The Prologue of this novel foreshadows three events which the author explains, seem unrelated, but will come together in strange ways. Using an analogy of a Ferris wheel in August, the author sets up a key theme of the story in this introduction. She suggests that August sits at the top of the year (like a basket on the Ferris wheel at its peak) and during this month, people are often persuaded to do things they will one day regret. With this "circle of life" illustration, the three events next introduced also introduce the main characters of the story.
The first event includes Mae Tuck as she takes a trip on her horse to the edge of Treegap. She does this once every ten years to meet her sons (Miles and Jesse). The second event includes Winnie Foster, a young adolescent, when she loses her patience at home (with the boundaries placed on her by stern parents) and contemplates running away. The third and final noted event includes a stranger appearing at Winnie Foster's house, looking for someone.