The first inkling Frank had of the change that would overtake him came on the drive down. He was in the back seat, his hip aching from hours on the Interstate, listening to a radio show about snow geese migrating from the Arctic, big flocks miles high but always along the same route: migration corridors they called them. And all of a sudden Frank was up there flying among them, mile after airy mile in unison. Who knows how long it lasted before Kathy turned and spoke to him, words he didn’t catch but that startled him back down, into his body? He shook his head, a horse throwing off a fly; he was a practical man, not given to daydreaming. ‘How long till lunch?’ he asked Kathy who asked Tom who wanted to get another hundred miles at least.
Ten-year-old Josh walked to school on an already hot May morning. The bulldozers roared and pushed along the river, clearing the bush and the cottonwood trees for new condo development. Josh’s skinny white pony-tailed neighbour, landlord Glaser Neil called out from his yard “hey, take a look at this,” and Josh stopped. Neil often acquired odd things. Odd but interesting. Neil pointed behind his lilac bush. Josh looked over and smelled the lilacs. Glaser motioned for Josh to come in, and the boy opened the gate and peered at the back of a cage. “What’s in there?” he asked. He heard a growl.
The Mooney woman taught him how to do it. She was forbidden to be on the premises, but she called Alfie over one day when he was playing near the fence that bordered the lane. The call was a high fluttering whistle, dancing like a mountain stream. He had been building a den from old branches and bracken when he heard, and though he knew from whence came the sound, he was drawn there as though to a trove of sweets.