by Grasshopper

Chapter 17

Stepping out of the automatic doors at the Albuquerque airport, Cody inhaled deeply. “My God, I missed this."

"Well, you're home now," Jase smiled. "Don't ever think about doing something like that again."

"Believe me, the only reason I'd ever go back to the east coast would be if Mother or Elijah needed me. There's nothing, and I do mean nothing, back there that I ever want to see again."

They rode the shuttle out to section B and threw their duffels in the back of the black pickup. Davy hopped up to squish in the middle between them.

The miles flew by as the truck ate up the pavement. It too, seemed anxious to get back to Drifter.

Davy's soft voice broke the almost hypnotic rhythm of the tires and the wind. "Cody, are you gonna find out what happened to your real daddy?"

Cody looked over at Jase, then spoke. "Yeah, Davy, I am. I want to know what happened to him and put all this to rest. I know, in her heart, Mother wants me to. I'll do it for her and for 'Lijah and for me."

"I bet it makes you feel better to know that the bad man wasn't your daddy," Davy said, a frown on his face.

"Yeah, it really does. I should have known, at least felt something wrong all these years, but I didn't. I just knew he didn't like me. I never knew why. He liked Elijah okay, but not me. I guess it was because Elijah looked like Mother and I looked like my......real father."

"Are you sad that you look like your real daddy?" Davy asked quietly. Cody looked down at the questioning little face so much like his own.

"No, Punkin, I was never sad or ashamed or anything. My Grandpa and Grandma made me feel proud. "There's a big part of me that feels so happy knowing that my father was like me."

Davy thought for a minute and then said, "Me too, Cody. I love Daddy more than anything, but I am glad to know that my birth daddy was like me." He tossed his hair back out of his eyes and Cody noticed how long the boy's hair was getting.

Cody leaned down and whispered in Davy's ear, making him smile

"Okay, none of that secret stuff," Jase groused. "What?"

Davy laughed, "Cody just said that we'll always be better looking than the palefaces. He means you, Daddy." He started to giggle and Jase punched him lightly in the arm.

"Paleface, huh? You're in BIG trouble, young man. We'll just see who gets kitchen cleanup detail tonight," he laughed.

The wind whistled down through the ravines and along the arroyos. Sand devils spun and twisted, picking up bits of saltbush and wolfberry. Horned toads and gila monsters climbed up rocks and sidewinders left their twisted trails across the sand. The desert was alive with soft whispers and deep rumblings. There was no rest yet. The end was in sight, but still there was much left to do. The desert protected its own..........The sultry dry wind blew, the sound full of tears and pain. The hot guardian wind sighed:

" Cody...Jase... Davy...........be watchful, all is not complete. The scorpion still stings his deadly venom."

Kajika sat silently, his back against the sun-heated rock, his long black hair braided crookedly, left to fall down his strong back, his hands busy with the small stone, head bowed, he felt the curves and planes of the bit of stone in his hand. He followed the patterns with his thumb, using the sharp knife to let one line flow into another. No two carvings the same, no two offerings alike. He used Kokopelli, the hunchbacked fluteplayer, the crafty trickster as his signature. He had hidden for twenty-two years. His life as blank as the rock in his hand, his hands his only lifeline to what might have been.

The warm wind sang softly in his ear, always reminding him of a day long ago:

"Something comes close, Kajika. It is yours to have. Open your heart."

Cody wanted to jump out of the truck and kiss the sand. "God, it's so good to be home." He did reach down and scoop up a handful and press it to his cheek, letting the warm grains flow through his fingers.

A note tacked to the door made Jase smile:

"Casa McBride is all shipshape. Let me know when you make it back. The case is closed. Walt."

Jase was grateful to the FBI agent for all he had done, and now, he felt that they had a new friend as well. A thought flitted through his mind that he should call Walt and tell him about Mackenzie Jeffers, but that could wait. After all, the fucker was in New York and couldn't cause them anymore trouble. He had Cody home now, and it was time to begin rebuilding what he had thought he lost. There would be time to deal with Jeffers.

