Well, it’s Saturday again. I keep writing to my congressman about this, the fact that Saturday keeps ending after only 24 hours, I mean, but I get no response: Probably out spending all my tax dollars. So, like it or not, there will be be only 24 hour Saturdays, but I comfort myself in the fact that there will be Sundays too.
So where am I today… I will be writing most of the day, I hope. I have been away from writing for several days now, except editing stuff and I want to get back to it. I will leave you with a selection from Dreamers.
Dreamer’s is one of my favorite books. I began this book as a series of short stories in a creative writing class. The class shared stories twice a week and I chose to share these weird little musings about a man and a woman who become lovers, but who only meet in the dream worlds. I based it on a series of dreams I have had for as long as I can remember. Bits and pieces of things that seem so real that you believe you are not in a dream at all. In that writing class I had begun to wonder about those dream flashes and so the next time I had one, something like three A.M. I got up and wrote it down as fast as I could in longhand.
In the light of day that dream flash seemed disjointed, unreal, but there was still something about it that drew me and so a few nights later I wrote another one down, and then another, and then a weird thing happened that happens to most writers; the story behind it began to come to me and I began to write it interspersed with the dream flashes. So if you asked me if I am the author of this work I would have to say yes, but if you asked me who wrote it I would not be able to tell you.
When I finished the story I shelved it. I thought it was over but a few weeks later I was back at it with the same characters writing another dream sequence.
So that is the back story. I hope you check out the book links at the end of this excerpt and I hope you like the story, Dell
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Dreamers is Copyright © 2016 by Dell Sweet. All rights reserved foreign and domestic.
Cover Art © Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet
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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
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Benjamin Bear Killer
I had come back to spend time with Laura. I could not tell her my real reasons. That I was afraid of leading the Dream Killer to her. Or I was not sure even whether I was coming back in the end, so I had wanted to see her one more time. She asked me about the Bear Killer who had been my Uncle and so I told her as we sat in the quiet of the evening and talked..
I thought a moment, gathered my thoughts, and then began to speak to Laura.
“I Knew Benjamin from my father’s side of the family. My grandmother was Blackfoot. She came from Canada with my father and my uncles and aunts. My father was the baby of the family. He looks Indian. Black hair, facial markings. So do most of my uncles, Benjamin excluded.”
“Benjamin is not a blood uncle, he is an uncle by marriage to my Aunt Ethel. He is a full blooded Irishman who married my aunt, gave up his Christian religion and has never looked back. If he could have ended the civilized world with a wish and turn it all back to the old ways, he would have. I’m not that dramatic but there are days when I can see his reasoning.”
“Benjamin Bear Killer knew the myths and legends. He understood more than some of my blood uncles did. They would go to him to learn. They saw him as one of the Enlightened Teachers.”
“Enlightened Teachers are something that the creator has given to us. They guide us. They teach us to respect the world, the Earth Mother. Teach us the legends and myths that we need to know. When my dreams became too much, too real, Benjamin Bear Killer came to me.”
Laura nodded for me to continue.
Bear crossed to the fireplace, yawned, curled up and rested his head on his paws.
“I had mentioned the dreaming to my mother, and she had spoken to my Aunt. My aunt had spoken to Benjamin and he had come to see me. Benjamin saw it as duty. It was part of what the creator made him to do, he said. At that time I wasn’t sure but now I believe that he is exactly right. Who knows what would’ve happened to me if not for the guidance and the stories he gave to me. Knowledge is meant to be used, he told me, why would anyone go to a Bear fight without a knife? A strange analogy maybe. But he wasn’t called the Bear Killer for nothing. So it made some sense to me.”
“Benjamin told me the legends first…….”
“In the beginning the Creator made a way to the peoples that will always be open. First Woman, The Clan Totems, the Star People, were all able to communicate, and they are still able now, up to this day and beyond, until your days cease you will have a pathway to that knowledge. A way to reach all that is possible. You hold the keys to all that is within yourself. We all do…”
“This is how the Creator came to make that way open for us, Benjamin told me.”
Laura nodded, curled her feet under herself and settled in to listen.
“We were in a sweat lodge at the time. One Benjamin had built with the help of my Uncles and Cousins. So many used it though that we had to check first to see if it could be used.”
