Into the Fold – O. Lutzov

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Knock Knock Knock

The door. Moses Albright slowly leaned forward in his cozy fireside rocker and gently slipped his white, aging feet into a pair of plaid slippers as he rose to a stand. Turning away from the mantle, he began his patient shuffle across the beige carpet, smiling calmly as he made his way without hurry through the living room and toward the front door.

Knock Knock Knock

“I’m coming!” called Moses, approaching the door to spy through the peephole.

Outside, bracing himself against the piercing December wind, was a tall man in a long trench coat and sleek brown fedora. He huddled into his jacket as the thin snow swirled icily around him.

Moses opened the door as quickly as his elderly joints would allow. “Goodness lad, come in!” he said, waving the man inside. “That’s right. There. It’s far too chilly to be standing outside like that.”

The tall, trench-coat clad man reached up to hold onto his fedora as he ducked under the doorway and hurried inside, stomping his wingtips on the entry rug to rid them of snow while Moses leaned into the door to push it shut against the winter wind.

“Whoowhee!” Moses exclaimed, shaking himself free of the outdoors. The stranger, too, busily began rubbing his arms against his body, desperately trying to warm himself now that he was inside.

“Cold enough out there to freeze your Winnebago!” Moses chuckled toward the stranger, his old, rosy cheeks glowing even from the brief exposure. “Say, can I get you anything? Coffee, tea? Let’s get you warmed up.”

Still a bit stunned, the man stared wide-eyed at Moses, but eventually nodded his assent. “Coffee, yes, if you have it. That would be nice.”

“Coming right up,” said Moses, shuffling away toward the kitchen. “Just throw your coat anywhere!” he shouted as he disappeared into the other room. “The fire’s nice and warm—feel free to have a seat! Just be sure to take your shoes off, if you please!”

And with that, the man was left in the silence of Moses Albright’s living room.

Collecting himself as he began to warm up, the man obediently followed Moses’s instructions—fumbling to remove his wingtips and then hanging his coat and hat on a small wooden chair near the entryway. Tan brown socks on his feet, he started slowly meandering toward the fireplace, curiously observing the room as he did so.

The living room itself was a small, quaint space—the coffee walls, beige carpet, and various brown furniture bringing the room to a head at the two matching La-Z-Boy recliners sitting by the fireplace. A spattering of portraits and pictures dotted the walls, filled with people the man could only assume were friends, relatives, and the occasional pet. Altogether, very little stood out with the exception of a large, gold-trimmed glass display cabinet running along one of the living room walls, inside which held what appeared to be small pieces of folded-up paper. Holding up his pant legs so as not to step on them, the man strolled over to inspect the cabinet more closely.

Sure enough, the cabinet was littered with dozens—hundreds, perhaps—of tiny origami figurines, all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Most were of animals—cranes, dogs, the odd frog; but about twenty of them, and these were the ones the man found the most beautiful, interesting, fascinating, even, were of people. Different men and women, each distinct in their unique clothing, physical attributes, even expressions, crafted with such care and precision that it almost defied explanation. It was like the man was staring at real people—people he almost recognized, but couldn’t recall where from…

“And here,” said Moses, reentering the living room with a pair of matching mugs, “is your coffee my good sir.” He handed the tall man one of the steaming mugs. It was warm to the touch—not so hot that it burned; just hot enough that holding onto it melted away all memories of the cold outdoor weather.

The man took a sip of the coffee, and delighted in the earthy notes of cinnamon and spice.

“Now then,” said Moses, also sipping away at his mug of coffee, “since you’re all cozy again, how can I help you?”

The man thought for a second, forgetfully lost in the origami, then snapped back to attention. “My apologies,” he began, “my name is Detective Jay Anaheim. You’re Moses Albright, correct?”

“That I am,” nodded Moses with a smile.

“Very good,” the man continued. “Well Mr. Albright, I’m here because I was hoping to ask you a couple of questions.”

“Ask away my good sir.”

“Thank you Mr. Albright. Like I said, my name is Detective Anaheim, and lately my department has been investigating a string of disappearances.”

“Oh?” Moses raised his eyebrows. “How dreadful. Please, go on.”

“Yes, it is, quite… awful…” the detective said, trying to resist glancing back at the origami cabinet. “Excuse me,” he said finally, “but these origami figurines—they’re so intricate, how do you make them so detailed?”

“Oh, my friends!” Moses exclaimed, his elderly face growing younger just at their mention. “Do you like them?”

“I do indeed,” responded the detective. “They’re so lifelike—it’s almost like I could see them walking around on the street somewhere.”

“Why yes,” explained Moses, “the trick, of course, is to capture those tiny emotions—those little bits of surprise or wonder or curiosity—those little bits that make us human. Then, much like an author captures life through words, I capture life through the folds of the paper.”

“Fascinating.”

“Indeed it is. Would you like to see?” Moses asked, and as he asked he removed a tall piece of paper from his back pocket.

“I would be honored!” said the man, looking once more at the cabinet. At the figurines. The familiar figurines. The familiar…

He looked back at Moses, and the tall piece of paper.

And the world folded in upon him.

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