The Origin of the Pleiades and the Pine
Long ago, when the world was new, there were seven boys who used to spend all their time down by the townhouse playing the gatayû'stï game, rolling a stone wheel along the ground and sliding a curved stick after it to strike it. Their mothers scolded, but it did no good, so one day they collected some gatayû'stï stones and boiled them in the pot with the corn for dinner. When the boys came home hungry their mothers dipped out the stones and said, "Since you like the gatayû'stï better than the cornfield, take the stones now for your dinner."
The boys were very angry, and went down to the townhouse, saying, "As our mothers treat us this way, let us go where we shall never trouble them anymore." They began to dance, some say it was the Feather Dance and went round and round the townhouse, praying to the spirits to help them. At last their mothers were afraid something was wrong and went out to look for them. They saw the boys still dancing around the townhouse, and as they watched they noticed that their feet were off the earth, and that with every round they rose higher and higher in the air. They ran to get their children, but it was to late, for they were already above the roof of the townhouse, all but one, whose mother managed to pull him down with the gatayû'stï pole, but he struck the ground with such a force that he sank into it and the earth closed over him.
The other six circled higher and higher until they went up to the sky, Where we see them now as the Pleiades, which the Cherokee still call Ani'tsutsã (The Boys). The people grieved long after them, but the mother whose boy had gone ihnto the ground came every morning and every evening to cry over the spot until the earth was damp with tears. At last a little green shoot sprouted up and grew day by day until it became the tall tree that we call now the pine, and the pine is of the same nature as the stars and holds in itself the same bright light.
Dec slowed down the big Ford Interceptor he had borrowed from the Police department in front of Sparrow Lane 15, turned on the police horn without regard of the already sleeping neighbors. He could have spared the earsplitting noise, as Lilek had already pushed open the entrance of the RainBoy's family's house. He crossed the driveway and jump up on Adam, who had excited the car. Clinging to him like a the baby of a monkey he robbed his nose to Adam's and cheered, "Everyone is happy you are back. We have so afraid the research would end in disaster and you get lost." He kissed both of Adam's cheeks and whispered in his ear, "I have a big secret and you have to find out!"
>Meanwhile more people pushed through the door. All their closer friends were present, True and Pete, Aaron and Gerry, Mel and Emma, only Tom was missing. The last coming out was Broder smiling relieved. He hugged Wa-Ya and told him, "You have to call Inola immediately, she and Biyen have grown white hair fearing the worst."
In the big garden a fire was burning in a pit and after all had settled down, Adam and Wa-Ya gave a short account of their adventures in the Tsul ‘Kalu. When Wa-Ya described the pyramid they had erected at the last place of Aunt Cuhtahlatah it was the first Adam became aware of the great loss they had suffered. Seeking for a way to overcome his sadness he remembered chorus of a ballad which gave him some hope:
We are building sparkling pyramids,
shining for everyone.
The first of many, many more!
They should shine forever!
And we are singing
about our sparkling pyramids
from the top of the world.
>Adam wasn't sure he had interpreted the song the right way, because his German was shallow. While he was still lost in thoughts, the next surprise of the evening happened. The doorbell rang out insistently disrupting the solemn mood. Lilek jumped up, rushed to open the entrance and came back smiling like pumpkin. He didn't come alone. Dragging a big young man along Lilek waited in the dark till everyone looked up. "Friends have to know it first! Tom and I are friends now!" Spelling out the word, letter by letter "B O Y F R I E N D s!" Lilek beamed at his friends, who was about a head taller. "We are boyfriends now!" the big boy burst out and removed the wide-brimmed hat from his head he had bought during his riding lessons in a small school up in the North. Now everyone became aware Lilek's big friend was Tom Ellington, the captain of the Oakville High football team. Sensing the question of his friends intuitively, Tom grinned from ear to ear, "Before you ask: my Dad knows. He is happy with my decision. My mom is less, being afraid to end up without grandchildren. But who knows!!!"
It didn't take long for the next surprise happened. The doorbell chimed again and Dec's partner at the police made his way into the dark garden. "Sorry Dec, we need your help. A crime is reported involving a minor. He is suspected to have stabbed his father. We have to go down to Scareboro to prevent enraged neighbors to take justice into their own hands."
