I finished this book a few nights ago. My eyes were heavy when I put it down, but I still struggled to drift off. It wasn’t a book I expected to like, let alone stay up far too late for. Yet, there I was, shaken by hazy visions of the dead man’s walk that kept sleep at bay. I was tired, and saddened that I had reached the conclusion of the story. I never cease to be moved by the magnetism of a wonderful tale. I felt grateful to have found this one, and eager to lose myself in another as soon as time allowed.

Until then my dreams will drift to a bare and dangerous plain in a West that no longer exists. A good story visits us again and again, even when we’ve put it to rest. I long to be bewitched by some passage – left wondering if spells might not be cast beyond the pages of a favourite fairy tale. Sitting by a campfire, watching smoke rise and send the mosquitoes back to the woods, I’ll ask for one last yarn before we return to our tents. To hear tell of a monster and know that sleep will not come as easy; there is a strange beauty in that. How stirring it is that simple words, spun in such a way, can cause the heart to beat faster and the mind to wander to a place where terrors come to life, and journeys, fraught with peril, make heroes of ordinary men.

The right book refuses to be forgotten on the shelf. I’ll close the cover and I think the lines wind outward, resting quietly in the wings of my imagination. A day or two passes and I find myself searching for the words in subtle ways. I look for meaning in common gestures. Is this stranger whose eyes meet mine the character upon whom the entire plot depends?

I jump from one chapter to another, and it’s as if I’ve never realized how quickly a narrative can course in a new direction. This reminder of constant possibility is what makes a story great. When I spend too long away from books I forget that no day passes without offering a chance to alter the ending. Maybe today I’ll walk down a different street, and say hello instead of lowering my gaze.

One minute I’ll be carrying on as usual, and the next the roar of the city will shrink to a whisper and everything will have changed. The grand adventure begins.

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