CHANNILLO

Ghost Dance
Series Info | Table of Contents

 

April 1976.

 

Stagecoach, South Dakota was the sort of town that was featured on advertisements promoting small town values. Equipped with turn-of-the-century architecture, two lane streets and charming storefronts that resisted the inclination towards corporate shopping centers. The people of the town were very proud of their self-declared morality and would do almost anything to keep their reputation intact. Hence, their dislike for the neighboring reservation that has been an unwanted neighbor of theirs for a little over a century. Hostility would come to a standstill when promoting their high school mascot -- the Fightin’ Sioux and when the occasional tourist would come into town and stop by their ‘Injun Shop’ but other than that Stagecoach, South Dakota and the Sioux people were like a farmer and a bad crop season. 

 

Falcon Allan had just turned seventeen years old two months ago and was finally beginning to realize what it truly meant to be a half-breed. In his childhood years he believed it to be a minor inconvenience. Something that was a part of him and something he could not change but would have to accept. From time to time the full Sioux children would question the lighter complexion of his skin and the hazel in his eyes. When they would play games and young Falcon would have a hard time grasping some of the rules, they would blame it on him being a halfbreed. With the exception of a couple of occasions, he lived a normal life on the reservation and his partial white heritage was only brought up every now and then. His mother would always tell him the cliche phrase in her own words, about how being different makes one special and if one is special they are destined to do great things. By the time Falcon was eleven he categorized the sentiment underneath ‘pity/regret’. Both of his best friends; Cheryl and Randy, were full Sioux but treated him no different because of his dissimilarity. They were as thick as thieves and knew each other better than their own parents knew them. 

 

Cheryl was a year younger than both Randy and Falcon and had developed early, at about ten. Her full figure had commanded a lot of attention from the boys and even some of the men-- but nothing dangerous ever came of it. On the contrary, Cheryl found herself more comfortable with male company than female. Her skin was the color of fresh cinnamon and her eyes were the shape of almonds; sleepy and dreamy. Full rosy lips and dark twinkling eyes got her the nickname of ‘Little Doe” and her playful and wild spirit lived up to the moniker. Both boys found her attractive but only maintained a platonic relationship. Randy was the perfect Sioux boy who knew the history of his people like the back of his hand. He was so admired by the youth and elders alike, some claimed that he was the ancestors’ ‘favorite’. He and Falcon were like opposites; he was the color of copper, Falcon was the color of Kansas wheat. Randy’s soot black hair matched Cheryl’s and flowed down to the small of his back. The Allan boy’s hair was tawny with waves that only brushed the top of his shoulders. Randy’s eyes were the color of candy store chocolate, his were hazel. Despite it all they were best friends and when they laughed together or would run along the creek, all of those things would fly away in the wind. 

 

That February changed his perspective. He began to see the conditions he was used to living in and realized that they were disgraceful. The school on the reservation was no bigger than a small town laundromat and there were never enough books, pencils or paper. The homes were dated and constantly in disrepair and all stores they had on their land appeared to be abandoned. The neglect of the functionality of the land was conducive to the growing number of gang violence amongst the adolescent young men. Falcon and Randy never fell victim to the crime groups, but they came close. Falcon hated that his people were reduced to being caged like zoo animals. He thought of the term ‘reservation’ as a derogatory one and defined it as a piece of land given to calm the savages. In his early teenage years he said the word with pride, now he said it with hate. When he went into Stagecoach for his semi-frequent shopping trips, he was treated like a thieving, Indian savage. When he walked into the hardware store, the owner of the place glared at him without interruption. He watched him carefully as he reached for the nuts and bolts he needed and even when he paid him at the cash register, he scanned his hands with precision, like he was anticipating for him to swipe some of the hinges placed on the counter. In Stagecoach he was a burglar, at home he was a caged bird. 

