Celeste’s body instantly stopped glowing as she dropped down on her fours onto the icy snow, and began to shake uncontrollably. In seconds, she found herself throwing up the bear heart she had eaten earlier.

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“Easy Hialeah,” her spiritual voice softly spoke to her inside her head.  Celeste didn’t want to pay attention, she began to growl deeper with the encouragement of Wolf.  It only took one person to move to set her off. One of the young men who was learning to hunt with the harpoon spear for the first time this year, was shivering with fear.  Celeste locked onto his uneasiness. Her eyes glowed a mystical deep green, as she cast out a beware warning to the young hunter baring her teeth.

“Don’t do it boy!  Don’t make me get my getto out!”  Celeste hissed out.  She could see the fear in his eyes and knew he had made a terrible mistake showing his faintheartedness to the huntress. “Hialeah, control yourself.  They are friendly people who think Wolf was attacking you.”  Celeste couldn’t get her shit together.  She began to battle out her wild emotions inside her head. Why couldn’t she pull her crap together?  Her brain was screaming and taunting her to kill, rip apart, shred anything or anyone…this was not like her to be this deadly in nature.

The clan people silently felt the spitfire’s confusion, as they watched the American woman struggling to keep herself in check, but was failing miserably. The men lowered their spears except for the young man Celeste locked onto.  She roared out loud in wolf cry, while Wolf howled louder to join her confusion.

Inside the warm log cabin home Jack and Akna were interrupted by the screaming daughter-in-law who flew into the home.  He knew shit happened the minute she yelled out that there was a wild wolf in the village who was attacking the American woman.  He left the warmth of the home quickly knowing Celeste would cause a scene of destruction if he didn’t get out there fast enough to control her.

When he rounded the back end of the snow cat he heard her deadly growl.  Stopping in his tracks he saw his Nujalik become a wild and out of control beast.  He noticed her body was glowing with rays of color. Not thinking, he cut through the gathering tribes circle and tried to slowly approach her, while cooing, soothing  words out to her to drop her knife.  Wolf bared his teeth at Jack, Celeste was battling the thought to kill him or eat him.

For a split second Jack felt she was ready to explode with violence.  She cast her eyes upon Jack as a stranger. Baring her teeth again with a mean ass growl.  The only thing Jack could think of was to kill her. “Nujalik!”  Jack bellowed out as he withdrew his blade.  Celeste blinked her eyes trying to remember the familiar voice who barked out a command to her.  When she saw the men lower their spears and no longer threatening her and wolf, she began to reason out the situation that suddenly exploded out of control.  “Nujalik it is me, Aklaq!  Relax girl, easy…”  Jack didn’t realize he used his tribal name out loud for everyone to hear.

Aklaq Jr. was stunned.  He clearly heard Jack say his name.  “My father?”  he whispered inside his head. Celeste immediately took her eyes off Jack and narrowed into Aklaq Jr’s confused face.  “Yes he is!  Tell the truth human!” Celeste ripped out in anger to Jack, then roared out like a bear.  Jack quickly looked at Aklaq Jr, who was standing behind him.  Neither could speak until Akna came out yelling.  She quickly walked up to Celeste and Wolf and began to scold the rebels.  “You two control your bear energy, now! This is not the time or place girl to lose it!”  Celeste’s heated body temp suddenly ebbed away the hate she felt towards all the people an allowed her thoughts to come back to peaceful reason.

Silence was heard when Akna slowly turned to face her son and confirmed Jack was indeed his father.  Members of the clan began to whisper the news to each other.  Celeste’s body instantly stopped glowing as she dropped down on her fours onto the icy snow, and began to shake uncontrollably.  In seconds, she found herself throwing up the bear heart she had eaten earlier.

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“He is my friend! So if anyone of you Injuns’ think your gonna eat him, you got another thing coming!”

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Celeste had to shut the cab’s door to get warmed up.  The weather was becoming too cold for her to endure. “How the dickens am I going to handle this shitin’ cold temperatures? One must be nuts to live out here in ice land?”  She put the heater on full blast sending warm heat throughout the snow cat’s cab.  The windows were starting to defrost while Celeste’s teeth began to chatter. 

She sat in her seat watching the windows slowly defrost.  “What the hell?”  Impatient Celeste immediately wiped away the steamy substance to view the many twinkling rainbow colors in the sky through her windshield.  “Holy macaroni!”  As she sat in her driver’s seat dumbfounded from the brilliance of the lights, she took off her furry mitten’s to put her cold hands up against the blowing heater to warm.  Taking her eyes off the lights in the sky just to look at her tingling fingers, her eyes widen in surprise.  “Son of Bitch?  How is that possible?”  Celeste said to herself.  

Her hands were not tingling from the freezing cold, they were tingling with a glow of colorful dim lights. Slowly she examined her strong hands like they were foreign to her. Seconds ticked by as she observed her colorful hands when she was scared out of her thoughts with a knock on the cab.  With haste she put her gloves back on, and opened her door to Aklaq’s wife.  “I came to help you with boxes.”  She offered politely. Celeste noticed that the girl still had the baby on her back. “Girl, you take that baby back into the house.  It’s bloody ass freezing out here!”

The young lady, smiled at her and said, ” We are born for this weather American woman, you are not.”  Celeste understood, and didn’t add anything else as she began to crawl out of the protection of warmth into the cold.  The Eskimo gal suddenly became fearful and stepped away from Celeste in a hurry with a blood curdling scream.  Celeste didn’t have time to see what the woman screamed about when she was assaulted by wolf on her backside.

He knocked her down onto the icy snow then started to pull her hood off her head.  “Wolf what the hell dude!”  She barked out while trying to hold her hood from being pulled away with giggles.  She couldn’t hold on any longer when wolf ripped the hood off her head.  Wolf stopped his play immediately and began to growl out dangerously.  Celeste slowly lifted her head up and saw many spears ready to kill the wolf.

