Chapter 1:

Our Name, Our Answer, My People

Blood's Water: My Little Whisper

     We finally came to a stop. The front doors banged as they were slammed closed. I could hear the movements outside the walls of the van. They were muffled, but I could picture it clearly. Every step, every hand gesture, weapon adjustment, clips, zippers, chains; I could even hear every word being said amongst them. My head laid low as I focused in on the outside. Visualizing their movements. You observe, you analyze, and from there you build. All necessary precautions are taken to assure victory, no matter how miniscule it may seem. I had to be more prepared than they were.

     They were finally heading back this way. I slowly raised my head and looked straightforward to my brother Tala seated across from me. He sat with the back of his head leaning against the wall. His eyes were closed and his focus deep within his own thoughts. He inhaled strongly as he rolled his eyes down to meet my gaze before lowering his head as he pulled his body forward. We held our gaze on one another. A communication conducted in complete silence. We could hear each other better without words, just as we could see each other clearer without light.

     He gave me a small nod as the back doors flung open. The harsh light of the sun pierced through but was soon blocked by the body of a government soldier dressed in all black. I watched him walk towards me, with my focus getting lost in the thin line of rim light that illuminated off the top of his shoulders. He reached behind my back and unhooked me from the wall constraint. He grabbed me by my arm, which was still cuffed behind me, and began to lift me from my seat. As he stepped to the side, I could see Tala being escorted out of the van in front of me. I stepped down from the vehicle, and to no surprise, was met by an army of about ten or eleven men. All of which were heavily armed. They stood shoulder to shoulder, as if they were creating an honorary walkway for my appearance. The sun was hot, and it was so humid that I could feel the air sticking to my skin. Two soldiers walked alongside me with every step just as slow and cautious as mine were. I looked towards Tala about five feet ahead. We were heading towards a large glass covered building which stood about 300 feet tall. Far in the distance I could see a woman standing, legs spread shoulder length apart, and arms behind her back. It was a stiff, and rigid pose. As I took each step, I could feel my pace begin to slow. As I began to walk ahead of the Sun, I turned my head over my right shoulder and looked up at it as I passed it by. My face cringed from the pain of the sunlight. It was the reminder of where I came from, and the answer to who I am. A young girl raised in a distant place where no Sun had ever gleamed its rays upon. A place that made the soft light of the early morning sunrise blinding. Now I stand here, under the burning flames of mid-day. It exposed me to this broken world… it exposed the raw underlying grit that laid beneath my person. The tortured souls of my fathers that passed before me had manifested within my body and now laid on my sleeve to be viewed by the world. This is who I am, and these bastards are gonna regret this day for the rest of their cursed lives. Every bit of remorse that I once had, had now been evaporated with the sunlight, and all I had left was a dire need to avenge what I had lost; to fight for my name!

     Still gazing up at the sky above I hadn’t realized that I’d stopped walking. I was lost in my thoughts again. The sky was so calm and quiet. It was a pleasant view, but I was ready to give it all back. It was time for me to reawaken the little girl that once screamed in silence for help and answer her call. It was time for me to grow up…

     And there it was…The gravel from the floor beneath me began to kick up as a huge gust of wind blew past my face making my eyes tear. My view blurred for a moment, and as it came to, it was as if the world was stretching away from me. Everything was being warped right in front of my own two eyes. All the sounds around me, the screams, gunfire, footsteps, were all muffled; and a long ring passed through my ears. My heart began to beat out of my chest. The two soldiers that were escorting me drew their guns, ripped their helmets and jackets off; revealing their indigenous markings tattooed across their bodies, and headed forward into the smoke of the explosion. I was supposed to be rushing forward with them, but my body stood still. It felt as if they were so far ahead of me now. Much too far to catch up… or so I told myself. I closed my eyes and held my head down to let the dust pass without getting in my eyes. That was surely a bad decision. I could feel the world being turned upside down. As I felt my body lift off the floor I began screaming. Screaming as hard as I could, but not a single sound was coming out. When I hit the floor, I could feel the impact instantly stun my entire body. The air had escaped my lungs, and my head began to throb. I was down on the floor with my hands still cuffed behind my back. I was helpless, scared… and weak. I began to hear the helicopter closing in. The sound of the blades ripping through the air. A sound so familiar. As the blades were chopping through the wind, I started to feel myself reach out to grab her. I was breathing heavily, and my body was shaking. I don’t even know how I had the strength to hold her up.

