(This is the second teen adventure book in the Shaman’s series)
Buffy had been resigned to returning to school, after her marvelously exciting summer. She loved her school, being an outstanding student, but it seemed hard to give up the freedom that her vacation from classes had given her.
“You’re just pouty because you won’t see Tom as much!” her best friend Gwen had suggested, referring to Buffy’s boyfriend, whom she and all Buffy’s other friends had worked hard to get together with her, in spite of Buffy’s shy reluctance.
“Well you get to see Moon every single day, so don’t you dare make fun of my misery!” Buffy cautioned a bit on the snippy side. She was referring to her brother, Halson Redmoon, whom no one called Halson. He had been called Moon since he learned to walk. The fact that Gwen attended school with Buffy and Moon, and lived across the road from them made this ease of contact unavoidable for Gwen and Moon.
“Someone’s jealousy is sprouting again…isn’t it?” Gwen teased.
“No! Not at all!” Buffy quickly insisted, blanching at the memory of what had plagued her the last time she had succumbed to being jealous of Gwen and Moon; a trip to the Dark Realm, as she returned from a shaman’s trance.
Buffy, Moon and their father were all practicing Sioux medicine men after all. Gwen was studying with them having discovered her calling again. She had been a medicine man many times in past lives, before falling into wickedness and being punished by the Great Spirit, a fate she had no desire to repeat!
Gwen, an only child, had been quite difficult and obnoxious when she moved close the previous school year, and Buffy had immediately found her worthy of healing and love; they had become closer than natural born sisters. Buffy’s mother had teased them over this.
“I’m surprised you two can even go pee by yourselves!” Both had blushed, glancing awkwardly at each other, before bursting into laughter.
Buffy finally confessed. “Actually, most times we don’t…neither of us wants to stop talking long enough to pee…so we…don’t!” Brenda had just shaken her head.
“I’m not surprised!” Brenda sighed, grinning.
Gwen’s comment about Buffy’s potential jealousy had been uttered as they prepared to get on the bus at the end of school. Buffy had to exert her will to resist the urge to stick her tongue out, knowing that doing so was just asking for trouble or comment. Moon had arrived, and was intent on sitting with Gwen, which had become the norm for months. This relegated Buffy to sitting across the aisle with another girl, but since Gwen was next to the aisle, they continued to yak unrestrained or hampered by Gwen and Moon’s hand holding.
“You know, you two are violating the rule against PDA’s!” Buffy had suggested slyly.
“Are you planning to rat us out?” Gwen asked, eyeing her friend sternly.
“Well…hardly!” Buffy admitted, suddenly overcome by a surge of guilt. She looked down and away from Gwen, wiping furtively at her eyes. She jumped, startled by being poked, Gwen’s index finger, deadly accurate and hitting Buffy’s hypersensitive side an inch below her bottom rib.
“Some one needs to be tickled…or spanked!” Gwen suggested.
“Hardly! Just leave me alone…I’m fine!”
“No, you’re love struck and miserable, and its making you feel jealous!” Gwen declared, her tone of voice displaying a sureness and confidence. She turned to Moon, and whispered, “We need to tickle someone…her halo’s too tight…again.” That she spoke this just loud enough for Buffy to hear was no accident. Buffy sputtered, angry and frustrated; she was mostly angry that Gwen was right.
“Gwen!” Buffy moaned, sounding pathetic and eager to beg for sympathy.
“Admit it…you hate me being right…and at the moment…I’m right! Aren’t I?!” Gwen declared. Buffy managed to shrug, avoiding Gwen’s gaze. Gwen tousled Buffy’s hair, completely messing it and garnering a shriek, which made the bus driver glance in her large mirror. Gwen waved, smiling hugely, to convey that there was no problem.
“She’s picking on me!” Buffy loudly complained. The bus had gotten silent, as all the other kids still on it were curious to see what Ms. Gruber might do. The bus stopped to let a pair of twins off, and the driver eyed Buffy and Gwen sternly.
“Do you two want to sit up here…behind me?” she asked, sounding harsh, but her voice belied her true feelings; she adored the Redmoon kids, and had found Gwen to be as nice, after a rough introduction. Both looked suitable contrite, and shook their heads firmly.
“Then behave yourselves!” they were advised.
“See what you did? I almost had to stop sitting with Moon!” Gwen snipped.
“Oh, boo hoo! It would serve you right! I’m not jealous,” she again declared. Seeing Gwen about to explode, she hastened to add, “Just a bit envious!”
Gwen snorted at this, trying to suppress a laugh.
“Lying is a sin! Well, lying to God or the Great Spirit is a sin. Lying to yourself is plain stupid!” Gwen informed Buffy. This comment received no response, as Buffy stared out the window, uncomfortable with Gwen’s teasing and her own feelings.
When the three teens exited the bus, along with Buffy and Moon’s younger brother Kooie, Buffy headed straight for her house, crossing the road carefully but rapidly. Gwen gestured at her retreating back with a silent nod of her head, grinning at Moon.
“Take my stuff!” she whispered, and freed of her burdens, she took off after Buffy’s retreating form, her long legs moving her rapidly compared to Buffy’s shorter ones.
Buffy, wrapped in her own thoughts, failed to hear Gwen’s stealthy approach until the last instant, when Gwen’s body slammed into her, as she basically tackled her friend. Buffy’s backpack of books went flying, as Buffy managed a short and loud screech, before hitting the ground. She tried to roll away but Gwen had a firm grip on the waist of her jeans.
“Stop! Stop it!” she managed to shriek, knowing what was next. Gwen didn’t disappoint her, pinning Buffy face down on the grass, and sitting astraddle of Buffy’s thighs, she commenced to tickling her friends vulnerable and overly sensitive sides, after pulling up her tee shirt almost to her bra.
Buffy’s shrieking soon ended, her gasping breath and hysterical laughter making any other comment impossible. Gwen had learned soon after meeting Buffy that Moon had discovered her new friend’s vulnerability when she was barely three. Had Buffy been less occupied, she would likely have been embarrassed over emitting several wicked farts.
“Enough! Please?!” she managed to plead when Gwen paused a moment.
“Ready to confess your real feelings?” Gwen asked. Buffy shook her head no. Gwen resumed her tickling, not stopping until Buffy finally surrendered. This was unfortunately after she had wet her pants.
“Thanks a lot!” Buffy hissed, noticing her soggy bottom. Gwen let her turn over, but stayed sitting on her.
“This isn’t the first time you’ve peed yourself while being tickled, and if you don’t learn to be more honest about your feelings, it won’t be the last either! “Gwen insisted.
“Great!” she grumbled, noting gratefully that Moon and Kooie had not waited around.
“It’s a girl thing,” Moon had succinctly informed his younger brother.
“How come Gwen can tickle her, but I get sent to clean the barn if I try it?” he asked, still mystified by girls at age twelve.
“You’re too low on the totem pole,” Moon advised him simply.
“Moon? Will I understand girls better when I’m your age?” he asked, entering the kitchen. His father, coming in to get a glass of water, grinned.
“You won’t understand them when you’re my age, son, but don’t tell your mother I said so!” Wilson Dreaming Spirit Redmoon advised him, winking.
