General Fiction posted July 24, 2020 Chapters:  ...5 6 -7- 8... 

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Eyes of the Owl find the backpacks

A chapter in the book Traffic

Dear Rabbit

by Liz O'Neill

Liz & Linda happened upon a house holding 5 Native American teens who were going to be moved on in a trafficking operation. In the next few chapters, they will tell the horrendous stories.
By now everyone knew what 'the load' meant. But there was not going to be a load of anybody that night. They were safe in the blessed cave.

Sky and Star, the other two of the five in the van said they'd wait to tell their story. They wanted to stand and stretch their stiff backs and maybe move on to find some water. They feared they were growing more dehydrated by the minute.

There was an urgency within all, to purify and heal themselves in the sacred and holy. Water is the fourth power of Creation, here since the beginning of time.

Because of its power, they knew they would be more balanced and heal quickly. They longed to wash in its luminous clarity.

No one was certain where this water would be, but Spring Blossom had reassured them, "I traveled these caves as a young child with my father and brother. I vaguely remember, there was a good-sized stream fed by a waterfall that had an opening behind it."

So far, the only water was the water accumulating from condensation. The soft slow splashing of young bare feet reminded Liz that these girls had bravely accomplished everything barefoot.

The bloody-footed image of Strong Heart kicking at the window's metal grating compelling them to realize their captivity, flashed back.

The ceiling seeping water, dripped, hitting Liz's head like a BB shot from a pistol. The sloshing stopped. The cave ended.

Spring Blossom, shouldered through to the front of the mumbling group. She gestured toward a corner that looked as if a giant creature had clawed a chunk out of the glistening wall. Surely this was not the way to continue.

Sighs erupted as the frazzled girls forlornly shifted positions on their vulnerable, exposed feet. As they were reaching an emotional crescendo, Eyes of the Owl stepped in front to suggest they each look in their pack.

Puzzled grimaces and shrugs morphed into joyful giggles and whimpers of relief when they heard the glorious account of her productively successful investigation.

"I wasn't named Eyes of the Owl for no reason. When we were first situated in the room, I had watched every move of the man I labeled Mr. Pack Man. Yuck, that gross couch in there." She shuddered a bit. A cold wet cave floor was better than that ratty couch.

" Mr. Pack Man didn't notice me watching as he locked all of our packs in the closet." Curiously, she thought to herself, I'm sure I only saw four packs in his hand, yet there were five in there.

Several gritted their teeth as they remember how when they'd first gotten there, after snapping their hoods from their faces, with their mouths still taped and feet bound, he'd made them remove their shoes. They'd had to jam their heels into the floor to get them off.

Eyes of the Owl's mind went back to yesterday. It was a nightmare. With her feet still bound, she'd had to blindly hobble her way into the house, falling up steps several times. All along, having her arms contorted against her back.

She was sure it was the same for all of them. Even inside, they didn't know who was in the room. They were brought in one-by-one. It was only later, they found out who each other was.

"I was watching as he shoved our shoes into one of the packs, threw that final pack into the closet, and locked things up."

Once again, she questioned, how many pairs of shoes did I count? I am sure it was only four. "While everyone else was just wanting him to cut the ties on their feet and hands, I was planning my next move."

"After he left the room, I slowly made it over to the closet door. You were all busy. Some of you were in the bathroom vomiting, crying, examining your bruised faces from having been thrown into the van."

"I don't think any of you noticed what I was doing. I remove the wire from my bra and began working on that lock. Then I was able to get into the closet."

First, I moved my hands along all of the walls for a light switch. I checked twice. Who knows what grossity was on those walls. Just the thought of it made her wipe her hands on her pant legs. Then, I started swinging my arms around groping for any string to turn a light on."

"I almost screamed when something slid across my cheek. I didn't know if someone was in there or if it was the hand of a dead person... It was the string."

