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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Year(s) (01/20/11)

TITLE: My Name Is Wachichi
By Eliza Evans


In the tongue of my ancestors, Wachichi means Tall Grass.

The tall grass grows across these open lands to feed the mighty herds of buffalo that roam. The buffalo gives food to my people that we may be strong and live the fullness of our years upon this land the Creator has given us.

Today we hunt.

The sun is changing places with the moon to make room for longer night and cold ahead. The Great Spirit has breathed upon the forest turning trees to color of fire. Soon the leaves will be soft as ash under our moccasins and my tribe must move to our wintering grounds. I watch bird and fox, bear and moose make ready to fly far, to eat much, to sleep long. It is the way of all those who live by the rhythm of earth, sun, sky and moon.

Even now we make ready.

The women will gather the berries that lie thick on the branch. They will grind the buffalo meat and buffalo grease with the berries to make much food that it may be well with my people.

The words are not spoken, but I know my sisters will look long for kymunchia—the small, red womb berries—in hopes that there will be a wedding feast.

Yes, deep in my breast there is a sharpness of longing no food can satisfy.

If my arrow is true, and if the Creator grants me success, I will present Chief Lone Wolf with a bountiful portion of meat and bone and hide for the coming year. I will lead the hunt and prove myself worthy of his daughter Running Doe that we may walk the path of our days together. I have carried this longing for three full years and it is heavy.

But my own mother mocks me. She does not think a High Chief's daughter will give me favor. “Kitiotio!” She laughs. “Dreamer!" I harden my face against her words.

Every day she is saying my eyes are stars and my legs have turned to saplings not able to hold me. She tells me to walk tall, and not be so easily turned by Running Doe. Her form, the blackness of her eyes, her hair—a flowing river down her back.
But I cannot turn another way. The wanting of her gnaws my insides. And so I dream.

Many braves have gathered now to hunt the buffalo. We move as one, men and horses, silent as the shadows. A single untrue step will cause an early charge and we will be shamed.

We must not be shamed.

Holding to the cover of trees, we ease our way closer to the grazing herd. The air is thick with the smell of earth, dung and the hot breath of the animals. The musky stench hits my nostrils and stirs my insides.

And then I see him.

His head sits heavy with power upon his shoulders. His fur is thickened for the coming snows, the flesh is full and fat. Throwing his head, he paws the ground making clouds of dust.

My breath burns in my throat. A warrior must not be afraid.

The horses begin to stamp and snort. The time is now. I give sign to my tribal brothers. My horse beneath me is warrior, too, and we charge out of the woods. Pulling and leaning towards that one, ruler of the plains, my every nerve is stretched tight. I hear the pounding hooves. I breathe the dust. I am one with my horse as I ride beside the galloping beast. The flash in his black eye meets mine. Fever is in my blood as I shoot my arrows deep into his heart with trueness of aim. The battle cry thunders in my chest.

It is done.

The braves gather to me. None can compare to this mighty one I have slain.

We give honor to the Wisdom and Keeper of All Things.

The women will come now and prepare the meat. I mount my horse and ride back through the woods. My head is crowded with questions. Will the longing of these three years be fulfilled? My heart shakes a little.

Will. She. Be. Mine?

I stop my horse and keep still for I have seen a movement.

Not many paces from me, there is a girl leaning against a tall birch.

It is Running Doe, watching me. In her arms, she holds a basket of small, red berries.