Buffy and Gwen had stared at each other several minutes, engaged in a sort of test of wills. Finally, a single tear spilled from Buffy’s eye, before a cascade of them poured forth, as she began sobbing, over come with her misery. Gwen pulled her up, and hugged her fiercely, letting her cry.
When Buffy finally subsided into sniffles, Gwen released her enough so that she could look at her face.
“Better? You’re a mess! Come on, we need to change your diaper, and wash you’re face!” Gwen teased. This garnered a slight smile, in spite of Buffy’s desire to not show any emotion.
“You can explain to mom why I peed myself!” she groused.
“Sure I could, but you’ll regret it if I do!” Gwen suggested, showing a hint of a wicked smile.
“No…I’d better tell her. God knows what you’ll say!” Buffy sighed, sounding exasperated.
“Only the truth! Of course, that’s what you’re trying to avoid, you do see that!” Gwen countered. Buffy merely shrugged.
Buffy hoped to sneak through the house, and up the stairs to her room, unseen by her parents. She thought she might make it, but two steps up the stairs, her mother’s voice disabused her of her hope.
“Well…do I need to get you some diapers when I go to town next? I thought you were potty trained?”
“Oh, mom! It’s Gwen’s fault!” Buffy declared, trying to sound as put upon as possible. Brenda glanced inquiringly at Gwen, noting her grin.
“I just tickled you a little bit…she did the peeing all by yourself!” Gwen looked impishly at Brenda. “Maybe she’s developing a peeing fetish?” This left Buffy with her mouth open, speechless.
“See? She’s not even denying it!” Gwen finished. Gwen managed to keep a straight face about three seconds, before bursting into loud laughter. Brenda shook her head sadly.
“You two get naughtier every day!” she sighed. “Come talk to me after you change!”
“I can explain it while Buffy’s upstairs,” Gwen slyly suggested.
“Oh, no you don’t! You’re coming with me…now!” Buffy insisted, grabbing Gwen’s hand and dragging her up the stairs.
By the time Buffy had on dry undies and clean jeans, she had cooled down, and was ready to be more contemplative.
“See? You needed that! Buffalo girl gets a big head sometimes, about her lack of ordinariness…doesn’t she?” Gwen suggested, using Buffy’s family nickname. Buffy looked rather guilty and embarrassed.
“I suppose I do. I’m sorry I was such a snot. It’s just…all that time I was dying for a boyfriend, I never once thought about how bad I might miss him, when I can’t see him! I’ll be lucky to see Tom on the weekends! It just sucks!” she declared, crossing her arms. Gwen sat down next to her on the bed.
“I’d love to say I understand, but I won’t lie! I can’t. I get to see Moon every day…even in class…we’ve got three together this year. I feel so spoiled!” she sighed.
“Probably because you are! I’d give anything to have Tom move over here!” she wistfully declared.
“Well, that’s not likely! What you need is to be busy, so you won’t spend every minute making yourself miserable…at least more than you have to!” she added, seeing Buffy’s disgruntled look. “Come on…let’s talk to your mom.”
Downstairs, they delivered a detailed accounting of all that had occurred, and what had precipitated Buffy having a wet rear end. Brenda just shook her head.
“It’s not the first time that’s happened!” she insisted.
“Won’t be the last either…unless she gets better about sharing her feelings!” Gwen teased.
Brenda listened to Buffy’s account of how badly she was missing Tom.
“That’s part of liking someone…when you’re apart, you’re bound to miss them. You have to grow up, and deal with it! Be glad this isn’t the dark ages. All I had was the mail…to stay in touch with a boy. We didn’t even have a phone!” Brenda suggested, as both Buffy and Gwen looked both astounded and pained.
Their conversation was interrupted by Moon, who stuck his head into the kitchen.
“Any of you call the police? Two cars from the sheriff’s department just pulled in the drive!” Everyone looked at each other, puzzled. They all went to the front door, to see what this entailed. Wilson, who was with a patient, was the only one not present. Brenda answered the knock.
“Mrs. Redmoon? I’m Deputy Markson and this is Deputy Howard. Are Halson and Seinte here?” he asked, using Moon and Buffy’s proper names.
“Yes…why do you want them?”
“We have an arrest warrant for them. They’re being charged with practicing medicine without a license,” the man declared, sounding like even he didn’t believe what his paperwork stated. Everyone looked utterly shocked.
“Not Wilson?” Brenda managed to gasp. The deputy shuffled his papers.
“Yes, him too!” he sighed.
As Buffy was being cuffed, along with Moon and Wilson, Buffy managed to catch Gwen’s eye.
“Well, at least now I’ve got something else to worry about, instead of Tom!” she said, and began to cry, while Gwen looked bewildered and Brenda looked alarmed and worried.
Buffy had never contemplated or thought to wonder what being arrested might entail. She had once earned a detention at school, for a fight, trying to defend Gwen from being beaten by two other girls, but that was her only experience at being in trouble. None of her friends had been to juvenile detention either. She had ridden with Moon in the back of one cruiser, both being taken to the juvenile facility, while their father was transported in the other to the county jail. They had taken several minutes to absorb their situation, riding in silence.
“This is crazy!” Buffy finally managed to moan.
“Well, I won’t argue about that!” Moon sighed. “I mean…since when is practicing native shamanism, native religious healing regarded as medical practice?” The deputy driving, thinking the question was directed at him, replied.
“You’ve got me! I wouldn’t have believed it if it wasn’t on the paperwork. Everyone knows your father…knows he helps all sorts of people…even ones the doctors give up on! It’s crazy!” the man insisted.
“Was there any indication of who…did someone file a complaint?” Moon thought to ask.
“I didn’t see any indication…I can’t imagine the prosecutor doing it on his own. Everybody knows someone here that you’ve helped!”
Moon glanced at Buffy. “We need to do some research…find out who’s behind this!”
“Maybe one of the doctors is jealous,” Buffy suggested. “Remember how the one who treated Tiffany acted, when he found out I was a shaman, and was planning to heal her? He got really snotty and condescending! Well, until I pointed out that he was treating her for an infection that her labwork showed she didn’t have! People get nasty when they’re jealous, sometimes!” she declared, before suddenly blushing.
“You’re sorta the expert on jealousy, aren’t you?” Moon teased wickedly.
“Don’t be a snot! It’s not something I’m proud of! And I’m not thrilled to be going to jail either!”
“You won’t like your welcome either, when you get there,” the deputy advised her. “How shy and modest are you?” he asked.
“I could probably run thru town naked, if I had a good reason to…I’m not all that easily embarrassed. Why?”
“You’ll see,” was all the deputy suggested, trying not to grin.
Buffy had reason to reconsider her comment when she arrived for intake at the detention facility. She was fingerprinted and photographed, had a dozen forms filled out, and was made to sign them. It was when a matron took her into a special room, and made her strip, while she was busy putting on rubber gloves, that Buffy began to be nervous.
The matron, who was named Twyla, checked Buffy’s hair for lice, and gave her a brief look see for signs of drug abuse and disease. Buffy was hopeful that this would be the extent of it, but she quickly discovered otherwise.
“Turn around, spread your feet about eighteen inches apart, and bend over and grab your ankles!” she was instructed. Buffy stared at the woman a moment.
“Really? You’re going to…” she hesitated to finish the thought. Twyla merely grinned.
