Walk: I. The lókʼeeshchąąʼí

July 16, 2019

The first twelve years of residing in the same home, in the same tribe, with the same faith, just Roj the Fit and Niltsi, were those of eventful living. The harvests had been the most fruitful to be known, the winters were full of unnatural winds carrying natural wealths throughout the land, many of the animals had grown comfortable and friendly with the tribesmen, and many of the trees have grown lush and significantly taller. Hundreds of animals had wandered into the tribe and into the home of Roj the Fit and the reason for this phenomenon was beyond anyone's understanding.


Most people granted credit to Roj and his efforts to become a sort of enchanted hunter, the gods being pleased with his work and rewarding him by bringing the food he hunts straight to the entrance of his home. Some people attributed the peculiar wildlife behavior to the child of Roj and the deceased wise woman, Iri. They’ve claimed the child, Niltsi, is cursed by the death of his mother, therefore the animals are lured into the home to be ruthlessly slaughtered by Roj the Fit, as a sort of uncontrollable suicide, coerced by evil spirits themselves.


Throughout the twelve winters of time, Niltsi seemed to have been strongly influenced by his environment. Crying, weeping, and screaming during fierce storms, frolicking under the bright sun, and sleeping during the calmest of nights. This reaction would be common to any child to react this way to the world, however it seemed as if weather had always come after Niltsi’s emotions, as if the world had been reacting to him. The child was an explorer. He barely spoke to the people of the tribe other than his father, spending most of his time outdoors and often being seen doing…strange things.


The more he is out, the more others speak of him. Abeque, a community woman, spends most of her time doing homebound duties such as cleaning, cooking, and caring for children while families are off to war against neighboring tribes. Abeque and Onawa, another community woman, often look after Niltsi in the sun's hours, while Roj the Fit does as he does. The vigilant women watch his every movement closely, observing his behavior more regularly than any other person in the Tekalow tribe. For the most part, they speak amongst each other of Niltsi, as many would not believe them, should they tell the tales of the special boy. 


Abeque walks home with a pink sun setting on her sweat glazed spine after a full day of washing clothes and watching the children of the tribe (including Niltsi). On her walk, she summarizes the things she has seen on the day and attempts to rationalize what she has observed. When she reaches her home, she confesses to her unskillful husband, Dohosan, of what her day has consisted.  She enters the cowhide tent sprinkled with hawk feathers and says “Dohosan, are you awake?” Dohosan, underneath dirty, white quilted blankets on their grass stuffed bed rolls over to face away from the tattered brown cloths that cover their doorway of the small home. His wife nears him to stand over him closely and reiterates “Dohosan, my love, are you awake?” Grumbling impatiently, Dohosan shortly says “No.” 

Abeque reaches upwards to light the goat horn candlelight hanging on the wooden frame of the home, then grabs a rough pale wooden chair nearby and sits quaintly on it with relief, answering “Thank the Gods! I have much to tell you, my love.” Dohosan slowly replies “I am sure you do, Abeque.” She continues her venting “You will not believe what the child has done today!” Dohosan remains silent. Abeque waits a moment for a response, then resumes her speech “Me and Onawa were tanning leather in the great hall and I had to go outside to retrieve more of the hides and when I looked around the corner of the hall, Niltsi was there! On the back of a great moose!” Dohosan reveals himself from the fur blanket and asks his wife “The child? He has mounted a moose?” Excited, Abeque shouts “Yes! He was riding the beast amongst the trees, giggling and bouncing on its back the entire time!” Puzzled, Dohosan says “Well he is merely a child, a short body…how did Niltsi mount this beast?” Abeque briefly pauses and says “I…I don’t know. When I saw him, I ran inside to call for Onawa to confirm the appearance of what was happening. When we returned..Niltsi was gone. We went into the trees to find the child but once we had quit our search and returned to the great hall, Niltsi was sitting in the corner, reading the ancient texts while the other children frolicked on the buffalo mats.” 


