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Chapter 16 – She is Surrounded by Darkness

She walked over to Great Eagle’s teepee as two men followed behind her. She noticed Red Sun nervously dismounting her horse. The two women stared at each other as Red Sun quickly walked toward her teepee.

Ayira entered Great Eagle’s teepee and stood in the doorway, distraught and impatient. Great Eagle stared at her, worried.

“You wanted to speak to me?”

“Please sit.”

Ayira looked uncomfortable as she sat down,

Great Eagle asked, “Will you tell me how to save them?”

Ayira looked away, frustrated, and said, “I don’t know – I don’t know, but I have to go with them... I have to. Please – please – let me go to the battle.”

“You keep yourself here. I know what is going to happen, and I want to help you change it. I know that Yellow Feather, White Hawk, and Little Sparrow will die. Your father told me.”

Stunned, Ayira shook her head no. “No-no-no. I must go to keep them from being killed. If you keep me here, they will die.”

Confused, Great Eagle looked down. Ayira thought to herself anxiously, and then said, “I must ask you something.”

He nodded.

She asked, “Is Red Sun of this tribe?”

Surprised by her question, Great Eagle hesitantly said, “No – why do you ask?”

He watched her curiously as she looked down without answering, and then he continued, “Her tribe was attacked by soldiers and most of her people were killed. We saved her and accepted her into our tribe. Sparrow took her in and she became his wife. Why do you ask?”

Ayira looked upset and he said, “I have never trusted that woman... What do you know about her?”

“Yellow Feather spoke of you telling him that an outsider will be accepted into your tribe.”

Great Eagle listened with concern as she continued, “And that outsider will be surrounded by darkness, but it would be the light for your village?”

“Yes – yes. That is you...”

Ayira shook her head no and said, “It is Red Sun.”

“That is not possible – the outsider will be surrounded by darkness, but it would be the light for my people. How will she bring light to our people?”

Ayira glanced away in confusion, and then turned back to him and said, “I don’t know – but I need your help.”

She looked around as if she heard something and then quickly stood up, concerned. She walked up to Great Eagle and said, “I have to speak with her.”

He appeared worried as she whispered, “Please keep your men here.”

He hesitantly nodded. Just as they came out of his teepee, Red Sun was approaching it. Great Eagle stared at Ayira in surprise and she looked down, concerned.

With a serious look on his face, he asked Red Sun sternly, “What brings you here?”

“I must speak with Ayira.”

Great Eagle and Ayira stared at each other as Red Sun continued, “I – I cannot find Little Sparrow.”

“Is he not hunting with the other boys?”

“No – I am afraid he may have followed the men to the war.”

“And you look for Ayira, why?”

Red Sun angrily said, “They were always together. She is the only one that can find him. Does she not have gifts? Maybe she can help me find him.”

“You think she is mad, but yet you need her help?”

Ayira interrupted Great Eagle and said, “I will help you.”

Red Sun glared at Great Eagle, upset, and then looked at Ayira and said, “Thank you. I saw him walk that way into the woods.”

They were all about to walk away, but Great Eagle stopped Ayira and whispered, “Are you sure you want the men to stay here?”

Though Ayira appeared worried, she hesitantly whispered, “Yes.”

Great Eagle said to the two men, “Let her go.”

Red Sun looked surprised and then relieved as she subtly smiled at Ayira. “But Chief Coyote said to stay with her,” one of the men said.

“Let her go.”

Though the two men looked frustrated, they nodded.

Later on, as Ayira walked through the woods with Red Sun following, Red Sun asked, “You are to be Yellow Feather’s wife?”

Ayira walked a little faster and said, “Yes...”

Disappointed, Red Sun looked down. Tears streamed down her face as she said, “I was supposed to be his wife – he was supposed to love me.”

That angered Ayira.

They entered a thick brush of trees and Red Sun continued, “I hate you – I hate you so much.” She walked closer to Ayira, and then turned her around and slapped Ayira’s face.

Ayira stared at her, enraged, and asked, “Are you finished? Do you not want to find Little Sparrow?”

Red Sun tried to slap Ayira again, but Ayira caught her arm and looked stunned as she stared into Red Sun’s eyes.

She appeared worried as Ayira stepped back in shock, tears streaming down her face. Red Sun stared at her and quickly pulled her arm away from Ayira.

