Forced by the government to adhere to one language only, Tabitha Hoarse Raven and her people are forced to abandon the old ways, and Tabitha has lived in the cities and spoken the one language since she was a young teenager, after her family was brutally murdered for practicing the old traditions.

18 years later, on the anniversary of the great moon cycle, Tabitha hires a guide to take her to an ancient sacred place, so she can finish the song and dance her father never could. On the way, she meets many threshold guardians, including the her white-washed native guide, and a native mother and her grown son who farm in the country but adhere to government rules.

This short novella is a nicely crafted modern-day Tower of Babel story, and the conveys a tangible loss from cultural homogenization by using the Native American analogy. The build of the story cleverly reveals Tabitha’s purpose as she physically travels up the mountain and spiritually retreats into the legends of Tsichtinako, Thought Mother. However, I am confused by several particulars during the climax of the story, especially in regard to what magic is possible in Tabitha’s universe.

Recommended for fans of native culture who enjoy a hint of the paranormal!

“For one thing,” she said, “I cannot meet an old god in new clothes.”

“You need to change?”

“Yes. And I must prepare my soul.”