Chapter 1 - many years after after the key is found

I still carry the chain around my neck. It's thin, light, a three-foot length of ball chain slapping lightly against my chest as I hop stones across the river. It would be valuable to me if I took it off. I thought I prepared well when I left the city: dynamo-powered flashlights instead of the far less reliable solar battery models, parabolic fire starters, ammunition and a little field loader rig, a pistol and a rifle that use the same caliber, tarps and blankets, but it's incredible how you can never have enough string. Some time, maybe next summer or the summer after that, I intend to head back in to Portland and come back with a shopping cart full of stuff. If I can find it I swear I'll bring back a hundred miles of string.

So the ball chain would come in handy. I couldn't lash anything with it but I could use it for fishing line, or to pull a trap, or maybe it'd even bind up one of the bark bundles I use for torches. Does ball chain burn? Does it melt?

Anton would know, but I don't, and it's one of those things that's not in any book, at least not in any book that's not fiction.

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