Dohosan sits up completely and says “He read as they played? Do they reject him?” Abeque replies “I am not entirely sure. He has not friends, but pets. He is only comfortable amongst the woods...with the forest… the children seem to make him nervous. He avoids their eyes, but watches their movements. He has difficulty...interacting with the other children.” Dohosan sighs and tells his wife “As peculiar as he may be, you cannot treat him differently than the other children. The boy remains Tekalow and his life has not done him well. With a dead mother and a cowardly father, he is bound to inferiority. If you may save him, then do so. But do not make the idiot boy a spectacle to be spoken of, my love.” Abeque leaves her chair and slowly lays beside her husband. Entering the quilted blankets, she kisses him and confirms “My partner, I will protect this child with my life. To go against your wishes is to wish me death. I will tell no one of the child’s disability.”


However, she will. Within a week of seeing Niltsi ride the moose and interact with the land's animals, she will tell nearly everyone in the tribe of the strange boy. The stories will range from fighting elks to hanging in unnaturally large trees to roaring at coyotes. With the confusion and jealousy coursing through the tribe, an accumulative mass of people will form and march to the doors of Roj the Fit and Niltsi to question the child's abilities. 

The somber night of opacity had brought about the sinisterly aggressive motives of the Tekalow people. In the torch lit blackness, the leaves gently ruffled in a soft roar. The middle of the night had remained still, with no sight of animals or  animate movement in sight. The grass stood softly glazed with the late night dew that has come early. The loudest sound present had been the march of 72 tribesman and tribeswomen on their way to the home Roj the Fit and Niltsi, and truly, it was not that loud. 


Their quaint home had been even more motionless than the outdoors itself. Roj the Fit sleeps as slothful as he does every moonlight, however the silence seemed to have pierce the ears of Niltsi, as the boy laid in bed, eyes wide, staring at the clay and wooden ceiling. He unintentionally makes life of the stillness. Amongst the darkness, Niltsi sees shapes, spirits, colors, and visions. He watches as two blue and brown lines of spiritual light come together to form a chestnut brown horse, crossing a fierce stream. 

He sees the horse struggle, persistently to reach the other side. The horse’s long legs enable him to walk beneath the waters and onto the river floor. The waves relentlessly punch at the horse in a gauntlet of naturally coerced attacks, as the animal fights to keep its head above the certain watery death that reaches for it. Once the horse reaches the median of the waterway, its hooves are no longer able to reach the sandy bottom. The beast panics and begins to kick ferociously at the waves below.

 The white water grabs the horse’s mane and slowly, its head, submerging the creature entirely. Niltsi is paralyzed with fear, forced to watch the life of the animal be stripped away from its body one breath at a time. Bubble after bubble...reaching the surface, bubble after bubble…the horse falls. Bubble after bubble...the life is gone. The horses eyes widen and combust into a fiery aura, spreading to immolate the creature completely. Niltsi bursts into tears, screaming, kicking, unable to stand from his night terror. 


Niltsi’s breakdown calls for the townspeople to make haste to the child’s home. They chant outside his home a chant of sacrifice, calling for the demonic child to burn. They bring a torch to the base of the wooden clay home and set it to fire. The flames creep under the door, up the walls, and over the head of Niltsi’s sleeping father. Despite his child’s cries, he remains asleep. The flames spread to consume more and more of the home in minutes, and once Roj the Fit feels the extensive warmth of his home, he clumsily jerks out of sleep and out of his bed. 


Alarmed, he screeches at the sight of his environment and activates his fattened, trembling legs to find his son. He runs to the wall opposite his bed, climbs the clay stairs, and breaches into his child’s sleeping quarters. Upon arrival, his eyes meet his son suspended in air five feet above his ragged wolf blankets that once belonged to his mother, in the middle of his outburst. He is breathless as he watches his son levitate in a peaceful blueish aura surrounding his body, despite Niltsi’s aggressively petrified movements. He reaches for Niltsi’s hand and is quickly burnt by the fierce winds passing around Niltsi. Roj is conflicted of his choices of actions. He may stay there to persist saving his child or he may leave the home though Niltsi’s window, as the coward that the tribe believes he is.


