WIND OVER MARSHDALE is the award winning novel by author Tracy Krauss that critics have called “Edgy, raw and real.”
A whispered breath skimmed across the long prairie grass like a giant, invisible hand stroking the fur of a silken feline. The screech of an eagle echoed through the valley as it dipped and glided above the river. The rounded slopes of the bank rose above the swiftly flowing water while small clumps of trees clustered nearby, but for the most part, the land stretched uninterrupted toward the horizon.
In the distance, a faint rumbling could be heard. It began to shake the earth as it drew nearer. A cloud of dust accompanied the approaching barrage. Hooves pounded. Nostrils dilated. Eyes reddened with fear. The musky stench of sweat mixed with the heat and dust.
The huge beasts moved en masse toward the precipice. Thousands of shaggy heads bobbed in unison as the herd of bison stampeded forward. As if in slow motion, they continued on, up and over the sharp bank of the river into the ravine below. One by one, they hurtled forward, oblivious to the fate that awaited them, as they toppled headlong to their deaths.
Thomas shot up in bed, panting. The T-shirt he wore clung to his body with sweat. It was not the first time the dream had come to wake him.
He took a deep breath, disentangled himself from the sheets, and rose to get a drink of water. No point going back to bed now. He wouldn’t sleep anyway. He padded down the narrow hallway, passing the half closed doorways that sheltered his sleeping children. Ducking to avoid hitting his head as he entered the tiny kitchen, he paused for a moment to look at the expanse of landscape beyond the window. Mostly flat, with a rise of gently rolling hills in the distance, it was clothed with a carpet of rippling grass except for the odd patch of dry fallow. Just like in the dream.
The early morning sunrise was just beginning to filter in, reaching to shed some light in the shadowed corners of the room. Thomas had managed to rent a house near the outskirts of town. Correction. It wasn’t exactly a house. The realtor called it a ‘double wide’. Okay, it was a trailer, but it was the only property for rent in Marshdale at the moment. At least, that’s what the realtor had said. It wasn’t the nicest place – rather dingy if truth be told – and it was farther from school than Thomas would have liked, but it was still within walking distance. Better than the overcrowded and dilapidated homes he’d been used to as a child.
But that was another time. Another life.
He was here now, for better or for worse, and the people of Marshdale would just have to accept it. He was Thomas Lone Wolf, proud of his Cree ancestry, and determined to do something about it. As a community liaison, he’d worked with dozens of indigenous groups all over the western provinces trying to set up business propositions. This time was different, though. It was personal.
With practiced fingers he undid his nighttime braid and shook out his hair, which fell well past his shoulders. Even at forty, there was no sign of graying or hair loss. It was straight, coarse and black, just like his ancestors’ – the perfect picture of a Cree warrior.
Now that he was awake he allowed himself to replay the dream in his mind – at least the parts that he could remember. Like most dreams, the initial clarity soon faded after just a few waking moments. There were buffalo – always buffalo. And they seemed bent on suicide, careening to their deaths before he could stop them somehow.
He was going to start writing it down. The theme was too familiar; the mixture of fear and power too real. Some people said you dreamt in black and white. Thomas wasn’t sure about that. He also knew there was blood in his dream – and lots of it. The redness of it stood out in stark contrast to the muted prairie landscape. And the stench. That unmistakable metallic scent filled his nostrils to such a degree that he could almost swear he still smelled it. Almost. But that was ridiculous and he pushed the memory of the coagulating stains out of his mind.
With a sigh he turned back to the cupboards and started readying the coffee. It would soon be time to wake the children and get ready for work himself. Another grueling day of lobbying something that should be rightfully his to begin with. Reality didn’t stop for dreams.
All purchase links can be found on Tracy’s website: http://tracykrauss.yolasite.com/marshdale-info.php
Tracy Krauss is an award winning and best selling author, artist, playwright, director, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She has since lived and worked in many places in northern and western Canada including the Yukon, NWT, and northern Manitoba. She and her husband currently live in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, where she pursues all of her creative interests. Visit her website to see all her titles: http://tracykrauss.com