Which is worse, fear or hunger, why does twenty days seem like forever, when will it be safe to not be running, who can you trust in a world gone crazy?
Sixteen winters is not old enough to make decisions, I do not have the wisdom to be a leader, and yet these faces strained by terror, are looking to me.
Small hunting party is what we were, twelve men and four women, seeking meat for our village, camping as we always do along the river, carefree and happy.
Cutting the meat and drying, green scrape the hides for winter curing, it is gather time and soon the village will be moving, to the mountains for the winter.
The horses loaded and we are ready, time to go home with our bounty, some will be set aside for trading, there are white traders in the valley.
Our Elders have made peace with these people, giving lands for their building, protecting them from those who would harm them among our Peoples.
" We will stop and visit", says Bear Killer, he is leader, and we are happy to obey him, so many exciting things are there in that trading post to see, from the white mans city.
Pete the owner, seems so jumpy, his eyes dart from side to side when he sees us, "why so nervous" Bear Killer asks him, we are here to do a little trading.
"Sure, sure" Pete answers, always glad to see you come in, say you got any beaver or ermine, there are men from the East who are looking for some.
Trades are made and treasures packed up, now for home we are headed, as we top the last hill horror stops us, there is nothing there but bones and ashes.
Shots ring out and Bear Killer topples, three more of the leading men fall, the horses rear and run, bucking, screaming, all we can do is duck and hold on.
What to do, and where to go, all thought runs away faster than the horses, into the mountains I lead the others, no time to mourn, no time to think.
Their horses are fresher, they are closing fast, I am now the oldest and must decide, into the rocks I sign, leave the horses we must climb and hide.
Exhausted, not understanding what has happened, there is no one for me to ask, with darkness comes safety, as we hide deep in the cave of prayers.
No fire, no food, no answers, we simply sit close together for comfort, the girls are softly crying as the truth begins to sink in, but for now we must rest.
In three days we reach the village of our closest kin, despair is knowing there is no help, it is seeing your whole world gone up in blood and smoke.
Not one Elder left to guide, not one child to give hope, humans butchered like the four legged after a hunt, bleeding heads with no scalps.
Their ears, whispers Owl, their ears are gone, she says again and again, shaking her head, what monsters are these we have welcomed among us?
And she dropped as the bullet ripped through her heart, they had found us, almost too late we ran, the pain in my side burned, my breath caught.
Which is worse, fear or hunger, how long will they chase us, until the last of our kind has drawn breath, only sixteen winters, Creator knows, I am no leader.
Are we the last of our People, all we have found is death in each village, is there no place left of safety, we talk quietly and decide, we run no more, tomorrow we face them.
Eight young men, three young girls, rise and go to water, prayers said, and they cleanse each other, they meet the fight smiling, today, they die with honor!