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The Mudjikiwis

The Mudjikiwis

Intoduction: Sometimes you can find courage in unexpected ways and places.

It was Summer and the Indian brave was to become a man this season but he was afraid of war. They were at war with the Chumash and it wasn’t likely to end soon which weighed heavy on his mind as he worked on his preparations.

Today would be the big hunt and tonight the ceremony feast where they would become men. He would become a man, be expected to fight with the others and take a wife. Every brave has done this since the people’s beginning and he was excited about leaving his childhood behind.

Strong and tall he was a well-known figure in the tribe. He was used to fighting as he had been taught well by his father but his warrior skills were not being questioned. It was his courage.

He hid this fact from the others with much bravado but eventually, they were bound to find out. He pushed these doubts aside, noted the sun and rose to his feet it was time for the hunt. He gathered his things from the lodge and went outside.

He walked over to the other young braves as they were mounting their stomping ponies crying out with excitement, “Hee hee ha ha hee!”

They too would soon be men and were very impatient about starting the hunt. They called out to him. Not to be left out he ran over, mounted his pony from behind and they galloped off towards the tribe’s hunting grounds.

His mind on the hunt he started to relax. Nothing like a good hunt to take his mind off of war and fighting. They all split up into pairs for better coverage and safety in numbers. Just in case they ran into any Chumash raiding parties they’d be ready. He was hoping that wouldn’t happen.

After a time they came out into a clearing near a stream and decided to water the ponies. He longed to tell his friend that he was afraid to fight in the war, it was not their way so he remained stolid.

His friend was bringing his pony back out of the stream as he mounted his and spied a small group of deer feeding upwind of them. Spurring his pony on he closed the distance between them quickly. They could still not smell him and if he was lucky he would bring home some nice deer meat.

When he was close enough he expertly fit an arrow into his bow. He picked out a young white-tailed buck and he shot it. At the last second, it veered sharply into a stand of thick trees but he had nicked it so he followed the blood trail into the woods.

He realized that his friend had dropped behind him and not caught up. Surely he was following him because his people had full knowledge of this land. It was in their blood and it was their home. He felt reassured his friend would catch up waiting quietly.

It was dark under the canopy of trees and after his eyes adjusted he could pick out the deer lying in the brush several feet away. It was very still and shafts of sunlight played through the branches. He was puzzled because it had not been a kill shot yet the deer looked dead.

He crept closer to examine the deer and found the brush around it disturbed like there was a struggle. The deer was torn apart on one side and just as he was taking this in a large wolf limped out from the underbrush.

“Brother please do not be afraid for I am injured and need this food.” The brave heard these words as plain as day and knew he was speaking to a spirit animal.

The wolf was indeed injured, it looked like his leg was hurt. He was deeply honored answering, “Brother wolf you may have this deer for you were the one who killed it.”

“Thank you for your kindness young brave. I will not die from this injury but without food, I surely would have sickened and died.”

The wolf moved closer, “For helping me I will give you my father’s tooth. It will help you to be brave and have much courage in battle.” The young Indian took the tooth and thanked the wolf for this gift.

He mounted his pony and left the wolf to his meal wondering about his friend when he saw a rabbit out of the corner of his eye. Swiftly he drew an arrow and shot. It screamed once and lay dead. He urged his pony towards it and saw an eagle on the ground nearby.

“I have a nest of young one’s and we need this food,” she cried.

Another spirit animal, what were the chances? The brave was deeply honored for at this time in his life these were good omens.

“Sister eagle you may have the rabbit for I will hunt another. Feed your young and live long over this valley.”

The eagle eyed the young Indian carefully and replied, “Thank you for your kindness, here’s a feather from my wing. It will help you be fast and fly through your battles.”

He found himself coming out of his trance and realized he was watching the eagle fly off with his rabbit.

Just then his friend rode up on his pony and said, “I was looking all over for you and here you are goofing off in the woods. We will be the only one’s not bringing meat back for the ceremony!”

His friend was a chubby boy who ate too much in his opinion but he was right.

