CherokeeBoy and RainBoy

by Ruwen Rouhs

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Hakan, the Preacher's Son

The Terrapin's Escape from the Wolves

The Possum and the Terrapin went out together to hunt persimmons, and found a tree full of ripe fruit. The Possum climbed it and was throwing down the persimmons to the Terrapin when a wolf came up and began to snap at the persimmons as they fell, before the Terrapin could reach them. The Possum waited his chance, and at last managed to throw down a large one, so that it lodged in the wolf's throat as he jumped up at it and choked him to death.

"I'll take his ears for hominy spoons," said the Terrapin, and cut off the wolf's ears and started home with them, leaving the Possum still eating persimmons up in the tree. After a while he came to a house and was invited to have some kanahe′na gruel from the jar that is set always outside the door. He sat down beside the jar and dipped up the gruel with one of the wolf's ears for a spoon. The people noticed and wondered. When he was satisfied he went on, but soon came to another house and was asked to have some more kanahe′na. He dipped it up again with the wolf's ear and went on when he had enough.

Soon the news went around that the Terrapin had killed the Wolf and was using his ears for spoons. All the Wolves got together and followed the Terrapin's trail until they came up with him and made him prisoner. Then they held a council to decide what to do with him, and agreed to boil him in a clay pot. They brought in a pot, but the Terrapin only laughed at it and said that if they put him into that thing he would kick it all to pieces. They said they would burn him in the fire, but the Terrapin laughed again and said he would put it out. Then they decided to throw him into the deepest hole in the river and drown him.

The Terrapin begged and prayed them not to do that, but they paid no attention, and dragged him over to the river and threw him in. That was just what the Terrapin had been waiting for all the time, and he dived under the water and came up on the other side and got away.

Some say that when he was thrown into the river he struck against a rock, which broke his back in a dozen places. He sang a medicine song:

Gû′daye′wû, Gû′daye′wû ,

I have sewed myself together, I have sewed myself together,

and the pieces came together, but the scars remain on his shell to this day.

(James Mooney: Myths of the Cherokee;


The last two days Tom had racked his brain! Should he tell his parents about his plans, of the party, of the sleepover? Finally he decided to be a "good" boy. During dinner on Friday evening he asked, "Will you be mad, if I invite some of my classmate over for a party and a sleepover on Saturday?" Noticing the shocked face of his mother, he tried to explain, "Naturally not all my classmates, only the ones that have been with me to the National Forest. I will ask Mel and Emma, Pete and True, Gerry and Aaron and last not least Wa-Ya and Adam." "For the party I would agree. But for the sleepover?" His father objected. "No!" he shook his head, "Our house is big, but eight kids of your kind would cause a chaos." "No, no! Not I will not invite eight people to stay, just my closest friends, Wa-Ya and Adam. I already asked them to bring along their sleeping bags!" Finally his parents agree under the condition, "No beer! No booze! No grass! No dope! Son, promise!" Adam did!

Saturday morning Tom was shopping. His father has left him enough money to order pizza for all but he had decided for a barbecue and used the dough to buy all the food his mother had put down on a shopping list. The groceries, snacks and soft drinks were already tucked in his car, the red Mazda convertible. Just one item was missing. Tom knew Wa-Ya's liked original root beer. He knew that for sure but he did not know where to get it. He had asked already in the soft drink departments of all the stores he knew, but not one of them had it. Finally an old store clerk told him about a tiny liquor store in an ill-famed street at the old municipal park.

Parking opposite of the small store he racked his brain how to get inside, as he was not old enough to visit a liquor store. Looking around he saw a young man with bright red hair sleeping on a park bank slummed over his hiking backpack. Walking closer, the sleeper seemed familiar. Then a picture crossed his mind. He remembered the unruly red mane and the wisp of beard! It had to be the driver of the crashed harvester up at the Tsul 'Kalu Forest. The redhead sure looked old enough to to buy that special root beer in the liquor store. While Tom still pondered for the best way to wake him up without to provoke him, the redhead began to move, opened his eyes and eyed him warily.

