Denton Writes 2009 – Children’s Fiction – Shaina Owens


Shaina Owens preview“The Dream Catcher”

by Shaina Owens


        One Sunday afternoon, Shayna’s Nana came to see her.  On this particular visit, Nana brought Shayna an arrowhead and a painting of an Indian princess. “Do you know who this is?” asked Nana.


“No, but she’s very pretty,” said Shayna.


“This is your great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Pocahontas,” answered Nana.


Nana handed the painting to Shayna.  “Whoa!” said Shayna, but then she took a closer look.  “Wait, we look nothing alike.”


“I know, but you’re still related,” said Nana.  Shayna wondered if she and Pocahontas had anything in common.


“Oh my, look at the time.  I’m late for my quilting class,” said Nana.


“But Nana, I want to talk more about Pocahontas,” said Shayna.


“I’m sorry sweet pea.  We’ll catch up on my next visit,” said Nana as she kissed Shayna’s cheek.


Shayna laid the picture on the bookcase and stuffed the arrowhead in her pocket.  Her mind was racing with thoughts of Pocahontas.  “I think I’ll go for a ride,” thought Shayna.  For some reason, she could always think more clearly when she went on a trail ride with her horse, Magic Marker.


“You ready for a trail ride girl?” asked Shayna as she saddled up the brown and white paint horse.  Magic Marker nodded her head which made Shayna giggle.


Shayna felt a bit adventurous and decided to ride to Keebler Creek.  Magic Marker hesitated.  She knew Keebler Creek was off limits with no grown-up along for the ride.  “Don’t worry girl.  We won’t go far.  I just want to see the cliff,” said Shayna.  Magic Marker obeyed as she trotted towards Keebler Creek.


        Shayna and Magic Marker arrived at the cliff.  The view was spectacular.  The sky was a mixture of blue, pink and purple, with a touch of orange where the sun sat on the edge of the earth.  As Shayna gazed at the horizon, something caught her eye.  It was a flicker of light from a cave located on the other side of Keebler Creek.


“Come on Magic Marker, we’re going to check out that light,” said Shayna as she dismounted her horse and led her down the steep cliff.  Magic Marker pulled back on her reins and refused to move.  “It’s okay girl.  I’m right here,” coaxed Shayna as she patted the nervous animal’s neck.


By the time Shayna and Magic Marker reached the cave, the strange light had disappeared.  “Where did it go,” she asked out loud.


  Magic Marker let out a loud snort.  “I know girl.  It’s getting late.  We better get back to the ranch,” said Shayna as she turned to mount the horse.  Just as she placed her boot in the stirrup, Shayna heard a noise.  “What in the world was that,” she gasped.


“Bum, bum, brumm, brumm…bum, bum, brumm, brumm.”  “Drum sounds?” she thought.


Shayna led Magic Marker into the cave.  As they walked deeper into the darkness, the drums became louder.  She considered turning back, now that it was almost impossible to see, but the drums lured her to continue.  Suddenly the drums stopped and a glimmer of light danced on the cave wall.


“Oh…my…gosh,” Shayna whispered.  It was a giant Indian “Dream Catcher.”  The ancient relic stood seven feet tall and five feet wide.  Colorful yarn, leather strips and hundreds of feathers were wrapped around the sides.


 Shayna noticed Indian symbols notched on the surface of the object.  One of the images resembled the arrowhead her Nana had given her.  “I wonder,” she said as she reached into her pocket.  She carefully snapped the arrowhead into the matching shape.


A gust of wind filled the cave and fog swirled within the center of the Dream Catcher.  Magic Marker stomped her front hoofs and neighed loudly.  Shayna shielded her eyes from the dust.  But all at once, it became dead still.   Shayna opened her eyes. 


“Magic Marker, do you see what I see,” she asked as she rubbed her eyes.  It was a real, primitive Indian village located smack in the middle of the Dream Catcher. 


“I must be dreaming,” said Shayna.  “There’s only one way to find out,” she thought to herself.  Shayna held Magic Marker’s reigns and stepped through the Dream Catcher.


Once on the other side, Shayna turned to look behind her, and to her surprise, the Dream Catcher was gone.  She didn’t panic, but walked closer to the Indian village.