The morning show of the local TV station furnished more information about the unasked-for surprise calling for the immediate departure of Dec. The saucy headline on the screen in big red letters read:
The following interview showed a middle-aged woman in a T-shirt displaying the "Moms for Liberty" slogan nervously staring at the interviewer. Her blond hair was straggly and smears of mascara were running down her face. Background frames were changing constantly showing a man in a hospital bed and a boy of about eleven or twelve on a swing. The man was wearing a black t-shirt displaying the slogan ‘stand back, stand up'. The light-haired, skinny boy was wearing a dress shirt and chinos. "My husband is such a caring man." She pointed at the frames. "My ungrateful son nearly killed him." She sighed, smearing more of the mascara around on her face. "Matthew Sire, that's his name, was the one who turned Josh away from his evil ways" "What evil ways?" the interviewer wanted more details, "Did he do drugs? Burglarize shops? Break into houses to get money for drugs?" "No! Not at all!" she parried. "Did he bully his classmates? Molest girls? Torturing animals?" "No! Not that I know off." She rolled her eyes. "No! Not at all!" she stressed. "Josh was a lazy boy, dreamer, getting bad grades in school!" Finally, she emphasized, "They did hold him back a year." The young interviewer frowned, and checked the woman with an uncertain face, "I wasn't much better at twelve!" he stated dryly, "Let's go to the facts. What was the reason Josh attacked his father?" She let out a groan; then began to talk a mile a minute, "Matthew is his stepdad, you have to know! He was his teacher, also. When Mathew became Josh's homeroom teacher last year, he started coaching Josh. His grades went up. I became to know Matthew at a parents' evening and immediately fell in love with Matthew. He is such a strong man, such a great man!" She said like a virgin in love. "We matched in all respects. In our attitude toward life! In our belief in god, that the young should honor the aged, just in every aspect. We got married around Christmas and he became the perfect father to Josh, the one he needed." "Perfect father?" the interviewer wanted to know, "Yes, Matthew cuddled Josh at every opportunity, he loved him." Shaking his head the interviewer asked, "But what did lead to this attack then? What did change between Christmas and now?" "I don't know." Hesitating a moment, "About 6 weeks ago Josh seemed to be troubled and asked me not to leave him alone with Matthew when I did my shifts on Friday and Saturday evening at Many's." "And?" The TV man prompted an answer, "It got worse week after week. Finally, a weekend ago, Josh accused Matthew he had tried to get into his trousers! He even accused Matthew he raped him." The reporter became even more curious, "Did you try to find out the reason for these accusations? They are severe!" "That was not necessary at all! Matthew is a man, we did fu…." She hesitated a moment, changing her wording "We made love every day! " Then a commercial set in.
Adam looked from Wa-Ya to Lilek and from Lilek to Tom, who had joined him at the breakfast table. "Did his stepfather molest Josh, raped him?" he shook his head in disbelief. "And the mother didn't listen to her son? She didn't help him, didn't ask others for help, like you the youth welfare service?" The whole time the interview was running Lilek was brooding about something. Suddenly he pointed at the screen. "I know him, the man in the hospital! I remember his face. He was teaching in my old school also. Two years ago he got fired. The rumor said he had been spying on boys in the shower."
"The accusations of Josh's mother are flimsy! Being a dreamer or being lazy doesn't mean Josh is a killer. For me, he can't be a killer. On the contrary, he is the victim. I think she made this up to glorify her new husband." Adam looked at the others. "Do you all agree?" The others nodded in agreement. "I think he abuses him!" Tom asserted. "We need to help the boy." Wa-Ya frowned and then requested, "Adam, you have to call Dec to ask if they had found him. If the police haven't found Josh is in danger. Remember the guys up in the Tsul ‘Kalu, they shot without a warning. We need to get down to Scareboro and rescue him, before the enraged neighbors kill him."
At his request, the head of the police department told Adam, "Your father is still on duty. You have to wait!" When Adam probed, "Is he trying to find the runaway, the boy from Scareboro?" The answer was, "I can't comment on this, you know." Now they were sure the hunt for Josh was still on. "We have to find him first. We can't wait any longer! Let's take a car and start." Lilek pressed. Wa-Ya cautioned the others, "We have to know the environment of Scareboro first. I know, Dec has some old maps of the county in his office. They show the environment in detail, navigation devices are not good enough for a search like this."