"Aren't you Hakan Stark the harvester driver?" Tom asked shyly. When the young man stared back, he added apologizing, "I have read your name in the newspaper." "Don't use the word harvester anymore! I am not driving one of these monsters anymore! I got fired by the company and since then my father doesn't talk to me anymore!" Hakan turned away and seemed to sniffle. Tom guessed the redhead tried to hold back tears of frustration. "Oh, sorry! I didn't want to upset you." Feeling guilty, Tom asked, "Is it so bad?" Hakan answered his head hanging down, "Yes, kind off!" then shrugging his shoulders, "Even my mother doesn't talk to me anymore, she is pissed and my sisters are laughing at me." Then he added distressed, "I left! I run away! I don't have a family anymore." Tom's heart nearly stopped and after a long pause he asked, "Is it really so bad, did they throw you out?" "No, not exactly! But I couldn't stand their looks of reproach anymore." "And now, what are you up to now?" While the redhead looked for an answer, a notion crossed Tom's mind, "You help me and I help you!" When Hakan looked suspicious, Tom pointed at the store, "I need some old fashioned root beer. They are selling this kind of beverage in this liquor store only and I am too young to get serviced. Can you go and buy some bottles?" When Hakan hesitated, Tom tried to persuade him. Reaching out his hand, "I invite you to my party and you can stay for the night at my house. Is this a deal?" For a minute or so Hakan seemed to fight with himself, then offered a handshake, "I accept, but I have to get a shower before the party and some sleep. I haven't been at home for two whole days now. I slept in the park."


Wa-Ya and Adam were the first to arrive at the Ellington's mansion. They leaned their bikes against an old oak in the driveway and walked around the big house to meet their host in the garden. Tom had tried to do the best to prepare the backyard for the party. He had put fairy lights to the trees surrounding a big round table, kindled a fire in a grill for the barbecue and now was trying to set the table. Giving them a warm welcome he immediate asked Wa-Ya, "Could you help me to grill the meat? I do not know how to season it. I am not a cook at all! I can't even boil water!" Then he turned to Adam, "Do you know to brew punch? Mother always does it. Everything you need is in the fridge in the kitchen." Then wagging his index finger, "Please, do not take the booze stored in the fridge. My father, would skin me if I serve spirits at the party." "I, brew a punch? I never have, but I will try. No guaranty however!"

Just then Mel and Emma showed up. Adam was relieved because the girls took over the punch making immediately, while he supported Tom to set the table. Setting the tenth plate he glanced at Tom, "Do we need a tenth sets? At the forest we were only nine?" For a moment Tom was in loss for an answer. Then stammering, "There is a ……tenth guest. He is sleeping in the basement at the moment. He is not a stranger! You have met him before." After a short pause he explained, , "We met up in the hills, during our protest action!"

In the meantime all guests had arrived. Realizing the news about an additional guest they all pushed through the door into the basement, where the redhead was sleeping on a couch and gathered around him. Rudely awakened, Hakan stared at the bunch of strangers surrounding him. Feeling their stares his heart started to beat faster. Had Tom set up a trap? Wanted Tom's friends to beat him up, punish him for doing his job in the wood?

Tom's friends seemed to be staggered as well. They looked at the redhead with curious eyes. Wa-Ya was the first to recognize him. "Aren't you the driver of the crashed harvester?" Looking surprised at Tom, he asked, "Do you know each other? Are you friends, you and the driver?" "No, I met him today in town. I know Hakan for some hours only and during the period he was mostly sleeping." Studying the faces of his friends anxiously he explained, "I do not know much about Hakan, but I am sure he needs our help, especially yours Wa-Ya. He still doesn't know was happened to him at the Tsul 'Kalu Forest. He doesn't know anything about the Little People."

Mel remembered Hakan also, especially because of his read hair. She reacted in her special way. Offering him a hand, she smiled, "Your name is Hakan, I got. I am Mel. You are welcome! It's a nice to have you at the party!" Immediately she got busy to introduce the others to him. Self-consciously but relieved by the by smiling faces Hakan lost his suspicion. Soon Tom announced "Barbecue is ready!" and they all gathered around the grill.

