As she glanced around the reservation, she saw Sully and Cloud Dancing coming toward her. She quickened her pace and when she met up with them she lightly brushed a kiss on Sully's cheek and gave Cloud Dancing a warm hug.
Cloud Dancing hugged her smiled. They parted from their friendly embrace and Michaela smiled back.
"It is good to see you again Dr. Mike. It has been a while since I have been outside the reservation and I have missed you and the children." He remarked warmly.
Michaela smiled and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "It's good to see you too my friend. I have missed you too. Brian and Katie are in the wagon. I told them wait there while we talked." She said resolutely.
Cloud Dancing glanced over at Brian and Katie and smiled. "They have really grown since I last saw them." He remarked resolutely.
"Yes they have! Brian never misses a chance to come out here! He loves coming to see you!" she replied and smiled.
Cloud Dancing cast a warm smile at Michaela. "He is a good boy!" he remarked resolutely.
His smiled slowly faded as he cast a concerned look at Michaela. "Sully has told me that you have been bothered by a dream that you had last night. I will be glad to help you!" he said compassionately and smiled.
Michaela nodded anxiously. "Yes, I thought it would go away, but obviously it hasn't!" she shook her head and sighed.
Cloud Dancing put a reassuring hand on her shoulder and smiled. "Don't worry Dr. Mike. You can tell me about this dream and we will see what it means." He said decisively. He motioned for them to follow him to his tepee.
They stepped inside the tepee and sat down on some blankets Cloud Dancing had laid around a small stone circle he had fashioned to make a firepit from. Sully and Cloud Dancing began making a small fire inside the ring and began putting various dried herbs and leaves into the center.
As they sat around the fire, Cloud Dancing began reciting an ancient Cheyenne Indian medicine chant to call on the spirits for help. Michaela listened to the chant and watched intently as the small flames danced in the fire. As her eyes slowly followed the smoke rising to the top of the tepee, she glanced down into the center of the fire and suddenly her eyes widened in surprise. She wasn't sure if it was her imagination or if she was dreaming, but suddenly the faces of the people she had dreamed about were coming into view.
She also saw something different that wasn't in her dream before. A man wearing a mask…a black mask that covered his head and part of his face. He was very tall and was dressed all in black. He even rode a beautiful black horse. She could even see the town where the people lived.
"Cloud Dancing, I can see the people! And I also see a man in black!" she remarked as her eyes gazed at the flames as they flickered in the pit.
"Yes, I see them too, and I also see this man in black." Cloud Dancing answered as he too gazed into the flames. "I see a small town also. It is very quiet. There is a feeling of death all around."
Cloud Dancing reached into a clay pot and took a small handful of ground herbs and tossed them into the fire. Michaela momentarily sat back as the flames sparked and then returned to normal.
As Cloud Dancing gazed into the fire, he glanced up a Michaela with a steady gaze and looked at her.
"I see you going to this town. They need your help! They will die if you do not go there! Dr. Mike, you must help them!" he said with an urgency in his voice.
Michaela briefly closed her eyes. As she did, she suddenly saw the name of the town in her dream. She quickly opened her eyes and shook her head. She looked at Cloud Dancing as his eyes stayed fixed upon her.
"Cloud Dancing, I just saw the name of the town!" Michaela replied with an anxious tone to her voice.
"Yes, I saw it too! That is where you must go!" replied Cloud Dancing with a spiritual tone to his voice.
Michaela glanced at Sully and looked into his eyes. She wondered if he had seen the same visions that she and Cloud Dancing had seen. As their eyes met Sully took her hand and lightly squeezed it and nodded. She looked at him anxiously and sighed. It was obvious that he had seen the visions too.
Having lived with the Cheyenne half of his life, Sully knew the customs and spiritual ways of these people who had befriended him and taken care of him. When his parents had died, Sully would have died too, if it had not been for the Cheyenne. He was an only child and when his parents died, he was left all alone to survive on his own. Some Cheyenne found him half starved wandering in the woods and took him in. They taught him their customs and traditions and most of all how to survive on your own. That's how Sully and Cloud Dancing became close friends. In a way, Cloud Dancing was like the brother Sully never had and Chief Black Kettle and his wife were like the parents he had lost. To Sully, the Cheyenne were his family.