“The Owl Woman’s Society use it,” he told me. “That meant nothing to me. At least nothing concrete. I had known my mother belonged to the Owl Woman’s Society. I didn’t know what they did: Where they met. What they decided. How important they were to each other, to us, to the well being of our people.”
“We settled into the sweat lodge and Benjamin began to tell me the legend of the Dreamer’s Way…”
“In the beginning there were very few people. In those days there was direct communication between the creator and his creations. Mother Earth spoke to Grandfather Sun every day. Grandmother Moon spoke to Mother Earth. The trees spoke to the people and the people spoke to their four legged brothers. The Enlightened teachers kept the legends. They passed them down from generation to generation. Grandfathers taught Grandsons. Grandmothers taught Granddaughters. And it could be that they both taught all the children equally well. The generations were not vast at that time. Time itself was brand new.
We as a people did not see our destiny. We did not realize where we would go. The things that would befall us. As we matured, evolved, we became more independent. We talked to the Creator less and less. We lost our ability to communicate with our four legged brothers. Our winged brothers the birds. The fish. We forgot that the trees themselves, the rocks, the winds, the directions all had their own languages that we could use to talk to them as we had at one time. We had begun to live a life that did not include regular communication with the other beings we lived with, or the Creator, or the Earth Mother.”
“One day a young girl, she was called Sparrow Spirit, was walking beside a swollen spring river that ran near her village. She was just into her ninth year. She was not a princess. Not someone specially selected for honor, or in her case death. She was the legends say, an ordinary girl.”
“She watched as the waters roared by. Huge trees were carried along in the current. Boulders were swept along and even seemed to float. Sparrow Spirit stood on a rock ledge and watched these things. Amazed at how powerful the water spirit was.”
“A tree larger than any living tree she had ever seen came down the river. It was floating, being pushed and pulled by the current.”
“Now the trees, we know, are alive. They breathe, think, feel, just as we do. And this tree said to itself, ‘Here is this young girl just watching me die. And she is not lifting a finger to help me.’ The thoughts, although unreasonable, angered the tree. When it reached the ledge, big as it was, it could not bring its limbs up high enough to snatch her, to catch her long black hair and pull her into the water.”
“There was no time to think so that tree rammed itself into the rock wall under the ledge Sparrow Spirit stood on with all its might. Hoping to cause the little girl to lose her footing and fall into the raging water, where the tree could entangle her by her long flowing hair and then pull her down into the depths to drown her.”
“Tree’s plan worked better than Tree had hoped. The ledge itself under Sparrow Spirit’s feet crumbled away and plunged her into the cold, fast moving water. Tree reached out with her spindly limbs and entangled them in her hair, pulling her down into the depths; drowning her.”
“Now Bird Song, who was Sparrow Spirits mother, could not be convinced that her daughter was dead. Even though many who had seen what Tree had done had come and told her. She refused to accept it. Refused to believe in it.
“Bring me her body then, if she has gone to the spirit world,” she told her husband Four Feathers. “If she has died we need to sing her to the stars.”
“Four Feathers had personally seen Sparrow Spirit fall into the river. And he was positive she was dead. He did not think there would be any chance of finding her body and singing her to the stars where the ancestors lived among the Star People. The river, this time of year, never gave any of its dead back.”
“Even so Four Feathers knew his wife would never accept Sparrow Spirit’s death until he bought her the little girl’s body. And even though he was sure he would never find her, he believed the spirits would probably allow her to go to the ancestors if he at least looked for her.”
“Four Feathers had no sons. And he was sure that Sparrow Spirit was part of his own spirit. He had no proof, just a feeling. But it caused him to love Sparrow Spirit more deeply, and he too wanted to find her and send her on her way. He feared Bird Song would never be the same until he could show her, her daughter dead or alive. So he set out beside the river that same day in search of Sparrow Spirit’s body.”
“Now he traveled for three hands of time. Days walking and keeping lookout along the river’s edge. Nights sleeping beside her. Letting the land, the bounty of Mother Earth protect and nurture him.”
“He found many animals, and even a few of the people who had fallen into the waters. And he prayed them to the spirits and continued to search for Sparrow Spirit.”
