Arts & Récits Autochtones - The Mark

The Mark

2015 - Lauréat de récits

Long ago, a baby girl named beedwewbenehseek, which meant “The Coming of the Thunderbird”, was born into a village of prisoners. Not prisoners of crimes, but prisoners of sorrow. The baby along with a small village of brown-skinned people, were trapped by monstrous beasts that kept anyone from escaping. The only time anyone was let out of the village was when hunters where to hunt for their families. Alone. These beasts were called the thunderbirds.

Lisez l’histoire de Janna Kakegamic

Janna Kakegamic

Thunder Bay, ON
Kingfisher Lake First Nation
Âge 17

Une note d'auteur

I had begun writing this story at 14 but didn't finish until 15 and the inspiration for this story came from my fascination of thunder and lightening, and the fact that my “spirit name” is actually Beedewebenehseek, which I’m pretty sure means the same thing as the “the coming of the thunderbird”. I wanted to write my own original legend as to why there aren’t any more thunderbirds flying around, if there was any at all, because I haven’t come across a legend explaining that. I didn’t base the character on myself, I just used my name.

Lisez la suite

The Mark

Long ago, a baby girl named beedwewbenehseek, which meant “The Coming of the Thunderbird”, was born into a village of prisoners. Not prisoners of crimes, but prisoners of sorrow. The baby along with a small village of brown-skinned people, were trapped by monstrous beasts that kept anyone from escaping. The only time anyone was let out of the village was when hunters where to hunt for their families. Alone. These beasts were called the thunderbirds.


The thunderbirds came down every year to drink the blood of a sacrificed child. If a child wasn't sacrificed, the thunderbirds would come piercing down from the dark skies and capture multiple people, regardless of age, and kill them. So every year, one thunderbird came down in human form to mate with a woman to produce the sacrificial child . For the beasts to survive, they must feast on the blood of an innocent and the blood of a monster. So, the chosen child of the year was born with amethyst coloured eyes (the eyes of the beast), dark black hair, and clear beautiful caramel skin with a mark that identified her as the sacrificial one. Upon birth, the thunderbird licked its sharp talon with its acidic saliva and swiped it up and across the child’s forearm which is known as the mark.


When the mother was pregnant, the thunderbird would come down often to ensure the mother’s safety. However he didn't do this because he cared, but because she was carrying his only chance of survival. After the girl was born, many people stayed clear of her so that when she died for them, they wouldn’t feel guilty. But Beedewebeneseek’s mother still lovingly cared for her. However, the thing was the mother didn't mention to her child of her fate, the mother couldn’t bring herself to tear the girl’s hopes apart. Because of the mother’s actions, people of the village also stayed away from her. As the child grew older, she began to wonder many things, like why other children ignored her, why everyone had fathers when she didn’t, and most of all, why she looked different from everyone, even from her mother. Her mother told her that she just...special, but never said anything more.


When Beedewebenehseek was finally sixteen, she was sitting outside, and saw other kids hanging out. She gathered all the courage she had and went to talk to them in hopes of gaining friends for the first time. The group of kids said nothing, staring with cautious stares. Then finally after a moment, one girl broke the awkward silence and told Beedewebenehseek they weren’t allowed to speak with her because she was the “marked one”. The kids scurried away before Beedewebenehseek could reply. Confused and crestfallen, she went home and ask her mother what the kids meant and why no one talked to her. Instantly, her mother’s face dropped and her eyes grew anxious knowing she must tell her daughter the thing she had been dreading the most.


Beedewebenehseek’s mother sat her down and in a quiet, yet serious voice, the mother began reluctantly telling her daughter all the things that had happened and that were going to happen. After listening to her mother, Beedewebenehseek stifled a small laugh of disbelief and when her mother’s eyes began to tear up, Beedewebenehseek, without a word, ran straight out near by the river.


As she sat by the water, sobbing and feeling utterly hopeless, a thunder roared so loud she felt the earth shake beneath her and looked up to see bright lightening and dark clouds swooping in. Staring upwards, she thought of her mother and how despite her future, her mother still stood by her side, smiling and unwavering. Suddenly all the feelings helplessness molded into feelings of determination. She raised from  the dirt and with a hard look on her face, thinking that if she was going to die, she wasn’t going to let it happen without a fight.


