A slight breeze moved the French lace curtains as Karen leaned against the verandah doorframe. She watched the men struggle with the awkward and heavy feather mattress she had re-upholstered. The ornate bed was large and high off the carpeted floor. She had fallen in love with it the moment she and Bonnie had seen it at the estate sale.
The antique maple bed and steps matched her furnishings in the room to perfection. This room for some particular reason was the only one in her home furnished with antiques, right down to her eagle photographs in ornately carved frames. Normally, Karen was comfortable with anything and everything modern. It wasn’t until the past year that she started replacing her bedroom furniture with antiques.
After the men left, she spent the afternoon organizing and moving the rest of her bedroom. Nodding her head in agreement with herself, she looked about the room with a critical eye. It was almost as if the bed was the last piece of the puzzle. Its headboard was strategically placed against the wall with the two windows from floor to ceiling on each side. The bed faced the verandah; the armoire to the right of the bed; the bureau and matching vanity to it's left. Karen smiled. The room looked comfortable and inviting.
Hot and exhausted, she lay back on the bed for an afternoon nap. It was soft and enveloping, like a huge hug. The linen sheets were cool and she felt herself relaxing immediately. As she dozed into a restful sleep, Karen felt as if she was floating on water and then upward as if she was flying. It was an exquisite dream. In the dream she closed her eyes and felt as if she was flying. Opening her eyes, she surveyed her surroundings. Karen could feel the dirt and grass beneath her bare feet.
She was spiraled into the mid 1800's by the mystical antique four-poster bed. At first, Karen thought she was dreaming but the threats of the menacing look on the man's face seemed just too real to ignore.
One minute she was reeling in the luxury of the soft bed and the next, she was staring at an extremely handsome and virile looking Indian. As she watched his face, she could see a look of complete astonishment that had quickly turned to anger.
Standing Deer was quite perturbed. He was just getting ready to eat his morning meal when out of the blue heavens this white woman appeared. All of a sudden, there she was. This white woman had long wavy hair with curls cascading down from her shoulders to her waist, like a waterfall. The sun made it sparkle like the rays of sunshine through the clouds and sky. There were so many streaks of colors in it that he wasn't sure what color to call it. It appeared to have all the colors of autumn leaves one saw in the mountains just before the winter snows.
How ironic that she would appear just when he thought the whole trip was a waste of his valuable time. He had been scouting for days and had not seen any Pawnee war parties or scouts. This woman was dressed in clothing he had never seen before. Quite different from the clothing of other white women he had seen. What has the Great Spirit planned for him by bringing this woman to him? Where did she come from? How did she get here without him seeing her? There was no horse that he could see and no possible way she could have entered the campsite without him seeing her. He didn't move, nor did Standing Deer want to move. If he scared her, she might leave in the same way she arrived. From his own experiences and those of others, he knew white women were cowards. They tended to get very skittish when they were around Indians. He did not want to scare her away. He wanted answers to his questions.
The training of a Hunkpapa warrior prepared Standing Deer to be ready for anything. This was different. It was magical how she appeared before his eyes. She was a very beautiful woman. Standing Deer could feel his palms sweating, and his heart beating faster. He felt an attraction he hadn’t allowed himself to feel in years. What kind of spell had she cast over him?
Standing Deer was thorough as he stood silently admiring and observing her. She was a little woman just barely able to reach his shoulders. She was indeed in strange attire, with practically nothing covering her body. This woman with the colorful hair and strange clothes did not appear to be shaken by his presence. Grinning, her attire did not leave much to the imagination. She was quite striking; her body was well formed and well endowed. She appeared to be strong and healthy for a white woman. It pleased him to see the muscles throughout her arms and legs. Yes, she was quite a specimen. This woman was a strong one.
She would be able to work hard, stand her own ground among the other captives and possibly even among the Indian women of the tribe. She would surely bring him good fortune and many horses when he traded her to the Cheyenne. Maybe he is to take this white woman back to camp with him. He could keep her for himself. He decided that he would definitely like to keep her for himself.