Lilek lagged behind the others. Two minds were fighting in his head, should they ask Broder and Dec for permission before they started the search or should they start on their own responsibility? He looked from Adam to Tom to Wa-Ya and then voiced his concerns, "Don't you think it's dangerous? Shouldn't we ask our parents first?" Adam stalled, turned around and asked back, "What did Broder and Dec teach us again and again?" Lilek knew it by heart, "Do the right thing!" was his prompt answer. Taking the car keys Tom turned him, "It's time to decide on our own! It's time to cut the cord!" The four pumped fists, walked over to the pickup and while Tom started the car, Wa-Ya took the passenger seat spreading the maps on the dashboard. With Adam and Lilek taking the back seats, the car left the RainBoy's home, the windows wide open they drove into the cool summer morning.
Tom was driving the heavy car as fast as possible through the streets of Dartsborough and then along the Clint River towards Scareboro. Meanwhile, Wa-Ya studied the map of the surrounds of Scareboro for possible hideouts a twelve-year-old would choose. In the back seats, Adam and Lilek checked the flying-by landscape for signs of Josh. "My best guess is the small island in the river about 2 miles down from the village. At least I would have chosen this place being a dreamer like Josh." Wa-Ya exclaimed, "My second best choice would be the thick forest south of the village."
Rolling down the main road of Scareboro, they passed a closed-down gas station, two diners with the shutters down, one of them Mandy's and a grocery. Two middle-aged men stopped them when they left the village, both wearing a red MAGA cap. They waved them down with their guns. The scruffy one eyed the boys suspiciously, "We don't see a car with two withies, an injun and a chink every day!" was his welcome address. "We are looking for a freewheeling murderer! Don't give the bastard a ride! I warn you!" They poked their heads through the car windows suspiciously eyeing the inside. Detecting nothing of interest, the other guy issued a warning, "Don't deal with drugs around here. That's a decent place! We do not tolerate criminals around here! " Shrugging his shoulders Tom replied, "We are clean! Not one of us is doing drugs, narcotics or booze?" Wa-Ya reacted to the insult of the slobs with a stoic face, while Lilek poked out his tongue at the men after they had passed the illegal checkpoint and mouthed "Bloody Rednecks".
About a mile down from Scareboro a dirt track left the road towards the river. When the track left out behind a basket of high willows, they exited the car to cross the grassland to the riverfront. As predicted by Wa-Ya there was a ford to the island. Rocks of a cross-bench had dammed up the river water and they could cross over to the island just by rolling up the legs of the trousers. When they were stopped by a field of shoulder-high nettles between the willows, Tom picked up Lilek and carried him piggyback to the grassland beyond, because his boyfriend was wearing broad shorts only.
Fanning out they searched for Josh in the willows bordering the grassland bathing their branches in the water. Lilek went straight across the pasture to the top tip of the small paradise. There found a tunnel leading to a low hut of wattled branches. In the dusky hut, he discovered Josh huddling into a blanket fighting fever attacks. Kneeling down to the bundle of misery he called for the others, "I found him! Here he is, he needs help! Quick!" Compassionately he hugged the shivering boy and brushed the sweat-soaked hair out of his face. Josh was frightened to death. Therefore Lilek tried to calm him by talking to him in a low voice, "We are your friends Josh. You don't have to be afraid anymore. Your stepfather is far away and we are here to help you".
Surprised by the sudden appearance of four strange teens, Josh began sobbing without an end and clutched at Lilek. Helping him up, Josh couldn't walk straight and winced with pain. Wa-Ya took him and carried him piggyback to the pickup. Still sobbing they bedded him onto the floor of the pickup in front of the backseat, covering him completely with blankets. "You have to stay down here to hide from sight. We have to pass a checkpoint." They passed the control point after being frisked and drove back to Dartsborough disregarding the traffic signs.
On the way back Wa-Ya asked his Uncle Biyen, the lawyer, to show up at the RainBoy's home without delay, "We need your help! Well, neither I nor Adam or Lilek. it's the poor boy who is accused of attempting to murder his stepfather, you sure have heard about." When Biyen didn't seem to understand, "It was all over the news since yesterday. Please hurry and bring Dec along without causing a stir at the police department." "Oh, little wolf, in what kind of problem did you run into? I'll be there. Just wait before you take further action!"