“NO, don’t any of you TOUCH HIM!”  She spit out.  Speedily she got up from the snow, withdrawing her Bowie knife from her boots she stood on the ground with a ferocious stance. Legs spit apart, white hair with black streak surrounding her face began to fly free in the bitter cold wind. Her green eyes glowed dangerously at the group of Eskimo men ready to kill her companion. 

“He is my friend! So if anyone of you Injuns’ think your gonna eat him, you got another thing coming!”  Celeste looked like the devil crawled inside her as wolf and her began to growl together.  The Clan people were more flabbergasted at the sight of seeing the American half-breed in action. Not to mention the color of her hair,eyes, and the aura of color that glowed around her, were enough to tell them that she was a powerful force to be reckon with, and not an ordinary American girl!

 

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“Who are you guys?”

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Celeste watched with amazement how the clan members skillfully cured the bear in unison.  The smiles that she and Jack created were priceless to see.  The temps were beginning to decrease with the lack of light, but none showed they were cold but Celeste. Even in her white fox fur get-up the freezing temps permeated its way through her furry layers.  Wolf whined inside the cab wanting to be released and join the crowd.  Celeste gave him a look unsure if she wanted the trouble maker out of his box.  Instead, she turned her body to walk towards the snow cat and jump inside for warmth.

Aklaq Jr. walked behind Celeste with arms laden with skin and claws following her to the snow cat. He interrupted her when she was standing next to the trackers of the vehicle ready to jump inside her cab.  “As promised honored guest; but may I offer our tribes service to work with the hide before its ruin.” She smile at the young face of Jack’s replica and softly spoke out. “Yes I would like that, I know how important it is to work on hides, so it would be an honor.  Is there a way we could make my friend a bitchen bear coat and boots?”  Aklaq scowled his brow in thought.  “What is this word bitchen mean?”

She chuckled out freely,  Aklaq grinned while drinking in her rare beauty and contagious laughter. “It means groovy, nice, banging, out of this world, divine, hot, and and….”  Celeste’s eyes twinkled with mischievous while thinking of other words to describe what bitchen meant.

His curiosity was starting to get the best of him regarding how she looked under the fox fur hood.  All he could see was her striking almond shaped, emerald green eyes glow with wisdom and brilliance under the protection of the white furry hood. He took another step towards her and handed the bear claws into her furry bloody red cover mittens.  ” Yes I will see to it, we thank you for the bountiful hunt. Our bellies will be full of a good dinner tonight.”

Celeste nodded and began to jump around trying to warm herself. “I have another load of something really delicious inside the cab of my Snow Cat. I think it would go perfect with our dinner.”  Aklaq nodded his head yes, unable to suddenly speak to the beautiful stranger.

As he looked up a long the side of the big machinery he asked her why her windows were steamy inside.  “Can you give me a second I have a wolf inside here.  If I let him out, I promise you he will not harm anyone if they only share some of the meat with him.  He too has earned his share of this hunt, and it would behoove me if he doesn’t get a few morsels or a bone to chew on.”   The surprised Aklaq was a little fearful when she said wolf, quickly he recovered his fear an added in voice the wolf were their brothers and helpers when they hunt. She smiled and opened the cab’s door.

Out flew the excited Serbian wolf.  He jumped for joy with play around Celeste’s body and quickly surveyed the white land to find a place to pee.  He took off at a distance to do his business in peace.  Aklaq was speechless and took a step back in timidity when the beast jumped out of the machine.  Taking note the wolves he has seen in his life time, were nothing compared to seeing this gargantuan mystical canine.

Celeste turned her head back to the cab paying no mind to the shocked Eskimo man, and quickly disappeared into the warm cab.  In no time at all she was handing down boxes to Aklaq. “I think we should get some more help Aklaq, because we can not carry all that I have brought by ourselves.”

He left her by the cab alone unloading the many boxes she had brought from the bakery from Juneau Alaska. Immediately a nagging gritty feeling inside his gut made him think how or why these strange powerful people choose to come his town, and share so many riches with them. And who was the old man that came with her that sent an electrical charge throughout his soul when he shook hands with the man. He mumbled under his breath while he walked away from Celeste, “Who are you guys?”

Celeste yelled out to Aklaq, ” We are hope, love, and forgiveness, so stop thinking it will kill you’re brain.” Aklaq turned around and glared at the white bloody figure standing on the step of the snow cat with a box in her hand. Did he really speak that loud enough for her to hear him? He thought to himself.  He had to blink his eyes twice to clear his vision when he looked at the spitfire. Was he really seeing a faint glow of a light that was encasing her body? Or was it the colorful lights of the evening skies casting their beauty upon the American woman.

She could hear his thoughts clearly and loudly, instead she tried to take his mind off of what he saw.  “What day is it please?”  Celeste asked him.  ” It is the last Thursday in November.”  She giggled out loud causing him to smile at the silly woman.  “Well ain’t this Randy!  What a grand day to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, Aklaq!”

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“Thank you, Nujalik for bringing my man home to me. I have been waiting for a very long time for your arrival.”

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The village looked very tiny to Celeste as they drove their Cat into the town.  “Jack it’s a small community how many Eskimo’s live here do you think?”  Jack thought about her question and answered, “I remember about two hundred or a little more.”  She looked around the area and took note they were a very poor tribe.  People came out of their homes to see who was entering their village as the big snow cat passed them by. Celeste could see they were curious about the new strangers.  She kept the cat moving with snail pace through the town until she came to her address she had written down.

