The little girl sat on a large moss-covered rock, under the noon sun, near a serene pool at the bottom of a waterfall. Watching the water swirl below her. Four fish of various sizes in the clear water facing the same direction, fighting the current, involuntarily swirling backwards with the moving current. The mist from the waterfall floated around her and stuck to her naked, dirty, little body. She had her knees up to her chin and her arms wrapped around her shins, her thoughts lost in the roar of the falling water and all the life of the forest world around her. She could feel it all, every insect, every squirrel, every deer, even the embattled fish at war with the current below her. Their minds and thoughts swirled with in her own like the water in the pool below, churning every thought with hers. The little girl could share her mind with any creature she wished. Her favorite pastime was to sit on that very rock, and reach out to every mind, as far as she could, testing her reach with the animals of the mountain, bouncing from one to another, experiencing bits of their lives, all the while sitting peacefully, motionless. Her momma called her little Hummingbird. A mountain lion quietly stalked her, creeping up from the tall grass behind her. There was no fear of the creature inside the child, though she was very aware of its approach. She could see herself through its eyes, but didn’t move a muscle, remaining relaxed, carefree, staring into the swirling pool, just downstream of the pounding waterfall that fell from high above. Her mind was split between watching the serene pool and the sight of her little naked body from behind, through the eyes of the powerful predator. How tiny she was to its eyes. She felt the fear of the birds around her and heard their chirping warnings of the danger that loomed mere feet from her. With a thought, she calmed the birds and they went about their way, ignoring the mountain lion that crouched behind little Hummingbird, on her large moss-covered rock. The predator shimmied side to side as it prepared to pounce the short distance to the girl on the rock. Little Hummingbird wanted to feel the soft fur of the mountain lion on her wet, mist kissed skin and with that, the stalking ended, the game was over. The mountain lion pounced, right on to the rock, where little Hummingbird sat. It lay itself around her like a giant house cat with its young in a protective circle it created with its body. Years ago, this predator felt the girls desire and love, so strong, that it eclipsed its own, turning little Hummingbird from a meal to a cub. It often stalked her with the same end, always, it followed her, watching over her from a distance, and when little Hummingbird was alone, it would accompany her, keeping her safe. Little Hummingbird uncoiled herself and lay sideways onto the beast, her second mother. She giggled at the sensation of its soft fur tickling her face and arms, the softness was all she knew it would be. She curled up against her dangerous pillow and wiped the mist from her face in its muscled shoulder. She loved that mountain lion more than any creature on the whole mountain, save for her momma. The mountain lion began licking and cleaning little Hummingbird, who giggled, enjoying the sensation of being mothered by the beast. She let the mountain lion clean her, stretching back over its body, across its ribs, her arms and legs out wide in a yawn, then recoiled in a giggling squeal as the mountain lions tongue licked the length of her ribs to her arm pit. It pawed at her to keep her in range of its large tongue. Finding contentment in cleaning her human cub, it’s purring was a low rumble. Little Hummingbird imitated the sound as she rolled around playfully on the beast. She could sense her mother in the distance walking toward them through the brush. The mountain lion also sensed the woman of the wood’s approach, some moments later when she drew closer. It stood quickly, growling a warning at the woman who approached the beast and her cub. Little Hummingbird rolled over to her belly on the large moss-covered rock, her arms and legs dangling off the rock, the mountain lion standing over her, protectively, ready to attack. She looked to where she knew her mother would emerge through the brush. Little Hummingbird’s thoughts and emotions poured out of her to every mind around her. So powerful, that every thought she had could be understood by any creature nearby. She was like any child and did not understand how to control the volume of her voice, did not yet know deceit, or how to lie. Her mind spoke freely to the minds around her, sharing her emotions as well as her thoughts. The woman of the woods paused as she emerged from the brush, staring at the fierce creature standing over her little girl on the large mossy rock, crouching, ready to attack, held in check only by the little girls love for her mother. The woman of the woods felt a tinge of uneasiness locking eyes with the beast. She knew the beast would kill her in a flash if it thought her a threat to little Hummingbird.
