Samson written by Dean Horton
CHAPTER 6 ‘The new recruit’
The Killdeer Mountains; North Dakota 9.15 local time:
The Blue Ford pick-up pulled to a stop, sending a cloud of dust bellowing around it; it had stopped on an old dirt track; the track looked like it had not been used for a good while. A young Native American Indian man exited the truck, he wore a pinstripe suit his long hair tied in a bobble around the back of his head; his boyish looks made him seem early twenties where in fact his real age was thirty two. He breathed in the air around him, smiling to himself as he closed his eyes; feeling at home in the sun and feeling at home with nature. The driver’s side door was still open as he unbuttoned his suit jacket, folding it neatly he placed it on the headrest; next he unbuttoned his shirt and placed that on top of the jacket, every item was placed neatly, precisely and gently down one on top of the other. The young man was now topless, his torso was immaculately tuned; his muscles rippled in the sun as he reached into the truck and pulled out a black vest; he slipped it over his head and slipped his arms one by one into the arm holes; pulling it down over his tensed stomach. His hands went to his belt where he continued his undressing ritual, undoing the belt he pulled it free from the loops in his trousers then following this he slipped out of his trousers; he folded these and placed them with the other items on the headrest. Reaching into the truck again he pulled out a pair of loose fitting combat shorts they were of the desert style and colour. Once the shorts were fastened around his waist he reached into the foot-well and withdrew his hands as they clutched something. The Indian man looked at the items he held in his hands; a pair of handmade moccasin ankle boots he placed his feet into each one and tied them firmly around his ankles. Most people in this day and age would choose a pair of hiking boots or trainers, but the young man knew that the ankle boots he now wore were what his ancestors had chosen to wear in the current climate and terrain! This exact type of shoe had been used by his people from generation to generation, century through century through century and he himself had been brought up in them as a child, so why change just because the modern way was different the old way is always the best way he thought to himself, contented with his choice.
The young Native American Indian man pulled out a clothes hanger and began placing his shirt and suit neatly onto the hanger, when this was complete he hung it on the handrail above the passenger seat of the pick-up. Also on the passenger seat was a belt; on the belt hung a nine inch Bowie knife and two leather pouches; the man fastened the belt around his waist, he tied the knife holster around his thigh to stop the blade part from banging loose. Last of all he pulled out a hydration pack which he had previously filled with water before he had drove to this deserted spot of wilderness, he popped the pack onto his back and strapped that around his waist some of the new ways are better though he smiled to himself.
Once he was kitted out he quietly closed the pick-up door and locked it using the key fob. He walked around to the front of the truck and crouching down near the grille he reached his hand around and under the grille where he hooked the key fob onto a small hook which was impossible to see by the naked eye. The young Indian stood up and stretched out his arms; his muscles cracked in several places; his head rolled around in small circles. He bent over and using his palms he touched the ground several times, then rising he gently rolled his shoulders and arms. One at a time he bought each foot up and holding it with his hand he held it into his buttock, his muscles felt loose, he nodded. Closing his eyes tightly he breathed in deeply through his nose then he released the breath out; his mind savoured the feel of the wild, he opened his eyes and began walking; after thirty or forty metres he began to jog steadily; the gradient began to climb!
The Rocky Mountains 9.45 local time:
Samson trudged through the forest; the crow flew past his head and landed on a branch up ahead, where it waited; waited for Samson! As Samson passed by the crow they both looked at each other; the crow’s black eyes followed him as he passed, Samson was feeling nervous, and he could feel his heart rate increasing. Once Samson had gone around twenty metres past the crow, the bird took off into flight and flew along the path; past Samson where it again landed on a branch ten paces up ahead; it watched Samson approach; its black eyes piercing into him. The bird was annoying him now; more like worrying him I’ll take another route; walk away from the damn bird Samson changed his course and began walking away from the crow. As Samson walked he heard a familiar sound as the crow flew past him and landed on a branch further along the path.
Is this damn bird following me? Something did not feel right about the bird; turning around sharply Samson began walking back on his original route; that was until the crow flew back past him again; landing further along his route, perching on a sugar maple branch, the crow cackled. This time Samson carried on walking past the crow, his path took him right under the branch where the crow perched; where the crow perched watching him, once he was past the bird he began to run, the run became a sprint. Samson rounded a couple of corners on the path, if that was what you could call it, it was actually more like an animal track than a path that humans had made; but still it beat trying to make his own path, Samson ran on, not hesitating to look behind. I’ve got to get away from that bird, the sooner the better as he ran on he could feel the dryness in his throat again; it almost felt rough as though it had been rubbed with sandpaper!
