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[Fiction] Ptesan-Wi - Going on


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It was a bracing cold morning as she moved aside the covering door of her home on the sacred mountain. She walked among the monoliths that lined what would have been her front yard. In the dawn’s early light she could see the brilliant fall colors of the surrounding countryside starting to fade as the leaves of the season succumbed to the frost that now coated the land.

She paused at the end of the row studying the one lone shattered monolith. All had been works of supreme art that had brought the spirit of each piece of granite to life. She knelt and picked up a fist sized rock from the broken mess. She began to get misty eyed even realizing she had began to miss the temper of the one responsible for the destruction. However Ptesan-Wi was strong and as she lay the stone back with it’s brethren she sniffled away the tears dismissing them as she had the others in the months since he had left.

Two trails lay in front of her; one went down into the valley a clear beautiful stream, her garden, the cabin he had built for her. The other led up the mountainside to the ridge peak of the northern face of Inyan Kara where the nearly complete medicine wheel he had built lay beneath the great sky. Brushing a braid back over her shoulder Ptesan-Wi had work to do that day. The garden needed to be prepared for winter but, she looked up the hill. She wanted to visit him in any way she could.

She began to step forward but caught herself as her friend falcon told her someone was coming up the valley trail. Calming herself and cleansing the melancholy of loneliness she put on a placid face for the visitor. It was good it took them more than ten minutes to reach where she stood since it took her that long to finally compose herself. Tina, it was Tina, the only person in the village that looked at Wakinyan as family instead of a holy man. She had treated him like a kid brother his entire life and she had never let his new status change that.

“Good morning Ptesan-Wi.” She came up and offered a hug to the girl which she readily took. Returning the warm hug she couldn’t help but wonder what had brought Tina up here, she was by no means athletic and her winded state reflected that fact. The older woman had never come up here in over a year since the place had been built. “Good morning Tina. What brings you up to the home of Wakinyan?” For her part the chubby woman recovered enough to speak without total loss of breath. “It’s your home too girl. “ She scolded playfully. “I hadn’t seen you in awhile and I wanted to visit.”

“I don’t have any breakfast prepared.” Ptesan-Wi said apologetically to which Tina quickly responded. “Like I cannot afford to miss a breakfast.” She teased to which the beautiful Lakota goddess had to smile. Tina had her way of speaking and perhaps it was blunt at times but it was unique and hers.

“Would you like to go inside? It is cold out here this morning.”

“After that hike I am no where near cold. But would you like to head into Sundance and maybe do some shopping?”

“I don’t really need to do much shopping anymore.”

“Didn’t say you needed to I asked if you would like to.”

Ptesan-Wi looked down the valley at her garden in the distance then back to Tina, the garden could wait one day. So she nodded "Sure I would like that." then together they turned and walked back down the mountain. Down seemed to be easier on Tina than up and as they walked they spoke of things. Events at the Pow Wow, goings on around Oglala, small talk that kept a rapport strong between them until they where finally down to the road where the big red pickup truck of Wakinyan’s waited. He had let Tina and her family use the truck since he had never any real use for it and they did get good use of it.

As the two women buckled themselves in Tina turned down the country music she had been listening too. “Do you want to get some clothes? You don’t have to do the indian maiden thing all the time you know.” They pulled out onto a county road and Ptesan-Wi shook her head. “I don’t think so. I like making my own clothing. I don’t really miss the other stuff.” That was somewhat a lie and Tina called her on it. “Well you know Daniel gave us a lot of money. Every time he did anything to make some cash he made sure Mike the kids and I were taken care of. We didn’t need it but he was always so insistent so we didn’t refuse him we just put it all in separate account.” Ptesan-Wi looked across the cab at the dark haired woman and she glanced back as they accelerated down the road.. “You can spend a little of it. Really. “

It happened so fast that neither saw the deer leap into the roadway until the bright red grill of the Dodge Gryphon truck struck it. Tina jerked the wheel on instinct; gravel flew as the tires dug hard into the road. Overcorrecting the truck went sideways but in that moment the speed of thought had caught up to the small dark haired beauty her eyes radiated a glowing white as the truck jerked causing them both to lurch in their seatbelts then come to a sudden rest. Her power kept the truck tires firmly on the ground and kept it from rolling off the road into a nearby stream. All was silent, the engine idled until Tina clicked off the ignition her foot still jammed hard down onto the brake.