Taking a deep breath, she blurted, "All five of our packs were there sitting on the floor in plain sight." A sad sinking feeling filled her. "There were three other packs in the way-back that belonged to none of us."

Her voice quivered as she continued, "I couldn't help but wonder where those girls were who had once carried these packs? Who were they? Did I know them? Did I dare look to find out?"

She would not tell them, not just yet, that she had looked in them all; how bitter salty tears had streamed down her cheeks as she opened the literature book stuffed with writings by Rabbit. That was the school book of my best friend, Rabbit. She's been missing over a month. Where was dear Rabbit now?

The other two names, she did not recognize, but she would memorize. She wanted to tell everyone but thought better of it. Being there was enough trauma. The right time would present itself.

The emotional environment likened itself to a tv show. Which backpack contained all of their shoes? Who was the owner of the lucky backpack?

There was an exhilarated cheering when Velvet Dove unzipped her pack filled with their shoes. Star's pack contained the shoes from the van victims that Velvet Dove made sure to grab. Everyone had shoes.

Gratefully tying her laces, Runs the Field, told of her secret concerns. "I was worried that without my running shoes, racing up that wet grassy hill would have been almost impossible."

She chuckled. "Actually, it was better to be barefoot. I could gain better traction by digging my toes into the sod. Earth Mother was helping me."

She told what she could see out of the corner of her eye, "the fools were sliding on the hill face down." She would have found it more comical had she seen how badly a time they were really having.

She did not see them attempting to grab even a knob in their path with their desperate boot tips. In exasperation, they clawed their way back up.


Not terribly anxious to squish their bodies through a craggy opening, several wanted to unwind a little more. Turtle told of the frightening scritch-scratching in the darkness, on their van window.

"What a relief to hear sweet Velvet Dove's voice reassuring us as we lay there bound up like prey waiting for the pounce of the predator. Thank you so much."

Teary, Velvet Dove, unconsciously nursed her wounded hand which she had banged up, forcing the van window open, "Liz, thank you for the use of that beautiful knife," handing it back to her, "Without it, I don't know how I would have been able to cut the bindings on these girls' hands and ankles. Even with a knife it was hard."

"My first priority was to get those black bags off their heads. I remember how terrifying that absolute darkness had been when I was rolled into the van."

Her voice shook. "I was sure a body bag would be the next thing I heard to wrap me up for good. I didn't want them to be debilitated, caught in their nightmarish imaginings, any longer than necessary."

Chattering ceased as Spring Blossom stood up. They knew it was time to continue their quest. She explained what was on the other side of the ragged opening. "There will be a rough, rocky, narrow, dirt decline leading to a wide-open area. I will go first."


Character List of the women who rescued the girls from the house, she loaned her knife to Velvet Dove of the women who rescued the girls from the house

**Van girls of the teens in the van, friends with Star of the teens in the van, friends with Sky, her pack had the van girls' shoes of the teens in the van, friends with Sage and Dragonfly, was frightened when Velvet Dove came scratching at the van window of the teens in the van, friends with Turtle and Dragonfly of the teens in the van, friends with Sage and Turtle

**House girls

Spring Blossom......first at the house window, helped remove the window block. cave leader

Strong Heart....kicked at window to get iron grate off

Eyes of the Owl....made sure the plan of deception was solid, got into closet for packs with shoes, saw her best friend Rabbit's pack, made sure everyone from the house had shoes

Velvet Dove.....Planned the deception, rescued the girls from the van....made sure the van girls had their shoes and packs, her pack had the house shoes in it, had a very reassuring voice

Runs the Field....ran up the hill for the deception


I'd like to acknowledge meg119 for their fascinating picture. This is one section of many adventures experienced by Liz & Linda walking through fog and haze, away from their stranded car toward civilization and a garage. They are in Montana close to the Crow Nation Reservation. There is an epidemic of cases of Native American women and children being abducted, missing or murdered.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by meg119 at

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