He could hear Cody laughing in the kitchen. "Davy McBride, I've been home exactly 3 minutes and you want to know what's for supper? Is that all you are, a giant stomach?"

Davy giggled, "Yep, a loud, growly, empty stomach. I'm Godzilla's giant stomach. My stomach could eat Tokyo." He made ominous grrrrr sounds and snarled his face up into a cute hideous monster mask.

Cody pretended to sigh, "Oookay, I guess I could see what's in the freezer. I can't even remember where we left off." It seemed more like two years than two weeks since Charles Taylor had died and he had run off to New York.

Jase laughed. "I'm cooking tonight. Davy, you and Cody go check on the horses. I'll call Bronson and let him know we're back so he won't make the long trip today for nothing."

Karl Bronson was the vet in Bloomfield. He'd been kind enough to field all Jase's calls while he'd been in the east and had even taken care of their livestock.

Cody and Davy waited til they were out on the porch before they dared look at each other, then both sets of dark eyes rolled and Davy let a snort of giggles loose. "Oh, Cody.....Daddy's gonna cook!"

"I know," Cody chuckled. "Let's be nice, k? He's happy and I don't care if he burns everything. I'm just so glad to be home."

The horses whinnied softly as Davy and Cody walked into the barn. Sazi, Cholla and Sassy were as happy to see Cody as he was to be home.

"Hey there, guys. You miss me?" Cody said soothingly, reaching into the sweet feed can for a horse treat. He looked them all over and handed Davy a brush.

"Sassy looks kinda ratty. Brush out that mane, Davy Boy."

He started brushing his rust and white paint, Cholla, then looked over at Davy. "What?"

Davy was just looking at him with shiny eyes. "I missed you, Cody. I missed you so much."

"Come here, you," Cody smiled and gathered Davy into his arms. "I should never have run away like that. See how grownups can act like little kids? I should have trusted that you and your dad needed me. I won't make that mistake again."

Davy cuddled in Cody's strong arms. "Cody?"


"Can I tell you something dumb?"

"There's not anything dumb you could say." Cody waited while Davy seemed to build up his courage to speak.

"Ever since, you know, that night..............."

"The night my fath............that bad man died?" He felt Davy's grip tighten.

"Yes, Cody. Ever since that night, I've felt, I mean, I've kinda heard............,"

he trailed off. "You're gonna think I'm crazy." He burrowed his face into Cody's chest.

"I would never think that, Davy Boy. We've seen too much and been through too much for anything to seem crazy anymore. C'mon, let's go sit in the sun." They walked out into the barnyard and crossed over to walk silently out into the warm sand of the desert, stopping at the base of a huge saguaro. "Now," Cody said gently, "What's up?"

Davy dropped down into the sand, pulling Cody with him. They sat in the shadow of the tall forked cactus and watched a tiny kangaroo rat scurry into hiding.

"Cody, I feel my mom. I hear her whisper my name." He looked anxiously at Cody. "I think I feel my other daddy too."

Cody smiled and thought back to the days when he was younger even than Davy. "Let me tell you something my Grandma Soft Wind used to tell me when I'd be scared."

"You were scared, Cody?"

Cody's mind flickered back to the times in the dark when his 'father' had locked him in his room or told him he was just Indian trash. The times the doctors had fixed him, patched him up after he had 'accidently' run into a door or fallen down the stairs. "Yeah, Davy, I was scared."

"Grandma told me the story of the wind, Niyol, who would whisper to the children and the animals who were afraid. Niyol's voice was the voice of all the ancestors who love you and wait to meet you one day. I would be afraid and then I'd hear Niyol's whisper. After my grandma died, when I was just a little older than you, I could hear my grandma's voice in the wind, Davy."

"What did she say, Cody?"

"She would call, 'Helaku', be brave, my grandson. You will find true happiness. Have patience."

"And you did, didn't you, Cody?" Davy sighed happily.

