The search for fresh blood takes an Austro-Hungarian clan of werewolves to where, instead of victims, they find another group of werebeasts among the Soiux Indians
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1963: South Dakota
three-quarters moon, waxing
This is not the book I set out to write.
This is not the book I dreamed of as I crossed the snow in my battered Impala. I was young then. I chased after sensations. I wanted the frisson of coming face-to-face with a mass murderer whom the world had long forgotten. I was going to write the ultimate exposé I saw the book--a fat hardcover, of course--gleaming on the racks of the neighborhood bookstore. I imagined the Carltons next door shunning me and retreating into their split-level ranch-style mansion, muttering darkly about how girls shouldn't go to college, look how weird they get when they come home. She'll never find a husband now. I laughed and pondered the book I was going to write. As I glided along the empty road between endless snowbanks, looking out over snow and snow and more snow, the book I dreamed of became clearer and clearer to me. I could almost heft it in my hands and read the gold-leaf lettering on the spine:
A KILLER'S LIFE
by Carrie Dupré
The snow was steady, hypnotic. I turned up the heat. I luxuriated in it. It was making me drowsy. It was four in the afternoon. I realized that I wouldn't have much daylight left this far north, in the dead of winter. Well, I had to be somewhere near my destination. It must have been an hour since Wyoming. Maybe I'd overshot. Many of the road signs were smothered in snow. Maybe I'd missed the turn somewhere. I decided to pull off the road and look at a map.
The car clunked and wheezed as I stopped. I looked up at the mirror and teased my bouffant into shape. I left the car running so that the flakes wouldn't pile up on the windshield and so I could keep the heat on. Then I opened up the map I'd bought back in Laramie and struggled to make head or tail of it. All I knew for sure was that the Black Hills were to the north; I could see them at the horizon across the expanse of white. The sky was gray. There was no sun. I was alone. Sunny suburbia was more than a week into the past. I was determined not to be afraid. It had been my decision to be a writer, my decision to pick the kind of sensationalist subject that women weren't supposed to write about...if I didn't go through with it now, the Carltons were going to laugh at me.
Maybe I just need to get up and walk around, I thought.
I squirmed into my shaggy coat and started to get out. It was windy and I had to push to get the car door open. When I was all the way out, the door slammed shut behind me. I hardly had time to feel the cold when I realized that I had already pushed in the lock, and that my keys were in the ignition with the motor running. I was too stunned to panic. All I kept thinking was, They're going to say, "Just like a woman," and laugh the whole misadventure off. Light snow tickled my face. I stared through the window at the warm interior of the car.
Soon it was going to be sunset.
The wind whined. I started to feel numb. I rubbed my hands up and down the inside of my coat. I looked for something, a branch or a rock, to break the window with. There was nothing. Maybe beneath the snow. I began shovelling at the snowdift with my bare hands, wincing at the cold. I could feel the joints getting stiff. I was getting angry. Could the Carltons be right about me? The wind was roaring now. I plunged my arms into the snow all the way. My fingers met something hard. I grasped and tugged, cursing in frustration.
"Need some help?"
Then, feeling stupid, I looked at the man who had come up beside me. "I'm...I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't mean to--" He lifted a finger to his lips. He wore a black leather jacket. Dark, shoulder-length hair, frosted with snowflakes, held back by a blood-colored headband. "Where did you come from?" I said. "I didn't hear anything...."
"The rushing wind hides many sounds," the stranger said. Behind him, across the road, I could see a motorbike leaning against the embankment. I could have cried with relief. Instead, I straightened my coat and nervously tried to shield my hair from the wind. He said, "And what's a woman doing all alone on the reservation in the middle of nowhere?"
I flinched a bit at the question, although I guess I should have expected it. "I must have missed a turn somewhere, I guess...reservation? You mean I'm not in Fall River County anymore?"
"No ma'am. This is Shannon. You're on the Pine Ridge Reservation. We're about two miles from Wounded Knee. That was the White River you crossed back yonder."
"River?" I hadn't even noticed.
"I guess I'd best get you and your car together again first." He walked over to his motorcycle, rummaged around, pulled out a coat hanger, came back. "Always keep one of these on me case I run into one of them damsels in distress." He began methodically to unwind the hanger, then slid it down the side of the window. In a second he had popped the lock.
"You must really be handy at this stuff," I said, earnestly trying to make conversation.
"Condescending white bitch," he said.
"I'm sure I didn't mean--"
"Yeah, right, you're sure."
We didn't talk for several moments. He kept staring at me, as though expecting me to say something. In the twilight his shadow stretched all the way across the road, and his eyes gleamed. "Well, ma'am, I suppose you'll be wanting an escort to Winter Eyes."
I started. "How did you know where I was going?" I looked around me in panic. The wind was screeching, my hair was flying into my eyes. He didn't move.
"I know a lot about you, Carrie Dupré," he said.