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This article has been read 3961 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Gregory Kane01/27/11
Exquisite. An evocative sense of connection between man and nature
Kate Oliver Webb 01/27/11
Really beautiful; the tension and the waiting, combined with the scenery, felt so real. Great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/29/11
The voice is exactly right, the descriptions excellent, and the story line compelling. Awesome story!
Dee Yoder 01/31/11
Wonderful and descriptive. A great read!
Rachel Phelps01/31/11
Your opening and closing lines are perfection, and the stuff in between is great, too!
Laury Hubrich 02/01/11
Awesome story of young love.
Shelley Ledfors 02/01/11
Lovely setting and description. I really liked the "feel" of this piece. -Enjoyed the story, too!
Cheryl Harrison02/01/11
Great job! You had me from beginning to end.
Jody Day 02/01/11
Stunning! I was holding my breath, and was not disappointed. Thank you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/02/11
I so enjoyed your descriptions, at took me back in time to summer Great job.
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/02/11
Beautiful! You grabbed me with the first sentence and held me throughout. I like the melodic voice.
Ann Grover02/02/11
I loved the "simplicity" of your words, sentence structure. It lent itself to "showing" the singular purpose of the young brave . . . even the simplicity of the lifestyle. Well written. (I detect shades of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.)
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/03/11
Congratulations, dear Friend, on being #1. I knew this was a wonderful piece the first time I read it. I'm so proud of you!
Lollie Hofer02/03/11
Exquisite, rich with words and showing. The voice is just right for this piece. Congratulations on your well-deserved win. Enjoy the moment and permit yourself to rejoice. Great accomplishment.
Ann Grover02/03/11
Glynis Becker02/03/11
Fantastic! I could feel it all. Congratulations on a well-deserved win!
Catrina Bradley 02/03/11
Simply beautiful. Congratulations on your first place!!
Carol Slider 02/03/11
Wow--this is so gorgeous! Congratulations on a very well-deserved win for this lovely story! So happy for you, my friend.
Connie Dixon02/03/11
Very nice. I found myself right in the middle of the hunt. Congratulations!
Rachel Phelps02/03/11
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLE WRITER! (I'm really excited this story won, can you tell?)
Lisa Johnson02/03/11
And what is the word for "Master Story Teller?"
This was beautiful. Congratulations on the 1st Place and EC.
Lillian Rhoades 02/03/11
Gripping, graphic, and GRAND!
Patricia Turner02/03/11

I'm so thrilled to see that your story took top honors! Outstanding and masterful and all those other great things everyone else has already said!

CONGRATULATIONS on your 1st place EC!
Bonnie Bowden 02/03/11
This a wonderful piece about young love and bravery. I loved the tone from beginning to end.

Congratulations on your well deserved 1st place award.
Henry Clemmons02/03/11
Congrats Eliza on FIRST PLACE! A super entry.
Henry Clemmons02/03/11
I didn't say much about your story. It is one of the top ten I have read here. Your voice was pitch perfect, the rhythm was smooth as a skilled musician and the story was packed full of life. OUTSTANDING, honestly. GREAT JOB!
Karlene Jacobsen02/04/11
WOW, ELiza! I've missed you AND your writing. Congratulations on 1st place, it's well-deserved.
Carol Penhorwood 04/21/11
Your story seemed so authentic and the graphic descriptions and bit of suspense added to your prowess as a writer. Well done!
Beth LaBuff 07/01/11
Eliza, Congratulations of being awarded Best of the Best with this amazing story. You put the reader in the middle of the hunt! Again, super congrats!
Joanne Sher 07/02/11
Eliza, I am so, SO glad you are a BoB runner-up, because otherwise, I would not have read this gorgeous piece. Absolutely evocative and incredible. Congratulations!!
Mona Purvis07/04/11
Very unique piece with outstanding story telling. Glad to see this in the BOB winners!
Rita Garcia07/11/11
I'm so glad reading your interview led me here! What a marvelous treat! Your writing style is wonderful! Congratulations on your BoB runner-up!
Joan Campbell08/03/11
How lovely to find that my new friend came 2nd in Best of the Best. And, so incredibly well deserved too. The voice of this character rings so true. Beautiful writing!
Jill Free09/01/11
What a beautiful story. As I read your words, I seem to go to that place, with them. Amazing! I would have given you first place! God bless!
Beth LaBuff 11/18/11
I wanted to re-read this masterpiece. We fellowship with many native Americans here in the SW and what I love about your story is your authenticity to the native thinking. You are so spot on with the way you phrase Wachichi's thinking. This is wonderful!