The Calm Before The Storm!

Calm before the Storm - Sa'ng Gretuk

Thunder rolled in the distance, the air was cold and heavy. Tammi, our En, had instructed us earlier not to go hunting as she had felt uncomfortable with the weather. We had huddled around the camp fire, listening to the rumbles the thunder that was playing while Ashley was preparing our meal.

Suddenly as if a plethora of diamonds were thrusts into the sky, a lightning shot across, which made us jump and look up! We were used to thunder and lightning but this one got us! We looked up at the same time and then at each other and then we all looked at Our En simultaneously, only to see her shake her head and curse under her breath. Most of us had decided to take rest as nothing else was there to be done… the air became colder and the furs were not enough to keep us warm.. The camp fire was not keeping up with the winds. We had coupled in to our huts and dozed off only to be woken up by ice pellets and rain falling on our huts and then trickling through the wooden slates.

I heard our sister’s voices outside. Sister Selene & I decided to join them. It was windy and the ice pellets were continuing to fall. We heard sister Rosie shouting and we all ran in her direction. The strong winds had broken the fences of our live stock. Without hesitation we ran to try and get them to safety… even though we were getting hit by pellets, we were laughing and having fun while gathering the animals. The mud was making us slip and slide. Sister Aala our SE kept reminding us to head back to camp soon but we were having too much fun and did not pay attention to her. We were lost in the moment! Sister Feather and Isa started a mud fight and we all joined in forgetting what we were out there for! Sister Rami, sister Mitty and sister Rainy were still running after the animals. Sister Saca our Tor, had sat under a rock and lit her Kanda pipe while watching us play. Sister Qunity & sister Sybilla were joining her. A gust of wind blew and made everyone stop what they were doing and look at the sky. The skies had darkened. The ones who were covered in mud decided to wash themselves in the river and the rest were gathering around sister Saca to have some kanda. We continued to stay under the large rock that was sheltering us from the rain and pellets, after a while we noticed the rain was pouring down hard and the wind were stronger. The trees were swaying, leaves and dirt were sweeping away. Sister Anne finally said “Enough” and gestured us to head back to camp. We stood up lazily and were slowly making our way to camp when another strong gust of wind hit us, the river was rippling fast. We heard thunder again…this time louder and closer and lightning followed.

Once inside camp, before going inside the caves for shelter we all scattered trying to collect what had either fallen or had swept away for the wind. The rain was hitting us hard and the wind was pushing us. Sister Caline and sister Valou suggested some of us should go check on the animals while the others prepared for a long night inside the caves. Sister Euterpe and sister Chichi were instructed by sister Aala to gather food while others were instructed to do other little chores. Sister Alexxa, sister Saku and sister Rhia had gone up the hill to check on our zip lines. Sister Rikki and our En Tammi were discussing the situation inside the caves. The air suddenly turned hot and cold at the same time. The air was thick and dark. It was like something was sucking in the air and then suddenly we heard a ripping sound and instinctively we all turned our heads to see one of our huts ripping apart. A sudden crash of wind on our bodies hit like a wave and felt impossible to move. Barrels were rolling all over the place. I held on to a tree that I was standing close to… a few seconds later it was quiet again and I heard sisters shouting… The animals were running around in panic. This time the thunder hit close and lightning whizzed past us!

Sister Alexxa and the others who were up top came running shouting with their hands pointing at the sky, most of us who were below couldn’t hear her because of the noises the animals were making and the wind hitting us! But from where we were we could see the heavy dark ballooning clouds. It was becoming impossible to even stand up. The river was flooding the lower ground. On sister Saca’s request we were trying to guide which ever animals we could into the upper level caves. It wasn’t any easy task but we did our best and with all the sounds the animals were making it was deafening inside. But we were in and we all sat around the fire our girl Nayeli had built. Sister Tiny as usual was saying and doing gestures to make us laugh or to lighten the situation. Sister Sofia was checking if all of us had made it in when she asked where sister Kresz and sister Kairi were. We all looked around and yes both of them were not among us! Some of us stood up and walked towards the cave opening. The rain was heavier and the wind was pushing us back but knowing we can’t leave back our sisters some of us went out. We crawled most part of it Out huts had ripped apart and most things on our level were damaged. They were nowhere in sight. It took all our strength to get further and some sisters did turn back to inform the others we were heading out to see where sister Kairi and sister kresz were; and in the back of our heads we all knew our En wasn’t going to be happy about this. It was pointless shouting their names as it would not be heard.

