Into the Wilderness
Into the Wilderness
The time-travel saga continues. Dr. Karen Anderson returns to the past, to the Lakota and her life with Standing Deer. The Little Big Horn Battle – Custer’s Last Stand looms, ending a lifestyle the People have always known. Over the span of time, they fight for freedom and the promise of tomorrow.
Into the Wilderness
Karen looked into Standing Deer’s eyes, a lump forming in her throat. “I can’t,” wiping away the flowing tears, “I can’t live without you.”
His lips claimed hers with the fiery heat of uncontained passion. “You are my forever.” Leaning his forehead onto hers, “What can we do to make this work in both of our worlds?”
“If you are willing, we can live in both worlds until our children start school or it gets too dangerous for them.”
Heavy with child, he rubbed Karen’s swollen belly. Standing Deer grinned. “My love.”
1866: General William Tecumseh Sherman issues a statement that if you kill the buffalo, you kill the Indians. General Philip Sheridan commands the American forces to bring peace to the lands by exterminating the buffalo.
Idaho Territory: Chief Red Cloud defends land given to them by a treaty by attacking a wagon train bringing supplies to Fort Kearny. Captain William Fetterman led the battle against the Sioux chief. 80 soldiers were killed.
1867: The first white settlers arrive in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
1868: A treaty was signed between Chief Red Cloud and General Sherman at Fort Laramie, Wyoming Territory ending the battles along the Bozeman Trail. Under the treaty, part of northern Wyoming and land in the Dakotas were retained by the Sioux.
Battle of Washita: Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer attacked a winter camp of Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians led by Chief Black Kettle. The cavalrymen killed more than 100 men, women, and children in the Indian village. Lieutenant Colonel Custer attacked the camp under General Sherman’s orders.
1869: General Philip Sheridan is quoted. “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”
1871: The Indian Appropriation Bill was passed. Under the new Bill, the Indian will be considered as an individual. The Bill was passed to alleviate the confusion of the signing of treaties between individual Chiefs. The issue of sovereignty is a difficult one for the Indian Nations. If one chief signs a treaty, the authority covers his village only. It doesn’t apply to the entire Indian Nation. The Bill also gives the American government the right to enlarge or shrink the treaty lands and reservations by executive order.
1874: Lieutenant Colonel Custer announced the discovery of gold in the Black Hills, Dakota Territory. Lieutenant General Philip Sheridan issued orders to Custer to find a practical route to Fort Laramie. Prospectors have been digging illegally on the Sioux land. The agreed Treaty of 1868 doesn’t allow non-government whites to be allowed in the Black Hills, which the Indians consider sacred land.
1875: Conflict between prospectors and Sioux Indians increase in the Dakota Territory. The armed forces stationed in the area to enforce the Treaty of 1868 have disregarded the illegal infiltration of the sacred Black Hills. A meeting was requested by the American government to allow legal access to the area. The Indians refused access to the sacred lands. Chief Red Cloud and many others pledged to continue protecting their land.
The couple laid in each other's arms, entwined in their never-ending love, forever imbedded in their souls. The early morning sun welcomed them with a cheer each wished were in their heart. A breeze caressed their naked bodies stirring them to a lazy awakening.
Their love had never dwindled. Each day growing stronger as their fears had increased in the opposite fold on their lives. The war in Standing Deer’s land put anger in his heart and pain in hers. Each day brought the destruction of his world closer and closer. They had loved for eleven years now and had born two beautiful children.
Karen's eyes flickered open, meeting her man's eyes. He inhaled her beautiful scent, caressed her hair that was luscious and thick. There were streaks of gray now, shimmering among the gold and amber highlights. Standing Deer frowned as he saw the slight circles painted underneath her eyes. The time-travel was starting to weary her, or maybe it was the knowledge of what was going to happen to their people, and the frustration of not being able to do anything about it.
She was one pebble in an ocean of fury. She couldn’t stop this storm any more than he could. It was a prophecy in the making. All knew that the prophecy said they’d become a powerful nation and all knew the prophecy said the nation would fall.
Hopefully it wouldn’t exhaust their love. Standing Deer kissed her gently on the lips. Not wanting to leave the comfort and warmth of the bed, he forced himself to rise and prepare for work.
It amazed him how diversified he’d become over the years. Within hours he would go from an Indian warrior on the warpath, to a Native American teaching children in a cement building with all the modern technology available at his fingertips.
