Guyasdoms D'Sonoqua

Chapter Twenty-one        Loon

Guyasdoms D'Sonoqua, oil, 1928/30, 100.3 x 65.4 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Gift from the Albert H. Robson Memorial Subscription Fund, 1942.

Tense stillness engulfed Emily and the figure. Emily stared. Dzunukwa stared back. This hideous, mighty Queen of Dark Places stared back. She had to wrench her eyes away from the clutch of Dzunukwa's empty sockets in order to study the other features of her face. Wide whitish circles around her eye holes. Thick black brows over them. Round ears sticking out. Gruesome cheek cavities in scooped-out red ovals. The mouth--that garish, ghoulish mouth with red bulging lips pushed out in an O as if she were howling that low "huu," like the sound made by blowing across a bottle, a chill, keening hoot.

And those eagle breasts. Those beady black eagle eyes. That sharp hook of a beak on each nipple ready to snatch and tear. What did it mean? In spite of what Tillie had said, this Hellhag was pure savage.

She could see this Wild Cedar Woman wasn't afraid of anything--suffocating forest, lightning, torrential rain, cougars, isolation, vastness. She was of it. She could see in the dark, stride through bogs, race wolves, fight bears, penetrate the impenetrable, be alone. The only one of her kind, having no mate, she could look upon raw life or death and not shrink from either one. She could even rise from the dead and put herself back together again. If only an ounce of that raw power could become hers. She felt the pull of Dzunukwa's extended arms. Were they itchy to steal a child, or were they reaching for her, taking her to her bosom?