DISCLAIMER – This story features images of violence, adult language, and some adult situations.
The following story is Copyright © 2015 Padraig O’C. Copying this story without permission from the author is strictly prohibited.
The next day was the day she would be interviewing two people. The first being Gerald Colson, and the other she was not even sure as of yet. Gerald being hte son of Warren Colson, was currently being groomed to eventually become the future chairman of the Tribal Business Council. A fact known to many in the Tsalemish nation, and a good reason for the political entities behind the Tribune to push for an article on him. Truth was, Nyla did not want to do the interview. In reality when she woke up that day, and she had her breakfest all she could taste was ash. Compared to the day before when she had been quickly kissed by Hoku, today was just going to be more old memories which should have been left dead.
After playing goth biker the other night she was trying to figure out what to wear that morning. Spending so much time on wardrobe was not usually her idea of fun, but these days she was changing clothes on a daily basis. Combine the necessity of her work, and the fact that she had torn a jacket or two while working a case, there were a ongoing list of problems leading to her currently dwindling closet. That morning she tossed on a green blouse and some jeans, while also taking time to make sure she had a good set of sturdy shoes for the day.
A message from Gerald the night before had told her to come meet him while he was finishing up work for his cousin’s catch of Salmon that day. A small fact that reminded her of days visiting Gerald’s house when her sister had been dating a member of a related family (a man’s name she pushed to the back of her mind for reasons she did not wish to remember). That was when she and Gerry had been in the passion of their affair. She considered it an affair, and as she finished cleaning dishes for breakfest she considered the fire it had once had. Gerry Colson was a man of appetites, and when it came to sex was -very- voracious. Something that she could only keep up with in small doses.
The day that greeted her was grey, soggy, and just coming off of a spat of rain. Washington weather usually spiraled into a series of mixed sunny, rainy, and then wonderfully powerful coastal storms this time of the year. As November was already edging toward its end, she was sure that she had missed Thanksgiving. Oh boo ho. She thought about the event and sighed, her work from late october, and into the election itself had revolved around the negotations, and Richard Daniels. Now it had evolved as her work earlier had led to the release of two major articles (one of which quickly angered Warren Colson), and now new one. The Tribune at this time was playing debate mediator between the Tribe, and the County, with Nyla smack dab in the middle being hte info gopher.
Yup, she was incredibly joyful about the situation. So when she took the short ride onto the reservation all she could think about were two things. One, not getting ticked by overzealous tribal police trying to control the crazed traffic moving around the flooded roads, and also not ditching her bike thanks to the flooded roads themselves. Her eyes just focused on the road as she zipped along it. The steady roar of her bike let her know that things were fine not to mention that warm vibration that shook her body as she sat upon it. The old Indian machine was a relic, and yet through reasons she had yet to figure stil ran like a dream.
She was to meet Gerry near the docks that ringed the tip of the point just near the Anian Island Ferry Dock. Here was where most of the tribal members kept their fishing boats and other implements. The smell of raw seaweed, and brine was in the air as she arrived. A scarf around her neck was soon raised across her mouth as she tried to banish the taste of dead fish on her tongue. Her eyes narrowed as a stream of salt-spray came up across the dock. A large long series of timbers and planks that had been there for years,the large dock was surrnounded by trawlers.
Gerald Colson was manning a large cart filled with two large tubs of crab. Dressed in a pair of waders, the business lawyer was busy at the moment pushing the cart of tubs toward the processing center. She stood out at the end of the dock waiting for him to make his way toward her. Her eyes were then shielded as she pulled the scarf tighter against her chin. Green eyes watched Gerry as he pushed the large cart toward where the dock met the land. The water was at high tide, brushing up against the dark grey sand of the beach.
The scion of the Colson family was busy working away in a menial job which he did out of the goodness of his heart. Or more likely for a good pick of fish from the season’s catches. Several crabs were slushing around in the tubs as he finished and left the cart near the entrance for the workers inside to begin processing the crustaceans. He then gave the young woman a wink as he motioned for her to wait and then disappeared inside. About ten minutes later, and much less covered in salt water the man appeared dressed in a pair of jeans, and a hoodie.
“So helping the cousins out again?” she asked lightly.
“Yeah, big pull of crab and they needed some help with moving the catch over so I pitched in,” Gerry replied. Already his swagger was back as he gave her a smirk.
“Are you going to rob the Mini Mart or something?” he asked her aftering getting a look at the scarf wrapped around her face. Her only riposte was to roll her eyes as he pointed to his car.
“I’m not interviewing you in a muscle car Gerry, especially a red one with black stripes.” She pointed to the mid-life crisis car that he had bought from his father a year or so back.
“You didn’t mind the back seat before,” he quipped with a devilish smile on his face.
“Fuck you, Gerry!” her retort came quickly as Nyla turned on her heel to leave. Gerry hook his head as he stopped, and held his arms up.
