Saturday, November 11, 2006


The man as he rode slowly became undefined dark amongst dark dust as the dark dusk descended. He was alone. It was a desert known partly for the emptiness it was and partly for the lives claimed not by its own gritty hands but those of men within it. See the dangerous place so wild and dry where one might under the brutal heat become prone to abstract, disturbed visions.

His horse was painted on the horizon and he squinted at the sun which set and in so doing sketched illusions of its utmost self across the sky and land. There was no sound beyond the mare's strides and occasionally clearing his throat but a scant wind. In the distance a tall oak of lightning fell without a crash, seeking roots. That direction lay the town, a godforsaken place. An hour's ride perhaps no less nor more.


It was quiet and later than dusk. Sharp stars pierced the air for the sun had hidden its face in exhaustion from so wreaking fury that long day. Dried paths left by bitter sweat and gray dust cracked on his face when he dismounted and lead the chestnut mare to a post by the inn and tied her there.

Be still, he whispered barely.

The color of the town at this time was blue nearly black electric and harshly relieved. He remembered correctly and the town was empty as the bone desert and as dead. At closer inspection the inn was a ruin and the wood etched by sand into a twisted skeleton, tongueless and rasping. It spoke incoherent profanity creaking as he entered and inside it promised to forget and be forgotten.

He searched the bar but there was nothing other than a cracked wooden spoon and a few glass beads.

Outside he combed the town finding other edifices that were barely hollow shells nine in all and an old well nearly dry where he drew himself and the mare a long drink that tasted of mud. He led the mare back inside the inn and after calming her dragged the old wooden door shut on creaking leather hinges. He stood behind the bar and lied down where he sipped metallic water from his canteen and chewed beef jerky in the dark.

Coyotes roamed through the town followed by the wind who brought old promises from an old land.


There is a full moon sitting in the sky like a broken watchface with no hands. He possessed a silver watch once that his grandfather had given to him but it had long been lost gone like other memories of his childhood. Dissipated in the wind and swept away by tides of experience.

The moon spills light over the bluegrass plain with the glowblades rustling like sand, playing hide-and-seek with black earth underneath them. In the distance, mountains surrounded by pools of water, darkly mirrors regal and reflective of the stones hanging over them.

Underneath those he has heard there is a vast network of hollow black caves and inside them a strangely alluring emptiness but only the promise of wealth. Nobody mines these hills of rock and roots for there is only gold like granite that does not glitter and coal like dirt that will not burn.

The solitary mountains on the horizon call him to them without any purpose discerned. He walks through the tall grass slowly and his boots sink into the ground deeper at every step. Soon he will be consumed he knows.

Rustling grass anounces their presence but otherwise they make no sound, silent like spectres traveling on unfelt winds. It is a pack of gray lobos wary and large with long muzzles and green eyes bright with intelligence and what he perceives to be incomprehensible. Theyre hunting but not for him and they pass, traveling but he knows not where.

They part like waves around him and disappear like fine ash. Time passes and he does not know if they were but an illusion.


In the morning, he ate breakfast and watered the mare and they left the ghost town forever.


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