Part One – Adventures of Boltman
Part Two – Boltman and the Church of the Mind
The Magi are coming, the witch had warned her. She thought she had lost them somewhere near Boise, and if not for the witch, the monsters would have taken her by surprise and killed her. She had struck her bargain and fled over the mountains, taking only a light meal first; one just sprinkled with terror, for the doomed child had been willing. But nothing in her life had prepared her for the rigors of crossing snow-capped mountains on foot. If she had still been human, the journey would have killed her. That had been weeks ago, and even now, in the lush, green land on the west side of the Cascades, where food was plentiful, she dared not drink until she found what she was looking for. The pain of hunger in her belly numbed her thoughts, and her flesh had grown dry and brittle as old parchment. But the faint smell of salt in the breeze told her she was close.
Lamplight beckoned from across the park, drawing her from the woods onto manicured grass where dewy blades squished between her toes and cooled her parched, raw heels. But her thirst required something more, and she dared not drink until she knew where she was. She gasped as a pair of shadows broke through the lights. Knowing how the strangers would see her, she disguised her appearance with the hood of her jacket and approached them slowly, limping from the ache in her bones that ravished her body like a fever.
“Right as I was falling back, I threw,” a boy said. “I didn’t even know where Stevie was—just the general direction—and I just threw the ball.”
“How far?” a girl asked, walking with her arm in his.