“I’ve all that I need know… right here, in hand. Under my arm it travels… just… as… planned,” the little man, Dwain, practically skipped as he sang his song. Of course, with all of his melodious racket, he was bound to attract attention.

“And, what, tell me sir, is that?” Dwain heard from within the woods.

“And who… tell me sir, are you?” Dwain asked into the woods.

“Someone very interested in what you have beneath your arm,” the shadows between the trees replied, “Call me Doubtful”.

“Sir Doubtful… what I have here, you’ll certainly not understand. The words can be understood, only under the lite touch of a hand.”

“Lies will get you nowhere, boy,” Mr. Doubtful spoke, “now let me see that special book you’re carrying, so that I can decide for myself if I find it intelligible.”

Nervous, then, Dwain ran down the trail he was on for several minutes. When he could run no more, he sat on the trail in silence. His eyes darted about him, his ears strained to hear the voice of Doubtful. Sweat trickled down his brow and into his eyes. They stung.

It was then that he noticed the forest was simply too quiet. Aside from his breathing, he couldn’t hear a thing – no wind rustled the trees, no birds sang aloud, and not a leaf nor a branch cracked in the distance. It was as though the entire forest was dead.

Then the whisper came again, but more harshly, “If the book has all the answers, everything one needs to know, then I must see it – NOW!”

Something slammed into Dwain and knocked him to the ground. It only took him a few seconds to get back on his feet, but even that was too long. The book was gone.

In the distance, Dwain could hear the rustling of pages, like someone was thumbing through his book. But the sound wouldn’t stay still, it danced around him and left him disoriented.

Right as he was about to scream with rage, he heard his book flying at his face. He closed his eye just in time for the impact, and smiled as he took the blow.

The forest was quiet again. Dwain ran until he was home. He put the book beneath his pillow and began to wash for supper.