Mary Peace Finley
Award-winning author of books for young people
Julio's sling sliced through the air, spinning the rock toward the voices, but it was too late.
The Jicarillas' cries and the bleating of the lamb faded up the hillside, swallowed by the
"Chivita! Come back," Julio called. "Chivita!"
Panting, Chivita returned, her small muscular body quivering.
"I hate them!" Clenching his teeth, Julio knelt and stroked Chivita's short wiry hair, letting his hand say the
anger in his voice was not for her. "They're too lazy to work! They let us work, then they steal! We've lost
Aching over the loss, Julio reached into the leather bag hanging at his side. His fingers felt
the stones ready for the sling, his fire flints and mechas, the wicks his sisters had twisted
for him from tree cotton to catch sparks, and found what he was searching for---his reed
flute. Easing down onto the ground, he scratched behind Chivita's ear, then began to play.
The soft music calmed the sheep--and him. The harm was done. The Jicarillas would
not be back, not tonight. But he wished, as he had every night for three years, he were
at Bent's Fort with Papa.
© Mary Peace Finley 2012