Don't be afraid to speak up!

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story about a proposal. ... view prompt

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                       Don’t be afraid to speak up!

                                              Leo Chilson

With a sigh of relief, the young Cheyenne warrior grabbed the mane of his pony and quickly jumped onto his back.

He had been chasing him all over the field for much of the morning!

   Hearing his name being shouted, Gray Eagle looked up…seeing Brown Bear running toward him, frantically waving his arms!

Moments later he was kneeling by his best friend, who, with his hands on his knees, managed to say, “There’s a (gasp) warrior coming to our camp (gasp) to ask Yellow Flower’s father for her hand.”


 “Big Raccoon. He is from the camp of Chief Yellow Tail. And he’s bringing five ponies with him.”

Gray Eagle shook his head in disbelief! He and Yellow Flower had talked often about marriage…but he had nothing to offer her family.

“I need to go see her,” Gray Eagle said, standing.

 “Are you sure? I know what she means to you.”

“At least one last time,”

As Brown Bear rode next to him, Gray Eagle’s body swayed in motion with every step his pony took. Closing his eyes, his thoughts drifted back to the time he had spent in Yellow Tail’s camp.

He had been walking through the village when he came upon a man whipping a boy with a stout rope…covered with blood!

Gray Eagle quickly stepped between the two, grabbing the rope as he did.

“That’s enough!”

“Who are you?” Big Raccoon said, stepping back in confusion.

“I’m Gray Eagle, and I think he’s suffered enough.”

Over his shock, Big Raccoon stepped forward, “I’ll decide that,” he said, grabbing the rope back.

“If you don’t step aside, then you will also feel the sting of my rope!”

Gray Eagle didn’t move.

Behind his back, he motioned the boy to leave…and heard him scamper away.

After glaring at Gray Eagle, the older warrior tossed the rope aside, saying, “He’s been punished enough,” before turning and walking away.

 “Are you still with me, Gray Eagle?” asked Brown Bear.

“I was just remembering something.”

Looking up, he noticed they had reached the edge of the camp.

“We can still go back, Gray Eagle.”

 “No. I need to see her one last time,” was the reply, as his memory returned to his second meeting with the man.

Something compelled him to walk in the direction of Big Raccoon’s lodge one afternoon, and he heard the man’s voice before he saw him…and quickly stepped aside as several frightened young women pushed past!


A loud scream followed his words, and Gray Eagle’s steps became longer and more determined!


A loud “SLAP” made Gray Eagle break into a run.



Rounding the last tent, Gray Eagle stopped in stunned silence.

Big Raccoon was dragging his wife, a girl of no more than seventeen summers, by the hair toward the opening of his lodge.

What really enraged the young warrior was the sight of the man slapping her on her swollen belly…and the unborn child she was carrying!

Ten quick steps…and Gray Eagle’s fist struck the man hard on the jaw, knocking him to the ground.

Stepping over the prone man, he helped the girl to her feet…asking her name.

Through tears, she answered, “Gentle Breeze.”

Looking around, he noticed three older women watching them.

Putting his arm about her shoulder, he led the frightened girl to their open arms.

“Get her back to her parents for me, please.”

The girl almost collapsed in their arms, and they quickly led her away.

Without a word, Big Raccoon drew his knife and rushed forward.

Ready for the move, Gray Eagle deftly stepped to the side, grabbing the outstretched arm as he did…and twisted it as hard as he could.

The loud “SNAP” was followed by Big Raccoon’s wail of pain, as he slumped to his knees…cradling his now broken arm.

Walking over to him, Gray Eagle grabbed a handful of hair…tilting his face so he could look at him.

“I have heard talk throughout the camp about how great a warrior you are in defending the Cheyenne. I admire you for that. But inflicting pain on those who cannot defend themselves is something I cannot stand by and watch.”

The man’s head dropped to his chest, as Gray Eagle let it go, before turning and walking away.

“We’re almost there, Gray Eagle.”

 Gray Eagle?”


Shaking his head, Brown Bear said, “You’re starting to worry me!”

Tapping his friend’s head with his finger, Brown Bear continued, “Is there anything in there?”

Laughing, Gray Eagle pushed the finger away, replying, “Of course there is!”

“Other than a hard head?”

