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Rated: 13+ · Other · Other · #1962514
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Preface

         This story is about a man that came from a family of Cherokee Indians and a father who was a white Kentucky sheriff. His family was killed in a fire except for him and an younger brother. The two were separated as Yancy heals in the hospital. While in the hospital he meets nurses and staff who direct him in a direction that was not the path of self pity. His Uncle Majag was an inspiration to him before the death of his family when he visited with his mother's tribe to play with the Indian children. The uncle took Yancy in as his own child to raise for his fallen sister.

         When the young boy grew up he went into working as a lawman. He is not long as an officer or sheriff when he killed a young man for robbery. He found that the man had a young child. Yancy all ways found a way to take care of the widow and her son.

         By the time he was fifty two, he was a criminal investigator . He would be called up on to salve cases that seemed not to have any evidence or leads. His tract record for salving the difficult cases were 98 percent. This was nothing for him. His great ambition was to find the killers of his parents and sister.

         Then when he finally found the two men responsible for the massacre of his family, he let go of the anger. One was buried in a grave at the end of town, and the other was in a home for the Mentally Insane. He was able to let go, and retire as the sheriff. He was reunited with his brother at his death bead. When he left the world, he left the turtle to his home to his brother. He left his money and the clay turtle to the young man who lost his father so long ago by a bullet of Yancy's gun.

         I think that I will create a touching scene of Yancy falling by the father's side that he had shot. I want to create a conversation where the man is stealing to feed his wife and small child. The father asks Yancy to care for the family and to keep the circumstance of his death a secret.

Characters

         Yancy had a sister and a brother. They are children of an Indian woman and white law man. Yancy is the oldest. Being the oldest child installed a strong sence of responsibility. This responsibility created a high need to guide or control the younger children. This followed into his adulthood. He always found a way to keep a control of any situation.

         Yancy's mother is an Indian woman that was given to Yancy's father as a reward for saving his life. Yancy was treasured by the Cherokee tribe because of being her first born. He was really the center that the of Rising Sun's eye.

         His father and mother created a family that contained both white-man's and Cherokee's customs.

         Majag loved to tell the children stories about his tribe in old days. He loved to play with the children though he was a young man. He kept a happy face that was unusual for a Cherokee brave to have.

         George Lancer was Yancy's Father. He was a respected white that was judged for having an Indian wife.

         George and his wife Cheona were killed along with Yancy's younger sister in a fire.Yancy and his younger brother were seperated from each other when they were in the hospital recovering from their wonds. Yancy was still in the hospital when his brother left with a mixed couple to the reservation. They made his brother their own son.

         Yancy was badly burned. His pain and his scares could have lead him in a bad direction, but he met a nurse Sara.

         Sara was an older nurse. Her grandmother was an Indian, and she passed a clay turtle to Yance that her grandmother had given her. The two became close friends, and the shared (family) relationship turned Yancy into a stronger and more excepting young man.

         Greg was twenty when Yancy saw him running from the back of the old ladies house carring a bag. She was standing on the back porch screaming that the man stole from her. Yancy shot the gun. He brought Timothy down.

         Greg asks Yancy to keep the secret from his five year old son of how he got shot. Then he died.

         When Yancy looked into the bag, there were three cans of beans, two biskets, and a pie. Nothing else was in that bag no matter how much he look. He held Greg's head in his lap and cried. He realized that Timothy stole to eat.

         Six months after the shooting, Yancy visits Sammy ( Greg's son). He had sent money every month, but he had never visited the family. He could not think of seeing the eyes of the family who Greg was trying to feed when he died.

         Sammy believed that his dad died in a misfire when someone was trying to shoot a thief.

         The theme of this novel will be about Surviving adversities. Yancy lives through being treated badly because of his race. He looses his family and home in a fire. He has to come to terms with the scars and pain from being in the fire. He misses his brother. He has to find a way to deal with vengeful thoughts. He shoots a man, and cares for the man's family out of guilt. Then he has to learn to let go of a revengeful heart.

Chapter One

         It was hard for Jud Cole to work the scene. George had shown Deputy Cole the ropes and become his partner. He found the fire chief.

         “Chief Johnson,” Jud called to the fireman as he ran to the inside of the house where the George and Cheona's room had been.

         “Jud, are you all right?” Chief Johnson reached out his hand to shake the deputy's hand.

         “I won't be until we can find those responsible for this hellish act.” Jud pulls away. He felt that if he were touched any longer he would break down into tears from the loss of his best friend and partner.

         “The living room window was open for a nice breeze, I am guessing.” The two men walk back to the burned living room. The walls were black with soot, funiture was in piles of ash on the scorched floor, and the wall around where the window used to be was burned down.

         Chief stirred the ash where the window had been, and pointed out a whiskey bottle broken into tiny pieces. There as a burned pattern of a cloth. “This is ….”

         “I know all too well what this is.” Jud looked down at the broken glass. “ This was nothing but a homemade fire bomb. George and I have investigated so many burnings from these kinds of fire starters.”

         “Yes, well this one is a little different.” Chief Johnson replied. “See where the pattern is up this piece of wood?' “Yes?”

         “This means that the bottle was standing when the fire started.” He continues. “From what I can see, whoever did this was sure that they would not be seen. It looks as though the arson walks up on the porch quietly. He puts his hand through the window and sits the flaming bottle by the living room curtains. He had to be some one that knew the family well.”

         “We arrested man last week, and he had a son that is know to play with fire.” Jud thought for a moment. “I just have a feeling about this one. Let me know what you find.”

         “I will.” Chief replied as he watched Jud walk away.

         “Jud,”  Majag shooke Jud' s hand.

         “Hello, Majag, how are the boys?” Jud asked feeling helpless for not being able to bring any news.“Biziil, will be getting out soon. I have to stay here with Yancy. The doctors aren't sure that he will make it. He is in bad shape.” This was the first time that Jud has seen tears in this big Indian's eyes.

         “I promise that I will find who killed them, Majag.” He looked into the room at Yancy's bed. “I will find them for George.”

         “I know you will, Jud.” Majag said.

         “If you need anything, let me know. I will see that there is someone to take care of anything.”

         “Thank you,”

How George and Cheona Met

        The bear was huge. Rising Sun was large, but the bear appeared to be a giant next to him. The bear had steaming hat breath smelling of fish and garbage. Rising Sun felt his arms weakening under the weight of fighting off the bear. He had no weapon to fight the animal off. Up came one paw. Rising Sun raises his hand to protect himself. He had no time to control his fear. He heard his own voice yelling for help. He knew that he would be dead with the fall of that giant paw.

        George saw the attack. Though there were still problems between the raises, he could not let this man die in such pain. This bear could tear this Indian into pieces and scatter his limbs over the forest floor.

        George runs toward the roaring animal. Before the paw fell, George plunged the knife into it. He had not felt the surge of fear and adrenaline. He smelled the fur under his body. When the bear fell, George fell on top of it.

        Rising Sun runs to the water. He is still unsure if this white man would kill him. If he had killed the bear for its pelt, then this Cherokee man would mean nothing to this White-man behind a star.

        Rising Sun washes the blood of his face and arms. Some of it was his own and some was from the bear. George feels that Rising Sun fears him, and he fears the Indian. However, one of them had to make a move of friendship. He places his gun and holster in a nearby tree.

        “Do you speak English?” George asks. He knew very little of the Cherokee language. He wanted to communicate with this man so that the men could know where they stood with each other.

        “I speak little English.” He said. “ I learned from traders.”

        George held out his hand to the Indian. Rising Sun takes his hand in friendship. “You can come to tribe and eat. This is what I do cause you killed the bear.”

        George picks up his guns. The two skin the bear. Its blood flowing between their fingers. This could have been their blood in the bear's paws. The separated the meat. The two hanging it from poles made from branches and carried it between the two of them. The weight of the animal was heavy, but they did not have to go far.

        When the two walked through the tribe, everyone watched them. Children ran to their mother's side with fear. White man was known to kill  all Red Skins. Red Skin was what the white people called the Indian. Braves placed their hands on their spears and bows as Rising Sun and George passed them. They followed them to Rising Sun's tent.

        He turns to his people and spoke in his own language, “This is my friend. He saved me from the giant bear who kills our sheep. We bring your meat.” Rising Sun placed bundles of food into the awaiting hands of his people.

        The people walk away to cook a meal of bear meat.  George follows his new friend into the tent. He feels uneasy as he sees that along the side of the tent is rolls of hides. He assumed that they were rolled out during the night for beds. In the center of the dirt floor was a small fire. There were three Indian women sitting at the right side of the wall. They did not seem to move until told to do something by Rising Sun.

        “Bring my friend a cup.” He asks the older of the women. She walked out of the tent and returned with a clay cup of Spirit Water.  After George tasted the fluid, he realized that the bitter strong flavor was what the his people called Whiskey.

        The two men sit by the fire. Then Rising Sun motions to the youngest female in the tent to sit by George. “White-man you shall be known as Bear Killer from now on. This is my daughter Cheona. She is my favorite of my two daughters, and I give her to you as reward.”

        George looks at the young girl. She is beautiful. His heart felt that this is not the right thing to do, but he knew that if he did not receive Cheona, he ran the chance of creating war between the white-man and the Indian again.

        Cheona hugs her mother good bye as she readies her self to leave her family. Her mother speaks to her. “My daughter, your husband saved your father. He is a good man, and you are to be good to him and bare him children. Stand by his side when he needs you must be there.”

        Cheona feels a little scared as she is lifted on to her new husband's horse. George snuggles her close hoping to assure her that he means her no harm.

George’s wedding

          Berry Blossom comes from Rising Sun's tent. She passed George carrying a woven cedar basket. She hands Majag one and says something in their native tongue.

         “Is everything all right?” George asks.

