Archive for the 'Adventures' Category

The Plains

March 12th, 2010

The dew was still wet on the tall grass even as the late summer winds slowly gathered speed from the west.

There was movement in the grass that the wind did not account for, but it moved too slowly and intermittently to be dangerous and the hunter just stayed still, with soft, shallow breathing, lowered eyelids, and the patience of long practice.

For some time there had been no movement, but still he waited, curiosity piqued more than need or hunger. Finally she stood up… not much taller than the grass, young, thin with black hair shaved back almost to the scalp and a wary look of fear, curiosity, apprehension and readiness for flight.

Still he did not move. His head had tilted up when she first appeared, and now he lowered it down, looking almost asleep, or at most uninterested. Each sense however was alert and awake. If there was one, the rest of the group, family, clan or tribe would be close by, or at least looking. There was no danger from her, but the possibility of danger filled the air.

Neither moved for minutes. She turned and ran to his left. He tilted his head up, looked to the left for anything that was not prairie, and then, when he was satisfied, let his head rest down again. No movement, no interest. The girl continued running, looking behind in fear to see how close the pursuit is. The only thing more fearful than being pursued sometimes is not being pursued, and this causes a slowdown in the flight, then a stop to consider what is wrong with this picture.

The plainsman is not moving. He is leaning against a rock pile and almost looks asleep, but years of watching the wolves hunt has taught the girl the art of seeing through inaction.

She walks closer, first two steps, then three, followed by one, then a moment of stillness. The plainsman glanced over slowly and smiled. Looks like the dancing back in St Louis. He had seen the merchants and their wives in the town square, moving together to the music, and darned if it didn’t look something like this.

When he looked over she froze and tried to make herself invisible. The ancient mantras handed down from mother to daughter washed out of her mouth with ease of practice as she willed herself to be the wind, or a bush…. But there were no bushes in these open fields, and the wind was so easy to see as it rolled around her shoulders.

After a while, she stopped the words, and just looked.

“Where are your people?” he signed in the manner of the plains trading peoples.

“Following the buffalo… they went too fast” she replied in the hand language and pointed to the east.

He looked over his shoulder, but could not even see the dust of the great herd. “How many suns?”…


He reached into his bag and pulled out two strips of cured buffalo, dry and smoky. She came the rest of the way and took them from his hand to her mouth in a clean quick motion that showed that as a forager of food on the plains she had not been lucky. He poured a cup of water, warm and tasting of iron, from one of the several canteens and she swallowed this in one gulp.

“Guess I gotta do somethin’” he muttered to himself, and turned to the east back towards the trail he had crossed this morning made by the buffalo as they flattened all the grass in their path. Surveying the tracks he noted that they were headed east, and figured the girl did know something at least.

“You can follow if you wish” he signed and turned to follow the tracks breaking into a slow leisurely trot. He did not look behind, did not have to, for the ears trained by the years could hear the sound of bare feet trotting behind.

The sun would be going down soon, and he wanted to get to the round lake before it set…

This story nags at me for completion and I will probably do something with this pair that will have nothing to do with romance, although that would be the easy road for me to take