RANKED 1st BY VOTERS IN CHARACTER CREATION CONTEST #24!
|Date||The Legend of Johnny Smokers #4||View||Read the...|
|04/09/15||Where All Rivers Run||(Blog) (Forum)||Disclaimer|
|Rating||Rating explanation||Last Issue:|
|T||Not so much violence- guns, knives, teeth or claws||Two Rivers|
Two Rivers rocked a bit, his hands raised palms up before him. He then clasped his hands together, shook them slightly, and plopped them in his lap as he looked to the sky through the top of the wigwam. The stone left his face as he searched for the right words, but finally just said, “Graycloud was a great help in fighting Coyote, this time.” For once, it was Two Rivers that didn’t meet Johnny’s gaze.
“My horse?” asked Johnny. “He saved me back at the cabin, but he was injured. How did he help you here?”
The shaman raised his eyebrows as he stared out the opening of the teepee, and he said, “Graycloud has much changed since he was a colt.”
Johnny had never seen Two Rivers be evasive before. It would have been funny, if it weren’t so frustrating. “Two Rivers! What happened to my horse?”
“You will see…in time,” answered the shaman. Then clearly changing the subject, he held up the broken necklace from the wolf man that was slain by Coyote. “Do you know what this is?”
“I was hoping someone could tell me,” Johnny answered honestly. “All of them wore one, including this Coyote.” He looked at it laid over Two Rivers’ hands, and noticed its crescent design in the middle, curving downwards with the curve of the beads.
“It is the eye of the wolf,” answered Two Rivers.
“It looks like the moon,” said Johnny.
“Are they not the same?” asked the shaman.
Johnny furrowed his brow, but answered, “Sure, I guess.” He was actually a little aggravated with the wise man bit at the moment, but he figured that was because he hadn’t eaten a decent meal in a month, so he tried not to let it show further. Realizing how hungry he was, he decided to change the subject himself, and he asked, “What’s the possibility of getting some grub?” Two Rivers smiled.
A couple of weeks later, Johnny was up and around, moving easily. He had been practicing at throwing Coyote’s knife, and was getting pretty good. He’d shown a remarkable talent for the javelin as well, but almost none for the bow and arrow, but that was probably because he was so much weaker than usual from having lain around for a month. Or maybe it just wasn’t his weapon.
He put the knife back in its sheath, and for the first time, it occurred to him to wonder where the sheath had come from. He hadn’t gotten a good look at it that night, but he was fairly certain this was the same one worn by the Indian wolf man. He looked at it closely. It did carry Coyote’s crescent moon mark. He strode purposefully to the center of the village where Two Rivers sat on a log. A couple of braves had followed closely behind when they saw Johnny heading for the shaman with a knife, but they were waved off by Two Rivers. He pulled the knife from the sheath and jammed the blade into the dirt before him. Holding out the sheath, he demanded, “How did I get this, and where are my guns?”
Two Rivers only glanced at the sheath, but nodded to the braves behind Johnny, one of whom ran off. The old man pulled a pistol from under his blanket, and handed it to him butt first. The butt had a crescent moon carved in it. “We were not able to simply turn him away while you slept. The knife was not ours to return, so we told him that he must return for it when you awaken. But Coyote is the trickster, so he does not trust easily. He asked for something in return, in case you did not wish to give it back. We gave him your guns.” Just then, the brave returned with a gunbelt.
Johnny took it, looked it over briefly, and said, “And my belt and holsters?”
“And he gave you the sheath for his knife, and his belt and holster” answered Two Rivers, “in good faith. He is a trickster, but often fair in his dealings.”
“FAIR?” shouted Johnny. “He took my family, Two Rivers!”
Two Rivers shook his head lightly. “You took his first.”
Johnny was stunned. He stared at the shaman in disbelief.
“Running Rivers was promised to Coyote by her grandfather, my father,” continued Two Rivers. He raised his eyebrows and shrugged, “What do you think Running Rivers was running from? All rivers run from something and to something else.” He fixed Johnny with a look, and said, “Coyote is often fair.”
Johnny hung his head low and whispered, “Of course. That’s why she was willing to change her name. She was hiding.” Johnny was silent for a minute, and the village waited for his silence to be over. Finally, he breathed deeply, jammed the pistol into its holster, and strapped on the gun. He picked up the knife, sheathed it, and placed it on his other hip.
“You will return that to Coyote?” asked Two Rivers.
“If he wants it, he can come and get it,” answered Johnny, and he turned to leave. A squaw met him with Graycloud, and he took the reins and began walking out of the village.
Two Rivers called after him, “Take heed, Johnny Smokers! You must return that blade and gun to Coyote! As long as you carry them, death and smoke will follow.”
Johnny looked back to the shaman and answered, “They can follow. They just need to stay out of my way.” Then he turned again to leave. The village watched him go.
With his tribe standing around him, Two Rivers watched also. He muttered the soft prayers of a shaman, then spoke quietly, “The Great Spirit run alongside you, Johnny Smokers.”
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|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.