(First scene from the dreamishly forthcoming ‘fictionalized’ version of ALTER MaN 4 7 to be called The Familiar.)

Mumura (San Francisco), September of 1747 C.E.

Shoktowon leaned into the wind. It always seemed to blast his path at his turn of Ashes Tending. He rose from a fitless squat and spat a coccooned tobacco wad into the fire. Kolmey sat down near the canoe, tracing the moon. She always knew something that would help him. “Mumura, this time, I’m with you…” Ko offered distantly, and as was their custom he did not question. Shok did the bow and boarded the canoe and the others shoved him off across the mouth of the blustery bay. He could be taking the shoreline route to the twin-peaked and Redwood dense peninsula of the dead, but as other lazy shamans of his day had proven, one could not boastfully light The 7 Fires of the 7 Nights and return in time. He paddled and cursed out of earshot from Ko and the others. No royal elder had ever died in his lifetime and he couldn’t quite see the point to this timeless ritual. The cold dark jut of Mumura wavered ahead on the cold black water, but the first light of dawn was near.


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