“You have ceased your mourning long ago!” Alsoomse snapped. “That time is long past, now. You are not alone; you are with me!” She continued to hold her friend down, refusing to release her until the nightmares ceased and she returned to the present as she had briefly not too long ago. “By the Creator, stop moving, dammit!”
At that command, Anna ceased her fighting and struggling. It was as if the curse had been lifted and the wight of it all was lifted off her shoulder. Anna was panting as if she had been running a marathon and she collapsed out of pure exhaustion. “Alsoomse, you can let me go now. It is over.”
“Yeah, yeah. Once I go to the place two or three times it gets in there.” Replied he, drumming on the steering wheel.
“Next time, we’ll take my car. This thing’s too little for me. I look like an elephant in a clown car.” Connor complained, more-so joking. He went on, hunching himself over as he acted to be squished in the driver’s seat.
“I didn’t know they made cars for Smurfs.”
“Suuuure,” Anna drawled, slightly unconvinced. She laughed though and looked at Connor as he hunched over the driver’s seat. Anna snorted, “Really?” She rolled her eyes and told him to make the next left turn. ”What kind of car do you drive?”
Alsoomse grabbed Mugwayan’s hand and gripped it tightly, rolling her friend on her belly and pinning her arms behind her back. “You better not!” she shouted forcefully. She couldn’t recall a time before where she had to force a friend down in a manner like this. She couldn’t allow the Shoshone woman from hurting anyone or herself.
Anna thrashed under her friend’s tight grip, screaming and yelling her Shoshone language. Finally, Anna yelled in English: “You do not understand! I have lost EVERYTHING! My family is dead, I am defected from my people and have no home to claim! I am in MOURNING! I need to cut my hair!!” Anna felt her face start to cake with dirt and her tears left trails on her cheeks. She kept saying over and over, “I’m alone, I’m all alone…”
“I would have never guessed that. If you see her again soon, tell her Connor says hello.” He said evenly and watched Anna’s eyes brighten at the name. She was lucky to have such a wonderful friend.
“I shall, Connor,” Anna said with a slight nod of her head and her smile growing. Anna tilted her head to the side as she examined him.
Alsoomse watched as Mugwayan collapsed on her side and shivered. She laid down next to her and held her close, rubbing her arms in an attempt to ebb away the cold her friend was feeling. She tried not to cry; this was making her emotionally distraught.
Anna felt herself being pulled through a rush of wind and the next thing she saw made her feel sick. It was the war… a farming town where young men were being blown to bits before her eyes. The ringing sound of gunshots filled her ears and the sounds of the dying were worse. Her voice was caught in her throat but tears poured down Anna’s face. She shook her head almost violently, her hair hitting the sides of her face.
“They are only boys!” She screamed. “Stop, make it stop, please!!”
“I wish I could!” Alsoomse wailed in reply. She continued to hold the shrieking woman against her, unable to figure out how else to offer comfort. “Mugwayan, that is all in the past! It is over with, now!”
Anna could barely hear Alsoomse’s voice over the din of war that rang in her ears. Anna sobbed and heaved louder with every canon and gunshot she heard till they started to fade away and morphed into softer sounds. An old woman was speaking and Anna felt her heartbreak. The old woman said how her people were forced on the reservation and there was a smallpox outbreak last winter that took Anna’s family. Anna’s clung to Alsoomse and silently sobbed.
Anna shook her head. Though her sobs were less hysterical, the tears came down more frequently. “No… No, no, no,” Anna cried. Her hands reached for one of her throwing knives. “I need to cut my hair, where is my knife?”
“Alsoomse, a comrade of mine. I have not seen her in a while.” Connor dug his fingers into his garb, gravy oculars studying the young Shoshone intently. Something about the woman had reminded him of the other and he could only guess it was the ponytails.
Anna’s eyes brightened at the mention of Alsoomse’s name. A small laugh escaped her lips and she smiled. “That is funny you mention this because I know of Alsoomse. She is a very good friend of mine, practically best friends.”