RANKED 1st BY VOTERS IN CHARACTER CREATION CONTEST #24!
|Date||The Legend of Johnny Smokers #3||View||Read the...|
|04/09/15||Two Rivers||(Blog) (Forum)||Disclaimer|
|Rating||Rating explanation||Last Issue:|
|T||Not so much violence- guns, knives, teeth or claws||Stranger in the Storm|
He woke with a start in the teepee, but a hand, old but firm, rested on his good shoulder before he could attempt to sit up. Johnny looked at the hand and followed the arm up to the face of its owner, the shaman Two Rivers- so called because his people say two rivers run through him: his own spirit, and the Great Spirit. Right or wrong, he was one of the wisest men Johnny knew. Right now though, he had a stony look of pain, calm, and angry contemplation that only Indians seem able to master. The old man pressed Johnny’s shoulder one more time, silently telling him to lie still, then said, “It has been many moons, Johnny Smokers.”
Johnny winced, then smiled lightly. His last name was Smuckers, but the old Indian had always said it “Smokers,” and Johnny loved the man’s daughter too much to insult him by correcting him. He could barely look at him now, sure that Maria’s brothers had told him how she died. Johnny expected death, and had no doubt that this man could deliver it. Eyes closed, he started carefully, “Two Rivers…I…”
“I told you that death would find my daughter Running Rivers if you took her as your wife, and here we are,” the shaman said in a voice that rasped like dry leaves. “I gave her up to the Great Spirit when she accepted you as her husband despite my warnings,” he continued. “My anger over her death was spent many winters ago. You need not fear for your life here, Johnny Smokers,” he said knowingly. “For how can I kill you when all that is left of Running Rivers now runs in you alone?” Pressing two fingers over Johnny’s heart, Two Rivers said, “Bound together by the Great Spirit, the river of her spirit now runs in you.”
Now it was Johnny’s turn to look pained. He squeezed his eyes shut tight, and placed his right hand over Two Rivers’. The old man did not flinch from his touch, and after a minute, Johnny said, “Thank you, Two Rivers.”
The old shaman smiled, and stood to leave. “You are welcome, Johnny Smokers.”
Then another thought came to Johnny. “Two Rivers?”
The old shaman stopped at the entrance to the wigwam, his hand resting on the hide wall.
“If the river of her spirit runs through me, does that mean that the river of her mother’s spirit runs through you?”
He looked over his shoulder with that mix of pain and calm, but no anger, gave the briefest hint of a smile and a slow nod.
Johnny smiled back, “Then with the Great Spirit, shouldn’t that make you Three Rivers?”
The old man smiled more definitely now as he turned around fully. Bringing his index fingers together as he walked back to Johnny, he said, “When Mourning Mist and I were joined, our rivers ran together.” He moved the joined fingers in front of him in a wavy fashion, indicating the movements of water. “Once two rivers run together, how do you tell which river the water came from?” Holding the two fingers up together, he twisted his right hand closed, and rolled the left over backwards, now holding the index finger and middle finger up together. “So those two rivers,” he said, folding the middle finger down and turning the index finger back forwards to Johnny, “now become one.” He smiled. “So with the river of the Great Spirit,” he said holding up the other index finger again, “Two Rivers,” he finished.
Johnny nodded slowly, but looked confused. “Then…shouldn’t the Great Spirit run together with you too? Shouldn’t you be One River?”
Two Rivers looked at Johnny with a smile and said, “One does not join with the Great Spirit until they pass from this world, Johnny Smokers. The best we can hope for until then is to run alongside, and drink from his waters.” Leaning towards Johnny with a gleam in his eyes, he held up two fingers again and said, “So Two Rivers,” and laughed lightly, Johnny laughing weakly with him. Patting the man on the shoulder lightly, he decided to sit next to him again and said, “Now rest. We shall talk more when you wake.”
“Tomorrow then,” replied Johnny.
“I did not say tomorrow,” answered Two Rivers.
Johnny worried at that, but soon closed his eyes to sleep. He dreamed terrible dreams of wolves that stood like men, his wife screaming, and a river in which he found peace and safety, because the wolves could not cross it.
When Johnny woke, his shoulder felt better, but he was stiff as a board, and his mouth was dry. Two Rivers still sat beside him. The shaman held a small bowl of water to his lips, he drank, and once the pain from swallowing subsided, he asked, “How long was I sleeping?”
“The fever from your wound took you, and you slept a sleep like death for a moon.”
Johnny thought for a second, repeating, “A moon,” then started with shock as he said, “A month? I’ve been asleep for a month?” He tried to sit up, but Two Rivers put a hand to his shoulder, just as he had done a month ago, and he laid back.
“Yes, and while you slept, Coyote came looking for his knife,” answered Two Rivers. He held the gleaming blade up for Johnny to see and smiled. “We did not let him have it.”
Johnny studied the blade and asked, “Why does that and the arrows of Maria’s bro…” He caught Two Rivers’ scowl and corrected himself, “Running Rivers’ brothers killed a wolf man with arrows, but I emptied my guns into them, and they just got back up.”
Two Rivers turned the blade over in his palm, and holding it up again, he said, “Silver can kill them. I do not know why, but we found much of it in the cave at the foot of the mountain, and we use it to make our arrowheads, our knives, and to tip our javelins. We ran Coyote off with them, as we have done many times.” The shaman studied the knife for a moment before placing it on the ground before him. Johnny could tell that something else was coming, so he waited.
|Next Issue: Where All Rivers Run.||-|
|Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb||Originally Presented In: CCC #24.|
Story and characters owned by Chris Bishop, copyright 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.