The pale face soldiers have torn Wind That Knocks Down Lodges and Cactus Flower's world apart. After finding themselves at the mercy of the Army, far from Apache Territory and well on the trail to Colorado, Knocks Down's choices are dwindling rapidly. After a failed attempt at escape that leaves Cactus Flower injured and both of them in danger, can Knocks Down bring himself to trust the soldier, Pale Face Joe? His life depends on it, and his little sister's does, as well!
The feeling of needing to be sick and vomit rolled over me and my pounding head as the light from the sun attacked my eyes. Pale face chatter filled my ears, making the rolling in my stomach churn all the more violently. The pale face chatter grew louder as I struggled to come awake.
Dirty brown fabric, the kind that seemed to be a favorite of the pale face soldiers, was all around me, like a cocoon.
“Cactus Flower?” Her name was broken and dry on my parched lips. How long had I been asleep? “Cactus Flower,” I tried again.
Pulling at the canvas, I studied our surroundings. We moved in a line, inside wagons pulled by Army horses. Soldiers, with their shooting horses drawn from their scabbards, rode alongside. The raw emotion of fear burned in my dry throat. Nothing about this land was familiar. Not the roll of a hill, or the shadow of a canyon. My heart began to thunder in my chest and a twitching in my legs urged me to jump from the Army wagon and run to safety far from here. Far from the soldiers that killed first Silver Sky, and then my mother.
Glancing around the foreign land, my eyes hungered for something familiar. A wild rose perhaps? Wildly, my gaze danced over the rugged, dusty desert. The Army had taken us far from the land where the wild roses bloom, far from our home. I swallowed hard and blinked back the tears that brimmed, for a warrior of The People must never show fear, even if his heart trembled with it.
A terrifying thought pushed its way to the front of my mind. Can it still be The Moon When The Wild Roses Bloom if there are no wild roses to bloom? I looked down at my hands on the rough wood of the wagon box. They had begun to tremble. I struggled to find a logical reason to my newfound predicament. Perhaps time was measured differently here, faster no doubt, on the pale faces’ trail.
“Cactus Flower!” I choked on her name in my dry, nauseated throat. Lifting one trembling hand, I shielded my eyes from the sun, which did little to ease my pounding head. While the wild roses weren’t blooming here, the same sun was still assaulting my tired eyes. Perhaps time was still measured the same on the pale face trail.
Tom’s voice boomed loud, from just the other side of the dirty canvas, making me jump and forget my thoughts of timekeeping. Then, he laughed. My mother’s murderer laughed. I sit in here, terrified and miserable, and the pale face who has hidden my sister, murdered my mother, and taken me from my home rides free upon the back of a horse.And he laughs.