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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7. Fox in the Henhouse

 

The Bumbles bring my lunch every day. For weeks now, I follow Chayton and the boys to whatever job we’ve got on Jolon’s 170-acre farm. I bust my back all morning in the hot sun, plowing fields, scattering seed, baling grass. And then they show up. The Bumbles, the most beautiful annoying things in all of Enova. They feed me, fawn over me, smother me. Do my laundry, make my bed, sew me shirts, one of them even cuts my hair. They take care of everything.

Except what I really need.

I haven’t hooked up with any of them, or any other Harawak girl, and every day celibacy grates on me a little more. Wearing me down on the inside as I build up my muscles on the outside.

But today, I might truly lose my mind.

Yanna leans over me at lunch to fill my cup, and I get a peek down her blouse. She smiles. Did she mean to flash me?

Eamola is rubbing my shoulders and making my head spin. I’m not sure if it’s her gorgeous scent or the perfect pressure of her hands turning me upside down.

The tallest Bumble itches her thigh and her skirt raises above her knee. My heart starts pumping harder.

The one who’s always giggling, tucks her pretty brown and golden hair behind her ear, looks at me through her lashes, and bites her lip. Sweat breaks out on my forehead and under my arms, even though we’re in the shade.

Silky hair. Batting lashes. It feels like I’ve got fire ants crawling up my cargos. Sleek legs. Pouty lips. My pulse won’t slow down. Rounded hips. Dainty cleavage. I can’t breathe under the weight of all this femininity. But I’m not bothered, I want to drown in it.

Chayton long arm signals from his tree, and pulls me out from under all this lust. He's telling me lunch break is over. And I’ve hardly eaten a thing.

***

Chayton’s snores are grinding my eardrums to a nub. Hands behind my head, legs crossed, I jiggle my foot, and stare through the skylight over my bed. The full, yellow moon gives me no comfort. Instead it makes me want to howl.

I drift off for a little bit, and dream of Yanna. Standing in my room. Completely naked. And I jump awake, and almost fall off the bed. Blood roars in my ears. My heartbeat ticks like a grandfather clock. I’m drenched in my own perspiration. Chayton startles me by mumbling. Something about a ‘harvest party’ and then rolls over to face the wall.

I have to get out of here or they’re going to have to scrape me off the ceiling in the morning.

I pad down the stair, carrying my boots. I buckle my pants on the bottom step, but I don’t put on the shoes yet. I stop at the kitchen pantry and grab four oat cookies from the clay jar Ma Fala keeps stocked with treats. Out the back door, and I almost pinch my finger trying to shut it without a sound. I probably wouldn’t be in trouble for taking a midnight stroll, but if I get caught, I risk someone like Chayton wanting to go with me. And I want to be alone.

Well, not completely alone.

I hike the two-mile road between my farmhouse and Yanna’s. Her bedroom is on the first floor. I tap on her window twice, but wince when I notice four sets of bunk beds. Yanna shares her room with a few sisters apparently. Wouldn’t want to wake anyone other than Yanna.

I turn to face the yard, my shadow stretches long across some yellow flowers with large petals. I should pick one, leave it with a note for her to find in the morning. The romantic gesture should butter her up. Then tomorrow I’ll make a suggestion the two of us spend some time alone. She’ll like that. All girls like to get special attention.

The window behind me opens, and I spin around to find Yanna’s face.

“Hi Logan! What are you doing here?” She smiles.

“I wanted to see you,” I say and prop an elbow on the side wall so I can smash my cheek into my fist like a lovesick puppy.

“That’s sweet, but it’s very late.” She clutches the material of her nightgown at her chest. I think she intends this to be a move of modesty, but all she accomplishes is pulling the gown tighter, showing off what’s underneath more.

I lick my lips and try to settle down. Quivers of adrenaline shimmy through my middle. It feels like worms are traveling through me.

“I don’t want to bother you, Yanna. I just wanted to see your face, now I’ll go home and dream of you.” That oughta make her swoon real good. I give her a half-smile and turn to leave.

