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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America



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The Eagle and the Snake - Redman Speaks - Part 11


by Geoff Hampton


Billy felt his body slowly rising up into the air and he spontaneously tried to grab something with his hands to hold onto. It didn’t help. As he felt his body drifting upward he heard someone moaning and mumbling incoherently. It sounded like Susie’s voice. He was able to slowly turn his head and saw his wrecked car resting against a large tree. Inside the car he could clearly see his own body bleeding and motionless, next to that he saw Susie lying across the seat in a pool of blood and glass. She was barely moving and seemed to be hurt really bad. She was bleeding from her head and was softly moaning Billy’s name. Her right hand was opening and closing slowly as though she was trying to grab onto something. It was strange to Billy because he felt at peace and was not alarmed to see the sight of the terrible car wreck.

His body was slowly rising up and away from that scene. He tried to move again but could not. It was at that time that he realized that he was not in control of whatever was happening. In some space in time that Billy could not measure he saw a brilliant light ahead and he was drifting toward it. As he got closer and closer he began to see a beautiful sight. The beautiful light enveloped a scene of eerie beauty. It was a mountain top covered with spectacular flowers all around. He heard the voices of thousands of birds singing their joyous songs. He had no idea what this meant or what could be happening to him.

As Billy drifted closer and closer to the mountain top he began to see a figure moving before him He tried to focus his eyes, but it was nothing that he could control. As he drifted closer he heard a man chanting softly to the Great Creator. The man suddenly changed into the largest and most beautiful eagle that Billy had ever seen. As he watched the beautiful creature take to the air his own body gently touched down on the mountaintop and he lay there very still, unable to move. The eagle came and sat next him. They looked deeply into each other’s eyes for what seemed to Billy to be a long, long time. He felt such a peaceful feeling that it was odd for him. He had never known such a feeling of peace in his entire life.

After a long while the eagle transformed into the figure of a noble looking man of great physical power with striking facial features. His hair was as white as snow and flowed down below his waist. Then the man spoke to Billy, saying, “I am Redman. I know that when you were a young boy you heard the Legend of the Eagle and the Snake and you loved the story with all of your heart. I know that you had imagined that maybe the great warrior Osceola had been the “Redman” in that story. Billy…I am that Redman. In the beginning the Great Creator had entrusted me with great power and abilities beyond your wildest imagination. I made a terrible mistake and failed the Great Creator. It is because of me that our people have suffered so much. Even in my feebleness the Great Creator allowed me to observe the physical world from my place here in the spirit world. He also has allowed me some ability to influence events so that my hope of our people returning to their rightful position as protectors of our great Mother Earth may be realized. You do not know it yet but your good friend Jackson has made a startling discovery tonight. As he reviewed information from one of your study eagles he discovered that his own blood had similarities to the eagle. When you return to him you will know why. That reason is that you are a descendant of the Great Creator’s most trusted creature…the eagle.”

Billy was stunned and couldn’t imagine that what was happening to him could possibly be real. He was about to ask the man a question when suddenly he felt a terrible jolt that was followed by indescribable pain. He cried out and felt a gentle touch to his right hand. He suddenly realized that he was back inside his car and the rain was still pouring down all around and inside the wrecked vehicle. Suddenly there was a brilliant flash of lightning and he saw Susie’s left hand gently clutching onto his right hand. She softly called his name. Then everything went blank again.

After many hours Jackson became worried about his two friends. He tried the cell phone but could not get a response. He called the Blount County Sheriff’s Department to ask if there had been any wrecks reported between Knoxville and Happy Valley. The officer told him that they were not allowed to release that information. Jackson was very frustrated with the response so he got into his own car to conduct his own search. He knew that Billy and Susie would have taken the dirt road over the mountain toward Maryville from the Top o’ the World area of Happy Valley. He drove fast in the dangerous conditions and asked the Great Creator to be with him and to be with his friends as he sped in the driving rain. As he drove he decided to put a CD in to listen to some upbeat music in order to lift his spirits and divert his attention from his fearful thoughts. He chose one of his favorite Arigon Starr CD’s, “BACKFLIP” to keep his mind in focus. Her music always made him feel full of life.

