Jonah – Part 8

When we left Jonah and Tidus last week, a horrendous and sudden storm had totally destroyed his hut. He’d grabbed Tidus and his meager belongings and fled. After Tidus chanted and held his Amethyst Gemstone to his forehead, the storm had stopped as suddenly as it had started. Now Jonah’s returned to make the shocking discovery of a new bigger and better hut and a new burlap bag. Let’s join them and see what’s next.

Jonah stood rooted in the same spot for a long minute. He turned to find Tidus close behind him.

“What? How?” He pointed to the hut.

Tidus shrugged. “Maybe something in the bag will answer your question.”

Forcing his feet to propel him forward, Jonah reached the burlap bag and pulled the tie. He dumped the contents on the hard ground.

Another book and a note fell out. He dropped to his knees. With shaking hands, he unfolded the note and read it out loud. “Because you thought of someone other than yourself for the first time in your life.”

Tidus knelt beside him. “You mean you’ve never thought about anybody other yourself your entire life?”

“I suppose so,” Jonah muttered.

“But, you made sure I was safe and it seemed to come naturally to you.”

Jonah reached for the new book. “Dark Side of the Light Chasers,” by Debbie Ford.” He held the book out to Tidus. “Ever heard of this one?”

dark side of the light chasers

Tidus nodded. “It’s a workbook of sorts. There are exercises after every chapter.”

“Exercises for what?” Jonah thumbed through the pages.

“It’s sort of a guided way to work on yourself, to face your shadow self and do shadow work.  My favorite quote from the book is, ‘Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you; you only have to become quiet enough to hear them.’

Jonah stood. “Shadow work?  Answers inside me? That makes no sense.”

“It will when you read the book. Looks like you have to do some self-discovery work if you ever want to leave this island.”

“I’ll read the book and learn the right words to say. Then I can talk my way out of here.”

Tidus drew a symbol in the dirt. “It doesn’t work that way, Jonah. They’re not interested in your words. Your actions are what they want to see.”

Jonah squinted. “You’re a weird kid, Tidus. How do you know so much about all this? Did they send you? And what is that you are drawing in the sand? You aren’t doing some sort of magic spell, are you?”

Tidus dropped his stick and stood. “No. I swear it. This is what we call sacred geometry. It is the symbol of the flower of life.”flower-of-life-beach

He continued, “What I told you is the truth. My father disappeared. My mother died and I’m all alone on the other side of the island. I would take you there if I could. Then you’d see I speak the truth.”

“Okay, kid. I believe you. It’s just that you seem to know a lot about all this self-work stuff. More than a kid your age should know.”

“It’s simple. My mother taught me from all these books. She was also teaching me how to grow and use my magic when she died. I have lots of books back at my home. If you want, I could bring you some. Maybe I could help you.”

Jonah shrugged. “Suit yourself. Bigger men that you have tried.” He slapped Tidus on the back. “Let’s look inside my new digs.”

With his dagger drawn, Jonah flung the rickety wooden door open to reveal a more spacious and weather-proof hut. As far as he could tell from the dim light, the inside was empty. He could almost stand up inside.

He sheathed the dagger and tossed the new book into one corner, then emptied the contents of the bag he carried over his shoulder. He quickly dug a small hole and re-buried the Jerky. With some of the vegetables Tidus had brought, he could make them a nice soup to eat. He leaned back against the wall and blew out a breath.

His head spun with thoughts. He was being forced to look at himself. The thought frightened him more than anything or anyone he’d ever faced. This was not going to be easy or pleasant.


Jonah – Part 7

Last week, we left Jonah and Tidus in the midst of a horrific and sudden rain storm that erupted when Jonah questioned Tidus about his father. Let’s join them and see how they fared the storm.


Jonah snatched up his meager possessions as the deluge beat down unrelenting, on the crudely made hut.

Water ran in streams, washing everything in its path down toward the murky waters. He had no time to waste. He dug the jerky out of the ground and tossed it along with the books and his other belongings into the burlap bag.

“Can you make it stop?” He yelled at Tidus.

Tidus sat dazed, his eyes rolled back in his head. He chanted words Jonah could not understand. The fragile walls of the hut began to collapse around them.

Jonah reached for Tidus, slung the burlap bag over his shoulder and ran. The rain blinded him. He stumbled over tree roots and briars.

Where to go?

Jonah pulled Tidus along. His need to protect the kid was strong. Tidus remained lost in some sort of trance.

