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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Dark · #2271965
Two men travel to see a relative—a medicine man after a family member was murdered.
John Claw sat in his family’s back yard watching the sun rise. The dew was heavy and glowed golden in the early morning rays. Many times this site has brought him peace, but today was different and he quietly wondered if he would ever find that peace again.

         He had been thinking about Heaven, which only brought bitter tears that burned down his cheeks. He was smoking a marijuana cigarette and it soon took hold—allowing his mind to drift away from his thoughts of Heaven. A thought crept in and he allowed himself to follow it.

         His mind told him that everyone in existence were artists. From the moment they are born until they pass to the Beyond. As the Great Spirit had made the world, people made life; each living being, creating in some fashion, their own art on the canvas of life. The Great Spirit gave them the gift of free will to paint their own life. It was inevitable that each person affected others around him, be it good or evil. It appeared that more and more, evil marred the canvas. His choice was colors in beautiful hues and light where his people could bask in beauty and peace. John was deep in thought when he heard the closing of the side storm door. It would be his father coming for him.

         “Old John” walked around the house and his son looked up and his father’s face. His old familiar expression was gone. Replaced by an unreadable expression that he had never witnessed before. He was quiet and solemn and spoke just above a whisper.

         “Are you ready to go?” he asked.

         “How long will we be gone?” his son asked.

         Old John shrugged, “A few days.”

         John nodded. “What about Mother?”

         “Her sister will be here with her. She will look after her needs.”

         John nodded in approval as Old John sat on the bench next to his namesake. “Your bags packed?” He took the joint from his son and took a hit, inhaling deeply and exhaling that with a sigh. Neither wanted to go on this journey, but it was paramount that it happened.

         “They’re already in the car, Father. I wish we didn’t have to do this.”

         “I don’t want to either, Son, but we have to talk with your grandfather. He already knows, but he thinks he can help.” Old John replied.

         “It’s been over a year since we’ve seen him. I really miss him. But, I don’t understand how he can help.” John said quietly.

         Grandfather was the last in the family to leave the Navajo Nation after he inherited 400 acres of land in the north of Minnesota. It was all woods and Grandfather ensured it would be a nature preserve and daily he roamed his domain, using all his senses to take in his world. He would listen to the voices hidden in the breezes. He would smell the woods and flowers and sometimes even harvest some morel mushrooms...a delicacy he had never experienced before now. He guarded the land jealously from trespassers and didn’t hesitate firing a shot over someone’s head.

         He also kept secret how he inherited the land in the first place. Grandfather rarely left the reservation, where he was respected and revered. Sometimes he would help a person in the city that believed in his power. So the speculation was that a white man had willed him the land in appreciation for something he had done. Most settled on that theory, but no one really knew, not even his son. No doubt that it was a beautiful piece of land. He even had a waterfall, small, but spring fed. Often, he would drink from its cool waters. It was his home and he planned to die here, preferably in the woods with the other animals that inhabited his land.

         It was a fifteen hour drive to his property and Old John could only communicate by mail. It was a pain in the ass, but he understood his father and one day it would belong to Old John after promising he would change nothing except perhaps the living quarters. That suited his father just fine. There was a family trust that would never be broken in that clan. If Old John promised, that would be enough.

They sat in silence then, smoking and enjoying the early morning. The golden hue had gradually morphed into little points of light as the sun climbed. Old John handed the roach to his son and affectionately squeezed his shoulder. They were very good about communicating without many words. Some people considered it a bit spooky. Old John stood, stretched, and headed back inside. “Getting my stuff.”

John stood too, and headed toward their car. They were taking the ‘77 Oldsmobile Regency. It was old, but it was still air tight and your ears popped when you shut the doors and it drove like a dream. It didn’t ride down the road so much as floated. It drank gas, but the comfort was more than worth the extra fuel. It was in wonderful condition, save for a few minor cracks in the leather seats. All original with the exception of the CD player Old John had installed. His mind drifted pleasantly and thankfully away from Heaven. He jumped a bit when the driver’s door suddenly opened and Big John entered and heaved his bag in the back seat with a grunt. He sighed sinking back into the seat and started the car.

“Mom sends her blessings,” said Old John. He adjusted the air conditioner and felt the Olds purr as if to say, “Let’s roll!” After he was settled, he shifted the car into reverse. He took out a handful of joints and handed them to his son. “Here, put these in the glove compartment—something for the road.” John dutifully took them and tossed them into the spacious glove compartment. “Ready, son?” John nodded silently and the car rolled back and into the quiet streets.
It started down the street and out of their subdivision. It was a pretty nice neighborhood, but John was happy to be leaving it behind for a while. Every revolution of the tires took him further away from his depressing thoughts, if only for a while. He instinctively knew that Old John was thinking the same thing. They were leaving a home full of misery and sorrow and the road stretched ahead. Old John detested interstate travel and preferred the two lane, no matter the condition of the road, the Olds floated along...smoothing the ride. It wasn’t long before they left the town and a black ribbon of asphalt lay ahead. John turned on the CD player and Jethro Tull was bungling in the Jungle. He again wondered how Grandfather could help, or what help even inferred, but he harbored a sense of hope in his gut.
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