So you can read my books

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


{Wolf Howl has saved a young white girl from a Greyhound bus,

its tires purposedly punctured by metal "poppers" on the feeder road of a detour,

using the strange powers of his mind to save them both ....}

I started walking toward the funeral pyre that the Greyhound bus had become, and she tugged on my flannel sleeve.

“You’re gonna walk into that?”

I tapped into my Orenda and whispered,

“The trees are in their Autumn beauty,

The woodland paths are dry,

Under the October twilight the water

Mirrors a still sky.”

“W-Water? What wa --”

She stopped as a thick mist swirled about the flaming bus. The flames sizzled in protest. Smoke still billowed in thick black rolls. But the fires had died.

“Oh. I - I guess you are a medicine man.”

I looked at the tall moon-haired woman in buckskin studying me from the shadows. “Or something.”

“W-Was that Keats again?”

“No. William Butler Yeats.”

“He was into all that despair and death stuff, too?”

“Yes. But mostly into magic and unrequited love.”

She looked at me, strangely sober for a young girl. “Death, despair, magic, and unre-- re ---”

She couldn’t quite get her tongue around the unfamiliar word, and I smiled, “Unreturned.”

She shook her head. “Death, despair, magic, and unreturned love. Must be a medicine man thing.”

“Actually I believe it is a Lakota thing.”



Her face brightened. “Oh, the guys who won the Little Big Horn.”

“That depends upon your definition of the word won.”

She looked fearfully into the smoldering wreck. Then, she turned towards the darkening woods. Both going with me or staying alone out here terrified her. She came to a grudging decision.

“Y-You mind if I go in with you, Mr. Drew?”

“No,” I smiled. “I could use the protection.”

“Me, too,” she muttered.

She reached and snared my left hand as if she could draw strength from me. “Why did you talk with me all this trip?”

“I always talk to princesses.”

“Even white ones?”

“Even white ones. Black and yellow ones, too, though I try to stay away from the red ones.”


“They tend to take scalps.”

She made a face. “You’re making fun of me.”

“Only a little bit.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Grandpa had something he always used to say about someone like you.”


She pulled herself up tall and tried and failed for a deep voice, “Ah, a man with a sharp wit. Someone should take it away from him before he cuts himself.”

She suddenly deflated. “I - I miss him.”

“Sounds like someone I would have liked.”

“Even if he was a white man?”

“He sounded a man. That is enough for me.”

We were at the smoldering bus, the plinks and pops of super-heated metal a low chorus. “I hope the bus driver is in one piece.”

“You liked her, too?”

“Hardly. Her teeth weren’t what they seemed.”

“You know, Mr. Drew, you keep talking that way, and you’re gonna give me a nose bleed.”

I wiped my own nose. “Then, we’d match.”

I gave her hand a squeeze. “Let’s go see if the apple is baked or not.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re doing it again.”

“I know.”

I winked at her. “Then, we’ll go check on a shadow.”

“You know you could drive a girl nuts.”

I was trying to keep her mind off finding Sylvia, and it seemed my attempts were working. A chill suddenly took me. I glanced over my shoulder. Wrapped in shadows, GrandMother was still watching us from the woods. Was she smiling? It seemed so. I had seen that particular smile before. Now it was me that shivered.

The girl said, “Why do you keep glancing over your shoulder?”

“Company’s coming for a meal.”

“You’re doing it again, Mr. Drew.”

“Hopefully you’re right.”


“Right in that I have it in me for one last rage against the darkness.”

“You’re beginning to scare me.”

“Sometimes scared is smart.”

The Greyhound bus lay broken before us like some toy the White Man’s Devil had snapped in two with savage delight. Low moans and cries came from the dark interior in jagged gasps. The white girl looked up at me hollow-eyed and uncertain.

I softly squeezed her hand. “Walk in behind me, Wicicala.”

“Abigail,” she husked. “My name is Abigail. Grandpa called me Abby.”

“O.K., Abby. Walk in behind me slow and careful. Touch nothing. Go to no one.”

“Even if they ask?”

“Especially if they ask.”

I walked into the bus with cat feet. I had guessed right. Larry Cedar Face lay sprawled to my right. I had lost count of the years he had hunted me for the White Man’s government. I kneeled next to him. He was pinned by the twisted frame of the seat ahead of him. Out of his dried-apricot face his eyes spat at me.