"Yes, I did, Davy, here with you and your dad."

"Could Elijah hear her?"

"I asked him once and he said 'No'. I just figured that he couldn't since he's like Mother."

"You mean that maybe only you and me with Indian blood can hear them?"

"Maybe so, Punkin."

"So, it's not crazy for me to hear my mommy and my birth daddy, even kinda feel them hug me?"

"I don't think so, Davy. You needed them and they were watching out for you. They couldn't let you deal with 'the bad man' alone. That's how much they love you."

"Do you think Daddy could hear Niyol when he was little?"

"I don't know, punkin. We'll ask him."

Davy thought everything over carefully. Cody just watched the great puffs of white cumulus clouds drift across the sky and waited for the boy to speak.


"Uh Huh?"

"Your real daddy..............,"


"Did you ever hear him whisper? Was the wind, Niyol, ever your daddy talking to you?"

Cody frowned. Thrusting his memory back to times best forgotten, he struggled to remember. All he could recall was the soft caress of his grandma Soft Wind and those older than she.

"I don't know, Davy. I stopped hearing Niyol when I grew up. There were so many ancient voices intermingling. I know I could hear Grandma, but I just don't know."

"I bet he was, Cody. I bet he was whispering loud."

Cody looked out over the sand toward Wild Horse Ravine, images of a strong man standing tall on the cliffs shimmering in his mind.

"What do I call my real daddy, Cody?" Davy had been afraid to ask this question.

Cody smiled. "I think, first of all, let's not call him your real daddy anymore. I kinda think your dad in there burning our dinner is your 'real' dad. We have to be a little careful with his feelings in all this, Davy Boy."


"We'll just go with birth dad for now. How does that sound?"

"But what do I call him?"

"I'm gonna let your daddy answer that one. You need to talk about it."

"Okay, Cody." Davy giggled when his stomach let out a humongous rumble. "I'm starving."

"Let's go before you start to chew off your leg."


Cody winked at Davy as they ate the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. The pasta was still kinda chewy and the cheese didn't taste anything like when Cody made his, but to both of them, it was total yum simply because Jase had tried.

"Yum, good, Daddy," Davy smiled and then plowed into his salad.

"Yep, yum, Jase," Cody echoed.

Jase knew it wasn't half near as good as anything Cody cooked, but he smiled anyway and just felt the love and the closeness in this room. He had been terrified that they'd never all sit at this table again; that he'd never hear Cody helping with Davy's homework; hear their laughter.

"I'm gonna help a lot more around the house," he said.


"What, Daddy?"

Cody didn't dare look at Davy for fear the giggles would start.

"Sure Jase. We're all gonna pitch in, right Davy?"

Davy looked at his two favorite people in the whole world and grinned. It was so good to be home.

Mackenzie Jeffers had driven back to New York in a frenzy, and that frenzy had taken him out to the clubs in search of a temporary replacement for that ungrateful little shit.

The music loud, the lights flashing hypnotically, he found his prey:

"Hello, I don't think I've seen you in here before."
"I....I haven't ever been here before"
"You seem frightened."
"I...just don't know anybody here."
"I can change that."

A few drinks, a little E in the glass, the click of the apartment door, the darkness of the secret room. But the skin was too pale, the voice too full of tears. Too bad....a boy that age, he should have had more stamina than that.

Alone, standing by the picture window that overlooked Central Park, Mackenzie felt the anger growing. Plans had changed now. That son of a bitch, McBride, had screwed things up royally. There was no way he could get back in Allison Taylor's home.....God, all that money. Mackenzie could still feel the tingle where his fingers had touched the original Monet and Vermeer, the Matisse and Van Gogh. When he had walked in that library and seen the entire north wall covered in original Georgia O'Keeffe, he knew he had to have Dakota. No one left him until he said leave. He began to plan.

And now, a week later, he began to 'execute' his plan.......what an excellent turn of phrase. He flew into Albuquerque and rented a car. God, not that ugly compact, you fool.....a Lexus. Do I look like I would drive a fucking Neon?

