Chapter 15 ‘The storm’
Samson came upon a rocky outcrop; quite sheltered from the elements, from where he now stood he could see way off into the distance and what he saw didn’t make him too keen! Not only could he see no sign of roads or towns but the sky was black; way off in the distance a large black mass was gathering. Samson sighed there’s a storm coming by the looks of things; that’s just what I need he looked around and decided to put himself under the rocky outcrop just over to his left he could stay sheltered and dry from there. He hoped that the storm would only last the night; he did not fancy travelling around the next day if the rain was too bad you’ve got to make it through the night first. A shiver travelled down his spine at the thought of yet another night alone and afraid with only the demons of his nightmares to keep him company!
His back rested against the rock as Samson sat snuggled up in the patterned woollen blanket; he had it wrapped around his head, shoulders and back holding the edges in his hands just under his chin. The sky above him was dark now although night-time was not yet upon the Rocky Mountains, the rainclouds loomed large overhead as far as he could see there was black cloud; thick black cloud; off in the distance he heard a rumble. The birds had long since gone silent along with the other animals who like Samson were all now sheltered from the oncoming storm; silence had descended upon the landscape; another rumble this one lasting several seconds. Off in the distance a lightening bolt lit up the sky as it forked its way out from the thick black cloud toward the tree-line below, then another rumble this one lasting around twenty or so seconds. A breeze came around the mountain; Samson watched the trees as they swayed throughout the forest; it was a hectic wind blowing up around him. As the breeze blew past him Samson was reminded of the night when the wind chased him through the forest I wonder if they are making the storm come? He prayed that they like him were holed up somewhere sheltered away from the coming weather front knowing my luck they’ll carry on marching throughout it and find me! The breeze now died down as another longer rumble rolled through the sky directly above him; then more bolts of lightening; Samson was glad that the lightening had not yet reached him.
Rain began to fall; a heavy fast rain that would hurt if they hit him, the droplets easily distinguishable due to their size; he pulled the blanket in closer under his chin as the rain came down faster; a lightning bolt lit up the mountain; the storm was now directly over head; Samson shivered hard as the night started to descend. The rain lashed down on the mountainside as the sky above rumbled and lit, he saw one bolt of lightning shoot into the trees; then smoke rose as half the tree disappeared into the forest below. It was a maelstrom of power that now battled overhead, the elements against the land as lightning bolt after lightning bolt shot from the sky; they forked and shot out into the forest. Trees disappeared from view in various parts and then the darkness was upon him; the furthest Samson could see was around two metres as the rain and the darkness combined made it impossible to see any further. Thunder rumbled all around, the noise deafening, Samson feared for his life, he was in the middle of the biggest storm he had ever seen, he wondered if the cabin would stay intact. The storm raged on with its ferocious onslaught!
* * * * *
The Mexican sat huddled in the cave entrance where he had spent the previous night; his thoughts were on the old Indian man he had seen on the mountain the night before; things were not going to plan, first Cowboy and now Johnson. His scar began to glow a red raw colour as he stared into his large fire; he glanced out into the rain as it lashed its fury on the forest outside the cave; the boy could wait until tomorrow, after all where could he go? The boy’s options were limited there was forest and more forest where he was heading; he had seen through the eyes of the cougar……..if the Mexican didn’t get him the cougar would; he smiled, a smile that consisted of hatred and knowing, it was a deadly and deathly smile, his eyes glowed red!
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Akecheta could see the sky turning darker by the minute, bad weather was about to descend upon him; the hawk had already left him to find its own shelter and safety, and now it was his turn to get himself out of the weather; he hoped; no, he prayed the boy had the sense not to light a fire! Now he walked unsteadily through the forest looking for a place to hold up in the dry; then the first of the rain came. It began to spit; very slow drops of water began landing all around as he trudged wearily over the uneven floor; his head still not feeling upto any kind of physical exertion, pains prodded and pinched every inch of his body. The wildlife had deserted the forest now, all sound of the local residents had long since deceased; they knew what nature was about to unleash and Akecheta felt it too! A pain shot through his skull making him wince, he stopped still, closing his eyes tightly he raised his head skywards, letting the rain which was starting to come faster wash over his face. Rumbles above him as the rain began to come heavier now; his long hair clung to his face and neck as he continued walking unsteadily forward; lightning forked out from high above, lighting up the forest around him I have to get to somewhere safe and dry!