Finally, Tidus pulled back. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a large Amethyst Crystal.


He raised it to his forehead and chanted in a rumbling voice unlike any Jonah had ever heard. “Bay of old and sun so bright. Clear the mist of clouds at night. I, son of Drake, beseech you. Dispel the darkness, bring the light.”

Almost as quickly as it started, the pounding rain stopped. Black clouds parted, and bright sunshine reflected off remaining droplets on branches and leaves.


“What in the hell just happened?” Jonah exclaimed.

Tidus placed the gemstone back in his pocket and shrugged.

Jonah turned in a full circle. “That’s all you’ve got? A shrug? My hut is destroyed. What am I going to do now?”

“Sorry,” said Tidus. “Perhaps you shouldn’t mention my dad again.”

Jonah mumbled. “You can bet on that one.” He stomped off in the direction they’d come. When he cleared the trees, he gasped.

His hut was intact. Only it was larger and sturdier than the original. And, it even had a door.



Jonah’s head swam. How could that be? He’d watched it collapse around him. Surely he was having a wild dream.

Nothing made sense.

And, a newly delivered burlap bag sat nearby.

The Hat by C.S. Boyack

5 star

The Hat is one of the most fun stories I have read all year! Here’s the blurb and my Five Star Review



Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.


Lizzie St Laurent is heartbroken that her grandmother died and she got nothing from the estate. In anger, she grabs a box out of the back of a moving truck vacating her grandmother’s antique shop. Once she finally settled in with a glass of wine and opens it, she is shocked to find a fedora hat. She quickly discounts it and continues grieving the loss of her beloved grandmother. But, the hat is a living entity attached to her family through Lizzie’s grandfather and generations before him. And while it takes her a little time to adjust to it, they turn out to be quite the team. From playing the upright bass, which Lizzie has never touched in her life, to rescuing kidnapped babies, the Hat takes Lizzie on quite the journey. I loved this novella from C.S. Boyack. It has so many different elements and plot twists that it always kept me guessing. The ending couldn’t have been more perfectly executed. If you like off-the-wall stories with elements of supernatural, ghouls, witches and a Hat that can perform all sorts of magic, you’ll love this story.

About C.S. Boyack:


I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.


Craig is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.






Jonah – Part 6

When we left Jonah last week one of the fanged beasts that inhabit this tangled and briar ridden island threatened to end his life. In a moment of carelessness, he’d left his dagger laying inside the hut. Let’s see how he gets out of this one.

Jonah managed to sidestep the lumbering beast, but it quickly turned and charged again. He cast an eye toward the hut, calculating. Could he make a dash for it? The blade of his dagger glinted in the sunlight as if taunting him.

A piercing whistle cut through the air.

The beast stopped in his tracks, tucked his tail and slinked off into the tangled brush growling.

Jonah whirled in the direction of the whistle and blew out a long breath. Tidus stood a good ten yards away.

“Hey,” Jonah yelled. He scrambled toward the boy. “Please don’t run. I need to talk to you.”

Tidus held a crudely woven basket in his hands and approached Jonah.  “Here.” He shoved the basket at Jonah. “I thought you could use these.”


Jonah lifted the lid and glanced inside to find an array of vegetables and fruit. All his original questions fled. “Where did you get these?” His mouth watered at the sight.


“I grow them.” Tidus fell into step beside Jonah. “Where I live looks nothing like this.” He gestured at the tangled terrain.

Jonah pulled a Mangosteen from the basket and bit into it, ignoring the juice that trickled down his chin. “I want to go with you, Tidus.” He said between bites.

“I thought I was taking you, but they wouldn’t let me.”

They reached Jonah’s hut and ducked inside.

“Who are they? And thank you for this gift.” He set the basket on the ground and grabbed another piece of fruit.

“You are welcome. I don’t exactly know who “they” are. My father was teaching me when he disappeared and never returned. Then my mother died and that left me.”

Jonah let out a soft whistled. “Sorry kid. And, sorry I was such a bully the other day. I wanted to get off this godforsaken island more than anything. I was only thinking of myself.”

“Why are you here? Did your mom die too?”

Jonah leaned back. How he wished that were the reason. “I’m here because I was given a choice. I could either go to prison or come here. I chose here. At least I’m not locked in a box, although now I wonder if wouldn’t have been easier.”