Tired and dirty from the search for Josh, Dec waited already for their arrival in front of Sparrow Lane 15 when Tom stopped the pickup in the driveway. Checking the bundle of misery with knowing eyes, Dec immediately called the youth department for help, while Josh was carried into the house. In the living room, he was bedded on the couch, covered with a warm blanket and fed some orange juice. The physician, an elderly kind-looking woman, arrived in an ambulance with flashing lights. At first glance she realized the weak health state of Josh and ordered Dec, Biyen and the boys to leave the room. Considerate and careful she examined Josh, interrogated him and recorded his injuries, especially the violations of his bottom. On the basis of his labile health state and his constant trembling, she suspected he had been poisoned with a drug depriving him of his own will. To confirm her suspicion she took blood samples which she carried back to the department's laboratory together with the blood-smeared briefs. These, she needed to take DNA tests to prove the rape. Before she left she told Josh that from now on he is safe because the house is guarded by the police.
After the physician left Biyen and Dec had to use all their persuasiveness to calm down the four youngsters. In particular, Lilek had expected the police would arrest Matthew on the spot. "Why not?" Lilek was completely disappointed. "Which other facts do the police need to know to arrest Josh's stepfather?" Tom shook his head frustrated. "I know, a judge has to decide, however, everybody could see his stepfather has drugged Josh!" "He had drugged and raped Josh, remember the blood stain in his briefs." Wa-Ya put in, and Adam called to attention the state they found Josh in the hideout on the island, "Josh could hardly walk when we found him! The man had damaged his bottom, what a pervert!"
Adam and his friends had to wait till the next morning to get the answer to their questions. Switching on the early morning news, the anchor announced dryly "Stepfather arrested for drugging and raping twelve-year-old." No interview, no TV report, just a short sentence. Nonetheless, Adam was happy and Lilek immediately went to Josh, who was accommodated in Tiger's now empty apartment, to inform him of the development. After a night's rest their guest was awake already. He felt better but was too timid to leave the room and look for the bathroom. He smiled weakly when Lilek poked his head through the crack of the door. Lilek entered, set down on the edge of the bed, taking Josh's hand in his own, "You look much better now, Josh. How are you? Feeling better?" Gaining confidence Josh smiled back and nodded, "Yes, I feel better now." "How is your bum?" "The doc use some salve and now it's fine. But I need to go to the bathroom and I don't know…" "No problem, I'll show you. But I have some good news first." Answering Josh's look of expectancy, "Your stepfather is jailed now. You don't have to be afraid anymore." Adding "I hope he will rot in prison till doomsday."
The judge of the juvenile court had ordered a hearing concerning the decision about Josh's subsequent future after consulting Dec as head of the Police youth department. To get the full picture he had invited not only Josh to the hearing, but also his mother and the physician, Dec well as Adam, Wa-Ya, Tom and Lilek. Biyen was present as the attorney of Josh.
During the drive to the municipal center, Josh fidgeted in the car seat and Lilek had to hold his trembling hand. In the courtroom, the judge had already interrogated Josh's mother. At first, he interrogated Josh in presence of a counselor. Afterwards, Dec and Biyen were questioned till it was the time for the youngsters. His first question concerned the search. As Tom was the oldest and known to the judge, who was a friend of the Ellington family, he was interrogated first. Then it was Lilek's turn. He vividly described how he found Josh in huddled an old blanket in the hideout under the willows. He emphasized again and again that Josh was scared like a lamb before a lion, was shaking and freezing and that his forehead was hot like a hot plate while his hair was wet with sweat. "He was afraid I never have seen anybody before!" He closed his statement.
After a short recess, they all were ordered back to the courtroom. The youth judge pronounced his decision. "Due to the circumstances known to the audience, I decide Josh is innocent and not responsible for the actions leading to the stabbing of Matthew Sire. Josh is now free to walk away. However due to his precarious health state and his age he needs a stable surrounding, a home. From my point of view, there are three possibilities. He can return into the care of his mother, he can be admitted to a Home for juveniles or live with a foster family."
Biyen, acting as Josh's attorney asked for a short consultation break. When the session resumed, the judge asked Josh to announce his preference. After a scared look at his mother, he told the judge in a hardly audible voice, "I want to stay with the others!" When the judge asked again, Josh turned around pointed at Adam, Lilek, Wa-Ya and Tom and announced with a firm voice, "With them! This is my choice."
