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.


3. Um, I'm Where Now?

Fatty sausage. Scrambled eggs. Stack of pancakes, Ma Fala calls them griddle cakes. A tall, cold glass of milk. And a mug of stuff she keeps calling “brown root tea”, but it tastes like coffee. This is my third plateful of breakfast.

My fork is moving fast, but my mind is going slow. Ma is trying to explain to me where I am, and I can’t quite grasp her meaning.

“I’m not in South Dakota, or anywhere else in the U.S.?” I ask with a mouth full of griddle cake.

“That’s correct.” She tousles my hair and refills my milk glass.

“And I’m not in Europe, or on Venus or something?” I hear how stupid that question is, but it kinda makes sense to my loopy brain.

“You’re in Harawak Territory. In another world called Enova.” She repeats the same information she’s been giving me all morning with patience, and flips a couple more griddle cakes. I’m glad she’s making more; I could eat into eternity.

I pause, with the fork halfway to my mouth. “Where did Earth go?” 

“I’m not an expert, but I don’t think Earth World went anywhere.” More griddle cakes are brought to my plate.

“Oh. Okay.” I resume my feast, and eat until I’m almost satisfied. I lean back and belch. Ma Fala smiles so big I’m blinded by the white on her teeth. I learned yesterday that burps are compliments in this world. I do my best to tell her a big “thank you” after each meal.

“Good boy. Now, you need to go back to bed. Murilah! Yana! He’s ready!” Ma Fala’s voice shakes my eardrums.

Two girls appear in the doorway. I’ve met them before, but I can’t remember who they are. Ma’s daughters? Nieces? I prop my elbow up on the table, smash my face into the palm of my hand, and smile at them like a sleepy dog. Who cares who they are, they’re pretty.

Just like Fala and Chayton, the girls are almost as tall as a stalk of corn at harvest. They lift me from my chair and help me up the stairs. I act a little weaker than I am so they have to hold on tighter.

I flop down on my bed and I don’t remember anything after that until dinner time.


Oinker, and his cousin Robert pick me up in Robert’s junker ’89 Bronco. I climb into the backseat. Speeding down the empty highway, no cars pass us as we barrel along through the Rez. There’s only sky, and stars, and sand.

Oinker hands me a beer. The crack of the pull tab is a beautiful sound. Music blasts from the decrepit radio. The fuzzy bass thrums in my chest. I watch the horizon and drain my beer. Turning from the window back to the inside of the car, I find Ola is in the seat next to me. When did we pick her up? She’s looking good to go, as always. Killing me in painted on booty shorts and a plunging shirt. I can see all the way down to her navel.

“Hey Ola,” I say. “You’re looking hot, darlin’!”

She smiles and smooths her hand over my thigh. I lean over and kiss her, really deep. As we move our lips together, turn-on turns to terror. A curtain of dread comes down, a foreboding, a warning. Ola is fading away. I grip her arms and kiss her harder. She pushes me back and laughs.

“I thought I taught you better than this. A lady likes to go slow.” She smiles. Her silky, black hair flys behind her out the window. The turquoise earrings dripping from her ears are sucked back too. I clutch both of her wrists and hold on as hard as I can, but she slips out the window. I jump up to my knees and look out the back. No sign of her.

“Robert! Stop! Ola’s gone!” I crane my neck back to the front of the Bronco. The drivers seat is empty. Oinker’s still there on the passenger’s side, sipping his beer.

“Oink!” I shout. He turns back to look at me, grins, and dissolves into dust.

“Oinker! Oink!” My hands swish around and squeeze the air where he was sitting.

Gone. My friends are gone.

“Logan. Logan wake up!”

Who’s that? Who’s there?

“It’s okay. You’re safe. Wake up!”

I open my eyes to darkness. Blue shadows highlight half of Chayton’s face. I sit up, shaking like an idling engine.

“You were having a bad dream,” he says.

I wipe my face with my hands. “Yeah, I figured that out.”

Chayton brings me a cup. “Drink this.”

“Sana?” I ask.

“Yes. It will calm you. Help you sleep.”

I hold up my palm and refuse it. “I don’t want to sleep anymore.”

“Want to talk?” He walks away. The springs on his bed creak.