Jack was sweating at the brow when she looked at him.  “Easy my man, this is the plan.  You will not tell anyone who you are!  You got that? Let me handle this because I will be damned if we traveled all this way for you and then shit happens!”  Jack nodded in agreement.  She looked at Jack one more time and could feel his nervous energy.  “It will be okay my father, I promise.”  Jack finally spoke out to her.  “Nujalik I feel sad here, things have changed.  I want to go back home!”

“Jack, we can’t go home.  Let’s feel this scene out and then we can decide what to do.  How does that sound.”  Lightly she touched Jack’s face with her finger lovingly. Celeste knew his heart was breaking. “I will take care of you.”  Jack believed her the minute she spoke her words, calming him down only a little bit.

As she stopped the cat and put it into an idle mode in front of a little shack, a middle age man stepped out of his home to see who had stopped at his doorway. Celeste left Wolf and Jack inside the cab when she stepped out and walked up to the man stretching her hand out in greeting.

The next thing Jack knew Celeste walked into the home while the young man closed the door.  “Is that my son?”  Jack thought out loud to wolf.  Wolf licked his face, Jack ruffled his fur and began to pet the beast for reinsurance. Time seem to pass by slowly for Jack without seeing Nujalik. And when the door opened up again, the same young man stood at the doorstep and stared at Jack.  They both locked eyes, neither one moved until Celeste came out to get Jack.

The villager’s began to gather around the big machine.  Each was speaking their foreign language to each other regarding the Kodiak Bear and strangers that entered into their town. They stepped back when Celeste approached the snow cat and opened the door for Jack to come out.  “Stay…Wolf.”  She demanded to her companion.  Jack was helped out of the cab by Celeste who held a loving hand out to her friend.  He was so nervous that his heart began to skip beats.

The minute Jack almost passed by his son, he knew that Celeste didn’t spill the beans about who he was.  The young man smiled at him then stretched his hand out in greeting.  Jack gave the youngster a puzzled look and took hold of his hand.  Both felt the charge that coursed through their blood when their hands met.  The young man was dumbfounded and gave Jack a deeper look as he strengthen his hold on Jack’s hand.  Celeste wanted to cry, but held on to her emotions.  She too felt the connection between the two men when they touched hands.

Jack tried to recover and didn’t look into the young man’s face.  The young lad released his hold on Jack and let him enter his homestead.  Celeste quickly asked the young man to get the help from his tribe to take down the bear and begin the process of cleaning it up.  Jack looked around at his people.  They were smiling from ear to ear to know that Christmas time had come to their town.  “Jack, come my love.  Let them take care of this business while we take care of our task.”  Celeste offered her hand to Jack knocking him out of his thoughts. “Aklaq Jr. can you please make sure we get those bear claws and hide.”  Jack snapped his head to the young man’s direction, confirming his thoughts.  “Yes, it will be a pleasure.”  He said with a smile on his face.

Celeste was holding onto the dazed Jack’s hand when she pulled him into the cozy shack. Jack had to adjust his eye vision when he limped into the home.  Sitting close to the warm fire an old woman of her clan sat in her chair staring into the flames holding a little new born baby in her arms. To him she still looked beautiful, Jack took a deep intake of breath.  The old woman heard his surprise reaction and turned her lovely face to Jack.

Another lady came into the picture from the kitchen and introduce herself as Jr.’s wife. Jack’s eyes never left the older woman’s face when the young lady greeted them. Celeste could feel the electricity in the air between the two.  The older woman got up from her warm chair and handed the sleeping little bundle to her daughter-in-law.

In her foreign language she spoke softly to Jack.  Celeste didn’t understand what she was saying, but she recognized the shock look on Jack’s face.  The lady quickly added in English. “I must be in a dream, because you stranger look like someone I knew a very long time ago?”

She walked up to Jack and pulled his hood off to get a better look at the man.  Slowly she etched her fingers against his face.  Touching his side of his scarred face he winced back, not in pain but to have his first love touch him after so many years. Tears began to roll down Celeste’s face because of the magical moment she was witnessing.  It was completely beautiful. Now she knew how Jack felt, because she felt the same when she had seen Gary.

“My love you have returned back to me as I knew you would!”  she lightly whispered to Jack. The pair stood together sharing deep emotions yet not acting upon their thoughts.  The daughter-in-law watched the two.  She was more concerned when her mother was speaking to the stranger as if she knew him.  “Mother please, you are causing a scene here.  Your memory is not what it use to be, and you are making our guest uncomfortable.”

“Don’t tell me my head is crazy girl, I know who I am looking at!”  The aged woman barked out to her daughter.  “Is it you…Aklaq?”  The daughter in law raised her eyebrows in shock. Celeste felt the need to protect the couple from the younger woman’s sharp tongue.  She gently walked up to her and cooed at the little girl in her bundle of furry blankets.  “I have brought a few things to share with everyone and would love your help.  Can we go outside and let these two talk alone?”  Celeste asked smoothly.  The woman scowled at Celeste.  ” I am not taking no for answer young one! I am telling you I want your help, now!”  Celeste stood firm as the two ladies looked at each other both not budging until Celeste whispered, “Please she will be safe with my friend.”

She nodded in agreement and asked her to give her a moment to get dress.  She handed the babe to Celeste to hold. Celeste had only eyes for the bundle of joy she held.  Precious memories flooded her soul of how beautiful it felt as a mother to produce something so mystical. Her tears fell freely as she remembered holding her two beautiful daughters in her arms for the very first time.

