A novel of historic times with the world of the unseen...
| The VortexX
The Indians called it "The Forbidden Land". Birds, animals, horses wouldn't cross over the perimeters. That was enough of a warning for the Native American Hunters of the area. If the wildlife and their own horses who knew this terrain kept from venturing into it~why would they? After all,they were very wise about many things of the land and Spirit~worlds. The Elders were more enlightened,even if they choose to keep such subjects in silence among themselves.
It was an ancient area left to itself for the most part. Avoided and protected at all cost. Then the Gold miners came looking for opportunity. Indeed~ some found more then they intended to...
Lost in Free~Fall
The colors of the sky were fading, melding together deep blues and rich golden oranges,as the light reflected on the clouds above the Pacific Ocean. Huge waves crashed and echoed over the rocks pushing the mighty sea to spill on the sandy beach. Jah-Lee enjoyed the dimming rays of light on her way home. Salty sea-spray misting everywhere-including her tongue,wrapping her cloak tighter against the increasing winds.Glancing to the ocean behind her where the sky widened at the horizon ahead,overlooking the edge of the steep cliff,the old grey lighthouse stood. A few lone seagulls swooped down,beaks hitting the cold water in search of prey. In a moment one crashed headfirst into a lighthouse window,cracking the thin weather-beaten glass. Then it shattered with a loud tinkling sound as shards fell against the stone walls.
" May it's poor soul find peace"
She whispered softly as a tear fell down her cheek. Walking further down the path Jah-Lee's footfalls on brown brittle leaves dotted the near silence. She looked around at the colorful foliage deep in thought.
A healing balm yet also like a thorn in my heart. Recalling the maple trees of my youth. falling leaves so graceful as they danced in hues of bright gold, orange and that fire red, that I loved so long ago, Surrounding the hills where I did play. That last Autumn we spent in China-my lost home...My mind flooded with memories of the maple trees To me it was as if the whole world was full of brightness and hope. It warmed my soul to think the creator could be so kind as to send such beauty our way.
Life was so difficult for us all,yet on a afternoon such as this,one could feel as an Empress! That last Autumn was to be our last one in China. Mother,sister and I would be boarding a ship in the spring,one that would take us to join my Father,Uncle and Brother in the place they wrote about--- America. They toiled helping Gold-miners in the day,and sold herbal remedy's in the evenings. That was many years ago, now only remembrances inside my soul. Times such as The Harvest festival when we shared the sweet Moon-cakes and other seldom tasted treats. We were poor in yen,yet rich in love. We learned respect for others at an early age and responsibility. I was a girl of 12 when they left on the beginning of their journey. Bitter-sweet knowing they tried to make a much better life for all of us. Yet the separation would be so hard as well. The uncertainty of what may befall them good or bad. The questions of what life would be like for them in this far off land. What would it be for us in China with them gone? When would we cross the great waters to join them?
I think of them often yet they are ghosts existing only in my memories for it has been 40 years since I last saw my Maple trees dance in the sun. It is 1889 and so much has changed since those long ago days.
Approaching the garden filled with the dark skeletons of its former tenants,she spoke out loud.
"Soon there will be nothing left to harvest, perhaps a few potatoes now that autumn is near over. My garden has withered appearing to me as piles of old black bones."
Hungrily plucking a small tomato and biting into it. Quickly spitting out the bitter fruit with a sigh as her nostrils filled with the aroma coming from the cooking pot---leading her home.
Jah-Lee meant good and beautiful in Chinese and this did describe her in many ways,though it was said Lee-Jah, as the way of the Chinese was to put the family name first then the given first name . Like many others before her,names were changed to make them simple to write down in the census of their American new life. Many years had passed since Jah-Lee had arrived in a land so different then the one she was born in. Her father,brother and uncle came to San Francisco in 1849 it took ten years for them to find work and settle in what would become the state of Oregon and be able to finally save enough to send for the rest of the family.
Walking closer to home her peace was shattered as she looked up just in time to see another seagull smash itself into an upper window.The fragile body falling and crushed leaving a small trail of blood on the window. She froze knowing this was not an accident,but an omen of things that had passed yet was to be once more. She had forgotten much of the occurrence that happened many years ago,and here was a reminder once again... Jah-Lee ran to the house hoping this did not effect her ailing brother who was resting inside.
