The Trading Post Part 4
Ellie vaguely remembered the passage through time. She wasn't even sure that she had done so. She shivered as the bite of Winters cold touched her skin. It took a moment for her to realize that not only did she feel the cold, she could see the snow on the ground that was causing her to wrap her arms tightly around herself. Tears flowed and froze against her cheek. She took in the fields of snow like a child going to an amusement park for the first time. The excitement of seeing again took some of the chill away for a moment. An Indian maiden approached her, carrying what looked to be the hide of a bear. She placed the hide over Ellie's shoulders and as quickly as she had appeared, she was gone.
Tee-pee's lined the rivers edge in front of her and a small fire burned inside a circle of stones. She walked to the fire and held her hands above the flames to warm them. Children ran in and out of the tee-pees, sometimes nearly naked. Ellie wondered how they could stand the bitter cold dressed that way. A young girl came to her and slowly, as if afraid of Ellie, touched the fabric that her jeans were made of.
"What is your name?"
The little girl looked up at Ellie for a moment and then ran back to the tee-pee she had come from. Ellie tried hard to understand where she was and why she could see again. The latter part mattered only for reasoning's purpose. She was only happy to have her sight back. She was startled from her surveying of the beautiful landscape by a voice she recognized as the Chief's. She turned to face him.
"You have many questions for us that will be answered when You are ready to hear them. You are free to walk where you wish but do not wander in to the trees. There are others out there that would Not be kind to you. You are safe as long as you stay near our people."
"Where is Daniel? Why isn't he here with me?"
"Daniel too is on a journey. He must find what is important to him and what is not. Many take life as a given and do not think of what their actions may bring to another. You sought to cause a time gone long ago to be reborn. You did not give thought to those your actions would effect. Because of your blindness, you lost your sight."
"Then why can I see here? Why did you give something back to me when I know you are simply going to take it away again?"
"You must see with your eyes why our people, our lives, faded into what is only a dim memory, even for my own people. To truly see all of this, you must meld with the past and become party of it."
As the Chief spoke, Ellie could feel a change inside as well as outside of her body. Her hair was suddenly longer and cold black. Her eyes lost their brightness and became brown. She could sense a difference in her body and mind. "What is happening here?!?!?!? Why am I changing? What are you doing to me?????? Please stop! You took my sight and Now, you want to take my identity!"
"In your tongue, Ellie is from Ellen or Helen, meaning "most beautiful woman." In my tongue, you are Nizhoni-kimama meaning "beautiful butterfly." We knew you would leave us one day and join the white man. You always followed their ways. This is who you were many times gone by. Now see our life through the eyes you once looked through."
"What are you talking about? I am not Native American!" As she spoke, she could feel herself changing. Things began to look as if she had always been right where she was. The camp was now familiar, though she was still not sure how or why. The other women came out of their tents. They hugged her and smiled as they led Ellie into "her" tee-pee. As she walked with them, she looked across the fields. She prayed she would see Daniel coming to save her. She whispered his name as she softly cried. "Daniel, my love, please... come take me away from here. Please..."
He stared at the man behind the counter. He wanted to believe he had Not heard what the man had asked him for. He felt a bit weak and dizzy. As he stepped back towards the door, another man held it shut, blocking Daniel's only exit. He could feel his leg healing again. His world went dark once more and when he awoke, he was in the dress of a soldier from long ago. A Long Rifle lay beside him, along with a map, showing an Indian encampment not Far from the Trading Post. He picked up his rifle as if he had carried it forever. He saw men's lips moving but he could hear nothing. He asked one of the men what was happening to him.
"Oh shoot, deaf guy, I fergot you couldn't hear us. We are going to that camp on the map to wipe out some indian. They keep messing with our rail road supplies. It won't take long at all."
Daniel didn't understand it all yet. He only knew he needed to go with them. All he really wanted was to find his beautiful Ellie.