Secrets: The Truth is Slowly Revealed

Chapter 30: WTF Was That?

As I was bracing to defend myself against the creature’s attack, the clouds slowly drifted away and allowed the moonlight to brighten the ground again.  This one small change shined an entirely different light on our current situation and I was able to reevaluate our current predicament more clearly. 

As I looked closer, I could see a rather large buck was straddling the creature’s body with its head bowed, and there was a large black bear standing on its hind legs next to it.  This was obviously Gramps and Pops, so had they done something to protect us from the beast’s next move?

As I examined the situation more closely, I suddenly felt I understood what had happened.  The deer’s head wasn’t merely bowed down – it had its antlers buried in the creature’s back and it appeared to be twisting and turning its head in order to maximize the severity of the wounds it had inflicted.  The creature obviously hadn’t been focused on Gramps and Pops after it knocked them to the side.  It apparently didn’t see either of them as a threat – a fatal mistake. 

Since it had swatted both of them aside fairly easily and Devin and I had distracted its attention away from them long enough after we’d each transitioned into Bigfoot, it gave Gramps and Pops time to act.  That must have been when Pops transitioned into a powerful buck and buried his antlers in the creature’s back, bringing it down.

As I was attempting to piece together the information about how the creature had been defeated, something else began to happen.  I noticed movement within the beast’s body and thought it had come back to life, and then without warning its body began to rapidly deteriorate and decompose right before our eyes.  A few minutes later, all that remained of the hideous beast was a collection of bones and dust.  It appeared the creature was truly dead after all. 

As I looked up to see Gramps and Pops reaction to what we had just witnessed, they were both deer again, so Devin and I transitioned into deer as well, and then we followed them into the woods.  As soon as we reached the place where we were going to bed down, Devin and I hurriedly transitioned into human form again, and then Gramps and Pops followed suit. 

“What the fuck was that thing?” Devin screamed as soon as we were all human again. 

“Mac, can you answer that question for him?” Pops followed. 

“I’m not sure, but it appeared to be one of the evil skinwalkers that the shaman had described to me during my training, but I have no idea what it was doing here.”

“I believe you are correct about what it was, but we’ll have to see if the shaman can answer the other question about what it was doing here.”

“And what happened to it?” Devin continued.  “One minute it was going to kill us and the next minute it was decomposing until only its skeletal remains were left.”

“It seems that I was able to kill it, but I have no idea why the things that happened next occurred so rapidly.”

“How the fuck did you kill it?” Devin wanted to know.  “It was obviously physically far superior to any of us: it was faster, stronger, and apparently far more dangerous, so how the hell did you kill it?”

“I agree with you that it was physically far superior to any of us, but once it turned away from me, I transition into a 2x2 buck with very long and sturdy tines that faced in the same direction.  As soon as it was concentrating on the two of you, I lowered my head and drove my antlers as far into its back as they would go, and then I twisted them around so they’d do as much damage as possible.”

“Then what happened to that thing after it was dead?” Devin continued. 

“That’s something you’ll have to ask the shaman, because I have no idea why the decomposition occurred so rapidly.”

“Then let’s go back to the hohrahn now,” Devin insisted.     

“It would be best if we do it just before sunrise, if you still want to return.”

“Yes, I do, because I’m worried there might be another one of those things out here?”

“Considering all I’ve learned about the evil skinwalkers over the years, I’ve never heard of them hanging out in pairs or in small groups.  They were all in competition with each other when they turned into evil skinwalkers in the first place, and I don’t believe they’ve made up or become friends since then.”

“How do you know about all of that?” I asked confused, since he wasn’t there when the shaman told me the story about how the evil skinwalkers had been created. 

“The shaman who trained me told me all about them, and I’m sure this shaman did the same thing with you.”

“Yes, he did, but I agree with Devin and want to go back as soon as we can, but it’s not because I’m worried about another one of those things being out here.  I just have a lot of questions that I want the shaman to answer.”

“I don’t have a problem with that, and I don’t believe the others do either, but it would be best if we waited until there was more daylight first.  I suggest we wait until the first rays of the sun begin to pierce the darkness before we start back, if you don’t mind.”

“Ok, we’ll wait until then,” Devin and I agreed, and then we transitioned back into deer and laid down hoping to get some rest. 

I know I didn’t sleep very well and I don’t think Devin did either.  When I was able to drift off, I had nightmares about our previous encounter with the creature, and each time the encounter ended very differently than what we’d experienced earlier.  Unfortunately, none of the outcomes in my dreams ended well, and that merely helped to reinforce the idea of how lucky we had been. 

