Deep Hum Productions
Copyright © 2016 by Connie Powell Walck Tyler
Deep Hum Productions (www.deephum.com)
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, Deep Hum Productions, 2322 8th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
Published in the United States of America.
Cover art by Katie W. Stewart, Magic Owl Design ()
and Connie Pwll Walck Tyler
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
The Earth Woman Tree Woman Quartet
is dedicated to my ancestors,
the tall, wise oak trees
who spoke to me when I was a child,
and to the wolf who lived back of a gas station in Alaska,
who dances in my dreams.
My thanks go to Kenneth and Bridget Tyler, Lissa Dirrum, Holly Coats-Bash, Dan Ross, Allysson MacDonald, Carina Ho, and Paul Dinas, Book Editor, for their willingness to read and suggest changes to the manuscript;
to Tony Zaatari of Media Masters for all the help with the recording and mixing of the music; to Katie Winton-Henry for singing The Butterfly Song for me and encouraging me; to Matthew Curtis of for singing all four parts on some of the songs; to for help with formatting; to for her patience and willingness in creating the cover art; to founders, Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter, for giving me a place to dance and sing my new ideas and dreams; and all the InterPlayers who have given me support through the years.
In memoriam, thanks go to Dr. Scott Coulter whose help with the music when I first started this musical novel changed my life forever;
To my father, Henry Z. Walck, who read and tried to promote the first permutation many, many years ago, and my mother who read poetry to me when I was very young.
The Wolves Song: I am the Wild
Warm is the Earth Listen…
Water of Life
The Wolves Song: I am the Wild
The Dogs Hunt
Earth Woman, Tree Woman’s Song: Warm is the Earth
The Earth’s Song: Breath
May You Be Happy
Answer the Call of the Earth and the Sun
Song of the Island Goddess
We Are You
The Earth’s Song: Breath
The Cougar’s Song: I am I
Tata’s Song: High Flier Listen…
Vibrating Strings of Things
The Wolves Song
The Squirrels Song
The Coyotes Song
Answer the Call of the Earth and the Sun
The Dance of Life
The Wolves Song: I am the Wild
Answer the Call of the Earth and the Sun
I am the wild, the freeborn, earth traveler!
My soul singing touches the moon and the sun.
I am the herald, the seeker, the messenger.
I bear the song for those seeking the One.
I am the hunter, the knower, the lover.
My voice like a spear pierces deep in the night.
I am the lone, the many, the mirror.
My call is like lightning, jagged and bright!
Summary of Book One, Two, and Three
[Of the Earth Woman Tree Woman Quartet:
(Available as ebooks at] and .)
Giselle, a shy young activist teacher, hears an elusive melody in her head that seems to be a message from the stray cat who walked boldly into her apartment. A majestic homeless woman sings her a prophesy, and a red-tailed hawk silently urges her to travel north from the city of Bayomar to Arundel, a rural farming community on the north coast, where she finds an oceanside house next to a hilly forest, and a new job.
Three people in Arundel have been waiting for Giselle, believing that she, and two children, ENID and JESÚS, 9, are missing pieces in their attempt to bring humans back to the dance of life – the TSIN TWEI – at NINAS TWEI, a mystical place where all the species of earth dance together for the continuance of life on earth – all, that is, except Homo sapiens, whose greed makes them unable to join the dance. YAMENO, 30, is an artist, the last member of the Tuwillian nation living in Arundel and guardian of the sacred spring. His nation has long had a tradition of transforming into their TLA TWEIN (mythical characters) and traveling to NINAS TWEI to watch and guard the dance. Yameno’s Tla Twei is the WOLFWIND, a large grey wolf. DAN, 50, a black gardener and scholar, becomes TATA SUNDANCER, a red-tailed hawk. HAZEL, 47, an older red-headed librarian, is LUHANADA MOONMOTHER, a cougar.
With subtle, often musical encounters, Giselle and the children are drawn into the group. Yameno, carves a life-sized sculpture of Giselle’s Tla Twei, the EARTH WOMAN TREE WOMAN. When he gives it to her, they find they can transform to their Tla Twein and join, becoming all things – wolf and tree, earth, water, and air.
But Enid’s grandfather, GUNTHER, who learned the secrets of the Tla Twein when married to Hazel’s sister, blames Hazel and the others for his wife’s death. When he stumbles on an encounter between Enid and the cougar he knows is Hazel, he arouses the town and a cougar hunt is planned by the racist hardware store owner, COFFMAN and JARVIS TARRANT, the minister of the local small independent church.
Ninas Twei is in imminent danger. Hunt or no hunt, the Tla Twein must travel there. On the day of the cougar hunt, Giselle, the children, Yameno, Hazel, and Dan meet in a forest clearing where, singing their songs, they transform to their Tla Twein journeying to Ninas Twei through a vortex splashed with color – and sometimes pierced by tremors and sharp pain. In Arundel Jesús and Enid are reported missing and the townspeople’s hunt for the cougar turns to one for the children.
In Ninas Twei they watch the beautiful dance of life and travel to the WEAVING TREE where the lives of all humans are chronicled. The source of the tremors and pain is somewhere beneath this tree and it is dying. Giselle can trace people’s stories through the weaving and see the relationship between the problems on earth and the absence of humans from the dance. She can see how people’s lives have been rent by distress and realizes that part of her job is to mend the torn people of the world.
Suddenly the ground shakes and a gapping crevice opens up swallowing the screaming children. The others are tossed back to earth in their human form just as the hunters come down the path into the clearing. Obsessed with anger, Gunther raises his gun accusing Hazel of being “the devil”. Hazel and Dan have only a moment to transform to their Tla Twein as he shoots. Hazel and Dan disappear, leaving behind the bodies of a cougar and a hawk. Jarvis Tarrant has a moment of epiphany, understanding that his hatred of Hazel was jealousy, that he really loved her.