“Sure am…go on!” the woman insisted, squeezing a glob of lubricant on her gloved fingers. “And relax…its less unpleasant if you don’t tighten up!”
Buffy sighed, trying to think happy thoughts as her female self and then her butt were probed by the experienced fingers, conducting a cavity search.
“Nothing! Very good!” Twyla declared, wiping Buffy’s bottom with a paper towel. Buffy’s normally deep complexion was even redder than normal.
“How often do you…do girls really try to hide things up there?!” Buffy wondered.
“Oh, sweety, all the ones that come through here frequently try it at least once. They get more jail time for smuggling contraband in. That’s why everyone gets checked. I’ve had thirteen year old girls come in with drugs stashed up their rear ends!”
“Oooooh! That disgusting!” Buffy managed to sigh.
She was next required to shower, and was given dish detergent to shampoo her hair. This also seemed gross and unpleasant. By the time she was dry, and dressed in her orange jump suit, she was no longer wondering what the deputy had meant about not liking her welcome.
Not being suspected of being a harden criminal, she was allowed to lounge in a common area, after being shown her cell, which was basically a walk-in closet sized room with a door that sported a formidable electronic lock. The door held a wire reinforced glass window, which gave full view to the room, including the toilet/sink that was in plain view. She met the other girls, most of whom she soon discovered were present for truancy, unruliness, shoplifting or other petty offenses, like drug possession. She vaguely recognized some of the others, but knew a girl who rode her bus, who was named Tina. This one was astounded to have Buffy staring at her.
“Wow…I never expected a nerd like you to end up in here!” she sighed. “Is nothing sacred? Whatcha in for?” she wondered, curious.
“Practicing medicine without a license…at least that’s what the deputy said was on the paperwork.” Everyone was struck dumb by this. Finally, Tina managed to get her mouth closed enough to ask a question.
“Aren’t you…like…a medicine man or something?”
“Sure am…although technically I’d be called a medicine woman! My brother and father and I are also actually practicing shamans. In native societies, the healer, the shaman, what most call medicine men…were the ones that treated everyone…sick, injured, or whatever.” This made Tina frown.
“You don’t do any thing the doctors do…right? Like use drugs, x-rays, all that stuff?”
“Not a bit. Although we do use all sorts of medicinal plants and natural things to aid the body. Drug companies got a lot of their drugs from the natives years ago, but they aren’t paying us for the insight either!” Buffy declared and laughed. “Mostly, we use our shaman’s senses, to learn what might aile a person…to find whatever evil sprit is making them ill,” she said. One of the other girls thought to tease Buffy over her terminology.
“Evil spirit? You really call something that?” she asked, giggling. Buffy shrugged.
“It’s as good as any term in the white man’s medicine. What is cancer? What is a virus? They said in school that a virus is both alive and not alive, but it can copy itself. No one understands all that much about it, and they can’t even cure a cold, yet people act like medical science is sacred. We just call an evil spirit an evil spirit. At least we know how to get one to leave the body!”
“Then you’re doing better than the doctors manage…my grandma died of cancer after they said she was cured!” a girl named Rosy said bitterly.
“You miss her terribly, don’t you?” Buffy asked softly. The girl seemed surprised at Buffy’s insight.
“How do you know that?!” she demanded. Buffy smiled.
“I can hear it in your voice, see it in how your body tenses, and your eyes display your hurt clearly too. To be a shaman, one must learn to see the patient, to read their being. I’ve had much practice at this,” she said simply.
“Oh. I’m not very good at that…at knowing how other people feel. I’ve gotten my butt beat more than once, because of that.”
“You can learn! We all have to make choices. You’re in here, because of yours. Apparently, I’m in here because of mine too!” Buffy sighed.
“Yeah, but I bet you were doing a lot more good than most of us were!” Tina said, and laughed.
Buffy found the evening meal to be less than inspiring, but edible. “Well, I won’t gain any weight!” she sighed, sounding more unkind than she would have cared to. The other girls, some of whom had much more experience with the courts than others, explained what would likely happen. This mostly agreed with what the jail personnel had told her.
“So maybe I’ll get out of here tomorrow?” she wondered.
“Unless they think you’re a complete hoodlum…then you’ll have to pay bail!” Normally, if you haven’t killed anyone, they just let your parents sign for you. You’ll have to come back later for the good stuff,” Tina advised her.
“Great! I don’t want to miss school, at least not for this!” Everyone thought Buffy’s distress about missing school was adorably funny.
“See…I told all of you she was a nerd! But she’s the nicest nerd!” Tina sighed.
“What are you here for?” Buffy asked, remembering that Tina had avoided naming her current offense. The young girl suddenly looked uncomfortable.
“Shoplifting…I let my friend Sara talk me into swiping jewelry at Kohls. She slipped out, and I got busted. My mom will beat my ass!” Tina sadly confessed.
“Why? Well, other than the usual reasons parents hate having kids be wicked,” Buffy wondered.
“Because…my older sister got caught doing it a couple of years ago, and I had to watch how much crap she got. I promised never to be that stupid…but here I am! What am I going to do?” she asked, teary eyed. Buffy looked thoughtfully at the miserable girl.
“I’d recommend that you cry…lots and lot…and apologize like your butt depends on it! You might as well be honest…you’ve already put an end to looking smart…it’s much better to look guilty and regretful!” Buffy suggested smiling. “And when you’re done being grounded, come over to my place so we can talk! You need some better friends, and I’ve got a bunch of them!” Buffy added, offering Tina a hug. Tina looked torn between being eager for a hug, and embarrassed, afraid she might look weak. Buffy managed to entice her to stand up, and enveloped her in a warm, strong embrace. The other girls seemed unsure what to make of this.
When she had let go of Tina, Buffy looked around at all the others. “How many of you get hugged every day?” she demanded. She was greeted by a stony silence.
“That’s not a yes? Who wants one? Come on…stand up and try it!” Buffy insisted. Rosy finally stood, looking quite awkward. Buffy wasted no time slipping her arms around her, smothering her in a tight and irresistible hug. When she relaxed her grip, she kept her hands loosely on Rosy’s waist. “Look into my eyes!” Buffy insisted, and as Rosy stared at her, Buffy slowly moved closer, not blinking. By the time she was within an inch of Rosy’s nose, the young woman seemed utterly transfixed.
Buffy stared deeply into Rosy’s brown eyes, and after several moments, she moved back to arms length. The object of her effort stayed staring, unblinking, completely unaware of any thing around her. Buffy glanced around at the others, smiling, seeing there fascinated expressions.
“She’s in a trance!” Buffy whispered. “Watch,” she suggested, before touching Rosy’s nose gently and then snapping her fingers. Rosy almost jumped, startled, and glanced around, looking puzzled and unsure.
“I looked into you…after getting you in a trance. That’s how a shaman checks to evaluate your guardian!” This simple declaration caused Buffy to be inundated with questions, which kept her busy explaining native medicine until they were ordered to their rooms.
Well, that kept me occupied, so I wouldn’t fret, she thought, while perched on the toilet to pee. She noted one of the matrons peeking in, and she waved, rather than surrendering to being embarrassed. Thank the Great Spirit I’m used to peeing in front of Gwen! she sighed to herself.
Lying on her stiff, thin mattress, she was pleased rather than annoyed to have a dim light stay on; Buffy was terrified of the dark.