Jumping out of the burning home, Roj the Fit loses a sandal and lands into a plush patch of long grass. A tear runs down his face and lands onto the dewy early morning/late night grass. He lands behind the home, unseen by his fellow Tekalow people. He stands to his feet, shaken, then makes his escape into the scarce forest behind his home, refusing to look back, afraid to shed more tears.

The peculiarly feared, twelve year old Tekalow child, Niltsi remained suspended in air with a spiritually blue aura engulfing his body, protecting him from the surrounding inferno and burning wood, collapsing his ramshackle clay home. As the structure falls, the winds seem to become stronger, the blue becomes brighter, and Niltsi’s eyes appear to be illuminating a white light. Once the fire is completed and the home is assiduously scorched to its embers and ashes, the ignominious child is revealed behind the previously opaque smoke. 


With confirming awe, the eyes of the audience of the combative Tekalow people meet the spiritually metaphysical Niltsi, suspended high in the air, above the cinder of his ravaged home. They gasp for air, struggling to make sense of what they are seeing. There are rampant whispers, all of them afraid to make a thesis and provide insight of the spectacle they watch. A prepubescent human, hovering with winds encompassing his entire body. After a few moments of quiet chatter and dismay, Dohosan nervously shouts “The child...one of evil! Abeque was truthful!” A foreign builder chimes in “Yes the child is… unnatural! We must kill...this...this beast!” Finally speaking up, Abeque says “No the child is...different, uniquely powerful. We must learn from him. Utilize his knowledge and ability for the sake of Tekalow.”

With the previous proposal of productivity that Abeque has announced, Niltsi responds. From kicking and screaming held in the winds horizontally, he is shifted upright, erect, and glides down to the level of the Tekalow people, however remaining six feet above Abeque’s head. The blueish aura turns green. As the essence changes color, Niltsi calms to communicate with his Tekalow people. His mouth opens its door, preparing to speak. As the oral cavity grows ajar, the collective of the Tekalow people stand on guard, at the tip of their toes at utter anticipation and defense.


 Once Niltsi speaks, it sounds as if he is not one voice, but many. The tone of his speech suggests as if he is not the only being speaking, a sort of multiplied existence. With the array of voices coming from the child, he says “You will not. You may not touch the child. Our abilities are not unknown, but beyond your comprehension.”


The tribespeople are put into a panic and most fall to their knees as a sign of religious submission. Abeque reaches and calls “Niltsi... we will not hurt you. We...I want to understand you.” Niltsi replies angrily “You understand nothing, chorewoman.” Abeque humbly replies, “I will, Niltsi. I will understand you. You are an enchanted child!” Impatient, Niltsi shouts “You lie! You led this...this army to my door, to the home of a motherless child with evil ideas of murder. Your leadership has cursed this tribe. You are all responsible.”


As the aura turns white, Niltsi raises his hands above his head and closes his eyes. The tribespeople drop their heads to the ground and begin prayer. 


As the private, individual prayers and sharp airs are the only thing heard, the winds grow more and more fierce. The dark night clouds significantly pick up their pace. The grass is thrown down to the ground, as the child's breeze suppresses its blades. The hairs of Niltsi and the tribespeople are thrown in every direction. The leaves of the trees are stripped away from their homes as the ashes of the previously owned adobe are picked up and added to the mixture, coating the air and the tribespeople with a leafy, chalked darkness. The cyclone of air revolves in the radius of the group of Tekalow people.


 The remainder of the tribe are awakened by the sound of the powerful fury of the wind and the increasing volume of the tribespeople’s prayers.They leave their homes to witness the staggering size of the black whirlwind wildly attacking Roj the Fit and Niltsi’s home. Niltsi’s spiritual aura grows gradually until completely masking the dark storm and praying tribespeople. The sight of this is a spectacle to the spectating tribespeople, watching from just outside the doors and windows of their homes. As they watch, the aura grows brighter and brighter until becoming a sort of sun, blinding all of those that had examined the event. The light flashes to an uncomfortably bright light and all that is known, turns white.

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Est. 2016