Standing Deer hadn’t felt this kind of desire for a woman for too long a time. His body was starting to react to the beauty before him. He closed his eyes for a brief second as he fought to gain control of his thoughts of taking her. Was that lust he saw in her eyes too? The Great Spirit has brought him a jewel from the skies of the Pawnee country.
Karen was scrutinizing him just as he was she. Her eyes left a languorous trail of desire. He was indeed a very good-looking man, built like a god. It had been quite a long time since she looked at a man that actually interested her at all. To look at a man and feel the pulse quicken and her heart pound in her chest was an unusual reaction for her. She could sense his animal magnetism. The sexual attraction was strong. She had to use all her control not to walk over and touch him.
He was tall, at least six feet in height, with a massive, muscular body, tanned to a golden brown. His facial features were rugged and well defined with dark, charcoal eyes that didn't waver, like the look of an eagle when it's hunting a prey.
He was not moving. Every muscle she could see was flexed, waiting for action as she imagined a warrior would. Karen could see the ripples of the muscles throughout his entire body. She just wanted to walk over to him and touch him, caress him and feel the hardness of his legs, arms and chest underneath her fingertips and lips.
This was her dream. He was her rendition of Apollo. There was no harm in following through with this uncharacteristic fantasy of hers. Licking her lips, she envisioned herself stroking him gently but firmly. She could feel his strength in her hands, going through her own body, down into her unreachable soul. Oh, how good it would feel. How good it would feel to be his woman and have him desire her as much as she did him. Karen envisioned herself caressing that strong, massive body, while he was gently touching and stroking her most intimate places, making her tremble and quiver like no other man could. She was stroking his long black hair, smooth and shiny, as it was falling onto her chest and he laid her onto the ground. His hair was so beautiful and thick, enough to make a woman jealous. She could feel his hair tickling her chest as she entwined her fingers through it in ecstasy.
Shaking her head, she blinked away the lascivious thoughts. Oh, they were such wonderful feelings. It obviously has been too long since she had been with a man. What a dream, too bad this wasn't real life!
Karen could feel a breeze gently blowing and pushed her bangs out of her eyes. How odd, does that happen in dreams? She could feel the sun beating relentlessly off her back and realized she was sweating. Maybe, she had the temperature of the air-conditioner on the wrong setting.
She was the first to look away. Uncomfortable with the journey her mind was taking, she looked around and saw a landscape that was unfamiliar. From where she was standing, Karen could hear a river somewhere nearby but couldn't see it. She watched the slight wind touch and tickle the leaves. The trees must be cottonwood or aspen. Horticulture was not one of the subjects she had bothered to learn. She didn't have much knowledge about different trees and plants and couldn't recall ever seeing this kind in Florida before.
Clearing her throat, Karen surveyed the campsite, avoiding the Indian's eyes. It had been a while since she had gone camping. She noted the absence of camping gear, tent, propane lamps or equipment. In comparison to the way it appeared that this Indian lived, she was a bit spoiled.
Neither one of them had moved. Karen was beginning to feel uncomfortable under his penetrating gaze. She realized he was staring at her legs. The man appeared to be perplexed. His head was slightly tilted, eyes squinting as if he was trying to understand a complicated problem. Her brown silk shorts were a bit shorter that she usually wore but they were comfortable to sleep in when she wanted to take a midday nap. Why was his face looking so puzzled as if he hadn't ever seen shorts before? What planet was he from? This was her dream, her imagination running wild, why should he react so strangely. This Indian acts as if he has never seen a woman before.
Standing Deer had finally gotten control of his senses and began to speak to her in a deep, rhythmic voice. It seemed almost hushed, as if he did not want to break the spell. Karen could feel the strength of his personality in the sound of his voice. It was almost a whisper. She couldn't understand the foreign words he spoke. Well, it isn't French, and it certainly isn't Spanish. He must be speaking a form of Indian dialect. How could she be dreaming and hearing a language she had never heard before? Why wasn’t he speaking English?