The deputy and the hunters are quick to deny what they have seen, but Tom, Coffman’s grandson, whose darker skin and straight black hair seem a strange contrast to Coffman’s blond coloring, surreptitiously slips his cellphone into his pocket. Has he recorded the shooting?
The children cannot be found and Giselle and Yameno are accused of kidnapping them. As they traverse the path down the hill back of Giselle’s house in the custody of the sheriff, Giselle feels the wonder and joy of Ninas Twei seeping away from her.
Hazel and Dan find themselves in a gray empty place. They call to each other, their voices growing fainter and fainter as they float away from each other.
The gray cat sits on the porch watching the humans moving single-file down the hillside. The hunters and the deputy are taking Giselle and Yameno to jail.
Giselle’s brother-in-law, a lawyer, manages to get her charges dropped contingent to her commitment to a mental institution in the city. At the institution, she meets SHEN CH’I, a volunteer whose daughter, AN LIEN, was once a patient. He arranges for Giselle to leave and teach at a homeless shelter for teenagers. The children introduce her to AYOABIA, who is the homeless singer who predicted that Giselle would “go and return” before she left for Arundel. Giselle learns that the teenagers at the shelter form unhealthy homogeneous gangs that sometimes just disappear.
Yameno is released from jail for insufficient evidence. He, with the help of sympathetic community members, tries again and again to return to Ninas Twei to save the children, but fails. They hope Dan and Hazel, having died as their Tla Twein, as cougar and hawk, are at Ninas Twei rescuing them.
An Lien, who uses a wheelchair, is researching corporate malfeasance for ONE EARTH TOGETHER, an organization planning a worldwide demonstration, and discovers highly damaging secret connections between corporations and political groups. She and Giselle attend a meeting for the upcoming demonstration. Giselle finds she can become the Earth Woman Tree Woman and gather the attention of the squabbling factions to listen to An Lien. She is delighted to find a shadowy Wolfwind at her side. A man who is secretly filming the meeting is discovered, but he manages to escape jumping into a waiting car.
KASIMER GODDARD, CEO of Goldstream Oil, is alarmed by the information gathered by the spy, arranging for An Lien to be kidnapped. His first attempt fails when Giselle becomes the Earth Woman Tree Woman, her branches forming a protective cage around An Lien. A shadowy Wolfwind nips at the kidnappers’ heels, chasing them back to their car.
That night Giselle hides at the secret meeting place of the gang of white teenagers watching two older white men gather them into a circle, give them something to drink, and teach them a white supremacist slogan. Suddenly all of them, except the two men and a dog belonging to one of the teenagers, vanish! They just aren’t there. Giselle has a vision which she later realizes is as if she were the dog’s companion, trapped in a very small area with a voice screaming at him.
Despite being warned by Giselle, the Latino gang goes to meet with the men who are their “recruiters”. They too disappear. Ayoabia and Giselle sing and spin a lament for the lost children of Bayomar.
Tata and Luhanada, drifting in grayness since their deaths, can hear each other calling, but their voices are farther and farther away.
Tata is not at Ninas Twei, but somewhere among the stars where he is taken on a wild journey to the beginning of the universe “sucked into a tiny lump with all the quarks, and leptons, and dark neutralinos.” They travel through time with the Big Bang, experiencing the creation of stars and galaxies, finally discovering once living planets that are dead. “Why?” he asks the Neutralinos who accompany him. “Greed,” they respond.
Luha finds herself back in Ninas Twei by the Weaving Tree without Tata, now in cougar form forever. She must rescue Enid and Jesús on her own.
She leaps down the crevice where the children fell, finding a huge cavern split by a deep canyon filled with gray eggs as big as a small room. Across the canyon in a smaller cave is a strange very symmetrical city. The children’s scent leads to the edge of the canyon, but if there is a way into the canyon it must be in the strange city.
She hides as men begin leaving the outer buildings, heading for the octagonal tower at the center of the city. The sculpted outer walls are covered with disturbing images. She explores the city, but sees no evidence of the children. The men, standing on a raised platform in front of the tall building, gather frightened women and children in front of them with the intention of publicly punishing some of them for disobeying. Incensed, Luha screeches a cougar scream and leaps to the platform, standing protectively over one of the women and a small child. The men fire automatic weapons at her, but the bullets disappear in her body. She is, after all, already dead.
The men flee inside, and the women back to the outer buildings, except for Kujikali, a young girl who had been slated for punishment. Kuji tells Luha about the underground city, a secret “retreat center” for a group of powerful men who call themselves the Giants of God. Luha takes Kuji back up the crevice to Ninas Twei. Kuji changes form and becomes her Tla Twei, the goddess Durga.
Luha returns to the city to look for the children and is captured by the men who lock her in a cage.
Kuji explores Ninas Twei gathering others who like Tuwillia and Singing Swan have come to Ninas Twei after their death as their Tla Twei to save Ninas Twei from the terrible earthquakes they have all felt.
In the big gray eggs at the bottom of the canyon Enid and Jesús, whose labor is used to provide electricity for the city, aren’t waiting to be rescued. They find a way out of their eggs and work to rescue the people trapped in the other eggs. The escaped prisoners find a way into the basements below the city. There is no one there, but two elevators seem to go up into the city above. One of the elevators starts humming. Someone is coming.
Hunter’s Moon, Waning to Last Quarter]
On that terrible morning, after Giselle, Shen Ch’i, and Sidney knew they had missed saving Los Gallos, An Lien and her dad went home to pack for the trip to Arundel while Giselle taught her class. There was nothing they could do to help Los Gallos at the moment, so postponing the trip would serve no purpose. The Commandos and the Ikemen Ninjas, shaken by the events, joined Giselle’s class. Deborah and the other counselors planned extra activities for the afternoon to keep them busy.