He drove to Santa Fe, a town known for Indian crafts and Indian secrets, making a quick, but expensive stop at a dark exotic pet shop with an illegal back room, purchasing a small box of death, then back to Albuquerque for a night of prowling through the dance clubs.

The night stretched ahead of him, at the O-PM dance club on Gold Street with its mosaic tile and harem lights, sushi and sashimi at Raw and then find someone, anyone, at Sauce. His anger just grew as he thought about the boy with the long black hair and the chocolate eyes. There were many boys dancing, sweating, with the dark hair and the black eyes, but his obsession saw only one.

And so now, here he was.......in this God forsaken land again. No one should live here. It was only fit for asps and cactus. This time, he wouldn't leave anything to chance. Separate them and Dakota was weakened. Mackenzie smiled, his hand caressing the small cardboard box that lay on the seat next to him.

"Jase? You asleep?"

After they had finally gotten Davy to go to bed, his night light on and the door open a crack, not cause he was scared he said, but in case they needed him for anything, Jase had not been able to get enough of Cody. It was as if he needed to prove to himself that Cody was back, in their bed, in their house, in their life. Finally exhausted, they had fallen asleep, arms and legs entangled and breaths easing in and out together.

"Jase," Cody whispered again, "You asleep?" this time adding a little shake.

Jase was indeed asleep. "Huh?" he said groggily, "What?"

"I was thinking."

Rubbing his eyes, Jase pulled Cody into his arms and smelled his neck. He was waking up and in a very pleasurable way. "What's wrong?"

"Not wrong exactly," Cody sighed. "I just want to know what happened to my real father."

"What do you want to do about it?"

"I think I'm gonna drive into Shiprock after Davy goes to school tomorrow and talk to people associated with the Navajo Fair."

"Hun, you know that was a long time ago.....twenty two years. It's a really long shot."

"I have to try, Jase. For Mother, for 'Lijah, for me."

"I know. I just don't want you hurt."

"I won't let this get to me. I never knew him, so it can't hurt me."

Jase held Cody tight. He knew that under all the brave words, Cody was already hurting. He only hoped that, whatever he found, it would give him peace.

"Do I havvvvvvvve to go to school? I could go with you, Cody."

Cody grinned, "You brought all those New York pencils and pennants and little statues of Lady Liberty back for the class. You know you want to go give them out and tell everyone about your trip."

"Yeah, but I want to know what happens.....what you find out."

"I'll call if I find anything. Your dad's probably right, it's been too long. I won't know till I go though."

"Cody," Davy tugged on his shirt tail and whispered, "Are you gonna cook supper?"

Cody laughed, "Yeah, I think one night of mac&cheese is enough."

Davy swung onto his bike, with his treasures in his backpack. "Cody, It's all over, right? I mean, you will be here when I get home? Daddy will be here when I get home, right?"

"It's all over. No one will bother you again. We're safe."

"Promise me, Cody."

A face rushed into Cody's mind.....a cruel face. He knew that wasn't over, but there was no way it would ever affect Davy. Hating to promise something he had no control over, but hearing the quiet desperation in the boy's voice, he said softly, "I promise, Davy Boy."

"Good deal, Cody. I'll see you at 3:30. What's for supper so I can be thinking about it all day?" he giggled.

"Chicken enchiladas," Cody grinned, knowing it was Davy's favorite.

"Yummmm," his voice echoed back as he kicked up a dust trail with the tires of his bike. "See Ya, Cody."

"See Ya, Davy," Cody called out.

Cody walked slowly back into the house, letting the screen door slam. Before Jase had left to inoculate Jed Currie's cattle, he had held Cody close, tipping his chin up with one finger. Looking down into Cody's eyes, he kissed him softly. "We've come through a lot to get right here. I figure fate has dealt us a winning hand. Keep your cell phone on and check in."

