~A guest post by: Miss Kate~
Somewhere in the darkness a baby was crying. Many years later people wouldn’t have even said they had heard anything that night. A mother was carrying her child as she tried to run. Trying to get away from her pursuers. A dog barked nearby, scratching at a fence.
Most people wouldn’t have known just by looking at the baby girl, would know that she was special. Except for the fact she had an unusual birthmark on her right shoulder. It was vaguely shaped like a crescent moon with little dots like stars around it. No one else would have given a second thought to the birthmark.
But the mother knew. She knew that if her pursuers got the baby they would surely kill her.
The woman ran as fast as she was capable of in the cold night air, her aching arms wrapped around her child tightly. The mother’s breath came out in white puffs and swirled up into oblivion The woman slowed her pace to a fast walk. The baby girl had stopped crying and was staring at her mother with tears glistening on her cheeks. “It’s all right.” The mother whispered softly, wiping away her tears. “Everything is going to be all right.” The mother spoke the words with a sadness. She wasn’t so sure herself if everything was going to be all right. But she had to keep going. She had to have hope.
Finally the mother came to a house. All the lights were out inside the house and so was the porch light. She climbed the steps to the porch and rang the doorbell gasping for air. A light came on and the curtains were pulled aside as a worried face appeared in the window.
It was the woman’s sister. She quickly opened the door. “What’s wrong?” She asked. Even in the dim light her eyes looked wide.
“Wenona,” The mother said with an urgency. “They’re after us! They discovered where we live! They are going to take Keena!”
“Dyani, were they following you here?” Wenona asked as she glanced down the street.
“Yes.” Dyani replied. “ I escaped them over by the river. But they won’t give up, I know them.They’re going to search for her until they find her and..and…”
“And kill her.” Wenona finished. “I know.”
Dyani looked down at her child. Those eyes just stared back at her with a seriousness as if she knew what was going on.
“Wenona,” Dyani hesitated. “Do you remember when I told you that if anything happened to me, that you would be the one I want to watch over Keena?”
“Yes.” Wenona replied.
“Now is that time,” Dyani said lifting Keena towards Wenona. “They won’t look for you. They’ll be looking for me and they will think I have Keena.”
Wenona’s hands stayed at her sides. She just stared at her sister with a blank look. It took a moment for her to register what Dyani had just said.
“I…..you don’t have to give her to me because you aren’t leaving.” Wenona said.
Dyani said nothing. She was still holding Keena out to her.
They stood there for a while, killing the precious minutes they had to escape, when Wenona finally realized what Dyani was about to do. She knew her sister unlike any other person and one thing she knew Dyani would never do is give up.
“Please,” Dyani said. “It’s the only chance Keena has to live.”
This time Wenona held her arms out and let Dyani put Keena into them.
Keena looked just like her mother. Black hair, the same russet skin tone, almond shaped eyes…her eye color though was like her fathers. Green. The most beautiful green eyes that Wenona had ever seen on any child.
Tears came down Dyani’s face as she kissed Keena on the cheek and looked at her daughter. “Be strong my Keena.” She said. Running her fingers through Keena’s thick hair. She was only five months old and had a full head of hair. “Be brave. I’ll see you again soon.” She bent down to kiss Keena again and whispered “I love you.”
Dyani gave Wenona a hug.
“When will you be back?” Wenona asked. She didn’t like it when Dyani never told her where she was going or when she’d be back. After all, she was Wenona’s little sister.
That’s when they both heard an earsplitting howl that filled the night. Dyani turned frantic. “Hide Keena, and do whatever it takes to keep her safe! Never let anyone see her shoulder if they ask, and if I don’t come back promise you will take care of her.”
“Dyani, I….” Wenona hesitated.
“Promise.” She said.
Wenona let out an unheard sigh. “I promise.”
Dyani smiled a sad smile and took one last glance at Keena. She took the blanket that was around Keena and leaped off the porch and sprinted down the street. There was another night ripping howl, close by this time. Figures and shapes bolted down the street in the direction Dyani had went. They had gone by so quickly Wenona almost thought she had imagined them.
Wenona stayed on the porch, still looking in the direction that Dyani and the figures had gone. Something inside her cemented her to the spot. She didn’t know what. Maybe it was somewhere in her heart that she knew she would probably never see her sister again.
Wenona had no idea how long she’d been waiting out in the cold, until she felt movement in her arms. She looked down and saw Keena pulling at her shawl. Wenona hated to admit it but, she had completely forgotten about the child in her arms. Wenona ran her hand over Keena’s head. “All right,” She said. “Let’s go inside.”
She turned to go into the house when there was shrill scream that seemed to coat the night. The scream rang in Wenona’s ears which made her grit her teeth. She knew who’s scream it had been. She had the urge to call out to her sister but, knew she couldn’t for that would only bring their enemies back.
There was another earsplitting scream until there was only silence, and all Wenona could hear was her own breath and the beating of her heart.
As Wenona went back into the house, she shed a single tear. Just one single tear for her sister. That was all. Dyani had been very brave. Why should she cry? The life in her body may be gone but her spirit would still be with Wenona.
That’s what their people and tribe believed. That a person was never truly dead, they just turned into a spirit that would guide and comfort you whenever you needed it.
Wenona shut the door behind her and locked it, including to make sure that the silver chain at the top of the door was secure.
With her back against the door, she stared down at Keena whose eyes were starting to get heavy with sleep. Keena stared up at Wenona until her eyelids sealed closed and she was snoring softly.
“I will make sure nothing happens to you.” Wenona said, starting up the stairs. “Your mother can count on that.”