87 pages • 2 hours readWatt Key
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Ten-year-old Moon Blake begins his narrative describing how he has spent his young life living in a remote, heavily wooded location in Alabama. His parents chose to live in a rough shelter without running water, electricity, or other modern conveniences. His mother died in 1972 when Moon was two. He does not remember her except as “somebody else in the bed at night, keeping me warm from the other side” (3). Moon was brought up by his father, who he calls Pap.
Pap taught Moon how to trap, hunt, fish, cook, tend to the shelter, and sew. Pap also taught him how to avoid human interaction, never be seen by anyone, and keep a wary, watchful eye for “the government.” Pap taught Moon that “the government was after [them]” (5) and required silence in the evenings to listen for their arrival. The shelter is fortified with slit windows for rifles, and Pap and Moon practiced shooting several times a week for “the war” (8). At the back of their half-underground shelter is a tunnel to “the box” (5), a small steel-lined space with an air pipe hidden in a hollow trunk. Pap said they could live in hiding for “a while” as the box is outfitted with food and water.
By Watt Key