When a half breed is sent to find a woman and bring her back to the village, he has no idea what he’s getting into. But the Shaman of the tribe uses an unusual way for Chase to stay in touch with her, erotic dreams. These dreams are so endearing neither Katherine Hightower, nor Chase Rivers knows what to expect. Katherine was raised as a white and had no unearthly idea…she was a breed herself!
The Legend of the Dream Catcher
A spider was quietly spinning his web in his own space. It was beside the sleeping space of Nokomis, the grandmother. Each day, Nokomis watched the spider at work, quietly spinning away. One day as she was watching him, her grandson came in. “Nokomis-iya!” he shouted, glancing at the spider. He stomped over to the spider, picked up a shoe and went to hit it. “No-keegwa,” the old lady whispered, “don’t hurt him.” “Nokomis, why do you protect the spider?” asked the little boy. The old lady smiled, but did not answer.
When the boy left, the spider went to the old woman and thanked her for saving his life. He said to her, “For many days you have watched me spin and weave my web. You have admired my work. In return for saving my life, I will give you a gift.” He smiled his special spider smile and moved away, spinning as he went. Soon the moon glistened on a magical silvery web moving gently in the window. “See how I spin?” he said. “See and learn, for each web will snare bad dreams. Only good dreams will go through the small hole. This is my gift to you. Use it so that only good dreams will be remembered. The bad dreams will become hopelessly entangled in the web.
A story as told through the ages.
Summer of 1859
Just above the Red River
Her lips trembled ever so slightly as she touched her mouth to his, a warmth like summer sunshine stunned his senses. A sweetness never imagined whispered his name, as she slowly pulled away and stared into his confusion. Had he imagined her actions?
“Who are you…. ich-que? Your kiss is like mon-nit-to a-ta-wa-chie, heaven.” Chase Rivers demanded, his voice sounded bold, and his eyes bored into the figure of the woman with silent appreciation. “What do you want with me, why do you look into my soul as though you know me?”
“We will soon know each other, I am Katherine…” She gasped, her eyes searching his in wonderment. Golden flecks in fawn brown eyes softened on him, her tender smile spreading and radiating her face. Long limbed and graceful, she stood poised. Her long brown hair fell past her waist, her face was serene and when she smiled she radiated a sunshine all her own.
Now his sapphire eyes twinkled with amazement and awe as she opened her arms to him. The urge to go into her arms was strong, but Chase knew nothing of this woman. He was skeptical. He held himself away, purposely. Holding away seemed to take more effort than relenting and letting it all happen.
“Where are you from?” he murmured as he came closer, wanting to assure himself she was real. “I have never seen you before.”
“I come from Texas.” she said breathlessly. “I’m on the Butterfield’s Stage Line.” She announced it proudly.
Chase pondered the information silently, and even more the fact that she was so proud of where she was. It made no sense to him. Butterfield Stage Line was a death trap created by a dreamer and the Comanche.
“Why are you here?” he asked in a hushed whisper, not wanting to scare her off, but still skeptical of her. “Why do you invade my dreams?”
“I have not invaded….I merely wait for your welcome…It’s your dream not mine.” She smiled. “You called my spirit…”
“I called no one.” Chase watched her with curiosity and trepidation. And yet, there was something more than appealing about the way she stood there, her arms silently at her side now, her eyes shining with a shy smile that somehow beckoned him. He didn’t like what she did to him.
She nearly turned away though at his slight remark, a tear in the corner of her eye almost spilling. Instant sadness surrounded him. Her smile faded, the sunshine replaced by darkness now, as though night had suddenly descended. But it could not be, it was the middle of the day, he’d just eaten. A lightless future ebbed. Loneliness engulfed his heart. Bewildered he stared at her. What kind of prophet was she that she caused the sun not to shine?
“Then I must go.” Her voice was low and strained, as though she had shed many tears. As though his rejection of her hurt. But how could he hurt her, he did not know her?
Chase Rivers felt her pain as clearly as if it were his own, her loneliness too, but even more her hopelessness. What manner of vision was she? He refused to carry it with him. He rejected it, but he had glimpsed it, and he knew he would not forget it. He would carry it forever in the deepest darkest part of his being.
“No…don’t go away…” He watched her drift away. He knew this dream catcher’s dream needed him, instinctively. He could not ignore her. She reached the inner recesses of his mind and heart, tearing it and laying it bare. What manner of woman was she, to affect him so?
But she smiled again and the sun came out. “You tease me…and you do not know me.”
“But I will know you…won’t I?” He watched her move towards him. His curiosity of this woman had captured his imagination. He wanted and needed to know more of her.
“Yes…very soon…come soon…” Her voice seemed to echo in the wind, like a murmured prayer.
As he would have taken her in his arms, she vanished, and he awoke from the dream with a light sweat breaking over his skin. He looked about. But there was no one there. The dream, it was so real, and who was this girl?