He knew Karen would feel the emptiness when he left the bed, she always did. The warmth of his love still radiated in her heart and soul. It was June and in a few weeks the children would be out of school and with them in the land of the Lakota.
Rolling over she opened one eye and sighed. They had one month to prepare for the Battle of Rosebud and then the impending battle at Little Big Horn.
She would unnecessarily try and convince him that the children stay here in her world. He wanted them to have both. She wanted them to stay in the modern world.
He didn’t want them in the past during the fiercest wars of the Sioux Nations. She didn’t want them there at all. He felt they should be there for a few weeks. He refused to concede, they needed to be there and spend time with their friends and loved ones, before it was too late, and the Lakota’s way of life was gone.
As she dressed herself to go to the clinic, she started an argument that she knew was unavoidable but had to continue until he gave in.
The day had been uneventful except for the disagreement she’d forced upon her love that morning. Waiting for Standing Deer to come home from work, Karen gazed out the back door. Peace and serenity were hers among the vast wide-open plains. Today, she sought inner peace. Her beloved Standing Deer would be returning soon and she knew her inner turmoil must be thrown to the winds before they returned to his time.
The prairie was being tickled by a slight wind. The musical sounds of various animals were singing in her ears. The azure sky above was empty, cloudless. Despondency flooded her. What was she thinking? She wanted to run away from the past, Standing Deer’s impending future. She wanted to return to Florida. It didn't matter where, Titusville, Lakeland, or Holopaw, buy a good piece of land in Holopaw and Standing Deer could hunt on it and do whatever he wished.
Covering her face in shame, she squelched the panic boiling inside, the fear that she couldn't time-travel anymore. Pushing back the tears that were ready to explode out of her, she was determined to find the energy to face what was to be, knowing the outcome.
Living through the Indian Wars was tearing her apart. Every day for over ten years she had watched her beautiful Standing Deer leave their lodge to war on the soldiers, afraid that he wouldn’t return. Death surrounded them every day.
There were nights when she clung onto to him like a baby. She had dug in, held her head high, and kept faith that he would return, unharmed.
But now, the Battle of Rosebud hung over their heads and then the tragic Little Big Horn battle. None could be prevented nor avoided. She had been blessed with paranormal gifts and couldn't use any of them. She could protect herself but not change what would happen to the People. What good was she if she had to watch them all die slowly, painfully, watch their way of life die? She needed guidance, a sign, something to give her encouragement.
This morning she’d spoken with her love about leaving the reservation and returning to Florida. Karen had told him she didn't want to time-travel anymore. It had angered Standing Deer. He’d been working with many of the teenagers, teaching them the old ways. They were looking to be a part of the People but didn’t know where to go, how to go about it.
Many didn’t know the old ways and Standing Deer was showing them. His People were lost and he was trying to help them. Now that he’d come this far she wanted to leave. He was furious that she had even asked.
She wanted Standing Deer to stay in the modern world, avoid the impending battles. She hadn’t forgotten who he was, what he stood for. She didn’t want to take the chance of losing him. She was a coward just like he accused her of being.
Tears fell silently.
She wanted to run away from the past, run away from his future, just run. She needed to seek guidance.
As the tears subsided, Karen's anger flared. It was his accuracy that angered her.
There was more prejudice from the Rez Indians here in the present than in his world in the past. Tired of the prejudice, the reactions of some emergency patients when they saw she was a white woman offended her when some insisted on leaving. They didn’t want to be treated by a white. Nor did they want the white man's medicine because they believed it would kill them.
He accused her of looking for excuses. She was and she knew it. Their circle of life had spun so many turns. Was she following the right path?
“Help me to believe!” Whispering to the heavens, “Give me strength to face the tragedy that I know is ahead of me.”
A high pitched familiar screech broke her thoughts. Seeking the sound, she looked into the azure sky and saw two eagles circling above her house. A smile touched her lips and tears came to her eyes as she stared open-eyed at her animal guides.
Just when she was ready to give up, these magnificent birds came to call on her. Their white heads reflected off the sun as they floated above her, descending and circling closer to her. They were so close she could see the golden yellow of their beaks.
Karen walked to the center of the yard. Closer and closer, the eagles came to her. She raised her hands up in triumph, her body trembling in excitement. She felt her heart thumping to the beat of the bird's wings. Keeping her arms open and falling to her knees, she accepted the sign as the one she should follow, find the strength to continue with the time-travel.