The Killdeer Mountains; North Dakota 9.55 local time:
The young Indian man walked into the clearing; the old man sat fifty metres away near several rocks; he sat cross-legged next to the remnants of a camp fire; his face painted. The old man was clearly deep in thought; the young man stopped, he did not want to scare the old man; so quietly he called out ‘Annawan (chief)’ he waited for a response!
The old man opened his eyes and motioned for the young man to join him ‘heyu Akecheta (come forth Akecheta)’ he patted the floor in front of him; his voice aged and wise.
The young man named Akecheta walked to the spot in front of the old man; his eyes scanning the area around him, he could see something was wrong. Akecheta felt nervous something inside him told him that something was not right with the old man. The old mans painted face; the medicine bag and why had he come up here to the old place? Perhaps Annawan is ill? Once Akecheta was seated in front of the old man he spoke quietly and slowly; his expression concerned ‘Annawan taku-keeyas akipa (chief whatever has happened)’ the young man stared in concern at his elder, his mentor.
There was a fear in the old mans eyes as he spoke ‘Sica ye akaya ukis, ye akataha-ogle ohomni ukis (evil is upon us, its coat is around us)’ his voice was slightly croaky showing his years; he let his words sink in before he continued. ‘Hahepi ki sugmanitu na ki tate, hahepi-ki, acaji tuwe slolye; ki cicala hanhon wayate; ye ki ken na pksape tuwe wayate? (Last night the wolfhowl and the wind, tonight…… tomorrow who knows; the young animals do not see; it’s the old and wise who see?)’
Akecheta looked confused ‘Annawan taku niye woglake un? (Chief what do you speak of?)’
There was a long pause as the old man closed his eyes; almost as if he were about to fall asleep Akecheta was worried, he was close to the old chief; he was almost like a Father ‘Annawan’ he spoke softly, concerned.
The old man opened his eyes and looked gently upon Akecheta this time when he spoke he spoke in English the words came out slowly ‘our history is dying Akecheta; I am dying; soon I will be gone and the time will come for you to take over as chief of the Sioux nation’ his smile was clearly saddened. ‘What is left of the nation; years ago the white man took our lands; they tried to rid us of our traditions and history; but we clung on to certain things but mostly it is all forgotten. Eventually it will all be gone the last of the Sioux will die and with him our history!’
His head shook from side to side ‘NEVER Annawan, we will never let our history be forgotten; our ancestors….will never be forgotten; why do you talk like this?’ he held out his hands pleading ‘what has happened Annawan? Are you ill? Have you seen doctors? Why are you talking in riddles?’ he was starting to talk quickly, confused, afraid.
The old man reached out his hand and patted Akecheta on his knee ‘do not be afraid I am here for a while longer’ he glanced up into the sky; high above the hawk circled. ‘There is great evil upon us Akecheta; an evil that I have trained all my life to fight and now when the time has finally come I am weak and old’ his voice was frail and quiet.
‘I do not understand; what evil do you talk about?’
The old man continued talking slowly ‘when I became chief I was warned that one day it would come; the elders had seen it; they had trained me to be prepared. For it would be an evil that we could never comprehend; now that evil is here’ he pointed north. ‘Last night the evil came; I have seen it, there is a boy, a white boy and the evil is chasing him, tracking him’ his expression became pained ‘the small boy has lost everything; we have to help him; we have to fight this foe; this evil, we have to do what the elders wished!’
Akecheta stiffened ‘Annawan I will go and fight this evil; I will help the boy if it is what we must do; if it is what you ask!’
Annawan smiled sadly ‘your name “Akecheta” means fighter and now I’m afraid that I am the one who has to send you to fight. I have let you down Akecheta I should have prepared you for this; I was going to start preparing you, soon very soon but now it is too late……for now you must leave and fight this darkness’ he shook his head sadly ‘I am truly sorry for this, for what I have done to you!’
‘No Annawan, you have not let me down and I will not let you down; but I do not know what I am meant to do?’
The old man had gone quiet again; his mind was taking him to places his dreams had seen ‘do you know my real name is Catanwakuwa!’ He looked up at the circling hawk ‘it means attacking hawk’ at that he spoke again in Sioux ‘ehani hemaca wanji wakatanka (long ago I am the one great spirit)’ tilting his head backwards he extended his arm out to the side; squinting into the sunlit sky.
Akecheta watched the old mans actions; suddenly the hawk swooped down like a falling stone toward them then when it was several feet away it turned and circled around until eventually it glided in and landed on the old mans outstretched arm. Akecheta was amazed he had never seen anything like it; he always known the old chief was wise but all this; what he had heard and what he had just seen was too much for him to take in ‘Annawan that is incredible!’