Jack finally took his eyes off his lady and looked at Celeste.  “I have to Cowgirl…I must be honest!”  She smiled at Jack and gave him a wink, confirming it was okay to tell her the truth. “Jack wait a second before you bust your bubble.  I am taking the daughter outside to help me unload the cab and check on the bear.”  The old woman looked at Celeste truly for the first time.  “Thank you, Nujalik for bringing my man home to me.  I have been waiting for a very long time for your arrival.”  Celeste was devastated by the woman’s knowledge of her name that was given to her by Jack himself.  Quick witted Celeste immediately spoke out gently.  “I don’t recall I gave you my name mam, so how would you know who I am?”  The old woman pointed at her head and said, “I have visions girl of the earth.  I have seen you many times.  You are a powerful force honored by light of life.  I have been waiting for you child to return my man home to me. I also know, you are on your last leg of ordain tasks by Mother Earth.”

Celeste looked at Jack stunned with her mouth open wide in a O position.  The three were unable to speak another word when the daughter came back out of a bedroom wearing her heavy furry clothing, and took the baby away from Celeste’s arms and began to place the little one into a papoose, as Celeste knew it to be called in Cherokee.  With skill she swung the holder with babe inside unto her back and gave Celeste an unhappy look.

Celeste was not really paying attention to the girl until Jack cleared his throat.  She again gave the old woman a look of confusion, then immediately gathered herself and turned on her heels leaving Jack alone with his first love.

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“Girl you were a penguin gliding with speed under this machine.”

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Jack and Celeste worked perfectly together as they prepped the bear to be hauled behind their Snow Cat.  “Jack, this beast must be around 1500 lbs and stands around 10 ft high on his hind legs. He makes us look like a spec of dirt, dude.  I have never seen anything this HUGE!  Is he bigger than a polar bear?” Jack replied, “I have never caught or killed anything this big.  He is a monster girl, and damn good one too. But I believe the Kodiak Bear is bigger than a Polar Bear.”

Softly caressing the brown fuzzy fur she was completely speechless that she touched one of these massive creatures.  “Jack the thunder this dude created on the snow was very powerful, I almost couldn’t move.”

Celeste began to relieve the scene in her head, while Jack finished tying the beast to the Cat.  “You know Jack, isn’t it funny the stupid way our luck gets us into these innocent battles? And look at me?  I am changing by the day and have no bloody clue what the shit is happening to me but a bunch of ordain crap.  I mean come on! This shit is too damn funny, yet we live to laugh about it. I am a thinkin’ the Greek Gods still live up in Mount Olympus, and they are making us their pawns just so they can have a laugh at us three stooges.”

Jack laughed at Celeste, “Girl I think you think to much, sometimes to deep for me to phantom.  Come let’s get into the truck and talk some more, I am freezing.”  Celeste whistled for wolf who came immediately.  They all tumbled into the warm confinement of the cab, Wolf licked Celeste’s face.  “You dirty boy, causing so much trouble.  This makes the second time today you knocked into someone when they were pissing.”  Wolf whined and showered her with more licks to the face.  Jack roared with laughter.

“What, Wolf knocked you down too?” Wolf stopped licking Celeste’s face and started on Jack’s.  “Go away and lay down beast you caused enough trouble for the day.” Wolf listened and laid down on floor in the back of the cab giving Jack the sorry guilty look.  Celeste shot out with laughter.  “I think he is our cleaning rag Jack, we both have blood all over us.  I don’t think we will ever get the stains out of our clothing.  So sad too, I loved my white fox outfit. Thank heavens you’re wearing dark mink fur, you can’t see it that much.”

“Nujalik, it is an honor to hunt with you, even under the circumstances.  You are one tough girl and I’ve never in my life time seen your equal.  I know I was hidden away, but Nujalik you I think have two types of Greek Goddess in you.  Artemis and Athena the Gods have blessed you child.” Jack gave her wink with his one eye.  She smiled and said softly, “You’re full of shit Jack, but I love you more than you and I can explain. This will be our last time I think alone.  How about I make us some tea before we leave.  I saw a little pan and a heater in the back with our supplies that we can plug into this outlet.  How about it?” Jack looked at Celeste in a surprise fashion.  “You know one can live inside here comfortably.” Celeste snickered and started to make some tea. During tea time the two chuckled about their great big hunt. Celeste started the story off with funny details.

“Jack my pants were down close to my knees, I was peeing thinking my pee was going to turn into a ice sickle, when wolf knocked into me.  That Caca head sent my face and me standing on my fours with my ass sticking up for the world to see in the snow.  Then I saw this humongous head coming towards me and I couldn’t move until I heard you yelling!” She began to giggle while trying to tell her story.  “I couldn’t seem to get my pants up and run at the same time, so I think for now on I will piss in my pants before I drop them in the woods again.” Jack chuckled.  “Girl you were a penguin gliding with speed under this machine. And when you got back out of the cab and sliced his tendons on his legs he was defenseless and dropped like a wet noodle.” “No way dude, Jack you shot my arrows?  Did I loose any of them?” Celeste sobered up.  “Nope, I got them right here girl.” Jack brought out her arrows that Jack made her.  Everyone of them was in perfect condition.  “Wicked…Jack they are strong? Thank you for getting them.  Where is my bow?” Jack became serious. “I am sorry Nujalik the bow is broken. I had no more arrows and started to beat him with it on the head. He swiped it out of my hand and I thought I was dead when you saved the day and cut his legs.  That was good quick thinking girl.”

Jack slowly placed her childhood bow into her hands.  She looked at the bow with honor, no tears to shed when the bow had saved their lives many times.  “It’s okay Jack, I was honored by my grandfather who made this for me.  It has served me well for many years, so it is only right I lay it to rest.”  She looked at Jack and winked her eye.  He loved her so much, to him she will always be a very special human. It is he who is honored to be on a special quest with this Cowgirl the gods favored.

After tea Celeste tidied up and put the gear into play on the Snow Cat. In less than an hour they arrived in the village of the Napaaqtugmiut;; meaning “People of the Tree’s.” 

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“Jack you beast! I never have seen this side of you before! Dude, your frigging banging my salsa spanking hombre!” Jack smiled from ear to ear.