It didn’t take long for the Indians to notice her.  “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea,” she whispered to Magic Marker.  Shayna forced a nervous smile as the people stared at her.


One of the Indians ran to a large tepee, but quickly reappeared with a young girl.  She looked familiar and couldn’t be more than twelve years old.  Shayna herself was only ten.


            The girl smiled and gestured to Shayna to come sit with her in front of a fire by the large teepee.


            “My name is Pocahontas,” said the Indian girl.


“You’re…Po…Po…Pocahontas,” she stuttered.  “I guess that Dream Catcher does more than take you back in time.  It actually allows you to understand other languages,” Shayna thought to herself.


“Yes.  And who are you?” asked Pocahontas.


“My name is Shayna.  This is so cool!” she exclaimed.


“What do you mean?” Pocahontas asked.


“Well, I’m from the future and I’m related to you,” explained Shayna.


            “Really?” said Pocahontas.


“You’re my Nana’s great, great, great, great grandmother,” said Shayna as she chuckled slightly, not sure Pocahontas believed her, or maybe the Indian princess simply thought she was crazy.


After a moment of silence, Shayna had to ask, “Is this a dream?”


            Pocahontas smiled as she stood and reached for Shayna’s                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hand.  “You’re not dreaming,” she said.  Shayna took Pocahontas’ hand and stood beside her.


            “Would you like to go for a ride,” asked Pocahontas.


            “Oh, yes!” answered Shayna.  Pocahontas mounted her spotted Appaloosa named Flying Eagle just as Shayna climbed on top of Magic Marker.  Pocahontas led the way as they rode down a winding trail.


            “Are you a real Indian princess,” asked Shayna.


            “Yes.  And this is my tribe.  We are known as the Powhatan people.  My father is the chief of our village.  Is your father a chief,” asked Pocahontas.


“No, he’s a rancher,” Shayna giggled.


“What is a rancher,” asked Pocahontas.


“A rancher is someone who takes care of a ranch,” answered Shayna.  Pocahontas thought for a moment and then she asked, “What is a ranch?”


            Shayna laughed.  Pocahontas laughed too.  Both girls seemed to be in their own time zone as they talked and talked about their lives, past and present.


The sun was almost gone from the sky.  “I’m sorry to cut our ride short, but my parents will worry if I’m not home before dark,” said Shayna.  “Mine too,” said Pocahontas.  The young riders took off in a flash as they raced back to the campsite.


Pocahontas and Shayna stepped off of their horses.  The young princess reached around her neck and untied a beaded necklace that she always wore.  In the middle of the necklace was a turquoise horse.  “So you will remember me, I want you to have this gift,” said Pocahontas as she tied the necklace around Shayna’s neck.


            Shayna held the tiny figure in her hands as she looked at Pocahontas.  “Thank you.  I will never forget you, or this day,” she said as her eyes filled with tears.


            “Follow me,” said Pocahontas as she led Shayna and Magic Marker into the large teepee.  Standing in front of them was a large Dream Catcher just like the one in the cave.  “I was beginning to wonder how I would get home,” said Shayna.


            “To make the Dream Catcher work you must dream of the place you wish to go,” instructed Pocahontas. 


            Shayna dreamed about her parents, her Nana and her ranch.  All of a sudden, the wind began to blow and a hazy fog swirled within the Dream Catcher.   “Look!” Shayna shouted, “It’s my home!”


Shayna waved goodbye to Pocahontas as she and Magic Marker stepped through the huge circle.  She looked back only to see the trail she had traveled on earlier that day.  The Indian village, Pocahontas and the Dream Catcher were gone.  “That was some trip,” said Shayna as she walked Magic Marker to her stall.   


            “I wonder if the Dream Catcher and my arrowhead are still in the cave,” Shayna said out loud as she unsaddled her horse.  She didn’t have time to investigate the possibilities today.  The sun had set and Shayna’s mom was calling her to dinner.


            Shayna walked to the house, slipped her boots off and went inside.  Shayna’s mom filled a bowl with beef stew and set it on the kitchen table.  “How was your trail ride?” her mom asked.


            Shayna sat down at the table, untied the necklace and placed it beside the bowl of stew.  “It was pretty amazing,” she said as she gazed at the gift from Pocahontas and dreamed about returning to the Indian village.


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