The RainBoy's Family
Elijah Sawyer, the art and design teacher of Oakville High was the first to arrive in the art room for the great opening of the display of the art objects the seniors had during their last year at Oakville High. Today was the unveiling of the mural Wa-Ya had painted. In Elijah's eye, it was the highlight of the display. As Elijah had done often before, he studied the mural illustrating the spiritual universe of the Cherokee still not sure about the meaning of the black sun in its center and other spirits arranged around it. According to CherokeeBoy the dark sun with the halo represented Unetlanvhi, the Great Spirit, also called Galvladi'ehi, the heavenly one and Ouga, the Ruler. Around him images of other spirits were arranged, of Jistu, the trickster, of Uk'tena, the horned serpent, of Aniyvdaqualosgi, the thunderer, of Tlanuwa, the bird with the iron wings and last not least of the Yunwi Tsunsdi', the little people, Wa-Ya's favorite, as they were benevolent creatures who frequently help humans. Elijah marveled about this universe, so different from the Christian universe he had grown up with. He had grown up in a very liberal family. Therefore he had only a shallow knowledge of the Christian idea of god. However knew the idea of the holy trinity, which seemed to differ completely from the one of the Cherokee, that is of Wa-Ya.
Lilek and Tom: Absorbed in his thought, he hadn't noticed Tom, who had entered the room. Tom's soft coughing startled him out of his thoughts. Turning around he was confronted by a student who had lost his usual self-confidence. Slightly irritated he asked, "What's the matter? Has something happened I don't know, but I have to. Do your teammates bully you because of Lilek." "No, they were surprised when I announced our friendship. Only some of the cheerleaders were piqued seeing their hopes dashed." Clearing his throat, "But my uneasiness has something to do with football. You know I always have dreamed to become another Tom Brady, an even better one. I still have the chance, because scouts of the University Knoxville offered me a grant if I sign on to the Volunteers. At the same time, I had already applied to the College of Arts and Sciences of the UT because of it's the best place to study Archeology, especially as they are the most important place to study our ancestors, the Cherokee. I have had connections with the McClung museum since years and worked for them. It's a worldwide renowned institution. Now they offered me a small grant. For weeks now do not know what I should decide. Should I decide for the grant that promises me USA-wide recognition and millions of money as a quarterback in football or should I take the small grant instead, offering worldwide recognition and research opportunities around the world, combined with low income. Do you realize the quandary I am in?"
The art teacher eyed Tom intensely, and then handed out his advice. "When I was your age, I decided to follow my heart. In my case it was art or law, that is austerity or affluence. My father, a lawyer made more money a week I do a year and the artists I did know were always going hungry. And what did I decide for? Teaching art to students interested in football, video games and," shrugging his shoulders, "you know what else most of them like! But I didn't regret my choice a single day." He punched Tom, "I know exactly what you will choose, follow your heart."
Elijah Sawyer hadn't finished talking to Tom when the door flew open and Lilek out of breath stepped in a stack of books in his arms. "I finally got them. The librarian put the whole section about the Vietnam War into the attic, including the books about boat people! Do the States still suffer from their defeat in 1975?" Lilek returned the surprised look of the Art teacher, "I'm not looking for the war. I am interested in the fate of the boat people in the States. My grandparents escaped the Charlies by boat. This and the fate of the local staff after the withdrawal of our army from Afghanistan prompted my research. I just need to know what happened to boat people then and what may happen to the Afghanis escaping the Taliban now." "That's a complex undertaking for a young student like you!" "Sure Sir, but I have a big friend who is in archeology and history, why shouldn't I make this to my future profession also?" When the teacher smiled skeptically, Lilek smiled back, "You don't believe me? Don't you know Tom and I are boyfriends?"
Melina and Emma: Just this moment the door opened again and two girls entered. While Emma walked over to the art teacher to join the conversation, Mel sneaked up behind Lilek and pinched him. Lilek shrieked, turned around and wagged a finger at her, "Don't dare to pinch me in my bubble butt again or I have to launch a special section of "#me too" on Twitter, a section for sweet boys molested by evil girls." Looking sheepishly she teased back, "Don't be so touchy baby. I know very well I do not have priority in this case." Then she got serious, "Speaking of Twitter Emma and I have a big favor to ask you? Would you join our Twitter project" #we are 51"?"
