markwildyr.com, Post #95
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Got a fair number of hits from my last story, “Six-Shooter Sex.”
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BLUE STONE AND RAVEN
Blue Stone hurried through the chore of tending the Pueblo’s cornfields huddled along the gullies that carried rain and snowmelt runoff through the small canyon. He weeded and turned the soil and moistened dry places from a jug of water. Afternoon had fallen before he darted west into a deep, rocky, forbidding canyon known to his people as the Devil’s Pipe. Few came here even though there was a water source at the far end. It was a place of supernaturals, the shamans claimed. But Blue Stone, a true son of the West Region, was as bold and single-minded as Black Bear, his totem and guardian.
A lunation ago, Blue Stone found a tiny Stone-of-Health-Happiness-and-Good-Fortune on the floor of the pipe. The blue stone that gave him his name—called turquesa by the brown-frocked Spaniards who visited occasionally—excited greed among the outsiders, so his discovery must be handled carefully. Reasoning all earthly objects eventually move downhill, Blue Stone scoured the upper reaches of the canyon until he found other small stones. And then he discovered an outcrop of the blue-green rock that often contained the precious stone. Although what belonged to one belonged to the entire community, he dug out several pieces, which he polished as gifts for his mother. Soon, he would advise the chief priest and council of his find so a decision could be made over what was best for the People in the matter.
Upon arriving at the far end of the great ravine, he froze. Something was in the canyon with him. A supernatural? Which one? Bent on good or evil? Cautiously, he moved forward. Beyond the next fissure in the towering rocks was the sheltered waterhole. Blue Stone crept around a curtain of stone, gasped audibly, and fell to his knees.
In is fourteenth year, he had undertaken a vision quest in order to be admitted to his clan’s society. He remained deep in the desert mountain canyons without food or water until his mind sought the wisdom of the gods. His Vision, as clear to him today as it was four summers back, had been a tall youth standing naked on a rock shelf, his long hair unbound. His flesh had not been rose brown like Blue Stone’s people, but a deep bronze. Great brown eyes peered into his soul. The broad, laughing mouth uttered mystical, unintelligible words. The Vision—almost assuredly Thunder Boy, one of the Holy Mountain Twin Gods—wore a physical beauty that surpassed any man’s. His long limbs were sculpted by the Creator-of-All-Things in his own image, had He chosen to take a shape.
Now Blue Stone moaned aloud in fear and joy. His Vision, whose intent had not been revealed to him, stood majestically at the edge of the small waterhole in the midst of his bath; water still running across unblemished flesh and dripping from perfect limbs. Blue Stone shuffled forward on his knees, unmindful of the jagged edges of sharp stone. As he slowly closed the distance, the spirit turned to him and stood motionless.
At the feet of the perfect, immobile youth, Blue Stone removed his headband and wiped water from the powerful thighs. Overcome, he clasped the strong limbs in his arms and buried his face against them. He licked away drops of water his headband had missed. Intent on performing this small service, he moved his tongue across the smooth flesh.
Timidly seeking to please, he took the other youth and performed a ritual that would have been unthinkable except as an offering to the supernatural. Broad hands clasped his head as the Vision thrust powerful hips with increasing urgency until delivering his white nectar with a loud groan.
Strong arms pulled him to his feet on a level with huge, brown orbs that seared his essence. The force of the look was so powerful Blue Stone’s knees grew weak. The Specter spoke in a deep voice, uttering the language of the gods. Why did this Being not touch his forehead so Blue Stone would understand the holy words? But it was not his place to criticize. The Spirit would find a way. Then in a rush of guttural sound, Blue Stone caught two or three words in the language of the Spaniards.
“Spanish?” Blue Stone asked in that foreign tongue. “You speak Spanish?”
“Yes,” the Vision answered in a voice so deep it reverberated off the rocks. “I speak some of that devil tongue.”
“Why do you not speak to me in my own?” Blue Stone asked with more bravado than he felt.
“Because I don’t understand it,” the other snorted.
“But…but don’t supernaturals speak all tongues?”
“Supernaturals?” the perfect youth exclaimed in imperfect Spanish. “You think I am a supernatural? I am Raven of the Cotanee!”
Blue Stone took a step backward. The Cotanee were almost as feared as the gods. These lords of the plains appeared out of the grasslands of the east to kill and plunder and take what they wanted. In this they were little different from the Spanish except they went away; the Spaniards did not.
