Remains of the Past

He called himself  The Seeker.  He was after evidence of a pre-dawn civilization rumored to have existed in what became known as The Enchanted Lands.  His name was Thomas and he realized it was all a game, something to distract himself from the consequences of life.  The whole adventure was comic relief.  His friends, Jeffrey and Ambrose, joined the quest.  They thought of themselves as “outsiders” or Losers.  Ambrose, a self styled poet, sold shoes part-time so he could stock his refrigerator with cheap wine.  Jeffrey thought of himself as a philosopher.  He did odd jobs and sold pot to college students.  Thomas lived off a small inheritance and used his time to do research on urban myths and other obscure subjects.

The wild desert invited them into the heart of mystery.  At times it appeared to be a simple backdrop for a movie; at other times the desert became conscious and seemed to communicate directly to each explorer.  Messages revealed a pathway through the underbrush, between large sand dunes, around the more dangerous plants with spiked needles tipped with poison. There were an extraordinary variety of plants in The Enchanted Lands: Saguaro Cactus, Brittlebush, and Ocotillo.  They camped at night in a threadbare tent, serenaded by the sounds of strange creatures that lurked on the periphery of their campsite.  The moon cast a silver glow like radiation rising out of the sand.  Not long ago, Thomas investigated preposterous rumors of a war waged thousands of years ago laying waste to The Enchanted Lands.  Some of the animals they encountered appeared odd, twisted out of shape.  On the fourth day they argued.  Jeffrey wanted to go back and forget the nightmares that plagued him on this trip.  Ambrose felt compelled to stay in one spot to meditate on the wild shapes of the desert landscape.  Thomas won the argument and they followed him as he pushed onward.  Thomas had clout as he paid for the survival gear and food.  They explored a hollow in an enormous Barrel Cactus and that’s where they found the first signs of a predawn civilization: flattened beads and colored chips.  It was an important discovery that encouraged the group to proceed further into the hinterland. When they were almost out of food, on the seventh day, they discovered a plaque with strange marks they could not decipher.  The three became obsessed with the item, trying to figure out what it meant.  It was a mistake trying to understand the mysterious past.  They were not prepared for the consequence of running out of water and food.  They perished.  The plaque they could not read stated, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

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