“Doin wit dat thing?” she asked and without a word, the child answered her mother before the question was even finished. She crawled from her belly to her knees, out from under her protector, giving it one last stroke of its soft fur, before sending it off to the woods. The woman of the woods heart leapt in her throat as it sprung from the rock, then disappeared into the forest. Little Hummingbird let herself fall back down to the moss-covered rock like it was a big pillow, amused with her momma’s startled response to the mountain lion’s intentions. As always, it stalked nearby, watching over little Hummingbird from a distance. It never wandered very far from her. “Tink dat funny, do ya?” The woman of the woods asked, “Ya have ta start using da words aloud, or ya not gonna be able ta when ya need it.” The woman of the woods scolded little Hummingbird, “Others can’t do like ya can, and ya scare dems ya come across, iffin ya can’t use ya words. We ain’t talkin bout it fo nuttin girl!”
Little Hummingbird rolled around on the moss-covered rock like it was the soft mountain lion and stretched long, yawning as loud as she could, then laughed at the end of her long, loud, yawn.
“Like dat, momma?”
“Ya’s full uh funnies today ain’t cha? Come on now, got gatherin ta do, ya lazy lil lay about.” The woman of the woods said to little Hummingbird, shaking her head with a smirk of amusement.
“I want ta stay heya and feel all da life dat be round da water.” Little Hummingbird protested rolling around on her moss-covered rock like the most comfortable of beds.
“Plenty time fo dat later, come help me. Ya find tings faster dan I can, my little Humminbird, so make quick work of it, and ya can get back ta chasing da life of da mountain, iffin ya want.” The woman of the woods made a grand sweeping gesture to all that surrounded her with her arms out wide. Little Hummingbird reluctantly slid off the rock. She hopped like a frog from side to side behind the woman of the woods, following, as she started up the trail to the top of the waterfall. “Ya feelin a bit froggy today, are ya?” The woman of the woods asked and little Hummingbird responded with a ribbit like a frog mixed with carefree giggles, “Careful ya not too good a pretendin’, lessen mister snake’ll snatch ya right up.” She nipped at little Hummingbird’s ribs with her boney fingers making the child squeal and leap away laughing.
“None can snatch me up momma. Not a mister snake, not a none dem!” exclaimed little Hummingbird as she rolled in the grass away from the woman of the woods then back to a crouch like a cat, “Sides, I’m a big cat, momma!” she growled, trying to imitate the mountain lion, “I eats da snake right up!” she nodded her head back with a quick slurping sound.
“Don’t ya be too sure bout dat. Just when ya think ya in da know of it all, somethin jumps up and surprises ya.” She reached out at the little hopping girl, trying to poke her a second time with the same results and even more giggles. They reached the top of the trail and stood for a moment at the peak of the waterfall surveying the view. The woman of the woods continued along the trail upriver while little Hummingbird stood on the cliffs edge, inches from the roaring water pouring over the waterfall. She stuck her arms out wide and spun in place like a helicopter with her eyes closed.
“I can feel da whole world!” her hair flew out as far as her arms were long, it had never been cut once in all her life. Ripped out a bit by branches as she ran through the forest, but never intentionally cut.
“World’s bigger dan dis here river, girl. Careful ya don’t fly too far. It’s a long way down.” The woman of the woods stopped, turning back to watch little Hummingbird’s youthful display of invincibility.
“I not scare a nuttin.” She spun closer to the edge, “Dere’s a big birdy, in da tree near da bottom da udder side, say he can carry me away iffin I let him to. Wanna see it?” She stopped almost falling off the rocky cliff, then perched ready to leap over the edge of the waterfall, fearlessly.
“No!” The woman of the woods barked, fearful she might jump without a care for her own safety, then softened her voice, worried she might startle the child perched on the edge of the cliff, “Not today, I say we gots gatherin ta do. Now come away from dere.” She wasn’t sure if it was true about the bird so big, it could carry little Hummingbird off, she certainly didn’t want to risk it. They continued along the river’s edge picking a variety of foliage. Some for spells, some for eating. The woman of the woods used her long skirt to hold all of it, pulled up in front of her like a basket. Little Hummingbird ran from bush to bush, and leaf to leaf, plucking and grabbing all that was needed, then rushing back to the woman of the woods, dropping her little handfuls into the makeshift basket. They came to a spot, where on the other side of the river, was clear of tall trees. Little Hummingbird could see all the way down the mountain to the shiny glint of a town way below. She reached out her hand and grabbed at it in front of her face, imagining she could pick it up. She thought about how much she wanted to go see it.