I must have managed to get enough sleep, but I got up quickly when Pops nudged me with his snout.  My reaction to his simple gesture might also have been caused by the large quantities of adrenaline my body had produced due to the many nightmares I’d experienced.  That and the fact that I was very eager to hear what the shaman would have to say about our encounter.  I noticed it was still fairly dark out, so it was apparent that Pops wanted to travel and transition before the sun rose.  I only hoped we’d get there before the guy that delivered the shaman’s food arrived. 

We didn’t even take time to look for food on the way back.  We could eat after we chatted with the shaman, since I believe we all wanted our questions answered first.  We also wanted to get back as quickly as possible, and when we came within sight of the hohrahn, we raced back there, one at a time, and I went first. 

I galloped until I was behind the hohrahn, and then I transitioned and slinked my way around to the door.  I wasn’t surprised that I was able to open it, since I don’t remember ever seeing the shaman lock or bolt it, so I went inside.  I was being very quiet after I saw the shaman was still asleep on the ground, but Devin was a little noisier.  He not only woke the shaman, but he startled him as well, at least until the shaman saw who was there. 

“What are you doing back already?” he asked. 

“I’ll tell you after Gramps and Pops get here.”

After we’d all arrived, we got dressed and then we sat down to chat.  I began by telling the shaman about our experience the previous evening. 

“Pops and I think it was an evil skinwalker, but what was it doing on the reservation?”

“It must have wandered off the Ute reservation in search of food, and since our lands are fairly close together, it apparently ended up here.  My guess is that it had picked up your scent as deer while you were out eating, and then it waited for you to return, since most deer are creatures of habit.  What alerted you to its presence?” he asked while looking at Pops. 

“Jacob and I picked up a strange odor as we were nearing the tree line, and then we spotted its red eyes glaring at us.  We then signaled the boys with our tails, since they were behind us, and we all spun around and began to run in the other direction.  The skinwalker not only caught up with us, but it passed by and got in front of us as well, so we veered away from it, but it got in front of us again.  That’s when we stopped so Jacob and I could transition into bears and move in front of the boys.”

“And that seemed to confuse the skinwalker briefly,” I stated, “but then it started walking toward us again.  It even swatted Gramps and Pops out of its way as if they were merely manikins as it headed directly for me and Devin.”

“It probably got confused when it saw there were other beings that could transition, because it was not aware that there were other skinwalkers around, especially good skinwalkers.  It must have instantly realized you were not quite the same as it, since you were able to transition into animals that actually resembled others of that species.  When they transition into an animal, it is always hideous and deformed.”

“That explains why it was confused, but why did it keep coming for me and Devin?”

“It probably felt you two would make the best meal, so what caused it to stop before it reached you?”

“Devin transitioned into Bigfoot, and after I saw what he’d done, I did the same thing.”

“That is very interesting.  Devin, what prompted you to transition into Bigfoot?”

“After I saw how big, fast, and strong the creature was I felt that only Bigfoot would be able to stand up against it.  Its the only creature I could think of that was as big, fast, and strong enough to give us the best chance of surviving if it decided to attack.”

“That was a very inspired thing to do and it probably helped to save your lives.”

“Does their being able to transition into Bigfoot mean there IS such a thing?” Gramps asked. 

“I do not believe Mother Earth would have allowed you to do it if there was not once a creature like that,” the shaman replied.

“Do you think there are still creatures like that today?” I followed.

“I cannot answer your question with any certainty,” the shaman responded, “but I suppose it is possible.” 

“At least their doing it caused the skinwalker to stop and study them,” Pops added.  “And since they‘d also split up and moved on opposite sides of the creature, it gave me enough time to think about what I should do next.  I quickly decided to transition into a 2x2 buck with long, sturdy antlers and each tine ended in a sharp point, and then I attacked it from behind.  I drove my antlers as far into it as they would go, and then I twisted them around so they’d do as much damaged as possible.”  

“Devin and Michael, you took a very risky chance by splitting up, but it obviously paid off.”

“But after Pops killed it, we were surprised by what happened next,” Devin continued.  “The skinwalker just seemed to decompose very rapidly.  It continued until all that was left of it were its bones and a pile of dust, so what caused that to happen?”