“Okay, okay, we’ll go to the Casino I’ll meet you there,” the man replied. Neutral ground at least. The Casino would do as it had a decent restaurant, and she could get back easily at him for the barb. Nyla quickly returned to her bike and sped away from the point, and back toward the main road to toward the Eagle Spirit Casino. She pulled into the parking lot, and found a spot just out of the way near the back. Of course Gerald took the front and had a valet park his car, being a son of a pre-eminent member of the Tribe he was use to a few official perks, and respect. Nyla on the other hand was not.
She walked toward the front gate, her hair coming swaying along the left side of her face. By now most of the Tsalemish were aware of her return to meddling in tribal politics. Likely Lisa had to plee with Colson, and his cousins on the Tribal Council to not have her banned. That was all made worse when Erickson used her work to drum up hostility between the Tribe and the Whatcom County Council.
Now she was in the middle of more crud. How wonderful. Her eyes narrowed into a traditional squint as the white blaring white of the day hit her eyes. She slipped onto a pair of sunglasses as she passed through the doors, and the local security quickly appeared to watch her. They however did nothing, which meant Gerry had waved them off. Good, she then looked around the lobby and took her time in locating a restaurant she already knew the location to. Of course she wanted to make Gerry sweat, and then walk in especially after the last comment. Yes, I am that Sierding petty. Nyla thought to herself.
She froze just as she made her way to the Golden River restaurant and was waved in by the Maitre’D. The man quickly pointed to a table, a hostess appeared to lead her in. Everyone inside the restaurant’s high dining location were dressed fairly well, and were obviously ready for a mid-day brunch. Gerald was there dressed in a nicer shirt than earlier (even with a collar), and was speaking to Native woman dressed in a high-end pantsuit. She was getting close when the woman broke off the discussion at Nyla’s appearance, and shot a weary untrusting look to the woman. Nyla could only respond with a confused glance as she tugged the scarf down off her neck and hung it off an arm on the chair while she took her seat.
A light bit of string music played in the background as she slipped her coat off next leaving herself only in the green blouse, and with some bangles on her arm. After being tracked over the past few weeks she had taken to wearing warding charms to make it harder for creatures in the Shadow to track her.
Gerry was drinking a glass of water when she arrived, and then waited a few seconds as he took an order for lunch. Nyla took several moments after the waitress left to make an order as she then leaned forward and set down her phone to record. Gerry gave her a smile before nodding to let her know she could start.
“What is your stance on the current issues put forth by the Tsalemish nation in the negotiations over water rights? And land near the Nooksack river?” she asked. Gerald took a steady sip of water, and then licked his lips.
“I think the Nation has a good claim on the land nearby the river, its just north of our current reservation. But according to our histories, and files we control the land. Cunningham Incorporated’s claim to the land is nonsensical, why build near a river that has flooding problems? He says he wants to create a new eco-friendly neighborhood, and there are theories of salmon fishing. All of which make no sense.” The first answer was a good one, a jab at the other factor in the current debate raging through the Tribune. Nyla herself could not make heads nor tails of the Cunningham claim.
“What about the negotiations about the Anian Island Ferry?” she asked the next question.
“The mecury content in fish in the area has gone up, which has been shown to be connected to an uncleaned lagoon that the county has yet to move on. This is leeching into the local fisheries, and the main source of food, and income for many native families.” His reply was almost rehearsed.
“Okay, and what about claims to ritual places on Anian Island, and that the County is preventing you free access,” she asked the third question on her list.
“Oh yeah. The Tsalemish have lived in the Puget Sound area for centuries. We had camps and villages across the San Juan isles.” he began slowly, “The question of sacred areas is specific to a location near the summit of Mount Anian over on the Island. Its currently owned by a private citizen, and another part is held by the Yacht Club of Bellingham Bay. We’ve asked several times to buy the land from the Club, but things are not going our way. There is also circumstantial evidence that a rock quarry on the Island is dangerously close to damaging this location. Its one reason we are attempting to get the County to intervene as they are charged with managing the land in the area.”
That was a decently sized info dump on Gerald’s part. She made a few mental notes to inquire about the quarry, as she had read a few times about problems related to it on the Island. After the long last question she leaned forward and ended the recording. She then leaned back and took a deep breath.
“You happy playing around here then?” he asked her. The question resulted in her giving him a expression mixed with confusion, and annoyance.
“I was -never- a member of the nation,” she replied slowly.
“Yup, but have you seen what your boss is doing?” he asked her.
“Yes all white men want to screw the red man that’s exactly what is going on.” Her retort was quick, and fast. Gerald only laughed and smiled as the waitress dropped off a drink.
“Some people like to take advantage of people who are disenfranchised Ny, and sometimes that happens to be the half-drunk Indian. You know the stories are true, that Cunningham use to come around and offer drinks to those he knew through his lawyer friends were revising their wills.” The rumors had persisted in the tribe for years, and had only built the animosity toward non-tribal lawyers, and businessmen.
