I am … Cheveyo, Spirit Walker? Jamal Spanbauer? Why do both names feel like me? I shake my head and moan, and a soft hand rests on my forehead. A familiar voice whispers “easy, my son, rest easy, you are home.” I struggle to open my eyes, blinking away the fogginess. Yes, it is my Mother, Algoma, valley of flowers. The name Jamal fades, the almost memories of confusing scenes of many oddly clad people, things moving very quickly along hard wide pathways, tall, impossible buildings that have been haunting me fade and disappear. I am Cheveyo, I am home. I turn to my mother and ask “what happened?”. My voice is little more than a whisper.
She sighs, stroking my hair. “My son, we do not know. You went out hunting and disappeared. All the men and older boys went out searching, but all they found was where you had camped last. Your footsteps were found leading away from there, but stopped at a fallen tree. Then, yesterday afternoon, you came staggering in and collapsed. Do you not remember what happened to you?”
I lay and thought, remembering again those terrifying, impossible scenes. “I remember standing at a corner, the paths of some hard, white material, with wide places between them. They were darker, and filled with some kind of carts or wagons. They moved at incredible speeds, I caught glimpses of people inside. Some were very large, with many people, some smaller with only one or two. There were big square ones, with things painted on the side. The paths were crowded with people in vey odd clothing.
“When I looked down, I saw that my skin was dark, and I was dressed in the same odd clothing. Someone beside me called me Jamal, and I knew I was Jamal Spanbouer. This was my home, a place called Tor on to on ta rio can ada. I was so afraid, and confused, because I knew I was Cheveya Spirit walker, but I was also this Jamal person. We went to a large open place, full of grass, flowers and trees, and started throwing some kind of ball around, I missed the ball, and it hit my head. Now I am here again, and very glad to be home. I never want to see that place again.”
“Rest now, my son. Akula the shaman has been tending you, and you are well now. Rest today, and tomorrow you can go out with the hunters again.” Algoma smiled at her son, relieved that he was himself again. She touched his cheek and left him. He lay quiet, thinking about what had happened. Was I in the future? he wondered. If so, I am very glad that I will never live to see it happen. Sighing, he drifted off to sleep.
Cheveyo lived a long and happy life, and married Amitola Rainbow, the maiden he had loved for a long time. Together they raised a son Chezmu witty and a daughter Cholina bird. He became chief of the tribe, a wise and fair minded ruler, and the tribe prospered. But always, deep in his mind was the memory of that terrifying place where somehow, he had lived for a short time.