"I will. If I find anything at all, I'll call. I just hope someone remembers this pendant and can tell me something about the man who carved it. I might have family out there, Jase."

"Just don't ever forget you have family right here," Jase said gruffly.

"As if that would ever happen," Cody laughed.

The drive to Shiprock was easy, the day already warming up. Dust devils spun their tails along the highway, tumbleweeds blew and the scent from the velvet mesquite filled the air. Cody flipped on the radio and sang along with the tunes, "She left the suds in the bucket and the clothes hangin' out on the line", his heart easy and his mind filled with Jase.

Pulling into the nearly deserted market area of the Northern Navajo Fair, Cody saw cars parked outside a long white trailer. The sign on the side read: Admissions and Entrance Fees – Rental Booths. Looking around, he saw no other place where he would get any information. This was a start.

Climbing the stairs, he opened the door to be whooshed by a strong wave of air conditioning. There were three people in the room, two older men, one native American, one white, standing by some file cabinets and a young Navajo woman sitting behind a desk. The men were deep in a discussion about highway taxes, so Cody walked over to the desk.

"What can I do for you?" the woman asked, her friendly face creasing into a smile.

"I need some information," he said, returning the smile. "I have a pendant that someone gave my mother and I'm trying to find out anything I can about it." He pulled the pendant from around his neck and handed it to her.

Alameda Johnson took the necklace from the young Indian's hand and felt a tingle as her fingers touched the smoothed rock. Her eyes sought his as she rubbed the carving with her thumb. Turning it over in her hand, she smiled, shaking her head.

"I've never seen this pattern on one of his carvings before," she said slowly.

Cody felt his heart begin to race. "You know who carved this?"

"Oh yeah, Mr. Franklin, Shizhe'e, look here. This is his work, right?"

The two men cut off their conversation and walked over to the desk.

"Yep, that's Kokopelli all right. See the little signature on the back?" Sam Franklin, the short paunchy one said, as he fingered the stone.

"Where can I find him?" Cody asked quickly. "I really need to ask him a few questions."

"No one talks to him, son," the tall chisel jawed Indian answered.

"What do you mean?" Cody said, "Is he ..... dead?"

"Dead? Nah, as good as though," Sam replied. "He carves his stones and never speaks."

"Why you want to talk to Kokopelli so bad, boy?" Alameda asked, seeing the disappointment in his eyes.

Cody sighed, his shoulders slumping. "This pendant belongs to my mother. Someone she um....cared for gave it to her. It's the only clue I have. I just thought maybe the artist would remember who he sold it to or something. I know it's a really long shot, but it's all I have."

"I think you've come to a dead end, son," Abner said gently. "There's no way Kokopelli would remember and even if he did, he wouldn't talk to you. Sorry."

Cody took the pendant back and slipped it around his neck. He felt such sadness and frustration. His father! The only clue was this stone and the only person who could possibly tell him was some artistic crazy who never speaks.

"Thanks anyway. I was just hoping," he murmured and walked out of the office into the warmth of the late morning sunshine. Dead End!

He rolled down the window, waiting for the heat to escape from the cab. Pulling out his cell, he punched #1.

"No - nothing."
"Some old guy who never speaks."
"Yeah, I'll be home in..................."

He stopped when he heard a woman's voice call out, "Scuse me, Wait!!" Cody turned his head to see the woman from the office hurrying toward him.

"I'll call you back."
"Love you too!"

He clicked off and shoved the phone in his pocket, looking at the woman questioningly.

"I just thought of something you can try," she said, brushing her long black hair out of her eyes and peering up at him. "There is one person that might be able to help you."

Cody's whole face lit up in a smile. "That's so great. I was about to give up and I hadn't even started. I'm Cody Taylor, by the way. I live over in Drifter."

"I'm Alameda Johnson. I live out in Three Hills and there is one person who might be able to get an answer for you. I'd have to come with you because he doesn't talk to just anyone."

Cody laughed, "Does anyone out there actually talk to people?"