An Lien had suggested they could make a video to post on VidYou interviewing Giselle, Yameno, and the others involved in the trips to Ninas Twei, but meanwhile, she posted a short version of the story on LifeFriends and referred to the anonymous video that showed the murder of Hazel and Dan. She also mentioned the story about the woman demonstrator who apparently became an Ibex when she died, and the giant otters in Brazil. There was no way of knowing if any of them had ever visited Ninas Twei.
Could people who gave their lives for a cause that helped the Tsin Twei, focus on a totem, transform, and go to Ninas Twei? She posed the question on LifeFriends and watched as a lively discussion grew up around it. Many people mentioned having totem animals, or favorite saints, or mythical heros. One person mentioned the OET demonstrations. Perhaps, if people had a totem to focus on, he suggested, they could take on some of the attributes of the totem to help them stand strong against the police. “Those of us who are Native Americans will be having drumming circles and dances, that day, too, in solidarity with OET,” added one woman. “We’ve always had totems.”
An Lien’s father poked his head in her bedroom door asking her if she was ready to travel.
“I’ll pack quickly,” An Lien promised, shutting down her laptop.
Shen Ch’i took the inland freeway, rather than the more picturesque, but much longer coastal route Giselle had taken on her summer trip north. Giselle, An Lien, Shen Ch’i, and Sidney had lots to talk about, filling each other in about their pasts, bandying about different ideas on how to keep more homeless youth from being pulled into the influence of the recruiters, and wondering who it was that tried to kidnap An Lien. “At least you should be safe up here,” added Sidney.
They planned to stay at Giselle’s little house on the coast, but stopped first in town at Jarvis Tarrant’s home to meet over a potluck dinner. Yameno was waiting for them in the shadow of the doorway, moving out to greet them as they pulled up in front of the house. Giselle climbed out of the van and into his arms. He held her and she felt the whisper of the wind in her hair.
Almost all the second group of travelers to Ninas Twei and their supporters were there. The religious leaders Jarvis, Clare, and Keegan (but not Micah who was celebrating the Sabbath); Jesús’s parents, Dorotea and Billy McCrea; the doctor and historian couple, Mark and Muriel Chase, and this time the group included Giselle’s old principal, Nicki and her partner, Penny.
Nicki had brought Giselle’s dogs. Giselle cried as she cuddled the dogs’ wiggling bodies and let them lick her face. The gray cat, who was living with Yameno and Tarrant, waited patiently for his turn and kindly allowed her to gather him into her arms for a long hug.
She was startled to see Gunther Amundsen hovering in the background as they got their food, and found chairs and floor space in the living room. She looked at Yameno who smiled encouragingly, and in a low voice said, “It’s okay. Keegan has been working with him. He’s one of us now.”
“But he killed Hazel and Dan!” she whispered back.
He nodded. “Yes, but… he’s different now. Keegan would call it an epiphany.”
Gunther, seeing her look at him, walked slowly over .
“Ms. Raphael, please…” He hesitated, his voice almost a whisper. “Please… I’m so sorry. I know you only had Enid’s best interest at heart.”
Giselle looked at the floor, for a moment at a loss of words. “But Hazel and Dan…”
He turned his head away, but not before she had seen his eyes fill with tears. “There is no way I can be forgiven for that,” he whispered.
Giselle took a deep breath and turned toward the window, staring out into the dark. Yameno touched her shoulder and she looked up at him. Could he forgive Amundsen for killing his closest friends?
She thought of Kuan Yin reaching out to hear the cries of the world and the Weaving Tree full of rips needing repair.
Breathing deeply she turned to face Amundsen. She reached out a hand. “Yes, Mr. Amundsen, I would rather be friends than enemies.”
He took her hand. “I’m Gunther,” he added.
“And I’m Giselle.”
The cat twined himself in and out of their legs.
When they were all settled Yameno told about their failed attempts to return to Ninas Twei. Giselle told of the disappearance of the Shanti Place young people and An Lien added what she had found on the internet about groups that disappear.
Sidney spoke up. “Do you think they related? I mean the traveling to Ninas Twei, the children falling down that crevice, and the disappearance of our kids and these other groups?”
Clare spoke up. “It seems to me it can’t be a coincidence – Giselle coming up here and finding out about Ninas Twei, and then Giselle going down there and finding out about these disappearances.”
“And this woman, Ayoabia,” added Muriel. “She seems to tie both things together… somehow.”
Giselle looked around the room. Everyone was nodding. “They feel very different. Going to Ninas Twei was so beautiful, so ecstatic. The place I went to – where it seemed like I was Bandit’s owner – was horrible – and the Avengers and Los Gallos disappearing makes my stomach hurt. Ninas Twei felt right. This feels wrong.”
She paused for a moment. “But so did our arrest, and…” She paused. “Hazel and Dan…”
“Yes,” nodded Keegan. “They seem like opposites, but there’s something similar.”
“But the travelers to Ninas Twei are concerned for the whole world,” Clare exclaimed.
“And the gangs that disappear are… ho-mo-gen-e-ous.” Sidney said the word carefully, turning and grinning at Giselle. “And they’re haters.”
They also talked about the OET meeting – how Yameno was there in shadowy wolf form supporting Giselle in her shadowy tree form. Giselle told of the man filming An Lien and the later attack on the street, how she became the Earth Woman Tree Woman, and again, Yameno was there. “And the Tree Woman wasn’t a shadow either,” added An Lien. “She was tall and rooted in the sidewalk. If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t believe it.”
