Chapter 1

“And, that is the story that I’ve been told,” Narwah said soothingly to his son, Truggwah. Narwah closed the tattered old book, patted its cover and walked it towards an unseen shelf, its nesting place. He held it aloft, spoke three soft unheard words and watched as the old oak opened a perfectly shaped crevice. Narwah laid the book down. The tree exhaled a soft, sweet breath that held transparent butterflies and softly glowing acorns. The old tome disappeared as if the oak had swallowed it or perhaps like it never even existed. The butterflies and images of acorns dissipated, too.

Truggwah wondered about the butterflies and acorns, not for the first time. The book too appeared to be gone because it was no longer in sight, but he knew better; the book was always there, rich with its promises and heavy with its warnings. Truggwah watched his father.

Narwah walked to his favorite boulder and sat down. He grabbed his gnarled pipe and watched his son watch him. He was thankful for his son, his wife and for their comfortable home. He was remembering his own thoughts at this age, the ones he imagined Truggwah having right now. “It’s been handed down for many generations.”

“You believe it,” Truggwah said simply, not a statement and not quite a question.


Chapter 2

Truggwah sat down in the warm sunshine, leaning against their large, old oak tree that contained their home, the doorway to safety just feet away. His stomach was upset and his mind was reeling. He didn’t know what to think. He gazed at his legs, his hands, wondering if they were going to do a trick and not let him in on the movements, joke or punch line. He felt drunk, the way that one time when he stole away into the woods with a clay jar of Narwah’s wine. He didn’t like it then, how his body seemed to act alone and he could never find any words that didn’t seem like slurred nonsense and he surely didn’t like it now.

A shadow moved between the bushes and he heard a giggle.

“Right,” he muttered sleepily, cozying up against the old oak. “Now I’m hearing things. That’ll fit into this picture puzzle perfectly.”

Another giggle, closer this time.