Liffey Rivers' world is changed forever when she begins meditating daily,
sitting on the ground between the two old ginkgo trees in her backyard.
Voices coming from the ground beneath her, earth tremors, the discovery
of an ancient Native American effigy, a mysterious Catholic nun in a white
habit floating above her like wispy smoke from a chimney. Almost extinct
box turtles are in her yard everyday and there is a mysterious air quality
problem in Mineral Point with no apparent cause. When high school
students are terrorized by what appears to be a vampire, while waiting for
their school bus one morning, the Chief of Police becomes involved and
discovers that a threatening poem, a box turtle and a warning of retribution
written in Japanese, has been deposited in The Foundry Books'
pagoda-like haiku box on the bookstore's front porch. Liffey Rivers soon
realizes that she is facing an unimaginable crisis in what has, up until now,
been a safe place to live and hide.
"Aunt Jean had recently become a
devoted follower of Bashō, the famous
Japanese Haiku poet who lived in the
1600’s. And, like Bashō, Aunt Jean
had begun to write haiku poems.
When she composed, she often wore
a shiny kimono with lovely cherry
blossom designs. She scribbled her
haiku on expensive rice paper
imported from Japan while sipping
cherry blossom tea from delicate
Japanese teacups without handles."
Liffey's eccentric Aunt Jean has
become a haiku poet.
"Liffey’s mother Maeve had told her
that ginkgo trees like theirs were often
planted around temples throughout
Asia to provide protection and ward off
“Many of the ginkgo trees at those
temples are more than 1,000 years
old, Liffey. There is at least one
ancient ginkgo in China said to be
3,500 years old. Ginkgo trees are
living fossils. There are theories that
they might have lived when the
dinosaurs still roamed the earth.”
Liffey wondered how old these
ginkgo trees in her yard were. She felt
safe meditating under their delicate
fan-like leaves, thinking about how
they might be protecting her right now
from malevolent spirits and evil human
"Inside the haiku box, he found
what appeared to be a haiku poem in
5-7-5 syllable format. It was written on
what he thought looked like old vellum
or parchment-type paper.
Only in the Point, the Chief sighed,
taking tweezers from his evidence
satchel to hold the parchment-like
paper as he scanned the words written
in what might be dark red ink or some
kind of berry goo or possibly even
blood, would a cop like me know that
this is a haiku poem because it is
written in three lines with 5 syllables on
the first line, 7 syllables on the second
line, and 5 syllables again on the third
Trees are whispering
darkness will swallow the sun
When Wendigo comes"