“Can’t go down dere. Ya not near ready yet.” The woman of the woods said feeling little Hummingbirds desire as if it were her own, “Use ya mouth, I say. Don’t listen, for one thing, dat’s fo sure.” She answered little Hummingbirds curious thought of ‘why not?’.
“I can listen. I swear it ta ya, I can, momma.” Little Hummingbird looked back at the woman of the woods then ran to catch up to her.
“How many ya kill today, hummin bird?” The woman of the woods asked as the two continued on the trail alongside the river’s edge. The wind blew swaying the tall grass. The nice, cool breeze was refreshing on the hot sunny day. They both paused and inhaled the fresh air like a drink of water. Little Hummingbird mimicked her momma and closed her eyes as she took in the refreshing breath.
“Only four.” Little Hummingbird finally answered, her face turned flush from embarrassment. She reached up, sliding her hand into the hand of the woman of the woods as they continued walking.
“Ya too strong yet, wit no controls. Can’t go down dere like dat. Ya kills one dem, dey take ya away, maybe me too. Suren it’ll lead ta ya killing a whole lot a folks. We don’t want dat.”
“I gettin good.” Little Hummingbird said swinging her hand and the woman of the woods hand as far as she could forward and then back again, turning her whole little body to reach as far as the much longer arm of the woman of the woods.
“Ya grab too hard da minds of dem sometimes, dat’s why’s dey die, Humminbird.” The woman of the woods said and lifted little Hummingbird up into the air on their forward swing, making little Hummingbird squeal and giggle, “Killin ain’t what’s da wrong of it, it’s not controllin ya self, dat’s da wrong of it.” She held little Hummingbird up in the air in front of her as she spoke. She set little Hummingbird down after dangling her and swinging her around a few more times.
“Rabbits is simple and scaredy all da time, momma.” Little Hummingbird said as she landed back on the ground, wiping her hair from her face and smiling, “How I’s not gonna reach in widout da killin? Da biggins don’t die so?” Little Hummingbird let go of the woman of the woods hand and raced forward a few steps, turning back to face the woman of the woods, walking backwards along the trail as they continued talking.
“Rabbits isn’t all ya killin is it?” The woman of the woods question stopped little Hummingbird dead in her tracks.
“No,” Little Hummingbird replied as the woman of the woods passed her on the trail, “but it’s dems today ya askin after, right?” Little Hummingbird asked glancing up at the woman of the woods as she started again to walk side by side with her.
“Yes child,” She cackled a laugh that made little Hummingbird giggle. “Come heya, find me a little one, widout da reachin’ in. Just find one.” She ushered little Hummingbird off the trail several feet.
“Whatcha want, momma? Deys everywhere. Ya wants a birdie or buggy? Over dere, a deer hidin’ dem bushes, eatin’ berries, tillin’ he hears us. Den he goin’ run off, lessen I make him stay.”
“Ya practice makin’ everything ya feels not see ya, not see us both.” The woman of the woods grinned, “Den, we see what comes round.” Little Hummingbird closed her eyes and thought hard. The woman of the woods cried out and grabbed her eyes. “Stop! Stop! Ya blindin’ me girl!”
Little Hummingbird’s eyes popped open and she stopped what she was doing.
“I’m sorry momma I didn’t mean for ta make ya sees nuttin too, I got so many, ya got in da way, momma.”
“I make it, just give us a minute.” The woman of the woods blinked and used little Hummingbirds shoulder to steady herself, then sat down on the ground to the side of the trail. “Ya somethin awful powerful girl. I means for ya ta makes ’em not see us. You makes ’em see nuttin t’all!”
