Like a delicate melody, raindrops patter the windowpane, gently awakening me from my slumber. Day after day, year after year, the scorching and relentless sun makes its mark, causing my heart to brim with gratitude for the soothing presence of rain. Presented in its purest and most pristine form, I cannot think of anything else that possesses a beauty greater than the gentle rain in the early morning.
Gradually regaining my senses, I feel the soft embrace of bed sheets envelope my body, with its caress evoking memories of the tender cradle of my mother’s arms from my younger days.
To my surprise, the room reveals itself to be unfamiliar, a space distinct from my own. Details emerge with clarity, and an unshakable certainty settles within me—the ambiance of the room feels inexplicably different.
Steadily, I ground myself onto the cold, wooden floor, feeling its chill beneath the soles of my bare feet. It is in that very instant of awareness that I comprehend, with utmost certainty, that this room is not my own. Leaving the room, I begin to walk down a narrow hallway decorated with framed images that seem to depict forgotten tales. Forgotten tales of an unknown people by my conscious awareness. I can feel myself being drawn in. Enthralled, I fixate my gaze upon them, witnessing the vibrant colours dance and the stories weaving together seamlessly. However, with each passing step down the hallway, the images gradually fade away, leaving me to question their existence within the realms of my imagination or the tangible world.
Unaware of the hallway’s end, a table of four appears before me. It is adorned with steaming cups of coffee, a pot of simmering beans, and freshly baked biscuits, enticing me with their comforting aroma. I stand there in contemplation, feeling torn between the temptation to seek out the owner of this cabin and the desire to dig into some food.
Assured in my belief that taking a single biscuit will go entirely unnoticed, a lingering concern whispers within me: What if, against all odds, I were to be caught in the act?
I eventually make up my mind and discreetly tread upon the wooden floor towards the table, yet just as I come to a halt, my gaze instinctively catches a glimpse of someone materialising from the edge of my right eye’s peripheral vision.
A young woman greets me, breaking the silence.
“Good mornin’”, she says warmly.
“Mornin’ ma’am”, I respond, turning to face her.
With a gentle motion, she slides the chair backward and utters in a soft-spoken tone, “You can call me Jane. Come, have a seat and help yourself to some breakfast.”
As I sink into the chair a sensation of soreness permeates my body.
“Thank you, Jane. I reckon I owe you my thanks for takin’ me in.”
“No need for thanks. We all need a helping hand from time to time. What’s your name, stranger?”
Seated now, I settle myself and serve a portion of beans from the pot onto my plate, “They call me Sam. Just a wanderer tryin’ to find some peace”.
“Well, Sam, you’ve found a safe haven here, at least for the time bein’. Trouble tends to follow folks around these parts".
Out of nowhere, a rumble echoes from within my stomach, reminding me of my hunger. In a hurried frenzy, I tear apart fragments of the biscuit and hastily devour them.
“Care to share how you ended up here?”
“Well, Jane, I seem to have no recollection of how I arrived here, but I was caught up in a mess back in Silverton. Some folks didn’t take kindly to my presence and accused me of things I didn’t do. I was then chased for days, but I knew I had to keep moving if I wanted to survive. And here I am” I reply.
“You’re safe here, Sam. No one will find you.”
I feel my tense expression soften as I gaze at Jane with gratitude. Taking note of the pleasant weather, and filled with appreciation for her, I take the chance to seize the moment and suggest,
“The weather is delightful today, isn’t it? After we finish our breakfast, would you be interested in taking a walk together?”
“I’d love to accompany you, but I don’t have the time”.
“No time for a walk, huh?” I respond, curiously peaked.
Vexed by the unpredictable nature of my mind’s wanderings, I inwardly question what time is. Is it an illusory construct? And why do I have a philosophical inclination about everything, be it contemplating life and death, or even the nature of my reality? Unable to resist my curiosity, I embark to delve deeper, posing the question: “What is time, really?”
Jane’s facial expression reflects bewilderment, yet she momentarily allows herself to be captivated by this philosophical discourse. She extends her hand - retrieves a plate from the table, and gives it to me, issuing the command, “Here, take this plate and drop it”.
Perplexed, I respond “Nah. Why would I do that?”
“Just do it” she retorts.
Holding the plate tightly, I intentionally let it slip from my hands, watching as it falls to the floor. The room emits a sound of shattering, a disappointing symphony that hangs in the air. Within me, I feel profound remorse for my actions as I witness the broken pieces scattered around, succumbing to their final fate. Unable to undo the deed, I develop a partial understanding behind her insistence.
“Now try to join the pieces back”, she suggests.
“Why would you waste that plate?” I reply, feigning confusion.
“To show you what time is! Now you will never be able to join them to the same configuration. Time exists, and this experience says so".
