Forsaken An American Sasquatch Tale - By Christine Conder


The Sasquatch served no purpose, but still they fought to survive. There were different rules in every settlement, but no matter where they lived, three were fundamental, considered commandments:

1. Stay focused.

2. Stick to the path.

3. Trust nothing.

Remembering the rules like they remembered their name was the cornerstone of survival.

From the moment they began to walk and talk, the commandments were drilled into their heads. If they followed them, they got to grow up. And then, after they survived childhood, they picked a mate, found some hole to climb into, and more or less stayed there until they rotted. There were certain milestones to break things up, of course, like having children of their own or moving to a new colony. But otherwise, the Sasquatch life was unremarkable.

If they followed the rules.

Liberty Brewster tended to stray off the path, but she blamed her rebel streak on her mother, Sarah Fleming. She’d overheard the awful things colonists whispered about her mother. Heretic. Birdbrained. Unstable. The last— used most often and with the most malice— was the worst to be labeled with. Unstables didn’t stick around too long.

Her mother talked a lot, spoke of the outside world, and claimed to be psychic, but it was harmless, imaginative babble. Liberty never believed she’d been in danger of an escort. Thank goodness her father governed the cavern, because it afforded Sarah some immunity.

Behavior that jeopardized the colony wasn’t tolerated. The guilty party got a warning, sometimes more than one if the offense hadn’t caused an incident, but any more and the guards took the person, the unstable person, aboveground. And they wouldn’t be seen again.

“Dream big, baby,” Sarah said one night, in barely a whisper.


“No one said you can’t have an idea.” She’d sat behind ten-year-old Liberty on the feather stuffed mattress and started to braid her hair. “They aren’t against the rules, you know.”

Liberty shrugged.

“Sure you do,” her mother’s voice sounded soft and calm, like a fuzzy caterpillar.

Liberty closed her eyes and relaxed. Her hair was long and tricolored, thick strands grew out in clusters of auburn, sable, and blond. She loved the way her mother braided it, pulling the colors into individual sections, each hue separate and snaking around the next in the plaits.

Whenever she tried it, the colors refused to stay apart, they’d mishmash together and she’d look like a calico mess.

Sarah continued in a more serious tone, “Like, I have an idea that out near the stream there are hundreds of plump, red raspberries begging to be picked.” She gently tugged and pulled, fastened one finished braid with a blue ribbon. “And I’d like to go this very minute and eat some.”

Liberty’s eyes popped open and she turned around. “Really?”

Sarah nodded, a playful smile on her lips.

“Just you and me?”

Sarah winked.

Liberty searched her mother’s face, waited for her to say she was joking, but Sarah didn’t flinch. Patience, her three-year-old sister, demanded most of their mother’s energy. Ever since Patience had been born, Liberty had relinquished the majority of her one-on-one time. Except for this, their cherished bedtime ritual.

Sarah put a hand up to quiet her, and looked toward the open doorway of the bedchamber. “Can you keep it a secret?” she whispered.

“Yes.” Liberty bounced on the blanket, and crossed her heart. “I swear it.”

The children of Proem had been banished to the cavern since an elder Sasquatch had died in a mysterious way the children hadn’t been privy to. It seemed her mother had also been kept from the surface, though Liberty couldn’t be certain of it. The Council had determined it was for their own good, which of course they didn’t question, but the elder had died months ago. Liberty wanted to run free more than anything.

“Be patient, little ladybug.” Sarah patted Liberty’s head, turned her around, and started the second braid.

Sarah recounted the dream again, the one she’d had before Liberty was born.

Her mother said she came into the world bathed in white light and said she saw her walk through a wildflower field wearing a pretty yellow dress with a hem that fluttered in the breeze. Sarah then envisioned her strolling down a crowded street filled with activity and noise. Liberty held the hand of a human with a white aura, pointed in shop windows, and was beautifully human herself.

“Where was the street at?” Liberty interrupted.

This was their little game.

“Hmm…” Sarah leaned over Liberty’s shoulder, “I believe it was in Baltimore.”

Last night it had been Portland. Liberty giggled and listened to the rest. The dream always had a