He motioned for Karen to sit. Shaky and unsteady, she gratefully sat beside him. Her legs were getting a little shaky anyway.
He offered her a piece of home made jerky. Surprisingly, it didn't taste that bad. Not quite like the ones you can buy at the grocery store. Karen wasn't hungry, just curious.
Assuming he didn't speak English, she believed they needed to find a way to communicate somehow. Maybe if she tried sign language, the language is considered universal and she would be able to continue conversation, if he understood her. Karen had been learning to sign for about a year. She hoped that although she did not have much knowledge of sign language; it could be enough. Well, she might know enough to keep some conversation going, even if he signed differently than she had learned.
"Where am I?" She signed and spoke at the same time.
“Here." The Indian pointed to the ground.
“Oh, well thanks a lot.” It’s nice to know he has a bit of a sense of humor. “I couldn't have figured that one out without your help. Where is here?" She spoke and signed back to him with obvious irritation in her actions.
"This is the land of the Scili." He spoke in his language and signed back to her.
Confused by the strange sign she inquired, "What is Scili?"
"Pawnee." Standing Deer said in English with exasperation.
"Are you Pawnee?" She shivered out of fear and hoped he wasn't. Though she felt compassion for the demise of the Native American cultures and people, she didn’t have much knowledge of their tribes except from novels or television. She had read stories about the Pawnee and was worried, even if it was a dream. Karen certainly didn't want it to turn out to be a nightmare.
Standing Deer laughed and smiled at her. Karen liked his laugh. It was a refreshing and pleasant laugh, a deep and honest one. Still, the laugh did not relinquish her fear that he may be Pawnee. She waited for his response in complete silence.
"No. I am not Pawnee. I am Hunkpapa. I am from the Lakota, Sioux." Standing Deer said with unmistakable pride.
It dawned on Karen that he had spoken English and spoke excellent English. Why was she trying to communicate in sign language when he could speak English? She wondered why he had not responded to her in English before. Why did he hide his knowledge of the
Why was she taking this dream so virtually? This dream seems so real. Was her imagination playing tricks on her? Did she have to keep reminding herself that it was just a dream?
"You speak English. Why didn't you speak English earlier? How did you learn?"
She scolded herself. Of course he speaks English. How can a person have a dream and talk to someone without speaking the same language? He knows English because this is America. In America, you speak English. Well sometimes, she chuckled to herself. Karen reprimanded herself. This is a dream. Why does she have to keep reminding herself?
It was normal for dreams to have twists and quirks that sometimes never make sense. She needed to understand that she couldn’t take this as normal everyday life. Dreams weaved intricate symbolism from the sub-conscience mind.
"There have been white men here for a long time. I learned." He shrugged. He was blunt, short and direct in his answers. Karen admired people who were direct and to the point. No games were involved.
"What is your name? I am Karen." This dream could last a while or it could pass by in seconds. Maybe it'll turn out to be a really delightful dream. We might as well call each other by name.
"I am called Standing Deer."
"Well, hello Standing Deer. It is nice to meet you." Karen said formally with a huge grin on her face and puts her hand out to shake his. Standing Deer just touched her hand. It puzzled her that he did not shake it. She couldn’t be insulted by the refusal to shake. He had touched her hand and she could still feel the lingering spark. Maybe it was a custom to greet people that way in his tribe. She reprimanded herself again. “In his tribe”, listen to yourself rationalize.
Karen spotted a bow and arrow that was leaning beside Standing Deer. She reached over to point to it and before she could react he grabbed her wrist, twisted her around and had her face down on the ground.
Karen rarely swore. This particular time, she screamed a few colorful metaphors as she scrambled up and away from him. She knew Standing Deer had let her go. Otherwise, she would still be on the ground with a mouthful of dirt. She wasn’t sure if she should feel angry or relieved.
