The policeman quickly began to wonder whether his companions could even be trusted as guides. Though this world was faintly familiar, with wide panoramas and tiny details he knew he’d seen in nature magazines, it mostly wasn’t.

To keep calm, he’d remind himself this must be a dream. Hadn’t it begun as one? The flood, the impossible, majestic ride over mountains to the coast, and to this troubled, troubling woman?

But it was too hot. He was too angry, too hungry. The hunger alone should have woken him. So he’d begin to panic again, question the sense of following a bizarrely dressed, unkempt woman and an elephant—an elephant!—across this open plain away from

The Little Stone Arrives, illustration by Penina S. FingerFrom what?

From the place he thought of as his landing spot.

She had pulled him into the sea, whirled him around, and he’d come out there, in a forest clearing by a pond. There must be some reason to have begun there and the farther it receded behind him, the more anxious he became.

He stopped at the next rise and let them gain some distance. She was the reason he was here. What would happen to him alone?

If he turned back, would they notice or care? The woman’s hand now rested on the elephant’s side as they made their way over low, scrubby hills. They never once looked back.


About penina

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