Lessons Learned From My Heroine, Claire Sanchez in The Unholy
Claire Sanchez, 25 year old medicine woman, curandera, is a young woman who has lost her mother when she was five years old, witnessed her murder at the hands of a black robed man. She is a woman of tremendous courage and resolve.
Fear tries to get her by the throat and squeeze the life out of her. There are so many times that she fought not to give up, to surrender to despair. I find her so human here, the draw to give up and make oneself disappear when confronted with evil.
Evil, the real thing, can be so overwhelming, big and mysterious, and appear to be way out of our influence or control. She is one person, a very young and inexperienced person at that, up against a veritable force not only of society but of nature gone bad.
To feel the odds stacked against you and yet know that you can’t be true to yourself, to your life, and to go on with life without getting answers and doing what you need to do to find those answers, no matter what, is sheer inspiration.
Courage is courage only when it is face to face with one bad ass enemy…Archbishop William Anarch! If she dies then she knows that she has done what she has needed to do.
Death is a real possibility for her. She knows this and yet has to risk it in order to be true to herself as a woman.
To risk everything, life itself, in order to be true to self…that is courage and this is a lesson to be learned.
Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and writer living in Albuquerque who has treated survivors of the dark side of religion for more than 30 years. His professional consultation practice — SoulCare — is devoted to the tending of the soul. Dr. DeBlassie writes psychological thrillers with an emphasis on the dark side of the human psyche. The mestizo myth of Aztlan, its surreal beauty and natural magic, provides the setting for the dark phantasmagoric narrative in his fiction. He is a member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, "The Unholy" is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.
At that moment, a howling wind came up. Through the window, Claire saw dust devils swirling outside, their dance frenzied, grit and grime spewing every which way as they crisscrossed an endless expanse of desert. As the window began rattling like a bag of old bones, both women looked up and saw a large black crow perched on the ledge outside. It stared at them, then cawed defiantly, unaffected by the winds.
Elizabeth bolted upright, eyes wide. “I have to go,” she said, fingers trembling as she slipped on her shoes, more frightened than Claire had ever seen her. Claire thought of trying to help her settle down, but held herself back, not wanting to risk upsetting her further.
“What’s wrong?” Claire asked, trying to disguise her own sense of unease. Her words went unanswered.
As Elizabeth reached the door, she glanced back at the window where the crow had been. The wind had died down, and the crow had vanished; yet the dark force of moments past crackled through the atmosphere like sparks of electricity jumping wildly from shorted wires.
The hairs on the back of Claire’s neck stood on end. She clenched her teeth in anticipation of something worse about to happen. A chill swept through the room as if a ghostly presence had made itself known. Involuntarily, Claire shook her head as though waking herself from a bad dream.
“Get out of here while you can, Claire,” Elizabeth stammered. Her eyes were wide as the full moon sitting low across a midnight desert landscape.
“What are you so afraid of, Elizabeth?” Claire asked, moving forward to calm her. “Please, talk to me about what’s going on with you.” Carefully, she placed a hand on her patient’s taut shoulder.
Elizabeth shrugged it away, saying, “Let go of me.” Claire knew that Elizabeth could turn on her, becoming violent. Still, Claire inched a little closer and said, “Elizabeth, I could help if you’d let me.” But the words seemed futile.
“Help me? Help yourself! Face what is yours to face,” Elizabeth hissed. She yanked the door open then forced it to slam behind her.
Claire stood still for a moment, feeling as if a tornado had swept through the room. Elizabeth’s demand had left her shaken. She drew a deep breath, then went to her desk and picked up her tea, noticing her trembling hands.
Turning toward the window, Claire saw a muscular orderly accompanying Elizabeth to the locked ward at the far end of the hospital compound. A flock of crows circled high overhead, seeming to follow the two receding figures. As they arrived at the outer doors of the locked unit, the orderly reached for his keys. The crows circled while the two crossed the threshold of the unit, Elizabeth suddenly pausing, turning, and looking outside, her gaze riveted on the flock of birds.
All but two flew off, disappearing into the piñon-covered hills. The two that remained came to rest on the red brick wall adjacent to the locked unit, their black eyes boring into Elizabeth. She looked panicked then enraged and, shaking a finger at the creatures, yelled something. Her frantic gestures told Claire that she was screeching curses to ward off evil.
Claire took a step back from the window, from the impact of Elizabeth’s rage. The orderly grabbed Elizabeth roughly by the arm and pulled her inside. The crows waited, watched, then flew away.
Thanks to the author, I have one (1) copy of The Unholy to give away.
Giveaway open to residents of the US only
Giveaway ends on December 19th
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