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Contact: Elena Hartwell - elenahartwell@gmail.com and visit me on the web at www.elenahartwell.com

Winter Too Short, Too Loud


Part 3

The sun was high in the sky the next day when Anita heard the voice of Elena calling out as she ran to the dugout. Anita, still asleep, vaguely remembered hearing Elena’s warning cries or the the gusik men and the Yup’ik men shouting. Guns were shown, bows and arrows and harpoons were lowered. Stern looking gusik men beat Anita while the people looked on helplessly. Anita lost consciousness and only vaguely remembers the sled taking her to Dillingham or the fact that she loosened her bonds on the trip and tried to choke a man when they lifted her off the sled with her feet still bound. She barely remembers getting beat again by several men and hit hard on the head while a group of gusiks and a few Yup'iks she did not know watched.
Hurting and hungry, she awoke in a dark place of solid wood like none she had ever seen before. Then she was taken to a larger closed in place of solid wood filled with light. Strange men spoke in words she did not understand. Her husband sat beside her at a thing he called a table.
“They are giving you a trial for murder,” he said.
“Is that the same as killing?” she asked. Anita was beginning to understand as she saw some of the same men who had been there when her husband was killed.  “What does this trial do?”
“It kills people,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. It is not so bad.”
Anita was having trouble knowing where she was and her head still hurt and she couldn’t understand what people were saying and the room was hot and stuffy and she had never been in such a large closed in place with some many strange people and the smell . . .  a man dressed different than the others came to her and said a few words in her language, but pronounced the words oddly. And then he brought a man she had never seen before to translate. The translator said the man who dressed different was a Russian Orthodox Priest who wished to help her. Another man sat beside her where her husband had been. The translator said he also was to help her. Much talking went on, people sometimes shouted and pointed at her. The translator said things to her about their laws she did not understand. Anita only wished to be alone back on the land with her dogs. She put her head down on this table and saw herself far north with her husband in their winter home where no one else came. She wished these people who it was said were to help her could let her go there and be left alone; the noise in this place was worse than the airplane, and the smell of the large wood place with so many gusiks and a few natives was very, very bad, and she was too hot, and she tried to take off her parka, but people again shouted and pointed at her, and a man in front of everyone banged a club on a table . . .  she passed out. 

To Be Continued...

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