Totem, Part VI

It took them another month to get beyond what had been Fallon and the naval air station that had been so vibrant years before. Here the land also reclaimed what man had so carefully cultivated.

Farm land, long fallow, no longer held food fit for a man to pick off the vine and eat. Not even the apple tree, once so plentiful, bore fruit that was sweet.

He pick and ate anyway.

One morning, he found himself riding down a steep grade, the old US 95, off to his left, fractured or missing in all places, when he smelled smoke. Refusing to get excited and expecting a grass fire, he rode the big bay towards the odor.

Much to his surprise, as they rounded a large set of rocks, he came into a clearing that held a small campfire and three people. They stood near the blaze and stared at the figure on the horse, and the man astride the animal sat staring back.

He held his hands up as a gesture of peace, something he’d recalled reading about once in a book about knights and chivalry. He felt hot tears well up and slip down his sun baked cheeks as the male of the trio raised his hands likewise.

They were survivors from Yerington, where a total of nineteen people, including a new baby girl, resided. They took him in and he has been with them ever since.

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