The sun crept westward, dropping toward the mountain tops beyond the yawning canyon. Eaglefeathers's absence as well as Bryan's loomed as the night.
The day felt wasted. He knew no more now than when it began.
As he prayed to close the day's efforts, lamenting the loss of his grandfather's guidance, an impression struck at the speed of thought.
Why did you not bring him with you?
He stiffened at the ridiculous thought. How? His grandfather had crossed over years before—
—but still lived in the world of spirits.
Of course. How could he be so dense?
His teachings lived on as well.
As he considered the source of the mysterious words, a vision appeared in his mind. The old man had given him many things over the years whenever he and his father, Frank Littlebear, traveled to the reservation to attend a ceremonial sweat, a sun dance, sacred buffalo hat, the sacred arrow, or fasting at Novavose, their name for the Sacred Mountain.
He remembered showing them to Bryan, who compared them to Boy Scout Merit Badges he received as he worked toward the rank of Eagle Scout. Charlie didn't argue, but knew his were different. They were sacred. Blessed by his grandfather, a strong and worthy medicine man. Each item retained a measure of his essence. Others were handed down, like his medicine bundle.
All were stored in the chest he and Bryan built from local cedar. He bowed his head, ashamed he'd further ignored his teachings. Again it made sense no answers had come. He imagined the old man's piercing look, awed when rather than scolding peace surrounded him like a blanket in the cool of night.
Return tomorrow with the sacred items. Do that which you were taught and you will receive answers.
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