Nicki looked skeptical, but the rest just nodded.
“An Lien has found some other interesting stuff on the internet,” Giselle added, telling about the woman who turned into an Ibex, and the Brazilians who became Giant Otters. “She’s started a discussion on the internet and related it all to our journey to Ninas Twei.”
“People are talking about using totems in the OET demonstrations,” added An Lien. “About how they could draw strength from them.”
Muriel laughed. “That’s great. Our Interfaith Council is doing something very similar for the demonstration.” She told about Nanda’s idea for posters talking about the effect of logging and fracking on the local wildlife.
“How about you, Sidney?” Yameno smiled at the young man. “Have you chosen a totem? I’ve heard about Shen Ch’i and the dragon, An Lien and the Laughing Dove, but I haven’t heard that you’ve chosen something.”
Sidney grinned. “I been thinking ‘bout that. I like the African Gray Parrot. Smart and chatty – like to live in a large community and cooperate with others to get food and stuff. ‘Observant of other cultures, and capable of mimicking them.’ That’s what it says online. Also good at camouflage.” He laughed.
Shen Ch’i laughed. “That’s perfect.”
Yameno reached down under his chair and pulled out a wooden image of an African Gray Parrot in flight. Its extended wings reminded Giselle of the usual depiction of an archangel’s wings, its feathers long and separate as they extended outward from the curve of the wing bones. It was carved out of gray driftwood. Red-stain covered the fanning tail and just touched the tips of the wing feathers. He handed it to Sidney.
Sidney took it in his hands and caressed it lovingly. “How did you know?” he whispered. “How did you know?”
“I felt compelled… I felt compelled to carve it.” He smiled shaking his head a little. He’d carved it sitting by the spring – guarding the spring.
“And this one, too.” He reached down again and pulled out another carving. This one was of a beautiful young black woman, her head thrown back, her mouth open in song, as she rose up out of ocean waves, holding a crescent moon in her hands. A dolphin tail rose out of the ocean behind her. “Who is this one for?”
“Miesha,” exclaimed Sidney. “It’s Miesha.”
He turned to Giselle. “It’s what I see in the shadow around her when she sings. I see her, just like that.”
“Yemonja,” said Muriel. “It’s Yemonja. She’s an Orisha from the Yoruban tradition. She’s goddess of the oceans, a mother goddess, and a healer of sadness.”
Sidney laughed. “She got to grow up a little to take that all on, but that sounds like her. She a healer of sadness right now!”
Shen Ch’i, An Lien, and Giselle all nodded their heads, smiling.
“She’s thirteen,” Giselle explained. “And I think she has a kind of secret connection with the woman Ayoabia. They seem sometimes to communicate silently.”
Sidney nodded his head. “Yes. She real close to Ayo.”
Yameno handed the carving to Sidney. “Will you take this to her?”
Sidney nodded. “Maybe we’re headed to Ninas Twei, too.”
He looked around at all the smiling nodding faces and turned to Giselle, “And maybe Ayoabia…” He didn’t finish, but Giselle understood. Ayoabia was involved in this somehow.
Shen Ch’i turned to Yameno. “And your group will be trying again, very soon?”
Dorotea, who had been sitting silently throughout the conversation, spoke up. “We have to keep trying. Over and over again until we get there.” She wiped her eyes on her sleeve, and Billy put his arm around her.
Yameno nodded. “Yes. I don’t know what else to do.”
Before they left to go to Giselle’s house for the night Yameno told them to be careful. “People have thrown rocks through the windows of Jarvis’s church and spray painted ‘Church of the Devil’ on the wall. I’m worried they’ll find out you’re back at your house. Just be careful.”
Giselle nodded and after a lot of handshaking and hugging, the Bayomar group gathered back in the big van and headed to the little house by the ocean, accompanied by the two dogs and the gray kitty.
Saturday morning Giselle, followed by the dogs and the cat, slipped out of her little house early and went to sit by the Earth Woman Tree Woman, first sitting facing her, drinking in her treeness, and then leaning back against her looking out at the ocean. She breathed deeply, and slowly found that her muscles – so tight for so long – were relaxing.
Warm, warm is the earth,
giving its fullness
to reach for the sun.
My roots mingling in her
bring me my life blood,
and when I die
it is she they become.
Tears rolled down her cheeks.
It had been so wonderful, that trip to Ninas Twei, and yet so frightening – the pain they had all felt, like Ninas Twei itself was in pain – the children falling, and then finding themselves back at Yameno’s clearing surrounded by those men and their guns.
But now there was Bayomar and Ayoabia – and through OET, the rest of the world. All connected, she thought. She put her head back against the Earth Woman Tree Woman and closed her eyes again. The cat crawled into her lap.
There was a rustling sound, and she heard someone beside her. She opened her eyes to see Yameno kneeling next to her. “Have you been there long?” she asked.
“I’ve been out here all night, guarding.”
He shrugged. “Just in case. I don’t think Coffman and his crew have had time to know you’re back, but…” He reached over and wiped the tears off her face.
“I want to stay here,” she whispered, “and I want – I need to be there.”
He pulled her into his arms, tumbling the cat out on to the ground. “Come with me to the spring,” he whispered, becoming wolf. Giselle, slipped easily into her Earth Woman Tree Woman form, riding the Wolfwind as he circled the meadow and dashed up the path, his feet barely touching the ground, slowing only as they approached his clearing.
She cried out as they passed the remains of his little house. “No matter,” he howled. “All that matters is the spring,” and he slipped quietly down the path to the edge of the little pool.
They took human form and Yameno knelt and reached under the waterfall with cupped hands. Giselle knelt next to him and he brought his hands up in front of her, and she cupped her hands under his and drank. Then she reached her cupped hands into the fall and brought water to him, and he drank.
