The sun removed shadows from the valley below them as Running-Deer said farewell to her almost-father and climbed up onto the soft leather of the white man's horse.
She'd enjoyed little of the saddle or having had to learn to ride with one.
Why his people made things so difficult was beyond her.
Ever so slowly, she managed to master the leggings and straps as they moved lower into the valley.
Crazy-Bear had told her of the white man's medicine maker that lived at the trading post and gave her the words to say to him that would bring white man's medicine.
She had not looked forward at all to travel that would take her anywhere near such a place, not unlike many where she'd never been welcomed.
Several times, she had gone with Crazy-Bear only to find what whites people there were, thought they were better than those who'd lived on this land long before they'd ever found it to abuse.
As she neared the settlement, she could pick out the chimney of the store through the trees and prepared herself for whatever the spirits had yet to show her.
Confident that the wounded man still slept soundly beneath the blanket upon arrival, Running-Deer stood and walked toward the store only to find a large white woman in her path with brown hair piled high atop her head that frowned as she approached; stained apron over her skirts and a long broom that she held firmly in both hands.
"What'd you do to that man, Indian?" the woman seethed curtly, further angered with a complete blank from Running-Deer who had no idea what she'd just said.
"Doctor, please?" Running-Deer began, "This man hurt and need medicine. I help with man get medicine ... please?" She struggled with the words Crazy-Bear had patiently taught her.
She'd never bothered to learn their tongue and now the spirits were clearly intent to make her regret such shortcomings.
"You do that to him, Indian?"
Eyes narrowed, she glanced behind the tall squaw while her thoughts went to the shotgun that her husband kept handy and wondered if she might have need of it to run this heathen red devil off their land.
Running-Deer clearly saw the doubt and suspicion that clouded the white woman's expression as she tried again, having realized her mistake with the wrong words earlier.
"Doctor, yes? Man needs doctor now, and medicine. Please?"
There, she'd finally managed to say it the way Crazy-Bear had meant her to say it the first time; with what good it would clearly do with the woman in front of her.
Silently, she could only wait and watch as the other woman studied her carefully while she cursed the difficulty that the white man's tongue brought with it.
"You stay out here while I go fetch him ... and don't you even think of stealing nothing while I'm gone ... ya hear me, Indian?"
The woman quickly moved to latch the door behind her as she turned to yell for someone inside.
"Hank! A god damned Indian squaw wants Doc for the man she done hurt out here! Bring up that shotgun that my daddy gave us will ya? There's an extra box of ammo next to it on the shelf. We might just need it to run her off when he gets here; good for nothing heathens that they are!"
Running-Deer had easily realized that the woman had not wanted her to follow, so she returned to the man that she'd carried behind her horse.
His skin was not as pale as it had been the day before, perhaps showing the power of the spirits as they had used Crazy-Bear's hands and medicine to heal him.
With her the back of one hand placed gently against his forehead she discovered that his fever had begun to cool as well.
Now if a certain angry white woman would only hurry up, perhaps she could be done with this nonsense and move on.
YOU ARE READING
Welcome to the Weird Wild West. The streets here are dusty and lead often runs hot as the women are fast and the cards prove even faster. All around you there are people who are not as they appear and others who watch them. Supernatural and mortal...