‘I will help you in other ways’ he nodded his head sullenly then turned and whispered words to the hawk then instantly the eagle took to flight.
Akecheta watched the bird fly off north toward the great Rocky Mountains, as the bird disappeared from view he turned to face his chief ‘how will I find this boy?’
‘Ki wa-maka-ska woglake na tuwe-ya niye; ki wakatanka tawaci awayaye leciya niye Akecheta (the animals will speak and guide you; the Great Spirit will watch over you Akecheta)’ the old man nodded raising his finger he tapped his temple. ‘Niye tawaci slolye ki wowpi; econ sni un kokipe (you will know the signs; do not be afraid!)’
The old chief reached behind him and pulled out a large pipe; he opened one of his pouches which hung around his waist and filled the pipe with tobacco then bringing it up to his lips he proceeded to light it with a match. He puffed slowly as the tobacco caught alight; the chief inhaled the smoke and slowly blew it out ‘hi sota kici miye (come smoke with me)’ he passed the pipe to Akecheta.
Akecheta took the pipe from the old chief and raised it to his lips he inhaled deeply through his mouth, the smoke filtered through his lungs and it lingered around his senses as he blew it out. Putting the pipe in his mouth he drew in again; his head began to feel drowsy; his legs and arms, no…every muscle in his body began to suddenly go weak! ‘Ann……a……w…….a…………’ Akecheta felt like he was going to fall backwards; until he saw the ground below him!
Akecheta floated high above the ground; seeing all below him, he saw the animals, the forests, the trees and bushes; he saw a cabin, a lake and more forest. There were bears, deer, wolves, birds, mountain lions; fish swan in the lakes; all the animals watched him as he floated around the sky, high above them! Akecheta floated higher and higher above the earth until in the distance he saw a small boy walk into a clearing; he saw three men they were heading toward the small boy’s location although they were still around two miles away from him. Akecheta felt as though his body and soul were cleansed, his mind told him that this was the boy he was supposed to protect; the boy Annawan had told him was in great danger; he had to move quickly if he were to save him. But he couldn’t he was floating higher and higher, away from the boy, away from the Rockies, away from the earth. He was in space now travelling deeper and deeper into space, he had now lost all sight of the boy and the forests; deeper and deeper he floated. He looked upon the earth as if he himself were a star deep in the universe; as if he himself were wakatanka, the one Great Spirit what is happening to me? Am I alive or dead? He floated deeper and deeper into space.
Suddenly his voyage slowed his body turned and changed direction; now he began moving slowly toward earth; toward the land he knew. Akecheta glanced over his shoulder at the universe and many galaxies he was leaving behind; a voice told him that it was not his time to go further that way! It was a voice he knew? It was Annawan his chief; the chief of his tribe; Annawan had entrusted him to do a task and now he began picking up speed, faster and faster he flew; like a jet plane he headed toward the ground. In the distance he saw a highway it came closer and closer until eventually he could make out the traffic upon it. As he moved high above the highway he could see a blue Ford pick-up; his blue ford pick-up! But who could be driving it? Is it stolen? He flew quickly behind the pick-up like superman he travelled along the highway until eventually he hovered directly above his vehicle; his mind spinning and spinning……………………….!
Akecheta’s mind suddenly came into focus; he was driving the pick-up! Yet he had no recollection of getting back to the vehicle have I been dreaming? The last thing he could remember he was smoking the pipe with Annawan, he could remember everything they had discussed; the boy, the great evil “the animals will help you” that was the last thing he could remember! After that his memory was gone, it was all but a dream; floating and flying above the earth how far have I travelled? Faces came to him; the boy and the three men, for that was how many he counted; a scarred South American, a coloured man and a white man; their faces were now imprinted in his mind! Akecheta had no idea where in the world he was; he had now been driving the pick-up for thirty minutes; thirty minutes thinking and wondering how he had got to this place, the place where he was now? It cannot be possible for me to lose my memory for that long, the place where I was with Annawan, it was in another county and he had no recollection of anything since the pipe that he had smoked so how have I got here? A thought came to him; he had seen no sign of traffic, no sign posts even where in the world am I?
Mountains rose up on either side as he continued driving aimlessly forward, after the mountains he came upon forests. As far as the eye could see; it was forest land and higher up the layout became rugged. His whole body felt strange, a feeling he had never experienced before; his veins tingled as he continued driving. If his mission was to find this boy he needed to have some idea where the boy would be but I don’t even know where I am, the boy could be anywhere? ‘Help me Annawan, what must I do; how do I find this boy, I have seen him in dreams but that does not show me where or how I can find him’ he spoke desperately to himself, to the car. Glancing over his shoulder he saw on the back seat of the pick-up items that did not belong to him? Akecheta focussed on the road, with the odd quick glance at these unidentified items; he could see a bow and arrows, a tomahawk, a rolled up blanket they must have been put there by Annawan? He still wore the clothes he had worn when he had met his chief earlier was it earlier? I don’t even know what day it is, what kind of magic is happening to me?
