Winter Too Short, Too Loud

Part 3
The sun was high in the
sky the next day when Anita heard the voice of Elena calling out as she ran to
the dugout. Anita, still asleep, vaguely remembered hearing Elena’s warning
cries or the the gusik men and the Yup’ik men shouting. Guns were shown, bows
and arrows and harpoons were lowered. Stern looking gusik men beat Anita while
the people looked on helplessly. Anita lost consciousness and only vaguely
remembers the sled taking her to Dillingham or the fact that she loosened her
bonds on the trip and tried to choke a man when they lifted her off the sled
with her feet still bound. She barely remembers getting beat again by several
men and hit hard on the head while a group of gusiks and a few Yup’iks she did
not know watched.
Hurting and hungry, she
awoke in a dark place of solid wood like none she had ever seen before. Then
she was taken to a larger closed in place of solid wood filled with light.
Strange men spoke in words she did not understand. Her husband sat beside her
at a thing he called a table.
“They are giving you a
trial for murder,” he said.
“Is that the same as
killing?” she asked. Anita was beginning to understand as she saw some of the
same men who had been there when her husband was killed.  “What does this trial do?”
“It kills people,” he
said. “Don’t be afraid. It is not so bad.”
Anita was having trouble
knowing where she was and her head still hurt and she couldn’t understand what
people were saying and the room was hot and stuffy and she had never been in
such a large closed in place with some many strange people and the smell . .
.  a man dressed different than the
others came to her and said a few words in her language, but pronounced the
words oddly. And then he brought a man she had never seen before to translate.
The translator said the man who dressed different was a Russian Orthodox Priest
who wished to help her. Another man sat beside her where her husband had been.
The translator said he also was to help her. Much talking went on, people
sometimes shouted and pointed at her. The translator said things to her about
their laws she did not understand. Anita only wished to be alone back on the
land with her dogs. She put her head down on this table and saw herself far
north with her husband in their winter home where no one else came. She wished
these people who it was said were to help her could let her go there and be
left alone; the noise in this place was worse than the airplane, and the smell
of the large wood place with so many gusiks and a few natives was very, very
bad, and she was too hot, and she tried to take off her parka, but people again
shouted and pointed at her, and a man in front of everyone banged a club on a
table . . .  she passed out. 
To Be Continued…

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.