"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of the imagination. Next stop: THE TWILIGHT ZONE." - Rod Serling
An ancient, blind Indian woman is asked to provide a bride for a brash, handsome warrior prince. She agrees to his wishes and summons one using her ancestral spirits, even though he seems to view all women as something to be used only for his pleasure.
Here on this sacred land, where drums pound the beat, old women and young girls sing their song, and where warriors dance around the fires. For this ancient land is located directly in the heart of...THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
The young bronzed warrior sat crossed legged in front of the small fire, opposite him sat an ancient woman. He laid the leg of venison in her lap as her knotted fingers traced the raw meat. She was blind, unable to see from a very young age. The weight upon her lap caused her to smile, revealing several missing teeth.
"I have agreed to support you in your old age, ancient one. Now, will you hold your end of our agreement?" The warrior spoke slowly in his broken tongue, for each was from a different tribe, speaking completely alien languages of each other. The White man's tongue being the only language they mutually knew, albeit somewhat shakily.
She tipped her head slightly, white hairs straying from the tight braid that trailed down her bent and crooked back. "A great and powerful warrior should go out and find his own woman, this is strange indeed! How do you expect me to find one for you...can you not see that I am blind?"
"You see well enough old woman. Many who have sight cannot see as well as you." The warrior slowly stood to his full height, his bronze skin was clean and deeply tanned. "When should I come for my woman?"
She held her slim, bony hand over her withered mouth, "The spirits say that before the moon becomes a thumbnail, you shall have your bride."
The warrior looked up at the half moon and smiled, "It isn't a mate or bride that I am after, but only a squaw."
"Woman or bride, if they live with you they are the same...a squaw though is something else." She pushed an iron rod into the length of the leg, as she struggled to penetrate the flesh she added. "You refer to her as a Squaw...we women are more than our womanly parts young warrior! Why do you want this woman if you do not intend her to be a mother of your children?”
He smiled, showing strong, white teeth. "My father wants me to marry a young maiden of his choosing, this is my way of saying that I want my own choice! She will be nothing more than my concubine...my squaw."
The ancient one hesitated at the use of the vile word once again, she did not like him using the term as the whites did, referring of her nothing more than her own feminine parts. "It will not be your choice if I find her for you, it will be mine." The ancient one cackled, choosing not to comment on his use of the word at the moment.
"She only has to pretend to be my wife; I could care less if she likes me." The youth pushed his quiver to the center of his broad, bronze shoulder. "When I am finished with her, she can go on her way or stay to be my squaw! Of course, it depends old one, if I should want her as my wife; if that happens...she will still move when I tire of her."
The old woman kept her face toward the fire, "You would disrespect any woman if you should bed her, and then throw her out of your tipi! What happens if she comes to love you?"
The tall warrior's face grew stern as he looked into the flickering flames of her fire. "Then I might have to decide if I love this woman enough to keep her beside me for the remainder of our lives...but there will always be young maidens to be had within the village."
She stiffened at his lack of loyalty to his future bride, as a brief moment of anger spread across her face. Far off to the west, the clouds flickered with electrical energy. The old woman tipped her head in that direction, "The storm will bring her to me, and you must go."
He looked off toward the lightning as it danced between the clouds, "I will stay here with you and wait for my woman."
"No. You must go. The spirits will not bring her to me unless you have gone away. Return when the Great Spirit's thumbnail is high in the sky, your woman will be waiting." The youth gave her a slow nod, even though she had no way to see it.
She smiled as she heard his unshod pony ride away, with it she could tell it carried the weight of its rider, headed back in the direction of his village. She had much to prepare before she could produce a woman for the young, warrior.
Elam Hunnicut raced out of the building and into the darkened street beyond, he spat blood as he touched the wound on his lip. The large man swung open the saloon doors and let fly a string of profanities trailed the racing youth.
Behind a large rain barrel the young boy hid, staying put until the large bartender retreated into the saloon he tended. With a huge sigh of relief, the young man sat in silence, his heart pounding in his ears. It was getting too dangerous in this town, he would move on to the next one where none would know him.
He sat out in the darkness, staying off the road, yet traveling parallel with it as the night wore on. Far off in the west he thought he saw a flicker of lightning among the clouds, as he walked, he kept his eye locked in the area he had thought he was seeing the developing storm. Again a bolt of lightning raced between two clouds, it was true; a storm was approaching.
