Chapter 11: Indian Summer

          Sam and David turned off the paved highway and onto a dusty road.  Clouds of dirt spread in their wake which prevented David from
seeing behind them.  'I'm almost there...no turning
back now' he thought to himself.  David was nervous,
more than he had ever been in his entire life.  He
didn't know what kind of reaction to expect from his
brother Thomas, but he had hoped it would be a
pleasant one.  Father and son continued to speed
down the dirt road, which now became unmarked.
Sand and the random flora and fauna of the desert
were the only things David could see for miles.
David put his arm out the window and closed his
eyes.   He tried to imagine that he was flying, but the
fact that he was belted into the passenger seat
hindered his fantasy.  They arrived minutes later at the reservation.  David saw a large building and many small houses.  This wasn't what David had expected at all.  He imagined teepees  a steam lodge, and whatever else Indians used as structures for worship, play, and general living.  Climbing out of the pickup, he reached into the bed and grabbed his backpack.  He threw it over his shoulder as he and his father walked into the mini-mart that graced the reservation.  David approached opened the door and in unison with the 'ding' of the bell, David stopped dead in his tracks.  The young man behind the counter was none other than Thomas.  He had the same facial features as David, right down to his eye color.  Thomas, however, had short black spiked hair.  The boy's skin was quite a bit darker too.  This is due to the desert sun that constantly shone over the reservation, since there were no skyscrapers out here to block it.  "Thanks Tommy," said the girl at the counter.  Thomas handed over the bag of various groceries to the pretty young girl.  "There you go, Aimiee.  Have a good one." Thomas told the girl, with a smile.  "Can I help..." Thomas paused, seeing the face of his identical twin.  He blinked, once, twice, three times.  "David..." Thomas whispered breathlessly.  He came from around the counter and hugged his brother.  "I wondered when I was going to meet you."  "Thomas," David said abruptly.  "Hey man, call me Tommy," the boy said, as he punched his brother lightly in the arm.  "Tommy!" Sam spoke up, smiling.  "Dad!" Tommy said, as he ran to hug his father.  The two shared a hearty hug and then Sam held his son by the forearms, "My how you've grown...you're almost as big as David."  "What?" Tommy said.  "Just kidding boy, just kidding," Sam said happily.  He stood his boys side-by-side and the only difference between the boys was the hair and skin tone.  Other than that, you could easily see these boys were identical.  "Mom's at the house.  Do you want to go see her?" Tommy asked his brother.  "Sure," David said carefully.  "I'll take him to see her, but in the meantime, when do you get off work Tommy?"  Sam asked.  Tommy looked at the clock on the wall, "In a few hours I imagine...that is of course if Michelle doesn't find something for me to do at the last second."  "Ok then son, I'll see you at home in a little while," Sam said.  Tommy resumed his position behind the counter, "Ok you guys.  Take a look around and stop by here if you get lost," Tommy joked.  The reservation was large, but nowhere near the size of Angel Grove.  The two waved good-bye as they walked to the boys' mother's house.

           Sam knocked on the front door and waited for his ex wife, Fannie, to answer the door.  After about two minutes, he knocked again.  This time a short woman with a few gray hairs hanging in her eyes opened the door.  "Well, hello Sam," the short woman spoke.  The two embraced in a friendly manner.  David and Tommy's parent's reason for divorce was unknown.  Neither boy asked their respective parent why the divorce took place.  Fannie looked behind Sam and saw her other son.  "David!" Fannie said exuberantly.  She quickly gave her son a long hug and David returned it.  It felt familiar to him.  David knew he had been around his mother when he was younger, but he hadn't really been old enough to remember it. He hugged his mom like he had done this every day for the past sixteen years.  After the two separated, she ushered the father-son duo into her house.  David looked around with interest.  Indian memorabilia covered the walls and floors of the small house.  Arrowheads rested in a glass case on a small desk.  Long bows made of Birchwood hung from the ceiling across the rafters.  A buffalo head hung above the small hearth and it's glass eyes stared back at David.  Eagle statues sat on a  small shelf below the buffalo's head.  A small totem pole sat by the fireplace.  David examined the animals on the totem.  The bottom animal was a bear, the middle one appeared to be a wolf, and the one on top was obviously an eagle.  David thought it was strange that Sam was a full blooded Indian and Fannie only had a small portion of Indian in her heritage.  Yet the two parents chose to live each others' opposing lives, Sam in the city, and Fannie on the reservation.  Minutes later, Tommy walked through the door.  "Hi mom," he said as he kissed his mother's cheek.  "Hey pops!" Tommy said to his dad.  "Hey David!  Lets go catch up on old times...?" Tommy asked his twin.  "Alright.  Sounds good bro," David said as he prepared to go out and explore with his brother.  The two told their parents good-bye, walked outside, and began walking towards the cliffs near by.

