Thursday, November 19, 2020

Echoes of the Flute, Post #139

Artist: Maria Fanning

As I indicated in my last post, JMS Books has contracted for the publication of Wastelakapi… Beloved, the fifth book in the Cut Hand Series. They have also indicate a willingness to publish the first four should I reclaim the rights to the books. So I have been working on re-editing those books. At the moment, I am working on the third book in the series called Echoes of the Flute. Thought I’d give you a sample of that one this week.

 The following scene takes place in the third chapter of the book. John Strobaw (War Eagle) has been lamenting the absence of his foster brother Matthew Brandt (Bear), when Matthew makes a surprise return and joins John as he swims in the Yanube River. Hope you enjoy the excerpt.

* * * * *

Echoes of the Flute

 “Rode in not half an hour back. After I got through saying hello, Ma told me to go put on some decent clothes.”

Ma didn’t permit breechclouts at the Mead. She considered them uncivilized.

“Rachel Ann told me you’d walked down the river, so I came here instead of putting on pants.”

“You back for good?”

He shrugged. His shoulders had filled out, but the part about being skinny was true. He’d lost weight, but he carried it well. He was leaner but harder. He probably looked more like a man than I did. Was that because of the year he had on me or what he’d been through while he was gone?

“Might stay a while,” he answered. “But who knows when I’ll have a hankering again and move on.”

“Good. One of the coach horses that pulled in Thursday’s still limping. You can doctor him.”

“That wasn’t the only place I was.” Something in his voice made me look at him. “I fought at the Rosebud with Crazy Horse. He’s a great man, Eagle. Never seen a man fight like him. We beat the War Chief Crook at Rosebud Creek.” He spoke as if remembering was reliving. “After riding all night to get there, we fought for six hours. Crazy Horse was everywhere. He talked to me—more than once. Said he was proud of me. We made the Americans turn back at Rosebud so they weren’t there to fight alongside Custer at Greasy Grass eight days later.”

Greasy Grass was what the warriors called Little Bighorn. I kept my tongue in my mouth, afraid of drawing him back from wherever he was.

“I was still with Crazy Horse in the Tongue River Valley in January of this year after what was left of Dull Knife’s band straggled in to join us. The soldiers had snuck up on Dull Knife’s village while everybody was asleep. They killed a lot of Cheyenne. Slit the throats of most of their horses and destroyed their supplies.

“After talking to Dull Knife, Crazy Horse decided to palaver with the Americans. But the Star Chief Miles’s Crow scouts murdered our delegation.” A shiver when through Matthew… Bear. “I was supposed to be one of them, but at the last minute, Crazy Horse said he wanted an older warrior to impress the Americans.”

Matthew looked at me, back in the present now. “Wolf Mountain wasn’t so good for us. Miles had artillery on the high ground and pounded us. When the weather turned bad, Crazy Horse withdrew. After that, some of the warriors started returning to the reservations to get allotments for their families.”

A frown tugged at the corners of his broad mouth. “That’s what the army’s doing now. Pushing the tribes onto reservations and hoping we’ll just lie down and die when we can’t roam free anymore.”

“Is that when you left?”

He shook his head. Leaning against the pressure of the current, Matthew told me he’d stayed with Crazy Horse until May. “Then the Shirt Wearer decided to take what was left of his people to Camp Robinson in Nebraska to surrender. He knew I had a home to go to, so he sent me away.”

“If that’s what the army is doing, it’s good you came back. The Mead’s a safe place for us. A good spirit home.”

He stared at my left earlobe and snorted. “It’s nothing but a little reservation.”

“Don’t look at it like that. We’re free to do whatever we want.”

“It’s better than some of the places they’re putting us. But we’re still Indians. You forget that sometimes, John. One of these days they’ll make you face up to it. Just wait and see.”

His words put an ache in my heart. “Can’t you see the warrior’s road is about gone. All of that’s come to an end.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. Sitting Bull was called to the Sun Dance last year. While he was dancing, he saw things and predicted a great victory. And it happened too. We whipped the whites good at Greasy Grass.”

“Seems to me like you just made them mad. Got them all stirred up. I hear Sitting Bull’s gone to Canada.”

“To regroup. He’ll make medicine and plan things out. He and Crazy Horse will ride again, you’ll see.”

I swallowed hard and tried to think of something to say. What came out surprised even me. “I hear Crazy Horse has a win-tay wife.”

He met my eyes just like a white man. Uncomfortable, I turned away. He was on me instantly, wrestling like we did as kids. His arms gripped me from behind and pressed me to him. I managed to twist around to face him, intending to tumble us into the current. If he wanted horseplay, he’d get it. I froze. His lips were close to mine. His eyes looked deep down inside me.

“I thought about you,” His voice was a scratchy growl in his throat. His Adam’s apple bobbed. “I wondered if I’d live to see you again.”

Then he pressed his lips to mine. I froze, thinking of Timo and what he’d done and how I still didn’t know how to handle it. But now… now, I didn’t want to deny Bear. He was handsome and desirable and young and my friend.

His tongue pushed into my mouth. The heat of his kiss flowed down into my belly and my vitals. His yard rose and pressed between my legs.

Panicked, I shoved him away. “What are you doing?”

“What we both want.”

“You, maybe. But… but not me.”

He grabbed my thickening cock. “That’s not what this says.”

His touch was almost too much for me, but I squirmed from his grasp. “I’m not just a prick, you know. I have a mind and a heart.”

“Yes, but they tell the prick what to do. You want me, Eagle.”

Flummoxed, thoughtless words spewed out of my mouth. “Maybe I’ll give you my cock, but I won’t take yours. I won’t be your win-tay. You just want one because Crazy Horse has one.”

He stared at me for a long moment before wading to the shore where he wrung the water from his long, flowing mane. His manhood stood hard and proud, reaching for the sky, throbbing against his flat belly at times. It was big and strong and straight.

I wished to call back my words.

“So be it,” He reached for his loincloth draped over a tree limb.

I stepped forward, my legs feeling slow and leaden in the current of the river. “Wait!”

“Why? Have you changed your mind?”

I clamped my mouth shut, uncertain of what to say. Passages from Billy Strobaw’s journal raced through my mind.

“I thought not,” he said in Lakota. “Goodbye, brother.”

He turned and strode away, his manly form and easy grace robbing me of my wits. His high, hard buns dimpled as he walked, giving me an erection. I cried out in pain. “If you go, don’t ever come back!”

 * * * * *

Now John’s done it. He’s rejected Matthew’s advances out of panic because he doesn’t yet know his own mind. How will he correct what he immediately recognizes is a huge mistake?

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

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Twitter: @markwildyr

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 And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

 Until next time.




New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

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