I wonder how Moon and father are? No native wants to be in the white man’s jail! Too many sad memories for our people, to make that acceptable. This whole thing is crazy! They deny that we do anything, so how can they suddenly claim we’re practicing medicine? Their medicine, or ours? Ours is part of our religious heritage. Are they saying we are as effective as the doctors? At times I think we do more and better! At least we don’t poison or kill people with wicked chemicals or drugs! There aren’t any side effects to native medicine, at least no bad ones. People do have strange effects sometimes…like developing more faith in the Great Spirit, or God…that surely isn’t evil! All we do is try to help people. How can that be wrong or illegal? It’s more wicked to be able to help someone, but to turn away, and not bother! I know how the Great Spirit would feel about that, and I’m not about to make that mistake!
Buffy lay quietly, but sleep eluded her. What is it father says…it seems no good deed goes unpunished? Are we about to be punished for caring about people? What sort of world do we live in, if love and care aren’t respected and appreciated. I just want to be home…with my family! Buffy thought, before starting to cry.
I hope I’m not in trouble for being jealous again! she worried, remembering what her jealousy had attracted the last time, she had surrendered to it. She wrestled with this several minutes, before crying herself to sleep.
In the morning, Buffy was taken out and across a short hallway, to the juvenile court room. Here she encountered Moon, and they were soon joined by their mother. Several others were processed first, and under the watchful eye of a deputy, they were unable to talk, at least not like Buffy was inclined to. She did manage to discover that their father had a hearing at nine also, but in the main courthouse. He would have the family attorney with him.
The magistrate seemed astounded by the paperwork accompanying Moon and Buffy, and he frowned nonstop, as he read through it, as they waited at a table facing him.
“Really?” he asked, turning to the woman from the prosecutor’s office who was present. “This is crazy…isn’t it?” he demanded. All this garnered him was a shrug, and a handy denial.
“I’m not the one responsible for this,” she sighed, looking pained. The magistrate stared at her several moments, before turning on his microphone, to begin the brief hearing.
After a reading of the charges, that being that Moon and Buffy had violated state law by willfully engaging in the practicing of medicine, and lacking the proper credentials and license to do so, he asked if they would enter a plea, or defer until a later time. He also inquired about representation by counsel.
When these matters had been rendered, he addressed another issue.
“The prosecutor has demanded that as a condition of bail, you agree to cease all further practice of medicine, either normal or native in origin. Are you agreeable to that prohibition?” Buffy was aghast.
“I’m…we’re expected to agree to be denied the right to practice our native religion? Absolutely not. That’s an outrage!” Buffy loudly insisted. “It’s un-American too!” she added harshly.
“Oh, I quite agree, but if you don’t sign, you’ll be staying here until your trial…I don’t have any option on this.”
Buffy looked from Moon to her mother and back.
“Someone’s going to regret this, once I figure out who’s responsible!” she whispered to Moon.
In the end, they gave in and agreed, neither wanting to miss school while sitting in the detention facility. Brenda had tried to calm Buffy down, insisting that they consult their attorney, and follow the proper procedures.
“Mr. Baker will know what to do!” she cautioned them.
When they were finished with the court, Buffy and Moon had to be processed out, and it was almost eleven before they were free. They opted for a quick trip home, to change, and then a drive to school, not wanting to miss their afternoon classes. Brenda dropped them off, and headed off to retrieve Wilson, and for a meeting with their attorney.
They managed to sneak in to the cafeteria for lunch, and were soon eating with Gwen.
“How’d that go?” she wondered.
“No time to talk about it…it just sucked!” Buffy assured her, busy eating. She grinned at Gwen. “The food here looks a lot better…trust me!” she sighed. Gwen shook her head.
“Good lord, that’s tragic!” Gwen teased. “Remind me not to get arrested…” she suddenly stopped, and blushed strongly.
“Someone forgot something she feels guilty about?” Buffy asked, insightfully.
“Yeah…someone got taken to juvenile detention in Chicago…for being a butthole to her parents…twice!” she admitted. “I’ll tell you about it later!” she promised, her hazel eyes gleaming, as she glanced at Moon. “I’m a reformed woman!” she added.
“Well, if I had any intention of being a hoodlum, that welcome last night would have reformed me!” Buffy confessed, feeling her rear end reflexively tense.
“Got bent over and probed?” Gwen wondered, grinning, her face framed by her hands as she leaned casually on her elbows and arms. “I did too! Something else we share?” she declared.
“I’d much rather we didn’t!” Buffy sighed.
They managed to finish eating, with only a couple of minutes to spare, and had to hustle to their respective lockers, to get their books. Gwen followed Buffy, going in that general direction anyway. It was when they turned a corner, that they encountered a girl in Buffy’s grade, one named Marcy.
“Well…if it isn’t the witch doctor! How was your trip to jail?” she asked, sounding extremely pleased and snotty.
Gwen’s hackles were immediately up. “She’s a shaman, not a witch doctor. Are you misinformed or just plain dumb?” Gwen demanded, none too kindly.
“Gwen…don’t be nasty,” Buffy suggested. Turning to confront Marcy, she continued.
“What do you know about this? You seem awfully smug…do you know who’s behind this ridiculous charade?” Buffy asked, intently. Marcy suddenly realized that she was pinned against a row of lockers by the two girls, both of which she knew were more than able to fight and defend themselves.
“I…I don’t know anything!” she whispered.
“You just lied…you obviously do. Eventually we’ll find out. You’d be in a lot less of a mess if you were just honest!” Buffy advised her.
“And you’d be less likely to get your butt beat too,” Gwen added, ominously. Coming from Gwen, who towered over Marcy, this seemed much too wicked.
“Please! I have to get to class! Talk to me later…but I really don’t know much!”
“We will…and I’m betting you know more than you think you do!” Buffy said, patting Marcy’s cheek, while frowning at her.
Buffy had hoped to run into Marcy at the end of school, but she saw nothing of her. Gwen, when asked, had news.
“I saw her heading for the parking lot…slithering would be how I’d describe it. I caught her eye, and she almost ran into Mrs. Hargrove, trying to avoid me!” Gwen reported, grinning. “She’s guilty, I’m sure of that. I do know what guilty looks like,” she sighed awkwardly, glancing at Buffy.
“Is that…are you accusing me of something?” Buffy wondered.
“Maybe I should?” Gwen demanded, staring at Buffy, and noting that her friend was chewing on her lower lip, a certain sign of upset…or guilt. Buffy finally laughed.
“This is crazy! I’m not guilty of anything. Well, other than trying to help people not be sick and miserable!” She looked at Gwen, who was staring over Buffy’s shorter form. She looked over her shoulder to glimpse Moon approaching.
When he stepped close to Gwen, Buffy noted an almost involuntary movement of both Moon and Gwen’s arms. Clearly they wanted to hug each other, but Mr. Cellans baleful gaze prevented that.
“How was your day? Any gossip about us?” he asked casually.
“Not much. Apparently word hasn’t made the rounds yet. Gwen told him about the strange encounter and comment with Marcy, and how she had avoided Gwen when she saw her. Moon nodded.
“She knows something. No one else has even heard that we were arrested. How did she know, unless someone she’s close to was involved? We need to grill her butt!”
