Chapter One

On cue, the twins approached their mother’s chair and showed her the small ivory figures they had been given; Perry’s was a little soldier, Penny’s was a girl dancing. Abernath had been lucky to get them really, Linkpor was a poor excuse for a town—the only thing it was good for was picking up a bargain.

“So, come child, tell us about your adventure,” his mother stroked the small statue she had been given and then placed it gently on a table beside her. “I want to hear everything.”

“There’s not much to tell mother,” Abernath said, honestly. “I didn’t find the man I was looking for, so I can’t do anything about the old tractor out back yet.”

“Ah well, not to worry,” his mother said. “Perhaps your father will have had more luck.”

Abernath smiled and patted his mother’s hand. He worried about her while he was away—especially when his father was away too. The twins were a handful at the best of times and his mother couldn’t get about like she used to. She was a woman of forty now, but her body was weary and ached often. When Abernath had left, she had been a plump woman with a head of golden hair—the woman before him now was thinner, and her hair was lacking. She was a shadow of her former self—he didn’t want to think about what would happen to her next.

Their family had once owned the large farming estate on the other side of the wall—Tookie Hill they had called it. Tookie Hill was now owned by the King due to a bad harvest that had rendered them poor beyond words. Abernath tried not to be bitter about it, but from his bedroom window in the tiny squished house he could see their old home—abandoned and unloved now.

The End

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