Running as fast as I could, I was trying to keep up. With every step I took, I felt closer to flying. My blood was pumping, making me go even faster. The grass was soft against my hardened feet; it was invincible to the twigs that broke underneath me.
“Wait up!” I huffed out, not having any oxygen in my lungs.
She just giggles as she keeps running. Catori is just like wolves in how they own the land and don’t care about others. Nothing could stop her. She didn’t listen to the wind.
A tall red brick wall was coming into view, causing us to halt. It was foreign, looked nothing like the mountains on our land, and it was taller than our highest trees. Silhouettes were moving up on top of it, holding long black sticks.
“Get down,” she ordered in a loud-quiet voice, pushing her hands down as we squatted behind a tree.
Holding onto the tree, I looked over at her as she was peeking her head out. Her eyes were lighting up as she was about to step out. I grabbed her arm, hissing, “Catori, we cannot go any further. We have gone far enough.”
She just rolled her eyes, slumping her shoulders. “Okay, let’s leave.”
Sighing, I didn’t want her mad at me, but I also don’t want to break any rules like last time. We ran together, not one of us going behind or going ahead. Some small baby wolves started following us causing me to giggle and Catori to shake her head with a smile.
Elders were walking through our grass fields teaching the younger women how to pick the food when it is ready. Others were learning to sew together animal skin for our clothes. Small boys were working on their training skills following the warriors around watching their every step. It made me smile as I did the same thing when I was younger.
“Where did you two go running off this time?” Mother Teresa asked us, pushing her basket to the other hip holding vegetables.
“Looking at the wheat,” Catori was quick to respond, grabbing my hand with an innocent smile.
Nodding my head quickly to follow the lie, she just looked at us up and down. Her face knew we were lying, but she couldn’t find any proof.
Jumping in along with Catori, I said, “We were seeing if they are ready.”
“For the Jamboree tonight?” Mother Teresa asked, raising her eyebrow.
“Of course,” Catori answered as if the answer was obvious.
She just nodded while rolling her eyes with a slight chuckle escaping her mouth used to our antics. We were the interesting ones of the tribe, always following our own wind.
After telling us to head back to our parents, Catori let out the biggest sigh putting her hand over her heart. “I have been holding that since we got caught.”
Smiling, I laugh lightly, “I am sure you have. I better head back over to the medical wing.”
“You and your fate,” she sighs, letting her arms be wide open, “My fate hasn’t floated to me yet.”
Turning around and going the opposite way from her, I bring my hands together up to my mouth, closing my eyes. I don’t know what my fate is even if it has already been set.
“Saachi, please tend to bed three for me. My hands are full,” my father ordered in a panicked voice as he was helping a young boy with a large wound gushing blood on his arm.
Nodding my head, I turn around to bed three to see a little girl with a long cut across her cheek. Grabbing a bark of our aloe plant, I walk over to her.
“What happened?” I ask taking a seat next to the bed.
Her eyes were full of tears, looking horrified. Her hands were shaking as she just stared at me. Grabbing her hands, I move next to her on the bed, pulling her in close saying softly it’s okay.
“I… there… Men…” she stutters to get out, her breathing starting to heave.
“Everything’s okay,” I whisper, laying her head on my shoulder.
She just kept sobbing, and it wasn’t letting up. Looking around frantically, Father was with a wounded boy, and mother was putting cold rags on a sick woman. Pulling her out to be able to look at me, I say, “Please, breathe and when you are ready, tell me what happened.”
As she closes her eyes, she takes a deep breath in calming her body down so I was able to start tending to her wound.
“I was working in the field with Mother Corenia when I heard a noise from the woods. And.. I-I followed it-it… to uh…” She starts to explain until her sobbing comes back, messing up her woods.
“Sh.. sh… It’s alright now. You are safe now,” I say with a reassuring, soft voice.
Her eyes were looking down but over her shoulder every couple of seconds. They have not trained me to be a mother yet, so I don’t know how to reassure young children. But I was doing the best that I could, rubbing her arms and hair, and giving her tight hugs, reminding her that she was in a safe place now. This is what my mother did to me late at night when I would wake up in distress from a nightmare.