They finished the hunt bringing down a large wild boar which was the best meat of the hunt and was enjoyed by all. They became men that night and the brave was full of his thoughts of the woods.

The next day the tooth glistened in the sun as he turned it around in his fingers. The feather was soft yet bristly and large. Examining his treasures and thinking of the spirit animals already gave him strength and he felt something change inside. What was this feeling, could it be courage?

As soon as the word popped into his mind he felt it fully. The animal spirits of the wolf and eagle moved freely within him. Yes, he was not afraid! He was the Mudjikiwis, a Cree Indian and would slay his enemies gladly with his brothers to protect the tribe.

He took a wife that season and built his own lodge. The Chumash attacked and he fought bravely with his brothers and saved the whole of the tribe with his fierceness and quickness in battle. The people sing songs of these battles to this day around our fires for he was the true Mudjikiwis.

(Mudjikiwis means eldest son in Cree.)

© Rebecca Sanchez 2013

I wrote this story after seeing the image I used. Not sure if the Indian in the artwork is a man or women but no matter this is fiction based on a few facts I looked up on Google.

The Window

The Window

Introduction: One man’s homecoming is another man’s feast.

The narrow road curved up and around the mountain disappearing in the fog. The cabin of the coach was rocking to and fro in the murky darkness making the inhabitant a little sick and reluctant about traveling at this late hour.

The count leaned out of the window to see the road was just a worn path and he was looking over the very edge of that path. Loosened rocks tumbled down the sheer cliffs but the horses seemed sure-footed and steady. He breathed a prayer that they would make it.

They rounded the last corner finally reaching the top where the castle stood shrouded in mist, large dark and foreboding with no moon. He had grown up playing in this castle all those years ago. Now it was empty with all of his family dead and he was traveling back to make it his own.

He had forgotten how big the place was. Looking up he was surprised to see a light in an upper tower window. Yes, it looked like the light of a candle. Wasn’t that the room…

His thoughts were lost as the carriage jerked to a stop by the front gates.

“I thought this place was empty,” he said as he was helped out of the coach by the caretaker.

“Yes sir, the place is empty, stocked and restored like you requested. Just the two of us here. Why do you ask?”

Stopping in front of the gates the caretaker took the key from his hand, “Allow me, sir.” unlocking and opening the small door set in the castle gates. Handing the keys back he waited, “After you, sir.”

“No need to be so formal man, it’s just you and I. After all, your father worked and lived here his whole life as you have. It’s as much your home as it is mine.”

The count walked into the entranceway of his old home and looked around. The castle had been updated and some electricity was installed but otherwise, it was left like it had been for centuries. Was it his imagination or did the family photographs seem to be frowning down at him?

“It all looks so familiar but it’s been a long time,” he remarked as he walked out into the living quarters. There was a fire in the huge stone fireplace and nearby a group of velvet chairs faced it with a table made out of some huge piece of natural wood and glass. It looked new. He sat down and immediately felt just how tired he was. Drained was more like it.

“Can I show you to your room? Not all the rooms are ready but I put you in the main suite which was done first,” the caretaker smiled for the first time and was missing some teeth.

The count stifled a yawn,“Please do! I’m very tired from the trip it was demanding and I need some rest. Let me sleep in late tomorrow.”

“Is there anything else I can help you with, sir?”

“I think not. Good night then.” The room looked very inviting for its size and the bed looked heavenly.

“If you need anything ring.” And with that, he left.

The count poured some water into the basin and washed up. His mind drifted back to the light in the window. That had been…her room. What could it mean? She had drowned and he had seen her dead body. But who would be in that room when the castle was empty?

There was no way the count was going to sleep until he visited her room for himself. He was going to see what was causing the strange light in the tower window and pulled on a heavy bathrobe lighting a candle chandelier.

Stepping into the hallway he was surprised at how well he remembered the way. Her room was in the tower and he cursed his bare feet on the cold stones as he flew up the steps.

He stood before the door sweating, waiting for what? Sheepishly, he turned the doorknob it was unlocked. The heavy door squeaked on its hinges as it swung open. He stepped into the room holding the candle high. His heart threatened to beat out of his chest! It was dark and he wished electric had been installed in this part of the castle.