Elam took stock in his situation, too far away from town to return, no real cover where he was. For only a moment he thought about sheltering himself under the canopy of the trees, but he knew well of the consequences of being under a tree when lightning strikes. He scanned the south; it would never work to head into that direction. Only rough, barren, open land lay that way, surely no shelter could be found there.
To his left, lay north. He knew that there were a few small abandoned cabins up in those wooded hills; hopefully he could stumble upon one of them before the storm hit.
The old woman moved inside her tipi, starting a small fire within several stones to contain the flames. Removing a burning twig, she transferred the fire from one pit to the next. Slowly she moved the venison leg to the fire inside where the rain had less of a chance to put out her flame. Outside, she scooped several handfuls of dirt onto the fire and extinguished it to a smoldering spiral of smoke.
As she was pulling at the flap door she heard a noise nearby, the old woman paused and listened as someone moved through the woods near her home. A slow smile spread across her toothless face as she heard a young voice call out softly.
"I saw your fire, can I come in?" The old woman recognized it as the language of the whites; she frowned, hoping that it would have been another Indian. "I don't have a weapon; I won't do you any harm." The voice said as the area around them crackled from the impending storm.
The woman stepped outside her tipi and held the flap aside for the youth to enter, as he did she drew it shut behind her. As she tied the flaps shut, the rumble of thunder could be heard just outside the thin hide wall.
Elam could see that the old woman was blind; she fumbled with the straps but managed to tie the door closed just as the storm hit. He watched as she sat down and slowly turned the large animal leg, hovering just above the fire.
He was unsure if she could speak his language, but decided to try to converse anyway. "I'm from town." He looked at the flap, all the while rain fell hard against its exterior, the vibration evident in the way it visibly bounced. "I ran away from the man who had been beating me." He continued to watch her, unsure of whether she understood him or not.
Finally, the ancient woman settled back upon her sleeping furs. "Your..." She frowned as if searching for a specific word, "Your father…s..strike you?" She asked, and then added, "How many seasons are you?"
Elam frowned, unsure what she was asking. "The season…It’s late summer...and no he wasn't my father."
The old one laughed then again asked, "How many seasons are you?"
He sat perplexed, not fully understanding her meaning. "Seasons? You mean years? Are you asking me how old I am?" It was as if a light was suddenly turned on in her head, she smiled and patted his small hand. "If that's what you’re asking, I'll be 18 next month." He replied.
She reached behind her and moved a clay bowl nearer the fire, inside were a plethora of leaves and nuts, many he had no idea what they were. She smiled at Elam as she placed her finger over the rim of the bowl, pouring water in it until it touched the bottom of her fingertip.
She sat crossed legged before that little bowl, her lips moving slightly as she chanted a Indian prayer. The boy said nothing, he was interested in what she was doing, and afraid that any noise on his part would break her concentration. She raised a long knife up and pricked the end of her finger, allowing three small drops of blood to dissipate in the concoction floating in the bowl.
Elam watched her stir it with the knife, raise the bowl, mumble something, and then place it down upon a snow white fir. She opened her unseeing eyes and smiled, gently wrapping the edges of the white fur completely around it.
Finally, she folded her hands in her lap and smiled. "What is your name, child?"
"Elam. Elam Hunnicut." he answered politely.
"Do you have a family, Elam?" She asked as she rotated the leg of venison.
"No, not yet." He replied as he watched her slowly rotate the large piece of meat.
"Do you want a family?" She asked softly as she continued her chore.
"Sure, I'd like to have one...be married with a whole passel of kids!" He replied exuberantly as he spoke.
"The spirits say you would have many." She smiled toward him.
"I'd like that." He replied.
"It is too bad you weren't born of the people. You would have made a find Indian." She continued truthfully. "The spirits, they look with favor on you. They tell me that they have great plans for you among the people."
"That would be interesting, I'd like it to live among the Indian people: maybe I could broker treaty's or perhaps trade between the settlers and them!" He thought aloud.
"Elam is no good for an Indian name." She thought hard for a moment. "I will give you an Indian name, would you like that?"
Elam nodded; the Indian lore had always held him fascinated. He anxiously waited for her to name him, she smiled at his eagerness.
"The great spirits wish for you to be named Ne-A-No." She proclaimed as she again turned the great meat on the spit.