The thunderbirds flew down from the dark clouds and came to halt before hitting the ground. They scanned the small village only to find all the people were already hiding behind closed doors in their homes. However they didn’t see Beedewebenehseek’s mother sneaking behind the homes, frantically searching for her daughter. Then suddenly from behind the tall narrow trees stood Beedewebenehseek with a stone cold expression and fire in her eyes. As they slowly began moving towards her, growling hungrily, Beedewebenehseek broke out into a sprint with a sharp wooden spear. With each long step, she grew closer and closer dismissing the fact that the thunderbirds were much powerful than her because she knew they needed her alive before drinking her blood.  It was known that the thunderbirds needed the sacrificed child’s warm, fresh blood and if they had dead blood, they would die.


As soon as she got in close proximity, she aimed the spear at the heart of the closest beast, but its quick reflexes knocked it out of her hand. Before she knew it, she was facing upward on the ground with the thunderbird’s talons digging into her neck. Angry, Beedewebenehseek grabbed the stone knife she hid in her boot and sliced a piece off the thunderbird’s wing. Adrenaline pumping, she drank the blood coming out from the torn wing as a small victory and killed the bird.


Then the thunderbirds went after her, and as they grabbed her she dropped into their winged arms, unconscious from the blood she drank. In the beasts wings, Beedewebenehseek’s brown skin turned into a glowing bronze and her lips as red as blood. The thunderbird immediately dropped her seeing that wings began to break out of her back. Immediately her mother, standing in front of her home with a look of disbelief, knew what this meant. Beedewebenehseek was transforming into what the thunderbirds looked in human form. As soon as the transformation was done, her eyes fluttered open with the amethyst colour glowing with such intensity it was almost blinding. The thunderbirds stepped back, surprised. They had never seen such things happen before, let alone fighting back. Before they had any time to react, Beedewebenehseek dug her hand into a beast’s chest and ripped out the beating heart and dropping it to the ground.


The thunderbirds became so enraged and let out a menacing screech. Beedewebeneseek quickly jumped and flew into the dark clouds with the thunderbirds chasing after her. The mother silently watched, unable to move a single muscle.


Behind the clouds, Beedewebenehseek flew around, dodging the thunderbirds attack effortlessly. The thunderbirds couldn't even touch her with the tip of their feathers before she ripped their heads off their bodies with her strong wings. However there was still one thunderbird. She knew right away that it was her biological father, it was as if something screamed it in her ears. They both stared into each others eyes with such intensity and rage. Then the two moved toward each other quickly and silently without hesitation, though it felt as if time was slowed down. When they reached each other, they fought with all the their energy, not making a sound.


The battle was so smooth and rhythmic, that it was as if they were dancing a sacred dance, painting the sky with their bodies. Then her father moved his wing back and smacked Beedewebenehseek down back onto the cold Earth. Wincing in pain, she got up slowly, and her father came piercing down, aiming to hit her back down, but she dodged it. Through her pain, Beedewebenehseek raised right her arm back and smashed her hand into the her father’s beastly chest, reaching for his heart. In her hand, she felt his burning hot beating heart and before she could pull it out, she felt a sharp pain in her abdomen. She looked down and she saw a human bronze, almost golden, arm with the hand ripping into her stomach. When she looked up, she saw a man so beautiful not even the angels up above could compare. His amethyst eyes glowed with rage, and his facial expression screamed pain. She had finally seen the face of her father. Suddenly, all the anger bubbling inside her simmered down and disappeared. She was left staring into the soulless eyes of the monster that painted her future for her. Out of the silence, a terrible scream came from the right side of her and she looked to see who it was only to see her mother kneeling on the ground with pain in her eyes. With all the energy she had left, Beedewebenehseek gave her mother a small painful yet hopeful smile and dragged her father with her up into the clouds still latching onto to his heart. Beedewebenehseek clenched her teeth and pushed him back with such force that she ripped her father’s beating heart out of his chest, and him pulling on her torn flesh.. Floating away,  they stared at each other, expressionless, accepting what they knew was inevitable. Beedewebenehseek closed her eyes and fell into an eternal sleep, drifting off into the vast grey sky, just as her father did.


The people of the village slowly came out of their homes and looked up into the opening blue sky. The people were finally free. The sky became so clear that there not a single cloud in sight. Not even the bodies of Beedewebenehseek or the monstrous thunderbirds. They were never found.


Some say that they vanished with the clouds and that their spirits remain in them. They also say that if you listen closely to the sound of thunder, you’ll hear the ghosts of the thunderbirds battling with Beedewebenehseek.