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Celeste screamed with glee as she embedded an angel imprint into the snow. Jack slowly looked outside her driver’s door to see where the spitfire fell.  Again, he barked out but couldn’t be angry at her, he smiled at the girl acting like a playful child in the snow. “Nujalik, please come back inside, this is not the time to play?  Seriously woman, this is dangerous territory!”

Celeste got up while trying not to ruin her masterpiece.  “Jack I gotta tinkle before I sprinkle in me britches.”  Jack chuckled and said, “Well get her done girl, and hurry back. You better call wolf back too, I can’t see him anywhere?”  Celeste looked around the winter land, lightly whistling calling her friend to return.  When she did not see him, she quickly headed for the trees in the distance to do her business.

“Shit so many layers of damn clothes.”  She commented to herself while trying to unbutton her furry pants.  The minute she pulled her pants down the freezing temps started to freeze her bottom.  “Man, I hope my pee doesn’t freeze into an ice sickle, holy cow!”  As the spitfire was releasing her urine, she heard a ruckus brewing in the woods.  She yelled out again to wolf while she peed, “Wolf get back here now!”

Celeste had almost finished peeing when Wolf flew out of the woods at a dead run towards her backside. He could not control his movement of speed when he knocked into her, sending Celeste forward in the snow with her pants down. “Mother of God, what the hell is the matter with…?”   She stopped her bellow when she heard a monstrous sound coming towards them.

“RUN…NUJALIK…RUN!”  Jack shriek.  Celeste didn’t know what the shit was happening, being caught with her pants down she turned her head into the woods where the sound was coming. She saw the brown beast’s head running into her direction, with speed she got up and ran for her life.  Since her pants were down around her thighs she tried to grab them pulling them up while running.

“RUN…GIRL…RUN!”  Jack screeched out.  The only thing that came into her head was how the hell these young guys who wear their crotch y pants down to their knees could run.  “Jack my bow!” She yowled in fear when she started to think in a huntress mode.  Celeste tripped and started to roll in the snow.  “Mother F*&^%!” she yipped out as she stopped rolling she heard the beast’s fast pace heart rate deafen her ear drums. He was close, so close to her when Wolf saved her sorry ass.

Wolf became a wild beast of the woods.  He furiously started to pick a fight with the Kodak Bear. Occupying the bear’s attention from killing her, and giving Celeste enough time to get up, pull her pants up, and run for the safety of the Snow Cat.  He kept his distance of the massive furry beast paws until he knew she was up and running again.

The bear lost interest in wolf and ran for the retreating Celeste.  She was running with all her might and was close to the Snow cab when Jack blared out. “You’re not going to make it Nujalik, SLIDE NOW!”

Slide she did, she was a little speeding bullet as she slid between the Snow Cat’s trackers like a penguin.  She could clearly hear Jack’s screaming at the bear, when she slid to the other side of the cat and quickly got up on her feet an opened the passenger side door with haste. Shocked at the site of seeing the hairy monster was standing up on his hind legs and was almost the height of Jack, she took note that he had several arrows embedded into his chest. Jack kept shooting the beast face to face with her bow and arrows outside the driver’s door with no fear.

She feared this was the end of Jack, who bravely stood against the angry beast if she didn’t do anything to help.  The bear spit out venom of anger as he bared his teeth at Jack.  He was ready to swipe the man off the step, when Celeste had to make a move.  She pulled out her knife and left the safety of the cab.  Crawling under the snow cat, and with all her might she slashed out at the bears legs then began to stab the bear’s feet with speed.

The bear dropped down and started to attack Celeste under the Snow Cat.  He roared his anger at Celeste who put the hurt on him.  She quickly made strong swiping movements through the air with her grandfathers Bowie knife to tried to keep her distance, and blocked the huge sharp claws that threaten to shred her to pieces.  The bear wailed loud when her knife stabbed his paws.  He was bleeding badly from his injuries and started to lose the fight when Celeste knew it was time to put an end to this stage act.

Nothing prepared for what she saw when Jack had jumped off the step of the machine, and landed on top of the bears back.  With skill and intense strength the wild eyed Jack picked up the massive head of the bear and sliced the throat cleanly, sending the beast dead to the bloody ground in seconds.

Celeste laid still panting heavily under the running machine while staring into the animals bloody face.  She took a deep breath letting it out slowly when the smell of the animal’s last foul breath invaded her nostrils.   The two connected eyes immediately.  Softly she reached out to touch his muzzle.  “Sleep my brother, you are honored today and always.”  Slowly the beast’s eyes become cloudy showing no more life under the snow cat.

Wolf howled, Jack sat still on top of the beast gathering his electrical energy of a perfectly killed Kodiak Bear.  He finally dipped his head under the machine to see if Celeste was okay.  They both began to giggle uncontrollable.  Jack slid down off the back of the bear and leaned himself against the huge beast sitting in the snow trying to catch his breath.

“Holy F*&%^ did that just happen?”  Celeste ripped out.  “Jack you beast!  I never have seen this side of you before!  Dude, your frigging banging my salsa spanking hombre!”  Jack smiled from ear to ear.  Her laughter was so contagious, but he needed to place blessing upon the bear and cut out his heart while it was still warm.

Celeste crawled out from underneath the cat and was greeted by wolf.  ” What the hell did you do boy to cause that bear to chase you?”  She softly ruffled his fur with love and hugged him close to her while taking notice he had a bloody face.

“He must of interrupted the bear’s feeding for a taste of what he killed.”  Celeste didn’t care what made wolf do what he did, at least all had survived the deadly encounter.  In fact, they were damn lucky to escape of one of the biggest and meanest bears in the world.

