The Trickster

“I don’t want that piece of junk!”

“It’s tradition that the closest male relative receives the inheritance. Would you deny your inheritance?”

“What good is it if I can’t spend it? What am I going to do with a bunch of beads and feathers?”

“Your father and grandfather would be so disappointed in you. Would you have all our ways be forgotten?”

“This is why I don’t come here anymore! Every time it’s the same thing. Tradition this and heritage that and responsibly blah blah blah. I told you when I left 20 years ago that I didn’t care about the spirits or the buffalo or any of that. The world is different now. All of you guys need to get with the century. If you don’t have money and position, you’re just going to get ran over. I don’t even know why I came here. I knew I should’ve just ignored that letter.”

Sam turned to leave but was stopped by the elderly lady holding a headdress. “You can’t leave before your grandfather has been given the rite of death and ascension. You shouldn’t leave until after sundown!”

Sam shrugged her hand from his shoulder, “How many times do I have to tell you? I don’t care anymore about tradition and I don’t care if he died. I’m going back to L.A. and if I ever see this reservation again it’ll be too soon!”

With that, Sam Smith, as he called himself now after long abandoning his birth name, stormed out of the tent. He muttered to himself in anger the whole time he stamped to his car, glaring angrily at the onlookers. He hated every moment he was here. He never liked growing up on the reservation and was so happy when he finally got old enough to leave.

Sam got in his car and slammed the door. He thought again, “Why in the hell did I even come?” He cranked up the car and sped down the dusty hill, vowing to never come back to the reservation he left so long ago.

Driving around 80 miles an hour under the hot New Mexico sun wasn’t the greatest idea Sam had ever had. His anger was preventing him from thinking clearly and it wasn’t until he saw smoke rising from his engine did he realize his mistake. He pulled over to the side of the road and slammed his fist on the steering wheel. “Fucking shit, this is all the hell I need!” he screamed as he got out.

He popped his hood and was immediately blinded by the amount of smoke and steam that rose from the engine. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” he yelled at the overheated car. “This is just fucking great.” He walked to his trunk and opened it, hoping to find something that could help. Sadly, he had no coolant or water in his trunk. He walked around to the backseat of his new Lexus, cursing under his breath the whole time. He looked in to see the bottle of soda he had bought in town empty and uttered a final ‘fuck’ at his situation.

He looked around. He knew the reservation was about twenty miles from where he broke down, but what was worse was the closest town was still forty miles away. “Fuck!” he screamed once again, “I gotta go back to that fucking reservation to get help.” He pounded his fist on his expensive car, cursing his luck.

He knew that twenty miles was way out of his limit to walk. He knew how harsh the desert was from his youth, and when he was young, he was fit enough to handle periods of time without supplies. Now he was going on forty-six years old and hadn’t even thought about exercise in twenty years. He knew that he would probably die if he tried to walk that distance without any water.

So instead, he looked for shelter. He turned a few times, glancing at the horizon before spotting what looked like a hill through the haze. “A hill out here might have a cave, at the very least, there’ll be some shade. I can just go there, wait till the sun goes down and come back and catch the people coming from the reservation. I won’t have to go back and see that damn place again,” he said to himself in triumph.

After placing a red flag on the car’s antenna, he started out on his walk. The flag was for naught though as after he was about 500 yards away, the car simply vanished, turned into the same sand that lined the desert floor.

The hill was farther away than it first appeared, but after fifteen minutes of walking under the hot New Mexico sun, he started to see it clearly. He could tell there was a hole at the base of it and that got him even more excited. He knew that the area had some underground caves and rivers around. That’s why his people had settled here, so it was even possible that he could find some water. That was one good thing about growing up here, the water was better than most of the stuff he could buy in L.A.