“She expects that, and isn’t likely to cooperate!” Buffy suggested. “I’m dying to get home, and go visit the spirits…we need some help with this! No one said we can’t do that!”
“Buffy? You said you and Moon had to agree not to do any medicine…to be bailed out? I wonder if they did the same for your father?! That won’t help all of his patients!” Moon grimaced at this.
“Won’t help us to eat or pay the bills either! That is how we make a living! It’s just…dad isn’t as much a crook as most doctors…doesn’t have the huge overhead either!”
“Moon? What would we do if they sent him to prison? Or us even? Life could get really crappy quickly!” Buffy wondered nervously.
“Lets get home and do our chores, then we can worry,” Moon suggested.
Their bus ride seemed twice as long as normal. Buffy informed both Gwen and Moon of her conversation with Tina, at the detention facility, since both of them knew her. Moon shook his head.
“That was really dumb! She’s not a bad girl…well, she didn’t seem to be; her sister got fried for the same thing. Miss Tina will get her butt set on fire!” Moon said, grinning, looking like he approved of such a fate.
“Don’t be snotty! We’re in no position to look down on anyone!” Buffy informed him, whispering sharply. Not wanting anyone to overhear their discussion, they had spoken quietly in their native Lakota Sioux language. Buffy turned back to Gwen, who was frowning.
“Sorry…we didn’t want anyone to know what we were saying…you already know everything!” Buffy apologized.
“I can’t believe how much that makes me feel left out when you talk in Sioux!” Gwen grumbled. Buffy patted her cheek warmly.
“I know…that’s why we don’t do it very often! We do care about your tender feelings!” Buffy teased.
“Snot!” Gwen said halfheartedly, before giggling.
They arrived home to find their parents still absent. This did nothing to calm Buffy down, but Moon was determined to resist the urge to sit and fret.
“Chores first, worry later!”
All of them, including Kooie and Gwen, who stayed at the Redmoon house each day after school until her parents arrived home from their commute from their jobs, almost an hour away, headed out to feed and water the animals. This included their four horses, goats, chickens and rabbits, not to mention their herd of cats and the two dogs.
They were nearly finished, when Brenda and Wilson arrived. Neither looked especially pleased.
“Well, how did the meeting go?” Moon asked. Wilson shook his head.
“Our attorney did a quick search. We may make history, since apparently no native has been charged with practicing medicine without a license, at least for doing native healing! He’s quite astounded, and needs to do much research. In the meantime, we’re stuck, in a manner of speaking, since we aren’t to do what we normally do!” He glanced at Buffy.
“I assume you’re eager to visit the spirit realm for a consultation?” he asked, once again demonstrating how well he understood Buffy’s nature and impatience. She looked only slightly guilty.
“The sooner the better! I’ve got a bunch of questions!”
“Why don’t you and Gwen go…Moon can help mother cook. I’m sure he can use the practice!” Wilson suggested, grinning.
“And how!” Kooie declared, louder than he intended. Brenda gave him a sharp look.
“You can help too! I’m sure you can use the practice even more than Moon!”
Kooie looked sad. “I need to learn to be quiet,” he whispered to himself.
“Oh, do you ever!” Moon agreed, taking his brother’s arm to prevent any possibility of escaping.
Buffy and Gwen went with Wilson to the medicine room, and lay down on the mat which covered the hardwood floor. They snuggled close, facing each other, touching firmly. Moon and Buffy had discovered this technique, a way for both of them to go to the spirit realm together, instead of apart. They relaxed, as Wilson beat his shaman’s drum, letting them slip into a deep trance. It seemed like they were moving through a dim tunnel, before they emerged from a cave, into the brilliant sunlight of the Creator’s Realm.
They paused only a moment, taking in the beauty of what appeared to be a vast wilderness area, rich, lush and pristine.
“Look! There’s owl!” Gwen excitedly called, pointing at the large bird spirit wheeling towards them. She held her arm out, and with a flurry of wings, the spirit landed precisely. Tucking its wings, it side stepped up her arm to perch on her shoulder.
“Greetings owl! I assume you know why we’re here?” Gwen asked, amused.
“I don’t require much effort for that, since the Great Spirit keeps me informed. Do you like trouble and problems?” the bird asked, looking from Gwen to Buffy. Both blanched at this question.
“N…not particularly…why? Is someone trying to hurt all of the Redmoons?” Gwen managed to gasp.
“Of course! And you haven’t even begun to see all the problems yet,” the spirit suggested, sounding apologetic as it stared at them.
Buffy was seldom speechless, but this squelched her thoroughly. Gwen recovered first, and loudly complained.
“But this isn’t fair! They do so much good…help so many people! What are…how can they…why…”
“Don’t you calm down and listen?” owl suggested.
“Oh,” Gwen whispered, embarrassed. “What?” she demanded, seeing Buffy grinning at her.
“Life isn’t always fair…you know that, Gwen! Spirit? Who wants to hurt us?” Buffy asked thoughtfully. The owl sat unflinching and silent.
“He’s not telling us, is he?” Gwen sighed, frustrated. Buffy had a finger to her lips, to shush Gwen.
“We have to figure that out? What might you tell us, that would help us understand?” Buffy softly asked, letting her spirit guide her question.
The owl spirit shook itself. “You help many people…that is true. But there are more people who might need your care. Not all of them know that they need your care, nor would they believe that you are capable of helping them…or someone they love. The person who wishes to hurt you doesn’t wish to accept that you might help someone close to them. Deep down, having heard so many others speak well of your father’s healing, they do suspect that he might help, but they are bitter, since their disbelief denies them what they need!” The owl fell silent.
“And we have to figure out who this person or people are, and help them? In spite of being unable to do our medicine?” Buffy whispered, stunned at the magnitude of this problem they were facing.
“I did say you wouldn’t enjoy it! But you don’t have a lot of options…the Great Spirit wishes it to be so. You know what that means!” the owl spirit suggested, winking at Buffy, who burst out laughing.
“Oh, do I ever!” she sighed, as the owl leaped skyward, with Gwen belatedly ducking to avoid the wings.
“Thank you!” they loudly called, waving, before turning to stare at each other. Gwen seemed still deeply shocked at the magnitude of their task.
“Don’t say it! Miss Gwen volunteered to be a shaman, in case you’ve forgotten! This just goes with the job!” Gwen moaned.
“I don’t think I realized what a task master the Great Spirit was!”
“I’d like to say you’ll get used to it, but I hate to lie. Come on, we need to tell the others what sort of mess we’re in!” Buffy declared, her smile returning.
As they strolled back towards their place of emergence, Gwen shook her head. “I thought I was going to pee myself!”
“Be glad this isn’t a physical reality…you can’t embarrass yourself here…at least I don’t think you can,” she added thoughtfully.
“Maybe I should tickle you, and see?”
“Don’t you dare!” Buffy loudly commanded, as Gwen laughed.
When they awoke from their trance, they sat up, still touched by the revelation, sketchy though it was, about what their problem entailed.
“Were the spirits extra talkative? You were gone longer than normal.” Wilson asked.
“Yes and no. We need to think about what the owl said,” Buffy sighed.
“Let’s do so while we eat!” her father suggested.
