“Hush now, child,” said a voice she recognized as that of her mother’s
closest friend. “The man cannot harm you, mijita, as long as you are with us.
We will make him think you are dead. But you must be very quiet. Ya no
llores,” the woman warned, raising a finger to her lips.
The woman then carried her into a dark cave illuminated by the light
of a single candle. The cave was frightening, with shadows of what appeared to be goblins and demons dancing on the red sandstone walls. “I will return for you soon. You will be safe here,” the woman said. The girl watched the woman walk away, shivering as a breeze blew through the cave’s narrow passages.
Closing her eyes, she rocked —imagining herself safe in
her mother’s arms—then opened her eyes to the light of the shining through the mouth of the cave. The shadows on the walls were just shadows now, no longer goblins and demons. As she slipped into a trance, images flickered in her mind. She saw the woman who had brought her to this place scattering pieces of around the open mesa where her mother had struggled, helped by two other women the girl could not identify.
Suddenly, the scene shifted to a stone ledge jutting over the mesa, and
she heard the pounding footsteps of a toward the women. The girl felt her heart race and her breathing quicken, afraid that the bad man would spot them and kill them. Then the image shifted again, and she now saw on the mesa three gray wolves circling the raw meat and the man walking away from the granite ledge. As he left, she heard his thought: The child is dead.