Prologue: Where the Cats Will Not Follow

New Book – 2018

The Trick

Where The Cats - 04

I found myself lost in an apple orchard. It was so foggy, I couldn’t make out the trees. I could only see the ends of their twisted, pointy branches. Behind the cloak of fog, I could hear scurrying and hushed chatter. I knew it was the monsters. They were waiting patiently in the mist for the right moment to attack and devour me. I stepped forward blindly, hugging myself, waiting for the inevitable to happen—when suddenly, the fog parted.

Down the center of the path, through the break in the thickness, Everett appeared riding a bike. As he pedaled toward me, fog swirled around him as if he had just broken free from a smoldering fire. Behind the bike, he pulled a makeshift rickshaw. It looked like something he had made himself. Nothing more than a large wicker basket on wheels.

When he reached me, he climbed off the bike and gently lowered the kickstand before steadying the frame in the loose gravel. I couldn’t help find the juxtaposition humorous: our ominous surroundings and him casually riding a bike through it. Moreover, taking the time to assure he had parked it properly.

“You know, they won’t get you if they think you’re already dead,” he reminded me.

“I know,” I replied. But I always forgot.

He pulled a sheet out of the basket and motioned for me to climb inside. So I did. He draped the sheet over my body. Too small to conceal me completely, I hung over the edge with my arms stretched low and my head limp, trying my best to look like a corpse. As he began to pedal, I heard the grunts and whispers of the monsters slinking out from the trees and spilling onto the path. They crept behind us curiously, cautiously. Close enough to grab my dangling arms. Close enough to pull me deep into the murky night. Yet they did not.

Everett pedaled through the orchard. He pedaled until the fog had lifted. He pedaled until dawn. The trick had worked. Of course it did.


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-Stephen