Something was coming. The villagers knew it, and were preparing. Women gathered their children, ushering them in to the shelter of the long house. The men, back from hunting, cleaned their weapons. There was enough meat to supply the village for the foreseeable future. It was a bright and beautiful day. The cerulean sky was decorated by cottony clouds. It seems impossible that today would bring such change, but the girl was never wrong. So, the people prepared.
The men building the fire nodded at one another, and beckoned to the women and girls that were adorned with tribal paint. These women, the unmarried, always danced around the sacred fire in times of celebration, or times of war. The paint, a strong black line down the nose, and parallel blue lines down the forehead, over the eyes, and down the cheeks, was a symbol to the gods that they were virgins, and therefore worthy vessels.
The drumming began slowly at first, but increased in steady rhythm as the women raised their arms. Children peeked out of doorways, not wanting to miss this unique celebration. The men began a chant, a low guttural sound, like boars foraging in the woods. Arms in the air, the women began to circle, their feet moving to the beat of the drums. The children were frightened, for this didn’t seem like a celebration any longer. The circle danced faster and faster, while the drum echoed the beating of a few dozen hearts. The rhythm broke, and the dancers spun, almost out of control. Chanting was now a low moaning, no longer a foraging boar, but a wounded animal.
The bright sky was darkening, as if it were night. The sun, snuffed out like a candle, could no longer be seen. The children cried out for their mothers, certain that there would never be daylight again. The mothers, usually a reassuring presence, looked for their husbands, just as frightened as the children. They had never seen the sun disappear. All of their preparation was a waste. It wasn’t a great coming; it was the end of the world!
The men, silenced by the darkness, grabbed their weapons and readied themselves to fight for their women and children. Wailing babies and sniveling children were the new chant, the scurrying and shuffling the new dance. Most of the villagers were poised ready to flee at the command of the elders. Flying away from a battle was not the way of these people, but this was much different than a war raid. The only way to preserve themselves might be to act as cowards and hide.
Beyond the village, the girl who had foreseen the darkness closed her eyes. She could not see beyond it, and this worried her. Her brother, who had decided to stay with her instead of joining the hunters in the village, looked at her expectantly. She opened her eyes and shook her head. He sighed, and picked up a stick, poking the ground. The girl smiled briefly; this was his nervous habit. Their father acted the same way when he was nervous but didn’t want them to know. However, the girl always knew. She had been given the name She That Sees Twice, for she saw not just the outside, but the beyond. Her brother, Stone Mover, had teased her that she saw twice because of the two colors in her eyes. Her eyes were blue, except for a golden ring around her pupil. When they caught the light just right, her eyes seemed to be in flames.
But, the sun blotted from the sky, her two-toned eyes were rich and coppery. Stone Mover placed a strong hand on her shoulder and steered her into their shared dwelling. He decided to go to the village to see if the elders knew what to do. She That Sees Twice sat on the floor, trying to vain to see what was coming. It was like there was nothing after the day, that the world would just cease to exist. Her lack of vision became overwhelming, and she put her head down. Perhaps Stone Mover would come back with good news. She rested.
Stone Mover approached the village at a run. His long, strong legs pushed him closer and closer to the village. A large man, called Thighs like Trees, stepped out in front of him, brandishing a spear. Stone Mover quickly stepped back and showed the man that he was unarmed. Thighs like Trees gave him a suspicious glace, but let him pass. Stone Mover approached the fire, still blazing in the center of the village. The elders were gathered there, unsure of what to do. The babies and children had ceased their wailing. The women held them close, ready to sacrifice themselves for their children. One of the elders asked Stone Mover if She That Sees Twice had had a vision.
“My sister can see nothing beyond this darkness. She fears for us all.” His words were heavy on the ears of the villagers. She That Sees Twice had always been held at arm’s length by the people. Her visions were often frightening and worrisome. The fact that even she could not see beyond the unexpected night was unsettling. One of the women let a great sob escape her lips. As the cry rang out, the wind started blowing.
A crackle echoed through the black sky. It sounded like a great boulder had broken free of the mountain side. It sounded two more times. The villagers frantically searched for the cause of that terrible sound. Stone Mover crouched down, prepared to spring at the first hint of danger. The elders stood shoulder to shoulder, to bravely face whatever was coming.
As suddenly as it disappeared, the sun slowly came back in to existence. Stone Mover stood up, furtively looking about. The woman that had cried out was once again silent. The children looked up into the sky, blinking and rubbing their eyes. Was the danger gone? Was the sun back to stay? A young boy, about eight years old suddenly hollered. Pointing over the horizon, he shouted for everyone to look.
Three figures were making their way toward the camp. They moved slowly, with such grace as had never been seen before. They almost seemed to float above the ground. A strange glow enveloped them, and steamed away like mist as they came closer. The women saw that they were beautiful. The men immediately wanted to please them. The boy that had first spotted them ran out from his mother’s embrace and waved a welcome to the three, beckoning them to the village.Suddenly, outside of the village, She That Sees Twice sat up in a panic.