Water of life, he sang.
Water of the soul of earth,
wash me in your love.
She joined him, and their voices rose together, the rhythm of the falling water singing beneath their song.
Singing through the voice of the wind,
Dance with me, sing with me,
Take my hand as a lover,
Make me one with you.
“You’re the earth and the tree,” he whispered. “I’m the wind and the water. We need each other. No matter how far apart, you can call me and I will come.”
“And can you call me, as well?” she asked.
He nodded, smiling, and pulled her into his arms.
When they returned to the house, they found breakfast was waiting for them and a very excited An Lien. “It’s going viral,” she explained. “The story is going viral even without a video!”
A little later at Jarvis’ house, as An Lien was rolling off the hydraulic lift on the side of the van, a pickup truck came around the corner, and then slowed down. The driver stared at them, looking at each one of them in turn, his eyebrows narrowing as he looked at Sidney.
“It’s Mr. Dickerson,” muttered Giselle, as he gunned the engine and sped down the street away from them.
“Not good,” Yameno added, “but I don’t know how we could’ve prevented that.”
“Let’s do the video,” An Lien urged. “Then I can put it online right away.”
They chose a spot under a tree in the back yard and soon Giselle and Yameno were busy telling their story to Muriel, who was asked to be the interviewer.
The rest gathered in the living room and talked about the upcoming OET demonstrations. Sidney pointed out that all the kids in his group were going, but the kids in the other groups had been opposed to the demonstration. “Dirk said that marches and demonstrations were for ‘mongrels’.” He looked up at the rest of them. “That probably means their ‘recruiters’ were against the demonstrations.”
“And since the demonstrations are against large corporate interests…” added Micah. Several of the others nodded their heads.
“Could be a connection,” agreed Shen Ch’i, “but there’s also the sense of all kinds of people working together for a common cause.”
“Yes, that’s certainly contrary to the idea of ‘birds of a feather hanging together’ that the recruiters seem to be promoting,” added Clare.
“Birds don’t really do that,” added Micah, who had excused himself from the Synagogue activities for the day.
The video was finished quite quickly. They had all told their stories often enough to be dramatic and precise.
“It’s good, I think,” An Lien grinned. “Everyone was very earnest, very intense.”
Sidney helped her set up the laptop on a desk in the living room. It only took a moment to download the video from the camera and pull it into the editing program. They all gathered around An Lien, and the cat jumped up on An Lien’s lap starring at the screen. “He’s watching, too,” giggled An Lien.
“It’s terrific,” exclaimed Penny. “Muriel, you’re really good at getting straight to the point.” The others all nodded.
“Yes, I think it’s…”
Suddenly the house resonated like a drum as rocks hit the walls and one came flying through the front window.
“Duck,” yelled Jarvis, as the dogs barked wildly and the cat flew down the hall to the back of the house.
“An Lien, get to the back,” Shen Ch’i called out as Sidney grabbed her wheelchair and pushed her quickly down the hall toward the bedrooms.
“The video,” exclaimed Giselle, grabbing the computer and paraphernalia, and dashing after them. Sidney found a bedroom that faced on the backyard, away from the rock throwers, and An Lien grabbed her computer out of Giselle’s hands. “I’ll upload the video right now!”
“I’ll stay here and protect An Lien.” Sidney grabbed a straight backed chair, standing back of An Lien, ready to heft the chair against anyone who broke in and Giselle ran back to the living room where everyone was crouched behind furniture. Clare was on the phone to the sheriff’s office. “They say it will take thirty minutes for the deputy to get here.”
Outside rocks were still flying, and the attackers were yelling. “Go home. We don’t need no devil worshipers here…” “Yeah, and take your nigger with you…” “And the chinks and ginks and Jews, too.”
Another projectile came flying through the window, streaming fire.
Yameno grabbed a sofa cushion, pushing it on top of the flaming bottle as it hit the rug. The others grabbed more sofa and chair cushions, piling them on the first one, and holding them down so the flames would be completely smothered.
There was stunned silence both inside and out before a young voice yelled, “Holy crap, Dickerson. You’ll kill someone.”
Someone else said, “Shut up, Tom,” and again there was silence.
“Did we put it out?” asked Micah.
“I hope so.” Yameno looked up from where he was pinning the sofa cushions down over the object. “Do you think we should look and see if it’s out?”
Everyone in the room looked bewildered. “I’m afraid none of us has experience with Molotov cocktails,” Keegan added dryly, “but since nothing has exploded…”
Coffman’s voice broke the silence yelling, “Go home, you fucking mongrels. Take that teacher with you, and your nigger, and go home. And the rest of you, go with them. We don’t want you devil worshippers here in Arundel.”
There was a lot of car door slamming and engine revving, as the attackers tore off down the street.
Jarvis laughed a little. “Scared themselves, I think.”
Afterwards Sidney mentioned the use of the word ‘mongrels’. “Same word as the recruiters use with the kids.”
“Those news people on TV,” explained Dorotea. “They use this word a lot.”
“Yes, I’ve heard it, too,” added Micah.
When the deputy sheriff showed up thirty minutes later, he looked over the damage and wrote up a report. He listened to their description of what had happened and who had done it, but never met their eyes. When they showed him the partially melted plastic bottle, still containing some gasoline, he did mutter, “Shit, plastic. What an idiot,” and carefully put it in an evidence bag, but otherwise he hardly said a word.
They followed him as he walked back toward his car, the cat padding quietly behind them. “We haven’t enough deputies to cover everything that happens in the county and,” he looked around at them significantly, “you bring this on yourselves.”
Keegan raised his eyebrows at him. “We’ve told you who the perpetrators are. That should be sufficient to make an arrest.”