"What does it mean...in Indian?" The boy asked of his new name.
She smiled and lifted the bowl above her head, "It means White Flower!"
Elam frowned, "That sounds like a girl’s name."
The old woman shrugged and handed the small bowl across to the boy, "As is custom, you must drink from the bowl! The great spirits require it." Elam frowned as he took the strange looking brew.
The ancient one could sense his apprehension, she smiled. "It would be an insult for you to refuse." Then she chuckled, "Once you have finished, we can eat of this venison which I have been cooking."
Elam smelled the bowl, frowned at the thought of her blood mixing within the liquid, hesitantly, took a small sip, then began to set it down. "You must drink it all; otherwise the spirits won't give you the gift that they have prepared for you!"
The boy smiled, "A gift?" Elam liked getting gifts, the last he had ever remembered was before he left Boston, when both of his parents were still alive...before he traveled west with his Uncle and was forced to work in his saloon.
As the storm raged outside, Elam tipped the bowl and drank down its entire contents, including the small fragments of leaves and crushed nuts. He frowned at the strange flavor; it was bitter and smelled awful. As he finished, he handed the bowl back to the old woman who promptly felt the inside with her finger, making sure that Elam had drank down every last drop.
"Ah, the Spirits will bless you greatly." She placed the bowl behind her and again turned the piece of venison on the long rod, its juices dripping and sizzling into the fire. “Tell me Ne-A-No, what do you think of...Indian Squaws?”
The youth was surprised, “I didn’t think you referred to your women as Squaws? It sounds a bit like an insult to call them that...why you asking?
She never looked up and continued to turn the meat, “It is...how you say...just a question.”
He nodded and using his arm, wiped the sweat from his brow. "I'm getting pretty warm. Are you warm?" The boy asked, loosening his white shirt slightly.
"I am fine, Ne-A-No." The old woman said, checking to see if her meat was done. "Feel free to take off your shirt. I am a blind old woman; I have been unable to see for many seasons. You won't offend me."
Elam unbuttoned his shirt, and then rolled his long sleeves up to above his elbows. "Does that make you feel better?" The old Indian asked as she handed him a small slice of the meat.
"Some." He answered as he took the venison from her wrinkled hands.
Together they sat in silence, eating for over an hour. Finally the old woman wrapped the meat in a hide, trying to protect it for another day. "You feeling any better, Ne-A-No?" The old woman asked the boy. "Are you still too warm?"
The boy could feel himself becoming ill, the entire time that he had been sitting there, he grew more and more dizzy. "I...I feel so light headed." Elam answered. "My stomach is rolling as much as the thunder is outside."
The old woman smiled, "Do you feel it here?" She said touching his aching belly.
"Yes." Elam groaned, holding his stomach with his hands.
"It will pass." She calmly replied, "You will be better, Ne-A-No."
Sweat beaded upon the youth's lip, his skin glistened from the expelled moisture as his fever rose. Elam tugged where his shirt was tucked inside his pants, finally able to pull it out completely and remove it from his body. He fell back into a great pile of furs and slowly blacked out.
The old woman smiled as Ne-A-No fell to the furs; the Great Spirits were doing their work on this youth. Without seeing, she knew already, that he was developing slight breasts upon his chest, his small round nipples would be growing darker and expanding in size. In her mind she could see that his hair was gradually turning from its deep brown to an almost black, the hair on his lashes and brows darkening as well.
As the youth lay deeply unconscious, his skin darkened to a slightly copper hue, softening and becoming silky smooth to the touch. His hands slowly appeared to take on a feminine shape, the nails becoming longer and oval.
The old woman smiled at the drugged youth, gradually, she removed his shoes and other clothes. She smiled as his crotch was losing its once male attribute; another would take its honored place. She snickered softly as within her sharp mind; Ne-A-No's aureola expanded to the size of a small walnut, the flesh behind it swelling out as it grew.
Ne-A-No's waist tapered and flattened, her stomach narrowed, becoming tempting for the young man who would soon be there to fetch her. Her hair suddenly splayed out away from her head, expanding outward like a raven’s wing. The hair was very black and would most likely reach her soft, round copper colored bottom.
