#7 The Breaker of Arrowheads
Little Brave sits splashing his bare feet in the narrow but deep creek that snakes along the edge of his tribe’s camp. His feet are almost too cold. But he keeps splashing them anyway.
In his clenched hand he holds an arrowhead, a broken arrowhead. It was his last one. Today he was to have gone hunting with his father. Now he could not. He would be required to stay behind and prepare himself a supply of arrowheads, and no doubt be pressed into some woman’s work.
The arrowhead that he held, now biting into his palm, had been broken by his cousin, on purpose. The cousin, Big Ears, was jealous of Little Brave’s hunting feats. Little Brave seldom came home without meat. Big Ears often had nothing to show for his time in the woods while hunting. So out of jealousy, Big Ears broke Little Brave’s last arrowhead.
Little Brave watched his cousin walk into the near woods, the last in line of the hunters. Tears stung at Little Brave’s eyes, but he would work hard to not let them fall onto his cheeks. The evening sun twinkled at the top of a tall fir as it fell into dusk on its way into night.
The tears in Little Brave’s eyes made the distant trees waver. The air was heavy with mouthwatering smells of drying deer meat. Still, he splashed his numb feet in the icy water. Something ahead of him, some animal, was working its way down one of the fir trees about twenty feet away.
He looked up, spotting the heavy rump and legs of what appeared to be a black bear, slowly coming closer to the ground. He had no arrowhead for his arrows. A rock, he’d look for a rock and dispatch the animal that way.
A smooth rock he lifted with both hands. He quickly turned to face the bear still about ten feet up the tree. What was he looking at? He saw very clearly fingers on the bear’s paws. A bear with fingers? A creepy crawly feeling shot through his body.
The animal let go of the tree’s trunk and landed on all fours. It whirled around, still close to the ground, breathing loudly and bearing yellow teeth. It wasn’t a bear. It was one of the hairy men of the forest.
Was the smelly thing advancing on him? Little Brave rose to his full height and backed slowly away. He stumbled over a boulder. His eyes left the animal for what seemed only a second. While Little Brave fell, the animal sprinted into the forest using the same trail his father and Big Ears took. Little Brave did not know where the animal had gone.
This day got worse because Big Ears came from the day’s hunt with a story of his own about spotting a hairy man. The only good thing about the whole wretched day was that Big Ears yet again did not bring home meat. He came home only with a story of a hairy man.
These hairy men were seldom seen by anyone. So, it was with great mirth that Little Brave kidded and poked fun at his cousin. And he did not tell anyone of his own sighting of a hairy man. He just didn’t want to endure the laughing that he knew it would bring about.
He preferred laughing at Big Ears’ story and that the young hunter and breaker of arrowheads had again arrived home empty handed.
Summer Lee Clark and Spice Martin, both eleven, were at this moment enjoying a sleepover. The two were best friends.
And they both L-O-V-E-D anything sparkly, anything with lots of ruffles and just anything “girly” as Spice enjoyed saying.
Summer’s mother poked her head in the door and asked if everything was okay with the two since she hadn’t heard a laugh or giggle from the girls in some time.
“Great here, Mom,” Summer Lee laughed while she shook her drying, sparkly pink fingernails.
“Same for me, Mrs. Martin,” Spice said as a big yawn stretched her pretty face all out of shape.
Summer squeaked out an unladylike sound at the funny face her friend had flashed just briefly. Both girls agreed that even a big smile was bad because it could lead to deep wrinkles. The two went so far as to not purse their lips at all while sipping hot tea and they absolutely did not blow their tea to cool it.
Summer and Spice, mind you, have known each other for years. They each keep a journal of what to do and what not to do in the varied practices of “girl-ness.” These journals were thick, and stuffed with girl-wise rules.
Oh, to be sure, they had differences in their ideals, their rules for a well-groomed and well-dressed modern girl. They even had rules on how to disagree, agreeably.
At this moment Spice had hanging on the clothesline a very dark green party dress. The hot sun and a brisk wind flapped and snapped the delicate ‘gown.’ It gave the girls much pleasure to call their horde of pretty dresses, gowns.
Why was the pretty dress on the clothesline?