“I’m sorry, momma.” Little Hummingbird put her hand on the woman of the wood’s head and stroked her brown hair. The woman of the woods could feel the remorse in little Hummingbird.
“Sit wit me.” The woman of the woods grabbed little Hummingbird’s wrist and gently tugged her to sit beside her. Little Hummingbird plopped her naked little butt down in the brush next to the woman of the woods, whose eyesight started to return. Little Hummingbird grabbed the woman of the woods arm and hugged it with both of hers, remorseful for taking her sight, “I wantcha be wary to stay out from my mind, less ya hurt me real bad, ya hear, den ya be all alone up here.”
“I will, momma. I look out fo ya extra hard and keep clear ya head and such.” Little Hummingbird said in a sad voice.
“Oh, ain’t no reason ta feel sorry now, ’member? Learnin is all, ain’t no harm done.” The woman of the woods put her hand on the girl’s arm and shook her gently, “I wants ya ta try to make dem animals ya play wit see tings, like tings ya make up in your own head, tings not really dere, ya understand me?”
“Like when I ‘member sometin’ I saw, I make ’em see what I saw?” Little Hummingbird leaned back and looked up at the woman of the woods.
“Lil like that, maybe like ya maginin somethin never happened ’fore, but ya want like ta happen, show ’em dat.” She explained, smiling at little Hummingbird.
“Ohhh,” Little Hummingbird said drawing out the word with her epiphany, “Maginins.” understanding what the woman of the woods was saying.
“Dem rabbits ya kill, how ya feel after ya reach in so deep?” The woman of the woods asked lying back in the grass from little Hummingbird, propping herself up on her arms, and looking down her nose at her.
“Well, I was scaredy like dem, dat somethin gonna come get me. I feel dey scareds.” Little Hummingbird said pulling her knees to her chest and hugging them.
“Ya felt dey fear.” The woman of the woods corrected tapping little Hummingbird on her nose with her fingertip.
“I felt dey feya,” Little Hummingbird repeated the words thoughtfully, “I felt like a chewin on a somethin after, even if be just a stick!” The woman of the woods laughed.
“Ya reach in so deep ya take back witcha a lil bit.”
“Some stay long times and some just a lil while. How come is dat, momma?” Little Hummingbird’s face scrunched in curiosity.
“Be in another’s mind a powerful thing, girl. Specially as deep ya be grabbin ’em. I reckon dem little ones don’t stay long as dem biggins.” The woman of the woods sat up, closer to little Hummingbird and again little Hummingbird hugged her arm tight.
“Is it same when ya look inside too, momma?” she asked. The woman of the woods could feel her jaw moving against her arm as she spoke.
“I can’t do what ya can do. I can show some, scare folks off. I use help from da earth and spells and such. Ya go right inside da head, girl. I spect few can do what ya can do, Humminbird. Ya gotsta learn ta go little bit and look round, see fo while, stead a grabbin da whole thing and squeezin’ like ya do. Dat’s what do’s da killin.” The woman of the woods had a flashback to so many years ago when she felt that very pain.
“Sorry, momma.” Little Hummingbird let go and leaned back to look up at the woman of the woods and see her eyes.
“Ain’t fer ta be sorry bout, more learnin is all, ya get better when ya do s’more.” The woman of the woods reached over and touched little Hummingbird’s cheek, “Looky heya, girl.” The woman of the woods sat up and pointed down at some ants on the ground in a straight line, “Sit heya, watch dem ansty’s for a bit, like dis.” The woman of the woods sat quietly and watched the column of ants marching to some unknown destination. Little Hummingbird scooted closer to the woman of the woods and looked at the ants, staring quietly for a few seconds, “Dey don’t even know we heya, and dey doin dey bidness, alive and happy. Go head grab one, take a closer look.” Little Hummingbird looked at the woman of the woods with the briefest of glances, then picked up an ant. She showed it to her, it was squished, dead.
“Momma, antsy’s too small for getting good look sees!”
“Ya see now, girl, dat how dem rabbits die, you don’t take a lil look, you grab dem by dey whole head and squish, just like dat antsy right dere.”
“Aww, momma, lil buggy’s only good fo squishin no way!”
