THE WENDIGO BORDER was published by Tor Books in 1995 as a horror novel. I wrote it as a contemporary fantasy including many local myths and eccentrics I grew up hearing about in Laramie, Wyoming. I also incorporated research I had been doing on the Ghost Dance uprising among the Sioux and Cheyenne in the 1880s. My horse, Cinnamon, became a character. The intersection between my old reality and the magic of adapted Native American mythology made it a very enjoyable novel to write.
Here's how it starts:
Slick and dark in the rain, the highway reflected the shine of headlights from long semi trucks that skidded past and kicked up splashing waves. The man walking east on the shoulder of the road pulled the collar of his long coat tighter around his neck and turned his head away when the monster trucks passed him. The bottom of his coat slapped heavily against his knees, above laced mocassin boots that were caked with mud. The brim of his black felt hat sagged down over his eyes, and the four owl feathers in the band clung together like dripping weeds.
A bolt of jagged lightning seared a branch of a pine tree on the hilltop ridge beside the highway. The wind blew a smell of burning needles and sap until the hissing rain put out the fire. More lightning reached across dense black clouds. In the flashes of illumination the man seemed to walk in strange unconnected steps, one moment picking his way through loose gravel by a rancher's gate, an instant later fifteen feet further up the slope and pausing to look at the night sky, letting the rain run down his face.
The sky had been clear at sunset. He had climbed down from a pickup bed to the roadside and watched his last ride of the evening turn off toward Elk Mountain. In the four hours since then, the storm had gathered over the Laramie valley. Ten more miles to walk before he would reach the city and take shelter. Until then thunder voices rolled over him and lightning danced: in warning or in outrage or in greeting, he did not know. It was six years since he had last been here. The land would remember him, if the people did not.