"It's a horrible day," said Will Stanton. "It's creepy somehow."
In Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising, Will’s words prove to be every bit a true prophecy. On the day before his eleventh birthday, Will and his brother escaped from their noisy, happy house into the quiet English countryside. A black wind was blowing just a bit of snow, but there was more to come, snow and blackness both, for the Dark was rising across the land. They stopped to get some hay at Dawson's Farm—an ordinary errand. The farmer took Will aside. "The Walker is abroad... and this night will be bad, and tomorrow will be beyond imagining."
He slipped him a strange ornament made of black metal, a flat circle quartered by two crossed lines.
"Keep it safe."
Mr. Dawson had always been a kind man, but he had never taken any special notice of Will Stanton before.
Then the farmer looked at Will so intently the hairs stood up on the back of his neck.
Other strange things happened on Midwinter's Eve.
All the animals, from the rabbits to the farm dogs, seemed to be frightened of Will.
Later the brothers watched as a huge flock of rooks attacked an old tramp, their black wings swirling in a savage pattern as they dove down on him. Will had no idea what his circle was or whom Mr. Dawson meant when he spoke of the Walker, but he sensed the changes all around him and felt a dreadful uneasiness when he went to bed that night.
The wind howled, and his fear grew to a crescendo. With a smashing sound, the window over his bed broke and fell, letting the Darkness gather into his room. The Darkness sought him to turn him or break him while he was still weak, before his powers could threaten them.
For Will Stanton, born on Midwinter's Day—the seventh son of a seventh son, is the last of the Old Ones. He is the Sign Seeker who must find all six signs to wield the magic that will vanquish the Dark.