“You have to realize that the evil skinwalkers are more than 400-years-old and the rapid disintegration was due to its actual age when it died.  That is because when a very old skinwalker dies, it will immediately turn to bones and dust after going through a rapid decomposition process.  That way if our bones are found later, they will appear to be ancient remains.”

“I guess that makes sense, to some extent,” Devin relented.

“And that is why you returned early?”

“Yes.  We weren’t sure if there would be more of those things out there,” Devin replied.

“And even though Pops said he doubted there would be more than the one he killed,” I continued, “because he’d never heard about them traveling in pairs or groups, we didn’t want to take the chance.  We also wanted to come back here and see what you would have to say about what we just told you.” 

“Isaac is correct and the evil skinwalkers travel alone.  As far as they are concerned, they are still rivals with the other evil skinwalkers and that feeling has only intensified over the years.  Are you going to go out again after it gets dark?”

“No, I don’t think that will be necessary,” I responded.  “I think I’ve spent enough time as a white-tailed deer, and I’ve still got to learn how to transition into a mule deer, once you teach me the difference.”

“That is your choice, but I have never looked at any of you as the type to back down from a challenge.”

“That’s because we’d never seen or dealt with a challenge quite like that one before,” I stated, somewhat sarcastically. 

“That is true, so I will cut you some slack.  I was planning to start working with you on transitioning into a mule deer on Wednesday, and it should not take very long, since it is so similar to what you just did.  Do you think you will want to go out again after you go through another set of rituals?”

“I don’t know.  What do the rest of you think?” I asked.

“You can’t give up and stop doing these things merely due to one bad experience,” Gramps responded.  “You’ve already faced the worst possible situation you might ever encounter, so I feel it will be best if you get back on the bicycle, so to speak, and start peddling again.”

“I wish it was as simple as riding a bicycle, but I know you’re right.”

“And today is Tuesday, and I can perform the ceremony today and give you plenty of time to practice so you should be able to head out again tonight, but this time as a mule deer.  You will then be able to stay out until Thursday night, but it would not be wise for you to stay out any longer than that, due to the increased activity of the other Diné on the weekends.”

“Ok, that sounds reasonable.”

“And since I just heard my delivery person ride up, I will fix breakfast for all of us.  I still have Sunday night’s and yesterday’s food to use, so if I put it together there should be plenty for each of us.”

“Will that food still be good?” I asked concerned.

“Yes, the mutton has been smoked to preserve it, and the beans and squash have been canned.  I merely have to put them together, add a little water, and then heat everything up.”

“Oh, ok.”

As the shaman brought the food inside, I noticed the Mason jars for the first time, along with the Ziploc bags with the meat.  The shaman got a pan to use so he could heat up the mutton, beans, and squash, and added a little water as well, and once he had that heating up, he started to prepare the blue mush in a separate pan.  As soon as they were both ready, the shaman scooped a healthy portion of the blue mush into a bowl for each of us, and an equally healthy portion of the mutton, beans, and squash onto a plate.  He also gave us each a good size chunk of flat bread to go with it, and after we had all of those items, he handed each of us cup of water as well.

“I’m afraid we drank the last of the green tea on Sunday, so you will have to settle for water today,” the shaman explained.

“That’s fine, and we’ll pick up another case of green tea the next time we go out,” Gramps replied. 

After we finished eating, the other three got into the SUV so they could go pick up a few additional supplies, but not before Devin had given me a hug and a kiss.  They also promised to return before it got dark. 

As soon as they had gone, the shaman went over to the larger chest and pulled out another deer hide, and I could immediately tell it was different than the last one we’d used.  This pelt was grayish-brown in color, rather than the reddish-brown of the white-tailed deer, and he handed it to me after I got undressed.  He then told me to wrap it around my body, and he handed me a button of peyote as well, and then he started to prepare the sand painting. 

He did it much faster today and then he had me lie down on it while he beat his drum, chanted, and danced around me.  The peyote soon made me forget about the previous run in with the evil skinwalker and I actually fell asleep, since I hadn’t slept very well the previous night. 

When the shaman woke me later, he’d already completed the next sand painting and merely had me move from one to the other as he handed me another button of peyote.  As soon as I was in position, the shaman used his foot to destroy the other sand painting, and then he began the next ritual. 

We finished well before noon, at least that’s what time the shaman told me it was when I asked, and then he gave me a few pointers before I started to transition into a mule deer. 

“Where the white-tailed deer has a brown rump and a brown tail with a white underside, the mule deer has a white rump and a small white tail with a black tip.  The mule deer also has white around its nose and on its throat, and its antlers have a broader beam, or base, and the tines tend to be slightly thicker.”