"You aren't fifty-one even if I add yours and Emma's age." Lilek teased Mel, "So what does "# we are 51" stand for? "We want to initiate a political movement." Emma joined in. "Don't you know the sex ratio? Its 98 to 102, that is 51% of the population are female! Females are outweighing males and despite this women are still dominated by males. We are the minority group in politics, in congress, in the Senate, and in the staff of schools and universities. The States never had a female President and there are many examples in democratic states with women leaders. Just remember Miss Thatcher in Great Britain and Miss Merkel in Germany." "Even in religious societies, the leaders are male, while women dominate the basis and do all the social work! That has to be changed." Mel went on. "Our future quest will be to change this. Therefore we decided to study sociology and go into politics. One of us two has to become President, even if we have to establish a new party!" "The democrats and Republicans are still dominated by males" Emma added.
Aaron and Gerry: Then Gerry arrived. He had had a sleepless night. In the evening Aaron had got a letter from Atlanta United, a member of the Eastern Conference of the United States Soccer Federation (USFS). Running into Gerry's room leaping for joy, "I have made it! I am accepted to the Youth Academy of Atlanta United. I am invited to take part in the youth development program next summer break. If I am good enough to make the U-17 team, I can attend the academy permanently." Gerry was stunt. He did know of Aaron's ambitions, but he had blocked out the possibility his friend could ever leave. Aaron noticed his friend's misery immediately, hugged him and tried to comfort, him, "It's just for the holidays next summer, just three weeks and we can spend the rest of the summer together."
After the restless night, Gerry was still not doing fine and the relaxed atmosphere in the art room increased his depression. After a year of living together with Aaron in his parent's home, he just couldn't imagine living without his friend. During the last year, Aaron had grown and now they could look into their eyes without Gerry bending down to Aaron. Looking into Aaron's eyes and listening to the plans of his classmates he adopted the resolution to study design at Georgia Tech. There was just a minor problem. His father relied on his skills and ideas since he had started to design special houses for the construction company. After just three months Gerry was given his own small office and now he was renowned for his low-energy buildings. His desis turned out to be a tremendous advantage for the company in times of climatic change. Recalling this, Gerry suddenly imagined the solution. "Aaron, I am sure you will make your way in soccer. If you go down to Georgia to join the Youth Academy, I go to Georgia also and study architecture and design at Georgia Tech. Due to the internet, I will be still able to do my job at my dad's company."
Aaron smiled, "I knew there is a solution to our problem." Then he leaned over and whispered to Gerry, "I promise, we will walk through Atlanta hand in hand and all members of the soccer team will go green with envy.
Adam and Wa-Ya:
Meanwhile, RainBoy and CherokeeBoy had arrived too, together with Broder and Dec and Josh in tow. Adam had brought a professional film camera along. Trew, who was planning to go into filming, couldn't wait to ask, "You got a movie camera, a Sony PX. That's an expensive piece, one of the best. It's something I dream of." ‘It's not mine, it's property of WTLT. However, I can use it tonight to get practice." "Are you starting as a TV reporter? That's one of my dreams also. How did you get the job?" "It's part-time only. After the nerve-racking rescue of Josh, the station manager offered me this job to cover local events, especially those involving juveniles." "How come?" "I guess he thinks he can get a backdoor to the police department, because of Dec. Information you know!" "Dartsborough isn't exactly a criminal hotspot, at least not that I know of. And the juveniles? Are they criminals? Sure, some smoke pot, others drive too fast and still, and others snitch sweets in the drugstore, but can call them hardcore criminals? Never!" "Sure not! Those crimes don't promise thrilling reports. Most of my time I will spend recording local events, like football and baseball or country fairs." "But why do you invest time in such unimportant events, I always imagined you a writer, a poet, someone who penetrates the mysteries of the world." "I believed it myself for a long time, but now I am accepting my limitations and will become a pastime poet only. I accepted this job, because it has a perspective. After graduation, I will devote my full time to investigative journalism. Wa-Ya and I have started already with a project." "Wa-Ya? Didn't he come to Dartsborough to study law and succeed his uncle Biyen as a fighter for the rights of the Native Americans? Didn't he come down to just with this goal in mind?" "He still does, he has already a small office in his uncle's law firm."
