In the distance, there was a small fire and a man sat on a tree trunk. Chinks of light cascaded downwards, revealing his cloth cloak and sandals. As they approached, a twig snapped. The old man turned and beckoned them forward. He had a leathery face and smiled. He had been carving something, but put his piece of wood and whittling tool aside. Steve had a strong déjà vu feeling and held back. Tugging at his hand, Michelle drew Steve toward the fire’s edge. Plumes of smoke rose to a gap in the trees and met the sunlight in a haze.
“Are you enjoying your walk?” the old man asked.
“Yes, we love it here,” Michelle replied. “What are you doing?”
“I’m carving a Woodland Spirit,” he said, pointing to a sawn branch with a face etched into it. “It protects those in need by drawing upon the strength of their ancestors to protect the living.”
The Nobodys looked at him as the fire billowed. A cloud of smoke filtered upwards. As the smouldering cleared, the old man handed the Woodland Spirit carving to them.
“Here it’s yours.”
“No, we couldn’t…” Steve began.
“I insist. It will bring you good luck,” the old man said, handing the talisman over.
Steve took the carving and thanked the man. Saying goodbye, the Nobodys continued their walk and talked about standing up to the Gronk-LaTwonks. They had to be strong. With a tranquility in the air, the Nobodys felt things were going to change for the better.
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