Setting the scene: Because the old legends have more than a little truth in them, John returns to the safety he knew as a child; the loving home of his aunt and uncle.
Absalom RedLeaf heard the ravens burst from the trees. Something had disturbed their roost. “Always trust your raven brothers,” his grandfather had advised years ago, and it was true, the ravens would tell you if they saw something unusual. Hurrying to dress, he grabbed his shoes and shotgun and went out in his wool socks to stand on the porch. He leaned on the post and put on his shoes, all the while peering into early dawn.
Sure enough, there was a car coming up the long driveway. Obscured by trees, Abbie couldn’t make out the vehicle, and any unexpected visitor at this hour made him uneasy. After the incident at Edgar Nauzee’s house, Abbie had been feeling on edge. The old storyteller said the Spider lived, that their legend had come alive and tried to kill him. Unbeknownst to him at the time, that malevolent supernatural being had sat at his kitchen table and was given the hospitality due a guest. Abbie now knew the Spider was in fact Eli White. He pumped his shotgun. The Spider would get more than May’s cobbler if he returned here.
The car drew closer and recognizing it, his unease faded. He cracked the shotgun, to remove the shells and went inside to put the gun on its hooks over the mantle. He was back out on the porch by the time the car pulled up to the house. John and Cora, his niece by marriage, got out. Not bothering to tie his laces, Abbie shuffled forward to hug them both. “I am surprised, but so happy to see you!”
Feeling anxious and drained after driving all night, John gave his uncle a hearty hug. “Boozhoo Zhishay.”
It was good to be here. Uncle Abbie was a steady calming influence and the security of family was just what he and Cora needed right now. John felt almost as unsettled as he had when Children’s Services left him and his sister Fay — two frightened orphans — on this doorstep nearly thirty-five years before. They’d lost their mother to diabetes and then their father, Abbie’s younger brother Samuel, had been murdered right before their eyes in a case of mistaken identity.
There was good reason to be unsettled. Unbelievably Livie’s dog was actually Ashkewheteasu, the ancient immortal Medicine Man of legend. And in reality Ashkewheteasu was Ash, the man who’d helped calm animals at the clinic. After the shape-shifter had transformed himself from wolf-dog to a man right on John’s kitchen floor yesterday, Ash had explained that they were all in danger. He’d sent them to the reservation, where they’d be safe from the immortal madman his people knew by legend as the Spider Eluwilussit. Incredibly, John had met that very man here in his uncle’s house days ago. He went by the name Eli White now.
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