“You must bring her back, at all costs. Wos-so mon-nit-to has spoken. She has powers she doesn’t realize. I must train her to use them. Without the knowledge she is helpless. But I, Burning Tree, can help her and she will save our people in return. Without knowing, her powers are useless, but I can show her the way. She is the last of the blood of O-qua-les-qua, daughter of a Shawnee chief who led our people to victory over the whites long ago. He dreamed of peace with the white eyes. That left a curse upon the land where he died. He was a wise one, a great warrior and a great peacemaker. She is all that is left of him. This tribe of the Shawnee has all but vanished from the face of the earth. I have seen this miracle myself, through a vision; she has powers she knows nothing of, that can help save her people. My vision does not lie. The Great Spirit has called to me in a vision. She will be wee-wa.”
“Wee-wa! I take no white woman as a wife…”
“Have I not told you she is descended from O-qua-les-qua himself? She is a breed like you, only she knows not of it. ”
“She is Indian?”
“She is a breed, like you. She is not yet Indian like you, my son.”
“And if she doesn’t want to come?” Chase raised the question on both their minds. “What then?”
“You must bring her, or our people may wither away,” the old man said. “Do not fear. I will go beyond the dream catcher to help you. It is a power not used for many moons, more powerful than I have ever used. The Spirit has blessed this coming together. It must be.”
“Okay, if you believe that strongly in her. It will be done,” Chase Rivers agreed realizing that Burning Tree would not compromise and there really had been a vision. Perhaps he himself had experienced one. “But it won’t be easy. She knows nothing of this heritage you speak of. And I am only a half-breed. How can I convince a girl who thinks she’s white to come and save a tribe she knows nothing about?”
“I will empower you to capture her heart.” Burning Tree watched him somberly.
Chase nodded, “You have already begun…for I saw her in my dreams.”
“It is well my son…it is well. Wos-so-mon nit to has spoken. I was waiting to hear your words.” Burning Tree smiled sadly. “You question the magic, my son, but you will soon learn that some things are beyond the dream catcher. The spirits do not lie, and the vision was a clear one. You are already connected by Wos-so mon-nit-to. Your destiny is laid forth, tied to hers.”
“A man should have a choice of his destiny,” Chase growled.
“Some yes…but it has already begun…beyond even my powers.”
Chase narrowed his glance at the old medicine man. As much as he loved him, he didn’t think the old man could do such a thing yet the woman had clearly invaded his dream, unannounced and uninvited. But he’d humor him, and he’d do everything in his power to bring the girl back to her people. It was only right that she know of her rightful people Chase figured. Old Burning Tree would be happy and maybe the girl could help this dying tribe.
Pushed past the Ohio and into Kansas they now bordered between Texas and Indian Territory. Unsure of their future the tribe was at unrest. A great fever killed many, and another tribe of the Shawnee would soon be only memories spoken of in another camp if something wasn’t done.
Believing hard enough was the key to accomplishment. Chase believed in the Christian Bible, as he’d been taught by the missionaries. Still, something pulled upon his heart for he knew that the old man, Burning Tree, had much power in this camp and had led the people here to safety. His respect and love was enough to carry out Burning Tree’s plea.
“Burning Tree, how can you empower me, I’m not even a full blooded Shawnee.” Chase laughed.
“It has already begun…have you not seen her in your dreams? I have used all my powers, broken Shawnee tradition to make sure she comes with you, for as sure as the sunset, she is Wee-wa.”
“My wife…? Now wait a minute. I don’t need a woman. But…You have connected us?” Chase questioned. “Can it be unconnected?”
“Wos-so mon-nit-to himself has connected you.” Burning Tree scolded lightly, for he made exceptions for the breed before him. “It will be done. She will come to you of her own free will. What I do, I do against the traditions of my people, but I do it for my people which makes it right in the eyes of Wos-so mon-nit-to. And you are the son of a Shawnee Chief, it is right that you are the one chosen for such a feat. Your heart is pure, your mind is clear, and your body able, Chase Rivers, and Wos-so mon-nit-to has deemed it so.”
Chase smiled indulgently. He loved this old man, and always had. His respect was deep rooted and he knew if it could be done, Burning Tree would do it. But it was times like these that his white side warred with his Indian side. Still, she had come to him in the dream, maybe it wasn’t just superstition. And was he already connected? If so, how could he continue to grieve for White Dove, his beloved? It had been a year, and he had held to the custom of grieving even though they had not married. But it felt too soon to put it away. Yet even he knew there was no room for two women in his heart.
“Okay, sure. I’ll bring her back, if I can.” Chase nodded to the old medicine man. As he stepped out of the wigwam he glanced around the camp. Old women sang for the weak and dying. A great disease had taken its toll on these good people and Chase hated to see it happening. He’d do anything to save them. He loved them and they knew it.