“Near the end of the three hands of time he became sure that he would not find her. He was in a land that he did not know. No one knew. No people had been there before him.”
“That night he slept beside the river and dreamed. In his dream Sparrow Spirit came to him and spoke to him just as she had when she had been alive.”
“Father,” she had said. “You will find my bones on the river bank just one more days travel. You must take them back to my mother so she can be at peace. As for me, my Father, I have found my way to the Spirit World.”
“Four Feathers wept in his sleep. He had thought she was a child of his spirit, now he knew she was. In the morning he set out once more and by the end of the day he found Sparrow Spirits bones on the river bank just as she had told him he would. Her Medicine bag was still caught within her ribs. He carefully packed her remains and set out back to the village.
Now on the way back Sparrow Spirit often talked to him. All the days and all the nights. And as he walked he listened and Four Feathers learned about the way that it had once been.”
“As he learned he began to follow Sparrow Spirit’s voice as she led him to other worlds. To the homes of Grandfather Sun. First Woman. Grandmother Moon. To the ancestors who hearths are scattered among the stars.”
“He met the Clan Totems who lived among the stars with the ancestors. She showed him how to dream. What it was: Where it could take you.”
“As the three hands of time passed on the return trip Four Feathers spent less and less time in the waking world and more and more time walking in the other worlds. He found the City Of The Dead. He met the Coyote, The Trickster, the Dream Killer, but he was not afraid. He was becoming a powerful dreamer. He was the first dreamer.”
“When Four Feathers arrived in his village he handed over Sparrow Spirits bones to Bird Song. Bird Song spoke to the Clan Mothers. The Clan Mothers came together and listened to the story that Four Feathers told about finding the bones. About the Spirit Worlds. About dreaming, how Sparrow Spirits voice still spoke to him. The Clan Mothers went to the Chief. The Chief called all the people together and told them. They held their first prayers to the Creator, to Mother Earth, to Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun, that very day.”
“As the first Dreamer Four Feathers spoke to the spirits, discovered their ways, told the people and helped the people to understand. He became greatly respected, but he was not alone. From those days until these days, there have been Dreamers. They keep the balance. They speak for some people who wish to speak to the spirits, but cannot. They help to keep the balance. But most important they keep the lines of communication open.”
“Benjamin Bear Killer leaned back into the steam as I took in what he had told me.”
“You are a dreamer,” he said at last.”
“Me,” I asked? I suspected something like that, but I was still shocked though.”
“You know you are.” He looked at me through the clouds of steam. “It’s a bad time. A dangerous time. Everything is out of its natural order. We need dreamers. The people need to have a relationship with the Creator, all of creation itself needs to be bought back into balance.” He eyed me through the steam.”
“I don’t know how and what could I do?” I asked him.”
“You already do it. You only need guidance. What can you do? Plenty. The Thief of Souls, the Dream Killer, the Trickster. They rule the spirit worlds. They rule only because there is no one to oppose them. No one to stop them. It has been allowed because as a people we have fallen away from The Creator. A strong Dreamer will have to fight for us. A Dreamer as strong as the first. You will be part of that,” he told me.”
“I am not that dreamer. I am just one man. An ordinary man at that. I don’t know how I do the things I do.” I said.”
“But you will,” the Bear Killer told me. “You will learn. And that dreamer will be lead to you: Come to us through you; because of you.”
“I had my first productive dreams with Benjamin Bear Killer’s guidance. He went with me. But he had no blood. Will, but no blood. I only have partial blood. Why would I be stronger than someone who has all Native blood,” I asked him?”
“Because you are willing and they are not,” Benjamin Bear Killer said. “We are our own worst enemy. That is not just something to say.”
“So I followed, and I learned from him and I soon out stripped Benjamin. Not long after that I realized how serious the Thief of Souls was. He sent his minions to take Benjamin’s soul. He died in his sleep, lost without it. I have dreamed every night since then. And I know how dangerous it is, but I believe it is my only true calling.
Before dreaming I had felt aimless: Out of touch with my native roots. I did not know how to address the stars. Thank the Mother Earth. The Directions. The Winds. My Wolf Totem. Grandfather Sun. Grandmother Moon. I had no relationship. No relationship with my own clans. My Bear and Wolf totems. I was a man taking up space. I truly felt useless. I did not know my purpose. And the creator makes each one of us for a purpose: Since I have started down this path I have not looked back.”