Ayira sadly said, “I cannot believe you would do such a thing...”

Red Sun had tears in her eyes as she looked nervous and said, “What do you mean – what do you know? You see things when you touch people, don’t you? You see their past and what is to come?”

She nervously pulled out her knife and pointed it at Ayira.

“I can kill you right here. Did you see this? Do you see your death?”

Upset, Ayira just thought to herself as Red Sun continued, “Do you? If I killed you right here, they will never know I did it. He will forget you.”

Red Sun started to cry and slashed Ayira’s arm. Ayira screamed in pain and held her wounded arm.

“The enemy tribe is here, are they not? I do not understand why you help them,” said Ayira.

“Did you not see when you touched me? They are not my enemy – they were an ally to my tribe.”

Ayira looked noticeably surprised as she said, “Chief Coyote attacked my tribe and killed most of my people. Some of us stayed with his tribe and the rest are with Black Bear and his tribe.”

Ayira now appeared even more upset as Red Sun continued, “We have been helping them attack Black Bear’s tribe. After they capture or kill Black Bear’s tribe, they will come for Chief Coyote and his people.”

Ayira said, “It is because of you Sparrow is dead...”

Stunned, Red Sun said, “He was weak... He got himself killed in the battle. It was best – for I was supposed to be Yellow Feather’s wife.”

“What about your son?”

“He is safe. They promised me they will not hurt them. Him and Yellow Feather...”

Red Sun held the knife closer to Ayira’s throat and whispered into her ear, “I will be his wife – not you.”

Then Red Sun quickly stepped away and screamed, “Come – I have the slave woman. We are here.”

Frightened, Ayira said, “We are here...” Ayira had led Red Sun to the huge boulder where she’d seen the violent spirit.

She looked terrified as Red Sun continued to yell, “We are here.”

The women both heard a rustling sound from afar, and then three Indian men wearing war paint on their faces and bodies came out from behind the thick trees. Ayira watched them nervously; at the same time, she also heard a loud grunting sound behind her near the boulder.

“If this is a trap, you will pay,” said what appeared to be the leader of the group.

“I never lied to you before,” said Red Sun.

“This is different – we are in their territory and you could have set a trap for us. If you have – you will all die,” said another one of the men.

“If you kill anyone, it should be that slave woman. She is evil.”

“She might be the only one that survives – my leader wants her alive. He wants to see what she can do,” said the leader.

Ayira looked down, worried, and Red Sun said, “Just take her away from my village; she has done enough harm to us.”

He walked up to Ayira and said, “She speaks our language?”

“Yes, she understands,” said Red Sun.

“I hear you have gifts? What can you do?”

Ayira looked away in disgust and he continued, “Did you know we were coming?”

She heard mumbling and heavy breathing near the boulder, but stared at the ground, as he continued, “No you did not. I do not believe she has gifts, but if it makes my leader happy...”

He called over his two men and they grabbed her arms. Red Sun smiled anxiously. “Who is he?” asked the angry spirit as he knelt next to the dead woman’s body.

Ayira looked toward the spirit. He was standing up, staring at them demonically.

She trembled with terror. The two men stared at her, confused, but Red Sun stepped back in terror. “What is wrong with her?” asked one of the men holding Ayira’s arm.

“Something is wrong. I think she sees something,” said Red Sun.

“Hurry, let us go,” said the leader.

The spirit quickly ran toward Red Sun and grabbed her by her neck. She suddenly could not breathe and the men now stared at her in confusion.

“What is wrong with you?” asked the leader.

She was choking and could not answer. Terrified, she pointed at Ayira. The leader quickly walked up to her.

“What is wrong with her? What have you done to her?”

He smacked Ayira in her face and she flinched in pain. Enraged, the spirit lifted Red Sun by her neck.

The men stared while Red Sun floated in the air, choking. “Who is he?” yelled the angry spirit.

The leader put a knife to Ayira’s neck and yelled, “Let’s go! And if you hurt any of us, I will kill you.”

The angry spirit let go of Red Sun and she dropped to the ground, choking and gasping for air. She quickly crawled backward toward a tree.

The spirit stared at Ayira’s stomach and yelled, “Tell me – tell me... Who is he?”

Ayira hesitantly said, “I do not know what you mean.”

The men watched her, confused, as she spoke to nothing. “I’m going to kill him – I’m going to kill him... Tell me.”