“You must have done something really bad.” Tidus reached for Jonah’s book, The Four Agreements. “My mom used to read me bedtime stories out of this book.”

“Bedtime stories?” Jonah shoved a hand through his hair. He couldn’t bring himself to tell this boy about all his bad deeds. “Tell me more about your mom.”

Tidus’ eyes glowed an iridescent green. “She was beautiful and kind. She had long silky violet hair and her hands could do such amazing magic. Both my mom and dad were teaching me, but now, I’m alone and only half-taught.” His voice trailed off. “I wish my dad would come back.”

Jonah’s mind scrambled for logic but found none. This kid was obviously born to a witch and warlock. He recalled stories he’d heard about these people being banished from the mainland hundreds of years ago. Even though Tidus appeared to be a young boy of twelve, in truth he could be over one hundred.

He prodded. “Tell me about your dad.”

The clear blue skies disappeared in an instant. Thunder boomed, and angry dark clouds swirled, turning day into night. Lightning crackled in the brush nearby and a deluge of hard driving rain pounded the hut.

stormy sky

Tidus cowered. “I don’t think I can.”

Tails (Silver Wishes Book 1) by Wendy Scott #RRBC #RWISA


Tails    wendys-picture1-10



Heart-stopping, tail-dropping adventure from award-winning children’s author WJ Scott.
FINALIST in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards UK 2017 9-12 yrs.
Sometimes loss is the only thing that saves you.
Last summer during the dreaded hunting season, Kywah lost his tail, his magic, and his value as a Silvertail. Now the hunters have returned and he’s terrified. Especially when he recognizes Samsa, the very hunter that cut off his tail, and ruined his life.
But when the pack becomes trapped in the foothills with no escape, Kywah realizes he’s their only hope. Without a tail, he’s worthless to the hunters and their wizard masters. If he can escape, he can find help for his pack. All he has to do is locate the Wise One and retrieve the Deep Magic.
Which would be hard enough even if he still had the magical tail sense his kind are born with. But what choice does he have? If he doesn’t take the risk, his pack will lose everything. And because Kywah knows exactly how that feels, he can’t let it happen.


A story that includes fairies, wizards, magic, mythical creatures, and a heart-stopping adventure. When the Hunters captured young Kywah and cut off his tail, he was sure his entire life was over. After all, the tail was the pride of every Silvertail. Not only was it a sensory tool, but a status symbol and held their magic. But Kywah had survived the brutal attack for a reason.

The hunter sold Kywah’s tail to an aging and decrepit Wizard who was intent on regaining the power and magic he once had. Using the tiny bits of silver he harvested from the tail, his hope sprang high that he would once again capture the magic he needed to take back his power. When the Wizard offers to pay top dollar for as many Silvertails as the hunters can harvest. Kywah’s clan, and all other Silvertails are placed in grave danger.  The one thing that would save the Silvertail clan was the “Deep Magic” that could only be attained from The Wise One. Kywah volunteered to go. After all, he no longer had a tail and the hunters would not seek him. My heart broke for this youngling over and over as he struggled to save his clan, risking his own life. When he was captured, I chewed my nails. When he met Buster Boy, the Labrador Retriever, a friendship formed that would bond the two for life.

If you love a story with Gypsies, fairies, magic and plenty of tension and adventure, you are going to love this book. These sweet animals stole my heart in their struggle for survival.


Wendy Scott is an Award-Winning author who resides in New Zealand. She is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB AND THE RAVE WRITERS INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS.

You can learn more about Wendy HERE

Follow Wendy on TWITTER      FACEBOOK


Jonah Part 5

When we last left Jonah, he’d been driven into the water by a multitude of hissing green snakes. His body was covered with wounds from the stinging nettles and thorns and he’d lost Tidus. He’d simply disappeared into a crevice in the earth and the snakes had blocked Jonah from following.

Jonah spent the next two days nursing his wounds and scouring the area where he’d seen Tidus disappear. It appeared the earth had simply swallowed him up and left no traces.

He kept a wary eye out for the snakes that had blocked his path. Had he imagined the entire event? He’d heard stories about men going mad. Maybe he was now one of those men.

After another day of searching. to no avail, he hid from the brutal mid-day sun inside his makeshift hut. He hoped that Tidus would make another appearance. He wouldn’t let him slip away this time.

His gaze landed on the discarded books in the corner. He reached for “The Four Agreements” and opened it. What the hell? He didn’t have anything better to do with his time.