Buffy managed to mention their odd encounter with Marcy at school, before speaking about the spirit realm trip. Wilson considered this several moments before replying.
“I suspect you are quite correct. She had to have some sort of knowledge that this was happening. It certainly wasn’t on the news! The question is, how did she come to know about it? Is she related to the person behind the complaint? Or could a member of her family work at the courthouse, sheriff’s office or prosecutor’s office? People do gossip, even when they aren’t supposed to!”
“It may be more complicated than that!” Buffy suggested, before beginning to explain what the owl spirit had told them.
“The spirit actually gave that long of a speech? I’m astounded! They are normally much more frugal with their comments!” Wilson confessed.
“Don’t I know it! I suspect it felt sorry for us! Apparently the Great Spirit has put this on us. He wishes something to be accomplished, and as usual, there’s not a lot of option about whether we’d like to volunteer!” Buffy complained halfheartedly.
Brenda had been sitting quietly, listening to the conversation.
“Jealousy!” she suddenly exclaimed. Everyone looked expectantly at her. “That’s why they’re trying to persecute our family! Someone needs help, and they either don’t think we’d be willing, or they simply can’t accept that we could!” Gwen glanced at Buffy, whose mouth was open.
“Buffy’s the expert on jealousy, isn’t she?” Gwen slyly suggested. “Maybe that why the Great Spirit decided to plop this on all of you!” she excitedly replied.
“I wouldn’t get snotty…you’re just asking to get spanked too,” Moon cautioned her. Before she could reply, there was a knock on the door. Kooie leaped up to answer it. He came back leading Gwen’s parents, who seemed quite unhappy. After the minimal round of greetings, Cindy gestured for Gwen to get up, and come look at some papers she was holding.
“Just what is this?! Can you please explain?!” Cindy said harshly. Gwen frowned, taking the papers, and glancing at them.
“E-mails?” she asked, brows furrowed. She began reading, and was soon turning red, and having her mouth drop open.
“Oh…my…God…” she managed to whisper, sounding like she was losing her voice. “Who…who sent you these?” she managed to speak, before she noticed the sender. Her next sound was something between a moan and a shriek.
She glanced at the other pages, found much the same contents. All were explicitly graphic, utterly sexual, and seemed to be suggesting that Gwen wished to do such things with any number of people, including her parents.
“I didn’t send these!” she shrieked, before bursting into tears. Upon hearing loosely what they e-mails contained, without mentioning specifics, Moon glanced at Buffy.
“Looks like we aren’t the only ones getting something plopped on them!” he suggested wryly.
This new crisis necessitated a full informing of all that had transpired in the Redmoon home that day, as well as a report on the girl’s trip to the spirit realm. The Pecks, Stan and Cindy, had become close to the Redmoons since their arrival from Chicago, and the wonderful healing of Gwen’s cranky soul, at the hands of Moon and Buffy. They had been astounded by the complexity and workings of native medicine, but had blessed Gwen’s pursuit of it, especially when it was determined that she had been a shaman in many prior lives. Still, there were times when dealing with the side effects seemed a pain. Such as now.
“Gwen told us about the deputies arresting you three…I’ve never heard of something that crazy!” Cindy confessed.
They finally determined that the times on the e-mails had occurred when Gwen was not on a computer, even though they appeared to have been sent from her account. Moon considered this.
“Someone would have had to know your password, or be able to hack the account. It had to be someone who knows you…and your parent’s names. Who do you know that is a computer nerd…someone you don’t get along with?” Gwen gestured helplessly.
“Moon! I’m not enough of a nerd to even know what a computer nerd looks like! I wonder if this is related to your problem?”
“Wouldn’t surprise me. Oh crap! You need to shut that account down now! There’s no telling what sort of evil stuff someone could send out under your name; bomb threats, extortion demands…you’d be some deep poop…maybe worse off than us!” he suggested. The Pecks looked long suffering.
“Can you come over and help her…she’s no whiz on a computer…and neither are we!” Stan admitted.
“Sure,” Moon replied.
After Moon departed with the Pecks, Buffy sat talking to her parents, Kooie having snuck off, hoping to avoid doing the dishes with Buffy. Wilson wanted Buffy to write out exactly what the sprit owl had said to her. She labored at this several minutes, before deciding she had it right. Wilson looked it over, one small phrase catching his eye.
“Here it is! That you are capable of helping them, or someone they love! Someone they love. Whoever’s behind this has a family member or very close friend who’s ill, and likely may die. That’s what’s making them bitter and willing to do evil. The girl at school…Marcy…she may well be related somehow to whoever it is too!”
“Great! So all we have to do is figure out who it is, and how we can talk them into letting us try to heal them! How hard can that be?” Buffy demanded.
“Well, they aren’t going to run out and announce themselves. Filing a false report or sworn statement is a crime. Mr. Barker is trying to find out if someone did that, or if they’re being more clandestine.” He looked seriously at Buffy. “You can’t beat Marcy’s butt either…even though you’d like to!” he cautioned.
“Well, darn, that takes all the fun out of it!” Buffy pensively complained, before erupting in giggles. “Can I make her think I’m willing to beat her butt?” she wondered.
“I’d be careful about that…a threat has a way of dragging you into actually doing something improper. You have a fine gift of words…trust the Great Spirit to guide you and inspire you to speak well, and so persuade the guilty to be honest without being wicked.” Wilson suggested.
Buffy rolled her eyes, knowing her father was correct, but feeling put upon anyway. “Just once I’d like to be wicked and save all the bother! It sucks to be the only one acting decent all the time!” she complained. Wilson was amused by that.
“And what might you think the consequences of taking the easy way might be? You’d really prefer that?” he prompted her. Buffy sighed loudly.
“No! I imagine the Great Spirit would beat my butt thoroughly for being evil. I’m supposed to know better…aren’t I?” she asked, a slight grin showing.
“As a practicing shaman, you should have no doubts about that!”
“I don’t, mostly. Still…it is tempting sometimes…” she sighed. “It would be easier if the Great Spirit was less reluctant to share information occasionally!”
“But you’d learn less, and be less wise!” Wilson suggested, his eyes gleaming. “You’d also get lazy!”
“And we can’t have that, can we? Brenda suggested. “Dishes?” she prompted.
“Nice segue mom!” Buffy grumbled, getting up to yell upstairs.
“Kooie! Get your butt down here…now!” she shrieked. Passing back by the dinning table, followed by her disgruntled younger brother, she looked impishly at her parents. “Maybe I do have a way with words!” she declared, and giggled.
After the dishes were done, she called Tom, to chat and see if he had heard anything about their arrests.
“You’re kidding, right?!” he replied, once he finally realized she was serious. “That’s crazy!”
“Well, everyone agrees about it being crazy, but I can assure you I didn’t dream about getting a latex gloved finger up my bottom!” she insisted hotly.
“Sorry! So, what are you all doing about this?” Tom wondered. “Any idea why or who’s responsible?” Buffy explained about their trip to the spirit realm, what had been suggested.
“Well, that makes sense…I’d bet an awful lot of wickedness gets done because people are jealous or hurt. The question is, how are you going to get anyone to talk. People hate admitting they’ve done something wrong!”
“Well, I can’t just go and kick someone’s rear! I have to be more sneaky and subtle!” Tom laughed suddenly.
