Mystery and Crime Fiction posted August 15, 2014 Chapters:  ...67 68 -69- 70 


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level

A chapter in the book Along the Jericho Road

Wotawe Moon, Part Two

by Writingfundimension

"The possessed person is not responsible, morally speaking, for what he says and does during the periods of fury, when he loses consciousness and the second personality (that of the demonic) emerges."

--- Father Jose Antonio Fortea, Exorcist
     From: Interview With An Exorcist

**********


PREVIOUSLY:

Detective Rick Morales, under the influence of a demonic spirit, has taken the kidnapped news anchor, Danika Marten, to an abandoned mine shaft on the Sioux Reservation. Jana Burke races to the scene ahead of her back-up, in hopes of talking her partner into giving himself up to the authorities.

***********   


Ty could not dissuade Jana from intervening in the hostage situation. He argued against her action, using every bit of logic he could muster, including the high probability that she might get herself killed. He could tell by her blank expression and the way she leaned away from him that she merely waited for him to shut up so she could go ahead with her plan, but still he persisted.

“I agree with Derek. Whatever the reasons for Rick's deviance, only he can provide the answer, Jana. The reasonable and safest course of action is to wait for the back-up team. I'm no fan of the Feds, but this is the kind of situation they're trained to handle.”

“Are you done lecturing me?”

“Jana, you're not thinking straight. What's to be gained by going in there? The priest has already compromised the situation by going off on his own. And you're too close to Rick to be objective.” He turned his body to block her view of the shaft. “Loyalty to a fellow officer is admirable, but risking your life to prove a point...”

“Get out of my way, Ty.”

“Jana, for Christ's sake, Will you listen to me?”

“No more talking. I'm going in there.” She pointed to the bloodied tourniquet wrapped about his wounded thigh. “You need to be thinking about yourself right now. Find a safe spot to rest until help gets here. I can take care of myself.”

Ty squeezed the sides of his Stetson in frustration. “Is this wasicu worth it, Mitakuye?”

“He's family. Our people never turn their back on family.”

“That's really how you feel about him?” Ty searched her eyes and saw they were dark with grief. He didn't wait for her answer. Stepping aside, he gestured to the east side of the cave's entrance.

“I'll cover you as best I can. At least stay where I can see you.”

“I can't promise that. It sounds like a helluva fight is going on in there, and I'm going to follow my instincts on this one.”

He touched his forefinger to the brim of his hat in capitulation, and she brushed past him. He watched her back, feeling both pride and frustration in response to her stubbornness. Hell, it's exactly what I would do in her place. The grandfathers would be proud.

His leg felt like every nerve was on fire. Moving with as much speed as the injured limb would allow, Ty found a niche allowing him to keep his cousin in sight while remaining hidden from those inside the mine shaft.

She stopped just short of the entrance. Ty listened as she pleaded with Rick Morales to turn himself in, promising to remain by his side through the aftermath of his crimes.

Ty hadn't time to get his weapon into position before he heard gunfire from inside the cave and the priest yelling something about dynamite.

Alarm flooded his system with adrenaline. He rushed forward, hooking Jana's waist with his arm and diving for cover. She screamed, “Rick,” and tried to get up, but he kept her pinned to the ground for her own safety.

Overhead, a helicopter's blades could be heard in the distance. It touched down, raining further debris on the chaotic scene. Jana lay still, no longer struggling. Ty's face was inches from hers, lips pursed into a grim line. “You did all you could," he said.

Jana made no reply. She turned her face from his sight, and Ty knew that where she went in her mind, she went alone.

                                    ********

The members of the Task Force arrived on the heels of the helicopter, which turned out to have the assault team on board. When they were apprised of the situation, the lead agent asked to help with clean-up efforts.

“Put shovels in our hands and let us get to work,” Agent Racine insisted.

“That's a generous offer, but we've got lots of good help thanks to the men from the reservation. Along with the excavation people on their way over from Granite Mountain, we have the situation covered as best we can at this point.”

He put out his hand, and the other man took it. “I've been impressed with your professionalism, Agent Racine. You make me wish I'd stayed with the FBI.”

Derek turned away before seeing the look of surprise on the younger man's face. His eyes were on Jana.

She sat on a boulder with her head bowed. Derek steadied himself with a breath and crossed to where she sat. He knelt in front of her, reached across and grasped her hands. Though she pulled back, he kept a firm grip.

“Haven't you been through enough? You should be in that car with your cousin and on your way to the hospital right now.”

Her head shot up, and he could see her heart's agony playing out on her features.

“I'm not going anywhere until I know what's happened. Maybe Rick's lying under a pile of rubble, bleeding out... dying alone.”

“Stop torturing yourself with such thoughts. Rick isn't the only victim, here. Father Brian and Danika Marten need... deserve... our best efforts to save their lives, as unlikely as that may be.”

“We're through,” came a yell from the excavation site.

Derek jumped into action pulling Jana along with him. They rushed to the area where the man had been joined by several others. Soon, they had a space cleared that would accommodate a small-sized individual.

Before Derek could protest, one of the diggers scrambled through the hole.

Aw, shit. Hope he doesn't mess things up further. He stood near the opening, hands clenched, waiting for the man to re-emerge.

The digger popped his head out of the hole. “There's an old guy and a woman, both in bad shape but breathing. The third person is dead for sure. The EMT's arrive yet?”

“ETA two minutes. Don't move anyone.”

“Right. What do you want me to do about the dog that's lying next to the man? He's pretty territorial, though he did let me check for a pulse.”

