For a moment he thought he was in his bed. Then he remembered. The morning sun, already scorching his eye lids, reminded him where he was. When he opened them, all he could see was blue.
The sky in the desert can tease a man. It seems so beautiful and harmless. But Jake had friends who never returned from a journey like this one. He knew the dangers that waited for a lonely traveler this far from home. But for him, the dangers in the wilderness were tame compared to what...or more accurately...who he was running from.
He rose to his feet and scratched his neck. He wasn't used to not shaving in the morning. He hated the stubble. It reminded him of his brother.
He slung his leather satchel over his shoulder. In doing so he noticed the stone on the ground. He stared it down as if it were a coiled viper.
Wait a second? No, it couldn't be. Maybe...it was...
His hands trembled. He slowly lowered his satchel to the desert floor, eyes still glued to the simple stone that had doubled as his pillow throughout the night.
Jake wasn't the type to believe in the supernatural. His mother had taught him that what is real is real. No need for soothsaying or fairy tales or magic tricks. His father was into all that. So was his grandfather. But he was the grounded one. He was his mother's son - the rational one. He was fleeing the ancient myths of his father. But now the myths were stalking him in his sleep.
He gulped as he eyed that stone.
"OK," he said to the empty morning sky. "If that was real. If last night really happened, then...prove it. Give me food for my journey...and clothes to wear. Give me success and money and a family. Give me everything I deserve...then I'll come back here and find this stone. And then...and only then...I'll believe in you. Hell, I'll even come back here one day and build you house if that will make you happy." Disgusted, he looked toward the sunrise. "Then you won't have to live out in the desert and torment people when they come through..."
Throwing his bag over his shoulder, he turned eastward toward his uncle's estate. If it were possible, it was even hotter than the day before. He shot one last glance over his shoulder at the stationary rock. Then he mumbled as he walked away, "stupid dreams..."