“See dey make a line off ta some ’eres?”
“Prolly a somethin’ dead, or da spoiled fruit.”
“I want cha think bout what I say, ya heya?”
“I heya, momma, ya say I squish dem rabbits like I squish dat antsy, ’cept I do it udder way?”
“Dat’s right girl, ya smarter dan ya let on sometimes ain’t cha?”
“Yes, momma,” Little Hummingbird giggled, making the woman of the woods smile proudly.
“I’m a feelin a good bit hungry for some rabbit tonight. ’Fore too long, I wantcha go fetch dems ya killed, ’fore any ya lil friends find ’em and have da same reckonin’ as me. Maybe dat’s where dem antsy’s headin’ to?”
“I do it now!” Little Hummingbird jumped up and ran, quick as she could, not waiting for an answer. “No antsy’s eatin my rabbits!” From the brush, the mountain lion emerged and took off after the little girl, startling the woman of the woods. For a brief instant, she thought the beast was after her little Hummingbird. She had to remind herself, again, of little Hummingbirds hold over it. They ran back down the trail, Hummingbird, and her escort, alongside the waterfall they ran, passed the pool, and her beloved moss-covered rock, then down the river side a few hundred feet. Little Hummingbird moved through the trees and brush like one of the animals of the woods. It was her home, same as it was theirs, her little bare feet knew every inch of it. She came upon the four dead rabbits, unmolested and exactly where she left them. She picked them up one at a time, brushing them each off and giving each a shake. Her stomach grumbled in anticipation of the meal to come from the four rabbits. The mountain lion too, felt the pangs of hunger for the rabbits, “Not fo you, Soft, only me and momma eat dese heya.” She grabbed the last one from the ground by its leg, instantly sensing it was still alive. Little Hummingbird held it up, inspected it, dangling before her, “Wake up den, if ya gonna!” she said shaking it roughly. The rabbit instantly came to, its legs pumped as fast as they could, trying to run in mid-air. Little Hummingbird laughed at the sight of it and let the rabbit drop to the grass where it bolted away to live another day. The mountain lion crouched to give chase, but Little Hummingbird held her companion in check, freeing the rabbit. She was pleased she didn’t kill it. “Stay way from da water iffin ya wantsta live long. Big birdy gonna getcha ova dere!” Little Hummingbird yelled after the rabbit and then smiled to herself, again pleased she did not kill it. She started back to the woman of the woods with her three dinner guests in hand, pondering how it was she did not kill the one rabbit. Maybe it was like her momma said? She had no intention of killing any of them. Nevertheless, when she entered their minds to control them, the little ones, mostly, died after she was done playing with them. She found it much easier to control the larger animals without killing them. “One for da livin and three for da eatin,” Little Hummingbird sung her words over and over, all the way back to the woman of the woods, who waited at the top of the waterfall, on the river’s edge. She had her legs in the water up to her knees, going through the items they had collected, tossing the ones that were no good and sampling some of the berries. Little Hummingbird sat down next to the woman of the woods, still humming her song. She laid the three dead rabbits on the ground between them, in a neat row, for the woman of the woods to inspect. Little Hummingbird was smiling, almost gushing and let the woman of the woods know about the fourth rabbit without saying a word, showing her the whole scene in her mind, giggling all the while. The woman of the woods chuckled and plucked a long blade of grass, putting it in her mouth as she looked down at the three dead rabbits. She extended her hand to little Hummingbird, giving her a few of the plumper berries. Little Hummingbird popped them into her mouth and began sucking on the sweet berries juice. She closed her eyes in pleasure as she popped a berry with her tongue against the roof of her mouth, exploding the flavor on every taste bud. The woman of the woods couldn’t stop herself from smiling, overwhelmed with the love and happiness that emanated from little Hummingbird’s infectious good mood. She was always a happy child, at peace with her home on the mountain and all her wild little friends. The woman of the woods pondered how many of her moods were changed, or brought on, by little Hummingbird’s power to make her feel what she was feeling. She chuckled at that.