         He was wearing Majag's deer skin moccasins and shirt. He also wore the robe of bear fur which belonged to Rising Sun. Two white dove feathers stood straight toward the sky from the top of the fur hat he wore this day. Majag was wearing the old beaten leather Stetson hat, and Rising Sun wore Yancy's snake skin boots. It was customary for the bride's male family members to trade clothing with the groom to symbolize intermingling to her family and community.

         Majag places Yancy's hunting knife into the wedding basket. “She says that the tribe will send word to anyone you want to attend your wedding since you have no family.”

         George shakes his head. He knew that there would not be many of his people that would understand or support his marriage. “No, I only his this family now.” He replied as he handed Majag the watch that his father had left him at death to join the knife in the basket.

         Inside Rising Sun's tent, the focus was on Chenoa. Berry Blossom brought in the other basket. She was wearing what was known as a tear dress. This was a dress made of torn pieces of wolf skin. It was torn in jagged shapes and sewn together to create a dress that reaches the knees.

         However, Majag and Rising Sun hunted the wolf. They had tracked until they were able to separate the snow white spirit from the rest. Berry Blossom did the sewing. Her moccasins were made from the hide of the bear that George had killed. She wore a robe of its skin over her shoulders. Her two black braids that she liked to wear was decorated with beads and Eagle feathers.

         “Sister,” Berry Blossom states. Her parents had been killed so she moved her family to live with Majag's tribe. “Your basket. I know that you have no sisters to carry it. I would be proud to carry it for you.”

         Chenoa nods. “ I have put my treasures by the fire. I have chosen the beaver quilt that mother made to keep us warm as times get cold. The corn will feed us when we get hungry. I also place seven Eagle's eggs. Each for the children I hope to give my husband.”

         “It is a good gift that you take into you marriage to you husband.” Berry Blossom gently places the items into the cedar basket.

The field beneath the waterfall was covered with the lovely wild flowers. The orange lilies, purple tulip, and the pretty roses of multiple colors. The lovely green trees blossoming with lively blossoms that would soon be fruit that would serve for food. Mother earth has done her part in creating a beautiful place to begin a life together.

         Berry Blossom and Majag follow the beautiful young bride to the water's edge.

Minister begins, “ Here in this circle is an new beginning. A love given by the Great Father to bring up more seed to both the Cherokee and the White-Man in peace.

Having been cleansed, we are now ready to join Chenoa with this man as husband George.

         “Chenoa, what do you provide for this union of marriage?”

         Chenoa looks up to her betrothed “I provide these treasures to my husband and our home. They are symbol that I will care for you and love you always.”

         Minister turns to look at George. “George: what do you provide for this union of marriage?”

         “I give my hunting knife so that there is always food on the table. My watch is yours to remind you that every minute with you will be safe. I give my Bible so you know that the Great Father is with us. These are the things I offer to my wife. They are a symbol that I will provide, love and protect our family always.”

“You may exchange baskets.”

         Chenoa and George face each other. She bends before her new husband and sits the basket at his feet. George does the same, and he noticed that if this girl was afraid to be marrying someone that she hardly knew, she did not show it.

         Minister speaks, “Now you will feel no rain, for you will be shelter to each other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no more loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you. Soon you will go to your resting place, to enter into the days of your togetherness. May your days be good and long upon the earth.”

         Minister then looks toward the sky. “Above you are the stars, below you are the stones. As time does pass, remember; Like a star should your love be constant. Like a stone should your love be firm. Be close, yet not too close. Possess one another, yet be understanding. Have patience with the other; for storms will come, but they will go quickly. Be free in giving of affection and warmth. Make love often, and be sensuous to one another. Have no fear, and let not the ways of words of the unenlightened give you unease. For the Great Spirit is with you, now and always”.

         He faces the guests. Family in the inner circle with the couple, and the others were scattered out about fifty feet of the beautiful valley.

         “Family and friends, we are blessed to be examples for the couple. This white-man is now our brother. He will give Chenoa the children to her tribe.

         Minister returns his attention to the couple “ Repeat after me. ' I, ( Chenona ) take you ( George ) as my husband. I do solemnly promise my love for you. I will comfort you, keep you, love you, defend you in sickness or in health, in riches or poorer, in sorrow or joy, seeking only to be with you until death parts us. All these things I pledge upon my honor.”

         Minister turns his attention to George, “ Repeat after me. ' I, George, take you, Chenoa, as my wife. I do solemnly promise my love for you. I will comfort you, keep you, love you, defend you in sickness or in health, in riches or poorer, in sorrow or joy, seeking only to be with you until death parts us. All these things I pledge upon my honor.”

         Since neither of the couple had a living mother, Berry Blossom and Chenoa's aunt place the wedding blanket around their shoulders pulling the two closer.

         Minister faces the sky and blesses the baskets. “Father Sky and Mother Earth, creator and nurturer of all life, we give heartfelt thanks for the moment that brought Chenoa and G together in the Holy State of Marriage…….. Aho!

         Now as you George, and you Chenoa have consented together in matrimony and have pledged your faith to each other by the giving and the receiving of these rings before your family and Community.”

         “ I NOW PRONOUNCE THAT YOU ARE HUSBAND AND WIFE. “

George kisses his young bride. Rising Sun gently shakes the turtle rattle signaling for the drums to begin. George and Chenoa stand while her tribe celebrate dance around them 7 times with gift offerings to the couple.

         The wedding party continues with dance and celebration of with food & drink even after the couple have gone for their wedding night.

         It was hard for the Lancer family to live happily in the small town of Garrett Kentucky. In 1939, hill folk did not agree with mixed marriage. Seventeen year old Chenoa had been an Indian maiden. While George Lancer was a twenty four year old Garrett Sheriff.

         Chenoa was given to George after he had saved her father, Rising Sun, from a bear attack. Though many of the Cherokee Indians no longer believed in arranged marriages, and most of the Indian tribes had moved to reservations long before. Just a few small clans were left to die off leaving the remaining land to the white government. However, Chenoa's tribe were true to their customs. George knew that declining such a gift would be an insult to her people.

         Chenoa stood taller than most women. Her black hair hang long down her back with two small braids running down the sides of her face with decorative feathers and beads in the strands of hair. Her cheek bones were high. She stood proud. Her back arched and pride in her eyes. She knew that this would be the life that she would have to live, and her Cherokee blood would be tarnished by her disobedience.

         George allowed Chenoa to live in his house without any physical contact for years. He taught her English and sent her to school. The one room school had many students that were not happy with an Indian squaw attending their school. She had been teased, pushed, and tortured by the other white students. George could see the warrior coming out in the beautiful young maiden’s eyes. That was when George begin to pay the teacher for private lessons.

         One evening George had come home from a hard day. There where Chenoa the Indian girl should have been standing, was a tall dark woman. She was dressed in a pale blue dress. She wore her hair in a bun with strains waving around her face. Dark eyes shining. Her feet was the only tale of who this woman was earlier in the day. There at the end of her long skirt was a pair of worn moccasins.

         George smiles as he realizes that this was when his young wife finally wanted, not from custom, to be his wife. He runs his fingers through the strains of hair flowing around her face. “You are so beautiful.” He allows his hand to rest on her cheek for a moment. Then George walks over to the bed. He picks up her Cherokee dress. “But you are more beautiful being my Cherokee wife.” He brings her into him with the softest embrace that she had in her life. Her people did not show this kind of affection. She looks up at George not sure what was next. Their eyes meet. Their lips meet. The couple fell into each others arms.

         As time past, the two learned to love each other. George visited Cherokee ceremonies and made sure to spend time in her village. Chenoa did the same. She attended baptist sermons, attended town functions, and participated in the white-man's holidays.

         Cheona was twenty when she began to be sick. She found that she was to have George's first child. She was so happy to be giving him this child. July 8, 1960 Cheona gave birth to Yancy meaning Englishman because his father was white. Though Yancy did not have any of the white-man's features. Next child to be born to the Lancer family was Biziil. Biziil was born weighing over ten pounds. His name meant “He is Strong”. If he were born in the Cherokee village, Biziil would have be one of the Noble Braves. The last child that the couple had was Illanippi. She was born with her mother's same skin and features with two exceptions. She had blue eyes and blond wavy hair. Her name meant amazing.

         Their family was both respected and despised. George's job as sheriff gained the respect of the town's folk. However, their family was an abomination against God in their community. The religious fanatics who still believed that God only made people with one color skin, White. Everyone else was a mistake created by other powers such as Satan. These were the people that were dangerous for the Lancers. George had to arrest a twelve year old young man for burning his barn the year before. It was a few that made life hard, but they were a dangerous sort of people.

         The children had little time to play. However, Sunday was a different story. Chenoa would take them to the lake near her village. She would visit her family while the children played. This was the one day a week that they could be children no different than the one they were playing with. They were excepted.

         One of their favorite times were sitting in the circle with the other children. Listening to their uncle, Chenoa's brother, tell stories that had been passed down from generation to generation. Though he was a great it was easy to see why his is called Majag which in English means “Never Silent.” The children love Majag and woke up early waiting their mother for their trip.

         One night after Chenoa read her children a Bible story and told a story from her tribe. She kisses Yancy good night. The tucks his two younger siblings into their beds. Illanippi was a tiny girl. She was only two, but wore her braids as well as any Cherokee. Bidziil was six. He had a deformity. One of his eyes turned into his nose, and he was missing three fingers from his right hand. They all had their good night love just as they did every night.

         Yancy wakes up choking. His room was filled with smoke. He could not breath. Grabbing the door knob, Yancy feels the metal burn the palm of his hand. He manages to open the door. The hall grew darker with smoke the closer that he got to his mother's and sister's room. The screams of his parents were more than he could handle standing in the smoke filled hall. He fell over unconscious.

***

It was hard for Jud Cole to work the scene. George had shown Deputy Cole the ropes and become his partner. He found the fire chief.

         “Chief Johnson,” Jud called to the fireman as he ran to the inside of the house where the George and Cheona's room had been.

         “Jud, are you all right?” Chief Johnson reached out his hand to shake the deputy's hand.