With slow dragging legs he desperately searched his surroundings for somewhere to rest up; but the part of the forest he now walked was a mass of juniper trees giving little shelter from the current onslaught. Still Akecheta marched on solemnly as the rain pounded every inch of his flesh; he was oblivious to it all; his body still in shock from his earlier fight with the river; he knew he was lucky to escape death, was it luck or was it fate? There was no movement as he made his way through the thick terrain all wildlife had now sheltered up away from the monstrous storm that had engulfed the Rockies. Akecheta stumbled over an upturned root causing him to fall heavily into the base of one of the juniper trees; his shoulder took most of the hit as he winced in pain I can’t keep this up, I’ll die if I don’t find somewhere to rest and get dry. His head throbbed as he crawled into a crouching position; he rested on all fours while the rain pounded his back through the breaks in the canopy above him. After several minutes he pulled himself up the tree trunk and leant unsteadily against the trunk of the tree; he felt nauseous as his body swayed, he felt weak and most of all he felt tired; twice his knees nearly buckled from under him as he continued swaying back and forth on his shattered and unsteady legs; his shoulder now ached along with the rest of his body. It was no good he had to start moving again!
Step after unsteady step he walked; the rain relentlessly pounding him from above; the wind fighting his every movement; thunder rolled through the sky above like a God shouting at everything below, lightning forked out again hitting a tree off to Akecheta’s right. The top half of the tree was virtually split in two until it reached halfway down its trunk causing it to fall in two directions; one away from Akecheta and the other was now falling directly onto him. He had seen the lightning hit the tree from the corner of his eye; the force that it generated was incredible; now though he watched in horror as half the tree began falling toward him!
His whole body was beaten but somehow he managed to summon enough energy to stagger from the path of the falling juniper as it crashed loudly onto the ground missing Akecheta by inches. The tree hit the floor with so much force that the tree actually bounced back up several feet before settling on the ground where it would eventually rot and become a breeding ground for the local insect community. His eyes began to glaze from his quick burst of movement; he closed them tight fighting the urge to feint stay with it, come on, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 breathe, deep breaths; help me Annawan; help me please! Akecheta fell to the floor in a heap; he was beaten, the battle with the river had finally caught up with him; now he slept!
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The Killdeer Mountains; North Dakota; 2100 local time:
Annawan sat next to his small fire his eyes were closed tight, sadness and concern filled his features; his hands rested in his lap with his fingers locked tightly together. Now he opened his eyes and looked into the fire; he pushed his hands out in front of himself and separating them he parted the flames in the fire! The flames now rose around an unseen obstacle as he now saw the form of Akecheta lying unconscious on the forest floor; rain lashing down around him, the floor now a mushy quagmire of mud; next to his unconscious form was a fallen tree, beneath the tree were some small shrubs, flattened from the weight. Annawan closed his eyes again ‘Anogopta ekta ki nigetakiya un ki makoce, ekta mitawa nigetakiya, ozil tankal na wote ohitike tiblo (listen to the voice of the land, to my voice, reach out and eat brave brother)!’
Movement could be seen under his closed eyelids as he sat there with his arms held out limply to his sides, palms facing upwards; his withered face carried no expression as his mind zoned in to Akecheta’s! Annawan watched through his mind as it travelled to where his young brave lay helpless, he watched as slowly Akecheta’s arm stretched out; his fingers reaching out to the plants that lay withered at his arms distance.
