It was a warm summer day in the desert state of Arizona when this all began. An elderly couple, Maria and Juan, lived far out in the desert by themselves. Maria and Juan had been married for 50 years and all of their children had died before they could have children of their own. Sometimes Maria would forget this and wonder when Antonio, their oldest, would settle down with someone before the painful truth would rear its ugly head and her heart would grow heavy with sadness. Juan would drown his sorrows if he could, but the current state of his liver prevented him from doing so. They remained as happy as they could, Juan would tend to the small number of cattle they had and Maria would take long walks through the desert. Each day Maria would look to the sky during her walk and think "Please, send someone to take away our sorrow." Each day she got no reply.
One day, however, she got a reply (assuming there was someone who actually heard her request). Maria was on a walk and had gotten to the forked tree that had a strange face shaped growth on it (it was positively grotesque for it looked contorted with rage and rather ugly) when a strange black door appeared. It was a plain door with an ordinary brass handle, in fact so unremarkable was this door that you wouldn't have given a second glance if not for the fact that it was standing up perfectly straight and had not been there before. Curious, the elderly Maria approached the black door cautiously before rapping her knuckles against three times then stepping back. The door swung open and out flew a young lad with an impish face which appeared to be covered in black and white makeup to make his face look like a skull. In fact, his whole body seemed to be covered in makeup to make him look like a skeleton. A short round man, who had thrown the lad out the door, muttered under his breath and closed the door behind him with a loud thud and then the black door was gone.
Maria went to the boy to make sure he was alright and asked his name. The boy looked at her with a blank expression and merely replied with "Skull Kid." She asked him what happened and he seemed to struggle with forming words much less sentences. She smiled a wrinkled smile and ruffled his white hair, helped him to his feet, and took him back to her and Juan's home.
Juan was shocked by the story Maria told of how Skull Kid had been thrown through a black door that led to nowhere, though both Maria and Juan were surprised to find out that what they thought was makeup was actually how Skull Kid's skin was naturally. Though his skin was strange, Skull Kid brightened Maria and Juan's lives immensely. Juan taught Skull Kid how to sing and play guitar while Maria taught him to read and write. Sometimes the elderly couple called would call him Antonio or Pedro by mistake and sadness would fill their hearts, but only momentarily. With each passing day Skull Kid grew taller and outgrew his clothes and the only clothing Maria could find for him was Juan's old mariachi outfit. The day Maria gave Skull Kid the mariachi clothing, she knew it was time for him to go out in the world, that they couldn't just keep him at their small ranch. With heavy hearts but sincere smiles, the elderly couple bid farewell to the strange boy at a bus stop not far from their house. As Skull Kid boarded the bus, all he took with him was the mariachi clothes he wore and the old guitar Juan gave him. Those were the only things he took with him to Tucson, for they were the only things he would need.
End of part 1.