         “I won't be until we can find those responsible for this hellish act.” Jud pulls away. He felt that if he were touched any longer he would break down into tears from the loss of his best friend and partner.

         “The living room window was open for a nice breeze, I am guessing.” The two men walk back to the burned living room. The walls were black with soot, funiture was in piles of ash on the scorched floor, and the wall around where the window used to be was burned down.

         Chief stirred the ash where the window had been, and pointed out a whiskey bottle broken into tiny pieces. There as a burned pattern of a cloth. “This is ….”

         “I know all too well what this is.” Jud looked down at the broken glass. “ This was nothing but a homemade fire bomb. George and I have investigated so many burnings from these kinds of fire starters.”

         “Yes, well this one is a little different.” Chief Johnson replied. “See where the pattern is up this piece of wood?”

“Yes?”

         “This means that the bottle was standing when the fire started.” He continues. “From what I can see, whoever did this was sure that they would not be seen. It looks as though the arson walks up on the porch quietly. He puts his hand through the window and sits the flaming bottle by the living room curtains. He had to be some one that knew the family well.”

         “We arrested man last week, and he had a son that is know to play with fire.” Jud thought for a moment. “I just have a feeling about this one. Let me know what you find.”

         “I will.” Chief replied as he watched Jud walk away.

         “Jud,”  Majag shooke Jud' s hand.

         “Hello, Majag, how are the boys?” Jud asked feeling helpless for not being able to bring any news.

         “Biziil, will be getting out soon. I have to stay here with Yancy. The doctors aren't sure that he will make it. He is in bad shape.” This was the first time that Jud has seen tears in this big Indian's eyes.

         “I promise that I will find who killed them, Majag.” He looked into the room at Yancy's bed. “I will find them for George.”

         “I know you will, Jud.” Majag said.

         “If you need anything, let me know. I will see that there is someone to take care of anything.”

“Thank you,”

***

         Majag climbs into the ambulance with Yancy. He looked so tiny on the stretcher. The paramedics worked on the lifeless child. His clothes were cut from his body, he was wrapped in wet blankets. A needle with a bag of liquid was inserted into his arm. (This was a new sight for Majag) The men placed a mask that forced air into young Yancy's lungs.

         Yancy opens he eyes. “Momma?” Majag tries to hold back the tears as he knows that soon he would have to break the news to his nephew. He would have to tell a weak child that he no longer has a mother? That his uncle Majag and Bidziil are all the family that he has left.

         Bidziil was on the second floor. He was one floor below the Burn Unit where Yancy was made to sleep with pain medication. Bidziil was mobile now. He would have to be cared for around the clock. There had to a caretaker to change the bandages and treat the burns many times a day. Majag was praying by Yancy's bed when the nurse came to get him. “Ms. Clare Simpson needs to meet with you.” The nurse whispers. She sent an aide to watch over Yancy while his uncle left the room.

         “Hello, Majag.” Clare greeted him with a hand shake. They new each other from town, but he wondered how a social worker would be able to help him. “I wanted to talk to you about Bidziil.” They walked toward the stairs. Step by step the two talked. “Bidziil, has to have a lot of care. The hospital says that his time here has ended, and you have to stay to care for Yancy. We do not know when he will be able to go home.”

         Majag knew that the hospital would not allow Bidziil to stay until Yancy was able to go home, but what was Clare getting to. Was she suggesting that he send the child to one of those camps for children that no longer have parents or runaways. Bidziil would not survive that type of captivity. He was always climbing trees, and he loved to snare rabbits for dinner. He would not fair well in an orphanage. “He is a fighter.” Majag said while he remembered the fight that his nephew had shown throughout his short life. “We will be home soon.”

         “I have someone that I would like you to meet.” Clare continued as they walked into sleeping Bidziil's room. Bidziil was covered with bandages. He barely had any hair. You could only see a few patches of scorched black strands between some of the dressing on his head. One hand was wrapped, but even with it wrapped one could see that the child only had a thumb and finger. The few burns child had on the rest of his body was covered with a damp sheet.

         Clare motions for a couple to come from the room to the hall. She was chubby. She looked as if she were in her mid-forties. She had the skin and hair of the Indian, but the blue eyes of the white-man. Her husband stood tall. He looked strong. His eyes were coal black. His hair was nearly as dark as his eyes. He had his long hair pulled back in a braid with one single feather at the top. Both wore beaded necklaces. He recognized the craft as that of the Cherokee people. His people used to make beautiful bead work such as this.

         “Hello,” The lady greets us. “This is Shawna Ridge.” The lady holds out her hand in greeting. “Shawna, meet Majag Kingfisher.” The two shake hands. Majag always judged a person by the way they shook his hand. The woman had a hand shake of a person who had nothing to hide. He believed that if you were not a good person you hand shake would be weak and cold without any eye contact.

         Clare turns to the gentleman who seemed to be Shawna's husband, “ This is Job Ridge.” Majag shakes the hand of the tall man. Job name was a good for this man. He shook his hand like a noble Indian Prince warrior. He stood proud and keep his eyes trying to read those of Majag's.

         “Mr. and Mrs. Ridge live on a reservation in North Carolina.” She looks at Shawna with a kind expression. “The couple were moved there years ago, and found that they were never to be parents.”

         “We have no son to teach our customs to.” He interrupts. “We were not blessed by the Great Spirit with a child.” He walks back into the room where Bidziil was beginning to move.

         “Majag,” Clare regains his attention. “Yancy needs you, and you can not be in two places. You are unable to care for both boys, and Bidziil is so young. He will need a mother during the time he heals. Chenoa's childhood friend Light Hawk came to us last week. He told us of the child. When we got here, I knew that the Great Spirit gave me a son differently than other woman. I could feel that I was his mother, too.”

         Majag walks into the room where Job was stroking the child's hair. It seemed odd for a big strong Indian Brave to show such sympathy for a child that he did not know. Job turned a way to hide his “womanly” face form Majag.

         He bowed over and kissed Bidzill on the forehead. “Come,” He motions to the door. The four adults walk back into the hall. “The boy is strong. He will make you a fine son.” He writes his name on the papers, “Please, tell him of his family. He can seek his brother by this address.”

         Job and Majag shake hands while Shawna got to care for her son. They new that the child needed to be with his own people. The white-man was not exception of their parents, and it would be safer for him with the Ridge family.

        Majag knelt by Yancy's bed. “Ceona, this is your son. He is a strong brave and his time upon this Earth is not over yet. The Great Spirit has work for him yet. I look for your strength to be able to stand. To keep him growing stronger until he is able to walk this life on his own two feet.

        Show him, my sister, how to survive without hatred in his heart. I am not able to do this alone because I have allowed bitterness of loosing you to blacken my heart. I don't want him to feel this pain that I have.

        Take his hand in your hand as he grows and lead him in the direction that the Great Spirit wants him to go. When the time comes and he finds those who took you from us, give him  the courage to do what is right.”

        “My brothe,” a voice came from an unseen source.

        “Cheona?”

        “Brother, I am here.” She seems to speak from every direction.

        “Where are you?” Majag asks. Slowly a foggy presence of his sister appeared. “Here I am.”

          “Have you come to help me?”

        “I am here to tell you that I still watch over you. I will be reunite with my family. Then I will be allowed to ascend to the heavens with my family by my side where I will live with the spirits of our ancestors. You must raise my son Yancy in our father's tribe. He must learn to bring the white-man and the Cherokee together as he is a White-man and Cherokee. Teach him kindness for those who want to accuse him and forgiveness for those who harm him. Teach Yancy when he should fight and when he should use his smarts to survive.” Cheona faded with her words.

        “Cheona! Cheona! Come back!” Majag was yelling when the nurse touches him.

        “Are you ok.”

        “Yes, I am fine.” He replied. A little embarrassed, he tells her that he will be quieter.

        “It is ok.” She said as she tucked the covers around Yancy. “This is enough to make anyone have night terrors.”

        He nodded not sure that she really knows how right she was. Then she left the room.“Thank you, Cheona.” Magaj whispers as he closed his eyes and wished to be visited again by his beloved sister.

          Morning came fast, and he had not heard the voices of his family. He looked over at little Yancy sleeping much of his skin burned away.  Magaj rubbed the boy's unburned hand. He told the sleeping child stories of his Cherokee roots.

      “George was know as the Bear Fighter in out tribe after he had saved Father from a grizzly. Bear Fighter was a good suit for your father. Bad guy or problem, he would wrestle them until he had them whipped.”  Magaj told story after story. At times he felt that there was someone else in the room. He felt as though he was telling the stories to his sister's three children with her listening with a smile.

***

         Yancy opened his eyes. Majag felt the bed move under his folded arms and head. He did not know how long he had been asleep this time. Majag was surprised to see Yancy pulling at the bandages that covered his eyes.

         “Hello, nephew,” Majag tried to sound as happy as all the times he had told the child stories. “You have been a sleep for a while.”

         “Where is Momma?” It didn't matter what nationality a child in pain needed his mother. Majag gently pulled the small wounded hand from his face. “I want Momma. I hurt so bad.” Majag lacked the words that he needed, “Shhhh.”

“Nurse!”

         “How may I help you?” A lovely older woman, who could have been a grandmother herself, ran into the room. She walked over to the child.“I want to go home!” Yancy's chest was beginning to move rapidly with sobs that yielded no tears through the bandages. “I want my Mom!”

         Sara was the name on her name tag. She glanced at Majag. He looked terrified. She had to break news like this almost daily, but she knew that she had more practice than the family. Sara pulled a chair to the other side of the bed opposite Majag. She took the other hand that was nearly unburned. She raised it to her lips. “Do you know where you are?” she asked the child.

         “No,” He just wanted his Momma to make it all better. Yancy looked around the strange room. He was unable to recognize anything he saw except for his uncle. This was one time that Majag did not sport his usual bright smile.

         “You are in the hospital.” Sara explained. “Do you remember anything about being in your house? Do you remember the fire?” Young Yancy looked confused. “Fire?” Then he looked at his bandaged hand that was yellowing with discharge.

