Monday, July 6, 2009

The Bounty Hunters


The three riders were haflings, too young in years to be men, but too weathered by hard times to be boys. The dark one, dressed like a Kiowa warrior, led the other two as they belly crawled to the edge of the rise and peered down at the Apache camp below.

Lozen, Victorio’s sister—the Apache woman warrior who was said to be a witch, a healer, and spiritual guide for her people—was in the center of the encampment, surrounded by the men of three Indian nations. Chief Nana leaned close to hear her words and the McCallisters teetered precariously above, listening too.

They were so enthralled, they didn’t hear the Arapaho braves who stole up from behind and took them prisoner, shoving them back to the camp where the Apache priestess waited.

The fire was just a fire, but later, all three agreed that her image had been unclear, sometimes almost transparent. She’d stared at them silently, studying them in a moment of utter still as the night and sounds receded and left only them, the flames, and the Indian woman—reading their souls.

“Why do you come here?” Her question was directed at Charlie Wolf, as it should be. He’d come and his cousins had followed.

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