Sunday, August 3, 2008

Drums of the Nunne'hi

Drums of the Nunne’ hi

Here is a blurb:

Carl and Jessica fell for each other during their final year of high school. Unfortunately, they come from different worlds. The people of their small Oklahoma town were taught from an early age that they should steer clear of the kids from the Cherokee reservation, and the animosity flows both ways. Carl's mother is heartbroken to learn that her only son has strayed from his people by falling in love with a white girl, while Jessica's family sees any relationship with a 'Rez Kid' as the ultimate betrayal—and they want Carl to pay for their daughter's mistake.

What happens next will awaken an ancient power thought long gone from the world of man. The pounding of the drums may mark their coming, but it's the screams that will let you know the Nunne'hi have arrived...

“Tommy, get up! We gotta keep fuckin’ movin’, man,” Josh shouted over his shoulder to his fallen friend.
Tommy lay writhing on the ground, grasping his ankle, trying with all his might not to scream. The moon shone brightly, but it still wasn’t enough light to keep him from stepping in a hole as they ran for the tree line. At six foot, two hundred pounds, it didn’t take much for his ankle to buckle from the momentum.
“Son of a bitch, it hurts. I think it’s broken,” he panted, rolling over onto his knees, trying to move it around without damaging it further.

“It’s probably just sprained. Gimme your hand,” Josh offered, casting quick glances behind them. “We can’t stay out in the open like this. Those sons a bitches can see us here. We need to move now!”

Tommy tried shifting his weight to the left side enough to enable him to walk. It only took him a couple of steps to realize he wasn’t going to be able to do it alone. He looked back the way they had came, faced forward again, gauged how far they still had to travel before they could reach the cover of the trees.
He began, hopping on one foot. “Josh, I’m not going to—”
“Quiet.” Josh held up his hand, cocked his head to one side. “You hear that?”
Only the creaking sound of the leather in Tommy’s letterman’s jacket could be heard on the night air. “I don’t hear anything,” Tommy replied in confusion, looking behind them for signs of pursuit.

“That’s sactly my point! I don’t hear nothing; no crickets, no birds, there isn’t even any wind blowin’ through the grass,” he said in a soft voice.
They watched the darkness roll toward them from across the field. The moon was going behind some clouds, robbing them of their only source of light. It moved with a speed that defied the stillness of the night.
“Josh, I can’t walk. I need your help.” Tommy flinched at the sound of his own voice breaking the silence.
“Uh-uh. You’re on your own, pal. Best O luck to you then,” Josh said before trotting several paces away from him.
“Josh!” Tommy cried out, his shoulders sagging in disbelief.
“Just kiddin’, dude. Let’s get a move on,” Josh said, appearing at Tommy’s side so quickly it almost made him fall again.

Josh put Tommy’s arm over his shoulder and they resumed their flight. Tommy silently thanked the Lord they were about the same size. The darkness was all but complete. As they pressed on through the void, both boys found it hard to breathe. They were immersed in a blackness that was almost tangible. Their footprints were muffled as they trudged through the grass.

The lack of light and sound left them disoriented and Tommy prayed they were still heading in the right direction.

A single sound rolled through the darkness, like a single heartbeat pounding out of a giant’s chest. The sound carried through the air like a cannon shot. The echo died away slowly, leaving him with a cold shiver.

“What the fuck was that?” Josh asked, panic evident in his voice.
“I don’t know, but unless you really want to find out, I suggest we pick up the fucking pace.” Tommy wished he could find a way to keep his teeth from chattering.
“Maybe it’s the others. They could be just tryin’ to scare us.”
“Are you fucking kidding me? Who could joke about this—I don’t know if anyone else made it out of there. Hell, I was surprised to see you.”
“Did you actually see any of ‘em get it?”
“No, I couldn’t see anything in that house, but I heard—”
Lightning crackled to life above them. It snaked across the sky, momentarily sparing them from the darkness. Tommy was relieved to see they were still traveling in the right direction.

“It must’ve been thunder we heard,” Josh offered in a voice that lacked conviction.
“Before the lightning? I don’t think so.” Tommy redoubled his efforts, realizing how far they still had to go.

The thunder made its presence known in a low and grumbling voice. They nearly stumbled in their haste to reach the trees. The silence that followed was brief, replaced by the heartbeat from before.

