Title Vengeance in the Wind
Author Judy Bruce
Publisher Merriam Press
Wind Series Book 6: Following a trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Megan Docket, a young attorney, helps her friends plan and execute a haunted house. When a murder occurs there, she must expose the killer to protect the people who are falsely accused by a zealous prosecutor. When her mother and her law firm staff are held hostage by the killers, she uses her wits and moxie to stage a rescue.
I stood atop a grassy knoll, lashed by the wind, pretending to admire the September horizon, streaked in yellow and orange. In truth, my insides swirled in an acidic maelstrom of portent. What now? I shut my eyes, trying to focus, but the warning remained hazy. When gray clouds swallowed the western sun, I felt obligated to rejoin the group—members of the Lakota reservation preparing a cookout. They’d been so friendly to me and my husband Jay, but my legs turned to lead so I stood anchored to the ground.
Jackson Draper, our host and an elder on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southern South Dakota, silently, suddenly stepped next to me. “Will it storm?”
I smiled. “I don’t really know how to read the clouds, but those dark ones to the south look ominous. Maybe we’re getting some rain back home.”
“Wakinyan, thunderclouds,” he said. “Let us hope.”
The small, wiry man with deep set wrinkles and wispy silver hair had given me the name, “The Woman Who Feels.” So his question didn’t surprise me.
“Do you feel something?”
“Yes, but it’s so vague…I can’t get a bead on it. How could you tell?”
“It’s hard to describe…but you looked so intense. Another elder, Alex, came to me. He was watching you, too.”
“I was also wondering if maybe it’s the place. The wind comes from the east and north, past Wounded Knee Creek.”
“Yes, past the graves of those slaughtered in the massacre. But you were looking west.”
I smiled. “With my eyes closed. I wanted anybody who noticed me to think I was looking at the horizon. But to the west are the Black Hills, sacred land of the Sioux, seized by the U.S. government.”
He nodded. “For now, let us go back. Maybe your feelings will become clear to you.”
At the bottom of the hill, he took my arm and led me to his table, one of several picnic tables assembled for the occasion. As my hubby sat down next to me, I smiled at him then glanced at the others nearby, an assortment of short and tall, thick and thin, creamy brown-skinned people who laughed and kidded with each other as they corralled their kids. They were a proud people of great hardship—high rates of unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, abuse, and suicides. They were also lovers of horses, evidenced by the discussions regarding the Crow Fair, an August gathering hosted by the Crow Nation in Montana.
“Man, they’ve got all sorts of stuff goin’ on,” said Nate, a nephew of Jackson’s in his mid-twenties, “with bull riding, saddle broncs that can send you into orbit…I tried it once, broke my hand and wrist, had surgery…and women’s calf roping, and sprint and long races. Hey, how long is that track race?”
A scar on the inside of Nate’s wrist appeared to wrap around from under the thumb area onto the back of the hand. Despite his lean body and head, he had strong, broad hands.
“Five furlongs,” said a voice from down the table.
Nate looked back at me and Jay. “And they’ve got this crazy race called the Indian Relay. You’ve got this rider and his buddies on the ground to catch and control the horses as the rider goes around the track, jumping from one horse to the next racing other teams.”
“That does sound crazy,” I said. “How do they keep from falling or getting the horses tangled up with each other?”
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Judy Bruce is a resident of Omaha, Nebraska, USA, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and autistic son. She has a law degree from Creighton University. Judy is the author of the Wind Series: Voices in the Wind, Alone in the Wind, Cries in the Wind, Fire in the Wind, Lies in the Wind, and future stories in the series, as well as Death Steppe: A World War II Novel. She maintains a website at judybruce.com and a blog at heyjoood.com.
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