Nearly a year came and went. John William felt like an empty shell going through the motions of life. His uncle tried every day to pull him out of it. “I got you something today.” He pushed a brown leather pack with a padded shoulder strap across the dinner table. John William glanced up from his plate. His uncle cleared his throat. “Happy Birthday, young man. Twelve – that’s a big age.”
“Thanks,” John William muttered while pushing steamed carrots and potatoes around with his fork. “I’m sorry. I suppose I’m not feeling well. I think I need to lie down. May I be excused?”
“Of course.” His uncle leaned back in his chair with a defeated look on his face. John William peeled himself off the seat and dragged his feet to his room. He plopped down on his bed and stared at the ceiling just as he did every other night, not wanting to think because thinking always resulted in heartache. He grew tired of crying all the time.
His bedroom door squeaked open. “Can I come in?” asked his uncle, poking his head inside. John William nodded. His uncle sat next to him and looked around. Pictures of old ruins and maps lined the walls. A set of dirty old digging tools covered the dresser. “I love what you have done with your room.” He smirked and rubbed his neck. John William replied with a half smile.
“John William, I don’t pretend to know what you are feeling. I miss your parents, too… very much. It is awful that this has happened. There are days when I still can’t believe it.” He paused and let out a deep sigh. “I know for certain that your dad, my brother, would want you to carry on with life. He would want you to do your best and live with purpose because that is precisely what he did – and he did it for you. It would break his heart to see you wasting away.”
A tear slid down John William’s cheek, and he turned his head away. His reflection in the dresser’s mirror gazed back at him with puffy, deep blue eyes. His uncle placed the pack he bought on the bed next to him. “Good night, John William.” He stood up, and his shoes clacked as he walked out of the room.
John William stared at the pack for a while before deciding to open it. Inside were beautiful new tools for digging and drawing maps. The handles had his initials, J.W.D., engraved on them. At the very bottom was an old compass with a note attached:
I know there is nothing I can do to bring your parents back; but I feel it is my responsibility to bring your smile back. Today is your birthday, so please don’t waste another minute of your life feeling empty. Get out there and live, explore, do what you love. It is time to embark on a new adventure. I hope these tools help. I attached the letter to this compass because it was your father’s. I found it at the house after the accident. Use it well and keep your parents in your heart. Happy Birthday, young man.
John William opened the compass. It still had ash on it – aside from that it was in fine working condition. He sank his head into the pillow, thinking about his uncle’s words. A restless energy surged through his body, something he had not felt in a long time.
He tossed and turned all night, making a tangled mess of his blankets. When the first ray from the sun poked through his curtains, he leaped out of bed and threw on his clothes. He stuffed his tools and compass in his pack and draped it over his shoulders. Pulling his bedroom door open, he flew out like a tornado blowing through the house.
And... so it begins! John William is off to explore. What he is about to find will change his life forever. Grab any of the John William's Adventure books today!