Railroad tracks running off into water a willow tree beside it.

“We brought magic to the shores of this new world, hidden magic.  Until your mother stole you away, we had lived for thousands of years unscathed.  Those who killed the Mother of the Glenn and her family rose up and started killing Sisters left and right.  They had been told that another of great power would be born to a Sister, and then you were born. But we never knew for certain. We just felt.”

“So… who am I? What am I?”  

“Impatient.” She smiled. “And you are to be the next Mama Glenn.”

“But, I’m a male.  How can I be a Mama?”  

“Because you are a caretaker, it is only a title. There have been male Mamas when there have been no females around.”

“But I saw tons of women greeting me earlier.”

“They do not have the power you have.”  She reached into my shirt and pulled out the medallion I had made in the minutes before Sunder tapped on the window, a copper wire-wrapped tiger’s eye stone.  “This medallion alone has the power of a family of satyrs.”

It was a lot to take in. “And Jeb?”

She smiled, her eyes sparkling.  “He’s yours.  His title is ‘Fathers’.  He has been waiting for you for a long time now.  And he has talked of the children you will have.  He knows. He will not tell, but he smiles a lot.”

Embarrassed, I asked. “Is sex different in this land?”

She laughed long and hard, an autumn wind blowing through a pile of fallen leaves.  Finally getting her breath back.  “Oh… No, you will not birth your children.  Our families are found families.  This is how you can have two males as partners; your children will seek you out. That is why your sister left when she was twelve.  She was seeking out her found family.  From what Jeb has said you will have a very large family for a very long time.”  

“Okay… and Sunder? Is he a bird?”

I think she smiled. “No. That get-up of his is what he wears to put people off.  He’s a shaman; he knows things before they happen. He’s his own life book.  I hadn’t even told him to rescue you. He just left.”  

I nodded, absorbing it.  “Is my Mama dead?  I know we buried my Pops.” 

Tears fed out of her eyes.  “Yes, they both are.  We can’t sense your mother at all.  That is…” She stared off into the corner of the room, then got up quickly, “Fathers! Come, now!”  

A tall, old man ran in. He had a scraggly beard that made me think of Gandalf.  His skin was worn like leather. He moved stiffly as he knelt before his… wife? 

“Fathers, do you still have Anya’s book?”

He opened his hand and slid his finger along his arm, over and back.  “I do, Mama… it should be…” With that he was gone from my sight.  

I clenched my eyes shut and rubbed them with my fingertips, thinking back on the mud-covered man… would soon be my “Fathers”?  What did that mean? Was it just a title? Or was there more to it?  I shook my head, feeling around for the lump I was sure I had somewhere on my skull.  Maybe Sunder hit me harder than I thought, and I’m just dreaming all this…

“Here it is, Mama. Would you like me to read the last entry?” The old man was back.

She nodded, her lips tight and her eyes worried.

The trees part for Anya as she moves deeper into the woods…  wait, this isn’t what it said the last time we looked!”  His fingertip moved over the pages to glide up two paragraphs.  “No, this is what it said.  The car slammed into a brick wall.” He put the book down, looking confused. “This is all out of whack. I’m not sure what any of this means. It’s written in gibberish.”



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