         “Yes, child, your house burned down.” She was careful not to tell the boy the reason for the fire. That he would remember slowly on his own. “Your parents and sister did not make it. The fire nearly took you and Bidzill. Now you will be fine in a few days.” Yancy turned his head toward his uncle. Majag face told the entire story. Yancy only had him now. “Where is Bidzill?”

         “You needed to get better. Bidzill went to live with an Indian couple, Cherokee tribe I think. He is their only child.” Sara handed him a cup with three pills in it. “ This will stop you from hurting so bad.”

         “No! I am a Cherokee and a brave son of a Sheriff.” He pushes the cup away. “I don't want that stuff.”

         “Yan....” Majag began to demand the boy to take the medication.

         “That is ok. He is a brave boy. I think he will make the Great Spirit proud.” Sara smiles toward Yancy as she unwrapped the soiled bandages from his hand. Each unwrapped finger was covered with yellow blisters and oozing burnt flesh. Yancy looked at the arm, and then at Sara. “What does my face look like?”

         She continued to treat his deformed arm. “I have to change the wraps on your face next. Then I will give you a mirror.” Majag looked at Sara as if she had lost her mind. He had not even seen the boy's face since the firemen backed ice around it in the ambulance.

         “Are you sure are ready to see?” Sara asked him.Yancy had not seen anything but shadows through the dressing. “Yes, I want to see.”Sara handed the child a mirror in his unburned hand. He holds it up in front of his face as Sara unwrapped it. As Sara uncovered his eyes, Yancy could see that the dressings would stick on the discharge in certain places. Sara used a soaked wash cloth to loosen the cloth. She continued to unwrap his young face.

         First thing Yancy noticed was that he did not have any hair in the front of his head. He had no eye brows or lashes. The top of one eye was nothing but blister. He did not recognize his own face. Yellow pockets were large from one side of his nose. The blisters created a monster’s face where a child once was.

         “Yancy, are you alright?” Majag asks. He continued to stare into his reflection. “Will I always look like this? I don't have ears and some of my nose is gone.”

         “You will never be the same as you were. That I will not lie to you about.” Sara announced as hopeful as the circumstances would allow. “We are going to take skin from other parts of your body and use it to re-create your ears and nose. You will still have scars, but you will live.”

         Yancy allowed the mirror to fall into his lap. “It is up to you what your life will become.” Sara picked up the mirror. She turned his face toward her own to have eye contact. “You are still living. You can either give up, and be the monster that you think you see in the mirror. Or you can use what you see; the fight, the survivor, the strength, the Cherokee Brave. You can be what it is that the Great Spirit saved you to be.”

         “How do you know about the Great Spirit?” Yancy asked.

         “My grandmother was a Apache maiden. She was given to my Grandfather a solider in the army. Grandfather tried to hide her by creating a white-man's life. I would ride out to meet with the Apache after my mother told me who her mother was.” Sara continued. “My grandmother's tribe, that she had forsaken, taught me of the Indian way.”

         After Sara finished treating and dressing the burns, she pulled out a small clay turtle. “My grandmother gave this to my mother when she gave birth to me. The turtle is a symbol of Mother Earth. She stands for order, creation, patience, strength, longevity, innocence, endurance, and protection.”

         Yancy looked at the turtle that Sara held. His mother wore a turtle bead in hair.

         “I didn't have any children, and today if the birth of a new Yancy Lancer.” Sara says as she rubbed the turtle. She whispered a prayer. “This turtle is meant to be passed to another. I want you to have it.”

         Yancy took the turtle, and he tucked it under his pillow. That was the day that Yancy made up his mind to be all that he could be without self pity. Sara and Yancy spent time everyday together learning from each other until he was released three months later.

         Sara sensed how the boy felt as she walked with him in the hall. “Yancy, I bet you are ready to leave this stuffy hospital.” Sara said trying to feel out what the boy was thinking.

         Yancy looked down at his wrapped feet covered in modified moccasins. His bearskin shoes were only soles wrapped with strands of the hide so that they could be removed easily to treat the burns.“I guess so.” He answered. He did not know how he would feel when he would live with his mother's tribe.

         “You know that you do not want to be here any more.” Sara reaches for the child's uninjured hand.

         “I don't know what is out there for me.” He replied beginning to look toward Sara.“You have family. Majag has been by your side everyday, and he has gone today to let everyone know that you are coming.” Sara tried to confront the nervous child.

The two friends walk to Yancy's bed where she cleaned and wrapped the burns. “They are looking so much better.” She said.

         Yancy had a hard time falling to sleep this night because of thinking about going to a different place to call home. His mother's family. His mother's home. Would he be excepted?

         Magaj walked into the room where Yancy sat waiting nervously with his few belongs he collected in the hospital in a small bag.

         Magaj was not alone. He had Berry Blossom with him. Berry Blossom was a sister to his grandfather Rising Son. Yancy nearly cried when he seen this woman who he once knew as his aunt looked like an older version of his mother.

         Berry Blossom glances at Sara who was standing behind a wooden chair that had large wheels attached. “This is Yancy?” Berry Blossom asks.

         Yancy begins to be worried. Not even his favorite aunt knew him. She walks over. “Let me see. I don't think this is the same little boy who chased Ole Bug, the stray dog in the tribe, with those sticks.” She she helps him cover his face with protective cloth from the sun he would encounter out side the hospital. “You are half grown.” She smiles at Yancy, nods to Sara that they were ready to make their way from the hospital, and follows behind the chair.

         When they reached the camp, Yancy became more quiet. He looked straight in front of him. He imagined what the others were thinking. The children who he used to play with must have thought that he had been killed in the fire.

         “Yancy!” a cry came from the crowd that was gathering as they got closer to their home. Yancy gave them no response. He knew that they were unable to see his face through the cloth that veiled it, but he did not want recognition.

         “Yancy,” the child yelled again. He did not respond. “Yancy,” Berry Blossom spoke calm and angelic as she placed his belongings on the dirt floor. “This is your family, and they have been worried about you. You do not have to do anything that is not in your own time. They will still be here when you need them.”

         Yancy felt foolish, but he was not ready yet. He had to find his own way out of this war that he fought inside his own head. He knew that this was his family. “How will I answer questions from my friends and family? I do not know the answers himself.” he thought.

         Long seconds turned into minutes. Minutes turned into hours. Hours into days. Then days to weeks. Then Yancy walked out through the yard. He decided to gather berries by the river's bank.

         He looked down at his reflection in the water. There he only saw the cloth that protected his face from the sun. Yancy wanted to see his own face. The sun had gone down, and he decided to remove the cloth. There he gazed on a nearly healed face. There were no oozing, and all the raw scars were all that was left of the house fire.

         Yancy looked at himself, “You are strong. You have the spirit of the turtle to guide you through life.” It must have been his imagination, but the reflection was not scared. The skin in the water's image had no blemish. Then it spoke to him. “Scars are only skin deep. Courage to be who the Great Spirit created you to be, is a path beyond any flaws in the skin. You have to use the internal gifts he gave to work.”

         He turned and walked back toward his tent. He walked without the protective cloth. The other members of the tribe went on about their work as they normally do. Then he realized that their were children on down the stream. He decided to walk to them.

They took notice. Each child slowly begin to ask questions.

         “Do the scars hurt.” One asks.

         “It used to hurt so bad that I could not speak. The white doctors gave me liquid that made me sleep.”

         “Why did one hand get burned and the other was not?” Another asks.

         “I am not sure. I think that I may have been laying on one. My body probably protected it from the flames.” He looked down at his arm, and he realized that he had asked his own self the same question. How could he have one arm that appeared the same as it had before the fire.

         Then one little girl walked up and touched his face. She was around the age of his sister when the fire took her life. Her brown eyes were without judgment. They seemed to radiate with concern that Yancy was alone. “Don't you miss your mom?” She was stared into his lash-less eyes as if his face was no different than her own reflection in the river.

         Yancy smiled with tears still in his eyes. “I do miss my mom, but when I sleep, I feel her close to me. You look like my little sister.” He added. “She burned in the house with my mom and dad.”

         She reached up and help his hand. “Your mom needed her with them, but can I be your little sister? I have no brothers. I had one, but he died of a bloody cough last winter.”

         He knew that she gave him a reason to be the best big brother that he can be.

         Majag saw that Yancy had problems understanding why the white-man rejected him, but he was sure that with patience Yancy would open up. He did not want to press the subject before the boy was ready. The hospital said that Yancy would be having his up and down emotional bouts.

         One day Majag and Yancy sat together, and watched the tribe children play. The two sat in the same place that Yancy had listened to Majag tell his stories before the fire, Yancy remembers how close he had always been to his uncle. He sighed and began to talk.

         “Majag,” Yancy began, “Why did the people of the town want to kill my family? My sister was only a baby, and she could do no harm to anyone.”

         “I think that people fear what is different. Perhaps the white-man's pride fears that their blood line will be tarnished by marring an Indian. There is no changing things like that.” Uncle Majag looked down while he remembered his sister Cheona.

         “I will find those who killed my mother and father.” Yancy's eyes filled with anger. “I think that they burned my home. So I will burn their town.” His face turned with the bitter emotion that he felt. Yancy's body tightened with noticeable tension.

         Majag reached over and patted the child on his back. “Think about what you are saying child. Fire will burn the buildings and some of the people, but no matter where you go you will meet more people who believe as those that burned down your family.”

         Yancy looked at his scars. He knew that his uncle was right. “Then I will become a law man. I will spend the rest of my days looking for the murders who did this to me. I will see them hanged.”

         Majag smiles, “You are much like George. Your father would be proud that you chose to do the same job in life as he had chose to do. Cheona is always guiding you if you make the right choices. She will protect you in your quest.” Majag continued.

         “Thank you Uncle Majag. I know you miss them too.”