The deputy shrugged. “It’s just their word against yours. I’ll file a report, but that’s all I can do.”
The cat moved between the deputy and his car.
Keegan nodded his head. “I see. And if there are fingerprints on the bottle?”
The deputy shrugged turning back toward his car in time to see the cat standing in front of him staring at him with unblinking eyes, then slowly sitting, curling his tail around himself, the tip flicking back and forth.
“Shit!” The deputy stumbled backwards closing his notebook with a snap. Giving the cat a wide berth, he headed for his car saying – without turning around – “I’ll turn in a report.”
The rest stood around in the front yard looking at the damage.
Billy turned to Jarvis. “We need to repair the windows. We’ll have to get the glass in Robertsville.” He grinned. “I don’t think we should go to Coffman’s Hardware for it!” Micah went with him and as they passed the hardware store, Micah pointed to the sheriff’s car parked on the side street next to the store.
Inside the store, the deputy was reaming out Coffman, who had just finished yelling at Dickerson. “A Molotov cocktail? You know I can’t just let that pass. Rein in your people, Coffman, or I’ll have to make an arrest. I can’t ignore Molotov cocktails, even if the bottle was plastic.” He rolled his eyes. “Who do you think you are? Terrorists?”
By the time Billy and Micah got back to Jarvis’ house, the others had reluctantly decided nothing could be done for Enid and Jesús except to keep trying to get to Ninas Twei every day. They would try again that night.
Dorotea had a gaunt, lost look on her face, but agreed.
“We’ll all keeping trying to find another solution,” Keegan added. “We must, but let’s hope you can find your way back to Ninas Twei soon.”
They were more optimistic about the possibilities of the demonstrations. The Arundel and Robertsville group would be marching on the county courthouse where there would be a sit-in demanding that the county park not be sold for logging and fracking. A poster making party was planned for Sunday with Nanda at the Buddhist center, and Muriel had been preparing information on the impact of logging and fracking on the native wildlife and the sacred lands of the Tuwillian people. An Lien showed Muriel how to trace the companies involved back to their parent corporations and how to trace their relationship to problems in other places in the world.
Giselle and Yameno agreed that whether or not there was any connection between the demonstrations and Ninas Twei, the goals of the demonstrations fit the needs of the Weaving Tree. “The connections we form with each other and others in the world will be recorded in the weaving. If we stop some of the destruction of the earth and its peoples, the weaving will get stronger. We’ll be closer to becoming a grandsoul and a part of the Tsin Twei.”
When they finished talking, Yameno turned to Giselle and Shen Ch’i. “I think you need to go back to Bayomar now, rather than tomorrow. I don’t think you’ll be safe out at your house. You should leave, and we should make sure that Coffman knows you’ve left.”
Shen Ch’i nodded. “Yes. There’s no need to take that risk.”
Giselle sighed, and nodded.
Yameno pulled her to him. “Remember,” he whispered, “we’re together wherever we are.”
They left soon after, stopping back at the house so Giselle could pick up some of her things to take back to Bayomar, including, of course, the little wooden Kuan Yin. She hugged Yameno, and with the gray kitty curled in her arms, climbed into the van, closely followed by the dogs.
They arrived back in the city late Saturday night. Shen Ch’i dropped Giselle and Sidney off, and took An Lien home with him, promising – when she wanted to return to her own apartment – he would take her to the Sunday meditation at the Buddhist Center around the corner from her building. She and Giselle would go together to the OET meeting later that evening.
The next morning Giselle brought the dogs and the gray cat, sitting regally on her shoulder, to Shanti Place. The Shanti Place dogs gathered around, wagging their tails and touching noses with the two newcomers.
“Meow,” commanded the cat.
The dogs all looked up at the cat and immediately sat, their tails gently sweeping behind them. None of them barked. None of them jumped up on Giselle.
“Weird,” muttered Sidney.
“Is that going to work?” Deborah asked.
“My dogs reacted the same way when the cat first came,” Giselle laughed. The cat jumped off her shoulder into the midst of the dogs, and walked off down the room, exploring. The dogs watched and wagged, much to the delight of the young people.
Deborah shook her head.
Soon An Lien came rolling in followed by Shen Ch’i. “The video’s gone viral. The OET people are excited about it, and telling all their marchers to find pictures and stuff of animals and mythical creatures they identify with, and meditate on them before the march!”
“Speaking of which,” Sidney reached down into a bag at his feet. “Miesha, what do you think of this?”
He held out the wood carving of Yemonja.
Miesha’s mouth dropped open. She was speechless as she stared at the sculpture in her hands.
“It’s you, Miesha.” Sidney smiled. “Isn’t it? Giselle’s friend Yameno made it for you.”
Miesha nodded shyly. “It’s Yemonja. Ayoabia said…” her voice faded off. “Anyway, she a totem for the march like An Lien’s video talk about, isn’t she?”
“Do you have one, Sidney?” asked Rashaun.
“Yup,” he replied, pulling out his parrot. “An African Gray Parrot.”
Rashaun’s eyes narrowed as looked at it.
“You could find yourself a totem, too, Rashaun. You don’t have to go with those men. You could join us. We can be African and part of everyone else, too.”
Rashaun didn’t respond, but as he turned to get his breakfast his brow was furrowed and he was nodding his head.
The three Ikemen Ninjas were also watching. “What about you, Shen Ch’i,” one asked. “You have a totem?”
“Yes, I do,” he nodded at the boy. “I’m Ti-Tien-Lung, a dragon that’s also an oak tree circling the earth. There’s a gallery on Hopely Street that has lots of paintings and sculptures by the same man that made Miesha’s Yemonja and Sidney’s parrot. Or you can make your own.”