Now they were ten. Seating himself, Adam remembered da Vinci's "Last Supper", one of the greatest murals he knew. Jesus had twelve disciples and according to the mural the last supper was attended by still more followers. They were sitting or standing at an oblong table with Lord's son in the center. At Tom's table they were ten only and Tom was not Jesus and neither was it Hakan nor one of the others. But had Jesus to be around in a human appearance at a table of friends? Wasn't it his spirit that was the decisive factor? What did Jesus stand for, anyway? Adam reasoned. Adam was not religious, nor an agnostic, nor an atheist, but he believed in love and Jesus was standing for love, for love in all its aspects. He looked around, scanned everybody present at the table and he was confident they all loved one another. Sure they loved each other in a different way, as boyfriends, as girlfriends or as just friends. The kind of love didn't count. Adam was confident that their love included the stranger Hakan also.

At the round table Hakan was seated to the right of Tom and seemed to wonder why he as a stranger, as a former "enemy", got the place of honor. Looking around it dawned upon him that nearly all of them were more than friends. Pete and True were boyfriends, visible on the way they served each other the best pieces of meat. This also was true for Aaron and Gerry. Furthermore the two were dressed alike, in dark slacks and in light blue button down shirts. They looked alike, despite their age difference and the color of the skin. Mel and Emma? Their behavior showed they were close also. Hakan wasn't so sure about Wa-Ya and Adam. They were tight he noticed at first sight, but boyfriends or just friends with benefits or just friends? He couldn't figure out immediately. That left Tom and him. In the few hours they knew each other a strange connection had build up between them. Tom seemed to be the only single at the table. This seemed to be odd. He looked him over and was sure Tom was it worth to have a special friend. He was good looking, caring and strong as his assignment as the deputy captain of the football team proved.

They feasted on the delicious food Tom offered, the meat, the salads, the sandwiches and last not least the punch Mel and Emma had prepared. When the food dwindled at the end of the afternoon, Tom dished up the old fashioned Root Beer. They had heard about the effect of the extract of the roots of the Sassafras tree to people and all were curious what would happen. They found out when the night fell and Tom switched on his stereo equipment. First just Mel and Emma were dancing. Soon they were full of go. Animated by the girls performance, Pete and True joined in next and then Aaron and Gerry. While the girls danced cheek to cheek the boys stayed single everyone making his own thing. The dancing picked up pace when Tom put on Michael Jackson's songs on request of Aaron. As soon "Beat It" rang out in the evening sky, Aaron performed the moonwalk. Immediately True joined in and together they did a version that surpassed Michael's celebrated performance by far. Wa-Ya, remembering the traditional dances of his tribe, created his own version of the moonwalk, which Adam tried to imitate without success.


While everyone tried to outdo the other in dancing, Tom stayed at the stereo system. He looked kind of lost and Hakan decided to join him. Talking with low voice the redhead began to confess the actual reason he left home. "It wasn't only the crash at the National Forest, why I left home. I had another reason too, a much stronger one." When Tom looked at him questioning, he continued, "Do you want to know the real reason? You will be the first I try to tell." He waited for a moment, "You have to know my father is preacher in Clintown, a very successful preacher by the way, very well reputed. I am his only son and he was proud of me, even more than of my three sisters. When I was about twelve I fell in love with our neighbor's boy. He was a year younger and cute like an angel. He returned my love." He hesitated a moment, and added smiling, "We did all the stuff boys do together at this age." Tom grinned, "It was the same in my case. When my parents found out, my father just laughed, called it "Boy's stuff"! And yours?" "No, my father never suspected this kind of friendship! He was clueless. But three years later my boyfriend moved away and I was heartbroken. I let out my pain by becoming a punk. Stayed out after dark, broke of rear mirror from cars, smocked and raided my father's liquor cabinet. I even started snitching liquor in the local super market!" "Oh! You don't look like a punk to me! I just can't believe you." Tom looked skeptical and started to question Hakan. "How did you father react? Did he beat you up? Did they send you to a shrink?" "The latter was beyond his reputation. I was grounded and when my father finally found out about my boyfriend, he told me to become a male and not be a sissy anymore." "And, did you?" Hakan giggled in embarrassment. "I decided to become a man. I started boxing and dating girls. I got into it! I dated this girl and that girl. I dated one after the other. I lost my cherry a second time, this time with a girl. I liked to do girls, but it wasn't love. Nothing could mend my broken heart." Hakan stared at the dancers especially the girls, Mel and Emma, and then shrugged his shoulders. "Are you still interested in my confession, Tom? Do you assume I am still that way?"

