Homicide is always an abomination, but there is something exceptionally disturbing about the victim discovered in a high lonely place -- a corpse with a mouth full of sand, abandoned at a crime scene seemingly devoid of tracks or useful clues. Though it goes against his better judgment, Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn cannot help but suspect the hand of a supernatural killer. There is palpable evil in the air, and Leaphorn's pursuit of a Wolf-Witch is leading him where even the bravest men fear ... on a chilling trail that winds perilously between mysticism and murder.
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January 01, 1990
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Excerpt from The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman
Luis Horseman leaned the flat stone very carefully against the piýon twig, adjusted its balance exactly and then cautiously withdrew his hand. The twig bent, but held. Horseman rocked back on his heels and surveyed the deadfall. He should have put a little more blood on the twig, he thought, but it might be enough. He had placed this one just right, with the twig at the edge of the kangaroo rat's trail. The least nibble and the stone would fall. He reached into his shirt front, pulled out a leather pouch, extracted an odd-shaped lump of turquoise, and placed it on the ground in front of him. Then he started to sing:
"The Sky it talks about it.
TheTalking God One he tells about it.
The Darkness to Be One knows about it.
The Talking God is with me.
With the Talking God I kill the male game."
There was another part of the song, but Horseman couldn't remember it. He sat very still, thinking. Something about the Black God, but he couldn't think how it went. The Black God didn't have anything to do with game, but his uncle had said you have to put it in about him to make the chant come out right. He stared at the turquoise bear. It said nothing. He glanced at his watch. It, was almost six. By the time he got back to the rimrock it would be late enough to make a little fire, dark enough to hide the smoke. Now he must finish this.
"The dark horn of the bica,
No matter who would do evil to me,
The evil shall not harm me.
The dark horn is a shield of beaten buckskin."
Horseman chanted in a barely audible voice, just loud enough to be heard in the minds of the animals.
"That evil which the Ye-i turned toward me
cannot reach me through the dark horn,
through the shield the bica carries.
It brings me harmony with the male game.
It makes the male game hear my heartbeat.
From four directions they trot toward me.
They step and turn their sides toward me.
So my arrow misses bone when I shoot.
The death of male game comes toward me.
The blood of male game will wash my body.
The male game will obey my thoughts."