Just now Wa-Ya arrived with his uncle Biyen and his aunt Inola. While the adults clustered around Elijah, who tried to explain to the guests the spiritual meaning of the painting, Wa-Ya had strolled over to Adam and got the last sentences. "Adam is really into his new job and I try helping him as good I can." Studying Trew's face, he explained. "Since years of reports about the opioid crisis and their kingpins, the big drug companies dominate the news besides Covid. Finally, the courts have forced the companies to pay off some of their guilt, but they still do not accept the responsibility for their crimes. Drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine have ruined whole families all from north to the south, from east to west. Especially young people are the victims." " This pertains to young Native people even more than white ones. The misuse of narcotics by native teenagers is two to three times higher than in the same age group of whites. The death rate in is high!" Adam explained. "Wa-Ya and I have decided to tackle this problem despite he is convinced drug abuse by Cherokee is low." "I pretty sure about this," Wa-Ya exemplified, "I have established a database on this subject and I am following court hearings related to drug offences on a regular basis." "We want to help to prevent drug use, help the local youth to become resistant to the temptation of narcotics and last but not least reveal drug trafficking."
Border, Dec and Josh:
Josh trailed his new fathers, his guardians, but he liked fathers better. Broder and Dec mingled with the other adults around Elijah and other teachers, he knew by name only. Miss Myers, who was teaching literature, seemed nice, but the other one, Mr. Corbin, let his hair stand to an end. The math teacher's hair was unkempt and had a three-day stubble. Therefore goose bumps were running down his back when the teacher started for him. Then however he was pleasantly surprised. "You are Josh, am I right?" he asked with a deep voice, taking a purple pebble out of his pocket. "I collected it at a beach in Sri Lanka. Do you like it? Lilek told me you are collecting feathers, shells of bird's eggs and pebbles. I do too and if you want to know the name of the subjects you have collected, you are welcome to ask me." When Josh didn't take the pebble immediately, Mr. Corbin added. "Don't be shy and don't worry, I got more of this kind." Then, pointing to the other end of the art room, "Let's go over there, Mel and Pete are serving soft drinks." From one moment to the other Josh knew he had found a friend, one who was as reliable and supportive as Broder and Dec.
Dec had special plans for the future. The election of the head of the county was coming up soon. He pondered competing for office and needed supporters. The gathering today opened an opportunity to sound out his chances in the conservation with Biyen, Bulford Ellington and the teachers. "As the head of the youth service, I learned efforts have to be raised to support disadvantaged juveniles. Not the one attending Oakville High, but the one who are forced to school in the poor quarters of the town." "Of whom do you think is special?" Bulford asked. "Families living in the north, where mining once allowed people to live in prosperity or in the villages along the Clint River or in the backlands where farming made it make meet ends." "Do see possibilities to change the situation?" Biyen asked, "I am especially interested to improve the situation for young Natives, Hispanics and Blacks. Parading with banners reading "Black lives Matter!" does not solve the problems." "Yes, I can imagine possibilities, but before I try to compete for the office of the county manager, I have to collect workable proposals to attack the problems." Then, assessing the imagination of the bystanders, Dec proposed, "We should combine the knowledge of the conservatives and liberals for the best of our city and our county."
Broder on the other hand devoted his efforts to two fields. As an engineer, he fully engaged in the planning and constructing structures to minimize the effect of climate change, for example by revitalizing floodplains and by conversion of softwood plantations to hardwood forests. His second commitment was to his sons, for Adam, Lilek, Wa-Ya and now Josh. While Adam and Wa-Ya were already about to cut the cord, Lilek and especially Josh needed his full attention. His luck was to have Dec's full support and help.
The brown dog had returned to the village at the edge of theTsul ‘Kalu after he had escorted Adam and Wa-Ya at their search for Aunt Cuhtahlatah.
He remembered the first words of CherokeeBoy and the soft hands of Kana'ti the RainBoy ruffling his fur. He remembered the trail up to the green meadow where she stayed for her final rest.
Wodige strayed through the forest and pastures, hunted for rabbits and squirrels and fathered many puppies. But from time to time when the moon was high in the clear sky he dreamed of the night he spent together with two boys mourning for the last warrior woman of the Cherokee. The brown dog dreamed they would meet again.
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