Ten minutes later, his clothes completely drenched in sweat, he arrived at the hill. It was a big mound of earth that rose up against the flat landscape that surrounded it. There was a few cacti around the area, but nothing that gave good shade. He was about to curse again when he saw out the corner of his eye an indention in the side of the hill. He walked over and peered down to see a hole, slightly bigger than he was going down into the base of the mound. He could feel a cool breeze coming up from it and he practically jumped at his luck.

It took a little effort, but he squeezed into the hole. It was a slight fall, around six feet, and he landed face first in a pile of dust. He got up slowly, grateful that he didn’t break anything and started dusting himself off. But as soon as he started to shake his clothes, he was overcome with a feeling similar to bugs crawling over him. He started to dance and rip his clothes off, starting with his shirt, then his pants, underwear, shoes and socks. He threw them on the ground and stumbled back deeper in the cave.

If he would have looked back in the dim light of the cave, he would’ve seen two things. One, there were no bugs at all in the cave. In fact, there wasn’t a single living thing in the area besides him. Two, he would’ve saw his clothes, just like his car, slowly turn to dust and vanish from existence.

Sam could feel the cave slope down gradually as he walked. Thankfully, there were pinholes as he walked letting light in from the surface. He could only assume that he was walking a few feet below the desert floor. He could feel the temperature drop slowly as he walked and soon, he could hear the sounds of dripping water.

He picked up his pace, stumbling naked through the mysterious cave when he finally came upon what seemed to be an ancient stalactite. He saw that there was a steady stream of water slowly dripping from it, landing on the floor, then running downward deeper into the cave. He rejoiced at his luck again and cupped his hands under the flow.

What Sam didn’t realize was, as he quenched his tremendous thirst, his memories were flowing away from him like the river that was between his toes. He was too enthralled with the cool and soothing sensation of the liquid hitting his tongue to worry about anything else. Finally, when he had had his fill, he looked up and around. “What am I doing here again?” he said. It should have shocked him that he couldn’t remember, but he simply felt a sense of calm, confused, but calm.

He turned and saw a light shimmer of heat before a pool materialize before him. The water was bubbling from an underground vent and it looked so enticing to Sam. He looked down at himself and saw how dirty his body was. “I must’ve come here for a bath,” he said to no one in particular.

He gingerly stepped in the pool, wincing slightly at the sudden temperature change. Slowly, he lowered himself into the natural spa, sighing with relief as more of his body became immersed in the balmy water. Finally, his feet hit bottom, leaving just his chin above the surface.

Sam became so completely relaxed as he stood in the pool. He closed his eyes and simply rested in the water. But as he did, he never noticed the changes that were happening. When he stepped in the pool, he was a stereotypical fat cat. Years of working in a law firm, spending twelve hour days wheeling and dealing had left his body a complete disaster. He had a huge stomach from all the huge meals he had with clients, cellulite covered his entire body and his chin gave new meaning to the phrase, “turkey neck”. He long had stopped caring what shape he was in, money could fix that when he hit his mid life crisis.

But, as he stood in the water, years of unhealthy living seemed to melt from his body. It looked like the water was boiling away the fat on his body. Sam didn’t feel anything different happening to him as he stood there, but his body was going through several changes. Finally, he knelt down and dunked his head under for a few moments to clean the dust off his face. When he stood back up, his face had completely transformed. Now, instead of the bald, pale man that went under, there stood a man that face was lean and angular, skin bronzed from many days under the sun and long flowing black hair that floated on the surface half a foot from his head.

He stood up, not noticing the added height from when he went in. “Ahhh, this water feels great. But wasn’t I supposed to be doing something?” He saw a shimmer out of the corner of his eye and turned to see a few feet from where he stood an elegant headdress and chest piece made out of beads and eagle feathers.

He got out of the pool and walked over to the jewelry lying on the ground. Bending down a lot further than he would have had to a few moments ago, he gently picked up the mysterious item. He rolled it around in his hands for a few moments, thinking how familiar it was, yet so foreign. His eyes fixated on a red bead. The ambient light reflected and refracted off of what seemed to be an infinite number of facets in the jewel. He held it between his thumb and forefinger, slowly rotating it around, peering into its depths like it was a kaleidoscope.