         Majag pulled a chain out of his shirt. “I found this when they pulled you from the fire. I think that it may lead you to who started the fire. One of them dropped it.”

         “The W may be part of a name.” Yancy replied. “ I feel that I am going to find the men who changed my life and took my family from me.” He looked at the letter for a long time. The letter was the only clue that he had to what had happened. It would someday give him the answers that he needed.

         “Yancy, you were saved from the fire for a purpose. The Great Spirit has found favor in you. He has given you strength to continue in the foot steps of your fathers. The scars are to remind you that there is a reason that you lived.”

         Yancy asks Majag to tell him a story about his father and mother. As Majag began to speak. The children ran and sat in a circle around Majag as they had months earlier before the he had lost his sister to the fire. Yancey felt like he did when his mother brought him to visit the tribe. For that moment Yancy was back in a familiar place listening to his uncle telling stories.

         “Your mother was only a girl of about seventeen when Father sent her to live with George. George was hunting the hills for a couple of horse thieves when he saw Rising Sun beneath a great bear. George ran toward the animal, but the bare ignored his advance. Because he did not want to alert the outlaws, he did not want to shoot off his gun. Then he takes his hunting knife in his hand. He jumps onto of the bear as his giant paw was about to fall its fatal time. With the spirit of our ancestors, he wrapped his arm around the bear's head. When the animal looked upward, your dad plunged the blade into it's eye. The bear fell on to Rising Son who was already covered with blood. George pulls the bare off Rising Sun, pulls his favorite knife from its eye socket.”

“What happened?” Yancy asked.

         “Rising Sun went to the river and washed both his own and the bear's blood off into the water. He received minor cuts. Your grandfather was so glad to be allowed live that he wanted to reward your father. The two men rode into this tribe. George noticed Chenoa. She was beautiful. She was tending the evening meal.

         She was one of the most important women of the tribe. She had not been with man, and many brave had made an offer to make her their wife. There were only three women who had no husband. One was in her thirties. The braves felt that she was too old to have many children. The other was a widow with three children. No brave wants another's children. So Chenoa was priceless to Rising Sun. When he noticed that she was pleasant to George's eyes, he offered her to him as a wife.

         Chenoa made him a good wife, and she gave him three beautiful children.”

         Yancy and the children had enjoyed the story. Majag enjoyed telling it. He had not told a story since he had spent the time in the hospital. He was happy that his first in some time was about his sister whom he missed so much.”

         As the children dispersed, they all came over to Yancy. They all wanted to see his burns, and to hear the story of how he got them. Majag nodded that it was ok to tell the story. Majag looked at the boy. He was so happy to see the boy healing in his inner wounds as well as the burned flesh. The two of them sit together just listening to nature and watching the fireflies.

         Yancy began to tell his story. “My mother used to bring me, my sister, and brother to this very place to listen to Majag tell his stories. I never thought that I would be telling you such a sad story as I am about to tell you.

         Mother came in to our bed room. She was so kind. After she read the story of Jonah from the Bible and told us of the Great chief Bright Feather, she kissed us good night. She stopped at the door. She told us again that she loved us. This was not the normal thing. She always told us that she loved us, but she never took the time to look back at us and say it again.

         Then I woke up to the house being filled with smoke. It felt like I could not breath. I was so afraid when I opened my bedroom door. This is how I got this scar.” He put out his hand so that the children could see the deep circular burn in the palm of his right hand. The burn was one that was hard to heal due to where it was.

         “The door knob was so hot that it burned me. I tried to get to my parents and sister, but the smoke took me down. During my smoke sleep, I was visited by the spirit of Bright Feather. He took me to the land after death. There I saw bright light and many relatives that had crossed over. He told me that I could not live there, and that the screams of my family would soon be cries of joy. He said that they would live without scar or pain. Father and Mother would be waiting for me. He told me that I was not going to cross over from the fire.

         Then the light disappeared. I woke two weeks later at the hospital. When the nurse told me that I had lost my family, I realized that I now have the rest of my life to find those who sent my family to the other side. I am visited by Bright Feather from time to time in my sleep.”

         The children were all in awe of the story, and Yancy removed his shirt to all the others to see the extent of his burns. His back that should have been touched by the sun. It should have had a smooth dark color, but now his back was not one of a normal child. There were white skin that had different shapes. There were black patches that the fire attacked even deeper. Other areas had not healed yet. They looked bloody and oozing liquid.

         The children did not react the way that Yancy had thought that they would. Each child was impressed that young Yancy survived the flames.One child said, “ I wish that I was that brave. Can we call you Fire Walker?”

         Yancy was known to his tribe as Fire Walker from then on.

Telling the Widow

         Yancy knocks on the door of a dark house. A woman answers. She notices that Yancy was in uniform. “May I help you?” She asked.

        Yancy notices a young boy playing in the candle lit house. They had no electricity. “Mam, are you the wife of Greg?”

        She stepped onto the porch. The young boy ran to the door. “Momma, where are you going?”

        “ I am going to talk to these men on the porch. You go back to playing. I will be back in a minute.” She felt that this was something that Sammy did not need to hear, and she closed the door behind her.

        “Yes, I am.” She answered.

        “I am afraid that there has been an accident.” Yancy looked at the disheveled woman who was about to fall. He pulled a chair to catch her. She slip into it.

        “ What happened?”

          “ Greg was at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Yancy pauses he hated lying, but he had made a promise to a dying man. “He tried to stop someone from leaving the scene of a robbery. He told me to tell you and his son that he loves you while he died in my arms.”

        She begins to cry. “ Was he in pain?”

        “No mam, the bullet went through his heart, and I doubt that he felt pain. He died as soon as those words left his lips.” Yancy hands her a folded piece of paper. “ I have not read this, but it has your name on the out side. I thought that you should be the one to read it.”

        “Are you all right?” Yancy asks the lady.

        “ No, but I have to go on.” She wiped her tears, and opened the door. “ I will read this after Sammy goes to sleep.”  She looked at the folded paper again. “ I hope that he has the answers for his son.”

        Yancy watched the widow walk back into her house. He could hear a forced glee in her voice as she told her son that Daddy was a hero. Then went on, still trying to stop her voice from cracking. She told her son that Daddy would not be coming home. That he now lived with Grandfather who died last year.

        Yancy could not help but to cry. He knew what it felt like to loose a parent. He had lost both of his many years ago. He some how knew that he had to find a way to make sure that Sammy has a father figure in his life.

        Sammy tried to sleep, but he just could not see life without his father in his life. He knocked on his mother's door. “Momma,” he tip toes into the room.

          She wipes her eyes. “Yes, Sammy.”

         “Can I sleep with you tonight?”

        “Only tonight, my dear, we cannot change things.” She pulled back the covers. As her son crawled under them, she heard his stomach begging for food. “Are you hungry?” She asked.

         “No Mamma.”  He answered. He was used to being hungry, and he did not want his mother to worry.

        She reached to the night table and picked her piece of stale bread that she nibbled throughout the night. “ Here Sammy, I think that this will help.”

        Sammy ate the hard bread, and his stomach stopped growling. He was able to feel his mother's tears drip onto his hair until he fell asleep.

Sammy as a boy

         Yancy passes his bed room window as he tucks white shirt into his gray uniform pants. He glances through the brown plaid curtains. Sammy is in the yard next door. He had been entertained many evening by the laughter and play of Sammy. His imagination was vivid. Sometimes Sammy was a super hero, a cook, a cowboy, and Yancy had to see what the boy was each day.

         Yancy stops and watches Sammy play. He was dressed in his dad's old army boots and fishing hat covered with hooks. He was sitting on the mud in his mother's flower bed. He was digging up the soil. He filled the serving bowl with the dirt. Stirring it with his spoon. It was hard to hear what the child was singing from the window, but Sammy was gently rocking in a beat. Sammy poured the mud into a circle. He patted it, smooth it, and then pulled flower peddles to decorate it. "What was this child going to do with his mud-cake?"

         Yancy knew that he needed to finish getting dressed for work, but he was hypnotized by wanting, no needing, to know what this little boy was up to. Sammy then pulls a brightly colored jacket off the line. Then Yancy no longer could see him from the window. So Yancy continued to dress for work. He quickly pulled his gray uniform on. He placed his hat over his head as he leaves his home. He had already rubbed a special tree cerium so that it would re pale the rain during the wet season.

         When reaching the corner of his yard, Yancy noticed Sammy. He and his best friend Rex was sitting together by the dog house. Rex was five years old black mix breed. Greg had gotten him out of a bag in the river. He had seen the movement in the pillow case from the shore. Greg had to save whatever was in it. Greg brought the tiny ugly gray puppy to Sally. She was not happy to have a new puppy to raise while having a new infant. She fell in love with the dog and fed him milk from a bottle just as she did her son. Rex beat all odds and lived as a brother to Sammy. “Sammy,” Yancy greets the child from the road. “What you and Rex up to?”

         Sammy rolls the sleeves up on Rex's front legs. “It is Rex's birthday, and we are having a birthday party.”

         “How old is Rex?” Yancy asked.

         “He is five.” Sammy said as he actually fed Rex a big piece of the mud-cake iced by flower peddles. “We have a party every year. Would you like to attend this year.”

         “Sure,” Yancy said as he walked up to the crate that was being used as a party table. He and Sammy sang happy birthday to Rex. Then Sammy serves Yancy his slice of cake. “I will wrap this up and eat it for lunch today.”

         “You promise?” Young Sammy asks as he wraps the treat in a cloth, puts it in a paper bag, and reaches it to Yancy.

         “Yes, I will unwrap it after lunch.” Yancy trying to pick words that would not be a lie.

         “Here,” Sammy hands Yancy a piece of paper. “This is my menu.”

         Yancy had taken Sammy to his first up-scale restaurant the day before. There Sammy got to order from the pictures on the kid's menu. His face beamed with pride as the waiter referred to the child as sir.