Both girls decided that the color was a bit off, a bit too dark. They believed some time in the sun would fade it. Once sun-bleached they hoped it would be just perfect and to their liking.
“Summer, should we turn the dress? We want it to fade evenly.”
“Good idea. Let’s go.”
A few minutes later the girls rounded the corner of the country home. A tiny humming bird shot by on its way to the red feeding station. They paused and watched the birds for a time.
At the rose arbor, Summer threw out an arm, blocking Spice.
“Down, get down!”
“What’s going on?”
“Quiet! Look!” Summer pointed to the clothesline.
Two bears, one small, one large, batted and pulled at Spice’s pretty dress.
The girls ran lickety-split back inside the house, yelling for Summer’s mother. The three then watched from Summer’s bedroom window.
“Those are not bears!” Mrs. Martin breathed out in ragged voice.
“Bigfoot! I think they’re bigfoots!” Spice said. She wanted to tap on the window, but didn’t, to scare them away or get their attention. She didn’t know which.
The larger bigfoot snatched finally the green dress from the line. Both animals lumbered out of sight.
This shared experience kept these two girls friends for life. It is worth telling that the girls started a new section in their journals, a section on bigfoot.
Years passed. Summer Lee Clark, as an adult, enjoyed hiking the forest at the end of her parent’s yard, watching for the two bigfoots she’d seen as a girl.
Spice Martin kept her friend, Summer, informed on the news of bigfoot, as it came to her from books, Internet and such. One bit of information she shared was a rumor that someone had sighted a female bigfoot, wearing around her neck some sort of green ruffled fabric. The green had faded to a dirty grey, just tinged with green.
It could have been Spice’s dress, they reasoned. They laughed long about the whole thing, but not too loud, for they still kept to their rules for modern girls; they fought wrinkles and enjoyed still--Pretty Dresses.
NOT SUITABLE FOR VERY YOUNG CHILDREN
The Hairy Men of the High Mountain Forests
In North American Indian lore, there have been uncountable stories told of certain tribes leaving their unhealthy children for the hairy men (Bigfoot/Sasquatch) of the forest to rear.
In part, this story is of such a boy. When finally the child’s father made the decision to take him deep into the high mountain forest, the boy seemed to do little else but cry. He ate little, walked with much effort and had not learned more than three or four words.
The opinion of the Chief of this tribe was that if the boy were his, he’d place the child into the hands of the ancient hairy men of the mountains.
The handsome and much loved three-year-old was the couple’s first child. The young parents, however, were convinced by the tribe’s elders that their child would soon perish if he were not allowed to walk freely the good earth and to breathe deeply of the wide sky, which only the hairy men of the deep forests and high mountains could provide, could oversee.
The Hairy Men of the High Mountain Forests
The stink of them, the hairy men, is strong, powerful, sickening at times; and this for good reason, as I have often observed them roll around in the entrails, in the blood, in the bodily waste of their kills.
The same is true of the females, except during their time of mating, when to my nose they exude an overpowering green-grass smell. It’s tolerable, that is if one (one, meaning human) can smell it at all, for the acrid, overpowering filth of them. For me, the odors were the least of the annoyances during the female’s mating time. I was not of their kind. But one of them, Baday, my name for her, would sniff my breath and maneuver her powerful hairy thigh between my legs in an attempt to excite me. After much difficulty, I always managed to escape her advances. By difficulty, I mean, she’d pounce and claw me with her dirty, jagged nails. She’d bellow chest-rattling growls. She’d nip deep patches of skin from my face, neck and back. When done playing with me, and that’s what she was doing, for with one good swat of her hand she could have killed me, she’d spring to her feet and be off─off to her next conquest, these many, and of her kind, some milling close by, but most waiting patiently in somewhat of a line. And all this before I could rub the smell of her from my nose.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been here in the deep woods with these creatures. And, to look at my face you’d think I was one of them. Hair is thick and long on it, but the rest of my body has little hair. So I was given covering of animal skins, some with fur, some not. While I knew I was not of their kind, I felt myself one of them. I don’t know how I came to be here, in this place with these beings. I have no memory of it. We, however, shared this in common: I didn’t speak and they didn’t speak; but having lived my life with only their kind, I on a simple level understood them, and it seemed, they me. We gestured, motioned and went ahead with whatever it was we intended communicating.