“Since you’re my girlfriend, I have a vested reason to want to help. I’m sure I can get a few friends to look mean and imposing, if that might make someone nervous! Is that too wicked?” he wondered, only partly teasing.
“I don’t know! The Great Spirit can be pretty picky, and I’m not eager to be in a worse fix! What I really want right now is a big hug and a kiss!”
“Well, I am authorized to do that, but not tonight…I’m supposed to be studying for my algebra two test tomorrow. You done with your homework?”
Buffy cast a baleful eye on her stack of books. “No! But I wish I was! Can I get partial credit for thinking about doing it?” she teased, bursting into giggles.
She finally hung up, having agreed to go to the movies Friday with Tom, trading a dozen I-love-yous. She sat staring at her books, wondering what was keeping Moon.
She had reluctantly tackled her geometry work, when Moon stuck his head in her door. “Problems?” she wondered.
“Big ones…someone else has taken over her e-mail account, and changed the passwords. You wouldn’t believe the wicked stuff that’s come to her parents…and others,” he said quietly. “If any of that gets to the authorities, they’ll have her butt in jail too! One of them was a bomb threat for school!” Moon said.
Buffy looked shocked. “Great! That’s all we need! I may beat someone’s butt after all, and apologize later!” she declared harshly.
It took Buffy a moment to calm down.
“Someone’s trying to hurt Gwen too!” she complained, tossing down her pencil angrily.
“Brilliant! But the question is this; is it because I date her and she’s your best friend, or is it because she’s becoming a shaman too?” Moon wondered.
“Moon! Not that many people know she’s actively working to be a shaman again! I mean, everyone in the county knows our family does the native medicine…it isn’t some secret! But Gwen isn’t treating patients by herself, not like you or I do sometimes!” Buffy seemed quite excited by this.
“So you think the guilty party would be someone known to those she’s helped us with? That’s still a zillion people! And all it would have taken is one chance comment, to have someone hear…or even overhear!” Buffy looked pained.
“Maybe you’re right…but it can’t hurt. Well, maybe. Face it…we don’t have a lot to work with here!”
“True. Still, we have good reason to be suspicious of…what’s her name…Marsha…Marcy?”
“Marcy. We need to have a nice chat with her…something between grilling her and an inquisition!” Buffy suggested sternly.
“And how do you plan on getting her to stay put for that?” Moon wondered.
Buffy grinned impishly. “Your buddy Moose has a car right? And he’s pretty good at picking up girls, isn’t he?” she thoughtfully asked. Moon shook his head.
“Last I checked, kidnapping was a crime!” he declared.
“It isn’t kidnapping if someone agrees to go there, and they’re free to leave! We can’t be blamed if the person is reluctant to walk away, can we?” Buffy whispered, grinning. “Like ten miles from the old quarry on Pilot Station Road back to town?” she coyly suggested. Moon snorted.
“You get to talk Tiffany into letting Moose pick up some other girl!” he sighed, shaking his head.
“You need Moose to what?!” Tiffany nearly shrieked in the hallway between third and forth period, once Buffy managed to mention needing a favor, which involved Moose picking up, and driving out to the old quarry with another girl. Moose being Tiffany’s boyfriend, as well as Moon’s best friend made this more awkward than Buffy had wanted.
“I haven’t got time now to explain all of it!” Buffy suggested. She stepped close enough to whisper into Tiffany’s ear. “You’ve heard they arrested Moon and me and dad? It’s all bogus! But we have to find out who’s responsible. Marcy Tate said something shitty to me and Gwen about it before anyone knew we’d even been arrested. We need to find out what she knows. Please? Don’t be a turd….Moose isn’t going to do anything he shouldn’t! We just need to get her where we can have a…chat!” Buffy whispered, she looked at Tiffany expectantly.
“I suppose I owe you guys, don’t I” Tiffany sighed, looking guilty.
“I didn’t say that!” Buffy said, grinning. Tiffany had once bullied Gwen, until Buffy and Gwen had discovered the reason for Tiffany’s meanness. That Gwen had saved Tiffy’s life, when she collapsed from an unknown heart condition, had led to a significant transformation and healing of the angry young woman. They had become dear friends as a result.
“Okay…but we’ll all probably end up in jail!” Tiffany complained.
It was during lunch when the next act of their life’s drama unfolded, when the public address speaker came alive to summon Gwen to the office.
“This can’t be good!” Gwen moaned.
“Not likely…we’re going with you!” Buffy declared. They hastily grabbed a few more bites, before turning in their trays, and headed for the office. Passing the front doors, they noted a sheriff’s cruiser parked out front.
Gwen stopped Moon, turning him.
“Give me a hug…I may not get a chance later!” she insisted.
Buffy had quietly moved ahead, and stuck her head in the office door, eager to snoop. She saw two uniformed officers, one of whom had taken her and Moon to jail. Buffy walked up, and waited to be noticed.
“I know you!” Deputy Markson said, smiling at Buffy. “Are you behaving?” he asked.
“As well as I can. You picking up?” she asked.
“Not you!” she was told quickly. Gwen and Moon came into view, and walked up to Mr. Cellans, the assistant principle.
“You called for me?” Gwen asked simply, a feeling of dread gripping her. On noting this, the deputies ignored Buffy, and moved close to Gwen.
“Miss Peck? You’ll have to come with us…I have an arrest warrant.”
“Why?” Gwen asked calmly. “I haven’t done anything, at least that I’m aware of!” she declared, crossing her arms, and looking firmly at the deputies.
“Really? Apparently you’ve threatened to blow up the school, among other things!” she was told. “Why are you grinning?”
“Someone’s hacked my e-mail account…I can’t even get in it myself. Whoever’s done this sent my parents a bunch of…slutty and nasty e-mails. I wasn’t even near a computer at the times they were sent!” Buffy suddenly had a thought.
“Mr. Cellans? Did the threat come here…to the school, or somewhere else?”
Mr. Cellans looked surprised by her question.
“It didn’t come to our school…I understand it was sent to the CountyBoard of Education’s website. Why is that important?”
“Every student here knows the school website, but someone else likely wouldn’t. But the Board of Ed site is easy to find. I think our real suspect is not a student here!” she pronounced firmly. Moon was less sure.
“Or they’ve gone to more bother to make it look like they aren’t!” Buffy looked frustrated, but resisted the urge to say something tacky.
“If that’s true, that you had nothing to do with it, that should be easy to prove. They’re going to take your home computer, to check it! We have a search warrant, and will take you there,” the deputy advised her.
“She’s a minor…better call her parents,” Mr. Cellans suggested.
“We did…they’re on the way! And so are you!” he added, speaking to Gwen. She was quickly cuffed, and managed to collect a small kiss on the cheek from Moon, as she was led away. Buffy and Moon followed along, stopping at the front doors. They were finding it hard to say much, both too upset. Gwen managed to glance at Buffy, and grin.
“I’ll be okay…at least I know how to bend over and spread my cute cheeks when I get there!” she whispered, and winked at Buffy.
Buffy and Moon were miserable and distracted during the rest of the afternoon, worried about Gwen. Buffy even risked detention, turning on her phone during the break between classes, while perched on the toilet, hidden in a girl’s restroom stall. She called her home, and spoke briefly to her mother, to let her know what was transpiring with Gwen and her parents. This helped a small amount, knowing her mother wouldn’t hesitate to run across the road and offer her help and support. She would also snoop effectively, and could later inform both Moon and Buffy of what she discovered.
