“Ancestors of Star”, Chapter 43

Bill Penrose (aka Bill Gaius) is an excellent writer and

a good friend:  he has sent me a chapter to post on this blog of his exciting new release:  “Ancestors of Star”, published by Lulu.com:

ID: 2196691

Lady Nyo

Excerpt from ‘The Ancestors of Star’ by William Gaius.

 

[Alerted by the whispering of the ancestor spirits, Tim and Star ventured out into a driving snowstorm in pitch darkness to rescue Lucy White Eyes, who has nearly died in the isolated camp she shared with Michael Talking Deer. Talking Deer had died of exposure days before.

Because Tim knew where to find Lucy, his act of bravery has brought him to the attention of FBI. The authorities are anxious to tidy up the loose ends of the drug smuggling case in which two young Lagalero died. They settle on Tim as a convenient suspect.]

 

 

Chapter 43

 

“Do I need a lawyer for this?” I asked the blue-suited man across the table. He was a Nordic god with close-cropped blond hair, the very image of an FBI agent, or an officer in the SS. Another, darker man stood quietly in the corner with his arms crossed.

“You have a right to one if you want.” His hands were folded quietly in front of him. The cold blue eyes watched me, seemingly without blinking. “But we only need answers to a few questions. Do you want coffee?”

I shook my head. “Ask your questions, and I’ll tell you what I know.”

He had me state my name and date of birth for a recorder that sat on the table, its red light blinking slowly.

“Do you know why you’re here?” he began.

“I guess it’s about Lucy.”

“You mean Lucy White Eyes?” He gestured to the tape recorder. “For the record.”

“Yes.”

“How did you know Miss White Eyes was up in that canyon?”

I’d had time to think it all over. I had no idea what Lucy had told them, or what she might be saying even now from her hospital bed, but I decided the best bet was just to bull ahead. Anything incriminating she said, I could deny. “Weeks ago, I saw a set of horse tracks in the wash. A few days later, I was in the canyon again, and saw a lot of footprints there instead.”

He tapped a folder on the desk. “That’s all there in Officer Hunter’s report. Why didn’t you tell someone at the time that Lucy was in the canyon? You knew she was missing, right?”

“I didn’t connect it with the kidnapping. Why should I? Maybe it was a party of hunters. As far as I knew, there’s nothing up there.”

“I still don’t understand why you later connected the footprints with Lucy.”

“I don’t understand it either. I just woke up in the middle of the night and thought about the footprints and Lucy and the awful storm outside. What do you call it when your brain latches onto something and you just can’t let it go? I thought, ‘What if she really was up there, in trouble? What if she died in the cold when I could have just gone and looked and brought her out?’”

“Very admirable, Mr. Hyatt. But you didn’t just go and search at random, did you? You already knew she was up there.”

“How would I know that?”

“Perhaps for the same reason you happened to drive along that road where the kidnappers were waiting, when no one was supposed to know she was in the van? They didn’t even point their guns at you, did they? You put on a show of kidnapping for the benefit of Rose Jimmy, but you knew all along what was going to happen.”

I had steeled myself for questions like this. “I drove the same route I drive nearly every day, but I told no one that Lucy would be in the car.”

“Well, help us out here. Suppose you were one of the kidnappers. How would you go about finding that Lucy was going to be in the clinic van, on that road, at that time, when the rest of the time she was being guarded by her relatives?”

“I don’t know.” I looked at him directly, my baby-blues to his. “I don’t know.

“Who else knew all those facts? The who, the where, the when?”

“Just a few –- Rose Jimmy, Metal Head, Lucy’s mother, her cousin Martin. Who knows who else? People aren’t very good at secrets around here.” I wanted to tell him that Rose was the biggest gossip on the rez, but I’d already said too much.

“Mr. Hyatt, let me share a confidence with you. I know that you’re directly involved in the meth trade on this reservation. In what capacity, I’m not sure, but you’re definitely involved.”

“What?” I felt my face flushing and my shoulders swelling in anger.

He began ticking things off on his fingers. “The glass didn’t start moving in a big way until you started working here. You need money to get through med school. You have a girlfriend back in Illinois with expensive tastes. You left college to take a poorly paid job on an Indian reservation. Why? You’ve only a vague explanation about maybe getting a scholarship.”

He stopped for a breath before continuing, all the while looking at me with disgust. “You seduced the head nurse to get access to people and information. You’ve got three books on meth addiction and law enforcement practices in your room. Did you know that criminals study how police agencies work?”

Jesus Christ! Is there anything this bastard doesn’t know about me? Is there anything he can’t twist into a case against me?

