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368 pages, Hardcover
First published June 30, 2016
I sat high, oak branch 'tween my knees, and watched the tattooed man stride about in the snow. Pictures all over his face, no skin left no more, just ink and blood. Looking for me, he was. Always looking for me. He left red drops in the white, fallen from his fish knife. Not fish blood though. Man blood. Boy blood. Lad from Tucket lost his scalp to that knife. Scrap of hair and pink hung from the man's belt. That was dripping too, hot and fresh. He'd left the body in the thicket for the wolves to find.
I don’t much like roads. Roads is some other man’s path that people follow no question. All my life I lived by rules of the forest and rules of myself. One a’ them rules is don’t go trusting another man’s path. No matter if that’s a real one trodden into dirt or all them twists and turns his life has taken.
"Way I reckon it, men killed more wolves than wolves ever killed men. I know who I’m more afraid of.”
I couldn’t unravel all them strands, all them lies and feelings what got knotted up over the years. Any lie can turn to truth if you believe it long enough.
I don’t much like roads. Roads is some other man’s path that people follow no question. All my life I lived by rules of the forest and rules of myself. One a’ them rules is don’t go trusting another man’s path. No matter if that’s a real one trodden into dirt or all them twists and turns his life has taken. People do it, they do what their mommies and daddies did, they make them same mistakes, they have them same joys and hurts, they just repeating. Trees don’t grow exactly where their momma is; ain’t no room, ain’t enough light and water so they end up wilting and dying off. It’s the same with us humans, though you wouldn’t know it to look at them most a’ the time. Ranches and stores are passed father to son, momma to girl, but there ain’t no room for it. Son tries to run things like he wants, father ain’t having none of it, they start feuding and soon that family ain’t no more.
Memories ain’t no one’s friend. They show you all the good things you had, all the good things you lost, and don’t let you forget all the bad shit in between
"Monsters ain’t real ’cept in kids’ imaginations, under the beds, in the closets. We live in a world a’ men and there ain’t no good come out of tellin’ them they monsters. Makes ’em think they ain't done nothing' wrong, that it's their nature and they can’t do nothin’ to change that. Callin’ ’em a monster makes ’em somethin’ different from the rest of us, but they ain’t. They just men, flesh and bone and blood. Bad’uns, truth, but men all the same…Nothin’ a man can do can make him stop bein’ a man.”
Life is life and you got to live it in the here-now not the back then.