Triand In The In-Between
TRIAND in the IN-BETWEEN
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO PROFESSOR MARCIL WHO HELPED ME REMEMBER THAT AGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ABILITY AND THAT DEMENTIA AND A DERANGED MIND CAN OFTEN BE AN ASSET. THANK YOU ALSO, TO MY GRAND DAUGHTER, MORIAH AND MY FOSTER SON, BOBBY FOR ALWAYS BEING THERE, AND TO EVERYONE ELSE WHO HAS STOOD BESIDE ME ALONG THE WAY. GODDESS BLESSINGS ON ALL OF YOU.
MARTHA ‘GIPSIECRONE’ BOWMAN
Triand In The In-Between (Introduction )
T.K. was an ordinary twelve year old –WAS being the operative word. He lived on a farm in Indiana with his Mother, Father, 4 year old sister, Katie and Nana, the most important person in his life. He climbed trees, played baseball, ran, swam and did everything else most boys his age did. Then he turned thirteen, his Destiny manifested: and everything changed – FOREVER.
What an awesome day December 21 began as; it was the first day of Christmas Vacation, Solstice (the first day of winter and the New Year’s Eve in the Old Ways), and my thirteenth birthday. We’d also had our first good snow the night before so I decided to go up the hill after I finished chores.
“Mom, I’m going sledding, Okay?” I said sticking my head in the door of the kitchen where she was icing my birthday cake while Katie sat at the table working on another project.
“Don’t come in!” my little sister screamed.
“Mommy, don’t let him in, he’ll see his present.”
“Hush, Katie. He’s not going to see anything” she said turning towards me and motioning me to stop at the door.
After I’d ridden my sled for a while I sat down on a hollow log to watch some squirrels scurrying after each other over by the tree line. I’m not sure how long I’d been sitting there before I heard what sounded like a woman calling my name.
I listened, in a moment it came again.
“TK, go home, now! There’s a storm brewing and trouble’s riding on the wind with it. Go now before it’s too late.” I didn’t wonder until later where the warning had come from or why she had called me TK, I just grabbed my sled and quickly started home.
The wind was picking up fast. The sky seemed to change instantly to a dark foreboding grey, shadows lengthened and a thick fog came in. I gratefully turned on the flash light Mother had insisted I bring.
By the time I reached the house the snow was blowing so hard I could barely see beyond the beam of my light; as I crossed the yard a chill went down my spine and I was filled with a sense of foreboding. I ran up on the porch and slammed the door behind me.
“I’m home.” I yelled stripping off my boots and my wet, frozen, coat and gloves at the door.
“Where is everyone?” I yelled again running up the stairs to change clothes.
There was no answer. Then it hit me: the van wasn’t in the driveway where it should have been and the house was dark except for one light in the front room. The house was quiet, too quiet. Frantically I ran back down the stairs to the kitchen just as the phone rang.
“Trebor, its Mom. Thank God you’re home.” I heard when I picked it up on the second ring.
“Your Dad and I are at the hospital with Nana. She’s had a Stroke and the doctors are not sure she’s going to make it. Katie’s at The Pearson’s and Dad will be home as soon as the blizzard stops. I’m staying here so Nana won’t be alone if she wakes up. I’m glad you’re safe.”
“We were worried with the storm coming in so quickly and all. I’m sorry about your birthday, Honey. We’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
“Don’t worry Mom, I can take care of myself, like Nana said, I’m a man now. “
I turned up the heat to get rid of the icy chill that filled the house then went through every room turning on lights to dispel the heavy gloom. Back downstairs I knocked on Nana’s door out of habit. Going in, I picked up her medicine pouch and the eagle feather she kept beside her bed then headed for the kitchen to make a sandwich.
Later I went back upstairs to get my pillow and a quilt and lay down on the couch; if the phone rang or someone came home I wanted to be right there. I thought about opening the presents that were sitting on the table beside my cake – after all – it was my birthday, but decided against it. That’s what a kid would do and I wasn’t a kid anymore, besides those things just didn’t seem as important to me as they had this morning.
I spent a restless night waiting to hear something. I’d doze off and have the weirdest dreams then wake up suddenly, thinking I’d heard the phone ring or someone talking. A few times I thought I heard the same voice that I’d heard on the hill and once I thought I heard Nana. Somehow I made it through the night though, and shortly after daylight I heard the van pulling up the drive.
“Help your Mother, Son. She needs you.” Dad said as he went by me to put Katie down on the couch.
After I’d gotten Mother inside, I helped her get her coat off. Then I ran upstairs to their room to get her some slippers, a sweater, and a warm blanket while Dad made her a cup of coffee and got her medicine out of the cabinet.
Back downstairs I stopped outside Nana’s door and listened for a moment. I’m not sure what I expected but it definitely wasn’t the sensation of despair and hate I felt accompanied by a low rasping breathing that seemed to be coming from inside her room.
