Buffalo Horn studied him intently while he listened to Lucas retell his experiences from the previous year. For a fleeting moment, Lucas thought the Indian might react in an angry manner. As far as he was aware, the Bannock hadn’t had any trouble with the army or with white settlers. He raised his eyebrows at Buffalo Horn when the Indian suddenly smiled brightly.
“I thought that perhaps you are searching for the Ghost Woman,” he finally said. “It is clear that you have not taken a wife yet, or you would be at home in your lodge.”
“The what?” He ignored the Indian’s last comment. Ever since his brother Joseph had gotten married over a year ago, people seemed to think that he, too, needed to get hitched.
“What is a ghost woman?” Lucas couldn’t keep the mocking tone out of his voice.
“You have not heard of her?” Buffalo Horn raised his brows and straightened in his saddle. “It is said she is a woman of exceptional beauty, the one with golden hair the color of the setting sun and eyes as green as a mountain meadow in spring.” The crazy Injun swept his hand dramatically in front of his face.
Lucas smirked. Golden hair? Eyes like a spring meadow? The description didn’t fit an Indian woman.
“She sounds like a real prize. Maybe you could introduce me to her?” He leaned toward Buffalo Horn, feigning eager interest.
Buffalo Horn’s mouth contorted in a disapproving grimace. Lucas couldn’t suppress the grin on his face, and he laughed out loud.
“You have not changed your ways, young Walker.” Buffalo Horn grumbled. “It is not good that you make light of the beliefs of the People. While on a hunt for mountain sheep, my cousin’s son has seen her with his own eyes during the summer moon.” The Indian’s face turned serious, as if he believed his ridiculous words.
“Women don’t usually hide from me, Buffalo Horn.” Lucas maintained his grin. “I’ve been all over these mountains my entire life, and I’ve neither seen nor heard of a ghost woman before. If your relative has met her, then I’m a little upset that she hasn’t shown herself to me,” he continued to tease, and sighed dramatically. “I guess she don’t like me if she’s that elusive.”
He turned his head from side to side, glancing into the distance. “Would be mighty nice if she’d offer me a warm place to stay for the night. Looks like we’re gonna get some snow.” Lucas tried with all his might to - as his mother often told him - wipe the grin off his face. If Buffalo Horn believed that the spirit of a woman haunted these mountains, Lucas could at least have some fun with the idea, especially since his family seemed to think he needed a female in his life.