My kids are off at the State Fair with my parents, so it’s fitting that I’m working on the outline for September’s story, which starts there:
On a visit to the Minnesota State Fair, ten-year-old Al runs off from her parents. Lost, she wanders into the Coliseum, where she discovers a twenty-foot-tall ram about to be slaughtered before a roaring crowd. She frees the ram and the two of them make a run for it– following the Burlington Northern tracks west-northwest toward the mountains, pursued by the furious Butcher and his thirsty knife.
Near Frazee, she escapes by climbing up the ram’s horn until she reaches the moon, where she finds that the Man in the Moon and his dairy herd are being menaced by a deadly shadow.
Near Surrey, she climbs down the ram’s fleece until she reaches the center of the Earth, and she will be forced to remain there forever unless she can fetch the Devil a glass of ice water.
Near Bainville, she flees by running around the ram until she reaches the kingdom of Srivijaya*. There she catches a glimpse of the Butcher, who is there himself on a dark errand.
On the bank of the Two Medicine River just outside Browning, she and the Butcher will fight a final battle for ram’s life– and her own.
*I took a globe, stuck my finger on Bainville, spun the globe 180 degrees, ran down into the southern hemisphere, and found that I hit Palembang, Sumatra. A quick Googling showed that Palembang was once the capital of the Tantric Buddhist maritime empire of Srivijaya… and that sounded like good fairy-tale fodder to me, so I grabbed it.