“I hate you, Wolf Howl.”

“Lot of that going around.”

Abby looked a silent question at me, and I said, “Larry thinks I should use my skills to help my People.”

“Damn straight!”

“My People? My People left me abandoned on a picnic table when I was a baby. I have no People but those I choose.”

“You have no respect. That’s why I hunt you for the White Man.”

“You hunt me because the pay is good.”

He lunged for the gun he always wore on his right ankle. He stiffened when he saw the tiny .38 in my own right hand. I shook my head.

“Being predictable’s a weakness, Larry.”

I tucked his gun under my belt. “It’ll kill you one day.”

He flicked cunning eyes to Abby. “Always saving the children, ain’t you? Who’s predictable now?”

By his side was a battered copy of Thoreau’s Walden. I smiled sad. What was it that Thoreau had written? “The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” He glared as I picked it up.

“Walden? And to think I believed you hadn’t two grey cells to rub together.”

“I was smart enough to lead them to you on this Greyhound.”

“Puh-lease. To get you to the foot of this mountain I almost had to leave a trail of bread crumbs. It was embarassing.”

I shook my head sadly. “Inside you’ve become white.”

Abby slapped her forehead. “Apple! Now, I know what you meant. He’s only red on the outside.”

She suddenly frowned. “Where’s the shadow?”

I swept up the book. A thin, black dart thudded into its worn cover with such force that I almost lost my hold on it. Abby gasped.

I turned slowly to the rear of the bus where lay the woman with hair of raven and jumpsuit of leather. Like Larry she was pinned by wreckage. Unlike him, she haunted my dreams -- and my nightmares.

There was fifteen years between the two of us. I sighed. No, there was much, much more between us than that.

Her sullen eyes were twin green suns in the growing darkness. Those eyes. Born of strange sins, they seem to yearn for more than loneliness, yet expect nothing less. In their jade depths the monsters swam. The monsters which haunt us or drive us. Or both.

“Hello, Shadow. The next one better be a suppository ‘cause you know where I’m going to stick it."

Abby giggled, and the Mossad assassin smiled faint. "You always knew how to sweet talk a woman."

Mossad. Hebrew for Institute. Like the C.I.A. used Agency, The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations used one bland word to mask its deceit and death. I sighed again.

For both the Agency and the Institute to join forces, the agenda must have changed. They must have decided that I was too insane and powerful to let live. Co-Opting must have been discarded. The race to rob me from the grasping fingers of their rivals was over.

The intel groups of the world now all wanted me dead it seemed. I was a bit outnumbered. I smiled bitter. It was a Lakota tradition.

GrandMother was angry thunder above me. I was wrong. They were outnumbered. One should always respect Mother Earth, for she had none for you.

Shadow's jade eyes sized up and dismissed Abby. "When are you going to stop this dangerous habit of picking up strays?"

"You didn't complain when it saved your life."

I rose with a wince. Damn right knee. Her face saddened, and it did strange things to the smile on her lips.

"Saving it cost you that knee."

"Don't mind the knee. Miss my heart."

Abby groaned. "Aw, jeez. It's that despair, death, and unre ... unreturned love thing, isn't it?"


  1. Things are getting interesting. Also, it's been a long time since I have read La Belle Dame Sans Merci. It was nice to hear it. I have always taken it to mean - beautiful lady without mercy (not thankful). It's all in the translation. It was nice to hear it read.

  2. Hi,

    It sums me up - how did you guess. ;)

    Wonderful read.

    BTW, there's an award awaiting collection at my blog. Your favourite Words are required in exchange! See award page listed directly below my profile.


  3. I really like that Abby; she reminds me a lot of Victor. This is so layered, so many elements and I like the way you aren't pulling back from stereotypes and prejudices.

    It seems you really like to make the guys suffer...Wolf Howl is broken hearted, too. With a woman who wants to kill him-on purpose....

    Very engaging...loving it!

    I also enjoyed the poem, and hearing Hope you're doing well and finding solutions. Take care of you!

  4. Interesting. Your posts are always so full of Legends and ancient peoples. And literary greats.

    Yes, interesting.