* * * * *
Samson rested against a tree panting; his outstretched arm holding himself steady while his lungs filled with air; the crow had gone; he pulled out his water bottle and drank several mouthfuls of the cold liquid. The clear liquid trickled down his throat, hurting at first but as the water moistened the inside of his mouth and throat it began to sooth, he began to find it easier to swallow. Samson felt his chest was now under control as his breathing began to return to normal, his lungs had taken their share of the muggy air that surrounded him. He heard a sound from down the path from the direction he had just ran, slowly he peered his head around the tree-trunk. The crow stared at him from its perched position further down the path, it cackled twice ‘oh no, not again’ Samson whispered to himself; the uneasy feeling returned, he began feeling anxious again, nervous, it was all most unusual a bit like my life at the moment…..please God let this nightmare be over I can’t take any more of this!
* * * * *
What happened next had Akecheta totally bamboozled! Up ahead in the middle of the road stood a great big Stag; Akecheta slowed the pick-up and honked the horn! The Stag was standing ten metres away from the Ford pick-up blocking the trucks route, the animal turned to face the pick-up and shook his mighty tusks in defiance; Akecheta steered the pick-up to the side of the road trying to drive around the large beast, but the Stag followed his route blocking him, stopping his progress. What do I do now? A distant voice drifted to him from a timeless place; it was a familiar voice, it was Annawans voice “Ki wa-maka-ska woglake na tuwe-ya niye; ki wakatanka tawaci awayaye leciya niye Akecheta (the animals will speak and guide you; the Great Spirit will watch over you Akecheta!)” It must be a sign…..the animals will guide me? Akecheta pulled the pick-up to the side of the road, he took a deep breath and opening the door he stepped out of the pick-up to confront his mammoth obstruction.
The Stag stood his ground as it stared at Akecheta watching him as he approached; his approach was one of caution, he knew what damage one of these animals could cause the tusks could probably pierce a man’s stomach; impaling him to die a painful death! The Stag snorted loudly and pawed the ground with his front hoof, the whole body of the large mammal was rigid, its body all muscle, man was not this creature’s friend and why should it be, man was the hunter. Yet here on this tarmac road the creature was communicating! Akecheta spoke slowly and softly as he approached ‘pksape tabloka tuwe-ya miye (wise deer guide me!)’ The Stag turned on its heels and began walking slowly into the forest after ten or so steps it stopped; the beast turned to face Akecheta and snorted again several times. It is a sign from Annawan he had heard many stories about the elders and how they communicated with the animals; nature was their friend they did not fear nature, nature was them and they were nature; they used it; they were a part of it and here and now Akecheta was part of it. He was not afraid, his body tingled with a strange feeling he had never felt before, he was alive, his heart pumped the life around his body, and his mind was buzzing with activity just like the forest and the surrounding land. Akecheta was proud of his ancestry; his people lived with nature and nature lived with them each of them giving back in ways the white people would never be able to understand. The white people had taken everything but they could not take away pride and tradition that would always be there with him and what was left of his proud people as long as my blood flows our traditions shall be kept alive and when I am gone the next will take over, Annawan I will not fail you this day or the next!
Akecheta returned to the car grabbing the blanket which hung on a rope he threw it over his shoulder; the blanket was old but clean, he could tell by the designs, It was probably an heirloom of some kind. The blanket hung on his back just below his hydration pack which fit snugly to the shape of his back. He reached in the pick-up again and grabbed the old hide belt which held the tomahawk he tied the belt around his waist; over his other belt which carried his own Bowie knife. The belt which held the tomahawk was very old; made from the hide of a Buffalo which the tribe hunted many years ago; before the white man drove them away from the Great Plains; into towns, manmade towns. Drove them away from their homeland and tried to turn them into something they were not; to educate them into the white mans ways. There were several small pouches along the belt but he did not have the time to investigate what was inside, he could feel the impatient eyes of the Stag bearing down on him. Next Akecheta pulled out the bow and quiver which held around twelve arrows; he threw the quiver over his shoulder then holding the bow he closed the door locking it with the key fob. Akecheta went around to the front grille and bending down he hid his key fob again whoever put me in the truck must have watched where I hid the key before?
