Creepy Doll by Myles Boisen
|PASS CREEK BASIN
by Janet Shell Anderson
Sometimes people you don't even know, people who are dead, show up. Rainy nights two miles north of Pass Creek Basin, when the wind is up, sometimes I think Annie comes to me. She's been dead longer than I've been alive, since 1975. She was murdered in the bad times.
Up here, near Wambli, on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Indian Reservation, things happen. I'm a schoolteacher at Crazy Horse School. I wouldn't ever talk about any of this at work or even to my friends.
I've been to the place Annie was shot. Usually not on purpose because going to the place where somebody you never even knew was murdered isn't really a good idea. And her death still causes talk up here. People here were blamed for it.
Tonight it's coming down hard, heavy rains from the north, a late autumn storm. Wind rattles the windowpanes, talks around the corners of the house. Knocks at the door.
Like a fool, I get up and open it. Three a.m. Nobody should be out there, but here comes this woman, thin, young, with long black hair, Indian face but not Oglala. She just pushes in, sits down, and there's a pool of water on my floor, wet footprints.
"What do you want?" She doesn't say a thing. "Hungry?" She isn't.
"I don't like your last name," she says a long time later when the buzz of sleep is in me and the rain is a constant language and this should be a dream. Her accent's odd, or I think it is. Or I imagine it is. My skin's crawling. She won't like my last name because my family and hers were never friends. "Stop cominí to my place," she says. The rain is all kinds of languages like Icelandic and Jamtlandic and foreign and wicked. "Are my girls grown up now?" she asks. It's like the wind talking at the edge of the house or the night talking in the trees. The moon talking to coyotes. Yes yes yes your children are grown. Go away. I can't speak. Then I do.
"In the ravine by the tobacco tree. Where he shot me. You donít make any offerings?" Her voice rises up and up and gets faint, odd toned.
"I shouldn't." I have no business making sacred offerings.
"I wouldn't mind," she says, and her voice fades and blurs and is just the wind. She is just shadows in the room, and I am half asleep looking. The door is open. The night stares in at me; the floor's wet with prints. My striped cat sits in a huff on a shelf and looks at me as if she's seen a ghost.