The Trading Post part 6
She stared out of her tee-pee at the woman gathering all of their goods and wrapping them. The children were dressed in long furs and babies wrapped tightly in carriers adorned the backs of the young women. She did not remember falling asleep but she could tell by the Sun that time had elapsed since she was brought to the camp. All of the warriors had left the camp, all except the Chief. Ellie tried to leave her tee-pee but was pushed gently back inside by two of the women.
"I must talk to the Chief, please. There has been a mistake and I shouldn't be here."
"You must stay here until it is over, Nizhoni. It is the only way you will be free."
Ellie wondered how the Chief had moved so quickly. She opened her tee-pee and let him inside. "I deserve to know why I am here. If I am to die, then tell me who it is I am supposed to be."
"Long since your time with Daniel, you belonged to our people. You were loved by all and we thought you would be the one to lead us back to the forests. Instead, you chose the life of the white man and left us here. Many lifetimes have passed and you have forgotten your roots and your people."
"I forgot none of it. I came back to the bridge, to the place where my people had suffered and tried to give back some of it's beauty to those that still lived. I use to come to the bridge before the trains came, when the bridge was only a huge tree, fallen above the river-bed so that we could cross and..." Ellie stopped herself for a moment. Why had she spoken those words as if she had been here before?
"You end your words in confusion but if you search your heart, you will know the answer. You Did come to the river-bed before there was a bridge. You would wander as a child and we would search for you, sometimes for days. We always found you..."
"Outside the camps being set up by the workers of the railroad. But not me, my great grandmother wrote of such things in her journal. She told of how she would go to watch them working. She wanted to live their way and have fine dresses and shoes. She told how she tried so hard to help her people by going to the white man and asking them for help. That is how she met my grandfather and married him. She even built the school to try and teach the children of the tribe."
"Nizhoni, you were blinded then and tried to teach the children the white man's tongue. We did not want to know their words or ways."
"Why do you continue to say it was me? I don't understand."
"Do you remember your parents? Have you found anything of them?"
"They were killed when I was a baby. I was raised by sisters in a shelter. Nuns that gave me love and education, and that passed on the journal so that I would know something about my heritage. The only thing I have always wondered about is why my grandmother did not tell about her children. There was never any mention of children. My mother wrote some before she died. She wanted to restore the school house but never had the chance. That is why I did it. She wrote about riding out here on her..." Ellie stopped herself again. She remembered seeing a Bike, laying across the railroad tracks, one time before she lost her sight. The bike looked as if it had been run over by the train.
"You came back here, fifty years later, on the two wheels you call a bike. You tried to find where your home had been but it was buried under sand and sage-brush. You were young then and not careful. The train came quickly and you could not escape."
"No, you are wrong! That was someone else. I remember reading about it. Some little girl that they never found a name for. No family came to claim her or report her as missing. It stayed un-solved. But even my sight is explained because my family all had eye diseases and so I knew I would lose my sight one day. My mother was losing her sight just before she died."
"Time has passed, Nizhoni. There were no names in the journal because there were no babies born. You have simply been reborn and now, you have come a full circle. You did not see the train until it was too close to get away from. Your Eyes were blinded because you could not see what the white man had done to us."
Ellie looked at the Chief. She thought about all he had said. Though she did not want it too, it made more sense than the life she had tried to make of the journal and her parents death. She had died two times and now, she feared the same fate awaited her. She thought of the love of her life and wondered where Daniel was. How she wished she could see him, look at his face just one more time before she died again. Tears ran down her face as she called out his name. She wanted him to hear her, to come and save her.
There was a noise behind the tee-pee. The screams of a woman filled the forest. There was more screaming as shots rang out. Ellie looked out of her tee-pee. Soldiers were all around the camp. The Chief was no where to be seen. She could see one of the soldiers riding his horse through the trees. He looked as if he were running away from the camp. He looked familiar to her. Then, fear filled her heart as she recognized him. It had taken a minute because she had not see his face in 8 years. He was older, more mature, but it was still her Daniel.
"My God, please don't let him kill anyone. Please, don't let him kill me," was all Ellie could say.