"My name...." Slowly I backed away, feeling for the car door. My fingers fumbled at the icy handle. "Get away from me! Are you some kind of psycho?"
"You got mass murderers on the brain, don't you?" He didn't smile. His eyes glittered in the dark through the mass of hair that fluttered across his face. "You got some cowboy movie ideas about Injuns too, I bet. You think I'm gonna rape you and scalp you or something. Shit, you'd probably even enjoy it. Don't you even recognize me? Shit, you even condescended to screw me once! But it was dark in the drive-in. And you were smashed out of your mind. And anyways we all look alike. You were the snottiest girl in Berkeley, Carrie, and you ain't changed one damn bit."
"Jesus," I said, "you're--"
"Preston Bluefeather Grumiaux," he said softly. "I work part-time for the tribal police force."
"Dr. Murphy's Indian Studies class," I said. "You used to sit in the back and make fun of everything. Whenever Murphy tried to get serious you'd start saying 'how' and 'ugh.' It can't be you. You rejected all this Indian heritage stuff. What are you doing back here?"
He said, "I was wrong."
We were silent for a long time. It was all so unlikely that I couldn't quite accept that it was happening. I remembered Preston Grumiaux clearly now. He hadn't looked anything like this. In those days he had a crew cut and did everything he could to look like a Xerox copy of Wally Cleaver. It was pathetic in a way.
We had gone out once. I couldn't remember having sex with him, but I could have been stoned. "Even if you are Preston," I said at last, "that still doesn't explain why you know where I'm going."
"I'm a part-time tribal policeman," he said. "My other job is at the institute. I guess I got a natural affinity for fruitcakes. Dr. La Loge sent me to look for you, stupid. You're a day late and they were getting worried. Didn't think a city girl like you could make it through the storm."
"I waited out the blizzard in Laramie," I said, self-consciously rearranging my blond hair. "I'm not that dumb."
"Reckon you ain't," he said.
"Christ," I said, "since when did you start saying 'ain't'?"
"I got fed up with your kind and your highfalutin sixty-four-dollar words, I guess. I learned something after all. I ain't one of you. I don't like hamburgers, and if I ever see another jar of mayonnaise I'll puke. I burned my fraternity blazer. They only took me on as a token anyway, the sons of bitches. Show how fucking liberal they were. I ain't one of you. Lamakota! You know what that means? I am Sioux!"
I managed to get the car door open. I couldn't look at him, couldn't deal with his raw emotion. I felt a blast of heat in my face. He held the door open. "Look," I said, "can we talk this over some other time? It's getting dark. Let's just get on the road."
"Certainly, Miss Dupré," he said. "But first, tell me why you, of all people, are coming to interview the Laramie Ripper?"
"I'm doing a book about him," I said. "A couple of publishers are interested. And...well, I was doing my family tree, and...there was a woman mentioned in the hearings, an old woman who used to take care of him, who died just before all the killings started. Her name was Hope Martin. There's a good chance this woman was my great-grandmother."
"So you're exploiting a family connection, huh?"
"It seemed like a way to break in."
"Don't you think you oughta leave the old man alone? All that stuff happened thirty, forty years ago. He's a dying, sick man. You're gonna do this big scandalous book full of gore and sordid details. I bet you have a title for it already...'I Was a Crazy Sex Killer...as told by Carrie Dupré'! I see it all. In lights. Maybe a movie, too. Hitchcock'll do it."
"You're shaking," he said. "I bet you're scared shitless."
"It's just the wind. And the snow." The wind had not let up. It was dark, so dark. Snow was gusting in through the car door. "Can we start now?"
"Don't bullshit me. You're terrified."
"Terrified! But there ain't nothing out here. Only the bleakness. The desolation. Nothing's gonna jump at you and tear you apart. Not right now. You got three days yet."
"Until the full moon."
"The full moon...don't be ridiculous."
He started to cackle like a banshee as he crossed the powdery pavement. The growl of his bike was drowned in the roar of the wind. I slammed the car door and skidded onto the road. He was right. I was shakin...
"A historical romance, a Dickensian chronicle of the American West, and a brutally violent werewolf epic...Moon Dance is simply one of the finest fantasy novels of the year." --Ed Bryant, Locus
"Somtow does for werewolves what Anne Rice has done for vampires...he makes them complex, ultimately pitiful--and very sexy....[Moon Dance is] a scary, gripping horror novel that breathes new life into the ancient, and often overworked, werewolf legend." --Baton Rouge Advocate
"If you were waiting around for someone to write the Great American Werewolf novel, the Gone With the Wind of lycanthropy, you can rest easy...S.P. Somtow has written a werewolf story like none ever written before....The result is a terrific story." --Florida Times-Union
"Moon Dance is a fiendish example of the traditional spooky genre, replete with chilling specters, rapacious werewolves and assorted nefarious creatures....this is primary horror, a book to cause sweaty palms and a reluctance to read the final chapter." --St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Book Description Gollancz, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0575050179