Thursday, May 3, 2018

Thursday's Third Scene Whispers From Yesteryear #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLoveLTD #Paranormal #Reincarnation

July 1755
Too late. Too late.
Jonathan Reed stopped for a brief rest. For two days since he’d seen signs of the Ottawas in the forest, the refrain had echoed in his thoughts. After he’d discovered the dismembered bodies of their captives, he’d known Rene DuBarri led the band of warriors. Such brutality was the man’s signature.
Dread filled his thoughts. The Long House. Corn Dreamer. The men and women who had befriended him were in danger. He feared he wouldn’t arrive in time with the warning.
He rubbed dirt into his hair to disguise the color. Hair of Fire was his name among the clan.
After gulping water from the skin he carried, he looked for signs of the enemy’s passage. Another mile or two and he would reach his goal. Though most of the warriors had traveled north, if he arrived in time, those who had remained could hold off the enemy until the women and children escaped.
The silence of the forest troubled him. No bird songs, no noises that signaled the presence of small animals. His fears rushed to the surface.
Too late. Too late.
No, he prayed. For with the clan and in the Long House, he’d found healing for his spirit and had learned to forgive himself. The guilt he’d felt after his wife’s death by her own hand had turned him into a wanderer. Corn Dreamer had helped him find peace and had taught him the skills of a healer.
Too late. Too late.
He pushed his fears to a corner of his mind and slowed to a walk. With caution, he slipped from tree to tree, senses alert and prayers forgotten. He was close enough to hear the songs of the women and the children’s laughter. He felt a chill as icy as the winds of winter.
He staggered into the clearing and stared at the ruined Long House. Bitter acid burned in his throat. He had arrived too late.
As he stared at the scene of the massacre, he saw the broken bodies of his friends. Two warriors lay atop several of the enemy. He crept from the shadow of the trees and examined the strangers. Ottawas from DuBarri’s pack.
He edged toward the Long house. Sprawled bodies of women, infants and the older boys caused him to weave a serpentine path to the entrance of the bark-covered building. Just inside the entrance, he halted. A cry rose in his throat.
"Corn Dreamer." The man who’d taught him about medicine lay sprawled among the furs. The gaping hole in his chest told Jonathan what had been done.
‘Twas an honor. He sank to his knees. How could such a death be deemed an honor?
Swift on the heels of grief, anger rose. He backed from the Long House. This time he examined the bodies for the one he feared to find.
A soft cry startled him. He studied the clearing and saw no one but the dead. The sound came again. He strode toward the trees. Gray Squirrel Chatters huddled in the brush. Dried blood on her head showed where she’d been struck.
"It’s Hair of Fire. Where are the children? Where are the Willows?"
"Gone. Those who stink of fish have taken them."
She shrugged. "They do not have Willow Who Bends. She went to gather medicines."
"In the forest?"
"To the place where those who gave her a name grow. North by the stream."
He lifted the elderly woman and carried her to the cave where last fall he and the warriors had killed a bear. Though he wanted to search for the one whose image filled his thoughts, he owed Gray Squirrel Chatters care for the meals she’d shared with him. He cleaned her wounds and returned to the long house for furs, food and water. Only then did he set out to look for Willow Who Bends.
Too late. Too late. The refrain beat in his thoughts. Not this time, he vowed.


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