Shaking with anger, frustration and humiliation that he could have gotten her on the ground so fast, she thought that she should be taking self-defense courses.
She responded to his menacing glare cautiously. Explaining her intrigue with the bow and arrow would take some time. Archery had been a sport she had been interested in learning but never pursued. Karen thrived to learning and knew she would have to learn to survive in the wilderness. Now why would she think that? It didn’t make sense. Obviously, she needed to slow down and take the time to watch what was going on around her. She explained her actions to Standing Deer.
"I only wanted to ask you if you would show me how to make one of those and teach me how to shoot. I've always wanted to learn how to survive in the wilderness, like they did before the country became civilized. I'll need to learn how to use one if I'm going to continue to be here. Please, show me, I learn fast."
Why would she need to learn, Karen wondered? Want, yes, need no. It was only a dream.
"Yes, I am sure there is a lot I could teach you and I would make you a very willing student." Standing Deer chuckled, a deep-throated chuckle. The sexual undertone was rather blatant and lustful. The desire she heard in his voice was unmistakable.
Well, that was a typical male response. She squirmed. Karen was not comfortable with that type of banter. She was used to being treated by men on a professional level. As far as she knew, none of her colleagues looked at her as anything but another professional.
"I am serious." She said, angered by her discomfort.
Standing Deer grinned enjoying her discomfort. "You do not need to learn. You are coming with me. It is too dangerous here in the land of the Pawnee. And it is even more dangerous for a white woman who does not know how to survive in this land." He stared at her legs. “Or wear the appropriate clothing.”
Karen’s mouth dropped in astonishment and then quickly closed it in anger. How dare that arrogant man reprimand her for the clothes she was wearing. It’s not as if she planned to come here. Besides, she should be able to wear anything she wanted!
Standing Deer meant every word he said. It was a statement. It was a command and it was a fact. As far as he was concerned, nothing was going to change the fact that she was going with him. Standing Deer got up and Karen silently and cautiously watched him as he prepared to leave. When Standing Deer finished packing his belongings, he walked over to her, picked her up and proceeded to carry her to his horse.
Karen could smell his manliness. The scent of horses and leather tickled her nose. His breath smelled as if he had chewed on mint. Enveloped by how intoxicating he was, she could feel the steel strength of Standing Deer's strong and massive body as he was carrying her in his arms. Her body stirred with desire. The touch was electrifying. Karen wondered if Standing Deer could feel it, too.
It was so very pleasurable to be in his arms...
Reality hit Karen on the backside when Standing Deer plopped her on his horse. Fear gripped her while self-preservation took control. What if he was a savage? He didn't look very civilized. It was obvious his bow and arrows were not used for entertainment. What normal man would be dressed in the costume of an Indian, living off the land and riding around on his horse like it was the 1800’s? This is not going to happen, she thought. He is not taking me anywhere. This will not turn into a nightmare.
Karen started to get off the horse when he grabbed her waist. Struggling with her as he pulled himself up onto his horse, she closed her eyes when he managed to subdue her without much of a struggle. She wished she were somewhere else. She did not intend to be taken anywhere by some savage and uncivilized man who dressed up as an Indian and was stuck in his warped world of living alone without civilization. I want to be anywhere else, she thought, please anywhere but here.
Stunned and confused, Karen found herself standing in front of the most glorious, beautiful waterfall she had ever seen. She could see a rainbow reflecting off the mist. Oh, how breath taking, she whispered. Karen never realized she had such an explicit and vivid imagination. She looked around for Standing Deer. Her dream had taken her to a paradise away from the threat of the menacing Indian called Standing Deer. She was alone.
Where was Standing Deer? How did she get here? She decided that this was an unusual dream. In every direction, Karen could see hills and trees surrounded her. The hills in the background were dark, almost black. The trees were lush and full, majestic, she concluded. About twenty-five feet from the waterfall, she saw a cave opening. She would have to explore that. In the meantime...
