It was two in the morning and still clammy and hot. Staring at the blank TV screen, his mind wandered to the evening’s conversation; to pipe smoking children and a persistent thrumming, a vibration he couldn’t quite locate.

A girl with Karen’s eyes loomed up out of the shadows and said: I’m cold, I’m scared, I’m dead.

He jerked awake, sweating. Two thirty five.

The dead, he thought he heard someone say, are never entirely dead.

Land of singing water, whispering tree

There were those who said that there was magic in the land, but it went deeper and further than that; there was something that was part of the air, it was in the red earth, it was in the sky; something electrically charged, the energy of something that was alive, a force that took great heaving gulps and blew them down your throat and up your nose and into your brain while the heart pumped the mystery around the veins and into every cell.

Sigurdsson had never felt any place like it before. It rattled him at the same time as it energized him, giving him a head full of intangible dreams and he didn’t know why. It was all part of the beautiful mystery of the land and the crystal nights and the soft mornings with shades of shadows he never knew existed.


Photo  © Lubomira Soroko 2015. May not be used without permission. Website here


There are two kinds of crying we do for the dead. There are the tears of loneliness when a sudden memory reminds us our dead are never coming home again. And then there is the crying we do in the oppressive hours of darkness and it is the sound the soul makes when it is bereft and broken and empty.

Grief is a predatory bird riding your smooth high calmness, far from the surface you show the world. It strikes you when you’re not looking, usually when you think you’re doing good. Grief is a stalking entity and it circles and it waits and it watches so that it may strike with precision, without warning, without mercy. Once it has you, you might as well be dead.

Punch to the heart revisited

“I only smoked because he offered me a cigarette. It wasn’t all that bad, I thought I’d choke my lungs up but I didn’t. I never did anything until I met him. Never drank alcohol, never took drugs. Never saw anyone die.”

“Did you see him kill Shayna?”

Gracie stared at the ground. “No.”

Karen’s throat constricted. “I need to ask you something,” she looked at Gracie, “about Shayna. How was she? Was she scared? Did she say anything?”

“If she was scared she didn’t show it. It was me who was scared because I knew what was coming, my hands were shaking so bad. She told me not to be afraid. I know she wanted me to help her but I couldn’t. He has a lot of weapons, Detective, and he’s so strong. He had a gun to my head to show her. She told me to do what I had to do to stay alive.”

It took immense effort, but Karen fought back her emotions. “That sounds like my girl Shay,” she tried to make a smile happen, “ice cold.”

Gracie jerked her head round. “Weird, that’s what she said too, ice cold.”

“Did she say anything else?”

Karen knew she was losing the battle with her emotions, tears stung behind her eyes, her voice thickened with every word, strained under the crushing weight of grief she had yet to release. She willed herself to pull it together, “Gracie, what did she say?”

Gracie kicked at a stone. “She said that there is no word for goodbye in Navajo.”

Do you feel lucky today?

He lay on top the the flat rock, the rifle on its bipod. He lay for over an hour looking down the scope, a quarter balanced on the barrel. It didn’t move, not even once. Stillness in his lungs, stillness in his body. Breathe in, breathe out. Slow everything down, breath, heart rate, time. At some point he entered the zone where he and his gun had become one, that what he saw through the immense magnification of the scope, was an extension of his own eye.

Movement caught his eye, a car maybe half a mile away. He dialed clicks into the elevation drum of his scope. A lone driver in a beat up old blue Chevy. His finger hovered over the trigger, the guy’s head in the cross hairs. He let him pass. Life and death was in his hands, he was god like. All seeing, all powerful.



image by Harold “Doc” Edgerton


“There was a snowstorm; as we got higher up it just came in and covered everything. It was dark, the snow was fuzzing all around the car headlights, we thought it was awesome but mom must have been terrified.”

“According to the statement your mom gave to the cops, her car was hit twice and spun off the road. That’s what saved you guys, the timber that was dislodged missed you. Now,” he continued, “six people were killed that night. One of them was named Shari Ann Cyrus. Here’s a photograph that was taken at the scene. What does it remind you of?”

Karen stared at the image on the table. A flash of black and white in her brain, some kind of sound, what was it, was it the crying? Who was crying? Think Karen, think. The blood, there was so much blood, the guy from the fire department was throwing up at the side of the road, there was a cop who slid and fell on the bloody ice. Her sister’s face, frozen in fear. There was a baby, a baby hanging outside that woman’s body, its arm and hand, hanging out of her, white and red, everything was white and red and dark. And the radio was still playing, everything else was broken and ripped apart, but the radio survived. What was the song? Think Karen, think.