“You’re personally present at the biggest drug deal on this reservation up to now. You were even involved in handling the body of an overdose victim, so you had all sorts of opportunities to tamper with evidence. You’re implicated in the kidnapping of a major witness, and somehow, it seems you knew exactly where she was being kept.”

He waved his hand to make sure I was watching him. “Mr. Hyatt, your tracks are all over this case. Even if only some of those things are true, they make a pretty strong case against you. Do you know anything about the penalties for drug trafficking?”

I was sweating profusely now, and probably looked as guilty as John Wilkes Booth. How could he stitch all these innocent events together to make a seemingly airtight case against me?

Worse, he had involved Star. I remembered Christine Beya’s admonition to keep my relationship with Star from reaching off the rez, especially to the ears of Federal officials. When I thought of this, the anger started to bubble up. That was good. Anger was what I needed now, not fear.

“What do you want me to say?”

“What I want you to say is, you’ll take a polygraph. Assure us you’re not involved.”

“No.” I said.

“Then I’m to assume that all of those things are true?”

“Assume what you like. The polygraph is a fraud. It’s voodoo magic. It’s meant to scare people into admitting to things, whether or not they did them.”

“I assure you, Mr. Hyatt, the polygraph has been scientifically verified. It’s the most effective way to determine whether someone is telling the truth.”

“Good for your machine. I refuse.”

“Everyone else involved is taking it.”

I exploded. “Lucy? Metal Head? Star? They’re all taking it? Bullshit!” I was halfway to my feet and the other agent in the room took a half step toward me.

Blond God smirked. “Now have you changed your mind?”

I sat down and took a sip of water. “Not a chance.”

“Why did you mention Miss Yellow Star just now?”

Now I knew for certain he was fishing, probing for soft spots. He had nothing. “Because I don’t like the way you’re bullying everyone around me to put together a phony case. Do I look like Richard Jewell to you?”

I hoped this might disturb or anger him, but he remained as calm as the Buddha. He repeated, “Why did you mention Miss Yellow Star? Is she involved, too?”

I saw red now. “How the fuck could she be involved? She’s devoted her life to helping the people on this reservation. She lives like a nun and doesn’t need drug money. Ask anyone.” I got control of myself and sat back in my chair. I took several deep breaths. This was bad. I was letting him get to me.

“You’re romantically involved with Miss Yellow Star, aren’t you?”

“I want a lawyer,” I said.

“Forget it. We’re done. You can go. Don’t talk to anyone about our meeting, Mr. Hyatt.”

“Just like that? I thought you’d decided I was Al Fucking Capone.”

“You’ll be hearing from us again,” he said quietly. “By the way, your blood tested positive for meth.”

I felt myself flush again and I knew he was watching to see the effect of his sucker punch. “Positive? How the fuck…?” Now I remembered dumping the drug in the wash, squatting in the rain. I’d continually had to wash it from my fingers. I thought hard.

“I have no idea where it came from, except that I did handle Mary Jackson’s clothing and person after she died, and I’m in physical contact with patients around here all the time. I don’t know everyone’s drug habits. Can’t you find marijuana in people who’ve only been in a room where it was smoked?”

By the time I’d finished my speech, I realized that he had lied about the meth test.

He didn’t reply. He just looked down at his notepad and tapped the point of his pencil on the table, while the other agent opened the door for me.

 

 

5 Responses to ““Ancestors of Star”, Chapter 43”

  1. Malcolm Miller Says:

    I see why ‘Ancestors of Star’ is probably one of Bill’s best stories. I’ve heard nothing but good of it, and one negative reamark about the cover picture.

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Bill is such a good writer, but I am going to let him field the remarks about his book.

    Lady Nyo

    Like

  3. Dangerous Bill Says:

    The negative remark about the cover probably came from me. I was constrained because I didn’t want to use a possibly copyrighted image. So I took a still from a fancy-shawl dancing video and a personal shot of the ‘White House’ structure in Canyon de Chelly, on the Navajo reservation and merged them. I’m still hunting for a cover more appropriate to the story.

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    I remember that struggle you had with yourself, Bill….but the cover sure works for me!

    Lady Nyo

    Like

  5. ladynyo Says:

    I’ll have to agree with Jane as to the cover. It evokes a bit of mysticism in a natural environment. This is a recurring theme in the book. The beliefs of Native Americans are as strong as any “religion”.
    I enjoyed the story as well as the settings. You can envision yourself in this environment. Keep up the good work, Bill.
    Fred, the husband.

    Like

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