 

Falcon’s red truck drove down the winding road through the Black Hills, the sacred land of his ancestors. The rugged terrain was mystical and looked like a natural barrier, separating the Sioux from the settlers. The Powder River separated South Dakota from it’s western neighbor of Wyoming and it's clear blue brilliance always captivated him as he drove back home. The reservation he lived on was situated at the feet of the Black Hills and was an expansive tract of grassland. The color of it was a dull green, thanks to the constant wind and little rainfall, and it seemed to go on forever. He parked his truck in the driveway of his and his mother’s single floor home that was similar to a mobile home, and grabbed the bag from the hardware store from the back. Hopefully she will be awake. 

 

Inside the house was simple and quaint. It was clearly a functional living space over a comfortable one and Falcon could smell the tart and appetizing aroma of chili cooking on the stove. Thelma Tamebuck was a woman who entered middle age gracefully. Her long black tresses were often pinned up and her sloppy attempts at the makeup trends were haphazard but endearing. She was the most beautiful girl around during her prime, many of the men her age believed that she thought she was too good for Indian men. Thelma incessantly told her boy that they were just bitter and it wasn’t the truth. Her last boyfriend, Ed, was a nice Sioux man but his lifelong dream of living by the sea overtook him about two years ago and he moved to California. The drinking had gotten worse after that and Falcon found himself spending less time at home and more time underneath the stars. 

 

“Smells great Mom. I’m going to get started on the heater.” Their home was no different than anybody else’s on the reservation, it was in undeniable disrepair. 

 

Thelma came out from the kitchen, wearing an apron caked with tomato sauce. Her smile was forced and tight, “You’re such a sweet boy. I would not know what to do if I had a daughter.”

 

Falcon chuckled.

 

“I hope you’re in the mood for chili. I’ve been simmering it the whole time you’ve been gone,” Her eyes searched the hardware bag he was holding, “You have to go back out.”

 

“For what?” Falcon felt his stomach begin to churn, this is what he had been trying to avoid. He was hoping for a ‘good day’ but the ancestors obviously didn’t receive his plea, “Mom, no.”

 

Thelma’s temporary scowl shifted back into a smile and shook her head, “You’re right. Sorry for that.” Maybe they did hear it.

 

The pair had their dinner and enjoyed light conversation about music. His mother liked the rock n roll he listened to. Her loyalty to the 1950s music of her youth was nonexistent once the electric guitar dominated the airwaves. Music was the topic Falcon knew to bring up if he wanted to laugh with his mother, it was his safety net and his sanctuary. Music was also the only place where he didn’t feel like an outsider, rock n roll was for everyone; Indians and Whites could enjoy it alike. The teenager had been meaning to ask his mother about his father since his birthday in the winter but could never find the time. He felt like she was in a good enough mood to handle his questions.

 

“Dad is alive, right?” He questioned with hesitation.

 

Thelma chuckles, “Of course he is. Why do you ask?”

 

“You don’t talk about him much, so I assumed he had died.”

 

“Why talk about him?” She said it simply like she was telling him her favorite color.

 

“Because he’s my father.” Falcon did not mean for his answer to come out of his mouth so aggressively.

 

Thelma’s brown eyes widened and she wiped her mouth carefully, “He was a small town boy from somewhere around here. He didn’t know what he was doing when he talked to me at that diner that one day. He was fascinated with my heritage and I was fascinated with his.”

 

“What was,” Falcon corrected himself, “Is, his heritage?”

 

“Scottish. His family came over during the Jacobite Rising, they didn’t want to live under British rule. They carried those values over to the colonies when they fought in the Revolutionary War.” 

 

“What were his parents like?”

 

“I don’t know. Normal.” Thelma shrugged her slender shoulders.

 

“Why don’t you talk to him anymore?” He no longer regretted asking honest questions, it was his father after all.

 

Thelma got up and cleared both of their chili bowls and placed them in the sink. Her back was turned to her son when she spoke, “He had a lot of dreams. Big dreams, I didn’t want to hold him back.” 

 

“Were you in love?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Then how do you deal with it?” Falcon was desperate for an answer in this confusing situation.

 

“I just do.” Simple. That was it. 

 

The wind during the springtime was strong in the hills of South Dakota but it was also very sweet and whimsical. It made the disconnected vegetation sway like a child listening to his favorite song. Falcon always thought that there was something very playful about the month of April. Randy handed him the sky blue ceremonial attire.