           As the two teens began boulder climbing over small rocks, David explained to Tommy that this was 'class two climbing,' where harnesses and
helmets were not needed, but caution shouldn't just be
thrown into the wind.  Tommy grinned at his brother, and
with a salute replied, "Yes, sir!  What did you do...read a
book about rock climbing?"  David went on to explain that
his friend Zhane was a certified climber and rescue
rappeller, and had been teaching him about climbing.
Tommy and David continued to talk, each one comparing
stories of school, friends, and everyday life in their own
little worlds.  David had neglected to inform his brother
that he used to be a superhero and that his afore
mentioned friends still were.  Tommy spoke about his
vision quest, a journey his tribe believed young men must
go on once a certain age was reached.  During this vision
quest, you're to discover the true meaning of the purpose
of your life and your animal totem.  Tommy went on to explain that his animal spirit was the Falcon.  Tommy then proceeded to show his brother how to begin a vision quest.  The interested David consented and closed his eyes, meditating while his quest began. . .

          David opened his eyes and discovered that he was standing in the middle of the desert, alone.   He looked down on the ground and saw a set of footprints in the sand.  He began his quest by following the footprints.  Suddenly, he began sinking slowly into the desert's shifting sand.  He thrashed about wildly, reaching for something to help him out and not finding anything.  The teen continued to struggle, sinking inch by inch into the hot sand.  David reached behind and to his surprise found his morpher.  He held it out in front of him and activated the morpher then cried, "It's Morphin' Time!"  Green lightning surrounded him, but the word to free and harness the power couldn't come to mind.  He just sat there blankly with the power waiting to be unleashed.  He closed his eyes and summoned the name of the first animal that came to his mind, a lizard..."Iguana!"  In a flash, he transformed back into the Green Ranger.  He was wearing a strange new uniform and his DragonDagger was gone.  In its place was a sword with a green hilt.  He drew and raised the impressive weapon toward the sky and called out "IguanaZord!"  The mighty IguanaZord appeared before him.  The Iguana scooped one claw into the ground and pulled the sinking Green Ranger out of the sand.  David leapt out of the Zords open claw and examined the Iguana through his visor.  The Zord stood on all fours and had an extremely dangerous looking tail.  The sun reflected brightly off of the Iguana's green serpentine body.  Suddenly, the IguanaZord stood up to full height and faded away.  A necklace made with the claw of an Iguana fell to the ground where the Zord once stood.  David crawled over to it and picked it up.  He held it up to the sunlight.  David then powered down and placed the necklace around his neck.  He slowly stood up and brushed himself off.  He looked around, but all he could see was sand and dust for miles.  He looked down at his communicator and tapped the two buttons that would teleport him to the Power Chamber. 

