The setting is decidedly thrillerish: in an East Texas ranch house, five orphans listen attentively to a story about a weapon quest, even as a big black box with five latches looms before them. But given that Danielewski is the author of books like the cutting-edge House of Leaves, dont expect standard, thrillerish writing.

In this story set in East Texas, a local seamstress named Chintana finds herself responsible for five orphans who are not only captivated by a storyteller's tale of vengeance but by the long black box he sets before them. As midnight approaches, the box is opened, a fateful dare is made, and the children as well as Chintana come face to face with the consequences of a malice retold and now foretold.