From the moment I saw the little girl standing on the church steps, dressed in white, with golden curls tied in a scarlet bow, and eyes that looked like a summer sky had fallen into them, I Anna Kiskeenia of the Cree began praying to Kisemanito to make me white. When the years passed and my prayers were never answered, I made up my mind that one day the fruit that descended from my womb would be of pale skin, of yellow hair, and be treated as equals, no matter what the cost.
“Did I say that, or did I only think it? Does it matter? No, because most of the time there is no one to listen to the ranting’s of my sick mind. They’re all too busy looking after patients that have a chance to live.”
“How many more hours, how many more days do I have left of this life of mine? I have to hold on; I just have to hold onto the last fragile threads until my children come to see me. I have so much to tell them, so much to be forgiven for. How quickly the skein of my existence has unravelled.
My eyes open; adjust to the golden sunlight streaming through the window. Just looking at its beauty reassures me that I’m still alive. I want to jump out of my bed, strip naked and run through the bright beams like I did when I was a child. Like I did before I went to school and the nuns told me that only heathen children went around naked, and that good little girls, never, never took their clothes off in front of anyone, but this withered body, this useless bit of flesh doesn’t have the strength to sit up let alone run.
Some vague dark form steps between the brightness and me. The pain begins again, but I don’t want to cry out. I don’t want to push the button. I don’t want a nurse in blue scrubs to stick a needle into me and send me back into darkness, into the place of nightmares, back into the land of the skin walkers. I am afraid of what they’ll tell me, what they’ll do to me and most of all I don’t want to look into my sister’s eyes.
My eyes are now able to make out the tall form standing near the window. I must have moaned or made some kind of noise because he turned and walked to my bed.
His voice was pleasant, deep, thrumming a little bit like a Ptarmigan doing its mating dance. “How are you feeling Mrs. Greyeyes?”
I mumble, “Call me Anna. Please call me Anna,” through parched lips.