At the final bell, expecting Marcy to again try and avoid her, Buffy had slipped down a parallel hallway, and cut across a connecting hall, to be in position to waylay the girl. Moon had been advised of her plan, and had run after Marcy when he saw her. Trying to get away from him, she was looking back over her shoulder, when Buffy stepped directly in front of the fleeing girl, catching Marcy handily when she slammed into her.
Marcy’s startled exclamation ended in mid syllable, when she turned to find herself in Buffy’s embrace.
“Well, excuse me! How nice of you to stop! We need to talk,” Buffy suggested. Marcy blanched, and got even paler when she noticed Moon behind her, almost, but not quite touching her.
“I…I…can’t…I uhm…have to…to…”
“Stand still and be honest? You’re going to be in a world of hurt when we figure out who’s doing this crap to us!” Buffy suggested ominously. She suddenly brightened. “On the other hand, we’ll be your best friends and helpers, if you give up being an ass, and come clean! Understand? This is serious stuff…we aren’t playing games here! Someone’s trying to hurt my family and my best friend! You know someone who needs help…don’t you?!” Buffy demanded, not wasting a second. Buffy was even more skilled at talking fast than the average girl, a skill Moon had teased her about often.
“I..I…what do you mean…help?” Marcy whispered, looking like she might need to change her undies at any minute.
“Help as in healing! I’m betting money you know someone…family…close friend…who is ill and isn’t getting better! We’re shamen…medicinemen…that’s what we do…help heal people! But we can’t do anything for the one you know, or anyone else, if we’re in jail! Now, who needs us?” Buffy demanded, firmly. Marcy was so upset, so tense, that her jaw was quivering. Her eyes had begun to tear too.
Buffy was anticipating a breakthrough, but Marcy suddenly noticed one of the teachers passing by, and seized her chance.
“Let go of me!” she shrieked. Buffy took a deep breath, glancing at Moon with only her eyes, and stepped to the side, gesturing with her hand for Marcy to pass. “We aren’t done,” she whispered as the terrified girl ran away.
“What was that about?” the teacher asked, curious, knowing Buffy and Moon’s sterling reputation for being nice and well mannered.
“We were having a chat with a guilty person, who needs desperately to confess her wickedness! She was close, but weaseled out!” Buffy suggested, grinning. “We need to catch our bus?” she asked innocently. The teacher shook his head, and waved them on, tired enough that he had no desire to ask more questions, since the other girl had run off.
“That was close!” Moon sighed, as they hustled toward the front of the school.
“Close for getting her to blab, or close for getting our butts fried?” Buffy wondered.
“Likely both! Hurry…I don’t want to walk home, or have to call mom!” he complained.
When they stepped off the bus, they considered running up to Gwen’s home, to see if her parents were home. They gave this up when they noticed their mother at their house waving for them to come to her.
“What’s new?” Buffy asked when she got close.
“Nothing good! Stan and Cindy went to town, to see about Gwen! I did get to speak to them a moment, but they don’t know more than you do, probably. Oh, they took their computer…it’s going to be checked by the FBI apparently. Unless they can verify that it couldn’t have been Gwen or her parents, she’ll be charged in Federal Court…basically with terroristic threatening. Some of the e-mails did a lot more than just talk about blowing up the school, apparently!”
“Oh crap!” Buffy moaned. “It just gets worse! Well, we’ve been busy too!” she announced, before explaining their thoughts on who might have sent the e-mails threatening their school, and why it might have gone to the Board of Ed, instead of their school. Wilson was pleased by her reasoning.
“That’s a good point…especially if this is being done by a teen. Even genius kids seldom consider all the angles, when they do something wicked! E-mail can be traced, can’t it?” he asked.
Moon grinned. “Sure it can. Every computer has an IP address. The FBI can figure out where that machine is! Well, unless it’s not a kid, and it’s a real hacker in some foreign country. That can get a lot harder to locate. That’s why we can’t arrest or shoot all the hackers who create all the viruses and worms, or steal identities…they’re hiding in some dingy third world dive!”
“Moon! Someone like that wouldn’t know we’re shamen, or even if we exist! They also wouldn’t know that Gwen’s close to us either! I’d bet my butt that we’ll find we’re known to whoever doing this!
“You’re willing to bet your whole butt? Wow…you are serious!” Moon declared, unable to resist teasing his sister over her substantial and wide rear.
“I’ll slap you!” she halfway threatened, knowing that if she tried, she’d merely get tickled again.
Wilson was also sure that Marcy’s display had handily proven her involvement and guilt. “A young woman wouldn’t get so upset, wouldn’t begin to cry, if what she was being accused of wasn’t true. She might get mad, or be shocked, but that isn’t what you observed…is it?”
“Hardly! She probably needed to go home and put on clean panties! If the teacher hadn’t passed, I think she’d have broken down and told the truth!” Buffy replied thoughtfully.
“That’s too bad! You likely won’t get a chance like that again,” Brenda suggested. Buffy looked suddenly guilty.
“Don’t ask! I’ve got a plan…and it’s not completely wicked…and it technically doesn’t involve kidnapping! More or less!” she assured them.
Moon pointed at Buffy. “It’s her idea; just remember that when it blows up!”
“Even though you’ll be involved too?” Buffy asked sweetly.
“I’d recommend you have a chat with the spirits, before you launch whatever you’ve got in mind,” Wilson suggested pointedly.
“Of course,” Buffy agreed, less than thrilled.
They talked a bit more, before getting ready to go do chores. Moon suddenly looked disturbed, glancing at Buffy.
“Have you still got that e-mail account?” he asked. Buffy’s eyes suddenly got wide.
“Oh, shi…sorry! Yes I do…I just never use it. Are you…you think…” Buffy looked aghast, considering Gwen’s predicament.
“I think the critters can wait…we need to check the computer!” Moon suggested ominously.
This proved a mixed bag. Moon found no suspicious activity on his site, and closed it easily. Buffy’s at first seemed untouched, but when Moon checked her sent file, he found a couple of rather racy messages sent to some site that neither recognized.
“I have no idea who that is! I certainly didn’t send them!” she moaned. “Wipe all that out, and close it!” she demanded. It took Moon more than one try, before it disappeared.
“Someone was either in it, or trying to log on! We’re lucky we got it shut down!” he sighed.
“Moon? What’s to stop someone from setting up a new e-mail site using my old name? If someone uses 1buffalogirl, anyone who knows me will think it’s me! Even the school has it!” Moon considered this.
“That’s true…but the IP address will prove it isn’t coming from our computer. Of course, you might be sitting in jail a while, until they figure that out!” he suggested none too kindly.
“Thanks a lot! I’m not in favor of having my bottom violated again! At least not by someone at the jail!”
“Who’s on the short list that you would approve of fiddling with your rear?” Moon slyly suggested.
“No one…well, maybe…Tom…when I’m ready…but that a long way down the road!” she haltingly advised him.
“You’re so cute when you lie to yourself!” Moon suggested, offering her a hug.
“It’s not a lie! More or less,” she sighed, hugging him. “And don’t you dare tickle me!” she squeaked.