Leotie rarely smoked pot and never dropped acid but she did use peyote sometimes and had a small bag of the dried cactus. She and Aaron used it together for the first time when they had been joined for three months. Having eaten the peyote Leotie laid Aaron down on her bed furs and lay alongside with her hand on his heart and she talked softly in his ear. “The Manitou will be found with the aid of the peyote. Atayohkanak will come to you and take you with me as we seek our guardian spirit. You may see a beast and this may be your guardian. Speak it if you feel it so.”
Aaron was unsure about any form of hallucinogenic having avoided LSD and the like, but he trusted Leotie and gave himself to the experience. After a time he felt as if he’d gone to sleep and was dreaming but he could still hear her words and feel her hand and her breath close to his ear. Then she became silent and rolled on her back. They held the hands by their side and went together tripping.
On the southern shore of Wapawekka Lake was a small lagoon with a spit and a beach of sand on the shore of the big water. A canoe was pulled up on the beach. On the spit a tipi stood with a curl of smoke spiralling skywards. A rack of char and trout hung over a small smouldering fire made smoky and cool with fresh beech leaves. In the prow of the birch-bark canoe lay a bundle of fifty muskrat pelts, six deer pelts, three fine beaver, two red fox and one small bear skin. Six horses graze, hobbled to keep them close. The year is 1670 and the life of the Nēhilawē who build tipi like this and hunt for furs and smoke fish is changed forever this year. In the tipi are Aaron and Leotie. She lies in his arms and wonders again why she lies with this pale skinned man with fire for hair. He came to trade and speaks of the Hudson Bay Company for whom he works this trade. He has some words of her tongue and wants her to teach him more. He gave her father a metal knife, his very best musket, not a cheap trade-gun that often fails or explodes and wounds the shooter, and best of all: a good horse. He took the vows in the tradition of her band and now she is his wife. She has learned his words well and can speak the English better than he can the Cree, as he calls it. Cree is not a word she’d heard for her people before but he says it’s what the Nēhilawē are called in his words.
Leotie and Aaron have been married nine months and she has grown to love him and is joined in happiness. She likes how he uses her body and how he does things no man of her people would ever do. He has no taboo against nakedness or touching and he does not spurn her when she has her monthly bleed. This she found shocking at first but now she is at ease with his ways and his openness and the way he speaks to her of what is in his heart and mind and spirit. Leotie is in love and she is hungry and is learning to ask for love when she wants it and he will give it with power and with his big manhood so much bigger than any of her tribe. He is much bigger in all ways than the men of her tribe. She thinks he is a hand greater than two tipahikan (two yards). She loves his height for she is bigger than any other woman of her people and they laughed at her when she grew beyond the prairie flower of her name so they called her: Mistik (tree), not flower.
They have been doing the thing he calls fucking for an hour and now they lie breathing slower. He is on his side and he runs his fingers over her body, tracing her shape, murmuring words she does not yet know. He has joy in his eyes as he does this so she too loves her body now. Her cousins and aunts teased her for her huge hips and big heavy breasts and long thick legs but Aaron says he loves these and says she is more woman than any he has seen before. She watches his arm move and wonders at how hairy he is. He has fine gold hair all over his body and thick dense beard on his face. Her uncles never have beards or hair on them like this man. “Aaron, can you take the hair from your face?”
“Yes Leotie, I can but why?”
“See the little hurt on my cheeks and lips, this is from your hair when we kiss plenty.”
He sits up and grabs a bag of brown leather. From this he brings a strange folded knife and what he calls: shears. “Can you use these to cut the hair, then I will shave.” He clicks the shears to show how they are used. She sits on her knees and begins. Her tongue comes out between her thick full lips and she chews it as she concentrates on the task. Her thighs get a coating of red hairs. When the hair is short he goes outside and pours some hot water into a bowl and makes soap bubbles with a little brown strange smelling bar that looks like fat. She watches him fascinated as he rubs this on his face. He gives her a small mirror-glass to hold, then he opens the folding knife. When he’s done he goes to the lake and splashes his face, then returns and kneels before her smiling. Her eyes are wide with wonder as a new man sits before her, still her Aaron but new. Her hand touches his cheek and she giggles with delight. “You must do this often?”
“Every day if I am to stay like this.”
“Teach me and I will do this...”
“Shaving Leotie no, shaving Aaron yes. I will do this. Has the knife a name?”
“Razor,” he says and gets a long leather belt from his bag. He runs the blade fast to and fro and says, “Strop to sharpen the blade, you must do this to keep it keen.” He hands her the strop which she traps between her knees and quickly she sees how it is done. She wipes the blade and touches it with her finger. She bleeds and he takes her finger in his mouth and smiles at her hurt surprise. This is followed by her grinning wide-eyed wonder. Aaron has many things of wonder still and most of all is his writing and drawing of the things he sees. She kneels by his side with her face in her hands and watches intently the shapes he makes in the white blank space of what he calls a book. The pictures he makes she knows, but the other he calls words and they are new and they puzzle her. He can conjure word pictures and speak them even many weeks after he made the words in the book. She thinks this is powerful magic but he says she can learn the magic and so he spends an hour of every evening when the light is dim, close to the oil lamp, showing her what the shapes mean. She can write the ABC all the way to Z now and is learning the sounds each make. She is keen and impatient and wishes he would teach her the writing faster.