On a table by the window, he saw an unlit candle and large crystal ball. He was sure this was window he’d seen the light in. When his candle was near the crystal ball the whole room lit up with beautiful shapes all over the walls.

It was mesmerizing to watch, the lights made him so happy! They were so beautiful! He forgot all about why he was here as he lit the candle next to the crystal ball. A bright light came to life spinning around the room, too bright to be the light he saw earlier, not that he cared at the moment.

All of sudden it got cold, colder than the winter chill, he could see his breath and felt a hand on his shoulder.

He spun around and was dumbfounded when he found himself looking at…her. Her eyes shone and her skin was like velvet and she was just as beautiful as before! She pulled him to her in an embrace as he breathed in her scent that he remembered so well.

The candle stayed lit as the shadows from the crystal ball grew, extinguishing all of the beautiful lights. He felt his head clearing as he gazed at his beloved sister his vision blurring a little. Her body felt different and that was not perfume he was smelling!

She smiled at him, one blue eye popping out of the socket and laying on her cheek, her body swelling and bloating. She looked like a body that had been in the water for a very long time but she was not dead and very strong.

The count was like a deer trapped in headlights as she held him fast, opening her mouth to reveal tiny sharp teeth. She was drooling and it fell to the floor melting the carpet.

Not a word was exchanged between them for the homecoming but you could hear the tearing flesh and screams echo throughout the castle as he died a slow death.

The caretaker kneeled outside the door watching through the keyhole a large grin on his face. When it got quiet he stood up and walked into the room.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2014

The Changeling

The Changeling

Introduction: Just when you think you know someone they go and change on you.

Her whole arm was throbbing painfully. Wincing, she pulled up the sleeve of her light sweater and it certainly looked worse than it had this morning. Shaking her head in irritation she abruptly stood up from the table spilling coffee from her overfilled mug. She watched as a dark brown ring soaked into the freshly laundered tablecloth.

“Making a mess in my kitchen again Lisa?” cried her sister as she swept into the room clearing the mess on the table.

“Oh, well no, I got scratched by that cat next door when I chased it out of our yard and now I think it’s getting infected,” she said as she picked at the wound. “That old bitty next door told me her cat had its shots but I don’t believe the ugly old witch!”

“How can you know anything about her? She just moved in and seems nice enough,” Cindi said as she dabbed at the offending ring.

Lisa half-heartedly listened to her sister as she stared out of the window. She was compelled to look. There was a bird outside and she found it fascinating! She watched it take off and blurted out, “It’s getting away!”

Cindi turned to look at her sister with surprise, “What did you just say?”

Lisa was standing at the window at rapt attention. Cindi frowned, something was going on with her sister and she was going to find out what. Before she could ask any more questions Lisa ran to the back door muttering to herself with excitement and left the kitchen leaving the door wide open.

Cindi ran after her calling out, “Lisa Marie this isn’t funny you better stop it now! What’s got into you today?”

She didn’t know what was wrong with her sister but she knew Lisa wasn’t in her right mind because Lisa didn’t like to get dirty nor did she like nature much. Her tastes ran to men and more men, and expensive shoes.

Lisa’s arm wasn’t hurting anymore and she felt stronger than she ever had before. What was this incredible feeling? She looked down and noticed she had kicked off her shoes and lost them. She should be worried about those shoes they had cost a lot.

She ran after the bird for a block but it doubled back and landed in a tree in her next door neighbors yard. She had to catch that bird and moved slowly towards the tree.

Cindi pulled up short when she caught sight of her sister in the neighbor’s backyard on her hands and knees. “What’s wrong with you Lisa, you’re scaring me! You need to get out of that yard and come home. ”

When she was closer she stopped in her tracks shocked at what she saw, “Why, Lisa just look at yourself!”

Lisa wondered just who this strange lady was and what she wanted from her. She heard a twig snap and turned her head back to the tree just as the bird chirped and took off. She lowered her tail and before she turned to face the lady blackness enveloped her.