Celeste listened to Jack’s chanting for over fifteen minutes, she smiled and softly added her gratitude to mother earth for allowing them to be safe and to carrying the bear’s spirit to the heavens.  Jack boinked her out of her thoughts when he handed her a raw steamy heart to bite into.  She remembered he had done the same when they both killed the bear in the Sangre de Cristo’s together. She scrunched up her nose in distaste, but did not want to offend the great hunter the joy of sharing a moment of life and death.  She bit into the warm substance and quickly swallowed the meat without chewing it.  Jack laughed because he knew she did not like eating the raw meat.

“Okay my girl let’s quickly attach this animal and drag him.  We are almost home and will be needing the help of my tribal people.  This is a fine peace offering to my people Nujalik, and it will feed them for a while.”  Jack didn’t wait for her reply he jumped back into cab an took the rope off the hook and tossed it down to Celeste.

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“Yippee Ki yay!”

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It was time for no more poking around in Celeste’s world.  After last night, she realized that she was not going to under estimate nor play with mother nature again;  especially, when she was not from this territory.  She knew it was her fault for putting her family into a freezing situation, just because she could not keep her composure due to the lost of her stallion.  There were no more room for careless mistakes.

As they walked out of the airport the Cat came around the corner.  Celeste became giddy with excitement to drive the monster snow mobile.  Jack stood with his mouth open wide as Celeste wanted to giggle.  “Yep, Jack this chick-a-lita is going to kick some ass on the snow in style. I will be damned if we freeze again.” Jack finally spoke up after her sassy comment.  “Nujalik it’s so big, can you really handle a big machine like that?”

“Jack there isn’t any type of machinery I haven’t driven, so I am sure I can hang dude! This is going to be the BOMB!” She yelled out with excitement.  Wolf picking up on Celeste’s energy began to run around in the snow.  She scooped up a hand full of snow and started to make a snowball.  Wolf bark and waited for her to throw it at him.  Not wanting to hit him she threw it over his head, he of course flew up in the air and caught it with ease.

The Snow Cat stopped in front of them slowly.  Celeste quickly opened the passenger side and jumped into the cab and asked the man for the basic knowledge of the snow beast.  When he finished, he walked over and helped Jack get into the cab.  Celeste opened the passenger door letting Wolf jump in before the slow poke Jack began his entry.

“Okay slick let’s get ready to rock and roll, cause mama has a new pair of snow shoes! Woo Hoo!” Jack smiled richly to her.  He was in awe of the Big Boy and the comfort of heat and room in the spacious cab.  He took note that all her supplies fit perfectly neatly stacked in the back.  “Nujalik this is a great way to travel in Alaska?  So warm, but loud and if we need too we can sleep in here.”  Celeste winked at her partner and put the beast into gear.

Some would call Celeste a Can Do Girl, because of her knack to pick up anything she put her mind to do.  She loved the challenge and risk of learning something new, especially when it deals with boy toys. In no time at all, their road was clear for the taking as the Snow Cat plowed through the snow with ease. In a few hours they would be in the “In the Tree” people territory if they keep this easy pace up.  Celeste started to fill Jack in on her plans of what to expect when he returned home after fifty years.

“A lot has changed I am sure Jack since you been home.  Or maybe not, after seeing the small town of Noatak, shit who in their right mind would want to live here?” Jack became serious protecting the Alaskan honor.  “Nujalik, Alaska is beautiful, but very wild and untamed.  I will teach you to hunt Polar Bear, Walrus, and Seal.  My name Aklaq means Black Bear, I earned that name battling many bears as a young lad. You know this to be true, for you and I have battle one together!  This will be the ultimate hunting experience in your lifetime.  I was born for this climate, learned to hunt, and witness the color lights in the sky upon this wicked yet beautiful land. And now, I am not sure I can stand to live my life out here anymore?”

Celeste listened to Jack’s words, and added gently.  “I do believe the Mountains in the Sangre de Cristo’s of New Mexico has spoiled you my man.  I actually agree with you, but you will be home Jack and soon. Does this mean I think you want to return back in the woods?”

Jack sat quietly for a few moments thinking about her question.  “I admit, I do miss my hut in New Mexico, it had everything for me to live happy.  But what happens if I am not wanted or looked upon as a coward?  I can’t leave my family now knowing I have a son.  What if he hates me?  What if…” Celeste had to stop Jack.

“No what-if’s Jack, you will be strong! You must and I want you to take NO Prisoners! Besides, I gotcha your back, and I do believe they will love you as much as I have grown to love the crazy mountain man you are. You have lost many years Jack, time to pull your pants up and spend the rest of your life out with a family!  How about we wait to talk about this situation and see what bridges we need to cross before we jinx the shit out of it.” Jack nodded yes.

For some reason they both couldn’t finish expressing their feelings.  They sat quietly for thirty minutes traveling on the flat snowy land when Celeste stopped the Cat to take a bathroom break.  Wolf leaped out of the truck before Celeste.  With a wicked smile she balanced herself on the step while spreading her arms out.  Jack raise his eye in question. “I need to do this dude…this snow is calling my name to make a snow angel.  Want to come and help me?” “How you going to make a snow angel girl and it’s freezing outside, get back in here Nujalik.  This area is very dangerous with one of the meanest bears of all Alaska!” Jack barked out.  She gave him a wink and leaned backwards screaming out, “Yippee Ki yay!”

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“Youngin’ I was born to drive anything an anyone before you probably were in diapers.” Jack chuckled at the shocked look the Eskimo girl gave Celeste.

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Celeste had melted snow for Wolf to drink when the canine woke up. She broke off pieces of jerky to share with him until he needed to go outside.  She moved the tarp away from the hole while taking note it had stopped snowing, wolf jumped out quickly to do his business.  Not wanting to take her eyes off wolf she softly whistled for his return when he finished.  Wolf didn’t want to go inside yet, he wanted to play in the soft fresh snow.

