BANG! Another large sound rumbled through the caves. His lower lip quivered, his arms bracing himself tighter. "Chepi? Chepi, it's okay." He felt the strong, warm hands of his older brother rest against his knees. "You know it's just the thunder. We've explained this to you every time. Chepi…did you do something to anger Haokah? He only makes this much noise when a trickster angers him." Ituha chuckled.
The boy looked up into his brothers’ face, anger in his eyes. "I am not a trickster. Nanabozho did not teach me his ways, Ituha." BANG! Chepi closed his eyes, suppressing another whimper. When the thunder passed, he opened his eyes again. "Brother, I dreamed the rain would fall too hard, too long. I dreamed it would wash away our home, and bury us in it."
His brother's eyes hardened, no longer finding the situation funny. "Chepi, we've talked about all this before. Our home has been standing since our first ancestors. The Gods protect us - you know that. Do you not have faith in our Gods?"
Closing his eyes for fear of the hatred he knew would be in his brother's eyes, Chepi spoke. "The Gods have left us starving for many years, brother. They took our mother away. Our people fight between each other. What else is important to us? Home. Life. Both of these things can be taken so quickly." At the sound of his brother's laugh, he got suddenly angry. "Ituha! You do not listen to me. I have seen it happen! The Gods do not send us foolishness in our dreams - not to scare us. You told me that!" He thumped his fists against the sand floor, eyes glaring.
Ituha breathed deeply, staring at his younger brother inquisitively. "Chepi, you are acting foolishly. You are too young to get prophecies from the Gods. I haven't even come of age yet!" His voice was flat, angry. Chepi thought he sounded hurt.
Huffing, he clenched his fists even tighter. "Just because I'm not old enough doesn't make it any less true. Maybe the Gods didn't think anyone else would listen!" He stood, furious, narrowly missing his brother’s grasping hands, and bolted through the corridors. He heard his brother call after him, but the anger drowned out the words.
He ran down the side of the cliffs where they lived. The rain pounded harder than he'd ever felt before, hitting his bare skin in sharp, painful bursts. The cliffs were extremely slippery from the rain, and he kept falling. Eventually he made it to the bottom, with no broken bones. He heard echoes of his brother's voice, but couldn't make out what was said.
He ran, tears pouring down his face, further and further away. When he reached the taller bushes - the boundary for boys his age - he stopped and turned, looking up into the face of the cliff to see his home. He sat, crossing his arms and legs, forgetful of the thunder above. His hair was sopping wet, sticking to his face, so he pushed it aside, staring at his home. His arm flew up to cover his eyes as a bright flash struck down in front of him. An awful groan came out of his lips, as he blinked away the brightness. When he could see again he saw a sight he'd hoped he would never have to see. A great gush of water was flowing over the top of the cliff, right above his home. Big chunks of the rock and sand broke off as he watched, crashing down with such might. He realized, after moments of staring in horror, eyes wide, that he was at the bottom of the cliff. Without having to think, he turned and ran, beating the branches out of his way.
He ran for hours, until the first signs of daylight broke, the rain long gone. Finally, he stopped, huffing for air. He stood completely still, afraid to turn around. He didn't want to know what he would see. His eyes welled up with water, his breathing turning heavier, until finally he figured his imagination was probably worse. He turned slowly, eyes closed, pretending he was playing a game with his brother. He counted to three, slowly. When he opened his eyes, far in the distance stood a great looming cliff. Only, it had a great hole in the middle, right where he knew his home used to be. He fell to the ground, sobs racking through his body. He couldn't make any noise, couldn't get any air and couldn’t even think. He heard his brother’s voice, mocking him when he was younger, “I told you so!” He remembered the strong touch he had felt from his brother only hours ago. How many times had he warned them? And now, they were all dead. The Gods had taken their people back, and Chepi was left alone, the last of his people, in a conquered world.