He nodded at one of the young men. “Min, you’re very good at drawing. You could make totems for yourself and for others. They should be something with qualities you admire. Something that makes you feel strong, and grounded, and capable.”
The boy’s eyebrows narrowed thoughtfully, but he, too, said nothing more as he joined the food line.
Maria turned, laughing, to Shen Ch’i. “I’m going to be a butterfly. I’m going to be the most beautiful butterfly you’ve never seen! Full of all kinds of bright colors!”
Shen Ch’i grinned back at her. “You make those wings and fly, dear Maria.”
The cat came and wound himself through Maria’s legs, giving little mews. Maria leaned down and picked him up. “The cat likes the idea, too,” she grinned. “What are you going to be, kitty? A lion?”
In the Cavern: The Listener in the Hall
Luha heard the carillons calling the men. Shortly after, she heard the triumphal march in the chapel, the singing, and then voices. She couldn’t understand them, but they sounded more excited than before, and some had a tone of uncertainty. Warren went out in the hallway, leaning over the banister to watch the meeting, and when Don returned, he left quickly. Don barely glanced at Luha as he sat down at his desk and turned on his computer. “We know who you are now, Ha-zel Fra-ya.” He spit out her name. “I have a lot to do to counteract the damage you and your friends are doing.”
“Oh?” asked Luha.
“You’re all over the internet back in the world – you and that Dan Burroughs.” He looked up at her. “And where is he? Is he hanging around here some place?”
I wish I knew, she thought, but I’m not about to tell you that.
“And where is this Ninas Twei? Is there some way to get there from here? Or did you come here when you died, instead of there?”
When she didn’t respond he turned back to his computer and refused to talk at all.
She was aroused just before noon by a distant roaring sound. The wind, she thought. Don looked up and grinned. “More pedalers for our electrical system.”
“How many?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Who cares?”
“Don’t you keep track of them somewhere? On your computers maybe?”
He laughed. “Nah, they come, they work, they die. No need to keep track.”
“Why are they kept in the eggs?”
“They’re kept separate. No communication. Little communities come here. Little communities can also return.”
Oh, yes. That’s the way the Giants of God return. A little communal ritual. Well, she thought, if the wind is still pulling in workers, the Giants of God probably aren’t searching over there for a way to Ninas Twei.
Don glanced at his watch, shut down his computer and stood up, just as the carillon began ringing noon. “See you later!” and he was out the door, and down the hall.
A few minutes later, Marius showed up. The other Copper who was guarding Sarah with Warren, Luha remembered. He sat on the bench in the hall, staring in the door at her, not saying a word.
Don returned at one o’clock when the carillon rang the end of the lunch hour.
Luha watched as he worked at his desk. “What are you working on?”
“The OET demonstrations this week. It’s fun. I get to create lies about the demonstrators, and put them out in a way that stupid people believe them. Gives the police justification for tromping on them. There’ll be lots of mayhem.”
She shivered. “Ah, yes. I believe I’ve seen some of your work in the past.”
He looked up at her and grinned. “I have a well-known preacher lined up to talk about how all of you’re the devil’s spawn.” He giggled. “Are you the devil’s spawn, Hazel Fraya?”
Luha sat back on her haunches and looked at him. “Do you think so, Don?”
He shrugged and turned back to his computer.
“So your computer connects to the internet in the outside world?”
“Nope. We have no access. We can’t get out, but more important, they can’t get in. We just carry whatever is necessary on external drives when we return.”
“That seems inconvenient.”
“We can talk freely here – about the Giants of God, for instance, or our real goals. We can write about the Giants, but if we do it’s archived here. Whatever we’re taking back is checked carefully, so nothing slips out.”
He turned back to the computer, and refused to talk any more.
Luha sat up a couple of hours later. The clandestine listener was in the hall, but this time he wasn’t hiding. He knocked on the open door.
Don turned. “Hey, Ranulf, what’s up?”
“I thought maybe you’d like a break from this. I’d be glad to watch her tonight if you’d like.” It was the man with the German accent.
“Sure. That’d be great. Warren did it last night, but I don’t think he liked it.”
“Lots of people are spooked by her, I think,” nodded Ranulf.
Don turned and grinned at Luha. “I’ll enjoy the evening,” he said with great emphasis on the ‘enjoy’.
Something churned in the bottom of her stomach.
Ranulf’s face was impassive.
Don held up a small portable drive. “I’m finished here. I’ll send this back with the group tonight. You need to get anything before I leave?”
“No, I’ve already eaten, and I have everything I need to get some work done.” He held up a small document case.
“Thanks again,” Don called out as he walked swiftly down the hall.
They heard chanting in the chapel shortly after he left, and then the carillon rang five o’clock. Luhanada could hear voices up and down the tiers calling out to each other as they headed down the stairs and elevators and out the big front doors.
Ranulf stood watching and listening in the doorway for a long time, and then walked down the hall, first in one direction and then the other.
The building was quiet.
He came back and began silently searching the room, opening drawers, checking the underside of the desk and chairs, even under the sofa and back of the pictures on the wall. When he finished, he went back to the hall and listened again, before returning and sitting in the chair next to her cage, leaning over close to her and speaking in a very soft voice. “Everyone is gone now.”
Luha sat on her haunches, her tail wrapped around her feet, and bent her head to the side to lick her shoulder. “This morning you were listening in the hall.” She, too, kept her voice low.
He nodded. “Very perceptive.”
She flicked her tail. “Are you giving up an evening playing with some little girl to watch me?”
“No.” He shuddered. “Not everyone here has such tastes.”
Luha nodded. “I see.”
“And…” He hesitated for a moment. “I’m not what I appear to be.”
“Me, either,” she laughed.