I think most of us regretted getting out but it was our sisters and that’s what kept us going. Then suddenly the winds began to slacken, and the sky starts to brighten. The ones who were with me sat in the same spot we were and looked confused. The rain ended abruptly and within minutes the sky were clearing to blue skies but the air was uncomfortably warm and humid. Walls of ballooning white clouds formed every side. We heard voices. This time it sounded frantic and we got up and ran towards the gates. On the other side of the river were sister Kairi and sister kresz standing on a high standing rock. We all gathered and quickly tried to knot our ropes, trying to throw it across for them to reach, but before we knew it we felt the wind picking up and this time it just hit us in full force…couple of us got pushed in to the water. Sister Kresz shouted and pointed to the sky and we all gasped. A Tornado had formed and it was moving toward us quickly. We saw our sisters who were on the higher levels frantically waving at us to get back but were not about to leave our sisters down here alone. We were worried, scared and confused. The ropes weren’t reaching them, the wind it was pushing down stream. Sister Saca then held on to my hand and said “make body rope” so in return I held on to another sister’s hand and she did. With much courage we held on to each other and stepped in to the flooded water to reach them. Each of us trying to plant our feet on to the flooded ground. Holding on to each other as much as possible. It was not easy especially for the sisters in the middle but some courage we had knowing the tornado was hitting us any minute. Once or twice we lost balance but the others pulled us. The last sister threw the ropes at them and finally it was able to reach them and sister kresz and sister kairi held on to each other till we started one by one moving out… at one point the we almost lost the grip of the rope and sister Kresz fell into the water. We screamed but sister kresz held on to her with dear life and got her back up. We felt the winds picking up and it punched us every way possible. The continuous rumble of the tornado was playing back of our ears and we just wanted to run to the camp caves. Sister kresz and sister kairi were finally on our side and we sighed in relief. Sister Saca shouted “GO” and we all turned to run. We saw sister Aala running towards us and she was telling us to get back in fast but we only managed to reach the gates when the tornado hit close. We all grabbed on to whatever that was close to us, we saw a part of our gate flying and then as if someone had lifted us and thrown us into the air we were flying…arms and legs were all over the place trying to grab on to whatever. But nothing helped. Few seconds later we felt the air under us was pulled away.

Gretuk Tornado 2

I winced in pain as I opened my eyes and took me a few moments to realize what had happened. Some sisters lay next to me inside the caves with bandages all over them. I looked at myself and I was too. “Don’t move” whispered sister Selene who was sitting next to me. I saw our En standing in front of us and I looked at her. She smiled and said “well glad all of you made it”, that was good enough for me to know we had not lost anyone.

A week later, we were still in bandages but able to move a bit. Sister Caline, sister Rikki and En were discussing about how the tornado had changed our land. It had ripped apart all the huts and some of the sisters were busy rebuilding it. It had also formed a new river and cleared out most of the trees which had opened ways to new caves on the south side of camp. Four were sent to inspect the caves and they had come back laughing in delight. Little did we know this tornado would bring us something good! No wonder our En was happy!

Later we were told, Our En had sent sisters Quinty, sister Selene, sister Sha, and sister Eshe into one of the caves. The cave was partially buried in water, the girls had to use torches to light the way as the cave went far back into the mountain. From an opening above a little light was shining through and was reflecting on the water below. The water was so high, up to their chest, then suddenly they noticed a glistening reflections from the wall, gold in color. They had used their torches to see but it was not bright enough to see it properly so they headed back at sunrise but this time our En and more sisters had joined them to check what this gold reflections was and Alas! It was a GOLD MINE! Some of the sisters had immediately started to dig and some where looking around the caves to see what else they might find. On instruction the entrance was covered with leaves so the reflecting golden dancing waters would not attracted others in it. We were all excited with this secret and sisters took turns to make their way to dig the gold.

At a tribe meeting held later we were told to watch and protect the cave at all times. We were not talk about this to anyone and if anyone was caught trying to enter the caves would have to be dealt with. We were indeed going to guard this cave with our life!

P.S we are hoping to bring Role play with the Gold cave, So feel free to visit of land and find this cave and search for the gold.
I have also done my best to write the story the best way I know. If there are mistakes please forgive me.

Silverz and Sacagawea
( Gretuks)

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