“Men had arrows shooting them at me…” she whispered, wrapping her arms around tight.
My eyes enlarged, but I had to stay calm. I could hear my heart beating in my ears, hoping no one could hear it too. I didn’t want to take my parents away from the injured, but I don’t know how to handle this. One single sweat rolled down from my forehead onto the top of my nose. It wasn’t hot yet; I was sweating like there was no tomorrow. “Mother,” I trembled, still holding the girl close to my chest.
She smiled at her patient and then turned away to see me, which made her face drop. Everything in her hands fell, tumbling to the ground. No words came out of her mouth as she came and sat next to us on the bed. Without hesitation or question, she wrapped her arms around the both of us making me feel less scared. Her hugs could make you not be scared anymore. I could not describe the feeling, but only she could give it to me.
“What happened, dear?” She asks in the gentlest voice.
Looking down at the little girl who was looking at me, I nodded for her to tell the story. She wiped away the tears in her brown puppy dog eyes.
“There were... These… these men shoo…shooting a-a-arrows at me,” she trembled out looking at mother.
“Were they white men or?” Mother questions stroking the little girl’s hair behind her ear.
She nodded fast, grabbing hold of her hands. Mother nodded, bringing the little girl in close as I did. I followed in her footsteps wisely. However, she did not look afraid as I did. She kept herself contained and calm.
“Saachi, dear, please go inform Anakin that there was an attempted attack from the white men,” Mother said in a low voice covering the little girl’s ears.
Standing up, I take off at a run. Instead of feeling like I was flying, I felt like my life was on the line. There was no enjoyment on this run; the wind felt against me, but I had to tell him. The news was haunting my every step.
Anakin was standing there with some other soldiers, laughing together. Halting my run, I stop myself from making a scene. Flattening out my dress, I walk somewhat put together over towards him.
“Anakin!” I shouted at him to get his attention.
He looked over his shoulder, confused. You could see his muscles tense ready to fight, but they relax once he saw it was me. He waved his buddies off as he did a jog over to me.
“Hey Saachi,” He smiled once he made it close to me.
“I have something important to tell you,” I said sternly, then looking around, “but you can’t make it a big deal.”
His eyebrows furred together lowering his voice, “Saachi, what’s wrong?”
“There has been an attempted attack from the white men,” I whispered as my eyes kept looking at the people surrounding us.
He grabbed my shoulders, pulling me in close with his breathing tensing up. “Did they hurt you?”
“No,” I gushed, shaking my head and grabbing his shoulders, “a little girl. She is in the medical wing.”
It was like he sighed out of relief, but does he not understand the situation?
“I will go handle this,” He says patting me on the shoulder as he took off.
In every situation he faces, he stays calm, like the Potoki River that flows through our land. Even with the hardships, he is like the roots of an oak tree standing still. There was no doubt he was the chief’s son. I seem so childish compared to him; keeping my eye on everyone as I talk, running out of our territory, and just always feeling so naïve to the world.
The little girl ended up going too far out of our territory and was looking at a deer while the white men were trying to hunt. She was in a state of shock and her hyper-survival mode kicked in. Still, the white men shouldn’t be hunting close to our land, our warriors should have caught it.
“Is Halona okay?” I ask my mother as she folds the bedding.
“She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The poor girl is now terrified of going anywhere without her mother. Anakin is going to put more warriors on our borders,” she explains with a hint of worry.
“I was afraid we were going to have to start a war,” I confessed, laying down and staring at the top of the tent.
“Do not worry about that, sweetie. We have great allies of the other tribes, and a strong chief,” she reassures in her soft voice.
“And the power within the wind,” I smiled as I propped my shoulders up behind me so I could see my mother.
She was smiling as she folded, being so very gentle. My heart started to beat fast as I looked away from her laying back down on the bed. Moving my hand on my chest, I just couldn’t believe my time was almost up.