She smiled at how wolf got fired up in the snow, she was about to go outside and play with him when Jack began to stir.   “We survived Nujalik?” She gently walked over to Jack and gave him a hand to rise. “Indeed we did, I made some more jerky broth on the stove before we leave.  Don’t put anymore wood in that stove either.”  Jack looked around the little shed and shyly asked Celeste where he could take a leak.  “Use that coffee can we found for now Jack, cause if you go outside you might freeze that stick of yours off and it won’t be any use for you tonight.”  Jack smiled and said, “You nasty girl, is that all you think of is getting poked?” Celeste roared with laughter, while Jack went into a corner and turned his back on her to begin his morning task.  

Wolf ran into the shed quickly full of snow.  He shook his furry body next to Celeste sending a blast of snow all over her.  “Wolf, what the hell!” Only that didn’t stop the lupus, he began to run in circles with frisky energy.  Celeste smiled happily at her friend until wolf ran into the peeing Jack’s back.  Sending him forward and dropping his pee can.

The loud noise that Jack produced when he fell to his doom against the wall while peeing was priceless. He quickly bellowed out loud. “You Son of a Bitch!  Damn you Wolf!  What the F*%^ Asshole, etc. etc…” Celeste stood in disbelief the foul words she heard coming out of Jack’s mouth. She began to giggle uncontrollably.  Wolf stood next to her wagging his tail, Celeste had to take a double look at the beast. She could have sworn she saw a mischievous smile on his hairy chops.

“Come here you Mother F*^*^  I’m going to kick your ass! You cut that shit out, right now!” Jack got up and started to head for wolf who suddenly tried to hide behind Celeste.  She couldn’t hold her tongue any longer when she saw Jack coming at wolf like a mad man with his limp stick hanging out.  

“Whoa there partner, easy does it my limp pistol.  He was only playing and didn’t mean you harm.  But I say he did a good job of pissing you off.”  She busted up with laughter.  Jack knew he blew up and tried to gather his composure.  How embarrassing to say the least for Jack, he try to recover by saying in a tender tone.   “I swear you two are against me.  What the hell am I going to do without you two when you leave me?” Celeste stop her laughter and became serious.  She didn’t want to think when the time came for her to say farewell to her partner in crime.

“I love you too Jack, now put your toy away and let’s quit this play, we have a long day ahead of us.  We have places to go and people to see.”  Jack didn’t know what she meant about toy until she used her eyes to show him his glory. He quickly tucked it in while turning a deep shade of red. 

They left the shed as they found it except covering the warm stove up. And when the pair got on their ATV to leave, it would not start.  Several times she turned the key for the engine to start, but in the end knew it had frozen the gas line.  “We will have to walk back to the airport Jack and have them pick this piece of shit up. I am sure its not that far, see it’s over there.” Celeste pointed in the direction the airport could be seen.  

It didn’t take the group long to enter into the small airport.  They were greeted by the same lady who help them out when they arrived.  “Oh my heavens,  we were so worried about you three last night.  We even had a few men out there looking for you,  but visibility was horrible and they returned empty handed. I should have told you that you could have spend the night in here, but I didn’t think.  I am sorry, can you forgive me?” Celeste smiled at her.  “Do not blame yourself, I too was not in a mood to think. So let’s try this again without pointing the finger at someone. I would like to know if you guys have a Snow Cat?” The young lady immediately smiled and confirmed they did.  “I am not pussy footin’ around here anymore, let me bring out the big guns to play with; because I will be dipped in doo-key if I am going to be caught with my pants down again.”  Celeste looked at Jack and gave him a playful wink. Jack smiled but suddenly became shy.

Quickly the young Inuit asked her if she knew how to drive the big machinery.  “Youngin’ I was born to drive anything an anyone before you probably were in diapers.”  Jack chuckled at the shocked look the Eskimo girl gave Celeste. He wanted to break out with laughter hearing her southern sassy cowgirl dialect shock the young lady.  All he could think of at this moment, is how good it felt to have his Nujalik back in good spirits ready to rock the world.

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“Rest Jack, I think we are experiencing a blizzard, I will watch the fire. Let’s hope we can leave in the morning.” Jack nodded with a warm belly and laid his body down on the floor next to wolf’s heated body.

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Celeste made the arrangements in a quiet manner for them to take a dog sled to get to Jack’s place. She pulled out the address where Jack’s love lived, an asked the counter helper how long it would take them to get there.  “It’s downriver in the tree people location, but not far from here. Just to let you know Miss, you might have to wait.  The snow is really coming down, tomorrow for sure we will arrange everything for you; however, you never know if that could happen with the constant change of weather.” Celeste only nodded silently that would be fine then added. “Is there a hotel here we can get for this evening.”

The young Inuit gal quickly told her there was no hotel’s in Noatak.  Celeste turned around and looked at Jack and Wolf who was sitting down waiting for her.  She couldn’t think straight, her head was jumbled with memories of her stallion.  All she wanted to do is be alone to deal with her emotions.  “Do you know where we can find a place to stay and may I leave my stuff here till morning?”  “I don’t know of any hotels Miss, but it is fine to leave your stuff here till morning.”

Jack approached the counter and asked Celeste if he could talk to her privately.  They moved away from the counter, then he whispered lightly to her.  “Nujalik, I know where we might be able to find shelter for the night if you are willing to go.  It is deep inside the trees?”  She looked outside through the windows and took note the heavy snow fall.  “Is it walking distance? Or should I rent a ATV?”  Jack became puzzled and didn’t know what a ATV was.  “Jack a ATV is an off road vehicle, we could sit together on it, but Wolf would have to run beside us.”  He nodded yes, she turned back to the counter, and asked the kind gal if she could rent a ATV.