The opening page read, “To the Circle of Fire; those who have gone before, those who are present and those who have yet to come.”


Jonah puzzled over the reference to the Circle of Fire. He remembered a time back on the mainland when he’d hidden in the woods and observed a group of scantily clad women dancing around a fire, uttering chants and incantations. He grinned at the memory. All he’d thought about at the time was undressing the one with the golden hair.

Chapter 1: “What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream. You are dreaming right now in this moment. You are dreaming with the brain awake…”

A dream? Well, I don’t like this dream so I’m going to change it, Jonah thought.

He read farther. Before he knew it, the sun sank and the sky turned a bright red and orange. How had he lost hours in this book? And, what was the big deal about reading it? Most of it was common sense about keeping your word and not taking anything personally. These were things living on the streets had taught him.

But, one thing the book didn’t cover was fear. It was fear that had kept him alive. He’d earned a reputation over the past few years. Everyone within his path learned to respect and fear the “Wrath of Jonah.”

He closed the book, stepped outside his hut and stretched his muscles, enjoying the rippling strength beneath his skin.

Tomorrow he would search more closely for the caves Tidus referred to. Tomorrow he would find them. Another world existed on this island of terrors and somehow Jonah knew it was nothing like the world he was trapped in.

The low growl of a fanged beast drew his attention. He reached for his dagger only to realize he’d carelessly left it inside the hut.


The beast lunged forward.

Author, A.M. Manay – Hexborn

general graphic

Please join me in welcoming RRBC  and RWISA Author, A.M. Manay to her sixth stop on a blog tour to spread the word about her new upcoming novel and Kindle Scout nomination request!

The Religion of Hexborn

Yesterday we talked about the more political side of religion in my new fantasy novel, Hexborn, currently live for nominations on Kindle Scout.  Today, we take a look at the more personal and spiritual side of religion in the world of Hexborn.

From Hexborn:

She fingered the bronze medal around her neck, the talisman of the Mother.  She reached into her pocket to touch Brother Edmun’s prayer beads, its semi-precious stones worn smooth from his years of use.  The familiar words moved on her lips as she silently repeated an old prayer.

Blessed Mother, keep me in your arms. Bid the Elder to cover me in wisdom.  Bid the Father to protect me.  Bid the Maiden to walk with me.  Bid the Youth to cheer me.  Bid the Babe to smile upon me.  Most of all, dear Mother, fill me with your courage, that brings forth life into this wicked world, that I may walk in the way of the Holy Family, all of my days.


Devising an imaginary religion was one of the most enjoyable parts of writing Hexborn.  I’d like to share a little with you about the beliefs and practices of my characters, and how I developed the imaginary religion that permeates their world.

I’m a big fan of ritual.  I’m also a regular churchgoer and with an interest in European history.  I grew up Catholic, became a Presbyterian, and married into a Hindu family.  A lot of diverse influences came into play as I began to play around with defining the faith and the church that are such important parts of main character Shiloh’s life.

I decided I wanted a pantheon but one with a manageable number of gods.  Rather than having them associated with natural phenomena like many ancient gods, I wanted them to cover the various aspects of the human experience.  I was struck by the pagan idea about maiden, mother, and crone and built on that.  That’s how I wound up with a Holy Family whose members range from old age to infancy: the Elder, the Mother, the Father, the Maiden, the Youth, and the Babe.

The church in Hexborn has a celibate priesthood consisting of both male and female wizards of middling ability.  The priests not only govern the religious life of the common people, but they also help to enforce secular laws, especially in the more remote rural villages.  Most people are particularly devoted to one of the Gods and are dedicated to one of them in infancy.  There are scripture stories and festivals dedicated to each of the Gods.

My protagonist, Shiloh, is especially devout.  She takes great comfort in the rituals and stories of her faith.  They help her to carry the burdens of her painful medical condition and her ostracism.  She is in favor of King Rischar’s recent religious Reforms because they eliminated the Cleanliness Laws that deemed her Unclean due to her congenital ailment.  Her relationship with the Gods is strong, but her relationship with the church is complicated.  I suppose that is true of many people in real life.

Have you ever been struck by the role religion plays in a fictional world?  Please tell us about it in the comments.  And please do head over to Kindle Scout and nominate Hexborn for publication.  If it is chosen, you’ll receive a free copy!  Thanks much, and happy reading.