Alameda giggled, her round face creased in smiles and her dark eyes dancing. "Oh sure. My brother, Ata'haine', never stops. That means 'he who interrrupts' in Navajo. My father sure called that one right."

"What does your name mean?" Cody asked.

"My name? It means 'grove of cottonwoods'," she blushed.

"Totally cool," Cody grinned. "When can I we meet this person who might be able to help me?"

"Let me go see if my father is ready to go."

"Your father? Where is he?"

Alameda laughed, "You met him already. The tall stern man in the office." She turned to go, then called back, "Wait here. We'll take you to Sani."

Cody climbed in the truck and waited, his foot on the brake. An old red Ford truck pulled out from behind the trailer carrying Alameda and the tall serious-faced man from the office. She waved and gave him a thumbs up, making him smile. They stopped and the man stepped out of the truck.

"I am Aditsan. My American name is Abner Johnson. My daughter tells me we must help you. I will take you to Sani, but you must be brief. He will decide if he can help you."

They drove, Cody following, out of Shiprock north on 64 toward Bloomfield, turning on a dirt road heading for the small community of Three Hills. As they drove in, Cody saw small cement block houses painted in sun bright colors and thatched huts made of cottonwood branches, cholla and desert ironwood.

Stopping at a neatly kept home with Indian rugs decorating the porch, Alameda and her father climbed out of their truck to speak quickly to the old woman weaving under the shade of a huge cottonwood. The woman looked at Cody, shaking her head. He watched Alameda speak softly, touching her heart with her hand and nodding her head toward Cody. Her father added his words and the old woman finally nodded.

"Okay, Cody. Come here," Alameda called.

He walked over and smiled at the woman sitting with her hands on the loom. He recognized the patterns from the rugs his grandmother Soft Wind had always had all over the house when he was small. One in particular caught his eye. He touched the yarns softly and remembered how a rug similar to this one had been on the wall beside his grandma's bed. How she had touched it when she would tell him stories of the old ones.

"This is a Storm Pattern, right?"

Alameda spoke softly to the woman in Navajo. "She wants to know how you knew?"

"I'm half Navajo," Cody smiled. "My grandmother was Soft Wind. She loved her rugs and told me stories."

"She says we can speak to Sani. She says you are 'Helaku'."

Cody gasped. "How did she know the name my grandma called me when I was little?"

Alameda smiled, "She said you are full of the sun. You have no harm in you."

As they walked to the small house, Cody asked, "What did you tell her to make her change her mind?"

"I told her that this was a matter for the heart. You wanted to find out about your true father."

Cody stopped in his tracks. "Wait! I never told you .........................,"

"Some things are plain to see," the pretty girl sighed, taking his hand and leading him behind her father into the darkness of the tiny home.

Mystified and wishing Jase was here, Cody followed Alameda and her father back through the house to the brightly lit kitchen. An old man with flowing gray hair held back by a braided tie, sat at the table. He looked up and directly into Cody's eyes as if searching for an answer to an as yet unasked question.

Cody started to speak, but Alameda touched her finger to her lips.

"You wish to ask a question?" the old man said.

"Yes, I would like to talk to the stone carver who made this pendant."

Cody took it off and offered it to Sani. The old man clasped it in his wrinkled hands and closed his eyes.

"This stone has seen pain and sadness." It was a statement, not a question.

"Yes," was all that Cody could reply.

"It will answer questions for you."

"Well, my mother. She wants to.....,"

"No, for you. That is why you are truly here."

Cody accepted the words. "Yes, for me. I need to know."

"Good. We will go to Kajika. Perhaps he will have the answers you seek."

"I know it's been a long long time, twenty-two years, but I'm hoping he might remember who he made this for."

"He lives in his dreams. He may remember. He may not say."

Confused, Cody walked back to his truck, watching as Abner and Alameda helped Sani into their truck. Alameda ran over to climb up into the back truck with Cody.

"I'll let Father ride with Sani. To tell you the truth, the old ones sometimes creep me out," she said. "They can see too much sometimes."

