"Oh, my," his wife said. "Do you see that?"
"What is it?"
"I donít know."
Will slowed the car. The dust cloud was only a couple hundred yards away now. It grew larger as it moved closer.
A faint whisper of rushing air sounded, gradually giving birth to a dull rumbling of the earth.
"Whatís that noise?" his wife said, becoming frightened.
"Shh!" Will answered harshly. He was straining to identify the noise himself. Had he heard it before? It sounded familiar.
Will stepped on the brakes. The Range Rover now sat motionless on the dirt road before the approaching cloud of dust.
He was reminded of the thump-thump-thump of a sewing machine. Only here the needle was pounding the dirt, echoing through the ground, running a thread in and out of the earth. His eyes now made out tiny individual brown shapes seemingly gliding over the terrain directly ahead of the dust cloud.
Suddenly he knew what it was. The rumbling. Or so he thought.
"Itís a stampede!" he cried.
His wife gasped.
But there was something else there. He couldnít quite make out what it was.
ďWill!" his wife shouted, panicking. "Do something! Turn around! Theyíre headed right for us!
But he didnít move. He kept his eyes on the brown shapes. A stampede meant buffalo. But these werenít buffalo.
He ignored her.
As the shapes came within a hundred yards, the rumbling of their approach became more distinct. He could clearly hear the thundering of hooves.
"Turn around, Will!"
These werenít buffalo. These were horses. And the horses werenít alone.
Will felt a sudden relief when he saw that the horses had mounted riders. He and his wife werenít in any danger. This wasnít a stampede.
But what was it then?
His wife fell silent. She too had spotted the forms on the backs of the horses.
The cloud of dust and thundering hooves continued to race toward themÖ soon within eighty yards, then fifty yards, then forty.
Will tightened his grip on the steering wheel. One of his eyes stung where sweat had rolled down from his forehead. Why arenít they slowing?
There were a lot of them. A helluva lot of them.
These were Indians galloping towards them. Of course, this was an Indian reservation. But these werenít Indians as Will knew them. These werenít Indian Reservation Indians.
These were Indians.