TITLE: Ghosts in the Shadows
Yídilchi′ Yáá left no room for misunderstanding when he swore to the
Eternal Ones he would die before accepting their indifference. All
that remained was to prove he meant what he said.
As he knelt among the sacred rocks clad only in a breechclout and
knee-high moccasins, not even the desert's heat could warm him. The
stone ledge beneath him would have blistered his hide if not for the
horse blanket between them. The pillar of granite at his rod-straight
back might as well have been a wall of flames. Dry air parched his
lungs with each breath, and the dark, board-straight hair that spilled
over his shoulders scorched the flesh against which it lay.
But inside he was cold. A block of ice at the center of his being
radiated frosty tentacles that sometimes touched every part of him,
sometimes shrank away. Just now glacial digits wrapped around his
spine, painting an arctic lining inside his ribs and stiffening his
arms and legs into brittle sticks that would shatter the moment he
He defied the ice, dared it to claim him. Drawing his arms to shoulder
height, elbows crooked, hands above his head, he turned his palms
inward, fingers splayed as if he held the Earth between them. Eyes
closed, he took in one deep breath and then let it out slowly as he
raised his face to the heavens and set his spirit on the wind.