“And I noticed its fur is a slightly different shade of brown.”

“Yes, its light brown to a grayish-brown, rather than a reddish-brown, and that will give you another clue to tell them apart, except during the winter.  During the winter the white-tailed and mule deer’s fur both turn to nearly the same grayish-brown color, because it helps them to absorb more of the sun’s heat.”

“That must mean the deer shed their fur.”

“Yes, they molt twice a year.  They shed their winter coat in the spring and their summer coat in the fall.”

“Do the mule deer’s fawns have white spots as well?”

“Yes, they do.”

He then showed me several photos of mule deer, and after I’d studied them, I made my first attempt at transitioning.  The shaman seemed pleased with what I’d done, and then he showed me another photo and asked me to duplicate it.  As soon as I’d done that a couple of times, we heard the SUV pull up. 

“I hope you don’t mind that we’re back so soon,” Pops said as he entered, “but we brought supper and a few additional items as well.  We got subs this time, and I bought you a veggie sub,” he told the shaman.

“Thank you,” the shaman responded.

“And I got both of us a Cheesesteak sub,” Devin told me. 

“And we bought two cases of green tea as well, so it would last longer,” Gramps continued.  “We also purchase some pretzels, potato chips, cashews, and crunchy cheese curls.”

“After we eat and as soon as it gets dark,” the shaman stated, “you will be able to go out as mule deer, because Michael is doing very well with transitioning into them.”

“So, there are both types of deer on the reservation?” Devin asked. 

“Yes, although the white-tailed deer generally stay to the south and the mule deer stay more to the north, but that does not mean they will not often overlap.”

“Ah, I see, and I hope this outing is less threatening.”

When we finished eating, the shaman had a word of advice for us before we started out. 

“Please keep alert and use all of your senses for signs of danger, and do not forget that you should not look too healthy or have a big rack that a hunter might desire as a trophy.”

“Ok, we’ll remember your warnings,” I agreed for all of us.

Once the shaman finished speaking, Pops had something he wanted to add. 

“While we’ve been on our previous outings, I’ve seen evidence that there are mountain lions in this area, so we will have to be especially careful while we’re out there.”  

“How do you know there are mountain lions around?” I asked.

“I’ve picked up their scent, spotted their paw prints in the soil, and run across their scat.  They like to hunt from dusk until dawn and deer are one of their favorite meals.  They will attack from behind and bite into the neck of their prey, severing its spinal column, so keep your ears, eyes, and nostrils open.”

“Thanks for the pep talk,” I responded sarcastically. 

“We will follow the shaman’s previous advice about transitioning, but once we’re all outside we’ll go in the following order.  Jacob will lead, Devin will be behind him, followed by Mac, and then I’ll bring up the rear.  So, are there any other questions?”

There were none, so we all got undressed and Pops transitioned first and exited the hohrahn, followed by Gramps, Devin, and me.  Once we were all outside, we lined up in the order Pops had suggested and then we moved quickly into the darkness, toward whatever awaited us. 

There was a large open area that we had to cross first, and we all galloped to get across that area until we reached the woods in the distance, and then we slowed to a trot.  I breathed a sigh of relief and felt we were in the clear as soon as we entered the woods, since I’d always believed that mountain lions preferred more mountainous and open terrain.  I always thought they did this so they could pounce from behind a boulder or dart out of a rocky crag in order to attack its prey. 

We were now weaving around the various trees when I thought I heard a twig snap off to my right, so I turned my head slightly in that direction.  As soon as I did, I caught the scent of a mountain lion and immediately used my muscular hind legs to leap to the left.  As soon as I landed, I weaved around the trees farther off to my left while expecting the mountain lion to land on my back at any second, but it never happened.  Instead, I heard a growl and feared the mountain lion was right on my tail. 

In an attempt to determine if I had any options, I turned my head slightly to one side to see what I should do next, and as I looked over my shoulder, I saw the mountain lion go flying through the air.  It landed in a heap behind me, frightening me beyond belief and causing me to transition into a bear faster than I’d ever done before as I prepared to do battle. 

However, when I looked again, the mountain lion was lying on its side on the ground and it didn’t appear to be in a hurry to get up.  That made me wonder if it had slipped and fallen when it leaped for me, and then I heard another growl.  As I looked around, I realized Pops was also a bear and growling to scare the mountain lion away as it slowly started to get up.  When the mountain lion looked around and saw bears instead of deer, it turned in the other direction and began to leave, but it seemed to be moving very gingerly as it walked away. 

