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Honi hung up with a sigh. Part of his agreement with the tribal elders was that he call and speak to shaman John Parker at least once a week, more often if he needed to. This wasn’t a huge burden and he really liked chatting to the man he thought of as his older brother. It helped him stay in touch with his tribe and his family, especially when he felt a little excluded from college life. He didn’t have many friends on campus nor did he have any desire to hang out with the other students.
When he first arrived, he went to a few parties, picked up a few girls but felt so unsatisfied the next morning that he gave up on the idea of one-night stands. He didn’t really feel like hooking up with girls that knew nothing about him or where he came from. Honi’s brow wrinkled and his eyes grew hard as he remembered his last experience.
This girl chatted him up in the campus library and she was very pretty. His muscular physique made him stand out on campus, even though he was not the only Native American student. He knew she’d be an easy lay the minute he saw her look at him. Attraction and lust were written on her face. Her long blond hair and tight jeans-clad bubble butt were the only reason why he allowed himself to be pulled into the alley behind the restaurant.
Laurie, he seemed to remember her name was, wrapped herself around him and the kissing was great. That is, until he came up for breath and saw her spirit animal. Honi knew by then that spirit animals were reflections of their human’s character and soul, and Laurie’s animal was hideous. Shaggy, neglected, not evil but indicative of such a lack of self-worth that he shuddered back from the girl’s red luscious lips and grabbing hands. She took it badly and spread the news about the Indian freak.
From then on, even if he wanted to find somebody, he couldn’t. For weeks, he didn’t speak to anybody other than his teachers. And even though most days it didn’t bother him, some nights he felt so lonely it made him ache for his family. Talking to John was the highlight of the week for him.
Except that this week, he had run into a brunette girl who shared his ability. Even though she didn’t seem to understand what this meant. Honi had not mentioned this yet to the shaman but tonight, his mentor had told him once again to focus on his calling so that soon, he’d be able to help others with similar gifts. This conversation was eerily related to Honi’s thoughts over the last few days. While he listened to John going on about ‘gifts’ this and ‘calling’ that, Adi’s face kept popping into his thoughts.
Honi had gotten into the habit of walking and thinking. While his body automatically put one foot in front of the other, his thoughts turned and twisted with indecision. He liked her spunk and energy. She obviously had no idea about her abilities, and Honi wasn’t sure if this would cause problems for her.
There were some in his tribe that might have had the same gift but because hardly anybody believed in it anymore, the ability was lost. This was likely to happen to Adi as well, although she was quite old to still be able to connect to others’ spirit animals. Usually it manifested in young kids before it disappeared as they grew up.
When he tried to talk to her, she clammed up immediately. Honi’s brows furrowed when he remembered her anger directed at him. She had lovely brown eyes but when she shot him down, they had turned hard and cold, and he didn’t like being looked at like that. He shrugged unconsciously while kicking a plastic bottle lid ahead of him. There was no point getting distracted from his studies by someone who didn’t want his help anyway.
John had complimented him tonight on the progress he was making with his studies. His grades were top of the class. Honi hadn’t told him that the reason for that was that he had no friends and that he spent every waking hour studying. It didn’t matter, his shaman had talked about how distractions would weaken him and interfere with his purpose of helping the tribe. Honi sighed and tried to imagine John’s reaction if he told him about Adi. It wouldn’t go down well.
When Honi opened the door to his dorm room, he stopped for a moment. Night had fallen quickly and he took a few seconds to take in the peace and tranquillity of his oasis on campus. Light from the lantern outside fell through the window, bathing his room with a slightly off-putting yellow tinge. His bed, chair and desk were still witnesses to his need to organize the world around him.
Not a corner of the sheet hung loose, the bed spread was pulled tight, his chair pushed fully underneath the desk. His shelf held an impressive collection of his own books on Mekui’te culture and mythology, side by side with legal books and folders with printouts of Sutton’s “Indian Country and the Law”. Honi finally switched on his light and took the time to empty out his book bag before settling down to yet another evening of course preparation and study.
He woke up with a start, confused for a moment. He stayed perfectly still and allowed his senses to re-connect to the world around him. He smelled the cup of camomile tea right next to his bed. A car’s headlights shone momentarily through his windows, extending furniture shadows to grotesque proportions.
He blinked and his brain overrode the strange images his eyes insisted on. Honi couldn’t remember turning the lights off but he must have fallen asleep at some stage. His shirt had ridden up and his jeans were twisted on his body. His skin felt clammy and cold when he tried to sit up. It wasn’t like him to pass out like this, especially since he had slept longer this morning.
Shaking his head, he moved towards the little sink in his room. He ran some cold water over his hands, then dampened a small towel and wiped his neck and armpits after taking off his shirt. His eyes stared back at him from the mirror above the sink and Honi felt a small shudder when he saw his own spirit animal standing next to him, looking both fearful and angry with him.
There was only one other time his Wolf looked like this, with his neck hair standing up and his lips pulled back from its fearsome teeth. When Honi did his spirit quest as a young boy, the wolf appeared for the first time and saved his life.
“What’s up, Ho’neo?” he asked the animal. The wolf didn’t answer. No surprise there. He didn’t talk but sent dreams if he felt Honi was being stupid. Honi sighed. It might not happen tonight but Ho’neo always delivered. And the way his blue eyes steadily bore into his human friend’s, promised a doozy.