Last week's entry introduced readers to a bit of the Navajo culture included in RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME, a sweet contemporary romance now appearing as a FREE download. This week does a more realistic take on the old Hollywood concept of Indian burial grounds. Meg and Jim have taken a picnic to a nearby canyon filled with native petroglyphs. Burials like the one mentioned here are probably Anasazi.
For a time, they merely wandered along the creek, hand in hand, one and then the other pointing out sights worth noticing. After a time, they stopped beside another sheer wall of red, its last two feet mortared closed with gray cinder blocks.
"What's this?" Meg asked, leaning against the red as she examined the block wall.
Meg's hand came away as if she'd touched a hot iron.
"Some local kids crawled in there to check it out, found remains, and notified me. I called friends in the anthropology department at Northern Arizona University and they had a team out here from Flagstaff by the next weekend."
"I guess they must have authenticated the find," Meg said, inclining her head toward the wall.
"They authenticated it, examined and cataloged it, then reburied everything exactly as they believe it was in the beginning. After that, some Boy Scouts came in here and bricked it up as a service project, so nobody else would disturb the site."
Meg nodded understanding. Then she touched the rock again, this time almost reverently. "Who's in there?" she asked.
"They were children, three of them, apparently all from the same family."
"Oh." Meg felt the wind go out of her. "Three children in the same family. How old were they?"
"The eldest was about three, the youngest just an infant. The middle one was somewhere in between."
Meg thought instantly of Sally's beautiful children and felt a stab of pain for the unknown mother who had buried three children at once. If Jim had noticed the correspondence in ages, he was tactful enough not to mention it.
"My anthropologist friend dated the burial back to around the time Europeans first settled in this area. It's his guess that the whole family contracted one of the many diseases white men brought—smallpox, perhaps. Maybe typhoid or diphtheria. Apparently the adults survived, at least long enough to bury their children. There may have been older children who made it too."
"How sad." Meg's breath caught in her throat. "How very sad."
"Yes, it is." Jim paused. "Now let's find a way to get happy again." He grabbed her hand and ran, dragging her, splashing and protesting, into the creek.
RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME is now available as a download.