On his fifteenth birthday, the grizzled old storyteller and his tall, statuesque daughter come pull him out of bed long before the sun comes up. “We have to go,” they say. “Strange men from the other side of the world are coming to kill you.”
“Uggggggh?” he groans, quizzically. “It’s so early. Bleauuuuugh.” Still, he’s packing while he’s whining, the few things he has, mostly some extra clothes and a knife he likes, a lighter with a lion on it, and wedged down in the bottom of the sack a couple of girly magazines he found wedged into a bush a few months back. He was going to stuff them under some other bush next week — pay it forward, like — but might as well be prepared.
Not a lot of talking on the road, and he’s half asleep on his feet; even by farm hours this is ridiculous. When the sun crests the ridgeline, the old man stops, draws them off the road into the woods. There’s a rat-faced little man and a giant redhead waiting for them, and by this point he’s wide enough awake and savvy enough to dread what’s coming.
“Walking,” Garyanne mutters. “I hate walking.”