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P. 1
Sunrise Song

Sunrise Song

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Two love stories, separated by years, intertwined by blood and history.
Spring 1973
Zane Lone Bull is tired of fighting for lost causes. From the front lines in Vietnam to the home front in defense of his Lakota people, Zane has seen his share of bloodshed. He’s determined to build his horse business, take care of his family, and steer clear of trouble. But the murder of the brother who’d taken up where Zane left off leads him to Michelle Benedict.
Michelle has inherited her favorite aunt’s house, which stands across the road from the cemetery where patients from a nearly forgotten insane asylum are buried. Michelle’s uncle by marriage, Dr. Hubble, was the doctor in charge of the asylum. Through the medical records stored in the house, Zane and Michelle are able to piece together the dark history of the facility and the people who were committed there—many for reasons other than insanity.
Initially Zane is only concerned in finding out why his brother was interested in the place and who killed him, but meeting Michelle leads him to one discovery after another, the woman he’ll spend his life with.
Two love stories, separated by years, intertwined by blood and history.
Spring 1973
Zane Lone Bull is tired of fighting for lost causes. From the front lines in Vietnam to the home front in defense of his Lakota people, Zane has seen his share of bloodshed. He’s determined to build his horse business, take care of his family, and steer clear of trouble. But the murder of the brother who’d taken up where Zane left off leads him to Michelle Benedict.
Michelle has inherited her favorite aunt’s house, which stands across the road from the cemetery where patients from a nearly forgotten insane asylum are buried. Michelle’s uncle by marriage, Dr. Hubble, was the doctor in charge of the asylum. Through the medical records stored in the house, Zane and Michelle are able to piece together the dark history of the facility and the people who were committed there—many for reasons other than insanity.
Initially Zane is only concerned in finding out why his brother was interested in the place and who killed him, but meeting Michelle leads him to one discovery after another, the woman he’ll spend his life with.

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Published by: BelleBooks Publishing House on Dec 30, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Prologue
Canton, South Dakota Spring 1973 
 
FROM THE UPSTAIRS bedroom window in her Aunt Cora‟s house, Michelle Benedict watched
another old duffer step up to the fourth tee of the nine-hole golf course across the road, crouch over his club, and do that
funny little golfer‟s dance as he lined up his shot.
 She decided to watch him blow it. For blow it he surely would. The ghosts from the cemetery were working on him. She could tell by the way he hesitated, focus straying as he adjusted his green cap, then started over with his golf dance. From her vantage point she could see the four flag fluttering in the warm prairie wind. It looked like
an easy shot, but from where she stood, all nine of the course‟s holes looked easy. Not that she was
much of a golfer,
but Hiawatha Golf Club‟s flat layout contained only one real trap, and that was the
Indian cemetery between the fourth and fifth fairways.
“Damn, I landed on „sacred ground‟ again,” she‟d heard more than one golfer say. Some cursed it;
others joked about i
t. But ever since she‟d inherited her aunt‟s house, Michelle had taken a serious
interest in the old cemetery. She had some strong feelings about it. Strange feelings. Defensive feelings,
even though she didn‟t know a soul who was buried there. It just didn‟t seem right to build a golf course
around a cemetery. Especially not
this
cemetery.  The old duffer finally swung his club back and took a whack at the tee. The ball sailed into the clear blue sky like a pop fly. The golfer touched the bill of his cap and watched the white dot travel. Michelle knew exactly where it was going. She could feel it. She could almost hear the wail of those ghost singers in her ear. The west wind would have its way, and the ball would land on one of more than a hundred unmarked graves behind the screen of shrubs.
 According to club rules, the golfer wasn‟t supposed to drive his cart into the scraggly enclosure or
play the ball out or otherwise disturb the ghosts. He was supposed to take a two-club-length drop. Some golfers did. So
me didn‟t. To most of them, the sunken plots probably just looked like big divots, and it wasn‟t as though any of the town fathers were buried there. Just a bunch of crazy Indians
planted for all eternity right in the middle of Hiawatha Golf Club. Crazy Indians who had once lived
under the watchful care of Dr. Tim Hubble, Aunt Cora‟s husband. The asylum, along with Dr. Tim and
 Aunt Cora, were gone now. Only the cemetery remained, along with a house full of fussy furniture and
boxes of Dr. Tim‟s papers.
  And there was Michelle, of course, full of fond memories of her aunt and funny feelings about what lay across the road. Forty years had passed since the last grave had been dug over there, but still . . .  There must be some family members somewhere, she though
t. Maybe they‟d be interested in Dr.  Tim‟s records. Maybe they didn‟t know about the golf course. Maybe they‟d agree with her that this just didn‟t seem right.
  The wind nudged the ball, sliding through the zenith of its arc, toward the hedge. Michelle smiled.  The ghosts were in the game today. Another golfer was about to visit the Indian cemetery, sure enough.  The old duffer shook his head and rammed the club into his bag as the ball dropped out of sight.
Pine Ridge Sioux Indian Reservation, South Dakota Summer 1928
 A PALE GRAY owl appeared suddenly, startling a young vision seeker out of his prayerful reverie. It
dropped from the night sky, like one of those rockets the boy‟s brother had seen in battle during the
 
