October 4, 2017

‘Oh, find the ghostly hollow where color melts away, and deadly shoots of cane await in silent fog so gray,’ sang the grandmother.

‘Why is the cane deadly? Why is it foggy in the ghostly hollow? How do I find it?’ asked the granddaughter.

‘You must discover the answers to the first two questions on your own. As for how to find it, take this basket, climb the stairs to the top of the cliff, cross the mesa, ford the river, climb up through the forest, crest the peak, and you will stare down into the ghostly hollow. Descend and enter. I pray for your safe return,’ said the grandmother, and she handed the basket to the granddaughter and turned away to hide her tears.

The granddaughter carried the basket outside and paused to gather courage and to gaze at the forbidden stairs marching up, up, up to the top of the cliff. She took one deep breath and began her journey with a single strong stride followed by another and another. Cliff, mesa, river, forest, peak, she arrived at the place where she stared down into the ghostly hollow. Clutching the basket, clothes tattered, hair matted here, wispy there, she descended.

She twisted and bent her way through the sentinel cane shoots. She disappeared into the fog so gray. Silence. Stillness. Time.

Three years later the grandmother heard a knocking at her door. She pushed the window curtain aside to see who was there. She gasped, clutched at her chest, and fell unconscious to the floor.

The grandmother, struck blind and deaf and mindless, babbled and sang. The visitor cared for her. The visitor survived. The visitor’s claws and tusks were kept razor sharp with the file she stored away in the basket with her other treasures.

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