He chuckled, too. “No, although I would be hard put to say what it is you appear to be! You don’t look like someone named Hazel Fraya.”
“I am Luhanada,” she replied.
“I don’t know who that is, but I’ve heard enough to know we’re on the same side.”
“And what side is that?”
He smiled. “It’s good to be cautious. What I am is not nearly as clear as that you’re not on the side of the Giants of God.”
He got up again and checked the hall, and then returned to his seat.
“Have you heard of the organization Incogni?” he whispered.
“They’re the ones who hack into big corporations and governments, and sometimes release incriminating evidence to TruthFarm.”
“Yes. We were told about the Giants of God, but we couldn’t find a way into this computer system where their most sensitive information is kept. It can only be accessed here, in this strange place. I’ve spent several years working my way here.”
“How did you do that?”
“Well, it helps that my grandfather was a Nazi banker during the Second World War.”
“The Giants of God do seem a lot like the Nazis.”
“Yes, but they’ve modified it some. They no longer are as adamant against the Jews, and perhaps admire much of the stereotype they had of them before – and some of them are of Jewish heritage. They’re nominally accepting of those of darker ethnicities if they’re able to demonstrate power, but the requirements are much higher for these people.”
He shook his head. “But mostly they’re white and of Christian heritage.”
He laughed. “I fit.”
“And were you able to access their information?”
“Yes,” he nodded. “I have everything from their computers here.” He opened the document case and pulled out a small cloth sack. “Flash drives.”
He sat back and sighed. “But before we return to the world we’re searched – x-rayed to see if we are ‘inadvertently’ – that’s their word – carrying something back that should stay here. External drives like the one Don had can go back, but they check them first. There’s no way to get these past their search, so I can’t get the information back.”
He got up and looked out the door again. He didn’t speak until he had returned to his place next to the cage.
“Every time I return to the world, I write down everything I’ve learned, and that has all been turned over to TruthFarm, but they’re holding that information until I can bring back the actual files – proof – and until I am safe.” He leaned forward. “Perhaps you have some way to take these, if I released you?”
Luha stood up, pacing in the cage. “I don’t think I can get back to that world myself. I don’t understand it at all. How this place could exist – even how Ninas Twei exists.”
“Ah, yes. At the meeting they spoke of this Ninas Twei. But the Giants of God don’t know where it is, or how you got here from there, if that is where you come from. They think you came here instead of there.”
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Quartet Overview The Earth Woman Tree Woman Quartet is a near future fantasy with a progressive political bent, a diverse set of characters, and links to recordings of many original songs. Ninas Twei is the mystical place where all of Earth’s species dance and sing together to ensure the continuance of life on Earth – all, that is, except Homo sapiens. Greed and the lust for power has barred them from the dance. Giselle is called to a rural community to join a group of people who, becoming their Tla Twein (mythical animals or gods), are able to travel to Ninas Twei. Gathering an increasingly diverse group of people from the city, the country, and the world, the Tla Twein engage in a life and death struggle to heal the rift in the natural order and defeat the forces of greed. Giselle, the Earth Woman Tree Woman, joins with the Wolfwind, and together they become all things – earth, air, and water; flora and fauna – a compassionate force for the well-being of the earth. Book Four Summary The last book of the Earth Woman Tree Woman Quartet brings together all the characters from the first books in a rousing finale full of adventure and joyous song! Giselle and her friends from Bayomar visit the Arundel group. Yameno and Giselle consecrate their link to each other with water from the sacred spring. “You’re the earth and the tree,” he whispered. “I’m the wind and the water... No matter how far apart, you can call me and I will come.” Coffman and his racist friends attack them using violence and even a Molotov cocktail. The deputy dismisses the violence as “your word against theirs,” adding, “You bring this on yourselves.” But the little gray cat unnerves him when he stares at him “with unblinking eyes” blocking his path to the car. Luha, still locked in her cage, is visited in the night by the “listener” in the hall. Is he an ally or a spy? In Ninas Twei, the gathered Tla Twein send the Lemur, Nima, down to the city of the Giants of God to find Luha. She is seen by some of the men. Will she get caught? Tata, the strings, and the neutralinos find earth, but swoop away. It’s too hot! While the Interfaith Council prepares to join in the protest march, Coffman plans a counter demonstration with guns. He punches his grandson Tom when Tom objects. Will the march turn into a melee of violence? Can Tom stop it? While searching for Nima, Todd, Gold member of the Giants of God, hears a sound coming from the canyon. The prisoners have escaped from the eggs. Enid and Jesús gather the escapees to face the Giants of God, planning a defense while working to find a way to turn off the wind on the plateau. About to place barriers to keep the Giants from coming down the elevators, they hear the elevator running. Too late! In Bayomar, An Lien has disappeared from her meditation meeting at the Buddhist Center leaving her wheelchair behind. A dark car was seen pulling out from behind the Center, but the police refuse to believe she’s been kidnapped. Giselle grows into her shadowy Tree Woman Tla Twei joined by the Wolfwind. The officer jumps into his car and screeches off. The Wolfwind and the dogs take charge of the search for An Lien using their powerful noses to follow the path of the car in a twilight musical run down the middle of the streets of Bayomar. We are the hunters, the seekers, the finders, We slip through the night like a shadow. You leave your essence to spin through the air And we point our muzzles to follow. Will they find An Lien? The wind is turned off and Ayoabia calls out, “The wind is mine again,” and becoming a giant tornado sings: Come winds of judgment, Winds of change. Blow fiercely, blow, Let my people go! Can all the characters come together at the One Earth Together protest march and bring humans back into the Dance of Life, the Tsin Twei? Can Tata bring the “vibrating strings of things” to the rescue? Come to the grand finale!