Karen cleared her throat, but the words came out in a voice she barely recognized as her own, “All Alone On Christmas.”

“Pardon me?”

Karen looked at Reza. “That was what was on the radio. All Alone On Christmas.”

“I’ll never forget his face,” she said, “and that horrible sight. He was trapped in his car with all that in the front seat, I remember we were wandering around, probably in shock, and we saw everything. We saw him, saw his mother, and then someone, I think it was our mother, came and took us away. He watched us go, he was smacking the glass with his palms, he couldn’t get out, he was crying and screaming. It was terrible.”

“Yeah,” her voice trailed away as the image of what she had seen flickered in her brain, an endless loop punctuated by the young boy’s face, contorted in terror, trapped in a car staring out at her and her sister. He had remembered; she had smothered and suppressed, but he had remembered it all.

“It’s him,” she whispered, “oh my God, I know who he is.”



A View For A Kill

Eyes on the prize, keep your eye on the prize. It had been a while since he’d lain flat on his belly atop some rocky vantage point with human beings in his sights, completely unaware what was trained on their heads. Ever see a watermelon explode? Just him and his Barrett with that Leupold Scope, why did he think he needed anything else?



Massacre Cave Overlook (The Place where Two Fell off – site of massacre in 1805), Canyon del Muerto, AZ. Photograph copyright and courtesy of Lubomira Soroko. From Ms Soroko’s Panoramio. Not to be used without permission.


Save Our Sisters

Sending out an S.O.S. – Save Our Sisters


As of some years ago, the facts surrounding missing and murdered First Nation Women in Canada alone were astounding. What’s more astounding is that governments (in Canada and also in the US) have failed to sufficiently address the issue. According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, these are the truths:

NWAC has gathered information about 582 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. Of these:  67% are murder cases (death as the result of homicide or negligence);  20% are cases of missing women or girls;  4% are cases of suspicious death—deaths regarded as natural or accidental by police, but considered suspicious by family or community members; and  9% are cases where the nature of the case is unknown—it is unclear whether the woman was murdered, is missing or died in suspicious circumstances (and these stats are about five years old now).

There are currently 12 missing Native Women posters listed on the NWAC website

This stunning art was created by young First Nations woman Chelsea Brooks (Indian Brook, Nova Scotia) who has sold one of her paintings to Karen Yellowtail inspiration, the actress and activist Ashley Callingbull and whose other impressive credits include designing an image for the Circle of Hope solidarity rally for missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Halifax (2014). Chelsea has also had her art featured on the cover of the Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools catalogue. Her list of achievements is impressive and is matched by her beautiful, heartfelt, passionate work.

If you would like to purchase something from Chelsea, please contact her via her Facebook page. Thank you Chelsea for allowing me to show your S.O.S art, thanks to NWAC for the tireless work they do, VOW Peace/Canadian Voice of Women For Peace and to Ashley Callingbull for having the strength of her convictions to make a very public stand. You are all part of this sacred hoop.

Ashley Callingbull’s REDx Talk on MMIW



Celebrity Serial Killer

Standing at the window, curtains drawn against the crucifying noon light, he zoned out, waiting, waiting for Yellowtail’s turn. He didn’t care what those shithead FBI agents were droning on about, that blond one in particular, the one who busted Gracie the other night. Asshole. The camera focused in on some big screen showing Melody, Amy and Shayna, their smiling faces beaming out at the trapped audience. The blond agent gave some old spiel about them being radiant women with bright futures, but he knew, as well as that Federal jackass that no one was there to find out about dead girls. They were gone. They all wanted a piece of him, the big fucking bad.

Someone asked, “Has the Governor put up a reward?” but the super Special Agent shot that one down saying that rewards were only put up when they were clutching at straws and had nothing to go on. They had plenty to go on, they were close to making an arrest, it was only a matter of time, but the public needed to be aware because The Angel Maker was out there, he was a ruthless mission killer who would not stop killing and he had no moral compass whatsoever. None.

A couple more boring questions and then the spotlight swung. She was up. Yellowtail. He could smell the arrogance through the TV set, the way she moved her head and that goddamn ponytail, he remembered it flicking against his face as she strode past him that day in Shiprock, her dark glittering eyes, hard. He sneered. So she was hard, well that was okay, hard was easier to shatter. When she spoke, though, all eyes were on her. He had waited so long to hear her voice, to be that close to her; he wanted to feel her breath on his face and he knew more than anyone that she was speaking directly to him. He’d made it, he was finally on her radar. And everyone else’s.

Image by Brett Stoutbrent stout ramirez