“Not now. Go to your Mother, she needs you,” came the voice in my head again.
In the living room Dad put the blanket over Mother’s lap and handed her sweater to her. Then leaning down and brushing his lips against her chestnut hair he whispered something before leading a giggling Katie into the kitchen. After they’d gone Mother patted the couch beside her and motioned for me to sit down, I thought I knew what was coming and I didn’t want to hear it.
“What are these doing out here?” she asked handing me the pouch and eagle feather I had brought out of Nana’s room the night before.
I shrugged my shoulders and opened my mouth to tell some half- truth about wanting to feel close to her. Instead I found myself recounting the feelings of unease and fear when I walked in the house last night and about the woman’s warning in the woods and how when I walked past Nana’s room I just got this feeling that I had to take those things to keep them safe from something really bad. I told her about the dreams and about hearing Nana tell me to;
“Guard the Teachings and follow The Old Ways.” Then I told her about what happened in the hall a little while ago.
“Wait! Do you know what time you thought you heard Nana? Are you sure that’s what she said?”
“About 4:00, I saw the clock when I got up to get a drink and I had just lain back down. Why”
“Your Grandmother died this morning a little after 4:30. She only woke up for a few minutes and one of the last things she said was ‘Tell Prince Triand to Follow the Old Ways; they’ll keep him safe.’
Dad came in the room just then carrying the cake; he was shadowed by Katie pulling her wagon which was filled with presents and everything else needed for a belated birthday celebration.
After the cake and ice cream, which no one except Katie wanted much of; Dad put the packages that had been left on the table the evening before into Mother’s lap.
“Mine first! Mine first!” Katie yelled bouncing up and down on the couch and waving a smudged piece of paper she gripped in her tiny hand.
“All right, Brat,” I laughed, grabbing her up to give her a hug.
I smoothed the paper out on the coffee table expecting to see one of her usual colorful scribbles but was surprised to find it was a drawing I actually recognized as a map of some kind.
“It’s the In-Between land. Nana helped me with it before the White Lady came with the snow. She showed me where to put the dark, they’re the bad parts, the pretty colors are for the other people where they still are, and she gave me her writing book in case I forgot. “
“She said every – every? I forget what she called it but she meant you – needs a map so you don’t get lost, or killed, or something.”
“Katie it’s beautiful, but do you still have Nana’s writing book? The one she gave you so you could remember everything?” Mother asked looking over my shoulder.
“Nope, Nana’s gone. She don’t need it no more. She said give it to TK when I was through, it was his now. I put it in his room - like she told me. Where’d Nana go Mommy?”
“Here’s your other present Trebor, it’s just from me, not me and Nana. Open it. I made it all by myself.”
Katie’s other gift was some stones and other things she had collected along the creek bed and painted then glued on a piece of card board around a picture of herself. At the bottom she’d drawn some squiggly blue lines, a house and a heart.
“I love it Katie. I’m going to put it on my shelf so it doesn’t get messed up and every time I look at it I’ll think of you.”
Mother handed me two packages from her and Dad. The first held an intricately hand carved wooden box with a lock and key. The letters TWK (Trebor Wambeeska Kearney) had been burned into the top. Inside was a pearl handled pocket knife wrapped in six handkerchiefs that had the same three initials inside an eagle feather painstakingly embroidered in the corner of each one.
“Thank You,” was all I could manage before grabbing my cup and trying to swallow around the huge lump that was catching in my throat.
The other gift actually brought tears to my eyes which I quickly tried to hide. It contained a bedroll, a compass, a bow and a beaded sheaf of arrows along with a pair of moccasins and a traditional Sioux tribal costume.
“You’ll need these for your manhood initiation and vision quest in a few months,” Dad said pointing to the leggings and shirt. “Your Grandmother told Mother who to call to have them made for you”
“I think I need a cup of coffee.” Mother said suddenly reaching for her cane as Dad helped her up.
“That sounds great.” Dad said as he followed her out.
A few minutes later when my parents walked back into the living room Mother’s eyes were red and swollen. She reached over to pick up the Medicine Pouch and eagle feather she had left lying on the coffee table.
“A couple of months ago Nana told me, if something happened to her before your birthday, I should make sure you received these. She also said there is a letter in her bedside table you are to have which will explain a lot of things but that you ‘re not to open it until after your Initiation Ceremony is completed.”
“I guess she gave them to you herself after all, didn’t she?” she said turning back to look at me as she and Dad went up the stairs together.
I turned on the cartoons for Katie and gathering up my things followed them up the stairs to my room where I stayed most of the day.
Note to my readers
TRIAND In The IN-Between is now out online in paperback through Friesen Press and can also be found online at Amazon, Barnes n Noble and other sites so the remaining chapters have been removed from publication online. Please purchase the book. Thank you.
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