Ayira appeared terrified as the spirit stared at one of the Indian men and asked, “Is it him?”

With wide-open eyes, he looked at Ayira and asked, “Is he the father of the child? It was him – was it not?”

Ayira looked toward the Indian man. He appeared terrified as he glanced at his leader. Suddenly, his body left the ground, and he flew through the air and slammed into the boulder where the spirit had thrown him. Blood gushed out of his head.

His leader tried to slash Ayira with his knife, but an arrow hit him before he struck. She quickly

looked back and noticed Little Sparrow with his bow and arrow in his hands. Holding her throat in pain, Red Sun appeared shocked.

Though he seemed to be upset, Little Sparrow aimed his bow and arrow at the other man. The man looked around, terrified, and then suddenly his feet left the ground and he was slammed against a tree.

Little Sparrow was stunned. Terrified, Ayira started shaking uncontrollably. She slowly turned her head and saw the angry spirit standing right behind her. She spun around and the spirit grabbed her by her neck.

She could hardly breathe. The angry spirit looked down at her stomach again and said, “I’m going to kill it too?” He giggled to himself.

Confused, Ayira struggled to get out of his grip, but he continued to choke her.

Little Sparrow stared in terror as she floated in the air, choking. He tried to pull her down, but he could not.

“Mother, help me.”

Red Sun sat on the ground rubbing her neck and did not move. “Mother, help me.”

She quickly got up and said, “Let us go – we cannot save her.”

Upset, Little Sparrow asked Ayira, “What can I do?”

She pointed at the boulder. He hurried over to it and looked around. “Why did you do this to me? I loved you,” said the angry spirit.

Little Sparrow knelt and noticed something. He started digging, but then suddenly jumped back, scared.

He nervously said, “There’s bones.”

Ayira struggled to talk as she said, “Look for more...”

“Sparrow no – let us go, before it is too late!” yelled Red Sun.

He looked around and then walked over toward a tree with thick bushes surrounding it. He searched through the bushes, and was stunned as he said, “There are more bones.”

The angry spirit looked over at Little Sparrow and instantly let Ayira go. She dropped down to the ground, gasping for air. Red Sun stared at Little Sparrow, upset.

The angry spirit appeared next to Little Sparrow. First, he looked down at the bones and seemed shocked, and then he turned back to Ayira and seemed upset.

Ayira watched nervously as he looked back at his bones and then disappeared. Relieved, she laid down on the ground.

Little Sparrow walked over to Red Sun and she nervously stared at him. “I almost lost you – what are you doing here?”

“I followed you both into the woods... What are you doing here?”

Ayira watched both of them, and then sadly looked down. “We were looking for you.”

“Why? Did you not send me to catch you fish? You knew where I was...”

Appearing nervous, Red Sun hesitantly said, “Since the men went to battle, I was worried about you, so I looked for you...”

Little Sparrow looked at his mother face-to-face, and sadly said, “I heard everything...”

She seemed stunned, but, with tears in his eye, Little Sparrow continued, “Father was weak?”

“I did not mean that – I’m still angry with him for leaving us... She is evil – she made me speak that way. It is not true – I swear.”

She tried to touch him, but he stepped back. Tears streamed down her face.

“You’re helping them...”

“Chief Coyote attacked our village and killed our people... They took me prisoner and your father made me his wife. I never loved your father.”

Little Sparrow stared at her, disappointed, and asked, “Why do you lie?... Father saved you and you betrayed him – and me...”

Red Sun nervously shook her head and fell to her knees, trying to hug him. “You betrayed all of us. Why?"

“Because we deserve more – I deserve more.”

Little Sparrow pulled her off, and then walked over to Ayira and helped her up. Red Sun started to cry hysterically. Saddened, Ayira started to tear as well. Little Sparrow helped her walk away, but left Red Sun whimpering on the ground. Ayira and Little Sparrow walked through the woods for a moment, but then Ayira stopped.

“What is wrong?” asked Little Sparrow.

Ayira sadly said, “I know how you feel – My father betrayed me, and no matter how much I did not want to love him, I still did and I still do. No matter how much you will want to hate her, she is still your mother.”

With tears streaming down his face, he said, “The mother I knew loved my father and was loyal to my people. I can’t – I won’t...”

He sadly walked away from her. She stared at him and soon followed.

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