The road that Jackson was taking is a two lane road on the east side of Maryville and as it approaches the foothills it turns into a poorly maintained roadway that is very treacherous with many hairpin type turns. As Jackson made his way up the steep grade he saw a spot where it looked like something may have gone over the edge. He stopped his car and got out to investigate. To his horror Jackson saw Billy’s car smashed against a large tree down the steep embankment. He called out Billy’s name and got no reply. Then he called out Susie’s name and heard a weak sounding voice calling for help. He tried to rush down the embankment to see if he could help. It was dangerous and slippery and he fell hard trying to reach his friends. As he got to the car he saw them both lying across the front seat. Billy wasn’t moving and Susie was bleeding badly. He got his cell phone out to call for help. Unfortunately, there was no signal up there on the side of the mountain. He tried to climb back up the steep slippery bank to go get help and it was very difficult. When he finally got to his car he headed back toward Maryville holding his cell phone to see when he would have a signal again. It didn’t take long until he was able to dial 911. The dispatcher told him that help would be on the way soon. Jackson screamed into the phone that help was needed NOW. The dispatcher tried to calm him down but was unable to help. She had no way to know about the strong bond between these friends.

Jackson drove back up to the spot where he had located his friends and he slipped back down the steep embankment to see if there was anything that he could possibly do. As he reached the car he could hear Susie sobbing softly. She had moved herself and was now holding Billy in her arms. She was gently rocking him back and forth and whispering to him how much she loved him.

As Jackson spoke his first word, Susie looked in his direction, smiled and softly said, “I knew that you’d never let us down Jackson. You are such a good friend. Please…please help Billy. I am so worried about him.” Then her head slowly lowered down toward Billy and she let out a loud moaning sound. Jackson tried to climb into the car to help her, but as he reached over and grabbed her wrist he found that she had no more pulse. She had left the physical world forever. Jackson screamed out loud in Shawnee, crying out to the Great Creator asking Him why he had allowed this terrible thing to happen to Susie. He broke down into uncontrollable crying and intermittent chanting and praying.

Jackson slowly worked his way into a position to see if he could help his good friend Billy. He reached over and grabbed his right wrist. There was a slight pulse and Jackson screamed out, “Thank you! Thank you!” Then heard the sound of sirens in the distance heading toward the spot he had found his friends. He said, “Hang on Billy! Helps’ coming! Please hang on my brother! I’m going up the bank to show them where you are! Lay still. Don’t move! Help is coming!” Then he started back up the steep bank.

As he slowly slipped and groped his way up the slippery mountainside he heard the rescue vehicles getting closer and closer. As they approached Jackson waived his arms and screamed out, “Hurry! Hurry! It’s real bad! Please hurry!” Some of the rhe rescue workers went down the slope immediately and started tending to Billy. As Jackson had feared, they were too late for Susie. He was glad that Billy was not conscious at that moment. He knew that if Billy did make it…Susie’s death would be hard for him to take. Now, for Jackson, there was real fear that Billy might not make it either. The ambulances went further up the mountainside to turn around and came back down and they loaded Billy into the first one and Susie’s limp body into the second one. Jackson had wanted to go, but they asked him to go in his own vehicle due to the seriousness of Billy’s injuries. Jackson reluctantly agreed and watched in deep sadness as the two ambulances headed off for Blount Memorial Hospital and Billy’s only chance of survival. He also thought about how terrible it was as Susie’s lifeless body followed closely behind the ambulance carrying Billy.

Jackson stood there for a long time in the driving rain, hearing the sound of thunder off in the distance and seeing the occasional flash of lightning over the top of the mountain. He was so upset. He had such exciting news to share with his two friends and he couldn’t help the feeling of deep despair that swept over him as he remembered that his phone call had set these events into motion. He began to cry uncontrollably again as he these thoughts poisoned his mind. He did not know how he could tell Billy, if he survived, about his beloved Susie’s death. He fell to his knees and his saddened spirit became one with the darkness and the rain.

End - Part 11 - To Be Continued

© 2003 Geoff Hampton

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