Tales from Kilgour Forest
Daniels’ mother picked the lint off the rug in his childhood bathroom as she called into his room that she had found a job he would interview for. The interview would take place this afternoon.
Daniel blearily shoved the book he had been reading late into the night away from his face.
He looked up at his ceiling and asked the dust mites that drifted in the morning light how he had gotten here with his life. Or more precisely, back here.
Daniel picked a pair of jeans off the floor where they had fallen the night before. Opened a box that he had brought back from New York. Sweaters and shirts sat at the ready as they waited for life to return.
He combed his hair to the side with his fingers and pushed his bangs back behind his ears. The overgrown tendrils sprung back.
A page with an address and a name was thrust in his face, along with a bowl of rice porridge. The address looked like it was only a few miles down the road.
He took his bike and went early, for he had little else to do with his day.
As he biked along the road the tightly packed subdivisions and sidewalks gave way to forest. He turned in to a gravel path. There sat a building so small it might best be considered a booth.
Below the building’s overhang, a bench, and a man who looked quite asleep on it.
It occurred to Daniel that he might have asked his mother what the job was that she had applied for him.
Daniel gingerly prodded the man’s shoulder.
The man opened his eyes, and upon seeing Daniel, beamed in childlike wonder. “A new caretaker! I knew it! Sensed it in the wind, I could tell a new caretaker was coming!”
Daniel was confused, for the man had sent out flyers with employment information as well as a date and time for interviews.
At least now he knew what the job was.
The man jumped up, “Come, let’s have a tour!” He paused, in debate with himself, “No no, the contract first!”
“Yes yes of course! Waited twenty years for an applicant, not going to wait twenty more!”
Daniel thought the man’s method to find applicants was nonsensical.
The caretaker thrust on him a contract and a pen.
As he looked over the contract, which seemed fairly mundane---keep the gates locked at night, keep the walking paths clear---the caretaker shoved clothes and papers and what appeared to be a full cup of tea into a backpack.
Daniel signed, and the caretaker practically hopped a jig in excitement.
“The keys! The keys! Must not forget those. The most important part of the hand-off.”
The caretaker took a pair of ornate keys off his belt, and handed them to Daniel.
Perhaps it was only the caretaker’s sigh of relief, but it seemed a gentle wind picked up in the caretaker’s office, as if curious to see the dimensions of the space under new management.
“Now, a tour.”