[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.My boots crunch in the snow as I turn.Surely, someone is looking for me.Must know I am missing.“I’m here!” The ache in my side grows stronger with every breath.I don’t want to yell again, but it might help them find me.Holding my bent arm tight against my aching side, I squeeze out the sound like an old bagpipe.“It’s me, it’s.”The steamy words dissolve before me.Who am I?Panic grips me.I look around for help but the oak, birch, and pine trees stand in cold silence.How is it I know their names, but not my own?Slumping to the ground, I scan the wide sky as the cold truth settles upon me.Lost, I am.Completely lost.I know neither where I am nor where I’m from.Homeless.Nameless.Hopeless.Yet, try as I might, nothing comes to mind but the fat flakes drifting down from the endless winter black.CHAPTER 2“Careful now,” he says.The glow of the fire flickers across his face as he gives me his knife.It seems huge in my tiny hands.How long I’ve wanted to hold this red wooden handle.To wield its metal blade like him.Night after night, I’ve watched.I know every curve of his hand, every scar, every callus.I can do this, for I’ve done it a million times in my mind.Setting the stick in the crook of my arm, I grip it just short of the whitened tip where he’s started to whittle, hold the blade like he would.It glints in the firelight and I pause, flash it a couple of times.It feels good.“I’m just like you, amn’t I?” I say.“That you are, wee man.” He tousles my hair.“Go on now, give it a go.”I attack the wood with all my force.I’ll show him how well I can do it.The blade bites into the bark and snags.I saw it out and try again, only to have it catch in another notch.This isn’t how it’s supposed to happen.I grit my teeth and try again, grunting as I push harder.“He’s too small,” a girl’s voice says from the shadows.Her laughter makes me want to take the knife and stab the stick into smithereens.“Easy, boyo.’Tis no ax for hacking.Gently.” He moves his hands in that familiar motion as though he holds the stick and blade.His wrist rolls with the ease and strength of the tide.“Gently, now.Let it kiss the wood.”Taking a deep breath, I try again.I will do it.I will, bedad.I angle the blade along the stick and draw it up to the point.This time it doesn’t hook.A small white curl begins to grow on the edge of my blade.The girl makes a kissing noise with every move of my knife.I tense at the sound and push harder.She giggles and continues until I can take her noise no longer.“Hush up!” I yell, glancing at where she sits in shadow.But the moment my eyes leave the blade it slips and gouges my finger.At first, I feel nothing but a curious awe for the moon-shaped slit.But then the blood comes and, oh, the pain!He’s on his knees, cradling my hand, as he examines the cut.“It’s a good one.”“Don’t.don’t touch it,” I whine, for surely my whole finger’s about to fall apart like a sliced sausage.I feel dizzy at the thought.But he pinches the cut together between his strong fingers.“I told you he was too small.He’s only a baby,” that girl says.“Get a bandage, pet,” he tells her, and she disappears.Like magic, his touch lessens the pain.But I can’t stop the tears.They burn and boil over, no matter how hard I try to keep them in, for I know I’ve disappointed him.I know he’ll never let me touch his knife again.“I can’t do it like you do,” I mumble.“So, you made a mistake,” he says, but there’s no judgment in his voice.“You can let it beat you.or build you.”I don’t really know what he means.“Did you learn anything?” he asks.“Not to look away,” I answer, for I’ll not be doing that again.“I did, too.” He points at the familiar scar, a white sickle between his thumb and finger, and then at one more at the tip of his index finger.“Eventually.” He chuckles.“I guess you’re a faster learner than me.”The fire crackles behind him, outlining his dark form with an orange glow.Picking up the tiny shaving, he places it in my right palm.A tiny whorl of wood.Small, but perfect.I made that.I did it.once.But I know I can do it again.Even better.I want to tell him.To prove it to him.But before I can speak, he lays the small knife in my palm beside the shaving [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]