         “Why thank you, Sir.” Yancy replies as he scans down the list of backward letters and miss-spelled words. Each letter on the page colorfully printed in a different crayon. “He must have used every one in the box,” Yancy thought.

Pisa

300 Dolars

Berfday kake

700 Dolars

2 pis

1 00 Dolars

Chekn

100 thalsand Dolars

Dog fud

2 dolars

         “Looks like the prices are a little high.” Yancy said.

         “No, it is fancy.” Sammy said.

         “I will be back.” Yancy explains as he puts the menu into his pocket.

         “Come again. I hope that you have a good day.” Sammy told Yancy mimicking what the waiter had told them as they had left the restaurant the night before.

         “Thank you sir,”Yancy replies. Then Sammy clears his throat. Yancy reaches into his pocket and gives his waiter a tip. He hands Sammy a dime, smiles, and walks away.

         At the cross walk, one of the town's librarians, who wrote the restaurant reviews for the local news paper, stared at the paper bad that is now looking quite wet. “Looks a little greasy.” As she observed the unusual bag.

         “This is lunch from the most natural restaurant in town.” He replied as his personality was having fun with the conversation.

         “Really?” She seems interested.

         “Yes, there is no grease or fats used in their food.” Yancy reaches into his pocket and brings out the colorful menu. “It is Sammy Joe's Place?”

         “Whose?” Ms. Tina asks as she takes the paper. She looks at the words. She elbows Yancy. “You scamp! I thought that you had a new place that I had missed.”

         He smiled as the light changed so that the two of them could cross the road. Three steps into the street, the bag breaks and the contents splatter into the asphalt. Yancy  on his way to the office.

Sally and Yancy Kiss,

         "Yancy," Sally announced her arrival while opening the door.

         "Here," Yancy answer. "Is there anythng wrong?"

         "No," Sally laughed. "I just thought that you may need something more to eat. I heard that you had an interesting lunch." She walked over to the desk and picked up the brown paper bag that Yancy had brought to work with him. The dampness stuck the bottom to the desk. She pulls a towl from the basket that she carried, and washed the muddy spot off so that she can place the picnic basket on the desk.

         "Why, thank you, Sally." Yancy said as he brought a chair for her to sit oppisite him at the desk.

         "I know that this wont be as good as Sammy Joe's food, but we wont tell him." She opens the basket and begins to bring out plates, flat ware, and food. "We have fried chicken, cole slaw, mashed patatoes, and grape wine." She begins to search the now empty basket. "Where is the honey and biskets? I left them on the table at home." Sally seemed to be so frustrated because of the oversight.

         Yancy reaches over and takes her hand to reasure her that he was fine with the wonderful lunch that she had prepared for him. "Sally," he whispers. " I don't think that I would not be able to eat more than this.

         "Really?" Sally replies. Her eyes were shining with tempting tears. He had never noticed the crease that she has now that she was stress. How could he not have noticed the beautiful pink hue and perfect shape of her lips? As Yancy pulls Sally in to hug her, he fell captive to the frangrance of the Lilly perfume that she always wore.

         Without conscious thought, their lips met. Her lips tastes as nice as they looked. For a long moment, Sally and Yancy were where they seceretly wanted to be. Yancy did not want the embrace to release.

         "Sorry," Yancy appoligies. "I..."

         Sally puts her finger over his warm lips to stop his words. "I have want to know what it is like to kiss you for a long time." She gave him a hug. They pack up the basket without discussing the kiss any longer.

         The door opens. Sammy comes running in. Sally reaches over and quickly grabs the bag of mud placing it in the basket. "Mom, I have been looking for you?" He remarks.

         "You have?" Yancy replies.

         "What's going on?" Sammy asks because Sally had not visited the office before. "What are you doing here?"

         "She brought some chicked." Yancy explains.

         "Didn't you eat my lunch?" Sammy asks looking disappointed.

         "Yes, Sammy, but that was breakfast." Sally says running her fingers over Sammy's head. "He has a hard job. I brought lunch so that he wont get hungry before dinner.

         There were many times that the couple could have relived that passionate kiss, but they did not want to do anything that could hurt Sammy.

Sally Dies

         Sally stood at Yancy's door. She appeared to be sweating that stood on her red face. She held to the door frame as he spoke to her in the door way. She could barely stand, “Yancy...” She studding as she falls onto the porch before he could catch her.

         He had known that Sally had been fighting what had be thought to be a common cold. Anyone who passed her home would speak of how bad her cough was getting. He picks the small woman up, and carries her to his bed. He covers his friend up with a quilt that he had taken from the hospital as a child. Nurse Sara had made it for him.

         Removing her jacket and shoes, her flash felt as hot as the embers in the fireplace. “Sally?” She could not answer. It seemed as though the more he washed her face the hotter she her forehead got. Yancy heard a knocking at his front door. He laid the wet cloth on her head, and goes to the door. It was Sammy panicked.

         “I got home..” He said as if he was about to fall a part. “dinner was burning on the stove, there were dishes on the table, and the beds weren't made... I don't know...”

         “Sammy, it ok.” Yancy tried to inform the teen, but Sammy interrupts.

         “Mom is gone! Help me find her.”He guides the young man into the house and explains the events of the evening. He then leaves the boy with his mother and goes to get Dr. Hill.

###

         “I don't know if she will make it the night.” He explains to Yancy as the two walk to the door. “She has pneumonia. We can pack ice around her to try to get the fever down. It is holding at 105. If we can not get it down in the next twelve hours, her organs will begin to fail.”

         “Then?” Yancy questions.

         “Well,” Dr. Hill looked down. “She may have four to five days of suffering before she is gone.”

         Yancy looked up the stairs. “I took his father, and I have to save his mother.”

         Dr. Hill gave Yancy a bottle of fever reducer, “I hope so.” Then he leaves the house. Yancy held the bottle for a few seconds. He had to compose himself before going into the room with Sally and Sammy. He could not allow the boy to see the fear in his eyes. Sammy had to have faith that his mother would pull though.

         ”Yancy!!” a scream caught his attention. He ran to the bed side. Sammy was holding the bowl of water under his mother's chin. She was coughing violently, and her lips dripped with blood. Yancy ran to her side. He turned Sally over to her side. “Hold her up.”

         “Why?” Sammy started to tear up, “Is she dying?”

         “No, it is the fever.” Yancy pretended that the doctor had explained this event too. “It is forcing the infection out of her body, and we don't want her to drown on the blood.” Yancy continues to roll up blankets and prop Sally so that fluid would run from the corners of her lips as she tried to breath.

         “Greg,” a whisper comes from Sally.

         “Mom!” Sammy answers, but Sally didn't utter another word. “Mom, this is Sammy. Dad is dead.”

         “Sammy, she needs to sleep this off.” Yancy motions for the young man to follow him to the bedroom door. “The two of you will stay here until she recovers.” He pats Sammy on the back, “ I need more ice.”

         The night was almost as long as those so long ago in the hospital after the fire. Minutes felt like hours, hours like days, days as if they were years. Sally never opened her eyes. She rattled with every breath. The fever kept rising. Yancy knew that she was not returning to health. The angel of death waited for the right time to take her from the living, but Yancy could not allow Sammy to know this yet. How could he deliver the news to Sammy that he was loosing his other parent.

Yancy held her hand and prayed, “God of my father and God of my mother. I ask that Sally find her way to the great beyond. I pray that she be excepted as the good woman that she was. I pray that she not be seen for the actions of her husband or fathers before. Lead her to know the Sammy will be cared for.  Let her journey be easy, and allow her to sleep in peace.”

         Sammy slept near his mother in a chair. He did not eat or move from her bedside except to relieve himself in the bathroom. His spent his waking hours reading to Sally, changing the ice bags, and washing off the blood from her face. He could no longer feel the pain in his legs that occurred from poor circulation caused by sitting hours in the chair. He no longer felt the need to eat. He felt none of the physical stings that he first did when Sally cared for him. All he felt was the burn for his mother to return to him.

The fifth morning Yancy helped Sammy change the bed and replace the ice around Sally. She felt cooler. Sammy knew that she would be better soon. This fantasy was made more real when Sally opened her eyes. She seemed to be looking right into his eyes. She smiled. Sammy was sure she did. Her lips moved. No sound escaped them, but he knew she said his name.

         “Mom!” He called out, but she did not reply. Her eyes seemed to be to stationary. “Mom!” Sammy calls to his mother again. Yancy reaches over and lays a hand on her chest.

         “Sammy, she's gone.” He said with tears of loss falling from his own eyes.

         “No!” He screamed. He picked her hand up, but it falls down lifeless to her side. “Mom!”

         Sammy stood there. The evening air was cold with sheets of rain falling. He could not feel the wet coldness of the storm due to the emotions that he felt. He stood in the mud and watched the care takers lowered his mother into the nasty looking hole. He did not flinch one time as the drops of November rain fell onto his glasses. He did not attempt to wipe them off.

         Yancy watched his young friend with a heavy heart. He remembered how bad he had hurt when he found out that his parents were gone. Between the two of them, all family either had was each other.

         Yancy stood by Sammy for a moment. He put an arm around the closest thing that he would ever have to a son. “Come, Sammy.” Yancy urges the boy away. Sammy followed Yancy almost as if he was not in his own body then.

         Sammy walked as though he was a mechanical robot. He did not look down to where he was placing his fee. He just animated his way down to the waiting car. Yancy helped him into the car. Sammy was drenched and shoes covered with mud. He never spoke a word on the way to the house that he had shared with his mother a mere 24 hours ago.

         Sammy was in shock. Yancy remembered how Sara had treated him when he suffered the shock of the death of his parents. He undressed the young man and put on his pajamas. When they passed Sally's room, Sammy slowly walked into it. He looked at the bed. He could almost see Sally laying there. He pulled away from Yancy. He walked to the bed, and he fell onto it. He pulled Sally's pillow into his arms.Yancy watched Sammy for a moment. He was rocking his mothers pillow as he laid in her bed. He felt that Sammy needed space to grieve. Yancy left Sammy there.

