Mangus prepared for his escape. He slipped the Bowie knife into the sheath at his side, then filled his backpack with the pemmican Mother had just finished making. He lifted the pack and threaded his arms through the straps. After slinging the water skin over the pack, he bent and scratched out a note:
Mother, don’t believe what the police tell you. I am going to where Grandfather can find me. I will be safe.
He felt honored that Old Bear Killer thought of him as a son. His real father was a drunk, an embarrassment to the family and the people of the White Mountain Reservation.
Under a purple Arizona sky, Mangus started on the ten mile journey.
The morning sun fell on his shoulders, its warmth penetrating his brown skin. Moccasined feet took wing, their smooth stride eating away at the desert floor. His long black hair fell over his shoulders, unbraided, in the natural way of his people. Just like his Apache warrior ancestors, he could run all day without tiring, without even breathing hard. The reservation police would never catch him now.