The off road vehicle was waiting for them when they walked out of the airport building. It was freezing outside, but Celeste didn’t feel it.  Her body was numb from head to toe when she started the engine on the vehicle. Jack climbed on behind her and told her where to go.  The three cruised through the flat land heading into the little uptown village of Noatak. The snow started to fall faster while striking Celeste’s bare face with great force of sharp ice sickles.  Jack realized they would never make the track safely to where he thought to go into the trees. “Jack I can’t see!  We have to stop, there is no way we will make it, my visibility is becoming limited. The icy snow is piercing my eyes and face. Dude, it f*&*&^  hurts!”

Celeste slowed the motor vehicle down, while Wolf trotted next to his companions and staying out of the way of the vehicle. She could barely see the little homes as they slowly passed them by.  “Nujalik there is a little shed there, let’s go in there and wait the storm out.” Jack bellowed out behind her.  She followed his pointing mitten and went into the direction the best she could.  Wolf barked and ran towards the boarded up building.

Celeste shut off the vehicle and quickly went up to the small shed.  There was no way to get inside the building unless she pulled the boards away from an opening.  With that being said, the spitfire pulled with all her might.  Luckily, the flimsy board pulled away with her strong force, allowing enough room for each of them to crawl through the tight fitting hole.

Wolf quickly went inside first while Jack followed.  She returned to the ATV and grabbed her belongings, then crawled inside the small shack herself. She looked around the empty dark shed and couldn’t see a thing.  Getting into her back pack, she got out an emergency small candle and her lighter. The little candle gave a little glow in the shed enough for Celeste to find anything to cover the hole.

She saw a dirty plastic tarp lying on the dusty floor.  Giving Jack her candle to hold, she grabbed the cover and quickly covered the hole the best she could.  “Nujalik, this is a bad storm we have to find heat or we will freeze to death.” Celeste hadn’t thought about crashing out in a shack nor did she realize the drastic change in temps.  “Let me look around here for a source of heat darlin’, then we will see what we need to do.  One thing I do know, if we leave now we would get lost.  So lets see what we can make do with.”

Jack followed her around the small hut.  She picked up a big metal coffee can.  “This will work if we control it Jack, how about finding small pieces of wood we can use.  I have to find something to make a flume so the smoke can escape outside.”  “No need girl here is a small wood burner here in the corner covered up with trash.”

Celeste went over to the corner where the stove stood.  She quickly started to clear away the garbage. “I think it might be smokey for a little bit, but its warmth we need.  So lets see what we can burn.” Jack immediately started to pick up paper and wood pieces, while Celeste went over to a dark pile she spotted against the wall and pulled down the tarp.  She smiled and spoke out to Jack.  “Well my darlin’ we have been bless to have a pile of wood here. So I think we need to get some warmth in here and fast before my teeth start chattering together.”

In no time at all Celeste, had a small fire brewing.  It quickly took the bitter cold out of the shed while the blistery wind howled it’s anger outside.  Jack cleaned up the area with the little light they had, and made a small spot for them to sit on the floor close to the fire.  “Boy, I would love to have a cup of hot tea now Jack; but have nothing to warm it in, and for food I brought lots of jerky and one bottle water.  I didn’t see any pots laying around to warm water up, did you?” Jack got up off the floor and looked around the small place.  His eye immediately saw a small sauce pan handle.  He pulled the dirty pan out and began to wipe it clean with snow the best he could and handed it to her.

“Not bad Jack, I guess someone upstairs is watching out for us.” Jack didn’t say anything, he watched her pour the water bottle into the pan, and sat it on top of the wood burning stove to heat.  She started to break pieces of her jerky up an added it to the water to soften the meat and to create a hot broth to drink. Jack smiled at her.  What an amazing woman she was he thought to himself.  Not only smart in the head, but the girl knew how to survive in hard times.

“Yeah, I do get bright ideas once in a while Jack.” Jack smiled at her for invading his thoughts.  Any other time he would give her a tongue lashing but not tonight. They needed each other more than ever right now to with stand the bitter cold. Celeste added another log in the stove and sat down on the dirty floor next to Jack.  She stared into the warm blaze searching silently for a answer to Quad’s passing.

Jack stayed quiet and felt wolf wiggle himself between the pair of humans.  Celeste didn’t touch her friend until he whined.  “Yes my man, we have lost a member of our family.  But know this beast, he waits for us!” She ruffled his wet fur with love. “I’m sorry Jack for my outburst.  I just…I just…” She stammered unable to finish her sentence. She covered her cold hands to her face and shed her tears of sorrow.

Jack let her get the frustration out of her soul, while sitting quietly next to her and wolf on the cold floor.  He suddenly could feel her emotions assault him.  He let the tear fall freely from his one eye, as her heart began to shatter with overwhelming force into his soul.  “Please beautiful Nujalik, I can not bare your deep pain, it is hurting my heart.” Celeste slowly looked upon her friend for a few moments, unable to say a word.  Jack saw the emptiness her in eyes, she quickly turned her head back to the fire in a daze.

Jack got up off the floor and grabbed the handle on the pot.  He returned to his sitting spot, and placed the hot pan on the floor to cool off a little as he sat down cross legged. They shared the broth by drinking out of the pan, and when they reached the bottom, the jerky laid soft ready to suck on and eat.

“Rest Jack, I think we are experiencing a blizzard, I will watch the fire.  Let’s hope we can leave in the morning.” Jack nodded with a warm belly and laid his body down on the floor next to wolf’s heated body.  For many hours and into the morning her life memories flooded her silently as she sat in front of the warm fire saying goodbye to her horse spirit.  At last she smiled with joy, as she remembered the wonderful magical day she helped breathe life into the newly born colt’s lungs.

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