         Midnight, Yancy worried about the teenager crying in his mother's bed. He slowly walked down the hall. He opened the door to the master bedroom. He saw Sammy sleeping still clinging to the pink pillow of his mother. Yancy pulls the covers over Sammy's shoulders.

         Yancy did not go to his room that night. He stayed up in the living room. He would make the trip to Sally's room about every couple of hours. He was all too familiar with the pain that Sammy felt.

         It was cool at 6:00 am, but Sammy woke up. He shortly remembered what had happened. He would not allow the tears to flow. He had cried so much the night before. Now at fifteen, he realized that he had to become a man fast.

         When Sammy got to the couch in the living room, he saw Uncle Yancy sitting up trying to sleep. He looked uncomfortable. He takes the throw from the near by chair that his mother used to use on chilly nights. He slowly covered his friend.

         Then Sammy decides that he would be cooking for himself now. He takes out two brown eggs, two pieces of bread, and the Apple butter from the fridge. He finds the frying pan on the stove and breaks the eggs into the lard. He puts the toast into the oven, and places the Apple butter on the table. He wanted to thank Yancy for being there for him by fixing him a morning meal.

         Yancy woke up around 7:00 am. There at the table he noticed a plate of burnt toast, runny eggs, and a cup of coffee. He sat down. “I cooked breakfast for you.” Sammy said. He had puffy purple circles around his young blue eyes form crying. “Mom would not like for you to go hungry.”

         “Thank you,” Yancy replies as he noticed that there was only one plate, “Aren't you going to eat?” Sammy found it hard to tell Yancy that he could not eat this morning because he did not want his friend to worry about him. “I have already eaten before you got up.”

         Yancy was able to read his young friend, but he did not press the issue. He could totally understand not being able to eat the day after your mother's funeral. It had been weeks before he did ate anything that did not come from a bag and tube.

         “Sammy you did a good job,” Yancy takes the last bite of his toast and sopped up the egg yellow. “ I will have the energy to put the pieces together at the office.”

         He looked at the boy who appeared more like a man than he did when they first met. Sammy even seemed more adult than he had a week ago. Standing six feet tall, it was time for Sammy to do something to change the direction of his life.

         “Would you like to go to work with me?”

         “I would love to.” Sammy answered excited that Yancy was making good to the promise that he had made the child ten years ago. He had always promised that he would take him and teach him the job.

Yancy Tells Sammy

         Yancy had been everything to Sammy for the past three years since Sally died. Yancy and Sammy suffered the loss together. He taught Sammy the way of the Cherokee hunter, and boy how to read body language for safty. With all his heart, Sammy became Yancy's son.

         Sammy stood tall. The black cap and gown caused Yancy to realize that Sammy was no longer a little boy who sold mud pies. Sam was at the edge of manhood. In the cherokee likfe style he would have been a man when Sally died.

         Sammy turns to find that Yancy was fixed on him. Yancy was snapped back to the present with Sammy smiling back at him. Yancy returns the smile trying to disguise worry that he had just realized. "I am not his father," was the thought that tortured this proud moment for Yancy. He knew that Sammy could not leave for the accadamy without knowing the truth about Greg.

         "Sammuel _________," a voice calls out for him to walk to the stage. This was a stronger person than the little boy that used to ask to sleep in the bed of his mother. He walked with perfect posture. No, Sammy was no longer weak. He was as strong as the braves in Cheona's tribe. Sammy shakes hands with the educator who handed him his diploma. Then nodded to Yancy as if to say, "Thank you for being my dad." Yancy felt so unworthy of the centiment.

         Yancy knocked on Sammy's door. His knocking could not be heard over the radio that was blarring. Sammy noticed that the door was opening. He turned the sound down. "Come on in, Yancy." he welcomed as he packed a suitcase with sports ware.

         "About ready to leave tomorrow, I see." Yancy observed.

         "I will be back during winter break." Sam tried to assure Yancy.

         He sat down on the bed beside a pile of Sammy's socks. He motions for Sammy to sit down too. "You may not see things the same after we talk."

         "I believe that I will." He began to get frighten.

         "Sammy, I am the reason that you grew up without a father." Sammy had never seen Yancy so serious except Sally's burial. Yancy spoke as if he were a robot. He had no idea what the next word would be, or how to tell his best friend and son that he had shot Sammy's father.

         "I was not much older than you when I was called to a robbery," Yancy stood up. He could not felt like running away untill this very moment. He rubbs his head. He didn't know how to finish.

         "I know, Yancy." Sammy said as he reached Yancy a letter that Sally had left for him. "Mom left this for me in my dresser draw. It was there with a newspaper clipping. She said that I was never to tell you that we knew the truth. She knew how you had kept the secret about Dad stealing."

         Yance reads the letter.

         "Dearest Son,

         I am writing this so that you will live life kowing two things. One is that I love you so much. I love watching you play lawman as a child. I am so proud of you.

         You need to know that Yancy is a good man. Greg was the best that he could. You were the apple of your dad's eye, but times were so hard. Your dad would not have stolen anything, but he had tried everything to have food for his family.

         He felt he had no other  way to fill your hunger.

         You are a luck young man to have had two strong men who would have done anything to make sure that you are safe and fed.

         Love Uncle Yancy and not hold bitterness for his action. Your father would be thankful for him for caring for this family. I hope that you are as great a man as those who have been there for you.

         I will always be proud of you, and I will be there for you no matter where you are.

Loving you,

One proud Mother."

         Sammy pulls Yancy into his arms. Yancy was so relieved to know that the only son he ever had understood what had happened all those years ago.

Last Chapter

         Yancy continued to work in the mountains as a a criminal investigator. He never let go of the fantasy of finding those who left him an orphan. He went over the possibilities that might happen when he finds the men. Would he be able to contain himself and bring them in for trail, or would he loose control and become the executioner?

         Many of his nights were spent in torture. Sleep was not his friend. When he closed his eyes to sleep, he knew that it was going to be another night re-living the fire as a child. He never could stop the smelled of smoke, felt the heat, and worst of all he could hear his family plea screaming in pain from visiting him as he tried to rest. In forty two years, Yancy had not slept without re-living the night that his parents and sister died.

         Though Yancy had always been healthy, he was more fatigued than he should be. Everyone knew when Yancy was in the area due to the continuous coughing. He would be fifty two in just a mere three weeks. He was not too worried about his health. Everyone in his family lived to be in their eighties and nineties. He was sure that he too had many years yet to live.

         Yancy stares at the page. He could not believe what he was reading. There in a letter from his brother was the names of the men that had started the fire so many years ago. Was this going to be closure to the pain that he has felt through out his life?

         “Brother,

         I was contacted Joshua Timings. He was sixteen when our house had burned down. He said that he was friends with Theodore Red and Timothy King. They were his best friends, and that they had bragged to him that they had killed an 'Indian Lover with his squaw.'

         Timothy King had voiced concern that two of half breeds had survived. The pair was afraid that the children may be able to turn him in. So his family moved south. He lived in Florida until three years ago. Then when he thought that no one knew who started the fire, he moved back home. Joshua did not know whatever happened to          Theodore Red.

         I knew that you would want to know this. I plan to visit with you before this year ends.

         Yours truly,

         Biziil,”

         Yancy felt those deep angry feelings bubble up inside deeper than ever. He just knew that it would not be a social-able reunion when he found Red and Timings. He felt the same way as he did in the hospital when his uncle told him about his family.

         “Sir,” the cashier/postal worker caught his attention. “Your total is $3.15.”

         Yancy looked at the man behind the counter. “I'm sorry. I must have drifted away for a minute.” He picked up the brown bag of cough medication, smiles, and walks out the door.

         He doesn't get five feet from the door, and he had a episode of coughing. Pull the handkerchief from his face, he noticed that it was covered with blood. He wiped is lips, and turns up a bottle of the medicine. It only helped for a few minutes. He knows that he needed to see a doctor for his condition, but everyone in his family lived a very long life. Surely this would pass.

         Back at his office, Yance searched all the evidence, files, and storage boxes that he had kept updated about the fire. Month after month and year after year, Yancy had gathered every piece of gossip, every news article, and noted any other similar crimes. He had collected anything that would lead him to the ones who had killed his family someday. He wanted to find anything that would lead to the where-a-bouts of Red or Timings.

         There on one age stained page of a notebook, was the address of trio of friends. Joshua Timings, Timothy King, and Theodore Red was three suspected teenagers who lived three miles up the street from the Lancer family.

         George had arrested Theodore Red's father for moon-shinning. Though it was suspected that the one or all the boys burned the house down for revenge. It had not been proven. It was not a case of the highest priority. If George and his family were all white, the killers would have carried a reward on their heads.

         Theodore Red lived at Stone Lane two miles from Yancy's old house. Joshua Timings was his neighbor. Timothy King would drift form from barn to barn sleeping. He had left his home after his father forcefully thrown the boy out of his parents house for setting fire to the barn while smoking.

         After he had spent the evening reviewing every stained item in the boxes, he retired to sleep. He dreamed of family pictures with burnt sides piling over his head. Faces of the three young men begging for their lives as Yancy brutally killed them. One by one, he found each boy. He burned Timothy King on a wooden stake. Theodore Red tries to run, but this was Yancy's dream. Here there was no place for him to run. He was soon melted into a puddle of melted flesh by the heat. The next day he would find himself face to face with his family's killers.

         Morning came slowly. He spent most of the night hours awake thinking about the pain he would inflict on those who caused all the pain that he had ever felt.

         Though it was now a different time than when he grew up and computers were used, Yancy worked without one in a private office in his home. He hung his “be back” sign, and went the direction of Stone Lane.

         The street had grown since the fire. There were few of the house that had once stood. Most of the buildings were businesses and parking lots. However, at the street changed very little near the dead end. There he found old homes that seemed to be forgotten from the past.

