Albino Promenade

An Anasazi Story by Jeff Posey.

Grandfather introduced the albino woman, Nuva, by slow-step promenade through the village, the infant Tuwa clutched in the arms of his new surrogate mother. There being no ceremony for such a thing, Grandfather improvised.

He proceeded from his house nearest the dual sandstone spires that rose like steeples from the northeastern edge of the mesa, and wound his way along every pathway past every dwelling.

At the house of the top farmer lived the eldest woman, Wooti, grandmother to the farmer. She’d heard the twitter of the children as they ran and hid and peeped to watch Grandfather and the strange white woman.

Wooti studied Nuva’s red eyes and her hands and legs, and then turned her back. Grandfather stopped.

“Wooti,” Grandfather said.

“You bring us a witch?” she asked without facing Grandfather.

“I bring a mother for my grandson.”

“You bring us a witch.” A statement this time.

“I would not and have not brought anything to this village that will do us harm. Do you doubt my judgment?”

Wooti’s hands dropped to her side. “I have never until now.”

“Nuva is no witch!” Grandfather’s voice rose in anger.

Wooti turned to Grandfather. “Do not shout at me, old man. I have as much sense as you do, and your white woman is infected with … something not good.” She glanced at Nuva, then turned her back again, arms across her chest.

Grandfather stood, the village quiet but for the gargling calls of turkeys and the barking of a dog in the woods below. The infant fussed and Nuva comforted him. Grandfather stood until Wooti uncrossed her arms and her shoulders sagged.

“The something that is not good isn’t here among us,” Grandfather said so low he might have been speaking only to himself. Wooti turned her head to point her right ear toward him. “It is down there,” he said with a single nod to the south, “and it is growing.”

Grandfather began again his slow walk and all the women in the circle of Wooti, her family clan and her friends, turned their backs on Nuva, but Grandfather did not stop and said not another word.

# # #

Did any words pull you out of the setting or time of the story?

Note: The name Wooti is derived from the Hopi word wuyòoti, which means “get old.”  The dual sandstone spires are those of Chimney Rock, Colorado, the northeasternmost outlier of the Anasazi culture centered in Chaco Canyon.

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13 Comments

Filed under #FridayFlash, Anasazi, Ancient Americans, Chaco Canyon, Chimney Rock, Historial Fiction, Pagosa Springs

13 responses to “Albino Promenade

  1. I liked this story. The way they turned their backs on her reminded me of “shunning” in other cultures. The only thing that slightly took me out was the use of the word “twitter” since I associate it now with…well, ‘twitter’ the website.

    Great storytelling, as always.

  2. Nothing jarred me. I like the tension you’ve created by an outsider in the family. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  3. Hi, Jeff. I liked it a lot. Nothing really tripped me up. Twitter did not bother me. The word ‘infected’ is the closest thing to an anachronism I can come up with, but it did not really throw me out of the story.

    I am really fascinated to learn how Nuva eventually manages to earn enough acceptance that she is not simply killed for being a witch. I’m also curious how she managed to make it before becoming Tuwa’s surrogate mother, and where she came from. I hope these tidbits manage to come out in future tales. She really intrigues me.

    I really liked your Anasazi Runner stories, but I am really happy to see a return to these older tales. I missed them.
    ~jon

  4. Deanna Schrayer

    The tension here is palpable Jeff – wonderfully written.
    I agree with Michelle about the sentence with Twitter in it. It wasn’t that word as much as the # of ‘ands’ that threw me a bit.

    I always enjoy your stories. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I admit the use of twitter got me as well, but I suspect that’s because of the “other” twitter being at the forefront of my mind!

    Intrigued about the dark growing thing!

  6. I think the tone and pacing follows the slow-step promenade of the Grandfather, and that feels very regal or important.

    The children twittering tripped me up a bit, but by the end of the story, the only problem I had with it was that I wanted more.

    Great stuff, Jeff!

  7. twitter-(probably because I saw this linked on twitter)

    Any reaction from Nuva? Can Wooti physically inspect the witch? Pluck a hair? Or maybe out of fear she doesn’t get too close?
    It’s very good, I just want to see more.

    ‘She’d heard the twitter of the children as they ran and hid and peeped to watch Grandfather and the strange white woman.’
    There’s something about this sentence that stops me maybe it’s the POV or and- and -and. (Not the word twitter(-:)

    I know you’re looking for non-writers to read for you but I’d like to have the entire book to read. Do you have a hard copy I can read?

  8. I love the idea of improvising a ceremony to emphasize the importance of Nuva’s arrival. His stoic acceptance of Grandmother’s rejection was a great way to end.

    In response to your question: When I’m reading Anasazi Stories, it would take a Mac truck to pull me out, let alone a word or two.
    ~chris

  9. Very engrossing and I liked the mystery of,

    “It is down there,” he said with a single nod to the south, “and it is growing.”

    I would love to read more

  10. No words feel out of place at all, I think this flows extremely well

  11. No, nothing trips one up here. It is a smooth and engrossing read.

    Did smile at your use of “twitter” and not mean “140 characters.” 🙂

  12. I like Grandfather and his honorable bearing, and felt sorry for Wooti with her understandable fear. Well done, Jeff. Nothing pulled me out of the story at all.

  13. I found this interesting and really engrossing. I got lost in the tone and setting almost immediately. I especially liked the ominous tone of the grandfather’s final statement and the sudden intrigue it added to the story.

    Well executed piece.

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