A flash fiction story by Brian Robinson.
During the day I work as an information technologist. Now that can be interesting in itself, but I’ve never found it to be fulfilling. I can’t escape the feeling that there is something missing from my life, that I need something more. I can tell you that this yearning has led to more than a few sleepless nights. But when I do sleep, when I do dream, I most certainly do not dream of computers.
I glanced up and automatically knew I was looking at the North American Plains. The land looked parched so I thought it must be mid summer. When I looked down at my feet I could see I was now dressed as an Indian. But what tribe did I belong to? The answer was immediate: the Blackfoot tribe. I didn’t know if there was such a thing as the Blackfoot tribe. What year was it? It was 1855. What was my name? That answer didn’t come.
The next thing I knew I was on the back of a horse riding as if I was being pursued by a band of banshees. There was obviously somewhere I needed to be? Or perhaps there was something I needed to do? As I rode I was surprised by a sense of extreme anger welling up inside me. But it was anger I was happy to let rage out of control.
When I arrived at what was obviously an Indian settlement, I galloped up the main causeway scattering inhabitants and bringing chaos to what seemed like normal everyday life. I eventually leapt off my horse and strode towards a tepee that looked more imposing than the rest. I instinctively knew it was the chief’s tepee. I stood outside, planted my feet, drew my knife, and stabbed it into the ground before me. The earth was baked hard like concrete yet my knife buried itself up to the hilt.
The chief soon emerged, but for some strange reason he was walking sideways. I could only see one eye. He looked a bit like someone you might see in an Egyptian painting. Even though I could only see one eye there was no mistaking the look. It was glaring and menacing. When he got close enough he turned and I could see he was holding a knife in his other hand. That’s when the sideways gait made sense.
He lunged forward his knife held high in the air. I calmly grabbed his wrist as the knife descended and held it in a vice-like grip. The look in his eyes turned to shock and disbelief as he felt the full force of my power. I wrenched the knife from his hand and stabbed it into the baked earth next to mine. “The time has come for us to make peace,” I said. “Too many mistakes have been made. Too many lives have been lost.”
Conscious of the chief’s humiliation, and not wanting to humiliate him further, I turned and marched back down the causeway. The crowd that had gathered separated like ‘the parting of the waves’ allowing me to pass.
It struck me that I must have been involved with some sort of peace initiative. But who was I? Each time I asked that question all I could see were the two knives stabbed into the earth. They were obviously symbolic of peace, perhaps of a lasting peace?
When I awoke the next morning I naturally turned to my computer. I found that there really is a tribe of Indians who call themselves the Blackfoot tribe. And it seems their first major peace treaty with the government actually was signed in 1855. I eventually found a copy of the treaty itself including a list of all those present at the signing. I looked down the list of Indian chief’s and delegates to see if I could get a clue as to my name: White Bird; Looking Glass; Running Rabbit. And then I came to Glaring Eye and Stabbing Man.
Could Stabbing Man really have been me in a former life? Or perhaps this dream was trying to tell me something?
Perhaps that’s where I’ve been going wrong? I have been looking for fulfilment in a virtual world when you can only accomplish worthwhile things in a real world. Perhaps I need to do more natural things, lead a more outdoor life? Perhaps then I can make peace with myself?