Tom didn't know how to cope with the situation and out of awkwardness he put an arm around Hakan. This move encouraged the redhead. "In my senior year a new student joined our class and I fell for him head over heel. This time my father became aware of my infatuation. He accused the new student to turn me gay and pressed my friend's family to leave the town." Suddenly Hakan looked distressed, but after a moment squared his shoulders, "My father turned out to be the worst homophobic around. He even wanted to force me into a conversion camp."

Adam, tired of dancing, had walked over to the two. Catching the word conversion camp, warning lights in his head started to blaze. "Conversion Camp?" he asked, "Are your rents crazy? These camps where bigots ruin lives? Did they really threaten to send you to a boot camp?" "Yes, I found all kind of leaflets, celebrating the success of the conversion therapy. They threatened to hand me over to an organization called Living Hope Ministry. Living Hope is claiming to convert boys and girls." "Do they? Look up the internet there are many reports about young men and female whose life and spiritual well-being was destroyed by conversion therapies. There are dozens of reports of young people committing suicide after being forced into such a camp! They are nearly as worse as concentration camps. Finally politicians figured out the harm these methods are bringing to young people. In some States the therapy is already against the law!" Hakan shrugged his shoulders, "Do you not know my father? Do you know my mother? They believe that man is created by God uniquely male or uniquely female and both sexes are beloved of God and both reflect the image of God in unique ways." Adam shook his head in surprise, "Your parents are talking of the God of the bible, the Christian God, but remember Christianity is not the only religion on earth. What about Hinduism, Buddhism, what about the religion of natives, of man called primitives by our western hubris? The spiritual perc eptions of of the other religions are very, very different from that of your parents. Ask Wa-Ya."

Now Tom stepped in, "Wa-Ya explained some of the myths of the Cherokee tribe to me and will it do to you also." When Hakan looked doubtingly, Tom added, "You yourself experienced the power of the mythological characters, of the Little People, the Yunwi Tsunsdi', the Forest Spirits, up in the forest!" Adam, having learned of Wa-Ya about the Cherokee universe, joined in, "And you haven't jet heard about Unetlanvhi, the creator, the Great Spirit. He is considered by the Cherokee to be the divine spirit with neither a human form nor human attributes. He is ruling the world, the universe, like the God in the Jewish or Christian religion, however his rule is different! He not only created men and women, he decided to create one gender more. He created people combining the capabilities of both men and women. These people have traits unique to their status. He created the Two Spirit People, famous for their abilities and their outstanding status in their societies. In ancient times they were famous as hunters, healers and warriors and in present times as artist, healers and teachers."

Absorbed by the conversation Tom had complete neglected his task. The dance music had stopped and the sweat soaked dancers gathered around him, Hakan and Adam. Mel picking up the word Two Spirit People, turned to Wa-Ya, "As a Cherokee you sure should know some LGBT people." Wa-Ya, surprised for a moment, shook his head, "As far I know, these people known in all Native American Nations, cannot be assigned to the LGBT community. However my knowledge about them is sketchy, as I do not know any in our group in the Tsul 'Kalu Forest. I just know the term used for them in former times. It's "asegi" for both and "nudale asgaya" for the male and "nudale agehya" for the female partner. But you have to keep I mind that the partners in such a unit, in such a family may be genetically male or female." Gerry listening closely scratched his head, "Aaron and I, we both are male, neither one of us takes on the part of a female, we are all male. Therefore we both should be "nudale asgaya." "You are right. But I told you Cherokee designations do apply for Native Americans only."

The discussion wasn't continued, because Pete's older brother Paul turned up, "Time to go home Pete." he announced, "It's late enough. I promised True's parents to bring him home early." Turning to the girls "Do you have a ride? I do not mind bringing you home also." They accepted and when Paul left, Gerry and Aaron decided to leave also. Left behind Adam suggested cleaning up the mess left. Much later four tired and sweaty boys ended up around the kitchen table enjoying a last soft drink.