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The Rocky Mountains 21:20 local time:
Akechata’s mind drifted off to places he had never seen; he saw pyramids and walls; great long walls that spanned the lengths of a country; he saw forests and different types of people, different tribes as they gathered and went about their daily routines. He watched as children walked to school in cities and towns, happiness was all around him as he saw fathers and mothers playing with their children. Suddenly darkness loomed overhead! Now he saw children running as people, evil people grabbed out at them, he watched as women walked down city streets, strangers jumped out upon them, attacking them, mugging them! His whole mind and soul twisted and turned; he was helpless to help any of them; gangs robbed cars and attacked the elderly; their faces contorted into anger and rage, men running off with young children under their arms……..Akecheta saw hell; it made him weep as he lay there in the dirt unconscious; oblivious to everything that was going on in the forest around him; to the onslaught that the forest faced from the torrential weather front that shouted, attacked and whipped up all below!
A force that was unseen took control of his arms as his soul left his body and drifted up above the trees; he watched his own arms as they reached out; his fingers crawling through the mud, one at a time until they caught hold of leaves. His fingers grabbed at them and then pulled, as they came free from their small twigs, his hand moved toward his mouth, his fingers gently placing the leaves inside his dry mouth and then he began to chew. One after another his fingers placed the leaves inside his mouth and one after another Akecheta chewed on them until he could chew no more then he swallowed them!
Energy filled his body until eventually his soul drifted back towards its shell; towards its home; toward the vessel it used every day, every day until the one day when it would leave its shell and go on its journey to be with his ancestors. But that day was not today, today his life and soul were needed, needed by a boy, a boy running from hell itself…….once again he was whole as his soul entered himself. With a jolting movement his whole body inched from the damp floor of the forest; his lungs fought for breath. Words drifted to him ‘unkis wacin niye Akecheta; niye wacin ekta kikta, tohatu mos-ognake sni ape tuweni (we need you Akecheta; you need to wake, time can not wait for no-one). Akecheta jolted from the sodden ground once again, this time his breathing began to return, with every breath it slowly became more under control. He breathed in the life as the humid forest air filled his lungs; his chest rising and falling in heavy beats. The smell of damp earth filled his nostrils; as the muddy floor grabbed at his shoulders, sucking him under.
His hand reached down into one of the remaining pouches on his belt, with his fingers working their way inside until like a pincer his fingers pinched some of the dusty contents. Now he brought his hands up to his nose and he sniffed deeply, breathing in the dusty vapour; his whole body shivered from his head right down to his toes; every sinew trembled, every muscle began to spasm; his blood came alive; his heart pumping its load around his body. Energy grew from deep within his core as every muscle in his body began to tense; his fists clenched tight; his thighs and calf muscles stiffened like the branches of a tree; his eyes shot open as he looked upwards to the dark sky which now loomed above him. Akecheta rose to his feet; he was a warrior; he was “the warrior” as he took in his surroundings how long have I been out? What has happened to the boy, Samson? With renewed vigour he began walking in a northern direction toward the mountain which looked out on the forest below; Akecheta remembered telling the Samson to head toward the mountain and now he hoped that the boy had done what he had been told?
The rain lashed down around him as he walked through the muddy forest; his feet slid and squelched as he moved forward, his progress slow and steady; the last thing he needed was to fall and knock himself out again, a voice inside him told him the weather was the work of the evil spirits. Now as he walked he thought back to the day’s events, first there had been three of them and now it was down to one, one man between him and the boy except they aren’t men he remembered the coloured mans face and how it had twisted and contorted! It just isn’t possible and the one in the baseball cap……that man, no; that thing is, pure evil! He remembered the confrontation earlier, as the baseball capped man had walked into the field to face Akecheta, they looked at each other! The moment their eyes locked on to each other Akecheta had felt the evil emanating from the man’s every gesture; his every step and Akecheta knew that the man in the baseball cap had sensed his fear; Akecheta swallowed as he walked on. There are some things that are certain in life and one of those things Akecheta knew…..he was going to die in the hands of the Devil?
