I reckon my last post, lifted from the encyclopaedia, was a bit dry wasn’t it? I’m still spitting a bit of dust. Let’s visit Jim and Dustu again to see what they’re up to. Enjoy!
Jim lay awake long into the night. The decision to go back through the portal wasn’t a difficult one, but the fear of what would happen once he was back through kept sleep far away. Questions and worries paraded through his mind, one behind the other, each new one adding more weight to his shoulders.
He hoped his adopted family had stayed in the little town of Iitaawaa and that he would be able to find them. Without their help he would stand little chance of getting up to the border between Unalii and the United States. He would have to travel by foot and live off the land.
When the first rays of the spring sunrise peeked over the tops of the trees, he felt no more rested than when he had lain down. He heard Hiawassee begin to stir in the dim half-light of morning, preparing breakfast for her family. He rose from his bed and joined her in the cooking area.
“You’re up very early on this cool morning. Is the excitement of your journey keeping sleep away from your eyes?” Her warm, gentle eyes and kind face were comforting.
I’ve been thinking all night about what might happen when I go over. What if I can’t find my family? What if they don’t know me? What will I do then?” Tears threatened to bathe his cheeks.
Hiawassee stopped her breakfast preparations and stepped over to where he sat. She wrapped him in her strong arms and he took in her earthy, herbal scent. When she held him like this, he was sure nothing could possibly go wrong.
“Whatever will happen when you reach the other side will be what the Creator decides is best for you… for us. Nothing can change that. All the worrying in the world won’t affect a single thing. Just know that you are on a path that only you can travel. And, know that what happens at the other end of the path is what is best for you.”
Jim looked into her soft, caring face with tiny lines just beginning to appear at the corners of her brown eyes and above her brows. He knew that he loved this woman nearly as much as he loved his own mother and that she loved him as her own son. He gathered strength from her and knew that no matter what happened over the next few weeks, he had the comfort of knowing he had a home to come back to.
Dustu lay on his bed listening to the quiet voices. The little sleep he’d gotten during the night was broken and troubled. He didn’t want to see Jim go into the portal again for fear of never seeing him again.
For the past two years, the boys had become inseparable. Dustu taught his adopted brother to make arrows for the bow he had made for him. They hunted together often. It was a source of much joking that Jim had never hunted or trapped before coming to the village. He stumbled about in the forest, tramping around like a mad animal. Dustu told him often that the deer they hunted had no fear of him because they could hear him coming long before he could get within range of making a shot.
To Jim’s credit, he listened well and within a short time he could move as stealthily as his brother. He learned to judge the direction of the wind and within one cycle of the moon, he managed to place his arrow directly into the heart of a young buck. There was a great celebration in the village that night. Everyone came to the feast Hiawassee prepared to offer their congratulations. Jim was sure he had never been happier, nor felt more of a sense of belonging than he did that night.
At last, Hiawassee broke her embrace saying she needed to get a fire going for breakfast. Dustu used that moment to get up and greet the family. He came and sat next to Jim, placing his arm around his shoulders. No words were needed as the brothers silently communicated their love and respect for each other. Words would come later, perhaps, when they are alone at the portal.
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