“Yeah, though I walk through the valley…”

Special Investigator Teri Altro is a hard-driving member of the Drug Interdiction Task Force. She is cold and aloof, with no room in her life for personal entanglements. No one is allowed to call her by her first name. No one is allowed to get close to her. Any form of physical contact is unacceptable to her, except when her body demands it. People who work with Altro respect her, but have learned to stay out her way. She carries a gun in her shoulder bag.

When Altro first notices the man staring at her, he doesn’t seem like anything special… just some guy in the drugstore. But when three men walk in the door to assasinate her, he kills them all with fluid ease, and so quickly that she doesn’t even have time to pull her own gun. The confrontation is so eerily violent that it leaves Altro wondering just who… or what… the man is.

Over the next four days she learns the man is John Walker Michaels, a man known to the Hmong of Laos as the Valley Walker. He is a Vietnam War deserter, an openly emotional man who draws her out of her shell and into the world of Hmong mysticism. At the end of this time… even after talking to him, learning his history and meeting his family… Altro can only shake her head when asked what he is like.

She had touched him and felt his warmth. She knew he was real.

Or was he?