Brandy sat in Angelica's kitchen. She and Angelica drank strong coffee and ate Angelica's sticky-buns.
Janet, Jimmy, and Mason were sleeping in various rooms of this bungalow. Angelica reached over and patted Brandy's hand.
"I am so glad you came here, Brandy. It is not the same as when you left so long ago. Things have changed. And now, many things have changed."
Angelica looked at her niece with her large brown eyes. The old woman looked much younger than her eighty years and her hair was still dark with only streaks of grey and white.
"The men held their ground when the army men came. The army seemed reluctant to shoot or take any of our men away. So, all the men, the grandfathers, fathers, uncles, sons, stood up against the small group of men. And, they backed down. I guess they did not want to repeat history. It was odd, as the military men were both in American and Canadian uniforms. Then, they all left, and here we are."
She continued, "But a few hot-headed ones left the reservation and decided to deal with the army men. Stupid. They were all shot. Katy Eagles husband, dead. Mary Two Rivers son, dead. Such a waste. But, no military men have been back. That was about two months ago."
Angelica got up and took more buns out of her oven. Brandy felt odd, in this homey setting with the whole world going crazy around them all.
"Some families left, like the Horners, who wanted to join their cousins, the Kahnawake, up north. We do not know if they made it.
The Connells left, of course, as they are a restless family, and the Johnsons, but we have no idea why they did not want to stay here. Maybe they thought we would all be killed."
Janet wandered in rubbing her back. "Do I smell cinnamon buns?" She smiled.
Angelica pulled a chair out for her and promptly brought her coffee and a sticky-bun.
"I hope the government agents don't come back until we can make some fake ids for you all, " said Angelica. The two younger women smiled. Here are a cool elderly aunt. She came from strong people, thought Janet.
"Mason is not sure we shall be accepted here. The tribal council will decide today, I guess."
Janet mentioned that she was tired of traveling and hoped they all would be welcomed. But, Brandy knew that Mason possibly would not be accepted. She would have to wait and see.
"We still have the chapel and a priest still comes, but no one is supposed to know about that outside. We have Mass once a week. He is Canadian and makes the rounds in this area. Father Augustine."
The two women were delighted to hear that there would be Mass. They honestly could not remember the last time they heard Mass.
Just then, Mason burst into the kitchen. "Something is wrong with Jimmy, I cannot wake him up."
Angelica rushed into the living room where Jimmy had been sleeping on the sofa. He looked white and strained. She shook him, but he did not wake up.
"Brandy, run to the Cooks and get the doctor. You know where their house is, same one."
Brandy ran out into the cold and in minutes returned with Bill Cook. The doctor took a look at Jimmy, took his pulse and pulled out his stethoscope. "He's dead. I don't know why yet, but he is gone."
Janet slumped down in a chair. The third one of the original group was now beyond them. She felt it keenly.
Mason stood there looking worn out. The doctor asked him to help carry Jimmy's body to the Cook's house, where he had a small clinic. "I intend to do an autopsy, Does anyone object?"
No one answered, so the two men left with Jimmy's body. Mason stayed with the doctor the rest of the day. Brandy and Janet said a rosary, but they suddenly felt very tired. Angelica suggested they take a nap. And, they did.
In the evening, Mason returned. "Jimmy apparently was born with a heart condition. It was just a matter of time, said Dr. Cook. Just a matter of time."
Angelica brought food and drink for Mason. The women said they were not hungry. "He was never the same after Carrie died. He was so sensitive, " Brandy said quietly.
Angelica suggested again that they get some rest. They would find out the council's decision in the morning. She would wake them up and make them breakfast.
Brandy gave her a hug. "You know, all this had to happen so that I would feel at home here, maybe at the end of all things."
Angelica held her hands. "It is not the end, but a beginning. You know that." Brandy looked at the floor and blushed. She knew now that Angelica could see that she was pregnant. She had not even told Mason.
"Go get some rest. I am going to watch the play president give a play speech on the television."
to be continued....