Pulling to a halt in the clearing, Gray Eagle saw Big Raccoon holding the reins of the ponies out to Dark Cloud.

Dark Cloud was standing next to his wife, Bluebird…and Yellow Flower was standing behind her…with bowed head.

Before Dark Cloud could raise his arm to accept the gifts, Gray Eagle leaped from his pony, yelling, “NO!” before striding toward the two men.

Dark Cloud watched calmly, as he approached.

“Do you both love your daughter?” Gray Eagle asked, stopping in front of the couple.

Both nodded.

Pointing at Big Raccoon, and in a voice loud enough all to hear, Gray Eagle said, “This man is cruel! He punishes his son…”

“Sometimes a child must be punished,” said Dark Cloud.

“Yes, but with a rope until his back bleeds?”


Now he turned to face Big Raccoon, whose face was filled with rage!

“What about a man who slaps his wife on her swollen belly where a child is growing, Dark Cloud?  Would you stand by and let that happen to Yellow Flower? Just because she was having fun with her friends.”

Facing Big Raccoon, Dark Cloud asked, “Is what Gray Eagle says true?”

“NO! He lies!”

Before he could answer, a voice behind Gray Eagle said, “He speaks true.”

Everyone turned, as a young woman stepped forward, holding the hand of a little girl.

The young warrior recognized her, and cast a glance at Big Raccoon…the blood was draining from the man’s face.

Bluebird walked over, took the girl’s hand, and asked, “Who are you?”

“I am called Gentle Breeze, and it was me and my unborn child that Gray Eagle saved two winters ago.”


Loud, angry voice could be heard from the crowd.

“Are the words you speak true, Gentle Breeze?”

“They are! And this is my daughter, Eagle that Fights Back.”

The angry crowd grew closer to Big Raccoon, and he stepped back in fear.

To Big Raccoon, Dark Cloud said, “Please leave in peace,” before turning his back on the man.

Big Raccoon jumped on his pony…and his shoulders stiffened, as taunts and jeers followed him from the camp.

Gray Eagle saw Yellow Flower smiling at him, with tears running down her face, as she rapidly nodded her head.

 “We want to thank you for your words, Gray Eagle,” Dark Cloud said.

“Yellow Flower is a special woman, and deserves a warrior who will respect her. I did what even Brown Bear here would have done,” he finished, pushing his friend forward.

“Of…of course I would have,” Brown Bear managed to mutter.

Without thinking, Gray Eagle said, “I would like to ask you for Yellow Flower…to be my wife. I cannot offer you five ponies for her hand, nor give you gifts. All I can give you is my promise to treat her with the kindness and love that she deserves.”

Before Dark Cloud could speak, Bluebird touched his arm, saying, “I think we should let our daughter answer, husband.”

Nodding, the man stepped to the side, while motioning the girl forward.

She halted in front of the young warrior, and his heart almost stopped as he gazed at her beauty.

   Her eyes never left Gray Eagle’s face as her father said, “Gray Eagle has asked to take you as his wife. Your mother and I have decided that you should make the decision.”

Having been chasing his pony that morning, and the ride through the camp had left Gray Eagle looking a bit…dirty, and he unconsciously brushed his hands against his leggings.

“Well, he is a little scruffy looking,” Yellow Flower said, “but I think I could live with him if he takes a bath.”


“I will make the announcement,” said Dark Cloud, smiling, before taking his wife’s hand and leading her away.

Gray Eagle’s legs almost melted as Yellow Flower took his hands in hers, before pressing herself against him…raising her face so she could kiss his lips.

I cannot believe this is happening, he thought…as he returned the kiss.

July 17, 2020 17:11

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1 comment

VJ Hamilton
01:07 Jul 24, 2020

Hi there, Leo, VJ from Critique Circle here. You start in the midst of a dramatic turn, with Big Raccoon arriving to ask for Yellow Flower to become his bride. Gray Eagle has to go talk to Yellow Flower. I like some of your sensual details, such as how someone's body "swayed in motion with every step his pony took." It brings the scene alive. The discovery of the rope covered in blood is shocking. Things become even more shocking with the domestic abuse scene. Gray Eagle takes a hero's stance when he says: "inflicting pain on those...


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