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paranormal romance, urban fantasy, reincarnation romance

Empty moccasins THOMAS awoke with no idea where he was. It was dark and the air was used up. A heavy canvas covered his face. He tossed his head and sucked in great gulps of sweet fresh cold air. It was dark outside the tarp, also. He saw brilliant stars just above the tops of the ponderosa pines.

He felt warm, except his feet. He sensed a luscious weight on him, heavy, warm and soft. What is happening-? Oh, my God. I fell in the water. And this - he embraced the delicious form lying on him. She doesn't move. She's dead! He raised his head, then felt warm breath on his neck, and moved his hands and felt the smooth warm skin of her back and bottom. No. She's warm. She's asleep. She's in here with me. She saved my life. And she's here naked with me.

Thomas fell into a dream, or a memory not his. Under a blanket, ages ago. Yearning. Come with me. Come west with me. He sensed the other, the soft warm companion, wanting to but refusing. Come with me. But she did not.

The dream, if it was a dream, changed into what he recognized as memories, his own real memories - his childhood and the other children's mockery. The sing-song, You're a dirty Injun. Ya yaya ya-ya.

They're not dirty. They're just like us.

Just like you. Pretending you're a dirty lnjun.

He felt the tears of anger and confusion again. Why do they hate me? Why do they hate Indians and want to hurt them, and me? I wish I WAS an Indian.

He heard the taunts again. You never ever even saw an Injun! Did ya? Huh? You ever see an Injun, Thomas? Huh?

No! You killed 'em all! There hasn't been one in this county for way more'n a hundred years!

The memories faded to the tune of the teasing sing-song. Ya yaya ya-ya.

Thomas embraced his warm sleeping companion. She saved my life. She took off my clothes and stuffed me in here, and took her own clothes off and crawled in here with me - and saved my life. An Indian - someone I knew was special. He patted her shoulder.

As he dozed again he heard a formal debate. It was another older memory - or a dream. In the warm smoky Long House, the chiefs were debating, holding council. Shall it be peace or war?

We must stay out of their war.

We must join the winning side, and benefit.

We never benefit. Our warriors die, and our children starve. One group or the other of them benefits. They want us all dead.

Thomas heard a voice, which felt like his own, saying, I'm leaving. In his dream he sensed - aha! that's me talking. A young brown man in deerskin clothing was announcing to the assembled council, I'm leaving.

Are you counseling migration?

I'm saying I'm leaving.

You cannot counsel one man leaving.

Yes, then. I counsel we all leave. Migrate. Go far. Far away from these who have brought nothing but misery and death to us. But whether the People migrate or not, I am leaving.

You cannot. It is bad counsel. One cannot leave without The People.

The People are doomed, here. The Lenni Lenape will all die. You are all doomed, if you stay here. Just as my own people are now gone. I am the last. The Susquehannocks are like smoke. The river has our name. Even Yellowhair uses it. But that is all that is left of the Susquehannocks. Dead. Vanished. All but one. And I am leaving.

A madness has struck him. He cannot live without the People.

And the People cannot live with Yellowhair. Therefore, I am leaving.

Thomas felt in his dream the loneliness, the desperation of the last Susquehannock. I am going far away. West. Far west, away from Yellowhair. As he dreamed, he clung to Flora, who slept on top of him in the Jemez Mountains under a tarp under frosty stars.

© 1987, Harry Willson

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