I had no choice but to stop my travel. I was too tired to move about safely. It was difficult to see drop offs in the night and I had no wish to tumble head long down into a canyon and become fodder for some carrion eater.
Around me a chill mist was growing, the perfect night for children to scare themselves senseless with tales of things best left untold. I had managed to find a few, small twigs and thin branches on my hours of hiking and decided to light a fire and drive off my depression. If I could.
I looked up and discerned something moving about in the dank fog the mist had become. It melded itself into the shape of an oddly dressed man. I could not shake the feeling that I had seen him before. What am I saying?! A man?!
I called, “Who are you? Where did you come from?”
A deep and scratchy voice with an odd catch to it responded, “Do you not know me Leeda? I am your ancestor, Solomon Harper.”
My shoulders slumped. I’d been expecting something of this sort but still managed to be disappointed when it happened. Then I looked up to the Heavens and stomped my foot in anger. “Was it absolutely necessary, on top of all the rest you’ve taken from me that you take my mind too? Must I suffer that indignity as well?!”
The man snapped, “Blasphemy!”
Not being in the mood for a lecture I snapped back, “Don’t speak to me of blasphemy you malfunction of neurology! What great wrong have I committed that I should be subject to this?!”
Shaking his head causing his odd helmet and other unnameable pieces of his costume to rattle he sighed mournfully, “You do not understand my child.”
I did not relish condescension, not even from a phantasm. I sneered, “I am not your child. Neither am I Abraham sent out to found a new land and people. I am not Moses to lead a people. I am not a Jonah who has disobeyed God’s direction as I’ve gone everywhere I’ve been commanded to go no matter how uncomfortable. I am neither Jacob nor Gideon to be a general. I am not Esther to protect a people … and by all that’s holy my husband The Linder was not a Xerxes. Acquit me of being a Saint of any type! I’m far from built for it, body or temperament. If all I want to know is why this is happening to me I will damn well ask!”
I could just see the man’s nostrils flare in distaste. “Such language a lady does not use, not even in anger. Now stop throwing a tantrum and listen. Logic dictates if you are not getting an answer that you should explore whether you are asking the right question.”
I stopped as if I’d been slapped. “Ex … excuse … What?”
He looked at me from beneath the visor of his helmet and asked, “What was your question again?”
“I asked why is this happening to me.”
“Hmmmmm. Rearrange your point of view. Ask is what is happening really about you.” He turned and started walking away.
“Wait!” I called. “What do you mean?”
He turned back briefly and with a very serious look answered, “I’m just a malfunction of your neurology remember? Any meaning I give you to ponder was already within you. But if I were you, and it appears that I am, I would change my question.” He stared off into the mist and added, “And use a modicum of respect while you are asking your questions. Emotions are a natural product of the human spirit but allowed to have injudicious reign they tend to obscure what should be readily apparent when logic is applied.”
I watched the figment that claimed to be Solomon Harper disappear into the mist and thought, “No wonder people thought you to be a senile old fusspot. Speaking in riddles and giving people the headache.”
Malfunction, figment, spirit, or something else entirely it did not matter … he gave me pause and something new to ponder. I went back to trying to start the small fire I had laid but for some reason I just couldn’t strike well enough to cause a spark. And now that I finally had the wood it was extremely annoying to be unable to complete the task. I stopped to rest and that’s when I heard it, a faint cry on the night air. It sounded like a small, wounded animal in deep distress.