Prologue

Walking across to the barn, I wondered what the hell I thought when I told her that I might want to go off adventuring like my brother. Now she's probably off in a frenzy getting excited, and packing my bags for me. Not that I mind, she's got pretty good taste for a woman in her forties. In my mind's eye, I could see her in my room turning reminiscent skimming through all my items, it had always only been my mother, brother, and I, and now it's just her and I, and ever since my brother had left a few years ago, it has always been just my mother and I. My father had gotten killed by a bear, hunting in the forests—at least that's what I hear from everyone, at three years old, I was too young to know what was going on.

I stretched upwards and touched the beam running across the structure, clicking my tongue on the roof of my mouth calling for the solo raccoon that lived in our barn; he's been docile ever since I saved him from our old hunter dog, Chad; instead of living near the house scavenging for food, he changed to living in the barn with all our barn animals. It was like we had a mutual understanding that some things were not acceptable in the barn, like stealing eggs. Tossing him some leftovers from breakfast, I started on my daily chores; feeding the chickens, collecting the eggs—that kind of stuff. Having finished tending to the cows, I sat on the edge of the cliff which the barn resided on, I ate my packed lunch; you'd think that because we owned the barn, it would be near where we lived. But no, it has to be two miles uphill on the cliff; it made ferrying goods harder than it should be. A skittering of class on loose rocks caused me to look back—the racoon was running full speed towards me, causing both of us to launch off the cliff with egg salad surrounding us. "Not cool raccoon," I spun him to face me—so we were both upside down, "This is on the list of unacceptable stuff." I gave him the stink eye. Pushing him close to me, I prepared myself for the shocking cold water under us. When we were young, my brother and I would always jump off the cliff in the summer to see who could go the deepest. He would always win, I could never really reach the bottom; it always felt so far and unreachable. With the wind tearing up my eyes I could tell I could do it. I squished myself even smaller; pointing my hands and my toes. Passing the water with nothing but a ripple I let the force carry me towards the bottom. I grabbed a bunch of rocks as souvenirs; I pushed off and furiously swam towards the bright surface. The top of the cliff seemed so far away. I floated on my back, with the racoon resting on my tummy; I knew why I never reached the bottom, I was always afraid to take the leap. I would always linger before jumping, never going fast enough to reach a satisfactory outcome. "You know what," I patted his head, "you're welcome to push me off the cliff anytime you want."