It didn’t occur to him to stop Pilate—her mouth was not moving and her earring flashed fire—but he did follow her, as did Hagar, around to the back of the house, where, approaching the man from the back, she whipped her right arm around his neck and positioned the knife at the edge of his heart. She waited until the man felt the knife point before she jabbed it skillfully, about a quarter of an inch through his shirt into the skin. Still holding his neck, so he couldn’t see but could feel the blood making his shirt sticky, she talked to him.
“Now, I’m not going to kill you, honey. Don’t you worry none. Just be still a minute, the heart’s right here, but I’m not going to stick it in any deeper. Cause if I stick it in any deeper, it’ll go straight through your heart. So you have to be real still, you hear? You can’t move a inch cause I might lose control. It’s just a little hole now, honey, no more’n a pin scratch. You might lose about two tablespoons of blood, but no more. And if you’re real still, honey, I can get it back out without no mistake. But before I do that, I thought we’d have a little talk.” (93)
Macon slapped her and the little brass box dangled on her ear. She cupped it in her hands for a moment and then leaped on her brother like an antelope. They fought right there in front of the dead man’s staring eyes. Pilate was almost as strong as Macon, but no real match for him, and he probably would have beaten her unconscious had she not got his knife, not yet dry from the old man’s blood, and held it ready for his heart. (171)