The Stag snorted as Akecheta turned to face him ‘ok I’m coming’ the Stag began trotting off into the forest; Akecheta jogged easily behind him; his blood tingled; his feet felt light as he moved across the ground. Akecheta was oblivious to the heat of the summer sun as he ran behind the Stag. He felt like his own ancestors would have felt as they hunted; Akecheta felt fuelled and proud the ancients were with him; he carried their tools, their knowledge. As long as he breathed he would never let the Lakota Sioux ways be forgotten; even in this white man’s world that he now lived their ways were still needed; their ways were needed to fight this great evil that Annawan had told him about. The great spirit (wakatanka) will watch over, guide me, help me of that he was sure he had seen enough this day to show him that he was at one with mother nature; Akecheta was not alone in his quest, nature was with him ‘Wakatanka is with me!’
For several miles they ran together the great Stag ran easily over the uneasy terrain, Akecheta was close on the Stags heels as they made their way through the forest, not once did either of them lose their footing. They were together in their quest to stop the great evil that was upon them, Akecheta could make out high ground up ahead, he could see through the breaks in the trees that soon their path would come to an end!
The Stag stopped up ahead, at the foot of a cliff face; Akecheta slowed beside the great beast, the Stag lowered his antlers and twisted his head several times, it snorted twice and hoofed the ground. Akecheta looked up the cliff face; the sun bearing down on him; his toned body rippling with sweat, he patted the Stag gently on the tip on its nose, moving his hand gently up to tap the top of its head ‘Pilamaye mahetaha mitawa tiblo (thank you from within my brother.)’
Akecheta tied the bow onto the blanket and leaving the stag behind he began his ascent to the top of the cliff face. His long wet hair clung to his shoulders as he climbed; he had always been strong but now a new strength flowed through him an ancient strength he could feel the history of the Lakota Sioux within him. Akecheta breathed the history of his tribe he felt the power of his tribe as it flowed through his very veins, pumped around by his own true heart; determination seared into his soul as he climbed the cliff face; eventually Akecheta reached the top ledge. The ledge overhung slightly; this manoeuvre would require brute strength to let go of the face and hang three hundred metres in the air I am not afraid he did not even flinch as he dangled using his arms he pulled himself up onto the top of the ledge with ease. Swinging his legs around in an arc motion he mounted the ledge and landed on his knees then with a quick jump up he landed on his feet. He stood on the top of the ledge and looked out over the forests as far as the eye could see; sweat rolled down from his forehead, down his arms, down his legs; he breathed in the air. Closing his eyes he puffed out his chest and shouted ‘hemaca Akecheta (I am Akecheta)’ he patted his chest and shouted it again ‘hemeca Akecheta’. Birds took to flight from the treetops below; animals ran from the vicinity their noises could be heard as they bolted through the undergrowth three hundred metres below; his hearing more tuned than he had ever known it before.
* * * * *
The Mexican stopped abruptly, holding his hand in the air; uncertainty filled his mind, he was unsure if he had just heard a call, a shout? Johnson and Cowboy stared at his raised arm.
‘What is it boss’ Johnson’s Southern voice asked.
The Mexican shook his head ‘quiet’ he ordered.
Cowboy was sweeping the area with the muzzle of his Heckler and Koch, the forest suddenly felt more alive than it had done earlier ‘boss can you feel that’ he asked in a whisper.
The Mexican nodded to himself ‘it’s nothing, let’s go’ and with that he was walking again.
‘It’s the fuckin boy boss I can almost smell him…….we’re getting closer now, much closer’ Johnson began following his boss.
Cowboy stared into the forest, he swallowed ‘let’s get this shit done and get outta here……..fuckin job, I never got chance to play; and that boy is going to pay for that’ he lowered the muzzle and followed his two comrades.
They followed the path, the path that Samson had trod earlier in the day, several times the Mexican bent down to feel the ground, at one spot he crouched and picked up a crumb, holding it out for them both to see; he smiled. His scar was red raw as though it had been made just weeks before.
Cowboy crouched down ‘I reckon we’re about two hours behind him boss.’
‘Two hours and closing………two hours and closing’ The Mexican smiled as he sat down on a fallen trunk that Samson had sat on earlier in the day.
Johnson looked skyward ‘we might not catch up with him tonight boss, we’ve only got a couple hours of daylight.’
The Mexican looked at Johnson with his black pools, he nodded ‘yeah, if we don’t catch up with him tonight we’ll do it tomorrow’ he smiled a smile that sent a shiver down Cowboys spine as Johnson just nodded in agreement.
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If you like Samson tell your friends so they can enjoy the horrors too!!
thanks for reading..........Dean