Excerpt Wednesday: Destiny's Choices by Regina Paul

Her people had been coming to this mountain for ceremonies for longer than recorded history. It was the one place she felt that she truly belonged. It had been her sanctuary when James left for good. She had spent a month in the cabin relying on nature and the Spirits to teach her what mistake she had made by trusting him. Sadly, for once, no answer had come from those quarters.

The peace she normally felt along with the energy given her by the trees was spoiled by the grief she was re-experiencing with James’ return. Firmly she pushed the thoughts away. She would not think about that time; it hurt too much.

She tipped her head up and listened to the trees; they were trying to tell her something. 

A spiritual cry that was not her own moved in her mind, her spirit. Tiana received a visualization of the energy around the cabin. Bright red streaks marred its aura, anger and hatred hung in the air like an awful stench. Tiana approached the cabin in a wary fashion. The door was standing wide open. She was positive she had not left the door open the last time she had visited.

Tiana pulled white energy from her mind and projected it around her body for protection. She entered the cabin and gasped, her hands covering her mouth. The entire room had been turned upside down. The mattress was torn from the bed and dumped on the floor. Does the looter think I would hide it here? The person had also dumped all the drawers in the dresser. Littering the room were towels, clothes, and sacred items like sweet grass and sage.

Leaving the cabin, she returned to her truck, knowing she was going to have to bring the police into it. Damn! James is going to find out about this eventually, but I’m not going to be the one to tell him.

Tiana picked up her cell phone and called a woman she knew who was a Bureau of Indian Affairs cop. The woman also knew about Tiana’s secret and could be trusted. After dialing the number, she waited while the phone rang. Finally, someone picked up.

“Kamiah Police Department, Ken speaking.”

“Hi, Ken, this is Tiana Slickpoo. Is Starla available?”

“Yeah, let me transfer you. Before I do, though, have you had another theft?”

“No, but my cabin up on the mountain has been trashed.”

“Do you know what they were looking for?”

Tiana paused. Ken knew that she was the carrier of sacred objects. However, he did not know about the one the thieves were looking for, and she did not want to talk to anyone but Starla about it.

“Could you please transfer me to Starla now?”

Tiana listened to the oldies station that served as hold music. As soon as she gave the report to Starla and talked to the police, she needed to go and make sure her grandmother was all right.

“Hey, kiddo, what’s up?” Starla’s cheerful voice came on the line.

“Hi, Starla. You’re not going to believe this, but the cabin up here has been completely trashed. I think they’re looking for what we talked about before.”

“God, I hope you’re joking. Because if you’re not, this explains why they’ve hit the tribal museum and your gallery. They must not be sure who the carrier is.”

“I wish it was a joke, but it’s not. How could anyone have found out I have it? You know the carrier is kept secret from all but a select few who can be trusted. I’ve only had it for six years. If the wrong people get their hands on it, it could mean devastation not just for the tribe, but for the idiot who steals it. That person would have no clue the kind of destruction it would wreak on the thief.”

“Does James know?”

“No, and you’re not going to tell him. Please, Starla, it wouldn’t do any good now anyway.”

“Tiana, you know how I feel about this. You should’ve told him when your grandmother gave it to you. Also he’s here to investigate the thefts and he’s not going to be able to help us if we can’t tell him what they’re looking for.”

“Look, I know I’m going to have to tell him eventually, but let me do it okay? I’ll do it when I absolutely have to and not before.” Tiana sighed. Starla had been badgering her to tell James about it for the entire time she had been the keeper.

“Okay, but if the thieves aren’t caught quickly, I’m going to have to. As it is he’s going to wonder why he hasn’t been told everything from the beginning. He could even accuse us of withholding information pertinent to the investigation. I mean it, Tiana, you need to tell him if this isn’t put to rest soon.” Starla’s voice became hard. She had always disapproved of the fact Tiana had not told James why she could not go with him when he had left.

“Yeah, all right, I’ll tell him in the next day or so if the thieves aren’t caught by then. Do you know who’s coming out to look at this mess?”

“I’ll be up soon. Can you wait?”

“Yes, I’ll just go for a walk until you get here. Look by the stream if I’m not around.”

This is bad, Tiana thought after ending her call with Starla. Tiana did not want to tell James the truth. All she had told him six years ago was she would not leave the reservation, so it would be better if they just broke it off. She remembered he had not even gotten angry, just had agreed it was for the best. It was the last time she had spoken to him, until today.

Lifting her eyes to the sky, she sought a sign from the Spirits. If only an eagle would appear, then she would know it would be all right if she told James the truth. What she got for her trouble was a rumble of thunder and the sky opening up. Big fat raindrops began to fall mixing with the dirt beneath her feet, plastering her long hair to her face.

(c) Copyright 2010-2013 by Regina Paul. All Rights Reserved.