Karen wandered over to a pond of sparkling clear water. Oh, it looked so wonderful! She was hot and the water beckoned to her. It was a dream and no one would know, she rationalized, as she quickly stripped off all her clothes and jumped into the refreshing cool water. She could never have skinny-dipped when she was awake, but in this dream, it felt natural. Karen knew she was much too inhibited to do anything like this in real life. It seemed so, so wanton to her. An exhibitionist she will never be, even though she many not remember her dreams when she awakens, it felt delightful to be able to experience this.
There wasn’t a moment's hesitation. She quickly stripped off her clothes, dropping them in a pile on the ground. At home, she’d be afraid to swim in any of the ponds. She was terrified of alligators and water moccasins. This couldn’t be Florida, not with those hills and that waterfall.
Nobody but you knows what happens in dreams unless you chose to tell someone. No one to judge you or chastise you. Oh, if only she could relax like this at home. Karen felt all the stress of the past few years float out of her. Now that she had her surgical license, she can finally find a position in a hospital, and have her own office in the future. Karen would be able to help those who could not afford an expensive doctor. She was going to make a difference.
She looked at her body and scrutinized it as she was floating around the cool water. Knowing she looked good now satisfied her. A year ago, she had taken a long look at herself and decided that things were going to change. Things were going to be different. She was not going to be a frumpy person ever again, and wasn't going to allow men to control her anymore either. She had quit smoking, lost thirty pounds, started working out on a daily basis and liked looking at the muscular cuts in her arms and legs. Proof of the hard work she had put into her body, improved considerably by the bike riding she had started on a regular basis.
Karen hated running, bouncing around all over the place, and listening to the cat calls and obnoxious remarks from men driving by in their cars. Besides, running was boring and tedious. A person could cover more territory on a bike and it gave you a larger area to discover. For someone who, a year ago, had little self-esteem as a woman, she had come a long way. Always the brain, she contemplated, never a desirable woman.
"Well, I changed that. Didn't I?" Karen said aloud. Well, almost, she pondered and smiled, knowing she still had a long way to go to build up her confidence and self-esteem. She was confident in herself when it came to her career and every day life but when it came to relationships, forget it. Total disasters. Karen just let them walk all over her.
She changed that when she broke off with David. That was her first step, getting rid of David, the one destroying her self-esteem. She could look back objectively now and see a trend. She would become involved with men she thought were strong like her father, but found they had felt intimidated by her intelligence and would hurt her emotionally just to prove their manhood.
Karen caught some movement out of the corner of her eye. She groaned and knew the peace she had been feeling was over. Well, at least it lasted a little while. Starting back to where she had dropped her clothes, she cautiously watched the figure come out of the trees. Karen could see blood all over the man's chest. She swam quickly to the shore. As Karen was running to her clothes, she watched the man collapse onto the ground. His horse stood close by, as if guarding him, not moving away from the man. She noted there was a considerable amount of blood on the horse, as well.
Karen pulled on her shorts, grabbed her T-shirt, and sprinted to the injured man. When she reached him, she skidded to a halt. He pulled a knife on her with a viciousness and speed that she could not perceive from someone who was as injured as he appeared. Stunned she realized the man behind the knife was another Indian.
"Put that away, I'm here to help you." Karen gasped. She was out of breath. What is this with Indians all of a sudden? She had never had dreams about them before. Maybe, this dream was trying to tell her something. Maybe there was a message here.
Karen scanned the area quickly and saw they weren't far from the opening of the cave she had spotted earlier. Hoping he would understand her, she explained the necessity of needing to move him to a better place. Karen helped him onto his feet and together they made it to the interior of the cave. Once there, he collapsed again. Before he passed out, he grabbed her arm and mumbled in a foreign tongue.
"Tashunca." My horse.
She had no idea what the Indian had said. The only thing on her mind was to attend to the injured man. She hurried outside to the sparking cool pond of water that she had just so thoroughly enjoyed, and again, taken off her shirt. This time, she planned to use it to clean the Indian's wounds. She plunged it in the water. As she was running back to the cave, Karen wished she had him in a proper facility with electricity, medical supplies. She closed her eyes and wished for anything modern and everything she could possibly need to attend to his injuries and care for him.