 

“It’s a circle dance, basically. It’s how we talk to the spirits, through the rhythm of our bodies.” Randy informed both Falcon and Cheryl.

 

“Will enough of the kids want to do it?” Cheryl asked as she was evaluating her turquoise and tan clothing. 

 

“Who cares?” Randy chuckled, “If it’s just us, it’s just us.”

 

“We could all use some pride in our heritage. Out there, they’re just trying to tear us down.” Falcon uttered with scorn.

 

Cheryl gently walked over to Falcon and placed her gentle hand on his tense shoulder, “Do you want to talk about it?” Her eyes were always so warm and inviting. The perfect eyes for a mother one day.

 

“I don’t belong. It’s the oldest adolescent struggle in the book but it’s been gnawing at me lately.” 

 

“You belong with us.” Cheryl and Randy smiled simultaneously. 

 

“You two belong to the Sioux, I’m caught in the middle.” 

 

“If we do it correctly, the earth will be restored, like how our ancestors used to live before the white men came.” Randy affirmed.

 

“Half of me is the white man.” Falcon stated.

 

Cheryl sensed that the conversation was spiraling into a dark place. She danced playfully in effort to lift the mood, “Practice makes perfect. Let’s get started!” 

 

***

 

When she came into town it was like a foreign wind came in and altered the direction of the stream. She was beautiful and captivating but she also had a tortured soul -- her name was Cindy Bithell. The Boise, Idaho native had blonde hair that was the color of California sand and her perfectly tanned skin complimented her tresses ideally. The hair around her face was flipped into wings, giving a clear looking into her cobalt blue eyes. The night she came into town changed Falcon Allan’s life forever, it was the night that would change that boy into a man. The trio were just finishing up the preparation for the Ghost Dance celebration when from the corner of Falcon’s eyes he saw a beautiful young girl emerge from the thicket of bushes.

 

“It’s a girl! A white girl!” Falcon shouted.

 

“Here?” Cheryl was puzzled.

 

Cindy emerged with her arms folded, she looked cold and scared.

 

“Why are you here?” Cheryl’s tone turned defensive.

 

“I have nowhere else to go.” She answered with obvious fragility. 

 

“Don’t give me that.” Falcon spat.

 

Randy’s eyes turned cold and added, “This isn’t a rescue, this is our home. We don’t need any more problems.”

 

“I’m not looking for my problems to be solved. I’m looking for a place to sleep.” Her voice was on the verge of tears.

 

“Where are you from?” Falcon demanded.

 

“Boise.”

 

“How did you get all the way here?” Falcon continued.

 

The beautiful young girl lifted her thumb.

 

“You have a fondness for strangers, don’t you?” Cheryl judged.

 

“Strangers treat me a whole lot better than the people I know.” Cindy mumbled.

 

“This isn’t fair to us. If we turn you away you could be killed, if we take you in--you could destroy us.” Falcon searched the moonlit landscape with his eyes as he spoke.

 

“I’ll earn my keep.” She looked at the ceremonial objects the three were holding, “Are you having an event?”

 

“Your ancestors are from overseas. You could not dance with ours.” Cheryl’s unusual aggression caught both Falcon and Randy off guard. 

 

“Please, I usually don’t beg but I can’t go back. My parents would rather have a bottle of whiskey than me. I want to feel needed. I want to feel like I belong.” 

 

Falcon’s eyes widened, he did not like it but he was beginning to feel sorry for the girl. Being an outsider within your own home or community is an unbearable position. She shared the same sadness in her eyes that he carried around like a heavy bag of produce. 

 

“My mother is probably no better than your parents,” Falcon turned to Randy, “You have one of the biggest houses on the reservation.”

 

Randy groaned and wrestled between what was ‘right’ and what was ‘wrong’. Cheryl exchanged a glance covered in a stern warning, but he disobeyed, “I do. Have some dinner and we’ll get you set up.”

