Chapter Eleven

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The funeral was a couple days later.

Ironically, the day wasn't gloomy, rainy, but sunny. The rays of light hurt my eyes, but I couldn't look down. I just couldn't look into that hole that Papa was lowering Ikshu into.

It just seemed so unnatural. I wished Motavato was there, so that we could do this properly. Ikshu wouldn't want to be lowered into the ground, owned by white men. It was enough to make me sick.

Still, Papa made us do this. He said it was only right, and he let us bury him in the clearing where I first met Chameli. For some reason, the air here still felt like it was haunted by Chameli, and when Ikshu was finally put to rest, everything fell into place.

Except for the fact that the Indian camp was no longer where it should be.

After we buried Ikshu, the rest of my family started towards home, but I had to go back to the camp. Even if my head knew no one was there, I had to see. Without fighting, Papa let me slip away and stumble through the trees that I had just come to know.

And my brain was right. The clearing was now filled with teepee rings, with scorced grounds where fires should be. A couple stands where the women cleaned skins still stood, and I put my hand out and touched the rough wood. They were so simple, but so much work was put on them. Even after all the scraping of skins, they still held their places.

Then I walked over to Motavato's teepee. Small patches of herbs still lay there, but the rest of it was gone. This was the last place where I saw him, and even though nothing was there, everything still rested in the air.

I smiled. That heavy burden in my chest was now gone. At least I knew that Motavato was alive. And that's all I needed to know. So, with light feet, and ran out of the clearing, and back up the clearing.

Before I left, I said a prayer to Maheo. Even though that was nothing close to my religion, it made me feel even better. After I said the prayer, I smiled and walked away, leaving footprints of two worlds in the old dirt of the Cheyenne camp.


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