Cameahwait (Part 2)

As Coyote runs, the ground begins to slope down and the trees grow thicker, forcing him to slow his pace down. There are no more patches of sun to follow, just shade and shadows. Still, Coyote smiles as he walks, peering around the trees and looking all around him, even walking backwards at times. He reaches the trough of the valley. The ground is spongy and lush with different clover and fungi. The trees here are more gnarly than straight and their bark is patchy, showing rotten wood rife with insects crawling from one blanket of bark to the next. The ground is moist beneath his bare feet and with each step he sinks into the muck.

“Lovely.” He narrows his eyes at the yielding terrain. “And still no sign of this spirit. Perhaps it only comes out at a certain time of day?” Shrugging his shoulders and shaking his head, he continues onwards. The ground gets more and more waterlogged as he goes along until he finally reaches a swamp at the very bottom, trees growing up out of the water. Mosquitoes buzz through the air but do not land on coyote, and a snake swimming through the water makes a beeline away from where he stands on the squishy shore.
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Cameahwait (Part 1)

The longhouse is bustling with activity as everyone passes food around, baskets of vegetables, leathers filled with steaming meats. Smoke drifts around the ceiling. Even from outside the chatter of voices is clear, and one outside could hold conversation with the entire village if not for the walls in between. The chief sits in the very back, red, orange, and green lines criss-crossing the tan robe wrapped around him, laughing with one of the hunters.

“Nahiossi, if I have to hear one more tale of you almost shooting one of your men, I swear by the Great Mystery I’m going to take your bow away from you and snap it in half!”

“Good, I need a new one! This one must be warped, it shoots arrows sideways down, right at their asses!” He holds his arms up, drawing one back as if shooting an arrow.

“Almost shooting? He actually hit me! Look, the arrow’s still in there!” A man to the right of the chief stands up and bends over, hitting the chief in the face with the arrow sticking out his rear. The chief sputters as the feathers brush him. He and the hunter look over at the man with the stuck bottom, mouths open and foreheads wrinkled.
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Ohanzee (Part 3)

“Ahhhh!” As she rolls she can see Kaga peering at her from atop the cliff. Her arms and legs are flailing as she falls but there is no sensation of hitting the stone, and with each pass she sees that there is someone else next to Kaga. As she skids to a stop at the bottom, she lays on her back for a few seconds and then pushes herself up, wavering in the growing light. Looking back up, forty feet above her, Kaga is pushing and shaking a figure lying on the ground next to him. Miakoda’s mouth opens as she watches him.

“I’ve left my body… but I’m still in the land of the living?” Go on →

Ohanzee (Part 2)

Miakoda’s eyes flash open and she falls forward. The guards rush forward to catch her before she falls into Quidel. Her breathing is short and rapid and there are tears running down her face, and for a brief moment it looks as though her skin has chunks taken out of it, but when she lifts her head into the light her face is revealed to be unscathed.

“Miakoda! What did you see?” a hunter asks. She is even paler than usual, the contrast between her skin and her hair even more exaggerated.

“I spoke with Quidel, but he’s gone now.” She speaks in between huffs.

The guards that were supporting release her and back away, their eyes wide and mouths hanging open.

“You… you spoke with him?”

Miakoda looks at him, a frown on her face, shivering in the warm afternoon sun. She looks back down at the ground, and rises to her feet, wobbling a little. The guards do not move to steady her, and she continues to face downward.

“Let us return to the village. I need to speak with the chief.” And she begins to walk back towards the village, each step a slow swing of her legs. The guards move with her, but not too close. They look at each other, brows furrowed and frowning.

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Tumseneho (Part 2)

“You… you are Tumseneho!” Awan backs away from Kaga.

Kaga falls backwards onto the ground and lets out a laugh like the scratching of squirrel claws on oak.

“No, friend Awan, I am not Tumseneho. I have plenty of blood. To look at you right now you would not think that you had any, ha ha ha!” Awan’s heart is still beating very hard, and his hands are wet with sweat.

“You certainly have no respect and deserve none either, taking advantage of such a situation to play a childish trick!”

“Childish tricks are one of the things that keep me going, along with children’s laughter. But truly we must leave this unhallowed ground… however, may I interest you in a, mm, viewing?”

“You mean to wait until this thing returns. I am not surprised.”

“It is my duty to detail such things. The tribes needs to know about such dangers as Tumseneho, among others.” As Kaga talks, they walk through the carnage. Awan keeps his head up and breathes through his mouth, but his peripheral vision cannot be controlled. Bodies that lay close together were the women and children. Warriors were among the those that had the most bites taken out of their sides or legs.

“Others? Why have I not heard of these creatures before?”

“As you can see, there usually aren’t survivors.”

They reach the forest on the other side of the village and settle down for the night. Awan holds his hatchet at ready and lays his bow in front of him. His legs are taut as he scans the area behind them. There are several gaps in the trees that extend a fair amount into the distance.

“Keeping your options open, eh? You’re learning already. But put this on and you will not have to worry about escape routes.”

Kaga reaches into his waist pouch and pulls out a lump of leaves covered in brown and orange specks. They smell relatively more appetizing than the village.

“So it wasn’t just good acting that helped you survive the onslaught of Tumseneho.”

“That is for me to know and you to observe.”

Dusk has settled over the land and the area is quiet. In the fading light the village could simply be a patch of land cleared for farming if not for the smell. That shape over there could be a pile of kindling, and that tent could be under construction rather than torn to shreds. Awan’s throat feels as though it were about as wide as one of his arrow shafts. Next to him, Kaga’s eyes are very wide, and Awan could swear they were, just a little, pointing in opposite directions. Time crawls by until it is almost completely dark. Kaga does not seem to be breathing but periodically glances over at Awan and grins. After this happens fifteen times, Awan opens his mouth to say something and receives a hard poke in the side. Kaga points ahead of them into the woods on the other side of the village. Two tiny lights can be seen in the distance, bobbing up and down and getting closer by the minute.

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Tumseneho (Part 1)

     There was a time when mystery was commonplace and all manner of creatures walked the Earth, a time just in between the advent of the modern world and the mythology of yesteryear. These tales takes place in that gap between belief and disbelief, when the world was still separated  by water and sky rather than brought together by them. Maps were shrouded in mist and changed with each passing day, or perhaps it was the land itself that changed. It matters not, for the heroes and warriors of those days flowed through the country just as the water that streamed through the fields, forests, and mountains that were their domain.

Chapter 1:
Tumseneho

A condor drifts across the cloudy sky, searching for prey. Below, a young hunter strides through a forest of birches. He has black hair that reaches down to his shoulder blades, bound with leather string and intertwined with a single feather. His unsmiling face is unlined, and his eyelids hang low over brown eyes. He is bare chested, wearing only light leather trousers and thin moccasins. Over his shoulder is a quiver of arrows, the outside painted with stripes of green and red in a spiral pattern. It is completely full. Over the other shoulder is a satchel, lumpy with hidden contents. He glances at the raptor far overhead.

“I commiserate with you, my friend. We both seem to be unsuccessful at hunting so far. Naught but scraps and bones of dead animals so far,” he says to himself as he glances up at the bird.

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