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    Bitter Reckoning, Chapters 5

    It was the wind, that penetrating hooting and howling that went on without end. It had Tina on edge, and she was sure it was responsible for the change in Bette. She’d seen Bette pull first LoriAnn, then Martin, and finally Rita off behind the RV where, despite the drowning effect of the wind, Tina could hear Bette talking harshly to them while each had held their hands up and shook their heads as if denying some accusation.

    Now, for the last hour, everyone worked sullenly, quietly while hauling supplies from the vehicles and piling them either at the far side of the main building or in front of the double metal doors that lead into the gymnasium. Tina kept silent, too, only asking clarifying questions for where some piece of equipment or camp supplies needed to go. She tried to only engage Katie, who of all Bette’s crew, seemed to be the friendliest toward her. Still, she tried to make eye contact with Bette during all this moving around, hoping to see those kind eyes rest upon her as they’d done last night and just that morning.

    But Bette was apparently in a very dark place because her brows knit together and she barked orders and scowled often. For Tina, the change she saw come over Bette dismayed her. She had worked with a lot of high strung directors in the past for sure, but everything she’d perceived about Bette at the moment was counter to the woman she’d met less than twenty-four hours ago. Maybe she’d been wrong about her. But then again, this wind. Perhaps it was the wind taking its toll.

    She set down one of the gas heaters outside the entrance to the main building and pulled her camera up and took a few shots of the outside wall. She could hear Kit inside chanting, smelled something fragrant wafting out the open door.

    “What’s she doing?” Tina asked Katie.

    “Smudging the rooms we’ll be in,” Katie said. She left Tina there as she went back to the trucks.

    Tina stepped closer to the doorway and peered inside. It was difficult to see much since the air hung heavy with dust stirred up by the wind, but she could see Kit moving about with a roll of dried plants tied at one end. It was smoldering, and its smoke floated in a slow arc as Kit moved her hand up and down as she chanted. She fingered her camera and thought about stealing a shot, but she feared she might be trespassing on something sacred, so she refrained. Instead, she continued to watch Kit wondering about the purpose of her actions.

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    1. As the witches say in Macbeth: “Something wicked this way comes!”

      Based on the comments from the last chapter, it looks like you all have figured it out. I guess I didn’t do a good enough job to conceal it, did I? But at least you’re still wondering why, right? There’s still that mystery. So I hope you’ll stick with the story. I think there may be a twist or two you haven’t anticipated.

      See you next week! Thanks for all the great comments. And think of me tonight when you have to get out of bed and use the potty in the dark! Hehe!

    2. Thanks for another chapter, BenMac! Your writer skills is awesome and the story exciting, like always.

      Some thoughts about this part:

      1) Harlan seems have problem not ony with white women, who reject him, but with white men too.

      2) Tina – you need to stop pee in the night. Every time you get in trouble:)

      3) Kit?

      All is not simple.

    3. Hi BM

      That was wonderful, freaking, amazing and brilliant.

      Harlan apparently has a big grudge and resentment against people from wealthy or famous families or those who don’t think or do as he wants or believes (particularly bilagáanas), probably he feels discriminated or belittled, which for me is understandable due to his history, but doesn’t justify his behavior.

      What Harlan doesn’t understand is that with his lies and ‘games’, he’s been hurting Bette, who respect all the Navajo culture, her culture, but doesn’t believe some of their myths.

      I agree with Tina, some men don’t understand the rejection of a lesbian (don’t even understand what a lesbian is), I don’t like Harlan because of that.

      I like how Kit looks a little more understanding with Tina; I hope she will see that Tina is not a bad person.

      Tina shouldn’t have drunk the second beer because of the contained alcohol that has diuretic effects, and she knew she would have to pee.

      Was that a skinwalker disguised as Bette in the bathroom? that was really scary

      I feel really sorry for Bette, she blames herself for Alice death, and all that is happening to Tina is reminding her of Alice suffering.

      The place is really scary and probably full of unknown entities; BTW I will need a bedpan in my bedroom this evening.

      Thanks for the great chapter, I like this is longer than the former ones, and again I’ll impatiently wait for the next chapter, weeks should be shorter.


    4. What a fantastic update!

      To tell you the truth, i am not scared at all and that surprised me. Me and horror or ghosts or something similare are not a good mix.

      Poor Tina, seems she has the same scary experiences as Alice.

      I would love to read about Harlan and why he has this attitude to white people and what his game is. He is not thruthworthy and Bette needs to be careful with him.

      I am looking forward to the next chapter.

    5. Great update BenMac!
      Shocking weather here in the UK and I am having trouble keeping warm, your story does not help!
      Looking forward to next Chapter.
      Notice no mention of the inevitable Cliffhanger! I give up on you but will never stop reading!

    6. So Harlan’s a racist who is offering up his former white “friends” as a sacrifice? Is it all an illusion or is this evil spirit a shapeshifter? Perhaps it’s a misunderstood spirit who believes that Alice and Tina intended to take Better away from her family and culture again, so it wants to chase them away.

      I laughed when I read the part about Harlan and Doyle having worked together in my hometown. :-) Now I’m wondering which local news station lol.

      Sunday is too far away for the next post. A Wednesday post seems much more reasonable for all of us anxious readers!


    7. Thanks for this wondeful story! I should admit that after you promised some romantic development between Bette and Tina I kind of expected them to share the cot :) Oh, and the part about phisical balance was brilliant! Sure we all have some notion what kind of moves Tina does have after all.

    8. There’s a reason why you’re one of the most (if not the most) favorable writer on this site BenMac. You have a wonderful way of writing that really captures the real tibette essence although all your Bette and Tinas are different. Then you mix it with really good story telling. This story is no exception!

      Holy shite, that Bette part was so freaking scary, didn’t see it coming! Not even with the uncharacteristic line pulled on Tina with the flashlight thing. I’m thinking this is Harlan and he may be some sort of a shape shifter or wendigo kind of creature. Maybe someone else is in on it aswell.

      Shitty thing to do though to Bette and the others.
      I’m thinking this Chindi spirit that’s possessing Harlan won’t be able to afflict Tina because perhaps unlike Alice, she in fact does have a good and pure heart and respect for the Navajo way as is evident already.

      Bring on the scares! I’m not even caring if Bette and Tina end up together, that’s how good this story is!


            • Bette did die in the first version of The Groves (now By the Dark of Her Eyes in print), but she was brought back to life by Miguel, the ghosty dog. She also died of old age in Eternal Rocks and in The Smell of Rain. I guess Zhenya is right about “The Cigarette Case.” The implication is she dies in her country during the civil war.

              Hey, but no promises on this one! It is a horror story and people must die, yes? Okay, okay….no TiBette death, but pretty darn close!

    9. Please Please let B &T end up together. & Zhenya is correct You killed Bette twice. Anyway I always following your stories. I got the email from site to let me know your new story coming. I love your writing.

    10. I love your writing and your dedication to get facts correct in your stories, even though the stories scare the water out of me. The only ones that didn’t scare me were, “…Rain;…Rocks; and the Human +++ Story.” They all made me cry buckets but, not scared me. You are a terrific writer. Thanks for posting.
      Oops, not finished.” Never heard of shapeshifting, and skinwalkers, etc. Weird.

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