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Divided Loyalties

Divided Loyalties by Vikk Simmons
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Before Jon Higheagle came into her life, sixteen year old Trisha Braedon thought she had it all under control: school, her college scholarship, and her parents divorce. But the gentle, charming newcomer, with his environmental causes and crusading spirit, isn't like anyone Trisha had ever known. Their instant attraction to each other draws Trisha into Jon's world of passionate involvement in environmental causes. But her participation puts her much needed scholarship at risk and creates even more conflict in her already troubled family life. Feeling torn and divided on every front, Trisha finds her loyalty questioned everywhere she goes. Finally, the unresolved issues are forced into the open and Trisha must deal with the truth about her feelings, her family and her relationship with Jon.

Awe-Struck Publishing; August 2004
84 pages; ISBN 9781587493874
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Title: Divided Loyalties
Author: Vikk Simmons
Trisha fell behind as she stopped to examine a row of Hopi Kachinas. One in particular caught her attention, and she played her fingers down the deeply carved shape, tracing the design of a bundle of corn etched into a squared mask. Her hand moved to another, a painted black and red clown, then another. She admired the detail and wondered how long someone had spent carving these ancient gods. As her attention left the Kachinas, she heard the sound of the flute again. Turning slightly, she followed the sound of flute notes to a stall where an older man, dressed in buckskin pants and shirt, beaded moccasins and wearing a single black threaded dream catcher in his ear, sat on a wooden stool and played a wooden flute. Trisha stood off to the side and pretended to search among the discs of Native American music, all the while listening, captivated by the sweet melodies. A line of wooden flutes lay on the table in front of her. "Ever played?" Startled, Trisha turned and found Jon holding a flute. She'd been so mesmerized by the music she hadn't even noticed him pulling one of the flutes from the table. "No, not at all. You?" "Some--when I lived on the reservation I used to go off into one canyon in particular and practice." That said, Jon lifted the flute to his lips and trilled out a couple of notes. The flute player stopped his own playing and smiled. "It would seem at least one of you is familiar with the flute. You know Carlos Nakai, then?" he asked Jon. "Some." "And you," the flute player said to Trisha. "You're aware of the custom of the flute playing?" Trisha looked at both of them, then shook her head and smiled. "No, but the music is beautiful." "Long ago the flutes were used as a courting instrument. Young men would sit outside the tipi of their loved one and play one love song after another in an attempt to win her heart." The old man tipped his flute toward Jon. "You are looking for a good flute, perhaps? One that sings from the heart?" Jon accepted the flute the old man gave him and put it to his lips. Fingering the flute, he played a delicate and pure melody that wrapped itself around the chambers of Trisha's heart and she felt herself stop breathing. The sweltering heat of the tent only intensified the moment. The smell of burning sage tickled her nose, the parade of people pressed past, the ringing of conch bells ran counterpoint with the flute. Trisha had never heard anything so beautiful as the song Jon played on the old man's flute. When he had finished he offered the flute back to the old man, but, with tears in his eyes, the man refused, saying, "No, no, she's yours. She's never played so sweetly for me. You must take her and name her and she will be yours forever." Jon nodded, his dark eyes shining. "Thank you," he said, his voice soft as the prairie wind blowing over the fields. "I will listen for the name and treat her with the honor she deserves." With that said, he placed the flute inside a leather pouch at his side. The old man smiled and nodded gently toward Trisha. "You have a captive audience already." Jon waited a beat, then smiled and spoke quietly. "One I fully intend to use."