“Making a mess in my kitchen again Lisa?” Cindi said cheerfully as she leaned over the large orange tabby cat and petted her head.

She wiped up some milk that had spilled on the floor and admired her handy work. Lisa Marie thanked her with a loud, “Meow!”

© Rebecca Sanchez 2013

Hot As Hell

Hot As Hell

Introduction: To assume something can make an ass out of u and me but expectations can truly be hell.

It was hot as hell! Driving through this damn desert for my book signing near Los Vegas wasn’t my idea but it had to be done. The date had been booked by my manager for months in advance and my loyal fans would be waiting.

There was nothing to see but scrub plants, sand, and more sand. I had the air conditioning on high and wasn’t feeling it. I tweaked the nob getting nothing hearing a noise that sounded bad.

Belching steam and lurching like a drunk my overheated car came to a stop under the relentless sun. I tried to restart it but it was dead. I exited the only protection I had against the hell outside only to fill my lungs with hot air.

I looked around me half expecting the devil to make an appearance. The sand went on forever in the shimmering heat. There was no oasis like in the movies I was stuck in the middle of nowhere and I was going to be late!

I got out my trusty cell phone only to find no service. I searched my car finding nothing but an empty water bottle and a quarter. I expected lunch at the book signing event. My stomach was complaining already.

Nothing to do but start walking. I wasn’t on a highway I was on a backroad and it was deserted. There was no traffic whatsoever not even a tumbleweed crossed my path.

My throat was parched and after a few miles, I felt dizzy and nauseated. I didn’t see one house or farm along this hot dusty road.  I sat down next to a barbwire fence that went nowhere for a rest and passed out.

Waking up it was near sunset. It still hadn’t cooled off after all of that time and no cars had passed me. I checked my cell phone and it was still without service. I was starving with a hell of a thirst but at least I felt a little better.

Then I saw her! She was strikingly beautiful, not unlike an angel as I gawked at her wondering where she came from. There were no signs of any transportation or buildings nearby.

Her makeup was perfect, she wore a skimpy sun top and blue jeans that fit her shapely body like it was painted on her. Her violet-purple eyes were bright and inviting as she looked at me but said nothing. Her look was inviting me to join her I stumbled to my feet.

It was odd she had a rope she was spinning around and around. First, it spun around her and then not. She was very good with it doing tricks like a cowgirl. As I got close she quickly threw it around me.

I felt as if under a spell as she talked to me with her eyes. They had a glow to them I’d never seen before. So, so, beautiful I forgot the heat, my thirst, my car and my predicament.

She started dancing with and around me the rope moving about as she circled. I had no idea who she was but could care less about asking. I never felt more captivated by a woman. Maybe I could get away but did I want to?

Embers rose from the large fire nearby filling the sky. Surely the fire was there before and I had missed it. Physically I felt wonderful on top of the world! There were a million stars on this moonless night but I only had eyes for her.

Suddenly, she dropped the rope and kissed me passionately. The kiss made me muzzy I was a goner. Her hands were all over my body at once. She couldn’t get my clothes off fast enough ripping my shirt. I could care less.

Now both of us naked we sank down in the sand where only the sky bore witness. I was eager to have her and she was ready for me not making a sound.

Her fingernails raked my back as I entered her deeply. It felt like nothing I’ve ever had before when suddenly I saw bright lights as a horrible pain raged through my back. Panic gripped me, the cuts felt deep; to the bone!

She rolled us over getting on top and fucking me with wild abandon. I was bleeding profusely and in no time we were covered in my hot sticky blood!

The pain was horrible my flesh was being ripped off in pieces and it’s then I heard her. Her terrible laughter was echoing off of the distant canyon walls.

She sat up on me smiling down with white pointed teeth as her tongue flashed snake-like from her hideous gaping mouth. Her eyes were yellow and her breasts and naked body had been slashed with satan’s great claws.

That repulsive creature finally stepped off of me as the devil himself showed up. Thankfully, I passed out but my last thought rang clear as a bell.

I had expected the devil to make an appearance.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2016

That is Liz Taylor in this photograph (which I animated) that inspired me to write this story.