I still seem to misunderstand the concept of time, but I acknowledge her preoccupied state, and I opt to respect her busyness.
Effortlessly, I gather the scattered pieces of the broken plate, swiftly tidying up the area. And with the remnants safely disposed of, I make my way towards the front door, ready for my walk.
EXT. PRAIRIE - DAY
Before me, extends the wild prairie, its golden grasses swaying in harmony with the gentle breeze. On this Winter morning, the prairie is bare of natural winter snow, yet the prominence of rainfall has increased noticeably, lending a distinct change to the landscape. Standing in awe, I marvel at the vastness of the land and the sense of freedom that spreads through the air. Even the distant cry of a hawk exudes a sense of liberation as it echoes through the open sky, serving as a reminder of my innate right to be entitled to freedom, liberated from prejudice, hate, and all constraints. Although, in a world such as ours, freedom will always remain elusive. And peace forever remains a challenging endeavour.
Even if I am at peace in this very moment, there will perpetually exist someone out there capable of shattering it all - just how ma and pa’s lives were.
Ma and pa, like other people, did their best, to be good people. Just like all the other people - they were sometimes wrong, and sometimes weak, and sometimes had no good choices. But there are also the broken and crazy people who do things they think they need to do to be safe - but they are not bad people, they are just sick.
In what had felt like ten minutes, I had, in truth, spent half the day immersed upon the land with a whirlwind of thoughts consuming my mind. Did I really just spend half the day intermittently staring off into space?
The sun commences its descent, and I know it is time to bid a reluctant farewell to the untamed wilderness that had embraced me. While ascending the hill, the echoes of discontent reach my ears from afar, and the echoing of voices arguing and fighting reach my ears. Without hesitation, I hasten my pace to investigate the source of the commotion.
Before me stands an aged and lifeless tree, its branches devoid of any signs of vitality. I opt to take cover behind it, carefully observing the unfolding scene.
In the distance, it appears that a group of rugged outlaws enter the town.
“Well, well, well, what have we here? Riches ripe for the takin’?”
Worried glances are exchanged among the townspeople as they become aware of the imminent threat. Making their way down the street, the outlaws unleash chaos as they break into stores, plundering valuable supplies. Meanwhile, Jesse Maverick, a resolute and resourceful shopkeeper, takes charge, gathering supplies and arms himself with a shotgun.
In the distance, I catch sight of Jane and the rest of the townsfolk gathering at the saloon, engaged in a serious conversation that carries an air of urgency. Among them stands an unfamiliar face, a man whose presence piques my curiosity.
“Folks, we can’t let them run us out of town. That man we took in is a wanted man. I heard they want him, so handin’ him over are the only chances we’ve got.” says the man.
The townsfolk nod in agreement, determination shining in their eyes.
Although Jane, exchanges a worried glance “I won’t let you take him”.
I feel relieved as I realise she has not sided with the townsfolk’s plan.
“Oh c’mon Jane, where is he?”
In all honesty, she replies, “I don’t know where he is”.
Before they know it, the outlaws raid the stores, looting many of its valuable resources, leaving the town in shambles.
“They took nearly everything, but we won’t let them break our spirit. We’ll rebuild. We’ll find a way", proclaims the man with unwavering determination.
The townsfolk stand in silence, surveying the aftermath, their hearts burdened with sorrow.
With the stolen goods in tow, the outlaws ride off towards my direction.
I can’t let them find me.
As the outlaws pass by, I take a cautious step forward, planning to make my escape. All of a sudden my foot catches on a hidden rock, causing me to stumble and lose my balance.
(cursing under my breath) “Damn it!”
The outlaws stop in their tracks and turn their attention towards me.
"Well, well, what do we have here? Looks like we’ve got ourselves a little spy", says a man mockingly.
I quickly scramble to my feet, adrenaline coursing through my veins. I respond in hopes that they leave me, “You’ve got the wrong idea. I’m just a lost traveler.”
With a menacing tone the man replies, “Lost or not, you’re trespassing on our territory. And that comes with consequences.”
With time slipping away I scan my surroundings, searching for a potential escape route. I have a faint memory of a narrow path that winds its way up a rocky hillside - perhaps I can make it there fast enough. With determination, I take off running towards the path, I push my body to its limits, sprinting up the treacherous path. My focus fixed on reaching its summit, I resist the urge to look back. The thought of the pursuing outlaws at my heels lingers, and with each step I push myself harder, praying that my pace outmatches their pursuit.
At the top of the hillside, I catch my breath for a moment and glance back, only to see the outlaws below. Their progress is hindered by the resourceful storekeeper, Jesse, who valiantly distracts them, buying me precious time. I continue my desperate escape, disappearing into the rugged wilderness.
