The American Indian tribe was nestled safe in the bosom of the high dessert hills. Very little activity could be spotted from my vantage point. It seemed as though they all retired to one individual abode and were perhaps preparing their evening meal. However, I felt the need to kneel down behind a clump of cacti and sage, just to be sure I couldn’t be seen.
For the longest time, all I could hear was a distant call of a coyote. Behind me the sun was setting and it cast a vibrant vermilion light against the rocky and jagged hills. A red-tailed hawk seemed to appreciate the view as it called from overhead. A lonely cry to untrained ears, but I knew she was busy searching for a jackrabbit to fill her own belly.
The granite and shale ground below my feet crunched when I shifted my weight. I was waiting a long time for my target to appear. A cowboy: An Indian killer. A heartless man who saw the local tribes as mere savages. But I knew better. I knew each tribe was filled with families; parents who loved their children as much as the white man loved theirs. They weren’t savages, they were as important to me as water and air. The remaining tribes in this area were symbols of freedom, of carving a life out of the wilderness and thriving, of feeling the wind through your hair as you ride a painted pony. Freedom.
A snap of brush caused me to look back. It was just as I had predicted. The cowboy would arrive with the setting sun. To attack the small camp as they were inside, enjoying their supper. Anger boiled up inside of me. How dare this man kill for no reason? How dare he take the lives of innocent people just because of his own ignorance!
He came closer, holding his horse’s reigns in one hand and a rifle in the other. I could see his graying mustache warming his upper lip like a fur cape. My stomach turned at the site of him. I looked over to where I left my own pony. She was hiding behind an outcropping of rocks nearly thirty yards from where I was hiding. I wasn’t sure what my next move would be, should I run down the hill, shouting to warn the camp, or lead the cowboy away towards my horse? When I looked back at him, his steel eyes were staring at me!
My heart leapt as I ran down the hillside, hurdling over barrel cacti and sagebrush. I would warn the others of his arrival, I would save the tribe and ruin his plans, I would…fall into a yucca plant.
At that moment, as I pulled myself from the spikes of the yucca and yanked a needle out of one of the knuckles of my fingers, the cowboy disappeared, the pony disappeared, and the tribe I was trying to save turned into a green and white Winnebago motorhome. As I held my injured hand and gingerly slid down to the campsite, I knew there was a medicine man inside that Winnebago; a medicine man called ‘Mom’ with a box of Band-Aids.
Jennifer L. Caddell is a published science fiction short story writer with a BA in English. She is currently writing her first book in a space trilogy. Jennifer lives in the wet and wonderful Pacific Northwest with her superhero husband and stellar children. Check out her blog at http://jcaddell.wordpress.com