Now that it was moving in the opposite direction, I looked for Devin and Gramps and discovered they were bears as well, and we began to follow Gramps as he started moving deeper into the woods.  A short time later we came to a stop, and after looking around and sniffing the air in every direction, we transitioned into ourselves so we could talk about what had happened. 

“It’s a good thing you jumped to the side when you did,” Pops told me, “or that mountain lion would have landed on your back and it would have been too late for me to help you.  It was a good thing you were so observant or the mountain lion would probably be chowing down on you right now.”

“But why didn’t it get up and attack me after it fell?  And what caused it to fall down in the first place?”

“As soon as I saw what was happening, I transitioned into a bear and was able to swat the mountain lion with my paw when it landed behind you.  It had missed landing on your back because of your well-timed move, and as soon as it was on the ground, I hit it with my paw and sent it flying through the air.  It landed on its side, and it appeared the blow must have either knocked the wind out of its lungs or I’d injured it in some way, so it didn’t get up quickly.  When it did, I believe it realized it was injured, so it took off to lick its wounds.”

“Damn, that was too close for comfort, but why didn’t it attack you, seeing you were behind me.”

“The mountain lion must have thought you looked younger, tastier, and would make a better meal.  Anyway, it’s gone now, but I suggest we all transition into bears again and sleep that way when we turn in.  We’ll stay like that even after we wake up in the morning, because the mountain lion will still be hunting at dawn and during the early morning hours.  We’ll be able to transition into deer again as the day progresses.”

“I’m kind of thinking that I’ve had my fill of being a deer.”

“It’s one of the risks of taking on the form of another animal, but the same thing might have happened if you were in your own body at the time.”

“Nah, I don’t think I’d have been crazy enough to be out here after dark, and if I was that stupid, I would have been carrying a gun or a large knife.  Thanks for saving me back there.” 

“You’re welcome.  You’re very important to us, because you’re part of our family now.  Besides, the shaman wouldn’t have let me live it down if anything had happened to you.”

“It probably would have been even tougher trying to explain what had happened to my parents.  They would have wanted to know what I was doing in New Mexico when I was supposed to be camping and canoeing in Minnesota.”

“Yeah, and I would have been the one who’d have to answer their questions,” Devin replied, “not you.”

“That’s very true,” Pops replied.

When our conversation ended, Gramps and Pops transitioned into bears first, but Devin and I remained as we were so we could talk a little longer, since we knew Gramps and Pops would protect us. 

“I’m not sure I’m going to be very good at doing this,” I admitted.  “I’ve enjoyed transitioning into other animals, but I don’t think I’ve got what it takes to survive like this.  I only wanted to be a skinwalker so I’d have a long life like you and we could be together longer.”

“I like that idea as well, and you’ll do fine.  We both just need more experience and practice changing from one species to another.”

“I’m not so sure about that.  You’re the one who knows what he’s doing, because you’ve seen your family do these things since you were born.”

“Not really, but if that’s the way you feel then we won’t transition into animals very often.  When we do, we’ll just transition into predators, not prey.  You’ll be fine as a human, though.”

“I’m not so sure about that either.  You’re the one who always stood up to the bullies and bigger kids to protect me, even though you were smaller than me.”

“That’s probably because it’s in my blood to do that, even though I hadn’t learned to transition yet.  You’ll be ok once I teach you how to just change certain body parts to make yourself stronger, because then you’ll have more of a wallop behind your punch.”

“Isn’t the shaman going to teach me those things?”

“No!  You have to remember that the shaman who’d made Pops into a ‘good’ skinwalker had to alter the original ritual, because before Pops there were only ‘evil’ skinwalkers.  It was that shaman who collected the pelts so he could teach Pops how to transition into other animals, but that was all he did.  Pops taught himself how to transition certain body parts for specific reasons.  He figured out a way to do those things so they could become stronger, have sharper vision, or more sensitive hearing, and then he passed on that knowledge to the rest of us.  I’ll have to teach you all of that stuff.”

“Ok.  I just thought the shaman was going to do everything.”

“Nope, I’ll have to teach you a bunch of other things after we get back.”