The young Indian maiden, Ne-A-No, slowly reshaped before the old woman's vacant eyes, the beauty's nose grew smaller, her young lips became fuller. The old woman smiled at what this creature would present to the handsome warrior, he wouldn't stand a chance against the beauty that Ne-A-No now possessed.
The sleeping girl continued to become more and more feminine, gone was the appendage that nestled between her once hairy legs. Replacing it was a soft mound of dark hair, shiny and black, soon to be a nest for another. Her legs became flawless and entirely void of hair, long and shaped sexily to lock around her lover’s waist as they coupled.
Ne-A-No's feet grew smaller, shaped daintily compared to what they once were. Her raspy male breathing gave way slowly to a higher pitch feminine timbre, able to woo any male she chose, with a single call with her lilting tone.
For four full days the young maiden remained sleeping, her body slowly altering from that of the white boy she once was to the lovely, Indian beauty that lay under the furs entirely unclothed.
At the end of the week, when the tiniest sliver of moon was showing, the old woman heard the warrior riding into her meadow. As he slid down from his pony she stood outside the tipi. He swaggered toward her bent and crooked frame, "Tell me ancient one, have you found me my squaw?"
She frowned and slowly gestured toward the tipi and then back to the warrior. "What will become of the girl in your tipi?"
"I will use her, and then send her away upon my own choosing." He strode past her, toward the tipi. "If she is beautiful I may allow her to be honored with my child."
The old woman frowned, "There will never be love in your tipi. This woman and your offspring will be unloved by you...this much I can foresee; the spirits have whispered it into my ear."
"I will be chief! My people will respect me!" The warrior boasted, "What do I care of love? The squaw will share my furs, possibly whelp my children, and when I tire of her and send her away, another squaw will take her place."
The old woman scowled at his comment, "Your father is not yet dead, you must learn that being chief is more than a title, you must earn the respect of your tribe, as well as give it as your father has!"
"Out of my way ancient one, my squaw waits!" The young brave spat as he pushed the flap aside and entered.
The ancient one touched the arm of the young warrior, "To awaken her, you must drink from the spirit bowl. Only then will her eyes be opened for you."
The warrior frowned at the bent, old woman, and then gently pulled back the fur covering his young squaw, revealing her nakedness. His eyes lit up with fire as he took in Ne-A-No's spectacular beauty. Gently, he traced a finger around her unexposed nipple, his light touch causing it to swell in arousal. "Bring me that cup old woman; I must have this young maiden as my squaw tonight. Her beauty will gain me respect among the other warriors!"
"The ancient one frowned, "Respect...bah! And when her beauty is gone?"
He flashed a leering smile at her, one that she neither could see, nor beheld the wickedness that was in his heart. She didn't need to see it, she already knew what was in his heart. "She will be replaced in my tipi." He said, jerking his thumb over his bronze shoulder.
The old one gave a disgusted snort, passing the prepared bowl unceremoniously, to the young warrior. "Drink this, only the leaves should remain behind, she will awaken once the tea is entirely gone."
The warrior tipped the bowl up, drinking down the concoction. As he finished he handed the bowl back to the old woman, and wiped his mouth against his muscular forearm. "You have held your end of the bargain old one; we will tell my village that she is your granddaughter. You may live in my village, beside our tipi, and help her prepare our meals until the last of your days.
The old woman smiled and nodded slowly, placing the bowl back on the white fur she had once wrapped it in. The young warrior turned and sat beside the fair Indian beauty, his bronze features glistening in the reflective firelight.
"When will the squaw wake?" He asked as he wiped the perspiration from his brow.
"It takes time, two full days." She sighed as she looked toward the unsuspecting, naked girl lying beneath the covers. She began to pack a long clay pipe with the wet leaves that the warrior left in his bowl, mixing them with more suitable dry ones. As he watched her light the pipe, the winding smoke floated about her head and began to crawl across the tipi toward the slumbering maiden and handsome warrior prince.
The young warrior frowned at its putrid smell; carried upon the smoke the air was bitter. Its stench was thick in the air, carried inward with each breath, disgusting was the taste each time he inhaled. Slowly though, his eyes grew heavy, the warrior's head began to nod with the onset of sleep.
The old woman was could not evade the smell, as she too slipped into slumber under the ancient spirit's unseen hand. A thick and hazy vapor enveloped the entire interior of the tipi, where all three were prone upon the great furs.
