The Story of Fletcher Nine Fingers

The child is yet unborn. He is a refugee along with Fletcher and the boy’s mother, Aika.  The winter is proving hopeless. Aika’s pregnancy is painful. Fletcher fears he will lose both before the spring, but in the dark of night, fate provides a farmhouse and a savior.

Stumbling, Aika continues to walk because it is the only hope. Fletcher fears he will lose the mother and the boy.  Fate provides a farmhouse and a savior. Aika dies. The boy lives. The wars begin.

The white men call my people many names. We are the Abahkangee. Before I saw a white man, I met Fletcher. Fletcher is not white, but he is not Abahkangee. All my people know the history of how Fletcher came to us. Fletcher came to us in the spring after the snow stopped. He gave the elders the story of his journey from a clan on the other side of the Crazy Mountains.

When the white man put me in the school, I learned Wakoku is Japan. When she was alive, my great-aunt, She of Many Lives, claimed she was Fletcher’s daughter. No one, believed the old woman’s tales. She of Many Lives mother, Soft Claw, was Fletcher’s mate, but many women visited Fletcher on the cold nights.  Soft Claw had the Sight and knew the father of her only child would leave us.

She had foreseen her bonding with Fletcher in a vision the year she became a woman. Tribal legends have said that Fletcher comes when mothers weep for lost sons. The elders say: Fletcher comes when the Abahkangee need a warrior who cannot be defeated. We need a warrior now.

The Blackface clan sent word. They will no longer honor the treaties. War parties are raiding our villages. Our sons are dying in battles. Our women are taken in the raids. Abahkangee warriors are fierce, but we are few and always outnumbered. We have turned back the Lakota Sioux, the Cheyenne, and the Arapaho. Without Fletcher, we will soon fail in turning the enemies away from our lands.

I keep our history alive with the promise my friend gave to me. I retell the stories of Fletcher battling our enemies using fighting skills no one here has seen. I am the last Abahkangee to have seen Fletcher Nine Fingers. In the spring, when the snow stops, I will see Fletcher again. He promised.