The Unimaginable Road
Arraborough Book One
A young man named Slither Snake creates a farming commune know as "Arraborough" on a small patch of isolated land, and he and his friends find themselves embarked on a road to an unimaginable future.
Yet nothing is what it seems. The land itself is far from benign. It comes with a mysterious caretaker named Fespin Squirrel who issues confusing warnings about the nearby impenetrable forest and the foreboding caverns lying underneath the surface.
The denizens are a disparate bunch. True agendas remain hidden, and none more so than those of two mystery figures distinguished by abnormal coloration and gem-like eyes: Pimlico Calico, who oversees the final stages of the commune's construction; and Dovan Blue Dog, who hopes a stay in Arraborough will awaken memories of a lost life and his role in an unknown war being waged for dominion of the entire animal planet itself.
It is the middle of summer now and construction is nearly complete. It’s been almost a year since an idealistic young snake awoke on the forest floor in the middle of nowhere and decided he’d found the sanctuary he was looking for. But his loved ones worry about the path set out before him and about those who’ve joined him on the road to an uncertain future.
“Who are you?” Narcine asks, and the cat smiles.
“I’m Pimlico Calico,” he says simply.
Narcine exchanges a look with her aunt before responding. “Well, we know that. I mean... I met you the last time I was here. Three weeks ago. Then, you were just another new face, another name to learn. Another of Slither’s recruits. People were talking about your eyes and your blue fur, wondering about you and all, but there was nothing... But, now...”
“Now you seem to have become this... this figure of reverence.” Pimlico lowers his eyes, then turns his head and looks away. “Everyone seems to look on you as this wise, old father figure. They say you know things about them, private things. They say you sometimes make references to things that will happen here in the future, though you’re never very specific.”
She looks at him intently, imploringly, but his gaze is trained across the valley to the moon shining off the dark ocean. They are sitting on the patio of Wild’s bar (a juice bar since Slither won’t allow alcohol on his commune).
“I don’t understand, Mr. Calico,” says Aldessa. “Why are you here? What interest do you have in what my nephew is trying to accomplish by building this community?” The cat, still lost in his thoughts, doesn’t respond. “All day long Slither has been filling my ear with stories of the momentous times that, according to you, his Arraborough will see. Who are you, to claim to know such things?”
Pimlico sighs silently. “Nom sum qualis eram,” he murmurs.
“What?” says Narcine.
Pimlico turns to the snakes sitting across the patio table, shaking his head. “Nothing.” He takes a deep breath. “Narcine, Aldessa, I promise you... I have only the best interests of Slither, and Arraborough, at heart.” He looks at the glass in front of him, grips it between his palms, and absently rolls it in his hands. “But you’re right. I’ve overstepped myself. Sometimes not even someone in my position knows the full effects of his actions.” He turns to gaze again across at the ocean. “It’s time for me to go.”
Narcine smiles at him. “We don’t mean to chase you away, Mr. Calico. It’s just... We’re his family. We worry about him.”
He looks at her and smiles. “I know, dear. But this is where he has to be, what he has to do. Trust that.”
Aldessa clears her throat. “Mr. Calico, I don’t know what you’re aware of. But Slither’s parents, my brother and his wife, were murdered. Slither may claim he’s building this place as a tribute to them, but the boy is simply trying to work through his own grief. Our family therapist feels, and we agree, that he needs to do this to help him come to terms with their loss. Next year, or the year after, when Slither is ready, he’ll come home. In the meantime, I worry that others will take advantage of his generous nature.”
“Slither is a good boy,” Pimlico insists. “In the end, I believe that will see him through whatever comes.”
Narcine stares into the old cat’s dark blue eyes, smiling. “You remind him of our father. That’s what it is. He sees in you what he saw in Daddy— someone with all the answers, someone he can always look to for guidance.”
In her intensity, Narcine leans forward in her wheelchair, but the strap around her waist keeps her from falling to the ground. Aldessa gently pulls her back against the seat, then fussily primps up the blanket tucked around her niece’s lap.
Pimlico rises from his chair, steps around the corner of the table, and bends down on one knee by the side of the young girl’s wheelchair. Gripping the side of her chair, he engulfs her in his faceted eyes and makes her a promise. “I will look after him, Narcine, as best I can. If not me, then another of my kind. Slither will never lack the support of friendship.”
Narcine smiles down at the cat, satisfied.