“I know, and I also know what it was like growing up over on Anian and watching your dad and Fillmore’s brother arguing over shit for years.” She crossed her arms as she ordered a reuben sandwich from the waitress who appeared slightly interested in their discussion.
He gave a sigh and said, “You know that was what I liked about you Ny. Always ready to point out where people were ignoring others. Why did we ever break up?” he asked her. This again.
“You are a controlling arse.” She said slowly using the usual deflection she chose. Gerald paused, he knew there was more to it. There had to be mro to it. Nyla had been one of his great passions in late high school,and early college. The woman started to look uneasy, her drink came as she sat back and rocked in her seat for a moment. She was hiding something, and as he sat back she started to appear as if she was about to bolt.
“Is it about that talk my father had with you after we graduated?” he asked. That question brought a memory up from her past she wish she had surpressed.
Warren met her in the family home off Tsalem Shore drive right on the beach. She had come on her bike that day to spend some time with Gerald as they both celebrated graduating from Ferndale High School. Warren started off their conversation as the sun dipp just over the edge of the horizon, and she found a lawn chair to sit in. Even though her family often disagreed with Warren Colson’s thought process they had relented when they saw how his son treated their daughter. A bit possessive but she had realized that Gerald was a kind boy, and he wanted what was best for her.
But that all changed, all changed on a level she had never thought possible. It was around the time that she cracked open a soda while reminiscing with her assumed future father-in-law when he asked her.
“So. How long has Gerald known you’re a halfbreed.” The words caused her to freeze. The term was not at all unheard of to her. She was a low blood quantom to many tribes, but kept her membership with the Skuallup through her grandmother who was already a fringe member of the tribe itself. Her dark skin was somewhat of a fluke to many, and assumed to be a part of her father’s supposed ‘black irish’ heritage.
“Sir, what do-” he cut her off.
“I mean how long have you kept the fact you’re only half-human,” he told her and look her straight in the eye. Her eyes widened with shock. At that time Jack had just started training her in her half-human nature. The fae part of her had emerged much earlier, and she had used strange potions to keep it dormant in high school.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she said feigning ignorance. He reached toward her and braced a cold iron nail against her skin. Instantly she yelped as pain shot up her right arm, and she shrank away from him.
“Only the blood of the Spirit-Folk are harmed by Iron. I was wondering about you for a while, and I don’t want your dirty self around my son,” he told her. The words came out as he narrowed his eyes as an unbidden hatred appeared, “Even if you are Spirit-Folk blooded, you are not pure. I know of your parents mixed heritage. I hear some of our peoples friends among the Folk speaking of your twisted nature. You are an abomination.”
Nyla had learned that day what true hatred was. Even from a people who had experienced so much she was still an outcast. Being the Thricebound brought her years of hard training, and also fear in the eyes of many for reasons she was not even remotely aware of.
“So what was it Ny?” he asked her. She felt the edge on her tongue, the coming of Soulburn. Why was that? Why do I feel so drained? Her eyes darted from side to side as she felt like a pinned animal. Gerald sat in his seat as his old friend suddenly started to act like a soul had walked over her grave.
“Your father said…some harsh things to me. Did he ever tell you what, and -why?” she glanced at him as he blinked.
“No he said it was because you forbade you from seeing the tree on the mountain after you asked about it.”
“-Why- would I ask about a treet?” she said seething with anxiety, and a bit of anger.
“The medicine tree that the people from Bellingham stole a cutting from years ago to seal a pact with the seasons,” he replied simply, “You know its an old folktale from a few generations back.”
That was new. Completely new. Jack had told her the Tree was created to satisfy a treaty, not to make a pact with the seasons. If that was true than, she blinked slowly as she looked at him.
“So you have no idea that your father called me a racial abomination?” Nyla mumbled. Geralds reaction was to blink, and then an expression of utter surprise flashed across his face. It was quick, and then his countenance shifted into one of silent rage.
“Your telling me,” he began, but stopped. Her reaction was to slowly rise to her feet and nod slowly.
“Yes. I stayed with you for another year or two, but broke it off because your father said we should end it. He even offered me money Gerry. I walked away because your family doesn’t like me. I am so sorry, I need to go,” she turned around and bit back a sob. Dammit. First a nice night for once with a possible new flame, and now she was digging up old ghosts, utterly fantastic.
Gerry reached over and caught her arm. Everyone’s just grabbing me these days. His grip was strong, and solid, and she almost started to struggling against it.
“I am so sorry,” he said before letting her go. The words were only a slight balm to her soul. Nyla’s brimmed with emotions as she fought back tears. It was not a moment she wanted to have in a crowded restaurant. So Gerald let her run away. In return Nyla mouthed ‘thank you’ before running out of the Casino and into the dark night. Memories of pain in heart, and revelation of her case in her mind.
Next Part: Chapter 16
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