Ituha's muscles ached... He had been helping the men of the village all day put up the new wall on the cliff's edge. His body was covered with dried mud. It was hard work bringing the mud up from the river below, but he would be a man soon, and he wanted to show the men of the village that he was just as hard a worker as they were.
As he patted down the mud on the wall with his hand, he saw HER looking at him through the corner of his eye. Aiyana... ahhh the prettiest young girl in the village. They had been friends since they were children, but now he was seeing her in a different way. Maybe it was the squashed blossoms her mother was weaving her hair into. They were a sign she was of marrying age to the young men. They made her look older... more mature. Ituha stretched to flex his muscles... like a bird showing it's feathers to a prospective mate. He KNEW she saw him. Their eyes met and he could see her blush. She was so pretty. He WAS going to ask for her hand in marriage as soon as he passed his manhood test in a few days. He hoped she would wait for him.
Raindrops started to fall on Ituha's shoulders. They washed away the mud that had accumulated there. He just hoped it would be a light rain. He could not bear another fight with his little brother, Chepi, about his dreams of the village being washed away from the cliffs with a big rain again. Chepi thought the vision was a GIFT from his namesake. He was NOT old enough to know what was a gift and what wasn't. He'd been having that same dream ever since their mother passed away. Aiyana was there with her mother. He remembered her hand on his, assuring him that they would be ok. He smiled thinking of Aiyana.
The rain pounded harder on Ituha's back as he started up the mud stairs with the rest of the supplies. It felt good and by the time he reached the top most of the mud on his body had washed away. This rain storm felt like it would be a long hard one. Chepi was already starting to mutter under his breath. He made his way to their home and smiled at Ayana as he passed her door.
Chepi sat trembling against the wall, curled into a tight ball. Ituha had kept himself busy as the rain lasted for days. He was getting aggravated with Chepi and his warnings. He had missed his manhood test and was getting a little irritated with his brother. The thunder got louder and drowned out their fighting words. All Ituha could think of was Ayana and how he would have to wait to ask her to marry him.
Another day past and still he could not take his test to prove he was a man. The rain had been coming down for a week and the walls of their home were starting to get wet with the water. There would be a lot of repairing to do when the rain stopped. The men of the village argued amongst themselves and the women had started to bicker too. This was too long to be couped up in one place. They all needed to run free and smell some fresh air and see sunshine.
A week of hearing Chepi and his warnings was a little more than Ituha could handle. His anger and frustration of not being able to take his manhood test, and ask Ayana to marry, kept him on edge. He even tried to make Chepi laugh by telling him that he was a trickster to the gods... but that only angered Chepi more. Ituha had not gotten much sleep during the week and today was the last straw. He was tired of arguing with Chepi and he let out some words that clearly hurt his little brother. So much so that Chepi stormed out into the rain.
Ituha ran after Chepi yelling for him to come back, but Chepi did not hear him. He threw up his arms in frustration and knew he had to go after the boy. He reached down to grab a water sack and when he looked up Ayana was standing there looking at him. He told her he had no time to talk and that he had to go after his little brother. He started down the mud stairs and he could hear her yelling at him to stop. He was down the stairs and half way through the thicket before he noticed she had followed him.
He had no time to take her back to the caves, so he let her join him in the search for his little brother. They reached the taller bushes, the boundary for boys Chepi's age, when a giant flash of lightning blinded them. They stopped and turned to look at the caves. When their eyes were clear they could see a great gush of water flowing over the top of the cliff that was their home. Big chunks of rock and sand broke off as they watched, and crashed to the ground with such a might that the ground shook. After moments of staring in horror, eyes wide, they realized that they were at the bottom of the cliff. Instictively they grabbed hands and started running through the bushes into the woods. Neither one of them could see Chepi sitting under a tree, just ahead of them.
They ran for hours, never looking back, and only stopping long enough for sips of water from the sack. Ayana's squashed blossom hair was drenched with rain water, and she never looked more beautiful. She had not complained once along the way.
Chepi's trail had been washed away with the rain, and it would be harder to track him now. When they stopped they found themselves on the top of a large hill over looking the treetops of the woods they had just run through. The rain had changed to mist and they could see in the distance the cliff they called home... now with a big hole in it.
Chepi's warnings rang in Ituhas ears. If only they had listened to the little one. Chepi was right when he said the gods told him, because they didn't think anyone else would listen. And no one had listened to the little boy either.
Ituha held Ayana tight. They were lost but he had to find Chepi and return home. Ayana didn't want to turn back but he HAD to know if anyone was still alive. Ituha was a good tracker. One of the best in the whole village. He had passed all his pre-tests and knew how to find Chepi. They followed broken branches, over turned stones, crunched leaves and the hint of footprints til they heard a crying in the distance. Ituha knew it was Chepi. They had found him.
They found the boy sitting on top of a rock, looking out at the cave that once was their home. He climbed off the rock and ran to them with open arms. Ituha scolded him for running away but then gave him a hug. After all.. HOW could he be mad at the boy? It was because of him that they were still alive. They had a nice meal of berries, nuts and squirrel and Ituha told them they MUST go back home to see if anyone was alive. If they were.. they would need everyones help to rebuild.
Ituha was a good leader. It took them half a day to find their way back to the wall cliffs. As they reached the taller bushes they could see movement near the cliff bottom. Someone WAS alive. They rushed over to see that their were quite a few people alive. They helped everyone they could and at the end of the day the village only had to bury 5 people. Others where hurt but they would survive.
In the days that followed Ituha and Ayana were married. Ituha had proved he was a man and could take care of Ayana and his little brother, Chepi. Ituha would be a great chief one day.
And Chepi??? He became a hero to the people. A medicine man himself. He had many dreams and they listened to every one of them. One dream lead them to a new land... with fertile fields for planting and vast waters for fishing. They left only ruins in the great cliffs and now live at Narragansett Bay, a region of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and eastern Massachusetts.