As he was mesmerized by the jewel, his body began to go another transformation. His frame, which was slender and taller compared to his old one, slowly began to expand. But instead of fat, it swelled with sinewy muscle. It started from the ground with his feet. He had small feet all his life, but now they seemed to pulse. Each moment was filled with expansion of his former feet, swelling from the small size 7 he had until they were giant feet, swollen with muscle that threatened to explode from even size 16 EEEE shoes.

Then the growth progressed upwards. His calves started to become warm, but he was so enthralled with the jewel, he didn’t feel any discomfort. The calves began to bulge outward, flexing and growing into a mound of muscle that would’ve made anyone proud. They split and grew until his lower legs were two beautifully sculpted diamonds of power. Then his thighs began to experience the same growth. They ballooned outward as if someone was forcing pounds of air through them. But a glance would tell you that these legs were not filled with air, but instead thick striated muscle. They swole to such a size that he was unconsciously forced to adjust his stance.

That growth eventually made its way to his cock. Sam had never had anything to be proud of in that department, but the meat that was growing at his crotch now would’ve made a mule proud. It grew thicker and longer in time with his steady heart beat, pulsing with size and power until it was as long as a ruler and thicker than his wrists.

His torso began to change next, first with the slimming of his waist and the expansion of his abs. From an outside perspective, it looked like the skin was drawing itself closer and closer to the muscle until it seemed like there was no skin, only six perfectly formed bricks of muscles guarded by two impressive obliques.

Then, his chest and back began to expand. It seemed as if with each deep breath he took, his chest and back filled with air, but didn’t recede any when he exhaled. The growth continued to fill with muscle until his chest was as big as a barrel around with pecs that looked as big as a person’s head and a back that looked like he could fly without any trouble.

His arms followed soon after, slowly filling with the same thick dense muscle that filled his legs. He didn’t even notice that his hands and arms were getting bigger as the jewel glinted in his eyes. His hands grew to a size that could easily palm a basketball and his forearms were so bloated with muscle, they looked like they could twist off the stone stalactites that adorned the cave. His biceps inflated to the size of a football on his arms and his triceps soon grew to the size of a smoked ham.

His shoulders and neck grew right after that as the warm feeling traveled up his body. His shoulders became huge mounds of muscle and his neck quickly thickened to a column of unmovable mass. Finally, his face began to change. It loss most of its age and weariness to reveal a youthful look, yet his eyes exposed the wisdom of a man twice his new age. A light layer of hair began to cover his entire body except his back.

It was his back that experienced the final changes. The sleek and muscular back of this young Native American was completely hairless when it started. The muscles began to flex outward, displaying its power for an unseen audience. Then, lines began to form on his skin. The first image that appeared was that of a crescent moon on his left shoulder blade. It was light blue and white, the same color as what could be seen on a clear night in the New Mexico skies. Then, along his collar bone along to his right shoulder, a few depictions of clouds appeared.

Then, starting from his lower back, lines began to fill in between the numerous indentions in his huge back. Slowly, the image of a mountain cliff was visible, perfectly formed to work in conjunction with his natural muscularity. As he moved, the mountain range seemed to shift and morph with each contraction and relaxation of muscle. The coloring even seemed to blend in flawlessly with his natural bronze skin.

Finally, on top of that new cliff side, making up the majority of his back, the image of a coyote began to appear. Outlined by black, the animal slowly formed on the landscape of his new muscle. It stood proudly as the centerpiece of the artwork, howling at the crescent moon that adorned his shoulder. Then, a light layer of short grey hair sprouted from his back, filling in only where the image of the coyote was.