One . . . two . . . three . . .

“Logan, wait!”

Gotcha girl! Haven't lost my touch.

I swivel back around. “Yes, darlin’?”

“You need a jacket.”

She disappears and I stand there for several awkward minutes. The big moon shines on me like a spotlight, announcing how stupid and alone I am. I start to leave a few times, but if I don't want to ruin what I've started building with her.

She comes back to the window and leans out, handing me a jacket.

“It’s my brother Jadd’s. I’ll collect it from you tomorrow at breakfast.”

I take the canvas jacket and put it on. I’m buried in it like a little kid in his father’s coat, of course. I haven’t met a Harawak man yet I’m bigger than.

Her soft skin glows and her lips are full and red. I push up on my toes to give her a kiss. She turns her head, landing my lips on her jaw rather than the mouth I’m after.

“Goodnight, Logan.” She says with a giggle, and ducks her head back inside.

The window shuts and the sound feels like a prison cell door slamming. Locking me in.

***

“Logan,” Pa Jolon pokes his head into my bedroom. “I want to see you before you leave for chores this morning.” His eyes are dark, and his face sharp.

“Yes, sir,” I say, my head still dull with sleep. Or rather, from the lack of it. I probably only got four hours last night.

“Am I in trouble?” I ask Chayton. He’s buttoning up his shirt.

He shrugs. “I don’t know.”

I dress as fast as a sloth and drag myself downstairs. Ma Fala serves up my usual breakfast, and refills my plate twice like she does every morning, but she’s quiet. Also, the Bumbles don’t show up halfway through my meal like they always do.

When I’m done, Ma Fala wipes my face clean with a dishtowel and sends me out to the barn to find Pa.

My knees are shaky as I cross the yard. What does Jolon need to see me about? He can’t know about last night. How could he? Yanna wouldn’t have told anyone. Wait, would she?

Pa Jolon is taking the saddle off an atar when I find him. Atars are like horses, but taller and with longer hair. The Harawak ride them, and use them to pull buggies and farm equipment since nothing’s motorized around here.

“I’m here, sir.”

Jolon doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t look at me. He finishes putting the saddle up and brushing down the atar. Then he waves his hand out the tack room door, indicating he wants me to follow. We go on a long walk, up the road. Like we did that day I hit Chayton. I must be in trouble. He’s showing me the ‘boundaries’ again.

My legs feel stronger as we go, fear shifts into anger. What does he care what I do? Yanna and me are none of his business really. My step turns into a march. I pound my boot into the ground with every stride. Walking faster and stomping harder.

I slow as we near the end of the road so Jolon can make his speech. But he turns onto a little path instead of stopping at the boundary line. I follow with a reluctant heart. The path turns into a dry wash, the wash bends and twists until we hit a pond. Then we trek up a small hill above the pond to a large, oak type tree. Only it has magenta leaves, and the bark is sand colored instead of brown. What are we doing here?

“Come see this, son.” Jolon points to the trunk.

I stuff my hands in my pockets and wander over to him. I have to stand on my tip-toes to see what he’s pointing at. It’s two interlocking circles with a larger circle around them, carved in the tree.

“I did this,” he grins running his fingers over the marks. “Many years ago, the day after I married Fala.”

Oh boy, here we go. It’s the you-gotta-respect-women speech. Heard it before. I roll my eyes behind his back. As angry as I am, I probably won’t have the guts to do it when he turns around.

“See, this symbol is for me,” he traces one circle. “This one is her, and this one,” he draws the larger one around the small ones, “is for the Sovereign.”

He’s going to bring God into this? I’m not sure I can keep my breakfast down.

“Have you had sex before, Logan?”

I hiccup and choke. That was blunt. Did I hear him correctly?

“Have you? In Earth World, I mean.” His mouth is flat and his eyes narrow, intent of getting an answer.

I swallow hard and think about lying. But that would be such a whale of a lie, I’m not sure even I can manage it.

“I guess.” I stare at my boots and pull my shoulders up to my ears.

