Apache warrior survives in the Sonoran Desert.
Wild Dog rode his horse south for several days before turning toward the setting sun and into the Sonoran Desert. He had ridden his pony hard, pushing the mare to her limits. The faithful steed had helped the Apache make his escape possible. There was no gratitude given for a job well done or remorse shown because the horse was faltering. Once the horse succumbed to the deadly danger of heat exhaustion, Wild Dog would eat the animal to survive.
The young warrior had argued with Alchesay, a chief of the White Mountain tribe. He had a bitter hatred for the white-eyes and would never help the army hunt down his own people. Alchesay befriended the white man’s General Crook and agreed to help track down hostile Apaches.
Believing his way of life was threatened, and while arguing with Alchesay and his followers, Wild Dog raised his rifle in defiance and killed a soldier.
Betrayed by his chief and alone in the unforgiving desert the young rebel sat cross-legged in the shade of a Saguaro cactus. He knew if he went far enough into the Sonoran Desert the general, “Gray Fox” would not follow. Crook would be chasing large bands of renegades, not one man. He felt safe, but missed his people.
On the morning of the seventh sun, Wild Dog was awakened by sounds of a woman in mourning. He stealthy crawled to a rise in the inhospitable landscape and peered over an embankment. He recognized the man and woman as members of the “he moves about, standing nowhere, now there” tribe from the north. They were Kickapoo…his enemy.
Wild Dog remained silent, watching and listening, as the “moves about” people placed a small child’s body in skins and secured the bundle in the limbs of a Saguaro cactus. In most circumstances he would have attacked and taken their ponies, but he chose to silently slip away and remain hidden.
After one full moon of traveling west, Wild Dog’s horse collapsed and died. The hungry warrior ate parts of his horse. He then placed meat in the sun to dry, leaving what he couldn’t carry lying in the shifting sand. Now on foot, he picked his way along the rocky hillsides and turned north.
Because he had listened when he was a boy, he knew the ways of the desert. The stories of survival in the chilling cold at night and the harsh heat of the day had been handed down from one generation to the next. He was a good listener and he was a proud White Mountain Apache warrior with the desire to survive.
Many years later a middle aged Apache Indian worked side by side with a parish priest restoring the Mission San Carlos Borromeo De Carmelo. When not busy at the priest’s side the Indian would be found sitting on a high hillside overlooking the ocean. Sometimes children would gather around and he would tell them stories about the Sonoran Desert.
Prompt: The desert, chilling wind, deadly danger…! 500 words or less