 

***

 

Falcon and Cheryl sat on two rocks as they took in the sugared morning breeze. The warmth that was usually in Cheryl’s eyes were gone that morning, instead they were watchful and judging; like an old woman’s. Her posture was different, she sat guarded and stiff. In that moment she reminded Falcon of a wild animal when their territory had been violated by a hunter. Little Doe was an angry buck underneath the weak, early morning sun. A couple of times Falcon attempted to playfully nudge her and deliver a few jokes but her controlled, manufactured laughters and giggles made him want to keep to himself. He felt bad for Cindy Bithell but her effect on his friendship was quick and destructive, like an arrow piercing through one’s flesh. He did not know what to do, when Randy arrived he would ask about the night she had. 

 

Finally, Randy and Cindy walked up the slight incline and towards Falcon, Cheryl and the ceremonial necessities for the Ghost Dance. They both seemed to be in a moderately good mood which meant that things were peaceful-- at least for now. Little Doe stood up immediately upon their arrival and shouted to Randy,

 

“What do you think you’re doing?!”

 

“We need all the help we can get.” Randy admitted.

 

Angry Buck turned to the newcomer sharply, “Do you mind if you give us a second?”

 

Cindy, “No.” She walked over to the stream and ran her bare feet through it. 

 

“She’s not one of us, we do not even know who she is or why she is here.” Cheryl pointed out.

 

“Last night,” Randy began, “She told me everything. Her mother uses her as a punching bag and her father is a little too friendly, if you know what I mean?” 

 

Cheryl rolled her eyes, “That’s the story every runaway gives. How do you know if it's true?”

 

“You don’t have to be so cold.” Randy offered.

 

“She’s right, Randy.” Falcon added.

 

“Even if she’s sharing a couple of tall tales, she’s still sixteen years old with no family or friends.” 

 

“This is our dance with our ancestors.” Cheryl said, defeated.

 

“Helping organize a couple of items and helping with crowd control won’t hurt, Cheryl.” Randy claimed.

 

She was not happy. No matter how much she tried to change her perspective and rationalize the situation, her stomach felt sick. Cheryl was aware that her resistance to accept Cindy seemed like jealousy on the surface but she knew it wasn’t. The teenage girl experienced envy before, it came with the territory when a girl was friends with two gorgeous guys. This was something different, darkness lurked underneath her angelic exterior. 

 

“I can’t. You two can talk to her. I’ll be over here.”

 

The afternoon consisted of two different realms. There was Falcon, Randy and Cheryl’s realm which appeared to be an alternate reality where Cindy replaced Cheryl. Then there was Angry Buck, working tirelessly and in solitude. Jovial smiles and lunch offerings did not merge the realms, it drove them further apart from each other. Falcon, for the first half of the day, answered the Idaho girl coldy and with frustration, but their conversation about the current hard rock music shifted the direction of the wind. They smiled and he related to her on a level that nobody else ever had with him. Music was his sanctuary and it seemed to be hers as well. Occasionally, Randy added a couple of facts that he learned from the magazines, that he never admitted to, and Cheryl twisted her face in the distance. She loved music just as much as Falcon did, but preferred to keep her knowledge private in fear of emasculating him. The sun slowly descended behind the Black Hills and omitted a golden glow that illuminated the kids with splendor.

 

“Cheryl, are you coming to my house for dinner? Falcon is.” Randy shouted.

 

“No.” Quick and cold.

 

“Come on, it won’t be the same without you.” Randy pleaded.

 

“You seem to be doing just fine.” She said as she gazed at Falcon and Cindy giggling.

 

Randy was the first to leave, Falcon and Cindy were still discussing the technicalities of a well composed rock tune and how each member of the band related to a part of the human body.

 

“The drummer is the heartbeat, not the brain.” Cheryl uttered to herself bitterly. 

 

The moonlight bathed Falcon and Cindy in silver, their mouths were dry from their extensive conversation.

 

“Randy and his family are probably waiting for us.” Cindy said comfortably, like she had been living with them for years.

