Chapter Seven

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Camp, I found out, hadn't changed a bit.

But the people inside it did.

The first Indian I talked to was Motavato--even though he seemed to busy with his own life to be interfering with mine. Still, when I asked him what was wrong with everyone, he turned to me, with very, very serious eyes. They made me take a step back, almost running into a frantic Hiamovi.

Hiamovi shouted at me quickly, but then forgot I was even present and talked to Motavato. I crossed my arms, a tiny bit offended. Hiamovi's news seemed very important, though, so I stood by while they talked about whatever it was.

More of those flowers I found by the creek. It was funny, how when suddenly you realize something exists, and it just appears everywhere. I knew I had seen these before, but they seemed extremely unimportant, so I just forgot about them. But now, they gave me a bit of sanctuary. 

Finally, Haimovi was done talking. By the time he was done, however, he seemed more tense. Motavato scanned his warrior, taking his time to regain stabilization over their situation.

Then he turned to me. "Emily, we must go to Viho, the cheif. Something has occured. We can no longer keep you here."

The news took me aback. I tilted my head and laughed, thinking that it might be a joke. "But Motavato, the agreement was two months--"

"Don't question me!" He said, hardness in his voice. It made me shut up and follow him to the other side of the clearing.

I sighed. Maybe this was for the best. No, it was the best thing that has happened since I have arrived in this part of the Louisiana Purchase. I was going home; I was going home about a month earlier than originally thought. Why wasn't I happy?

My heart was still beating from catching that fish. It really wasn't a big deal for anyone else, but to me, it was a huge milestone. That was the first fish that I had ever caught. Never in my wildest dreams would I think about actually catching something--let alone thank it for letting me kill it.

But I had to see Papa.

I wanted to stay here, catch more fish, hunt, make leather, dance around the full moon--which happened to be the next night. Every part of me ached to see my family again, my sisters, my brother, even Grace.

I tugged gently on Motavato's shirt sleeve. "Please, I won't ask why I must leave so early, but can I please, please just stay until tomorrow night? I won't be a burden. I just want to see the ritual of the moon."

It took Motavato a minute to think about it, and it drove me crazy. We were fastly approaching the cheif's teepee, and I couldn't discuss this in there. The last time I visited Viho, it sent a shiver running down my spine. I didn't dare talk in front of him, like he was a dagger at my throat.

Finally, he sighed. "Until tomorrow. But it has turned dangerous here, Emily. You will be safer here with your father and his--" He paused. "And his 'boom sticks'."

We didn't say anything else. It was set in stone. I would stay one more day, then leave to the top of the hill. It seemed so far away, that hill. Even though it was just a mild hike through the woods, after these two or so weeks in this world, they seemed like an eternity away.

After crawling through the flaps of the chief's teepee, Motavato sat down on the ground. I followed him, suddenly aware of the last time I washed that dress. There were tears, it smelled like moss, and was still a little damp from the creek. I hoped that the chief would not notice.

Luckily for me, I realized that the chief wasn't in there. Sighing in relief, I stretched out my legs and touched my toes. Motavato eyed me suspiciously, but decided not to say anything. He was probably thinking how different I already was. I was just piling on to his opinion.

Another minute or so passed, and I was starting to wonder where the chief was. Surely he would come back soon. It was like he never left his teepee. Maybe he had a family, and it was an emergency. Perhaps, a warrior was dying, and he needed to aid them.

But then I remembered that if there was an injury, Motavato would already be there, not Viho. Motavato must have seen the wonder in me, because he chuckled. "Do not worry, Emily. Chief Viho will be back soon."

He was not back soon. Almost an hour passed of sitting there, trying to pass the time away by drawing in the dirt. Motavato hummed, which made me think of the surrounding birds outside. They chirped happily, almost in tune to Motavato. His feathery hair was a raven, lying on his shoulders.

He was a raven. I was a hummingbird. I wanted to go outside so badly and find the chief myself. I couldn't sit in there any longer. It startled me a little, just to sit there with Motavato. But it could have been worse. 

Motavato could have been Hiamovi.

I think, after a certain amount of time, Motavato too grew impatient, and staggered to his feet. "Come, Emily." He said, already walking outside. "I do not think he will be back soon."

I pursed my lips and went to his side. Motavato said something under his breath, and I was just able to catch it; kweyak. Ikshu apin pangishin.

I looked at Motavato, who would not meet my eyes. "What about Ikshu?" I asked.

Motavato looked at me for a minute, then laughed. "No, Emily. I did not mean Ikshu. In our language, ikshu means branch." He sighed. "I say, 'He may not come. Branches always fall."

Silently, I nodded, not pressing any further. I didn't understand why Viho might not come back, but I didn't feel like questionging Motavato. He seemed stressed enough without having to explain himself for me.

From across the camp, I saw Ikshu and Chameli together, holding hands and laughing. He laughed in a particular way with her, which made me happy. We were friends, by my standards anyways. He was good looking, sure, but not my..."type."

Then the shrieking happened.

I didn't understand, at first. I realized that I didn't understand a lot of stuff that goes on around this world, hidden by people like me. It usually wasn't that complicated, but that day, no one could understand.

Motavato pushed me into some tall grass. "You stay here," He said, more serious than before. "If you come out, someone will kill you."

Without an explanation, he ran away. The grass itched, and my muscles were starting to hurt from being in an uncomfortable position, but I didn't dare to move. I slowed my breathing. Maybe we were both taking this too seriously. In my mind, I laughed at myself. Taking things too seriously, I always do it.

And the gun rang out into the dying air. I knew where that gun came from, and I just hoped that my ears mistook them.

Let's just say, they were the boom sticks.

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