Nina stood next to a white man wearing leather leggings and a rabbit fur cap. She tried to get Alicia’s attention.
“Who is that white man?” Alicia asked. He was outfitted like a trapper, not like anyone who lived in the pueblo. Nina’s brothers, one short, one skinny, pointed to the big fellow’s weapons. The scrawny brother, Flaco, wore a leather strap across his chest. It held a pouch of arrows and a fishing spear.
“Sister must obey family.” The skinny brother drew out a blade, threatening Nina. Alicia watched the other brother use a flat, smooth stone from his belt to sharpen his spear. He pretended to give his weapon all his attention but she knew he was aware of her gaze.
“Let’s finish this business.” The white trapper laid down his rifle. He withdrew a short broad knife from a leather sheath, wiped it on his pant leg, and placed it before Pedro. The brothers picked up the weapons and admired them.
“Good trade. Now go, Nina!” They jutted out their chins toward the white man. Their sneers revealed their worn-down brown teeth.
“Now, my Nina.” The trapper grinned and nodded to Nina, looking her up and down. He waved her forward, on a pathway that leadled away from the village.
“Brothers trade me.” Nina walked away. She did not look back, and no one helped her.
“Brothers what? You mean, exchange? They can’t trade their sister.” Nina took the wrong pathway. “Why are we going this way? Does he mean to follow us?” Alicia could hear the panic raising in her own voice. She clutched the sea shell, hoping it held good magic.
“Humph.” The trapper made a snorting noise. He raised his rugged walking staff. “You show me now.”
“Brothers trade me for gun and knife. Now I show man secret Mission gate.” Nina looked straight ahead. The girls took extra steps to keep ahead of the trapper. They caught their breath when he paused to listened to a bird’s whistle or placed his fingers on an animal print in the sand.
“Why show him the gate? What does he want?” Alicia, eager to return to the hacienda, said, “Just remember, you work for our family, not for this filthy trapper.”
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