 

“Yeah, we should walk back.” His hazel eyes melted into her cobalt ones, in that moment Falcon felt like his soul and Cindy’s soul fused into one. He leaned in and his strong lips kissed her soft ones intensely so much to the point that her back arched backwards. His tawny tresses tickled her soft and submissive face. The wetness and suction of his passion intoxicated her like a drug. She wanted more. Their writhing, feverish figures settled onto the moist soil by the creek. His lips moved down to her warm neck, breathing in her perfume and the woodsy scent she received by spending time with him that day. Soft moans escaped from her trembling lips. 

 

“Yes. Yes.” Cindy whimpered softly. Falcon’s response was not verbal, it was undeniably physical with rhythmic thrusts and groans. Vexed and emotionally ransacked, Cheryl looked on through the natural barriers of the land. The amorous pair howled with the wolves underneath the full moon.

 

***

 

The motor of his truck was like a pendulum; constant and calming. Not that Falcon Allan was in a bad mood, because he was not. Quite the contrary. He spent an amazing night with Cindy and could not stop thinking about every intense moment they shared together. A couple of times the teen driver almost drove off the road because he was so distracted by his midday fantasies but the thought of dying at the hands of his own driving always yanked him back into reality. He had returned to his house around two am and his mother was wide awake, not unusual. Falcon figured that his mother had a lot of demons that she had to constantly fight alone. She definitely was not telling the whole story about the end of her relationship with his father and her relationship with her parents was strained. Her breakup with Ed was no cakewalk either, the bottle was the only constant thing in her life. Even Falcon will leave, come next year, he will be on his own. The least he could do is get her the drinks and not give her a hard time about it. 

 

The country mart on the reservation was a lilliputian little shack that sold a decent selection of booze, cigarettes, drug store makeup and perfumes. The snacks were limited but were the perfect bite for after a long ride from the nearest town; Stagecoach. Most Sioux preferred to deal with the judgemental and bad attitude of the store’s only clerk Emmet instead of the overcritical banter of the whites in Stagecoach. Emmet and Thelma went to school together and dated for about a month when they were fifteen. He thought she was trouble then and he thought she was more trouble in her middle aged years. A ‘drunk’ and a ‘codependent’ were his choice names for her on a good day and because of his mentor/hate relationship with her he refused to sell alcohol to her. This meant that Falcon would have to purchase it, on the reservation drinking ages were dismissed as something that the white man conjured up to control the masses, he promised Emmet that he would not give a drop to his mother. Lies make parents smile.

 

“You promise not to give your mother a drop. Don’t you Falcon?” Emmet challenged.

 

Falcon sighed, “Yes.”

 

“Last week she was fallen over drunk outside of the trading post.”

 

“She’s very good at making men feel good about themselves.” Falcon answered.

 

“Are you suggesting that she is having men buy alcohol for her?”

 

“I’m suggesting that you leave me and my mother alone. She’s not your problem anymore.” He grabbed the paperbag off the counter and slammed the shop door behind him. Falcon put the whiskey in the back seat and pulled out of the parking lot. A few feet ahead of him he saw a Stagecoach police car parked along the country stretch. Stagecoach police never paid friendly visits to the reservation, they only came to raise trouble. 

 

Falcon rolled down his window, “Can I help you Sir?”

 

“Yes.” Finally, he saw Randy scowling by the squad car. What happened? Where was Cheryl? “Please step outside of the truck, young man.”

 

Falcon stepped out of the truck then looked over at Randy with a perplexed expression. Randy just shook his head.

 

“Where were you driving from?” The policeman began, his red mustache gleaming underneath the afternoon sun.

 

“Why?” Falcon barked.

 

“I’m the police. I ask the questions.” He reminded.

 

“The country mart.”

 

“To buy what?”

 

Falcon thought of the drinking age in the state of South Dakota, “Condoms.”

 

The policeman arched his eyebrows, “Were you in Stagecoach, South Dakota anytime between five am and one pm?”

 

“No. I was sleeping at five, woke up at nine, had breakfast with my mom then drove to the mart.” 

 

“Your friend here told us that you were not present at a dinner you planned on attending last night.”

 

“Don’t twist my words!” Randy spat.

 

The policeman turned around and glared at Randy, “Quiet!” 

