Meeting the Mountain Guardian

The woonchaj waited in a cave deep inside the big, gray mountain. It closed its eyes and felt for a signal—just like it had every day for the last 500 years. As much as part of the mountain as the animals and plants that lived there, it had been in this world for longer than it could remember.

A slight tremble of earth, soft steps of a hare, a whooshing wind through the pines. The forest was telling the same story it had every day. Deep, deep, deep into the core of the mountain, where even the woonchaj itself didn’t understand the strange connections between this world and another, a man screamed. The woonchaj sent a tendril of comfort to the man and the screams quieted.