Welcome to another historical AnasaziStories flash fiction by Jeff Posey.
Astani looked up when Buffalo Boy tapped a stone on the low unfinished wall outside his mother’s house. He stood and walked out into the sunlight.
“They’re moving it at the next full moon,” Buffalo Boy said.
Astani nodded. That meant they had about ten days. “Details?” he asked.
Buffalo Boy worked in the Fat Man’s establishment keeping the girls alive, and he heard things.
“Like usual. They don’t want to arouse suspicion.” He laughed.
“Hey, I don’t know anything for sure. Neither do you.”
“So, what, ten burden bearers? Six warriors?”
Buffalo Boy laughed. “Yeah, and they won’t even know which one has it. Or what it’s worth.”
“But we do.” Astani didn’t like the way Buffalo Boy smirked and swaggered, but that’s how he always acted. So he said nothing about it. He knew it bothered him now only because of the stone. Bluestone, perfectly in the shape of the brilliant Day Star that faded after a full moon cycle years ago. Unworked by human hands, craftsmanship of the gods. The ancient cultures to the south would give anything for such a stone. The albino woman who now ruled the canyon with soft hands did not deserve such a gift. So instead, Astani would take it. Flee to the south with Buffalo Boy. They would live like High Priests.
“Will the warriors be elites?” Astani asked.
“Oh, of course, Led by that Choovio himself. They think everyone is afraid of him.”
“Aren’t you?” Choovio was a big man, a proven warrior, his face like stone.
“An arrow will pierce even his skin,” said Buffalo Boy. “We’ll take him down first.”
“And the others?”
“If we pick the right place, they won’t know what hit them.”
“So what’s the right place?”
Buffalo Boy paced in front of Astani, strutting. “That’s where my special gift comes in.” He pointed at his head. “They’ll be wary in the hills at the cut. They’ll all be looking up thinking at any minute they’ll be attacked.”
“It’s a good place,” Astani said, imagining rolling boulders onto them.
“But out on the plains after they’ve walked for two days, they’ll almost be sleeping on their feet. That’s where we’ll hit them.”
“Are you crazy? They’ll see us long before they get to us.” He shook his head and turned to walk away. He wouldn’t do it with Buffalo Boy if he thought something as stupid as this would work.
“Wait, Astani,” Buffalo Boy said, stepping in front of him. “You choose to forget the badger dens.”
Astani stopped and a faint grin pulled at the corners of his mouth. Yes, he remembered. Years ago as boys, they challenged each other to a footrace across the flatlands and Buffalo Boy had fallen into an old abandoned badger den. When Astani tried to help him, he fell into another old chamber. It took them hours to overcome their shock and fear of being trapped to work their way out. Of course. They could hide in those, watch the road, and jump out at the last moment.
Astani nodded. “It might work.”
Buffalo Boy stuck out his chest. “Of course it will. We will kill Choovio first. Then the other warriors. And the burden-bearers will be nothing. Then we’ll be rich. We’ll be gods.”
Astani kept nodding. “Yes,” he said, “gods.”
Choovio and the albino woman are a major characters from the historical Anasazi novel Less Than Nothing.