While the others relaxed Tom remembered his invitation for a sleepover to Wa-Ya and Adam and to his offer to use his king size bed. Now as Hakan was present he became uncertain about it, especially after the redhead's confession. Tom didn't consider himself gay, but he had developed a crash on Wa-Ya and now was not as sure about his sexuality as before. On the other hand he was uncertain about the relation of Wa-Ya and Adam. Were they boyfriends or friends with benefits or just friends? He was too shy to ventilate the question. Wa-Ya noticing Tom's unrest, met the issue head on, "Is your bed still open for us all? Don't worry even if Hakan joins us, I will not mind. Growing up in a poor mountain community I am used to sleep in crowded beds." Hakan feeling uneasy, threw in, "I better sleep in the basement. I don't like to bother you!" "Bother us?" Adam shook his head laughing, "In the contrary, if you join us, a problem is solved." When Hakan and Tom looked surprised, he clarified, "Wa-Ya and I like to spoon. This would leave Tom to all himself, if you don't sleep with us. You don't want this, do you? If you join us, everything will be fine, because everyone has a partner for spooning." While Hakan blushed and turned away, Tom snickered, "I am not gay. However I will try but in two conditions only, no raping and at least one changing of partners."

In Tom's roomy bed, he and Adam were already discussing what had happened in the Tsul 'Kalu Forest, when Wa-Ya came from the shower in the buff and jumped into the bed. "You hair is still wet!" complained Adam and huddled up against Tom. "Where is Hakan, did he chicken out and run away?" Wa-Ya searched the room for the redhead. "I guess he is." Tom reluctantly left the warm place besides Adam, "I look for him downstairs. I guess he took off to the basement! He has to be there, because he has no other place to stay."

Minutes later Tom came back dragging Hakan along behind him. "He really is frightened we would exploit his distressing situation. I had to comfort him telling him neither one of us is his enemy or want to used his plight." "Come here! We like you." Wa-Ya pointed at the place besides him, "I am nearly as new in Dartsborough as you and beyond that I am a stinking injun." Now Hakan couldn't decline the invitation anymore and cuddled with Tom.

A robin's warbling song woke Tom up shortly after sunrise. Wondering what had happened during the night in his bed, he looked around. Wa-Ya and Adam were still spooning, while Hakan had nestled against a pillow and slept quietly. They had had fun together but no sex. That was alright with him. Studying the redhead again, he decided to ask his parent to invite him to stay as a guest, for one because Hakan needed a keep, for the other Tom had developed a crush on him. Should he tell his parents about the liking? Better not. But he was sure Hakan could stay because his mother was a benevolent person, who would without question be willing to care for a homeless youngster.

On Sunday Tom's parent came back from the trip around noon. Checking the kitchen, the basement and the garden his mother shook the head in surprise, "Did you really have all your friends over for a party last night? Everything is as clean as I and Bulford had left the house yesterday?" When Tom smiled flattered, "Did you engage a cleaner to tidy up? Cleaning up is not your strong site!" "A cleaner?" Tom pouted, "No way! I had friends over remember no slobs, Adam and Wa-Ya for example. They did a great job. They showed me how to clean up and insisted I have to try to be a model son from now on." Grabbing the chance, he pointed to his room. "There is another guest up in my room. You don't know him. He stayed over the night also. It's Hakan Stark." When his father gave him a questioning look, Tom asked back, "Don't you remember this name? It was all over the news lately. It's the driver of the crashed harvester up at the Tsul 'Kalu Forest." When his father's questioning look increased, "I met him yesterday morning. He helped me and I was in his debt." Tom began to go into details about Hakan's fate and at the end he appealed to his parents, "Can Hakan stay with us. You will like him, like I do already." Trying to quell his parent's objections, he continued, "You always complain our house is too big. He can use one of the small rooms in the attic used by grandma's servants." Bulford rethinking the situation, wanted to know more about Hakan. "Hakan told me, he wants to stay in Dartsborough to make money to be able to enrol in college next spring. He plans to study forestry and work as a ranger later on." Tom provided the information he knew but this didn't satisfy Bulford. "Before I can give a go, we should have a look at you new friend." "Please do not question him too hard," Tom asked his parents, "He is very self-conscious because of his parent's reaction and get scared easily."