 

“Yes. That’s why I purchased the condoms today.”

 

“There was a robbery at the Stagecoach General Store and the clerk described the culprits as two Indian males, about eighteen years old.” 

 

“You’ve got the wrong guys.” Falcon answered calmly.

 

The policeman stared into the bold adolescent’s eyes intensely, like he was trying to read his soul. He was unsuccessful.

 

“You and your buddy here aren’t going to get many more chances around here. Neither are the rest of them. You stay on your land, we’ll stay on ours.” The policeman drove off down the country road towards self-proclaimed civilization. Falcon could not disagree more, they were the savages. 

 

“I’m sorry.” Randy uttered.

 

“For what?” 

 

“Telling him about you not being at dinner last night. I don’t know what happens to me when I talk to them.”

 

“You were telling the truth. Now, let’s forget about this. We have a show to put on.” Falcon claimed.

 

The last person Cheryl wanted to see was Cindy, especially after the ordeal with her friends and the cops. She thought of the runaway as a bad luck charm and did not trust her to be involved with their community. But, the Sioux men are very stubborn so Cheryl was forced to throw her aggression into the celebration and hold Cindy’s hand. Gripping tight she thought of her ancestors and the thought of them restored temporary peace into her soul. All participants of the Ghost Dance held hands and stood in a circle. The attendance was better than any of the friends could have anticipated. There were about twenty people and some were even in their thirties. The best part of it all was that Cold Pony arrived right before the ceremony began and he was so proud.

 

Cold Pony, also known as Jim Smith, was the elder of the reservation. He was a man who aged gracefully with a calm and stoic disposition. He was very displeased with the behavior of the youth so for him to arrive meant that Falcon, Randy and Cheryl changed his perspective. As one of the peers played the drum in the center of the circle, they sang in their native tongue about their ancestors coming to visit them and restoring the Earth to the way it was, before they were disrupted. Cheryl held the feather and waved it back and forth as the dancer’s eyes focused on it, lifting them into a hypnotic realm where the rhythm of their bodies were intertwined with their ancestors. The participants shuffled side to side in a circle. Falcon’s eyes closed and he saw a great light that warmed his skin. The drumming was the only thing that remained from the physical world, Cindy and Randy’s hand disappeared as well as the ground underneath him. He was in a world alone but at the same time he felt like he was surrounded by love and protection. The light was gold and smelled sweet.

 

“Fly to the sun. Do not let the tangled roots of the earth trap you.” An ethereal voice echoed. 

 

A bloodcurdling scream dragged Falcon back to Earth. It was Cindy and by the time he opened his eyes she was running away from the circle. The Sioux were not only confused but offended and annoyed -- except for Cheryl -- her face was written with self-satisfaction all over.

 

“What happened?” Falcon’s voice was still groggy from his trance.

 

“She got scared and split.” Randy responded.

 

“Scared of what?” Falcon was undeniably upset.

 

“The savages dancing.” Cheryl chimed in.

 

Falcon found Cindy at the creek, the scene of the crime. Her arms were folded and her pouty lips were formed into an unattractive scowl. She faced the water and the Black Hills.

 

“What the hell was that about?!”

 

She did not turn around, “I got scared. I’m sorry.”

 

“You said you wanted to be a part of it.”

 

“I know what I said.”

 

Falcon inched closer, his lips were an inch away from her ear and his voice trembled, “When we made love you told me our souls were one.”

 

“I know what I said.” Cindy repeated with disappointment and guilt.

 

“Then what now?!” He grabbed her and forced her to look him in the eyes.

 

“I don’t know.” Her voice was breaking and tears were falling from her eyes.

 

With great force he shoved her to the wet ground. Cindy scraped her knee and whimpered.

 

“Cheryl was right the whole time, wasn’t she? You don’t care about the Ghost Dance and you sure as hell don’t care about us! You’re only here to ease your guilty white consciousness. A pitiful repent for your ancestor’s sins.” 

 

“You and Randy were nice to me.”

 

“Big mistake.”

 

Cindy wobbled onto her feet and placed her shaking hands on Falcon’s shoulders, “Nothing I said was a lie.”