* * * * *
Samson sat huddling under the patterned blanket; his eyes were shut tight as he listened to the sound of the rain that pelted the mountainside; his whole body shivered I need to lie down! With that thought he lowered his shivering body onto the cold rock as the thunder and lightening clapped and bolted overhead; in all his life he had never witnessed anything as ferocious as the storm which battled with the land below. His mind drifted as he thought back to his old history lessons when he had studied the Greeks and their Gods and now he thought that “Thor” was in the sky throwing his might on all below; his wield as he swung his mighty hammer was relentless, there was no let up; Samson shivered some more. He tried desperately to drift into sleep; to put his mind into some kind of safe place but the noise from the sky above him was deafening I wish I had my I-pod he tried to think of a song, any song so long as it would take his mind off everything that was going on around him. He began humming then it turned into singing ‘yoow….. yoow….. yoow….. whoo whoo… whoo whoo… whoo whoo….please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste, I’ve been around for a long, long year, stole many a man’s soul and faith!’ No-way that’s too weird…Samson remembered his Father would love the “Rolling Stones” especially the song he now found himself singing “Sympathy for The Devil” the song now seemed so appropriate, but he just wanted to forget his predicament even if for a short time; but, still he found himself singing it word for word! ‘Made damn sure the Pilate; washed his hands and sealed his fate…….pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name.’
Thunder clapped above him but Samson was deep in song ‘pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name’ lightening forked around the side of the mountain; Samson opened his one eye and spotted part of a tree in the near forest fall to the floor. ‘I shouted out who killed the Kennedys’ when after all it was you and me, let me please introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste. I laid traps for troubadours’ who get killed before they reached Bombay……pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name, but what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game!’ Samson stopped singing what is the nature of his game? What were the next lines? He thought back to Sunday afternoons as the music filled the house. ‘Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints, as heads is tails just call me Lucifer cause I’m in need of some restraint. So if you meet me have some courtesy, have some sympathy and some taste, give all your well learned politesse or I’ll lay your soul to waste!’ Is that who’s after me “Lucifer”? Could it be that simple? Just like in the song; that the man who was chasing him had been around throughout the different times, the different ages; perhaps for all time? Perhaps he too had stole many a man’s soul and faith?
He did not intend to show the man in the baseball cap any courtesy; he prayed that they never again would come face to face with each other but if we do what can I do; the man intends to kill me ‘he’s no man and you know it, he’s the Devil……he’s Lucifer’ don’t be ridiculous ‘well if he isn’t he’s something other than a man and I have to get as far from him, no “it” as possible!’ The cold of night had come and although Samson still had some of his waterproof matches he had no intention of using them; instead he just lay cuddled up under the blanket that the Indian brave had given to him. With his eyes now closed again he tried to force himself into sleep, but none came, he tried counting sheep in his mind, but each thought turned to the days since he had been in the mountains. It had all started so different; the holiday, his family; he thought back to his last memories of his family as they all sat around the table eating…..then he was standing outside the cabin watching as the three things attacked his family! With his thoughts returned to the scene of his nightmare Samson fell into sleep.
Samson woke with a start; it was quiet, the storm had gone, he sat bolt upright, the blanket fell from around him how long have I been asleep? He could tell it was early hours of the morning, the birds were busy at work, their chorus now deafening from the canopy which stretched away from the base of the mountain. Apart from the ground being wet there was no trace of a rain cloud in the sky so quickly it came and so quickly it disappeared ‘I have to start moving, it’s not safe here’ it’s not safe anywhere! Samson swung round onto his knees and began to roll the damp blanket into a neat bundle, he tied the blanket and swinging it onto his shoulder he stood eagerly. His clothes felt cold and damp; but he realised that he wasn’t actually wet as he patted himself down. Samson took one last look around him then started off walking around the side of the slope where he had spent the previous night.