IN THE DAYS OF CYRUS
Cyrus Keali’iwahamana found himself walking across the great desert.
Cyrus had traveled several days through the elongated heat.
Like a woman betrayed the relentless heat was followed by the biting cold winds of crystal clear nights, which tested Cyrus to his absolute limits.
His mind had suspended all thought of things present, and resilent.
He had followed the four men to the point of death. Their trail had lead him here to this ancient well.
As Cyrus crawled upon hands and knees toward the aged well there was the one notion that he might actually have the chance to live, to recover his friend and get back home safe. His eyes tiredly darted back and forth.
Cyrus saw the tracks of both man and beast, but this overwhelming desire to drink caused him to depart from all cautionary instincts and training, for at this moment he was like a man filled with the insanity of jealousy and would not be denied the essence of life, this water. He began to grunt as he reached the well at last. “Come on, come on,” he chanted with each rotation of the pulley and rope that brought cold refreshing water to his lips. “Ahhh,” Cyrus grunted after swallowing handfuls of water. He washed his face and neck.
Cyrus now lay on his back staring up into the vastness of the quiet empty.
The stars began to gradually appear as the sun continued its journey to the other side of the earth.
This lone palm stood like a lighthouse in a sea of contradiction.
It proved to be in part, the preservation of the large native hawaiian. He lay in the shadows near the lone palm.
The black eagle sat perched above, staring down attentively at its newest charge. After drawing more water from the well, he attempted to drink slowly. His dry and cracked hands shook as he cupped the cool water. He lay down to rest for a bit.
Later, Cyrus slowly scraped out a small fire pit. He then gathered dried palm fronds, and dry twigs, from the fallen date clusters.
The black eagle had dropped a good sized lizard earlier. Cyrus, successfully built an organic fire, and roasted the lizard. Ten minutes later Cyrus crunchily devoured the four legged sand dweller. Cyrus began to doze off, exhausted and still very much dehydrated. He had gone two full days without water.
He stood, slightly swaying as a cool early evening breeze began to blow from the south. That could be good. As the darkness of night began to surround him, he located a small writing pad in his rucksack. Cyrus tore out several pages of things he had written since arriving in North Africa.
He stoked the fire before the temperature dropped. Cyrus placed twigs on the fire and lay back on his pallet. During the time since his chance meeting with Altair Ali in the jungle, Cyrus felt compelled to write about Altair; as well as his highly irregular introduction to this regal creature, this statuesque black eagle.
Cyrus recalled the night he lay in the tiger trap with the dying Altair. The black eagle had locked eyes with him.
It was an intense pairing.
His large brown hands now cupped the wood match.
His hands again trembled.
It ignited his inborn sense of survival as the fire began to greedily consume his hand written dreams. Cyrus kneeled near the fire, warming his soul.
As the sound of a coconut falling from a tree, something had fallen with a soft thud in the shadows just to the right of his fire.
Cyrus searched the dark.
He could hear the faint
breathing of something.
Cyrus stood slowly as he reached for a dried palm frond.
After placing it over the fire
he raised it shoulder high, and walked cautiously toward the sound. As he drew near, the glow of two fearful eyes stared back at him from the backdrop of unlimited blackness.
It was a rabbit.
It could move its feet, but the body could not follow.
Evidently the black eagle had severed it’s spine with it’s piercing talons.
As Cyrus reached for his knife he looked up into evening sky.
Cyrus then looked down at the rabbit and whispered,
“Mahalo nui loa, little one,” his voice quiet, soothing the frightened and dying creature. He knelt slowly next to the small rabbit.
He could hear the faint sounds of giant wings moving the air, as the black eagle disappeared into the early twilight of evening. The wind continued to caress the night, moving the landscape effortlessly; like ripples of waves upon this expanse of sand. Cyrus was not quite sure if the last several days could be coherently recalled in any sequential order. After swiftly dispatching the rabbit, he skinned and removed the entrails. He then rinsed it with the fresh water.
Cyrus had managed to keep a minute amount of hawaiian salt in a beaded leather medicine bag.
Notah had made it, and gave it
to him as a gift before the two men had shipped out from Schofield Barracks on the island of O’ahu. This was to be Notah’s first deployment. For Cyrus this was his third, and hopefully his last. The two friends had only been in country for a short time before seeing combat. It was a surprise counter attack by a small group of rag tagged, unshaven, german renegades who had vowed not to be taken alive. Cyrus had the opportunity to assist many of those german soldiers to fulfill their ill advised vow. During the chaos of the attack however, the two men had become separated.
It was as if Notah simply vanished.
Cyrus realized that if Notah had been captured, it was more than likely he was to be tortured and killed, because he was a Navajo Code Talker, so whoever had taken him, knew his value.
Cyrus had received an unexpected late night visit from Badr,
his Moroccan counterpart in Rabat, with regards the whereabouts of his friend.
There were three german soldiers, one officer, and two enlisted men.
The officer, Colonel Gunther Arnhold had spoken indiscreetly in the Moroccan market. They made a showy display of purchasing items, even hiring skilled men to guide them through this unfamiliar land. The boastful officer had said that the Americans wouldn’t lose any sleep over one dead Navajo. He had absolute confidence that they could travel unabated. The german officer understood well how Americans felt about the first peoples of the America’s. Gunther was an officinado of all things American.
It was no surprise to the him that Hitler had modeled his death camps after the American model of the reservation system. Hitler loved the history of America, it mirrored his own genocidal obsession.
Cyrus had been able to find a starting point, thanks to the information he had received from Badr and several Moroccan shop keepers.
Cyrus picked up their trail in the jungle.
After only a few hours of tracking he came under the umbrella of a bombing mission.
He was certain that it was friendly fire, but at this juncture it mattered little. He found cover and rode out the storm.
Cyrus had lost the trail of his friend and the three german soldiers.
He continued to search for the four men tracking slowly into the night, when he came across a mortally wounded Altair Ali, and
his intriguing companion.
Cyrus’ thoughts slowly drifted back to the present.
The black eagle had delivered the rabbit to him alive.
Perhaps his walk about in
the desert would end, and lead to his friend Notah.
After thanking the rabbit for giving it’s life,
Cyrus opened his palms in gratitude. After Cyrus spread the coals of the fire, he rubbed the rabbit with a small amount of salt, and placed the rabbit across the glowing bed of coals and embers. Cyrus lay again on his back searching the stars as the sounds of the rabbit cooking over the fire danced noisily in his ears. He would eat, and sleep in small windows of time.
Cyrus knew Notah wouldn’t survive if he didn’t locate him in the next few days.
1944 was fast approaching as
this theater of war was drawing ever closer to it’s
Cyrus and Notah had been deployed to North Africa to reestablish communications in the region.
Cyrus had been officially drafted as a communications specialist, but in reality was recruited for his renowned prowess in warfare.
Cyrus was a practitioner in the ancient hawaiian martial art of Lua.
World War II was finally seeing it’s end game; as the german forces began to taste one bitter defeat
But at the moment Cyrus was only interested in three german soldiers, men who had taken, tortured, and or killed his friend.
War or no war he wanted proof of life, and if that wasn’t avaliable,
have to do.
One thing was certain,
Cyrus wasn’t going anywhere
until he located his friend Notah.