadness. I wondered what my family was doing, now that I had been officially held hostage.
Maybe Papa was continuing on the cabin. Perhaps Grace was bringing out the seeds that must be grown in May, with Mallary and Elizabeth's help. I bet Wendy was still minding her own business, in a world that I wished I could have been a part of. And Joey, of course, was doing whatever Papa was doing.
The mourning doves stopped abruptly, and it cleared my mind. I couldn't think too much of them.
Only two months.
YOU ARE READING
Catching FishHistorical Fiction
~Highest Rank: #257 in Historical Fiction~ America has just became stable again, and families are moving all over the Louisiana Purchase--Including the Mill family, who are building a cabin a bit too close to the Cheyenne Indians. When the Indians...