The chief looked at him as he mounted his bay to ride out. There was much pride in his face. He would not tell his only son how proud he was of him, but it shone in his eyes. “Go in peace my son. Wos-so mon-nit-to has spoken.”
His white mother came up to him, her eyes shining brightly. “Burning Tree has spoken with you?”
“Yes mother, he has.” Chase nodded, looking down into his mother’s bright blue eyes. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
“God go with you my son. I only hope he is right. All in the camp respect Burning Tree and even the chief believes what he says. You cannot doubt and succeed. He’s had the same vision twice. It cannot be a lie.”
“I don’t doubt him, mother. I’ve never doubted his sincerity. I’ve seen the girl of which he speaks…in my dreams. But the task is risky and much can happen. She lives in Comanche country for one thing. She brings a great sadness within her.”
“How can you know all this?” His mother questioned her brow furrowing.
Chase shrugged, “When I see her, I see where she is, who she is, and what she can be. It is part of Burning Tree’s plan, so that I may know how to save her. For she is surrounded by much trouble.”
“Then it is true. Burning Tree is right. Burning Tree has said he will send special powers to you and to her. That Wos-so mon-nit-to has joined you.”
“You believe that?” Chase almost laughed. “Do you believe in the special powers?”
“Your skepticism comes from the white side of you. There was a time you would not have laughed or questioned. It is as you said, you have seen her in your dreams, as Burning Tree put her there,” his mother scolded lightly.
Chase’s face screwed up into a frown, “This girl knows nothing of her past. It will be hard for her to accept. It will be hard for her to leave her white family.”
“Yes, but you will do so under empowerment. I am sure of that.” His mother said quietly.
Chase looked down into his mother’s beautiful face, “You are more Shawnee than white, mother.”
“Yes my son, I am.” She smiled. “I have lived with your father too long.”
Chase asked in a whisper glancing at the powerful figure of his father standing in the distance, speaking with other tribesmen. “Do you regret the not going back when you had the chance?”
She looked at the chief, and smiled openly, “No. I am happy… Besides, the white man’s people would never have accepted me after you were born. And I would not leave you. You are my son and I’m proud to be White Cloud’s wife. My white husband would have disowned me, as I knew him well. I knew that. It will be a long time before an Indian and a white can marry and be happy. It will happen many times before it is accepted. It will be a long time before the half-breeds can live in this land without having to choose a side. Someday it will come to pass. But as for me, these are my people now. Even though your father is Indian, he has brought me much happiness. As have you.” “So what…of me mother, what am I acceptable with?”
She smiled up into her sons’ eyes with great wisdom, “This woman, this girl, is your promised. Burning Tree has said so himself. She will love you…and you…”
“I will never give up White Dove, she was my promised,” Chase insisted, unable to understand this giving of the girl.
“Perhaps, but White Dove is dead. And the living cannot lie with the dead. The woman you bring back will be your wife my son, in all ways…and you will want her to be. Don’t deny what is rightfully hers.”
“It’s too soon; I cannot put White Dove away so quickly.” Chase frowned.
“It has been a year, and you have mourned her well. But it is time to give her up. And if you don’t, then my son, you will live with the dead…” His mother touched his face her frown puckering her forehead. “Have faith in God that he knows what is to happen, even when we do not, my son.”
“That I can do. I’ll be back…” He winked at her and smiled. Chase looked about one last time, not wanting to linger for he knew his mission was a great one. But the stillness in camp brought his attention. Children didn’t play along the creek banks any longer. Old women chanted outside their homes.
Still he had doubts as to how he could accomplish his mission. He was a scout for the army now and there was little time to go traipsing about looking for some girl.
Yet if Burning Tree considered him worthy to find her and bring her back, it was the least he could do for his own people. Despite the fact that he lived among the white people now, his heart was Shawnee and he knew it, just like his mother. Living with the whites, he saw things differently. He wondered about his mother’s words, and whether this woman, this Katherine was his. She was radiant, as though the real beauty she possessed came from within her. Perhaps it was her spirit he actually saw and not her. That could be. He’d given up believing in the Shamans of long ago, but he did believe in God, and with Him all was possible.
The sun cut itself against the desert floor, bleeding into the horizon, as Chase rode away.
The wood smoke of their campfires filled him as he headed south. South to Texas, where trouble lay waiting. He pondered on the land they called Texas. How men fought and died for her so often. A strange land, even he called home. A land he knew well. He had a hard chore ahead of him. He’d need to outsmart the Comanche, the army and the girl to accomplish such a feat.
Could he do it? Perhaps his own faith in God would see him through this. He faced many perils at the moment. There was Sergeant Masters, who continued to beat the Indian prisoners, and the fact that he was army and had to remain under orders. Somehow he must find time to scout out this girl for Burning Tree and his people.