Two days later, the young maiden's eyes shot open as the handsome warrior placed her upon his wedding mat, she scrambled to the other side of the tipi in fear. "What are you trying to do?" She gasped in her native Ute tongue, and then paused to touch her throat in disbelief.
The tall warrior crouched upon his haunches, "You are now my bride, my wife." He smiled, patting the soft hide he was kneeling upon in an attempt to get her nearer to him.
Ne-A-No looked down at herself, unbelieving of what she had become. Her shock was worn upon her face; she was young, naked and feminine. "How have I become to be like this? How did I become an Indian woman?" She cried, holding a trembling hand against her quivering lip.
"The old woman made you for me; she said your name is, Ne-A -No! You are mine, you are my bride.” Again the warrior touched the fur beneath his knee, "You will bear many strong children for me!"
"I am a...a boy! I came from the town just west of here! Who made me look like this Indian girl?" Ne-A-No demanded in the strange Indian language of the man. As she realized she was speaking fluently the Indian language, she stumbled forward and pleaded with the great bronze warrior, her small fingers held onto his muscular arm. "How am I able to understand your tongue, when I am not the same as you?"
"The old woman, she gave you this gift!" The Indian Prince scooted closer to his terrified bride. "She thought it would be easier for you to adjust. You can speak both languages very well now; it will help when we make treaties with the white settlers."
"I am not a woman, nor an Indian maiden!" Ne-A-No cried, "I want to be a boy again!"
"Only the old woman can grant that for you, she lives just beyond our tipi. Everyone within our village thinks you are her Granddaughter and she is all you have left. They see honor in you for taking in the old one, caring for her in her later years, even though her mind is gone!"
"Her mind?" Ne-A-No asked, unsure of what he was suggesting. “She seemed fine when I first met her!”
"She doesn't speak our Ute language; she is of a different tribe. She used to know the language of the whites, but it seems gone now. There isn't much that we can make out, most is lost in translation now that her mind has flown away like a frightened bird."
"If she is my Grandmother, shouldn't I be able to speak her language?" Asked Ne-A-No.
"You would think so...but...she is old and not your true Grandmother. Now, enough of the ancient one...we have a life to live." He spoke softly, as he gently reached out to the beautiful girl. He touched the maiden's soft skin; she closed her eyes and leaned slightly into his hand. "She said that you would become more receptive to me, once you felt my touch."
Ne-A-No's youthful breasts heaved with each breath she took in, she felt a tingle race down into her stomach, then further into her soft nest. "I...I am...Ela..Ne-A-No..." She sighed, "White...White Flower...daughter of Two Feathers."
"I am your husband, you are my wife." The handsome warrior spoke softly as the young female's voice echoed his own. He leaned close to her ear, she closed her eyes and a smile broke from her beautiful lips, "Come to my bed, Ne-A-No. Let us create our child!"
She instinctively pulled closer to the young warrior's warmth; slowly they drew the fur over them as they snuggled into a lover's embrace. That evening, Ne-A-No became the bride to a Warrior Prince, and mother to their future child.
Sitting near her granddaughter’s tipi was an ancient, disheveled white haired, Indian woman, her mind lost to the senility of her advanced years. She sat in a crouch, rocking back and forth, her mind seemingly gone forever. One young mother stood nearby watching sadly, and then gently pulled her teenage daughter away.
As the two walked the young girl looked toward her mother and asked, "Why does everyone look at the old one, mother?"
"She is ancient, blind, and her mind is gone." The mother sighed as she looked back, over her shoulder. From what I've been told, "She believes she is the son of our chief!"
"But that's impossible, mother; didn't he just take her own granddaughter as a wife?" The younger woman asked in a laughing tone.
"Yes, and it has been a remarkable thing, he is much nicer to be around, especially since he has taken a wife. Their union seems to have done him good." The mother snickered, giving her daughter a knowing wink.
The younger girl smiled, glancing back toward the blind woman. The mother continued, "She is allowed to live here because the warrior prince has said he would care for her as long as she is alive."
The foolish warrior prince would spend the rest of his life in the shell of the ancient one, and that was his price for not yielding his demeaning ways. Though the spirits saw that the trio would forever be surrounded by many bronze skinned children, sons and daughters of a young and loving Indian couple. Together, they would learn to walk on the bright sunlit paths and grassy meadows of...THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
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