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 EXTRAordinary biographies and historical fiction novels since 2009, which consistently earn five stars on review. Kule's books open new opportunities, inspire, entertain, and enlighten.
Excommunicated, curious, frightened and alone, ThunderCloud perceives oddities that open up his eyes, his heart, and his spirituality in a way he never dreamed of knowing: by having to kill a rogue deer.
This riveting first encounter sears his soul and rivets his attention to his immediate future!
But his journey has just begun!
Chapter Three: BEFORE THE BEGINNING Into ThunderCloud’s silent world and the living sounds of the prairie broke the loud wail of an air horn from a distant 18-wheel truck, followed by the screeching of heated tires and brakes and a dull thud. These harsh noises from a highway he had yet to see, startled him. He listened for something familiar but heard only a mounting series of slow, tortuous, gear-shifting engine accelerations that brought the big rig, still out of his view, back up to speed. He could not imagine what these things might be, or their meaning, but he stood up taller while watching bluish puffs of diesel smoke break the eastern horizon ahead of him. Curiosity next quickened his paces in the direction of the smoke. Eventually, he stood on a low ridge and stared down at the first four-lane, paved highway that he had ever seen. ThunderCloud’s eyes searched the gray-black ribbon from end to end without the satisfaction of understanding what he saw. The line disappeared beyond his horizons without a single traveler on it, save the lone trucker, who was well off to the West, about to go completely out of sight. The airwaves echoed the vehicle’s thunderous motor less and less, leaving him to wonder what it was that he had just heard and seen only from far away. ThunderCloud decided to move in closer. He walked up to the surface of the four-laned strand of asphalt and concrete and inspected it up close. Walking along its edge, he wondered about the two long stripes at its sides, as well as the broken white line painted down the center of each lane, which stretched as far as his eyes could see. Stepping onto the hot asphalt surface, he hopped off immediately. The soles of his feet screamed pain. The sun, having reached its apex in the sky, scorched the temperature of the road surface. Kneeling close to the ground, he carefully passed the palm of one of his hands over the warmed asphalt plane. Its smoothness belied the wavelets of heat he saw rising from the road top. Tapping his fingers lightly along the surface, he marveled at its texture, still not knowing what it was and why it lay there. Sighing and turning to the skies, he mouthed a respectful prayer that rolled off his parched lips. He half-expected something, perhaps instructions, in reply, and when nothing came, he burst into tears. Never had he not received some sign or answer from the gods to which he prayed. Am I cast out of your heaven, too? Is this the real punishment that I must serve? Tears ran down his cheeks, and his emotional tones swayed up and down repeatedly as fast as a roller-coaster. For several minutes, he lay on his back on the ground next to the road surface, challenging his mind to straddle the troubling edge and undefined gap that he felt lay between his cultural beliefs and those of the White Man—the race that he knew only to fear. What happened next would change him forever: The low moans and labored breathing of a dying animal reached his ears. The sounds, which had not registered right away, were persistent and awful. Of course, he could not ignore them. Feeling sick to his stomach and not knowing why what he was hearing spurred him to break the spell of his mood. As ThunderCloud walked past a rise in the highway, he spied the same elk buck that he had encountered earlier; only, this time, it lay by the side of the road, frightened and hurt and attempting to lift its head to see who or what approached. ThunderCloud sprinted over to him but pulled up when he saw the animal’s complete condition. His stomach, though empty, got the best of him, and he wretched. The long-gone eighteen-wheeler had broadsided the elk; half of his torso was crushed and bleeding. ThunderCloud knew right away that if he did nothing, the dying moans of the animal would scar his soul and haunt his dreams for a long time to come. The gods would not take pity on him if he looked the other way. He howled aloud as he tried to understand what had happened and why. To no avail, there would be no relief here unless something changed. Like a miracle, the spirit of the dying buck entered his space and filled him with a profound longing for release. At first, ThunderCloud mistook the feeling to be his own. Then, laughing that he could be so wrong about the emotional mix-up, he realized what he felt: The earnest yearning for freedom was not only not his, but it was the animal’s spirit attempting to communicate with him. Once he understood the message and its meaning, Thundercloud grabbed his hunting knife—the one survival implement which he had been allowed to take with him—from his waistband sheath, and he slit the throat of his only friend in the world at that moment. More tears flowed, but instead of sinking him, they lifted his morale. A new co-existence with the buck’s spirit had merged within him. He had also acquired the elk’s perceptics as if they were his own, which, of course, empowered him.