“Do you know what sex is?”

I nod and smirk.

“So how can you guess? Either you have or you haven’t.”

I sigh and manage a nod.

“And you weren’t married to the girl you had sex with?”

Oh man, not the ‘respect talk’, the ‘abstinence talk’. I ball my hands into fists in my pockets as a wave of frustration crashes over me. I want to pump out my chin and tell him I didn't just have sex with 'a girl' before, I've got plural hook-ups on my record, and that he can’t push his morality or religion on me. This is my life, my body, and I can do with it what I damn well please. I use precautions. Most of the time.

“You weren’t married in Earth World?” He repeats the question.

“You probably know the answer already,” I mumble.

“All right. Here in Harawak─ look at me please, son.” He pauses.

I slowly raise my jaw and glare at him. He isn’t fazed by my arrogance.

“Here in Harawak, our people don’t have sex outside of marriage. We wait, and you will be expected to wait until you are married. Understood?”

I can’t believe Yanna ratted me out! What a tease.

“All I did was go visit her!” I blurt out. “Nothing happened!”

“Visit who?” Pa Jolon pulls his neck back.

My lids won’t stop blinking. He doesn’t know about my moonlit trip to see Yanna.

“Nobody.” My voice tremors.

His mouth opens and he angles his forehead down. Jolon leans his tall body over me until I feel like I’m bending backwards. But then he releases me, and steps back without a word. He puts his hands behind his back and looks at the tree, then back to me, then to the pond below us.

“I’m not sure what you are referring to, but I think it’s safe to say you shouldn’t do it again. Whatever it was. What you did.” He holds up his palms. “And I don’t want to know.”

The old man is flustered. I have to push my mouth into a frown or I’ll smile.

“We treat our women with respect here,” he says.

Ah ha! I knew the ‘r’ word would show up eventually in this conversation.

“Yes, sir,” I say, and let a grin wriggle out.

I can show great respect to a naked woman.

“No sex, including kissing,” he looks down his nose at me, “until you’re married.”

Not even making out? Is he serious? My face is wiped clean of a smile.

“Yes, sir,” I say, but not one part of me means it.

“Good. Let’s get back. We both have busy days ahead of us.” Pa Jolon makes his way down the hill.

We get back to the main road and walk along in uncomfortable silence.

“Um, Jolon, er-ah, Pa Jolon, sir?”

“Yes, son?”

“Why did you have this . . . talk with me today? I mean if you didn’t know about . . . the thing I did? That thing you don’t want to know about?”

The corners of his eyes lift. “I can tell when a young atar is getting restless. The signs are no different in a young man.”

“Okay,” I say. How can he see how flustered I’m getting around the Bumbles? What signs am I throwing off? My cheeks burn.

“With an animal, you keep them separate from the females until it's time to mate. But with a young man, we speak reason.”

“Sure, if you think holding out until marriage is reasonable.” The sarcastic words fly out before I think them through. My face feels even hotter.

“I know it’s a challenge, I was a young man once.”

“But sometimes, it feels like I’m going to die,” I say.

He claps a large hand on my shoulder and laughs. “You won’t die, son. You just need to take long runs through our property, lift lots of heavy things.”

“Take cold showers,” I mutter.

“Yes!” He laughs harder. “Cold showers! An excellent idea! I’ll have to tell my other unmarried sons about that one!”

The farmhouse is only a few yards away now. Jolon mumbles ‘cold showers’ under his breath with a giggle before we reach the front door. This walk was different than the first one. When Jolon took me out the first time, I felt better by the time we got back to the house. This one has left me feeling worse, more frustrated than when we started. But, I heard the boundaries, both times. And although I don't agree with the new ones he shoved at me today, at all, if I want to keep my head attached to my neck, I’d better obey.

I plunge into the house, kept cool by the excellent insulation from the stone it’s constructed from. I kiss Ma Fala, and dash up to my bedroom.

“Where are you going?” She calls up the stairs.

“To take a shower!” I call. “A very cold one.” I say under my breath. 

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