     “Mom, mom, mom, please… please let’s just go. Everyone needs you to come back. We gotta go back.”

     I was covered in her blood. So much of it stained on my palms and shirt. I couldn’t even tell where it was coming from. She was looking straight at me, struggling to keep her eyes open. She was talking to me, but only mumbled sounds came out. Her head was resting on my arm, just lying there. Every time she tried to speak her struggles would turn to nothing more than a river of blood running from her mouth. “Ok, ok; I know mom, I know… We’re gonna be back home soon, and when we get there, we’ll fix everything. Everything that went wrong will be fixed, ok! So just get up and let’s go.” She used all her energy to raise her hand and rest her palm on my cheek. It was faint, but I could hear it. I could hear her whisper the words. “Run. . . run. . . just. . . run.” I was the only representative from the Indigenous American Society left standing amidst this bloody scene. I was frozen in time and space; my mind was fading away. The helicopter was right above me; I knew I had to go. This would probably be my only chance or else I would be taken in, but I couldn’t move. I could only stare at her in disbelief. I had lost all feeling in my body. She took one last deep breath, and soon after, she was gone. I could feel her life depart from her body. The rest of the soldiers were closing in. I thought one last time to run, but again, no reaction. I was so confident just a second ago. So why couldn’t I get up? I began to yell at myself, “Get up Aiyanna. . . get up. Get up! Get up!” GET UP! I felt someone grab me by my collar and pull me upright. It was Tala. I had spaced out, remembering the day my mother was killed in Old York by the hands of a government soldier. September 5th, 2026. I could picture it so vividly. It’s a day that is now referred to as the “First Movement.” It was our first step towards negotiations with the NRC federal government that ultimately led to the death of eight society members, including my mother. Tala had his hand rested on my shoulder as he reached into his pocket. As I looked around, I noticed that the fighting had come to a calm. There were some wounded, but certainly no deaths. The helicopter was sitting right above my head; it was calming to know that it was on our side this time. With the actions of this day thus far, we stood only moments away from the start of a possible civil war. As Natives, over the years, we were pushed to the edges of society and nearly forgotten. Now that we have spoken, every effort to silence us is being taken. My mother, as well as many others, were opposed to fighting as a means of getting what we wanted. But little does my mother know, that it is her blood being spilled, that got us to progress to where we are now. Sometimes words just aren’t enough.

     Tala un-cuffed my arms, and we both stood to our feet.

     This was not a military base, but instead a diplomatic office building which was often used to torture those the NRC believed posed a direct threat to their “interests”. The proximity it had to our reserves was strategic, albeit threatening. Though it couldn’t appear as such, and thus, there were usually less personnel guarding the structure. If we could take control of this building, then not only would we push the NRC some distance away from us, but we could also, by using this building’s advanced technological infrastructure, get eyes and ears within the NRC. They had the larger combat force, and with the chances of fighting being imminent, we had to learn to outfox the government. Even now, we were already a step behind.

     As we all stood there like sitting ducks following our failed attempt to make it through the front door security, we waited in suspense for how the government was going to respond. Their reinforcements hadn’t shown up yet to try and force a surrender, nor did the current soldiers present on site, push to take us into captivity. We were in a silent standoff waiting for someone to make the next move.

     As I turned to my comrade to have him radio the chopper above, I heard a quick wisp shoot pass my ear. His head bounced back faster than two pool balls colliding into one another. His expression was emotionless. He had been stricken so fast that he didn’t even have a moments’ time to react. His hands were flung straight out in front of him as his body began to tilt backwards. He had been shot with a bullet straight through his forehead.

     They were aiming to kill this time.