When Black Kettle and his tribe were killed in the massacre at Washita it left a deep void in Sully's life, but he was at least grateful that his friend and "brother" Cloud Dancing was still alive to pass on the traditions and customs of his people. Sully never forgot what the Cheyenne had done for him and he felt it was his turn to help them all he could.
Cloud Dancing dipped up a ladle of water and doused the fire. As the steam rose Michaela cast an inquisitive look at Cloud Dancing.
"Cloud Dancing, who was the man in black? I've never seen him before." Michaela asked.
Cloud Dancing shook his head. "I do not know, but the spirits tell me that he will help you. He is a friend." He said earnestly.
Michaela looked at Sully and sighed. "Well at least that's a good sign!" she affirmed.
"Do you really think this was a vision Cloud Dancing?" Michaela asked casting a steady gaze upon his face.
Cloud Dancing nodded. "Yes I do! The spirits do not lie! They tell us what we need to know and guide us toward the path that is right for us. This vision was very strong and it was telling me that you should help these people!" he replied resolutely.
Sully looked at Michaela and smiled. "Do you remember when I came to Boston and tried to get you to come back? I had a vision that something was trying to take you away! Thank goodness I told Cloud Dancing about it. He told me that I should go to Boston, and I did!" he smiled warmly.
Michaela gazed affectionately at Sully and smiled. "And I'm glad you did!" she said. She leaned over and pressed a tender kiss to his lips and smiled.
They stood up and briefly gazed at the charred embers in the fire pit as if reflecting upon what had just taken place and then turned and stepped outside the tepee. Michaela cast an amicable gaze upon Cloud Dancing's face and smiled.
"Thank you so much for helping me! I know what I have to do now!" she said earnestly. Michaela cast an inquisitive look at Cloud Dancing and smiled.
"Do the spirits say that Sully should come with me?" she asked amiably.
Cloud Dancing nodded and smiled. "I think the spirits would say that is a very wise thing!" he replied as he put a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
"I do to" Michaela agreed as she wrapped her arms around Sully and gave him a slight hug and smiled.
They said good-bye to Cloud Dancing and headed for home. On the way Brian cast a concerned look upon Michaela's face. "Ma did Cloud Dancing help you with your bad dream?" he asked anxiously.
Michaela smiled and nodded. "Yes he did! In fact I'm going to have to go on a long trip Brian." Michaela replied earnestly.
Brian's eyes slightly widened. "Where are you going?" he asked anxiously.
As they pulled into the homestead, Michaela reined the horses and cast a resolute look at Brian.
"There's a small town in California that is in trouble and needs my help! There are people that are sick and dying and if I don't help them they may die!" Michaela replied with a serious look on her face.
Brian's face briefly turned sad and looked up at Michaela. "How long will you be gone?" he asked worriedly.
Michaela shook her head and sighed. "I don't know Brian. I guess for as long as it takes! Sully and I are both going so I won't be by myself! Don't worry, you and Katie can stay with Grace and Robert E and I'll even ask Dorothy and Lauren to keep an eye on you too! I know it sounds strange, but it's something that I have to do!" she concluded as she cast a determined look at Brian.
Brian looked at Michaela and sighed. He really didn't want her to go, but he knew once she had her mind made up about something, it was almost impossible to change it!
"When are you going?" he asked anxiously.
"As soon as possible Brian! But don't worry Brian, we're hoping it won't be for very long. Besides, you'll be in school, and with your school work and chores at home, that will make the time pass quicker! Who knows, I may be home sooner than you think." Replied Michaela as she wrapped her arms around Brian and hugged him close.
Brian hugged Michaela and sighed. "Just be careful Ma!" said Brian as he cast a concerned look at Michaela and managed a smile.
"We will Brian!" replied Michaela as she kissed his cheek.