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NO! Don’t Look!
Napi Mephisto, pages 46-47


Napi sat at an outdoor table in a suburban yard, in town to visit his sister. She had left to run a quick errand, walking the few blocks to where the edge of the neighborhood met the main street and shops of the small city, a large town really, but a small city by the Rocky Mountain states standard. As Napi scanned the newspaper on a lazy Summer weekend morning, he was disturbed at the sound. The little girl’s screams are the kind that cry out the real pain

He looked up from his reading and glanced around but could see nothing

She’s still screaming, tortured wails that would melt any human beings heart

The sound reminded him of a White family he knew growing up and how they practically tortured their kids. Napi looked up and down the street again, people pulling weeds, attending to gardening, someone pushing a stroller on the sidewalk, a couple of neighbors standing face to face visiting, others simply walking to, or from the shopping district..

Hundreds of surrounding ghosts don’t hear her agonizing screams, ghosts that imagine sipping coffee at sidewalk tables, gossiping ghosts, the screaming little girl passes through them in a different world that cannot be seen, cannot be heard

Napi remembered Grandpa showing him the ghosts, any Indian could see them if his head is not locked up in a bottle, and Napi did not drink. But now he thought about the Indians he knew that DID drink “Hey, I really need a drink, cause I’m starten to git sick.”

There was the one who had climbed a utility pole, talking to someone Napi could not see in broad daylight, Napi had talked him down before he got high as the electric wire, gave him two dollars and said “Get yourself a bottle.”

The ones that lied, “I’ll buy food”, Napi had just laughed at them and walked on. Without wine, they see the ghosts and Napi knew it. The sound he was hearing made him think of what these drunks must be trying to escape, these boarding school Indians were haunted by the memories of their own beatings and screaming as children

Unrelenting, eternal screams that echo off of the concrete canyon walls, the little girl.

Napi guessed he really really didn’t get it, because he wasn’t a drunk, and he wasn’t drunk probably because he hadn’t been beaten, what Grandpa had meant: the MooniYas. Not real, not a human being, “Not the same as us”

The screams had come into sight, the little girls agony stems from the vicious grip of the woman windigo that clutches her tiny wrist in a vise of pure agony, the sort of screams that would tear the heart of any father

Grandpa gave Napi his first glimpse of the ghosts through ceremony, he could open holes and peer through the different dimensions, “Well, Napi, what do you think?” It was like sitting, facing a closed window, shift your vision to see yourself in the glass, shift again to see out. Indians are not trapped in linear time, they know the ancestors and the future people are right beside them, just a dimension away

Unrelenting screaming, the little girl tears weakly at the windigo’s crushing grip with her other hand, ghosts everwhere around, reading newspapers, standing at red lights, smiling, animated conversations unheard… cars waiting to turn the corner, the light had turned green. Or was it grey?

At this point, listening, Napi thought perhaps he should find a bottle for himself .. but he knew he couldn’t, he kept Grandpa, fed his ghost. Napi took care of Grandpa, a Ghost Midewiwin. By now the noise was marching past on the sidewalk in front..

The woman windigo has a set face chisled in stone violence, a lip curled sneering dog jaw Napi recognized, it has been in many of the ghosts which surround him, a stoneset snarl to make any gargoyle freeze in terror. She hates the sound she is the reason for, she hates everyone, everything, especially the little girls screams of real agony, she hates the little girl, she hates herself, mostly, she just HATES

After what seemed ten eternities, the ugly bitch that was torturing the kid had gone out of sight, and together with the terrible sounds, out of hearing. Napi thought what seemed a long time at what he had seen. His sister would be working during the week, it was summer break from school and Napi decided he would spend a few weeks in town to study people

Napi eventually settled into a routine of morning coffee and croissant at an outdoor café a few blocks away, and had a really interesting several weeks observation of the White people and their parenting. Some of these people, not the majority, but by far too many to be an isolated incidence, controlled their little ones with pain using the grip on the child's hand or wrist. Indians did not do this. The intention was to take away the child's natural curiousity and make the kid essentially stand at attention, not allowed to have interest in the surroundings, thus not distracting the adult

Some of the adults used a particularly cruel method of inter-twining the fingers with those of the child, using the superior strength to deliberately inflict pain, putting a crushing squeeze on the child’s fingers

It was the older women, the grandmothers, that were more likely to practice this method

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