“Dog, what kind of dog?” Derek demanded.

“Some kind of a hound... come to think of it, kinda looks like old Wasu. Wait... I'll check.” He disappeared briefly then reappeared wearing a puzzled expression.

“I'll be damned, he's disappeared."

                                *******

LOCATION: BRONSON MEDICAL CENTER

Jana felt a slight murmur of guilt as she ascended the elevator to her Uncle Tony's room. In her purse was a small bundle containing wrapped, dried sage and matches, both items requested by the Shaman.

The hospital had an agreement with the Sioux nation that they could perform their healing rituals in designated areas of the hospital. Tony was still recuperating from his ordeal and finding it difficult to keep at bay the negative energy of so many sick people. His room was not one of the those 'approved' by the hospital, but he wasn't strong enough to be moved. Despite Jana's protests, his plan was to smudge the room in the early morning hours when the floor was quiet.

If the hospital puts up a fuss, I'll make the case that my Uncle's smudging is no different than a Christian being prayed over. Hopefully, it won't come to that.

Jana approached the floor nurse for an update. “Has the doctor come by yet today?”

The attractive blonde with a name tag indicating she was the charge nurse, looked up from her computer.

“Yes, just about an hour ago. Your uncle didn't seem pleased with his news.” She smiled, but not in a patronizing way. “Your uncle's anxious to be discharged, and that's wise given all the germs floating around here.”

“Is he making progress?”

“I think so. He's cranky today which is usually a good sign.”

Jana entered Tony's room and was surprised to see Father Brian in his wheelchair alongside the bed. The priest looked up as she entered. His arm was in a sling, and he had a large bandage over the right side of his head. Yet, he smiled with a warmth she was not ready to embrace.

"Something's different. It's as if there's light radiating through his skin. He claims he died and spent time in heaven only to be told he had to return to earth. Could that be the reason he looks as he does?

She took a position opposite Father Brian and laid a palm on her uncle's arm. “I understand you and the wasicu doctor are not seeing eye to eye.”

“At least another week in this place. They wanted to send me to a nursing home for rehabilitation, but I told them I'd pull a Crazy Horse on them if they did. The sad thing is, they didn't have a clue who I was talking about. But the threat seems to have worked... here I lie.”

Jana could feel Father Brian's scrutiny. “I'm truly sorry for the way it ended with Rick,” he said. “Risking your life the way you did was a true act of love. It offered him the chance to redeem his soul.”

“Is that how you see it, Father? Because I see it as my failure to save a good cop in the prime of his life."

"We do not mean to diminish your grief, Tonjan,” Tony interjected. “But we saw what had control over that one's mind and spirit. There we lay the blame.”

Quiet enveloped the room as each one withdrew into their own thoughts. Jana's throat ached from suppressed tears. I won't give in to grief... not yet.

She dug into her purse and brought out a bundle wrapped in rabbit fur. Opening the cabinet that held her uncle's toiletries, she placed it underneath an upside-down basin. Then she stood up.

“I have to get going, Unci,” she said on rising. “There's something I need to see to.”

She turned to go, but Tony took hold of her wrist, forcing her to face him. “Don't linger in darkness, Tonjan. I know what you have planned and once it is accomplished, you must trust the Ancestors to guide his spirit home.”

                                  *******

Jana leaned into the hood of her car. Below, the sun turned the sky a crimson red as it dropped from view. Her eyes followed the erratic wing-play of hungry bats, and her soul  responded to the sound of coyotes, off in the distance, communicating in their own unique manner.

Rick, why didn't you just come to me and tell me what was wrong? You know I'd have done my best to help. Now, all I can do is make this offering on your behalf and hold in my heart the memory of a fine man who, somehow, lost his way.

Taking a hunting blade from her belt, Jana pulled her braid forward and chopped off half its length. She gathered her grandmother's beaded shawl about her shoulders, recalling her words: 'The heartbeat of the Nations is found within a woman.'

Stepping to the edge of the cliff, she tossed the hair into empty space. As it lost itself to the pull of the earth, Jana keened her grief so that the entire valley reverberated with her pain.



Recognized


EPILOGUE TO FOLLOW NEXT WEEK.

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

Tony Buday: Sioux Shaman and uncle of Detective Jana Burke.
Detective Jana Burke: Homicide detective with the Granite Mountain Sheriff's department.
Father Brian DeShano: Catholic priest.
Officer Ty Longacre: Jana's cousin and tribal policeman.
Detective Rick Morales: Jana's partner and fellow homicide detective.
Sheriff Derek Oleson: Granite Mountain Sheriff.
Wasu: Tony Buday's murdered blood-hound.

Terms:

ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival.
Feds: Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Keen: A wailing lamentation for the dead.

Sioux Terms:

Mitakuye: Female Cousin
Tonjan: Niece
Wasicu: White Man
Wotawe: Consecrated Armor

The Sioux do not speak of a person once they are dead because they believe it will encourage the spirit to linger. Thus, Tony's reference to Rick Morales as 'that one'.

All Native American Peoples hold the sage plant as a very sacred herb, one which dispels negativity and cleanses the energy body.

Crazy Horse was an Oglala Sioux Indian chief who fought against the displacement of his people to a reservation by the American Government. He took part in the infamous Battle of Big Horn.

Thanks to one of my favorite, and very talented, artists, Angelheart for the use of her artwork. As always, perfect!

Pays one point and 2 member cents.


Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.


© Copyright 2017. Writingfundimension All rights reserved. Registered copyright with FanStory.
Writingfundimension has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.