Bride of the Baykok
Never stay in the woods after dark. There are dark spirits who are tricksters and would love to take advantage of young ladies with a hero complex.
The flowers danced in the prairie meadow and the surrounding trees reaches and stretched their arms toward the sky as I walked toward camp with my basket of berries and nuts I had gathered for Old Mother. The summer wind played with my braids and I giggled as my loose baby hairs tickled at my neck. I sucked in a great deep breath of air. The bouquet of the nearby river, flowers, berries, the sun and the prairie grass was beautiful. The birds make happy music and I have even spotted mother deer and a fawn. It was all beautiful, I love summer.
I hum and sing to myself. being alone is the only time I can be who I want to be. The only time I can play. I am 13 winters old, so Old Mother says that I am too old to play like the other children, and scowls when she catches me running with the younger girls. She says that it's time to learn the ways of a woman, the ways to help the warriors and to help a husband and the tribe. I do so hate upsetting her. So I find my fun when I am by myself gathering, away from where she can disapprove. I just want to still be a child.
The sun looks so nice on the waving prairie grass. It looks like a golden ocean. I decide to sit and watch the waves. I grab blades of golden grass and weave as I sit enjoying the sun on my back, listening to the animals.
My eyes fly open. When did I fall asleep? The animals have fallen quiet. That must be what woke me. I sit up and look around. Oh NO! The sun has almost kissed the earth and his light is fading. A noise crashes through the trees and sounds large. I tree to calm my hearts drumming, I tell myself it is just a buck looking for food. I calmly grab my basket and stand up to leave. I turn to walk when I hear an inhuman screeching. My blood froze. Something made me turn around and at the tree line was a skeleton with skin. He beckoned to me and grinned a frightening grin. I shook my head no, turned and ran.
I knew I was no match for him running. I had heard the stories that I had listened in on when all the men retired to the big teepee to smoke. The only thing a Sioux warrior was afraid of was the Baykok. A once warrior cursed for killing a brother warrior. I've was still in my veins as I pumped my legs toward my home. I hear him laughing and snapping his teeth like a dog.
He screams again and I scream back in terror, surely I'm close enough someone will hear me. Suddenly I don't hear him anymore. I look around , but I fail to see the tree root and I stumble and fall. My basket flies away from me and I rip my dress on the undergrowth. I am sobbing now. through blurred tears, I can see him standing in front of me. I am on my knees pleading as he stretches his bony fingers to me. I look at his outstretched hands and I hear the men from camp calling my name.
The Baykok looks at me with pleading eyes. His nose is flaring with their scent and I know he is fighting the urge to kill them. "It was an accident," I say. He nods. They are closer. Forgiveness and sacrifice of a pure woman is his salvation. I know what I must do to save my people. In my decision, I have become the woman that Old Mother wanted me to be. In tears, I take its hand. It sneers and growls out the words, "fool girl."
He howls and pulls me close. I am scared as I look up and see the men who look at me with fearful and sad eyes. They know what I've done. to save them. They know I've made a deal with a demon. It looks at me and sneers, while I shiver with fear. "You," he grinds out, "are mine now" I choke on my sobs. And he bites my shoulder.
All of a sudden we are gone. And things go black.
I wake up and I am in a teepee that is not mine. a man lays next to me. I am scared I am old enough to be a woman, but I'm not ready. I try to quietly get up so I can leave when I feel a pain in my shoulder. I look down and start screaming. It was all true. He wakes and laughs. He looks different, he is a handsome man now. I'm still scared. I don't understand.
My family will never let me come back now. I am cursed. He takes my hand and places it on my stomach. I feel strange. I scream again. I am cursed to carry a Baykok's baby. To be the wife of an evil being forever. I will never walk in the happy hunting grounds with mother and father. He nods and kisses me, I cry.