At lunch Tom introduced Hakan to his parents. He was nervous because his parents hadn't agreed to his request. When they entered the kitchen, his mother immediately connected with Hakan. "I am Tom's mother, call me Harper." and welcomed him with a hug. Bulford was more reserved. Scanning the young man from head to toe he reflected a moment and then frowned. The red hair and the way Hakan moved, called up some bad memories of his college time. The redhead resembles the offensive tackle of the opposing football team called Shark by his team mates. Bulford hated Shark by heart. The homophobic, notorious bully had sported a red mane like Hakan, moved like him and had even similar facial features. The main difference was their bodily frame. While Shark was a square, big guy the young man sitting at the table opposite of him was slender and lightweight. Nonetheless he had the feeling he had met him before.

First the conversation revolved around the party the day before, then Tom's mother curious as she was, began to quiz Hakan about his plans for the future. After he had told her he wanted to attend college to study forestry, she began to question him about his family. That was Bulford's chance to find out if Hakan had a relation to Shark. "Your father is minister as I understand." he started, to go on, "Was he also on the college football team during his time in Nashville?" "Yes he was. He was proud to have a sports grant before he decided to become a minister. To do this, he had to switch the college." "Do you know the college he attended?" When Hakan shrugged his shoulders, Bulford went on, "No? I attended Vanderbilt University." Looking out of the window, he started to search for words, "The major competitor our team have been of the TBR tigers. Their offensive tackle, a red hair, was outstanding. He nearly looked like you but he was a lot bigger, bulkier. As soon as he hit the lawn he got competitive." Hakan smiled interested. Listening to Bulford his looks turned miserable and defensive. "Shark was famous for his attacks but ill-reputed for his way of playing and treating other students. The funny story was that he suddenly was off the team. He never showed up again, not even on social events." Recalling what was rumoured about Shark's sudden disappearance, he decided to come to the point, "The gossip had it, Shark he was expelled from the college, because he sexually molested freshman students." Elaborating the buzz, he told Hakan bluntly, "To get into the team, the boys had to pay with favours." Hearing this, Hakan's face turned crimson and after a moment he asked to be excused.

When Hakan left Harper immediately asked, "Do you really think Shark is Hakan's father?" "It looks like! Now I even remember his name. It was Alan Stark. Hakan is bearing the same name. Therefore I should be right." Shaking his head, "Hakan is such a nice young man. I am sorry he had such a mean father." Tom immediately defended his new friend, "It's not Hakan's fault! His father may be a mean man who turned from a boy molester to a homophobic preacher, but it's not my friend's fault. He is really nice and all my friends like him. He is not like his father, I assure you." Just to comfort his parents, he added, "You need not be afraid, Hakan will not molest me or turn me gay!"

When Hakan didn't show up, Tom went up to his room, where he found the redhead holed up in the bed. He was sobbing. Tom went over and mused up his hair, "Cheer up Redhead. My parents like you. You can stay with us. Mom and Dad agreed to that." Sitting down beside him, he ruffled Hakan's hair. "You room will be upstairs in the attic. It's out off use since ever and Mom is happy if you move in. It's a small room but his has a perfect view over the gardens." When Hakan didn't respond Tom shook him slightly, "Come on Redhead, move! We have to clean the room and furnish it to your taste. Then it's yours!" Now Hakan burst out in tears, "No, I can't stay! Shark was my father's nickname. Now I know why he is behaving so homophobic! He is compensating for what he felt as a teenage for other boys. I better leave!" "No! You don't." Tom put an arm around Hakan's shoulder and held him tight, "From now on, my home is your home. I like you, my parents like you and my friends like you also." To confirm the invitation, he added, "Dad even came up with an idea for the job you are looking for. He already has called up Gerry's father who owns a construction company. Dan Martin always needs employees like you, for example experienced drivers. He told Dad you should show up tomorrow morning at half past seven and prove your skills!" When Hakan still hesitated, Tom added, "Remember Gerry, Dan Martin's son, and Aaron are your friends also! So why hesitate? They like you and Dan will like you also!"

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