"Makes dating tough?" Cody laughed.

"I'll say," she replied, her cheeks rounding as she grinned.

Ole Three Paws sat on his haunches, head cocked to one side, high atop a mesa overlooking Davy McBride's house, listening to the wind whisper. He trusted the wind, Niyol. When she whispered and turned cold, Ole Three Paws knew he needed to watch his boy more diligently. There was still more danger in the cold night air.

Called Namid, the Star Dancer, by the wind and the sun, Ole Three Paws had accepted the name Davy had given him. He answered to both.

Listening now, his yellow eyes burned with intensity as the old ones in the wind whispered their warnings:

"Be watchful, Namid. Be keen of eye and pure of spirit. Evil comes from the darkness without warning. Beware the scorpion's deadly sting! You must sacrifice!"

Standing, high on the cliffs, Ole Three Paws raised his head and lifted his voice to the sky, howling his promise. The humans had saved his life....he would stand for them.

Jase heard his cell ring and flipped it open.

"You okay?"
"Listen to me, Cody. Do not do anything that looks weird or strange. We've had enough of that. See what the guy has to say and come home."
"Yeah, I know."
"I love you."

Cody clicked the cell off and dropped it on the seat. Alameda smiled. "You have someone special?"

"Yeah," Cody grinned. "Somebody very special."

"Lucky you," she replied, "Do whatever you need to keep it. Most people never find true happiness."

Cody looked out over the sand as they drove deeper into the desert, thinking of Jase, of Davy. Yeah, he'd do whatever he needed to do. He was never letting what he had go again.

"Where does this guy live?" he asked, as he calculated they'd driven at least ten miles out into desolate sand, the cliffs and jagged rocks the only landscape.

"I've never seen him," Alameda admitted. "Father drives out, picks up his pieces and brings them to the Fair and to the local shops. It's been this way as long as I can remember."

"Is he a hermit or crazy or what?"

"Father has never said. Only that he lives alone and works his craft alone."

"What a solitary life. He never goes to town?"

She sighed, "Not that I know of. The men of the village bring him groceries and he pays them with the money he makes with his jewelry. He is quite well known in the Four Corners."

"What's his name again?" Cody asked. All the Navajo names coming together in his head were getting confused.

"He goes by Kokopelli, but his real name is Kajika, he who walks with no sound."

"Kajika," Cody repeated softly. "Well, I hope this Kajika can tell me something. I don't know where else to turn."

They drove up slowly to a mud, branch and leaf hut built by the side of a high sheer wall topped by a plateau. Colorful rugs and hangings decorated the fence that ran from the hut to the edge of the rocks. The fence held in two cows, and several wooly sheep. A lean brown cur dog watched their approach with sharp eyes and a calico cat stretched in the hot sun.

"Is he here?" Cody asked after they had turned off their engines and climbed out of the trucks.

"He is always around," Abner said. "He goes to look for stones in the ravines." Turning to the dog, he said, "Hok'ee, go find your master."

The dog cocked his head, as if deciding if the effort was worth his time, then took off toward the shadows on the west side of the cliffs.

"Come, follow the dog and we find Kajika."

Davy had shared all his adventures of New York City: the airplane ride, the really bad airplane food, the gazillions of people that all seemed to live in New York, the horrible stinky hotel room and the beautiful castle he went to stay in. He told everyone about the subway and the train and the limo and how he kinda had a new grandmom. He gave everyone their surprises and glowed as they thanked him and kept saying how jealous they were. He was happy they were jealous and he was happy to be back at school, kinda, but most of all, he was just happy Cody was home.

He looked at his watch and groaned. It was only 10:00. He had five hours before Cody and Daddy and chicken enchiladas. He picked up his chewed off pencil, scratched his head and tried to figure out if this was a scalene or isosceles triangle.