If the creatures spoke in some primitive language, I had no way of knowing. It did seem they’d gibber at one another, and often pounded cruelly on each other’s massive backs and shoulders. If they had a language, then this gibbering was probably it.
It was when the need was great on me to mate, I
could not keep it from my mind, that the hairy being Lome (my name for him) brought a human girl to me and gave her into my care. He was for as long as I had memory, my father-figure. He cared well for me, providing shelter, covering, food and a mate.
For the passing of many moons, my companion girl cried constantly, or so it seemed, and ate little. She finally quieted herself, but still it was my constant concern that she would escape.
Still, when Baday’s time came to mate she’d bare her teeth and try to force me to comply. The girl had no choice but to witness these attacks. It was many moons passing that I kept her at my side with a tight hold of her wrist. She’d twist around to avoid the scene before her. Often she’d find herself tripped up and in the oddest of positions, laughable if the situation hadn’t been so repugnant and dangerous to us both.
My fondness for the girl, I now called Umyu, grew. She repeated to me often, Margaret, meaning that it was her name. But I could not call the female before me this name. Margaret sounded ugly to my ears. I called her what I wanted, Umyu, meaning to me, breath of many flowers.
In time, when we took our night’s rest, she allowed me to thread lightly my arm between her arm and waist (her back to me). More often, she’d allow it when it was cold, when the water from the sky turned white and covered deep the mountainsides.
Several seasons of hot and cold passed. With good frequency, Umyu now allowed my hand to pull her in tight and caress her maturing body, often until she panted. But still, she refused me, stopping short of mating; whereupon, often I’d spring to my feet and yell out, in good imitation of the hairy men we lived among. With hard blows, I would pound my chest with frustration.
Even though I had a companion, Baday, when the need was upon her to mate, came to me still, inflicting wounds that took many moons to heal. It was a mean and twisted game she played with me. Once I spied Umyu peeking through the tree branches while I fought Baday. She allowed the branches to snap back upright when I saw her. I wondered if she thought I gave in and did as Baday wished. I don’t know, for I didn’t speak to Umyu of such things. Maybe, I reasoned, it was why she’d not have me as mate.
Because of all the moons and seasons that had passed, I believed Umyu was attached tightly to me. She seldom strayed far from my side. I enjoyed believing that, anyway. I did not worry overmuch about her running back to where Lome had abducted her. So, she was free to walk her own way during the day.
At this time it is good to say that she could have never found her way back, for we were deep into the high mountains, mountains shrouded in thick clouds and heavy mists most days.
It was to my great pleasure when next Baday waddled into our private sleeping den that Umyu rose, turned and stared down the overweight and smelly being. In Umyu’s slim hands, she held tight a club that she’d made with a thick branch, thorns bristling all around. Baday seemed amused, sniffing and jutting her hairy chin in jerks. She turned, seemingly to walk away and then whirled, catching Umyu off guard, trying to slap the club to the ground. With ease she dislodged it, but it now was stuck to her wrist, possibly by a thorn to the bone. She whooped in pain.
Grunting and sniffing loudly the air, Baday’s next-in-line suitor charged forward, black puffy hands clenched. His whole body swung around as he turned his massive head, trying to determine what was going on.
Umyu, shaking hard her stinging hands from the blow when the club was knocked from them, motioned me to make them leave.
It was my finest and happiest day, for Umyu that night turned to me and allowed our first mating.
From the time the girl was given to me, that is to say when she finally stopped crying, she made an attempt to teach me to speak her language, from the world whence she came. She tried to explain it, but I had no way to visualize it.
She made it clear that one day she hoped to return to it, with me and our offspring. I’d smile, but I knew I would never have the courage to leave the high mountains and the hairy men, leave the only world I’d ever known. And so it was my want, that she’d never be rescued, but it was not to be.
Umyu called me Fellow. Some days, when the powerful winds are away lingering in far places, I believe I can hear her voice, calling to me across the mountains.
Years later, 1887
Mrs. Margaret Sarah Jones, 83, sits now rocking slowly on the porch of her Oregon home. Her husband of many years has just passed, leaving her little to do with her days except care for herself and keep her log cabin tidy.