“Are you okay Ptesan-Wi!” She finally managed to stammer and got a nod from the buck skin clad girl as she slipped off her seatbelt and climbed out of the truck.

Sunlight was dipping into the valley now as it rose higher into the sky but the air was still crisp. Tina got out and made her way to the front of the truck to inspect the damage. Ptesan-Wi hurried quickly down the embankment, her mind locking on to the dying creature they had struck before she even saw it in the weeds bloody and broken.

Pain and fear poured from the helpless deer as it wheezed for breath. There was no hesitation from the young girl she simply knelt beside stroking it gently. Her mind opened and love and warmth comforted the dying animal. She brought up memories of happier times when it had been a fawn cavorting in meadows of a summer now past. Despite the shock of the accident all her care was for the pitiful creature. She began to sing a Lakota lullaby as she drew the small knife from the hidden sheath in her clothing. With its mind at ease Ptesan-Wi ended the suffering of the young buck as tears flowed freely from her large expressive eyes.

Tina watched from the road as the young wife of her little bother did what she had to do. She began crying and was still doing so when Ptesan-Wi walked back up the embankment the dead deer floating in the air behind her. Wiping her bloody hands on her tunic the girl looked at the older woman. “Is the truck okay?” Tina nodded wiping away tears. “The grill is smashed but everything else is fine.” She sniffled as she watched the girl lower the deer into the back of the truck. “Are you okay hun?” “It never gets easier to do that.” Ptesan-Wi replied in a sad and quiet voice of what she had just done. “He shouldn’t be wasted on the side of the road. Some of the organs have burst but I can still get a lot out of him.”

Tina nodded again as she moved to get back into the truck. “I would like to go to town with you but I should take care of him.” Ptesan-Wi said quietly. “The longer I let the buck lay the more meat will be ruined.” Tina wiped her eyes and started the truck back up. “Sure maybe tomorrow then?” Still beautiful despite the blood marring her clothing she nodded with a smile. “Tomorrow.”

So instead of spending the day out in the world Ptesan-Wi spent it preparing the animal who had died though a bad turn of fate. It was a yearling buck, one no hunter would have been interested in taking. Between the damage that had been caused to it and its small size she could not harvest as much as she would have normally but still she persevered and by the time the sun was setting in the west the skin was curing and the meat was already smoking. What she had not used she buried in her garden as she promised him before the final light died in his mind, that his life would not be wasted..

It was well past dark as she made it back to the monoliths that decorated the entrance to her home. She was tired and cold, the fact that there was no huge warm body waiting for her caused her to chill further. The only comfort was the squeak of small furry little friend who scampered to her. She stooped and held out her hand for the chipmunk who did not hesitate to climb into her still bloodstained hands. “Did you have a good day collecting treats for winter?” She asked with a motherly voice. The little creature squeaked happily and Ptesan-Wi smiled. She began to make her way to the large door but then paused and looked up the path to the ridge of the mountain. “What say you and I go say goodnight to my Husband. I am sure you miss him as well.” Chipmunk didn’t reply but only curled up into a ball in her hand.

The night air grew colder and she was shivering visibly by the time she reached the great wheel her husband had been working so hard on. The stars in the sky stretched a great river from one horizon to the other. The sky was only marred by the red blink of a lone jet traveling in the night. She was silent in this holy place, but temptation got the better of her and she let her mind flow out over the world as far as she could grasp. Her mind looking for her husband, but it was in vain he was not there as she knew he would not be but hoped that he might. “Goodnight, my mihinga ki.” She whispered into the air a puff of steam rising from her lips. With her friend in hand the girl who had became Ptesan-Wi turned and began her descent back down the mountain to her home. On that very spot, worlds away a homesick boy who had become Wakinyan looked up into the unmarred starry night sky. His beak did not move but the whisper could still be heard. “Goodnight, my tawicu.”

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