Logan's Last Day

Logan Miller is a 16 year old Lakota Native American, drowning in abject poverty on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Seeking comfort in sex and beer, he pushes through each day, ignoring the pain inside. When he loses his uncle, and guardian, at age 31 to cirrhosis, Logan decides he wants a different way to live, but he doesn't know how to change. His answer comes when he awakes to find he's been given a second chance to live differently. A chance offered in a world called Enova.

Logan is a character in my first novel, "Tenderfoot". This novella is about his life before he arrives in Enova ,and extra scenes about his early days adjusting to life in a world across the universe.
www.abbydrinenwrites.com

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5. Boundaries for the Bad Boy

“Hello girls!” Ma Fala welcomes the Bumbles into our kitchen.

I’m on the floor, mopping up the milk I spilled. Ma Fala tried to muscle in and clean it up for me, but I insisted I do it. I know how to clean up a spilled liquid. Two of the Bumbles dive under the table as soon as they see what I’m doing. Arms cross with mine, elbows poke me, knees slosh in the lake of white liquid. They’re making a bigger mess.

I grit my teeth and then relax my jaw. This is a waste of my time. I back out from under the heavy wooden table, bonking my head on the end as I stand up.

“Ow, dammit!” I hold the back of my head and stomp my foot.

“Oh, love! Let me get some ice,” Ma Fala says.

“I got it Fala!” Yanna says, and moments later slams a cold cloth in my hands.

I put it to my injury, even though I don’t need it. It's easier than arguing with these women.

“Here,” a chair is shoved into the back of my knees. “Sit down!”

“I’ll get him some sana!”

“Already got a glass.”

“Should we open a window?”

“Yes, good idea.”

“How many fingers am I holding up?” The tallest one asks with her hand practically smashed into my nose.

“Don’t know, but you’ve sure got pretty eyes,” I say and give her a half smile.

She giggles and puts her hand down Talking about eyes gets me out of most uncomfortable or irritating situations with the girls.

Chayton opens the back door and pokes his head in. “Hey, brother! You ready yet?” He glances around at the Bumble circus and removes his hat. “Oh, hullo ladies. Taking good care of my brother?”

He gets weak smiles and a couple of glances. Yanna frowns and says, “Of course, we are.”

But other than that, my girls practically shun him. What's the deal? He's a good looking guy. He's friendly. Has he done something offensive I don't know about? Chayton keeps a grin on his face, and mostly ignores them too.

“He’s ready,” Ma Fala says. “Go on, lovey. See to your chores with Chayton." She gives him a peck on the cheek.

“Girls, Logan has laundry that needs to be done.” I hear Ma Fala say as the door closes behind us.

Squeals of delight can be heard through the thick stone walls of the farmhouse. And I almost shout for happiness, too. Laundry day. Hooray! This means Bumbles will be occupied scrubbing my pants, and starching my shirts well into the afternoon. And I’ll get several hours of peace.

“What’s on the agenda for today?” I ask as we stroll through the yard, nudging kerny birds out of the way with the toes of our boots.

“Making grass bales.”

“Again? How much grass do the animals need?”

“Enough to feed them all winter. Twelve atars and three hundred, seventy-five head of mzoo.”

"I guess we'd better get to baling then!" I almost add a 'yee-haw', but he wouldn't get it.

We reach the barn and climb into the loft. I stab clumps of dried grass with a pitchfork, and load it into the machine. Chayton packs it down until the box is full, and then pushes the lever to squeeze the grass together in tight bundle before we secure it with wire.

I get bored fast, and ask him to switch jobs. I do a good job packing the grass down. Although my head gets wobbly a few times when I bend over to get deeper inside the box. But when it comes to push the lever, I can barely move it.

“Too much grass?” I ask Chayton.

He inspects the box.

“No, looks good. Let me give it a go.” He leans into the lever, and it cranks into place without much effort.

An angry knot forms in my belly, and another one at the base of my skull. Am I really that weak? Or is he just that strong? Maybe the Harawak are superheroes or demigods or something. That must be it. I'm probably not as weak as I seem, he's just super strong. This thought doesn't make me feel any better.

“Want to take a rest?” He asks.

This question cinches the knots.

“No!” I say, I didn’t mean to shout. Heat flashes through my body, and I break a heavy sweat.

He walks over to clay jug he brought up here, and takes a swing. Then he offers it to me. My arms shake as I lift it to my lips. I can’t quite get it high enough to get a drink. Chayton puts his hand on the bottom to help me get a drink. Like I’m a toddler. An infant. More knots form, looping in my chest, my head, arms and legs. I’m imprisoned by this frustration. So hot I might incinerate.

“No!” I shout again and drop the jug. It breaks into chunks and a dark, sparkly circle of sana spreads out around our feet.

“Hey brother, calm down. It’s okay,” he says putting his hands on my shoulders.

I cuss at him while throwing him off.

“I’m only trying to help you,” he says.

“Yeah, well I never asked for your help, dude! Now did I?” My vision fuzzes over as I try to glare at him.

“Logan, I’m your friend. Your brother.” His face is so pathetic; I pull back a fist to punch it. But I can’t zero in on the target. There are two blurry Chaytons. Which one do I hit?

“You’re not my effing brother. I don’t have a brother!” I lower my arm and collapse onto a bale of grass.

“You need to go back to the house. Let me help─”

I lunge at him, spewing every foul word I know. I throw a punch and manage a graze his jaw, but that’s all the damage I can do. He's a freakin’ tree! I land on my ass, my head spinning, my knuckles already feel bruised. The roof seems closer than it did before. I can’t breathe in all this dust. I gotta get out of here.