During her long and happy married life, she thought often of what happened to her as a girl. When she was rescued, she was pressed to explain her “ordeal.” “Ordeal” was used often; it was their word for what had happened to her.
It was many years before she found a good and decent man willing to have her as a wife. And that was only because David Brian Jones wasn’t aware of the details of her years with the hairy men. Margaret did not tell him everything, him or anyone else.
All that kind-hearted David knew was she’d been taken by one of the hairy men of the mountains.
She told him they used her as a slave of sorts, and that she’d watched over several of the hairy men’s offspring, gathered food and helped build shelters
while the group was on the move through and over
the high mountains.
About Fellow she never spoke a word. And about their twin boys left behind, she never said a word. (No children were born alive of the union with her husband.)
She expected that life would be lonely for her now, now that most of her family had passed on. But the days she now filled with remembering.
She crossed her ankles and pulled a woolen throw over her knees, bunching it over her lap, covering her blue-veined hands. The view before her eased the sore heart beneath the calico bib of her homemade dress. The yard and field sloped down to a tangled thicket of blackberry bushes, a long line of them, shoulder high.
Tiny yellow birds flitted in and around the vines.
Again the thought of Fellow came to her. It was at such a thicket that Lome, the hairy man, appeared from nowhere and threw a great hairy arm around her middle and then barreled down into a near, deep ditch completely covered with a canopy of thick trees. She screamed the whole time, but there was no one to hear.
She’d walked the two miles to the berries by herself. She had walked it often, for she was twelve. Old enough to take care of herself, she assured her mother and father.
When she was rescued by the road crew at eighteen, her parents were quick to say that they were concerned over her disappearance, but her mother repeated often, “We thought it was Frank Roy Blain. You remember him? We were sure you’d gone with him and his family to Missouri. You were really sweet on him.”
And then her father repeated his own string of words, primed by his wife’s, told in just the same way over the years, never changing a word: “A splendid vision you were, when we finally recognized you.” Margaret’s father sniffed in just the same place, telling after telling, trying mightily not to let the tears show and the running nose give away his feelings for his only girl child. “Mercy, mercy such a vision!”
Margaret cried in grief now, for her husband of all these years, and for Fellow. What, she wondered, had become of him and their children? At least he was not left alone, he had the children.
“What a remarkable life I’ve experienced,” she thought, “first in the high mountain forest, and then with my gentle David here on the edge of this small Oregon town. Would even one soul have believed
me, believed my story, if I had told the whole of it?”
She guessed not. So, she didn’t bother. She kept it all to herself and only nodded when a passerby would call to her on the porch, or one of the local newspapers reported, “A young girl (or boy) disappeared last week while picking berries.”
It was no surprise to Margaret Sarah Jones; after all, her children and her grandchildren would need mates, living there in the mountain mist along with the ancient hairy men. That is if they wished to
For a fleeting instant, Baday flashed across her mind. She ground her old teeth and before she gave thought to it, she was yelling insanely in the direction of the berry thicket at the bottom of the yard. It was her own version of the yell of the hairy men.
She rose from the rocking chair and looked to the high mountains. Now in hoarse voice, she whispered to herself, “Fellow I hope you still live. I hope you and our children have mates, have families!” And then in loudest of voice she yelled, “F-e-l-l-o-w, where are you?”
Under the Bush at the School Bus Stop
(Names not real)
“Give me that! Chris give it here!” eleven-year-old Max Lee Brown yelled to his friend.
Chris Ray Smith, also eleven, made a disgusting face, while sprinting around Max. Chris had just snatched a half-eaten meat stick from Max’s hand. It was like this every morning at the bus stop. Most of the kids had fun playing around before the grind of school kept them slow-motion still for the largest part of the day.
After Chris returned the meat stick, Max held onto it as tight as he could. He knew more was coming.
“Look!” Chris teased. When Max looked away to where Chris pointed, Chris successfully slapped the stick out of Max’s hand to the ground.
Amy Sue Black, ten, whirled around when she felt the meat stick brush the backpack on her back. “Really!” she sniffed. “You two are the limit!” She shrugged the bright pink pack off and checked for grease stains.
For just a second the boys thought of turning their full attention to Amy, which in the end they usually did each and every morning at the bus stop. They both liked the girl and enjoyed hearing her piercing scream when one of them would toss a piece of bark or leaf at her pretending it was a bug or worse!
