The Shakani is the Boogeyman. The Namahage. El Cucuy. The Jersey Devil. La Llorona. Only, the Shakani really exists.
And, unlike some of those that take only children, or seek out only those who’ve misbehaved, the Shakani is indiscriminate. Indiscriminate and ruthless.
We’re far from the only tribe that knows about them. Ask any tribe member who’s knowledgeable about their heritage anywhere in the southwest – I bet nine out of ten’ll be familiar with some version of the Shakani. A lot of them call it a skinwalker. Just know that when they tell you about the misanthrope coyote that is shunned by the others…that’s the Shakani. When they talk of the supernatural killer that can take on any form, human or animal – that’s the Shakani. When they describe the monster that can get into your mind and control what you see even when its nowhere in sight – that’s the Shakani.
Some say the evil the Appawak People committed toward our tribe served to draw it out – draw its wrath. But it inflicted as much terror upon us as it did them. Some say that’s because the Shakani will not tolerate fighting between the children of The Great Spirit, and it shows no favoritism.
Some say many things, but no one really knows the “why”. All that is clear is the “what”. And that, abundantly. It virtually destroyed the Appawak and decimated the Shanowah. It is why, nowadays, there is no such thing as either a pure-blood Shanowah or a pure-blood Appawak Person today. In our eyes, a Shanowah is a Shanowah pure or not, we all have the blood of our ancestor's flowing through our veins.
The Shakani’s power was constrained. The bravest of our warriors – at least, those who remained after the rampage – imprisoned it deep in the mountain near Graveyard Valley.
That’s one place that’s had more than its fair share of misfortune. The massacre – what they tell visitors was “the epidemic”. Cholera, they say, so they can sleep at night. But the old ones know better. Someone, somehow let the Shakani loose.
You ever see a car’s headlights flash in the eyes of a stranger on the road, and, just for the briefest moment, they look like the eyes of a coyote? That’s not someone you’re seeing – that’s a Shakani.
Though more commonly seen near Graveyard Valley, it has been sighted as far away as Mexico. But beware, even if it is only in spirit form, it can drive you mad, or steal away your soul. So if you are out late at night and see someone you are sure you can't be seeing, or you notice that flicker of coyote eyes, run.