He finally snapped out of his trance when the growth was complete. He thought and said nothing, but simply put on the chest piece and headdress. He adjusted it with the skill that could only be learned with years of practice. The chest piece stood boldly against his new muscles. It felt comfortable there, as if it were there for years. No shirt would ever be able to contain the mass of muscle that was under the beaded item. He looked around the cave once again and his eyes fell on a pair tanned leather shorts. Obviously, they were designed specifically for him because the waist was so slim, yet the leg holes were exceptionally big, befitting a man of his superior size and equipment. He slipped them on and looked up, “By the spirits, I’m going to be late!”

In a few moments, he was outside the hill again. By this time, the sun was approaching the horizon and he lamented his forgetfulness. “I should not have taken so much time purifying myself for the rite!” He turned towards the reservation and began to sprint, his powerful legs indenting the ground as his huge bulk moved across the desert like a cheetah. So focused on the run before him, he didn’t notice the hill behind him fading into nothingness and the desert returning like nothing was ever there.

Around fifteen minutes later, he ran into the front of the reservation. His body was covered in a light sheen of sweat from the run under the clear dusk sky, but he wasn’t exhausted at all. He was greeted at the entrance by three of the tribe’s braves.

“Halt! We are not having any visitors today! You must turn back.”

He stood before them, towering over the short, but fit guards. “I am Coyote Rock, son of Soaring Eagle. I have come to pay my respects to Falling Wind.”

The braves stood there dumbfounded. One immediately ran up the hill and informed the chief and the great grandmother of the situation, and a few moments later, they walked down the hill.

Seeing the majestic movements of the elders, Coyote Rock immediately bowed his head in reverence. The chief whispered something in the ear of the brave, and he stood down. The chief motioned for Coyote Rock to follow them. He was led to the top of the hill where the funeral pyre was being set up. Already, the tribe had started gathering for the rite of death.

The chief turned to great-grandmother and her aides, then to Coyote Rock. “The braves told me that you said you are the son of Soaring Eagle. I am sure that Soaring Eagle had but one son.”

“I know. I am he, son of Soaring Eagle and grandson of Falling Wind,” he said with a deep voice that cut through the silence.

Before the chief could protest, the sound of thunder echoed across the village. Everyone looked up at the cloudless sky in confusion. Then suddenly, a few amazing things happened. Great-Grandmother, who was holding the headdress of Falling Wind, noticed the same exact headdress on the man who called himself Coyote Rock. Then, the headdress she was holding slowly dissolved into dust and scattered to the gentle breeze that ran through the village. Then, everyone’s eyes except Coyote Rock’s were drawn to him. A slight flicker engulfed his torso. Then, a paw print like that of a wild coyote appeared on his right hip. Then, another one, and another one until it looked like an animal walked from his hip, up his abs and across his left pec muscle. Finally, the sound of a coyote’s howl resonated throughout the reservation.

All the people there stood in awe as Coyote Rock looked at the sky. Great-Grandmother simply smiled. She stepped forward, wiping the remains of the dust off her hands and said, “Young coyote, will you accept your inheritance and become our new shaman?”

The chief looked at her in shock, then realization as Coyote said, “Yes, of course Grandmother. I will do all that I can to serve the tribe as my grandfather did before me.”

“This is a good thing,” she said loud enough for the tribe gathered there to hear. “Then, young coyote, would you lead us in the Dirge of Sorrow?”

Coyote Rock bowed his head solemnly and walked towards the pyre. Saying a quiet thanks before starting, he lifted up his head. With a low voice that trembled through everyone, he started to sing the song. His deep voice echoed though the hearts and minds of all the people, and soon, the hilltop was filled with the song of the tribe.

A few weeks later, a pair state troopers came to the reservation. They were greeted by Coyote Rock.

“Hello sir, we’re looking for a missing person, Sam Smith. His last known destination was supposedly this reservation. He had said he was going to the funeral of his grandfather.”

Coyote Rock simply looked at the police officers as a howl was heard across the land. “I am the only grandson of Falling Wind. I do not know of whom you speak.”