I’ve seen the Eater crawling back to his hut from the darkness, contorting and shuddering. We owe him for that. I’ve heard the madness that boils on the Eater’s tongue when he drinks of the froth from the bone-rattle tree. He is the only one who dares to taste it. I’ve seen him walk across the village as though he’s forgotten in which direction lies the earth and which the sky. He goes into the woods alone. After a time, his body has always returned. But he–the Eater I know or think I know, the laughing Eater with his clever tricks and dances–he stays away for even longer, unable to speak or unwilling, somewhere we can never go or see.
Never, that is, unless one of us follows him.