Hexborn Cover


A.M. Manay is an award-winning fantasy author in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a former inner-city chemistry teacher, a wife and mother in a multi-racial family, a lover of comic book movies, a Lupus warrior, a Clerk of Session, and a 9Round enthusiast. She loves to write page-turning stories with complex, diverse characters who inhabit interesting worlds.

Book Link for Scout Campaign

Author Links for A.M. Manay





Twitter: @ammanay

For anyone who leaves a comment EVERY DAY of her blog tour, you will go into a drawing for an autographed paperback of her YA FANTASY NOVEL:  “HEXBORN.”

This tour sponsored by


Jonah Part 4

Last week, Jonah had managed to make a stew out of some of his dried buffalo. The books still lay untouched, the message on the note ignored. He has an unlikely visitor who has shown up. Let’s go see what he can find out about this strange boy.

Jonah gripped the boy’s arm so tight he cried out.

“Ouch. You’re hurting me,” he complained.

“If I let go, you better not run. I promise I can hurt you more than you can imagine.” He loosened his grip but maintained contact.

They reached the hut and Jonah pushed the boy inside. He landed on his backside and Jonah followed.

Inside the tiny shelter, Jonah suddenly felt suffocated. What was it with this kid? He wasn’t normal.

“Okay, boy. I need some answers.” He sucked in a breath between his teeth. “Where did you come from?”

“The caves,” replied the boy.

“What caves?”

“I can show you, but you have to promise not to hurt me.”

“What is wrong with your eyes and hands?” Jonah prodded

The boy shrugged. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Who are you?”

The visitor lifted his chin. “I am Tidus, son of Drake and Jade.”

Jonah sat on his haunches. “That tells me nothing. Are you from the mainland?”

Tidus pointed toward the outline of the giant city over the horizon. “You mean there?”

Jonah nodded.

“No. I tell you, I came through the caves. I was tired of being alone. Tired of the deafening silence, so I went exploring and found you.”

Puzzled, Jonah drew circles in the dirt floor. “Are you an Enchanter?”

“Don’t guess I know what that is.” He shifted and spread his webbed hands in front of him. “Let me show you the caves. It is beautiful on the other side.”

“Fair enough, but don’t try anything funny or it will be the last thing you do. Show me the other side” He brandished the dagger.

They exited the hut and Jonah followed close behind the boy as he moved effortlessly through the brambles and stinging nettles. It almost appeared as if they moved out the boy’s way, but then quickly closed back and Jonah’s skin stung everywhere they touched.


After a mile, the boy stopped short. “This is far as I can take you. They won’t let you go any farther.”

Jonah exploded. “They who?”

The boy disappeared into a slim crevice in the earth.


Jonah hurried to follow only to find a legion of green slimy snakes blocking the way. He turned to flee and found more curled up and ready to strike in every direction. He screamed. “Tidus! Where are you?”

He was answered by hisses and slithering.

Green Snake

He swung his dagger, turning in a circle, faster and faster. Oblivious to the poisonous thorns and brambles, he vaulted over the snakes and ran as fast as his legs could carry him back to safety.

Breath came in ragged gasps and he didn’t stop running until he was chest deep in the gray muddy water that surrounded his prison. He pounded the water with angry fists and let out a string of curses.



Jonah Part 3

In the first episode, we met a young man, Jonah, exiled to a deserted island to pay for his crimes. But, this is no ordinary island. It’s inhabited by wild mythical creatures with long red fangs and claws like an Eagle, venomous flowers and stinging nettles and brambles. In the last episode, a drop had occurred. The burlap bag contained some dried buffalo, hygiene items, a note, and two books, The Four Agreements, along with a blank journal. The note informed Jonah the only way he would ever get to leave the island was to examine himself and face his demons. Jonah dismissed the books with a snort. Let’s see what’s going on with him now that a few more days have passed.

Thankful that he’d been given one pot to cook in, Jonah hunched over the small fire and drew the savory smell in through his nostrils. The dried buffalo would make a hearty soup and his stomach growled at the thought. He stirred the mushrooms and Burdock root to a slow boil, then added pieces of the meat.


The crackling of leaves brought him to his feet and he reached for the ever-present dagger. He turned in a full circle and saw nothing. It must have been an animal. After all, the Master had been very specific in warning him he would be the only human inhabitant on the island.

He sat back on his heels and stirred the boiling stew.