Raven laughed. “Have you never seen a Cotanee before?”
Blue Stone tried to look angry as he remembered what he had done for this young man but couldn’t manage it. “The only time I saw a Cotanee was a time of death and destruction.”
Raven shrugged. “That is the way of the world.” The beautiful youth examined him closely. “You believed I was a god? Is that why you did what you did? I thought it was a strange way of greeting strangers, but then I do not know your ways.”
“Why did you permit it?”
“Because it pleased me,” the youth said haughtily. “At first, I thought you were a girl, a bony one maybe, but you’re pretty enough. Anyway, I’ve been away from home for two moons now, so I felt the need of relief. Did you like doing it?”
“It wasn’t unpleasant, but if it pleased you, I liked it.” Suddenly, Blue Stone realized he stood in the presence of an enemy. “You are a scout! Your people are coming to attack us.”
Raven held up a hand. “Nay. I told you, I left my lodge two months ago. There was this girl I wanted for a wife, but her father sold her to another who paid more horses than I could afford.”
The four-leggeds! The Cotanee went nowhere without their four-leggeds. Raven read his face.
“Back there in the draw where he can find a little grass in this barren place! His name is Whisper, because he answers to my whisper, and he runs quietly like a whisper.”
Finally facing the fact he had performed a forbidden act for this Cotanee, Blue Stone searched inside himself for feelings of shame or mortification. He found none. In fact, the presence of the powerful, handsome male was disturbing in another way. He wanted to be touched.
The two young men, approximately of an age, sat at the edge of the waterhole and talked in the strange language of the Spaniards. When Raven had not accepted his beloved’s betrothal to another, causing trouble in the camp, he was banished into temporary exile. Since that time, the young warrior had worked his way steadily westward, hunting for his food and communing with nature. He had avoided all human contact until this day.
“And what will you do now?” Blue Stone asked, flushing under the other’s examination.
“I will go west to the Beyond yet another few suns.”
Blue Stone tapped his lower lip in thought. “They say the mountains give way to a great stretch of parched earth where humans cannot live. Most perish before even reaching it, lost and starving in the great mounds of rock. Some say there is a lake beyond the desert so vast that none have ever crossed it. How can that be? A desert beside a lake?”
“It will be as the Creator-of-All made it,” Raven pronounced solemnly.
The two youths dallied while they opened a fragile friendship. Finally, Blue Stone could delay his return home no longer. Raven refused his invitation to overnight at the stone and stucco Pueblo and swore him to secrecy about his presence. Blue Stone gave directions for the easiest passage to the west and reluctantly prepared to take his leave.
As Blue Stone rose, Raven spoke. “I will travel west for two more suns, then I will turn back. I will be here at this place four suns from now, five at the most. It would please me if you came. But be warned, Blue Stone, if you do, you will spend the night with me, and I will lie with you. I will cover you as a man covers his woman. Think on it, because your life will not be the same after that.”
The beautiful youth remained in Blue Stone’s mind all the way home, and he became halfway convinced one of the Holy Mountain Boy Twins had played a trick on him. Surely no human could be so faultless in looks and form. Life would have placed scars or imperfections on a human, yet in his close examination of the mysterious youth, he had found none.
Blue Stone climbed to the second floor of the three-story building and entered his apartment through the entryway in the roof. His mother clucked at him impatiently for being late. He ignored her, chewed his meal, cleaned up, and retired to his bedroll to puzzle over things. Instead, he fell asleep.
Wow! The plains warrior sure shook up the Pueblo farmer’s world. Will Raven return as promised? If not, will Blue Stone turn to his boyhood chum, Ram Horn, for consolation? Tune in on September 19 to find out.
Don Travis’ next BJ Vinson mystery series novel, The Voxlightner Scandal has been scheduled for release on November 19, 2019. You’ll remember he’s my fellow Okie author. The following is a buy link to Voxlightner: http://www.dsppublications.com/books/upcoming-releases-c
Now my continuing plug (read plea) for my own work. Amazon permits you to read a short passage of my novels, Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns. I also believe the STARbooks-published River Otter, Echoes of the Flute, and Medicine Hair are still up. I sure would like to get the final book in the Cut Hand Series, Wastelakapi… Beloved, published, but it’ll take some help from readers to get Dreamspinner interested.
My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
The following are buy links for CUT HAND:
DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b
And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!
Until next time.
New posts at 6:00 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month.