(Just a quick note: when I dreamed this, I dreamed the beginning and the end but no middle. And since it was kind of a mystery, I was really damn frustrated when I woke up. I mean, I knew point A and point B, but not how everything got from one to the other. So I'm going to see what happens when I write in a middle. Because there's kind of a lot going on, I'm going to do this in parts. We'll see where it goes. Whee!)
Kai wasn't quite sure how she came to possess the tome that was the book. Only that she had owned it ever since she could remember. And because it was about her mother's life, she had treated it as a bizarre, sacred object, to be revered, but never opened. At a certain age, though, Kai decided that, in order to truly respect her lost mother, she would have to abandon her blind reverence and instead, discover the truth about her life and what happened to her. When she did manage to overcome habit and peer into the book's pages, Kai was disappointed to find an incomplete picture. There were bits and pieces: scribbled excerpts from events, scattered diary entries, partially drawn maps. Most unexpectedly, Kai's mother had included several biting invectives against her "nemeses," a pair of men from Wyoming. She never specified why she hated them so much, or why they were pursuing her; only that they were insidious human beings and would not rest until they had caught up with her. To kill her? Again, Kai's mother didn't say. She obviously wrote these notes down for her own reasons, not so that her daughter could know something about her years after her disappearance or death. The one stroke of luck for Kai was that her mother seemed to place some importance on recording the geography of her wanderings. It was this element of the book that prompted Kai to follow her mother's path around the American mid and North west to piece together the mystery of her life and of the book.
In Wyoming, several years before Kai began preparing for her own journey, the sons of two ranching families began a similar quest. Drew's father had let it slip one night that he HAD, in fact, traveled outside of the state as a younger man. He wouldn't go in to detail and left the table as soon as Drew pressed him for more information, signaling the end of the discussion. No one in the family left the nest of farms and towns where their forebears had established a settlement two centuries before. People from other families had come and gone, and the towns had swelled and shrunk and swelled again as the years passed, but Drew's clan remained one of two that never left. Their commitment was to the land. So when he told his friend what his father had said, Jo struggled with disbelief.
-I dunno,- Jo said. -Yer dad drinks. Could be he was just talkin. Wishin. Ye know.-
-Yeah. Could be.- -I want to believe it though. And if it is true... If it IS true, what happened? Why won't he talk about it? Did he... DO something? Somethin bad?-
The subject of Drew's father's travels came up more and more as the spring rumbled on. The more they talked about it, the more likely it seemed it had really happened. Quite against their families' wishes, and very much against Drew's father's, the boys left their homes at the onset of summer. It wasn't so much the past that drew them out, but the present: what else was out there, besides the ranching communities they had always known? Of course they would come back, but if Drew's father saw some other corner of the world, they could too. They SHOULD, even.
They didn't come back. They wandered- all over the Eastern sea board and the Deep South, working here and there, learning the ways of other folk. It took several years before they made their way back to the mid West and crossed paths with Kai.