c h a p t e r  2

decision distress

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TWO DAYS LATER, THE BOY HAD MADE A DECISION...

            He was going to set out into the wilderness to find those bandits and reclaim the seeds they'd stolen. It was a dangerous mission, and most uncertain, but they truly had no other choice. With the ground frozen solid, no new seeds could be planted until spring.

            “Take this,” the older man said to the younger, pressing a bark-made carving into his palm.

            The boy looked down at it. It was shaped like a spade and for a brief second it looked like the carving moved.

            “Look at it whenever you feel lost or lonely, as it shall remind you of me...”

            The boy's face scrunched up. He hugged the older man and wished him well.

            Before the boy at last departed, his grandfather attempted to say something else. “Apo,” he muttered, lips working hard to create the needed word.

            “Apo?” the boy asked.

            “Apoth...” But the old man was drifting to sleep. With time of the essence, the boy left a note of his journey and decided to go on his way...