Friday, November 4, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb - a New Quest

[Sorry to those of you who don't like cliffhangers. It's getting on toward noon on the west coast of the U.S. So I've got to blog it as is. Somehow I wrote 800 words and didn't say a thing. Maybe I should get a job as a political speech writer. If I finish the scene soon enough I'll amend the post and let you all know.]

Benjamin hadn’t seen the shaman that saved him since his return to the reservation. He relished the thought of being able to thank her in his own voice.

Rebecca drove him out to the old trailers that most of them used as hunting cabins, but the shaman had made it her home. Benjamin watched the cloud of dust the old truck raised as it drove over the dry riverbed used as a road in the summer.
Benjamin knew that Rebecca came this way many times a week to ensure that the two orphans that lived there permanently had food and water, as well as schooling them. That was why she had been there the first day he returned. He also knew there was always a tribal woman there to take care of them. He had ridden along with Rebecca several times on her treks there. He came along for the ride and to visit the forest he had lived in for so long. He never thought they would be making the trip solely for him.He didn’t know what to expect when word passed to him that the shaman wanted to see him. But he had heard much about her in the days he had spent as a human. Most of his friends had told him she was evil and did spooky things. He knew another side of her if there were two sides of her and not just the ramblings of ignorance inventing a fearsome woman where none existed.
When they arrived Rebecca squeezed his hand and smiled as she opened the truck door. Benjamin smiled a hesitant smile, as he was unsure of himself and unsure of the situation. He inquired around as to where the shaman was. A rough old man in an ancient cowboy hat pointed to the forest and said, “She went into the forest early this morning.”
Benjamin’s heart beat loud in his ears. He would have to revisit the places he had been as a wolf. He rustled up his courage and with a huge sigh walked into the forest. The forest floor was replete with pine needles requiring a good eye to follow the shaman’s tracks. Benjamin’s wolf eyes were well trained in tracking even though he used scent most often to track. The ability of his wolf eyes had carried over to his human eyes. There was a faint lingering scent but his nose was not sensitive enough to discern a path, so he had to rely solely on his eyes which slowed him down.
What seemed to Benjamin to be several hours he came to a rocky clearing with a dusty game trail meandering though it. He bent down and examined one of the shaman’s tracks. She had passed this way less than two minutes before. As he hunched over the track he became aware of an animal scent. He judged by his depleted sense of smell that the animal was very near. He heard a growl from just above his head on the boulder to his right. He knew that growl well. He knew his human body could not fight the coyote, nor could he outrun it. He wracked his brain for a possible alternatives to what was sure to become a deadly encounter. The only item he had available for his defense was a knife sheathed to his belt. In his mind he could count the number of bites and tears he would sustain before he would be able to kill the beast. It was not hopeful. His best chance lay in doing the unexpected.
With out a wind up he leapt upwards and grabbed the coyote by the throat and slammed it to the ground on its back. He pressed his chest against the animal’s front legs and pressed hard on his neck. His side was being raked hard by the coyote’s rear toenails, his jacket absorbed most of the scratching. But the coyote was whining through its constricted windpipe and was close to death.
He lost his grip on the coyote’s throat and its back legs stopped defending itself. The coyote was changing shape under his hands. Benjamin was baffled. Where the coyote once was now lay the shaman coughing and choking.
“Good job, Benjamin,” the shaman croaked though her coughing.
“How did you do that? How did you become a coyote? Was it a hallucination?”
“No, Benjamin, I didn’t tell you the complete truth when I was telling you about spirit animals. Some people like me have mastered a skill of metamorphing ourselves into an animal that is of the nature of our spirit guides. My spirit guide happens to be Iceye’ye. As difficult as the trickster is at times, I always try to keep in mind he is the creator of Nimi’ipuu, the people. He is cunning, wise, and a pain in the butt.”
“Thank you for saving me from my animal prison.”
“Pshaw. I’ll accept the thanks, knowing how it has changed your life, but I have to admit I didn’t do it purely for you. I had my own agenda. I was losing young hopefuls to video games, girls, and cars. Not necessarily in that order of course. I needed to get you back to quell the fear of tradition. This generation of the Nimi’ipuu can ill afford to lose the past. It makes us what we are and teaches us better ways to live.”
“Well regardless of your motives you saved me and I am grateful.”
“You might want to hold off on praising me. I’ve got a task for you and you probably won’t like it.

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