There it was again. That time, there was no mistaking the sound of footsteps. Was he going mad? He yelled. “Who’s there?”

Silence answered him.

He ran his hands through his thick black hair and returned to his stew. Once he was satisfied that it was thoroughly cooked, he pulled the container from the fire and disappeared into his hut to enjoy the fare.

His nostrils flared, and eyes closed as the delectable aroma arose. Within minutes, he devoured the tasty concoction.

Just as he wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, he heard it again. Footsteps approached from the east. He got to his haunches ready to spring and held his breath. They stopped just short of his hut.

He let out a loud cry and lunged from the hut, dagger drawn. To his surprise, a young boy stood wide-eyed. He stopped short.

Jonah had difficulty finding his voice but managed a weak, “Hello.”

The boy simply nodded.

“Who are you? Where did you come from?” Jonah fired the questions. “How did you get here? Are you from the mainland?” Jonah quickly deducted this was no ordinary boy. His eyes glowed with luminescent light and webbing grew between his long fingers. 


The boy turned and ran.

Jonah gave chase and pulled him to the ground. He turned him over. “I demand some answers. Did the Master send you?”

The boy shook his head. “I didn’t know you were here, mister.”

“You’ve got some explaining to do, kid.” Jonah helped the boy to his feet and pushed him toward his camp.

Who could this mysterious visitor be and what sort of magic does he carry? Tune in again next week and we will find out more.


Jonah Part 2

A young man named Jonah has been exiled to an island for reasons we do not yet know. It’s not your typical island as it is covered with stinging nettles, venomous flowers and mythical fanged creatures. He’s been there a few weeks already but he watches daily for the boat that will come and take him back to the mainland. What does he have to do to be rescued? Let’s go see.

Jonah awoke with a start. His hand flew his dagger when he heard a loud thud.  Warily, he peeked out of his crude shelter expecting the worst.

A burlap package lay a few feet from his hut.


He turned in a full circle and did not see another living soul or source from where the package could have come. He dashed out, grabbed the bag and ducked back inside his shelter. His heart raced! He wasn’t forgotten.

He opened the bag as eager as a child on Christmas morning. The first item he discovered was a sealed package of dried buffalo. Without looking any farther, he tore into it and groaned aloud as he savored the flavor of the meat. Anything was better than the muddy fish he’d been forced to eat to stay alive.

He sat back on his haunches and explored the remaining items in his mysterious package.

A bar of soap, toothbrush, and hairbrush fell out on the floor of his hut. How had he made it this long without them? He set them aside and continued exploring.

In the bottom of the bag lay two books and a pencil, along with a handwritten note.  He unfolded the parchment note.

There is only one way off this island. You must examine yourself, face your truths and make peace with your demons.

Jonah folded the note, lay it next to the bag, bit off another piece of jerky, then carefully resealed the bag and opened the first book, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Four Agreements

The first sentence on the inside flap, “Be impeccable with your word,” brought a snort. He tossed the book into the corner of the hut. He didn’t need any philosophy BS, he just needed to get home.

He reached into the bottom of the bag, hoping for more food and found another book and a pencil. He opened it to find only blank pages.  He tossed it into the corner along with the other book.

He’d heard the psychological and philosophical jargon his entire life and none of it had helped him survive on the streets. None of it had helped when his father was beating him across the back with a leather strap. And none of it put food in his belly when he was starving.

No. He’d made his way with his own strength and that wasn’t about to change now.

He pulled his hair back and ducked out of the shelter into the early morning dawn. The most important thing he could do was keep his body strong and ready to fight. After all, it was what he did best. He stretched his taut muscles and began a series of Tai Chi maneuvers. He twirled and kicked, landing in fighting stance. Yes, this was what worked for him, not religion or philosophy.


A scurrying sound drew his attention and he glanced toward the hut in time to see a furry rodent dashing inside. The jerky! He lunged forward and reached the critter at the same time the critter reached the bag. With a precise throw, his dagger landed in the varmint’s neck. He tossed the invader into the murky water and grabbed his precious staple. After he dug a hole inside the hut, he buried the meat and covered it. Then he placed both books on top.

There. That should protect it. He’d gather the mushrooms and edible roots he’d discovered and make a stew later. No, he didn’t need self-examination. He needed sustenance and most of all he needed to get back to the mainland and back to living, back to ruling his kingdom.

He pondered the words on the note. What was he going to be forced to do?