What I'm Working on Now
Lindy Lockwood wandered through the museum's Indian village. Her grandfather loved to watch all the old westerns being rerun on cable – The Virginian, Cheyenne, Maverick, Wagon Train, Rawhide, Wanted: Dead or Alive. Of course, Grandpa Lockwood loved all those old John Wayne movies, too, and though Lindy was loathe to admit it to her friends, after watching True Grit, Hondo, El Dorado and The Shootist with him, she'd come to love them, too.
She ran her fingers over the side of a tipi, wondering what it had been like to live in a hide lodge, to wash in a river and cook over an open fire, to deliver a baby in the wilderness without drugs or a doctor. She grimaced at the idea. Obviously, women in the Old West had been made of sterner stuff than she and her friends.
Lindy moved from one remarkable display to another, fascinated by everything she saw, from the beautifully beaded moccasins and fringed, doeskin dresses to the huge buffalo robe which was surprisingly soft. Now and then she picked up a flyer or a post card and stuffed them in her bag.
She paused in front of a glass case displaying a warbonnet. Leaning forward, she counted over twenty-five feathers and that was just on one side. The placard in front of the case informed her that only eagle feathers were used, because the Indians believed eagles were the most powerful birds. Some tribes also believed that eagles carried their prayers to the Great Spirit. These days, Native Americans were the only ones allowed to own eagle feathers. They considered it offensive for anyone who had not earned the right to wear a warbonnet to do so. To be given an eagle feather was an Indian's highest mark of respect and was usually given to someone who had shown selfless courage or performed an act of valor. These days, only enrolled members of recognized tribes were allowed to collect eagle feathers.
A nearby, glass-fronted case held a variety of bows and arrows, as well as vintage rifles, pistols, and Bowie knives.
Walking on, she passed a number of blankets and baskets, all with beautifully woven designs.
A small tipi stood in a dark, out-of-the way corner. She almost passed it by, but something made her stop. She studied the moons and stars painted on the lodge skins, the suns and jagged lightning bolts, wondering if they meant anything or were just for decoration.
Curious, she bent down to look inside and then, as if pulled by an invisible hand, she stumbled inside. It was eerily silent within the hide walls, as if she had entered a different world. She frowned as she heard the sound of a distant drum. Where was it coming from? She hadn't seen any drummers and there was no one else inside the lodge. And no drum.
She shivered as a thick gray fog engulfed her, carrying with it the scent of smoke and roasting meat. The faint sound of chanting seemed to echo off the hide walls.
Feeling suddenly weak, she sank down on the bedroll in the back of the lodge and closed her eyes as the world around her began to spin.
And then everything went black.
Someone was shaking her shoulder, speaking to her in a language she didn't recognize or understand. Alarmed, Lindy bolted upright, felt a rush of panic when she glanced at her surroundings. She was inside a tipi. A small fire burned in a pit in the center of the floor. An old woman clad in a fringed doeskin dress stood over her, shaking a bony finger and chattering at her in a foreign language.
Scrambling to her feet, Lindy grabbed her bag and darted outside, only to come to an abrupt halt.
The museum was gone and she was surrounded by nothing but prairie and blue sky as far as she could see. A horse herd grazed on the short grass beside a slow-moving river. There were tipis everywhere. And Indians. Lots of Indians.
She glanced behind her. The old woman stood in the entrance of the tipi, but it was the tipi itself that held Lindy's gaze. It was exactly like the one in the museum.
What was going on?
She took a step back as a tall man wearing nothing but a breechclout and moccasins strode toward her. He was tall and broad-shouldered, his hair long and straight and inky black, his skin the color of copper.
He stopped a few paces in front of her, his narrowed-eyed gaze moving over her from head to foot.
"Who the hell are you?" he asked. "How did you get here?"
Lindy blinked at him. "Who the hell are you?"