Black bear the elder Medicine man looked deep into the fire. He thought long and deep about the report he was given earlier. A child playing near the unspoken area. Years of long-ago tales of the area had resurfaced a few times during his own long lifetime. It was something better off left unsaid,yet the time would come when only the elders who could understand the forces of these kinds of nature,remained sparse on talking on such things. It was better to keep it between the few left who would keep the secrets of silence. It would not stay a secret long from others in the towns.
"This may be the night I ask the others if Flying Eagle,should be included in tonight's meeting of the Elders.. He was there to see it years ago and may bring some reason along. He looked back on the fire in thoughts of the young one.
A young boy from the town,no more then ten years of age had gone missing. His parents were frantic when he had gone wandering after school yet did not return by suppertime. By nightfall the townsfolk had been alerted and the men had searched most of the night. When daybreak arrived one of his shoes had been found near the Forbidden area. A few feet away he was lying face down by a dead seagull. They turned him over and saw though cold and wet Joshua Landon was still alive. When they brought him to Doctor Brooks,he laid him on on his couch,and when Joshua briefly open his eyes,his eyes told another story being unfocused and glassy--looking right through him then closing his eyes and went limp.
Doc Brooks as most called him had never seen anything like this,it had felt as if the boy could see into his very soul. Not a word was said,but a flash of something like a part of a fragment of a dream. Long forgotten yet parts of it remained somewhere in the mind.He told his housekeeper Sarah, to watch over the boy and let him know if there was any change. He brought over an old shirt and handed it to her. Don't let anyone in to see him. I will go and see to his parents Change him and add more wood to the stove. Soon I'll return.
"Yes Dr. Brooks He will be well cared for"
Starting to reach for the boy,Sarah looked with questioning eyes,yet knew she would know more of this in time.
. Before he climbed into his carriage,after checking his horses,he took a large drink off his whiskey flask. Not being much of a drinking man he coughed loudly, yet hoped for some kind of release from what he'd seen and how he would explain this to others.(A strange fever perhaps?) A loud familiar voice yelled to him-Jarring him from his thoughts.
" Must be a big case if you be drinking like that in the day time Sir! How about something for old Jimmy? Maybe I can be forgetting what I juuus sawwww?" In his Irish brogue that filled the street.
Doc Brooks looked at the skinny bedraggled town drunk,he threw a silver Dollar towards him.
" God bless you Jimmy have a drink on me! Maybe see if you can get some food at Mrs Roses."
Perhaps I will sir,she does have hot pots of soup an them shots of whiskey! Both tipped their heads
And Brooks was off to attend to the parents waiting in the Barn that was used for the town hall.
"When shall he get here husband?" The small frail yet strong determined woman stood facing her husband. "Joshua has to recover an Doc Brooks is the best Dr west of the Mississippi, Mrs Rose said that to me just the other morning. John Landon looked at his wife cupping her face in his hands. "Our son will be well and strong as a ram. Though in secret he wasn't that sure. There had been talk at the saloon and other places where the men could talk freely over cases going back decades. The Indians were keeping their own secrets on this matter.
Jia-Lee walked up the stone lined path towards her small caretakers cottage. Not hearing a sound from her brother Cheng Chun Lee,she hoped he was still asleep not woken by the gull at the window. Chun as she called her youngest brother Meant born in spring. One harsh snowy spring he came into the world. Cheng meant journey and it almost looked like he would not be alive long enough to see the 1st day of his homecoming.
Father and her brothers went to fish while the sky was only cloudy. Leaving her alone with her Mother Hui Jiang. Chun needed the "snake" that held him to his life-giver cut. After a few tries with the knife he was free yet purple and silent. Hui yelled to "add some of the herbs to the hot water in the cooking pot" "Let him be near the steam cloud--- not too close or heat will burn." Jia lee did as she was asked carefully gathering the herbs throwing them to the boiling waters. She picked up Chun held him close to her almost holding her own breath in fear. Hui (clever) Jiang (River) was a true name for her for from her silent brother there came a very loud cry as he gasped in the fumes. Later that day as he lay sleeping after some breastmilk. Jia Lee learned about her mothers shaman powers. She was called a Wu meaning a sorcerer. later the term came to be Nan Wu for meaning a male Shaman.