The Wanderers

by Rory Dwayne

 

We found the rabbit’s foot hung up on an old ocotillo tree, the tattered hiking boot half hidden in the sand by the bunker, and the torn page among the weeds. Now all that was left for me and my two friends to find was the scarecrow with the top hat.

Our feet crunched through dry gravel, over cracked dirt that looked as parched as our throats. The fourth friend had gone missing, his dark outline disappearing over the rise like some wanderer in the Gobi desert.

The four of us had begun this search for the various items aimlessly, the lost treasures that lie in forgotten lands, once loved or needed, but time decaying its need for human contact. It had begun to dawn on us that we now searched for our souls, adventurers marking new territory in a brutal world.

Perhaps the scarecrow with the top hat was a symbol? It seemed to our minds a false idol that was truly empty, but forever attempting to quench its thirst for spiritual acceptance among its peers.

It loomed above us on top of the hill. We scaled jagged steps of rock, working together in perfect unity to struggle through the obstacle. Its empty eyes peered out among the horizon, counting endless whirlwinds and tumble weeds.

He spoke to us of bygone eras, the pollution of mankind, and the circle of time that will cleanse the Earth. We bade him forgive our transgressions, and that many were like us, pure of spirit and searching for meaning in ourselves. He denied our requests, speaking of crows circling the desert in search of carrion and minds that taint the ebbing river of time.

We pleaded, until the sun began to lower its head, but his gaze turned solemn, and he spoke no more, denying us the top hat to take away with the other curiosities. We felt isolated in the dusk, meandering down the hillside in failure.

A white sphere rose above the horizon, the moonlight guiding our footsteps through the darkness.

Suddenly, a white ray of light appeared ahead. Had we found our way to the point of illumination? Had we touched the nerve of man’s spirit and finally found our way in the world?

“Is that you, god?” we cried out together.

“Guys?” the light replied. We broke down in tears of joy as the face of our fourth friend appeared among the light. He looked at us, at the various oddities we carried. I brandished the rabbit’s foot to him, my friend holding the boot hugged it and swore he would never part with it, and the other held the torn page above his head.

“I’ve been looking for you guys for hours,” our new-found friend said. “I told you not to take those mushrooms.”

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