“Aaron, do you have words for all we see and do?”
“Yes, but not some new things that I must learn from you. Names for animals I’ve not seen before and people too and places. What did you say this lake is called? Say it slow.”
She says it and he writes: Wapawekka. Then draws the lake shape. “Map?” she says.
“Yes darling girl, map.”
He kisses her and strokes her and she smiles and knows what darling means.
Next morning they sit near the fire eating trout warm from the smoke. Aaron stops and gazes past her shoulder. He picks up his big black round hat with the very wide brim and pulls it low over his eyes. He is naked but for this and the belt he throws over his shoulders. She knows this look and she goes to the tipi and brings his long musket and the forked staff he uses to steady it. He takes it and rises and walks slow along the lake shore. She kneels and watches him go. He moves with grace and care and his eyes are fixed in the distance. He is hunting. Leotie smiles and wonders how this strange man from a far away land called Ireland across a great water called an ocean larger than all the lakes, how is he a greater hunter and warrior than all her uncles and cousins. When he hunts and shoots the fire musket that so frightens her with its roar, he kills his game, where the uncles often miss or must use the bow that cannot shoot so far. Aaron is bent low behind the lake shore scrub so she can’t see him. Then she sees him slowly rise and put the musket in the fork stick and then he is still, so still like a tree. Then she leaps as the musket roars and he is hidden by the smoke of it. As the smoke clears she sees him running fast, the belt he has thrown over his shoulder has a big knife and it’s in his hand now. She stands and shades her eyes and sees the big buck laid on its side kicking. He is on it and he lays a hand over its eyes and it stills, then the blade moves fast and the blood spurts from its throat as he jumps back to avoid the splash. He stands and looks back at her. He waves and she goes to the mule-horse and takes its hobbles off. She leads it to him and helps him throw the buck over the mule’s back.
They walk back as she leads the mule and smiles at her man. Her mihkostikwân Aaron. Fire in his hair and in his loins and in his musket and he has a magic steel and flint to make fire anytime he wants to. Leotie’s loins are afire too. She is excited by the sight of him and the warrior that he is and she wants to do the fuck now. Her hand goes to his groin and she grasps him and squeezes. He grins at her and he gets hard quick. He bathes in the lake, then runs to her with his great hard penis flapping on his belly. She lies down on a fur near the canoe and spreads her legs wide. First he sits astride her and kisses her breasts and face and mouth, then he sits up and she licks his manhood up and over and she takes him in her mouth and tastes his maleness. He groans so she thinks he will spurt but he jumps up and stands over her looking down with hunger and the rage of his manhood rearing and twitching. A drop of moisture drips from him and she puts out her tongue and catches it and laughs. Then he has mounted her and holds her hips as he thrusts and bucks and the rough tuft of fire-hair sets her alight as he rubs and grinds. She howls like the wolves do and her whole soft body ripples beneath the shining dark chestnut skin as she peaks and is gone. Gone with her man to the new world of sensation and sex that’s still so new and exciting that she hungers for it every day, every new day.
She wonders when she will make pêpîsis, a baby in his words. She prays to her guidance spirit in the form of the she-wolf that she will not be with child for a long time. She does not want the burden of nayâwasiwin, a baby on her back. “Aaron, what will we do if I make pêpîsis?”
He laid a hand on her belly and hummed then said, “From now on I will spurt here, on the outside and then we might not make a baby.”
She giggled and put two fingers in her mouth and said, “Or you might spurt here instead. I like this.”
Their idyll was broken then by the sound of their horses braying in alarm. Aaron stood slowly and shading his eyes looked all around. Then he knelt and spoke softly. “Get dressed quickly and put on boots. Get the pistols and make sure they are primed and loaded. Keep one and stay close. Blackfoot, six coming quick. They must have heard the shot.” As he spoke he was loading the long musket with ball and powder from the belt. She crouched low and ran to the tipi. She was back fast and threw him his britches and moccasin. He took a pistol, put it in the pouch on the belt across his shoulder and said, “I will try to offer them a horse. Speak for me but stay behind me. If they refuse I will kill the far away one with the musket and the close with the pistol. You shoot whichever runs at us and then step back and wait and load the pistol again if you can.”
Aaron had stood and finished tamping the musket with the rod. He dropped that and set the end of the musket in the fork of the stick but pointing up at the sky. Then he took the pistol and cocked it and held that in his left hand.
The Blackfoot hunting party stopped running about twenty yards away and stood looking curiously at the strange sight before them. They were uncertain but the sight of six horses standing behind the tall white man and the big Nēhilawē woman was very tempting a prize. They had seen horses and knew they were useful and had great trade value. The musket he held had no fear for them, they’d never seen one used. One came forward speaking and the others spread out, two followed and three remained. “Tell them they can have one horse and leave in peace or they can try for six and die as stinking thieves.”
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