It is a mid-summer morning in South Texas, about a day’s ride from the Mexican border.
A young girl of about ten stands on the side of a hill, on a foot-worn path that separates green-brown seas of weeds and grass. She is a beautiful girl, sylph-like in stature and movement, gracious in word and manner; and she watches with innocent dark eyes full of wonder the old woman some twenty yards away downhill. Her grandmother.
The old woman is standing up straight, looking away down the hill to the cotton-field, which extends out to a stream barely within view and is otherwise bordered by woods. She bears a stern look; her jaw is set, her countenance hardened and indifferent.
She is considered by the community to be unfriendly, disagreeable, and even malicious. It is often wondered how such a bitter and discordant woman has co-existed with and raised such an amiable well-natured girl. And there is speculation and intrigue as to the absence of the girl’s parents and other relatives. But no one dares to ask.
It is a cloudy morning, and it is expected that a heavy rain will come before noon, which may last for days. This portends that the field laborers will not be able to work, and much, if not all, of the harvest may become ruined.
The old woman stretches her arms out sideways, her left pointing north. She turns and approaches the girl, and as she closes the distance, she produces a dagger from her garment and draws a pentagram with it in the space between them, while softly chanting a monotonous evocation.
The girl takes the knife reverently and likewise traces the lines of the pentagram between them. She then points it towards the sky and begins a pattern of lines that run east to west and south to north, while repeating the incantation.
Her eyes closed, her mind reaches out sensing everything around her. The air is humid; the breeze is soft. The grasses and wildflowers sing in pitches too high for the human ear to discern. The grass-burrs chatter and fuss mischievously. The mesquite and huisache whisper to each other somewhat apprehensively. Here and there, clusters of prickly-pear hiss irritatedly as if reacting to the climate; a rattlesnake is coiled up and sleeping within one such enclosure. A tarantula traipses cautiously, seemingly with no direction but possibly on the hunt.
In the distance, a jackrabbit takes two short quiet leaps, stands on its hind legs, and sniffs the air; it dashes into some brush, sensing an energy in the vicinity which it chooses not to encounter. And in the opposite radius, a roadrunner stops and looks about but seems unaware of the two lizards chasing each other among the rocks some twenty feet away.
The girl’s consciousness rises, expands, passes through a large swarm of gnats, and continues to soar over the landscape. Soon, her incorporate awareness is looking down at the acres of rows amidst the hill, the woods, and the stream. Visually, she locates her own tiny figure and that of her grandmother’s on the meandering path below. She feels the moisture of the clouds. Her mental gaze detects the lines being drawn by the dagger, now augmented by the distance.
Now she senses the warmth of the sun permeating from above. And then, there is light and blue sky. Responding, in part, to her will, the clouds are parted and the rain is deterred.
As she gradually returns her cognizance to her body, she must concentrate to contain her excitement and elation. To allow any emotion to distract her awareness during this process could disrupt the delicate transition, possibly breaking ‘the cord of light’ that connects the self to the physical being. She then could be stranded in an ethereal, metaphysical existence for an unknown duration of time; and her mindless body could simply waste away.
Later, as they walk back to their house, the girl runs ahead, skipping and cavorting gleefully, now able to embrace and express her feelings of pride and merriment. And sauntering behind, the old woman beams and smiles briefly to herself.
It is the girl’s first sorcerous execution. The fact that good has been committed is of no consequence for now, but only that the girl can do magic.