The trip over to the ladder proves difficult, but I scramble over there anyway. My muscles spasm in random places, and I’m too dizzy to go in a straight line. I still find my way.

“Logan, stop!” Chayton calls after me as I climb onto the ladder.

I flip him off. My other hand, holding onto the ladder, cramps. I let go and fall ten feet into the muck on the barn floor.

Tears burn my eyes. Daggers stab my hip where I landed. The knots of frustration are in every part of me now. I scream out all my pain. I want to peel off my skin and bones, and run free. I hate this place! I hate it here!

Through the slits of my eyelids, I see large boots clomping my direction. I stop screaming when I realize Pa Jolon’s legs are attached to those boots. Terror replaces anger. What will he do to me? How will I be punished?

Pa lifts me out of the mud with his long arms. He digs into my waist with his shoulder and hoists me up. My arms swing loose behind his back, my feet dangle in front of him. I almost lose my breakfast hanging over him like this. My sight blurs into swirls of color. Then gray twists into black.

***

Sun beams from the skylight wake me. I sit up with a snort and look around. I’m alone in my bedroom. I run my hands over my face and through my hair. No mud. No grass. I’m clean. And dressed in my nightshirt, too. How was I unconscious for all that?

Chayton’s jacket hangs on a hook by the door. Shame burns a hole in my gut. Does he hate me now? Nah, he’s a big boy, he can probably handle it. What about Pa and Ma Fala? Have I undone all the goodness they’ve poured into me? Am I going to get kicked out? Where would I go?

I lay back down, and pull the covers up to my chin. My fingers won’t stop trembling. I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep, but I can’t. I don’t want to go downstairs. I don’t want to face any of them. Not ever again.

But I can’t stay up here forever. I probably can't stay up here much longer, I'm thirsty and kinda hungry, too. I’ll lay here for a bit until I stop shaking. Then I’ll apologize. How is it they apologize, "My pardon, please?” Yeah, I’ll say that. Everything will blow over.

Clomp, clomp, clomp. Heavy feet climb the stairs. They are probably on their way to my room. Damn. I’m not ready yet. The door opens quietly. Jolon fills the doorway. Double damn.

“Get up, Logan. Get dressed, and meet me on the front porch." He turns away without waiting for me to say anything.

I obey. And fast. Still tying my boots as I hop across the living room, and out onto the front porch. Jolon is there, a mug in his hand. Staring out over his property. Judging from the position of the sun it’s early morning. How long was I out for?

“Let’s go,” he says without looking at me.

Yeah, I’m in bad trouble.

We stroll through the yard, past the kerny coops, and onto the dirt road. We walk past Ma's vegetable garden and into the fields. Brown stalks of grain stretch high to the early light on one side of the road. Herds of mzoos graze on the other. I walk a few paces behind him, somewhat out of respect, but mostly because I’m scared. There’s no one else around. It’s like Jolon and I are the last two people on earth.

What happens when we reach the end of the road? Will he kick me off his farm? Yell at me to stay the hell away from his family? Or worse, am I in for a beating?

I swallow hard, and blink a couple of tears away. Like a little kid. I haven’t felt this young in ages. Heck, I never felt this young, even when I was young.

We get to the end of Jolon’s property. The road ends in a 'T’, left goes into town. Right goes on to more farms. I’ve never been down this road, in either direction.

Jolon stops and brings his arms around his back and clasps his hands. “Beautiful morning,” he says.

I mumble agreement. My face on the road, rather than the sky. Come on, let’s get this over with, dude.

He says nothing else. Just checks out the country around us. Issuing a contented sigh every once in a while.

Courage builds in my heart, until the question I want to ask barrels like a locomotive to my mouth. I open my lips, but he turns around to face me and speaks again before I can.

“Well son, let’s head back to the house. I’m sure Fala has breakfast ready by now.” He looks me in the eye, and strolls on past. His hands still behind his back.

I’m stunned. Was this some kind of tease? Showing me the end of the road, threatening me with it.

“Hey!” I shout.

Jolon circles around to me. His face, relaxed and tilted to listen.

“You don’t’ scare me!” I say, my hands balled into fists, my lungs working hard.

He takes a few steps, closing the gap between us.

“I don't mean to frighten you,” he says.

“If you’re gonna get rid of me, just do it!” I pull my shoulders back.

“I’ll never send you away, son. Never.” He doesn’t blink, or look away. He means it. Now I’m really freaked out.

“Then what was this?” I say, like I’m accusing him of a crime. “Why did you bring me here to the metaphoric end of the road?”

“A good father, sometimes has to remind his children of the boundaries.”

“What if I break them?” I try to sound tough, but I just sound like a punk.

“They we’ll reset.” He smiles. “We can always draw them again.”

 I stuff my hands into my pockets, and dig in the dust with the heel of my boot.

“How many of these 'resets' do I get?”

“As many as it takes.” His green eyes burn a hole in the horizon.

“Okay,” is all I say, because I have nothing else.

We start walking back toward the farmhouse. I stay a few steps behind him to sort out my tangled feelings, and see through this fog of confusion.

Maybe tomorrow I can accept the forgiveness he’s offering, and not want to punch him in the face. Yeah, later, after I settle down, I’ll figure it all out. For now, I’ll walk the tightrope back to Fala’s kitchen, and get some breakfast.

 

           

 

 

 

 

           

           

 

             

           

           

            

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