A teenaged ThunderCloud, excommunicated from his Cherokee people, survives in a world full of strangers and learns to handle responsibility as a man. On his journey home to make amends, he gathers a renegade gaggle of odd experiences and people.
Born in Bogota, Colombia... traveled in 39+ countries (did public speaking in 17)... worked in sales 39 years... now writing and ghosting novels and biographies across several genres full-time since 2009, consistently earning five-stars on review. My books inspire, entertain, and enlighten.
Now excommunicated and on his own, ThunderCloud wakes up in the middle of nowhere and tries to gain his bearings...
His adventures are ahead of him but he can, at least, take in his present surroundings...
Chapter Two: RUDE AWAKENING Startled, ThunderCloud’s swollen eyes opened. Red ants were biting into the welted, sunburned skin of his arms and hands. Confused about his whereabouts, he jumped up, slapped the tiny marauders off his body, and tried to orient himself, while rubbing every inch of his exposed skin until none of the irritations bothered him. Reasonably assured the ants were gone, he looked around again. Stepping among some tall weeds, he relieved himself. As his urine pelted the firm, cooled ground its warm dew steamed up like a minuscule fog. He remembered where he was and what had gotten him here. Noting that every muscle and tissue of his body was sore and stiff, he recalled that he had walked a long time after the light of day had passed beyond the horizon behind him last night. He had tumbled to the ground in the darkness, unable to take another step or remain awake. It had not been the best way to rest, but he had been tired and numb from the day’s earlier events; he could not have carried his body any longer. The events and emotions of yesterday’s trial flash-flooded into his mind. The memories let loose tears that streaked down his cheeks, making him feel alone. He attempted to ward off yesterday by focusing on his body and bouncing several times on his ankles to loosen some of his muscle stiffness. More focused and alert within minutes, he walked in small circles and flexed his legs the way a marathon runner limbered up before his long race, knowing that his limbs must not only carry him through his first day off the Reservation but also for the rest of his life. Bending over to stretch his back muscles, he touched his toes at least 20 times. Satisfied with his near-normal conditioning routine and the way his body had responded, he stopped and looked around. For the first time since awakening, he saw the magnificence of the open prairie in detail. The southwestern animal kingdom came to life with the passage of each minute past twilight. Faint, early-morning moisture tickled and darkened the grasses under his feet. Tall weeds, beige from top to bottom and reedy-like, danced and swayed, pushed on by invisible puffs of wind. Black Swallowtail butterflies—the state butterfly of Oklahoma—flittered by in silence, alighting on colorful red and yellow Indian blanket flowers, as unseen Scissor-tailed Flycatchers brightened his new day with their melodies. A Black-tailed Prairie Dog made a brief appearance, scampered across a nearby wedge of wild grass, and disappeared down a freshly dug hole not far from the one he just exited. Overhead, a large, Red-tailed Hawk glided on rising thermals, and somewhere, hidden in a grove of Eastern Redbuds, an owl hooted as he prepared for sleep. On the move now, walking with a determined stride toward the rising sun’s rays of light peeking out from behind nimbus clouds, ThunderCloud noticed to his right a small herd of Prairie Bison grazing on sedge and other prairie grasses. I might linger longer here; he told himself when an odd kinship with the neglected buffalo reached his heart. Sighting several Collared Lizards (oddly called “mountain boomers” by legend, since they are silent) devouring a swarm of morning insects, sharpened ThunderCloud’s hunger. His stomach growled and forced him to consider finding something to eat. Fortunately, the prairie held an abundance of edible wild berries. ThunderCloud looked for and found persimmons, papaws, ground cherries, wild grapes, and blackberries. He mashed these together in the hollow of a shaped rock and formed them into make-shift pemmican. Despite the lack of meat and its fat, the ingredients would hold together for long. For the moment, he was eating to satisfy his hunger. Lost in the grandeur of prairie flora and fauna and feeling sated for the moment, he had once again forgotten yesterday. Now, however, as he stood up, ThunderCloud turned in the direction of the Reservation and, remembering everything, including his despair, froze still as a statue. That word “ excommunication, ” which had scorched his mind yesterday, taunted him today. He knew that he was going to have to live with his sentence for a long time to come. And so, willing himself to move on, he turned and walked in a northeasterly direction toward the territory known as Missouri. * * * Resting on a deadfall, ThunderCloud tried to think clearly of a plan, but only confusion ruled his mind. Where he was at this moment could be anywhere or nowhere; it did not matter. His sorrow prevented him from focusing on any one thought that might help to orient him. After a long while in this condition, something that Oukonanaka had processed him through entered the grief-filled reverie that had overtaken him. The routine had worked similarly to a game of solitaire: Eyes closed, he considered and compared (back and forth several times) where he had been, and where he found himself now. At first, just getting the idea of being located anywhere at all was difficult. Having lost everything familiar, including family and friends, he had lost his bearings. Had he awakened without any identity in a land completely foreign to him, or in some other fictitious world, he could not have been more lost.