Great War, and it fell on a mouse, the hunter snatching in silence, the prey crying out its distress. A few
quick wing flaps lifted the two back into night‟s dark bosom, leaving the boy to ponder in his hilltop
seclusion. It was a sign, the boy decided, for he was named for the small owl whose rarely heard call heralded
spring. Pagla, the boy‟s grandfather called him, and even though it was not the name that was recorded for him on the Indian Bureau‟s rolls or in the boarding school teacher‟s book, Pagla was who he truly
 was. So his grandfather had said, and so it was. When he left the hill he would tell the old man about the owl. It was one thing he must be sure to report. It was his grandfather who kept the vigil for him on the flat below his hill and tended the fire that  would burn until Pagla returned. His grandfather was a holy man, much respected by those among the Oglala people who still kept the old ways. He had prepared the boy for this, his first
hanble ceya,
 which he had chosen to do on his twelfth birthday. It was his decision, Grandfather had said, and one not to be taken lightly. Together they had made prayers in the sweat lodge, and Pagla had fasted, carefully preparing himself. He knew the risks they both took in making this vision quest, for the spiritual practices of the Lakota had been banned by the government in Washington, and many people, like his brother, Adam, had forsaken them.  The Lakota were dreamers, Adam had told him. Maybe in times past, a warrior could be a dreamer, but no more. A dreamer might fill his lungs with gas and die without ever seeing the face of his enemy.
 The white man‟s wars were not won by counting coups. Those days were over, Adam said. Nothing to be gained by taking risks. No one sang a man‟s praises when he died in battle so far from home. They
 would not even know what name to sing, for he would be only one among the thousands. And no one  would care for his widow and orphans. Not these days. It was time to stop dreaming, start facing reality,
 Adam said. Forget the pipe, forget the songs. They‟ll only get you
 into trouble. Pagla
dreaded trouble. He‟d seen enough of it already. There was trouble at school when he and his friends just barely shared a little joke in Lakota, some story they‟d learned from their parents or grandparents. There was trouble when he couldn‟t explain himse
lf in English. There was also trouble at home with not enough food to go around, not enough blankets, never any money, and everyone getting
sick all the time. And there was trouble with Adam, who‟d been searching for this thing he called reality
in the boo
tleg whiskey he‟d acquired a taste for in the army.
  After three days alone on his hill, Pagla had accustomed himself to hot afternoons and bone-chilling nights. Hunger was nothing new, and patience had been instilled in him long ago. But the mysteries that surrounded him were more formidable in darkness than they were in daylight. Each morning the light came as reassurance, and he told himself that he was a man now, and he could see that he was the equal of all that lay before him. He would not worry the next time the sun went down. But he did. The time between sunset and moonrise was the worst. He had to pull his blanket over his head to keep the gnats from worrying his face and the mosquitoes from driving him to his feet. He prayed for the night breeze, but when it came it rattled the grass, and the sound sometimes fooled him into thinking that something was coming toward him. He would pop out of his blanket and peek over
his shoulder, then scold himself and duck back under cover, where he‟d feel something
crawling on his
neck. Then he‟d shiver. And he‟d shake. And he‟d shoo the creature away and try to get back to his prayer for his brother, who couldn‟t stop drinking sometimes; for his grandfather, who couldn‟t stop
coughing sometimes; and for moonrise. Come on, moonrise. In darkness the familiar voices of the prairie confused him with their new secrets. They reminded him that he, too, had secrets. The government agent had warned his grandfather about keeping secrets, and some of his own relations echoed th
e warning. “Give it up,” they said. “If you don‟t listen, they will send you away.” But his grandfather said that
hanble ceya
 would give a man strength and wisdom in the face of these threats. You can never tell what the white man might do next, Grandfather had said. Nothing was unthinkable anymore. Even so,
too much
thinking could drive a man crazy the way things were now. A man must still the noise in his head, calm his heart, open his ears in the darkness, and listen. Just listen. Strength and

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