Mackenzie stared at his watch. 10:00, the sun had just begun to heat the day. Plenty of time. He had more than enough time to go to La Cienaga and have Mimosas with just a light egg white mushroom omelet. He had to watch his waistline. Look his best. Perhaps he had time to spin his web, just a quick pleasure before he began the long drive to Drifter.

As he sat down at the table in the patio, flicked the white linen napkin into his lap, he found himself watching a young Indian boy cleaning the tables. He could smell the loneliness and desperation wafting off the boy. He sipped his mimosa, feeling the tickle of the champagne as it flowed coldly down his throat.

Rounding the edge of the dull red rock formation, Cody, Alameda, Abner and Sani stopped abruptly as Hok'ee barked their approach to a man sitting with his back pressed against the warm rock, his head bowed, stones littering the sand around him.

Alameda touched Cody's arm and signaled for him to wait with her. He stood back and watched Abner and Sani walk to Kajika and squat down. He could hear murmured words, soft questions, He listened intently, but didn't hear any answers.

"Come, Helaku," Sani gestured to Cody. "Kajika wishes to see the stone."

As Cody neared the three men, his eyes looked carefully at the artist. Years older than Cody or Jase, he was still strong and muscular, dressed in faded jeans and a blue chambray work shirt with the sleeves cut raggedly off.

But, it was his hair that startled Cody. Long and rich, shining almost blue in its blackness, it fell free of any restraints over his shoulders. At his left temple, a deep scar cut into his forehead and slashing back, running the length of his hair, a solid white streak, zigzagged like a wild flash of lightning.

"Come, Helaku," Sani beckoned to Cody. "Kajika will listen."

Cody walked carefully near and knelt beside the men. He knew now to wait til Sani spoke.

"Kajika, this is Cody Taylor. He wishes to ask you a question."

Cody watched as the Indian seemed to nod his head slightly.

Cody cleared his throat. "I have a pendant. It belongs to my mother. I think you made it. I am trying to find the man who bought it from you."

His head still bowed, Kajika raised his hand and turned it, palm up.

Cody took the necklace off and let it pool into the calloused hand. Without realizing it, he held his breath, his eyes wide. He watched as Kajika rubbed the carving with his thumbs again and again, watched him press it to his cheek.

After what seemed an eternity, Kajika murmured a few soft words in Navajo. Sani leaned in to catch them.

"What did he say? Does he know anything? Does he remember?" Cody burst out, the suspense killing him.

Sani looked at Cody. "He remembers. He made the pendant for someone in forbidden love."

"OMG!" Cody blurted out. "Who did he make it for? Can he help me find him?"

Sani whispered to Kajika, then turned to Cody, sorrow in his eyes. "These are Kajika's words:

"He is dead to you. The night wind, Niyol, carries his voice."

Cody dropped down to sit in the sand. His father was dead. It was like Jase and his mother had thought. Another innocent soul ripped away because Charles Taylor was insane.

"Thank him for me," Cody sighed. "I'm sorry we had to bother him." Alameda took his hand and they walked back toward the trucks.

Abner touched Kajika on the shoulder, said he'd be back next week for the pieces to deliver to Santa Fe and walked around the jagged rocks.

Sani sighed. "You do not have to hide this, Kajika. He is a strong happy boy. He is only searching for the truth. Perhaps this is your salvation." Sadly, he walked back the way the others had gone, secrets held in his old heart.

Kajika sat alone, listening until the sounds of the trucks faded into the distance, his back pressed up against the warm desert rock, the pendant he had carved with loving hands for the woman he could never have still clutched in his hand. He raised his head, smelling the mesquite, the arrow-weed, the saltbush. The hot sun beat down on his cheeks, drying the tears as quickly as they fell. Kajika raised his blind eyes to the sun, no longer praying for the sight he lost that day so long ago, but longing for just one look at his son.

The wind blew spirals in the sand, covering the tracks of the trucks until it was as if they had never been. The hot wind, whistling angrily at the pain of Helaku and Kajika. "Think, Helaku, boy of the sun, think........he who cannot be found is found.......you have the answers. Listen to Niyol."

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