The Thunderbird

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Before I begin, let me give you some background knowledge. I’m a teen from an Arapaho Native American family, and my great grandfather and grandfather used to tell us children stories of The Thunderbird or what they’d call it, Etcitane:bate.

Being a foolish four year old, of course I’d believe it, they told us never to wander around the forest at night for the Thunderbird would take us from our family, so obviously I obeyed.

When I was about ten or eleven, I stopped believing that the Thunderbird existed, until a few months ago. It was in the middle of July, near the end of my summer break. My friend, let’s call her Bella, was with me and our other friend, let’s just call her Ann, were in the mountains with Bella’s family at their cabin. The cabin was built on Arapaho Native American land, at the time we did this, we were all thirteen.

Being the idiotic thirteen year olds we were, we decided to sneak out after Bella’s brother, sister, and parents were asleep, since the sky would be clear and perfect to look at the stars in.

We played UNO for a good three hours before Bella’s family went to bed. Ann and Bella got ready to go and hike, while I was packing water, food, a knife, and other types of things. It was about midnight when we left onto the trail to go hike and star gaze.

After a few minutes of hiking, we stopped to star gaze and chug water. The sky was as clear as water, not literally, and you could see the stars and constellations.

A few minutes passed, and we were staring up at the sky, until Ann and Bella pointed to a giant bird like figure in the sky, it was black with white under the wings with symbols on the white part, just the way my grandfather and great grandfather described what it looked like. I brushed it off, like it was their imagination, and boy, was I wrong to brush it off to the side. When we were packing up, and we began walking, lightning struck, but there wasn’t any rain.

I looked at the girls, and they weren’t focused on the floor, they were looking up. Terrified, I looked up, and to my surprise, the bird was circling above us. Shakily, but quietly I said under my breath “I didn’t think it was real… it’s.. the Thunderbird..”. The girls looked at me, panic filled their eyes, and tears began to roll down their cheeks, for they didn’t know what the Thunderbird was.

We ran towards the cabin, in fear of what might follow us. As soon as we arrived back to the cabin, the girls and I went to Bella’s room. They were crying, and they begged me to tell them what the creature was.

I quietly said, “The thing we saw was the Etcitane:bate, the Thunderbird. My great grandfather and grandfather used to tell my siblings, cousins, and I that we were never to go into the forest at night, for the Thunderbird would be flying and it would take us away from our family.”

The two cried themselves to sleep that night, I couldn’t.

For I had met the one thing my family never wished for us to see like my grandmother did. After the meeting with the Thunderbird, us girls refused to go back to that cabin, and frankly, I didn’t want to meet the Thunderbird again.

Remember, all of you, never go into the forest at night in Northern America, for it might be your last night.

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