A couple of years ago, I read a fantasy novel that opened with the main character eating an apple on her way to market, and before that I read a fantasy novel where the main character and her companion packed bread and apples as their meal for their long, horseback trek across a kingdom to participate in a war that was devastating the countryside. Not gonna name any names or titles, but I was like, “Enough with the apples!” C’mon people. Can’t we do something different? Can’t we offer these characters some rice or something? Or maybe a cucumber?
I am standing on an empty dirt road surrounded by fields of grass, golden from the heat of the sun. The coins dangling from my belt jingle every time I turn or take a step. Too loud, much too loud. I grip the handle of our black umbrella--an unreliable piece of junk Mom can't seem to toss--with one hand and try to close it with the other. It refuses to budge. I’m alone, the stupid umbrella won't close, and the poj ntxoog is coming.