“What happened to Sparrow Spirit,” Laura asked?
Bear was stretched out by the fire place. A fire burned there. His paws twitched and I wondered what sort of dreams spirit wolf dogs dreamed. And maybe he wasn’t a spirit dog at all. Laura, after all, had been a sparrow when I had first met her.
I laughed lightly. “I asked the same thing. Benjamin told me. Like he was waiting for me to ask him.”
I thought for a second and then began.
“The clan mothers took Sparrow Spirits bones to the death house to cleanse them and paint them before they could be buried and start the trip to the ancestors.”
“There was a full Moon time involved in preparing the bones. Now that they knew how to speak to the spirits, how to find the old ways, they did what Four Feathers told them to do. And he told them what Sparrow Spirit told him. And she was telling him what the ancestors told her to say.”
“After cleansing: After a full Moons time; after painting the bones with the sacred red. The day came for the burial. But a strange thing happened on the ceremony day.
The bones had been placed into the Mother Earth. Food, weapons, clothing, were placed in the earth over the bones so Sparrow Spirit would have those things in the spirit world.”
“The Shaman came forward, the heads of the Clans. The Grandmothers. They sprinkled the sacred red earth down into the grave along with handfuls of rich, black dirt. The red rock had been gathered, crushed, and then mixed with Bear fat to paint the bones. Today it isn’t made the same way. Just one more thing that is wrong with our people, Benjamin told me.” I paused.
“When the Ocher and the dirt hit the clothing covering the bones something happened. The legends say that at that moment the Creator was petitioned by Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon, the Clan Grandmothers, Grandfather Sun and many of the ancestors that lived among the stars to return Sparrow Spirit’s life force to her.” I met Laura’s eyes.
“The bones began to move beneath the clothes and piled gifts: Clacking together. The Grandmothers stood with the Shaman unafraid. They had been part of the prayer after all and they believed in what they had prayed. They believed because they believed Four Feathers, and Four Feathers believed Sparrow Spirit.”
“The bones rattled for three days and three nights. At the end of the third day, towards dusk, the bones fell silent. The people, who had been frightened, came back to stand behind the Grandmothers and the Shaman, to see what would happen.”
“As the sun began to sink there came a different sound from the grave. Some people looked fearfully to the grave, but the Grandmothers waited with expectation. Bird Song allowed herself to walk closer and stand with the Grandmothers. The sounds that came to them were the sounds of gravel and dirt being pushed aside. Two small pale white hands appeared at the top of the grave just as Grandmother Moon began to lift into the sky. A head of pure black hair appeared next, and then Sparrow Spirit’s face came into view. She climbed from the grave and stood next to the Grandmothers. She had come back, but she was not the same.”
“While she had been dead the Thief of Souls had stolen and enslaved her soul. And although the Creator was displeased about it, he had created the Thief of Souls for a purpose, just as all of us have a purpose, and so he would not force him to give Sparrow Spirit back her soul.”
“She stayed for one Moon, but she was so unhappy living among the people without her soul that the Grandmothers prayed to the Creator to let her go back to the ancestors. She went on the first new Moon.”
“Since then, the legends say, Dreamers have sought the Thief of Souls to get her soul back and set her free. And all the other souls he has taken too.” I finished.
“That poor little girl,” Laura said.
“That poor little girl is thousands of years old now,” I said.
“You know there is someone who is purposed to kill the Thief of Souls. He doesn’t rule forever,” I said after a brief pause.
“Who,” Laura asked?
“I didn’t know. Benjamin told me. There is a purpose given to every soul that is born. The Thief of Souls was purposed to do exactly what he does, evil. But there is a counter to him that is purposed to end his purpose.”
Laura seemed to think about it. “Who did Benjamin think it was,” she asked at last. “You?”
“No, Laura. He believed I would meet a Bird Woman. He believed that Bird Woman would be the one who would have the key and the power to kill the Thief of Souls,” I said.
She blinked, but continued to stare for a few minutes. “Not me,” she said softly.
“No,” I asked? “It seems you exactly.”
“But I don’t know how,” she said.
“So you’ll learn.” I told her, “you’ll learn.”