Standing Eagle and a dozen of his warriors galloped their horses to the top of a hill overlooking the valley that contained Highwater below. Wandering Snake trained his spy glass on the smoke signals as they rose into the air.
The tribe’s shaman translated the signals out loud. “Attention…Injuns…”
The Chief slapped his forehead. “Oh spirits give me strength. They’re even racist in code.”
“White men…in heap big trouble…”
“There,” Standing Eagle said. “Right there. That is a vicious stereotype. None of us use the word ‘heap’ to describe anything.”
Screeching Owl, one of the tribe’s younger warriors, rode his steed up to the group and peered at the puffs of smoke rising above the town.
“Sorry I am late,” Owl said. “Wow. That’s a heap many smoke clouds.”
Eagle looked to Snake, who shrugged his shoulders. “Oh fine. So one of us uses the word ‘heap’ in place of ‘many’ or ‘very’ and to the white man that means we all do it. I swear the white man judges every other group based solely on its dumbest member. Owl!”
Owl turned his gaze to the Chief. “Chief?”
“Stop saying ‘heap!’”
Owl nodded. “I’m heap sorr…I’m very sorry.”
Snake continued the translation. “Monsters have…overrun…town. Soon will…take over…country. Please…send help…so we can defeat…leader of monsters.”
“Give me that,” Eagle said as he grabbed Snake’s spy glass and trained it about the town. Wherever he looked, he saw buildings on fire, half-eaten bodies in the streets, and dead men traipsing about.
“What in the…Snake!”
“What’s going on down there?” Eagle asked.
The shaman lit up a stick that was doused with sweet smelling incense, the aroma of which he believed would ward off evil.
“The spirits are angry.”
Eagle kept using the spy glass to take in different views of the carnage until he spotted old man Knox and his boys standing on the back of a flipped over cart, shooting every last bullet they had at a throng of zombies until they were torn apart, severed limbs being tossed everywhere.
“The white men need help,” Eagle said as he handed the spy glass back to the shaman.
Like his namesake, Charging Bobcat was lean and wiry. His hair was styled in a mohawk, with tattoos inked along the shorn sides of his head. A feather dangled from his ear.
“Let the white men die, Eagle,” Bobcat said. “This is likely their doing. Some sort of experiment they did to ‘improve’ over Mother Nature’s wishes coming back to bite them…literally.”
“Right,” Eagle said. “Start a fire and send them my response. ‘Dear White Men. So sorry that another group just showed up one day and started taking all of your shit even though you all had clearly been there for awhile. We have no idea what that’s like…”
Snake shook his head.
“What?” Eagle asked. “Too much sarcasm?”
The shaman peered once more at the town through his telescope. “Spirits would say that the evil of others is no excuse for you to commit evil. Those in need must be helped by those who can.”
“Damn it, Snake,” Eagle said.
The Chief turned his attention to his scout, Crafty Fox, who was quickly galloping in from the south side of the mountain, flanked on either side by two more scouts.
There was a look of terror on Fox’s face.
Eagle and his braves followed the scouts to the South side of the mountain. Though they were all battle tested fighters, the warriors’ mouths gaped in awe at the sight that unfolded before their eyes.
Lines of werewolves marched in formation from the West, snapping whips across the backs of the zombies ahead of them, herding them toward Highwater. It was a massive army, thousands in total.
Eagle was calm and resolute in his orders. “All of you. Return to the village. Gather the women, children and the elderly and seek refuge with our friends in the south.”
“And what of you?” Bobcat asked.
“I will do what I always do,” the Chief said. “I will stand.”