Lozan Kiowa entered her village just before dawn. She could hear the thrum quieting as whispers rose above the RAT-tat-tat-tat-tat and echoed off the canyon walls. Wars songs, in another time, but for her the inaudible chants signified another failed journey and reinforced the other villagers' suspicion that maybe there wasn't anyone out there.
With a strong desire not to become a disbeliever, Lozan trudged into her family's adobe and found Moma Kiowa laying on her bedroll. Her grandmother struggled to her feet and hobbled over to her with wide arms.
"Lozan, the early winter winds have brought you home." The old woman spoke with a guttural voice, like someone had tossed pebbles down her throat and they rattled every time she opened her mouth. She squeezed what remained of Lozan's strength right out of her.
"Low-spirits brought us back," Lozan said. "That and a longing for home."
The poignant smile on Moma's face gave Lozan little reassurance that there really was a place called home. Certainly, this village was not it. Her people had lived in the canyons for centuries, but it never felt quite right to her.