          David stood on the rocky cliff, the edge just six feet from him.  He turned and looked at his brother.  Tommy stood there waiting for his brother's reaction.  "Your quest is complete," said Tommy.  "What you saw is only for you, but I must know...what is your spirit animal?" asked Tommy.  David turned to his brother, "The iguana."  Tommy simply smiled at his brother and the two began the trek home for dinner.  Back at the house, the twins went to Tommy's room.  Posters of various martial artists graced the walls.  David opened the door of Tommy's closet and his eyes widened.  On the inside of the opened door there was a Power Rangers poster.  All six rangers stood in an action pose in the park.  The Power Rangers never took publicity shots.  Someone just put six kids in costume and took photos to make themselves hordes of money.  David wondered what his brother would think if he found out that he was the former Green Ranger.  David turned toward his brother and Tommy threw his brother a towel so he could take a shower.  "You go first, David," said Tommy.  "Just don't use all the hot water!" Tommy laughed.  David grabbed some clean clothes and got into the shower to wash the dust off.  He then got dress and walked out into the living room where Sam, David, and Fannie were talking.  The trio turned to David, "David, I have some good news...Tommy is going to come back with us to Angel Grove."

The next morning, Tommy began packing his things.  He looked around his room with mixed emotions.  By moving to Angel Grove, he would be able to receive a better education and make new friends.  He had promised his mother he would stay with her one weekend a month.  Fannie had said nothing to this, but was surely saddened.  She and Sam were both in their late sixties.  Both parents realized it was time for the brothers to take care of one another.  He packed the last of his clothes, then he told Sam and David that he had to go say good-bye to Michelle, his manager at the convenience store.  Tommy ran outside and down the dirt road toward the store.  He reached the door and walked in.   The bell gave off it's signature ring.  Tommy went to the back office where his manager was doing some paperwork.  He knocked on the door.  "Michelle?" he said carefully.  Michelle looked up at Tommy.  She was wearing her Crimson and Cream University of Oklahoma baseball cap.  He had always wondered why she wore that hat.  After all, they lived in Southern California, not Oklahoma.  "Hey Tommy!  What are you doing?" she asked him.  "Michelle, my father is here to take me to Angel Grove to live.  I'm sorry I couldn't give you more warning..." Tommy said sadly.  "Oh, you're moving...on such short notice?" she asked him.  "Yeah," the teen said as he hung his head.  She stood up and gave Tommy a hug.  "Hey, be good okay.  Oh, and when you find another job, try not to call in sick as much as you did here," she said with a grin.  Tommy smiled  and tapped the wall as he walked out.  Michelle backed up and sat down, sorry that she had just lost a good friend and employee.  Tommy left the convenience store and began to walk back toward the house.

Tommy got back to the house and  went in to get his bags.  "I took the liberty of putting your stuff in the truck, bro," David said. "Hey, thanks man.  I'll meet you guys out there, but first let me say good-bye to mom."  Sam and David had already said their good-byes, so they went out to wait in the truck.  Tommy and Fannie were alone in the house.  The teen stood almost two feet above his mother.  He had his hands stuffed in his pockets and his mother could see that he was troubled.  Fannie reached out and gave him a big hug, and as he hugged her back, tears rolled down his cheeks.  "Mom..." he said, trying to fight back the tears.  "Son, it'll be alright.  You can always come home if you need to.  It's not as if you'll never come back," Fannie smiled.  "I want you to have something," she said backing up.  She reached into her blouse and fished for a necklace.  When she found it, she pulled it out, took it off, and handed it to her son.  She placed the necklace in his palm and closed his fingers around it.  "Keep it secret, keep it safe." she said smiling up to him, sniffling a bit.  Tommy looked at the necklace.  It appeared to be half of a scarab.  He turned it over and ran his thumb over what appeared to be the top half of an eye outlined in gold with a jade center.  "That is the Tiger's eye.  It will watch over and protect you." Fannie said.  The tears were beginning to well up in her eyes.  "Go, be with your brother and father now.  They need you...it is your time to grow.  I do not want to hear another word from you." she said.  Tommy walked out, doing as his mother said, and climbed up in the pickup truck next to his brother.  Fannie leaned against the doorjamb.  The breeze whipped her gray hair around as she smiled and waved to her sons, and to Sam. The trio waved back.  Fannie blew Tommy a kiss as Sam turned the truck around and sped down the dirt road heading back to Angel Grove, and Tommy's new home.

To be continued. . .