This time the sound continued with a steady pulse. Soon it began to take on a rhythm that unnerved him to no end. It was a sound they knew all to well, but it had never affected them this way.

“It’s drums. It’s those fucking drums. Oh shit, Carl was right, dude. The drums are back. We never should’ve come here. We never should’ve done that. Why o why did I listen to you? What the hell did you get me into?” Tommy began to rant as his panic set in.

“Shut up, Tommy. We’re almost there. Get a hold of yourself. If we make it to the trees, we can hide.”
“How can you be so fucking sure?” He wondered if anywhere would be safe for them now.
“The darkness works both ways, right? They won’t be able to see us any better than we can see each other. If we can make it to the trees, we can hide there until mornin’,” Josh replied.

Tommy wondered which of them he was trying to assure. “It was dark in that house and they found us. I can still hear their footsteps.”
“And the screams, we can’t forget those God-awful screams. It had to be some sort of fuckin’ prank. Carl had somehow set the whole thing up. He knew we were comin’ and wanted to teach us a lesson.” Josh flinched, as a leaf caressed his cheek in the dark void.

The lightning lit up the sky again just as they passed the first set of trees. They pushed deeper into the woods, moving slowly, feeling their way through the branches. They wormed through the trees for what felt like an eternity.
Josh helped Tommy sit down with his back against a trunk. “This should be far enough. I can barely hear the drums from here.”

Tommy tried to make himself comfortable, but not surprisingly under the circumstances, he failed. “What are we gonna tell everybody?”
“That we were attacked by the Rez Kids.” Josh slid down beside him with a grunt.
“Carl was the only Rez Kid I saw tonight and he wasn’t putting up much of a fight, as I recall.”

“Well, whatchu wanna tell ’em? I’m not gonna say anythin’ that’ll make us sound crazy. This town’s too small to get a rep like that.” Josh shook his head. “I say we blame it on the whole God damned reservation and let them explain what happened.”
“Hey, the drums have stopped.” Tommy perked up for the first time since the sun went down hours ago. “I bet that means they have quit looking for us.”
“Thank God! They were drivin’ me crazy. I still say we wait for first light ‘fore we try to—” The burgeoning storm interrupted him.

A brief flash of lightning revealed a man standing in front of them, not more than five paces away. He wore buckskins tucked into calf-high moccasins. Seven feathers dangled from his hair, dancing in the wind that had sprung up an instant before. He stood before them with his arms crossed over his chest, a tomahawk gripped firmly in his right hand. His skin was gray and cold, not red like the boy they had carried into that old house. When the lightning faded, his eyes were still aglow. They emitted an eerie blue-white light that lapped at the edges of his eyelids. He slowly turned that horrible gaze on them and Tommy gasped.

They both whimpered. Tommy didn’t know whether to pray for more light or pray it wouldn’t return. His stomach knotted as his mind tried to make sense of the image he had just seen. Was it a trick of the lightning or could he see through the stranger? Tommy remembered the picture in Carl’s sketchbook, but he still couldn’t believe it was real. It had to be a trick of the lightning. Maybe his guilt was making him see things.

The lightning flashed again to reveal the apparitions everywhere the boys looked. There must have been hundreds of angry faces bearing down on them. The ghastly warriors brandished their weapons and circled the tree. When the darkness returned, the air filled with the screams of the damned and the sounds of splintering wood.


  1. OH my GOSH!

    How do you live in that head without always being freaked out?! Brilliant work, James.

  2. lol, who says I'm NOT always freaked out? :D Thank you kindly.

  3. Okayyyy. That's scary. Real scary. I can see this as a movie.

  4. Congrats on the new release, James! You do creepy in a wonderful way!

  5. Ooooh. WOnderfully creepy and awful and well..just wonderful. You paint of very vivid picture and that's quite a talent, my friend.

  6. lol, oddly enough I can see it as a movie too, Anny. :D

    Thanks, Cindy. I do love a good creepy story. :D

    I really appreciate that, Regina. :D

  7. Darkness rolling towards them...

    Do you know how talented you are in the art of personification & Metaphysical Conceit?

    You are a writer of unique distinction James.

    I am lucky to have 'net-met' you!

    -your biggest fan ever

  8. Aw, you're gonna make me blush, Mona. :D Seriously though, I really do appreciate your kind words and the way you've taken to me writing. It's responses like you give to my work that makes me wish I could write full-time.


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