Missing Person

The elderly man knelt by the extinguished fire of the abandoned campsite. Feeling the heat with an outstretched hand, he knew that it was less than a day old. Glancing over at the boulders nearby, he noticed the ancient petroglyphs that had been carved into the stone thousands of years before the arrival of his tribe, the Navajo. 

These symbols had been used long before pen and paper had arrived on the North American continent. There were three glyphs that he recognized. A horizontal line with waves falling from it denoted blood. The next resembled a bulls-eye, which stood for something hidden. The last of the three, an S-shaped figure, was easily recognized as a serpent. 

A young woman had been reported missing by friends the day before. Rising to his feet, the man looked around for any sign of a struggle nearby. Every trace of the woman had disappeared at this campsite. The local authorities had called the elderly man, a former Navajo code talker from the war, to find the missing person.  

He knew this desert better than anyone, having lived here most of his life. This was his home, this desert that claimed the lives of so many that wandered here without the necessary survival skills. This wasn’t the first time he had been called for such a task, and he always found what he was looking for, whether they were dead or alive. 

A coyote sang its desert song in the distance, recalling ancient legends to the man’s memory. The sun was beginning to set, making the man’s stay dangerous. He would have to come again at first light. 

The rustling of dry brush nearby caught the man’s attention. As he walked over to investigate, something sprang from the bushes. Fangs pierced skin, with darkness following. 

The End

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