Both magnificent birds swooped down, the air bristled from their wings, stirring the wind upon her face and hair. From the power of their winged flight, she could hear the soft rustle of their feathers as they flew upward again. Karen watched mesmerized as both soared higher until they were black dots in the sky and then no longer seen.
Since the fateful day when her life was abruptly changed, it had been spun intricately for a new purpose. When she had first travelled, she knew something had been different. She laughed to herself recalling that she’d kept thinking it was all a dream.
Karen could feel there was more than just what she saw, tried to deny it but found there was more for her to see. She’d learned and evolved so much it amazed her to see it was all an endless circle.
Inner peace was the goal of all humans. If they would open their eyes, they could accomplish more than they ever dreamed possible. The Lakota showed her the path to inner peace. They taught her to accept life, never to take more than she could give. She always had faith and hope and by learning the Indian way, it had strengthened her more.
Some of her modern colleagues didn't take her seriously. They ridiculed her behind her back because she combined her medicinal herb knowledge with modern medical technology.
Any true modern herbalist can prove that plants are used for modern medications.
By accepting the Lakotas lessons, she’d reached the stars. Life was an adventure and she learned to grasp onto it with heart and spirit.
Enlightened, she knew she was there in Standing Deer’s world for a much more important quest, to combine the worlds; join the people so that they may become one great nation in the future. Standing Deer was here in her world to do the same. It shouldn’t have taken her so long to understand.
They had learned from each other and it strengthened all of them. She’d be ready for the battles and would be a solid backbone for the People. The eagles had been a sign. She would follow their lead. Smiling she went into the house relieved and filled with the peace and serenity.
Standing Deer had seen his beloved wife speaking with the spirits. He sat at the table waiting for her return. As he watched her approach the doorway, he could see she’d found what she’d been searching for. It gladdened his heart. It troubled him to see her in such inner turmoil. He knew what his people were facing and would be there as a warrior. Had she decided to stand by him?
Karen surrendered herself into his open arms, tears trickling down her face. “I know what I must do, but I still believe the children don’t need to be involved. They could accomplish more in this world. The legend of the Rainbow People has come upon us. They can follow our lead to combine the nations as one. They shouldn’t have to experience the battles. It isn't necessary.”
“You will be there?”
“Yes, my love, I’ll stand beside you and our people, for I believe I’m a part of them. They’re my family as well.”
Standing Deer conceded. “I can agree that the children should stay here. Right now, I want to hold you.”
He lightly touched her neck with his lips, sending a searing, shivering pulse through her being. Smiling with each moment, it was always like this with him, even after all these years.
Taking her hand, they walked to the bedroom. “My love.” Standing Deer’s voice was thick.
Shutting the door, he continued kissing her, unbuttoning her blouse. “We can stay.”
Taking her breast in his hand, he twirled the nipple with his fingertips until she ached for his mouth.
“In your world...”
He nibbled, scrumptiously teasing her. “After the battles are over.”
Picking her up to carry her to the bed, he kissed her lips with an intensity that sent her in waves of passion knowing the outcome. Laying her upon the bed, he kissed and caressed her face, lips, and neck.
As he was working his way downward, Karen's eyes barely opened as she returned his kisses and caressed his muscular, massive body. “After Little Big Horn.”
He leaned down and kissed the sensitive area between her thighs. “We will live in your world.”
Karen's body tensed and tightened against the hot touch of his lips.
“The children aren't here,” He added with a sparkle in his eyes. “I want to surrender myself to your love. The rush of the day has ended. Let's take this moment for ourselves. Let worries be put aside for a while.”
Their love covered them like a warm winter blanket, each holding their desires with open hearts. Standing Deer kissed her lightly and trailed his lips along her slim neck. Karen felt the heat of desire surge and conquer her body and soul. She reached up, clasping her hands around his neck, receiving his kisses and returning them with the same fervor.
A door slammed somewhere in the distance.
“Mom, Dad, we're home!” Jennifer and Matthew called as they entered the house.
Two deep sighs burst out of their passion swollen mouths. Both groaned in unison.
“Oh well, it was a wonderful thought. Hold on to it ‘til later. Okay?”
“Believe me, I will.” Standing Deer replied huskily as he sat up and adjusted himself.
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