 

“You don’t have a loving bone in your body. You jump from one city to another. You had your place to stay and you shagged the guy you had your eye on, now you’re bored,” He began, “You’re ready to return to the rules of the white man. The Indian vacation did not go as planned. Just like my father.” 

 

“You’re no better than me,” Cindy cried as she ripped her hands away from Falcon, “You always talk about leaving this stupid reservation and how you feel like an animal at a zoo. You only stay to maintain your image as a rebel, you don’t care about the Sioux either!” 

 

Falcon’s shaking index finger pointed to the Black Hills before them, “My people were given that! A gift with strings, if we were ‘good Indians’ we could live there in peace. One hair out of place, one misstep, we were dead meat! Dead meat.” His sentence came out as a cry.

 

“I know Falcon. My people treated yours awfully.”

 

“They aren’t yours. You didn’t do it.”

 

“Yes. They are mine. My great, great, great grandmother was no proper lady. She was said to have shared a night with -- General Custer.” 

 

“You are a descendent of the man who killed my people?”

 

“I know I didn’t do anything but I can’t help but feel guilty. I think I’ve done a good job.”

 

“At what? You disrespected a sacred ceremony?” Falcon points out.

 

Venom was so prevalent in her speech that if she bit the young man he would have to be treated immediately, “At being a better Indian than you.”

 

Cindy flinched at Falcon’s spontaneous movement but found that he had walked over to pick up a relatively thick branch. She prepared herself to be striked by him but instead he snapped in half, with great force. Afterwards he threw it on the ground and left her alone with the creek.

 

***

He drove to the Badlands and was back by the time the sun was rising over the healing earth. Falcon wondered if the interruption of the Ghost Dance would cause a disturbance amongst his ancestors. Randy swore it would not, Cheryl swore it would. Not only did Falcon spend his entire night driving to clear his mind, he did it for an unorthodox form of meditation. He never could sit down and close his eyes; concentrating on nothingness. He had to see things, smell things. It was an oddly calm morning, he should have known that the twisted roots were coming for him. 

 

Three heavy knocks. The police.

 

“Can I help you, Officer?” Thelma asked sloppily, she was clutching a bottle of brandy in her right hand. 

 

The red haired officer looked at the bottle judgmentally then looked up at her, “Are you the mother of Falcon Allan?”

 

“That’s what the birth certificate says.” 

 

“We need to speak with him immediately.” He demanded coldly.

 

“Why?” Thelma’s defensive nature of a mother kicked in. 

 

“Cindy Bithell has been found dead by the Powder Creek.”

 

Like a lighting flash Falcon arrived at the threshold of his front door, clutching the frame so hard to the point that his fingertips were getting red.

 

“You’re lying! You’re getting back at me for the other day!”

 

Thelma turned to her son, “Other day?”

 

“Come with me. I have a couple of questions to ask you.”

 

She put her arm in front of her son, “Falcon’s not going anywhere.”

 

“Ma’am, please. You don’t want me to do this the hard way.” 

 

Like an appalling nightmare the young man was handcuffed and thrown into the squad car like a bag of groceries. The reservation police did not have much power due to their lack of resources. Many of the natives referred to them as ‘glorified security guards’. Randy, Cheryl and Falcon found themselves sitting in the Stagecoach Police Department. Having to endure fault-finding stares and disapproving whispers. 

 

“How did they find her?” Randy asked, breaking the silence.

 

“Dead and naked, by the creek.” Cheryl responded, obviously unaffected by the ordeal.

 

“Do you think she was--”

 

The red haired officer entered the waiting area and turned to Falcon, “You’re up.”

 

The twisting roots constricted Falcon’s ankles as he followed the officer down the hallway to the interrogation room. He felt as if the grim reaper had come and was guiding him to his death. Falcon Allan knew that the waiting room would be the last time they were all together as friends. He just knew it. Perhaps his ancestors told him. Maybe it was even God. All he knew was that whatever wicked force was behind his downfall was having their way--and a good time. This was the day that Falcon had to become a man. 

 















 

 

 

 


 

 






 

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