I am so tired, so very tired.
As I stumble, my legs betray me, refusing to carry my weight any longer. I look down only to see my foot bleeding heavily, and with a final gasp, I collapse to the ground in a motionless heap.
INT. NATIVE AMERICAN ENCAMPMENT - NIGHT
As I awake, a flickering fire illuminates the faces of people with strong, prominent facial features - different from my own. High cheekbones and chiseled jawlines, contributing to their striking appearance. The Natives?
As I continue to lay, a young woman cleans my foot wounds with herbal remedies.
“Your wounds will heal, young one. Our people have long possessed the knowledge of nature’s medicine.” says the young woman.
I watch in awe as she moves with grace and skill, her healing techniques seeming almost magical.
I express my profound gratitude to her, “Thank you. If it hadn’t been for you, I don’t think I would have made it out alive”.
Raising my gaze, the night sky is filled with stars, casting a gentle glow over the campfire. In the distance, voices beckon, “Come and join us.” The Natives are standing in a circle, extending an invitation for me to join their gathering.
“We shall share our stories, young traveler, for they are intertwined with your own.” says the wise, old elder.
The Natives begin to recount tales of their ancestors and the hardships they faced, including the displacement of their people from the land they held sacred.
“It was a time of great loss, a chapter in history that cannot be undone".
As I listen attentively, my heart heavy with a newfound understanding settles within me. The magnitude of the realisation strikes deep, as I come to terms with the fact that my own ancestors held responsibility for the suffering endured by this Native tribe. In that moment, a vivid memory flashes through my mind, causing me to pause and take a moment to reflect. The images that adorned the walls of Jane’s hallway suddenly come to life in my mind, revealing a startling resemblance between those unknown faces and the Natives I now find myself among.
The wise, old elder interrupts my thoughts, solemnly declaring, “Magic exists within the world, young one. We will show you, but know that not all possess the ability to wield it.”
In the midst of the crackling fire, a Native man stands, his eyes fixed on the dancing flames. With a sweeping motion, he draws the fiery energy into his control. The flames start to twist and shape, forming intricate patterns and symbols in the air.
Within the flickering inferno, a single flame undergoes a stunning metamorphosis, transforming the flame into the formidable form of a fierce coyote. Yet, as he extends his hand, an aura of tranquil ambiance casts over the scene, and the once untamed creature yields to his touch. I am truly impressed by its mesmerising display.
The wise elder’s voice resonates as he speaks, “That was only one of many arts, young one. It’s a shame that you lack spiritual connection. It is indeed a unique gift”.
I watch with fascination and a hint of disappointment, a heavy sigh escapes my lips. I realise that these remarkable tricks are beyond my own capabilities.
EXT. NATIVE AMERICAN ENCAMPMENT - DAY
The tranquility of the morning is shattered by the arrival of the same outlaws, their menacing presence felt throughout the camp. An air of unease pervades as the question lingers: Could their arrival be motivated by their pursuit of me?
“We must defend our home. Every able person must stand together.” says the wise elder.
As I look at him, sensing his urgency and the call for collective defence, I take a step forward, and offer my support, saying, “I may not possess the same abilities as you, but I am willing to fight alongside you”.
The Natives exchange surprised glances, grateful for my willingness to help.
“You can join, young one, though your assistance will be of little avail”.
The outlaws proceed to descend upon the camp, chaos erupting as arrows fly and weapons clash. The Natives unleash their skills, but their numbers are limited.
Now is the time to tap into my true potential. I must do whatever I can to ensure the safety of the land.
With a newfound sense of purpose, I channel the teachings and magic I witnessed. Quickly setting up a fire, my eyes blaze with unwavering focus. As the flames grow, I raise my arms, attempting to command the fire with calculated gestures. Yet, my efforts yield no results. Desperation sets in, but I muster the last ounce of hope and give it one final attempt. To my surprise, the previously serene flickers gradually metamorphose, morphing into the shape of a mighty bear, its form towering and intimidating. With another gesture, I direct the bear’s attention towards the outlaws. In a burst of primal energy, the fiery bear springs to life, charging towards the approaching outlaws.
“He possesses the gifts of our people!” cries out a young Native woman.
The outlaws stand frozen in disbelief as the fiery bear takes shape before their eyes. Filled with a mix of awe and fear, they launch futile attacks against the formidable creature, but their efforts have no effect.
The outlaws, defeated and scattered, retreat.
In the depths of my being, a profound revelation takes hold. Discovering a part of myself that was once lost, I now realise the deep connection coursing through my veins, their history, and their spirit. It dawns upon me that this newfound awareness may be the solace and harmony I have been searching for all along.
I have found my peace.