“I reckon three make a purdy good meal anyhow. Maybe e’en three whole suppa’s all togeda.” The woman of the woods flipped the rabbits on the ground over as she spoke, inspecting them more closely, “Well, go head na, start cleanin’ ’em, since we ready here by da water.” Little Hummingbird cocked her head at the woman of the woods giving her a skeptical look. “Whatcha lookin’ me like dat fo?” The woman of the woods asked little Hummingbird.
“Momma?” Little Hummingbird asked sheepishly, “Iffin ya catch da rabbits, I do da cleanin’, but dis time, ain’t I da one catch da rabbits?” Little Hummingbird smiled hopeful, making the woman of the woods smile right back at her.
“Ya gots me dere, ain’t cha, ya wily girl.” The woman of the woods picked up one of the rabbits and held it between the two of them, looking around it at little Hummingbird, sizing them both up, “Might be nuff heya ta make ya some drawers.”
Little Hummingbird hopped up from the ground and waded into the water to just below her knees.
“Aww, momma, don’t need none dose. Dem makes me all scratchy and hot, all da days.”
“Suren ya do, ’specially iffin ya wanna visit dere yonder.” The woman of the woods pointed to the view of the city across the river and down the mountain, “Get all da way in, clean ya self good. All da way up ta ya hair. Been too long now, girl. Ya startin to smell like ya lil friends, da skunks. Mind da current, girl, ain’t no bird round here big ’nuff come drag ya out from unda da water.”
“Momma?” Little Hummingbird asked wading into the water backwards, looking at the woman of the woods, “Iffin ya can’t do like me, how come is you always know my mind like ya do?”
The woman of the woods cackled a laugh and smiled wide, slapping her hand to her thigh.
“It’s cuz you never shut up is why, ya head be spillin out all over da place,” She waved her other hand in the air like she was swatting a bug, “Ain’t no special knowin’ needed when ya so free wit it, Humminbird.”
Little Hummingbird dunked herself under the water and sat on the bottom, opening her eyes, and looking around. She thought about what the woman of the woods just said. The current was a wash of bubbles sucking toward the waterfall. There were a couple of fish swimming in the still area that little Hummingbird bathed in. She could feel the pull of the river sucking her toward the waterfall. Little Hummingbird popped back up and gasped for air after trying to stay under as long as she possibly could. She wiped her hair from her face and the water from her eyes. She thought of how funny it would be to make those fish jump out at the woman of the woods, and for her to say something funny to the woman of the woods about having caught those for cleaning too.
“Momma,” Little Hummingbird giggled uncontrollably, interrupting herself, “Momma,” she started again and laughed. The woman of the woods watched her with a smile on her face, shaking her head, waiting for little Hummingbird to spit it out, knowing already what she was going to say. Little Hummingbirds mind was clear as a voice speaking to the woman of the woods. Two fish swam hard and fast from their spot in the river and breached the water’s surface, landing on the shore. Little Hummingbird laughed and pointed at the fish she made jump out of the water, “Can ya clean dems too?” She stuttered laughing. It didn’t quite come out the way little Hummingbird wanted, but it made her laugh all the same. The woman of the woods laughed along with her, infected by her happiness and amusement. It was hard not to be happy around her little girl, even if she didn’t have her powers.
“You a funny child. Catchin all dese for me ta clean.” Again, little Hummingbird dunked herself and tried to sit on the bottom, longer than the last time, giggling bubbles spewed from her to the surface. As she sat, once again on the bottom, she had no desire for air at all, no pull to pop up to the surface and refill her lungs. It made her smile, she thought it was like being a fish. A little girl in a blue dress swam towards little Hummingbird from the bubbling current and sat in front of her on the river bottom. Her blue dress flowing around her in the water. Little Hummingbird was surprised, yet at ease to see this little girl in the blue dress. Little Hummingbird could sense a strong tie to this little girl in the blue dress and smiled at her. The little girl in the blue dress smiled back and then put her finger to her lips, telling little Hummingbird to be quiet. Little Hummingbird looked at the girl who was very familiar to her, if she knew any better, she would have realized the little girl in the blue dress looked just like her, if she were all cleaned up and in a blue dress of her own. Her vision blurred, then she fell asleep.
