Myrna is one of the witch children, said to be cursed by the sky demons with horrific powers. She’s capable of walking in the lightning storms that ravage her desert home and can speak with the mythic sand lions, but otherwise she has none of the powers witch children are said to have. She is hated and cursed by her village and blamed for any wrong that happens.
Her only friend is a strange boy named Jem, born during the same storm season as Myrna but not cursed with her powers to walk in the lightning.
When they are fourteen raiders come to their village and Jem is fatally wounded in the attack. Desperate, Myrna takes him to the sand lions for help.
Myrna did not remember the first time she stepped out into a lightning storm.
She did not remember how she got her scars; one at the base of her throat and the other on the bottom of her left foot. Sometimes it upset her to not remember feeling the lightning coursing through her body for the first time. Then again, the lightning was so much a part of her life that it was strange to imagine she had ever not known it.
She had been born during the season of sun, when normally the lightning storms were few and far between. Her parents thought they were safe. But the night her mother went into labor a storm tore across the bleeding land. She had tried to ignore the pain, as though that would stop the contractions, and begged Myrna to stay put a little while longer.
By morning the lightning was still razing the earth and Myrna was desperate to see.
Myrna never asked why her parents didn’t murder her, as the midwife had tried, as her grandmother had begged. She only knew that it was not love that had stayed their hand.
-Excerpt from “Witch Child” by Lane Hansen, illustrated by Drei San Juan