by D. Thorsson
493 words of Ancient vengeance. Some guys just never learn.
|The nameless woman lay on the snowy ground, bruised and bloody. John Jacobs tied the drawstring of his pants and looked at his latest conquest in disgust. He kicked snow in the woman's face and lifted himself onto his horse as his companion rode up.
The second man said, “Ain't ya gonna kill her, Pa?”
“Naw,” the older man said. “She's just an Injun whore. Not worth wasting a bullet. Besides, the cold will do it for us.”
As the two men rode away the young woman began her chant, silent at first, but quickly growing in strength and volume. She traced a spiral in the snow with her right hand while her left tattooed a rhythm on the frozen ground.
The air around her shimmered and the hard dirt began to vibrate. Her pulse quickened as the cold disappeared. Once again she fed upon the life milk of the Great Mother.
She quickly gathered wood and, with her Spirit Word lit a small fire. Next the medicine woman gathered snow into a curved hunk of bark and placed it on the coals to melt, then turn to steam. A handful of leaves completed the list of reagents.
The nude woman ignored the cold and sat before the fire, staring into the coals, searching. The shifting oranges and reds, light and dark, created a map. There! Two unburned leaves.
She stood and danced around the small blaze. This time her chant was very different, her tones grew harsher, her inflections sweeter. Her words turned as black and dead as her forgotten tribe. Faster and faster she moved. Loud and dark she sang.
New snow fell fast and heavy.
The woman's words were primal now, her own tongue a distant memory. Now she spoke to They Who Walk the Winds.
“Mighty Spirits who ride the clouds, You whose speech moves trees, This Mistress of Earth summons thee. Terrible Ithaqua, ancient before the ancients, named Wendigo by my mother's mother's mother, hear my plea.”
Two glimmering crystals peered at the slight human.
The sorceress scooped the unburned pair from the coals. She tossed them into the whiteness. “This is they who offend Great Mother, they who would hurt those who harm none. I would have them.”
“What payment would you have for this deed?”
At her response the snow cloud dissipated and the energy rushed toward the nearby settlement. The sorceress gathered her ruined garb and tramped through the snow to her abandoned hunting cabin.
Morning dawned cold and bright. The sorceress looked upon the avalanche-entombed white-man town called Last Chance.
The nameless woman found her attackers outside her cabin, half buried in snow and earth as if they had been dropped from a great height. They were frozen solid, but the medicine woman knew their blood yet flowed. A smile floated up from her darkened soul.
If she was careful they would live for a very long time.