As she entered the cave, Karen saw and realized that what she had wished for was right before her eyes. Stunned, she dropped the shirt on the floor of the cave. A huge room, completely modern, with the Indian lying on a bed beneath crisp white sheets. Karen was delighted. Dreams were definitely wonderful, even if they were unpredictable. Too bad real life couldn't be this way. Thank God she wasn't in Salem during the witch hunting years. She would be burned at the stakes.
She picked up the shirt and draped it on the back of a chair to dry.
Karen was meticulous and skilled as she cleaned and bandaged the Indian's wounds. Two of the wounds were very deep, long lacerations. She had sewn them quickly and skillfully.
After she completed her task and made him comfortable, Karen wrapped a towel around herself and went outside to check on the man's horse. Karen tied the horse to a nearby tree so it would be in the coolness of the shade. The horse’s wounds were minor and she nursed them easily. Most of the blood appeared to be the Indian's. She believed the horse would be safe and comfortable in the shade of the trees.
As Karen went back into the cave, she saw that her Indian had awakened. He was pale from the loss of blood and she knew he was in much pain, although he did not show it.
"I am Karen, do not worry I am a doctor.” She explained not sure if he understood her. Smiling, with her best bedside manner, she assured him to ease his fears, although he didn't show any.
"I can help you. You are seriously injured and you must rest." She was gentle as she moved him to lift his head so she could help him drink some water
He whispered in his language and when he realized she didn't understand him. He spoke in broken English. Moving his hands to point to himself he said, "Jumping Bull."
His voice cracked so badly that she could barely understand him. He was weak from the loss of blood and would be sleeping soon. The medication she gave him would help him relax and get the needed rest.
Karen sat down in the chair next to the bed. Jumping Bull wouldn't be moving for a while. It will be a long wait unless, of course, her dream decided to take her somewhere else. She loosened the towel so it rested across her chest; a rest is what she needed. Dreams can be exhausting. At least, this one was. There were too many questions. Why was she dreaming of Indians? There had to be a meaning to what was happening.
Maybe she had been idle too long. She disregarded that thought. She needed the break after all the schooling she had been through. Her mind was trying to tell her something.
Karen woke up with a chill. As she rolled over, with her eyes still closed, she thought about the odd dream she had just had. As she lay there waiting for the grogginess to go way, she realized her hair was wet.
Wet? She bolted up and looked down at herself. She did not have her shirt on! Dazed from her sleep, she felt the towel slip off onto the bed next to her. She stared at it, shaken and speechless. Karen leaned over the sides of the bed in search of her shirt. Not there! Reaching down, she pulled up the dust ruffle and looked under the bed. It was nowhere in sight. She jumped out of bed and threw on another top, grabbed a dry towel, wrapped it around her hair. What if maybe, just maybe, she had taken a shower in her sleep? She had never walked in her sleep before, but one never knows.
Her heart thumping, Karen looked in the bathroom for her shirt and then continued to search the rest of the house. She couldn't find the T-shirt anywhere.
It was as if it never existed.
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|Reviewed by * Starman * *
|I had the same problem looking for the TV remote the other day. Then it mysteriously appeared later exactly where we searched for it. No one knew how it appeared there. Something made it disappear and reappear again!|
|Reviewed by Lonnie Hicks
|Reviewed by John Domino
|Cool dream! Pawnee was my tribe when I was a younger lad in Washington State. Did you dream this story up? Well done!
|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|Reviewed by Cleve Sylcox
|Wow...I need a cool drink and AC after that...Great read...|
|Reviewed by Sistah J
|I didn't read it all in one sitting, but what I read was good. Wish I could write short stories, but I am content to be in the poetry box. LOL!|
|Reviewed by Tami Ryan
|A bit lengthy, but interesting, for sure.