Now that we’d finished our conversation, we transitioned into bears and stayed that way for the rest of the night, and we didn’t transition into deer again until it was nearly noon the next day.  The funny thing was that as I was transitioning, I was also starting to have a greater empathy for what deer go through, due to the number of predators they have to worry about.  If they aren’t being hunted by other animals, such as bears, mountain lions, and coyotes, they had to worry about humans hunting them with bows and arrows or guns.  The deer may be beautiful creatures but I definitely wouldn’t change places with them for any reason.  I’ll also be hesitant about taking their form again once we leave the reservation.

The rest of our time as deer wasn’t nearly as eventful.  The mountain lion must have made another kill or it had been injured more severely than we realized after Pops swatted it, because we didn’t see it again.  We still transitioned into bears when we went to sleep Wednesday night, but we spent all of Thursday as deer before returning to the hohrahn after dark. 

We told the shaman about what had happened and he praised Pops for his quick actions.  He also had some kind words for me about being alert and avoiding the mountain lion in the first place.  I wasn’t sure if I deserved any praise, because I felt my actions might have only delayed the inevitable if it hadn’t been for Pops.  Although I balked at the idea that I’d done anything extraordinary, the shaman and Pops both claimed what I’d done had given Pops the time he needed to react to the threat, stop it, and then scare it off.  

“So, what am I going to learn to transition into next?” I asked. 

“A mountain lion,” the shaman answered with a smirk, “and a coyote.  Those are the animals I moved back in my schedule so the rest of you would get a chance to go out together for a while.”

“And we almost get killed as both of the animals you moved up on your schedule,” I responded sarcastically.  “However, since the evil skinwalker and mountain lion didn’t get me, I guess I might as well learn what its like to be the hunter, as well as the hunted.”

“Yes, it would probably have been better if you knew more about the mountain lion before that happened, but you are correct.  It is always good to know as much as possible about any adversaries you might encounter.” 

“Does it mean we can come out here on Sunday so we can go out with Mac again?” Devin asked. 

“You may all come out here on Friday night and spend the entire weekend here, although you will not be able to go out and explore as mountain lions at that time.”

“Why not?” I demanded. 

“Actually, there are a couple of reasons.  The first is that Michael will not be ready to do it this weekend, and another is that cougars, or mountain lions, are solitary creatures that act alone.  The only time you will see them with another mountain lion is during the mating season or if they accidentally run into another mountain lion in the wild, and that would generally lead to a fight.  If you want to do it, only one of you will be able to go with Michael at a time, and then you cannot wander very far away from the hohrahn.  If you went farther away and were spotted, the others would definitely know something was not right and would become very suspicious about what was going on out here.” 

“Ok, then we’ll go out as coyotes instead?”  

“That would not be possible until the following weekend, because I will not start training Michael to transition into a coyote until then.  And even when I finish you will only be able to go one at a time and you won’t be able to wander very far away from the hohrahn.” 

“Why not?” Devin persisted.  

“It would be unwise.  You see, the coyote population has increased significantly in recent years and they are now a serious nuisance.  For that reason, the state has declared an open season on coyotes, which means they can be hunted and shot on sight at any time.  The same is true on the reservation.” 

“So, what will we do if we come out here this weekend?”

“You can just spend time with Michael, or you may all decide to use the time to explore some of the nearby areas that are outside of the reservation.” 

“So, you’re saying we should go sightseeing this weekend?” Devin asked.

“Yes, you could do that.”

“And what about the weekend after that?”

“I suspect Michael will most likely be able to transition in to a coyote by Thursday of the following week, so you can come out here on Thursday afternoon and go out with Michael one at a time.  You will be able to do that on Friday as well, and then on Saturday I will start training Michael on transitioning into animals that are much smaller than he is.  The three of you may stay out here and help me do that as well, and it will take not only the weekend, but the entire following week as well, so you can stay out here the entire time.  Would that be satisfactory for you?”

“Yeah, let’s do those things then,” Devin agreed, “but is there enough room for all of us to sleep in the hohrahn?”

“I am certain we will be able to find room for each of you.”

“And will you have enough blankets for all of us?” I asked. 

“That will be a problem, so it would be best if some of you transition into animals to sleep instead.”

“Yeah, that will be cool,” Devin and I agreed.

“Then we’ll come out here tomorrow afternoon,” Gramps confirmed, “and we’ll bring something for all of us to eat.  Is everyone up for Mexican takeout this time?”

After the shaman and I agreed that would be fine with us, the others said it was fine with them as well, and then Gramps, Pops, and Devin left.  Before they return tomorrow, the shaman will be able to start working with me on transitioning into a mountain lion.