A couple of kids yelled that the bus was coming, so Chris kicked the meat stick under a near bush and got in line, Amy in front of him, and Max behind him.
Chris Smith plopped down near the window with Max next to him. Max was busy wiping his greasy hands on his jeans when Chris turned and said “Did you see that?”
“What? See what?
“Something is under that bush, back there at the bus stop.”
“Something like what?”
“I don’t know. I just saw the bottom of a big foot. No shoes. I mean it was r-e-a-l-l-y big.”
Max laughed, then lowered his voice and said seriously while still rubbing off the grease, “Are you telling me it was like a bigfoot... bigfoot like the animal?”
“Bud, I saw a b-i-g foot. That’s all I know. I don’t know what it was. Could have just been a big man, with no shoes.”
At the end of the day they looked around the bush.
Nothing was under it. The meat stick was gone.
It being gone was no surprise because forest animals and pets were always in the area.
Chris that evening found it hard to concentrate on his homework, so he phoned Max. They decided to arrive early the next morning at the bus stop, hide and watch for whatever it was that was sheltering under the bush.
While still foggy and a little dark the next morning, the boys cautiously walked to the bus stop. “Are you chewing on that same meat? It stinks! We could get attacked, you know!” Chris said.
Max was wearing the same grease stained jeans he’d worn the day before. And yes he was enjoying one of the meat sticks.
Chris shook his head side to side and said, “I don’t know about this, we could be food for whatever is under that bush.” They walked without speaking for a time then Chris said, “Can you tell which way the wind is blowing? We should hide down wind if you can.”
Max nodded and whispered for Chris to be quiet. They were very near the bush. “Something’s moving. You see it. Shhh... ”
“Where? I don’t see it,” Chris said with shaky voice.
“Get on your belly. Don’t move. Look between the bush and fence.” Max pushed down on Chris’ shoulder driving his friend’s chin into the dirt. Both boys were as close to the ground as they could get and were down wind of whatever they were watching move.
Something nudged Chris’ knee. Without thinking he pounded a fist down in the middle of Max’s back. Both boys yelled while scrambling frantically to their feet.
“What’s going on here?” Tim Miller aware he’d scared the boys laughed. He had to ask them a second time what they were up to because his laughter made his first try unclear. Tim Miller was out this early morning on his daily jog. He jogged in place so not to cool off.
“You guys realize I almost ran over you?” Suddenly, Tim’s eyes narrowed. He growled out, “Back! Back! Get back behind the fence.”
“What! What is it?” Both boys asked while backing toward the fence.
The dark, shadowy bush was growing larger near the fence. Without warning about a third of the bush came to life and was running away from the three. Pound! Pound! The ground shook.
“It’s coming back! Get out of here! Run for home!” Tim Miller shouted as he turned to follow the boys.
Next thing he knew, he was flying and then skidding across the road. The ‘shadow’ had evidently hit him when it passed. Just then as Tim tried to get to his feet a car’s lights swept the whole area. It screeched to a stop.
The door of the little grey car flew open and a young woman ran to Tim’s aid. When it seemed safe Max and Chris crossed the road and stood, hands in pockets, listening to the adults talk.
“Listen here, did that thing hurt you?” the young woman asked.
Tim noticed the boys and told them to get on home.
“Come on, I’ll get you to the hospital.”
Tim Miller was released in a few hours from the hospital, with nothing broken and only a few deep bruises and scrapes.
The jogger did report the incident to the police, only mentioning some large animal had knocked him across the road. Tim was positive what he saw was a bigfoot, but he knew it would only be trouble if he claimed he’d seen one. He didn’t need it!
Of course, all the school buzzed with the story that Max and Chris were telling. The boys used the word bigfoot in their revelation and couldn’t wait to get back to the bus stop and bush where the being had first been spotted by Chris.
It was a big disappointment for all of the kids that got off at Max and Chris’ stop; the bush was gone, cut down! Several kids stuck around searching the powdery dirt for bigfoot tracks. The area seemed to be swept clean.
To this day Max and Chris revel in the thought that they might have seen a real live bigfoot. And Tim Miller knows he did!