16 The woods

Aisling decides to ask the elders about clearing the overgrown woods by the drive. So she stands up before anyone can start to clean or run off.

" ahem aunties uncles i a something I wish to talk to you about. I want to know if it's ok that I clear and clean up the overgrown area by the drive. I want to plant some evergreens or flowering trees along there and need to clear it. Also with the new baby coming I would like to clear the area between here and the treehouse. " holding her breath knowing that anytime she wants to add or change anything most times they object. The Aunties agree right away especially to clean the area to the treehouse. If it had already been cleared Aisling would have notice someone living there. The uncles have no objections to clearing and repairing the treehouse especially after recent events. They all refuse the overgrown wooded area by the drive.

" why can't I clear it . You need to tell me why. I get a chill every time I walk by it. You have to tell me why?" She pleads with them.

The eldest Auntie who is her grandmothers sister speaks up.

" we cannot clear that area because it is a cursed area. When people first settled here there was a lush pond with large beautiful lilies and beautiful flowering trees that circled it . There was an old medicine man who lived near it. One winter the mountain was struck with a horrible fever. The medicine man offered to help . The people of the mountain felt like they would be going against God if they accepted. You have to remember that people then were very intolerant of anyone different. Though they respected him and often times gave him food and checked on him . They still felt that God would be angry if they allowed him to use his magic as they called it. As you know my mother was a full blood Cherokee to her he was not strange or bad so when her youngest came down with the fever. She brought him to the medicine man. In a day her son recovered. So after hearing that others began to bring their children . They all recovered. For the ones who lost their children because of their stubbornness they became angry and started saying that the medicine man was the cause of the fever to begin with. One of the angriest was actually the very person who brought the fever here. His family came from New York to visit his sister . His son became ill on the journey. Like always when someone new arrives the people gather and celebrate. His child exposed everyone to the fever. His son was the first to die. He blamed the medicine man for his child dying. In a fit of rage in his grief he burned the medicine mans cabin. He then slit the medicine mans throat and threw him in the pond. That spring the pond became stagnant and the trees died . The area of the medicine mans cabin was barren nothing would grow. Our family has own this land for 5 generations they bought it from the medicine man with the understanding that no one would bother him and his little haven . Our family protected him and his until that night. The man from New York waited till our grandmother went to deliver a baby . Since it was snowing the entire family went since it was a relatives home. When they arrived back home they found him . Your grandmother insisted on a traditional burial and cleansing. Thinking everything would be ok . But the area of the pond and his cabin was not. So she told the family to let it grow over and never disturb it again. So we cannot let you clear it . I'm sorry Aisling I know it's your home and property now and by law you have every right to do as you wish. It has been 70 years since his death and no one since his burial has stepped foot on that section of property. We may be God fearing Christians but we still have to respect your grandmothers ways and traditions as well. She forbid anyone from this family to ever enter there." Aisling takes her aunties hand.

" ok auntie I understand I won't ask again . I'm sorry to have caused you any pain or discomfort of having to remember. Please forgive me." She kisses her auntie on the cheek and without another word she walks inside the house. Salali follows her. She finds her in her room looking at the area in question through the window. Hearing someone behind her she turns.

"Oh Salali is your room ok . Is there anything you need for me to get you." Her voice is quiet as if in thought not really there

"No I love my room. I came to ask you if it will be ok for me and Edutsi Inola go explore the area you want to clear. You know my Edutsi is a great medicine man. I am not so bad myself I inherited his gift so did Astila. If we go we maybe able to find out why the pond had gone stagnant and why your grandmothers cleansing did not work. We maybe able to cleanse the land. We are not your direct family so the stipulation does not apply to us. I will talk with the commander also if you like. This is your property so I will do what you want. " Salali waits for what she has asked to sink in. Aisling turns to her.

" I have no objection if it will bring peace to Onacona though I will miss him appearing when danger is close by . I do not wish him to linger here if it is something bad . Please do not tell the others they already think I'm crazy . If they knew that I can see him they would put me away and take everything away from me. " she looks at Salali her anxiety shows on her face .

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" will you tell me about him tonight when everyone goes to bed?" Salali smiles at her.

" I was actually going to wash my hair tonight when everyone went to sleep it takes hours for it to be brushed dry . It is supposed to be breezy tonight so it will be perfect. That is if you don't mind sitting on the balcony with me later." Aisling has a glint in her eyes now smiling hoping the girl will agree to join her.

" I would love to . It will be a girl's night.

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