I roll over onto my back and stare out the skylight. A half-moon rests in the center of the frame. Lots of stars. No clouds.

“I guess,” I say. “What should we talk about?”

“I don’t know.” he yawns. “What was your dream about?”

“My friends. I don’t want to talk about that.” I shudder thinking about Ola being vacuumed out the window.

“Okay,” he says and his breathing deepens. I think he’s asleep.

Explosions of anxiety light up in my chest. It’s the damn Fourth of July in there. Why don’t they have cigarettes in this Enova place? They grow all kinds of crops here, why not something like tobacco? Maybe that’s what I’ll do in this Harawak Territory. Teach them to grow and dry tobacco leaves. That is, if I don’t go home. Do I want to go home?

I get more food here than I ever did before. A lot more food. And everyone has been cool. I love Ma Fala. Chayton is all right. I’ve met Ma’s husband, Jolon, twice. He has a really hard, angled face, like he’s super strict and straight. I’m not sure about him. The other people I’ve been introduced too, can’t remember their names, have greeted me with smiles as wide as they are tall. They seem friendly and glad to know me. Unless they like, plan to eat me or something…

Do they plan to eat me?

I sit up straight in my bed and gasp for air. My heart, running like a wild horse.

“Chayton!” I squeak like a little girl.

“Huh? Wha?” He stumbles out of sleep.

“Where am I?”

“Harawak Territory. Enova,” he says.

“But where is that?”

He angles up onto one elbow. “You’ve crossed a fabric between worlds. You are in another place.” He pauses. “But you are safe here. Everything is going to be okay.”

“Are you going to eat me?” Embarrassment sinks in my gut like a stone for asking such a silly question.

He chuckles. “Eat you? By the Sovereign’s hand, what a question?” He laughs some more and then stops. “My pardon please, Logan. I’m wrong to laugh at you. All this must be really scary.”

“Yeah,” I confess. “I’m pretty freaked out.”

“I won’t laugh at your worries anymore.”

“Thanks. That’d be great.”

Chayton walks over to the dresser and brings me the cup of sana again. “Here, it will help your mind settle.”

“What’s sana made of?” I ask and take a drink.

“I don’t know how to answer that question. It’s just sana. It springs up from the wells, it’s what fills the rivers and lakes. It’s what we drink.”

The sparkles in the sana dance. The glow makes me sleepy.

“I think I get it, sana is your water?”

“My pardon please, I don’t know what that is.”

“Nah. Course you don’t.” I hand him the cup and lay back down. He plods back to the dresser, and the springs on his bed screech again.

“Try to get some rest, Earther. Everything is going to be all right.” He grunts and fluffs his pillow.

“Yeah. Okay.” The moon has drifted to the edge of the skylight, making room for more stars. “Hey Chayton, you’re sure your family isn’t going to make a meal outta me?” I laugh.

“Well brother, if you get fat enough, we might.” I can hear the grin on his face. Good, he got my joke.

The next morning, I’m up early enough to eat with the family for the first time. Jolon sits at the head of a long wooden table. I count six kids, including Chayton. The youngest one looks about seven, but it’s hard to tell with the height these people have. He could be only three. The older ones look to be in their early twenties. Interesting. They still live at home.

Ma Fala and two girls come from the kitchen and fill the table with bowls, and plates, and pitchers. When all the food is in front of us, everyone sits down, Jolon bows his head and prays a blessing. 

No one really talks to me while we eat, but I get lots of smiles. I’ve never seen a family that looks so alike. All of them have the same light brown hair with metallic gold streaks. Emerald eyes and white skin that’s been kissed by the sun. They’re skinny, despite how full they load their plates, but they look strong too. The family’s conversation is light and easy. They laugh and tease each other. I don’t think a one of them is frowning. These people are okay.

I’m halfway through my second plate when my stomach turns over. Seeing them together in a group like this is a little unnerving. Looking at this gold eyebrow, freaky eyes, family of NBA players, spell out plainly that I’m at home anymore. I’m in Enova, another world, maybe even another time. I don’t know what it means that I’m here, or if I can ever go back if I want to. Today, I think I’ll just accept this unexplainable experience. Call it good and worry tomorrow.





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