“Wake up ya damn fool!” The woman of the woods shook the wet little girl hard, trying to revive her. Little Hummingbird opened her eyes and gasped for air, then sat up, looking around for the little girl in the blue dress, “Dat game near kill ya! Almost suck over da falls witcha!” The woman of the woods was panicked and angry.
“I’s fine, ain’t hurt none, momma, no worry for it.” Little Hummingbird hugged the woman of the woods sensing her anger and fear. The woman of the woods stood up, returning little Hummingbirds hug and picking her up from the ground then squeezed her wet little body tight.
“Ya scare me bad, girl.” The woman of the woods walked away from the river’s edge, then set little Hummingbird down, kneeling before her to look her eye to eye.
“I sorry, momma?” Little Hummingbird looked at the river, “Where da udder lil girl go, momma? She come out da water too?”
“What udder lil girl?” The woman of the woods grabbed little Hummingbirds face making her look her in her eyes again, wiping her wet hair from her little face, “Whatcha talkin bout, girl?”
“Out dere.” Little Hummingbird pointed to the river, “She come wit me unda da water, ’cept she wearin da real pretty drawers, color like da sky.”
“Dis little girl, what she look like?” The woman of the woods felt instant fear and began scanning the river’s edge, then the surrounding woods. Her eyes darted around, and her breathing became panicked, remembering the pain that baby could inflict all those years ago, who knows what she was capable of now.
“Momma, why ya scare? Why ya scare from dis lil girl. I feel da bad scare from ya.” Little Hummingbird could sense the incredible fear in the woman of the wood’s, and it scared her too. She clung to the woman of the woods, staring at the river, waiting for the little girl in the blue dress to come out of the water. Her fear only infected the woman of the woods fear, doubling it. Like feedback bouncing between the two, one making the other even more afraid. At the height of her fear, the woman of the woods set little Hummingbird down in front of her, between her and the river, turning her to face the river, a shield between her and the other little girl who had come for her sister, or to finish what she started. She quickly pulled a knife from the waistband of her long skirt. She held the girl’s head in one hand and the knife close to her throat with the other. She kept the knife low and out of little Hummingbird’s line of sight. The woman of the woods thought hard, I kill her, I swear it!
“Momma, I scared.” Little Hummingbird started crying and whimpering in fear, turning away from the river, and grabbing the woman of the woods around her legs desperately. The mountain lion emerged from the brush running over between the river and the woman of the woods. It crouched down, then growled a low warning to the woman of the woods, it’s ears back, its tail flailed from side to side, ready to attack her in a heartbeat. It sensed the threat she was to the child. The woman of the woods stared back at the beast wondering whether or not it was being controlled by Hummingbirds sister. After all, if Hummingbird could control the mind of the cougar so could she. The woman of the woods realized what was happening and put the knife carefully back in her waistband so it would not be seen by her little girl. She glanced at the river, then at the giant cat at her feet. She took several breaths calming herself, realizing it was Hummingbird’s fear coursing through her. She crouched down to little Hummingbird holding her at arm’s length, “Momma,” Hummingbird cried reaching back at her not wanting to be so far from the safety of her mommas embrace. The mountain lion brushed up against the child trying to comfort her, knocking her into the woman of the woods.
“It’s alright, Humminbird, look at me girl, it’s alright, calm ya self.” She shook the child gently then pulled her in for a comforting hug.
“Why ya scare dat lil girl, momma,” She asked squeezing the woman of the woods back tightly.
“Dat lil girl is bad! She likely kill us both. Ya tell me iffin ya eva see her again, ya heya?” The woman of the woods picked up little Hummingbird and placed her on her hip, backing away from the river to the safety of the woods.
“I will, momma!” Little Hummingbird grabbed the woman of the woods around her neck as tight as she could, terrified that her momma was scared so badly. Little Hummingbird never felt fear in the woman of the woods like that.
“Dat one mind ya kill iffin it eva come round ya again. Ya squeeze hard as ya can, wit all ya got! Den ya come find ya momma and I take it from dere.” She said as the pair moved through the woods away from the river.