Pomo could almost feel the earth he was standing on flowing through his veins. His people had been here since they came from under the ground to the fourth world.
Pomo stands guard
Pomo was guarding his grandfather's sheep in their summer pasture. The breeze was cool. The sage and rabbit brush was rustling. It had been hot during the day. The sheep were milling together.
Bengli helps Pomo
Bengli was Pomo's best friend. He was helping Pomo by taking the sheep dog, Scooter to round up strays. They slept in a summer Hogan which was a brush arbor with mesquite logs as the frame.
The summer hogan
Pomo's grandfather told him that his grandfather had built the summer Hogan. There was one old kerosene lantern and candles. A crude horno oven was outside. It was peaceful in the canyons.
Scooter was a good shepherd. He had been trained by Grandfather. He would round up strays, attack coyotes, and keep them grouped.
The Navajo Reservation covers 4 states it is vast and at night seem even larger. The natives call it "The Rez." The emptiness can sometimes feel palpable.
Ancient mystical magic is afoot by night
Watching the sheep meant not only keeping them safe from earthly predators but also from the spirit realm. One must observe the old sacred rituals.
Pomo hears Scooter and a spirit keening.
Pomo heard nothing of Begli He didn't want to call out for fear of the evil spirit. It could be just a yebichi or even a skin walker and shape shifter.
Begli is scared
Pomo jumped when Begli ran up behind him. "I think there is something out there." Begli said. Scooter continued to yap at something.
Pomo and Begli reconnoiter.
The boys carefully looked around by the full moon's light. Scooter was in the flock of sheep and continued to bark. What the boys found horrified them. Mutilated sheep. Pomo shot them both.
The boys couldn't sleep
They took shifts sleeping. One was always vigilant. Both of them thought they heard things. If they could just brave it out until morning. They could light a smoke signal fire.
Another ghastly discovery.
Them following morning the started a fire and loaded on the green brush for a high column of smoke. On their walk around they found a human corpse. This was terrifying to Navajos
Skin walker or corpse powder.
Grandfather told Pomo and Begli that skinwalker or shapeshifters took the feet of someone they killed so that they could dry the soles of the feet to make corpse powder.
The evil spirits of the dead man were now afoot and on the loose on "The Rez". Begli and Pomo were the most at risk. Later they found other sheep that had been mutilated. Things were worse now
Grandfather had to take Grandmother to kidney dialysis.
Pomo and Begli made the courageous decision to continue watching the sheep. They were everything the family owned. Pomo's father had killed hios mother and himself in a drunk driving accident
Evil forces were on the prowl
The night was a howling evil darkness with scratching sounds and heartbreaking terrified bleating. The boys were afraid to leave the brush hogan. They huddled together until sunlight.
The season of the witch
The boys were surrounded by the corpses of many sheep. The ground was covered in tracks of a long clawed beast. Only this beast walked on two feet. The tracks were not from any lkiveng animal.
The final showdown
Bigli circled the herd, unafraid in the daylight. Pomo returned to the hogan. A loud blood-curdling scream came from the direction Bigli had walked. Pomo levered a bullet into his rifle.
He turned in a flash and fired. Grandfather came to the hogan late in the afternoon. He found Begli outside with a bullet wound in his chest. Pomo had a bullet wound in the head.