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[Fiction] A New Role


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(continued from Hugin's excellent fiction contest entry)

*Thank you, Bear.*

Ptesan-Wi was indeed thankful for her ursine friend; after all, the huge brown bear was currently making excellent inroads at keeping her out of jail.

The initial wave of adrenalin had subsided as she knelt beside Rebecca, and its passing brought nausea and a violent case of the shakes in its wake. Oh spirits, I've... I've killed someone! It had taken more mental stamina that she had thought she could muster to calm down enough to think things through... and that's when she had called for Bear.

While Bear performed his gruesome task, Ptesan-Wi lifted - half physically, half-mentally - young Rebecca Whitetail's form and started moving away from the scene. Once or twice, popping noises behind her reminded the mentalist exactly what she had asked of the creature, but practicality overrode panic, and she continued to walk away from where the townie was becoming a meal.

The sad truth was that disposing of a body - well, of the pulped remnants of a body - was not the most difficult task ahead of her today. No, that was wrapped up in her arms, and wrapped up in the traumatized mind therein.

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"Yes, a bear."

For the fourth time today, Sheriff WhiteElk was trying to pierce the veil of civilization and explain to someone in a suit and tie that yes, the mythical creature known as a bear really does exist, and yes, they really can, on occasion, eat people.

The white citizens of Oglala - the "townies", as the younger members of the tribe called them - were pretty badly riled up. Kevin Allen had been a triple letterman: track, football and swim team. Kevin Allen had been immensely popular, with rugged good looks and an easy way about him. Kevin Allen had also, WhiteElk remember, been suspected of being the father of two kids by young Lakota mothers - not that anything had ever been proven, not with his family's money protecting him. And now? Kevin Allen was a meal to a half ton of furry omnivore; the claw marks, chewed bones and spoor left behind at the scene made it painfully clear what had happened to the young bas...tion of Oglala High.

Brother Bear must have been pretty damned mad, too. There were impact marks where the body had been slammed into the ground repeatedly, and blood was splattered all over the thin blanket of snow, probably by the critter shaking the boy to break his neck. Menace to the young girls of the tribe or not, that had to have been a brutal way to die.

As the late Master Allen's truck was towed away and the rest of the officers had left the scene, Sheriff WhiteElk gave a deep sigh and pulled his hand out of his pocket. He sighed again at what he held there: a strand of long, black hair that had never come from the neatly groomed head of blond Kevin Allen. His mind went back to the other bit of evidence that he had removed from the scene, to the messy trail the bear had left when it tromped to and from the clearing... and the small, rounded mocasin print that it had not completely obscured.

He closed his eyes, took one more long, shaking breath... and muttered a prayer of thanks to whomever might be listening. For once, he preferred to not know whom that may be.

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*It will all be well, Sheriff WhiteElk. Wakan Tanka protects the People.*

Prayers still made Ptesan-Wi uncomfortable. She heard them in her mind from time to time as she mentally looked over the tribe... and she knew that without response and with Wakinyan gone, their faith could dwindle again. So, she replied from time to time. Today's reply, however, was different; she had been directly involved in the event that led to WhiteElk's prayer, and the answer had been one that went beyond the sort of 'self-help' guidance she offered to so many of the Lakota that struggled with their lot in life. It had been a promise of protection, and she could only hope - and give a small prayer of her own - that she was up to the task.

None of this helped poor Rebecca. The harsh bruising she had received was quickly repaired by Ptesan-Wi's newfound healing talents while she lay on soft furs in the cave - a gift that still surprised the young psiad, even after bringing Silvertalon's shattered form back to a picture of perfect health - but within her mind, the poor girl's wounds were raw and grievous. Rape is a brutal thing, a grotesque violation of not only body but also spirit and will, and the wasicu bastard who had done this to her added racial insult to the mix.

Ptesan-Wi knew Rebecca from before the incident. She knew that the young girl had struggled for a time with self-loathing; her family had fallen into alcoholism and poverty, and she hated her heritage and skin for that. Indeed, Ptesan-Wi had started to make progress with her, through gentle touches of the girl's confused and angry mind... and then Kevin Allen had entered her life.

Despite the ugly end for the boy, the young psiad couldn't conjure up a bit of sympathy for Kevin. He had approached Rebecca weeks before, promising her the sun and moon and deliverance from reservation life, and Rebecca had jumped at the chance. Ptesan-Wi had tried to gently nudge the girl away from this townie with a reputation for deflowering teenaged members of the tribe, but Rebecca wasn't about to be swayed by a bit of vague mental conscience. The young girl's resolve finally showed when Kevin had driven her out to the back side of nowhere and tried to have sex with her, but by then, it was too late; Kevin had the physical advantage, and it showed.

Now, with the bastard dead and Rebecca's body healed, Ptesan-Wi faced the long, hard road of healing her mind.

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