         The last home was different than it had been. There where the little one story house once stood was a large elegant two story brick home. The lawn was well groomed Kentucky Blue Grass. Flowers lined the walk way. He noticed a child's swing set in the side yard. Yancy walked onto the large porch and rang the door bell. When all the wind-chimes surrounding the porch moved at once, he was not sure if the door bell rang. He pressed the button again.

         A little girl who looked to be about six or seven answered the door. Stared up at Yancy with the biggest blue eyes he had ever seen. She had strings of blond hair waving from her braids. “Emma!” her mother scolds. “You do not answer the door!” She ushers Emma back through the house.

         The woman stood behind the screened door as she asked Yancy about his reason for the visit.

         “I grew up with Theodore Red, and I seemed to remember that he used to live at this address.” He studied the woman's expression. “I have not seen him since grade school, and I wanted to catch up with old friends.”

         She informed him that her grandfather Theodore Red was in the nursing home about five miles away from where they were. She seemed to be happy that someone form her grandfather's past came to find him. She did not know, however, the truth of why Yancy came.

         Yancy turns to walk off the porch. He then turns right back around. “Have you ever heard your grandfather talk about Timothy King. They used to be best friends?”

         “Yes,” She said. “He is Uncle Timmy to me. He and Granddad used to hang out all the time. Timmy died three years ago. He is buried in the old grave yard at the end of town. It is sad really, he didn't have anyone to bury him anywhere else.” She hands Yancy a piece of paper with her grandfather's address and room number.

         Yancy stood in front of the reception desk at the nursing home. The air smelled like body odor and rubbing alcohol. It seemed to him that he had been noticed by everyone except the staff. One after another the residents came up to him. Some wanted a cigarette to smoke. Others asked for food. There were a few who just mumbled under their breath as they passed him.

         “May I help you?” The nurse asked almost as if he was interrupting her from the television program playing in the back ground of the reception area.

         “Yes, I am looking for Theodore Red.” Yancy asked expecting her to walk him back to his room. Instead she turns her chair back to the direction of the programing playing in the background.

         “He is in room 333 at the end of the hall.” She said as she turned.

“Thank you,” Yancy replies. She gave no reply.

         Yancy walked past room after room. The elderly sat like zombies in front of their windows, radios, and televisions. Not one of them had laughed. Not one of them looked up to see who passed the room. Not one seemed to care what happened around them.

Finally the Room 333 was just one door down. “This is it.” Yancy thought. He walked into the room. There in the shadow of the window, sat a shadow of a little shriveled up old man.

         Yancy felt the anger subside. He looked at the little man that sat in a wheelchair.

“Theodore?” Yancy asks.

         “What?” he answers as he turned toward Yancy. “Daddy, why am I here?” Theodore asked as he look up at his visitor. Yancy looked back into the man's eyes. They were no longer the eyes of a bigot Indian hating teenager. They were the eyes of an innocent child much like those he remembered in the face of his baby sister. Yancy could not tell the man who he was. He started to leave the room with business undone.

         Theodore reached out and took Yancy by the arm. He whispered, “I'm so sorry.”

         Yancy turned around. Did Theodore remember the fire? Had he remembered his father George? “What?”

         “I'm sorry, Daddy.” He looks up pleading. “Can I go home?” Yancy released his arm from the old man's grip. Yancy knew that this was not the true man that killed his family. The real Theodore had died years ago.

         Yancy reached the exit when he began to cough again. This time the coughing did not stop. He became dizzy, and reached up to catch the railing in the hall. Yancy saw the nurses ran toward him as he fell to the floor. Yancy looses consciousness.

         When Yancy woke up, he was in a hospital room. His mouth was covered with an oxygen mask, and IV bag dangled from a rod above him.

         “Mister Lancer,” the nurse speaks to him. “The doctor is here and wants to speak to you.”

         “Mr. Lancer,” Doctor Hill walks to his bedside. “You have Tuberculous. You have had this condition for some time.” He looks down at the x ray. “I could have helped you if you had come in earlier, but...”

         “Where could I have gotten this from?” Yancy still not sure he believes what the doctor is telling him.

         “ I suspect that you got it from helping with the sick two years ago. Some one in the camp. Did not have Pneumonia, they had must have had Tuberculous. You contracted it from caring for him/her.” Doctor informed him.

         “We will try to make you comfortable, but you only have a couple of days. If you had come when the cough first started, you would have had about a year.” The doctor did not like the words that had to come from his own lips. He had known Yancy since he was a teenager getting burn scar treatments, and this is the only time that he had seen Yancy look weak.

         Yancy looks at the doctor, “ There is an address here on this paper, could you contact him? He is my brother. We have not seen each other since we were both here as children.”

         “I may not be able to get word to him in time.” The Doctor Hill said.

         Yancy smiled, “I don't plan on going any where until I see my brother.”

         Dr. Hill smiled, “ I believe you, Yancy. You are a stubborn man.”

         When the doctor left the room, the door opened again. Sammy was standing at the bedside.“I knew that you are an old man.” He jokes.

         It was nice to see Sammy all grown up. Yancy had become a house guest in his house so that he could help keep things going for Sammy and his mother. Today it seemed a little different. Sammy seemed more grown up than he was just yesterday..

         “Don't joke,” Yancy laughs. “You wont always be twenty.”

         Sammy sits in a chair by the bed. “So what's up with you taking a vacation here at the hospital? Your not dying are you?” He laughed knowing that all Yancy's family lived to an old age.

         Yancy searched his mind for an answer any answer except the truth. “You don't think that you can get rid of me that easy do you?”

         The two men laughed. They sit still not saying anything. Both men knowing that they were family by choice not by blood. Yancy slowly allows the pain medicine take to sleep.

         The nurse walked in just as Sammy was about to fall asleep from pure boredom.

“Hello” the blond nurse with Nancy RN on her name tage.

         “Hi.” Sammy answered.

         “How is Uncle Yancy doing?” he asked thinking that she would happily tell him that Yancy would only need a couple days in the hospital to rest.

         “I can not tell you anything. The doctor has to talk to family when he returns tomorrow.” She replied as she pulled the blanket onto Yancy's chest.

         “What do you know about Yancy?” Sammy asked hoping for a reason to introduce anyone to who Uncle Yancy really was.

         “Not much.” She replies. “He is a lawman. An investigator, I think. He told me about being burned as a child. That is about it.”

         Sammy began to whisper the story of Yancy to Nancy. “ I first met him when he came to tell mother that Poppa had died a hero with the bullet of a robber in his heart. Poppa had tried to stop a robbery and was shot. A few days later Yancy came to visit. He asked mother if she would rent out the extra room.” Sammy looked at sleeping Yancy sleeping sound. “He moved in, turned our utilities on, and we have not gone to bed hungry since. He said that he had promised my father that he would take care of me and mom. That he did. First he cared for me like his son. Then we became friends. Now we are partners in the same Criminal Investigation team. I would be nothing bu a thief trying to feed Mom and myself if Yancy did not walk into our lives.”

         Nancy replies, “The two of you were lucky to find each other. I think that you became his only family, too.” She said as she left the room.

         Sammy too fell asleep until visiting hours were over, and he had to leave.

As the doctor walked out of the room, Biziil walked in. Tears ran down the cheeks of the two proud men. Biziil took his brother's hand. “I love you, brother.”

         Yancy was tired and wanted to go to sleep. “I love you too, brother.” Then he looks ahead. “Mother is coming.” He reaches out his other hand.

         “Yancy, go to her.” Biziil said with tears flowing in sheets down his eyes now. “She has waited far too long for you.”

         With those words, Yancy took one more deep gargling breath. His eyes widened and he fell into the eternal rest.

         The air grows cold. Yancy's skin pimples with bumps from the change of temperature. He feels a presence of someone he knew. His chest hurt with every breath. He could feel his lungs tighten. Biziil's voice seemed to be far off in the distance.

         Yancy wondered why the room was getting so bright. It did not seem that he was in a hospital room any more. An image was coming into view. “Mother?” he asks feeling less and less pain. He smelled her perfume. It had been so long since he had felt so calm.

         “My Son,” The smile was one of her special ones. One that she carried when she would tell him a bed time story. “It is time to come home. I have waited so long for you.”

         She takes hold of his hand. He looks down at it. The burns were all gone. It was as smooth as it was before the fire. So was Cheona. She had burned to death in the flames, but she had no scars. She looked the same as the night that she told the last goodnight story to her children. Her hair hanging down waving over her shoulders, but she was dressed in a shinning white skin of the albino wolf. Flawless feathers trimming the collar. He had never seen his mother dressed in such fine skins. He could not remember seeing his mother in any skins except when she visited her tribe.

         Yancy walked out of the room with his mother, but he looked behind him. There on the bed was the burned and scared version of himself. “What is going on? How can I be in two different places?”

         “That was the you who was filled anger and confusion.” She pulled at his hand gently. “We have to go.”

         Biziil wiped tears from his eyes. The machines were beeping loudly when the nurses asked him to leave. Pushing Biziil and Sammy to out the door as they tried to save Yancy's life.

         “Biziil,” It hurt to see his brother cry again. He could still hear his screams from the flames. He was screaming for his mother over and over. Yancy could not help him then, but he wanted to this time.“Biziil. I am here.”

         “Yancy, Biziil can not hear you.” Cheona said. She continued to hold Yancy's hand, but looked lovingly at her son Biziil. Yancy wonder if she was seeing him as he as a grown man, or did she see him as her young son. “I will return to get him in about five years. He still has business on the Earth.”

         Yancy and Cheona walked through the wall. “There were no way this could be happening.” Yancy thought. Then he looked beyond the light. He saw his father dressed in the head dress that the Cherokee used in celebrations. He was not a white man or and Indian. He was spirit shinning bright between the two worlds. George had become a guide. A guide that fought hatred that he had left the natural world, as he did in his life.

    The air became warmer. Yancy could no longer see Biziil or the hospital room. He did not hear the machines. He felt no human pain or emotion. He only felt the calmness that only freedom could give.
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