Jake Malden Raven McAllan Doris O'Connor
Shane chopped wood most of the morning in preparation for winter. Although cool, his body reeking of sweat, he stripped his clothes to bathe in the river. He left the city to the Smith River after retiring early to escape his greedy, lying friends and meaningless job he endured for many years. He lived alone, earning money from wood carvings and ceramics.
When he stepped out of the river, his eyes caught a glimpse of a young, naked man, sitting farther down near the trees. He hadn’t seen anyone in months, especially here. Shane scouted the surroundings, expecting someone else nearby, but there was no one. His curiosity drove him to inquire about the man.
Walking closer, surprised this man didn’t hear the sounds of the crackling branches from his footsteps, Shane cleared his throat twenty feet away, not wanting to frighten him. “Are you lost?”
The man turned his head around, his eyes expressing the familiar, lonely sadness, Shane recognized from love’s heartache.
“No, someone deserted me and left. I don’t know where I am. You probably think I’m crazy.”
Sitting behind him and wrapping his arms around his waist, Shane held him. “You’re not crazy. I’ll help you.”